title. Some Trust
rating. R for Content
summary. Away with everything you want and still get what you need.
warnings. Discussion of torture, abuse.
notes. Written for this prompt at st_xi_kink.
I will be your guardian
When all is crumbling
Three years into their mission, Jim Kirk had been held hostage by an alien race only a handful of times though each captivity was another too many. Sometimes starved, sometimes beaten, once sexually assaulted, Jim had pissed off a lot of cultures. Yet he'd always came home to his lover, if a little worse for wear. It was the way of things and though it was not liked among his senior staff, it was accepted as the status quo.
Until the day Jim was forcefully separated from Spock, tossed away from his mate like so much garbage while the Vulcan fought with all his strength to get free from the Romulans who'd gripped every inch of skin they could; the sight of the hypo, pressed to green-tinged skin had enraged him further, stopped from flying at them by a weapon aimed for his head. The mantra Can't save him if you're dead, can't save him if you're dead had rung through his head, until he was back on the ship and then it changed, subtly, to Can't save him if I attack their ship, can't save him if I attack their ship.
Starfleet, however, had sent orders to destroy the ship, unwilling to allow Spock to be tortured for information – he knew far too much to fall into enemy hands.
And with the first volley of weapons, he'd thought, Can't save him, can't save him.
You found me
Lyin' on the floor
Ten months after Spock was taken (and Jim refused to think he was dead because the Romulans had gotten away – he could be alive), Enterprise received a distress call from a Federation transport vessel near an outlying world: Attacked. Ship too damaged to dock at nearest Space Station or return to Earth. Need help.
By luck, though, the planet had been a Class M, deemed hospitable toward life, and the passengers of the ship unloaded while they waited for rescue to arrive rather than a possible decompression death if the crew of the transport were unable to effect repairs quickly enough. A dusty, bleak looking spit of land, the group had clung to each other in fear then terror when the natives appeared, pointing to the Starfleet Insignia worn by the handful of security officers send to protect the travelers.
They'd raised phasers at the leather-skinned beings, pitch-black eyes taking them in and then a communicator rang out in Jim's strong voice, “This is Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise, standby to be beamed aboard.”
One of the creatures grew excited, repeating over and over, “Enterprise! Enterprise!” before tugging a hand and running back to the hole it had literally crawled out of. It had disappeared into the earth, it's twitters and clicks still audible until they were apparently too far into the – tunnel? cavern? catacomb? - area to be heard.
Security Officer Barnes leaned over the opening, trying to make out any further noise when he felt the pull of the transporter and he yelled out, “Not yet! Sir, not yet!” The glow surrounding his body cut out; he quickly put the communicator back to his mouth, prepared to ask for a linguist or a translator, when the excited little being returned. He was chattering away, trilling in happiness, with a hard chain in his grip and a smile on his lips.
Barnes' eyes couldn't help but follow the chain back from the four-fingered hands to where it clipped to a collar around the slim neck of a dirty, barely clothed man. If his “death” had not been so publicized, he wouldn't have recognized him as easily as he did – Spock was skinny, bloody, and weak. His right ear, once having come to an elegant point, had a clean slice across the top and a thin green-tinged scab covered it barely.
“We need a medical team down here now,” Barnes finally declared, his voice coming back to him as quickly as it was lost. He dropped the device into the ground as the orders then shouts came through for an explanation and nearly tripped over his own feet to get to the Vulcan, who'd crumpled like paper when all forward momentum stopped.
Up close, he could see the many little scratches, burn marks, and incision lines that marred Spock's body. Even the pads of his fingers were cracked with wounds, green blood oozing slowly from the brittle skin, and Barnes reached out to touch the back of his hand, to conduct a field hydration test. The frigid feel under his own fingers nearly made him recoil – no man borne of Vulcan should ever have felt that cold – but he pressed on, pinching skin and watching as it sat there, a perfect tent.
He heard the noise of a transport beam behind him when he whipped off his red uniform tunic, manhandling Spock until he was in it even as the medical team told him it would be of much use. Then McCoy was physically yanking him back with a declaration, “Shock – Lewis, take him back to the Enterprise!”
“No, sir!” Barnes yelled back, unsure of what part of the doctor's words he was trying to defy.
“Don't argue, kid, I got enough to worry about when the Captain finds out his mate is here,” Bones retorted. He hadn't even looked up from his tricorder, scanning the downed officer like the consummate professional he was though Barnes could see the shiver that ran up his spine. “And tell the Captain that he can pilot the damn shuttle we're going to need.”
“He's bradycardic, hypothermic, and ictal,” he listed off without stopping for breath, “And seeing as we've had little success in the last three years transporting seizing patients via Mr. Scott's giant demolecularizing toy, we're using a goddamn shuttle.” He didn't need to express the fear of losing Jim Kirk's mate.
While Jim had managed to continue his life, it had not been without some level of concern and worry over Spock to the point of spending his off-duty hours searching the database as well as the length of his bond in a hunt for the lost man. Everyone else had mourned him, but not Jim who'd sworn that even though he couldn't feel Spock through his end of the connection, it still existed and was thus proof the Vulcan still lived. The brass, of course, rejected the significance, ordering Enterprise to host a memorial, grieve, and move on with their mission – as though Spock were any other crewmember killed in action.
They hadn't been able to, of course. The First Officer had become so integral to the operations of the ship by that point, as well as a good friend to many aboard, that his absence had resonated through the crew like the ripples of a stone dropped into a puddle. No one was untouched, no one was alone when they shed their tears for a man some had sworn cold and unfeeling. It truly was amazing the things that could happen in three years.
Chapel shook her head to free her mind of that train of thoughts, returning her complete and total attention to the Vulcan laying on the harsh sand. Her long-standing relationship with McCoy, in Medical Bay and outside of it, made it easy to anticipate his needs as skilled hands worked the battered body. Her heart broke to think of the Captain and the constant tension that had filled him; a spare second of thought cast toward the man when the shuttle approached for landing and all she could see was a gold-tunic through the cockpit window.
In the end, it wasn't Jim who piloted the shuttle – it was Sulu, whom Jim sent with the explanation that the helmsman was the only person on the ship he trusted with Spock. Bones hadn't even greeted his presence, when the helmsman came running across the brackish earth with a stretcher and half a dozen more of McCoy's staff; he only asked, “Where's Jim?” once they'd safely gotten Spock onto the shuttle and secured him to the bed.
“Apparently Starfleet Command sent requests and files seven months ago about a new XO for the ship, and they just hailed him – again – with their selection since he won't pick one,” Sulu responded from the pilot's chair, keeping one eye on the controls as he flew with more care than he'd ever shown the Enterprise. “He said he was going to show them why making premature decisions about a person's status is bullshit.”
McCoy groaned. “Someone trying to stop him?”
“Chekov locked him out of his ready room and Uhura's trying to calm him down.”
Opening his mouth to say something else, Bones quickly snapped it shut as the medical shuttle's computers let out a loud screech. Spock was entering another seizure; he pressed a hypo to a cleaned patch of skin on the man's pale neck, Chapel obviously having prepared for this scenario, though they'd all hoped that that they could return to the ship quickly enough to preform the necessary procedures (only way for him to raise core body temperature was the same now as two hundred years ago – flushing internal organs with warm saline) to avoid another seizure.
“Damnit,” McCoy breathed, “Has the Diastat been restocked on this tin can?”
All eight of his accompanying medical team members immediately began digging through kits, cabinets, and packs, hoping to find the tiny tube of gel that Bones had insisted be placed on board all shuttles. He'd talked long and hard over the reasons for seizures, refusing to let Jim cut in when he read off statistics about the failure of current hypospray medications to treat a seizing patient adequately in dangerous situations.
Bones could still hear Jim asking him, “The hell does that mean?” and his sharp answer, “Sometimes the amount of meds needed to control a seizure is beyond the amount we've got in the shuttles – rectal perfusion of Diastat has been proven to at least bring down the severity when used with our other meds.” Jim had kept his Captain's face and approved the order for the gel, then later cornered his best friend to remark, “Rectal perfusion? How do you say things like that with a straight face?”
“Easily, Jim,” he muttered under his breath as Chapel tossed him the packet before telling another nurse to help her roll the unconscious man onto his side. The scraps of what had probably once been his uniform pants were cut away to reveal no undergarments and even more abraded skin; he knew evidence of sexual assault when he saw it, but he could not take the time to remark upon it to the recording medical log.
His gloved hand pushed the gel into Spock, trying to be as gentle as he could standing in a docking shuttle with a seizing patient, and by the time the shuttle door had opened to reveal a stoic-looking Jim Kirk, he'd pulled his fingers away as Spock's involuntary shudders thankfully began to calm. He nodded at Chapel and the orderlies, stating, “Get him to Medical,” with urgency in his voice.
“Jim, get the fuck out of their way,” he added with a yank to the Captain's arm, providing his team with enough room to get the stretcher out of the craft. “Stay with Sulu, I'll send word the minute I can,” he told Jim and then he was off, running full tilt at the rear of his staff.
You've become to feel like home
What's mine is yours to leave or take
Spock hadn't gone into Pon Farr and taken Jim to bed, no matter what Sulu had intimated to a group of intensely curious Space Station staffers.
Jim hadn't decided the unresolved sexual tension had gone on long enough and taken Spock to bed either. (“But I thank you for at least being modest in your divulging my private life, Ensign,” Jim said, tossing a biscuit as hard as a hockey puck across the breakfast table.)
No members of the crew had tricked them into a Jefferies tube and locked them in, which had been Chapel's amusing rendition.
Other misconceptions (Jim kept a list on a PADD in his ready room to record each one that he discovered) as to the circumstances of their becoming a couple had been just as humorous, a few mundane, but they were no where near the truth of it.
Only it didn't matter because with the destruction of Vulcan, any member of the species that took a mate was allowed to bring them aboard their assigned ship. A regulation that, when it had been passed, had caused Jim to laugh like some sort of grotesque hyena due to the fact that Spock had been the only Vulcan serving in the fleet at the time – they'd essentially been telling him to go find himself someone to fuck, in Jim's opinion. And all that had meant their relationship, already in place from pretty much the minute Spock requested to be come First Officer of the Enterprise (Okay, more like from six months in when Jim found him standing on the Observation deck, holding a melting square of chocolate in a most illogical attempt to drown out the reality of his mother's birthday the next morning), no longer had to be hidden.
Jim still wondered now and again how many of the Admirals had passed out from shock when he and Spock had filed the paperwork.
Quiet but I'm sure there is something here
Tell me everything cause I want to hear
They'd spread out in the surgical suite, giving Jim a prime view of Bones' work from the observation deck overhead though Uhura and Rand both tried to get him to leave. They had sworn that he did not need to watch as Bones threaded catheters and NG tubes into his mate, nor see the green blood that dribbled over translucent white gloves when McCoy cut into him to flush his intestinal tract with warm saline.
“I can't,” he'd murmured back to each woman, eyes glued on the drama unfolding under his gaze. God, why hadn't he tried harder to reach Spock? The bond was still there, intact, at the back of his mind though weak and thready, like the Vulcan's pulse – if it existed and he could reach it, perhaps he could have taken a page from Spock's book and meditated until he found it, found him...
“Don't blame yourself,” Nyota whispered to him when a handful of minutes slipped by, his eyes dazing out. “You said it yourself, Jim. There was little we could do once they had him. We were alone, on the edge of Federation space, with no ship save our own,” she said, hoping to provide some ease from the guilt she knew was building in his thoughts, “You can't change the past.”
He collapsed back into a chair someone had thoughtfully pushed behind him, and scrubbed the back of his hand over his eyes. “I can only effect the future. Yeah, I know,” he responded, suddenly exhausted and with a glance at the chronometer, knew why.
The last time Jim Kirk had slept was nearly fifty hours prior, having been wrangled into being the mediator between a warring race of amphibious bipeds during the previous two days. Battles between the factions had occurred on and off for years until the camel's back, so to speak, broke and all out civil war had occurred; being a dilithium-providing world despite their difficult-to-reach location on the other side of Klingon-Romulan space, they were needed by the Federation and Jim had sacrificed his sleep in favor of the trade agreement.
“Two days talking about who owns what piece of empty desert and who can have what vegetable harvested by sunset, and he was under my fucking nose,” he cursed. Three worlds away, a ten minute jump at Warp Four, and Jim felt his chest tighten and ache. Pressing a fist into his ribs, he murmured, “I almost left him behind, Nyota. If we hadn't gotten the distress call, if Barnes hadn't insisted on not being beamed back...”
If, if, if. So many of them ran coursed and bounced around his skull, like one of this pink rubber balls Sam had loved as a child.
“But you didn't,” she told him in a voice that was soft yet brooked no argument. “He's here, Jim, and even if Leonard can't save him, at least he dies warm and loved instead of on some cold world in confusion and pain.” She settled one arm around his shoulders, unsurprised when he shrugged it off to stand.
He peered through the thick safety-glass again, blue eyes taking in the sights and ears listening to the sharp, controlled chaos below. Bones was issuing commands sternly, taking instruments and regenerators with blood-soaked hands. His first two sets of gloves had been abandoned when they'd become too slick to use, tossed to the side and a new pair replaced them, and Jim wondered if it were bad that in the twenty minutes he'd sat beside his Communications officer, his best friend had already gone through three pairs as he worked on Jim's mate. How much blood could a Vulcan lose before his heart gave out from hypovolemic shock?
All at once, however, the entire staff of the surgical bay stopped what they were doing and stood stock-still in their places. Jim's hand came up to the glass, palm flat, and he strained to hear what his crew was enthralled by.
Barely audible over the rush and throb of his heartbeat in his ears was one noise, one noise that left him heady with hope: the steady beep-beep-beep of the computer's monitoring equipment. It sounded like it did when Jim had worked out too hard and his heart was racing, but there were no computer-generated alarms to warn of a problem.
“Bones?” he called out after hitting a button on the speaker beside the windows.
“Told you I'd let you know when I knew something, Captain.” McCoy's words were said in a rough tone though not grim, more full of emotions he was unable to express.
“Looks like you know something.”
McCoy flicked his eyes up from the incision site he'd just closed over Spock's abdomen. “Yeah, I do, Jim,” he breathed. “Best call Command and let the jackasses know sending out a new XO is going to be a waste of time. Beckett, close up – I've got to go help our fearless leader ream out a couple of Admirals.”
Jim felt relief wash over him for the first time in nearly a year, his knees buckling under him and seriously, thank god for Uhura and rolling chairs or he'd have found himself staring at Bones from the floor. Oh he knew he was in for sedation when he was still giggling out of shock and numbness when McCoy arrived in the room, already holding a hypo in one powder-softened hand.
He forced himself to stop laughing, shoving a hand over his lips to hide what was left of the smile. He wasn't going to escape a night's rest under the watchful eye of his CMO, but Jim wouldn't be able to give in to the inevitable until he'd heard of his mate's condition – something Bones was quite aware of and found no fault with. Were he in the same position, he wouldn't submit to being medicated without the assurance of his partner's continued life either.
“He's not out of the woods, Jim,” Bones started. “His heart's been under considerable strain simply keeping him alive, so we're going to have to continue to monitor him even after he recovers to ensure he doesn't suffer any cardiovascular problems. His liver is currently being bypassed and his blood manually cleansed by the computer – whatever drugs they were using to keep him sedated and... pliant were not designed for use on any humanoid species, let alone a complex system like a Vulcan's. He's definitely been tortured, but the manner is unusual and it's going to be a few days before I can get back to you with what was used on him.
“He's quite literally a breeding ground for infection at the moment since his body is so wrapped up in survival that his immune response has dropped into the goddamn crapper – white cell count is low enough the computer could barely get a read. He'll be in isolation for two days while we get every broad-spectrum antibiotic we've got on board into him.” Bones sighed. “And there are other...”
“He's been assaulted,” Jim cut him off, knowing it without confirmation but needing it anyway.
“Yeah, Jim, he has.” He leaned forward, one hand coming up to squeeze a shoulder. “And you need to sleep,” he remarked as he jammed the hypo into Jim's neck and remarked to Uhura, “I figured he'd snap. Bastard hasn't slept well in months,” only after Kirk had slipped into unconsciousness. He unbuttoned and yanked off his surgical tunic, tossing it to the side before manhandling Jim over his shoulder.
As McCoy moved toward the lift, he said, “Go up let the bridge know Spock's going to live.” Then crossed into through the lift doors and closed his eyes.
Hold your breath til it's over
There's something left underwater
Jim woke the next morning to the calm of Bones' Medical Bay, while Spock had remained in a comatose state for nearly a week after his anti-climatic rescue and another three days in a drug-induced unconsciousness. Each scan McCoy had run had shown improvements, but the doctor wasn't convinced that the damage inflicted by others had healed sufficiently to avoid leaving the man in pain. And yes, there was going to be pain – he could heal broken skin and knit bone, but there were still some injuries that had to heal on their own or deal with the consequences – he simply didn't want Spock to have to deal with physical pain that could potentially equal the emotional pain.
However, when day eleven arrived after Spock's return, he felt the negatives of keeping the Vulcan sedated outweighed the positives and eased back the sedatives keeping him asleep. The morning hours passed into the afternoon with little change, and ship's night came with no indication of impending consciousness as Bones neared the end of his shift.
He was preparing to pass Spock's care to his second in command, Alyson Beckett, when the computer alerted him that his patient was moving about and waking up; Chapel had beaten both McCoy and Beckett into the private recovery room they'd set up for Spock, yelling out, “He's going to hurt himself!” as she tried to push him back down onto the biobed.
Spock had both hands wrapped around Christine's shoulders, shoving her away with restrained energy. Even feverish, sore, and no doubt traumatized, he knew better than to exert full Vulcan strength on a human being and McCoy couldn't help the ball that formed in his throat as he threw Chapel out of the way, taking her place. “Damnit, Spock, stop before you tear something!” he half-shouted, telling Chapel, “Oxazepam, twenty milligrams.”
“Oxazepam?” she questioned even as she reached for the drug – it was generally prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and the off-label uses included nothing about sedation.
“I don't want him unconscious – I just want him to stop fighting!” he spat. “Spock, you fucking goblin, you're on the Enterprise. We're not going to hurt you!”
The hiss of the hypospray cut through the air and slowly the man began to calm, looking at McCoy through terrified eyes. His voice cracked in a way Bones hadn't heard since that first mission, since he'd relieved himself of duty, as he spoke, “Doctor?”
Bones licked his cracked lips. “Spock.” He released the man from his grip and leaned over Spock until they were eye to eye, his body braced by a hand on the edge of the bed.
“I am in Medical Bay.” A statement, not a question.
McCoy could see the wheels turning, see in Spock's eyes how his mind was running through memories and events. He had to be struggling to remember how and when he'd returned to the ship, but he'd been too sick and overdosed on sedatives to have been able to comprehend anything; they still didn't know nor expected to ever know how he had gone from a Romulan ship to a planet populated by a subterran species of vertebrates.
But Bones knew with certainty what would come out of the Vulcan's mouth next when his eyes jumped from person to person then toward the door. He was not disappointed.
“Where is Jim?”
“On the bridge. I'll call him. Doctor Beckett and Nurse Chapel are going to stay with you,” he replied, the he walked from the room, heading without hesitation to the communicator he'd left on his desk and took a deep breath.