Title: A World of Crazy (8/10)
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.
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We All Fall Down
“Well, McCoy, how nice to see you again.”
The doctor’s head is slapped to one side. Leonard blinks his eyes open, groans at the pain on the side of his face and the back of his head. He blinks again because of the blurry vision but it doesn’t clear. His brain sluggishly manages to dreg up enough sense to worry—to think about head trauma (concussion, which stage?).
“Hit him again, a little more gently this time.”
Well, Len supposes that the next slap (which brings him roundly to consciousness) is more gentle than the first—except to a man who’s probably bleeding out the back of his head. He makes the words “Awake, okay?” a barely intelligible grunt.
It’s good enough for Dr. Puri. “Mr. McCoy,” the director tells him, “I do not appreciate disruption or violence in my institution.”
“Excuse me?” Len asks with a gasp. There’s an awful throbbing in his skull. God, he bets it’s fractured somewhere.
“I suppose we were lucky that your fellow inmates—” Lord, does the man think he’s running a prison? “—were able to subdue you before you caused any irreparable damage to another person.”
“I di—didn’t do anything. Someone h—hit me!” Len trembles when his memory bank pulls up the doe-eyed Chekov apologizing; his heart goes why?
Dr. Puri tilts his head, narrows his eyes and starts a low conversation with a person Leonard cannot see. He hurts too badly to concentrate. The light is bright in his eyes, sends needles of pain straight into his head. Yes, he is definitely concussed.
When Len tries to lift a hand to his forehead, he realizes he can’t. “What the—” Oh shit. Oh fucking shit. Why is he in a fucking straight jacket? Panic closes in on him, and Len struggles to control himself. No panicking allowed when supporting a head-wound. Stop it, Leonard! Stop it, damn you!
He squeezes his eyes shut and counts to ten. Then again, to twenty.
“Please let me out of this thing,” he asks quietly, hears the low begging tone of his voice.
“Now, Leonard,” Puri says with a gentleness that isn’t in his eyes, “We can’t have you attacking people; this is for your own good. I want you to just stay here a while, think about how to behave properly—like a man, not an animal.”
Leonard whimpers. “I’ve got a concussion—I need medical attention.”
Why is this bastard smiling? “We’re aware of your condition, son. The sooner you learn your lesson, the sooner we can treat you. Understand?”
He wants to rage about exactly what kind of cold-hearted SOB Dr. Puri is, to let a person suffer. Doctors don’t do that. But he knows such words will only succeed in driving the nail deeper into his coffin—and Len’s not ready to die. He puts on his best humble voice, despite the nausea tightening his throat, and says, “I’m sorry, Sir. I didn’t mean it, I swear. I’m… sick, please, just let me go!”
Those sharp black eyes are watching him, assessing. Len hopes they can pick out the real terror ripping through him. What Dr. Puri sees must satisfy him, because he tells Leonard so. Then, however, he also informs McCoy, “While I believe you, son, I’m afraid I cannot abandon justifiable punishment. Don’t worry, this is best for everyone.” The pat on his restraints is not comforting at all.
Until now, Leonard has held his panic at bay. It’s the heavy slam of the cell door, the darkness and quiet falling, and each final snick of the engaging locks that sends Leonard over the edge. He screams until he blacks out.
The usual dinner chatter is absent. Jim strides in with that little bounce in his walk, but the smile falters on his face when he notices the atmosphere. Then his heart skips a beat or two when he also discovers that neither Spock nor Bones are present.
Jim settles between Scotty and Sulu. “Hey, crew. What’s going on?”
No one answers him, and Pavel’s got his eyes pinned to the vegetables on his tray, slowly picks up a piece of broccoli with his fork. That alarms Kirk plenty because Chekov hates vegetables. He watches as the kid actually puts it in his mouth and freaking chews it.
That means only one thing: Chekov feels guilty. The Russian doesn’t force himself to eat anything leafy or green unless he has done something that requires a serious reprimand.
Jim tries, “Where’s Spock and Bones?”
Sulu hunches down and arranges his three butter knives into a triangle. Jim stares at it for too long before swallowing.
A bit of relief melts the cold ice gripping his insides. “Spock!” Jim turns and jumps up from the table. Then he sees Spock’s expression. “What’s the matter?”
“Doctor McCoy has been placed under arrest by the Klingons.”
The world stops. Those words sink like stones to the bottom of the man’s soul. Spock gives his Captain a full measured look of half-worry/half-pain. He is sending a very Human message: Jim, what are we going to do?
Just like that, Jim stops being Jimmy—the boy of a thousand wishes and too much careless adventuring. He isn’t James T. Kirk—son of a dead farmer and a name on a medical record locked in Pike’s office cabinet.
He is Captain.
And Bones needs him.
Uhura watches the Captain go rigid after Spock’s announcement. Then, not a few seconds later, he spins on his heel and snarls at his crew, “With me!”
Everyone scrambles out of their seats at the snap-command. Captain Kirk is across the cafeteria at a rapid pace, Spock matching his stride. She hangs back to take one last, long look at the natural congruency of the two officers, side-by-side, on a mission to save a man very precious to them both. It’s so amazingly right, something her heart knew but her brain couldn’t previously accept, that the lingering jealous dissipates without a fight.
Uhura catches up, lays a hand on the arm of Mr. Scott and gives him her best reassuring smile.
Doctor McCoy will be home before dawn.
“Explain, Mr. Spock,” the Captain commands.
“At 1845, after the Doctor’s failure to return to our quarters, I inquired, of Admiral Pike, the Doctor’s whereabouts. Doctor McCoy engaged in conversation with the Admiral this afternoon.”
Spock offers no further on information on why McCoy would be talking to Pike, and Jim has neither the time nor desire to contemplate that question. Rescue Bones—it’s all that matters to him.
“Proceed,” he tells his First Officer when Spock is silent for more than ten seconds.
“At such time, in the Admiral’s office, he received a call in my presence from the High Chancellor of the Klingons. I was able to deduce, from the amount of conversation to which I was privy, that Doctor McCoy has been incarcerated on the charges of assault and intent to harm.”
Kirk rounds on Spock. “Impossible!”
“Highly unlikely, Captain, but I agree with your sentiment.”
The rest of his crew has halted as well, but at some distance. Kirk goes cold, suddenly, as he stares into each of their faces—notes the sweat on Scotty’s brow, the way Sulu’s eyes dart from Chekov to the floor and back. Only Uhura looks calm.
There isn’t a moment to lose, to help Bones, but he has to say, quite simply, “You knew.” Chekov makes a small whimper of apology.
Kirk’s face goes blank (shuts down), from habit. Never show weakness to the enemy.
“You knew before Pike and Spock, didn’t you? Which means that you were involved.”
“Captain—” Scotty breaks their silence, but Kirk raises his hand to halt any forthcoming words.
“I do not want to hear an explanation. Just know this: if—in even the smallest way—you contributed to Doctor McCoy’s situation, you have betrayed me.”
Chekov’s eyes are filling but there is no room for sympathy in Jim to be moved by tears.
“Dismissed,” he tells them.
“Captain!” Uhura gasps. “You need us! What about—”
“No!” he snaps, his patience gone and his anger terrible. “You won’t come within one foot of Bones again!”
They utter shocked, hurt Captain!‘s but he reiterates, implacable, “Dismissed!”
The stunned crew is left behind. When the Captain and First Officer enter the stairwell, Jim sags for moment against the icy-cold concrete.
“Captain?” The caution in Spock’s voice makes him wince.
“Sorry, Spock. I—just didn’t ever think that they—that my crew…” He pushes off the wall and pulls himself together—stuffs the distracting emotion away.
Spock reaches out, briefly and lightly touches him. “Jim, your pain is understandable but I must ask that you grant a fair trial before judgment is passed.”
He nods. “After, Spock. After we get Bones back.”
If Leonard wasn’t entirely crazy before, he is now. He wakes up intermittently, remembers where he is—that he cannot move—and wishes to sink back into oblivion.
So this is Isolation. Somehow, it just doesn’t compare to the movies; it’s worse. A fucking padded call—covered in thick rough cloth, dirty in a way that Len doesn’t want to contemplate—with one flickering (half-gone) light embedded into the ceiling, too high up. Does it stay on all night? Even if he could reach it, what would Len do, bound as he is?
He imagines biting the wires with his teeth. (Quick escape route, at least.)
The flickering of the light makes dancing shapes on the walls. Not that his mind is in any shape to filter out such distortion—or understand it. Damn, his head hurts.
Leonard chuckles darkly to himself. What a sight he must be, moaning like this and curled up on the floor. A pathetic creature of a man, probably soon enough reduced to gibbering and drooling.
When he is awake and aware, he talks about the medical procedure for treating a mid-grade concussion. Over and over again, repeating the textbook material, because Leonard is fully cognizant that someone has to be nearby and watching his cell. (Maybe waiting for a psychological break?) Well, damned if he’s going to let them forget that he is injured.
So he talks, not to himself, but to the world at large—and the orderlies down the hall—about symptoms (which he has) and how to check the cranial pressure without causing further damage, what kind of medication is best prescribed for an adult without other notable medical conditions, so on and so forth.
It soothes a mind reminiscent of a trapped butterfly beating against glass.
It keeps him, not calm precisely, but at least rational about his predicament.
Good Lord, how he wants out! And if they knew how desperate he was, deep down, what he’d be willing to do to get released from this pit in Hell… It makes him ashamed.
He keeps talking, the black-outs lessening in frequency (a miracle, considering his injury), all the while praying in the privacy of his heart for salvation.
It sounds something like “Jim, Spock, please, get me outta this and I swear to God I’ll be the best little wife this side of the Mississippi. Please!“
“Don’t cry, Pavel,” Sulu pets his roommate anxiously. “The Captain didn’t mean it.”
“But he did!” wails the navigator.
Scotty turns to Uhura. “Fix it, Nyota.”
“Damn you, lassie! If we don’t cap the pipe, it’ll just keep flooding!”
Uhura bites down on her lower lip to keep it from trembling. She spins around and heads down the corridor—swipes at her eyes when no one can see her face.
Pike is in his office with his head in his hands when Uhura barges in. “Admiral, it’s my fault!”
“Nyota, what? Hey, calm down.”
“It’s my fault,” she tells him. “I made up the whole plan and Scotty and the others were just doing what I told them to!”
Pike puts his hands on her shoulders and says, in a steel-toned voice, “Calm down. Now.”
A command to follow. She breathes through her nose several times and wipes at her eyes with the back of her hand. “Yes, Sir.”
“Good. Now what is it that you did, Nyota?”
“I came up with a plan so that the Captain could rescue the Doctor but—” Her heart constricts painfully. “— but now Captain’s mad and we’re not going to be a crew anymore—and I don’t know what to do if I can’t be in the Captain’s crew!” The last part ends in a keen despite her best efforts to act like a brave officer. (Jim’s dismissed them—all of them.)
Pike pushes her into a chair and orders, “Sit. Don’t move.”
She nods, licking at the tears on her lips.
He picks up the phone, punches in a number with vicious jabs. The signal is busy, even Uhura can hear it from across the room. It’s a monotonous, terrifying steady beep.
The Admiral is at his door in a flash, tells her, “I want you to get all involved and meet me at the elevator. Can you do that?”
“Yes, Sir.” He’s gone, then, and Uhura picks herself up as best she can.