Disclaimer – I do not own any of the characters or ideas in this story. It would be difficult since they were created before I was born. However, I'm grateful that I can borrow them for a bit.
This story is written in two parts – from both Christine and McCoys POV. I was initially going to write it as two separate stories, but decided it might be better if you could compare their characters and fill in the missing scene more easily. Nevertheless, if you find the repetition slightly boring, please feel free to read this from just one characters POV .I'll be intrigued to hear what character you choose. Thanks for reading.
1. The Enterprise - Christine
Christine Chapel straightened her skirt for the third time and pinned a few stray hairs out of her eyes as the pilot announced that they were five minutes from landing. She strapped herself in, and tried in vain to convince herself that the butterflies in her stomach were nothing but space-sickness. The starship grew larger in the window and she couldn't help but stare as the butterflies stepped up their dance. This was it - her new beginning – her first position on the Federation's flagship, and as head nurse no less. She could do this. Admiral Pike wouldn't have recommended her for the position if he had thought she were any less capable. Her mind drifted back to the scenario five days previously.
He had been sitting at his desk frowning over a holopad when she entered, eyes bloodshot and hair already beginning to turn grey.
"Kirk gets himself into more fights than the rest of the fleet put together." He said by way of greeting. "I feel for its medical team."
Christine had a sudden suspicion why he had called her in, and she didn't like it. She prayed she was wrong.
"They need the best up there. People with resolve, who don't shy from danger, and who can handle the pressure. Consequently, I've recommended you for the position of head nurse on the Enterprise."
Christine felt her heart sink into her stomach, but the sorrow was tainted with confusion. "Thank you sir. I wasn't aware the position was open. Has something happened to nurse Simkins?"
The frown deepened on her commander's face. "I'll say. His name was James T. Kirk."
"Oh." She wasn't sure what she should say to that. She had heard, of course, of Jim's behaviour towards women – few people hadn't – but she hadn't though he would sink that low. She wondered what Simkin's husband had said. Since she had resigned her commission, it probably hadn't been good.
"I appreciate that you're just about to start your doctorate, and that continuing in the nursing field isn't want you had planned, but you're one of the best medics I've ever met, Chapel. After the Narada disaster experienced personnel are hard to come by. I need you on that ship for the next few years."
She felt her stomach fall to the floor. He was ordering her to put her life on hold for another five years. Again.
"I understand sir." She said, attempting to keep her face passive.
She felt the admiral's eyes on her face. "I know that this isn't what you want Christine, but trust me, Kirk and the Enterprise are different from anything you've ever done. Think of it as a new start. You never know, you might enjoy it."
He smiled at her and the one she gave in return was less than convincing. "Yes sir. Perhaps."
"Good, dismissed." As she turned to leave, he added. "I know you already acquainted with Jim, but just make sure you watch-out for yourself in that department. I can't afford to be losing another head nurse." She nodded. She didn't need a warning about Jim.
And that was that. She was on a transport heading towards the Enterprise, docked for maintenance. In the intervening days she had tried to convince herself that the position would be a good thing. The Admiral had been right – she did need a new start after all that had happened, and there was no reason why she couldn't make it on the Enterprise, just as she had been planning to use medicine. However, the nightmares warned her that perhaps she wasn't yet ready to serve on another starship – as she woke up in cold sweats, the images of the dead filling her mind. Perhaps it was too soon. Perhaps she simply didn't have the nerve for that type of work anymore. And yet here she was.
The transport shuddered to a halt, knocking her from her reverie and she picked up her bag with deceptively steady hands. She surrounded herself with calm and followed the other passengers out with her head held high.
"Nurse Chapel?" A young man with a thick accent waved her from her path.
"Cherkov Ma'am. The captain asked me to escort you to his office."
"That was kind of him."
"Yes – the captain is wery kind."
Christine had to fight to keep a straight face, hysteria replacing her nerves, and followed him into the turbolift.
He knocked on a door, and she heard a voice murmur 'Come in.'
"Sir, I have brought the lady, just as you instructed."
Jim Kirk turned in his chair, and fixed a pair of them with a grin. "So you have ensign – and a sterling job you did too. Dismissed."
The Ensign left and Kirk looked her up and down in a way that would have made her blush had she not suddenly been presented with an image of him aged four, covered in chocolate at his mother's wedding. She fixed him with her unperturbed look – the one she gave her patients when she was explaining to them that she had seen it all before, and his eyes met hers and immediately ceased their straying.
"Captain Kirk." She said calmly.
"Christine Chapel." He stood and shook her hand, holding it for perhaps a second too long. "I could barely believe it when Admiral Pike sent me his recommendations for new crew and you were at the top of his list. The last time I saw you, I think I was eleven and you managed to convince my mum that my stepdad sending me to a bootcamp on Mars wasn't the best way to deal with my bad behaviour."
"From what I've heard, captain, I'm wondering if I did the right thing."
"Now, what a thing to say to the youngest captain in Federation history."
She smiled. "I'm sorry sir. How is your mother?"
"Fine, fine. Husband number seven, wouldn't you know?"
She frowned. Kirk's mother had never managed to get over his father's death and had dealt with it through a string of poorly chosen husbands. "Maybe this one will work out."
The man made a face and wandered to the comm system at the wall. "He's Andorian. I certainly hope not." He pressed the comm. "Kirk to McCoy."
"Bones where are you? Your new head nurse is in my office and you're late."
"What do you think I'm doing captain, watering the roses? I'm trying to run a sickbay here." She heard the gravelly response.
"Well get that other doctor in. I want you here in five minutes, or I'll get Scotty to beam you."
"Don't you dare you-."
The line went dead and Kirk turned back to her, still smiling. "And that, as you heard, is your new CMO. Don't worry, he's just angry because I beat him at poker last night. I'm sure that Pike warned you about the grumpy old man."
"Actually, sir, no he didn't."
"Is that so? Probably wise really, else you wouldn't have wanted to come. Don't worry – he's a bit rough around the edges but he's an excellent doctor. I just wish he'd stop making the nurses cry – it just makes me want to comfort them, and Bones gets annoyed when I distract them. I'm sure you'll find a way of dealing with it."
"I'll try sir."
"Good – if anyone can do it, you can. As I recall you managed to keep me quiet through the whole of my mother's second wedding ceremony. That in itself was a near miracle."
"As I recall, captain, I had to bribe you with sweets."
"Well, I'm sure Bones wouldn't be adverse to a little bribery. I'm sure you have all sorts of 'sweets' up your sleeve."
He was leaning closer to her and she had to fight the urge to step backwards. He had grown up to be handsome, but unfortunately predictable. She kept her face clinical. Best to nip this one in the bud.
"I heard why Nurse Simkins left."
That made him stand up straight and she allowed herself to start breathing again. "Is that so?"
"Yes. And just so we're clear captain, our relationship will be nothing but professional. I have no interest in you that way – you are my captain, I will be your head nurse, and we will have a professional respect for one another."
"I've always liked a woman in uniform."
She felt like sighing. Instead she put an edge in her voice. "I'm serious James. If you want to work with me on this ship you will not flirt, seduce or in any other way romance me or any of my nurses. You will respect us, and value our ability, but it will end there."
"Sounds like this one has a modicum of common sense, Jim." She heard a dry voice behind her and froze. She hadn't heard the door open. She suddenly and desperately prayed that her new boss hadn't heard her ordering the captain about. Unfortunately she knew it was futile. She kicked herself – why couldn't she have chosen a more private time to have had this conversation?
"Ah Bones, she doesn't just have common sense, but looks good in a uniform and is adept in the art of bribery. I think I may have to visit the sickbay more often."
"You visit often enough. I'm not running a dating service."
Jim chuckled and took his chair again. "I have your file, Nurse Chapel. Very impressive it is too. Five years as a nurse aboard the Venture with several commendations, then head nurse aboard the Yamato before its destruction during the Narada incident. Admiral Pike told me how you saved forty crewmembers by flying the escape shuttle yourself when the pilot was killed. I'm surprised they didn't give you a medal of valour after that."
They had tried – but she hadn't accepted it. She had only saved forty people. More than three thousand people had lost their lives on that ship alone, including her CMO, the captain and many of her friends. The images of blood and death would haunt her forever.
Kirk was watching her face carefully, and she kept it suitably calm.
After a slight pause, he continued: "You're also more than educationally qualified – several degrees including xenophysiology and astrochemistry. That should keep you on your toes, Bones."
"I've read her file too, Jim. I wouldn't have bothered coming if I had thought all you were going to do was quote it back to me." Christine had to work hard to suppress an impulse to turn and look at the man she now had the unfortunate task of working with closely.
"Now, now. Stop being so impatient – we're a family here, and I want Chapel to know how much we appreciate her taking this post."
"She didn't have much choice in the post. None of us do – we're Starfleet." The Doctor retorted. "Now if you're finished welcoming her into the 'family' I have a medical facility that's falling apart and need of a doctor. And a nurse."
He turned, and strode out. Christine stood her ground, and Kirk grinned at her.
"Dismissed, Nurse Chapel, and good luck." She nodded, already feeling out of her depth, and turned to leave. "Oh, and Christine?" He winked at her. "Welcome to the Enterprise." The door slid shut.