Title: The Enemy Within
Universe/Series: Part Two of 'What Shouldn't Be' series, Reboot XI/TOS
Rating: R
Relationship status: first time, slow build K/S
Word count: N/A
Plot: The demons of the past will always compromise the promise of the future.
Warnings: always!girl Kirk, angst, action, character death, language, rom-com humor, violence, possible amateur world-building
Additional Pairings: Kirk/Gary Mitchell, Spock/Uhura, unrequited Kirk/Spock
Summary: Six months into her captaincy, Jim Kirk experiences the hardships of being a twenty-something woman in command.


Prologue

Jim dreams of the sea.

She dreams that there is no sky, no ground, no sun and no moon. Just the sea. The sea is everywhere, and it swallows everything, even the light. It is illuminated and blue; that kind of blue you get when you take blue paint and mix it with white. It is the same kind of blue like her eyes. It is everywhere, and it swallows everything, even her. Jim is in the midst of this greedy blue sea. She's floating directly in it, moving and not moving, stuck in once place like a fruit fly captured by lime green jello.

Jim is naked, her golden hair swaying all around her, covering her breasts and her privates, like some sort of Greek painting or statue. When she moves, her body is caught in a web of slow motion. When she kicks out and swings her arms, her limbs move like honey would down the side of a wall. The sea is everywhere, and it remains motionless. There is no current to it, no back and forth, no to and fro, just dead stillness.

Then suddenly, a burning chunk of rock breaches the water from above her and continues it descent. More burning chunks follow, all different shapes and sizes, the only similarity laying in the color of them. The rocks hold a dusty red hue to them, like blood sand. With growing horror, Jim realizes that its pieces of Vulcan. These enflamed rocks are decimated pieces of the red planet. Jim struggles all the more, trying to break free, trying to kick up towards the surface. She tries to claw at the water all around her but her effort is wasted because the pressure of the water stunts the motion.

One by one, the enflamed chunks of rocks fall in, and Jim can only watch in horror. This goes on for a while, before it turns into a pattern. Big piece, little piece, big piece, medium piece, big piece, little piece—it makes Jim want to swallow her own tongue. After a moment, the pattern shifts, and its not just rocks of fire plunging in and floating down. It's bodies. Hundreds upon thousands of Vulcan bodies are plummeting alongside the rocks, lifeless and sinking.

It's only when she sees the bodies of children does she cry out. The sea rushes in to fill the space, slinking in around her tongue, pressing against the sharpness of her teeth, the inside of her cheeks, all the way until it reaches the back of her throat. She chokes on the familiar taste of the salty, greedy liquid, realizing for the first time that the sea she is stuck in, isn't a sea at all.

It's tears.

She's drowning in her own tears; sinking down with thousands of lifeless Vulcan bodies and burning pieces of their planet. Her eyes shutter to a close, and as she sinks further away from the light, the darkness beneath her opens it's arms to take her in. She falls into them willingly, thinking of how deserving she was of it.

Jim's eyes open with a gasp, widened by fear as she flails in her bed wildly, sending herself plummeting over the edge. "Fuck!" she hisses as her right shoulder makes cruel contact with the floor first before the rest of her body follows. She groans and twists away from the bed as she cups a hand over her sore shoulder. She bites her bottom lip and gathers herself to her feet, rotating the shoulder and sighing in relief when she feels no long lasting damage. She blinks and looks around her quarters, remembering that as of 1300 hours on Sunday, she is on the USS Enterprise as it's acting captain. "Computer. Time?"

"Current time—0200—six hours until alpha shift."

Jim frowns and rolls her sore shoulder once more. She felt wide-awake now and she doubted that she would be able to go back to sleep. Her natural energy wouldn't allow it. She sighs and runs a hand over her damp forehead and through her disheveled locks. Now seemed like a good time as ever to check out the ship's training center. She felt a desperate need to run until her lungs cried out with the need for oxygen.

Jim sighs and gathers up all her hair into a high ponytail and takes the elastic band from her left wrist to aid her in twisting and tucking her hair into messy bun. Then she goes in search for some decent workout clothes. She finds a red sports bra and a pair of her old yoga shorts. There the ones that Bones once claimed were too fucking tight and fit her like second skin. Jim snorts at the mere memory and slips out of one of his oversized t-shirts that she had managed to steal before they left earth. She puts the sports bra on first and adjusts its for her comfort (not that she had that much up top anyway), and slips into her yoga shorts, which she had to admit, did hug her body like a second skin. Jim cocks her head and looks down at her pelvis, where the tip of the medical division badge tattoo can be seen, peeking out just an inch above the edge of her shorts.

She smiles faintly at it, thinking of the scowl and blush Bones would be sporting if he saw her. She chuckles and goes on a hunt for some workout shoes, which are easily found not long after, thankfully. She steps right into them, grabs a towel on the way out, along with her PADD and exits her quarters. The ship is pretty silent at this time; most of the officers (who aren't on gamma shift) are tucked away in their own quarters, catching up on some sleep.

When Jim walks through the corridors of the ship (her ship), she takes it all in with a swell of pride. She didn't have time to really explore the previous day, too upset over the fact that Sulu (her first-pick helmsman) had been replaced, and by the same guy she'd run into at Taboo not too long ago: Gary. She later learns his last name is Mitchell, and that his being there is only temporary. It's just until Sulu is able to conclude his affairs on Earth. Sulu had been very closed-mouth about what those affairs were exactly, but he did promise to return to the Enterprise and assume his role as helmsmen. Jim had pouted (Bones had rolled his eyes at the sight, saying something about how spoiled Jim was), and yeah, she wanted to throw a tantrum like a big baby, but she kept it professional and merely nodded. That didn't stop her, however, from swearing that she would count down the days until his return, and that the wait would be painfully unfair.

Sulu had blushed and muttered something about having a ridiculous captain (but he seemed flattered otherwise), before he left the ship when Gary relieved him. Moments later, they left Earth. Jim is still upset over that fact, but she's making the best of it. Gary, so far, doesn't seem too bad, but only time will tell really. Jim shakes off those thoughts and goes back to admiring her ship, unable to keep the half-smile off her face. This expression garners curious looks from the officers that snap a respectful salute in her direction when they cross her path. Jim figures she must look pretty goofy: hair disarray, half-naked and grinning like a loon. She's just a bit surprised that she's so easily recognizable to her crew, and most parts grateful for it. She didn't need any awkward situations.

The ship hums all around her, singing to her with different clicks and pings that causes her grin to widen a fraction. By the time she makes it to the recreation deck and turns into the training facility, she's got a smile on her face that could rival the cat from Alice and Wonderland. The comfort of her ship, and the mere fact that it's hers, is enough to chase away the dark shadows of her dream.

She sets an alarm on her PADD and pulls up some music before she sets it aside and begins to do a set of stretches. When she's satisfied, she steps onto the treadmill. She inhales, and then exhales a command that sets the treadmill in motion, starting her off on a slow walk, to a leisure jog, and then she's running. She closes her eyes slowly and runs until the music coming from her PADD is overlapped by the sound of her quickening heartbeat.

Jim is pulling further into herself, seeing beyond the darkness she finds behind her own eyelids, and as she does this she gets this feeling deep in her gut. There is an urge there. An urge that swirls inside of her mind until it transforms into these little dancing sparks that she can actually see behind her eyelids. She frowns but keeps running, keeps her eyes closed and keeps watching these little sparks as they swirl to and fro, urging her to follow the movement with her eyes.

So she does.

The sparks twists and turns, like some kind of conscious life-form that, when is sure that it has Jim's attention, slithers up into her mind and blossoms into this little ball of white light. The white light pulsates like the sun before it stretches out into a beautiful thread of shimmering sparkles. Jim can vaguely hear herself gasp as she's pulled into it like a vortex and her body goes on autopilot and keeps itself running. She's sucked up into this thread while her heart thrums and writhes in her own chest until the swirling sparkles spit her out into another dwelling.

It's like an out-of-body experience for Jim, because she no longer feels shackled by her own flesh and skin, but loose and transparent, like a type of free-floating conscious. The other end of the shimmering thread (which she immediately recognizes as the same one she touched during the meld with Prime Spock) leads her to a pool of pearly white water. She moves forward and kneels before the pool. Her closeness to the pool allows her to feel the inviting warmth emanating from it. Then, there is a faint flicker around her, followed by the presence of another.

Vi psthan nash-veh kae?

Jim frowns without really knowing if she can frown in this state. She looks around but sees nothing that would explain the feeling of another presence. She searches and searches and sees nothing but the pearly-white pool stretching out before her like a sea towards a pale-blue veil. Jim suddenly wants to know what's on the other side of the veil. The pearly-white sea shifts and calls to Jim's very essence, and before she knows it, she reaching out to dip her hand into it.

Kroykah! James, you must not.

Jim gasps and wrenches her hand back as she recognizes the voice.

Sarek?

I am here.

But—why?

I felt a troublesome disturbance in my son's mental shields, and took it upon myself to investigate. I see that my assumptions were correct, and you have bypassed the shields I have set in place to block you. It is strange that you have gotten so far. Psi-null beings are not usually so—dynamic.

That sounds like a compliment.

Certainly not, James. Now—remove yourself from my son's mind—it is not proper for you to be here without his conscious approval.

Um—this is awkward but—I don't know how to leave.

Silence.

Sarek?

I am thinking.

Ah.

Silence.

I have thought on the matter greatly, and have come to an suitable conclusion. Concentrate deeply and reach for your mind. Once you have obtained an adequate grasp, you will need to pull until you are conscious of your own body.

Right, got it. Swim until I'm home.

James, I caution you. You must be careful not to make any more contact with my son's mind than you already have. Spock can withstand the shock, but without his cognizant guidance, you will be at great risk. I urge you to address this matter with my son immediately. Though I advise we have our own discussion before you do so. Promptly.

Yes sir—uh—Sarek.

Until then. Peace and long life, James.

Jim concentrates like Sarek suggested and when she feels even a faint amount of her own mind, she makes a grab for it, staying mindful of her surroundings as she does so. She's pulling and pulling, until it feels like she climbing up a rope. She climbs right back into the vortex of shimmering sparkles, and in she goes until she's back on the other side again. When she's back in her own body, she's drenched in her own sweat and her lungs and legs feel sore with the strain of having ran for so long. Not to mention the mental exhaustion she now feels.

Her eyes flutter open and she gasps out a command for the treadmill to cease its motion. When it stops, she falls to her knees and sucks in as much air as she can get, feeling dazed and confused, and all sorts of restless. It dawns upon her, as she gathers herself off the floor and reaches for her towel, that being in Spock's mind had felt like she was drawing closer to eternal peace. Now back in her own body and mind, she shivers, feeling a cold chill of loneliness and want dance around in her soul.

She wants to feel Spock's warmth.

Jim groans at the revelation and swipes her PADD from off the floor, striding out the training room and to Bones's quarters.

She needs to fucking talk about these fucking disastrous feelings before she makes a fucking idiot of herself to either Spock or Sarek.

Sarek. Jim groans again. He had seemed to lose his patience in light of Jim's stunt. Now she would have to talk to him ASAP.

How troublesome.

Jim marches through the corridor with a purpose and prays that Bones has a good stash of bourbon on him.

Emotions fucking sucked. No wonder Vulcans wanted nothing to do with them.


Author's Note: I just suck at beginnings. Well, I needed to write something soon or I would lose the motivation to write at all. Help me out here guys, tell me what you think of it so far. Please comment.