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Title: “We’re On Fire Now” (Love is Parenthetical)
Author: caitri
Prompt: 11--WHATEVER: Jim keeps proposing to Bones and keeps getting rejected. One time, Bones is so busy, he's not really paying attention and replies "whatever". Jim takes it as a positive and starts planning a wedding. How does Bones find out and how does he react! (Bones POV)
Rating: PG (Language)
Warnings: N/A
Word Count: 2294
Summary: This day has been a long one in coming. Too bad Leonard didn’t know about it. For the Sweethearts Challenge at jim_and_bones. Many thanks to hora_tio for betaing!!!! corrie71 has Jim's POV in her story Whatever.
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.

So life has taught Leonard McCoy a thing or three: There will always be surprises. Best laid plans don’t always turn out. Sometimes, that actually works out for the best anyways.


Later, when they are old men grown comfortable in their age and have weathered enough crap that they can laugh about most of it, this is going to be a great joke. “The thing was,” Jim will explain to Demora, Jo’s eldest, “the thing was that I proposed so many times that Bones got sick of hearing it. Tuned me out, you know.”

“Wish I could do that now,” Leonard will grumble. He’ll feel the flush that doesn’t show under his dark tan (he does love retirement); the story will still embarrass him even then.

“What happened?” Demora will ask, her dark eyes comically wide.

“Your granddad don’t take no for an answer,” Leonard will answer, just as Jim says, “What do you think? We got married anyway!”


Leonard McCoy admits that he’s not the world’s best boyfriend. Sometimes, he even takes perverse pleasure in being the worst. Case being: 1) He hates listening to people (Especially when they tell him about his bedside manner--unless, of course, it’s about his bedside manner); 2) He really hates being lovey-dovey (Don’t even ask about Valentine’s Day, ever); 3) Let’s face it, he basically sucks with people (Unless they are Jim Kirk--not even he can explain how that works).

He’ll be fair, too: Jim knew all this going in from the beginning. Leonard made sure to telegraph his reservations early on, especially after five years of Jocelyn harping at him before the divorce (and not to mention the three years she spent harping after it).

“Look, kid,” Leonard had said once when those baby-blues were extra bright, when that red mouth was swollen with kisses. “You want sexin’, I can do that. You need fixin’, I can do that too.” His voice had been rough with want at the time, his drawl swelling with his need. “I can give you what I got that passes for love, but I can’t do no more’n that.”

“Works for me,” Jim had breathed into his ear, his hands everywhere, and that was that.

Ten minutes later (look, he’s not proud), they were sticky, sweaty, and--in a very loose definition of the word--dating.

There’s training and missions, followed by saving the world, and then saving it again. There’s brave new worlds that have such people in them, and there’s Jim in his bed (and out of it, too).

The first time Jim asks Leonard to marry him, it’s when they are falling asleep in their bunks, and Leonard snorts an answer. The second time, Jim is giving Leonard a blow-job, so it hardly counts, as he points out during (and after). The third time, the fool boy presents him with a ring that Leonard is more than certain came out of an honest-to-God Cracker Jack box, and he doesn’t do much more than roll his eyes. “Whatever,” he says, and he should have realized that would be the key to his undoing.

It was all downhill from there. Or maybe uphill.

(Leonard’s a mountain boy--he’s never figured out which one’s supposed to be better.)


Things were easier at the Academy, as funny as that sounds. Between Jim’s course load and Leonard’s hours at Medical, it wasn’t like a bit of afternoon delight was something easy to come by. Still, they made time.

(“Making time,” Jim giggled once after a pint too many. “What are we? A hundred?”)

Aboard ship, it was harder. For one thing, they weren’t roommates any more--not exactly, anyway. Oh, one or the other of them slept at each other’s cabin all regular like, but--well, whatever master shipbuilder had put this tin can together had thought it was a good thing if the CMO bunked close to the Infirmary, and the Captain ten decks higher. It’s not even a Walk of Shame here, it’s a Walk, Turbolift, Lazy Jog and Reverse Turbolift of Shame.

(Sometimes Leonard thinks it would just be simpler, not to mention faster, to jump into the escape pod by Medbay, get beamed back to the transporter room, and then walk to Jim’s quarters. But that would involve an awkward conversation with Scotty and Keenser, and just, no.)

So maybe it’s just the exhaustion of having to do all of that walking, jogging, and turbolifting in addition to all of the running, dodging and miracle-working of away teams, let alone curing death (no “superblood” needed here, thanks) on the side, not to mention taking care of the sexual needs of the Federation’s horniest captain, but Leonard maybe misses a memo. Or five. (This is his story. Yes, he’s sticking to it.)

The first hint should probably have been when the Change of Status forms started showing up in his comm inbox. In his defense, though, they do look a lot like spam. (Look, they were asking for his Starfleet serial number, his United Earth identification number, his pension plan number--there were A LOT OF NUMBERS, okay?! Jesus!)

Jim says the second hint should have been when he started asking about honeymoon plans, but Leonard thinks that’s all bunk. As far as he can tell, Jim has been wanting to go on a honeymoon since he was twelve, and it’s always had less to do with the marriage part and more to do with the long vacation of sex, sun, more sex, napping, sex, some fine dining on the side, followed by more sex. (Jim is nothing if not both predictable and single-minded.)

The real second hint is when Christine starts to look super-smug and when he asks about it, she actually blushes (her! the Chapel of Steel! her!) and then explains that she’s got a date to the you-know-what, and it’s Carol. (Leonard, like a damn fool, doesn’t even ask what the “you-know-what” is, he just assumes it’s something important everyone’s been talking about and that he tuned out and, well, he was right about that at least, wasn’t he?)

The third hint was how Jim starts talking about taking time off. (Jim doesn’t do “time off.” He is a workaholic who puts workaholics like Leonard to shame.) But Leonard thought the damn fool was maybe finally growing up, that his little death stunt maybe taught him something. (But no, of course not. What could death ever teach James T. Kirk?) And so he listens when Jim compares the resort packages to Risa, to Pacifica, and to someplace around Omicron Delta. (They settle on Risa, because--Risa. Really, was there ever a doubt?)

The kicker comes when he’s on the comm to Jo. She’s chatting happily about school (and God, she’s about to be a teenager, this is terrifying) and then she mentions the shuttle she’ll be taking and asks, “Do you want me to bring some of Nana Eleanor’s peaches?” and because he is starting to feel twitchy but doesn’t want to admit it (Law one of parenting: don’t show your weak spots) he says, “Sure, honey, that’ll be great.”

He hightails it to Jim’s quarters after, making the Walk, Turbolift, Lazy Jog and Reverse Turbolift trip in record time; he goes so fast that the doors almost don’t have time to let him through. “Is something going on here, Jim?”

Jim looks up from his desk, where he’s surrounded by stacks of PaDDs and two mugs. He blinks rapidly, obviously trying to focus on Leonard and make sense of what he’s saying (and failing). “Bones! ...Huh?” he says with all of his customary Kirk suavity (i.e. not that much).

“Dammit, Jim, something’s going on here!” Leonard says (like it makes sense). “I want to know what it is!”

Jim rubs his eyes with the palms of his hands. “Okay, it’s too late for this, or too early; I don’t know which anymore. Start from the beginning and use little words, because I’ve been reading Spock’s reports and he--doesn’t.”

Jim looks exhausted, which makes Leonard feel like an even bigger dick for sounding as unhinged as he does. His bewilderment and frustration starts to dissipate. “Nothing, I guess. I--sorry, Jim.”

The old Jim Kirk would have shaken his head, laughed, and gone back to his stack of PaDDs, but this Jim, his Jim, the one who’s been to hell and back, looks concerned. “Is this about the wedding?”

”The wedding?!”

Leonard didn’t even know he could get that high-pitched.

“Yeah, Bones, the wedding? Look, I know this has been a pain and I’ve been trying to keep the preparations minimal--and I think I’ve been doing a pretty damn good job at it, if I do say so myself, but--”

“Jim!” Leonard is grasping Jim’s shoulders like he’s holding on for dear life. ”What in God’s name are you talkin’ about?!”

This is where it all gets ridiculous. (Or, Leonard would argue, just proves that it has been all along.)


The funny thing is (and it’s not that funny), when Jim had asked Leonard that last time? With the Cracker Jack ring? He’d actually been serious. (He’d been serious all the other times too. Well, most of the other times. Okay, a few times, Jim would have been shocked and a little horrified if Bones had taken him up on the offer, but he’d never have chickened out on it, because Bones. So.)

And the thing was, when Leonard had said “whatever,” Jim had thought he was saying “yes.” (This is, mind you, Jim Kirk logic--which Spock will assure you is like no Earth logic--let alone any other kind of logic.)

The thing is--they’re getting married in a week.

And everyone knows about it.


Leonard has to sit down with his head between his legs, because that’s what you do when you’re in shock and you might faint, and also apparently what you do when you’re about to get married to your best friend and commanding officer.

“Bones?! What the--are you okay? Do you need me to call for help?” There’s panic under the hard tone of Jim’s captain voice, the one he assumes whenever there’s an emergency. Leonard can’t see him, of course, but he could tell you anyway what Jim’s doing this moment: Crouched on a level with him, carefully not touching or reaching out (even though he wants to) but very close by all the same (because Leonard had drilled into him that in situations like this, some species will view physical touch as aggression and automatically trigger any self-protective measures they may have; the best way to help is to keep your head and on your feet in emergencies). “Let me help,” he adds softly, and Leonard can remember how Jim had told him that on some worlds, those three words were valued even over “I love you.”

“I’m fine,” he croaks eventually, and Jim gives him a hand to stand up. “I just--it was a shock.”

“Clearly,” Jim says, eyes wide. “Uh, do we need to talk about this? Because I think we should talk about this.”

Leonard opens his mouth, then shuts it again. Opens, then shuts. Starts to say something; doesn’t. Because, frankly, what do you say at this point? (“Yes.” “No.” “What?” ”I didn’t think you were serious!”) “I didn’t think you were serious,” he says at last, and Jim looks so crestfallen that Leonard thinks he might puke. “But, I mean--” He stumbles over this part, because it’s hard, okay, it’s hard, he’s done this before and it nearly killed him, but--well, Jim dying had nearly killed him too, and nothing in this world could possibly be worse than that. He takes a deep breath. “I mean--I didn’t know, but--if you’re still in, then--I’m still in.”

Jim’s pallor gives way to a healthy, red-blooded flush over his cheekbones and down his neck. When he kisses Leonard, it tastes like old coffee, pure relief, and undying affection.

Leonard is, he has to admit, an idiot sometimes, but not about Jim.


So these are the things Leonard McCoy has come to expect from life: There will always be surprises. Best-laid plans don’t always work out. Sometimes they work out for the best anyway.

“Didn’t I tell you so, Bones?” Jim will say, somehow even more smug than ever with lines under his eyes and his cheeks gone plump in age.

“Yeah, kid,” Leonard will say, leaning just a bit on his cane. “Yeah, you did for sure, alright.”

Author’s Gratuitous Note

The reference to Omicron Delta as a shore-leave planet comes from the TOS episode “Shore Leave.” And of course, “let me help” meaning “I love you” is from the TOS ep “City on the Edge of Forever.”


( 14 comments — Add your .02 )
Feb. 26th, 2014 08:02 pm (UTC)

This was lovely to come back to after work, so sweet and also funny, but at the same time the sheer love they have for each other shines through practically every word :DD

Mar. 4th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
<3 Thanks so much for betaing, bb!! <3 <3
Feb. 26th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
This is only one of the best McKirk pieces I've read so far today! I'd quote all my favorite lines to you, but I think I'd be quoting half the story at least! Suffice to say I chuckled all the way through, and I have a big ol' smile on my face right now!
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
<< <3333333
Feb. 27th, 2014 02:50 am (UTC)
D'AWWWWW. This was wonderful, bb! ♥
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 Thanks so much, bb!! <3
Feb. 27th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
Utterly wonderful, as always. I can just see this happening too.

Edited at 2014-02-27 03:00 am (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Feb. 28th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
I've had a rotten, no-good day at work, after a rotten no-good week at work, and I just finished my dinner at 9:00 pm.

This was just the dessert I didn't know I needed, but ... I'm smiling now, so ... thank you so much.
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
Hee, thanks, bb!!!! <3 <3
Mar. 4th, 2014 04:10 am (UTC)
Damn, but this sounded so much like Bones, I could hear it in his voice. Hilarious and sweet, you did my prompt proud. Thank you!
Mar. 4th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
<33333333333 *squishes for good measure*
( 14 comments — Add your .02 )

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