Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters: Kirk, Bones, random OCs
Rating/Warnings: PG-13. B/c the boys insist on cursing sometimes. Also, gen.
Word Count: 1,961
Summary: Bones gets a call from the hospital and finds out something rather surprising. Part of the Trek universe I’m starting called: Friends are the Family We Choose.
The annoyingly persistent trilling of the room’s comm unit woke Bones from what had been a very pleasant, very sound sleep. He had just finished—he glanced at the chrono, noting he’d been asleep for all of three hours—a double shift simulation that counted as a heftily weighted midterm and there was very little he longed for more than he did more sleep.
It trilled again, and he rolled out of bed to slap at it, his voice coming out very Southern and very gruff. “What is it?”
There was a short silence. “Is this Leonard McCoy?”
There were several answers he could give to that, but none of them were remotely polite and he was too tired for this shit. “Yes,” he bit out.
“Mr. McCoy, I’m Dr. Nelson at San Francisco General Hospital. A James T. Kirk has been admitted into the ER, unconscious, and as next of kin, we need your permission to do the necessary surgery.”
All sleepiness vanished in those few flat, succinct words. Jim, hospital, unconscious… his muttered “Shit!” didn’t even begin to cover it.
“What happened?” McCoy snapped out, the doctor in him slipping to the fore.
The strange doctor’s voice was calm but still managed to convey a sense of urgency. “The patient was involved in a vehicular accident and has suffered extensive injuries. We need your permission to finish treatment with this surgery, sir. If you can please give us verbal permission and come to the hospital to sign a few forms…”
“I’m his doctor, not his next-of-kin! I’m on my way now,” he growled, snatching up his personal comm and easily transferring the call from the main unit onto it. Slipping into pants and a wrinkled shirt, he was out the door before the man on the phone had spoken again.
“Um… oh, yes, here it shows you are his doctor…” The stranger sounded vaguely confused. “But it also lists you as his next-of-kin, Dr. McCoy. It’s on the record, I’m standing here looking at it on his file. Do I have permission?”
Bones’ forward momentum was abruptly halted, and a cadet coming the other way down the hall nearly ran right into him. “That sonofabitch, since when have I been… dammit, Jim!”
A headache started pounding behind his temples. “Yes, yes, you idiot, do whatever you have to in order to put him back together again. Damned Humpty-Dumpty man, I swear. Just be aware of his allergies… he can’t take general anesthetic or…” He proceeded to list several other medicines he knew that Jim was allergic to off the top of his head as he took the stairs of the dorm three at a time.
McCoy was halfway to the hospital before the emergency doctor managed to cut off the call. The last ten minutes of travel gave him far too much time to wonder about how the hell this happened and why in the worlds Jim had put him on all his paperwork as next-of-kin.
Of course, the next few hours of surgery—the details spun out in his mind along with the arguments he’d had with the nurse, then the doctor, and then with the hospital administrator over whether or not he could help with the surgery (the answer of which was always a resounding NO, much to his frustration)—gave him even more time to wonder about Jim and his motivations.
What could he have been thinking to put Bones on all that paperwork? They were best friends, yes—Bones didn’t think he’d ever had a better friend, nor could he ever ask for a better one—but he knew for a fact that James Tiberius Kirk was indeed possessing of family related to him by blood.
A mother, for one, and a brother, and a step-father, an aunt and three cousins and one set of remaining grandparents.
Bones half-dozed in a chair in the waiting room, keeping an eye on the nurses’ station. When the doctor finally came in, he stood with a jolt, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. He couldn’t keep exhaustion at bay forever, after all.
“Is he all right?” were the first words out of his mouth, but the next ones were an increasingly technical interrogation about the surgery and Jim’s condition. Needless to say, the other man didn’t look particularly pleased, but Bones just couldn’t bring himself to care.
“He’ll be fine,” he said stolidly. “Head trauma and internal bleeding but he’s stable and should be able to leave sometime tomorrow if he’s under supervision.”
Ah, the miracles of modern medicine. Thank God, Bones thought. “I’m going to see him.” He was already walking past the man when he said it. It wasn’t a question or a demand—it was simple fact. He was going to see Jim. He had to make certain his idiotic best friend was all right.
“He’s still under sedation, Mister…”
“Doctor,” McCoy snapped as he had resisted snapping the first time the mistake had occurred. “I’m his doctor for all that you didn’t allow me in on the surgery.”
“Dr. McCoy,” the man corrected placatingly. “As I said, he’s still under sedation and will be for another couple of hours.”
McCoy snorted. “Obviously you don’t know James T. Kirk,” he said dryly. “The man never does anything according to plan or common sense, and the easy path is nonexistent in his world.” He only stopped when he reached the doorway of Jim’s room—there was his name on top of the medical padd on the door—and breath puffed softly from his lips in a sigh. “Idiot,” he said fondly and shook his head. The last thing he’d expected when he took that shuttle ride was to make the best friend he’d ever had, but almost a year later and here he was.
He dismissed the doctor with a wave of his hand as he entered the room. He really didn’t care if he’d pissed the other man off. He snagged the arm of a chair and dragged it to Jim’s bedside and sat. And dozed because he couldn’t help himself.
It wasn’t even an hour later when Jim stirred on the bed. McCoy grumbled to himself—he was tired, dammit—but pulled himself back to full consciousness in time to catch Jim’s hoarsely uttered, “Bones?”
“Right here,” he drawled, leaning forward to glance over Jim and scan the machines for the vitals scrolling across them. “Got yourself banged up good this time, Jimmy.”
“’S not my fault,” his roommate said, still struggling against the drugs in his system. “Was just walking back t’ the room.”
Bones sighed and had to admit it might not have been Jim’s fault. He’d come to find that sometimes things just happened in the vicinity of Jim and happened to him. “What happened?” Bones prompted, curious.
“Went out to eat and bring back some food for you. Went to the bookstore ‘cause the books I ordered came in.” Jim’s brow furrowed and a frown pulled his lips. “Damn. I think I bled all over the book I bought for you. Been waiting forever to get it, too.”
Bones blinked, for he hadn’t expected to hear that Jim had been getting things for him. It was easy to fall into the habit of thinking that Jim was a selfish man, but that really was far from true, as Bones had had time to experience. Jim was often there with food at the end of a double shift, and random things Bones needed occasionally appeared on his side of the room.
“What book?” he asked, pulled off into a tangent.
A faint smile tipped up the corner of Jim’s mouth. “The Biography of Gregory House, M.D., complete with multiple case files. Signed copy. Damn it.”
Wow. Unexpected. Bones had been coveting a copy of that book for years, especially since he was trying to do a side-project revolving around diagnostic medicine in space. “Damn it,” he echoed. “But what happened?”
Jim’s brow scrunched in concentration. His pupils were still dilated and he wasn’t completely there yet, but still defying expectations he was mostly coherent. “Don’t really know. It’s kinda blurry. I remember the cop saying something about a drunk driver, but maybe not…”
Poor Jim seemed confused, but then, he’d probably been knocked a good one on the head at the time. He also seemed a bit angry, but Jim had always disapproved of drunken driving. He might get drunk regularly, but he never, ever drove while under the influence. Bones didn’t know the story behind this, but he knew there had to be one.
There was a long pause, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Jim scrubbed his face with his hands, obviously trying to pull his brain together, while Bones poured him a glass of water. A doctor or nurse would be in shortly, once someone noted the change in vitals.
Bones gave him a chance to sip the water before he asked his next question. “So why did you put me down as your next of kin?”
Apparently for Jim, this came out of nowhere, because he spluttered into the glass and nearly dropped it. “I thought you came because you’re my doctor,” he said, almost reproachfully.
“I’m your doctor and your friend, and apparently I’m your next of kin. Even though you have blood family.” Perhaps it was unfair to press Jim about this right now, but this might be the only chance he had of getting an honest admission out of the normally flippant young man.
Jim sighed and nestled back into the pillow, looking sulky. He mumbled something that Bones didn’t completely understand but rather thought equated, “I had no one else.”
“Bull shit,” Bones said, his Southern roots showing in his speech, dragging out the two words until they were more than two syllables. “You have a mother and a brother, at the least. Blood relatives.”
Jim pouted, literally pouted, and the silence drew out for a long moment before he huffed a sigh. “Fine, all right. I’d rather have you making decisions for me and get whatever I have leftover if someone manages to kill me. You don’t get to choose your blood family, but you can damn well make your own. You’re the only family I want to claim, okay?”
He seemed exhausted after that flurry of words, sagging back again. That was lucky enough, because Bones needed a moment to absorb what Jim had just said. He’d always known Jim didn’t care for his family and that he valued Bones’ friendship highly—enough so that he kept all his conquests out of the room and was always there when Bones needed him, whether Bones actually realized he needed him at the time—but to lay such a stake was shocking and flattering.
Bones was silent for so long that Jim began to look worried, so Bones finally had to speak up. “I know that feeling.” Jim blinked—it was his turn to be surprised. “Friends are the family we choose, and I think we chose each other on that shuttle. Next time I’d just appreciate a head’s up, all right?”
Jim laughed quietly. Perhaps they were pathetic, but Bones felt on some level that this friendship was a defining part of his life now and he could no sooner live without it than he could live without air.
“Don’t think there will need to be a next time now,” Jim said and extended a hand toward Bones. Bones took it and shook. They were such girls sometimes, he thought, as if they were making vows of being ‘best friends forever and ever’ like his daughter did. The thought was fond, though, and tinged with affection.
Perhaps the world would be a better place if children never stopped believing in the possibility of best friends forever.
A/N: Thanks to triskellion for the beta. Like I said above, this is part of the Friends are Family universe. Hope you enjoyed!