: If the Rhythm Doesn't Get You, Jim Kirk Will Pairing
: MatureWord count
: Singing without instruments, sex without strings, roommates without social skills. Thanks
: To the lovely cordelianne
; in her head, this story goes on to be a Sulu/Chekov pornfest. Summary
: Jim Kirk is the captain of Enterprise...a championship college a cappella
group. Leonard McCoy is a pre-med who does not
sing. Seriously.Author's Notes: Sorry, dear readers, I've had some stressful RL weeks (though there has been lots of good news) and really needed a bit of an emotional break from Future Imperfect. So here's a little Pitch Perfect AU. Though I am by no means an expert on the world of college a cappella, I picture Enterprise as something like the Darmouth Aires. You can learn more about this charming group by watching the first YouTube video on the little soundtrack playlist I've put together for this fic. The playlist offers videos of all the songs featured in the fic. They come in a cappella versions where I could find them, with regular or acoustic versions where that was all that was available. (Seriously, though, some of these videos are hilarious/awesome and are not to be missed.) Also, if you're curious, you can read about the bones as a musical instrument.
Leonard looks across the quad in fear.
He’s standing on the steps of the Student Union Building, where he had to come to get his ID card and sign up for a local bank account. He’s sick of lines and of people and of being told to smile. In the distance, he can see his dorm, inside of which is a room whose door can be closed and locked, entry denied to everybody but Leonard.
Well, Leonard and his roommate, but it’s an honors floor and the guy’s supposed to be a senior (a special concession by the college to Leonard, who is matriculating almost four years late because of his father’s illness), so Leonard figures he’ll be mature and studious.
In fact, Leonard might almost say that he’s looking forward to meeting his new roommate.
What Leonard isn’t
looking forward to is walking the Green Mile between here and his dorm.
The college’s main quad was just as obnoxiously picturesque and clichéd when Leonard took his campus tour last spring, but at least it was quiet, then. Now it’s teeming with tables full of flyers and dioramas and other colorful and shiny objects designed to brainwash unsuspecting freshmen into joining a variety of useless and distracting clubs. It’s practically a carnival midway with all the shouting, full of frat boys and scantily clad co-eds extolling the virtues of all the various activities that are supposed to make these the best years of Leonard’s life.
Yeah, right. Only losers peak at the age of twenty-two.
Leonard McCoy is a pre-med, not a prom king.
Leonard puts in the earbuds for his iPod and keeps his head down as he dives headfirst into the breach. He makes it about halfway across the quad without picking up so much as a quarter-sheet before the plan totally backfires.
With his earbuds in and his head down, Leonard sees the kid a second too late to keep from running him down. Only quick hands keep them both from crash landing on the grassy lawn.
Leonard tears the buds out of his ears. “Shit, kid, I’m sorry. Are you okay?” He sets the kid to rights and looks him over to make sure he’s uninjured. “Hey, wait a minute? Are you sure you’re old enough to be here?”
“I am sixteen,” the kid declares proudly, in an accent that’s probably Russian or Ukranian or from some kind of ’Stan.
“Sixteen?” Leonard repeats. “You do know this is college, right?”
The kid’s nod is utterly earnest. “I have graduated early,” he says. “In Russia this is not uncommon. Russians invented high school.”
Leonard is about to question this highly dubious claim when the table next to them suddenly bursts into song.
“Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away, I’ve got to get away…
Yeah, Leonard can relate to that feeling. He starts to act on it, but suddenly the Russian kid is clutching his arm in excitement.
“Oh my god! Is Enterprise! They are the best
group for – how do you call it? – making music only with mouths! I cannot believe they are actually here!”
Leonard turns and takes in six guys in matching jackets, who are indeed singing without instruments. Jesus Christ
. If there’s one thing Leonard didn’t want to encounter today – and let’s face it, there were a good many things Leonard didn’t want to encounter today – it’s a goddamned a cappella group.
“I watch their wideos on YouTube all the time!”
“Right,” Leonard says, patting the kid awkwardly on the shoulder as he tries to shake the kid’s hand off his arm. “Well, I’ll just leave you here to enjoy that, then.”
Leonard struggles for another few seconds before finally breaking free. He’s just about to make his escape when suddenly the singing stops.
A handsome Asian-American kid steps forward and reaches out to shake the still-starstuck Russian’s hand.
“Hey, there. I’m Sulu. Did I hear you say you’re a fan of a cappella?”
!” the Russian kid exclaims. “Yes, that is the name! Yes, I like it wery, wery much.”
Leonard is sure this is his cue to leave, but the Russian kid has latched back onto Leonard’s arm in excitement.
Apparently personal space was not
invented in Russia.
“I like your spirit,” Sulu says. (For the record, Leonard doesn’t.) “What’s your name?”
“Chekov, Pavel Andreivich,” the kid – Pavel – announces proudly.
Sulu turns on Leonard. “What about you?”
“I don’t sing,” Leonard says.
Sulu laughs. “I meant your name.”
Leonard doesn’t laugh. That’s how they get you; one sign of weakness and suddenly you’re standing in a bowtie holding a harmonica and smiling like an idiot. “I don’t sing,” Leonard repeats. He begins prying Pavel’s fingers off his arm. “But seems like Pavel here really, really wants to, so why don’t I just leave y’all to…”
“Y’all!” a loud voice repeats.
Leonard looks up to see a new kid staggering toward them. He’s wearing sunglasses and a disheveled version of the same matching jacket. Leonard takes an instinctive step backwards, but it’s not enough.
In a flash, the kid is practically in Leonard’s arms – like maybe they’re just not teaching young people about personal space anymore – and blowing 80-proof breath in Leonard’s face.
And that’s not the only smell.
“Christ, kid,” Leonard scowls, “you smell like a god-damned whorehouse after the cavalry’s been through town.”
The kid giggles. Actually giggles. “You have the best
voice,” he slurs. “You sure you can’t sing? Girls’d totally throw panties at you.”
Leonard pushes at the kid’s shoulder, trying to set him back a few feet without upsetting whatever precarious balance the kid might have left.
“Gee,” Leonard deadpans. “My loss.”
“Totally,” the kid agrees, lurching back toward Leonard.
This time, Sulu steps in to catch the kid’s arm and steer him away. “Easy there, Cap.”
For lack of a better ally, Leonard shoots Pavel a did-that-just-happen?
look, but Pavel’s just staring at the obnoxious newcomer, looking more starstruck than ever.
“Sorry about that,” Sulu is saying, “the Captain tends to overindulge a bit during Frosh week.”
your captain?” If it’s possible for Leonard’s opinion of this whole outfit to get any lower, it does.
“Oh, I know he’s not much to look at at the moment,” Sulu says, “but sober, he’s a musical genius. And the ladies definitely throw panties.”
Leonard looks to Pavel, who is nodding earnestly. “Is amazing. Is totally amazing.”
“Yeah, well, guess I’ll just have to take your word for it,” Leonard says, backing away. He offers Pavel something he hopes resembles a smile. “Have fun kid. And try to keep your panties on.”
Pavel is still nodding earnestly.
Sulu is laughing.
The kid in the sunglasses is passed out on the ground drooling into the grass.
Having finally escaped the quad, Leonard wants nothing more than a few minutes of peace and quiet. So intent is he on this goal that it comes as quite a shock to open the door and find his roommate sitting at one of the two desks in the room.
“Oh, hey there,” Leonard says. “You startled me. You must be my roommate. I’m Leonard. Leonard McCoy.”
The roommate, not looking in the least bit startled, slowly swivels in his chair to face Leonard. He studies Leonard for a moment, then swivels back toward the desk and continues to work on his laptop.
An awkward silence fills the room.
“What’re you working on?” Leonard finally asks.
“To explain would not be an efficient use of my time,” the roommate informs him without turning around.
“How about telling me your name? Would that be an efficient use of your time?”
The roommate seems to consider this for a moment, then nods. “Yes, I believe the exchange of names at this juncture will serve to streamline future communication. I am Spock.”
“Leonard,” Leonard says. “Leonard McCoy.”
“You already said that,” Spock says.”I have not forgotten.”
“Gosh,” Leonard says, “nice to meet you, too.”
Spock nods again – more acknowledgement than agreement – and then turns back to his work, making it clear he would prefer not to be distracted further.
At this point, Leonard is more than happy to oblige.Fucking college
. If only he could go straight to med school.
“Hey, hot old guy!”
At first Leonard has no idea that the voice calling from across the lobby of the student union is calling to him.
“Hey, hot old guy! Wait up!”
Leonard still has no idea what’s going on, but this time the commotion is enough to get him to pause and turn.
Unfortunately, pausing and turning provides exactly the chance the owner of the voice needs to catch up to Leonard, and suddenly the drunk kid from the quad that day is all up in Leonard’s business again.
“Hey,” he says breathlessly, “didn’t you hear me calling you?”
Leonard’s eyebrow leaps upward in disbelief. “Hey, hot old guy
? That was you calling me?”
“Well, you didn’t give us your name before. Mine’s Jim Kirk, by the way.” The kid offers what is no doubt seen by many as a charming smile.
Leonard is not impressed. “I’m twenty-two
“Yeeeah,” Jim says, “it’s not really your literal age so much as that crotchety death-stare thing that you do…Yep, that’s the one right there. Makes you look at least forty.”
Leonard really doesn’t know what to say to that. On the one hand, Jim Kirk crossed a very large room just to talk to Leonard again. On the other hand, Leonard is late for class. On that same hand, Jim is a moron.
Leonard turns and walks away.
“But hot,” Jim calls after him. “Don’t forget the hot part!”
Leonard doesn’t turn back.
That’s the second time Leonard meets Jim Kirk.
The third time Leonard meets Jim Kirk, they sleep together.
Jim is a lot less drunk than the first time; Leonard is a lot more.
Leonard knows he’s drunk because he’s starting to have trouble remembering the details of his phone call with Jocelyn earlier in the evening, which went something like:Jocelyn: I don’t think this is working.
Leonard: What are you talking about?
Jocelyn: I’m in law school now, Len. And you’re a college freshman.
Leonard: We’re the same age.
Jocelyn: It’s not really about age. It’s about life stages, you know?
Leonard: Are you kidding me? It’s not like I took four years off to bum around Europe and find myself. My father got sick and died a slow painful death.
Jocelyn: I really wish you wouldn’t say that.
Leonard: Excuse me?
Jocelyn: It’s just – it’s kind of like emotional blackmail.
Leonard: It’s kind of, like, true.
Jocelyn: Look, I was there for you Len. I did my best. Don’t cast me in the role of Heartless Bitch.
Leonard: Then stop auditioning.
Jocelyn: I’m hanging up now.
Leonard: Go to hell, Joce.
Jocelyn: Goodbye, Len.
Okay, so the details aren’t quite as fuzzy as Leonard would like, but he’s working on it.
Especially the part where, half an hour later, while Leonard was staring dejectedly at Facebook, he received notification that Jocelyn Darnell had updated her relationship status.
And it wasn’t to “Single.”
The other way Leonard knows he’s drunk is that he’s walking up to the front of the party to sing karaoke. Because while karaoke is anathema to sober!Leonard, drunk!Leonard has always had a particular weakness for it.
He tells the guy running the machine which song he wants and picks up the mike, but doesn’t bother looking at the screen for the lyrics. He closes his eyes instead and waits through the opening bars.
Then he starts to sing. “Mmm, L.A. proved too much for the man.”Too much for the man,
go the background vocals. He couldn’t take it.“So he’s leavin’ the life he’s come to know. Mmmm.”He said he’s going.
“He said he’s going back to find.”Going back to find.“Oooohhh. What’s left of his world.”
Leonard hears movement around him at the party, but keeps his eyes shut, cradling the mike. “The world he left behind, not so long ago, ooohhhh.”
He really starting to feel it now, belting the next lyrics. “He’s leaving.”“Leavin’!”
Leonard’s eyes snap open as he’s echoed by suddenly very live
background vocals.“On that midnight train to Georgia,”
he continues automatically, as he finds himself slowly and completely surrounded in what can only be described as a guerilla a cappella
attack.“Leavin’ on that midnight train,”
Jim Kirk and that Sulu guy sing in perfect unison, and all at once the karaoke machine is switched off and replaced by a series of ba-dums
.“Said he’s going back…”
Leonard sings, squeezing his eyes shut again.“Going back to find.”
Jim Kirk really does have a great voice.“…to a simpler place in time,”
The voices are all around him now. “When he takes that ride, guess who’s going be right by his side?”“And I’ll be with him,”
Leonard belts, giving in to the strange sensation of standing in the middle of the song.“I know you will,”
Jim Kirk whispers.“On that midnight train to Georgia.” “Leavin’ on the midnight train to Georgia,”
Sulu sings.“Oooh, oooh,”
the group intones.“I’d rather live in his world, than live without him in mine.”
Leonard’s eyes peek open and then shut again immediately as he registers the fact that at least half the party is staring at them now.
The rest of the song passes in a sort of haze as Leonard lets the melody take him over and does his best to block out everything else. As the group intones the final notes, applause breaks out, along with chants of, “En-ter-prise! En-ter-prise!”
Apparently the Russian kid isn’t the only a cappella acolyte on campus.
Leonard opens his eyes, shoves the microphone into Jim Kirk’s hands, and flees the proverbial spotlight, heading straight for more alcohol. He barely registers Jim Kirk’s voice saying, “Here, hold it down without me for a minute,” before Enterprise breaks back into song.
Or rhythm, at least.
“Ba-da-dum. Dum. Ba-da-dum. Dum.
What Leonard wouldn’t do for some bourbon right now. Once his father’s drink of choice; now his. He’s busy settling for keg beer when Jim Kirk catches up with him.
“Hey, man, you were awesome up there.”
Leonard takes a long swallow from his red plastic cup. “Please go away,” he says. “I’m really not in the mood.”
“Aw, come on,” Jim says. “We didn’t mean to embarrass you. You have nothing to be embarrassed about, believe me.”
“I won’t cry, I won’t cry. No I won’t shed a tear. Just as long as you stand, stand by me.
“Please?” Leonard repeats.
Jim holds up his hands. “At least tell me your name first. You didn’t seem to like ‘Hot Old Guy.’”
“You really don’t need to call me anything at all,” Leonard says.
Jim blinks in exaggerated fashion. “Wow, man. Harsh.”
Leonard isn’t inclined to apologize. “There’s no need to follow me around, okay? I’m not interested in joining your little cult.”
Jim laughs. “You think that’s
why I’m trying to get you to talk to me?”
Jim laughs again. “Have you looked in a mirror lately?”
Leonard can feel himself starting to blush, but hopes the light is bad enough that Jim won’t notice. He looks toward the ground. “Yeah, right.”
“I’m serious, man. I was pretty wasted that first time and I still noticed how hot you were. I even remembered the next day. Also, that voice…”
“Here we go again,” Leonard mutters.
“No, not like that,” Jim says, his tongue darting out to wet his lips. “More like, ‘Baby, say my name.’”
Leonard, who has just taken another drink of his beer, almost spits it out. He manages to swallow instead. “Do you always come on this strong?”
“I usually don’t have to. Most people are much easier.” Jim reaches out to rest a hand on Leonard’s upper arm. “C’mon, what d’you say we go back to my place?”
“I’d settle for the bathroom.”
Leonard’s eyebrow lifts. “Seriously?” Jim Kirk is starting to sound like a serious disease risk.
Jim shrugs. “Well, it’s more fun if we can take our time, but I’ll take what I can get.”
Leonard shakes his head. “Look,” he tries, “I’m…flattered? But it’s really not a good night.”
Meanwhile, Enterprise is sliding from King to Kingston. “You’re way too beautiful girl,”
Sulu is singing, “That’s why it’ll never work. You’ll have me suicidal, suicidal, when you say it’s over. Damn all these beautiful girls, they only wanna do you dirt. They’ll have you suicidal, suicidal when they it’s over.”
When Jim shows no signs of departure for greener pastures, Leonard doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. The kid’s persistent, you’ve gotta give him that.
“What happened?” Jim asks. “You just get dumped or something?”
Persistent, and obnoxiously perceptive. Leonard knows the confirmation must be written all over his face, so he’s really not expecting Jim’s sudden smile.
“It’s a really good thing you met me, then,” Jim says. “I give awesome
“I don’t need rebound sex,” Leonard grumbles automatically, though suddenly it’s not sounding like all that bad an idea…
needs rebound sex,” Jim says. “Good distraction, physical release, no strings…”
Having just broken up with his high-school sweetheart, Leonard has very little experience with no-strings sex.
Or with men.
He could probably use some.
Enterprise has finished their medley and the crowd is going wild again.
“Look,” Jim says, holding up his hands. “I’m just gonna go sing a few more numbers with my boys. Offer’s open. You just give me the signal and we’re out of here.”
At first, Leonard is shocked by Jim’s sudden and almost certainly uncharacteristic retreat.
Then Jim starts singing the lead of Enterprise’s next song…“I’ve been really trying, baby. Trying to hold back this feeling for so long. And if you feel like I feel, baby, then come on. Let’s get it on. Oh, baby, let’s get it on.”
Leonard definitely has to laugh now.
And get another drink.
He’s about halfway through that drink, when the song transitions.“Oh, baby, now let's get down tonight,”
the backup singers sing.
Jim winks at Leonard. “Baaaaaby, I'm hot just like an oven. I need some lovin'. And baaaaby, I can't hold it much longer, it's getting stronger and stronger. And when I get that feeling, I want sexual healing…”
Leonard just smiles and shakes his head.
And gets another drink.
Next up in the set list is “I Want You to Want Me,” with Jim looking straight at Leonard as he begs him to beg him.
A cheap trick, indeed.
And then, a few minutes later, Jim is assuring Leonard, with heartfelt oohs
, that he doesn’t want anybody else and that when he thinks about Leonard, he touches himself.“Ooh, oooh, oooooh, aaaaaah.”
Leonard can barely breathe for laughing and he feels the last of his reservations crumbling.
He honestly does.
But before Leonard can wave the white flag, the next song starts up…with whistling.
Oh, dear lord.
Jim winks at Leonard. “Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle, baby? Let me know. I'm gonna show you how to do it, and we start real slow. You just put your lips together, and you come real close. Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle, baby? Here we go.”
With Jim so obviously singing right to him, Leonard’s first instinct is to melt into the floor in embarrassment. But then he decides, fuck it. If he and Jim are going to do this thing, it’s going to be on equal terms. Leonard’s through playing shy.
He’s also totally lost count of his drinks.
The Enterprise backup singers are back to whistling, when Leonard walks up to the group and plucks the mike right out of Jim’s hand.“Na-na-na, come on,”
Leonard prompts, glancing at the singers around him. “Na-na-na, come on.”
Jim is wide-eyed.
Sulu smirks and picks up the intro. “Na-na-na-na-na, come on. Na-na-na, come on, come on, come.”
Soon, the rest of the group joins in, completing the intro and leaving Leonard free for the first verse.“Feels so good being bad,”
he croons to the feeling of alcohol coursing through his veins. “There’s no way I’m turning back. Now the pain is my pleasure, ‘cause nothing could measure.”
As he continues, Leonard turns to look at Jim, who seems – slowly – to be recovering from his shock. A moment later, he shoots Leonard a huge grin and joins him for the chorus.“’Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it. Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”
The crowd whoops and hollers and drunk!Leonard loves it, singing on with relish.
When the song is over, Jim leans in close to Leonard’s ear. “Please tell me this means we can get out of here now.”
“Fuck, yeah,” Leonard says.
He catches Sulu’s knowing smirk as they slip away.
“Didn’t have you pegged for a RiRi fan,” Jim says as they make their way from the frat house to a nearby apartment building.
Flirting comes easy when Leonard’s three sheets to the wind. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”
Jim’s eyes light up. “Please tell me you’re going to spank me.”
“Not on the first date,” Leonard says.
As far as college experimentation goes, Leonard’s pretty sure he couldn’t have chosen much better than Jim Kirk. The kid really knows his way around the male body and delivers a blowjob Leonard won’t soon forget.
In spite of his inebriated state.
Due to which state, Leonard can’t quite say he gave as good as he got, but what his handjob lacked in skill, Leonard hopes it made up for in uninhibited enthusiasm.
Jim definitely comes. And he seems happy enough afterwards.
Or so Leonard concludes in the minute or two between the end of the handjob and passing out face first on Jim’s bed.
Sometime in the middle of the night, Leonard wakes up with Jim snoring next to him and wonders if he should get out while he can still make the walk of shame under cover of darkness, but he’s pretty sure he’s still drunk and isn’t entirely certain he’d make it back to his dorm on his own without falling down a stairwell or something.
When Leonard wakes again, he can see light coming in through the blinds and figures that makes it time for his exit. He rolls out of the bed as gently as he can, trying not to disturb the still sleeping Jim, and manages to locate all of his clothing scattered on the floor. He’s got his jeans on and has just finished pulling on his t-shirt. The voice from the bed makes him jump.
“There’s a bagel shop down on the corner that makes amazing coffee. Can you get us some? Raisin.”
Before Leonard can consent or refuse, Jim has rolled over and seemingly gone back to sleep.
Leonard guesses that settles it.
It’s only when he gets back from the bagel shop and starts setting things on the coffee table, that Jim deigns to climb out of the bed and join Leonard on the couch.
good coffee,” Leonard agrees after the first sip.
Jim nods. “When I actually want to talk to someone again, I find it’s better if I don’t just let them sneak out in the morning. Way less awkward this way.”
Jim, apparently, is an expert at one-night stands.
“Who says we’re going to talk again?” Leonard teases. “You don’t even know my name.”
“Don’t worry,” Jim says, “I’ll come up with something. Besides, once you join Enterprise, it’ll be weird if you don’t talk to the captain.”
Leonard could get used to the way Jim makes him laugh. “Nice try, kid, but it ain’t happening.”
“Oh, come on, why not?” Jim asks from around a mouthful of raisin bagel. “You can’t tell me you didn’t have fun last night.”
Leonard casts a glance toward the bed. “I had plenty of fun last night.”
“Thanks,” Jim says, “but you know that’s not what I meant. What is it? You have something against group activities?”
Leonard raises an eyebrow. “You mean besides their very existence?”
Jim rolls his eyes. “I get it. You’re a rock, you’re an island. And you may never cry, but you sure as hell can sing. Why’d you lie about it before?”
“You said you couldn’t sing.”
“I said I don’t
“But you did
“Doesn’t count. I was drunk.”
Jim chuckles. “Hey, sobriety is not
a qualification for Enterprise membership, believe me. The captain is inclined to look the other way.”
“The captain sounds like an ass when he refers to himself in the third person,” Leonard feels compelled to point out. He sighs. “Look, you really don’t want to be standing next to me on a stage with alcohol churning in my stomach. Unless you like getting thrown up on.”
Jim shrugs. “There are worse things. So, what, you get stage fright?”
“I suffer from glossophobia – the fear of looking like a total idiot in front of strangers.”
Jim’s smile doesn’t waver. “We can totally get you over that. It’d be a serious crime not to share your voice with the world.”
“The world seems to be stumbling along just fine without it.”
“Auditions are this evening at six in Archer Auditorium. I’ll be sitting front and center. Just pick something familiar – something comforting – and come sing it to me. Just me.”
Leonard says nothing.
“Aw, come on, don’t make me beg.”
Leonard sighs. “I’ll think about it,” he says, if only to shut Jim up already.
“Awesome,” Jim says.
To Leonard’s surprise, he does
think about it.
It’s a Sunday, and Spock is off doing whatever robots masquerading as humans do in their spare time, leaving Leonard the room to himself. He’s sitting at his desk trying to study, but his eyes keep drifting to the pair of antique rib bones sitting on his bookshelf. Eventually, he stands up, picks them up off the shelf, and sits back down, running his fingers over their smooth finish.
He thinks about all the other fingers that might have touched them before him. (And then he smiles thinking about Spock, who’s more than a little OCD, and would probably be horrified by that line of thought.) They date back to at least the Civil War and they’ve been passing from McCoy father to McCoy son ever since – along with the knowledge of how to play them.
Leonard remembers the summer his father taught him to play. It was unseasonably warm, even for Georgia, and the air conditioning broke on them three times. He was twelve, and definitely on the shy side, and most days his father would urge him to put down his book for a minute and go play outside with the other kids. But now, suddenly, he was allowed to stay home and learn something.
Something that his father used to promise would give him the nimble hands needed to be a world class surgeon.
And not “just a country doctor” like his dad.
Leonard’s mother would scold his father for these comments, warning him not to pressure Leonard, to let Leonard choose his own path. But as Leonard watched his father demonstrate the intricate and rapid rhythms, his mind was already made up. The challenge of it won him over.
He wanted to be able to do that.
And he wanted to be able to heal people, too.
By the time Leonard convinces himself to actually walk into the auditorium, most of the a cappella hopefuls seem to be gone. He catches the tail end of Pavel Chekov’s audition by listening through the door and is relieved to hear that the kid is actually very good. He’ll surely make the group.
Leonard’s not sure he’ll make it through the audition, let alone onto Enterprise.
He’s still not even sure that he wants to.
In fact, he’s just about to back quietly out the door he just stepped through, when he’s spotted. By Jim, of course.
“Hey! You made it!” Jim calls, effectively forcing Leonard to step into the auditorium or look like a total fool before he’s even started.
And, damn it, if he’s going to look like a fool, he might as well look like a fool while actually doing what he came here to do. He takes several deep breathes and puts one foot in front of the other until he’s standing center stage looking out at the existing members of Enterprise.
Jim is holding a clipboard. “Name, please,” he calls with a smirk.
“McCoy,” Leonard says with a matching smirk, conceding to Jim his victory. “Leonard McCoy.”
The kid actually pulls a face at that, the little brat. But it does give Leonard something besides his nerves to focus on.
Still, he’s pretty sure he can’t do this standing, so he pulls the pair of bones from his back pocket and sits down on the edge of the stage. He looks once out at Jim and just then down at his own hand against his thigh as he starts up a rhythm.“Day after day I’m more confused,”
he begins, though it comes out just above a whisper. “So I look for the light in the pouring rain.”
He pictures his father singing this same song all those years ago and his voice gets a little bit stronger. “You know that's a game that I hate to lose. And I'm feelin' the strain. Oh, ain't it a shame.”
Leonard has his eyes closed now, but he can feel the smoothness of the bones between his fingers and the vibrations as they click and clack against each other. He can picture Jim’s smiling face, and his father’s.“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul. I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
And drift Leonard does. For the next few minutes he’s transported back to Georgia, sitting in the shade of the front porch – young and naïve and free – and unable to even imagine having to think of doing without his father someday.
He’s not that kid anymore.
But he’s glad he was once.“Thanks for the joy that you've given me. I want you to know I believe in your song. Rhythm and rhyme and harmony. You help me along, makin' me strong. Oh, gimme the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock n' roll and drift away.”
When Leonard finishes the song and opens his eyes – finally really takes in his audience – the nausea immediately starts to rise in his gut.
He scrambles to his feet. “Um, thanks,” he murmurs, before beating a hasty retreat.
When Jim catches up with him – of course – Leonard is outside under an oak tree, bent over with his hands on his knees, trying to breathe and restore bloodflow to his light, light head.
Jim claps an exceptionally unhelpful hand on Leonard’s back. “See, you did it…Leonard.” Leonard’s stomach lurches as Jim continues muttering to himself. “Okay, no, I am not going to be able to call you ‘Leonard.’ Even you’re
not that crotchety.”
“I may throw up on you,” Leonard groans.
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Jim notes far too cheerfully. “So, where’d you get those cool things you were playing?”
“Bones,” Leonard says.
“Really? Like actual human bones?”
Leonard manages to lift his head for the sole purpose of making sure Jim can read from his expression what a stupid thought that is. “Animal bones. Probably a horse or a mule. These are about a century and a half old, though. Nowadays, they make them with wood.” Leonard almost stops the explanation there, but he’s so tired of doing that. So tired of not
talking about his father. “My dad used to play them. He taught me how.”
“Used to?” Jim asks.
“He died last year,” Leonard says as simply as possible, all ready for the awkward silence and guilty backpedalling to a safer subject.
But it doesn’t come.
“Yeah,” Jim says. “Mine, too. I mean, not last year. Actually, a long time ago. The day I was born.”
“Damn,” Leonard says. “What happened?”
Jim’s lips quirk. “Would you believe he died nobly in a freak a cappella accident that once made me swear never to have anything to do with a college vocal group but ultimately led me to take up singing to try to live up to and perhaps even surpass his example?”
Leonard huffs a small laugh. “Probably not,” he admits, “but you can tell me the real story later. I don’t supposed the details much matter, anyway. Sometimes life just sucks.”
Jim nods. “Yeah, it kinda does.”
He looks down at Leonard’s hand and then reaches out. Leonard hands him the instrument.
Jim spends a lot time studying it, moving the pieces around in his hands. “Bones, huh? I like it.”
Leonard isn’t all that surprised that he makes Enterprise. He knows his voice is good.
What surprises him is that he actually shows up to the first rehearsal.
When Pavel sees Leonard, he leaves his position glued to Sulu’s side and hurries across the room to throw his arms around Leonard in what – from Leonard’s perspective – is the world’s most awkward hug. Meanwhile, Leonard’s eyes find Jim, who is grinning like a cat with canary feathers between its teeth.
Leonard rolls his eyes.
“You are here!” Pavel chirps. “Is fantastic!”
Leonard pats him on the shoulder, twice, before easing him back to a comfortable distance. “You, too, kid.”
As the rehearsal goes on, Leonard is also surprised to find that he doesn’t hate it. If asked, point blank, he might even admit he was having fun.
“So,” Sulu asks him during a water break, “how’d the Captain convince you to join up?”
“How do you know it was Jim who convinced me?” Leonard asks. He refuses to call Jim ‘Captain.’
Sulu just gives him a look.
Leonard can feel himself starting to blush, and feels like a moron. “Well, you know…I mean, he…we…”
“He slept with you,” Sulu supplies.
Leonard looks down at the ground. He feels Sulu’s hand come to rest on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, man. You’re not the only one.”
Leonard looks up at that. “You’re saying that’s his regular recruiting method?”
Sulu shrugs. “Well, not only. The Captain doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios.”
Leonard sighs and rolls his eyes at himself. Of course.
“I mean, how do you think we’ve gotten so good at the ‘Sex, Please’ Set List? It’s all about practice. Although,” Sulu continues, “you’re the first person I’ve ever seen grab the mike and give him a taste of his own medicine.”
“I'm studying to be a doctor,” Leonard says.
When he thinks about it later, it doesn’t surprise Leonard that Jim likes sex enough to consider it a valid recruitment tool. And Leonard doesn’t exactly object when Jim continues to invite Leonard back to his place after rehearsals.
He figures Jim’s got an interest in keeping up team morale.
As for Leonard, he has an interest in getting laid on a regular basis without having to take time out of his busy study (and rehearsal) schedule to find willing partners. Plus, it gives him a chance to build his skills. (Although, according to Jim, all Leonard really needs to get anyone off is his voice).
What does surprise Leonard is figuring out that he’s the only member of Enterprise whose morale Jim chooses to boost in this particular way.
With the others, apparently, it was just a one-time thing.
Also surprising is Jim’s total refusal to simply ignore Leonard’s roommate.
When Spock informs Jim that to make small talk with him would not be an efficient use of Spock’s time, Jim actually asks Spock what subjects Spock does deem worthy of discussion. Of course, when the only answer turn out be theoretical physics, Leonard figures that’ll be the end of it.
He doesn’t count on Jim spending three weeks reading up on theoretical physics in his spare time.
And he really doesn’t count on Jim actually understanding it.
Don’t ask Leonard how he can tell – what with the total lack of any change of facial expression – but Spock is (grudgingly) impressed.
Jim is smug. But what else is new?
Most surprising of all is the fact that Leonard actually gets a handle on his stage fright.
Not like he’s volunteering for a solo or anything anytime soon, but if he stands in the back and focuses on his choreography, he finds he can deliver perfectly pitched oohs
without succumbing to the urge to paint the stage with the contents of his stomach.
Mind you, the urge is still there, but it no longer sends Leonard running. Or, at least when it threatens to – like when they actually make it to Nationals in Washington, DC – Leonard is ready with his new coping strategy.
He doesn’t bother picturing the whole audience naked. He just focuses on the one team captain and that’s all the distraction that he needs.
Jim’s choreography calls for a turn and, when he sees Leonard staring at him, he offers a wink and a private smirk before facing the audience again with his public one.“’Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it. Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”
Maybe group activities aren’t all
bad. Leonard can’t wait to get back to the hotel room.FIN.
Tags: kirk-mccoy fic, modern day au
Current Mood: tired