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Fic: Dreams Like Ghosts, PG, Kirk/McCoy

Title: Dreams Like Ghosts
Author: caitri
Rating: PG
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word count: 1609
Summary: Jim has horrible nightmares. Leonard dreamwalks to find the cause. X-over of sorts with Supernatural. Written for gadgetorious.

Jim Kirk has nightmares. Not every night, but enough that Leonard McCoy knows that his new, obnoxiously cheerful and obnoxiously brilliant roommate has something in his past besides a heroic, dead father. Young kid with a hard-on for glory--Starfleet is full of those, but Jim isn't one of them.

"Don't look so worried, Bones," Jim tells him with a grin one morning. His forehead is sweaty, his eyes still slightly unfocused from sleep even as he tries to reassure Leonard. "It's just the pepperoni pizza from the mess. I should learn to stay away from that stuff at midnight study hall."

"Indigestion. Right," Leonard drawls dubiously. He doesn't press further, not that time. And actually, the nightmares taper off the longer they're actually at the Academy, and he wakes up less to the muffled cries and whimpers that no one with a PhD in psychology would ever believe came from dodgy food.

And then they take the Kobayashi Maru together for the first time.

Every cadet comes out of that test shaken. Sometimes pale and sick with nerves, sometimes angry, sometimes silent and thoughtful. Leonard thinks that Jim is a member of the third category, until he looks into those bright blue eyes.

Well, eyes he's used to seeing bright, all lit up from within in amusement, or dark in contemplation. That afternoon, though, they are flat and pale, cold as ice. Dead eyes. Empty. They shock Leonard to the bone.

"Dammit, Jim, talk to me!" he demands when they are in their quarters. "What's going on with you?"

"I failed, Bones," Jim mutters, sitting heavily on his bunk. Defeated. "I couldn't save them."

"That's the point, kid!" Leonard says, sitting down next to him. "You can't save everybody. It's not possible."

Jim grunts. He grabs a pillow, pulling it over his face. "Whatever," he mutters. "'M taking a nap. 'M tired."

Leonard sighs, patting his friend on the arm. "Hang in there, Jim," he says, and leaves the dorm quietly.

He retreats to his study carrel in Sato Memorial Library, and he's not reading his stack of PADDs when a thought occurs to him.

It could work. Maybe.

If he does it right.

He flips open his communicator, and comms his grandmother back in Georgia. She's the one who taught him everything he knows about this sort of thing. "Ma Winchester?" he asks when she picks up. "I've got a question for you."


"What's all that, Bones?" Jim eyes the brown paper sack from a little shop in Chinatown. He looks disappointed when he sees the contents; clearly he had hoped for booze rather than the roots and herbs Leonard went to four different stores to retrieve.

"I'm making us tea," Leonard says, unpacking the bag. "The real stuff, not the brown water they serve in the canteen."

Jim makes a face. "Pass," he says.

Leonard tries to hide his relief; it would have been a two-way business if Jim had drunk any, and Leonard doesn't know that he could rightly explain old Southern folk medicine if he tried, and he feels awkward enough as it is. So he makes his tea and drinks it while they watch a vid companionably, and that night Jim goes to sleep straight off, and Leonard watches and waits.


In Jim's dream the world is green, and Leonard hadn't been expecting that. The sky is blue and the sun is bright, and the air smells like smoke.

"Tom! Kevin! Over here!" A boy with a mop of shaggy blonde hair waves desperately at two other children, both of whom run to him obediently. The faces of all three are dirty, and the youngest of the three has tear tracks scoring the dust on his face. They are thin, filthy, and wild.

"What's happening, Jim?" the tallest one asks. He's older than the blonde boy, but defers to him for some reason.

"Kodos," Jim, for that's who their ringleader is, says shortly.

Leonard inhales sharply in horror. The Tarsus Disaster. Abruptly a dozen little details about his friend coalesce into sense: Jim's almost obsessive need to question authority, his grimace of distaste when someone throws away partially eaten food, his determination in sims to get everyone out alive.

The boy Jim looks directly at Leonard, frowning. "Who are you?"

He's not--he can't mean me?! Dreamwalking doesn't work like this, he's not really there so it's impossible, he can't really see him...

Jim frowns, starts to look angry. "Who are you?" he demands. "You're not one of the Guards--"

The other boys, Tom and Kevin, look uncomfortable.

"Who's he talking to?" little Kevin asks Tom in a loud whisper.

Tom ignores him. "Jim," he says, "we've got to go. Now!" He pulls at the younger boy's shoulder, and the three of them run into nearby woods as somewhere the sound of phase-rifle fire rings out.

The scene changes abruptly then. It's just Jim and Tom in a dark room, the light of two moons spilling through a window. The older boy has a burn over the better part of the left side of his face, and Leonard knows if it's not treated, he'll lose his eye. He's lying on a thin pallet on the floor, unconscious, with Jim sitting at his side. Jim looks directly at Leonard again.

"You don't belong here," the boy says to him, mouth twisted in anger and--and fear. "What the hell are you doing?"

"It's me, Jim," Leonard admits shakily. "McCoy--Bones. I came to help you."

Jim looks unimpressed. "We're locked in here. We'll both be killed in the morning, unless you have a key?"

"I don't," Leonard says. He moves carefully, so that he sits down cross-legged next to the blonde boy. "What's going on here, Jim? Talk to me."

Jim bites his lip, then lets out a breath. "I saw them all die, Bones," he says. His voice is still that of an adolescent boy, but the intonations are all of adult defeat. "I promised myself I wouldn't let it happen again, but it always does." He turns to Leonard, eyes shining with the moisture of withheld tears. "I failed them, Bones."

Leonard snorts. "Bullshit," he says roughly. "You haven't failed anyone. You were a kid on Tarsus, Jim. It's not anyone's fault, except Kodos'."

"My Dad saved everyone," Jim says.

They're abruptly elsewhere again: the bridge of a ship, fires everywhere. A blonde man in a blue uniform punching buttons, his expression one of determination mixed with fear and sadness. Is that...?

Jim is in his old white tshirt and jeans, his beaten leather jacket. Blood on the cloth and bruises mottling his cheekbones, the way Leonard first saw him. "I saw this in the archives," he explains as they watch the final minutes of George Kirk's life together. "It was a relief actually--somehow I always imagined it to be much worse." He turns to look at Leonard as the ship explodes in brilliance. "That it took a long time to die."

"Why are you doing this to yourself, Jim?"

They're in their cadet reds now, sitting in an empty lecture hall.

"Because," Jim answers, "I have to get it right. Okay, Bones? I have to!" He says this with enough force that it throws them both out of the dream.


They're both in their dorm room. The gray light of the pre-dawn partially illuminates the room.

Jim sits up in his bed, bare to the waist. "Bones?" He looks shaken. "Was that--real?"

Leonard sits up in his own bunk, heart hammering. "Yeah," he says shakily. "Yeah, it was."

"No, no, no!" Jim is muttering, pushing his bedding aside wildly. Leonard stands up, wobbling unsteadily before collapsing on his bed. "Bones, I didn't--you shouldn't--"

"Jim, you can't do this to yourself," Leonard says roughly. "Okay? It's bad enough you're pushing yourself to do a four year program in three, but obsessing like this... No one's perfect, Jim. Not even your father." He trails off, swallowing, and tries to make a little joke out of it. "Remember, Caesar--thou art mortal."

Jim is stunned into silence, and then he starts laughing: nervous, slightly hysterical that devolves into loud, freeing whoops. It's contagious, and Leonard starts laughing, too. The pair of them laugh like maniacs until the thumping sound of a broom handle hitting the floorboards reminds them they have neighbors who probably didn't want to wake up at--Leonard spies the chronometer--0545 in the morning.

When they've regained some semblance of calm, the two men lie next to one another, silent in thought. "I'm going to be mad as hell later, Bones," Jim says at last. "But--I'm glad you were there."

Leonard grunts. "I'll always be here, Jim. You know that."

Jim turns to him, grinning with something like his usual humor. "I know that, Bones. It's kinda why I love you."

Leonard thinks such a declaration should startle him, but it doesn't. "Yeah, well. Someone's gotta keep you out of trouble. Infant."

Jim snorts in amusement. "That mean you're gonna take the test with me again?"

Leonard wishes he was kidding, but knows he's not. "Yeah, Jim," he says, "I'll take it with you again. Just--after a nap, 'kay?" He can feel the exhaustion--emotional, physical, magical--in his bones.

"Don't worry about it," Jim says lightly, cuddling up to him as he starts to fall asleep. "I won't try again for a week, at least."

"That's comforting," he mutters, pulling Jim close to him as they fall into warm dreamlessness.


( 25 comments — Add your .02 )
Jan. 2nd, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
You are the queen of crossovers (and I admit to being glad I could steal the time to read this one in one swell foop). I adore this! I squeed at "Ma Winchester," that I did.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 01:21 am (UTC)
LOL, good to know. I blame gadgetorious: we were playing ficlet exchange this afternoon cos we were bored and she wanted Bones dreamwalking. I finally went and added SPN to my netflix queue--otherwise I'll never hear the end of it. ;)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
This is so great - love that Bones wanted to help Jim so badly! Also love that Jim let some of the weight off his shoulders. Great fic - my first one of the New Year!!!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!!! :)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Awww. I really like how you did this and the "Ma Winchester". Wow. I kind of want more of this but this is epic all on it's own. :)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
Hee, glad you enjoyed it!!!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
Oh man, I would be SO PISSED OFF at Bones for wandering through my dreams, even if it was for a good reason. *shakes fist at Bones*

BUUUUUT he did do it because he cares for Jim and honestly wanted to help, so...I guess I would forgive him. >_> After lots of conciliatory sex. XD
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
I'd get over it really quickly. ...We'd have some damn hilarious conversations though. ;)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
Cool, thanks.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
Oh, that's lovely. *hugs Jim*
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it!! :)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
I know nothing of SPN except that one of the main characters got his start on a soap I used to watch haha. However, that in no way negates the awesome of this little ficlet! As usual your words grab me from the very beginning and leave me wishing there even just a smidge more. The plot and such stand by themselves I think, it's just that you manage to create *so much* in so few words that I always feel like i want to go wander around in the world for a bit and observe :)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Awwww I <3 you so!!!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 08:13 am (UTC)
Lovely story, although I know nothing about SPN.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
*sheepish look* Neither doI! But gadgetorious was happy and she's a SPN nut! :)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was just lovely, bb! ♥

Psst. How is "Even Angels Fall" coming? *pokes you* :D
Jan. 2nd, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!

So I have EAF on my thumb drive, and it's a file I couldn't open on Scott's computer because of software he doesn't have. BUT I've been thinking about it and have a good idea of how it's going to go, if you overlook a sort of plothole... *sheepish look* So hopefully I'll have it by this time next week as this week should be quiet. *knocks on wood*
Jan. 3rd, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
Yay! I can't wait! *bounces*
Jan. 3rd, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
*squishes you* <333
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
This was a really neat idea. I am a Supernatural fun so the Ma Winchester reference made me laugh. The boys really worked well too. Thanks so much for sharing this!
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!!
Feb. 9th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
The idea of Bones being a Winchester at heart fills me with all kinds of glee. OMG yes it does.
Feb. 9th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
That was all gadgetorious. She's doing her best to get me into Supernatural.
Feb. 9th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
SPN's dangerous. It will try to take over your brain and all you will want to do is write Wincest. Or figure out how to write Jim/Bones foursomes with Sam/Dean, and decide whether Sam and Bones hate or adore one another.

I'm an unrepentant Sam!girl myself.
( 25 comments — Add your .02 )

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