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03 April 2010 @ 09:19 am
Trek Fic: Pepper and Vinegar Besides (Pike/McCoy, R)  
Title: Pepper and Vinegar Besides (Part 14 of To Talk of Many Things)
Authors: mga1999 and skyblue_reverie
Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot (aka AOS, ST XI, etc.), Pike/McCoy
Rating: R-ish
Spoilers: None
Warnings: Angst ahoy!
Word Count: around 9000
Summary: The further correspondence of Leonard McCoy and Christopher Pike. So how does Len react to Chris saying that he might have to have sex in the line of duty? Hmmmm. I'm thinking: NOT VERY WELL.
Authors' Notes: From skyblue_reverie (the loud one): Long part is LONG. We thought about splitting it, but out of fear for our lives concern that we're running out of titles the kindness of our hearts, we decided to give you the whole thing at once. We're so magnanimous. ♥ ;) From mga1999 (the quiet one): Well, I actually thought it would be fun to split it up and wait a week. *evil laugh*


Click here for series masterlist with links to all prior parts




To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

Well, it's almost Christmas now, and I've gotta say I'm not in a very goddamn jolly mood after getting your last comm, almost two weeks ago now. I guess I should be grateful for your mission to Kaanae for bringing up this subject before you actually had to "do your duty" and screw around on me.

First, let me say that this is probably about the twentieth version of this comm. I deleted the first nineteen or so because they probably would've set your console on fire, and possibly your hair as well. It'd be a goddamn understatement to say that I was not pleased to get your last comm. In fact, Jim was here in my quarters when I read it and I think his ears are still ringing from the cursing I did that day.

So before you accuse me of going off half-cocked and responding irrationally - Chris, this is my rational response. This is as goddamned rational as I'm going to get on this subject.

No, it is not all right with me if you fuck some alien king or queen in order to seal a treaty. Of course I consider it cheating, and I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be as "understanding" as your exes apparently were. You're mine, Chris, and I've already told you I don't share. We made a commitment to each other, and that does not include fucking other people when political expediency demands it.

As far as I'm concerned, you can tell whoever it is that wants to fuck you that you're very sorry to have to disrespect their culture, but in your culture, vows of fidelity are taken very seriously and you're sure they'll understand that you can't hurt your partner that way. Then let 'em fuck Sato, since you said she's got the Jim Kirk-sized libido.

Thanks, by the way, for telling me that we needed to have a "discussion" about this and then proceeding to inform me of your unilateral decision. I really appreciated that touch. Oh, and let me also tell you how goddamn happy I was to know that you'd cheat on me "regretfully" and that you wouldn't have regretted it with any of your prior partners. Can you tell how damn honored and grateful I am that you would have a moment of "regret" after ripping my heart out and stomping on it?

I'll tell you something, Chris. If this had come up earlier in our relationship, and you'd said what you said in that comm? I would've ended it. I would've walked away from you without a backward glance and counted myself lucky to have escaped before I got in too deep. Now it's too late, and I'm already in too deep to just walk away so easily. Because apparently unlike you, I honor my commitments, Chris. I fight for them tooth and nail and I look for any possible way I can to make them work. I don't just throw off a glib line about sworn duty and stab my partner in the back.

In fact, let's talk about that sworn duty. I know you take your duty to Starfleet seriously. So do I. But Chris, my personal loyalties come first. Always have, always will. That means if I had to sacrifice my career for your sake, I'd do it and never count the cost. And you know what, Chris? You're goddamned lucky that I feel that way because if I didn't, I'd never have smuggled Jim onto the Enterprise, and you'd be dead and the entire Earth would be a smoking field of rubble.

So I want the same consideration from you. I want your loyalty to me, to us, to come before your goddamn duty to Starfleet. There's one exception I'll make: if it's a matter of life and death, yours or someone else's, then do what you have to do.

But I want you to swear to me your word of honor that you will do everything in your power to avoid that situation, of having to have sex with someone who isn't me. Your word, Chris. I deserve that much from you. And I know that when you swear you'll do everything in your power to avoid it, then it damn well isn't going to happen.

When I talked to Jim about this, he told me that it's something everyone in command knows they might have to do, just like everyone in command knows that they might have to sacrifice their own life for their crew, the way his father did. But that doesn't mean that most captains will ever actually face that situation, and it certainly isn't something that's considered a run-of-the-mill part of a captain's duties. He's faced situations like this a couple of times, where an alien diplomat or leader requested sexual relations with him or Spock. The time a leader requested to have sex with him, it was a male and Jim would've done it if he'd had to, but he didn't want to, so he found some archaic regulation in their books that said that the ritual of binding or whatever the hell they called it couldn't be enforced on non-residents, and as someone from another world, he was pretty clearly a non-resident. The next time, apparently some alien princess took a shine to Spock and decided to make it a condition of negotiations that he sleep with her. Well, Jim told her that Spock was in a committed relationship, that our culture takes those things very seriously, and that if she didn't like it, she could take the treaty and her dilithium mines and shove them up her ass. She caved, and he got the treaty anyway, without Spock having to cheat on Lt. Uhura.

What I'm saying, Chris, is that Jim doesn't believe in no-win situations. He just refuses to accept any outcome that he doesn't like, and I've never seen it fail yet. I know that you're every bit as good a strategist as he is, so this shouldn't be beyond your ability.

Well I guess that's about all I have to say about it for now, though I reserve the right to yell at you some more. I don't really feel like chit-chatting about other things right now, either. Goddamnit, Chris. You keep saying you're mine, and if you are, then prove it to me. Promise me you'll do everything in your power to avoid having sex with anyone else, and then when it comes down to it, do even more than that to avoid it. You're the one who keeps telling me that I'm worthy and deserving. So Chris, it comes down to this - I deserve your faithfulness. You know you'll always have mine.

Len



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Len,

If you honestly think so little of me, to really believe what you wrote, then I don't even know what to say. You know I am not as articulate as you are. I don't have fancy doctorates like you do. I'm just a simple man who has never had a relationship like this and I'm doing the best that I know how to. You know this. And I'm working on it -- Fuck Len, I'm seeing a marriage counselor twice a week to try to figure this out. I'm still talking to Dr. Rossen and dealing with my PTSD. What do you want from me? I gave you my word already more times than I can count. And if you think that I'm such an idiot, that I wouldn't do everything in my power, and I mean everything so that it wouldn't happen. Fuck. I guess you just really don't know me at all. I'm so glad you have Jim to point out how brilliant he is and what an absolute idiot I must be. I really don't know how I've been a Starfleet Captain for almost twenty-five years and survived. Must be complete luck.

So tell me. What good would it do to promise you anything? I'm obviously not intelligent enough to even know what I'm promising. I have been completely honest with you at every turn. I'm sorry you can't handle my bluntness. Here I thought I was doing the right thing by telling you. I'm sorry I don't have the fancy words that might have made a difference. Sure, I've screwed up and I'm going to do a lot of that. All I was trying to do was tell you the truth. I could have said nothing. It will probably never even matter. In my thirty-seven years, it's come up four times, Len. Four.

So yeah. Merry Fucking Christmas. And again, if you truly think so little of me, I guess there really isn't anything else I can say to you -- Except goodbye, since that seems to be what you want.

Chris



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

What the hell? Seriously, what the hell?

What exactly in my last comm gave you the impression that I wanted to call it quits? All I said, over and over, was that I would fight for us tooth and nail and that I wanted you - expected you - to do the same. You said you'd already given me your word more times than you can count, but Chris, you also agreed that we've never discussed this issue before, so you'll pardon me for thinking that maybe the promises we'd exchanged didn't cover this particular situation.

And what on earth is this horseshit about you being a simple man and not articulate and you not having fancy degrees like me? And me thinking that you're stupid? When have I ever implied that you're stupid, Chris, or any less intelligent or educated than I am? You're a goddamned Starfleet Admiral. You've handled first contact with over a dozen new races and negotiated at least twice that many mutual aid pacts. I could go on, but you know your own résumé. Of course you're articulate and intelligent. Haven't I said that you're the finest strategist alive? And that if you gave me your word that you'd do everything in your power to avoid having to screw anyone else, I could rest easy because then I'd know that it would never happen? What about any of that makes you think that I think you're stupid or ignorant, Chris?

Then you said I can't handle your bluntness - Chris, that's bullshit and you know it. We've both been blunt and honest from the beginning, and it's been a goddamned relief. You should go back and read the comm you sent me that started this whole thing, then maybe you'll understand why I reacted the way I did. Or better yet, let me demonstrate. I don't know if this'll make things better or worse, but here goes:

There are times, Chris, that as an officer of Starfleet, that in the line of duty - well, things happen. Sometimes I have to have sex with Jim in front of a bunch of aliens who want to witness human sexuality in action. I'm not going to lie and say it hasn't happened to me. Fortunately, on all but one of the incidents, I was not in a relationship or married. Or I was with someone who completely understood. But one was during my marriage, and my wife and I had discussed the possibility at length in advance. And it wasn't an issue in the demise of my marriage, nor did I consider it 'cheating'. It was part of their culture for the representative Starfleet leader to have sex with his doctor in order to demonstrate appreciation for their god of healing. And I did. I'm not ashamed; it's something you know might happen the moment you chose the medical track. You may think that Jim and I are just screwing for fun - well, sometimes that's what it takes.

So I thought we should discuss this. And I'm guessing - in fact, I know - this is going to be upsetting to you. And I'm sorry I didn't bring this up sooner. But I can tell you, not all societies and cultures offer the freedom of choosing whether I have sex with Jim, and it's considered an offense to decline. You know I would never do anything to purposely hurt you, Chris. But if this situation arises during my tenure at Starfleet, I will comply with my sworn duty and let Jim fuck me in front of an audience rather than risk giving offense to an alien culture. Regretfully to you, of course. If it makes you feel any better, it's not something I would have regretted at all in the past.

How's that feel, Chris? Are you reassured of my love and loyalty? Are you resting easy knowing that I'm going to do everything in my power to avoid the situation I've described? Those are your words, Chris, almost exactly. Tell me how I was supposed to somehow know that you were going to even try to get out of this "duty" to have sex with other people. Because to me - and here maybe I'm the ignorant idiot - it reads to me like you're pretty damn cheerful about doing your duty and I'm expected to just shut up and smile about it because it's for the greater goddamn good.

Pretty much from the beginning, I've felt like you thought I was some backwoods hick who insisted on that outdated monogamy business, while you were the sophisticated one who was indulging my whim because clearly I was too ignorant to appreciate the benefits of an open relationship. That comm from you only reinforced that feeling. So tell me what I'm doing wrong here. I've been up-front and honest from the very beginning that I don't want an open relationship. I'm sorry if you think that's stupid.

Chris - when you make love to me, you reveal so much. Probably more than you know. Your breathing hitches when I touch a spot that makes you feel particularly good, like the small of your back. Your skin flushes wherever I touch it with my lips or tongue. The noises you make, and the words you use - Chris, I know I've got a filthy mouth, but you've got a sweet mouth. I don't even think you realize half the things you say sometimes - you call me your baby, your sweetheart, you say nothing's ever felt this good and nothing ever will again. You beg me to never stop touching you, and you say you'll die if I ever leave. When I first enter you, you make this noise - it's almost like a sob, and you clutch me so tight that your fingers leave bruises on me. And when you fuck me, your eyes get so dark, so possessive it's almost like I could drown in them. When you're really putting your back into it, and you break into a sweat, the fine hairs around your face curl and I swear to god you look like a goddamned angel. And the look on your face when you come - Chris, it's like nothing I've ever seen before. It's like holy rapture and carnal sin all at the same time.

Those things are intimate, Chris. I don't know if you're like that when you're with anyone else, and I don't particularly want to know. All I know is that all of those things, how you are when you come undone in ecstasy - those things are mine now.

So here's the bottom line. Maybe I'm being stupid and paranoid, but I want your word. I want your word that you will do everything in your power to avoid a situation where you have to be sexually intimate with anyone else. I give you mine.

There it is, darlin'. I can't be any plainer than that, and I don't think I'm asking too much. It's up to you now.

Yours,
Len



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Len,

I've been trying to write this letter for days -- I just figure, why bother. Sure, I can give you the words you want to hear, but do they even matter anymore, Len? You've said time and time again that you trust me, but your reaction and your continued actions prove otherwise. You don't trust me, Len. You want the words? Fine. I will do everything I can, just like I would have before you gutted me with your assumption that I wouldn't. I've told you more times than I can count, that I cannot articulate things that are difficult for me well. I know that. I've told you that. I can command, Len. I obviously cannot express myself in ways that a partner wants to hear.

So tell me this. How am I supposed to have faith in a relationship when I feel like you don't trust me at all? How do I get that back, Len?

God, I can't do this right now. I'm not sleeping. I'm struggling to get up every day. I'm sitting here crying at my console right now writing this. I'm hurting not just emotionally, but physically. Headaches, back spasms. They're bad, Len. I am barely holding things together right now.

I can't even begin -- I'm just too upset to think about this anymore. I need some time. I just can't deal with this right now. And I'm sure saying that will set you off too since it did the time before when I asked for the same consideration.

Obviously, I can't win.

Chris



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

God damn it, man, what's happening to us? I don't understand how we got from where we were back on earth in October to this. And nothing's even happened, we're just trying to talk about a hypothetical situation that might never even come up. It's all falling apart and I don't know how to stop you from slipping away from me. I can see that you're hurting, Chris. I am too. Your crystal has been flickering between dark gray and dark red pretty much since this whole thing began. I don't think I've seen that dark red color before, but I'm guessing it can't be anything good. Chris, I never meant to hurt you, and I know you didn't mean to hurt me either. So for my part in this, I am sorry, Chris, truly.

I feel like we're speaking two different languages here. I do trust you, Chris. You obviously don't believe me, and I don't know how to prove it to you, but I do. Yeah, I've got issues with trust and with worrying about infidelity. You know that. Yeah, I need a lot of reassurance. My need for reassurance doesn't mean that I don't trust you. Those two things are not linked in my mind. It's like - I don't know, it's like "I love you." I say it to you all the time. I need to hear it from you all the time. The fact that I need to hear the words doesn't mean that I think you don't love me, at all. It just means that I need to hear the words. Maybe you don't, and that's okay, but Chris, this is who I am, and I can't just turn that off like a switch.

You keep saying you don't know how to articulate things except from a command perspective. All right. I'm going to try to step back here. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you genuinely don't know how your comm hit me, the one that started this whole thing. The thing that hurt me, Chris, was that when I read it, I didn't get from it that you would fight with everything you had to avoid the situation you described. Maybe I should have just known all of that without having to be told. Maybe it goes without saying. But I'm not a mind-reader, and I don't understand how I was supposed to read the words you wrote and understand that you would fight like hell to avoid that situation. Jim tells me that to a Starfleet captain, and to you in particular, integrity and honor are the most important things and I basically spit on that by making the assumption I did.

Fuck, Chris. Maybe I screwed up. All right, I did. I screwed up. But Chris, so did you. Maybe you think you've already said that in a way that I should have understood, but if you have, Chris, I didn't hear it. So talk to me. Can we please set aside the anger and the sarcasm and the words that are designed to draw blood, and instead just try to figure this out?

I don't need fancy words, Chris. Hell, I don't want 'em. I just need to know, without having to assume or guess, what's on your mind; I need reassurance sometimes, and I need to not feel like I'm somehow defective because I do need those things. So can we agree that you aren't always good at communicating things in the way a partner wants to hear, and I'll accept that about you? Can we also agree that sometimes I'm going to need extra reassurance because of your communication style, and that no lack of trust or slur on your honor is implied, and have you accept that about me? It's got to be a give-and-take, Chris. It won't work any other way.

I guess I'll leave it there for now. If you don't know this, I do love you, Chris, more than I've ever loved anyone. I want to be with you. I want this to work. And I'm worried about you, so aside from anything that's going on with us, please take care of yourself, all right?

I'm not a patient man; I've said that before. But if you need some time away from us to think about this - Chris, it'll kill me, but take the time you need. I'll wait for you. Hell, I'll be waiting for you until the day I die.

Still yours, now and always,
Len



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Len,

I'm not sure I should even be trying to talk to you right now. I wanted to comm you though, before more time passes. I talked Philip into letting me have a PADD, though he's not happy about it. And he said if my vitals change too much, he's going to take it away. So honestly, I'm a little afraid to start talking about anything right now.

Yes, I'm in medical bay right now. I have been for a couple of days. I'm going to assume the dark red you have been seeing all this time on the crystal is the physical pain I've been feeling. It's been going on for awhile, as you've probably noticed. Headaches, the back spasms have been worse than usual, and just flat out back pain. I've also been really fatigued and dizzy at times. I figured that was just from not sleeping and stress. The nightmares have been back tenfold. And the pain, the pain was so bad the other day, I passed out in my quarters. Hit my head on the desk. Got quite a concussion. Luckily, Philip and I had plans to discuss some ship business so when I didn't answer, he used his medical override. I was lucky. I could go on but I know you're going to comm Philip for the details and frankly thinking right now hurts. He's still running tests. I'm still in pain. I feel like shit, Len. In every possible way.

I thank you for your apology, really. But it wasn't needed. I don't know, Len. I can't explain what I've been feeling. I don't know how many ways I can tell you that I'm not good at this stuff. I always seem to screw up no matter what my intentions.

Sorry -- Had to take a break there. My blood pressure was going up and Philip was giving me the glare. What is it with doctors and their glares anyway?

I would never intentionally hurt you, Len. I would rather die first. You just have to know that. Obviously we do speak different languages. I'm fifty-four years old and this is the first real relationship I've had in my life, Len. In the way that it matters more than anything. Yet, I keep screwing up at every turn. I don't know how to talk to you as a partner, as an equal, I guess. I've never had to relate to anyone that way. Never wanted to. I want to, Len. I just honestly don't know anything else. I'm surprised I've gotten this far without you walking away from me. I wouldn't blame you.

Okay, Philip sedated me for awhile and I'm still pretty groggy, so I feel like I should wrap this up, but I'm not sure how. I know we need to talk more about things, but obviously I can't right now. So I'm just going to say I'm trying, Len. I love you -- That doesn't even convey what I feel for you. I'm crying again, and that should tell you a lot because you know I'm not an emotional man in that way at all. I just can't imagine life without you anymore and I'm fucking terrified I won't be able to give you what you need.

Philip says I only have a minute, so I'm just going to say I love you. Thank you for waiting. I'm sorry that you have to. And I'll write you more when I'm able.

Yours,
Chris



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

Goddammit, I really want to give you a lecture about taking care of yourself and seeking medical help when you need it, not just pushing through the pain. But I know you've got your own CMO who can give you that lecture, and that's not what you need from me right now.

So let me try this instead, see if this helps at all. Chris, I love you. You give me everything I need and, more than that, everything I could ever want. I am not walking away from you, and I don't intend to ever walk away from you. What we have together, it's the best thing I've ever had in my life. Whatever bumps in the road there are - and with us, stubborn and set in our ways as we both are, there's bound to be some - it's worth it.

Chris, you haven't screwed up at every turn. We've both screwed up plenty and we've both done plenty that's right. We're going to make it through this. You take the time you need. I told you I'd wait for you and I meant it. And when you're ready, darlin', I will be waiting for you, and we will figure this thing out, together.

Lord, this sounds hokey, but Chris - you're my soulmate. I may not believe in much, but I honestly believe that. There's no one else for me. There never will be. So please, baby, don't be scared. I'm not going anywhere.

All my love, always,
Len



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Dear Len,

I'm going to warn you, I'm still under the influence of some pretty heavy drugs, but I was released from medical yesterday after spending a week there. I think you are corresponding with Philip, so you know he's at a loss as to what's causing this. He's pretty sure it has something to do with that damn bug and the lingering damage that couldn't be repaired. Cultures of my spinal fluid still show minute traces of its secretions. Since I'm the only human that has ever survived the damn thing, I guess I'm now a glorified guinea pig for your medical journals. I know I already was before this; I'd read the paper you'd done on my surgery and regeneration on the Enterprise. I just hoped it was over. Evidently not.

He thinks stress might have a lot to do with it. The PTSD has been bad lately, and couple that with the problems we've been having -- As he put it, he's surprised I'm not in a straightjacket in a room with padded walls. But I swear, Len, I wasn't pushing through the pain. Philip knew. I have been on a mild muscle relaxant and non-narcotic painkiller since shortly after the Exeter left. I've tried some new p.t. exercises to help with sitting in the chair all day. Bottom line, it just kept getting worse.

I'm officially off duty a couple more days. Then I get two weeks of light duty. My crew has really shown how great they are, especially my bridge crew, who have stepped up and kept me informed and involved -- And I can't say how important to me that has been. I was pretty despondent the first couple of days, wondering what would happen. And I know this is a touchy subject, but Commander Sato really put me at ease. Even though I was not technically in command anymore, she never made me feel like I wasn't. I don't know how to explain what I mean by that. I suppose it would be like you not being in charge of your medical bay and watching someone else do your job without any consultation.

I may work split shifts for awhile so I can rest in between. Philip thinks it will pass, just like when I had this problem last year. That time wasn't as bad, but it did pass. Meanwhile, he's researching whatever he can find. Which, unfortunately, isn't much.

It's been fairly quiet out here of late. The pirates seemed to have gotten the message that they aren't going to be able to pillage in these parts anymore. Not sure what's going to happen when we leave in April, but we're trying to help some of the regular ships with tactics and plans for evading. I know Starfleet intends to keep a presence out here, which I think is greatly needed, so I'm assuming a smaller battle cruiser will take our place. It should be more than adequate for what we've encountered so far.

So it's 2260. Can't say I enjoyed bringing in the New Year since I was practically in a coma in medical. I suppose when I do something, I do it well. Philip showed me my skull fractures when he put the holo-images in my digital file. Guess my head isn't as hard as I always thought it was.

I know I'm rambling about inconsequential things. I guess I'm still afraid to say anything. But I want to thank you for what you said in your last comm. It did help. More than you will ever know. And I feel especially bad causing all of this since you -- Well, since you are struggling with your own issues. I'm sorry. I know that's not enough, but -- Damn, I'm tearing up again. And Philip has me fitted with a biosensor -- God, I'm a mess. Maybe you should re-think waiting for me. I wouldn't blame you.

I know the Enterprise is scheduled to be at a starbase next month for re-supply before heading out again. Since you'll be in vidcomm range, I was hoping we could have a joint session with Dr. Elliott -- I think we need help sorting out some of these issues. And don't forget, Jim was going to talk to her too. You never did say if he agreed, before all this mess started. Of course I want to talk to you too, but honestly, I think I'm just as scared as you were the night before the Enterprise left. Promise me, Len, that you will talk to someone while you're at the starbase. I know most of them have counselors on staff, or contact someone back home. I'm sure the fact that we are both struggling with our own issues right now isn't helping us -- At least I keep telling myself that.

Fuck, these drugs are about to knock me out again. I love you, Len. And what you said about us being soulmates -- I want to believe you're right. Right now, I think you deserve someone better. Yeah, yeah. I know you are swearing under your breath right now for me saying that -- It's just right now -- It's how I feel.

Yours,
Chris



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: James Kirk (jkirk@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

I heard about your medical problems from Bones, and I wanted to write to see how you're doing. I'm sorry I haven't written much lately. Had some medical issues of my own that gave Bones a few more gray hairs (not that he admits he has them). But we've been busy mapping and exploring this system. Haven't come across any sentient life yet, but we've only found a few planets that support any kind of life.

It was one of those planets where I found out that while the plants were pretty, they also bite. I swear I didn't touch the one that got me. It reached out a vine and wrapped around my wrist and the next thing I know it's five days later and I'm waking up with a red-eyed and haggard CMO hovering over me. He nearly burst into tears when I woke up. That scared me more than what happened to me. Took me a week before I was moving around much and I'm still sore and sick as hell. Guess he had to work night and day to create an antidote to whatever it was that poisoned me. I'm not sure there will ever be a way to repay him for all the times so far he's saved my life.

Mostly, I just wanted you to know that even though I know you and Bones have been having some issues... Well, I didn't want you to think I wasn't writing because of that. It was hard... I mean, I tried to be a neutral party when Bones was so upset. There were times I wanted to lash out at you because he was really hurting. But I also tried to point out to him a few things, without him thinking I was choosing sides. He did accuse me of that once, but he apologized later. For the record though, I will always be on Bones' side. Not that it makes me happy to have to contemplate that.

Well, it's 0200 and I have Alpha shift so I better try to get some sleep or Bones will take me off duty again. I'm worried about you, from what Bones has told me. Don't worry about writing me back. Just take care of yourself. I promise I'll write more and tell you what we're finding out here. And don't worry, Bones is doing okay, considering. I'm keeping an eye on him.

Love,
Jim



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Len,

I know I just wrote you, but I got a comm from Jim right after. Jesus. I'm sorry you were going through that with everything else. He didn't say much as usual, but what he did say scared the hell out of me and it sounds like he's still not well. What happened? Is he okay? Are you okay?

Fuck, Len. I feel terrible and I'm telling you, Philip is pretty sure that stress is triggering at least some of my problems since I'm back in medical again because the pain was uncontrollable. He's only letting me write you so you can let me know what's going on.

God, I hate that you are out of comm range. I feel helpless.

Chris



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

Thanks for writing when you heard about Jim. He's going to be okay - he'll make a full recovery within a few weeks. Just in time to launch himself into the next disaster, I'm sure.

I didn't see what started it, though Jim swears he was just standing there, doing nothing. We'd just split up and I was analyzing some biosamples with my tricorder and suddenly I heard Jim yelling. Spock was with him, though, and it's a damn good thing he was, because it was only his Vulcan strength and reflexes that let him untangle Jim from the vines that had wrapped around him before it was too late. I've never seen anything like that. Good god, one moment everything was fine and dandy, and then suddenly this innocuous-looking plant was trying to kill Jim, and very nearly succeeding. I know I complain about Spock a lot, and with reason, but he does have his good points, and at least for right now he gets a free pass from me because really, Chris, if he hadn't been there, Jim would be dead on that goddamn planet.

We beamed back up immediately, and Jim collapsed right on the transporter pad. Turns out that damn plant had injected him with some kind of bio-toxin. It wasn't even remotely like anything in the ship's database. Thank god it was relatively slow acting, or I wouldn't have been in time. As it was, I worked day and night for almost five days straight. Nearly used up the ship's stock of stims. Even with that, god, Chris, it was far too close a thing. He was going into multi-system failure by the third day, and by the time I managed to synthesize an antidote, his condition was critical. My heart's racing even now, just remembering it.

Even after I gave him the antidote, for a while I wasn't sure if I'd been in time, if he was going to make it. I was sitting by his bedside, and he looked like he was already dead - I'd've thought he was if not for the bio-sensor readouts. There was a moment - Chris, I hadn't heard from you after my last comm, and I thought I'd lost you. I thought I was going to lose Jim too. I don't know if I can even describe it. It was the worst goddamn moment of my life. Nothing even comes close. I know this sounds melodramatic, but Chris, if I lost both of you at once - I wouldn't survive it. I'm as sure of that as I am of my own name.

So right now - no, I'm not okay. I'm pretty much as far from okay as I've ever been. I don't know what's going on with us, and I don't want to push you, because I know that won't help, but it feels to me like you're giving up, the way you keep saying I shouldn't wait for you, or that you don't deserve me. And I can't help but believe that one of these days, Jim really is going to get himself killed, and nothing I or anyone else does will be able to prevent it.

This is no kind of life, Chris - all I'm doing is existing day to day, hurting like hell and constantly petrified of the worse pain that's sure to come.

I'm pretty much getting out of bed every day only through pure cussedness right now. Everyone on the ship but Jim has been giving me a mile-wide berth, and I don't blame them. Even I can recognize how volatile I am right now. Jim's sticking close, both to keep an eye on me and because I think he feels like his presence, the fact that he's recovering, will help me feel better. It doesn't, Chris. Every day he gets stronger I just think that it's one day closer to when he'll go out and try to get himself killed again. Anytime I've ever tried to talk to him about that, about his suicidal recklessness, his total disregard for his own safety, he laughs it off or brushes it aside like it doesn't matter. I don't know what to do about it, and I'm about at the end of my tether.

I'm tempted to delete all this, because I know that stress is exacerbating your physical problems, and the last thing I want to do is make things worse for you. But we promised each other we'd be honest, and I know that neither of us likes to have things whitewashed, so there it is. That's how I'm doing.

Yeah, Jim agreed to talk to your counselor. And I'm willing to do a joint session with the couples counselor. As for my individual counseling - I know I've got to talk to someone. I know some good people back on earth and I'd be much more comfortable with one of them than with a stranger at a starbase, so I'll send some comms and see if I can arrange a vidcomm session for when we're at that starbase.

Also, I'd like to get Philip to send me all of his treatment notes, test results - your entire file, basically. I know he's a fantastic doctor, and I'm not doubting his skills, but sometimes a second pair of eyes can be useful and I'd like to feel like I'm doing something to help with your medical situation.

In case you'd forgotten with everything going on, Jim's birthday was last week, when he was in sickbay. It's always a tough time for him, because of - well, you know. Normally I try to distract him or keep him busy or at least get him drunk. Obviously neither of us was up for that this year. I let him eat bacon for breakfast, and I got him a piece of chocolate cake in the evening, and stayed with him all day, since I wasn't on duty. I know I was pretty poor company, though. We played chess a couple times and he kicked my ass, like usual. Mostly we just hung out quietly.

I guess there's just one last thing. I feel stupid even writing this because I know, rationally, that it doesn't make any goddamned sense. But I can't help but feel like... I don't know, as soon as I told you about the stuff with my dad and Joss and the miscarriage, everything went to hell almost immediately. I don't even believe in karma, but it feels like that. Like the universe gave me happiness just to snatch it away as some kind of cosmic punishment for what I did. And now I can hear you swearing under your breath at me. Like I said, I know it's idiotic. It's just what I'm feeling.

It's time for me to get to bed now. I've been using increasingly strong doses of sleeping meds just so I can get a few hours each night. The withdrawal's going to be a bitch, but if I wasn't taking the meds I'd either be drinking myself to unconsciousness every night, or I just wouldn't be sleeping at all.

Sorry, now I'm rambling about inconsequential things.

Love,
Len



To: James Kirk (jkirk@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Dear Jim,

I know you told me not to write you back, but I'm doing a little better today -- We need to talk. I've attached something to this. It's the last comm I got from Len. And I want you to read it right now before you read any further.

Go on. Do it.

That is what you are doing to your best friend every time you pull some reckless stunt. Granted, this time may not have been your fault, but how many other times have been, son? I know you don't mean to hurt him, just like I didn't mean to hurt him. But we both have. Very badly.

Now, I'm not telling you to stop being yourself. I just want you to think about that red-eyed and haggard face you woke up to, and imagine him like that or worse, every time something happens to you. You can still leap without looking, that's part of you, I know that, but as smart as you are -- There have to be limits, Jim. You don't have to go on every away mission. Show him you've heard what he's been trying to tell you during his grumbling. Quit acting like what happened is nothing. It's not. You were as good as dead if not for that man who loves you more than he loves himself. He'd do anything for you, and it's time you start giving some of that back to him.

You're going to lose him if you don't, son. And I know that's not what you want.

Next time there's an away mission with even a negligible risk, stay behind like you are supposed to. It won't kill you. I promise.

Show him you're listening. That's how you can repay him for saving your life, and in return, you're saving his too.

Take care of yourself, son, and happy birthday, even though I'm late. Sorry about that. Next year both of us should try to stay out of medical on your birthday.

Love,
Chris



To: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)
From: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)

Dear Len,

I'm beyond relieved to know that Jim will be okay. God, I don't even know what to say, Len. But thank you for not whitewashing it all for me. I'll admit, I've been holding back a few things -- Now stop panicking -- I love you. I'm not giving up. I'll try to explain.

This command was and is important to me. You have no idea how important. It was like getting back part of myself that I never thought I'd get back. I was going to go out on my terms and not those of a madman. Then I started having these medical issues, and Len, they started well before we had our misunderstanding, so don't even try to blame yourself. Well, I thought that was it. I can't command like this. Philip can't figure out why it's happening. It's not getting any better, and hell, if stress is going to make it worse -- Philip can only keep things from Starfleet for so long before they'd step in and I'd have to resign my command.

So I'd not only lose that, but the pain I've been in -- It's pretty incapacitating. You know from when you treated me on Enterprise that I have a pretty high pain threshold. Some of this was even worse than when it first happened. There's also been numbness in my legs. Yeah, I can still walk. But truthfully, Philip thinks some of the damage that couldn't be regenerated may eventually put me back in the chair. Plus, God, Len -- There have been times that I haven't been able to get an erection. I still can most of the time and Philip is sure it's just stress and pain, but fuck, Len. I can't -- That's why I was saying you'd be better off without me. I know you said when we first got together that the chair didn't matter, but it matters to me. And I don't know how to deal with the potential that it might happen. I was just trying to save you the pain of possibly having to deal with an incapacitated partner. That's all.

I don't want to lose you, Len. I'm scared to death. Right now things are better medically. Philip found a drug combination that seems to be helping and I'm back on light duty. I'm in a better place mentally and I'm sleeping a little better. I know it's foolish, but there was just part of me that figured, as mad as you were at me, that it might be easier to just let you go now. Stupid, I know. But I love you that much, Len. I love you so much that I wouldn't want you tied down if this gets worse or doesn't get better. I'd let you go even if it killed me, and it would.

Len, you deserve nothing that has happened to you. I don't believe in 'cosmic karma' or whatever. You're a beautiful, kind, generous, and loving man. What's that old saying, 'Bad things happen to good people?' Well, I think you get the idea. You deserve to be happy, Len. All I've ever wanted is to make you happy and I've failed miserably. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

Fuck. We're both such a mess right now it's almost laughable. But honey, I love you. I'm sorry I was trying to push you away. It's not want I want. You won't ever lose me as long as you still want me. I know we both have issues we need to work out individually and together.

I'm not giving up, Len. I'm sorry I made you feel like I was. I've just been a bit hopeless with everything that's happened lately and I forgot what was really important.

You. I still apparently have you even after the clusterfuck of the last couple of months. As long as I have you, I can get through anything.

God, I love you so much, Len. Don't forget that.

Always,
Chris

p.s. Philip is supposed to be sending you all my files and also the neurological consults he's already gotten.



To: Christopher Pike (cpike@starfleet.gov)
From: Leonard McCoy (lmccoy@starfleet.gov)

Dear Chris,

Dear god, I felt so much better when I read your last comm. God damn it, man, don't pull that shit on me - trying to pull away from me for my own good. Chris, you wanted to save me the "pain" of having a disabled partner? I can't even tell you how much worse the pain of not having you in my life would be. There's no comparison.

I've told you this before, but I'll tell you as many more times as it takes: it doesn't matter to me if you're in a chair or not. Yeah, it would be an adjustment for you, but you're resilient, and I know you'd adapt. For me - Chris, what would I lose, really? If you're talking about sex, well, not to be crude, but I'd still have your hands, your mouth, and your ass. And we've got plenty of toys that you can use on me too. I am not worried about our sex life, darlin'. Even if you somehow lost all interest in sex, and I was going to be masturbating the rest of my life, I would gladly take that in exchange for having you as my partner. If you're worried about your other physical abilities, and possibly needing help - Chris, we can deal with that too. I think you'd be amazed at how quickly you'd adjust and find yourself doing pretty much everything you used to do, on your own.

So that's the worst-case scenario, and really, it's not that bad, is it? We'd still have each other, you'd have your sharp mind, your wicked sense of humor, and your incredible passion. Everything that makes you you, everything that I fell in love with - you've still got all of that, no matter what happens physically, all right, darlin'?

That said, though, I don't think there's the remotest chance that that's going to come to pass. Almost certainly, the loss of physical function is related entirely to the stress, PTSD, pushing yourself physically in order to resume your command. The pain is probably largely related to that as well. As far as the secretions from the centaurian slug, and any lingering effects from that damage, I'll do whatever it takes to figure out what's going on. I'm calling in some favors to get some doctors I know, top people in various fields, to take a look at your file. And of course I'm looking at it as well, any moment that I'm not busy with my official duties. As soon as I know anything, I'll comm you and Philip. I swear, Chris, we're going to figure this thing out. You may be a human guinea pig, but you're my human guinea pig and Chris, I take care of what's mine. No matter what.

So, yeah. We're both a mess and the last couple months have been a clusterfuck. But it's going to get better. In fact, things have been amazingly peaceful around here for the last couple weeks. Jim's on restricted duty and there've been a couple of away missions that he couldn't participate in, and Chris - he didn't even argue with me when I told him he couldn't go. That's never happened before. So hell, if Jim can change, grow up some, there's got to be hope for you and me, that we can both bend a little, meet in the middle, and make this thing between us work.

I've been watching the vids again, after a long time of not even looking at them. Not so much the porn, but some of the other bits and pieces of you and me together. There's a moment, the morning of your birthday, when we were both in bed with the breakfast tray. I was trying to feed you a bite of waffle, and I missed and got a smear of butter on your cheek. And you just threw your head back and laughed. God, Chris, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, you relaxed and laughing in our bed, just so goddamned happy. I want to see you that way again. More than that - I want to be the one to make you feel that way again. I've been watching that bit - it's maybe 30 seconds of video - again and again, just memorizing the way your eyes look, the laugh lines around your mouth.

So we'll have our vidcomm when the Enterprise makes its resupply stop. And it'll only be a few months after that until we're both back on earth. I don't think I'm going to feel entirely right until I'm in your arms again. But as long as I know you're not going to give up on us, I can deal with anything else.

I love you, Chris. No matter what idiotic things I might say or do sometimes, I always will.

Yours,
Len


On to Part 15

 
 
How do I feel?: ditzydistracted
 
 
 
snitches be crazy: st - pike/mccoyshighola on April 4th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC)
Yes, but WHEN will these happy times be exactly?!
*g*
Sky: [star trek aos] pike nameskyblue_reverie on April 4th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Well, now, that would be telling! ;)