Rating: Mild. PG-13 for a bit of swearing?
Warnings: More sap. Involuntary drug taking. Mention of babies and underpants, although the story contains neither.
Disclaimer: Characters not mine, not making any money off this.
Summary: Trapped in a jail cell on an alien planet, McCoy finds out a little bit more than Kirk intends him to.
Author's Note: Fifth in a series of four stories charting the progression of the Kirk/McCoy relationship through the poetry of Donne. I have no idea how many of these there will be now, bang goes the promise of no fourteen part epics.
Follows Confined Love
The Good Morrow
Break Of Day
Mark but this little flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It suck’d me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know’st that this cannot be said.
A sin, nor shame, nor less of maidenhead;
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pamper’d swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas! Is more than we would do. </a>
The prison cell was dark and cold. There was a small hole set high in the wall to let light in, but it was firmly barred. Even if McCoy could somehow loosen the metal, there was no way that he or Jim could wriggle anything larger than their arm through the gap. That was presuming that they grew another five metres in height, or managed some kind of bizarre acrobatic feat with Jim’s unconscious body as springboard.
He sighed, and remained slumped on the hard floor. The Jenara had provided them with nothing more than an old blanket between them as they slung them through the door to the cell. Their phasers and communicators had been confiscated, and McCoy’s medical tricorder taken as well, despite his fierce objections. He touched his sore and swollen jaw ruefully. The Jenaran guards had fiercer objections, it seemed.
Jim dozed next to him, unaware of his surroundings. They had been negotiating a trading relationship between the Jenaran System and the Federation as a precursor to potential Federation partnership further down the line. Kirk had been his usual charming self, and the deal was all but signed. There was only a ceremonial dinner to contend with, which Kirk had been insistent he join him for. McCoy had sworn, complained that he was a doctor, not a diplomat and gone anyway. Kirk had been slightly groggy at the ceremonial dinner, which should have been a clue, but McCoy was distracted by the Minister of Health’s questions about his work with xenopolycythemia. By the time the meal had ended Jim was practically slumped over the table. He’d been in the middle of trying to rouse him and call the Enterprise for an emergency medical transport when the guards had arrived and slung them in the dungeon cell.
McCoy had yet to figure out what the hell Jim had eaten or drunk to cause his unconsciousness; his breathing was even and regular, his temperature a little high, and his pupils looked normal, although it was hard to tell in the dim light of the cell. Until Spock rescued them, or the Jenarans saw fit to return his diagnostic equipment, all he could do was keep Jim as warm as possible, and keep an eye on his pulse and respiration. If McCoy chose to do this by gathering Jim’s silent body into the space between his open legs, Jim’s back to his stomach, Jim’s head on his shoulder, then he didn’t think there were any Starfleet regulations governing the correct way to warm an unconscious patient in a hostile alien’s prison cell. Even if there were, he didn’t exactly feel inclined to follow them. He had thrown the ratty old brown blanket over Jim to help keep him warm, and put his hands under Jim’s shirt. If anyone asked, he was checking for damage to Jim’s ribs as the guards hadn’t been gentle in their handling of them. In reality, Jim’s continued unconsciousness scared him, and he wanted skin to skin contact. He leant forward to nuzzle the back of Jim’s neck, smelling traces of clean male sweat, the spicy cologne he favoured and the familiar smell of, well, Jim.
He hoped to god that Spock got his pedantic, green blooded ass into gear soon and started a rescue mission. He hoped that Jim was suffering an allergic reaction, and not a poisoning. Without access to sickbay, and his highly efficient staff, there was no guarantee that Jim would make it. Instinctively McCoy pulled him a little closer, not wanting to give into the dread that permeated in to his very bones every time Jim beamed down to another diplomatic mission, another rescue, another battle. One day, McCoy knew, Jim would come back broken and he wouldn’t be able to fix him. Images of his father and of Joanna flashed before his eyes, both gone from his life. Jim would not be yet another person that Leonard McCoy would lose due to his own incompetence, he vowed to himself.
Time passed. The light grew brighter in the cell, as the planet passed one of its small, weak suns. McCoy had drifted in and out of sleep, hypervigilant to the sounds coming from outside their thick metal door, and the man in his arms. Jim hadn’t made a sound all night, and hadn’t moved despite being bitten several times by tiny black bugs. McCoy realised, with disgust, that the blanket that had been carelessly thrown at them as they landed in the cell, was lousy with whatever the godforsaken ass backwards hellhole of a planet called fleas.
It was later again when the door opened enough for a hand to thrust a jug of water roughly through the door, half of it slopping over the concrete floor. McCoy couldn’t get out from under Kirk quickly enough to take advantage of the open door, but he did lay Jim down fully on the floor so he could rise with a curse for his aching muscles and grab the jug of water before the guards decided to take it away again. He gulped a few mouthfuls, the clear liquid tasting fresh and clean. He left most of the water in the jug for when Jim woke up; he’d need it more than McCoy would.
It wasn’t long before Jim did wake, with a long, drawn out moan that left McCoy alternately sighing with relief and frustrated about his lack of equipment. Jim opened his eyes, and although McCoy could clearly see that whatever Jim had been given was still affecting him, the fact that he was able to focus was a good sign.
Jim’s voice was croaky, and he clearly fought to be able to get his words out.
“Wha’ happ’n?” he managed, as McCoy gently tipped the water jug to his lips. He carefully measured a few sips into Jim’s mouth, not letting him gulp greedily like he wanted to.
“Damned if I know,” McCoy replied, peering closely at Jim again. “One minute you’re knocking back the wine with the Chief Minister, next thing I know you pass out at the table and we’re being thrown in here.”
Jim looked around, obviously unimpressed by the quality of his jail cell.
“They took our phasers, communicators and my tricorder,” he continued, pressing his hand to Jim’s forehead to take his temperature. Jim leaned into his touch, and McCoy felt a sudden rush of distinctly unprofessional feelings.
“How’re you feeling?” he asked, trying to shift from lover to doctor and not quite succeeding. “Heart beating fast? Shortness of breath? Excessive drooling?”
“Only when I look at you, Bones,” Jim replied, shooting McCoy a slightly dazed smile.
“Well, clearly I’m the one that’s going to be nauseous,” Bones returned, grateful that it took more than an unknown alien poison to kill Jim’s libido. It was probably his unwillingness to stop flirting that kept his body going, McCoy thought, as he settled them both back in their previous positions. Jim sighed aloud and clutched McCoy’s hands reflexively; McCoy breathed deeply and smiled. Jim Kirk may be the biggest flirt in the Alpha Quadrant, but that’s all that he did. For someone who had enjoyed his single status immensely at the Academy, Jim had taken to monogamy remarkably easily.
“How long before Spock sends a search party?” McCoy asked, keen to keep Kirk awake and alert.
Kirk shrugged. “Soon, I guess. We’ve missed check-in.” He still didn’t sound right – he sounded like he did the night when he’d found an illegal Orion opiate party at the Academy and had wandered back to their shared dorm room ten hours later with his underpants on his head and a flower between his teeth.
They lapsed into silence again. Just as McCoy was about to launch into the standard questioning routine that doctors were trained to administer to potential victims of mental trauma, just to get a conversation going, Kirk suddenly jerked.
McCoy saw the little back dot jump from Kirk’s exposed forearm to his own. He was about to slap at it, to squash the little bastard, but Jim caught his arm.
“What the hell, Jim,” McCoy began, then winced as the bug latched onto his arm.”Little shit! He’s sucking my blood too!”
“It’s a special flea, Bones,” Kirk said solemnly. “It’s got both our blood in it. It’s our flea.”
O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we’re met
And cloister’d in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
“Our flea?” McCoy repeated in disbelief. “Since when did we start to own parasites together?”
Jim snorted, and let out something suspiciously close to a giggle.
“He’s got my blood in him, Bones, and yours. All mixed up.” Jim sighed happily. “Sparky’s the best flea.”
“Sparky?” McCoy couldn’t keep the incredulousness from his voice, and gave an exasperated eyeroll out of pure habit. Jim was whacked on some alien drug, and couldn’t be held responsible for what he said or did. McCoy knew this, there were pages written about these sort of situations in the Starfleet Medical handbook, and he should know because he’d written them. Jim was bizarrely susceptible to alien toxins that barely caused a headache in most humans. Without knowing it, his lover was making medical history as “Patient K” in a new generation of Starfleet Medical’s graduate studies. McCoy had kept that a secret. All the best relationships had them.
“Sparky,” Jim decided. “We couldn’t call a baby Sparky, but we could call a flea it.”
McCoy’s brain boggled. Babies? Where the hell had that come from?
“We can’t call a baby anything, Jim,” he said carefully, “Because we can’t have babies. Men don’t have babies, and although you’re far prettier than any woman on the ship, you’re definitely a man.”
Jim preened reflexively at the compliment, and took a while to observe where Sparky had jumped now.
“I know, Bones,” he replied eventually, in the tones one used when talking to a complete cretin, “I’m stoned, not stupid. Of course we can’t have babies. “
There was a pause, as McCoy mentally regrouped and Jim was distracted by the glint of the sunlight on the water in the jug.
“It’s just...”Kirk continued in a smaller voice. “It’d be nice to have something that was me and you together. Not me and you put together.“
“And Sparky is you and me together?” McCoy asked, genuinely curious about Kirk’s thought processes.
“On the inside. He’s your blood and my blood and his blood. All mixed up. Like a baby is the parents mixed up.”
McCoy nodded, just about following his lover’s tortured logic. They had put themselves together, decided back at the Academy that friendship just wasn’t enough. To create something made of both them, well, wasn’t that the normal human biological urge? It was how Joanna got started, way back when McCoy had heeded to the urge to create another life. He had no idea that Jim had even thought about this sort of stuff, even down on a subconscious level. Buzzing around the galaxy exploring wasn’t the sort of life for anyone who wanted to raise a child. Jim had never, in all the years McCoy had known him, talked about wanting a family. Jim’s own childhood was so screwed up that he avoided talking about it as much as he could, that much McCoy knew.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
'Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;
Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.
They fell silent again. Sparky hopped away to join his flea brothers and sisters in the blanket, and Jim let out a melancholy sigh. McCoy forced him to drink most of the water in slow sips, and as the hours passed Jim became more focused, less dreamy in his speech.
A sudden burst of noise from the corridor outside their cell dragged their attention towards the cell door. They untangled their limbs and McCoy helped Kirk to stand, placing his body firmly between Kirk and the unknown. A second or two later there was an almighty explosion as the door hinges exploded and the door fell inwards. A troop of red-shirted security crew burst in, surrounded them in a protective circle and activated the emergency transport beacon the leader of the team had strapped to his arm. They rematerialised in the transporter room to be greeted by the calm face of Spock and the much more concerned face of Scotty. Spock looked them over, and then contacted the bridge to inform them to break orbit around the planet and head for the nearest Starbase. The security team quickly exited to make way for McCoy’s medical team who were not above using their elbows if they had to.
“Captain, Doctor McCoy. I trust you are uninjured?”
McCoy stepped in to answer as he handed Jim off to Chapel and the medics.
“Nothing serious, but I want to get the captain to sickbay for a full toxicology workup. God only knows what they whammied him with. You’re acting captain until he’s back on his feet, Spock.”
Kirk’s medical team hustled him quickly out of the room, Chapel threatening to restrain the captain to a hover gurney if he didn’t lay still. McCoy didn’t favour his chances; nobody disobeyed the Head Nurse.
Spock nodded. “A logical decision, doctor. As it turns out, the captain is feeling the effects of the En Gun Pi herb. The planetary custom is for new trading partners to ingest it during a shared meal. If no ill effects are found, the trade can go ahead. Anyone found to be susceptible to its effects is deemed an unworthy partner. I suspect that a toxicological scan on yourself will reveal the herb present in an inert form in your bloodstream. We have beamed a sample of the herb to the botanical science unit for further analysis.”
McCoy clenched his fists. “Didn’t anyone think this was a worthwhile thing to mention during the mission briefing?” he demanded.
“The information was present in Captain Kirk’s briefing notes from the Cultural Sciences department,” Spock informed him evenly. “Perhaps he did not think it was relevant?”
McCoy didn’t answer, but scowled deeply. Jim’s cavalier attitude towards the Cultural Science briefings was notorious. Lieutantant Darrow had threatened to tattoo the next report on his arm, and he wouldn’t put it past the curvaceous woman to make good on her threat. God knows, he'd hold Jim down for her.
Spock took the silence that as a signal that the conversation was over and left the room. Scotty was still there, frowning at the controls.
“Problem, Mr Scott?”
Scotty looked up, and smiled.
“Not a big one, Doc. The biological filtering systems picked up a parasitic lifeform from the blanket you were holding when we beamed you up. I was just about to flush the unit into space and kill the wee beggers.”
“Wait,” McCoy began, and immediately felt a rush of embarrassment. Scotty waited patiently, his hands poised above the control panel. Swallowing his pride, McCoy asked “Can you do a DNA scan and isolate any parasite that contains DNA from both me and the captain?”
Scotty shrugged, and danced his fingers over the keyboard. He frowned as the results flashed up.
“Let me see, let me see, plenty of separate DNA strands found from yourself and the captain,” he looked up and peered at McCoy’s exposed skin. “Those things must have been worse than the midges in the Highlands!” McCoy rolled his eyes and Scotty continued.
“Wait, yes, here’s the beastie. One parasite, containing two different DNA samples. What do you want me to do with it?”
“Isolate it, beam it to one of the suspended animation cubes the entomologists use for samples. Space the rest.”
“Will do.” There was a pause, and then Scotty reported “Parasite now contained in cube forty seven, lab five.”
McCoy smiled. “Thanks Scotty. Next leave, there’s a drink on me.”
“Throw in a decent sandwich and I’m there.”
McCoy excused himself to sickbay, where Jim was hooked up to detox unit one, the unit that the med crew reserved for his own personal use. He was asleep, but his vitals were all good. He submitted to Nurse Chapel’s ministrations to his jaw and his bites with his usual good grace, which did not faze her in the slightest. Woodhouse was in charge for this shift anyway, so he left for his quarters.
He did make a detour to lab five, to grab a small transparent cube about the size of his fist. Inside the cube lay Sparky, caught in mid-hop. He quickly left the lab, used his override code to access Jim’s quarters and left the cube on his bedside cabinet. Job done, he retreated to his own quarters, slumped in his shower for a good twenty minutes then fell, unclothed, into his bed.
He must have been sound asleep, because he didn’t hear the quiet swoosh of the door, or the light thump of clothing hitting the ground. He did wake up when a warm body pressed up against his back, and a familiar slightly spicy smell tickled his nostrils. They lay there entwined, too tired to do anything more.
“Thanks, Bones,” Jim said eventually, yawning into the back of McCoy’s neck. McCoy knew he wasn’t being thanked for his feeble attempt at fighting off the Jenaran guards, or the crappy medical care he’d been able to offer in the cell. Thanks for a flea in a box, symbol of something that neither man particularly wanted to talk about or acknowledge.
“’S alright,” Bones yawned back, feeling himself on the verge of sleep again. Still, he couldn’t let this moment pass as it was; some devilish streak just had to say “Really, Jim, Sparky?”
Retaliation was swift, and just.