Author: kodiak bear
Genre: Gen, episode tag, H/C
Word Count: 2900 +
Warnings: Spoilers for Star Trek XI
Summary: Jim got the shit beat out of him, did you really think he'd feel great after all that? ::grin::
AN: Okay, come on, it's me. What'd you expect! Thanks go to my two betas,linzi5 and sffuzzywriter, they truly gave me the confidence to post this.
Jim Kirk had seen his share of adventure. He'd crashed cars, raised hell, been in more bar fights before he'd even been legal age to be caught in a bar, let alone arrested. He'd been born into chaos, destruction, and had seemed hell bent on spending every waking moment dancing around the edges of it. But this day, this day proved to Jim that he'd never really known the true rush of adrenaline. Never really understood what taking a risk was all about, facing your demons and winning. And, with a grunt he tried to hide, he realized he felt the aftermath a lot more than he wanted to. Now that the rush of surviving was wearing off, he felt like he could sleep a hundred years.
Captain. Though he was sitting in the chair, it was hard to believe. He'd began the day as a cadet whose future was in question and ended it as the Captain of a Federation Starship.
"Jim," whispered Bones behind him; Bones was trying for subtlety. Was that a first?
Jim was too busy looking at the screen to give Bones a second glance. "What?"
Bones cleared his throat and mumbled, "You're falling out of your chair...Captain."
"What --" Jim glanced down at his legs, waist, realizing he was. He tried to act casual, straightening up slowly. Groaning wouldn't look very good. But moving awoke the numerous bruises he'd taken, and the ache in his bones that he still hadn't shaken from McCoy's very painful, albeit wonderfully loyal maneuver, in getting Jim aboard the Enterprise via a vaccine that seemed to have done more damage than help. "Ah." He scowled at his feet.
"Captain, may I suggest you take the time to see to your needs." Spock had arrived by his side, silently, staring down his nose at Jim. The earlier antagonism was gone, replaced by a somewhat wary truce and maybe, just possibly, if Jim wasn't completely losing it, a hint of concern? Jim studied Spock for another brief moment before tossing out that notion. That older Spock, he'd cared. Jim tried now to hide the emotions that still rattled around in his head from that encounter. The mind meld... their two minds had brushed against each other. Spock's thoughts...anguished, yet, he had derived so much comfort from finding Jim that Spock hadn't been able to keep that from him during the meld. If even he'd had any intention of doing so. Jim found it hard to parse those strong emotions of an older Spock to the stiff-backed Vulcan Commander that he'd clashed heads with repeatedly.
Would they ever become friends such as what Ambassador Spock had with that other James T. Kirk?
James T. Kirk was a great man, but that was another life.
Nero's words...Ambassador Spock's deep emotions towards Jim. He had a lot to live up to. Which really seemed like something to worry about another day because Jim found himself in a bit of a situation. Staying in his seat. He leaned forward, finding his body stayed put a little better if he shoved his elbows into his thighs; leverage. Spock could read minds, right? Jim glanced at his first officer, trying to gauge if Spock was trying to do anything of the sort. Or wait. Did he need to actually touch for that? Jim found himself attempting to figure it out, forgetting momentarily that he had been trying to find a way to ask where the hell he should go to rest, to eat, when, seeing how he wasn't even supposed to be on the Enterprise, and therefore had no quarters assigned, and going to Captain Pike's quarters seemed wrong and presumptuous...
Jim cocked his head at Spock, finding himself very curious. "That mind meld thing--" he started.
Spock's slanted eyebrows drew down. "Mind meld?" he asked.
Wow did it get cold in here, Jim thought. Right. He wasn't supposed to let Spock know about...Spock. Damn. But he did kind of know about the other Spock, right? He hadn't been fooling anyone in the future ship. Jim waved his hand, looking away. "Never mind." The depths of his knowledge, or lack thereof, were better put to rest. Rest. Bed. Forget food. Jim wanted a bed. He looked around at Bones who was staring at him, confused. Medical. The Medical Bay had beds. Maybe he could find one off to the side, nice and quiet, and sleep the rest of the trip home. Then he could avoid having to look like an idiot asking just where exactly was he supposed to be, when he wasn't on the bridge.
Bones was talking off in the distance; Jim really wished this chair could do double duty as a bed. Then he could just stay put until they reached Earth. His head was pounding fiercely, painfully reminding him of that hit he'd taken. Romulan rifles were hard. His throat hurt like hell too; first Spock had tried to choke the life out of him, and maybe every bit of insolence, then Nero gave it a go, with a final insult from Nero's patsy. Jim grimaced. At least he'd gotten to kill that guy.
McCoy cleared his throat, loudly.
Jim looked over, squinting in annoyance. "Something bothering you?"
"Captain Pike's awake," Bones announced. He scowled at Jim. "He's asking for you."
"Don't look so thrilled."
"He should be sleeping, but instead he's carrying on." It was hard to tell if what he said next was meant for Jim's ears, but the muttered, "Like someone else I know," wasn't lost on Jim.
"Captain, I will take the conn."
Spock's cool stare was on Jim and he felt other eyes watching as well. He'd assumed command under circumstances one would hardly call ideal or celebratory. He'd provoked Spock until he'd lost control, slid in, and did what he felt he had to do. Was the fact that it worked going to absolve him of the sketchiness of it all? Jim pondered for a moment the fact that his normal response would've been to not give a damn.
Well, maybe he did give a damn. He just never let it show.
"Okay." Jim stood, reluctant to leave. "The conn is yours. I'll be in Medical."
Pike looked like shit, but at least now it was warmed up shit. Jim strode in and responded to Pike's wave, angling over to the bed. For only being on the Enterprise a day, Jim had already seen far more of Medical than he liked. "Sir," Jim started, cheerfully, "You look --"
"Like hell," Pike finished, wryly. There were beeps from the bio-monitors above Pike's bed and from what Jim could tell, they seemed stable enough. "I'll live," he said, dismissing his injuries that, while not life-threatening, would be a little harder to overcome than your average broken bone. "As for you, Doctor McCoy has caught me up on the events since I was taken captive by Nero." Pike's eyes danced a little, amidst all that seriousness that he tended to carry. "You've been busy, Captain."
Jim wasn't really sure how to answer that one. Pike had left, giving command to Spock. He'd thrown Jim in the mix by making him first officer, a fact of which, Jim really wasn't sure why Pike had done that. But he came back to find Jim the captain and Spock the first officer and wow did things get complicated just because Jim hated to take no for an answer. He challenged, "You dared me to do better."
Pike chuckled, wincing as it turned to a cough.
"I know it wasn't what you had in mind, but I did what I felt had to be done." Jim shored himself up. "It was the right thing to do." Unsaid was the fact that going against Jim was like being trampled by a herd of elephants. Noisy, useless, and almost always someone would get hurt. Jim fought against the impulse to rub his chest, and his throat; the older Spock could've reminded Jim just how strong Vulcans were. A lot of people had been trampled today, himself not least of all. But he'd won. With the help of the Enterprise and its crew, Jim had saved Earth, Pike, and the promise of a new future.
The older captain was growing tired, his eyelids drooping. But that flash of humor, caring that he'd shown Jim when Jim had stared up at Pike from flat on his back, sprawled out on a barroom table, telegraphed itself again. "I never told you that I knew your father. I did write my dissertation on the events surrounding the destruction of the Kelvin, but it wasn't just because I was assigned it. I knew him. Respected him. I had to know what happened out there." Pike let that information sink in, watched Jim as his jaw hardened. Pike hadn't lied outright, but he hadn't been honest with Jim. "I saw in you the same determination that your father had. The same refusal to never accept a losing hand. I wasn't wrong about you." He shook his head. "Though I admit, I'd began to have my doubts. Starfleet needs captains like you. You don't quit because it appears hopeless, you don't wait until the deck is stacked in your favor." Those eyes that had weighed and judged Jim so easily three years ago wound their way through him again, into him. "Just remember, son. A captain has a crew for a reason. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to take a second to think things through. You're not always going to be right."
A nurse came by, nurse...nurse...what was her name? Bones had shouted it earlier when Jim had woken up in the throes of a severe allergic reaction to that vaccine...Chapel! That was it. Kind of hot, really. In a role-play, sexual fantasy way. Not that Jim had ever done that.
"I'm sorry, you'll have to leave now." She fussed with Pike's monitors and turned to stare at Jim with a smile that was half who-the-hell-are-you and I-might-want-to-eat-you-up, maybe, later. Jim responded with a slow, sexy smile.
"Nurse...Chapel, is it?"
Her eyes clouded a little as she puzzled on how he knew her name; she clearly didn't remember him from earlier; a momentary strike to his ego. "Yes?"
"Captain Kirk," he said winningly, "and actually,I've got this spot --"
"Ah, Jim, good to see you're still here," Bones interrupted. He gusted into the Medical Bay, shrewd eyes nailing Jim down with a 'don't even think about messing with my nurse'.
Getting a little worried about the gleam in Bones' eye, Jim flashed a meaningful look at Captain Pike. "Exactly how long does this field promotion last?"
"Not long enough, from the looks of it," Pike observed.
"Would you quit being such a baby," Bones grouched.
"What?" Jim demanded. "I didn't say anything!"
"You were giving me that 'look' and don't try to say you weren't."
Bones was a scammy-bastard, and while he was getting Jim on the defensive, he was taking some surreptitious readings from the med-scanner and developing treatment protocols in his head. Jim knew this because he could see it in Bones' eyes...and of course Bones had always sucked at subterfuge. The tip of the scanner could be seen through Bones' fingers.
"Do not," Jim threatened, "get near me with that hypo."
Jim had always been gifted with enough self-confidence for two people. Most people reacted to him in one of two ways. They either looked up to him or they punched him. Bones, however, was neither impressed nor pissed, he just plowed over Jim's wishes nine times out of ten and did his own thing anyway. Which was exactly how Jim had managed to get aboard the Enterprise to begin with.
"You've got a concussion." Bones was busy studying yet more information being discovered by his scanner. "More bruises than overripe fruit on my old farm." He was heading for Jim with his hypo and Jim was backing up. "Damn it, Jim, stop being such a baby!"
"Would you stop calling me that!"
"Then quit acting like one."
Mexican stand-off, Captain Pike's bed now between them. Nurse Chapel was alternating between surprise and genuine bafflement on what to do. She fiddled with her tablet, shifting her hip slightly.
"Captain, I believe Doctor McCoy is adequately describing the situation." Jim whirled; Spock stood just inside the door. He looked suitably unimpressed with Jim. "Must you always resist the advice of others?"
"Only when I don't agree with it," Jim retorted smoothly.
He sensed the movement a second before he felt the sharp prick against his neck. The hiss was the sound of the hammer falling. Son of a bitch! Jim spun, found his legs already turning to jelly. "God damn it, Bones..." and what started out as a holler ended in a whimper, Spock barely catching him before he hit the ground.
"Over here," Bones said. He pulled up Jim's feet and backed towards an empty bio-bed. "While he's out, I can fix some of these minor injuries."
"Are they minor, Doctor?"
"Well, individually, sure. Together? Mixed in with all the other beatings and damn fool-hardiness he's dealt with --" unspoken, the accusation of Spock knocking Jim out, stuffing him into a pod and marooning him on an ice planet with monsters, "--he'll be fine, Spock. Er, Commander. Rest, some medication. He'll be driving you crazy again in no time." Bones scowled at Jim, affection evident despite himself. "Damn fool that he is."
Pike coughed his throat clear, smiling at Nurse Chapel. "Thank you, Nurse," he murmured. The pain medication he'd just received was far less argued. Then he turned his head towards Spock. "When were you planning on telling him that with me back on board, he's no longer in charge?"
Spock acknowledged his Captain's question with an amused tilt of his head. "He seemed to be inordinately enjoying himself, Captain." Spock walked over to Pike's bed, his hands threaded behind his back. "I believe the expression is, I did not wish to kick a puppy?"
Jim woke up swinging. Disoriented. The only thoughts that penetrated were that hands were holding him down. Far too strong to be friendly. Familiar enough in the strength that had beaten him to the point where he'd began to feel losing was inevitable. Panic gave way to fury. Seconds. That's all the time it took to hear Bones shouting at him to stop. Bones. The shadowed, angular features hovering over him clarified into Spock's face. Not Nero.
"You drugged me," Jim accused, angry, breathing hard. He stopped fighting and Spock released him, waiting a beat of time to ensure Jim wasn't going to fall over. "It's getting to be an annoying habit of yours."
Now that the rush of fear had died away, Jim sagged against the bed. He still felt pain, subdued phantoms ghosting along his bones, but he had to admit, whatever Bones had done, it'd worked wonders. He could see straight. Mostly.
"We will arrive in Earth's orbit in approximately twelve point two standard hours. The Academy is quite interested in debriefing you." Spock studied Jim. "I thought perhaps you would wish to prepare?"
That's what had woken him up, then. Jim had been sure he wouldn't surface until he woke, back on Earth, and judging from the disgruntled look on Bones' face, Jim judged Spock had managed to get his way over the medical officer's. Jim couldn't figure out whether to laugh at Bones' not getting his way for a change, or be irritated that the Vulcan had managed to do something which Jim rarely could.
Either way, Spock's thoughtfulness left Jim speechless. "I...yeah. Sure. Uh," he looked at McCoy and back to Spock. "Thanks."
McCoy snorted. "When's the last time you prepared for anything?"
"Thanks for the support," Jim grumped, "again."
He threw up his hands. "You shouldn't even be awake yet. In fact, lie back." Bones found a scanner and approached Jim, baring his palms when Jim pulled away, not trusting the good doctor as far as he could throw him. "Just let me take a new set of readings. Make sure that thick head of yours is working still."
"Unusual," Spock observed. "Human friendship is not usually this adversarial."
"Who says it is?" McCoy snapped; he frowned at the readings. "Well, it's not healed as much as I'd like, but as long as you promise to stay in bed, I'll let you stay up."
Jim grimaced. Let him. "You know, Bones, the captain is the one that gives the orders."
"And the chief medical officer has the ultimate say regarding any crew member aboard. Maybe some day you'll actually read the regulations."
Spock watched him as Jim conceded and lowered himself into a supine position. Jim was tired, beat. But he was thankful for Spock waking him. In twelve hours, he'd have to stand before the Academy review board and answer a whole hell of a lot of charges, probably too numerous to count now, against himself. Academic probation, violating orders, AWOL, mutiny, striking a superior officer... "Just how far do you think saving Earth will go?"
"I believe," Spock said cryptically, "that it will go very far indeed."