The other day, it was storming so badly out here. There was a split second between the thunder and lightning, the storm was right over the house. And of course, I had Star Trek on the brain and this idea came to me. Actually, only the last two lines of dialogue came to me and I filled in the rest as I went along.
This ended up being way longer than I anticipated. But I figure it's alright. I had no idea where I was going with this when I starting writing. I just wrote and wrote and this is eventually what appeared on the computer.
The title describes the storm and poor Jim's emotional turmoil. Riddled with symbolism. :)
Disclaimer: I own an umbrella (something that apparently Bones doesn't own), but I do not own Star Trek.
"Fucking suicidal," McCoy growled, his angry words lost into the wind and scattered to some corner of the campus.
The darkness was so deep outside that McCoy wondered if he was already out in space, lost among the stars. The blackened clouds seemed to press in around him as sheets of rain poured, drowning out the sounds of his boots sloshing through the muddy grass.
The wind howled angrily, whistling in his ears, spitting chilly blasts of rain into his face. The ripe scent of rain, dirt, and grass assaulted his nose, causing him to sneeze.
"Damn bastard!" he shouted into the air, but the rumbling thunder overruled his voice.
McCoy's teeth chattered together as another blast of wind attacked him from the side. He tightened his arms around his body, pulling his coat closer to him as he searched over the almost pitch-black shadows that surrounded him. Anger and worry propelled him to keep searching though his body desperately ached to go back indoors. Loosening one arm from its tight hold around himself, he brushed his hand across his eyes to wipe away the slick wetness that coated his chilled skin.
As he rounded the corner of the Engineering building, he spotted a single figure standing on the grassy mall in the middle of the campus. The tall stature and broad shoulders were iconic to his memory and he knew who it was without question of a doubt.
"Jim!" he yelled out to the still figure as he ran across the slippery ground, careful not to lose his footing.
James T. Kirk did not move from his stance, barely acknowledging his friend. McCoy stared in disbelief at the younger man, watching as he stared up at the sky with an incredulous and awed expression. Rain dripped down the rough skin, dripping over the chin. Jim's mouth was partially open, wetness coating the pink lips, falling into the open cavity.
"What the hell are you doing out here?" McCoy snapped at him, gripping his shoulder tightly. "Get your ass back inside!"
Jim did not budge from his stance, but instead grasped McCoy's hand still tight on his shoulder. McCoy watched as he blinked away a few rogue raindrops that had settled on the eyelashes fringed around his electric eyes.
A streak of lightning flashed suddenly across the sky, followed by an immediate clap of thunder. McCoy flinched against the abrupt, rumbling noise and when he shut his eyes, the brightness of the lightning reappeared under his eyelids.
The wind howled around them, causing goosebumps to erupt on McCoy's skin. Another bolt of lightning lit up the sky, illuminating the pair for a moment. The light flashed in Kirk's eyes, the exact same shade of blue.
"Bones, look, did you see that?" Kirk cried against the wind that raged against them. The force was so strong that McCoy was pushed against the unmovable body of his friend.
"Do you mean, did I see the cause of our inevitable deaths?" he began sarcastically, still dimly aware of Jim's hand holding his. "Yes, Jim. I did see it."
He wrapped his fingers around Jim's hand and pulled him in the direction of the underclassmen dorms.
"Oh, where's your sense of adventure?" Jim teased, resisting against McCoy's pull. McCoy glared into his friend's face. As he noted the unbalanced look in his eyes, his anxiety mounted within him.
"It's back in my dorm, staying dry and safe!" he answered gruffly, pulling his hand from Jim's hot, slick grasp.
Jim threw his head back, flipping beads of rain from his hair to get lost into the air as he laughed full-heartedly. The sound was muted by the pounding rain, thunder, and wind. Another flash of lightning broke through the darkness.
The storm is right above us, McCoy thought apprehensively. Standing in the middle of an open area was probably the dumbest thing he had done in a long time. Dammit Jim, why'd I have to make sure you were alright?
"You're fucking suicidal," he growled into the still-grinning man's ear, pulling him tight against his body as he tried to force Jim to walk. "You want to tempt fate?"
"Maybe," Jim shrugged, looking back up at the sky to watch the storm rage around them. Something flickered across his face and the awed look washed away with the dripping rain.
"Fuck it, Jim," McCoy said so quietly, he wasn't even sure if Jim heard him. "Let's go inside."
Jim turned his head, stared McCoy in the eye. A moment passed and the limited space between them seemed suddenly constricting and disquieting to McCoy, but he did not pull away. The two men made their way back to the underclassmen dorms without a word. The cacophony of weather was the symphony they marched back to, holding each other up against the slippery grass.
Heat transferred from Jim's body to McCoy's through the many layers of soaked fabric and something spread through his blood as he pulled his best friend closer to him.
The dorms were filled with other students who had not braved the weather to leave campus. Doors were open and other cadets were chatting, their words foreign to McCoy's ears. The sudden sound of people, of existence was disquieting after the solitude outside where the only sounds had been nature and Jim's erratic breathing.
The pair numbly made their way through the uniform-white hallways that always reminded McCoy of hospitals. Arriving at a single door, McCoy punched in the entrance code into the panel on the side.
They entered and Jim flicked on the lights. They shone dimly and McCoy realized the storm must have knocked out the power and now the Academy was running solely off of generators.
Jim slipped away from him and made wet footprints on the floor as he headed towards the small bathroom. Articles of clothing were stripped from his body, fallen to the floor, until he stood only in his boxers as he walked into his bathroom. The door slid shut behind him, but McCoy's eyes were trained on the spot as though still staring at the smooth, rippling muscles under the rain-slicked skin of Jim's back.
It wasn't until he heard the shower running that McCoy blinked and shook his head to clear his thoughts. He barely had time to adjust the room's thermostat to a higher temperature when the shower stopped abruptly.
The boy wonder strode out of the bathroom, his usual swagger somewhat muted as he crossed the threshold with only a towel around his slim waist.
"Just stood under the water," he explained flippantly when he saw McCoy's confused gaze.
Lacking shame, he dropped the towel to pull on a pair of sweatpants he fished out of the tangled sheets on his bed. McCoy averted his eyes, glancing around anywhere else in the room.
"You're gonna get sick," he finally said, changing the topic as he stared at the ceiling.
"Well," Jim drawled teasingly, "I have you to make me better."
"Like hell I will," McCoy scoffed, turning around to see Jim perched on the bed with his legs twitching restlessly. Jim chuckled at the response, his throated laugh twisting McCoy's stomach.
McCoy swallowed away the mass in his throat as he stared at the low gleam on Jim's shoulders under the dim light. Rain slashed relentlessly against the windows, lightning glaring in at them on occasion.
Jim's chuckles faded away and he stared back at McCoy with those fucking piercing eyes. McCoy could do nothing but nod and walk away to the door. He had hardly taken three steps when Jim's voice stopped him.
"Going back to my dorm," McCoy answered through clenched teeth, not wanting to turn around. There was too much going on in those fucking eyes and he didn't want to deal with it just then. He was cold and tired and too old for whatever shit Jim was going to get him in. It was late enough as it was, he wanted to get back to his dorms near the medical buildings.
But all his desires to leave left him with Jim's next words.
It was not a demand, it was a request, and Lord knows it was a rare day when Jim didn't demand for something that he wanted. McCoy didn't need to turn around to know that those pleading words had pleading eyes to match. But he did anyway.
Kirk was still sitting on the bed, but the distance between them simultaneously seemed suddenly further away and closer than ever. His shoulders, pebbled with droplets of water that had escaped from his hair, were hunched over like a child.
"You don't want to go back outside," Jim continued, turning his head to the side innocently, persuading McCoy to stay. Then his head snapped back to its usual position and a rakish grin pasted itself across his face so naturally that McCoy could only raise an eyebrow in response. "And you're not supposed to leave suicidal patients alone."
The grin was teasing, nearly feral, but the muscles were too tight around the eyes, the shoulders too hunched over. Jim's emotions and disposition switched with every flash of lightning outside, his unbalanced mood swings pulling him around like a marionette. As unpredictable as the rain, and probably just as dangerous. McCoy's resolve was slipping and slipping until he dropped his coat unceremoniously into a heap on the floor.
"Dammit, Jim," he swore quietly as he stepped into the bathroom. Jim's laughter trailed behind him, followed by the distant roar of thunder.
Heated water washed away filth of the rain as McCoy wondered just how much acid rain poured down on San Francisco each year. The relentless streams of water beat down on his aching body, thawing him down to the core. He wiped the soap bar swiftly over his body, suds covering the tanned skin before slipping away and circling the drain to disappear.
Once his skin felt more like flesh and less like ice, he stepped from the shower into the steamed bathroom. On the floor by the door was a bundle of clothes that he assumed Jim must have thrown in while he had cleaned.
Not bothering to use a towel, he pulled the clothes onto his body. The clothes were warm and smelled too much like Jim, a fact that McCoy tried to ignore. But the smell settled deep within him, finally banishing away the scent of the mud from outside.
McCoy pressed a hand tight to his face, dragging it down slowly against the day-old stubble on his cheeks.
What the hell am I getting myself into?
He exited the tiny bathroom, leaving his wet clothes in a lump on the floor behind him. The bathroom door opened to reveal Kirk lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling with a twisted expression on his face.
The tension between his eyebrows vanished completely when he realized that McCoy was staring at him, psychoanalyzing him from just a few feet away.
"Surprised you took a shower," he said quickly, before McCoy could ask anything. "Not safe when it's storming."
He needlessly gestured outside the window as though McCoy needed some reminder. They both turned to see the rain lash against the pane, desperate to enter into the safe haven of Jim's room.
"Rather be electrocuted than freeze to death," McCoy shrugged. "Besides, you did." He faced Jim again to stare at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Told you, I'm suicidal," the cocky boy grinned with just a hint of true insanity. With his words, thunder growled so strongly outside that the room itself seemed to shake.
Both men stood still, the old imbedded fear of storms deep within them surfaced for a moment before the thunder stopped and the only sound was the heater as it warmed the room.
"Come here, Bones."
If he hadn't said Bones, if he had said McCoy, he wouldn't have moved.
But he said Bones. And that was enough.
Somehow, McCoy found himself on the bed next to his best friend, their warmth gathering between them as they lied on top of the Starfleet-issued sheets. Somehow Jim had situated himself into the crook of McCoy's neck, his body molding to fit against the older man's long form.
The scent of rain lingered on Jim's skin and McCoy found himself inhaling deeply, his nose pressed into the water-darkened hair of his best friend. Jim tightened his arms around McCoy's middle in response.
McCoy felt lost, unsure of what was going on, but Jim's arms were weighing him down, keeping him back on Earth. There was something comforting, natural about the whole scene that kept McCoy from running away. He could feel Jim's eyelids flutter along the curve of his neck as he began to fall asleep.
"Where's your roommate?" McCoy said softly, briefly wondering what would happen if he were to enter and see them in this position. He found he couldn't bring himself to care much about what might happen. What mattered most was that Jim continued to breathe so heavily against his skin, continued to lie next to him.
"New girlfriend. Probably with her," he mumbled, his words thick with sleep.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you sound lonely," McCoy muttered, his face still angled to breath in the rain scent in Jim's hair. His lips accidentally brushed against the hairline just above Jim's forehead.
"Not lonely," Jim insisted, not moving away at all from the light contact. "Got you."
Something swelled in McCoy's chest, the glow spreading from underneath where their fingers had somehow entwined against the gray fabric of McCoy's makeshift pajama shirt. Jim's breath tickled the little hairs on McCoy's neck, his eyelashes fluttering open and shut as he struggled to keep himself awake.
In the warmth of the thickly heated room and with the comfort of Jim's beautiful body next to him, the storm outside seemed miles away. The patter of rain against the window became a white noise, just on the periphery of McCoy's senses. Everything felt… safe.
The edges of his vision grew fuzzy as McCoy allowed himself to drift off to sleep. His limbs felt as though they were filled with sawdust and his tongue was thick in his mouth. Whatever was going on between him and Jim, well, they could deal with it later.
Thunder shook the room and lightning flashed outside, the room briefly lit up in silvery light.
"Do you think there are storms in space?" McCoy whispered sleepily into the feathery hair beneath his chin.
"Only lightning storms."
And suddenly, he understood.