Jim sat there, frozen faced, eyes still. Bones swirled the brandy in the bottom of his glass, watching the light play upon the surface of the liquid. After about ten seconds, the silence had stretched too long, and he looked up into the face of his dearest friend.
He saw a man struggling to find words, stunned and disbelieving. Almost. The eyes blinked, once, then Jim ran his tongue across his suddenly dry lips. The gears started back into life again, and the brain reassembled some coherent thought.
"Your …*girlfriend*….is a man?
McCoy's mouth twisted wryly. "Well," he drawled, "I don't actually think of him as my *girlfriend*, but when you asked me who she was…well…." He gave a short, not-humorous chuckle. "I couldn't think of another way to tell you, right then. So," he looked squarely at Kirk again, "put me out of misery here. What are you thinking?"
Jim blinked again. "I'm…..surprised. I think. Um, you've never said you like, err, men, Bones. Never." Jim still looked as if a wall had fallen on him. But trying very , very hard to recover. "Since when have you liked other guys, Bones? And, who *is* he?"
McCoy smiled a small smile, Jim's confused babbling much more preferable to the silence proceeding his little announcement. It wasn't a standing ovation, but at least the guy hadn't laughed, or thrown him out the door. Yet. God, he was nervous inside. He'd been waiting for the right time, but who knew what 'right time' was? Not this old country doctor.
He did some 'lip licking' of his own, then drew a deep breath.
"Always, Jim boy, always. Just never let anyone know. 'Course, my wife knew. Eventually." McCoy looked down at his boots, crossed at the ankles in front of him.
"Jesus." Kirk's eyes were wide. "Was that the reason….?" He couldn't bring himself to finish his question.
"Yup, not the hospital, not my workload. Not anything but plain ol' difference of opinion. She's not the type to greet the news with open arms, I'm afraid. Not that I was seeing men. No, I had chosen my marriage happily, and I loved her, I would have stayed with her forever, but…" he sighed. "When I told her, she just couldn't cope with *knowing* , she said. Said it frightened her, that she didn't know me anymore. And didn't want to know me anymore."
Shocked silence again hit the room.
"Oh, God, Bones. That's….I'm so sorry." Jim looked appalled at the Doctor, sitting tense and still opposite him. "I had no idea…"
"No, well, you weren't meant to. No-one was. Nothin' like gettin' your fingers burnt once, teaches you real fast." He looked up and offered Jim a small smile, trying to take the sting away. "But I guess, I'm getting older Jim, time's passing. I wanted to try, at least, to find some happiness again, you know?"
"Yeah, Bones, I do. Well,…good for you. Very good in fact." Jim straightened up, looking like a man with an idea, and maybe a damn good one.
"So, would you like to keep who this guy is a secret? It's OK, I don't mind, you know, I'll understand if you want to take your time with this…"
"No, that's OK, it's not gonna be a secret, not from you. It's Alex O'Riordan in Life Sciences. You know, tall blonde guy, from Riwa 3. Green eyes, tattoo on his butt."
Kirk exploded brandy across the table, and had to be thumped on the back by a shyly grinning Doctor. When the noise died down, and Jim was painfully wiping tears from his eyes, the door chimed.
What the…? "Come." Jim croaked hoarsely, and coughed again.
The door slid open and Spock walked into the room.
"Good evening Captain, Dr. McCoy. I'm sorry to disturb you both off duty, I won't take up much of your time. Our rendezvous with the Widjinderra has been delayed by 2 days, as they cannot have the vaccines ready on time. Apparently they have had an accident in their laboratory, and several days worth of the stock they had produced were lost. They send their apologies, and wanted to let you know immediately so Dr. McCoy's own schedule could be freed up for the relief team preparation."
As he spoke, Jim got out of his chair and approached the Vulcan, standing straight and formal during his report. Jim made his way in front of Spock, then looked him in the eyes calmly. His hand reached out, and clasped the Vulcan's in his own.
"Why don't you join us Spock? Bones and I were just having the most interesting conversation." He reached up with his other hand and held out two fingers.
Spock stood immobile for four seconds, while he calculated the possible reasons his mate might have for this sudden desire to share knowledge of their relationship with the Doctor. Not having come to any conclusion, he decided that once again, a Jim Kirk hunch had appeared. He trusted those hunches. His own fingers rose and joined with Jim's, and they both turned to McCoy.
"Really," thought Spock. "Human's make themselves look quite undignified when they leave their mouths open like that."
Back to the stories
Back to the All-Ages Kirk/Spock Archive