“One thing’s for sure.”
“What’s that?” Jim eyes Bones, questioningly.
“I can’t believe it took you this long to see someone.” Bones sighed as he ran his medical scanner over Jim. “Never did have much sense.”
“It’s just a few contusions, Bones,” Jim said wearily.
He should have gone right to bed, really, but as he saw his mother off to her transport after dinner at Giuseppe’s, she made him promise he’d at least have Bones check him out. She was on her way again, back to her ship and her duties, and Jim had been lucky she’d been able to spare as much time as she had to see him.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” his friend grumbled.
The last few days he’d been surviving on adrenaline really. Certainly no sleep. But it was starting to catch up with him. He was leaning on Bones as his friend scanned him.
He’d been running around, crazy, ignoring all injuries since he and Sulu had made it down to Nero’s drill on Vulcan. It started there and got worse and worse. Now he was pretty sure half his inability to breathe properly was likely because he had some cracked ribs. The human body could only take so much, after all. And Jim’s could take more than most. Or he made himself anyway.
“That’s it, I’m checking you into the hospital.”
Jim blinked his eyes open and straightened. “What? Just from a couple of bruises and maybe a cracked rib or two?”
“Five cracked ribs, genius. And a cracked skull.”
“That head of yours might be hard, but you’ve still managed to damage it. I want you in a hospital bed at least overnight so I can monitor you, and make sure you actually sleep. When was the last time, anyway?”
“Uh. The morning of the distress signal.”
“That’s what I thought. I don’t know how you’re still on your feet.”
“Sheer will,” Jim admitted.
“All that strangling damaged your larynx too. It needs rest. You need rest. Damn it, Jim.”
“I’m too exhausted to fight you, Bones. Do what you will with me.”
Bones shook his head. “You’ve got a wound on your left leg I don’t like the looks of, either.”
“Uh. Yeah. Monster number two.”
Jim sighed. “You know, when Spock got pissed because I didn’t agree with his methods and decisions on the ship, he had me kicked off to Delta Vega.”
“I remember, yeah. Always did say he was an asshole, Jim.”
He waved wearily at that. “Anyway, the point is, there were these giant monster things there. The first one pretty much chased me around until I about had a heart attack, but the second one—”
“Monster number two.”
“Yeah. It managed to get a hold of my leg before Ambassador Spock got me away from it. It hurt. But I kind of have had to ignore it ever since.”
Bones stared at him silently for a while.
“I don’t know.” Bones sighed. “There were just a few times you almost got killed thanks to him. And I know, he wasn’t himself.”
“He wasn’t. Bones, his whole planet was destroyed. He lost family, friends.”
“Uh-huh. So his reaction to that was to maroon the guy he’s supposed to love on some ice planet, possibly forever, if something happened to the Enterprise, or the space station on Delta Vega, and then when he finally gets that same guy, he’s supposed to love, back he tried to choke him to death.”
“Bones,” Jim whispered, shaking his head. He didn’t have the strength or even will-power to defend Spock just then. Wasn’t even sure he believed Spock deserved a defense.
“I’ll drop it for now,” Bones replied. He squeezed Jim’s shoulder gently. “Let’s get you admitted and into a hospital bed. Someone needs to take care of you and it looks like it’s going to be me.”
Jim smiled. A tired smile, but a smile nevertheless. Just as Bones began to help him down from the examination table, an ensign appeared.
“Oh. There you are, sir.” The ensign practically saluted.
“At ease,” Jim said, amused.
“Admiral Bennett would like to see you, sir.”
Bones snorted. “Admiral Bennett’s going to have to wait.”
The ensign looked shocked as he stared at Bones. “Sir?”
“Captain Kirk is being admitted to the hospital. You tell that to Bennett.”
“Bones, maybe I should—”
“Nope. Not this time, Jim. Doctor’s orders.” Jim nodded, took a step, then pitched forward onto the floor.