Title: Hero Complex
Disclaimer: No own I. (Nor do I own the Horta, or intend to offend in anyway said creature by mocking it's commendable attempts at English.)
Summary: Jim Kirk, meet Jim Kirk.
A/N: Okay, okay, so maybe it's been done. But I DO love the idea of Jim meeting Jim. (And the others their counterparts, as well.) As I said, this is a touch AU from both movie and series….I think. Actually, that's probably the wrong term to use, but oh well. It is what it is, and even I'm not entirely sure where this is going. Probably a one-shot….might end up being a chaptered thing.
What I did in some distant past life, I will never know, but I think I'm still paying for it.
At least, with the size of the headache I have, I believe that right now. I groan softly, lifting a hand to my skull. "Bones?" I try. He was with me. Standing right beside me on my Enterprise just moments before-before what?
"Here, Jim." He sounds like he's as bad off as I am. I open my eyes and glance over to where he's just sitting up, hand on his forehead and other flat on the smooth, white surface of the floor. Hell, everything's white in here- walls, ceiling, floor, the one door that I'll bet every credit I have is locked.
"Alright?" I ask, then, "Spock, alright?" I add, because apparently he's here, too. He was close enough to me-that makes sense, I suppose. If, that is, it was our position that caused us to be transported here, and not the will of someone else targeting us specifically.
I'm also willing to bet those credits it's the latter.
"I am unhurt, Captain." Spock's mild baratone rolls over me comfortingly, and then- "Headache like nobody's business, but I'm okay, too, Jim." From Bone's drawl, and I relax and push myself to my feet.
The world spins, tilts, and I stagger to a knee, hear Bones snap my name and in seconds he's there, running his tricorder and fussing over me. "I'm alright," I say, "I'm alright, Bones, just took a blow to the head or-something-I'm not sure…."
"No one struck us." Spock says quietly. "But it is not unreasonable to assume whatever transported us here- wherever here may be- has disturbed your body's balance."
"Wherever indeed." I mutter, staring at the tiny, white room. "And why?"
"Well, it wasn't just us." Bones says, straightening and giving me a hand up. The world, blissfully, stands still this time for the most part. He points, and I see the three limp bodies in the far corner of the room. It's too dark to get a good look, from this distance, and I glance back at Spock and Bones, sighing.
"I assume there's no way out but that door. And that's locked."
"Correct." Spock says, a touch of humor in his eyes.
"And those three?…."
"Were here when I woke up, which was right before you did. Spock was already up and around." Bones gives him a look that is half-playful, half irritated, and all fond if you know how to read it. Spock's not smile touches his lips, tipping up the edges, and I know he does.
"It is logical that I recovered well before my human companions." He says, with just a touch of emphasis on 'human'. McCoy mutters something about speciesist space elf, and I wisely don't call him on the comment.
"Those three haven't woke up?" I inquire, and start slowly in that direction and reaching for-well, where my weapon should be. My phaser is gone. I freeze, glancing at Spock and Bones, who are now also checking themselves for their own weapons.
"It seems whoever brought us here wishes us vulnerable." Spock murmurs. "Or are non-hostile and wish to assure we remain so, as well."
The three forms in the corner don't look that old- or that large. I approach cautiously, ignoring McCoy's sharp 'Jim, careful' as he comes up on my left. He's still got his medical kit, and his hand has unconsciously drifted towards it.
Closer, I can see the three are in Starfleet uniforms, which make my eyebrows shoot up- two in blue, one in command gold, and all three looking incredibly young. I reach out gently, as Bones takes a position by my side and nods, once, scanning him. "I'm not picking up on any significant injuries."
So I reach out and turn the form over. He is a slender, tall male, powerful but not muscular, with a shock of shaggy black hair and the short-sleeved blue uniform of a medical officer. And when I turn him over-
-I freeze. Beside me, Bones lets out a low, shocked curse, and Spock's eyebrow darts up, because there is no mistaking who we're looking at. He's younger- years younger- and the worry and stress lines have only stared around his eyes and mouth. He's lacking the touches of gray in his hair, he's more filled out, there's stubble touching his chin and cheeks and when he opens his eyes slowly with a low, husky groan, they are golden brown, not the blue of earth's sky.
But it is unmistakably Bones.
"Impossible." Bones whispers-my Bones whispers- to my left.
"I should think by now you'd understand that much more is possible then humans give credit for, doctor." Even Spock sounds a bit breathless. The brown eyes of the groggy not-Bones below us drift shut again, and he groans, twisting away. He curls around himself in pain, and my Bones pushes me aside, moving in to administer a hypo and begin a more old fashioned-and to Bones, preferable-method of checking the younger-him for injuries.
"Logically," Spock muses, "if doctor McCoy's younger counterpart is here, then these two-"
He glances at me, and I glance at him, and we move in unison to the other prone forms. I turn over the second male, whip-coard thin and tall and even from the back it's undeniable who I'm looking at with the slick black near-bowl cut of hair and faint greenish tinge to his skin. I turn not-Spock over gently, and he does not open his eyes- just stirrs with a furrowing of his elegant, upswept brows. This one is also younger- the lines and wear is not there on his face, there is something delicate and even pretty in his younger features, but otherwise it is Spock, from pointed ears to slender hands.
"Spock," I whisper, tracing a finger along said ear. He doesn't wake, but moves away from the contact instinctively.
"And you, Jim." Spock says, and I rise, taking a moment before coming over to look down at-
Eerie. Very, distinctly eerie. Even in that Mirror relm, I hadn't seen myself-and the one time I have, it wasn't a younger me. But at the same time, this isn't me, just like that McCoy isn't McCoy and that Spock isn't my Spock. This Jim Kirk is roughly ten years my junior-his hair is a lighter blond then my own, and much less controlled, and he's taller then me, I notice, or will be standing up, and thinner by a hair. There was no Tarsus during a crucial period of his growth, I think, nothing to stunt his growth and affect his eating habits. But there are scars I don't have on the parts of his body I can see, and lines around his mouth and chin that he shouldn't have so young. He's tan like me, though, and generally built the same-husky, fighter's build.
And then his eyes, open, too, and I feel my breath catch. Because not even Bones'-my Bones'-eyes are that blue. I've never seen eyes that electrifying color, not in person, and for a moment it takes my breath away.
Also, it's strange to see myself, but not quite me, too. Surreal.
The not-me, the younger me, studies me calmly for a moment, as if working me out the way I'm working him out, then frowns, starting to shift as if he means to sit up. "Aw, man," He groans, and I'm startled by his voice, which is so similar to mine but so obviously younger, missing the husky quality that comes with age. "this world is so not ready for two Jim Kirks."
I burst out laughing. I can't help it-it's so true, and so bluntly phrased, and entirely not what I would say upon waking to stare an older version of myself in the face.
He blinks, focusing further on me when I laugh, and grins-crooked, lopsided, my grin, and I'm struck again by how insane this all is. "At least you're taking it well." I reply, extending a hand to help him up because he's struggling. He pauses, looks down at my hand and up to me before allowing his gaze to meander to Spock and then Bones- my Spock, my Bones, not his. "Well, if universe ending paradoxes are gonna happen, guess it's a little late to stop it." He mutters, and accepts my hand. I tug him up easily, and he takes a moment to balance, hand on my shoulder. "It's not," he drawls, "exactly the first time. Wow. So you must be him, hu? Me, I mean." He stops, blushes, and I wonder what the hell he means by that. How does a younger me (from another reality, if I'm reading the slight differences correctly)…..know about me?
Meanwhile, my Bones is gently helping his younger counterpart to sit up. Brown-and-blue eyes glint over to us, and in perfect unison, two southern drawls interrupt our conversation.
"Damnit, Jim, sit down!"
Blink. Pause. The younger me drops obediently with a sheepish smirk, and I back up a step, a touch unnerved by just how Bones-like this young Bones really is.
Spock- my Spock, Mr. Spock- also lifts his head, his not smile in place- I wonder if the younger one does that, too- as his young version stirrs at the noise, starting at last to come around.
"There's three of him now? Heaven help us all." Young-Bones mutters, which is every bit as intriguing as Young-Me's comment "Aren't two green-blooded computerized half breeds enough for one timeline?"
"There's another one?" My Bones querries, eyebrows up, and the tangle gets just a little bit worse as young Bones instantly clams up. "Maybe I ought not t've said it-"
"I think it's alright, Bones." Young-Me says, holding his head with his eyes closed again. "After all, our Spock knows about the A-about old Spock, and despite both of them lying to me-"
"Implying." Comes the tired correction from the now-awake young Spock, who has the same brown eyes as my Spock- in some, strange way, that's almost reassuring- and is studying my Spock in quiet, accepting curiosity. He does have the not-smile. It's right there, plainer even then my Spock's not smile, at least if you know how to look. "He implied. Vulcans do not lie."
"-lying to me, the world didn't blow up." He lowers his hand, blinking up at me. "So yes, there is another one. Older then you, actually." He says, to my Spock. "But from the same timeline, I think."
And now, my head hurts. Well, worse.
"So you are from another timeline. An….alternate reality, of sorts." My Spock muses, and young-Bones snorts.
"Technically, you are." He points out dryly. "As this is our reality."
"Actually, we do not know where we are, nor which 'reality' we are currently inhabiting." Young Spock's voice is lighter- much lighter- then my Spock's voice. It doesn't have the sand-papery rough quality to it's undertone, either, and while it's every bit as mellow and calm as my Spock's voice, there is something different in it, something, oddly, that seems more expressive. "If, in fact, we are even inhabiting either of ours, and not an entirely new one."
"Don't say that," Young Bones groans, pressing his fingers to his eyes, at the same time my Bones simply groans.
"It's like a perfect, computer-generated clone," He whispers to me. "The updated version."
I don't remind him that both Spocks probably heard that. From young Bones' comment, I assume it's the same in this timeline-non stop bickering and name-calling from two supposed grown men, with one blond captain fondly playing ref-wait.
I glance down to the golden uniform my younger self wears, to the rank, an feel my eyebrows shoot up to my hairline. At just over thirty years old, I'm known to be the youngest starship captain Starfleet had ever assigned. It was part of why so many people dislike me; it's also part of why so many people like me. This Jim Kirk has to be, like I said, at least ten years younger- putting him roughly at twenty five- and is wearing a captain's uniform.
He catches me staring.
"Yeah." He says, twitching one arm out as if showing off a gaudy piece of jewelry. He looks uncertain, and I'm pretty positive that's rare. Even if I wasn't looking at myself, something about this youth suggested he rarely looked anything less then confident, even arrogant. But something about me is intimidating him, and it's not just seeing an older, new version of himself. "Long story."
There is sudden tension in the air. I can feel my Bones' eyes on me, hard, and that Bones' eyes on his Jim, and both Spocks are just watching, considering, measuring. I think if I say the wrong thing, or anything that could be taken as the wrong thing, the two younger counterparts would both be very willing to pounce.
"Enterprise?" I affirm, cautiously, and he's grinning suddenly. "'Course," He says, like what other ship would it be?, like it's natural and wonderful and he sounds like he's still a little stunned by it- and considering that I still, after years, get a mild thrill out of saying I captain the Enterprise, I know exactly what he feels. "She as pretty as my lady?" I ask, all mock-seriousness, and the tension melts away like it never was.
"Prettiest girl I've ever won." He teases back, and we both chuckle, and then young Spock is standing and straightening his tunic.
"I will assume you have already confirmed we are trapped in this room?" He asks, though it's not clear which of us he's speaking to. I reply, more out of habit then anything else. "We have," I say. "As far as I know, no one has attempted to make contact, though our phasers are gone."
"Communicators, too." Young Bones mutters. "Tricorders still here, and fully operational, and we-" He motions at my Bones and himself- "still have our medical supplies."
"Which suggests that your idea of them being peaceful might very well be correct." I muse to Spock. "We've been allowed to keep essentials, but weapons and communications have been cut away."
"But why are we here?" My Bones throws his hands up. "Someone dragged us out of our respective ships and dumped us here, and that can't have been as easy task."
"Easier for some then others." I point out, remembering the number of times we've been transported from the ship to one planet or another without so much as a by-your-leave.
"But to rip us each out of our respective timelines?" I'm amused by how casually we're disusing this- the young me is running a hand on one wall, and doesn't even sound mildly flustered by the subject matter at hand. "That's gotta be harder to do."
Our speech patterns are incredibly different. This me is obviously far more raw- there's something far less trained in feel to him. In look. He doesn't carry himself like a military man-he has confidence and strength, but the straight, upright posture isn't natural, yet- his hands want to be stuffed in pockets instead of resting at the small of his back. He keeps his head down, as if used to ducking or slouching.
"Well, as for why," I say, slowly, chewing my lip, "all we can do, I suppose, is wait it out. And how doesn't matter to me, unless they're unwilling to send us home the same way."
"Just make ourselves comfortable, hu?" Young me's voice is dry and biting- he's not thrilled with the idea, very obviously.
"Unless you have a better idea? Or can suddenly walk through walls. Ican't, but who knows what's different in your reality?" I return, with equal snark, and he looks momentarily surprised before he grins our lop-sided grin.
"Apparently not as much as I thought." He says with that grin, shaking his head.