Author's note—Yes, I should have been working on Remnants. But I was in the mood for some Hurt!Jim and this idea wouldn't leave me alone. That being said put your settings to Maximum Whumpage and read! Angst ahoy!
Disclaimer—…….. Nope, still don't own it.
Kirk's world reeled before him.
"That's all you got?" he rasped, "C'mon. One more time. With feeling." As a taunt it wasn't much, but Kirk quickly forgave himself as yet another fist slammed into his already swollen face. He tasted fresh blood on his tongue, a trickle of it oozing out of the corner of his mouth and mingling with the dark red stain already caking his lower jaw. Listing to one side, he still managed to force out a gurgling chuckle. It reverberated across the walls of the room, magnifying eerily as it echoed around the metal enclosure, mixing freely with the sound of dripping water and the slightly more sinister clank, clank, clank of the chains that bound him to his place.
"Is there something you find… amusing, Captain?" one of his captors addressed him from the shadows.
Kirk's head lolled forward as he continued to laugh, alone in his dark enjoyment. The captor, however, didn't seem to see things quite the same way. Kirk's laugh was punctuated by a sharp groan as the captor hit him once again across the face.
"I'll ask once again." The captor's voice had gone silky soft. "Is there something you find amusing?"
Kirk attempted to sit up straighter in his chair as it ground uncomfortably into his back. Taking his time, he tilted his head back and considered the three hulking men before him out of the eye that wasn't swollen shut.
"Yeah," Kirk said, a half smile cracking the dried blood around his mouth, "Yeah, pretty amusing I'd say." A voice deep within Kirk's subconscious begged him not to continue if not for anything else for the sake of his face, but the bigger part, the insane part, goaded him onward. "It's just—" he hesitated, then plunged on, "This is all very cliché, isn't it? The dark room, the chains, the water, the God-awful attempt at intimidation—seriously, I think you guys should've chosen a better profession. Gardening, maybe—"
He instantly regretted his words as he received a sharp blow to the stomach and doubled up as much as the chains that bound his wrists would allow him. His captors rained punches down on him and for a moment, he lost himself in pain, but he would not allow himself to cry out. He had been through much worse than this in his lifetime and he would not give them the satisfaction of knowing they had gotten a reaction out of him. So he withstood the beating, bearing hit after hit, growing closer and closer to blessed unconsciousness, the pain building in his head until—
"I think he's had enough," a voice said softly.
The beating stopped quite suddenly and they left Kirk to droop in his chair, suddenly called away from their task by something Kirk could not see.
Still buzzing from the last punch, the blood roared in his ears, but all the same he thought he could hear the sound of approaching footsteps out of the murky darkness. When he straightened he saw that, sure enough, a fourth had joined the ranks of the other three.
Squinting against the gloom, Kirk tried to make out the figure and was surprised to find that it was not another colossal and thuggish brute, but a small and slight woman. She was barely taller than he was sitting down and what he could see of her face suggested that she had soft and regular features. Nevertheless, a chill seemed to have passed through the room at her entrance and Kirk could not quite shake the feeling that he was in for much worse than what he had endured so far.
He sat even straighter determined not to slump or give this new presence the idea that she somehow intimidated him.
She paced forwards, the heels of her boots clicking on the cold stone floor as she approached. Kirk squinted as she stepped into the minimal lighting attempting to get a clearer picture of his unlikely enemy. As he had thought previously, it was true that she was quite attractive, her face all eyes framed by a silky veil of raven black hair that fell past her shoulders. Kirk considered her, his hopes rising infinitesimally. Seduction was the key. If he could charm her into letting him out of his chains, he could be out of there in a flash.
But before he could gather his fuzzy thoughts and turn on his charm, she stood before him and spoke.
"Well, well," she said, her voice fluting and soft, "Captain James T. Kirk. It's a pleasure, sir."
Kirk fixed her with ice blue eyes. Smiling cockily he said in reply, "Now this is embarrassing. See, you know my name, but I really have no idea who you are—"
He was cut short by a backhanded slap across the face by one of the thuggish cronies and his vision exploded into popping pinpricks of light. He felt a new trickle of blood slide down his swollen cheek, cut by a ring on the man's thick finger. "You will speak only when the captain asks you a question," the man said, his voice comically deep.
"Enough," the woman said, her dark eyes staring the man down coldly. He seemed to diminish in her gaze despite her small size. He slid back into the darkness of the shadows. She smiled at Kirk. "Apologies, Captain. My men are… enthusiastic, and while I appreciate it, they can be woefully lacking in intelligence from time to time."
Kirk shook his head, trying futilely to keep the ringing from his ears. "Figured as much," he muttered bitterly.
She laughed appreciatively, a light tinkling sound that echoed slightly around the room. "I knew I liked you, sir," she said. "But as for your question—my name is Yilek. Amanda Yilek. Captain of the Caracalla and leader of my little rebellion."
"Interesting," Kirk observed, "I didn't know rebels were in the habit of naming their ships after particularly ruthless Roman emperors."
Captain Yilek's huge eyes widened approvingly. "The captain knows his history. I'm impressed. We thought the name fitting. Caracalla was brutal, yes, but he was a commanding figure nevertheless. He stood for necessary change."
"A commanding figure that got himself murdered before his time," Kirk finished challengingly.
Yilek only smiled. "Yes, I suppose he did, but his power was undeniable. But we have diverged from our point, Captain. We have much to discuss." She clicked forward on booted feet, pacing behind Kirk as she placed her hands lightly on his shoulders. Kirk steeled himself. He did not know what was coming precisely, but he could be sure it would not be pleasant.
"All I need from you, sir," she whispered, her lips touching his ear, "is one tiny favor. Just one. That's all I ask. Give me the codes to disable the Earth's defense system. Give me the codes and you can go free relatively unharmed."
Kirk turned his head toward Yilek so their lips were almost touching. "Ah, Yilek, we both know that's not true," he murmured. "Don't degrade yourself by pretending it is."
She hovered close to his lips for a lingering second before standing up straight once more, suddenly business-like. "Very well, Captain. I thought I'd ask. I didn't really expect you to oblige anyway. But you may wish you had very soon."
"I'm not afraid of you." He said it quietly, but it rang throughout the chamber.
"Oh, Captain Kirk," she chuckled, "I do not doubt that. But that raises the question… What do you fear? What does the great James Tiberius Kirk fear most of all?"
Kirk remained silent. Yilek began to circle him, a lioness playing with her food. Her hand brushed his shoulders and strayed across his cheek and he had to fight back a sudden urge to jerk away.
"Cat got your tongue?" she said sweetly after it was clear that Kirk was not going to humor her. "I think I can help you there. Shall we explore the possibilities?"
Kirk did not speak; Yilek circled. "You do not fear me," she whispered, her words carrying nonetheless as she traced the line of Kirk's eyebrow with an elegant finger, "You are not afraid of physical torture—commendable, Captain, it really is—and you are not afraid of death. You really are a remarkable specimen, sir."
She paused in front of him. He only stared at her challengingly. He would not give her the pleasure of indulging her little game, whatever game she was playing at. "Fortunately," she spoke at last, "I have a way of finding out this secret about you, Captain."
She waved to one of her crewmembers and he passed her a long and lethal looking needle from out of the darkness. She flicked it nonchalantly as she said, "You see, this little injection here will tell us exactly that: what you fear most of all in the world. It causes delusions, you see, and triggers the fear response in the brain. So I'll ask you once again. What are the codes to disable the Earth's defenses?"
Kirk felt a growing knot of foreboding in his stomach as he eyed the needle, but he remained impassive. "Yilek, I will not, nor ever will compromise the safety of Earth, no matter what I fear most," he said coldly.
"Very well," she said, her eyes flashing dangerously in the dark. She motioned once again to her guards and two of the hulking men stepped forward to hold Kirk still in his seat. He tensed on instinct, straining against the bonds but he knew the effort was fruitless. She stepped forward and in one fluid motion stabbed the needle into his exposed arm taking cruel pleasure in Kirk's helplessness. The liquid drained from the syringe, she stepped back, watching for the effects with an air of mild curiosity. The men released Kirk's arms, and he lurched forward in his seat.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then slowly, slowly the room seemed to grow even darker before Kirk's eyes. The shadows of the four captors seemed more threatening and their eyes glinted like coals out of the black. Kirk stared at them, unafraid and resilient. He burst out in a humorless chuckle. "This is it?" he challenged, "You thought this would work on me? Make the darkness blacker and the shadows longer? You thought I'd be afraid of this? Come on. We're not children."
She only stared at him, a faint smile playing about the corners of her mouth as she toyed with a strand of her dark hair.
Kirk fought back a growing prickle of unease. It was only the drugs talking, he told himself He could handle this. He just needed a distraction. He decided to taunt her again. "Your game isn't working, so why don't you get it over with and kill me before—" he stopped dead. Something had moved out of the corner of his eye. In front of him, his captor's smile deepened.
In the back of his mind, Kirk knew that something was wildly wrong—more wrong than it could possibly be and worse. He felt he had missed something vital. He focused on the corner where he had seen the shadow move, a sense of foreboding welling in the very back of his throat. The shadow moved again, forming decidedly into the shape of a man, tall and slender as he picked himself up off his resting place on the floor. Kirk could not make out the man's features, but a paralyzing fear had worked its way into the pit of his stomach and wouldn't be abolished. This man could not be here. He couldn't be.
Because Kirk knew this man and it wasn't possible that he was here, too, in this place. He had made sure of it.
"Spock," he whispered hoarsely, knowing without a doubt that he had named the man correctly.
As if the sound of his name had acted as a stimulant, the man stumbled forward into the minimal lighting and Kirk's whole body filled with lead. For the front of Spock's uniform was not a deep royal blue any longer, but a horrid, sickly color green. Out of his chest sprouted the hilt of a long, lethal looking knife stationed as if planted there directly through his heart. Spock's slender hands scrabbled at the knife helplessly and his eyes vacantly searched for Kirk's. Their eyes locked and Spock's jaw fell open as he tried to speak, but no sound came out as he mouthed wordlessly Kirk's name over and over again.
"Spock," Kirk repeated, "No, Spock, no—" But Spock fell, crumpled at Kirk's feet and stirred no more. "NO!" Jim cried in horror, "NO!" He rattled and strained on the chains that bound him, but he could not no matter how hard he tried reach the fallen form of his friend. He could not think—he could not comprehend the enormity of what had just happened. He could only feel a deep pain and panic that pierced him to his very core. He knew only that he had to reach Spock somehow—if he could reach his friend, he could put it right, he could fix it, but the chains around his wrist were cruelly unyielding.
Turning frantically to Yilek, half-mad with desperation, he shouted, "You did this! You did it! Help him, save him, take me instead! It's me you want! It's me! Not him! Me! Take me! Hurt me, but don't hurt him!"
Yilek stared at him with narrowed eyes, coldly oblivious to the dead Vulcan at her feet.
Letting out an insane roar, Kirk tried to surge to his feet, but he was attached to the chair, and the chair was attached to the stone floor. He watched wildly for any sign that Spock still breathed, any sign of life, but he could find none. But his horror was not yet complete for another motion caught his eye and the panic rose in his frozen brain once again as the brawny shape of McCoy formed from the shadows in a heap on the ground. "Bones," he mouthed without sound. "Bones!" he tried to call out to him, but McCoy did not stir just as Spock had not stirred. Kirk choked with terror as he realized that McCoy was leaking a growing trail of blood from his head, and it looked dark black as it pooled around his body. It soaked the ground around him and Kirk simply could not accept what his eyes were seeing. How many more do they have? he wondered, agony tearing at his chest. How many more are dead?
Facing Yilek, words tumbled out of his mouth through numb lips. "Please," he begged, "please, help them. Save them, please. You can do whatever you like to me, but please don't hurt them."
Yilek approached him once again, stopping behind him, hands clasped on his shaking shoulders. "We can end this, James," she cooed, "We can end this right now. Just tell me the codes to Earth's defenses, and I can help you. Let me help you, James."
Kirk's head snapped up as some vestige of reality pierced his horror-stricken brain. "No," he muttered, "No I can't."
"Then I will continue to kill them," she said into his ear, "Every last one, James. Everyone. Is that what you want?"
As she said it, another flash of terror stabbed Kirk's brain and all rational thought was driven from his head. The form of Pavel Chekov blossomed before his eyes out of the darkness, the ensign's arms held out beseechingly to his captain in a final plea, for sure enough, Chekov's face was stained with his own blood and an open wound gushed red from his chest. Kirk watched as the ensign fell to join Spock on the ground at his feet. But Yilek's men had apparently not finished their massacre yet. Kirk looked frantically around and more images of fallen crewmembers assailed him—Uhura—Sulu—Scotty—their blood was everywhere and Kirk could do nothing to staunch the flow. Pure unadulterated fear seared him as nothing in his life had before as he watched his crewmembers fall one by one.
He screamed, he sobbed, he pleaded, "TAKE ME! KILL ME, PLEASE! KILL ME! DON'T HURT THEM! LET THEM GO!"
Yilek was no longer behind him. She had moved to the forefront of his vision, though his panicked brain barely registered this. She seemed agitated, arguing with the dark figures of her guard, ordering them about frantically as she produced a silver knife from the folds of her coat. Thinking she was about to murder more of his crew before his eyes, Kirk pleaded even louder, begging for their lives.
But Yilek instead made her way towards him, knife in hand. He couldn't understand. All he felt was a whirl of panic and pain mixed with a crushing hopelessness that crippled him more than anything else. He wanted not to care anymore—wanted it to end and for everything to go dark because he had nothing left and nothing to live for and he lost himself completely in this pain, pain, pain, and he had to save them but he couldn't because they were already gone and it was agony as he had never known in his life. Before his half closed eyes, he saw her lift the knife in her hand, saw the look on her face as she coolly held it so the point hung just above his chest, and felt as she plunged the blade into his flesh. He gasped for air as his own blood soaked the front of his soiled uniform and she whispered into his ear, "If I can't win… then neither can you. Goodbye, James." She twisted the knife viciously before pulling it out and discarding it on the floor. Kirk watched, uncomprehending, in a world of pain, as she turned to face the door phaser in hand as a crowd of dark shapes in red and gold and blue burst through the opening.
Phaser fire blinded him and confused him as a rushing sound filled his ears and he couldn't hear anymore, but he couldn't—he couldn't--close his eyes. He couldn't give up. He lay slumped in the chair, shivering and sobbing and gasping for air, struggling to move but unable, and unaware of the chaos that happened around him. He tried feebly to stir but his muscles simply wouldn't obey him anymore.
And suddenly a face hovered above him—a face he loved as a brother—a face that was impossible because he had seen this man fall. "Bones," he whispered, voice cracking with simultaneous relief and horror, "Bones, ya… ya gotta get outta here." The words were hard to form, but he had to say them. "Go on… I have to save you…"
McCoy hovered above him all the same, looking more worried and afraid than Kirk had seen him ever before. But why didn't he leave? Why did he stay and risk his life?
Kirk vaguely felt himself lowered to the floor, still protesting weakly. "Please… please… Bones, you can't die because of me… Why did you come?"
McCoy held him in his arms. "You are always there to protect us," he whispered roughly "So why does it surprise you when we are there to protect you?" Tears glistened in McCoy's eyes, shining as sparks of energy surrounded their bent forms and the transporter rays took them home once more.