He’d awakened in a bed, a hospital one, some time later, and Bones had fussed over him like the mother-hen he seemed to be to Jim. And Bones had declared he’d changed his mind, and for a moment, Jim had got hopeful maybe he would somehow avoid the hospital after all, only to find out, that no, Bones actually meant he wanted Jim to stay in the hospital at least two nights instead of the original planned one.
Again, Jim was too exhausted and pain-wracked, and perhaps more than a little sad, to argue with his best friend, and so, with an admittedly strained smile, Jim accepted it, and waited for Bones to return with some food.
He’d been staring toward the window of whatever floor his room was on for so long, wondering if his life would ever be the same again, and guessing not, when movement caught his eye and he turned his head back toward the door of his room, expecting it to be Bones with a tray of hospital food guaranteed to turn most people’s stomachs, but Jim had learned never to be fussy with food.
But it was not Bones. Or any of his friends from the Academy, as might have been his second guess.
Instead it was the older Spock, the Ambassador, who had entered his room. And Jim couldn’t have been more surprised, as he was certain he would never seen the old Vulcan again.
The slightest of smiles as the old man approached Jim’s bed. “Jim. I am quite sorry to see you’ve been admitted to the hospital.”
He smiled in return. “Well. Blame Bones. He insisted.”
“It is fortunate someone has your best interests. I should have insisted myself when I saw you earlier. You were clearly in danger of collapse.”
“I don’t know about that.”
Spock shook his head. “But I do, since you did, in fact, collapse.”
“What are you doing here? I thought you had somewhere to be.”
“I have completed the task that I believed to be pertinent and I will be departing Earth for the new colony first thing in the morning.” He perched himself lightly on the bed, neatly folding his hands in front of him. “A few hours now, as I suppose it is already morning, since it has just passed midnight. I apologize for the late visit, and for disturbing any attempt you made to rest.”
“I woke up, I guess, and anyway, Bones is bringing me a little something to eat. I had an early dinner with Mom before she had to leave. But I don’t want you to miss rest just to come see me.”
“Vulcans need less sleep than Humans. And I will rest on the shuttle. You need not concern yourself with my well-being, Jim. It is you I am concerned over.”
Jim shook his head. “Nah, likewise. Don’t be concerned. I’m okay.”
He pursed his lips. “And Spock? Have you seen him?”
“No. Not since I saw him at HQ.” Jim scrunched his face up. “Whenever that was. He’s busy with his folks.” Jim paused. “Your folks, I guess. And getting ready to go to the colony like you, I’m sure.”
Jim smirked. “I don’t like that hmm. What does it mean?”
“I cannot say.”
“Don’t give me that ‘that’s for me to know and you to find out’ nonsense.” Jim sighed. “You sure are cryptic.”
“Out of necessity, Jim.”
It was at that moment, Bones came into the room with the expected food tray. “Now, we have…oh.” Bones squinted at Ambassador Spock. “Kind of late for a visitor.”
“No, he is correct, Jim. I only wished to ensure you were receiving adequate care for myself and to find out of there would be anything you needed prior to my departure.” He stood. “But you are in the quite capable hands of Dr. McCoy.”
He frowned, glaring at Bones. “You don’t have to leave.”
“In fact, I do. And I am certain that both myself and Dr. McCoy want to see you get the much needed rest and recovery that you’ve been lacking.” He moved closer to Jim, reaching for Jim’s hand and holding onto it for a minute or so. “Do not let the admiralty bully you, Jim. They will attempt it, I assure you.”
Jim smiled. “I know.”
“And do not give up on Spock, Jim.”
At this his smile dropped, just a little. “Can I ask you something before you leave? I mean again. Obviously. You know since I already did before.”
“I am listening.”
“Did you…” Jim stopped, looked at Bones pointedly. Bones sighed and walked to the other side of the room, still holding the tray. “Did you ever get so mad at him that you…”
“Tried to strangle him to death?”
Jim swallowed heavily. “Yeah.”
“Yes,” Spock said simply.
Jim waited for more, but the old Vulcan did not continue. He opened his mouth to ask for additional information, but Ambassador Spock held up his hand.
“I thought I had killed him, and actually, was prepared to accept whatever punishment there was for me, but he was not dead, and he forgave me what occurred. I was not myself.” He paused, looked thoughtful, but did not continue.
“There was also a time when he emotionally compromised me as required by the mission, and I fought with him.” Here the old man blushed.
Jim nodded. “Okay.”
“We feel very deeply, Jim.”
He squeezed Spock’s hand, which still held his. “Have a safe trip. And keep in touch if you want. All right?”
And then he was gone, and Jim felt bereft again.
Bones walked over with the tray, looking sympathetic instead of cranky for a change. “Just some toast with peanut butter on it. Nothing too heavy until breakfast.”
Jim took it, gratefully, already biting into it. “Thanks. I mean I ate dinner, but I think I was too agitated to eat much or enjoy it.”
“Things okay with your mom?”
“Oh yeah. It’s just…everything.” Jim sighed. “I was supposed to go to a memorial for those that died because of Nero, including Gaila, and I just…it’s tomorrow.”
“I know, Jim. I get it. But you need to take care of yourself, no one is going to do it for you.” Bones grimaced. “Except me.”
“This is good.” He waved the peanut butter toast at Bones. “Thanks, Doc.”
“You’re welcome. Eat that, and then back down you go to sleep. Got that?”
“I got it.”