Title: Never Lost Just Found (1/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Disclaimer: See A World of Crazy disclaimer. :P
Summary: FH!verse (AU); Sequel to A World of Crazy. Christmas Eve approaches.
If you have not read A World of Crazy, this story won’t make much sense: read it here.
Leonard is absolutely minding his own business like the quiet kid at the lunch table (literally) when Pike shows up and screws his day all to Hell.
“McCoy, you have a visitor,” the man announces.
For once, there is pin-dropping silence in the cafeteria of Fleet Heights. Sulu quits battling Chekov with his (butter)knife-katana (Pavel uses a fork) and Scotty even stops dividing his attention between Keenser and Uhura.
It’s a long minute before Leonard remembers to swallow the food in his mouth. The jello slides in a lump down his throat, which promptly causes choking. Jim slapping his back doesn’t help like the kid thinks it does.
McCoy manages to snap, “Stop that!” Kirk blinks at him. Then Len addresses the cause of all the bated breaths.
“Yes, McCoy,” Pike sounds amused. “She’s in my office.”
Len cannot help but stare at his supervisor (not that he needs one, he’s perfectly sane compared to the rest of the residents) as if the punch-line is about to commence.
It may be the first Wednesday of the month—Visitor’s Day—but Leonard never gets a visitor. Ever.
Not one single day since he was sent to the big city of Atlanta mid-mental breakdown—and no small amount of conniving on his part—for psychiatric surveillance and care. Fleet Heights is a crazy-house, alright, and Leonard has become a fixture of the “Captain’s crew.” He’s almost content some days; of course, that’s when Jim, aka Captain Kirk, isn’t leading a raid to another Klingon battle cruiser or attempting to squeeze into the shower stall to wash his Bones’ back. Those days are few, because Jim gets bored easily—seeing as how he’s the second sanest patient in this institution. A rather sad state of affairs, in Len’s opinion.
“Leonard?” the Admiral questions, because McCoy has gone silent like the rest.
The use of his first name shocks him back to reality and the kind fatherly eyes of Pike. So he slides from the end of the bench and says, “Okay.”
Unfortunately, he and Pike aren’t going alone because the entire crew clamber to their feet and press right up behind Leonard. Or maybe that’s just Jim and Spock—mainly Jim, who likes to plaster himself against his appointed doctor and ask “Do I feel normal, Bones?” in such a lewd manner that McCoy has to snarl and extricate those octopus arms before they become permanently attached.
Pike tells everybody, “This is McCoy’s visitor. Finish your lunch.”
Captain Kirk doesn’t like that order, apparently, because Jim steps right up to his commanding officer (and godfather) to demand, “Who is it?”
Pike’s amusement deepens, along with the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes. “Classified, Kirk.”
“Doctor McCoy is part of my crew,” the Captain reminds the Admiral. “His safety and well-being are my responsibility.”
“I doubt this particular woman is a danger to McCoy, Jim.”
Kirk crosses his arms and narrows his eyes, unconvinced. Leonard sighs, silently asks the Heavens why? and does the best he can.
He tells Spock, “Your Captain is being illogical. Now, I’m just gonna go on with Pike and you keep Jim here.”
Spock is a Vulcan, by choice (which opens up a whole Pandora’s box of mental illnesses) and usually the calmest—though craziest—of the bunch. Today must be a bad day because Spock says, “I decline.”
Leonard gapes at him. “You decline?” He’ll deny later that his voice can be shrill. “Since when do you fucking decline to lord your wise know-how over the rest of us, Spock? Jesus fucking Christ!“
Thankfully the Admiral is on the fast track to impatience, because he steers McCoy in front of him by the shoulder and orders the cafeteria loiterers to “Stay.”
They march to his office, purposefully ignoring the shuffle parade of slippers in close attendance. Pike turns the corner much too quickly and fairly shoves McCoy into his office. Leonard manages to catch himself from tumbling into a chair or a bookshelf and his brain flashes regret that his entrance isn’t less embarrassing. There is the sound of Pike shutting the door with more force than necessary and locking it.
Leonard has a brief moment to think that a measly little lock won’t stop Jim Kirk and his band of lunatic crewmen… not in the least. He discards the image of Spock attempting to snap off the doorknob with his “superior Vulcan strength” when a voice says, hesitantly, “Leonard?”
The world tilts marginally. He knows that voice, he… “Christine?”
Christine Chapel rises from a chair with a tentative smile. Her hands are clutching a purse; the woman looks nervous, but her eyes are filled with an emotion that floors Leonard. Relief. Joy.
McCoy clears his throat and tries again to form a coherent sentence. “Chris, you… you’re here.” Wow, intelligent McCoy. Now she’ll think you’ve not only lost your sanity but your brains as well.
She bites at her bottom lip, just like all those times in the past when she was uncertain of her welcome, back when Joce— Leonard cuts that line of thinking immediately. Bad memories need to stay locked up.
“—I wasn’t sure how long before you were… able to have visitors and then with work—”
A smile stretches his face and he interrupts. “You don’t need to excuse yourself, darlin’,” he tells her. “Thank you for coming to see me.”
Her shoulders relax. Pike, with observant eyes on them both, takes a step back. “If you prefer,” he offers, “I can give you a moment of privacy.”
McCoy shrugs. “It’s your call,” he says to Christine. “I’d understand if you don’t wanna be alone with a madman.”
She returns his grin and pats her purse. “I come armed, Doctor, never fear.”
Christopher Pike nods once and lets himself out. He calls, somewhat wryly over his shoulder, “I’ll tend the flock for you, McCoy.”
That means the Admiral will try his best to keep Jim and Spock from barging in to the rescue and scaring the living daylights out of Christine. Lord have mercy on Leonard McCoy’s soul. He mumbles a thank you at the closing door.
When Christine reaches out to take his hand, he doesn’t hesitate. It’s sweet, this touch from an old friend; it’s a reminder that he left behind more than despair in his old life. Leonard left all the good things too. He’d forgotten that, somehow, when he shouldn’t have.
It makes his heart hurt a little, but Leonard is learning that he is stronger than he thinks. And if Christine fears for her friend, he can at least soothe a worry or two.
They sit down opposite one another, still holding hands. She talks of simple things like how happy she is to see him, asks if he is treated well (Leonard thinks of Dr. Puri and keeps his answers positive). Finally, when they feel comfortable, settle their nerves and any lingering awkwardness, Leonard takes a deep breath.
“I’m sorry, Chris,” he says.
She looks startled; no wonder, his change of topic is quite out-of-the-blue.
“I am sorry for… how I left things. I am sorry that I put you through what I did. You are a better friend than I deserve, truly, Christine.”
“Oh, Leonard.” There are tears in her eyes. “Please don’t apologize. It’s not your fault!”
She seems at a loss to voice her feelings, and Leonard understands. He really does. He nods and thanks her.
Christine asks, plaintively, “Just tell me that you feel better, Len.”
He snorts. “I do, actually. You wouldn’t believe the kind of… distractions a—” He skips the word normal. “—man can encounter in a mental institution.”
She looks curious so Leonard takes great pleasure in leaning back into a slump, like a man settling down for a long tale (which he is). It begins with “There’s a kid named James Kirk…”
By the end of the hour, her face is a mixture of disbelief and wonder, and both Leonard and Christine are red-eyed from laughing so hard that they cried.
There is a sharp rap on the door and Len can see the dark color of Pike’s jacket through the blinds. Reluctantly Leonard rises and his visitor does the same. She allows him to lead her out of the office and into the hallway. It’s suspiciously clear, but Leonard pays that no mind. He focuses on the woman beside him.
They stand still, just looking at one another for what seems like days. His breath hitches and he manages “Chris—”
Chapel pulls him into a bone-crushing hug. He doesn’t think about the rest of the world, then; how he’s in here and soon she’ll be out there. He doesn’t wallow in the regret that begins to creep up inside or listen to the pounding of his heart. There is only this feeling of being held and holding, wrapping his arms around her back and knowing that the embrace is returned. He presses his cheek to her hair, smells honeysuckle and soap.
Then they let go and Christine kisses him lightly on the mouth. “Goodbye, Len,” she says.
It’s not really goodbye, he knows in an instant. Christine, this unexpected gift of a friend—of someone who cares when he’d felt resigned to his isolation—will return.
She disappears and minutes pass until Leonard can breathe again. There is light pressure in the middle of his back, a hand uncertain in its touch. “Bones?”
Leonard turns to face Jim and Spock, not a step behind; both sets of eyes are dark, too clear and knowing. He does not bother to wipe the tears from his face, only replies, “I’m okay.”
They, unexpectedly, ask no questions—merely follow him in silence to their shared room. Leonard stops in the open doorway, sees the drawn curtains and (mostly) bare walls. He shudders.
Jim digs through the covers piled on the floor, and Spock leads him over to the double bed. It’s really two singles pushed together, but Len has grown used to thinking of it as their bed and not just his. (After all, he shares it with both.) Jim pulls out a blanket and Leonard gratefully takes it, wraps up, scoots back against the wall and closes his eyes.
It’s no surprise when his two tag-alongs follow, one on either side of him. Jim draws up his knees, like Len, and Spock sits cross-legged. There is a sweet silence only broken by the sound of their breathing. Finally, Len opens his eyes when he feels a hand take his and rub at his knuckles.
On the wall opposite, where Leonard’s bed used to be, is a calendar with the current month sloppily circled. It’s December and along the second-to-last row is a date that he never forgets is approaching. That might be the smiley face, which now includes a large thumbs-up, but mostly it’s what Jim’s little ink minion represents.
It is a reminder of a promise and more: a reason (a very good reason) for him to stay here at Fleet Heights. Leonard McCoy is in a bonafide relationship with two fellow patients, both of which are trying very hard to prove that this threesome can work.
He owes them a chance; he owes himself a chance at happiness.
So why, then, does a strange little voice (so quiet but growing) seem unsatisfied?
He feels as if he is waking up from a long dream. It scares him, not just for himself but for the sake of these two sweet men beside him.