Noelia (noelia_g) wrote,
Noelia
noelia_g

Fic: Thick as Thieves (Star Trek AOS, Kirk/McCoy, AU) (part two)

Title: Thick as Thieves
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy
Rating: PG-13
Rest of the header at part one.


“There’s absolutely nothing to connect Nero and Pike,” Uhura said, propping herself up on the windowsill, a manila folder in her hands. “As far as we know, they never even worked together. As far as we know, Pike’s been retired for the last few years, actually.”

Leonard nodded. “I remember that, he sent the invitations for his retirement party to three of the directors.”

Christine raised her eyebrow. “Did they go?” she asked curiously.

“I think Bartlett did,” M’Benga shrugged. “And Boyce for sure.”

Kirk smiled slightly. “Fuck, and I missed that?”

He was already in prison by the time, Leonard realised, just at the beginning of his sentence. Could put a real stop to one’s social life, that. And for fuck's sake, why did Leonard feel slightly guilty because of that?

“Kirk, how about you earn your 700 bucks a month? What’s the connection between Nero and Pike?” he asked dryly, turning to look at Kirk.

“There isn’t any. Which I think is what Nero was annoyed about,” Kirk supplied, sitting more comfortably, legs up on the table. Leonard automatically poked at him to put them down. “I think it’s about the codes," Kirk said, frowning at Leonard.

“What codes?” Christine frowned.

Leonard nodded quickly, leaning forward to fish a file from the pile that threatened to topple over. Kirk reached out to hold it in place until the file was out.

“Pike went legit few years back and it turned out that a former thief is a perfect expert on security systems,” Kirk explained. “You know, if I eat my greens and all that shit, maybe I’ll be one when I grow up.”

“Can you grow up?” Leonard asked with some interest.

“Dunno. Never tried.”

“Pike has done the systems for a few major museums in town, and for a great number of private clients,” Leonard said, reading off the file. “We don’t have the whole list, only the government contracts. Uhura…”

“I’ll request the whole list,” she nodded. “Do we think Nero got what he wanted?”

“No way,” Kirk shook his head. “Pike would never work with Nero. If anything, the shooting was probably a payback for the refusal.”

Leonard shook his head. “Maybe. But what would Nero gain from this? He wants something from Pike, how would killing him serve that? Those men were shooting to kill, Pike was damn lucky to pull through.”

“He could have gotten the codes from someone else,” Christine offered thoughtfully. “I’ll get the list of Pike’s employees, see if anyone came by any significant money recently,” she said, already typing on her laptop, her long fingers quickly running over the keyboard.

“Sounds like a plan,” Leonard nodded at her, but his eyes were on Kirk, whose face was completely schooled down into a casual and innocent expression. That couldn’t mean anything good. “Uhura, look into the projects, see what Nero could be interested in the most. Kirk, with me.”

“Uh-oh,” Kirk said loudly, with a comical grimace at Uhura, who just rolled her eyes at him. “What did I do this time?” he asked Leonard when the doors of his office closed behind them.

“You tell me,” Leonard muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. He could never intimidate Kirk, not really, but it didn't stop him from trying. “What do you know that you’re not telling us?”

He watched the expression flicker fast across Kirk’s face and could pinpoint the moment when Kirk gave in. “Did you check Gaila and the guys already?”

“Didn’t exactly have the time yet,” Leonard said, not bothering to deny that he was going to. They both knew better. “Why?”

“Chekov works for Pike. Among other people, he freelances mostly, but yeah, works for Pike. That’s how I found the place,” he added.

“And here I was, all impressed that you managed to find such a place in a day. You're ruining it for me, Kirk," he said, shaking his head in pretend disappointment.

“I have other ways I could impress you,” Kirk offered, main setting back on cocky.

“I’m sure you’d like to try. But for now, we’re going to talk to your roommate.”

*

About half a year after Vegas, Kirk called him out of the blue.

Very much out of the blue, as for the last three months or so, Kirk hadn’t even set foot in the US, and therefore was off Leonard’s caseload for the same amount of time. Sure, he was apparently leading the Interpol guys on a merry chase through Europe, but that wasn’t Leonard’s business, not until Kirk decided to come back home and annoy Leonard, or his bosses, some more.

Leonard didn't have any doubts Kirk would be back. The Interpol idiots were not a match for him, and besides, Leonard promised him he'd be the one to arrest him.

“Somehow, I knew I was going to still catch you at your office. Don’t you have home to go to, Bones?” Kirk asked the moment Leonard picked the phone up.

He should have called the guys in the IT to have the trace run on the phone, but he didn’t really feel like it, and besides, Kirk was Interpol’s problem at the moment and Leonard hated the pricks from the Interpol.

“I was just on my way out.”

“Liar,” Kirk laughed. “But it serves my purposes that you’d be true to your workaholic instincts and work on the Christmas’ Eve, so I probably shouldn’t complain.”

“Shouldn’t call, either. But then again, when have you ever stuck to should and shouldn’t?”

“Touche,” Kirk said, his smile audible over the crackling line. Probably still in Europe, Leonard thought. Last he heard it was London, so maybe even calling from one of the red phone booths. Kirk liked the classic style a little bit too much. “Got my gift?”

“Stop sending them,” Leonard said automatically. “Or switch to something useful,” he added as an afterthought, recalling the snowglobe from Paris and the double decker toy bus from London. Could have been a bottle of good scotch, but no, he got a toy for tourists.

“I’ll send you a pen next time,” Kirk promised him, falling into the semi-silence of a long distance call, static over the line.

“Why are you calling?” Leonard asked after a long moment, after listening to Kirk’s steady breath was on the verge of shifting into a highly strange and slightly creepy territory.

“I got bored with the Interpol, thought I’d annoy you for a change. I kind of missed having you on my heels.”

“Should I take this as a compliment?”

“Definitely. You, at least, were a challenge. It’s too easy to trick all the others.”

That wasn’t exactly how Leonard saw it; keeping up with Kirk was damn impossible. He was out of town before the FBI even got a wind of him. A few times they got close, but only to get to an empty hotel room, or a café with the back door still swinging. Knowing Kirk, he did the swinging doors part on purpose. He liked to toy with his pursues. As evidenced now.

Come to think of it, though, the closest they got was Paris and Vegas, and both times Kirk found him right back, and both times Leonard failed to make an arrest.

“Can I ask you something, Kirk?”

“Always. I reserve the right to plead the fifth, of course," he said pleasantly, laughter in his voice. It was all a little bit of a joke for Kirk, which should annoy Leonard, which used to annoy Leonard. He didn't get so irate anymore, and he didn't want to look at the reasons why.

“Of course. What was your plan on that flight from Paris? Why did you want to meet me?”

Kirk laughed. “I didn’t. That was actually a damn coincidence that you were on the same flight. Scared the hell out of me when I saw you, but you seemed to have no idea who I was, so…”

“So you decided to have some fun on my expense," Leonard supplied, his voice deceptively easy.

“So I decided to meet the guy who apparently was coming close to finding me. No one else managed to get that close before, not to piece together all my identities, and definitely not close enough to get my name," he said, almost wistful. Maybe in Kirk's world this was a beginning of a beautiful friendship, or whatever the fuck.

“You gave me your name,” Leonard reminded him.

“That’s right, I did,” Kirk said, half thoughtful and half evasive.

Leonard sighed, running his hand down his face. “Fine. Would you like to discuss the weather, then?”

“It’s snowing, the end,” Kirk muttered. “Fine. You were entertaining. You kept ranting at the flight attendant and I thought she was going to either tase you or toss you out of the plane on your ass. And then you were entertaining in more interesting ways,” he added, drawling.

“You’re a piece of work, Kirk," Leonard said, shaking his head.

Kirk snorted. “I’m baring my soul for you here, Leonard.”

“Sure you are.”

Kirk laughed then. “See, this is fun. I was sure then I was going to like you, Bones.”

“Could you please stop calling me that?” he asked, without much hope. It was an awful pun, considering, but Kirk was like a dog with a bone, he wasn't going to let go.

“No way, I like it. Annoying you, that’s just bonus.”

“Yes, I thought so.”

“Merry Christmas, Bones,” Kirk laughed, and it actually made him smile a little. Of all the criminals he ever chased, only Kirk would call him on the Christmas’ Eve, just to annoy him a little, and just because he wanted to.

*

Chekov wasn’t what Leonard had expected. For one, he didn’t look old enough to drive.

“He’s seventeen,” Kirk said and Leonard wasn't quite sure he wasn't lying. The kid looked twelve, maybe.

“Oh, great,” Leonard muttered under his breath and tried to keep his eyes from boggling.

Sulu stood in the doorway, arms crossed, and for someone who was supposedly a computer expert, he looked damn imposing. Most of the tech guys Leonard met didn't look as if they knew seven ways to kill you with just the contents of their pockets.

“Few days ago, this man Ayel contacted me,” Chekov shrugged, his hands moving animatedly as he talked, a ball of nervous energy. “I said I only helped to fix some of the bugs in the recent systems, I had no idea about the codes, or anything major on the system.”

“Not exactly true,” Sulu pointed out, eyebrow raised.

“He freaked me out,” Chekov muttered, curls bouncing. Leonard still couldn’t get over that seventeen years old part.

“Could you sit down with our sketch artist and work on the portrait of that Ayel?” Leonard asked, getting a quick nod in return. “Well, at least…” he started, to be interrupted by Sulu.

“I’d go to Scotty next. If I wanted the codes, or to break through any of Pike’s systems. Scotty’s your best man if you want to try. He designed half of the system himself and put together most of the hardware.”

“You think like a criminal, Hikaru,” Kirk muttered. “I like it.”

Sulu rolled his eyes and nodded at Leonard. “I’ll get you Scotty’s number," he said matter-of-factly. Leonard thought he liked him, or at least didn't find him completely useless.

“Would that Scotty help Ayel, whoever he is, or Nero?” Leonard asked Kirk, who shrugged and shook his head.

“Willingly? No way. Scotty’s in love with his systems, he wouldn’t want to see them fall under the control of someone like Nero. But unlike Pike, or Chekov, whom you could only probably threaten with harm to themselves… Scotty has family. Nephew, Keenser, I think that’s his name. Nero is not a person who’d have qualms against using that.”

“You know a lot more about Nero than I thought you would," Leonard pointed out quietly.

Kirk looked away briefly. “I worked with him, once. Long time ago, one of my first jobs, before Pike took me in and started to look after me.”

“You walked away," he finished.

“That was the time when you could actually walk away from Nero. Times changed.”

Leonard nodded, and silently accepted a business card Sulu handed him, with just a ‘Montgomery Scott’ and a phone number written on it.

“I don’t have his address, but the e-mail is on the back.”

“We can find his address,” Leonard assured him. “Especially with his name and phone number, thank you.”

Sulu nodded again, and glanced anxiously at Kirk, who was getting ready to leave. Leonard held back for a moment, waiting for Sulu to speak his part, whatever was on his mind.

“Watch him, alright?” he asked, with a head nod towards Kirk. “He wants to get Nero, and I’m afraid he’s going to do something idiotic. We all care for Pike, but Jim…”

“Noticed that,” Leonard muttered. “I’ll try and keep him from pulling anything especially moronic.”

“Good luck with that,” Sulu almost smiled, but not quite.

*

When Leonard arrested Kirk (for the first time), Kirk had been pretending to be a long lost son of an aristocratic family and living a great life on the Upper East Side, close to getting engaged to one of the most eligible bachelorettes in town.

Considering that his face graced the society pages quite a few times before anyone thought to check him out, Leonard was of the opinion that they were really slow in getting to him. Glacially slow.

But not as slow as Kirk was with getting out of town. He usually as good at that part, but he apparently really came to like the girl.

“I need to learn when to get out,” he told Leonard mournfully when the handcuffs clicked shut on his wrists.

Leonard was almost disappointed by this.

“I expected you to know better,” he muttered, shaking his head, wondering why he was sorry it came to this, why instead of the warm glow of satisfaction for collaring a perp, he was mostly feeling damn tired and annoyed of the outcome.

Maybe because it was damn Jim Kirk he was arresting, and he got used to Kirk leading them on and then disappearing. That felt familiar, comfortable. A little bit like having your own song, if you were emotionally constipated and, well, on the opposite sides of the law.

“This is it?” he asked, few hours later, in the interrogation room.

Kirk shrugged, looking very much at home and at ease in his surroundings. “Pretty much.”

“I expected you to have some kind of a grand plan to get out,” Leonard admitted, biting his lip.

Kirk looked up at him, studying his face for a longest moment. “Nope,” he finally said, lying through his teeth, about something Leonard couldn’t figure out. He didn't like it when he couldn't figure something out.

“It’s fucking weird,” he told M’Benga later, but Geoffrey just shrugged.

“It’s Jim Kirk. Fucking weird should be his middle name.”

Leonard went to the trial only to give his statement, and the case was closed pretty damn fast. They had the evidence for the impersonation and one earlier forgery. Everything else they could actually prove was past the status of limitations, and anything new was impossible to prove. The DA was kind of furious, but Leonard disliked him anyway, so there was that.

He was damn tempted to visit Kirk in prison but never got around to it, and later it seemed to be too late, like he missed his moment. For something, he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. It just felt bitter, somewhere at the back of his mind, like a missed opportunity. It was ridiculous, but it was there.

*

They sat in the car for a while, waiting for Uhura to run Scott’s name and find them the address. The number was unlisted, so it was going to take a moment longer than it would otherwise, and Leonard used the occasion to buy himself a cup of black coffee, and some kind of concoction for Kirk that he swore was actually good but which smelled like christmas cookies or whatever the fuck. Not the way coffee should smell.

“You want to ask,” Kirk muttered after a while, not looking up from his cup, idly swirling the spoon. “Ask.”

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to ask about,” Leonard said noncommittally.

Kirk snorted. “I bet. You want to ask about Nero.”

He did. But at that moment he couldn’t, not after seeing Kirk school his expression down to an almost scary form of pleasant detachment. He might be a conman, but when he wasn't working it, Kirk didn't bother to shield his emotions, never really have. “Why did you let yourself be caught?” he asked instead.

Kirk raised his eyebrow at him, surprised for once. “That’s the question you’re going with?”

“Yeah.”

“I didn’t let myself be caught. You got me, fair and square," he said, a bit too fast, overselling it by miles. Well, inches, but between them two, it amounted to miles.

“I know I’m good, you don’t have to pander to me. That time, you acted like a stupid kid on his first con.”

That got him a heavy and theatrical sigh out of Kirk. “Well, you figured it out. It finally dawned on me that my wicked deeds deserved punishment and I set myself up for the arrest," he drawled.

It sounded ridiculous, as it was meant to sound, and yet, somehow, it rung through. Only Kirk, Leonard thought. “Alright,” he said.

Kirk gave him a look. “You bought this?”

Leonard shrugged. “There was something to buy there?”

“You are a damn weird guy, Leonard,” he said with amazement. “I knew there was a reason I liked you.”

“I’m flattered,” Leonard grumbled, and wasn’t all that surprised when Kirk laughed at that, shaking his head, and leaned forward impulsively, his lips briefly brushing against Leonard’s, soft and not quite tentative, more like searching, questioning. Not surprised at all, except that still pretty fucking stunned it happened.

“I wanted,” Kirk started, shaking his head again, just to be interrupted by Nyota calling with Scotty’s address. “Nevermind.”

“And you say I’m the weird one,” Leonard told him dryly.

“You are. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though," Kirk said, tone full of wonder and some degree of fondness.

Ten minutes later, they were knocking on Scotty’s doors, and ten minutes and thirty seconds later, Leonard was looking down the barrel of a gun. This day hadn't started well and it was quickly deteriorating.

“So, I take Nero was here already?” Kirk asked, his voice perfectly light and easy. Well, he wasn’t the one with a gun pointed at him.

Leonard’s fingers twitched to get near his own piece, but this would probably be unwise. Thankfully, after a tense moment, the man looked between them, holding Kirk’s gaze for a moment.

“You’re Jim Kirk, aren’t you? Chris mentioned you few times,” he said and sighed. “I guess you may just as well come in, lad,” he allowed with some annoyance inherent in his voice.

“I sincerely hope you have a permit for this gun,” Leonard said dryly, but from the looks he got it wasn’t the best of moments for this. No one appreciated his sense of humor, it was really tragic.

“Nero was here before us, wasn’t he?” Kirk asked quietly and Scotty nodded.

“Not him, his minions. Gave me the usual spiel, told me they knew where Keenser goes to school. Showed me pictures taken in the playground, the works. Told them to go to hell.”

“And?”

Scotty shrugged, his eyes fixed on the rug on the floor, fists tightly clenched and knuckles white. “What do you think? I didn’t even have time to get the boy out of school, they got there first.”

“Did you call the police?”

“What would they do?” Scott said, his voice distrustful. “I wasn’t always on the right side of the law, I know how these things work. They say there’s no honor among thieves, but you know what? If I do what they want, they’ll let Keenser go. Because then they’ll be able to use me again," he said, voice louder and broken.

There was a reason, Leonard thought, why he stuck to white collar crimes. He was really bad at the whole people angle. Talking to someone who could lose their house was vastly different than talking to someone who could lose their child. And Leonard wasn't even good at the whole losing the house angle.

Thankfully, Kirk was there. And that wasn’t a thought Leonard had ever expected to have, but there it was. Kirk's presence was comforting and welcome, and somewhere deep inside, Leonard was grateful.

He excused himself to call Nyota and get the update from their end.

“There’s a few places that look promising,” she told him. “But I’d go for the bank. Seems more Nero’s style than a gallery specializing in pre-Raphaelites,” she mused.

“It sure does. But hold back on forming the task force yet, we run across some complications. Nero has a hostage.”

She was silent for a moment. “Did I tell you how much I hate this case?”

“Possibly,” he said. “But come on, we’ve had worse, didn’t we?”

She snorted and he could tell she was smiling, albeit slightly. “Yes, that sounds like your version of optimism. Doesn’t make me feel better at all, Leonard.”

*

Seven months after he arrested Kirk, Leonard had a case that connected to him. Gary Mitchell, Kirk’s friend and his on and off partner in crime got caught on bonds forgery.

Some loose ends from that case tied in to Kirk’s activities, and into some unsolved crimes that Kirk had been suspected of but which had never been proven.

Leonard was the one to notice, because he was the one spending days and nights over the files, all of his working time and all of his free time now devoted to the cases. It gave him something to do, and he disliked being idle.

He took files home and spent three sleepless nights pouring over them, checking and rechecking facts and dates and names. In the end, he was pretty damn sure he could make a new case against Kirk, add a good few years to that sentence.

He convinced himself there really was no point, that Kirk was already serving his time, and that any additional time would be unnecessary.

On some days and some nights he actually believed it.

*

They finally managed to convince Scott to let them accompany him to the marked spot where he was supposed to pick up Keenser after relaying the codes.

Just them, not the team, which was a pretty damn stupid thing to do if you asked Leonard, but one, nobody really did, and two, that was their chance and he was going to take it, even with the risks.

“I don’t trust the FBI,” Scotty explained, shrugging. “Offence meant, agent McCoy, I don’t trust you either, but I trust Pike. And Pike trusts Jimmy, and Jimmy trusts you, so you see how it goes, even though by the time it gets to you, my trust is really damn strained.”

“Don’t worry,” Jim told him quietly as they got into the car. “I have a plan.”

“This is the part that actually worries me,” Leonard said dryly.

“It’s a good plan.”

“Even more worried.”

The strange thing, however, was that he wasn’t, not because of that. Apparently, he trusted Kirk’s crazy plan to not be all that crazy. He's not quite sure when that happened, when the strained and weak trust developed into this.

Which was a good thought to hold on to about twenty minutes later, when they stood outside a warehouse, face to face with Nero.

“I believe you were supposed to come alone,” Nero said slowly. “But Jim Kirk, now that’s an honour. Heard they locked you up.”

Kirk shrugged. “I broke out,” he said, teeth flashing in the smile. Complete truth and yet, at the same time, a blatant lie, Leonard was impressed.

“And who makes three?” Nero asked, narrowing his eyes at Leonard.

“That’s Bones. I mean Leonard,” Kirk said, covering a pretend slip quickly, as if anxious. For once the stupid nickname could actually come in handy, creating an imaginary street cred. Leonard wanted to laugh, really.

Nero nodded slowly. “Hello, Leonard. I’m Nero,” he said pleasantly. “Now, let's get to the business, gentlemen. We checked your intel, Mr. Scott, and it checked out, so I’m going to keep my end of the bargain,” he said, gesturing almost imperceptibly, small flicker of his wrist towards the building.

A man with quite impressive tattoos came out of the warehouse, carrying a kid in a green hoodie, who seemed terrified but fine, if a little shell-shocked. No visible injuries, Leonard catalogued. Good.

“It’s a pleasure to do business with you, Mr. Scott,” Nero said, almost cheerfully.

“Scotty, take him and get out,” Kirk said through clenched teeth, quiet enough that Leonard had to strain to hear him.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I have a plan, I told you.”

Scotty took Keenser and backed out towards the car, muttering some soothing nonsense to the boy, craddling him in his arms as he sped up.

“Something on your mind, gentlemen?” Nero asked, his eyes fixed on Kirk, suspicious and searching. He was, quite probably, the creepiest guy Leonard had the displeasure of dealing with. This was precisely why he stuck to white collar crimes. “Anything I can help with?”

“I have a score to settle too,” Kirk said plainly, his stance relaxed, as if he was discussing weather, seemingly completely at ease. “I’m pretty sure you remember Christopher Pike.”

Nero’s eyes narrowed. “I’ve heard what happened to him. Very unfortunate.”

“Quite so,” Kirk agreed, and his relaxed tone set Leonard on the edge, but even he didn’t see the sudden move coming, didn’t predict the quick shift in Kirk and the almost lazy ease with which he tugged at Leonard’s gun, whisking it out of its holster and pointing it at Nero.

“Kirk, don’t,” he warned, holding back the instinct to lunge to get his gun. Not now, not when Nero’s lackey pulled out his own piece, trailing it on Kirk. Fucking Kirk, he thought, the fear mixed with anger racing through him.

“Damn stupid, Kirk,” Nero said sadly. “I have three more men on the roof, all armed. You seem to have one gun between you two. Damn stupid.”

“There’s one thing I have that you don’t, though,” Kirk smiled.

“What would that be?” Nero asked, at the very same moment when the background sounds of cars and a siren that one usually dismissed as a part of living in a big city became distinct and grew nearer.

“Backup. All the marshals in the city, I suppose, and a good part of the FBI,” he shrugged, shuffling his foot to an awkward angle, revealing the bracelet, its light flashing in an angry red, almost mockingly.

“Impressive,” Nero agreed, his tone slipping just a little over his anger, becoming rough and hoarse. “Lacks the satisfying part of actual revenge, but still impressive.”

Kirk seemed to contemplate it, his finger twitching over the trigger, his hands shaking just a little, but not enough to make him miss if he decided to shoot. Leonard shook his head, stepped forward.

“Jim, don’t. He’ll get what he deserves,” he said, surprised at the tone of his own voice, distant and hollow to his own ears, almost pleading.

What he wanted to say was: if you pull the trigger, I won’t be able to get you out. This, whatever this is, will be over and I really don’t want it to be over just yet. He wanted to say it. He couldn’t say it. “Jim,” he repeated instead.

Slowly, Kirk lowered the gun, handing it to Leonard just as Nyota was entering the scene, her own gun drawn, heading the team.

“That was inspired,” she told Leonard. “Christine got the message about the tracker, she was very impressed when she told us,” she added.

“All Kirk’s idea,” he shrugged. “Take over the cleanup, will you?” he asked her, and followed Kirk out of the perimeter, finding him on the makeshift bench of old bricks, sitting down with his head in his hands. “Well done on not pulling the trigger,” he said, sidestepping the whole crap of trying to be sensitive. Never was his style anyway.

It startled a laugh out of Kirk, so there was that. “You’re downright terrible at this whole comforting thing, aren’t you?” he asked, shaking his head, looking up at Leonard with his all too blue eyes.

“Not one of my natural talents, no,” Leonard shrugged, sitting down next to Kirk and poking him slightly so he’d move aside a little, allowing Leonard to sit beside him, their thighs touching. Kirk was warm, even though the layers of clothing. Leonard wanted to say he didn't notice, but he was past lying to himself. “If you want to talk about it… you’ll have to wait until Christine or M’Benga are free. Or try your chances with Uhura, but be careful, she might be impressed now, but I don’t think she actually likes you just yet.”

“Thanks for that," Kirk said dryly.

“You’re welcome,” Leonard nodded and they fell into a moment of comfortable silence. It actually felt good.

“There was this girl,” Kirk said after a moment, and Leonard snorted.

“One, am I supposed to know what you’re talking about? And two, isn’t there always a girl with you?” he teased.

“There might have been a guy, once or twice," Jim supplied readily, smiling slightly.

“Great. And am I supposed to know what you’re talking about?”

“You might, if you let me finish. In London, a while ago.”

Meaning right before he got arrested. Or got himself arrested. Now Leonard knew what they were talking about. They were continuing their previous conversation. He wasn’t sure why right now, but wasn’t going to stand in the way of this particular confession. Maybe if this made sense, some other things would.

“Alright, let me guess. You were madly in love, and you wanted to be a better man for her, do the right thing.”

Kirk shrugged. “We were madly in love, and she wanted in on the game. Thought it was damn romantic, and that I was the best thing that ever happened to her,” he said, with a soft shrug, his smile self-mocking and fake again. “Didn’t end all that well. She got hurt pretty badly, I’ll spare you the details.”

“Thank god,” Leonard muttered. “Kirk, is that leading to a great big confession? Because I don’t think I have any reservoirs of sympathy to offer, or any patience, so…”

“Jim,” he corrected firmly. “I’ve heard you before, I know you can say it and live. And save your sympathy, I know it might actually hurt you physically if you try to exercise it. I’m just saying, it was a bad time, I picked a few fights, got beat up a few times, did some stupid stuff. Got arrested.”

“Well done.”

“Hey, you asked. Expected a tragic tale?”

“From you? Never. So, what now?”

“I think I did pretty well today. Maybe you could have me working with you on the regular basis?” he said with a sly smile, laughing at Leonard's expression. “Hey, just a suggestion. But admit it, I was awesome.”

“You were a reckless idiot, but I suppose that’s your definition of awesome.”

“It will do. So, you’ll look into this?”

It was a ridiculous idea, but then again, ridiculous ideas worked, when you were around Jim Kirk. He made the world work exactly as he wanted it to. Most of the time, that included Leonard.

“I’ll see what I can do," he said evasively. "Now, get up, we have places to be. You’re about to be introduced to the whole new glamorous side of the crime fighting.”

“What is that?”

“The paperwork,” Leonard said with some satisfaction, watching Jim’s face fall a little.

It wasn’t exactly the kind of satisfying end of the day he wished for, deep down, but it would do for now.

*

This time it was Sulu who greeted him at the door, with a solemn nod and an almost smile that he quickly held back. Sulu, it seemed, didn’t smile much.

“Agent McCoy. Good to see you. Jim is upstairs,” he said and disappeared, which was actually kind of impressive, almost ninja-like. All in all, Leonard rather liked Sulu, who seemed to be quite, well, normal and sane, when you looked at it from the point of considering what Jim Kirk’s friends could be like.

“Making yourself at home?” Leonard asked, leaning against the doorway, watching as Jim was putting together a bookshelf.

Jim looked up. “How about you tell me?”

Leonard nodded and reached into his pocket, taking out the id and tossing it towards Jim, who caught it easily, flipping the leather cover open and staring at the documents with wide eyes. “Holy shit, seriously?”

“The anklet stays, at least for a while,” Leonard shrugged. “And there’s a shitload of rules you’re going to have to stick to, but yes, you’re our newest consultant.”

“That’s… actually kind of awesome.”

“I’m glad you think so. My department has conflicted views. There’s a betting pool, and Uhura has fifty dollars riding on you pulling a runner sometimes during the first month.”

“What is your bet?”

Leonard didn’t even try to deny, he just shook his head. “Two hundred that you stay.”

“Brave,” Jim muttered. “You’re really willing to risk that much money?”

“Well, it’s not really risking it… I have an advantage here,” Leonard said slowly, moving forward, one step, then two.

“What advantage?” Jim asked, laughing as if he already could tell what Leonard was thinking.

“I can offer you some incentive to stay,” he said, leaning in for a kiss, not the soft and tentative kind of the one offered by Jim in the car few days back, but a whole different kind of a first kiss, rough and possessive and heating up quickly.

“That’s definitely not playing fair,” Jim said admonishingly.

Leonard laughed against his lips. “Really? That’s the line Jim Kirk is going with?”

“Doesn’t seem half bad,” Jim shrugged.

“No, it doesn’t.

*

About nine years after Jim Kirk’s case first crossed Leonard’s desk, it gets officially closed.

“You decided what you’re going to do next?” Uhura asks after the tracker anklet is taken down for the last time, and after she pays up the two hundred dollars she owes McCoy. She does it with good grace, but she’s rolling her eyes at both of them.

“Don’t know yet,” Jim shrugs. “I’m looking into some things… there’s a job opening I think I could try for.”

“Legal or illegal?”

“You tell me, agent Uhura. It’s an offer made by your employers, after all.”

Uhura laughs out loud. “I can’t believe I’m going to have to pay Christine for that one. It seemed like such a far off shot,” she says.

“For the record, I don’t condone gambling,” Leonard tells her dryly. “And off the record, you should really try and pick better options.”

“Between Christine’s gut and Spock’s logic? I don’t think I have any chances of picking the winning bet, so I might as well give up the life of gambling. So very tragic. But hey, if Jim Kirk could give up the life of crime…” she lets her voice fade into amusement and hands Jim the now disarmed tracker bracelet. “Here, a souvenir.”

“I don’t think I need a reminder,” he says, his gaze flickering briefly to Leonard, who rolls his eyes. “But I suppose it may come in handy, as I’m pretty sure Bones here will miss me wearing this.”

“That’s seriously a lot more than I wanted to know,” Uhura mutters.

“Now you know how I feel whenever I chance upon you and Spock,” Leonard tells her without any sympathy.

“There’s that,” she agrees with a final smile. “I’ll leave you guys to celebrate,” she adds.

“The lady is wise,” Jim mutters. “Any ideas on how we could do that?”

Leonard has quite a few, he thinks.
Tags: au_bigbang, big bang, fanfic, kirk/mccoy, star trek, thick as thieves
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