Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue. Please.
Warnings: brief Kirk/McCoy
Things About Us
Leonard McCoy couldn't stop the groan as he stepped off the shuttle in San Francisco. He would never like flying. Never. Ever. He was just glad that he hadn't actually thrown up on the kid who was sitting next to him. What was his name? Tim? Bob? He couldn't remember, but he knew that it was a fairly common name. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to get wasted on the ride here.
He gazed around, blinking as he was blinded by the bright sun. He was jostled as people walked around him, each going about their own business. McCoy wasn't entirely sure where he was supposed to go, so he tried his best to stand off to the side and not get in the way.
"Hey, Bones!" a cheery voice called behind him, a hand resting on his shoulder. It took all of McCoy's self control to not jump out of his skin. As it was, he fixed his harshest glare on his face before turning around to face whoever was stupid enough to initiate physical contact with him at this very moment.
He was mildly surprised to see that it was the kid from the shuttle, with a bright smile on his face and his blue eyes sparkling with excitement. He felt his glare deepen. He was too old for this shit. He was a damn grown man, too old to be going to the Academy, too old to be put in a dorm room with some kid who was bound to be years his junior.
"What do you want?" he snapped, rather impressed that he hadn't slurred the shit out of his question.
Much to his irritation, the kid just laughed and wrapped his arm around his shoulders, steering him through the crowd to where he assumed they were supposed to go. Growling, he shook the kid off of his shoulders and snapped, "Where the hell are we going?"
The kid shot him a bright smile again. "We have to go sign in or some shit and get rooming assignments and," here, he paused and gave McCoy a once over, "we need to get fitted for uniforms."
The kid made sense, he supposed, but it didn't mean he had to like it. So he allowed himself to be pushed through the crowd, taking relief in the fact that there was almost no way in hell that this kid would be in the medical dorms. There had to be at least that much justice in this cold, hateful world.
Getting settled had taken hours and if he hadn't regretted drinking on the shuttle before, he definitely regretted it now. He had a splitting headache and, because he was new, he didn't have access to medical supplies yet.
He groaned as he entered his new dorm assignment and noted that there were two twin beds, a small kitchen, and not much else. He sighed as he claimed the bed that was closest to the door, setting his small bag on it. He hadn't brought much with him, mostly because the ex had claimed most of it in the divorce settlement. He glanced at the other side of the room and prayed to whatever deity that was out there that he would not be subjected to a roommate. He wasn't here to make friends. All he wanted was to graduate and hopefully get posted on some starbase somewhere, as long as his feet were on solid ground. Then after his service, maybe he'd be able to move back to Georgia where he could be around his daughter. He didn't need friends for that.
Unfortunately, McCoy seemed to have done something horrible to upset every single deity that may have ever existed, because as soon as he collapsed onto his bed in a fit of exhaustion, the door slid open and in walked the kid from the shuttle. Tim...or Bob. Maybe it was Jack. He couldn't be bothered to remember. He lifted his head to stare at the intruder and knew down in the pit of his stomach that this was his new roommate.
"Hey, Bones!" the kid greeted, throwing his stuff on the bed on the other side of the room before sprawling on it.
"Bones?" McCoy asked, not even knowing where else to begin.
The kid shot a blinding smile at him and nodded. "It's your new nickname. How do you like it?" he asked, a teasing glint shining out of his eyes.
Leonard just glared at him. "Name's McCoy," he grumbled, turning to stare up at the ceiling, hoping that if he just ignored the damn kid, he'd go away. He knew his type. He was the kind that thought he could get whatever he wanted just by smiling. He was the kind that knew he was pretty and used it to the best of his advantage. The kid had probably never worked a day in his life, either. All around, bad news.
Then it occurred to him: there was no way this kid was a medical student. Yes, he was being judgmental, but he couldn't bring himself to care. "What the hell are you doing here?" he asked gruffly, looking back at the kid who hadn't moved from his previous position.
Jim looked confused for a moment before shrugging. "This is where I was assigned," he explained. "I was kind of a last minute recruit and they didn't have anywhere else to put me."
There was a glint in the kid's eyes that made him want to call him out on it, that implied that he was up to mischief, but he decided that it simply wasn't worth the effort. He just had to get through these few years and then he'd never have to put up with any of this again. Ever.
Silence fell between the two men, much to McCoy's relief. He closed his eyes, just wanting to sleep through most of this ordeal. He was able to forget that he was recently divorced, able to pretend he hadn't just lost his daughter in a ridiculous court decision, able to ignore the irritating kid on the other side of the room.
Jim. That was the kid's name. McCoy rolled his eyes at himself. That really shouldn't have been a hard name for him to remember.
"What do you say we go out and get trashed," Jim asked all of a sudden. McCoy cracked his eyes open a bit so he could glare at the boy.
"No thanks, Kirk," he spat, hoping that he hadn't accidentally butchered the kid's name. He didn't protest the name, so he assumed he got it right.
"It's Jim," he corrected, "and I think that it would be a lot of fun. It'll get your mind off things."
Kirk's offer did sound tempting, but he was determined to stay steadfast. Not to mention, he'd had enough alcohol to last at least until the end of the week. Even if his pounding headache had somewhat diminished.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see what might have been disappointment flash across the kid's face, but McCoy dismissed it as a product of the light and the angle of which he was looking at him. Either way, Kirk shrugged and pushed himself up, grabbing his jacket from where he had thrown it. "Well, I'm going out."
McCoy bit back a scathing reply, not really wanting his roommate to despise him. But it was awfully difficult to attempt to be civil when all he wanted to do was be left alone. Moments later, he heard the telltale sound of the door sliding open and then closed and he was left alone with his own thoughts in the silence of the small room. Alone.
The first few weeks went in much the same fashion. Classes started and McCoy was able to fall into a routine without too much difficulty. For the most part, his classes were insanely easy, the cadets ridiculously annoying, and his roommate surprisingly not horrible. Not that he'd ever let the kid know that. He still didn't have any need for friendship of any kind and therefore was doing his best to remain aloof.
That didn't stop Kirk from trying, though. In fact, McCoy was starting to think that his reluctance was merely encouraging him. Although Kirk was good at not going out during the week, he almost always went out to a bar or party on the weekends, and always offered an invite to McCoy, who always declined. McCoy thought that the invitations would eventually stop coming. No one could possibly enjoy being rejected that much. But no, the damn kid just didn't know when to stop.
Leonard sighed as he made his way back to his room. It had been a long shift at the hospital and he just wanted to fall asleep. He couldn't even bring himself to care about a test that he knew he had tomorrow. Hopefully Kirk would be out and then he'd have the room to himself. In all likelihood, the kid was out at some bar, getting wasted and trying to find some girl to go home with.
He keyed the code into his room and walked in, surprised when he found Kirk sitting on his bed, reading a book. When he entered, Kirk looked up and offered him a smile and a small wave. McCoy nodded in response before heading to the bathroom to take a quick shower. Maybe the kid would be gone by the time he got out.
McCoy sighed as he eased himself into the shower, relishing in the soothing quality of the warm pound of water on his back. He couldn't help but feel like he should cut Kirk some slack. It was hardly his fault that his life had gone to hell. And, who knows, he could end up being a fairly good friend. McCoy shook his head. From the sound of it, Kirk might not even make it back to the academy for the second semester. The kid rarely did any work and didn't seem to ever study. And while he didn't go out on weekdays, he more than made up for it on the weekends. The kid would probably flunk out and then maybe McCoy would have his much desired peace and quiet.
He was surprised when he finished his shower and found that Kirk was still sitting on his bed reading. He looked up again and set his book down, clearly wanting to converse with McCoy. For the life of him, he couldn't understand why Kirk, who was six years his junior, would even want to attempt friendship with him. He was an old, crotchety, doctor with little optimism.
In hindsight, it was funny that he never considered that Kirk might be just as fucked up as he was.
"Staying in for the night?" McCoy asked, deciding to at least try to be pleasant tonight. Kirk seemed surprised at McCoy starting the conversation for once, but he said nothing about it.
He shrugged. "I was thinking about it," he said, "but I think it would be an even better idea for us to both go out and have some fun."
"I have an early shift at the hospital tomorrow," McCoy responded, trying to say 'no' as nicely as possible. He was pretty sure Kirk was getting tired of hearing the same response, and, even if he had no intention of ever joining in with Kirk's debauchery, he still found that he liked being invited.
"Aw, come on, Bones," the kid whined. McCoy rolled his eyes at the stupid nickname. No matter how hard he tried to dissuade its usage, Kirk seemed determined to use it. "Don't you ever have fun?"
"McCoy," he corrected halfheartedly, used to this exchange by now. "I have fun. I just do it alone."
An evil smile lit up Kirk's face and McCoy felt like kicking himself. He had just handed that one to him on a silver platter. "Don't even," he muttered before Kirk could say anything. If anything, his smile just grew, but he didn't say anything about it.
"Come on, it'll be fun!" he encouraged. McCoy was always impressed at Kirk's ability to whine without any shame. He was less impressed at the fact that he did it more often than any man his age should be allowed to.
"Kirk," he growled in warning. Instead of heeding the warning, Kirk rolled his eyes.
"Jim," he corrected, falling into their familiar ritual. "Fine, I guess I'll just have to sit here with you instead, talking about our feelings and shit." He paused, letting the meaning of his words sink in.
McCoy sat up and glared at him. "Goddammit, kid!" he exclaimed. "I'm going to the library."
He stood up, grabbed his bag, and quickly left the room before Jim could stop him with some other lame idea.
In his haste, he didn't notice the crestfallen expression that seeped onto his roommate's face.
It was damned impossible to not like Jim Kirk. The man was irritating in every way that it was possible to be irritating. He was loud, obnoxious, attention seeking, and way too damned smart for his own damned good. But he was also endearing in ways that, until recently, Leonard didn't think were endearing on anyone, let alone the impulsive young man that had been forced into his life. His smile that seemed to brighten rooms, his eyes that seemed to shine, his childlike enthusiasm over things that really should have lost their charm...and his loyalty to a roommate that didn't want anything to do with him.
And it made McCoy feel damn guilty.
Who the hell was this kid, coming into his life and acting all friendly? He hadn't asked him to be a good roommate. He hadn't asked him to be his friend. He hadn't asked him for anything, except to leave him the hell alone! Which Kirk refused to do, of course.
It once occurred to him that Kirk might need a friend as much as McCoy's inner psychiatrist insisted that he needed a friend. He quickly dismissed that idea, convincing himself that Kirk had no lack of companions. In fact, he often spent the night with many of his so-called companions.
Leonard sighed. He was too old for this shit.
A couple months had gone by and McCoy was slowly realizing that Kirk simply wasn't failing any of his classes. He didn't try because he didn't need to. He was that damn intelligent. And dammit if McCoy didn't kind of admire the kid for it. He knew that most cadets were struggling in the classes that Kirk just seemed to breeze through. Though, they were probably all idiots.
Leonard was sitting in his room alone, reading up on some new medical discoveries that had been found and waiting for his designated time to call his daughter. It was part of the settlement. He could call once a month, as long as it wasn't a school night. All in all, it wasn't a fair decision, but in hindsight, McCoy could remember what he'd been like right before and after the divorce. He probably wouldn't have let him see Joanna either.
The door hissed open, causing him to look up from his book as Jim Kirk stumbled in and collapsed on his bed without even mumbling a quick hello. This was odd, since Kirk tried to talk to him at every available moment. Leonard gave him a quick look that might have been tinged with concern, before he turned back to his PADD. It seemed like he just needed a nap. But he couldn't quite push away the nagging feeling that something might actually be wrong.
But he didn't have time to dwell on it, as it was time for him to call Joanna. With one more glance at Kirk, McCoy stood up and made his way over to the comm screen. Kirk usually made sure that he was gone on the nights that McCoy called his daughter. How he knew was always a mystery, but he appreciated it nonetheless.
He turned on the comm and quickly made the connection with his daughter. It only took a moment before his daughter's face filled up the screen and his heart leaped with joy at the sight. She was looking off screen, probably talking to her mother, as if she had been sitting there waiting for him. The joy faded quickly at the guilt and sorrow that wrapped around his heart. He knew that his lack of involvement was hurting his little girl and he lamented that there was really nothing he could do about it except put on a brave face and call her as often as he was allowed.
"Jo!" he exclaimed, and smiled when the girl whipped around with a wide smile on her face. His smile grew soft when he took in her long brown hair and deep green eyes. He drank in the sight of her, how she was already losing some of her baby fat. She was growing so quickly.
"Daddy!" she exclaimed, and before he could say anymore, she went off on a tangent about school, her friend Mary Louise, her new pet fish Sandy, and everything else under that great Georgia sun.
Leonard listened raptly, taking in everything could while it was being offered to him. Finally, the girl took paused to take a breath and gave him a hard look that shouldn't have startled him. "I miss you, Daddy."
And damn it all if he found himself choked up on words that burned his throat. "I miss you too, Jo," he said softly, restraining himself from reaching out to touch the screen, knowing that it wouldn't yield his daughter's soft skin. Knowing that it wouldn't even begin to compare to a hug. "I love you."
"I love you too, Daddy," she glanced off screen and her mother seemed to be telling her something bad because her face twisted in a way that clearly said that she was displeased. "Mommy says I have to go," she moaned, turning back to face Leonard. "Bye, Daddy." With that, she moved in close to the screen, placing a kiss where his cheek should have been before waving goodbye, tears shining in her eyes.
The connection was cut.
Leonard sat staring at the screen, willing the empty feeling inside of him to go away. When he was sure he would be able to maintain his composure, he turned around to head back to his bed to finish his reading. He wasn't entirely surprised to find Kirk's piercing blue eyes following his path.
He sat down and picked up his datapadd as if nothing had happened and then resumed reading, Kirk's gaze still on him.
"She seems like a great kid," Kirk said after a few moments.
McCoy looked up sharply to say something, whether to mind his own damn business or to pour out part of his soul, he wasn't sure, but Kirk had already rolled over and was facing the wall.
It was Christmas. McCoy hated Christmas. He hated the songs, the cold, the people, the decorations. Everything. He hated Christmas.
Okay, that wasn't fair. He hated this Christmas. He hated being away from his daughter, from his family. Every part of it. But he couldn't stand going back to Georgia and just be reminded of what he had lost. Jocelyn had even called to specifically tell him that he wouldn't be able to see Joanna. So he was staying at the academy, taking on shifts at the hospital and drinking his way through the holiday season. He'd even stocked up on his favorite bourbon.
Most of the cadets had already gone home for the holidays, each of them looking forward to four weeks of uninterrupted holiday fun. Only a handful of students were actually staying behind, Jim Kirk being one of them.
By now, McCoy was fairly certain that Kirk was in for the long haul and that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to try to get to know the guy. It was months overdue, but McCoy figured it was better late than never. Or some other nonsense about nothing risked, nothing gained.
But the kid was rarely around, McCoy quickly learned. Now that classes were out, he didn't have to put up a front about caring about his grades and was probably out getting drunk and fucked and whatever else the kid did out in the city. And now that McCoy was willing to make an effort at friendship, he kind of regretted treating the kid like shit. Okay, he really regretted it. After all, what had Jim Kirk ever done to him?
After a week, he was so used to Kirk just being gone, that it scared the shit out of him when he came home one day after a shift to find Kirk decorating a makeshift Christmas tree. And as much as Leonard hated Christmas, he couldn't help but love that tree.
"Bones!" Kirk greeted with his usual exuberance. He quickly turned back to the tree, not expecting a response other than the typically growled 'McCoy'.
Instead, Leonard walked over to his bed and set his stuff down on his bed before walking over to where Kirk was contemplating where to put the next ornament.
"It should go here," he grumbled. "No damn sense of color coordination..." He took the ornament out of Kirk's hand and hung it on the tree. The kid shot him a wide eyed glance that was tinged with suspicion that made McCoy's insides twist with guilt. Not for the first time since meeting Kirk did he wonder what had happened in the poor kid's life to make him so distrustful. Not that he had helped matters.
Quietly, he helped Kirk, no-Jim, pull out ornaments and hang them on the tree. Every now and then, he would shoot an indecipherable at McCoy, as if he expected him to vanish at any moment. He did his best to ignore them in an attempt to ease the guilt he felt for treating the kid badly.
In no time at all, the tree was decorated and standing proudly, if not slightly chaotic in its decorations. Jim took a step back from it to gaze at it appreciatively. "I haven't had a Christmas tree since I was twelve," he said, nostalgia creeping into his voice as a shadow crossed over his face. McCoy turned his gaze away from the tree to look at the young man, noting that he really was just a kid. Fuck, he was too damn old for this.
"Well," Leonard said, turning back to the tree and nodding his approval, "you've got a damned good one this year."
He wanted to ask why he'd decided to get into the holiday spirit this year, but decided that it sounded too intrusive for how far they had progressed in their friendship. But Jim's blinding smile in response to his compliment made the question seem not so important.
After gazing at the tree for a few more moments, Jim grabbed his jacket and headed towards the door, shooting an apologetic smile at a bemused McCoy. "I already have plans tonight," he explained, and then hesitated, uncertain. It was odd, because he always seemed to have a cocky, self-confident aura. "I don't have plans for the rest of the holiday, though, if you wanted to..." his words trailed off, hanging in the air between the two men. He almost looked like he wanted to snatch them back again, but he quickly put a defiant tilt to his chin, daring McCoy to fuck with him.
"I have a few shifts at the hospital, but yeah, we could do whatever," McCoy said, trying to sound nonchalant instead of relieved. He was being offered a second chance with this ridiculous creature.
A shy smile bloomed over Jim's face and with a final wave, he stepped out of the room for the evening. McCoy felt an inexplicable sense of loss that he pushed away, as he had been doing for the past few weeks.
Somehow or other, Jim Kirk had found a way into Leonard McCoy's life and it drove McCoy crazy. The kid represented everything that McCoy was not: reckless, impulsive, imaginative, slightly crazy. Yet, he was still a good guy who really just seemed to be looking for approval, maybe even affection. Even without friendship being offered to him, he seemed to take their one-sided friendship to heart.
Like the time when Leonard had been so exhausted he didn't even want to breathe because it required too much energy. The kid had taken one look at him and had gone out, only to come back an hour later with bags full of food, exclaiming loudly as he came through the door, "I brought back Chinese!".
Or the time McCoy had been struggling with his strategy class. There had been an important exam the next day and he had been on the verge of a panic attack that not even bourbon could ease when Jim had sat down next to him and carefully gone through all the important parts with him, making certain that he understood what he was saying. The kid wasn't even enrolled in the class so how he'd known the stuff was a mystery to him. Regardless, he'd gotten one of the highest scores in the class, much to his disbelief.
Yes, the kid gave without taking and it was high time McCoy gave back. And with that thought, McCoy managed to drift off into a much needed sleep.
Only to be awakened a couple hours later by a pounding at his door. He opened his eyes a crack and groaned, pulling himself out of bed as the pounding became more insistent. Whoever the hell it was had better have a goddamn good reason for waking him up at this fucking hour. He opened the door and was met with an armful of bloody, intoxicated Jim Kirk.
"Goddamn it, Jim!" he said, carefully guiding the broken mess to his bed before reaching for the medical kit that he kept in his room in case of emergencies. He quickly made his way back over to Jim who was swaying slightly where he sat at the edge of his bed. "Dammit, kid. What did you do? Find a brick wall that didn't like your face?"
Jim, the insufferable bastard, actually managed to crack a smile, and muttered, "Something like that." He closed his eyes and McCoy felt a brief wave of worry, afraid that he had a concussion. A quick scan with his tricorder proved that Jim Kirk had a thicker skull than he probably had a right to.
He knew that the kid got in fights. Hell, the first time they had met on the shuttle, it had been quite apparent that he had been in a brawl the night before. However, none of them seemed to be this bad and McCoy usually didn't feel the need to offer medical assistance. Occasionally he would offer a hypospray, only for Jim to wave it off.
After a moment, Leonard was able to determine that most of Jim's injuries were superficial and that it would be easy to knit the skin back together with his dermal regenerator.
The whole time, Jim just sat there, his eyes half-closed as he let the doctor tend to his numerous wounds. Now and then he would wince and McCoy would just roll his eyes and mutter something about "infants". Jim would always laugh after such an exchange. After a little while, he was done, which was for the best seeing as the kid was on the verge of passing out anyway, clearly exhausted. Leonard pulled out a hypospray and was surprised when Jim tried to pull away from him, eyeing the hypospray warily.
"It's just a pain reliever," McCoy insisted, bringing it to the kid's neck. Jim's eyes closed in brief pain before he fell back on the bed.
"G'night, Bones," he murmured, already half-asleep.
Leonard sighed and carefully pulled off Jim's boots before pulling a blanket up around Jim. Sure, he had a lot to make up for, but he was well on his way to becoming a decent person again.
"All I want for Christmas is yooooouuuu!," Jim sang loudly, an ever-present smirk on his face as McCoy did his best to not fall under the weight of the ridiculous drunkard. It didn't help that he kept trying to dance as he sang.
"Dammit Jim, hold still!" Bones exclaimed (the nickname really wasn't that bad) as he stumbled slightly when Jim tried and failed to do a nice little pirouette. After what seemed like an eternity, they finally made it back to their room, and he quickly keyed in the code and dragged Jim in, practically throwing the kid on his bed before running off to the kitchen to get him a glass of water.
Jim took the glass gratefully, chugging it in one go, making McCoy roll his eyes. "I like you, Bones," Jim said frankly, meeting his eyes bluntly. "You're so good to me."
Bones raised his eyebrow, while inside he felt a stab of guilt that he hadn't felt for the past two weeks. True to his word, Jim had kept his schedule open to create, as he fondly called it, 'Jim & Bones bonding time!', exclamation point and all. It had been awkward at first, but McCoy's first observation had been correct.
It was impossible to not like Jim Kirk.
"Shut up, kid, and go to sleep," Bones grumbled as he walked over to his own bed and sat down heavily. He sluggishly took off his boots and lay down, not bothering with the rest of his clothing. He was vaguely aware of a pair of bright blue eyes watching his every movement.
"No," Jim said into the silence of the room, determination reverberating in the small space. "I mean it. Too good..."
"You're drunk, Jim," Bones said tiredly. But deep down he was afraid that maybe, as far Jim knew, this was too good for Jim Kirk.
There was silence for another few minutes when Jim spoke up again, sounding more sober than he had before. "My mom came out the other week," a weak chuckle pervaded the air, unnatural, as if it knew it didn't belong there. "I don't know what I expected; apologies, reminiscing...something." He took a deep breath, a pause, uncertainty. "I'm not a ghost."
The unsaid 'am I?' rang harshly through the room.
And Jim's most recent fight suddenly made sense. He'd wanted to feel real, to feel alive. Because a ghost can't feel a fist to the gut, can't feel blood trickling down the face, can't feel the pound of a heart racing with adrenaline. But as numb as Jim was, maybe he couldn't feel it either.
"You're not a ghost, Jim," Bones replied softly, moments too late.
Jim was already asleep.
"I lied, you know," Jim said out of the blue.
Bones looked up at him, trying desperately to focus on his face in his drunken, exhausted state. "What're you talking 'bout?"
"I wasn't originally assigned to your room," he confessed, a shy smile edging across his face. "I had to hack the system, which was way easier than it should have been."
A month ago, McCoy would've been upset that this impulsive creature had forced himself into his life.
Now he just took another swig straight from the bottle and muttered, "Eh, better you than anyone else, kid."
It was days like this when McCoy hated being a doctor. Days when he had done everything he could and still had to go up to the parents, the family, the friends and say the words that no one ever wants to hear: "I'm sorry. We did everything we could...". It wasn't good enough...we weren't good enough. As if it could make it better.
He groaned as he collapsed on his bed, blindly searching around for his bottle of bourbon that was under his bed. God he needed a drink. He sat up enough to take a deep swig and then collapsed back against his bed, closing his eyes against the memories of the young girl's blank face. Against the thought that 'that could have been my little girl'.
"Hey Bones!" an excited voice called out as the door slid open. "So, you know how the TA for...hey, are you alright?"
He cracked his eyes open a bit as the bed dipped under Jim's weight as he sat at the end of his bed. Concern was etched into Jim's eyes as he looked at him intently.
"Just a rough day at the hospital," he muttered gruffly, closing his eyes again. There was a pause before Jim gently pat McCoy's leg before standing up, seemingly understanding that he just wanted to be left alone.
Bones could hear him moving around the room, taking dishes to the kitchen and the sound of running water. It had been one of the more surprising things about Jim. He valued cleanliness. Not to the point of being paranoid, but he liked that idea that everything had and should be in its proper place.
Bones found the sounds comforting.
After a few minutes, the water shut off and he could hear Jim settle down on his own bed. "Hey Bones," he called out softly, not wanting to disturb him if he had fallen asleep. Bones turned on his side to look at him to let him know that he had his attention, a scowl firmly on his face. "I have a test on xenobiology tomorrow and there are some things that I don't really understand. Think you could help a guy out?"
McCoy knew damn well that Jim didn't need any help from him. The kid was a genius and could probably be a specialist in just about anything he wanted to do. But if the kid wanted to play stupid, then who was he to complain. Except he always complained, so now shouldn't be any different. He rolled his eyes and sat up.
"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a tutor," he grumped. Jim just smiled and gestured for him to come and sit next to him. After a moments deliberation, Bones got up and moved to sit next to him, shifting to get more comfortable.
Sure enough, Jim knew the material fairly well, although there were a few areas where Bones was more knowledgeable. It wasn't until Jim had fallen asleep against his shoulder that McCoy realized that the studying hadn't been for Jim's benefit at all.
Jim Kirk seemed to have the worst medical luck ever. How McCoy had failed to notice before was kind of ridiculous. No matter how hard he had been trying to ignore the kid, he was still a doctor. He should have noticed if Kirk was having an allergic attack every other day, since he seemed to be allergic to everything.
After numerous more fights and a couple allergy attacks, McCoy had finally managed to convince Jim to make him his doctor so he would have access to his medical file. Not that it helped much, seeing as he continually found new things that he was allergic to. For example, a vaccine for one of the most common flues almost cut off Jim's airway, leaving Bones to frantically scramble for a new hypospray to fix it. Bones still ranted about that when he got in the right mood.
Still, that didn't explain why Jim was curled into himself on his bed and clutching at his stomach, moaning in what sounded like agony and shaking. Bones raised his eyebrow at the sight when he entered the room. "Jim?" he asked, walking up to his friend. The doctor in him instantly kicked in when he noticed a thin sheen of sweat on the kid's forehead. Jim opened his eyes, and Bones felt a stab of worry when he saw the blue eyes, dull and clouded with fever.
Quickly he reached for his tricorder and ran it over Jim's frame. "Goddammit kid!" he all but shouted, worry suddenly gripping at his heart. "We have to get you to the hospital."
"What?" he asked, his voice sounding hoarse. "No, I'm fine."
"You call a ruptured appendix fine?" he snapped, reaching for his comm to call for medical assistance. Once he was reassured that they were on their way, he asked, "When did you start feeling pain?"
Jim closed his eyes against the pain and panted slightly in an attempt to alleviate it. "Um, a few days ago? It wasn't bad until now."
Bones bit back the numerous scathing replies that came to mind, settling for a, "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor. You're supposed to tell me when you feel random sharp pains!"
"Sure Bones," he muttered into his pillow. Bones felt the clench at his heart and brought his hand up to Jim's forehead, wincing at the heat that he found there. Moments later, the medical assistance that he called for entered the room and McCoy helped them get Jim out of the room and to the hospital.
A surgery later and a few undeserved frustrated rants at nurses, Bones finally ended up sitting in Jim's room, waiting for him to wake up. He knew that it was just a matter of time before Jim defeated the anesthesia. Sure enough, it took less than an hour for Jim to blearily blink his eyes open, groaning at the bright lights. Bones sat up attentively, ready to grab a glass of water for his probably dehydrated friend.
Finally, Jim's eyes seemed to be able to focus and he turned to look at him, smiling in answer to Bone's relived sigh.
"Hi Bones," he said, clearing his throat when the words got caught.
If anything, Bones's scowl just deepened. "A ruptured appendix can be fatal," he said, keeping his voice level and calm. He grabbed Jim's hand, trying to convey how serious this could have. Jim's eyes widened. Bones rarely initiated physical contact, but he was more than tolerant of his extremely tactile friend.
"I thought it was just a stomach ache," he defended weakly, looking down at his lap.
"And when the nausea set in?" Bones questioned.
Jim definitely refused to meet his eyes this time as he mumbled some excuse about 'food poisoning' and 'happens all the time'.
"Jim just, come to me next time, okay?" he asked, hating how he sounded like he was pleading with the man. Jim smiled at the concern that he saw in Bones's eyes.
"Sure, Bones," he agreed, and while Bones didn't completely believe him, it was something.
Dammit! Jim Kirk was the most insufferable, the most arrogant, the most infuriating man in the history of men! Not to mention the most impossible, the most frustrating, and the most ridiculous person to have ever lived. Ever. In all time.
"Come on, Bones," Jim smirked, "you know you love it."
Yeah, no. Jim had just finished regaling him with his most recent sexual escapade that involved an alien woman with tentacles and three breasts. And she was a lovely shade of magenta. Bones was not so thrilled about having this story forced upon him.
"Dammit Jim! You clearly lack normal propriety," Bones growled, even more frustrated by the fact that he couldn't just walk out because he was on shift, treating his patient who happened to have the ego the size of Ganymede. Ridiculous.
"Eh," Jim dismissed the idea with a wave of his hand, "propriety is for people with no sense of adventure."
Bones rolled his eyes as he reached for a hypospray and plunged it into Jim's neck without any warning. Jim immediately flinched back and shot a dirty look at Bones.
"There," he said, looking immensely satisfied with himself, "one down, two to go."
"What!" Jim exclaimed, looking horrified at the prospect.
Bones merely raised his eyebrow, daring Jim to challenge him. It was one dare he knew Jim wouldn't take. "Next time, I recommend practicing safe sex."
"Aw, Bones," he groaned, "you know I have safe sex. It was just...what are you really supposed to do with tentacles?"
Bones just turned on his heel and left, figuring he didn't really want to break his Hippocratic Oath on Jim Kirk's face.
It seemed like being friends with a doctor only fueled Jim's desire to fight as many people as he possibly could whilst being drunk off his ass.
It started like it always did. Jim sat at the bar with Bones, talking about trivial nonsense, his eyes darting around the room looking for his next conquest. After a few shots, a beer or two, Jim stood up and walked over to a young woman who was leaning against the bar, looking bored. Bones watched as he walked away, internally sighing. This would either end with him leaving alone or hauling a bleeding Jim home where he would patch him up.
Sure enough, it was only a few minutes before Bones noticed a stocky man walking towards Jim and the young woman. He looked angry. He introduced himself to Jim with a rough shove in the chest, and it wasn't long before the two men were flat out brawling, knocking over tables and bumping into other people, some of whom didn't enjoy being bumped and also joined in.
That was McCoy's cue to cut in. He threw a few credits on the counter to cover their tab and then shoved his way through the crowd that had gathered around to watch the fight. He waited for a moment and then grabbed Jim's arm, hauling him out quickly before the other men noticed that their punching bag was gone.
"Dammit Jim," he grumbled as he half-carried, half-dragged him out of the bar and towards their dorm. "I can't take you anywhere."
The shiteating grin he got in response made him want to just leave the kid here, but he pushed back his irritation and just rolled his eyes. "You know you love me," he slurred, leaning most of his weight against him.
Bones found that he didn't have a response that wouldn't be a lie.
When it rained, it poured in San Francisco. Which would've been fine, if Bones didn't have to walk halfway across the campus to get from the hospital to his dorm room. He spent a full minute glaring at the rain before gathering his coat tightly around him and moving to step outside.
"Bones!" a voice called behind him. He turned to see Jim running towards him, his bag bouncing at his side. Bones stopped to wait for him, trying to hide the small smile on his face by coughing into his hand. "I've been looking all over for you."
Bones shrugged, "Well you found me. What're you doing here anyway? I usually have to drag you here."
"Looking for you, Bonesey.
Bones almost cringed at the addition to his nickname. "I gathered as much," he said, dryly.
"I thought you'd want company on the dreary walk home," he explained further before gently pushing him through the door as it slid open for them. It only took a few minutes before they were both thoroughly soaked.
"I wish I'd thought to bring an umbrella," he grumped, accidentally stepping in a puddle. He glared at it as if it had committed a great crime against humanity.
"Oh," Jim said innocently, "you wanted an umbrella?"
That stopped Bones short. If this conversation was going in the direction he thought it was going, Jim Kirk only had seconds to live.
Sure enough, Jim reached into his bag and pulled out a black umbrella, opening it with a flourish. Bones could've killed him right then and there and not felt bad about it.
"What the hell, Jim?" he shouted, quickly stepping under the umbrella, even if it wasn't doing much good since he was already fucking soaked. "You had this the entire time?"
Oddly enough, Jim looked baffled by the question, as if he thought it might be a trick question. "I'm gonna say yes," he said, "seeing as I can't make things just randomly appear at my every whim."
Bones growled and grabbed the umbrella from Jim's hand before stalking away, leaving Jim behind him in the rain. It only took him a moment to catch up and he reached out to take the umbrella back from Bones, his hand closing around his. Bones came to a halt as he felt an unexpected jolt that reached his heart and warmed his chilled soul.
They both froze, eyeing each other with a wariness that neither had felt for months.
"If I asked you out, what would you say?" Jim asked quietly after a moment, searching Bones's face for an answer that he might not be willing to give.
"Depends," Bones drawled, "are you asking?"
Uncertainty flashed through Jim's eyes and Bones could see him going through his options. He knew that Jim was probably afraid of messing this up, just as Bones was. Jim Kirk had easily become the closest friend he had ever had, including the ex. It had never been so easy to connect to a person, despite all of their differences. And he didn't want to mess it up by adding sex to the equation.
But on the other hand, he couldn't say that he'd never thought of it before. Anyone with a sex drive and eyes would have thought about it at one point or another.
"Yes," Jim said finally, "I think so...yes, I am asking."
Bones hesitated. "I'm divorced."
"She was a fool."
"I can't change who I am," he muttered, Jocelyn's complaints echoing in his mind.
"I don't want you to."
"I need commitment," he continued.
"You're worth it."
"I don't wanna fuck this up," he mumbled, looking away from the bright blue eyes, almost ashamed of his admission.
"Well that's the thing about us, Bones," Jim said, smiling the cocky smile that irritated and relieved Bones all at the same time. "We were made each other. As acquaintances, as friends...as more." He paused and tentatively brought his hand up to brush against Bones's cheek. Bones closed his eyes at the touch and felt part of his resolve melt away. "I know I'm fucked up, but around you, it's okay."
And maybe it wasn't the most romantic admission that he'd ever heard, but it was all Jim. Jim, who wore his heart on his sleeve, but held his past close where no one could find it. Jim, who smiled at everyone, but only frowned around Bones. Jim, who didn't trust anyone, but was offering Bones everything.
So when Jim pushed forward and pressed his lips gently against Bones's, he didn't hesitate to respond, pushing right back, letting go of the umbrella in favor of using one of his hands to pull Jim closer and the other to tangle in Jim's short hair.
Jim moaned into his mouth and settled his hands on Bones's hips. Bones was vaguely aware of the rain, further drenching them both, but found that he couldn't care less. After a moment, he eased his tongue out, pressing gently at the seam of Jim's lips, who opened them eagerly, allowing Bones to explore the damp warmth of his mouth.
Too soon, they were forced to separate for much needed oxygen. Jim leaned forward to rest his forehead against Bones's, a smile curving on his lips.
"So was that a yes?" he asked, a laugh in his voice. He was close enough that Bones could feel his breath brush across his face and the shiver that ran through his body had nothing to do with the rain.
"Yes, Jim," he sighed, feigning exasperation. "That was a yes."
He leaned forward and gave Jim another kiss before pulling back and tugging on his elbow, determined to get them back to the room before one of them got sick. Jim let him lead him back to their room, the smile never leaving his face. And apparently it was infectious, because Bones found it damn near impossible to not smile with him.