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Title: The Virtues of Caffeine
Author: caitri
Rating: PG (mild language)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 1,816
Summary: Leonard McCoy is less grumpy when he has coffee. Jim Kirk makes sure he has some.
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.

Written for gadgetorious cos she’s awesome!

The Virtues of Caffeine

It’s Monday morning, which means it’s Shuttle-Flight Sim time for the first year cadets.

To Leonard McCoy, this is also known as Hell Day. He hates this class more than anything in the world, except possibly his ex-wife. His stomach has been in knots over it since the night before, and now it’s an hour ‘til…

“Cheer up, Bones,” Jim says as he gets out of their shower. “It’s a three hour class. You’ll get through it.”

“I feel sick,” Leonard says mutinously. He does, too; he hates flying, he hates space, and the irony of him working in Starfleet—

“Bones. Relax,” Jim says, interrupting his thoughts. The younger man smiles, then slaps Leonard on the shoulder. “I’ll get you coffee on the way in to class.”

Leonard looks away as Jim changes into his cadet reds. “Why bother, it’ll make me sick,” he grumbles.

“Leonard.” He turns around at that, because this is probably the first time ever his roommate has called him by his proper name. He stares at Jim, who by now has on his trousers and black undershirt. (He’s not disappointed by that. Not at all. …He did not just think that.) Jim smiles at him encouragingly. “Relax. It’ll be okay. Besides,” he adds, “you wouldn’t dare to throw up coffee. It’s caffeine abuse and you know it.”

Leonard grunts at that, and then they are off to class. To his surprise, Jim steers him to one of the off-campus coffee shops instead of the mess hall to actually buy him coffee.

“I thought you were joking,” Leonard says as Jim orders.

“I never joke about caffeine, Bones,” Jim says. “Besides, the stuff at the mess hall doesn’t kick the circulatory system like this stuff does. Hi,” he adds, beaming at the barista. She blushes, smiles back, and pulls out cups a size larger than they had ordered for their drinks.

“Caffeine,” Leonard snorts a moment later as their drinks are delivered. Jim has ordered a tall frothy concoction whose contents, as near he can tell, consist largely of whipped cream and caramel. “Is there even any coffee in that?”

“Sure,” Jim says. “Somewhere,” he adds, licking a dollop of whipped cream off the top. He grins at Leonard, who notices that a little dot of cream has adhered cutely to Jim’s nose. Leonard tries not to think about what it would be like to lick that off. Instead, he says gruffly, “You’ve got something on your nose.”

Jim wipes it away, frowning slightly.


There are twelve people in their morning session. They are divided into pairs, and one pair is assigned to each shuttle simulator.

“Good morning, Commander Yeager!” Jim greets their instructor cheerfully.

“Cadet Kirk,” Yeager says. “McCoy.” He stares at the two of them; more specifically, at the cups in their hands.

“Bones needs his coffee,” Jim says breezily. “He gets grumpy if he doesn’t have caffeine.”

The commander looks dubious. “I…see,” he says, taking in Leonard’s scowl, which has remained in place all morning. Jim just beams at them both. “You realize you’ll have to finish that before your sim starts,” he continues.

“Not a problem, Commander,” Jim says. He salutes Yeager with his cup—which is largely empty now—and their instructor rolls his eyes and gathers the cadets together for the brief pre-sim lecture.

“I hate you,” Leonard says to Jim.

“You love me and you know it,” Jim answers. “You need me. Can’t live without me. Well known facts.”

“My ass.”

“Well I love that, too,” Jim says cheekily. Leonard does a double-take, but the younger man is finishing off his cup of sugar, milk, and God knows what else, and is taking it to a recycler.

Shaking his head in bewilderment, Leonard finishes his cup off as well and does the same.

Yeager is counting people into pairs. Leonard is grouped with an enthusiastic command-track student named Sulu, and Jim is paired with Gaila.

“I might throw up on you,” Leonard warns Sulu. The younger man looks astonished, and more than slightly horrified.

“Change in plans,” says Gaila immediately, coming up to them.

“Wanna swap?” Jim says to Sulu.

“Sure,” the other man says in relief. He looks even more enthused when Gaila takes him by the arm and leads him to one of the simulators.

“What are you doing?” Leonard hisses to Jim, who is pulling him into a sim in the opposite direction.

“Hikaru’s a good guy,” Jim says as he gets inside the shuttle model. “Very neat. I’d hate for you to mess up his uniform.” He’s already punching commands into the computer.

“Oh for crying out loud,” Leonard says as he takes the co-pilot’s chair. He starts punching in the secondary calculations. “You can’t let anything alone can you? You just have to push everyone around to follow the Jim Kirk method of—of whatever it is you’re doing—“

“Pretty much,” Jim answers, grinning at him. “I’d apologize, but I really can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am. Now plot a course to Alpha Centauri. And remember it’s got three suns there, you’ll have to compensate for that.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Leonard grumbles. “I know.”

“I know you know, I just want you to know that I know you know,” Jim says nonsensically.

Leonard stares at him. “You’re worse than my six year old on a sugar high,” he says.

“It’s probably why Jo and I get along so well,” Jim says. “Thrusters on—punch it!”

“Punch it?” he echoes as he enters in the command codes. The computer simulates the sound and feel of a shuttle taking off. “Who actually says that?”

“Captain Pike says it all the time,” Jim says. “I’ve heard him.”

“Where?” Leonard snorts. “I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true. He’s a badass like that.”

“Whatever. We’re out of atmosphere now.”

“Awesome,” Jim says. “Three-quarter impulse speed, then let’s hit warp two.”

“Warp two,” Leonard echoes. The shuttle rumbles underfoot as it shifts into gear for warp drive. He’s been busy arguing with Jim, but he can feel the closeness of the confines of the shuttle, and he starts to sweat—

“So you and me,” Jim says. “I think we should go out.”

“What?” Leonard stares at the other man. He can’t be hearing this right. “Go out where?”

“You know. Out. Wherever.” Jim is nonchalantly lounging in the pilot’s seat. “Where do you wanna go out?”

“I want to get out of here,” Leonard says. The room feels stuffy. “Is it warm in here to you?”

“Compensating,” Jim says immediately, punching some more controls.

“Compensating for what?” Leonard feels his gorge rising, though he knows it’s just a sim, it’s perfectly safe—

“For temperature. Duh,” Jim adds, looking at him like he’s nuts. “Sixty-nine degrees Fahrenheit. Better?” The rush of cool air is immediate.

“Yeah,” Leonard says. It does help; he feels like he can breathe better. “Thanks.”

“No problem. So,” Jim says, “I’m thinking we should hit that new sushi place on Mason. What do you think? You like sushi, right?”

“Sure,” Leonard says vaguely. “Sushi’s great.”

“Yeah,” Jim says. “There’s a bunch of great places in San Francisco. Way the hell better than Iowa, that’s for sure.”

“I can imagine.” Leonard concentrates on breathing. To his surprise, the better part of an hour has passed. He might be able to get through this class after all…

“So does seven sound good?”


“Seven,” Jim repeats. “Tonight? For dinner?”

“Er, yeah,” says Leonard. Normally Monday nights are their study sessions, but this makes a nice change to what has fast become their routine…

“Awesome,” says Jim. “It’s a date, then!”

“Date?” Leonard turns to look at the other man questioningly, but an alarm is going off. “What’s happened?”

“Warning! Decompression alert! Complete loss of oxygen in cockpit in three minutes! Warning!” The computer alert recycles.

“I’ve got this, you keep the shuttle on course,” Jim says, jumping up and retrieving the emergency repair kit in the rear of the craft. “Alert Starfleet.”

“On it,” Leonard replies. He punches in the commands to automate a distress call. “Starfleet, this is Shuttlecraft—“ he blanks on the shuttle’s name for a second, but then sees the registration information on the dash”—Shuttlecraft Goddard. We’re experiencing decompression issues and are working to resolve them, over.”

Behind him he can hear Jim running sealant tools over the area where he’s identified a puncture to the craft.

“Pressure stabilized,” reports the computer. “You have six hours of oxygen left.”

“And we’re less than an hour from Alpha Centauri,” Jim says in satisfaction as he returns to the pilot’s seat. “All’s good.”

Leonard repeats this in a communication to “Starfleet” and soon a Centaurian ship appears to offer assistance. When they dock with the shuttle, Jim opens the shuttle door, and the sim ends.

Leonard and Jim step outside, where most of the rest of the class is already waiting. Leonard sees Sulu and Gaila stepping out of another shuttle at the same time; Gaila waves at them cheerfully. The four cadets join the other eight in standard formation before Yeager.

“Congratulations,” their instructor says dourly. “Four of you are alive and eight of you are dead. Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Gaila—you four are dismissed. Get started on next week’s reading. The rest of you will now watch a vid on decompression emergencies and sign up to retake the sim again later in the week.”

The four cadets grin at each other in victory. They’re out of class well over an hour early, which at the Academy is saying something.

“Looks like you didn’t throw up after all,” Sulu says to Leonard.

“Jim’s good at taking care of him,” Gaila says with a slight smirk. “Aren’t you Jim?”

Jim places a companionable arm around Leonard. “Bones doesn’t need taking care of,” he says dismissively. “All he needs is the right incentive. In this case, a date.”

“That sounds like an excellent plan,” says Gaila, who has a familiar glint in her eye. She takes Sulu by the arm. “I think you and I should do something similar. What do you think?”

“Oh—okay,” Sulu says, flushing with delight.

“Later, boys,” Gaila says with a little wave, and she pulls Sulu away with a giggle.

“So it is a date?” Leonard asks Jim.

“Yeaaaaah?” Jim says, drawing the word out questioningly. “You. Me. Dinner. Out. Date. Why?” He pauses. “You’re up for it right? ‘Cause if you don’t want to, we don’t have to, but I think it’d be fun—“

“Jim, shut up,” Leonard says. “I’ll see you at seven. Try to wear something that doesn’t have stains on it at least, okay?”

Jim grins at him in relief and delight. “Sure, Bones. Shit. I should buy you coffee more often.”

“Yeah. Well,” Leonard says gruffly. “You said it yourself. I’m in a better mood when I’m caffeinated.”



( 38 comments — Add your .02 )
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Jun. 19th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
Aww, that's adorable. Love that Sulu was perturbed by Bones's threat of vomiting on him, while we know Jim wasn't. Clearly, Jim/Bones was meant to be!
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
So very true!!
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
I get fic for YOUR birthday. This is so awesome. <333
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
*is like a hobbit that way*

And just think, if you came to Texas you could be having cookies 'n 'cream cupcakes tomorrow. :P
(no subject) - gadgetorious - Jun. 19th, 2010 04:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Jun. 19th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gadgetorious - Jun. 19th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Jun. 19th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gadgetorious - Jun. 19th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Jun. 19th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gadgetorious - Jun. 19th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caitri - Jun. 19th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
Hee, oh, this is awesome. I just kinda want to roll around in all the good feelings this brings out like a cat in a basket of clean laundry. ::purrs::
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
lol, thanks for the visual! :)
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
Hee! I love it. So adorable. Especially the part about Pike's badassery. ;)
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
He totes is. :D
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
*grins* This is absolutely charming. I love that Jim is so unfazed in the face of Bones's grumbling, potential vomiting and general neuroses. :-P
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Cos Jim's awesome like that. Trufax. :D
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Utterly adorable! Thanks!
Jun. 19th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading!!
Jun. 19th, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh that was adorable. Jim chattering to Bones through the sim is so believable. Everything is believable, but that just melted me. Gaila and Sulu is a wonderful, if not often enough written, pairing. Major kudos! This was much love!
Jun. 19th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks!!! :)
Jun. 19th, 2010 07:17 am (UTC)
Oh man! You made Jim ADORABLE!!!! Not that he isn't usually adorable, but he's extra adorable in this :-) I do love my angst, but it's positively delicious to read something that feels so happy sometimes. I seriously just smiled like a big silly smiling thing all the way through this. And now I'm going to work all bouncy and full of Jones love. *smooches you*
Jun. 20th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Yay!!!!! Glad you enjoyed it!! :)
Jun. 19th, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
Very nice! I loved these lines:

“I’d apologize, but I really can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.


“Captain Pike says it all the time,” Jim says. “I’ve heard him.”

“Where?” Leonard snorts. “I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true. He’s a badass like that.”
Jun. 20th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
meta for the win! :)
Jun. 19th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Loved it!
Jun. 19th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
Totally adorable! I love that Bones hardly even noticed the time had gone, what with Jim yammering at him the whole time. :D
Jun. 20th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
Yeah, we should all have Jims around when there's turbulance and stuff to be dealt with!!
Jun. 19th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Oh very sweet indeed :) I love how the caffiene unfolded - God knows I can't function if I don't have at least one cup of tea a day xD - but it worked in with the general sweetness of the piece :D

And Pike love WOOT! :D
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Hilarious, sweet, and perfect Jim-in-control. The best kind of Academy fic that there is.
Jun. 19th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
I loved your Jim, what a mastermind at strategy and human relations. How he roped Bones into a date without Bones even realizing it. And distracted him just enough so he wouldn't think about flying. I also enjoyed little details with Sulu, how he gets rattled by Bones and Jim's admiration of Captain Pike and Commander Yaeger's slight disbelief about caffeine making Bones cheery, hi hi.
Jun. 19th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Lovely story :) I liked it how caring you wrote Jim. Really a best friend (plus future lover). And great how he changed place with Sulu, because the poor navigator would have hated getting puked on *G*
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( 38 comments — Add your .02 )

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