Content Advisory: injury, medical references
Prompt: Scotty, Author's Choice – Gaila


We've Missed You


The first time Scotty woke, he couldn't muster the energy to open his eyes. He hurt everywhere. He hurt in places he didn't know he had. He didn't remember why he hurt, however, and though he felt that should bother him, he was more interested in the hiss-prick against his neck and the soothing, cool fog that rushed to envelope him.

::

The second time, Scotty still couldn't open his eyes, but he did have a rush of memories of attacks and fire and damage to his ship that he needed to fix, needed to help, needed to keep her-

He only realized that he was struggling against wires and drugs and people when he heard and felt another hiss-prick that shoved him back into the fog, this time thick and gray.

::

The third time, he woke up gently. Scotty noted the sharp decrease in pain, though he could still feel some aching, deep and shuddery, that told him more than he wanted to think about right now regarding his injuries.

Injuries. From the console that had exploded, sending fire and smoke and shrapnel into the Engineering annex, into the hallway...

Into him.

The flash of light had been blinding, sending a lance of pain into his brain just as the fire had done to his body.

His eyes. He'd need those, as well as all his other parts. But he knew, could remember, that he'd been moving independently last time, when he'd panicked and struggled. He hadn't been able to see then, though, only feel.

It was a struggle. In addition to whatever dulled his pain to that distant throb, he was apparently getting something else that turned his mind thick and slow, making the pathways between brain and body sticky and reluctant. Finally, though, his eyes cracked open and light flooded in. He quickly closed them again, wanting to retreat, but forced them stubbornly open again moments later, needing to know.

The world above him was fuzzy and bright. Probably in Medical, given his condition and the nature of the lighting. That he could tell even without needing to focus. Everything else was blurred and difficult to recognize.

He was so tired, and the strain to bring the world into focus made him dizzy and nauseated, and a soft groan of frustration escaped him.

Off to his left, not very far away, he heard a soft gasp and it was only then that he recognized the feel of skin beneath his hand, and of something moving, pressing against his palm, though not with any regular pattern he could discern when he tried to think of the sensations of the past minute.

The skin against his hand pulled away, and Scotty was somehow sad to feel it go. Above him, blocking some of the bright, headache-inducing light, a shape appeared, leaning over him. He couldn't make out the figure, and a gasp was far too little information to use aural cues to help identify someone, but before he succumbed to the fatigue and the tempting relief from his aching and nausea, he recognized colors: red and green, surrounding him.

Perhaps it was Christmas.

::

The fourth time, Scotty woke when someone lifted his eyelids and shone a bright, bright light directly into his eyes, which very closely resembled having an ancient bayonet shoved directly through one's skull.

Or so he imagined.

He refused to open his eyes after that, and floated as a soft voice sang quietly nearby and an even softer hand stroked across his stubbly cheek.

::

The fifth time, when he woke, Scotty could feel the aching again, stronger than before. He also didn't feel the thickness of the sedatives, however, and was pleased with the trade off.

He noted his head was curled against his right shoulder and that his neck felt stiff. He stretched it, rolling it carefully back and forth, before turning to his left and opening his eyes. The world burst into bright color and sharp focus.

Thank the stars.

Curly red ringlets and glowing green skin were the first sights his brain interpreted in the rush of visual sensation.

Gaila. With worried eyes and a soothing voice and one hand gripping his own while the other rested against the swell of her belly, gently caressing.

"Better than Christmas."

Gaila looked confused for a moment, but allowed her mouth to curve into a smile to match the one he aimed at her, and laughed when she realized that he was finally awake properly this time. "Welcome back, stranger. We've missed you."