Blame it on the Paperwork
Spock regarded the assembled people for a second before he started to speak.
"We have gathered here today…"
"…because Jim is a moron." Leonard grumbled, expertedly dodging the elbow aimed at his ribs. Spock must have heard, there was no way those bat-like ears hadn't picked up on the mumbled comment, but he continued reading the Starfleet-issued standard protocol without so much as the raise of an eyebrow.
"Am not." Came a hiss from Leonard's right side.
"Oh no? Take a look around, Jim. Exhibit A through to Z of moronic behaviour are right around you."
"I told you, it was a communications glitch!"
Leonard snorted, not bothering to keep the sound low while Spock droned on about the sacred union of two people/beings/insert-species-here.
"A scrambled message is a communications glitch, Jim. Receiving and reading a transfer request and forgetting about it is not. That's the textbook definition of moronic, and look where it got us."
In front of Enterprise's assembled senior officers, with Spock standing in front of them like the judge about to speak the verdict, but Leonard wasn't talking literally here. Beside him, Jim was twitching.
"Who could have known that the Admiralty would see no response to the request as agreement? Who does that, Bones? There's a difference between saying nothing and saying 'yeah, of course you can transfer my CMO to that research station on a fucking barren moon somewhere on the edge of the known universe, no problem at all'. I couldn't have known!"
Leonard tuned out as Jim went into the umpteenth repetition of how he couldn't have possibly known this would happen, and who the hell makes those stupid rules that a transfer request has to be denied explicitly, anyway? He really didn't want to hear it anymore.
Unfortunately, tuning Jim out meant tuning Spock back in, and hearing the Vulcan stumble through a speech that had been designed to be read emphatically by a Commanding Officer who was genuinely happy to betroth the willing couple was right there on top of Leonard's list of things he didn't want to endure. It even got the spot right above getting a root canal.
Apparently, Vulcans were able to multitask, because while he droned through the speech, Spock was looking back and forth between Jim and Leonard, his left eyebrow twitching slightly.
"Of course you couldn't have known, Jim!" Leonard hissed, daring Spock with a glare to try and shush him. "Why would a Captain need to know Starfleet protocol, after all? And now I got the choice between being stuck on an uninhabitable moon for the next couple of years, or…this just so that I can stay on this flying death trap!"
"There could be worse things!"
Definitely not the root canal, Leonard mused. Being sucked into the vacuum of space was probably worse than this, but at least then it would be over soon. This here was a life sentence.
"Like what? Being courted by a damn Klingon?"
Jim turned towards him, ignoring the way Spock raised his voice to drown out their argument (the eyebrows went up, too, but that didn't do anything about the volume, so Leonard ignored them). His rendition of the value of marriage came out a little more forceful than necessary, though.
"Starfleet doesn't reassign married officers away from their spouse, Bones. It's perfect."
"No, it's the worst fucking idea you've ever come up with! You know what I think about marriage!"
"I'll have you know that there are plenty of people, foreign dignitaries and even a few species of sentient flora who'd jump at the opportunity to marry me!"
Leonard snorted. "Yeah, right. Maybe the intelligent plants could find a way to make you read your messages in time."
Behind them, the assembled senior officers were starting to whisper at their ongoing argument, but really, Leonard could hardly tell them to shut it. Spock raised the volume of his voice (and his eyebrows) a little higher yet again, but it wasn't as if anybody was still listening to him at this point.
"Is it really that horrible to get married to me?"
"Jim, read the words from my lips: I have to marry you because you forgot to read your messages, and if I don't Starfleet is going to reassign me to a barren wasteland. Right now, horrible doesn't even begin to cut it."
"Do you, James Tiberius Kirk…" Spock droned somewhere in the distance.
"I promise you Bones, it's going to be awesome. We're entitled bigger quarters. And a huge bed. No more sneaking around, either, now that we can officially share quarters. Besides, I'll be a great husband. I'm going to rip everyone apart who only so much as looks at you wrongly. And all those foreign diplomats totally dig the whole married-thing. It's going to be the best thing ever."
Spock's monotone droning suddenly felt silent. Irritated, Jim turned and looked at the Vulcan.
Leonard swore he saw Spock roll his eyes. "Do you, James Tiberius Kirk…"
"Oh. Yeah. Yes. Yes, I do. Sure. That's why we're here, right? So: yes."
Leonard shook his head as Spock returned to the protocol.
"Do you, Leonard Horatio McCoy…"
"Basically, I've got to give up my quarters. And you're a slob, Jim. I've got to give up my privacy and move in with a slob because you forgot to read a message."
"…for better or for worse…"
"And don't think I'm going to let you show me off at some diplomatic functions just because you think people are going to think you're more mature because you're married. Not going to happen."
"…for richer for poorer…"
"Not to mention that we're going to be treated as a unit by Starfleet by now. Joint salary transfer, joint accounts, joint money. We need to talk about that, just so you know."
"…in sickness and in health…"
"I can't be your primary physician anymore, either. For ethical reasons. And while I trust Geoffrey to keep you together, you will be more careful from now on because you are not going to make me a widower within the first year of this oh-so voluntary marriage, do you hear me? And not afterwards, either."
"…till death do you part?"
"I know you got a secret death wish, but if you're married to me you're going to have to push that away until you're old and grey, hear me? One abruptly ended marriage on my record is one thing, but I'm not going to add a second untimely ended one to that, just so we're clear."
Again, he noticed that Spock had fallen silent, and that he had finished his last words with the appropriate raise of his voice to indicate a question.
Right, that was where he had to answer the whole part about whether he wanted this.
"Do I have any other choice?"
Spock's eyebrows were doing very elaborate acrobatics on his forehead. Amateur, Leonard thought to himself.
"All right," he sighed. "Yes, I do. There, does that do protocol justice?"
Spock inclined his head and once more consulted his PADD.
"By the power invested to me by Starfleet, I now pronounce you lawfully wedded. It is customary amongst humans to seal that union with a kiss."
Trust the Hobgoblin to make it sound like something completely illogical. Turning towards Jim, Leonard was prepared to launch into another mini-tirade about enforced public displays, but stopped short when he saw the expression on Jim's face. The blue eyes were wide, open and honest, with no trace of pretence, and Leonard felt something inside of him shift into place like the missing piece of a puzzle.
Oh, he was going to hold the circumstances of this wedding over Jim's head for a long time. Preferably until they were both old and grey, because he had every intention of seeing the till death do us part portion of his vows through to the end – a very distant end, if he had any say in it. And as he leaned in and pressed his lips to Jim's in a soft and tender kiss, he thought that this clusterfuck of a situation might turn into something really good after all.