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01. blatant miscommunication

The message arrives while McCoy is wasting away in class, busy imagining his own slow, mournful demise; he’s made it halfway through a spectacularly dull three-hour lecture on Interspecies Medical Practice (And You!) which he has helpfully subtitled Organs Are Not Always Where You Think They Might Be, and he desperately hopes he’ll stroke out sometime in the next ten minutes.

Because McCoy is convinced of his own imminent death at the hands of the most soul-crushing instructor of all time, when his communicator signals he’s received a new message he excitedly manhandles it out of his pocket and then nearly cracks the screen in half in his enthusiasm to get it open. 

He’s not at all surprised to find a message from Jim. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM KIRK @ (09:36):
Just remembered throwing your communicator at your face in a half-drunk stupor this morning when your alarm went off. Thought I should apologize.

McCoy scowls, because he remembers the incident as well. It’s why he’s currently sitting in the middle of class with a black eye. 

For someone that seems eternally incompetent at any and all sport-like activities despite his prodigious skill in hand-to-hand combat and plain old bar brawls, regularly attracting flying objects to his face with sheer magnetic force of will, Jim has a surprisingly accurate and incredibly mean throw. 

Still frowning, McCoy shifts the communicator into his lap so that he can type awkwardly with both thumbs.

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (09:38): 
I hate you and I plan to smother you in your sleep. Go to class.

Jim is a predictable creature, especially when it comes to habitual lecture hall texting. McCoy doesn’t even have to wait two full minutes before his communicator emits a quiet, satisfied ‘ping’. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM KIRK @ (09:40): 
I’m IN class. Have faith, Bones. 

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (09:42): 
Experience has taught me that’s a bad idea. Did you know the Andorian equivalent of the spleen is located in the elbow?

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM KIRK @ (09:45): 
How fascinating. Where do they keep their genitals?

McCoy mutters a colourfully unkind word under his breath, marveling at Jim’s ability to turn the subject to sex even when the initial topic is as emphatically unattractive as alien organ geography, then stubbornly snaps his communicator shut. He’s prepared to disregard the deluge of pestering messages that are sure to start as soon as Jim realizes McCoy is trying to ignore him, but ultimately the lecture quickly proves it is still, viciously, trying to kill him, and Jim is actually a pretty decent distraction. 

Cursing, McCoy retrieves the communicator. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM KIRK @ (09:59): 
Where did you go? I’m lonely, Bones. 

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (10:01): 
Deal with it. My face hurts like a bitch.

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM KIRK @ (10:04): 
Meet me after class for lunch. I’ll kiss it better.

McCoy is pretty damn used to inappropriate innuendo from Jim, but that doesn’t stop twin spots of colour rising high on his cheeks. He glances around, surreptitiously, but the rest of the class is evidently comatose; McCoy spots Christine Chapel asleep against the wall, a trickle of drool on her chin. 

On the whiteboard, the professor is sketching a mildly alarming scenario involving three separate species of aliens that all have their hearts located in awkward places like the tips of their fingers or toes, and then demonstrating, via stick figure house of horrors, what an unprepared and uneducated doctor could do just by shaking a hand or accidentally treading on someone’s foot. 




02. abuse of protocol

“Dammit Jim, what have you done with my communicator?” McCoy demands loudly of the empty room. 

Their dorm, at the moment, is apparently functioning as a graphical representation of chaos theory. Aside from the take-out containers and stolen lunch trays and the explosion of PADDs that belong to them both, it’s mostly Jim’s clothes everywhere, draped over various surfaces like abstract art. McCoy is okay with looking beneath garments that are recognizably pants or shirts, but he draws the line at surprise underwear. 

Right now, he has planted himself in the center of the room between their beds like a historical statue, hands on his hips, slowly scanning around the room with narrowed eyes. 

The damn thing isn’t on his desk, in the pockets of any of his pants, inside his medkit, hiding in the laundry chute, nor is it on, in, or underneath his bed. 

McCoy is going to kill Jim. He knows he’s responsible for this, and he’s actually going to –- ah. There it is. He snatches up the errant gadget from inside a bowl of fruit and flicks it open, suspiciously checking recently received transmissions. All 15 new messages are unread. 12 of them are, predictably, from Jim. 

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:47): 
HEY

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:48): 
BONES

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:48): 
YOU

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:48): 
SHOULDN’T

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:48): 
LEAVE

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:49): 
YOUR

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:49): 
COMMUNICATOR

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:49): 
OUT

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:49): 
ANYONE

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:49): 
COULD

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:50): 
FIND

>>RECEIVED FROM CAPTAIN LOVEMACHINE @ (16:50): 
IT

McCoy growls, his lip curling up in a truly impressive sneer as he stabs at the keys.

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (18:57): 
DAMMIT JIM I swear you will spend the rest of your life eating through a TUBE. 

Jim doesn’t reply right away. 

McCoy’s sure the fact that he waits for a little while, standing motionless with his fingers poised over the keys and eventually feeling pretty damn stupid, says something about him. Something probably very co-dependent. Apparently Jim hasn’t got his communicator on him, or he’s gleefully ignoring McCoy’s aggressive message. 

It’s with a certain degree of reluctance and disappointment that he snaps the comm shut and returns to his previously abandoned task. It’s Friday night and he has firm plans of pantlessness. Then, he’ll be courting a few fingers of Jim Beam and potentially reading some of the antique paper copy of Gray’s Anatomy Jim got him for his birthday. He finishes undressing and flops back on his bed in just his boxers and t-shirt, huffing out a loud sigh. 

A pair of Jim’s shorts is suspended from the overhead light fixture. McCoy frowns, unsure if that was there this morning, and reaches for the bottle of bourbon he’s placed within easy reach of the head of the bed. 

When he’s got a few shots in him, belly warm, he spends a minute vindictively reprogramming Jim’s name in his contact list.

He’s dozing a couple of hours later, exhausted, when his communicator bleeps eagerly. McCoy, in a sleep-warm fog, fumbles for it in a reflexive, jerky movement, upsetting the glass resting on his solar plexus and splattering himself with whiskey. His hands feel heavy and clumsy, and his squints down at the comm with tired, aching eyes. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JAMES TIBERIUS FUCKHEAD THE THIRD @ (20:45): 
I'm not even planning on drinking that much tonight, but I'm writing "emergency contact number" and your comm frequency on my hand just in case

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (20:49): 
My pants are off and I’m not answering any messages after 22:00 hours. Good luck, try not to die. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JAMES TIBERIUS FUCKHEAD THE THIRD @ (20:56): 
Harsh, Bones. Harsh. 




03. the politics of undress

There is a fountain in the centre of campus. 

Cadets and instructors and officers alike are obliquely aware that Starfleet is a distinguished, preeminent institution, honourable and just and fond of kittens and whitewashed with glitter and all that is apparently good and right in the universe. There is a tangible sense of pride and respect that normally emanates from every corner of the immaculate, pristine buildings, from the freshly-cut grass and carefully-tended flowers. 

For some reason, though, all of that abruptly ceases to exist once a particular set of conditions all align perfectly and reduce even the most stubbornly upstanding cadet to the status of a drunken, gibbering, publically indecent vandal. 

The conditions are thus: if (1) it is past 0200 hours on (2) a Friday or Saturday night and (3) copious quantities of alcohol have been imbibed, then (4) your morally reprehensible hooligan of a best friend might actually convince you it’s a good idea to take a piss in the fountain and then take off your pants and put them on the head of the mermaid that adorns the centerpiece. 

Leonard McCoy doesn’t really care that Jim is also glaringly lacking in pants. 

All he does care about is that he’s wet, he’s drunk, the arm Jim has slung around his neck is growing steadily heavier, and now that he’s gotten his pants on the statue, he can’t actually reach up high enough to get them back down

Coming out with Jim is always a bad idea. This proves it. Well, actually, the time they ended up on the roof of the assembly hall, blowing bubbles and sharing a joint, proved it, because Jim ended up falling off and breaking his leg. 

But still. This has the potential to be equally as bad, if not worse. McCoy is already picturing hypothermia. 

Jim had sent him a message in the middle of the afternoon that was mildly worrying. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH @ (14:37): 
Take one last look at my face, because I'm drinking it off tonight.

Not that McCoy really believed him, Jim was too fond of his face for that, but when McCoy got messages like this, he either tried to talk Jim out of his plans (fruitless), or joined him in order to keep an eye out (dangerous but infinitely more effective). 

It still means he’s standing on the edge of a fountain, wet up to his knees, clutching the hem of Jim’s shirt and slurring, “Jim, get down, I don’t need my pants back, dammit.”

“I’m not getting them for you,” Jim bellows back, completely incapable of volume control at his level of inebriation. “I don’t know where mine went, so I’m hijacking yours.”

McCoy pauses, then resumes his tugging. “Pants are not necessary. We’re both going to die of pneumonia now, anyway. Come on, I need a fuckin’ shower. Is the cafeteria still open? I want a muffin.”

“It’s –- it’s late. Early. I don’t know,” tries Jim, and he snags the cuff of McCoy’s wayward pants between his thumb and forefinger. “No muffins, Bones. I’ve almost got your pants off.” 

“I bet you say that to all the boys,” drawls McCoy. 

McCoy’s pants end up in the fountain, Jim mournful and McCoy cold and cranky. They walk back to the dorm arm in arm, barefoot and shivering, and after McCoy keys their door open, Jim pushes him inside, bright-eyed and unreadable and suddenly energetically eager. He strips McCoy’s shirt off with frigid, pale fingers, McCoy dumbly letting him do it, his own eyes wide and dark. 

“Don’t want to get sick, right,” is Jim’s only reasoning. They end up naked, pressing together under the blanket of Jim’s bed, skin damp and chilly, clammy cool until the heat of their bodies blend, warming them as Jim wraps his arms around McCoy’s chest, face buried in his shoulder. McCoy nuzzles at Jim’s wet hair, his eyes slipping shut as he lets the heavy weight of exhaustion and drunkenness carry him under. 

In the morning, Jim is gone, the bed cold, but McCoy finds his communicator in the fruit bowl, again. 

>>RECEIVED FROM BOND JAMES BOND @ (05:14): 
I have gone on a quest for bacon and eggs. I am so hungover I’m not sure I even have a head anymore. BTW your pants are on the flagpole. 

>>RECEIVED FROM BOND JAMES BOND @ (05:25): 
I am bringing you breakfast but you will have to deal with toast and oatmeal because there are no grits or cornbread or biscuits or whatever you southerners eat

>>RECEIVED FROM BOND JAMES BOND @ (05:27): 
Coffee coffee coffefefe bones bones bones why aren’t you awake yet

>>RECEIVED FROM BOND JAMES BOND @ (05:29): 
Oh my god it is not even 0600 yet what the shti

>>RECEIVED FROM BOND JAMES BOND @ (05:30): 
ffff coming home

Jim gets in five minutes later. He’s already eaten half of McCoy’s toast and there isn’t any oatmeal at all.




04. compulsory nausea ad nauseam

McCoy really hates the mandatory flight classes all cadets are required to take. 

They always leave him strung-out and shaky, as though he’s just come down from a massive high, nothing to show for the experience beyond a crippling headache and a stomach more interested in doing intensive aerobics than settling the fuck down. 

He stumbles out of the flight hanger, wide-eyed and trembling violently in the warm spring sunshine, not too much unlike an escaped convict or a crazy old hobo, all spastic eyebrows and twitching jaw. 

“What do you want?” he snaps at a cadet that has the extreme misfortune of being in his way. 

“N-nothing?” tries the thin, freckled man, glancing hurriedly around to note any potential witnesses that might see McCoy kill him and drag him away to his evil lair. 

“Useless!” cries McCoy wildly, and there’s enough space to divert his path and go around the other man, but instead he clamps his hands over the terrified cadet’s upper arms and lifts him up and off the path before purposefully stomping back to the dorm with a fixed single-mindedness that has everyone skittering nervously out of his trajectory. 

He knocks over a trash receptacle on the way, barking out, “Watch where you’re going, dammit!” before he makes it safely to the room. The door opens for him in evident fear, despite the fact that it normally likes to force him to swipe his card several times, making increasingly more mocking remarks like ‘please swipe with the magnetic strip facing the keypad’ and ‘perhaps you would like to try again’ or ‘you’re doing it fucking wrong, moron’, and McCoy kicks off his boots, angrily wriggles out of his jacket, and throws himself, projectile missile-style, onto the bed.

It’s Jim’s, because it’s closest to the door, not that McCoy cares. He’s too focused on burrowing his head under the pillow -- which smells, not unpleasantly, of Jim’s shampoo -- as he tries to excise any and all memories of leaving the atmosphere from his wailing brain. McCoy had never been off planet, prior to enlisting, and it’s not an accomplishment he’s particularly pleased to have experienced, now. 

Even if he lies perfectly still, it still feels like he’s moving, floating; he can still feel the weightlessness, the wrongness, the total utter fucking nausea of knowing that if anything goes wrong, there’s no air, no ground, no nothing. He’s already thrown up twice, and he doesn’t think Jim will appreciate it if he vomits on his pillow. 

It takes almost all of his fragile, wavering self-control not to drink himself blind. Instead, he lies perfectly still, curled up tight, until his head clears and the madness passes. 

Goddamn he hates flying. 

By the time he unwraps himself from Jim’s blankets, blinking away his exhaustion, the evening and most of the night has completely passed him by without so much as a by-your-leave, and he yawns so hard he cracks his jaw. He’s debating the finer points of getting undressed and just going back to bed when his communicator buzzes. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIMMY DEAN @ (23:43): 
i'm lost and i look like a hooker

McCoy blinks, not sure what to do with this information. He’s not sure what looking like a hooker entails, since Jim is the type of guy that can project an undeniable innocent choirboy persona one second, and then, with just a barely perceptible shift of attitude and expression, suddenly exude unashamed slut. It tends to have absolutely nothing to do with what he is or isn’t wearing at the time. 

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (23:47): 
Any hints as to where you are? I’m not playing a game of ‘Where’s Jim?’ again, last time I ended up sixty miles south, eating scrambled eggs at a diner and asking truckers if they’d seen you.

>>RECEIVED FROM JIMMY DEAN @ (23:52): 
dwntondf I th ink thre’’’s a 25 hr prn store an a deli 

For some reason, McCoy knows exactly where Jim is. It’s about ten minutes walk from campus, but judging by Jim’s rapidly deteriorating typing, McCoy isn’t going to chance anything by leaving him alone to get home. He heaves a sigh.

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (23:55): 
Ok I’ll be right there, stay put

He can’t find his uniform jacket, even though he knows he came in wearing it, so after a few aimless moments staring blankly around the room, he picks up Jim’s battered leather coat from the floor. It’s tight across the shoulders because McCoy is broad where Jim is not (“like a linebacker, Bones”), but it has enough give that he probably won’t tear it down the back as long as he doesn’t try to impersonate The Incredible Hulk. 

Even though Jim’s message referred to a hooker-related appearance, McCoy isn’t quite prepared for what he’s faced with when he turns the corner past the 24 hour neon-lit porn shop, skirts the deli, and comes to a public access terminal and finds Jim wearing torn stockings, heels that look suspiciously like they belong to Gaila, and a black slip

“Jim!” squeaks McCoy, his voice coming out strangled like someone’s been twisting his vocal chords into knots. “Oh, my God, you’ve fallen off the wagon into the seedy underbelly and started selling yourself to pay tuition.”

He’s shrugging Jim’s jacket off and hastily putting it over his bare shoulders before he even comes to terms with the fact that there is a heavy coating of black eye-shadow surrounding Jim’s eyes. He’s wearing lipstick, too, bright candy-apple red, like the heels, and he mostly just looks ridiculous because his hair is exactly the same as it always is. Ridiculous and smoking hot.

“Shut up!” protests Jim, clumsily shoving his arms through the sleeves of the coat and thrusting out his lower lip at McCoy. “Fuck, you’re a lifesaver, Bones. I’m so fucking cold my balls have shriveled up. Raisins. Fucking raisins. Where am I? Wait, did I call you?”

“No, you sent me a message,” growls McCoy, putting his hands on Jim’s back and beginning to walk him home. “Was this a dare, or something? A bet?”

“They didn’t think I’d do it,” says Jim, turning his head to fix McCoy with his biggest, gladdest, puppyish smile. “Five hundred credits! And I get to keep the shoes. Gaila says they make my ass and legs look better’n they ever did for her. Hey Bones hey, am I pretty?”

“Yes, Jim, you’re very pretty,” mutters McCoy. The slip is very short, and Jim isn’t wearing underwear. Despite the cold, McCoy can feel heat climbing up the back of his neck, curling around his ears and settling on his cheeks. Jesus Christ, Jim has a well-muscled back. Lean, narrow hips. And the curve of his ass -- 

McCoy isn’t blind, after all. He winds his fingers around Jim’s arms and marches him firmly back to campus, his eyes fixed on a nondescript point somewhere in the middle distance, because Jim’s ass bounces appealingly under the slip, and McCoy can’t quite guarantee how much of a gentleman he’ll remain if Jim doesn’t stop running his tongue over his lips like that. 

“I don’t like you very much right now,” McCoy growls, shoving Jim into the dorm. 

“What did I do?” Jim asks, and holy fucking shit, he peels the slip off as soon as the door swishes shut. He stands there for a minute, naked as the day he was born, rifling through his carefully-organized piles of laundry until he selects a pair of boxers. He shimmies into them, and then sits down to push the stockings off. “You didn’t have to come get me. I would’ve made it home at some point.”

McCoy snorts, because otherwise he’d make some sort of embarrassing whimpering noise, and turns away before Jim notices how he’s suddenly taken on tomato-like traits. “And then I’d be undressing you in the morgue and wondering how someone with your stupid hyper-intelligent brain managed to die dressed in drag.”

“Where were you earlier?” Jim demands. He’s having difficulties undressing; taking off the shoes before the stockings probably would’ve been a better plan. McCoy huffs and kneels to untangle Jim’s legs, keeping his head ducked down. “I paged you a dozen times. I wanted you to come out with us, too.”

“I don’t think I would’ve made as pretty a girl as you, Jim,” drawls McCoy. He sets the freed shoes aside and tugs the torn stockings off, balling them up and throwing them in the recycler. “Anyway, I thought I told you, I had a training flight scheduled this evening.”

“Oh, yeah,” says Jim, somehow managing to instill sincere sympathy into those two words. He throws his arms up and flops backwards onto the bed. “Sorry, Bones. Did you puke on the instructor again?”

“No,” scowls McCoy. “I don’t remember coming home, though, so I can’t be held accountable for my actions following my departure from the hanger.”

Jim laughs, his eyelashes unnaturally dark as they flutter against his cheek, his lips wide and red and glossy as he squirms on the mattress, drawing up long bare legs to stretch out properly. 

“I missed another Crazy Old Man Bones outing? Damn, I do love to see those eyebrows in action.”

“I believe I promised I’d smother you in your sleep,” announces McCoy, appearing eerily at the side of the bed, looming over Jim. He holds up the pillow and arches an eyebrow. 

Jim’s quick, even when he’s half in the tank, and he snatches the pillow away, throwing it across the room before grabbing McCoy by the collar and dragging him down. McCoy loses his balance a little, startled, and his hands come down on either side of Jim’s head to brace himself so they don’t smash their foreheads together. 

The kiss is sticky, wet. Jim tastes a little waxy, like lipstick, and the inside of his mouth is warm like scotch and chocolate.

In the morning, McCoy wakes up with red smudges on his face and one notable lip print surrounding a bruise on his throat, and he trips on the shoes on the way to the bathroom. 




05. baffling sexual overtures 

Sometimes McCoy doesn’t understand Jim. 

No, hang on a second, most of the time McCoy doesn’t understand Jim. It actually gets a little easier to be around him once the general impossibility of his friendship is safely categorized as ‘inexplicable’ and just accepted and filed away for future studies. 

If McCoy is confronted with some new aspect of Jim’s behaviour that simultaneously bewilders and fascinates him, he tends to pause for a moment, mentally review what he’s just witnessed, be it Jim’s spontaneous new juggling skills or his ability to burp the alphabet, and then just move on. Sometimes he moves on while filled with quiet panic, other times he moves on while wondering if he’ll get through the year without punching Jim in the mouth, but overall, he still just -- moves on. He has to, in order to preserve his sanity. 

Deciphering Jim’s complex relationship signals is something McCoy should really have some practice in, but a lot of his antics still go right over McCoy’s head. 

It’s Sunday night, and he has a midterm in the morning. It’s nothing to worry about, just anatomy, and he could probably do the practical with his eyes closed and a glass of bourbon in one hand, but he’s the kind of person that studies anyway, because he feels guilty if he doesn’t. 

Checking his communicator when it buzzes doesn’t make him feel guilty, though. He’s due for a study break. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM @ (19:33): 
Hey Bones hey, can I borrow that thing you never use?

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (19:36): 
…What?

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM @ (19:37): 
Your penis

McCoy can hear Jim’s inevitable accompanying laughter even though he’s got no idea where Jim actually is; evidently somewhere he can’t talk, or else he wouldn’t be text messaging. 

The point is, he can hear Jim in his head, and McCoy frowns sullenly and briefly considers turning the communicator off or maybe throwing it out the window, then finding where it landed and jumping up and down on it for a little while. 

He’s about to reply and tell Jim where the fuck he can stick it, when Jim sends another message. 

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM @ (19:45): 
Seriously bones you should come out, I’ve got two charming girls here and I’m just one man

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (19:48): 
Jim Kirk doesn’t know how to handle a threesome?

>>RECEIVED FROM JIM @ (19:49): 
jim kirk is trying to be a good friend! 

McCoy stares down at the tiny screen, squinting at the words he knows Jim earnestly means every single syllable of, no matter how utterly patronizing and embarrassing they might be. 

>>LEONARD H. MCCOY SENT @ (19:55): 
I can’t believe you think that’s magnanimous of you, jackass. Fuck off I don’t need a one night stand pity date with some poor girl you hypnotized with your stupid blue eyes

He imagines that confused little crinkle Jim gets between his eyebrows as he surreptitiously texts Bones under the bar, and almost laughs. Imagines Jim’s genuine, honest bewilderment, and it just makes him angrier, the awkward, burning shame rising up in a tiny little tsunami of indignant, furious rage. 

He gets another message, and another, but he can’t bring himself to check them. Eventually, Jim will come back to the room, and McCoy can’t think of anywhere else he’d rather not be when he does. 

Jim knows about the only bar McCoy likes to frequent, so he deliberately finds somewhere new to spend the evening, a hole in the wall with dim lights and sticky tables. He stays until last call, and then walks around the bridge and campus for as long as he can keep his eyes open. It’s just past 0400 when he finally returns, slipping quietly into the dorm. 

Eyes already adjusted to the dim, moonlit darkness, he immediately spots Jim sprawled, still and deeply asleep, in bed. McCoy breathes out in relief, and strips out of his clothes. This is Jim, though, and he comes awake as soon as McCoy accidentally thumps his foot on his desk, no matter how quietly he curses.

“Where did you go?” mumbles Jim, turning over to look up at McCoy. His voice is hoarse, roughened by sleep and drinking. 

“For a walk,” answers McCoy curtly, folding his pants and shirt over the back of a chair. 

“What did I do, Bones?” sighs Jim, running a hand through his hair. “You could’ve just said you weren’t interested.”

“I was interested,” snaps McCoy, before he can stop himself. He sits down hard on the edge of the bed, dropping his head into his hands. “Probably not how you think, though. You idiot. The flirting, I can handle. You do that with everyone. But you kissed me. Do you have any idea how goddamned confusing this is?”

Jim is quiet. McCoy knows he hasn’t fallen asleep, so he waits, trying to project as much irritation into the room as he can. 

“So, then, do you want to fuck?” asks Jim bluntly, as if he doesn’t know

It’s McCoy who’s quiet this time. 

Jim sighs, loud and harsh in the still darkness. “Me trying to get you laid, and us doing -- whatever it is we do, want to do, those things aren’t mutually exclusive, Bones.”

“What do you mean?” asks McCoy quietly. 

“Bones,” murmurs Jim, sitting up in bed. His eyes flash huge and curiously translucent in the dark. “Come here.”

“No,” replies McCoy, awkward. “Are you saying you’d want to be able to fuck other people? If we were -- together?”

“Bones,” repeats Jim, firmly. “Just get your ass into bed with me, you stubborn son-of-a-bitch.”

“You are like a demented child,” grunts McCoy. He settles in next to Jim, on top of the covers, and Jim forcibly manipulates him into a cuddle, his arms tight around McCoy, fingers carding soothingly through his hair. 

“I’m not saying that. I’m saying that just because I tried to set you up, that doesn’t mean I don’t want what you want. I want whatever you want. You and me, Bones, come on. I’d get us one of those BFF necklaces, but I don’t think you’d approve.”

McCoy snorts and something in his stomach eases a little. “Necklaces are a health hazard.”

That’s my paranoid doctor,” Jim says firmly, patting him on the head like a dog. “So you do want to have sex?” McCoy is pretty sure he’s actually asking ‘do you really want to do this together?’, but it’s easier for them both if they don’t delve into what a big deal this is. 

“Well, I don’t just keep you around for your scintillating conversational skills,” McCoy replies smartly. “I don’t know, Jim. Yes. Yeah. I don’t care what you do, outside this room. Just try and come back when you’re finished.” The ‘to me’ is unspoken, but McCoy knows Jim gets it. 

“I’d never plan things otherwise, Bones,” Jim says cheerfully, and he winds his fingers into McCoy’s hair and tugs up, sharply, so that their mouths meet in the middle. The angle is awkward, and Jim’s teeth bruise his upper lip, but McCoy gives in, melts with it, moves on past his confusion. 

Just moves.




+01. technological misunderstanding

Jim usually feels like a bit of a tool talking on his communicator when there are crowds of impressionable young cadets and sharp-eared instructors around, especially when the topic is one that deals withdelicate medical issues. He’s in the midst of a slightly emasculating conversation with Bones, and has consequently stopped in the middle of a walkway to read the latest message. The crowd divides and starts to flow around him without missing a beat.

>>RECEIVED FROM CRUSHER OF BONES @ (12:34): 
Don’t thank me, Jim. Just stop putting your penis in foreign objects. 

Jim grins. Really. Does Bones realize he totally sets himself up for these things? He must.

>>JAMES T. KIRK SENT @ (12:38): 
Do YOU count as a foreign object?

>>RECEIVED FROM CRUSHER OF BONES @ (12:45): 
Yes. Until the infection clears up, your penis isn’t coming anywhere near my ass or mouth. 

“Harsh, Bones,” sighs Jim. “Harsh.”

>>RECEIVED FROM CRUSHER OF BONES @ (12:46): 
Addendum: let me remind you one more time that MY penis is fully functional and totally free of debilitating sexual rot. 

“It’s not rotting!” shrieks Jim. 

He’s pretty sure half of campus hears him, and at least a quarter of them intuitively know he’s talking about his dick. 

>>JAMES T. KIRK SENT @ (12:50): 
I’m pretty sure I hate you. 

>>JAMES T. KIRK SENT @ (12:51): 
Let’s go get lunch.