m i s e r a b i l i a (banjoliin) wrote,
m i s e r a b i l i a
banjoliin

[fic]: before you knew you'd know me

before you knew you'd know me
mccoy/jocelyn and allusions to kirk/mccoy
pg
not mine, and is completely ficitonal
title comes from '3 rounds and a sound' by blind pilot
just over 4,100 words.
leonard mccoy's life before jim kirk, and a little bit after meeting him.


He meets her in a bar just off the Ole Miss campus; a dark bar filled with people talking and laughing. She catches his eye from the other side of the bar when he orders drinks for his friends, and he orders one for her to, winking at her when the barman places her fresh drink in front of her. He's young and full of the sort of confidence people only have when they're young, a confidence that he will have lost in a few years when the same girl smiling at him now strips him of everything he's ever loved or owned. But he doesn't know that right now, and the night is young and she is pretty, so pretty, so he leaves his friends to walk over to her, his shoulders back and his chest puffed out. He leans on the bar next to her, an easy smile on his handsome face, the beers he's already had coursing through his veins and adding to his confidence. She smiles at him as he introduces himself, showing off bright white teeth and a sparkle in her blue eyes.

"Hi, darlin'," he drawls. "How are you?"

"Not bad," she says. He pulls up a stool next to her, orders her another drink, and they talk until closing time, when they are the only patrons there, and their laughter is the only laughter echoing in the room.

"I never did get your name," he says as he holds out her coat for her as she pushes her arms through the sleeves, the scent of her hair--peaches--catching in his nose.

She smiles. "It's Jocelyn."

"Len," he replies.

"Nice to meet you, Len." He walks her home, because his mama raised him to be the perfect Southern gentleman, and she pecks him on the cheek outside her dorm room, pressing her comm number into his hand. Len comms her two days later and they go out to lunch at a cosy little restaurant she suggested, their heads bowed close together as they giggle over barbecue ribs and fried chicken, her favourite foods, apparently. After they leave the restaurant they go for a walk, buying sweet Georgia peaches at a stall, so ripe that the juices run down her chin. He wipes it away with his thumb, and then leans in to kiss her, a chaste kiss on the mouth that has her leaning in again and kissing him for longer, underneath the warm afternoon sun.

+

He learns that she's studying Law, and the more he gets to know her the more he thinks that it's the perfect choice for her. Jocelyn's smart and ruthless, stopping at nothing to get what she wants. This includes Len. When they've known each other for three weeks, and are lying in his bed, naked under the sheets after having slept together for the first time, she tells him that she'd liked him for a while now. She saw him near the start of the year, she says, and had noticed straight away that he wasn't like the other boys. He's kind and smart and funny, and not just interested in sex, like the other boys. He's a gentleman, she tells him, laughing when he replies that he tries hard to be one. He's only half-joking--it comes naturally to him. He's never wanted to hurt people. That's partly why he's studying to be a doctor.

She likes that he's going to be a doctor. He can see it in her eyes. When Len meets her mother one weekend when they've travelled back to Georgia she tells him that she'd always wanted her daughter to find a nice doctor to settle down with. Jocelyn blushes and tells her mom that it's not that serious, yet.

"Well, you brought him to meet me," her mother says, and he laughs.

When school ends for the year, they go back to Georgia. He takes Jocelyn to the old McCoy homestead, showing her the peach orchard and the river that he would swim in as a child. He lets her ride his favourite horse, a beautiful gray mare, and they go skinny-dipping in the river at night, making love afterwards beneath the stars. His mama takes a shining to her, tells Len after sampling the pecan pie Jocelyn made to marry her now. Len's father is indifferent, like he's always been, preferring to shut himself away in his study in the evenings rather than drink bourbon on the porch with the rest of them, the dogs stretched out between them, panting in the humid air.

After two weeks with his family they leave to go south, to the beach with their friends. One of them has a beach house that has its own private beach and even a small cliff that the boys dive off, daring each other to go higher and higher until they can't go any higher. The girls watch, lounging on the beach, wearing bikinis, big sunglasses and even bigger hats. Len flits between the boys and the girls, happy to jump off rocks and happy to sit about and do nothing. They often go for walks in the evening, just Jocelyn and Len, and on the last night they have sex in the sand dunes. Sand is everywhere afterwards, but he doesn't care.

"I love you," he says as they sit naked in the sand, watching the waves. She cards a hand through his thick hair to dislodge the sand there.

"I love you too," she says, and he kisses her.

+

After they graduate they get a small apartment above a bakery in Atlanta, and each morning Len rises earlier than her to fetch fresh bread from downstairs for breakfast. He starts med school and Jocelyn starts a low-level job at a big law firm. They hardly have time to see each other; their schedules are so busy, but whenever they can they sneak a kiss in here, a hug in there. One morning Len thinks he's never loved her more, as he watches her pick out a fitted suit for the day, and then watches her do her long hair up in an impeccable bun. He wants to undo it and run his fingers through her soft hair but he knows she'll be mad, mad in a way that you are at a cute puppy that chewed up your sweater, so he kisses her neck instead, the scent of her perfume mixing with that of her hair. Jocelyn always uses shampoo that smells like peaches. She knows how much he likes it.

That day he stops by at a jewellery shop on his way home and buys her the best ring he can with his meagre amount of money. He'd brought along a ring of hers so he could get the exact fit, and as soon as Len walks in the door and finds Jocelyn in the kitchen, cooking something delicious, he drops to one knee and proposes to her. It's certainly not the most romantic proposal ever, but she's always hated anything remotely corny or cliched, so this is perfect for the two of them, mostly because it's just them, and that's the way they like it.

They marry in the spring in the McCoy homestead, in the meadow near the orchard. She wears the most beautiful dress he's ever seen and both their mothers cry when they exchange the vows, and even Len can feel tears prickling at the back of his eyeballs. He blinks them back, though, because his pop and his grand-pop would never let him live it down, but the sight of tear tracks on her otherwise perfectly made-up face nearly has him crying. Later, when they have their first dance at the reception he rests his forehead against hers and buries his fingers in her hair. Jocelyn doesn't complain; rather, she laughs and pulls the pearly slides that had been holding her hair together out, letting the loose curls tumble down her back.

Their honeymoon is two weeks spent in England, somewhere she's always wanted to go. Jocelyn had been saving up for a trip there since before they met, and Len soon joined her in saving for a visit. When he proposed they decided to make it their honeymoon, and even though it rained for one week out of the two it's still everything she wanted. They just spend their time in bed in their little hotel, or dashing from one tourist attraction to another. It's amazing how many old buildings they still have left, ones from the eighteenth, nineteenth centuries, or the huge Ferris wheel that was built for the new millennium, way back in the twenty-first century when people doubted if man had ever stepped foot on the moon.

When they get back home they start looking for a bigger apartment, even though the wedding has left them nearly broke. They feel like they should live in an apartment that has more than one bedroom and a bathroom that is bigger than the average closet. Eventually they find a nice apartment with two roomy bedrooms and a reasonably sized bathroom. They're happy, and Jocelyn gets a promotion when he's halfway done with medical school. He's going to specialize in surgery, he decides. Partly because his bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired. Len finds that he's becoming more like his father--grumpy and short-tempered--each day, but he puts it down to stress. It's not a significant difference right now, just he's quicker to lose his temper and quicker to snap at someone, usually one of his classmates. He rarely, if ever, snaps at Jocelyn, but nobody's perfect.

+

Len's in his last year of med school when Jocelyn tells him she's pregnant. He cries with joy. Only later does it cross his mind that they still don't have a lot of money, and that they're both out of the house for horribly long hours each day. But then he forgets all that when they go for her first scan and he sees his baby's heartbeat, and he almost cries again, almost cries like Jocelyn's crying, tears blurring her vision. Len clutches her hand between his and he promises her that no matter how weird her cravings or how late at night they might strike he'll always go out and get her whatever she wants. She laughs and the female doctor doing the ultrasound smiles at him. The male nurse that's in the room snorts at him, his eyes calling him a pussy. He doesn't care.

The next time they go for a scan the doctor tells them they can learn the sex of the baby. They decide to wait.

Len starts as an intern at the nearby hospital, and has been there for three months when her due date looms up. They've spent the last few months accumulating as many baby things as they can; the spare room is filled with stuff. Jocelyn decides to take a year off work to care for the baby. They've already decided on names: Joanna for a girl and Johnathon for a boy. Len's secretly hoping it's a girl, as he's always wanted a little girl to spoil. But then again, a boy would be just as good, of course.

Jocelyn goes into labour a week before she's due. It's the middle of the night and she wakes Len up with her groaning as a contraction hits. He grabs the overnight bag they packed weeks ago and races her to hospital in their second-hand hovercar. The labour only takes three hours--later on they'll laugh and tell Jo she always was impatient--and he holds Jocelyn's hand as they wheel her to the delivery room, her eyes slightly glazed from the drugs they gave her, but despite the drugs she still screams as she's giving birth, and it's horrible for him, listening to her in pain and not being able to help. It kills him, and the doctor part of him that instantly wants to fix anyone he meets, whether they know they're broken or not. That same doctor part of him that in a few years will make him unable to keep away from a man with eyes bluer than the sky.

Jocelyn's grasp on his hand tightens and she cries out one last time, her head dropping forward with a sob, bangs sticking to her sweaty forehead, and then the sound of a baby crying fills the air.

"It's a girl," the doctor announces, and they both cry as the baby, Joanna, is handed to Jocelyn, wrapped in a regulation hospital blanket. Her face is red, angry and slightly squished, but she's still the most gorgeous thing he's even seen. Len reaches out to lightly stroke her face and she opens her eyes. She has his eyes.

+

Jo is three when Len's dad tells him he's dying. It's Christmas and they're at the McCoy ranch. David takes him to one side after dinner on the day before Christmas Eve. They only arrived at lunchtime, and had spent most of the afternoon running after Jo as she staggered around the ranch, and at one point she almost fell in the river. Jocelyn insisted she be kept inside after that. Len agrees, even though he had wanted to start teaching Jo how to ride.

"I'm dying," David says.

"Of what?"

"There's no cure," David says. "There's nothing you can do to help."

"For what, dad?" Len asks, and David tells him. He's not got long to live, he says, and 'his condition is deteriorating everyday', according to the doctors.

"Are you in pain?" Len says, but he can already tell the answer by looking at his dad's gaunt face and the shadows under his eyes. He sits like a man in agony, as if he's afraid to move but at the same time doesn't want anyone to know that he's in pain. David McCoy never did like showing any weakness.

David nods. "It hurts so much," he whispers.

Two months later David comms Len in the middle of the night.

"I can't take it anymore," he says. Len leaves straight away and makes it to the house by dawn, his medkit clutched tightly in his hand, as if the bare contents will be of any help.

"What do you want me to do, dad?" Len asks, and David tells him. Len flat out refuses, but three days spent by his dad's bedside change his mind somewhat. He calls Jocelyn, tells her everything, and she comes down straight away, Jo with her. They say their goodbyes, even though Jo doesn't quite know what's going on, and then when he's ready, when everyone's ready, Len loads up the hypospray slowly, and presses it to David's neck even slower. He has all the time in the world. He doesn't need to be rough.

He cries when David's pulse slows and then stops altogether. Jocelyn pulls him into her arms and Jo clutches at him, crying into his neck because he's crying.

Later on Len's mom tells the doctors that she found David dead in his bed, and that he must have died in his sleep. They don't question it. Len returns to Atlanta with Jocelyn and Joanna.

+

He starts drinking more then. He'd always drank a fair bit, family tradition and all, but now he drinks more than he did before. The only comfort he can find is in the numbness brought on by too much of his best whiskey. Jocelyn leaves him be for the first week, and the second. By the third it's obvious she's mad. He hasn't been to work, and they've been kind enough to let him take time off to help deal with his father's death. You can't have doctors that aren't emotionally stable enough to do their jobs, after all.

He barely leaves the couch other than to piss or take an occasional shower. Jocelyn has to force him to eat.

Then he sees the news report saying that a cure for the disease his father had--the disease that killed him--has been discovered. He drinks until he passes out. Jocelyn calls an ambulance, and they take him to hospital to have his stomach pumped. And she tries to understand, she does, but when he goes to work drunk and gets sent home having been told to take at least six months off and to see a shrink, she loses it. She shouts at him in the kitchen while Jo sleeps in the other room, and even ends up pommelling his chest with her fists. He stands there and takes it. If it had been before he would have wrapped his arms around her and held her until she calmed down, but it isn't before, and he's not who he used to be. So he waits for Jocelyn to give up, and then he takes out his bottle of bourbon.

The further he sinks into depression, the less he sees of Jocelyn and Jo. They're living in a three bed house in the suburbs now--Jocelyn's been promoted again--and Len turns the spare bedroom into his own office. He spends nearly all his time in there, usually drinking or passed out on the sofa. His six month sabbatical from work ends and he sobers up so he can get back to work. It helps, saving lives, and he can bury himself in his work and forget about everything else. But then he gets back home and there's nothing to think about but what he did.

Jo grows up without him noticing, and when she's four and a half Jocelyn presents Len with divorce papers.

"I just can't take it anymore," she says, echoing without knowing his father's words before he asked for Len's help.

In a way, Jocelyn divorcing him helps his depression. He gets angry instead, angry at himself, mostly, for letting Jocelyn slip through his fingers, and for letting Jo grow up without him. But he takes his anger out on the wrong people; shouting at the interns at work; glaring at people who bump into him in the crowded streets; and quiet, furious arguments with Jocelyn in the evening, spitting insults at each other under their breath so they won't wake up Jo. He sleeps on the couch until things get so bad, until they can't be in the same house as each other, and Len moves out to sleep on a friend's couch. He takes Jo out at the weekends; takes her to football games and to the zoo; takes her to visit his mother, who looks at him with disappointed eyes and a sad sigh.

"Where did it go wrong, Leonard?" she says. He doesn't answer. It's too sad to consider how it all went wrong.

It's no surprise that Jocelyn gets custody of Joanna. Or of their house and most of the money. She has the best divorce lawyers at her firm working for her for barely any cost at all. Len barely keeps anything but his medical licence and a bagful of clothes.

+

Two days after the divorce is finalised and Len has twenty-five dollars to his name, he sees a recruitment video for Starfleet. They're looking for doctors in particular, apparently. Len's a doctor looking for a job. The hospital 'let him go' after he started showing up to work drunk again, and made it so that every other hospital in the state, if not the South, wouldn't employ him. And yes, he's terrified of space, but where the hell else does he have to go? He can't live on his friend's couch forever. So he'll go. Fuck Jocelyn, fuck everyone else, fuck his aviophobia, he'll go.

He checks where the nearest shuttle to San Francisco will be on the Starfleet public information base. Iowa, leaving in two days.

Len shuts off his PADD and packs his few belongings in a duffel bag. Picking up his pea coat, he walks to the door of the apartment and leaves, meeting his friend on the stairs.

"I'm leaving," he says to his friend, Sam. "Joining Starfleet."

"Starfleet?" Sam says. "But you hate space."

"I know. I'll comm you some time, okay? Thanks for letting me stay." He slaps Sam on the shoulder as he hurries past him on the stairs. Then he gets in his shitty little car--the one thing of value that Jocelyn let him keep--and drove to his former home. Jocelyn seems to understand when he tells her he's leaving, and she gets why he's doing it. He promises Jo that he'll talk to her by video whenever he can, and she cries when he leaves, hugging him tightly. She's five now, and he feels like he's missed the last two years of her life. He knows he'll miss even more, but he just has to get away, make a fresh start.

"I wish it didn't have to be this way, Len," Jocelyn tells him as he leaves, looking at him sadly.

"Me too, Joss." She kisses his cheek, and he's glad that they can be civil to each other now, now that the brutality of the custody battles is over. They say goodbye, Len trying not to choke up as he drives away, starts driving to Iowa. He's in for a long drive, he knows, but he's hoping he'll be able to collect his thoughts.

+

He gets to the shipyard in Iowa where the shuttle's due to leave from the evening before it's due to leave. He'd called ahead in the car earlier and they were expecting him, but he didn't miss the apprehensive looks at his appearance.

"Mr McCoy, right?" the officer taking down names says.

"Doctor McCoy," he corrects.

"Of course. Sorry, Doctor. Please take a seat. Captain Pike will be with you shortly." Len sits down in the chair she points to, and soon enough a middle-aged man with graying temples enters the room. He looks to Len, and tells him to join him in his office. He's Captain Pike, he says, and he's serving as a recruitment officer for now. He asks Len all the standard questions, like why he wants to join Starfleet, and eventually he tells Len that he's accepted, although he'll have to clean up a lot when he gets to San Francisco.

Len's not quite sure what to do now. If he's honest, he hadn't expected Starfleet to accept him. But they did, so now he has a whole night to kill. He finds the nearest bar and drinks cheap whiskey until there's a bar fight and Pike comes to clear everyone out. Then he sleeps in his car, waking up every hour or so, taking sips from a flask he'd filled up at the bar.

It only really strikes him what he's done when he sees the shuttle, cadets in red already filing into it. When no one's paying attention he ducks into the shuttle and heads straight for the bathroom, where he locks himself in. He thinks he's got away with it until he hears the voice of the officer from yesterday, the one who took his name down. She bangs on the door, and he reluctantly opens it, wincing and protesting as she tells him he has to take a proper seat.

"I had a seat," he tells her. "In the bathroom with no windows!" He tells her that he has aviophobia but she still orders him to sit down, even going so far as to threaten him, so he sits down next to the only other person not in Starfleet uniform, a blond-haired kid with bruises on his face and blood on his shirt.

They talk, and Len, still drunk, he thinks, tells the kid his life story, pretty much. The kid is kind enough to pretend to care, and even gives Len the stupid nickname of 'Bones'. He distracts Len from the shuttle journey, telling him stories of barfights and girls, most of it made up, probably, but Len doesn't mind. The kid's called Jim Kirk, and Len knows instantly who he is, but he doesn't let it change anything. He figures Jim must get enough of that as it is. He'd appreciate someone who judges Jim for being Jim, and not based on who his father is.

They end up being friends, Len and Jim, sharing a room when they get to the academy, and later on, a bed. They have the easy kind of relationship that Len's always wanted; Jim happy to drag Len out places and Len happy to follow, even if he pretends to be grumpy. Jo visits on their first Thanksgiving in San Francisco, and as Len watches the way Jim's blue eyes crinkle in the corners when he smiles at Jo, he wonders if the letter J will be his downfall.
Tags: fic, kirk/mccoy, mccoy/jocelyn, star trek
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