Another continuation (and there might be one or two more in the coming months)
Chris stared at Zach like he’d never seen him before. Zach sighed and put down the cards.
“You asked if I had any sevens, I don’t, I said pound pavement, that’s the way the game works, Pine.”
Chris yawned then, so big and loud that his eyes watered and his jaw popped. “Sorry. I, uh, I lost track of the game.”
“Because it’s time for little boys to go to bed.”
Chris averted his gaze and Zach wondered what that was about. But he didn’t say anything, so Zach stood, grabbed Chris’ arm and hauled him to his feet.
“Come on. Off to bed with you.”
Zach knew where Chris’ room was, so he pulled the younger man through the house and to the bedroom. There were items there that belonged to her, but Zach decided not to focus on that.
They were always at cross purposes, weren’t they? Jonathan, Olivia, Iris, Miles, and now…yeah, her. The one he’d seemed to be with the longest. Though still not as long as Miles, if it came to that.
A fool for love was still a fool.
He gently pushed Chris down onto the mattress.
“I’ll bet you can manage to get yourself undressed.”
“Yeah,” Chris agreed. Out came that tongue to trace over his lips and Zach fisted his hands. “Only…”
“Only what, Pine?”
“Can you stay here with me tonight?”
Zach laughed. “What? Why would I?”
“Uh.” Chris was blushing now.
“You’re not still thinking of that spider, yeah? Come on. It’s not going to come in here and eat you.”
“It might have had babies.”
“Maybe.” Zach smirked.
“And, uh, the slashers.”
“What about them?”
“We watched a lot of slasher films, Zach. I’m kinda freaked out.”
He sighed again. Ran his fingers through his hair. It felt greasy and he should have a shower, but he felt far too lazy and apatetic to bother.
“You’re a grown man, Chris.”
“I know, but—”
“This isn’t a good idea,” he said in a low voice. But those blue eyes rose to his and they almost looked watery like Chris would cry if he refused. And he just wasn’t. Even if it was the mother of all bad ideas.
“Okay,” he replied. “Fine. Let me go get my stuff and we’ll go to bed together. To sleep, Christopher. Nothing else.”
Zach left the room and went to get his small bag. He took maybe extra long and it paid off because when he returned, Chris had taken off his clothes and put on low slung pajama pants and a thread-barren T-shirt.
He didn’t say anything when Zach returned, just stood there looking at the empty bed, so Zach went into the bathroom, got into his shorts and tank, and brushed his teeth.
“Do you have to go?”
Zach was surprised by the question when he came out of the bathroom.
“You know, back to New York.”
“Yeah, I do. It’s home.”
“LA’s home too, isn’t it?”
“Sometimes yeah and sometimes no. Right now, home is more New York for me. California’s…complicated.” Zach shrugged. “Anyway, you’re living the good life here. What are you worried about?”
Chris shook his head. “I’m not worried. I just miss you. A lot.”
Zach decided not to address that. “Get in bed, Christopher.”
And he did, too. Zach turned off the overheard light and then walked over to the side of the bed he supposed she normally occupied. For some perverse reason he wanted to smear his scent and greasyish hair all over her pillow.
Zach was here, Bitch
She wasn’t really one, except because of the obvious reasons.
He got in bed and turned off the lamp next to the bed.
“Next time your friends suggest slasher movies, maybe say no?”
A few heartbeats of silence.
Zach said nothing for a while and then he heard heavier breathing and knew Chris had fallen asleep. He was glad. Because they couldn’t go there. Not again. Not now as it was between them if they were to remain friends. And that was what Zach wanted. Not to lose Chris. Even if all it ever was, was this.
He almost got back out of the bed and went to the guest room, but no. He said he’d stay and he was a man of his word.
Took him a long time to fall asleep though. But there were no spiders or slashers. He’d slayed them.
“It feels so cold.” Jim shivered as he stepped past the threshold of the house. He suddenly regretted letting his friends talk him into going into the creepy house.
“Well.” Janice scooted next to him. “No one’s occupied it for years, so there’s no heat or anything. It makes sense it would be cold.”
He was there with Janice, Christine, Bones, Sulu, Uhura and Spock. Jim had a big time crush on Spock, but so did Uhura. She had been jonesing to go out with Spock and get her nails into him since the beginning of the semester of the Academy. That was the sole reason she was there that night. Because of Spock.
Jim had a little hope, though, because Spock had only agreed to go into the creepy house because Janice had talked Jim into attending. Bones told Jim that Janice liked him, but Jim had eyes only for Spock. Yeah, it probably sucked for everyone.
Despite the hope he did have, Jim wasn’t convinced it meant Spock was sexually interested in him. It could just be that he thought Jim was stupid enough to get himself hurt at the creepy house and admittedly they were friends. Spock had sort of made himself Jim’s personal bodyguard ever since Jim’s acrimonious breakup with a girl whose brother wanted to kick his ass.
“Okay, sure,” Jim agreed. “But it seems like…unusually cool. Like blast freeze.”
“Or ghostly visitors?” Bones asked with a knowing smirk. “Trying to go for atmosphere, Jim?:
He shrugged. “This wasn’t my idea.”
He saw a room at the end of the hallway but the others seemed to be headed in the direction of the kitchen. For some reason, Jim felt drawn to that room, so he lingered behind from the group and headed in that direction instead. He put his hand on the outside of the door which almost felt like he was touching a block of ice.
A voice in his head told him not to open the door, but he ignored it, twisted the knob and went into the room.
It appeared to be an old ballroom, from back in the days, he guessed, rich people had those. The room was so cold, Jim could see his breath, and he started to shake uncontrollably.
I shouldn’t be here. Something bad happened here. Really bad.
“Spock,” he said out loud, though he couldn’t say why.
As he turned around to head out, he suddenly realized he was somehow in the middle of the room, though he couldn’t remember walking that far in. Cold fingers touched his neck and he blanched. Suddenly coming toward him was a wisp of smoke or mist and for some reason he found he couldn’t move.
The door of the room slammed open like an explosion in the empty room and then warm fingers seized his wrist and yanked him with unusual force from the the room.
“We are leaving,” Spock’s voice said directly into his ear.
The next he knew, he was outside of the house entirely and being held in Spock’s strong warm arms. Spock was rubbing his back and he was speaking softly but Jim wasn’t sure what he said.
Slowly he began to feel warmer and become more aware of what was happening around him. He realized the others were there too.
“It is all right, Jim. You are safe now,” Spock spoke softly.
Jim nodded and snuggled in closer to him. “What was that?”
“I do not know. Leonard says you suffered from a bit of shock but he gave you something and you are coming out of it.”
Spock’s hold tightened. “I am going to take you home as soon as you are well enough to walk away from here. I think the sooner the better though.”
“I’m ready. Just…not sure I want to be alone.”
“I am taking you home with me,” Spock assured him.
Jim summoned up his first smile in quite some time to look into Spock’s face. “Yeah?”
Nearby Uhura sighed and muttered, “I don’t know why I ever bothered.”
“Told you,” Sulu whispered back.
Spock took Jim’s arm and they all began to walk away from the spooky house. Some looked back as they did, warily, but Jim kept his eyes firmly away. He never wanted to see it again.
But at least…Spock. Something good had come out of it. But it would be a long time before he’d come anywhere near this area.
Leonard was surprised when two days later it was a fully showered and dressed Spock who came down the stairs while Leonard was helping himself to a cup of coffee and another pumpkin donut.
He’d been bored to tears for those days, finding there was little to do by yourself in a homestead in the middle of nowhere. He hadn’t dared go directly into the bedroom while matters were still commencing but he had kept a pained ear trained.
“Spock, nice to see you coherent. Does that mean it’s over?”
“It has…passed.” Spock went into the kitchen to make himself tea. “At the moment, the captain is sleeping.”
Leonard rolled his eyes. “The captain is it?”
Spock averted his gaze. “I suppose you have many questions.”
“You bet I do. But first I need to check on Jim.”
“He is asleep and in a mild version of the Vulcan healing trance I initiated for him. I would ask that you not disturb him immediately.”
“And I would ask where you got your medical degree,” Leonard rose and he held up a hand when Spock took a forward step. “I’m just going to check. If he’s sleeping and is in no immediate distress, I’ll leave him be.”
Leonard took his medical bag and went up the stairs into the bedroom his two closest friends had been using. Jim was lying on his side facing away from Leonard. He ran a quick scan and was relieved to see his vitals seemed to be close to normal. He saw no evidence of excessive wounds or bruising either.
Going back downstairs, Leonard found Spock sitting at the table with his tea. In front of him was the Vulcan bread Kreyla.
Spock stared into his tea. “I am the last being you need be concerned would harm him. He is the most important to me in the universe.”
“Is that as a result of the Pon Farr.”
“My affection for Jim preceded that,” Spock said softly. “He has been the subject of my affections for some time.”
Leonard raised his eyebrows. “Was Jim aware of that before Pon Farr?”
“Yes. Our relationship was kept secret in the waning months of the five-year mission. I had discussed the possibility of my time with him and secured his consent prior to his commencement.”
“And what happens now?”
“We are a bonded pair.”
“A legal marriage in terms of the Federation. Should Jim wish to have an Earth marriage, I am amenable.” Spock paused, sipped his tea. “We intend to file the bonding papers once we have fully recovered.”
“I’d been sent to find you. Apparently some young Vulcans were having performance issues. Jim assured me you were not.”
“I was not. But to hear some are, is troubling.”
“Yeah, so they’re working on it. I informed everyone that you were okay and in the throes of it. I’ll let them know you came out of it fine.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
“Well, if this is what you both want, then congratulations, Spock.”
“Jim did say you were aware of his feeling for me.”
Leonard nodded. “Yeah, long time ago he confessed to me. You and Uhura were pretty serious back then and Jim’s not that kind of guy.”
“I am aware.”
“But if this is what you two want, then, I’m happy for you.”
Spock nodded. “I will always hold great affection for Nyota, but Jim is my T’hy’la. There can be no one else for me.”
“And I’m sure Jim feels the same way. Okay, Spock, I’m going to check on him one more time and then I’ll leave you two to it. I’m sure that you’ll see that he eats and takes care of himself.”
“I will, of course.”
Leonard smiled. “Of course. I have more own leave to get back to, so soon I’ll let you two get to yours. A sort of…honeymoon,”
Spock arched a brow. Leonard gathered up his few belongings and set out to check on Jim once more before departure.
“Fortunes told.” Bones read the sign and then glanced at Jim. “You up for it, Jim?”
Jim scoffed. “Are you kidding? These fortune tellers are hokey as hell.”
He crossed his arms and stared at the sign. They were at a Harvest Festival. In Georgia of all places. Yes, thanks to Bones.
They had a two week leave on Earth and somehow, he let the doctor talk him into going to Georgia with him.
Sure, it was true, Jim had no where in particular to go. His mom wasn’t at home in Riverside, and he had no real desire to hang out in the empty farmhouse. Spock planned on attending some science symposium in San Francisco and made no particular overtures that Jim’s presence would be welcome. Which okay, they weren’t “together-together” but Jim thought maybe they’d been working their way in that direction.
“Maybe I should go with you, Spock.”
Spock had stared at Jim for a good minute without blinking. Amazing really.
“I am afraid you would be quite bored, Captain.”
And that was Jim’s clue that that illogical human captains were not included in the plans.
If he didn’t know that Uhura was going to Scotland with Scotty, he’d be worried they were reconciling despite Spock telling him that he was romantically interested in Jim.
And he got dragged to the festival by Bones and his young daughter. There were pumpkins and hay. Definitely lots of that. And apples and cider and all things fallish.
Jim pulled at the flesh flaking off his face. It was itching like crazy. He knew he shouldn’t have let himself be talked into wearing so much make up and fake skin. Sure, he looked the part of a zombie, but he was completely uncomfortable and probably having some kind of allergic reaction besides.
The zombie contacts were killing his eyes, making them red. Which okay might be a nice effect for his costume, but he was miserable and his eyes were watering and making his make up run.
And don’t even get him started on the zombie wig. His head itched something awful and he’d began to wonder if it really was new and not used as the Halloween shop guy had claimed.
He had managed to secure himself a spot in the corner of the party, where he sipped lightly at a cocktail with a beating heart. Okay it was really just a cherry but that’s what the bartender had called the drink, the Beating Heart.
Jim was sorry he’d come. No one he’d been told would be there had shown up. The band, the Crimson Ghoulies, were pretty awful.
Jim rolled his eyes. Ever since he’d arrived partygoers had been coming up to him and yelling BRAINSSSS in his face. He was over it.
But when he glanced over at the latest one, it was someone else dressed in a zombie costume, fairly similar to his.
“Uh, yeah. Brains. Hungry for them.”
The other zombie stared blankly at him. He had his arms outstretched toward Jm.
“Yeah, brains. I get it. We’re both dressed like zombies.” Jim didn’t recognize the guy, but there were plenty of people at the party he didn’t know. He gestured with his thumb. “Bartender’s there in the back if you want to get a drink. I think he’s got one called Brains.”
The zombie guy continued to stand in front of Jim, his mouth hanging partway open. He smelled too, a bit like rotting flesh. Jim shivered.
“I think you’re taking the zombie thing a bit far, buddy.”
“Beat it, dude. I’m not interested.”
And as Jim was about to turn away and ignore the guy, a hooded figure came up behind him and shoved what looked like a Vulcan weapon straight through the middle of the guy. He collapsed at Jim’s feet, his now oozing flesh beginning to steam.
“Holy crap, what—”
The guy lowered his hood and looked calmly at Jim. “He was indeed a zombie.”
“I am Spock of Vulcan, a zombie slayer, if you will. Come with me.”
Spock sighed. “This area of Earth is about to be overrun with zombies. I have a ship that will take us away from Earth while the zombie apocalypse takes place. You will be safe with me.’ He paused. “Or would you prefer to take your chances with him?”
Jim looked down at the now disintegrating creature. “Oh my God. That’s so gross.”
He looked back up at the Vulcan. “You know my name?”
“I know everything about you. There is little time and you may wish to remove your costume. Come.”
“How’d you know I wasn’t a real zombie?” Jim asked, moving away from the corner where he was to follow Spock.
“As a slayer, I have the ability to distinguish them.”
“I still don’t understand—”
They got into the lift.
“Other than that guy, everyone else seemed normal.”
Spock nodded. “He is the start of it. Or is among those that are the beginning here in San Francisco. I would rather we leave and get you to safety before the city is overrun.”
“You are…important to me. Once I have gotten you to safety, I will return to do my slayer duty.”
The lift opened and Spock grabbed Jim’s arm and tugged him out and down a corridor. At the end of that was a door and he pulled Jim through.
A ship waited there.
A man Jim thought he had seen before in Starfleet stood outside the doors of the ship.
“You got him, then?”
“Yes, Mr. Scott.”
The door of the ship opened, and a tall, slim, dark skinned woman emerged. She smiled. “Thank goodness, Spock. You got your T’hy’la?”
Jim was brought on board and there were others there too.
Spock pointed. “There is the refresher. You can go in there to clean up. A change of clothes awaits you.”
“Spock, who are these people?”
“My crew. Other zombie slayers. Go, Jim. We are about to leave.”
Shaking his head, confused and a little wasted from alcohol, Jim went into the refresher to shower and remove all evidence of the costume. He ripped at the horrible contacts first.
He stared at himself in the mirror. His heart pounded hard in his chest as he felt movement under his feet. The ship was taking off.
“Well, Jim, you wanted excitement and adventure. Guess you’re about to get it.”
He got in the shower, closed his eyes and let the water wash away the grime of the make up. But then he opened them quickly. If there were zombies out there, he’d better be on his guard.
After he was finished and dressed in the clothes left for him, Jim exited the refresher.
Spock waited for him. “Teach me,” Jim said. “I want to learn to be a zombie slayer.”