not mine at all.
4,800 words approx
leonard mccoy's life after he's met jim. sequel to before you knew you'd know me but can stand alone. title also belongs to blind pilot. dedicated to odalique because she is lovely and was so excited about me writing something. ♥
The kid he met on the shuttle never fails to surprise him, always coming up with new ways to keep them entertained on the evenings that Leonard's not working or they don't have assignments due the next day. Mostly they end up going to bars, but each night is a different bar with different booze and different girls. There's always a new girl for Jim to go back with, if he wants, but he'll often just stay with Leonard, drinking and people watching, and sometimes, if he's in a good mood, there's a girl for Leonard too. Sometimes Jim will decide that they're going to a bar that's miles away and they'll stagger home at five in the morning, off their faces drunk and propping each other up.
Sometimes Jim takes a girl back to their room, and Leonard will always pretend to be asleep even though he never can, never can block out the sounds of Jim and the girl that he's with. He's not sure when he starts imagining it as himself with Jim, but he knows that's not good, knows he shouldn't let himself fall for Jim's charms, or Jim's body.
He sinks to a new low when he starts to jerk off to the sounds of Jim in bed with someone else (although it's getting less and less frequent, Jim bringing someone home or going home with someone), the bedsprings creaking and Jim's muffled groaning. He tries to be as quiet as possible but the kid has the hearing of a bat so of course he knows, and it's always a little awkward in the morning until Jim hands Leonard a coffee and steals a pair of his underwear because he never has a clean pair of underwear of his own, and then everything is back to normal.
He pretends to be mad with Jim so many times, pretends that there's somewhere else he'd rather be than by the kid's side, listening as he spins another cock and bull story about what he did last the night before to a bunch of cadets who walk the line between worshipping Jim and hating him, when really Leonard knows he spent most of it cramming for his Introduction to Xenobiology test, a course he's taking because he wants to, not because he needs to. And when Jim slings an arm around his shoulder and shouts that ridiculous nickname in his ear, Leonard rolls his eyes and grumbles and half-heartedly pushes him away, only to have the arm tighten around him.
Leonard only ever gets mad when Jim stumbles back to their room in the middle of the night having gone out drinking alone because Leonard had to work or study, bruised and bloodied because he can't ever seem to stay out of fights when Leonard's not there, telling him that there was some guys hitting on a girl who didn't want anything to do with them, and Jim just had to step in and be chivalrous, didn't he? But Leonard doesn't stay mad for long; Jim will smile sadly and his eyes will be so fucking blue that Leonard's instantly pushing him down on his bed and pulling out his medkit to put the kid back together.
Jim always sleeps in Leonard's bed on those nights, even though his bed is just on the other side of the room and the beds are barely big enough for one person, let alone two. Leonard always wakes up facing the wall with Jim's nose buried in his hair and his morning wood hard against his ass and Leonard will let himself enjoy the feeling of Jim's arms heavy against his chest for a few minutes before he reaches back and elbows Jim in the ribs. Jim is such a heavy sleeper that he won't wake up, he'll just roll over and then when he wakes up naturally he won't have to deal with the fact that he was wrapped around his best friend as he slept.
It's hard not to notice Jim. He's loud and mouthy and he always knows the right answer to every question. You can always see his head in a crowd of cadets, can always pick him out, and he's always at the centre of everything, laughing and telling jokes. People always look twice when Jim passes, always want to know who the gorgeous blond with the contagious laugh is.
Leonard would have to be blind not to notice Jim. Jim who's always walking around their room shirtless, sometimes wearing nothing but a towel slung low on his hips, and not even Leonard can resist the Jim Kirk charm.
It gets ridiculous, to a point that even a smile from Jim will have Leonard's stomach flipping and he'll be hard just from seeing Jim shirtless. So he'll be grumpier and scowl more and hope that this, this ridiculous school-girl crush, will pass and he can get back to his studies and his work, and counting down the days until the end of the semester.
But it doesn't pass, of course it doesn't, because Jim is Jim and has no concept of personal space and is always slinging an arm around Leonard's shoulder or wrap an arm around his waist, so he keeps pining after Jim like the pathetic man that he is while Jim flirts with half the academy, including Leonard, because no one is exempt and fucks the other half, or what seems like it.
Then, after finals, Jim gets a whole group of cadets to go out drinking to celebrate, dragging Leonard with him. The first part of the evening Leonard sits and drinks with cadets he doesn't really know and doesn't care to know while Jim makes the rounds, flirting with everyone he sets eyes on, but then when he's had several drinks he returns to Leonard and by the end of the night he's hanging off his neck, slurring about how Leonard is his bestest friend ever and he loves him, dragging out the 'o' sound and planting sloppy wet kisses on Leonard's cheeks. That's when Leonard decides to take him home, Jim calling out loud goodbyes as Leonard hooks an arm around his waist and drags him from the bar, hoping that the walk home will sober Jim up, but it makes him worse somehow, and by the time they make it back to the campus Jim is biting and licking at Leonard's neck, horny bastard that he is, and Leonard doesn't know how he can do that and walk at the same time. Then they get to their door and Jim is actually grinding against him and the door is open and they're tumbling through it and only Jim could still get it up after drinking so much. Leonard tells Jim this and Jim laughs, his eyes sparkling in a way that says he's not as drunk as he seems to be; Leonard frowns but then Jim is pushing him to sit down on his bed, kneeling at his feet, his hands fumbling on Leonard's belt, and his jeans are pushed down and Jim's mouth is on his cock and suddenly Leonard doesn't care how drunk Jim is anymore.
They spend the whole weekend in bed after that, fucking and making out under the sheets like horny teenagers or sometimes just lying there in the too-small bed, tracing non-existent patterns on each other's skin, and it's so fucking idyllic. Then Leonard has to leave to go to Georgia for two weeks to go see Jo and Jim comes with him because he's got nothing else to do and when has Leonard ever been able to stop Jim from doing something that he wants to do? And Jim is a distraction on the shuttle ride, letting Leonard dig his fingers into his forearm as tightly as he can on take off and landing; the rest of the journey he tells bad jokes and outrageous stories. His face just lights up when he smiles, his eyes sparkling even in the gloom of the shuttle and the curve of his lips so inviting that Leonard finds it hard not to lean over and kiss him.
Georgia is, for the most part, good to Jim. The sunshine makes his hair blonder, and though he gets sun-burnt on the first day and Leonard has to spend his evening running the dermal regenerator over him, the rest of the trip he stays as pale as he's always been--Leonard is pretty sure that Jim is incapable of tanning--but the way the sunlight reflects of his skin makes him look like even more of a god than he usually does. And Jo loves Jim, really loves him. She met him before, at Thanksgiving, and it hadn't taken her long to warm to him. By the second day she's calling him her Fun Uncle Jim and asking when he's going to marry her daddy, and Leonard's sure that that's going to make things awkward when they're not even in a relationship, they've barely started fucking, but Jim just laughs it off and says he's not quite ready to make an honest man of Leonard just yet. Jo shrugs and asks him why he calls her daddy Bones, and Jim says, well, that's a long story, and everyone but Leonard has forgotten about Jo's question, but that evening, in bed, lying close to Jim but not touching because it's far too hot, Leonard can't help but ask Jim if he's freaked out by what Jo said.
Jim tells him to relax, Bones, she's only six, and then Jim straddles him and runs his hands down Leonard's chest, and that's the end of that conversation.
They fall into this relationship-that's-not-a-relationship and is really more two friends who are fucking because one of them ran out of willing partners and the other wants human contact that actually means something. That's what Leonard tells himself.
Jim starts dragging him out more than usual and to places other than bars. He waits for Leonard's shifts at the hospital to end and then they go grab some food, or he takes Leonard to a patch of grass he's found that's relatively secluded and has views of the bay and they can lie there for hours with only their shoulders touching, and occaisonally Jim will point out stars to Leonard when it gets dark and then they'll go home and fuck, Jim fisting the sheets and Leonard clutching his shoulders because he always needs something tangible to hold onto after seeing the vast emptiness of space. Jim knows this and will reach up to cup Leonard's nape and kiss his jaw line until they both come with muffled groans and shouts.
They start going out to dinner together in the evening, taking it in turns to pay and never going anywhere too expensive because neither of them have much money, and on the Valentine's Day of their second year (that damn holiday is still celebrated now, even though it's never been more commercial) Jim takes him to an over the top Italian restaurant that has candles and roses on every table, for a joke, laughing at Leonard's incredulous expression. Then he hands Leonard a large, heart-shaped box of candy and a bottle of champagne with a ribbon tied around the neck, barely able to keep himself from laughing, and Leonard smacks him on the side of the head, asking him when he turned into a walking cliché. The other diners look on, shocked, but Jim laughs, and Leonard hands the chocolate and champagne to a girl sitting nearby, telling her to keep them, darling. Jim pretends to be offended for all of two seconds before he laughs his infectious laugh again and takes the candle and rose off the table and handing them to another pair of confused diners.
Jim tells Leonard that there's a half price Valentine's special, shrugging, and he bumps his foot against Leonard's shin underneath the table when Leonard asks about the champagne, shrugging again and tapping his nose like it's a big important secret that he can't possibly tell Leonard.
It takes Jim failing the Kobyashi Maru for a second time and weeks worth of people calling him Leonard's boyfriend for Leonard to think that yeah, maybe they are in a relationship. Jim hasn't been with anyone else in months, which is so unlike the Jim he knew in their first year at the academy, and maybe Jim has settled down.
When the simulation is over and everybody is dismissed, Jim is out of there like a shot, dashing around a couple of instructors, nearly knocking them over, before Leonard even has time to blink, and then Uhura's at his side and giving him one of her looks, one that says, well, are you going to go after him or not? So he pecks her on the cheek because she's lovely and actually quite fond of Jim, in an exasperated sort of way (which she, like Leonard, will never ever admit to. They bonded over their mutual not-hate-that-must-be-disguised-as-conte
For once, Jim chooses the easy option and goes back to their room; that's where Leonard finds him after checking their favourite bar and the spot of grass by the bay. He's stood in the shower, leaning against the wall, looking as if he'd fall down without it there to hold him up. His eyes are firmly fixed on the shower floor and he shakes his head when Leonard hesitantly asks Jim if he wants Leonard to join him. But Leonard ignores him and strips down anyway, Jim turning to face the wall as he climbs in, and Leonard rests his chin on Jim's wet shoulder, running his fingertips up and down Jim's upper arms and kissing the junction where Jim's neck meets his shoulder until the water runs cold. Then they step out, dry off and Leonard goes to get pizza, beer and a porn holovid, and he manages to stop himself from pointing out all the STIs that the actors must have.
Jim doesn't even suggest that they try out some of the moves like he usually does after managing to convince Leonard to watch porn with him. That's how subdued he is. Instead, when it ends he just grabs another beer and leans back against Leonard's chest, one hand holding his beer and one hand on Leonard's thigh, and they stay like that until Jim is falling asleep, his head lolling back and the empty beer bottle falling from his grasp and rolling down onto the floor. Leonard nuzzles at Jim's ear and then maneuvers them around until they're under the covers, Jim's back still against Leonard's chest and both of their shirts pulled off.
And Leonard's not sure what it is that makes him think that this is something more than friends who fuck for convenience, but he thinks that it has something to do with the way that Jim looks at him in the morning, his expression unreadable for anyone who doesn't know him very well, only Leonard can see everything that Jim is thinking just by watching those blue eyes, and he puts a thumb against Jim's lips. Jim just smiles and kisses Leonard's thumb.
Jim takes him to meet Winona Kirk in the summer between their second and third years, and she casts a critical eye over him before deciding that he's good enough for her boy; she welcomes him into the family, telling him he can visit whenever he wants, with Jim or without. Leonard slips back into his Southern gentleman ways and Jim doesn't stop laughing for what feels like a day straight, going as far as to poorly imitate Leonard's accent until Leonard accidentally kicks him and Winona laughs.
But one night, Jim is in a bitter mood because right before they went to bed, Winona said how happy she is that Jim has finally found someone worthy and decent. And doesn't that just make Jim mad.
That didn't stop her from having a string of boyfriends whose favourite pastime was chucking beer bottles at my head, Jim says, pacing the length of his old childhood room, fuming, and Leonard tells him that he should give her a break, it's not easy losing someone you love and she did the best she could. But that just made it worse, with Jim snarling that Leonard knows all about that, doesn't he? And Leonard just wants to sleep so he gets a blanket from the closet and goes to sleep on the couch downstairs. Jim comes down in the early hours of the morning and curls up beside Leonard, and it's lucky that it's a big couch because there's barely any room and they're clinging to each other under the blanket so that Jim doesn't fall off.
Winona finds them in the morning, chucks a cushion at their heads and pulls the blanket off them, telling them that they're stupid, there's a perfectly good bed upstairs, they should go sleep there for a few hours. She'll wake them up in time for lunch. So they do what she says, somehow exhausted, and that's when Leonard realises that he loves Jim, as Jim sleepily pushes Leonard into place so that he can spoon behind him, and Jim must be reading Leonard's mind because he kisses his neck just below the hairline and says, me too.
Jo comes over for Thanksgiving again because Jocelyn and Clay are going off-world to see Clay's parents, and she stays for a whole week, sleeping in Jim's bed, which they never use. They manage to work their schedules so that one of them is always with Jo while the other is at class or working at the hospital, in Leonard's case. They have to skip a few classes, but Jim's clever enough to not have it matter and Leonard thinks it's worth missing a few classes to spend some time with his darling Jo.
They take Jo out to dinner at their favourite Thai restaurant; she sits between them in their usual booth, chatting non-stop and grinning wildly every time Jim and Leonard so much as look at each other. The waitress comments on what a cute family they are, and asks them how they adopted Jo--she and her wife are looking to adopt, she tells them--and Leonard's about to go into a long spiel about how Jo is actually his from a previous marriage when Jim cuts in smoothly and gives her the details of a local adoption agency. He shrugs the question away when Leonard asks him how he knows all about that.
Jo talks about a boy at her school who sits behind her in class and pulls on her pigtails to get her attention and Jim's foot is nudging against Leonard's but damn it, he's not going to play footsie with Jim when his daughter is right there. Then Jim is teasing Jo about how this boy likes her, drawing out the vowel sound in the middle with a smirk, and Jo is squealing and pulling a face, saying boys are icky. Jim pretends to be hurt by this, but Jo laughs and tells him that he's alright, he's not a boy, and Leonard laughs shortly and says he begs to differ sometimes.
Jim goes with Leonard to take Jo back to the shuttle port, ruffling her hair and telling her not to do anything that he wouldn't do (which leaves Jo a lot of things she can do, Leonard tells Jim, rolling his eyes), waiting patiently for Leonard to say goodbye to Jo, his thumb rubbing circles into the base of Leonard's nape as they watch the shuttle take off. Then they go get pancakes at a diner nearby, and Jim tells Leonard a story about the other cadets in his survival training class, talking and laughing with his mouthful no matter how many times Leonard tells him to shut his goddamn mouth when he's eating.
That evening, after Leonard's shift at the hospital and Jim's workout session, they fuck for the first time in a week, unable to wait until later because Jim has the sex drive of a sixteen year old boy, and then they comm Jo to make sure she got back okay. It takes all of Leonard's persuasive talents and the promise of a blowjob to get Jim to put a shirt on.
When it's all over and the Narada has been torn apart from the inside, they're limping back to Earth on impulse power, the ship held together by the sheer will power of Jim and Scotty. They've all been up for far too many hours, everyone trying to do a thousand things at once, and Leonard has to threaten Jim with a sedative to get him to stop running around trying to fix things. The rest of the crew are already on sleep rotations, Spock has the conn, and while Scotty is certainly mad, Leonard can't deny that he's a miracle worker when it comes to engineering. Jim sighs when Leonard tells him this, running a hand through his hair and rubbing at his eyes. Then he sighs again, grabs Leonard's wrist and leads him to Leonard's quarters. The quarters are too small and the bed's the same size as the one in their room back at the academy, and when they curl up in the bed, Jim's bare chest against Leonard's back, pressed as close to each other as they can, Leonard can shut his eyes and pretend it's just another day at the academy and he's so tired because he's had to work a double shift at the hospital.
They call them heroes when they get back to Earth, give them a so-called hero's reception that is really just lots of flashing bulbs, some people cheering, and lots of reporters asking questions. They smile, wave, do their best not to look exhausted and jaded, and then Starfleet hustles them away to their headquarters, and after three hours of preliminary debriefing (which Leonard thinks is just Starfleet's term for a meeting where they find out what the hell happened) they're allowed to go, only not back to their dorm rooms but to high security quarters. Jim's has a double bed in it. Leonard doesn't even see his own quarters.
Jim tugs Leonard's shirt over his head as soon as the door slides shut behind them, tracing the line of his collar bone for a minute before reaching for Leonard's belt buckle, batting Leonard's hands away when he tries to reach for Jim's shirt. When they're both naked Jim circles his fingers around Leonard's wrist and leads him to the shower. The water is warm when it cascades over their shoulders, and after three weeks of quick sonic showers squeezed in between shifts and sleeping it's nice to have a real water shower that he can take his time in, and Jim's behind him, leaning on his shoulders and sighing against his neck.
More debriefings happen the next day, and the day after that. They last for a week, and then the memorial sevices begin. Every evening after they get back Jim will pull Leonard to him, mutters the nickname that Leonard would worry if he didn't use, and tucks his face into the junction between Leonard's neck and his shoulder. Leonard will stroke the hair at the back of Jim's neck and kiss the tip of Jim's ear and they'll stay like that until they're too tired to stand up and they'll curl up in the too-big bed.
They go back to Georgia one more time before they leave for the stars; Jim gets sunburnt on the first day again and still doesn't tan, even though they spend most of the time down by the lake with Jo and Jocelyn. Leonard and Jocelyn have made peace now, and they're actually starting to become friends again. Clay is away for work the whole time they're there, and Leonard can't say that he misses him.
Jim spends a lot of time in the water with Jo, and even spends some time in there alone when Jo gets tired and leaves the water to cuddle up to Leonard, wrapped in a big towel. Leonard swears that Jim would live in the water if he could grow gills and resist the pull that space seems to have on him. He even manages to drag Leonard in with him a couple of times, and one time they sneak down there in the middle of the night and swim naked. Jim tangles their legs together under the water and leans in as if he's going to kiss Leonard, only he pulls away at the last minute and splashes water into Leonard's face and ducks away, swimming off through the water before Leonard can catch him. Leonard flips onto his back and lets himself float, shutting his eyes and waiting for Jim to come back him, which he does after just a few minutes, treading water next to Leonard's head, touching cool fingertips to Leonard's cheek.
Leonard could quite happily stay in Georgia with Jim and the neverending sunshine, but he can tell that Jim is itching to get back into the black, to command the flagship and discover new worlds and new people. Jim told him once, in bed in the middle of the night, that he's secretly hoping they'll find something, a planet or a star or a patch of space, that hasn't been found before, and he'll get to name it. I'll name it after you, Bones, he had said, walking his fingers up and down Leonard's bare back, the sheets settled around his waist, as Leonard smiled into the pillow and tried to stay awake.
He's on the bridge when the Enterprise leaves spacedock, watching the helmsman closely, in case he makes a mistake and the whole damn ship blows up, and then Jim is there, slapping him on the shoulder and telling him to buckle up in his cocky voice that he knows gets on Leonard's nerves, but then some days, the most fun Jim can have is annoying Leonard. As soon as they're out of the solar system, Leonard leaves the bridge, heading down to sickbay to check the supplies and count how long it takes for one of the foolish, reckless crew to turn up with burns or a broken arm. Jim ends up being the first person to come into sickbay, strolling into Leonard's new, tiny office, not long after the shift starts, claiming that his mouth hurts and he needs Leonard to see to it. With his tongue.
Jim leers when Leonard says, classy, Jim, and Leonard walks closer to him until their noses are almost touching, and then he jabs a hypospray full of nutrients into his neck, telling him he knows he didn't eat breakfast and he should get back to the bridge and finish his damn shift. Jim walks out of Leonard's office and out of sickbay whinging and rubbing at his neck. He's never been fond of surprise hypospray injections.
Jim never does get to name a planet or a star after Leonard, but he does nickname his favourite shuttle 'Bones'. As a tribute, he says. Leonard says he just likes the name Bones. And why does he even have a favourite shuttle? A shuttle is a goddamn shuttle, Jim. They're all deathtraps, as far as Leonard's concerned, and only marginally better than transporters. Jim could spend hours trying to convince Leonard that the transporters are perfectly safe (and has done many, many times, to which Leonard would reply that they're not safe. In five years they've turned Chekov into a woman, Spock into a five year old kid that Leonard was stuck looking after, Uhura and Chapel into men, and Jim into a dog that wouldn't stop humping Leonard's leg. They are not safe) but Leonard will never believe him. Ever. Jim would always laugh at him when he got like that, saying Leonard would've been better off living in the twenty-first century, only Jim has sat through hours and hours of lectures on the barbaricness of twentieth and twenty-first medicine, so he wouldn't be better off, and anyway, he's stuck where he is, so put up and shut up, Bones. Then he would straddle Leonard because they were always in bed and it was always the early hours of the morning when they had these conversations, and Leonard would shut up.
After their first five year mission, Leonard would be perfectly happy to go back to Earth and get a cushy job at Starfleet medical, only Jim could never leave space, and Leonard could never leave Jim. The rest of the crew must feel the same, and everyone returns to the Enterprise for another five years. So Leonard has another five years of patching up a foolish crew that can't seem to stay out of trouble and an even more foolish captain that seems to go looking for trouble. Jim laughs when he says this to him. You know you love it, Bones, he says. And dammit, if a little part of him doesn't agree.