Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters: Bones, Kirk, Joanna/Chekov
Rating/Warnings: R, language, character death. Can read as slash or major BFFery. Is poetry a warning too?
Word Count: 1231
Summary: Leonard McCoy has lived a long life, but he’s ready to go home. Sequel to Home is the Sailor.
Joanna cried softly at the bedside of her father. Leonard McCoy was old and declining quickly in his health, confined now to this hospital bed. He knew his death was imminent; she knew his death was imminent.
“Oh, Jojo, don’t cry,” her father said, reaching out to rest a wrinkled, age-spotted hand on top of her head. “It’s time for me to go on.” A silent ‘finally’ sounded after those words. Her father, her hero, was old and she knew how much he longed to be done with this life. How much he longed to once again be with those that were already gone.
He’d managed to stand strong after Uncle Jim’s death, but he’d never been the same. Quieter, lonelier, grumpier. But he’d gone on with life, taking up a high-ranking post on-planet for ten years before accepting the spot of Dean of Medicine at Starfleet Academy. Over ninety now, there was still that look of wistful longing in his eyes if you knew where to look for it.
Joanna did. A lesser woman might have been bitter that her father grieved so thoroughly for a life not hers, but she couldn’t be. She’d had too many fine examples of how to love, of how one could love so many so completely. Her heart was too big to be bitter that every day her father desired to be reunited with his long-lost friend.
“I know, Daddy, I know,” she said softly, and she did. She even understood. She simply couldn’t help loving her father as much as she did, even at the age she was now. “But I love you and I’ll miss you. I can’t help it.”
It was just luck that the Enterprise was home for repairs and shore leave and that it coincided with the sudden, sharp decline of her father’s health. The luck of Jim, the elder McCoy had said when she’d walked into the room. She had laughed softly.
“I won’t be far, baby. Just around the corner.” His voice was still firm, refusing to yield to the querulousness that generally characterized persons of his age.
Joanna took his hand and pressed it against her forehead. There had been expressions of concern over the years that Dr. McCoy was just a bit crazy, for there were times he talked about James Kirk as if he hadn’t been dead for several decades, as if he would go home and the other man would be there. Joanna understood, however, that it was simply the way her father viewed the world. To him, Jim was dead, yes, but never far away. He’d shown her a poem, once, that described it perfectly.
“One brief moment and we’ll meet again, I know,” she said, but against her will she teared up once more.
“Oh, Jojo…” He sighed, his dark eyes gentle as he looked at his daughter. “I love you.” It seemed like it was the only thing he could think of to say. She certainly couldn’t object to it.
“Love you too, Daddy.” She held his hand as he fell asleep, his short burst of energy gone. She held it until sleep turned into something much stiller and much more eternal. It took the hospital staff calling her husband in to pry her hand out the dead man’s.
She stopped at the bottom of the hill, and the man with her stopped as well. An urn, simple and utilitarian as her father had requested, rested in the crook of her arm like a sleeping babe. “I’d… I think I should do this alone, Pasha,” she said softly, her eyes begging her husband to understand.
Pavel Chekov smiled sweetly down at her. “I understand,” he told her. “I vill wait for you here.”
Joanna kissed his cheek before clambering between the slats of the fence that surrounded the pasture. It was harder to do than when she had been an ensign, the first time her father had brought her here so many years ago. Four children and the busy life as, ultimately, the CMO of the legendary Enterprise, alongside her now-Captain husband had taken its toll on her just as her father’s long life had taken its toll on him. It was almost time for her to retire to the Academy, she thought.
No, it hadn’t been easy, but like Daddy always said, nothing worth doing was easy.
The hill seemed steeper, but perhaps it was the burden weighing her down. Eventually she found the corner, the trees, the peaceful spot. She sat under it, urn between her knees, for a long time. Her father had been the shaping influence of her life, her hero and her mentor and so very much to her. It was hard to let go, even though she knew he was happy now. Not even Spock, who had visited his long time friend many times in the months preceding his death, could say otherwise. Joanna would even go so far to say that her other ‘Uncle’ looked almost… wistful, at the notion, insofar as Vulcans looked wistful.
It wasn’t until the stars sparked the sky that she could bring herself to take that final step, undoing the top and tilting out the ashes into the wind.
“Welcome home, Daddy,” she drawled softly and let her tears water the earth as she peered upward at the heavens.
Leonard “Bones” McCoy walked up the hill. With every step, his stride lengthened and his shoulders squared, a lifetime of age and burdens lifting the higher he went. The grass was verdant green under the cloak of darkness, gleaming in the moon- and starlight.
At the top of hill there was a sitting figure, but as Bones came closer the figure—the man—sprang up. The moon gleamed on golden hair and skin, and despite the darkness blue eyes gleamed with anticipation and welcome. “Bones!” came the gleeful greeting.
Something inside Bones unwound, dissipated, when he heard the familiar tone and emotion. “Jim!”
The last few strides were covered quickly, and the two men embraced. They each slapped the other’s back enthusiastically, holding on as if they would never let go.
“I waited for you,” Jim said, pulling back slightly, just enough so their eyes could meet.
“Never doubted it,” Bones replied. They both laughed with happiness, with the joy of reuniting. Oh, how we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again! The line ran through Bones’ thoughts and he laughed again.
“Welcome home.” The words were soft and warm and puffed so real against Bones’ ear. The blond and brunette embraced once again. Finally they sat once more, under the peace of the stars. “Scotty is waiting for us, just over there.” Jim jerked his thumb somewhere behind him—through the trees there seemed to be a path and some dim light that Bones didn’t recall. “Saved us a table in the Fiddler’s Green, for me and you and all of us to come.”
Bones grinned, leaned over to knock his shoulder against Jim’s. “Soon,” he told his best friend. “Let’s just stay here for awhile longer.”
Jim smiled as well, and leaning shoulder to shoulder they sat, content to stay in silence and simply revel in the other’s company, gone so brief yet simultaneously so long. Fiddler’s Green would be there always; for now they were content to have each other.
A/N: References to the poems: Requiem by Robert Luis Stevenson and Death is Nothing at All by Henry Scott Holland. Also referenced is Fiddler’s Green: Wikipedia and another song.