With a resounding sigh, Dr. Leonard McCoy peered over the rock ledge. Fifteen feet below him, lying on his backside, gripping his leg at the knee while a pretty young thing held his head in her hands was Captain James T. Kirk. He was smiling and flirting like he was known to do, earning a blush from the new ensign and a school-girl giggle only her foolhardy captain would appreciate.
Even from this distance it was obvious to the doctor the captain had done some damage to his foot, most likely fractured it or had some tendon strain. Other than the pain, Jim wasn’t in any immediate danger, and Jim was no stranger to pain. In fact, he’d endured much, much worse countless times over.
So it was in the doctor’s sound, medical opinion this incident was far from an emergency situation which had called for his atoms to be scattered all over the galaxy and put back together on some godforsaken purple planet.
“Doctor, what course of action do you recommend?” the young ensign asked. Leonard couldn’t remember her name, wasn’t interested to know it, and the fact she was still holding Jim’s head in her lap, caressing his shoulders had nothing to do with it.
“Oh, I don’t know, you seem to be providing exemplary treatment for the captain. Carry on.”
“Bones!” Jim said, grimacing at the pain in his foot when he shifted to look up at Leonard.
The ensign appeared confused, which was to be expected. Even though she was newly assigned to the Enterprise, the rules of engagement must have made their rounds. For medical emergencies involving the captain, Dr. McCoy was to be the first to attend to the captain, often barking orders at anyone who dared touch him before he did. But, no, not this time. If that damn fool wanted to get himself hurt for stupid reasons—and by stupid Leonard meant jumping down from a rock ledge on some ridiculous purple planet because he was too impatient to wait for a rope ladder—well, then that damn fool could suffer the consequences. Leonard was tired of fixing up Jim, and tired of Jim passing off his injuries as a farce, or taking them too lightly, as he was known to do. Leonard was fed up with Jim’s lack of regard for his own body, so if Jim didn’t care, neither would Leonard.
As far as Leonard was concerned, Jim’s personal physician was going on strike.
“I’m sure the captain will be fine, ensign,” Leonard said, walking away, and then over his shoulder, he added, “but maybe you should hold his hand. He likes that.”
“Bones.” Jim’s outrage was evident in that one word. “Get back here!”
Leonard opened his comm. “McCoy to Enterprise.”
Aye, Doctor, Montgomery Scott’s voice came over the speaker.
“One to beam up, Scotty.”
A-ah, Scotty hesitated, is the captain all right?
“Don’t know, but I’d like to beam back aboard, if you don’t mind. I'm not a fan of purple all that much.”
Dr. McCoy, Spock’s voice replaced Scotty’s, is the captain injured?
“Oh, yes,” Leonard said. “I believe he is. Not positive though.”
Did you examine him?
There was silence for a few seconds on the other end of the comm and Leonard knew the hobgoblin was trying to find the logic in Leonard’s vague answers.
Doctor, please report the status of the captain’s injuries.
“’Fraid I can’t do that, Spock.”
Why not, Dr. McCoy?
“Because I’m on strike, that’s why,” Leonard said and he was smiling when he said it, feeling freer than he had in years.
Leonard was in his office catching up on paperwork when the captain was finally brought into sickbay. The commotion regarding Jim’s arrival was enough to make his eyes roll. Jim’s intentions, as well as the rest of his team’s, were as transparent as the acrylic glass wall in his office. By making as much noise as possible, they were trying to get his attention to make him come out of his office.
He could hear Jim’s belly-aching as clear as day, even though whoever his attending was would’ve given him a pain inhibitor before they had even tried to move him. If Jim were in serious pain, he’d be quiet and not moaning for the entire galaxy to hear. Leonard wasn’t falling for it, besides, he had about three days of work to get caught up on. He wasn’t on strike from being a doctor, only on strike from being Jim’s doctor.
There was a quick knock on his door before it slid open.
“Doctor?” Nurse Chapel addressed him. “The captain has been placed on biobed four.” She set Jim’s chart in front of him. “Fractures of the lateral and posterior processes of the talus—”
“Do you know what’s on tonight’s dinner menu?” Leonard asked.
“Dinner, Chapel. I’m starved. Working up quite the appetite finishing all these reports.”
“Leonard—” Christine warned. “Don’t you think this game has gone on long enough?”
She placed her hands on her hip, leveling a serious frown in his direction. “What treatment do you want the captain to undergo?”
“Well, I’m not sure, Christine. What does his doctor say?”
“You’ve made it quite clear since day one of this five year mission, that you’re his doctor, and only you.”
“Not anymore. There’s an entire sickbay out there filled with extremely qualified doctors and nurses. I should know, I handpicked all of you. I’m giving up first rights to the captain.” Leonard got up from behind his desk, giving Christine a quick pat on the shoulder as he walked by her. “You’re all smart enough to figure out how to treat a moron.”
As he stepped out of his office, Jim called out to him.
“Well, hello, Jim. My shift’s over. Was gonna head down to the mess. You hungry? Want me to grab you something? I hear sickbay food is terrible.”
“Bones...” Jim drew out his name, just short of a whine. “Please come here.”
Leonard made his way over to Jim, smiling with his hands held behind his back. If someone was observing him, they might say he was sauntering...just a little bit. “Do you need me to hold your hand? Has no one done this for you, yet? Dammit, I did tell them.”
“Why are you being such an asshole?”
“I’m sorry, Jim. Are you in pain?”
“Yes!” he said. “Well, no, not now.”
“Excuse me, Nurse Chapel,” Leonard said, in his sweetest southern drawl.
“Yes, Dr. McCoy?” she asked, with concern on her face, probably thinking he was going to reprimand her for something his staff had done with the captain that wasn’t to his specifications.
“Not to be too much trouble, but do you think you could give the captain something for the pain? He seems to be unsettled by it.”
“Bones, stop being a jackass. Wait. Is this about the flirting?"
“Yes, Jim.” Leonard huffed. “I’m jealous of a girl half your age.”
“Half? Hardly!” Jim’s eyebrows pulled down, offended by Leonard’s poke at his age. “Then what’s the matter with you? Why are you acting this way?”
“And what way is that, dear? A concerned husband? Because I am,” Leonard said, patting Jim’s hand. “Really, I am.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay? Is that what you want to hear? I’m sorry I broke my foot. But it’s not like I did it on purpose or anything. It was an accident.”
“I know, Jim.” Leonard continued to pat his hand, placating him. “You never mean to get hurt. What kind of person would willingly risk their life like that? They’d have to be certifiably insane, or have some kind of death wish they live their lives by. And really, a captain of a starship wouldn’t do that. He’d know better than to risk his life at the expense of a few minutes, wouldn’t you say so, Nurse Chapel?”
“I’m staying out of this one,” Christine said, walking away with her hands in the air.
“I get it,” Jim said. “Okay? Lesson learned. Now fix me up so I can get out of here.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Come on. Don’t be like that. You’re my doctor.”
“Jim, you’re asking me to cross my own picket line, and I’m afraid my morals are stronger than that. So, until you meet the demands set by this opposing party, the captain’s physician, one Leonard H. McCoy M.D., is officially on strike.”
“He is, is he?” Jim eyed him up, crossing his arms. “And just what exactly are these demands?”
“The terms will be presented at 0800 hours, the start of the good doctor’s next shift.”
“Just stop it. Okay? Stop all this, and stop talking about yourself in the third person.”
“I’m gonna grab some grub. Can I bring you something?” Leonard leaned down and kissed Jim’s forehead, smoothing back his hair. “I’ll be back after dinner.” He smacked Jim’s cheek lightly as he turned to go, but before he could leave, Jim grabbed hold of his wrist.
“You really want to play this game? Fine. I’ve known you for ten years, Bones. We’ve been together for six, and three of those as man and husband. I know you better than you know yourself. You’d never give up being my doctor and that’s a fact. So, bring on your demands, old man. We’ll see who cracks first.”
"Rest up, sweetheart," Leonard said, smiling. "I've a feeling you're going to be stuck here awhile. Be nice to have the bed to myself again."