Title: Drinking With A Child
Authors: nostalgia and kbk
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: DS9
Disclaimer: Paramount's subtext, our text.
Summary: Miles gets drunk, gets laid, and angsts a bit. Wow.
Authors' notes: We actually got out the videos and compared the sizes of their beds. We are that sad. Also, kbk is partly absolved of guilt from this fic because nostalgia bribed her with alcohol to make her write it.

You always knew how old he was, but you never really saw him as young before. Strange, you know, but when you work with someone you see them as an equal in a way that, well, it doesn't matter how old he is because he knows how to fix you when you do something stupid and that's about all that matters when it comes to doctors, isn't it?

And he isn't young when you're drunk and leaning on his shoulder as he drags your sorry lonely ass along to your quarters, back to the wife. Except, this time, the wife isn't there, and she's gone off to do something botanical that you pretended to understand. You do a lot of pretending.

And he isn't young when you tell him that you don't want to spend the night alone, and he isn't young as he locks the door behind you and helps you over to the bed, and he isn't young when you pull him down onto the bed with you, and he certainly isn't young when he kisses you back.

But maybe he's just precocious – you remember through the haze that he was the one buying all the drinks. Of course, he wouldn't do that, because he's ethical. Hippocratic oath, and all that. Very specific ethics, that. But then it's all "do no harm" and no "don't get your best friend drunk in the hope that he'll shag you senseless." So it's obviously just coincidence that the only time he keeps buying the drinks and the only time he lets you get that drunk is when Keiko's off the station and taken the kids with her. And obviously Quark hasn't worked this all out already, and the looks he gives you when the wife's away are because you owe him some money and you’ve forgotten about it. Obviously.

And obviously, not that you've figured it out, you won't keep drinking when he's buying and the wife's away.

He doesn't feel young as he peels off every part of your uniform, exposing the pale flesh that goes a little further than maybe it should. He doesn't look young as he does the same for himself, and you idly wonder whether he would have looked that good if he was just a normal human being like everybody else in the room. Not that you suddenly feel like you should have spent a little more time in the gym and a little less at Quark's, and not that you regret the fact that your wife is considerate enough to keep you meals of her excellent cooking when other men would scrape by with a sandwich from the replicator, you just wonder, that's all.

But you don't want to think about Keiko when she's a few hundred light-years away and you've got someone else in your bed, because then you'll start feeling guilty and then you might tell him to stop, and it'll be your responsibility; but if you're not thinking then of course it's all his fault, as it was from the beginning, and if you're going to feel guilty anyway you might as well get some sex out of it.

And if you think about Keiko you'll start to remember all the little things she does that bug the hell out of you, and that your best friend is good with kids and Yoshi's too young to notice anyway and... So you stop thinking about her, and think about him instead. And he just lies there on your bed like that's where he belongs, stretched out and relaxed against the mattress. He's such a slut. And maybe not quite the unsuccessful slut you always cast him as. It's not like you're a prize, not like he can be that picky if he'll put this much effort into bedding a middle-aged man who doesn't understand anything but machines and had a hard time getting dates when he was younger and fitter and still had all his hair.

It's not like he ever tells you that he loves you. Keiko says it all the time, ad nauseum, like she's afraid you'll forget and go off to find someone else. And Molly tells you that she loves you, and draws pictures in crayon of happy families and smiling people. So maybe you don't want him to say anything like that, maybe you're happy with the way things are.

Maybe you're happy with the way he takes control, and maybe you like the way you don't have to worry about hurting him, and maybe you enjoy that he doesn't demand you pleasure him before you're allowed to get anything out of the experience. Because it's just sex, after all, for all that you try to think of it as something meaningful and wonderful that brings two people together and can create another one. It's just sex, and it doesn't really matter that it's with your best friend instead of your wife because it's just two bodies together and you know each other well enough that you can get up in the morning and get on with life because that’s what you do.

And then the next day, when he looks young again, you don't replay the previous night in your head and hope that he'll brush past you in a corridor, or let his hand touch yours when he passes you the darts. And you aren't in any way grateful that Keiko's still away, letting the kids run around in a garden while she looks at pollen or whatever the hell it is that she actually does. But then he suggests a drink after work, and you don't see anything wrong with that, and you forget your plan to have a sudden power failure before he can get you to the point of slurring your words together. And you don't notice that you aren't actually heading towards your quarters until you're halfway inside his, and by that time your hand is on his arse and he's kissing you with a strength in him that's all too easy to forget, like you forget a lot of things, the way you can when you're drunk.

It's a shorter stumble to the bed, in his quarters, and there aren't any reminders of family life around you, though he's the first grown man you've met who keeps his teddy bear in full view of any visitors he may have. The bed's smaller, though it's not as small as some of the bunks you've been in - it's big enough that you can lie next to each other comfortably enough, but you can't be far enough apart that you have to move to be able to reach out and touch him, the way you do with your wife on those nights when you sleep on the inside and she sleeps as close to the edge of the bed as she can possibly get. Sometimes you think about taking the sofa, but then one of the kids would get up in the middle of the night and that's not an explanation you want to be giving. But of course he has single quarters, because Starfleet are still idealistic enough to assume that he'll be sleeping alone every night. You've always been a bit amused by that, before Keiko and before you lost your looks. Well, what looks you had. Still, as far as you know, he's slept alone most nights. Not for lack of trying, of course, and sometimes his flirting technique makes even you cringe. Maybe that's why he's settled for you. It's not like you're the love of his life, you're just some idiot who's prepared to have sex with him. Which is all he wants, most likely. Which is good, because that's all he's going to get. You love your wife.

So when she comes back from wherever she's been, and tells you she missed you, and she loves you, and she had a great time taking samples of the indigenous flora, which Molly translates as "picking flowers," and there's yet another person you care about who's twice as smart as you. And it means absolutely nothing to you when Julian walks past with his arm around some woman you don't recognise. Because you love your wife, and your kids, and he's just your best friend who makes sure you get home when you're drunk.

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