AN: hm, so written for trek_exchange over on livejournal by request of "madelf". Thank you to Annie for betaing and my LJ flist for putting up with me. I've got 2 bigbangs I'm working on (heroes, startrek) and gen_ficathon... not to mention the real person fic i've been writing. look me up on livejournal (b_dsaint) if you want to see all the other fics I've been working on lately, that ff(dot)net won't let me post.

Disclaimer: Star Trek belongs to all sorts of people (like Paramount, Roddenberry, etc). Unfortunately these people are not me.

Kirk stared out the viewport of Starbase 1, eyes fixed on the twisted and scorched hull of the Enterprise. She'd been in spacedock for almost a week already, undergoing massive repairs. The engineers were shocked by the amount of damage done to the ship, and impressed she'd even made it home. Kirk knew it was only due to the herculean efforts of his crew that they'd managed to keep the ship in one piece as they limped back to Earth. It'd be weeks before she was considered anything near space worthy.

His gaze traced the hull as he rested his forehead tiredly against the cool metal. Technically the entire crew had been ordered back to the Academy for immediate leave, but most of the acting command staff had stuck around on base. Some, like Scotty and Kirk, stayed to keep an eye on the repairs of what they felt was their ship. Others, like Uhura and Sulu, stayed because they couldn't stand the thought of facing the thousands of missing faces amongst the cadets. Others still, like Chekov and McCoy, stayed to keep their friends company, having no where else to go.

No one knew why Spock stayed, though they could guess. The half-Vulcan may have claimed that Earth was the only home he had left, but Kirk suspected he was in no hurry to return to it. He was sticking very close to his father and the other remaining Vulcans as they mourned.

Kirk was startled out of his musings by a heavy hand landing on his shoulder. He lifted his head, turning slightly to glance at the owner of the hand, before sighing deeply and turning back to his viewport. "Hey Bones."

McCoy squeezed his shoulder tightly before releasing him and moving up to lean against the wall, crossing his arms and supporting himself against his shoulder. Instead of joining Kirk in his ship gazing, he fixed his eyes on the weary face of his friend. He sighed. "Kid, she's not going to disappear if you stop looking at her."

A small half-smile quirked across Kirk's lips, before fading quickly. "She might."

McCoy shifted his weight slightly so he could look out the viewport as well. He smiled fondly despite himself. "She's certainly something else, isn't she?"

Kirk laughed. "What's that I hear Bones? Are you feeling, dare I say, affection for a starship?"

He scowled but Kirk could see the underlying amusement. "Affection? Are you daft? That bucket of bolts nearly killed me eight different ways."

Kirk bumped McCoy's shoulder with his own, grin on his face. "Don't talk about my ship that way." McCoy rolled his eyes, but the scowl relaxed.

Kirk returned to staring out the window. Across from them, engineers in spacesuits fit a new section of hull across a gaping hole. His amusement faded as he sighed deeply.

McCoy frowned at the rapid change in his friend's mood. In the week they'd been on Starbase 1, Kirk had been a bundle of nervous energy, bouncing between exhilaration and melancholy with a seconds notice. All centered around the Enterprise. McCoy looked between the ship and Kirk, caught off guard by the deep-set longing in Kirk's eyes.

"Hey." He reached out to grip his shoulder, trying to break him back out of his funk. "They're not going to take her away from you."

Kirk laughed self-deprecatingly. "No? You think they're going to leave the flagship of Starfleet in the hands of a 25 year old cadet who's still on academic probation?"

"I think they're going to give the Enterprise to the person who just saved the collective asses of the Federation."

Kirk snorted and the tension in his shoulders relaxed. McCoy continued, encouraged.

"Besides, can you imagine the PR nightmare if Starfleet tries to discipline you right now? You're a goddamn hero." McCoy pushed Kirk a little, startling a laugh from the younger man. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you planned the whole thing."

Kirk grinned at his friend, eyes bright with mischief and amusement. "That's me Bones, creating time-bending crises in order to avoid disciplinary action."

McCoy snorted. "Ass," he responded fondly, glad to see the light back in his friend's eyes.

"You're right of course, she's meant to be mine. They can't take her away." Kirk cast one last fond glance out the viewport before turning away and clapping McCoy on the shoulder. "Let's go save the repair crews from Scotty."

He groaned, not looking forward to finding the hyper Scotsman. He muttered as much under his breath, even as he followed Kirk towards the door.

Kirk looked back at his grumbling friend, affection warming his chest and he smiled. "Hey Bones?"

McCoy glanced sideways at him, still scowling. "Yeah kid?"


McCoy's scowl softened the tiniest bit. "You're welcome Jim."