Paramount's, not mine, not for profit.
Notes: Written for my friend youthculture; Len McCoy reflects as he makes breakfast for his wife and daughter. Way pre-series. Also, very bittersweet. Originally posted here.
The kitchen was still cool in the predawn light. Leonard McCoy didn't turn the lights on though; just moved around quietly, getting everything ready. Made a pot of coffee. Laid his head to one side, then the other, trying to stretch the muscles of his neck which never totally relaxed these days. Outside, the sky was beginning to brighten. Inside of the kitchen, it was cool and dark.
He waited until there was enough coffee to pour himself a cup, then pulled out the eggs, the instant pancake mix, and the emphatically not instant grits. Maybe he couldn't be home when Joanna got home from pre-school, and maybe he spent a lot of time at the hospital, and maybe he wouldn't even be able to tuck her into bed, but he could make her breakfast.
Jocelyn had gotten distant again, but he'd make her breakfast, too. He knew that it was hard. But he wasn't going to be a resident forever. Eventually, he would be finished with all of his schooling, and then he could open up a private practice with normal, easy hours, fulfilling an ideal that his father had wanted and had never gotten.
As he started coordinating breakfast, still sipping his coffee, still sometimes hopelessly trying to stretch his neck enough to ease the muscles there, he let his mind roam over that. He was tired, almost always, and the personal thoughts were scattered because of it, though when he was at work it was all crystal focus. But he thought about Dad, and medicine; thought about what it takes to be a good doctor. There was no doubt that it took knowledge, but it also took skill. And with both skill and knowledge, it took compassion and decency.
David McCoy had never really gotten the chance to follow his ideal of a private practice, but he had told his son about it, and had tried to explain awkwardly. Thinking about it still hurt. Len still felt keenly the loss, the death of his father. But even more, he felt keenly the fact that he had never gotten to know that man better.
They had never been close, and now, they never would be. But once his schooling was over, he was going to spend as much time with Joanna as he could. And he would teach her how to be decent and compassionate in whatever line of work she chose. He would tell her the stories of his life, the stories that he wished he knew about his Dad.
And he would teach her how to make grits; one thing his father had taught him that he held onto.
Len wasn't nearly a chef, but he could whip up a mean breakfast. Finally, he turned the lights on, just as he started really cooking. In about ten minutes, his wife and baby girl would be up, and they would sit at the kitchen table. He'd try to focus enough to carry on a non-broken conversation. And he would make Jocelyn her coffee; she liked it with cream and sugar. Maybe she wouldn't seem so distant.
One day, he looked forward to having a long, relaxed breakfast. The kind where you sat at the table like a family, took your time eating. Went over your plans for the day. Told stories, or jokes. Eased into the day, instead of rushed into it. The kind of breakfast that he'd never quite had, though he knew what one was all about.
He smiled to himself as he cooked, hearing his daughter coming down the steps, telling his wife all about a dream she had. He'd listen to it himself when she sat down, and he would maybe tell her about one of his own dreams.
Someday, one day, they would have time for more.