Title: Never Lost Just Found (2/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Summary: FH!verse (AU); Sequel to A World of Crazy. Christmas Eve approaches.
Previous Part: 1
“Jim, I am not a Vulcan mind-reader,” Chris says mildly. “You’ll have to actually voice your troubles to me.”
That gets a hint of a smile from the serious-faced patient, who answers shortly, “Spock’s a touch-telepath… not the same thing.”
James Kirk is not a child. Pike is sharply reminded of this fact when he watches the man pace back and forth. The hunched shoulders, the flash of narrow blue eyes—even the way Jim flexes his fingers—all of it is so reminiscent of George that nostalgia burns through Pike like wildfire, and the subsequent sense of loss feels fresh and sharply painful.
He tries again to understand what it is that bothers Jim so. “Sit down.”
A stubborn shake of that blond head. “James.” He puts a warning in his tone.
Kirk sighs and spins around, falls into a chair with all the grace of an elephant. When he folds his arms in a pout, Pike revises his assumptions: mentally, Kirk is 15% man and 85% child.
“Bones isn’t happy,” Jim states.
The nickname is ridiculous. Leonard McCoy accepts it well enough (no fist-fighting like Giotto did over “Cupcake”). “McCoy is clinically depressed.”
“He’s getting better.”
“I know.” Nerves twitch in Pike’s stomach. McCoy is improving, and it’s only a matter of time before the man decides to quit sabotaging his quarterly evaluations—before he decides that he wants better than Fleet Heights. Pike won’t blame him, not in the least, but for the sake of his godson (and Leonard’s roommate; Chris isn’t blind) he is apprehensive about the future.
But what can he do? Jim is a grown man—and capable of rational thought; so is Leonard. If Pike suspected that any part of their relationship was unhealthy or non-consensual, he’d step in. Until that time, he won’t interfere in the mutual decision of two adults.
He only hopes that, afterwards, Jim won’t shatter completely or retreat again—that he’ll allow Pike to hold him together, to help.
“Jim, why are you worried?”
“Was that woman his wife?”
Ah. “You mean his ex-wife.”
Kirk shrugs. “Does it matter? I can tell when Bones is thinking about her.” The man’s voice has a bitter edge.
Pike leans forward, elbows on top of his desk. He steeples his fingers and addresses the real issue. “You have no reason to be jealous, Jim. McCoy is not delusional over his divorce. That’s why he is here, because he knew it was true and did not want to face every-day living without her.” He takes Jim’s silence as agreement. “But we both know that the heart will heal itself. Trust me when I tell you that your Doctor would NOT be considering intimacy with you were he still emotionally compromised by his longing for Jocelyn.”
Jim swallows, tests the word “Jocelyn.”
“Yes.” He stands up and pulls Jim to his feet, gives him a light shove towards the door. “And to answer your question—no, that was not Jocelyn. It was a colleague of McCoy’s, just a friend.”
The young man lingers in the doorway. “Are you sure?”
Pike considers Kirk slowly. “Yes, I am.”
“Do you require use of my jacket?”
Leonard stares first at the proffered nightshirt and then at Spock. Oh God, no.
“Spock… Please tell me this isn’t another date.” He winces at the thought.
The Vulcan—man, whatever—blinks at him. “Was our previous date unsatisfactory?”
McCoy remembers the shrill wail of Scotty’s flute. (Where the Hell did the man get a flute anyway? It looked like a small copper pipe but…oh, nevermind.) He sighs at the memory of Uhura’s lovely contralto; she can actually sing, Praise the Lord, but the strange mixture of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Every Breath You Take” just made him nervous and Jim giggly. The date was a nice idea, truly, except that Pavel made a flighty waiter who dropped their dinner trays no less than eight times—a record considering there was only three trays—and Sulu played the part of a raging chef and managed to make the usual pile of mush even less appetizing.
The low lighting consisted of three nightlights and the atmosphere was anticipation—because they pretty much had an audience throughout the entire meal. Chekov even whispered (loudly, per usual), “Is the Doctor required to ‘put out’ after dinner?” in a cute little voice that had Leonard practically banging his head on the table. Didn’t help that Jim asked slyly, “Are you, Doctor?”
Leonard whimpers in memory, and Spock attempts to slide the nightshirt over his head. He comes up spitting and growls, “No, no jacket!”
“It is customary for the male to offer his attire—”
“Yeah, to the lady!”
“Are you not the recipient of… courting?”
Seemed like a great idea at the time. Jim and Spock follow the rules of courtship and Leonard gets a little peace of mind. Only, Jim sucks at following rules and Spock seems to think that courtship leads directly to marriage. Granted, when Leonard courted Jocelyn, he had marriage in mind. He often wonders if the female really enjoys her role in the genteel tradition, because McCoy finds it strange and rather bothersome. Of course, no female had to be courted by two certifiably insane men like Jim and Spock. He equates them to gnats—loveable (possibly), annoying gnats. And no matter how much he swats at them, they just won’t go away.
He knows Spock is going to win this round. Leonard does not have the energy to outwit that deluded genius brain. “I appreciate the offer, thank you.” Then he adds dryly, “However, the evening’s warm and my dress is sufficient coverage.”
Spock tilts his head and lifts an eyebrow. He answers in a voice that indicates Leonard must be entirely crazy but the Vulcan is too polite to say so, “You are not wearing a dress, Doctor.”
Len closes his eyes. “Nevermind,” he mumbles, and Spock must decide to allow the doctor this one pass of senselessness. The Vulcan slowly raises his left arm, clearly expecting McCoy to accept the invitation of an escort.
Unfortunately, by now, Leonard is well-trained enough to skip complaining and just let the rollercoaster sweep him away. If anyone stares too long at him—and his red (blushing) face—Len’ll scowl quite fiercely until they subside under the force of his displeasure.
Pike nods from the doorway of his office, tacit approval as chaperone, and Leonard suppresses the need to roll his eyes. Jim is waiting for them both at the end of the corridor. The Captain grins and says, “Care for a stroll in the park, Bones?”
He’d reply that they probably need to stroll him straight to the gates of the nearest nut-house—that’s obviously where he needs to be—but then Leonard realizes that he already belongs to one.
As if things could get worse.
Jim slips up to his free side and lays an arm across his shoulders. “Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty to see. Right, Spock?”
He looks from one to the other, catches the tail-end of a shared secretive glance.
Fuck, it can get worse! (When is Leonard going to learn?)
They drag him away.
Later, as Leonard climbs into bed beside a prone Spock, he says to Jim, “I don’t think the janitors are going to appreciate Scotty’s impromptu pond.”
“Mmmm… Romulan janitors. We’ll have to remind them to quit poaching our territory.”
“What’s a Romulan again?”
Spock intercedes, indignant, with “Romulans and Vulcans share a common ancestry; however, we are segregated by our philosophical practices.”
Yeah, Spock doesn’t mop floors. Leonard pats an arm. “Touchy, are we, Spock?” The Vulcan turns on his side, facing the wall, which makes McCoy laugh at the display of understated disapproval. Spock would make a proper frigid wife, no doubt.
Jim trots over after he marks another day off the calendar, squeezes in to make a pile, generally draping as many limbs as possible across both men. Len removes one hand from its low perch with exasperation and tucks it against his arm. “Quite squirming. You’re not a puppy, kid.”
The blond-haired man ignores his grumping and finally settles with a content sigh. Leonard’s eyes are drooping, his voice a murmur as he tells the other two, “‘Night.”
A kiss is pressed to the back of his neck. “Goodnight, Bones.”
Pike is a decent fellow and allows those under his care to celebrate holiday festivities. McCoy is stringing popcorn (since he’s the only one allowed to handle a needle) while the other patients create their own unique decorations. Spock is hunched over a large sheet of paper and drawing some sort of schematics. Though why replicating a snowflake has to be so hard, McCoy doesn’t understand at all. The Vulcan insists that the paper must be folded at the appropriate angles and the cutting done precisely as possible. When Leonard tries to explain that a snowflake is a product of nature, that its pattern should be random rather than planned, Spock just stares him down into silence.
Chekov is attempting to build a gingerbread house from play-doh as he insists he was an architect before joining Starfleet. Yeah. Sulu is not having a good day (thank God, not a 1 or a 2), so Jim attempts to turn the man’s mood with shiny tinsel and promises of snow. Len hates to imagine how Jim is going to create snow in the building, but he’s preparing himself for a disaster along the lines of raining asbestos.
Uhura is caroling Christmas tunes with Scotty—their new favorite activity, duet singing. Regrettably, Scotty carries a tune like a cat in heat; that and given his terrible fake Scottish accent, Leonard would sign his soul away for a pair of ear plugs. Pike replied, when begged, “Sorry, McCoy, I had to ban them five years ago when Jim tried to prove that they were perfect for torturing captive Klingons.” Len didn’t ask for details.
So he’s stringing stale popcorn and watching everybody enjoy themselves (barring Sulu). He isn’t sure when he started to accept these people as his friends, but the thought strikes McCoy that he does. Sure, there was an incident where Leonard was almost brained to death by Scotty as part of a crazy scheme cooked up by Uhura. And, sure, that led to some rather nasty experiences in a padded cell; but he didn’t die, a real madman/torturer was caught and sent to jail, and the crew apologized and cried buckets onto his little bed in the nurse’s office. He couldn’t stay angry for long, after that. He wanted to, really had thought about all the horrible but true things he could say. In the end, he could not hurt them back, not when they were so fragile. Are fragile, even now.
The crew accepts that he belongs here, with them.
But he cannot get wrapped up in their adventures or Jim’s fantasy of space captaincy.
He’s Doctor McCoy, appointed physician and CMO to the Enterprise crew.
In reality, he is simply Leonard Horatio McCoy, a man who gave up on his dream to become a doctor.
He didn’t think about that before Christine’s visit. Now, it is evitable that he remembers what he destroyed. More than just his reputation; more than the way the world will judge him for the rest of his life. He destroyed himself, those things that he had accomplished.
Jocelyn. Always the same answer he circles back to. She married him because he was a medical student with a promising future. She wanted that ideal, the fame and glory he would one day steep them in, more than she wanted McCoy. Of course, Clay Treadway, his best friend, was an up-and-coming lawyer about to make partner in a prestigious law firm; so, Leonard supposes, Joce changed her mind and decided to switch the star on which she planned to hitch herself.
Shattered him to pieces. He had no one else to love but her—and he gave everything he had. Now, he knows, that love is a trifle to a person like Jocelyn. It makes him never want to trust someone with his heart again.
Jim turns, catches his eye and grins; it’s blinding, the kid’s grin, like the sun. McCoy feels a thump in his chest, because Jim means every nuance he can shove into that one look.
James Kirk is not lying when he says that he wants Leonard McCoy, wants to love him.
Len is in trouble. Deep trouble, because he isn’t sure if his walls are breaking down between the slow, steady efforts of Jim and Spock. If they are, what’s on the other side? Is he empty and hollow, barren of returning that kind of emotional commitment?
Leonard does not know that answer. He is terrified of finding out.
McCoy starts, sees that Spock is watching him.
“You are injured.”
Leonard blinks. He looks down, sees the needle in his thumb and only then does its throbbing break into his brain. Wow, he must have really been far away, not to notice it.
“Oh.” He removes the needle, watches as a drop of blood wells and runs down the side of his finger. Damn. An inconvenient mess.
Leonard shoves his popcorn to one side and makes his way to the bathroom. He’s running water over the wound, not paying much attention, when he glances up and sees Spock in the mirror. Len raises his eyebrow. Spock’s goes up in return.
The Vulcan disappears for a moment, returns as Leonard turns off the facet.
Spock takes his hand, which startles McCoy, and presses a paper towel firmly over his thumb.
Leonard feels he must say, “Spock, that’s unnecessary. Really. I’m a big boy.”
“I do not… enjoy the knowledge that you are hurt.”
The admission steals any rejoinder from McCoy’s mouth. Spock touches McCoy’s face with his other hand, lightly, and that pretty much shuts down the rest of Leonard’s thinking. Those long fingers are sliding into his hair, just below his ear.
Spock tilts the doctor’s head gently. “May I kiss you, Leonard?”
Len couldn’t respond if he wanted to. How can Spock always create such surreal moments like this? (Why is McCoy’s heart pounding so hard?)
The Vulcan must decide that his silence is an okay, go ahead because he leans in, face so close, and kisses Leonard softly, his eyes never closing.
The doctor is released, then, and his hand given back to him.
“I believe an adequate clot has formed. You may resume your celebratory ritual of ‘stringing popcorn.'”
Spock exits the bathroom, leaving a dumbfounded McCoy in his wake.
Spock catches his Captain outside the bathroom, stalls his entrance with “We must speak in private, Sir.”
Jim eyes him slowly. “Bones?”
The Vulcan deliberately misunderstands him. “The Doctor is well. Come.” He places a hand on his mate’s lower back and guides him away from the men’s restrooms.
They enter their room, and Kirk turns to face him. “What is it, Spock?”
“I wish to discuss the event of Christmas Eve.”
Jim goes slightly pale. “Why?”
This Human makes a false assumption. Spock assures him, rather quietly, “I do not have doubts concerning our imminent unification with Leonard. Rather, I would make a request.”
That eases the other somewhat, as Spock watches Jim’s shoulders relax, draw back with a new confidence. Then Kirk inputs, “You want to be on top?” with that spark in his eye which originally caught Spock’s attention.
“Jim, I fail to understand your need for humor.”
“Who says I’m joking?” When his mate slides in close and rests his hands on the Vuclan’s shoulders, Spock accepts such action with a grace born of tolerance (and much experience).
He states, “I request that we be joined in a bonding ceremony.”
Kirk’s pupils are blown wide. “You want to get married?”
“Did we not participate in this ritual on the 24th of December one year ago?”
The Human fidgets, as he is prone to do. (Spock remains still.)
“Jim,” Spock adds more softly, “we are bondmates.”
“Yes.” The man smiles.
“I have studied the Terran history of courtship that Leonard requires. It is deemed more appropriate for the courtship to end in an engagement of those involved.”
The Captain appears amused.
Spock continues, “However, you desire to cement our relationship in a physical manner. It is an Earth tradition of the past, I believe, for consummation to occur after an official bond is recognized by relations and peers.”
“Spock, you dog!”
This statement is illogical; the Vulcan informs the Captain so.
Jim ignores him. “I would say it’s a little late to save yourself for marriage, but I like the idea.”
“Indeed. We have a physical relationship indicative of our status as bonded mates. However, the Doctor is not, as of yet, party to such status. It would be most appropriate to bring him into our union, legitimately, before we engage in sexual activity.”
“You realize Bones is going to be hard to convince.”
“Understood. We have sixteen days, five hours and—”
“Plenty of time!”
“I have prepared the ‘proposal’ but it is also customary to present a band of metallic substance to symbolize the union.”
The Captain pulls him down into a kiss, to which Spock is agreeable, before saying, “Don’t worry about that. I’ll take care of the rings.”
Spock unfolds a paper from his robe pocket. “I have compiled a list, Captain…”
A new plan, in the hands of two excellent strategists, is born.
…Somehow, when Bones told Jim “no third base until Christmas” I don’t think this is what he had in mind… :D