Title: A World of Crazy (6/?)
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 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
A Beginning Equals an End
Life is one step forward and three stumbling steps back. In Jim’s case, Leonard compares his progress as getting halfway up a set of stairs before the fool trips over his own feet and crashes back down to the bottom. However, Kirk has a tenacity and stubbornness that Len must give him credit for—because after every fall, the Captain seems to shake off the pain and start marching up those stairs again.
Is it bad that this latest setback is Leonard’s fault? Because, yeah, he feels a little guilty about that. (Even if his brain says he shouldn’t, nuh-uh, no way.)
It all starts on the morning after. Not that kind of morning after—well, not really. Leonard wakes up to a nudging, and as it turns out, Jim is head-butting him from behind like a kitten that wants to nurse on its mama. Only, Len ain’t no female cat—nor a female anything. So he does what any irate grumpy-head does in such a case…
Flips the mother-fucker out of bed.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“Waking me up, jackass.”
“Jesus, Bones, you’re cranky. I wasn’t even awake myself.”
Leonard has only one eye open, but it’s trained on that God-awful puppy-got-kicked look on Jim’s face. He’s not buying it (nope, not at all). It’s not that Len’s mother weaned him on hard liquor or anything—it’s that his father would knock the tar out of him if he caught wind of sympathy. So Len can’t feel bad over Jim’s pout, because he’s a man, a McCoy and a wanna-make-Father-proud bastard son-of-a-bitch.
‘Course, when Dad offs himself and half of the staff working for him, well maybe Len can forego following every teaching to its letter.
So he keeps frowning but tosses Jim the only pillow and his blanket. “Wanna stay? Fine. But I get the bed to myself.”
“It’s alright,” Jim says as he picks himself up from the floor. “I’ve got Captain-ly duties to attend to this morning anyhow.”
“Yeah, well, just make sure you put the toilet seat back down.”
Leonard burrows into the bed as Jim stretches the blanket across Leonard’s legs. Jim grins at him sleepily and disappears from the corner of Len’s eye. But he hears a low murmur of “Morning, Spock” and suddenly feels embarrassed for being privy to a private moment.
Jim calls over his shoulder as he turns the corner of the doorway, “Report in the Ready Room at 1100. Kirk, out!”
Len grunts. Never-mind the embarrassment. What’s to feel embarrassed about when Jim is obviously satisfied in thinking he’s roped himself a Vulcan and a doctor?
That’s when, as Len’s eyelids are drooping, he feels for his pillow and…
“Damn you, Kirk!”
That bastard made off with his pillow!
Spock is the one who answers in his dry factual way. “Jim steals.”
Of course he does; Leonard should have known. James T. Kirk is a yammering magpie with his eye on anything shiny or fluffy.
Turning onto his stomach, the man whimpers into his sheets. So what does that make Len? The shine or the fluff?
“Are we going to get zapped?” Chekov is worrying his bottom lip and blinking those big doe eyes at Doctor McCoy.
Well, Leonard doesn’t have an answer for that. After staying in his room all day due to the Surface Incident—which is now how Len’s brain refers to their stupid antics—he was beginning to feel a bit walled in; it didn’t help that Spock is able to entertain himself but not McCoy—at least, like a normal human being. But he slept plenty, moped plenty, and got to freak Spock out (with the touching) and possibly get groped in his sleep by a handsy fellow named Kirk.
Just another day in the nut house, cheerie-o!
So here he is, watching Pavel fret over future punishment while Sulu fiddles with his knife collection. Today it consists of two butter knives and one chopstick. Len will keep a watchful eye on Sulu and the chopstick as long as they plan to remain in his vicinity.
But no Jim.
Shit. Now he’s worrying about Jim. How is it that Leonard can act this desperate when he still hears, every time he turns a fucking corner in this place, the echo of Joce’s laugh as he handed her the keys to a new car? (That Clay and she are probably joy-riding around in it right now doesn’t bear thinking about.)
No. No, Leonard, he tries to talk himself into some sense, you are not gonna rebound or transfer your infatuation. Think about something really awful, think about something like…
Spock is striding down the length of the cafeteria. He stops directly in front of Leonard and just stares, like Len’s supposed to pick up on his brain-waves.
He rolls his eyes. “You have to communicate with us mere Humans the old-fashioned way, Spock.”
Yes, Sir, indeed. He’ll show Spock indeed in a second. “Chekov!”
“Are you telepathic like Spock?”
The kid’s eyes go wide as he leans forward in anticipation. “Why yes, Doctor, I was born this way! In Russia, it is fact that children with natural curl are—”
“No, Mr. Spock, it is the truth!”
“Your truth is false.”
“But I am incapable of lying…”
Leonard watches, satisfied, as Spock’s back goes very rigid. “Why, Spock, you might want to check your Vulcan control. I’d say you’re developing an involuntary eye-twitch.” When Spock gives McCoy the full force of his frosty gaze, Len adds, “Doctor’s diagnosis, you understand.”
Spock decides to waste no more time on the pathetic Humans. “I am here to inform you of the Captain’s request for your presence, Doctor McCoy.”
As Spock does an abrupt about-face like a toy soldier, McCoy calls, “Hey! This doesn’t involve any more missions of extreme urgency, does it?”
Spock answers him over his shoulder on his exit. “Not to my knowledge, Doctor. Good day.”
Wow. Damn Vulcan is an ice-queen.
And probably a bitch at that.
Then he realizes, “Where the Hell am I supposed to go?”
Scotty pops his head into the conversation. “To the Engine Room, McCoy.”
Huh? The engine room. That sounds dangerous. An engine room in a mental institution is what? The boiler room? Oh Good God.
“Hell no!” Chekov agrees happily. McCoy scowls at his parrot, and turns to Mr. Scott. “How do I get there?”
“Why, follow Keenser and me, Doctor McCoy. We’ll be glad to show ye the way.”
Why not? It’s not like this yellow brick road will lead to Oz—unless Oz is Hell. “Fine,” he says and gets up. “Sulu.” The pilot blinks up at him. “If I’m not back for Activity Hour, tell Spock he can put in for a new roomie.”
“Okay,” Sulu agrees somewhat morosely before hunching over his collection again and recounting the knife set. Chekov gives his friend a little knowing pat on the back, and leans over to whisper (as loudly as usual) “It’s a 3 day.”
Scotty explains to him, with the help of good old companion Keenser, as they head down into the basement, “Captain told Sulu it’s always good to give each day a number.”
“And let me guess,” Len says, “3 stands for shitty.”
Scotty nods. “Pretty much.”
They bypass the first floor exit, head through an off-shoot of a door and down more stairs. The air tastes stale and a little damp. McCoy stops Scotty before he can turn another corner. “Hey, Scotty.”
“Why is the Engine Room below the surface of the planet?”
The Engineer blinks and tilts his head at the doctor. “Don’t know, Sir. It just is.”
Ah, yes. In this place, everything just is. McCoy sighs. “Lead on.”
Keenser, he’s told, is in dire need of the little boy’s room (well, that answers that question of gender, Len supposes), so Montgomery Scott leaves McCoy in a long basement room tightly packed with junk and pipes. There’s a clanking ahead, and suddenly Len wants one of those fork-weapon-thingies. It’d be better than nothing. Or wait. Maybe a Spock. Yes, perhaps Vulcan height can be useful for something, like shielding poor defenseless doctors.
“Jim?” he calls.
He barely catches the flash of a figure before he’s pinned against a wall between two big pipes. McCoy is a little too breathless to curse, but he wants to do so, quite fiercely when Jim grins in his face.
“J—Jim, you stupid dumbass! You could have given me a heart attack!”
“Naw, Bones. You aren’t that old.” Why is Jim smiling so damn broadly? “Besides, Doctor—” The Captain places a hand on McCoy’s chest. “—I think your heart’s strong enough to take a little scare.”
“Listen, Kirk,” Len tries for bite to warn the man off, “you just don’t go around sneaking up on people.” A trickle of water (or sweat) runs down the back of Len’s shirt.
Leonard’s brain stutters when that bright grin gets a little closer, the blond hair so fucking close. “Or,” he licks his lips.
Why is Jim—leaning—shit! He manages barely a squeak of protest as Jim covers Len’s mouth with his own. His brain doesn’t stutter again; now it’s shooting sparks of a thousand colors. It says yes, no, Jim and Jocelyn all in one giant big meshing heap of thought.
When Jim finally lets up and gives Leonard a square inch of space to breathe, he’s afraid to think about the trembling his body betrays in the arms of this golden-haired man. The smile on Jim’s face starts to fade, then, and his eyes are very blue.
“Can’t,” he says with a little hitch.
“Can’t, Jimmy.” That Leonard is able to say the name is a big win in his book. Right now, his legs don’t feel steady enough to hold him upright (if Jim weren’t pressing him into the wall) and his heart is doing a dangerously unhappy little jig in his chest. Because—after all the blustering, bitching and down-right refusals—Leonard McCoy finds out that he is terrified.
He’s terrified of Jim; he’s terrified of what Jim wants.
Most of all, he’s terrified that his fear might disappear and he won’t have a reason not to say okay.
“Bones, I’m sorry. I didn’t—”
Jim has let him go, stepped back and allowed Leonard a chance to regroup from the attack. And the Captain—no, not Captain, this is just a man, Len can see—is apologizing. Sincerely apologizing.
Kirk turns his face away and Leonard watches his profile, as his Adam’s apple bobs when he swallows.
Lord, he’s hurt. Len has hurt Jim; it’s obvious in the retreat, in the lines of those shoulders that aren’t bowed back with pride. “Jim…”
Those blue eyes come back to stare at him. “I am sorry,” he says quietly. “I just—I can’t—I want—”
A man without an explanation or a line. A man floundering in his own remorse. Leonard’s heart clenches in painful sympathy. “Jim, it’s okay.”
“Not it’s not. I just forget sometimes, that it’s not real.” He laughs unexpectedly, deep and bitter.
What isn’t? This? Them, here in the boiler room? The kiss? All of those things are very real to Leonard.
Jim shrugs and holds out his hand. Leonard doesn’t hesitate to take it but Jim isn’t pulling him close, he’s just leading them both back up to the world and their reality.
He catches another glimpse of Kirk’s face at the foot of the stairwell. A brightness is strikingly absent, for which Leonard feels a bit of shame. (It’s his fault, even if he couldn’t not push the man away.) They ascend, no words spoken between them.
Uhura is standing at the entrance to the cafeteria. Jim drops his hand, says quickly, “See you later, Bones.” That the words are flat is obvious to everyone, even him.
“Did you enjoy the tour of the Engine Room, Len?” Uhura wants to know.
Leonard watches the Captain stroll away, chin up but shoulders hunched, something weighing them down. “No,” he answers quietly. “I didn’t.”
He contemplates taking his meds when he is handed a little paper cup of pills. His body hates the medicine, of course; it makes him want to sleep more than the depression does, and he’ll have dizzy spells or heart palpitations. But the boiler room is on the back of his mind, along with Jim’s pained blue eyes. That’s his doing. Leonard knows what it’s like to be rejected, how much it hurts. He feels ill when he realizes he is as good at ripping out hearts as Jocelyn is.
“We don’t have all day, McCoy. Take your medicine.” The white-coat woman is tapping her foot and rearranging the other cups on the tray.
Well, there’s always later. So he downs the contents of the cup—or pretends too—while pills tumble into the sleeve of his robe. He sets the empty container down on the tray and goes about his business. It took a few nights of practice, but he can do this routine with a frightening ease. If Leonard McCoy makes a gesture of rubbing the stubble along his cheek or scratching his head, as he walks away, its purpose is to trap the pills just past the crook of his arm so they don’t slide back out of his sleeve. (That would sure be Hell to explain, and most likely crime enough to get him sent straight to Dr. Puri for alternate treatment.)
Only difference is that this time, he doesn’t shake them into a sock, in the privacy of his room, for eventual journey down the toilet in the bathroom. No, Leonard holds the three little pills in the palm of his hand and tries to decide what’s best.
Spock has stopped playing with his work-in-progress to watch McCoy. Leonard, ignoring the Vulcan curiosity, rolls the pills between his fingers and finally clenches them in a tight fist. He sighs.
Why can’t he accept that he is this messed up, enough to be medicated? And after the shuddering memory of this afternoon, why shouldn’t Len just give in? Or give up? Leonard may not have thought so previous to today, but now he knows, with certainty, that he is causing half of the problem with Jim. When the Captain comes around, he responds—almost involuntarily. Doesn’t matter that Leonard may tell him to fuck off or go screw an orderly or drown himself in the toilet. No, Leonard gives him a response all the same, and it’s obvious that Jim loves a challenge. But truth of the matter is, the only possible outcomes to this fiasco are going to break the boy’s heart—or make him worse, mentally, than he already is.
Despite the fantasy behind the words, Leonard is a doctor—has been one for years, in his mind, if not in practice. And doctors heal, not harm. So whose fault is this, really?
Best to take the pills; he can live with a half-functional mind, if it comes down to it.
Of course, it would be easier to swallow the pills if Leonard’s wrist wasn’t wrapped in long fingers. His eyes open. (When did they close?)
“Spock?” he says uncertainly.
“I fail to understand the necessity of this action.”
Leonard blinks. Just like Spock to defy his expectations when he’s already on rocky ground. “Spock, this isn’t your business.”
“Intentional harm to oneself—”
“What the fuck, man! Seriously? These are my prescribed happy pills, a’right? If I don’t take ’em, I don’t get outta here. Ever.”
“When you consume this medication, Leonard, you consume poison to your mind. It is illogical.”
What? Okay, so maybe Len has never questioned if Spock takes his own medication or not, because it isn’t any of his business (unless the guy goes bat-shit enough that Len has to sleep with one eye open). But for Spock to make the assumption that Leonard doesn’t need his pills—when he knows how much the Vulcan detests a loopy roommate—it’s unfathomable.
And has Leonard at a loss. “I don’t understand you at all, you crazy Vulcan.”
“You are not required to understand my thought process. You must accept that it is correct.”
Spock meets his stare head on, a tilt to his head that indicates a sense of authority. And it suddenly makes Leonard furious. So he opens his fist, lets the pills drop to the floor and roll out of sight under his bed. His next words are said through clenched teeth. “Let me go.”
Spock releases him.
“You—” The anger is boiling now (another stage of reaction?). “You are a lunatic, you know that, Spock? Out of all the nut-jobs on this floor, you are the fucking craziest of them all. And you know why?”
“You may explain, if it… aids you, Doctor.”
Leonard lets out a string of curses. Spock waits and as Leonard is about to give him the what-for on people who think they’re aliens and how FUCKING INSANE that is, it’s the look in his roommate’s eyes that arrests him. Spock’s face may be cool and smooth of expression, but his eyes are not.
They are Human eyes, and there’s something lurking in them that isn’t so calm like the rest. It unnerves Leonard and, instead of speaking, he swallows first. Stops to think.
About to cause some more damage, aren’t you, Leonard? What a selfish bastard.
How many times has Spock had to listen to people hurt him with words, with the disgust in their voices? Leonard knows that the heart can fortify its walls but that doesn’t mean the words don’t cling to it like disease, waiting.
And he’s such a fucking bastard, he was going to add his two cents to the rejection, drive the spike a little deeper. (What kind of man does that make McCoy?)
“Do you have nothing further to say?”
“No, Spock.” As his roommate blinks at him, he decides, “Wait, I do.” Spock is patient; Leonard will give the man his due. “I—I’m sorry.”
Well, now there is a way to surprise Spock (without touching him). The Vulcan repeats, as if testing the words, “You are—sorry?”
“Yeah. I—well, Jim and I-” He breaks off, takes a deep breath. “I’m not having a good day, but that’s not your fault.” His smile is weak. “Call it my stupid Human emotions, Spock.”
Spock’s eyes are dark. “Emotions are not stupid, Leonard. They are natural and necessary to the soundness of the mind.”
He doesn’t point out the fallacy of Spock’s statement as compared to the Vulcan’s suppressed-emotion policy because Spock is going for understanding—and attempting to help Leonard feel better. (Isn’t that strange?)
“Mine haven’t been behaving very normally for a long time, Spock. I know that, and I can accept it too. But when I get to the point that I’m hurting others…”
“You are Doctor McCoy; it is not in your nature to harm.”
“I’m Human, Spock; it’s in every Human’s nature to harm.”
Spock is silent for a moment. Finally, he offers, “Perhaps it is better to say that each Human has the potential to harm, Leonard; but a man also has the will to control his actions…and his decisions.”
“I know,” he agrees. “But there will be times when the reaction is instinctive—even if it’s wrong and when—logically—” God, did he just use that word? “—a man knows his action is inappropriate.”
“Involuntary response, yes.”
Such a strange conversation to be having with his roommate (this usually aloof man), but Leonard feels somewhat soothed.
There is a question in Spock’s eyes, so Leonard tells him (God, they’re being so honest.), “Go ahead. Ask.”
“You have been un-medicated for twenty-seven days and seven point two hours.”
Leonard finishes for him, “Why would I change my mind today?”
Damn. This isn’t the sort of conversation he wants to have with Jim’s lover. Yeah, your husband made a move on me in the basement but I refused him. Sorry, adultery sucks. (I would know.)
Leonard shivers because it occurs to him that Jim might be more like Jocelyn than he thought. That’s disheartening, to say the least.
Spock startles McCoy with “Jim has acted prematurely.”
Spock looks at him as if they should be able to discuss this kind of situation over tea. “A physical advance, Leonard. The Captain—”
“Wait! You knew? You—” The realization runs him over like a truck. Spock told him that Jim wanted to see him; Spock— “Spock! You bastard! How can you just let your bondmate cheat on you?” Leonard’s stomach roils as his mind makes undeniable connections.
Of course, Spock had to have known what Jim was after; Hell, the whole floor knows it! He had assumed that Jim did this sort of flirting with all the new people. Now Len realizes he was wrong (so damn wrong), and that Spock knew. Why didn’t he protest?
Because, turning a blind eye…
Leonard has a flash of the days when Jocelyn told him “No, just working late at the office, dear. Be home later.” Or that time she forgot to take her clothes to the dry-cleaners and he was going to for her, lifted the blouse—and smelt the heavy scent of cologne (but one he didn’t use).
All those times that, now, make sense in hindsight because Jocelyn was having an affair, was cheating on him. The worst of it is, he—Leonard knows with a sick sensation—would have just kept turning a blind eye.
“Leonard.” There are hands on his shoulders.
He makes a small noise in his throat.
“Leonard, you must sit down.” He’s guided gently to the edge of the bed. Spock does not sit with him but rather squats in front of his legs. (Oh Lord, this is surreal. This is Spock, kneeling at his feet, and it’s just not real.)
“Jim desires you.”
Leonard laughs a little (brokenly) because one can always count on Spock to not soften the truth. “He’s with you, Spock. It’s not right.”
“This is not a case of morality. I accept Jim’s behavior because I have always known that he was seeking you.”
What? He must have said that aloud because Spock takes pity on his confusion.
“Before Jim and I… agreed to our relationship, he informed me that our bond would not be complete.” Spock pauses, seems to think carefully on his next words. “Our relationship is not solely between two, Leonard, it is three—but the third has not, until thirty-one days ago, been present.”
Leonard’s brain feels sort of sluggish, like he did take his meds and just didn’t realize it. Because this… explanation of Spock’s? It doesn’t fucking make sense.
He tries to understand. “Jim told you to expect a third person?” Jesus. What?
“Yes. And now you are here.”
“Me? ME! Spock—I may be a lot of things, but—”
“You do not understand the dynamic or purpose of a triad.”
Spock does something so incredibly off-the-wall, it rocks Leonard’s world. He reaches up, runs his fingers along Leonard’s jaw, and tells him “You may not understand now but I believe that you will, given time… and incentive.” If, at this moment, Leonard’s eyes fall out of his head, he won’t be surprised. At all.
Spock is purposefully touching him and it’s anything but platonic; if the caressing of those fingers is any indication of Spock’s intentions…
Then the Vulcan pulls back and rises to his feet. Leonard could not possibly form another word if he wanted to, not even to complain about the sudden loss of comforting heat (which is information his brain tucks away carefully out of sight until he can cope with it).
Spock says, “For a certain period of days—” Gee, the Vulcan sure can be vague when he wants to; he’d make a damn good politician. “—I was hesitant of your inclusion, Leonard, despite Jim’s instinct to accept you. However, your… unique personality, and defiance, has prompted a re-evaluation of the situation.” Why aren’t Spock’s eyes cold? Len didn’t know they could twinkle quite like that (like Jim’s).
(His heart has lodged itself in his throat.)
“I would be most pleased to extend the bond to you,” Spock finishes.
Pressing damp palms onto his pants, Len licks his lips and asks, carefully, “You would?”
“And want to have a threesome?”
“I desire more than a ‘threesome,’ Leonard. But yes, that is acceptable also.”
Oh God. Leonard does the entirely wrong thing by flicking his gaze to Spock’s corner of the room—to that bed, where for an uncountable number of sleepless nights, he’s listened to Jim and Spock make love.
And well, shit, they’re inviting him over. In the span of ten minutes, this has grown from complicated to seriously-too-intricate for Leonard’s poor brain. Jim wanting to get into his pants—not surprising; the kid is much too frisky by nature. But both Spock and Jim, who want to share an intimacy and not just a romp? (Damn, not to mention a “bond” which probably equates to Vulcan marriage…)
Leonard decides he cannot handle this type of thing right now. So he asks, with a (undeniable) plea, “Can you give me time to think about it?”
“Had you not requested it, I would have to reconsider the hastiness of my decision, Leonard.”
Leonard snorts in relief. At least they are back on familiar (entertaining) territory. Besides, Leonard seriously doubts that Spock made a “hasty” decision at all; the Vulcan is in love with intricate analysis.
“How long can I have?” he inquires, just for good measure.
“We have ample time.” Damned if the Vulcan isn’t smiling at him with his eyes.
Leonard closes his own. Ample time—yes, that’s just what scares him, because they are going to be here, waiting. And that means Leonard will have to decide sooner rather than later.