mijan: (Kirk/McCoy: I've got you)
[personal profile] mijan
Title: “No Man’s Land
Authors: [profile] gone_ashore and [personal profile] mijan
Rating: R
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 5,600 for part 7; 66,600 words total.
Warnings: Triggery. References to alien experimentation, graphic descriptions, mpreg.
Summary: A mission gone wrong puts Jim at the wrong end of alien observation, captive to a species that uses him as a lab rat. Helpless and defenseless for nearly a week, the Antosians break him down physically and mentally. After his rescue, he slowly starts to recover, until one unrealized part of the Antosians' handiwork turns his life upside down and threatens to destroy him.

Notes: This chapter includes a flashback with dialogue taken directly from one of the deleted scenes in the 2009 Star Trek movie. No copyright infringement is intended.

This is cross-posted between my journal and [profile] gone_ashore’s journal. Feel free to read either here, or on [profile] gone_ashore’s journal, here.

To Part 1
To Part 2
To Part 3
To Part 4A
To Part 4B
To Part 5
To Part 6

*********


Part 7

Day 50



Jim lies awake for over an hour and a half in the dark, listening to Bones' slow, even breathing before he gives up. His stomach is twisting unpleasantly. It’s been hurting since early evening, but it's just a bad case of nerves, and he knows it. Hell, he even feels bloated, and the cause of that is all too obvious. Tomorrow, it’ll be gone anyway, so there’s no reason to complain about the pain now.

He should have known that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep. Insomnia is a familiar companion in times of stress. He can't shut his mind off, and the longer he shifts around on the bed, trying to find a comfortable position, the more alert he gets.

In the Academy, he'd passed off his sleepless nights as a point of pride. "Stayed up all night working on my paper for Tactics," he'd tell Bones nonchalantly in the morning, conveniently omitting the hours he'd spent tossing and turning in his bunk, ruminating over his coursework and plagued with doubts about his own abilities.

Bones never seemed impressed, though. "Don't leave your assignments till the last minute next time, idiot," he told him once. "Sleep's important. Don't come cryin' to me, looking for a stim shot, when you start crashing."

Jim could never quite bring himself to ask for a sleep aid, not even after he became captain of the Enterprise. On principle, he avoids medications as much as possible, and asking for help with such a simple thing as falling asleep seems embarrassing. Plus, he'd have to explain to Bones that he's been hiding the problem from him all these years. It's just easier to pretend that he stayed up because he'd planned a surprise inspection in the middle of gamma shift, or to claim that he's developed a sudden impulse to catch up on his paperwork.

He squints at the antique clock on his desk -- the only memento he brought with him from Iowa, a gift from his grandfather Tiberius when he was six -- and almost groans aloud. 0125. Bones, a sound sleeper who makes efficient use of the limited sleep time he has, won't be up for at least six hours. Disgusted, he kicks off the tangled, sweaty sheets and slips out of bed.

He dresses quickly in the dark and pulls on his boots. Bones doesn't move. Jim tries not to resent the way Bones seems to be able to lose himself in sleep, even though he's obviously got his own concerns about the surgery. The more rational part of him argues that he wouldn't want a sleep-deprived surgeon... but the immature, scared part wishes that Bones would keep him company and talk him down.

That’s not going to happen, of course, but he’s not going to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling either. He pulls on a pair of sweat pants and slips out the door.


*********



A few minutes later, he's in the main observation lounge, his favorite part of the ship after the bridge. To his relief, it's empty. He's lucky, because it's a popular place for romantic trysts and meditative retreats. There's very little there besides the huge, curved windows -- just a few cushioned seats built into the walls and some small tables. The deck's very design is a reminder of the fragility of life in the inconceivable vastness of space. Or, as Jim prefers to think of it, a tribute to man's ingenuity and taste for exploration.

Jim engages the privacy lock. It's not a security lockout -- Spock, McCoy, or any officer of Lieutenant rank or higher could easily override it if they want -- but it's enough to keep out hopeful couples looking for a secluded place to make out. He's not running away this time. He just needs a place to do some quiet thinking.

He takes a moment to stand by the windows before his stomach twinges again and he seeks out the comfort of the nearest seat, pulling his feet up onto the cushion and wrapping his hands around his knees. Curled up, as if that gives him a sense of protection, shielding his aching stomach. Fetal position, his mind supplies.

Ha.

He's been going over the conversation with Spock in his head, again and again. Facing your fears and overcoming them. He's not sure that he's really as courageous as Spock would like to believe. He knows that he has a reputation for being a wild daredevil -- which he was, for a while, as a teenager, not to mention a petty criminal and a hacker who'd had too many run-ins with the law -- and he's never denied it. It's part of Captain Kirk's Shameful Past, as the tabloids call it, but Jim isn't ashamed of any of it.

It's the part that came before it that he's ashamed of, the part that no one, not even Bones, knows anything about.

There was nothing special about him as a kid. Nothing. He was quiet and responsible, a conscientious student who tried not to stand out, even when things came laughably easily to him. He did his chores on time without being reminded. He'd learned early on not to make waves, not to draw fire, not to call attention to himself the way his brother did.

Sam resented him for it. Sam was the opposite: strong, loud, and provocative. He wasn't afraid of his own shadow like Jim, and he was openly confrontational with their uncle Frank. He was brave and stubborn and proud, and as long as he was around, Jim was safe.

Back then, that was what he wanted. To be safe, and to stay out of everyone's way.

Until he couldn't do that anymore. Until he took a leap into the unknown, and nothing was ever the same after that.

*********


"Get the hell out of the house! When your mom comes back, she can deal with you!"

In the dead quiet of the summer afternoon, Frank's angry shouts can be heard clearly from the house all the way out to the barn. Jim flinches at what sounds like the crash of an overturned piece of furniture and the banging of the porch door. He hurries out of the barn, arriving in time to see Sam storm out of the house, followed closely by his uncle. Sam's holding his jacket wadded in his hand and his old beige backpack is on his shoulders.

"Well, then go! Run away! You think I give a damn?" The louder Frank yells, the quicker Sam moves, almost as if Frank's pushing him right off their property. Sam looks absolutely furious, and there's a bitter determination in his eyes which scares Jim.

Jim doesn’t ask what happened, because by now he’s learned that these fights don’t have a clear cause. Maybe Sam left the dishes in the sink, or got into another fight at school. Either way, Jim can tell from the aggressive way Frank’s shouting and waving his arms that he’s been drinking. Lately he’s been working less and lying around the house more, and when he drinks, his temper is explosive.

Maybe Sam should get away for a few hours, just to cool down, he thinks. But Frank's looking about ready to hit somebody, and if Sam leaves, Jim's going to be his next target.

"Where are you going?" Jim asks.

"As far as I can get!" Sam flings the words out loud enough for Frank to hear.

"Which won't be far enough! This is my house, not yours, not your mother's!"

Jim stares glumly at them both, wishing they'd just stop, somehow. Frank seems to realize that Sam is a lost cause, and turns on Jim. "What do you want, Jimmy?"

Good question. He wants a lot of things, not the least of which is for his mother to come back and for everybody to just calm down. "I just don't want my brother to go."

Jim’s meek reply just seems to infuriate him further. "Well, what you want doesn't matter. You're no one! And I asked you to wash the car. How many damn times do I need to repeat myself?"

Jim looks up at him resentfully, but doesn't say anything. Frank is a lot bigger than he is, bigger than Sam, tall and heavyset. When he gets like this, there's nothing Jim can say that won't make things worse.

With a look of disgust, Frank turns back to Sam. "Go!" he yells, and stomps back into the house.

Seeing his chance, Jim runs up to Sam. "Please stay."

"I can't take Uncle Frank anymore! Mom has no idea what he's like when she's not around. Did you hear him talking like he's our dad? That's not even his car that you're washing, that's dad's car!"

Sam's serious this time, Jim realizes with a pang of anxiety. He's really leaving and he's not coming back, and then Jim's going to be alone. With Frank.

Sam starts walking, Jim following helplessly at his heels. "You're gonna be okay," Sam says with a cynical sort of sneer. "You always are. Always doin' everything right. Good grades, obeying every stupid order..."

He's never said anything like this to Jim before, and Jim's throat is so tight he can't even form the words to defend himself. Sure, he's tried to be a good kid, tried not to draw too much attention to himself. Sam's the one who always makes trouble, and look what it's gotten him: bad grades, constant battling with their uncle, and their mother's disappointed look over the subspace channel. Sam doesn’t care how mad Frank gets, and he doesn’t lie or try to hide anything.

Jim just tries to stay out of everybody's way. It's safer if nobody knows what you're really thinking.

Sam stops suddenly, turning around to face Jim. "I can't be a Kirk in this house. Show me how to do that and I'll stay." Jim doesn't know what to say to that, because he doesn't really understand what Sam is talking about. He's never really thought about what being a Kirk means, other than having a famous dead father and a mother who's never around because she's serving Starfleet in the black.

Sam just looks beyond him, like he's not even expecting an answer… or like Jim’s just part of all the things that he can’t stand at home. "I'll see ya." He doesn’t hug Jim or even give him a brotherly clap on the shoulder, but Jim knows that he’s leaving and not coming back.

Jim doesn’t say goodbye. He’s silently frantic, watching Sam walk away.

For lack of anything better to do, he heads back to the barn. If he doesn't wash the car, Frank will just get madder.

He gets out the special soap and fills the bucket. He's hardly aware of what he's doing as he moves the rag over the smooth red metal.

Always doing everything right. Sam's accusation hurts, because Jim knows it's true. He's afraid of showing who he really is. He's tons smarter than the other kids at school, even knows more than his teachers in most of his subjects, but he never says anything. He just finishes his work as quickly as he can and then sits quietly at the back of the class and reads. He always tries to look cheerful when his mother calls, even if he's been hiding in his room all afternoon because Frank's on a rampage. He doesn't want to make her upset, because what can she do to help, anyway? He's quiet and well-behaved and he never says what he really thinks. Nobody really knows him, not his mother, not Sam, not his teachers, not the other kids at school.

He's no one, like Frank said. He's nothing, and nobody sticks around for a nothing.

It's when he's wiping down the ancient leather interior that it happens. He moves the sun visor and is startled when the keys drop down into his lap.

And that's when Jim has the biggest epiphany of his life. Why should he keep playing by the rules? They don't work anyway. What's the point of being a good kid when it just makes everybody leave you in the end, because you're not worth staying around for? Being afraid has gotten him nowhere. He's got nothing more to lose.

He turns the key in the ignition. The engine roars to life, loud and powerful. Time to find out who he really is. Time to do something nobody expects.

The hell with everybody, he thinks. He’s done being quiet little Jimmy who tries too hard and is always such a good boy.

He’s James Tiberius Kirk. And he's going for a ride.

*********


God, he hasn’t thought about that day in years. Sam never came back, although he got back in touch with their mother after a few months. Jim knows a few things about him – he’s a researcher now, some kind of biologist living on Deneva – but he hasn’t seen him since.

That day, though, was a changing point in his life. It was the first time he ever allowed himself to rebel. And after he'd sent the Corvette flying off into the quarry and scrambled back up to his feet, he knew there was no turning back. When the cop confronted him, he felt a rush of satisfaction and pride as he declared his name. It wasn’t just adrenaline -- he understood something now, like he’d finally woken up from a long sleep.

Even when the cop dragged him back to the farm and Frank’s eyes got colder than they’d ever been before, he wasn’t afraid. It was worth it, because he was free now, free to do and be whatever he wanted. Even if it meant taking on all of Frank's fury or seeing the crushing disappointment in his mother's eyes. It was what he'd chosen, and he wasn't going to let other people limit his world ever again.

From then on, defying expectations seemed to become the driving force in his life. It fueled his short-lived career as a juvenile delinquent – because by then, after he’d stopped trying in school and at home, he felt free to do exactly what he wanted, even if it included breaking the law. He’d thought of it more as “testing the limits,” challenging himself to find ways to break through supposedly-unbreakable security nets.

The first time he was caught and incarcerated, his mother was distraught. "You're in jail, Jim!" she'd said. "Is this what you want? Is this where you're headed from now on?" He’d just told her, “Mom, it was a stupid mistake.” The truth was that the only thing that felt like a mistake was getting caught. He still hated to worry his mother, even after all those years. But he wasn’t overly perturbed at being labeled a criminal. It was like breaking through another envelope, on his way to… wherever.

Captain Pike had unknowingly pushed that button when he dared Jim to “do better”, because by that point, no one seemed to expect him to do anything but disappoint. Everyone in Riverside, his own mother included, seemed to think he'd never be more than a good-for-nothing drifter, or a low-life criminal. And Jim had grown up with a simmering resentment of Starfleet, not for taking away his father, but for its relentless pull on his mother. Enlisting seemed like the last thing that made sense, and that was what made it so attractive to Jim in his half-drunk state.

Pike held himself a little distant at first, letting Jim get his bearings that first year. In his second year, though, Pike became his academic advisor and began mentoring him. He became, after a while, the first father figure in Jim’s life who believed in him and didn't betray his trust.

Well, Pike would sure be surprised to hear that Jim himself is almost about to be a father...

Jim Kirk, a dad. He wonders how Pike would respond if he asked for paternity leave. Maternity leave. Whatever. Maybe Pike would want to throw him and Bones a baby shower. The image is so silly that he finds himself smiling, then laughing out loud, even though there's no one to hear him.

Why the hell is he thinking of this? He's getting loopy from lack of sleep. Good thing Bones isn't here to tell him how ridiculous he sounds, or offer to sedate him into oblivion if he keeps acting like this. He’s fucking delirious is what he is.

He pushes himself up from the cushioned bench and leans over his knees. His gut is cramping miserably, and he can’t find a comfortable position. Sleep is pretty damned unlikely at this point. Well, he’ll sleep most of tomorrow anyway, whether he likes it or not, so he supposes it doesn't matter. Bones will probably chew him out in the morning, but it's not like he can help it if his mind won't calm down.

He stares out at the planet below. From here, Telos III looks like an azure jewel, startlingly reminiscent of Earth. He watches it for a few minutes, almost hypnotized by the beautiful swirls of green and blue and white.

He finally shakes himself out of his trance. "Computer, enhance magnification by ten," he says. The image shimmers for a split second, then coalesces into a sharper picture, the outlines of the greenish-brown continents visible. Now the planet is clearly alien, the continents' forms unfamiliar and exotic.

It's a good reminder that he's nowhere near home. He's exploring new planets and discovering new civilizations, going where nobody has gone before, and making the best decisions he can based on his training, his limited experience, and his judgment. A grand adventure, just like Bones said.

His adventure. His decisions and his judgment. His leap into the unknown.

He's caught, suddenly, by a realization that strikes him to his core. He knows, with an intuitive understanding, why he can't sleep and why his stomach has been tying itself into knots all night.

He doesn't want the surgery.

This embryo is alive. It may be a product of a violation -- of rape, if he's being honest, saying the word for the first time in his own mind -- and a medical impossibility, and it may pose a danger to his own health, but in the end, it's turning into a baby. A real baby. And he just can't choose to end that willingly, not while there's a tiny chance that he could carry the pregnancy to term. New life forms. It's his chance, maybe his only chance, to be a father. They could be a family: Bones and the baby and Jim.

And to hell with it -- he’s not going to let anyone else tell him what to do anymore. That’s the core of it. This is his fucking choice.

Let everybody gossip as much as they want. Let Bones rant at him for being irresponsible with his health and for not thinking things through. He's defied expectations before and it doesn't scare him. As for Starfleet... well, the ship is months out from Earth and subspace communications aren't reliable enough for him to discuss this with any of them, even Pike, face-to-face. He's got to make his own decision, and he knows, finally, what he wants.

Bones told him that he has the right to refuse the operation. He'll respect Jim's decision, even if he disagrees with it. And Bones could be wrong about how dangerous it is to continue the pregnancy. Nobody knows what will happen because it's never been done before, not like this.

Maybe the Antosians have discovered the one safe method for male pregnancy, and couples from all over the galaxy will go there for their famous male fertility clinic. The idea is so ludicrous that he starts laughing again, because if ever there was a situation that needed a little humor to cut through the tension, this is it.

His laughter cuts off abruptly as a sharp cramp seems to seize his abdominal muscles, and shit, that was uncomfortable. It's nerves, of course. It has to be. He's never been this nervous in his life. Or maybe he’s just got a bad case of heartburn because he hasn’t eaten anything. And he’s exhausted, and it’s making him a bit giddy. His stomach is twisting, but now that he's made his decision, it'll be okay.

Another cramp tightens through his gut, this time bringing a thick wave of nausea. He breathes through it until the worst of it passes, but he can feel a trickle of sweat running down his upper lip.

He raises a shaky hand to wipe it away, but as he pulls his hand away, it's coated in a streak of blood. He feels his eyes widen as he looks at the glistening red smear.

There's a primal reaction to the sight of his own blood. He feels a cold sweat break out on his skin as he stares at his hand. Another trickle of blood oozes down his lip, and he realizes that he's being an idiot and ought to go grab a tissue to stop the bleeding. He had enough bloody noses as a kid from the dry air of Iowa winters and the losing end of fistfights. He knows what to do. It’s fine.

Besides, it’s probably just those damned anticoagulants. If he can get a nosebleed out of nowhere, that’s just proof that Bones shouldn’t have stuck him on those drugs. Feeling mildly annoyed and, to his surprise, a little bit dizzy, Jim goes to the bathroom at the back of the observation deck, grabs a handful of tissue paper, and pinches his nose. He stumbles back to the bench facing the viewport and sits down again.

Maybe he should call Bones, but the man needs his sleep. If he’s going to be operating in just a few hours, the last thing Jim wants is to make the man even more exhausted than he is. It’s just a nosebleed and a stomach ache.

Another wrenching cramp and wave of nausea run through him.

Okay, so it’s a bad stomach ache.

And wait... Bones isn’t going to be operating on him in a few hours, because he is not going through with the surgery. He’s keeping the baby. He’s James T. Kirk, boldly going where no man has gone before.

The twisted implications of Starfleet’s motto rip an insane laugh from him. This is certainly going where no man has gone before, and it’s pretty hilarious to him right now.

He stares out the viewport, watching Telos III spin serenely beneath the ship, and it seems brighter than it did before. Or maybe fuzzier. It’s a beautiful planet, and he would have liked to go down and see it. The images recorded by the landing parties showed breathtaking views -- rich plant life and incredible scenery. Looks like a place to take a vacation. Or raise a family.

Jim feels a sudden urge to tell Bones that he’s keeping the baby, but as he’s reaching for his communicator, he feels another trickle of blood down his face. He’s bled straight through the tissues.

That’s not good.

Getting up again, he goes to the restroom and grabs a thick fistful of tissues. He pulls away the used wad of tissue from his face. It’s completely saturated with blood. He drops the blood-soaked tissues in surprise, and it lands with a wet smack on the floor. He looks up at the mirror, and suddenly something seems really wrong.

The blood is flowing down his face, his skin is oddly pale, and everything looks wrong. Out of focus. He’s dizzy, and he feels sluggish, as if everything is in slow motion, even his thoughts.

His stomach clenches again, and it feels like it’s ripping across his whole abdomen.

No.

There can’t be a problem now. Not now that he’s decided to keep the embryo -- wait, it’s a fetus now, isn’t it? -- and determine his own course. Not when he’s decided to make a stand against what those alien monsters did to him. That would be such a cruel twist of fate that he refuses to believe it. It’s not happening.

Still, he’s got to make sure everything is okay. Just in case. He should call Bones. He’ll fix it. Bones can fix anything.

Pressing the clean handful of tissues to his face, he stumbles back to the bench where he dropped his communicator, but as he goes to flip it open, it buzzes in his hand. Bones’ voice is coming through, and he sounds oddly frantic.

McCoy to Kirk! Jim, are you there?

He flips the comm open, and replies. “I’m here, in the observation lounge.”

“What the hell are you -- never mind! Jim, what’s going on? The med sensor triggered the alarm!”

I... there’s something wrong. My nose is bleeding. I don’t know why.” He’s trying to sound coherent, but words seem to be eluding him. “Do you think that’s bad?”

Your nose is bleeding? Did you hit it?

Why would he hit his own damned nose? “No, ‘course not. It just started for no reason. And... my stomach hurts.”

There’s silence for a moment, and that seems worrisome. “Jim, do you feel steady enough to get to sickbay on your own?

“I think... maybe. I’m not sure.” The room seems even more tippy now. “I’m kinda dizzy. It’s gotta be nerves, Bones. And I haven’t gotten any sleep.” He has to make Bones understand. There can’t be something wrong, not now that he’s decided to keep it. He can’t let himself believe otherwise.

Jim... stay there, and try to keep still, okay? Breathe as evenly as possible, and don’t move. I’m coming down to the observation lounge now.

“But Bones...”

I said don’t move, Jim!

“Okay.” There’s an urgency in Bones’ voice that overcomes any lingering thoughts he has about making it to sickbay on his own. He’ll just wait here. Maybe Bones is right, and if he just breathes steadily, he’ll be fine.

McCoy out.

Jim lets the communicator fall out of his hand, and he’s distantly aware of the thud it makes on the floor. A wave of dizziness hits him, and he leans heavily against the bench, still holding the tissues to his nose. He knows he’s getting blood on the fabric, but he can’t be bothered to care right now. He can’t deny it anymore - the pain is too much, and he’s feeling too sick. Something is very wrong.

His heart feels too fast in his chest, and his head feels odd. He can’t get enough air. He’s breathing too shallowly, but he can’t seem to help it. He doesn’t realize he’s no longer alone in the room until a firm hand is tilting his face up, and Bones’ peaky, tight expression is right in front of him.

“Bones... what’s going on?”

“Hold on, Jim. Keep breathing steady.”

The tricorder is whirring, and suddenly Bones gasps. “Dammit! Zhang, help me get him on the stretcher, quick.”

Jim blinks in confusion as suddenly he’s being pulled up by both arms and guided to a stretcher that he hadn’t even noticed was in the room. He hadn’t seen Nurse Zhang either. “Bones, what’s wrong?” His legs hit the side of the stretcher and he sits down automatically, too dazed to protest. In fact, he’s not quite sure what’s happening. He drops the hand holding the tissues -- they’re soaked through again -- and barely notices the blood that continues to trickle down his face. The nurse is pulling his legs onto the stretcher and fastening a strap over them. “Bones?”

Bones crouches down and looks Jim square in the eye, and it’s the only clear thing Jim can focus on. “Jim... this is serious. And no, it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. But we’ve got to take you into surgery now.”

A feeling of panic wells up in Jim’s chest. “Wait, what? Now? No!”

But Bones is looking at Nurse Zhang. “Let’s get him out of here.”

“What’s the matter with --” He breaks off into a cough as some blood runs back into his throat, and he tilts his head forward.

Bones is barking into his comm unit as he pushes the stretcher out the door. “McCoy to M’Benga! The Captain is having a DIC. We’re moving him into emergency surgery. Get Chapel down to sickbay. We’ll need her.”

There’s a tinny voice replying through the communicator, but Jim can’t make out the words over the sound of his pulse rushing in his ears. The stretcher is moving too fast, and the walls of the hallway are a blur. He’s too dizzy, and leans his head back against the stretcher’s headrest, but then there’s a suffocating feeling of blood oozing back down his throat. He tries to get a look at Bones’ face. Bones is tight-lipped and wide-eyed, guiding the stretcher with one hand as he stares at the tricorder in his other hand.

“Bones, what’s happening? What’s a DIC?”

“It’s an emergency, Jim. A really goddamned dangerous emergency.” His voice turns low and angry.. “I can’t believe the sensor didn’t pick up the warning signs sooner. I should never have set the tolerance limits so high.”

The stretcher jostles as they roll into the turbolift, but Jim barely notices. If Bones isn’t telling him any more than that, there’s got to be something horribly wrong. He feels dazed, but all he can think about is the fragile life that he’s just decided to protect. “What kind of emergency? What’s happening to the baby?”

“It’s an embryo, Jim,” comes Bones’ terse reply, “and there’s nothing I can do for it. Right now...” He finally makes eye contact. “I told you that you’d have a choice unless it was a matter of life and death. Jim, you don’t have a choice anymore.”

“What?” A block of ice lodges itself in Jim’s already-aching stomach. This isn’t right. This can’t be right.

The turbolift opens and suddenly they’re moving again. “No, you can’t... I made up my mind, Bones. Want to keep it.” Tears are starting to blur his vision as surely as the blood is making him choke again. He leans his head forward; he’s so dizzy. “Don’t do this, Bones. It’s too fast. You’re not listening to me...”

They’re pushing through the doors of sickbay, and everything is spinning and tilting out of control. Chapel is rushing towards them, and he can see M’Benga waiting as they roll into the surgical suite. Bones is talking rapidly -- something about tissue necrosis and catastrophic failure of the uterine sac and Jim can’t wrap his head around any of it but it sounds terrifying. There’s movement at the corner of his eye, and Bones is reaching towards his neck with a hypospray. A lance of fear pierces the thick mental fog, and Jim dodges away.

“No! Promise to save the baby first!”

Firm hands grip his arms, and Bones’ face swims into view in front of him. “Jim, stop struggling! You’re not thinking straight. I can’t save the embryo, and I need to focus on saving you! Goddammit, kid, don’t fight me!”

“No!”

Bones shakes his head, then looks up at the other people in the room. More hands grasp Jim’s arms, and there’s the hypospray at his neck and he can’t duck away this time. Time slows and the room blurs even more. Hands are lifting him, and he’s on his back, staring up at the ceiling and the overhead lights. It’s painfully bright, and he squeezes his eyes shut.

There’s a device placed on his nose, buzzing oddly, and it feels like it’s suffocating him even as the choking flow of blood into his throat stops. He feels claustrophobic. Restrained. His clothes are being cut away, stripping him of his security, his dignity. He’s naked on a table, and hands are holding him down. There’s a pressure and sharp pain in his left hand, and he tries to pull away, but he can’t.

“Bones... please don’t do this.” His own words are garbled and confused, and he really has no idea what he’s saying anymore. All he knows is that they’re going to cut into him again, they’re doing it against his will, and he can’t take it. There’s a life that’s going to be snuffed out, and it’ll all be over. Or he’ll die, and it won’t matter.

There’s a hand on his cheek, warm, despite the odd numbness in his skin. Then someone grasps his hand, and pulls it up. There’s stubble under his fingertips, and Jim opens his eyes to see Bones hovering over him. His features are blurry and his expression is strained, but his eyes are steady.

“Jim, I’ll take care of you, and you’ll be fine.”

“But...”

“You need to relax now.”

There’s a heaviness flooding through his veins, and the room is getting darker. The drugs are pulling at him relentlessly, and he’s going under. “Please, Bones...”

“Quiet, Jim. Don’t fight it. Just breathe, kid.”

“No...”

“I’ve got you. It’ll be okay. I promise.”

The words are decisive, but there’s a bleak uncertainty in Bones expression. Jim wants to protest again, but his mouth won’t work right. His eyes won’t stay open either. The last thing he sees is Bones staring down at him. He tries to focus on the hand squeezing his own, on the rough stubble under his fingertips, but finally, even that fades away as the darkness swallows him.


(To be continued…)

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April 2013

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