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Touch 2/2
Touch by Star_crossed_trek
ceres_libera
Title: "Touch 2/2"
Author: ceres_libera
Rating: R to NC-17
Characters: Kirk/McCoy
Canon: ST:XI/AOS-verse, but strongly influenced by all canon ST-verses.
Disclaimers: It all belongs to Paramount, JJ Abrams, and the great Roddenberry. Except for this story, which is all me.

Summary: However, as far as touch was concerned? He was a connoisseur. In fact, in some circles, Jim Kirk was considered a bit of a savant on the subject … until he met the exception. Because there's always an exception to prove the rule. Touch is a Switchverse-inverse story.

Notes: Touch is a Switchverse-inverse story, and builds on that story, so some things may make more sense if you've read it. It takes place a few months after the Switch: Epilogue, on or about the 4th month of 2259, or a year after the Enterprise begins its five-year mission. Sorry guys, but this is a discrete story, although it will build into the next Switch-verse story, which is mission-based. No promises on how long that one will be. Or, you know, when it will start.



In his bed, on the Enterprise Jim stirred restlessly, irritated into wakefulness by his memories, mingling together in a muddled, mournful dreamstream. It wasn’t always like this on the nights that he had his conferences with the Admirals, but often enough that he was coming to expect it. He sighed and kicked at the covers, loosening them from where they were tucked in at the foot of the bed and rolled onto his side away from Bones, knowing that he was failing miserably at Jim Kirk’s Prime Directive Of Not Disturbing Bones’ Sleep. Not that Bones had ever said a cross word to him on the subject, which in and of itself was rather notable -- Bones being given to cross words even when he didn’t mean them in the least. No. Bones typically enjoyed being woken up in bed by Jim, as long as Jim wasn’t actually in any sort of trouble. Of course, he had other reasons to wake Bones these days, but waking him because the Admirals had triggered things in his own trap-riddled psyche wasn’t one of them. Jim had dealt with this shit on his own for years now. He was fine. Really.

“Jim,” Bones said, his voice thick. He pressed a kiss to the base of Jim’s neck where his shoulder began. “Those bastards say anything in particular?”

“Nah,” he said easily, turning his head to catch Bones’ mouth in a kiss meant to be swift and sweet, but turned lingering and slow at the last second. “Just the usual bullshit.” He kissed Bones once more, then again, but stopped himself from getting too greedy. “Go back to sleep.”

Bones’ eyes were squinty and suspicious in the low light, but they dropped closed after he stared at Jim for a full thirty seconds. Then he grunted a little and used his nose to push Jim’s head so that he wasn’t looking back over his shoulder. “You’ll put your neck out laying like that, Jim,” he said.

Jim couldn’t help the laugh that thoroughly Bones-like statement provoked. “I’m fine, Bones,” he said firmly.

“Prove it,” Bones shot back, kissing the top of his spine. “Go on back to sleep.” He ran his left hand up and down Jim’s chest in a touch meant to soothe, but the warmth of Bones’ sleep-heavy hand and the metal of his ring incited a path of desire which made Jim grit his teeth and work to ignore his body’s response. Bones had had a long day thanks to Engineering and a minor fracture in a plasma conduit that had been contained fast enough, but not before burning several crewmembers. With tomorrow’s schedule beginning in just a few hours, Jim wasn’t going to be a selfish, needy asshole and turn over and pin him to the bed, use Bones’ hands and mouth, and his cock as a sedative. Jim cleared his throat and willed his breathing to slow down so that Bones would go back to sleep, even though he knew he was unlikely to join him. Luckily, he was used to operating on little sleep.

Besides, once Bones went back to sleep he could turn over and watch him. Bones murmured and reacted to whatever he was dreaming about, and was just so damned expressive that Jim couldn’t take his eyes off him. He never got enough time to just be with Bones these days – and it was only when they were alone that he felt free to not be the Captain, to just be Jim. As far as he was concerned it still counted as together time, even if Bones was asleep.

Bones shifted and murmured behind him, but not because he was sleeping. Instead, he was rousing, and sounded worried. Jim ran his hand over Bones’ arm in a caress meant to reassure, trailing his fingers over the firm muscles in his forearm, the presence of which made him smile. His meandering thoughts were interrupted by the sleepy rumble of Bones’ voice. “You wanna get in the tub, kid?”

Jim chuckled. “You’re going to need that tub tomorrow night, old man,” Jim said lightly, still outlining the muscle groups in Bones’ forearm.

“I fail to see what is so humorous about a little friendly competition meant to ensure that the crew remains in peak fitness, Captain,” Bones said with huffy dryness. “Also, I’d like to point out that I have my own water rations, and they work just fine in the Captain’s john.”

“So you don’t mind Spock walking in on us again?” Jim smirked. “It is his night, after all.”

“I still say that was your damned fault for not putting the privacy notice up,” Bones grumbled. “Thank God we were just … relaxing.” He pressed a kiss to the top of Jim’s spine, and tried to pull his arm out of Jim’s grasp, but Jim resisted.

“Bones,” Jim chided, “you’re not even trying to go back to sleep. How’re you going to be at your best in the Strongman Competition tomorrow?”

“You know very well that it’s all-beings competition, Jim,” Bones said, not sounding the least bit perturbed, even though he was still working to extract his hand from Jim’s grasp. “Let go, Jim. Chekov is very proud of the work he did in establishing the rankings so that there were equivalencies for all.”

He pushed Jim over onto his stomach, tugging him into a position that suited him as he walked down Jim’s vertebra with his fingers, muttering as he found something in particular that irked him.

Jim moaned as Bones’ thumbs pressed on either side of his spine dead between his shoulder blades, knowing what was coming. He felt something pop, and a bubble of tension along with it.

Bones kissed his way down Jim’s spine a little farther, then pulled Jim back up, cradling Jim against his chest the way he knew Jim liked it. He put his hand back over Jim’s heart and kissed his neck. “His goddamned formulas were invented in Russia, in case you didn’t know.”

“You’re the true mastermind, Bones,” Jim said, smiling, feeling more relaxed. “And don’t think that the crew hasn’t figured that out.” Of course, only he knew Bones’ real reasons for running the competition, and in the interests of getting him to go back to sleep, he wasn’t about to bring up the inherent contradiction of a man who purported to live by the scientific method being so downright dismissive of research. It didn’t matter that Starfleet had decades worth of data on artificial gravity and its effects on bone density – Bones wasn’t convinced that Starfleet’s grav systems were good enough, considering that they ran on a spectrum designed to accommodate non-Terrans.

Not, of course, that he only worried about the health of his Terran patients aboard the Enterprise. No, Bones worried that everybody was too sedentary on the ship. He didn’t want to restrict diets unless he had to, because he recognized the psychosocial importance of food beyond its role as sustenance, so instead he’d created a ship-wide shape up program with Jim’s blessing. Intramural sports were a big part of it, but those weren’t the only contests. Flexibility, endurance (within reason – Bones didn’t much care for extreme sports of any kind), and of course, strength training were included. Jim had wondered if the crew would see through Bones’ diabolical plan to make them exercise more, but he should have known better. Bones might have a rep for being a misanthropic bastard, but the truth was that he really knew people.

Bones snorted sleepily. “As long as you hypercompetitive infants remain true to form,” he said, yawning. “I’ll worry a little less about all y’all becoming depressed.” He paused, shifting behind Jim. “Too much monotony and stress ain’t good for anyone. Makes people stupid.”

Jim kissed Bones’ knuckles, knowing that he was referring to the tweaks in the warp core system that had caused the sparking conduit in the first place. “Don’t worry, Bones,” he said softly. “There isn’t anybody who takes care of people better than you.”

He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes, listening to the hum of the Enterprise, letting the sound of Bones’ even breaths relax him further as he drifted, musing on how Bones had somehow become the morale officer, a title he would vigorously deny as frivolous and demeaning. Because he hadn’t just started up health and fitness activities. No, Bones was as interested in keeping the crew’s minds and spirits as healthy as their bodies. So he’d somehow inveigled crewmembers into turning their hobbies into social activities. The Enterprise had groups for everything from knitting to book clubs to cultural-themed food nights to cooking instruction, dance and chorale societies – hell, he was pretty sure they were starting a show choir. With the addition of Bones’ fitness challenges, the Enterprise didn’t just have the youngest crew with the youngest Captain in the UFP, but the fittest crew as well.

Also, the hottest, but that was just his opinion.

The fittest, though? Seriously, he wouldn’t be Jim Kirk if he hadn’t issued a fleetwide challenge that put his money where his mouth was, especially because he knew that his crew would kick ass. In fact, he was looking forward to announcing their win at his next ridiculous session with the Admirals. Hey, they always wanted to know how things were going, right? Maybe he’d even send them the picture that Uhura had taken of Bones using his t-shirt to wipe the sweat off his incredibly toned and taut chest. Bones had always been in good shape, but now? His chest was only part of the story. Jim stroked Bones’ arm, thinking about the firmness of Bones’ legs. And his ass.

On second thought, he wasn’t sending that picture to the Admirals, because one or two of those bastards might get the great idea that they needed Bones planetside, and then Jim would be fucked, and not in the fun, stress-relieving way, like when Bones …

And well, shit, Jim was trying to sleep here, right? But all he was succeeding in doing was waking himself up again. He held Bones’ hand over his heart, trying to will himself back to slowing down and unwinding, sketching runes over Bones’ skin as he got heavier against him, hopefully relaxing back toward sleep. He let Bones' greater weight press him forward, ground him in the present, connect him to a life he never would have imagined he would have had as a kid.

Not that he hadn’t wanted to go into space as a kid – what kid didn’t want to be a starship Captain?

But, he’d never imagined this, him and Bones. If he’d ever thought about it -- and he really didn’t think that he had – he’d probably just assumed that he’d be like his mom, moving from relationship to relationship. Even seeing his grandparents with their long marriages hadn’t made him think that was the way it would be for him. Not until he went up to Tarsus and lived with Brian and Marinell and saw how it could be between two people. Of course, it was also then that he began to understand a little, maybe, what his mother had lost when his father had died. It had made him wary. Because who wanted to be so wrecked by loss the way his mother was? People died. They died all the time. There wasn’t any point in setting yourself up to be even more heartbroken, because real life broke your heart all by itself. So, he’d decided that real life could go fuck itself, because he was going to squeeze all of the fun out of it that he could.

And he did have fun. He traveled. He let the day take him where it would, and during the nights? He had more fun. And yeah, he fucked a lot of beings who were only in it for sensation like he was, but so fucking what? All of the ridiculous judgments about sexual behavior just pissed him off. He used sex for whatever reasons he had, but they were his, and he would maintain until his dying day that it had been good for him. He’d learned a lot – about himself, about technique, and he wasn't going to apologize for it. And yeah, it hadn’t all been great, but he’d learned his limits, and he’d always believed that knowing what you didn’t want was as important as knowing what you did. And maybe he’d pushed some people away that tried to get too close, and he’d hurt some of them – he’d never be able to think of Carol Marcus without feeling a pang of guilt – but he never said he was perfect, or that he hadn’t been an asshole.

He knew that he’d run hot and cold with Carol, and driven her away, convinced himself that it was the right thing, but who knew? Maybe it had been. Because the first time, the very first time, that he’d slept with Bones? He’d woken up after Bones had stabbed him with the hypospray to find himself wrapped up in Bones' arms. Bones' left hand had been pressed open over his heart just like it was now, and he felt … fine. He felt something, and it wasn’t claustrophobia. He’d lain there, tracing Bones' fingers and feeling Bones shift and murmur behind him, remembering the feel of Bones' hand cupping his head as he fixed him, and he felt … safe.

Of course, then he’d panicked, because he knew better, he did, he knew better than to count on things, to count on people, but then Bones had shifted behind him and his lips brushed against Jim's skin. And the touch of them against his skin felt like nothing he'd ever felt before. The sensation had made Jim breathless and a little dizzy, but mostly afraid that Bones would wake up and shift away. So, he’d willed himself to calm down, to be silent and small, every lesson he’d ever learned on Tarsus, and Bones, Bones had pulled him even closer and murmured soothing noises, rubbing his forehead against Jim’s neck, like he knew, like he fucking knew what Jim was doing even though he was asleep.

And that was the way it had always been from that first night until now, Bones taking care of him, and God what the fuck was wrong with him tonight?

He was wide awake again and fighting to remain relaxed, fighting not to turn over in Bones’ arms and kiss him until the whiteout of pure pleasure wiped everything but the moment from his mind.

Not that he was going to do that. It wasn’t Bones’ fault that he was a needy, codependent fuck-up of a partner who couldn’t make himself stay asleep. He’d just wait, until Bones was sound asleep and get up, and go down to the gym and pound the heavy bag until it was time to come back up and clean up before shift. That would work. Fighting had been one of his two defaults, back in the day.

He just would not allow himself to think about the other one, about the weight of muscle and bone and want that being so close to Bones inspired. He was not the same selfish asshole that he had been, the one that had broken Carol’s heart and denied that he even had an idea of what he’d done.

Bones rubbed his nose against the cartilage behind Jim's ear just so, and Jim could barely contain the shiver of need it provoked. Goddamnit, Bones was awake again. "Cut it out, Bones," he said sternly.

"That's just cold," Bones drawled. "Rejecting me like that."

Jim went to turn over in Bones’ arms, but Bones wouldn’t let him, busy as he was, kissing his way across Jim’s shoulder. Bones never played fair, not when he was concerned about Jim. “Bones,” he said firmly, when Bones let him turn over. “You need to go back to sleep.”

Bones’ eyes looked very green in the starlight of Jim’s room. The porthole at the foot of the bed dappled him with streaks of silver that made them shine.

Jim ran his thumb over the wrinkle of worry that he’d made reappear between Bones’ brows and then the curve of his dark eyebrow, before he cupped Bones’ cheek in his hand.

“Is that your professional opinion, Captain?” Bones drawled at him. Bones kissed the fleshy area on his palm near Jim’s thumb, stretching in a way intended to be entirely distracting, the muscles rippling across his chest as he yawned.

Jim smiled at him, transparent as he was in his attempt to use his accent, among other things, to manipulate Jim. “As the person who has to hear it from your staff when you’re less than well-rested?” he asked. “Hell, yes, Bones.” He’d left his hand on Bones’ cheek, wanting to connect with him even as he wanted Bones to go back to sleep.

“Your mouth is saying ‘no’ …” Bones said languidly, pulling Jim away from the edge of the bed and toward him so that they were both laying where their pillows met in the middle of Jim’s bed. He stretched out and tucked his feet underneath Jim’s and flexed up so that Jim’s toes pressed against his strong calves, raising his brow when Jim laughed. “What now, you maniac?”

“I’m pretty sure your psi scores were wrong, Bones,” Jim said, still smiling. That statement got Bones raising the other brow, and Jim couldn’t resist running over it with his forefinger. “I was just thinking about that phrase earlier.”

Bones nodded, smiling a little, but his eyes were serious, checking out if Jim was trying to cajole him into sleep. “Mmm …” he said in that therapist-y way that he had of doing sometime.

Jim hated that voice, he really did. He pinched Bones’ calf, using his toes.

“Ow!” Bones complained. “Cut your goddamned toenails, monkey boy! And why am I getting abused?”

Jim sighed loudly and went to flop over onto his back, but Bones’ unyielding grip on his waist stopped him.

“C’mon, Jimmy,” he said quietly. “Talk to me.”

“Bones,” Jim said, trying to keep his voice level, because he wasn’t – he didn’t want to be irritated at Bones, but he had this way of not letting things go which was just the most annoying – Jim’s mouth twisted at the irony of his thoughts, and he scrubbed his face with this hand and stifled an inappropriate laugh. “You need your sleep.”

Bones’ thumb ran back and forth across Jim’s ribs. “When we’re old men, Jim, I won’t regret lost sleep,” he said quietly. “And I certainly won’t regret any time that I stole from it to spend with you.”

Jim didn’t even try to stop himself, launching himself at Bones and kissing him with equal parts gratitude and lust at his words, although he did stop himself when Bones broke away from him and looked at him in that way he had, silently urging Jim to talk to him. “I just had a bad dream.” Jim drew a line down Bones’ chest with a finger, gently outlining the bulge of muscle.

“You ever notice how often that happens after you talk to the Admirals?” Bones drawled, kissing his forehead.

“Yeah,” Jim said, and sighed again. “I get it.”

“You do?” Bones asked, his tone sharp with surprise although his voice was still low and sleep-hushed in the mid-night quiet of the Enterprise.

“Yeah, Bones,” Jim answered, because really, he wasn’t that much of a mystery to himself. Bones’ hand, the one that had been lying against his waist, had begun to make lazy circles on his back, over the spread of his ribs, Bones’ touch reacquainting him with the reality of his body now, of the muscle and sinew and fat that padded his adult frame. He shrugged. “I dream about my childhood when I’m feeling particularly powerless.”

Bones blinked at his admission. His thumb was skimming over Jin’s ribcage, his fingers spread over the faint web of scars that were the only real mark left on him from Tarsus. That was all right though. Jim had known for years that there were plenty of scars that didn’t show. The ones he had didn’t bother him particularly.

“About Tarsus?”

“That oversimplifies it, Bones,” he said. “I think that part of the experience of being a child is about being powerless.”

Bones blinked again in a way that was kind of like he was hiding a wince, which made Jim smile. The guy was an awesome poker player, but when it counted? He could not school his expression to save his life.

“Not for all kids, Jim,” Bones said quietly, trying not to look sad.

“Oh, c’mon, Bones,” Jim said. “It is, too. That’s why little kids have tantrums, or act up or … “ Bones’ eyebrow was officially going crazy now, and Jim frowned at him to discourage the observation about ‘infants’ that he was surely trying to hold in. “Kids don’t get to say what the rules are -- what they can eat, when they go to bed, what they’re allowed to do -- – but they have to live by them. That powerlessness is a part of the whole experience of being a child.”

Bones humphed in a way that let Jim know that he’d carried his point. “Are you saying that the Admirals treat you like you’re a child?”

It was Jim who blinked hard this time. “I guess I am, Bones,” he said slowly, having not connected the dots quite the way Bones had incisively.

“They do trust you, Jim,” Bones said.

“No, they don’t, Bones,” he shot back. “They don’t trust me, and they certainly don’t want to trust Ambassador Spock and what he says, but they’re too frightened, too used to trusting Vulcans to know what else to do.”

“Frightened, Jim?” Bones’ tone was heading into disbelief.

“They’re scared shitless,” Jim said firmly. “They’d be stupid not to be, though.” He lapsed into a moody silence, watching the stars paint Bones with their light for a while. “But they’re letting it paralyze them, Bones. They’re letting it make them too cautious, and if the Romulans, or God help us, the Cardassians think that we’re weak? What if they ally themselves?” He shook his head.

Bones’ brow was drawn down now as he looked at Jim. “Is there something specific that they’re not doing that’s concerning you, Jim?”

“They don’t tell me jackshit, Bones,” he said miserably. “Pike tries, but he gets overruled, and there’s only so much he can say to me on Starfleet’s own comms, because seriously, if you think that they’re not monitoring our comms …”

Bones shook his head grimly. “Pike warned me that there would be spies aboard,” he said. “And they just better hope that I never fucking figure out who they are.”

Jim smiled and ran his hand down Bones’ chest. “See? They don’t trust me. When they look at me, all they see is how young I am.” He laughed. “Tu'kk’ai'nian likes to remind that I got lucky –“ Bones made an indignant noise, but Jim kept talking. “I did, Bones, I did get lucky. I’m lucky that I had you on my side – stop it, Bones,” he said, “and I’m lucky that Uhura was paying attention and …” he sighed. “And they don’t fucking get that the luck that I had is based on having the right intel at the right time. If they don’t tell me what they know, I won’t be able to be lucky the next time.” Jim looked at Bones’ serious face. “And this is exactly why I didn’t want to talk about this.” He pressed his forehead against Bones’. “I don’t want you to worry about this shit.”

“Jim,” Bones said sternly. “I’m not some fragile fucking flower that needs protecting from worry.” He put his hand on the back of Jim’s neck, pulling back so that he could look him in the eye. “I know that there are burdens of command that I can’t share because you’re the Captain and I’m not, but I don’t want you to keep shit from me because you’re worried that I’m too neurotic to handle it. The day we stop talking about the things that plague us is the day that we stop being friends, and trust me, I’ve lived that once before, and I’ll be goddamned if I’ll do that with you. I’m here with you, all the way or nothing.”

Jim held Bones’ intense stare, then leaned forward to kiss him, a silent acknowledgment of Bones’ words. He sighed. “I fucking hate feeling powerless, Bones.”

“I know that darlin’, I do,” Bones said. “But you’re damned good at being the Captain, no matter how much I needle you about it. This crew knows that you’ll always do your best to do right by them, and there isn’t a one of them who doesn’t know what’s at stake, Jim. Hell most of them were with us when we were up against the Narada. They know you.”

Jim wrapped his arms around Bones, and held on, letting himself sag into Bones’ strong embrace, letting himself be comforted the way he’d really wanted to be all along.

“I know it too, Jim,” Bones said quietly, one hand stroking up and down his back, the other cupping the back of his head. “And don’t you worry sugar, I’ll remind you of it as I see fit.”

Jim’s laugh was muffled against Bones’ neck, which he kissed.

“I’m also more than willing to kick some more Admiralty ass if necessary,” Bones continued acerbically, and Jim drew back and smiled at him, knowing that he meant it, that Bones would fight all comers for Jim’s sake. “I’m pretty good at it what with my history, and all.”

Jim laughed again, kissing Bones. “Pike’s intimated that a couple of them are kind of afraid of you.”

“As they should be,” Bones growled. “What else does Pike say?”

Jim sighed gustily. “To give it time,” he said simply. “That a year’s service isn’t enough to convince some of them, even with the good we’ve done, especially here in the Neutral Zone. That I just need to …” He broke off and ran a hand over Bones’ shoulder. “You know, there’s not much that I envy the other Kirk about, but I did break his youngest Captain record by a few years. And I think that there are just some Admirals who are never gonna trust me until I have some grey hairs. And I fucking hate being patient when there’s so much at stake.”

Bones’ hand had been running up and over Jim’s waist and back while he was talking, tracing lazy patterns. “You think about him a lot, Jim?” he asked curiously.

Jim couldn’t quite read the expression on Bones’ face, but he knew that Bones saw the Ambassador’s mind meld as an intrusion. “I feel bad for him,” Jim admitted.

“You feel bad for him?” Bones’ eyebrows were at their zenith, and Jim couldn’t help but smile, even though he felt bad for shocking him into a more awake state. He might have to change his mind about the sleep-inducing necessity of orgasm.

“Yeah,” Jim said, explaining. “You know, I’ve made the Ambassador clarify a few things for me, because sometimes … it’s like there’s an echo, like a déjà vu to our experiences --- things that have happened on missions.”

Bones nodded. “OK,” he said, voice wary. “But Jim, I thought that the guy had the happy childhood of your dreams.”

“He did,” Jim said easily. “He really did. But he still went to Tarsus, Bones.” He could feel the tension in Bones’ feet against him, in the way his hand tightened on his back. “Can you imagine what a shock that must have been for him? At least I knew – I had some idea that there were bad people in the universe, knew that things didn’t always work out, you know? He must have …” Jim shook his head. “From what Spock’s told me, it sounds like the older he got, the worse things went for him. And … maybe …”

Jim hesitated, and Bones’ hand slid up from his waist and over his shoulder, cupping the back of his head, like he had the first night when he’d patched up Jim after a fight at Finnegan’s, that first night he’d welcomed Jim into his bed. He couldn’t help the way his breath hitched at Bones’ gesture, and felt himself flushing a bit. He pressed his forehead against Bones’ and raised his hand, mirroring Bones’ gesture. “Maybe he didn’t know how to appreciate what he had, Bones,” he whispered. “Maybe he always only saw what he’d lost, and he missed what he might have had. What he stood to gain.”

Bones’ kiss should have felt more familiar, less thrilling than it did after all this time, after the hundreds of kisses that they’d shared. “Don’t let that happen with us, Jim,” Bones whispered into his mouth, his hand stroking down his body to grasp his cock. “You promise me.”

“I promise,” Jim’s words were strangled, and he could fucking see stars, and not just the streaks of light painting Bones’ body as he reached for the lube and then lined them up in his warm hand. “Bones.” The word was just a breathy moan, and Jim wanted it to mean so much more than he could articulate at the moment – that he couldn’t lose this, wouldn’t lose this, needed Bones’ touch like he needed air to breathe. He reached down between them and grasped Bones at his base, his thumb running up his own cock as he began to pull on them together, his hand following Bones’ up and over in an alternating rhythm so that one of their hands was always on them, holding them together, keeping them united, rubbing the sensitive undersides of their cocks against each other.

“That’s it, Jimmy, c’mon,” Bones said, kissing him. “Need you.”

“Yes,” Jim breathed out, between gulps of air. “Kiss me, Bones.” And he did, and Jim tried to keep his eyes open for as long as he could, until all he could see was white, hear the rasping of their breaths.

“That’s it,” Bones was saying as he came down. “That’s it. So good, Jimmy.”

Jim moaned a response, and kissed Bones softly, trying to express what he couldn’t say. His brain was fogged and his muscles were slack, and he felt Bones stirring in the bed, moving away, and summoned up some energy to reach for him.

“I’m right here,” Bones said, kissing his temple, and Jim felt him cleaning them up with the wipes he kept in the bedside drawer. He pulled away again for a minute, only to roll onto his back and pull Jim against his side.

Jim nosed into his neck and let out an exhausted sigh, slinging his arm across Bones’ chest. He let himself fade from consciousness as Bones ran a hand up and down his spine. The last thing he felt was the touch of Bones’ mouth against his brow, and the whispered words that followed them.

“Not going anywhere, Jim,” Bones said. “Never.”

Under his hand, Bones' heart beat steady and true, and Jim let himself forget about anything other than the feel of Bones’ skin, of his arms around him, and let himself drift out amidst the stars.

+

fin, for now

Your LJ cut is broken, btw. Will comment properly after I read it. :)

Okay, this is gorgeous. Beautiful. Lovely. A million and one other adjectives that mean the same. I love seeing Jim like this, strong yet willing to acknowledge his weak spots and how he worries about how much sleep Bones is getting when he himself isn't sleeping when he should be. The bit about Kirk Prime is spot-on and I love the promise that follows.

I love the idea of there being more Switch-verse; I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Gawd. I just love it when they talk. Seriously. Want to get right in the middle and bask in it.

You are very sweet -- still awaiting my picture of you rolling around!

:: coughs ::

Incredible. Thanks for this insight into Jim.

Thank you for the kind comment.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *pauses, gasps*

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

*flails* I'm gonna let you finish, but I have to go text people now.

*runs back and flails at you some more*

Thx for the text, you sexy thing you!

OMG! *reads*

A wonderful sharing, as real partners should.

Bones as morale officer is kind of adorable. Jim, challenging the fleet. I love how proud he is of his crew. And oh, Jim's memory of the first time they slept together, and using what he learned on Tarsus... *flail* I am so easy for anything that deals with the repercussions of Tarsus.

The entire conversation about childhood and powerlessness is fantastic. And Bones' eyebrows, hee.

Small nitpick:

He let Bones greater weight press him forward, ground him in the present, connect him to a life he never would have imagined he would have had as a kid.

Should have an apostrophe after Bones. There's the same mistake in the last paragraph, too.

Thank you for the grammar nitpicks, and the kind words. I treasure them both!

This was such a lovely quiet, contemplative moment. I love how Bones finally convinces Jim to talk to him, and works to make sure they don't STOP talking to each other. They fit so well together in your Switch-'verse.

And I'm definitely looking forward to the promise of more of this 'verse to come. :-)

I loved this second part as much as the first. Seriously, this is gorgeous. Loved that you have Bones so strong and Jim actually vulnerable but not weak. Amazing duality in both characters captured beautifully.

Thanks very much! Jim is hard to capture, so I'm glad that what I was trying to do came through.

I gave a big, satisfied sigh in RL as I finished this. This is really beautiful -- I love the warmth and intimacy and knowing between them.

Beautiful summer icon, and thank you very kindly!

Can I just say that you're my heroine and slobber gratefully over the fact that you used the word "discrete" correctly in your author's note? And that's before I get a chance to read Part 2!

You make me giggle. Thank you!

Lovely. I really like how you have Jim growing into this relationship and Leonard able to show him where his marriage went wrong and insist that the same thing not happen to them. You also do a very nice job of lining up some real stressors for them, like bad/not enough intel from the Admiralty, but not solving them, because that's not how life works.
This was really a nice insight into who they are when the phasers aren't flashing.

No, I think that the trick in any relationship is to weather the storms together, to learn to rely on the other, but to resist the urge to fix things. Some things just take time. And thanks!

This is still my favourite ST verse. I love love love that you're writing more. And I'm so happy that they've settled into their relationship so well. *sigh*

That's very kind of you. Thanks!

oh sigh. so wonderfully beautiful as always. and i can't wait for more switch verse!

AND OH DEAR, will you or will you not have DAVID MARCUS in the Switch verse!??!!

I waited for the second part to read and comment and they were both fantastic. I so love your Jim and Bones and the way they affect each other, make both their lives a bit easier to live.
You did a fabulous job, once again!

This is just gorgeous. What a great way to start my Tuesday morning. :) ♥

Switch owns a very large piece of my soul, and this...this makes me infinitely happy :)

One thing that makes me even *more* happy is that I've noticed a disturbing trend of stories falling apart once the characters get together. But this...this is PERFECT! This proves to me that it can keep going, and keep being interesting and evolving and tugging on my heart strings -- if the skill of the author is there. And you, my dear, are a grandmaster :D

I desperately, pathetically, want more. I don't ever want to leave this Switch!verse. Whenever I think of Jim and Bones, it is your stories -- and Bones will, forever and always, be Leo!!

Wow, this was lovely to read, and I really, really appreciate it. Thanks so much -- you give me inspiration to keep going, seriously.

Wow, this is no less amazing than any bit of switch. I really enjoyed reading it, and I hope you write more soon, in this or any universe.

I think this whole fic was some not-so-subtle foreshadowing of problems to be had because the Admirals kept Jim out of the loop? Can't wait to read! Also, I love this look into Jim's head, and especially his relationship with Tiberius.

:: looks around shiftily ::

Maybe?

Thanks very much!

Love how well Bones and Jim know one another, the complete trust and bond they have. Wonderful way to show it, with Bones drawing out what was worrying Jim. Touching thoughts at the end as Jim reflected on his alternative self, to what the other Jim Kirk missed. Excellent story.

Thanks very much -- I do appreciate it.

Oh my heart! This was so beautiful. Loved Jim's POV, eagerly awaiting the next part of the story.

I'm working on it -- when I'm not being silly. And thanks!

Another lovely story, you produce amazingly vivid descriptions.

Really, truly lovely! I especially loved that Bones knew Jim so well, and wasn't going to sleep if his partner was so troubled.

I can't see that he would, you know? And thanks!

I love how Bones cares for everyone here:) Ah, they are so awesome together!

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