Title: Never Lost Just Found (6/7)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Summary: FH!verse (AU); Sequel to A World of Crazy. Christmas Eve approaches.
Previous Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
James Kirk does not have the experience of falling in-and-out of love. He has sexual experience, a surface understanding of lust, of want and desire. He knows little about the slow fall for another person, until the attachment between them is so deeply rooted that it may bend under pressure but will not break.
When Jim returned to Fleet Heights, he met a man named Spock and felt, for the first time, a need for more. Spock may have been tight-lipped and silent to most, but Jim could see the spark of that something returned in those dark eyes. It was little trouble, in the end, to begin a relationship with him. Those times were joyous and hopeful for a young man that had dreamed of companionship—of those two missing pieces that, in his mind, made him whole (made him able to function, to not be afraid). In a small way, they—Jim and Spock—began as an obsession for each other until the first few frantic months of this-has-to-work passed and gradually lost its urgency for something sweeter. It settled into calmness. The Vulcan soothed a hurt in Jim that he had steadily ignored for years and, in return, Jim loved Spock as just as he was. Together, they were strong—not quite complete—but a force and a passion that could not be undone.
Jim thought he understood, then; that he knew all there was to know of matters of the heart.
But he did not. Not until Bones arrived and the real meaning of love-at-first-sight struck him like Cupid’s arrow. Here was a man, not just the third to a fantasy, but a real flesh-and-blood person that made Jim want to drop to his knees and beg for a touch or a look.
Jim reacted instantly: he pursued his Bones with dogged determination, unwilling to give up on a thing that-could-be. McCoy ignored him for weeks and, finally, one day snarled right into his face “leave me the fuck alone!” It was the funniest, loveliest sound in the world—a sound he wanted to hear for the rest of his life. So he kept on going, kept pursuing until Bones began to grow too tired to fight him. By then, Spock had joined Jim in the pursuit and they tried their best to capture the elusive doctor.
But Jim is inexperienced, really, except for Spock (and vice versa). They knew that they wanted Leonard to be a part of them and forgot the basic assumptions of every fairy tale and love story ever read. Love is freely given and received; it is a two-sided coin, both sides of which make the whole. And they could not understand that a man like Leonard McCoy, who already knows about love, would fear it. He’s a man who fell hard and was left with nothing; he is a broken heart that has seen the ugly side of loving someone.
Jim did not understand the term “broken-hearted” until now. If this feeling is even a margin of the pain Bones experienced at the hands of his ex-wife, then Jim could forgive him for his reluctance to love.
There is a surprising bitterness that comes with a broken heart. Kirk feels it in his core, hangs onto it, because he is not sure that he can keep himself in one piece without the fire of anger to carry him through the stretch of days. It used to be anticipation and joy that kept him going, to that long-awaited Christmas Eve; now he dreads the day, has yet to tell anyone (the rest of the crew) that the plans might as well be cancelled. Those words will be his final acceptance of a future without McCoy and, as much as he burns and aches at the thought of Bones, some part of him is not ready to acknowledge the no-win scenario.
Spock stays with him now, in his room, which is a testament to the Vulcan’s unhappiness with Doctor McCoy. Jim refuses to picture, at night, Bones alone on a large otherwise empty bed. Instead, he buries his face against Spock’s back and pretends to sleep until exhaustion does pull him into oblivion.
It’s mostly his foul mood (and broken heart) on which he blames his subsequent blindness to Spock’s condition. It isn’t until six days later, when he wakes to a thrashing bedmate, that Jim realizes he has been too focused on his own pain. Spock is sweating and hot. Not just hot, but burning hot with fever. Jim tries to wake him up, does so for only a moment; Spock blinks heavily at him (at the concern on his face) and rolls away.
The only reply is a hacking cough that rocks the bed-frame.
Jim wastes no more time. He scrambles for his robe and dashes down the hall. It’s night, Pike is gone. There is a skeleton staff of sleepy security guards and a night nurse. He is down the stairs in record time. A man—some janitor—calls out “Hey you!” but Jim ignores him. There is no light under the door of the small office, no indication that a nurse in on duty (why not? why now?); the door is locked when Jim jerks on the doorknob.
No one here.
No one to help.
Jim thinks that this panicky feeling is going to burst his lungs, so he takes one deep breath and then another. Spock is sick, more than just unwilling to leave the room (like Jim had assumed) or depressed enough to oversleep (like Jim had continued to assume—and thus ignored the warning signs).
With a curse he is back at the stairwell and taking two steps at a time.
Leonard is not asleep. He lies on his back and stares at the ceiling for hours at a time, intermittently gets up to peer out the door and then lay back down. He ignores the sounds of quiet hustling—like the janitor that mops the floor with swosh-swosh-swosh or the pacing of an orderly on security detail. Somewhere down the hall there is an echo of a door slamming (probably the stairwell) and Leonard rolls over onto his side.
Standing out in the rain wasn’t the best idea Len had ever had. His nose was somewhat stuffy for the next two days, but he ate plenty of fruit, forced himself to drink water-galore, and even went so far as to request vitamin supplements. The cold is subsiding, for which the man is grateful. He has already been laid up with an injury in this place; there is no need for a repeat experience because of his stubbornness.
So McCoy lies there and his brain dredges up a name that makes him curse. Why can’t he stop thinking about Jim? Or Spock? Neither man has talked to him since that harsh confrontation. Jim won’t look at him when they are in the same room, an occurence even more rare because the Captain always seems to be needed elsewhere these days. Spock Leonard has not seen hide-nor-hair-of in the least. He hopes that the Vulcan is at least eating properly, that Jim has enough sense to keep his bondmate fed.
Who’s Leonard kidding?
Of course Jim will look after Spock. The kid is the damn sweetest man Leonard has ever met, despite all Kirk’s hyperactive faults and misguided ideas.
Leonard McCoy is a fool.
He comes to this realization with a pang. Len should have handled things differently, approached both Jim and Spock like the adult he is, they are, instead of throwing such uncaring words at them. We have no future.
What the Hell was he thinking?
They were planning a marriage, for Christ’s sake. Leonard feels like he has committed the equivalent crime of dumping the bride at the altar. He’s been a jerk and a thousand other uncouth things.
Leonard let his fear overwhelm his sense.
In hindsight, he never should have been so blunt. Jim and Spock are owed the truth—the whole of it—and not just a terrible piece that can crush dreams in a matter of minutes. He knows that he has to explain his feelings to them. How can they understand how terrified he is? What marriage means to him?
They are mental patients, for crying out loud. They are people who have, undoubtably, never had a normal relationship. There are no standards or past experience on which they can base their actions; Jim and Spock have only rational thinking (which given their records is supposedly little) and the desire which drives them.
He is a fool, a jerk, AND an ass.
Leonard promises himself that he will try to mend the broken feelings between them all as best as he can (as much as they will allow him to). It’s the least he can do before he leaves Fleet Heights for good.
Of course, Len should have remembered that Fate thinks all his plans are a fucking joke because just as he closes his eyes with the resolution to get some decent sleep, his blanket gets ripped off of him.
Oh Holy shit. It’s Jim. In the middle of the night?
“Spock needs you!”
“Jim, slow down—” He’d be suspicious of this strange encounter—after a week of the silent treatment—except that Jim’s face is pale and he has Leonard by the arm and is dragging him out of the room at super-sonic speed.
“What’s going on?”
“Spock’s really sick and there’s no one on shift to help him, Bones, you’ve got to—”
Leonard blocks out the rest of Jim’s babbling because he caught the first three words and that’s all he needs to know. Suddenly it’s Len dragging Jim as he unswerving steers them past two sharp turns.
Damn it! He doesn’t remember which room is Jim’s…
“Which one!” he snaps and Jim points to the third on the left.
Spock is curled up in a ball under two layers of blankets as if he’s trying to make himself small enough to be invisible. Leonard leans over him, whispers “It’s okay” and gently rolls him onto his back. He wipes the sweat from that flushed face and checks his pulse.
“How long has he been like this?”
Kirk is standing there, dumbly (probably feeling helpless). “I don’t know. Since I woke up. Maybe longer.”
Spock makes a small noise that turns into a rattling cough.
Shit. That sound is bad. Leonard’s brain is suddenly very alert, racing through symptoms and diagnoses. He needs more equipment, a stethoscope (at least) to hear his breathing. “Need you to help me get him up, Jim.” As they are leveraging the awkward sprawl of Spock’s body between them, he asks “Can you break into the nurse’s office?”
Getting a half-conscious feverish Vulcan down to the first floor is an experience Leonard never wants to repeat. Jim doesn’t bother to use his master spy-skills to coax the lock open; rather, the man just kicks it until it breaks open. Len’s got no reprimands for that, none at all. There’s a sick Spock to take care of, and his mind is already listing out the necessary steps for identifying and treating his condition. (He prays that it isn’t developing pneumonia; the wet rattling of the lungs says otherwise.)
They get Spock onto the small cot and Leonard starts tearing through the drawers and tossing out all the supplies he’ll need. He takes one quick listen to Spock’s breathing and tells Jim “I don’t care how you do it. Get EMS here now.”
Hell, there’s no time for uncertainty or arguing. “Do it! This isn’t a little cold that’ll pass, damn you! Spock needs medical attention. Now either make yourself useful saving his life or get the Hell out of my Sickbay!” Later, he’ll repeat those incredulous words back to himself and wonder how in tarnation they just popped out of his mouth so glibly.
Jim is gone, to get Pike or help or God knows what.
Leonard turns his attention back to soothing Spock, whose fever is rising dangerously. McCoy doesn’t think, just slaps together some concoction from the supply of generic medication in the locked (now broken) cabinet. He doses Spock, winging it without the man’s medical records or a list of allergies, and then sets to praying. God, you owe me this one, you really do.
Not surprisingly, Jim comes back with a promise of help on the way. When the kid hesitates, watching Leonard work, the doctor just points at the end of the bed and says, “It’s alright, son. Sit down and hold his hand. Talk to him.”
Jim does just that, and the scene that Pike and two red-and-white clothed medics burst in upon is one that they’ll never forget. Captain Kirk is applying cold compresses to Spock’s chest as he talks quietly while Doctor McCoy supervises. As one medic straps a (surprisingly) calm-faced Mr. Spock to the gurney for transport to the blaring ambulance outside, Leonard gives the other man a list of vitals and medications with which Spock’s been treated. He tells the medic what to check for and what to monitor on the way to the hospital (as if the trained medic didn’t already know—no matter).
When the guy nods and states (rather than asks) “You’re a doctor,” Leonard replies easily enough, “Yes. I am.”
Pike is gone with the ambulance to see that Spock is situated into the best care and to handle the details of contacting his family. Jim stands inside the entrance to Fleet Heights, watching the ambulance drive away. When Bones makes a sharp movement to his left, he no longer pretends to ignore the man.
“Thank you.” McCoy’s saved Spock, done what a doctor would.
Bones stares at him for a second, then nods in understanding. “You did the right thing, kid.”
Jim shivers and McCoy gently pulls him back into the building, shuts the door against the cold December air. “I should have realized he was sick before, Bones. I should have—”
“All the ifs, ands, and buts of the world won’t change the past,” Bones tells him. “‘Sides, you know as well as I do that Spock is good at fooling people.”
The man sighs, runs a hand over his face. Jim finally gets a good look at him, at the dark circles under his eyes. His stomach drops. They’ve all been suffering, haven’t they, since that day?
“If you want to blame someone, blame me.”
“Yes, Jim. I shouldn’t have forced Spock to go outside. It was fucking raining. Goes to show how selfish I am.”
“You aren’t selfish.” Even if everything else may be wrong, unsteady between them, Jim knows that this one fact is true.
The smile that Bones gives him is bitter and self-deprecating. “You just don’t realize how selfish I am.” He halts their slow amble, faces Jim. “What I did tonight, Jim, I want that.”
The truth of those words are like a knife in his heart. A wound Kirk finally comprehends that he has to let happen. “I—You’re a good doctor, Bones. I’m the one who is selfish, because I want you to stay.” He pauses, takes a deep breath. “But how many people can you save, by going?” Suddenly, it all falls into place. James Kirk is truly selfish in his desires.
“Isn’t it a saying… if you love something, you should let it go?”
McCoy’s hand comes up to cup his face, a thumb rubbing along his jaw. “Yes,” he answers softly.
“I love you, Bones.”
The other man’s eyes are bright and shining. His fingers trace the curve of Jim’s mouth, that trembling mouth that just spoke such tender, honest words. When Bones leans forward and drops a light kiss on his cheek, Jim’s eyes fall shut.
“Thank you,” his Bones says.
Yes, Jim understands now about love and the breaking of the heart. It isn’t loud or full of rage; a heart breaks softly, like the last fragile petal that falls from the winter-worn rose. He accepts that, as Bones leads him back to their room for rest.
Deep breaths all around; story’s not played out yet. Stick around for the end.