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Heaven is Bloodless, Part Two



Masterpost

They return to their townhouse in the early hours of the morning. Jim goes straight to bed, but Leonard runs a bath for himself, glad that the place is equipped with both Tiberian faucets and a mechanism for hot water: Pavel had been waiting up for them, all but drooping into a seat in the foyer, and Jim had sent the boy to his rest with a quiet word. Leonard himself feels anything but restful as he strips off his clothing, reeking of smoke and stained with blood and booze.

The water is very hot, and he slips into it with a sigh of relief. The heat is soothing to tense muscles and frayed nerves, and he closes his eyes to duck beneath the surface. This involves pulling his body inward a bit; it’s much smaller than the one back home.

Home, he thinks with rueful satisfaction. Before Jim, “home” was one of the great Houses of the Night Court, and he was one of two dozen Servants of Naamah contracted to Balm House. After Jim, well, Leonard was a free man, and “home” became wherever Jim was: at the country estate, here, Komack’s own court—wherever Jim was, Leonard followed.

And he still would—hell, he was willing to change continents to remain at the kid’s side. While he could see in Jim’s eyes that affection, that desire there, something else was hiding beneath it like a lingering fear. Leonard had thought it was gone—long gone, actually, but apparently not.

Leonard surfaces again. “Thou and no other,” he murmurs. He’s not sure what it will take to restore Jim to the man he knows, the man he was always meant to be, but he’s damn sure he’s going to find out.

~

Much later that morning, when the sun is well placed in the sky, Jim asks Pavel, Hikaru, and Scotty to join them in the study. The three men stand before Jim’s wide desk, where he sits at his ease with pen and paper. Well, with feigned ease; Leonard stands behind him, arms crossed, and knows he is one of the few people who can read Jim like a book, knows that Jim is actually deeply unhappy right now.

“Gentlemen,” Jim says, “I’m not sure how to say this.” This is a lie, actually; from his even words, Leonard knows his consort has practiced this speech a half dozen times. “Bones and I are being—well, we have business abroad, let me put it that way. I have written letters of introduction for you all, so that you can—Pavel, are you crying?” He breaks off, genuinely shocked.

N-nyet,” Pavel denies, but his face is pale and his eyes shine suspiciously. Hikaru takes a step closer to him, putting an arm around him consolingly; they all know, of course, that the two have been lovers for a half year gone, but this is the first time they’ve openly displayed their alliance. “It’s just—just—”

Jim’s tone is very gentle. “You’re not in trouble, Pavel—no one is. I just thought you would prefer employment elsewhere. I’m not certain when we’ll be back,” he concludes honestly.

“Er.” Scotty steps forward, bobbing his head. “Beggin’ yer pardon, sir, but, well, why aren’t we comin’ with ye?”

Jim blinks, and Leonard bites the inside of his cheek. Jim has always had a unique habit of underestimating how much his men care for him, genuinely. “Well,” he says slowly, “I guess—I guess I figured you would want to stay here. We’re going to Terra Nova. It’s going to be difficult, if not outright dangerous,” he continues bluntly. “I don’t—you know what happened to Pike and his men. I don’t want the same to happen to you.”

Hikaru frowns. “Duke, permission to speak freely?”

Jim’s mouth quirks upwards slightly. “If you’re gonna speak your mind you should call me Jim. Go ahead.”

“Duke—Jim.” Hikaru takes a breath, then puts his hands on the shoulders of both men flanking him. “I think I speak for all three of us when I say that, if you’ll have us, we’d like to come with you.” Scotty and Pavel both nod emphatically in agreement, so he continues. “We can be helpful with, well, with whatever it is you’re facing. And if it’s even half as bad as you seem to think it might be, then you should go into it with us at your side. Sirs,” he concludes with a formal nod to both Jim and Leonard himself.

“He has a point,” Leonard can’t help but add. Jim shoots him an irritated glance which softens as he takes in the patent sincerity of his men.

“You all really want to come with us?” he asks them.

Da!”

“Yes!”

“Aye!”

“I—” Leonard starts, but Jim cuts him off.

“Don’t say ‘I told you so’, Bones, there’s only so much I can take.” Jim exhales in mock-annoyance which doesn’t quite conceal how touched he is by this display of loyalty. “Alright, fine, you can all come, just—just don’t say I didn’t warn you, okay?”

~

With typical ease, Pavel, Scotty, and Hikaru make the arrangements for packing and travel. Seemingly overnight the innards of their comfortable home are dismantled, either packed for the journey or covered for storage. Leonard McCoy nó Balm looks at the nearly empty room that was once his dispensary and is surprised to feel—nothing.

No, that’s not quite right. He’s anxious—Leonard has never been fond of traveling, and the idea of spending months on a small wooden vessel in the great expanse of sea with nothing for miles and miles around fills him with almost physical foreboding—but more than anything, he wants for Jim to be something like his old self. He had thought, perhaps foolishly, that Jim Kirk had vanquished the ugly memories of Nero, that his bitterness at fate’s hand was assuaged. Over the last several months, however, it has become increasingly clear that this is not so—that in fact, it may never come to pass.

Leonard hopes he is wrong.

These last few days have seen a change in his consort, however: the blue eyes are brighter at the prospect of adventure, and the rediscovery of Sam Kirok has freed something within Jim—though Leonard does wish Jim would just tell the man their relationship rather than holding it within himself like a dragon’s hoard.

“Penny for your thoughts, Bones?” Leonard startles at Jim’s voice, warm and damp in his ear. Arms lace around his waist, pulling him close, and Leonard leans back into the embrace.

“Don’t think they’re worth even that much, darlin’,” Leonard answers with careful lightness. “Just—makin’ sure everything I need is already packed. I don’t imagine there’ll be all that much opportunity in New Londinium if I forget somethin’.” He represses a shudder at the thought.

“It’s Terra Nova, not the end of the world. Okay, so it’s the edge of the known world,” Jim admits when Leonard glares at him, “that’s what makes it exciting!” And Jim is excited; he’s all but vibrating at the prospect of going where few and none have gone before. “Cartographers estimate less than a tenth of Terra Nova has been explored—just think of it, Bones! New people, new civilizations—”

“New diseases, new danger,” Leonard counters. He eyes Jim up and down. “New opportunities for damn fool dukes to get into trouble…”

“Thanks for the support.” Jim’s voice is very dry.

“You know what I mean—” Leonard is interrupted when Jim kisses him.

“It’ll be okay, Bones,” Jim says gently. “I promise.”

Leonard hopes it’s true.

~

“I hate you.” Bones’s voice is surprisingly venomous. Jim would be worried if they weren’t perched in the rigging, a good fifty feet above the rest of the ship, the sturdy vessel called the Enterprize. “I hate you so much, Jim.”

“I love you, too, Bones,” Jim says lightly. He laughs, pointing into the distance. “Look, see that?”

Bones makes a sound someplace between a groan and a frustrated growl.

“Whales,” Jim says when his consort says nothing. “We saw them sometimes when I was growing up. On the galleys, we always said they were good luck.”

“We’ll need it if this storm doesn’t lighten up,” Bones drawls mutinously. He looks pale, almost green.

Jim doesn’t have the heart to tell him that this is perfect weather.

“Yeah, let’s get you back down to the deck,” he says quickly. “C’mon, you.” Jim spins a length of rope about his waist, then up and over his arm, before grabbing Bones securely. He rappels them down to the deck quickly, to the surprised hoots of the crew. Just in time, too, as Bones hurries to the side of the ship and loses the meager contents of his stomach.

Again.

“Your friend—is it the height or the motion that is his undoing?” The man who asks is a fellow passenger, no doubt one of the grave-looking Yeshuites that make up most of the travelers aboard.

“A little of column A, a little of column B,” Jim answers. He cocks his head to the side, studying the man: he is middle-aged, with a long beard and elaborately curled locks. His clothing is sober, though there’s a purple swatch about his collar. Jim places his palms together and bows. “I am honored to be in the presence of a learned man, my Father,” he greets in formal, fluid Yeshuite.

The Rebbe chuckles. “As am I, my son,” he says in the same language. He nods back, continuing in D’Angeline. “I am called David.”

“Jim Kirk nó Pike,” Jim says with a grin. When Bones makes an exceptionally ragged sound nearby, he introduces the other man. “And Leonard McCoy nó Balm.” Jim winces in empathy at the distressing sounds of continued regurgitation. “My consort,” he adds.

Rebbe David clucks his tongue. “My, my, my,” he says. “Poor lad.” He searches his pockets for something, then locates it. He walks purposefully to Bones, grabs him by the collar, and pops the object into the other man’s jaw.

“Uh—“ Jim says.

“Umf?!” says Bones.

“Crystallized ginger,” says the Rebbe. He looks pleased with himself. “Cures common nausea.”

Bones turns greener still, then leans back over the side of the ship. Out goes the ginger, and everything else Bones has left.

“Yeah,” Jim drawls at the Rebbe’s dismay. “We need somethin’ a little stronger.”

“Mayhap. Try this, my son.” The Rebbe removes a small flask from the interior of his robes and hands it to Bones.

Bones unstoppers it, sniffing briefly to ascertain its contents. Whatever it is he evidently approves, as he gives the Rebbe a short salute before taking a mouthful. “I thank you, good Father,” he says in shaky Yeshuite, passing it back.

Rebbe David offers the flask to Jim, then. He sniffs it curiously, then laughs as he identifies the whiskey. “I wish it were the hair of the dog,” Bones says ruefully as Jim takes a polite swallow himself.

The idiom doesn’t quite translate into Yeshuite, but the Rebbe chuckles as he puts the flask away once more. It disappears from their sight as quickly as it appeared. “Not one, but two D’Angeline quicktongues!” He appraises them frankly, but in good humor. “I had not expected this thing when I awoke this morning! It is said D’Angelines seldom fair far from home—how come you on this journey?”

“It’s a long story,” Jim says, forcing a smile as he notices a few of the sailors looking at them curiously. Though Kirok’s ship had made port at Marsilikos, none of her crew were D’Angeline; in fact, the majority of them seemed to be Alban.

“Do you think they are putas?” one sailor asks another in a pidjin of Aragonian and Tiberian. Jim keeps his expression mild as he overhears them talk. They have no reason to think he can understand their tongue clearly—and he’d as soon keep it that way.

“Aren’t they all?” one of his fellows answers. “D’Angelines! It’s a way of life there.”
Jim supposes it’s technically true, if not in the exact fashion the men are accustomed to think of it. Nonetheless he feels—well, foul at their words, and the red heat of anger flows through him. You’ve lived in Terre d’Ange too long, Jim, he scolds himself mentally. But for happenstance and the Duke Pike, you would think no differently than they.

That’s cold comfort, though, and he’s glad Bones doesn’t know what they are saying.

“You look as if you had been born on a ship, my son,” the Rebbe says to him, and Jim forces another easy, confident smile.

“Something like that,” he says, just as Pavel runs up to them, skidding ever so slightly as the deck shifts under their feet in time with the waves.

“Duke Kirk! Duke Kirk!” the young man calls out eagerly. “Vhales! Vhales, did you see—oh!” He halts uncertainly as he catches the flicker of surprise over the Rebbe’s features.

“Relax, son,” Bones says. He still looks a bit green around the gills, but either the whiskey worked or he’s putting on a helluva show for Pavel’s benefit.

“Rebbe David,” Jim says in D’Angeline for Pavel’s benefit, “this is one of our companions, Pavel Chekov.”

“Muscovite?” the Rebbe asks Pavel, who nods in response. “It is a pleasure to meet you as well, my boy,” he says in that tongue, and Pavel blinks in surprise before grinning like mad, all but tripping over himself to inundate the man with good wishes and inquiries as to his homeland. Luckily Rebbe David takes it with good humor, as he seems to take most things.

“C’mon, Pav, leave the Duke alone, he’s busy!” Hikaru calls out from where he and Scotty are standing on a higher level, looking out over sea as their homeland grows smaller in the distance.

“Aye, aye!” Pavel answers, cheerfully imitating some of the Alban sailors, who laugh good naturedly. He gives a short bow to the three of them, then runs off to rejoin his friends.

“He’s a spirited lad, is he not?” The Rebbe beams after him, before turning to Jim. “Your servant?”

“A member of my household,” Jim says, just as Bones answers, “Family.” They exchange a look, nodding in accord. Jim does wish that the single word didn’t fill him with that protective anxiety so familiar to him after what happened to Pike.

Luckily, the Rebbe doesn’t choose to question them further. Instead, he eyeballs them with fascination as if coming to a decision. “You have a wandering heart,” he says to Jim with surprising aplomb. “I see it in your eyes.”

You could be a scion of Azza, with eyes like that. One of the first things Bones had said to him—and the Duke Pike as well.

“I get that a lot,” Jim says dryly.

“I don’t,” Bones says acerbically.

“And now the priest is talking to them,” one sailor continues to the other in their shared tongue. “You think he’s going to convert him like the heathens?”

“Are you immigrating?” Rebbe David wants to know. “Or do you travel for pleasure?”

All knowledge is worth having. Jim keeps his eyes on the Rebbe’s face, even as he continues to listen to the men talking nearby.

“Much luck may it bring him, if so,” says the other sailor. “I’ve never heard of a D’Angeline converting to anything, but I suppose anything is possible.”

“It’s a personal matter,” Bones says diplomatically, and Jim looks up as a shadow crosses his path. Captain Sam Kirok is on the upper deck, surveying them all—but his sharp gaze is focused on Jim in particular.

~

The passengers share a common space within the vessel for meals. That night, a less green-tinged Bones accompanies Jim to dinner. He’s not sure where Pavel, Hikaru, and Scotty got to, but presumably they are keeping themselves entertained.

“You’re settling in well,” Jim tells him, and Bones rolls his eyes.

“It’s that or leave my guts all over the deck,” Bones says darkly. “I’ve no choice!”

“Ah! Friend Kirk! Over here!” Rebbe David waves his arm, gesturing for them to join them. He sits with a young couple who must be his family.

“Good e’en, my Father,” Jim says politely as he slips onto the bench opposite them. “You remember Leonard?”

“You look much improved, my son,” the Rebbe says to Bones heartily. “My heart rejoices for you and your companion.”

“I thank you,” Bones says politely. He smiles at the others seated with them. “Hello.”

“This is my nephew, Ibrahim,” the Rebbe introduces them, “and his wife, Rebekah.”

“Peace be with you,” Jim says. “I am Jim Kirk nó Pike, and this is my consort, Leonard McCoy nó
Balm.”

Rebekah frowns, her brow furrowed in confusion. “Consort?” she echoes. Her accent is thick, most likely Muscovite—like Pavel. “Vhat zis mean?”

Ibrahim’s mouth is twisted in distaste. “They are lovers,” he answers her in Yeshuite. “The D’Angelines recognize such—partnerships.”

Rebekah’s jaw drops, and she stares at them in shock.

“My nephew—” the Rebbe starts, but Jim cuts him off.

“He is as my husband,” Jim says brightly to Rebekah in fluent Muscovite. Turning to Ibrahim, he continues, “I love him very much.” And with that, he kisses Bones on the cheek—chastely, but one that nonetheless elicits a gasp from the two younger Yeshuites. Bones quirks an eyebrow at him in bemusement, unable to follow the content of the discussion but clearly getting the gist of it. “Now then, shall we move on to other topics, or break bread in peace?”

Spots of color burn on Ibrahim’s cheeks, but the Rebbe chuckles. “I say we break bread,” he says jovially in D’Angeline. “I am the elder, and it is my right. Now stop gawping, I assume you would prefer something in your belly besides flies, my Ibrahim.”

~

“Was that really necessary?” Bones asks later, when they are in their cabin again.

“No,” Jim admits, “but—“ He breaks off and shrugs. “It made me feel better.”
Bones smiles, shaking his head. “We’re not in Terre d’Ange, darlin’, and won’t be for a while yet. So.” He flops down on their bunk, holding his arm out invitingly. Jim joins him, allowing himself to be pulled close; listens to the comforting sound of the healer’s heartbeat, as firm and regular as a drum.

“How come I’m more bothered than you are?” Jim asks ruefully. “I grew up on a Tiberian galley, I know how most of the world views—men like us.”

Bones snorts. “Men like us, huh.” He speaks in a low, husky drawl, and Jim feels himself rouse with interest. Bones captures the lacings to Jim’s tunic in his teeth, drawing the linen string back to undo it, and the garment falls open. He licks a teasing trail down Jim’s exposed chest and stomach.

“Bones!” The affectionate nickname is as much of a plea for more as it is a soft moan of delight.

“Hush, Jim.” Bones slips off the bed with astonishing grace, falling to his knees while his
long, nimble fingers start plucking at the ties to Jim’s breeches. Jim exhales softly as his cock is freed, then inhales sharply as Bones takes him into his mouth.

Jim is a master at the art of languisement. Bones is a healer first and foremost, but he too was born to Naamah, and Jim feels Her grace settle over them like a warm blanket as his consort practices Her art.

“Oh, Bones,” he mutters again, a trembling sigh as Bones swirls his tongue over the head. Dark hazel eyes peer up at him from beneath thick lashes, and on another that same look would be coquettish, but on Bones it is as sincere as it is intense. He seeks Jim’s pleasure as whole-heartedly as another would seek his own, taking him in deeper still. “Bones!” Bones works him with a gentle, thorough skill, and afterwards he returns the favor with enthusiasm.

When they are both sated, they lie together in the dark. Jim’s head is cushioned on Bones’s arm; his consort smells salty, of sea and sex, and Jim loves it.

“Thank you for coming with me, Bones,” he mutters when he thinks the other man is asleep. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Bones is awake, and he pulls Jim closer to him yet. “Yeah, well, it won’t happen, so don’t worry about it.”

Jim chuckles and squeezes him tightly, and they sleep.

~

The voyage lasts several weeks. Jim chats with the Rebbe David, and sometimes to the other passengers, but mostly he listens.

The Yeshuites discuss plans for their settlements, and practice reading sermons to convert the ‘heathen’ people native to those shores. The most numerous group appears to be a tribe called the Algonquin, who are at least peaceful if not quite welcoming to the groups of white settlers encroaching on their land.

The sailors bandy stories about the natives, and discuss the merits of Aragonian pistolas and fusiles—and putas too, of course.

“Native women are almost as free as D’Angelines,” one of the Tiberians says eagerly. “I can’t wait—” And then it devolves from there. Jim restrains the urge to punch the man who speaks.

“Are you alright, Jim?” Bones asks, brow furrowed.

“Yeah,” Jim says, exhaling. Without thinking, he gives his consort a kiss, and tries not to feel all the eyes on them.

In particular, those of Sam Kirok.

After all these years of wondering what happened to his brother, to be this close to him and this far away all at once—Jim is struck by uncharacteristic indecision.

“Just tell him, you idiot,” Bones says impatiently one night as they make ready for bed. “Soonest done, soonest mended, and all that.”

“Easier said than done,” Jim mutters under his breath, but he knows the man is right. All the same, he can’t quite bring himself to do it—not yet.

Hikaru and Scotty spend the better part of the voyage with the sailors. Sensing a keen interest in their work, some of the Aragonians become noticeably friendlier towards the D’Angelines as the men take this or that small chore, always carefully supervised. On an exceptionally clear day, the first mate, a man called Mitchell, allows Hikaru a stretch at the ship’s wheel at her helm.

“Just keep ‘er steady, lad,” Mitchell stays, standing just to Hikaru’s side in case. “Straight and steady as she goes.” The wheel is large, almost half the size of a man, and for a moment Jim wonders if Hikaru has the strength to bear it upright. But the man does so, though beads of sweat gather at his brow.

After a few moments, some of the nearby men start to whistle and applaud, and a soft, slow smile spreads across Sulu’s features.

“Well done, lad,” Mitchell says in admiration. “Are ye well?”

Hikaru moves a step over, allowing the other man to take his place. “For the moment. I’ll be back though.” He grins, and Jim knows the man is feeling the call of the sea.

He might know something about that himself.

“Ye know, I’ve an idea about how we could sharpen the frame—” Scotty’s voice is thoughtful and enthused, as always.

“I’d not known you and yours would be so keen for the ship’s way of life.” It’s Kirok—Sam, he corrects himself mentally. The ship’s Captain lounges nearby, half lost in the shadow cast by the cabin nearby. “Is it so boring as all that?”

Yes, Jim wants to say, because, frankly it is. “Between honest labor and cards, I’d as soon my men work as suits them,” he says instead, and it’s an honest enough answer.

“Your healer earns his keep, that’s for sure,” Kirok says. Indeed, most days Bones at least has some minor wound to take care of; ship’s work isn’t always a perilous business, but it wasn’t without its share of hurts either. In fact, a sufficient number of the men aboard are either awed by or just plain scared of the healer that the speculations on their relationship has dropped to almost nothing.

That, or they just have better things to do, like run the ship.

“He’s one of the most gifted healers I’ve ever seen,” Jim says honestly. “There are few like him, even in the temples of Eisheth.”

“Mmm.” Kirok makes a thoughtful noise. “So he’s not Yeshuite then, himself? He speaks the tongue well enough, it seems.”

Bones speaks Yeshuite like he has a mouthful of marbles, but Jim doesn’t say that. “Yeshuites are among the best healers,” he says instead. “He studied with them for a time after he made his Marque.”

Kirok frowns at that. “So, it’s true then? All D’Angelines are wh—”

“No,” Jim interrupts firmly. “He and I have both been Servants of Naamah in our time, but none of our other companions have been. And we’re free now,” he adds pointedly.

“Is that why you’re going to Terra Nova?” When Jim says nothing, he continues. “A Duke, a Healer, and three men. Sounds like a bad joke.”

They stare at one another, then simultaneously laugh, if uneasily. “Maybe,” Jim says. “Maybe it is all a bad joke.”

Kirok gives him another pointed look, and Jim meets his gaze, willing him to remember, but instead, he says nothing. The Captain nods at him, and returns to his business.

Thus are their days spent.

And at night, Jim dreams.

Spock is disapproving. “Was that really necessary, Jim?” he asks. “Must you always—display—your predilections so avidly?”

“I thought it was sweet, actually.” Nyota grins. She sits in her accustomed place on the red
chaise lounge in Pike’s study, playing her lyre. Jim recognizes the song as an old Tiberian
counting tune, one he had learned as a boy—one he had, in fact, taught Nyota himself. “
Uno, dues, tres Romani, quattor, quinque, sex Romani,” she sings softly to her instrument, “Steptem, octem, novem Romani, et decem Romani!” before continuing in D’Angeline to the men. “Besides, Leonard needs reassurance like that, and you know it.”

“I do not follow, my love.” Spock’s expression is quizzical, and dressed as he is in the deep purple robe he was accustomed to wearing to bed, he looks more austere than ever.

“I always took more joy in Naamah’s Service than he,” Jim answers dryly. “But still, he is my consort—”

“And you are still the Duke’s man, and thus the King’s,” Nyota points out tranquilly. “He worries about what this means.”

“Where is Chris, by the way?” Jim frowns, because he
should be here.

“He is outside in the garden, with Sam,” Spock answers. He slips his robe off his shoulders, sitting at a brazier on the floor. His marque is displayed, the ink dark on his pale skin: the dark blue petals of a gentian rosette, with a moon at their nucleus. It is a sign for seers. Spock closes his eyes, inhaling the scented smoke deeply. “Be wary, Jim,” he says carefully. “Be wary.”


Jim wakes up in an instant, eyes wide open. Their cabin has no windows, so it’s impossible to know what hour of day it is. But something feels different, and he recognizes it immediately. He sits up.

Bones is still half caught in slumber. Without opening his eyes, he asks, “Whazzit, Jim?”

“The ship,” Jim says. “We’re here. We’ve reached Terra Nova.”

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