"Really, I'm fine!" Captain Christopher Pike protested in exasperation and despite the fact that he really felt anything but fine.

„Your face exhibits a lovely shade of pale green, you know," a drawling voice replied. "In other words – I know perfectly well that you're currently feeling violently sick, Chris, so don't give me that shit about feeling fine when you're not. I'm your doctor, there's absolutely no need to impress me. Besides, I'm not impressed. Starfleet really ought to stop encouraging bravery bordering on stupidity in its commanding officers and trying to repress illness by not showing it certainly won't make it go away."

Leonard McCoy, nicknamed Bones, firmly pushed his superior down onto a biobed. He let his gaze travel over the slightly disheveled Captain.

"Tell me about it," he ordered.

"Diplomatic function. Dinner with the Thyreleans. It was their invitation and they decided to give us a 'traditional meal' as they called it. Do I need to elaborate any further?" Pike winced, hand flying to his stomach.

"By all means." There was something of a malicious glint in the doctor's bright blue eyes.

"Ugh. It… well, it was disgusting, to be frank. More than that. The Vulcan Ambassador was the only one smart enough to leave the table in time. Nogura threw up there and then."

"That bad? Maybe you guys are just picky eaters. Hell, they probably were feeding you some special delicacy from their homeworld…" There was laughter in McCoy's voice.

Pike snorted. "Yeah right. You know, I can take a lot, but once my food starts crawling towards me, things are past the point of no return… I…" He almost doubled over, swallowing hard. McCoy drew out an arm to steady him. "Careful, I might yet throw up on you," Pike warned him.

"Stop stealing my lines and breathe," the doctor admonished.

"I am breathing!"

"Is Bones somewhere around?" Jim Kirk asked the pretty young nurse, flashing her a devastating smile. She could not help but smile back.

"Yes, he's in there with Captain Pike," she replied, indicating the door.

"With Pike?" Jim frowned. "What's he doing with Pike?"

The nurse shrugged. "I don't know. As far as I know, Captain Pike did not have an appointment scheduled for today."

"And it's rather late for medical appointments, isn't it?"

She nodded. "As far as I can see, there's also no standard examination scheduled and we did not receive notification of a medical emergency," she told Jim, trying to be helpful.

"Okay, let's make an educated guess: They're in there to… chat…?"

"Discuss a medical problem?" The nurse suggested.

"Plan a birthday surprise for someone?" Jim shot back, his eyes sparkling.

"Play chess?" She smiled.

"Drink till they're drunk?"


"Have sex?"

The nurse shuddered with laughter. "No way! Have sex? You've got a dirty mind, Cadet Kirk."

"Yeah, I know. But come on – don't you think they'd make a cute couple?"

He was teasing her; she looked adorable with that pink blush creeping onto her face.

"Pike and McCoy? Nah… granted, he is gorgeous, but…"

"Which one?" There was that smile again.

"Dr. McCoy, of course. No offense, but don't you think he's hot…?"

"Um… I'm not really into guys, you know…" They were laughing together now, delighting in the silliness of their situation.

"Now seriously… what could they possibly be doing in there?"

"Feeling better?" McCoy asked. The effects of the hypospray should have been starting to register.

Pike nodded, still moving carefully and trying not to upset his stomach.

"I can't believe you ate that stuff. Really, Chris, how do you know these things are really dead now and not crawling around inside your…"

"Stop it, will you?" Pike raised both his hands. "They are dead, I assure you. There aren't many things that would survive the human digestive system."

"Maybe Thyrelean mudworms do. Who knows?"


But the doctor was not about to let it go. "How am I ever to look at you again without imagining worms wriggling between your lips?"

Pike punched him.

"Ouch! What was that for?"

"You're being disgusting, unsympathetic and generally unpleasant."

"You can't take a joke." Leonard complained.

"No, I'm just not in the mood for teasing right now."

"Hey, at least I helped you, didn't I? I made you feel better."

Pike sighed. It was hopeless anyway, wasn't it? "You did," he conceded. Then, slightly leaning his head against the younger man's shoulder, "you always do."

Leonard bent over him, feeling touched despite himself. He drew an arm around Pike, his lips softly brushing the silky dark hair. "That's sweet", he muttered, then pulling himself up and together, he added in a more professional tone of voice: "Which reminds me – no candy, fat or otherwise unhealthy and stomach-upsetting foods for you during the next few days. The hypo should take care of everything else. I suggest, you return to your quarters for a good night's sleep."

Jim and the nurse had meanwhile recovered from their giggling fit and boldly approached the said door.

"Bones?" Jim called out. "You there?"

Silence was the only response he got.

They exchanged a puzzled look.

"Maybe we should…" The nurse began.

Jim nodded, then pushed the door open and carefully stepped into the room.

Surprised faces turned towards him. Dr. McCoy, who had been standing very close to Captain Pike, hastily stepped a few feet away from him, while the Captain raised an eyebrow at Jim and started straightening his dress uniform.

The situation was slightly uncomfortable and Jim couldn't help but feel that he'd interrupted them doing… something.

Good Lord, they haven't really been…?

Captain Pike smiled wryly. "Good evening, Jim. Do you need anything?"

"I… um… not really, no." Jim backed out of the room.

Pike and McCoy exchanged a frown.