A/N: And we come to the end. his could have been much longer, darker, and grittier- but considering it was never intended to be THIS long, or even meant to be written in this style, I'm happy with ending it here. Most of my darker stuff is one-shotish, anyway.....but if anyone wants to see something like this written as a Long Fic, let me know.

I do hope you enjoyed this,and for all who mentioned it- Playing Doctor is coming up next!

"Damn it, Jim, you've got to eat."

It hurts. Go away, Bones, let me suffer in peace at least.

"Jim." Hand on my shoulder. It hurts. Everything hurts. I swat it away.

"Jim, stop being a baby or I swear to you I'll make good on my word to do this intravenously!"

Might hurt less. Then again, it's Bones.

I am not being a baby.

I roll over and glare. Did you seriously just call me a baby?

"Get that look off your face." He sends me an irritated look, refusing to let me sink down, refusing to let me fall. Stubborn, hard-headed porcupine with enough strength for both of us, when mine was running low.

Right now, I hate him. I hurt. I'm scared. I just want to be left. Alone. So help me, if I could speak, I'd order him out, but he'd pull his rank card, too, anyway, and he'd do it with blatant attitude.

But I need to be alone., Just long enough to get rid of the fear, to ride out the pain until I can grin my way through it. I'm not Spock- I can't control it, block it, ignore it. I can con my way through it, ride it like a wave, and hope it goes away before I run out of energy.

But I can't do it with Bones hovering. I think he knows that.

I think he also knows that, I don't really want to be….alone. Not alone alone, as smothered as I feel, as fussy as he's being; if he walked out and didn't walk back in, it would go harder for me. I don't like to be alone.

But I hurt, and I just want quiet and peace and not to have Bones trying to force food on-

I start coughing. He's there instantly, lifting me, his voice gentle- "Ah, Jim…."- and no matter how gruff or impatient Bones gets with you, his hands are always so soft and tender, his touch sometimes painful-sometimes on purpose-but always soothing afterwards, mindless apology and ingrained habit. His hands are soft, not like my own callused ones; he takes care of his hands, like an artist would. Spock's hands are the same way, soft but strong. I'm the only one of us with calluses, on most of my fingers and all over my palms- I can put a cigarette out on my skin, and used to, when I was young and thought that was somehow impressive. (Not that I ever indulged the habit; drinking is my only vice. Well, when it comes to substances of that sort, anyway. )

When the fit passes, and I'm panting and laying back again and refusing to look at Bones who won't stop looking at me, I offer him a weak smile.

For the second time, it fails to reassure anyone.

Oh, come on, I don't look that bad, do I? I wish he could hear me.

I wish I could talk to Bones. Talk to him, because my thoughts are running circles in my head like a dog chasing it's tail, without even Spock to hear them. But he needed a break and is currently back on the bridge, doing my job. (Ouch, Kirk, that sounded a little bitter. Pull it together, will you?) I don't resent Spock for doing his job; it's just frustration and hurt coming out in anger. Always has, with me-it's a character flaw. And a big one, sometimes-misplaced aggression is never fun or amusing, less so when it's the same people who always take the brunt of it.

"This will make that feel better, too." He says, ignoring my attempt at a smile. "Jim, I don't want to have to treat you like an invalid, not let me sit you up and eat."

It's not a threat, it's a warning. Bones is very very good at keeping his word when it comes to his sickbay, and I have seen quiet a few ensigns get the shock of their lives when he really does do what he threatens to do.

"You're the one that didn't want to do this the easy way." He reminds, as I roll over and he props me up.

There is nothingeasy about this situation. But I let it be playful, smirking a him. He smacks my arm lightly. "Eat." He says, irritably, shoving the bowl forward, making sure I've got a grip on it before he lets go. It is, amusingly, soup. At least it's not chicken; I might have to hurt someone if it was. He gives my shoulder a gentle squeeze.

"You're healing, Jim. Give it time, and don' try to rush things." He says. "Hard part's almost over."

Or has just begun. But somehow, as the medbay doors open and Spock enters, with the two of them on either side of me- I can't feel afraid.

My fear melts away, as even as pain sears down with the food I force into my stomach, I barely notice it.

I'm too busy trying to plot a way to escape from this damn bed.


"He's resting, Finally."


"He was up gagging half the damn night. All this technology and advancement around us, and we still have to rely on something as nasty as radiation to kill off the monster attacking his throat."

"….I shall return to sickbay tonight."

"Spock ,you don't have to-I mean, he's getting better, it's just nasty."

"Doctor, that is the fourth time you have stumbled in ten minutes. We can not afford to have both our captain and ship's surgeon ill."

"Spock, I'm not-shit-"

Flesh on flesh, a soft grunt. "Are you quite alright?"

"I'm fine, I'm just-"

"Doctor, may I ask when the last time you ate is?"

"…..Well, well. Spock, concerned about me?"

"Merely making the logical connection between your apparent lack of balance and your concern over the Captain. You did not answer my question."

"Yesterday, Spock, I was with you. Do Vulcans fall prey to Alzheimer's?….."

"Not only are you fully aware that we do not, Doctor, the cure for that illness was discovered-"

"I was being sarcastic-oh."

"Six times in fourteen minutes."

"Alright, alright, I'll go get lunch, just let me-Spock! Let go, damn it-"


"Captian's Log, First Officer Spock in command.

Captain Kirk will be returning to full duty in precisely one week, assuming that he does not make a bid for freedom from sickbay before that time. With the treatments, he has slowly been healing from his incident with the Avios people. A report on the condition of planet Avios has been received, and he will be made aware of it when returning to full health. As I surmised, a demonstraiton of our strength was all necessary to convince the Avios their actions were unwise.

Doctor McCoy has placed the Captian under express orders to speak with him once a week for a remaining month regarding Mika. As long as this is carried out, his mental and emotional health are of no concern. While yelling is out of the question, the Captain is physical and mentally capable of performing his duties once more.

The ordeal is, once again, over. Now begins the one of-Captian. You are not intended to be on the bridge-"