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ST: Doctor My Eyes (2/6)

Chapter Title: Say if it's too late for me
Rating: T
Genre: Angst, h/c, gen
Characters: McCoy, Kirk, Spock, Pike, Scott, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, and a mix of OCs
Spoilers/warnings: Movie spoilers up for grabs; mentions of violence and torture; language; heavy, heavy angst
Chapter Length: Approx. 5,300
Notes: Written for startrekbigbang challenge. See master post for notes on the story.
Link to art: See art here.
Link to fanmix: See mix here.

Summary: When the captain is captured and comes back broken, it's up to the doctor to fix him.

Part 1 | Part 2| Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Epilogue

 
“Doctor, my eyes--tell me what you see.
I hear their cries; just say if it's too late for me.”
--Jackson Browne, “Doctor My Eyes”

He was poring over several psychology articles in his office when he heard the door slide open. “Something I can do for you, Scotty?” he asked, leaning back in his chair as Scott entered the office.

“Look, Doc… I’ve been thinking,” the engineer said, sitting in a chair on the other side of McCoy’s desk. “Have you actually tried talking to the cap’n?”

McCoy’s eyebrows furrowed. “What the hell kind of question is that?” he demanded, setting his PADD aside. “Of course I’ve talked to him!”

“No, I mean actually talked to him,” Scott replied earnestly. “Like what some of us have done.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

Scott leaned forward in his seat. “The only time Kirk’s ever shown any type of reaction was after your little… discussion with Nurse Chapel yesterday,” he explained. “I think he heard you, Doc. Somethin’ you said got through to him.”

McCoy shifted uneasily in his chair. “I don’t know--”

“Look, I know it’s not fun to sit there and try to talk to him when he’s like this,” Scott cut in. “Hell, it’s about as fun as pullin’ teeth--I know that first hand. But this isn’t about us, Doc.”

McCoy wasn’t sure if he’d ever seen the engineer so serious before. He sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. “I… I’ll give it a shot,” he promised.

Scott nodded as he stood. “That’s all I want,” he replied. He smirked a little. “It’s time to get that kid back in his chair. Spock’s good, but he’s just not as entertainin’.”

*****

It was the middle of Gamma shift before McCoy finally worked up the courage to sit in the chair that seemed to permanently sit by Kirk’s bio-bed. Chapel was the only one on duty, and she stayed over at her desk on the other side of sickbay, leaving the pair in relative isolation.

“Hey, Jim,” he greeted quietly, sitting in the chair. He sighed internally as Kirk’s gaze remained focused on his own hands.

“You’d think with all of the medical technology we’ve got on this floating tin can, we’d be able to make your fingernails grow back,” McCoy said, gesturing at the bandages still wrapped around the captain’s fingertips. The younger man gave no indication of being able to hear the doctor.

It was completely unnerving to talk to Kirk and get absolutely no reaction. Any other time, McCoy would’ve walked away and plunged back into his research in an effort to avoid the awkwardness of this situation. In that aspect, he was fine with other people trying to coax a reaction out of Kirk and failing; it was easier than trying it himself and realizing how utterly helpless he was when he failed.

He would’ve walked away this time, too, if he hadn’t decided at that exact moment to look over at Chapel’s desk. The blond stared back at him with a small smile on her face, eyes full of encouragement, before she looked back down at her own work.

He’s got you.


McCoy sighed a little, but slouched back in the chair and folded his arms. “My reports are incomplete, y’ know,” he growled with only a little annoyance. “I can’t finish them until we catalog the causes of all of those injuries. You know as well as I do how the higher-ups get when it comes to paperwork--I doubt they’ll be satisfied if I just put ‘Romulan bastards’ as the cause.”

If he hadn’t been watching Kirk’s body language carefully, he would’ve missed the slight clench of the captain’s fingers. The CMO’s shoulders tensed, and he sat up straighter in his seat. “Jim?”

After a moment, Kirk’s fingers relaxed again. McCoy felt his shoulders slump as he sat back in the chair. He thought he’d had something there for a moment.

Why won’t you help me?

“I’m still trying, Kid,” he murmured. “Don’t give up on me yet.”

*****

“Doctor, I am here to offer my services.”

McCoy glanced up from the PADD he was reviewing to look at the Vulcan. “What?”

Spock’s eyes darted over to Kirk’s bio-bed, where Sulu was reading the captain more poetry, before looking back at the CMO. “As a Vulcan, I know of certain techniques that can be used to probe a subject’s mind.”

McCoy blinked a couple times before Spock’s statement registered. “You want to do a mind meld? On Jim?” When Spock nodded once, he exclaimed, “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know what that could do?”

“At this point in time, the advantages of trying to see what has caused the captain to enter this state far outweigh the disadvantages of entering his mind without prior consent. As you know, Captain Kirk has endured a previous mind meld without a full understanding of what he was submitting to, and the negative results were minimal.”

“Damn it, Spock, I’m not talking about what it could do to Jim,” McCoy said exasperatedly. “I’m talking about what it could do to you.”

Spock’s eyebrows furrowed slightly. “If there is no other way to help Captain Kirk regain complete mental awareness--”

“This isn’t the way to do it,” McCoy interjected. “The transference works both ways--you know that. What’s to stop whatever happened to Jim from happening to you?”

“I am well aware of the risks, Doctor,” Spock replied quietly. “There is a sixty-point-four percent chance that the meld will achieve the desired results, and an eight-point-nine percent chance nothing will result.”

“Which means there’s a thirty-point-seven percent chance of something going wrong,” McCoy finished, folding his arms. “It’s too risky, Spock. If something goes wrong, then I’ll have two catatonic officers on my hands, and that’s two more than I want to deal with. I won’t allow it, and I know Jim wouldn’t, either.”

Spock tilted his head. “Before Jim managed his own escape, you told me he would have willingly crossed the Neutral Zone were I in his place. Do you not think this is a similar situation? Is this not a risk he would take?”

“Yes and no,” McCoy answered. An exasperated smile tugged at his lips as he said, “Jim’s a walking contradiction. He’ll do what he can to help people, even if it puts himself in danger. But if the roles are reversed, he gets pissed off.”

Spock’s chin lifted in understanding. “I have noticed that the captain often puts his own well-being far behind that of others.”

McCoy nodded. “It’s a habit he’s not going to break anytime soon. And I know for a fact he’d agree with me on this--it’s too dangerous to try a mind meld.”

“But if there are no alternative solutions--”

“We haven’t run out of options yet, Spock,” McCoy cut in. He sighed as he rubbed his neck. “We just have to keep looking. There’s gotta be something out there we missed.”

*****

“I don’t know what to do, sir,” McCoy confessed two days later.

Christopher Pike stared back at him from the small viewscreen in McCoy’s office, eyes troubled. “His condition hasn’t changed at all?”

McCoy shook his head wearily. “His neural scans have only jumped for a brief moment, when he actually looked at me. But other than that… nothing.”

Pike sighed as he closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “That explains Westervliet’s little tirade,” he muttered.

“Sir?”

Pike opened his eyes and studied the CMO for a moment. “How much do you know about Jim’s current contract with Starfleet?”

McCoy blinked in surprise at the unexpected question. “Not all that much, honestly, other than that he’s supposed to captain the Enterprise for the five-year mission. I’d assume that he’d be up for promotion after it’s over.”

“Unfortunately it’s a lot more complicated than that,” Pike answered grimly. “Many of the admiralty felt that Jim’s actions during the Narada incident vouched for his ability to captain a starship, despite his age. But those who didn’t were quite outspoken against the decision to make Jim captain of the Enterprise.”

“Why?” McCoy demanded. “Why would anyone think Jim is less than capable?”

“I don’t think they questioned his capability,” Pike said. “I think they questioned theirs. If there’s one thing they hate, it’s a captain who goes against the rules.”

“They were worried Jim wouldn’t listen to them when it counted,” McCoy said, chin lifting in realization.

Pike nodded. “You know better than anyone that Jim doesn’t do things by the book. Many people on the Council realized it, too. They refused to give their approval unless there was a clause in Jim’s contract that required a full Council review if an occasion were ever to arise in his first three years as captain that caused serious doubt about his capability of commanding the Enterprise.”

“And Jim actually let that happen?”

“He was the one that came up with the compromise,” Pike replied. He chuckled a little when he saw the incredulous look on McCoy’s face. “It was a bold move on his part. He flat-out told the Council that it didn’t matter whether or not they put the clause in his contract because he would never need it.”

“He still doesn’t,” McCoy said. “He’ll still be capable if he has time to recover.”

Pike raised an eyebrow. “Not everyone feels the same way. I assume you’ve heard that the Starfleet higher-ups want to have Jim checked into Medical on paid leave?”

McCoy scowled. “Yeah, Spock told me. All due respect, sir, but that’s the last thing he needs right now,” he spat. “Especially if all they want to do is say he’s incompetent so they can get rid of him.”

“I agree.”

McCoy blinked in surprise. “You do?”

Pike nodded. “I do. There’re too many people down here that are just itching to see Jim Kirk fail,” he answered with just a hint of animosity in his voice. His expression softened as he added, “Besides, Jim’s in capable hands right where he is. In all my years at Starfleet, you’re the best damn doctor I’ve ever met--mostly because you’re too stubborn to know when to quit.”

“For all the good it does me,” McCoy griped, flushing a little at the praise. “I’m no closer to figuring out how to help Jim now than I was a week ago.”

“Keep him onboard the Enterprise,” Pike ordered. “We both know it’ll do him no good to be institutionalized.”

“What about the higher-ups?”

Pike smirked. “You just let Spock and I handle that. We’ll keep them off your back until Jim’s recovered.”

McCoy chewed his lip. “What if… what if he doesn’t?”

And there it was--the awful possibility that maybe, just maybe, Kirk wouldn’t bounce back from this setback at all. It sounded just as painful spoken aloud as it did inside McCoy’s head.

Pike’s smirk faded into a small smile. “He will,” he replied, voice full of a confidence his eyes didn’t quite have. “It might take awhile, but Jim’s always done things in his own time.”

*****

Spock was the one to suggest moving Kirk out of sickbay the next morning. “After all, the captain has always had an aversion to the sickbay,” he pointed out over breakfast. “Perhaps he will respond better to treatment in a more suitable location.”

“He shouldn’t be alone, though,” McCoy protested.

Spock’s eyebrow lifted slightly. “Discharging him from sickbay does not mean he needs to be unsupervised.”

Two hours later, McCoy punched in the code for his room as he glanced over his shoulder. “You and me sharin’ a room again. Just like old times, right?”

Kirk remained silent, shoulders ramrod straight as he gripped a duffel bag in his left hand and stared at the wall.

McCoy sighed as the door slid open. “Right,” he muttered wearily, stepping through the doorway. “You can just set your stuff there,” he added, waving haphazardly at the cot he’d asked Chekov to bring in earlier. He reached for a PADD on his desk. He tried not to let the despair gnawing at his insides consume him completely, but it was getting harder and harder to do. After all, it’d been almost three weeks since Kirk returned to the ship; McCoy was starting to wonder if his friend really came back at all.

“Bones.”

The PADD dropped to the floor as McCoy whirled around when he heard the whisper. “Jim?”

Kirk wasn’t looking at the CMO, though--his eyes were glued to the desk. McCoy followed his gaze and tensed. He’d forgotten about the dusty volleyball he’d placed on his desk the first night after the attack on Wertus I. He hadn’t even realized he’d brought it back onboard the Enterprise until Scott had commented on it after he’d arrived in the transporter room.

He watched as Kirk dropped his duffle bag onto the cot and reached out to grab the volleyball. Dust drifted down onto the desk as he held it in his hand. His eyes were dark as he stared at the ball for a moment before tossing it into the air and bumping it gently with his fist. His lips started moving. McCoy had to move in closer in order to hear the soft murmurs.

“Be fine, Bones. I’ll be fine. Bones…”

McCoy swallowed as Kirk bumped the ball once more. Instead of catching it, he let it drop to the floor. It landed and bounced a couple of times before rolling under the cot.

The CMO moved so he could look Kirk directly in the face, even though Kirk’s eyes were still watching the spot where the ball had disappeared under the bed. “Jim? Jim, can you hear me?” he called, placing his hands lightly on Kirk’s shoulders.

Then Kirk looked at him--actually looked at him--and the whirlwind of emotions--hurt, anger, pain, fear--swirling in his eyes was enough to make McCoy’s grip tighten instinctively. “Jim?”

Kirk blinked twice and as suddenly as they had appeared the emotions were gone, leaving the all-too-familiar blank stare behind. McCoy let his arms drop as Kirk silently sat on the cot and started picking at a loose thread on the pillowcase.

Can’t you hear me scream?

“Yeah, Kid,” McCoy murmured softly. “I think I just did.”

*****

Later that night, McCoy was lying on his own bed, trying to force himself to sleep for a few hours. He could hear Kirk breathing softly as he slept, and he figured if he focused hard enough, he could make himself believe they were back in the room they shared at the Academy--even if Kirk had always snored, tossed and turned, and muttered occasionally instead of lying perfectly still like he was now. With enough concentration, McCoy could believe he had a clinical in the morning but was more worried about Kirk waking up at some ungodly hour to go jog or do whatever he did before sunrise--

The first faint whimper had him surging up and out of bed.

“Lights, thirty percent,” he ordered softly, moving over to Kirk’s cot.

In the soft light, McCoy could see the occasional twitch of Kirk’s fingers and the rapid movement of his eyes underneath their lids as the younger man whimpered again. He could also see a thin trail of saline trailing across Kirk’s cheek before dripping off his nose. “Jim,” he whispered, laying a hand on Kirk’s shoulder.

Kirk’s eyes popped open with a wet gasp, and McCoy’s grip on Kirk’s shoulder tightened at the swirl of emotions he saw in the younger man’s eyes. “Hey, hey, you’re okay,” he murmured softly, bringing his other hand to clasp Kirk’s neck firmly. “You’re okay.”

He watched as Kirk continued to stare at him for a long moment, shoulders heaving as he panted for air. “You wanna talk about it?” McCoy asked, loosening his grip as the panic etched on Kirk’s face began to fade.

Kirk stared at him for another moment before shaking his head once. He jerked out of McCoy’s grasp, rolling over so his back was to the older man before curling in on himself.

McCoy huffed in frustration. “Jim,” he began, reaching out to touch Kirk’s shoulder again. Kirk flinched away from the contact and McCoy quickly drew his hand back, swallowing hard at the reaction.

He stayed on the edge of the cot for a few minutes longer before standing with a sigh. He tugged the blanket from where it had landed on the floor up and over Kirk’s shoulders. “Damn it, Jim,” he murmured quietly as he moved back to his own bed.

Neither one went back to sleep.

*****

Despite Kirk’s behavior the night before, he was just as unresponsive the next morning, prompting McCoy to order another series of scans on Kirk’s brain to see if there had been any changes.

“It looks like his mind is starting to become more aware of his surroundings, but it’s almost as if he doesn’t want that to happen,” McCoy told the other senior officers later that day, rubbing his forehead with a weary sigh.

“What do you mean?” Scott asked.

“There’s a definite increase in neural activity,” McCoy replied. “It’s still not as high as it should be, but it’s higher than it was before.”

The corner of Spock’s mouth turned down a little in thought. “Perhaps now would be an opportune moment to perform a mind meld,” he suggested.

“It’s still too risky, Spock. For both you and Jim,” McCoy answered with a shake of his head.“His mind might be too unstable for something of that nature--it might force him to face the memories that made him act like this before he’s ready. The potential backlash from that could be devastating to both of you.”

Scott folded his arms. “So what can we do?”

McCoy’s lips twisted into a bitter smirk. “You tell me. Hell, at this point, I’m ready to try just about anything.”

“You said the captain showed an increase awareness of his surroundings when he held the volleyball you retrieved from Wertus I, correct?” Spock asked. When McCoy nodded, he continued, “It seems that the captain has formed strong emotional ties with that object, possibly because of the circumstances surrounding him the last time he viewed the ball. This tie appears to be strong enough to have momentarily pulled him out of his comatose state, as well as to have stimulated the part of the brain that constructs dreams.”

“Your point?” McCoy asked.

“Perhaps the key to restoring Jim’s mind is to have him interact with those objects to which he has strong emotional ties,” Spock replied.

McCoy and Scott both tilted their heads in thought. “You have something particular in mind?” McCoy inquired.

Spock nodded once. “I have observed that Captain Kirk has a strong sense of duty as well as a great deal of affection for his ship and crew. Thus, it is only logical to assume that he has a strong emotional connection with the bridge, as that is where he spends the majority of his time. Perhaps the sight of the bridge will be enough to reawaken Jim’s sense of duty to the Enterprise and its crew.”

“Aye, that just might work,” Scott agreed, tapping his chin with a finger. “The lad loves this ship nearly as much as I do, and that’s sayin’ somethin’.”

McCoy shrugged. “It’s worth a shot,” he declared, mouth set in a grim line as he looked at them. “If he doesn’t snap out of this soon, I’m worried that he never will.”

*****

McCoy waited until Beta shift to take Kirk up to the bridge. Spock had scheduled most of the primary bridge crew to work that shift, and they both figured it might help if Kirk saw some familiar faces on the bridge.

“Good to know your ankles are fully healed, anyway,” McCoy declared as they walked toward the turbo lift. He had to slow his strides to keep from getting too far ahead of the younger man, who was moving much slower than normal. The CMO felt his lips curl in a small smile as he saw Kirk actually looking around the hallway. Kirk’s eyes were filled with a look that wasn’t quite awareness but wasn’t quite the lifeless emotion he’d had for the past few weeks.

“Don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier,” McCoy said as they stepped into the lift. “You’re practically in a relationship with that chair.” Kirk didn’t respond; he kept his eyes focused at a spot on the floor. McCoy just barely resisted the urge to sigh.

He heard raised voices as soon as the lift doors slid open and was more than a little surprised to hear Spock’s voice among them. “…assure you Dr. McCoy is doing everything possible for him,” the Vulcan said as McCoy loosely gripped Kirk’s elbow and escorted him onto the bridge.

The CMO’s eyes narrowed when he saw Spock standing in front of the captain’s chair, hands clenched in fists behind his back to hide them from the man on the viewscreen. Uhura’s eyes were dark with anger as she looked at McCoy.

McCoy’s lips thinned into a tight line when he saw the look on her face. “Keep an eye on him,” he murmured to Uhura, nudging Kirk in her direction. The younger woman nodded, grasping Kirk’s elbow lightly and standing with him behind and to the left of the captain’s chair.

“Is there something you need to discuss with me, sir?” McCoy asked the man onscreen--an admiral, judging by the bars visible on his uniform, but not one that McCoy recognized--as he stepped up next to Spock.

“Jim Kirk!” the admiral exclaimed, a hint of a sneer curling his thin lips as his dark eyes locked on Kirk. Kirk lifted his head slightly but made no sign of acknowledgment as he looked at the viewscreen without seeing anything. “And here I thought you’d become a ghost.”

“Admiral Westervliet has expressed concern that our treatment of Captain Kirk is insufficient for his needs,” Spock informed McCoy, raising an eyebrow slightly as he said the admiral’s name.

McCoy scowled, shifting his stance so he was standing in front of Kirk as he stared at the screen and into the face of someone who wanted to strip Kirk of his rank--someone who was supposed to be on their side. “I’ve consulted with some of the finest psychiatrists in Starfleet,” he declared. “Sir,” he spat out as an afterthought.

Westervliet’s eyes narrowed. “I am aware of your correspondences, McCoy,” he replied. “I’m also aware you’ve rejected the majority of the advice you’ve received. You’ve been repeatedly requested to release Kirk into the care of the psychiatrists at Medical.”

“All due respect, sir, but the majority of the people I talked to said they didn’t have a clue how to treat him,” McCoy shot back.

“And you think you do,” the admiral said, raising an eyebrow.

“It can’t hurt to keep him in a familiar environment,” McCoy replied, fists clenching by his sides. “Sir.”

Westervliet’s gaze shifted from the CMO to the captain. “It can if it prevents proper procedure from being followed,” he answered grimly.

The air was thick with tension on the bridge. “What are you suggesting, sir?” Sulu asked coolly from his position at the helm.

The admiral’s lips thinned as he continued to stare at Kirk, who was now staring blankly at the wall behind Uhura’s head. “I am suggesting that Captain Kirk be relieved from his duties. Permanently.”

“You son of a bitch!” McCoy exploded. “All you want to do is boot Jim out so you can replace him with someone who’ll act like a good little Starfleet captain and follow every order you give him!”

“Control yourself, Doctor, before I write you up for insubordination,” Westervliet sneered, dark eyes flashing with anger.

Spock took a step forward. “Sir, the captain is still recovering from a severe emotional trauma--”

Westervliet snorted and rolled his eyes. “Please. The man’s sitting less than a meter away from you and doesn’t even know we’re talking about him. From what I can see, he’s not recovering. Previous captains have suffered through a lot worse for a lot longer, and they’ve all turned out fine,” he replied.

“Yeah, with years of therapy,” McCoy answered sharply. “Jim hasn’t even been back for a month! Good god, man, are you that eager to toss someone’s career in the toilet?”

“Your captain,” Westervliet replied with a sneer, “has shown absolutely no signs of improvement since his return--most unusual for someone believed to have remarkable bravery and intelligence, is it not?”

“The hell is that supposed to mean?” McCoy demanded.

Westervliet smirked. “Perhaps Kirk isn’t the captain material you believe him to be.”

“Since his appointment as captain, Jim has never presented himself as anything less than capable of fulfilling his duties,” Spock replied, eyes flashing darkly as his brows furrowed slightly.

“Does this sound like a capable captain to you, Commander?” Westervliet asked, punching a command into something offscreen.

Kirk’s panicked voice filtered through the speakers a moment later. “Kirk to Enterprise! Send reinforcements now! Rom--”

“Captain!”

McCoy whirled around when he heard Uhura’s startled shout. His eyes widened when he saw Kirk standing stiff as a board, body shaking with fine tremors as he stared straight ahead without actually staring at anything. His eyes were swirling with emotions again.

“Jim!” McCoy called, rushing toward his friend and grasping Kirk’s shoulder.

The next thing McCoy knew, he was flat on his back, blinking dazedly up at the ceiling and wondering just how he’d ended up on the floor. He turned his head slightly and saw Chekov and Sulu trying to restrain Kirk, who was struggling violently in their grasp in an effort to get to the turbo lift.

Then his view was blocked by a wall of red, and he looked up to see Uhura kneeling over him, worry in her eyes as she gently pressed a piece of fabric against the CMO’s nose. It was then he realized blood was streaming in copious amounts from his nostrils, seeping into his mouth and trailing down his chin and neck. “Wha’ hit me?” he asked in confusion.

Uhura’s eyes darkened as she glanced over at the struggling trio. Spock stepped over a moment later and gently squeezed Kirk’s shoulder. The distraught captain went limp, but Sulu and Chekov managed to catch him before he could hit the ground.

McCoy blinked a couple times. “Jim?”

Uhura nodded once, voice light but face troubled when she replied, “I’ve never seen him move that fast.”

McCoy frowned. “Contact sickbay and have the nurse on duty bring up a gurney,” he declared, grabbing at the cloth Uhura still held. The lieutenant nodded again and got up to return to her station.

With a groan, McCoy rolled over and got to his feet, swaying slightly but managing to stay upright. “The hell was that?” he demanded, glaring at Westervliet as best as he could as he tipped his head back to try and slow the bleeding. He grimaced as more blood flowed into his mouth but resisted the urge to spit.

“You’re the doctor,” Westervliet replied with a sneer. “You tell me.”

“I’m not talkin’ about Jim,” McCoy snarled. “What the hell were you thinking, playing that transmission? Especially when Jim’s within earshot of the damn thing! He’s not ready for that kind of emotional reminder yet!”

“Watch your tone, Doctor,” the admiral said, narrowing his eyes. “You’re walking on thin ice right now.”

Spock straightened and strode forward. “It is apparent that Jim will not benefit from any kind of treatment you would recommend, sir,” he declared tersely. “We will continue to handle the situation as Dr. McCoy recommends. And you can rest assured that Admiral Pike will be informed of this incident. Good day,” he finished, terminating the communication before Westervliet could reply.

There was a moment of silence on the bridge. “Damn, Spock,” McCoy said, eyebrows raised. “I think Jim’s really starting to rub off on you.”

Spock sent him a look, but had no chance to reply as the turbo lift doors suddenly slid open. Chapel stepped off a moment later, pausing mid-step at the sight in front of her. “What happened?” she demanded, eyes flicking from Kirk, who was slumped between Sulu and Chekov, to McCoy, whose nose was still streaming blood.

McCoy’s lips twisted a little as he adjusted the pressure on his nose and gestured toward the unconscious captain. “We got a reaction out of him.”

*****

That night, McCoy awoke with a start once more. At first, he thought it was because of his nose; he’d fixed it up right away, but it was throbbing, and the taste of blood was still on his tongue despite the fact that he’d eaten and brushed his teeth--several times, in fact.

Then Kirk muttered something and moaned quietly, and any discomfort McCoy felt from his recently fixed up nose was immediately forgotten.

“Jim?” McCoy called as he slid out of bed and moved to Kirk’s cot once again. “Jim, wake up!”

Kirk twisted on the small cot, back arching and hands clawing at the sheets as he groaned and murmured, “No, please, don’t, please, you’ve got to run...”

McCoy swallowed hard as he reached out to grasp Kirk’s shoulder. “Jim!”

Kirk’s eyes flew open and he shot up on the cot, his head nearly colliding with McCoy’s. He gasped for air as he rolled over and tried to scramble away, voice cracking as he frantically babbled, “No, don’t, no, no don’t--”

“Jim, Jim, calm down!” McCoy barked, latching on to Kirk’s arms and pulling him back to the cot. “Look at me. Jim, look at me!”

He forcibly twisted Kirk’s torso and grabbed his chin with a hand. Kirk froze, eyes wide as he stared at McCoy in the dim light. Fear radiated from his tense body in waves, and McCoy’s voice instinctively softened as he pleaded, “Stay with me this time, Jim. I’m trying to help, but you gotta let me help you, okay? Please, just stay with--”

He gasped in surprise as Kirk suddenly lunged forward, and it took a moment before he realized that Kirk was clinging to him, arms wrapped around McCoy’s ribs tight enough to leave bruises as he buried his face in the CMO’s shoulder. McCoy’s arms came up automatically, one wrapping firmly around Kirk’s back and the other sliding up to grasp the back of the younger man’s neck. It’d been awhile since he’d had to rock Joanna to sleep after a nightmare, but the process came back instinctively as he started rocking a little, murmuring, “Hey, hey, now, it’s alright, Kid. It’ll be alright.”

“Eight hundred people, Bones,” Kirk choked out, twisting his head a little so he could breathe. “We were only gone thirty minutes, and they were all dead. They were just shooting the last of them when I beamed down…”

Of course, McCoy cursed mentally as he tightened his grip on Kirk. He could almost smell the blood in the air again as he recalled the mounds of bodies lining the street, the faces of those he’d tried to save flashing through his mind. He’d seen the horror first-hand, smelled the death, had nightmare visions of it in the days following the attack. And he knew how badly Kirk reacted to a death of someone under his protection--he’d unfortunately had a few chances to see those reactions first hand after a couple of missions gone wrong.

But even with all of that background knowledge, he’d never once thought about the possibility that the sight of eight hundred people dying at one time would traumatize Kirk more than four days of torture at the hands of Romulans ever could.

I’ve been screaming this whole time.

“I’m sorry,” McCoy whispered, resting his chin on Kirk’s head and squeezing his eyes shut. “God, Jim, I’m so sorry.”

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Comments

( 1 thought — Your Thoughts )
hope_calaris
Nov. 14th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
Okay, were can I find Westervliet and who will help me hide the body?
( 1 thought — Your Thoughts )
Put me in the Son's light, and I will glow in the dark.

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