I really should stay away from the st_xi_kink meme. No, seriously! It keeps infecting my brain; I've got two on-running prompts to work on, and about four or five finished ones, AND I've got classes starting next week! Maaaaaan.

Oh well, Enjoy the STXI fic!

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

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Uhura should have expected this, going on an away mission with the Captain. In fact, she did expect this. Just not, well, this.

She had expected the downhill turn in the mission. She had expected the attack (at least, to some extent). She had even resigned herself to expect that some of the away team would die, though she hadn't quite expected to be the only surviving member other than the Captain. And she had expected the capture of herself and the Captain by their attackers (who appeared to be something of a rival faction to the people they had originally been dealing with). She'd also expected the treatment they received, though it bordered close to outright torture.

What she hadn't clearly expected was Jim's defense of her. Oh, she'd mentally accepted that, as Captain, Jim would protect any and all of his crew. She just hadn't quite expected the lengths to which he would take that implicit promise.

The Tc'Har hadn't separated them, which was just as well, though occasionally Uhura wished they had. Watching them work on the Captain was not a pleasant sight, especially since the stupid man had to keep egging them on! Uhura could not believe the amount of sass and sheer cheeky impertinence pouring out his mouth, interspersed with comments of incredible crudeness and vulgarity. But she had to admit, the more Jim riled up their Tc'Har captors - the less attention they paid to her.

In the end, that was to their advantage. Uhura was no Spock or Sulu, or even Chekov, but she wasn't an idiot, either. She was the one who engineered their escape, hers and Jim's, a few days later when the Tc'Har were out doing whatever terrorizing they were going to do that day. She had memorized the vocal passcodes (seriously, who used those in prisons anymore? Not that Uhura was going to complain) and parroted them back when the time came, every glottal stop and guttural scrape perfect.

Honestly, with Jim distracting their captors, she'd had little else to do. The relatively minor scrapes and bruises she gained during the initial struggle at their capture were already starting to heal. She winced, looking at Jim, at the black and blue and purple blotches all over him, a few red ones that were fresh from that morning's interrogation. His eyes weren't quite swollen shut, though the upper end of his left zygomatic bone was likely fractured, judging by the swelling and most impressive bruising (in fact, Jim's face looked rather like it had on the cadet shuttle, that morning after the bar fight where she'd first met him). She didn't really want to think about what he looked like under his uniform; Uhura was sure it was mottled with even more bruises and crusted over gashes.

Escaping with Jim in state wouldn't have been easy to begin with; escaping with Jim in this state and with the added disadvantage of him having a fever, as well as having been drugged in the morning's interrogation session only made things harder. Uhura had hurried through the Tc'Har complex as fast as she could with a delirious Jim essentially draped over her, constantly terrified that their captors would return and find them, only to hurt Jim even more. Uhura's respect for Jim had increased nearly one hundred fold over this misadventure, and she did not want to watch him take more abuse.

They had reached a hidey-hole after what felt like hours, and she had tucked the two of them securely into it, back as far as they could go. They were outside the Tc'Har complex, somewhere in the surrounding vegetation, and using a stolen communicator (or at least it worked like a communicator, and that was all that really counted in the end) to contact the Enterprise and request immediate beam up. The beam up hadn't been possible; apparently wherever they were blocked the transporter, so Uhura and Jim had to wait for a manual rescue.

So they settled in to wait. Jim's fever was climbing, and the drug was still heavily present in his system, the two of them combining to reduce him to a near complete delirium. He would stare up at Uhura, clutching at her urgently, and babble nonsense at her. Sometimes he called her 'Mom' and when he did, Uhura's heart broke a little more, listening to the way he said that one word. Sometimes he called her by other names, male and female, and he would ramble and babble, sometimes in intelligible languages and sometimes in plain noises.

She gathered him to her chest, settling him between her legs so that she could encompass him with her entire body, holding him as he shook and spoke, sweating with fever and drug-induced delirium. Eventually the words faded into mumbled sounds, and Uhura searched her mind desperately for a way to soothe her hurt and fevered Captain.

"Swing low, sweet chariot," she finally whispered, rocking slightly in time with Jim. "Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home." The words seemed to pierce the fever-induced fog slightly, and Jim raised too-bright blue eyes to her dark ones. Keeping the eye contact and the small, quiet rocking motions, she continued to whisper-croon the old lullaby into her Captain's ears.

"I looked over Jordan and what did I see, comin' for to carry me home, a band of angels comin' after me. Comin' for to carry me home."

Jim made a noise at her, and she smiled tremblingly down at him, nodding before continuing in her low, sweet voice.

"Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home."

They were rescued a few hours later, and Jim's fever had unfortunately gotten worse in the interim. Upon returning the Enterprise, Uhura and Jim were immediately whisked away to Sickbay and McCoy's tender ministrations. Jim obviously required more tending than the lightly battered Communications Officer, but Uhura remained in Sickbay anyways, partly because she hadn't been released and partly because she wanted to be there when Jim woke up.

She had acquisitioned the biobed next to the Captain, and though she tried her best to stay awake the whole time, she eventually fell asleep. Uhura woke to a low, cracked voice to her right whispering familiar words:

"If I get there before you do, comin' for to carry me home. I'll cut a hole and pull you through, comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home."

"Jim," she whispered. Blue eyes, in a battered, bruised, and somehow still vaguely bloody face smiled at her.

"Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home," her Captain whispered, and in it she heard the thanks he meant to convey. She nodded, smiled, and let her eyes flutter closed again.

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END