AN: Okay, so, like… Wow. This thing is long for a oneshot. But, I liked writing it a lot. I've JUST RECENTLY gotten into the whole Reaper!McCoy/Kirk thing. I know, I'm supposed to be working on Leather Conditioner and Bittersweet Iced Tea, but this little bunny was just gnawing on my brain. I've never watched Doom, but I get the picture. I didn't have enough patience to watch it before I wrote this. So… Enjoy!
So what if you can see the darkest side of me?
No one will ever change this animal I have become.
Help me believe it's not the real me,
Somebody help me tame this animal I have become
John Grimm doesn't completely go away when Leonard McCoy stepped in. He sits, useless, in the back of Leonard's mind like a toy that is deprived of the child's love. Reaper is buried even further, a crevice in his mind that Leonard refuses to acknowledge. He starts treating himself as three different people the exact moment he decides to do something productive with his life.
Looking into a microscope, not a sniper scope, Sam. Just like you said.
When he becomes Leonard McCoy, things just… Fall into place. He makes up a perfectly normal past and continues on with his future. He studies hard, becomes a doctor… One of the best, some people claims. He gets married, he has a kid, and he gets a divorce.
Well, some things don't fall into place. The divorce isn't really Jocelyn's fault, it's really about him not wanting to stay around and have her figure out that he isn't going to age. Leonard loves her and he loves his daughter, but something told him that Jocelyn wouldn't take the news of his 24th chromosome lightly. In fact, Leonard muses, she would have been so angry about it that she would have probably grown another chromosome and I'd have been screwed. Sure, Joss is angry when he files for a divorce and she takes just about everything, but Leonard can understand. He does.
Plus, in some ways, he kind of wants to thank her for being so goddamn angry. If Leonard had been left with visitation rights to Joanna, he would have stayed. He would have never gotten on that shuttle in a weird impulse.
Upon meeting Jim Kirk, Leonard inadvertently grows another persona. The kid was young and had a tendency to latch onto people. He actually reminds Leonard of a character in one of Joanna's favorite vids, the one she made Leonard watch with her a hundred times over. When he meets Jim and gets his nickname of 'Bones', he is instantly reminded of that one extremely old vid, Finding Nemo. Jim Kirk has a startling resemblance to the hyperactive, ADD-ish fish and practically quoted the movie himself "I shall call him Bones, and he shall be mine. He shall be my Bones."
Well, Jim didn't say it quite like that, but within a couple weeks, the kid has picked out a nickname for him and has claimed 'Bones' as his best friend. Bones doesn't really need complain; the kid was okay.
Oh, who is he kidding? John, Leonard, Reaper and Bones, they all love Jim Kirk. For all his self-destructing tendencies, his borderline alcoholism, his arrogance and effortless genius, all of him loves Jim like the brother he'd never really wanted, gotten anyway, and gotten close to. But, no… John Grimm had that kind of relationship before and Jim was different.
Jim is more like a puppy that got dumped on his doorstep. While Bones had wanted to shut him out at first, one look at those wide, innocent eyes and he was royally fucked. They are roommates and best friends throughout their academy years. It is so easy at first, almost easier than just breathing.
The Narada incident changes everything.
John Grimm knew he should be walking away from Jim and boarding that shuttle alone. Leonard McCoy knew he should be walking away from Jim and boarding that shuttle alone. Bones, however, has a different idea.
That idea, Bones' impulse to bring Jim along (it was not influenced by the pathetic look, by the way, since it was all Bones' idea and none of Jim's influence) saves the Earth and, as it turns out, all of the Federation planets. John Grimm and Leonard McCoy can just go kiss someone else's ass; because Bones knew what he was doing was the right thing to do.
Reaper stays silent, hidden in the back of Bones' mind, caged and muzzled, not allowed to break out.
John Grimm knows that he is still being hunted and that he is still wanted. He can't be a super human and get away with it, which is one of the (few) appeals of space. He is safe as Leonard McCoy, CMO. He is safe as Bones. If he is John Grimm, if he keeps running, he not only endangers himself, but everyone around him as well. They can't get to him as easily if he is in space.
Most of his memories of Mars, the UAC… Olduvai… Well, he keeps them at bay by chaining them to Reaper, silenced and subdued. Even if he can't get away from John Grimm and Reaper, he can successfully pretend that they never existed anywhere except in his mind. It's easy enough to do, and after a while, Leonard actually starts to believe himself. There's always that fear in the back of his mind, however, whispered by John Grimm, that they still hunt him. They still want him.
That's why Bones doesn't hesitate to accept the offer of being CMO on the Enterprise. John Grimm is shoved back even further in his mind and the team of Leonard McCoy and Bones steps in for good, if luck would be so kind as to stay on his side.
Despite his fear of space, Bones is actually thrilled. He's on the Starfleet's flagship with his best friend as his captain. He even gets along with most people with the exception of the pointy eared, green-blooded hobgoblin and even then he's at least respectful towards the First Officer.
He's fond of Uhura and finds that she is excellent for stimulating conversation. He enjoys Scotty's easy smiles, his ability to crack a joke at any moment. He admires Sulu for both being a brilliant swordsman and a plant enthusiast. He's got a huge soft spot for Chekov and treats him like a little brother, which seems to please Chekov immensely. Maybe it's because he's such a kid, because he's so young. He reminds John Grimm of someone and he whispers in the back of his head, though Leonard and Bones don't let John elaborate. Bones doesn't want to remember. Leonard just wants to be the grumpy doctor that everyone loves but runs away from when he has a hypo in hand.
It's easy, at first. No matter how much he complains, Leonard admits that he loves his job. Bones loves being with his friends and getting closer to them. John Grimm just sits in the background.
Reaper bides his time in silence, thrashing every once and a while. There are times when the wild thing takes over. Just for a moment, Reaper will break from his bindings and take over Bones completely. John Grimm is complacent when this happens. Leonard whimpers. It happens when Leonard gets angry enough to really rip into someone.
That someone is, of course, their reckless, devil-may-care, ever-lovin' Captain Kirk after he faces death on the operating table again. While Bones is just thrilled that his best friend is breathing, Leonard is fucking pissed.
That's when Reaper comes in. He wants to punch something. He wants to hurt someone. More than anything, he wants to hurt the person that almost killed Jim. He can't get to that person, seeing as they are on that Godforsaken planet they just left behind, so he settles for yelling at him, harsher and louder than ever before. Jim, bless his heart, stays calm throughout the whole thing. By the time he's finished, Reaper is breathing heavily, hands clenched into fists at his side and actually feeling like he could jump the captain and hurt him himself. Bones is screaming for him to get a grip and Leonard is trying to hypo Reaper in his own mind and John Grimm just sits there, observing with some sort of detached cool.
"Bones." One warm hand grasps at Reaper's own hand and everything freezes for a moment. "Bones, I'm okay. I'm alive. I'm fine." Reaper bristles in return.
"Don't you dare say you're fine to me, Captain Kirk." He's well aware that his voice comes out as a menacing growl, however, in stark contrast to his angry voice, his hand squeezes Jim's a little. Bones is terrified of what Reaper would do to Jim. Leonard really wants to hypo him and get rid of that pain that Jim must be feeling. John Grimm just watches on, quiet as ever.
Jim somehow finds it in himself to grin and place Reaper's hand on his heart. "Still beating, Bones. Still alive."
Bones takes over again, but Reaper is right there with him when he sits next to Jim and keeps his hand over the steady beating heart, reassuring himself that Jim really is alive and really is okay. "Don't scare me like that again, kid."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Bones."
Of course, he does scare Bones like that a hundred times over during their five-year mission. However, Reaper only comes out a couple more times after that. No one notices anything is off with Doctor McCoy during those two times, thankfully. Everyone just chalks it up to him being exceptionally cranky.
However, as they say, the third time's the charm.
And by charm, Bones really means he's thinking Oh my God; I wish I died when I still had the chance the whole time it happens. It's their third year in and their missions have actually gone smoothly so far with only a few run-ins with Klingons.
This time, though, there are no Klingons. They're ordered to check out some planet, to explore and gather data. It sounds harmless and everything looks harmless, so the away team gets the thumbs up to go and beam down onto the planet. The away team consists of Jim (of course he wants to go), Spock (who seems to find new planets fascinating), Chekov (he begged his way onto the team because he "newer gets to do any of ze exciting things"), Bones himself (like hell he's going to let Jim and Chekov go down there without him) and some poor guy from engineering.
The ship's scans seem to be right at first. The planet appears to be as tame as a sloth, so Bones relaxes a bit and indulges in chatting with Chekov a bit. Spock is looking around with a raised eyebrow, obviously curious. The atmosphere is a little heavier than Earth's. It feels hotter and definitely more humid than Bones is used to. It's not unpleasant, however, and it is expected since the planet seems to be one giant jungle.
The group stops when they come to a clearing to rest. Jim flops down beside Bones and starts babbling on about the finds they've made, the data they've collected. It bores Bones, Leonard, Reaper and John Grimm, none of them finding the jungle even remotely interesting.
That is, until he hears the unmistakable sound of someone (something?) rustling in the vegetation behind them. Bones doesn't have enough time to react, but John Grimm is the one that grabs Jim by the shoulders and throws him out the way with ease just before a crudely made spear shoots into the clearing and takes everyone else by surprise. It lands where Jim was only seconds before.
The first thing that computes in John Grimm's mind is that they are under attack. The second thing he does is roll himself away from another well-aimed spear. The poor guy from engineering isn't so lucky and John catches a glimpse of red amongst the dark soil. Leonard panics for a second and determines that the guy is dead. The spear looks like it hit either right in his heart or somewhere in that vicinity. A quick glance across the clearing confirms that Spock got Chekov out of the way as well.
Bones hurtles himself to where Jim is just as who Bones can only assume are the natives of the planet come bursting into the clearing. John Grimm immediately assesses them while Bones recoils, a hand clutching his med kit. Jim tenses beside him. The natives are big, probably a head taller than Jim and much wider. Jim is acting quicker than I can. He's turned on his comm. unit and is yelling at Scotty to beam them out. The natives are crowding around the away team, closing in with slow steps that are exaggerated and terrifying. They know they're bigger. They think they're better.
Bones manages to keep himself in check, standing beside Jim and taking out his phaser, awaiting orders from his captain. Jim, however, is silent and stares at the natives. Bones steals a glance towards Spock and Chekov and freezes at what he sees. Spock looks emotionless, as always, so it's not Spock that Bones is worried about.
It's Chekov. Chekov is the one that's shaking and whimpering as the natives come closer and closer. Bones can see the fear on the young ensign's face from where he is. He can see Chekov panicking and he can see that the natives, the enemy, notice the youngest one's distress as well. One of them reaches out and grabs onto Chekov, yanking him harshly and shouting something in what Bones thinks is their language. The rest jeer and Chekov tries desperately to remove himself from their grip.
He succeeds and attempts to bolt away from the terrifying people. It all happens in slow motion. Honest-to-God slow motion. Chekov is shoved to the ground and the natives jeer him again. Within seconds, he's shaking with rage and Reaper is begging to be let out. Chekov struggles, kicks up, fires his phaser at one of the natives. There's a howl of pain from the shot one and a spear from one of the natives jabs a spear into Chekov's abdomen. Something inside of Bones snaps.
He's not Bones anymore. He's not Leonard McCoy. He's not even John Grimm.
The man, the thing that screams in fury is all Reaper.
The natives might have been bigger, but when compared to Reaper, they don't stand a chance. The Hippocratic oath flies out the window along with all grip on reality. In precisely two heartbeats (his heart is beating loud enough in his ears that he can count), he's grabbed one of the spears from a native.
The next moment, the one who harmed Chekov is dead. Chekov, still conscious and somehow able to move, moves his eyes slowly to meet Reaper's, just for a moment. The fear there is so blatant, but there is also relief, and Reaper just can't hold himself back.
One shot to the heart. Two to the head.
It's familiar. He's done all this before. He's fought like this before, tooth and nail and all adrenaline and damn, it feels good. No one restrains him, no one shouts out his name while he mindlessly fights.
One to the heart. Two to the head.
He's not running through the consequences in his head. All he can feel is something penetrating his skin and it hurts and Reaper isn't happy about that. The spear is yanked out of his skin with a flinch and a groan but it's okay because he knows he'll be fine. It's already healing.
One to the heart. Two to the head.
He sees Sam, looking so fragile and pale and vulnerable. He sees Sarge, he sees him beyond control, beyond help and he feels a pang. He sees the Kid, the name flickering from the original Kid from Jim to Chekov and it's making his head spin. It's easier when he doesn't have to think, when he doesn't have to remember. He's fighting all of them, he's not going to stop until they pay for what they did.
His rage, to the outsiders looking in, is beautiful in it's own way. It's terrifying, he's sure, because they're probably wondering if he's going to turn on them next. He can only imagine the look of utter fear on Chekov's face. He's convinced that Spock has both eyebrows raised so high that they rise off of his head. When his thought train turns to Jim, Reaper isn't sure what he's going to say, what he's going to do.
One to the heart. Two to the head.
Reaper isn't done yet. The look on Scotty's face would be humorous if he didn't look so terrified. He's not really sure what he looks like, but he can feel blood drying on his face and he's got the still bleeding Chekov in his arms. The whole room is silent when Reaper steps off the transporter pad. The small crowd that is awaiting their return parts like the Red Sea when Reaper walks through. His steps are in time with his heart. Everything feels like it's slowed down.
He's aware of every pair of eyes on his back as he moves out of the room.
He's not shaking with rage by the time he gets to Medical Bay, but he's still on his adrenaline high and it'll be a while until Bones gets control of himself and the monster that is Reaper will go back into the corner of his mind.
Chapel greets him at the entrance and immediately jabs a hypospray into Chekov's neck to ease the pain. Reaper is just glad he has medical training, because he can't let the pure doctor instinct take over just yet. If there's another threat, Reaper needs to be ready.
So, he doesn't do as good a job as he would if he could just let his doctor side come back. The fear, the rage… It's still too raw, his heart is still pumping. But the kid is stable and is going to be okay and Reaper washes his hands just in time to get a comm. from the captain to report to the Bridge. Jim's voice is cold and Reaper isn't sure how he's going to talk to anyone while he's like that.
He takes deep breaths all the way to the Bridge and fluctuates horribly. He's not sure if he's Reaper or John or Leonard or Bones. He feels lost and confused and it doesn't help that when he walks into the Bridge, the whole room goes completely silent. He chances a glance at Jim and resists the urge to flinch. There is no warmth in Jim's expression. There isn't any anger yet, either. All there is on his face is cold disbelief.
Bones (it's easier to call himself Bones, even when he's not sure who he is) clasps his hands behind his back and straightens his spine. "You called for me, captain?" He can see the questions burning in Jim's eyes. Bones can only imagine what he looked like while he was single-handedly taking out the natives.
He was supposed to be Leonard McCoy, the doctor who is… just a doctor. Leonard McCoy is the one that can't fight to save his life. Leonard McCoy is the one that lets Jim handle all the physical challenges.
Only an idiot would say that it was Leonard McCoy that killed those people on that Godforsaken planet. James T. Kirk is the opposite of an idiot. "Care to explain what happened down there?" He asked in a voice that clearly said "What the FUCK?" Bones, John, Leonard, Reaper. Could any of them explain to Jim what happened?
"I don't think I can, captain." Jim slams his hand down on his chair angrily and stands, striding over to Bones. Bones expects Jim to hit him or get up in his personal space, but the captain stops abruptly about two feet away from Bones and backs away. Bones bristles angrily at the gesture of fear. "You know, captain, if I wanted to harm anyone on this ship, I would have already done it." It feels like all the air has been sucked out of the ship.
It's Reaper now again, chains broken and feeling angry. "I could have done it the day I met you. I could have killed everyone on this ship three years ago. You saw. You know I can do it." Of course, he leaves out the part that he was concerned for Chekov's safety and life, but that's not the point.
The point is the satisfaction in seeing Jim's face redden slightly in anger.
"You're not Leonard McCoy." Of course I'm not. And you're supposed to be the genius? However, Reaper doesn't like the way this is going. He's fluctuating again, almost frightened at the thought of losing Jim like this, but angry at the whole world. It seems as though his mouth is stuck on 'tell the honest-to-God truth' mode.
"No. I'm not." The flash of betrayal on Jim's face is enough to send Reaper reeling back into the confines of his mind. This is his best friend… He never told Jim about John Grimm, Reaper, Mars, being over two hundred years old… It never really came up, though. Jim shouldn't blame him for not telling him something that he wasn't directly asked about.
"Who are you, then?" Jim is angry. Jim is really angry. Bones wants to scream, 'I'm your Bones! I'm your best friend!' Reaper wants to spill it out in a growl, tell him what's going on. Leonard wants to jab a hypospray into Jim's neck and make him forget all about it. He can't answer; he doesn't know which answer is best.
In the end, it's John Grimm that speaks up. "Do you really want to know?" Jim considers it because John's really giving him a choice. The Bridge is holding its breath as Jim ponders a bit.
"No, I don't."
Huh. Interesting. "What do you want then, Jim?" Jim is still Jim, even if it's John talking. Jim is his best friend, no matter who is unleashed. He wants Jim to forgive him, to understand that he was protecting him, that he loves Jim and doesn't want to lose him like this. He's already lost Sam. He almost lost Chekov. The last thing he wants is to lose Jim.
He sees the hatred on Jim's face, though. He can see that he feels betrayed because his best friend lied to him. Leonard, however, wasn't the one Jim ever knew. From the very beginning, it's Bones. Bones is the one who is Jim's best friend, not the doctor. John thinks that he is still Bones. Bones is cranky, he is sarcastic but he cares. So does John. Jim doesn't understand, though. John doesn't think he's going to get a chance to explain.
"I want you off my ship." Leonard is gone. It's only John, Bones, and Reaper. There will always be Reaper. The words Jim spits are full of venom and feel like a punch to his gut. "If I can't trust you personally, I can't trust you professionally. You lied to me… Whoever you are. I don't even know who you are." Bones keeps his mouth shut but he feels like crumpling to the floor and just letting go.
There are strong hands wrapping around Bones' arms and Reaper reacts instinctively, whirling around and throwing a punch to the security guard holding onto him. The poor man goes sprawling and Bones looks down at his own handiwork in horror.
How did I get so out of control?
Thankfully, it's not another security guard that comes up. It's Spock, which is surprising in itself, that takes him forcefully by the arm and leads him out of the Bridge. Reaper is aware that the Vulcan matches him in strength, so there's very little chance of escape now.
Spock is silent but he's looking at Bones like he's never seen him before. He opens his mouth to speak but is cut off when a blur of a person comes out of nowhere and latches itself onto Bones. Reaper begins to react instinctively but when he recognizes the mop of curly hair and the familiar face pressing into his chest, he manages to stop himself. Once Reaper calms down, he speaks. "You should be in Medical Bay," he chides, growling at the young ensign who has attached himself to Bones like a leech. However, he wraps his arms around Chekov gently and hugs him back.
"You saved me, Doctor McCoy."
"I ain't Doctor McCoy, kid." Chekov looks up at Bones and shakes his head.
"Yes, yes you are. If you are not Doctor McCoy, zen vho are you?" Bones smiles a little and repeated his earlier question.
"Do you really want to know?" He's surprised Spock let him stop to talk to the kid. Well, it's not like he's going to see Chekov again any time soon. In fact, this might be the last time he'll ever talk to the kid. Bones' chest constricts uncomfortably as his mind jumps from Chekov to Jim. Damn it.
"Yes, I do." Chekov's face is earnest and innocent, too much like the Kid's. Bones has to swallow the lump in his throat uncomfortably.
"My name is John Grimm. You'd do well to forget you ever heard that name, kid. You'd do well to forget you ever knew me."
"You're my friend. You sawed my life. I vill not forget." Bones tries to smile at Chekov and just gathers the kid into his arms again.
Think what you want, but Bones is capable of affection. So is John. So is Reaper. John Grimm… No matter how many aliases he comes up with, it always comes down to that one name. Maybe it's time to stop running.
John Grimm's grip on Chekov only falters after Spock pinches his nerves and sends him into unconsciousness.
When Bones opens up his eyes, he has the audacity to hope that the whole thing had been just a dream and that none of it had actually happened. He takes in a slightly familiar room, wondering at it for a moment until he realizes that he was in some sort of hospital. Nothing's wrong with him, however, so he can only assume that this is where Spock sent him when he had his orders to get him off the Enterprise.
That stung a little. More than a little.
Hell, Jim was supposed to be his best friend. He didn't even give Bones the chance to explain it to him, he hadn't wanted to hear it. So, Bones ends up in some hospital…
At that moment, a doctor comes striding up to Bones' biobed. "Ah, you're awake." Feeling utterly bewildered, Bones nods his head.
"So it would seem."
"How are you feeling, Mr…?" Bones pauses, just a moment.
"Actually, it's Doctor. Doctor John Grimm." He smiles a little. "But you can call me Bones." It's time to stop running. It's time to stop with the multiple people in his mind. It's time to accept that he is John Grimm. It's time to accept that he can be John Grimm and be Bones at the same time.
The words Bones, Reaper, and Grimm are one and the same, anyway.
Bones has himself convinced that the universe is out to get him. Much of why he thinks that way should go without saying, including being injected with C-24 and being who he is now.
He's coping with it, however. The incident on the Enterprise didn't do much good to him, since he's got himself convinced by now that he's a monster in everyone's eyes (except Chekov's, bless his heart) and he's convinced that they all hate him. He hasn't heard anything from Jim, or anyone on the ship except for Chekov. The kid sometimes calls him, just to say that he remembers John and that he is missed, and that the new CMO isn't nearly as good as John.
Bones is convinced that the kid is an angel from heaven. Talking to him makes his day brighter and Chekov doesn't ask or pry about him. He's only glad that he's alive and he's forever grateful to John for saving his life.
But even then, the calls are scarce and it depresses Bones after a while. He's going crazy, not knowing what's going on, on the ship. He's driving himself crazy, worrying about Jim and wondering if he's got himself killed yet. Knowing the little bastard, he wouldn't be surprised.
Jims utter abandonment of Bones hurts. He wants to beam up to the Enterprise and either apologize until his voice is hoarse, or go up there and knock some sense into Jim. He wants t make Jim listen. Bones, however, does know that if Jim wants to find him, he will. It's not like Bones went far, anyway. He'd ended up in Starfleet Medical, which was where Spock sent him, he guessed.
He never actually left.
Instead, he joined the hospital and began a career of doctoring, again. John, to his own surprise, found that he likes being a doctor. Helluva lot better than being a soldier, that's for sure. He likes being able to save lives, not take them. Ever since that one mission, every time he looks down at his hands, he sees the blood that he shed that day. The blood that Reaper shed. The blood is something he can never get rid of. It sticks to him in his mind; it's something he just can't get rid of.
All in all, Bones' new-old life progresses without many hitches. After all, being a doctor on Earth is a whole different ball game than being a doctor in space. For one, he's got so much more to work with. And two, they're not constantly under attack, thank God. It still doesn't keep Bones from missing the Enterprise and everyone on it Hell, he even misses space and that just shouldn't happen.
Even though John is okay with how things are going, he feels emptier now than he ever did before. He wants his family back; he wants Chekov, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and even Spock. He wants to see Jim again so bad that he aches sometimes. He gets lonely now and every night he hopes that Jim will come busting through the door, bruised and bloody, needing Bones to fix him up. He wants to see those bright blue eyes, he wants to see that easy grin. He wants Jim and it's tearing him apart.
Bones dreams about the look on Jim's face, the hatred and the fear. It's an image he'll never be able to get out of his head. Bones didn't know how completely Jim had burrowed into his life until the kid wasn't there anymore. Against his better judgment, Bones had let Jim in the day on the shuttle and Jim hadn't left until now, that is.
Sometimes, Bones really hates himself. He looks down at his patients and he sees the people he killed. When he washes the blood off of his hands after a successful surgery, he doesn't see a life saved; he just sees the blood. He's messed up, he knows that, but he's the best goddamn doctor they have at Starfleet Medical. He can't stop now.
"John!" Bones turns to see one of the nurses, Diane, running full tilt towards him. The Reaper that is still in him tenses and readies himself for some kind of attack, but it seems as though there's just some kind of medical emergency. "John, come quickly! We got a transmission from a Starship. They need help. Their CMO is dead, John… They told us to send up our best physician, and that's you. Their captain is in critical condition." Diane speaks fast, but she's efficient and she's off and running again. Bones runs into his office, grabs his med kit and turns to run out, but stops himself. He hesitates one moment and then reaches into a smaller drawer and pulls out a small box. John wants to recoil from the vial that he knows is inside that box, the one that Sam gave him so long ago. He pockets it and runs out.
Bones doesn't think, he just rushes to a nearby comm. unit and speaks.
"This is Doctor John Grimm. Ready to beam aboard."
Not two seconds later, he feels the odd scrambling of his molecules as he's beamed aboard the ship. The voice he hears as he rematerializes makes his heart stop in his chest. "Doctor Grimm, huh? What a name for a doctor. Cannae imagine anyone wants to get checked out by someone 'o the name o' Grimm."
Bones is frozen in place on the pad and Scotty's mouth is hanging open, the shock clear on his face. Right, none of them were expecting to ever see him again.
I'm on the Enterprise.
"Doctor McCoy?" Scotty's voice is laced with shock, but Bones shakes his head quickly, bounding off of the transporter pad. Reaper quivers and is ready to go bolting down to Medical Bay. Jim. Jim's the captain. Jim is in critical condition. Jim needs him.
"No. Doctor Grimm," he corrects Scotty and then bolts out of the room, running as fast as his legs can carry him (which, of course, is pretty fucking fast) towards Medical Bay. Everything is so familiar and Bones can't help but wonder if he's in some sort of dream. If he is, he doesn't want to wake up. He's back on the Enterprise. He's back to saving Jim's life.
When he bursts into Medical Bay, he sees the crowd around one bed. He slows his gait to a stride. "Move, damn it!" Everyone comes to a screeching halt; everyone except Chekov, who launches himself at Bones again.
"John! I knew zhey would send you!" Bones hugs Chekov back briefly before facing everyone else. Spock is there; looking actually shocked with both eyebrows raised so high that Bones can't see them anymore. Uhura is gaping openly and Sulu looks like he's going to faint.
"Leonard McCoy?" It's Christine Chapel, bless her heart, that ends the silence. He shakes his head at her.
"Doctor John Grimm, ma'am." He turns to the group and pushes them all back. "Move. What happened here?" He tries not to look at Jim. He tries to see him as just another patient, but he can't.
He looks the same as he ever did, if not a bit skinnier. His hair looks just the tiniest bit darker than when he last saw him (which was… three years ago). He's sure that Jim still has the same eyes as always. Then, he looks at Jim from a doctor' point of view. The kid is beat up badly, bleeding profusely and looks half dead. Spock fills him in and Bones tries to keep himself under control.
Jim, like the idiot he always is, had gone down to a planet for negotiations, practically alone. And, of course, him being Jim, the negotiations weren't negotiations at all, but a trap. Jim had fallen into the worst laid plan Bones had ever heard. Reaper's hackles roe, torn between saving Jim and killing the kid himself. Spock thinks Jim was tortured. He's pretty sure he's been poisoned as well.
That snaps John into action. "We need to flush it out, clean his wounds, get him stable. His heart's already beatin' way too slow for my likin'," he drawls. That Southern accent never left him after his years in Georgia.
They were right when they said that Jim was in critical condition. Two minutes after John arrives, Jim flatlines, all pulse leaving him and making Bones panic. He's too close to pulling out that vial, his fingers itch to get the box out and inject Jim, save him, make him safe from any more harm. But his mind is screaming, Don't do it, you idiot. You don't want him to suffer the same fate as you! And he knows he's right.
So, he revives Jim the old-fashioned way, with shocks ("CLEAR!") and CPR ("Damn it Jim, breathe!") and a whole lotta swearing on Bones' part ("Don't you do this now, don't you dare do this now, you little bastard. You're not going to fucking die now, not now"). Once his heart is stable again and his pulse is back, Bones gets to work. There's a reason he's Starfleet Medical's best, and he's hell-bent on proving it.
It takes hours to flush out the poison. It takes hours to stitch all the pieces of Jim back together. It feels almost surreal when Jim is finally stable and able to be left alone. Bones doesn't leave him. He's perched on the chair next to the bed like old times, bright eyes never leaving Jim's face. Familiar faces come and go, some just looking in, as if to reassure that their captain is still breathing. Some stay, standing beside Bones and watching Jim for a few long minutes. Then there are the ones who are there for both Jim and Bones.
Chekov takes Bones' hand and just squeezes it for a while. It calms Bones, helps him breathe deeply. The warm hand that grasps his is alive and it reassures Bones.
Uhura pulls a chair over to Bones, but she ends up standing, pulling Bones up and hugging him tightly. She lets him crumble and let go; she lets him cry on her shoulder.
Sulu sits on Jim's bed and talks to Bones about some new plant species that he found and is currently studying. His chattering relaxes Bones and he actually laughs when Sulu explains the chaos of his bringing a too-fast-growing plant onboard that almost took over the Enterprise.
Sotty and Keenser brings some of his best whiskey and they drink in silence.
He's surprised when Spock comes, however. Bones thought he would be one to just pop his head in and check on the captain. Instead, he walks over and sits in the chair that Uhura had pulled over, the one that Scotty just vacated. For a while, they just stare at each other, Spock curious and Bones tense. "I did some research," Spock says, finally breaking the silence. Bones tenses even more. Reaper is ready to spring if Spock is issuing a threat.
"John Grimm. Your story is… Fascinating."
"You found the files from Olduvai?" Bones is incredulous and feels a sliver of fear run down his spine.
"Affirmative." Bones expects him to go on, but Spock just keeps quiet. Bones can't resist raising his eyebrow at the Vulcan.
"Well?" Spock's mouth quirks the slightest bit, the equivalent of a smile for a Vulcan.
"Like I said… Most fascinating."
"Yeah, well, it wasn't fascinating while living through it. What did you do with the files?" Bones doesn't want anyone else knowing. They could find him if they knew where he was. "What do you want from me?" If Spock's planning on turning him into the government, he needs to know if there's anything he can do to persuade him otherwise.
"The files are gone, Doctor. I learned your story, that's all I want." Spock shakes his head slightly. "24 chromosomes… Fascinating." Spock mutters on and on for a while, the continuous drone of his voice, musing to himself, eventually lulls Bones into sleep. He's exhausted, even if he doesn't need as much sleep as humans do. He vaguely remembers someone putting a blanket over his shoulders.
After a while, Bones is startled awake by a hand gripping his own. Senses on red alert, he jerks upright, eyes roaming quickly to assess any threat.
The only threat he sees in the room is a hypo standing precariously on a desk's ledge. For one bleary moment, Bones thinks that Chekov has come back, but when he looks over and doesn't see the young Russian ensign, his eyes snap forward immediately.
The eyes he meets are bluer than any Georgia sky.
Bones is weightless for a moment, blissfully happy at seeing Jim awake and just looking at him. The hand on his is Jim's; the face looking back at him is all Jim. Jim is alive. Bones can't stop the shaky laugh; the breathless exhale of wonder over the fragility of life and the iron strength of Jim Kirk.
He comes crashing down at the impassive expression on Jim's face. He stands abruptly, yanking his hand away from Jim and stepping back to maintain a professional distance. "I'll call Mister Spock," he says after a few seconds and steps away from Jim to call Spock and tell him that the captain is awake. He busies himself, looking over Jim and making sure his skin is healing properly, checking his vitals, biding his time until Spock comes striding in.
Bones only has eyes for Spock while he's giving his report and if Spock notices, he doesn't say anything. He's aware of Jim staring at him. "You'll need to stay mostly motionless for at least five days, Captain Kirk. Don't go ripping up my handiwork, Sir." He chances a glance at Jim and wishes he hadn't. There's no anger there, only fear and… Something else. Bones can't put his finger on it.
"Thank you, doctor," he says briskly and Bones takes that as a dismissal. He nods at the captain and makes his way out of Medical Bay. Jim calls out to him one last time before he walks out. "Who are you?" His voice is tired, strained with confusion and hurt. Bones wants to punch himself. He understands the underlying question in Jim's voice.
He stops walking but does not turn. "Do you really want to know, Captain Kirk?" There is a lengthy pause and Bones barely breathes while he waits for the response.
"Yes." Bones tenses. He wasn't expecting the positive answer. He still doesn't turn as he gives Jim the same answer as he gave a dotor those three years ago.
"My name is John Grimm, Captain, but I am Bones." He doesn't miss the hiss of a sharply inhaled breath and he knows Jim is angry. Bones leaves.
He doesn't get too far, because Spock catches up with him and walks beside John.
"Doctor, I wonder if I might ask a favor of you." Bones shoots a wary glance at Spock, but nods nonetheless. It's the least he can do. Spock continues on, "I wonder, would it be too much of an inconvenience to you if I asked you to stay during the captain's recovery? I'm sure he would respond to you better than anyone else. I, for one, would feel a bit more relaxed if you were here until he can resume his duties."
It's an innocent enough request, but Bones isn't stupid. Spock wants him around for some twisted reason, but the green-blooded hobgoblin did help him by destroying the files on John Grimm… It really is the least he can do. "I can do that. I'll just need to go to Earth and get some changes of clothes and inform my superiors."
The days he spends on the Enterprise pass both much too slowly and also too fast for Bones' liking. It's too slow when he has to spend time with Jim, help him get back to his full health. He would normally love being around Jim again, but not like this. Their moments together are strained and painful and Bones hates it.
He loves seeing the rest of the crew again, however. They, in turn, are happy to see him and Bones soon learns that his earlier assumptions weren't true. They do not hate him, they are not afraid of him. He saved Chekov. It takes a lot of getting used to for the others to call him 'John' and yes, they sometimes get angry with him for not saying anything. They forgive him, though, and they catch up on what has happened in the past three years. They have so much to talk about, but too little time.
Bones doesn't want to leave. It's his last night on the Enterprise and Jim is back on duty, ready to go back into the black and almost kill himself again. One of these days, Bones thinks bitterly to himself, I'm not gonna be around to patch him up.
Well, really, that day was going to be tomorrow. Bones is leaving the Enterprise early in the morning, not likely to ever return to the ship. Ain't that just the happiest thought in the world? He asks himself sarcastically. He's in his temporary quarters and, for the first time since arriving on the ship, has managed to escape on board. He's almost surprised that no one came to check on him, since he stayed in his room for dinner.
He's just finished his oh-so-filling dinner of cereal and is beginning to repack his bag and gather up his medical supplies when the door chimes and slides open. He knows who it is without having to turn around, seeing as the captain is the only one with override codes. Bones just continues to pack silently, going on as if he doesn't know that Jim is staring holes into his back. He goes slowly, biding his time. He straightens one shirt five times to buy himself time. In the end, he doesn't need to. Jim is the one that breaks the silence after a few long minutes.
"John." Bones stiffens automatically and snaps up straight, staring blankly at the wall in front of him for a moment. Hearing Jim say that name is like a wave of pleasure and pain, crashing over him and drowning him. Jim says the name again and John slowly turns to look at Jim. The captain is leaning against the entrance of the door, head tilted slightly, appraising John like he's never seen something like him before.
Oh, right. He hasn't.
"John." The third time he says it, he nods a little bit. "You look like a John. Fits you better than Leonard." Bones winces at the harsh laugh that leaves Jim Kirk's throat. He feels his chest constrict. It comes down to this, this moment. It's now or never.
"Captain Kirk. What can I do–?"
"Cut the shit, Grimm." John drags a hand over his face and sighs. He can see the hostility radiating off of Jim, he can see the fear in his eyes and with it is that hate again. That same hate that has been haunting John Grimm's dreams for three whole years. "Why…?" John barks out a laugh.
"Do you want to know?" He's offering again. He's offering to explain, to tell Jim Kirk about John Grimm and Olduvai and C-24. For an answer, Jim moves away from the doorway, pushes the button to shut it, walks slowly to the couch in the living area of the room and sits down, never breaking eye contact with John.
"Tell me everything," Jim orders. So, John sits down across from Jim and begins his story.
John is thorough. He leaves out no small detail. He goes over his childhood, patiently explaining to him that he is, in fact, over two hundred years old. He tells Jim about his parents, about his sister and about how they grew apart when they grew up. He tells Jim about joining the Marines and getting the distress call from Olduvai. He tells Jim about how he went, because his sister was there. He tells Jim about the killing and the experimentation and the slow madness everyone succumbed to. He tells Jim about how John almost died. He tells Jim about Sam injecting him with C-24. He tells Jim about his fight with Sarge and he tells him everything he's done since Olduvai.
When he's done, Jim is pale and staring open-mouthed at John. As expected, the questions soon come pouring out. "If C-24 made everyone into… Monsters… Why aren't you…?" John sighs and slouches back into his seat. At least Jim hasn't ordered him off the ship or screamed at him yet.
"If a person injected with C-24 is capable of being truly evil, they will turn into a demon like Sarge did." Jim looked shocked, and John could almost guess what was going to come out of his mouth next.
"Don't have an evil bone in my body, yeah." The interrogation lasted a long time. None of the questions really throw John. He's already told the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so there's really not much to lose. Jim seems to run out of questions and is just slumped on the couch, staring at John with an unreadable expression.
"You lied to me." Ah. He was wondering when that was going to come up.
"Yes, I did."
"You aren't Leonard McCoy." Here, John laughs harshly again, shaking his head.
"Kid, you never knew me as Leonard McCoy. I don't remember you ever calling me Leonard." John stands and stretches, turning his back on Jim and wandering over to the window by the bed, looking out at the black. He's going to miss it. "You just knew me as Bones."
"You're not Bones."
"Yes, I am, damn it!" The frustration bubbles over, finally. "John Grimm might be my name, but I am Bones. I've never lied to you as Bones, Jim. I. Am. Bones. What you know is all me. Yes, I'm not Leonard McCoy. I am a doctor. I had a divorce. I have a kid. I'm cranky, I hate people, I like my alcohol too much. I'm your best friend. I'm Bones, Jim." He pauses for breath, but Jim doesn't say anything, so he keeps going. "The boys, they gave me a name. Reaper. You gave me a name. Bones. Bones is me just as much as Reaper is. I am one person, Jim. I lied about my age, yes. I lied about my parents, yes. I lied about my name."
He turned and looked Jim straight in the eye. "But I have not lied to you about anything else. You know me. You know I love sleeping in on Saturday mornings. You know I take my coffee black with about a pound of sugar in it. I never pretended any of that, Jim. Never."
Bones places his hands on the window's ledge and bows his head, listening for Jim's retreating footsteps and the telltale chime of the door being opened. It doesn't come. Instead, there's only silence. "I never wanted to be like this, Ji–Captain. If the choice had been up to me, I would have died two hundred years ago on that Godforsaken planet."
He hears Jim's footsteps then, but they aren't retreating. He hears Jim stop just a few feet away from where John is leaning. "You came back." His voice is small, like a child's. Bones turns his head slightly to glance at Jim from the corner of his eye.
"Damn it, Jim. I'm a doctor, it's my job to come and save your sorry ass."
"I said awful things…"
"Jim, shut up. You were angry. You were scared. I was out of control. You were in the right. It's okay."
"It's not okay. I'm still mad at you. I still can't believe you lied like that, but, John…" He sighs. "Bones." At the nickname, Bones turns to face Jim head on, not daring to hope but doing so anyway. "Bones, you're my best friend. I'm so–" Bones silences him by grabbing him and pulling him into a hug. He expects Jim to flinch, to scream, to yell at him to let go, but he doesn't. Instead, he just puts his arms tentatively around Bones as well.
"I missed you, you asshole," Bones growls and hears Jim's hesitant laugh in return.
"Missed you too, Bones." They just stand there like that for a long time, Bones just gripping Jim tightly and Jim clinging back. After a while, Bones can hear Jim mumble something into Bones' shoulder.
"I asked if you would consider coming back as my CMO." The way Jim spits the words out quickly is funny, like he's embarrassed to ask.
"Do you even have to ask?"
"Is that a yes, old man?"
"You bet your ass it is, kid." They're back to grappling at each other, hugging tighter, both chuckling a little bit. Bones, however, sobers slightly and reaches in his pocket, fingering the box he has kept in his pocket since arriving on the Enterprise. "Jim…" Bones clears his throat, unsure and nervous. Instead of speaking, he pries one of Jim's arms from around him and holds out the vial for Jim to take, should he want to. His heart is beating loudly in his chest as Jim takes a step back to inspect it.
The shock on his face when he realizes what it is sends Bones into panic mode. "You don't have to do anything with it, Jim. I just… I don't want to carry it any more and you're the only one I'd ever trust with it…"
"How did you get this? Why do you have C-24 with you?" The suspicious tone in Jim's voice makes Bones uneasy.
"All I was told was that a captain was in critical condition… I thought… If there were no other alternatives, I could use it. But I didn't, Jim. You were dead for minutes and I almost did, but I didn't! I just… Want you to have it. Just keep it safe." Bones pauses a moment to take a deep breath. "Sam gave it to me. She said that I should use it if I get tired of being alone."
Jim stares at Bones for a moment before he understands. His face softens just the slightest bit and he takes a step forward again, close enough to wrap his arms around Bones again. Bones looks down at the young captain and his heart and throat constrict at the same time. He doesn't know how he managed the three years away from his best friend. The intensity of Jim's gaze is enough to send him reeling with uncertainty. "You're never going to be alone, Bones. You've got us." Bones doesn't know what that means, but apparently Jim is trying to reassure Bones, to calm him down.
He still hasn't taken the vial.
He stares at Bones' face again and tilts his head to the side like he does when he's just figured out something. Bones barely breathes when Jim crowds up into his personal space even more. Bones is pressed against the wall gently, one of Jim's hands pushing on Bones' chest as his other hand travels from his shoulder down to the hand holding the vial. It's not Jim that has fear in his eyes this time. It's Bones. Jim leans forward, every inch of them pressed together. Jim smiles a little lopsided smile at Bones. "I love you too, Bones."
Jim's hand closes around the hand that holds the vial of C-24 just as his lips are pressed to Bones'.
Bones wouldn't go so far as to say the universe stopped moving. He wouldn't say that the planets all aligned that moment or that there were bursts of light everywhere.
He would say that it just felt... Right. The kiss is just chaste and sweet and gentle and neither of them makes a move to change it. Jim pulls away just as his hand takes the vial out of Bones' and Jim pockets it with a grin. "You're never going to be alone, Bones." Jim kisses him once more. "You've got me."