Authors: mga1999 and skyblue_reverie
Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot (aka AOS, ST XI, etc.), Pike/McCoy
Word Count: around 6600
Summary: The further correspondence of Leonard McCoy and Christopher Pike. Plus bonus appearances from Jim Kirk and Philip Boyce!
Authors' Notes: From skyblue_reverie (the loud one): I may just possibly have a birthday coming up soon (APRIL 8 IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING) and if anyone happens to be pondering gift ideas, I would have no objection to Pike or Bruce goodness in any form, from picspams to icons to stories. Just sayin'. La la la la la. :D From mga1999 (the quiet one): Well, my birthday isn't until July, but if you want to get started writing me an epic Kirk/McCoy h/c or angsty fic -- I'm just sayin' :P
Click here for series masterlist with links to all prior parts
To: Christopher Pike (email@example.com)
From: James Kirk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Message received, sir. And consider this an apology for not telling you how Bones really was. I knew you weren't well and Bones told me stress was making your condition worse... So I was just trying not to upset you. I promise though, that I was taking care of him the best that I could. Well, as much as he lets anyone take care of him, which as you know, isn't much.
I'm assuming Bones doesn't know you sent me a copy of his comm because he hasn't said anything. You should have seen the look on his face three days ago when I didn't argue about being grounded for an away mission. I get it now. I'm not sure how I will balance being able to be me and trying not to worry Bones so much. I'll figure it out though. You know me, I don't believe in no-win scenarios.
We haven't really talked about anything. I was trying to give him a little space after reading that me being around him was only making it worse. I guess it helped, because now he's back to hovering and grousing as I continue to recover. He even parked himself on my couch two nights ago when I was relapsing a little because, yeah, I overdid things that day and paid for it. He didn't chew me out, just sat with me while I threw up over and over. Despite asking him to put me out of my misery several times, he didn't.
I skipped the last away mission yesterday, and will probably skip the next one too because I still feel like crap. Yes, he knows I feel like crap; I'm not hiding how I feel from him. Or at least I'm really trying not to. It's been kind of nice though the last few nights. He's been reading and researching your medical problems while lying on my couch, while I've been lying in bed doing paperwork. If he doesn't stay, he's been waiting until I'm asleep to leave and then he's there with breakfast and a hypo as soon as I'm awake. I have no idea how he knows when I'm awake, he just does. It's kind of frightening.
We found one planet with sentient life. Weird culture. Tall lizard-like creatures, but with hair. They had a strange language that Lt. Uhura was drooling over. They weren't interested in joining the federation, but we exchanged some cultural information and they know how to contact us if the need arises. I wish I had been able to go down, but at least I was able to speak to them from the bridge. Those are the kind of missions I love. Adding new planets to our database, finding new cultures and races. Despite what Bones thinks, I don't go off half-cocked to get myself killed every time. It just seems to happen.
Well, Bones just walked in with my dinner. I'm back to broth again. But if it keeps me from vomiting for hours on end... I don't like it, but it's better than the alternative.
I have complete faith that Bones will be able to figure out what's causing your medical problems and find a way to fix it. Until then, take care of yourself and I promise I'll take care of Bones.
p.s. Thank you for the birthday wishes. It wasn't too bad considering I was in sick bay.
To: Leonard McCoy (email@example.com)
From: Christopher Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I've been back in command for four days now and I have to say it feels pretty good. Philip is worried that the drug combos are just masking the problem, and he's probably right. Until you and all the other doctors figure out what the hell is going on, I don't really have a choice. Despite my problems, the ship is running smooth as can be. I could not ask for a better command crew. They have taken everything in stride and have been beyond supportive. I'm not sure I'd still be here on the ship if they hadn't been. There have been times lately that I've seriously considered resigning my command. They've made it perfectly clear that they'd rather have me here like this, than not at all. I only hope I don't let them down.
I'm working the first half of beta shift, then I go for hydrotherapy, and then I work the first part of gamma. Then I eat and get a massage and go to sleep. So far it's worked out well. I miss being able to walk around the entire ship -- I liked just wandering when I was off duty and seeing my crew, but I'm trying to listen to Philip and take it easy. I just make sure I make it to the mess a couple times a day so I can see everyone, and more importantly, so they can see me.
We're orbiting a planet right now; Commander Sato is about ready to take an away team down. They've asked for our help negotiating a trade agreement with a planet in a neighboring system. So I've been communicating with them by vidcomm and hope to join them down on the planet at some point. It's been tough going. Both worlds started very far apart in terms of what they expected from each other, but we're working our way through and Commander Michaels, who, if you don't remember, is my science officer, is a brilliant mediator. I'm very lucky to have him.
I'm glad my last comm made you feel better. That in turn makes me feel better. I honestly had to put the crystal away during most of this. I couldn't stand looking at it knowing that I caused most of your pain. I'm sure you feel the same way seeing mine dark red. The crystals are almost a double edged sword sometimes, aren't they? I hope mine is showing I'm pretty calm right now. I feel like I am. The pain isn't too bad and whatever drugs Philip is giving me have really helped with the pins and needles that were making me so -- well, on-edge. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being selfish staying up here when I probably belong back on earth so they can figure out what the hell is wrong and what they can do. I just feel like if I do that, I'll never make it back to my command chair. I'm just not ready to give that up.
I'm relieved that Jim is doing better. He mentioned he relapsed, though, and seems to be having a tough time of it. He won't tell me much. He thinks he shouldn't be upsetting me. You know Jim. I was glad to hear he was so sensible about the away mission, especially considering how sick he still seems. And Len, I know how frustrating he must be sometimes, and you say that you try to talk to him -- Now, I hope I'm not out of line here, but I think you and Jim, while you are somewhat like yin and yang, you speak a different language too. You may grouse and rant at him, but did you ever think that maybe that's why he doesn't listen? I honestly don't know how you tried to talk to him about it, Len. I just think if you sat him down and talked to him without growling -- And yes, Len, you growl -- I think you should just give him a chance to prove he's not the completely reckless kid you think he is. Okay? Enough about that now.
How are you? Are you still taking all those sleeping pills? -- God, Len, I can't tell you how much that scares me. I hope things have improved enough with us and with Jim's health that you aren't still relying on them. Just please, don't whitewash things about either of you. I hate being in the dark and just getting snippets from Jim and you and not knowing what's really going on. I'm worried about you. Have you made contact with a doctor to talk to when you get to the starbase? And yes, I am going to keep on you about that. Me, I've been talking to Dr. Rossen, but I needed a little break from talking to Dr. Elliott. I did comm her about the problems we've had, but I'm not really planning to talk to her again until we see her together. I hope you understand that. I just -- I still can't deal with some of that right now and am trying not to think about what a mess of things I made.
Yes, I've been putting off talking about the possibility of me being back in the chair for the end of this comm. It does make me feel better, all those things you said, Len. About it not mattering and -- Well, I don't want you to think it doesn't. I know I would adjust, but I still feel like I wouldn't be the same man. I know that doesn't make sense, and if the situation were reversed I would feel the same way you do -- I'd just be glad to be with you. But it's not reversed, Len. It's me and my mobility and my sex life -- I can't fathom never being able to be inside you again, and be able to feel that. Sometimes I think that if I do end up back in the chair -- Well, I feel like it was cruel to let me out in the first place. Because as grateful for the time we got to spend together when I could, now I know what I'll be missing.
Again, I'm not giving up. I'm just trying to be honest about how I'm feeling. Hell, half the time I don't even know anymore. One minute I think, okay, I'm in command, this is working, I can do this. Then next I think, who am I kidding, and feel like resigning. It's not fun. So please, Len. Think of me as a cautionary tale and talk to someone, or heck, get Jim to get another counselor added to the Enterprise. He can do that. If he does it soon enough, you could have one on board when you go to the starbase. So think about that. Talk to Jim. Don't let it bottle up like I did and become an absolute mess like I am.
As usual, I'm starting to nod off here at my console so I'm going to get some sleep.
I love you, Len. Take care of yourself.
To: James Kirk (email@example.com)
From: Christopher Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You know, son, telling me you've relapsed, and that Len is sleeping on your couch to watch you, doesn't really lower my stress levels. Just so you know. You and Len both give me little tidbits and then my mind probably goes worse places than what's really happening. So next time, I want to hear all of it, okay? Don't force me to order you, because you know I will.
Seriously though, how are you? I'm sure you must be going crazy being sick this long. I know how you are. You're just like I was. And like you, I'd push myself until I'd make myself sick again too. So listen to Len and take care of yourself.
Hell, it seems stupid for me to even be writing about these things sometimes. You won't get this for a week and I hope by then you'll be well again.
No, Len doesn't know I sent that comm to you. You also know I wouldn't break his confidence unless I thought it was absolutely necessary, which it was. I figured if he found out, he couldn't be too mad since it's obvious he's either shared my comms with you at times or talked with you about them -- which is fine by the way. We all say stupid and foolish things when we are upset, but I'm glad he has you, Jim. I hope you know that. I'm not going to lecture you anymore about listening to him, but just -- just give him a chance if he tries to talk to you. Okay?
I'm feeling a bit better. Not great, but I'm back on duty and things are getting back to normal. We're orbiting a planet negotiating a trade agreement between two worlds. I love exploring new worlds and cultures just as much as you do, but a close second is mediating. There is just something about bringing together two worlds or two different cultures that is just so immensely satisfying. I think I will miss that the most when I have to give up my command.
Make sure you vidcomm me when you are re-supplying at the starbase. I need to see for myself that you're all right. Be safe, and take care of yourself. And if I haven't said it enough, thank you for taking care of Len for me.
To: Christopher Pike (email@example.com)
From: Leonard McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Of course your crew would rather have you around even if you're not at 100% rather than lose you. They're not complete morons, after all, or you wouldn't have picked 'em. But I am glad that things are running smoothly. Sounds like you've got a workable routine, and you've found a good way to be able to connect with your crew without tiring yourself out too much. If only Jim would do the same.
You'd asked about his health, and what caused the relapse. Really, it wasn't serious and it was brought on by his own idiocy. He'd been on restricted duty and was going stir crazy, so I told him he could do a light workout at the gym. So he went and ran five miles on the treadmill, at his pre-injury pace. Of course he made himself dizzy, disoriented, lightheaded, and nauseous. His body basically rebelled against that treatment. Hell, he'd been on death's door only a couple weeks earlier, and he was trying to act as if nothing had happened. I think some of the guys from security were in the gym at the same time as him, and he just couldn't let them outdo him, so he tried to keep up. It wasn't dangerous, just unpleasant, which is actually probably the best medicine - if he has to deal with some of the consequences of the crap he pulls, maybe he won't be so quick to pull it next time.
As to your suggestion as to how I talk to him - hell, I admit I growl. I also tend to fly off the handle and let my temper get the better of me, as I've recently shown. I'll try to approach things more calmly with him, and with you, but just so you know, that's easier said than done. I will try, though. My daddy was the same way - worse, in fact. He'd get into a screaming rage and my mama would get so irked with him. She'd say "David, you're having a conniption fit. Stop it this instant." Sometimes it would startle him out of his mad, sometimes it just made it worse. He never lifted a hand to either of us, in case you're wondering about that. He just cussed and hollered a lot, and if it got really bad he'd stomp out of the house and walk around outside for a while until he cooled down. I used to do that too - the walking around outside to calm down, I mean. It's hard, Chris, being up here in this sardine can in space, not being able to go outside whenever I want to walk around and see the sun or the moon, breathe fresh air, feel dirt underneath my feet. Yeah, I go on away missions, but it's not the same. I miss the earth, simple as that. It's harder than I imagined, and I know that not having that escape valve doesn't help my temper. Sometimes I swear I was insane for joining Starfleet. But then, it got me both you and Jim, so I can't regret it.
Yeah, the crystals can be a double-edged sword, that's for damn sure. It was hard looking at yours, knowing you were in pain, and especially when you were angry or sad, knowing that I had caused that. At the time, I was shielded by my own self-righteous rage, but still, it bothered me. Overall, though, I think that's a good thing, Chris. At least for me. Knowing how you're feeling, knowing that I made you feel that way - it's a good reminder to me. I can't lie to myself and say that something I said or did didn't really hurt you when I can just glance at my hand and see that I did. And in case you're wondering, throughout all this recent mess, I never took off my ring. I haven't taken it off since I first put it on, except for when I've had to in order to perform a medical procedure. It's a part of me, Chris. I'd feel lost without it.
Incidentally, I've gotten more compliments on that ring, I swear. Seems like most of the women on the crew have been talking about it and whenever I'm in the mess or the gym or anywhere else, I nearly always get stopped by someone wanting to see it. And the rumors that surround it are downright astonishing. There are rumors that the crystal allows us to psychically communicate with each other, that it has magic healing powers, that it binds our lives together so that if one of us dies the other will instantly die too, or, my personal favorite, that it contains a part of your soul, and that you wear a matching ring that contains a part of my soul. Good lord, these people have been watching too many holovids. Some people have noticed the color-changing property, but no one's figured out what it means, and I'm certainly not going to tell 'em. I have to admit it's kind of amusing listening to the speculation, though.
Chris - I won't whitewash things about me or Jim, but I expect the same from you, and that includes no more holding out on me, not telling me things that are going on with you because you don't want to worry me. All right? Okay, lecture over. Sometimes if I give snippets it's because it just doesn't occur to me to say anymore about a particular topic, and if you have any questions, please, always ask me, darlin'. It's become pretty damn obvious that one of our challenges as a couple is clear communication with each other, so the least we can both do is, if there's something that we're wondering about, ask each other. Fair?
Yeah, I've arranged to have a vidcomm session with a psychiatrist that I know back on earth. His name's Gabriel Pagao, and I met him when I was doing my surgical residency at St. Joseph's in Atlanta. He's in private practice now, semi-retired, but when I contacted him he agreed to see me.
On the sleeping drugs, I'm weaning off of them. It's dangerous to just stop suddenly, but I am feeling better, Chris, and I'm getting off them as fast as medically possible. The withdrawal symptoms aren't a picnic - headache, some tremors, anxiety - but it'd be worse if I just stopped cold turkey. Don't worry - I'm doing all of this under the supervision of Dr. M'Benga. He's the one who prescribed me the meds in the first place, so he was always aware that I was on them, and the dosage that I was taking. So on that front, it's an irritant as I taper down, but nothing worse than that. I promise.
Darlin', I didn't mean to imply, when talking about what would happen if you were in the chair, that you wouldn't be entitled to grieve what you'd lost in terms of mobility or sexual function. Of course you'd go through a grieving process, and I'd be grieving with you. I just meant that - well, you know what I meant. I'd rather be with you, no matter what the circumstances, than be without you.
In case I haven't told you this, or haven't told you enough, I think you're absolutely amazing. Not many would have been able to go through what you did on the Narada and come out alive, much less whole and sane. And your recovery - Chris, some of it was modern medicine but a lot of it was pure grit and determination. Not one in a thousand would have been walking again as soon as you were, and to get back in shape to assume command of a starship? Honestly, Chris, it's unbelievable. If it were anyone else, I'd say it was impossible. But you make the impossible happen.
Speaking of your health and recovery, I think we're making some progress toward getting to the bottom of what's causing your pain and loss of function. I told you I called in several consults, and we've all been comming and brainstorming and sharing ideas. You probably noticed the battery of tests Philip's been putting you through - those tests have been done at the request of various doctors on the team, and the results have been interesting. It looks like you've got some scar tissue that formed after I operated on you on the Enterprise. It's not something that anyone ever thought to look for, because with modern surgical techniques, laser scalpels and post-surgery meds, post-surgical scar tissue just doesn't form anymore. But the damn slug's secretions somehow neutralized the anti-scar meds and so you do have some scar tissue. It's interfering with the free flow of your cerebral-spinal fluid. The good news is that it's a fairly simple problem to correct - a second surgery to remove the scar tissue will be relatively quick and uncomplicated, and virtually risk-free. The bad news is that the problem will just recur unless we can find a way to remove the last of the slug's secretions from your spinal fluid. So we're working on that. We've got several ideas already, though, so I'm confident that we will beat this thing, and fairly soon, too. Philip's been a champ - not only contributing to the discussions but also not getting prickly about having a dozen other doctors look over his shoulder, question his treatments to date, and tell him what he should be doing instead. Most doctors - well, let's just say there's no way that I would have handled the situation with the grace that Philip's shown, if it were me. So tell him thanks for me. I'll tell him myself as well, because I'm going to vidcomm him when we're at the starbase to discuss the latest test results.
God damn, I can't wait to see your face again - only two weeks now until our resupply stop. I know you've said you're afraid to see me, but Chris, it's just me, and I love you more than anything. I want to look into your beautiful blue-gray eyes, and hear your sexy voice. It'll be hell not being able to touch you, but half a loaf is better than none, right?
I keep thinking about getting to see you, be with you in June. Just to be able to wrap my arms around you, breathe in your scent, feel your breath warm against my ear when you welcome me home. I love your hair, the way it feels so soft under my fingers. I'm going to run my fingers through it, over and over, and I'm going to kiss you breathless. And when you get your ring made, I'm going to slide it onto your finger and I know it's going to be practically glowing green with how happy I'll be.
Well, it's getting late and I'd better turn in, but just know that I love you, baby, and that you're my whole life.
To: Leonard McCoy (email@example.com)
From: Christopher Pike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I had a dream last night and when I woke up I wanted to go back to sleep and never leave it. We were in Georgia at your homestead. And we were lying on a blanket underneath a tree. There was a picnic basket next to us. We were drinking red wine, which I thought was weird because even though I drink red, I've never seen you touch it. But I was lying with my head in your lap, half drowsing while you read. You were running your fingers through my hair, and I remember just feeling so content, so safe, and so unbelievably happy. It was beautiful. It gave me hope, and I really need that right now.
I'm not sure what I expected during our joint counseling section. I didn't expect Dr. Elliott to have some magic answer to our problems. But I don't think either of expected to hear some harsh truths, nor were we ready to face them. She's absolutely right though. These kind of issues do end relationships and marriages. And I think she's right, that we need to step back a little right now and work on our own issues first before we can work on our problems together. That's not easy to swallow. I'm not sure exactly what that means though. I certainly don't want to stop writing you. I want to be able to vidcomm you whenever you're in range.
God, Len, seeing your face on the vidcomm screen for three days in a row, it was like Christmas. Yeah, I was pretty scared the first time; I hesitated four times before I hit the connect key. But the minute you said 'Hey darlin'' to me, all the fear just washed away. I'm really glad we got a chance to talk again the day after the counseling session before Enterprise left the starbase. I know we kind of both skirted the issues she brought up, but I don't think I would have been -- Well, I wouldn't have been okay if I hadn't seen your face again and heard you tell me that you loved me and that we'd get through this. I don't think either one of us felt like that after the session. I know I didn't.
So tell me what you want to do, Len. Is it easier for you not to hear from me while you're working out your issues? Honestly, I still want to be able to write you -- I need to be able to write you. And God, I can't imagine being on earth at the same time in June and not being able to see you. But I know we both have some work to do on ourselves in the next few months, so if it's easier, just say the word. I won't take it as an offense or think any differently of you. It kills me that you are hurting so much. Seeing you crying -- That about killed me. I don't even know how I held it together.
Dr. Elliott has sent me several ebooks on communicating with your partner. We've talked about several of the topics in the months I've been seeing her, but she says it might be better for someone like me to read them. So I'm going to start doing that as soon as I can. Right now, as I told you on our vidcomm two days ago, I'm having a little trouble with my vision. Philip isn't sure if it's a side effect of the cocktail of meds that I'm on, or issues like you explained with the spinal/cerebral fluid getting worse. I have a feeling it's the latter, because he's had to up the dosage on my pain meds again and honestly, I'm not very steady on my feet right now. I'm managing though.
How did your counseling session with Dr. Pagao go? I will admit I wish you'd let Jim get another counselor for the ship. I would have felt better knowing you had someone to talk to who didn't take a week to get your messages. But I trust that you know what you need to help yourself. I'm just worried about you. Especially after the counseling session. You seemed tired and -- I don't know, defeated.
I'm not sure if this is the right thing to say, so forgive me if it's not. I honestly don't know how to help you right now. What do you need, Len? Is there anything I can do to make you -- Hell, I don't even know. I know I can't heal your past pain. Just like you can't heal mine. We can't move forward until we accept our faults and figure out how to -- How did she put it? -- 'Be attuned to your partner's needs without changing who you are.' Fuck. I don't know how that's supposed to happen. I mean, I get the idea. I have to be more sensitive about the words I choose and how I approach things with you. I have to ask and not just demand and declare. It seems easy, but it's not.
Bottom line. Wait, that's probably not something I should say anymore, is it? God, Len. I just want to know what you want from me right now. Me, I guess I'm just still worried you won't have the patience to wait while I learn how to give you what you need. You told me before that I give you everything you need, but I think it's clear from our counseling session that I don't. I worry what will happen if you 'fly off the handle' sometime when we're together. Because I know I won't deal with that well. I know I need to learn to. But my reaction will be to push back just as hard and, fuck, Len, I think you know I have my cruel streak when someone hurts me or makes me angry.
Most of all right now, I just wish you were here in my arms. I know that wouldn't make everything better, but right now -- I just need you. I almost wish we hadn't had the counseling session. Because I'll be honest -- It scared me, Len. I've told you before that I can't imagine my life without you anymore. But I know if we can't find a way through this mess -- God, Len. I don't want to lose you. I refuse to accept that possibility. I'll do whatever it takes. I mean that.
I love you. I have to believe that somehow, that love with help us find our way through. Because I want that dream I had last night to become a reality. I really do.
Yours forever, and I mean that,
To: Christopher Pike (email@example.com)
From: Leonard McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
That dream sounds beautiful, darlin'. I want for that to happen too. I'm actually looking forward to going home, to showing you the old place. Haven't wanted to go back there for a while, but with you by my side, I can face it. It's where my daddy passed. He didn't want to be in a hospital, wanted to die in his own bed. His doctors fought him like hell on it, but he was a stubborn old cuss and he got his way in the end. But there's a hell of a lot of good memories there too. I'd like to reclaim some of them, and share them with you.
There's even a few trees that would be pretty much perfect for a picnic like the one you had in your dream. I can introduce you to the mint julep, or make up a pitcher of sweet tea like my mama used to - I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that it's got peaches in it. Good lord, a lazy summer day in Georgia. Been too long since I've had one of those.
Yeah, the counselor was pretty harsh. I can respect unvarnished honesty from a doctor, but damn. I think she went a bit overboard. I also think, with all due respect, that she's completely and totally wrong about us taking some time to step back and work on our own issues. Not that she's wrong about us both needing to work on our own stuff, because we do. But stepping back? Good lord, I think that's the worst thing we could do right now. I need you right now, and you need me too. Putting distance between us will just give our fears a chance to grow and multiply. So if I seemed defeated after our session, it's only because I was afraid that you'd want to take her advice and put some distance between us. Was half convinced you'd think it was for my own good.
So I hope that answers your question, Chris. God, no, don't stop writing to me, don't stop vidcomming me whenever we're in range, and I don't intend to let you out of my sight once we're back together on earth in June. You asked me what I need. Right now, Chris, what I need from you is closeness, to know that you're not pulling away. And yeah, for a while I'll probably need extra reassurance, so just try to be patient with that, if you can. What about you, Chris? What do you need from me?
You said that it's obvious that you don't give me everything I need but you do, darlin', I swear you do. You give me love, passion, tenderness, a shoulder to cry on, a kick in the ass when I need it, and the sweetest lovemaking I've ever known. Yeah, maybe sometimes the way you communicate that stuff rubs me the wrong way, just like the way I communicate things sometimes drives you insane. But that's... that's just surface stuff, Chris. It's important, not trying to say it's not, but the fact that we sometimes drive each other crazy with the way we say stuff, that doesn't mean that there's anything missing from our relationship, or anything that I need that I'm not getting. Just means there's a few wrinkles to iron out. That's all.
As long as we're both working together to figure this thing out, Chris, we'll make it. You're not going to lose me, not as long as you want me around.
I'm worried about your physical condition, darlin', with the vision problems and unsteadiness. And in your last letter, you said you'd never seen me drink red wine, but darlin', we both drank it the night we had dinner with the Barnetts, the night before your birthday. I'm pretty sure you mentioned it in a previous comm, even. It could mean nothing, but normally you've got a steel trap mind, so this could be a sign of memory loss, which concerns me too. I'm getting daily updates from Philip so I'm following what's going on, but it kills me getting these comms a week delayed. By the time I get one, it's too late for me to suggest anything because your condition has changed and by the time my comm gets to Philip it'll have changed even more. It's goddamned frustrating. So I'm just trying to let go and know that you're in good hands. As you know, that's not so easy to do. Probably feels about like how you did when you were in sickbay and not in command of your ship. It was good to vidcomm with Philip when we were at the starbase, though, we share our latest ideas and I got the chance to thank him for taking care of you for me.
I know Jim was glad of the chance to talk to you, by the way. He's been calmer lately, not so apt to go haring off into danger, and that's a relief. But Chris, he's been different ever since our visit to the starbase. Odd. Distant. He's spending less and less time with me, and spending more with that pointy-eared bastard. They play chess just about every night, when we used to hang out together in my quarters, just doing paperwork or shooting the breeze. I tried to ask him about it - and I swear I didn't growl - but he just slapped me on the shoulder and told me to give you his regards, with this horrible fake smile on his face. You didn't say anything to him during your vidcomm, did you? Or notice anything odd about him? It's starting to freak me out.
My session with Dr. Pagao went well. One of the reasons I chose him is because he knew me, back when I was going through hell with my daddy's illness, my marriage, the miscarriage, all of it. In fact, he's met both Jocelyn and my father. He didn't know them well, doesn't really know me that well either - we were professional colleagues, not friends. But the fact that he already knows some of this shit and some of the people involved, well, it makes it easier for me to talk about it, I guess. I'm not sure I could just open up and unload on a total stranger, even if that was their job. Just not how I'm made, I guess. But I don't want you to worry, Chris. Aside from weekly comms with Dr. Pagao, vidcomm sessions whenever we can arrange it, and live sessions when I'm planetside, I've also got you, and Jim's right here too, if I need to talk about something that can't wait.
God, it was good to see your face. Yeah, maybe we avoided the sticky issues between us, but maybe to that extent, at least, Dr. Elliott is right. Maybe we need to leave those wounds alone for a while, just enjoy each other for the time being. Keep doing our individual counseling. Then, after we're feeling a little more settled about our own issues, we can tackle some of the stuff between us. I don't know. What do you think, darlin'?
Every time we vidcommed, I could tell that we were finding our way back to where we were. Remembering how good we are together, how much we love each other, how many plans we've made together that we still both want more than anything. I know you've said the desert heals you. If we have time after your parents' anniversary celebration, I'd love for you to show me your ranch in Mojave. Show me the places that heal you. Maybe we can do some healing together.
Well, darlin', it's way past my bedtime and my sleep schedule is pretty much shot to hell with the withdrawal from the sleep meds right now, so I shouldn't make it any worse. In case you were worrying (and if I know you, you were), I'm off those meds completely now. Still going through a bit of withdrawal but it should fade within a couple weeks.
I love you, Chris. I can't even describe how much.
To: Leonard McCoy (email@example.com)
From: Philip Boyce (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chris had a seizure late last night. I put him in a medically induced coma to try to ward off any further brain injury. He's stable, and left early this morning on a medical shuttle to a Starbase in the Laurentian system for surgery. Two of the neurologists we were consulting with are currently on their way there to perform the surgery and the experimental procedure you've been working on. I know you wanted more time to test it, but he's too critical to wait.
There is no point in me saying more since you won't get this until his surgery is over. I've attached updates to his files from the last two days showing his quick decline. I will be conferencing into the surgical suite live and will keep you informed.
He'll be fine, Len. He's a fighter. Take care of yourself.
on to Part 16