Title: A World of Crazy (2/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
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.
Previous Part: 1
Who Are These People?
It’s hard to ignore James Tiberius Kirk, especially when the person is as persistent and surprisingly charming as “the Captain.”
Jim introduces himself after the third (deliberate) interruption of McCoy’s misery-fest, when Leonard can no longer tolerate the kid’s leering grin and sneaky, touchy fingers. He snarls, breaking his silence, “Just fucking leave me alone!”
Kirk’s grin widens like the birthday gift he was anticipating is better than what he asked for, and that annoys the Hell out of Len. McCoy snaps his mouth closed and stalks over to the little cafeteria window, shoving his plate full of (horribly prepared) food into the hands of a stoic staff member. Jim is two steps behind him the whole way back to his room, saying, “Bones. Hey, Bones, don’t be mad!”
As he rounds on this brainless tag-along of a child, a quietly simmering pocket of anger bursts to the surface. “And why the Hell not? Do you think I’ve enjoyed listening to you and Spock during your sleepovers? For Christ’s sake, kid, can’t you two fuck in the broom closet? This isn’t a college dorm. It’s a fucking insane asylum, you knitwit!” His words are bitter-tasting in his mouth.
Kirk flinches not once under the acid of McCoy’s vitrol. When Len finally runs out of steam, Jim merely says with that perky expression, “Name’s Jim, but you can call me Captain.”
Tell me something I haven’t heard. Leonard has tried his darnedest to ignore the other residents of Fleet Heights, preferring to spend time chewing over Jocelyn’s last words and how the fucking Hell everything went to shit so fast. Unfortunately, blocking out this band of cuckoos is about as easy as ignoring the wail of an ambulance siren. They get in his face (there’s a curly-haired Russian that blinks big eyes at him and asks innocent prying questions in a child’s voice), or just whisper and point too damned loudly. Len’s the new guy and he’s sure everyone wants to know how to brand him.
Leonard doesn’t give Jim what he’s shooting for. Instead, “Congratulations, dumbass. You’re Captain of the Crazies. Must be a real special win for you.”
Jim laughs. He actually laughs. Does nothing offend this airhead?
“Oh, Bones. You’re honest. I like that. I need that.”
Shit. If the kid’s intense blue eyes are anything to go by, he really does need it and Jim’s about to show McCoy just how badly too.
Len turns his back. “Do us both a favor and go away. Whatever it is you’re selling, I’m not buying. In fact, I’m fucking bought-out. Understand?”
Kirk presses up against his back; Len automatically stiffens. “It’s okay, Bones. We’re all messed up. Why else would we be here?”
Damn, he talks pretty sane for an insane guy. McCoy’s voice may be a little more rough than usual but he bites out the next words. “Why are you touching me, Jim? We’re strangers.” And either you’re a slut, got dependency issues, or both. Probably both. (Nothing is rosy to Len anymore; it’s all dull dirty grey, like grit.)
The Captain backs off, then, but he doesn’t leave McCoy alone. No, in fact, he gets right into Leonard’s face. “Because we aren’t strangers, Bones.”
“Why do you keep calling me that?” Why Bones? McCoy has pushed past pissiness into curiosity.
The boy’s eyes are cornflower blue. Jim smiles. “All you’ve got left is your bones, right? I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”
Leonard denies, “I’m not your Bones, Jim. My name is Leonard McCoy. Not—Bones,” he stresses. He’ll never admit how close Jim has come to the truth of Leonard’s situation.
Suddenly, Kirk goes still like a rabbit. McCoy turns his head and sees Pike coming around the corner of the corridor. Jim steps back, obviously not up for meeting Pike. But before he strolls away, whistling a strange tune, Jim brushes their shoulders together and whispers in Len’s ear, “But you could be… See you later, Bones.”
The next time Jim wants to talk to him—seduce him, whatever—it’s in the company of a grinning Japanese called Sulu. Well, Hikaru Sulu to be precise, but for some reason everyone on the floor calls him just Sulu. (Last names must be very popular here, in the crazy-house.)
He hears that exasperating call of “Bones” and sees Jim trading silverware with Sulu. Jim waves him over and, well, McCoy was bored out of his mind two hours before lunch so he accepts the invitation and cautiously takes a seat across from the two.
Jim squints at him, his mouth stretched in that crazy we’ve-always-been-buddies mega-watt smile. “Hey, whatcha doing?” he wants to know.
Len answers slowly, as if talking to an idiot (which he probably is). “It’s lunch-time, kid. That means we show up for lunch.”
Sulu snickers as he rearranges his silverware. Why are there four butter knives?
Jim catches Leonard’s eyebrow-raised glance. “Oh, Sulu here is just cleaning his knife collection.”
Sulu says to Len, “I could let you touch one if you want, but you gotta be careful not to cut yourself.”
Somehow, this is the first hilarious thing he’s heard since his divorce. Leonard starts laughing so hard his eyes run. Sulu’s happy expression drops into something more dangerous, but Len can’t stop himself; the laughter, it’s so damned good to laugh. He manages to choke out, “Sorry, man. I just—what do you think I’m gonna do with a butter knife?“
“They’re katanas,” Sulu snaps back.
Oh. Oh, damn. Guess he should have known. “A’right.” Leonard forgoes raising his hands in a gesture of defeat, and thankfully, it doesn’t seem needed. Sulu’s mood switches back to happy so quickly that Leonard checks him off as bipolar.
Jim doesn’t seem disturbed at all by the switch, so it must be safe to assume Leonard is experiencing Sulu’s “normal” behavior. “Be right back, Bones. The gang needs to meet you.”
Crap. Leonard attempts to get up and skedaddle as soon as Jim starts working his way around the room slapping shoulders and gathering a band of misfits, but Sulu grabs his wrist, pulls him back into his seat. “Wait,” Sulu says. It’s an order, and the strength in the small man’s grip is surprisingly like iron.
McCoy is calling himself seven kinds of a fool by the time Jim comes back with a rag-tag group behind him. He can’t even protest before Jim is talking, “Bones, this is the crew. Crew, this is Bones.”
There is a smattering of hello‘s, one so? and a final hey there, baby! Len’s lip curls at that last one, but Jim is moving along so fast with the introductions, there’s no time for anything but sharp nods and short, curt greetings.
It’s some crew the Captain has; Jim explains with a jolliness that borders on bizarre each member’s name, rank and station. Unfortunately, their stations are their psychological ailments. Montgomery Scott (“I’m Scotty, and don’t forget Keenser, Captain!”) is Chief Engineer with a imaginary friend named Keenser that’s followed him all his thirty-one years. (Damned sad, Len thinks.) Spock—standing so tall and rigid as Jim grins and winks at him—is Jim’s First Officer (and a whole lot else, McCoy knows) and from the planet Vulcan; he got stuck in here after an incident involving a scalpel and his ears. Len shudders at the mention of a scalpel, but he’s also curious because he hasn’t noticed Spock’s ears before now. (He’ll deny wanting a good look at ’em.)
Then there’s Sulu who was a pilot and is still the pilot of Jim’s ship; Jim confirms McCoy’s diagnosis. Chekov turns out to be the Russian baby-face with the rank of Navigator. That he’s also a pathological liar becomes obvious after a few days of listening to Pavel spin long-winded tales of Russia’s greatness or insist how much of genius he is like Spock, can sword-fight like Sulu, and see Keenser too. The beautiful woman named Uhura (later she whispers her first name is Nyota—when Jim’s back is turned) is Head of Communications and she proves so by greeting Len in ten different languages. Jim says Uhura gets a little too depressed sometimes, so it’s the crew’s job to keep her spirits up because crewmembers look out for one another. Len barely acknowledges the woman because he took one look at her long shapely legs and squeezed his eyes shut. (Just like Joce.)
When Jim finishes, McCoy looks him dead in the eye and asks, “And what’s your woe, Captain?”
Jim’s smile never falters but his eyes deepen to dark blue like a maelstrom. “Woes, Bones.” He turns to his crew. “What do you guys think? What’s my problem?”
There’s slew of strange (and just plain stupid) responses but Len watches Spock state “Megalomania, Captain” like it’s a fact and catches Uhura’s mouthed “eating disorder.” Huh. When Jim watches Len’s face for a verdict, McCoy decides not to pull his punches.
“Good old fucking hallucinations, Jim.” For some reason, that makes the kid grin like a hyena.
McCoy waits. He’s not disappointed when the Engineer—Scotty, he’ll have to remember that—says Keenser wants to know why Leonard McCoy is the newest patient at Fleet Heights.
Len leans back in his chair and, for the first time in a couple of months, feels a grin on his face. “Why,” he accentuates his Southern drawl, “I’m here ’cause I want to be here.”
Jim’s gaze is sharp. “Really, Bones?”
“Sure, Jim. I’m not really crazy, I’m just playing crazy because being sane sucks too damned bad.”
There are one or two snorts from the crew. Sulu says, “Sure, it’s all an act. Don’t worry, we believe you.” Most of them trade knowing glances that Len can accept. But Jim is silent and watching Leonard like he sees something strange, and Spock is watching Jim.
Finally, Leonard has to break that unnerving concentration. He does so the only way he can think of, by shooting a question directly at him. “So if I’m to join your crew, Captain, what’s my rank?”
Jim gives him a once-over. “Don’t know, Bones. What do you do?”
Leonard swallows, his throat unexplainably dry. He gives the same answer that he has for many years previous (even if it’s no longer true). “I’m a doctor,” he says in all seriousness.
For some reason, that cements Jim’s fantasy of Bones. “Chief Medical Officer,” the Captain announces with pride to the rest of his crew. Then turning back to the doctor, “Welcome aboard, Leonard McCoy.”
There’s a chorus of welcome aboard!‘s, some given with snappy salutes. Leonard folds his arms and scowls, because he knows that he’s just screwed up big-time. If Leonard had accepted that he was up shit-creek without a paddle… well, now he’s got company.
And he’d bet his eye-teeth that none of these fools can swim.