It's not true that some people have all the luck. Everyone has got it, but some people, Leonard McCoy included, get a damn lot of the bad sort of it. Murphy's law states: that which can go wrong, will. McCoy's addendum says that a lot of things that can't go wrong, no way in hell they could go wrong, for him, will.
Of course, even his life is not only a neverending streak of misfortunes (although it does get close). There's his job, keeping him sane, and there's Joanna, one good thing, the best thing, in his life.
Other than that, yeah, he's fucked.
The knock on the doors startles him, and his razor slips, blood trickling down the side of his jaw. There's a reason why he goes unshaven more often than not, and this is it; sharp objects are not his friends.
"Come in," he yells, and expertly deals with the cut. It's not even the doctor thing, he thinks, he would have to become intimate with all the techniques no matter his chosen profession. He puts the razor back onto the shelf, and almost manages without any problem… but of course, he's already anxious because of the cut, and the day ahead of him, and there's a loud crack as the mirror hits the sink and shatters.
He goes through a mirror a week. He thinks it's the fate's way of reminding him how things stand. Seven years sentence renewed every week.
"Another one?" Uhura asks calmly, poking her head in, and he sighs.
"I should just give up on them altogether. Can shave while looking at my reflection in a polished frying pan with just about the same damned results," he says, pointing at the cut.
She doesn't say anything, but looks as if she really wanted to. At the very beginning of their acquaintance, Nyota Uhura assumed, like everyone did, that most of the so-called bad luck McCoy complained about was just coincidence, with some clumsiness thrown in for a good measure. He's not clumsy, never was, can hold a scalpel with steady hands under the worst or pressures, every move perfect and precise. But he still cuts himself shaving every damn time, and all it takes is him looking at a mirror for it to shatter.
He's run out of patience a long while ago, but there's not much to be done about it. Most of the people he knows gave up as well, and didn't stick around. Nyota still does, maybe because she simply likes a challenge, as evidenced by her insistence on dating the hobgoblin.
Jocelyn used to think McCoy was a challenge too, in a good way, at least at the beginning. She always liked to fix things and people, but as it turned out, it wasn't enough to build a lasting relationship on. His growing discontentment with his life and the entire damn galaxy might have been a contributing factor, and his quickly developing cynicism and persistent sarcasm didn't help.
"When does your shift end?" Nyota asks briskly, having apparently decided to ignore the mess and move on with the important things, whatever she thinks they are.
"1700 hours, why?" he asks suspiciously, and can tell what she's planning even before her eyes light up and her lips set into a blinding smile. "Hell no," he tells her firmly.
"Oh hell yes," she counters. "There's this work thing we have to be at, and you're coming with us. It's going to be fun, remember fun?" she doesn't wait for an answer, which is just too bad, since he had a good one, with quite a few well-chosen four letter words. "And Leonard, there will be people there. People are good for you."
No, not really. People are just a constant source of new and innovative disasters coming his way, and those disasters come all the faster, since they're on legs.
"Come on, Spock already got you a ticket," she adds, and he's not entirely sure when did this conversation take this particular turn, but he can see the finishing point, and it's the one where he gets roped into going on a date with Nyota and her greenblooded excuse for a boyfriend. He's been there before, and it hadn't turned out pretty.
Nothing ever does.
"Try again," Gaila says, throwing her hair over her shoulder, and shuffles the coffee cups around.
Kirk doesn't even watch her hands, finding the sunrays coming through the window play on her green skin much more interesting. "This one," he says, pointing, and she laughs delightedly as she picks it up to find the piece of candy underneath. Sulu sighs, and makes a mark on the napkin; seventeen out of seventeen. They play this game every morning, sitting in the same booth at the coffee shop, and it still doesn't get old.
"How do you even do that?" she asks curiously. "I didn't think humans had any kind of psychic abilities."
"Nope, we don't. Just lucky, I guess," he says, popping the candy into his mouth, licking his lips. "Care to make it interesting? Strip Find-the-lady, wouldn't that be awesome? We could play tonight, after the party."
"I have some time now," she suggests, stretching, short skirt riding up in a very interesting way. "My shift doesn't start till ten, and my flatmate should be out by now."
"Can't," he says. "I have a meeting in half an hour," he says over the sound of Chekov's strange ringtone.
"Actually, you don't," Pavel says, reading off his phone's screen. "Pike's stuck in traffic, says he can't make it. Seems like we have at least an hour before we need to get in."
"Sounds good. Jim?" Gaila asks, and he shrugs, downing the rest of his coffee.
"Sure, why not?" Jim slides out of the booth after her, grinning. There aren't many better ways of starting a day.
"I'm not sure I want to know how he does that," Sulu complains quietly to Chekov, who just shrugs and inspects the coffee cups suspiciously, muttering something about impossible chances and game theory. "I meant the girls," Sulu clarifies, sighing.
Picking up girls and guys alike had always been easy for Jim, but not as easy as winning a game of Find-the-lady. The first requires some skill, choosing the right smile and the right lines, but the latter is just luck, and he has plenty. He doesn't push it, doesn't play the lottery or bets on horses. Showing off to pick up girls is relatively harmless, and so it always works.
McCoy knew he was going to regret agreeing to go to the party even before he did say yes. It was even more stupid considering that the party was coming at the end of a very long day, filled with prescribing cold medicine and removing things out of kids' noses. He hadn't gone to med school to deal with that, but things were as they were.
He is just tying the wretched bowtie when Joanna calls, their daily conversation he wouldn't miss, and part of the agreement painstakingly worked out with Jocelyn, the one that got her the house and him a month with Joanna every summer and two days at Christmas.
"It looks nice, Dad," she says as he keeps fretting with the tie. "Date?" she asks with more nonchalance than he expected, but then again, Jocelyn is four months into what looks like a serious relationship with a dentist…
"No. I'm just going to a party at Nyota's work."
"Then I hope it's not a date. Mr. Spock would do that Vulcan thing on you," she says, giggling, putting her fingers into the Vulcan greeting. Much to his continuing annoyance, Joanna adores Spock. Which means that either there are hidden depths to the guy, or Joanna is a very bad judge of character and it will come back to bite him in the ass when she starts dating.
"That's the greeting, honey. You mean the nerve pinch."
She shrugs, her expression clearly conveying the 'whatever' she's not pronouncing out loud. "Yeah. Whatever," she says after all, and he gives her an unimpressed look, which she promptly ignores, glancing over his shoulder. "Nyota!"
McCoy turns to glance at her, frowning. She has a nice red dress on, fitted in all the right places, but she also has a black and red mask on her face and his frown turns into a glare. "No one told me it was going to be a fucking Halloween party."
"You said the f-word!" Joanna roars with glee at the same time as Nyota says "Oh, please. You wouldn't agree then. And it's a masquerade, not a Halloween party."
"Of course I wouldn't agree, it's juvenile and silly. And fine, a dollar to the swear jar, and now, it doesn't mean you can use it too."
Both of them glare at him, and it's kind of eerie and very annoying. "I don't have a mask," he tells Nyota, and she wordlessly hands him one, a simple black thing without any ornaments. Thank god for small mercies.
"Put it on, Dad," Joanna commands, and he does, because damnit, he's sometimes slightly whipped when it comes to his daughter. "That looks nice," she proclaims, and Nyota makes a face as if she had won.
Which she probably had, but only because his daughter likes it. Make it very whipped.
"I'll call you tomorrow and you'll tell me all about it," Joanna says cheerfully. "And tell Mr. Spock I solved the logic puzzle he gave me, I'm sending it over now. Bye, Dad," she blows him a kiss, and he takes a moment to return it, then gets back to frowning the moment she disconnects.
"Your boyfriend is corrupting my daughter's mind."
"Yes, he's teaching her logic, it's appalling," she agrees sweetly. "I have no idea what we're gonna do about it. Oh, wait, nothing."
He sighs. She sighs right back at him and nods with her head at the monitor. "You don't see her often enough. And I don't mean videocalls."
"I'm a menace to myself, Nyota," he mutters. "Jocelyn was right, I shouldn't be around her too much." Nyota looks as if she wanted to say something but he stops her. "And it looks like Jo might have inherited this one from me." He snorts, shaking his head. "Of all the things..."
"You're not serious," she says slowly, as if she suspected that yes, he was, and he didn't like it either.
"She can't get on a bike or a skateboard without spraining something. Walks into doors that should open for her. Child services looked into this, for god's sake, but it's just bad luck. My sort of bad luck."
They're quiet for a very long moment, then Nyota pokes the mask, knowing it will distract him, just a little, give him something different to complain about. She's not wrong.
"A mask ball? Seriously? Whose demented idea was that?"
"Brilliant idea, Jim," Sulu says, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Don't know what it is, but masks make girls go that good kind of crazy."
Jim laughs, even while Chekov is rolling his eyes, poking Sulu's arm. "No girls for you, yes?"
"I was talking hypothetically," Sulu assures him, and this time Jim joins the eyerolling party. "I was."
"Well," Jim drawls, sidestepping the whole subject of Sulu being just a little bit whipped, "I'm happy if the guests are happy. Because it makes the bosses pleased and benevolent," he says, waving his hand in the general direction of the VIP table. "On the subject of, I need to find Barnett's daughter. She's visiting, and I'm supposed to make sure she has fun."
"Not too much fun, I hope," Sulu says. "Barnett would kill you."
"I'll just hide behind you. That's a very big sword you have," Jim says, saluting him, and turns to find Karen, putting his mask back on.
"It's just, masquerade, I thought it fits?" he could hear Sulu explain to Chekov, again. Pavel was nodding his head, one step away from patting Sulu's head.
He's looking for Karen Barnett when he runs into the Ambassador. This is unfortunate, and something he had been trying to avoid, because Ambassador Spock might be as pleasant as a Vulcan can manage, he has a really unnerving way of looking at Jim as if he knew more about him than Jim does himself. And also, would it kill the guy if he once said something straightforwardly, without getting into mind games and riddles?
Come to think of it, he's not sure. Maybe it would kill a Vulcan. That may explain a lot.
Especially about the other Spock, the one Uhura's dating. Jim is still not sure what's that about, but he leaves finding out for later, when he has a better plan, one that wouldn't get him killed with one of Uhura's earrings.
"James T. Kirk," the Ambassador says. He always does that.
"Ambassador," Jim says pleasantly, looking for the escape routes. With some luck…
"It's a rather strange night. Human desire to be someone else, even for an evening. It's fascinating."
A lot of things are fascinating to the Ambassador. "It's also great fun. You should try, Ambassador. I see you did not bring a mask."
"I have no wish to be anyone else than I am. It would be highly illogical to desire such a thing, as achieving it is rather impossible. Although I have to say, some things thought impossible have been known to happen. Luck changes," he says, smiling in that really unnerving way, and looking at Jim as if he is seeing right through him.
Or maybe undressing him mentally, and Jim had not just thought that, he hadn't. It would be too traumatic if he had.
"Excuse me, Ambassador, I see someone I need to talk to." Desperately. Anyone would do, actually, but he does see Karen's dark hair and blue dress in the corner. "Have a good night."
Karen disappeared somewhere as he had been untangling himself from the conversation, but there's a bar, and there are other people, and mingling is actually in his job description, and despite what Pike says about appropriate ways of entertaining guests, he hadn't had any complaints. Well, other than Pike's, but those don't count.
Jim stands by the bar and orders a drink, surveying the dance floor lazily. Speaking of entertainment, Uhura seems to have dragged Spock, the younger Spock, to the floor. They might have masks, but there's no mistaking his proper style of dancing, just a few centuries out of fashion. Uhura is laughing happily, though.
"Better things to do," a man next to Jim mutters under his breath, something that sounds like a part of a much longer tirade. Jim glances at him, then follows his gaze to the floor. He seems to be watching Uhura and Spock as well, frowning hard under his simple black mask.
"If you're pining after one of them, you're wasting your time, my man," Jim says, slapping him on the back, getting a confused look in return, look that quickly turns into a glare. "Uhura is suffering from a tragic case of infatuation, and Spock is, well, Spock."
"Uhura would hit me over the head with her thickest dictionary if I tried anything, and Spock…" he takes a swing of whatever he has in his glass, grimacing. Jim's not sure if it's the taste, or the idea of Spock. Maybe both, considering what he says next. "Thank you so much for planting this idea in my head, now I'm going to have fucking nightmares."
Jim smirks, looking at the man closer. Despite the scowl, very attractive, with wide shoulders and nice lips.
"Are fucking nightmares nightmares about fucking?" Jim asks curiously. "Because I would think that someone who finds fucking scary might have some serious issues."
"Do you ever shut your mouth?" the man asks dryly, but he turned away from the dancefloor, and if Jim reads his body language correctly, and Jim is as good at body language as Uhura is at any of the gazillion languages she knows, the guy is quite interested. Or at least, could be persuaded to be interested.
"When properly motivated to engage my mouth otherwise," Jim says, grinning, getting another scowl in return. People scowling at him shouldn't be attractive, but they occasionally are. It's why he still hits on Uhura, she has an awesome scowl. "I could show you one of the ways," he volunteers.
The guy licks his lips unconsciously, and Jim clearly wasn't mistaken about the attraction. He rarely is. "Yeah?" the stranger says.
"Yeah," Jim nods and steps forward. It's not what he expected from this particular evening, but it's good too. And the kiss is rather fantastic, if Jim is any judge, and believe him, he is.
"What was that?" the man asks, voice dropping lower, which Jim smugly chalks up to be a proof of his kissing technique.
"A demonstration. You can practice later," he says, as a blue dress catches his eye. "I'll find you in a moment, I have something to do." Make sure that Karen Barnett is having fun, and check if deserting her won't get him in trouble with her father.
"Sure, because I have nothing better to do than hang around and wait," the man grumbles, but judging from the way he doesn't move an inch, Jim's pretty confident he isn't as opposed to the idea as he sounds.
When he walks up to Karen, he sneaks an arm around her waist. "Bored out of your mind already, babe?"
In hindsight, this is the moment when it all went wrong.
McCoy honestly doesn't know what to make of the guy; who on earth goes around kissing strangers? But on the other hand, considering the kid's body and his amazingly blue eyes, he should feel rather flattered to be at the receiving end of that.
Of course there's also the minor fact that he kissed back. He certainly doesn't go around kissing strangers. He gives his glass a suspicious look, but he's not drunk. And yet… he chalks it up to a sudden bout of insanity. He was bound to go crazy at one point or another.
At the moment, he's somewhere between slightly turned on and very confused, and rolls his eyes at himself, downing the rest of his drink. Either this, or the general elevated temperature of the place, is making him a little too warm under the ridiculous mask Uhura made him wear, so he tugs at the string around his head and pulls it off.
"Leonard McCoy? What on earth are you doing here?" someone asks, and it takes McCoy a moment to identify the voice, but then the man is pulling off his own, much more elaborate, mask, smiling widely. Or grimacing, you never know with Boyce.
"Getting bored out of my skull, mostly. You?" Leonard says, shaking Boyce's hand.
"Oh, pretty much the same. Abandoned by friends who aren't completely repelled by the awful music," he says, shrugging, but the slight grin belies his complaining. "I didn't know you were working for the Enterprise."
"I'm not," McCoy shrugged. "I'm here with some friends. Well, one friend, and one personal enemy, but that's semantics, when you think about it."
"Of course," Boyce agrees. "Well, wherever you're working, I'm going to chance an attempt at stealing you. Don't say no until you receive the offer, the benefits aren't bad." In Boyce's language 'not bad' usually translated to 'amazing', the highest compliment one could receive.
McCoy doesn't answer for a long moment mostly because positive coincidences don't happen often for him. And by not often he means never.
A dark-haired woman waves at Boyce and he excuses himself, slapping Leonard's back. "Talk to you soon," he says, and McCoy doesn't believe him all that much, because he knows his life, but who knows. Maybe the Earth did stop revolving around the sun.
"How do you know Doctor Boyce?" Uhura asks, hopping on the bar stool and waving at the bartender, ordering a whole battery of shots. That woman's drinking puts Leonard to shame, sometimes.
"He lectured at the Old Miss while I was in med school. I didn't know he works for the Enterprise now."
"Doctor Boyce and Mr. Pike have been acquainted for quite a long time," Spock supplies. "I believe he was the one to convince the doctor to join the company."
Uhura's expression suggests that it's not the entire story, just one of Spock's usual understatements, but McCoy doesn't think it's the right moment to ask. He doesn't want to push the sudden surprising luck, because if he's really unlucky, Spock might be the one to tell the tale.
"I really thought it was Barnett's daughter. With those dresses in the same colour, how was I to know it was his wife?""
Pike gives him a long-suffering look and sighs, handing Jim a bag with ice he got from the bartender. "That's the line of defense you're going with? Really?"
Yeah, it could use some work. "So, how fired am I, exactly?" Jim asks lightly, but he doesn't quite want to meet Pike's eyes, choosing instead to study the tiles of the men's room floor.
"Don't be ridiculous, Kirk. You work for me, Barnett can't fire you. Not for the lack of trying, of course."
Of course. Well, Pike likes him, and ever since Kirk found Archer's dog, so does Archer, so at least his job is probably safe. Other things… "Barnett has a mean right hook," he complains, probing his jaw with his finger. It hurts like a motherfucker. "Wouldn't expect it from a guy his age."
"He's my age, Kirk," Pike mutters, with a pretty good attempt at a deadly glare.
Jim sighs. "Maybe I should take a week of vacation, just to make sure I don't dig a deeper hole for myself?" he suggests, and Pike smiles, which is a rather bad sign, if previous experience is to be relied on.
"You're not getting out of this so easy. As of tomorrow, you will be helping Mr. Scott with his latest project. God knows he's been complaining about lack of hands."
Scotty's department? Not exactly a punishment, considering that Scotty has the best booze on the planet, and that Gaila works there. "Thanks, boss."
"Oh, don't be so happy. I expect some results." And there is the steel under the smile. Same one that came up during their first meeting, when somehow Pike maneuvered Jim into accepting the job offer he had no intention of even considering.
"I'm not exactly qualified," he tries, to no avail.
"I seem to remember a rather impressive diploma from that one university you didn't flunk out of," Pike points out, damn him. "Go away now."
"Yes, sir," Kirk salutes him and stands up, grimacing when the sudden movement makes him just that little bit dizzy. A really mean right hook.
"So, was I right or was I right about you having fun?" Uhura asks once they make their ways outside. It's easier than you'd think it would be, even with the place completely packed; a Vulcan leading the way has a certain effect on people.
"Fun?" McCoy asks, frowning at her. The question doesn't sound innocent at all, she's smirking too much.
"I've seen that guy. Well, the back of him, but it was really nice," she drawls the last word pointedly, causing Spock to raise his eyebrow at her, in the way that seems more amused than anything else, but McCoy is not an expert on Vulcan expressions. "Who was he?"
"No idea," Leonard admits, and Nyota laughs delightedly. He'll never hear the end of it, he thinks, waving absently at a passing cab.
And it stops.
"Huh," he says, turning to Nyota, who looks as surprised as he feels.
"It stopped," she says, stating the obvious. "In all the years I've known you, you never got a cab to stop." Doesn't he know that. "To be honest, I'm pretty sure you had trouble of getting a train to stop at a station."
"You guys getting in, or not? Haven't got all day," the driver yells at them, and Spock nods, opening the doors for Nyota.
"I concur with Nyota, this is an unprecedented occurrence," Spock says, once their inside, his voice slipping into that 'fascinating' kind of tone. "Out of thirty two instances of trying to find a cab that I have witnessed during our acquaintance, this is the first one that did not result in a complete failure."
McCoy throws Uhura a look. "Get your boyfriend to stop that."
"I actually find it quite attractive," she shoots back, and he rolls his eyes. Of course she does.
By the time Jim makes his way back to the bar, the mystery guy is gone, sadly. So's Karen Barnett, who wouldn't be a good choice right now anyway, probably.
"If you need that sword," Sulu says, as he and Chekov elbow their way towards him through the dancing crowd, "ask someone else."
"Very supportive," Kirk mutters, trying to catch the bartender's eye, to no avail. Usually he gets served before everyone else. Maybe it's the slowly darkening bruise around his eye, makes him look crazy.
"I would help you face mad Romulans," Sulu offers, shrugging. "But Barnett scares the shit out of me."
Chekov smiles at the bartender and gets two drinks immediately, but before the man can pour the third, he gets distracted by a pretty brunette in a low-cut dress. Just great, Jim thinks. And also, what the hell?
"Well, if I run across any mad Romulans, I'll be sure to call you," Jim says. "In the meantime, anyone else noticed the weird shit happening?"
"What veird shit?" Chekov says, and gets an enamoured glances from Sulu, which is normal, but also all the other people in the earshot. Jim briefly considers giving a trial run to adapting the accent as a flirting strategy but dismisses it quickly. Probably wouldn't work without the curls.
"Like that," he gestures at the bartender, who passes him once again, even though he must be the only client left waiting.
"Jim Kirk can't get a drink," Sulu says, feigning amazement. Jim kicks his shin, but all the reaction he gets is a smirk. "I'll alert the news."
Chekov just pushes his own glass towards Jim and pats his hand. "There, there."
Jim blames Sulu's bad influence.
There are two messages waiting for McCoy when he gets home, which is quite unusual. The only person calling him on regular basis is Uhura, and even she couldn't find anything to yell at him about in the three minutes since he'd seen her.
All more strangely, the first message is from Jocelyn, and she's smiling. And it's the nice, happy smile he hadn't seen in a long while.
"Len," she says as a greeting, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "Call me when you get that, I have a favour to ask."
Wonders never cease, he thinks. Of course, it is entirely possible that he had another shuttle accident and is laying somewhere in a coma. That would explain a lot. Possibly also the second message.
"I've just checked your record, Leonard, what the hell are you doing working for that third rate clinic?" Boyce grumbles from the screen. "My office, tomorrow morning. Better show up, I know where you live."
Leonard laughs at that; as threats go, it's fantastic. Then he shakes his head, as the coma idea seems more and more likely. He's probably being pumped some good drugs, too.
It's too late to call Jocelyn now, so he decided to do so the first thing in the morning. He wonders what it is she wants, what made her smile like that. She hadn't smiled like that at him since long before the divorce.
And speaking of regrets and his excuse of a love life, he wonders what happened to the strangers-kissing kid. Never came back to find him, not that Leonard expected him to. Still, it was one of the highlights of his day.
Weird shit keeps happening.
There's the little thing of the weather going completely crazy the moment Jim leaves the party, and rain coming out fucking nowhere. No taxicabs around, the bus is late, and by the time Jim gets home, he's drenched and really annoyed.
Due to the storm, the electricity is down for the entire block, and inexplicably, there's no hot water, either.
Jim decided he hates his life today and dumps his wet clothes on the dryer, then crawls into his bed, wincing as his head continues to hurt. No, seriously, who would have thought Barnett had that much of a punch?
"I hate the world," he announces mournfully to the empty apartment. It makes him feel better, momentarily.
That is, until the wind blows the window above his bed wide open, the heavy downpour drenching him, the sheets, and the whole bed in a span of a few seconds.
The morning is rather strange.
The coffee maker makes an actual coffee, and does so without exploding (this had been known to happen twice to McCoy, and none of those were pretty). Shaving proceeds without interruptions or cuts, and the mirror makes it out of the process completely whole.
And then there's Jocelyn.
He calls her once it's appropriate, at the time she'd usually have breakfast. She smiles even wider tha yesterday once she picks up.
"Hey, Len," she offers. "Listen, I got asked to fill for someone for two weeks on a research station." He knows that part, he has heard about it from Joanna already, so he just nods, wondering what the hell it has to do with him. "My sister was going to come and take care of Jo for that time, but there was some kind of a work emergency and she can't."
McCoy holds his breath. "Joce, what's this about?" He doesn't want to ask directly, just in case he's wrong about this.
"I thought maybe Jo can come visit you for those two weeks. The school is out in two days, she could use some vacation… Unless you're too busy?" she asks doubtfully and he shakes his head quickly.
"Of course not." Even if he was, he'd dump everything to spend two weeks with his daughter and Jocelyn knows that rather well. "When do you leave?"
"Tomorrow, I'll put her on the shuttle before I do, and you can pick her up."
"Shuttle?" he frowns. He's not a great fan of shuttles.
"She'll be fine, Len. She's flown before."
Yes, and the shuttle had great troubles landing due to weather conditions. He doesn't like the sound of that.
"All you have to do is pick her up," Jocelyn says long-sufferingly. "I'll call you with the time. And now, she wants to talk to you," she adds, moving away from the screen. His daughter's face fills it instead.
"So, how was the party?" she asks immediately. "Tell me everything."
He definitely won't.
"Try again," Gaila asks, shuffling the cups. Jim watches her hands carefully, and is pretty sure he can tell where the candy is.
She picks the cup up and frowns. "Sorry, no. I don't think it's your day, Jim."
No, he doesn't think so either. "Tell me about it," he mutters, then sneezes.
"I don't remember you ever getting sick," Sulu offers all too cheerfully. "But I guess it's good to know that great Jim Kirk is a human being."
"You're enjoying this too much," Kirk accuses him.
"Yep," Sulu agrees, and pushes a steaming cup towards Jim. "But I got you herbal tea. The girl behind the counter says it'll warm you up. She was hot, so I suppose she'd know."
"Hikaru," Chekov warns, and Sulu raises his hand defensively.
"Stating the fact, not flirting."
"Uh-uh," Pavel frowns at him.
"This one," Jim tells Gaila, and once more, there's absolutely nothing under the cup, just a hell of a confusion. This never happened to him.
"Do you think you're losing your," Gaila hesitates, trying to recall the word, "mojo? I've read about it, I think that's the first thing to go."
"No, that's the sex drive," Sulu says.
"I'm pretty sure it's eyesight that's first to go," Chekov corrects.
"I'm fine!" Jim interrupts them, and sneezes. "Relatively speaking."
Famous last words, he supposes.
"A free clinic?" Boyce says instead of a greeting once Leonard is guided into his office by a very nice assistant with a long-suffering expression fixed on her face. "That's some strange career choice after that research grant to develop the grafting technique."
McCoy shrugs. "Things happened."
"So I've heard," Boyce mutters, and Leonard has a feeling that whatever records he pulled on McCoy, they were quite extensive. "Your previous boss was an idiot. And I knew your father, he would have taken any means necessary if you didn't help him."
Leonard's point, exactly. It doesn't make any difference, though, and doesn't change how he feels about that. He shakes his head.
"You know, I did send an application for a research position here, a while ago," he mutters tiredly and Boyce looks down at his screen.
"Yes, you did. Apparently, it's been misfiled by some idiot intern," he says, and McCoy can't even treat is an excuse, because in his world, everything does get misfiled, and his checks do get lost in the mail. "So how about I just make the pitch?" he asks, and McCoy is quite proud of himself for not jumping in and saying that whatever the job is, he's taking it.
"Anybody here?" Jim asks, looking around the mess of tubes and strange equipment that is Scotty's kingdom. Keenser climbs down from the weird metal contraption and blinks at him. "Hey, buddy."
"Jim Kirk?" Scotty's head pops up and he smiles widely. "They told me you were coming, how about that brawl with Barnett, eh? Good times. Now, hold this, with your thumb. I just need to calibrate…oh."
That's not a good sign, Jim thinks, and it's the last thing he manages to say before something that looks like a cross between a distillery and a mad scientist's first lab kit explodes under his hands.
"Shit," Keenser mutters, facepalming.
Giving a two-weeks notice feels pretty damn fantastic, but of course, there still are those two weeks to get through before he leaves this place forever and never again has to deal with runny noses and teenagers wanting contraception.
"Please tell me it's at least something more interesting than an idiot with a common cold," he tells the nurse who hands him the PADD. She smirks, which might be a good sign as well as a bad sign, you never know.
The patient turns out to be an idiot alright, with a piece of expensive looking equipment seemingly fused with his hand.
"How on earth did you manage that?" McCoy asks incredulously, then shakes his head. "Nevermind, I don't think I want to know."
"Nice to have that option," the idiot sighs, and raises his hand for closer inspection. "Do you want to talk to my hand?" he asks, and the screen on his palm blinks in synch with his words.
"You're damn lucky there's no other injuries, kid," McCoy says, running the tricorder over him. "The thing seems to have melted around your hand, not with it, bones are intact… now, skin is another thing."
"You don't need to sound so excited about it," the guy says mournfully. McCoy consults his chart for the name. Kirk, James T. "Just get this off so I can go home, crawl into my bed, and hopefully, die," he mutters, and sneezes, three times in a row, the last time he covers his mouth and hits himself on the nose with the plastic glove he's wearing. "Shit."
McCoy rolls his eyes. "Open your mouth," he orders.
"How is that related to my hand?"
"It's not. But you seem to have a cold as well, I need to check your throat."
"Yeah, I bet you say that to all the guys," Kirk drawls, and McCoy suddenly connects that smug expression with yesterday. Of course. Although the bruised eye is new. Although, surprisingly, doesn't make him any less attractive.
"How's that?" he asks, pointing to the injury.
"I've been better. And my head hurts like hell."
That he can do something about now; the hand is going to need a longer work. McCoy picks up the hypo with the painkiller and presses it against the kid's arm. "Here, this should help with the pain. Now, the hand."
He's busy with removing the pieces of plastic when Kirk groans, and tries to say something around a swollen tongue.
"Turns out you're allergic to the painkiller," the doctor grumbles, his tone indicating that he takes it as a personal offence. Kirk would laugh at that, except it's not that funny, and his tongue still feels a little numb. "Why on earth is that not in your file?"
Kirk shrugs. "Dunno. Never needed painkillers."
"Not in your entire life? Perfect. Is there anything else you're allergic to that your file doesn't mention? Oxygen, perhaps? Damnit, kid, I don't…" he pauses, waving his hand madly, then proceeds to enter something into Jim's file. "You know what, nevermind, I'll just have you checked for other allergies."
Oh, joy, tests. Kirk's day is getting better and better every second. He would bang his head against the wall, except he can see how this would end. But hey, at least he gets an attractive doctor, so there's that.
The doctor, McCoy, if Kirk remembers correctly, pauses mid-rant and gives Jim a searching look. "You okay? You seem a little out of it, kid," he says, and Jim snorts. Anyone would be a little out of it. McCoy whisks out a flashlight and shines it into Jim's eye. "I don't think you have a concussion."
"Probably not yet, but you might want to give it some time, I'm pretty sure I'll have one by the evening," he mutters.
McCoy gives him an oddly compassionate look, at odds with the general annoyance he had displayed so far. "Bad day?"
"Something like that."
McCoy nods, and something in his expression, sympathy but not quite, tells Kirk that he might understand better than anyone. "Tell you what, kid. You're my last patient for the day, so after we're finished, I'll buy you a cup of coffee. I'd say a drink, but that would be unwise," he gestures with the chart, probably meaning the meds Kirk's been pumped with. Too bad. But coffee doesn't sound half bad.
"I never say no to a free cup of coffee," he says, smiling winningly, and the doctor turns back to the task at hand, involving finally freeing Kirk's own hand.
"Sounds like a good philosophy to live by," McCoy agrees, glancing at his watch nervously. Kirk frowns at that.
"You sure you have some time for that coffee?" he asks, trying not to sound disappointed. Apart from the fact that the guy is ridiculously attractive, once you get past the slightly disgruntled expression, there's no reason to get worked up about this.
"Yeah. I have about three hours before I need to pick my daughter up."
Daughter. That usually means a wife or at least a girlfriend, which is unfortunate, but hey. Free coffee. Still.
"You picking her up from school?" Jim guesses and gets an absent headshake, as McCoy concentrates on the last pieces of melted plastic.
"She's coming over in one of those flying deathtraps," he grumbles, then clarifies. "Shuttles."
"They're actually pretty safe, you know?" Jim says, snorting. "It's more probable that you'd be killed by one of your kitchen appliances."
McCoy rolls his eyes. "So I've heard. Of course, people who say it usually weren't in seventeen shuttle accidents," he mutters. "Guess how many times I flew."
Jim shrugs, suspecting it's a rhetorical question anyway. He's not mistaken.
It sounds like it should be a punchline, but it's too tired and worn out to be even remotely funny. It also makes Jim wonder if McCoy would taste as bitter as he sounds if Jim kissed him.
It's just McCoy's luck that Joanna seems to adore Jim Kirk. She really has an atrocious taste, sometimes.
Of course there's also the part where Leonard himself is starting to really like Jim. Even though the kid seems to have picked up the strangest nickname for him, based on some off comment about Leonard having have broken almost every bone in his body at one point or another.
"The way you say 'bones', that's kind of attractive," Jim said, and Leonard rolled his eyes.
"Oh, shut up."
He's not entirely sure when and why the kid decided to accompany him to the shuttle bay, but at least his presence was distracting Leonard from worrying too much. Not from worrying at all, he was a worrier by birth and vocation, but still.
Especially since Joanna's shuttle was delayed by almost two hours, and McCoy thought up about seventy different explanations for the delay, all of them pretty grim.
"She'll be fine," Kirk said, for the umptieth time since they folded themselves into the tiny chairs in the waiting area, but this time his hand rests comfortingly on Leonard's shoulder, squeezing.
Oddly, it does make him feel better, in the way those platitudes usually don't. It probably doesn't hurt that Kirk is almost ridiculously attractive and sitting very close.
"I hate shuttles," Joanna says, dumping her bag in front of Leonard, smiling widely. "I don't know people realize how many things can go wrong with them."
"That's what I've been saying," Leonard mutters, and moves to hug her tightly. "Hey, JoJo."
She throws her hair over her shoulder, huffing. "That's a kid nickname," she points out, but she's smiling still, her hand enclosed in Leonard's.
"At least he's not calling you 'kid'," Jim points out, nodding at her. "Frankly, I'm thinking it's because he forgot my name and is too stubborn to admit it."
Says the man who thinks 'Bones' is an acceptable way of addressing someone.
Being attracted to a handsome and rather sarcastic doctor: not a problem in James T. Kirk's book.
Being attracted to a guy who is probably straight and has a twelve year old kid is a little more problematic, but Jim can deal.
And the kid is quite awesome in the way she takes everything in her stride, from her dad showing up with a stranger at the airport, to the fact that she and Jim could enter the Olympics in spilling things on the dinner table.
"Salt, that's bad," she says serenely. "Don't even try that idiot stuff with throwing some over your shoulder, I did that once, blinded the waiter temporarily."
She says it almost proudly, but it still sounds a little bit like a joke and Jim looks to McCoy for confirmation.
"Yeah. That's actually nothing, comparing to my adventure with a cake on my own wedding."
Joanna howls with laughter. "Mom went ballistic. There are pictures, it wasn't pretty," she adds, stealing Jim's fries, the little menace. "So, you're one of us losers?" she asks, and at Jim's incredulous look, she shrugs. "It's a medical term," she says, mock-serious, her voice a pretty good interpretation of her Dad's doctor-routine, from what Jim can gather.
"Is it now?"
"Means you're permanently out of luck," she explains. "That black eye and the bandaged hand, those are pretty good hints" she adds cheerfully.
"No, that's because I've been fighting pirates," Jim drawls and Joanna laughs. McCoy is rolling his eyes at the routine, but Jim suspects it's with some fondness, at least.
Four days after her arrival, Joanna decides her dad's loser card needs to be revoked.
"Face it, Dad, you hadn't even burned a pancake since I'm here," she tells him seriously, as if discussing the matters of utmost importance.
"I believe Joanna is quite right," Spock pipes in, and McCoy has to admit, he was prepared for many things in life, but not having breakfasts with Spock. "You are usually quite accident prone, and in the last three days I have not witnessed a single occurrence of what you and Nyota have taken to refer to as 'bad luck'."
McCoy throws him a look, which Spock returns with his usual raised eyebrow. There's really not much one can say to that eyebrow.
"And," Joanna adds, drawling, her smile growing mischievous, "you have a date."
Nyota perks up, finally stopping the process of drowning her pancakes in syrup. "I've been wondering where he get to that," she smiles. Fine, his call might have been a little frantic, but it's not easy to get a babysitter in the morning.
Besides, "It's not a date," he mutters. "And also, just because the last few days have been slightly less hellish than usual… it doesn't mean anything."
Joanna rolls her eyes at him. "Yeah, right."
"What's with the not-date?" Nyota asks, as to the point as always, and Leonard scowls at her.
"It's just the guy I've met at that party you dragged me to. And it's not a date, it's just lunch." Not that McCoy isn't slightly disappointed about that. What he means is, Jim Kirk kissed him first, right there at the party.
"I thought you didn't get his name?"
Joanna looks all too interested in the entire thing, if you ask McCoy. The day she met Jim she announced that he'd be a cool step-parent, which mostly means Leonard will have to have a talk with Jocelyn about whatever shit Joanna is allowed to read or watch, because it can't be healthy.
"I got lucky later," he shrugs, and catches Nyota's eye. "Don't even say it."
She laughs at him. "So, who is he? He was at the party, I could know him."
"Jim Kirk," Joanna supplies. "He fights pirates."
Nyota blinks. "So, you're saying that the opposite of a walking disaster in making is dating Jim Kirk?"
"Fascinating," Spock proclaims.
"My daughter thinks we're dating," McCoy tells Jim few days later, and in hindsight, he should have waited till the man was done eating. Joanna is right at least about Jim being absolutely worthy of that coveted loser card, as he chokes on a fry.
"Why would she think that?" Jim asks some time later, once he gets his voice, and his breathing, under control.
McCoy shrugs. "The worst part is, Uhura and Spock apparently agree with her."
Jim gives him a long look. "Bones, do you think we're dating?"
That's a good question, one that McCoy doesn't really want to answer, but it probably serves him right for bringing the subject up in the first place.
But for heavens' sake, it's their third maybe-a-date this week, and one of those involved taking Joanna to a fair, and Jim and Joanna making a competition out of failing at many and various games there.
"I thought you should know," Leonard says, trying for nonchalance and arriving somewhere near nervous. "After all, you kissed me first," he adds, a little bit childishly, but it might be Jim rubbing off on him.
"When…" Jim starts, and apparently, he's more of an idiot Leonard thought he was, because it seems that the realization is dawning just now. "Oh, hey, it was you at the party."
Leonard isn't sure whether he wants to facepalm or slap Jim on the head. "Damnit, Jim."
"It was a weird night, Bones," Jim says, raising his hand defensively. "I mean seriously, even before I got bitchslapped by Barnett, of all people, I…" he pauses, staring at nothing in particular, his mouth working for a moment soundlessly. "Oh, fuck."
"We kissed. And you said Boyce offered you that job at the party," he says, and McCoy fails to see how those two are related. He tells Jim as much. "Luck changes."
"How hard did you hit your head against that doorframe earlier?" Leonard asks suspiciously. "I didn't think you had a concussion, but…"
"Sorry," Jim says, standing up abruptly. "I need to go and kill an Ambassador."
Well, that certainly explains absolutely nothing.
"It's always good to see you, Jim," Old Spock says, doing that weird thing when he remains very Vulcan but almost smiles.
"Cut the bullshit. What have you done to me and Bones?"
"I have absolutely no idea what you might be referring to."
Jim sighs, running his hand through his hair with some frustration. It only earns him a surge of pain from the bump he got earlier that day, which helps him focus his annoyance. "The masquerade shindig, you said 'luck changes' in that creepy voice, and damn right it did change."
"If you are implying I was the cause," Spock says pleasantly, "than I must disappoint you. I merely observe and report what I see; I played no part in the events of the evening."
"Which brings us to," Jim mutters, "what the fuck happened?"
"Your initial assessment was correct, Jim. You seem to have exchanged your fortunes with another individual."
"So, basically, I lost my mojo. Priceless," Jim says, sitting down, giving into the urge to hide his face in his hands. "How do I get my luck back? And for the record, I don't believe I'm even having this conversation, it's fucking surreal."
"Logic would suggest recreating the circumstances in which the event took place," Spock says, as if it was obvious. Maybe on his planet.
Well, it probably was damn obvious on Vulcan, but on Earth it made absolutely no sense. None of it.
"What, have a bunch of people wear masks and get drunk? That's always good fun, but honestly."
"What was the most important occurrence that evening, involving you and the person you have exchanged your fortunes with?"
Well, there was that kissing part, which was fantastic, but also, apparently, a part of an evil plot. Kirk gives him a suspicious look. "So, all that matchmaking business didn't work for me and the other Spock, and now you're trying to set me up with someone else?"
"I wouldn't have dreamed of attempting such a thing."
Jim doesn't really believe that one, but decides that maybe this time it's true. "Sure," he mutters. "So, I kiss Bones, and things are back to normal?"
"That is my hypothesis."
There's only one thing that doesn't really make Jim all that comfortable about the whole business.
"Damnit Jim, I can see that something's bothering you, so out with it," McCoy says finally, after two hours of watching Jim fret, and in the process of fretting break a glass, spill some soda, and somehow, manage to break the toaster oven that even Leonard never managed to break.
"You said damnit!" Joanna yells from in front of the screen, where she's watching some old 20th century movies. She's declared that the 20th century is 'back, big time', and McCoy really, really hopes it's not the one with the weird hair. It's been back one too many times, if you ask him.
"Yes, well, so did you!" he yells back, then turns to Jim. "Out with it," he repeats, and Jim just glances at him, and bites his lip. "I'm a doctor, not a mind reader, it would be helpful if there were actual words," Leonard suggests.
"I've been very lucky, until I met you," Jim says, and rolls his eyes at himself after he gets an unimpressed look from McCoy. "Okay, that didn't come out right. What I mean is, the trouble is, I want to kiss you."
Leonard crosses his arms. "I can see the problem, really," he deadpans.
Jim punches his shoulder. "I'm not saying it right," he decides, then opens the kitchen cabinet and takes out three coffee cups. "Wait, here," he says, and places a coffee bean under one of them, then starts shuffling.
"You know, I've been told you were a genius, but I feel someone's been sadly misguided."
"Pick one," Jim tells him.
"I wasn't looking."
"It doesn't matter, pick one," Jim says, and he sounds like it's a really serious thing, so McCoy just points at the one on the left. Jim picks it up to reveal the bean. "See?"
Jim shuffles again, too fast for McCoy to follow his hands. "Pick again."
After seventeen takes, Jim finally drops one of the cups, and it crashes onto the floor.
"Okay, I'll bite," Leonard says slowly, ignoring the broken shards. "What's going on?"
Jim rushes into a long explanation that sounds extremely ridiculous, which means it's probably true, even though it features time-travelling ambassadors, bosses' daughters, and, hopefully as a side note, some Scot beaming a dog up into a highly uncomfortable place.
Leonard finally shuts him up in the only way that comes to mind. After all, Jim was the first to bring up kissing, so it's probably his fault.
"Why the fuck would you do that?" Jim sputters, and Leonard thinks he should feel offended, except Jim was kissing him back with some serious enthusiasm.
"You said fuck!" Joanna yells cheerfully.
"So did you!" Jim yells back, already schooled in the proper ways of dealing with McCoys. "Bones, I just told you, kissing is bad! Here, I'll show you," he offers, and goes to get another cup, shuffling them again. "Pick one."
"It's getting old," Leonard points out, pointing at the cup on the right. There's nothing under it.
"Not really," he mutters. "Jim, even if that's all true, and that story has lost all believability somewhere where the beagle came in, so what?"
Jim looks at him as if he was crazy. Fair enough, probably, but Jim isn't one to talk.
"Well, your job, for one," Jim says. "I see how it goes, I've had a little over a week of your luck, and it fucking sucks!"
"You said fucking!"
"Enough with the words police!" Jim tells her, and she turns her head to grin at him widely. Then he looks back at Leonard as if he somehow made a point.
"Your ex called you just after the party, didn't she? I know you told me that, I don't forget things. And Jo told me yesterday that they may prolong her mom's research, and then Jo'd stay here for the entire school year. I know how much you'd love that."
"That's not really in my control, now, is it?" Leonard mutters, even though he badly wishes it was, having Joanna with him for a year would be incredible.
"Yes it is, if you have my luck," Jim says stubbornly and steps forward, kissing Leonard again, and it once more feels fantastic, the way he licks at the corner of Leonard's mouth, sighing in contentment.
By the time they draw back, Joanna apparently made her way to the kitchen, and is shuffling the coffee cups. "Let's see," she tells Leonard and he sighs, pointing. He is, of course, right. "Fascinating," she says.
"God, you need to stop spending time with Spock, you're creeping me out, kiddo," Leonard sighs.
"So, what, it happens every time you guys kiss? Could be problematic," she says resolutely, and honestly, Leonard can't stress enough the fact that Spock's influence is fucking with her brain. She's growing up logical and unflappable.
Which, on the other hand, good.
And Spock won't ever let him live that down.
"Damn right it could," Jim says sadly, sitting next to Joanna. He's downright pouting. Leonard rolls his eyes.
"It's been your luck to begin with," he points out, and leans down to kiss Jim again, briefly, and it's beginning to be ridiculous.
Well, not beginning, it stopped being ridiculous a long time ago and is now into the fucking insane territory. It's like playing a kissing game of tag, and he's not a twelve-year old.
He steps back, before Jim can reach out to kiss him again, and crosses his arms, glaring at Jim pointedly. So, fine, childish, sue him.
Jim looks at him for a long moment, his expression a weird cross between pouting and furious, and then, slowly, an idea dawns, Leonard can see it happening.
"Whatever you're thinking, you should probably stop," he says, because he's witnessed just free of Jim Kirk's 'awesome ideas' and one of them ended up in his microwave blowing up, and the other two weren't much better.
"No, no, it's awesome," Jim says, and Leonard rolls his eyes. Then Jim turns to Joanna and kisses her cheek, smiling widely, then beams at Leonard. "See?"
"What the hell?" Joanna asks, and Jim points his finger at her.
"You said hell."
"So did you," she replies, and he's already shuffling the damn cups again. "This one."
There's the coffee bean under it, and they try for four more times, each one a guess, until Leonard coughs loudly.
"If I'm not interrupting," he tells them dryly, but he can't keep a smile from escaping. He gives in, and reaches out to tug at Jim's sleeve, pulling him to his feet. "Is it actually safe to kiss you now?" he asks, and Joanna claps her hands happily.
"I'll leave you to it," she says, jumping off her stool. "I'll be on the computer, playing chess with Spock. I might actually win this time!"
"Well, at least she's putting it to good use," Leonard grumbles when she runs off, and Jim laughs, leaning in for the kiss.
Honestly, Leonard doesn't feel any less lucky than five minutes ago.