Word count: 1968
Author's notes: Written for deepsix, who asked for Kirk/McCoy in which Kirk is jealous. (If she even remembers requesting it, given that it took me a month to finish this story. Sorry for the delay, V!)
The first time Jim saw Bones actually being treated for something rather than doing the treating was when the Enterprise was three weeks out of spacedock. There was a particularly virulent flu strain running through the space station where they'd been dispatched to pick up some supplies, and Bones had determined that it would be prudent to vaccinate all of the crew who were physiologically capable of contracting the flu.
"Hold still, please, Doctor," Nurse Chapel said in her usual cool tone of voice, just before she applied a hypospray to the side of Bones's neck with gentle pressure. It hissed, and Bones winced a little, and then she moved onto the next patient while Bones picked up his own hypospray and brandished it at Jim.
Jim backed away. "What was that?" he demanded.
"An inoculation," Bones said. His raised eyebrows appended you moron to his sentence.
Jim, riding on a crest of righteous indignation, ignored the insult. "She didn't jab you!"
"Sure felt like it," Bones said, right before he grabbed Jim's arm to hold him still and hit him with the hypospray.
"See, that's what I'm talking about!" Jim said, too annoyed to even yelp. "She didn't hit you that hard. But no matter who's on duty when I come in here, I get jabbed like they're trying to break skin!"
Bones stopped looking sarcastic and started looking almost amused. "Jim, did you seriously think we were treating all our patients like that?"
Jim frowned. "What makes me so different?"
"Other than the fact that you're in here four times as often as any other patient, half the time for stuff that's so stupid that no one else would even consider doing it once, let alone multiple times? Other than that you're awful at following directions even when your health--or your life--depends on it? Other than that you spend most of every sickbay visit staring at the nurses' asses?" Bones asked. "Not a damn thing."
"Oh," Jim said. Bones's eyes met his, and he cleared his throat. "I'll just...go back to the bridge and let you finish inoculating the crew," he said.
Bones snorted. "Good call," he said, turning to press a hypospray--gently--to the neck of an overly amused Ensign Carter.
"Dr. McCoy," a voice called from the far end of the corridor, and Bones and Jim turned around to see Uhura striding towards them. She nodded at Jim politely before continuing, "My schedule for this evening has changed a bit, so I won't be free until 2100. Is that okay?"
Bones smiled at her. "That's fine. Gives me time to finish writing up my weekly report."
"Great," Uhura said. "I'll see you then. Captain." She nodded again and headed back the way she'd come.
Jim turned to Bones. "What's at 2100 hours?"
"None of your business."
Jim frowned. "You and Uhura aren't..."
"No!" Bones exclaimed, which Jim had expected--Bones wasn't the sort to have an affair with a woman who by all appearances was in a monogamous relationship, and Uhura was neither the type to cheat on her boyfriend nor to advertise the fact to her commanding officer should she become involved in some indiscretion.
"We're just getting together to watch a Betazoid drama," Bones said gruffly. "No big deal."
Jim blinked at him. "This is something you two do?"
Bones shrugged. They'd reached the mess hall by then, and what patience Bones had for the conversation faded visibly. "A few weeks ago. Spock doesn't care for them, and Uhura and I like some of the same dramas, so..."
There was a confused roil of emotions in Jim's gut that he didn't feel like sorting out, so he just clapped Bones on the shoulder and said, "You lucky bastard," before heading over to select his dinner.
It was stupid to be envious of someone's failed relationship, but sometimes Jim looked at the three-dimensional hologram of Bones's ex-wife and daughter on the desk in his quarters, the pictures of the three of them that he'd hung on his walls, and wondered what it would be like to share your life with another person like that.
Jim had never had a relationship that lasted longer than two weeks. Back in Iowa, he hadn't been thinking longterm about anything, while at the Academy he'd been more interested in getting through his courses in record time than in cultivating romantic relationships. Not to mention that his own brand of charm relied heavily on no-strings fun; he got dates on a regular basis, but that didn't mean he knew how to keep them, or that they were interested in being kept.
"Your ex is pretty," he said, one evening when he and Bones were in Bones's quarters sharing some bourbon over a game of Chinese checkers.
Bones looked up, startled, then followed Jim's line of sight to the hologram on his desk. "Please tell me that the next words out of your mouth aren't going to be 'What's her comm code?'"
Jim laughed. "I think I can restrict my dating pool to the billions of people who haven't kicked my best friend to the curb."
"So, that's just your idea of an opening gambit? Or was it supposed to be some kind of compliment?"
"Maybe." Jim shrugged. "Why do you keep pictures of her all over your room? The divorce was four years ago."
"Probably because it has been four years. I couldn't have done it right afterwards. But that's the only hologram I've got of Joanna--we're planning to have another one done on her birthday this year--and the pictures aren't just pictures of my ex-wife. They're pictures of the time we took Joanna to see Niagara Falls, and the time Helen taught her to ice skate, and the time we took her apple picking. No point in forgetting all that just because Helen and I can't spend two hours together without getting in an argument about one damned thing or another."
"Sounds pleasant," Jim said, grimacing.
"Yeah, well, we spent the first few years of our marriage never arguing about anything more serious than whether we wanted to have waffles or scrambled eggs for breakfast, so it evens out. Next time, I figure I'll marry someone who I fight with all the time, and maybe we can settle into a nice detente a few years later that can last us the rest of our lives."
Jim choked a little on his bourbon. "You're planning to get married again?"
"Sure, why not?"
"I guess I thought you were done with marriage. That's what it seemed like when we met, anyway."
"Three weeks after a man's divorce is finalized isn't the best time to assess what he thinks of marriage as an institution," Bones said sternly. "That's like...like asking someone how they feel about sex right after they've come down with Benecian syphilis. Soon as they've stopped bleeding out of all their orifices, they're liable to change their mind."
"Fair enough," Jim said, taking another sip of his drink and doing his best to shove that mental image away.
"Hey!" Jim said when the heavy metal door creaked open and Spock and Bones stepped into his cell. "Nice timing! The Arkenite diplomatic delegation is apparently just a front for a Romulan conspiracy."
"Lieutenant Uhura intercepted a coded message that told us as much," Spock agreed, unlocking the shackle around Jim's wrist.
Jim's arm fell to his body like dead weight. Bones made a disgruntled noise as he attacked the abrasions on his wrist with a stinging antiseptic; Jim winced. "Oh. Well, I found the rendezvous point where the Romulans are keeping their shuttle. It's just on--"
"The other side of the ancestral tombs," Bones interrupted, starting to patch up the other wrist. "We know. Now, hold still a second so I can get some bandages on these wrists."
"The strong magnetic fields in the planet's atmosphere were affected by the sub-space generator on the Romulans' shuttlecraft," Spock explained. "Mr. Scott noticed the anomaly and was able to pinpoint the location of the shuttle."
"Okay," Jim said. "So, before the Romulans notice that they've got company, we should surround the quarry where they've got their shuttle and--"
"Unnecessary, Captain," Spock said. "Lieutenant Sulu, Dr. McCoy, Ensign Ramirez, and I have already subdued the Romulans. They are in the Enterprise brig as we speak."
"Damn it, did you leave anything fun for me to do?" Jim demanded.
"There is still the mission report to be written for Starfleet," Spock said blandly.
Bones snickered, and Jim glared at them both, even as they hauled his arms over each of their shoulders to help him walk to the shuttle.
Jim didn't want kids. One of his primary goals since he'd lost his virginity at fifteen was to avoid paternity, and the day after he turned eighteen, he was in the doctor's office demanding a vasectomy.
"The procedure is reversible in over eighty-five percent of cases, but there are no guarantees," the intake nurse said. "Have you thoroughly considered all your options? We supply our patients with free condoms, or you could get contraceptive injections, if you're able to come into our office once a month."
"I already use condoms," Jim told him. "I want this, too."
Finally, they agreed to do the procedure, and Jim traded his fertility for a whole lot of peace of mind. Plus, he scored a handful of free condoms from the nurse on his way out.
He hadn't regretted his decision once, even after it became obvious that he'd managed to not only succeed, but to excel in the Academy, and was on the road to having a successful career as a Starfleet officer. He might have suddenly become respectable, but that didn't make children a good idea. Any hypothetical children couldn't come on board with him and he sure as hell wasn't going to leave them behind on Earth or some other planet, and he wasn't going to let Starfleet stick him with a deskjob if there were anything he could do to prevent it.
Still, there were times when Bones would talk about his daughter, looking proud and happy and somehow surprised, like the fact of her existence hadn't quite sunk in yet, and it would hit Jim that he'd never feel that way about anyone.
"Jo took first place in her school's comprehensive physics exams," Bones announced over breakfast, self-conscious at playing the proud father and smug in equal measure.
"Awesome," Jim said. "Tell her congratulations from me, okay?"
"Sure," Bones said, before shifting the conversation to the latest gossip about Scotty's widely believed but as yet unverified efforts at building a still in the depths of the Enterprise. Unlike some men Jim had known, he was sensitive to the idea that not everyone wanted to hear about their offspring's accomplishments in exhaustive detail. Jim had never told him that he wouldn't mind hearing more about Joanna, who seemed like a pretty great kid based on the one time he'd met her at the Academy and the stories Bones had told him.
Sleeping with members of your crew might not be against regulations, but a captain's sleeping with multiple crewmembers was just asking for trouble. It was bad enough that Jim had already hooked up with at least fourteen people at the Academy who were later assigned to the Enterprise; he wasn't going to compound the error by widening that circle. Besides, it wasn't as though there wouldn't be other opportunities.
What Jim hadn't quite counted on was how few and far between those opportunities were. It wasn't uncommon for the Enterprise to go three or four weeks encountering planets whose life included nothing more advanced than fish.
Bones took an unholy pleasure in laughing at him whenever that happened. Which might explain why Jim was so annoyed the third time he stopped by Bones's quarters only to find Ensign Carter already there. Bones had spent his three years at the Academy in an exclusive relationship with his coursework, and Jim hadn't considered the notion that that was a temporary condition which could be abandoned at any time, including times when Jim himself had sworn off.
Jim knew how to be a better friend than to air his disgruntlement, so as soon as Ensign Carter had said her goodbyes, he said something encouraging and only a little obscene about Bones's new lady friend.
Bones just stared at him.
"What?" Jim asked defensively.
"I can't tell if you actually think you're fooling me, or if you're too busy fooling yourself," Bones growled.
Jim opened his mouth to ask what? again, possibly with a bit of accompanying profanity, but before he could, Bones swept in and kissed him. Jim blinked, and then Bones cupped his face in both hands and tilted his head to a better angle, and Jim realized he was going to have to do something. He kissed back with enthusiasm. Bones might have been right about his obliviousness--not that Jim planned on telling him that--but Jim was good at thinking on his feet, and he only got better at it when the stakes were high.