“God dammit, Jim. This has to stop. We’re not good together.”
Jim turned away angrily. Bones didn’t want to commit. Jim understood that, knew that the southern man was still holding onto the dream of a wife and two point five kids on a sprawling plantation in Georgia, a place where he could look at the stars, while keeping his feet firmly on the ground. It wasn’t something Jim could give him no matter how much he wished he could. All he could offer was the stars, and beautiful as they were, that wasn’t nearly enough.
“Jim… What I meant was—”
“I know what you meant,” Jim snapped, cutting him off, not wanting to hear it again, having heard it too many times. He got it. He did. It didn’t make it hurt any less. They’d been friends before and were friends again.
They still hung out, got drunk, checked out women (and men), and fucked, but there’s a distance between them now that Jim knows had everything and nothing to do with his relationship with Spock. Jim had been shocked when his first officer had approached after his fallout with Bones.
Monogamy had never been a part of his relationship with Bones. Jim hadn’t been looking for promises of forever, just the promise of Bones’ heart. Jim knew that Bones loved him, but knowing wasn’t enough. He needed to hear the words Bones would never say. How ironic that the perpetual playboy wanted a promise, some sort of guarantee.
With Spock, it had started as a means to forget, a way to pretend. Spock never called Jim on the times he slipped up and called out ‘Bones’ instead of ‘Spock’, never questioned the nights that Jim still spent with Bones.
Jim wasn’t sure when he fell in love with the Vulcan, but he knew when the realization hit. Half-drunk and still smelling of sex and Bones, Spock hadn’t rebuffed him or been disgusted. Instead, he’d simply turned on his side and lifted the covers for Jim to slide under before tucking his long frame securely against Jim’s own and holding him close.
They never talked about it, his relationship with Bones. Jim never tried to hide it, couldn’t if he tried. But he was selfish, wanting to have it all, loving them both. Was it really so wrong to want a little happiness, to have them both?
Leonard watched Jim and Spock together, talking easily as they waited in the line of the officers’ mess. He was a selfish bastard, he knew, taking what Jim offered when he was too scared to offer the same in return. He knew what Jim wanted, needed, wished he could give it, but he was a spineless coward.
It wasn’t self-pity; he was a realist. McCoy knew what they had wasn’t healthy for either one of them, that when it truly ended there would be no salvaging anything between them. He wasn’t what Jim needed. Jim thought he knew the reasons, but he was wrong.
McCoy always hurt the ones he loved. He’d been stupid enough to think that he could avoid it this time, if he never said it, but just like always, all he did was ruin everything.
Leonard had been shocked when he learned of Jim’s relationship with Spock, but the more he watched them, the more they made sense. They fit together in a way that he’d never fit with Jim.
He smiled welcomingly as they joined him at his table with their trays, selfishly basking in the warmth of Jim’s smile. McCoy knew it was only a matter of time before Jim tired of him and his inability to reciprocate.
However, as Jim sat next to him, McCoy couldn’t help but lean into him, as unable to stop itself as a moth was unable to fight the draw of a flame. He didn’t miss the Vulcan’s eyes on him, but as always his face was impassive, and Leonard wondered what Spock thought of the situation.
It didn’t matter though. Spock gave Jim what he needed, what he himself couldn’t give. It was too late, but Leonard could still dream of things that would never come true.
Spock knew that the relationship between the doctor and the captain was not typical among humans, and knew also, that his subsequent addition into the equation made it even more peculiar. It was clear that they loved each other, yet they fought and hurt each other. Jim pushed, and Dr. McCoy ran. It was obvious that the doctor was scared, but Spock did not comprehend the source of the fear. Jim seemed incapable of believing that the fault was not his own, and Spock did not know how to show him.
Spock had taken a calculated chance when he’d approached Jim, knowing that there was less than an eight percent chance the captain would be receptive to his advances even when Spock took into consideration the vulnerable emotional state that the relationship between the two had fostered. Jim had been surprisingly amenable to Spock’s advances, and he had not anticipated the relationship moving so fast.
Shocked by the depth of his feeling for Jim, Spock wondered what the future held for them. There were too many unknown variables to accurately predict what would come of this relationship. Jim seemed to expect some sort of jealousy or ill-will towards McCoy because of his continuing relationship. However, Spock felt no such thing. He did not begrudge Jim for what he felt or to whom those feelings were directed. In the newness of their relationship, Spock knew he held little claim to Jim, and that Jim’s feelings for McCoy took precedent.
It was no hardship to share him. Spock enjoyed the time they had together.
Spock had considered approaching Dr. McCoy, but knew that his interference would not be welcome. However, Spock knew it was only a matter of time before McCoy came to him instead. Jim won’t wait for the doctor forever.