The first time was unexpected.

"You know, we could fuck."

Leonard McCoy accidentally snorted liquid fire into his sinus cavity and expelled it through his nose in a painful, and painfully embarrassing, choking fit.

"Wha?" The fire was still there, and so was that kid he had threatened to vomit on; and so was that offer, gasping between them like a landed fish.

"Fuck." Very matter of fact. The kid's face, handsome even under the bloat of several bruises, just had a small smile, not even big enough to prove he was joking.

Leonard spluttered a bit more, half real and half to buy time to think of a response. He'd thought he was jaded towards damn near everything in life except space and daughters and microscopic organisms that wanted him dead in a miserable fashion- but that offer. For sex? Christ, he looked like he'd been drug backwards through a bramble after a bender and the kid was beat to shit and covered in blood. Possibly carrying blood bourne pathogens that could live outside of the body for weeks before jumping ship to another host that could incubate it into something to make his dick fall off.

He told the kid as much, in excruciating detail, forming his hands like they were diagrams, and occasionally stabbing at the air for no better reason than to punctuate a sentence.

After he got up a head of steam, practically frothing at the mouth, most people would have frozen their smile in a polite don't-question-the-crazy-person manner, then let the smile deflate into abject horror as he covered everything from those damned (horrifying, frightening) Andorian Shingles to Zanthi Fever, which could fuck your judgment and put you in bed with someone, like, well-

Him.

"You are feeling like yourself, aren't you?" His voice was still a bit raspy from snorting Kentucky's finest. "No brain candy from strangers recently?"

"Sure. I'm fine. I'd say never better, but, you know." He indicated his bloody shirt.

And then the kid laughed, and that's what was weird, because that smile just got bigger and bigger and kind of fucking disturbing the longer Leonard had gone on. As if he was amusing, instead of lazy-eyed crazy. He petered to a stop because that had never quite happened before. At least, not after Leonard McCoy, M.D., had imploded and been replaced by a body snatcher that could more appropriately be called Leonard McCoy, Psychopath.

He raised an eyebrow and glared, figuring he had to work for it more. "Then what was with," He tried to find a word or three that wasn't fucking, sex or anything having to do with being propositioned, but finally had to settle for, "That."

Which wasn't any better because it made him feel pre-pubescent.

The kid gave him a look that said he thought so too, and also that Leonard might be a little slow. When he spoke, it was like molasses, as if emotionally regressed fourteen-year-old Leonard was too dumb to know about making babies.

"Well. You aren't thinking about the shuttle ride anymore, are you?" Another smile, one that made Leonard scream in his own head as he silently tacked on the missing 'bless your heart.'

Because despite the fact that the scruffy-ass punk kid who just offered to screw him was judging him to be the crazy one in this equation…

He was also right.

"Goddamnit!"

And didn't that just figure? He was too drunk for this shit. Or not quite drunk enough. And maybe Blondie agreed, because when they polished off Leonard's flask, the kid pulled out one of his own. It tasted like pisswater, but Leonard was past caring.

The second time, he didn't really see coming either.

"Hey! Bones!"

Leonard continued walking.

"Bones!" There was a sort of whine added to the voice that made Leonard look around, and it was that kid again.

"Huh?" Never say he wasn't on top of things.

"Over here." The kid waved him over to the housing table, manned by a bored upperclassman in ubiquitous red. "They're trying to give you a single."

"But-"

"And, since we are married, I told them where to shove it." He looked towards the guy behind the data PADD. "We need family housing." Blondie raised his eyebrows in a way that said this was significant.

Leonard was missing something. That demon bourbon was keeping him from processing things fast enough. The information was just beginning to kick in when the kid grabbed his hand and squeezed. Hard.

"Name?"

"Uh."

The guy in uniform looked distinctly unimpressed.

"Dr. Leonard H. McCoy."

Snooty uniform kid raised an eyebrow at the doctor title. "What's the H stand for?"

Bloody shirt kid answered for him. "The H doesn't stand for anything, kind of like Jesus H. Christ. Their daddies just liked the sound of it."

"Paperwork?"

"Paperwork?" Bloody shirt kid was really getting into it now. And he was good. Hell, Leonard almost believed him. Would believe him, after two more drinks. "It was on Betazed. No paperwork necessary. Just us and our fifty closest naked friends. Totally legal federation-wise. It was awesome. Right, Bones?"

The hand squeezed even harder. "Uh, sure." A bit like a shuttle crash in slo mo. Unique, because he was in the passenger seat as it careened out of control and still felt strangely disconnected.

"Fine. Fill out this. And this. Sign here. And this. Take this home, read it and then mail signed copies to the enclosed address and you should receive a reply in the mail within six weeks."

"That's all?"

Even drunk, a connoisseur like Bones could appreciate the sarcasm.

"Here's your housing information. Take it to the woman at table eight. Thanks, and have a great day." The thanks might as well have been a fuck you very much.

"You too." The asshole at the end was only implied, but still made the uniform kid's panties tighten uncomfortably, if the sucked-a-lemon look was anything to go by.

Someone was grabbing his hand and pulling him away.

"C'mon, sweet cheeks. We got a pad to procure."

"Now wait just a damn minute!"

"And if you're good, I'll do that dance you like so much."

He watched the kid's ass as it ambled in front of him, the rhythm of the glute muscles flexing one after the other, hollowing and convexing in a hypnotic fashion, and wondered just where he had lost the thread of conversation.

Something…was off. But in a long string of off moments, it was hard to figure out what was wrong.

As much as sobriety sucked, he was going to have to try it.

Later.

"Morning."

Len started awake, feeling like rigormortis had come and went. The taste in his mouth was unwashed toes and vomit. The smell under his cheek was also unwashed toes, but mildewed, like a mummy left in the Georgia heat.

"Guh." He sat up from an obviously scavenged blue sofa and rubbed a hand over his face to feel the sleep creases and remove a bit of drool. Eyes forced their way open, but shied away from the light that still filtered through the blinds and parchment thin curtains. He narrowed them as he cast them around. There was a voice.

"Hey."

Wait a min-

"Married?" He tried the word on his tongue, tasting it to see if it felt right.

The kid sitting on a crate next to him smiled benignly.

"Did we," he stumbled a bit for the words, "get married?"

"Not really. We got this kickass apartment is what we did. 'Specially since we needed room for a kid to visit, and all. Brilliant move on your part. Really great ad lib-"

"I do have a daughter."

"Oh. Well, got an extra room."

Leonard's brain was beginning to kick into full function as he replayed the conversation. "Wait." He sat up, bad idea, and grabbed the sofa arm. "Whaddaya mean, not really?"

"Well."

"Don't dress it up."

"Federation frontier law. Introduce yourselves as married to more than two people, and you're married. Common law. Frontier law, though. Probably not applicable here."

"Probably."

"Probably."

"Don't you think you should check into that?"

The kid gave him a blank look. "You really want to know?"

"Christ. No. I'm comfortable with denial."

"See?" The kid beamed. "Already have lots in common. This will kick so much ass."

Leonard grunted and pinched the bridge of his nose as his brain rebelled from information processing.

"Don't you at least want to know why I did it?"

"Is it interesting?"

"Meh."

"Couldn't care less."

"Huh. Funny. You seem like the let slip the dogs of war type. This is pretty," the kid paused. "Mellow."

"Fuck it. I'm hung over. Besides," he said, closing his eyes with a grimace as more tomfool shit came back to him. "You don't even rate."

"How do you mean?" He could tell from the kid's voice that he wasn't sure whether to be amused or insulted.

"Like it sounds. I joined a bunch of nutjobs who're gonna fling me into a vacuum. What's the worst you can do? Divorce me? Half of nothin' is still nothin'. You're welcome to it as long as you don't snore."

Jim sighed with a slight smile and shook his head."Who says romance is dead?"

"Kiss my ass and replicate me a cup of coffee." Len sighed, then frowned as another thought came to mind. "What's your name again?"

The thing with John-no, James. The thing with James Kirk. The thing with Jimmy. Dammit. If he was sober there was no thing with Jimmy. But the thing with Jim.

There was this thing with Jim. Fuck. He needed to stop drinking.

"What was that?" Jim yelled at him across the dinky bar table, eyes drifting the room like a lazy cat trying to look inconspicuous about taking down the weakest gazelle.

"Just muttering to myself."

"Which will not get you laid."

"Least of my problems."

Jim looked scandalized. A first. "Not interested in getting laid?"

Leonard stood up, and put his hands up in the universal what you see is what you get gesture. "Take a long look Jim. This is you in five or six years."

"Older, hot and drunk?" Jim made a scoffing sound, but Leonard shook his head with a smirk as he sat back down.

"Just think about it, Jim. You've been getting your dick wet since age fifteen-"

"Fourteen!"

"-and the novelty hasn't worn off yet." Jim snorted, but Len went ahead. "But you're starting to get bored with the variety, so you think you need to branch out into the more exotic to keep it interesting, but what you're finding out is that women are women no matter what color the hair, how many tits there are and that it all looks like a bulldog eatin' a mayo sandwich at the end of the night."

"Eww."

"And that's why you've shifted your focus to the smart girls that normally wouldn't give you the time of day. More of a challenge. Subconsciously, you're looking for more stable, too."

"I don't know about-"

"So, sooner or later one of those girls is going to have a shitty day and take you up on your crappy offer, and the next thing you know, I'm going to hear about nothing but her gold-plated pussy, and how smart she is, and all about her major, and her fascinating family and all this other horseshit because you're being led around by your dick, except that it's loooooove, and the next thing you know you're getting married."

"Hell-"

"And. And then you get posted to some deep space yawn in bumfuck nowhere staffed completely with Tellarites and Your Mom because it will be a safe, stable environment for all the little Jimmies to grow up in, or you go into space on a ship and see your perfect family from afar on the com, until one day Jimmy junior has a new daddy that can really give it to mommy hard instead of working up the damn chain of command."

"Gah!"

"Face it Jim. You're a needy fuck."

"It won't!"

"That's exactly how it would go down. Look around now, kid. Embrace it. This kind of thing would be the highlight of your month."

"No."

"Enjoy bowling with the Tellarites."

"You, are an evil, evil fucker."

"The tellers of truths are much maligned."

"You've known me for two days."

"I was you, six years ago."

Jim gave an all over body shudder. "I hate you."

"Yeah."

"I'll never be able to look at another woman again. Seriously. Bowling?"

"It has destroyed greater men than you or I."

Jim thought for a moment. "But just the women, right? Guys are okay?"

Len grunted. "Missing the point, John."

"Jim."

Dammit. At least the kid didn't sound mad about it. Looked kind of thoughtful, actually.

"So, we're fucking tonight?"

Len looked at his beer bottle, seriously considering whether he should break it so he could slit his own throat as a means of escape. "Go look at the womenfolk, Jim."

"But what about the-" He did look spooked. Maybe Leonard had laid it on a bit too thick. Oh well. Not like he'd lied.

"Just tell 'em you're married already."

"And you-"

"Open as an open thing."

Jim looked dubious, but hopeful. "And no-"

"I promise. No bowling."

"Thank fuck!"

The fourth time...

Wait. What was he counting again? He couldn't remember if it was propositions or being shocked into speechlessness, but the two were almost inextricably entwined when it came to Jim, so it probably didn't much matter anymore.

"Uhura..." Jim drew her name out until it was just this shade of dirty, pairing it with a wide smile as he sauntered (sauntered!) up to her just outside the Technology building. Len trailed behind, already rolling his eyes. "What's shakin'?"

She looked annoyed, but still stopped to talk to Jim. Her face said pissed off, but her body was turned towards his and she had relaxed the armor-like padd that had been clutched against her chest. Len came up on her other flank so he could face Jim, who was gearing up for a pass. This was too easy.

"Exercising those linguistic muscles?" Jim was smirking at the girl, but Len managed to catch his eye for a moment with a raised eyebrow. It was only a moment, but it was enough. He mouthed the word bowling over her shoulder. Jim's face seized for a split second before the smile was falsified and dialed up a notch.

But the girl, true to type, was a smart one. Irritated instead of charmed. "Kirk..."

Jim suddenly grabbed Len's hand and pulled him into his side, slinging an arm around him. "Have you met Bones? Bones, this is Uhura. Uhura. This is my husband, Dr. Leo McCoy." The arm tightened around Leonard as Jim's grin hit full wattage.

And Uhura, well. So was so Jim's type he was surprised Jim wasn't shitting rainbows and hallelujahs in thanks.

She looked between them, from Len's lived-in scowl to Jim's beatific smile and back again. "Bullshit."

Yeah, a real smart one.

Jim shrugged off her disbelief and pulled Len in tighter. "Eh. It works for us. See you around. We're going to go off and have crazy-hot man-sex now."

"What?"

"What!"

Uhura and Len had spoken at the same time, giving Jim the same what-the-fuckery face. They caught each others eyes in shared mortification.

Jim, playing at oblivious, patted Uhura on the back and steered Len around, giving him a push in the direction of their apartment and patting him on the ass. "Just, you know. Wanted to give you something to think about."

When Len heard her growl behind him, he assumed Jim had winked at her as they walked away.

But Len was still caught up on- "Crazy-hot man-sex?"

"Man's gotta have goals."

"That phrase means something to work towards, not score off of."

"Only in Leonard land."

"What the hell, Jim."

"This married thing. Amazing. Women love the unattainable. I can't pull off priest-"

"No one would-"

"But. I can pull off this buy potted plants together committed relationship thing." Jim's arm went around him as he gave Len a small hip check of comaradery, or whatever it was dumbass jocks did when they weren't slapping shoulders or grabbing asses. "Honey."

"No."

"Sweetpea."

"No."

"Muffin?"

"No."

"Snugglebunny?"

"I'll kill you."

"Bones it is."

Leonard sighed. He supposed it could be worse. And Bones was definitely the lesser evil.

"About that man-sex."

"Kill you. With bowling. A living death."

"Hippocratic oath. First do no harm."

"Jack Daniels. Shut the fuck up."