DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters
are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are
the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2002 by Djinn. Apologies to
Like We Never Had A Broken Heart
The corridors of Starfleet Command seemed to be filled with impossibly young officers smiling, laughing, calling out to each other, and all hurrying to a future as yet undefined. Kirk locked his office and refused to believe that this assignment that he detested but would return to tomorrow was the future he had worked so hard for.
His future could not be this bleak and lonely, could not be this boring. He had lived by his wits, snatching victory out of certain defeat for too long to abide this kind of bureaucratic hell. McCoy had warned him not to take a desk job. But he had been too tired to listen. Too tired and too full of hopes for the future he was going to build. A future in which he would not be alone.
He looked up and saw a familiar figure approaching. Jet black hair, lean frame, elegant pointed ears. He almost called out but bit the words back at the last moment. Not Spock, his mind told his now thumping heart. Not Spock. Spock had gone. Forever. Left Earth, Starfleet, and Kirk behind. All to purge his emotions on the hot sands of Vulcan at a place named Gol. Kirk hated that place, almost hated Spock. Couldn't quite bring himself to commit to that emotion, unwilling to accept the finality of it. Better to think the Vulcan would come back...someday...to him.
"David!" The shout brought him up short as he turned slowly and scanned the hallways. Someone edged by him, knocking him slightly as he passed. He saw a blur of curly blond hair as the teen rushed away from him and toward the blonde woman waiting with her hands on her hips at the end of the hall. Kirk swallowed hard, hand already reaching out as if he could capture the boy, but he was gone.
Carol Marcus regarded Kirk for a moment, their eyes locking in the battle of wills that he always thought one day she must grow tired of. He knew he had. Wanted simply to put aside the differences that the years had only made more stark and try to find some way to be in his son's life. But Carol showed no signs of wearying. There was no welcome in her cold eyes, as she wrapped her arm around their son's shoulder and drew him away. David didn't even notice Kirk standing there.
My son. Kirk sighed as he tried to force his feet to turn and move on. But all he could do was stand and stare until the object of his gaze disappeared around a corner. He took a deep breath and turned quickly, trying to spur himself into some sort of action that would resurrect the old James T. Kirk, the one that he had enjoyed being. The one that didn't accept defeat, didn't know the meaning of surrender.
Had he really been that man?
"Admiral?" A soft voice--familiar and welcoming--made him turn.
He almost didn't recognize her with dark hair. "Chapel?"
She nodded and smiled. He grinned back and wondered how long had it been since he'd used any expression other than the tight smile he sported so often lately. It felt good to really smile.
"I'd heard you graduated," he said.
"I did, Admiral. It's Doctor Chapel now."
He frowned. "Call me Jim."
She looked uncomfortable. "Sir?"
"Chris," he watched her react to the name, realized she liked it. "Call me Jim. Enough people I don't like call me Admiral."
"Okay, Jim." She smiled shyly and he felt a rush of nostalgia at the expression. How many times had he seen that look when he'd been in sickbay to check on an injured crewman, or just as often had woken up there himself to find her checking on him? She had been a calm presence, one that it had been easy to take for granted.
"I thought I'd heard you were back," she said.
He nodded. "Several years now. Desk job. Grounded." He shrugged.
"Voluntarily." He shook his head. "Stupidest damn move I ever made."
He shrugged again, a 'what can you do?' sort of gesture.
She seemed at a loss for words. "Well, it was nice to see you--"
He cut her off, ruthlessly unwilling to endure another long night in his apartment. "Have a drink with me?"
"Jim," he reminded her. "Unless you had other plans?"
"I happen to be free," she admitted, a lopsided grin making her eyes sparkle.
"Good. Have you been to Royer's?"
"I like it there."
"Yeah, me too."
At the same time they both said, "It's easy to forget there." Then they stared at each other uncomfortably. She looked away first.
"I don't want to talk about him," Kirk said in a rush.
"Good, neither do I," she answered.
"Then that's settled." The walk to the pub was short and he led her to one of the back booths. When the waiter came up, Kirk said, "Glenlivet. Make it a double."
She looked skeptical.
"She'll have the same," Kirk said firmly.
"Synthahol is safer," she said softly after the waiter left. "And less damaging."
"And no fun at all," he countered. "When was the last time you had fun, Chris?"
"I've been a little busy getting my degree."
"So it's been a while. I rest my case."
The waiter came back with their drinks and a bowl of snacks. She began to pick out the sesame sticks, eating them with obvious gusto. He sipped his scotch and watched her.
She looked up, suddenly conscious of his stare and said, "What?"
"You look good."
She blushed slightly.
"I mean besides the dark hair, which I really like by the way. You look...I don't know, more confident, I guess."
She smiled. "I think I am."
"Getting off the Enterprise was the best thing you could do."
She studied him. "And the worst thing you could do."
He shrugged. "It was time. Ship was in for overhaul. It was extended leave or finally bite the bullet and move up. No man is an island."
He saw her frown as if she didn't follow and he held his hands up in a way that let her know he wasn't completely sure what he meant either. Why had he accepted a desk job? Had he really thought that if he grounded himself for a while, put down some roots finally, he might get his son back? He shook his head, laughing quietly in bitter tribute to his own folly.
She watched him closely. "Maybe not an island. But the Enterprise was our own little world...one that you made for us." She took a sip of her scotch, smiled slightly in appreciation. Then she held out her glass. "We're doing this all in the wrong order. Cheers, Jim."
He clinked his glass against her. "Cheers, Chris." At her look, he asked, "Do you mind being called that? Christine seems so formal. Chris just seems to suit you."
"I like it," she replied.
"Why didn't I call you that before?"
"You never called me much of anything before, Jim." She met his startled look with an expression that clearly said she wouldn't believe any argument he tried to put out there. "But that's all right. There wasn't much reason for you to. It was always the three of you. Or the two of you. No room for me there. What would you need me for when you had him for a--" she seemed to choose her words carefully, as if she were navigating a verbal minefield "--best friend." She regarded him carefully, appeared to be waiting for him to correct her, to say that Spock was more.
And Spock had been more. He'd been everything. Kirk wanted to say it, almost did, but...what was the point? She didn't want to know, it was clear. Let her suspect, let her think that they were just friends. What difference did it make now? He looked away. Threw back his drink. "We said we weren't going to talk about him."
She drained her own drink. "Yeah, we did." She signaled for the waiter. "Bring the bottle this time," she told him.
Kirk looked at her in surprise.
She ignored him, just took the bottle from the waiter and poured them both refills. "Salud," she said, taking a deep swallow.
"Chin chin." He followed suit. The scotch burned down his throat, leaving him feeling warm and slightly buzzed. He leaned back and studied her again. "So what's next for you?"
"I'm finishing up my residency. Then I look for an assignment." She took another sip. "Have you seen McCoy?"
Kirk looked down. "He's not very happy with me right now."
"Because you took this assignment?"
He nodded. "That's part of it. I wouldn't listen to him."
"That's not fair of him. You were just trying to do what you thought was right."
He threw back the scotch. She poured him another glass without a word. "I guess," he finally said. "There were...other things." He could feel his face tighten.
She sighed. "We can't not talk about him, can we?"
"We can if you'd stop bringing him up." His tone was angrier than he meant it to be.
She didn't look away, just drained her glass and poured herself another. "He wasn't my--" again she stumbled over the words "--best friend. Maybe I'm not in denial."
"Maybe you don't need to be."
She winced. "Touché, Jim. I never really had a chance with him so why act like I have a right to miss him, is that what you're saying?"
"I'm sorry." He looked her in the eye; saw that she was as angry as he was. "I know you loved him."
"I know you did too." She blinked a few times, then took a long sip of her drink. "At least he loved you."
He sighed heavily. Realized his slight buzz had turned into a much stronger one. "Look at the good it did me. Do you see him anywhere? Is he here? My 'best friend'." The words were bitter in his mouth.
"Why did he leave?"
He shook his head miserably. "I don't know."
"I thought you would."
"He went back to Vulcan though?"
He nodded again.
"Isn't that where you go to burn away emotions?"
Kirk sighed. "That's what they tell me."
"I don't understand."
"You're not the only one. Do you think we could possibly talk about something else?" He gestured a bit wildly, knocking his drink slightly so some of it spilled onto the table. "Something happy, for god's sake."
A long silence fell, the only sound the splash of scotch hitting the glass as he refilled their drinks.
Finally, she said, "Have you seen Janice?"
He nodded, remembering how proud he'd felt when Rand had told him that she was going to be transporter chief on the Enterprise. "She's done well for herself."
"You helped. You took her seriously." She smiled. "That's important. You made a huge difference in all our lives. You know that, don't you?" As she spoke, she played with the small puddle of spilled scotch, making abstract designs before she absently brought her finger to her lips.
He found himself staring as she sucked the scotch from her skin. Her eyes met his and she froze.
"I like to think I made a difference," he said as he reached over and dipped his finger where she had been playing, slowly bringing it up to his own lips. "Mmm. Tastes better this way."
She stared at him and he felt the air between them become charged.
"Tastes even better this way," she said as she dipped her finger into the scotch in her glass and held it out to him.
He leaned in slowly, his tongue licking the warm liquid from her skin before he closed his mouth around her finger. He heard her gasp as he sucked gently. Smiling, he released her finger, then dipped his own into his scotch and held it out to her. "You're right. You should try."
When her lips closed around his finger, he felt an electric shock rocket up his spine. She pulled back and he stared at her. She didn't look away and he saw fire in her eyes. He looked over at the bottle of scotch, knowing intellectually that it had lowered his defenses and hers. "I should get home," he said.
"Okay," she agreed, sliding unsteadily out of the booth. "I'll walk you there."
He found himself grinning. "You will, huh?"
She nodded. "It's on my way." She unconsciously licked her lips.
He stared at them, suddenly fascinated with the idea of what the scotch would taste like on her mouth. He grabbed the bottle and handed it to the waiter. "We'll take it with us."
The waiter took it behind the bar for a minute then met them at the door, the scotch now hidden in a discreet bag, which Kirk tucked under his arm while he gave the man his credit id. "Let's go then," he said, holding out his other arm to her.
She took it and pressed in close against him. "It's the booze, you know," she said matter-of-factly. "We wouldn't be doing this otherwise."
"What is it we're doing?" He grinned at her as she laughed.
"You know exactly what we're doing." She leaned in, her breath warm in his ear as she said, "I want you."
"Then we're even," he said as he led her up the hill to his apartment.
As he was about to lead her inside, she stopped him. "I know you just want to forget. I'm okay with that."
He nodded. "Maybe we'll both forget."
She followed him in without a word, watched as he grabbed two glasses from the bar before leading her into the bedroom. He set the bottle on a low chest of drawers and unscrewed it carefully, splashing scotch into the glasses. Then he turned, regarded her as she stood across the room from him, hovering in the doorway as if suddenly unsure. "Come here," he said.
She moved slowly, dragging the moment out in what turned quickly from uncertainty to teasing. He felt a rush of desire and reached out for her, pulling her to him roughly. "I said--" he ran his finger through the scotch then painted it on her lips "--come here." He saw her eyes dilate as he touched her, felt her shiver against him. He put his hand around her neck and drew her to him, heard her moan as he licked the scotch off her lips. Heard another sound and realized it was his own groan of desire as her tongue met his.
Crushing her against him, his mouth devouring hers, he felt her respond, felt her hands come up and swiftly begin to unfasten his uniform. His own hands were at the fastenings of hers and he pulled it down with a brisk tug as he felt her draw off his own. Pulling her to him, he relished the feeling of their skin touching as he kissed her again and again. She met him fearlessly, her kisses as rough and desperate as his own, her touches clearly intended to inflame not soothe.
"Chris," he moaned, as he pushed her up to sit on the chest.
She wrapped herself around him, pulling him in, her body welcoming him. Her fingers on his back, the short nails digging into his skin, urged him on. He felt a wildness fill him as his fingers tangled in her hair, pulling her face to his even as he began to move against her more wildly.
He reached between them, touching her as he thrust against her. She moved in her own frantic rhythm, finally shuddering as she called out his name. He watched her face as she came back down but never stopped moving against her, finally throwing his own head back and crying out when his nerve endings exploded. He collapsed against her, felt her arms pull him against her tightly. She didn't speak as her hand began to trace patterns across his back, the feather-light touches making him shiver. He felt her lips on his neck and pulled back to look at her.
Her face was flushed and he smoothed the damp hair off her forehead, leaning in to kiss her throat. When he pulled away from her and gave her a gentle kiss, she looked down and said almost in a whisper, "Do you want me to go?"
"Do I look like I want you to go?" he answered as he began to move his hands over her body. "We were in a bit of a rush there. I think I missed some of the sights."
She giggled, a mix of pleasure and relief, as his lips followed his fingers. He reached over and pulled the bottle of scotch--miraculously still standing, although the glasses had both taken headers off the chest--to him. "You thirsty?" he asked with a grin.
She nodded. "We seem to be out of glasses."
"Not a problem," he said, as he lifted the bottle to his lips, then pulled her to him for a kiss. His tongue followed the scotch into her mouth, and he heard her moan. As she pulled away and took the bottle from him, he grinned, waiting until she'd taken a pull before claiming her lips again.
She finally pushed him away, handing him the bottle as she slid off the chest and steered him toward the bed. "This is the best scotch I've ever had," she said devilishly as she took the bottle from him and set it on his nightstand. "But I've had enough for now, haven't you?" When he nodded, she pushed him down and followed him onto the bed. "I just want to forget," she said as she explored his body. "Make us both forget."
And that night, in her body, in her softness, lost in their passion...he did forget everything for a while.
He woke early, realized that an unfamiliar back was pressed against his chest. He wondered why dark tangled hair was spilling over his pillow. As the night before came rushing back, he slowly pulled his arm away and eased himself out of bed. His head was pounding, his stomach protesting, and his mouth was dryer than he could remember it having been in a very long time. He walked quietly to the bathroom, had to hunt for the antitox. How long had it been since he'd had a hangover?
He heard a noise and looked into the bedroom. Chris was up and pulling on her uniform. Bleary blue eyes met his and she gave him a pained grin. "You wouldn't have two of those, would you?"
"You're in luck," he said, carrying the pill out to her.
She took it and let it dissolve under her tongue. "Oh god. I feel like I'm dying."
"You and me both."
There was an awkward silence and she grinned ruefully. "This is that really awful moment when we realize that all the fun we had last night was probably a monumentally bad idea."
"Is that what this is?" He grinned back. "I was wondering."
She laughed. "I had fun."
He realized he had too. Couldn't remember the last time he could say that.
Her smile grew broader as she watched him. "I guess you kind of enjoyed yourself too judging by that look." She leaned in for a quick kiss on the cheek. "I've got to go."
He wondered if he should stop her, maybe make her breakfast or suggest they go out. As he watched her finish fastening her uniform, he realized that he really just wanted her to go. He glanced at her. She seemed eager to be out of there too.
"See ya round," she said, grimacing. "Does that sound weak or what?" With a last, half-embarrassed grin, she hurried out, leaving him to face the day. Alone. But somehow a good deal less lonely.
Admiral Nogura grinned broadly at Kirk. "You'll be pleased to know, Jim, that we took your recommendation."
"On what, Admiral?"
"On Decker. He's bright, ambitious, and god knows space is in his blood."
Kirk tried to push aside memories of the other Decker, running amok on his ship, turning his command upside down. "Will is a first-rate officer. He'll make a fine captain."
"You had a lot to do with that. The panel took your rec very seriously. They want to do right by the ship."
Kirk felt depression settle over him. Right for the ship. He was right for the ship. "Have you told him yet?"
"Just did. I imagine he's assembling his command crew even as we speak." Nogura smiled. "Fortunately he'll have plenty of experience already there for him. I expect great things from your bridge crew, they've learned at the feet of a master, now it's time for them to fly."
Kirk nodded; uneasy with the envy he felt at the idea of Scotty and Uhura, Sulu and Chekov all trading their loyalty to him in for their shiny new captain. It's not like that, the more rational part of himself tried to say. He rose. "I'm glad to hear that I had some small influence over this, Admiral."
"I expect great things from you too, Jim. There's work to be done here at home."
Kirk nodded and showed himself out. He sighed, tired and ready to call it a day. He checked his chrono. It was late enough that he didn't have to go back if he didn't want to. He saw the breezeway ahead that led to Starfleet Medical and followed it without allowing himself to really think about where he was going. Or why.
"Can I help you, Admiral?" a young aide asked.
"I'm looking for Doctor Chapel."
The aide checked the computer. "She's finishing up rounds, sir. If you like, you can wait in her office? It's on the fifth floor. Number 548." He held out a sensor. "Just check in here."
"Thanks," Kirk said with a tight nod as he laid his hand on the sensor. Once it beeped, he pulled his hand off and walked to the elevator, taking it to the fifth floor. He found her office at the end of a side hall. Touching the door panel to gain access, he walked in. The office was stark, almost bare of personality. Then he saw the little statues that sat behind her desk on a credenza. He walked over and picked one up, studying the winged figurine closely.
"It's Isis," Chris said behind him.
"I thought so." He put the goddess down. "You collect them?"
"Just started. Fell in love with this one." She walked over and picked up an Asian woman. "Kuan Yin." She glanced over at him. "You don't call, you don't write. Where's the love, Jim?"
Startled he looked over at her. She was grinning broadly and he smiled. "I'm a schmuck."
"Nyah," she sat on her desk and looked at him. "So what brings you here?"
He was suddenly struck by the idea that her desk was only slightly shorter than his chest.
She laughed. "Whoa, big fella."
He grinned again. "How do you know what I was thinking?"
She pushed herself off the desk. "Trust me. I know." She took her white coat off and walked over to the door, hanging it on a hook at the back. "I'm hungry," she said.
"I am too."
"We could eat together."
"We could," he agreed.
She studied him. "Chinese or Thai?"
"Thai," he answered without hesitation.
"Okay. Do you like Budara?" When he nodded, she held out her hand. "Let's go then."
He smiled and walked over to her, grasping her hand firmly. She gave it a quick squeeze then pulled away and he let her go. The walk to Budara was short and normally pleasant but the air was cooler than normal. He saw her shiver. "Cold?"
She nodded, then smiled to herself.
"Yes, I could warm you up," he said, grinning as she shot him an amused glance.
"So can the food. I like mine hot."
"Funny. So do I."
She shook her head. "Everything's a seduction to you."
"Look who's talking," he said under his breath.
"I heard that."
"I meant you to."
"You make me feel good." She suddenly looked very embarrassed.
He reached out and touched her arm, stopping her. Sensing how self-conscious she felt, he just smiled. "You make me feel good too." Then he took her arm, tucking her in against him as they walked the rest of the way.
The owner recognized them both and seated them in one of the back tables by a small fountain. "Very romantic," she said with a wink.
Chris blushed and Kirk just laughed.
"You want champagne?" the woman prodded.
"Do we want champagne?" Kirk asked Chris.
"No," she said firmly. "Sing Ha."
He smiled. "I'll have the same." When the owner left, he leaned in. "Beer seems safer to you?"
"Swimming in a shark tank suddenly seems safer," she replied.
He laughed out loud. Where had this feisty woman come from? He didn't remember seeing her on the Enterprise.
She seemed to be reading his mind when she said, "I sort of lost myself onboard the ship."
He nodded, waiting.
"This is what I was like before Roger disappeared." She didn't have to explain anything to Kirk about that; he'd been there with her for most of the final chapter. "Then with Spock..." she glanced at him to see if he was going to react, but he just waited. "I think I tried to become Vulcan. Which was just stupid really. I mean I'm human. How can I hope to become that?"
"I can see why you'd try though."
"It became a joke, though. I became a joke." Her expression grew firm. "I don't intend to ever be a joke again."
He believed her.
"What was it like?" she asked.
"What was what like?"
"Being loved by him?"
"How do you mean?" he asked, wanting to challenge her, wanting her to admit that she knew there was more than just friendship between Spock and him. And completely unwilling to just come out and say so himself. He would analyze that later.
"You know how I mean." Her eyes darted away as she evaded his trap.
"It was great."
She waited. "That's it?"
"What do you want me to say?" She shrugged, and he chuckled bitterly. "Do you want me to say it was the most profound relationship of my life and I'll probably never replace it?"
"I want you to say the truth."
"Do you? Really?" He waited. And knew, as she looked away, that she didn't want to know the truth. He sighed. "The truth is hard, Chris."
He was about to say more when the door opened and Carol and David walked in. He froze, just sat staring at the front of the restaurant where they stood, picking up their takeout. Chris turned to follow his gaze. "Is that Carol and David Marcus?"
He just nodded. She didn't say anything more, just drank her beer while he stared without interruption at his son and the woman he'd once loved. When they finally left with their food, never noticing him watching them, he turned back to Chris.
"You're white as a sheet, Jim."
"Trust me?" She reached over and touched his hand. "Tell me?"
He could feel the truth welling up inside him. He was tired of keeping it in. Tired of hurting alone. "That was my son."
She turned to look at where they'd stood, as if she could call back their images. "Oh..."
"He doesn't even know. She's keeping it a secret, keeping me a secret." He bit his lip and looked away, unwilling to show this level of emotion.
She squeezed his hand. "I'm sorry."
He pulled away, drank nearly half his glass of beer in one long gulp. "It's just how things are. Space was more important to me. That's what she'd tell you."
She took a sip of her beer and motioned for the waitress to bring them both another.
"I'm fine," he said as the waitress set the fresh bottle in front of him.
"I'm the doctor here and I don't think you're fine." She held up her bottle. "To pain."
He met her eyes, saw how dark and stormy they were. "To damage."
They clinked the bottles together and, ignoring their glasses, drank deeply. They were mostly done with the thin liquid by the time their food came.
"Another round of these," Kirk said, as he dug into the food.
"It's really hot," Chris warned.
He nodded, feeling the burn of the chilies. "I like it that way."
She looked down. "You could introduce yourself."
He looked at her, not understanding her point.
"I see him in the halls outside the biochem lab all the time when I'm making rounds. It's two floors up from mine. You could just happen to show up. Meet him when she's not around."
He looked down. "I made a promise. I gave my word I'd stay away."
"Some promises were made to be broken."
He looked at her. Saw she was serious. "No. Some promises were made to be kept."
"No matter how much you want this?"
He nodded and went back to eating. When he looked up, he could see she didn't believe him. "Drop it, Chris."
There was a long silence.
"I'm sorry," he finally said.
"Nothing for you to be sorry about. I was out of line. This is your business. Not mine."
He nodded. Desperate to change the subject, he said, "They picked my replacement today."
She looked up.
"For the Enterprise. Will Decker. Do you know him?"
She nodded, a strange look on her face.
"Nothing." She studied him. "How does that make you feel?"
He laughed out loud. "Not content with just her M.D., Chapel goes for a counselor spot too."
"I'm serious." When he ignored her, she said, "It's tearing you up inside, isn't it?"
"You don't like Decker?"
"On the contrary. He's one of the brightest officers I know. In fact, I recommended him for this."
"Then what's the problem?"
He laughed. "I guess that's a really good question. What is the problem?" He looked at the fountain. "Nobody knows her like I do, Chris. Nobody understands her the way I do. I know her like the back of my hand; can tell how she's feeling just by listening to the way she hums under my feet. I can make her achieve the impossible."
"And now she's sleeping with another man," Chris said.
"It feels damn close to that. And it's a man that, as good as he is, isn't worthy of her. He can't know her the way I do. He can't love her the way I do." He drank his beer, and in a listless voice said, "I've lost everything."
She looked down.
"I hate my job, Chris. I'm bored half to death. I despise what I'm doing. I'd give everything I have to get back on the Enterprise."
"I know." She shot him a sympathetic look that for some strange reason he thought looked laced with guilt.
"Are you finished?" he asked abruptly. When she nodded, he waved the waitress over and settled the bill.
It was even colder when they headed back toward their apartments. Kirk saw her shiver and pulled her against him again. "You're cold."
She nodded. "I didn't expect it to get this chilly. I'll survive. It's a short walk to my apartment."
"It's an even shorter one to mine." He let his hand drop lower, saw her look up at him.
"Are you sure?"
He nodded, fighting the urge he had to push her into a convenient alley.
She seemed to understand the look. "Maybe we should hurry then?"
He didn't smile as he nodded and increased their tempo. Nearly breathless, they arrived at his apartment and he pushed her in the door, barely letting her get past him before he pulled her to him and kissed her.
She seemed unsure for a moment so he let his hands roam, stroking her the way he remembered her liking it. She moaned and he smiled as he pushed her against the wall. He couldn't remember when he had wanted something as much as he did her at this moment. She seemed to realize that, reached up and unfastened his uniform, helped him remove hers. He smiled as he pushed her down to the floor, smiled even more as she cried out from the way he was touching her. She pushed him to his back and with a feral smile crawled on top. He was soon in no shape to do more than moan.
They managed to stop in every room before they made it to the bedroom.
The next morning he woke and found the space next to him empty. He heard noise in the bathroom and looked up as she peeked out. "I have an early meeting," she said in explanation. "I used your shower and fresher."
He watched her as she put her hair up. The hair kept falling down and he laughed.
"It's not funny," she said as she tried to corral the fine strands.
"Actually it is."
"I'm going to cut it all off."
He thought of how he had wrapped it around his hands--and later around hers--and said, "Don't."
She looked over and smiled. "You don't have to deal with it." Hair finally in place she hurried over to the bed and leaned down to kiss his cheek. He turned so that her lips landed on his. The kiss lasted a long time.
When he let her go, she looked at him tenderly, running her hand through his hair. "I've got to go."
"Are you hungry?"
She nodded. "Always. I'll grab breakfast on the way."
She gave him a last grin, then hurried out. He leaned back in the bed and heard her call out, "You do realize we trashed your apartment, right?"
He chuckled. "It'll survive."
He heard her throaty laugh, then she was gone. He rolled over and hugged the pillow to him. It smelled like her. With a smile he closed his eyes and fell back to sleep until the alarm woke him at his normal time.
"This is not a good idea," Kirk said as he let her lead him up the side stairwell of the Medical building. "I made a promise."
"Uh huh. And you're going to keep it. You just want to see him, right?"
He sighed. Trying to argue with Christine Chapel was like trying to tell a tornado that it was going the wrong way. He was about to brave it anyway when he heard her say softly, "There he is."
All protest forgotten, he peeked out the small window in the door and saw a blonde head run by.
"He's up here a lot. Anyone else tried that and they'd be reprimanded for bringing their kid to work. But not the golden girl."
He glanced at her. She shrugged unapologetically.
"Carol is brilliant."
"And cold as an iceberg. How'd you not freeze to death in bed with her?"
"We were quite satisfied."
She smiled. "Right."
He sighed. "Well, perhaps she lacked the spontaneity of others I may know, but she was warm and loving."
Chris was staring at him thoughtfully.
"You loved her."
"What happened then?"
He looked out as David ran past again. "I wouldn't stay on Earth."
"You were Starfleet. Space is where we work."
"Well you know that, and I know that. But she didn't want to hear it."
"You've never even heard his voice, have you?"
He shook his head.
She frowned. "Come on," she said as she grabbed his hand and yanked he door open. "Just act natural."
"Act natural...what?" Then he shut up because coming down the hall was his son. Closer than he'd ever seen him. The boy looked at Chris and smiled happily, his blue-green eyes shining. "Hey, Christine. Hi," he said to Kirk.
She smiled conspiratorially. "Hey, you. Your mother's not around is she?"
"No, she had to give a lecture." David regarded Kirk warily. "This your boyfriend?"
Kirk almost sputtered, the boy sounded jealous. Chris just laughed. "No, this is my former captain."
"A real captain?"
"A starship captain," she said.
"Wow!" David turned all his attention to Kirk. "Which ship was yours?"
Kirk smiled. "The--"
"Get the hell away from him," Carol Marcus' voice cut him off.
David turned to his mother. "He's a real starship captain, mom."
"Go to my office now."
"But I want to know what ship."
Carol shot him a look. "Now."
David turned and stomped away. "Don't even know his name."
Carol looked at Jim. Then she turned on Chris. "You ever come near my child again, Doctor Chapel, and I will personally see to it that you are ruined."
"Now hold on, Carol. She isn't to blame."
"Oh, I blame you too, Jim." She backed away. "You stay away from David. Both of you."
Kirk held out a hand. "Carol, for god's sake. We could at least try to make some kind of arrangement. Let him get to know me. I'm on Earth now."
"For how long?" She shot him an angry look, turned it on Chris for good measure, then headed down the hall to her office.
Christine swallowed. "I'm sorry." She walked away quickly was already halfway down the stairwell before he caught up with her.
"Hey, it's okay."
"I just made it worse for you." She walked into her office and paced.
He reached over and engaged the lock. "Come here."
She looked over at him. "You're not mad at me? I could have ruined everything?"
She walked over. He pulled her into his arms. "You just gave me something I'll never forget, Chris. You gave me my son."
"Only for a second."
"Maybe that's all I'll ever have." He kissed her, felt a tenderness he hadn't felt before. "Thank you for trying."
She smiled before she kissed him back. He thought he saw a spark of the same tenderness he was feeling for her reflected back in her expression.
Kirk hurried back to his office. He had wanted to beat Chris to his office for lunch, had a surprise waiting for her. But his meeting had run long. He rounded the corner and saw her standing in the corridor talking to someone. It took him a minute to recognize Will Decker. He heard him say, "Well, think about it, Christine. This kind of opportunity doesn't come around everyday. You know you want it. And I want you to have it. What more do you need to know?"
"What more does she need to know about what?" Kirk asked as he walked up to them.
Decker smiled. "Jim! I was hoping you'd come by. I happened to run into Christine in the hall."
Kirk glanced at Chris. She smiled neutrally, clearly unsure how she was supposed to handle this.
"Actually, Chris and I are having lunch," Kirk said, realizing at the last minute that he sounded a little possessive.
"Oh. Well great. Then I won't keep you." Decker turned to Christine. "It was nice seeing you again. I hope you'll consider what I've said."
"We'll see," she said noncommittally. Kirk thought she shot Decker a warning glance. He turned to Decker, who only smiled at him.
"How is she, Will?"
Decker didn't have to ask who Kirk meant. "She's fine. And soon she'll be better than fine. We're refitting her, reengineering her, reconfiguring just about everything. You wouldn't recognize her, sir."
Chris laughed and Kirk tried to give Decker a genuine smile. "That's great."
"She's the finest ship in the fleet, Admiral. We both know that."
Kirk just nodded. As Decker walked away, Chris turned to him. "Are you all right?"
"He's got my woman," Kirk said with a wry grin. "Don't like it much."
She smiled, but the normal warmth was missing.
"Are you all right?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?" This time her smile seemed more normal.
He suddenly remembered why he wanted to beat her to his office. "Hey, come in for a second. I have something I want you to see."
She followed him in and waited as he dug in his desk drawer. Then he handed her a small statue. She looked at it in surprise, then looked up at him. "This is very old."
He nodded. "It belonged to a family friend. She gave it to my parents when she moved back to Delhi. Do you know which goddess this is?"
Chris caressed the graceful woman who was playing a veena. "Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge."
She handed it back. "It's truly beautiful. You don't see sandalwood like this anymore."
He smiled and closed her hand over the statue. "I want you to have it."
"I can't. It's too valuable."
"I want _you_ to have it." He grinned.
"Chris." He shrugged playfully. "You're the only person I know who collects goddesses. She's a goddess. You do the math." Leaving her slightly stunned, he walked out of his office and toward the exit.
She caught up with him. "I left her in your office. Safer there." At his glance, she smiled. "I'll pick her up on the way back. There's no way I can thank you."
"Oh, I can think of a way or two. " He grinned evilly as he led her out the door.
"Too bad you're traveling," she replied, grinning just as evilly.
"And when I get back in two weeks then it's dinner at my place. Come alone."
She laughed. "Aye, aye, Admiral."
He allowed his hand to linger on the small of her back as he let her precede him into the officer's club. "I'll be thinking about it the whole trip," he said huskily and was satisfied to feel her shiver at his words.
The trip was interminable. Rounds of inspections, diplomatic meals, and parties with ranking Starfleet officials quickly became tiresome and Kirk wanted to go home, couldn't wait in fact to get back there and see Chris. It shocked the hell out of him that he was feeling this way. It stunned him even more when he realized that he had been so busy missing her that he hadn't thought about Spock for days.
When he finally arrived back at his apartment, he wandered around the space, straightening up like a nervous beau on a first date. We trashed this place not too long ago, he thought with a grin. I doubt that she'll care what it looks like.
She arrived still in uniform, slightly out of breath, and carrying a bag. She handed it to him. "I brought champagne."
"So I see." He carried it into the kitchen and put it in the chiller.
"Aren't we going to drink it?"
She looked around. "I don't smell any food, Jim."
"Are you hungry?"
He handed her a wafer.
She took it and stared at him. "You've got to be kidding."
"No champagne. And no dinner."
He nodded. When she just stared at him, he said, "Eat it, Chris. I don't want to hear your stomach growling all night."
He moved toward her. "Eat it or I'll feed it to you."
She saw something in his eyes and took a quick bite. "Mmmm. Bland."
He laughed. "Unlike you."
"Is that so?"
Nodding, he said, "I've been thinking about you a lot." He reached out and gently took down her hair.
"What were you thinking about?" She let him push her backwards until they were in the bedroom. She saw what he'd placed on the bedside table and looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. "We're drinking water tonight?"
"Why, pray tell?"
He frowned. He had thought she would like this.
She asked again, in a less playful tone. "Why, Jim?"
"Because I want it to just be us. Not us and Glenlivet. Or us and Sing Ha."
"Ah." She didn't look convinced.
He watched her as she walked around the room. She looked nervous.
"It was easier when it was just drunken sex, wasn't it, Chris?"
She stopped. "It's more?"
"You tell me."
He had the sudden impression she was going to run out. He walked over to where she stood.
"I said--" he let his hands tangle in her hair, grabbing hold of thick strands that would be enough to control her but too thick to hurt much when he pulled "--You. Tell. Me." He let his eyes go hard.
She was suddenly breathing faster. He pulled her toward him, and she didn't try to resist. "Do you want to go get the champagne, Chris?"
She shook her head hurriedly.
"Good." He let go of her hair and pulled her to him, felt her lips meet his in a wild kiss. She moaned and he moved his hands down exploring her body and pushing her toward the chest. He pulled away and began to strip off her clothes. "I still think your desk might be a better height," he said with an evil smile as he pushed her up then pulled his own clothes off.
She tried to draw him to her but he shook his head. He began to kiss her slowly, starting at her neck and working down. He took his time, learning everything, how light to kiss here, how hard to suck there.
She moaned, "Please, Jim," and tried to pull him up to her.
"Shhh," he said, straightening long enough to kiss her tenderly. Then he pulled her legs apart and said, "Don't move."
She didn't obey. He didn't blame her at all. With a grin he pulled her to him and let her wrap her legs around him finally and pull him into her. He closed his eyes, lost in the sensations that were buffeting him. "Chris," he breathed as he buried his face in her neck and let go. If her arms hadn't held him, he was sure he would have fallen. Finally he pulled away and looked at her. She was crying.
"What is it?"
She shook her head.
"What?" He smoothed her hair from her face and gently wiped a tear from her cheek.
She pulled him to her and kissed him--deep, passionate kisses that drove him crazy, until he thought he was going to drown in her. Pulling her off the chest, he twisted so that they fell onto the bed.
They never left it the rest of the night.
Kirk woke and looked at Chris as she slept in his arms. He smiled, remembering what they had shared. Leaning down, he kissed her gently. She mumbled and he kissed her again.
"Mmm," she said as she opened her eyes and looked at him sleepily.
"Kind of nice to wake up together and not feel hung over, isn't it?"
She nodded. Then she moved slightly and groaned.
"Of course if you're hurting as bad as I am from that last position we tried, the lack of a hangover is scant consolation."
She nodded wordlessly, her eyes showing her distress.
"A hot shower is just what the doctor ordered," he said, watching as she slowly got out of bed.
He forced himself to move and walked slowly into the kitchen. "I've really got to start working out more," he said to no one in particular, but he couldn't help grinning as he thought of what they had been trying to do.
He made coffee and ordered some breakfast foods. When Chris came out, he held out a mug. "I thought you might like to eat breakfast here?"
She looked as if he had punched her in the stomach.
"Or not." He put the mug down and walked over to her. "Are you all right?"
She nodded. Then she stroked his cheek and leaned in to give him the sweetest kiss he could remember getting from her. He kissed her back just as gently and thought he heard her sob. When he pulled back, he saw she was crying again. "What is it? Did I do something?"
She shook her head. Seemed to be struggling to get herself under control. "Maybe I will have some coffee."
"Well, that's progress at least." He grinned but she didn't respond. "You can sit down."
She didn't move.
"I can make it an order?"
She still didn't respond.
He shook his head and took a sip of coffee.
Suddenly she blurted out, "They're announcing the crew selection for the Enterprise today."
He nodded, surprised to find that it suddenly didn't seem to matter to him as much. "It'll be interesting to see who Will picks."
She looked down.
"You're acting really strange, Chris. I'm just going to assume you're not at your best in the morning if you aren't hung over." He took a bite of a breakfast roll.
"I've accepted the position of CMO aboard the Enterprise."
Kirk tried to swallow, felt the roll stick in his throat. He took a gulp of coffee, felt it burn even as it washed down the roll. "What?"
She didn't meet his eyes. "Will asked me."
Kirk remembered the conversation he'd seen in the hall between her and Decker. Of course that's what it had been about. "You lied to me?"
"I hadn't decided. I knew it would just make you upset."
"When did you decide?"
"While you were gone. I had a chance to think. I can't do that when I'm around you."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that. You seem to be able to keep secrets just fine. Or doesn't that require thinking?" He got up and threw the breakfast foods into the recycler. "Hope you weren't hungry."
"Jim, I feel sick about this."
"No need to. It's a good career move. Maybe the best. I'm sure you'll make a fine CMO."
She reached out for him, held on even as he tried to shake her off. As she leaned in to kiss him, he said, "Were you going to tell me? Or were you just going to leave one day, like he did?"
She sobbed and he pushed her away.
"You can show yourself out, can't you, Doctor Chapel?"
He pretended not to hear her strangled, "Jim, wait." Didn't allow himself to feel anything as he sat stoically on the bed until he heard the door close behind her. Then he got up, tore the sheets off the bed, and calmly ripped them to shreds.
He was buried in paperwork when his door chimed. "Come."
She walked in. He bit back the automatic smile and said evenly, "Doctor Chapel. This is a surprise."
"How are you, Jim?"
"I'd prefer that you address me in a more respectful manner, Doctor."
She flushed. "Of course, Admiral. I apologize for the lapse, sir."
She recovered quickly; he'd say that for her.
"What can I do for you?" He ignored the way his heart was beating faster at the sight of her and forced his voice to stay supremely disinterested.
"I came to give this back." She didn't look at him as she asked, "Permission to approach, sir?"
He was suddenly weary of the charade. "Oh, drop the protocol, Chris. What the hell do you want?"
She relaxed and met his gaze. "I'm sorry."
"I really don't want to talk about it."
"Yes, sir." She walked to his desk. "I wanted to give this back. It's too valuable for me to keep." She placed the statue of Saraswati in front of him.
He took a deep breath as he stared at the goddess. "You'll make a great CMO, Chris." He looked up at her.
She looked at him, clearly startled. "Jim, I wanted to tell you."
He held up a hand. "It was the right choice to make. Choose your future. And make it out there." He gestured toward the ceiling. "Not down here with some old man who's tied to a desk."
He stood up. "The statue is yours. I want you to have it." He gently opened her hand and placed the statue back in it. Then he closed her fingers over it. "It's the only thing I have left to give you." He walked past her.
"Jim, this could still work."
"No, Doctor. It really couldn't. Good luck in your new posting. Give my best to Will." He resisted the urge to look at her as he stood at the door. "Please, Doctor. I'm really very busy."
She nodded. "I report to the ship soon. I guess this is goodbye, Admiral."
"Godspeed," he murmured.
She turned as she passed him and their eyes met for a moment. Just long enough for him to see the guilt and the pain, and possibly something else, in hers. He turned away.
She walked out. He tried to ignore that she had said, "I love you, Jim" as she'd left.
He walked back to his desk and sat down. Felt the old depression come back to claim him. His ship would be leaving soon. Decker was taking it all away from him. He laughed bitterly. He turned to the dispatches, started with the most sensitive. What he read made him sit up straighter. He scanned more information related to the strange, incredibly destructive force that was headed straight for Earth.
He almost laughed. The Enterprise stood between it and the planet. His ship, and his crew aboard. And Will Decker ready to step into his shoes? I think not, he thought to himself, smiling in grim determination. This was his chance to get it all back. He looked at where the goddess had sat on his desk. Why not try? He had nothing left to lose and no reason at all to play fair. He got up and began the walk to Nogura's office, already plotting how it would change his life forever.
Didn't like the way this ended? Want to read more? Continue on to A Particular Pain and see if this relationship could work.