This Is The Moment
Summary: If he could just stop thinking about the captain, maybe he’d be able to keep his mind on the goddamned job.
Characters: Tyler, Pike, Tilly
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Discovery universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for @orientalld, whose amazing Pike x Tyler drawings helped launch this ship.
Things are getting ready to happen.
He’s been standing here so long his knees are locked in place, and even Nhan has grown used to his presence and stopped glowering at him. The glares don’t bother him anyway. You can’t do his job, be who he is, without a thick skin.
If he had a sense of humour he’d find irony in that thought.
So he stands, feet planted shoulder-wide, arms folded, at the rear of the bridge so they can ignore him like furniture. Perfectly positioned for a view of every console, every display. And of him.
He can barely even think the man’s rank, let alone his name.
He’s an intelligence agent; he’s a goddamned Klingon defector. Blushing isn’t supposed to be in his repertoire, and yet he can’t even look at the back of Christopher Pike’s head without prickling all over.
He feels a sense of anticipation, of breath being caught and held, and Ash doesn’t think it has anything to do with their mission.
Alpha shift is winding down. Soon, Pike will call it; soon, beta crew will stream onto the bridge and the relieved officers will hand over their stations and hit the turbolifts. Some will go to the mess hall, some their quarters, others the recreational areas; the ship will, for a short time, teem with chatter and laughter and bodies dodging one another in the corridors.
Ash will hang back until the rush has passed; he will sit alone in the mess, eat something balanced and bland, and retire to his quarters. He’ll report to Leland, maybe indulge in a little judicious hacking, read a little, sleep. There’s a good chance he won’t see or speak to anybody else until morning.
There’s an even better chance he’s lying about the reading and sleeping. What he’ll probably end up doing is staring at the darkened ceiling, picturing Pike’s broad hands pulling him close, Pike’s softly-burred drawl murmuring something just-this-side-of-filthy in his ear, and holding out as long as he can before jerking off.
“Well, Mr Tyler? You joining us?”
Ash snaps upright. Pike grins crookedly at him from the turbolift, propping the door open with one hand. From inside, Detmer, Rhys and Tilly stare at him.
“Sorry, sir,” he mumbles, loping into the ‘lift.
“Where you headed?” Pike asks him.
“Uh. Deck six.” If Detmer and Rhys just exchanged smirks, Ash decides to ignore it.
When the doors close, Ash becomes certain that the turbolift has shrunk since this morning. Is probably continuing to do so. It’s possible, also, that his lungs are no longer processing oxygen properly.
Must be why he can’t seem to string a sentence together whenever he’s in Pike’s company, Ash decides. Clearly the man is some kind of breath-stealing alien who feeds on the brain cells of otherwise reasonably intelligent beings –
“Tucking in early?”
Ash did not just flinch. “Sir?”
Pike is watching him, amusement dancing in those lake-blue eyes. “If I’m not mistaken, deck six is where your quarters are located, Specialist Tyler,” he drawls.
The captain’s eyebrows arch expectantly.
Fuck. “Yes, sir,” Ash answers, turning to stare him in the eye. “I’m going to my quarters.”
Detmer giggles, then covers it behind her hand.
“How about you, Lieutenant?” Pike asks smoothly, swinging the attention her way.
Ash exhales in relief.
“Me, sir?” Detmer looks sheepish.
“You,” Pike affirms. “Plans for this evening?” He glances from Detmer to Rhys to Tilly, who clears her throat nervously. “Or are you just interested in eavesdropping?”
“No sir,” Tilly bursts like a water balloon, “Lieutenant Detmer is training me to fly the new Class 2 shuttles, Captain. It’s part of my command officer training, well, I’m not actually supposed to try for my level six pilot’s license until my second year but I like to jump on things,” she reddens, “um, I mean completely appropriate things of course, Captain, I’m fully aware of the fraternisation protocols …”
Detmer snorts suddenly and masks it with a coughing fit.
“… and besides it’s uh, it’s a nice night for a … test flight … except just a pretend one,” Tilly mumbles, “because obviously I won’t be taking the shuttle out for real. Or … doing anything else … that requires safety gear without following procedure. Sir.”
Captain Pike waits until she winds down and nods sagely. “You’ll be getting off on deck five, then?” he suggests mildly.
“Yes, Captain,” Tilly mutters.
“Checking my team resolved the issue with the torpedo launchers, sir,” Rhys says smartly.
The turbolift slides to a halt. Deck five, the computer announces.
“Looks like this is your stop too, Mr Rhys,” Pike says.
Detmer, Tilly and Rhys file out.
“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, Ensign,” Pike calls after them.
From behind the closing turbolift door, Ash hears Tilly whimper out a “No sir,” as Rhys and Detmer each grab one of her elbows and hustle her down the corridor.
“That wasn’t very captainly of me, I know,” the captain admits, grinning as he glances sidelong at Ash, pressed to the back wall of the ‘lift. “But I guess I’m off duty right now.”
Blue eyes linger as the ‘lift takes off again, and Ash’s palms start to sweat.
Did Captain Christopher Pike just check him out?
The doors open on deck six. Neither of them moves.
“After you, Specialist.” If those eyebrows piqued any higher they’d disappear into that silver-streaked lock of hair, the one that always seems to perfectly frame the captain’s forehead. The one Ash wants to tug until he can feel the rough silk between his fingers as he guides that handsome face down to –
Down to the part of his anatomy that seems to be attracting the captain’s interest right at this very moment.
Ash is balanced on the balls of his feet like he’s ready for a fight, but he feels like he’s already been laid out on the mat. He isn’t imagining things. The captain just eyed off his dick.
Pike shifts his gaze away. “Mr Tyler?”
“I know you said you were planning on an early night, but a man has to eat, right?”
“That is true, sir.”
“In that case, why don’t you join me in my quarters?” Pike raises his eyes, meeting Ash’s. “Have dinner with me.”
It’s half a challenge, but there’s a breathless catch to his voice that tells Ash it took the other man serious guts to lay down that invitation.
And what does that mean?
Christopher Pike is the captain. He can order anyone he likes to report for dinner.
In his quarters.
Pike is still waiting, looking up at Ash expectantly. Hopefully. But the light in his eyes is fast fading, and Ash knows that this is the moment.
The anticipation he’s been feeling, the potential he’s been sensing: it’s all been leading here. And Ash Tyler is tired of standing on the sidelines waiting for things to happen to him.
He holds the other man’s gaze. “I’d like that.”
And there it is: the dimple.
“Deck two,” Pike says, voice low.
Ash faces front as the ‘lift begins to move.
They walk side by side down the corridor to the captain’s quarters. They don’t speak; don’t even look at each other. Anyone observing them, Ash thinks, would assume they were at odds again. It’d hardly be the first time he’d pissed the captain off enough to ruffle even Pike’s affable cool.
Pike keys in his entry code without a word and strides into the dark room with the ease of familiarity. Ash follows him in and pauses, waiting for his eyes to adjust, waiting for Pike’s cue. Will the captain lead with ship’s business, ease the conversation along practiced, diplomatic lines? Or maybe he’ll cast aside his natural suspicion of Ash – the traitor, the spy, the murderer – and talk to him as if they’re friends.
That’d make two friends he has on this ship.
Ash stands at the door, not at attention but not at ease either, and waits for the lights to come up.
“Take off your jacket,” comes the roughened voice from the shadows. He’s closer than Ash expects and he can’t help startling a little.
“If we’re gonna do this,” and Pike moves into the dim light cast by the stars now, stripped to his black T-shirt and uniform pants, “I think you should call me Chris. Don’t you?”
There it is again: that shockingly bold statement, delivered with a nonchalance that belies the sheer guts it must have taken him to make it. Because Tilly was right, Ash thinks with the corner of his mind that’s still capable of thinking; there are protocols and regulations at play here, and Pike – Chris – is probably breaking half a dozen of them.
Although, come to think of it, Ash is technically outside his chain of command, and therefore probably the only person aboard that the captain could –
“I gave you an order, Mr Tyler,” growls Pike.
And that pisses Ash off.
“Yeah?” he says. “But you’re not the captain right now. You said it yourself – you’re just Chris.”
He steps into Pike’s space and runs his splayed fingers through that silver forelock, tilting the older man’s head back so he can lean in close.
“And if Chris wants something,” Ash tells him, “he’s gonna have to ask me nicely.”
He isn’t expecting the shudder that runs lightly through that broad, muscled form. He isn’t expecting that puff of sweet breath against his lips, almost but not quite a sigh of surrender.
Chris loops his arms around Ash’s hips, thumb tucking into the back of Ash’s pants.
“Please,” he says, husky and deep, a demand and a promise.
“Please,” Chris says, “take off your jacket. I want …”
He stops to bite his lip as Ash takes a half-step back, unzipping the jacket and tossing it who-knows-where. One look at the way Chris’ eyes have gone dark and Ash pulls off his T-shirt too.
“That what you want,” he steps back into Pike’s arms, “Captain?”
“It’s a start,” Chris answers in a voice like gravel. Then he hooks a hand round the back of Ash’s neck and pulls him into a kiss.
Sometimes Ash still thinks in Klingon; sometimes Standard, the language he chose as his own, just doesn’t cut it. Pike’s mouth locking onto his, tongue sliding across his lower lip as those hands wrap round Ash’s hips and their bodies gently collide, well, there’s no Standard for that.
“Fuck,” says Chris under his breath.
Except that, maybe. Ash chuckles aloud.
In retaliation, Chris’ teeth pull at his lower lip. “Something funny, Mr Tyler?”
“No,” says Ash, and spreads his hands over Pike’s ass, grinding against him just to feel him shudder like he did before. Like that.
It’s like they’re shot out of a starter’s gun. Hands rasp over sturdy fabric, yank at fastenings, shove inside tightly-tailored clothing in haste to get at skin. Chris dances Ash backward, sipping and sucking at his mouth as they stumble around shadowed hulks of furniture. They crash into the open doorway to the bedroom and Ash pushes Chris up against it, yanking at Chris’ T-shirt until he pulls it over his head, mussing all that artfully waved hair. One look at those blown pupils and kiss-bitten lips, and Ash gives into impulse and buries his hands in it, holding Chris firm, kissing him lusciously until he moans.
He drops to his knees and strips the captain of his uniform, hands shaking and eyes greedy, pressing his face into the other man’s groin. Pike smells like soap and yeast under his Starfleet cotton shorts and he’s hard, swollen and hot against Ash’s cheek. Ash mouths at him through the material, breathing in his scent, fingers curled around his own knees to stop himself from devouring, biting, drawing blood.
He feels a hand in his hair, tugging lightly.
“Hey, come up here,” Pike entreats, and Ash obeys, leaning in to press himself against all that warm bare skin as Chris wraps his arms around him and they kiss and kiss.
Then they’re on the bed and Chris is fumbling with Ash’s zipper, shoving his pants down his legs, waiting until Ash toes them off before they’re kissing again. Ash’s beard rasps on the pale skin of Chris’ throat and the reddened flesh fascinates him; he dolphins his way down that well-honed body, digs his teeth lightly into Chris’ abdomen and hears the captain yelp, feels those broad hands tangling in his hair. Ash is burning, he’s shaky and tense and there’s a lump in his throat he can’t seem to choke down, and he wants everything, he wants to swallow Chris and fuck him and be possessed by him and he wants to confess to things he isn’t even sure he can name and he wants to never bother with words again, just feel, just let it go and feel.
When he raises his head to breathe, he sees there are marks on Chris’ body, marks he put there. Indents in the shape of his teeth, pocked with blood where he’s broken the skin. A couple are discoloured, painted in shades of violet and indigo. He doesn’t remember it – doesn’t remember biting so hard.
“Why’d you stop?”
Chris is watching him, eyes heavy and body drawn tight like a bow. His hands are still fisted in Ash’s hair, not to control but to ground them both.
Ash pulls back slowly and Chris sits up.
“Something wrong, Ash?”
“Yeah.” How can he not feel the wrongness of it? Ash stares at the blood and the bruises. “I hurt you.”
Pike stares at him in incomprehension before finally looking down at his body. “This?”
“You’re kidding, right? I’ve had worse play-wrestling my nephews. Will you come over here?”
“What if I …” Ash is too afraid to finish. What if I lose control? What if I hurt you worse?
Chris rises up on his knees and pulls Ash to him, tipping their foreheads together. He runs a thumb along Ash’s lower lip.
“I trust you,” he says.
“Simple as that, huh?”
“Yeah,” Chris murmurs. “So c’mon. Can’t put the genie back in the bottle, Mr Tyler.”
He tilts his head and lets their lips brush just as he reaches down and takes hold of Ash’s cock.
“Ah, fuck,” says Ash as Chris begins to stroke him, steady and slow, mouthing along Ash’s jawline. He finds his own hands exploring, fingers walking over that quilted abdomen, one hand mirroring Chris’ grip on his dick while the other holds onto the captain’s hip, thumb rubbing into the V of his pelvis.
“Okay?” Pike rumbles into Ash’s ear.
Ash nods, eyes closing, hips moving under Pike’s talented hands.
“That’s good.” A bite; Ash’s eyes fly open. “Because I’d really like to fuck you now, Specialist Tyler.”
And Ash is being guided down to the bed, not forced, just firmly steered like this man knows better than he does what Ash needs, like now is the time to give over to Chris Pike, to give him control. To trust him. And maybe, really, that’s what this has been about all along.
Maybe it doesn’t matter; maybe the only thing that matters is now, this moment, Chris touching him carefully with slickened fingers, watching for Ash’s caught breath and the flicker of his eyelashes before lowering himself, stretching out along Ash’s body. He circles Ash’s wrists with his hands and pulls their arms above his head. Not restraining. Just asking for surrender.
“Look at me,” Chris commands, and Ash forces drugged eyes open. Chris is leaning in so close Ash can see tiny flecks of gold and green in his irises, shrunk to a sliver around those wide, wide pupils. He can feel the captain’s arms trembling finely, feel the swell of Chris’ cock at his entrance.
Chris moves his hips in a slow circle and makes Ash groan.
“Do you want this?” Chris asks, and Ash knows he doesn’t just mean this, Chris inside him, but everything that comes after. “Because if you do, you’re gonna have to trust me. I won’t hurt you, Ash. Do you hear what I’m saying?”
Ash hears him. Believes him, too, even if he doesn’t trust himself to make Chris the same promise. Isn’t sure he deserves this either – this night, this life, this man – but what the hell else is he waiting for?
This is the moment, he knows, when things are going to happen. When nothing is ever going to be the same.
“I want this,” Ash says. “And I do trust you.”
“Thank Christ for that,” Pike growls, and he pushes inside, slow and steady, pausing to catalogue every twitch and groan and whimper Ash can’t help making as he tries to clutch at the headboard, arches his body into Pike’s, cranes up to kiss him.
They move like the sea, a sweet, swelling ebb and flow, Ash’s hands curling hard around the bedhead as the veins in Chris’ arms, holding him up, thicken with blood. The air around the bed is hot with their breath, intimate. Ash stares up into Chris’ face, watching his eyes go dazed and cloudy, hearing the roar in his own head as his body winds tight.
“C’mon,” Chris groans, grinding, and Ash bucks up against him as his orgasm takes him by surprise. He’s so full of heat and light he doesn’t even realise until seconds later, when he’s blinking away moisture he chooses to identify as sweat, feeling Chris’ soft lips nuzzling all over his face, that Chris came, too.
He focuses on the mussed-up hair and the dimples, reaches up to run still-numb fingers through that silver-streaked forelock.
“You okay?” Chris asks him, grinning. “Felt like you were off on another astral plane there for a moment.”
“Don’t brag,” Ash says, trying to match his tone even though his entire body feels like it’s one with the mattress, “it’s not captainly.”
Chris barks out a laugh and leans in to kiss him, hard, then shifts to the side, his head on the pillow beside Ash’s. It feels right, Ash thinks; natural.
“I told you,” he says. “I’m off duty.”