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"fingerprints of forgotten memories"

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Jun. 21st, 2009 | 05:32 pm
mood: sore

Title: fingerprints of forgotten memories [1/4]
Fandom: Star Trek XI.
Characters: everyone, with focus on Kirk and McCoy.
Word Count: 6718
Rating: 12(ish)
Summary: “Jim presses his palm to his forehead, because suddenly there’s just a big fuzzy blip where the name of the planet used to be.” Mistakes that aren’t mistakes can snowball into something else entirely. Kirk/Bones.
Warnings: non-explicit/referenced date rape, language
Notes: written for this prompt on st_xi_kink. Sequel(ish) to sealed by a fragile touch. The [1/4] is provisional. :D

fingerprints of forgotten memories

The bar is hot, crowded and noisy, with the lights dimmed and something that’s bright purple and highly intoxicating virtually on tap. There are males, females and others from virtually every species Jim has ever even heard about thronged on the dance floor – and then several he’s completely unfamiliar with. One girl (or at least he thinks it’s a girl) in particular he can’t quite take his eyes off – not because of any carnal urges on his part, more because of the fact that there are tentacles, and some them have eyes the size of dinner plates on the ends.

Jim props his elbows on the table. Fascinated, he watches as one of those tentacles (one without an eye, which he thinks might be quite fortunate) smacks Lieutenant Faraday from navigation on the ass. The Lieutenant jumps with surprise, and the tentacled girl (he’s going to call it a girl for now, unless he’s proved wrong in the foreseeable future) lets out a gurgle which he thinks is an amused laugh.

Sitting beside him in their booth, Bones shakes his head. “Risa,” he says, and Jim doesn’t miss the scepticism in his voice.

He leans back. “Lighten up, Bones,” he answers teasingly. “It’s just shore leave.”

Bones snorts, and settles his shoulder against Jim’s. “You’re not the one who has to treat the entire crew for STDs when we leave,” he remarks sharply.

Jim laughs, because he can tell Bones isn’t really pissed – if he was, there’d be a lot more of the cold shoulder and stomping out of the bar to lurk in the early spring cold outside. “It’s only been a week,” he points out, “and we’re leaving tomorrow. Let them have some fun.” There’s a peculiarly-masculine yelp from the dance floor, and Jim doesn’t even have to look – he just smirks. “You never know. Faraday might get lucky with tentacle-girl over there.”

Bones’ eyebrow twitches upward, and Jim fights the urge to comment that he looks like Spock when he does that. “I’m fairly sure that’s a male, Jim,” he answers dryly, and points.

Jim looks, and feels his cheeks warm. “Yeah, well.” He looks away again. “Who knew Faraday swung that way, huh?”

Bones gives him a look that clearly says, Quit being a moron, kid. “You’re incorrigible.”

Jim stretches, and pats Bones’ thigh. “It’s been said,” he answers, and doesn’t move his hand away.

It’s been a good few days of shore leave, actually, despite Bones’ grumblings. Jim’s been up to Enterprise a couple of times, just to keep an eye on everyone, and the crew are certainly more relaxed – and, contrary to Bones’ doom-mongering expectations, no one’s shown up to Sickbay pregnant yet. They’re due to leave orbit at oh-eight-hundred tomorrow, and crew have to be back aboard by oh-six-hundred, but Jim’s figuring they can have a last night of carousing in Risa’s many, many bars. Not that he’s seen many of those many, many bars – he’s just become very, very familiar with the inside of his and Bones’ hotel room.

He feels his cheeks grow warm, and if it weren’t for the dim light he knows Bones would be laughing at him. Jim Kirk, blushing? What is the universe coming to?

Jim glances back over to the dance floor, and he snorts out a laugh when he sees Faraday dancing with the tentacled boy-girl – and, apparently, having a fairly good time. That won’t end well, he thinks wryly, and figures he’ll hang around for a while, and make sure the young Lieutenant (who’s older than him, he knows, but still) doesn’t get in over her head. Jim glances back to Bones, but the explanation and Well I’ll be damned dies on his lips when he sees the tightness in Bones’ expression. His stomach twists, and he pushes himself up straight. “Hey. Bones. You okay?” He reaches for Bones’ hand under the line of the table, and his fingers are cold.

Bones shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “It’s just...” He trails off awkwardly, and squeezes Jim’s hand. “People,” he says finally, an embarrassed hunch to his shoulders.

“You wanna leave?” Jim asks softly, barely audible over the laughter and conversation, and Faraday could be doing the nasty on the dance floor with tentacle-thing right now for all he cares. Bones doesn’t answer, but he tenses as a burst of laughter comes from a group of Andorians near the bar. That’s a yes, Jim thinks, and tugs Bones out of the booth. “C’mon,” he says, and guides Bones through the noise to the exit.

Bones grips his hand and doesn’t let go.

The brisk air bites at Jim’s cheeks the moment they get outside, and he nods to the orange-skinned guy who he assumes is the bar’s bouncer. The bouncer nods back, and crosses his arms across his chest. The bar they’d picked that evening is situated on one of Risa’s quieter streets – that coupled with the chill in the air ensures that there’s only a couple of vacationers out here. “Jim,” Bones protests weakly as he’s dragged around the corner.

Jim pauses once they’re out of sight—giving them at least the illusion of privacy—and rests his other hand on Bones’ hip. “Better?” he asks.

“I’m the doctor, Jim – I think I should be the one asking that,” Bones grouses, but his fingers tighten around Jim’s and his free hand slides around to take up its customary position at the back of Jim’s neck. Jim knows that’s the closest he’s going to get to a thank you.

He smiles crookedly. “Good,” he says. “You want to go back to the hotel?”

Bones shakes his head, and in the starlight he looks tired. “No,” he answers. “Scotty’s already beamed up our stuff, Jim. I’ll just go back to the ship, get some sleep. I’m on alpha shift tomorrow, anyway.” He releases Jim’s hand and rests his palm against the soft fabric of Jim’s black shirt. “You stay here. Keep an eye on Faraday and the others.”

Jim frowns. “Are you—”

“Jim,” Bones interrupts, and looks at him sternly. “Your crew needs someone to keep an eye on them. And if you come back with me, I’ll end up getting no sleep because you’re a horny bastard.” Jim puts on his most lascivious grin, and Bones rolls his eyes. “Point proved.”

Jim laughs. “If you’re sure.”

“Just don’t get too drunk.”

“Would I ever?”

Bones snorts out a laugh, and his fingers stroke absently at the back of Jim’s neck. “Sorry,” he says softly, something serious and quiet slipping into his tone, and Jim’s fingers tighten instinctively on Bones’ hip, because he knows that voice. “It’s been three months. I shouldn’t be—”

Jim cuts him off with a gentle kiss. “Bones. It’s fine, really. There’s nothing wrong with getting freaked out once in a while.” Bones huffs—a sign that he’s distinctly not convinced—so Jim tugs him closer, and the heat of his lover’s body makes him smirk. “I mean it,” he murmurs, and slides his hand from Bones’ hip round to rest on the doctor’s ass.

It’s not too dark for him to miss Bones’ why-me? expression, or the barely imperceptible quirk of his lips. “Jim,” he says. “We are not doing this here, no— Hey! Leave my ass alone.”

Jim laughs, and squeezes again.

Bones growls, deep in his throat. “You’re a fuckin’ tease, Jim Kirk,” he says, and kisses him firmly.

Jim grins into the kiss, and bites at Bones’ lower lip, sucking it in between his teeth. Bones gives a shuddering groan, and suddenly Jim finds himself with a wall at his back and Bones’ hand gripping his ass. It’s surprise more than anything else that makes him echo Bones’ guttural moan, and the chill of the night is forgotten as he slips his thigh in between Bones’ legs.

Bones tugs away, and Jim is pleased to note that he’s breathing hard. “Damnit, Jim,” he says, but there’s no anger behind the words.

Jim grins, and wipes his lips. “Going so soon, Bones?” he asks.

Bones runs a hand through his hair—which really doesn’t do much to make him look presentable, Jim thinks, considering the crimson flush in his cheeks and the bruised redness of his lips—and grapples his communicator out of his pocket. He pauses, and flashes Jim a smile. “You’ll be okay?”

It’s Jim’s turn to roll his eyes as he straightens his shirt and jeans. “I’ll be fine, Bones. I’ll see you at oh-six-hundred, okay?”

Bones smiles slightly, and tips his head to one side. “If you come back with some alien STD, Jim—”

Bones,” Jim stresses, and tries not to laugh. “I’ll swing by Sickbay when I get back, okay? You can check me over all you like.” And, really, he doesn’t intend that last part to sound quite as insinuating as it does – but hey. He’s not complaining.

Bones mutters something under his breath, and then flips his communicator open. “McCoy to transporter room. One to beam up.” Jim gives him a jaunty wave as the white lights swirl around him, and Bones manages a final eye-roll before he disappears off to Enterprise.

Jim’s smile slips, and he leans back against the wall. He’d forgotten Bones’ sudden dislike of crowded places and confined spaces—a by-product of seven months alone on a desert world, he knows, which is his fault, too—and he can’t quite believe that he just dragged him to some dark, crowded bar. The after-panic distraction (namely Jim’s favourite distraction: sex) is all well and good, but he can’t quite believe that he let that slip his mind.

He smacks the flat of his hand into the wall behind him, and bites his lip.

“Sir? You alright?”

Jim glances back to the street, and the same orange-skinned bouncer from outside the bar is standing silhouetted against the street lighting. He pushes off the wall and smoothes his shirt down self-consciously. “Yeah,” he answers, padding towards the other man.

“Your friend okay?” the bouncer asks.

“Yeah, he’s fine,” Jim answers. “Gone back to our ship.” He glances up to the sky, even though logically—ha, Spock, he thinks—he knows that Enterprise is in geostationary orbit on the other side of the planet, where the Risan docks are. He wonders if Scotty’s at the transporter this late, and if he’s mocking Bones for his rumpled shirt and hair. That thought flickers a smile across his lips, and he glances back to the bouncer. “Thanks,” he says, and heads back into the heat and noise of the bar.

The bouncer’s grey eyes follow him watchfully.

Jim weaves his way through the throng of people inside, and slides back into their booth. A quick glance out at the dance floor confirms that Faraday’s tentacled friend has lost interest and moved on, and Faraday’s back to dancing with Ensign Jyi’q – engineer, Jim muses, and snags the shot of purple liquid Bones abandoned earlier. He doesn’t drink it—just sits with it held between his forefinger and thumb—and watches his crew. About eighty percent of the crew still on shore leave are in here, which is pretty much why Jim picked this particular bar for him and Bones to crash in. Faraday and Jyi’q are out on the dance floor, along with a couple of other faces Jim recognises from the mess, and Jim swears he saw Keenser at the bar about an hour ago, and he’s sure as hell going to make sure that they all make it back to the ship in one piece.

His lips twist slightly at that, and he thinks about the tension crammed across Bones’ shoulders.

Jim kicks at the seat opposite him, and downs the purple shot in one. It burns his throat like the best of Bones’ bourbon, and he coughs into the back of his hand before setting the glass down on the table.

Back out on the dance floor, he notices, Faraday and Jyi’q are almost entwined together, and Jim’s as appreciative as the next red-blooded male when it comes to two pretty girls getting up close and personal, but he wonders if he’s going to have to remind them about personal conduct whilst they’re on duty. Except they’re not on duty, he reminds himself, because they’re on shore leave. Shore leave. Spending their shore leave in a bar. Jim presses his palm to his forehead, because suddenly there’s just a big fuzzy blip where the name of the planet used to be.

He finds himself suddenly slumped down in the booth, and he’s sure he can’t remember sliding down the seats.

Jim’s gaze wanders hazily to the innocuous little shot glass, but there’s no way in hell he could get that drunk off one shot – it might be alien alcohol, but he’s no lightweight, and anything that strong would be illegal. His fingers stumble out across the tabletop to reach for the glass.

A slender, orange-skinned hand picks it up instead. “Looking for this?” a female voice purrs, and there’s something distinctly predatory in that slippery tone.

Bones, Jim thinks, and tries to go for the communicator tucked into his pocket, because he’s not got a good feeling about this.

The woman—shot glass still in hand—slips into the booth next to him, and slides her hand into his pocket. She acts surprised when she retrieves his communicator, but when he reaches for it, his hands trembling and his vision doubling, she pouts at him and throws it somewhere behind her. “I don’t think we’ll be needing that, handsome,” she says, and runs a long-fingered hand up his chest. She tugs his top couple of buttons open, and leans forward. Her tongue is blazing hot when she runs it across his skin.

Jim aims for a forceful No, but it comes out as a sort of whimper. He can barely move.

Someone sits down opposite him—someone orange-skinned and grey-eyed, but bigger and bulkier than the woman with her hands and tongue roaming all over his chest—but Jim barely notices. His chin is gripped between two long-nailed fingers, and the woman’s dark eyes are smirking. He manages a choked groan of protest, but she just shushes him. “Quiet, handsome,” she coos, running a nail down his cheek. “Wouldn’t want you to draw attention to us now, would we?”

Jim really wants to protest that yes, he’d like that quite a lot. His crew might be in here, but it’s dark and noisy and crowded, and they have their own lives and loves and drinks. He’s here to keep an eye on them – it doesn’t work the other way round.

The woman smiles, and leans forward and presses her lips against his – and Jim’s kissed a fair few alien species in his life, but none has ever tasted that foul before, and he gags on the tongue that’s slipped into his mouth. She pulls back, and taps a finger against her lips. “Sedative in the lipstick, handsome,” she murmurs, and scratches a red line down his throat. “Works wonders, you know.”

Jim’s gaze skitters over to the dance floor, lips gasping for air and help, and he sees Faraday and Jyi’q laughing as they kiss in time with the music.

Bones, his lips form, and then everything goes black.

§§§

“Captain?”

Shit, is the first thought Jim has, because his head hurts. There are hands on his shoulders, shaking him gently, and he’d really quite like them to stop, because ow.

“Captain, are you okay?”

Okay, they’re calling him ‘Captain’. That means they’re on his crew. That means he should probably open his eyes and at least try to look presentable. God, how much did he drink last night?

Jim cracks his eyes open. The light is dim, which he’s stupidly grateful for, and there’s a pair of worried-looking comm officers kneeling beside him. He manages to shift himself into a sitting position (and he can only ignore the throbbing in his head because, hey, he passed exams on hangovers in the Academy) and lets out a tight breath. He feels like shit. “What time is it?” he asks, and hopes it doesn’t come out quite as garbled as it sounds in his head.

“Nearly oh-six-hundred, sir,” the shorter comm officer—Ensign Reid, he remembers—answers, and she helps him to his feet. “Captain, with all due respect, you look like hell.”

Jim forces a smile, and runs a hand through his hair. “I feel like it, too,” he answers honestly. He reaches for his communicator, and he nearly winces when it’s not there. “Uh, could one of you...” He gestures vaguely towards the sky.

The pair of them exchange a vaguely concerned look—Jim’s well aware that he’s the cause of that, and he just knows this is something that’s going to be making the rounds of the ship’s gossip mill before long—but then Reid digs out a communicator.

There’s an insistent throbbing in his temples, and he barely notices the change in location – although some back alley on Risa is kinda different to the clean lines of Enterprise’s transporter room. Jim knows he should really do the Captainly thing and greet the crewmembers waiting around the room, but this headache is worse than any hangover he’s ever gotten before.

He’s not quite sure how he makes it to Sickbay, but his eyes are screwed shut against the pounding in his head by the time he staggers through the doors, and he barely hears Bones’, “Shit, Jim!” before he’s on his back on a medbed and a hypospray hisses into the side of his neck. He groans, but he can feel the throbbing beginning to fade. God bless Bones and his hypospray, he thinks dazedly, which is when he knows that he’s messed up because Bones plus hypospray usually does not end well for Jim Kirk.

“Jim. Can you hear me?”

Jim makes some unintelligible noise, and then forces his eyes to open. “Bones?” he asks.

There’s a mixture of relief and irritation on Bones’ face. “Jesus, Jim,” he says sharply. “How much did you drink? I haven’t seen you like this since the Academy.” But his hands are gentle against Jim’s back as he helps him sit upright.

“I... have no idea,” Jim says, and what makes that slightly worrying is that it’s true. He can’t remember. He can’t remember anything beyond slipping back into the bar after Bones returned to the ship.

“Jim,” Bones says slowly, his fingers ghosting over the side of Jim’s neck, and there’s something so very blank in his expression. The doctor swallows, and his tongue flickers out to lick across his lips. “Is that what I think it is?”

“What?” Jim reaches up to echo Bones’ touch, and when his fingers brush against Bones’, the doctor flinches away sharply. “Bones?” he asks, suddenly perplexed.

But Bones has taken a step back, and there is nothing in his eyes – no affection or anger or fear or exasperation. Just blankness, and quiet. “Jim, just go.”

Now he’s just confused. He pats at the side of the neck, and yeah, he can feel a bruise, but it doesn’t feel like it should be making Bones completely blank him. “Bones, what—”

“Damnit, Jim!” Bones’ knuckles are white where there’re curled around a hypospray. “Is it really that hard for you to keep it in your pants? For one night?”

Jim’s pretty sure that the medical staff have quietly disappeared, and he’s glad for that, because he’s not really at his Captainly best right now, with his mouth quite literally hanging open. “What the hell are you talking about?” he demands.

Something Jim can’t quite identify flickers across Bones’ face, and his fingers flex around the hypospray. Jim has the disturbing feeling that Bones would quite like those fingers to be flexing around his neck. “Don’t pull that innocent shit with me, Kirk,” he snaps, and Bones hasn’t called him ‘Kirk’ for a very long time. “You remember everything when you get drunk – three years in the Academy, remember?”

“Bones, will you—”

“Just go, Jim,” Bones says, and his voice is tired and weary and so full of broken authority. “I have better things to be doing right now.”

And he vanishes into his office with a rigid slump to his shoulders. Jim is left perched on the edge of a medbed with the medical staff studiously avoiding his gaze, and he has no idea what just happened.

Jim agreed with Spock before he and Bones even left the ship that the First Officer would take alpha shift on the morning of their departure—Spock and Uhura had spent the first half of the week on leave, after all, so the pair of them figured it was only fair—so he doesn’t go to the bridge, even though he should probably check in, just because. He’s the ship’s captain, and that’s something that he takes seriously. But he doesn’t go to the bridge. He can’t, and it’s Bones’ refusal and illogical rejection that’s to blame.

Jim takes the turbolift to their quarters, headache steadily fading, and ignores the curious stares of his crew. His shirt and jeans are wrinkled, he knows that, so he must look an absolute state, and he’s beginning to realise that he smells like cheap alcohol and—

And sex.

He comes to a jolting halt just inside their quarters with that realisation, and the door slides shut behind him with disturbing finality.

He smells like sex. And Bones spent the night on the ship.

Fuck, please, no, his mind mutters, and then he’s fighting his way out of his shirt and running to the mirror in the bedroom. The black shirt ends up hanging inside out from one wrist, and he’s sure he manages to pop a button off in the process, but he really doesn’t care.

Jim stands there in front of the mirror, half-naked with his favourite shirt a twisted mess, and just stares.

His torso is a mess of scratches and bruises – the former quite obviously the result of fingernails, and the latter dark and purpling. There’s a fucking bite mark just dipping beneath the waistband of his jeans, and when Jim shifts he’s beginning to feel the familiar soreness of bruised flesh on his hips and thighs, too. And then on his neck—where Bones touched him, where Bones stared with that momentary mess of horror and confusion and anger—there’s a soft, circular purple bruise, with the faintest indentation of teeth running around the edge.

A love bite, Jim thinks, and even in his head it sounds pale and cliché – because it’s not just a love bite: it’s betrayal and a mistake and the physical evidence of a broken promise. A fucking love bite, he echoes numbly.

He can’t remember a fucking thing.

Jim’s in the bathroom before he knows what he’s doing, and he’s throwing his guts up into the toilet until his throat feels raw.

§§§

They never discussed monogamy.

Bones sits in silence in his office, padd held absently between his fingers. It’s some medical journal that’s been recently sent out to them, and he’s been meaning to get to it for a while now – and Sickbay’s quiet, for the moment, so he figures now is as good a time as any. Chapel’s taking care of a crewman who busted up his hand in the gym, and Harrison has a shifty-looking Ensign pinned under his icy scrutiny – the first of the STD rush, Bones knows, because he’s seen that shifty look before.

And STDs just bring him back to Jim again.

They did never discuss monogamy, and Bones figures—with a heaviness settling in his gut—that it was only a matter of time before this happened. Jim Kirk is a whore, even if he does happen to captain the Federation’s flagship – and Bones is just a doctor, as he’s so fond of reminding all and sundry. Just a grumpy doctor with an ex-wife and a daughter he never sees, and a shitload of baggage and problems and issues, as the psych evaluations like to put it.

He closes his eyes, just briefly, and he wonders why he thinks in the darkness of his mind about two blazing suns without names and heated sand burning his cheek.

He settles the padd down on his desk, and scratches absently at the back of his hand.

Damnit, Jim, he thinks, but the words are lazy and quiet in his mind. There’s no vehemence. There’s no nothing – just an overwhelming sense of blandness and blankness and quiet, empty sighs.

He feels detached. Like he’s floating on a fucking fluffy cloud.

Shock, he wonders, because he is a doctor after all – but it’s just Kirk being a whore, after all. It’s in the boy’s nature. He shouldn’t be shocked. His near-infamous shenanigans at the Academy should’ve seen to that. He shouldn’t be surprised.

Vaguely, Bones wonders who he’s trying to kid.

§§§

Jim vomits, showers, showers again—he can’t get that damn smell of his skin, and it doesn’t help that his hands start shaking whenever he thinks about the fact that he’s got a big blank hole in his memory where last night was—and shrugs his uniform on. The black shirt is kicked to the corner of the main living space, and the dark, soft, well-worn fabric blends in so well with the shadows that a cursory glance doesn’t reveal its presence.

He avoids the mirror, and tugs the neck of the gold shirt up just that little bit too high.

Jim works beta shift, sitting relaxed and languid in the command chair, feet flat on the floor and a stack of padds in his lap. He reviews communications and orders from Starfleet, flips through a request for diplomatic passage—not their bag, though, because they’re twenty light-years away and heading in the wrong direction—and ignores the growing ache in his muscles.

Every time he shifts in position and a twinge of pain rockets through him, Bones’ blankness flickers through his mind.

The beta shift bridge crew are muted – which is just wrong, Jim can’t help but think, because they’ve been on shore leave for days so should have stories and jokes: there should be raucous laughter abounding, with him smirking his way through the eight hours. But they’re quiet. They’ve picked up on his mood, he knows, and possibly Bones’ too, because ship’s gossip moves at warp fucking nine – so they’ll all know.

Behind him, he thinks he can feel Uhura’s gaze burning into his neck.

He stays focused on the padd in his hands, and approves another low-risk experiment Scotty wants to run.

Paperwork, he thinks.

Beta shift rolls to a close, and he pads back to their quarters. There’s a fair bustle of crewmembers going between shifts, and he’s given a wide berth. He barely notices.

Bones had alpha shift, Jim knows this, and it’s after ten at night, but their quarters are silent and empty.

Jim stands in the doorway to their bedroom. The bedsheets are rumpled, if not completely in disarray—he’d perched on the edge to pull on his boots, and the weight of his body always did do dreadful things to Bones’ obsessive bed-neatening—and the pillows are ever-so-slightly haphazard. But he just looks. He doesn’t touch.

After a protracted moment, Jim turns away from the bedroom and settles himself in his customary armchair. There’s a padd of conjecture on possible M-class planets along their projected course on the coffee table, along with one of Bones’ antique paper-and-binding books.

Jim switches the padd off, but doesn’t touch the book.

The chair’s too small to make a decent bed, but he barely sleeps, anyway.

Bones doesn’t come back.

§§§

Bones has taken to sleeping in his office in Sickbay, Jim discovers from an irate Christine Chapel when she corners him in the mess hall two days later. Not that she shows her anger, because the entirety of the medical staff and sixty percent of the crew in general have adopted this disturbing quietness whenever they interact with him that just screams I-can’t-be-mad-at-you-because-you’re-the-Captain-but-you’re-still-dumb-as-fuck. Even some of the command crew have subtly chosen their sides – Uhura gets this look like she’s just smelt something rotten whenever she speaks to him, and Chekov seems to have lost something of that hero-worship sparkle that used to shine in his eyes whenever he looked at Jim. Spock is determinedly neutral, but Jim didn’t really expect anything less.

None of this particularly helps his state of mind, and no one’s yet commented on how he has to suppress a hiss of pain when he bumps his hip against a workstation – mainly because he tells no one about the bruises and scratches and bite marks that have slowly—so fucking slowly—started to fade from his torso.

Jim still has no idea what happened that night.

He speaks to Bones for the first time four days afterwards, in a purely professional capacity, and the way Bones looks him straight in the eye and calls him ‘Captain’ with no trace of emotion in his voice is more painful than any bumped bruise or broken scab.

He can’t quite believe that he’s managed to fuck things up this much in a single night he has no memory of – but the bruises and the silence beg to differ. So he avoids Bones, and works his shifts, and sits in half-silence in their quarters—even though they’re more like his, because he knows from the entry log that he’s the only one who ever comes in here anymore, so where Bones is getting fresh uniforms from he doesn’t know—and wonders if this is it.

Jim’s so caught up in the work that he throws himself into that he barely notices when he starts forgetting things.

§§§

Uhura’s first name is the first thing to go, oddly enough, and that realisation makes Jim stutter to a halt in the middle of a conversation with the Admiralty. He gets a strange look from Archer, so he shakes it off and carries on – just a momentary lapse, he reasons.

Then it’s the way from the turbolift to their quarters which suddenly become just his, but that’s just a momentary glitch.

Chekov’s age goes next, but it’s barely noticeable anyway – it’s not like he spends time dwelling on the fact that the kid’s jailbait, because that’s really not his thing. He has heard some half-joking musings from Scotty, though, about how the Russian’s not really jailbait, because it’s not like eighteen’s the universal age of consent, and Chekov’s not American, but still. The information slips away, but he barely notices until he spots Sulu sneaking a slightly-too-long glance at the whiz kid.

Where he keeps his gold shirts trickles away pretty quickly, but he forgets that lapse, too, because he sees blue interspersed among the gold when he does find them again, and that sort of wipes everything away.

It snowballs, after a while, even though he’s still only half aware of it – names and faces and command protocols just slip away, and he sits in the officer’s mess with a plate of cooling food with no idea how he got there. But he keeps working, and keeps going, because he might be a fuck-up when it comes to relationships, but he can still captain the hell out of Starfleet’s flagship.

When he realises he has no idea what his command code is, though, he thinks that maybe there might be something wrong.

§§§

It’s been months since Scoropa—three months, Bones’ subconscious reminds him, or ninety-two days: he still counts in days, which is a habit he thinks he’s not going to be able to break—and, before Risa, at least, the dreams had faded.

It used to be that he’d go to sleep and he’d dream of loneliness and deserted sands and the unremitting heat, but, like the physical scars and the jut of his ribs, the searing memory of the suns has slipped away. He dreams, of course he does, but they’re normal dreams – full of Enterprise gaining sentience and Spock in a cocktail dress in an oddly-lurid shade of British racing green.

Now that he hasn’t set foot in their— in Jim’s quarters for nearly a week, though, the dreams are clawing their way back into his subconscious.

One night—the third night, the obsessive, desert-trapped whisper of his psyche tells him—he’d dreamt of wandering blistering sands for hours on end, with the light of the suns never fading and his feet burning from the scorching ground. And then there would be a shimmer in the distance—a shimmer of a shuttle and a ripple of a gold command shirt—and Bones would stumble forward, mouth gaping in a silent cry for help – but his lips would crack and break and bleed, and the dark blond hair and laughing blue eyes would slip into the shuttle and shimmer away into the heat and sand and pain.

He was shaken awake by Chapel that night, with sweat beading on his forehead.

Bones isn’t stupid – he knows what’s happening to him. The human mind is a strange thing, and he’s qualified enough to recognise serious abandonment issues when he sees them, but he can’t quite bring himself to do anything about them.

Are they really issues if they’re fucking true? he wonders, but he hasn’t exactly got an answer.

Jim had sex.

In and of itself, that isn’t remarkable, Bones knows – Jim likes sex. Loves it, even, and a year ago Bones would’ve just rolled his eyes and got him extra-hard with a hypospray. Now, today, it’s killing him.

Jim went out and had sex hours—hell, maybe only minutes—after kissing Bones goodbye. He went and fucked some willing stranger with the taste of the man he professed to love and want and need still on his tongue.

Abandonment issues or not, Bones just can’t take that.

He stares unseeingly at the padd in his hands, and listens absently to the laughter of his medical staff. There’s a young ensign from Security in, perched on the edge of one of the medbeds with his hands wandering just that bit too close to Chapel to be more-than-platonic – and Chapel just flashes the dark-haired boy (because he is little more than a boy to Bones’ eyes) one of her half-shy smiles, and laughs a clear laugh when he snags her wrist and tugs her back to his side.

Fuck you, Jim Kirk, Bones thinks, and his fingers are white-knuckled and trembling.

But he goes on, even if he does dream of unbearable heat and empty horizons.

§§§

Jim really hopes that Bones isn’t on-duty when he enters Sickbay, because the separation might be killing him, but he’s aware, somewhere in the back of his mind, that it’s all his fault. And right now—when he’s having problems remembering what time it is, for fuck’s sake—he kinda doesn’t want the confrontation. Or the accusing looks that he’s already getting from Christine Chapel.

God, his head hurts.

“Captain,” Bones says flatly. “What do you want?”

Jim tries not to flinch. “I’ve got a problem, Bones,” he says, and levers himself onto the edge of one of the medbeds.

He’d’ve missed it if he was anyone else – but he knows Bones; knows his tics and quirks and habits so well he could probably do a fairly good impersonation of his grumpy best friend. There’s a tensing of shoulders and a barely-there glance, and Jim knows that there’s at least some worry still there. It should reassure him, he figures—reassure him that there’s still hope for them, that this fucking avoidance and silence isn’t permanent—but it doesn’t. Bones is worried, even if he’s not being too obvious about it, and it’s Jim’s fault. It’s always Jim’s fault

“What’s wrong?” Bones asks, more than a hint of gruffness in his voice, and his fingers linger over a medical tricorder.

“I’m—” Jim pauses, because he doesn’t quite know how to phrase this. He’s not a linguist, damnit – he’s got Uhura for that. He rubs a thumb across the back of his hand—and he half-notices that Bones’ gaze flickers briefly to that fidgety movement—and lets his shoulders slump – because damnit, he’s starting to get scared, because he can’t remember the name of the ship which his father died captaining. “Amnesia,” he says quietly. “I can’t remember—”

And Bones laughs.

It’s not a cheerful laugh, but nevertheless it stops Jim in his tracks – because it’s flat and bitter and like nothing he’s ever heard come out of Bones’ mouth. “Bones?” he asks, and he can’t quite stop his voice from cracking.

“Amnesia?” Bones asks, with disdain and hurt and anger in his eyes. “Really? You think that you can just waltz in here and pretend you’ve got some medical condition that’ll explain why you’re lying to me?” He crosses his arms, and there’s a hint of defensiveness in that stance. The medical tricorder goes untouched. “I’m not an idiot, Kirk. Grow up.”

Jim is lost. “Wait, what? I lied to you?”

Bones snorts. “Yeah, Jim,” he says, and there’s such sarcasm and bitter hate in the name that Jim can’t bring himself to feel relieved that he’s no longer ‘Kirk’. “You lied to me. You told me you couldn’t remember who it was you fucked that last night on Risa, and you know as well as I do that you’re a lot of things when you’re drunk, but forgetful isn’t one of them.”

Jim bristles. “I can’t exactly fucking help it, Bones,” he snaps, and there’s a twist of Captain Kirk in his voice that he can’t quite help. “And don’t you dare accuse me of lying to you, okay? You know full well—”

But Bones isn’t listening. He just turns his back on Jim and stalks away, with the rest of the medical staff determinedly not looking at him.

Doctor McCoy,” Jim snaps, because if Bones is going to hide behind rank, then he’s damn well going to do the same. “Don’t you walk away from me, or I’ll have you court marshalled for insubordination.”

“Fuck you,” Bones answers flatly.

“McCoy!”

Kirk.” And Bones rounds on him, shoulders hunched and hands fisting in the fabric of his blue shirt. “Get out of my Sickbay, Captain, and don’t bring your non-existent ailments to me again.” His voice is just edging into angry, and there’s a twist of wildness in his eyes – and Jim hates the fact that he’s the one who’s managed to bring him to this state. “I’m a doctor, damnit,” Bones snaps, “and I’ve got this whole crew to look after. Not just you, so it’d be damn well appreciated if you could stop wasting my time.”

“Wasting your time, McCoy?” Jim asks sharply, and this is getting out of hand. “I thought a doctor’s job was to treat his patients, not to accuse them of lying and then ignore their symptoms.”

Bones’ cheeks are suddenly flushed, and he takes a controlled step towards Jim. “Get out,” he says, and his voice is quiet and tight and so very broken. “I don’t want to see you again, Jim. Just go.”

And Jim understands, and that understanding hits him like a punch to the gut. His throat goes dry. “Are you breaking up with me?” he asks, and his voice cracks on the last few words.

The medical staff try very, very hard to make themselves invisible, but Jim sees the tensing of Chapel’s shoulders and the way Yjana’s scales ripple against each other in a very obvious display of discomfort.

Jim doesn’t care.

Bones laughs flatly. “I think you managed that already,” he answers, and there’s something empty in his voice. Jim remembers that emptiness, because it took a lot for it to fade after those seven days that were months to Bones – and he thinks about that, and he feels sick.

Yourfaultyourfault, his mind clamours at him.

“Bones—” he tries.

“Just go, Jim,” Bones interrupts, and if Jim were the poetic sort he’d say that the doctor looks haunted. “Please.”

Jim goes. He’s too numb to do anything else.

to be continued

next: [Jim doesn’t know how he manages to make it through the next couple of days, but he does, and he thinks that must mean something.]

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Comments {163}

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andieshep

from: andieshep
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Nooooooo!!!!!!!! Why did you leave it there?! Why?! Why did you go Jim?! Why?! More please! :D

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
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... that was fast! And I left it there because I am evil.

*hugs* Thank you! ♥

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The Libran Iniquity

from: tli
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
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Ohh, no no no no NO. There's just so much I love about this - Bones' lingering issues from the time dilation whatsit, Jim's growing detachment/disorientation following Risa. The slow build up of the latter is just superb. Need the second part now, really!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much! *goes to write* ♥

Also, ICON LOVE. :D

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Melissa

from: rps_lizardspock
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
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Dude, this is... just... gah! Loooovin' this! When can we expect part two?!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
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... when it's written? :D *hugs* Thank you! ♥

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Inell

from: inell
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
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This is so wonderful, in a horrible, angsty, heart-clenching/ripping it out of my chest and throwing it on the floor to be stomped on kinda way. I'll wait patiently for part two and keep my fingers crossed for happy endings for these lovely boys.

I love the way you write them, btw. Whenever I see a new fic posted by you for this ship, I stop what I'm doing to read it immediately, usually while bouncing a little in my chair and trying to remember to breathe!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
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Coming from you (i.e. the author of pretty much the most epic K/B series around :D), that comment made me so very happy. Thank you.

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from: anonymous
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
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Omg, please post the rest!!!!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
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:D Soon! Thank you. ♥

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lisamariedavis

from: lisamariedavis
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
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OMG. Please update this soon. Please.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! ♥

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Hope Calaris

from: hope_calaris
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
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I actually screamed at my laptop screen ... "Where is the next part!?!?" I want to read that! Now ... or I might go insane.

In conclusion: I like this very much. And I want more. Please?

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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*flushes* Thank you so much! ♥

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aspiring iconoclast

from: antihysteric
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
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oh, mannn, this is so good! so achy. I feel so bad for both of them. :(((

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. ♥

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Jeannette

from: fallingcinders
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
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WHAT?! We have to wait for the continuation??!!

AAAGH, so bloody painful!! *dies*

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
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*hugs* *revives* Sorry! And thank you! ♥

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Em

from: framlingem
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
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Eep.

Eeeeeep.

I wish I hadn't read that, because I'm going to be obsessively rereading it, now, and I'm supposed to be packing up my house.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
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*facepalm* Sorry - go pack up. :D It'll still be here when you get back!

Thank you! ♥

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(Deleted comment)

sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
link

*hugs* Thank you! ♥

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poptartodoom

from: poptartodoom
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Oh my dear sweet ninja Jesus. Nooooo. ;_; Not after everything that happened!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
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*smiles sweetly* I'm harsh to the boys sometimes, aren't I? :D

Thank you. ♥

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from: fureux
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
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BIG WIDE EYES! tension and plot and h/c and and and. *applauds*

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
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tension and plot and h/c and and and.
The description of my favourite kind of story right there. Thank you! ♥

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Mylenn

from: mylenn
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
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So.... when can we expect more? cause, WOW.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
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... soon? :D *hugs* Thank you! ♥

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sunlight on your path

from: thistlerose
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
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*flail* Oh, boys, boys, no. This is pretty damn riveting, and I am so looking forward to the next part. Which I really hope ends happily because agh, boys.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
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They are silly boys, aren't they? *sighs* Thank you. ♥

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Ceria

from: ceria_taliesin
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
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*wants to kick Bones for being an ass*

this is lovely so far. I really like the name of the fic as well.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
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Bones can be an idiot, can't he? *hugs*

Thank you - especially on the name thing. It took a while to think of this one, while sealed by a fragile touch pretty much came up with itself. ♥

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tourdefierce

from: tourdefierce
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
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You aren't allowed to do anything but write until the rest of this is posted.


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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
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:D But I have school! ♥

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Defying Augury

from: ennyousai
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
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*cries*

Oh, you are cruel, cruel, cruel to leave it there, you know?

This so wrenching and raw, and oh poor Jim and poor Bones.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
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*offers tissues* Thank you so much. ♥

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Willow Dean

from: drusillas_rain
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Oh. Oh! Wow. I can't wait to find out how this all ends.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
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:D Thank you! ♥

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era errans

from: spikeface
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Where is part two? I need part two STAT.

Oh man, Bones is gonna feel so guilty. You've written him so in character, but I just wince about what he's going to feel when he realizes it wasn't Jim's fault.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
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... *brain short-circuits from the UNF-ness of that icon*

but I just wince about what he's going to feel when he realizes it wasn't Jim's fault
Yeah, there will be angst.

Thank you. ♥

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Live like you mean it and love til you feel it

from: rei17
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
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God ... no.
That cliffhanger was just cruel, dude.
Poor Jim. I can't believe nobody's at least trying to hear him out. óò *hugs him*
More please!!!!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
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*hugs Jim too* He is getting a hard time of it, but it doesn't exactly look good, does it? :D

Thank you! ♥

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Anna

from: tee_sama
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
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Probably the first fic I went all "WHERE'S THE NEXT PART?" on.

Good job, love the suspense. Thanks for sharing.

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
link

Probably the first fic I went all "WHERE'S THE NEXT PART?" on.
That's my job. :D

Thanks for reading! ♥

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(Deleted comment)

sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
link

I'd update now, but it's not written yet. :D *hugs* Thank you! ♥

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(Deleted comment)

Carbohydrates! Now in people shapes!

from: juniper200
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
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More is necessary! Be less evil!

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sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
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... but evilness is my job! :D *hugs* Thank you! ♥

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(Deleted comment)

sea-sky

from: vixys
date: Jun. 21st, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
link

*hugs* *glues heart back together* He is being an idiot, isn't he? *hugs again* Thank you. ♥

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