Title: A World of Crazy (1/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Pairing: pre-to-eventual Kirk/Spock/McCoy
Disclaimer: Not my characters, though their situation is a little less Star Trekkie…
Summary: AU. Leonard is shipped to Fleet Heights where he learns that he is part of a legendary crew that could change the world—except everyone (including him) is certifiably insane.
Jocelyn shows up in the middle of Len’s shift at the hospital, corners him between two gurneys and without a word shoves divorce papers into his hands. When he follows her dumbly to the parking lot with “Joce, I don’t understand,” his best friend Clay is in the passenger seat of her baby blue convertible (a contributing reason to Leonard’s third shift every other day) and Jocelyn tells him, as she slides behind the wheel and out of his life, in a few simple words: “It’s over. My lawyer will send you the details.”
Just like that, he goes from the man known as Jocelyn’s Husband back to Leonard McCoy. In the beginning, it’s as if he has been cut adrift and doesn’t remember how to swim. Len makes Jocelyn’s favorite coffee for three consecutive days and comes home to a burnt crust in the pot which he silently cries over as he scraps it into the sink. Nights are the worst; the silence is loud to his ears (louder than the times she wouldn’t talk to him for days when pissed). If he sleeps at all, it is to startle awake at the slam of a neighbor’s door with his heart beating crazily Joce? Joce?
That they had no kids, some days Leonard feels lucky; others, he wishes he had more than just the box of her old clothes that had been destined for donation. But he doesn’t, and he won’t have more than the memory of the past five years of marriage and that one year of courtship. A short six years, suddenly, to a man only three years from the cusp of thirty.
Leonard ignores the sympathy in Chapel’s eyes—she’s been so sweet to him while he works through his last year of residency at St. John’s—and declines the pity dinner invitations from other colleagues and friends. He tries to focus on work, on the mundane day-to-day living that carries him exhausted to an empty bed. The mail piles up by the door of the apartment because if it’s not from Jocelyn (it never is), he drops it on the floor. The one exception is a packet addressed to Leonard H. McCoy and the return address is the town’s most distinguished law firm. Barely three pages through the legal document (and the demands), Leonard breaks open a case of bourbon, pulling out a bottle, for the first time in five years.
He says, “To you, darlin’, for all your hassling until I quit.” He chokes on the burn of the initial slide of alcohol down his throat, chucks the shot glass at the wall, and drinks the rest straight from bottle to mouth. He coats his heartache steadily for the next three hours, until his sight blackens out and his last coherent thought is that, on the day she left him, Jocelyn was wearing the pink sweater he’d bought her quite whimsically during their honeymoon. (He was so happy back then, they were.)
Coming to consciousness and the urge to vomit, which he does repeatedly in the corner of the living room, Leonard waits a few hours, half-dozing on his back, before he cracks open the next bottle. It’s a vicious cycle he lives in for the next two days, until his only other friend (the one who didn’t betray him) Christine pounds on his door in the darkening afternoon hours; eventually the calls and knocking stops, only to return in the form of the complex’s one security officer breaking into his apartment. (Len winces, drowned in despair and booze, at the echoing of footsteps and voices.) They find him curled on his side, dying in stage one of alcohol poisoning. He doesn’t bother to respond to the fear in Chris’s eyes, as she clutches his hand when he is rolled onto the gurney. Somewhere deep down, he thinks that she doesn’t deserve to worry like this, but then again he’s a man with a gaping hole for a heart and her worry makes him feel alive.
(Truthfully he’s nothing at all, a shell of a man.)
This is his life, in the aftermath of trauma. This is his life as it falls apart, first in the hospital that fateful day and then finally in the hospital again, where—as he recovers from the second round of drugs to clean out his system—Leonard attempts to overdose himself. (He almost succeeds, if he hadn’t been too tired to reconfigure the alarms.) This is his life, in the shambles of a medical career that suddenly means nothing. Leonard McCoy of no caring family, is a once-bright star turned empty black-hole. He is released, without a job and carrying a list of weekly psychiatric appointments calling his name.
Now, Leonard doesn’t much care for another’s opinion of what he should and should not feel. When he was a boy, he refused to talk to the grief counselor after his sole parent, David, went ’round the bend like the snap of a finger—though, in later years, Leonard recalls little tell-tale signs a child wouldn’t have recognized—took Len to work one day and torched the small office building, killing three, himself and leaving an orphaned child and two traumatized co-workers. (There are still burn scars on the back of his left thigh.) Since then, Len has worked very hard to right the wrongs of his papa’s final deed; Len goes to medical school in hopes of saving life, as if knowing what to do in a crisis could heal his heart-wound of being helpless back then.
He attends the first meeting, sitting silently in the face of a stranger’s questions. On his exit, he tosses the card detailing his next appointment in the nearest trash bin and goes home to lock himself in his bedroom. For the second time, some local authority—the city police, this time—come across Len, not violently sick from drinking, but sitting in a dark room holding onto a woman’s shirt and pants stuffed with the insides of a pillow. When he tells them to fuck off and leave him and his wife alone, Len skips jail and goes straight to the psych ward of St. John’s for testing. He purposefully answers all the questions as crazily as he can—including feigning hourly bouts of catatonic behavior. The poor bastards look up his daddy’s records, hem and haw, and eat up his winning performance with a spoon.
In record time, he is declared mentally ill and placed on a small shuttle bus to the big city of Atlanta. Len has only the charity of government and his meager assets (not going to alimony), which lands him at one of Atlanta’s poorer rehabilitation facilities. (He doesn’t care anymore.) It’s an old mill transformed into a dismal place for people in downward spirals and no inclination to rise in the morning; the big lettering spells Fleet Heights with the “e” hanging sideways. If Len laughs at that, his escorts chalk it up to his newly acquired insanity.
This becomes his life; in particular, these first few steps into his new home during which he encounters a bright-eyed chattering kid named Jimmy, who is being held down to the dirty floor while he kicks his legs and declares the staff to be Klingon scum. (What’s a Klingon? But Len doesn’t much care.) As the tired native Georgian passes on his shuffle down the corridor, the kid looks up at Leonard McCoy and winks.
Turns out, while it will be some days before his official introduction to the good-looking (but obviously screwed-up) Jim, Leonard’s roommate knows too much about this James T. Kirk; Spock (what the hell kind of name is that?) recites him a list of institution regulations, and subsequently Jim’s defiance thereof, in a long midnight ramble while Leonard prays for Spock’s meds to send the chatter-box into oblivion. Of course, Spock seems to know too much of everything—a condition, the dark-haired exotic fellow claims, due to his alien origins.
In the second day of his exile to the nut-house, McCoy gets a good look at Spock in daylight. He realizes (finally cares enough to realize) first that he is rooming with a strange cross between a Cherokee and an Asian; second, that Spock may be fucking delusional but he is also a genius of massive proportions. There are technological trinkets scattered around the other’s bed and long jumbles of mathematical nonsense written along the wall. And currently, the man is building a tiny radio out of scraps, for all Len can tell. Spock is aloof this morning, which is a great contrast to last night, but Leonard has no desire to instigate another lecture so he just grunts awake and waits on an orderly to come get him.
McCoy slumps in a chair during his “introduction” to Fleet Heights via Dr. Puri, director and care-giver of poor souls extraordinaire. Fleet Heights, Len decides, is a Hell-hole of an institution in which the good state of Georgia tucks away a hundred or so of the non-criminally insane, be they clinically depressed, schizoid, or bat-shit crazy. McCoy grows bored of the director’s bullshit, so he calls Dr. Puri “a mother-fucking son-of-a-bitch” which earns him a quick boot into the capable hands of one Christopher Pike—apparently the supervisor of Leonard’s floor. Pike gives him warning, as Len is escorted back to his room.
“McCoy,” Pike says, running a hand through hair graying at his temples. “My advice to you is take your meds and keep your mouth shut.” There is a strange half-smile on Pike’s face. “Puri really is a son-of-a-bitch—and he can also demand more—punishable—treatment for your condition, should the mood strike him. Don’t assume I’ll help you, because I won’t.”
He mumbles whatever, old man though those words stick with him throughout the rest of the day. As Leonard McCoy lies back on his tiny bed with military corners, he wonders if this new life of his can possibly make him forget his honey-blonde (ex-)wife of sharp tongue and long beautiful legs.
As it turns out, it can. The first inkling of potential is when Jim “Captain” Kirk plops down across from McCoy at lunch, steals the jello cubes off his tray and says “Having a good day, Bones?”