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Afraid of Failure

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When people think of Doctor Leonard Mccoy, most of them think of a strong, intelligent, grumpy but kind man. Kirk’s best friend, but still independent. A passionate soul, that also isn't afraid to speak his mind. An authority in Medbay and a friend with advice if you need it.

But his close friends, his family know that this isn't all there is. They know how insecure this man can get.

Even though they all found out differently.


Jocelyn, when she was still in love with Leonard, quickly noticed his Insecurities about his looks.

He didn't ask her if he looked good or anything, no, but she would see him standing in front of a mirror, looking at himself. It wasn't like Leonard was disgusted of himself, still, he definitely wasn't happy with what he saw in front of him.

The same days Jocelyn saw him in standing in front of the mirrors, he would always come home an hour later. Because he was spending extra time at the gym.

She didn't like that. She liked Leonard for who he was, but she didn't know how to convince the doctor of this.


The first time Jim saw Leonard insecure, was after a missed call of Joanna and an angry or rather disappointed call of Jocelyn.

Jim found the doctor in their quarters, drinking alcohol, crying and questioning how good of a father he really was.

Until that point Jim honestly hadn't thought he would ever see a man like Bones cry like this. But here they were and it broke the younger man's heart.

Jim kneeled down, took the bottle of alcohol out of Leonard’s hand and pulled him into an embrace,letting Leonard cry on his shoulder. In his head the future captain swore he would do everything he can to prevent people from hurting his best friend like this.


Nyota Uhura also found out when they were still in the Academy.

She was going into the library to grab a lecture she needed to finish a project, when she noticed Leonard sitting in a corner, PADDs all around him. He was looking down, hands in his hair.

When Nyota got closer, because she was concerned, she saw that it was a medical class the doctor was learning for. This only confused her, because shouldn't Leonard know most of the stuff already?

A conversation later and hearing sentences like “What if I forget something?” “I am not sure if I understood that part right.” “What if I overlooked something? “, Nyota knew how much Leonard was afraid to fail a test everyone actually expected him to ace.

From that on she made sure to keep an eye on the doctor, so he didn't overworked and stressed himself out too much.


Geoffrey M’Benga and Christine Chapel found out soon after they started working with Leonard.

Of course no doctor or nurse liked to lose a patient, but you also learn that it's not always you fault and that it doesn't change anything if you blame yourself. But even though he was an experienced doctor,it didn't stop Leonard from blaming himself, thinking he didn't do good enough.

But the day they two saw him crying in his office after losing a kid that was his daughter age and blaming himself, “I should have done more! “, “She shouldn't have died! If only I had been there a moment sooner…. “, it broke their hearts but there was not much they could do.

Still they tried to comfort him the best they could. Bringing him a tea, talking to him and inviting him to a little movie night after their shift to distract him from the negative thoughts.

Since then the two of them would do this every time, they saw a loss of a patient hurting Leonard more than was good for him.


Spock really noticed for the first time after Jim died and he and Leonard were working on the serum to retrieve him.

Everyone knew how much it had hurt the half Vulcan to be there in Jim’s  last moments. Still, at least he has Nyota, who was there for him and made sure he would eat and sleep.

But the doctor? He worked day and night, only ate the minimum and probably mostly to calm the concerned people around him.

He didn't cry. Everyone knew he wanted to though and this last hope, that was Khan’s blood, was everything that kept Leonard from breaking down.

“I promised him Spock. I promised I would protect him, always patch him up, just like he promised to protect me, if I come with him into space. I failed him.”

Hearing these words, in such a defeated, tired, some would say broken, voice, made Spock feel so many different emotions at once. He wasn't even able to respond at first.

For the rest of the time they spend working on the serum for Jim, Spock made sure that Leonard really ate enough.

Another thing he did was to  actively start discussions about different topics, just to bring the doctor out of his negative thoughts.

Spock also played a part in Leonard not losing his medical licence.


Montgomery Scott found out, while drinking with Leonard.

It wasn't like the doctor easily gets drunk and normally the two of them stopped drinking before that.

But that day, like Scotty was told later, was or would have been Jocelyn’s and his anniversary. So Leonard had fully intended to get drunk.

On the one hand Montgomery felt good, knowing that the doctor was comfortable enough to get drunk around him, one the other hand he felt of course bad for Mccoy.

“Do ya’ think, there is a universe where Jocelyn and I are still married? Where I can see my daughter grow up?” the doctor questioned, “I know after all these years I shouldn't still be affected by the divorce,but I can't help it. I failed one marriage. Who tells me I don't do the same with any other relationship? “

That night Scotty talked with Leonard for a long time and in the end even helped him to bed.

The next day, when Leonard wanted to apologise for his behaviour, Monty just shook his head and made sure the doctor understood, that he could always could come to him, if he needed a good drink and somebody to talk to.


Chekov got to know, as he injured himself badly.

Everyone knew the grumpy, angry doctor. Chasing people down, if they missed an appointment. Lecturing them if they hurt themselves in a unnecessary and stupid way. But of course everyone also knew that underneath that Leonard really cared.

When Pavel woke up after his operation however, the first thing he saw was and obviously very concerned doctor scanning him and checking everything.

Chekov wasn't sure about it, but it kind of looked liked the doctor was very, exhausted and maybe even had cried.

Chapel told Chekov later, that it had been a close call for him, that they nearly lost him during the operation.

A day after Pavel was released from Medbay, the doctor found a bottle of Bourbon and a piece of peach pie in his office.

Pavel also tried to be more careful and went directly into Medbay when he felt something was wrong.


Sulu found out, when he talked to the doctor about family.

He can't even remember why he started with that  topic, but Hikaru noticed the change in Leonard. The doctor suddenly looked sad.

After a while Mccoy told him, that yes, he wanted a family and yes, he would love to have a partner, but he was afraid to go to the the same thing he went through with Jocelyn. He already had barely contact with his daughter, he loved so much.

“I can't go through something like this again. It hurt too much the first time. “

Hikau of course understood that. He missed his own daughter, still he probably saw her more often than Leonard saw Joanna.

Sulu went to Jim the same day, planning a way to make Leonard see his daughter the next time they were on earth.


So all in all, there were a bunch of people knowing about Leonard’s insecurities, how much he was afraid of failure.

And these people do the best they could to make the doctor feel better.

Leonard was happy to have them. Happy, to have people caring about him like this. Happy, to have people, who knew and accepted him like this. Happy, to have people he could talk to and cry in front, without feeling weak.

His friends on the Enterprise were really more than friends. They were family.