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Title: Something to Hold On To
Author: caitri
Rating: PG (Language, Mild Sexual Content)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 5,352
Summary: AU. Leonard McCoy is a doctor, Jim Kirk is--something else. He's not sure what. Neither is the government.
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.

Thanks to gadgetorious for beta'ing!



2010

“What do we got?” Leonard asks. It’s barely four in the morning and today was supposed to be his day off, dammit, but for some reason he’s being brought in with no never mind—and when the hospital sends a car with a couple of Feds to make sure he’s up and out of bed and on his way…. Leonard doesn’t know what’s going on, why they called him, but he’s there.

Holding onto a cup of coffee for dear life, but there.

“They won’t tell me,” says Chapel. She looks just as out of it as he does. They must’ve called her up, too—everyone at the hospital knows he and Chapel make a hell of a team. “I think they’re gonna tell us when we get there.”

“Right,” Leonard says, “because it always works so well when you wake up your med team at ass o-clock in the morning and bring ‘em in without a word of warning.”

They’re ushered into the Director’s office. There’s four men, all in dark suits and sunglasses (And again, it’s four o’ clock in the morning, what sun is there? And yeah, Leonard knows they aren’t really sunglasses, they’re those transition lenses beloved of security types every where, but still). One of them steps forward and slaps a file folder onto the desk in front of him.

“Leonard McCoy,” he says. “Your country needs you.”

Leonard grunts, unimpressed with the melodrama. “For what?” he asks as he opens up the folder.

Out falls a photo of Jim.

He stares, and only dimly hears the man continuing, “To save this man’s life.”


Something to Hold On To


1995

“Aren’t you a little young to be a doctor?” the guy on the table asks. His file folder says his name is Jim Kirk, that he’s got no known allergies, no emergency contacts, and he needs two dozen stitches for the wicked cut in his arm.

“I’m in med school,” Leonard admits without looking up. “This is my practicum for the semester.”

“Working in the ER?” The guy makes a rough sound of amusement. “What, is that to like weed kids out or something?”

“I wonder sometimes,” Leonard says honestly. He looks up at the man for the first time, tries not to look as shaken as he feels, then, because those blue eyes are looking straight through him, he swears to fucking God. Mouth dry, he continues, “So what have we got here?”

“I fell, Doctor,” Jim Kirk says glibly.

“Tell me another one.” Leonard works quickly, eyes on his work as he fills the syringe and injects it in the man’s arm. Only a brief glance of the other man and he feels warm all over, like some damn kid with a crush. “That’s a general anasesthetic,” he says cooly. “I’m gonna clean you up now, then stitch you up. Got any questions?”

“Yeah,” Jim says. “Where are you from?”

Leonard can feel his lips quirking upwards as the man changes the subject. “I’m from north Georgia—grew up about eighty miles from here, actually,” he says. “And you don’t get cuts like that from falls, not unless you fell on someone’s knife. What’s up?” He looks at the man again, is surprised by the unreadableness of that expression.

“Southern men know a lot about injuries, huh?” Those bright blue eyes are dark, shutting him out.

“Southern doctors do, yeah.” Leonard tries to swallow back his irritation.

“You’re not a doctor yet, though. Oof!” Jim grunts as he starts sewing him up.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Leonard says slowly, because he’s concentrating.

“Yeah, I can tell.” They’re both quiet. Leonard tries not to tremble, because this is the first time he’s done this—and he doesn’t want Jim to know.

“Your first time?”

Dammit.

Leonard concentrates on finishing the job before answering. “How did you know?”

Jim grins at him. “Didn’t until now. I was just giving you shit.” His expression softens a little, those eyes warming up again. “You’ve got a gift, kid.”

Leonard snorts. “Who’re you calling kid?” he asks. The man is maybe thirty to his own twenty-two. “You can’t be that much older than me.”

Jim shoots him another of those unreadable looks of his. “I’m older than I look,” he says.

“Yeah, well.” Leonard shrugs as he turns to wash up. “Just promise me you’ll be careful, okay? You’re good to go but you’ll need to watch that arm—“ He turns back, but Jim is gone.

On his way home that night, Leonard thinks about the man. There was something—off about him, but he’s not sure what. Nothing remarkable in his clothes or voice, nothing frightening or worrisome in his demeanor. He was just—off, like he was out of place somehow. Like he was a puzzle and there was a piece missing.

Leonard tries to put him out of his head.

~

Jim shows up again a few weeks later. Leonard is coming off-shift and Jim is waiting across the street. Leonard swallows, because he can tell from the man’s expression that he was waiting for him, and he’s not sure if he should be thrilled or—something else. And while he’s wondering why he suddenly feels like a live wire, why he’s altering his path to meet the other man—his feet move as if he’s drawn along by magnets towards Jim Kirk.

Jim walks towards him too, the both of them stopping when they are inches apart.

“Hi, Bones,” Jim says. “Miss me?”

“Bones?” Leonard echoes blankly.

Jim shrugs and gives him a grin. “Old Navy parlance for doctors. I’ve got a few hours—wanna grab dinner with me?”

“I know a place,” Leonard says.

There’s an all-night greasy spoon around the corner called Plato’s. It’s one of those Greek diners where they add feta cheese to the scrambled eggs and have baklava in the case with the cream pies. It’s a heart attack on a plate for every undergrad on an all-night study bender, for folks roadtripping through the city, for med students who don’t make a habit of keeping real food in their mini-fridges.

Jim orders a plate of eggs with ham, biscuits, and home fries. The waitress brings it out on this wide platter, and the other man starts to inhale it. He’s thirsty, too, downing three sodas in quick succession.

Leonard sits back with his cup of coffee and his pecan waffles, watching the guy eat. When half the plate is empty he starts slowing down, and looks faintly sheepish. “Sorry,” he says, “I was hungry.”

“No kiddin’,” Leonard says. He’s been eyeing the man, trying to make sense of him: both times he’s seen him he’s been in the same outfit—worn jeans and a faded red tshirt. He’s lean but not thin—wiry is the term, probably: muscles neatly defined in the arms, his carriage one of someone always on the lookout. He’s relaxed right now, but it’s like watching a big cat on one of those nature programs on TV: Leonard has no doubt that if a predator or prey were to suddenly appear, Jim would react instantly and with deadly instinct.

This should be frightening, or at least off-putting. But Leonard mostly wonders what this guy’s life is like to make him like that.

Jim is looking at him with a little smile, and he realizes he’s been staring. “So,” he says, looking away, “what do you do for a living?”

“This and that,” Jim says. “Long story.”

“Try me.” He raises an eyebrow, guesses. “Navy?”

“Nah. Trust me,” the guy says, looking apologetic, “you’re better off not knowing.”

Leonard grunts. “If I’m better off,” he points out, “why are we here in the first place?”

Jim actually looks guilty at that. “Yeah,” he says, drawing the word out long and slow. “That’s my bad. I just—I get lonely sometimes. I shouldn’t be here.” He rummages in his pocket, finds some bills and coins, throws them on the table. “I’m sorry.” He’s up and leaving so fast that it takes Leonard a moment to react.

“Wait!” He pulls some more money out his wallet, tosses it on the table, and follows him at a near-run out on the street. “Wait, wait, wait!” He interposes his body in front of the other man. “Wait.”

“What?” Jim looks angry and confused and—something else.

“I—“ Leonard pauses. “I don’t know,” he says. “I just—“ He can’t articulate to himself, or to Jim either for that matter, why he cares or what he wants.

He just knows that he does.

That’s when he kisses Jim. He hadn’t planned to do it, but—he’s been looking over his shoulder for this man for weeks, and he wants to. Wants him.

Jim’s mouth is warm, tasting of eggs and cheese and the coke he’d drunk with his meal. His hands come up to Leonard’s shoulders, gripping him firmly, holding him in place.

“You sure you wanna do this, kid?” Jim asks.

“You call me kid again, I won’t,” Leonard shoots back, annoyed.

Jim smiles at that, then kisses him again, sucking on his bottom lip until his irritation is forgotten.

They go back to Leonard’s apartment. It’s an efficiency, tiny, with barely the space for his futon, his bike, and his computer. They tumble onto the futon, bodies warm and damp with sweat as they laugh and taste and touch each other.

Leonard has been with guys before—and women, too—but this is different. Jim’s caresses are practiced as he skillfully brings Leonard to the brink, and over it. Leonard knows he’s no slouch in that department himself, but—

“Where did you learn that?” he asks after one particular crafty move of Jim’s tongue.

“Risa,” Jim mutters, going back to his work.

“Where’s that?” Leonard wants to go there, like yesterday.

“It’s, uh—in the Phillipines,” he says.

Leonard doubts that for some reason, but lets it go.

Afterwards they fit together snugly, talking sleepily about—nothing. Everything. He can’t remember any one part of the conversation later, just knows that it was easy. Comfortable. That he was happy.

Jim wakes him early in the morning. “I have to go,” he says.

Leonard grunts. “I get out of class at four,” he mumbles. “Wanna go out?”

Jim shakes his head. “I’ve gotta—I’m not from here,” he says. “I—don’t know that I’ll ever even see you again.” He flinches. “I know that sounds bad, but—“

“Bullshit,” Leonard says softly. He’s awake now, and pissed. “If you just wanted a one night stand you could’ve—“ The man flinches, and Leonard breaks off his tirade. Jim looks genuinely unhappy about the whole thing. “You’re serious?”

“Yeah, Bones,” Jim says. “It’s complicated.” He pauses. “I’m sorry.”

And he leaves.

In the weeks and months that follow, more than once he thinks he sees Jim—always just out of the corner of his eye, just always out of reach. He wonders if it’s possible to be haunted by someone who is still alive.


1998

He’s working his residency at Emory when Leonard sees Jim again. The nurse hands him the case file. “Jason Bourne?” he asks, reading the name at the top of the paperwork. “Okay, what, it’s not April, is it?”

The nurse shrugs. “It’s what the patient filed.”

Leonard curses to himself, then goes to the bed where “Mr. Bourne” is waiting, moving the curtain aside angrily.

It’s Jim.

“Hi, Bones,” the man says cheerfully. He looks just the same as he did years ago—even the clothes are the same. The only thing that’s different is the bandage around his head and left eye. “Miss me?”

Leonard shakes his head, not trusting himself to speak. Instead he focuses on his work—applying anaesthetic, removing the haphazard bandage. The wound is ugly but superficial. “Do I even want to know?” he asks after some time—when he feels like he can trust his own voice to not betray how confused and pissed off he is—because that’s what he is right now. And yeah, a little bit relieved, and a little bit happy that he hasn’t completely dreamed this man up, but—no, he’s focusing now. Dammit.

“No,” Jim says. “You really don’t.”

Both men are quiet as Leonard continues to work, anger and confusion dissipating as he cleans up the wound area, applies antiseptics and clean bandages. Jim is exactly the same as before, he’s sure of it—just as he’s sure that there’s no way that’s physically possible.

“I really like you, Bones,” Jim says at last. “You should know that.”

“Then explain.” Leonard glares at the other man, angry again.

Jim pauses, as if debating something. “Okay,” he says, “I’ll tell you—I’ll tell you what I can. But not here.”

“I get off-shift in two hours,” Leonard says. “You gonna be around that long?”

Jim nods. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I will.”

Two hours later Jim meets him outside.

Two hours and twenty minutes later they’re in Leonard’s apartment.

“This is nice,” Jim says, looking around with interest. He sees the bedroom door off to the side. “More than one room, now.”

“Yeah, I’m a real grown-up.” Leonard grunts, reaching into his fridge (a regular sized one, not the old mini that gave up the ghost two years ago) and pulling out two beers. He hands one to Jim, before twisting the cap off his own and drinking half the bottle down in one go. Setting it down heavily he says, “Talk. Now.”

“Okay.” Jim frowns thoughtfully. “I work—I work for a special group of people,” he says slowly, “that do—special missions. That I’m not allowed to talk about.”

“What, like the C.I.A.?” Leonard stares at the other man. “Don’t you people wear black suits and all?”

Jim frowns thoughtfully. “Not the C.I.A.,” he says carefully. “And my—suit—isn’t black. It’s kinda gold-colored actually.”

“Right,” Leonard draws the word out. “So you do these special missions. And?”

“And,” Jim says slowly, “I end up in different places and—“ He takes a deep breath. “Times.”

“Times.” Leonard repeats the word. Tries to make sense of it. “Wait, wait. Like time travel?”

Jim looks sheepish. “Yeah,” he says, “sometimes. It gets messy.”

Leonard drinks the rest of his beer, chucks the empty bottle in the recycle bin and then reaches into the fridge for another. “Messy,” he repeats. “Time travel.” He shakes his head. “That’s why you literally haven’t changed in three years.”

“Pretty much,” Jim agrees. “Only it hasn’t been three years for me. More like two days.”

“Two days.” Jesus, Leonard is starting to feel like a damn parrot. “So that’s why you weren’t sure—“

“—that I’d ever see you again,” Jim finishes. “Yeah. I’m kind of stuck here, but not in a linear way. I come and I go and—“ He shrugs. “People are working on it.”

“And what’ll happen when they—fix it?”

“I’ll go home,” Jim answers. “Back to my ship.”

“Mmm.” Leonard takes another long gulp of his beer. “Navy, huh?”

Jim grins. “Sort of,” he says. “We’re closely modeled on the Navy, but—not.”

“Uh huh. What does your group call itself, then?”

The other man looks hesitant, then finally answers. “Starfleet,” he says.

“Starfleet,” Leonard echoes. “So does that mean—your ship—it’s in—“ He waves his hand upwards vaguely, not even daring to say it out loud.

“Yeah,” Jim says softly. “She’s in orbit in my time—around three hundred years from now.”

Leonard whistles. The saddest part of this whole thing, he thinks, is how easily he’s buying this. He has no reason to believe this guy, but—he does.

“Okay then,” he says, exhaling roughly. “How long have we got?”

~

Jim doesn’t know. It turns out to be a few hours. Leonard orders Chinese food and it’s delivered, and Jim inhales the cold sesame noodles and the orange chicken Leonard splits with him.

It’s easy talking to Jim, Leonard realizes, or more accurately, remembers. He thinks that maybe it should be harder talking to someone from the future, but it’s not. They talk about nothing in particular, and Jim starts to actually relax.

And then an astonished expression flits across his face. “Bones, I have to g—“ The word isn’t even out of his mouth before he’s gone, the only trace that he’d even been there at all the plate that still has a mess of chicken and rice on it.


2002

On the plus side, the next time he sees Jim isn’t in the ER. On the negative side, he shows up at Leonard’s wedding.

He’s obtained a black blazer from somewhere; it is at odds with the familiar tshirt and jeans, and he stands out like a sore thumb among the rest of the wedding guests.

“Who’s that?” Jocelyn asks Leonard as Jim comes closer to the head of the receiving line.

“Friend from med school,” Leonard answers vaguely. “I wasn’t sure if he’d come.”

“Congrats, guys,” Jim says with a grin when he gets there. “I’m happy for you, B—Leonard.”

“Thanks, Jim,” Leonard says, shaking the other man’s hand firmly.

“I’m afraid I can’t stay,” the other man continues to Jocelyn, “but I hope you know you’re marrying an amazing guy.”

“I know,” Jocelyn says, beaming.

Jim turns back to Leonard. “Good to see you, Bones,” he says, and then he disappears into the rest of the crowd.

“Bones?” Jocelyn asks.

“Long story, hon,” Leonard says. He looks into her cornflower blue eyes, trying to not see a different pair of brilliant blue eyes. “Old joke.”


2005

Leonard sits in his new apartment, unfurnished but for his old futon and a handful of other pieces of cheap furniture, left over from his student days. He’s glad he hadn’t given in to the urge to sell them at a yard sale or something—they’re pretty much all Jocelyn let him keep after the divorce.

He looks at the bottle of Bourbon, half-empty now. For some reason this strikes him as funny, like a glass half full…

There’s a sharp rap on the door. He ignores it.

Two more knocks.

“Fuck,” he mutters, stalking to the door and opening it up violently.

It’s Jim. “Hey, man,” he says. He holds a pizza box and six-pack of beer.

He stands aside, letting the other man into the apartment. “How did you find me?” he asks.

Jim holds up a device that looks a lot like an iPhone. “I have my ways,” he says. “Sorry, man,” he adds.

Leonard grunts as he takes one of the beers. “What are you doing here?”

“I heard about the—“ Jim starts, and when Leonard glares at him, shoots him a Cut the bullshit look, he shrugs. “You’re like—you’re a constant,” he says. “You’re the only thing keeping me in place, it feels like.” He pauses, then continues more quietly. “I can go if you want.”

“I didn’t say that,” Leonard says. It comes out more sharply than he meant it to. “I just don’t understand—us. Why we keep doing—this. Whatever it is.”

Jim nods. “I come to you because you’re the only thing I have to hold on to right now. This time loop thing—it doesn’t let me come or go wherever or whenever I want. The only place it does let me be is near you. I’ve tried to stay out of your way, believe it or not,” he continues, almost hesitantly. “I watched you going out on dates with Jocelyn and stuff. Saw you in your classes.”

“And you never said anything?” For some reason this pisses Leonard off even more. That he was there and he never—never—“Why?”

“I didn’t want to interfere,” Jim said. “I’m being really selfish here, I know that, okay? You should have a normal life. But—“ He gets really quiet then, almost apologetic. “I like being with you.”

Leonard sighs. “Yeah. Well.” He grabs a piece of pizza, chewing it slowly. It’s the first real food he’s had in a while. “How long have you been around by now?”

“Six days,” Jim says. He looks tired, Leonard notices now. No, exhausted: Dark smudges under his eyes, skin pale and wan. He looks sick. His hands tremble slightly as he holds his own piece of pizza. He catches Leonard’s eye and gives him a small smile. “This time loop thing does not do the body good,” he says.

“No shit.” Leonard grabs a blanket, wraps it around Jim’s shoulders firmly. He presses his hand to the man’s cheek, affectionately.

“Thanks, man,” Jim says, smiling slightly.

They finish the pizza, then lie back on the futon. Leonard pulls Jim to him firmly.

“Tell me about your ship,” he says.

“Mmm, the Enterprise,” Jim says sleepily. “Best ship in the fleet. Best crew. You should meet them one day. Spock’s awesome—you two would get along great. Uhura’s awesome. Scotty, Sulu and Chekov—they’re all awesome.”

“Awesome,” Leonard repeats, chuckling.

“Mmm hmm. Awesome like you, Bones,” Jim says. His lips touch his then. The kiss is long and sweet—it’s not a come on, not a case of desperate need, just—nice.

They fall asleep like that.

When Leonard wakes up, Jim’s gone. His place in the blankets is still warm.


2010

Leonard stares at the photo. He feels cold suddenly. “Save his life?”

~

Leonard spends twelve hours in surgery with Jim. He’d been shot eight times and it’s only damn luck that they didn’t hit major organs and that he didn’t bleed out before they got him to the hospital.

When Jim’s stabilized, he goes to the men in suits. “He’ll live,” Leonard says.

One of the men, who had introduced himself as Smith earlier, looks pleased. “Excellent,” he says. “That was good work, Doctor McCoy.”

Leonard grunts. He’s exhausted, emotionally worn out—not that this is the time or place to admit that—and more than anything he really just wants a damn drink.

“We’d like to keep you on hand as a consultant when it’s time for the dissection,” the agent continues.

It takes him a minute to parse that, and even then it still doesn’t make sense. “Dissection?” he echoes.

Smith nods. “You’ve now spent more time with the specimen than anyone else. This makes you a prime candidate when the time comes.”

”Dissection?!” he repeats, because it seems like something that needs, you know, repeating. “I did all that work to patch him up together again and—“

“No, no, no,” Smith says. “Of course not, not at all.” Leonard almost relaxes at that. “No, the dissection won’t be until after the complete interrogation.”

“I don’t understand,” Leonard grinds out.

“Simple,” says Smith. “You’re one of the best doctors in the state, the closest person available who could save his life. You did so, admirably. But as you saw in his file, Doctor—“ And here the man smirks, and it’s the ugliest damn expression Leonard has ever seen in his life; he wants to hit the man for just having a look that loathsome. “—this man isn’t human.”

“Bullshit,” Leonard says. “I’ve spent the past day up to my elbows in his entrails—trust me, he’s human, alright.”

That surprises Smith. “Really? Interesting. I look forward to spending more time with—him, then.”

The way he says it, “him” was clearly not the word he was going to use. Leonard has no doubt he had planned to say “it.”

“Thank you for your time, Doctor. I look forward to reading your report.” He nods, turns on his heel, and leaves.

Fuck.

He needs to get Jim the hell out of here, fast. Without anyone knowing, and without undoing any of the careful work he’d just spent all day doing.

Fuck.

~

Leonard doesn’t have a plan. This is a problem and he is well aware of it, but he doesn’t know what else to do.

He finds an empty gurney, puts some blankets on top of it. Stares at it.

Chapel finds him. “You need help,” she says. When he stares at her, she continues, “This is me volunteering, Leonard.”

He nods at her. “I don’t know what’ll happen—“

“Me neither,” she says. “But it’s got to be a two person job, that much I know.” And she gets on the gurney, and he tucks her in.

He wheels it pell-mell to the surgery room where Jim is still on IV drips. The door is flanked by more men in suits.

“Sorry, doctor,” one of them apologizes. “We can’t let anyone in—“

Chapel groans, loudly.

“Dammit, man!” Leonard growls. “Can’t you see I have an acute case of post-prandial upper abdominal distension here? Let me by so I can help this woman!”

The men exchange looks as Chapel continues to moan theatrically. Leonard resists the urge to wipe sweat from his forehead—surely they were both overdoing it—

“Go ahead, then,” one of the men says, and waves him through.

Leonard says nothing, just wheels Chapel in intently.

When the door is shut behind them, she jumps off the gurney. “Cramps, huh?” she asks.

“What they don’t know…” He trails off. They aren’t alone in here.

Three men are also in the room—two of them in blue shirts, the third in a gold one.

One of them, a stern man with pointed ears, holds up a small object in his hand and points it at them. “Continue, Doctor M’Benga,” he says. “Mister Sulu and I will take care of this.”

“We’re friends of Jim’s,” Leonard says. He pauses, trying to remember what Jim had told him of his crew the last time he saw him. “Are you… Spock?”

A brief look of surprise flickers over the man’s features, though he keeps the object in his hand pointed at them. “I am,” he says with a short nod. “What do you know of Captain Kirk?”

“Long story,” Leonard says. “Look, we don’t have much time. We need to get him out of here.”

There’s voices in the hallway now—how they could already have figured out what they were doing, he doesn’t know—

“Hurry, Doctor,” says the man in gold—Sulu?

“Just a second,” says M’Benga. He has a device on Jim’s forehead.

“We had to artificially induce a coma,” Leonard says. “He should be coming out of it soon—“

“Bones?” Jim’s voice is rough. “Zat you?” His eyes open up, blinking blearily. “M’Benga? What you doin’ here?”

“It’s a jail break, Captain,” the other doctor says with a grin. He looks between Spock and Sulu. “He’s safe to move now.”

“No, he was shot eight times, I brought a gurney—“ Leonard breaks off as Jim sits up, rubbing his eyes.

“I have a headache,” he mutters.

“We’ll have you aboardship soon, sir,” says Sulu.

There’s yelling in the corridor now. The door to the room is abruptly knocked down, and Smith and three more men enter, guns drawn.

“Hold right there,” Smith orders.

Leonard quickly interposes his body between that of Smith and Jim. “What the hell are you doing, man?” he demands. “This is a hospital!”

Smith looks deeply unimpressed with this statement.

The sound of his gun is very loud.

“Bones, no!” Jim’s voice comes from a very great distance, as does the sound of Chapel screaming.

There’s a bright red stain on his smock, which is weird because he had changed into a clean one an hour ago—

He’s going into shock, he knows. He can feel the symptoms of tachycardia as his heart beats too fast from fear and is unable to properly oxygenate his blood, and of course, the blood loss is becoming an issue too…

“Bones, hold on, okay? Just hold on—“

Bright lights, shimmering.

If this is what death is like, it’s not that bad…

“Bones!”

~

When he wakes up, he’s in a well-lit room on a narrow bed. There’s a computer console nearby, and Doctor M’Benga is peering at it. He smiles when he sees Leonard looking at him.

“Welcome back,” the man says. “How are you feeling?”

Leonard’s mouth feels like it’s full of cottonballs, but he’s not in pain. He peers down at himself—at some point someone put him into a plain black knit shirt and trousers. He pulls the end of the shirt up, peering at his abdomen curiously. There are no marks, no sign of anything—

“Dermal regenerator,” M’Benga explains. “We beamed you out pretty fast, got that bullet out quick as we could. You’ll be a little tender for a day or so, but you’re fine.”

“How’s Jim?” Leonard asks immediately.

The doctor smiles at that. “He’s on the bridge. I wasn’t going to let him down here until I was sure you were taken care of.” He frowns then, abruptly. “Look, what happened is—unusual. We have to talk about it first. Without the Captain here.”

“Why?” Leonard demands. “Jim—“

“The Captain was caught in a trans-time singularity,” M’Benga says. “It lasted a week for him—“

“—and fifteen years for me,” Leonard finished for him quickly. “Yeah, I got that. You’re from the future. Dammit, man, I don’t care. Is he going to be okay?”

If M’Benga is taken aback by his intensity, he doesn’t show it. “We’re in the twenty-third century now, Doctor McCoy,” he says. “We altered the memories of Nurse Chapel and the agents. We would’ve altered yours too—“

“No,” Leonard says hoarsely, “you wouldn’t dare!”

“—except that there wasn’t time, after the surgery, and we had to leave. We’re in the twenty-third century,” he repeated, “and we can’t send you back.”

Leonard stares at him. “So?”

“So?” M’Benga echoes. “Most people, upon learning that they’ve been displaced a few centuries and won’t be able to return, don’t just say ‘So.’”

“Yeah, well, I’m not most people,” Leonard says. “I don’t have anything back there to miss. But Jim—“ He breaks off. He’s not going to tell this stranger that he’s been—been in love with this man, this figment, for over a decade, when he hasn’t even told Jim himself. “I need to see him.”

M’Benga nods. He walks over to a device on one wall. “M’Benga to bridge. Captain, he’s awake. He wants to see you.”

Jim is there moments later. He has a gold shirt on, and he looks bright and glowing with health. Better than Leonard has ever seen him, really.

It’s been fifteen years for him, and Jim has changed so little. He must’ve been thirty when they first met. Leonard is thirty-seven now, so he’s actually older than the Captain. This realization entertains him.

“Hey, Bones,” Jim says, smiling—and the smile widens as Leonard’s lips twitch upwards back at him.

“Hey, Jim,” Leonard says.

“I’ll just let you two—whatever,” M’Benga says. He’s smiling too, shaking his head as he leaves.

“Doctor M’Benga. Nice man,” Jim says.

“Yeah,” Leonard agrees.

And suddenly they are together, arms around one another, teeth clacking with the intensity of their kisses. It’s all unspoken, but the words are present as an undercurrent: I’m here, I know, I love you, I need you, stay. Stay.

When they break apart some time later, Jim speaks. His voice is husky with shyness, with affection, with—other things. “It’ll be difficult, but—I want you with me, Bones.”

“I know,” Leonard says. He grimaces to himself. “I’m gonna have to go back to medical school here, aren’t I?”

Jim laughs, an open, free sound. “Maybe,” he says, “but you’ll be back at work again in no time.” He looks hesitant. “You really don’t mind?”

“Jim.” He pauses, then continues on stolidly. “You said I was the one thing you had to hold onto. I never told you before, but you should know—it works two ways. Always did.”

Jim nods slowly. “Good to know, Bones,” he says. “Good to know.”

END.

Author’s Gratuitous Notes

I totally borrowed the cramps joke from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Couldn’t help it. Sorry.

Comments

( 64 comments — Add your .02 )
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gadgetorious
Aug. 30th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)
Me? Camping out your journal so I could comment on this? Pssshh.... okay, yes.

BUT I ONLY WANT TO LOVE YOU, CAIT. O_O

Okay, creepiness aside, there are so many things I love about this. The time travel is a given, of course, but I love how Jim is sort of in orbit around Bones and Bones doesn't even realize it. <333
karraparis
Aug. 30th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
I'll share my smores with you, gadget.

I have to say I love your use of the third secondary plot line in my favorit trek movie!
Now get back here and write a sequel about Bones going to starfleet med and Jim!

We can't be left hanging not like this. We need more!
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 31st, 2010 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karraparis - Aug. 31st, 2010 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 31st, 2010 01:15 am (UTC) - Expand
caera1996
Aug. 30th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
Now you've made me stay up way too late to read your story.

Totally worth it. ;)

This was fantastic. Thank you for sharing!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Caitri--preventing fangirls from a proper night's sleep since 1981. :D
sunriseinspace
Aug. 30th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
I love how it kinda-sorta-maybe is a Quantum Leap-type thing (any sort of time jumping fic takes me back to Quantum Leap, I don't even know why). I just love that he got to take Bones with him. :DDDD

Now I wish I could find that one fic that really was a Quantum Leap-type thing....OH DARN, SO MANY K/M FICS TO GO THROUGH, AGAIN
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
lol@Quantum Leap love. I haven't tried rewatching that show--I'm kinda afraid it won't hold up to the memories I have of it.
race_the_ace
Aug. 30th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Awesome, I loved this idea/concept. It's great to see something new every once in a while. Write more!!

Cheers,
Ace
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
:D

Thanks!!! (Although thewrite more amuses me--I have over 100K of fic on my site, lady! ;) :D)
dramapunk
Aug. 30th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
aw this is cute. I got a hint of Time travelers wife and other awesomeness.

Also as we speak I am working on your fic hehe.
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
:D :D :D
(no subject) - dramapunk - Aug. 31st, 2010 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 31st, 2010 03:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dramapunk - Aug. 31st, 2010 03:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 31st, 2010 03:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dramapunk - Aug. 31st, 2010 04:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Aug. 31st, 2010 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dramapunk - Aug. 31st, 2010 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
tocourtdisaster
Aug. 30th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
This is so so awesome. The time travel and Jim in orbit around Bones and Bones not caring that he's stuck in the 23rd century as long as he's with Jim.... Perfection!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
D'aww, thanks!!!
bozothemoose
Aug. 30th, 2010 06:19 am (UTC)
THIS SHIT IS CRAZY (it's crazy).

Seriously, I am like, incoherent from the utter COOLNESS of this. Ugh. So cool.

I think I'm just going to go chill over here for a while and soak the awesomeness up for a bit.
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
lol, awesome!!!! *beams*
just_jane_doe
Aug. 30th, 2010 09:47 am (UTC)
this was so much fun! loved the set-up and scenario very much, as well as the characters - great job! thoroughly enjoyed!!!!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
:) thanks!!
secretsolitaire
Aug. 30th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC)
Officially going to be late to work now, but it was worth it -- I loved this. ♥
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
Er, sorry? But I feel awesome that you liked the story that much!
mallorypen
Aug. 30th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
I love the fact that they act as one another's constants. And I'll bet Bones uses this opportunity to call jim 'kid' whenever he can.

Lovely fic, dear!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
:D

Of course he does. Jim will never live it down. (Not that he minds or anything.)
blcwriter
Aug. 30th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Points at icon.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
avictoriangirl
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
This is awesome! Time travel and them being each others constants. *happy sigh*
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks, bb! :)
emiliglia
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
It's The Time Traveler's Wife-esque but better because it's Jim and Bones. This was just...entirely brilliant. And I was giggling at the STIV reference. And I wish I had more coherent things to say about how much I loved this, but I'm just heart-eyed and flailing. Memming!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *beams at you*
sail_aweigh
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
That was really fun! Time travel is one of those tropes that can be bent, folded, spindled and mutilated in the most lovely ways. Poor Jim, stuck looping around and around, but at least he had Bones. Agent Smith made me think of the Matrix, hee.
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Hee, I was wondering if anyone was gonna get that reference. ;)
suddenlyswept
Aug. 30th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
LOVED this! love how bones is the point at which jim always comes back to - his universe trying to correct itself cause clearly it MUST have a Bones in it :D

it is AWESOME! and i totally giggled at the STIV reference. but really- just LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!
caitri
Aug. 31st, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks, bb!!!!!!!!!
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