A/N: Sooooooo yup I've started a new story! I really do hate posting WIPs, so let me know if you want the rest of the story in one go or just the next installment. Naturally, it'll take longer for the whole story. I find it amusing and slightly tragic that authors like bashing Kirk up with the Club of Angst, but that's what I decided to go with this time. First chapter: I injure Kirk, throw in some distress, and push Spock in to see what happens. We shall see what will become of this bwahahahahaha. Reviews and comments are welcome as always. I try to answer every one :)
It was an undeniably evident and intergalactically acknowledged fact that Captain Kirk of the Enterprise was a remarkable man in several very different ways. Spock began to categorize the components of this thought into orderly mental files as he waited in the corridor, sorting out the exact ways that made James Tiberius Kirk the inexplicably unique being he was. For one, he was an immensely gifted strategist and commander, able to make split-second decisions that, more often than not, resulted in inordinate amounts of paperwork and a trail of shattered regulations leading to strangely satisfying results. There were many other reasons, forty-seven that Spock could identify, to be exact, not excluding some talent at chess and and a distastefully large amount of libido. Perhaps most prominent of all these reasons, however, was the Captain's overall irresponsible and unfounded beliefs that his physical limits were well beyond what they truly were and that, in the end, every situation would have a pleasing result if he was personally involved in its progression. This would inevitably lead to physical trauma ranging from scrapes and bruises to, say, ruptured flesh and shattered bone from land-based mammals. Predictably, that in turn resulted in a raging Dr. McCoy, whose temper was not to be taken lightly in the best of circumstances, armed with flailing hyposprays and growled threats.
Spock had barely processed that last bit of information when the medbay doors swooshed open, expelling an irate McCoy with no less than five datapads tucked under an arm. "Doctor, is the cap-"
"He's alive, more or less," McCoy grumbled. "No thanks to himself. Are you aware, Spock, that he managed to completely shatter four ribs this time, two of which puncturing his right lung? I had to regrow an entire kidney, for crying out loud! I don't know what's worse, having to do it or knowing that it's not the first time I've had to. There was this one time back at the Academy-"
Spock decided to intervene. "I am indeed aware, doctor, having performed my own analysis of the captain's injuries while...escorting him back aboard." He had all but carried the captain to the medbay at a dead run, trailing blood all the way. He wondered absently if the corridors had been cleaned yet.
"You mean while dragging his sorry pieces of ass back on the ship," McCoy muttered. "Whatever. The moron's breathing and in one piece again and I suppose that's all I can really ever hope for. You can go on back and see him now." As Spock inclined his head politely and made to move past McCoy, he noticed the doctor giving a weary sigh and run a hand over a face lined with stress. A very human gesture, Spock observed, having witnessed the captain making the same motion before, when he thought nobody was looking. Spock had seen, however, and said nothing out of grudging respect for the man. That respect swiftly gave way to a prickling sense of irritation now, as he stood over the sleeping man in his biobed and gazed down.
James Kirk lay on his back, a blanket tucked in tightly over his chest. His arms lay over the fabric, hands curled loosely at his sides. A medical armband was fastened over his right wrist, labeled "BIGHEAD MORON" in McCoy's spiky scrawl. His skin was several shades paler than its usual hue, dark bruises prominent under his eyes and along the sides of his neck where McCoy's inexhaustible stock of hyposprays had plunged mercilessly. His eyes were closed now, twitching under their thin lids, chest rising and falling in quiet snores.
Spock felt his hands tighten behind his back as he watched the sleeping man before him. A strangling coil of ugly...injustice, long since buried from his childhood days of rejection and mockery, now reared within his chest and wrapped around his throat. Illogical. He was simply expressing disapproval of his captain's behavior, which was merely logical in the case of James T. Kirk. It wasn't fair, after all, that Spock had had to stand here time and time again, witnessing the results of his captain's utter disregard for his own body. Was self-preservation completely absent in the man?
Spock had not thought that possible, having been taught that love of one's self was the underlying motivation of all homo sapiens behavior. After several months of service under Kirk, however, he had begun to harbor his own severe doubts as to the validity of his xenocultural education. He had never once witnessed the man throw himself behind another for protection, nor taken steps to ensure his own comfort and safety before that of his crew. If anything, he actively strove to accomplish the exact opposite, impulsively placing himself in every possible dangerous position so that other crew members would not have to. It was, Spock concluded, most irrational and utterly displeasing. He himself was, after all, the captain's First Officer. Did Kirk find him dissatisfying in some way, or lacking in the performance of his duties? This oddly troubled him, and he sat down in the bedside chair in order to puzzle over the unwelcome emotion.
The sheets rustled as Kirk stirred in his sleep, fingers twitching as his hand flexed once and stilled. Spock found himself watching the movement unblinkingly, fascinated by the play of the medbay's sterile light against tendons and sculpted muscles. The calluses on rough fingertips, swollen knuckles from excessive amounts of bar-originated violence, the faint shadows of hair on Kirk's bare forearms. His captain had quite the aesthetically pleasing hands, Spock thought. Well-shaped. Dynamic.
He was suddenly seized with an urge to touch Kirk's hand. The sudden desire was swiftly followed by overwhelming confusion and bewilderment. Spock was all too aware of his dislike of physical contact. In that, at least, he was fully Vulcan. He reflected briefly that he had not ingested food in nearly 3.7 days. Perhaps his desire had been misdirected by the need of food. He would seek nutrition immediately upon leaving the medbay. For now, however, he was content to wait until the captain awoke. It had almost become a tradition now, for Spock to read the captain the list of regulations he had broken and lecture him on the rationalities of preserving the state of his body in order to maintain his ability to command on a sound basis. He preferred to do this at the captain's bedside, where the man was forced to lie still under threat of incurring McCoy's formidable wrath.
Kirk's face wrinkled slightly and Spock recognized the symptoms of awakening. He composed his thoughts swiftly, compiling the usual list of reprimands and peering into the captain's face expectantly. An eyelid crackled open, bright blue searing into Spock's face, and then the other. Kirk squinted at his First Officer for a long moment-4.3 seconds-before directing his attention to his immediate surroundings. "Aw, hell," he croaked, voice raspy from disuse. "Arghhhh." Spock graciously waited six seconds, allowing the captain to regain his full mental capabilities, before smoothly beginning, "Captain, you have been unconscious for 3.7 hours. I will remind you that, four hours ago, you decided to accompany the planetside party for reasons unknown and encountered an irate mammal similar to your Terran boar. After reviewing the reports of witnessing crew members, I now understand that, upon discovering the presence of said mammal, you not only attempted to approach it, but threw yourself in its path when it inevitably charged the party. Is that correct, Captain?"
Kirk peered at him suspiciously. "Yeah. It is," he answered, not without some degree of predictable defiance. Spock felt the stirrings of irritation again and swiftly smothered it. He continued, "The doctor has informed me that you suffered four broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a completely destroyed kidney, not to mention heavy blood loss."
Kirk groaned, flopping his head back against his stack of pillows. "What, is that all? Explains why I feel like shit," he mumbled. "The kid okay?"
Spock blinked once, twice, attempting to analyze the bizarre question. Kirk, perhaps noticing his difficulty, clarified, "Yeoman McGee. The thing was going straight for him."
Ah. Spock should have expected such an event, though it had not been included in the reports. Purposefully, he now suspected. It was not the first occurrence, after all. "Yeoman McGee suffered no injuries," Spock confirmed. "Or, at least, I have not observed his presence within medbay after the party's return. As usual, Captain, you remain the sole injured member of the expedition." Kirk glanced at him sharply, slanting his eyes without lifting his head from the pillows. "Something you trying to say here, Mr. Spock?" he asked. Spock observed the challenge in his tone and met it with sudden rising displeasure. "Not at all, Captain. I am merely stating that you have a proclivity to somehow sustain injuries meant for another."
Kirk's hand twitched, a flap intended to dismiss the accusation, no doubt. "I'm fine."
Spock opened his mouth, about to strongly disagree with the ridiculous claim, when McCoy reentered the scene with a stack of PADDS. "Thanks to me, as always," the doctor snapped, slapping the PADDS down on Kirk's bedside table. "And Spock, I suppose," he added reluctantly.
Kirk glanced at Spock again, that flash of startling blue that never ceased to catch Spock off guard, and shifted his attention to the datapads. "What's this?"
"I've brought your work down from the bridge. You're staying here tonight, where I can keep an eye on you. NO." McCoy raised a hand to Kirk's rising protests. "I don't care if you're 'fine'. I'm your damn doctor, so I get to tell you what's fine and what's not. I've patched you up for now, but one wrong move and-"
"-you'll be spewing blood through your side. Won't be so good-looking then, I promise you."
"I said no. Tell him, Spock. Tell him that he's an irrational git and he'll get himself killed for real one of these days, like you always do. Go on."
"Captain, I am compelled to agree with the doctor. Your past behavior suggests that, if left to your own devices, you will no doubt find some innocuous method to deal yourself severe physical trauma."
"Hey, that was low-"
"The Vulcan has spoken. Watch him, Spock. I've gotta eat something. You haven't had anything, right? I'll get you a salad on the way. Don't let him wander off."
"Affirmative, doctor. I am aware of the captain's tendencies to remove himself from medical care prematurely."
"I'm right here, you know," Kirk complained. He was largely ignored by both men. McCoy left shortly afterwards, after nailing Kirk with one final glare, and the two of them were alone once more.
Kirk sighed, settling himself into the bed and closing his eyes. After long minutes had passed in silence, Spock assumed he had fallen back asleep. He was therefore somewhat surprised when the captain spoke quietly, eyes still closed. "It's not what you think."
"I am uncertain as to your meaning, sir."
"I...It's not I like getting...you know. Hurt and stuff." His eyes opened then, and fixed on Spock's. Illogically, Spock's chest tightened and he swallowed, trying to force the feeling away. Perhaps his hunger was more severe than he had thought. Kirk blinked and looked away, staring up at the ceiling instead. This somehow disappointed Spock immensely, and he was appalled at the reaction. Surely his self-control had not deteriorated to such a flimsy state? He berated himself silently, then threw up as many rigid restraints as he could before returning his attention to the captain.
"I did not intend to insinuate such a thing, sir," he said carefully. "I am aware that you do not derive pleasure from physical pain."
Kirk smiled slightly, a twisted expression that contained no humor at all. "No. It's just me being selfish, that's all. I've always been incredibly self-absorbed, Spock."
Spock felt compelled to disagree at this point. "Captain, not once have I observed any act of yours that has indicated self-absorption. In fact, 96.7% of your actions has indicated the-"
"You're wrong." Kirk lifted a hand, waving it about distractedly like a limp flag. His armband caught his attention and he read it silently, amusement gleaming in his eyes. A halfhearted chuckle rumbled from his chest.
Spock was beginning to feel frustrated, an emotion he was not completely unacquainted with when in Kirk's presence. "Please expound upon my misunderstanding, then, Captain."
Kirk's hand dropped back down. "It's complicated."
"Attempt to explain."
Kirk's fingers twitched and Spock's eyes snapped down to the action. They were tugging absently at the sheets, stroking and smoothing the fabric alternately. A peculiar feeling seeped through Spock's faltering restraints, infusing his chest with a full sensation. He moved without thinking, reaching out to-
"I'm back." McCoy dumped a tray of salad unceremoniously onto Spock's lap. The Vulcan blinked and withdrew his hand, feeling somewhat lost with himself.
"Where's mine?" Kirk asked plaintively.
"Yours is here." McCoy smirked as he hooked an IV bag to Kirk's drip. "Lots of healthy vitamins for you, big boy."
Spock rose quietly while the ensuing argument carried on, bearing his tray with him to the door. He suspected that the captain would not carry on their previous conversation with the doctor in the room, and McCoy would most likely not leave for the remainder of Kirk's medical stay. Therefore, it was only logical to confront the man after he was cleared for duty. It was only logical to wait, but Spock found that, despite his pristine arguments to the contrary, that he did not wish to.
A/N: edit: fixed some typos and spaced out paragraphs better. Reviews are greatly appreciated as always and will be lavished, adored, and stored away with great care and affection!