Uhura, Gaila, and McCoy searched the campus for hours then they searched of campus. A few people thought they had seen him and it was almost past curfew when McCoy told Uhura and Gaila not to worry and Kirk was probably holed up with some woman. The two women went off to their dorm room, but McCoy didn't go to his room.
He stayed out searching for Kirk, and damn the security guard who wrote him up for being out past curfew. McCoy couldn't forget the hopeless look on Kirk's face as he had walked out of Relik's class under a storm of insults.
It had started to rain and was past midnight. McCoy walked through the light drizzle and was searching near the outskirts of the campus. He had just passed the garage where the faculty stored their vehicles. The side door to the building was slightly ajar. McCoy wondered who had left it open and at this time of night too. The garage had a very complicated security system complete with a 24-digit pass-code and fingerprint ID.
The security system had been installed after several cadets had played pranks on various faculty members involving their expensive air skimmers and private shuttles. When the security system had been installed, the company had boasted it was unbreakable and many cadets had decided to put that to the test. So far nobody had managed to defeat it, until now apparently.
McCoy opened the door wider and slipped inside. He was curious to know who had broken into the garage and expected to find a group of engineering students celebrating their victory, by creatively redecorating a few of the vehicles.
He stared at what he did find. Almost every vehicle in the garage was open and many were severely damaged, with busted windows, scarred paint, and a few appeared to have been cut apart with a fission torch.
Apprehensively McCoy moved a little farther in and he heard a gagging sound. He ventured toward the noise and found a person in dirty civilian clothes, bent over next to a private luxury shuttle throwing up. By the person's feet was two empty bottles of Tequila and a half-empty bottle was a few feet away. Scattered empty beer bottles littered the surrounding area. McCoy watched as the person retched and he didn't need to see the face to know who it was.
"Jim."He said softly.
He could tell by the slight stiffening of Kirk's body that he had heard him, but Kirk was retching too hard to turn around. McCoy waited another minute before Kirk slowly straightened up and dragged a hand across his mouth. He turned to look at McCoy and the doctor saw his face was very pale and sweaty. His eyes were sunken and bloodshot. Kirk said "Come to bother me again a—hole? I can't even puke in peace?"
He didn't wait for McCoy to respond, Kirk closed his eyes and leaned against the shuttle. He muttered almost to himself "did you know Relik had three air skimmers and three shuttles? Who the f—k needs all that?"
McCoy didn't answer the rhetorical question.
Kirk opened his eyes and grabbed the bottle of Tequila he had left in the ground. He reflectively took a sip and said "I fixed that though, every single one of his damn vehicles I rewired and ruined except this one here" he patted the shuttle he was leaning against. "I was getting to her, when I got sick. I think I drank too fast."
"Not too much?" McCoy couldn't help saying sarcastically.
Kirk actually considered McCoy's comment then said "Nah, I drank more last night, I think—I can't really remember. But two and a half bottles and some beer isn't that much." He saw McCoy about to speak again and added "Will you just shut the f—up and leave me alone for once? I swear sometimes you act like a b—ch."
Kirk took a mouthful and McCoy saw him gag, before he forced the liquor down with a convulsive swallow. McCoy was tired of Kirk's abuse. He scowled at Kirk and said "You should shut the f—k up and stop taking everything out on the one person who's actually trying to help you!"
For a moment Kirk looked surprised and McCoy thought he might apologize, but Kirk broke out laughing almost manically instead and muttered after he had quieted a few minutes later "you finally got some balls.", before taking another large gulp of liquor.
If Kirk hadn't been drunk and clearly not in his right mind McCoy would have hit him, but the doctor held back the temptation and instead said "Jim give me the bottle and—"
Kirk slid down to the floor and interrupted. "McCoy let's spare us both the lecture and I'll just say what you're going to say... I'm much less long-winded than you. " Kirk took another sip and said "I'll say what you came to tell me and then you can go... You came to tell me what everybody else was saying. I'm-"
Kirk over talked him. "Don't interrupt that's a bad habit you have- Now as I was saying I'm evil. I should just go somewhere and kill myself. I'm full of sh-. Oh, and I'm a liar." Kirk turned to stare at McCoy. "Did I miss anything? If not you can leave now."
McCoy spoke "Jim. I don't think you're lying."
Kirk's expression turned confused. "You-you don't?" Then his face cleared and he snorted before saying."Yeah, I forget you think I'm crazy right."
"No I don't think you're crazy... and I know what's been going on these past few days."
"And what's going on? " Kirk said glaring at McCoy. "Because if you say something about the f—king Kelvin, McCoy, I swear I will kill you!"
McCoy ignored the threat; even though he could see that in his drunken state Kirk was serious. "I believe you. In class today you were telling the truth. You're one of the Tarsus 9."
Kirk sat the bottle of alcohol down on the floor and asked dully "what?"
McCoy reached into his bag and pulled out Kirk's notebook. "I read this Jim. I know it all."
Kirk was silent then he said "You may have read that, and you may know I'm one of the Tarsus 9, but you don't know it all."
The remark wasn't meant unkindly. Kirk was being matter of fact.
McCoy realised he had said something very thoughtless and felt his face go red. Kirk wasn't paying any attention to him; instead he was staring silently straight ahead. McCoy sat down next to him. Kirk murmured quietly "You don't know it all." Abruptly he turned to McCoy and said "This is kind of nice isn't it?"
"All this, the vehicles they're really cool and incredibly expensive." Kirk pointed to a sleek red antique air skimmer and continued "I stole one of those when I was seventeen. It was a nice ride...I'd take that one out now, but I'm so drunk I'd probably crash it."
Kirk took another swig from his bottle and was silent for a moment. He turned to McCoy and the doctor saw how tired he was as he said "Bones, you know why I got sent to Tarsus IV really? You know what the last straw was?"
McCoy started to shake his head, but Kirk was already saying "Of course you don't. Nobody knows, but me, me and my mother... She caught me racing down the road with these older guys, said I was going to kill myself. I mean yeah, I had done some other stuff but racing down the road that day, was the last straw. That's what got to her."
Kirk paused and filled the momentary silence with swallowing another mouthful of liquor. Then he started again. "She thought racing down a f—king road would kill me, so she sent me to the place that almost did kill me...isn't that ironic?" Kirk laughed hysterically.
"Jim I'm sorry. I wish—"
Kirk stopped him "it's okay Bones... It's okay... You don't need to figure out how to make this better or make me better. I am what I am... I'm broken and you can put the pieces together but you can't—you can't make me whole again... So you don't have to try." Kirk stared at the ground then took another sip from his bottle.
McCoy had tears in his eyes. He angrily raised a hand and swiped them away. He was a doctor god-damn it. He wouldn't sit here and cry like a three-year old because a drunk was having a pity party. Except yes he would because the drunk was his best friend.
McCoy swallowed roughly and said "Give me the bottle Jim. You don't need anymore."
Kirk contemplated the bottle then defiantly gulped several long swallows emptying it. Then he grinned in a warped way as he passed the bottle to McCoy. "There now you can have it." Kirk knew he was irritating McCoy, but he was still annoyed at the doctor. Who the hell was the Bones to think he could order him to do anything? He should keep his do-gooder nature to himself he had already caused enough trouble. Kirk was about to tell McCoy his thoughts about his attempts to help when his stomach twisted miserably and he felt the burning acid of bile and alcohol rise in his throat.
McCoy was seriously irritated. He was about to chastise Kirk, when the younger man's face contorted and seconds later Kirk stumbled to his hands and knees and threw up the alcohol he had consumed moments before. He sat back after a minute and wiped his mouth on his shirt as he gasped trying to catch his breath. McCoy stared at him. Kirk was very thin and ill looking. His face had numerous bruises. His hair was limp and his clothes hung off him.
McCoy wanted to do something to help him but he didn't know what. Finally he asked "When did you last eat?"
Kirk shrugged carelessly and said "I don't know four days, no—wait. It's after midnight, so five days. I think."
"Five days?" McCoy's eyes widened.
"I couldn't keep anything down; I haven't been feeling too good." Kirk saw the horrified expression on McCoy's face and quickly added "But I might have had a snack or something in between. Honestly it's no big deal Bones I don't need to eat much and, I've gone a lot longer."
The casual way Kirk had said 'I've gone longer' cut into McCoy like a knife. McCoy said "get up; we're going to the mess hall."
"Why?" Kirk asked.
McCoy tugged Kirk to his feet "because you're going to eat something god-damn it."
"I'll just puke it back up."
"Maybe, but It'll make me feel better if you eat something."
"Well I won't feel better. I don't like throwing up."
"I'm not going to stop nagging you unless you eat something."
"Fine." Kirk grumbled.
Kirk and McCoy walked toward the garage door in silence, as they were about to leave McCoy looked around and said "shouldn't we do something about this?" He indicated the wrecked vehicles and empty liquor bottles scattered around.
Kirk shrugged. "They'll know it was me anyway" A faintly cocky look came across his face and he added. "Who else could break into this place? Plus I only wrecked Relik's vehicles. I hope he knows it was me. I left him something to remember me by when I'm expelled."
"You're not going to be expelled." McCoy said, but he could tell Kirk wasn't listening. They left, McCoy and a very unsteady Kirk went to Nimitz hall. When they got to the deserted mess hall, McCoy stopped in front of the synthesizers and asked "What do you want?"
"Nothing." Kirk said.
"That's not an option."
"Fine. Whatever you choose." Kirk shifted restlessly then said "I'll be back in a minute." He started to walk away.
"Where are you going?"
"I said I'll be back in a minute."
"And I asked where you were going."
"I'm going to take a damn leak if you must know." Kirk scowled and walked away muttering half-way under his breath. "Everything's a f—king interrogation."
McCoy scanned the menu trying to find something Kirk wasn't allergic to and was bland enough that it might stay down. He finally settled on toast and eggs, with some coffee to sober him up. McCoy carried the tray back to the table, as Kirk was returning. Kirk dropped into a seat and stared unhappily at the plate of food piled in front of him.
McCoy saw him sigh, and then he took a fork and put a small bite of eggs into his mouth, which he swallowed with difficulty before laying the utensil down. He glanced up and said miserably as he rubbed his abdomen "Is red piss a really bad sign?"
"A few races normally—" McCoy broke off as he realised why Kirk was asking. McCoy asked him "Did you get into a fight today?"
"Me? No more like they kicked my a—and I just took it."
McCoy grabbed a mini-scanner from his bag and walked over to Kirk. He had his friend pull his shirt up and saw the younger man's abdomen was a mass of bruises. Some were the yellowish-green of old ones, but numerous ones were a dark purplish red from recent fights. There wasn't a patch of skin that was of normal colour. McCoy stared at the marks angrily. He was mad at Kirk for getting into a fight and at the people who had attacked him.
"Your bladder's bruised, other than that you're okay. It'll go away on its own." McCoy added "Who did that to you?"
Kirk took a small bite of toast and chewed thoughtfully before saying "Jake Gestalt. You know him?"
McCoy shook his head. He had never heard of anybody by that name. He gave Kirk a hypo of an antiemetic as he saw Kirk swallow the mouthful of food and begin gag.
McCoy sat down and watched Kirk struggle to work his way through his food. Kirk drank a little of the coffee and frowned. He scowled at McCoy and said "I didn't want coffee. Bones, if a person gets drunk they do it for a reason, they don't want to be sobered up."
McCoy didn't answer Kirk's irritable remark. After a few more bites Kirk placed his fork down and grimaced while massaging his stomach with one hand . He glanced at McCoy and said abruptly "You know why Jake Gestalt attacked me?"
McCoy shook his head.
Kirk explained "he said I was a liar. That I hadn't been on Tarsus, but that wasn't the only reason... He was Sami's brother."
McCoy vaguely remembered a girl with that name from Kirk's notebook, but he couldn't remember anything specific.
"Sami was always so energetic...even when we were all weak from starvation and just plain miserable. She had this way of cheering you up..." Kirk was staring off into the distance. " Jake startled me. I didn't ever expect to meet him. Sami used to talk about her brother all the time—Well, Jake was saying he didn't know how she died and I wasn't on Tarsus, I didn't know her."
Kirk stared at his plate. Then he looked up at McCoy and the doctor saw tears in his eyes as he said "but I did Bones , I knew her. I knew how she died and I told him... Do you know what happened to Sami, Bones?"
McCoy shook his head.
"I'll tell you..." Kirk slowly spilled out what had happened to Sami, when he finished there was silence. McCoy was horrified. He couldn't stop think about Joanna and how he would feel if his little daughter had died like Sami had.
Kirk had silent tears running down his cheeks as he whispered "That was my fault, Bones..."
"No, listen. I didn't tell Sami, Dina had died; I should have but those two were such good friends, I couldn't... So, I told her Dina had gone off with one of Kodos' troops and that was okay, because she would be taken care of..." Kirk swallowed and said in a voice almost too low to hear. "Sami ran off looking for Diana. She ran into one of the soldiers and she-she must have asked about Dina or something. Anyway he took advantage of the lie I had told. She went off with him." Kirk broke off and closed his eyes.
McCoy saw him struggling to compose himself, after a moment Kirk continued brokenly. "I found her body Bones. -I carried her back...Then I found the soldier and...I killed him..."
Kirk saw Sami as she was when he had found her...
He moved forward carefully, it was dim so he didn't see her at first, then he noticed a hand lying outstretched. He moved closer whispering her name and then he saw. Her body was broken, ruined; shreds of clothing lay around her. Her red hair was matted and dirty. She might have been asleep except for the awful stillness that no living person had. Nearby lay the armour of one of Kodos' troops...
Kirk faded back into the present as he forced himself not to remember. McCoy couldn't hold back a horrified gasp as Kirk trailed off. He stared at Kirk and saw such misery in his eyes that it was painful to watch. Kirk refused to meet McCoy's gaze and instead stared at the plate of food in front of him. He ate another bite of toast then said "You see this plate...It would have been what all of us had to eat for at least two days. I-"
He broke off and McCoy watched as he tried to swallow the piece of toast. Finally he shoved the plate away and spat the mouthful out into a napkin, "I can't eat that. It's making me sick."
The doctor realized Kirk hadn't eaten not only because most of the time he was too drunk or hung-over to feel hungry, but also because he felt guilty eating.
There was silence for almost fifteen minutes, in which Kirk simply stared at the table, with his head bowed and his shoulders hunched. McCoy saw his eyes flutter then he would jerk himself awake. It was pitiful to watch. "You should go back to your room and get some sleep." He told Kirk.
"I can't sleep—my roommate's in and like everybody else he hates me now." Kirk glanced up and said "either he or somebody else is probably laying in wait to pay me back for me for my insults in class earlier. So, thanks but no thanks Bones. I think I already have enough bruises today...I'm not sleepy anyway."
McCoy ignored Kirk's obvious lie and said "Well, you can sleep on a sofa at the rec room here."
Kirk didn't move but when McCoy grabbed his arm he followed his friend out the mess hall and to the rec room. He sat down on the couch but didn't try to sleep, instead he stared blankly ahead. McCoy was tired and wanted to sleep, but he wouldn't have felt right leaving Kirk alone while he was so obviously miserable.
McCoy sat down on the sofa next to the younger man and flipped on the holomonitor. McCoy had watched several minutes of some insipid comedy, before it had finally gone to a commercial for infant food. McCoy and Kirk watched the sappy commercial filled with giggling babies for a moment before Kirk said "D-did I tell you about Ace?"
McCoy sighed heavily and said quietly "No."
Kirk didn't speak, so McCoy muted the Holo and waited. Kirk was rubbing his hands together like he was trying to get them clean and staring at the ground; it was several minutes before he spoke.
Kirk launched into a story about the child, named Ace. It was actually a pleasant tale. McCoy found himself smiling at parts. The entire time Kirk was speaking he didn't look at McCoy. When he finally told what had happened to the baby, McCoy's smile dropped off his face. Kirk turned to McCoy and the doctor saw fresh tears glistening in his eyes as he said. "I killed him too. I was so f—king scared of dying myself. I killed him."
It took a moment for McCoy to swallow back his own revulsion at the story so he could say "Jim, you didn't—"
"I did" Kirk said taking the blame on his shoulders. He closed his eyes as a memory started coming back...
The troops were so near, the baby's cries filled the air. He couldn't believe the soldier's didn't hear the noise. Why wouldn't the child be quiet? Carla was doing her best to soothe the baby but it wasn't working. She passed the baby to him. He didn't know anymore then she did how to keep the infant silent but the troops were coming. One moved closer and still the baby cried. He had to make it be quiet or they all were dead...
Kirk opened his eyes as he remembered what had happened next. He was silent for a while then he whispered "Do you know about Sevek?" McCoy didn't even bother to respond and Kirk didn't wait for an answer before he started.
The stories Kirk had told McCoy hadn't been in the notebook. McCoy realized as horrifying as the words in the notebook had been Kirk hadn't told even an eighth of it. The paper he had written in Relik's class had been an outline of his memories; the real story would fill volumes.
McCoy didn't want to hear any of what he was hearing though. He wanted to shake Kirk and tell him to stop. Just because he was his friend and he was a doctor didn't mean he wanted to hear any of the gruesome recounts. McCoy wanted to run out the room and leave him alone, but he didn't because if Kirk was finally telling what had happened to somebody then he deserved to have somebody listen.
Kirk slowly told how each and every one of the children who had died had met their fate. By the last child tears were coursing down the younger man's cheeks and he could barely speak. Kirk had pulled his legs off the floor and wrapped his hands around his knees. He sobbed "Bones—I killed them all—I-I'm so tired—I never—" Kirk couldn't continue. He broke off into wrenching sobs until he was crying so hard he couldn't breathe. McCoy watched as he simultaneously gasped for breath and gagged as his stomach tried to bring up the little food he had eaten.
When he had caught his breath somewhat Kirk said quietly "I n-never wanted anybody to die.- I'm drunk- I feel sick-I hurt all over – and everyday—everyday it gets worse."
McCoy didn't know what to say. Kirk hiccupped and said "I-I-I want to b-be done Bones. –I'm t-t-tired of this... I w-w-wake up and their gone and I'm a-alive-I just want them b-b-back." He stopped speaking and swallowed several times until his hiccups stopped.
Tears and mucus were dripping down his face, but Kirk didn't seem to care as he whispered "But they're gone, gone...because I killed them—It' my fault." Then he made an agonised sound, closed his eyes and started rocking convulsively back-and-forth.
McCoy didn't know what to do. He was horrified at what he had heard, and Kirk was far beyond any realm of drunken moroseness, he was broken down. McCoy stared at him as he rocked back-and-forth with his arms wrapped tightly around his knees like he was trying to hold himself together.
McCoy wasn't good with feelings and comforting people. Hell, he was barely able to console Joanna when she skinned a knee, but he couldn't leave Kirk sitting drunk and alone on the sofa sobbing like he had lost everyone he loved and in a way McCoy realized that was somewhat true. McCoy reached out and awkwardly touched Kirk on the arm. The younger man didn't give any indication he had even felt the contact. McCoy tried calling his friend's name and Kirk didn't react. Finally, McCoy carefully patted him on the back.
What happened next surprised the doctor. Kirk flinched at the contact then he stiffened and, suddenly he wrapped his arms around McCoy. He hugged the doctor tightly and mumbled through a wall of tears. "I'm sorry Bones.—I'm sorry for yelling and cursing at you and fighting you—and—and you were right ,I was going to use that bottle on you the other night—I'm just sorry for everything—I wish I could tell them how sorry I am..."
Any further attempts at apologizing were lost in sobs that made speech impossible. Kirk clung onto McCoy all the more tightly. McCoy thought about prying Kirk off him. Indeed he tried.
"Jim, come on let go." McCoy muttered as he tried to loosen Kirk's grip. But Kirk didn't move he continued crying. The situation was incredibly awkward and embarrassing and Kirk was soaking his shirt with tears. McCoy finally gave up trying to remove him; it seemed like an incredibly cruel thing to do.
McCoy waited until Kirk had quieted a bit then said "Jim, you don't have to be sorry. Not for how you treated me and you don't have to be sorry for what happened on Tarsus IV. You didn't kill those kids."
"I didn't? I did. I killed all —" Kirk started to say.
"You didn't " McCoy said firmly. "You can't take everything on yourself. You being their helped all of you stay alive longer than they would have if you weren't there. You weren't responsible for their deaths you were responsible for giving them more life."
McCoy saw that Kirk was listening, but wasn't entirely reassured. He continued "You did your best and it is not and will never be your fault they died. And I don't ever want to hear you spouting some bullsh—about how it was."
Kirk didn't speak.
McCoy stared at him and said firmly. "Understand?"
Kirk hesitated then nodded. McCoy felt his body relax, even though he was crying harder than ever now. McCoy awkwardly patted his friend's back and irritably felt his own shirt grow more and more soaked with tears and snot. Finally Kirk's sobs quieted and he fell asleep. McCoy carefully dislodged him and stood up. He stared down at Kirk. Kirk's face was red and splotchy with the remnants of tears, but he looked more peaceful.
McCoy glanced away from him and stared down at the front of his shirt with disgust. It was damp and sticky with mucus and tears. Jim owed him big for this. McCoy took it off and grabbed somebody's spare from a rec room cabinet. The replacement was slightly too big and it was dirty, but it would do. McCoy came back and covered Kirk with a blanket. At the moment he was sleeping peacefully. McCoy hoped his sleep wouldn't be disturbed by nightmares. He hoped that after tonight Kirk would finally began to get better.
He hoped that finally telling somebody would help him heal. If Kirk remembered the events of the night in the morning McCoy knew the younger man would be extremely embarrassed. But McCoy had no intention of ever bringing up the night again.
It was a new day. A day to move forward and not live in the past.
When morning came he'd see if he could contact Pike and get the situation with Relik's cars straightened out. McCoy would have to make up a lie explaining Kirk's behaviours over the last few weeks... He could already think off several mind-altering microbes he could say his friend had been affected with. Then he'd have to figure out how to smooth over the paper incident and hopefully Pike would have gotten Kirk's expellement reversed.
McCoy settled onto another couch in the rec room and grabbed a blanket. He dimmed the lights and rested his head on his arms, watching Kirk sleep. McCoy knew that he himself wouldn't be able to sleep tonight. He had found out too much to rest. Even thought all he wanted to do was sink into a dreamless oblivion the images conjured by the story he had heard made even rest impossible. But he was glad he knew. He was glad Kirk didn't have to bear the burden alone. Nobody deserved to bear the burden alone. Nobody could.
McCoy remembered Kirk's words from earlier. "I'm broken you can put the pieces together, but you can't make me whole again.'
McCoy knew he may not be able to make Kirk whole again but he sure as hell was going to try...
This episode is dedicated to all the people who had something difficult to share and the people they finally shared it with...
This is the last chapter. No more updates! The deleted scenes and alternate ending (AE) are listed in a story called extras: Words of revolution. I'd like to thanks all those who reviewed , favourited and followed. To all who haven't left a review: speak now or forever hold your piece. Overall what are your feeling about this chapter was it touching , sappy, whatever and What is your overall feelings about this story? Thanks for reading and please visit my profile and vote on which story you want me to write next. Also there is a story coming out called Closer to Home in which Kirk will make some pleasant and not so pleasant discoveries about McCoy and for a day experiences something he's wanted for a long time. Did I pique your curiosity?