A/N: How Kirk Slowly Endears Himself to His Crew by Becoming a Human Punching Bag, Plunging off a 300 Foot Cliff, Getting Crushed by a Giant Ass Pipe, Nearly Getting Blown to Itty Bitty Bits, and Suffocating Because of His Own Medically Inept Body. (Although, not necessarily in that order.)
Or…five times Kirk puts his crew before himself, and one time they return the favor.
I wrote this from Sulu's point of view because most of my stuff is going to be about Bones and Jim so I thought I'd switch it up. Also, Sulu is freaking adorable and awesome. Just a heads up, there is an OC in this story, but her appearance is minimal; this chapter is the probably the most you'll see of her.
Also, on a side note, there is medical jargon and squeamishness, and I apologize if it sounds boringly 21st century. I'm not that imaginative when it comes to 23rd century medical procedures.
Regular disclaimer applies!
What Sulu Sees
In Sulu's book, loyalty is not something freely given but earned.
Being part of a military organization, there is a certain amount of loyalty that is automatic, if only through regulation. If the brass says he has to follow someone with three stripes on their arm, he's going to do it, whether he particularly likes that person or not. He'll follow orders, do his job, probably gripe about it under his breath, but he'll show loyalty to his superior officer.
But real loyalty is a different story. Real loyalty, the kind where he'll lay down his life without a second thought, the kind where he'll trust the order from his superior without blinking an eye, that comes from hard work and time. In Sulu's experience there is a moment, clear and crystal, that defines that loyalty. A moment that he can look back on and say There, that's when I started following Jim Kirk, the crazy bastard.
Not that he'd ever call his captain anything so disrespectful…to his face.
Of course, like everything else, Jim Kirk has to go above and beyond and royally screw up a perfect system.
Because there wasn't just one moment when Sulu gave him his undying loyalty. There were two.
The first was on that damn drill. Because it was really hard not to loyally follow a man who would willingly fling himself off a drill three miles high in the sky on the off chance that he could save your life. It was kind of a given that Sulu was going to like the guy.
But that was a military action, a crazy one, but it was on duty just the same. So, yeah, he was going to follow the guy's orders no matter how utterly insane they might be because he's seen his crazy genius at work and he can trust his captain to do what needs to be done. And he was loyal to the Captain.
The second moment, the one that would forever make Sulu loyal to Jim Kirk, defined his loyalty to the man behind the title.
They'd just gotten back from some dusty, rock planet that was hotter and dryer than Sulu cared to remember. They were covered in red dirt from head to toe and aching in places that Sulu didn't know existed. The planet had severe seismic activity that hadn't been detected until they'd been in the dust bowl for over an hour. Three of the eight member away team had been severely injured, so much so that Doctor McCoy had been beamed down to stabilize them before they could be transported on board. The more minor injuries, namely Sulu and Kirk, had been sent to sick bay ahead of them.
So there he sat on a bio bed, nursing a headache the size of Jupiter and a cut the entire length of his forearm. Kirk was on the bed beside him with an arm wrapped protectively over his ribs which he swore were only bruised and wiping blood from the small gash above his eyebrow as he animatedly told the nurses how Sulu saved his life.
"I don't know how, but he saw the rocks falling, and bam! he was slamming me out of the way. Moved like a freaking ninja!"
Julia, the red headed nurse that Sulu may or may not have had a crush on, smiled at him, "Really, a ninja?"
Sulu ducked his head slightly and raised his arm, "Well, not a very good ninja. Still managed to get my arm caught."
"That's the best part!" Kirk exclaimed, grinning like a madman through the blood on his face, "He's lying there with his arm pinned under this giant boulder and he just looks at it and says 'Well that's inconvenient.' It was freaking awesome!"
Sulu looked at him with a silent expression of thanks. Kirk was telling the story accurately, but he was leaving out some rather important details. Like how after the reality of the situation hit, he'd puked his guts out because there was a very real possibility that he'd lose his arm. Or that it was Kirk that calmed him down and then single-handedly maneuvered the boulder off his arm even with his mild concussion and bruised-if-not-broken ribs.
But Kirk didn't mention any of that to Julia.
"Captain, as entertaining as this story is, I should really get to work on your ribs. Doctor McCoy will have my hide if you aren't patched up before he gets back," Julia said.
Kirk shook his head, "My ribs can wait. Sulu's bleeding."
Sulu wanted to protest that it wasn't that bad, but blood had already soaked the Captain's command tunic red. He'd protested when Kirk had wrapped it around the wound, but now he was grateful. There was no way he would have made it back to the ship if he'd let it bleed freely.
"Sir, Marcelle can handle Lieutenant Sulu's injury," Julia said, although she hesitated slightly as she looked at the petite nurse beside her.
Sulu cringed and instinctively pulled his injured arm closer to his chest. He didn't have anything against the pixie-like girl, but he'd heard stories. Like the one where Travers from Engineering came in with a small burn on his leg and nearly lost his hand. Or the one where there was an outbreak of Terran flu because Marcelle had dropped the vials containing samples in the middle of the corridor.
"If Marcelle can handle his arm then she can handle my ribs," Kirk said, "I'd rather have the more senior nurse working on the more serious injury, and I'm pretty sure Bones would, too."
"Yes, sir," Julia said with a smile that Sulu wished would last forever, "Marcelle, start with the dermal regenerator on the laceration on his temple. If I'm not done with Mr. Sulu by then, you can start on the osteo-regenerator for his ribs."
"Sure thing, Julia," Marcelle grinned and hurried to the cabinet behind her to grab the equipment.
As Julia grabbed her own supplies, Sulu looked at Kirk and mouthed Thank you. Kirk grinned and looked pointedly at Julia before waggling his eyebrows and mouthing back You owe me. Sulu agreed wholeheartedly.
"The laceration isn't too deep," Julia murmured as her fingers ghosted over his arm. Sulu gasped slightly, tensing, and Julia frowned, "I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?"
"No, I'm just…I'm ticklish."
She smirked, "I'll try to remember that."
Sulu watched her as she began wiping away the dried blood. She was a few inches shorter than him, but she carried herself as though she were ten feet tall. That was what attracted him to her to begin with; the confidence that she had to do her job, to be who she was, it was impressive. Of course, the heart-shaped face, large apples in her cheeks, and wide green eyes didn't hurt in the attraction department either. He'd pined after her for the last three months, since they'd started their mission, and as far as he knew she didn't have a boyfriend. He was trying to get up his courage to ask her out and knew he needed to act soon, or, as Kirk loved to remind him, he'd miss his chance.
"So did you really push the captain out of the way?" Julia asked, pulling him out of his reverie.
"He exaggerated a few parts," Sulu told her. And left out a few others, he added silently.
"When we got the call that three of you had been severely injured, Doctor McCoy bet that one of them was Kirk," she smirked as she started the dermal re-generator treatment, "I bet him an evening off shift that it wasn't. I guess I owe you for winning."
Sulu grinned, "Glad to help. To be honest, I wasn't really thinking when I did it."
"Do you always do that? Act without thinking?"
"No. I'm usually the opposite. It took me two years of careful option weighing before I decided to go into Starfleet. And it takes me at least twenty minutes to figure out what I'm going to replicate for dinner."
Julia laughed, "I never pegged you for such a careful man, Mister Sulu."
"I'm not always," he assured her and smiled, "You just haven't gotten to know me yet, Nurse Dawson."
Her smile turned fond, "Well, if you want my opinion, I think some of the best decisions are made on impulse. Too much over thinking can ruin an good thing."
As she moved the re-generator out of the way to check its progress, Sulu impulsively grabbed her hand in his to stop her. When she looked up at him, her light green eyes reflecting amusement and nervousness, he smiled wide.
"Julia, will you go out with me?"
An impossibly wide smile graced her lips, "I thought you'd never ask, Hikaru."
Sulu's grin matched hers watt for megawatt. He really owed Kirk for this one. Maybe a bottle of something expensive and alcoholic. Hell, he'd cover his next three Gamma shifts if the man wanted. It would be worth it just for this moment.
And then the moment ended abruptly with a loud clang and a strangled cough.
Julia spun away as Sulu jerked around to see what was happening. Across the room, the dermal re-generator Marcelle had been using was on the ground and Kirk was hunched over, one hand holding his ribs as he coughed and gagged, the other clutching the edge of the bio bed in a white-knuckled grip. Julia rushed over and Sulu, despite the dizziness of moving too fast, was right behind her.
"What's wrong?" Julia demanded.
"I don't know!" Marcelle blubbered, "I…I gave him a pain reliever and he was fine…an-and then he was saying it was hard to breathe. I didn't-"
Kirk grabbed onto Sulu's good arm like a life line. Sulu could feel the tremors running through his Captain in that tenuous grip and could see the fear reflected in his eyes as he looked up at Sulu, gasping for breath that wouldn't come.
"He can't breathe!" Sulu shouted.
Julia scooped up the hypo lying next to the re-generator and scanned the screen. Her eyes widened with anger.
"You stupid-" She shoved Marcelle out of the way and ran for the cabinet, shouting, "Nancy! I need you in here now!"
Nancy appeared in the door way, a hypo in her hand, "Julia, what's-"
"Get M'Benga out here. The captain is going into anaphylactic shock."
Nancy spared a worried glance at Kirk and then hurried forward, "M'Benga and Chapel are working on Xave. Xhe came back with internal injuries and they're the only ones capable of helping xer aside from McCoy. What do you need?"
"Shit!" Julia cursed as she turned away from the cabinet and rushed back to Kirk. She pressed a hypo to his arm and readied another one, "Get a comm. link down to McCoy. Tell him that it's the Captain, code red. And then get me another set of hands in here."
Nancy looked at Marcelle, "What about-"
"Not her! Get her out of here!"
Nancy did as she was told, grabbing a crying Marcelle by the arm and dragging her deeper into medical. Julia depressed the second hypo into the captain's arm and then moved to grab an oxygen mask.
"Julia, what's happening?" Sulu demanded as she eased Kirk back on the bed. The other man's lips were slowly turning blue and his chest hitched and heaved as he fought to breathe.
"She overdosed him with a med he's allergic to," Julia bit out. She attached the line to the mask and readied it, but paused to address Kirk first, "Captain, I need you to listen to me. Your airway is trying to swell shut, but I've given you a drug to counteract it. It's going to take a minute to work. I know it feels like you can't breathe, but you can. Do you understand me?"
Kirk nodded once and coughed, harsh and loud, gasping on the tiny amount of air that got through.
"I'm going to put this mask on. It will help you breathe easier while the drug works," she placed the mask over his face and cranked up the oxygen, "You've got a hold of Sulu's arm. Do you feel him? I want you to keep holding on to him, okay? Squeeze his hand every time you get a breath in, so I know you're breathing."
Sulu adjusted his grip on Kirk's arm so that instead of clasping his wrist, he had his thumb locked around his and his fingers pressed into the back of his hand. Kirk squeezed, hard. Sulu knew that holding Kirk's hand wasn't medically necessary; the monitors was reading out his oxygen levels with bright numbers that meant nothing to him, but Kirk needed the distraction, and Sulu was only happy to oblige. He'd be scared out of his mind too if he was slowly suffocating.
Jacobi, one of the few male nurses on board, appeared beside Julia, "What do you need, Dawson?"
Julia turned to him and said in a hushed whisper, "Get the defibrillator and a intubation pack."
Jacobi's eyes widened slightly, but he nodded tersely, turned on his heel, and obeyed.
"Defibrillator?" Sulu asked, wincing as Kirk's grip nearly broke his hand.
Julia shook her head and bent down to Kirk, "Captain, listen to me carefully. The drug you were given is going to have side effects. In about a minute you're going to have a seizure-"
"Shit." Sulu gripped Kirk's hand with both of his, as if he could will the tremors rippling through him away.
"-and the counter drug may not have worked through you by then," Julia continued. She gently picked up Kirk's other hand and continued softly, "Your airway may close completely. If that happens, I'll have to intubate and connect you to the ventilator, but I'll only do it as a last resort. Do you understand what I'm telling you, Captain?"
Weakly, Kirk squeezed her fingers. He choked under the mask and gagged, his back arching slightly off the bio bed and slamming down again. The hand Sulu held tightened and relaxed in a vice like grip. The monitors attached to him began to wail and screech in warning. And then Kirk's entire body was convulsing.
"Get back!" Julia yelled, "Jacobi, the force field!"
Sulu reluctantly let go of Kirk's hand and stepped backward until his legs hit an empty bed. Jacobi hit a button on the bed and a shimmering field engulfed the Captain's quaking body, holding it down as the seizure ripped through him with the same ferocity as the earthquake on the planet below them.
Julia scrambled for the clear packet Jacobi handed her and tore it open. Behind her, the med bay doors opened and Nancy came running into the room, her usually immaculate blonde bun disheveled.
"The comm's been sent," she gasped, "but Mr. Scott doesn't think it will get through. There's interference-"
"Get the ventilator," Julia ordered.
Nancy's eyes widened, "You're going to-"
"Only if I have to," Julia replied, "With any luck, he'll-"
"It's done!" Jacobi shouted and released the force field.
"Time?" Julia demanded as she tore the oxygen mask from Kirk's face.
"97. 2 seconds," Jacobi answered.
"Shit, cut the alarms," Julia ordered. She tilted Kirk's head back, pried open his mouth, and aimed a pen light down his throat, "His airway is clear."
Nancy sighed in relief as she wheeled the ventilator into the room, "Thank God."
"V-fib," Jacobi yelled, "He's flatlining, Dawson!"
Julia cussed again as a new alarm went off. On the bed, Kirk's body was completely still, limp and lifeless, and Sulu thought he'd never seen something so wrong. Only moments earlier, he'd been waving his arm around as he described Sulu's extravagant rescue, his leg bouncing as he was forced to sit still on the bed. It was wrong that he was so still now; it was down right heartbreaking.
"Clear!" Julia shouted.
Sulu watched in morbid fascination as Kirk's body jumped up as the electrical current ran through it. The monitor beeped for a moment and then wailed again as a straight line scrawled across the screen.
"Again!" Julia yelled, "Clear!"
The second jolt left Kirk's head lolling across the bed, tilting his face away from Sulu. He fought the urge to gag.
"I've got a rhythm," Nancy announced, "It's evening out. There, we've got him."
"He's still not breathing," Jacobi announced, checking a read out from a PADD.
Julia positioned her hands over Kirk's chest, "Nancy, bag him."
He watched her do the compressions, listened as she counted them out and ordered Nancy to administer the breaths through the device she'd placed on Kirk's mouth. They did the cycle twice before Kirk was breathing on his own.
"It's shallow," Jacobi told them, "O2 levels are low. Do you want to intubate him?"
Julia shook her head, wisps of red hair clinging to her forehead, "His body's had enough trauma. If we intubate, he'll have to be sedated for at least a day to give it time to heal. He's breathing on his own. Attach the mask and raise the oxygen. We'll monitor him carefully. Get me a tricorder, will you, Nancy?"
The blonde nodded and stepped away, leaving Sulu's earlier spot vacant. Almost unconsciously, he stepped forward and grabbed Kirk's hand in his. He tried not to crumble when Kirk didn't grip his fingers back.
Julia looked at him across Kirk's prone body, "Shit."
Sulu could only nod in agreement.
When Nancy handed her the tricorder, Julia ran it over Kirk's chest, sighing in relief when she got the readings.
"One cracked rib, three bruised, and the drug is fading," she announced, her voice weary, "Jacobi, I want you to monitor him for the next hour. As soon as he's clear of the drug and a relapse, start the osteo-regenerator."
Jacobi nodded, but looked completely bewildered, "What the hell happened, Julia? I thought he came in with minor injuries."
"He did," Julia gritted out.
"Then how the hell did he go into cardiac arrest?"
Julia hooked a thumb over her shoulder, "Why don't you ask Marcelle?"
"Oh," Jacobi swallowed hard, "McCoy's going to kill her."
"Not if I kill her first," Julia muttered, "Nancy, get her to her quarters. She can wait for McCoy to ream her out there."
Nancy gripped Julia by the shoulders, "You did good, Julia."
Julia only nodded, glancing at Kirk's sleeping form with a look of relief and guilt. Sulu gripped Kirk's limp hand in his and wished he could start this day over again.
"He's okay," Julia said softly, "He's going to be okay."
Numbly, Sulu nodded.
"Come on. We should finish your arm. You're bleeding again."
He hadn't noticed, but now that she'd pointed it out, he could feel the pain of the wound throb in time with his pulse. Blood, wet and slick, dribbled out of the barely healed cut. With great reluctance, he let go of Kirk's hand and let Julia lead him back to the bed. As she started the treatment for a second time, Sulu said the only thing he could think of.
"This doesn't count as our first date."
It was a half hour later before McCoy was able to get up to the ship, and by the time he got to sick bay, he was livid. Sulu was still there, his arm already healed and bandaged, but he refused to leave before he had word about the Captain. He witnessed the spectacle of McCoy storming into sick bay and going completely white when he saw Kirk lying on the bio bed. It took twenty minutes to explain what happened simply because McCoy couldn't calm down enough to hear what they were saying and they ended up repeating themselves at least three times. When it became clear who was to blame, McCoy stormed back out of sick bay and didn't come back for nearly twenty minutes. Sulu tried to feel some sympathy for Marcelle, but couldn't find it in him.
Two hours after his seizure, Kirk woke up.
Sulu had been resting in his quarters and was commed by McCoy to 'get his ass down here right damn now because the infant wants to see you'. He wasn't sure if he should be amused by McCoy or downright terrified.
He met Julia outside the doors of sickbay.
"Hey," he said quietly.
She smiled, but it was tentative, "I'm about to get reamed out."
Sulu's eyes widened, "What? Why?"
She just shook her head, "McCoy's on a war path. I'm next."
She entered sickbay and Sulu followed. It'd quieted down since the earthquake and the fiasco after. The three injured team members were resting quietly at the back while Kirk was sitting up on the bio bed near the door. He looked a hundred times better than he had when Sulu had left him an hour earlier. Color had returned to his face and although he looked tired, he was smiling widely as Sulu and Julia entered. He was even kicking his feet against the bottom of the bed. Infant, indeed.
"Jules! Sulu! My two favorite people. You're just in time."
"Captain," Sulu said, "no disrespect meant, sir, but are you drugged?"
Kirk grinned even wider, "Bones has got me on some good stuff, but I'm not high if that's what you're wondering."
McCoy snorted from his place beside the bed, "No, this is just how you normally act. Childish."
Kirk scowled at him, but positively beamed at Julia, "Jules, have I ever told you that you're my absolute favorite nurse of all time?"
Julia's cheeks burned nearly as read as her hair, "Um, thank you, sir?"
"You were awesome," Kirk said, "I mean, freaking awesome. You're going to have your own Med bay some day."
She glanced at McCoy, uncertain, "Um, sir. You were unconscious. I don't think you know what really happened."
"Sure I do. I watched the security feeds."
Sulu thought his stomach plummeted and hit somewhere around his shoes. Shit. If Kirk had watched the feeds, that meant he knew-
"And, yes, Hikaru. I know you were holding my hand."
Kirk laughed, "Don't look so terrified, Sulu. What happens in sickbay, stays in sickbay."
"What he means," McCoy said, "is that he's grateful you were there, and he's sorry for nearly fracturing your hand."
Sulu flexed his hand, "Any time, sir."
Kirk grinned and turned back to Julia, "You, Jules, are like a nurse ninja. Did you know that? You reminded me of a smaller, prettier Bones, shouting orders, cussing up a storm. It was awesome."
Julia ducked her head, her ears now burning as brilliantly as her cheeks, "Sir, I don't think your gratitude is warranted. If anything, I should be reprimanded."
Kirk looked at her like she'd grown a second head, "Say what now?"
McCoy shared his confusion, "Why the hell would you be reprimanded, Dawson? You saved the Captain's life, for Christ sake."
"Because it shouldn't have happened. I should have been assigned to Captain Kirk since I was the most senior nurse available and he has the most medical disadvantages. If I had been, Marcelle-"
"You were ordered to attend to Sulu," McCoy reminded her as he hooked a thumb toward Kirk, "by Captain Dumbass here."
"And Marcelle should have been capable of doing her job without being hovered over. It isn't a mistake to trust your colleagues to do what they're damn well supposed to."
"Yes, sir," Julia said, "but I was distracted." She flicked her eyes to Sulu.
"Well," Kirk drawled, kicking his feet against the bed, "Hikaru can be very distracting."
Julia couldn't turn any more red if she wanted to, but Sulu certainly could. He stood stifly, trying desperately not to look at Julia or strangle his Captain on the bio bed. McCoy smacked the back of Kirk's head.
"You're incorrigible, kid."
Kirk chuckled, "Possibly, but it's one of my finer qualities." Before McCoy could protest and list some of Kirk's less finer qualities, the Captain turned back to Julia, "Jules, you are most definitely not getting reprimanded. Bones has already put a commendation in your file and once those things are in, they can't be taken out."
Julia looked at McCoy with wide, disbelieving eyes, "Really, sir? You don't give commendations. Ever."
McCoy cleared his throat, "I don't usually because I shouldn't have to reward people for doing their damn jobs, but I do it on occasion when people go above and beyond. You were understaffed, unqualified and faced with situation that even a CMO would struggle to handle, and you still managed to save the infant's life."
Julia shook her head, "Sir, I-"
"You had a five minute window, Dawson. Five minutes. Not only was Jim highly allergic to that med, but Marcelle overdosed him on it. If you hadn't acted so quickly and decisively, he'd be dead. He should be dead."
Kirk crossed his arms, "Sorry to disappoint you, Bones."
McCoy ignored him, "That's why you got the commendation, Dawson. Because you damned well earned it."
Julia ducked her head humbly, "Yes, sir. Thank you."
"You know what else you earned?" Kirk asked, grinning wide, "A night off, as per the bet your CMO made." He picked up the PADD lying beside him and said, "I think the shift you were supposed to cover two days from now would be a good choice."
"Two nights?" Julia asked, "Sir, I work tonight. Couldn't I-"
"You could," Kirk smirked, "but I know a certain pilot who has that shift off, too, and I know I was busy trying not to asphyxiate, but I distinctly remember hearing Sulu ask you out."
Sulu couldn't stay quiet any longer, "Sir, given that our flirting was a distraction that nearly caused your death, I don't know if it would be appropriate to-"
Kirk surprised them all by grabbing the pillow off his bed and hurtling it at Sulu's face.
"Don't be an idiot," Kirk told him, "I don't have idiots on the bridge."
Sulu swallowed a smile, "Yes, sir."
McCoy sighed, "You ever going to learn to stay out of other people's business, kid?"
"Probably not, but I will tell you what I have learned. I have learned that even in a stressful situation with my life at stake that she," he pointed at Julia, "gives hypos like a freaking butterfly kiss while you jab them in my neck like a freaking dagger. What's up with that?"
McCoy smirked, "Maybe she likes you better."
"Maybe you need to work on your bedside manner."
"What bedside manner?"
"Well, maybe you need to go to sleep." With speed that only came with practice, McCoy pressed a hypo to Kirk's neck before he could even flinch.
"Damn it!" Kirk hissed and glared at his friend, "Sadist."
"You're too damn fast with those things, Bones," Kirk said, "Like a freaking ninja."
McCoy rolled his eyes, "What is it with you and ninjas, kid?"
"I'm surrounded by them," Kirk gestured to Sulu and Julia, "He's a sword ninja and she's a nurse ninja and you're a hypo ninja. And it's awesome to watch, less awesome when you're using your ninja skills against me."
With a long suffering sigh, McCoy grabbed the pillow from Sulu's hands, "He's going to pass out in a minute-"
"I'm not tired!"
"-so you can both go. He'll be back on the bridge by Beta shift."
As Sulu and Julia turned to leave, Kirk propped himself up on his elbow, "Hey, Sulu. You still owe me." As Sulu turned, Kirk grinned wickedly, "So when you start having ninja babies, you better name one after me."
McCoy hit him with another hypo, "Go to sleep already, you idiot."
In the hall, Julia was still burning red on her cheeks and ears, but she smiled at him, "So, still up for that first date, sword ninja?"
Sulu grinned, "You know it, nurse ninja."
And that was how Kirk earned Sulu's loyalty. By being a batshit crazy Captain, and an accident prone, but excellent wingman who nearly died so Sulu could land a date.
All in all, Sulu supposed there were worse people to pledge your loyalty to.
A/N: Any and all reviews are very much appreciated. Seriously, I check daily and then send out good thoughts and happy vibes to any one who leaves even a single word. The more I get, the faster I'll update! :)