Bones somehow ends up as acting captain of the enterprise. It's stressful for everyone but good in the end, cuddles and relaxation.
It’s been three days since Spock and Sulu have beamed down on Klingon territory. Three days since they lost contact. They should technically still be alive, but it’s mostly a guestimate according to everyone. Jim has refused to leave, beaming down to the ground himself with Uhura and a few others to investigate, but they’ve returned empty-handed. Jim feels terrible, miserable without his family in a safe place. He doesn’t really sleep at all, regardless of Bones’ warnings that sleep is extremely important.
And then finally they get that message from a Klingon ship. Spock and Sulu have been captured. Jim’s furious about it. “Jim,” Bones tells him while he follows Jim and Uhura towards the transporter room, “what are you going to do, walk in and demand they let them go? Don’t be such a fool.” “I’m not,” Jim says, “I’m going to walk in, Uhura’s gonna fly in in secret, together with Jaylah. I’ll be a distraction.” “You’re going to get yourself killed,” Bones complains, and Jim rolls his eyes. “What’s the alternative? I’m not letting Spock and Sulu die. I brought us out here, I’m going to get everyone home safe.” “If you’re out there,” Bones says, “who’s in command of the Enterprise? Neither Spock or Sulu are here.” Jim spins around once they’ve reached the transporter room, gently patting Bones’ shoulder. “You are. You’re gonna do great.” Bones watches Uhura, Jaylah, and Jim step on to the platform. Jim throws Bones a small smile, though Bones can tell he’s under a lot of pressure. And it’s really only after Scotty beams them away, Jim’s words are dawning on Bones. “Wait, what?”
“So, just that I have this clear,” Bones says, “technically, I could tell us to fly out of here and back home?” “Well, aye, doctor,” Chekov says, “but captain Kirk and the others-” “I know,” Bones interrupts him, “I won’t do it, but it’s nice to know that I could, theoretically. Something to throw at Jim’s face when he makes it back here alive.” Chekov stares at him blankly, and Bones frowns. “What?” “Are you going to sit on the chair or what?” Bones is so used to standing next to Jim, he’s never actually sat down on the chair, and it feels foreign to him when he does. A whole lot of responsibility he doesn’t want to carry on his shoulders at all.
“Doctor,” the substitute communications officer starts, “I’m getting a signal from Captain Kirk.” “Hail,” Bones says, and pretty soon Jim shows up on screen. “Looking good in that chair, babe,” Jim says. “Get to the point, Jim,” Bones replies through gritted teeth. “I got myself locked up. Spock and Sulu escaped with Uhura and Jaylah.” “Okay, we’ll get them on board and then beam you aboard.” “No can do,” Jim says, “they’re after the Enterprise. You gotta prepare to leave, Bones.” Bones takes a deep breath, narrowing his eyes at the idiot on the screen. “We’re not leaving without you.” “Don’t worry about me, just keep a comms channel open. Get the others to safety, Bones. Time’s running out.”
Bones isn’t meant to be a captain. The sole purpose of his command classes in the academy were to become a CMO. Captain is not a thing he wants. And just like Jim predicted, pretty soon there are multiple Klingon ships chasing them. Bones hears about Spock and Sulu having returned to the ship - both escorted to medbay. He wants to be there; it’s his comfort zone, after all, but instead he’s in Jim’s chair. He’s worried about his best friend. Every time a Klingon ship attacks their shields, Bones cringes and wishes at least Sulu would be back here to take over. He’s not that lucky, though, and Bones pretty much refuses to escape in warp drive, too afraid to leave Jim behind on hostile territory.
“Shields are down to 40%,” Chekov informs Bones. “Fire at those damn ships with all we’ve got.” “Shouldn’t we attempt to leave the orbit?” “Not without Jim,” Bones says, though he’s actually happy with Chekov’s input. There’s a crew of roughly 300 man now depending on him more than they do usually, and he feels increasingly more stressed out.
Until Jim calls again. “Where are you?” Bones asks immediately. “I’m in a Klingon ship,” Jim says, “I’m chasing the after the Enterprise – and the other Klingon ships.” “Don’t bother with the ships,” Bones says, “get straight to the Enterprise. Give your coordinates to Scotty so he can beam you off that ship.” “Aye, captain,” Jim replies, smiling at the screen more comfortably now, and Bones smiles back, too, though a bit more on edge.
Getting Jim back is easier said than done, though. Because pretty soon the Klingons catch on, too, and Jim’s shuttle ends up being chased. The Enterprise has to make some nauseating moves to avoid getting more damaged - and avoid getting Jim and his ship hurt as well. “Chekov,” Bones says, “see if you can intercept that ship before it gets to Jim.” “Aye, doctor,” Chekov says, and Bones watches Jim’s ship making desperate moves to escape the Klingon ship. “See if you can hail Jim again,” Bones tells Uhura. He’s uncomfortable on his chair. “Are you ready to be beamed back?” Bones asks, and Jim nods. “More than ready. I’m going to send this ship on a collision course to theirs.” “Be careful,” Bones says, “we’ll get you here in a few seconds.”
Bones is pretty sure he can write himself off with severe stress symptoms afterwards. Jim is fine. Spock’s fine, and Sulu’s going to be fine, too. Bones sees to that, after visiting them in med bay. “How was being a captain?” Jim asks after Bones checks him out carefully, but other than a black eye, Jim should be fine. “I hate it,” Bones says, and Jim laughs - though he winces lightly when he does. Bones reaches out, gently running his fingers just under Jim’s eye. “You’d make a good Captain,” Jim promises. “I don’t want to be,” Bones says, “the only reason I did take command classes was just so that I could be assigned to the same ship as you.” Jim looks up at that. “What?” “D'you think I would’ve really gone into space if it weren’t for this idiot guy who walked into my life like a-” Jim leans in, pressing a kiss to Bones’ lips, right there in medbay. Bones looks stunned when Jim pulls away. “You saved our lives,” Jim says, “I figured that’s worth a kiss"
There’s a meeting of admirals and senior officers on Yorktown, after. Everyone wants to meet the famous Captain James T Kirk, offer him their own thanks and congratulations. He’s not one for the pomp and circumstance, and Bones laughs at him when he tugs at the collar of his formal wear before he leaves. He usually avoids celebrations in his honor, and he can’t help the tight smile as he’s ushered into one of the grand halls at Yorktown Central.
The room is full of the typical grey and red of admirals and high-ranking officers. Jim floats through the crowd, shakes hand after hand, nods and accepts the pleasantries. It’s entirely too stiff and impersonal for his taste. He knows some of them from his Academy days, introduces himself to new and foreign ones (not that he needs to), feels the old ache when he thinks of how the only authority figure he’s ever cared about is missing.
He finds a spot to tuck himself away in not too far from the bar, where it’s relatively easy to see the room but avoid conversation. There’s a glass of some fancy formal alcohol in his hand, but he’s barely had two sips. It feels off, wrong, even, being here without his crew.
Thr stranger who ends up beside him startles him out of his thoughts.
“Captain James T Kirk,” he says, and the smile on his face is one for an old friend. Jim furrows his brows but takes the offered hand.
“Admiral…?” Jim’s never seen this man before.
“James,” he says. “Going to stay a captain, huh?”
Jim nods, can’t help the small smile when he thinks about his ship, his crew, his next mission.
“Yes, sir,” he says. “Admirals don’t fly.”
The admiral inclined his head, acknowledging the point. “Good for you, good for you. Biggest regret I made was this,” he says, gesturing vaguely to his signifying uniform.
Jim blinks, surprised, and he inspects the man a little closer. They’re just about the same height, and the admiral’s hair is styled nearly the same as Jim’s, only more grey. The more Jim looks, the more familiar the face becomes.
The silence has almost stretched to awkward between them. Jim shakes his head. “I thought I was ready to leave…needed to leave.” He shrugs. “But the black has a way of never letting you go, I suppose.”
The admiral hums in agreement. “There’s nothing like the feeling of your ship beneath your feet.”
“You were a captain?” Jim asks. He’s noticed how he turned his body towards the admiral, and finds himself rather intrigued in the man’s story. There’s a familiar kind of warmth in his speech, his stance, his presence, really, that makes Jim think of family.
“I was a captain, all right,” the admiral says, and it’s a mixture of fondness and regret. He checks his watch suddenly, as if he just remembered a previous engagement.
“Take care of the Enterprise, Jim. Treat her like a lady, and she’ll always bring you home.”
The admiral leaves, then, disappearing through the doors behind the table beside them. Jim looks after him and can’t shake the feeling that he’s a kind of kindred spirit, some sort of man who feels like a match of his soul.
AU where Aos Kirk somehow getting stuck in TOS world. And he spend a lot of his time following the Spock and Bones there because he misses his Bones and Spock. Bonus if AOS bones and Spock come to his rescue.
When Jim wakes up, things are instantly different. His bed feels harder, the colors of his room are funky and it’s definitely not last night’s secret stash of Romulan Ale. Although this should be his room, it just isn’t. He gets up and walks past the sliding doors of his quarters, looking around suspiciously. Definitely a Starfleet ship, and Jim walks through the hallways with interest. It just looks outdated, funky. The crew is wearing very similar, yet very different outfits, and they throw him odd looks as he makes his way to the Bridge.
The bridge just looks odd, makes funny noises, and the crew looks like themselves - but older. “Spock?” He asks carefully, and when Spock turns around, Jim frowns. “What’s with the eye shadow?” “Captain? You look younger.” "Where am I?“ “The Bridge,” Spock says, “Captain, are you well?” “I don’t know,” Jim says, running a hand through his hair. “I suggest you visit the doctor,” Spock says, and he goes back to work. Just like that.
And Jim can blindly find med bay, despite the ship looking so different - it’s also exactly the same. And when Bones turns to him, Jim just doesn’t know how to react. “You’re so skinny,” is all he manages to say, and Bones raises an eyebrow in that typical, angry way he’s used to from Bones. “What did you just call me?” “Your arms,” Jim says, “Anyway, I just-” “You look like an infant,” Bones says, and Jim scoffs. Bones is definitely still himself, just older. And Bones takes his time scanning Jim’s vitals to figure out how he’s suddenly lost a few years off his life and doesn’t remember this ship that feels like the Enterprise, but also really isn’t the Enterprise. Bones has no idea either, mumbling something like “I’m a doctor not a wizard” and that’s mostly it.
But clearly these two men are missing him, or their own version of him, too. Jim recognizes Spock as Ambassador Spock, too, so obviously he’s traveled somehow forward and backwards in time simultaneously because these men are older than Jim is, but not old enough for Spock to be dead. It’s complicated - Jim doesn’t even try to understand that anymore. Instead, he just follows these two guys around and watches them interact with mild interest.
Bones is playing chess with Spock, and Spock is clearly winning. Exactly like his own Bones, this guy doesn’t have the patience nor temperament to deal with Spock’s longer decision-making time. Jim watches them bicker - glad to see they’re still friends for many years to come, but it’s also making him miss his own two guys. After Bones leaves, Jim plays chess with Spock for a while. This Spock’s definitely better at it than his own, having years of experience over him. Jim still wins, though, and he shoots Spock a cocky grin.
Despite Spock’s protests, Jim still sits down in the Captain’s chair because, technically, he’s a captain. And everything works pretty much the same, it just looks different. He assists in an away mission to a near-deserted planet save from a few researchers, and when they beam down Jim finds out the female researcher is one of Bones’ ex-flings. “You never told me about Nancy,” Jim says, “remind me to ask my Bones about that.” “I wouldn’t do that even if it were possible,” Bones says and Jim snorts. Definitely the same person.
He later catches both Spock and Bones trying to figure out ways to get their own captain back to their ship, and Jim realizes even more so that they must be missing him, too. So Jim decides to help out where he can and they finally build some sort of portal that connects to the transporter room. It doesn’t go exactly as planned, but the other Jim Kirk does show up. So do his Bones and Spock, though. “Jim!” Bones says, and Jim lets out a relieved sigh when he feels his own Bones’ hands on him, checking him out before unnecessarily scanning his vitals. Spock, too, touches Jim’s face an his arms, as if to make sure it’s actually him. “I’m so glad to see you guys here. You guys are not as fun as older men.” He jokes, which basically earns him a glare from everyone in the room - except maybe his older self, who recognizes a joke when he hears one. Thankfully, someone with a sense of humor in the room. Unfortunately, that someone is himself.
Spock quietly speaks to Spock Prime. Jim can’t tell what they’re talking about, but they both look so intense and interested. It must be good for Spock to be able to talk to his older self one last time. Two doctors are just terrifying, and Jim tries to avoid them at all costs. He’s not sure which is the grumpiest, they’re both a terrifying force to be reckoned with. Especially now that they’re in the same room, cornering Chekov for a necessary hypo. The boy doesn’t stand a chance.
“Do you still love them as much as you used to?” Jim asks his older self. It feels weird to be talking to himself, in a way. He feels so different from him, while the others are almost each other’s mirrors. This Jim is calm, collected, and casually handsome. “More than ever,” the other replies, and Jim cracks up a small smile. “Are you ready to go home to your own dimension?” The other continues, and Jim nods. “Yeah. Your ship’s fun, but I miss my own crew.” “I understand. Hey, do me a favor, though. Ten years from now, do not forget Bones’ birthday. He’ll never forgive you.” He continues, and Jim laughs. “Noted.” “Anything you’d like to know before you leave?” “Yeah, anything I should know on how to remain a good captain?” Jim asks, receiving a grin from the other. “Keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll do just fine.”
In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all of that… and perhaps more, only one of each of us.