Bones Can't Fix This by AndromedaMarine
You're Not Human
Bones snaps his fingers in front of Jim's face. "Captain?" he asks, using the formality to get his friend's full attention. It works.
"Yeah?" Jim's eyes focus in on the doctor.
He grunts, and shines the penlight back in Jim's eyes. After a moment, Doctor McCoy pulls back, but just stands there, looking at his captain. He crosses his arms, a thoughtful expression crossing his features. "I know I'm not Spock, Jim. But we've been best friends for almost four years."
Jim rubs his hands over his eyes. "So?"
Bones stands up straight, his arms still crossed over his chest. His face falls a tiny bit. "I get the feeling whatever's on your mind, either I can't fix it or wouldn't understand."
A sigh escapes the captain's lips, and his eyes close for the briefest of moments. "Bones..."
The doctor lifts his hands in defeat, understanding. Recognition. "It's okay, Jim. I get it. I'm not Spock."
"Bones, no, it's just that – "
Bones cuts him off. "It's just that I'm not Spock." He turns away, absently organizing a tray of medical tools. He stops, his shoulders rising with a deep breath, and looks behind him at the broken-looking captain. "Look, Jim, it's fine that you're broadening your friendship pool to include the pointy-eared bastard. I'm not trying to force you into telling me anything."
Jim looks relieved. "Thanks, Bones. I'm sorry I can't really tell you." He hops off the table, and moves to the door, but stops before disappearing. "Listen... This is a wound that your medical expertise just..." He sighs again. "Bones, you can't fix this one."
He gives the captain a small, understanding smile, one they've exchanged several times over the past four years.
Jim Kirk leaves the medical bay, stopping at a nearby computer console to locate the Vulcan.
Jim finds Spock on the observation deck, standing like a statue, gazing out the massive window at the stars. Without moving, Jim's first officer speaks in an even tone. "Captain."
Jim notices the room is dimmed, suited to the needs of a meditating Vulcan. "Spock."
The Vulcan turns. "Doctor McCoy spoke with me during your rest."
Unconsciously, Kirk rubs the hypospray spot on his neck. "He told me."
Spock lifts an eyebrow at him. "I sense uncertainty. Do you not wish to inquire something of me? The doctor informed me of the urgency with which you wished to speak with me."
"Oh... Well, Spock..." Jim joins his first officer at the window. His voice is low, hushed. "You almost died."
The Vulcan turns his body towards the captain of Starfleet's favorite ship, his normally stoic features showing intrigue, even surprise. "Several times, in fact, Captain. To which incident are you referring?"
Jim sighs, searching the array of stars for what he knows isn't there, and won't appear. He glances over at Spock. "The red matter explosion. There was a moment...when seeing your Vulcan ship on a collision course with the Narada, when..." he trails off, wondering how to phrase it. "Spock Prime told me we were best friends in his reality. And Bones attacked me with the hyposprays because of the nightmares."
Spock feels a rare pang of guilt in his chest.
"Could things have turned out differently?" The captain's question is direct and pointed at Spock, and he knows the Vulcan, his first officer, and good friend, will answer. "You're not entirely human," Jim continues. "And I can't ask Bones the same question because..."
Spock knows Jim doesn't want to say it. "You did not witness Doctor McCoy ready to sacrifice himself to save the Enterprise and all her crew."
Jim finds it hard to look Spock in the eye. He nods, confirming the Vulcan's words.
"The events that have taken place could have followed several different courses, the possibility of my death among them. As a captain, you handled each situation to a degree of success. As a friend...as a friend, Jim, I do not believe you would have let me sacrifice myself."
"But you tried to."
Jim's four words are powerful to the Vulcan's mind. "Yes." Spock observes as Jim's shoulders sag slightly. "But if there is any meaning to these words, I did not wish to. I did what was logical at the time – what I believed was the only way to defeat Nero. I did not expect that the Enterprise would follow myself and the Narada."
"You didn't think I'd come after you? I think after everything you put me through, I have the right to kill you myself." His attempt to lighten the mood he set falls flat.
Spock shakes his head. "I did not believe there was sufficient time." The Vulcan keeps his gaze on the captain. "Might I ask my own inquiry?"
Jim shrugs, and leans his forehead against the window. "Shoot."
"Would regret or guilt be in your future had my attempt succeeded?" Spock watches as Jim Kirk takes in a shuddering breath, the window fogging slightly with the exhalation. The human side of Spock's ancestry takes over for a moment. "Would you have...missed...me?" Jim is silent for several minutes, and Spock suspects that his friend is too afraid to answer. "I apologize. My inquiry was much too personal." Spock turns and starts towards the door. As he walks away, Jim takes in another deep breath.
The first officer halts, and slowly faces the captain, his human half unsure of what he's heard.
"Yeah, I'd miss you."
"Interesting," Spock comments, his hands folding behind him. "The delay in your answer suggests reluctance in voicing it." He returns to Jim's side. "Am I accurate in the assessment that Doctor McCoy could not 'fix' the issue of the prospect of...of losing my companionship – my life from the Enterprise's crew?"
Jim sighs again, chuckling slightly at the Vulcan's complex words. "Again, yeah. Bones couldn't fix this one."
"And what is capable of 'fixing this one'?"
The captain swivels, crossing his arms across his chest. One corner of his lips quirks upwards. "Lots of enlightening conversations with my best half-Vulcan friend. Bones can still fix the broken bones and cracked-open skulls."
"I still believe it was unwise in not informing the doctor of that particular incident."
Jim thinks a hint of a small smile is visible on Spock's lips in the dim room. "So? It's in the past."
Spock has made his point. "As was my brush with death." He studies the captain, sincerity etched into his features and visible in his eyes. "Dwelling on the events of the past distracts from focusing on the present and the future. But confiding in me was a wise decision. I too had wondered...though not at the time." The Vulcan finds it comforting to have someone on the ship who cares for his life, other than the gorgeous communications officer. "Trust that if you do not ponder what could have been, the nightmares will cease, and Doctor McCoy will have no need to attack you with a hypospray."
It's the captain's turn to let a smile appear. "Thanks."
Spock allows an expression of surprise to cross his features. "For what, captain? I simply answered your questions and provided advice."
Jim rubs his neck again. "Yeah, but it helped. I don't feel so depressed anymore. I guess you just have that effect on people."
"I was under the impression that I and my logic created depression in certain humans." Spock looks out to the stars again.
"But what Bones can't fix... You can. And that's what I needed."
As they leave the observation deck, and part ways, Spock looks down the empty corridor, and lets a smile appear on his features.
And Bones won't have to attack Jim with a hypospray again for several months.