AN: This is a strange 5 and 1, it's slightly absent minded and might be a bit confusing but it would not leave my head. It is set in the Bedtime Stories Universe (although it is technically a sort of AU of my own AU, if that makes any sense). This is implied/light McCoy/Kirk or McKirk since I just couldn't help myself. I do however promise that the pairing for the original Bedtime Stories has not changed as it still remains Kirk/Spock.
Warnings: Angst, implied abuse and neglect, and once again implied/light McKirk!
You Remind Me
The five times a memory kept someone from really seeing Jim and the one person who learns to look past everything else and see him.
1. Winona Kirk: One need not be a chamber to be haunted; One need not be a house; The brain has corridors surpassing material place.
In the beginning Winona didn't want to hate her son, she really didn't. Yet she couldn't seem to help herself.
There was just something about him that had unsettled her since he was a toddler. Things hadn't always been that way; they had been different when he was a baby. He'd been so small and silent, so innocent, that no matter how depressed she was she hadn't been able to turn away from him.
It'd changed though, the day she'd found him reading on his own, no older than two and already able to exist and function on such a high level.
She'd been amazed, shocked really, and for a split second proud. Then he'd looked up at her and smiled and instead of James she'd seen George and oh God she hadn't been able to really look at him since.
She'd tried to get over it, she swears she did, but every time he'd look at her, every time he laughed or even moved, all she'd see was George, George, George. It was addicting in a sick way. She couldn't bear to look at him and see George and yet sometimes she couldn't bear to look away. She'd been too weak to stop herself, too desperate to curb her urges. Unable to help herself she fed the addiction when she unofficially renamed him, called him George instead of the name she had agreed on with her beautiful husband.
It had been gratifying in a way.
Time passed though and eventually she couldn't tell where her memories of George stopped and her son actually began.
One day she simply stopped trying.
Instead she fed the hatred she could slowly feel growing inside of her. She kept James because no matter how many times she called him George, no matter the fact that he thought he was George, she knew he was still James and it killed her at arms length despite the love and devotion she knew was shinning from his face.
Her other son Sam flourished underneath the attention she lavished on him while she could visibly see his brother had begun to wilt. She could not bring herself to care, Sam had been named after his father but she had never called him George because he could never be him, would never measure up or take his place, and Winona didn't see a ghost when she looked at him and that was why she loved him so much.
The years passed and there was a burning ball of hate and sick inside her chest that seemed to grow every time she looked at her youngest son, every time she spoke his name. She despised him, despised the ghost he brought forth, the memories he drew from the depths of her mind.
It came to a head one day though and the result was almost a relief for her.
He'd turned six even though they don't celebrate the day she would never be able to forget it because she lost George then and was left with this imitation that clawed at her soul and he'd reached out to her. It had almost been a reflex to meet his cautious gesture with the sharp snap of her hand across his face and the snarl of the name that she knew wasn't his. God no matter how much she wanted it to be true she knew he wasn't George but he was so damn close it was agonizing.
Then when he finally broke because she watched him shatter right in front of her, could practically see the shards of his heart like slivers of glass in those too-blue eyes that shouldn't belong to him and screamed the truth at her the second hit she gave him was almost bliss.
Then he was on the floor, little blonde curls matted with blood and those eyes closed in a mockery of sleep and she had realized something. She'd been staring down at the beaten and bloody form of what should have been her baby and she didn't care, could not bring herself to do so.
In that moment she had admitted the truth to herself as she'd turned to walk away, leaving his little form broken and bleeding on the floor.
She hated him because he made her remember that she could never forget.
2. Kevin Riley: Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin.
Kevin loves J.T.
He loves him with every fiber of his being, with every thought and breath in his body. J.T. had carried him through hell, had killed for him, been willing to die for him. He'd done the same for many others on Tarsus but it had always been Kevin whom J.T. had held in the highest regard.
They'd all known it and yet it had never presented a problem, the other children had accepted his place and they'd been content with their own. He'd been a child then but he'd known that J.T. would hold his devotion for eternity.
Kevin's eleven now and he's back on Earth and living with his aunt and uncle and he's happy and healthy. His life is full and joyous like he'd never thought it would be back then and yet there is something missing.
They'd been separated so long ago, forcefully ripped away from each other and yet their bond had never weakened, never frayed. Through comm. sessions and messages, through remembered promises and shared pain they had all stayed connected, stayed bound together.
The only problem is the fact that his aunt and uncle do not approve of J.T.
Oh they're thankful, deeply so, for what he did on that planet, what little bit of it they actually know, for keeping Kevin alive and in one piece, and yet he unsettles them. There's just something about him, they tell Kevin quietly, that just isn't right.
Kevin of course knows what it is, he's bright enough to know that normal people don't act the way J.T. does, that J.T. is often more animal than man. Yet it doesn't frighten him. He knows that J.T. would never hurt him, that the only reason he's alive right now is because of the animal J.T. was and is.
He also knows that his aunt and uncle can not shake the memory of their first meeting with J.T. from their minds. He knows that they still haven't been able to move past the not so subtle death threats or the knife he'd pressed into Kevin's young hands.
He knows that no matter what he tells them, no matter what he says, they will never be able to look past that memory, never be able to look past the beast and see the man.
That memory will haunt them, haunt them like Kevin knows it does to everyone who meets J.T., and it will blind them.
They will never be able to see the true beauty of the boy who had been a savior, of the child who had become a beast and saved them all.
Kevin can not help but think that they are the one's who are missing out on something incredible.
3. Christopher Pike: Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.
Chris remembers George Kirk, remembers the way he looked, the way he talked, the charisma he oozed without a thought. He remembers George's dreams and wishes, remembers everything about him really, and he remembers Winona.
He remembers their first son, little George Jr. whom everyone called Sam. He remembers the joy on the young couple's face the day they found out they were going to be parents again.
He remembers in excruciating detail how he died, hell he'd written his dissertation on the subject, and it is one memory that he wishes he could get out of his head.
Yet standing here, looking at this stranger with the same face, the same eyes, that same air of cocky confidence he knows he never will.
This man looks so much like his father, a haunting ghostly resemblance, that it pains Chris. For an instance though there is something else in those eyes, something wild and deadly that George had never had. It rattles Chris but he shakes it off. 'Besides,' he tells himself softly, 'this is George's son. He's so like his father already.'
So instead of sitting down with him, instead of talking to him about his father, sharing memories he knows the younger Kirk would want to hear, he challenges him. He dares him to do better and knows that his doubt is unsaid but still heard.
The next morning, when Kirk is still covered in blood stains and smirks, he knows that things will be different. He knows that this Kirk is going to rattle Starfleet's cage just like his father.
Just like George.
He just hopes that this Kirk is half the man his father was because he's pretty damn sure he'll never be better.
4. Nyota Uhura: Memory itself is an internal rumor.
Nyota's business is language, be it spoken or silent, and she's damn good at it. She's confident in her abilities, knows that she's the top in her class and everyone else knows it too.
Yet Jim Kirk still manages to piss her off on a daily basis.
He's intelligent in a way that sets her teeth on edge. His grades are damn near perfect and yet he doesn't seem to actually care. He walks around campus, damn near attached to that same med-student, and surveys the area like he owns the place.
He's effortless in his greatness, his language skills on pare with those in the higher echelon of the actual communications tract and yet he seems content to only take the basic classes. This wouldn't have bothered her except for the fact that she regularly sees him tutoring the scruffy doctor, and a few other people who damn near match her in skills, in language and numerous other subjects.
There's just something about him that irritates her beyond words.
She knows he's brilliant, knows he is by all standards a genius and yet she can not get her first memory of him to lie down and be silent.
The way he'd torn through those other cadets at the bar, the reckless abandon and almost stony glee on his face had been unsettling to witness.
Moreover though she thinks it was the way he'd first looked at her. The almost recognition that had sparked in his eyes before he'd stamped it out had unsettled her because she was certain they had never met before.
She doesn't like the thought that he looks at her and sees someone else.
Even though she knows it's what happens to him every day of his life.
5. Spock Prime: The past is never dead, it is not even past.
Spock knows he is doing Jim a disservice, he knows that they both know it. Yet the Jim Kirk before him chooses to say nothing, chooses instead to allow him his illusions, illusions that he should not have as a Vulcan.
He's been inside this Jim's mind and the journey alone had left him breathless and broken.
For all that the two looked alike, besides the eyes of course, for all that the two acted alike on the surface, Spock knows that the Jim before him and his Jim could not be more different.
He'd seen the colony and the horrors that both Jim's had shared, the experiences that had spanned at least two universes and yet had managed to have two completely different outcomes. The two men were mirror images of each other, the same in shape and appearance but total opposites in all else.
There is a wildness, a feral beast that lurks in the recesses of this Jim's mind, so unlike the vibrant and yet calm mind of the man he had lost so many years before. Even now, after the death of Vulcan and Jim once again becoming the Captain of the Enterprise, there are differences between the two men that are glaringly obvious to Spock.
So he knows he is doing Jim a disservice when he looks at him, knows that their every conversation and chess game is painful for the younger man. He's been inside his mind, seen his life and his memories, seen the way everyone else would look at him and only see his father.
He knows he's hurting Jim when he looks at him and sees a face that he desperately wished belonged to another. He knows it pains the young captain every time he looks at him and does not truly see.
He knows that it's killing the man to once again be overshadowed by another, even if this time he is being overshadowed by himself.
Spock cannot help himself, he loves Jim, loves the man he had once given his whole and undying loyalty to. He loves him in a way that should be impossible for a Vulcan. He loves him even now, decades after they had been forcefully separated. There is a piece of him that is missing, a slice of his soul that has been carved out; leaving a hole that is achingly familiar.
Jim was his t'hy'la, that other half of his soul that he will never regain, not until death takes him and he is finally free to race across the cosmos and find his missing piece. He will not allow his katra to be stored in the new arc that is even now being constructed. No his love will demand his spirits freedom so that it may be once again made whole.
It is this love, this aching devotion and crushing loneliness that makes him incapable of seeing this universes Jim without seeing his own.
It is this love that brings the bitter ache to this young Jim's face every time they are together, because Jim even in this incarnation knows him so very well.
In his own universe Jim had been his t'hy'la, his friend, his brother, and his lover. They had experienced such joy in their years together both onboard the Enterprise and while planet side. He desperately hopes that the Jim and Spock of this universe will have the same opportunities that their counterparts had been blessed with.
Yet when he looks at them, when he sees the way they interact, he knows that it will not be so. There is an anger in his younger self that rages beyond anything he had ever felt. Coupled with the almost wounded and feral qualities of the Captain they make for a volatile mix.
In his own time Jim had been the one to reach out to him, had been the one to draw his emotions forth and to show him the power that they possessed. Spock can easily see that in this world Jim is too damaged, too harshly used to extend the same gentle patience all on his own. He knows that neither will take the steps necessary for them to become one.
No matter how much he wants to give Jim what he needs, no matter how much he wants to be the one to soothe the scars he has seen on both the man's mind and body, he knows he can not fulfill that role.
No matter what he wishes he knows that he will never be able to fully separate the Jim in this universe from the Jim in his memories.
To pretend otherwise is futile and damaging to the one man he never wished to harm.
+1. Leonard McCoy: I am a miser of my memories of you and will not spend them.
In the beginning of their friendship Leonard has a hard time really looking at Jim. There is something about the kid that unsettles him, something that takes him a while to pinpoint.
When he finally does he almost doesn't want to admit it even to himself.
Against his will Jim brings forth something small and childlike within him that still cries out in pain whenever he thinks of the life he can never go back to.
It's something that Leonard tries his best not to think of but he just can't help it when he stares at Jim. Jim with his too-blue-Georgia-sky eyes, the color of which tears at something in Leonard's heart. The soft skin that Leonard traces his fingers and eyes across every time he has a chance, the color and texture of fresh Georgia peaches. His husky, gravely laugh that reminds Leonard of thunderstorms and sultry nights filled with rocking chairs and mint juleps.
Jim reminds Leonard of home and as much as he likes the kid he almost hates him for it. He almost hates him for constant reminders that he brings. It's only an almost because he can not bring himself to fully do so.
Every time he wants to hate him, every time he almost takes that last step, he looks up and Jim is there. That crooked smirk and that almost haunted look is still in his eyes but he's still there. He's still there after everything Leonard has done to push him away and dammit that means something.
Eventually he even starts to love the fact that the kid reminds him of home. He's like a little piece of Georgia that Leonard can carry around with him and he's kind of grateful for that.
Leonard would be damned before he'd tell the kid out loud though.
It all finally begins to change when Leonard sees the icy almost-hate in Jim's eyes every time someone mentions his father. The stony glare of repressed violence every time someone wonders aloud whether or not Jim will ever manage to measure up to a dead man.
Bones, even though it's not his real name it's what Jim calls him and for some reason it's the way he's beginning to see himself as well, watches Jim closely and he sees things that unsettle him even more than the glimpses of home the younger man brings him.
Bones remembers being young, remembers his days being full of school work and good ol' fashion southern living. He remembers nights filled with fireflies and days with swimming holes. Remembers love and affection, trust and care.
He remembers all of these things and yet when he looks in Jim's eyes those too-blue-Georgia-sky eyes that remind Leonard less of summer sometimes and more of winters harsh chill the more he is certain that Jim doesn't have the same memories. He knows that they will never share the same joyful things to reminisce about that all children are supposed to have.
Bones knows that those are the type of memories that shape you, that mold you into the adult you will one day be. Looking at Jim, looking at the edgy, sharp man his friend is tells him volumes about his childhood whenever he looks deep enough. For Jim to grow up to be this type of man Bones knows in the depth of his soul that his memories had to be less than pleasant.
He doesn't want to admit to it, tries his damndest to erase the words that hang unspoken between them.
He tries to dismiss it, tries to force himself to believe that no child of a hero like George Kirk would be so mistreated. He tries to attribute the small things he sees in Jim to his genius and his arrogance, because the kid undeniably has both in spades.
The first time he gets Jim on his table it's due to a bar fight. His first thought is to be angry at the kid but despite the rumors he actually believes Jim for some reason when he simply tells him it was unavoidable. He wants to ask questions, wants to know why the younger male is covered in blood and glass but sitting still as if everything is alright.
He holds himself back though, chokes the questions off before they can slip out. Instead he sets about running the dermal regenerator over the younger male's split and busted knuckles. It's the hands he's healing that catch his attention first though.
'Their beautiful,' Bones notes almost absently, medical facts and Jim's book-length list of allergies running nonstop through his mind. Long, slender and almost graceful even though he knows from experience that they're strong and calloused underneath.
He looks closer though when he's done, trails the pads of his fingers firmly down the back of Jim's hand. His brow furrows and his fingers still when they come across something unsettling.
'They're beautiful but wrong.'
They're wrong because Bones is a doctor, a damn good one at that, and he knows what a badly healed break feels like. His questing fingertips had given him evidence of not only poorly healed breaks in Jim's beautiful hands, but the unsettling thought that they'd been crushed. For a brief moment he doesn't know what to do, his mind blanks out with the knowledge that his fears had been true.
When his mind comes back online again he's almost startled to see his own hands cradling Jim's like precious crystal, his thumbs stroking tenderly back and forth across the skin.
He'd known all along though, had always suspected that he would find things like this if he was allowed close enough. He'd thought he'd steeled himself to the possibility, thought he was prepared enough to deal with it objectively.
He was wrong.
The thought of the pain Jim had to undergone for his bones to be in such a state was enough to lodge a ball of sick and grief in Bones' throat. Still he's a doctor and pushing his emotions to the back of his mind is the only way he's been able to make it this long as a surgeon. It's difficult to do, his mind is screaming at him the whole while Jim! Oh God Jim! Who hurt you? I'll kill them! Why? Why? Why? Jim… but he manages to do it.
The first thing out of his mouth isn't the typical question of how such a thing had happened, or who had done it, because Bones is almost afraid to know the answer to either of those questions. Instead he says what's burning through his mind.
"I hope you killed them Jim. My God I hope they're dead." He knows that as a doctor it's not a sentiment he should possess because all life is sacred. Yet the only thought running through his head is Jim, it's Jim and who ever hurt him doesn't deserve life.
There's a pause, a silence between them that isn't awkward or stifling, nothing between them had ever been that way, not even from the beginning. Instead it's a searching silence, a moment in time where Bones knows that something between them is about to change. He can see it in Jim's gaze too-blue-Georgia-sky eyes that shine like lightning and crackle like thunder as they look at him, through him.
The answer that he gets is soft and clear and it almost sends Bones to his knees with the quiet certainty and almost humor it contains.
"They'd have noticed Bones," Jim's eyes are still on his, still holding Bones captive with their haunting gaze, "if I'd killed my mother."
He doesn't even try to stop himself then. He doesn't try to choke back the almost sob that rips itself from his throat as his arms wrap themselves around Jim so tightly it's hard to tell where Bones ends and Jim begins. His hands latched onto his younger friend, one curled tightly in the material of his shirt and the other wrapped firmly and yet gently in the soft curls on the back of his head.
He knows that he's probably making Jim uncomfortable, that his impromptu embrace is probably not welcome but he can't really force himself to care. He's therefore more than a little surprised when Jim's own arms come up and encircle him, when a warm nose and soft lips are pressed gently into the crook of his neck.
They don't say anything else to each other, there really isn't anything they can say now. Instead they sit there for a moment, minutes passing by and Bones knows in that moment that he'll never let Jim go. He'd always know on some level since the beginning of their friendship that he'd been tied to Jim in some way beyond his understanding. Now though, in that moment, he finds that he accepts those ties, accepts the tethers that he knows will one day drag him out into space with Jim. Ties that he knows will never loosen, not even when death takes one of them away.
He finds himself praying that death will take him first because he knows that he won't have the same strength that Jim has, he knows that Jim's death will destroy him.
The dynamics of their relationship changes drastically after that night. Bones knows that he's lost now, knows that Jim owns him in a way that Jocelyn never had. He knows it and instead of fighting, instead of hating Jim for it he embraces it.
Jim seems to see Bones' surrender, seems to sense that the older man has accepted his place in the universe, his life at Jim's side. Bones' knows that Jim sees these things because there's a subtle light in Jim's eyes that had never been there before, a distinct glow of pleasure that turned cold blue eyes warm.
There is also a protective tilt to the way Jim interacts with those around Bones that had never been there before. Yes Jim has always watched out for the scruffy doctor, had always been watchful and wary of danger to his one true friend, but things had drastically changed. Now Bones can see the barely restrained violence in Jim's gaze if someone jostles Bones in the hall, the protective stance he takes in front of him in bars or on the street.
He sees it in the way that Jim is always around him now, practically moving into his dorm. He sees it in the way that their belongings are slowly beginning to mix, in the way that he is unsettled if he wakes up in the morning and Jim is not there. In the way that they've both begun to refer to Bones' room as home. He sees it in a million actions every day and night they are together.
Mainly though he sees it in the intense and feral way that Jim rips through the drunks at the bar when one of them has the audacity to strike Bones when Jim's back is turned. That barely restrained violence that has always been apparent in Jim is unleashed in a flurry of fists and feet and sharp, sharp movements that cut through the crowd like hot steel through flesh.
Although the hit that had landed on his face had stung Bones knows that no real damage had been done to him and he also knows that Jim doesn't care. The fact that Bones had been hit at all was enough to unleash the hell-spawn that lurked in Jim's eyes. He can only stare in almost awe when the fight breaks out, can only watch with what he is not ashamed to admit is hunger at the sight of Jim as he fights. Smooth, precise and yet vicious movements that waste no energy, no time. He's deadly, more so than even the higher level security personnel that Bones has seen fight.
It quickly becomes apparent though that things are getting out of hand. When one of the men Jim is fighting manages to get a hit in, a deep slice across Jim's back with a broken beer bottle, and Jim only reacts with a harsh bark of laughter and the backwards thrust of his boot, Bones feels a sharp jolt of fear.
Jim isn't stopping, hasn't slowed down at all. He just dances through the bodies on the floor around him, his hands and feet moving like quicksilver, as he takes down man after man. Still though Bones knows Jim is holding back, knows this because the men on the floor are hurt but alive and if Jim had truly lost control they would all be dead.
The sound of sirens in the air jolts him out of his daze and Bones knows that he has to get Jim out of there, away from the chaos and the blood before something worse happens. Not stopping to think, barely stopping to consider the stupidity of his actions he darts forward, his hand landing hard and firm on Jim's shoulder. The blonde whirlwind spun, hands up and poised to strike and Bones could only stand there, staring into those eyes, those cold-electric blue eyes that soften to warm sky as they lock with his.
"Bones." His voice is low, that husky, harsh tone that sometimes slips out when Jim lets his guard down. It sends shivers down Bones' spine and causes his throat to tighten; it reminds him of wild things and passion filled nights. Of flailing limbs and searching fingers, of nails scrapping down his spine and teeth pressed against his throat. He thinks it fits Jim so much better than the normal tone he can tell the younger man has forced himself to adapt.
"Jim." Bones croaks it out, the noose that had slipped around his neck moments before loosening enough so that he can breathe, speak, think. "Jim. We need to get out of here."
He can see the displeasure in Jim's gaze, can see the denial that is about to spring forth, the desire the younger man has to rip and tear and shred those who had dared to threaten Bones.
Without his consent Bones' other hand came up and cupped the smooth curve of Jim's cheek in his palm. "Please," he almost whispers it. "Let's go home."
The blonde devil sighs, blue eyes staying locked with hazel-green as slowly, purposely Jim's nuzzled his face into the warm skin of Bones' hand. Bones can feel his own breath catch, knows that the hunger is back in his own gaze and can see it reflected in Jim's eyes.
A hand comes up and long fingers wrap firmly around Bones' wrist, tugging his hand down from Jim's face before it moves to interlock their fingers. Bones is silent as Jim leads him through the destruction of the bar, over broken furniture and glass, around downed bodies and moaning drunks. He's silent all the way back to the dorm, until they're finally inside and once again their eyes lock and Bones can feel his breath catch.
They stay there, for how long Bones' isn't sure, just staring at each other until Jim smiles, that half smirk that is twisted and beautiful. A brush of fingertips against his cheek startles Bones and Jim is suddenly gone from his sight, the door of the bathroom closing behind him before the doctor has even really registered what has happened.
He just knows once again that things have changed.
Time passes for them quickly and Bones realizes that in many ways he's never been happier. He and Jim are intertwined at the base, a cord stretching from Bones' ribs to Jim's, keeping them tethered together. They go their own ways at times but always, always at the end of the day they come back to each other.
The hunger is still there as well, still shining in both Jim and Bones' gazes but neither of them act on it. They want to, they don't try to hide that fact from each other, but they don't.
Then the Narada happens and they don't have the chance. Suddenly there is a whirlwind of activity and Jim is caught firmly in the middle and Bones' is stunned. In his shock he makes a critical mistake.
He doesn't defend Jim as he should have.
He watches as Spock wraps strong, strong hands around Jim's his sun, his sky, his memory of home, his friend, his life, throat and yet he just stands there, doesn't say a word, doesn't try to stop him.
Jim had wrecked a bar, had taken down man after man in retaliation for a single strike against Bones. And yet Bones stands in silence, watches as a Vulcan attempts to choke the life out of his one true companion and still he does nothing.
Spock's father is the one who stops it all.
Afterwards Bones wants to apologize, wants to heal the bruised and battered look in Jim's eyes, wants to soothe away the betrayal that is apparent in Jim's voice when he speaks.
"Thanks for the support Bones."
But he doesn't get the chance to.
He knows he's broken something in Jim, can see it in the eyes that look at him but no longer see. He can see it in the way Jim doesn't even turn to look at him when he agrees to join Spock on the Narada.
He can only watch helplessly as Jim throws himself once more into the fray.
He prays that Jim will come back to him alive and whole so that he can apologize, so that he can beg and plead with him for absolution.
Then Jim's back with Pike and still there's no time, no time for apologies and begging. Instead he can only clutch the older man's form close to him, help carry him to the sickbay as Jim brushes past him without a really saying a word.
It's not until afterwards, until the Narada is dead and gone that he gets the chance to speak to Jim again. He's done what he can for Pike and he knows that it will not be long before Jim will come to check on the older man's progress. So he does a circuit around the sickbay, one eye always firmly locked on the doors as he waits for Jim to appear, waits for his chance.
He almost doesn't see him when he finally comes in. Bones turns his back for just a second and when he turns back around Jim is there, leaning over Pike's bedside, not speaking, just observing the wounded man. Bones knows that Jim is doing his own cataloging of injuries silently in his mind, assessing the damage and the estimated recovery time.
Bones walks softly to the bedside, staying silent in order to let Jim finish his assessment although he knows the younger man is aware of his presence. Their eyes meet and Bones has to resist the urge to sob at the coldness he finds in Jim's gaze, a coldness that had never been there before.
It hits him again just how badly he had fucked up.
"Jim." Bones goes to speak, starts to apologize like he had sworn he would but Jim cuts him off sharply.
"I trust you have things well in hand Doctor McCoy?" Bones doesn't hold back his almost sob then, can't for the life of him stifle the pained sound at the harshness of Jim's tone. All he can really do is nod his head sharply and watch as Jim spins on his heel and leaves the room with a curt nod.
It's the night cycle before he gets the chance to talk to Jim again. Bones he can still hear Jim's voice in his head, hear him calling him McCoy and not Bones and it makes him want to scream finds him on Observation Deck C, staring out into space. He can see the exhaustion in his shoulders; can tell the man has injuries just by the wrecked state of his uniform and the remembered beginnings of a collar of bruises that he'd seen earlier.
"Jim." He says it softly, like he has so many times before and it pains him to see those slumped shoulders stiffen and that weary spine snap straight.
"McCoy." Jim doesn't turn to face him, doesn't acknowledge him in any other way.
It hurts Bones but he accepts it because he knows that he deserves it, knows that Jim would have never betrayed him in such a way. Jim would have killed Spock for trying such a thing on Bones.
"You should be asleep." It's all he can think to say to Jim, the safest topic he can think of.
"I don't have a bed McCoy." It's said in a bland tone and the truth of the statement hits Bones all at once. Jim didn't have his own cabin but Bones had assumed that Jim would find his, would rest in his room like they had been doing for so long. It hits him once again just how much he has damaged Jim's trust in him.
"I-I've come to take you to your quarters, somewhere you can get some rest." It's a lie, he'd just wanted to find Jim, to be with him, but he'll do anything he can to try and get Jim to listen to him.
"I don't think that's necessary." That same bland tone.
Bones can feel the first spark of anger in his blood, anger at Jim's stubbornness, at his own folly. "Look kid, I'm C.M.O. of this vessel and I will put your ass in sickbay and have you taken out of command if you don't follow me right now."
He knows that Jim doesn't respond well to threats but he also knows that Jim is not willing to loose control of the Enterprise, not yet.
Their walk was as silent as Bones had already expected it to be and it wasn't until Jim had been ushered inside and the door firmly sealed that a word was spoken.
"Would you care to tell me why I'm in your cabin?" Jim fixed his gaze firmly on Bones, his eyes so cold and hard that Bones could not repress his shiver.
Instead of speaking Bones lurches forward, his arms banding themselves tightly around Jim, holding on despite the fact that he can feel the blonde in his grasp stiffen dramatically. Tears that he doesn't really want to admit to but can not seem to stop well up in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry Jim. So sorry. I know it doesn't make up for it but I am. I thought I was going to loose you and I couldn't bare the thought of it. Please God just forgive me. I don't want this distance between us, don't push me away. I was an idiot, I should have defended you, I know that but I froze. Please Jim. Please." He's almost sobbing with each word, his arms strong and tight around Jim, refusing to let go, desperate for the other man to hear him, to listen to his pleas.
Slowly, so slowly that he almost doesn't believe it is happening Jim's arms come up to surround him, their clasp as firm and strong as they have always been.
"Ssh Bones. It's alright. I forgive you." Jim's voice is soothing, that soft almost loving tone that Bones had been terrified he would never hear again. He cries harder at the sound of it.
They stand there for what could have been minutes or hours, neither is really sure, before Bones manages to pull away. He stares up into Jim's eyes, tracks the exhaustion and pain as they trek across his face before he snaps out of his daze. He remembers in a single blazing moment that Jim is injured.
It's enough to make him step back further, to dash an arm harshly over his face and rid himself of his tears as he turns and gathers his medical supplies.
"Take your shirt off Jim; let me treat those wounds of yours so we can both get some sleep." His voice is gruff but soft and as he looks up he catches the hesitancy in Jim's eyes.
It hits him then that Jim had always been careful about being even partially nude around Bones. He had always kept himself facing forward towards Bones the few time he had been caught shirtless. Had always taken precautions against being unaware and unclothed.
Not for the first time Bones wonders what the younger man is hiding from him.
He doesn't want there to be any secrets between them any more. He doesn't think that he can survive any longer unless he knows everything about Jim, has everything Jim is willing to give him. He wants every part of the blonde no matter how harsh or cruel it may be.
So he steps forward, reaches his hands out and wraps them firmly around the bottom of the shirt that he just wants gone. Jim's gentle hand stops him from following through with the motion.
"Bones…" The tone is soft again and there's a warning in it, the knowledge that this single action could change things between them once again.
"I don't care Jim, not any more. I just want to see. I just want to see all of you." This isn't about just treating wounds any more; this is about revealing secrets, unspoken things between them that had always been shuffled to the background and blatantly ignored.
Jim turns his head down and away as his hands release Bones, giving him silent permission to proceed.
The sight that greats him has his breath sucking back into his lungs in surprise. Jim's chest and stomach is a collage of multi colored bruises, dark black and blue splotches that match the collar around his neck. Bones resists the urge to keen in sorrow.
Instead he smoothes cool, soothing hands over the skin, down Jim's sternum, across the ribs and up towards his shoulders. His fingers freeze there though, like they once had the day he'd first felt Jim's hands, as he feels the ridges of raised skin.
Almost without a thought his hands are grasping Jim's shoulders gently turning the younger man around so that he can get a full and unimpeded view of his back for the first time ever.
There are scars every where. Long thick braids of twisted flesh that fill Bones with horror. They speak to him like Jim's hands had so long ago. The scars tell him the truth whether he actually wants to listen or not. They tell him things he doesn't want to hear, things that make him want to slap his hands over his ears and rock himself in the safety of a corner until they go away.
They tell him about torture.
They're old enough that Bones can tell Jim must have received them in his childhood, must have endured them years and years ago. His hands are shaking as they come up to trace across one that reaches from the base of Jim's neck all the way down until it disappears into his waistband.
"I never wanted you to see them." Jim speaks without prompting, his voice low and ragged, a hurt and brittle thing that Bones is unfamiliar with.
"Why?" It's his turn to be hurt, to be pained by the fact that Jim had not trusted him with this.
"I didn't want you to change. You're the only one who has ever looked at me and not seen someone else. The only person who doesn't allow memories or a dead man to overshadow what you see every time you look at me."
Bones feels a sharp pang of guilt at that, because once upon a time he had done just that. He'd let memories of Georgia overshadow Jim when he looked at him, had even come to cherish the memories the younger man had brought to the surface. He'd stopped that though when he'd seen how Jim would react to the mere mention of his father.
He tells him so.
Jim is silent for a long moment but then he speaks again and Bones is almost blown away.
"I don't mind that so much. The thought that I could remind you of your home isn't such a bad thing, especially since you see me now." Jim turned around at that, his eyes a soft searching blue that Bones could remember from long ago and there's a vulnerability in that gaze that is astounding. "You do see me now don't you Bones?"
Unable to help himself Bones reaches up and cups that strong jaw in his hands and pulls Jim down until their lips are fitted snugly against one another. Jim's lips are everything Bones has always imagined they would be, soft and yet firm, slightly chapped from his habit of chewing on them and just simply wonderful.
His tongue flickered out; teasing the seam of Jim's mouth before slipping inside when those lips parted beneath his own and the taste of Jim flooded his senses. He tasted like apples, like warmth and fire, like good strong whiskey and mint. Like passion and pain, like ecstasy and agony all mixed up in a heady combination that Bones just could not ignore.
He forces himself to break the kiss, to pull back from the man he wants nothing more than to attach himself to forever. They're both panting from the kiss, something that has been literally years in the making.
"You used to remind me of Georgia, of a home that I could never go back to. Now though I know that you're my home Jim. I see you now. I see all of you and you're the only thing I want to see everyday for the rest of my life."
The smile that breaks out across Jim's face is so bright and beautiful that it reminds Bones of the sun, of summer, and all things warm and life-giving. It's alright though because they both know that no matter what Jim reminds Bones of, no matter what memories Jim might bring forth that things are going to be okay.
Because every time Bones looks at Jim he might be reminded of something else but those memories are fleeting and Bones always, always sees Jim in the end.
That's more than anyone had ever given Jim before.
AN: I am aware that this one-shot was a bit strange and I might have veered off a few times but I still hope that it was enjoyable. It was just one of those pieces that refused to go away so I had to write it. Please review and tell me what you think! Oh and as always I am hope to any 5 and 1 ideas you might have!