Title: Arena
Universe/Series: Part Three of 'What Shouldn't Be' series, Reboot XI/TOS
Rating: R
Relationship status: first time, slow build K/S
Plot: The demons of the past will always compromise the promise of the future.
Warnings: always!girl Kirk, angst, action, character death, language, references to past child abuse, rom-com humor, sexual situations, violence, possible amateur world-building
Additional Pairings: Kirk/guy!Rand, Spock/Uhura (terminated relationship), unrequited Kirk/Spock
Summary: During the last six months of her first year into her captaincy, Jim Kirk is forced to revist her dark past when a rumor surfaces around the ship concerning the suspected whereabouts of Governor Kodos.


STARDATE 225308.22

Manhattan, New York

Lady Liberty Diner

On a Saturday night in the middle of the diner, a crowd surrounds a table of card players. Three surly biker dudes sit across from a gorgeous blonde wearing an abstract bikini top with silver pens sticking out of her top, high waist cutoff shorts and a lime green foam Statue of Liberty crown with a hairstyle pinned back in a old fashion pin-up. Her fingernails are painted a blood orange color and her lipstick is an enticing peach pink. She lifts her blue eyes from the cards in her hands before she sets them down.

The three surly biker dudes curse and throw down their cards, causing the crowd to make such an animated commotion over the outcome.

Jim shouts excitedly as she wins yet another hand at poker. "Alright fellas, gimme those credit cards. What was the wager again? One hundred and fifty credits, I believe."

"Shit girl. You sure can clean up house can't ya?" one of the men mutters as they all fish into their wallets for their credit card.

Jim digs into the devil red handbag at her feet and pulls out her PADD. One by one she takes their cards and takes her time pressing the numbered side to the screen of her PADD, subtracting the amount of credits owed to her and depositing it into her bank account. When she's finished, she hands them back with a provocative smirk and a wink, and says, "Pleasure doing business, boys. We should try this again next time I'm in town."

The three biker dudes just grumble and rise from the table, exiting the diner and leaving Jim to stew in her victory. Just as they leave, Bones and Kenya enter the diner, looking around curiously. Kenya is in a flowing green sundress and sandals while Bones is wearing some jeans and short sleeved black t-shirt.

Jim hops up and waves her arm. "Over here!" she exclaims and motions them eagerly.

Kenya smiles and waves, while Bones lifts an eyebrow, allowing himself to be dragged over.

"Happy Birthday, Bones," Jim says and throws her arms around him. "How old are you now? A hundred? Hundred and twenty?"

"Ha, ha. Hilarious, Kid," Bones snarks as he pulls back with a fond shake of his head.

Jim takes a moment to study him and she rests her eyes on his head. "You cut your hair—what did you go and do that for?"

"You can thank your Vulcan for that. He kept pestering me about it, saying it wasn't regulation and blah, blah," Bones explains with a scowl.

Jim smiles and takes a moment to remember how much she's missed seeing that scowl. She turns to Kenya with a grin and says, "And look at you! You're glowing. And you've gotten huge." She presses a hand to Kenya's rounded belly, which is poking out like a small beach ball under the sundress she's wearing.

"I think it's because I eat everything," Kenya jokingly explains. "It's probably driven Leo crazy."

"You know I don't mind gettin' you whatever your craving," Bones says softly and kisses her on her temple.

"Even when it's three in the morning?" Kenya presses.

"Even then," Bones insists. He gives a small grin when she beams at him and pinches his cheek.

Jim clears her throat. "Well, sit, sit. You don't need to be on your feet. I want hear about how you've been spending your time off."

"Oh sorry, I would love to stay, but I promised my grandmother I would come and see her before the day ends. Maybe some other time," Kenya says regrettably. She kisses Bones on the cheek before she gives Jim another hug. "You two have fun, and happy belated birthday, Jim."

"Thanks. Be safe," Jim says and takes a seat as she watches Kenya waddle her way out of the restaurant. "So," she starts as Bones turns gaze to her while he sits across from her. "Excited to be a dad again?"

Bones rests his forearms against the edge of the table as he levels her with a stare. "Why have you been avoiding me?" he asks instead.

Jim frowns and leans back as she crosses her legs and her arms. "What do you mean? How have I been avoiding you?"

"You know how. This is the first time I've seen you since we returned home, got debriefed and went our separate ways so they could get to work repairing the Enterprise with better security equipment and et cetera," he clarifies with an annoyed scowl. "Then you just disappear from off the face of the planet. I had to contact Spock just to keep tabs on you. Do you know how pleasant it is for me to have to be civil to him in order to pry information out of him?"

Jim rubs her lips together as she shrugs wordless and keeps looking at him.

Bones mutters under his breath as he rubs a hand up and down the crown of his head. "Jim—I don't like when you do this. I don't like when you pull away from me instead of just telling me what's wrong," he says.

Jim stays stubbornly silent.

"Are you trying to make me jealous? Is that it? Because I have to say you're doing a bang up job by staying in constant communication with your pointy-eared First Officer," Bones gripes with a glare.

Jim rolls her eyes in annoyance. "Don't start with this."

"Start with what? What am I starting with? I'm not the one who's being a damn child about this whole thing," Bones snaps back, ignoring the looks their receiving. "And FYI, it hasn't escaped my notice that this whole thing started after I told you Kenya was pregnant."

"So what?" Jim exclaims and throws her hands up. "Maybe it did. Maybe—maybe I was trying to give you two space. I didn't want another situation or dispute happening like it did with Uhura and Spock. Let me let you in on a little secret, Bones—women can be just as competitive and jealous as men, and I didn't want Kenya to feel like—I don't know. I just thought it'd be better this way."

"You're a goddamn idiot," Bones retorts.

"Oh thanks for that."

"Well you are because if you'd just talk to me—if we'd just talked, then you would know that despite things, nothing is going on between Kenya and I," Bones admits.

Jim stares at him in confusion. "But the baby—"

"Yeah, the baby," Bones echoes. "Not mine."


"Not mine," Bones patiently repeats. "If you'd just stuck around long enough for me to finish explaining that before running off like some lovelorn twelve year old, you'd already know that two months ago. Didn't you find it odd that she was that big for it to have only been two months?"

"Well, yeah," Jim says as her frown increases. "So it's not yours?"

Bones gives her an exasperated look.

"Okay, okay," Jim laughs and lifts her hands placatingly. "Holy shit, Bones. If it's not yours then—"

"You're not gonna like the answer to that one anymore than you did before," Bones warns and now Jim is really intrigued. "You can't say anything to anyone, alright? Kenya's sensitive about it enough."

"Yeah, sure. I wont say anything."

"It's Mitchell's."

Jim's jaw falls open.

"It happened six months ago, and she didn't know anymore about him then we did," Bones goes on to explain. "But it doesn't matter now, because she's five months pregnant. That's not even the killer part."

Jim snorts skeptically but she doesn't say anything as she takes it in.

"Jim, she's the fifteenth person who's gotten pregnant in the last six months while aboard your ship. Now what do you make of that?" Bones asks.

"Something in the water?"

"I'm being serious," Bones says with a solemn frown.

Jim sighs and leans forward as she tries to think. "Um, I don't know. Coincidence?"

"I wish it was that simple," Bones replies. "You want to know what I've been doing on my time off? I've been lookin' into it. I've called every female crewmember that was assigned to the Enterprise in the last six months and eighteen of them have told me the same thing. They're pregnant."

"Wait, but you said fifteen actually are—and now your saying eighteen. What exactly—" she pauses when she notices the look he's giving her. "Oh. Right."

"Right," Bones concurs with a sigh. "Eighteen got pregnant but only fifteen stayed pregnant."

Jim makes a face and says, "Please tell me they're not all Mitchell's."

"Oh they're not," Bones assures with a wry snort. "But doesn't make it any less peculiar."

"You don't think Dehner or Mitchell have anything to do with that, do you?" Jim asks.

Bones shrugs. "Hard to say at this point. We've just got to keep our eyes peeled and see if anything else strange pops up."

"Yeah," Jim agrees faintly. "So—what's Kenya gonna do? Obviously she's decided to keep the baby, even after all this."

"She's going to stay with her grandmother until the baby's born. Then she figures she oughta move back to Ghana and settle down there," Bones confesses.

"Wow," Jim merely says. She stands and motions for Bones to follow and together they sit at the bar. She flags down a waitress. "This calls for some mint chocolate chip ice cream."

Bones snorts but he doesn't disagree.

"I'm gonna miss Kenya. She had such a gorgeous smile. I'm sad to see it go," Jim admits. She orders two cups of ice cream—one for her and a strawberry sundae for Bones. "I wonder what Uhura thinks about all this. Maybe I'll ask Spock and see—"

"What is this? You two are best friends now?" Bones grouches and glares at the surface of the bar. "One minute you can't stand to be in the same room with him and now you two are swapping lipsticks like junior high pals."

"Oh my God, Bones. Can you not be anymore obvious with your jealousy?" Jim fumes and glowers at him.

"Well at least I have the gull to be obvious instead of bouncing across the country from beach to beach, surfin' and givin' my best friend a headache about my whereabouts because I'm being stubborn fool about my feelings," Bones returns with a pointed stare.

Jim just rolls her eyes in annoyance and looks away. "Look, I'm sorry, alright. It was petty, and I'm sorry." She takes a moment to sigh before she faces forward. "I was just worried that our friendship was already ending. I mean, here you are with this gorgeous new family in the works and a possible new life." She looks down and shrugs. "There wasn't even a guarantee that once the Enterprise was re-commissioned you'd be there. And I couldn't blame you for that, and I wasn't going to make you stay, even though I really fucking wanted to."

"You can relax," Bones grumbles as he rest his hand over hers. "I told you before, I'm not so easy to get rid of. It's this thing with Spock that's bothering me. I don't like it because I don't like him."

"We're just friends."

The waitress sets down their glass of ice cream.

"For now."

"Please don't do that," Jim sighs and rubs at her eyebrow as a headache tries to build. "Bones, I love you. You're my best friend and you're my brother. We've got our issues because we've got some complicated unresolved feelings for each other. It's going to take time. And who knows? We might end up—"

"Don't say it," Bones says. "I don't need you putting the idea in my head. It's already planted but I'm not letting it grow. Let's just leave it at best friends who sometimes get jealous over each other and find one another attractive but will ignore that fact for the sake of each other's happiness, and for the undeniable fact that one day we might find someone who we'd like to spend the rest of our lives with."

"I'll toast to that," Jim lifts her glass of ice cream and clinks it to Bones's with a grin. "Happy birthday, Bones."

"Happy belated birthday, Jim. Let's hope the rest of this year is a quiet one," Bones says as they start to dig in.

Jim does more than hope, but her guts tell her that it won't be so simple. She shoves a spoonful of mint chocolate ice cream in her mouth and thinks of her ship. Two more days and they'd be sailing the stars once more.

(picture of scene above can be found in my livejournal in the same chapter at the end)

Author's Note: I don't know about you, but I'm excited to dive in. Speculations about what's to come?