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Title: All Our Scattered Leaves
Author: caitri
Rating: R (Language, Character Death)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 2,714
Summary: “I will follow you into the dark.” Sequel to Trepidation of the Spheres.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.

A/N: For the record, I meant to write a totally, completely different fic, but Jim took over. Um, sorry.



… all mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.
--John Donne, Meditation XVII


2260

The man who is and isn’t Bones has left to go to his own quarters, and Jim looks at himself sternly in the artificial light of—artificial lighting. The bed is mussed, reeking of sex and the other man. Something familiar and pained burns in Jim’s stomach, and he inhales sharply, closing his eyes.

Things are what they are, Kirk, he tells himself. So man up and fucking deal.

He rubs his face in frustration and goes to his bathroom. He gives himself a long look in the mirror—he used to be so vain, he thinks. It seems like ages since he’s looked at himself properly. Jim’s twenty-seven, the youngest Captain in Starfleet’s history, but he feels like he’s a century old most of the time. There are dark smudges under his eyes, little lines at the mouth, incipient crow’s feet. His beard is short and it makes him look even older.

Jim knows he’s been hiding from—well. Something. Dealing, he supposes. But no Kirk has ever hidden forever.

Time for a change.

“No man is an island,” he tells the mirror as he picks up a long-neglected razor.


All Our Scattered Leaves


2258

Jim looks at the old house with the two cars parked outside of it. He was last here five months ago, him and Bones on their holiday furlough. It was a tradition they had made, unspoken: vacations and weekends not spent studying could be spent roaming around California, or camping, and definitely and no way in hell were they spent in Iowa, but holidays were always spent with Bones’s family back in Georgia.

He exhales heavily. Jocelyn and Eleanor are both expecting him. He’d commed them that he was coming—it was only fair. They’d gotten the official notice from Starfleet weeks ago, of course, well before the Enterprise was even home again.

Jim has brought Bones home, too. He’d never thought he’d have to do it this way, but—

“Uncle Jim!”

Nine year old Joanna McCoy has run out from—okay, Jim’s not sure where she emerged, but she’s hugging him tightly now. “Uncle Jim!”

He kneels down and holds her close. “Hey, munchkin,” he says softly. “How’re you doin’?”

Jo looks at him, her face tear-streaked. She’s wearing a dress that he knows Jocelyn must have picked for her—it’s pink and ruffley, two of the things JoJo loathes more than anything else. “Things suck,” she says.

“Yeah, tell me about it,” he agrees. They stare at each other; her eyes are a familiar hazel, and he feels his own eyes start to moisten in response. His dress uniform feels too tight all of a sudden, too. He rubs his eyes roughly, trying to push the tears away. “Shit,” he says, then flinches, because what kind of example is that for a kid? “Sorry,” he adds.

“No problem. Just don’t let Mama or Nana hear you,” Jo says dourly. “I got in trouble for saying that earlier.”

“I’ll try to behave,” Jim promises, “if you do too. Deal?”

“Deal,” Jo nods, and takes his hand. They walk inside together.

~

He somehow manages to tell them the story, all over again: How Bones is the real hero. How he got Jim onboard the Enterprise before the Battle of Vulcan, how he saved Pike’s life in surgery. If you read the stuff on the nets, people forget that part. Not Jim, though.

He’ll never forget.

Jim stays for the funeral, which is two days later. Eleanor McCoy insists that he stay with her, and at night she shows him holos of her son, many of them with David McCoy, and they talk and they cry and they talk some more and laugh because wouldn’t Leonard have been exasperated as all Hell over this fuss?

The funeral is a blur, punctuated by moments that stand out in stark relief, etched in his mind like old-Earth photos:

The coffin, draped in the flag of the United Federation of Planets being lowered into the ground.

Eleanor McCoy in a dark blue dress, burying her son next to his Father.

JoJo standing between him and Jocelyn, who is dry-eyed next to Clay Treadway. JoJo’s hand comes to his when the pastor starts reciting the Lord’s Prayer, her grip tight, and he squeezes her hand firmly.

~

He gets her first comm a few days after the Enterprise has embarked on the first five year mission.

“Tell me about Daddy,” she says.

“What do you want to know?” he asks, at a bit of a loss.

“Everything,” Jo says.

“Alright then,” Jim says after a pause. “Let me tell you about the first time we took a shuttle flight sim together…”



2267

Jim sits in his quarters, Spock across from him.

“I loved her,” he says softly, in wonderment and disappointment. “I really did.”

Edith Keeler.

Jim had known what was coming too late. He expected history to be different, but M’Benga had taken Bones’s role in this piece of history, had had an accidental overdose of cordrazine, had gone back in time and changed the universe. Jim and Spock had gone back in time to restore it.

Jim hadn’t felt love for a long, long time. He’d felt it these past weeks despite himself for that clever, beautiful woman who wanted to save the world so much.

So much that by saving it, she had ruined it utterly.

Watching Edith die had been a shock to his system, because of course he had suspected—had known how it would all end, and had been helpless to change the course of events despite his own best intentions.

Love is a no-win scenario. The thought has come to mind before, but has never seemed so true as it does right now.

Spock looks at him with the Vulcan equivilant of sympathy. “No woman was ever loved as much, Jim. Because no woman was ever offered the universe for love.” He gently touches two of his fingers to Jim’s temple. “Rest now, my Captain,” he says.

Jim dreams of Bones that night.

I’m waiting on you, kid, he says. But I’m in no rush, either. Just so you know.


2271

“I can’t believe you’re teaching at the Academy this semester,” Joanna says as they walk into the large banquet hall of Archer Memorial Center. She’s holding onto his arm, wearing a green and gold dress that makes her look very adult, and Jim is simultaneously proud and upset about this.

She isn’t his little girl anymore.

“It’s so unfair,” she continues blithely, oblivious to the double-takes people are sending them. Jim seldom has an escort to dinners like this, but Jo’s taking some extra Xenophysiology courses at the Medical Center and he couldn’t pass up the chance to visit with her. “I had to take my Basic Command class with Decker. You know he’s an idiot, right?” she asks.

“Yeah, well, that’s a matter of debate” he says, glancing around carefully. No one appears to have overheard. “Try to stop channeling me at your age,” he continues. “I was a shit role model back then.”

“Yeah, right.” Jo snorts, an unladylike expression that would appall her mother and delight Bones. “You’re the hero of the Federation, I could do worse.”

“You could do better, too,” Jim says. “Look, mutual pact here, kiddo: you behave, and I’ll behave. How about that?”

Jo rolls her eyes. “You’re no fun, Jim,” she says. He looks at her, hard. “Okay,” she sighs.

“Good girl,” Jim says. “C’mon, I’ll get you a dri—“

“Jim!” Jo’s eyes are wide, staring into the crowd. “Who is that?”

Jim stares in the general direction of her gaze. Blinks. “That’s Sulu,” he says. “I thought he was on the Enter--“

“Introduce me!” Joanna demands. “Now!”

~

Jo and Hikaru are married six months later. Demora is born a year after that.

Jim is a grandfather. Kind of.

He stays at their apartment in San Francisco after the baby’s born, taking turns with the new parents in the care of Demora for her first few weeks.

He’s alone with her late one night. “I wish your real Grandpa could see you, sweetie,” he murmurs to the little girl. “He’d be over the moon.”

“You think?”

Jim turns around. Jo is in a loose sweatshirt and pants. Her dark hair is down, and there are dark smudges under her eyes. Her pale skin looks nearly translucent with exhaustion and the after-effects of pregnancy.

“Yeah,” he says softly. “I’m sure.” He offers the baby to her, but she strokes Demora’s head and allows him to cuddle the little girl a while longer.

“Hey, Jim?” Jo’s voice is hesitant.

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“Do you still miss him?”

Bones. “Yeah,” he says after a pause.

Jo nods. “Me, too.” She takes Demora back then, and he gives them both a careful hug.


2287

Jim has talked Spock and Nyota into going camping with him, and he’s feeling pretty smug about it. The three of them sit around the fire, cooking smores, and Nyota is enjoying getting Spock drunk on chocolate as much he is. And as the embers burn low, talk turns more serious.

“What was that scene on the mountain for, Jim?” Nyota says. “Isn’t it bad enough you have to get your danger-jones when we’re in space?”

Jim shrugs and grins.”Oh, no. It isn't that,” he says, carefully skirting the issue. “I knew I wouldn't die because the two of you were with me.

Spock frowns. “I don't understand,” he says.

Jim flushes and looks away. “I've always known... I'll die alone,” he says at last. He rolls his eyes at his friends’ hesitating looks. “I knew that before I met Ambassador Spock,” he says gently. “Trust me on this.”

“I think it’s bull,” Nyota says. “And you’re drunk and morbid.”

“You’re probably right,” Jim says agreeably.

Spock frowns, and says nothing.



2303

Jim is seventy years old, and he is dying.

He’s still young by contemporary medical standards, but he’s spent his entire life escaping death by a hairsbreadth, having his brain mucked about with by dozens of alien life forms, having his body brutally punished by fights, torture, conditioning. And now it’s failing him.

It’s the hardest for Joanna. “We can do something, dammit,” she says stubbornly, sounding so like her father it fucking kills him.

“No you can’t, JoJo,” he tells her gently. “Death’s a part of life, too, you know. You can only hold it at bay for so long, and then—“ He waggles his fingers at her, like a magician performing a trick.

Jo’s face breaks then, and her hazel eyes flood with tears. “It’s not fair, Jim!” she says, and he pulls her close to him in a bear hug. “It’s not fair!”

“Life’s not fair, kiddo,” he says. “But I’ve had a good run of it, all things considered. So, stop crying, and listen to me.” She snuffles, but listens intently.

~

Jim makes his goodbyes quietly, ties up his loose ends. He thinks he’s being discreet and circumspect, but somehow his old crew is still waiting for him on his yacht when he prepares to leave.

All of them are there.

“Exactly how dumb do you think we are?” Nyota demands.

“We would not have you face this alone, Jim,” Spock says. He presses two fingers to Jim’s temple in a telepathic brush. You need not be afraid, old friend. The Vulcan’s mental voice is firm. “We are with you, as ever, Captain,” he says aloud.

“Don’t look at me,” says Sulu sheepishly.

“Or me,” adds Joanna.

“I’ll take responsibility,” Demora says bravely. “Well, some of it,” she adds.

“Ve’ll take the rest, sir,” says Pavel.

Scotty just shakes his head. “I brought ye this,” he says gruffly, pressing a bottle into Jim’s hands. “I brought a lot more. We’ll need it, too.”

“Someone has to keep you all out of trouble,” says M’Benga.

Gaila snorts. “Like that’ll happen,” she says.

~

To everyone’s amazement, the trip is quiet and easy, and spent chatting and reshashing old stories, old adventures.

Fuck, they’ve had some amazing times, Jim thinks in satisfaction. Then, how fucking much he’s going to miss them all.

They arrive at the Guardian’s Planet mid-morning.

“I’m coming with you,” Spock says as Jim prepares to beam down.

“I’m doing this alone,” Jim says stubbornly.

“No, you aren’t,” Spock says serenely. “And as you are no longer my commanding officer, you will just have to accept the fact.”

Jim shakes his head, but feels better all the same.

The surface of the planet is as blasted and gray as it was so long ago. The Guardian looks the same as well.

Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.

“Guardian,” Jim says. “Show me Leonard Horatio McCoy. Show me Bones,” he adds more quietly.

He waits patiently for the Guardian to show him what he wants to see, and times it on his tricorder. “This is it, then” he says, turning back to Spock.

“Goodbye, Jim,” Spock says softly. “It—has been an honor to have been your friend.”

“Yeah,” Jim says with a smile. “Ditto.” They shake hands, hard; Jim’s hand trembles from arthritis and age and ill health. That’s all it is. Spock’s hand clasps his tighter, stilling the shaking. Jim gives him a ghost of his old sunniness. “Bye, Spock” he whispers.

“I will wait for fifteen minutes,” Spock says. “Just…in case.”

“Right,” Jim says. “You do that.”

The Guardian is replaying the scenes from before, and when it’s the moment he’s timed so carefully, he moves.

It’s like he remembered from years ago: a sensation like falling, and then he’s back on the Enterprise.

The original Enterprise, NCC-1701, just after the Narada’s destruction. The inertia dampers have failed.

Bones is holding onto the edge of the biobed, his expression one of frustration as his fingers slip, and then he’s floating. When he sees Jim, he stares at him. “Jim?!” his voice is astonished, disbelieving.

“I love you, Bones,” Jim says.

“I love you, too, idiot,” Bones says, his expression confused. “What happened—“

The inertia dampers come back on.

Bones falls fast, head hitting the biobed.

Jim knows he’s dead instantly. He himself hits the floor hard, and his old body can’t take the shock of it.

He lies across from Bones, feeling himself going while all around them is noise and shouting and light. The light grows bigger, encompassing, bright—

~

“Where the hell have you been, kid?”

“I had things to do, man. I got here quick as I could, though.”

“Well, you kept me waiting!”

“I know. Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay. You’re here now.”

“Yeah, I know. I missed you, Bones.”

“Yeah. I missed you, too. Infant.”


Author’s Gratuitous Notes

Spock’s lines “No woman was ever loved as much, Jim. Because no woman was ever offered the universe for love.” and the Guardian’s line "Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question." come from the original Harlan Ellison screenplay for The City on the Edge of Forever. (Nerd trivia: only the Guardian’s lines survived Roddenberry’s rewrite intact.)

Kirk and Spock’s dialogue about Kirk dying alone is also borrowed from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Comments

( 46 comments — Add your .02 )
seanchaidh
Aug. 1st, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
Whoa. That? Was a heart-tugging experience. Lovely. :)
caitri
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks!! :)
rubynye
Aug. 1st, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
I wanted this story since halfway through "Trepidation of the Spheres". Maybe even before.

It's even lovelier than I thought it would be.

*applauds, wiping my streaming eyes*
caitri
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks! Glad to know, considering it was supposed to come out completely differently. (Jim was going to heal and build a new life and be all hopeful and stuff, and...he took over and said No. so. Um.)
dftreaper
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Why do you always make me cry, damn you! Ugh. I love this. I love it so much. All of it. Everything. It's beautiful. It really is.
caitri
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
I didn't mean to!! Blame it on Jim.

But seriously, thanks! :)
easilymused1956
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Wiping tears away here too. The farewell trip got me good.

But I was so very glad Jim didn't die all alone.

Renee
caitri
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
:)

They're family. Jim was nuts to think they'd ever let that happen.
fritz42
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, gee whiz, you have made me cry. This was so amazing and so touching, how he did pull himself out of mourning for Bones but he never, ever forgot him. The times with Joanna were the hardest to read, knowing he saw Bones so clearly thorough her and knew she had to live without her dad. He did such a wonderful job of trying to fill in that gap in her life.

And the use of the Guardian at the end so that he could tell Bones he loved him before Bones was killed? Brilliant. I loved that he didn't try and change history, and that they were able to die "together." The fact that his friends and crew were there with him towards the end was so damn touching.

Hint, though. Don't listen to sad music while you are reading this. I'm having a hard time seeing what I am writing through my tears.

Now as Bones would say, where are the damn tissues?

"T"
caitri
Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
*hands you a box*

Dang, thank you for the lovely comments!!!
blcwriter
Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Oh-- oh-- OH.

That is all.
caitri
Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Er, thanks...I hope?
blcwriter
Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)
Just speechless, and so glad to see the rest of the other Jim's story.
caitri
Aug. 2nd, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
Okay, phew, thanks. :):)
blue_jack
Aug. 2nd, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
D8 D8 D8

Man, the poor boys! *sniffles* At least they're together again.
caitri
Aug. 2nd, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, they'll never really be apart, will they?
gadgetorious
Aug. 2nd, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
YOU POSTED IT!

I'm glad you decided to keep what you had. As I've said (probably half a dozen times now :P) I like it as it is.

:D
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:33 am (UTC)
Glad you did, cos you know I was twitchy about it for a while!!
gadgetorious
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
You're twitchy by your chipmunk-y nature.
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
Methhead chipmunk even.
gadgetorious
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
You're frighteningly chipper.
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:39 am (UTC)
Apparently so. But you and Spock I mean Todd agree on this a lot.
gadgetorious
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
I thought I was Spock. D:
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
No, you're Bones. And I'm Jim. :P
zauzat
Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
That was very touching, a lovely read.
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you!!
weepingnaiad
Aug. 2nd, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
*weeps*

Damn, bb! This was gorgeous! Aching and about killed me reading it, but at least he didn't die alone and got to tell Bones he loved him before it was over.
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks!!! I'm starting to freak out a little that I amde multiple people cry!!
vala3
Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Totally angsty yet very compelling. Loved TCOTEOF. Glad Jim made it back before his end.
caitri
Aug. 3rd, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
:) Thank you!!! And yeah "City" may be one of my most favorite eps of all time.
anutty1
Aug. 3rd, 2010 06:32 am (UTC)
This was absolutely beautiful. Sad...but, ultimately hopeful. Great job!
horseheadnebula
Aug. 3rd, 2010 09:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, right. Where are the damn tissues?
This was so wonderfully heartbreaking, thank you!
secretsolitaire
Aug. 10th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Oh, Jim!

I love his bond with Joanna, and I really love that he didn't die alone. ♥
caitri
Aug. 10th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks, bb!!!
the_dala
Sep. 8th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Don't mind me, I'll just be sitting here in a corner sobbing.
caitri
Sep. 8th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
*pat pat*

Yeeeeeeeah. Go read a happy one now? :)
aadarshinah
Jan. 16th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
i love how you managed to work so much TOS into this story but still keep it so very much nu!Trek. Poor Jim... it definately tugged at my heartstrings.
caitri
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
Yeah. The really sad part was, that wasn't how it was supposed to turn out at all. Jim was going to move on and be all happy and stuff, and then he's all, No, I wanna go have this bittersweet tragic "Broken Bride" moment. IDEFK.
aadarshinah
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
yeah. And then you have the whole thing (or, at least, I do) at the end where you've gotta wonder, "Is Jim going back and telling Bones he loves him the thing that got Bones killed in the first place?" But three thumbs up for bittersweet endings.
caitri
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
it's not just you. I didn't think of it but gadgetorious pointed out and I was like OH. DAMN. :/
aadarshinah
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
well, as long as I'm in good company...
lyradanagreen
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
All Our Scattered Leaves...
Gosh. You are very clever. I have only just read "Trepidation Of The Spheres" and commented in a disjointed but well meaning way, so here goes for its companion piece.

Clever, full of excellent TOS etc. bits (well done, you Trekker, you), and full of angst-y goodness. And it is a love story, huh. With added time travel... Excellent.

Also, I meant to praise you for your lovely use of prose in your "TotS" and for your excellent ST TOS trivia knowledge as well as your kick-ass, make-em cry, clever writing style, but I'll do it here if you don't mind and hope that you will accept my thanks for a great reading experience.

Thank you for writing and sharing such a lovely story.
ninfomana
May. 27th, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever cried this much over a fic. What are you doing to me tonight?! She went to marry Sulu and they had Demora and then I knew I didn't want to read anymore but it wasn't cause it was bad, it was because it was so good and I could feel all the crying coming before it got there and then I fell apart and oh god, all of it, and I can't stop this miserable crying and it's so good, thank you.

I will come back when I am coherent and not crying my head off. ♥
caitri
May. 28th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
Since you read both fics in succession, I'm just glad you liked them both and thought both universes worked. :) (And yeah, Kirk's beard? it could work!) *hands you tissues* And I'm sorry I made you cry but thrilled you cared so much!
berengaria1066
Oct. 29th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
This... was just the best. I laughed, I cried. I love your writing! Thanks for sharing it.
caitri
Oct. 30th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!
( 46 comments — Add your .02 )

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