The first thing Leonard McCoy learned about Jim Kirk was that he found it perfectly acceptable to give a complete stranger, up until a few minutes ago, anyway, a nickname derived from both the stranger's profession and bitter rant against the "Ex From Hell".
Leonard soon discovered that Kirk did this to everyone he met, whether acknowledging that to the person in question, or not. Uhura soon became "Sexy Nameless", Gaila "Sex Maniac", and Gary "Gaybird". (This last one annoyed Gary to the point that he threw Jim in the lake next to the Academy. Jim was not amused, and refrained from calling him that again. In his hearing, anyway.)
In fact, the only person that Jim never gave a nickname to was Spock. When Leonard asked him about it, Jim just shrugged and told him that "Scary Vulcan Who Hides Even Scarier Feelings" just couldn't be shortened.
Second was that Jim Kirk had his moments where he was absolutely a genius, but, more often than that, Jim Kirk made no sense.
The third thing was that he had absolutely no idea what the term personal space actually meant. It seemed like every time something happened (a test passed/failed/missed, a teacher who paused at his name because he was the Kelvin baby, a bug that flew by) Jim was slinging an arm around Leonard's shoulder, or hitting him on the back, or even, sometimes, throwing himself down next to Leonard and laying his golden head in his lap, leaving Leonard to stare at him in disbelief.
He would later find out exactly what the limits where to this disregard of a person's "bubble", (namely, other people invading his without him knowing first) but for the time being, Leonard just resigned himself to constantly having Jim hung over him like a golden jacket.
The first three things, Leonard could understand, really. Nicknames were his way of showing that he cared about somebody (even though Uhura didn't see it that way until they were on the Enterprise, and she overheard Jim calling Sulu by the name of "Mighty Swordmaster"), his insane moments were just par for the course of having a genius for a best friends, and the whole personal space moments were easy to deal with—you just dealt.
But the fourth thing Leonard learned made no sense, even for Jim.
He hated yellow.
Oh, gold was fine. Gold was the color of Starship Captain's command shirts, and everyone knew how much Jim wanted to be a Starfleet Captain; probably more than an Orion wanted sex. (Although Leonard was careful to keep that particular comparison away from Gaila's ears.)
There was no yellow in his room. Jim didn't own a single piece of clothing that had yellow even hinted in it (and seeing as how yellow and orange had been one year's "colors", and considering Jim's penchant for fashion, that was saying something). Hell, Leonard didn't think Jim's boxers were yellow.
It was a well known fact across the Academy that Jim Kirk wouldn't look you in the eyes if you were wearing yellow. It wasn't like he didn't want to; it was more that he couldn't make himself. People who were close to Jim were careful to stop buying yellow things, to not wear yellow when they were going to be around him for a long time (because being around somebody for more than an hour without actually looking them in the eye is annoying), and to never ever give Jim a yellow present.
Uhura found herself doing it, too, although she had ranted at Gaila and Leonard for hours when she found herself thinking "No, not the yellow dress, Jim doesn't like yellow". Leonard swore up and down that his hearing had never been the same.
Even the professors knew about Jim Kirk's hatred of all things yellow, but not a single one knew why (actually, Leonard thought maybe Christopher Pike did, but that was just a guess), and the mandatory pysch eval's provided no clues.
Jim himself was close-lipped on why, exactly, he hated the color. Even getting him drunk hadn't done any good; all he'd done was ramble about how yellow shirts mean pain and damnit why didn't they come? It hadn't made sense to anyone, and they had eventually stopped asking.
It wasn't until Leonard's Ethics and Morals class had begun their unit on Tarsus IV that he had really begun to understand what was going on with Jim's hatred of yellow.
The teacher, Professor Solim, a Vulcan that scared the shit out of everyone in that class (even Jim had never skipped a single day; the fear Solim inspired in his students was legendary), paced the front of the room, explaining about the man behind the massacre on Tarsus, and how little was known about him. "The only people who have ever seen Kodos are known as the Tarsus Nine, and they are so deeply hidden that you need clearance above what even Starfleet generals have. It is unknown whether or not Kodos ever actually died, and the description of him has been kept carefully under wraps. However, it has been leaked that Kodos only ever wore the color yellow."
Solim had continued talking, but the buzzing in Leonard's ears covered the sound.
That was all he had ever worn.
He turned to look at Jim, who, feeling Leonard's hazel gaze on him, turned slowly to the man. "Now you know," he whispered hoarsely, blue eyes panicked but voice under control. Only his eyes and the hands that were clutching the table in front of him so tightly the knuckles were white gave him away.
Leonard only looked at him, showing all his sorrow and empathy in his face.
Later that day, Gaila and Uhura and Gary had cornered him, wanted to know if he knew what they knew.
And then he stopped them before they began to make plans to draw it out of him, make him talk about what he had gone through.
"Nah," he told them, "Jim doesn't need none of that. We're going to give him a gift, a little somethin' special, and then we're gonna let it lie. We're his friends, not his interrogators."
It didn't take long for them to come around to his side of things; even Uhura quickly saw sense, and agreed to grab what they needed.
When he walked out of Gaila's room (their usual Headquarters for all things Jim Kirk) she had pulled him aside, and told him in a whisper, "I hope you're right about this, Leonard McCoy. Because if this makes him worse, I will kick your ass all the way back to Georgia and set you up on a blind date with your ex-wife, you hear me? This had better work."
He had nodded. "It will, Gaila. It has to."
Slipping into Jim's dorm room was easy. His roommate wasn't there, as per usual, and Jim was sleeping on his bed, curled into a tight ball. A ray of moonlight shone on his face, the usually animated features quite and still, and illuminated the dried tear tracks. Something in Leonard twisted.
Jim had cried himself to sleep.
Pursing his lips, Leonard left the friends' gift on Jim's bedside table. "This will help you, Jim," he vowed. "I promise."
Then he left, just as quietly as he had come, leaving behind a yellow rose and note that said simply,
Thought you could use some new memories.
Well? This came in a plot bunny (I've heard they're evil, but I never thought they were this bad!) at one o'clock last night, and I worked until about three on it, then checked over it in the light of day, and then finished it up now. It's not beta'ed, obviously, because I don't have one, but I would love to hear any feedback. Was it too sappy, the way they found out? Was it too choppy? I don't usually put that many line-breaker thingys in, so let me know; I really want to know for future writings.
Oh, and a yellow rose means friendship, non-romantic love. I thought that would be perfect. :D