Title: Selling the Farm
Summary: Jim rose up to look into the mirror and before McCoy could react, he sent his fist into the glass. Post STID & follow up to 'Starfleet Medical Hustle'.
Spoilers: Star Trek Into Darkness, general AOS
Disclaimer: The Star Trek franchise and its characters are property of Paramount.
Author's Notes: Well, its finally here. Although it's not complete (it's mostly complete…I think) I wanted to go ahead and get things going. It's been a much slower process than I anticipated, but it is quite a bit longer than SFM Hustle. It's not necessary to have read it previously; this could stand by itself for the most part. As always, although I am a doctor I'm not that kind so I happily practice with my fictional degree. Things have been invented and stretched for the sake of the story. I hope you enjoy!
I apologize for any mistakes, this was un-beta'd
"Follow my finger," McCoy was in full doctor mode waving his finger methodically in front of Jim's face and watching his eyes track it.
Jim was too exhausted to complain as McCoy asked him to squeeze his hands and wiggle his toes. The act of simply being awake was sapping all of his energy; he couldn't even lift his head off the pillow. He watched McCoy pull the sheet and blanket back over his bare feet and sit on the side of the bed next to him to input his results.
"How do you feel, Jim?"
"Tired," Jim blinked wearily.
"You're gonna feel that way for a while. Saying that your body has been through a lot is an understatement. Any pain, nausea, or dizziness?"
Now that McCoy brought it up he could feel an ache that had settled deep into his bones and any slight movement would cause it to flare up. Dying and coming back to life apparently took quite a toll on the body.
"Everything kinda hurts."
"Okay, I'll get you something for that. You're on a pretty potent cocktail of painkillers and other meds right now, but if it gets worse I need you to tell me. If anything feels off I need you to be honest, we're in uncharted territory here."
He remembered the relieved faces that greeted him when he first woke up should've explained it all to him. Even Spock had looked genuinely happy to see him. They had assured him that he was going to be okay, that his crew was okay, and that his ship was damaged but would be repaired before he was pulled back under.
"How bad did it get? Chekov was here when I woke up…"
The poor boy had tripped over his own two feet with excitement to alert McCoy that his Captain had woken up again. Truth be told, McCoy was just as excited to see Jim awake but he kept himself together walking into the ICU room.
"We didn't want to leave you alone," McCoy said quietly.
Of course things were bad; you died. Jim seemed to process the words and the connotation implied. Things must've been really bad for McCoy not to say anything directly. Normally the man had to be reminded to be subtle. However he was grateful for not bringing it up, he didn't have the stamina for that impending conversation.
He had a ton of questions to ask but his body wasn't cooperating. His eyelids were getting heavier and heavier by the second and no amount of willpower was stopping them from dropping as the biobed underneath him leveled out.
McCoy watched as Jim's eyes fluttered shut after a brief struggle to remain open. He brushed an errant lock of hair off Jim's forehead and pulled the blanket up to his shoulders. Jim looked every bit the kid he was. McCoy tapped the commands to deliver the promised pain medication and Jim sighed with relief.
Chekov was waiting for him outside of the ICU room when he stepped out to go home.
"Is ewerything okay?" the asked eagerly.
"Yep, I'm all done in there."
"Can I go back in?"
"Of course. He should sleep for the rest of the night with what I just gave him so I'm headed out. Comm me if you need me."
"Don't worry, Doctor McCoy, I will be most wigilant," he assured the doctor.
McCoy nodded and patted the boy on his shoulder. Since the crew rotations started he'd made a conscious effort to go home every night and sleep in his bed. Luckily the hospital was keeping him busy with other patients so falling asleep was blessedly easy, but he'd wake up at least once panting from a nightmare.
The tired man sank into his bed after stripping down to his shorts. He set his alarm and made sure the alert was at its loudest on his comm unit before rolling over and drifting off to sleep.
His skin was on fire and his arms were weakening with exertion. He looked around and saw that was in the core again, hanging on for dear life on the manifold. The bottom manifold suddenly shifted into place and there was a bright blue flash causing him to jerk in response.
"Jim?" a sweet voice called out to him.
"What?" he answered without opening his eyes.
"Are you awake?"
"Yeah," he opened his eyes to see his communications officer beaming back at him.
"Hey yourself," he squeezed the warm hand that had found its way into his.
"How do you feel?"
"Alive," he said after taking a moment to catalogue the various aches and pains throughout his body.
"That you are," Uhura looked down.
"I've been told that you had something to do with it. Thank you."
"Don't say anything, people might actually think I like you," she looked up grinning.
"Your secret is safe with me," the sick man managed a quick smile.
"Leonard's the one you really need to thank, he was the one that actually brought you back to us."
Jim nodded; he knew he owed his best friend everything. Even his tired mind could put together from their brief conversation that he'd put the poor man through the wringer. I know I should be happy but—
"You're awake again," a distinctly southern voice interrupted his thoughts.
"Speak of the devil," Jim supplied.
"Yeah, you're gonna be calling me that after what I'm about to do to you."
Jim noticed that the man's hands were full. Lying there on a tray was the biggest syringe he'd ever seen in his life filled with some thick yellow fluid flanked by a few smaller, and less menacing ones. His grip on Uhura's hand tightened before she could get out of the chair.
"Your bone marrow is shot so we've started you on some stem cell therapy to get your immune system up and going again," the doctor set the tray down on a hovering table.
Jim's mind was too slow to protest McCoy exposing his hip, "What is that?" he saw a metal cannula disappearing into his skin.
"We've been injecting it directly into your marrow. I'm gonna inject a local first," McCoy explained as he took one of the small syringes and attached it to the port at the end of the plastic tubing taped to Jim's skin.
Jim was about to ask why but he saw McCoy depress the plunger and his vision went white. The pain in his hip was overwhelming; it was indescribable. He'd never felt a pain so deep before. He barely registered Uhura tightening her grip as he was left breathless.
"Breathe, Jim, let the medicine work," the doctor was attaching another smaller syringe.
"No more," he gasped.
"I'm sorry, Jim, but you need this," McCoy was pressing down on the plunger.
The next wave of pain was dulled, but it still made him grit his teeth. It was too difficult to try and contain his emotions in front of Uhura; she placed her blessedly cool hand on his head.
"Okay, last one," the largest syringe was twisted into place, "You ready?"
McCoy saw Jim clench his eyes shut and nod. It broke his heart to do this to the man after everything he'd been through but it'd all be for nothing if someone sneezed on him and killed him. He steeled himself for what he was about to do.
"Breathe through it," he began inching the plunger down.
Jim kept from crying out but McCoy saw a tear slide down the man's face. Uhura looked like she was about to cry too but she held it together and whispered soothingly into her captain's ear. He depressed the plunger as quickly as was safe, but there was a lot of fluid that had to go in.
"I'm all done, Jim," McCoy injected the last few milliliters. "Pain meds are on their way," he quickly commanded the IV box to deliver a dose of analgesics.
"That was brutal," Jim was trying to catch his breath.
"I know, I'm sorry. You're almost done with the series though, only three more treatments but they're spaced out to every other day," McCoy put the hospital gown and bed sheets back in place before disposing of the equipment in a biotrash chute.
"Don't tell anyone," Jim turned his head to face his comms officer.
"I promise. I'll be here for all of them if you want?" Uhura ran her fingers through his golden locks.
A weary nod was her only reply. She continued to run her fingers through his hair until the exhaustion from the pain and the analgesics caught up with him and he drifted off. Her gazed turned to the doctor who looked devastated. The man was a miracle worker and had fought to bring Jim back from death's clutches. She was certain that inflicting that much pain was more than he could take after watching his best friend fight for his life over the past two weeks. There had been hints as to how he truly felt about Jim's death, but she imagined that he had to shove them deep down to focus.
"I can't do this to him, but I can't let someone else do it either. He's been through so much already," McCoy tiredly sat down on the edge of the bed.
"It's not going to be easy," she pulled her hand from Jim's tresses and grasped the doctor's shaking hands.
"It never is with Jim Kirk is it?" he forced a smile.
"No it's not. We're here for him and for you, Leonard. We will get through this."
McCoy took a deep breath and nodded, "I have rounds but I'll be back later to sit with him for a bit."
"Take all the time you need, you need to be strong for him."
"How many were lost?"
"Doctor McCoy threatened me with enough hypos to kill me if I told you anything," the helmsman wasn't so easily swayed.
"Sulu," Jim pleaded.
"No way, and don't think about pulling rank either," Sulu returned to the novel he'd been reading from.
"No one will tell me anything."
"You need to focus on yourself."
Jim's mind was still slow but it was still active enough to start driving his 'babysitters' crazy with his questioning during his brief snippets of consciousness. So many questions needed answers.
There wasn't a chronometer anywhere to be seen so he'd measured the time by the visitors that were there during his moments of wakefulness. Bones had sat with him silently for a while during what he assumed to be the previous day, and Spock was there when he woke up from another nightmare sometime during the night. This time it was growing dark again and Sulu was here and was reading aloud from a silly Western novel.
He'd done nothing but lay in bed while specialists and nurses checked on him, tested his various functions, replenished his IVs, ran scans, took blood samples, and emptied a bag of his urine that was collecting on the side of the biobed. The nurse who'd done it last had been way too cheery and he nearly died of embarrassment when he realized that he'd pissing via a catheter. I did not sacrifice myself to have a tube shoved up my dick. The sad thing was there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it other than lay there and sleep. He was so frustrated.
"Please, Sulu, how many?" he'd managed to summon enough strength to rub his eyes with his hand.
Sulu stopped reading and sighed, setting down the book.
"I just want to know…"
"I know you do, but we worked too hard to bring you back. You just woke up from a coma."
Again he could read between the lines. If his crew had been given specific instructions not to tell him then the number had to be high. Of course it had to be high with the amount of damage his ship had taken during its confrontation with the Vengeance and then its plummet to Earth.
Sulu's lack of response was everything he needed to know, the losses were severe.
Finally an answer he could give Sulu let loose a breath he'd been holding, "He's awaiting to be tried for his crimes."
At least something went as planned.
"Jim, please rest. Doctor McCoy will be upset with the both of us."
Another deflected question, another bad outcome. The only really bad thing that could come from a damaged ship like that was it crashing into something, it's not like Khan had left its crew alive.
"What did it hit?"
"What did it hit?" Jim tried to be as commanding as he could be in his weakened state.
"No, Jim," Sulu snapped the book shut.
Jim wisely backed off; he'd never seen Sulu snap before. Luckily he was saved by a nurse who came to do her final checks before the night shift took over. She smiled sweetly at him before lowering the head of the biobed and tucking him in. His weakened body had no energy to spare to fight the wave of exhaustion that was suddenly washing over him. Something must've dosed itself into the IV line feeding into his veins.
"Just rest Jim, I promise we'll tell you everything when you're up for it."
He really wished people would stop telling him to rest but his body had other ideas and pulled him under without much of a fight.