The Best Laid Plans
“So I gotta run, but we’ll hook up before we ship out again,” he was saying. He might as well have been talking to the damn doors, because he was off the turbolift before he finished talking. The doors whooshed shut, and Jim was standing by himself trying to figure out just what the fuck happened.
Jim was two decks down before it occured to him to get off the damn lift and go after Bones, but it was too late. By the time Jim located a terminal to ask for McCoy’s current location, Bones was already off the ship.
Well fuck me. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?
Jim swallowed down his disappointment and looked at a group of crewmembers marching towards him in a loose group. They looked tired but happy – they were probably part of the first wave scheduled to take leave. He acknowledged their exhausted but happy greeting with a curt nod and ducked down a corridor, opting for the less crowded gangways and access ports to get to his cabin. The few souls he encountered were busy finishing up last minute tasks, too enthralled to notice the Captain stalking through the belly of the ship.
Normally the extra walking and climbing on this route to his quarters would sweat off a little post shift tension, but disappointment was not something to sweat out. Instead, it mixed with the sweat and expanded with each huff into a thick, noxious vapor of hurt. And each step taken with the burden of that hurt pissed Jim off a little more, until he was absolutely seething.
The door to the Captain’s Cabin slid open noislessly at Jim’s approach, and that just made him want to scream. Everything, everything, every fucking thing was just so perfect on this fucking ship, in his fucking career, in his fucking life, and so fucking what? What good is happiness if there’s no one to be happy with you? What good is happiness if the only person in the world you’d move heaven and earth for figures a raincheck is a good substitute for a celebration?
The lights in his cabin bloomed to perfect levels as he entered, each room illuminating softly but quickly before he could cross the various invisible threshholds. Fucking efficient ship. The computer softly chimed in the background. Right on time. They were circling Tangia IV, just in time to catch the lights of the Tangian Nebula as part of the gaseous mass passed through the outer reaches of the planet’s exosphere, just close enough to create a magical light show. The event was common enough for locals to have seen it several times in a lifetme, but rare enough that there was a waiting list for various vessels to take shoreleave on the planet. The strings Jim had pulled, the favors he’d promised… fuck, he hadn’t made this much of an effort to plan an outing since the last time he thought he’d try to bag a chick for more than the ten minutes he needed to shoot a load. The least Bones could do was appreciate it.
No, the least he could do was fucking be there. He could hate the goddamn light show, really.
Jim stabbed at the computer with a little more force than was strictly necessary, silencing the now unnecessary alarm. He looked at the bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel he’d been saving for the show. It had seemed like a good waste of wonderfully old whiskey, giggling at the pink and blue clouds, making cat calls at any passing girls, just being young and obnoxious and still alive.
Maybe things like that were more amazing when you weren’t a doctor, who could apparently just make people be alive or whatever.
Jim tore the old plastic off the neck, popped the decorative wood cork, and took a long, burning pull at the amber liquid, not stopping until the burn had him sputtering and dribbling half of it down his uniform shirt. He choked dramatically for another second before deciding that there was no point to hacking if there was no one to smack your back too hard or berate you for being a greedy pig. Jim snorted and tried not to think about how easy it was for Bones to blow him off, because he just wanted to.
A tear rolled down his check. James T. Kirk, Captian Extraordinare and General Awesomest Dude Ever is crying because his best friend has a new best friend. This is just so not on.
He raised the bottle in miserable salute and sniffed back the rest of the tears that threatened to fall. “Happy birthday, Enterprise. Many more.”
His tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth.
His eyes were glued shut.
His bed felt suspiciously like it had splintered into the hard edged tiles of the head.
His pillow was… wet. And slimy.
Jim managed to drag his limbs in towards his body, and somehow convinced them to arrange themselves in a manner most conducive to getting up out of his own drunken shenannigans. He rubbed at his eyes with a dryish sleeve until one, and then the other, popped open with a disgusting crack of dried eyesnot and… shit Jim really didn’t want to know about.
He hadn’t had a bender this bad in years. That Jack must have been better than he expected. Too bad he couldn’t remember tasting it at all.
With a herculean effort, Jim managed to get the floor cleaned up, get himself stripped and into the shower long enough to hose the Gross With A Captital G down, and dragged himself to the sleeping area of his quarters. He fished around in the various hidey-holes afforded to officers cabins, looking for some pain killers, but he came up empty, just as he knew he would.
Fuck it. He was on light duty until all shoreleave was fufilled, and that was only while he wasn’t taking his own alloted leave. If someone out there saw the Captain looking a fucking mess, well… it’s shoreleave, goddammit. Everyone can keep their fucking opinions to themselves.
Jim found a clean pair of jeans and an old, fragile button down shirt that he didn’t have the dexterity to actually button, and decided that was close enough to regulation to beg for pain pills (or, hell, at this point, a detox hypo) from a bunch of hypocrites.
Okay, that wasn’t fair. Their boss was a hypocrite.
Their supervisor. Jim was their boss.
Yeah, maybe a detox hypo would be better. Shouldn’t still be this fucking drunk. Half the damn drink wound up on the floor instead of in his belly anyway.
Jim padded out in unbuttoned shirt and unzipped jeans, giant bony feet peeking out from the too-long pants legs.
He plastered a smile on his face and waved sloppily to everyone who stopped to talk, but he kept up a running commentary on how he couldn’t stop because he had to get to Medical because he had a killer hangover and probably dehydration but everything was fine because this is shoreleave and shoreleave is the time to disco so carry on.
He probably said some other things too.
He definitely called Leonard McCoy a disloyal self centered lying sonofabitch with the scruples of a Klingon divorce attorney and the nutsack of a girl Rigelian Teacup Schnauzer with a pink bow on her head and glittery pink polish on her claws and a fluffy furlined purse that tucks under her six year old human caretaker’s armpit. And that McCoy’s name was really Doris and he wore granny panties. Pink ones. With glitter.
With the conversation in Medical effectively stopped, Jim felt comfortable asking if someone would be willing to detox the delicious whiskey from his pores. “Whaz everybody starin at?” Jim looked around, but he didn’t see anything terribly amazing. Hell, he even checked the ceiling.
He came to on a biobed. He didn’t quite recall everything he said or did, but he knew he’d made a spectacle of himself. Great. Didn’t even get planetside, and he’d already made a drunken ass out of himself. He scrubbed his face with the heel of a palm and noticed the appropriate black undershirt. He glanced down – still in jeans, but they were properly fastened, and his feet were covered in soft black scuffs. Jim raised himself up on an elbow and waited as patiently as he could to flag someone down.
“If you’re going to out me as having a frilly girl name, it’s Loretta, not Doris.” Jim whipped his head around to see Bones standing on the other side, eyeing him with that Doctor Look. “How are you feeling?”
Bones looked at him a little longer. “Are… are you mad at me, Jim?”
To his credit, Jim didn’t immediately burst into tears in the middle of Medical. He clamped down on his jaw and practically ground his molars to powder until he could feel himself regaining control of the urge to sob before answering. “That was a really shitty thing for you to do, Bones.”
“What’d I do?” He actually had the nerve to sound genuienly perplexed.
“I can’t talk about this here. Can I leave?”
“Well, I’d really rather make sure you’re-”
“I don’t want you handling me right now.”
Bones blinked. “Can you stand?”
Jim narrowed his eyes, but he slid off the biobed. “Apparently.”
“Would you like to have this conversation in my office?”
Jim snorted, unamused. “Now you want to have nice long conversations-”
“I think I deserve to know why you’re saying nasty things to my collegues – the people I have to write performance evaluations for – when you’re supposed to be my friend!”
Jim slammed both fists on the biobed, hard enough to elicit an electronic squeal from the equipment. Several people turned in alarm, but Jim just slammed his fists on the bed again. “How dare you! How fucking dare you!”
Bones took a step back, his face a mixture of surprise, hurt and fear. “People are staring,” he hissed.
“Let them stare! I put off shore leave for two months, Bones – two months! – because everything else aligned so perfectly, and we were going to go off and do epic shit in space! Remember that?!”
Jim could see the moment when Bones remembered the snippit of conversation – a brief flash of recall, then embarrassment and more than a little incredulity. “Jim, I thought you just meant we were going to be someplace better than a starbase…”
“I did, Bones! But… what makes it better… we were… Bones, I told you to keep the calendar clear! I had plans!” Jim’s voice cracked in two places on ‘plans’, and the dam was broken. “You don’t even like lectures!”
“I don’t like boring class lectures, Jim, I like lectures that interest me, and I have no idea when Dr. Juntcari is going to lecture anywhere in my path again – you’ll always be here!”
Jim just stared, shocked at Bones’ cavalier attitude towards their friendship. The silence stretched out long past awkward, into unclaimable. The hurt, the anger, the disappointment, they all began to ice over into indifference. Yeah, Jim would always be there. He was the Captain of the Enterprise, and Leonard McCoy was the CMO, and there they would be, together until the end of the tour. An eternity in such a small space.
Jim didn’t think he could get far enough away.
He turned away, unable to look at his best friend another moment. Cliches existed for a reason, and here was the reason for “with friends like these”. Unbelievable. “I’d rather rest in my quarters, Doctor,” he said darkly.
“Go on,” Bones said quietly. Jim went on.
Jim sat heavily on his bed. Indifference was gone, disappointment and hurt were back. Anger was… well, anger was all of these things, really. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Get the job done. No one said life was always full of joy and shit. At least the ship is in good condition. His professional relationships were progressing well. Except for the Medstaff. Whatever, they’ll get over it. Everyone will get over it.
Jim was starting to feel like he would never get over it.
The door chimed. Jim ignored it, and it chimed twice more before the computer acknowledged the medical override. Jim grabbed a pillow and threw it at the door as it slid open. “If I wanted company I’d have let you in.”
Bone caught the pillow as it hit his face and stepped inside, setting it on the desk. “I was concerned. I opened the door out of duty, Jim.”
Jim grit his teeth. “Okay, you’ve performed your duty Doctor. Now get the hell out of my personal space.”
Bones grabbed the desk chair and dragged it to the bed, positioning it with the back right in front of Jim. He stradled it and folded his arms over the back of the chair, resting his chin on his arms. “I really ruined something special for you, didn’t I?”
Jim turned away. “It was only special on one end.”
“Your plans were only special on one end?”
Jim half groaned, half screamed in frustration. “Our… relationship was only special on one end. You think it’s something you can just pull off a shelf when you need it. Fine! That’s what it is! I can live with that!” A lie, but whatever. “I just don’t want to treat it like it’s any more than that.” Jim flopped back on the bed and stared at a point just beyond Bones’ head, willing him to accept that answer as enough for now, so he could just cool off and get his shit together before it was time to pull out.
“What did you have planned?”
“Bones, get off the plan. Just drop it.”
“No! I want to know what was the straw that broke the camel’s back! I had no idea I was treading on thin ice-”
”Don’t. Just don’t.”
“I thought you would understand…” Bones’ voice cracked.
"You know, I would have, if you’d just… given me a heads up a little sooner. I’ve been planning this for a long fucking time – I was going to thank you for… oh, it doesn’t even fucking matter.”
“But I didn’t know any sooner!”
“So you ditch me? That guy didn’t do a fucking thing for you! I arranged this all for you! Bones, you never would have crossed his lecture path here if I hadn’t orchestrated all this fucking shit to get us here, now – no, yesterday! And now I owe a lot of shit to a lot of people, and for absolutely fucking nothing! Okay? That’s the straw! I moved the sun and the moon for you and you decided to go catch a fucking movie!”
Bones had moved from the chair to the bed, and was sitting practically in Jim’s lap. He reached out a tentative hand and brushed the tears flowing freely down Jim’s face. He was shaking his head, and looked like he wanted to cry himself.
Jim wanted to pull away, wanted to make Bones feel all the hurt and rage of rejection, but he couldn’t bring himself to resist those arms when they finally wound around him. He snuggled into the warmth of Bones’ embrace and wondered briefly when the hell they had gone from being BFF to newlyweds after their first fight. But then they were wrapped around each other on the bed, weeping and holding on for dear life. And though Bones never said a word, Jim found himself believing the promise that Bones would never not be there again.