A/N: Fandom went and ate me whole.
Summary: Over time you begin to pick things up, no matter how much they try to hide it, even if they never actually mention it. Over time you start to notice certain things.
Title: Observationally Observing the Observers
Chapter One: I Can Fix That
He's a smart guy. Hell, a very smart guy. So he knows there's something a little off with this cock-sure kid that sits next to him on the transport with a busted lip and some pretty coloring above both eyes. He'd bet good money that his nose was broken at some point the night before too. But he doesn't bet, gambling is for chumps. He just doesn't think it much matters considering he doubts they'll make it to the Academy after all.
The next time he thinks that something is definitely off with Jim is after their first leave from the base in 'who can even remember' how long. He wasn't there when he started, he got out of the bathroom right about the after. The kid is standing there, chest heaving and covered in his own blood while three others lie on the floor of the bar, less conscious but not all that much so if the way he's weaving is any indication.
He gets Jim out of the place before anyone decides to start with the encore. They make it as far as the airlift a few blocks away before the pugilist himself asks for a reprieve and McCoy decides it's a good time to assess the damage as it were.
"Christ Jim." He scolds as he takes stock of the rapidly swelling eye, the split lip and the dripping nose. He has bruises already dotting all across that pretty jaw line of his. "What the hell did you do that for?" He demands, using a leftover sterile swab that he finds in his pocket for some ridiculous reason he can't remember to clear away some of the less clotted party favors.
"Bones, calm down." Jim pushes his hand away and tries to smirk, despite the fact that said smirk is streaked with red. "It's just a couple of scratches. No big deal."
"No big deal?" The doctor spurts incredulously. In enough time he'll realize that understatements are Jim Kirk's special talent. That and pissing people off. "You can't see out of one eye, you'll be lucky if you have all your teeth and-"
"And-" Jim interrupts as a serene feminine voice announces they have arrived at the Academy stop. "We're already back at the Academy." He stands, wavering for a moment before exiting the tram. Begrudgingly McCoy follows all the while muttering about irresponsible cadets that act like adolescents when you let them have alcohol.
He doesn't let Jim off that easily however, and follows him back to his quarters. The stubborn ass refuses to let him treat him however.
"Bones, I'm fine." He insists, but as he does so his knees almost give out. McCoy pushes the younger cadet into a sitting position on the edge of his bed and grabs the nearest desk chair, taking the place in front of him. "Bones, seriously I'm good." He offers, trying to sway him by sitting rigidly straight. Except he's leaning to the left the entire time.
"No, you're not. You're an idiot who starts fights when he's drunk."
"I'm not drunk. I didn't even get my beer before that guy grabbed the-" Jim shakes his head, his expression indicating that he was trying to keep himself coherent. It's the precise moment before Dr. Leonard McCoy discovers something that he will plagued by for the rest of his career at Starfleet Command.
Jim Kirk is incredibly chatty when he's concussed. Or drugged. Or drugged and concussed. Or drugged, concussed and bleeding profusely.
"Really Bones, I didn't even start the fight this time." His tone is almost childlike in it's sincerity. "I mean if he hadn't grabbed that- isn't important." He shakes his head again, seemingly becoming less lucid with each sentence. "Hey Bones, is the room all wobbly? Because it seems really wobbly. Is the room supposed to be wobbly? Is wobbly even a word? Or is it like one of those made of chick words that they use when they want to be cuter than they are, or they're drunk. Like scrunchie, that can't be a real word. I mean where did they even get that from? Scrunch is word though. It sounds fake but it isn't. Don't you hate words like that? It's like words that looked that they're spelled wrong but aren't. Words," his tone implied he believed he was handing down some very potent epiphany, "are weird man." He sighed. "Is the room supposed to be this wobbly?"
McCoy didn't even know what the say. Eventually he'd learn to ignore Jim and use this rambling time to his advantage to inject him with things and the like. He was not so wise as of yet unfortunately. So instead James T. Kirk became the second person to ever stun him into silence. Finally his instincts as a physician kicked in and he grabbed the first aid kit from the bathroom before Jim could finish his rant on the word weird and how very weird it was.
He gets the kid's eyebrow to stop pouring vital liquids into his eye and cleans the rest of the surface lacerations that he can only assume were made by his face being slammed into something sharp before Kirk tries to dissuade him from efforts again. McCoy is pretty sure he's nearly finished anyway, as his face is clear, save for medical tape and discoloration, and is prepared to fake concession.
"Bones, s'all fine. Really, I mean a black eye and a couple'a broken ribs?" Kirk says wistfully as he lies back on his bed. "S'doesn't even count."
McCoy feels his panic rise again. He leans over Jim and searches his face. "What'd'ya mean 'broken ribs' Jim? How the hell did you break your ribs?" He doesn't ask the other obvious question, what twenty one year old knows the difference between 'my chest hurts', 'breathing is painful' and 'my ribs are broken'? What twenty one year old takes two hours to succumb to that kind of pain?
"Big guy." Jim opens his good blue-eye, which stands in sharp contrast to the purplish mottling around the socket. "Heavy boots. S'on the floor. After the table broke." He smiles and pats Leonard on the arm. "S'fine Bones. All good. S'fine."
Which is the real start. The start to Leonard McCoy noticing that there are things about his good friend Jim that don't make sense. Things like being uncomfortably familiar with certain injuries, and knowing the difference between bruised, fractured and broken bones.
He comes to find that Jim can catalogue his physical traumas with startling accuracy. He'd been right about his ribs that night, and right four months later when the other set of ribs are 'merely bruised'. He's like a walking self-diagnostic scanner, except he doesn't share his results. It's unnerving and McCoy knows that there is something in Jim's past that's given him this bizarre skill. Something that he has an inclination he might never know for sure.
But he's a smart guy, hell, a damn smart guy, and he knows that there is something off with this cocky son of a bitch he calls a best friend.
A/N: I would love any and all feedback, I'm doing these as sort of related one-shots in chapter form. So let me know what you think, the next one is from Spock's POV. Which will hopefully work. Tehe.