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Story Notes:

 

As challenged, includes:

-angst and an unhappy, unrequited ending

-K/S

-Bones POV

-Uhura

-Uses entire quote (Neil Gaiman, Sandman)

 

 

Sometimes Mccoy wonders if his mental development was impeded so that he never progressed past the stage of vulnerability to immature, petty jealousy. It would certainly make for an easy, somewhat painless explanation.

            That’s not the way it is, though. Easy and painless wouldn’t be fitting.

            “Have you ever been in love?” Jim asks him one night, words falling over themselves as if tripped up by the whiskey on his breath. “It makes you so… vul- uh-vulnerable.”

            “Horrible, isn’t it?” Mccoy mumbles, can’t look Jim in the eye. Vulnerable is an understatement, is saying the infinite vastness of space has a limit, like saying that somewhere out there, it ends. It’s not feeling vulnerable, not to him. It opens his chest and opens up his heart, and all that does is ruin him. It means someone can get inside him and mess him up, letting someone wreak havoc inside him.  

            “It’s… a thing.” Jim says speculatively, “a thing that makes you… feel stuff.”

            Maybe that’s the part that hurts the most. Mccoy builds up all these defenses, builds up a whole suit of armour, so that nothing can hurt him, and everything is destroyed. Destroyed easily.

            “Sure,” Mccoy mutters, “you think you’re okay, and then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life, and even if they leave you, they never fucking leave your life. You give them a piece of you, and they never fucking give it back.” Never give it back, because they didn’t ask for it, but Mccoy hates that part, more than anything. They do something dumb one day, like kiss him or smile at him, and then his life isn’t his own anymore. He wants it back, but, fuck, what would he do with it now that he knows what it’s missing.

            “Yeah, Bones. Hah! Sounds like you’re talkin’ about me,” Jim grins at him, “except, to, y’know, get the facts straight, you’re the one that’s following me.”

            “Not everyone wants to throw a parade in your honour, Jim.”

            “I don’t need a parade, I told you that. Just a- like- intergalactic holiday thingy. Yeah. That’d be cool.” Jim stares into his glass, doubtlessly imagining celebrations held in his honour, probably having a beer named after him as well.

            This is why Mccoy hates Jim, why he follows Jim to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. He hates this, every bit of it.

            Kirk and Spock are nothing if not meant to be. It’s all in the way they fit together, Kirk’s headlong dives into emotion balanced by Spock’s careful thought, Spock’s binding logic metered by Kirk’s selfless passion. Some fate may have decided to create each with the other in mind, perfect for each other, but maybe, it was decided later. After all, a flawless fate wouldn’t have left discarded perfect matches to watch this phenomenon, heartbroken.

            “July,” Jim declares suddenly, “I want my holiday to be in July.”

            “Jim, I will celebrate you every goddamn day of the year and then some if you’d just shut up,” Mccoy growls, and Jim laughs uproariously.

            “Bones, Bones – I would love you so much if you like, celebrated me every day. That would be cool.”

            Maybe it was all intentional. Spock is perfect for Jim, but Mccoy is too, and he has to hear these things said, love you’s and what would I do without you’s, like they’re remnants of some life he never led, like they’d be right here saying those words in such a different way if Jim didn’t already have his other half. Love takes hostages, and that’s all Mccoy has ever felt like on this starship. Trapped, captive, because he can’t escape, it would kill him.  

            Back when Jim was still edging around Spock with a hidden infatuation in his eyes, Mccoy had thought nothing could be worse. Hearing feverish denial fade into grudging admittance and then outright declaration was terrible, but this, this is worse. It wouldn’t mean anything to him, if he didn’t wish so painfully it was him, not Spock. All this is painful. It gets inside him, it eats him out and leaves him crying in the darkness. All this, and he’s never breathed a word. He can’t imagine the agony of being turned away. So simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should just be friends, Bones’ would turn into a glass splinter working its way into his heart. Would destroy him past how he is now. He’ll never admit it. He’ll die being the only person to know.

            It hurts.

            A week later, he’s sitting in the cafeteria, next to Uhura, both of them discreetly watching Jim and Spock talking. This is the worst; even something like just talking looks so intimate between them. The sentences that don’t need to be finished, thoughts that are completed by another mind, it’s more sealing, more painful, than any kiss could be.        

            “Have you ever been in love?” Uhura asks, her eyes sad, and this time, Mccoy says no.  

            It hurts him. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-him-and-rips-him-apart pain. And what hurts more is that he’s accepted this.

            “I hate love,” Mccoy mutters. Uhura just looks at him.

            Looks at him like he’s a real person who loves Jim Kirk and will never have him. And really, that’s all he is. He’s someone who fate forgot, a perfect other half to someone who’s already whole.

            He’s the other someone that loves Jim.

            Which is to say that Leonard Mccoy is nothing at all.

 

 

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