Title: Sometimes We Drink To Remember, Sometimes We Drink To Forget
Author: [personal profile] calicokat
Beta: [profile] black_regalia
Pairing: Chekov/OMC, Kirk/McCoy (Bones/Chekov for series)
Rating: NC-17, R
Warnings: Underage sex.
Summary: Stories from the past. Chekov pursues a more complete education than he's been offered at the Academy, and Jim and Bones 'almost.'
Notes: Follows "This Doesn't Taste Like An Intervention." Part seven in a series.

Star Trek and all related properties © and TM 2009 CBS Studios Inc. and are used without permission.



Sometimes We Drink To Remember, Sometimes We Drink To Forget
by [personal profile] calicokat



I.
The Nights We Keep Warm


December, 2256.

Pavel had left for Starfleet Academy in San Francisco when he was thirteen, a little before his friends would actually take him out with them to parties – even if he shot vodka at their flats and shared bottles with them hanging out on the streets in the summer – because his protective (and embarrassing) parents had a habit of regularly checking in with them. Pavel's subsequent visits home over the next two years remained speckled with small social gatherings.

The winter break of 2256, though, he was fifteen and his parents had finally backed off. His friends who hadn't left Yakutsk for some other college than Yakutsk State (and the few who were still in secondary school) had welcomed him back with nonstop invitations to social events with a much larger assortment of youths.

Somebody's folks were always out of town, leaving an empty house. Somebody always had a friend with an open flat. To call it cold in Yakutsk in winter would be a grievous understatement. Nobody wanted to spend a lot of time on the street after dark, with the inside of their nostrils freezing because of the humidity of their breath. Gangs of youths packed through the streets in huddled groups, somebody jogging every few steps – jogging ahead, or jogging to catch up – because it was -47 degrees centigrade and, if they gave it a little while, they could probably lose their fingers. It was better to be inside and drinking, where they were guaranteed to be warm.

No one came to a party specifically to get slammed, not like Pavel saw in San Francisco. Instead of enjoying their alcohol, Americans seemed to race each other with it, with intoxication an end goal their European peers might eventually match, but rarely hunted down with the same determination. Still, by the end of an evening empty bottles of vodka and to a lesser extent cognac, wine, and beer, littered the floor (never left on a table) and the consumption quite possibly exceeded anything Pavel had seen in America (because they got drunk early, their parties didn't always last quite as long).

Pavel began to enjoy a certain celebrity by the third night, when he ended up in some stranger's house across town. A girl he'd never met who didn't introduce herself found him a seat on a couch and told him not to worry about anything. The drinks had come freely since then, with somebody filling up his glass for almost every toast. The girl disappeared, but a never-ending flow of party goers willing to chat him up ended up on the cushions beside him, but he had no trouble keeping track of their names and faces. He had no trouble filling out star charts from memory in his astronavigation classes, either, with most of the stars in the Alpha Quadrant as close to mind as the tip of his tongue.

"So your IQ must be completely over the top!" the girl next to him, Karina, was saying, but Pavel was a little distracted on account of the two boys across the room kissing open mouthed and sucking on each other's tongues.

"Numerical measurements of intelligence have too many methodological problems to be reliable," he dismissed absently, swallowing hard as heat flared in his stomach and hurrying to find another shot of vodka on the table of empty vodka glasses in front of him as a distraction. He barked a toast to Karina and grabbed a couple pretzels to eat after his shot.

"The fact that you can say that after drinking for two hours is proof," Karina slurred, joining him for the toast and tipping over backwards into the couch pillows as she downed it, a little too far gone to remember to eat. Her shirt rode up on her stomach, revealing the pale skin of her belly, and Pavel looked because he had half an erection already. It didn't have the same effect, and his attention readily turned back to the teenagers putting on a show. He sank back into the couch, himself, knowing he was staring and slightly too drunk to care.

He realized his friend Mischa had come to lean on the arm of the couch beside him and follow his gaze a few seconds entirely too late.

"Isaak!" Mischa shouted over the buzz of conversation and pulse of dance music. "Stop shoving your tongue down his throat! You'll make our Starfleet cadet bust his fly!"

Pavel stared open mouthed at the boy he'd known since his early tenure in high school, yelping Mischa! with his voice cracking and slapping uselessly at his arm as blood rushed to darken his face, and probably his shoulders. He had completely, without question, never been so embarrassed. The entire room had turned to look and laugh. He clamped his hands over his face and dug the heels of his palms into his eyes, hoping to God that by the time he had the nerve to look up the eighteen to twenty-somethings that passed for his peers would have returned to their previous conversations.

The fact that the room stayed ominously quiet struck Pavel as a very, very bad sign.

Erection mostly forgotten and pretty sure he could puke from nerves, he dragged his hands down his face far enough to peek through his fingers. His head jerked back and his hands fell part way as he stared into the face of the taller of the two boys, who'd taken the position of looming in front of him.

His eyes zeroed in on the smile hanging across the young man's kiss-swollen lips and he thought, just maybe, he'd just had an aneurysm, because he'd lost all ability to speak and his usual three trains of thought had halted to one.

"Hey, Curls," the boy flirted with a deep smoker's voice. "You wanna get away from these jerks?"

He must have worked out that Pavel couldn't form an answer and, in fact, sat paralyzed, because he laughed and grabbed his wrist and Pavel suddenly found himself dragged off the couch further back into the house and there were people behind him whooping and whistling.

Pavel followed the boy dumbly, heart beating so quickly and arhythmically he decided he'd moved from aneurysm to cardiac arrest.

They turned the corner in the hallway and it was empty, so the boy took him by the shoulders and turned his back to the wall and held him securely against it – which Pavel appreciated at this point because he thought he might collapse.

"Breathing," the boy said. "It's the most important thing."

Pavel realized he wasn't and heaved for air, his body suddenly shaky and weightless – or maybe it had been already and his inebriated brain had just caught up.

With his thoughts lurching back into motion, even on the verge of fainting he consumed the young man holding him, analytically. He had heavy eyebrows and product-stiff black hair mussed up to maximum effect, strands curling at wild angles, frozen in place. He looked down on Pavel, dark brown eyes with dark lashes, a silver hoop in his left ear, and an unshaven shadow on his jaw. Pavel very much wondered what it would be like to lean up and kiss him.

"…at this point, I know how famous people feel," the boy joked. "You can talk, right?"

Pavel nodded empathetically, completely incapable of forming a word but sure that he could…three or four minutes ago.

The boy stared at him a little longer, trying to figure him out. He must have given up, because then he was kissing Pavel. Pavel tasted vodka on his lips and closed his eyes and let his mouth move against the boy's already-well-kissed, slippery lips, whimpering a sound he had definitively never made before.

The boy drew back when Pavel began to shake, concern narrowing his brow. Pavel licked his lips, breathing heavily under the boy's grip. There was no question now that nothing else was keeping him on his feet.

The boy decided after a minute Pavel wasn't in need of immediate medical attention and introduced himself.

"I'm Isaak, and you're Mischa's friend…Curls?" The teasing lilt to the pet name left the question of Pavel's name open ended.

"P-Pavel..." Pavel stammered, gradually coming out of his embarrassed stupor. "Are you—…Will the other boy mind that we're—…?"

"Who knows," Isaak said with a grin. "I just met him." His thumbs calmingly rubbed circles against Pavel's shoulders. "How old are you, Pavel…?"

"Fifteen," Pavel breathed, desperately hoping that that wouldn't be the end of this conversation.

Isaak's brow inched up and his grin turned playful.

"Are you worth serving a sentence for, Pavel?"

Pavel had never been posed that specific question, before. He swallowed and caught his breath and blurted the answer he wholeheartedly wanted Isaak to believe:

"Yes."

Isaak startled and flinched back, eyes widening, expression switching from playful to dumbfounded and then, after a minute, to amused. Pavel could only think of how tired he was of being surrounded by eighteen and nineteen year old classmates attractive enough to imagine in bed with him when he jerked himself off. He was tired of wondering when exactly he'd ever have a date when there was nobody else on campus. He didn't have a single close acquaintance in San Francisco or in Yakutsk young enough to be seen with him.

"I deeply need to be less drunk," Isaak decided. Pavel pushed his hands off his shoulders, grabbed his face, and kissed him in a sudden lunge that left the older boy groping for a place to put his hands.

Despite returning Pavel's sudden affection, Isaak finally must have realized there was no appropriate place to put his hands because he took both of Pavel's wrists and carefully, forcefully extricated himself from the kiss. He'd begun to breathe harder and Pavel recognized the attraction in his eyes, the same guarded look he'd seen on the first boy he'd kissed.

"Please," Pavel pleaded as compellingly as he knew how, pressing his weight into Isaak's grasp before Isaak could tell him to desist. "Please, we don't have to have sex, just – please, let me kiss you."

Isaak leaned in, pecking a kiss against his lips.

"Curls, that's going to be a hard line to walk if I take you home with me."

Pavel could think of about a hundred and sixteen reasons not to go home with an older boy that he just met – his instructors in high school, college, and at the Academy had made themselves so personally concerned with informing him of all the benefits of the chastity he'd started to get sick of. He told himself Mischa knew Isaak and he told himself Isaak looked like a person who legitimately was having second thoughts about taking a fifteen year old to bed. His determination mounted, although he had never seduced anybody in his life.

"But I'm ready. I am so, so ready…Please. Nobody but Mischa has to know..." Pavel reasoned Mischa, as his ride, might be suspicious if he didn't return to the party.

Isaak shook his head, but his fondness showed and he rubbed his palms up and down Pavel's forearms affectionately, pulling him a little closer as he straightened up too tall for Pavel to kiss.

"You clearly have no idea how these things work. Everybody's going to know. Care…? Maybe not."

"I don't care if they know!" Pavel insisted, the erection between his legs as certain as he was. He pressed himself against Isaak and could smell a spicy aftershave and, even better, the musky scent of the older boy's body. He groaned and let his head fall forward against his chest. "Everybody at the Academy keeps telling me 'You're adorable, Pavel, but I have a career' – and I keep watching them go have sex! It's not fair. I have to see them in the showers almost every single day…"

"I get it…" Isaak murmured. He released one of Pavel's arms and ran his fingers through the curls he'd been picking on. "Okay. If Mischa says its okay…"

Pavel was digging that personal communicator out of his back pocket about as fast as he physically could, saying "Mischa Gordieva!" with it pressed against his lips

Mischa answers the phone with his drunken face on, probably from on the deck. The night sky is dark behind him and his alcohol flush intensified by the staggering cold.

"What's going on?"

"Mischa," Pavel said with all the boldness his small body could exert. "Isaak can't take me home unless you tell him I'm ready to have sex!"

"—man, are you fucking with me?"

Pavel rolled his eyes, shaking the communicator a little.

"No, blockhead, I'm trying to fuck Isaak!"

"—oh, god, you are so plastered. Where's Isaak?"

Isaak grabbed the communicator, turning it around and rolling his own eyes at the viewscreen.

"Man, I do not go for baby cheeks and freckles. This would be like public service."

Pavel flustered with indignation, just about ready to protest when Mischa's voice chastised drunkenly across the line "Oh, damn, you totally want to fuck him," taking a totally different meaning away from the words that made Pavel boggle and color even more. "Shit, why am I involved in this?" Mischa complained.

"I don't know this kid! Is he cool?" Isaak asked, his tone of voice not exactly asking if Pavel was 'awesome'.

"Yeah, fuck, he's cool. I'm cool. Everybody's cool…Hey, Seryozha," he barked to Pavel's friend across the deck. "You cool? —yeah, he's cool."

"Mischa! You better remember how 'cool' you are tomorrow morning, shithead," Isaak rebuked, but he was laughing. "Okay, okay. I have your friend! Don't wait around for him."

He handed the communicator back to Pavel, who punched it off – he'd thank Mischa later. They opened three hallway doors before either of them remembered where the coat was, busting in on a couple on a bed and an all-girl foursome not exactly on a bed. Pavel laughed breathlessly as he found his coat, hat, and scarf. They escaped out the back door, although there were enough party goers gathered there smoking that somebody yelled "Oh, shit, Isaak, pound that!" and Pavel went scarlet at another round of laughter at his expense.

Pavel caught his breath as Isaak took his hand. Grateful, drunk, and giddy with excitement and arousal he stayed close as they hustled down the street in the winter chill to find Isaak's car. Pavel burrowed in the passenger's seat of the car, smiling ear to ear behind his scarf as they waited for the engine to warm up and the car to be anything else but frigid. Isaak stopped by a grocery store and came back with a box of condoms he tossed into Pavel's gloved hands and a bottle of something that turned out to be silicon based lubricant that he passed across the divide.

Pavel's stomach gave a lurch and his swollen erection tucked itself firmly against the fly of his pants. He had the basic, brochure summation of what two men (two women, a man and a woman and certain other-gendered alien species) did in bed, but the idea of fucking or being fucked remained a possibility that seemed almost ephemeral despite his excitement and the definite prospect of sex.

Isaak let him into his flat and set out a jar of pickled mushrooms and a couple bottles of lager beer and told him he had to take a shower. Pavel sipped on a beer and helped himself to the mushrooms, eating them with a fork straight out of the jar. Isaak kept a tin of clove cigarettes on the table and magazines about music, mechanics, and interplanetary politics. Pavel didn't see anything to indicate he was in college, but saw a monogrammed work uniform thrown over the arm of a chair.

Isaak came out of the bathroom with the gel washed out of his hair and grinned and cracked his own beer, taking a long drink with his throat bobbing. He grabbed the condoms and the lube and pulled Pavel out of his chair, leading him into a messy bedroom, clothes and empty bottles strewn on the floor and bed unmade.

Pavel's experiences came in intoxicated flashes, Isaak's mouth against his, begging for Isaak to suck on his tongue like the boy he'd seen at the party, being tossed on the bed like he weighed nothing at all and beginning to tremble as Isaak pushed his shirt up and began to kiss his chest and bite and lick at his nipples. He'd never heard anybody and certainly not himself making the pleading, whining, and mewling sounds that flooded easily out of his throat. He unbuttoned his own pants impatiently and pretty soon they'd both stripped naked and Isaak's cock was as hard as his and he bit his lip and reached out to grab it and Isaak made a few husky, undone noises of his own and thrust against his hand.

Pavel ended up coming with a yelp when Isaak stroked him in return, semen splashing onto his stomach. For a minute he got a little upset but the older boy kissed him and told him he wouldn't believe how fast he'd get hard again. You're fifteen; it's almost constant, he said, and You still wanna get fucked? Isaak's hands were rubbing his shaking body and Pavel nodded and said Yes, please, yes and Isaak turned him over on his stomach and the world started to slow down.

He felt warm, slippery fingers pressing into his anus and the sensation of Isaak thrusting those digits inside him seemed to spread through his hips until he groaned with the pleasure. He'd pushed a finger inside himself in a private shower, one time, but it'd been kind of chafing even though it felt alright and his butt had ached a little afterwards. This was slick and more like a massage and he decided he liked it a lot.

Isaak put a condom on and Pavel gasped as Isaak first pushed his cock inside him. Isaak stopped a little and told him to relax and asked if it felt alright and Pavel heard himself swearing Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes – anything to feel a little more of that incredible pressure. He choked as Isaak started to move through him, whimpering and feeling himself starting to get a little hard again against the mattress. He hugged a pillow and pressed his face into it and realized his ass was spread open around the dick of a boy he barely knew at all. He kind of loved it, hadn't known it could feel so very good to be stretched apart like this with the weight of another, older teenager on his hips – but it was about as much as he ever hoped for. Every thrust seemed to fire off explosions through his hips that twitched inside his cock.

By the time Isaak had started to thrust hard enough to budge him on the bed, hips jerking into Pavel's and Pavel realizing he was going to come, Pavel had gotten completely hard, again. He shoved a hand between himself and the blankets and came again a few moments after Isaak had halted with a stutter of his hips above him and then spent his orgasm over a few long thrusts, mind riveted on the thought of Isaak releasing inside him. Isaak groaned as Pavel's buttocks spasmed around him with that second orgasm. He pushed out of him and off of him, rolling over to lie next to him on the bed. Pavel deeply wanted to touch and be touched and keep touching and crawled on top of him, kissing his face while Isaak chuckled and rubbing his still-trembling hips against the older boy's.

"Damn," Isaak murmured, dragging their mouths together, still shaking with laughter underneath him. "Take it easy, Curls," he said close to Pavel's mouth, but Pavel really, really didn't want to and just mashed their mouths together.

Isaak surrendered and, for awhile, they made out on the bed, no words between them.

Later, still drunk, but now naked, they stumbled out into the kitchen to make a pot of what arguably began as borscht but soon included whatever they found in the cabinets and refrigerator, including chopped bananas. As they choked it down, Isaak confessed he worked as a waiter but had never actually learned how to cook. Pavel promised him replicator food always tasted just-incrementally artificial – at least these were real bananas.

They sat down on the couch to watch broadcast programming, but Pavel lost attention for it pretty quickly because sitting close led to touching and touching led to kissing and kissing led to fucking and this time fucking led to sleeping – but it was two nights later before Pavel left Isaak to spend his last day in Russia with his family at home.

He looked at himself in the mirror: still baby-faced, freckles still speckling his cheeks and the bridge of his nose, still waiting to fill out into a skinny body his young muscles clung to stubbornly. But the next February, when he met a boy he liked at the Academy, he didn't just sit and gawk.



II.
There Ain't Two Ways About It


April, 2257.

The smell of booze wafted off the twenty-four year old cadet at McCoy's dormitory room door, but McCoy didn't need to smell him to see that he was drunk. Jim had the glossy eyes and flushed, waxy-looking skin of a guy who'd imbibed until he and reality reached an amicable parting of ways. He exemplified that fact with the first, slurred words out of his mouth:

"They kicked me out of the bar. I need more shots."

"Like you need a brick to the head," McCoy muttered, but he let Jim in because he always let Jim in.

Jim didn't waste any time with How was your day?, surveying the room for any open, unsupervised containers of alcohol. When he came up short, Jim opened the cabinet beneath McCoy's desk, expecting to find some magnitude of intoxicant. He frowned as he found only files and books.

"You moved the whiskey!"

McCoy made a sound of disgust, less willing to help a friend out when Jim assumed everything McCoy owned, by extension, belonged to him (even if that proved to be the case in practice more often than not).

"I try an' keep you on your toes," he dismissed, watching Jim root around the room. He knew full well if Jim had easy access to his liquor McCoy would assume the burden of going out and picking up twice as much, what with Jim's tendency to let himself into McCoy's dorm room when McCoy wasn't even there. McCoy stashed it in new places accordingly, a war of attrition to stave him off.

Jim finally gave up, whirling around with his arms flung open – almost staggering over backwards.

"That's not fair, Bones. I'm too drunk to find your whiskey!"

McCoy sighed and supposed he looked exactly this ridiculous when he was drunk, but didn't like to think so.

"You think that might be, I don't know, the cut off point?" he suggested, helpfully.

Jim put his thinking face on, but didn't want to concede the point.

"—three more shots and I'll suck on your penis," he bartered desperately. McCoy groaned, accustomed to being propositioned by a drunken Jim and telling him really, absolutely, No.

"You're not getting at my hooch, so just sleep it off, Jim."

Jim really thought about it this time, and ended up in a grin McCoy did not in any way trust.

"That's okay, Bones. I'll still give you head!" Jim declared like he'd invented a national holiday and grabbed McCoy by the shirt and pulled them into each other and kissed him.

McCoy was accustomed to being propositioned, but he'd yet to be accosted. Until now.

He couldn't have been more ready, and it couldn't be any more of a trap. Even drunk, Jim kissed like every wet dream he'd ever had, a flood of sensual kisses gradually growing more insistent and more persuasive; Jim begging with his lips for reciprocation. McCoy grunted grudgingly and let himself be seduced, letting his mouth move against Jim's gentle onslaught.

Jim moaned a noise of satisfaction straight out of a porno and relinquished his hold on McCoy's shirt to start running his hands up and down his chest, smoothing fabric against skin. McCoy heard himself growl. He grabbed Jim by the hips, dragging Jim up against him crotch to crotch and feeling him start to kind of undulate, rolling his hips into McCoy's, an obscene grind of genitals. Jim was packing a hard on, already; he used it to rub up against McCoy's sex through the uneven cloth of their flies. McCoy's cock came around to his way of thinking in almost record time

Jim groped around until he'd gotten McCoy out of some clothes – somehow managing to unbutton the collar of cadet uniform and eventually tugging it off of him. A white undershirt remained clinging to McCoy's body beneath, and Jim seemed more interested in feeling him up through it than actually removing it, with all the time undressing took away from sharing spit.

McCoy had spent his share of time imagining how this would happen. He'd spent a little over two years with Jim Kirk and expected he'd set some kind of record for not fucking the guy, because he'd watched clothes come off within twenty minutes of Jim making new acquaintances, and even a little under ten. He'd never been immune to Jim's flirting, just too broken and in need of holding on to Jim's friendship to make the mistake of letting what amounted to some occasional friendly touching and social grooming progress to exactly what they were working on right now.

You're too damn sober for this, Leonard, he chastised, inwardly, because even with two handfuls of Jim's ass and Jim's tongue sweeping along the underside of his own and his pulse excited and cock hard, he couldn't chase away his pessimism and the foreknowledge of a morning after that'd tax his paper-mâchéd-together heart.

McCoy backed Jim to the couch, each of Jim's steps sloppy and uncertain but his lips too cleverly well-practiced to miss a beat. When his calves hit the edge of the cushions and McCoy gave him a push he collapsed backwards. McCoy watched Jim peel his shirt off and throw it aside and he stripped his own undershirt off, shoulders heaving with heavy breaths. Jim stared up at him hungrily, running his tongue over his lips, eyes on everything but McCoy's face when he said:

"Fuck me."

McCoy had been around long enough to recognize the fine line between euphemism and request – and if he hadn't, the erection Jim sported beneath his pants would've been a dead giveaway.

The words twisted his stomach in all the right ways, but it was the stuttered beat of his heart as his pulse lurched with the release of endorphins that warned him he didn't need to pursue this any further than right here. He'd never listened to what was good for him, though, because he was crawling onto the couch over Jim: his infatuation pouring out into their kiss as he captured Jim's lips, again; Jim drunk and horny.

McCoy had the body that everybody on campus talked about bucking under his hands. Jim desperately sought that sex-on-sex contact and McCoy indulged him, bearing down against him – simulating sex. The friction of humping against Jim with the man splayed receptively beneath him and thrusting back put ideas in McCoy's head of warmer places deeper in Jim's body.

Jim could get a fuck anywhere, but tonight he'd chosen McCoy's dorm room, and McCoy finally found himself willing and even eager to oblige—

Except Jim jerked underneath him at a strange angle, like a hiccup. McCoy stopped kissing him to watch his brow slowly cringing into distress.

"Bones…" Jim croaked, but not in arousal. McCoy immediately recognized the pitchy, nervous whine to Jim's voice. He'd heard it from about a hundred patients.

McCoy rolled off Jim at the same time Jim shoved himself off the couch, staggering a few swaying steps to fall to his knees, brace a hand on the coffee table and start retching the liquor out of his system onto the floor.

McCoy quickly hauled him onto his feet, inured to the scent of bile but not eager to clean Jim or his puke up when he'd rather be closed in the bathroom alone with his palm. (Jim looked as green as a Vulcan; McCoy didn't foresee any sex, at this point.)

"Toilet, you sonovabitch," he growled irascibly and headed to the bathroom, but not alone. Jim jerked with small convulsions within his grasp. He barely had the toilet clear of lid and seat before Jim was emptying the rest of his stomach. McCoy kneeled next to him, keeping a grip on his arm and grounding him through his physical misery by rubbing his back. This was hardly his first time at this particular rodeo. He flushed the bowl clean when Jim moaned and sat back on his heels. "…we clear?"

Jim nodded and McCoy stopped him from wiping his mouth on his hand, getting up and wetting a washcloth and passing it down before he pulled his toothbrush out of its holder and guessed he wouldn't be using it anymore, because he was laying down a line of paste.

"I want you to brush your teeth while I get you some water. Acid'd'll eat the enamel right off," he said, assuming his professional authority. Jim seemed particularly responsive when vulnerable, moaning as he climbed to his feet with the help of the bathroom counter and taking the toothbrush and sticking it in his mouth.

McCoy clapped him on the shoulder and left him to it. Yeah, it sucked that the fly of his pants brushed against his erection when he walked, that his small living room reeked of puke, shots, and mixed drinks, and that the heartache he'd expected to catch up with him had set in early. He tried to forget those concerns and focused on his irritation as he filled up a glass of water for Jim and brought it back to the bedroom where Jim had flung himself onto his back on the bed – once two dorm beds, but McCoy didn't share his room with anybody and he'd shoved them together to make a pretty effective double held together by one fitted sheet.

McCoy sat down beside him, helped Jim up to lean on his shoulder, and stuck the glass out at him.

"Bottoms up," he ordered. Jim obliged. They shared the power of habit to put back just about anything handed to them. Jim shotgunned the water in one drink and traded the glass back over. McCoy got hung up only a moment staring at Jim's pale, swooning face and unfocused blue eyes beneath drooping lids. He sighed and laid the guy down, leaving him to get another glass of water to set by the bedside table for when Jim needed it.

Jim didn't help to get his boots off but helped get himself underneath the covers. McCoy nursed the spiteful desire to tell him to get the hell out of his bed and onto the couch, but he didn't have the actual malice to demand something like that. It wouldn't exactly be the first time Jim had slept with him, almost all of them drunkenly but a few others in a friendly and invasive sober way.

McCoy didn't join him. He had vomit to clean up in the living room before the smell sank into his carpet and his couch. By the time Jim's puke had been reduced to a chemical-smelling wet patch on the living room floor, McCoy's erection had mostly gone flaccid. He decided against coaxing it hard again, although the lingering sexual frustration stayed with him without its support. He returned to his room where Jim snored on his mattress, stripped himself down to his briefs, and joined his friend in bed – just not the way he'd wanted.

He couldn't sleep. His brain didn't do him the service of quieting down now that his body was recumbent. Jim's breath was minty with toothpaste and his body smelled like bromhidrosis. McCoy supposed because it was Jim he had the option of half-rousing him and going ahead with the sex Jim had offered but that didn't exactly appeal to him, thank you.

Thanks for nothing, he groused inwardly, his glare ineffective opposed with Jim's sleeping face.

Jim had ambition, potential, drive and direction. A part of McCoy believed feverishly that Jim could absolve him of his checkered past – a belief that often came across to him as completely irrational. When he followed Jim's lead, McCoy felt like he was moving forward and towards something instead of stuck in neutral, even when Jim led him into bar fights and academic indiscretions.

A part of him idolized Jim and another part jealously coveted him, but he ultimately knew what he had in his boon companion: the absolute trust of a fragile and wayward young man.

McCoy exhaled his defeat, gazing on Jim's sleeping face.

Jim didn't need a fuck from McCoy. He needed a best friend.

He had one, and McCoy used his sleeplessness to force another cup of water into Jim without really rousing him. He propped his head up on his thigh and muttered quiet encouragements until the water had disappeared from the glass. Jim turned his face against his leg and McCoy sat with him a minute, resting a hand on his head, until the younger man had drifted back into a deeper, drunken slumber.

Somewhere after an indeterminate amount of more personal reflection both in bed and on the couch and then back in bed, another two glasses of water into Jim, McCoy dozed off and only half-woke when he heard Jim get up to relieve himself of a heavy bladder. He tried not to hear how long the man peed, but from the clarity of the sound Jim obviously hadn't closed the door.

McCoy dimly remembered back to being married and regretted again not getting any sex out of this relationship, but the regret passed.

When Jim came back to bed he must've assumed McCoy was dead asleep because the doctor was aware in a drowsy way of Jim doing a familiar edge-and-creep across the bed until they formed a depression of shared body heat on the mattresses, bare skin touching comfortably and Jim ultimately resting some of his weight against him. The clingy bastard hated sleeping alone.

When McCoy woke up, again, and probably for good, he found he'd rolled over in the night and Jim was grinning at him from inches across the pillow, not looking particularly hung-over, damn him. McCoy's mood immediately, warily soured, because he'd fully anticipated the first thing that came out of Jim's mouth:

"Bones, you saucy minx. I think you kissed me."

"I kissed you back," McCoy scoffed in his own defense. "It's not like I had anything else to do, last night."

Jim put on a hopeful expression, eyes flickering over McCoy's bare chest.

"What are the chances of us…?"

McCoy groaned a long-suffering groan and rolled onto his back and away from Jim. He raised an arm to scratch his scalp and ended up tucking his hands beneath his head, squinting up at the ceiling.

"Slim to none."

"Damn," Jim swore with legitimate disappointment, but McCoy remembered the sore, sorry feeling in his chest last night and wasn't eager to get back to the place where he had to face the fact that on the whole he looked at sex as an intimate affirmation of the affection between two people and Jim looked at sex as a way to get his rocks off – not necessarily separate from love or affection, but definitely not intertwined.

Jim touched his shoulder in warning, let his fingers slide down and then started playing with the hair curled in McCoy's armpit – twirling it around his fingertip, or tugging on it a little. That was strange – and slightly too intimate – but not worth commenting on. Sometimes Jim just liked to touch. McCoy closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention while looking strictly annoyed.

"You are such a waste of a hot body," Jim chastised, hand contemplatively brushing McCoy's ribs before returning to toying and pulling.

McCoy took a breath before launching off on his rejoinder, pinning Jim with a scowl.

"Thank you, Jim. I've spent years thinking my innumerable contributions to the medical community and the well being of my patients would justify the fact that I don't fuck enough."

He punctuated the sentence by slapping Jim's hand away. Jim flexed his fingers and then sniffed his fingertips. McCoy gaped a little and struggled to fathom how he'd met this person and why he'd been considering sleeping with him.

Jim lowered his hand from his nose and smiled.

"—right. Now you're getting it."

McCoy decided it was too damn early in the morning for this conversation.

"Go replicate me breakfast. I had to clean up your vomit."

Jim wrinkled his nose and nodded, taking a minute to rub his eyes and dig the sleep out of their corners and flick it somewhere on the floor before he dragged himself out of bed. McCoy watched the muscles of his back ripple under his skin as he stretched until his shoulders popped. Shaking his arms out, Jim headed into the living room with its kitchenette to sort out breakfast. McCoy appreciated being able to lie in a few minutes, especially after last night.

(He scratched his armpit where Jim had left his skin itchy and admittedly, self-consciously sniffed his own fingers – immediately feeling some kind of sixteen.)

For a minute, McCoy seriously thought about acting on his feelings for Jim – asking the man out for lunch. He didn't expect Jim to say anything other than 'Sure.' He didn't think Jim wouldn't try to satisfy the requirements of 'boyfriend,' if he asked that from him, either. He knew he'd give the same and more to Jim. It came with the trust and the friendship they shared.

'Best friends' didn't cover it, and neither did 'brothers,' but McCoy had the gut feeling Jim hadn't had a lot of long term relationships, friendly or otherwise, in his past and sometimes didn't know what he wanted from him. From 'them.' That was the exact point where McCoy had to concede that maybe Jim needed to work that out on his own, Jim a little too willing to make himself sexually available and McCoy hungry enough to demand an exclusivity Jim wouldn't see as a burden until he found somebody or five in a short skirt he wanted to get to know a lot better through genital contact.

McCoy listened to Jim setting out dishes and glasses and silverware on the small table with two chairs stuck in the corner of the living room.

"Alright, Bones. Breakfast!" Jim called a couple minutes later and McCoy dragged himself out of bed dimly grateful for replicators and not having to choke down Jim's proven inability to cook.

____


"So, you and the keptin haven't…but did you vant to?"

Tension ran through McCoy's body a second time, but dissipated with a fortifying inhalation. Pavel couldn't take his eyes off him, searching his unguarded gaze. His lover spoke quietly and carefully, as if they could be overheard.

"When I came to Starfleet I'd just gotten divorced. Wife took the money and our daughter…I could not have been more drunk. Jim picked me up. Hell, he cleaned me up, which is funny since he spent half the time as trashed as I was. I owe him. I care about him. But he ain't looking to settle down."

Comprehension came quickly to a boy as smart as Pavel:

"You are."
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