Leonard McCoy knew the very second he entered the Enterprise River Triangle that something was...off. There was something about the energy, a feeling in the air if you believed in such things.
Which Leonard did--had to, really, in his life. Sometimes a feeling was all the Kirks had to go on.
Like a feeling had ever helped him out much.
Leonard sighed and took another shot from his trusty Coke bottle sneakily filled with bourbon, leaning back in his seat.
He couldn’t believe he was back. He’d sworn to himself he’d never come back to Riverside. He’d left when he was sixteen, gone back to Georgia to learn a bit about his birth parents, and had even gone to school.
He’d even gotten a girl. But he hadn’t had a kid, oh no. He’d been drawn into this stupid fucking curse against his will, no way was he was dragging a kid into that.
Not now, not ever.
The bus stopped, suddenly, with a loud screeching noise. Leonard blinked, looked outside, and groaned, hitting his head against the hard plastic of his seat.
“Stupid bus, right?” grumbled some lady across the aisle from him. Leonard glanced over at her, nodding once and sighing.
And then, he heard it. A growl, like a bear.
Or not a bear, a voice that sounded like Ma Kirk supplied. Leonard took another long gulp of his bourbon.
He wasn’t going out there. Nope, nope, nope, no way.
Leonard sighed and stood up, walking towards the front of the bus. The driver looked at him funky, and Leonard just shook his head. “We’re close to my stop. I’ll just walk.”
“Your funeral,” the driver shrugged, letting him out. Leonard rolled his eyes, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
It was still dark. Only a couple of hours past midnight. The wind whistled ominously, and Leonard began to wish he’d just stayed in the damn bus. No one knew better than him that the Triangle wasn’t safe at night. Especially for Kirks.
Winona Kirk and her no good husband Frank had taken him in as a foster kid when he was just six. They already had two boys, Samuel and James. Winona and her boys were supposedly descendants of the James T. Kirk, the famed gunslinger and lawman of the Old West. Jim was even named after him. But that lineage came with a cost...a curse.
Leonard was shaken from his thoughts by another growl. Louder than before.
Goddammit. Why didn’t I just stay on the bus?
A rustle in the brush off the road, and Leonard tensed. He had nothing to defend himself with.
Leonard turned and quickly started speed-walking down the road again. It’s probably just a wild animal. They won’t hurt you unless you provoke ‘em.
Unless it’s not a wild animal at all, said an annoying voice in his head that sounded like his adoptive little brother. Unless it’s a you-know-what and you’re not armed because your stubborn ass insists on not listening to me and Ma-
“Shut up, Jim,” Leonard snapped aloud, and suddenly the growl was much closer. Right behind him and there was a steady crunch crunch crunch as something ran through the foliage in his direction.
Leonard whirled around and all he saw was a flash of glowing red eyes before he tripped backwards and fell on his back onto the ground. His hand touched something hard and cool--a pipe.
Thank God for litterers, Leonard thought to himself as he gripped the pipe. Suddenly he felt a rush of...something. Maybe it was adrenaline, but suddenly, Leonard felt as if he could take on whatever was coming for him.
So he did.
Leonard jumped to his feet as the figure rushed him, swinging the pipe right at its head. The thing snarled at him, its eyes glowing red and its skin glowing with fiery scars.
“You’re not exactly the welcome party I had in mind,” Leonard growled, before shoving the pipe straight through the revenant’s chest.
The revenant howled with anguish and outrage. Then it gripped the pipe and pulled it back out. It dropped it on the ground and rasped at him in a low, demonic voice: “We’ll be seeing you soon, Heir.”
Then it disappeared back into the trees. Leonard breathed hard, coming down from...whatever rush he’d just experienced.
Fucking curse. Why did it have to apply to adopted kids too???
Leonard hiked along the side of the road in the early dawn light, getting a bigger and bigger knot in his stomach as he approached town. Then, just as he was reaching the city limits, his phone pinged.
Happy birthday, Bones.
Of course. Jim remembered. God knew why he still insisted on trying every year, since Leonard has stopped replying ages ago but…it was nice.
Maybe he’d visit while he was in town.
…or actually not. Fuck, what was he thinking? Jim was far better off without him there, screwing up his life. He came back for David’s funeral, and that was it.
David and Eleanor had practically raised him and Jim after…well, after Frank. And Sam.
Winona certainly didn’t try to.
Stupid curse, stupid revenants, stupid story, stupid adop-
No. No, despite everything he couldn’t hate the fact that the Kirks had adopted him. He couldn’t be sorry that Jim was his brother--even Frank with all his booze and beatings was a part of his life that made him who he was.
It had been normal. Sad, awful, but normal. Til it wasn’t.
Well, whatever. Life had been normal for Jim, as normal as possible. Leonard made sure of that. By leaving. Without saying goodbye. Best to just leave well enough alone.
Riverside was a nice little town, at first glance. Peaceful. No big skyscrapers or shopping malls. Seemed like the kind of place developers would just itch to get their hands on...if it wasn’t cursed. Riverside rarely got visitors, and when it did, they were usually on their way within 24 hours. Who’d be crazy enough to come back here?
Oh right. Leonard was.
For the funeral. Not forever. Right.
Keep telling yourself that, Bones.
Leonard lingered on the edge of the property, staring across the field at the small group of people gathered around David’s final resting place. He could see Eleanor speaking, giving her eulogy. She was staring a dug up pile of ground, covered in flowers. Leonard’s stomach gave a sad twinge.
After a few minutes, people began to look up across the field, taking notice of him. Most of them glared. Their gaze was clear: you’re not wanted here.
Leonard looked down at his shoes.
When people began to disperse, heading up to Eleanor’s farmhouse for the luncheon after the funeral, Leonard turned away and began walking back down the driveway the way he came. Why had he thought coming back here was a good idea, he asked himself for the millionth time in the last twelve hours?
“Really? You’re just gonna take off without a word? Again?”
Leonard turned around and saw Eleanor standing there with her arms crossed.
Leonard stuck his hands in his pockets. “Just came to pay my respects,” he mumbled.
“You can pay your respects inside like everyone else,” Eleanor said. She turned back toward the house. “Come on.” Then after a moment, she added in a softer tone, “Besides, you look like you ain’t had a proper meal in years.”
Leonard reluctantly followed after her. “Is it, uh...is it legal to bury your husband on your land?” he asked.
Eleanor sniffed. “Well, I’m sure they do things differently in the big city...but I got the permits. You know how he loved this land. Couldn’t stand to part them.”
“Um...how did it-”
“Heart attack,” said Eleanor curtly. “Just a simple heart attack while he was working out in the field, that’s all. Gary found him lying out there, but by then it was...too late.”
Leonard shook his head. “Uncle David was the strongest man alive. There’s no way a little coronary could take him out.”
“Everyone dies, Len. With you bein’ a doctor an’ all, you should know that.”
Leonard winced as he remembered his “excuse” for leaving. He had gone to medical school, on scholarship and everything. But he hadn’t taken his exams, and he hadn’t been back since.
“Aunt Ellie...when Gary found him...was he still...in one piece?”
Eleanor whirled around on him so fast, it gave Leonard whiplash. “Now listen here, son. There are 23 mourning people in there, and this is not the place for your damn conspiracy theories. Just, for one day, keep your crazy comments in your pocket.”
Leonard swallowed, his gaze dropping to the dusty ground. “Yes, ma’am,” he muttered.
But he couldn’t stow his suspicions entirely. And now he had a lead--Gary Fucking Mitchell.