Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters: Jim and Bones, Jocelyn and Joanna, various extras
Rating/Warnings: R for language. While you can read this as actually slash, it is actually meant to be pre-slash (if that) by several years.
Word Count: 4,374
Prompt: Initially intended as response to this prompt at st_xi_kink, but there’s rather less horse involved than I initially intended and it’s much more gen than it was supposed to be initially.
Summary: Jim Kirk attracts more trouble than anyone Bones has ever met. Why should a simple camping trip be any different? Part of Friends are Family ‘Verse.
Bones sat heavily in a chair and sighed. “Damn it, Jim, nothing ever quite goes according to plan with you, does it?”
Jim, battered, bloody, and beat up, lay on the hospital exam bed. “After two years, Bones, I thought you knew that already.”
He sighed again, because with Jim sighing once was almost never enough. “Apparently I’ve secretly been an optimist all this time and have been hoping for the trend to reverse itself.”
His erstwhile roommate and friend just snorted scoffingly and groaned at the resultant twinge in his ribs. “Bones, an optimist… I think the world just came to an end,” he teased as dramatically as he could from a reclining position.
Bones rolled his eyes and began to wonder if the quality of service at this hospital had changed since he’d interned here so many years ago, since the Emergency Attending or even a nurse of any level had yet to make an appearance after leaving them in here. At this rate, he was going to have to call Jocelyn and tell her that he was going to be late to pick up Joanna. That was one conversation he didn’t want to have, he thought with a wince.
Jim must have seen the movement and properly interpreted it, as he said, “Call her and tell her to bring Jojo here so you can take her.”
Bones hesitated for a moment, but finally nodded. Jocelyn wasn’t going to be pleased either way, but at least this way he wouldn’t necessarily be late. “All right,” he conceded. He retreated from the exam room and found the nearest comm panel so he could place the call. Damn but he could use a bit of alcohol right now. “Jocelyn,” he greeted her blandly.
Her expression of distaste was no different now than it had been in the two years preceding their divorce. “What is it now?” she snapped. “Don’t tell me you’re canceling because Joanna is looking forward to seeing you.” Her tone suggested she couldn’t imagine why.
“No, not canceling,” he said with a sigh. Jocelyn demanded even more sighs than Jim. “I was hoping you would drop her off instead of me picking her up, though. Something came up and if you don’t I’ll be late to get her.”
Her lips pursed but there was a noise in the background that cut off whatever diatribe she was about to launch into. Apparently Joanna was in the room; Bones could only be grateful that they at least tried to be civil in her presence. “Where?” she bit out.
He told her.
“A hospital? Are you crazy, Leonard?”
Ah, so much for civility. “Jim got a bit banged up. I just need to stay here until he’s patched up and can be on his way.”
She chewed on several responses before one finally made it out of her. “Fine. Just… fine.” The connection was severed and Bones had to be grateful she couldn’t slam anything in his ear like you could a couple of centuries ago.
Yeah. That went so well.
He heard her before he saw her. Jocelyn had a singularly sharp voice that cut over almost any background noise. He had reason to be well acquainted with it—she’d accosted him while he was on ER shift more than once during the decline of their marriage.
Bones left Jim with an ice pack held to his face and went to find his ex-family before Jocelyn managed to traumatize a nurse. “Over here,” he called.
Jocelyn came, glaring the entire way, but his daughter—oh, his daughter sprinted over to him and threw herself into his arms with the glad cry of, “Daddy!”
He gathered the little girl, no more than seven, in his arms and held her tight. “Hi there, sweetheart,” he drawled softly.
“So what’s the emergency this time?” Jocelyn asked as she stalked up. Her blonde hair was pulled back, not a bit out of place. So perfect, so remote.
Bones sighed again and gestured her into the little exam room. Might as well get her out of the general population.
“Hey, ex-Mrs. McCoy,” Jim said, voice rather nasal, from his position on the hospital bed. He even gave a jaunty wave.
In retrospect, maybe he should have kept Jocelyn outside. And yet, Jocelyn’s reaction was rather humorous. She tensed, stiffened, and got this pinched look around the lips that still made Bones want to duck for cover. However, before her mouth opened she got a good look at Jim, from the blood drying below his nose and the slowly blooming black eyes and the tattered outfit, the bruises on some of the available skin and the lacerated feet. “What in hell happened to you?” she blurted out before thinking.
“Oh, this? This is nothing,” Jim said lightly.
“He had an accident,” Bones said tersely. At the skeptical expression that met with, he shook his head. “All right, a series of accidents.”
“’s not that bad,” Jim protested from the bed, but he was ignored by everyone.
“We went on a trail ride,” Bones found himself explaining.
“And he fell?” Jocelyn’s voice raised. “I told you, Leonard, those beasts of yours are dangerous!”
“Didn’t fall off a horse,” Jim said sulkily. “Rode horses all m’ life. ‘M from a farm.”
“Just what happened then?” Bones just stood back and let his ex ask the questions.
“I fell.” Jim looked mulish and was being his usual obstinate self. “Down,” he added, as if Jocelyn wasn’t capable of understanding the physics of falling.
“He fell off a cliff,” Bones felt compelled to explain, before Jim managed to start a war of galactic proportions within the confines of this small room.
“A cliff?” she exclaimed, disbelief puffing from her lips to the air.
“Jim, be careful! We shouldn’t go this far off the trail,” Bones protested as he doggedly followed his friend through the heavy underbrush.
“Oh, come on, Bones, where’s your sense of adventure? We’ve slogged through worse in those real-life sims at the Academy.”
Both friends were soaked from the rain—rain that was much heavier than had been forecasted. Have to love the 23rd century, Bones thought. So advanced, and still the weather can be unpredictable. Visibility sucked, too.
“Dammit, I’m a doctor, Jim, not an adrenaline junky like you. Let’s go back to camp and try to dry out.” He was tired of being wet already.
Jim turned back to him, flashing his brilliant, charming smile, his blue eyes twinkling. “Just five more minutes,” he started to wheedle.
That was when he abruptly dropped and disappeared.
“Wouldn’t a fall off a cliff kill you?” Jocelyn asked, still skeptical.
“Well, you see,” when had this become his story, Bones wondered? “it was a small cliff. There was a small river at the bottom of the cliff. It was full from the rain.”
“So he fell in the river at the bottom of a cliff?”
“Yes, the river.” This was going to be a long story.
There was an aborted yell and then a distinct splash as Bones ran forward, sliding to an abrupt stop to keep from following Jim over the edge. The little river was roiling but not frantic, and Bones could see that Jim bobbed up quickly and started treading water and making to swim… somewhere. There actually seemed to be no way out right here, and his friend was being whisked downstream at a decent clip.
“I’m coming, Jim! Hang on!” Bones yelled. He thought he got a wave of acknowledgement, but that could have just been a swimming stroke—he couldn’t be sure.
Yeah, sure, and how am I going to do that one? Bones asked himself as he looked around frantically, half-running along the edge of the cliff. Luckily for him, the ground sloped downward in a mostly gradual fashion. He stumbled a few times, nearly fell, but managed to get down closer to the water.
“Jim!” he yelled again, looking for the tell-tale flail of limbs. There, still swimming strong but looking slightly banged up, if Bones didn’t miss his guess. Given that he’d seen Jim Kirk banged up enough times to have formed a standard, he rather thought he was right. “Swim this way!”
Bones looked around, trying to find something to help Jim out. There was a tree close to the water with a convenient looking branch to hold on to, and so Bones latched one hand to it, stepped partly into the water, and reached out to his friend as he half-swam, half-bobbed toward him.
The good news was that he caught Jim. The bad news, well, was the fact that Jim pretty much barreled into him. For one desperate moment, Bones held them steady, but his wet hand slipped on the slick bark, wood scraping his palm, before he too was pulled into the roiling river.
“You were in the river, too, Daddy?” Joanna asked, her face scrunching up with worry.
Jocelyn’s eyes raked over him. “You don’t look like he does,” she told him, jerking a thumb toward Jim.
“No, I’m much prettier than he is,” Jim piped up. Bones rolled his eyes—he couldn’t help it. Even with two black eyes and looking like hell, Jim still managed to be perky.
“Yes, I was in the river, baby, but it didn’t hurt me.” How to explain to a child that though her Uncle Jim got beat up regularly, the closer one was to him the safer one seemed to be. He rather thought there should be an equation to describe it somewhere. “I was only in it for a couple of minutes.”
“Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a flotation device!” Bones spluttered as Jim, the human octopus in almost any circumstance, latched onto him as they were swept further downstream. He couldn’t quite make out what Jim said in return, but he had a feeling it wasn’t anything polite.
Luckily, the land evened out somewhat and the flow of water became less fierce relatively quickly. Bones was able to grab a protruding rock and between the two men they finally levered themselves out of the water and stumbled onto the ground.
“I hate you sometimes,” Bones panted, feeling like a drowned rat. “I’m wet, I’m miserable, and our camp is much too far thataway.” He pointed in the general direction he was certain camp was in.
“Love you too, Bones,” Jim said flippantly, drooping against a nearby tree, one hand gripping his side.
“So it turned out that the river brought us a lot further downstream than we’d predicted,” Bones said, rubbing a hand across his jaw.
Jocelyn was leaning against the wall at this point, captivated by the disastrous story despite herself. “Don’t tell me you got lost in the woods,” she said.
“God, no,” Jim said. He and Bones exchanged a mildly horrified look at the thought. Starfleet had trained them better that that.
“We just had to walk back. Soaking wet. Through the forest.”
“About ten kilometers. Through the last freaking untamed forest on the planet,” Jim grumbled. “With a couple of broken ribs.” He tilted his head, the ice pack sliding precipitously. “Without shoes.”
Jocelyn blinked, obviously processing that as she peered at his torn up feet again. “Ten kilometers?”
“Ten kilometers,” Bones agreed wearily. “Uphill.”
“My feet hurt.”
Bones reminded himself once again that he wasn’t going to kill his best friend. Killing his best friend would be a Bad Idea. Though at least there were places to hide a body out here.
“It’s not my fault you lost your boots to the river,” he said, aiming for bland and achieving weary instead.
“This camping trip was your idea,” Jim pointed out.
“And you’re the one that took us off the trail—which I said was a bad idea—and fell off a cliff—which wasn’t my fault—into the river—still not my fault—and pulled me in as well—totally your fault.”
There was quiet for a long moment, then… “My feet still hurt.”
“For God’s sake!” Bones grumbled, but he stopped and turned, Jim nearly running into him. “Fine, sit. Let’s see what we can do.”
Jim sat with startling obedience, hand pressing against his ribs still. His feet were looking the worse for wear, Bones realized, feeling a little bad for scolding him now. He sighed, wishing he could rinse out the lacerations but knowing he’d have to wait until they got to camp. Another sigh and he reluctantly pulled his shirt off over his head.
Yes, and there was the wolf whistle and the leer. As always. Bones ripped the shirt neatly in half, his frustration with the series of events finding the action a suitable outlet.
“If I’d known it would get you to strip for me, Bones, I would have fallen off a cliff sooner,” Jim said, smirking at him.
As they roomed together and Jim had seen him in lesser states of dress, this earned only an eye roll. His best friend just couldn’t turn away the opportunity to flirt with anyone, including Bones. He was used to it by now, though. “Shut up,” he ordered and proceeded to wrap Jim’s feet in the fabric.
Rocking back to his heels, Bones surveyed his handiwork with satisfaction before standing and wiping his hands off on his still-wet pants. “Come on, let’s go,” he said, making his voice upbeat.
“But Bonnnnnes,” Jim whined, but before Bones had made it five steps, Jim was already following him.
“At least,” Bones said to his captivated audience—which now included a nurse, a different one than had visited while he’d been calling Jocelyn earlier, “the horses were still there when we got back. Very dependable, they are.” He glanced pointedly at his ex-wife, who just as pointedly ignored him.
“But the food had been gotten into,” Jim said morosely.
“Something ate your food, Uncle Jim?” Joanna asked, her eyes wide. “Was it still there?”
Jocelyn’s glare said what the answer should be—a resounding no—and Jim glared back through swollen eyes for a long moment. Bones could tell he was considering saying yes just to be contrary, but in the end, Jim relented. “No, it was long gone, Jojo,” he told her with appropriate solemnity. “But so was all the food.”
The nurse—Nurse Tam, he saw her name tag—finally ventured to speak. “So all those bruises came from the fall and the river and the trek?”
“Well,” Jim hedged. Bones had to continue.
“Not completely,” Bones admitted. “See, we packed up the remaining supplies, tacked up the horses,” which honestly, it was a miracle that they hadn’t run away, with something most possibly carnivorous tearing through the camp, “and started back.”
“What happened?” Jocelyn asked perceptively.
“We were attacked.” Bones’ voice was flat. “By some good-for-nothing punks looking for easy marks.” Probably hiding out from the law part way into the forest.”
“Attacked,” Jim confirmed.
Jim and Bones had heard them coming—clumsy and loud, whoever it was did not seem particularly adept at moving through the woods. Perhaps they were some hikers who were out for a weekend, Bones thought.
The moment they came into sight, Bones had to revise the theory. Ragged, dirty, and decidedly rough around the edges, the five youths looked to be worse than the rough-and-tumble Jim had the day they’d met on the shuttle.
Three held blunt objects, and the other two had a knife and a gun of some sort, respectively. “You have got to be kidding me,” Bones breathed, pulling his horse to a stop with gentle pressure on the reins. Shifting his weight and the pressure of his fingers, the horse obediently took a few steps backward, but they were already being circled.
“Give us your money and anything of value,” the leader demanded—at least, Bones assumed he was the leader, as he was the one with the firearm.
Bones looked over at Jim. “You know, Bones, I really thought this trip was going to be a bit boring. You’ve proved me completely wrong.”
The goons were just the rough and tumble sort, but they did have weapons. And, apparently, they did not enjoy being ignored. The leader stalked menacingly forward, brandishing the firearm at Bones, who apparently looked to be the more threatening one.
Which, considering his state of dishabille compared to Jim, was probably logical if not exactly true. Jim was stronger than he looked and he could fight like a demon when he wanted to. Bones had the unfortunate tendency to hesitate before striking someone unless the circumstances left him no other option.
“We don’t have anything of value,” Bones told the punk. “Do we look like we have anything?”
There was a mutter from one of the minions, but no one backed off. The talking gave Jim an opportunity to leap off his horse and tackle the nearest two boys. Men? Boys.
The gun went off, but Bones had already plastered himself to his horse’s neck and so the bullet passed well above him. The sound was loud, though the trees swallowed it quickly. It startled his horse, though, and even if she was a normally placid animal, recent events excused the subsequent rearing. Bones was a good rider, an experienced one, even if he didn’t get the chance often since joining Starfleet, but the move was unexpected and he slid neatly off the saddle, bumped over the rolled sleeping bag, and tumbled to the ground.
Bones conveniently left certain parts of the story out—some out of respect for the young age of his daughter (guns, knives) and some because Jocelyn did not need to know that anyone fell off a horse. He’d never get permission to take Joanna riding ever again if she knew.
“So I kicked some as—uh, butt, and that’s how I got the rest of these bruises.” Jim preened slightly, despite the fact that he really did look like he’d been drug for awhile behind a horse.
“You’re so brave, Uncle Jim,” Joanna gushed, reaching out to hold his hand. Bones was amused to see that Jim actually blushed at that compliment.
“And just what were you doing, Leonard?” Jocelyn ever-so-sweetly sniped.
“I,” he replied primly, “was holding the horses and making sure Jim didn’t hurt himself too much.” Jim stuck out his tongue, only to earn another eye roll. “We left them in the woods,” unconscious, “and managed to get back to the stables. Started to drive back here.”
“Let me guess,” Jocelyn said with a sigh. “The car broke down.”
“The car broke down,” Bones agreed.
They were in the middle of nowhere. Albeit, a different sort of middle-of-nowhere than they had been earlier, but it sucked about as bad.
“Jim?” They were lounging on the side of the road, backs against the side of the car they’d rented for their time off.
“We’re buying you a lucky rabbit’s foot when we get back to civilization. Screw gross superstition. And if we don’t get back in the next ten years,” because, fuck, at this rate it would take them at least that long, “we’ll catch a rabbit and cut off its stupid foot.”
“Bones! That’s positively violent, especially considering your oath thingy.” Jim affected surprise well, with those angelic blue eyes, but he was just as obviously teasing his friend.
“Fuck you,” Bones said wearily. “I’ve decided that when it comes to you, the gloves have to come off.”
There was comfortable silence for a long moment, and Jim shifted just slightly so their shoulders bumped. “Glad you’re on my side.”
It was thanks and affection as Jim Kirk knew how to give it. “Me, too,” Bones replied. “After all, just look at how your enemies end up.” The two laughed.
Bones had, at some point, forced Jim to scoot over so he could perch on the exam table too. Despite not being visibly hurt, he was very tired from the series of unfortunate events. “At least the comm in the car worked. The service was supposed to pick us up in an hour.”
“It took them three hours.” Jim sounded tired, for once, and he poked Bones in the back once. Probably wondering, like he was, when the doctor was going to see him. “Then we arrived here and you know the rest.”
“What about your nose? Did one of those punks break it?” asked Nurse Tam asked. Her expression was that of wide-eyed innocence, but both Bones and Jim could see the twinkle of laughter in her eyes.
“His nose?” Bones said.
“My nose?” Jim practically squeaked.
“His nose,” the nurse repeated, grinning wickedly.
Sometimes Bones thought he couldn’t leave Jim alone for two seconds. He leaves to make one phone call, only to come back to find a man standing over Jim and Jim’s nose bleeding all over the place. There’s a nurse, some buxom brunette, hovering slightly behind the man, whose white coat designates him a doctor.
“Fer crying out loud!” Bones exclaimed. The nurse looked guilty, but the doctor looked satisfied. “Get the hell away from him.” He had no bones about pushing the strange doctor away and glaring at him strongly enough to make him think twice about pushing it back. “What did this hurt man ever do to you?”
“He… her…” the doctor growled.
The nurse stepped forward. “He was flirting with me. Nothing serious, Bobby, just harmless flirting.” Bones could see the shiny ring on her finger, obviously an engagement ring. She started dragging her fiancé to the door.
Bones grabbed his arm and held it in a grip tight enough to hurt. “Take it from me, buddy,” he said, drawl coming on strong, “learn to separate your personal and professional life. And never hit my friend again.” Bones wasn’t Jim, but he could be damned scary when he wanted to be. He let go and the two fled the exam room.
“Jim, you can’t flirt with every pretty face that comes your way,” Bones told him with a sigh.
Jim opened his mouth to reply, but Bones cut him off. “I know, I know. It wasn’t your fault.” This time, it might actually be true.
The little group laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Jim actually flushed and looked disgruntled at the amount of laughter this garnered, which told Bones more than anything just how tired and in pain his friend was.
“Not my fault she has a possessive doctor fiancé,” he muttered. Despite everything, Bones had a pang of sympathy for him.
“’Sok, Jim,” Bones said, patting his friend’s knee. Eyes skimming the room, he met Nurse Tam’s gaze before flicking his own back at Jim. She received the message with the subtle grace that Bones thought marked her as a good nurse and nodded faintly, easing herself back out of the room.
“Hey, Jocelyn… thanks for bringing Joanna here. It’s a big help, and I appreciate it,” he told her. For once, there was a halfway pleasant expression on her face in his presence, and there was small pang in his heart, the bitter reminder of how it had once been between them. He felt a warmth on his back—Jim’s hand, just out of sight, a friendly reassurance. For a player, Jim always had been very compassionate, especially when it came to his best friend.
Her lips pinched only marginally and she sighed. Perhaps he required many sighs as well. He’d never thought of it that way. “You’re welcome,” she said grudgingly. “The entertainment made the trip worthwhile, I suppose.” She looked Jim over again. She had never liked him, ever since he’d answered one of her calls to her husband, and had never made the fact that she didn’t anything less than blatantly obvious. She had thrown a tantrum of epic proportions the first time she’d heard her daughter call him Uncle Jim. “So long as you promise not to take her camping with him, I’ll leave you to it, then.”
“Aww, come on, she’d enjoy a camping trip with me,” Jim wheedled in his obnoxious teasing tone—the one he often used with Uhura, only she seemed to find it amusing half the time. Jocelyn evidently didn’t.
“No camping,” Bones hastened to reassure her.
“All right then. Come here, munchkin.” She held her arms out to her daughter, and the two hugged. It struck Bones for a moment that his daughter really did look more like himself, with her darker complexion and bright brown eyes. He couldn’t help but be grateful for that in some way.
They were left alone, then, with Joanna sitting on the only chair and pulling a book out of her overnight bag with a grin. “She takes after you too,” Jim murmured softly. Bones turned his head to meet his eyes and couldn’t help the soft smile at the compliment.
“Pain makes you sappy,” he told Jim. He shook his head sharply the moment the blond’s mouth opened to protest, cutting it off.
Jim just sighed and shifted, curling slightly toward Bones. He was quiet for a long moment. Then, “Sorry I ruined the trip.” It was soft and it made Bones’ heart hurt because he knew some of what lurked beneath Jim’s tough-guy exterior. He didn’t talk about it much, but it was there.
“You didn’t ruin it. Just… spiced it up a bit. But next time, be more careful, yeah?” His voice was gruff, but he knew Jim could see the concern.
“I’ll endeavor not to send you running away screaming,” Jim said. His voice was flippant, but inside the blues of his eyes, deep down where Bones thought that Jim didn’t think anyone could see it, was real worry. After the life he’d had so far, it was understandable.
“Jim, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” Jim smiled, a brilliant, genuine smile, and sighed a quiet sigh. The ER doctor finally came in to treat Jim, and Bones added, “Be sure to jab him with as many hyposprays as possible, doc. He makes the most amusing squawking noises. Trust me, I’m normally his doctor.”
“I do not—OW!”
Yeah, wild horses definitely couldn’t drag him away from this.
A/N: Like I said, fewer horses than I intended. This is a part of a universe called “Friends are Family,” after the saying Friends are the family you choose. Intended to have Bones and Jim as BFFs, with possible (but not definite) slash in the future.