The man sitting at Jim’s table was wearing his army greens, and that more than anything earned him the genuine smile that Jim offered him. “Welcome to Dixie Café,” Jim put a menu down in front of the man- who didn’t look to be that much older than he was- smiling widely. “I’m Jim, I’ll be your waiter today. Can I help you with anything?”
The man gave Jim a nervous smile, running a hand absently through his shaved, dark brown hair. “Hell if I know,” he shook his head ruefully. “I’m only in town for today. I-uh- I ship out tomorrow.”
Jim’s smile softened. “What do you want to drink? I’ll tell the cook to get something special for you.”
The man looked alarmed by Jim's offer. “No, don’t do that. Not on my account.”
“Look, Bones,” Jim waved the nickname away with a subtle gesture towards the skull insignia on the man’s uniform. “You’re in uniform. This is the least I can do for you. Please, let me do it.”
Bones, who looked disgruntled by the nickname that had just been forced upon him, was quiet for a minute, and Jim thought he might have overstepped his bounds. He had just decided to tell the man not to worry about it, but then Bones smiled up at him and Jim forgot everything he had planned to say. “Alright. You can do that for me.” Jim had let out a celebratory whoop before Bones silenced him with a raised hand. “On one condition.”Jim’s face fell, and that got a wider smile from Bones. “You have to sit with me.”
Jim’s face lit back up. “I get off work in an hour. I can spend the rest of the day with you.” He seemed to realize that he might have been overstepping his bounds, considering he didn’t even know the man’s real name. “If you want to, I mean.” He continued, uncertain and cursing himself for his stupidity. Jim was a high school senior, and this man was a damn soldier. Special Forces, if Jim was reading the uniform right. There was no way in hell this man would want to spend the rest of the day with Jim, especially since Jim had just given him one of the stupidest nicknames ever. Fuck, he was stupid.
Jim's expression must have betrayed some of his feelings, and a helluva lot of his doubts, because the man smiled up at him, and that smile… Jim had to remind himself to breath. “I’d like that, kid. I’d like that a lot.”
Jim spent the rest of the day with Bones, learning everything he possibly could about the man. Like the fact that his name was Leonard McCoy, and he’d been a doctor before his wife divorced him and kicked him out of his home. Bones had looked surprised by Jim’s anger when he told him about what his ex-wife had done, but his expression softened when Jim explained that Bones was too good of a man to be treated the way he had been by her.
“You’ve only known me for a few hours,” Bones pointed out, trying to push down his smile when Jim leaned into him. They had walked around town all day, and when the sun had started to set Jim had dragged him to the pier, forcing him to sit down and watch the sunset with him. Despite all his grumbling, Bones had enjoyed it. He’d enjoyed every minute of the time he’d spent with Jim. “Why the hell are you so upset by what my wife did?”
Jim looked up at him, smiling softly at him. “These have been the best few hours of my life.” He nudged Bones with his shoulder. “You deserve better than what she gave you. You’re very different from everyone I’ve ever known. I like it.” He paused, licking his lips and looking at Bones with a look that Bones hadn’t been expecting. “I like you.” Jim moved his hands slowly to cup Bones’s cheeks, giving the older man plenty of time to move away.
Bones didn’t, of course he didn’t, and Jim lips were soon inches from his. “Do you?” Bones closed his eyes, his hands moving to cover Jim’s. He could feel Jim’s breath mingling with his, and then he was kissing him, his body molding against Jim’s, pushing the younger man onto his back.
They stayed at the pier all night, making promises that both had never considered before, but were now fully intent on keeping. “I won’t get with anyone while you’re gone,” Jim promised between moans, his nails raking down Bones’s now bare back. “I’ll wait for you.”
Bones bit down on Jim’s collarbone, muffling his cries with tanned, freckled skin. “I’ll write you. Every chance I get.” He kissed his way up Jim’s jaw. “I’ll visit you when I’m on leave.” He pressed a gentle kiss to Jim’s lips. “Hell, kid, I might end up loving you.”
I’m going to be in California for a month, and then I’m shipping out. I’ve already been through basic and ranger school, but there’s some other shit they think I need to know. I’m not entirely sure what to write. I’m not even sure if you want me to write to you. I mean, I know you said you did, and I know you said you’d wait for me, but I’m going to be gone for a while. I don’t know when I’ll get back.
If you want to wait for me, I’ll be the happiest man alive.
If you don’t want to wait for me, I’ll understand.
I hope you have a great senior year.
I'm shipping out in a week, and I'm... well, scared. I'm scared that I won't make it back to you. I know you said you'd wait for me, and I appreciate that. Hell, I think I love you for it.
I can't write long, but I wanted to let you know that I missed you, and I've thought about you every day I've been here.
I might love you.
I want to marry you. When I come back for leave, let's get married. I'll leave the army and go back to being a doctor, and we'll be together. I want to be with you more than I want anything else.
I love you.
Don't worry but I won't be able to write for a while.
I love you, darlin'.
p.s. yeah, you can have my dog tags when I get back. Everyone needs to know that you're with Leonard McCoy.
Jim's highschool would read out the names of those fallen in war during their pregame ceremony, right after the players walked onto the field. Every week, Jim listened to the names with dread filling his stomach, and every week he relaxed when Bones's name wasn't called out. As the weeks went on, Jim stopped listening to the names on the list. It didn't matter. He'd never hear- "Commander Leonard Horatio McCoy, killed in action."
No one understood why the quarterback of the home team fell to his knees when that name was called. No one would understand why the coach had to walk him off the field, taking him to the sideline and holding him. No one understood why when Kirk's helmet was taken off, there were tears streaming down his cheeks, smearing the paint under his eyes. No one understood why Kirk couldn't play the rest of the game, they were all furious with him when he went into the locker room and didn't come out until long after the game was over.
No one in town knew where the dog tags that Jim Kirk refused to take off came from, and no one wanted to know why he spent so much time in the cemetery, sitting in front of the grave of the Green Beret who had only been in town for a few days. No one was surprised when he joined the army.
Everyone was surprised when his name was read during the pregame ceremony.