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According to a half-drunk 25-year-old Jim Kirk, his life so far is quite possibly copied from some 21st century American action movie, with him being in the hero's role.

The disturbing part is, it kind of does all add up—the tragic pedigree, the prodigal years spent in the wilderness known as Iowa, the way stars and entire galaxies practically bent over and aligned themselves for him to be at the right place, in the right moment, being the right person, saving the world and all.

It's really fucked up, when you think about it. And the newly appointed captain apparently did just that.

"You know, Bones, deeeeeep down sometimes I kind of wish all this shit never happened," he slurred to his best friend over a nice mug of Romulan ale, three-quarters-drunk now. "Fucking supernova and black hole. Fucking Vulcan getting blown up... And the ship, he drove that thing right into the fucker you know. Can't even find his fucking body...."

McCoy was going to say that Jim was just talking crazy batshit now, 'cos by some veritable freak accident Spock did get beamed out from the Vulcan Jellyfish at the very last nanosecond. But then realization hit him that Jim was talking about a different ship, a different man, from twenty-five years ago. There was nothing more to be said after that, because people have differently shaped holes in their hearts. Vulcan. USS Kelvin. (Joanna.)

Rubbing his solar plexus, the good doctor ordered another mug of ale. Detoxification can come later, right now he just wanted his friend to rest and maybe forget, even if just for a little while.


The next day, sitting in the captain's chair and doing a final inspection of the Enterprise before relaunch, Jim Kirk is Jim Kirk again. Except right now he is, in McCoy's opinion, testing people's image of the Starfleet captaincy by being a truly petulant child. A petulant child whom everybody loved, perhaps, but still annoying as hell in his obstinacy and sheer unreasonableness.

McCoy almost wishes that Spock was here. Spock would set Jim straight real nice with those eyebrows, no doubt. But Spock has been locked up in some meditation center for days now and didn't even come to Kirk's promotion ceremony—which, Vulcan or not, is still pretty damned cold. (Having your home planet sucked into a black hole in front of your eyes does things to people, though, so McCoy is not touching the issue.)

"Jim," he grits his teeth, voice low. "I want you to listen to me and I want you to listen very carefully. Spock is going to Vulcan Beta and taking those pointy ears with him. Dammit, I saw his name on the confirmed passenger roster with my own eyes this morning! You need to get a first officer before tomorrow. I don't even want to think about how many regulations you're gonna be breaking."

The captain of the USS Enterprise looks up at him with a familiar wide grin, blue eyes all shining and hands toying with a damned apple. "Don't worry about it, Bones. He'll come."

"Sorry Captain, but I gotta agree with the doc here." Having finished examining the helm control panel, Sulu interjects into the conversation and offers another piece of evidence against the captain's stubborn illusion. "The guy's leaving. Leaving leaving. You were there when he said so himself! And didn't you hear how he broke up with Uhura right after that? Mr. Scott got all excited."

"Well, uh, I feel bad for her?" Kirk replies all too cheerfully, completely impervious. "Just wait till tomorrow. You will see. I know."

"Jim—"at this point the Kobayashi Maru deja vu is starting to set in. The golden boy, tempting fate and trying to cheat life any way he can. That's Jim Kirk for you, alright.

But McCoy is pretty sure that Spock isn't the kind of person you can cheat twice.


Many years later, in a bar on Corvi Gamma, Jim Kirk is half drunk again. This time it's because McCoy dares his best friend to drink a full shot of the famous dry Casadari rum, and Kirk always has entirely too much enthusiasm when it comes to dares.

"I'm impressed," the doctor admits with a reluctant admiration, "I thought you'd be out cold halfway through the shot for sure. I even had the hypospray ready."

For once, Jim says nothing and just grins back happily, cutting his appetizer.

"I don't know why I'm surprised though," McCoy looks at that the Corvians' very questionable version of quesadillas and feels the fascination and disbelief (is that thing really organic?) coming on in equal parts. "You've always been the miracle boy. Still are."

Jim Kirk lets out a long, throaty laugh. It's a pleasant sound, made by a man who knows that he has earned his place in a life amongst the stars. "Oh Bones. You crack me up. Miracles."

He says that word with such a particular inflection in his tone that it makes McCoy pause and take notice.

"What? You've never prayed for a miracle and had it answered? I don't believe it." He knows that people still pray privately, even in this age, even Starfleet captains like Jim Kirk. It's not scientific, maybe, but it makes sense in the grand scheme of things, especially when one is faced with the endless darkness and silence in all the galaxies.

For a while, Kirk chews on the food with a thoughtful expression. "Not really," eventually he concludes. "No."

McCoy's about to call Jim's bluff when the man corrects himself. "Okay, that's not entirely true. In forty years, I did ask for two miracles."


"The first one didn't turn out so well," Jim swallows a piece of the food, eyebrows knitting together in concentration. "When I was a kid, I spent two or three years hoping that my old man survived somehow and would come back to us. Pretty high order, even for a miracle."

He doesn't know what to say. It was something that they don't really talk about, except in those few wee-hours-in-the-morning conversations that tend to leave them either sad or drunk, possibly both. They are both too lucid for this.

Fortunately, Jim doesn't seem intent on going there. He raises the half-translucent glass and stares at it, as if he's trying to figure out the imprinted pattern. "You know about Ambassador Spock."

McCoy nods. That's one of Starfleet's better-kept secrets, but you find things out by being around Jim Kirk.

"He showed me stuff. Memories of him and the other me, from his time. It was very...illuminating," Jim smiles in that way and he knows that's all the details he's going to get. "I can't explain it, Bones. You know how they say destiny is staring at you in your face? Well, I got punched in the face. I knew then, especially after Narada, that this is the one thing I'm meant to have, and nothing is going to take it away from me."

Jim's voice drops low and soft, but those eyes look strangely gentle with a honest openness. "Remember back in the beginning, when all of you were beating me up for not finding a first officer 'cos Spock said he was ditching us and going to Vulcan Beta?"


"I figured, in this life I paid my price for the whole hero bullshit. But him, what I had with him—yeah, I asked for the miracle because I was owed that much. I demanded it. It was my right! I couldn't have my father back, but I would have him."

Leonard McCoy finds himself reaching for the glass, his throat too tight to say anything at the moment. Over the years he has been continuously amazed by the depth of devotion between his captain and the first officer, but to hear Jim putting it in words like that, with such absolute conviction—it makes his own heart tremble just a bit in awe.

He probably would never have believed such a love was possible if he hasn't seen it with his own eyes, or breathed the same air as these two men. But then again, no matter how much Jim Kirk protests, to the people who know him, he will always be the man who brings miracles.

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