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Title: Option #2 (The Road Almost Taken Remix)
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters: Jim Kirk/Leonard McCoy
Rating: PG
Word Count: 715
Summary: When faced with possibilities, the ones not taken can be almost as enticing as the ones that are.
Original Story: Options by Thistlerose.
Written for Remix Madness 2011


He waits for Jim as close to the Admiral's office as he is allowed - the general reception area for the Admiralty's offices - and makes a conscious effort not to pace. He is only partially successful.

Jim's meeting goes on ten, twenty then thirty minutes, and with each passing one, the scenarios playing through his head get progressively worse. They're sending Jim back to the academy. They're demoting him back to ensign. They're court marshaling him. They're sending him into exile on Vega VI.

When Jim finally emerges forty-five minutes later, he is pale and shaken. He blinks twice before he recognizes the man standing in front of him. "Bones?" he whispers.

McCoy gently takes Jim by the elbow and leads him out of the office, out of the building, out of the administrative complex. Jim has begun muttering something under his breath, but McCoy is too preoccupied with getting them someplace quiet and private to pick up what it is.

They finally stop at the promenade and lean against the railing, overlooking the water.

"What happened?" McCoy demands, unwilling to wait any longer to find out just how bad the news is.

"They’re giving me the Enterprise," Jim says, barely above a whisper.

Now it is McCoy's turn to pale in shock. He grabs Jim's shoulders and forces him to look him in the face. "What'd you say, kid?"

"They’re giving me the Enterprise," Jim repeats, eyes wide as saucers.

McCoy can feel his jaw drop. Of all the possible outcomes, this one was down near the bottom of the list, right along with Spock tap-dancing across the stage at graduation.

"They’re giving. Me. The Enterprise," Jim says again, obviously hoping that repeating it will make everything make sense. There's an edge to his voice that McCoy doesn't like, an edge that says Jim is one wrong move away from either hysterics or a nervous breakdown.

Hoping to avoid either of those things, McCoy remains silent, and simply puts his hand on Jim's shoulder. They spend a few moments in silence, watching the fading sunlight dance and sparkle across the water.

"Oh Jesus fucking Christ," Jim whispers. "Tell me I’m not gonna fuck it all up." It's phrased as a statement, but McCoy can hear the plea. It's the same plea in Jim's voice that he occasionally hears right before he wakes Jim up from a nightmare; the plea of a lost little boy begging for reassurance from a distant mother and a bastard of a stepfather.

He rubs Jim's back slowly, trying to drain away some of the tension. Jim is coiled so tight that he might explode.

"Naw, not all of it," he says, and he thinks he sees the corner of Jim's mouth twitch. "The way I see it," he continues before Jim can formulate a suitable retort, "you have two options right now. You can go to the ceremony tomorrow and accept the commission. Or you and I can steal a boat and sail away. We got a nice big body of water to lose ourselves on. Either way, I’m stuck calling you Captain. Either way…" He pauses and Jim turns to him expectantly. "Either way, I think I'm happy."

Jim leans in and kisses him gently, so different from his usual passion-filled embrace. "Think you can be happy enough for both of us for a while?" he asks, and turns back to the water. "A small boat somewhere in the Pacific is starting to sound really good right about now. Just think, just the two of us, drifting along, not another soul in sight. Sun-tanning on the deck, catching fish and cooking them up for dinner -- "

"The dehydration, the sun poisoning, the exposure." McCoy looks sharply at Jim. "You're not really thinking about running, are you?" Running is always a possibility with Jim Kirk, and, God help him, McCoy knows that he would follow.

Jim is silent for a moment, staring out over the water. Finally, a lopsided smile appears on his face. "Nah, not really. I think I've had enough of running, for a while anyway. 'sides, I still have to prove Pike wrong."

The tightness in McCoy's chest finally eases. "Brat," he says affectionately.

"Captain Brat, thank you."

And McCoy knows that Jim is going to be okay.


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