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Fic: Subject and Degree, Kirk/McCoy, NC-17

Title: Subject and Degree
Author: caitri
Rating: NC-17 (Language, Sex)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 5,807
Summary: Modern day AU. Leonard McCoy enrolls in Professor Kirk’s Seminar on Metaphysical Poets. The class isn’t what he’s expecting, in a number of ways.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.
Acknowledgements: Written for blue_jack. Kindly beta’d by the wonderful gadgetorious.



Subject and Degree

Leonard isn't sure what he's expecting when he walks into Professor Kirk's ENGL789, Seminar on Metaphysical Poets. He needed an elective: something not Psychology, because he's finishing up the PhD and needs the extra time to think about whether he wants to go to Med School like Dad, and Joce has been after him about marriage again, and he just really wants something with a single textbook that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and he saw this in the course catalog and thought, Why the hell not?

So when he sits down in class, idly staring at the whiteboards and letting his tired, fried brain relax, he half-thinks that some balding, tweed-clad gentleman, probably on loan from Oxford or Cambridge or something, is going to wander in at some point and start talking through his nose at them.

This....does not happen.

"Hi guys," says a young man as he enters the room, moving at a fast clip, "sorry I'm late." He throws a messenger bag on the table at the front of the room, pulling out a single sheet of paper and a fat, beaten paperback book that may well have been dragged behind a bus at some point in its short life. "Evans?" he asks, looking up.

"Here, sir," volunteers a man about Leonard's age--which is probably a good five or six years older than the one reading the roll. "Have a good trip to the Bodleian over break?"

The man--Kirk--looks up and grins like a kid at Christmas. "It was awesome!" He looks down at his paper again. "Howell? And Kelley." He makes a couple of tics; it's clear he knows most of the class already, which is impressive considering it's a mixed lot of honors undergraduates and a handful of grads like Leonard. His brow actually wrinkles with thought when he comes across a name he doesn't know. "McCoy?"

Leonard raises his hand. "'Lo," he says, the word caught in his throat because when Kirk looks at him, it's a glance of blue so arresting he almost shivers.

Kirk grins at him boyishly, oblivious to the effect he has just had on the older man. "Glad to have you here, Leonard," he says. "We don't have too many science grads visit the department."

Leonard flushes at that, feeling foolish somehow, but Kirk has already moved on. When he's done calling the roll, he passes out the syllabus, then holds up the beaten paperback. "This," he says, "is your one and only text for this class. John Donne: The Major Works. The bookstore should have plenty of copies, all of them in better shape than mine." He makes a comical face as a loose page tips out of the book, and he exaggerates putting it back carefully as the rest of the class giggles good-naturedly.

"This semester, we are going to read thirty-two poems and eight sermons," he continues, beginning his lecture in earnest. There's a rustle of movement as students pull out notebooks and pens, but Kirk makes a dismissive motion. "None of that," he says firmly. "Not yet. Today I want you to appreciate the words. There'll be time enough for notes and annotations later, trust me." With that he puts on a pair of reading glasses, flips the book open seemingly at random (but Leonard knows it's not, can see the practiced flourish, and that odd chill comes back), and begins to read:

Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp'd be.
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing did I see.


The class is silent, hypnotized by Kirk's quiet, intense voice. He looks up for a second, surveying them all, mouth quirked upwards in a slight smile. Leonard imagines what the professor must see: a dozen twenty-year olds, fresh-faced and hesitant, and a half dozen older students, jaded by academia by now, and all of them equally rapt.

Well, most of them. Leonard is too old for this shit. Really.

Kirk finishes the poem, then holds the book up in the air. "Words," he says. He tosses the book on the table, and it makes a loud sound as its weight impacts the surface. "Words. John Donne wrote them almost four hundred years ago. Words," and he puts extra emphasis on it now, speaking louder and faster, "can move us like nothing else. They have that power. This class isn't about one man who was a preacher and a poet. It's not about the nature or meaning of life, or a critique of society's ills." He pauses, grinning widely at a pair of graduate students in the first row. "And it's definitely not about French theory or discourse. If you came here for that, Deconstructionism and Postmodernism is down the hall with Professor Perale."

To the surprise of most of the class, one woman glares at him and leaves. "Bye-bye now," he says with a smirk, before he turns back to the rest of the class--not a few of whom, and not all of those female, look on with a mixture of appreciation and awe. He grins at them again with something like--like joy. "Now then, we've got a few minutes left. Let's go over the syllabus real quick, and then you guys can let me know if you have any questions."

~

Leonard leaves class with a headache. He's vaguely aware of a line of students following Kirk to his office for office hours, but he has to get home. To Joce.

He loves Jocelyn Darnell, he really does. They've been together since junior year at Stephens County High School, when he punched Clay Treadway for being an ass and got suspended for two days. For a solid week he was the class hero, and when the novelty faded he was somehow still Joce's new boyfriend.

They dated through the rest of high school. Off and on again while he did his undergrad work at Ole Miss and she went to Oglethorpe. When he decided he wanted to pursue the PhD, it was Jocelyn who talked him into coming back to Georgia and doing his work at Emory. And with Dad getting sick and needing more help around the house and all, it was just good being close to home. Except....

Except when it wasn't.

"How was your day, hon?" Jocelyn asks when he gets through the door. She works at the Banana Republic at Lenox, so he's actually a little surprised that she's home already. She's in the bedroom, probably changing out of her work clothes.

"Good," he answers absently, unpacking his backpack and spreading his new books over the coffee table. He stares at them thoughtfully, trying to decide which homework assignment is the most pressing. "You?"

"You'll never guess who I ran into today!" she continues, coming out into the living room, a bundle of clothing in her arms. "I'm doing a short load of lights--got my period. You got anything to wash too?"

"Mmm, nah," Leonard says after a moment's thought. He reluctantly picks up Ethics in Psychology and Mental Health Professions, Standards and Cases, deciding to get the heaviest stuff done with first.

"What's that?" Joce asks when she comes back. She peers at the Donne book curiously. "Poetry?"

"Elective." He doesn't look up.

"Oh." She puts the book down, then wanders away before speaking again. "So I didn't finish earlier, but I ran into Clay at work today."

"Mmm." Leonard makes a listening sound out of habit, then her words penetrate his tired brain. He gets up, following her voice. "Wait, what? Clay? Like Treadway?"

"Yeah," Joce says. "Imagine that, huh?" She's in the kitchen now, busily pulling things out of drawers. Looks like it's gonna be lasagna night. "All the way out here!"

"Huh. Is he still a prick?"

"Leonard! What a thing to say! Honestly!" Joce's face is red, irritated.

Inexplicably, this reaction annoys him as well. "What?" he asks mutinously. "He was a prick back then, so I imagine he is now, too. What?" he repeats.

She's angrily crashing pans and things as she prepares to cook. He winces at the sounds, that headache growing in the back of his skull. They've had too many nights like this lately, he realizes: the one or the other of them too easily pushed into a foul mood, the other responding in kind.

He sighs. "I'm sorry for being--" Leonard breaks off; he honestly isn't sure what he is right now, he only knows it's not right and he doesn't like it, but he's not sure how to fix it either. So he settles for keeping it simple, because there is one thing he does know, at least. "I'm sorry."

Jocelyn sighs, turns to embrace him. She buries her face into his shoulder. "I'm sorry, too," she says, words muffled in the fabric of his shirt. "I don't know what got into me."

They both calm down after that. Leonard helps her cook dinner, and they laugh and chat and everything's like old times.

They don't talk about Clay Treadway.

"How was class today?" Joce asks as they sit down to eat. "Interesting, at least?"

"That's one way to put it," Leonard says. "My prof is younger than me."

"And he's tenure-track?" Joce is surprised at that--as is Leonard, to be honest. She chews a bite of lasagna thoughtfully, doing math in her head. "So, what, he must've finished undergrad at like eighteen?"

"Somethin' like that, yeah."

Joce grins. "So he's some kind of mad brilliant genius guy, then? Like in A Beautiful Mind or whatever?"

"Don't know about that." He shrugs. "Flashy lecturer, though. Seems to be pretty popular--a lot of folks had already had him before. It should be an interesting semester, at least."

~

That's putting it mildly.

When they go to visit his parents two weeks later, David McCoy tells his son that he's dying.

"What?" Leonard quite honestly doesn't understand Dad's words for a few minutes.
"What?" he repeats, half expecting Dad to laugh and say it was a joke, or for the words to just mean something else, not--

"I'm dying, son," Dad says gently. They're in his study, what they often called more familiarly the 'book room'. The walls of it are lined with books and mementos; one patch is covered with framed photos. "It's polycythemia--leukemia, really. It's advanced, and--well." His face is pale, his body thin. "It's not going to be pretty. It's actually gonna get pretty damn ugly. I--want you to be prepared."

Leonard opens and closes his mouth, gaping. He is twenty-eight years old, and he is not ready for this. "Does Mom know?" he asks at last.

"Yeah," Dad says. "She knows. It's going to be the hardest for her."

The rest of the visit passes in a daze. Joce is uncharacteristically quiet, like she knows something is going on but isn't sure what. Leonard can't think how to tell her, either.

~

He makes a C on his first paper for Kirk's class. He's irritated--he'd worked harder on that damn analysis than he had for his paper in PSYCH 499R and he'd gotten an A on that. What the ever lovin' fuck? He's distracted all through the lecture, barely hearing a word. Finally, class is over, and Leonard waits for the other students to leave.

Sycophants, he thinks. But when he finally gets to the man, he feels strangely nervous, almost guilty even.

"Excuse me, Professor? About my paper--" he starts, but Kirk cuts him off.

"You were phoning it in, Leonard," he says. "What gives? You don't talk much in class, but when you do, it's good stuff. You can do better than that, and I expect you to."

"Expect?" He knows he sounds like a goddamn parrot, but he feels a dark burning in his gut like fury and disappointment mixed.

"Yeah, expect." Kirk is packing up his book and papers into his bag. When he's done with that, he looks up at him and says, "Tell me what's going on," with such unexpected gentleness that Leonard almost wants to cry. Him, an adult man.

He opens and shuts his mouth, thinking of any number of the things he could say, but what comes out, to his dismay, is this: "It's just poetry."

Kirk stares at him, an arresting blue look. "Come with me," he says shortly, and hitching his messenger bag over his shoulder he sets off with a furious clip.

Leonard follows him hastily, confused. "Where are we going?"

The professor doesn't turn to look at him, but he does pull out his iPhone and taps a staccato message before replacing it in his blazer. It's light brown suede, worn down 'till it looks buttery soft, and makes his light blue shirt and dark jeans stand out in relief, so that he actually looks older. Good. Better than, really.

Leonard blinks, forestalling that line of thought, and realizes where they are. He's never been here before--well, not inside--but they are given lockers quickly enough, and soon they are in the Reading Room.

Emory's rare books and special collections are impressive, or so he's always heard. And Kirk specializes in this sort of thing, so it shouldn't be a surprise that everyone seems to know him. They approach the front desk, and a young librarian--way younger than he would have thought, honestly--grins at them cheerfully.

"Dude," she says to Kirk, "you are so lucky I'm on email all the time."

"It's only 'cause you're the best," Kirk says with a charming grin. The librarian flushes with pleasure, and hands him a light blue box.

"Have fun," she says, and Kirk leads him to one of the long tables that fill the room. They're the only patrons in there at this time of afternoon, but even so Kirk leads them to a table in the corner. Reverently, he places the blue box on the polished wood, and opens it up.

Inside is a small, leather-bound book, its cover shiny with wear. Holding it open in his palm carefully, Kirk turns to the title page. “Poems, by J.D.,” the professor reads softly. He looks at Leonard. “Sixteen thirty-three. This is the first collection after Donne’s death.” Unerringly he turns to page two hundred and one, and begins to read.

For every hour that thou wilt spare me now,
I will allow,
Usurious god of love, twenty to thee,
When with my brown my gray hairs equal be.
Till then, Love, let my body range, and let
Me travel, sojourn, snatch, plot, have, forget,
Resume my last year's relict; think that yet
We'd never met.


The librarian looks over with interest, grinning appreciatively. Leonard wonders how often Kirk brings students here to do dramatic readings from original texts. He wonders why he feels, somehow, strangely jealous and possessive all at once.

This bargain's good; if when I'm old, I be
Inflamed by thee,
If thine own honor, or my shame and pain,
Thou covet most, at that age thou shalt gain.
Do thy will then; then subject and degree
And fruit of love, Love, I submit to thee.
Spare me till then; I'll bear it, though she be
One that love me.


“Love’s Usury,” Kirk says when he’s done. Pauses. “It’s my favorite.” He looks at Leonard then, those blue eyes intensely bright. “There’s no such thing as ‘just poetry,’ man. No such thing as ‘just words’ or ‘just books.’ Look, if there’s something going on that you need to talk about, you let me know, okay?”

Leonard feels himself nodding. “I will,” he says.

He won’t.

He makes A’s on the rest of his papers for Kirk’s class. He’s the last one out of the room during finals. The professor grins at him as he takes the blue exam book and packs it away in his bag. “I’m proud of you, Leonard,” he says. “I hope you won’t be a stranger.”

“Yeah, well.” Leonard thinks the words are innocent enough but finds himself wishing they weren’t. “We’ll see.”

He goes home and puts The Major Works on his bookshelf, right between his Sandman graphic novels and his Biochemistry textbooks. He’d meant to sell the thing, but it’s a paperback, so it’s not worth the effort of lugging it back to the bookstore anyway.

~

He finds out that Jocelyn has been fucking Clay Treadway right before Christmas.

“I wish I could be surprised,” he tells her at the end of their last fight, when they are more exhausted than angry.

“Me too,” she says. And she packs up and leaves.

The apartment echoes with her absence.

~

Dad dies on the tenth of January.

He was in the hospital before Christmas, so on some level Leonard knew it was on the way to happen. It’s two a.m. on a Sunday morning, and he’s dozing in one of the crappy hospital chairs, when Mom’s hand is tight on his shoulder, and he’s moving.

David McCoy doesn’t have any last words. His eyes aren’t even open. Mom’s been crying and she shakes when the heart monitor lets out a long whistle.

Leonard sent his application packet to the medical program at Johns Hopkins two weeks before, without telling his parents. He’s glad right now he didn’t tell Mom.

He wished he’d told Dad, though.

~

When everything settles down—when Joce has the last of her stuff out of his apartment and he’s helped Mom pack up Dad’s clothes and sent them to Good Will—Leonard isn’t quite sure what to do with himself.

It’s the Sunday before classes start. Always before he’s felt a kind of nervous energy at the start of term, had his backpack filled with his new books and notebooks, pens and pencils. Leonard is the kind of person who is prepared. Or at least he used to be. He hasn’t gone to the bookstore, and he has last semester’s stuff in his bag.

And he doesn’t really care.

Atlanta winters aren’t really cold, but they are rainy, and it gets dark early. It’s five o’clock and pitch-black outside. The whole apartment building is eerily silent, and Leonard can’t take it anymore. He tries thinking of what could help him right now, and the answer he comes up with is a bit of a shock.

This is a bad idea, he tells himself as he stares at Jim Kirk’s door, trying to get the nerve up to walk up to it and just knock. The air is a damp mist around him, clinging to his clothes, to what skin he has exposed to the open air. He stands outside for some time, getting wetter and wetter, but time seems frozen: cold and empty.

The worst part of all this, he thinks, the worst part of this problem is that he really can’t think of a better idea of what to do instead.

He exhales roughly, and strides purposefully to the apartment. His arm is up and poised to knock when the door opens and Jim steps forward, startling them both.

“Ah!”

“Whoa!”

“Um…”

“Hey, Leonard.” Kirk’s voice hitches in surprise. “What’s up?”

“Er. Well.” Leonard pauses, and so of course that’s when the fine mist of rain becomes an out and out drencher, plastering them both. He blurts, “I didn’t know where else to go.”

Kirk nods like this makes perfect sense, like bedraggled and damp grad students show up on his doorstep every day. Hell, maybe they even do, he thinks with a touch of cynicism, which evaporates as Kirk says, “Come on in, man.”

Leonard follows him inside, mindful of how much he’s dripping all over everything. This adds more to the anxious, embarrassed feeling he’s overwhelmed with, but Kirk smiles at him kindly, and he relaxes a little—enough to look around at least. The apartment is small, somehow simultaneously what he would have expected a lit prof’s place to look like, and very much the opposite: books are everywhere, several bookcases of them in the living room alone. The walls have posters for a half dozen bands, most of whom he’s never heard of, and a couple of CD towers. In the place where most people have a TV, there’s an aquarium.

“I’m going to change,” Kirk says. “I’ll get you some dry things, too.” He disappears into what must be his bedroom, coming out with a worn tshirt and a pair of jeans that he presses into Leonard’s hands. “Bathroom’s in there.” He nods, and Leonard takes the dry clothes and changes into them in the confined space of the half-bathroom. He ponders for a moment whether to put back on his socks and shoes, or to stay in his bare feet. He finally decides he’d rather go ahead and put them back on, ignoring the squelchy feeling of the wet cloth.

"Tea?" Kirk offers when he comes back out, damp clothing in his arms. "I've got coffee, too, but it's decaf." He makes to take Leonard’s armload of wet clothes. “I’ll just put these in the dryer—“

This is wrong. It just is. Leonard can’t even articulate in his own mind his discomfort. "I should go," he says abruptly. "This was a mistake. I'm sorry--" He turns to go, eyes unseeing.

"Leonard, wait!" Kirk's hand on his shoulder is gentle but insistent. "Stay." He frowns at him, then looks down. “And take off those shoes. You’ll catch a cold.”

Leonard turns, facing the other man directly. He opens and closes his mouth, wordless.

"Sit," Kirk says. He leads Leonard to a pair of squashy chairs, urging him down into one. A pile of books and papers sprawls haphazardly on the floor nearby. "My home office," Kirk explains with a small smile. "Look, you came here for a reason. Talk to me, man."

"I didn't know where else to go," he repeats, and as Kirk gives him a pointed look he obediently takes off his wet shoes and socks, which only makes him feel more—more naked and vulnerable. And that’s when the words start pouring out of him, rambling and barely sensical. He explains about Dad, and then about Joce and Clay fucking Treadway.

Kirk listens patiently, his face as serious as Leonard has ever seen it. Jim's eyes are dark and thoughtful--and yeah, at some point he becomes "Jim" instead of "Kirk"--and when Leonard is done, the other man grips his arm firmly. A part of him recognizes it as a gesture of solidarity, can comprehend the meaning of it if not the why.

"I'm sorry, Leonard," Jim says when he's done. "I'm so fucking sorry." He brushes his fingers across Leonard's cheek, and it's only then that he becomes aware that his face is damp too. Not from the rain, though. "I'm sorry."

A nervous laugh burbles up and out. "You're sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sick of sorry."

Jim nods. "Give me a sec," he says, and disappears into the other room for a moment. When he comes back, it's with a small framed photo. The picture is of a young man around Jim's age, grinning impishly at the camera. His hair is a dark gold, his eyes a familiar shade of shocking blue.

"Your brother?" he hazards. It looks older, but the two men are scarily alike--

"My dad," Jim corrects. "I never knew him--he died before I was born." Blue eyes pierce his. “I envy you, in a weird way. You knew your Dad. I only had a ghost.”

Leonard stares at the picture, abruptly aware that Jim is sharing something of himself with him. That until now, he hasn't quite thought of Jim as a man, more like a--a force of nature, maybe. Possibly an art form. Not a man, like him, not a man of woman born.

"Oh, Shakespeare," Jim mock-grumbles. “Why is he the go-to guy for emotional references?”

Leonard stares for a moment, only belatedly realizing that he’s spoken aloud as Jim continues with an apologetic, “Sorry. Pet peeve. Anyway,” he continues, “look, yeah, life sucks sometimes, and we make our peace with that. Try to move beyond it, in—in whatever ways move us.”

“Like poetry?” Leonard asks dubiously.

“Yeah, like poetry.” Jim grins back at him. “Look, I’m starving. What d’you want for dinner?” He’s moving already, pulling a half-dozen take-out menus from a drawer in his coffee table. “There’s a good Chinese place nearby, or we could order pizza or something.”

“Chinese sounds good,” Leonard hears himself say.

They order food, eating it out of the boxes while they keep talking about—everything. Nothing.

Jim is easy to talk to—way more than he was expecting, somehow.

“I write a lot,” the professor says. “I’ve been working on a novel, really. Well, short stories.”

“What about?”

Jim flushes unexpectedly. “It’s just—my way of getting things out of my system.”

This intrigues Leonard. “What about?” he repeats.

“Well.” Jim doesn’t meet his gaze. “It’s about a professor who has this student, who’s older than him…”

Leonard feels himself flush in response. “Does the student argue with the teacher a lot?”

“Sometimes.” Jim’s eyes are very blue.

“Funny.” And without meaning to—never mind how that even happens, Leonard leans in and kisses Jim.

Jim’s lips are soft under his, mouth opening to his eagerly. He tastes like noodles and tea. Leonard wants him suddenly, desperately, with an intensity he wasn’t even aware of until now. With a low moan, he pushes Jim down into the soft plush of his white carpet, covering the other man’s body with his. He’s amused and gratified when he feels the younger man’s incipient erection against his thigh, slips his hands under Jim’s t-shirt to touch the warm skin there. Jim exhales roughly. “Leonard. We should stop.”

“Don’t want to,” Leonard mutters back. Their kisses become rougher then, needy and demanding. Jim is pulling at Leonard’s shirt, and Leonard strips it off, tossing it to the side heedlessly before Jim does the same to him. They are skin to skin, and it feels so unbelievably good, and then Jim leaps back as if burned.

“We can’t do this,” he says hurriedly. He looks shaken and upset, regretful. “We can’t. It’s wrong—“

“You’re not my prof anymore,” Leonard points out. “And I graduate at the end of the semester.”

“Still.” Jim is breathing loudly, like he’s trying to forcibly calm himself down. “We can’t. I want—Leonard, you don’t even—“ He breaks off, then starts to recite quietly.

Sweetest love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor hope the world can show
A fitter love for me;
But since that I
At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
By feigned deaths to die.


Leonard glares at him. “Not everything is about John Donne,” he says.

“Nope,” Jim agrees. “But he helps. Sorry, Leonard. Just—I’m sorry. So, so fucking sorry.”

Leonard sighs, anger evaporating. “Yeah. Me too,” he says, and he leaves.

The next day he comes home and there’s a package stuffed in his mailbox: his clothes that he’d left at Jim’s apartment, and a piece of paper, with the entirety of Donne’s “Valediction Forbidding Mourning” written on it in careful handwriting.

There’s no signature. Like it even needs one.

~

He tries putting that night out of his mind, as best as he can. Slowly, murderously so, the semester creeps by. In April, Leonard gets a letter of acceptance in the mail from Johns Hopkins. In May, the university announces it’s making cuts to its budget, and that this includes a number of faculty members.

Including one Jim Kirk.

Leonard goes to Jim’s office when he reads about it in the papers. Leonard knocks on the door, and Jim looks up.

“Hey,” Leonard says.

Jim grins—unexpectedly wide, teeth a brilliant white. “Hi,” he says. “C’mon in. I’m almost done here.”

“I—see.” The office looks different than it used to—all the books are packed up, ready to be moved to the library in his home no doubt.

Jim looks around, following his gaze. “Yeah,” he says.

“Yeah,” Leonard echoes. They are both quiet a moment. “So,” he continues, “where are you off to, next?” He tries to say it coolly, casually. “I’m moving to Maryland in a month.”

“Really?” Jim raises an eyebrow with an expression that is almost impish. “I hear Johns Hopkins has a hella creative writing program.”

Leonard feels something burbling up in him, giddily—laughter and relief and, just something. “Yeah. I believe they do.”

They come together then, mouths meeting hungrily. They part just enough for Jim to quote what else but John Donne:

Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst that it could say
That being well I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honor so
That I would not from him, that had them, go.


“You’re coming with me,” Leonard says. He’s not going to brook any arguments, not this time.

“Yeah,” Jim agrees. “I am.” He kicks the door closed, locks it. Their eyes meet, and Leonard feels a laugh of delight escape him as Jim gives him a grin, and then they are together again.

Something in Jim has been released, maybe just the lack of taboo between them now, maybe something else, but he pushes Leonard down to sit on his empty desk, kissing him hard. Jim’s mouth is hot, hungry, and he kisses Leonard like he’s oxygen and Jim needs to breathe, hasn’t been able to in a long time. Jim is already hard, erection poking Leonard in the thigh insistently.

“We can do this,” Jim warns him, “but it’s not going to be my best performance ever. I’m just sayin’.”

“I’ll live,” Leonard answers, fingers scrabbling at Jim’s jeans, heinously tight over the bulge there. He slips off the desk to make his work easier. “You’ll make it up to me.”

“Totally,” Jim agrees, and then he’s wordless because his cock is out and Leonard has his hand around it.

“Do you have lube anywhere?” Leonard asks without much hope.

“No,” Jim says. “I generally don’t have sex in my office. Oh!” His exhalation is breathy because Leonard has said to hell with it, is pulling the other man’s jeans and boxers down, is sucking Jim’s cock down his throat. He pulls away to grin at the other man.

“Paper cuts in awkward places?” he suggests.

“Pretty much. Besides,” Jim continues unsteadily, “I figured it was best to remove any temptation from the equation. Fuck, Leonard,” he hisses, fingers cupping the back of Leonard’s skull as he pushes him closer. “Do you have any idea how much I’ve wanted you? How long? Last semester nearly fucking killed me, because I had to go to class and pretend that I wasn’t watching you every second, thinking about you, oh God--!” He comes then, and Leonard swallows it down, feeling smug and elated all at once.

Jim is breathless from his orgasm, but when the aftershocks have passed he pulls Leonard back up and onto the desk, getting on his knees to return the favor. Leonard cards his fingers through Jim’s hair gently as the other man works at him, using lips and tongue and the barest hint of teeth expertly. “Slower, darlin’, slower,” Leonard mutters, but it’s too late, Jim’s too good, and he’s wanted this so long, oh god how he’s wanted this, and he’s coming—

Afterwards they dress hastily, grinning at each other foolishly. Jim’s hair is sticking up in a ridiculous cowlick, and Leonard smoothes it for him before they open the door again, carrying what few boxes remain out of the building to Jim’s car, and then home.

~

They’ve been in their row house in Baltimore for about a month when Leonard finds the notebook. It’s an unassuming thing, the standard, black marbled composition type book most often seen in generic stores around the country. Each line of it is filled with Jim’s handwriting, neat but slightly spidery letters all across the pages in dark blue ink.

He starts reading, curious.

Leonard isn't sure what he's expecting when he walks into Professor Kirk's ENGl 789, Seminar on Metaphysical Poets. He needed an elective, something not Psychology, because he's finishing up the PhD and needs the extra time to think about whether he wants to go to Med School like Dad, and Joce has been after him about marriage again, and he just really wants something with a single textbook that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and he saw this in the course catalog and thought, Why the hell not?

He snorts in surprise, but keeps reading. He looks up when he hears the door unlocking, and realizes he’s spent most of the afternoon reading. Jim comes through the door, hair plastered to his skull. Apparently a downpour started outside, and Leonard hadn’t noticed that either.

“Hey, you,” says Jim.

“Hey,” says Leonard. “Um. Hey.” He holds up the notebook. “So. Is this the novel?”

Jim has been putting his stuff down, sorting out keys and pocket change. He stops, freezes. Stares guiltily. “Er. Yeah.” He looks chagrined, and then starts to talk very fast. “It’s—well it was a first draft. My way of coping with my feelings about you and all. And I know it must seem really weird—“

“I like it,” Leonard says. To his eternal amusement, this statement has struck Jim Kirk, Man of Words, completely dumb. “I like it,” he repeats.

Jim stares at him, and then a disarming flush begins at the tips of the ears and then his cheeks. “You do?”

“I do,” Leonard says. He gets up, taking the other man in his arms. “Now, I realize I’m asking for spoilers and all, but I think you should really tell me how it ends.”

Jim grins at him. “It ends not at all, but with love’s sweet burning. Come to my arms, love, and end my yearning.”

Leonard raises a quizzical eyebrow. “That’s not John Donne.”

“It’s Jim Kirk.” He kisses him on the nose.

Leonard kisses him back. “It needs work.”

Jim sticks out his tongue. “Help me make it better?”

And Leonard laughs, and the notebook falls to the floor.

The end.


Gratuitous Author's Notes

Poems quoted, in the order of their appearance, are:

"Air and Angels"
"Love's Usury"
"Song"
"Break of Day"

Comments

( 76 comments — Add your .02 )
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nikki4noo
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have a ridiculously silly grin on my face right now. This was perfect as I have to be at the dentist this morning and I shall know I can come home and read this again and all will be good. :)

I get the feeling that our brains like similar things. The boys both wanting each other but one slightly clueless about it until the metaphorical book smacked upside the head happens. :D
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Hee, I'm glad you liked it!!!

And sorry to hear about the dentist. Good luck with that!!!! *SQUISHES*
(no subject) - nikki4noo - Oct. 24th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amine_eyes - Oct. 24th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Oct. 24th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
dramapunk
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
d'awww. This was sweet.
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks!!
horseheadnebula
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Donne and Jim with glasses and OMG, woman! You made my not so good day end with a glorious read!
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm glad I could help! :) :)
fringedweller
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
I love Donne, and you mix his poetry with your story so well. It's a great fic.
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
*beam* Thank you!!!!!!
writer_klmeri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
<3333 :D I love John Donne, young-prof Kirk and student-Leonard. Then you had Kirk write the story of the story and wow... my brain exploded from the sheer awesomeness of this brilliant fic. Thanks!
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks!!!!!!
amine_eyes
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
GUH :)

I'll comment properly tomorrow, but for now, I have a dopey little grin on my face and an urge to hug my flatmates. As this doesn't happen on pain of the universe collapsing, this shows how much this fic makes me happy :) :)
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
D'awww. *squish*
lauriegilbert
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
No man is an island I am . . . screw it, I can't quote Donne like Jim can so why try? :D I love any time someone plays on Jim's lit love like this in an AU and you did it swimmingly! I love that he wanted Leonard so badly but wouldn't let himself, and how easily they clicked with each other!
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks!
gadgetorious
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Wow. I am impressed with the number of comments you've accumulated in the time it took me to drag my ass over here.

I love you. I love this fic. Please fictionally space marry me, the end.
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Apparently our fandom has a Donne kink.

...

I LOVE OUR FANDOM!
bozothemoose
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
:DDDDDDDDDDDD

So worth delaying my nap.
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
lol, awesome
zauzat
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, very sweet.
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you!!!
sally_daer
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
That was great! You made me finish the weekend with a smile. And know I need to find and read Done too :S
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Hee, awesome!!

And lots of Donne is online. Yay seventeenth century poets!!
mallorypen
Oct. 24th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Utterly sweet. Leonard's desperation bled through every scene, especially with the regret of never telling his father about med school. It's just a little thing, but it tugged at my heart all the same.

I would never miss a poetry class taught by Jim Kirk. :D
caitri
Oct. 24th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
*G* Glad you enjoyed it.

And yeah, and Leonard wonders why all the other students have taken him before. ;)
giggles149
Oct. 25th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
this is really fun. I thought Jim as the teacher and Bones as the student worked rather well. Thank you for sharing :-)
caitri
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Awesome, thanks!
blumvale
Oct. 25th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
loved it! and now I'm reading as much John Donne as I can :)
caitri
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Ooh, good to hear!! He's my fav poet of all time!!!!
secretsolitaire
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
Ooh, I loved this! Especially your passionate Jim. I love that he was pining for Bones the whole time. ♥
caitri
Oct. 25th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
:D Glad you enjoyed it! (And how could Jim NOT want Bones? Ever?? ;))
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( 76 comments — Add your .02 )

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