A/N: Notes, disclaimer, etc. in Part I.
Doctor My Eyes
Epilogue: Guess who just got back today
"Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away."
-Thin Lizzy, "The Boys Are Back in Town"
"Och, Doc, you want to slow it down a bit? You're makin' me dizzy," Scott declared from his seat as he watched McCoy pace back and forth in front of the transporter.
The CMO shot a harsh glare at the engineer. Scott merely raised an eyebrow in response, but Chekov flinched instinctively in the chair next to him.
"I'm sure it's nothing to worry about," Sulu reassured. He tapped the fingers on his left hand against his thigh nervously as he leaned against the transporter console. "You know how long-winded those Council members can be. They're probably just dragging on and on or something."
"While this is in fact true eighty-six percent of the time, the Council is aware that the Enterpriseis scheduled to depart at sixteen-hundred hours today," Spock pointed out. He stood just behind Scott's chair, hands clasped behind his back. "Thus they should know to keep their session brief in order to ensure our timely departure."
"These are Council members, Spock," Uhura interjected before anyone else could comment. She shifted in her chair and crossed her legs at the ankles. "Just because they should know doesn't mean they will."
"Besides, the keptin is only twenty-nine minutes late," Chekov added. "There is still plenty of time for him to return."
"Damn it, I knew I should have stayed down there with him," McCoy muttered as he resumed his pacing. "Those damn fool sons of—"
"Leonard?" Uhura said as she studied the doctor. "How much coffee have you had today?" Her mouth twitched a little at the deadpan look McCoy gave her.
"Besides, they can't really be serious about taking the Enterprise away from him," Sulu commented. "Right?" he added when he saw the look on McCoy's face and the concerned furrow between Spock's eyebrows.
"If they are, I hope they realize they're not gonna have much of a crew left," Scott replied. "They'll have a right fun time explainin' that to the Etlics."
Before anyone could reply, the communicator built into the transporter console chirped. "Admiral Pike to Enterprise."
Everyone froze for a moment, staring at each other with wide eyes, before Scott leaned forward and keyed in a command. "Scott here, sir."
Pike's voice was expressionless as he declared, "One to beam up, Mr. Scott."
"Aye, sir," Scott replied.
"What does that mean?" Uhura murmured as Chekov locked on to the communicator's signal.
McCoy swallowed as he turned to look at the platform. He'd had an early-morning breakfast with Kirk just a few hours previous; at the time, he was convinced he'd be going back into space with his friend. Kirk had been confident in his ability to persuade the Council. But now, after hearing Pike's voice on the communicator instead of Kirk's, McCoy wasn't sure what to expect.
"Admiral Pike may simply be coming onboard to inform us about the proceedings," Spock said quietly.
"He could tell us that over the communicator or on a vidscreen," Sulu pointed out as beams of white light started swirling on the pad. "He wouldn't have to come onboard."
The light brightened momentarily before fading away. Kirk stood there in his gold command uniform, hands curled loosely at his sides and a huge grin on his face as he stared at them. "Shouldn't you guys be working?"
Cheers echoed throughout the small room as Chekov and Scott jumped up from their chairs. McCoy folded his arms and shook his head, a wide smile on his face as Sulu, Chekov, and Scott mobbed the captain. "You sneaky bastard!" Scott exclaimed as he threw an arm around the captain's shoulders. "You had me goin' there for a minute! Thought for sure Pike was gonna be comin' up here t' tell us you'd been sacked!"
Kirk shook his head. "Unofficial probation," he replied.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sulu asked.
"Hell if I know," Kirk answered with a shrug. "I think it was their way of trying to reprimand me without actually doing anything."
"How'd Admiral Westervliet take it?" Uhura asked, crossing her arms as she stood next to Spock.
Kirk grinned as he looked at her. "I'm pretty sure he was about to have an aneurysm. I haven't seen anyone look that close to exploding since Bones accidentally called—"
"We aren'ttalking about that, Jim!" McCoy barked, taking a reflexive step forward. The others looked at him with curiosity; even Spock's eyebrow was raised in interest.
"No, Jim," McCoy ordered. Kirk's fake pout lasted for only a moment before he started grinning again.
Spock took a step forward. "Orders, sir?"
Kirk squared his shoulders as he looked at them. His grin softened into a fond smile. "Prepare the ship for takeoff," he ordered. "Our guests are arriving in two hours. I want to leave in three."
"Aye, sir," everyone chorused. Scott and Sulu both gave the captain one last pat on the back before they followed the others out of the room.
Within moments only Kirk and McCoy were left. "So… no problems?" McCoy asked.
Kirk shook his head. "Like I said—unofficial probation. Which basically means they're still including the clause in my contract about the full Council review."
McCoy nodded once. "Could've been worse, I guess."
Kirk tilted his head. "You're really excited to be back," he commented, a hint of surprise in his voice.
McCoy snorted. "No, Jim. I'd much rather be destroying my lower back riding a motorcycle and trying to catch up with you. That was way more fun than this."
Kirk smiled as he reached up and squeezed McCoy's wrist. "Thanks, Bones," he said. "For everything."
"Just doin' my job," McCoy replied with a shrug, mouth tilting in a small smile. "Someone's gotta keep an eye on you." His eyes narrowed as he looked at his friend. "You know we're not done talking about all of this, right?"
Kirk nodded. "I know. I wouldn't expect anything less."
"Good. Just making sure we're on the same page," McCoy said as they headed for the turbo lift.
Kirk raised an eyebrow. "That phrase was outdated more than a century ago. Guess that says a lot about you."
"You think I'moutdated? You're the one that's obsessed with buying books printed on actual paper," McCoy shot back.
"I know you like reading books on paper, too," Kirk replied. He smirked as he pressed the button to call the lift. "You just can't because the print's too small for your old eyes."
McCoy scowled. "Careful who you call 'old,'" he said, stepping onto the lift behind the younger man. "I'm the one with access to the hypos and three different strains of Hytrian."
Kirk's eyes widened. "Isn't that the alien STD that makes your—"
"Yep," McCoy interrupted with a smirk. "The third strain makes it permanent."
He laughed at the horrified expression on Kirk's face as he leaned back against the turbo lift wall and closed his eyes.
Yeah, he decided. He was excited to be back.