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ST: Doctor My Eyes (3/6)

Chapter Title: Damaged at best
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


“And I am here still waiting,
Though I still have my doubts.
I am damaged at best,
Like you’ve already figured out.”
--Lifehouse, “Broken”

“Physically, you’re healthy as a horse,” McCoy declared the next morning as he packed up his tricorder. He glanced over his shoulder as Kirk pulled on his black undershirt, legs swinging from his perch on the edge of the bed in the captain’s quarters.

“But Doctor, will I ever play the piano again?” Kirk quipped as he tugged the sleeves so that the ends reached his wrists.

McCoy rolled his eyes instinctively, even though Kirk’s tone wasn’t nearly as lighthearted as usual. “Not until your fingernails grow back, at least,” the CMO replied, tugging off his gloves and disposing them. He turned around and stared at his friend, arms folded across his chest. “How are you?”

Kirk raised an eyebrow. “You just told me I was fine, Bones. You should know the answer to that.”

“I know how you’re doing physically,” McCoy said. “But I need to know, Jim--how are you?”

There was a pause as Kirk picked up the gold shirt folded next to him. He rubbed the material with the still-bandaged fingers on his right hand as if truly feeling it for the first time. “Ask me in a week,” he replied, keeping his gaze on the shirt in his hands.

McCoy frowned. “You know the higher-ups are going to be wanting to know now, Jim.”

Kirk shrugged and looked up. The dark look in his eyes was disconcerting, but McCoy was more unsettled by how quickly Kirk managed to force that emotion down. “I know. But if you want to know the truth, then you’ll want to wait a week.”

The CMO tilted his head as he considered that response. It was more than a little unusual for Kirk to admit that he wasn’t telling the truth about his condition to those around him in the first place; it was downright strange that he would admit to it before the fact. “And you’re actually going to tell me?” he asked skeptically.

Kirk shrugged again as he stood up. “I’m not making any promises,” he declared, pulling on his uniform shirt. “But I’ll try.”

McCoy considered that response for a moment. It wasn’t ideal by any means, but at least Kirk was being relatively open with him. “Okay.”

Kirk finished smoothing out the wrinkles on his shirt and straightened. “Well?” he asked, raising his arms slightly.

A smile tugged at the corner of McCoy’s mouth as he recalled Kirk asking him the same question the first time he pulled on his gold tunic after being given full command of the Enterprise. “I still think it makes you look like a pompous ass,” he replied.

Kirk chuckled, and McCoy was pleased to see genuine humor on his friend’s face. “Better than a pansy ass in blue,” the captain shot back.

“‘Pansy ass,’ huh? I’ll remember that when you’re up for your next round of inoculations,” McCoy drawled. His expression sobered a little. “It’s good to have you back, Jim.”

Kirk nodded once. “Thanks, Bones. For everything,” he replied. “If you hadn’t… I don’t know…”

“Just do me a favor, Kid--next time you want to show me your right hook? Don’t,” McCoy interrupted wryly.

Kirk flushed a little with embarrassment, eyes darting to the fading bruises around McCoy’s nose and eyes. “Yeah. Sorry about that--I didn’t mean to do it. It just kind of… slipped out.”

McCoy’s eyebrows furrowed at the unexpected response. “You remember?”

Kirk’s expression darkened. “Yeah. Some of it, anyway. It was surreal. Like I was dreaming or something,” he replied. He huffed a sigh through his nose before smiling broadly. It didn’t reach his eyes. “You wanna come watch the crew’s reaction when I step on the bridge? I bet it’ll be priceless.”

Before McCoy could respond, Kirk clapped McCoy’s shoulder briefly with his bandaged hand and then strode past him. McCoy frowned a little as he turned to follow his friend.

The young captain was awake, aware, and moving under his own steam; McCoy should’ve been ecstatic. So why did he feel like Kirk was just as far away now as he had been lying motionless on the bed?

*****

The deck housing the commanding officers’ quarters was off-limits to most personnel, so they didn’t pass anyone else on their way to the turbo lift. The short ride to the bridge was filled with an uncomfortable silence that McCoy wasn’t quite sure how to handle--after all, he’d never had uncomfortable silence with Kirk before. Kirk always said it was because of the fact that McCoy threw up on him within two hours of their first conversation; nothing could be more uncomfortable than that.

Except this, apparently. McCoy searched for something to say, some quip to break the tension--another extraordinary thing, since Kirk was usually the one to fill the silence. Within just a few short seconds, however, the door was sliding open once more and Kirk was moving again before McCoy could stop him.

“Mr. Spock! Where the hell are we?”

Every head on the bridge whipped around to look at the captain as he and McCoy stepped off the lift. Kirk’s grin was infectious; within moments every officer was smiling, the relief at seeing their captain up and moving around again plain on their faces. Someone started clapping, and a second later everyone on the bridge was on their feet, the space echoing with thunderous applause as several people cheered. Chekov even whistled shrilly.

Kirk flushed a little at all the noise; his eyes glittered in the fluorescent lighting as he held up a hand to quiet the din. The crew quieted almost immediately, but their grins remained on their faces as they returned to their stations.

Even Spock’s expression was noticeably lighter than it had been the past few weeks when he answered Kirk’s question as though the previous ruckus had never happened. “We are currently orbiting Orwin Prime, Captain. An away team consisting of Lieutenant Sulu, Lieutenant Plavi from the science department, and Lieutenant Giotto from security has been dispatched to retrieve several samples of the native plant life for further scientific study. They should be returning within the hour.”

“Excellent,” Kirk declared, standing in front of his chair. “I trust everything else is in order?”

Spock nodded once. “Your sudden recovery, although unexpected, is most welcome, as there are currently eight hundred and forty-two reports awaiting your signature.”

Kirk rolled his eyes and groaned. “Glad to know I’m good for something, anyway.”

Several members of the bridge crew chuckled as Spock’s eyebrow rose. “Indeed,” the Vulcan replied. “Lieutenant-Commander Scott is eagerly awaiting your approval for an unorthodox upgrade that will supposedly improve engine output by twenty-six-point-nine percent.”

“Will we be able to hit warp factor twelve with the upgrade?”

“Unknown,” Spock answered. “However, I believe it would be prudent to remind you that Constitution-class vessels are only designed for a maximum warp factor of eight, and only for a minute period of time. As such, it is inadvisable to attempt to exceed those speeds. Nonetheless,” he continued before Kirk could reply, “I am well aware of your tendency to, as you would say, ‘push the limit’ in scenarios such as this--a tendency that, while perilous and imprudent, has resulted in many positive outcomes during our short tenure of service aboard the Enterprise.”

Kirk grinned. “Is that your way of saying you missed me?”

Spock’s face was expressionless as he answered, “Your presence is much preferred to that of other Starfleet personnel who have expressed a desire to take control of the Enterprise in your absence.”

“I see,” Kirk said, face shifting smoothly from amusement into a look of grim determination. He turned from Spock to look over at the communications station. “Lieutenant Uhura!”

“Yes, sir?” Uhura answered, spinning around in her chair to look at him.

Kirk smirked. “Open a line of communication with Admiral Westervliet. I believe he and I need to have a little chat.”

Uhura grinned wickedly. “Aye, Captain,” she replied crisply, whirling back to face her computer terminal.

“Jim, are you sure you want to do this?” McCoy asked as the captain turned back to face the viewscreen. “He’s been trying his damndest to get you kicked out of Starfleet. The guy’s an asshole, but he’s the asshole that’s holding all the cards right now.”

Kirk’s smirk deepened. “He only has the cards if we let him, Bones,” he replied. “And if we’re going to get things back to normal around here, then we’re gonna have to pull the rug out from under him and send those cards flying.”

“Before you confront the admiral, Captain, it is imperative that you are aware of the fact that he has filed claims of insubordination against both Doctor McCoy and myself,” Spock informed him. When both Kirk and McCoy looked at him with raised eyebrows, he added, “I was informed via a Starfleet transmission this morning. Apparently the admiral was most adamant about our removal from the Enterprise.”

Kirk’s eyes darkened, and a muscle twitched in his jaw. “Was he, now?” he murmured.

“I’ve established contact with the admiral,” Uhura called before Spock could reply.

Kirk squared his shoulders as he looked at the viewscreen. “Onscreen, Lieutenant.”

McCoy and Spock moved to stand on either side of the captain as Admiral Westervliet’s face appeared on the screen. The admiral blinked in surprise when he saw the young captain glaring at him. “Jim Kirk,” he greeted, trying and failing to keep the astonishment from his tone.

“Admiral,” Kirk replied icily. “It’s always a pleasure. I just wanted to inform you that I am in fact recovering--not a ‘ghost,’ as you previously thought.”

Westervliet slumped down in his seat a bit as he raised an eyebrow. “Yes, I see that. Glad you’re back on your feet.”

Kirk huffed a breath through his nose. “I understand you have filed claims of insubordination against two of my crew?”

“Wasting no time, I see,” Westervliet said with a hint of a sneer in his voice. “Refreshing.”

Kirk’s eyes narrowed. “When it comes to my ship, sir, time is always of the essence. Why have you filed these claims?”

Westervliet’s upper lip curled back. “Those claims weren’t just against them, Kirk,” he declared, glancing at Spock and McCoy before looking back at the younger man. “There’s also one filed against you.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!” McCoy exclaimed as Kirk’s shoulders stiffened. Several people on the bridge gasped.

Spock’s eyes flashed as he said, “If there is a charge of insubordination against the captain, then that means--”

“James T. Kirk, you are relieved of your duties until Starfleet command makes a ruling on this claim,” Westervliet interrupted smugly. “You are hereby ordered to return to Earth as soon as your current work is completed.”

Kirk raised a hand to stop the flurry of angry exclamations from his crew. “Understood, Admiral,” he said sharply as he narrowed his eyes. He made a subtle hand motion in Uhura’s direction as he added, “Temporary command will be given to Lieutenant-Commander Scott. You can expect a private call from me shortly. Kirk out.”

Westervliet’s face disappeared abruptly from the screen, leaving the bridge in an awkward silence. Before anyone could say anything, Kirk activated the comm embedded in the arm of the captain’s chair. “Attention all decks, this is the captain speaking. Due to recent circumstances, Lieutenant-Commander Scott will be taking control of the ship, and we shall be returning to Earth within a few days.” He paused a moment, as if contemplating whether or not to say something. “Kirk out.”

Spock took a step toward Kirk. “I apologize, Captain. I was uninformed of Admiral Westervliet’s actions and--”

“Don’t worry about it, Spock,” Kirk cut in. “It’s not your fault that some of the admiralty are out to get us.”

Spock and McCoy shot each other knowing glances, but before either could respond, the door to the turbo lift slid open with its customary whoosh. Scott stepped onto the bridge a moment later, grinning when he caught sight of the captain. “Glad to see you’re alright, laddie!” he exclaimed, hurrying over to stand near the captain’s chair. He laughed and clapped Kirk on the shoulder. “You’ll have to tell me about your miraculous recovery some other time. What’s all this bloody nonsense about me takin’ control of the Enterprise?”

“Admiral Westervliet has filed claims of insubordination against Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and myself,” Spock informed him. “As per Starfleet regulation, a captain with an open claim of insubordination must be temporarily removed from duty until the Council rules otherwise.”

“And since you’re in the doghouse as much as the cap’n, that leaves me in charge,” Scott finished with a shake of his head. “These damned admirals will be the death of me yet.”

Kirk chuckled and slapped the engineer on the back. “You’re too much of a clever bastard to let them do that, though,” he declared confidently.

Scott laughed. “Aye, laddie, that’s the truth,” he answered with a smirk.

“What now, though?” McCoy prodded, folding his arms as he eyed the younger man. “Westervliet’s still in charge, Jim. He’s still giving you the runaround.”

“At this point in time, Doctor, it seems there is little we can do,” Spock interjected. “The control of the situation lies not only with Admiral Westervliet, but with the Council as well.”

“Don’t worry,” Kirk replied. “I’ll take care of this. We’ve still got a few options left to us. Mr. Scott, have all of the reports waiting for me forwarded to the ready room.”

“Aye, sir. Anything else?” the older man replied.

Kirk smiled a little. “Get the away team back onboard and set course for home. You’re captain now. Take good care of her, Mr. Scott. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the ready room. I’ve got some calls to make and a shitload of paperwork to catch up on.” Before anyone could respond, Kirk was striding past them, passing through a sliding door and into the ready room. They all heard the whir of the lock sliding into place, and an uneasy silence fell over the bridge. McCoy’s eyes moved from the door of the ready room to the empty captain’s chair. He frowned as he stared at it.

“Alright, you heard him,” Scott barked, breaking everyone out of their momentary reverie. “Let’s get those boys back up here and head out,” he ordered as he sat in the captain’s chair. “Doctor McCoy, Mr. Spock, you’d both better start workin’ on an argument to present to the Council so we can get the both o’ you back on duty. Once that’s done we can start figurin’ out how to help the captain. I don’t wanna be in this chair any longer than I have to.”

McCoy’s gaze on the chair didn’t waver, even though it was now occupied. “Doctor?” Spock called.

The CMO blinked and cursed loudly, making several of the younger bridge crew members around him flinch in surprise. “What?” Scott asked. “What’s wrong?”

“He didn’t sit in the chair,” McCoy growled, glancing from the chair to the ready room door and back again. “Damn it, he hardly even looked at it!”

“So?” Scott asked as Spock’s eyebrows furrowed.

“The captain’s chair is one of Jim’s favorite places to be,” the Vulcan answered. “It is unusual for him to so blatantly ignore it.”

Scott frowned. “So what does that mean?”

“It means we’re not out of the woods yet,” McCoy replied. “He might act like it, but Jim’s far from being back to one hundred percent.”

*****

The next two days passed in a whirlwind of tests, meetings, and paperwork. McCoy had let the reports that needed his approval to stack up in the time that Kirk had been comatose, and while Chapel was a saint in several respects, not even she could be persuaded to fill out more than one hundred forms. As much as McCoy loved his work, he hated the tedious paperwork associated with it.

On top of that, the hours he’d spent over the past few weeks researching ways to help Kirk instead of sleeping finally caught up with him; more often than not he fell asleep at his desk, awakening only when the PADD he was working on dropped to the floor or the coffee in his hand spilled across his lap.

When McCoy wasn’t working on reports or dozing off accidentally, he was composing a statement for Starfleet regarding Westervliet’s claim of insubordination. He despised writing, but he hoped to have the entire fiasco taken care of before they reached space dock in Earth’s atmosphere so that he could go back to focusing on what was bothering him the most--namely, the odd behavior of one James T. Kirk.

Not that he even saw Kirk all that often. The younger man spent most of his time either in his quarters or in the ready room supposedly working on paperwork and making vid calls to a variety of Starfleet officials. McCoy had only seen Kirk twice in the last forty-eight hours: once for a half-hour series of tests and once in the mess hall.

Both meetings had made McCoy feel uneasy. Kirk obviously hadn’t been sleeping, judging by the consecutive cups of coffee he’d ordered in the mess and by the dark bags underneath his eyes, made all the more prominent by his too-pale skin. He’d only smiled once, and it hadn’t even come close to reaching his eyes, which seemed dark and distant. But both times, Kirk had slipped off to return to his work before the CMO could question him about it.

McCoy had no clue what Kirk was currently planning to solve their situation with Westervliet, either--if he was planning anything at all. The only person McCoy knew for a fact Kirk had contacted was Admiral Pike, and that was only because the admiral had called the CMO wanting to know why Kirk seemed so skittish on the vidscreen. McCoy hadn’t been able to fill him in on much, other than to conjecture that it was the deaths of the colonists more than the four days of torture that had affected him so profoundly.

It didn’t help that Pike seemed to be as much in the dark about the Council’s proceeds as the crew onboard the Enterprise. He’d informed McCoy that he was being kept as out of the loop as possible because of the fact that he had such close ties to Kirk. He was trying to find out as much as he could about the proceedings, but he didn’t have a whole lot of new information to offer, which left McCoy even more uptight about the majority of higher-ups in Starfleet than usual.

And to top it all off, McCoy still had no idea how Kirk had managed to escape the Romulans’ clutches in the first place. Apparently the captain had submitted some kind of report to Starfleet, but it seemed the higher-ups were far from happy with the summarization. Uhura’s communication station had been flooded with demands from admiralty and Council members alike, almost all demanding that the Enterprise return to Earth and her captain be put on paid leave until the entire matter was resolved.

In short, McCoy was worried, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. It was the same sickening motto he’d had the entire time Kirk had been catatonic, and it grated on him that it was still true even though the captain was alert.

Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura cornered McCoy in the mess during Gamma shift the second day, eight hours before the Enterprise was scheduled to arrive at space dock. The doctor was sitting by himself in the far corner of the room, and he looked up in surprise from the PADD he was consulting as the trio approached. “Aren’t y’all supposed to be sleeping?” he asked pointedly as they sat in the chairs opposite him.

They looked at each other before looking back at him. “There’s something seriously wrong with Kirk,” Uhura declared.

McCoy sighed a little and shoved a forkful of food into his mouth. “Tell me something I don’t know,” he muttered thickly.

“We think he might be leaving,” Sulu replied.

McCoy choked a little and started coughing, glaring at Sulu when the helmsman lightly thumped him between the shoulder blades. “What the hell are you talking about?” he spluttered, reaching for his glass of water and draining the rest of it.

“He’s been avoiding all of us,” Uhura explained. “You know it as well as we do--he spends most of the day locked up in one of two places, and he only comes out right when the shift changes are taking place, so no one really has a chance to see him. That’s not like him at all--normally he never shuts up, and he spends as much time as he can on the bridge.”

“He’s not supposed to be on the bridge thanks to that damn admiral, and he’s got nearly a month’s worth of paperwork to catch up on,” McCoy shot back. “Of course he’s been locking himself away in private. God knows I could use a bit of privacy,” he added, looking from the trio to his PADD and back again.

Uhura glared at him, lifting her chin a little. “He finished his workload last night. I sent out the data packet myself.”

McCoy’s eyes narrowed. “Then I suppose it’s safe to assume you know how much time he’s been spending talking with Starfleet as well.”

“How much time, yes, but he’s been transmitting with an encrypted signal,” Uhura replied. “It changes too quickly and too randomly for us to figure out exactly who he’s talking to.”

“I did manage to decode a written message he sent to Starfleet, however,” Chekov piped up. He flushed a little when McCoy raised an eyebrow at him but kept his gaze steady. “He requested zat ze Enterprise be granted zree weeks of shore leave.”

“Why?” McCoy asked.

“He wants us to have the time to, and I quote, ‘Adjust to the change,’” Uhura replied, folding her arms.

McCoy scowled. “Have you received any indication from Starfleet that they’re not going to let Jim keep his post?”

All three of them shook their heads. “There’s been no information pointing at either outcome,” Sulu said. “But if Captain Kirk is deciding to leave under his own free will, then there wouldn’t really need to be a hearing.”

“Spock’s worried, too,” Uhura interjected before McCoy could comment. “He hasn’t said as much, but he’s been in contact with Starfleet almost as much as Kirk has. I think he suspects something is up as well.”

“So what do you want me to do about it?” McCoy asked, leaning back in his seat and folding his arms.

“You’re his best friend,” Sulu replied. “We figured if anyone could get to the bottom of this, you could.”

“We don’t want ze keptin to leave,” Chekov added. “Working on ze Enterprise would not be ze same without him. It has not been ze same without him,” he amended.

McCoy sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I honestly don’t know what to tell y’all,” he admitted after a moment. “I might be his best friend, but he’s avoiding me just as much as he’s avoiding you.”

Sulu’s shoulders slumped and Chekov’s gaze dropped to the table. Uhura leaned in slightly, her dark eyes narrow as she stared at the doctor. “You’re telling me after all of this you’re just going to give up?”

“Of course not! I--”

Uhura scoffed, cutting McCoy off. “That’s what it sounds like to me. Kirk’s going to walk right off the ship, and you’re just going to let him.”

“I never said that!” McCoy hissed, slamming his palms on the table hard enough to make his fork clatter off the cheap plate. “I’ll do what I can to make sure he stays on this ship, even if I have to hunt him down and drag him back here myself.”

“It would be a lot easier if you managed to convince him to stay in the first place,” Uhura replied wryly, a smirk curling the corners of her mouth.

McCoy snorted, leaning back in his seat again. “You seem to have forgotten, Lieutenant, but this is Jim goddamn Kirk. ‘Easy’ is a word that ceases to exist when it comes to him.” He sighed again, letting his shoulders slump as he eyed the younger officers. “But I’ll see what I can do.”

*****

McCoy’s opportunity arose a few hours later when everyone onboard the Enterprise received notification that they would have three weeks of well-deserved shore leave once they returned to Earth, and that the captain would unfortunately be unable to see them off. The memo was distinctly as Kirk and anti-professional as ever, so it ended with, “Have a great time and don’t spend all those hard-earned credits in one place! (Unless, of course, it’s in Vegas.)”

The last part of the message had McCoy practically sprinting towards Kirk’s quarters, wondering if he was already too late; it sounded far too much like Jim Kirk’s version of “goodbye.”

As he rounded the final corner, he came to a surprised stop when he saw someone standing next to the door of the captain’s quarters. “Jim?”

Kirk glanced up, a faint smile twisting his lips as he punched the code to lock his door. “Hey, Bones. Wondered when you’d show up.”

“What’s going on? Why are you in civvies?” McCoy demanded, eyeing the boots, worn jeans, faded gray t-shirt, and weathered leather jacket Kirk was currently wearing. “And why the hell do you have a duffel bag in your hand?”

The smile faded as Kirk slung the bag over his shoulder. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, adjusting to the weight on his back. “I’m leaving, Bones.”

McCoy’s shoulders stiffened in shock. He’d discussed this very possibility with Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura just hours before, and yet he still wasn’t completely expecting it. It wasn’t like Jim Kirk to back down from a challenge, especially when it was from someone who had greater authority. “What? Why?” His eyes suddenly narrowed, and he scowled. “Is this because of Westervliet? I swear to God I’m gonna--”

“Bones, calm down,” Kirk cut in, laying a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “It’s not permanent.”

Something in Kirk’s tone made the CMO pause for a moment. “You mean it’s not permanent yet,” he said grimly, folding his arm across his chest.

Kirk sighed and started walking down the hall towards the turbo lift without replying--which McCoy knew was response enough. “Goddamnit, Jim, you can’t let them do this to you!” McCoy exclaimed, jogging a little to catch up the younger man until they were walking side by side down the hall. “If the Council hadn’t been such bastards in the first place, this never would have--”

“I requested it, Bones.”

Kirk’s quiet statement caused McCoy to pause mid-rant. “W-what?” he stammered as they stopped in front of the lift.

“I requested it,” Kirk repeated. “I asked for all of us to have three weeks off, and they granted it.”

“Why? Why are you leaving now?” McCoy demanded. “Last time we had shore leave, you were the last one aboard this ship--I know, I was right there with you. This isn’t you.”

Kirk laughed once--a hollow sound, one that sent a shiver up McCoy’s spine. “Honestly, Bones, I don’t know what’s me anymore,” he said, his soft admission nearly drowned out by the whoosh of the lift door.

“Jim…”

“Don’t, Bones,” Kirk murmured as they stepped onto the lift. Kirk punched in the command, then leaned back against the wall. “Truth is, I’m tired, Bones. I’m tired, I’m messed up--and don’t try to pretend I’m not.”

McCoy snorted. “You honestly think I’d do something like that?”

The corner of Kirk’s mouth twitched up into a small smile. “No, I suppose you wouldn’t. But everyone else would want to.”

He sighed again and let his eyes slide closed. McCoy frowned, leaning back against the wall so that his position mirrored Kirk’s. The door slid open a second later, but neither of them moved for a moment.

“That’s why I have to go and fix this,” Kirk said finally, opening his eyes and turning his head to look at the CMO. “I need to figure this out so that no one has to pretend everything’s okay. I need to make everything okay.”

“You don’t have to leave to do that, Jim,” McCoy pointed out as they stepped off the lift. “We could--”

“Bones,” Kirk interjected, laying a hand on the older man’s shoulder. “You’ve already done everything you can. You pulled me back, for god’s sake. If it weren’t for you, I’d still be…” He swallowed as his fingers curled around McCoy’s shoulder. “I need to do this, Bones,” he finished quietly. “You’ve got to let me do this.”

McCoy stared back at his friend for a long moment before he grasped Kirk’s forearm. “Okay,” he murmured. “God knows I hate going along with your idiotic plans, but okay.”

Kirk smiled a little. It wasn’t even close to his typical grin, but for the first time since he’d awakened, it reached his eyes. McCoy couldn’t help but smile back.

He followed Kirk into the transporter room and wasn’t too surprised to see the small crowd that had gathered there. Kirk, on the other hand, looked quite astonished. “What are you all doing here?” he asked.

Spock took a small step forward. “Lieutenant Uhura overheard your comm message requesting Mr. Scott’s presence here. Given the fact that the sole object in here is the transporter, it was quite logical to assume you were planning on departing before the Enterprise was scheduled to dock.”

“And I may have mentioned it to Spock near Sulu, who may have mentioned it to Chekov, who may have persuaded us to come down and see if we couldn’t talk you out of it,” Uhura added.

“ ’Fraid not,” McCoy declared before Kirk could reply. “We think it’s best if Jim gets away from the ship for a little while.”

Kirk shot him a grateful look before he stepped through the small group and onto the bottom step of the transporter. He turned around and looked at them all. “You guys really didn’t have to be here.”

“You’re our keptin,” Chekov answered simply. “And our friend,” he added as Scott, Sulu, and Uhura nodded.

“It is the duty of a crew to ensure that its captain is sent off safely,” Spock added.

Kirk’s mouth tipped into a smile, and he nodded once at them before stepping onto the platform. The others gathered behind Scott as the engineer adjusted the controls. “Where am I sendin’ you, Cap’n?” the engineer asked.

“Riverside,” Kirk answered. “I’ll start there, stop by to visit my mom, then maybe drive around the country for a bit.”

“Alright,” Scott said, plugging in the necessary coordinates.

McCoy folded his arms. “You better be back here in three weeks, Captain,” he ordered.

Kirk smirked as he adjusted the bag on his shoulder. “Aye, sir,” he replied, saluting with two still-bandaged fingers on his right hand. As light started swirling around him, he smiled and said, “I’ll be fine, Bones.”

Then there was a flash of light and the captain was gone. “Yeah,” McCoy murmured softly, shoulders slumping as he eyed where Kirk had been standing a moment before. “That’s what you said last time.”

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Comments

( 1 thought — Your Thoughts )
hope_calaris
Nov. 14th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
*flails* Bones! You moron! Don't let Jim go alone! Follow him! Arrghhh ... *heads off to read the rest*
( 1 thought — Your Thoughts )
Put me in the Son's light, and I will glow in the dark.

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