mijan: (Kirk/McCoy: "Bones come back to bed.")
[personal profile] mijan
Title: "For All the Right Reasons"
Rating: R
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 10,000
Warnings: Discussion of BDSM topics and depression.
Notes: This fic is the other “side” of my story “The Harder They Fall.” People asked what led up to that story, what Bones was thinking, and how something like that could work… so here it is. This story does NOT contain the actual BDSM scene. This story does not have any sex scenes. Instead, this story goes into the events leading up to the start of THTF, and what Bones was thinking.

Summary: Leonard knew that Jim was suffering some heavy emotional fallout from his first failure of the Kobayashi Maru, but he hadn’t understood why until Jim came to him with a request that would push him to the breaking point.


Bones, can you meet me for drinks at O’Sullivan’s after you get out of clinic? I need to ask you something. - Jim

Leonard frowned at the text memo on his comm unit. When Jim needed to preface a discussion with booze, he knew a storm was coming. To be brutally honest with himself, he’d felt it coming for a week now. The clouds on the horizon had finally encroached, looming dark and foreboding.

Jim had taken the Kobayashi Maru test a week ago.

He’d been single-minded to a fault in the days leading up to the test. He’d researched previous attempts by other cadets, looked for tactical strengths and weaknesses, and had created contingency plans for every known variation of the test. His drive had been almost frantic, with an intensity that had pushed all of his other classes and duties to a secondary status. He kept up with them, but his focus on the test had been absolute. Losing wasn’t an option. He’d needed this.

Of course, Jim Kirk, like every cadet who had come before him, had failed the Kobayashi Maru. His ship had gone down in a blaze of crackling electronics, smoke, and realistic explosions, with images of Klingon battle cruisers buzzing around like flies at a picnic, while the Maru itself had burst into a spectacular fireball on the viewscreen of the fake bridge.

Leonard had watched the whole thing from the observation deck as the duty doctor for the sim. He’d requested the slot. After watching Jim’s intense preparation for this test, he’d had to see this for himself. So, after Jim had stumbled out of the simulation room, Leonard had unceremoniously slapped an oxygen mask on him to treat for smoke inhalation, partly as an excuse to get the kid to sit down and listen, and had proceeded to give Jim a gentle lecture.

“It’s okay, Jim. Really. Maybe now you’ll be able to put it aside and move on to bigger things. I know you were fixated on this, kid, but it’s just a test. Now you can let it go. You’ve done it, so move on.”

To Leonard’s surprise, Jim hadn’t argued with him. The kid didn’t even fuss with the oxygen mask or protest the treatment, which was an even bigger surprise. He’d merely sat there, staring blankly ahead. It looked as if he was in some sort of trance, mentally reviewing every detail of every decision he’d made during the test. After Leonard had finished treating him, Jim had merely nodded, thanked him, and left without so much as a glance back.

In the week after that, Jim had been distant, sluggish, distracted, and... not Jim, goddammit. Leonard caught him staring off into space too often, and when they met for lunch, Jim had pushed his food around his plate more than he’d eaten it. Around other people, he acted perfectly normal; not a single other person on the campus would ever be allowed to see that Jim Kirk was emotionally wounded. Jim made sure of that. But Leonard wasn’t any other person, and he was seriously starting to worry that Jim was slipping into a depression.

So, after a moment of staring at his comm, he finally tapped out a reply:

Of course. Just don’t start drinking until I get there.

There was no reply, but he hadn’t expected one.


O’Sullivan’s was the pub where Leonard and Jim would hide when they needed to escape from reality. It was several kilometers away from campus, and they’d almost never seen other Starfleet Academy personnel or cadets there. The food was decent, the beer was better, and Leonard had come to love some of the Irish whiskeys they offered almost as much as his bourbon. Not quite, but almost. With its shadowy booths and dusky atmosphere, it was the perfect place to be for someone who didn’t want to be anywhere.

He found Jim in a small booth in the far back corner of the pub. Despite his half-slouched posture, the lines of Jim’s body were so taut he looked almost ready to snap. His hands were wrapped around a tall, frosty mug of beer, but the mug was still full. Across the table from him, a glass of whiskey was waiting.

Jim actually startled slightly as Leonard approached. He was pretty obviously distracted. “I ordered you a Bushmill’s 1608,” he said, indicating the small glass of amber liquid with a nod.

Leonard raised an eyebrow as he sat down. That was some damned fine stuff, and Jim had blown quite a few credits on it, which meant that he had some serious shit to say. Leonard raised the glass, appreciating the refraction of the light through the liquor, then took a small sip. The burn was just right, and he took a deep breath, savoring the aftertaste. “Thanks, Jim. But you know that’s only got me more worried.”

Jim pressed his lips together with grim amusement. “You worry too much, Bones. You’re gonna give yourself an ulcer.”

You’re gonna give me an ulcer, kid.”

Jim merely shrugged.

Leonard narrowed his eyes. They were good friends, practically in each other’s pockets. More than in each other’s pockets, if he was being honest with himself. If Jim needed to talk about shit, he didn’t need to woo him with fine liquor and hide in the shadows of a pub, away from prying ears and eyes. No, this was going to be something unusual. Leonard could feel it coming. He sighed and leaned forward on his elbows. “Listen, I’m not stupid, Jim, and neither are you. You’ve been messed up since the test last week, and you know that I already know this. So... talk to me. What’s on your mind?”

Jim’s gaze was blank, focused loosely somewhere around Leonard’s shoulder. He opened his mouth, then shook his head and took a deep sip of his beer. That was even more disconcerting. Jim was usually able to tell him almost anything, without preamble. Most people would find his usual level of bluntness to be disturbing, if not downright shocking, even between good friends. However, after their friendship had shifted in the spring of their second year, expanding into the realm of S&M, there was no other way for them to communicate other than with complete honesty. Not a romance, but an unusually tight friendship with a kinky side. Their little secret. Leonard had learned, above all else, that Jim trusted him. That trust was one of the most precious gifts he’d ever received. And yet there was Jim, sitting across the table and staring at a droplet of beer sliding down the side of his mug, practically fighting with himself just to speak.

It was a fight he had to win alone. Jim stared at the far wall, drank a bit more beer. Leonard waited, and finally, he spoke.

“I keep playing it in my mind, Bones. The whole Kobayashi Maru scenario. Over and over. And every time, it makes me feel like I’ve been gutted.”

Leonard had figured as much. It was worrying that Jim was still this obsessed with it, but not surprising. “Well, you were pretty damned fixated on the test,” he said, keeping his tone even and deliberate. “But I told you, you need to let it go. Everyone takes the test, fails it, and moves on.”

“I can’t.” His eyes flicked upwards briefly, making contact with Leonard’s for a split second before looking back down at the table with an expression of disgust on his face. “Fuck it, Bones, I’ve tried. I can’t get it out of my head. I can’t get out of my head! It’s like...” He lifted his right hand away from his beer mug and held it out, palm up, as if begging for something but he didn’t know what. “It’s like I’m stuck. I’m exhausted and I’m numb but my brain keeps racing in circles and not going anywhere. I know I need to snap out of it. But I can’t.”

Leonard leaned back against his seat and took another small sip of liquor, trying to project a front of calmness. He knew Jim, and the kid was asking for help. If he’d gotten to this point, Leonard was damned sure he’d already done what he could to fix it on his own. “Can’t snap out of it? What have you tried?”

Jim laughed dryly, still slouched back in his seat, and not really making eye contact. “A few extra rounds of hand-to-hand? We’ve got our unit testing on Andorian martial arts coming up.”

Jim,” Leonard said with a meaningful eyebrow.

Jim sighed, but he finally looked up and made real, if tentative eye contact with Leonard. “Mostly, I was just trying to do everything as normally as possible, hoping that this would just fade with time. Waiting for things to feel normal again. I’m still going to all my classes. I did a couple of early morning runs with Thaleb.” He tried for a grin. “I watched some really good porn last night.”

Leonard tilted his head, emphasizing the raised eyebrow even more.

Jim’s watery grin fell in on itself, and he stared at his beer as if he was considering drinking it, but the effort of lifting the mug to his mouth was just too much. “I’m stuck in a rut, Bones.”

Still trying to tread gently, Leonard asked, “What about Doctor Rodriguez? Have you thought about paying him a visit?”

Jim frowned. “The psych guy you sent me to last year?” He shook his head, and if anything, slouched a bit deeper in his seat. Even slouched, he still looked tense. “It’s not... that’s not what I need, Bones.”

That was a curious statement. It sounded like Jim had something in mind already, and based on all evidence - the request for the meeting, the location, the high-end whiskey - Leonard could guess that it was something Jim specifically needed his help with, and it was going to be something... intense. Keeping his voice as neutral and non-judgmental as possible, Leonard asked, “Then what do you need, Jim?”

Jim glanced around quickly, as if to reassure himself that nobody was paying attention to him, then looked squarely at Leonard. “You told me that if I ever needed to get out of my head... to come to you before I did something stupid. I need that right now.”

Leonard nodded slowly. “You want an S&M scene?”

Jim pressed his lips together and didn’t move, but the answer was clearly yes. And that wasn’t surprising at all. They’d blown off steam with kink scenes after exams, rough weeks, or even after tense conversations with family members. After finals week last spring, Jim had begged for a heavy flogging to work off the stress, and Leonard had been happy to oblige. By the time they were done, Jim’s back and ass were bright red, Leonard’s arms were sore, and the anxiety of the semester had melted away from both of them. It was therapeutic in a way that nothing else was, and they were both comfortable with that, so it seemed odd that Jim was so unnerved about asking for it this time.

“Kid, we’ve been playing those games for almost a year. It’s not a big deal. If you needed that, you could have just asked. You didn’t need to...” Leonard’s voice trailed off as Jim began shaking his head.

“It’s not that simple, Bones. I’ve thought about what I need. A regular scene isn’t gonna do it.”

An uncomfortable sensation started to work its way through Leonard’s gut. They’d played gentle and hard in the past. Most people would consider some of their kinks to be edgeplay. If Jim was asking for something beyond what they already considered normal, it had to be pretty far out there. “Do what?”

“Take me out of my head,” Jim said flatly. “And I mean really take me out of my head. Completely. Force me to the point where I can’t think anymore. This isn’t for fun. I don’t even want it to be fun.”

Understanding was slowly starting to dawn. Fuzzy, with no details, but Leonard was starting to see where this was going. “You want me to really hurt you.”

Jim didn’t meet his gaze as he nodded.

Breathing as evenly as possible, Leonard tightened his grip just slightly on his glass of whiskey. There was a delicate but clear line between pleasure-pain and actually hurting someone in a scene, even if it was fully consensual. It was a line that Leonard didn’t like to cross. Partly, he’d always told himself, it was because of his oath. Damaging people went against his natural instincts, even if he could fix it immediately. Still, on a deeper level, he was afraid of what it would mean about him if he could cross that line to play a scene like that... and enjoy it.

He and Jim had never crossed that line, but he’d known Jim long enough to understand why he might be asking for it now. As much as he didn’t want to actually hurt anyone, he loved the feeling that Jim trusted him enough to ask, and wanted to be able to give the kid what he needed. “What do you want? Whip? Cane? We could stop by my dorm, get the duffel, and head over to the Balls and Chains.”

This time, Jim shook his head. “Not like that. Well, not only.” He chewed on his lip for a second. “It’s not just for the pain. I’ll fight through pain this time. I... I need something that I can’t fight through.”

“Oh?” Leonard prompted.

Jim shifted in his seat. “This... it’s gotta be psychological. This needs to take me past the point where I couldn’t fight even if I wanted to. It’s gotta feel real. I need to break, Bones. I need...” His voice broke.

“Jim, I taught you how to negotiate a scene. I’m not gonna judge you. So just ask me for what you need.”

Jim glanced around, as if checking to make sure nobody was within earshot. Between the shadows, the tuneless music, and the din of the other patrons at the bar and tables on the other side of the restaurant, nobody would be able to hear a word he was saying. He sat up a tiny bit straighter and squared his shoulders before leaning forward and lowering his voice. “I want an abduction and rape scene. I want it to be realistic, and I want you to break me.”

Leonard felt his eyes go wide and he leaned back and away from Jim as though he’d just been physically slapped. “Whoa, Jeez... Jim, I...” That wasn’t the way he and Jim played. Not even close. In fact, early on in their kink partnership, Jim had asked him if he’d ever done scenes like that, and he’d replied with a staunch no. Jim had never asked him about it again, and had never shown an interest anyway. But now...

Leonard shook his head, almost as if he could dislodge the idea from his ears, then quickly composed himself. He’d told Jim to ask. Just because the answer had been startling didn’t give him the right to violate that trust now. “Kid, are you sure you understand what you’re asking for?”

“Yeah. I do.” His tone was flat and breathy. “I need it to feel real. I need it to hurt like hell. I feel like a fucking pressure chamber, Bones, and it keeps building up, but I can’t break out of it. I need help breaking through that. And if it takes beating, whipping, rough bondage, head games, fucking, or anything else, then that’s what I want. I... I need to get to the point where I just... crack. I’ve thought about it, and I think this is what I need before I lose my shit. And Bones?” He glanced up. “You’re the only one who can do this for me.”

The desperation in Jim’s eyes felt like a physical thing, and Leonard couldn’t quite meet the stare, but couldn’t quite look away either. It toyed with something in his psyche, something buried deep. He was a sadist in his own way, but this was something different. The idea of a realistic roleplay with the sub playing the victim... actively struggling... screaming no... it struck something primal and dark. Maybe it was because of the rape victims he’d treated in the ER. Maybe it was the mixed opinions of the med-psych community about those sorts of sex games. Maybe it was something else, but while Leonard could intellectually recognize that the controlled indulgence in that sort of fantasy in a consensual BDSM setting was acceptable, it felt like an ugly thing to him. A monster that should never be unleashed. He’d always told himself it was just better not to go there.

Trying to ignore the sensation of ice in his stomach, Leonard hid behind the burn of another sip of whiskey before speaking again. “Jim... I swore I’d never do a scene like that. For anyone, for any reason. It’s not something anyone has asked me to do. I wouldn’t say I can’t, but... I mean... dammit, Jim.” He flicked his gaze and Jim’s tense face before staring down at his whiskey.

“I know it’s not your thing. That’s why I didn’t want to ask you.”

“But you did.”

Jim nodded.

And you wouldn’t have asked me unless you were desperate. The unspoken thought hung in the air, silently understood by both of them.

Leonard bit down on the inside of his cheek and considered the situation.

Some people in the S&M community asked Doms for rape scenes as a purely sexual kink. In rarer cases, they were trying to work past traumatic issues of their pasts. It was obvious that what Jim wanted was something completely different.

Leonard knew what Jim was feeling. That indescribable itch. The sensation of numbness like the world was muffled, and the desperate need to break through it. The insanity a racing mind, churning thoughts and emotions just beyond reach, and never able to resolve any of them. For most people experiencing those sorts of thoughts and feelings, a trip to a counselor or psychiatrist would be their best bet.

Jim wasn’t looking for help from a counselor, and this time, Leonard could honestly believe that it wasn’t because Jim was trying to avoid professional help. In fact, the kid probably knew, on some instinctive level, that he needed something different, even if he didn’t understand why.

Thinking back, Leonard considered Jim’s immediate reaction to the Kobayashi Maru. He’d just experienced the catastrophic destruction of two ships and everyone on board, all under his responsibility. And then... he’d walked away from it. No real consequences for failing. No pain, no suffering, even though he was being told that his failure had led to hundreds of deaths. A bit of smoke inhalation and some fancy pyrotechnics, but then the regular lights had come back on, the ventilation system had sucked the smoke clear, and the door to the sim room had opened. It had all been fake -- the deaths, the destruction, the entire mission -- but on some level, it had been absolutely real to Jim.

The kid was still waiting for the ball to drop.

For a tactile, experiential person like Jim, that meant some part of his psyche was still waiting for the punishment for failing. All the rationalization and advice in the world wasn’t going to fix the fact that his subconscious was still stuck in that sim room, waiting for it to hurt. It was a dozen different kinds of wrong, and Leonard wasn't even going to start mentally reviewing the reasons why Jim's brain might be wired this way, but that's how it was. Jim needed his failure to hurt. Until that happened, until Jim felt the expected pain from failing, he wasn’t going to get past it.

Hardcore scenes shifted the mental states of the participants, and could put them into places that they could never reach any other way. Even if Jim didn’t understand it the same way Leonard did, he still grasped it instinctively. The fact that Jim was involved in the BDSM scene gave him a possible outlet for that sort of thing which most people would never even consider. Pain and punishment... in a relatively safe and controlled setting.

“You really know what you’re asking for?”


“And you’re sure you want me to push you that hard? As if it were real?”

Jim nodded again. “I need it, Bones. I’m going nuts.”

Leonard sighed. This was the way it had to be. “I know, kid. Just... tell me what you want.” He forced himself to look at Jim, hoping to see any sign of hesitation from him. If he saw uncertainty, then he’d have a reason to say no.

There was no uncertainty or hesitation in Jim’s eyes. “I told you... an abduction and rape scene. With torture.”

Inwardly, Leonard cringed. Outwardly, he nodded. “Anything more specific than that?” If Jim laid out specific requests, maybe it would feel more like fulfilling a precise request, and less like inflicting something horrible on his best friend and play partner.

“No. In fact, I don’t want to know anything ahead of time. Whatever you can think of that will make it seem real.”

So much for a guideline. Leonard swallowed against the nausea starting to churn in his stomach. “Do you need me to play this scene so you can’t tell it’s me?”

“Would you need to?”

“Probably.” Leonard couldn’t imagine doing something like that while Jim was looking at him. Fuck it all, he really couldn’t imagine doing this anyway. But this was Jim, and for Jim... he’d do almost anything. “What are your hard limits?”

“No limits.”

“What?” Leonard pulled back from the table as if he’d been slapped, then took a slow breath and leaned forward again, furrowing his eyebrows as sternly as possible. “No. Jim, you never play without limits. Nobody should ever play without limits. I’ve seen enough idiots who have tried it, and I don’t want to add you to that list. You know this.”

“I know. But Bones... you are my limit.” His expression was so sincere, so open, that Leonard’s breath almost caught.

Shit, Jim.”

Jim looked at him evenly. “I know you’re not going to do anything that will do permanent damage. And I know that any damage you cause... you can fix. There is nothing you could do to me that would violate my limits.”

“Nothing?” Leonard asked, edging the question with sarcasm.

“Nothing.” Jim’s voice was more confident than it had been since Leonard had joined him. “I know you, Bones. And I trust you.” Then he hunched his shoulders, both defensive and wounded. “But if I know what you’re going to do, or where the limits are, then that still gives me control. I’ll be thinking too hard, and waiting for that limit to come. I need the sense that anything could happen to me... that it’s beyond my control. I need it to feel real, Bones.”

“Jim... even if you trust me... you know that people who play without limits are crossing the line from kink into the realm of self-harm by proxy.”

Jim frowned. “What?”

Leonard clenched his hand tighter around his glass. “I need to know that you’re not suicidal.”

Jim’s eyes went wide and he shook his head vehemently. “No! Shit, Bones. No.” With a look of surrender, he leaned his elbows heavily on the table and dropped his face into his hands. “Bones... I’m not gonna hurt myself. I don’t feel like that at all. But I think I’m going crazy or something. If I don’t snap out of this soon...” He raked a hand through his hair, then leaned back from the table wrapped his arms around his stomach. “I just can’t keep going like this. I keep playing the Kobayashi Maru in my mind, and all I can see is the image of the Maru exploding on the viewscreen, and everyone on my bridge crew trying to put out fires on the sim deck... the ones who hadn’t been declared dead by the simulation, and...” He glanced up with a look that seemed both sheepish and nervous at once. “I asked to take the test again.”

“Whoa, what?” That piece of information came at Leonard so fast it caught him by surprise, and his mouth fell open.

“I applied to take the test again,” Jim said, with a hint of self-deprecation.

“I heard you the first time, kid.” Leonard shook his head in disbelief. “Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind?”

At that, Jim actually laughed. It sounded broken and even a touch mock-hysterical. “Maybe I am. And I think that’s the problem.”

“And you think the solution is having me beat the stuffing out of you, while you’re still planning on going back for seconds with the Kobayashi Maru?”

“I feel like it is. I’ve thought it over, and... I don’t know why it seems so... I guess the word is right. But it is.” His earnest expression settled into a hard mask of impartiality -- the look Leonard had seen Jim use in debates, negotiations, and whenever the chips were down.

Leonard sighed and leaned heavily on the table. “Let me make sure I’ve got this absolutely clear. You want me to stage an abduction. You want me to use simulate torture techniques to the point where it feels real, and...” He gritted his teeth and forced the word as evenly as possible. “And you want me to essentially rape you.”

Jim nodded. “I need this, Bones. So, can you do it?” It was a cold question, presented with no inflection, no attachment to the answer. Still, the urgency was there, simmering hot below the surface.

Leonard looked at Jim’s face carefully. His features were set with firm stoicism, but there was a chaotic swirl of emotions in his eyes, all half-shrouded by the shadows in the dim light of the bar. Leonard recognized that look on Jim. It was something he seldom saw on the man: desperation. He slowly lifted his glass to his lips, and the burn of alcohol gave him a moment to think and calm himself before answering. “It’s a tall order.”

“I know. But I think it’s necessary.” Jim pressed his lips together and shook his head. “Everyone has a breaking point.” Then his mouth twisted into an ironic smile. “They say some people still need to learn theirs.”

“So they say,” Leonard said dryly. “Two tries at the Kobayashi Maru, huh?”

“Maybe.” Jim blew out huff of air irritably. “I don’t know if it’ll be approved, but that’s not up to me. Even if it isn’t, the request has already been submitted. It’s the intent that’s important right now.”

“That’s a whole lot of intent.” Leonard snorted and tipped his head in mock-amusement to hide the nerves he was starting to feel. This was treading into waters he’d never tested before. “Definitely a sign of someone who doesn’t know his own limits. Who would do something like that?”

Jim replied with a harsh laugh. “Fools and madmen.” Then he shook his head. “It’s what made me wonder if it’s gone too far.”

Leonard considered Jim carefully. The thinly veiled desperation, the frayed nerves that he’d probably hidden from everyone else, and the fact that he had driven himself to this point over a goddamned battle sim test. “Maybe it has.” The words hung between them for a moment. He was going to say yes, and he hated himself for that.

Jim’s mouth twitched in what almost looked like a hopeful smile, only far more broken. “You’re the only one who can take care of this.”

The mere thought of Jim going to anyone else for something like this was enough to make Leonard’s heart clench. If he didn’t agree, judging by Jim’s level of desperation, that would likely be his next step. Leonard couldn’t let that happen. Keeping himself steady, he hid behind his Dom face. “Probably. I’d like to think I do some good work.”

“You do.” Jim leaned closer, eyes begging, but brightening. He knew Leonard was in. “Not a trace. Nobody else will ever know.”

They’d kept their kinky life well-hidden from Starfleet and everyone else. It wasn’t forbidden, or even uncommon, but it was... private. Of course nobody would know. “It’s still risky.” Leonard almost managed a smirk, hoping to hide the slight nervous shakes he was feeling at the idea that he was actually going to go through with this. “What if we’re caught?”

“You’ll just have to make sure we aren’t,” Jim said with more confidence than he should have had. He almost looked giddy at the prospect that he was actually going to get this scene.

Leonard hoped Jim really knew what he was getting into. Physically, emotionally, psychologically... this wasn’t going to be pretty. “Are you ready for the fallout?”

“Are you?” That was rhetorical. They both knew the answer. Jim wouldn’t have posed the question in the first place if he’d thought the answer would be no. “So... when?”

Leonard looked at the warped and broken eagerness on Jim’s face for a moment, before he picked up his whiskey glass and knocked back the rest of it. Then, leaning across the table, he fixed his face with the most neutral expression he could manage, trying to hide the maelstrom of emotions trying to rip him apart. “When I’m damned well good and ready.”


Leonard thought about backing out.

Even though plenty of people didn’t realize it, safewords went both ways. Seeing as a Dom usually ran a scene, they could pretty much stop it whenever they wanted to. But still, it was possible for a sub -- especially a persuasive bottom like Jim -- to pressure a Dom into something he didn’t really want to do. And, naturally, pride was an inherent part of being a Dom, so it wasn’t easy to admit that something might be beyond his ability. That didn’t mean Leonard wasn’t able to reconsider things, and he realized that he might have seriously bitten off more than he could chew.

When it came right down to it, he didn’t really see how the hell he was going to do this. How could he play this sort of scene without cracking? Was he even capable of giving Jim what he’d asked for? If he tried, but only managed to play the scene half-assed, or quit part way through, would it only make Jim’s emotional state even worse? And damn it all, the longer Leonard thought about it, the more he questioned whether Jim had any idea what he’d really asked for.

It was crazy, really. With all the shit Jim had experienced in his life, the last thing the kid should want was an abduction and torture session. He had been abducted before. It wasn’t something that regularly crossed Leonard’s mind, but given the history he had with Jim, he was all too aware of what Jim had experienced in his past. He’d been beaten and starved and tortured. He’d been held hostage more than once. Leonard could understand reenactment therapy, if Jim was trying to use it to get over his old scars, but that wasn’t what this was about. Jim had never been raped, but as far as Leonard could see, that was the final straw in the list of horrible things that could happen to a human being, and Jim was fucking asking for it.

Of course, he wasn’t asking for the real thing. There was that fine line dividing slightly crazy from pure insanity. Jim still wanted a safety net. He’d allegedly thought this through. He was asking someone he trusted from the depths of his soul to the far reaches of the galaxy to create an illusion, not to inflict the real thing.

Even so, as Leonard thought through all the possible variations on how he could create this elaborate scene, he found himself balking at the idea more and more. The heady feeling he always got from Jim’s absolute expression of trust wasn’t enough to counteract the reality of what Jim was trusting him to do. The eagerness he felt whenever he planned a scene never came, and he couldn’t imagine finding his usual satisfaction in giving Jim what he wanted this time. As much as the idea pushing Jim’s limits appealed on so many levels... he’d never imagined doing it like this.

Sleep had been hard to come by, occasionally interrupted by dreams he wished he could forget. He saw himself indulging in Jim’s masochistic fantasy and going too far... enjoying it too much... damaging Jim in a way he couldn’t fix. He dreamed that he’d broken Jim’s body and his will, or that Jim hadn’t been able to look at him... saw him as a monster, and never trusted him again. Or dreamed that Jim came back begging for more, and he never stopped. The fact that he’d awoken to a state of arousal from those dreams felt even more disturbing, and he’d tried to get the images out of his mind. He’d been so distracted that on his Tuesday morning infirmary shift, he’d mixed up his patients and told the Tellarite male in exam room three that he was pregnant. That hadn’t ended well.

Besides, to top it all off, there was a nasty respiratory virus making its way around campus, and Wednesday morning had started with sneezing, which had rapidly developed into the sensation of having swallowed a porcupine. Backwards.

So, Leonard decided he couldn’t do it. He needed to sit down with Jim as soon as possible and discuss this. They hadn’t spoken since their talk last Friday night, and Leonard wasn’t sure if that was by design or chance. Knowing Jim, it was by design. Usually, Jim commed him at some point during a day, and they ended up grabbing a meal or studying together in the evening. For him to go four days without even a lewd text comm? Yeah, Jim was avoiding him.

It was 0900 and his morning class had just let out. Jim usually ate lunch on Wednesdays in the lounge at the Student Center. He’d probably be in his Principles of Command seminar until 1000 hours, so a text message was probably best.

Jim, can you meet me at the Student Center for lunch at noon? Second floor, alcove just to the right of the main area. - Leonard

He hesitated for a moment before sending it, but the instant he did, he felt like an enormous weight had lifted off his shoulders. They’d talk it over. They’d find another way to get Jim what he needed. It would all be okay.

A half-hour later, walking towards the medical lab building, he got a reply.

See you there.

Leonard frowned at the succinct reply, but figured it was because Jim had snuck sending off the message in his class, and had to keep it short. Not that there was any reason to expect a longer reply, but still, it didn’t sound like Jim somehow.

He went through his two-hour virology lab breathing a little bit easier, despite the sore throat. It was days like this he was glad to be surrounded by other medical personnel. They seemed to be the only people on campus who understood that by the time you started sneezing, you were past the contagious phase of the cold. Of course, it also meant that it was too late to treat the virus, leaving a viciously sore throat that just needed to heal on its own, and a craggy voice that made him sound like he should be in bed, not working. It still didn’t stop him from getting looks from other personnel around campus, with the obvious ‘why aren’t you off-duty’ glares.

Still, sneezing and contaminating a half-dozen specimens just as he was getting ready to take his final recordings for the lab made him reconsider the wisdom of leaving his room. Maybe he really should have hidden there for the remainder of the week.

But first, lunch with Jim.

He fought through the lunchtime crowds in the student center and grabbed a sandwich at the mess hall before heading up the stairs. A quick check of the chrono told him that he was a few minutes early, but as he rounded the corner, he sighted Jim across the way. The kid wasn’t sitting at one of the empty tables in the alcove, but pacing off to the side.

Leonard started to hurry towards him, then stopped. Jim hadn’t seen him yet. It was stupid, he knew, but something in Jim’s posture and pacing was off. Tucking himself behind a decorative plant, Leonard leaned casually on the wall and pretended to be waiting for someone else while he watched Jim.

Okay, so he was spying on his best friend, but for a damned good reason.

The kid was a walking contradiction. Nervous energy co-mingled with a glazed look in his eyes that seemed completely alien to Jim. If Leonard didn’t know any better, he’d say Jim wasn’t all there, as though he was locked up in his own mind. Jim would pace sometimes when he had too much energy to hold still, but this movement was stilted, distracted, and as well as Leonard knew Jim, he’d go so far as to say it was frantic.

Someone else in the foyer called Jim’s name. He snapped his head around as if he’d been shocked, and instantly painted the most fake grin across his face that Leonard had ever seen. Leonard watched as the three cadets walked up to Jim. He couldn’t hear the whole conversation through the crowd, but he got the gist of it. They were in one of Jim’s seminars, and wanted to study over lunch. Jim gestured towards the stairs to the main level, and Leonard figured he’d said he was waiting for someone. Then one of the cadets frowned at him and asked something too soft to hear. Leonard was no expert at reading lips, but he could recognize the words ‘Are you okay?’ from a mile away. For a split second, Jim froze, but quickly brushed it off. He laughed and made some sort of joke. The other cadets laughed in turn, and finally moved away.

Jim held his grin until they were out of sight, then took a couple of awkward steps and leaned against the wall. In an instant, the falsely animated cheer was gone, and it looked like the life and color had been drained out of him. And still, as exhausted as he seemed, he practically seemed to twitch inside his own skin as he waited, looking around for his Bones.

Who wasn’t going to show up.

Jim seemed so unlike himself, standing there across the room. He looked jittery, uncomfortable in his own skin, and exhausted in a way Leonard had never quite seen on him before. It was worse than it had been on Friday in the pub. Instead of the punishment he craved -- needed -- coming from the outside, he was beating himself up from the inside.

Jim hadn’t asked for this scene lightly. A bottom like Jim usually did know what he needed. As much as Leonard hated even thinking about it, especially after he’d resolved to call it off, he was going to give Jim what he’d asked for. And with that damning knowledge, he couldn’t bring himself to face the kid directly.

With a sigh, he pulled out his comm and tapped in a note. Hey Jim, I’m sorry, but I got stuck in the lab. Someone got clumsy with a virus specimen. But can we meet on Friday after my clinic shift? Thai food? A pub? It’s on me. Let me know.

As he sent it, he mentally begged Jim’s forgiveness. Through the fronds of the plant, he watched Jim startle, then pull out his own comm unit. As Jim read the memo, his shoulders drooped and his expression fell. He worked a text message into the comm, and a moment later, the note came through on Leonard’s comm.

That’s fine, Bones. I understand. I’ve got my hand-to-hand practical exam on Friday, but I could really go for pub food after that. I’ll be done by 1700h.

Leonard nodded to himself and quickly replied, Be at my dorm at 1800h. I’ll meet you there after I’m done at the clinic.

Jim got the message, but instead of replying, he tucked his comm back onto his belt, picked up the bag he’d deposited at a nearby table, and hurried down the stairs and out of the Student Center. He hadn’t even eaten lunch.

Leonard watched him go, and hated himself just a little bit more.


“Ted, I need to call in a favor.”

Leonard was sitting in his dorm room, using the comm panel. The ruddy, round face of Theodore Wilson, owner of the Balls and Chains, looked back at him through the screen. It was a highly respected BDSM club down in the Casto district. Clean clientele, good reputation, great facility. Private rooms for... special scenes. He’d been taking Jim there for several months now, and he’d gotten to know Ted pretty well.

Ted flashed a gracious smile - the man always looked like he was skirting the edge of flirtation. “Well, I owe you more than a few favors, Leonard.” Then he frowned slightly. “Are you okay, by the way? You sound like shit.”

Leonard narrowly held back an irritable grumble. It would have hurt his throat anyway. “There’s a nasty respiratory virus working its way around campus. And no, there’s still no cure for the common cold. I’m living in the dorms, so I caught it.” He shrugged. “I’m already past the contagious stage.”

Ted snorted. “But in the meantime, your throat feels like someone grated it raw, I’ll bet.”

“That’s putting it mildly. And I’m not even a masochist.” He leaned closer to the screen. “And speaking of masochists...”

“Just tell me what you need, Leonard, and you’ve got it. You’ve patched up some of my best clients, and you should know that Greg still tells me to thank you for your discretion that night. So... need a private night away from campus with that hot little bottom of yours? My best room? Help setting up a special scene?”

“Something like that,” Leonard said uneasily. “Ted, you know me well enough to know that I’d never play a scene that wasn’t absolutely consensual, right?”

Ted’s eyebrows raised in curiosity. “I couldn’t imagine you doing anything that Jim wasn’t absolutely begging for, even if he screams his way through the whole scene.” He grinned as though picturing it vividly in his mind. “He always looks so content after you’ve worked him hard. You’re the textbook definition of a compassionate Dom.”

Leonard tried to chuckle and failed miserably. “I’m glad you think so.” He scrubbed a hand over his face, debating how to say it. If he was going to pull this off, he would need help, and Ted was just the guy to do it. “Jim asked for something a bit more extreme this time.”

“Oh? What’s he want?”

“He wants an abduction and rape scene. With torture. Realistic.”

Ted let out a low whistle. “Wow. That’s not really up your alley, is it?”

“Not a chance.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why?”

Leonard gritted his teeth for a second. “Jim wants... needs to break out of a bit of a rut. He had a bad run at an evaluation, and it’s sent him into a bit of an emotional tailspin. So he kinda begged me for this.”

“You don’t want to,” Ted observed neutrally.

“No,” Leonard said quickly, but then, shook his head to that. “I don’t want to do a scene like this, but I want to give Jim what he needs. And I’ve known Jim long enough... and seen him through enough crazy shit... to know how his mind works. He’s so wrapped up in his own head right now that it’s starting to hurt him. If he asked for this, it means he needs it... even if he doesn’t fully understand why.”

Ted gave an understanding nod, then tilted his head curiously. “Maybe someone else could do it for you while you watch?”

Leonard shook his head again. “It’s got to be me, Ted. Jim... he doesn’t trust easy. He’s only played with other folks when I’m around, and then, only if it’s just playing.”

“He isn’t playing this time,” Ted said with a look of comprehension.

“In his head, if this is going to work, then no, he’s not.” Leonard sighed. “I wanted to make sure that if I do this, you know that I’m not doing anything against Jim’s wishes. That I’m not actually abducting him or punishing him like this.”

“No way, Leonard. I’ve seen you two together enough times. Even if you drugged him and hauled him off in a sack, I’d know it was something he’d asked for, and that you wouldn’t actually hurt him. Well, at least, wouldn’t damage him.” He leaned closer to the cam. “So... what were you planning?”

Beyond bemused, Leonard fixed his face with his best deadpan. “I was gonna drug him and haul him off in a sack.” Feeling only marginally pleased at the look of combined surprise and amusement from Ted, Leonard sighed. “He doesn’t want to know when it’s coming, and he doesn’t want me to tell him how I’m gonna do it. So I was planning to set him up with dinner out on Friday night. We do that often enough that it works into his regular routine. I know the path he takes from his dorm to mine. There are no vid recorders on that path, and it’s not well-lit. I was going to pull a sensory deprivation hood over his head, then sedate him. I’d take the hood off of him once he’s unconscious, and everyone knows the two of us well enough not to be surprised if I’m half-carrying a ‘passed-out-drunk’ Jim Kirk somewhere on a Friday night. So could you help me carry his comatose ass back to the Balls and Chains and tie him up in one of your private rooms?”

Ted licked his upper lip, tickling the hairs of his moustache with his tongue. “Wow Leonard, you’ve really thought this through.”

“I know,” he replied unhappily.

“This is gonna hurt you a lot more than it’ll hurt him,” Ted observed.

“Don’t remind me. So... can you help me?”

“Sure thing. I’ll give you my biggest room. You can use it all night if you need to.”

“Thanks, Ted. I appreciate this.”

Ted shook his head. “You’re gonna hate it, Leonard. But Jim... he’ll appreciate it. You’d give that kid your heart and soul if you could.”

Leonard sighed. “I already have, Ted. I already have.”


Hey Bones, remember my request to take the KM test again? I just got my approval. Three weeks from now. -Jim

Leonard stared at the message, knowing that his last chance to back out had just crumbled. Not that he was really going to back out at this point. It was just that the notion of even having that option helped him with the plausible deniability factor in his own mind. With a sigh, he typed back a note of his own:

We’ll discuss it over dinner tonight. -Bones

He almost never signed his notes with Jim’s endearment for him, but tonight, that’s who he was. He was Jim’s Bones, and he was absolutely owned, even though he was the damned Dom.

Leonard didn’t really feel like a Dom at the moment. He felt like a criminal.

He’d asked to leave early from the clinic that night. The fact that his voice still sounded like gravel in old-fashioned gears made his request easier, and the supervisor had let him off three hours ago. He’d spent that time in his dorm room, preparing.

On the small kitchen table, he had his chosen tools laid out. Arranged meticulously, the spread reminded him eerily surgical instruments laid out beside an operating table. Each item had a purpose, and had been checked and readied with precision. In addition to the standard assortment of tools and toys in his duffel, he’d selected some special equipment for tonight.

Jim was really good at mentally tuning out most types of pain if he wanted to fight through a scene. Leonard had a few theories as to where he’d learned to do that, none of them pleasant. Regardless of where and how he’d learned the ability, he was good at it.. Electroplay shattered that ability in anyone. Thus, Leonard had obtained a small device traditionally used for nerve conductivity studies and electrotherapy, but was also quite popular in kink for those who could get one. Unlike most kinksters, however, he had access to some unique drugs that modified and intensified the sensation. Perfectly safe, producing electrical currents that would only follow superficial nerves, but Jim was going to howl.

Leonard gritted his teeth as he loaded the vial of the drug into a hypospray and calibrated it. He set that hypospray inside the electro-unit’s carrying case. In addition to that drug, he tucked a spare vial of a muscle relaxant alongside the hypospray -- just in case Jim struggled to the point where he was risking himself or even possibly Leonard -- and tucked the whole thing into his duffel bag.

He mentally cringed as he packed the rope he would use to tie Jim’s hands. A rough and rigid polymer rope, it wasn’t going to fray or warp during the scene no matter how much Jim struggled. That stuff was going to abrade skin and cut off circulation. It would probably leave some bruises, but damn, it would feel real. He could fix the damage when the scene was over.

He ran his hand over the singletail whip, which was neatly coiled in a side pocket of the duffel. Sure, he had other percussion toys, but Jim actually liked most of those. He’d practically purred the last time Leonard had used his heaviest flogger, likening it to a deep-tissue massage. Canes created an effective level of pain, but didn’t have the same terrifying crack as a whip. And the paddles? Those were practically comical for a scene like this.

In addition to the tools of the trade, Leonard packed his complete med kit, knowing full-well that he was going to need it. A basic handkerchief blindfold went into one of the small exterior pouches, and then the leather sensory deprivation hood was laid across the main compartment.

Last to go in was a second hypospray, containing a combination of fast-acting and long-lasting sedatives that would have Jim out cold in seconds, and keep him unconscious until they’d gotten him to their destination.

A quick check of the chrono told him that he had an hour and a half left to shower, dress, and mentally prepare. The first two could be done on autopilot. The latter... he could only hope.

With a heavy sigh, Leonard stripped off his clothes and tossed them absently into the reprocessor. He turned up the water in the shower stall as hot as his skin could handle and stepped under the deluge, trying to focus.

For the past two days, since he’d seen Jim in the Student Center, Leonard had been reviewing every crazy thing Jim had done since joining the Academy. Things that made him stand out. Things that he should be proud of. Weaknesses that he’d conquered. Weaknesses he might never conquer, but that was okay because he was only human, goddammit! And in all of Leonard’s planning, the simple fact of the matter was that he already knew it all.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Leonard was certain that he knew enough about Jim Kirk to destroy him from the inside out. At the moment, Jim wanted to feel like he was being destroyed. Maybe Leonard could give him that feeling. But instead of breaking Jim, maybe he could just break down the walls the kid had built, and was currently trapped inside, pacing like a caged panther.

So, Leonard was going to throw down the gauntlet. He was going to shove Jim up against every fear he had, and make him face himself. Make him question his own motivations. Test his resolve. Because if Leonard knew Jim -- and damn it all, he did -- the kid would dredge up his deepest motivations and find something stronger at his core. It might take him a bit of time regain his balance afterwards, but he’d find it. Heal faster.

With a bitter laugh at the irony, Leonard realized that the whole process reminded him of the old technique doctors once used to repair a bone that had healed wrong. They’d re-break the damn thing. It would hurt like hell, but at the end, the bone would heal up whole and strong, and the patient could move on with life.

That’s what Jim needed: to break through this mental block, even if it hurt like hell, so he could move on.

Minutes later, Leonard pulled himself out of the shower, dried off, and dressed in a pair of dark jeans and a black shirt. He reviewed his mental script for the scene. He checked his supplies again. He fucking paced. He was grabbing one last cup of coffee when his door chimed.

“Come on in, Ted.”

The computer registered the welcome command and opened the door to reveal Ted Wilson. The man was likewise dressed in dark clothes.

“Ready for this, Leonard?”

Leonard shook his head, downed the rest of his coffee, and put the cup aside. “No. But I’ll make it work.”

Ted nodded. “I’ve got my car parked out by the visitor lot.”

“That’s less than two-hundred meters from where we’ll get Jim, so it should be easy to get him there.” Leonard pulled on a leather jacket, then reached for the duffel bag.

“And if we run into people while we’re dragging him to the car?”

Leonard growled lightly to himself. “You act a bit drunk. Keep laughing about how Jim can’t hold his whiskey. And I’ll complain that you’re both a couple of delinquents and that I’m never letting Jim take on a drinking challenge again.” He looped the strap of the duffel over his shoulder. “Not a soul on this campus would question it.”

Ted shook his head slowly, but his expression was a look of respectful admiration.

Leonard frowned. “What?”

A broad grin spread across Ted’s face. “You two really are quite the pair, you know that?”

At that, Leonard actually rolled his eyes. “Are you kidding me? We’re not a couple, Ted. We’re friends. Jim dates other people, and I’m the disgruntled divorcee. We’re not dating. We’re not together. We’re just --”

“You’re not dating, Len, but you are together, far more than just play partners. Hell, you’ve got something that most married folks and collared couples never have. Any fool would be blind not to see that.”

“Don’t call me Len. Name’s Leonard.”

Ted laughed heartily. “Is that all you’ve got to say to that?”

“Damned straight.” Hefting his duffel bag, he made for the door and let Ted follow him out.

They rode the turbolift to the ground floor in silence. Once they’d stepped outside and had started down the path between the dorms, Leonard gave his final set of instructions.

“Jim should be coming this way in the next half-hour, depending on how soon he gets back from his test. If you follow this path about one hundred meters, you’ll reach two dorms. Jim’s building is the one on the right. Stay out of sight, and comm me when he comes outside. Then follow down the path about a minute after him.”

Ted tossed a mock salute. “You got it.” He held out a hand. “Good luck, Leonard.”

Leonard met his grip with a sincere handshake. “Thanks for helping.”

Ted strolled off down the path, looking like a guy who didn’t have a care in the world, until the path turned a corner and he was gone. The sun was setting, shadows lengthening. The perfect time to hide.

For the moment, Leonard settled himself on a small bench along the side of the path. Not too many students used the back path, but just in case, Leonard preferred to look casual. After a few minutes, a couple of cadets walked past, tossing him a nod, which he returned. Their muffled footsteps faded quickly, leaving the path deserted again.

Leonard sat in silence, working himself into a mindset that teetered somewhere between Sadist, Dom, and the fictional character he’d created for this scene. It was an uncomfortable mental space - alien and contradictory and wrong. He was a Dom. He could play the Sadist, and even enjoy it if the winds were blowing right. But the character he was about to become for this scene was a different sort of monster, and he was going to be blurring the lines between all three tonight. At the same time, there was an odd temptation to it; an allure in testing the strange waters of this brand of brutality. He hated himself for it, from both sides.

He was lost in thought when his comm buzzed.

The eagle has left the nest. - Ted

Leonard rolled his eyes. Idiot, he thought in Ted’s general direction as he quickly composed another message, this one to Jim.

Sorry, Jim. We had a couple of cadets brought into the ER with respiratory complications from this virus that’s going around. I’m still coming, but I’ll be a bit late. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes. Wait for me in my dorm room, and I’ll be there as soon as I can. - LM

He location-tagged the message from Starfleet Medical before sending. It should distract the kid, make him easier to ambush.

Then, Leonard pulled the sensory deprivation hood from his duffel bag, and pocketed the hypospray that he’d loaded with sedatives. He dropped the bag behind the bench, then quickly hid behind a tree. In the deepening shadows, it would be really hard for someone to see him. He’d wait until Jim had walked just past, and then tackle him from behind. Jim wouldn’t even see it coming.

The sound of soft footsteps met his ears. Jim was coming. Bracing himself, Leonard thought, Forgive me, Jim.

A hint of movement. The profile of Jim’s face as he walked past. And Leonard jumped.

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