Just routine. When did those 2 words mean a disaster was in the offing? Why weren't any of their "routine" visits to inhabited planets simple and straight forward? Why in the two years since Enterprise left Earth had just routine meant all hell was surely going to break loose? All these questions and more were repeating themselves over and over in Dr. McCoy's head as Spock once again had to request emergency transport for him and the Captain, a beam out directly to Medical Bay.

"What happened?" Dr. McCoy asked when Spock materialized, an unconscious Jim Kirk cradled in his arms. There was no blood at least. That was a good sign.

"The Bulibelgs took exception to our presence," Spock said, very carefully laying the Captain on the biobed.

"What? Why? Starfleet said they were ready," Bones said as he scanned Jim who lay too still and too grey. His breathing was shallow but not labored.

"They were apparently ready for Human contact," Spock said quietly.

"Oh," Dr. McCoy said. Normally that would be a perfect opening for one of Bones' caustic comments but Spock was clearly upset, his emotional turmoil nearly at the surface and obvious to the doctor. "What happened to Jim?" he asked, staring at the bio readouts to give Spock the chance to compose himself.

"He was in the process of explaining that I was not a demon. They were… skeptical. One of the elders took a swing at me and the Captain intervened," Spock admitted, his guilt apparent.

"You aren't to blame. You know that, right?" Bones assured him, turning his attention from Jim to study Spock with surprisingly gentle eyes.

Spock made no response to his question, staring at Jim's unconscious form. "Is the Captain seriously injured?"

"He has a dislocated jaw," Bones said, frowning at his tricorder. "I'm going to have to wire his mouth shut."

"There is no alternative?" Spock asked.

"No. The bone mender won't help. The muscles have been traumatized, stretched completely out of place. They have to have time to heal."

"He will not be able to speak," Spock said.

"I know," McCoy sighed. "It's not ideal. But I don't have any other options. He also has a concussion which is why he's out. I'll have to wait for him to regain consciousness so I can sedate him."

"You cannot sedate him to keep him under?" Spock asked.

McCoy shook his head, scanning Jim again. "It's too dangerous. He could have seizures. I have to wait to sedate him."

Spock nodded, taking Jim's hand into his own and sitting next to him. "The rest of the away team has returned. I will remain here until he regains consciousness."

"Can you tell if he has any brain trauma?" Bones asked.

"His mental activity is much like it is when he is asleep," Spock said. "He is having bad dreams but he is not confused or…frightened of them."

"Alright. He must be in a lot of pain," Bones suggested, studying Spock as he concentrated on reaching his bondmate.

"Yes. I can control some of it. Can you give him a pain reliever?"

"A very mild one. When he wakes up, the pain will be even worse," Bones warned.

"Yes," Spock acknowledged. "I will assist him as I can."

"I know," Bones repeated with a nod. "Let me know just as soon as he wakes up."

"I will," Spock agreed, holding more tightly to Jim's hand as McCoy pressed the hypospray against Jim's neck. Jim moaned inside, aware of the injection even in his current state. Spock still could not understand why injections were so upsetting to Jim but at least McCoy no longer took his aversion personally.

Spock sent soothing thoughts to Jim, assuring him that he would remain for as long as Jim required his presence.

It was 14.7 minutes after Dr. McCoy had left that Spock detected the first stirrings of consciousness from Jim. "I am right here, t'hy'la," he said softly, watching as Jim's eyes fluttered open.

"Uhnn," Jim moaned, closing his eyes. "Whaaa apppnn?"

//Do not try to speak, t'hy'la. You have a dislocated jaw. The doctor will need to wire your mouth shut.//

//He can't have that. It's serendipity to charm the fountains.//

"Do you know you are not making sense?" Spock asked quietly.

Jim tried to frown and moaned at the small action. He carefully nodded his head, sighing. //Where's who while ago?//

"I will get the doctor. Promise me you will lay still," Spock coaxed.

//Going floating nowhere.//

"All right," Spock responded, watching him while walking away to find the doctor. "He has woken."

"Good. How is he?" Bones asked, following Spock back to the bed.

"Somewhat confused. He knows me and where he is. He is having some trouble with coherent thought."

"Like last time?" Bones asked.

"Not as random nor severe. Although he did inform me that 'it is serendipity to charm the fountains,'" Spock said.

"Still not as bad. That has nouns and verbs," McCoy said as they arrived beside Jim's bed. "How are you feeling?"

//Hurts. Everything upside down. Breathing is purposeful,// Jim told Spock, his eyes closed tight.

"He's in a great deal of pain. And he is having some trouble breathing," Spock reported.

McCoy nodded, scanning the Captain. "The swelling from the dislocation is partially obstructing his airway. I have to sedate you, Jim."

//Dying is optional,// Jim said.

"You are not going to die, t'hy'la," Spock assured him. "He has to sedate you to wire your mouth shut."

//Death creeps quietly. Songs yet to be sung.//

"You will have time to sing them," Spock said, holding tightly to Jim's hand. "Let the doctor put you under."

"You're going to be fine, Jim," Bones assured him, a warm hand on his shoulder. "Hold tight to Spock."

Jim nodded, moaning softly when Bones applied the hypospray. //Brilliant lights too soon go out.//

"Not this time," Spock promised, leaning closer to kiss him very gently on the forehead.