Melody Rivera listened to her best friend, Rhea Valentine; rattle off intermittent information from whatever it was that she was reading. Melody assumed it was probably some type of study material from their latest classes.

Rhea let out a growl before setting her PADD down on the counter in front of her before looking at Melody who had raised an eye brow in question. Rhea then sighed leaning back and kicking her feet up on the counter.

"Off the counter." Melody said pushing her friends feet back down.

"Wanna go out tonight?" Rhea questioned ignoring the last comment.

"Night before a big exam?" Melody questioned this time both eyebrows going up.

"Might as well relax," Rhea said before hopping up to her feet. "C'mon, let's go hit a bar or two."

"We shouldn'," Melody said after a second trying to interject some type of practicality into the situation but Rhea had already grabbed her coat and Melody's coat.

"Hey, Faith! Mel and I are going out, wanna go?" Rhea yelled back to Melody's sister who was no doubt elbows deep in studying something.

"No, go on!" Faith called back. "I'll come get you if you get drunk."

"Right," Rhea called back with a laugh. "Back in a while!"

Rhea tossed Melody's coat at her and she caught it with a sigh before slipping into it and following her friend out the door.

"What you drinking, Gorgeous?"

Melody turned to look at who it was talking to her. She blinked getting caught up in his blue eyes that were shining with mirth, if only for a moment or two. She knew those eyes.

"Not interested, Mr. Kirk." Melody said after a momentary pause before turning back to the bar. He then slid into a seat next to her leaning against the bar backward.

"Here all by yourself?" he questioned taking a drink of whatever it was he had in his hand.

"Friend dragged me here." Melody said nodding towards Rhea who was currently dancing. "Go hit on her, you'll probably get further."

Kirk tilted his head to the side and she rolled her eyes at the almost comical thoughtful look that crossed his face. He then threw back the rest of whatever it was he had then stumbled away towards where Rhea was. Melody then proceeded to turn back to her drink.

"Not many women seem to be able to resist the impeccable Kirk flirting."

Melody looked up at the gruff voice coming from where James Kirk had been. This time she blinked and her gaze lingered longer than when Kirk had been there. There was just something about him that instantly got under Melody's skin.

"I'm just a special kind of woman," Melody said after a second with a smirk before lifting her glass to him momentarily then taking a drink. "Melody Rivera, you are?"

"Leonard McCoy." He said with a smile of his own.

When he smiled at her and she saw the softness touch his gaze an odd warmth rushed through Melody and instantly flushed her face. It was something she wasn't used to at all and it completely caught her off guard, her mouth no doubt hanging open like some landed fish.

"You alright there, Sugar?" Leonard questioned raising an eyebrow at this a slightly smug smirk on his face.

Melody instantly snapped her mouth shut and pursed her lips. Yep, she had had one too many if this guy was able to get to her with a total of five words but damn if that deep gruff drawl wasn't about the sexiest thing she had ever heard.

Just as Melody opened her mouth to try to say something semi intelligent -she was actually really smart damn it!-there was a loud screech and a yell of her name. That would be Rhea yelling at her. Melody sighed pursing her lips and turned to see what her friend might possibly want when Melody had finally found someone in this city worth trying to flirt with.

Melody hissed out a curse when she spotted Rhea being slammed back into a table. Rhea let out a wild sounding laugh gaining her footing again and diving right back at the six foot something man who was advancing on her.

"Are ya fuckin' kiddin' me?" Melody gritted out jumping up off her barstool. She then cast a glance at Leonard. "Excuse me,"

He nodded and laughed. Melody fought down the urge to blush again before turning and heading in after her idiotic friend.

The man hit Rhea again and she fell backward and Melody was there to catch her. The two stumbled and Rhea clambered to her feet whipping the blood from her lip. Rhea grinned and glanced at Melody before darting out of her friends grasp and back into the fight.

"Little fu-!" Melody said but was cut off when someone grabbed her around the waist and picked her feet up off the ground. "Oh hell na!"

Melody slammed her elbow back into the face of said man slamming it right into his nose. He let out a howl of pain and dropped her. With a few calculated hits on Melody's part the man collapsed to the floor and Melody turned her attention back to where her friend might be.

Melody growled when she spotted Rhea. She was fighting still, but this time of course someone else had joined her. James Kirk and she were fighting two separate men yelling a new technique to the other when they found something that worked.

Someone then came after Melody again distracting her momentarily from wanting to absolutely murder her best friend at this point. This time the guy managed to hit Melody square in the lip causing her to stumble backward at the force of the blow.

Someone caught her to her surprise and she looked up to lock gazes with Leonard McCoy again. He set her on her feet and she smiled thankful before darting out of his grasp and right back into the guy who had come after her.

Twenty minutes and four guys later, found Melody standing over the prone form of her friend her arms crossed and her eyes spelling definite anger.

"Oh hey Mel!" Rhea said with a bright goofy grin. "Having a good time?"

Melody let out a loud curse at this before reaching down and jerking her friend to her feet to pull her out of the bar before the barman called the proper authorities. Melody let out a sigh as her drunken friend stumbled along beside her ranting on about how unbelievably hot the guy who fought with her was.

Melody pursed her lips, and let out a deep breath and rolling her eyes. This was the last time she ever went anywhere with Rhea.

Three Years later…..

"Rhea!" Melody yelled as she scrambled after the back of her best friend. "I swear! I'm goin' to kill ya!"

"Stop yelling and keep running!" Rhea called back. "Valentine to Ironsides! C'mon Vasheti! Get us out of here!"

"I'm trying Captain!" Vasheti Shethar, their chief Engineer yelled back her voice tight. "It's hard to get you up here when you won't stay still!"

"Not an option really." Rhea said glancing back behind them.

"No fuckin' humanoid life forms my ass!" Melody said ducking as an arrow was shot at her head.

"Got ya!" Vasheti's voice proclaimed happily.

The next thing Melody knew was falling face forward off of the teleportation deck and tumbling down to roll over and land on her back. With a little groan Melody let her arms fall out beside her and lay still huffing to pull air back into her lungs. She could hear the same thing coming from Rhea before she laughed a little.

"You need to work out more Mel," Rhea quipped cheekily then laughed again as Melody made the effort to raise one hand and flip her off. "Hey now that could be considered insubordination!"

"Then court martial my ass for it." Melody muttered with a vague wave in her direction. "But no other dumbass is goin' to put in for your SIC. I still can' believe I let you talk me into it!"

"Yeah yeah," Rhea said with a vague wave of her own. "You could have been a Captain yourself if you hadn't turned it down."

"If I were Captain, then who would be keepin' your ass outta trouble?" Melody questioned with a sigh closing her eyes.

"Um guys, if you are done arguing," Vasheti cut in and both turned their gazes to her. "Melody has an arrow sticking out of her leg."

"What?" Melody questioned pushing herself up to look at said leg. As soon as she did she instantly felt dizzy and braced herself on her arm. "Oh…"

"Call Faith!" Rhea barked before jumping up and dashing over to Melody who swayed slightly and her eyes crossed momentarily. "Hey Mel, stay with me yeah? Faith's on her way."

"Last time I follow ya anywhere," Melody muttered her voice slurring before her vision went black.

Melody jerked up with a gasp sitting up and blinked looking around trying to register where she was at currently.

"Always with such enthusiasm, Mel."

Melody relaxed at this and flopped back onto the biobed she was on. She groaned throwing an arm over her eyes. It was only Faith Rivera, Melody's twin sister and the CMO of the Ironsides.

"Feeling alright?" Faith questioned glancing over at Melody from the screen that gave her diagnostics of her sister.

"Fine." Melody muttered before moving her arm and glancing over at her. "Everythin' alright?"

"Everything?" Faith questioned with an arched eyebrow turning her full focus to Melody. "You truly need to work on your accent Mel."

"Yeah yeah," Melody said with a vague wave before she grinned. "So Doc am I gonna die?"

"Not yet." Faith said before rolling her eyes and reached over to offer her a hand up. "It was a relatively simple poison in the arrow; I actually for once had an antidote on hand. Other than a few bruises and a small cut on your forehead you're perfectly fine. Might be a little woozy from the after effects of the poison, but you're alright."

"Thanks, Faith." Melody said and took Faith's hand.

"Hey!" someone else said bursting in the door. Both Faith and Melody turned to see Rhea. "You okay?"

"Na, I'm gonna die." Melody said dryly rolling her eyes.

"She's fine," Faith said crossing her arms and rolling her own eyes at Melody. "Going to make a full recovery Captain, but need I remind you, that when you decide to do something stupid and drag Mel into it I would like some heads up."

"Well, see actually we were under information that said there were no humanoid life forms down there." Rhea defended a slight blush crossing her face at the sharp 'not-falling-for-that' look she received from Faith. "Yeah, okay, next time I'll let you know."

"Thank you," Faith said with a nod and then smiled. Just as Faith went to say something else Rhea's communicator decided to gain their attention instead.

"Valentine here."

"Hey Captain, you might want to make your way back over here to the teleportation dock." Vasheti's voice answered sounding tight. "We got a problem."

"On my way." Rhea said before looking at Melody then to Faith. "She cleared?"

"Yeah," Faith said with a nod before turning back to Melody. "Just nothing strenuous."

"Got it," Melody nodded hopping down and onto her feet. "Thanks Faith."

"Oh just go on." Faith said with a little laugh and both Rhea and Melody turned to leave.

Their pace was brisk, not at a run seeing as neither could probably run too far of a distance right now unless their lives just depended on it. Vasheti had just said 'problem' not emergency, so neither of them rushed too much.

They had made it down one hallway and were just about to turn the corner to step into a turbolift to take them down to the correct deck when Melody's communicator went off. Both paused before Melody pulled it out and looked at it for a second.

"Rivera here." Melody said and both Rhea and Melody waited for a reply.

"Hey Mel?" it was Faith. "When you left the doors closed behind you, and locked. We can't get out."

"On my way." Melody said and closed her communicator with a snap. "Somethin' ain't right."

"I think I'm going to have to agree." Rhea said locking her jaw and looking at Melody with what was her patented 'Captain's look'. "Be careful, proceed with caution."

"Right." Melody nodded in agreement before turning to head back towards the sickbay.

Melody walked down the hallway cautiously keeping her eye out for anything out of the ordinary. She didn't come across anything before she got to the sickbay doors. Faith was right they were locked tight.

"Hey Faith can ya hear me?" Melody called rapping on the door.

"Hey yeah I can hear you." Faith called back. "I can't even get my medical overrides to work. It's locked up good. I've called down to engineering but I'm not getting any response."

"I'll see what I can do from out here," Melody said before turning and crouching down to pull a panel off of the wall beside the door. "Might be able to get it if I get ta messin' with these wires."

"Why does that scare me?" Faith called back and Melody grinned.

"Ya know I have some experience in engineering." Melody said before concentrating on trying to rewire the doorway.

"Yeah I know," Faith said and Melody could almost hear the eye roll. "I also remember when you were in engineering you had a lot of 'accidents'."

"Yeah yeah," Melody called back.

Melody was so concentrated on trying to fix the door that she hadn't heard anyone come up behind her and was ultimately surprised when someone grabbed her hair and jerked her back. She landed with a loud thump and a loud curse.

"Mel you okay?" Faith called hearing this.

Melody didn't answer rather quickly gained her footing and turned to tackle who ever it was that was behind her. There was a loud crash as the two went down and into the wall behind them. It momentarily stunned the man so that Melody could get up and get her footing before coming back in for another attack.

The man prepared himself for Melody's attack and when she lunged with a growl he fell backward and threw his feet up and into her gut sending her flying over his head. Melody landed flat on her back the breath knocked out of her for a minute.

"Melody Rivera answer me!" Faith's voice came from behind then door and then she slammed her fist against it. "Now!"

"Busy Faith hang on." Melody called back and then grunted as she was thrown against the wall roughly.

She instantly sprung to her feet heading back towards the guy, by this time though he had someone else joining him who grabbed Melody from behind.

"Let me go!" Melody exclaimed then pushed backwards catching the guy off guard and slamming them both back into the wall.

It stunned the guy who had grabbed Melody allowing her to momentarily get free of his grasp before the other man grabbed her again grabbing a fist full of her hair and jerking her forward. Melody landed hard on the floor and then was further battered when her face was slammed into the floor and stunning her.

"Mel?" Faith called again. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine!" Melody called back after a second. She reached up and slammed her fist into the back of the knee of the man causing him to fall forward as his leg collapsed. "Just hold your damn horses."

Melody instantly was up and on top of the guy who had collapsed and slammed her fist into his jaw knocking his head to the side. After she had gotten in about three hits the other man finally gained his bearings and was up grabbing hold of Melody and pulling her off his friends.

She let out a roar of protest trying to get out of his grip as the other guy got up and headed straight for Melody. She was happy to see blood pouring out of his nose from the hits from her fist. She waited until he was closer before kicking forward using the leverage of the man holding her to kick the guy square in the jaw knocking him backward and sprawling into the wall.

"Enough of this bitch!" the man behind her growled and the next thing Melody knew was a searing pain and then everything went black.

Melody jerked awake when she hit something cold and wet shocking her systems into waking. She jumped up and away from said substance blinking and trying to brush off what was on her face.

"Snow?" Melody questioned looking at herself.

"Hey, good you're awake!"

Melody flipped over cringing as she felt the cold seep into her clothing, before looking around at who was speaking to her. Rhea sat a few feet from where Melody was a very pained expression on her face.

"What happened?" Melody questioned before pushing herself up onto her feet.

"Your friend Damon marooned us here." Rhea said with a grumble. "You were right when you said something wasn't right."

Melody pursed her lips before walking over to Rhea. Inspected Rhea for possible injuries, only to spot her leg tilted at an unnatural angle.

"Your leg's broken?" Melody questioned out loud. "How'd that happen?"

"Damon." Rhea said with a shrug before she winced when Melody bent down to inspect the leg. "But he got the worse end of the deal; I got him good with a knife before he broke it."

"Well, I need to reset it." Melody said before glancing up at Rhea. "It's gonna hurt."

"You know how?" Rhea said her gaze instantly clouding over with worry.

"Yeah," Melody nodded. "I do have some medical knowledge."

"Aren't you just a jack of all trades?" Rhea hissed sarcastically.

"Be glad." Melody said tightly. "If I didn' know what I do you'd probably be dead by now."

"Yeah yeah," Rhea said then screamed in pain as Melody swiftly reset her leg.

"Sorry." Melody apologized before glancing up at Rhea again. She was pale and biting her lip. "Okay?"

"Will be." Rhea said with a huff. She took another deep breath and relaxed as much as she could. "The others should be back shortly. I sent them to scout a little see what they could find."

"Others?" Melody questioned with a raised eyebrow.

"Vasheti, Naomi, Reva," Rhea explained before shifting with a wince. "And a few others who Damon didn't think he would need to run the ship."

"Ah alright," Melody nodded at this information then looked up and around their surroundings. "Well looks like there's a cave mouth just a ways from here, might offer least some shelter."

"It's stable enough," Someone said from behind them. Melody turned to see Vasheti, Naomi their Linguist, and Reva a navigator, and the others climbing down a snow embankment to them. "Should offer at least enough shelter until we can figure out a way to get off this planet."

"Sounds good to me." Melody said then turned to pull Rhea up. Rhea winced but didn't object otherwise. Melody grinned pulling Rhea's arm over her shoulder and put another hand on her hip to support her. "Do I need to carry ya Captain?"

"No," Rhea growled out. "Just don't bump the leg."

"Here I'll help." Naomi offered stepping up and pulling Rhea's other arm over her shoulder. "I'll keep your leg from being bumped."

"Thank you, Naomi." Rhea said and Vasheti grinned rolling her eyes.

"Well c'mon," Vasheti said with a wave over her shoulder. "We need to get out of this weather. These coats they so graciously gave us will only keep us warm for so long."

"Right behind ya," Melody said and Vasheti nodded walking ahead to lead the way.

Melody's teeth chattered as she wrapped her arms around herself when she stood to move around the small cave they were confined in. Puffs of white escaped her mouth as she breathed out between the chattering of her teeth. Her gaze shifted around to another form huddled up on the ground not more than three feet from where she stood.

She stepped over and bent down beside the bundle placing a hand on the persons shoulder to shake them. The figure groaned a little before blinking her eyes and looking up at who was shaking her.

"Melody?" she questioned her voice hoarse.

"Hey, Reva ya gotta stay awake." Melody said bending down closer to the younger woman. "I need ya to stay awake for me please, just for a little longer."

"Why Melody? I'm so tired." Reva said flipping over to curl into the little bit of warmth Melody's body offered her. "Do you really think someone will find us?"

"Someone will find us Reva." Melody nodded in affirmation. "Just have a little faith."

"I just want to sleep Melody," Reva said her voice weak. "I am so tired Melody. I want to sleep."

"Just a little longer Reva." Melody repeated softly. "I'm just askin' for a little longer. We'll get off this planet soon."

"Okay," Reva nodded and Melody let out a deep breath to stand up and look around the area at the other lumps scattered across the ground of other people.

Most of the forms she looked over were deathly still and she knew it wouldn't do her any good to go checking on corpses. She turned back to look at Reva only to find that the girl was no longer breathing curled back up like she had been before.

Melody let out a deep breath before turning her gaze back to where Naomi, Vasheti and Rhea were curled up together all three shivering eyes closed seeming to try and sleep.

"Hey would ya sit back down, Rivera?" Rhea barked out looking up at Melody a small smile on her face. "You're making me tired."

"Well Captain while you are down isn' it my job as your second in command to take care of your duties well as I can?" Melody quipped back hands on her hips.

"You know you ran that ship anyway." Rhea shrugged before wincing. "Anything out there?"

"Haven' heard anythin'." Melody said with a sigh. "I can go scout see if maybe by chance someone else came along and decided to check out the planet."

Rhea pursed her lips thinking about this for a moment. "You still doing okay? I mean you had just gotten that poison out of your system when we were marooned."

"I'm fine," Melody said with a shrug. "Just a little sore. Your leg?"

"Still quite broken," Rhea said with a sigh. "Still quite painful."

"Sorry. I don' really know what to do for ya beyond settin' it an' bracin' it." Melody said crossing her arms over her chest. "I'm not Faith."

"Oh how I would kill to have her here." Rhea said tilting her head back against the wall behind her.

"So would I," Melody said with a quieter voice.

"I'm sure she's fine Mel," Naomi spoke up for the first time and looked up at Melody.

"Yeah, I hope." Melody said before pursing her lips for a moment and turning her gaze back to the cave opening. "Let's just hope someone friendly finds us soon."

Melody stood again knowing she needed to move around some before she froze. Beside her Vasheti, Naomi and Rhea seemed to be sleeping all three still breathing steadily.

Melody couldn't seem to allow herself to even think about trying to sleep, knowing that if she did she might not wake back up that and her worry for her sister. After a moment of pure silence she tilted her head thinking maybe she had heard something abnormal, but when she didn't hear anything else she shook it off turning back to her surroundings.

She sighed, every last one of the small crew abandon here had now officially passed away. The only ones left were the four of them and if someone didn't come soon the four of them wouldn't be around much longer either.

Letting out a deep breath she turned back to where the others sat. Vasheti was awake and watching Melody curiously.

"I'm goin' to step outside, take a look around see what I can find." Melody said with a hushed voice nodding towards the cave entrance. "See if I might be able to find somethin' to maybe start a fire."

Vasheti nodded her understanding before closing her eyes again. Melody sighed before turning and walking out of the cave into the bitter wind. For a moment all she could see was white before her eyes adjusted.

Stepping on out Melody ventured on out into the constant snow storm. She had only gone about thirty or forty steps before she heard a scream behind her and instantly turned around heading back towards the cave.

As she ran in something else was running out shoving Melody out of their way and into the snow. Less than a moment later Naomi and Vasheti came barreling out of the cave as well.

"What the hell?" Melody questioned pushing herself back up and on her feet.

"Apparently we are not the only life forms on this planet," Naomi explained hauling Melody to her feet.

As soon as Melody gained her footing the both of them took off after Vasheti who was currently trying to track whatever it was that apparently had taken Rhea.

After a few moments of tracking said creature it lead them to another cave mouth, this one much larger than the one they had been taking refuge in. Melody paused reaching out to grab hold of both Vasheti and Naomi to stop them.

"Hold on." Melody said taking a look at their surroundings first.

After a moment something came out of said cave mouth to lie down in front of the entrance. It was large looking almost like it was a cross between a wolverine and a polar bear, magnified by about six times in size.

"Well, that's going to be a problem." Naomi said hands on her hips before looking back at Melody.

"How are we supposed to get past that?" Vasheti questioned also looking at Melody. "It looks like it could eat us in like one bite."

Melody pursed her lips looking around trying to figure out exactly how she wanted to get inside the cave to get to Rhea.

"Okay look we first need to distract that thing." Melody said with a sigh. "Any suggestions?"

"Well, sounds like one of us will need to be said distraction," Vasheti said watching Melody's facial expressions as she worked through different scenarios.

"Yeah," Melody nodded after a moment. "If we can manage to get that thing just distracted enough that at least one of us can get inside, we can then get to Rhea."

"Okay, so we need to get you inside then." Vasheti said crossing her arms. "You are the best out of all of us at hand-to-hand and as far as I can tell the life forms here are not smart enough to have advanced weaponry."

"So we have to distract that thing?" Naomi said pointing at the creature. "Seriously? We're going to get eaten!"

"Just distract it." Melody said with a smirk. "I'm sure you can be quick enough to stay out of its way."

"Alright, well, let's get this over with." Vasheti said with a sigh.

A few moments later Vasheti and Naomi were providing said distraction for Melody to be able to slip past them and inside the cave. Once inside she looked around trying to figure out exactly where Rhea might be.

The cave itself really wasn't a cave so much as a large pass through the mountain here. Melody could see clear to the other side of the mountain she assumed she was under. Around her were different holes and plateaus carved deeper into the mountain to keep them out of the wind. It looked very similar to ancient Native American dwellings to Melody.

She had also spotted another one of the wolverine/polar bear creatures at the other end of the cave guarding that entrance. Pursing her lips Melody looked around trying to spot where Rhea might possibly be.


Melody swiftly turned around to see where Rhea's yell had come from only to spot a human-like creature climbing the side of one of the walls carrying her over its shoulder. Melody turned to quickly follow behind them when another yell was heard and she turned to see Naomi and Vasheti both running towards her with the creature on their heels.

"RUNN!" Naomi screamed at Melody.

As soon as Naomi screamed this, the other creature at the other end of the cave sat up and saw Melody standing in the pathway.

"Shit." Melody stated with a groan trying to calculate her choices for said situation. "Climb up the wall!"

"What?" Vasheti called confused.

"Climb up the wall!" Melody yelled pointing at the wall.

Vasheti and Naomi didn't hesitate after Melody gave the order and scrambled over towards the wall Melody pointed at. Both creatures didn't notice the other two split off towards the wall both focusing on Melody.

Melody stood her ground not moving an inch. She hoped to any god who was listening to her that this plan would work.

She shifted her footing waiting for the precise moment for her move. Both creatures leapt at the same moment intending to pounce on Melody as she figured they would and she dropped down summersaulting her way out of their way. Both creatures collided with a very aggressive force and landed on the ground so hard that it shook.

Melody let out a sigh before standing back up again and turning to look at Vasheti and Naomi who had managed to climb up to the first plateau and were looking down at her. She gave them a thumb up before she felt something grab her around the waist and jerk her backward.

"Shit!" Melody exclaimed as she reached down to grab hold of whatever it was that grabbed her.

She was then tossed across the space away from the creature who had grabbed her. She heard Naomi yell and then she collided with… someone?

After a moment or two of trying to get their limbs untangled, Melody ended up astride whomever it was fist balled up clearly intending to attack said person. That was until she realized said person below her was in fact human, and she did in fact recognize the face.

"Leonard McCoy?" Melody questioned instantly lowering her hand. "What-?"

"So glad you recognized me before you struck Sugar, I hear you have a mean right hook." Leonard said with a little laugh and Melody grinned.

"Mel!" someone shouted and she turned back to look at what was going on. "Quit flirting and c'mon!"

"Piss off Naomi!" Melody barked back before quickly getting to her feet before turning back to Leonard. "Excuse me."

"This sounds familiar,"

Melody grinned at that before dashing off back into the fray where the two large creatures were currently trying to get to Naomi and Vasheti.

"Hey!" Melody called gaining their attention.

Both creatures rounded on her before she took off running towards the entrance of the cave. The creatures followed behind her giving chase. She had barely managed to get to the end of the entrance before she heard the sound of two phasers and two incredibly loud thuds behind her. Melody stopped and turned to see exactly what had happened before covering her face to keep the dust from the creature's landings out of her face.

Behind her stood two other people coats on their hoods up so she could see their faces, phasers raised and pointed in her direction.

"Melody?" one questioned and she recognized that voice.

"Kirk?" Melody questioned with a slight little cough. "Captain Jim Kirk? Haven' seen ya in a while."

"What are you doing here?" Jim Kirk questioned lowering his weapon and his coat hood. "And where's Rhea?"

"We were marooned here actually." Vasheti informed them as she jumped down from the ledge she was at. "Naomi went to collect our fearless leader; I think the life forms here took off when we started making so much noise."

"Hey Jimmy, how ya doing?" Rhea called announcing her presence and Melody looked up at her an eyebrow raised.

"Is she okay?" James questioned an eyebrow raised turning his attention to Melody who shrugged.

"She was last time I talked to her." Melody said with a shrug.

"I think they gave her something." Naomi said before reaching out and steadying Rhea as the two reached the floor of the cave.

"Gave her something?"

Almost instantly Leonard was at Rhea's side forcing her down to sit inspecting her for possible clues as so what might be in her system. Melody watched on with mild amusement as Rhea continually tried to brush his hands off of her or wiggle out of his grasp.

"Sit still!" Leonard barked after a few moments of this.

"Oh piss off," Rhea said yet again brushing his hands off. "I don't even know you!"

Rolling her eyes, Melody stepped past Jim and his other companion who had yet to be identified and up beside her Captain.

"Hey Mel!" Rhea chirped as soon as she saw her. "You have got to try some of this stuff! It would help you not be so grumpy all the time!"

"Right, okay Rhea." Melody said with a nod. "Just do me a favor, sit still for the Doc, yeah?"

"Oh piss on that," Rhea said yet again evading Leonard.

"Sit still or I'm knocking your ass out." Melody said calmly and Rhea raised her eyebrows at this, and Melody knew Rhea was about to challenge her statement. "Try me, Captain."

Rhea opened her mouth but after a second she swayed slightly and her eyes crossed. Melody reached out to steady her friend who instantly gripped her wrist tightly.


"I got ya," Melody said softly. "I got ya Rhea, just relax."

"Mel, I can't see." Rhea said her grip becoming even tighter on her wrist.

Melody instantly glanced at Leonard worry plainly etched across her face. He pursed his lips before turning back to Jim.

"We need to get back to the ship now."

Only seconds after this sentence left Leonard's mouth Melody felt the slightly disorientating feeling of being beamed back to a ship and then blinked seeing the grey walls of a transporter room.

As soon as they had gathered their surroundings Jim scooped Rhea up and took off towards the sickbay, Melody in tow since Rhea refused to let go of her arm. Leonard followed less than a step behind them.

"Mel? What's going on?" Rhea questioned instinctively gripping a little tighter.

"Jim's got us on his ship." Melody explained as she did her best to keep up with Jim's quick strides down the hallway. "His doc's gonna help ya,"

"Just don't leave," Rhea almost pleaded.

"I won'," Melody promised. "I got ya, promise."

"Here, lay her down." Leonard instructed as soon as they got to the sickbay.

Leonard quickly went to work on Rhea paying absolutely no head to Melody's presence. Rhea had yet to let her grip loosen on Melody's wrist. Soon enough Rhea was completely unconscious and her grip finally loosened on Melody's wrist.

Melody gently pulled it away and set Rhea's arm back up and on the bed beside her and backing away out of Leonard's work space. She rubbed her wrist gently before glancing around looking for somewhere she could sit and wait.

"There's a chair." Leonard said pointing towards said object without even really looking up at her.

Melody didn't say anything beyond nodding in thanks and walking over to said chair. She sat down and leaned forward bracing her elbows on her knees watching Leonard work.

Close to three hours later, Leonard turned to say something to Melody only to find her asleep her head propped in her hand. He almost smiled at this and walked over to her gently grip her shoulder to shake her into waking.

What he wasn't anticipating was her to still be in a 'fight-or-flight' mode of thought so he didn't even think of the possibility of her coming awake in such a manor. Before he could actually process what had happened he found himself slammed up against an exam table arm wrenched behind his back.

"Melody," Leonard said calmly and almost instantly she let go backing away.

"Oh, shit Doc, I'm sorry." Melody instantly apologized.

"It's fine." Leonard said with a little laugh and turned around to face her. She was bright red one arm crossed over her stomach. "Now are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Melody waved him off. "Maybe a little sore but otherwise fine, how's Rhea?"

"Whatever they gave her seemed like it had some healing properties to it," Leonard explained and Melody nodded showing that she understood. "It had started to attempt to heal her broken leg and knuckles,"

"What caused the blindness?" Melody questioned. "Will it be permanent?"

"I'm not entirely sure." Leonard shrugged. "I have done everything I can; we will have to see how her body heals."

Melody pursed her lips at this before letting out a sigh and putting a hand to her forehead like she had a headache.

"Damn," Melody muttered shaking her head.

"C'mon you look like you could use a drink." Leonard said walking past her and towards his office.

Melody paused casting one last glance at the sleeping form of Rhea before turning and following Leonard. Leonard indicated to a chair which she gratefully accepted and watched him walk on around scrounging around for the drink he'd promised her.

Finally finding what he was after, he turned back to Melody who watched him curiously but hadn't moved from the chair he had offered her. He smiled a little at her and then held up a bottle of whiskey for her to see.

She smiled at this and he produced two glasses pouring some into each glass then handing her one. She took it and he sat down in another chair facing her.

"I heard Jim call you Bones earlier." Melody said as she took a small drink of her Whiskey trying a shot at casual conversation. "Why may I ask, does your Captain call you Bones, Leonard?"

"I made the mistake of being sarcastic when we first met." Leonard said and rolled his eyes. "I had just gotten a divorce, and the woman took me for everythin'. Would have taken my bones if she'd been able."

"An' therefore Bones was born?" Melody said with a little laugh as he nodded. "Well Bones, I don' see why she would have wanted ta leave ya, I find you're company quite enjoyable."

"You make absolutely no attempt to hide your accent do you?" Leonard questioned with a smile of his own before taking a drink of his own whiskey.

"Should I?" Melody questioned an eyebrow raised. "I'm from Texas, I don't feel the need to hide it, but if it bothers you I can hide it quite well actually."

Leonard looked at Melody impressed at the absolute perfect English that came out of her mouth for the last sentence she said. Melody shrugged and then took another drink.

"Faith, my sister, says my accent is far too harsh for a commander of my status." Melody said pausing only slightly thinking. "I say fuck 'em. I'll speak the way I like an' if they got a problem find another Commander ta bug."

Leonard only laughed at this. "I think you and I will get along quite well, Sugar."

Melody paused for a second studying Leonard. He raised an eyebrow over his own glass at her waiting to see what exactly she was thinking.

"You're Southern too," Melody said after a moment. "Where from?"

"Georgia." Leonard provided and Melody nodded.

"Deep south." Melody said with a laugh.

"Only a Southerner would know the difference in the types of south." Leonard said with a loud laugh and Melody smiled raising her glass to him.

"I do wholeheartedly believe there is a difference." Melody said and her smile widened as she took in the sound of his laughter.

It was calming for some reason and she allowed herself for the first time in a very long time to relax around someone who wasn't her sister. Melody then raised her glass to take the last little drink from it before raising an eyebrow at Leonard who was studying her curiously.

"Yes?" Melody questioned after a second or two.

"You are exhausted."

"Thanks for the medical diagnosis Doc," Melody said sarcastically before setting her glass down on his desk in front of them. "I run on being exhausted."

"C'mon then." Leonard said and before Melody could really protest he had pulled her out of her chair and onto her feet. "You need to sleep,"

"Wha- wait!" Melody said giving a halfhearted protest. "What if Rhea wakes up?"

"She'll understand that you needed to sleep." Leonard insisted not letting go of his gentle grip on her arm as he pulled her out the door nodding to Nurse Christine Chapel as they walked out. Melody saw her smile and almost scowled at this.

"Where the hell are ya takin' me?" Melody demanded but still didn't pull her arm out of his grasp.

"My quarters," Leonard explained as though it were the simplest thing in the world. "You'll still be close to Rhea, and you can sleep."

"I could sleep in the sickbay!" Melody protested this logic even though she knew she was fighting a losing battle.

"No, you can't." Leonard said simply closing the argument as they came to his quarters and he keyed in the code before the door opened. "Now c'mon you need to sleep, consider it a direct medical order."

Melody paused looking at him for a moment as though trying to figure him out. Then seeing the obvious look on his face that told her if she wanted to continue to argue she might not like the consequences she sighed walking on into his quarters.

"Bed's yours," Leonard said behind her as he closed the door and locked it behind them.

"Where are you goin' to sleep?" Melody questioned an eyebrow raised betting she knew the answer to the question. "I am not makin' ya sleep on the couch!"

"I insist." Leonard said and then grinned as Melody rolled her eyes.

"No, I can sleep on the couch," Melody argued. "I'm not-"

"Darlin' we can argue about this all you want to, but you will be sleeping on the bed." Leonard said crossing his arms. "Besides I still have some work to catch up on, so you can either pip down and go get some sleep that you obviously need, or I can hypo your stubborn ass with a muscle relaxer to make you sleep."

Melody pursed her lips knowing she had basically lost the argument. Leonard smirked smugly enough Melody just wanted to slap it right off his face.

"Fine." Melody finally conceded with a sigh. "Goodnight Doc."

"Night," Leonard said turned to walk over to his couch.

Melody walked into his bedroom and paused for a moment before shaking her head and essentially collapsing on the bed not remembering even falling asleep.

Two days later found Melody sitting in a chair next to Rhea's bed head propped in her hand slightly dozing off. Rhea had finally woken up a day ago and miraculously she had been able to see at least some, which Leonard had assured Melody was the first step in getting her sight back fully.

Vasheti had found a place in Engineering with a Mr. Scot when Leonard had cleared her. Naomi and Lt. Uhura had hit it off spectacularly so Naomi could commonly be found on the bridge with her.


Melody blinked and looked up at whoever it was who was talking to spot Jim Kirk standing at the edge of Rhea's bed. He had an odd look on his face.

"Captain," Melody nodded to him moving to stand up and out of the chair. "Somethin' wrong?"

"Got a minute?" Jim questioned, he then shifted on his feet slightly uncomfortable which immediately made Melody tense. "Got some news for you, but I'd rather we talk somewhere a little more private?"

"Of course." Melody said with a nod before following him over and out of the earshot of the other nurses.

Leonard watched curiously as Jim walked in to the sickbay. He was about to ask him exactly what he thought he was doing here, when Jim walked over to Melody. The two spoke for a moment before Melody stood to follow Jim.

The two stepped over into a more secluded area of the sickbay. The two talked for a moment before Melody went completely pale and reached back to steady herself on the window still behind her. Jim reached over to place a hand on her shoulder seeming to try and comfort her, but she brushed it off before walking around him and almost seeming to be running out the doors.

After seeing this worry crossed Leonard's face and Christine looked over at him worry clouding her own face. Melody didn't react that violently to things, something must have been seriously wrong.

"Jim?" Leonard questioned walking over to where his friend still stood fist clenched a slightly pained expression on his face.

"They just found Melody's sister's body." Jim said quietly. "She had been dumped in front of a Starbase."

Chapel gasped at this a hand covering her mouth pure shock crossing her face. Leonard cursed vehemently.

"How?" Christine finally asked. "How did she die?"

"Her throat was slit." Jim said blandly.

There was a moment of silence before Leonard turned and followed Melody out the doors.

Melody felt an urgent need to leave the sickbay when Jim had calmly told her that Faith was dead and it made her feel suddenly trapped when he tried to comfort her by placing a hand on her shoulder. She needed to get out of there.

She quickly brushed Jim's soft touch off walking around him and bolted out the doors of the sickbay not even really sure where she was going. She didn't stop until her lungs were burning and she could no longer breathe without stopping.

She stopped bending over slightly putting a hand on the wall beside her drawing in ragged breaths rapidly trying desperately to get much needed oxygen back into her body. After a moment she just collapsed to her knees with a broken sob ripping its way from her throat.

It hurt.

She had not experienced this type of pain since her father had been killed nearly ten years ago now, but then she had had her dad's best friend and Faith to pull her back out when she spiraled down into this madness.

She let out another sob bracing herself on her arm that wasn't still braced against the wall grounding her against the cool metal.

She let go. She let it all go, crashing face first into this pain that she felt for losing her sister, the pain she felt for her unconscious best friend who was lying in the sickbay, the pain of losing every single one of the crew members who had been marooned with them.

She turned pressing her back against the cool metal of the wall behind her and buried her face in her knees. She didn't know how long she sat there and cried, but after a while she took a deep breath and tilted her head back against the wall behind her.

"Mel?" someone questioned and she blinked looking up recognizing Leonard's voice. "Damn took long enough to find you."

"Sorry." Melody mumbled before just closing her eyes again.

After a second or two she opened her eyes again to find Leonard sliding down the wall to sit just next to her. He didn't say anything, was just there.

"You okay?" he asked after a moment or two.

Melody let out a hysterical sounding laugh before she choked on a sob. "What the hell kind of question is that?"

"Just a simple question." Leonard shrugged and she laughed again.

"Ya are such a strange doctor." Melody said after a moment. "Ya know all of this, it is my fault. Us being marooned, Rhea's broken bones an' that damn whatever it was that has her unconscious in your sickbay, Faith's…" Melody's voice cracked unable to finish her sentence for a moment. "Death…"

"Why do you say that?" Leonard questioned carefully.

"We saved the man, Damon, who marooned us from the last planet we visited." Melody explained finally closing her eyes thinking. "He an' his wife had been captured by slavers when we found them. We were able to get them out of the grasp of their slavers an' well the slavers gave chase. Damon's wife an' I were separated from the rest of ground team, an' chased to the edge of a cliff. The cliff gave way underneath us an' I barely managed to grab a plant root on our way down…."

Melody paused again; the subject was obviously uncomfortable for her to talk about. Leonard didn't say anything just waited for her to finish knowing she needed to talk this out.

"The root wouldn' hold us both, an' when his wife realized that…she let go…." Melody finally managed out. "She let go of my hand an' fell. Killed her instantly, an' Damon always blamed me for her death. I blame myself for her death if I had been payin' closer attention we wouldn't have…."

"That's an accident Sugar," Leonard said after a moment or two of silence. "It wasn't your fault. Events happen; you couldn't stop her choice to let go to save your life."

"I just wish I had done somethin', I wish I had grabbed her hand. I shouldn' have let her go so easily…." Melody said tears now came fresh. "If I had just been payin' attention! If I had then maybe we wouldn' have ended up in this fuckin' mess. Faith would still be here an' Rhea would be fine not havin' to fuckin' worry if her sight will ever fully return or not!"

"I couldn' even face myself before but now?" Melody's voice took on a hysterical edge again and buried her face in her knees again. "I can't!"

Leonard reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder in an effort to comfort her. His touch didn't feel anything like Jim's had; there wasn't anything but open comfort and reassurance in that touch. She turned tucking herself into his side, and he in turn hesitated for a moment before accepting her into his space and pulling her closer.

His hand was warm and comforting on her lower back tracing patterns as he allowed her to cry curling up closer to him, wrapping her hands in his shirt and holding on tightly.

After while her heart wrenching sobs calmed down to soft little cries and hiccups. They both stayed where they were afterwards, Leonard still tracing soft patterns on her lower back.

"Thank you." Melody mumbled tucking her head up and under his neck before taking a deep breath and let it go slowly. A small smile found itself on her face regardless as she took in the smell of old bourbon with maybe a hint of whiskey, along with a smell that was just straight up Leonard. "I don' know what else to say,"

Leonard laughed a little before burying his face in her hair and she could feel the slight tug off the prickles of his unshaved face on her hair.

"Nothing to say thanks for, Sugar." Leonard said softly.

This was easy, Melody found. It was so easy just to stay right here, tucked up against Leonard McCoy listening to the steady beat of his heart as he absently traced patterns on her back, in some random hallway of the Enterprise. She hadn't felt like this in so long, not since before her father died.

"How am I supposed to do this?" Melody questioned after a moment. "I can' just go back to the way it was. I don' know what to do, I don' have anywhere to go and there's no way I can go back to the Ironsides not after..."

Leonard didn't say anything for a moment but his hand stopped moving on her back. There was a long silence and she heard his heart skip a beat. At this she moved pulling back out of his embrace and sitting beside him.

"Leonard?" Melody asked after a moment worry clouding her face again.

"Stay here." Leonard said after a moment turning his gaze to lock with hers. "Stay here, on the Enterprise," he then paused again. "With me."

Melody looked at him open shock crossing her face at this. There was a moment of silence as she knew he was waiting for her to say something. She opened her mouth to try and say something but only a little squeak came out.

"I won't force you into anything you don't want Melody." Leonard said obviously seeing the strike of fear flit across her eyes. "If friendship is all you want then I will gladly offer it, but I also won't lie to you and say that's all I want from you. Believe me when I say I don't think I have ever met anyone quite like you. Even my ex-wife didn't get under my skin as much as you have the last few days."

Leonard reached up and cupped the side of her face with one of his hands. It was rough and warm as he gently brushed her tears away. Melody closed her eyes trying to keep new tears from falling at the soft touch. She had never been touched so softly, like she was something precious and important.

"Maybe I'm being selfish here, but I don't want to let you go." Leonard said and she looked back at him waiting for him to continue. "You're about the best thing that has happened to me in the last few years and I don't want to let you go."

After a moment she leaned into his hand and smiled slightly. She wanted this she realized. She wanted to be right here, feeling safe and maybe almost loved, forever. She never wanted him to let her go, no matter how much it scared her.

Melody let out a deep breath before opening her eyes again to lock gazes with his. She could see everything in his gaze. Regardless of the fear that immediately went through her, Melody smiled and reached over to grab his other hand with her trembling one and held it tightly.

"Then don' ever let me go, Leonard McCoy."

:) this is a one shot! Unless of course you guys want me to continue it! Hope you like, please read and review to let me know what you think!