Title: Bittersweet Remedy
Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Genre: Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Pairing: Christopher Pike & Leonard McCoy
When you're in love with your doctor, recovery isn't really at the top of your priority list... Prequel to "Distant Closeness" and "Family Matters" that can be read separately.
- "Die kleinen Sünden bestraft der liebe Gott sofort, mit den großen lässt er sich Zeit."
- German proverb 1 -
"What are you doing here?" His voice sounded rough, and the question odd, even to his own ears. That wasn't the kind of thing you asked the man who had come to rescue you. Especially not in that gruff, clipped tone. It wasn't the thing a Captain was supposed to say to an officer who had just risked his life to save him… and everything – everyone – else.
If Kirk thought so, too, he kept it to himself, though. He could have sworn that for a moment, he even saw that telltale cocky grin on his battered face, the briefest flash of teeth, before the boy replied: "Just following orders. Enterprise go!"
Orders? Chris wondered briefly, before they were caught in the transporter beam. Certainly not my orders. I don't order people to pull such stupidly reckless stunts.
The scenery changed from the horrible dripping bowels of the Romulan ship to the clean, shiny, sterile, albeit startlingly familiar environment of the Enterprise's main transporter room. He started to feel relieved, but wouldn't allow himself to fully admit yet that yes, he was back on his ship, and maybe even safely so.
"Nice timing, Scotty," Kirk said, and Pike looked at the chuckling man at the transporter control panel. That is not my chief transportation officer. Who the hell is this guy?
"Ha ha ha ha! I've never beamed three people from two targets onto one pad before." Well, whoever it was, he seemed pretty happy right now. Bully for him.
A blue spot was moving towards them with all the force and velocity of a tornado, more throwing himself at them than running, really. Medical staff, his brain supplied. It made sense. Kirk at least looked as if he was in dire need of medical attention.
Why McCoy, though? Shouldn't it be Puri?
"Jim!" The doctor shouted, and the audible relief in his voice was as surprising as touching. Somebody here was really glad to have his rascally friend back.
Oh, yeah – we'll have words about that, McCoy. Sneaking the kid aboard was a serious breach of regulations, even though I'm grateful you decided to do it… I'll be damned if I admit that, though.
Huh? Who'd that be…? Oh…
He had not finished the thought, before Kirk heaved him off the transporter pad. McCoy rushed in to help them. Chris let them handle him with a sort of bemused detachedness. His body felt strangely numb, as if he had lost all control over his limbs. As Kirk lowered him, he all but collapsed into McCoy's arms.
"I've got him." Strong arms gripped him. Gentle but firm as only a doctor could, McCoy brought him to a waiting stretcher.
"I don't need this," Chris protested weakly, knowing full well that he wasn't really in the position to discuss with McCoy. But he wasn't really in that bad shape, was he? He just felt a bit odd. A moment of rest, a hypo and he'd be fine…
McCoy ignored him, and firmly pressed him down onto the stretcher, and that was answer enough.
Chris sighed and resigned himself to a round of embarrassing tests and treatments in sickbay. Doctors. What could you expect, really?
He remembered having seen Spock in the transporter room and that calmed him. The Vulcan was reliable. He'd take care of everything.
It was the last thing on his mind before he slipped into unconsciousness.
Pain and light.
A pain, as searing as a swarm of white-hot razor blades shooting down his spinal cord from the neck to the waist and spreading from there through every part of his torso. A scream wanted to force its way out, but he fought it, and all that escaped his lips was a low whimper. The light was cold, merciless and terribly bright. It burned in his eyes like frost.
"Captain? Can you hear me?"
How could I not, when you're standing next to me and shouting right into my ear? he wanted to reply, but the pain forced him to hold his breath. Tears welled up behind his half-closed lids.
"Are you in pain?"
"Yes!" It was a long-drawn hiss more than anything else. Yes, I'm in pain, you idiot, and you're a doctor, so do something about it!
"Good," McCoy stated, and Chris was starting to have a strong suspicion that his doctor was actually a dangerous madman.
Good? I tell you that I'm in pain, and you say "good"?
"Where does it hurt?"
"Everywhere…" Goddamn you, McCoy!
Well, no… actually not. Funny, but that was about the only part of his body that didn't feel as if somebody was driving acid dripping metal spikes through it.
Seriously, kid, I am going to slap you. As soon as I figure out how to get up and raise my arm.
"Do. Something." Chris growled between clenched teeth.
"I'm working on it, Captain." McCoy's voice sounded strained.
Well, work faster then…!
The hiss of a hypo pressed to his neck. "There, that should help."
Chris felt a soft tingle and a sensation of coolness spread through his body, but the pain, even though slightly dulled, didn't go away.
"Wrong… hypo." He rasped.
"No, actually not." McCoy sounded puzzled. "That was a strong analgesic. You should be feeling better."
Well, duh. I'm not.
He shook his head; as good as he could manage, lying flat on the biobed.
"Nurse!" McCoy bellowed, and Chris heard a rush of movement as somebody ran to do the doctor's bidding. Another hypo was pressed to his neck, another tingling sensation.
The pain did not ease.
"Still no change?" McCoy asked after about five minutes.
Damn you. Do something! Knock me out or put me under, I don't care, but MAKE IT STOP!
"I've given you an amount of painkillers that is bordering on dangerous," McCoy informed him, sounding almost frantic. "What did they do to you? Did they give you something? Make you eat or drink anything?"
Shouldn't that have been your first question? They weren't exactly hospitable, you know. I'm pretty sure they didn't force me to drink or eat anything… apart from horrible squirming parasites, that is…
"The… thing. In my mouth…"
"There's something in your mouth?" McCoy asked alarmed and bent over to examine him.
"No! Not mouth… brain…"
"Centaurian slugs. They latch unto your brainstem, and release a toxin that will force you to answer…"
"Slug… there's a slug…"
"There's a slug in your brain?" McCoy sounded incredulous. "Fidley, get over here with the hyllenin already, he's hallucinating!"
Okay now, that was enough.
"I am not hallucinating!" Chris all but screamed, then gasped for air.
"Sch, calm down," McCoy put both his hands on his chest to keep him down. "Full scan," he said to the nurse standing next to him. "Check for an alien life form… anything, no matter how small."
Chris heard the soft whirr of some sort of medical diagnostic device, then a startled shout from the nurse. "Doctor McCoy…! Look!"
McCoy swore loudly and colorfully. "Goddamn those Romulans…!" was about the only part of the tirade Chris caught, but he fully agreed with that one.
"What is that?" The nurse asked timidly.
"I have no idea, but I'm going to kill it. We can take a look at it once it's dead."
That's the first sensible thing you've said…
He blinked, trying to adjust his eyes to the twilit room. The light was gone, and so was the pain. Even the many sounds of a busy sickbay seemed to have been swallowed up by a nightly silence. His lips were dry and there was a very, very bad taste in his mouth. He longed for a glass of water.
He tried to move, to sit up, but his limbs refused to obey him. His arm twitched, he feebly managed to raise a hand and flex his fingers, but that was about all. Exhaustion, he assumed. After all, they had pumped him full with painkillers and narcotics. There were bound to be some nasty aftereffects of that.
A shadow fell across his face and he looked up to see McCoy. Apparently, the doctor had been sitting somewhere nearby, waiting for him to stir. "Captain, how do you feel?" he asked quietly.
I have been better. A lot better, actually.
McCoy snorted. "No, you certainly aren't. But it's good to see you awake and breathing."
Geez, McCoy, you really know how to make a patient feel better, don't you?
"Gone." McCoy frowned. "I put it in a specimen jar for Spock to examine, but Chekov beat him to it. That kid just can't sit still. I sent him down to engineering to help Mr. Scott and get him out of Jim's hair."
The idea of Chekov, youthful, over-excited Chekov with a grin wider than the sky was strangely comforting. Despite the events on the Narada and the horrible losses Starfleet had suffered – not to mention the loss of Vulcan – most of his people had made it out of this unscathed. His crew was safe. Chekov, Sulu, Spock, Nyota Uhura, and that foolishly reckless idiot Jim Kirk… the kids, his kids, where safe.
"Need to… speak with… Spock," he rasped, squeezing the words out of his chest with tremendous effort.
McCoy shook his head emphatically. "I am sorry, Captain, but not right now. You're barely able to speak. Spock has just lost his planet and watched his mother die. Neither of you is fit to make any decisions and all you should focus on is getting through this in one piece. I'm afraid you'll have to rely on us others to get you back home."
"Who… in command?" If Spock wasn't fit for duty that would leave… fuck! He felt unsure whether to laugh at the irony of it or be terrified at the possible implications. Jim Kirk is in command of the Enterprise. We're so screwed…
McCoy seemed to share his misgivings. "I am afraid telling you that would not be beneficial to your blood pressure."
"Oh, so you already know? Yeah, I'm afraid it's true. Terrifying, isn't it?"
"It's… a leap of… faith."
McCoy raised his eyebrows. "I'm glad being taken hostage by a raving lunatic and having an alien parasite inserted into your body has done nothing to diminish your optimism."
Hello everyone! I'm back with the promised prequel to "Distant Closeness". This story will focus on the slow-building relationship between Leonard McCoy and Christopher Pike. The latter will probably be sick, in pain and/or unhappy for the most part of the story, but since most of you already know that there'll be a happy end eventually, I hope it doesn't bother you too much.
1: Literally: God will punish you immediately if you commit a small sin, but if you commit a big one, he'll take his time (probably to devise a more elaborate punishment…^^) I have no idea where this proverb originated. I suppose, it might stem from a bible quote or some other religious text. There are several versions of it and it is used by believers and non-believers alike. My Mom, being a great fan of proverbs, used to say it quite frequently when something went wrong.