Here's the next installment in the Consequences 'verse.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters except maybe Marissa and Abby. Everyone else belongs to Gene Roddenberry and Paramount. I am making no money off this, either, just so you know.

First Impressions and Quality Time

Chapter One - Bones

McCoy slowly opened the door to exam room two. It was just past eight in the morning and he wanted to see how the Enterprise's newest family was doing. Rolling his eyes he saw that Jim was curled up on the bed behind Marissa, snoring softly. They both had to be exhausted, he knew. Having a baby, even for the father, was a strenuous business, but they had come through amazingly and McCoy was proud of both of them.

He heard some quiet mewling from the other side of the bed and made his way over. Abby had woken up, though she didn't seem upset or hungry yet, just alert. He knew from the night duty nurse that she had had her last feeding around six that morning, so there was no reason for her to need her mother anytime soon. He'd let Marissa and Jim rest a bit longer.

Stooping over the bassinet, McCoy smiled down at the small bundle that blinked blindly up at him.

"Good morning, darling," he whispered as he picked her up and cradled her against his chest. Moving over to the chair that Jim had been sitting in earlier, McCoy sat down, swinging his legs over one side and propping Abby up against his thighs.

He'd spent many hours with Joanna just like this, talking to her, making faces, and simply enjoying having his daughter close. Joanna had had her nights and days mixed up for the first few weeks of her life, so McCoy had enjoyed his time with her while Jocelyn had slept.

Thinking of Joanna hurt, especially since he had barely seen her for a day before he shipped out on the Enterprise. Damn Jocelyn and damn her lawyers. She was getting so big. Already seven years old; he knew he was missing so much.

"You know little one," McCoy whispered softly, one long finger uncurling Abby's closed fist and inspecting her tiny digits. "By the time we get back to Earth you'll be almost five years old and I'll get to watch every bit of you growing up. And my baby girl will be twelve and I'll have missed it all."

There was a lump in his throat and he swallowed painfully. "I'll have vid-calls and data packets - pictures to hang on my walls. I guess I won't miss everything, but it won't be like being there. I hope you won't mind if I steal you from time to time." He smiled wistfully as Abby let out a small burp. "I'm your Uncle Bones and I get to spoil you rotten."

He paused, running a finger over downy cheeks.

"Between you and me and your mama we're going to have to keep your daddy in line," he told her softly. "He can be a bit reckless, but I think you might be just the answer we're looking for. He can't go too crazy when he's got you waiting at home for him. He won't want to miss out on anything. He's already missed so much," he trailed off sadly.

McCoy didn't like to think about his friend's sad past. He now knew some of the facts and a few of details; had known or suspected others since their days at the Academy, but it was hard to look at his friend sometimes and not see the broken little boy that he once was. Once he'd figured out what had happened to Jim, his rebellion and problems with authority made sense.

He knew that Jim would make an amazing Captain, but he worried that he would put too much of himself into the job and eventually lose himself in it. That was all well and good for a career officer, but McCoy wanted more than that for his friend. And Marissa and Abby seemed like the answer to his prayers.

Marissa and this tiny baby in his arms would give Jim the anchor he needed to fly free, but also something to always come back home to, a fact that McCoy had worried about. McCoy could be Jim's friend and confidant, but he couldn't be the person giving him a reason to come back.

He'd been a bit worried at first that things had happened too quickly between Jim and Marissa and that Jim had fallen too hard, too soon and too fast, but so far he'd been proven wrong. He genuinely liked Marissa. She was smart, she was brave, and more importantly, she was stubborn enough to deal with Jim even in his most ornery moods. She didn't take shit from him and that's what Jim needed.

"You're going to be one spoiled little miss," McCoy smirked. "I don't doubt you already have your daddy wrapped around you little finger. Me too, for that matter," he admitted. "I'm sure you'll even win over the green blooded hobgoblin eventually. Just remember, I saw you first and I'm your Uncle Bones. If you want something, you come to me first."

"Are you trying to bribe my daughter, Uncle Bones," Jim said softly from the bed, smiling widely at his friend.

"I'm just stating facts," McCoy told his friend, fighting to control the blush that was threatening to overwhelm him. "Your daddy's a jackass," he told Abby, as he stood up.

"Don't tell her that!" Jim laughed lightly, uncurling from behind Marissa, and tucking the blankets back around her snuggly.

"Even if it's true?" McCoy asked.

Jim padded up to him on bare feet a dropped a quick kiss to his daughters forehead.

"Marissa did really well," McCoy told him. "You both did."

Jim smiled. "It wasn't so bad," he admitted. "It was the waiting that killed me. I can't stand waiting."

"It was worth it."

"Yeah, it was definitely worth it," Jim agreed, taking Abby into his arms. "Can you believe it Bones? I'm a dad!"

He was so busy looking down at Abby that he didn't see the fond smile on his friend's face. "Congratulations, Jim," McCoy said softly, squeezing Jim's shoulder.

"Thanks Bones," Jim looked up at him. "Do you think…" he trailed off, looking back down at his daughter with a worried look.

"You'll do fine, Jim," McCoy responded. "Just go with your instincts and you'll be a great dad. After all, you don't know how to fail." Jim smiled wryly at that. "And I trust that if you get too far out of line Marissa will kick your ass."

"True," Jim agreed. "I just don't want to mess this up."

"You won't," McCoy assured him, giving him another squeeze. "Just don't spoil her too much, you hear?"

"Yeah, right," Jim laughed, "between me and Marissa and you – Uncle Bones – and Uhura and Roose and all your nurses… she's going to be the most spoiled kid in the galaxy."

"Probably," McCoy agreed. "But at least she'll know she's loved," he added softly.

"Yeah, she'll know that," Jim whispered, placing his lips against her soft hair and inhaling. "She'll always know that."

Without another word, McCoy left the room, leaving his best friend with his new family. They'd be fine. Jim didn't know how to do anything but succeed. This wouldn't be any different.

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