When it first started happening, he had almost convinced himself that he was hallucinating from too much booze, or too little sleep, or both.
As time went on and it still kept happening, he'd decided that it was a sign of an incipient nervous breakdown, the rational veneer that he'd been clinging to by a freakin' thread since his father died and his life went to total shit, sliding right the fuck off under the pressure of wanting something that he was never going to get. It was sublimated desire, refracted through an oddly chaste dream, like a memory of all the good parts of monogamy, without the really good parts, goddamnit.
But now that it'd been four nights without Jim Kirk sneaking into his bed to sleep, he was truly afraid that he was going to crack right the fuck up.
Because how the hell did it get to the point where he can't fuckin' sleep without Kirk, when all Kirk has ever fuckin' done was sleep with him?
If Leonard McCoy's life could get any fucking weirder, it would be... Jesus, he didn't even want to think what that could possibly mean, because it'd already been too fucking weird to make any kind of rational sense. Because, really. He will not get any kind of sleep tonight again, if Jim doesn't show up. And bitter experience — does he have any other kind? — has proven that a Leonard McCoy who hasn't slept more than an hour or two out of closing in on 96 hours is a fuckin' psychotic nightmare.
And he has the residency write-ups to back him the fuck up on that.
Switch provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: The entire fic takes place from McCoy's voice, delving deep into his backstory and inner monologues.
- Adoption Is Not an Option: When McCoy is reflecting on how the final straw on his and his ex-wife's marriage was their inability to have children together, adoption is never mentioned.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kirk gets quite a bit of attention at the Academy.
- Ambiguously Absent Parent: Winona, Kirk's mother, wasn't around much in his childhood and only appears at the very end. McCoy notes around half a year into the fic and their close friendship that Kirk never mentions his mother, nor does he even know her first name until he looks her up on the Starfleet Database.
- Anything That Moves: Kirk. McCoy describes him early on in the fic as "fucking anything he took a liking to" and " bound by neither gender nor species".
- Bait-and-Switch: The paragraph beginning with If he'd thought about it all, he would have seen that the progression from friendship to lovers was inevitable between them leads the reader to believe it refers to McCoy and Kirk, when in fact it refers to McCoy and his close friend, the OC Patty.
- Beautiful Dreamer: McCoy views Kirk in this way.
- Birthday Hater: He hates celebrating his birthday because it reminds him of his father's death, made worse by the planetwide commemoration that occur every year. As a result, he disappears into the shadows every holiday season to hide from the paparazzi.
- Boldly Coming: Kirk has a lover, or "repeater" as he calls it, in the form of Green-Skinned Space Babe Gaila.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: And dead siblings, and dead grandparents, and dead great-grandparents...
- Brilliant, but Lazy: While at Starfleet Academy, Kirk shows the aptitude to excel in any number of areas, only needing to spend a little effort to understand complex subjects, but not the desire to.
- Broken Bird: McCoy sees Kirk as one.
- Cast Full of Gay: Kirk and McCoy, the two primary characters, as well as the majority of the side characters are almost all bisexual.
- Commitment Issues: Kirk finds it difficult to believe love exists and, if it does, if it's worth it. He views it as a drug not worth taking, and refers to people he's had sex with multiple times 'repeaters', stemming from seeing his mother remarry and divorce twice during his childhood.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Kirk lost his father just minutes after his birth, was frequently abused by his stepfather while his mother was off-planet, survived Tarsus IV when his brother and many, many others did not, and was already a repeat offender long before enlisting in Starfleet. McCoy, also, to a lesser extent, who lost his mother and sister in an accident when he was eight, performed euthanasia on his dying father merely months before the cure was discovered, and went through a nasty divorce just before the events of the fic.
- Distracted by the Sexy: McCoy during surgery gets distracted by Kirk who is watching from the observation deck.
- Doctor's Orders: A card played by McCoy on a number of occasions, especially towards those who would outrank him otherwise.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Kirk towards McCoy, multiple times.
- Dr. Jerk: McCoy is cantankerous and stubborn and it's very clear most of the interns are afraid of him.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Kirk and McCoy spend most of the first few months at the Academy doing just this.
- Eatingthe Eye Candy: There's not a scene that goes by featuring Kirk in various states of undress or featuring Gaila at all in which McCoy does not show appreciation for their bodies.
- Famed in Story: Kirk is very famous in-story for being the son of a famous Starfleet Captain.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Referenced by Kirk frequently.
- Fight Magnet: Kirk gets into frequent fights.
- First-Name Basis: McCoy becomes this with Uhura.
- Friends with Benefits: McCoy and the OC Patty.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gaila, a full-on version of this trope, is expanded from a few lines in the movie to a major side character in the fic.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Kirk is a blond Jerk With A Heartof Gold.
- Has a Type: McCoy often goes for people who are a few years older than him or have names beginning with 'J'.
- Head-Turning Beauty: Gaila - a curvy, lush Green-Skinned Space Babe - has this effect on most due to her powerful pheromones and general allure.
- Heartbroken Badass: McCoy has a broken heart over Kirk for a lot of the fic yet still kicks ass, both verbally and physically, when need be.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Kirk, big time.
- Homophobic Hate Crime: Third-year students prank Kirk's class with t-shirts stamped with 'KFF', standing for 'Kirk's Fucking Faggots'.
- Hospital Hottie: McCoy, to his embarrassment.
- Hypocrite: Kirk accuses McCoy of this with regards to him spending his summer curing a deadly disease when he had chewed Kirk out for spending his summer doing a deadly Starfleet course.
- I Am Not My Father: Kirk being born a minute before his father died to save his life made it hard for him to create his own identity due to the inevitable comparisons.
George Kirk had sacrificed his life to save his wife and son, but in so doing, had made himself the measure against which that son would always be judged.
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Discussed in-universe.
- I Have No Grandson: McCoy's paternal grandfather rejects him after he performs euthanasia on his dying father prior to the events of the fic.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Said or thought by McCoy, verbatim, on multiple occasions.
He was a doctor, not an idiot when thinking about the physical requirements of Starfleet Academy.
I'm a doctor, not a fighter, Jim when discussing the hand-to-hand class he is failing.
He was a doctor, not a playwright when thinking about the gruesome worst-case scenarios his brain produces.
He was a doctor, not a statistician, when pondering the suicide rates among Tarsus survivors.
- Insufferable Genius: Kirk and, to a lesser extent, McCoy.
- Kirk wasnt just a jackass, he was a certified genius jackass, which seriously, so was Leo, although their aptitudes were different.
- Interspecies Romance: Both main characters have relations with aliens.
- Intimate Healing: Kirk attempts this when McCoy is hospitalized due to a deadly disease he had been trying to find the cure for, kissing him to try wake him up.
- Intimate Psychotherapy: McCoy attempts this, both with Kirk and with the OC Patty.
- It Runs in the Family: McCoy stubbornness and Kirk heroicness.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kirk. McCoy, who frequently snarks but cares very deeply for the welfare of his friends and family.
- Kinsey Scale of Tropes: Discussed directly In-Universe with regards to several characters.McCoy is a 3, Kirk is a 2, and Patty, an OC close friend of McCoy, is a 4.
- Knight In Sour Armor: McCoy wants to make the world a better place but, damn, if he isn't going to be bitter about it.
- Last Kiss: McCoy refuses to kiss Kirk goodbye during the Attack on Vulcan.
- Last-Minute Baby Naming: Discussed In-Universe. Kirk's parents are named him for his maternal grandfather, and his middle name is his paternal grandfather's. His parental grandfather hated his name. McCoy gets his middle name from his great-grandfather, Horatio Ellison McCoy.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Kirk and McCoy spend a lot of time bickering like this.
- Lonely Together: McCoy and Patty, referenced in-universe, who comfort each other when they're not able to be with the objections of their affections.
- Love Hurts: McCoy spends most of the fic trying to prevent his heart from being broken by Kirk.
- One-Hour Work Week: Averted. The fic goes into great detail just how hectic life is for McCoy and Kirk at Starfleet.
- Married to the Job: McCoy, especially during his first marriage which led to its downfall.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Kirk.McCoy spends most of the first two-thirds of the fic trying to figure out how he feels.
- My Greatest Failure: How McCoy feels about euthanizing his father mere months before the cure to his disease is found.
- Missing Mom: As in the movie, Kirk's mother spends very little of his childhood on-world and McCoy's mother dies in an accident when he is eight years old.
- Multigenerational Household: Throughout the second half of his childhood, [McCoy lived in a household with his father, his father's parents, and his father's paternal grandfather.
- Near-Death Experience: McCoy almost dies from a deadly disease for which he is trying to find the cure and Kirk survived a genocide on the planet Tarsus IV when he is thirteen
- Pseudocanonical Fic: Part I and most of Part 2 occurs in the Three Years Later time-jump in the movie, with Part III and the remainder of Part II occurs during and after the events of the remainder of the movie.
- Posthumous Character: McCoy's father, and Kirk's father and brother.
- Purple Prose: Prone to this on occasion, especially with regards to McCoy's internal monologue on the beauty of space.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Ted and Gram, McCoy's paternal grandparents, outlive both their sons.
- Romantic False Lead: Patty, McCoy's close friend, who he has a brief fling with.
- Sadistic Teacher: Cupcake with his hand-to-hand class.
- Sarcastic Devotee / Sour Supporter: He will follow Kirk into the pits of Hell and back, but he'll grumble about it first.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: McCoy as the Savvy Guy, Kirk as the Energetic Girl.
- Shipper on Deck: Pretty much every single one of McCoy's friends and relatives is trying to push him and Kirk together.
- Sleep Cute: From the very first line.
- Sleeps with Everyone but You: McCoy takes Kirk's willingness to shag everyone under the sun but him as a cue that Kirk doesn't like him that way.
- Southern-Fried Genius: McCoy is an incredibly smart surgeon and physician, and was born and raised in Georgia.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Kirk looks a lot like his dead father.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Their first kiss count as this.
- Stargazing Scene: A slightly darker and more theoretical version occurs when, in the Planetarium, Kirk and McCoy watch the simulation Kirk made reenacting his father's last moments alive.
- Sour Supporter: McCoy stands by Kirk through all his crazy shenanigans, even when he can't quite see how Kirk's antics are helping anyone. When Kirk actually manages to gain the captain's chair, McCoy is incredulous.
- Space Cadet Academy: Starfleet Academy features prominently in the fic as Kirk and McCoy both study there.
- Really Gets Around: Kirk.
- Temporary Love Interest: McCoy and his close friend, the OC Patty.
- That Cloud Looks Like...: On runs with the KFF, Kirk and McCoy engage in this.
- To Absent Friends: McCoy and Kirk make several toasts to dead friends and family throughout the fic.
- There Is Only One Bed: To the point that McCoy struggles to sleep if Kirk doesn't sneak into his bed every four nights.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: From the very first page.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: McCoy spends a lot of the fic bitching and Kirk spends a lot of the fic giving him reasons to, but they are very close.
- We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: A major source of angsty for McCoy, who performed euthanasia on his dying father less than a year before the beginning of the fic.
- Wham Line: During the Battle of Vulcan, when the planet Vulcan has been destroyed,
"Evidently it is, Dr. McCoy," Uhura said blankly.
And in the instant, as his mind tried to assimilate what he'd heard — that a planet of billions of people, and hundreds of millennia of history and culture, was simply gone — all he could think was that Nyota Uhura had sounded just like Spock.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: McCoy is terrified of transporters.