Disclaimer: I, CYAHB claim no ownership over ST 2009/2103. I'm just a student squandering her non-existent free time feeding her McCoy addiction.
Note: Be nice, this was written on my phone, while i was at a bar waiting for my friends to stop drinking so I could drive them home. Oh did I mention there was country music involved? Lethal combination.
Don't forget to review my lovelies.
"Love makes the world go round?
Not at all.
Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast."
The one good thing about san francisco, Leonard had decided, was the excessive amount of bars. Everywhere you looked there was at least 2 bars on the block, and that was excluding night clubs. Leonard wasn't even sure how he had found this place, a dingy dive that probably should have been shut down a few decades back. Somewhere between his classes and avoiding the holo message from Jocelyn waiting in his tiny dorm room.
It was far from a friendly feeling place, with its dark peeling paint and stained linoleum. In fact it was the exact opposite to the places he used to take Jocelyn. The overwhelming stench of sweat, old alcohol and stale smoke permeated the air in a heavy cloud. Leonard had a sneaking suspicion that the only reason the health inspectors hadn't closed it down was because they didn't know it existed.
It fit Leonard's mood perfectly.
The band was loud. Country maybe? It was hard to tell. The speakers were so loud it was mostly white notice. It was impossible to hear any of the background noise from the bar. Leonard couldn't even make out the words of the guys chatting right beside him. He could feel the beat from the song resonating through his feet and the white knuckle grip he had around his glass though. He focused on the feeling, tightening his hold.
Weary eyes scanned the bar, taking in everything with very little interest. Only one fact truly captured his interest. There was a distinct lack of red here, Leonard couldn't see a single cadet. Maybe that was why he liked this place so much. It was bad enough he was all but repeating college. And maybe he was taking psych now instead of medicine, but the concept was the same. It was just insult to injury to be doing it with kids half his age.
Not at this bar, it seemed. With the exception of the band attempting to blow his ear drums, the bar was relatively quiet. The patrons were all focused on themselves and everyone remained in their chairs. No grinding, no screaming, no grouping. Just drinking and some chatting among old friends.
Leonard took the shot he had been nursing. It burned the entire way down. He was no stranger to hard alcohol, his dad had all but raised him on the slow burn of Tennessee rye. But this wasn't whiskey. It was just replicated shit that could be bought on the cheap with the sole purpose of getting you drunk. Because Leonard had just bought textbooks, and apparently some things never changed. Weren't you only supposed to go through the broke student phase once?
He ordered another shot anyway. He wasn't drinking for the taste.
It took a while for the bartender to get his drink, and when the Orion finally reappeared, it was with an entirely different glass. Leonard stared at it, examining the rich amber liquid with a critical eye, letting it's familiar scent wash over him. Whiskey, and not the cheap stuff from the looks of it. "That's not what I ordered."
The hulking green man seemed non-pulsed by this information. Instead the bartender just shrugged and jabbed a thumb over his shoulder to the other side of the bar. "It's from the guy in the leather jacket." he rumbled as Leonard followed the gesture. Sure enough standing on the opposite end of the bar a tall, blond man smiled and waved with more enthusiasm this place probably saw in a week.
The face was familiar, there was no denying that. But Leonard drew a blank whenever he tried to remember where he'd seen the person before. Panic curled in the pit of his stomach as the mystery drink-giver began to weave his way over. The kid obviously knew who he was, but Leonard didn't have a clue.
Leonard had come here for a drink; If he had wanted an awkward conversation he would have tried to make friends with the cadets on campus. There was nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone when you had completely forgotten their name.
His mind froze as Leonard tried to figure out the easiest way to slip out of here before the kid made his way over. But the blonde was between him and the door. The bathroom was always an option. But he was a doctor damn it, he was far above climbing out tiny ass windows to avoid a conversation.
But when the mystery's kid's bright blue eyes met Leonard's own, the light blub of recognition finally flared in the back of his mind. Leonard almost laughed out loud as the whirlwind that was Jim Kirk closed in. It probably should have come to him quicker. But in Leonard's defence that last time he had seen the guy he had been three sheets to the wind, a place he was only a shot or two away from now.
After he had threatened to throw up on the poor guy a lifetime ago -or only a week, depending on how you looked at it- they had gone their separate ways. Command and Medical didn't have many correlating classes. And from what Leonard had heard in the rumour mill, Kirk's social life far exceeded that of some scummy old drinking hole.
Over-the-hill and pessimistic wasn't the normal crowd for any twenty year old, especially not one with Kirk's reputation. Yet here he was. The kid had ditched the reds most cadets wore like a security blanket in favour of worn jeans and a brown leather jacket that had obviously seen better days. His hair was carefully mussed and his blue eyes twinkled as he slapped Leonard on the shoulder.
"Bones!" Jim crowed in triumph, as if completely oblivious to Leonard's shock."You're a hard man to track down."
"Bones?" Leonard repeated incredulously, not sure what to do with anything that had come out of the kids mouth. "Do I even want to know where you came up with that?"
Jim laughed, the sound low and easy in a way that told Leonard that the empty beer bottle in his hand was far from his first that evening. "You gave me the idea." He said far too happily, before switching into the worst impression of a southern accent Leonard had heard in a long time. "All I got left is my bones, remember? Thought it be perfect for a grumpy old doc like you."
Unable to resist the urge, Leonard rolled his eyes. Nonetheless he still reached for the whiskey in front of him. "You know Kid, i'm not a woman. You don't have to buy me drinks just because your desperate for attention.
Jim shrugged as he dropped his empty bottle on the bar and leaned up against the counter. " I drained your flask while you were ranting about space, death and disease. Figured I owed you one."
So that's what happened to the rest of his bourbon. Leonard had wondered, because he didn't remember finishing it off. But if truth be told he didn't remember the majority of the shuttle ride to star fleet. So he grunted in response and pointed to the stool beside him. "You going to order something, or am I drinking alone?" Leonard asked pointedly as Jim made absolutely no movement towards sitting down. Yet Leonard had the distinct feeling the kid wasn't going any time soon. Whether that was a good thing was fully up for debate.
"One step ahead you Bones." Jim said with a smirk as the bartender sent another glass of whiskey shooting down the bar. Leonard's scowl deepened. Surely the brat didn't intend to keep calling him that god awful name? It was funny once, and barely than.
Leonard raised a hand, signalling the bartender for two beers. He watched as his new drinking partner settled on the stool, a wolfish grin on the Kid's young face. Their empty glasses struck the surface of the bar at the same time. They chased it with the beer.
It came as a surprise when Leonard realized that his lips where beginning to tingle. It had been a long time since 80 proof had made him buzz like this. Not since he was teenager at the very least. Normally he just skipped right into mind-numbingly drunk. But Leonard kind of liked the sensation: the loose feeling in his arms and legs, how light his felt head was becoming. He even laughed for the first time in what felt like ages when Jim launched into a story so raunchy that Leonard swore the bartender blushed.
The drinks kept coming, and Jim kept talking. Stories of the hilarity of a misspent youth, the girls he had slept with and the boyfriends he had subsequently pissed off and landed in bed afterwards. Jim only stopped moving his damn yap to take another swig of the whiskey. Leonard doubted he even paused to breath. The kid's eyes seemed to glow brighter with each swallow, tapping his foot and banging his head to the rhythm of a song neither of them had ever heard before.
It was easy to fall into beat with Jim, and before Leonard knew what was happening he started revealing his own stories. It was impossible not to laugh, the whiskey making it easier. It wasn't long before they where leaning precariously against each other, slapping each other's backs as laugher turned their insides to jelly. Everyone in the bar was staring at them, Leonard could feel their glares on the back of his neck.
It only made him laugh harder.
So when Jim suggested the party he had heard about 5 blocks over in some run-down warehouse, Leonard didn't think twice. He wasn't even sure what he was doing it, or even why. But for the first time since landing in this cold, damp corner of hell it felt like he was doing the right thing. Or maybe he should be asking the Orion what they hell was in his drink. Whatever the reason, Leonard slammed some money down on the bar, and grabbed his jacket of the back of the chair
After all, someone had to make sure the kid didn't die of alcohol poisoning.