Title: Take the Plunge
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Relationship: Leonard McCoy/Jim Kirk
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Sex, Planetary Destruction - Narada Incident.
Summary: Divorced, broke, and homeless, Leonard H. McCoy doesn't have much left he can claim other than his professional reputation and his bones, so what damnfool thing does he do? Join Starfleet, of course.
Now, thanks to can't-leave-well-enough-alone Starfleet, god and everyone knows he's a guide. Never in a million years would he have guessed that he is a latent guide. A guide with a perfect genetic match. A match that happens to be a too young, too pretty and too cocky blond flyboy of a sentinel. Godammit.
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The U.S.S. Enterprise is the newest and most advanced of the new Constitution-Class Starship. Or it will be, once it's finished.
For now, it's a work in progress.
According to his tour guide, about 80% of the outer hull is complete, along with one out of every four of the interior levels. Chris Pike, his tour guide and an online guide, makes sure to show him every inch of what's completed and a good chunk of what's not.
They beam into the ship using newly refined beaming technology. They ride around it in top of the line turbo lifts. Pike shows him where the warp core - which is being redesigned and streamlined by Starfleet, for Starfleet - will go. Pike walks him through the command staff housing, focusing heavily on the CMO quarters with a distinct air of 'this could all be yours' about him.
What Pike doesn't know is that Leonard McCoy made up his mind to join Starfleet before he actually accepted the invitation to tour the shipyard but he figured he should see what he's signing up for before taking the plunge.
And it's amusing to see just how far Pike and the Admiralty are willing to go to get him to join up.
They are in the primary medbay when the three sentinels that keep floating in and out of Pike's space pull him into the CMO office for something. Some sort of consult or paperwork, or a grounding- nope, not curious. Moving on.
It's a great opportunity because it gives Len time to talk with a nurse about her experiences as a medical professional on a spaceship and with the tech that's going over some of the recently installed equipment.
They joke about him joining Starfleet.
He laughs with them and does his best to make them comfortable with him since he's apparently been talked up a lot to the two of them.
He goes so far as to let the nurse take a number of samples - blood draw, cheek swabs and a hair or two - to "get ahead on his medical requirements" and to engage her in a discussion on different methods used with different personality types and species.
And that discussion? That coaching? Combined with her positive acceptance of his advice, even though it turns out to be mostly unnecessary outside of helping her re-categorize certain interactions in her head and her truly vast pool of experience? That's what finally convinces him he's making a good choice.
So, he's ready when Pike calls him into the CMO's office and gives him the big final speech. He actually tunes out most of the 'peacekeeping and humanitarian armada' spiel, it's nothing he didn't expect, except -
"I said that if you'd been a member of Starfleet when you cured that plague last year? They - the Klingons?- they would already be a member of the UFP. Someone in their leadership asks about you every six weeks or so."
Ah, so that's why they're so hot for him. He forces himself not to shift uncomfortably. They are pinning their hopes of Klingons' Federation membership on him.
No pressure or anything.
"All that aside," Len eventually says. "I could see myself working in this environment."
"Yes, you could. Based on your academic achievements, you could be serving on a spaceship in less than three years and with a year probation under certified CMO, you could become one yourself."
"So, tell me why I, personally, would want to." Starfleet will undoubtedly offer him money and better quarters, maybe stroke his ego by having him teach while he's at the Academy; but what he wants is access to his daughter.
It's an unusual situation, to be sure.
Most people in his stead would let their child go and be grateful, but he finds he can't do that. He's already spent so much of Joanna's life away from her because of his residency that he doesn't want to miss anymore of it, not if he can help it. And while living at the Academy, he'll be right there near her, so it's not like he's asking for trips to Vulcan every other weekend.
Yes, he's a mundane and that can be a problem but, surely, as long as his presence doesn't actively destabilize her, they can manage something?
Eventually, after hours of talking and several calls to various superiors, he ends up signing more papers than when he bought a house and is dismissed with a "Shuttle for new recruits leaves at 0800 tomorrow. Riverside shipyard. Be there."
He's sitting in what will one day be his Ready Room working on several pads while Kirk and Mitchell do what Pike and other Guides refer to as the Unbonded Hover in his general vicinity when the call comes through.
"Captain Pike, Savoy in Medical. It's about, sir, it's about McCoy."
Ah, fuck, could he be medically unfit for duty on a spaceship? No, he can't be. Could he? "Yes, Savoy?"
"Well, sir. He's a guide. We've run the test three times and confirmed it. He's a latent guide."
Okay, that's not distressing. That could, actually, be a good thing. Should be a good thing. "And?"
"Well, sir, he has an online match."
That could be a problem.
Both sentinels in the room freeze, not even bothering to pretend they aren't listening in anymore.
"Okay," and he's about to suggest she send him the details on his pad because an active sentinel finding out about his latent match? Especially before the latent match even knows he's latent rather than mundane? It's incredibly inappropriate but she continues too quickly.
"It's Kirk, sir," She says and even through the comm he can feel her excitement, hope, and confusion. "McCoy is Sentinel Kirk's match."
Kirk is famous in Starfleet. Not just because of his father but also because he is the current record holder for 'longest online and unbonded sentinel' everyone in Sentinel Command wants to be the one to fine him his match, but-
Kirk is shaking off his stupor and heading for the door.
Pike cuts the connection and shouts after the departing Sentinel. "Don't you run him off! You hear me? I know you hear me, sentinel! Do not run him off!"
James T. Kirk thought he was prepared for anything when he knocked on the door of the Starfleet apartment that was temporarily housing his guide. He'd definitely told himself he was.
He was ready to get rejected and the door slammed in his face. He was ready for glares and accusations. He was ready -and hoping- to be accepted and immediately jumped on.
He was not ready for Leonard McCoy M.D. to answer the door in nothing more than a pair of old, faded jeans so tight that Jim can tell for certain that the Doctor is going commando, clutching both ends of the towel draped around his neck.
The broad expanse of toned flesh leaves Jim equal parts dazed and hungry. And not for food, either.
He's not really sure what he says but it gets him invited in with a sigh.
"I'm here to take you to dinner," is what the pretty, golden-haired sentinel at the door tells him.
Len sighs and moves back into his room, leaving the door open for the guy. He mentally knocks "warm body/company" off of his mental list of needs for the night. There is no way anyone is going to look at him twice with that leather-jacket-wearing, primal-level hotness sitting at the table.
He should have expected Pike would assign him a babysitter. The Captain must be afraid he's going to pull a runner.
Having already achieved his twin goals of hot shower and thorough shave, he pulls on a shirt and starts pumping the sentinel for intel on the closest eating establishment.
The Warp Trail Bar? Really? Thanks, Starfleet.
Well, it's within easy walking distance and the food will be hot and free, so it'll do. He grabs his coat and shoos the sentinel out the door.
Even taking it easy, it's a less and 10 minute walk. The sentinel is surprisingly quiet for such a sunny-seeming guy and Len isn't naturally chatty so it's a silent but not awkward little walk.
They order their food and settle in at the bar to wait for it with a beer each.
"So, what's your name, sentinel?"
"James Tiberius Kirk," He answers promptly with a grin. "You can call me Jim. Yours?"
"Fairly certain that you already know my name." Jim has the grace to shrug, his grin actually growing a little brighter. "Leonard Horatio McCoy. Friends call me Len."
"Where you from? That accent isn't local."
"Georgia. Atlanta until recently. I take it you are a local?"
"Riverside, Iowa born and raised. Well, until I came online at 12. Then they took me to Sentinel Command in San Fran. Starfleet Academy at 17. Graduated a year ago with a double major in Theoretical Mathematics and Warp Engineering. You?"
"At 12, I was in school. College. Graduated an M.D. from Ole Miss at 17. Spent a year trying to cure a Klingon disease or two. Married. Residency in Chicago from 18 to 25. Divorced. Now Starfleet."
"Why Starfleet?" The sentinel asks. "To hear Pike talk you could literally do anything, anywhere."
Len sighed, resigned. "I've got nowhere else to go. The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I've got left are my bones... and my reputation. And my reputation ain't worth a tinker's damn back home anymore.
"Broke, homeless, friendless. When Starfleet came calling, I did the only thing I could."
Jim frowns, obviously unhappy about something. Or maybe it's supposed to be sympathy? Len can't really be sure but after just slightly too long of a pause, Kirk claps him on the shoulder. "Well, you have at least one friend now, Bones."
Jim's grin is back as he uses the nickname and waits for McCoy's reaction. It ratchets up a notch when Len just huffs and rolls his eyes.
The doctor can't find it in himself to fight the nickname. He has definitely been called worse, especially lately.
Their conversation grows more commonplace when the food arrives, revolving mostly around the game that's on above the bar and various other sports.
It takes a while but eventually Len realizes that Jim is flirting with him. He's just starting to accept that maybe he misunderstood the context of the invitation for dinner and wondering if maybe a warm body in his bed could happen when she shows up.
She's tall and trim with hair like the night and skin like milk chocolate. She looks right smart in her Cadet Reds complete with collar pips that mark her as an online and unbonded guide.
The bright, lime green guide wristband is a little much, though. It clashes horribly with the red of her uniform.
And if Kirk was flirting with McCoy before? Then they need a new name for this sexually aggressive innuendo war these two have going on.
Worse? The physical contact they readily accept from each other. The cadet - who Jim eventually introduces to Len as Uhura - moves right into Jim's personal space and touches him. On the shoulder. On his hand. His hair.
McCoy does his best to keep his unhappiness to himself. Not by stamping down on it but by accepting it and trying to move on so that it doesn't linger in his scent pile.
That means he has to name what he's feeling. Which would be jealousy.
Jealousy over a man he has known for less than an hour. Jealous of a guide interacting with and possibly courting a sentinel.
It's as stupid as it is pointless.
Sentinels and Guides go together. He knows this. He's seen it firsthand.
And it's not like he's started anything with Jim. With Kirk. In fact, it's better this way. Anything he could have theoretically started with the sentinel would be doomed to failure because eventually Kirk would be forced to seek out a guide.
Being jealous is stupid. Being upset is even more so. This is saving him a world of hurt!
He just wishes he didn't have to watch it.
He's still working on accepting and releasing his foolish reaction when he realizes that Jim is gently and subtly trying to get her to fuck off.
She mentions she's thirsty? Jim recommends a drink but doesn't order her anything. Just sits there and keeps sipping his beer.
She talks about joining her friends? He agrees that spending time with friends is a good thing but doesn't make a move or even glance around like he's thinking about finding hers.
She mentions having questions on a class assignment? He points her to a tutor.
Finally, and most obviously, she asks him to show her around since she's never been to Iowa and will be leaving in the morning and he- HE! Jim Kirk tells Guide Uhura that's he's already agreed to show Len around -which is news to Len- and that his vehicle only has two seats. Sorry.
That sorry is the least apologetic utterance McCoy has heard in his damn near 30 years.
It might make Len the least bit (SEE: incredibly) smug.
James T. Kirk is not an idiot. He is, in fact, a genius. But sometimes? Sometimes he does idiotic things. Occasionally, he really outdoes himself and does something that is stupid on several levels.
Indulging Uhura's flirtation is one of those things.
First because she has severe Barnacle Syndrome. Just like so many guides of her status, she's pulled into and unable to escape the gravity well of his need. And he can't forcibly eject her because she's a guide and hurting her, even emotionally, is against everything that is in him.
Second, and more importantly, because she's making his guide upset and jealous.
It's so fascinating to have someone as special as Leonard H. McCoy jealous over him that he misses his chance to head her off early and has to play dumb-but-earnest to ignore all the openings she gives him.
Which actually becomes kind of fun after Bones figures him out and starts getting amused.
He's surprised and pleased when Jim volunteers him for a tour of the area but goes along almost meekly as Jim hustles them out of the bar and back to Starfleet Housing where he left his bike.
Bones balks a bit at the sight of the motorcycle but he settles in easily enough. His hands settle over Jim's belt buckle like they were made to fit. The scent of Bones's discomfort is quickly overpowered by the scent of his arousal.
Jim should probably be ashamed of himself but he keeps the tour going for as long as he can so that he can luxuriate in the feel of Bones's arms and the smell of his happiness. They look at everything he can think of. Rivers. Hills. Grass. Way, way too much corn.
His favorite is the hour and a half they spend watching the Enterprise getting pieced together. Bones's questions about a science so foreign to his own prove insightful and intelligent as they discuss warp mechanics, radiation, and shielding.
They rocket around Iowa until well after midnight. He manages to both keep his hands to himself and not spill the beans. The news of McCoy's guide status should either come from Captain Pike as Len's sponsor to the Academy or Admiral Moira Davies as the Head of Sentinel Command.
It's hard but eventually he sends his guide to bed, alone, with a soft "see you in the morning" and leaves to return the bike to his brother.
He'll be fine, Kirk tells himself. Mitchell will keep watch.
The noise a group of Cadets can make at 0630 proves to be too much for even Len to sleep through, godammit.
But, hey, at least he won't be late so it's not all bad.
He ignores the looks when he steps onto the Cadets' bus to the shipyard. They act like they've never seen a grown man with his entire life packed into a single duffle before.
The looks and silent questions are forgotten the moment he sees Jim's grinning face waiting for him at the bus stop. The hug is a little confusing but, okay, Len can roll with it.
Of course, the hug and Jim's grin are almost forgotten in their turn at the sight of the shuttle waiting to take him to his new life. Len forces himself to focus on the sentinel's firm grip on his arm as he's escorted to the front of the vehicle.
He silently gives thanks for Pike's paranoid babysitter ways when Jim settles him into one of the Flight Officers' jump seats right in the cockpit.
This model shuttle has two jump seats. One back to back with the pilot, the other back to back with the co-pilot. Both face the heavy bulkhead that divides the pilot and passenger compartments and have very little legroom but! With a slight turn of his head Len cannot see a single window or viewport.
It. Is. Glorious.
Jim does his best to ignore Captain Pike's amusement as he maneuvers his guide into the seat behind the pilot's.
He's had practice. Especially today, as he's been ignoring Pike's amusement since he managed to get himself assigned as pilot for this little transcontinental ferry experience, seeking out a job that he's taken with ill grace every other time it's been given to him and taking it gladly this time because of Bones.
Bones is on this flight so Kirk has to, is compelled to, make it as safe as possible for him. That means Kirk on the con!
He goes through pre-flight checks, falling into an easy back and forth with Captain Pike but, as they draw closer to their launch, Bones grows tenser and more stressed. The smell of it fills the cockpit so much that it's a fight for him not to start growling. Focus is completely out of the question.
Pike is picking up on it, too. Not that that's surprising because, ya know, he's a guide.
The Captain keeps shooting McCoy long, concerned looks and missing call backs. Every time he's distracted enough by Bones to miss a callback, Bones's anxiety spikes.
Finally, Pike breaks all established rules for guide-mundane interaction and asks. "McCoy, are you okay?"
"I suffer from aviophobia." McCoy answers, his voice a ragged whisper.
"The fear of dying in something that flies." Pike supplies and it's almost a question, like he's double checking.
Through the seat, Jim can feel Bones's whole body nod.
"You're going to have to get past this," Pike says, looking significantly at Jim.
"I know," Bones answers, not knowing that the statement wasn't really for him. "I am working on it. It's just - Take offs and landings are the worst."
"I could steady you. Empathically." Pike says. It's not an offer a guide usually makes to a mundane but holy shit Jim is going to need Len to take it. "I can let you feel my trust in the equipment and our pilot, my comfort in the air. Would that help?"
Jim feels Bones nod again and almost sighs in relief as Pike's aura fills the compartment.
Pike is confident and comfortable, 100% sure of Jim's abilities and the shuttle craft's integrity. He also really enjoys take off and the view out the front port. He's utterly thrilled by the sense of freedom being in the air gives him. He also finds his seat really comfortable, which is weird but kind of helpful.
Best of all, Bones stops shaking pretty much immediately. Eventually, his anxiety recedes and while he doesn't exactly enjoy the flight, he definitely relaxes enough to unfold from his hunched position and Jim can feel the weight of his guide pressed against the seat at his back.
When they land in San Fran, Bones shakes their hands and thanks them for the best flight he's ever had.
Jim is just grateful for the near-miss. If Bones had freaked out that badly (or worse!) in the passenger compartment Jim isn't certain he could have avoided a feral response. Then they would have crashed for real, not just in Bones's most neurotic nightmares.
Leonard "Bones" McCoy hadn't expected Jim Kirk to become a constant in his life.
No, honestly, if you had asked him, he would have told you that as soon as they landed in San Fran the sentinel would drift off to do whatever sentinel-y things that sentinels do in Starfleet. That Len, for his part, would go off into his own little world of classes and medicine, and never again the twain shall meet.
That's not what happens, though.
Kirk is a constant. Not so much in Len's new life as around it. Every time he looks up over the two days following their arrival in California, Jim is in his peripheral.
He looks up from his Starfleet Medical Boards; Jim is outside, just on the other side of the window, crunching an apple. Eating in the mess; Jim is lurking, chatting up any of a wide variety of beings.
Meeting with his academic advisor. Getting coffee with a senior member of Starfleet Medical. In the Library. In the Gym.
Kirk is always there!
Now, to be fair, when Len's on shift at the Medical Center, Kirk is more subtle in his, well, stalking but Len still spots him three times in 11 hours!
The final straw. The thing that breaks Len's patience happens just before dawn on the third day.
Len's meeting with Pike had been moved to a truly unholy hour of the morning because the Captain's ship out on his next recruitment tour or whatever the mission is has been bumped up and the man has something to tell Len that absolutely must be done in person. And sooner rather than later.
It's really late (or really early) and Len is trying to leave his quarters as quietly as he can out of respect for his neighbors but all of his effort is ruined when he trips over something in his doorway.
No, not something. Someone!
"Oh, for chrissakes," McCoy growls and stomps away, leaving Kirk floundering in his wake.
All over furious, he marches straight into Pike's office and enters without so much as a knock. "This has gone far enough! Call of your damn dog, Pike! I'm here! I'm staying! I don't need or want a babysitter! And I will not be put on a leash! Not by you and not by anyone else!"
Pike shoots a sardonic look past McCoy to where Kirk is lingering in the doorway. With a sigh he gestures for the sentinel to enter and close the door.
Kirk does so and takes the seat in front of Pike that Len is not currently standing in front of.
The Captain keeps his gaze heavy on the sentinel and, while Kirk doesn't actually squirm, Len's pretty sure the sentinel thinks about it for about half a moment.
"You said not to tell him." Kirk offers, almost defensively.
"Starfleet policy said you couldn't tell him," Pike counters. "I said not to run him off."
Uh, the fuck? "And what, exactly, are you two jokers keeping from me?" he asks softly in an effort to keep from losing his temper again.
"What we are keeping from you and the reason for this meeting are the same thing." Pike eventually informs him, eyes finally leaving the sentinel and landing on Len. "And that is that you are a latent guide and that 'damn dog' as you just called him, is your sentinel."
Len's knees go weak and he's forced to either take the chair he's been standing in front of or hit the floor. "You're sure?"
Pike picks up a data pad, thumbs around a moment and then slides it across his desk.
Wordlessly, Len picks up the pad and reviews the test results. They ran the tests four times. Twice with cheek swabs, once with the blood draw and once with the hair he'd donated. There's even footage of each individual testing process in case he wants to review each one.
He watches them process the second cheek swab.
Savoy and Chapel did the test together and he can't find any fault in any of the steps they take.
Well, damn. This must be karma.
McCoy sits back and blinks for a moment. His mind is racing at 100 miles per hour and getting absolutely nowhere.
He knows how important guides are to sentinels. He saw it firsthand just two months ago with his daughter, Joanna. She'd been so powerful and so fragile when she came online that she'd been in a coma, zoned, for weeks while they had no idea what was wrong with her.
They could have lost her. She could have died so, so easily.
Luckily, her perfect match had already been online and waiting for her. And Pike had come 'round just in time with just the right skills and knowledge that none of the physicians attending Joanna had had.
In the end they'd lost her in their daily lives and in their home, yes, but she'd lived and her continued survival is worth so much to Len. Having his daughter alive and living as full and comfortable a life as they can manage for her is worth everything. It's why he'd fought Jocelyn to make sure that their nine year old daughter went to Sentinel Command, even though it destroyed their marriage.
Now, he's on the other side of the issue. Facing the other end of the barrel.
The very idea that he could be a guide, that he will become the center of another person's universe, the foundation for all of Jim's senses, and the reason Jim can live as close to a normal human existence as one of his kind can, is mind-boggling.
The thought that Jim is vulnerable without him, that Jim could die without him? It's breathtaking.
And totally karma. So much karma.
Jim isn't showing any of the signs or symptoms of fragility. Not like Joanna had.
Could he really be needing Len that much and not show any symptoms? Would Jim be able to stalk him like he has for the last two days if his senses were out of control?
Unless the 'stalking' is a sign of the sentinel's instability?
Taking a deep breath, Bones sets aside his emotional response and looks at Jim through the eyes of a doctor.
The blond man's face is flushed. Either he's overheated and has been for so long that he should have already suffered a heat stroke or he's feeling some really strong emotions. Stress? Panic Disorder, maybe? Or a blood pressure problem?
The guy is covered from neck to wrist and ankle and has been every time Len's seen him. Even in the gym. Could he be hiding a rash? Probably, yes, Len decides.
He's moving cautiously, almost like he's injured, but Jim passed on every offer to spar he received when they were in the gym, so he's probably just trying to keep his clothes from rubbing over-sensitized skin.
He hasn't been eating much that Len can recall and definitely hasn't done so indoors or around other beings. The most Len's seen him eat in the last two days is that apple he had while sitting in the Medical courtyard, outside Len's exam room.
Huh. Could Kirk be so desperate to self stabilize that he's trying to connect with a
"He's quiet," Kirk's voice cuts through his contemplation.
"He's calm," Pike counters.
"Did we break him?"
"You'd better hope not. You need him more than I do."
"Ha. Ha." Len says as sarcastically as he can manage. "If that's all, I need to speak with Jim. Alone."
"Alright." Pike stands to send him off and extends his hand. "Personally, I'd keep the leash but I think it'd work out better for everyone if Jim wore the collar."
Len spares the guide - his fellow guide?- a small smile as they shake and leaves as quickly and as he politely can with his personal little sentinel-duckling in tow.
It takes them over an hour to get from Pike's office within Starfleet Headquarters, across the Academy campus, and onto the Sentinel Command grounds. It's early still but the life of younglings in Sentinel Housing is very regimented. The two of them manage to get there just as Joanna starts her morning calisthenics.
Bones hadn't found time to visit before this but he has the rules Sentinel Command established for interaction with his daughter memorized, so he stands on the edge of the workout yard and watches his daughter run side-by-side with her guide. He doesn't call out to her or flag her down for her attention. He just waits for her to acknowledge him and invite the two of them into her and her guide's space.
Jim is confused and more than a little agitated standing there. He's not sure why they are visiting what used to be his home and he's not happy about it until the kids' lap brings them close to the adults' position.
Jim relaxes considerably when he realizes what they are doing here. "She's your daughter." The sentinel not-really asks.
Bones nods. "And she's the reason I'm not going to fight you over what you need, but you've got to tell me what that is, Jim.
"I do think you would probably be better staying away from me until I come online and can fully support you. It's why policy states you aren't supposed to know who your match is if one of you is offline and it's in place for a damn good reason. But you already know, so you can't leave me unprotected and I understand that.
"One day I may have the empathic skills or just the personal experience to know what you need automatically but, until that day, you have to tell me when you need something. Don't just hover in my space again, alright?"
Jim nods and Bones is positive his psi-score must already be going up because he knows almost instinctively what his sentinel needs just then. He raises his arm and Jim slips into his space, his arm going across Jim's shoulders and Jim's arm going around Len's waist. They lean into each other and turn to watch the young of their kind start the day.
Of course, it's not all sunshine and picnics from there. Barely two weeks later, the morning after they share their very first kiss, they have their first fight.
"No, Jim, no. I don't care how many advances they've made or how safe it is. Just no."
"But why not, Bones? Just tell me why."
"Forcing people online is exactly what started all that Eugenics horse crap in the first place. Or do you not remember the War? I can't be part of something like that, Jim. I won't do it. I refuse."
"Alright, Bones, alright. You win. You're right. I'll let it go." His sentinel sighs, closes his eyes and sits back in his chair.
And damn if his sentinel isn't so disappointed that it could make Bones cry.
But he is right.
The Onlining Procedure is not something he could do. Not and still be himself. Godammit.
Leonard H. McCoy's first year at the Academy is drawing to a close.
He's already got his summer set up. He's strictly teaching for two classes during Summer Session 1 and strictly studying only in Session 2, again two classes.
All he has to do now is give the final for the one Spring Semester class he taught and get the grades submitted, then he and Jim have a week off. Alone. Together.
On a beach, godammit.
Thankfully, the class he got roped into teaching is advanced and highly hands-on so it's small, just six pairs of lab partners, and he's got a proctor in the room for each pair.
He's in the middle of giving instructions to his class when a tour group comes to a stop outside of his lab-classroom and distracts the lot of them. Even Jim stops his bored chair-spinning to stare at the people on the other side of the glass wall.
With a heavy sigh, Len turns to tell the busybody crew to fuck off and stops immediately.
Four Klingons are being escorted by Admiral Boyce - the Head of Starfleet Medical, Admiral Archer - the Head of Starfleet, and a Vulcan ambassador. The seven of them are standing in a hallway in a Starfleet Medical facility, staring at him.
Jim growls, responding to Len's tension.
He throws his sentinel a look and gestures for the visitors to enter. He hasn't even finished the gesture when the largest of the Klingons pushes open the door and walks right into Len's personal space.
Jim growls again, louder this time as he, too, enters Len's bubble and yanks Len bodily behind him.
The Klingon laughs at Jim and drops his hands to his hips, each hand settling onto a different weapon on his belt.
Before Len can formulate an appropriate response to defuse Jim and the Klingon, the Vulcan Ambassador intervenes. "As you can see," He says in what sounds to Len like fluent Klingon. "Doctor McCoy is a highly valued member of Starfleet Medical but he is even more highly valued by his sentinel-mate."
Jesus, does every-fucking-body know about them?
The Klingon takes a moment to consider this.
Sentinels are considered something of a myth and mystery to many humans, much less to other races in the UFP. To a race not only outside of the Federation but habitually antagonistic towards humans, sentinels must seem like something of an urban legend.
Rather than ask the usual questions and show 'ignorance,' the Klingon ignores the issue and changes the subject.
"Emperor Ustok the Wise has ordered me to personally invite you, Suvwl'meHyIn Leonard McCoy, and any you with to accompany you, to Qo'nos so that you may see the results of your good work."
Len looks first to Jim.
Jim turns his head part way towards Len but keeps most of his attention on the Klingon threat at his front.
Having known the younger man for nine months now, Len can read the "whatever you want, Bones" in his posture.
He then turns to Admiral Boyce who rolls his eyes a little but nods.
Finally he looks to Admiral Archer who just nods and says, "We can make it happen."
"Good!" The Klingon gives a sharp grin. "When?"
"There is a two week break between my commitments here later this summer," Len volunteers before some damnfool diplomat can say "Immediately!" "With travel, that would give us a week planetside."
"Excellent! The Emperor will be most pleased."
"Great. We'll hammer out the details at dinner tonight." Archer hits Len with a hard look. Len just nods, accepting the unspoken order to be there. "I think we have taken enough of McCoy's time. It looks like he has a class to conclude."
Archer and the Vulcan that McCoy still doesn't know the name of get the entire group out of both the classroom itself and the hallway altogether.
Once they are gone, rather than return to his usual seat Jim gets as close to Len as he can get without touching him and stays there.
Len carries on with his instructions. Lab portion of the final first with incremental signoffs from the proctor assigned to each pair. The written test to follow is to be a completely individual effort. Nothing is timed, though Len thinks it should be. At least the Lab Portion for sure.
He sends each of the proctors two copies of the written test to pass on once their pairs have completed the lab, and shoots the lab portion directly to the student workstations. He's barely given the order to begin when Jim hustles him out of the classroom and into a bonding suite down the hall.
Once the door is locked and they are alone, Jim has Len pressed up against the wall. Before he's quite sure what's going on, Jim is kissing and nuzzling him. The sentinel's hands are everywhere and his entire body is just rubbing against his future guide.
"Now we're getting somewhere," Len manages with a groan, his hands going to the bottom edge of Jim's uniform shirt.
Jim stills. "What?"
The sentinel is confused. Why is he confused?
"I've been waiting for you to do something. I mean, it's not like you could miss the fact that I want you."
"I was waiting for you to tell me what you wanted!" Jim admits with a laugh.
"Huh. I was beginning to think you were ignoring our UST because you wanted me to come online first."
"Absolutely not." Jim answers him firmly and follows it up with a kiss. "We need to work on our communication."
"Alright, I'll start." Len gives his sentinel the dirtiest grin he has. "Jim, I want you to eat my ass until I come and then I want you to fuck me real slow."
"I can do that." Jim swallows hard and nods so much he looks like a bobble head. "But we have to shower first. All I can smell right now is Klingon lust and it's making me crazy."
Len nods his agreement. His sentinel steps back and pulls him away from the wall.
Len starts to strip. Figuring they've got at least two hours before the first labs are finished and longer than that before the written is done, he puts his scholastic commitment out of his head and focuses on Jim.
Jim surprises him by just watching. He doesn't help. He doesn't strip himself. He just stands back and watches Len work the various buttons and zippers holding his uniform in place.
Once Len is completely nude and his uniform is draped carefully over the room's desk, Jim walks a slow circle around his guide. They've been platonically bed-sharing since Christmas so very little of Len's body should be a mystery to his sentinel but Jim takes his time and does his inspection thoroughly.
'Visually imprinting,' both Len's doctor and guide brains supply.
It's shockingly arousing, being on display for Jim like this. He's more than half hard by the time Jim makes it back around to his front.
Len's a little surprised when Jim doesn't hit him with some witty one-liner or pun to break the mood but Jim's face is solemn. Not upset, just completely focused. Like he's taking part in some sacred ritual. Or doing delicate surgery.
Jim nods to himself and offers McCoy his hand.
Len takes it and his soon-to-be lover walks him to the bathroom.
Jim calls instructions to the computer for Len's preferred showering conditions. Once the electronic voice tells them it's ready he allows Len to enter the shower alone but keeps the cubicle open so that he can watch.
Deciding to tease his 'mate', Len puts on a bit of a show. He runs his soap-covered hands across his body. He makes sure to tease his nipples and then run slow hands down his torso before stopping to jack his cock until Jim moans for him.
He turns his back to his sentinel and bends at the waist to soap his legs very thoroughly.
When he hears the zipper of Jim's fly, he stands but doesn't turn around.
On second thought, he rinses his left hand and braces it against the shower wall. Because he can now, because he has permission now, he half turns and watches Jim watching him and fisting himself. Watching Jim jack off is so much hotter live than Len thought it would be.
Jim's eyes shoot up to meet his when Len moans for him.
He raises a single inquiring eyebrow at Jim and Jim just ramps up the intensity of his gaze, letting Len see the full weight of his desire.
Len shudders and braces himself more firmly. He spreads his stance and arches his back to give Jim a better view and, doing his best to keep his eyes firmly on his sentinel, Len sends his still-soapy right hand questing behind him. He runs it up and down his cleft several times before circling a single digit around his hole.
"Oh, damn," Jim groans, sounding completely wrecked.
"Come on me, Jim. I want you to come on me."
Without pausing the work of his right hand, Jim moves in and braces his left on the shower's doorframe.
His uniform is getting obviously wet but Jim doesn't seem to notice or care as the smell of his guide's arousal and the visual input he's receiving work together with his hand to send him over the edge.
He comes with a "God! Bones!" and shoots his seed all over Len's lower back and ass.
Jim's still leaning against the wall just outside the shower trying to catch his breath when Len speaks up again. "You could join me, you know. If I smell like Klingon lust, you must reek of it. You were closer than I was."
With a grin, Jim starts to strip.
Weeks later, as planned, between Summer One and Summer Two, Len and Jim beam down to Qo'nos. They do so in the second of three waves.
The first wave down was an eight-being Starfleet security team. A team trained per Standard Operating Procedures to work with the Diplomatic Corps to make sure both the visitors and the home team stay safe. Or as safe as they can make them.
In the second wave, Len and Jim are joined by two more unbonded sentinels - Gary Mitchell and Benjamin Olson - who are to coordinate with Jim for Len's personal protection and Cadet Uhura who is there to translate for anyone that needs it and to guide the sentinels in their little delegation.
The third wave consists of two human diplomats, the famous Ambassador Sarek (AKA the Vulcan prick who can't seem to introduce himself) and Len's two personal invitees.
The first is Julian Crusher, a certified Starfleet CMO and universe-class Xenobilolgist.
The second is a Denobulan named Phlox. Len picked him for a number of reasons.
1.) He finds the guy fascinating and talking to him has really helped with Len's aviophobia.
2.) It is the height of stupidity, in Len's opinion, to have humans, humans, and only humans represent the entire Federation in this kind of situation. Yes, there is a single Vulcan in the delegation with them but the only other non-humans in Federation colors in the room are security and that seems to... demean their contribution to Len. Not that it would to a Klingon but it's Len's party and he'll invite who he wants to.
3.) Jim doesn't seem to know what to do with the guy. It amuses the ever-loving hell out of Len to see Mr. Could-charm-a-stone-into-giving-him-water be perpetually wrong-footed with the wily old alien.
Once the entire delegation is assembled on the ground, they assemble so that no one is directly in front of Len but he's still behind several layers of security.
He has Jim at his side.
Mitchell and Olson flank them, just a half-step behind and to either side.
Two security personnel lead the group, positioning themselves so that people may approach Len but they have to walk between the two red shirts to do so.
Two more security personnel position themselves a step behind Mitchell and Olson but directly behind Len.
The remaining security personnel are scattered around the rest of the group.
They constantly have two Roamers that randomly, well, roam before, behind and through the group. All but the two in the front switch off and on Roamer duty in some pattern that Len can't decipher.
The room they were given as beaming location has one exit. That one doorway is attached to a short, thin hallway that leads to a very open one.
Well, it's more like a room? It's big, open and very red. The floor at the center of the room is lower than the edges, which when combined with the pillar formations that extend throughout, makes the room’s edges feel like hallways.
At the intersection of the tiny hall and the larger 'hall' stands a Klingon. He is a truly big motherfucker with yellow eyes and a cruel smile. He is surrounded by a group of even more truly big motherfuckers.
"I am Commander Chihmac Mras." He states and waits.
"Len McCoy," he introduces himself after Jim's oh-so-subtle poke to the ribs.
"Suvwl'meHyIn," the Commander greets. With a sweeping gesture to the three Klingons on his right, he continues. "On behalf of the Empire, I would like to offer you our finest warriors for your personal protection."
"My sentinel has it covered." When the Commander scoffs, Len continues. "He would lay the planet to waste for me. Plus, he's alpha, so everyone of his kind in the quadrant would jump in to help. I'm fine. Thank you."
"Very well, let us walk together." And Mras walks right into their midst with absolutely no sign of concern. As though the red shirts are nothing more than tiny red flowers. He takes up a post beside Len, matching Jim but on the opposite side.
Jim doesn't like it but the guy respects Len's space, so he doesn't intervene. It's a Len McCoy meet-n-greet, after all.
The Commander orders three of his warriors to lead the way to the throne room. His remaining warriors follow behind.
They've left the original building they landed in and are on a large, open-air bridge about halfway across and going toward what looks like the bastard child of a Japanese Pagoda and an Aztec Ziggurat, when Chihmac Mras grabs him.
Len feels air pass his arm as Jim reaches for him and misses before he finds himself with his back pressed against the Klingon Commander's chest. An arm across his torso keeps him in place and a blade at his neck keeps everyone else at bay.
Jim is the closest to them. He's growling and furious.
Olson and Mitchell are in a pack wedge formation with Kirk as their point. They are both crouching and still, ready to strike with blades in their hands.
Every member of the security team has their phasers drawn. Glowing red tips show that they are not set to stun.
Only two of the security team have their focus on Len and Mras. The rest are divided between maintaining a defensive position around the rest of the Federation's personnel and keeping tabs on Mras's warriors.
Len doesn't even try to keep from saying the first thing that pops into his head once all the motion stops. "Jesus Christ, you're stupid."
Commander Mras tightens his grip, cutting Len under his ear and along the hinge of his jaw.
Jim roars a challenge, his eyes go wild and he draws the blade he's managed to leave sheathed until now.
Len starts trying to talk Jim down but Uhura is too far away to help and Mras starts taunting Jim. Len's efforts manage to keep Jim from moving forward but the Commander's insults keep ramping up the sentinel's fury.
At one point, Len is sure that this is it. He can feel Jim's rage on the edge of his mind, he must be coming online and Mras's life is officially forfeit for making an online guide bleed in the presence of his sentinel but then, the Klingons move.
Not all of them but a few. Particularly the ones with the most piercings along their sagittal crests.
Two fill in Jim's pack-pride-wedge formation thing. Another three move to flank the Commander - two from one side, the third from the other.
Their species might be different but their body language and movement patterns quickly fall in line with the sentinel's furious response. Whatever loyalty they once had to Mras has fallen to the wayside. These Klingons are taking silent and psychic orders from Jim now.
By the time Chihmac Mras registers and understands what Bones can so plainly see is going on with his brethren, they are rumbling threateningly. He trails off mid-taunt, unable to take his eyes off the Klingon flying solo on his left flank.
Len's captor either sneezes or says a name and Uhura, of all people, is the one that answers him.
Len can feel Mras tense and everyone on Jim's 'side' starts like they are about to pounce when the Commander scoffs and releases Len.
Jim grabs him immediately and pulls Len into his body and over to the opposite wall. The Sentinel-Klingon Sewing Circle form a living wall around them, almost like a chamber of warm bodies to shelter Len as Jim holds him close.
Len knows that Jim won't lose his feral edge until Len stops bleeding but he also knows that there is no way that Jim could allow one of the doctors in their company to attend him yet. The trauma of the attack is still too new.
Well, it's Len's job to get Jim past it.
Normally, a guide would open their mental bond and let the sentinel know deep down inside himself in that place that doesn't really have a satisfactory name but could be called a 'soul' that that very same place within the guide is okay. That he's unhurt. That he's safe.
But Len doesn't have the tools to do that, not yet, so he does his best.
Physically, he relaxes into Jim and calms his body. He slows and measures his breathing, willing his heart rate to slow in turn. He puts himself through one of the breathing meditations that Guide-Admiral Davies pushed him to learn and thanks every star he can name for the older man's insistence on weekly meditation meetings.
Mentally, he focuses on how calm he feels, on how safe he is, and on how much he loves Jim. He might not be able to actively project but he tries to emote how pleasant everything is as loudly as he can.
Len's not sure how long it takes but eventually Jim stops growling. Completely stops, even the little ones under his breath. Slowly, Jim's hands stop clutching Len so tightly and start stroking, comforting and verifying that Len is whole.
"You need a doctor," are the first coherent words out of Jim's mouth.
The Klingon privacy curtain parts to reveal Phlox and Dr. Crusher standing several lengths away.
Someone must be thinking real clear because the doctors are the only ones other than Kirk's boy band in sight.
Prudence dictates isolation for the agitated and cautious approaches for any aid workers.
Too bad Prudence did not decide to dictate Dr. Phlox's actions.
The alien enters the sentinel-space quickly and reaches for Len without acknowledging Jim in any way. No doubt he's too focused on treating his patient to mind the ongoing inter-personal dynamics of the situation.
Luckily, Dr. Crusher manages to pull his colleague back enough that Jim's knife swipe only cut's Phlox's clothes and no new blood spills into the air to reignite the situation.
Crusher sends Phlox off to join the rest of the party with a verbal warning about "possible negative associations" and waits for Jim's signal to approach.
At Jim's nod, Crusher steps forward. He sets his medkit on the ground and pushes it a short distance toward Jim.
Mitchell intercepts the package and inspects it, sniffing and running his hands over most of its contents to verify that it's safe. Mitchell takes both the laser and metal scalpels and moves back, signaling that his inspection is complete.
Crusher kneels beside his bag and talks to Jim. "We have inspected the," the doctor hesitates over word choice, obviously looking for something that won't upset Jim again. "Instrument and found no impurities but I would like to scan your guide to make sure that he hasn't caught any infection. May I?"
Jim nods and Crusher reaches forward, holding his tricorder at its maximum effective distance and scans Len. He pulls it back and reads the display. He adjusts a few things and reads it again. Crusher adjusts his tricorder again, holds it out for a second scan and reads the display a third time.
Len is starting to lose his calm as Crusher makes more adjustments and keeps silently reading. He's either infected or not, godammit. It's not complicated. What's taking so long?
An annoyed rumble from one of Kirk's Klingons draws the doctor's attention. Julian ducks his head in apology and lets them know, "No signs of infection, so we can close the cut and get you cleaned up.
"With your permission?" He asks Jim, who nods and leans back, allowing the doctor into their space.
Crusher talks to Len while he works with the dermal regenerator. "You're still not online. It's surprising since you've managed to get your sentinel through a feral episode successfully."
"He wasn't feral," Len tries to explain. "Just very agitated. If he'd been feral Commander Jackass would be a puddle."
The look Julian shoots him is frankly unbelieving, but Len's used to it. Maybe it was better in humanity's more violent history, before sentinels allowed themselves to be taken into government service and separated from the Tribe, but most modern humans have a hard time accepting and understanding what a sentinel really is.
Crusher finishes with the cut quickly and moves on to cleaning the blood off Len's neck.
When he's done, all of the blood-soaked swabs are sealed in a bio-box and beamed up to the Constitution for disposal.
Len sighs. His neck is clean, if a little cold and wet, but his uniform is ruined. Whoever had the bright idea to put medical professionals in a white fucking dress uniform needs their ass kicked.
Jim sends Crusher away from their group with a jerk of his head and proceeds to cuddle Len some more. Jim is agitated by the smell of medical chemicals on his guide and does his best to remove the smell. First with his hands, then with his whole face, and finally with his mouth and tongue. He's not successful but he gives it several minutes of intense effort that leave Len panting and more than a little hard.
When he's finally ready to face the world, Jim stands and gives Len a hand up off of the floor.
Jim is visually inspecting his troops and wordlessly positioning them for a more obvious display of strength and unity when the Klingon Len has mentally labeled as Jim's pseudo-Beta approaches and takes a knee.
"Alpha," Klingon-Beta greets. "I have turned the criminal Chihmac Mras over to the emperor for his crimes. The Emperor has vowed that his punishment shall be harsh and end with Mras's slow death in Rura Penthe."
Jim nods once, accepting this justice.
"Our Lord Emperor bids you seclude and tend the needs of your guide. Your chambers are prepared and, if you wish to retire for the night, he will greet you both at first meal tomorrow."
Breakfast on Qo'nos is an interesting affair. Other than the seating arrangement, there is no ritual or formality to it but there is a lot of meat. Most of it red and rare.
The Emperor is rather on the small side for a Klingon. Oh, he's the standard height but he's the first Klingon that Len would describe as thin. He's a rapier, not a broadsword like the rest of his kin. His eyes, though, are highly intelligent. Cunning, sharply and dangerously so. And! For a Klingon, he has a very ready sense of humor.
It's all completely unexpected but Bones does his best to go with it.
After breakfast, Emperor Ustok invites Bones and Jim on a private walk. He's unflappable in the face of Jim's growling and accepts the physical boundaries Jim establishes.
"I do hope your diplomats have brought their best, Bones." The Emperor was, predictably, thrilled to pieces the first time he heard Jim's nickname for Len. "Several of my people are willing to study medicine and follow your Path of the Warrior but joining Starfleet? Or the Federation? That will be an uphill battle."
"I honestly don't care if you join the Federation," Len says frankly.
Jim gasps and the Emperor frowns.
"Look, I'm a doctor, not a diplomat. I think it would be best if your people joined Starfleet, but I don't know.
"I know conflict between the Empire and the Federation would cost many lives and could spell the end of both groups.
"I know that your membership in the Federation would strengthen the Federation considerably and that it would give your Empire a number of resources to help you rebuild. It would give you access to technology and knowledge that could keep the next plague from being so devastating. Or keep it from happening at all.
"But only you - you and your council- can decide if Federation Membership is right for your people socially and culturally.
"Can your people accept that level of change without destroying what it is to be Klingon? Or is it best to strike now while all of the changes you've made are still fresh and completely redefine what it is to be Klingon?
"People are so much more than their physical well-being and it's up to you to weigh all the factors and choose the best path," Len concludes softly.
"There is wisdom in what you say." The Emperor agrees slowly.
"Now," Len starts again. "As for joining Starfleet. Non-Federation citizens can attend the Academy and afterward serve in Starfleet if a command-level officer sponsors them. If you're serious about it, we have three command-level officers currently in orbit. I say we invite them down for dinner and see what happens."
The Emperor is nodding now and throws Jim a sly look. "Every member of your.. boyband has expressed interest in joining Starfleet since the Incident yesterday. They are some of the Empire's finest warriors and all of them are from very influential families."
It's two hours before his graduation from the Academy and Len is out to breakfast with Jim, Joanna and Joanna's guide, Edmund, when they get paged to get back to the campus.
Starfleet's received a distress call from Vulcan. With the grown-up fleet out in the Laurentian System, they're mustering every able body at the Academy for the milk run, STAT.
Since they already received their post-grad assignment to the Enterprise and Jim as First Officer is one of the senior staff officers, they get to beam directly to the space dock and walk onto the newly complete flagship.
For some reason Jim is really tense, so Len silently allows himself to be tucked into the back of the leadership meeting that happens before they take off. Pike shoots Jim and the various department heads the official, not-for-general-consumption version of the mission brief and they go over it.
The further Jim reads and the more they talk, the more agitated the sentinel becomes until he's vibrating in his chair even with both of Len's hands on him, trying to keep him calm.
"Sir, this is a trap." Jim says with certainty as soon as Pike calls on him.
"What makes you say that?"
"That anomaly? A lightning storm in space? It's happened before - on the day I was born? Just before a Romulan ship attacked the USS Kelvin on the edge of Klingon Space. That ship, a ship with formidable and advanced weaponry was never seen or heard from again. Neither was that anomaly.
"If the anomaly is back, then that ship must be, too, which means Vulcan is under attack by Romulans."
"While I can see your point about the connection between the anomaly and the ship, I don't see their connection to the connection to Vulcan." Pike says, further irritating Jim.
"Starfleet Command does or it wouldn't be in the report." The sentinel shoots back.
"Sir?" A red shirt speaks up nervously. "According to the Communications Log, a Cadet Uhura intercepted and translated a communication last night that indicates 47 Klingon warbirds were attacked and destroyed by Romulans while in the neutral zone between Klingon and Vulcan space. It was reported that the Romulans were in one ship, one massive ship."
Jim's nodding. "The Romulans are waiting for us, sir."
"Cadet, now-Lieutenant Uhura, is unmatched in xenolinguistics," The Vulcan CSO steps in. "She is onboard. I will personally consult with her to verify her findings but it would be logical to proceed with caution."
"Good." Pike nods. "Bring her to the Bridge and set her scanning for any transmissions in Romulan."
Pike stands, ending the meeting, and strides from this Ready Room onto the Bridge. "Hail the Fleet. We're going in with shields up. Red Alert."
The Ready Room's door closes, leaving Len and Jim alone for a moment. Jim pulls Len into a tight hug before releasing him to the Infirmary with a kiss and turning to follow his Captain.
Some fucking milk run.
The ship took fire as soon as they dropped out of warp at Vulcan. The Primary Medbay was destroyed in the first volley, taking the CMO Dr. Puri and two-thirds of the ship's medical staff with it. Doctors, nurses, medics and techs; so many, just gone.
God only knows how many vacuum ejections the ship's had. Not to mention burns everywhere, massive cuts, strain injuries, broken bones! And Len gets to treat them all, with only two other doctors, four medics, and a handful of nurses. Just great.
It feels like it's been at it for hours when the ship to finally stop bucking like a bronco in a rodeo, thank god, but then Len gets a call from his sentinel and he almost wishes it was bucking again.
Pike is trading himself for the safety of the remaining fleet. Jim's officially the Captain and that Vulcan, Spock, is his first officer. Jim is doing a goddamn space-jump in a war zone with Olson and some Cadet to destroy a Romulan device for some damn reason that Jim didn't fucking share.
Apparently, it has something to do with contacting the grown-up fleet? How a device hanging in the atmosphere of a planet is affecting the ability of a ship in space to communicate with other ships in space beats the pants off of Len.
Then again, he's a doctor, not a communications technician.
On top of all that, and he feels a little guilty for letting it be an issue even just in his mind, Len has the worst headache he's ever had in his entire life. Splitting is an understatement. He's not afraid his brain is going to fall out of his head, but he is surprised it hasn't run away in fear.
He's feeling just plain needy. Like he needs Jim to come and shelter him. To just hold him somewhere quiet, warm and dark.
It's probably a combination of his headache and his old phobia rearing its head on Jim's behalf, so he just hypos himself and keeps pushing through.
"Five thousand meters!"
Something funky is happening with the man to his right.
"Four thousand meters!"
Jim can hear the distress in Sulu's voice. They are falling face first at terminal velocity so distress is something to absolutely be expected but there is something about it...
"Two thousand meters!"
Olson's not pulling his chute. Why isn't he pulling his chute? He's going to kill himself.
"Olson!" Jim tries but without a bond his alpha voice is unreliable.
Olson pulls his chute but it's too late and he dies with a bounce and a scream.
Suddenly the presence of Sulu above him goes hot and Sulu snarls. Jim can feel Sulu in his head now, furious and feral. He's online and Jim's to command.
Something pops in his head and Len staggers.
He has the temporary sensation of falling really fast before some phantom force jerks on his shoulders and chest hard enough to bruise, sending his stomach ass over tea kettle.
Fear that he knows is not his own slides into his mind. Determination stomps Fear out of existence.
Fury is followed by Elation.
Shock spikes white and hot before Determination and Fear team up to beat it up.
"Kirk to Enterprise! We're falling without a chute!" Len shakes his head, there's no communication equipment in this part of the infirmary. But he can hear Jim so clearly!
"Beam. Us. UP!" He's hearing Jim inside his head? He's coming online? Where those Jim's emotions before?
"Beam us up!" 'please please please' "Enterprise, where are you?"
"Now! Now! Now! Do it now! Now! Now! Now! Now!" 'Shit. Bones!'
Silence fills the Jim-spot in his mind. Dead silence.
Len listens as hard as he can. There's nothing but static.
'Jim. Oh god, Jim.' Len can feel the tears on his face but he can't move. It's finally happened. He's finally online and-
'Jim!' he shouts inside his head.
'Bones!' Jim mentally shouts back, shocked but this time really happy about it. Len can feel that Jim wants him close and soon. Like, yesterday, preferably.
He pushes away the helping hands, completely ignores whoever was trying to treat him and runs for the Bridge. He doesn't need medicine, he needs Jim.
Jim is sitting in Len's lap, wrapped in his guide's arms and scent, as he goes over the situation with the leadership of the other ships. Well, the other ships that are in big enough pieces to have leadership.
Mitchell is in temporary command of the Antares and, other than the Enterprise, they are in the best shape but it's taken extensive structural damage so it's not running anywhere. Not with any kind of speed.
The Farragut is mostly intact but their warp capabilities have been destroyed and they're low on power.
The Enterprise has warp andminimal structural damage but they have no Chief Engineer. If they are going into battle to save Captain Pike and the Earth, he needs a Chief Engineer to make sure the ship keeps running while taking her lumps. He can't just take one of theirs. He'd likely be dooming his fellows to die. Maybe they have a junior Chief he could borrow?
"Captain," Uhura pages him. "Priority message from Delta Vega."
"Patch it through."
His caller is a little wild eyed with short cropped red hair. He's definitely not in a Starfleet uniform. Well, he could be, somewhere under all the layers.
"Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott here, sir," He introduces himself. "I have Vulcans landing at my location seeking shelter. Sir, this outpost cannot support them. It barely supports me. And some of them need medical attention that I don't have and can't get them."
Kirk's eyes flick over Mr. Scott's form. He can't quite place what it is about the guy, but, "You're an engineer?"
"Yes," The man answers cautiously.
"A Chief Engineer?"
"Are you certified on Constitution class ships?"
"Certified? I contributed to the design, sir."
"You are exactly what I need. Prepare to be beamed aboard."
"But, sir! The Vulcans! You have to help-!"
"We have to stop Nero or we will all be Vulcans. This is the only ship that can reach Earth in time and I need a Chief Engineer to keep us in one piece. "
"Aye, Captain, but we can't just leave them like this. There is nowhere near enough food and the temperature -"
"If I may." One of the older Vulcans on his ship cuts in. Why she chose his Ready Room to meditate in is anyone's guess but they're all -all the Vulcans- radiating enough pain that he's letting them do basically whatever they want as long as they don't get in the way.
He nods to her.
"At this point, being together is better for our people than other physical concerns. If the Captain will beam down the Council with any supplies he can spare, we will, as you say, stick it out."
Kirk assesses her words, letting the truth of them settle in his gut. "If that is the will of the High Council."
Kirk nods and turns to the screen. "Twenty minutes, Mr. Scott."
Bones is not happy with the idea but what else can they do? The guide pokes Jim out of his lap and stands. "I'll get you a doctor to go with those supplies," Len announces as he marches for the door. When he gets there he pauses, looks Jim straight in the eye and says. "You get me my goddamn patient, sentinel."
Len doesn't know what to make of the sight in front of him. Spock and Jim are on the transporter pad, fucking grinning at each other.
Jim is supporting Captain Pike.
Jim got him his goddamn patient. Holy shit.
Len is a little in awe of his sentinel as he moves in to support Pike's other side.
His awe doesn't stop him from bossing people around, though. A medic takes over Kirk's position under Pike's arm, his sentinel runs a hand over Len's cheek before he and Spock can rush off.
The two of them turn away, frighteningly in sync and full to the brim of trouble. The fucking Kodo and Podo of Starfleet off to fuck someone up. Probably a Romulan.
Over eleven hours later, Pike is finally in recovery, all of Len's patients are bedded down for the night, and Len is on a sentinel hunt.
He finds Jim on the Bridge, sitting in the Captain's Chair, glassy eyed and exhausted, and discussing repairs with Spock.
They are the only two of the original Bridge Crew still on duty and the green-blooded hobgoblin looks fresh as a daisy, telling Len that Jim sent everyone off shift except his damn self.
For the first time since he's know him, Len has to call for his sentinel's attention. "Jim."
Jim blinks stupidly for a moment then grins. "Bones!"
"Shift's over, Jim." He tries to be subtle. He doesn't want to order the Captain to bed like a child. Not in the middle of the Bridge, at least.
"Yes, Bones." Jim sways when he stands but he manages to make it look intentional. "Admiral O'Neill should be here to relieve us tomorrow." He says, seemingly to Spock. "Maintain positions, continue repairs and render any aid to our sister ships that won't endanger our crew."
"Yes, Captain," Spock acknowledges. "The last Vulcan refugee will be beamed on board from Delta Vega in 13.49 minutes. Do you require notification when the extraction is complete?"
"No, just put it in the shift report and find out if Mitchell and Kahananui need us anywhere. You have the con."
It doesn't take long for Len to get Jim back to their room. Getting him cleaned up is complicated because Jim is flat out dead on his feet but he stays awake and tries to cooperate. He's just really slow about it.
And he should have been in the Infirmary, dammit!
Finally, Len rolls him into bed, clean and bandaged, then crawls right in after him. He opens the link between them as far as he can, letting the deep guide-place inside him connect fully with the deep sentinel-place inside Jim.
Jim rolls over and throws an arm over him. "Hell of a day, guide."
Len nods against his pillow, almost asleep already. "Hell of a day, sentinel."