Writing Challenge: Restless
Fandom: Star Trek (reboot)
Word Count: 1,231
Disclaimer: I don’t own Star Trek or any of the characters.
A/N: Very early Academy fic.
Leonard lie there, still, awake, listening to the sound of Jim’s breathing from across the room. A mere month after they’d arrived at the Starfleet Academy, he’d already grown accustomed to his roommate. Well, “accustomed” may not be the right word. After all, it was Jim Kirk and his swiftly changing moods that had Leonard wide awake in the middle of the night.
When they’d gotten off the shuttle that first day, Leonard had thought he’d have to track the kid down later if he wanted to continue their conversation. If anything, he figured he owed Jim a drink for putting up with him the entire way there- nervous, sweating, nauseated, and grumpy as hell, he’d been completely caught off guard when the kid had not only continued speaking to him after the first thirty seconds, but actually made an effort to ease Leonard’s obvious discomfort.
He should’ve known he wasn’t the only one who’d appreciated a show of friendship- Jim had seen him making his way across campus after they’d been thoroughly processed and run over to grab the duffel off Leonard’s shoulder before he started in the opposite direction with purpose. “Allow me, Bones.” “Kid, you don’t have to- Wait, where are we going? And who is ‘Bones’??”
“You are, from now on, but I’m not sure it’s right now that you’ve got so much crap,” Jim replied, adjusting the duffel in his arms. “And we’re going to our dorm room.”
“Our dorm room? You mean of all the idiots on the shuttle today they put me bunking with you?”
“Well…” Jim’s hesitated. “I wouldn’t say they put us together, exactly, but someone figured it would be best if the two elderly drunkass nobodies were quarantined to the same room. You know, so as not to upset the children.”
Miffed as he was about his rooming assignment being decided by a kid from NoWhere, Iowa, Leonard couldn’t hide his relief at the knowledge that he wouldn’t be living with a cheerful, in-love-with-the-world 18 year old child for the next three years of his life. “Fine,” he scowled, “but as soon as we drop my stuff off we’re finding somewhere with hard liquor and a complete lack of children in cadet reds.”
“You got it, Bones.”
“And stop calling me that.”
They’d spent that evening complaining about Starfleet processing protocol and discussing life in general, the way you do when you feel you’ve known someone forever. Looking back, Leonard realized it had been the first time in years he’d felt like he had a friend. Now, though…
Now he began to wonder if even that had been a mask. Jim Kirk had spent his entire life learning to show people what they wanted to see. What if he’d played Leonard all this time?
Restless, he quietly got out of bed, pulling boots on over his Starfleet-issued sweatpants.
Once outside, he took a moment to let the cool night breeze clear his mind. Maybe it wasn’t Jim at all. Maybe he was so used to being let down that he’d assumed it would happen with the only friend he had at the academy- the only friend he had at all. He hadn’t kept in touch with anyone back home after the divorce. It had seemed too… difficult. It was easier to cut ties and start fresh than try to explain what had happened over and over until it became just another story of failure, of being disappointed by a relationship he’d given everything to. It was a decision that had left him completely alone in the world, until Jim.
Jim. Leonard had thought he had a past- that he was as screwed up as a person could be. But Jim, son of a dead Federation Hero and a mother who couldn’t bear to look at him… Jim had every reason in the world to embrace the kind of bitterness Leonard had been feeling for years, ever since his father’s death. And yet, in spite of it all, James T. Kirk faced every day as though it was his birthright, determined to get all he could out of it, alternately laughing at or punching anyone who stood in his way. He was messed up, but he was fiercely loyal and had been honest with Leonard from the moment he’d taken that drink on the shuttle.
That’s what made today so different. All Leonard had said was that he didn’t see the point in learning to fly a goddamn shuttle when he had no intention of ever leaving sickbay (given he was on a starship AT ALL to begin with), and Jim had gone nuts.
“Bones, it’s important for you to learn how to fly.”
“First of all, I told you to stop calling me that. Secondly, why is it so goddamn important, Jim? Seems like a waste of time, learning to do something I’ll never need to do when I could be teaching those infant cadets how to properly diagnose space diseases.”
“It’s important, Bones, because you need to be able to get yourself out of any situation that might come up. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you’re up there”- Leonard rolled his eyes at Jim’s emphasis- “and you need to be prepared to keep yourself safe. What if you go with an away team to gather scientific data on some random planet and there’s an accident? If your shuttle pilot gets hurt, you’ll have to be able to get yourself out of there.” Jim’s attitude had shifted from playful to downright antagonistic during his speech. “You are going to learn how to fly.”
“I am not, Jim, and no amount of harassment from you is going to change my mind. I’m a doctor, not a moon shuttle conductor, and I intend to keep it that way.”
Jim had giving him one cutting stare before turning on his heel and positively marching in the opposite direction, his body language saying more than enough about his anger at Leonard’s ultimatum.
Jim had made a point of letting Leonard know how he felt when he got back to their room later- the tirade was still ringing in Leonard’s ears. He felt himself bristle at the accusations Jim had hurled at him for simply not wanting to give in to Jim’s demands.
Thinking back, though, Leonard began to realize that it was more than his words that had made Jim mad- he’d not taken Jim seriously. He’d played it off as some ridiculous Starfleet requirement when it was clearly something that mattered to Jim. The worst part was, Leonard knew that Jim was right. He did need to have certain skills if and when he went up into the black. If he was honest with himself, his frustration hadn’t been about flying a goddamn shuttle at all. It was about Leonard McCoy’s inability to admit to himself that he was in Starfleet, officially, and that he would be in Starfleet for the rest of his life. A month ago, he was a simple country doctor. Now he was a Starfleet doctor, and that meant he had to know things that Starfleet doctors should know… things like “how to fly a shuttle”.
He rubbed his hand over his face and sighed. Jim was right, and he, Leonard McCoy, was wrong. More than just the shuttle lessons, he’d been wrong about Jim. He realized now that if this friendship was going to last, he’d have to separate James T. Kirk, son of a Federation Hero, from Jim, friend of Bones McCoy. And damn it all if he wasn’t going to start right now, he thought to himself, and set his path back toward the dorm.
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- quietinacorner said: ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!!!
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