Title: Forever In Sight

Author: JRosemary

Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Star Trek

Summary: In the wake of The Empath, Kirk and Spock manage to comfort Bones and take him to task at the same time. You can read this as a friendship fic or pre-slash.



That was the last word we heard from those damn Vians. I struggled to a seated position just in time to watch them disappear with Gem.

"Where'd they go?" I demanded as Jim propped me up with his arm. "What will they do with her?"

"I believe they intend to save Gem and her people," Spock answered.

"I hope so," Jim added. "But it's out of our hands now." He paused and looked me over. "How are you, Bones?" he asked.

I shook myself a little, trying to take in everything that had happened. "I think I'll live," I answered. "Thanks to Gem."

He nodded...and then he pulled me into a hug that knocked what little breath I had left right out of me. "Good," he said, all but crushing me. "That means I can still strangle you myself."

I smiled a little and let my head collapse against his shoulder. "I take it you two are a bit sore about how I, ah, disposed of you?"

"You disobeyed both of us, Bones."

"That is not entirely true, Jim," Spock objected. Then I felt him sit down on the other side of me and place his hand soothingly on my back. "Dr. McCoy quite properly used a hypospray in order to give you much needed rest. He acted within his rights as our chief medical officer."

I turned my head a little so that I could see the pointy-eared hobgoblin. "Why, thank you, Mr. Spock," I said in my best drawl. "I'm glad you understand the logic of my decision."

"The logic of your decision to render our captain unconscious, Doctor," Spock corrected. "I, on the other hand, was in no medical need of a hypo. Your decision to render me unconscious and ignore my orders was unethical and illogical."

"It might have been disobedient, Spock, but it wasn't unethical or illogical. I can come up with plenty of logical reasons that prove I was the better choice to face those Vian monsters and their torture than you."

"None of which will satisfy me," Spock assured me. "And I am your superior officer."

I rolled my eyes. As if I needed reminding.

Jim pulled me even closer to him. Next thing I knew, he was absent-mindedly stroking my hair. Sweet Jesus. I knew I shouldn't allow him to baby me that way—but somehow I'd lost the will to resist his comfort.

"Very well, Spock," Jim said at length, "I'll concede that Bones was within his rights to administer that hypo to me. But we still have to deal with the fact that he knocked you out and disobeyed your direct order. So I suppose I'll have to leave his punishment to you."

"If you court martial me, Spock, at the very least they'll kick my ass out of Starfleet. `Course, I might not mind that—but I'd hate to be sent to some reform colony."

"I have no intention of instigating a court martial," Spock assured me, keeping his hand on my back and—incredibly—even massaging me gently. What the hell had come over these two?

Still, I could feel myself relaxing at his touch, just like before. I wasn't lying when I told him he had a good bedside manner. He'd have made an excellent physician…although I'm pretty sure I'd die before admitting that.

"The circumstances of your disobedience were rather extraordinary," Spock continued. "Therefore I do not believe a formal court martial to be necessary or desirable."

"I won't argue that," I said. "And if it makes you feel better, I'll be paying for that disobedience with nightmares for the rest of my life."

"Even if I were to admit to feelings, Doctor, your nightmares would hardly affect them in a positive manner."

I grinned at that and shook my head a little. But I didn't have the strength to reprimand him for his literal-mindedness.

"If he weren't in so much pain already," Jim said over my head to Spock, "I'd tell you to tan his hide."

"I doubt Spock knows what that means," I said, rolling my eyes again.

"Oh, don't worry, Bones. I'll be happy to explain it to him."

"On the contrary, I am aware of the meaning of that phrase," Spock insisted. "However, Jim, I do not believe we would find a precedent for such a punishment in Starfleet."

"Well, I've no objection to creating one," Jim told him.

"Go to hell," I said.

I felt Jim laugh a little at that as he rested his chin on top of my head. "Why'd you do it, Bones?"

"That's a damn fool question, Jim," I informed him. "You wanted to do the same and face the torture yourself—and so did Spock. I was the only one who had the means, that's all."

He sighed, pulling me so close that I was beginning to expect a marriage proposal. "We're never going to let you out of our sight again," he said. "You know that, right?"

"Hey Spock," I said, in a voice that was muffled because of Jim's embrace. "Aren't you going to correct his reckless promise that the pair of you will watch over me for all eternity?"

"No, Doctor," he said evenly.

I rolled my eyes yet again. These two were going to be a royal pain in the ass—at least for the foreseeable future. I knew for a fact that they'd be fussing over me and checking up on me constantly. And yes, even a hot-shot captain and a walking, talking, green-blooded computer are capable of fussing over a fellow.

If I wanted some peace and solitude in order to recover from what those monsters did to me, I knew I'd have to speak up right away. I'd have to make it clear that I needed some time to myself. But my mouth wouldn't form the words. Somehow, being looked after didn't sound like such a bad idea right now.

So I didn't argue with them. I closed my eyes instead and let myself slip into unconsciousness. And then I slept better than I ever have in my life. I don't even remember our return to the Enterprise. I just remember knowing that I was safe.

Because even if those Vian bastards haunted my dreams, Jim and Spock would be there to chase them away.