Title: In a New Light

Author: Ster Julie

Rating: PG

Codes: Spock, Chapel, McCoy

Genre: h/c

Part 1 of 1

Summary: Spock feels personally responsible for Nurse Chapel's injuries suffered under his command. He uses an unorthodox healing method.

Note: I am not a doctor. All medical personnel please suspend belief and all that you've ever studied. Thank you!

--ooOoo--

Doctor McCoy thought it was interesting. Ever since Nurse Chapel was injured during the rescue mission on Danata Prime, Spock had made a point of visiting Christine several times a day. The nurse had a serious case of radiation poisoning due to a defective seal on her hazard duty suit. Spock had been in command of that rescue operation, and he blamed himself for not double checking the equipment personally, for not taking action sooner when Christine commented to him that her suit's environmental controls seemed to be malfunctioning. She had said, "Is it me, or is it hot in here?" Spock had dismissed the comment as typical, emotional human nervous prattle, and now Nurse Chapel lay there, desperately ill because of his error.

When Spock was not in Sickbay, he was researching the effects of and treatment for overexposure to Danatan radiation. Spock's heart sank to his knees when he learned that Danatan radiation affected the delicate tissues, especially those of the reproductive system. Christine's ovaries were fried. She would never be able to bear children. That news only layered the Vulcan with guilt upon guilt.

As Spock stood beside Christine's bed, he sensed McCoy come up beside him.

"Her skin," Spock whispered.

"The radiation affected several layers of dermis," McCoy supplied quietly. "It will take a while, but it should heal with minimal scarring."

"Can she hear us?" Spock said softly.

Sadly, McCoy shook his head. "I'm growing new eardrums for her. They'll be ready in a few days. Right now I have her in a light coma so that she won't have to feel us debriding her skin."

Spock studied the nurse for a moment. "Are there no possibilities for a complete recovery?" he asked.

McCoy put a hand on the Vulcan's shoulder. "I'm no miracle worker, Spock," he admitted. "I can replace her eardrums and eyelids, but I can't grow new ovaries for her. I can't open up a fused womb." McCoy paused to wipe a tear. "She would have made beautiful babies."

Spock nodded sadly.

After a long pause, Spock asked, "Doctor McCoy? May I stay with Nurse Chapel undisturbed for a while?"

McCoy eyed Spock. The word "payback" came to mind. God only knew how many times Christine had kept vigil at Spock's side. Her motive was obvious. What was his? Duty? Guilt? Gratitude?

"Take all the time you need, Spock," McCoy replied.

Spock nodded his thanks as the doctor left. The Vulcan contemplated the once lovely nurse's face. It was now angry red and peeling, glistening with a healing salve. Her beautiful blue eyes were covered by thick bandages to protect them.

/Deaf, blind,/ Spock thought. /She must be so frightened!/

Spock stepped closer to the head of the bed. He wanted to meld with Christine, to reassure her, but he was hard-pressed to find a section of undamaged skin. Finally, he settled a hand delicately on her hair.

/Fear!/

Spock gasped as he made contact. Deprived of sight and sound, Christine was terrified. Even in her coma, she was aware, Spock discovered. He hurried to assure her.

/Christine! Be at peace. You are in very capable hands./

Christine was unfazed that Spock was in her head. /Why can't I hear or see?/ she demanded. /What else is damaged?/

/I am not a physician, Christine. Perhaps Doctor McCoy should inform you./

/I can't hear anything. Are my eardrums affected?

/They are gone. Doctor McCoy is growing new ones for you. He plans to transplant them in a few days./

/And my eyes?/

Spock paused to gather himself. /Your eyes were not affected, buy your eyelids are gone. Dr. McCoy will restore those as well./

/My skin? My face?/

Spock paused again. /It will heal with minimal scarring, according to Doctor McCoy./

Christine stopped to absorb all the information Spock had given her. She gasped suddenly when she saw herself through the Vulcan's eyes.

/NO!/

Spock realized too late that the nurse had accessed his memory of his recent discussion with McCoy.

/NO!//

/There are always possibilities, Christine.

/NO, NO, NO!//

Spock touched the nurse at the apex of her neck and shoulder and she lost consciousness.

"Forgive me, Christine," he murmured.

Spock fled the nurse's side. His mind sped through option after option. Short of going back through time to prevent the accident, Spock had no idea of how to heal Christine.

Danata Prime had been a deceptively beautiful, Earth-like planet. He remembered her smiling face gazing at him, her long, blonde hair lifting in the breezeā€¦

Spock stopped suddenly. He was remembering another woman on another planet -- Leila Kalomi and Omicron Ceti III. The spores from the lilies on that planet healed whoever was infected with them.

Spock changed direction and headed quickly to the stasis units in the Science Lab storage area. He entered the encrypted security code and opened a locker. Spock carefully secured several grams of spores into a sealed vial, stowed everything back in its proper place and rushed back to Christine's side.

Spock checked to see if anyone was with the injured nurse. Finding her alone, Spock carefully unsealed the vial and gently blew the spores over her body. Christine gasped as the spores began to work. A mighty sneeze blew a few spores back at Spock.

The Vulcan's head began to swim, then to pound as the spores lowered his barriers. He opened his eyes and watched a tremendous, miraculous transformation.

Christine's skin began to fade to a normal hue, the texture smoothing out to its prior state. The swelling in her joints reduced dramatically. Even her hair took on a more healthy shine and softness.

Spock dared to remove the bandages. Smooth lids and long lashes blinked back to reveal beautiful, ocean-blue eyes.

"Oooh," Christine breathed, "Why do I feel so giddy?"

Spock smiled gently, also overcome with giddiness.

McCoy came racing in at that moment.

"What the blazes?" he exclaimed at the sight of his radiant, healthy nurse. The doctor moved closer to her bed and saw the remains of Omicron Ceti III lily spores. "Spock!" he exclaimed. "What did you do?"

"I used the spores to heal her," Spock replied with a smug, spore-induced grin.

"Well, you weren't very careful with them, Mister Spock," McCoy observed. "You obviously got them on yourself as well."

Spock giggled drunkenly. "Blame Christine," he said. "She sneezed!"

McCoy shook his head as he ran his scanner over Christine. "How do you feel?" he asked.

"Newborn," Christine replied with a love-sick smile.

"Well, my blasted machines agree with you," he said. "Everything is in working order again." McCoy took a closer look at the loopy Vulcan. "Now, last time we had to get you awfully angry to beat those spores, Spock," McCoy reminded. "What do you suppose we do now?"

Spock waved a dismissive hand in the air. "Let them run their course," he replied, locking gazes with Christine.

"O-okay," McCoy responded. The doctor further studied the spore-infected couple. Christine, once so sick, permanently scarred and deformed was now fresh and whole. And obviously Spock was seeing the nurse in a new light. McCoy shook his head.

"Why do I get the feeling that you two will need a chaperone?"

END