12 July 2009 @ 11:57 am
Fic: "Perspectives", Part 6 of 6 (Kirk/McCoy)  
Title: "Perspectives" (6/6)
Author: mijan
Rating: PG-13
Summary: "Perhaps it is nothing, Captain. However, I feel it prudent to mention that I have observed many reactions to death during the previous two years." "Go on, Spock."  "I have seldom witnessed a reaction as strong as the one exhibited by Doctor McCoy." 
Canon: Based in the ST:XI universe, but strongly influenced by TOS.
Total Length: 33,000 words.
Characters: McCoy, Kirk, Spock, with ensemble appearances by Sulu, Uhura, a couple of random Ensigns, and most of the medical staff.
Links:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Disclaimer: Gene Roddenberry is God, Paramount Pictures is Pope, and this is blasphemy. Enjoy!
Notes: My immense thanks to my beta reader, classics_geek , and my test-reader, red_rahl . Also a quick thanks to lap_otter , who is supremely awesome and caught several glitches and typos I made.

Also, I want to explain a couple of things about the fic, and why I wrote it the way I did.  For that, you've got to know a few things about how I see the characters, and WHY.  First of all, the characters are a combination of ST:XI and TOS.  I see them developing this way a couple of years into this reboot universe - maturing, becoming more blended with the older versions of themselves. 

Kirk would be the MOST different out of all of them because his ENTIRE life was altered by the reboot timeline.  He'd be more impulsive, and prone to more recklessness, especially when high emotions are involved.  But also - remember that he's essentially a military officer.  So was I.  And I was thrown into a command situation way too young, way too early, and I've had to bury one of my own, so I understand some of his mentality.  It's something that's hard to explain, but trust me... you don't want ANYONE to think think of you as vulnerable.  You think of your troops first, no matter what. You can't stand thinking about your own weakness.  And yes, you'll take any mission-related distraction in the world to forget about anything that makes you less than immortal.  That's my Kirk.

Spock would still be Spock... but would allow himself to see more of the emotional side of life, and accept it.  I think he'd learn to embrace it, logically, of course.  Also, with all the loss he's experienced... oh hell, you've seen Amok Time, I'm sure.  You know how much he cares about his friends.  He just tries not to show it... but I think he might a bit more now.

Bones... is Bones.  I wanted to mix the best of what I found from ST:XI with DeForest Kelley's classic performance in TOS.  I wanted to show him being a doctor, not just a sadist with a hypospray (although that can be fun, too).  I would see him throwing himself into his work in order to ignore his loneliness, until his work throws his loneliness back in his face.

So, without further delay...

From the previous installment:
Here, it didn't matter that he was broken – he was in the hands of the person who had fixed him. After a moment of stillness, Bones shifted. For a second, Jim was afraid he'd done something wrong, but then strong arms wrapped around him, and Bones was burying his face against Jim's neck and shaking.
"Bones, are you okay? Did I –"
Bones lifted his head for just a brief moment – the air on Jim's neck felt cool where tears were evaporating – just long enough to say, "Damn it, Jim, just shut up."
So he did.


And now the conclusion:


*********


The next few hours were spent talking about everything and nothing; all that mattered was that they were talking again. When Kirk finally found himself becoming tired, he'd moved as if to leave, but Bones grabbed his arm. You take my bed. Bones dragged his own armchair into the bedroom, propped his feet up on the bed, and slept there.

What Bones said was, "It makes it easier to keep an eye on you. Monitor you for complications."

What Bones didn't say was, "I lost you today, and I don't think I could let you out of my sight right now," but Kirk heard that anyway.

Kirk awoke the next morning disoriented. The blankets didn't feel like his own, the pillow didn't smell like his own, but the hand touching his forehead was familiar. Bones was back on duty as CMO that day, and as he left the room, he reminded Jim that he had a mandatory follow-up in sickbay before the end of alpha-shift.

"If you miss it, I'll send Spock to physically carry you into sickbay, and trust me, he'd do it."

Kirk smiled softly and nodded, then listened as the door whooshed shut behind him. Of course he'd go to the follow-up. As much as he hated sickbay, as much as he hated admitting weakness and getting help, he knew he'd hate himself more if he ever put his crew, and his CMO, through that again.  Keeping an appointment in sickbay was a small price to pay.

And that was about the time he realized that he was hungry. With a light laugh, he rolled out of McCoy's bed, tried to fix up the blankets more neatly than he ever did with his own, and pulled on his shoes. The mess hall seemed like a good idea. Then he caught his reflection on the inner surface of the viewport. Damn, that's the worst case of bed-head… shower first. Then he noticed the view beyond his reflection.

Walking up to the viewport, Kirk looked down at the green and purple planet spinning lazily below him. It was as beautiful as it was when they'd first arrived, and he felt a pang of longing to be down there, dangers be damned, just to put his feet on alien soil again. He remembered the unique color of the sky, the peculiar scents in the air, and the comforting warmth of the sun as he'd stretched out on the grass next to Bones, trying to tease his friend into a conversation. His breath caught as he remembered that it came close to being the last pleasant conversation they'd ever had.

A thought grabbed him – What if that really had been the last chance I had…

With a sigh, he turned away from the viewport and went to the comm panel. "Kirk to Spock."

"Spock here, Captain."

"Spock… meet me in the mess hall in one hour."

There was a noticeable pause. "Captain, would that be wise?"

"Well, I need to eat, don't I? And I've heard that pleasant conversation is good for digestion."

Another pause. "Yes, Captain."

"Great. See you in an hour. Kirk out." Kirk closed the comm channel and leaned back against the wall. Time to start facing reality. He gathered himself together and walked out the door.

Almost an hour later, Kirk emerged from his own quarters showered, dressed in casual civilian clothes, and carrying two small datachips. He smiled at his crew members that he passed in the hallways. They returned his greeting properly, with a bit less trepidation than they had the last time he'd walked the halls. The confidence wasn't back, but it was coming slowly.

Spock was waiting in the almost-empty mess hall when he arrived; he stood and greeted Kirk with a formal, "Captain."

Kirk waved him down. "I'm relieved of duty for another day, Spock, so there's no need for formalities." He grabbed a tray from the food slot – he must really be hungry, because it actually smelled good.

Spock still waited for Kirk to sit down before seating himself again. "Nonetheless, you are still the Captain." He tipped his head thoughtfully. "In fact, perhaps it would be both fair and beneficial to inform you that your crew has been stating their support for you without reservation. Several have also expressed their concern that they have, perhaps, been uneasy around you since the incident, thereby adding to your discomfort."

Kirk found himself smiling. "Tell them it's okay, Spock. I'm just glad they haven't judged me to be incompetent. Hell, I haven't exactly been comfortable around myself since this fiasco began." He stopped cold and held up one finger as if to punctuate the statement, "Don't tell them that part."

"I had not intended to do so."

"Good, Spock. That's good." He looked down at the datachips in his hand. Not yet. "So, I know I'm restricted from duty, but seeing as I haven't heard any alerts and you haven't reported any disasters, the news can't be all that bad. Care to humor a dead man with a status report?"

Spock shifted slightly in his chair. The Vulcan Fidget, Kirk thought sardonically. “There is nothing of significance to report.”

"Spock, if you don't give me something to go on, I'll have to assume that the warp engines are failing, the bridge has lost helm control, and the tree creatures on the planet are about to knock the ship out of orbit with a catapult that launches oversized watermelons."

"Captain, such an assumption is both highly improbable and irrational."

Kirk chuckled. "Spock, don't ever change."

Spock merely raised an eyebrow.

"Come on, Spock," Kirk prodded, leaning over his dinner plate. "You know I'm more likely to stress out if I don't know what's going on. The doctor wants me to avoid stress. The only logical response is to tell me what's happening."

For a moment, Spock didn't move. Then, Kirk swore he heard the Vulcan sigh, before he said, "Captain, if I am to violate the orders of the Chief Medical Officer concerning the health of my commanding officer, I would ask one favor."

"Sure, Spock."

"Promise that you will not tell Doctor McCoy."

Kirk crossed his heart and held up his hand, giving an exaggerated nod. Logic… sometimes I love it.

A half hour and two sandwiches later, both Kirk's stomach and curiosity had been satisfied. He sat back, musing aloud, "So their culture is really that complex? Elected officials, politics, and even an economy?"

"It is different than most methods of governing a society, but indeed, they have a fully functional culture and society. They have not created the mechanical technologies that humanoid species tend to achieve, but their biochemical and communications techniques are technologies that have been intentionally cultivated."

"Was that a pun, Spock?"

"Negative, Captain."

"Oh. Well, it was a good one." He absently pushed the remaining half of a pickle around his plate with his fork. "That's just amazing, though – that they developed those technologies when the humanoid species native to their planet almost wiped them out. Evolution for survival."

"Indeed. It would be interesting to study more of that history. With the contact we initiated, they are open to the possibility of an alliance."

"I'm impressed that you managed to negotiate that with them, Spock."

"Thank you, Captain." Spock's tone was as neutral as ever, but Kirk got the sense that he was still waiting to see if the Captain harboured any personal grudges against this species that almost killed him. "I would suggest that we make a recommendation to the Federation that we continue diplomatic relations with the Cassians. While such an alliance would offer little tactical advantage for the Federation, the academic value could be immense. The Cassian leadership has made an offer of diplomatic cultural exchange. The uniqueness of this society is something that should be studied."

Kirk smiled his reassurance. "I agree."

Spock's shoulders relaxed just slightly – relief. "Additionally, due to the fact that Vulcans seem immune to many of the Cassians' defences, and we are able to communicate directly, we may be able to negotiate for them to accept a Vulcan science team to study their culture and planet."

"I think that would be an excellent idea, Spock. I'll be back on duty tomorrow for alpha shift. See if you can request a conference with the Cassian leadership at that time."

"Yes, Captain."

Kirk sat upright and began piling his fork, knife, and napkin on his plate as if getting ready to leave, but Spock held up a hand to stop him. Kirk frowned. "Spock, is there a problem?"

"Not precisely, Captain." He tucked his chair in closer to the table, and Kirk mirrored the action. Looking more like a conspirator than a distinguished Starfleet officer, Spock leaned towards Kirk and spoke in a confidential tone. "Although Doctor McCoy might not approve of my asking such an invasive question, I do have something I wish to enquire –"

"Oh? Please, ask."

"Have you spoken with the Doctor since being released from sickbay?"

Kirk furrowed his eyebrows. "Now that's an odd question, Spock, but yes, I have. Not that I have a problem with the question, but why do you ask?"

Spock's gaze settled firmly on the far wall, and he folded his hands on the table in front of him. "I observed evidence of significant interpersonal tension between Doctor McCoy and yourself, and was concerned that there could be lasting damage to your professional relationship if you had not discussed matters. It would not be conducive to the effective running of the Enterprise if the Captain and the Chief Medical Officer were to be at odds for personal reasons."

Kirk couldn't keep the grin off his face. "So you're worried that we're pissed at each other, and that it could cause problems down the road?"

Still staring at the wall, Spock said, "A gross simplification, but in part, yes."

Kirk reached over and lightly patted Spock's arm. "We talked, Spock. It's okay."

This time, Spock actually looked at him, eyebrow raised inquisitively. "Are you certain of that, Captain?"

Somewhat surprised by Spock's persistence, Kirk gave him a critical sideways look. "Spock, what am I missing here?"

"Perhaps nothing, Captain. However, I feel it prudent to mention that I have observed many reactions to death during the previous two years." A tiny twitch in his right eye was the only hint at just how much death he had really witnessed, and Kirk knew what he meant.

"Go on, Spock."

"I have seldom witnessed a reaction as strong as the one exhibited by Doctor McCoy."

Kirk's stomach lurched slightly, and his mouth had suddenly become dry.  The guilt he'd felt the previous night came flooding back.  "That's… interesting."

Spock inclined his head. "An observation, Captain, nothing more, as your First Officer… and your friend."

"As always," Kirk said as evenly as possible, "I appreciate your observations."  If Bones had been so upset that Spock would describe his reaction so strongly, it must have been intense.  Not just the loss of a friend, but the loss of family.  He clenched his fist lightly, causing the datachips in his hand to click together, and he knew it was time. "Spock, I've got something for you, and I need you to do this for me."

"Of course, Captain." Even Vulcan training couldn't keep the puzzlement from Spock's face.

Kirk took a deep, bracing breath. This was the real reason he'd wanted to meet with Spock. Getting an update on the mission was a bonus, as was the unusual observation Spock had made, but neither was the prize. Time to get it over with.

"I know I almost didn't make it this time, Spock. In fact, I know that technically, I didn't make it at all until Bones worked his magic. Well, I'm a Starfleet Captain, and I'd better stop acting as if this is a gambling adventure and my life is just another bet." Like a pair of poker chips, Kirk slid the datachips across the table. "One is for both of you, and the other is just for Bones. They're in case I… in case I die. The one for both of you – watch it together. And make sure Bones gets the one I've recorded for him. Not right away… give him a little bit of time, but make sure he gets it. Can you do that for me?"

"Why do you not give Doctor McCoy's datachip to him directly?"

Kirk didn't miss the obvious evasion. "Because he wouldn't be able to take it right now, Spock. I know you were upset, too – Bones told me, so don't pretend you weren't. But… it almost broke him. You two need…" He stopped himself. "I just hope you never have to watch them. But if you do, I want to make sure it's covered. Consider it my final request."

Spock's hand hesitated over the chips, and he looked up at Kirk as if asking for permission. Kirk nodded, and Spock's hand closed over the chips.

Kirk let out a breath of relief. "Thank you, Spock."

"You're welcome, Jim."


*********



"We appreciate your communication, Captain Kirk of Enterprise, and welcome future communication. My grove shall think fondly of your grove."

Kirk couldn't stop himself from grinning. He was back in his Captain's chair – tired but okay – and exhilarated at having been involved in the discovery of such a unique new life form. The audio conference with the Cassians was almost over, but it had been brilliant. He'd been practicing his diplomacy skills, learning to echo speech patterns to make other species comfortable. Although the Cassians' thoughts were different from most species he'd encountered, they were not incomprehensible.

"We appreciate your communication, too, Jah'lear. My grove shall also think fondly of your grove. The Vulcan grove will be pleased to communicate with you in the future. We hope that we can learn from each other."

"Knowledge is a valuable seed to cultivate, Captain Kirk of Enterprise. It grows strong where it takes root."

"We appreciate the chance to help it grow in this case. We will communicate with you again soon."

"Our appreciation to you. Also, before your Enterprise breaks roots from our planet, we wish to offer a personal regret."

Kirk felt himself startle slightly. Caught off-guard, he tripped over his words. "Uh… okay."

"We communicated of this with your Commander Spock, but you are Chieftain of your grove. We offer our regrets for the falling of your Ensign Horvat, and also for almost causing you to fall."

The room seemed to get a bit warm and uncomfortable, and Kirk's fingers twitched against the arm of his chair. "Your regret is appreciated, Jah'lear, but not necessary. Our people would call it an accident."

"Regardless, we wish to make amends. Although the humanoids are gone from our planet, we have moving companions. We wish to send a companion to you, as a token of friendship."

"Wha –"

"Captain," Uhura interrupted, "we appear to be receiving a transporter location being piggybacked on the primary signal."

"Is that –"

"A gift, Captain Kirk of Enterprise. May you grow tall and strong, and your grove be peaceful."

Somewhat concerned, but interested enough not to care, Kirk smiled and said, "You have my appreciation. May you also grow tall and strong, and your grove be peaceful." He nodded to Uhura.

"Signal has been deactivated, Captain," she said, scanning her readouts. "Transmission activity on the surface is reducing to original levels."

Kirk nodded and stood. "Lieutenant, send those coordinates to Scotty. I'll be in the transporter room. Spock, you have the bridge." He walked to the turbolift, but Spock followed.

"Lieutenant Sulu," Spock said as he moved, "you have the bridge. I shall accompany the Captain."

Kirk did his best to look put out. "Afraid I'm going to keel over if I step out of your sight, Spock?"

"Not at all, Captain. I am merely curious about this gift being offered by the Cassians."

Kirk nodded in acceptance and stepped into the turbolift as he called out, "Sulu, we'll be back soon."

The turbolift doors slid shut, and Spock, staring directly at the wall in front of him, said, "Additionally, Doctor McCoy made it explicitly clear that if I did not keep an eye on you, my next physical would be highly unpleasant."

Kirk opened his mouth in indignation, but then grinned and let it go. There was no point. At least he was back on duty. "Deck three," he said to the turbolift computer.

Scotty was waiting for them in the transporter room, and to Kirk's surprise, so was Bones.

"What brings you out of sickbay?"

Bones pursed his lips in the manner of a shrug. "We're allegedly bringing a live creature on board this ship. It only makes sense that I should be present in case there's a complication."

"Fair enough," Kirk conceded. "Scotty, are you all set?"

"Yes, Captain, we've got the coordinates locked in. Should we set up a containment field, just in case –"

"That shouldn't be necessary, Scotty. En –" He was distracted by a look from Bones, complete with a scowl and eyebrow raised as if to say, did you not learn your lesson yet? "Okay, set up a force field. Energize."

The beam solidified into a small bundle, that couldn't have been any bigger than a –

"It's a cat!" Kirk blurted out, unable to quite contain his amusement.

"Oh good grief," Scotty grumbled. "I'll never get the fur out of the matter stream condensers now!”

Spock tapped a few buttons on his tricorder. "It appears to be completely innocuous, Captain. I believe we can drop the force field."

"Go ahead, Scotty. Would you look at that?" Kirk climbed onto the transporter pad and sat down, holding his hand out to the creature. "It doesn't quite look like a housecat, but what else would you call it? Hey look, it's friendly!"

Spock looked mildly disconcerted. "Captain, I'm not certain that this is a wise decision."

"What decision, Spock? It was a diplomatic gift. Who was I to refuse? We couldn't risk a breach of protocol because we're not sure what it likes to eat." The creature rubbed its head against Kirk's knee, and Kirk absently scratched its chin. "Besides, think logically for a moment. If this creature lives side by side with the Cassians, then it makes sense that it's immune to the toxins. I think it would be worthwhile studying it to see if we can work out some sort of immunity for ourselves."

Spock inclined his head. "That would indeed be a logical approach. There may be great scientific value in this diplomatic offering."

Kirk was just starting to enjoy the warm buzz of victory when – "ACHOOO!"

The creature startled and ran from the transporter pad, only to hide behind Spock's legs. Kirk sniffled and rubbed his nose, only to sneeze again. "Well, that was unexpected. I'm not allergic to cats…"

He trailed off as Bones pulled out a tricorder, scanned him, and chuckled. "Well, it's not a cat, Jim. It's an alien creature from Cassia VI that just happens to look like a cat. And you're allergic. But don't worry, we can fix that."

Kirk sniffled again. "Great." He looked up and shook his head in surprise at what he saw. "Spock?"

Spock had picked up the animal, which seemed to be quite comfortable in his arms. "It appears to like me. Captain, it would seem that your off-hand comment before the away mission gives the impression of clairvoyance. Perhaps I shall call it Jim."

Bones choked. Surprised, Kirk gave him a couple of thumps on the back. "Bones? You okay?"

Bones closed his tricorder and got to his feet, shaking his head. "I'm getting too old for this," he grumbled as he walked off the transporter pad. He stopped at the door and looked back over his shoulder. "Captain, follow-up in sickbay immediately after this shift."

Kirk watched him go, feeling a bit perplexed and a slightly concerned. "What got into him?"

"I would venture a hypothesis, Captain, but I believe that would be pointless."

Kirk nodded, more to himself than to Spock, stood, and climbed down from the transporter pad. "I'll talk to him later." He turned to Spock, who was absently stroking the creature’s fur. "Bring the critter down to the science lab for now, just for safety, but… I don't know, I think he'd make a good pet. Might be good for ship morale. Just… pick another name for him, okay?"

"If you insist."

Kirk swore he could hear the sarcastic amusement dripping behind Spock's voice. "Yes, I insist. I'll be on the bridge."


*********


Alpha shift was over, and Kirk had to admit to himself that he was pretty damn tired. It had been a good day though. They’d broken orbit from Cassia VI and had laid in a course for the Starfleet base at Rigel VI to drop off the samples taken during the away mission. Travelling at Warp 3, they would be in transit for two days. Kirk had spent the remainder of the shift reviewing bridge logs and updates from every major section, and doing his best not to feel awkward as every member of the crew he encountered made certain to express relief and wishes for him to rest and recover well.

And then, with the shift over, he had one last task for the day before he could go back to his quarters and do exactly that.

The door to sickbay slid open. Nurse Zhang was the duty nurse, and she was currently tending to the shoulder of a junior crew member who was wearing a fitness training uniform. Back to normal, Kirk thought to himself. Nurse Zhang greeted him with a quiet smile, and indicated with a tilt of her head that Doctor McCoy was in his office.

Kirk stuck his head around the corner of the doorway, affecting the most foolish grin he could manage. “BONES!”

Bones jumped in his chair like he’d been pinched – I love it when he startles like that – and looked up from his datapad. “Jim, you’re right on time. Come on in. We don’t need a biobed for this, so pull up a seat.” He reached under his desk and came back up with a tricorder as Kirk sat on the edge of the spare chair. “How was your first shift back?” he asked as be began running the scan.

“Well, other than diplomatic negotiations with a forest and an alien pet cat, it was pretty uneventful, really. We’re en-route to Rigel VI, so we’ve got a couple of quiet days ahead.”

“Good, good,” Bones murmured without looking up from the tricorder. “You could use the quiet.”

“I think you could, too,” Kirk said. He nodded at the tricorder. “So, how’s it looking?”

“Well, the damage is starting to heal on the cellular level, so at least I know you haven’t run yourself ragged today. I’d like to treat you with the tissue regenerator every other day to try to speed recovery.”

Kirk nodded, almost feeling eager. “Anything to get rid of the restricted duty tag sooner is fine by me.”

Bones’ eyebrow raised by a hair. “What’s this? Jim Kirk actually taking the advice of his own Chief Medical Officer? And hell has frozen over.”

“Thanks, Bones,” Kirk groaned.

“Anytime, Jim.” He turned off the tricorder and stowed it back under his desk. “Shirt off.”

Kirk actually felt mildly self-conscious as he pulled off his gold uniform shirt and black undershirt, as if removing the vestments of his rank simultaneously pulled off the mask he’d been hiding behind all day. He stared at the ceiling as Bones leaned in to take a closer look.

“Well, you shouldn’t have a scar,” he said as he traced the incision mark with his fingers, “so don’t worry about that.”

“I wasn’t worried,” Kirk said, feeling even more self-conscious.

“Is it sore?”

“Not really.”

“Glad to hear it.” Bones stood and went to his equipment cabinet, rummaged around for a few seconds, and pulled out a small device. “Three minutes should be good,” he said as he attached the tissue regenerator to Kirk’s chest, “Just enough to help the process, but not disrupt your natural healing, and then you’re free to go for today.” He activated the device, sat up, then furrowed his eyebrows. “What?”

Kirk realized he was staring, and shook his head quickly as if to shake off whatever thoughts had been creeping into his mind. It didn’t work. “Nothing, nothing. Well… actually, something.”

“What’s that, Jim?” It was impossible to miss the slight hesitation, or the odd wavering in his voice.

I owe him this
, Kirk thought as he took a steadying breath.  I owe him more than I'll ever be able to give, but I owe him at least this.  “I know I put everyone through hell this week… but I also know you bore the brunt of it.”

Bones looked away, shrugging edgily. “I’m a doctor, Jim, and the CMO. If someone on this ship gets injured, of course I’m going to take the brunt of it.”

“That’s not what I mean, Bones, and you know it.” He reached out with his foot and nudged Bones’ boot, causing the man to meet his gaze again. “We’ve been friends since the Academy. Technically since before the Academy, if you want to split hairs. You’re the closest thing to family that I’ve got, and I’ll take a leap of speculation here, but I think that goes both ways.”

Kirk could tell that Bones was forcing himself not to look away. “Yeah, Jim. It does.”

“I’ve been thinking about this all day, Bones. I want you to know…” He sighed. “If nothing else, I want you to know that I’m aware of it. That I know what this must have done to you, because I know what it would have done to me if I’d thought you’d died. It would have killed me.”

“Jim, no.” Bones shook his head and finally did look away. He stared at the ceiling. “No, don't say that. You’re the most independent person I’ve ever met. You’re in your element that way. You don’t blink, you don’t flinch, and while you’re as protective as possible of your crew, you don’t need anyone.”

“I need you,” he blurted out before he’d realized it. He tried to bite his tongue, as if he could take it back, then realized he didn’t want to. “Listen, I can't put you through that again. I never want you to have to walk away from me because you can’t face me.  I never want to put you in that position because I’ve finally done something so stupid that it can’t be forgiven.”

A deep frown furrowed Bones’ face. “I’m sorry, Jim, but you're not responsible for that.  I am.  I should never have done that.”

“But you had every right to. Every right.” He leaned forward. “I almost blew it this time. I really did. With everybody, yes, but… with you. You were worried and you were furious and you had every godddamned right. I can’t do that to family. What can I do, Bones? I can’t do this to you again. What can I do?”

Bones stared at him helplessly for a few moments. “Jim, the only way I’m going to stop worrying about you is if you never step into harm’s way again. You’re a Starfleet officer, you’re a ship’s captain, and you’re James T. Kirk. I can tell the Earth to stop turning. I can tell the stars to stop shining. I can tell you to find a safe place to hide from the dangers of the universe and to stay there for the rest of your life. And none of those things are ever going to happen.”

"But I have to change something, Bones! I have to fix this."

Bones just shook his head, a strange smile coming to his face. "You don't fix things, Jim. You break them, and I fix them. And that's the way it is, and… I'm okay with that."

"How can you be okay with that? How can you say that you'll just keep going through that sort of thing?"

"If not me, then who? Someone else?" He snorted derisively. "If I wasn't here, you'd be in someone else's hands. Someone less skilled. Someone… someone who would give up sooner.  Someone who wouldn't have tried again." He shook his head with a shudder. "I can't let that happen any more than I can ask you to be a different person."

"Maybe I should be a different person by now." Guilt welled up in his chest, buzzing more prominently than the tissue regenerator. "I've been Captain of a Starfleet vessel – the fucking flagship, no less – for two years now. You'd think I'd have grown up a bit."

"You have," Bones said so suddenly and so bluntly that it couldn't be challenged. "Jim, I almost told you this years ago, but here it is, for what it's worth.  You're a goddamned fixture on the face of reality.  You are.  But no matter what happens, no matter how many planets you've visited or dangers you've overcome, no matter how many battles you win or planets you save, you're still going to be you at the end of the day. Unless the universe turns on its head, you're not going to change, and – can I make you understand this? – I don't want you to! So someone's gotta be there to fix it up."

Kirk shrugged uncomfortably. "Why should it have to be that way?" He stared down at his hands, unable to look away from the monitor bracelet on his wrist. "If I was a different person, I wouldn't be so fucking impulsive. Maybe I'd look before I leap once in a while. Hell, I might not end up in your sickbay getting blood all over your biobeds as often."

Bones shook his head, a look of fierce fondness sparking in his eyes. "Jim… I can't put it any more bluntly than this: if you were someone else, we wouldn't have a home planet left. I'd be dead. We'd all be dead. Hell, if you were anyone else, I wouldn't have stuck my neck out and smuggled you onto this ship two years ago in the first place. And in the two years since then, there have been hundreds – no, thousands of lives that would have been snuffed out of existence if you hadn't been the impulsive sort of person you are. This ship, in the hands of anyone else… it would be gone a dozen times over. And if that means that you occasionally end up flat on your back in my sickbay…" An enigmatic smile finally quirked the corners of his lips. "In the grand scheme of things, I suppose that's a fair trade."

Kirk hated to think what might have happened if anything had gone just a little bit differently in the course of that crisis. He thought about Bones on the Enterprise as it got blown out of the sky by an oversized Romulan mining ship with a homicidal maniac in command. And then, of course, there would have been that whole thing with the Earth getting destroyed, which would have also sucked. A fair trade? "Yeah. I guess it is."

When Bones didn't reply for a moment, Jim wondered if he'd said something wrong. "Then what can I do, Bones?"

Bones looked at him long and hard, then gave a resigned sigh. "Just try not to kill yourself out there, Jim. Come back so I can at least try to fix it up.  You promise me that, and I promise you that I'll never give up on you."  He blinked a couple of times, then swallowed thickly.  "And goddammit, just remember that as good as you are, you're not immortal, and some of us care about you. I might not always sleep at night, but it's worth it. You're worth it." He looked up sharply. "Just don't forget it."

There were a million thoughts swimming through Kirk's head, but none of them materialized into anything coherent, so he said the only thing that he could. "Okay."

Bones raised an eyebrow. "Okay? Just like that – okay?"

"Yeah, Bones." Jim let himself risk a tentative smile. "Just… okay."

At that, Bones chuckled softly. "Well, maybe you can change. Not much, but just a bit."

For a moment, the tension of the previous four days disappeared. The crisis had never happened, he hadn’t died on the operating table, and for that moment, Kirk felt that it was just him and Bones, without the burden of responsibility, danger, and the knowledge that they'd finally reached that one-near-miss that never quite fades. 

But then the timer on the tissue regenerator beeped, and the moment was broken. Bones blinked a couple of times and took a deep breath as he seemed to remember that he was technically busy treating a patient. He detached the instrument, stood, and walked away to return it to the cabinet. Kirk quickly pulled on his undershirt, so by the time Bones turned around, he was feeling a bit more covered.

“I’ll see you for your appointment tomorrow, Jim,” Bones said, once again sounding tired. Still standing, he leaned his elbows on his desk, levelling his gaze at Kirk. “Let’s get you back up and running so you’ll be ready to save the world next time.”

Kirk nodded and stood, pulling his gold shirt back on. “Sure thing, Bones. And I’ll do my best not to mess up your handiwork next time things to go hell.”

The corner of Bones’ mouth twitched a faint smile. “Sure you will. But that’s okay. Now get out of here.”

With a nod and an attempt at a casual grin that he knew looked far too pensive, Jim waved and strolled out of the office. He wasn't about to stop being himself, and he was sure he'd continue to do plenty of reckless things, but he'd try to stop being quite so stupid about it. He owed it to himself, to his crew, and to Bones.

Once in the hall, however, his legs refused to take him any further. He felt like the world had just paused around him, and he was supposed to pause, too. He leaned his back against the bulkhead just outside of the sickbay door and listened to the soft hum of the warp engines of the Enterprise. It was soothing, almost like the voice of a dear friend. Other than the constant, reassuring presence of the ship herself, there was nobody in the hall. Nobody heard him as he spoke softly, his words fading quickly into the calm sounds of the ship.

"Thanks, Bones."

Back in his office, with the door shut, Bones put down his datapad and looked up at the empty chair across from him, and smiled.

"You're welcome, Jim."


*********


~FIN~
 
 
: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
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Елизавета Новомастерова: Doctor Hotassmeewunk on July 12th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Heeee. Cute :3
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
nictusa: parker hardisonnictusa on July 12th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
EEEK! Thank you for this story. It was so good. *flails in happiness*
Mijan: Kirk had a blastmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! :D
thalia / jen: CP: kirk plus tongue equal nguhnthalialunacy on July 12th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Kirk chuckled. "Spock, don't ever change."

A satisfying end to a nicely-engineered story. Well done, bb. :D
Mijan: McCoy/Kirk Shuttlebaymijan on July 13th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're satisfied. Now I need to get started on the next one! I've got plots already stewing...
bow chicka bow wow: outofthechairsmutjunkie on July 12th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
FIN??? Aw, but I wanted it to never end. Guess I'll just have to re-read it until my computer's tired of bringing up the bookmark.

Spock + kitty? I squeed. Out loud. Loud enough to wake up my dog.

Did you invent the Cassians? Because if so holy crap, I bow down to your creativity.
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 12th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
Yep, the Cassians are my own invention. Made up the planet, the species, all of it. Wait until you see the next planet I invent! *grins*

And yeah, *FIN*. In reference to the last episode of Star Trek TNG: "All Good Things..." ;)

I'll write more. New stories, new adventures, new planets, new species. Stay tuned!
lisamariedavislisamariedavis on July 12th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Wonderful!

I loved this:

Just… pick another name for him, okay?"

"If you insist."

Kirk swore he could hear the sarcastic amusement dripping behind Spock's voice. "Yes, I insist. I'll be on the bridge."


I loved this fic from start to finish. Wonderful work. I look forward to more stories from you.
Mijan: McCoy/Kirk Shuttlebaymijan on July 13th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
*giggle* I couldn't resist the "if you insist" bit.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm going to start working on my next one while I'm on vacation... in San Francisco. I'll have to write a Starfleet Academy fic. I feel inspired. Leaving tomorrow morning. :D
Away from her, you loved her more: boys on the bridgesullacat on July 12th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, such a satisfying ending - and communication with a new species? The plant planet makes me happy, as well as the ship's new pet. So much detail - a great story!

And Spock! :D
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC)
YAY! I'm glad you're satisfied with it. And yes, communication with a new species. Unless I'm specifically writing porn, or a short fic, I want to keep the theme of real space exploration present in my fics... even when they start getting more shippy.
oneofaradiaoneofaradia on July 12th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
That was a perfect ending. I really enjoyed the way you wrote the characters and I could see them the way they were in the movie, and growing into the characters that I grew up with. Matter of fact you wrote the intergrations so well that the voices in my head would switch back and forth between TOS and ST:XI. I didn't even realise that was happening until I actually thought about it. So a very seamless meld on your part. Thank you so much for sharing this and I am already looking forward to your next endeavor. Bravo honey, bravo
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
YAY! Thank you! I really wanted to work the fic that way - so that people felt like we were meeting the characters, outside of the specific versions, something a mix between the two, but encompassing the best of both. I'm delighted that it worked for you!

I'm already plotting my next fic, so hopefully I'll have more for you guys in a couple of weeks. I like to finish a fic before I begin posting any of it so that I can edit it as a whole, so it'll be at least a couple of weeks before I post anything big. I might write something shorter and post it sooner though. :D

Thank you again!
I have an Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator: star trek kirk cadetsimons_flower on July 12th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, how can 33K still leave me wanting more? I loved this story, just loved it. The way you show friendships and, then, Jim's realization that Bones might feel something more, is just awesome.

*happy sigh* I do hope you continue to write (especially if you decide to continue this) in the Trek fandom.
Mijan: Canon Error: Apply Fanficmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
LOL... you know me and long fics - I end up writing 100K without even realizing it! I'm glad you loved the story, and yes, I'll be writing more soon. I've been bitten by the writing bug, and I can't stop!
paper_legends on July 12th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
I would have given more line by line feedback, b/c I loved so much of this, but I'm buried up to my eyebrows in work this weekend and I am currently battling a sinus infection that makes me feel continually punched in the nose, so that doesn't help to coherent thoughts, but I had to take a break to read this, and tell you how much I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Also, the alien cat wins you the internets. I would love to see a fic from its point of view, and am curious what Spock will name it. Cassi Sproutlet? Ent? Flower? ...Horvat?

~_^ My grove loves your grove, and is glad we met!
Mijan: Canon Error: Apply Fanficmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Oh no! Sinus infection! Drink lots of fluids, especially hot peppermint tea, and take care of yourself.

I'm glad you liked the fic, and I hope to hear more from you soon, too! And if you feel better, I would be delightfully squeeful about line-by-line feedback. It's my favorite thing in the world. :D
(no subject) - paper_legends on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ros: ST: because that would be cheatingrhosyndu on July 12th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
Aw man, so damn good. I adored the way you've got them down, the deep love that's between the big three as well as the delicious K/Mc feeling. Excellent depth here, the characterisation of the rest of the crew and the background depth to the rest of the universe makes this a wonderful full feeling story.
Mijan: OMGWTF*tribble*mijan on July 13th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

And btw... I also love your icon. ♥
d8rkmessngr: Kirk/Bonesd8rkmessngr on July 12th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, the ending was classic!
Mijan: McCoy/Kirk Shuttlebaymijan on July 13th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D
joeannk: ST quit youjoeannk on July 12th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
Aw! Spock haz a kitteh! Nice to see Kirk and Bones come to a mutual agreement to explore what's between them. You do know we now need a sequel. Can't leave us hanging like that, lol. Keep writing, Perspectives was very enjoyable and I loved the sheer alieness of your aliens.
Mijan: To Boldly Go...mijan on July 13th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Gah... yes, sequel-ish thingy... I'm going to write more in this universe, I'm sure. Maybe not with the Cassians, but there will be other aliens, entities, and adventures to create. That's half the fun! But I do want to develop this universe as much as I can.
(no subject) - museinthedark on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mijan on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - museinthedark on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mijan on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
AQ aka Syredronningsyredronning on July 12th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
I loved your comments about the characters (wish I had such a clear notion already) and your own background.

I love the planet Cassia and its plants - wonderfully incorporated! I loved the exchanges between Kirk and Spock and of course between Kirk and Bones! Glad you give them a happy ending :)))) *wants more****
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that it was worth typing out the descriptions! I really wanted people to know where I was coming from, and why they did what they do. It means a lot to me.

I hope you'll read what I write next!
Weeping Naiad: Star Trekweepingnaiad on July 12th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
I really did enjoy this entire story! Loved them finding a new sentient species and establishing a relationship with them. Was really well conceived and seems to fit the universe perfectly.

I love the way you wrote Spock, McCoy, and Kirk, especially Kirk. It was good to see inside his head and understand him a bit better. McCoy was hurting so bad throughout this and I still just wanted to cuddle him and tell them both to take a week's shore leave to recover... alone.

Love that this ended on a hopeful point with them both making the move forward. I do hope that means that you will re-visit them?


Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 13th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I'm really glad you liked my take on Kirk. His voice is the most comfortable for me, so that means a lot.

And yes, I'll revisit them. I'm getting ready to work on the next one soon!
Ruric: Bones - B&Wruric on July 13th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Only commenting on this part as I hammered through the whole thing today *G* I did adore this story.

I'm grateful that you put in how you see the characters (the combination of Reboot and TOS). My love of ST has been rebooted by ST:XI but I was brought up on TOS and am currently half way through S2 in a rewatch. *g*

I think your Kirk, Bones and Spock are fabulous - they're just so well rounded snd developed as characters and not one thing that you wrote jarred with the visions I have of them in my head.

I really do hope you continue to write in this verse because reading this was an utter joy.
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 14th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked my character descriptions. I was worried that people would see it as being dry and unnecessary. And I'm glad you thought it was worth it! And I'm glad the characters worked in your head!

Yes, I'm going to continue to write in this universe. I'm having way too much fun to stop!
A.J. Alexander: Movies - ST XI - Sexy Bonesjazzonia on July 13th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
This was a brilliant story. Well-thought-out and well-executed, with just the right mix of plot and character, suspense and movement. I thought the scene when Bones is made to sleep after Jim's surgery is the most powerful; his voice is so strong, and even though the gravity of Jim's condition is not yet clear, readers know how profoundly Bones has been affected.

I look forward to reading more of your work!
Mijan: Canon Error: Apply Fanficmijan on July 14th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! I always like to know what scenes hit people the most, and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know. :)

I'll be working on another fanfic soon!
Empress Ena: Star Trek - Kirk/Bonesseverusslave on July 13th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
This is brilliant! Well-written and so very creative. :D It has all that what made me fall in love with ST decades ago.

Luvit.
Mijan: McCoy/Kirk Shuttlebaymijan on July 14th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Oooh, you're a classic Trek fan, too? I'm even more delighted that it appeals to the old-school fans, because that's what I grew up with. :)

I'll be writing more episode-like fics soon!
(no subject) - severusslave on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mijan on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
d_odysseyd_odyssey on July 13th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Perfect ending to the story. I loved Jim and Bones grabbing that second chance and making a date. *sighs contentedly* Love the gift from the Cassians and that, of course, Jim is allergic and Spock is drawn to it. Nice to see Jim following orders, slowly re-acclimating to duty and the crew happy to see him. Wonderful story, very imaginative/creative with the Cassians but most of all, loved the interactions and developments with Jim, Bones and Spock. Hated to see it end, but enjoyed every word. Hope you will be writing more Kirk/McCoy. It was a joy to read. Thank you!
Mijan: Canon Error: Apply Fanficmijan on July 14th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Squee! Thank you for the delightful compliment! Mind if I ask, because I've really enjoyed your comments so far - what was your favorite part?

And yes, I'll be writing more Kirk/McCoy. I'm already plotting the next three!
(no subject) - d_odyssey on th, 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ceria: laughterceria_taliesin on July 13th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
I love Spock's conversation with Kirk and the way you handled the ending. Jim's monitor beeping is great.
Mijan: Kirk had a blastmijan on July 14th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Oh good! I'm relieved - I was worried that people wouldn't like that scene. :)

And yeah, all of a sudden, while writing that little end, I realized that Kirk's monitor would probably beep right about then. I couldn't resist. :D
schnupperhase: Star Trek - once & future Captainblue_hobbit on July 13th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
I love how this whole story really feels like a Star Trek episode, complete with exploring strange new world, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldy going where no one has gone before (or in Kirk's and Bones' case, where they haven't gone before). Only that it goes so far beyond that, and added to the Star Trek goodness you're giving us all those terrible and amazing moments that are always missing from TV shows and movies, making it twice as awesome. Thanks so much for this wonderful story!
Mijan: Kirk likes them applesmijan on July 14th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
YAY! I really wanted it to feel like an episode, but a bit deeper and more thoroughly explored. I like writing this sort of story, so I'm going to keep writing episode-type fics in this universe that I've started. And yes, that means we'll have Kirk and Bones in a relationship. :D

I also have plans to write some porn, too. *grins*

Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!
blcwriter: rpslspockblcwriter on July 13th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
So good, on so many levels, but your Spock is especially wonderful.
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 14th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you!

I was wondering how people would receive my depiction of Spock. So far, so good!
shadowclubshadowclub on July 13th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Ooh:) This was a lovely fic! I loved the mix of emotions and just wow...

Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 14th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Thank you!
sevedra wimbitt: commanche moonsevedra on July 13th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
fantastic! and a lovely hopeful ending! I would so read more of this if you wrote it. But I will also look forward to something new by you coming down the pipe soon :)
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 14th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
Well, this "episode" is over, but I plan to write more episode-like fics in this universe. I hope you'll read it!
Britannia Charlotte: CMO of the USS Arbitorysamwise_girl on July 13th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
He had a date that night.

“Oh shit.”


That is win. I really liked the ending. Good work!
Mijan: Dr. Who - 57 Academicsmijan on July 14th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
OH GOOD! I was worried that the ending was so abrupt that people would hate it. It just begged to be ended right there, though, so I had to. I'm glad it worked for you!
Jade: New School OTP By wickedgroundjadeismyname on July 13th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this amazing story! I enjoyed this read so much and you ended it so nice. I'm just full of smiles right now! :)
Mijan: Enlisting in Starfleetmijan on July 14th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
YAY! Thank you!

*huggles*
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