Author's notes: Sorry for the delay! I'm really trying to get on a Tuesday/Saturday updating schedule, but life seems to get in the way. And then I got sick, which wasn't any fun. Especially when you have to babysit two kids everyday.
By the way, I stole the Pop Tarts box from the trash and cut Chris Pine's picture out. It is now tacked to my bulletin board, along with pictures of Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, John Krasinski, Zac Efron (slightly embarrassed by that one… it's only one picture!), and Robert Pattinson. My little shrine to hot guys in film.
I would like to (once again) thank everyone for the AMAZING response this story has gotten. I appreciate it more than I can say. You've dealt with cliffhangers and suspense better than I could. I would be sending angry messages by now, and I've only received wonderful feedback and encouraging reviews, and it really means a lot as a writer.
Up to nine times for the movie. I know some of you have seen it more, but that's a lot for me. Not that it beats the twelve times I saw The Phantom of the Opera in theatres (I'm more of a musical geek than a sci-fi geek… Yet I love Star Trek XI!)
Here is the thrilling conclusion to Stained Glass!
Title: Stained Glass
Relationships: Crew/Jim friendship, mostly concentrating on Uhura/Jim friendship and Bones/Jim friendship (aka no slash).
Summary: He always made an impression on all of them, but it was up to them to turn the tables.
"McCoy!" Uhura yelled again, panicking. Oh god, she thought. He's not breathing. He's going to die, right here… In front of me. Oh god, oh god!
McCoy spun his body around, a frozen and concerned look plastered on his face. He frantically glanced back and forth between Spock and Uhura, trying to make a decision.
"McCoy!" she shouted, almost pleading now. Save him!
It didn't matter what language she was translating, speaking, or even thinking. It didn't matter what had happened between them before, what their current opinions of each other were, or how this horrible experience would change them for the future. Jim was dying, just the same, and she had to get him help any way she could.
"Spock," Bones said, his voice serious. "Can you hold them off while I try to get him stable?"
Spock appeared to think for a moment before answering. The Captain's current state of health will not allow time for hesitation, he reminded himself. "I will try to handle the situation the best way I can," he answered finally, appearing to try to rally the rowdy crowd of angry politicians.
Bones rushed over to Jim, falling beside the gravely injured man's body. "Damnit, Jim…"
Uhura backed up, letting the doctor do what he did best- save lives.
Time seemed to move in slow motion, and she was its witness. McCoy breathed for Jim, trying not to look at the face of the man owning the life he was trying to save, trying to ignore that his best friend was bleeding out on the floor in front of him. He moved down to the captain's chest, immediately drawing back his hands after he made contact.
"What?" she hissed, no acid in her voice, only concern.
"I felt something move," Bones mumbled, replacing his hands to their previous position. "He already has at least one broken rib… that complicates things a bit."
She watched him work, focusing on Jim's still, ashen face. It was so eerie; the stained glass window she had found beautiful and majestic only minutes before seemed distorted and horrid. The colors reflected onto Kirk's pale face, etching a patchwork of designs on him. The pretty glass colored all of the scratches and bruises, painted the dirt… Like a language could color its people, she realized, connecting her life's passion with the horrible situation.
Uhura was so preoccupied analyzing how the situation looked that she only snapped out of her trance when she saw Kirk's eyes flutter open and heard him suck in a ragged, hoarse breath. She didn't know how long McCoy had been working, but it obviously and apparently worked. Jim coughed and sputtered, water and blood shooting out of his mouth. The blood and water mixed, creating a sick sort of pink fluid flowing from his body.
"Bones?" he whispered, his hoarse voice sounding painful as he spoke.
"Yeah, Jim?" McCoy answered. If Uhura had only relied on her highly-trained ear to perceive the situation, she would have thought that McCoy was answering a page from the Captain. But her eyes betrayed her, as she watched the doctor's concerned and heartbroken face as he materialized a medical first-aid kit from seemingly no where.
There was no reply, as Kirk looked intently at McCoy, his eyes squinted tight in pain of and on. He uttered a slight, painful groan every so often, and their hearts moaned with him.
Jim's normally bright and cheerful blue eyes weren't as glazed over as she would have predicted, but intensified with a stabbing, mind-numbing pain. Like ice, they seemed to look right through his doctor friend. Staring intently, it was almost as if he was seeing without really seeing, as if he was focused on something they could never be. Jim Kirk, walking controversy and contradiction, was at the same time, the most public and private man she had ever known. He had a knack for annoying his crew (in an endearing way of course, or maybe he just perceived it to be so) with his constant banter and running commentary on… well, life. Every detail was shared about the who, what, and the now, whether anyone cared or not. And then at the same time, he was dark and brooding, hiding certain information about his own past and emotions. These conflicting situations made him emotionally unpredictable. Reactions from his crew either pulled from an excessive store of eye-rolling and sighs ("There he goes again."), silent gasps of shock, or a bubbling concern that was unexpected and almost unwanted at the same time.
Jim Kirk was a walking contradiction. A running controversy in itself.
And now he just had to live to continue it all. C'mon, Jim, Uhura thought, not having the guts or nerve to whisper it out loud. You've got to make it, she stated in her head, watching as McCoy ripped the injured captain's gold shirt open with a pair of medical scissors.
The blood still flowed freely from Jim's shoulder, where Kaime had stabbed him, cascading over the majority of the captain's torso. It was hard to see because of all the blood, but Uhura could make out other distinct slashes and bruises, cuts and contusions, lacerations and slices. How did he still have enough blood to live, when he was bleeding out from almost every end? His chest forced itself up and down, moving in a painful motion. She listened to his gravelly breathing, the hoarse gasps of air that she knew could hardly satisfy him.
She watched both men, one dying, the other uninjured, wince- one at pain, and the other at causing extra harm, even for medical purposes. No one should have to watch their friend like this, in agony. And no one should think, even for a moment, that they were the one causing it.
I must find a way for them to abandon their weapons, he planned, a sort of bitter determination overcoming him. This was something he had to do; he had to figure out how to defeat a mob of twenty furious council members without becoming the next casualty.
The Captain would not want me to think negatively. Maybe that was the trick- think like Jim Kirk.
Jim would be useful in that situation, if he was some way available. He was always good at manipulating emotions, charming crowds, and influencing opinions. It was a strange, annoying, and yet somehow, amazingly useful talent his friend seemed to have. Do the impossible, the illogical, the most unpredictable…
Peace! Not violence! That is the answer… Peaceful negotiation. The half-Vulcan realized his strategy, sending a glance toward the fallen friend who had given him the idea in the first place before turning back to the swarm of angry people.
You will- you must!- survive, Jim, Spock thought, turning back towards the crowd.
Jim suddenly turned his head to look at his communications officer, squeezing her caramel-hued hand. "So… many colors," he breathed, his normally husky and determined voice weak and faltering with a haze of pain. His breathing was heavy and light all at once, his voice coming out as a mere whisper while he tried to keep the difficult respiration constant.
"The glass? The windows?" Uhura inquired, not sure what he meant.
He winced again as Bones slid his arms out of the torn sleeves of his shirt, discarding them by his side. The once yellow, golden shirt seemed orange, stained with a rusty layer of deep red blood. "No," Jim answered. "The… the pain."
Uhura looked at him intently, wondering if he was in his right mind. Now why would he say something like that? That was oddly… intuitive for him, injured or not, dying or not. That was deep.
"St-stowaway," he told them, and immediately the entire predicament made sense.
Kirk cried out, and McCoy stopped a moment before continuing. "I know it hurts, Jim, but I've got to get you somewhat stable before we try to move you. It'll be better in the long run, I promise."
That didn't sound like McCoy at all, Uhura realized, but certain situations change people's demeanors. How hard this must have been for him, she thought later, keeping his focus while still realizing that if he failed, his best friend was going to die. How do you get over the death of your best friend without leaning on your best friend for support?
"Your… bedside manner… really sucks," Jim managed to gasp out. McCoy attempted to paint a small, encouraging smile on his concerned face for his friend as he applied pressure to the stab wound on his shoulder. It was really deep, but he couldn't be sure of all of the damage until they returned to the Enterprise. At least Jim was making sense. His sense of humor wasn't harmed, that's for sure.
"That's something we can discuss later, Captain Kirk. I'm too busy trying to save your sorry ass right now, thank you very much. Damnit, Jim, what did they do to you?"
There wasn't an answer, and Bones hadn't expected one. Kirk's eyes were squeezed tight in concentration, trying to keep breathing. Why was it that something that should have been so easy was so damn hard? He had used a lot of unnecessary energy speaking, and McCoy was relieved that he was quiet for now.
"How is he still conscious?" the doctor said, and Uhura wasn't sure if he was talking to her or to himself.
Jim tried to say something, and she moved a finger to his cracked and bleeding lips. "Don't talk; not now, Jim." He managed to muster up a pathetic smile for her, and she squeezed his hand.
His eyes slid closed again, and he didn't reopen them. "Is that okay?" she asked McCoy, worried.
"Yes and no," he replied, moving two fingers to Kirk's wrist to take a pulse before looking slightly concerned. "I don't know when... or if he'll wake up… I'm losing him, his pulse is too weak. We need to get him to Medical, on the ship, now, or it'll be too late. He's lost too much blood, and there really isn't anything else I can do for him right now. At least he can't really feel anything right now."
Uhura held his limp hand in her own, rubbing small circles into Jim's marred, dirty, and bloody skin. She raised it up to her lips and kissed it, letting all of the situation soak in. He was going to die if they didn't get out of there now. The tears flowed freely, but all she saw was the blood soaking his face.
Why was she getting so emotional? This was that arrogant bastard Jim Kirk, who had tried to hit on her so many times, who had just about mutinied against Spock, her love interest… But he was also her friend, and her captain, and she loved him like a brother. It had taken this long to realize it, but she couldn't lose him, not like this. She needed to talk to him… This situation had changed her, changed how she looked at him, changed their relationship completely. They were reluctant friends, but friends none the less. And she would not lose him like this.
McCoy knelt by the lower half of Jim's body, reaching out to put a hand on his friend's uninjured shoulder. "C'mon kid, just a little longer…"
Uhura turned to look at Spock, who was standing in the sanctuary addressing the entire crowd. The angry group had calmed down somewhat, quietly filed into the wooden pews. She had somehow tuned out his voice, booming and echoing through the blood-covered church, focusing on the situation in front of her.
"Spock? Y'just about finished there?" McCoy called out, not really looking at the half-Vulcan he was addressing but instead glancing at the dying, limp form of Jim Kirk strewn on the floor in front of him. Despite his best efforts, he could not slow all of the bleeding, and a pool of blood was forming beneath his friend. How had he not died of blood loss yet? He took a pulse, and found that it was much weaker than it had been only a moment before. He wasn't sure that it was possible for it to fade anymore without stopping completely. "Spock, we have to get out of here now." It wasn't a question, nor a statement. It wasn't a request- it was a demand.
Spock nodded. "I trust that you all see the situation from our point of view now, yes?"
Various members of the group called out, "Aye," "Yes," or "Affirmative," with several others raising their hands in agreement and nodding.
Spock rushed to McCoy and Uhura, glancing at his romantic partner. "How is he?"
"We have to get him medical attention now, or he'll…" she related to him, wiping away an unwanted tear. Damn, why did Spock have to see her like this, crying over the inevitable death of another man?
"I'll be blunt, he's dying, Spock. We have to get him out of here now," McCoy stated, trying to mask the emotion that wanted to burst out, screaming and shouting until Jim sat up, told him that it was all a joke, and clapped him on the shoulder as he screeched for Bones to shut up.
The two men carefully picked Jim up, McCoy carrying his head and torso, with Spock holding his long legs and feet. "Is he stable?" Spock inquired, finally getting a good look at his captain's face.
"No. There's only so much I can do in a church," McCoy answered, looking back over his shoulder at the various pools of blood around the floor, and the now pink water recycling through the once-beautiful and majestic waterfall.
Uhura walked beside them, trying to compose herself. "How did you get them all to sit down and listen to you?"
Spock shrugged, trying not to drop Kirk's limp form. "I simply though like Jim Kirk and did the unpredictable thing- I convinced them that Kaime was a murderous dictator and that their current state of government was ridiculous and corrupted. They were deeply mourning the death of one of their council members, so it was not difficult to use their emotions against them."
Uhura frowned. "That's very unlike you, Spock."
"It is also unlike you to show so much emotion, but apparently this situation-Jim… The though of losing our captain has changed the way we see the problems of this particular occasion."
McCoy managed to roll his eyes despite himself. "Okay, can we get over this lover's spat and try to get Jim to a place where they can beam us up?" He had always thought that Spock had a way with awkwardly phrasing things, but this was ridiculous.
They carried Jim outside and looked for a clear area. "Uhura, alert medical," McCoy directed her.
"Enterprise, this is Lieutenant Uhura. Four to beam up. Have a medical team waiting."
"You've found him, then? Alive? Good work," said Scotty.
They froze in their tracks, waiting for the inevitable golden sparks to take them back. Uhura blinked, missing it, finding herself in the transporter room of the Enterprise.
But not before hearing a muttered, "Thank you, Jim," come from her left.
She smiled, despite herself. She knew she loved Spock for a reason.
"Oh my!" Scotty exclaimed upon seeing his captain's limp, injured form where McCoy and Spock had laid him on the ground.
And suddenly, all hell broke loose in mass chaos. She was vaguely aware of a gurney, several hands of many different sizes and colors lifting Jim up and placing him on it, someone gently jamming an oxygen mask over his pale face, McCoy quickly shouting out orders at the top of his lungs…
And then it was quiet. Jim was gone, wheeled to sickbay, where they'd hopefully save him.
"Are you alright?" Spock inquired.
"I will be," she replied, mustering up a smile for the man she loved before slipping her hand into his. They both knew where they were going.
Several hours and containers of blood later, Kirk and his many attendants and doctors exited surgery.
She had ignored her duties, as had the Acting Captain standing next to her outside of sickbay. Uhura had to know if he was okay… She was relieved to have him with her for moral support. Who knew that the seemingly-emotionless man could provide so much for her own emotional welfare?
McCoy was the last out, pausing to speak to his fellow crew members. He was wearing surgical clothing that they knew had been white at one point, but was now splattered red. Uhura shuddered, and Spock placed a willing hand on her shoulder, guiding her towards the good doctor so she could listen to him.
"How is he, McCoy?" she inquired, frightened by the sight of blood- Jim's blood- covering the surgeon's garments.
"He's stable, for now. Not sure any of the blood that was in his body before he… er, left is still there. Had to give him a lot of blood, that's for sure. He can't breathe on his own without help, but that's what happens when you have a punctured, semi-collapsed lung. He's unconscious- got a pretty nasty concussion at some point."
Uhura swallowed. "You'll let us know if anything changes?"
McCoy nodded. "He'll live. It'll take a few weeks for him to get back to a semi-regular schedule, but he'll be up to annoy and charm everyone in a few days."
"Really? You think he'll recover that quickly?" she asked, pleasantly shocked.
McCoy laughed, and Uhura forgot how good and pleasant that sound was- happiness, hope. "No. But that won't stop him."
They grinned at each other before the doctor turned back to his duties.
"Nyota," Spock called. "You should be in bed- it has been a difficult day for us all, I believe."
She turned to him and smiled, throwing her arms around him when she was sure no one was looking. "I'm so proud of the way you dealt with those people. He'd be proud of you too, you know."
He looked intrigued. "Who?"
"Kirk. He'll be thrilled to hear that he's rubbing off on you."
Spock shrugged. "I do not think it is wise to add to that insufferable ego of his."
She laughed at his honesty. "I love you, Spock. I was so scared today… I never thought I could care about Jim Kirk like that. But I do. Promise me that I'll never have to go through anything like that with you, Spock. I love you too much."
He paused before answering. "And I you, Nyota, but it is illogical to make a promise regarding situations out of our control."
She nodded. "But it would make me feel better."
"Then I could promise you the moon, Nyota- but it would not keep me from bodily harm. Or Kirk, for that matter, as he is a… I think the term is 'danger magnet?'"
Uhura pulled him by his hand back to the medical bay. "I want to see him."
Spock appeared slightly taken aback by this. "I am not sure, in your current emotional state, that this is the wisest course, Nyota."
"I want to see him," she repeated, no emotion present in her tone.
Spock paused again. "I will be waiting out here for you."
Uhura nodded before turning toward the doors.
"What are you doing back here again?" McCoy asked, not taking his eyes off of the data pad in front of him.
"I want to see Jim."
McCoy looked up and frowned. "Not sure he'd like that. You know how he gets when it comes to his 'macho' image."
Uhura giggled in spite of herself. "I need to see him, McCoy. I need to know he's okay. I need to see that he's okay."
He nodded and led her to the bed.
Jim was unconscious and eerily still, but, breathing tube and all, looked much better than she had last seen him. Some of the color (not from the reflections of windows, thank goodness) had returned to his face, and the various bruises and gashes were covered by thick white bandages. He could be sleeping; the pain-filled agony was not present in his features.
"How is his shoulder?" she asked, recalling the painful expression on Jim's face as he received the injury.
McCoy frowned. "That one was tricky. He lost a lot of blood from that one- one of the worst knife wounds I've ever seen."
Her eyes widened. "You've seen a lot then, I take it?"
The doctor smirked. "When you're friends with Jim Kirk, you see a lot of things you never expected to see," he recalled. "The knife tore through a lot of tissue- it missed all of the organs and arteries, thankfully, though with all of the damage, it was barely an inch away from his heart."
"He'll be okay, though, right?"
"He's Jim Kirk. He's always okay," he said simply, referencing the conversation they had on the bridge hours and hours before.
Uhura nodded, leaning over to squeeze the unconscious captain's hand. "We have a lot to talk about when you wake up," she whispered, before dropping his limp hand, waving goodbye to McCoy, and exiting the sickbay.
Spock was waiting for her, just like he had said. She threw her arms around him.
"How is he, Nyota?"
"Hurt. But stable," she related, playing with his short dark hair. "Spock?"
"I love you."
"Being there. I know we don't have the greatest relationship ever, but it meant a lot that you were there."
"You were hurt, Jim," she told him, brushing his sandy hair out of his face.
James T. Kirk had woken up two days later. Two hours later, Bones (after bitching Kirk out about freaking him out again) had permitted visitors, and Kirk was surprised to see that Nyota Uhura was the first person coming through the medical bay doors.
He blinked at her, looking confused. "Something's different about you, Uhura. I mean, I'm glad you're here and all, but… I'm a little confused as to why. You're acting really weird."
She smiled at him. Uhura frowned for a moment, thinking, before leaning over to gently give him a hug. "Some things have changed, that's all. I just… I know we've had our differences, Jim, but… I couldn't lose you."
Jim smirked. "At least I know one person is going to come to my funeral. Right Bones?" he called out to the doctor walking by his bed.
"Yup. Sure, Jim," he replied, before whipping out a hypospray and stabbing the captain in the neck.
"Hey! Wait! That's not…" Jim trailed off, unconscious once more.
Uhura laughed. "Was that really necessary?"
"I have a box of these in my office that is marked 'For when Jim gets Annoying.' Trust, me, that was necessary. Moron."
The communications officer bid him good day before leaving, and Bones returned to the unconscious form in the bed, speaking even though he knew Jim couldn't hear him. "You really scared us, Jim. Glad to have you back. Hate to break it to you, you depressing idiot, but you'd have more than one person at your funeral."
McCoy sighed, before patting the unconscious captain on his good shoulder and returning to his office to fill out some paperwork. I'd almost rather hear Jim whine, he mused.
Author's notes: Well, that's it!
I don't know why the bottom of the second author's notes repeated at the end of the last chapter, but I can't fix it for some reason. Oh, well.
-The glass all over the place in Jim's quarters with blood on it (the glass is stained by the red)
-Obviously the stained glass in the church
-Jim seeing the pain in colors
-The glass reflected on Jim's face
-The way the situation is "staining" Uhura's perception of Kirk from her already solid (glass-like) opinion of him
-Spock taking his strategy from Jim- using his colorful experiences with Jim to influence his normally stoic and different (clear, like glass) strategies
-McCoy's friendship with Jim changes his level of concern as he tries to stabilize Jim
How'd I do? I was kind of worried about writing Spock- I think he's a bit of a challenge.
Plug: Shoreleave's CMO Confidential really explores the awesome McKirk friendship.
Update, 5/2012: Took off the last two chapters, leaving it off here! Thanks to everyone who read this story.