A/N: I've never seen the Star Trek television series, much less been interested in it, but the new film was greatly entertaining. I love some good hurt/comfort, and there were so many good opportunities for it in the film that I just couldn't resist dabbling. If any errors in Star Trek logic are committed in my writing, I would greatly appreciate being notified; I would like to be as accurate as possible. I hope you enjoy this story, and I would be delighted to know what you think.
Disclaimer: I sadly own nothing, but am working on owning Chris Pine.
He woke to a hot pain concentrated in his abdomen, located low beneath the waistline and burning a steady chasm of churning nausea within him. It pulsated vehemently, throbbing in an agonizing staccato rhythm that radiated a pervasively raw, smoldering ache throughout the expanse of his belly. The sensation was akin to what he estimated swallowing broken glass was like, sharp and molten as it infiltrated him like burning shrapnel and quickly brought him swimming to the surface from a miasma of dead, dreamless sleep.
Jim Kirk curled laboriously on his side with a hiss stifled into the flat pillow, manipulating his torpid limbs carefully so as not to further infuriate the malicious beast that lashed out within him. He emitted a self-satisfied sigh as he went limp once more, wholly and thoroughly exhausted by the minimal effort of shifting position. His legs curled instinctively upward to assuage the invasive, ever-present throbbing. The bedroom was as dark as the eternal night of the space vacuum, the Enterprise humming pleasantly beneath him, sheets drenched in a sticky, cold sweat that caused him to shiver and further disturb the precarious balance in his abdomen. He blinked tiredly at the electric clock marked just past six A.M., surveying through large glass-paneled walls the eternal inky canvas of space dotted with distant stars that fondly twinkled backward.
He wanted nothing more than to wallow in self-pity for the entirety of the day, to sink back into the rumpled bedsheets and warmheartedly dream of how his mother cared for him when he was unwell as a child. His mind drifted to affectionate memories of eating strawberry sorbet in bed when his tonsils were taken out and of falling asleep to her lovely voice reciting Kipling fairy tales, but a nagging sense of duty and the equally nagging (if not more so) fire within him propelled him slowly upward.
The pain erupted tenfold when he sat up on the edge of the low bed, one hand fisting in the sheets and the other arm coming to wrap protectively around his burning abdomen. He bit his lip against an all-too feminine whimper as his fingers scrabbled fruitlessly against his side, looking to pull the flaming spike from his belly and be done with this nuisance. He looked longingly at the unkempt pillows, but he had an obligation to Starfleet, to the ship, and to the crew that did not allow for sick days.
He stumbled into the washroom, eyes watering at the shock of white light, and slowly, painfully divested himself of his shirt and boxers. The warm spray of the shower pod pummeled his shoulders and vertebrae soothingly, but he spent only a few minutes beneath the pressurized water before the pulsating agony in his abdomen drove him to gingerly seat himself on the small ridge of porcelain in the tiny pod. The heated spray coursed steadily down his back and relieved the tension that existed there, but he had no concentration for any soothing beyond the need for relief from the blossoming, ravenous monster within him.
It didn't take long to towel-dry himself, but he staggered back to a seated position on the bed to dress for the day. The process was agonizingly slow, often halted by his need to rest or pant through an unusually intense concentration of pain before continuing doggedly onward. Bending forward to pull on his boots produced the most horrific deluge of anguish he had experienced throughout the entire morning, but he somehow managed to soldier ahead. By the time he was dressed and mentally (if not physically) prepared to face the day, a sheen of sweat slicked his brow and he found himself so exhausted that he was more than ready to faceplant back into bed.
He left his quarters and walked at an unusually slow pace down the brightly lit corridor, fighting the urge to bend into a miserable ball on the tile or press a betraying hand to his blistering side. He followed the routine path to breakfast with a considerable slump in his normal swaggering posture, the desire to curl around his aching abdomen in whatever way possible becoming irresistible.
"Mornin', Cap'n," Scotty greeted with a wicked, rakish grin as he passed in the opposite direction.
Jim found himself so absorbed in his predicament that the greeting caught him by surprise. "Morning," he echoed hollowly as he continued on his way.
When he reached the dining hall, a barrage of food aromas that he would normally consider delectable assaulted his senses with unprecedented intensity. His stomach churned unpleasantly as he detected fluffy pancakes and eggs, sour acid sloshing in company with bitter bile when the earthy, pungent fragrance of bacon assailed him without warning. One hand pressed to his roiling, rebellious stomach and the other to his mouth as oblivious crew members filtered through the doors near his stagnant form, he bolted in the opposite direction to the nearest lavatory.
He fell to his knees before the mock porcelain toilet and emptied what little remained in his stomach beyond acrid bile and stale, acidic air, each heave creating a renewed, burning inferno within him and igniting the all-encompassing pain festering like an infected wound low within his stomach. The painful, jarring convulsions only served to increase the agony tenfold, a smoldering burn like molten lava surfacing within him to take precedence over the seemingly incomparable pain of earlier.
When the heaves ceased to wrack him, he scrabbled to his feet and gazed into the small looking glass above the sink. Despite being the youngest captain in Starfleet history, stress and what he wouldn't admit was illness had taken an immense toll upon his physical appearance. His skin was sallow and ashen in comparison to its typical shade of bronzed youth, and his lively blue eyes were instead feverishly glassy, red-rimmed and ringed by sickly circles of darker skin beneath them. He wiped the back of a trembling hand across his mouth and ran the other through his mussed hair, frowning critically at his appearance.
His knees were weak and his stomach continued to churn as he left the tiny room, but an emissary from the Andromeda galaxy was expected to come aboard and it was his duty to welcome the visitor. His feet steered him rotely along the well-worn path to the bridge, requiring no mental direction whatsoever, the way had been traveled so many times.
The crisp, bright atmosphere, white walls, and bustling activity of the bridge were downright nauseating. He somehow managed to gingerly lower himself into the cushioned captain's chair, sinking gratefully into the black leather with an exhalation of relief and curling a casual, protective arm around his pulsating abdomen. He hoped to whatever gods there were that what he had just expelled from his stomach was the basis of the problem and he would therefore soon be relieved of the relentless, knifing pain.
Lieutenant Uhura was hunched over her station, one ear covered by a hand to block the low chatter of the nearby navigators and the other bent close to the transmitter in order to better analyze an incoming communication. When a boorish and entirely unprofessional guffaw rose from someone that Jim was too exhausted to pinpoint, much less scold, she swiveled backward in frustration and resignation. Dark, exotic eyes lit upon him with a calculating expression that fostered an atypical feeling of self-consciousness, causing him to shift uncomfortably and desperately disguise the resulting wince.
"Rough night, Captain?" she asked drolly, a wry grin curving up luscious lips.
"I'm fine," he insisted dismissively, scrawling his spidery signature on some excessive paperwork tacitly offered to him by a silent assistant.
"You look like hell," she said observantly, surveying his drawn, ashy appearance and slumped posture.
"I didn't sleep well," he conceded in a bit harder tone than he intended. It wasn't entirely a lie; after all, the discomfort had kept him tossing and turning between sweat-soaked, bedraggled sheets for much of the eternal outer-space night. It simply wasn't telling the complete and entire truth, but he had never been reputed as an honest man, in the first place.
"Whatever you say," she volleyed back teasingly, swiveling back to her work with a self-satisfied swagger. It astonished him that he had ever found this woman attractive- while she was certainly a physical specimen of the loveliest variety, her nagging curiosity and busybody tendencies certainly belied her exquisite appearance.
Huffing decisively, he slouched further into the chair. "How long until the Andromedan ambassador arrives, Sulu?"
"So long as we maintain warp speed eight, we should reach the Andromedan base in approximately two hours, Captain," Sulu answered dutifully from where he sat in the navigator's chair at the head of the bridge.
"Good," he affirmed. "What exactly are we meeting for, again?"
"The rendezvous is predominantly a diplomatic contact, Captain. We will meet to make his acquaintance and ascertain Andromedan exploration intentions in deep space."
The voice of his first officer came seemingly from nowhere, causing him to jump and pay dearly for his reflexive mistake. Spock was sharply clad in the standard blue Starfleet attire, seated in a rolling chair with impeccable posture and thoughtful, steepled fingers. His dark hair was combed methodically into the uniform Vulcan style, his features an impassive, pensive mask of utter serenity, barring his minimal surprise at the captain's forgetfulness.
Jim couldn't help but wonder how he could possibly have overlooked the presence of his first officer. Not only was it his absolute responsibility to be aware and well informed of his crew members' whereabouts, but he prided himself upon his observance and sharp eye for detail. Analyzing the ache in his abdomen once more, he mused that he must have been more out of touch than he previously led himself to believe.
"Good morning to you, too, Spock," he bantered glibly, slouching further into the chair. There was nothing to do but wait until the ambassador arrived, and he was more than glad to oblige to a period of idleness. Perhaps he could recollect his bearings during that time, and after a brief meeting with the ambassador, the lapse of his duty would allow him to collapse back into bed and put this hellish day to rest.
Snapping himself back to reality, he took notice of Spock's sudden interest in him. His humorless, abysmal dark eyes scrutinized the captain with analytical intensity, visually sizing him up with coherent, systematic concentration.
"Not you, too," he groaned wearily in warning.
"Perhaps if you are unwell-" Spock began coolly, his voice cloaked in the calm, honeyed logic that often served as Vulcan persuasion.
"I'm not unwell," Jim insisted adamantly.
Composed and blasé, Spock continued as though he had never been interrupted. "We should notify Dr. McCoy, seeing as he is your primary physician, and allow you to be diagnosed so that you are better equipped to supervise the far more numerous stressors of tomorrow."
"I don't need diagnosed," he maintained hotly. "I'm fine."
"You are perceptibly ill and unfit to perform your duties," Spock shot back firmly, leaning close to the intercom at his station and pressing the button. "Page Dr. McCoy to the bridge with a wheelchair."
"A wheelchair?!" he spat in indignation, hands gripping the armrests of the cushy chair as though he was preparing to lever himself to his feet and storm out. If only he felt well enough to provide the real dramatic oomph necessary to that situation…
"Judging by the fashion in which you hobbled in here and haven't been able to sit up straight from that time, I feel that a wheelchair is entirely necessary," Spock responded icily.
"I'm fine," he insisted once more, petulantly folding his arms across his chest and slumping further in the chair with a wince that Spock undoubtedly detected. Pale blue eyes scanning the scene that unfolded around their bitter stalemate, he became painfully aware of the surrounding crew's reaction. Numerous occupants of the bridge were wisely turned in the opposite direction of the impasse, internally battling to contain their laughter. Uhura covered her mouth to disguise a wry smile, and a snort from Sulu quickly morphed into a full-blown cough. He knew full well that he was a captain with an unusually pleasant sense of humor, but the tables suddenly turned when he tardily realized that they were laughing at him.
"What are you looking at?" he asked crossly. "Back to work!"
The crew members scrambled in return to their respective occupations, exchanging knowing looks of contained humor. He locked gazes with Spock from across the bridge, challenging the Vulcan with cold, incensed eyes. Was that a gleam of amused victory he detected? He was publicly emasculated before his subordinates, and he didn't particularly enjoy the scheming brand of trickery that McCoy referred to as medicine. A part of him wished that the doctor would hurry the hell up and put him out of his misery, but despite his inherent hate of infirmity, he abhorred modern medicine. He would much rather retreat to solitude and wallow in gratuitous self-pity while licking his wounds than subject to the indignity of being pummeled with syringes.
Right on cue, the magnetic, glass-paneled doors slid open to allow McCoy entrance. He briefly scanned the room in search of whom to attend before his eyes lit upon Jim with a mixture of expectation and weariness.
"Why am I not surprised," he muttered resignedly, leaving the foreboding wheelchair at the door before approaching his friend and kneeling before him. "Dammit, Jim, what now?"
"I'm fine," he asserted hotly.
"Like a broken record," Uhura whispered with an entertained grin.
"What was that?" he snapped irritably across the room.
"Nothing," she conceded obediently, turning back to her work.
"That's what I thought," he said in self-satisfaction, frowning peevishly when McCoy pressed his shoulder back into the chair with unnecessary force to halt his uncomfortable fidgeting. The doctor removed the tiny, dreaded scanner from his first aid kit and brandished it before his face, watching the readout with creased brows and intense concentration.
"Spock here is overreacting," Jim insisted as he unhappily submitted to the examination, shifting uneasily from time to time, only to be forcefully pushed back into a stagnant posture. "I'm perfectly fine."
"That's why you have a fever," McCoy responded matter-of-factly.
"Why can't you ever come see me just to come see me?" Jim questioned lightly, a last-ditch attempt to divert the focus from his health. "Something always has to be wrong with me."
"Something always is wrong with you," McCoy volleyed back with a wry grin before resuming his inspection. "And if you wouldn't get hurt so often, maybe I would have time to see you for something other than patching you up."
"I'm not hurt," he insisted childishly as the scanner passed over his aching abdomen. He just wanted to get this over with so that he could perform his duties and sleep for a week.
"No, you're sick," McCoy amended, his furrowed brow relaxing immensely when he viewed the scanner. "Just garden-variety appendicitis."
"Just?!" he exclaimed in outrage as McCoy hauled him to his feet. He gasped and doubled at the waist, wrapping an arm tightly about his churning, pulsating stomach as the doctor gently urged him forward. He would not throw up on the bridge, he would not. "I could be dying!"
"How very curious. It was my conception that you were 'perfectly fine,'" Spock bantered breezily.
"Don't get cute with me," Jim snapped crossly as he was manhandled into the wheelchair, folding over his aching, abused stomach with a groan. He hadn't noticed a fever before, but now that McCoy mentioned it, he was certainly beginning to feel fevered. His vision clouded around the edges and he began to experience a sensation of being pummeled with breathlessness in hot, heavy waves.
"You'll be fine," McCoy interjected, placing a comforting hand upon his friend's broad shoulder. "It's a routine surgery and you'll be out for the whole thing."
"Please, no hypos," he whined childishly, rubbing at his neck as though a phantom pain from his numerous injections still existed. "You know I hate those."
"We'll talk about that later," McCoy promised, and if that wasn't a downright lie, then he wasn't James Tiberius Kirk. "Spock, you'll be in charge of meeting with the ambassador. I'll have him back to you in two or three days."
"Of course," Spock responded demurely. "I believe the phrase is 'get well soon,' Captain."
"This is all your fault," Jim insisted darkly as McCoy pushed the wheelchair out the door. His voice, strident and petulant, continued to echo down the brightly lit hallway long after the duo faded from vision.
As soon as the door slid closed with a soft hum of air, the remaining crew members dissolved into laughter.
A/N: The surgery and recovery are to come; this is just getting started. I hope it's not too slap-sticky, but there was a considerable amount of slapstick in the movie and Kirk is certainly a character that doesn't shy away from humor. Hope you enjoyed it, and look out for the next update!