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) 2016 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.
I lie between them, two softly snoring juggernauts standing between my future and me. The future I thought I wanted. Off this damn ship. So far beyond "Been there, done that" that I didn't have words to put in the "reason for transfer" box other than "Just because."
It was highly unprofessional of me. I hope that transfer requests don't get logged in with Command until the first officer or captain has signed off, that until then, it's just between us.
Literally, us. We three. In this goddamn bed that is too small to comfortably fit us, and yet Jim and Spock are sleeping like babies.
And why wouldn't they? For some reason, Jim didn't want me to leave and Spock concurred.
With great passion.
So much damn passion.
My first time with either of them, though I've loved Spock forever and I've considered doing this with Jim, after spending time with him on Earth between graduating from med school and reporting for duty. So many times I wanted to pull him to me and ask for more. But I was leaving so I didn't.
It's their first time together, too. That surprised me. I would have thought they'd done this sooner—often thought that was why Spock never looked my way. But they never did. It took V'ger following on the heels of Gol to loosen Spock up for Jim, for all kinds of emotional experimentation.
Experimentation. A word I understand well as a scientist. Experiments end, and the researcher moves on to new things. I wonder how long this will last?
I wonder if Jim wonders how long this will last. Does he wonder if Spock might stop wanting him but keep wanting me? Because I'm wondering the opposite. When will I be thrown out, and will as bright a future be waiting if I don't jump on the first, very nice, offers being thrown my way by other captains?
"You're thinking too much." Jim reaches over and pulls me to my side so I'm facing him. I was so busy with my own angst I didn't realize he was awake.
"I can't sleep."
"Yes, because you're thinking too much."
"Maybe you're not thinking enough." I listen to see if Spock is awake, too, but he's still snoring.
"I think we wore him out." It is uncanny how often Jim knows what I'm thinking. Or do I just telegraph way too much? "Or Gol and V'ger did and we just gave it the final kick." His voice is soft and tender, and I like how he says "we."
I like it a lot. Probably stupidly so. "Do we forget this in the morning?" It is not what I want to say, but it is what I need to say. We fell asleep without anything being said about what this is or how long it lasts. It's conceivable that it's a one-time thing, never spoken of again, shy looks of shared pleasure all that remains once I leave this room.
Why do I think they'll keep on loving each other?
Why am I afraid I'll be the one left out?
Jim hasn't done anything with my transfer. Wouldn't he have denied it if he wanted me to stay? He told me he wanted me to stay, but why not deny the transfer?
"Do you want to forget this in the morning?" He sounds more amused than concerned.
"Don't. Don't answer a question with a question." Not when it hurts to have to ask what this is. Shouldn't I know? Shouldn't I fucking know?
"Hey." His voice is soft, and he touches my cheek. "Are you crying?"
Am I? Shit. Shit. Shit. "No." The stupidest thing to say because he is wiping the tears from my face.
"What is it?"
"You didn't deny the transfer."
He leans in and kisses me far more gently than he did during our lovemaking. "That's because I want you to withdraw it. It stays out of Command's queue that way."
I don't want to withdraw. I want him to make the gesture that says, "Stay. Stay with me. Stay on the ship. Stay in the job that's second best to the one I took away from you when you could be CMO on other ships."
I pull away from him, from his soft, comforting lips that won't give me what I want: a straight answer.
What the hell is this?
"I'm not going to withdraw it."
I've surprised him. I can tell from the way he pulls away. "Lights ten percent," he says, and he's studying me as if he can read all my secrets from a dimly lit expression.
I think I surprise him again by not letting him see what I'm feeling. I allow the numbness of losing Will, the sense of dŽjˆ vu when Len showed up, to carry my features into something approaching Spock's normal expression. Well, not this Spock—this one who can smile and cry and eventually will find his stone-face again, but for now seems to be reveling in his excuse for experiencing emotions.
V'ger made me. I didn't have control.
Isn't that always the way with him?
I take a breath and it is too ragged; it gives me away, and Jim touches my hair. "Is it me? Would you rather it were just Spock?" he asks in a voice that is just this side of broken.
"No. And I could ask you the same thing." And maybe Spock might ask us that, too, if he were awake and not blissfully out while the real humans work the collective shit out for him.
Damn it all. Who am I mad at here?
I'm mad? Shit, yes. I am mad, aren't I? "You demoted me. You made Will tell me."
Jim's expression changes. "He was your C.O. I thought I was making it easier."
"You were my friend. A friend I danced with and drank with and actually sometimes thought of fucking."
A smile sneaks in. "You did?"
"That's not the point. You demoted me."
The smile vanishes. "Yes, I did. And I'd do it again. Bones is my CMO, Chris. If that's untenable, then I'll hit approve on your goddamn 'just because' transfer and let Command try to figure out what the hell that even means."
There, it's out between us. Pulsing almost. His defensiveness covers steel. He is serious.
The fight goes out of me. Did I really think I could argue my way back into the slot when Leonard "I'll be on the bridge" McCoy is around? "It will always be Len for you?"
"In sickbay, yes."
I feel the truth of it but I want to fight. I want to make him see. Or maybe I just need to say, "Len wasn't with you on Earth. I was."
"I know. I didn't say it made sense. It just...is."
"I can withdraw the request, change the reason to something approximating professional, and resubmit."
"What will you say?"
"That I signed up to be CMO. That I have other offers to be CMO. That IÕm accepting one of them."
"Is that true? Who?" He sounds like I'm throwing him over for some other captain. That he has no role in this, didn't force my hand.
"Landers. Ying. C'Thera."
He rolls to his back and stares up at the ceiling. "All good ships."
I laugh. I can't help it. It's so quintessentially Jim. I name the men; he thinks of the ships they command.
"Which one will you take?"
"I haven't decided."
He turns his head, his eyes bleak like they used to get on Earth, after Lori left him, after he thought he had nothing left. "Oh."
And I'm lost. I can't stand when he looks that way, when his voice is low and raspy and devoid of his normal good humor. I wanted to help him when he was back on Earth, and I still want to. "I haven't decided if I'm going, let alone which offer."
"You might stay?"
"I might. If you'd just tell me what this is."
"I don't know what this is, Chris. I've never slept with either of you and now I'm in bed with you both?" He rolls and pulls me into him, kissing his way to my ear. "For what it's worth, I fell in love with you on Earth."
I pull away so I can see his eyes. "When did you fall in love with him, though? If it's a choice...?"
He closes his eyes, and I realize Spock has stopped snoring.
Jim finally says, "He left me. You were there. He left me."
"To be fair, Jim, you left me." Spock doesn't turn but his voice carries a world of hurt.
"He went to Command, Spock. He didn't go off to purge his goddamn emotions." Maybe I'm mad at Spock, too. But why? He and I were never anything, no matter how much I wanted to pretend we were, that there was some chance for us.
Jim sighs beside me, and Spock finally turns over and stares at me. I wonder how he will slice me with logic, or with the cold dismissal he perfected during the first voyage. But he only says, "That is true. But I was hurt nonetheless."
It is a monumental admission. And he looks past me at Jim, and I see such longing it makes me feel superfluous in the bed. "Do you want me to leave, Spock?"
"This bed or the ship?"
"The bed. The ship. Both. Do you?"
I laugh because this is so Spock. The change in our relationship can be summed up in the difference from bored dismissal to "not particularly."
"Please do better than that, Spock." Jim sounds annoyed.
"Why, Jim? She has not decided to stay. Why should I give her more than that when this night may be all we have?"
The logic is outstanding. I can't see a flaw in it. Maybe because underneath the logic I think I detect the tiniest flash of hurt in Spock's voice.
I can hurt Spock? News to me. But...good news.
This is so warped.
"What is this?" If I have to ask a fourth time, I will get out of this bed, stomp to my quarters, fix the damned transfer so it makes Jim happy, and pick a new captain.
"It's love, goddamn it." Jim sounds far from happy. "Why can't you see that?"
I look over at Spock. "Is it? Really?"
"I believe he loves you. I believe you love him. You have said you love me, but in reality you do not know me enough to feel more than infatuation."
"And the rest? The other sides of this triangle?" If he thinks he can lose me in the geometry, he is sorely mistaken.
"I believe he and I love, yes. But you and I..."
"The unknown. We're 'x,' then?"
"Indeed." He seems to be studying me. "But if this night has been any indication, I was most remiss in refusing you all these years."
It is, quite possibly, the sweetest thing he could say under the circumstances.
"I believe, in time, we could solve for 'x.' If you stay on the ship."
Jim puts his hands behind his head. "He's wooing you with math. It's really sexy."
I laugh because it is sexy, and I'm in bed with two men I love, even if one of them doesn't love me.
Doesn't love me...yet.
But, there's more than this, more than touching and kissing and talking all together in this bed that suddenly feels just right. "The window will close when those captains pick other CMOs. If this doesn't work, what happens to me?"
"If this doesn't work, Christine, there will be other captains needing CMOs. There always are." Spock studies me as if I am some puzzle he cannot quite figure out.
"You discarded a promising career for Doctor Korby. Will you do it again now?"
"Not the closing argument I was looking for, Spock." Jim tries to pull me down, as if he can kiss me into accepting this as my future, but I resist.
"No, he's right. Will I do it again?" I back up so I'm sitting out of reach of them both. So I can think. Why did I go to med school? Was it to become CMO or to become a doctor? Because those are two different things.
I can be a doctor and have these two men. Or I can leave and be CMO and know that I walked out on something that might have been good—might have been great, even.
If I leave, it will never be anything. Jim will not let me back in. Somehow I know this. If Jim didn't love me, then he might, but not if he cares. He's deeper than that, even if most people don't seem to realize it.
I look at Jim. "If I stay, I'm staying for me. Because for now, I want to."
"Okay." He is grinning.
"And you don't take Len on all the landing parties. I'm your deputy CMO. That should mean something."
"It does, Chris."
"Do you have any directives for me?" Spock sounds wary.
"Just...if this isn't working for you, tell me sooner rather than later."
His look changes to one I can't read.
"Spock?" Jim apparently can't read it either because he's watching him with a confused look on his face.
Spock reaches out to touch his hand. "I am not certain I am the one you would choose if I said this was not 'working' for me."
I wait for Jim to tell him not to be an idiot, but instead he looks at me, a measuring expression on his face.
"I'm not certain I would either," he finally says.
I look down, afraid to see anger in Spock's eyes or regret in Jim's.
But Spock only says, "As I said," in a tone so sanguine I search his face to see if he's lying. But he seems fine with this.
He gives me a small, sheepish smile. "I left him. You did not."
"But I did. I was on the ship and he was stuck on Earth—or so it seemed until he found his way back." I grin at Jim and he shrugs in a mock-modest way.
"A logical counterargument, Jim. We have both left you." Spock looks back at me, surprise in his eyes. "You are not strengthening your position by defending me."
"I know. But perhaps I'm strengthening...this." I wave at the bed, at him and Jim and me, the three of us, all sitting talking. More words for Spock and I than we've ever exchanged off mission.
"The needs of the many," he says, and there is such satisfaction in his voice that Jim smiles as if at a private joke.
I frown. "I don't know the saying."
Spock reaches out and touches my hand. "You will."