Title: A World of Crazy (5/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Summary: AU. Leonard is shipped to Fleet Heights where he learns that he is part of a legendary crew that could change the world—except everyone (including him) is certifiably insane.
Previous Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
So Jim demanded story-time, again. Here’s one more round for the day, because apparently the fourth chapter wasn’t enough to satisfy our crazy Captain.
Pike rounds on Jim as soon as he corners the kid in his office. “What in God’s name is the matter with you, son?”
“It’s Cupcake’s fault. He threw the first punch.”
“I don’t care who threw the first punch. You know better.” Pike’s face is a myriad of emotion: disappointment, resignation, some fear.
“You can’t say sorry and expect it to fix your mistakes, James. Those people out there—” He gestures to the halls beyond his office. “—they’re sick, Jim, and they don’t have the kind of rationality or judgment to function in normal society. You have to stop leading them around like a pack of kids!”
“No, no excuses can justify this sort of behavior. If you insist on endangering my patients, I’ll have you removed from Fleet Heights.”
“You can’t do that!”
“I can, and I will if you won’t take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.”
A fire lights in Jim’s eyes. “Responsibility? You don’t understand. How could you, you’re not insane! You don’t—” he breaks off with some strong emotion, takes a moment to shove it down. “You don’t understand what it’s like for them… I DO. To be judged because you see the world differently, or because the world cannot accept that you’re different.” Jim stalks right up to Pike and says in a low, controlled tone. “I am responsible for my crew. Who else is going to help them, Pike? Because this place? It’s just a way to make them disappear, keep ’em off the rich folks’ streets.”
Pike sags, the lines in his face suddenly deeper, the gray in his hair more prominent. “What I don’t understand is why you came back.” His eyes have a soft plea, the same look that Jim’s mother had when she begged him to understand why she had to leave him with Frank—Jim stops there. It’s painful, still. “Why, Jim? You have the chance most of your… friends won’t get; you have the chance to live your life, go to school, have a career. A family.”
Kirk closes his eyes. “I do have a family. I have one, right here, the only one I need. And they need me too, Chris.”
He knows that Pike will never truly understand his reasoning. After all, Pike’s never been strapped to a bed, alone, with only unfriendly (uncaring) faces in the background. Or felt the despair—in those lucid moments—of forever in a colorless institution, listening to the screaming down the hall.
No, Jim may be better than he was, once upon a time—enough to live a semblance of a normal life, enough not to attract attention. But he’s not cured of the memories—and he cannot be cured of his compassion or his ever-aching need to feel safe.
Here, at Fleet Heights, he is safe, secure behind these walls—and he intends to keep his crew safe too, not just in body but in spirit. So James T. Kirk accepts them, each and every one, the bad and the good. They want a break from the monotony of cafeteria food? He blackmails Samuel “Cupcake” Giotto into grocery shopping. They want an adventure? Well, that’s half of the reason why Jim has spent the majority of his adolescent in here anyway. He’s good at adventure—and apt to lose himself in it. So what if the doctors’ call it a defense mechanism? It’s been Jim’s security blanket since those long silent months in the— No, won’t think about that, Jim decides.
He shivers, tells Pike that he will be more careful in the future. “We don’t mean any harm, Chris, and you know it. I’m not initiating a revolution or anything.”
Pike’s answering smile is wry. “Just see to it that you don’t, Kirk. Puri is suspicious of you as it is.”
If Jim could see his reflection, he might take note of that gleam in his blue eyes—one that always puts others on their guard. “I can fix that.”
“No, just play it low for the next few days. Just be—”
Pike sighs as if he cannot believe he’s about to agree. “Yes.”
“Chris, I am crazy,” Jim grins. “It’s not like I have to work extra hard to bring it out.”
“That’s why I’m terrified, boy.”
“Mmmphhff..” Len mumbles into his pillow.
“What, Jim! What?” Leonard snaps as he rolls onto his side. “I’m trying to sleep, damn you.”
“But it’s tomorrow, Bones,” Kirk says just like a little kid.
“Ain’t Christmas morning yet, Jimmy. Go bother Mama Spock.”
Jim laughs loudly and climbs into Leonard’s bed. “Jim! The bed’s small enough as it—”
“Don’t worry. We’ll both fit. I know.”
The doctor sighs. “I know that you know,” he says dryly. “Jim?”
“Are you alright?”
“Oh. Don’t worry about Pike either.”
“Spock said he is your godfather.” The breathing on his neck stops for a second.
Leonard waits but no other explanation is forthcoming. He decides to let it pass. “Tell me why I shouldn’t dump you on your ass, kid.”
Jim wiggles against his back. “Because my ass is pretty?”
Leonard snorts into the crook of his arm. “How can you tell?”
“He refused to—”
“Whoa, okay, stop there.” Then, more softly, “It can’t work, Jim. Whatever it is you’re thinking.”
At least he isn’t dumb all the time. “I don’t—Jocelyn—” Why won’t the words come out?
There is a short silence. “That your wife, Bones?”
“Ex-wife.” The word pops out. For the first time, it just forms without a fight or a shuddering ache in his chest. Len closes his eyes, knocks down the unexplainable distress rising from the pit of his stomach.
Two more minutes of silence, broken only by the sound of breathing. “I’m gonna kick you out in a minute,” he warns tiredly.
Jim answers, in a voice uncharacteristically serious, “I don’t want to be alone.”
There’s no choice, then, but one. “Okay.”
At first, Len tries to pretend that he is not in bed with Captain Kirk but fails miserably in the end. The heat of Jim’s body makes up for the lack of a decent blanket, at the very least.