Title: Some Assembly Required
Fandom: Star Trek: Reboot'verse
Pairing: established Kirk/McCoy
Rating: PG-13, angst, h/c
Summary: This is from a prompt from st_xi_kink: Kirk is injured(your choice for what) and needs to be treated. Bones has to talk him through the treatment (maybe there's head trauma and he's not supposed to sleep, ergo keeping him awake). Pretty much stream of conversation surly and sweet—all Bones and Kirk, pretty please?
Warnings: strong language, violence
The captain had been missing for ten hours.
Scotty swore under his breath as he pulled the cables out from behind scorched bulkhead. And swore again. Ach, that last phaser rifle those Gretlarians used had vandalized his poor Apollo. And the craft refused to lift-off after its crash, pinned by gravity and whatever tractor beams the Gretlarians were using. (They barely had warp capability; and yet, they had a tractor beam no one detected.) The shuttlecraft was more banged up than spaceworthy but spaceworthy it had to be in order to get the entire landing party away from this dirt planet and into the lovely Enterprise's embrace.
"Mr. Scott." Spock entered the shuttle and he didn't look bothered by the fact that Chekov was tangled up in the power distributor lines like a kitten with some yarn. The commander did raise an eyebrow on the fact that there was more smoke inside the craft than when it was shot down during its search. Shot down! By black-market Starfleet issued shoulder phaser cannons! What was the universe coming to?
"Mr. Scott." If Scotty didn't know better, the Vulcan sounded annoyed for having to call for his attention again.
"Yes, Commander, what is it?" Scotty grumbled. "I told you we need a few more hours. Apollo took a mighty beating. And the Enterprise won't be able to beam us up with the way the atmosphere has been sparking." One good tug at the main bundle of ion cables and something sizzled spectacularly enough that Chekov was scurrying out from under the navigational console yelling.
"We found the captain." Spock paused long enough to let Scotty know it wasn't all good news. "We require some assistance."
"Of course." Scotty turned around immediately, cables forgotten. Young Chekov stood up like a shot. "What do you need?"
Spock wordlessly handed them each a phaser.
The bastards beat him.
Scotty didn't understand it. Maybe he was stuck on that ice planet for too long, but how did "No, we don't want to join the Federation" translate into taking their captain and tying him up on a stone table?
"Ah, sir," Scotty sighed as he sighted the scrap of remaining gold uniform barely visible under a sad mess of bruises and blood as they climbed the hill. Evans stood out in his security red, looking mean even from afar as he paced back and forth in front of their captain, a phaser in each hand. Chekov behind him shouted something in Russian and scrambled up the slope faster. He nearly fell and a flat "Mr. Chekov" from Spock slowed the lad down and reminded Chekov that he wasn't a mountain goat.
"Has the doctor been notified?" Scotty asked tersely as he twisted around and waved his phaser left and right towards the forest behind them. The party had been split up into threes: Scotty, Chekov and Harris saw to the repairs; the search parties were made up of Spock with Security's Evans and Doctor McCoy with L'Pertu.
"He has been alerted."
Scotty nodded and even though machines were more his forte, he also recognized that the pillars surrounding the strange stone platform the captain was on were their best line of defense. Scotty slapped a hand on Chekov's shoulder.
"All right, commander. Mr. Chekov and I can take the rear while you—"
"That is not why I require your assistance," Spock interrupted. He never interrupted and the rarity was enough to stop Scotty's words. He stared.
"I…I see. Then…"
The commander nodded curtly to Evans, indicated for Chekov to stand guard and pointed to the stone column that stood next to the table the captain was on.
"I believe this may be the tractor beam that has immobilized the Apollo."
It was. The hum the simple stone structure made and his tricorder readings confirmed it but it was a closer look that told Scotty why Spock left Kirk on the table.
It looked like barbed vines, violet-green and stripped of their white blossoms coiled around Kirk's ankles, torso, arms and throat and disappeared into the dirt. Saints preserve them, they were moving, pulsing, digging deeper into the captain's bruised flesh. Rivets of blood trickled down the stone like tears.
But what made it worse, oh, what made his heart clench were the glazed blue eyes staring up to the sky, up because he couldn't turn his head, glazed because God knows how long the bastards left him there.
"No, Mr. Scott!"
Spock's sharp command snapped Scotty out of his trance and the unconscious move towards the captain. His fingers barely brushed against the captain's arm.
The captain jerked. He cringed away from Scotty's touch and even Spock's hoarse "Jim, don't!" wasn't enough to still him. Muscles spasmed and a vine reacted, tightened around his throat. Kirk made a sound. Just a tiny one, but Mr. Spock grabbed Scotty by the sleeve and yanked him back.
"We cannot leave him there!" Scotty hissed. The vines settled and Kirk exhaled but otherwise never reacted to Scotty.
"The captain is delirious and would not let anyone touch him. The vines seem to react to any movement. Our initial attempts to approach had caused grievous harm to the captain." Spock dipped his head towards the column. "It would appear the vines are fed and powered by the same device that controls the tractor beam. If you would disable it or at least reduce its feed, I may be able to stun the vines long enough to remove him."
"Consider it done," Scotty declared, already running his hands on the alien device.
Disabling the feed to the plants was simple enough. The tractor beam, however…The polarities didn't make sense. Positives were really negatives; negatives were really positives. The bloody thing was cobbled together with no logic or reason.
Scotty kept peering around the column as Mr. Spock and Chekov tried to stop the captain from moving so they could remove the vines. They'd only been able to cut away a few. Kirk thrashed and ach, the sight of those thorns piercing the captain was too much to bear. Scotty blinked hard and kept his eyes on the ancient wiring.
Minutes later, Scotty heard Kirk cry out, a name he couldn't hear quite clearly, nor familiar sounding enough to guess. But it signaled a violent writhing that made the vines twist and squeeze around Kirk.
Scotty was about to suggest perhaps stunning the captain with a phaser when he heard a harsh "Don't touch him!" in the distance.
McCoy stumbled up the hill with the same recklessness as Chekov, his eyes glued to the table. He tripped a few times, brushing off L'Pertu's helping hand. He shouldered past Spock, his medkit rattling as he dumped it on the stone table.
"Evans briefed me on the vines," McCoy said brusquely as he held his scanner above Kirk's supine body. "Has he been conscious at all?"
"We could not get him out," Chekov explained, stammering even though no one was demanding an explanation. "The captain would not let us help him." Poor laddie. His syllables switched whenever he was upset. He was barely comprehendible right now.
"No, he'll fight you the way he is right now," McCoy muttered, not looking up from the tricorder. "There's something in those spikes. Sedatives aren't going to work here, dammit." The doctor's frown deepened.
"Those vines…" McCoy seethed. Every so often, Scotty caught him reaching out as if to touch Kirk, stopping short from doing so.
"What the hell kind of barbarism is this?" McCoy bit out as he pulled out a hypospray. It hovered near the captain's face, his shoulder. Then McCoy made a frustrated noise. "I can't risk giving him anything. Why the hell did they do this?"
"The Gretlarians thought purging their people of what our captain represented would cleanse them of our corruptive influence." The corner of Spock's left eye twitched. Scotty found himself doing the same in agreement.
The doctor was nowhere near as quiet. McCoy's lips drew back into a snarl even as he carefully settled hands on the stone, barely touching the captain.
"Our corruptive influence? They didn't think we would fucking take no for an answer? Goddamn xenophobic walking piles of…" The doctor took a deep, steadying breath.
"Evans said something about a power source."
"Disconnected. If the captain remains still, we can remove the remaining vines."
"Yeah, that's not going to happen." McCoy exhaled. "You never take the easy way, kid."
Kirk made a sound and it looked like the captain was going to struggle again. Chekov tensed, looking like a cat ready to pounce when McCoy crouched to Kirk's ear.
"You're all right, Jim."
There was a mutter, a fidget and Kirk's brow furrowed.
"He isn't here. I swear. I told you before. Remember? Over my goddamn body, Jim. I'll have to be rotting in the ground before he can come near you."
Scotty frowned. He looked at Mr. Spock, who was acting more Vulcan than he usually did, all stiff and looking like he was holding back a fart. Chekov was checking Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy, all big-eyed and ridiculously young, back and forth because clearly, the lad was lost.
Blue eyes cleared and McCoy stopped his odd muttering. "'ones?"
"Yeah." McCoy carefully settled a hand on Kirk's upturned right palm. He brushed a knuckle down the fleshy palm, the only part not bloodstained. Kirk's fingers flexed.
"'top," Kirk slurred. His eyes blinded, heavy-lidded, dazed. He fidgeted.
"Don't move," McCoy chided. And before Scotty could warn him (because he'd seen enough to know better by now), the good doctor settled a hand on Kirk's shoulder. The only clue of what was coming was a violent flinch and McCoy's self-directed swear.
Vines tore as an arm whipped out. Scotty wasn't sure if the blood splattered on McCoy's blue tunic was from the captain or from the doctor's split lip. McCoy held Spock and Chekov back with a raised hand, another braced on Kirk's forehead to still the head. The doctor spat blood to the side before bending low to Kirk's ear. He lowered his hand to clamp down on the worse tears. Blood welled up between his fingers.
"Jim. Jim. You're okay." Scotty blinked when McCoy turned his hand and skimmed his knuckles across Kirk's brow. "You're okay. You're fine. You have to keep still. You're bleeding too much and trust me, your choices for transfusions right now aren't so great."
Scotty winced as the captain squirmed and even Spock looked poised to jump in and tackle him to hold him still.
"Shh…I'm right here, kid. That lame ass punch of yours can't keep me away. You fucking hit like a girl…"
Kirk calmed and looked blearily up at McCoy's face, practically nose to nose.
"'ones?" His eyes drifted to McCoy's swelling lower lip. Kirk's mouth twitched as if smiling hurt. "'orry…"
McCoy gingerly touched the cut. He grunted.
"Yeah, them you push away, but me you punch?"
Scotty tensed when it looked like the captain was going to lift up a hand to touch the mouth but McCoy aborted the move with a light tap on the soiled sleeve. The stripes had been torn off, probably with a knife because Scotty could see straight crisscross slashes of red on the exposed inner wrists. Bastards. All of them.
Kirk's hand flopped back down under McCoy's touch.
"…'cause yo'r my fa'orite," Kirk mumbled and McCoy scoffed.
"Thanks a lot, Jim." McCoy's smile made his lower lip crack and bleed again. His eyes crinkled and he dropped to Kirk's ear.
Kirk muttered something and McCoy shot Spock a look. The commander nodded.
"Mr. Chekov and I will see to the Apollo. Once Mr. Scott has disabled the tractor beam, we will bring the craft here to transport the captain."
McCoy never looked up again, his eyes narrowed, focused back on their captain. He held the scanner wand high above the captain, never even acknowledging Scotty when he said he was going to return to the tractor beam.
In the midst of getting his fingers mildly singed as he tried to figure out the mess, Scotty could hear the doctor. McCoy spoke in low tones, stooped over Kirk as if shielding him from rain.
The tricorder whirred.
"I can't give you anything, Jim. I don't know what will interact with whatever those vines have mixing in your blood." McCoy sighed and Scotty spied the doctor's hand hovering a scant distance over Kirk's sweat matted hair.
"You must have really pissed them off. Not even a fair fight, kid."
There was a faint response. Wispy and barely audible but Scotty caught the words "bar" and "cupcake". Scotty frowned. Was the captain hungry? Poor fella. The Gretlarians must not have fed Kirk during his captivity.
McCoy snorted. "Yeah, remember you telling me about that." This time, the hand settled on Kirk's hair. Kirk closed his eyes briefly and exhaled shakily. "I wish I could say this is not to going hurt, but I have to get these off you fast, Jim."
Scotty caught Kirk fidgeting out of the corner of his eye.
"Try to lie still, Jim." The request was sharp despite the hushed tone. McCoy's fingers stroked through the grimy hair. He grimaced.
"Christ, you need a good hose down, kid."
Scotty frowned. That wasn't nice. The captain couldn't help it.
Kirk, however, huffed in a breathless laugh. The ship, even after a bout with the Klingons, sounded better. But despite the mottled bruises and swelling on the captain's face, Scotty could see that the captain was trying to smile.
"Hey." McCoy pressed a thumb at the corner of Kirk's mouth and wiped the trickle of blood away in a gesture that tightened Scotty's throat. "When I said don't move, that also included facial muscles too, you idiot."
The insult didn't faze Kirk. His pale lips moved without a sound but Scotty must have made one when McCoy lowered his lips and grazed them carefully across Kirk's brow. McCoy glanced up in a jerk, his eyes dark and a little defiant, looking eerily like their captain when things got a wee bit hairy in space. Scotty gulped back whatever he was going to say and gazed back at the doctor.
McCoy nodded curtly at whatever he saw in Scotty's face. Perhaps whatever that made McCoy tense was disregarded when Kirk moaned. Either way, when McCoy broke eye contact first, Scotty felt his knees wobble, his head bubbly like the gravity plating had gone dodgy on him.
"I'll be quick," McCoy promised as he laid a hand on Kirk's jaw. Scotty nodded to himself as he ducked behind the column. He would be quick, as well.
"Just pulling out the one by your clavicle now. Hold still. Just keep your chin up for a second longer…"
There was no breeze on this planet so McCoy's whispered play-by-play drifted clearly to Scotty. He never looked up again. Seeing McCoy wipe the blood clean off the captain's skin after pulling out each barb made his eyes water and his guts churn.
"Easy…easy…that one's a little close to an artery. I might have to do an angioplasty when we get back."
The tiny sounds the captain tried to hide were already enough to make Scotty want to take a phaser to these wretched, backwater couplings. Scotty yanked savagely at one bundle of rain-soaked cables the same time he thought he heard a whimper and McCoy apologizing over and over in a gruff voice. Ach, were these people soused when they built this? Whoever thought using bio-mesh wiring would make perfect pulse carriers?
"Almost there. I'm going to remove the ones by your right leg now. I want you to hold still, really still."
"I know." McCoy's voice cracked. "They're over the femoral artery. Remember that one from class?"
"Damn right. Just…just stay still. We're almost there."
Scotty bowed his head, half tempted to thump his skull on the pillar when there was a hiss whistling out between clenched teeth. He could see, from around the column, tight fists shaking, eyes staring up towards the sky, mouth clamped into a gray, thin line.
As McCoy eased out a barb as long as his pinky finger, a "God" broke out and McCoy stopped what he was doing to run a knuckle down Kirk's right eye. And it was a trick of the light McCoy's finger pulled away glistening wet.
Scotty stuck his laser cutter into the innards of the blasted thing. It squawked so he poked at it some more. Why did the Federation ever want these cranky, bloodthirsty idiots? They couldn't even build a secure backup power junction!
Scotty closed his eyes when Kirk garbled out a "No".
"You're doing good. You're doing so good, Jim. Just a bit more. I swear. Almost there. One more around the Achilles…"
It was a coincidence that last stab into the device caused the pillar to smoke just as Kirk cried out in agony, enough so McCoy got on the table and held Kirk's head to his shoulder as the captain shook. The smoke from the dying machine made Scotty's eyes water and he knew he must have looked odd with his soot-covered tear streaked face when he stepped away from the cold, inactive column with dark satisfaction.
"Done," Scotty said. He spit out something metallic tasting from his mouth as he wiped his brow with the back of a sleeve. "I'm done."
"Yeah," McCoy muttered as he wrapped an arm tighter around the captain's head to shield him from the dust that was kicked up by the approaching shuttlecraft. McCoy peered down at the limp man in his arms.
Sickbay was quiet by the time Scotty had cleaned up, yelled at Keenser (bloody idiot forgot to rotate the cells on turbine BB again) and signed off on his report to Mr. Spock. If his statement was missing certain details, well, the Vulcan wasn't saying anything.
Captain Kirk was situated on a biobed closest to the doctor's office. The captain was looking better now, color back on his face, his cuts faded and pink on his neck and arms. The dermal regenerators were charging by the biobed, to be used on the next round and Scotty knew everything would fade. They had needed so much of his blood type that they ran out halfway through surgery. A ship wide announcement for transfusions was made. By the time Scotty hurried to Nurse Chapel, his sleeve rolled up and ready, she was already turning people away. Ach, the sight of all those little bandages on their arms people in Engineering wore like badges of honor warmed his insides. Scotty made sure not to yell at them so loudly. Just for today.
Scotty stood at the foot of his bed and remembered a ruddy, chill-flushed face staring at him in a substation not that long ago. And how the captain beamed when he came back from the Admiralty with the news Scotty's transfer to the Enterprise was permanent! Scotty knew the Enterprise had her captain. Kirk loved her nearly as much as him.
"He's doing fine."
Scotty flicked a look over to his right. McCoy leaned on the doorway to his office, his arms folded across his chest. He'd clearly changed but not shaved. The doctor looked older with the hint of a beard.
"The captain will be back to light desk duty in three days."
Scotty checked the captain. A crooked smile curved. Three days, aye? Twenty credits said two. He turned back to offer the wager but the doctor retreated back to his office. Scotty took it as an unspoken invitation and he lingered by the door, watching McCoy take a sip of something amber and rich smelling out of old-fashioned quartz-like glass.
"For my thirtieth birthday," McCoy said suddenly. He gestured towards the empty chair across from him with the glass. "He dragged me to the dingiest bar in Vegas for my birthday. They're a twentieth century theme dive and still used breakable glassware there for effect. He…borrowed a set to give me since you really can't get these anymore."
The image of the captain pilfering cheap glass into his pockets made Scotty smile. He watched McCoy consider the prism cuts in the glass to the ceiling light.
"How long?" Scotty finally asked.
McCoy lowered his glass, his eyes somber as they met Scotty's.
"Does it matter?" The doctor didn't wait for an answer and drained his glass dry.
Scotty sighed. "No, I suppose it doesn't." He crossed the office and sank into the offered chair with a sigh. He'd been downloading and analyzing the Apollo's logs for hours until Gaila kicked him off his terminal. Ah, the lass wasn't too bad. A bit green but brilliant with the Enterprise.
"You know," Scotty said suddenly. He stared across to McCoy. "When we came back to Earth, the captain warped right into Admiral Archer's office and demanded I be in the Enterprise. Promised him he'd get his beagle back in sixty days."
McCoy scoffed. He rolled his glass between his hands. "I remember. Jim was up for days with Gaila and you trying to decipher your old notes." McCoy chuckled, his gaze still on the glass. "He got that fleabag back in thirty."
Scotty grinned. And then for ten days they were pissed to their eyeballs in celebration. "I couldnae believe it. He said he would get it done, but with Starfleet constantly needing his attention, thought for sure it wouldnae happen." Scotty leaned forward in his seat. "But he did. And I told him, so long the Enterprise has him for her captain, I would be his chief engineer. The Enterprise and me; we're a set match, doctor."
The glass lowered to the desk. McCoy studied Scotty, waiting.
Scotty took a deep breath. "Don't hurt him, Doctor. If you do, I won't kill you. The captain wouldn't like that very much, but…" Scotty's mouth stretched to show teeth.
"I can be very creative with a transporter, sir."
McCoy arched an eyebrow at Scotty. "Usually, people assume the other way. That Jim would hurt me."
Scotty shrugged. "Aye, you would think, but the captain is like the Enterprise. They're only strong with the shields we can give them."
There was a long pause and Scotty wondered about the considering look McCoy was favoring him.
Then, with deliberate care, McCoy pulled out a second glass from his desk and poured a drink. Wordlessly, he nudged it towards Scotty.
When Scotty took the glass, he realized he passed a sort of test, just as McCoy passed his. McCoy's eyes warmed a degree and it was with a wry grin the doctor stretched his drink across his desk to clink against Scotty's. The two men drank at the same time.
Scotty smiled at the glass of honey fire. "Good," he sighed. "Non-replicated. I'll have to show ye my Glen Flagler one day. Fifty years. Smooth."
McCoy merely smirked as he took another sip. He set his glass down and leaned forward towards Scotty.
"Just what exactly would you have done with that transporter?"
With a snicker, Scotty shook his empty glass in the air until McCoy refilled it, muttering he was a doctor, not a bartender. Scotty drained half before he waggled a finger at McCoy.
"I," Scotty hiccupped. Bloody hell, that was good.
"I would have beam y'ur clothes right off ya into deep space." Scotty took a long gulp. "During Alpha shift. When y'ur on the bridge…with Admiral Pike onscreen."
McCoy blinked before he broke out into an honest to god guffaw as he refilled both their glasses and toasted each other. McCoy tipped his glass to Scotty and drank, still smiling when Scotty asked his next question.
"So when's the wedding?"
Scotty wasn't sure who looked more surprised: McCoy as he choked and sputtered out his drink, or the sleepy-eyed captain, who apparently woke up early from his sedatives and had come searching for McCoy.