dr. leonard 'bones' mccoy

You were about to make a medical comment, Jim?

So, I was thinking about what a goddamn badass Leonard McCoy is.

Actually, I was thinking about drug shortages. I am a resident in the United States. The United States of America. First world medicine, folks. And sometimes - all too frequently - I have to revise the treatment plan of a healthy patient undergoing elective surgery because I do not have access to the ideal drug.

In other words, I compromise.

That’s a sickening feeling, friends. 

Which brings me back to Bones.

Bones, Chief Medical Officer on a five year mission in deep space, where no man has gone before. Bones, who cares so goddamn deeply. Bones, desperately filing requisition forms for medications that he has no hope of receiving in the foreseeable future. Bones, elbow deep in a unfortunate ensign that caught the wrong end of a blast in engineering, sweat dripping in his eyes, nagging thoughts of, “is his name Jason or Joseph?” Bones, mad as hell because medical takes another budget cut. Bones praying frantically to a god he doesn’t believe in, “oh, please, not again.” Bones, eyeballing a unknown species and making a quick judgment call, based on a hasty heart rate estimate and an eyeballed weight, the effective loading dose of a - probably - renal toxic drug. Bones, hissing at Spock to shut the hell up, all the while making his own calculations. Bones, who years after the mission has ended, bolts up out of a dead sleep in a panic of adrenaline, because endless nights of call have made gentle awakenings impossible. Bones, staring dumbstruck at Starfleet Medical’s supply rooms. Bones, dedicatedly carting his tiny medkit on his hip, facing an alien world with a tricorder and a few hypos. Bones, hiding in his quarters for days, pouring over all of the federation’s published xenophysiology records, searching for a connection, wondering where it went wrong. Bones replaying the day’s scene in his mind, fear still gripping his chest as Jim sleeps peacefully in the biobed. Bones alone in the field, performing a bilateral finger thoracostomy on a blue-lipped yeoman who reminds him a little too much of Joanna (if somebody does not write this fic, I will). Bones, fresh out of med school, feverently murmuring his oath with conviction and wide-eyed naivety. Bones blaming himself. Bones bitching about the unpredictability of genetically modified antimicrobials. Bones needing a goddamn drink. Bones, contemplating the nuances of therapeutic nihilism. Bones, forcing himself to meet Jim’s eyes as Jim officiates a funeral. Bones, calculating pharmacokinetics in his head. Bones, knowing there was nothing to be done, but dammit, what if? Bones, painstakingly documenting his every discovery, every treatment plan, every failure and every triumph, for the next generation of medical professionals. Bones in his office with his head in his hands. Bones, absolutely giddy and shaking with relief, “Don’t be so melodramatic; you were barely dead.”

Practicing medicine is terrifying. Every day, I am horrified at the thought that I will not be able to provide for my patients. I love my field with every breath in my body, but the responsibility is overwhelming, and sobering.

Disease and danger, indeed.


“By golly, Jim, I’m beginning to think I can cure a rainy day.

Yeah, Leonard McCoy. I think you can.

Bones: Jim has a very strange patchwork of knowledge. It’s anybody’s guess as to what he knows about any given topic. Watch.

Bones: Hey Jim. Who sculpted Mount Rushmore?

Kirk: Gutzon Borglum. And his son finished it. Why?

Bones: What state is it in?

Kirk: I DON’T KNOW, ECUADOR OR SOMETHING. What’s with all the questions?

Seriously, this is the tiniest thing.

Like, a very small concern. A minuscule nitpick.

But folks, it’s Len, not Leo.

Here’s why:

Bones is a man of the deep south. I grew up in Arkansas. I can say it. People with southern accents are lazy speakers.

Put down the pitchforks, and hear me out.

We don’t like to enunciate. We don’t like syllables. 

I’ll give you an example.

“Y’all’d’ve”

Ladies and gentlemen, when I was first exposed to the term, “y’all’d’ve,” I did not understand. 

In fact, I’m not ashamed. I had to google it.

I immediately laughed so hard.

Because where I’m from, we don’t say, “Y’all’d’ve.”

It’s, “Y’all’da.”

As in, “Y’all woulda.”

There’s no V sound. 

In fact, the idea of a V sound at the end of “you all would have” was so foreign to me that I did not even recognize it was a thing. 

Which brings me back to “Len.”

Ask anybody south of the Mason Dixon to say, “Leonard.”

I’d bet good money that, phonetically, what comes out is “Len-ard.” 

Len.

Leonard is two syllables (as I pronounce it - I’m sure some will disagree). Leo is two syllables. Len is the phonetic diminutive of Leonard (as the McCoy family likely pronounces it). Len is only one syllable. 

Lazy speakers, remember? 

In other words, what’s the point of a nickname that’s not any easier to spit out?

For the record, I absolutely love the name Leo. I think it’s adorable. It’s quirky and masculine. It’s a great name, and a great nickname. It’s just not Leonard McCoy’s.

I’ll admit, I have a little bit (little bit) easier time imagining Leo as a nickname for AOS Bones. That’s probably because I find it impossible to divorce De from the image of the quintessential “southern boy.” Not sure if it’s the cadence of his speech, or the way he says nuclear as “nucular,” or if it’s just because he’s the original, but De is Bones, Bones is Len

Like I said, it’s the tiniest of nitpicks. I love a Leo fic as much as I love a Len fic. 

But to me, he’s Len. 

Karl

STOP

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