Jim has been trying to set Bones and Spock up on a date for years. Bones has been trying to do the same for Spock and Jim. Spock just honestly thought Jim and Bones had been dating for years. It’s a complete train wreck. Until one day it isn’t.
“Marry me,” Jim says, and Leonard covers his face and bursts into tears.
He doesn’t mean to do it, dammit, but the sun is setting and the kid’s eyes are so goddamn blue, and there’s two dolphins fucking leaping in the background and everything and in that moment, it’s just too much.
“Oh god,” he hears Jim say, feels hands plucking faintly at his own. “Jesus, Bones, don’t cry, I didn’t mean it—”
“I’m not crying,” Leonard says thickly. The beach and sunset’s still there when he drags his palms over his eyes and blinks away his tears, and Jim’s staring at him with as much wide-eyed concern as alarm, but at least the dolphins are gone. “I just. Shit. Yes. You better have meant it.” It’s not how he imagined this going, not by a long shot, but when the hell has Jim ever taken that into consideration?
“I do.” Jim grabs at his wrists, and Leonard sniffs, mortified. He stares at their hands instead, watches with a sense of dazed numbness as Jim eases a solid silver ring onto his finger. “There.” He’s beaming like a mad thing when Leonard chances an upward glance. The salt-laced wind’s got his hair wild and tousled, tugging at his open collar and flicking sand against their bare calves. He’s a mess, and he’s glorious, and he’s Leonard’s.
“Bones,” Jim says. His voice sounds funny, and Leonard squints at him. “Bones, I love you.”
“Are you crying?” Leonard starts incredulously, but then Jim yanks him into a tight embrace and all he can do is return it, feels Jim’s heart pounding unsteadily right against his own.
“I love you so goddamn much,” Jim tells him, muffled into his shoulder, and if Leonard feels a little dampness against his skin, he tells himself that it’s the ocean spray. He pats at Jim’s back, drops a kiss against the side of his head, and grins up helplessly at the rose and gold sky.
oh for the "send my muse one of the following": “Why are you so calm about this?”
“Okay, just stay relaxed, Bones.”
“Panicking will only make it worse.”
“I’m not panicking, Jim.”
“Just- just go for the eyes. Or the ‘nads. Do the Saltaerie even have testicles on the outside? These are the things we need to know before we beam down to a planet, why didn’t we know any of this?”
“Because someone is always too impatient to wait for the research before gallivanting off to explore.” To be fair though, no amount of patience on Jim’s part would have gotten him an answer on the testicles question. That just wasn’t something Leonard typically investigated.
“You know what? Forget all of this. The Saltaerie want a fighter? They can have me, or they can have no one. I’m not letting you go in there alone and unarmed-”
“Jim.” Leonard grabbed his captain by the shoulders to stop the flood of words. Jim’s mouth snapped shut, and he stared at Leonard with slightly wild eyes. “You already tried that. Repeatedly. The Saltaerie have made it clear that either I’m the one to fight their champion, or I’m the one who has to watch while you and Spock and those poor security ensigns get put to death. I know which option I prefer.”
And honestly, how did they manage to get into situations like this? Surely other starships didn’t find this much trouble on their missions.
It couldn’t even be blamed on Jim’s flirting with the wrong person this time. It turned out that the Saltaerie were just an extremely aggressive race, and valued combat above pretty much all else. They used fights to the death to determine whether visitors would be welcomed as guests or treated to violent executions.
As the person deemed the weakest in the Enterprise party – a conclusion that he wholeheartedly resented – Leonard was the one the Saltaerie chose to represent the rest of the away team. After all, the aliens claimed, if there was even one among them incapable of triumph in battle, they were not worth associating with.
“Why are you so calm about this?” Jim demanded. “You’re about to get into an arena with a highly trained alien warrior hell-bent on killing you and you’re acting like it’s just another day at the office. You could die.”
His expression made it clear how likely he considered that possibility. Leonard sighed and took Jim’s face in his hands.
“Jim, when I die, it’s not going to be for something as stupid as a testosterone contest.”
Jim sputtered, but before either of them could say anything else, the Saltaeran that had been guarding the door to make sure that neither of them tried to escape stuck its head into the room.
“You have had sufficient time to prepare,” it told Leonard. “You will enter the chamber of combat now.”
“Now you listen to me-” Jim started, moving to stand between Leonard and the alien.
Leonard employed the tried and true method of shutting Jim up with a kiss. It worked as well as it always did, but Jim didn’t look any less distressed when it was over.
“I’ll be fine, darlin’,” Leonard promised, and then followed the Saltaeran out of the small ready room before Jim could try something drastic and inevitably idiotic.
He found himself in an arena of hard-packed dirt, ringed on all sides with rows of seating. Apparently watching visitors fight for their lives was a popular pastime, because the stands were packed with onlookers. Leonard glanced around at all of the excited faces, until he found the ones that weren’t. Spock and the two security officers were being held in a booth right at the edge of the arena, standing under armed guard a few feet away from the leader of the Saltaerie. As Leonard watched, Jim was hauled into the booth and deposited with the rest of his crew. Even from this distance, Leonard could see that he was tense enough to snap. He gave him what he hoped was an encouraging but warning look.
Truth be told, he was actually a little relieved. Too often his and Jim’s positions had been switched, and he’d been the one on the sidelines, helpless to do anything but watch while the man he loved battled for his life. Now at least he was the one assuming the risk.
A wave of sound swept through the arena, and Leonard broke his gaze away from Jim to see that his opponent had entered through a door across from his. He swallowed.
The Saltaerie were naturally larger than humans, averaging at about six and a half feet. They were humanoid, but with tough, scaly grey skin and yellow eyes. They were also, simply put, built like brick shithouses. And the one standing across the arena now was definitely not average. It was seven feet tall if it was an inch, and it had arms thicker than Leonard’s torso. It looked like the ogres in the stories he used to read Joanna at bedtime. Guess that made him the dashing knight. His little girl would get a kick out of that.
He could hear Jim shouting something at the leader of the Saltaeri, but he tuned him out. He had to trust that Spock would manage their captain, because he had other things to focus on. The behemoth that was about to try very hard to make him nothing but a smear in the dirt, for example.
A tone sounded, and he assumed it was the signal to start the fight. He took a deep breath, slipping into the zone that always got him through surgeries with a level head and steady hands. He kept himself relaxed as he studied the alien carefully, noting how it moved and carried itself, thinking about what he did know about its physiology. And he waited.
The first strike, when it came, was brutal. It would have crushed the bones in Leonard’s face if it had landed. But it didn’t. Nor did the next one, or the one after that.
It was amazing how assumptions could cloud people’s perceptions. They looked at Leonard and they saw a doctor, brilliant in his field, but unskilled in the ways of combat. Someone to be respected, but also protected. What they didn’t see was the scrappy kid who’d been picked on because of his remarkable intelligence, the boy whose mother had taught him how to defend himself, taught him well. They didn’t see the teen who’d taken up wrestling and then boxing after getting that taste for the fight. They didn’t see the young man who’d gotten into many a barroom brawl and come out victorious so often he’d started to earn a reputation in certain circles.
Jim wasn’t the only one who had cleaned up his act when he joined Starfleet. But that didn’t mean Leonard had gotten rusty.
His opponent was damn good too, he could acknowledge that, but it was a brute. Leonard’s strength had always been in his ability to fight smart, and it didn’t fail him now. He took advantage of his smaller size, using the better agility it gave him to dodge the blows that rained down on him, letting his opponent tire itself out.
And then he went on the offensive.
His hands may have been skilled at putting people back together, but they were equally capable of taking them apart. He’d learned enough about the Saltaerie to guess where to aim his hits, and he struck with fierce, ruthless precision. The lives of his lover, his friends, his crew, were at stake, and he wasn’t one to pull necessary punches.
It was over within minutes. One final well-placed blow had the Saltaeran crumpling to the ground, and Leonard followed it. He knelt, pressing one knee lightly to his opponent’s windpipe. Then he looked up at the Saltaerie leader.
“I don’t believe in executing a beaten opponent,” he called, breathing hard. “But I’ve met your challenge. Now let my people go.”
There was absolute silence for a beat, and then another. The leader stood, and the entire arena seemed to be holding its breath. But then the Saltaeran bowed to Leonard, and a roar of sound erupted.
After a wave of the leader’s hand, the members of the away team were freed, and Leonard stood just in time to have Jim slam into him at a full sprint. He would have chuckled, but he didn’t have enough air, what with the arms that were wrapped around him in a crushing grip. He settled for patting Jim on the back.
“Not sure whether to be amused or insulted,” he wheezed. “You really didn’t think I could handle myself, did you?”
Jim only pulled back enough to look him in the face. His eyes were shining with relief and something else.
“I’ll never underestimate you again,” he promised. He kissed Leonard fiercely, and when he pulled away, he was grinning. “That was the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Leonard rolled his eyes.
“At least now you know that I can and will follow through on those threats I make when you try to skip your physicals,” he said.
He probably enjoyed the alarm that appeared in Jim’s eyes a little too much.
bones "I AM A CROTCHETY OLD MAN" mccoy completely unaware of his universal appeal 😂😂😂 yessss
YES. YES EXACTLY. BLESS YOU FOR ENABLING ME.
Bones rolling up his sleeves in the section he has to TA at Starfleet and the first three rows of students (his sections are jam. Packed) collectively let out this little sigh. And he pauses and looks suspiciously at them because what godforsaken mischief have these young’uns come up with now? But all he sees are open, adoring faces. And maybe a little drool
OMG SOME CADET PULLING AN INDIANA JONES ON HIM AND WRITING ‘LOVE YOU’ ON THEIR EYELIDS AND BLINKING REAL SLOW IN CLASS.
Jim has to give a speech to welcome the new crew contingent onto the Enterprise, and all his senior staff are there. And of course ALL of his senior staff are very handsome and all the cadets are starry eyed, but Bones is genuinely surprised by the number of what he thinks are weird looks turned his way.
“Jim, that kid has looked over here five times in as many minutes. What horror story did you tell ‘em?”
“Nothing, Bones, he just wanted to know who you were” *shoulder slap*
The Enterprise receives a distress call from some random planet experiencing an epidemic, and Bones beams down with his team to do what he does best. And the heir of the royal family is one of the first to get treated, and she starts spending a LOT of time around the makeshift clinic trying to figure out ways to help and generally be there in person as often as possible, and at the celebratory dinner she takes Kirk aside for a little bit after the seventh toast to Dr. Leonard McCoy, Hero of the People. And Kirk comes back grinning and sits down next to Bones and claps him on the shoulder and says “hey, so the crown princess totally just asked me permission to pursue your hand in marriage.”
Bones chokes on his drink.
And it starts getting to Jim, it honestly does, because HOW CAN BONES NOT KNOW? Bones will flirt, sure - he’s had one or two dates in the last year of Starfleet when the divorce stopped being so raw, and Jim likes to believe he got laid at least ONCE during their acquaintance because four years with no sex sounds like James Tiberius Kirk’s personal version of hell. He calls people “sweetheart” and “darlin’” and acts like a gentleman when the occasion calls for it because it’s Bones and that’s what he does.
But whenever someone - especially anyone in the average cadet age range - starts actually making overt advances, Bones backs down. He’ll either grump them off or find some way to let them down easy. Jim loves going out for drinks with friends, but Bones seems to have stuck himself into the role of permanent wingman. Whenever a pretty girl or guy actually sticks around for a second drink, Bones always sort of ends up shouldering them off onto Jim. Which is great for his love life, it really is, but he’s not that selfish a friend no matter what anyone says.
“Why not go with them?” he asks. “They seemed really into you.”
“Are you kidding?” Bones knocks back another shot. “He was only talking to me so he could hang around you.”
Kirk sat motionless on the edge of his desk, legs firmly on the ground, arms clutching the edge. He’s been staring at the body for hours now, arranged neatly, as neatly as a corpse can be, on the ground a few paces away. If it wasn’t for the blood he could almost say he was sleeping. But Bones was never going to wake up.
mirrorverse daemon au Jim's is a fUCKING TIGER but Bones' is a poison dart frog and they aren't as lovey dovey as regular Jim and Bones' but they show their 'affection' in various other ways, like how Bones' frog sits on Jim's tiger's head or snout like 24/7 and all you see is this giant fucking tiger with a tiny little blue-black frog on its nose while it yawns and cleans its face. they're also totally chill when their humans fuck like rabbits in public and pretty much just ignore them tbh
I NEED TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE BC THESE MIRRORVERSE THINGS ARE P E R F E C T I O N
and imagine that they roll their eyes when they see bones fucking jim against the wall, totally desensitised to it
On many occasion, Jim has stopped Bones from throwing away wings and ribs and such after he's done eating them, because Jim insists there's still plenty of food left on the bones and he doesn't like seeing it go to waste. Nothing gets to Jim more than needlessly wasting food.
I breaks Bones’ heart to watch Jim gnaw at the bones until he’s sure that every bit of meat is off them. So many times, Bones has casually disposed of something and had to talk Jim down as he opens the refrigerator, the cupboards and shows Jim that there’s enough. He knows Jim hoards food in his room and he lets him. And perhaps Jim’s greatest show of trust is when they’re at the movies and Jim leans over and offers Bones some popcorn.
The truth is he needs Bones, needs him so much that it hurts. The nickname has evolved in his head- Leonard is his ribcage, his skeleton. Pike dragged him up off the floor when Jim had nothing left going for him but the stubborn refusal to die, but Leonard was the one that kept him standing.