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He's in sickbay the first time it happens. 

The ship lurches sickeningly, with a deep, shuddering groan, and then the red alert klaxons start blaring. McCoy has a tray of freshly-prepared hypos in his arms, and he clutches at them, holding the batch protectively to his chest. He's so focused on not letting the entire afternoon's work shatter all over the floor that he doesn't notice he's been lifted off his feet until he slams back into the wall, pinned there a foot in the air. 

McCoy grits his teeth, his stomach flipping ominously, and tries to keep his lunch down. The alarm shuts off, abruptly, artificial gravity restores itself, and McCoy drops to his feet, does an awkward roll to avoid crushing the tray, and ends up sitting on his ass in the middle of the sickbay. 

"What the hell was that?" he bites out tightly, fingers white-knuckled as he clutches the hypos. "This ship ain't no goddamned amusement park ride, much as our illustrious captain wishes it were so!"

The medical staff all around him look equally bewildered. Christine Chapel is standing in the doorway to the office, holding the walls tight, and various officers are sprawled on the ground, blinking and moving to get up unsteadily. 

And then the ship-wide comm pings cheerfully, and Jim Kirk appears on the main screen, looking slightly shaken but still grinning that indefatigable grin McCoy wishes he didn't find so damn endearing. 

"Attention, all hands. Sorry for the disruption. We're having some slight, uh, technical difficulties with the inertial dampeners as we go into and drop out of warp. Engineering teams are working on it, but I'm told that until we get it fixed, we might experience a bit more, ha, turbulence. Bones, try not to vomit too much. Scotty, to the bridge, please. Kirk out."

McCoy scowls. 

Everyone in sickbay currently within ten feet of McCoy discreetly attempts to scoot backwards. McCoy hasn't budged from his nice, secure spot on the floor, legs splayed in front of him, and the tray in his hands is starting to leave dents in his flesh, he's clutching it so hard. His stomach is still flipping through hoops, and his ears are burning in that soon-I-may-expel-the-contents-of-my-stomach way that bodes so ill. 

"What are y'all lookin' at?" he growls, annoyed by the drawl unintentionally seeping into his voice. "Like I said, this ain't no amusement park, and I sure as hell ain't some freak show! Quit starin' and get back to work, people!"

His crew scatters, and he's almost impressed with how quickly they find ways to look busy. Almost. He's still too focused on trying to dispel the heightened awareness that he's in a goddamned starship flying through a fucking vacuum.





McCoy groans, sets his shoulders, and turns around in his seat. "Jim," he grits out in response. His expression must be more murderous than usual, because Jim actually takes a step backwards, and his jaunty step falters. He'd been about to clap McCoy on the shoulder, but he wisely drops his hand and pretends the movement was part of an exaggerated scratch of the head. 

"How ya feelin', buddy? Chapel told me you nearly lost your lunch in sickbay."

"If I was going to lose my lunch—and I didn't," McCoy points out crossly, "Then sickbay would be the best place to do it."

"Good point," nods Jim, knitting his fingers together behind his head and giving McCoy a grin. "I do concede the point. Maybe you should stick around there, till we get the thingy fixed. Spock would probably have my balls if you puked on the bridge, or something."

"What are you, my keeper?" snaps McCoy, scowling down at his tray of untouched food. The gravity failure had been brief, but ever since, he's been unable to shake that uncomfortable feeling of weightlessness. There's a lingering nausea settling in his stomach. He sighs, pushes the tray across the table, and raises an eyebrow at Jim. 

"What's the matter, Bones?" teases Jim, sliding into the seat opposite and stealing the tray. He digs in with enthusiasm, and McCoy has to look away as bite after bite disappears into Kirk's mouth. "Residual after-effects, or what? Can't you take something for it?"

"Jim," McCoy says slowly, both horrified and fascinated by how quickly his dinner has ceased to exist. "If there was a treatment I could potentially take for motion sickness and spatial disorientation, don't you think I would've jabbed myself with the hypospray faster than you can apparently inhale lasagna?"

Jim gives him a blank, unimpressed stare, and pointedly stabs at a piece of purple broccoli, shoving it into his mouth violently. "So, I take it that's a no," he eventually replies, barely suppressing an eye-roll. 

That's me, thinks McCoy, semi-hysterically. I taught him that. "As someone who goes into anaphylactic shock on a startlingly regular basis, Jim, I thought you'd understand the concept of an allergic reaction better than anyone."

"Aye, there's the rub," Jim quotes expansively, twirling his Starfleet-issued regulation spork and pushing the now-empty tray aside. He puts his feet up on the table - our eating surface, thinks McCoy frantically, and he shoves Jim's boots roughly, scowling—and crosses his arms over his chest. "So, you're allergic to what would otherwise make your space-faring experience a much more enjoyable one."

"What would make my 'space-faring experience' more enjoyable, captain, is if the bit of the ship that keeps us all standing upright got fixed sometime in the next century," retorts McCoy, with a sneer. 

It's the sneer that does it, McCoy decides afterward. He overdid it, with the sneer. It's why, moments after he finishes his sentence, Spock's impassive voice permeates the dull chatter of the officer's mess and states, calmly, "If I may have your attention, please. We will now be accelerating to warp eight. Brace yourselves on the nearest solid object. Thank you." 

The comm bleeps sadly, anticipating the upcoming discomfort, and McCoy manages a strangled, cut-off squeak as the Enterprise leaps into warp like an eager racehorse. The brief moment of weightlessness feels like it lasts forever. McCoy clutches at the table, grits his teeth, and watches as a plate of spaghetti floats slowly over their heads. 

Then the drone of the equalizing engines kicks in, and McCoy scrambles under the table, trying to wait until gravity is restored to regurgitate a lunch he didn't even eat. It's only a second later when the ship goes blessedly still, and Jim's head appears under the opposite end of the table. "Here," he says, and hands McCoy a sick-bag.

"Ungh," moans McCoy. He throws up immediately, and doesn't try to say anything about the pasta sauce dripping down Jim's hair. It could be worse. It could be McCoy's breakfast. 




"A week," says McCoy tightly, his voice thin and strained. 

"A week," echoes Jim solemnly. "Look, Bones, it's not like there's anything else we can do."

"Yes there is," McCoy retorts accusingly, just to be difficult, just because he can. "I could sedate myself for a week. Like hibernation. Or you could give me a shuttle and a week's leave on Risa and then pick me up when the ship doesn't do the fucking samba every time we go a little faster. You could—"

Kiss me senseless is not the next thought McCoy had been about to voice, but Jim appears to think it is, because suddenly he's clutching at McCoy's face like he's afraid he'll float away, and his fingers are threading through his hair, tugging lightly, insistently, distracting him. 

It's awkward, at first, with McCoy stiff and frozen, eyes still open, but it only takes him a second to relax. Jim is licking at his lips, encouragingly. McCoy can't really argue with that, doesn't think he wants to, so his eyes slide shut, his shoulders drop, and he slips his hands up Jim's body, coming to rest on his chest and curled around his neck. Jim starts licking into his mouth when McCoy parts his lips, tongue warm and slick, lapping over McCoy's teeth. It's about when Jim starts to suck on his tongue that McCoy notices his vertigo has vanished. 

Instead, he realizes Jim is kissing him, really kissing him, and they're in the ready room and anyone could come in, or hear them. He jerks back, wide-eyed and panting, his lips swollen and bruised and slick with spit. 

"Uh," he states thickly. "Thanks. Um, I'm going back to sickbay, now. Call—call me if you need me."

Turning abruptly on his heel, he flees the ready room, flees Jim's knowing half-smile. 

"I'm a doctor," mumbles McCoy manically to himself as he ignores the curious glances he receives on the bridge as he stumbles onto the turbolift dizzily, "not a fourteen-year-old girl."

When he gets to sickbay, he locks himself in his office, checks his hair in the mirror self-consciously, realizes what he's doing, and kicks his desk. Nurse Chapel hears the muffled "Goddammit!" from halfway across the room. Another nurse catches her eye, raising his eyebrow questioningly. Chapel shakes her head, firmly, lips pursed.




McCoy takes to carrying a package of sick-bags around with him. He knows that Jim is keeping a list of places he has thrown up. 

For the record: turbolifts 1, 5, and 8; sickbay; his quarters; the bridge (Spock glared holes into his back as he cleaned it up); the officer's mess; and, in a truly spectacular feat, inside Jim's dresser drawer.

He apologized for that one.


McCoy briefly considers abandoning eating altogether.




The worst of it hits after an away mission. 

Generally, McCoy is wary of going on missions with Jim and Spock. Things inevitably happen, things which involve angry alien races trying to kill them, or one of them catching some new and astoundingly deadly disease, or ending up in prison, or being forced to fight with gladiators on primitive television. He knows the list goes on and on because he actually updates it every time something absolutely fucking crazy happens to them. He records them with prefaces like, “Chief Medical Officer's log, star-date...we're really fucking lost and I have no idea where or when we are. Today we were captured and made into harem slaves and I found out my captain can belly dance.”

So. McCoy tries to opt-out of away missions, when he can, even though Jim wheedles at him and says he knows McCoy loves it, really, underneath all the bitching and complaining. But this is probably the first time he's ever volunteered to go off-ship for a mission, and if Jim had smiled any wider, he would've cracked his jaw. 

It goes smoothly, overall, though smoothly for an Enterprise away mission means that they return with mission objective completed ‘adequately,’ as Spock says, and with a modicum of injury. Spock is sporting a pretty bitchin' black eye, Jim has a ring of bruises around his throat, and McCoy's nose is broken, but as Jim says happily when they rematerialize on the transporter pad, "Gentlemen, we're still alive, we got the vaccine, and I only got choked once!"

McCoy honours him with a slow clap, and Spock blinks his good eye. 

"Well done, Captain," says Spock, in that dry tone of voice McCoy has come to realize is the Vulcan equivalent of dripping sarcasm. “If you clear off a space on the mantel in your ready room, I shall instruct Engineer Scott to fashion a trophy for you."

Not even a comment like that seems to dampen Jim's spirits. He beams, slings one arm over McCoy's shoulder, does the same to Spock, and starts to walk them out of the transporter room, leaving the poor tech that’d beamed them up staring after them in the particular brand of confusion induced only by one Captain James Tiberius Kirk. 

McCoy is dripping blood down the front of his uniform, and he tries to say, "Jim, we should all get to sickbay," but all that comes out is, "Hyugh!" because the ship chooses that moment to go to warp. 

At first, when this whole mess started, McCoy had decided the process of accelerating into warp was more tolerable than dropping out of it, but he's since revised his opinion. Artificial gravity reasserts itself more quickly when they enter normal space and switch to impulse engines, but when they go to warp, there's this long, drawn-out moment of profound weightlessness. The ship does the lurching shudder McCoy is beginning to wish he hasn't had the chance to grow so familiar with, and then his stomach is shoving up to meet his heart and say hello. Everything in his stomach isn't so pleased by this, and McCoy's knees buckle, sending him tumbling out from underneath Jim's arm. 

Since everything is stuck in freefall, McCoy does a mid-air flip before hitting the wall. Gravity returns, McCoy lands on the deck plate on his hands and knees, and then he's vomiting, retching helplessly. He concentrates on anything but the gag reflex that's currently happily working away and how his face is burning and he's suddenly sweating and God his nose really fucking hurts, but there's nothing else to focus on until - until Jim kneels beside him, one hand warm on the small of McCoy's back, and the other stroking his shoulders soothingly. 

Nothing is coming up, anymore, but he's still dry heaving and spitting. Jim keeps stroking his back, and McCoy eventually notices he's murmuring to him, a whole litany of soothing nonsense about this one time Jim was a kid and he ate an entire birthday cake and it felt like he was throwing up for days— 

"Jim," he coughs weakly, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Jim, shut up."

Jim stops his babbling account of misadventures in dessert and says, instead, "Okay, Bones?"

"Yeah," breathes McCoy, even though he feels sick as a dog. His legs are shaking, he doesn't think he can stand, and he's so tired of throwing up that he wonders if the allergic reaction to the hypospray might be worth it if he has the opportunity to never, ever see his insides on the outside again. "Just fucking peachy, Jim, I was looking for the chance to get rid of what I had for lunch. I have an ongoing personal vendetta against ham and cheese sandwiches."

Spock is standing a couple of feet away, hands clasped behind his back, his eye fixed on McCoy's back. "I believe we should get Doctor McCoy to sickbay, Captain."

McCoy raises his head cautiously. Spock's eye is almost swollen shut, and McCoy briefly entertains the notion of prescribing the first officer an eye patch. 

He doesn't realize he's laughing with no small degree of mania until Spock says stiffly, "I fail to see the humour in my suggestion, doctor. I fear these inertial episodes are affecting your judgement."




They walk McCoy to sickbay, supporting his sagging form between them. Jim has one arm around his waist and the other supporting McCoy's elbow. McCoy is grateful for his silence; for the past few days, he's found the entire situation absolutely hilarious, but now there's a quiet thoughtfulness to his presence. If McCoy didn't know better, he'd say it was concern. Maybe Jim thinks McCoy will move on from just accidentally purging bodily fluids to haphazardly ejecting his own organs. He knows, instinctively, that Jim is itching to ask, “can repetitive puking be fatal, Bones?”

But, admirably, he doesn't. He just helps walk McCoy all the way to sickbay, and then orders that the medical team look over McCoy and Spock first. Spock doesn't get an eye patch, just a hypo to bring down the swelling, and as Chapel presses a sedative into his own neck, McCoy thinks, fuzzily, that Spock would be a pretty ridiculous pirate.

He drifts off thinking of Jim, and how it should be weird that he's sitting next to McCoy's bed holding his hand, and how they haven't really talked about the fact that Jim made out with him in order to keep his mind off his nausea, and how—




It's been six days of lurching in and out of warp like an unbalanced bull elephant on uppers, and Scotty thinks he'll have the problem fixed soon. 

McCoy grinds his teeth, makes a note in his personal log to get the engineer into sickbay soon for a full vaccination booster, and decides to spend his evening lying perfectly still in bed staring at the ceiling and willing it not to move. 

He swears he can feel the ship travelling through space, and the thought terrifies him more than it ever has so far. Generally the Enterprise is big enough that he doesn't notice it, and he's forever grateful that there aren't many windows, because sometimes he can forget he's even in space. But after so many reminders of how it feels to float helplessly inside a metal cage hurtling through a vacuum, it's getting harder and harder to ignore his discomfort. He remembers meeting Jim on the shuttle, and the way he’d told him that Starfleet operates in space, with that expression on his face that said, quite clearly, “are you fucking insane, man?!”

McCoy focuses on that, closes his eyes and fills his mind with Jim. Jim is distracting. Jim is his best friend, even if he's a bit of a dick sometimes. He gives McCoy sick-bags and makes sure someone cleans up after him when he throws up in places he shouldn't, and he's got warm, friendly lips. 

His door chimes, and McCoy calls out, "C'mon in, because I sure as hell ain't getting’ up." He hears the whoosh of the door, and then the mattress sags a little beside him. He opens his eyes and sees Jim, wearing civvies and grinning at him. 

"Hey, Bones," he greets cheerfully. "I thought maybe you'd want some company, but I see you've got a full evening planned."

"Oh yeah," says McCoy hoarsely, shutting his eyes again pointedly. "Tonight I'm going to count the tiles on the ceiling until I fall asleep. If that doesn't work, I've got a sedative ready for some love."

There's no response, and McCoy risks his dizziness by peeling one eyelid open. Jim is looking at him with a peculiarly soft expression. When he notices McCoy watching him, he clears his throat and looks away. "This is hitting you pretty hard, huh?" he says distantly, his gaze fixed somewhere over by McCoy's neatly hung set of identical uniforms. 

"Considering I've now thrown up on almost every deck in this ship, I'd say these past few days haven’t exactly been my idea of an ideal work experience," mutters McCoy dryly. "I'll be fine when the damned thing is fixed. It's just a little motion sickness."

"Not every deck! But you looked pretty bad, today, after the mission," says Jim carefully, as if he's rehearsing a pre-planned script. 

McCoy grunts. Suddenly, Jim is over him, hands on either side of his head, face inches from McCoy's. He can feel Jim's breath, see the faint scars on his face. He wants to lean up and scrape his tongue along the stubble on Jim's jaw, but he doesn't. Instead, McCoy goes still, staring up at his friend and captain with a faintly suspicious scowl on his face. 

"We haven't talked about me kissing you," Jim asserts, quite rightly. 

"We're manly men," states McCoy, dumbly, his fingernails digging into the itchy regulation blanket that reminds him of bad hotels. "We don't talk about feelings."

"I'm pretty sure I know how you felt about it," laughs Jim, and McCoy's scowl deepens. "I meant, talking about whether it's a trend you'd like to see continue, or if you'd rather end things right here and I let you go back to your riveting evening with the ceiling."

"I'm not sure I want to give you the satisfaction," grumbles McCoy, wrinkling his nose and huffing at Jim's smiling face. "Your head's big enough already, without me to inflate your ego."

"If you didn't bitch at everything with a pulse, I might think it's your attempt at flirting," Jim chuckles. He pulls his legs up underneath him and rises until he's not hovering right over McCoy's lips, then swings a leg over so he's straddling his thighs instead. McCoy draws in a breath. He'd been holding it for a moment, when Jim had been looking at him, just so. If Jim wriggles up just a little more, there might be more action in McCoy's pants than he's ready to consider the consequences for, and he's not at all sure what Jim is planning. 

"Jim," he murmurs, quietly. He can't resist, he reaches up and brushes his thumb over Kirk's lower lip, parting his mouth open. McCoy raises his eyebrows, feels his heart thudding excitedly against his chest, and gives in. "Well, what are you waiting for, you insufferable man-child, kiss me already!"

"I was waiting for you to lose the apprehension," laughs Jim, and he's leaning forward and laughing right against McCoy's throat, his tongue working down to the hollow between his neck and collarbone. Unexpectedly, he bites down, and McCoy groans, arching up, his thigh pushing between Jim's legs. 

The bastard is already hard, McCoy can't believe it, but he's halfway there himself with Jim's hands wandering over him in a gentle, exploratory fashion, and his tongue worrying at the now-reddened skin that he's nibbling on like some damn puppy with a new toy. McCoy's thoughts catch up to him, and he continues, somewhat inanely. "We can talk about what this is later, Jim Kirk."

"Of course, Doctor McCoy," Jim demurs. His lips are slick and red from tonguing at McCoy’s neck, and he's breathing heavily. "If I'd known this method of distraction worked on you, I would've jumped ages ago." His hands cup McCoy's hips, pushing his black undershirt up to his waist. He seems conflicted as to whether he should take the shirt off or just forge on ahead and ignore it, and then settles on sliding his hands back over McCoy's pants to squeeze his ass. 

McCoy's reaction, once again, is perfect. He emits a growl and squirms hard, cheeks flushing. "Dammit, Jim, what do you think I am?"

"A doctor?" replies Jim innocently, clearly having been waiting the entire duration of their friendship for this opportunity to present itself. 

"Oh, go fuck yourself!" moans McCoy. He wrenches his hands up from where they'd been settled, mostly loose and idle, on Jim's hips, and grabs his face instead, pulling him down. He initiates the kiss this time, controls the pace of it, and it's crushing and desperate, tongue working Jim's lips open, licking and sucking, their teeth clashing hard until Jim is wriggling against him in a satisfying way. The heat of his body is driving McCoy insane, and he pushes up, aligning their hips and thrusting hard.

For a moment, they lose themselves, kissing and licking and biting as they rut against each other. The friction is too good, and there's nothing in McCoy's head beyond oh God oh God oh God please. Jim's warm, friendly weight is draped over him, leg hitched over McCoy's hip, and his hands are clenching and unclenching in the fabric of the bedspread. His mouth is slack, half open, and he breathes steadily, tongue pink and lips red. 

"Jim," gasps McCoy hoarsely. He doesn't know what else to say, and his mind has gone careening out of control. The only thing that matters is Jim, Jim's body, Jim's lips and tongue and cock, hard and hot pressed up against McCoy's. 

"Bones, I want to fuck you," whispers Jim. He kisses McCoy's throat messily, leaving a wet patch, and finally starts to strip his clothes off. They get entangled in each other, because undressing while they're still fucking against each other is unsurprisingly ineffective. Jim rolls off him, tugging his shirt over his head frantically and then kicking off his pants. McCoy gets his pants halfway down his hips before he misses Jim's body. He pins him down, sucking hard on one of Jim's nipples and eliciting a hard groan. 

"Clothes," Jim reminds him, laughing again, even as he squirms and shudders. His eyes are bright, so blue, burning. McCoy huffs, shucks his pants off the rest of the way, and raises his arms pointedly, so that Jim can peel his undershirt off for him. 

"Bones," croons Jim, his mouth on McCoy's shoulder. He's turning him over, onto his belly, and his hands travel warmly over McCoy’s already-heated flesh. His fingers end up pushing beneath the elastic waistband of McCoy's boxers, slipping them off and tossing them aside. Jim makes an appreciative sound, trailing his fingers over the cleft of McCoy's ass, and McCoy shudders in response, rising up on his knees and elbows, glancing at Jim over his shoulder. 

"Are you going to keep petting me, Jim, or are you going to—" 

He ends up finishing his cranky demand with a surprised moan, because Jim has parted his ass with gentle hands and his tongue, oh God, his tongue is the most amazing thing McCoy has ever felt. It pushes inside him, warm and certain, and McCoy bites off another sob. "Dammit! Dammit, Jim, please."

He thinks he can feel Jim smile against him, and then he's rising again, hitching his own underwear down his thighs and reaching for the bedside table. "Leonard," Jim murmurs, drawing out the first syllable, and McCoy grunts. "Bones," amends Jim, and after a bit of fumbling, he's pushing a finger inside McCoy instead of his tongue and it's just as good. It's better, actually, because McCoy relishes the tight burn as Jim stretches him open. 

It goes like that, one finger, two, three, oh so slowly, until McCoy is resting his forehead against his arms and moaning wordlessly, inching his hips back until Jim is buried knuckle-deep inside him. Jim is plastered over his back, arm pinned between them, his chin on McCoy's shoulder so that he can take turns whispering filthy, dark promises into his ear and then licking the shell of it and tugging on his earlobe with his teeth. 

"Fuck," cries McCoy, jerking, when Jim stops being a goddamned fucking tease and drags the pads of his fingers over his prostate. 

"Okay," Jim mumbles, tugging his fingers free. He drapes an arm over McCoy's chest, tugging him up until they're kneeling, Jim's thighs pushing McCoy's legs apart, his chest to McCoy's back. "Okay, Bones, I gotcha." 

"Please," mumbles McCoy, tipping his head back. His mouth is open, and he's seeing stars even before Jim pushes into him, inexorably slow, guiding his dick in with his free hand. When he goes still, the two of them are pressed together without a fraction of space between them. Jim can't resist the bared expanse of McCoy's throat and latches onto his pulse-point with his lips, sucking hard. "Jim. Jim, move," McCoy manages to grind out. 

"Chill out, Bones, I'm getting there," breathes Jim, licking thoughtfully at the hickey he's created. "Lean forward." He guides them back down until McCoy is on his hands and knees, and then he's rolling his hips steadily, pulling out and pushing back in with a long, graceful movement. McCoy hisses at the first burn of pain, then relaxes, and after a moment he's meeting every thrust Jim makes. 

His skin is slick with sweat, now, and their bodies moving together make soft, obscene noises. Jim buries a hand in McCoy's hair, tugging as he rocks his hips, his movements becoming harder, more erratic, as he gets closer to orgasm. McCoy is reaching for his own cock when Jim slaps his hand away, grasping him tight from the base and using the pad of his thumb to drag over the tip of his dick, spreading the pre-come and using it as lubricant. McCoy yells, bucks forward roughly, and loses it, arms trembling as he comes into Jim's fist with a blinding rush of sensation. 

Jim keeps pushing into him, his teeth closed firmly over McCoy's shoulder. McCoy marvels at the pulse of his cock, deep inside him, as Jim climaxes, and sucks in a breath. He can't hold them both up, and Jim ends up spread over him like a sticky blanket, his breath coming in puffs by McCoy's ear. 

Eventually, McCoy says, muffled against a pillow, "Jim, you're heavy. Get off."

Jim hums vaguely, the sound vibrating through their bodies, clearly about to fall asleep. 

"Seriously, off," orders McCoy, struggling to get out from under Jim. Jim shifts obligingly, rolling onto his side. They're lying in wet sheets, and McCoy desperately wants a shower, but there's warmth spreading through him, and Jim is a pleasantly solid, familiar presence beside him. Jim inches close, spooning McCoy, his nose pressed to the back of his neck.

"Your hair smells nice," mumbles Jim, his arm wrapping snug around McCoy's waist. "How is that possible, you spend all your time in a place that reeks of disinfectant."

"Magic," replies McCoy. For the first time in nearly a week, his stomach is calm. There's no nausea lurking, no dizziness, or blurred vision, or vertigo. He feels normal. He knows it'll only last until the next time they go to warp, but it's the best he's felt in days. 

"Jim," he says. There's no reply, so he repeats himself, louder, and pinches Jim's arm.

"Ow. What, Bones? You're not going to ask me to leave, are you? Because I haven't slept in 36 hours and I'm pretty damn comfortable. I know this is kind of weird, us having sex and all, but don't start freaking out on me already."

"M'not freaking out," McCoy says defensively, scowling even though Jim can't see him. "This is weird, and I could probably do a really extensive psychological profile on you just based on your sexual habits, and how your first reaction to any situation is to immediately stick your dick into it, but what I was going to say is—"

"—I'm your sex god?" interrupts Jim sleepily, and he squeezes McCoy's cock. 

"Yes," growls McCoy flatly. "Yes, Jim, you are my sex god."

"That's nice," grins Jim, and his hands slide up to tweak McCoy's nipples.

"Thanks, Jim. I was going to say thanks," McCoy replies sullenly, slapping Jim's hands away.

"Oh," yawns Jim, and his eyelashes brush against McCoy's neck. "Sorry. It's okay, Bones. Any time." 

He's asleep a second later, and McCoy briefly debates staying awake and agonizing over what this new development in their friendship means, but if Jim is going to happily snore away and grope McCoy in his sleep, then he's going to fucking well get some shut eye too, dammit. He drifts off with Jim's lips on his neck and doesn't suffer any of the terrifying nightmares of weightlessness he's had lately. All in all, it's not a bad night.




Following Jim's unique method of treatment, McCoy suffers through three jumps to warp without being sick, and Jim attributes it entirely to the power of his passionate sexual healing. 

McCoy won’t admit it aloud to Jim, he’d rather be tarred and feathered than endure the gloating, but he’s feeling so relaxed that his medical staff are so terrified he’s going to explode at any moment that they’re treating him as though he’s made of glass. He spends a day limping around sickbay with a dreamy expression on his face, saying things like “Good job, Peterson, couldn’t have done it better myself,” and “Thanks, Chapel, good eye.”

Jim comes down to visit and tells him to stop scaring the interns. They think the motion sickness must’ve damaged his brain, Jim informs him, and an anonymous ensign had sheepishly told the captain of the collective concerns of McCoy’s sickbay crew. 

McCoy doesn’t even scowl. He merely raises an eyebrow at Jim, asks if he’d like to go to lunch, and pats a nurse on the back for no discernable reason.

When they’re in the corridor, Jim leans in and hisses, “Bones, you’re glowing!”

McCoy smiles.




Scotty fixes the inertial dampeners 23 hours later. 

At 1400 hours, Jim makes a ship-wide announcement confirming that they have indeed fixed the engines, and they’ll soon be dropping out of warp but don’t worry if you don’t feel it, guys, that’s normal. 

That evening, Jim’s at McCoy’s quarters with a bottle of 145-year-old Kentucky bourbon. 

McCoy nearly shoves him into the replicator, trying to get at the whiskey, and he stares at the label, and then he stares at Jim, and the only logical next step is to pin him to the wall and demonstrate his appreciation through the liberal use of his tongue. 

This seems to be the exact reaction Jim has been hoping for. He’s wiping his mouth when they part, a dazed grin on his face.

“Is this the part where we have an awkward conversation?” asks McCoy suspiciously, the bottle cradled in his arms like a baby.

“Bones,” says Jim gently, with a welcoming, comfortable grin, “Just open the bottle. This is the first time in over a week that I’m not worried you’re going to puke on me. Don’t ruin the moment.”

McCoy opens it.