evening_bat: Bat in flight, silhouetted against the moon. (Default)
[personal profile] evening_bat
Title: Among Us
Author: [personal profile] evening_bat
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy (pre-slash)
Word Count: ~ 3000
Warnings: Uh, some violence?
Summary: Everyone knew there were aliens out there. As it turned out, there were plenty of aliens down here, too.
Notes: So very AU. Morphed into something approaching an MIB / Trek mashup. I don’t even know how that happened. Hopefully better than it sounds? :D

Inspired by these pictures of Chris Pine & Karl Urban (brandishing two guns & besuited and pointing a gun, respectively) on [livejournal.com profile] jim_and_bones because I have this thing for guys with guns, apparently. (Comm is f-locked, join to see the pretty.) I actually did not get to the part with guns because the idea I started with sort of blew up into a massive AU, of which this story would only be the start. If the rest ever got written.


Among Us


The scream interrupted a promising development in Jim's evening. Before he heard it, he'd been enjoying a pleasant buzz and the attentions of the flirty brunette in the slinky dress who had finally agreed that a room of their own sounded like a great idea. They hadn’t made it that far yet, thanks to a sharp tug from - what was her name again? Sheila? Shelly? Something with an S, he thought - that had sent them stumbling around the corner of the bar, into the neighbouring alley. Jim laughed as he pressed her against the wall of the building. He always appreciated a little enthusiasm.

“Something you wanted?” he murmured against her throat, sliding one hand up her thigh.

“Just a bit of proof that you’re worth ditching my friends for,” she replied breathlessly, tilting her chin up to give him better access.

“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that,” Jim promised, “but you tell me what kind of proof you’re after and I’ll be happy to provide it.”

A frantic shriek drowned out her reply.

“The hell was that?” Jim asked, lifting his head to track the noise. He could still hear muffled protests.

“None of our business,” she answered firmly, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Hold that thought for just a sec,” he said as he pulled out of her grasp.

Not the sort of proof I was looking for,” she snapped sulkily, crossing her arms over her chest as Jim wandered a few steps away to check out what was going on in the street.

“Won’t take long,” he assured her absently. “Just going to make sure everything’s - HEY! What’re you doing?”

A few storefronts away, a pretty blonde tottering on four-inch heels was flailing ineffectually at the bulky, black-clad man dragging her into another dark alley. He’d clamped a hand over her mouth but she caught sight of Jim, and her face twisted into a plea for help. It was the last thing he saw as her attacker hauled her out of sight.

“Hey!” Jim shouted again, breaking into a run.

He ignored Whatshername’s irritated protest as he tore off down the street, skidding to a halt as he reached the alley.

“What the fuck?’”

Jim squinted into the dark alley, certain that the shadows must be playing tricks on his eyes. That the guy he’d seen earlier was bigger than he’d thought, he had no problem accepting. But there was something off about the way he moved and his face wavered in a way that made Jim’s eyes ache to look at it.

“Shit!” he cursed under his breath, attention abruptly redirected as the blonde shuddered violently and made a harsh gargling noise before going limp in the weird guy’s grip. Questions about Weirdo’s disorders could wait.

“You might as well just let her go,” Jim tried. “Whatever you want, she’s no good to you now.”

He recoiled when Weirdo lurched forward, hissing loudly. Jim had never heard anyone make a noise like that before.

“Okay, look, I don’t know what your damage is but why don’t you just-”

The person that burst out from behind a stack of crates to his left caught him off guard and he flung himself to the side on reflex. The effort wasn’t enough to throw him clear and Jim lost his breath in a pained rush as something punched into his chest. He put his back to the wall but couldn’t stay on his feet. His knees buckled despite his best efforts and Jim slid down the wall, crumpling into a heap on the floor of the alley. He looked up through bleary eyes, trying to make sense of what the hell was happening.

The shape looming over him wasn’t anything close to human. Jim gaped at the chitinous black hide, eyes automatically snapping up to follow the creature’s segmented limbs as they waved jerkily in front of him. It chittered incomprehensibly at him but Jim thought it sounded kind of pissed off. He tried to marshal some kind of answer, looking down at himself in confusion when he was unable to make a sound past the tightness in his chest.

Oh, he thought numbly at the rapidly spreading red stain on the front of his shirt. Well, that’s not good.

A bright flash lit up the alley, whiting out what little vision Jim had left. If he had the breath left to curse he would have but he settled for blinking through the afterimages as rapidly as he could. There was a lot more noise in the alley now - Jim just didn’t know if things had gotten better or worse.

“Shit, kid. You’re kind of a mess, aren’t you?”

Jim managed to lift his head enough to try and focus his wavering vision on the - thankfully - human face that bent over him. It was a handsome enough face, Jim decided, though not exactly what he’d hoped for the last thing he’d ever see.

“Don’t worry, I’m a doctor,” was the last thing he heard as he faded out.

* * *

Jim startled awake some time later and spent a long moment wondering where the hell he was. Then his last few minutes of consciousness flooded back and his hands flew to his chest...and found unfamiliar fabric under his hands and not a trace of the injury he’d thought was going to kill him. He stared down at himself in profound confusion, finally lifting the shirt he was wearing to stare at the unbroken skin of his chest. Jim was no doctor but he was a minor expert in hurting himself and he knew that had been a bad one.

Clearly, the weirdness of his night hadn’t ended with the giant bug guys.

He took a belated look around the room he was currently occupying, noticing the distinctly clinical smell and feel of the place. Plain walls, sparse and functional furniture, no windows and a few intimidating tools laid out on trays. He sat up, gingerly sliding to the edge of the bed as he took stock of his condition. Achy but acceptable, he determined with some relief. As a bonus, he wasn’t hooked up to any of the unfamiliar machines he noticed pushed against the walls. Someone had left a pair of slippers beside his bed and he gratefully slid his bare feet into them before standing.

He shuffled carefully over to the door, half-expecting someone to leap out at him with each cautious step. He made it to the door without being challenged, moving more confidently by the time he put his hand on the doorknob. He turned it slowly and eased the door open, unsure of what he might find on the other side. It was almost a disappointment to open the door on nothing more exotic than another clinical room and two men in slick suits, who stopped in mid-conversation to look at him.

“Hi there,” Jim said into the thick silence. He crossed his arms and leaned casually against the door frame. “Don’t suppose either one of you would mind telling me what the hell is going on?”

The two men exchanged a speaking look and Jim took the chance to look them both over. The younger of the two was dark-haired, hazel-eyed and familiar from those last few seconds in the alley. The older man had greying hair, cool eyes and an unmistakable air of Authority. Jim clamped down on the urge to annoy him on general principle. The younger man eventually conceded the silent argument with a snort, waving a hand in an irritable gesture as he slouched down in his chair.

“Nothing is going on, Mr. Kirk,” the older man said smoothly. “Someone spiked your drink at the bar, you stumbled into a fight and were taken into custody for your own safety.”

A spiked drink was actually a pretty sensible explanation but it wasn't the truth. Jim knew what he’d seen.

“Bullshit,” he replied succinctly.

“Told you he wouldn’t go for it,” Jim’s rescuer commented in a distinctly grumbly tone.

“And I told you to leave him a few marks, McCoy,” the older man replied easily. “Since I’m pretty sure that’s one of the parts that’s bugging you the most, isn’t it, Kirk?”

Jim gave a one-shouldered shrug. “Not being able to breathe is a pretty memorable sensation,” he said blandly.

McCoy glared at the older man. “You know what a hit like that can do to one of us, Pike,” he snapped. “I wasn't taking any chances. And you're the one that kept him here. Don't even try to make like you’re only going through this with him because you think I blew it.”

Jim interrupted Pike’s answering chuckle with a pointed, “Going through what?”

“Going through explanations we don’t usually provide to uninvolved civilians,” Pike told him candidly.

Jim blinked at that. “Right...” he said suspiciously.

“You’re a smart kid, Kirk, all appearances to the contrary. You sure you still want me to answer your question?” Pike’s voice was almost gentle.

Jim stiffened at that, tension pulling his shoulders tight despite his efforts to play it cool. He’d already been pretty sure this was heading places he’d sworn he didn’t want to go. If he’d had a clear getaway, if he hadn’t been standing there in borrowed scrubs, if Pike wasn’t looking at him like that, if McCoy was willing to look at him at all...maybe he’d have cut and run. If, if, if. But for all his love of avoidance, Jim was no coward.

He set his jaw and glared at Pike. “I nearly got killed in a San Francisco alley by two giant insects that were kidnapping a girl. Yeah, I want you to answer my question.”

“You were nearly killed by a pair of K’t’nn in a San Franciso alley, for interfering with the capture of their prey,” Pike corrected crisply.

“The what now?” Jim asked. “How the hell did something like that get onto Earth in the first place? And stay hidden?"

"That's the real question, isn't it?" Pike asked idly. "But then, you'd be surprised at what you can sneak onto a planet when there's no one looking. And how much you can hide under a chameleon field."

“You know what, forget I asked,” Jim cut in. “Not my business. I promise not to tell anyone what I saw, show me whatever papers I have to sign. I’ll keep an eye on any alleys I walk past from here on out.”

“Not your business?” Pike was watching him intently. “You sure about that?”

“None of my business at all,” Jim bit out.

“Your father wouldn’t have said so,” Pike said quietly.

“My father,” Jim snapped, “died on a Vulcan starship. I think that’s enough space exploration for one family, don’t you?”

“Some people would say so,” Pike agreed coolly. If he was disappointed, it didn’t show. “Check him out to make sure he’s good to go, McCoy.”

McCoy nodded wordlessly, eyes flicking between them.

Jim, struggling to hold his temper in a way he hadn’t had to do in years, barely looked up when Pike called his name from the door.

“Plenty of people would call it enough. I didn’t think you’d be one of them,” was all he said before he walked out.

* * *

“You really are a doctor?” Jim asked, startled when McCoy led him back into the room where he’d awoken and broke out a medkit.

“Yeah, kid, I am. Did you think I was kidding?” McCoy answered, sounding amused.

“To be honest, I wasn’t really concerned about your qualifications at the time. Guess I should have been. I take it I have you to thank for the lack of a hole in my chest?” Jim rambled as he shucked his shirt.

“You’re welcome,” McCoy said absently as he checked Jim over.

“How’d you do it?” Jim asked.

“You looking to learn medicine?” McCoy quirked an eyebrow at him.

“Not hardly,” Jim assured him. “But that was one hell of a hole. And out there you implied that those bugs can really mess a guy up. Even if I’ve been here longer than I think I have, that’s some pretty impressive doctoring.”

“Let’s just say I have access to some really good medical tech, okay?” McCoy replied shiftily.

For a guy who worked for some kind of covert organization, McCoy really sucked at lying. Jim thought it was kind of adorable.

“How did they even get you tangled up in all this?” he wondered aloud.

McCoy shook his head, a slightly bitter smile curving his lips. “I was in the right place in the right time. Or the wrong place in the wrong time. I haven’t decided which.”

Jim kept quiet as McCoy fiddled with his instruments.

“You ever seen an Andorian, kid?” McCoy eventually asked.

Jim shook his head. “Not in person.”

“Yeah, well I hadn’t until one got carried into the ER where I was working one night. I managed not to kill him and apparently that convinced certain people that I wasn’t useless.”

“Must have been pretty tricky, though,” Jim ventured. “If you didn’t know anything about the species?”

McCoy snorted. “I know enough to know that blood belongs inside a body,” he retorted, poking Jim sharply in the chest.

The innocuous touch left Jim's skin feeling too tight. “Lucky me,” he managed.

McCoy’s eyes widened briefly and he stepped back to fiddle with his instruments again. “Okay, you get a clean bill of health,” he said hastily. “You can get out of here.”

“Hey, am I going to get my stuff back?” Jim asked, lifting up the scrub top to illustrate his point. “Not that I’m not impressed with the latest in medical fashions but...”

“Huh? Oh, right. Sorry. I’ll make sure they get your personal effects back to you but we trashed your clothes.”

“What? Why? How did my favourite clubbing outfit pose a security risk?”

“After the mess you made of it? You might have been able to get the blood out but who the hell knows what was growing in that alley?” McCoy’s expression curdled into a grimace of eloquent disgust. “Trust me, we did you a favour.”

Okay, that was probably true. But still...

“Damn it.” Jim heaved a tragic sigh. “Those pants made my ass look fantastic.”

McCoy stared at him in disbelief. “If it makes you feel better, you can tell yourself that your flirting gear heroically gave its life in the defense of the planet,” he replied dryly.

It was almost too bad that Jim wanted nothing to do with these guys. He had a feeling that McCoy might make sticking around seem worth it.

* * *

Despite the man’s exit earlier, Jim wasn’t surprised to find Pike waiting for him in the hallway outside McCoy’s clinic.

“Come on, Kirk. I’ll walk you out.”

Jim nodded tightly. Between the building’s security and the fact that he didn’t know the way out, he didn’t have much choice.

“You going to get back to your road trip you've been on for a few years now?” Pike asked casually.

“If my bike’s still where I left it, sure,” Jim replied evenly.

“Not to worry about that. We made sure your ride is safe.”

“Great. Thanks,” Jim said flatly.

“You’ll have to be careful out there, though,” Pike continued lightly. “The K’t’nn aren’t the only ones and San Francisco’s not the only city-”

“Look,” Jim interrupted. “I’m not my dad and I don’t want to hear it.”

“Too bad,” Pike said sincerely. “I think you could do a lot better than joyriding around the country.”

“Like what?” Jim demanded in exasperation. Here came the pitch, he was sure. Go play nice with the Vulcans, or Tellarites, or Andorians. Go be one of the token humans allowed to play out in the galaxy until the rest of the backwards species caught up. Follow in your father’s footsteps. Be our next golden boy. Make humanity proud, kid.

“Like keep McCoy company,” Pike said.

“What?” Jim asked, completely taken aback.

Pike shrugged. “He seems to like you and McCoy doesn’t like most people. And you seem pretty capable of taking care of yourself but he is shit at it. I had to phaser the K’t’nn off of him because he was so busy keeping you from bleeding out that it nearly took his head off.”

Jim shook his head slowly, remembering the way McCoy had hesitated as he ushered him out of the clinic.

I don’t know what’s up with you and Pike, he’d said, and I don’t care. You’re well out of this. Just...take care of yourself, okay?

“Think about it, Kirk,” Pike urged. “There’s a lot more to do around here than kiss up to aliens for better tech. If nothing else, giving us a few days of your time will net you a much better paycheque than the usual heavy lifting you do between rides.”

“I’ll think about it,” Jim finally promised. He was pissed at himself for even making that concession but he didn’t think Pike would let him leave without it.

“That’s all I ask,” Pike said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Go on straight through there. They’ll have your stuff at the front desk.”

“Sneaky bastard,” Jim laughed to himself after he’d made his escape. He’d taken a quick inventory of his personal items before leaving but it was only after he’d walked away that he noticed the card tucked into his wallet.

Here’s my number, Kirk. For when the regular world isn’t enough anymore. See you ‘round.


Fin


What better way to spend one of my last vacation days than writing like a mad thing, seized with shiny new AU ideas? :D (There may be more visits to this 'verse in the future. There's definitely more story to tell, assuming I can wrangle it into a coherent whole.)

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