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Outride the Sun, Part Six




PART SIX: SURPRISE



“Well what did you expect me to do?” Pike demands in exasperation. “Punch it?”

They are all limping back to the school after another rough patrol. It’s halfway through November, and demonic activity has seriously spiked.

“Punching would have been a good start,” Nyota says tiredly.

“Stabbing would have been even better,” Spock says shortly. They all turn to stare at the Vulcan. He acts unconcerned, but quickens his stride so that he is ahead of the rest of them all.

“Is it just me, or has he been really, y’know—” Hikaru pauses, eyeing Nyota as he chooses his next words carefully. “—weird, lately?”

The Slayer sighs. “It’s not just you,” she admits. “He’s—he’s not himself.”

“That should be an improvement,” Gaila mutters.

“Gaila!” Nyota is annoyed, but not angry.

“Sorry, sorry,” the Orion says with genuine contrition. “Are you guys, y’know, all right?”

Leonard really doesn’t know that he wants to hear this, but he listens anyway. Nyota and Spock have been on the edge of dating for a few weeks now—or possibly actively dating without saying they’re dating? Leonard doesn’t know. Or care.

Really, he doesn’t.

“I guess?” Nyota answers morosely. “If we’re not, he hasn’t said anything to me.”

She hasn’t said anything about kissing Leonard, either, he notes. Oh. Unless she had…

He eyes the Vulcan’s back, ramrod straight as he enters the library. Nah, surely if she’d said something Spock would have, you know, said something, or done something, or—well. Something.

“At least we have a hint of what’s going on with the vamps lately,” Hikaru says, trying to sound optimistic.

“Vith a name like ‘Khan’, surely zhere vill be somezhing in zhe books,” Pavel contributes.

“Great,” Scotty says, exaggerating his R’s in exhaustion. “Resairch. Somethin’ new an’ different fer us all.”

~

As it happens, they decide not to skip directly to research afterwards. Well, sort of.

“You guys need a break,” Pike says ruefully, eyeing all of them. “I’ll see what I can do with this. You”—and he’s looking squarely at Nyota when he says this—“need a break.”

They stare at one another in shock, then in growing delight.

“You! Are the best! Watcher! Ever!” Gaila hugs Pike in delight, and Hikaru gives him a high-five. Nyota is all but beaming, but when she turns to Spock, she loses some of her glow. She turns to look at him, but he looks away, pretending he doesn’t see.

That has to be the best thing to do, right?

It’s not that late, so they clean up and go to one of the clubs downtown. This one is called the Bronze. Apparently the club has some sort of history to it, because there’s a marker about it outside, but Leonard doesn’t read it.

He’s too busy being pulled onto the dance floor by a gleeful Gaila.

They dance until they are panting, out of breath and sweating. “I’ll go get us some water,” she volunteers. “You hold our table.”

“Changing of the guard, mate,” Scotty says, slapping his back as they exchange places. The other boy goes to the dance floor and proceeds to do—some sort of dance while Pavel and Hikaru look on in bemusement.

“Everyone’s having fun.” Nyota slips into the seat next to his.

“Yeah,” he agrees, laughing as he watches the other three boys have some sort of discussion about dance moves, then give up and each do their own individual dance. “Fun is...underrated.” He trails off, because she’s looking at him very seriously.

“Dance with me,” she says.

Heart hammering, he takes her hand as she leads him onto the dance floor. She presses herself close, and he’s filled with the scent of her, like cinnamon and berries from whatever girl-products she uses. She’s warm in his arms, and he’s aware of the muscle under his fingers; abruptly, he remembers she could snap him like a twig if she so desired—and, well, he has always been hyper aware of her interests, and sadly, they aren’t in him.

Even now.

“Nyota, what are you doin’?” Leonard asks dryly. He looks down into her eyes, which are warm and dark, with a shadow of pain behind them when he speaks. “You’re not, y’know, possessed or somethin’ are ya?”

She laughs, and he can hear the forced quality in it. “What are you talking about?” She turns in his arms, pressing her back against him. “I just want to have some fun!” She turns again, pressing herself up against him tightly. “Don’t you want to have fun with me, Leonard?”

“If this were real, and some other time and place, I’d totally be down with it,” he says honestly. He frowns down at her, and he can see in her face that she gets it, which is something at least. “But this isn’t, and hell, it’s not even about us, let alone me—it’s about—” He happens to look up, and sure enough, Spock is there in the crowd, staring at them. His expression is unreadable as ever, but Leonard knows it’s a front; when the Vulcan sees him, he jerks slightly and then heads to the exit. “—it’s about that green hobgoblin of yours. Of course.” He sighs, and drops his arms away from her. “Look, just—whatever you’re up to, leave me out of it, please?”

And he walks away, leaving the Slayer alone, staring after him.

“Where are you going?” Gaila meets him half way with bottles of water, frowning. She looks beyond him, and he knows she sees Nyota.

“Home,” he says. He forces a tired smile for her benefit. “It’s late, and I’ve got studying to do.”

~

“Khan, huh?” Jim is thoughtful when Leonard tells him about their fight later that night. Well, the fight part of it, not—the other part of it.

Leonard, in fairness, really is catching up on homework, with PADDs and things scattered around him on the floor. “He sounds familiar, but I can’t place it.” Jim shrugs. “I’ll see what I can find out. I wish I could help more.”

Leonard feels his ears grow hot. “You could.” He doesn’t look up from his text. “If, y’know, you wanted.”

“And your Slayer would be all cool with that?”

Leonard can hear the dubiousness in Jim’s tone. It rankles, and he stiffens in frustration, bending his head closer to his PADD. Little arguments like this have been getting more frequent as of late, ever since the fluke thing with Nyota. But considering tonight—he feels closer to some sort of edge than ever.

Jim sighs, apologetic. “I guess Mongols are right out, huh?” he asks with false lightness.

“Most likely,” Leonard agrees dryly. He works in silence for a while, Jim idly reading, keeping him company.

Somehow, that makes that painful thing in him? Hurt worse. He sighs, setting aside his PADDs. He can’t handle anymore.

“What do you think would have happened?” Leonard asks curiously. “If we'd met when you were, y'know, human?”

“Oh, Bones.” Jim looks down as he laughs, setting aside the PADD he was reading. A rueful smile tugs at his lips. “I would have taken one look at you and fallen hard. Freaked out because you were jailbait.” He looks up, blue eyes boring into Leonard's own. “Asked you out anyway. Broken your heart. Freaked out that I broke your heart, and tried to make it right. I'd have fucked up utterly and made a mess of it all. If we were very lucky, you'd only have ended up hating me for a while before you forgot about me completely, and I wouldn’t’ve messed up your life too badly.” He shrugs. “I would probably have died in a ditch somewhere, or in a bar. Oh don't look at me like that,” he says with a slight curl to his mouth, like it helps. “I wasn't a very nice guy back then.”

“Because you're such a pillar of the community now.” Leonard snorts.

“Yeah, well.” The vampire tilts his head to the side, looking away into nothing. “It was so different back then. You don't even know.”

“Tell me.” Leonard has seen vids of course, and read about it in history PADDs. The twentieth century was like the dark ages but worse: stone-cold barbarism with a veneer of civilization, ignorance laced with enough education to know better and do precisely the wrong thing every time anyway: world wars and nuclear arms, instant communication and information and greed, greed, greed. A populace capable of space flight, curing diseases, wiping out misery, and choosing to consistently push the planet to the brink of destruction anyway.

“Hmm.” Jim sits back, looking thoughtful as he draws one knee up to his chin. “Well for one thing, everyone was obsessed with sex.” He waggles his eyebrows lasciviously. “Not just having it, but who you were having it with. People were just starting to come to grips with the idea that maybe the world wouldn't end if guys were having sex with each other, but they weren't quite ready to see it as normal, either.”

Leonard blinks, because that's not the sort of thing they cover in history class, not information supplied with names and dates and filling in blanks. He is intrigued. “What else?”

“The Internet,” Jim answers immediately. “Oh man, the Internet! Kind of like the Nets we have now, but slower,” he explains. “Oh my God, dial-up. I had forgotten about dial-up! To get online you had to put a cable into a telephone line and dial in for a connection. It took forever.”

Leonard has only a vague idea of what the vampire is talking about now, so he just listens, fascinated.

“Bookstores only sold print books,” Jim continues. “There used to be order forms in the back of books if you wanted to write away for something they didn't have in stock. I had to send off for so many Michael Moorcock books.”

Leonard has no idea who Michael Moorcock is—or was—either. He makes a mental note to look him up later, if he can.

“Tapes and CDs for music.” Jim looks thoughtful. “I remember when I got my first iPod, I downloaded so much stuff just because I could. All of Weezer, tons of Beastie Boys. I wish I still had it, I don't think much of their stuff survived. What?” he asks in a different tone as Leonard stares at him.

“Where were you when I had to take Terran history?” Leonard mock-grumbles as he represses a laugh.

Jim grins widely. “I didn't think you needed my help with homework, kid.” He cups one hand at the back of Leonard's skull, drawing him close for a kiss. Leonard lets his PADD drop to the floor, breathing faster as the vampire sucks on his bottom lip, then flutters his tongue into Leonard's mouth.

The room is abruptly too warm. They stare at each other a long moment, and he can see it on Jim’s face, too, that pervasive feeling that things aren’t right between them, but neither has any idea how to fix it.

“Oh, Bones,” the vampire mutters miserably, and then his lips are on Leonard’s own.

This kiss is different than the others they have shared, and Leonard is as exalted as he is terrified by it. Jim pulls him close, molding their bodies together, pressing insistent kisses to his mouth, cheeks, and chin. Tiny bristles from the vampire’s five o’clock shadow graze Leonard’s skin, but his lips are soft and full, the touch of his fingers sure as they slide down to linger at the small of his back.

“Jim,” Leonard hisses between his teeth. It’s not a protest, but Jim stops immediately, pulling back to look at him, cupping his face between cool hands.

His blue eyes are very dark in the low light, like the sea on a summer evening: warm with promise. They are assessing, too, as if asking an unspoken question; Leonard looks back, unflinching.

They don’t say anything, but mutual need is communicated anyway.

Their mouths meet again, teeth clacking against one another in their furor to get closer. Leonard buries his hands in Jim’s thick hair, twining his legs around his waist instinctively. The vampire’s erection is hard against Leonard’s navel and lower stomach; Leonard’s own aches with frustrated need.

When Jim’s cool, deft fingers unzip his khaki pants and slip inside to cup him through the thin fabric of his underwear, he thinks he might die.

“You really gonna let me do this, Bones?” Jim mutters against his mouth.

“Dammit, Jim, if you don’t I might kill you,” Leonard answers impatiently. “Ah!” Jim’s clever fingers slide Leonard’s cock free of his boxers, and holy shit, he’s never had someone else’s hand on his cock before. Jim’s grip is tight, his thumb rubbing in minute circles around the head. “Oh, God!”

The vampire’s laughter is soft but sympathetic. “You’re having too good a time, kid.”

Leonard’s cock jerks mindlessly at his low words. He almost feels like he’s going to see stars any second now. “Jim—” His fingers scrabble inelegantly over the vampire’s tight jeans, and Jim has to help him with one of the buttons before he can get the zipper undone, and then the vampire’s cock is in his hands.

“Bones!” Jim’s face is buried in his neck as he gingerly strokes the vampire’s shaft. It is hard in his hand, cool but warming with Leonard’s own heat as he grips it. After a moment of astonishment, in which he thinks little beyond I’m holding Jim’s cock, Jim’s cock, Jim’s cock!, he starts to echo the vampire’s rhythm of stroking and pumping.

It’s fantastic, and all too soon he’s warning Jim, “I think I’m gonna come!”

The vampire looks at him, bloody sweat popping up along his brow. His expression is unusually serious, hungry with desire. “Come with me, Bones,” he orders, and Leonard does, grunting harshly as their hands are covered with wet heat.

They sit on the floor, huddled together after. Leonard is breathing harshly, damp hair flopping into his face. With surprising tenderness, Jim sweeps it away with his clean hand, lips covering his for a hungry, wet kiss.

“Bones?” he asks in a low voice.

Leonard doesn’t answer, he just nestles himself into the vampire’s embrace. Jim’s arms tighten around him, and he never wants to move.

This thing they have between them, whatever it is? It may be killing him, but not having Jim would be even worse, he’s certain.

~

Nyota finds him before class the next morning. “Leonard!”

“Don’t want to talk to you.” He bypasses her, heading to his locker.

“I’m sorry! I suck!” She jogs ahead of him, walking backwards, then lingering to the side as he retrieves his PADDs. “I suck, and I’m sorry, and just—please say I didn’t fuck everything up?”

He exhales deeply, slamming the locker door shut with a bang that makes Nyota wince. He presses his forehead to the cool metal.

Then he turns and looks at her again. “Godammit, Nyota.” He grimaces.

She stares at him, then realizes what he’s saying, in his own unique way. Her smile is like a rising dawn, and she hugs him tightly.

“You’re amazing, you know that, right?”

He pats her on the back soothingly. “I get that a lot,” he says ruefully.

~

School is about to close for Thanksgiving break when Spock makes an abrupt announcement. “I must return to Vulcan.” He looks deeply uncomfortable. “I will be gone—some time. I will, however, return to my assignment in the early part of the spring and complete my term here.”

“Ah.” Scotty is the first one to speak, because Nyota is staring, Gaila is focused on Nyota, and Pavel and Hikaru are exchanging curious looks. “Well then. Good luck to ye, then, Mister Spock.”

Nyota stands up slowly. “Can we—talk?”

Spock nods, and the two of them go outside of the library.

“Is it vrong I vish for popcorn?” Pavel asks.

Hikaru says nothing, just slaps him on the back of the head, then high-fives Leonard’s upheld hand without a word.

“Vhy do you always do zat?” the Russian boy asks, rubbing the back of his neck in irritation.

“Why do you always say exactly the wrong thing?” Hikaru counters.

“And at the wrong time?” Leonard frowns; Spock and Nyota are just visible in the windows of the library doors. He is implacable; she is angry, then shocked. He walks away as she stares, speechless. “Oh boy.”

“This can’t be good,” Gaila agrees.

Leonard sighs. “I’ll go.” He touches Gaila’s arm gently in passing, and goes out into the hallway. He thinks she must have left the building entirely, but then he pauses as he passes the restrooms.

He can hear crying.

He tilts his head heavenward. “Angels and ministers of grace defend us,” he mutters, and knocks on the door of the women’s restroom hesitantly. “Nyota?” he calls out. “Are you—uh, are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Her voice is strangled.

“The hell you say,” he says to himself. Louder, he continues, “Is anyone else in there?”

There’s a confused pause. “Huh?”

Convinced he’s an idiot, but caring too much to do otherwise, he enters the women’s restroom. Nyota stands by the sinks, one of which is still running. Her eyes are still red from crying, and she scrubs a hand under her nose.

“Do I need to beat him up?” Leonard asks. He’d meant to say it as a joke, but when the words come out he realizes it’s not, not really. If Nyota asked him to, he would.

Hell, if she asked him to do just about anything, he would.

Stupid. His heart aches. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

Nyota laughs, looking down. “Not necessary,” she says, sniffing. She forces a grin. “Really, really not.”

“Ah.” Leonard leans against the wall, as if in relief. “Good. ‘Cause that would have gone badly.”

“I doubt that.” She gives him a weak smile. “You’re stronger than you think you are.”

“Yeah. Well.” Leonard scrubs one of her tears away with his thumb. “So’re you.”

Nyota takes a deep breath, and then looks up, right into his eyes. Her own are like dark pools, and Leonard feels the old familiar pull of being drawn right into them. “I want—Leonard, I want you to make love to me. Tonight.”

It’s several heartbeats before he really makes sense of her words, and when their meaning finally penetrates his brain he just stares at her some more. “Nyota, what—?”

That’s when she kisses him.

Her lips are full on his, warm and soft. She tastes sweet, like mints and strawberries, and her body is warm against his, and—

“Oh God!” He steps back, breathing heavily. “I—you—we—what?” (Incoherence, thy name is McCoy, he will think later.) He gesticulates wildly. “Why?

To his surprise and horror, she suddenly looks like she’s about to cry all over again. “Spock,” he says numbly. He feels sort of sad and relieved all at once: sad because it’s really not about him, not after all this time, and relieved because, well, he has no idea what he’d do if she did feel something, but there’s Jim, and oh God, Jim… He blinks rapidly, trying to focus on the here and now, on his Slayer. “This has something to do with Spock.”

Nyota’s face crumples horribly and she lets out a ragged sob, and he pulls her close to him again, hugging her as she lets out an angry flood of tears. “He’s—he’s getting married,” she whimpers into his shoulder. “He didn’t tell me—how could he not tell me? And there’s this whole ritual—and when it’s over they’re going to be bonded forever and, and—” Her words stutter to a stop, and all he can do is murmur soothing noises and rub calming circles on her back.

Leonard has never really felt the urge to violence, known an anger so hot and hard it could kill, but right there, in that moment, he gets it. If the Vulcan had been there, Leonard would have thought nothing of punching him as hard as he could, Vulcan strength and Suus Mahna be damned.

“He’s an idiot, Nyota.” He pulls back, cupping her face in his hands. “He’s a stupid green hobgoblin and he’ll probably get—get Orion herpes or something.” He smiles at her, stroking her hair with one hand and rubbing tears away with the thumb of his other. “You are beautiful and brave and—and you’re kinda my hero,” he admits with an honesty that makes her giggle a little, “and if he’s left you for someone else? Consider yourself the better off. You’re too amazing to ever be anything but the most important girl for anyone, got it?”

She nods, sniffling. “If I’m so amazing, why are you saying no?”

Leonard lets out a very long sigh. “Because. There’s—there’s someone else,” he says in a rush. “And it’s just—I can’t—I’m not—”

“You’re not that kinda guy.” Nyota nods, and gives him a soft smile. She sighs—and it’s a relieved sound, too, he notes. She leans against the wall next to him. “Do you want to tell me about this mystery girl or guy?”

“Guy,” he says after a moment. “And. Well. It’s complicated.”

“Complicated,” she echoes. “God, I wish the world were less complicated.”

“I hear that.” They both stare at nothing in companionable silence. After a moment, he takes a deep breath and turns to look at her. “You ready to stop hiding in here?”

She takes a deep breath too. “No, but I should probably do it anyway.” Her voice belies a trace of impishness that reminds him of the old Nyota.

“Atta girl.” On impulse, he draws her to him and kisses her gently on the forehead.

When they part, Janice Rand has entered the bathroom and is staring at them. Her mouth is in a soundless ‘o’. “Wow,” she says, and leaves just as quickly as she came.

They stare after her. Leonard shakes his head, and gives Nyota his hand. They walk out of the bathroom together, because really, cheerleaders’ gossip has nothing on the things they have to face every damn night, anyway.

~

Spock does not join their patrol that night. All things considered, it’s probably a good thing. It’s comparatively quiet compared to recent outings, but tonight Leonard gets careless. Maybe he’s distracted, maybe he’s just tired, who knows.

Mid-fight, a vampire grabs him, and bites his neck.

It hurts like hell. And also, it—doesn’t. Somehow, he hadn’t ever thought that a vampire’s bite could be, well, a rush.

His knees go slack, and all he’s aware of, outside that odd, intimate sensation, of course, are the sounds of his friends.

Then dust is floating around him.

“Oh my God!” Nyota, horrified. “Leonard, are you okay?”

He’s on the ground, stunned and dizzy from the sudden blood loss.

“’M ‘kay,” he mumbles. He tries to make it reassuring, but clearly fails.

Why am I always the buttmonkey? he thinks irrationally as they take him back to the library. Gaila uses the sterilizer and then the dermal regenerator, healing him cleanly.

“No cookie?” he asks when she’s done, and she gives him a wan smile.

“Don’t scare us like that,” she says. “Idiot!”

He laughs, because she does a damn good imitation of him. “I’ll be more careful next time. Promise,” he adds.

“There shouldn’t be a next time.” The Slayer scowls. “You’re too valuable to lose.”

Leonard snorts. “Gee, thanks, but as you can see,” and he nods at Gaila as she puts away the med kit, “there’s nothing I can do that others can’t do as well. Okay, that sounded better in my head,” he admits when the others look appalled.

“All the same,” Nyota says, more gently now, “after a bite like that you should rest, at least for a couple of days. Scotty, can you take him home?”

“Right ye are, ma’am,” Scotty agrees with a jaunty salute.

Scotty gives him a lift home. It’s not late, and he’s not feeling up to climbing the tree, so he goes through the front door.

“Hey, Mom,” he calls out as they enter.

“Oh, Leonard! You’re home!” Mom is packing up some of Dad’s books in the living room.

“What are you doing?” Leonard asks, staring aghast.

“Well, with your break coming up, I thought we might go back to Georgia. For a while,” she adds as he continues to stare at her.

“For a while?” he echoes. “Mom, are you insane?”

“Right, I’ll be goin’ then,” Scotty murmurs, and brave man that he is, he runs like hell. “Good e’en to ye both!”

“My life is here now,” Leonard continues, almost oblivious to Scotty’s exit. “I don’t want to go back to Georgia!”

“Well I do!” And to his horror, Mom starts crying. She didn’t cry all through Dad’s funeral, but here she is now. Crying.

“Aw, Mom.” Leonard takes her in his arms, holding her carefully. She feels like porcelain made flesh, and he worries if he doesn’t get this right that she’ll shatter right there in front of him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

She nods, wiping her eyes. “Don’t be,” she says, and cups his cheeks in her hands. “You’re too young to start taking care of your parents.”

“Yeah, well. Taking care of people’s kind of what I’m meant to do, I think.” He gives her a rueful smile, and she pats his cheek lightly.

“I think I believe that, sweetie,” she says. “But you need to let others take care of you, too. Have you had dinner?”

“Not yet.” It’s a half truth, because he did eat earlier, but with his recent wound his blood sugar’s still low.

Mom replicates chopped steak and potatoes for him and makes a fresh salad while he eats it. They chat while he polishes the food off, agreeing that going back to Georgia for Christmas at least would be a change of scenery.

When he goes to his room, he feels—relieved at the quiet. Pleasantly full and sleepy.

“Hey, Bones.” Jim is lounging in his accustomed place at the window. “How’s it going?”

Leonard shakes his head and opens the window, letting him in. “Today was ridiculous, how about—what are you doing?!”

Jim has abruptly shifted into game-face, his eyes glowing a fierce, dark gold. He touches two fingers to the newly regenerated skin on Leonard’s neck. “Who was it?” he growls.

“What? No!” Leonard bats Jim’s hand away. “It was just some lucky asshat. Nyota took care of him.”

Jim relaxes, but only a little, and his game-face melts away. “Bones,” he says, very carefully, “you know, if—if you let me mark you, no other vampire would touch you.”

Leonard’s first impulse is to laugh. “What, like pee on my leg? I don’t think so, Jim.”

Jim frowns. “You know what I mean, Bones.” He licks his lips, and Leonard knows it’s something he does when he’s thinking, but just right then, it catches him off-guard.

Leonard flinches. “I think it’s a bad idea, Jim.”

“Why?” Jim’s body language is defensive. “Dammit, Bones, if it saves your life one day—”

“No! Look, just no, okay. Besides—” He breaks off, thinking uncomfortably of the strange rush he had felt earlier.

“A marking bite is different from feeding,” Jim says carefully. “I wouldn’t have to take much.”

“That? Is so less comforting than you clearly think it is,” Leonard says tiredly. “Besides, that’s just…y’know, wrong.”

Jim makes a face at him, offended now. “Explain how feeding is wrong.”

“Uh, because it’s wrong?” Leonard stares at him. “Seriously, do we even have to go into this?”

“Yeah, I think we do.” Jim’s voice is alarmingly even—reasonable even. “And no, it’s not wrong. It’s the natural order of things. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, vampires gotta drink blood.” His eyes flicker gold. “It’s not like booze or drugs or shit, it’s hamburgers to me, man. I have to eat!”

Leonard barks a laugh. “Hamburgers? Seriously?” When Jim’s expression doesn’t change, he asks, “So am I a hamburger then?” He can feel the ugliness in his words, but he doesn’t care—is maybe even glad it’s there. “When we—when we do the things we do, do you think people really do that with hamburgers?”

“It’s not a perfect metaphor,” Jim says, and Leonard snorts. “You know what I mean, man.”

Abruptly, Leonard is too tired to be angry anymore. He sits down heavily on the edge of the bed. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess I do.” He rubs the patch of new skin again. “It didn’t completely hurt,” he admits, almost embarrassed. “I didn’t—didn’t expect that.”

Jim nods. “It usually doesn’t. Believe it or not, a lot of people like getting bitten.” He sits next to Leonard, almost gingerly. “There are actually some brothels where people pay to get bitten.”

“Seriously?” Leonard tries to ignore the interest his cock is taking in this particular line of discussion.

“Seriously.” Jim bends close, his face against Leonard’s neck, a cool hand trailing down to cup his burgeoning erection. “Bones, let me do this. Please.” The begging tone in his voice is what pushes Leonard over the edge, makes him hard.

He closes his eyes. “Jim,” he murmurs, little more than an exhalation. The vampire makes a low, leonine growl as he shifts into game-face, and then his fangs are piercing his neck.

Leonard doesn’t make a sound as he comes, hard.

~

In the morning, it doesn’t look like much more than a hickey, which is, he supposes, something. But he does oversleep, which means he gets into Intermediate Vulcan with just minutes left to spare.

“Hey, Leonard,” Gaila greets him with her usual cheer. “Do you feel better today?”

He can’t repress the flush that heats up his face. “Yep,” he says shortly.

“Hey, guys, how’s it going?” Nyota slips into her seat just before the bell. She and Gaila start chatting about weekend plans, but Leonard is distracted by a random instant message that appears on his PADD.

Dude iz it tru u & NU were doin it in the girls rr?

It takes him a moment for him to parse meaning into the words, and when it does penetrate his sleep-addled brain, he looks up in horror to meet the brown-eyed glance of the kid who had called him “hick” his first day here.

“Well?” the boy asks eagerly.

“Fuck you!” Leonard says very clearly.

“Hey, what’s your problem?” the guy demands, getting out of his chair and kicking it away.

“I don’t like people talking shit about my friends.” Leonard stands up as well. “What’s yours?” He tries to remember the kid’s name, but can’t for the life of him, so he concludes with a snide, “Cupcake?”

Cupcake, or whatever his name is, punches him—or tries to, but Leonard ducks quickly. Nyota jumps in, then, grabbing the guy by the arm and twisting it behind his back.

“Whatever your problem is with my friend,” she says, “back the hell off. Now.”

“Okay, okay! Geez!” Cupcake says quickly, and Nyota lets him go.

They are, of course, called into the Principal’s office after that.

~

“I can’t believe they suspended you guys,” Gaila says that night. They decide to meet at the Bronze again, because, well, suspension before finals should totally equal clubbing, they figure. “Seriously, Cochrane High can deal with dead bodies in lockers but not fist fights?!”

“We’re taking good notes for you guys in class,” Hikaru says helpfully.

“Ugh. Don’t remind me.” Nyota puts her head down on her arms. “I don’t want to think about class. Or finals. Or—or.” She pauses. “I give up. Can you guys just wake me when I’m, like, thirty?”

“Ve could,” Pavel says helpfully, “but zhen ve vould be wery bored vithout you.”

“Mmm. Glad I’m good for something then.” The Slayer makes a face.

“Aww, you’re good for lots of things, sweetie!” Gaila hugs Nyota hard.

“Besides killing things?” The Slayer is dubious.

“Tons of things—” Hikaru starts to say, but that’s when the band stops playing mid-song, and there are shocked cries throughout the club. The crowd on the dance floor parts to reveal a dozen vamps, all in game-face.

“Though dinna get us wrong,” Scotty says quietly, “we’re big fans of you killin’ things, lass.”

“Yeah,” Nyota says darkly. “Me too.”

“We come looking for a messenger.” One of the vampires is taller than the others—comically so, even. With his deep voice, broad build, and distorted features, he reminds Leonard ever so slightly of Frankenstein. “Someone who will pass our words on to the Slayer for us, as the Master Nero failed to do.”

Nyota stands slowly, eyes searching the building, visibly starting to plan her attack. Then she pauses when an unexpected voice speaks out.

“Hey, guys.” It’s Jim. Leonard grits his teeth as the Master vampire wanders onto the floor, smirking and casually at ease. He’s even holding a beer for crying out loud. “Look, I just gotta say.” He pauses for dramatic effect. “Have you guys ever even seen a Slayer before?”

The vamps glare at him. “Who speaks?” Not-Frankenstein glowers.

“Name’s Jim Kirk.” Jim salutes him with his beer. “I’m just sayin’, you guys might want to rethink your plan here.”

“And why’s that?” This is another vampire that speaks, one who is fairly obviously a minion. “What makes you think we should care what you think?”

Jim shrugs nonchalantly. “First off, I’ve fought Slayers before. Hell, I’ve fought this Slayer. She’s good, and she’s not going to be impressed if you make a big scene tonight.”

The minion looks shocked, turning to glance at the others, but Not-Frankenstein isn’t impressed. “This matters not to our Lord Khan.” He makes a dismissive gesture. He looks around the room idly, then raises his hand.

He points at Leonard.

“That one will do,” he says.

“What—?!” Two of the minions grab Leonard by the arms and bring him into the middle of the room. Jim’s expression when he sees him is carefully neutral, but his eyes flicker gold and his grip tightens on his beer bottle.

His heart hammers as they push him to his knees on the floor, forcing him to look upwards. He has faith in his friends and in Jim that whatever happens next—well, it’ll work out.

Somehow.

One minion pulls his head back, exposing his throat. Then, to Leonard’s surprise, he pulls back, hissing.

“This one is marked!” he says. The other growls and says nothing, but takes a step back.

“What do you mean?” Not-Frankenstein sounds confused.

“It means,” Jim says, slipping into game-face, “he’s mine.” He looks around them all carefully. “Any of you guys got a problem with that, form a line.”

They stare at him. Not-Frankenstein shrugs. “Whatever.” He points at a girl in the crowd. “Her, then.”

“No!” She shrieks in terror as the vamps pull her away and bring her next to Leonard.

Not-Frankenstein speaks to Jim, but keeps his eyes on the trembling, crying girl. “Take your pet away. We have business to attend to.”

Leonard stares at the giant vampire in horror, then turns to stare at Jim.

Jim stares back at him. Then he shakes his head. “No,” he says tiredly, and at first Leonard thinks he’s talking to him.

Saying that he’s willing to let that girl die, so that Leonard can live.

“No,” he repeats. “That’s not the way this is gonna go.” He empties his beer in a long gulp, then swings it at the vampire nearest him. The bottle breaks, glass flying everywhere, but it’s enough of a distraction for a number of things to happen.

First of all, Leonard grabs the girl’s hand and pulls her away.

“Now!” Nyota, Hikaru, and Scotty run forward, using broken pool cues as stakes.

“This way! Out!” Gaila and Pavel start herding the terrified club-goers out the door hastily. “Eweryone, go, go go!”

Jim obtains a pool cue as well, using it to dust one of the fledglings. “Dude, your Deus called. He said to tell you his machina is in the shop,” he declares in satisfaction.

“That’s a lousy line, Kirk,” Nyota says.

He grins at her, dodging the onslaught of another minion. “Oh, c’mon! I thought it was pretty good!”

Not-Frankenstein remains in place, staring at the maelstrom of the fight around him. “KHAN!” he yells at the ceiling.

Jim and Nyota pause, side by side in the fight. “Were we supposed to be impressed by that?” he asks her.

“I think so,” she answers. “I’m not sure why, though.”

“Huh.” Jim shrugs, and then the pair of them take on Not-Frankenstein at once.

“Here, go.” Leonard pushes the frightened girl towards Gaila and Pavel. “Get out of here!” She runs away.

“Are you okay?” Gaila asks, but Leonard doesn’t answer, because he’s watching Jim and Nyota fight.

Together.

Not-Frankenstein is the only vampire left now, and the Slayer and vampire Master are more than his match. Nyota’s almost starting to enjoy herself, Leonard can see, her movements as graceful as they are brutal. Jim himself moves like liquid gold, a wild grin on his face, eyes glowing in the ecstasy of the fight.

In the end, the large vampire is on his knees.

“We’ve got a message for you,” Jim says.

“Go to Hell,” Nyota concludes.

They stake him with both of their weapons at once. He pauses, eyes wide, before dissipating into nothing.

Jim melts into his human visage again. “I told you to stay out of it,” he says with dry satisfaction to the pile of dust on the floor.

“Kirk!” Nyota watches him with something like amusement, still holding her pool cue up like a weapon. “You still wanna dance?”

“Not really—Hey!” he says in surprise, because the Slayer is already moving. They use their pool cues like quarterstaffs, whirling the wood about at dangerous speeds as they casually thrust and duck and whirl. “I don’t wanna fight you!” Jim laughs in amusement cut with annoyance. “I’m not your enemy here!”

“You—are—a—vampire!” Nyota answers, pushing closer. “That’s enough!”

“Nyota, wait!” Leonard calls out, but Hikaru places a restraining arm on him.

“Dude, what’s the matter—” the other boy asks, but Leonard shrugs him off.

“Stop, stop, stop!” Leonard rushes to his friends, putting himself between the Slayer and the vampire. He spreads his arms wide, like that could do—something. “You can’t—just stop!”

“Leonard, what the hell are you doing?” Nyota stares at him in bewilderment, still in her fighting stance, broken cue held up in her hand. “Get out of here!”

“Bones!” Jim hisses, low enough to barely be heard, but he starts to back away.

“Nyota, look, I can explain. Maybe.” Leonard is talking fast, the words tumbling out on their own, and as the Slayer stares at him he wishes he’d been brave enough to tell her all this ages ago. “See, the thing is—Jim’s not evil, not really. Well maybe a little bit. Mostly he’s just kind of an ass.”

Jim’s voice is very dry. “Thanks, Bones.”

“But, see, the thing is,” Leonard continues hastily, “you can’t kill him.”

“Watch me,” Nyota all but growls, stalking forward slowly.

Leonard backs up, keeping his body between her and Jim—which is hard because Jim keeps edging away to the side, not liking the mortal’s body between the two enemies any more than, well, Leonard does. “No!” he all but yells, and both the Slayer and the vampire pause. He takes a deep breath and looks into his friend’s eyes appealingly. “I love him.”

His words are quiet, but they ring throughout the room anyway. He’s very aware of all his friends staring at him, but mostly he’s aware of Nyota. The Slayer stares at him as if she can’t believe what she’s just heard. “What?” Her voice is soft, just above a whisper. To his dismay, her lip curls up in disgust. “What did you just say?”

Leonard swallows, lowering his arms slowly. “I said I love him. So.”

“You…love…him,” Nyota repeats slowly, as if hardly believing it as she walks towards him. She stops when they are inches apart, looking up into his face with disbelief. “You…love…a vampire.”

“Yeah,” he says, exhaling heavily. He stares down at his friend, all but begging her to understand. “I do.”

She slaps him.

It’s hard, and it hurts, but he knows she was restraining her Slayer strength. Nonetheless: “Ow!” He rubs his jaw carefully. “What was that for—” he starts, but he just has time to hear a loud growl and then Jim has somehow pushed him out of the way and knocked Nyota back. The Slayer flies through the air, hitting the ground hard.

You stay away from him!” Jim growls, already in game-face again in his fury.

“Hey!” Leonard turns to Jim now. “Nyota’s my friend, remember! The hell, Jim?”

“Sorry, Bones—” Jim starts, flickering back into his human visage.

“No!” Leonard’s heart is beating so fast he feels dizzy. “You just—you can’t hurt my friends. That’s not the way it works!”

Nyota gets to her feet, rubbing her arm where she hit it as she fell. Leonard hurries to her, trying to look at it.

“I think it might be broken,” she says, hissing softly.

“We should go back to the library,” he says, exploring it tentatively with his fingers. “We’ll need the osteo-regenerator.”

“Bones—” Jim says again.

“Go away, Jim.” Leonard can’t look at him right now, he just—he can’t. “You don’t get it. Just—just go away.”

“Right. Right, Bones.” Leonard looks up; there’s something—odd—in Jim’s voice, something he’s never heard before. “I don’t get it. Right.” And he walks away.

~

Later, Leonard will think that’s when he should have followed him, but he doesn’t. Instead, he ignores the odd, creeping feeling he has.

He instead goes back to the library with his friends. He heals their cuts and bruises, their breaks and wounds.

No one asks about Jim, not yet. Not even Nyota.

Especially not Nyota.

Jim doesn’t come to his house that night, either. Or the next night. Or the next.

Leonard waits a week.

That’s when he can’t handle the wait anymore. He takes the bus to Berkeley, and finds Jim’s apartment.

The door is unlocked.

He walks inside, cautiously. “Hello?” he calls. “Jim?”

It’s empty.

Well, almost.

He goes upstairs. On the bed is a chain with a badge on it. MEDICAL ALERT! PENICILLIN ALERGY!

“Oh, Jim,” he mutters, picking the little thing up. “Where are you?”

~

You have passed many tests. We are impressed.

Jim coughs, spitting out blood. “Glad to hear it.” He spits again, then rubs bruised knuckles under his nose gingerly. “’M I done now?”

You are. That which was taken from you shall be returned.

A warm feeling suffuses him in the chest, radiating outwards to the rest of his body. It kind of tingles a little—ticklish, really.

“What?” Jim mutters, but then he’s quickly overcome by the pain as the warmth turns burning.

Your soul.

Jim screams, and doesn’t stop for what seems to be a very long time.

Next

Comments

( 4 comments — Add your .02 )
badwolf36
May. 17th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
Not finished with the fic yet, but HAD to comment on this bit: Jim obtains a pool cue as well, using it to dust one of the fledglings. “Dude, your Deus called. He said to tell you his machina is in the shop,” he declares in satisfaction.

I laughed so freaking hard at this. =D
rachelmorph
May. 17th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Gah. Just.... gah. I really love you right now.
blcwriter
May. 18th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH.
karmic_fic
May. 26th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

so excited SOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!
( 4 comments — Add your .02 )

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