Captain James T. Kirk proved himself in all the wrong ways, and Bones wasn’t there. (T for mentions of death)
Bones wasn’t there. He wasn’t fucking there when Jim Kirk, his best friend, was breathing in his last breaths of poisoned air to spare everyone on the ship. To save them all. To become what Pike knew that he could, to be the man that followed in his father’s footsteps and would be deemed a hero at his grave site.
Bones had come in from the sick bay onto the bridge, only to see the Captain’s chair empty while there was a red alert that the warp in the ship wasn’t working. Damnit Jim, was the first thing he could think of. His heart thudded loudly and was trapped in his throat as he ran through the halls of the Enterprise, pushing past people and feeling guilt twist his stomach.
But of course, he was too late.
He ran into the room where the core had been, his brown eyes desperately and hopelessly searching about to see what was going on. Scotty was standing by himself, tears rolling down his face. Bones stood beside Scotty and looked at the man, who gave him a somber look that read, ‘I tried to stop him.’
And he had, Scotty had done everything that he could have possibly done to save Jim. But Jim was too intent on saving the ship and all it’s crew. Jim had learned for a split second to put the lives of others in front of his, but he guessed this second trip on the Enterprise was what that was all about. After all, he had gone against Starfleet regulation to save Spock’s life, and now… Now he’d done it.
Bones looked at the glass that was closed, the radioactive symbol on it mocking him. Spock’s hand was against the glass, tears dripping relentlessly down his cheeks. Jim was slumped in the corner, and oh god- McCoy’s breath caught in his throat and he had to hold back tears and a strangled sob. Jim’s head was resting against the interior’s walls, and he looked so peaceful. Like he was sleeping. There was only slight discoloration from the radiation, and Bones felt his heart shatter a hundred times over. Jim Kirk, his best friend, was dead.
At first it didn’t register with him.
There was no way this could be true. Bones looked at Spock, who had yelled out the name of the man who had caused all of this in vain, before leaving Jim’s side to fight him himself. Scotty and Uhura and Spock all trampled out of the room to prepare for battle, leaving it well lit and lonely for McCoy. Bones felt the tears sting his eyes as an unusual and uncomfortable warm-wet rolled down his cheeks.
He knelt in front of the glass and saw Jim’s eyes closed and how he had simply looked like he was sleeping. Bones already missed that quirky smile or those incredible blue eyes he had. Bones hadn’t been here for any of this, and there was nothing Bones could do to save him. Bones put his hand against the glass where Jim’s handprint had been and wept.
He was gone.
Through his bleary eyes and hopeless thoughts, that’s when Bones remembered the serum. Maybe, just maybe, he could find a way to tell Jim he loved him.
Jim had recovered completely and had woken up in a hospital bed, looking around. Spock had been there to assure that Jim was alright, and after a brief word he was gone, leaving Jim and Bones to be the only ones in the room.
“Jim, you saved everyone on the ship.” Jim looked over at Bones with big blue eyes and a slight smile.
“I did?” Bones nodded.
“You did.” Jim’s face lit up with excitement and he laughed a little bit, and that’s when Bones shook his head slightly and shrugged it off.
He’d tell that proud boy he loved him someday.