He always thought he was quite an adaptable person, able to fit into most scenarios with little effort. He hadnt ever had to really try to fit in, not so much because he was a natural, but because he (or so he had so often been told) held a certain amount of uncharacterised charisma.
“You could charm the horns off a bull.”
McCoy, ever the tactful fellow, always managed to say whatever was on his mind without ever thinking who might also be within hearing range. Though he wasn't easily embarrassed, he had to admit the reluctance he felt to indulge that outlandish statement (even if it were true, Kirk confessed, attempting to level that mounting mound of ego).
“I'm glad you're so perceptive there Bones,” he said, peering a look at that young seething woman standing by her desk with the look of ambiguous loathing floating about her, though he knew it could only be aimed at him; it was only ever aimed at him. “But I believe my ego has been thoroughly stroked out as of late. That Rand girl is quite marvellous with her hands.”
She all but spat her coffee back into her mug. If she wanted to say something about his being a tyrant, a love-rat, a fiend with lack of feeling, a piece of shit-- she didn't. Even at the sight of that pugnacious stance she had adorned, she didn't succumb to the feelings she harboured.
Kirk was only a little annoyed he hadn't rattled her yet.
“So, why are you so nervous about this trip? It's only like any other trip. You want your wage this month, dontcha? Quit being an infant and speak to the brass about it!”
McCoy, like so many men in their office after the age of forty, had acquired a certain custom that, were it not accomplished, would wreck havoc with what he called his 'inner state of calm and acceptability'. Kirk had seen it quite a few times in his office job; the older men who had been there some years would sit behind the desk, all manner of chaos enveloping around them, and they would slyly tilt some concoction together in the drawer, and sip from it throughout the course of the day.
This ritual was not to be messed with, under no circumstances.
As Kirk watched McCoy pour himself another shot of brandy, he realised how much he didn't want to be that kind of man. He had hated being stuck behind a desk the moment he had been assigned (though 'needs must', and he had no alternative than to scrape what cash he could and transfer to where the better jobs were).
He had taken the PR job only because money was tight, and his mother had been on his case about the cash he still owed her since moving out to San Francisco. So she hooked him up and, hey-presto; he was behind a desk, sharpening his blunt ambition.
Still, he couldn't deny that the lifestyle had been infinitely more...colourful. Sure,Iowa was respectable and well-rounded enough. He had spent a large majority of his life there, his friends and family were all there, his life was there, his baggage was there. The more he thought about it, the more he thought the move out to the big city was definitely the best choice. He could forget those bad memories, those silly bar fights he was keen on finishing, those many abruptly ended first dates with a vast array of women. He could forget them all and start afresh.
“Just go! What have you got to lose...apart from the first solid job you've had in what I imagine to be...years?”
McCoy liked to make light of his rather 'vagrant' lifestyle. Kirk liked to point out that he had practically seen and done just about everything. He also tried to make it sound enviable, and for the most part, he did. Who wouldn't have admired the freedom of having just the clothes on your back and the five dollars in your pocket to roam the world as free as a bird?
Kirk always neglected to include his continuing responsibilities back home, his father having died when he was just a young kid in junior school. He never told anyone the fact his brother was about as brotherly as a raging bull was friendly. To say the sibling rivalry ran deep would be an understatement, and his mother would openly admit that the two had always been that way.
But going to Germany on a work trip for some PR gig was going to be a big upheaval. It would be for two whole months, and Kirk wasn't sure he could be bothered with the hassle.
He was even more reluctant when he learnt the reason.
“So you're not into all that fantasy, comic-y stuff- what's the problem?” McCoy argued later that day during lunch when Kirk had agreed to look into it, after much badgering from the twenty-four year PR veteran, in which James had acquiesced only if it were McCoy's turn to buy a round of drinks. “It's just a bit of damn PR, kid. All you'll be doing is moping up after that dribbler Pike anyhow. Just go and chat to those crummy old bastards, do the jibber-jabber you're so good at and be done with it! Damn you're hard to please!”
“No I'm not!” James retorted, removing his eyes from the instruction docket for all of two seconds, before nose-diving back into it with some urgency.
It seemed, after expressing what had been interpreted as 'interest', the boss had decided Kirk was definitely the best choice to go with their mutual boss -Pike-, and had closed any other admissions.
It wasn't a bad offer: full pay for the duration of the stay, free admittance to the events, free meals etc etc.
It wasn't a bad deal, he just wished he didn't have to leave San Francisco now that he was settled for once in his life. He had just secured an apartment, and he wasn't keen on packing all his belongings for a two month stint in Berlin. Sure he'd get to see some of Europe; that wasn't an opportunity to be passing up any time soon.
It was, after some positive influence from McCoy, that Kirk found himself boarding a plane a mere three weeks later, his superior, Chris Pike, dribbling on his shoulder. It was going to be a long flight...