You may be wondering why I'm starting another chapterfic when I already have three to update. In that respect, you and I are in the same boat. I guess the idea just bit me and wouldn't let go! Do not fear, however! My other works shall continue to update more or less regularly, as they do already. I hope. XD
Now then, I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek!
It took another two hours for him to be able to walk without imagining the deck pitching beneath him. Still, he was on alert each time he stepped, waiting for the ground to be somewhere else. The hiss of fried circuits surrounded him as he made his careful way through the ship's corridors to sickbay. Now that the crisis was over, he figured he had better seek treatment.
That, and his hand was starting to lose feeling.
Predictably, the halls around the sickbay were swarming with people. He hadn't been able to get a casualty list yet, but he thought there must be a few. God, he was doing something wrong. Somehow he made it through the milling crowd of his crew. Maybe they led him through, he didn't know. Somehow there was Bones ahead of him.
There was no yelling, no scolding. Terrifyingly, there was worse damage than his partially-severed nerves to deal with. A hypospray for the pain, a quick cauterization, a brush with the dermal regenerator. A nurse wrapped his hand in gauze just to be sure. Take two and call me in the morning. Bones was off to deal with someone more deserving of his help.
Jim Kirk stumbled up off the medical bed and back out into his dying ship. Scotty would fix her. He knew that. But right now… All he could see was the inevitable progress of decay, stripping away her hull and breaking down life-support. He rubbed his uninjured hand across his face. He was exhausted.
Fifteen hours before, he had been reclining in the command chair. Checking his nails. They were miles and miles from the neutral zone. The neutral zone, here, was like a distant star. Apparently, like a star, you couldn't see if it was broken unless you stared at it for days and days. The radar barely registered the Klingons before they attacked.
Three birds-of-prey, one Enterprise. The once again only-fucking-starship in the quadrant. It was a wonder they weren't dead in the water.
The wall-comm buzzed as he passed it and he slapped it on.
"Och, Cap'n. Engineerin' ain't as bad-off as I'd feared. I kin get impulse power online in a few hours, an' warp drive back in a few days." A crash sounded somewhere behind him and registered with a hiss of static. "I'll update you in a few, Cap'n."
"All right." His arm dropped back to his side. Where was he going now? Back to the bridge?
Spock was suddenly there before him, looking as immaculate as one could be during a crisis. His jet-black hair was slightly mussed and he looked pale, but composed. He took Jim's arm.
"Are you injured?"
"No." Kirk waved the Vulcan away, belatedly calling his dignity back to him. He cleared his throat. "What's the situation on the bridge?"
"Most of the consoles have been repaired to the best of our ability. A greater overhaul will be necessary sometime in the future, but that is currently impossible." Spock folded his arms behind him and spoke as they walked. "The recommendation of Engineering is to let the situation rest until one of their men can take a look. Lieutenant Uhura has managed to send messages to Starfleet and the nearest starbase. The Defiant is en route to meet us in one hour."
Kirk sighed and leaned on the wall. "That's a relief."
"May I suggest that you take a break before Captain Greene arrives?" Spock's dark eyes betrayed his concern.
"Well, you can if you want to, but I don't know if it will do any good." But Kirk didn't resist when Spock pulled him gently into a nearby lab. The space was deserted, but he was glad to see that the instruments had not been badly disturbed by the attack. He could almost say that nothing had happened, in here… Spock steered him through another small door and he found himself in the Vulcan's science office. The desk was clear of the reports he saw stacked in his other officers' rooms and the space was empty of any knick-knacks or characterizing décor. Yet this was enough for him to recognize it.
The Vulcan sat him down in the visitor chair and pressed his fingertips lightly to the captain's mouth. The sensation sent little tingling shivers down Kirk's spine and he began to relax. He pulled Spock down to sit astride him.
Their touches were quick, featherlight, each reaffirming the safety of the other. Each touch saying thank you God we are both still here. They made love in the dark on the uncomfortable chair, but it was better, always better, than the first time. Every new breath meant the future.
When he finished, he trembled. Spock was trembling, too, and Kirk knew then that his perfect lover had been as shaken as him by the unexpected, unwarranted, assault. They kissed in the silence.
"The Defiant is scheduled to be here shortly," whispered Spock, pulling away just slightly from the neck of his lover.
"We'd better shower, then."
They stood slowly, only reluctantly resuming their separate lives.
"You handled the situation well, Enterprise." Captain Greene sounded sincere, and perhaps he was. It had been three years since their rookie crew had won the ship and one would hope Starfleet would have gotten over it by now. "I am sending medical relief and a complement of mechanics to help get you back on your feet."
"Thank you, sir." Kirk made a half-assed attempt at a salute. The Defiant had already done a lot to clear up the situation, including send a warning to surrounding planets that there might be Klingons in the area. The birds-of-prey that had attacked earlier had been disabled by the Enterprise and had self-destructed rather than be taken in tow. Hence the severe damage to his ship. "Your help is appreciated."
Greene signed out and Kirk received notice that, true to his word, emergency medical workers had appeared in the transporter rooms. He left them to their job with a grateful sigh.
"Now that the ship is in good hands, I believe that you should rest," murmured Spock, behind and to the left of his chair. "You have been awake for twenty-two hours and thirty-five minutes, more than half of that time managing a crisis situation. The strain is bad for your health."
"You're right. As always." Kirk got up from the command chair with an effort and followed his first officer off the bridge, leaving the conn to Lieutenant Briggs. They didn't speak, but took comfort in each other's presence. Thankfully, neither was waylaid on their course to their quarters, but Kirk knew they couldn't enjoy the stillness long. He would have to be up early the next day to make decisions, help out the repair crew… Write letters to the families of his dead crewmembers.
Spock input the code to unlock the captain's quarters, and Kirk didn't protest, instead allowing himself to be drawn into the dim space within. Spock undressed him and laid him down on their narrow bed, following once he had donned his sleeping robe. The Vulcan tucked himself up behind Kirk, one hand resting on the captain's hip, breathing softly against Kirk's hair.
Kirk could feel when Spock fell asleep by the rhythm of that breath, but he couldn't join his lover in slumber. There were too many things to think about, the foremost being the safety of his crew, and how he had somehow failed them.
It was a week before the warp engines were back online, but at least Scotty had got them working again. Now they could get back to Starbase 8 at something more than a snail's pace. They were going to need major renovations before the Enterprise was ready for duty again. Luckily, Starbase 8 was outfitted with some of the latest in starship-maintenance technology. Scotty couldn't wait to get his hands on it.
Ship's systems were mostly repaired and functioning normally, if not exceptionally well. The consoles on the bridge had been put back together with spit and electrical tape, but at least most of the buttons still worked right. Chekov and Sulu were out of sickbay, their minor burns treated and already healing up. They kept the bridge's morale up by trading raunchy stories with the other crewmen stationed there. Even Uhura joined in once or twice, and she had a wealth of material. Gaila apparently talked quite a lot in her sleep.
Even Spock may have enjoyed the light atmosphere, had he not spent the last hour throwing up in one of the science lab sinks.
The sudden bout of nausea was a mystery to him. He ran through his bio stats in his head as he doubled over again, but could find no irregularities in his gastrointestinal function. As far as he knew, he was not ill. He had not, to his knowledge, consumed anything at odds with his normal diet. He was not hungover. Or poisoned.
But his stomach clenched again and he retched up the thin broth he'd had for breakfast that morning, his tongue burning at the taste. Disgusting. Wearily, he sat down on a nearby stool, massaging his temples. This experience was not fascinating, but bizarre. He was not enjoying it. Perhaps he should get more sleep? He had been resting quite frequently with Jim, but maybe it was not enough…
The nausea faded in another moment or so, disappearing as quickly as it had arrived. He stood and rinsed the sink and his mouth, deciding that a short nap certainly would not harm him. In any case, a spell in his quarters would give him time to catch up on his scientific journals and perhaps review a few of the new members of his staff. Mind made up, the Vulcan gathered his tricorder and left the room, passing some of his scientific peers on the way out. They were early. He was illogically glad that they had not witnessed his weakness.
Once safely tucked up in Jim's bed, temperature altered to a suitable level, he took out his padd and located a few of the articles he'd been meaning to read. There was an interesting study of New Vulcan's native flora that he was particularly eager to examine. A breakthrough in botany could mean a revolution in the so-far rather unsuccessful attempts to plant Vulcan species. It would no doubt be riveting.
However, as he perused the first few paragraphs, Spock felt his eyelids growing heavy. On the second page, they finally closed and he could not find the will to open them again. Setting the padd aside, he blearily ordered the computer to notify him when it was thirty minutes to beta shift and went to sleep.
Kirk was in his command chair, and he felt better than he had all week. Admittedly, his ship still looked like he'd bought it from a tag sale, but it wasn't smoking anymore. He could live with that, for now. Really, he was just happy that they were getting somewhere. They'd spent a week puttering toward the starbase, but now that they had warp one, they could make it in another day. It was good to be fast again.
He ran a hand over the armrest of his chair and checked the time on the readout. It was almost 1600, the beginning of beta shift. He figured he'd stay on the bridge and keep things running smoothly, having spent the morning sweating down in engineering with Scotty. That had been his hands-on workload for the day.
"So then she started licking her lips and walking tovard me, and I decided that discretion vas better part of walor," said Chekov, crossing his arms.
"You should have gone for it," replied Sulu, leaning on his console. He reached over to pat Chekov's shoulder.
"She vas orange! And not like bad-tan orange, like fresh-squeezed orange juice orange. Plus, I am fairly certain zat she vas not all female."
"What's wrong with that?" Sulu had now leaned in pretty close to his young coworker, a teasing smile on his face. His hand was migrating to Chekov's other shoulder, drawing the youth into a conspiratorial huddle.
"Um…" Chekov blushed.
"Well, that's enough of that," said Uhura, on the verge of laughter. She stood up from her console, matching the computerized beep that let the bridge know it was shift-switching time. "I'm going to head down for a bite to eat. Who's joining me?"
The two boys got up, Chekov's ears still flame-red, and followed her into the turbolift. Ensign Lo at the science station waved them ahead of her with a smile, but she left to join them a few minutes later after she'd finished her work. Kirk sat back and greeted the beta crew as they filed in, ready to begin their hopefully unexciting shift.
Kirk realized after a moment that Spock was not among them, though he had assigned himself to beta shift earlier that morning. That was a little bit odd, but, as he considered the hours they'd been keeping recently, he decided it was possible the Vulcan had simply lost track of time. He decided to give him a few more minutes and didn't comment on his absence.
1620 rolled around, and then 1625. Kirk was beginning to get a little anxious. As far as he knew, Spock had never been late to a shift before. He considered asking the computer to locate his wayward Vulcan.
At 1630, he did so. "Computer, give me the location of Mr. Spock." All ears on the bridge perked up, ready for the answer.
"Mr. Spock is in turbolift A, approaching the-" The rest of the sentence was swallowed in the hiss of the turbolift doors. Spock stepped onto the bridge rather quickly and headed to stand beside Kirk's chair.
"Captain, I must apologize for my tardiness. Should you wish to discipline me, I will not object."
"Mr. Spock, glad you could join us." Kirk looked up at his science officer with a smile and took in his still-sleepy face. "Catching some Zs, were you?"
Spock blinked. "What?"
"No. I was simply conserving energy." Spock looked a bit uncomfortable. "I may have missed the alarm I set." Itself an alarming notion.
"That's all right Mr. Spock; just don't let it happen again." Kirk briefly brushed his lover's hand in reassurance and sent him off to his station.
Spock sleeping in? What was going on here?
After a few moments of thought, he decided to dismiss it as a fluke. Spock was just a bit tired. That was all.
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