Eventually Jim is ready to talk and it's an inconvenient time because it's Jim and that's his M.O.
It's a few days after McCoy and the captain had it out in Spock's ready room and nearly 02:00 in the morning when the chime on McCoy's door goes off.
At first, McCoy thinks he's dreaming and cracks open an eye before dozing back off again with Christine pressed against his chest as they spoon.
The chime goes off again and startles McCoy awake, which in turn rouses Christine. "What the hell?" he grumbles, rubbing his eyes as he kicks off the blankets.
"Who is it?" Christine mumbles as she turns over and hugs herself to her pillow.
McCoy shrugs as he pulls on a pair of sweatpants and stalks out to his living room to answer the door. On the third chime, he opens the door and takes a step back.
Jim is standing out in the hallway, wearing his pajamas, and looking pathetic. His hair is mussed up from sleep (or lack thereof, if McCoy knows his best friend as well as he think he does) and he looks astonished that McCoy even answered the door at the late hour. "Hi," he says flatly.
"Hi," McCoy replies as he steps aside to let the captain into his quarters. "Couldn't sleep?"
Jim is looking around McCoy's quarters and shakes his head, before realizing that he may have woken up his friend. "Did I wake you?" he asks apologetically.
"Don't worry about it," McCoy says, waving his hand dismissively. "I said anytime you wanted to talk, didn't I?"
Jim nods in agreement, oddly silent, timid even.
"Let me get a shirt on," McCoy tells Jim as he walks towards his darkened bedroom. He motions to his cabinet that contains his stash of alcohol. "Make us some drinks and I'll be right out, okay?"
He watches Jim acknowledge him with a nod of his head, his blue eyes wide with hesitation. McCoy leans in the doorway, frowning. "Jim, it's fine," he says. "I'm glad you decided to come, kid."
That seems to put Jim at ease and he even gives a small smile as McCoy disappears into his bedroom.
Inside, he digs into his drawers and finds an old Academy t-shirt that's so worn out that the graphic is indistinguishable. As he pulls it over his head, he hears Christine mumble something. Chuckling, McCoy goes over to the bed and sits on the edge. "Come again?"
"Who was it," she asks as she turns over, looking at him through half-lidded eyes.
He leans down, taking her hand and kisses her knuckles. "It's Jim," he tells her.
"Should I leave?"
"No," McCoy replies. "Stay and go back to sleep. I'll make sure we keep it down, though you sleep through everything."
"Do not," she retorts sleepily.
McCoy grins and bends over to kiss her cheek. "I love you," he whispers into her ear.
"You too," Christine yawns. She closes her eyes and settles back into her pillow.
He goes back out to the living room, where Jim is waiting for him with two tumblers of bourbon. "Sorry about that," McCoy says as he shuts the door to his bedroom. "Christine's sleeping."
"Oh," Jim says, looking uncomfortable as he sips his bourbon. "Should I go? To give you two some privacy."
"Nah," McCoy replies as he sits down. "The woman is practically in a coma right now. We could have a run in with Klingons and she'd sleep through it."
Jim arches a heavy brow. "You mean, you found someone who can sleep through your snoring?"
"I don't snore that loud," McCoy counters, raising a critical brow as he takes a sip of his bourbon. "Not my fault that you're a light sleeper, Jim-boy."
Jim leans against his knees, tumbler in hand, and points an accusatory finger at the doctor. "Bones, you snore like a goddamn freight train. Have you ever recorded yourself?"
"You are full of shit, kid!"
Jim shakes his head as he drinks. "I'm only telling you the truth. Sorry that you're up to your eye balls in denial, old man."
McCoy starts to chuckle as he drinks the amber colored liquid from his glass. "Pot, kettle," he replies, which gets a grin from Jim. "What's on your mind?"
Jim shrugs. "I dunno," he says. "I couldn't sleep, so I decided to come down here."
"Well, you're always welcome to stop by," McCoy tells him.
"I'll probably need to comm you from now on in case you and the missus are…busy," Jim quips with a sly grin. He wrinkles his forehead and leans back in the chair. "How did that even happen? I mean…I can't even begin to fathom how Christine –"
"I made the first move, kid," McCoy interrupts. He raises a brow to a stunned Jim and downs the rest of his drink. "Do you want a refill?"
Jim hands him his tumbler, his mouth hanging open in disbelief. "You made the first move?" he sputters. "What alternative universe did I just find myself in?"
"Oh please," McCoy snaps as he pours them another drink. "I am perfectly capable of flirting and wooing the ladies, you infant!"
Jim raises a brow as McCoy hands him his drink.
"Don't look at me that way," McCoy replies as he sits down. "I may not have had as much play as you at the Academy, but I had my fair share of fun, okay?"
"I just don't get how this," Jim says, motioning to the closed door, "happened."
"Tequila, dancing, and a pretty nurse," McCoy answers. "That's how that happened."
"You said you weren't going to say anything because you didn't know what was going on between you two," Jim recalls. "When did you figure that out?"
"About a month before the poker game at Sulu's. You know how I can get when it comes to commitment," McCoy says as he takes a sip of his drink. "Christine, whether you believe it or not, is not uptight."
"I think you're uptight enough for the both of you combined."
McCoy glares at Jim, who just smiles it off. "Ha fucking ha, kid."
"I know, I'm a natural comedian," Jim quips.
McCoy ignores the comment. "It became serious and by that point, I was afraid to tell you – or anyone for that matter – because I didn't want to hear what others thought. I know that we're a bit of an odd couple with Christine being Christine and me being a grouch, but it works. It's worked better than my relationship with my ex-wife, even since the beginning," he explains. "You know, when it was just sex."
"Leonard McCoy and Christine Chapel were having casual sex…with each other?" Jim is grinning like a moron and chuckles to himself. "Man, I should have brought a tricorder! This shit is unreal."
"Bring a tricorder and I will shove it right up your ass," McCoy growls.
Jim holds his hands up in surrender, still grinning. "Duly noted."
"My parents really like her," McCoy says quietly.
"They talked to her?"
McCoy nods. "Right after we got back from Goa III. My mom had been bothering me about it for months and I finally relented."
"How did it go?"
"Aside from me being mortified? It went well," he says. "Spock found out by accident. About Chris and me. We were having dinner with one of her brothers-"
Jim shakes his head, cutting McCoy off. "I know. He told me." They both fall silent until Jim clears his throat and says, "I may overreacted…just a little bit."
"No, kid, you were right. I should have told you." McCoy leans back in his seat and sighs. "You shouldn't have found out that way."
"Well, I was trying to pursue your girlfriend. I kind of deserved it."
"Except that you didn't know that she was my girlfriend."
"True, but I also said that she was out of your league," Jim sighs. "Which isn't true."
McCoy nods, understanding. "I know, kid."
"This is weird, you know," Jim comments. "You having a girlfriend. Or getting laid in general."
"Watch it, you idiot," McCoy warns, not really meaning it.
Jim flashes him a smile. "I'm just saying that it's weird. Don't get yourself worked up over nothing!"
Both men laugh and sip their drinks in the pleasant silence that follows. McCoy knows that whatever hurt feelings were there, they have come and gone. He glances at Jim and notices that his friend looks better than when he had last seen him.
McCoy clears his throat and tells Jim, "I think I'm going to marry her, kid."
"Really Bones?" There's no sarcasm in Jim's voice and when McCoy looks up from his drink, Jim looks thoughtful at the confession.
McCoy nods. "Yeah…I'm pretty sure." He laughs nervously. "I thought you were going to tell me that I've lost my mind."
"Oh, believe me. You have," Jim quips with a mischievous grin on his face. He turns serious, which is (mostly) unusual for him. "I don't think you two are an odd couple."
Jim shakes his head. "No, I can see why it works," he replies. "Just remember to invite me to the wedding, okay?"
"Kid, you'll be standing up there with me," McCoy says tenderly. "You better be."
"Don't worry, Bones," the kid says as he brings his tumbler to his lips. "I plan on it."
Two Years Later
The good thing about Alexander Chapel liking you is the strings he can pull to make sure that one can get married back on Earth.
McCoy isn't sure how his impending father-in-law pulled it off or who he had to bribe, but McCoy finds himself standing in a waiting room at San Francisco City Hall wearing a suit – rather than his formal Starfleet uniform – and watching a nervous Jim Kirk pacing.
"Will you cut that out?" McCoy finally orders from his seat. "What has gotten into you anyway? You're not even getting married!"
Jim glares at him from across the room. "I'm nervous, okay?"
"I can see that."
"This is a big fucking deal."
"You're getting married. MARRIED!" Jim exclaims as he begins pacing again, shaking his head in disbelief. "I can't believe my best friend is getting married…"
McCoy tilts his head in curiosity. "Don't you know anyone who's been married, kid?"
"That's not the point," Jim immediately snaps. He stops walking and lets out a sigh. "You're my best friend and you're getting married."
"Nothing is going to change, Jim."
"I know that," Jim admits as he comes back to sit down next to McCoy. "It's just weird is all."
McCoy laughs because that's all he can do as he watches Jim. "I'm surprised you haven't tried to kidnap me to Risa for one last hurrah."
"God no!" Jim says. "Christine would kill me if I did that. Actually, she would probably kill me for not bringing her along." He raises a brow and casts McCoy a sidelong expression. "Leave it to you to marry the fun girl. I'm only slightly jealous."
McCoy snorts. "I'm glad that it's only slightly," he laughs as he puts a hand on Jim's shoulder. "You have the rings?"
Jim pats the breast pocket of his suit and nods. "Check," he replies. "You're still saying 'I do'?"
Instead of answering, McCoy punches Jim in the arm as the door opens. McCoy looks up and sees Christine poking her head into the room with a smile on her face. She steps inside, carrying her bouquet in one hand, and the train of her dress in the other.
The dress is ivory and flowing with a light green band of fabric at her waist that is meant as a nod to Gaila's memory (even though Christine confesses the Orion would have bitched and whined her way through the wedding because she hated weddings). Her hair is swept into an up do that is simple and elegantly understated.
Of course she looks stunning because it's Christine and she's always beautiful to him. The woman could be wearing just a paper bag and McCoy would still be madly in love with her.
"You aren't supposed to be in here!" Jim shouts, leaping to his feet.
Christine gives the captain a scathing look. "Says who?" she snaps, dropping the train to her dress and putting her free hand on her hip.
"It's bad luck!" Jim counters. He turns to McCoy, looking unsure of what he has just said, and whispers, "Right?"
McCoy watches Christine roll her eyes and shake her head. "I saw him this morning, you moron," Christine counters, gesturing at him with her bouquet.
"Too late, kid," McCoy says as he pats Jim on the shoulder before walking over to Christine and giving her a kiss on the lips.
Jim is groaning. "What is wrong with you two?" he whines. "You're ruining the element of surprise!"
"What's wrong with us? What's wrong with you, Jim?" Christine retorts as she snakes an arm around McCoy's waist and shakes her head.
McCoy inclines his head and whispers loud enough for Jim to hear, "He's nervous."
"Oh," Christine says, understanding. She smiles sweetly at Jim, clearly touched by his reaction even though he's acting like a lunatic. "That's really sweet, hot shot."
"I am not nervous!" Jim grunts.
McCoy and Christine laugh at him, which only irritates Jim more and he starts to mutter to himself, which he does when he's especially pissed off at the couple.
He knows that Jim doesn't actually mean it. He and Christine have grown close, much to McCoy's relief.
On multiple occasions, McCoy has found them conspiring against him, starting with his birthday or more recently his bachelor party (in which the doctor ended up getting black out drunk and waking up on the floor of his apartment wearing a tiara – just a tiara – while Jim was incoherent on the couch and told his amused wife-to-be, "I don't know who this piece of plastic belongs to, but I'm going to kill Jim when he wakes up" while Jim shrieked, "Chris, they took the bar! The whole fucking bar! Wait…where the hell are we?").
It's a relief that his best friend and his fiancée don't hate each other, despite their earlier altercations. When they do bicker, it's always in jest, and usually ends up with McCoy laughing himself into tears.
Hell – Jim even helped McCoy orchestrate the marriage proposal which the former admitted was epic and involved handwritten cue cards because the doctor thought he get too choked up while asking Christine to marry him.
It had been grossly romantic and ended with McCoy slipping his grandmother's engagement ring onto Christine's ring finger.
This, he thought to himself as he was kissing Christine while tears rolled down both of their cheeks, is for forever and ever.
There is another knock at the door and this time it's Carol, who pokes her head into the room. "They're ready for us," she says as she steps into the room, wearing a dress that is the same shade of green as the band around Christine's waist.
Uhura, in a dress of the same shade, is right behind her and as soon as she sees Christine, she bursts into tears. "God, Chris, why do you have to look so goddamn beautiful!" she complains, fondly of course, as she hugs the bride. She dabs her eyes with a tissue and sniffs before turning her attention to McCoy. "You better not cry, Leonard, or I'm going to ruin my make-up. That proposal was bad enough!"
"For the record, I am perfectly fine," McCoy protests. "It's not my fault that you and Jim are a mess!"
Jim scoffs very audibly as they leave the waiting room. "I am not a mess."
"Liar," Christine singsongs as she squeezes McCoy's hand.
Christine good naturedly sticks her tongue out at Jim and gives him a quick peck on the cheek. "Lying liar, but it's okay, hot shot."
"Shut up, Chapel," McCoy hears Jim say, his voice cracking with emotion, and admits to himself that it's incredibly endearing to see his best friend fretting so much.
McCoy pulls Christine to him and wraps an arm around her bare shoulders. "Ready?" he asks as they make their way down the spiral staircase, towards their family and friends.
"Always," Christine answers.
So they marry under the glass dome of City Hall on a March afternoon. It's not the huge wedding that some crew members of the Enterprise predicted – it's small and intimate, just the way he and Christine both want it.
Of course, Jim and Uhura end up sobbing their way through the brief ceremony because the former is an idiot and the latter is an emotional basket case.
At one point, Christine leans over to the justice of the peace and says, quite audibly, "You may want to hurry up before the best man has a nervous breakdown" to which Jim bellows, "I'll show you a nervous breakdown, Chapel!" and her mother yells, "CHRISTINE ELIZABETH CHAPEL!"
Later that evening, after a joyous and relaxed dinner among friends, when they are lying in bed together, both of them still in their formal wear, and looking at the wedding bands on their fingers, McCoy hears Christine whisper into his ear, "So, what do you want?"
"You," he whispers back, his head resting against hers. "Always you and nothing else."