600 Follower Ficlet (3/10)

@gracieminabox requested AOS McKirk with the prompt “if it wasn’t obvious, I’ve had the biggest crush on you.”

This one is academy era AU and completely not what I expected to write when I saw this prompt, but, well, here it is!

“What?”  Leonard McCoy barked as a knock on his door echoed throughout his dorm room.

He heard the door slide open and closed again, and then soft footsteps were approaching his bed.  They were familiar in their cadence and he groaned from where he was lying, head beneath his pillow to block out the overhead lights and keep them from making the headache throbbing in his temples worse.

“What are you doing up here all alone?”  Jim Kirk asked brightly, reaching out to snatch the pillow away.  “Exams are over and it’s party time.  You should be out celebrating!”

Leonard growled wordlessly as the pillow was torn from his grasp and light assaulted his corneas.  He grimaced, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose, and sighed exaggeratedly, hoping Jim would get the point.

“I’m not in a party mood right now, Jim,” he groused.  “Get out of here and find yourself someone better for company.  You won’t even miss me.”

“What’s eating you today, Bones?”  Jim queried, perching himself on the bed at Leonard’s side, blocking out enough of the ambient light that Leonard could open his eyes halfway.  “I know you’re not the partying type but this is curmudgeonly, even for you.  I thought you’d be thrilled to be done.  We’ve just survived out last round of finals.  Our last round!  If there’s anything out there worth getting drunk and wild over, it’s this!”

“Damn it, Jim, could you keep it down?”  Leonard hissed.  “I’ve got a hell of a headache.  There’s no way in hell I’m in the mood for any of that horseshit tonight.”

A few beats of silence passed between the two men.

“Lights, thirty percent,” Jim commanded, and it was a wonderful relief for Leonard.  “Temperature, sixty five degrees.”

The doctor groaned with relief, his eyes fluttering closed once again as he sagged back into the mattress beneath him, sighing.

“Can I bring you anything?”  Jim asked, voice much softer than it had been.

“No, thanks,” Leonard replied.

Another few beats.

“Have you taken anything for the pain?”  Jim prodded.

He took Leonard’s silence as a no and swiftly stood, making his way across the room and into the small en suite bathroom.  Leonard listened as the medicine cabinet opened and closed, a pill bottle rattled, and water ran from the tap.  He was already sitting up when Jim returned and gratefully accepted the proffered painkillers.  He let them sit on his tongue for a moment before chasing them with the water Jim had also brought, draining the glass and setting it on his bedside table.  Jim had moved to the kitchenette in the meantime and returned moments later with a cup of coffee, holding it out to the other man.

“Thanks,” Leonard mumbled, his gratitude evident more in his tone than his words.  “How’d you know where I keep the good stuff?”

Jim laughed softly, his blue gaze catching Leonard’s, holding it, searching.

“I’ve lost count of how many mornings I’ve woken up here after one too many shots,” Jim said softly, his tone laced with a rawness that Leonard was having trouble placing.  “How many times you’ve done the same for me.  Guess I’ve learned a thing or two from you over the years.  Are you proud of me?”

His attempt at humor hung in the air between them.

“Jim..?”  Leonard tailed off softly, trying to catch the younger man’s gaze again after it had been averted in the wake of his words.

Jim laughed humorlessly and Leonard grew worried.  He reached out and laid an uncharacteristically gentle hand on Jim’s shoulder.

“What’s going on?”  The doctor demanded, his voice quiet, as gentle as his touch.

If it wasn’t obvious, I’ve had the biggest crush on you,” Jim murmured almost inaudibly.

Leonard’s breath left him in a rush as Jim’s words echoed around in his mind and set his heart galloping, leaving his headache long forgotten by the wayside.  The maelstrom of thoughts that assaulted him as he considered what his best friend had said was so violent that it was like ocean waves and hundred mile per hour winds in his ears, deafening, overwhelming, confusing.  

In the space between two frenzied heartbeats, Leonard’s initial confusion was replaced with an echo of oh, God, me too.

“Bones?”  Jim asked tentatively when the silence had gone on for too damn long, his voice small, uncertain - like a frightened child’s.

Then, he was being enveloped in an embrace - strong, sure, and so much more intimate than any he’d ever had from Leonard before, somehow - and he relaxed into the other man’s arms.  Jim wrapped his own arms around Bones in return, splaying his palms on the doctor’s back so he was touching as much of the older man as possible.

“I love you, Jim,” Leonard whispered.  “I kept meaning to tell you, but you were always bragging about some woman you’d brought back from the bar and I didn’t think…”

“I love you, too.”

If Leonard had been unsure about Jim’s feelings, confused or out of sorts, the kiss that followed the proclamation shut him up completely.  The headache that had started it all had long since faded from his temples and he threw himself into the kiss, heart still pounding furiously, all thought fading away into nothingness as sensation took over.

handy guide to san francisco for star trek fic writers

– san francisco is not like the rest of california. see geography note** at the bottom for some info on why it’s so much colder and wetter.

– there is NO SUCH THING as a warm san francisco night. while the temperature doesn’t technically get THAT low - 40s or 50s Fahrenheit at night - the fog and ocean air make it chilly and damp. the kind of chill that settles in your bones and makes you shiver, shiver, shiver. it’s like that all year round, ESPECIALLY in the northwestern part of the city by the golden gate bridge and the park.

– the average temperature range during the day is 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. days might begin with some mist or fog, but once the sun’s risen to a respectable height it burns off. the sky is almost always blue for the rest of the morning and afternoon; it can get up to the 70s before the wind kicks up sometime around 3pm and the fog rolls back in. you dress in layers so you don’t boil during the warm hours of midday or freeze during the chill of evening and early morning.

– BUT there are sometimes long stretches of days where the fog squats over the city and the sky is an awful flat grey-white. it weighs on you. it is blank and chill and maybe gives you a headache in its utter, boring blankness. these are the days you look down and tuck your nose into your scarf as you hurry to your destination. you bolster your spirits with hot beverages, stiff drinks, books, studying, and other pleasant indoor activities.

– speaking of blankness, being in a thick fog bank is wild. being on the golden gate bridge in a thick fog bank is INDESCRIBABLY WEIRD. you can’t see anything more than a few feet away. ahead of you, the bridge disappears into nothing. behind you, nothing. the cables above you stretch away into pure nothing and, while you can hear the crash and roar of the pacific against its base, you look over the edge and see, at best, the barest hint of motion beneath the grey nothing. it’s totally trippy.

– when the fog rolls in, it’s breathtakingly dramatic. the very air seems to be alive with movement; you can stand and watch the dynamism of the almost-invisible motions of the billowing air ahead of the thick white fog as it catches the light. sometimes it’s huge and blots everything out; sometimes it’s a low flat blanket creeping down the hills.

– san francisco has its own seasons. in what I call summerwintertime, from approximately June through August, it is COLD AND FOGGY AND GREY. I always felt badly for the summer tourists shivering in their shorts and sandals. I often wore my heaviest winter coat during the summer months. Messed Up. 

– in September and October you get what I call autumnsummertime: a late summer of clear skies and relatively hot temperatures. for SF - and it’s always SF or The City, never San Fran, and never Frisco unless you were born there - “relatively hot temperatures” means in the high 70s and 80s. SF is not built for these temperatures. it is not pleasant. everyone is outside at the beach or in the parks every chance they get. probably they’ll have figured out indoor temperature control by the 23rd century, or the city will have been half demolished by the next big quake, so it’ll all be new and fancy instead of victorian and edwardian oh now I’m sad

– winter and spring are supposed to be the rainy season - and BOY does it rain, in big sheets, for days at a time. everything is wet. when there’s a drought, these seasons are green and pleasant during the day and cold and cloudless at night. regardless of drought status, SF is always startlingly green in winter; some trees do lose their leaves, but many don’t. in autumn, the ginkgo trees turn bright gold and their fan-shaped leaves stain the sidewalks russet brown. I love them.

– eucalyptus trees are enormous and smell really, really good combined with the ocean air, fresh and clean. it heals your heart and probably clears up your skin. they line the roads and paths of golden gate park, the panhandle, and many other parks and streets. their seed pods are so cute! there is a perfect star! google them, they’ll make you smile.

– the sound of the fog horn at night is eerie and, if you want to get sentimental, either a lonely or comforting sound depending on your emotional state of being. it makes you feel as though are living on an enormous ship moving very, very slowly through a misty sea. on the other hand, the emergency system’s automatic citywide test broadcast that goes off every wednesday at noon makes you feel like you’re entering a post-apocalyptic nightmare. “(haunting banshee siren wails across the city) THIS IS A TEST of THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM” yeah thanks for that i needed to leap right the fuck out of my body for a second. due to the ever-present threat of earthquakes, there will definitely still be a need for some kind of emergency broadcast system in the 23rd century. maybe in the future they’ll have invented some kind of regular test that doesn’t cause you to astral project, but who knows.

– birds are weird. there are gangs of identical green parrots flying all around the city; see the documentary The Birds of Telegraph Hill for more info. also in May there are very, very, very territorial birds that will dive-bomb you if you walk underneath their nests. it is horrible. they usually don’t do much damage but they smack into your head from behind, beating their wings, and scare the bajeesus out of you.

** GEOGRAPHY NOTE: san francisco is often as much as 10 degrees cooler than the east bay (oakland, berkeley, etc) or marin county to the north due to the fact that the mainland heats up, that hot air rises, and cold air off the ocean is drawn in. the ocean air and fog pass right over SF, keeping it cool and damp most of the time but especially in summer when the mainland is at its hottest. ergo, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in san francisco.”

THANKS for coming to my ted talk. you’re more than welcome to hit me up in the ask box if you have questions or want further anecdotes about this fine, weird city that starfleet has chosen as its headquarters!

could you imagine The Enterprise having like a yearly inspection and Kirk bugs out every time because the best running ship in the fleet certainly doesn’t become so because they follow the rules. He has to remind the crew a week in advance to actually call him Captain and use formal titles. Bones and Scotty’s shared bathroom which is one hundred percent a liquor cabinet/distillery cannot be a thing. Sulu has to collect all of his plants out of everywhere that’s not the Botany Labs and hide the illegal ones he picked up during their journey in his quarters. Scotty has to remove all of his Scotty-Approved-Modifications from Engineering. Spock can’t work four shifts in a row and break the ensigns that challenge him in the gym to sparring matches. Bones can’t medically offer alcohol to anybody. Uhura needs to not curse every ten minutes, in any language. Chekov needs to focus more on his console and less on every pair of legs walking by his station. 

Don’t recast Chekov and don’t kill him.

Have the character have transferred to a different ship and be doing just fine. He sends Sulu messages about how he’s doing. Then respect why Chekov was originally there and make the new person in his seat an Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, or Saudi Arabian woman. Chekov was there to predict a future where the Russians, America’s greatest enemies at the time of the shows creation, were our friends and allies. Pay respect to why he was created by placing a Muslim woman from a country that America has warred with in the seat. Give her a gold dress, black long sleeve undershirt, black leggings, and a federation uniform approved hijab. The movies would be creating representation and paying respects to what Chekov was there for. Put a muslim woman in the navigators chair and let her fly us through the stars.