Summary: Uh. Gay band AU met lawyer AU and had overly-domestic fic!babies, or at least that's how I described it to taraljc. There's also a bar and a really loud whistle.
Ship/Characters: Pike/Boyce, One/Barry
Word Count: 3200
Rating: PG (some minor swearing)
Warnings: None, I think. Fluff?
Notes: Entry for Round 3 of st_respect. Thanks to boosette for hand-holding, encouragement, and beta work, as usual. Title from "(Just Like) Starting Over," by John Lennon. For the purposes of this story, I invented the Band of the Rolling Prairie and the interior of the bar. I did not invent, among other things: gay marching bands, RAGBRAI, or Iowa's same-sex marriage laws (legal since 2009).
"All right, band," Chris Pike said, tapping his baton on the edge of the music stand. "Your section leaders have the marching music for this season. After the break, we're going to read through it, so for those of you who have to switch instruments, now would be the time. Cait, did you have announcements?"
"Yes," Cait Barry, band president, said, "but I'm also one of those people who has to switch instruments, so I'm going to let you make the announcement about Wichita Pride and the fact that we're going to Blazing Saddle after rehearsal."
Groans came from the female and non-leather portions of the band.
"What. Last week was the Garden; next week is Buddy's Corral. You know how it goes. Also, five people still haven't paid dues for this year, so pay up, or come talk to me, or something." She pulled the delicate reed off the end of her oboe, sucked the excess spit off of it, and put it in the carrying case.
"Thanks, Cait," Chris said, rolling his eyes. "I guess I'm talking about Wichita Pride. Anyway, the Band of the Rolling Prairie has been asked to march in Wichita Pride this year. Yes, we're still doing Capital City Pride and Twin Cities Pride; this is a couple weeks later. And yes, it's a six-hour drive from Des Moines to Wichita, but we'll caravan, maybe rent a couple of twenty-person vans or something, and the Pride committee has offered to help with hotels or provide places for us to stay in town. More details as they come, and—" He turned to look at the clock. "—please be back in your seats by 8:13."
"Ah, so we get an eight-minute break," Phil Boyce, Chris's partner of twenty-odd years (and husband of two) said to the bassoonist. "Much better than the seven-minute break last week, but it'll never approach the joy of the nine-minute break from two weeks ago." He set his bass clarinet aside, opened the case holding his marching clarinet, found his reed case, and popped a reed in his mouth to wet it.
"Clearly not," Nadia Onegin, the aforementioned bassoonist said, as she dismantled her bedpost-like instrument and prepared to join her partner, Cait, in the flute section. "And it would obviously break reality if he let us have a full ten minutes."
"Ten minutes would be the end of band as we know it!" Phil said around the reed, and Nadia grinned.
"Oh, hush, you two," Chris said, and slid into the seat next to Phil. "What did you think of the tempo at the end of An American in Paris?"
"Too slow," Phil said.
"I wasn't asking you," Chris said. "I was asking Nadia."
"Too slow," Nadia said, and Phil laughed.
"'Poker Face'?!" came Cait's incredulous voice over the general noise of the band. "Seriously, Chris? I thought we decided against marching to 'Poker Face'?"
"Yeah, Chris," Phil said. "I mean, couldn't you have gotten us an arrangement of 'Bad Romance?'"
"Phil, you're not helping, and why on earth do you know the name of more than one Lady Gaga song?" Cait planted her hands on her hips and spun to look at them.
"I'm married to the director of a gay band," Phil said.
"Good point," Cait said, and turned back to flip through the rest of the marching music. "'Don't Stop Believin''? Isn't that so, I don't know, 2009?"
"I would have said it was so 1981," Phil said to Nadia, "but I was, oh, let's not say how old I was in 1981, and I suppose you spring chickens were infants back then."
Nadia shrugged. "I'd already started playing piano."
"Of course you had."
"Ooh, 'Rock Lobster,'" Cait said, looking up with a huge grin. "This is the best song ever."
"I'm glad one of the songs has your approval," Chris said, one eyebrow raised. His voice held only mild sarcasm—he'd been arguing marching repertoire with Cait for years, and although the rest of the band was milling around, no one paid them a bit of attention. "Are we going to the bar after rehearsal?"
Phil shrugged. "I've got surgery in the morning, and don't you have to be in court at 8:30?"
"Oh. Guess not, then," Chris said, but looked a little disappointed.
"We can go anyway," Phil said, and Chris's face brightened. He looked at the clock, squeezed Phil's shoulder, and stood, returning to the podium for the second half of rehearsal.
Chris clunked the base of his pint glass—filled with water and a slice of lemon—on the back of Phil's head as he leaned against the pool table at the Blazing Saddle. It was Double Punch Monday—regular patrons earned free drinks twice as quickly—but the pool-table room at the bar only held a few other patrons and the music was still quiet enough to talk over.
"Ow," Phil said, setting the rubberized end of the pool cue down on the floor and rubbing the back of his head. "What was that for?"
"I saw you looking at that guy over there." Chris indicated one of the other pool players, at the far table.
"Give me a break," Phil said. "He's wearing the tightest jeans I've seen in twenty years."
Chris considered the other man's rear end, and nodded. "You've got a point."
In addition to the usual four—Cait, Nadia, Phil, and Chris—the band's token straight couple, Mia and José, had shown up, and they were playing doubles pool, with Mia and Chris sitting out. Mia was watching the leather-and-jean-clad standard clientele avidly, with an air cross between that of an anthropologist and that of a not-so-disinterested observer. Chris was drink courier.
"So, Kansas," Cait said, clinking her beer glass against Chris's as she watched Nadia line up a shot. Well, watched a certain part of Nadia as she lined up a shot. "And Minnesota. Not Chicago this year?"
"It's the same weekend as Twin Cities Pride and I promised the Minnesota Freedom Band we'd come join them first." Chris shrugged. "Next year, we'll be in Chicago, if we can swing it."
"Ah," Cait said. "Good job, sweetheart," she said to Nadia, who'd sunk four in a row.
"Is she sharking us?" José asked Phil.
"Her undergrad's in linear math from MIT," Mia said, still watching the patrons.
"How did you know that?" Cait asked.
Mia frowned. "I'm her paralegal. I see her diplomas every time I drop off a file in her office."
"Good point," Cait said. "But still, every time we cross the border, I can feel our marriage dissolving."
"If the new Iowa Supreme Court has anything to do with it, that'll be a feeling you have to get used to," Chris said, rolling his eyes.
"Why aren't you on the Iowa Supreme Court?" Cait asked, sighing. "Or you, Nadia?"
Nadia shuddered. "No thanks," she said. "Unless you want to quit the engineering and become my society wife?"
Cait punched her in the arm lightly and grinned. "I already am your society wife."
"I'm a public defender," Chris said. "Public defenders don't become judges. We become alcoholics." He saluted Phil with his half-empty glass.
"Too late for that," Phil said, handing the pool cue to José, who sank the 4-ball quickly but scratched. "I saw you at the party last weekend."
Chris barked a laugh. "Yeah, you're probably right." He shook his glass. "It's water, though."
Cait leaned over and sniffed the drink. "Are you sure?"
"Your turn," José said, and Cait accepted the pool cue from Nadia and the cue ball from José.
Chris held the glass right in front of Cait and waved, indicating that she was more than welcome to try it.
"Nah," Cait said. "Wouldn't want to catch boy cooties." She chalked the end of the cue and leaned on it, looking at the table speculatively.
Mia dragged her eyes away from an inexplicably-shirtless young man to ask, "Is anyone doing the RAGBRAI this year?"
Phil and Cait groaned in unison. Cait even interrupted her calculations to stand up and roll her eyes exaggeratedly. "Not if you paid me."
Chris and Nadia exchanged glances and shrugged. "Both of us have applied for the lottery, along with Garrison and Zel," Chris said, naming two other members of the band. "We'll find out May 1st. Why, did you enter the lottery?"
"I'm thinking about it," Mia said.
"What, just because you want to tell people that you rode your bike all the way across Iowa?" Phil asked, his tone gentler than his words. "Chris was wrecked for a good week or two afterwards, and he runs marathons and does all sorts of athletic things for fun. He even had to hand over a couple of trials to one of his underlings."
"Assistants," Chris said, bumping Phil's arm. "I don't have underlings. I have assistants. And hush; you run, too."
"It sounds like the kind of thing I'd like to do at least once," Mia said, shrugging, "and I think this is the last year that—" She flushed, and stopped.
The other four raised eyebrows at each other and started grinning. "Band baby!" Cait crowed. "You going to join the Rainbow Families Coalition?"
Mia shrugged, still red. "Maybe."
"It's still your shot, Cait," José said, and Cait leaned back over the table, wiggling her rear end. Nadia shook her head minutely, but a small smile curved her lips.
All of a sudden, something clanged in the other room, like multiple pint glasses hitting the floor at once. "Hey!" came over the breaking glass sound, as well as the unmistakable thwack of fists on flesh.
"Shit," Chris said, and pushed to his feet. He jogged over to the doorway between the pool-table room and the bar, pulling the marching-band whistle out of his pocket.
"Who the hell starts a bar fight at the Blazing Saddle on a Monday night?" Phil asked, standing more slowly and following Chris's path to the door between the two rooms. The other four followed him, ostensibly to see if Chris needed help breaking up the fight, but mostly to watch.
Chris blew the whistle command that the band used to start a song—a long whistle that dipped and came back up and four sharp blasts and the noise of the fight stopped immediately. "Outside, all of you," he said in his courtroom voice. "Especially you, Giotto. You know what this is going to mean."
"Who the hell runs into a bar fight instead of away?" José asked, putting his arm protectively around his wife, who frowned at him and went to stand by Phil. "Aren't there bouncers for that?"
"An out, gay public defender who gets all the gay-bar fights, that's who," Cait said, leaning against the door frame. "He's just making his job tomorrow easier."
"Are you all right, son?" Chris asked the blond kid upside down on a café table, and when the response was, "You can whistle really loud," Chris motioned Phil forward for medical help.
"We should probably head out," Cait said to Nadia. "So should you," she added to José and Mia, who nodded. The latter two left immediately via the front door, following the five or six miscreants who had been fighting.
"Do you need any help?" Nadia asked Chris, while Phil shone a penlight into the blond kid's eyes.
"Nah," Chris said. "I'm going to do a little community-building, hopefully keep the little shit out of jail, and then drive him home. You and Cait can go."
Nadia nodded. "All right. Call me if you need someone to take it pro bono."
"Of course." He kissed her on the cheek, waved at Cait, and watched them leave.
"No concussion," Phil said. "He's a little drunk, but I think his brain cells are coming back online."
"Whatever, old man," the kid said.
"Hey," Phil said, and cuffed him lightly on the ear. "Chris is trying to keep you out of jail. I'm trying to keep you out of the hospital. You could show a little gratitude."
The kid shrugged.
Phil and Chris exchanged a glance and, after a moment, Phil nodded and went to talk to the bartender, who had herded the remaining patrons into the other room and was threatening to call the police. "Give Chris a few minutes," Phil said. "He's done this before. You know him."
The bartender—Mike—frowned, but finally nodded. "He's got fifteen minutes, and then I'm letting everyone back in. And who's going to pay for the damage?"
Phil sighed. "You know we're good for it if the kid doesn't pay up."
Mike nodded again. "Okay. It's a damn good thing you come by so often."
"Thanks, Mike," Phil said, and turned around, leaning against the bar. From that vantage point, he couldn't quite hear Chris's conversation with the kid, but he did hear the kid say, "Are we done here?" quite clearly.
Chris dropped his card dramatically on the table—yes, he practiced doing that; no, Phil still hadn't stopped needling him for it—said something quietly and intensely, and held the kid's gaze for a moment. When he turned away, he caught Phil's eye, and nodded.
"We'll be paying for it," Phil said to Mike, suppressing his second sigh. "How much?"
While he dealt with the financial angle, Chris disappeared outside for a moment to talk to the people he'd ordered outside, including one of his former clients. The kid drank a glass of water slowly, staring off into the distance.
Chris came back in and raised his eyebrows at the kid, who shook his head. Chris shrugged, said something, and walked over to Phil. "Let's go."
They left the bar, talking quietly. "Weren't you going to drive him home?" Phil asked.
"Bartender has his keys," Chris said. "I left him a couple dollars for bus fare. He wouldn't take a ride home."
"What's his story?"
Chris sighed. "You're not going to believe this. He's George and Winona Kirk's kid."
Phil blinked. "Didn't we go to George's funeral a few years ago?"
"Yeah, like twenty. Practically our first date."
Phil elbowed him. "Don't remind me. So the kid grew up without a father, and?"
"He didn't want to talk about Winona; I'm guessing she works too much or he hasn't seen her for a while. He grew up in Riverside, which I'm guessing isn't the best place for a queer kid in Iowa—"
"It's outside of Iowa City, which would be a good place, but there's no accounting for exurbs. Go on."
"Thanks. I think I will." They'd reached their car—actually Chris's car, a five-year-old Subaru Forester with a roof rack—and got in, Chris behind the driver's wheel. "Anyway, Jim—that's his name—moved to Des Moines a few years ago for school at Drake and hasn't had the best time of it, from what I can tell."
Phil sighed as Chris started the car and backed out of the parking spot. "Did we accidentally find another son to adopt?"
Chris shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe. It's up to him. I tried to convince him to finish his last couple years of school, and he has my cell phone number, so we'll see."
They got home a few minutes later, pulling into the driveway of a smallish ranch-style house just outside of town. "Speaking of, how's Doctor Grayson doing?" Phil asked as he unlocked the front door and set his clarinet cases on the bench just inside.
Chris brightened. "He sent me a copy of his dissertation. Do you want me to forward it to you?"
"Am I going to understand it?"
"Not unless you know a good deal more about theoretical astrophysics than I do."
"Hah. You try to read his dissertation, and yet he won't come play with the band anymore. Some gratitude there," Phil said, and Chris laughed.
"He still comes to the concerts, though, and we need an audience as much as we need people in the band." Chris set down his bag of scores next to the grand piano and toed off his shoes. "Ugh, it's late."
"Yeah. You want to feed the cats—" Who had just appeared and were twining themselves around Phil's ankles in a pattern very likely to make him trip. "—or should I?"
"I'll do it," Chris said, shrugging out of his coat and hanging it up before heading for the kitchen. "Thank goodness for the smoking ban, huh? No need to shower."
"Among other things," Phil said, taking off his own jacket and leaving his shoes by the door. He heard Chris talking to the cats as he fed them and smiled.
A few minutes later, Phil sat on his half of the bed, reading the news headlines on his phone, as Chris entered the room. "I sorted the mail," he said. "Apparently we need to renew the subscription to Cooks Illustrated."
"Okay," Phil said, and watched Chris raise his hands over his head, reaching for the ceiling in a long stretch. "Couldn't you have waited to do that until you take your shirt off?" he asked plaintively.
Chris laughed, the crinkles around his eyes becoming visible, and he started unbuttoning his shirt. "Alarm set?"
"Yeah," Phil said. "Six-thirty, as I have to be scrubbed by eight-fifteen. How are we on cat food?"
"We've got about a week left. How are we on shampoo?"
"You're almost out but mine's fine."
Chris draped his shirt over the desk chair and unbuckled his belt, sliding it out and hanging it on the hook on the back of the door. "We need peanut butter, too. Why didn't we go shopping this weekend?"
"Because we sat on the couch and watched the NCIS marathon instead."
"Oh, yeah," Chris said, and folded his pants, throwing them in a drawer and finding flannel pajama pants in the next drawer up. He pulled them on and looked at Phil, hands on the hem of his undershirt. "You still want me to take my shirt off and stretch?"
Phil shrugged. "You want to, I'm not opposed."
Chris smiled, warm and intimate, and pulled off the white t-shirt, throwing it at Phil's feet under the blanket, and stretched again, spinning in a circle slowly before snatching the shirt back and putting it back on. "Now what do I get for that ostentatious display?"
"You get a very happy husband," Phil said, plugging his phone in the charger on the nightstand and holding up the covers next to him. "C'mon."
Chris slid into bed and Phil turned the light off, turning on his side to be the big spoon.
"Hey," Chris said, and turned his face back for a kiss. "Love you. Night."
"Love you, too," Phil said, and wrapped an arm around Chris's waist.
The next morning, when Chris got out of the shower, Phil said, "Hey, your phone was buzzing."
"Already? Geez." He padded over to the bedside table wearing just the towel around his waist, and flashed Phil when he saw him looking.
Phil wolf-whistled appreciatively, and went back to checking the morning headlines.
A minute later, Chris snickered, and then snickered again.
"What?" Phil asked.
"Got a text from the kid from last night," Chris said. "Wow, that sounded dirtier than it should have."
"What does the text say?" Phil asked, ignoring the rest of it.
"You have to see it." Chris held his phone out. Phil read the screen, and started laughing himself.
Jim Kirk: Four semesters? I'll do it in three.