Disclaimer: Star Trek and characters are Paramount's property, I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands.  No copyright infringement is intended.  Any original characters, situations and story are the property of the author.   Copyright 2004 by Lou Ellen Gooding.   Rated PG.



Lou Ellen Gooding


Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy looked at the creature whose appearance was that of his former love and said, "Lord, forgive me."  He fired his phaser and killed the creature.  Once the image of Nancy Crater disappeared, he saw the alien being's true shape.  The phaser fell from his hand and he barely heard Jim say, "I'm sorry, Bones."  He stared at the dead alien and tried to tell himself that Nancy died long before they arrived.

"Bones ... Bones?"  Captain James T. Kirk straightened in his chair as he tried to gain the attention of his friend and Chief Medical Officer.  He did obtain McCoy's attention when he attempted to stand and doubled over in pain.  Bones jumped forward and helped Jim back to his chair.  He spotted Spock trying to get up and pointed his finger at him and said, "Stay put Spock, I'll check you next."  Bones pulled himself together and grabbed his spare medical scanner out of the desk and checked Jim.  He pulled Jim's hands from his face and noticed an unusual paleness with a slight imprint of red rings.  His scanner confirmed a drop in sodium levels.  Bones hit the intercom, "Sickbay, I need two stretchers stat to my quarters."  He looked at the creature on the floor and changed the order, "Make that three stretchers."

"I can walk ... don't need a stretcher," mumbled Jim.  But his statement was not very convincing, as he was doubled over in pain again.

Bones grabbed his medical kit, chose a hypo and injected the contents into Jim's arm.  "You're developing fluid in your lungs.  And, I'm willing to bet you have a doosey of a headache.  You are going to sickbay on a stretcher.  Stay put while I check out Spock."

Bones kneeled down by Spock and ran his scanner over him.  "I am not seriously hurt Doctor, tend to the Captain."

"I will be the judge of who needs attention." Bones continued to read the results on the scanner.  He noted Spock had a concussion and five broken ribs with one rib puncturing a lung.  "Spock, if you don't move, you won't do any more damage to your lung."  McCoy gently probed Spock's ribs and his gasp spoke volumes to McCoy.

At that moment, the good doctors' quarters were invaded by the medical teams.  They quickly removed the alien body and each team began to work on their respective patients.  Despite protests from both Jim and Spock, McCoy whisked his patients to sickbay.  Jim was placed on IV's to replace the sodium in his system.  McCoy repaired Spock's lung and settled him in the diagnostic bed next to Jim Kirk.  After checking Jim's readings and noting he had dozed off, Bones turned to check on Spock.  He had expected to see Spock sleeping at this point.  "Spock, is there a problem?  Why aren't you sleeping?  Didn't we give you enough pain killer?"

"I am not experiencing any difficulties, Doctor.  I will sleep presently."  The adrenaline which had helped McCoy make it through the last few hours was wearing off and McCoy shrugged in resignation.  He had noticed Spock tended to be very protective of Jim.  Which technically he didn't have a problem with, as he had always thought Jim needed a guardian to keep him out of trouble.  But at this point, he was too overwhelmed with his own grief to harass Spock.  Bones left his patients in Nurse Chapel's capable hands and headed to his office.  Once the door closed he basically collapsed in his chair and tried to sort out what had happened over the last couple of days.  'I can't believe what an idiot I was today.  I nearly allowed that alien creature to kill Jim Kirk.  Jim specifically requested my transfer to the Enterprise.  How do I pay him back?  I nearly got him killed.  Perhaps Jim made a mistake requesting my transfer.  But, it is a mistake I can rectify.'  Bones turned to his computer and began to type furiously.  When finished, he laid his head on his arms and fell into a fitful sleep at his desk.  Nurse Chapel hated to wake Dr. McCoy but he had requested she bring him an update on his patients.  She was as new to the ship as McCoy, but she had already figured out that his gruff act was just that, an act.  His skills as a physician had impressed her from the beginning.  She buzzed his office several times and when he didn't respond she leaned on the buzzer.  The door finally opened to a disheveled CMO.  His face looked years older, his clothes were rumpled and he needed a few more hours of sleep.  "Damn woman, I was trying to get some sleep."

"You wanted an update in two hours."

"Oh yeah," he rubbed his hands over his face.  "Let me see it."  Chapel handed him the data pads and waited for him to review the information.  "Well, the Captain's vitals are almost back to normal, but why isn't Spock sleeping yet?"

"Beats me, when I ask him he says sleep is not necessary yet."  Bones scowled and grabbed a computer disk from his desk and headed into the patient area.  Chapel followed him wondering what was going on.  As soon as Bones entered the room, Jim asked, "Well, how about letting me out of here?  I feel fine."  The nurse on duty was greatly relieved to see Dr. McCoy as she was ready to tear her hair out trying to keep the captain from leaving sickbay.  Jim Kirk was perhaps the worse patient on the ship and she happily left him for the doctor to handle.

Bones studied the diagnostic panel and then studied Jim's face.  "Well, your color is back to normal and your readings are much better but you are stuck here for at least another twelve hours.  And while I have you as a captive audience, I'll give you my request for transfer."

"What?" Jim sputtered for awhile before he said, "You've got to be kidding!  Why do you want a transfer?"

Spock chimed in and said, "Indeed, Doctor, a most unusual request considering you just transferred aboard the Enterprise."

Bones turned to Spock and glared at him as he said, "Tell me again why you're still awake."  Spock's raised eyebrow was his only response.

Bones turned back to Jim and ignored Spock's presence and stood quietly for a moment.  "Jim, I screwed up not once but several times.  I nearly got you killed.  How can you trust me?  And, I thought I would save you the trouble of telling me to leave."

Jim paused as he tried to think how to convince the doctor that he did not blame him.  "Bones, it wasn't your fault.  The creature made everyone see someone different.  Unfortunately for you, it chose a woman you had strong feelings for."

Spock pushed himself up and sat on the side of the bed.  "True, Captain, and it had the ability to mesmerize its victims.  Doctor, you were a victim of the creatures' strange ability to manipulate its victims as much as Dr. Crater was a victim."

Bones turned angrily on Spock, "But, I nearly let it kill Jim."

"But, you saved me by killing the creature.  There is no reason why I shouldn't trust you."

"Doctor, when the creature came to your quarters, you were already under the influence of your own sedatives.  It is understandable your reaction time and judgment would be compromised."  Bones stared at Spock in amazement.  Up to this point neither of them had said a kind word to the other.  Bones found something about Spock very irritating.  He hadn't figured out what it was yet.  And now he was defending McCoy.  Bones found that damn annoying.  Jim was surprised at Spock's defense of McCoy, as well.  He had been concerned by Spock and Bones' constant bickering and caustic remarks to each other.  He had begun to wonder if they would be able to work together.  But, perhaps the three of them would make a good team after all.

Bones stared at Spock for a minute and then said, "Spock ... uh ... thanks, Spock."  Jim handed Bones the computer disk and the good doctor stared at the disk for a minute and accepted it.  "Thanks, Jim.  Why don't you get some sleep and I'll do the same?"  Bones turned to Spock to say, "You, too" and noticed he was already asleep.  "Good night, Jim."

"Good night, Bones."

Nurse Chapel thought she heard Bones whisper, "Good night, Spock," as he left sickbay.  She smiled as she turned back to her charting.  She was glad the doctor would be staying.  The Captain and Mr. Spock were recovering and soon everyone and everything would be back to normal.