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There You'll Be

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“Captain, we are receiving a distress signal from an outpost near the Federation-Klingon border. They state that they have been attacked by unknown assailants. At least ten fatalities and multiple wounded. Their basic systems are still operating, but they do not have the power required to aid the injured.” Uhura spoke quickly and clearly, turning in her seat to face the Captain.

Jim didn’t take more than a few heartbeats to answer. “Lieutenant, send the co-ordinates to Mr. Sulu, then respond to the signal that we will be with them as soon as possible. Mr Sulu, plot in the course for the outpost and get us there as quickly as possible. I want the area continuously scanned upon approach. The assailants may be waiting for us.”

“Aye, sir.”

Jim barely glanced down as he activated his comm. “Doctor McCoy to the Bridge, please.”

Minutes later Leonard strode onto the bridge, oozing the confidence he always did. “What’s the matter, Jim?” He asked, looking down at his friend with a raised eyebrow.
“We’ve received a distress signal from an outpost near the Federation-Klingon border. Report states that there are multiple casualties. I need you to beam down with me to help determine the state of the injured and who needs to receive medical assistance first. I suggest bringing a nurse with you.”

Leonard scowled. “Why can’t we just beam them all up here and I can start from there?”

“Because neither myself nor the security detail will be able to distinguish who is in need of the most urgent medical care, nor be able to provide them with temporary relief.” Jim returned Leonard’s scowl with a grin, and stood. “C’mon, Bones. I know how much you love away missions.” He chuckled, clapping his friend on the shoulder. “Bring Y/N down with you. Least you’ll have a pretty face to keep you company.”

Leonard’s scowl didn’t lessen, but he didn’t argue either. He knew Jim was right, smug bastard. “How long until we arrive?”

“ETA is four hours and thirty-three minutes, Doctor.” Sulu answered, glancing over his shoulder.

Leonard nodded. “Alright. I’ll go get things ready.” He muttered, stalking off the bridge and back down to sick bay. “Nurse Y/L/N, a word in my office, please?” Leonard gestured with his head for you to follow him.

“What’s up, Lee?” You asked once the both of you were in his office and Leonard had locked the door behind you. “Anything wrong?”

“Depends if you consider having to have your atoms pulled apart then stuck back together again wrong.” Leonard grumbled, sitting behind his desk.

You laughed, settling yourself on your boyfriend’s lap before he even had a chance to protest. “I take it we need to go planet side?”

“Mmm. Distress call. Multiple injuries. We need to go down and assess the damage, you know the drill.” Leonard murmured, wrapping his arms around you. “Have a feeling we’re going to have to cancel dinner tonight, darlin’.”

“Job comes first.” You smiled, kissing Leonard softly. “How long do we have?”

“Just over four hours.” Leonard’s quirked eyebrow made you laugh and you slapped his chest.

“No, I am not suggesting that. If we hurry now and get everything prepped, we might have some time to grab something to eat before we go down. Better than nothing.”

Leonard smiled, pulling you down for a kiss. “I like the way you think, darlin’.”

“I’m full of bright ideas.” You laughed, reluctantly pulling away. “I’ll go get started on prepping the medkits.” You winked and blew a kiss to Leonard who just rolled his eyes at you, before heading back into the main area to get everything ready.

Med bay was quiet, and Leonard was barely needed, so between the two of you, you were able to get all the equipment Leonard thought you might need ready, and down to the transporter room fairly quickly.

Once done, you glanced at the chrono and grinned. “We still have over an hour before we arrive, how about we go back to my quarters for something to eat?” You suggested to Leonard, who nodded, double checking his PADD to make sure everything was done.

“Alright, let’s go.” He said, following you back to your quarters. You could have moved into Leonard’s quarters by now, Jim had said that he’d authorize it, and you were practically living with him already, but you and Leonard had decided to keep things as they were. It was useful to have a separate place for either of you to go to if you needed some alone time.

Your quarters were closer for the moment, which was also a bonus of having two rooms, so you made your way there. You typed in your code, the doors opening with a swoosh. “What do you want?” You asked, making your way to the replicator.

“Chicken salad. Haven’t got the stomach for a heavy meal before having to use those godforsaken contraptions.” Leonard replied, continuing to mutter under his breath as he went into the bathroom.

You simply laughed and shook your head as you punched in two orders of salad. You didn’t hate the transporters as much as Leonard, but you didn’t need a heavy meal now either. You’d make the both of you a homemade dinner during your next shore leave, you thought. Maybe give Leonard’s mother a ring and ask her for the recipe of his favorite meal, and the two of you could have a proper date. It had been ages since you and Leonard had been able to do something without the potential threat of being called away, and it would be nice to completely relax for once.

You were so lost in thought that you didn’t even hear Leonard exit the bathroom, only aware of his presence when he slipped his arms around you from behind. “Food’s ready, darlin’.” He murmured into your ear, and you looked down to see that there was indeed two servings of salad waiting for you.

“Oh. Sorry. Got distracted.” You chuckled, leaning back against Leonard. “Was thinking of next shore leave, and that it’ll be nice to have a good old-fashioned date.” Tilting your head back, you smiled up at Leonard. “Maybe you can give me some more dancing lessons.”

Leonard huffed a laugh, and before you knew what he was doing, he’d pulled you into some open floor space.

“Lee, our food.”

“We have a few minutes spare.” Leonard looked at you wickedly, tugging you close to him, one hand on your hip, while he took one of your hands in the other. You rolled your eyes, choosing to go along with it, and placed your free hand on Leonard’s shoulder.

“When I think back on these times and the dreams we left behind, I’ll be glad cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life.” Leonard began to sing quietly, and the two of you moved together. There wasn’t much space for you to dance, so you ended up simply moving in a small circle. Leonard still somehow managed to be graceful though, while you struggled not to trip or stand on his feet. “When I look back on these days I’ll look and see your face, you’re right there for me.”

You smiled at the old 21st Century song. It had become a sort of tradition between you to either play or sing it before going on a mission. It had started because Leonard always worried about you when you were planet side, and he somehow took comfort from the lyrics of the song, even if it was irrational. A song would keep neither of you safe. “In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky. In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life.” At first you went along with it to help Leonard, but after some time you’d found yourself more at ease hearing the words before a mission. It was in some way reassuring that if something did go wrong, you’d be with each other in thought. “I’ll keep a part of you with me. And everywhere I am there you’ll be. And everywhere I am there you’ll be.”

In your extremely biased opinion, Leonard had the best voice, and a part of you always thought it a shame that no one ever heard it. However, a bigger part of you was extremely pleased that no one else ever heard it. The only other person on the whole ship to ever listen to Leonard sing, was Jim. And that was only because he’d managed to talk Leonard into some karaoke while they were both drunk. You were the one person Leonard ever sung for when he was sober, and it made you feel exceptionally lucky.

You got so lost in the words and the gentle movements, that you were startled when Leonard came to a stop. “Zone out there, darlin’?” He asked with a chuckle, dipping his head down for a kiss.

“You know what your voice does to me.” You replied, pulling back after a moment. “Let’s go eat.”

Leonard nodded, bringing both your bowls over while you sat down. “So, after we spend the first day of our shore leave inevitably locked away in our room, what do you want to do?” You asked Leonard as you started to tuck in to your food.

“I’ve heard they’ve opened a new theater, we could go and see a show?” Leonard suggested, eating his own meal. “Go out to eat, then go see something.”

“Mmm, a romantic evening. I like it. We could go to the park and have a picnic during the day.” You smiled. “I’m guessing Jim wants to go out with you one night?”

“That okay? We don’t have to, or you could come with us.”

“Lee, please, I’m your girlfriend not your keeper. You really think I’m going to stop you from going out with Jim?” You laughed and rolled your eyes. “And anyway, Christine and I have been talking about a girls night, so we could do it the same time. It would be nice for all of us to go out one night though.”

Leonard nodded. “That would be good. I’ll have a word with Jim, he can probably organize something.”

You smiled again, finishing your meal. “I can’t wait. It’ll be nice to relax.”

“It will.” Leonard said, checking the time. “We should make our way back to the transporter room.” He muttered with a sigh. “Still can’t see why we can’t take a shuttle.”

“You know using a shuttle would take too long.” You kissed Leonard’s cheek, giggling at his grumble. “Love you, Lee.”

“Love you too, darlin’.”

The two of you walked back to be greeted by Jim, Spock and the security officers that were to beam down with you. You could tell immediately that Jim wasn’t happy about something, and it didn’t escape Leonard’s notice either.

“What’s wrong, Jim?”

“Hello to you too, Bones.” Jim smiled, though it faltered slightly under Leonard’s glare. “We haven’t been able to make any more contact with the outpost. Their communication systems appear to be completely down.” He explained, moving to the platform.

“And we’re still going down? Are you out of your corn-fed mind?”

“Bones, we have to. We can’t just ignore a distress call. For all we know there’s still injured people down there who need our help. And if their systems are down, they need our help even more urgently.”

“The Captain’s right, Doctor.” You added, moving to our own spot on the pad.

“You’re on his side now? You’re all insane!”

“Our sensors haven’t picked up any threats. It’s not ideal to go in blind like this, but the chances are on our side. Even Spock agrees.” Jim gave Leonard a firm stare. “Am I going to have to order you, Doctor McCoy?”

Leonard glowered at Jim for a few moments, before grudgingly stepping onto the transporter pad too, muttering something about not fixing Jim if he got shot up again.

“That’s the spirit, Bones.” Jim teased, winking at you over his shoulder. “Prepare to energize.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Go ahead.”

You closed your eyes as you felt the warm gold lights circle you, and when you opened them again you were on the outpost.

Only it looked more like a bombsite.

A very deserted, old, bombsite.

The security officers immediately raised their phasers, ready to go on the attack, while Jim flipped open his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise, come in.” He said, only to be met with static the other end. “Enterprise, do you copy?”

“Captain, I am not finding any signs of life.” Spock said, looking down at his tricorder. “And there appears to be some form of signal jamming our communications.”

“Can you locate the source of the signal?”

“I cannot pinpoint the exact location, but the source is coming from one of the buildings in the North.”

Jim nodded. “Alright. We have to find the cause of that signal and destroy it. Everyone stay together.” He pocketed his communicator, and pulled out his phaser.

“We’re actually going over there? Jim, this has trap written all over it.”

“I know, Bones, but we don’t have a choice. If we can’t contact the ship, we can’t get back, and there’s not enough of us to split up.” Jim glanced over at Leonard. “I don’t like it either, but unless you have a better plan…?”

Leonard sighed, shaking his head. “No. Don’t mean I’m happy though.” He glanced over at you. “Stay close to me.”

You simply nodded, starting to move when the rest of the party did. You’d been in dangerous situations before, it came with the territory on the Enterprise, but something just didn’t feel right. Obviously the outpost had been attacked, but everything was just so…still. The outpost was located on an uninhabited, small M Class planet, but it couldn’t have felt more alien at the moment. You could see partially destroyed buildings, and craters in the ground from explosions, but there was no fire. No smoke. Nothing that would indicate a recent attack.

You weren’t the only one to pick up on the eeriness. Jim was putting on his best Captain face, and if you didn’t know him well, you’d believe that he thought everything was fine. But you did know him, and you could see the shimmer of uneasiness in his eyes.

“This place is like a damned ghost town.” It was Leonard who first said what everyone else was thinking. His own voice came out as no more than a whisper, and his words hung heavily in the thick air. No one replied.

The small group of buildings Spock indicated to, grew ever closer, but his tricorder remained silent as it continued to search for life.

“Any closer to knowing which building we need to head to, Spock?” Jim asked, once they were closer.

“Negative, Captain. I suggest we start in the nearest one, and work our way through.”

Jim nodded. “Lieutenant Jones, lead in.”

“Yes, sir.” The security officer made his way to the nearest door. He held his phaser ready as he pushed the door to see if it was locked. It wasn’t. The door slid open with ease, and Jones along with the rest of the security went in. “All clear, sir!” Came a shout a few moments later, and the rest of you entered too.

The room you were in was basically empty. Only a few scattered bits of furniture laying around. You noticed the layer of dust. Looking up at Leonard, he squeezed your hand quickly. His steady hand would have been reassuring, if he didn’t look so nervous himself.

“The source of the signal is not coming from this room, Captain.” Spock informed, looking away from his tricorder again.

“Alright. Let’s go onto the next room. Lead the way, gentlemen.” The group moved from room to room, finding nothing. The technology had been destroyed, and there was no sign of anyone, alive or dead. Even Spock was starting to look mildly agitated.

You cleared the first building, and began your way to the second. Security went in first, and just as Jim and Spock were about to enter, Spock’s tricorder whirled into life.

“Captain, I have detected lifeforms. They appear to be Klingons!”

“Klingons? Wha-“ Jim didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as the first building exploded behind you, sending rubble everywhere. Leonard pushed you to ground before you even knew what was happening, his instinct kicking in to try and protect you. Even with his body over yours, you felt the searing pain in your leg.

There was smoke and dust all around you, so thick that is was impossible to see through.

“Jim? Spock?” Leonard shouted, trying to see the others through the cloud. You couldn’t see them, but you heard the distinct sound of a phaser.

“Bones. Y/N. Get back!” Jim’s voice came through the dust, and you just about saw the light of a phaser this time.

Leonard quickly hoisted you to your feet, supporting most of your weight, and started to retreat, searching for a shelter in the chaos. You glanced down, grimacing at the blood and piece of shrapnel that was currently sticking out of your leg. Leonard spotted somewhere he must have thought suitable, and began to guide you over to it.
As you got closer you could see it was a doorway. It would provide shelter, and keep you hidden. “Nearly there, darlin’.” Leonard said softly, rounding the corner into the doorway.

Out of all the things you were expecting to see, a Klingon was definitely not one of them.

You and Leonard stopped dead in your tracks, staring at the raised weapon the Klingon was aiming at you.

“You will come with us, Doctor.” The Klingon said in Standard.

“Like hell I am!”

“You are as feisty as your reputation suggests. Very well.” The Klingon looked over your shoulders. “be'Hom ghewmey tlhap.”

A second Klingon who must have been hiding behind you, suddenly seized your arm and dragged you away from Leonard. “Lee!”

“Get off her you bastards!” Leonard growled, making a dive for the one holding you.

“Do that and we’ll snap her neck.” The first Klingon said, and you felt a hand around your throat, squeezing just enough to make it difficult to get a breath.

Leonard froze, simply staring at you. You shook your head as much as you could. He was going to go with them. “No…”

“Leave her go and I’ll come with you.” Leonard said quietly.

“A wise choice.” The first Klingon roughly grabbed Leonard, and spoke something you didn’t understand, into a device that looked similar to your communicators.

The Klingon holding you released your throat, and threw you to the ground. You tried to get up, but your injured leg wasn’t letting you. All you could do was watch as lights began to shimmer around the three others. “Lee!”

Leonard caught your gaze, and you could see the fear he was trying to hide. He spoke quietly, but you were just about able to hear his words before they vanished. “I’ll keep a part of you with me. And everywhere I am there you’ll be.”
~
The last thing Leonard saw was your face before he materialized on the strange vessel. “The Enterprise will shoot you of the sky! And the Captain will kill every last one of you!”
The Klingons had a harsh laugh, and one of your attackers gripped Leonard’s arm as he pulled him away. “Your ship does not even know we’re here. Our cloaking device only ceases to work when we engage in battle. As we have no intention of doing that yet, your people will not even know we were here. As for your Captain and the rest of your allies, they will be no trouble either.” The Klingon pulled Leonard to a small window that looked down on the outpost. “Say goodbye to your friends, Doctor.”

Leonard looked at the Klingon, then looked back out the window, waiting for the ship to begin to move and the view in front of him to disappear.

The view definitely did change, but it wasn’t because of the ship moving to Leonard’s horror.

It was because of the massive balls of flame that erupted from the outpost high enough to be seen from space, demolishing the planet in its wake.

Chapter Text

Leonard felt surprisingly calm as he was shoved into the small holding cell on the Klingon ship, despite the sight of the flames enveloping the small outpost planet being burned into his memory. He didn’t know what technology the Klingons had used, but it had been effective. The inferno had swept over most of the surface in seconds, and as his captors were already telling him, would have decimated anything in its path.

There was still a chance that you were alright, there had to be, Leonard thought. There had been enough time for you and Jim and Spock to make contact with the Enterprise again, and get beamed out of there. Not much time, but enough. Just about. Hopefully. Leonard closed his eyes, bringing his knees to his chest. No one had yet mentioned why they wanted him, but to have gone through so much trouble to ensure they obtained him, Leonard knew his time with the Klingons wasn’t going to be pretty.

Gritting his teeth, Leonard forced himself to focus. He really didn’t have many options. During the short walk from the transporter to the cell, Leonard had gathered that he wasn’t on a large ship, nowhere near the size of the Enterprise, but it was still crawling with Klingons. Too many for one person, who wasn’t even a fighter, to take on. Even if he managed to take them all down without getting himself killed or mortally injured, he would be faced with the prospect of having to fly an alien vessel. And damn it, he was a Doctor not a pilot.

Leonard’s prospects looked grim. He wasn’t getting out of this alone, and if what the Klingon said was true, the Enterprise would not have been aware of them, so he couldn’t even guarantee that they were in pursuit. He had two options, Leonard figured. He could either play nice and give the Klingons whatever they wanted. Or he could resist them every last breath, no matter what the consequences were.

Leonard McCoy had always been a stubborn man.

His mind was already made up. There was no way he was going to give the Klingons the information they wanted. Information was the only thing they could want from him. If this were a hostage situation, they’d have targeted Jim. Leonard was a good doctor, one of the best even, but he still wouldn’t hold the same leverage as Jim with the Federation. They’d be far more likely to negotiate for Jim, their best and brightest, over Leonard, and the Klingons would know that.

Leonard briefly considered that it might be a trap. His abduction could be way of luring a Federation ship into Klingon territory, and giving them an excuse to start a war. Leonard dismissed that idea as quickly as it came though. If his would be tormentors were right, and Leonard wished with all his might that they weren’t, everyone on the outpost was dead, and there’d be no way of finding out who was behind the attack.

No, Leonard was sure it was information they wanted from him. It was logical, as Spock would say. What information, he didn’t know though. Leonard didn’t have any specialised weapon or tactical knowledge. He couldn’t give them schematics of Starships, or details of upcoming missions. Leonard was sure they knew that too. The Klingons might have been more war inclined that other species, but they weren’t stupid. They wanted him.

Leonard was pulled from his thoughts when the door to his cell, slid open. A Klingon entered, and pulled Leonard to his feet. “Move.” The other said, his accent thick as he pushed Leonard through the door.

Leonard remained silent, letting himself be guided. It was pointless. He knew enough about Klingons to know that his escort was a Bekk. A warrior. The lowest rank in the Klingon military. He probably didn’t have a damn clue as to why Leonard was here.

He was taken along the cold metal corridors, and up a level, before being stopped in front of another door. The Bekk barked something in his native language, and a voice on the other side replied. There was a beep, and the door opened.  

“Watch it.” Leonard growled as he was forcibly shoved inside. Gathering his bearings, he found himself to be in what he assumed was the Klingon version of a ready room. It was small, so it only took seconds for Leonard’s gaze to fall on the Klingon sitting behind a desk.

“Doctor McCoy, welcome. Please, have a seat.” The Klingon gestured to a seat in front of the desk.

“I’d rather stand.” Leonard replied brusquely, drawing himself to his full height as the Klingon he took to be in charge, rose from his chair and walked over to him.

“My apologies, it seems that you still under the illusion that you have any control over what you now do. You are wrong, Doctor.” The Klingon gripped his arm, and Leonard fought back a wince. “Sit.”

Leonard was dragged across the floor, and unceremoniously forced into the chair.

“Much better.” The Klingon returned to his own seat, and studied Leonard. “My name is K'gon, and I am Captain of this vessel. I would like to apologise for the deaths of your friends and lover, but we needed a suitable distraction to begin our journey home.”

Leonard remained silent, clenching his jaw. You were all still alive, no matter what anyone said, and he refused to raise to the bait.

K’gon watched Leonard for a few moments longer, before continuing. “My men tell me that you were quite attached to your woman. Her death must hurt you. But casualties in war are unavoidable.”

“We’re not at war.” Leonard replied, still choosing to ignore the others words about you.

“Not yet.” K’gon smiled, and it immediately made Leonard uneasy. “That is why we need you, Doctor McCoy. We have technology and men, but so does your Federation. A full out war between the two of us could go either way. So we need to turn the tide in our favor.”

Leonard frowned. “Why do you need me for that? I’m a Doctor, not a weapons specialist or tactical officer.”

“We do not need more weapons or tactics, are own are enough. What we need is to make our army invincible. Can you imagine it? An army of soldiers who could heal almost as quickly as they were injured. One falls in battle, but by the time a second falls, the first is already on their feet again? Our on world armies would be unstoppable.”

“Do I look like a magician? That’s impossible!” Leonard frowned, though a nagging feeling at the back of his mind was beginning to steadily grow stronger.

“Now that’s not quite true, is it, Doctor?” K’gon kept his eyes on Leonard, watching every little facial reaction. “You yourself created a serum that had the ability to bring a body killed by lethal radiation back to life. With no side effects. Yes, I am aware of that incident, Doctor. We have informants. What we don’t know, is how you did it.”

Leonard scoffed. “You really think I’m just going to tell you?”

“Yes. Not only will you tell us, you will then aid us in altering it to create the serum we desire for our armies. You will help make us unbeatable, Doctor.”

“Like hell I am.”

The Klingon was up and in front of him within seconds. Leonard felt a hand around his throat, dragging him from his seat. “You do not have a choice, Doctor McCoy.” K’gon walked Leonard backwards until his back collided with a wall.

“I’m the only person who knows how to make that damned serum. If you kill me, then you have no chance.” Leonard spat, glaring at his attacker.

K’gon squeezed Leonard’s throat, restricting his oxygen, and pressed close, ignoring the Doctor’s hands trying to push him away. “I was not talking about death, Doctor. If you do not comply, you will experience things far worse than death at our hands.” K’gon waited until Leonard was gasping for breath, then released him, a cruel smile still playing on his lips as he watched the other man desperately suck in much needed oxygen. “You have until we arrive at Maranga IV to decide if you will aid us willingly or not.” He pulled away, and gestured to the guard by the door. “ ghaHvaD tIHmey qemmeH .”

The guard nodded, walking over to the two men, and yanking Leonard forward towards the door. “Walk.” He ordered, and once again steered Leonard down the corridors and back to his small cell.

~

I'll keep a part of you with me. And everywhere I am there you'll be.

Leonard’s last words to you swirled around your head as you sat frozen on the ground, staring at the spot Leonard was standing in moments before.

“Bones! Y/N!” The sound of Jim’s voice pulled you from your daze.

“Jim!” Your voice cracked as you called the other man’s name, making yourself look away from the ground and to the doorway. “Here!”

Jim and Spock rounded the corner, and Spock instantly knelt beside you to assess your injured leg as best as he could.

“Where’s Bones, Y/N?” Jim looked down at you, his blue eyes filled with concern. You couldn’t face him, and looked back to the ground.

You sobbed. “We were ambushed. They took him…” You tried to say more, but the ground shook violently underneath you, and you toppled into Spock.

“Captain, something is wrong. We must evacuate at once. Now that I have removed the blocking signal, you should be able to contact the ship.” Spock said, wrapping your arm around his shoulder so he could help you stand.

“Kirk to Enterprise, come in.” Jim was talking into his communicator, as the three of you hurried outside.

“Enterprise here, Captain.”

“Three to beam up. Get us out of here now!”

There was a deafening rumble, and flames erupted from the east. The fire immediately began to wash over the surface of the planet, destroying everything in its wake, and rapidly heading towards the three of you. You closed your eyes, unable to watch as you braced yourself to be consumed by it. You wondered if it would hurt or be quick. Spock’s hand tightened on your arm and you felt him tense up next to you.

“Captain, what happened down there?”

“Where’s Doctor McCoy?”

“Captain, the outpost! It’s gone!”

“Get in touch with med bay! We have casualties!”

Voices flooded your system, and you opened your eyes to be greeted by the bright lights of the transporter room. There were crew members around you, each one either trying to help or asking questions.

“Spock, get Y/N to the med bay to have that leg seen to, and get yourself treated too.” Jim ordered through the chaos.

“Captain, you also sustained injuries that need to receive medical attention.” Spock followed Kirk out of the room, taking you with him. It was the first time you noticed that both men looked rough. Each of them had a litany of scratches and bruises, Jim’s shirt was torn, and there was a very nasty looking gash on the side of Spock’s head.

“And I will, but I need to go to the bridge first. Get yourselves taken care of, then I’ll be there. That’s an order.” There was a look of determination in Jim’s eyes, and you knew he would accept any further argument.

It seemed that Spock agreed with your thoughts, because he nodded. “Yes, Captain.” He turned, and the two of you began to make your way to med bay. You were met at the entrance by Doctor M’Benga and a team of nurses.  

“Y/N, what happened?” M’Benga asked, helping you away from Spock so the Vulcan could be treated.

“Shrapnel from an explosion. I haven’t bled out yet, so I’m assuming it’s fairly superficial.” You said as M’Benga helped you onto a biobed.

The Doctor got to work scanning your injury, and you looked up at the ceiling. You knew M’Benga was probably wondering about Leonard. There was no way he’d let you be here on your own if all was well.

“You were lucky. Damage to your leg is minor. I can remove the shrapnel, then use the dermal regenerator to close the wounds. There are a couple of smaller pieces embedded deeper, but they won’t cause any damage, or impair the use of your leg, so I think the best option is to leave them be for now. We can look into removing them later. Is that alright?” M’Benga waited for your consent, before nodding. “I’ll go and get some local anaesthetic, I’ll be right back.”

You turned your head to see if you could find Spock, but he was out of sight. If M’Benga was treating you though, Spock’s injuries couldn’t have been too severe, which was good. You were glad when M’Benga returned with a nurse, mainly because it gave you something to focus on, rather than let your mind wander and start thinking about Leonard. You knew you needed to keep it together until you had spoken to Jim, and had recounted every detail you could.

M’Benga took care of your leg quickly, and soon he was setting everything down. “You’ll need a second session with the dermal regenerator to remove the scar from that one big piece, but apart from that you’re good to go once the anaesthetic wears off.” He smiled at you, and you made yourself return it.

“Thanks.” You said, sitting up on the bed just as Jim entered the med bay. The Captain was immediately ushered over to the bed next to yours, and M’Benga was on him in seconds, making sure he had no critical injuries.

It didn’t take long for Jim to be patched up, and soon he and Spock were standing by your bed. Your leg was still numb enough for you to not trust it to support you, so the three of you had no choice but to discuss everything in the med bay.

“Sulu and Chekov are already scanning for the energy surge that Klingon cloaking devices leave behind. Hopefully, we’ll soon know the direction they went in. I’ve also notified Command of the situation.” Jim’s body radiated tension as he spoke, his bright blue eyes turning down to you. “What happened down there, Y/N? We were only separated for a few minutes.”

“They were waiting for us. Leonard helped me to that entranceway, and there was a Klingon standing there ready. He ordered Leonard to come with him, but when he refused, a second Klingon appeared and grabbed me. He wrapped a hand around my throat, and threatened to kill me unless Leonard complied. I tried to tell him not to, but he wouldn’t listen, and agreed to go with them. The Klingon holding me threw me to the ground, where you found me, and seconds later all three were gone.” You explained quietly, closing your eyes with a sigh. “This is my fault. If I hadn’t been there…”

Jim was silent, but Spock placed a hand on your shoulder, startling you slightly. “No. While it is logical to believe that the Klingons are aware of Doctor McCoy’s relationship with you, they have after all obviously been meticulous with their research, they could not plan for certain that it would be you to aid him on the outpost. That was the only part of their plan that could not be predicted, therefore they could not plan to use you specifically against him. Instead they aimed to injure whoever was there to assist the Doctor. They knew that once injured, Doctor McCoy would take that person to safety. The entrance of that building was far away enough to be safe, but wouldn’t separate our groups too much, so was the logical place to stage an ambush.”

“They might have planned it that way, but Leonard only went without a fight because they threatened me.” You interrupted, looking up at Spock.

“On the contrary, while I do not question Doctor McCoy’s affection for you, he has proven himself to be selfless on multiple occasions. It is my belief that he would have done whatever was necessary to protect whoever was in his care.” Spock continued, looking between you and Jim, before settling his gaze firmly on you. “It is illogical to blame yourself, and cause yourself unnecessary mental and emotional pain. The events of today were not your fault, and would have occurred even if you had not been present.”

Spock met your eyes, and you nodded that you understood. While his words didn’t make you feel better, you knew he was right. Leonard was the type of man to put his patients before himself. It was one of the reasons you loved him. And this was going to be painful enough, blaming yourself would just make it all worse. “Thank you, Spock.”

“I have done nothing worthy of thanks. I merely stated the logical facts that have a way of being forgotten during emotional periods.” Of course Spock would downplay his help. Removing his hand from your shoulder, Spock once again looked up at Jim. “The Klingons specifically targeted Doctor McCoy. We must try and determine why.”

Jim nodded with a sigh. “I know. But I have no idea.” He admitted, looking at Spock tiredly. “It could be for any number of reasons.”

“I will begin to try and find out the potential reason behind this. In the meantime, I suggest the two of you return to your quarters to rest.”

“No way-“

“If you think I’m sleep-“

You and Jim began your protests at the same time, but you were both cut off by Spock raising a hand. “Both of you have been through an ordeal today, and need rest to recuperate. I can continue efficiently. Jim, you will not be able to lead a rescue party if you have rendered yourself exhausted, and Y/N, I do not wish to incur Doctor McCoy’s wrath upon his return by allowing you to make yourself ill through lack of rest and malnourishment.” He told the both of you calmly. “I will alert you both immediately should new information arise.”

Jim looked like he was about to argue more, but a raise of Spock’s eyebrow silenced him. You didn’t argue either, realizing that all you wanted at the moment was to hold something that reminded of you Leonard.

“Good. Doctor M’Benga, has Nurse Y/L/N been discharged?” Spock asked as M’Benga passed them.

“Yes. She’s free to go when she’s able to stand.”

Spock looked back at you, and you nodded, swinging your legs over the side of the bed. “The anaesthetic has worn off now.” You said as you stood.

“I’ll walk with you, Y/N.” Jim said. “Keep me updated, Spock.”

“Of course, Jim.” Spock said, watching the two of you exit the med bay.

You and Jim walked silently down the corridors side by side, each lost in your own thoughts. The knot that had been steadily growing in your stomach felt tighter than ever, and it took all your control not to breakdown on the spot. Now that everything had been discussed, your emotions were starting to trickle in, and you knew you were fighting a losing battle to try and keep it together.

You were so focused, that you didn’t even notice that your feet had carried you back to Leonard’s quarters instead of your own, until you and Jim stopped outside the door.

“D’you want me to come in with you?” Jim asked, looking at the familiar door.

You considered it. It was said that having company could help during painful times. You weren’t one for showing emotions in front of people though, and neither was Jim. Just because you were friends, didn’t mean you were that comfortable around each other yet. So you shook your head. “No, thank you. I’m fine.” You said with a small smile.

Jim simply nodded, but he did look slightly relieved. “Alright.” He paused for a moment, then placed a hand on your arm. “We’ll get him back, Y/N. I promise.”

“I know. The Klingons wouldn’t have factored in two best friends and a girlfriend who’d do anything to get him back.” You replied, forcing as much positivity into your voice as Jim had.

“I’m not sure which is more dangerous. A pissed off Captain, a pissed of Vulcan or a pissed off girlfriend. We’ll have them trembling.” Jim gave you one of his bright smiles, but it wasn’t enough to mask the worry that was still in his eyes. “I’ll see you later.” Jim squeezed your arm lightly, then turned and walked back to his own quarters.

You sighed as you watched the Captain disappear, before entering the code for Leonard’s room. The door opened, and you stepped in, letting it close and lock behind you again.

The room was exactly as the two of you had left it that morning, perfectly immaculate. Everything around you screamed Leonard so loudly it quickly became overwhelming. Feeling your knees start to buckle, you managed to make it to the bed just before the first of your tears started to slide down your cheeks.

You fell onto the covers, and buried your face in what was usually Leonard’s pillow so you could breathe in the all too familiar scent. It wasn’t long before you completely lost yourself to the feelings inside you, and your shoulders heaved and shook with each harsh, heart-wrenching sob. You cried harder than you ever remembered, thinking only of Leonard and if you’d ever see him again. You weren’t even aware of the well-known words floating around the back of your mind.     

In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky

In my heart there'll always be a place for you

For all my life

I'll keep a part of you with me

And everywhere I am there you'll be

Chapter Text

It was impossible to tell how much time had passed. Once again stuck in the small, plain, windowless holding cell, it felt like forever to Leonard. He hadn’t seen or heard from anyone since he’d been returned here. His throat was still sore whenever he tentatively touched it, and although he couldn’t look, he was certain bruises were starting to form.

“Bastards…” Leonard muttered to himself, letting his head rest on the cool wall behind him. At least his confinement had allowed him time to process everything that he had been told. The Klingons wanting him made sense now. He was the only person in the damned universe who knew how to create that serum.

It seemed unlikely that they knew it was created from Khan’s blood, Leonard was certain K’gon would have mentioned it, but even if they did, and had managed to obtain some, they’d still need him to tell them how he’d modified it to be somewhat safe to use on Jim. And if he was right and they didn’t know, like hell he was going to tell them. No matter what they tried to do to him, Leonard knew he wasn’t going to say a word. He’d rather die than be the cause of millions of innocent deaths.

Leonard sighed, staring at the gray wall. As much as he hated the black, he longed to be able to look out a window and see the stars. They reminded him of you now, simply because of how much you loved them. Leonard had quickly learned that the observation deck was always the first place you’d head to if you were upset or wanted to be alone, and the two of you had spent many a date eating badly replicated food as you watched the stars fly by. Leonard longed to hear you talk about them. You were always so excited, arguing with him about how space was far more than danger and disease. He had never admitted it, but during the times the two of you sat together, and he listened to you speak so enthusiastically, he agreed with you. There was some beauty in space, even if in his opinion most of it came from you.

The hum of the engines quietening to a stop, jolted Leonard from his thoughts. The door to his cell opened and a Klingon entered. “Stand.” He ordered, looking down at Leonard.

Leonard figured he might as well indicate his stubbornness immediately, they were going to find out soon enough, so looked up at the Klingon Bekk with a smirk. “No.”

“Stand now.” The Klingon ordered again, his broken Standard coming out in a growl. It seemed Klingons didn’t bother teaching their lower ranking soldiers Federation Standard. When Leonard still refused to move, the guard moved his hand so suddenly that Leonard didn’t even realise he had until he felt the back of it collide with his face.

Leonard saw stars as the pain blossomed across his cheek, the force of the blow knocking him to the side.  A hand grasped his shirt in a fist, and yanked him to his feet. “You listen now.” The Klingon roughly manhandled Leonard and secured his hands behind his back. Leonard’s head was still spinning so he didn’t put up a resistance as he was guided out of the mall room.

By the time he was marched to the hull door, Leonard’s head had cleared, though there was still a dull throb radiating from the side of his face. They were met by K’gon, who didn’t even look bothered at Leonard’s no doubt bright red cheek. “Welcome to Maranga IV, Doctor. This will be your home for the foreseeable future. Aid us willingly, and you will be comfortable. The more progress you make, the more amenities we will grant you. Whatever you wish. If you resist, your experience will be the opposite.”

K’gon began to walk, exiting the ship, and Leonard was forced to follow. The planet they were on was dry and humid, with only a few buildings that reminded Leonard of Federation outposts. “We use this planet to observe the boarder of our territory.” K’gon said, confirming Leonard’s thoughts that this was a Klingon outpost. “While it does not look like much, it is fully equipped with a manner of facilities, including laboratories. If there is any further equipment you require in your work, we will supply it to you.”

K’gon stopped in front of one of the buildings, and turned to look at Leonard. “It would be in your best interests to begin work immediately, Doctor.”

Leonard stared at K’gon, squaring his shoulders. “Like I said on the ship, there’s no way in hell I’m going to tell you anything. No matter what you do.”

The Klingon nodded, his features neutral. “I am not surprised. While we hoped for your cooperation, we prepared for your stubbornness. It will not last long.” K’gon turned to the guard, who was still holding Leonard by the arm, and ordered him in their native tongue. “I will see you soon, Doctor McCoy.” The Captain said as Leonard was hauled away by his guard.

Leonard was taken to a small building at the edge of the outpost, and led through the door. The building was cold and lifeless, made entirely of the same battleship gray metal as his cell in the Klingon ship. As Leonard took in his surroundings, he noticed multiple doors lining the hallway, and he realized this block was a Klingon prison.

He was stopped outside one of the doors, and he watched as his guard punched in a long and complicated code into the pad. The door slid open effortlessly, and Leonard was pushed in. His guard didn’t follow, or remove the restraints on his wrists, and by the time Leonard turned to face the doorway again, it had already sealed and locked.

Leonard grumbled to himself, and looked around his new residence. “Imaginative.” He muttered. The room was almost identical to other cell. It was marginally bigger, but was just as bare except for a tiny uncomfortable looking bed. Leonard couldn’t imagine himself doing much sleeping on it, but he found that laying on it allowed him to look directly out of the only window. He didn’t need to be a technical expert to know that the glass on the window would be nearly impenetrable, but even if it wasn’t, it was far too small for him to climb out of.

Leonard looked up at the sky, observing that the sun seemed to be setting. He could already make out the faint outline of a moon, full and round in the sky. The stars would be out soon. Leonard sighed and sat down on the bed. His shoulders were starting to ache from being pulled back, and Leonard attempted to find an angle that alleviated it slightly. Eventually he did, and he sighed again, now trying not to focus on how dry his mouth was slowly becoming. It must have been hours since he last had some water.

Gradually, the room darkened, but the bright light of the moon shone through the window, casting everything in an eerie glow. The room was slowly becoming colder too. It seemed that there were no heat installations in the cell, and without the sun shining on it, the metal was quickly losing its warmth.

Leonard was just beginning to think that he’d see no more of his captors today, when the door opened. A guard entered and pulled Leonard upright. In the moonlight there was a cruel glint in his eye, that made Leonard uneasy. The guard was silent as he took Leonard by the arm, and took him from his cell. He was marched down the hallway, and as they reached the end, Leonard saw what appeared to be a turbolift. They entered, and the Klingon barked a command. Leonard felt the machine jolt to life, and knew they were descending.

When the doors opened once more, they revealed yet another sparsely decorated room and a second Klingon guard. “What do you bastards have against furniture?” Leonard grumbled. He spotted what looked like an operating table on one side of the room, and Leonard wasn’t sure if that, or the restraints hanging from it worried him more. He tried to look around the rest of the room, but didn’t get to take in much before the second Klingon was on him.

He felt his wrists being released, but the relief didn’t last long. The guards dragged Leonard to the center on the room, and one quickly yanked one of Leonard’s arms above his head. “Get off me!” Leonard yelled, immediately starting writhe and try and jerk away. The second Klingon tried to keep him steady, but Leonard managed to get a good kick to the shin. The grip on his elevated arm loosened, and for a few seconds Leonard thought he was actually going to get away.

The blow to his chest left him breathless, and Leonard doubled over instantly. He tried to inhale, but found that he couldn’t. It was like a vice had gripped his lungs, preventing them from expanding properly. He didn’t even know which guard had landed the blow, but one of them was now keeping him from falling to his knees.

An arm was once more pulled above him, even rougher than before, but Leonard didn’t have the strength to resist this time. He was still focused on trying to suck in needed oxygen. Cold metal encircled his wrist tightly, and his second arm was brought up to meet the same fate. The position of his arms forced Leonard upright, despite his body’s protests to stay curled up.

Leonard glared at his captors, one standing in front of him to make sure he didn’t try anything else, while the second made sure his restraints were secure. When the metal dug painfully into his wrists, Leonard refused to wince. The two Klingons spoke, and Leonard heard the one behind him move to retrieve an item.

The sharp edge of the blade pressed to his neck, and Leonard tensed. It wasn’t held with enough force to break skin, but he could tell it wouldn’t take much. “Don’t move.” The Klingon holding the weapon growled, pressing the tip of the bade down just enough to prick Leonard’s flesh. He felt the trickle of blood run down his throat. The guard that was still in front of him, knelt down, roughly yanking off Leonard’s boots and socks. Leonard wanted to kick out at him, he was at the perfect level, but with the knife pressed to his throat, any movement could cause it to cut into him.

The Klingon put his boots to one side, then moved to his pants, undoing them and pulling them off along with his underwear. The blade moved before Leonard was even aware of it happening, the razor-sharp metal slicing through his shirt, leaving it in tatters and allowing the Klingons to pull it off him, leaving him completely exposed.

The cool air against his bare flesh made Leonard shiver, goose bumps appearing all over his body. Leonard didn’t say anything though, choosing to watch the Klingons gather up the remains of his clothing instead. They paid him no more attention, and went back to the turbolift. The doors closed around them, leaving Leonard alone. Seconds later the lights went off, plunging him into darkness too.

Without the little extra height from his boots, Leonard’s arms were stretched even tighter above him, and it didn’t take long for them to start aching. He found that he was able to alleviate the strain by raising himself up to stand on the balls of his feet. Which only served to make his legs ache instead.

Leonard gritted his teeth, forced to keep switching between straining his arms and straining his legs. It wasn’t too bad at first, but as time wore on, it became increasingly difficult to hold either position for long. There was no way of knowing how long he’d been stuck in the pitch-black room, but time seemed to drag. Each second starting to feel like an eternity as the burn in his limbs grew and grew. Leonard focused on his breathing, the only thing he could hear, and forced himself to take deep steady breaths and ignore the pain.

The lights didn’t even flicker as they came back on, the harsh fluorescent lights blinding Leonard. He swore, closing his eyes quickly to try and lessen the pain of the brightness.

“Greetings again, Doctor McCoy. I hope you are well rested.” There was a cruel humor in K’gon’s voice as entered the room. The sound of his heavy boots echoing around the walls. Leonard heard him approach, still unable to open his eyes. A hand anchored in his hair, and wrenched his head back. He hadn’t even realized he’d let it drop. “You will speak when spoken too.” K’gon growled, and Leonard could feel the others breath on his face.

“Fuck you.” Leonard spat, managing to open his eyes enough to glare at K’gon, despite them watering at the brightness of the room.

K’gon laughed, making a show of looking Leonard up and down. “That has not been ruled out, Doctor. Many of our warriors have a taste for human flesh. Sated warriors are productive warriors.” The other released Leonard’s hair, and took a few steps back. “Usually it situations like this, we wouldn’t need to go to extreme measures to ensure your cooperation. Our mind sifter would do all the work for us. However, we need more than just information from you, and our technology will not force you to work with us. Not without leaving you in a permanent vegetative state, which would leave you of no use to us. So, we have been left no choice but to do it this, older, more primitive yet far more enjoyable, way. This is your last opportunity to comply.”

“No.” Leonard glared at K’gon. K’gon nodded, stepped further back and spoke to one of the other guards. The guard moved, and Leonard struggled to watch him. He went to one of the walls, and after fiddling for a moment, extracted a long pipe, similar to a garden hose.

Leonard knew what was coming, and even tried to brace himself, but nothing could have properly prepared him for the jet of ice cold water hitting his exposed flesh. It felt like a thousand needles piercing his skin, and Leonard clenched his jaw to try and stop himself from letting on how much the freezing water hurt.

The Klingon controlling the steady stream, made sure every part of his body was hit by the water, and soon Leonard was shivering uncontrollably. K’gon said something, and the water was moved up his body again. Then it hit his face. Leonard tried desperately to move his head away, to stop it from flooding his mouth and nose, but the stream followed him, forcing him to swallow the water. Just when it was becoming too much, just as the edge of Leonard’s vision started to go black, the stream of water moved away, back to soaking his already trembling body. Leonard coughed and spluttered, expelling the water that was stopping him from breathing. He managed to take a few ragged breaths in, his chest heaving.

Leonard’s reprieve didn’t last long. The water came back, once more trying to drown him. The pattern continued. The water was directed at his face long enough to bring him to the brink of unconsciousness, then moved away again to let him breathe. Leonard lost count how many times it happened, but each time he found it harder to recover.

Eventually, the jet of water was stopped, and Leonard slumped. The pain in his arms had long since grown almost unbearable, so he didn’t care that now they were the only things supporting his weight. He was too focused on trying to breath properly again.

K’gon stepped closer to him again, and forced his head up so that they were looking at each other. “Will you cooperate, Doctor?”

“Never.” Leonard replied, his voice was hoarse from coughing up water, but he managed to keep a sternness in his tone.

“Very well.” K’gon turned away, and barked an order at the other guards. One came up to Leonard, while the other went behind him. He felt hands on his wrists, and his restraints were loosed. His arms were yanked down one at a time, and the stiff muscles screamed in protest. Leonard was just able to stop himself from crying out. He would have fallen to the floor, his legs unable to support him, but the Klingon in front of him grabbed him.

Leonard was half carried, half dragged out of the room, and back to his tiny cell. He was pushed inside, the door locking behind him. Leonard succeeded in making it to the small bed, and collapsed down on it, exhausted. He was still shivering, even though his skin was slowly drying. A part of him wondered how long he’d been down in that room. It was still dark, so it couldn’t have been for more than a few hours.

Leonard closed his eyes, his mind drifting back to you. He wondered if you and Jim were out there looking for him. If he was in Klingon territory, it would be difficult to get authorization. But Jim was determined, and Leonard knew that you’d be on him constantly to find a way. Hell, Spock would probably try and find a solution too. Pointy-eared bastard had better be looking after you and Jim. You weren’t going to do it yourselves.

“I love you, Y/N.” He whispered out loud, looking out the window. The chances that you were looking at the same stars were slim, but Leonard hoped that wherever you were, you were looking at the stars too.

'Cause I always saw in you my light, my strength

And I want to thank you now for all the ways

The lyrics came to his mind, familiar and comforting. Leonard drew a strength from them. You were out there somewhere, looking for him. Leonard felt sorry for whoever got in your way.

You were right there for me

You were right there for me

For always

Leonard watched as the dark of night slowly faded, and the sun rose. The sunlight hit the small window, warming the room, and Leonard up. The heat felt good, and even though he was still exhausted, he knew he’d survive whatever they threw at him today or any other day.

Leonard figured it to be about midday when they came for him again. He was hauled back down to the room, where the events of the night before repeated themselves. He was chained up, left alone in the dark, then sprayed with the ice-cold water. At the end, K’gon stepped forward and asked if Leonard would cooperate. Leonard once again replied that he’d never work with them.

It continued like that. They’d come for him at random times, and drag him off. Leonard quickly lost track of time. Sometimes they’d leave him alone for longer periods than others. It felt like months had passed, but if Leonard had been forced to guess, it was probably no longer than five days. All he could think about was how each session was getting increasingly harder to recover from. His muscles were sore for longer, it was more difficult to warm up again, and his throat was raw from coughing up so much water. Yet whenever K’gon asked, Leonard refused to give in.

Leonard was sitting on the floor of his room, head resting on his knees as he listened to his stomach rumble. He hadn’t eaten since he was last on the Enterprise, and despite his weariness, he was feeling the hunger now.

“Least I don’t have to worry about water.” He muttered with a mirthless laugh. The door opened, and Leonard didn’t even bother trying to put up a fight as he was hoisted to his feet. It was better to conserve his energy. He allowed himself to be once again taken back down to the room, and chained up by his wrists. Leonard was expecting them to up and leave him like usual, but they didn’t.

Instead, they immediately began to spray him with the water, soaking him thoroughly. The part of his mind that wasn’t thinking about the numbing cold that was rapidly spreading through him, noted that they were only aiming the stream at his face long enough to drench him, rather than nearly drown him. Leonard’s stomach began to twist in knots. Something else was coming, he was sure of it.

The jet came to a stop, leaving Leonard dripping. Water droplets fell from the ends of his hair and into his eyes, and Leonard shook his head while he could to get rid of some. As he did, the doors to the turbolift opened, and K’gon arrived.

“Excellent, I see you are ready for me.” K’gon’s smile was even colder than the water, and a shiver of dread ran down Leonard’s spine. K’gon said something to the others, and Leonard heard them move about behind him. “As our current method of persuasion has done little to convince you to work with us, I have no choice but to ‘up the ante’, as you humans would say.”

One of the guards passed K’gon an object, a prod, and Leonard felt his mouth go dry. Leonard wasn’t an engineer, but he knew that the wire leading from bronze tipped prod was humming with electricity. K’gon watched him, gripping the insulated handle tightly.

“You have your old Earth ancestors to thank for this. In your 20 th century, this device, a Picana it was called, was used as an extremely effective method of interrogation due to its high voltage, but low current. I have found it to be very persuasive.” K’gon stepped close to Leonard, a cruel glint in his eye, and brushed the tip against Leonard’s skin.

Leonard inhaled sharply at the jolt of electricity and tried to flinch away. K’gon snapped something at a guard, and when he pressed the picana to him again, the pain was stronger. K’gon continued like that, increasing the voltage until eventually a cry was torn from Leonard.

Satisfied at the strength, K’gon began to press the bronze tip to more sensitive areas of Leonard’s body. Leonard tried to keep as composed as possible, but yells of pain were pulled from him far more than he liked. The electricity stabbing his arms, nipples, knees, shins caused his entire body to convulse, and more than once he nearly kicked K’gon. On one particularly violent kick, K’gon, grabbed Leonard’s leg and bent it at the knee. Leonard didn’t have time to process it, before the prod touched the arch of his foot. Leonard saw stars, and attempted desperately to pull his leg away from K’gon’s unyielding grasp, but it was impossible.

Leonard’s breathing was harsh and ragged when K’gon let his leg fall back to the ground. “Have you had enough yet, Doctor?” The Klingon asked. When Leonard didn’t answer, K’gon pressed the tip to his nipple again, making Leonard yelp and try and jerk away. “Answer me.”

“I’d rather die in agony than help you hurt innocent people.” Leonard replied through gritted teeth.

“I admire your strength. It is a shame that I must destroy it.” K’gon looked over Leonard’s shoulder and nodded, and when the prod came into contact with him again, this time in the crease where thigh meets groin, the pain of the electricity was excruciating. Leonard threw his threw his head, clamping down on his tongue to stop the yell that threatened to burst free.

K’gon continued, the voltage dipping randomly between barely stinging and strong enough to nearly make Leonard pass out. It kept him on edge, never knowing how strong the next shock was going to be. It went on. And on. And on. K’gon never relented. Never eased or slowed.

After a particularly brutally high tap to the sole of his foot, Leonard found himself wishing that he would just pass out. The coppery taste of blood had long covered his tongue, and Leonard could no longer hold back the cries and yelps of pain as even the dullest stings of electricity felt like razor wire against his skin.

It felt like eternity, but at some point K’gon stopped, and passed the picana back to one of the guards. “Will you cooperate, Doctor?”

Leonard was drained, nearly unconscious, but somehow, he found the strength to raise his head to look the Klingon square in the eye. “Piss off.” He spat, mustering as much venom in his tone as he could, and if some of the blood that formed in his mouth happened to spray over K’gon’s face, then that was just a happy coincidence.  

The other flinched, barely, but enough for Leonard to feel some sort of satisfaction. “ k'pekt. ” K’gon growled, and Leonard understood it well enough to know it didn’t have a pleasant meaning. The Klingon snapped an order at the two guards, and Leonard’s arms were released, before he found himself being pulled over to the table in the corner.

He was roughly shoved onto it, and his wrists and ankles were securely fastened. Even with the weak tug Leonard managed, he felt them bite into his skin. K’gon stepped over to him, and smirked. “For your insolence, you will not be granted the mercy of rest until I say otherwise. Good day.” K’gon turned on his heel, and left the room, followed closely by the guards.

The lights went off, drowning Leonard in darkness again. He was tired, sore, and he hated how feeble he felt. He was nowhere near ready to give in mentally, but there was only so much his body could take, and Leonard tried not to think about what would happen if it gave up on him.

Laying there in the solid black, alone, it didn’t take long for Leonard’s fatigue to begin to overwhelm him. He’d barely slept since he arrived here, and with the pain fading to a dull ache, Leonard felt his eyes start to close.

The sound of a horn blared, deafeningly loud, jerking Leonard from his almost asleep state. The lights were still off, and as the ringing in his ears slowly eased, he couldn’t hear anyone in the room either. Bastards must have some sort of camera to watch him.

Leonard slumped back, easing the pressure of the restraints on his wrists. He felt his heartbeat start to calm down again, and took a few deep breaths to try and relax. Nothing else happened, no one arrived, no lights came on. Just silence and darkness. Leonard’s eyes grew heavy again. He tried to fight it. Knew what would happen if he tried to sleep again. But he fought a losing battle. Sleep drew near, and his eye drooped close.

The horn sounded another, two, three, four times, during the period he was alone. Each time Leonard drifted off, the loud harsh noise would echo around the room.

When the lights came on again, Leonard flinched, though mercifully he wasn’t directly under one of the bright lights. K’gon appeared before him, still wearing a smirk. “I hope you are feeling refreshed, Doctor? No? A pity.” Leonard didn’t reply, the effort to do so seemed too great, so he glared, pouring every ounce of hate he had into it. K’gon just laughed, and held up some fabric. “While I usually enjoy being covered in the blood of my enemies, I prefer when it occurs because I’ve pulled their beating hearts from their chest. I do not want a repeat of yesterday.” With that, K’gon stuffed the fabric, into Leonard’s mouth, silencing him and preventing him from biting on his tongue again.

No more was said. Leonard was dowsed in water, and the picana made a reappearance. K’gon looked like he was enjoying himself far too much, as he trailed the prod down Leonard’s chest. It wasn’t set that high, but he still felt delicate, and with the water lowering his body’s electrical resistance, it still hurt. Then the random pattern began again. Sometimes the voltage was low, sometimes it was high.

That was how it went. K’gon would spend hours, probably, towering above Leonard, brushing, tapping, prodding, him with the electrical device constantly. Sometimes Leonard would pass out, but a hard strike across his face brought him back to consciousness. Then, when the Klingon had had enough. He was left again. Time wore on, Leonard’s mind and body becoming more exhausted with each round, but he was never allowed to rest. If he tried, the horn would blare. Leonard gave up trying to figure out what time of day it was, or how long he’d been trapped in the room. Without the sun and moon, it was useless. It came to a point where everything blurred together, and Leonard had no idea how many times he’d been shocked, or how many times he’d been left alone.

At the end of a particularly long session where Leonard had passed out twice, K’gon pulled Leonard’s gag from his mouth. Leonard waited for the usual question to be asked, but the Klingon surprised him. “Do you wish for rest? Food?”

Leonard hesitated, suspicious despite the state he was in, but nodded. “Yes.”

“Then ask for it. Politely.”

Leonard gritted his teeth. He didn’t want to ask, and he knew that they’d view it as a victory if he did. One step closer to making him work for them. But he couldn’t continue like this either. His body was rapidly failing him, and even the mention of food made his stomach rumble. If Leonard thought they would continue until he died, then he’d tell them where to go. He knew that wasn’t going to happen. They might keep on the edge of death, but they’d make sure he stayed alive. If he had any chance of fighting them, he needed sustenance and sleep. So Leonard took a deep breath, steeling himself against the humiliation of having to ask his torturers for anything. “May…may I rest…and have food…please?”

K’gon studied him, and Leonard thought that his request was going to be denied, a brutal blow, but then he nodded. “Of course, Doctor.” He answered, his tone light, as if he hadn’t just spent hours electrocuting Leonard.

Leonard was freed, and mostly carried back upstairs. Leonard felt a strange, sick sort of relief when he entered his tiny cell again, the small bed looking like the most comfortable thing in the world. He collapsed onto it, the material brushed roughly against his sore skin, but he didn’t care. It was comfortable compared to the unyielding hardness of the table. Minutes passed, then his door opened again, and a tray of food was placed on the floor.

He scrambled off the bed, sitting on the floor to grab the tray quickly. A bowl of stew, a chunk of bread, and a glass of water. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. The stew tasted worse than it smelled, and the bread was stale, but Leonard ate it all anyway. It wasn’t enough to completely feed his hunger, but it helped. When he was done, he drank the water, glad to be able to drink something that wasn’t forced down his throat.

Leonard crawled back onto the bed, and looked out of the window. It was dark, but there was no moon. The stars still shone though, and as he looked at them, Leonard felt the tears slide down his cheeks. He hated himself for being grateful to K’gon for allowing him to eat, to rest. He hated that his resistance was waning. He hated that he was alone. He hated not knowing if you were out there, or if you were looking for him. He hated that he was afraid.

I'll keep a part of you with me, and everywhere I am there you'll be .” Leonard’s voice was quiet as he sang the words, trying to seek a comfort in them again. He found what he was looking for, even though the thought of you made his heart ache. “ And everywhere I am there you'll be. There you'll be.

Leonard sang until the words became too painful to remember, and tore his eyes away from the glittering stars. He curled up on his side, bringing his knees to his chest as a sob broke free from him. Tears pooled underneath his head, soaking into the bed. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to stem the flow, but the dam had been broken.

Leonard cried, not knowing or caring if anyone could hear how pitiful he sounded. He longed for the bliss of sleep to claim him, but it didn’t. He was forced to lay there, sobbing, until no more tears came and he was reduced to whimpers. They sounded pathetic to his own ears, but he couldn’t stop if he tried.

When, after forever, the pull of sleep eventually started to overcome him, words uttered in a broken voice escaped his lips.

“I don’t know how much more I can take. Please find me, Y/N…”

Chapter Text

Bourbon

Soap

Shampoo

Home

You kept your eyes closed as you slowly woke, and the familiar scent of Leonard filled your senses. It made you sure everything had just been a bad dream. It hadn’t happened. None of it. You’d open your eyes, and Leonard would be there. You’d cuddle and everything would be okay.

You forced your eyes open and came face to face with an empty room. You were still laying on the bed, clinging to Leonard’s pillow. The space next to you was barely creased. A wave of nausea washed over you as reality came crashing back down on you, and you barely made it into the bathroom in time before the contents of your stomach made its way back up.

You knelt on the cold floor, clutching the toilet as you wretched. Fresh tears streamed down your face. It was ugly and messy, but you didn’t give a damn. At some point your tears ran out, and you forced yourself to your feet again. You felt numb as you moved around, and even the near scalding temperature of the shower water didn’t register with you.

You washed, dried, brushed your hair and dressed in a haze, going through the movements automatically. When you were dressed in your uniform, you looked at yourself in the mirror. Your eyes were bloodshot and puffy, and you looked as drained as you felt. You weren’t even sure what to do now. It was obvious you weren’t fit for duty, but you didn’t know what else to do. A check on your communicator showed no messages, which meant no news, and you didn’t want to bother Jim or Spock. You didn’t know if Jim was still resting, and if he wasn’t, he’d definitely be working and so would Spock. Interrupting them could cause a delay in finding Leonard.

You ended up just sitting at the table for an age, staring blankly at your PADD, and rereading the same line of the new medical journal over and over, not taking a single word in. You didn’t know how long you stared at the screen for, but the churning in your stomach grew too much, and you felt like your skin was too tight. Like you couldn’t breathe. You had to get out.

Bolting from your seat, you ran from the room, ignoring the odd looks from the other crew members as you let your feet carry you. There was only one place you could go. One place you needed to go. You found yourself on the observation deck, staring into the endlessness of space. The dazzling stars that once brought you so much joy, now seemed to mock you, teasing you that Leonard was out there somewhere, and there was nothing you could do.

You rested your forehead against the cool glass, and wondered if Leonard was looking out at the stars wherever he was. That was the deal you’d made, though you never actually thought you would be separated. “When I look back on these days, I'll look and see your face, you were right there for me.” You sang the words quietly, gazing into the black. “In my dreams I'll always see you soaring by the sky. In my heart there'll always be a place for you. For all my life.”

“Y/N?” Jim’s voice was quiet, but it was enough to startle you, and you spun around.

“Is there any news? Do you know where Leonard is? Are we going to get him?” Before you even finished, you knew by the look on Jim’s face that he didn’t have the answers you wanted to hear. You watched as the other stepped closer to you. Jim looked more pulled together than you did, but you noticed the weariness in his eyes.

“Sulu traced the energy surge left behind by the Klingon ship, and they’ve gone through the border like we thought they might. Chances are they’re back in Klingon territory.” Jim started, watching as your shoulders sagged. “Command’s been notified, and we’re waiting for further instructions, but Y/N, it doesn’t look good. The chances of them giving us permission to cross over is slim. It could start a war.” He continued, a twinge of anger in his voice.

You closed your eyes, and turned away. “There has to be something we can do. We can’t just give up on Leonard!” Your fist slammed into the wall. “There must be a way to get permission to go after the bastards!” You turned around again, glaring at Jim, as you let your own anger rise. “ You must be able to do something! You’re Captain!”

“Y/N, if I knew of a way I’d do it! Even I can’t order Admirals around!”

“Then let’s just go! We’re so close, we can’t be that far behind them!”

“We can’t just go, and you know it!” Jim was just as angry as you now, though he was still trying to keeping it in check, you could see.

“Why? You’re the damned Captain!” You shouted, running a hand through your hair as you began to pace. “Leonard would do anything for you. He’d move heaven and earth. He’s already played God to save your ass, and now you won’t help him? You’re meant to be friends!” You saw Jim flinch out of the corner of your eye, but that didn’t stop you from pacing.

“I won’t order my crew to disobey the entire Federation, and I won’t ask them to do it willingly and allow them to be Court Martialled!” Jim shouted, the last of control snapping. “I want to save Bones, but I can’t put my whole crew at risk for him! You keep saying that I’m the Captain, and as Captain that’s the choice I have to make! Bones wouldn’t me too anyway, and you know that!”

Jim was right. Leonard would never want ask for hundreds of lives to be put in danger or potential trouble for him. He’d never ask Jim to put his Captaincy at risk either. “Then let me go on my own. I’ll…I’ll take a shuttle, and go myself!”

“Do you even know how to fly a shuttle, Y/N?” Jim snapped harshly. “And even if you somehow manage to learn, where will you go? We don’t know how many planets the Klingons have, and we certainly don’t know where they might have taken Bones!” He continued, watching you as you moved. “Then say by some stroke of luck you do find him, what are you going to do then? When was the last time you fired a phaser? When were you last in a close combat fight? The Academy? You’re a nurse , Y/N. An amazing one, but still a nurse. You’re not a fighter. You’d be dead as soon as you stepped into the open.”

Jim’s words stopped you in your tracks, and you stared back out the glass wall, and into the black. Jim was right again. You were as good as useless in this situation. There was absolutely nothing you could do, and it made you angry. Leonard was God knows where, going through God knows what, and you were here , being completely useless.  

You didn’t realize you were trembling until Jim placed a hand on your shoulder, and you felt your muscles shake underneath it. “Y/N…I’m not going to turn my back and let you go off on a suicide mission. Bones would kill me.” He said quietly.

“Just as well, because you’re right. I’d be useless. Even if we could get him, there’s nothing I could do.” You sighed, dropping your gaze to the floor. “I hate it. I hate not being able to do anything. I can’t help on the ship, and I wouldn’t be able to help out there.”

“You’re not useless. You’re the furthest thing from it.” Jim whispered, squeezing your shoulder gently. “How’s your leg?”

You frowned at the random question. “Fine. Aching a little, but that’s it.”

Jim nodded, and took your hand. “Good. Come with me.” Jim guided you off the deck, and into the turbolift.

“Where are we going?”

“Gym.” Jim glanced at you, and you raised an eyebrow in question. “When I feel like things are out of my control, I work out. It helps me think, and it helps me calm down.” He explained. “I figured it would do the same for you. And I’m planning on training you. We’re going to get Bones back somehow, and when we’re ready, I’m going to make sure you’re able to come with us. When we go after them, you’re going to be by my side kicking ass.”

“Oh…” You were a little taken aback. “Thank you.”

Jim smiled softly. “There’s no need to thank me. We need to stick together, and help each other out. If we let them divide us, they win. And Bones wouldn’t want us fighting.”

You nodded, looking down at your feet again. “I know.” You whispered, guilt creeping up on you. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier. I know how much you love Leonard, that you’d go after him if you could. It was unfair of me to question otherwise.”

“It’s okay, I understand. I’d be angry if it were the other way around. Hell, I’m angry anyway. I want to go, I do.” Jim sighed, stepping out of the turbolift with you, and walking to the gym. You followed him quietly, still trying to quiet your guilt. You knew it was expected for people to lash out at each other during times of crisis, but you also knew that you’d hurt Jim, even if he was downplaying it. You were pretty sure there wasn’t a worse thing you could have said.

The gym was empty thankfully, and Jim passed you a spare training kit. You went to change, and by the time you were done, Jim had changed too and was already waiting for you. You were far from unfit, you worked out regularly, both because you wanted to and because you needed to stay in some sort of shape as regulation required, but you weren’t a match for Jim. It made sense really, the other needed to be in top shape, and with all the running away from things trying to kill him that he did, he was probably the fittest on the ship.

He took it easy with you, helping you warm up then going through the basic sparring techniques you’d learned at the Academy, so he could see where you were. You weren’t one for fighting, it didn’t come naturally to you. After all, you didn’t sign up to hurt people. You wanted to help them. You picked up the techniques quickly enough though, even if you lacked the conviction to use them with enough force to hurt someone.

Jim was pleased with you though, and as the days passed with no news or new information to go on, your sparring sessions with Jim became a regular thing. It was a way for the two of you to ease your stress, and you started to become good at it. You were better at defensive than offensive, but there were a few times when you nearly got Jim to the floor. Jim also taught you to use a phaser better. He commented on how good your aim was, but you always found it difficult to fire when you knew it was set to kill, even though your target was a hologram.

There were days when the tension was a little too much for the both of you though, and you both pushed past your limits, sparring until you were exhausted, drained heaps on the floor. Those were the days when Spock found you, and dragged you back to the Captain’s quarters. He’d stand, watching, as he made you and Jim eat a proper meal, usually for the first time in a couple of days, then he’d march you back to Leonard’s quarters, ordering you both to sleep.

At first you’d been angry that Spock seemed so calm and collected, but one night, after Leonard had been missing for nearly two weeks, you found yourself breaking down despite yourself, as he led you back to your room. Spock had let you cry. He’d placed a hand on your back, but he hadn’t said anything. There was nothing to say. The small comfort of his hand had helped though. When you’d finally stopped crying, and looked up at the Vulcan, you’d been surprised to see your pain reflected in his eyes. It was then you realized that Spock was suffering just as much as you and Jim. He just didn’t show it.

The days continued to stretch on, days turning into weeks. As Jim expected you were denied permission to cross the border, but you were allowed to travel to any other planets on the Federation side. The hope was that perhaps the Klingons had performed a U-turn, and were currently inhabiting one of the planets as a way to throw off the scent. Your search was proving fruitless however, and as you began to run out of planets to search, the feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach grew. You spent countless hours staring into the black, wondering what would happen when you’d finally searched the last possible planet.

Spock was no closer to figuring out why the Klingons wanted Leonard either. Every reason he’d come up with so far, was shot down or disproved in some way. His frustration was slowly becoming visible. He’d taken it upon himself to gather any research Leonard had ever completed, and was currently reading through it all with a meticulous scrutiny. You didn’t know what would happen if Spock did find something plausible, but you hoped that with a good enough reason you’d be given permission to go after Leonard.

You weren’t sure how much time passed exactly, honestly, your days had meshed together in an endless pattern of staring into space, sparring, and sleepless nights, but the day you feared finally came.

Jim found you on the observation deck where most of your days were spent, and you knew something was even more wrong than usual the moment you saw him. Every muscle was tense, his hands were balled into fists, and a deep anger radiated from his eyes. “Jim?”

“Just received a transmission from Command. Now that we’ve searched the nearest and most likely planets near the border, and have no new leads, they’ve…they’ve ordered us to abandon the search.” There was a dangerous quietness in Jim’s voice. One you hadn’t heard before. “They’re ordering us to give up on Leonard.”

You heard what Jim said, but after that you stopped focusing. You’d been terrified of this day. It had haunted the hours you lay awake in your bed, almost as bad as the nightmares about Leonard you’d been having. Jim was speaking again, but you could barely understand what he was saying. Something about challenging the decision, not giving up on the best Doctor in the ‘Fleet, having more time. You wondered what the point was. The Admirals were stubborn bastards, and they’d never change their minds. No matter how much Jim argued, eventually they’d win out. They’d force you to leave. Force you to abandon Leonard.

Your head spun, and your feet moved by their own accord. You didn’t even hear Jim call behind you. The journey back to your quarters was a blur that you couldn’t remember if you tried. You just kept going. You needed to be somewhere that screamed Leonard. Needed something that carried his scent, brought back memories of better times. You needed to gather as much as you could before the quarters were reassigned. Before all trace of him was swept from the room.

It was the closet you headed to first, and you pulled his uniforms from the rails. They still smelled like Leonard, and you’d be damned if you’d let the items be taken back, and washed clean of him. You shoved them, and every other piece of clothing you could find into a bag. You left a wake of destruction behind you as you moved through the room, snatching up anything that had the barest memory of Leonard attached to it. You couldn’t risk losing anything. You refused to.

You were on your knees, pulling things out of a drawer when you found it. The small box tumbled out, landing on the floor with a soft thump. You stared at it with wide eyes, frozen in place for a few moments. No. It wasn’t what it looked like. It couldn’t be. The hand that reached out to grab the box moved slowly, and it felt like it didn’t belong to you, like you were watching through someone else’s eyes.

You stared at the box in your hand for an age it felt. It took every scrap of energy you had to force yourself to open the box. When you did, your stomach dropped. The beautiful sapphire caught the light, making the gem sparkle and dance, and leaving no doubt in your mind that this was what you’d suspected. An engagement ring.

The implications hit you with such a strength that you forgot how to breathe. You stared at the stunning ring, mesmerised, until the burning need for air became too much, and you were forced to suck in a deep breath. Leonard had an engagement ring in his quarters. Hidden, so you wouldn’t accidentally find it.

Your cheeks were wet, and you wanted to look away, but you couldn’t. You kept staring. Leonard was going to ask you to marry him. During shore leave maybe. You would have said yes in a heartbeat. You’d keep it, you decided. You’d keep it, and always wear it close. You’d keep Leonard a part of you.

“When I think back on these times, and the dreams we left behind, I'll be glad 'cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life.”

“You sing that a lot.” Jim’s voice came from the door to your quarters. You nodded, but didn’t look up at him.

“Leonard and I used to sing it together before missions. It’s stupid really, but it became a little ritual of ours.” You answered, your eyes still firmly on the ring in the palm of your hand.

“It’s not stupid. Little things like that are good. What are you holding?” Jim walked over to where you’d slumped on the floor and sat next to you. His eyes landed on the ring before you could answer. “Y/N…I’m sorry.”

You sniffed, wiping away your remaining tears on your sleeve. “I don’t even know where he got it from. We haven’t had a shore leave where he could have bought it in ages.”

Jim was quiet for a few long moments, then put his hand on your arm. “It’s his mothers. It was brought aboard the last time we docked at a Starbase to resupply. I signed for it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Leonard wanted it to be a surprise. He was going to ask next shore leave in Yorktown. Didn’t want to ruin it for him.”

You nodded. You understood, and you weren’t angry at Jim. You’d have done the same in his situation. “What are we going to do without him, Jim? I don’t think I can stay up here. I don’t want to stay up here.”

“Hey, no giving up yet, that’s an order.” Jim squeezed your arm. “We’ll find him.”

“How? We have nothing!”

Jim opened his mouth to reply, but he was cut off by his communicator beeping. “Kirk here.”

“Captain.” It was Spock on the other end. “I need to speak with you and Nurse Y/L/N immediately. I believe I may have found the reason why the Klingons wanted Doctor McCoy.” You and Jim exchanged a glance.

“Wait in the ready room, we’ll be right there, Spock.” Jim replied, already helping you to your feet.

“Excellent. If I am right, Captain, we will be able to obtain permission to cross the border and pursue Leonard.”

Chapter Text

Leonard was woken by a harsh hand in his hair, grabbing it, and yanking Leonard back and off the tiny bed. Leonard hit the floor heavily, and he couldn’t quite hold back the whimper as his still sensitive body collided with the hard, cold ground that sent arrows of pain shooting through his nerves. He tried to look up, tried to gather his bearings, but a solid boot to his ribs sent him tumbling back. Another swift kick soon followed, making Leonard grunt in pain. He was still disoriented, tired, and he stood no chance against the assault that was raining down on him. A second pair of boots joined the first, the attack merciless, as brutal kicks made contact with almost every inch of his body. It was all Leonard could do to cover his head and try to curl up on himself as much as possible.

The attack stopped as suddenly as it started, and Leonard found himself crying as he curled as tightly as he could, and listened to heavy footfalls retreat from his room, leaving him alone again. He knew he should straighten out, look to see what the damage was, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. However long he’d been left to sleep, it wasn’t long enough, and as much as his mind told him to move, his body wouldn’t listen.

When he did finally find the courage and energy to unfurl himself, Leonard couldn’t stop himself from whimpering again. Every part of him hurt. Though as he gingerly examined himself, he found the damage wasn’t too bad, from what he could tell without any equipment anyway. He definitely had at least two broken ribs, and ugly bruises were already developing along his chest and limbs. Leonard imagined his back was in the same state, but he could do nothing about that. At least he was able to move, albeit extremely slowly, so nothing else was broken. The bastards had focused on the areas that would cause pain, yet minimize damage. That didn’t reassure Leonard. It only meant they were planning worse.

With another grunt of pain, Leonard managed to heave himself back onto his bed, even as his ribs protested. He wanted to get more sleep, to use the period between now and the next round to get as much rest as he could, but it was impossible. With each breath, the pain in his ribs felt like white hot agony, and Leonard had to concentrate more on taking as shallow breaths as possible than anything else.

The sun was high in the sky when they came for Leonard again, once more dragging him from the bed by his hair, though this time they pulled him upright. Leonard hated that he needed their support to move forward. He tried by himself, but only managed a step before he stumbled. K’gon was waiting for them as they exited the turbolift, the tray of equipment next to him, making Leonard’s stomach drop. “Welcome back, Doctor. I hope you enjoyed your rest?” K’gon watched with a cruel gaze as Leonard’s bruised body was once again strung up by his wrists, and Leonard could feel his eyes taking in every dark bruise.

Cuffs Leonard hadn’t seen before appeared on the ground, and he looked down as they were attached to his ankles, forcing his legs wide until they strained, and anchored him to one spot. The only thing he could move was his head. “We have now attempted various methods of persuasion on you, Doctor, and as they have not yet succeeded, I have chosen to move on from them, to more…intense levels of pain.” Leonard heard rattling as K’gon spoke, and tried to turn his head enough to see what the Klingon had picked up. He wasn’t able to see though, so just listened to K’gon’s footsteps as he moved behind Leonard.

Leonard tried to brace himself.

Leather bit into his skin with a loud crack, and Leonard cried out at the immediate burn. More blows fell in quick succession, the long single strap of leather setting his back, shoulders, legs, on fire. Leonard lost count of the strokes, but he felt each and everyone as it fell, sending flames of pain across every nerve, every muscle, until it was nothing more than pure agony. Leonard’s taught limbs trembled, and the edge of his vision began to go black. It was too much. Too much. He couldn’t take it. Tears, a mix of pain and humiliation, streamed down his face as every nerve ending screamed at him to beg K’gon to stop. A few words and it would cease. It would go away. “’Cause I always saw in you my light…my strength…” The words came out in a choked sob, but they were the only ones Leonard could think of to stop himself from begging as the world faded out around him. He couldn’t let you down. Had to stay strong. “You were right there…for me…”

A hand across his face brought Leonard back to consciousness, but despite the smack, it was the pain in his back he felt first. The fire had faded, but it was still agony, the ache almost as bad as the fresh stings. He couldn’t feel the trickle of blood though. K’gon couldn’t have broken any skin. Leonard was still strung up too, his arms and legs protesting in their strained positions. K’gon stood before him, holding a long leather whip. “A Sjambok, Doctor McCoy. Another invention of your human ancestors. You were a brutal people once, it’s a shame you became so soft. So weak.” K’gon’s voice was even, like he hadn’t just beaten Leonard with a savagery Leonard didn’t know existed, with a hint of amusement in it. Leonard raised his head and saw that K’gon was smiling too. A cold, feral smile, that showed just how much he’d enjoyed himself. For all his suffering and tiredness, Leonard wanted to wipe the look off his face.

“You call us weak, yet you’re the one who has me chained up like a dog before you even come close to me.” Leonard’s own voice was hoarse, but he could see the smile falter slightly on K’gon’s face. He knew he wouldn’t like the repercussions, but more pain would come his way anyway, so he continued. “It makes me think that you’re scared to face me on even ground. A mighty Klingon Captain, scared to face a Doctor, someone who isn’t a warrior, unless they’re bound. I think you’re the soft one, you bastard.” Behind K’gon, Leonard heard a noise that sounded distinctly like a suppressed chuckle, and all amusement disappeared from K’gon’s features.

The Klingon turned sharply and yelled at the two guards by the turbolift. Leonard didn’t know what he said, but the laughter died on their lips, and they both quickly moved so they were behind Leonard. One of them grabbed his hair again, pulling his head back, while the other passed something to K’gon. Then a hand forced his jaw open. There was a pure fury in K’gon’s eyes as he stood directly in front of Leonard, the sharp metal buckles of his uniform digging into Leonard’s skin. “If you cannot control your tongue, Doctor, I will control it for you.”

The spring clamp came up quickly, taking Leonard by surprise, and closed around the end of his tongue, holding it in a vice like grip that made Leonard wince, and pulled it forward, out of his mouth. The knife came up next, and Leonard’s eyes widened as it glinted in the light. This wasn’t the punishment he’d expected. He tried to writhe, to jerk his head free, but he was held tightly. “You seem to forget that there are only three things we need from you. You legendary hands.” K’gon reached up, trailing the knife along one of Leonard’s bound hands, pressing just enough to break the skin. “Your mind.” Moving back down, K’gon dragged the knife along the side of Leonard’s face, still not hard, but Leonard felt the warm blood run down his cheek. “And your eyes.” K’gon held the tip of the knife in front of Leonard’s eye, the point so close that for a moment Leonard forgot how to breathe. “Every other part of you is dispensable.” K’gon jerked his hand, the knife catching the crinkle of Leonard’s eye as it moved down and found his tongue. The cruel smile was back, and K’gon’s hard eyes met Leonard’s scared ones as he pressed the blade to the muscle. Leonard’s heart thundered as he waited for K’gon to move, waited for the pain. “Fortunately for you, I want to hear you scream and beg for mercy when I break you, and I will break you, and you can’t beg without a tongue.”

K’gon pulled back, releasing Leonard’s tongue in the process. Leonard gasped, quickly closing his mouth again as soon as the grip on his jaw was gone.

Leonard was drained, and he wanted nothing more than to slump and relax his sore muscles, but with the metal cuffs still digging into his skin it was impossible. Hopefully that would be it for one day. K’gon would leave him go, let him rest.

“Do not think we have finished yet, Doctor. My superiors are growing impatient, and demand results.” K’gon seemed to read Leonard’s mind, setting his tools down before looking at Leonard again. “But as you stated earlier, you are always bound when I try to persuade you, perhaps my methods will work better if you are not.” K’gon gestured behind Leonard, and Leonard felt the cuffs on his ankles being loosed, before the ones on his wrists were too.

Leonard wanted to remain standing, to square his shoulders against whatever was next, but he couldn’t. As soon as his wrists were freed, Leonard fell to the floor, landing heavily on his hands hand knees. He started to push himself up, so that he was at least kneeling, but K’gon moved faster than him.

Leonard heard the crack a split second before he felt it on his skin, and the knotted strands relit the pain in his back, while causing their own fresh agony. Leonard thought the pain couldn’t get worse last time, but he’d been wrong. This was more excruciating than anything he could have ever imagined as K’gon rained blows down onto this back. Leonard tried to crawl away, he was free now, but he couldn’t. His arms were locked into place, and nothing he could do could force them to move. Leonard’s head hung between his shoulders, as blow after ruthless blow littered his back. He saw the blood drip down his ribs and onto the floor beneath him. “I…always remember…strength…give to…me.” Leonard couldn’t focus, and the comforting lyrics that once came to him as naturally as breathing, escaped his mind, and he struggled to remember. “Love…made me…make it…owe…much…to you…” Leonard closed his eyes, seeking the warmth that came with the lyrics between his shouts of pain, but it didn’t come. “You…there for me…”

K’gon stopped, and Leonard sobbed in relief, his arms immediately giving out, and he collapsed fully onto the floor. The cat o’ nine tails landed next to him with a thud, making Leonard flinch. “Who are you speaking to when you utter those words, Doctor? Your love?” K’gon moved around Leonard, but he didn’t have the energy to turn and watch. “Do you seek some form of comfort from it? Have you attached sentiment to the words?” Leonard jumped in surprise when K’gon dropped down to the floor too, straddling his calves. K’gon leant over Leonard’s body, and he shivered when he felt hot breath on his neck.

A hand anchored in his hair, and jerked Leonard up so he was kneeling with his back to K’gon’s chest. The rough material rubbing against his bloody skin made Leonard whimper. The hand stayed in his hair, and Leonard watched in horror as the other raised the knife again. “Your words hold no meaning. Your love is dead. She cannot hear you.” As he spoke, K’gon drew the knife down Leonard’s chest, the blood slowly trickling downwards.

Leonard inhaled sharply, but the pain wasn’t as bad as the whips. “You’re wrong. Y/N is alive.” He replied through gritted teeth, watching the way his blood bubbled and spilled as K’gon sliced another part of his chest. He was careful in with the way he cut, enough to hurt, but not too deep.

“Then why has she not come for you?” Leonard hated the conversational tone in K’gon’s voice as he meticulously cut up Leonard’s chest. “Or your friend, the great Captain Kirk? If they breathe still, why have they not attempted to rescue you?”

“They’ll come. And when they do, you’ll suffer.” The blade dragged along his ribs, and Leonard hissed in pain.

“It has been weeks, Doctor. My ships have not even reported sighting anyone attempting to cross the border.” A sharp slice across his hips. “You are on your own.”

“No. No, they’ll come. They’ll come.”

“Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?”

Leonard didn’t answer. There was no answer to give. He’d shown his weakness, and now the bastard was playing on it. Because dammit, Leonard wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince K’gon or himself. With each passing day his hope of rescue had faded, and Leonard wasn’t sure what would hurt him worse; that you and Jim were dead, or that you were alive and weren’t searching for him.

With one last slice, K’gon let Leonard’s hair go, and shoved him back onto the floor. “I believe that is enough for one day.” The Klingon said, rising easily. “Though I think it would be wise to prevent your injuries from becoming infected, don’t you, Leonard?” The use of his first name startled Leonard, the cool familiarity of it making him feel nauseous, and he summoned enough strength to spit on the ground.

“Let them get infected. I’d rather die of that than succumb to you.”

K’gon laughed cruelly. “You will not die here, Leonard, but if you were to, it would not surprise me that you died snivelling, lying in your own blood, and whimpering pathetic words to a woman who is either dead or moved on.” He smiled at Leonard’s wince. “Your weeping has proved how weak you are. You will not a have warrior’s death, because you could never hope to be as strong as a warrior. I would leave you if I were your woman too. She has probably found herself a stronger mate already. Kirk perhaps. He has the traits of a true warrior. He would not be crying on the ground, at the feet of those who hold him.”

Leonard flinched as every point was made, and closed his eyes. K’gon was right. He was weak. Jim would never be lying here like this. You would be better off with someone as strong as Jim. He could protect you. Leonard couldn’t. He was too pathetic. K’gon sneered, though Leonard didn’t see it with his eyes closed. He gestured to the lower ranking Klingons, and stepped to one side as they approached.

Leonard’s eyes snapped open at the smell of the brine. The salt water sloshed over his back, rinsing out the wounds. Leonard yelled at the intense sting, quickly biting down on his lip to try and stifle some of his shouts. He knew he should be glad of even this crude disinfectant. He didn’t want to die from infection. But right at that moment, Leonard would have done anything to get away from the raw sting. He was breathing heavily, by the time they deemed the injuries on his back suitably cleaned, but then a boot nudged painfully at his ribs, forcing him to roll over. Leonard grimaced as he landed on his back, stars shooting behind his eyes. The knife wounds received the same treatment, though with his weight now on his back, the majority of his suffering was focused there.

When the grunts moved away, K’gon came back into Leonard’s line of sight. “Until tomorrow, Leonard.” Another snap of his fingers, and the guards hoisted Leonard upright. They dragged Leonard back upstairs, but this time they took him to a new room. This cell was tiny, with barely enough room for him to lay down, and even his small luxury of a bed had been taken away from him. A single window was the only thing breaking the dull gray walls. Leonard was pushed in, and he stumbled straight back to the ground, twisting onto his side to spare his back.

Leonard managed to shift, just enough to look out the window, and up at the stars that had appeared again. Every inch of him hurt, and once again, silent tears slid down his face. “Keep a part…of you…with me…Where I am…you’ll be…” Leonard whispered, but his voice soon trailed off. He couldn’t remember. The words wouldn’t come.

K’gon hadn’t been lying. The next day Leonard was woken from the half-sleep he’d fallen into, and hauled back down the turbolift, where they were once again met by K’gon who was already holding the long leather whip. “Shall we begin, Leonard?”

The days became endless, filled with so much unbearable pain that Leonard was surprised he was still able to make a coherent thought. It should be too much for a body to handle, it should have failed him by now. He wanted his body to fail him. If he was dead he wouldn’t be in pain anymore. But every time, every time he thought it was going to get that point, where darkness would claim him and he’d never wake again, K’gon would stop. A guard would come over and use a dermal regenerator one the worst of his injuries, heal them enough so he could continue.

Even in his current state, Leonard was no fool. He knew his injuries were far beyond the aid of a regenerator, that they needed more to completely heal, and even when they were, nothing would completely heal the scars. Whatever happened, he’d always bear the reminders of this time.

Then when K’gon had had enough of beating Leonard, the Klingon would settle behind him, and bring up the knife. His work on Leonard’s chest was always methodical, cutting intricate patterns into the skin as he whispered into Leonard’s ear. Every day, Leonard was reminded that there was still no sign of you and Jim, that one more day had passed without you trying to rescue him. Leonard had tried to ignore him at first, but with each word as painfully sharp as the knife itself, they seeped into him until they consumed him. The pain of abandonment and hopelessness was worse than anything physical K’gon had done to him. This was a pain Leonard felt in the very depths of his soul, his mind, his heart, like they were being stabbed over and over with ice until they were numb, and Leonard hated himself for ever thinking he was worthy of being rescued.

Yet Leonard still refused to give in, no matter how much his body screamed at him to do so. He still couldn’t succumb to the Klingons, help them kill millions of innocent people. K’gon must have seen that the beatings wouldn’t work too, because suddenly they stopped, and Leonard saw no one for two days. Usually he’d have hated being stuck in a tiny room by himself, with barely any space for any kind of movement, but he was glad of the reprieve, even if it was worrisome.

When his captors finally came for him again, Leonard didn’t know what to expect. He didn’t think the pain could get any worse, but he also knew that K’gon must have something even more horrendous in store. Leonard was carried over to the table in the corner, and he clamped down on his lip as his abused back hit the hard surface. The metal cuffs were snapped around his wrists and ankles, binding him tightly to the table, but Leonard was surprised when material covered his eyes, turning everything black.

Footsteps he now knew as K’gon’s approached the table. “For a man as weak as you, you are proving incredibly stubborn, Leonard. I do not like it. We did not want to break your mind, but you have left us no choice.” Leonard strained to hear what was going on, as K’gon moved around the table, picking various items up. “And this is the only way to break you once and for all, without losing your genius. I assure you, Leonard, soon you will be no more than a puppet, obeying our every order.” Leonard could hear the sneer in K’gon’s voice, but he was distracted when the sting of a needle pressed into his neck. The hypo hissed as it administered whatever K’gon had put in it.

“What did you give me? You sick son of a bitch!” Leonard snapped, the adrenaline from being given some unknown drug overriding any weariness.

“Something new, that we have not used often. We acquired it when we conquered a planet at the edge of our quadrant, it really is most effective.” K’gon said, a tray clattering as he tossed the used hypo down. “We are not quite sure how it exactly works yet, but it renders the mind open to fantasies, tricks it into believing them.”

Leonard tried to keep up with what he was being told, tried to think if he’d ever heard of anything like that, but he fell short. It was new to him. He felt no different though, maybe it was a bluff on K’gon’s part.

Leonard’s thought were interrupted by hushed whispers coming from the Klingons, and audible sniffs of the air. “Do you smell smoke, Leonard? We do.” Leonard frowned, no, no he couldn’t smell -.

Leonard coughed as he caught the scent of smoke. Above him deafening alarms went off, that sounded exactly like the fire alarms on the Enterprise. No. There couldn’t be a fire. Leonard coughed again, the smell of smoke becoming stronger. He sucked in a breath, the smoke following it, making his lungs burn and his eyes water behind the blindfold. “Get me out of here!” He yelled, though it was weaker and more raspy than he would have liked. There was no sound from K’gon or the guards though. Leonard tugged at his restraints, panic taking over as he inhaled more and more smoke with each breath.

Heat licked at his skin, making Leonard gasp. No. No, no, no. The heat grew, starting around his legs, and Leonard cried out at the first burn. He began to struggle harder, tugging so hard at his restraints that he felt the metal break skin, but he was beyond caring. The heat spread, burning his skin and pure agony spread through every nerve ending he possessed. Leonard screamed. He had to get out, he had to. He couldn’t breathe, there was too much smoke, it filled his lungs making him cough and choke, and oh God, this was how he was going to die. Flames burned at his chest, his arms, his neck. He’d seen enough burns to know what it looked like. His vision darkened, the fire sinking through his skin and the smoke filling his lungs, mouth, nose. Leonard screamed again, begging for anyone to help him. For someone to save him. No one came.

The blindfold was torn from his eyes just as Leonard came back to consciousness, the bright room almost blinding him. K’gon stood over him, smirking down at him as Leonard gasped for air. He jerked his head up as far as he could, forcing himself to see the damage the fire had done to his body. There was none. He was still battered and bruised, and covered in knife cuts, but there were no burns on Leonard’s body, even though the pain of them still lingered.

“As I said, Leonard, it is a most effective drug.” The amusement in K’gon’s voice was clear, and Leonard fell back against the table, staring up at him. “It was all in your imagination. The mind can be extremely convincing.” Leonard opened his mouth to reply, but no words came. He was torn between confusion, relief, anger, exhaustion, and he couldn’t force his overused mind to form words.

K’gon’s smirk only widened. “Rest for now, Leonard. I’ll return soon, and we can play again.” He gestured to the guards, and all three exited the room, leaving Leonard by himself.

Leonard stared up at the ceiling, his entire body trembling. It had all been in his head. But it had all felt so real. He could still feel his lungs burning from the smoke. He couldn’t go through that experience again, or whatever sick scenarios K’gon could think of, it would destroy him. Which was the point, he supposed. Leonard knew his resolve would wane quickly with treatment like this. To be continuously made to think you’re going to die, then brought back to reality was sadistic, and Leonard could never hope to resist.

“Everywhere…I am…” Leonard stopped as soon as he started. In his agony he’d forgotten that he was on his own, that you weren’t coming for him and he’d never see you again. The lyrics held no comfort or strength now, and only left him feeling cold and hollow.

Leonard closed his eyes, a tear falling down the side of his face as he slipped back into unconsciousness. One he wished he wouldn’t wake up from.

Chapter Text

“Captain, as you and Nurse Y/L/N are aware, I have been reading through Doctor McCoy’s work from the last few years.” Spock stood in front of the desk in Jim’s ready room, hands clasped behind his back, while Jim sat behind it, and you sat to one side.

“You found something?” Jim asked.

Spock shook his head. “No, but as I was reading through an essay Doctor McCoy wrote, it occurred to me that not all of his research is available to the public.” The underlying tone in Spock’s voice, made you frown at first. “As everyone in this room knows, the Doctor has developed medical breakthroughs that the Federation has deemed classified.” Spock looked at Jim, then over at you, and your eyes widened as the proverbial penny dropped.

“The serum Bones made from Khan’s blood? You think that’s what they want?” Jim had jumped to the same conclusion as you, and as you glanced over at him, you saw him gripping his desk so hard, his knuckles were turning white.

Spock nodded a fraction. “It is the most logical conclusion. Doctor McCoy is the only person who knows how to create the serum, and therefore the only person they would want.”

“If the Klingons get hold of something like that…they’d be invincible in a war.”

“Indeed.” Spock nodded again. “I have already contacted the facility holding Khan and his crew, and they’ve assured me that all bodies are currently accounted for, so we can assume that Doctor McCoy has not revealed that crucial piece of information.” The ‘yet’ remained unsaid, and you all exchanged glances.

“We need to set up a meeting with Command immediately.” Jim was already on his feet, and you rose too, though you didn’t really know what you could do.

“I have already sent a request, Captain. A link should be set up within the hour.”

Jim nodded, looking from Spock back to you. “You won’t be able to attend the meeting, Y/N. By rights you shouldn’t have been here for this one, and you shouldn’t even know about that damned serum.” Jim’s look was apologetic, but you smiled.

“I understand.” And you did. You were nowhere near close to the right rank to be privy of such sensitive information, and you were glad that Jim and Spock were keeping you in the loop just a little. “Do you think this will get us the permission to go after them?”

Jim hesitated moment, but then nodded. “I can’t promise anything, Y/N, but I think they’ll let us.” He told you. “Go wait in your quarters, I’ll come find you when we’re done.”

You offered Jim a smile as you left the ready room, but forced the small hope that was threatening to form back down again. You returned to Leonard’s quarters, taking in the mess you’d made not that long before. You tidied up a little, mainly as something to do other than sit and twiddle your thumbs, but you kept the engagement ring out. You sat on the bed once you were done, and just looked at it. You didn’t want to put it away, but you didn’t want to wear it either, it didn’t seem right. You ended up finding a simple chain necklace, and slipped the ring onto it, before clasping it behind your neck. This would do for now. You looked at the ring one last time, then slipped it under your shirt.

Just over an hour had passed when Jim entered the room, and you sprang to your feet. His face told you everything. “We can go?”

Jim nodded. “Yes. We can’t go over guns blazing, but we’ve been given permission to expand our search across the border. This is information the Federation want to keep out of Klingon hands.”

You breathed a sigh of relief, you shoulders relaxing. There was long way to go yet, but this was a start. “What’s our next step?”

“There are still too many planets to search, so we’re going to hover just across the border and try and capture a Bird-of-Prey . Hopefully we’ll be able to gain some information from it.” Jim explained. “If we can, we’ll be able to take the ship to go after Bones.”

“Okay. That’s…that’s good.” You offered Jim a small smile again, and he returned it.

“Once we cross, things will likely move quickly. I’m going to be issuing a yellow alert, so be ready. I’ll comm you and let you know when it’s time to go and get your phaser from the armoury.”

“You’re taking me with you?” You were surprised. While Jim had said that he would, you’d never actually thought he’d follow through, always assuming that he was just attempting to keep your spirits up.

“If you want to come. It’s going to be dangerous though, and they won’t hesitate to kill us, so we’ll have to keep our phasers on kill. You need to be prepared for that.”

You bit your lip. Killing wasn’t something you wanted to do, the thought alone made your skin crawl. But then you thought of Leonard. You weren’t stupid, and you weren’t expecting to find him in a good way. Anger spread through you, your hands curling into fists, and you nodded. “I’m coming.” You looked up at Jim, who placed a hand on your shoulder.

“I’m glad. Bones will want to see you.”

“I want to take a medkit with us too. We don’t know what they’ve done to him.”

“You’re right. Head to MedBay and get what you think you might need.” Jim agreed, releasing your shoulder. “I have to go. I’ll speak to you soon.”

You watched Jim leave, then changed into a uniform with pants rather than your dress and went to MedBay to get the kit ready. Jim made an announcement while you were working, explaining the situation and finally issuing a yellow alert.

Your communicator beeped sooner than you’d expected. “Y/L/N.”

“Y/N. Head to the armoury. We’ll meet you there.”

“Yes, sir.” You closed your communicator again, grabbed the medkit, and headed straight down to the armoury. You arrived just after Jim, Spock and some security officers. “What’s going on?”

“Sulu detected the energy surge that Klingon Birds-of-Prey leave behind while they’re cloaked, and we’ve been able to trace it back to the ship itself. We have a lock on it, but we don’t think it’s spotted us yet. Scotty is going beam Spock, security and myself aboard and we’ll secure the ship. Then we’ll beam you and enough crew to fly the thing onto it too.” You nodded as you listened to Jim, taking the phaser when one was handed to you by security. You gripped it tightly, meeting Jim’s eyes for a brief moment. He looked completely calm, but you caught the hint of nerves lying underneath the surface, and you were glad that you weren’t the only one.

You followed the others to the transporter room, where you were met by Uhura and the other crew Jim had chosen to fly the Bird-of-Prey. “We’ll contact you when we’ve secured the ship.” Jim took his place on the pad with Spock and the others.

“Aye, sir. From what we know of the layout, ye should end up in the cargo bay.” Scotty said. “Good luck.”

Jim nodded, glancing over at you again quickly. “Energize.”

You watched as the others vanished, clutching your phaser. The minutes seemed endless as you waited, and you all shared nervous looks with each other. Jim made the plan sound simple, but you knew it was far from that, and even Uhura’s cool composure began to crumble.

“Kirk to Enterprise, come in.”

“We’ve got ya, Captain!”

“We’ve taken control of the ship, with no casualties to report. Prepare to send the rest over.”

“Aye, Captain. I’ll have them there in a jiffy.” Scotty gestured for the rest of you to take your places on the transporter pad. “Preparing to energize.”

The Klingon ship was dark, all gray metal and low lighting, and a shiver ran down your spine immediately. You were greeted by Spock, who issued your orders. Someone went down to the engine room, while the rest of you followed Spock to the bridge and took your places. You stood behind Jim in the Captain’s chair, and watched as the security officers removed the bodies of the fallen Klingons.

One caught your eye, and you quickly stopped the officer so you could take a closer look at the Klingon.

“Y/N?” Jim asked, crouching down next to you. “What is it?”

“I know this one. He was one of the Klingons that ambushed us.” You looked up at Jim.

“Are you sure?”

You nodded. “Yes. The scar over his left eye. I remember it.” You looked back down at the body. “If he took Leonard, that could mean…”

“They came from the same place they’re holding Bones.” Jim was up again, and walking over to the pilot. “Lieutenant, can you find out where this ship came from?”

“Yes, sir. Seems they came from an outpost planet not far from our current location.”

Uhura spoke up from the communication console. “They were on a scouting mission, Captain. They were under orders to watch the border for Federation vessels.”

“They were waiting for us.” Jim took his seat again. “Were they aware of our presence prior to our attack?”

Uhura shook her head. “No. We took them by complete surprise. However, if they don’t report soon, like ordered, suspicions will be raised.”

“Send a report back to their base, keep them off our scent.” Jim ordered Uhura, before turning back to the pilot. “Set a course for the planet. Get us there as soon as possible.”

There was a chorus of ‘yes, sirs’, and you left them to it to go and look around the rest of the ship. You found what appeared to be a MedBay, though it was tiny and no where near as well equipped as the one on the Enterprise. It would do though. You recognized some of the machinery, but the medication was more difficult to distinguish. As you’d expected, they were all labeled in Klingon, and while you could probably take a reasonable guess at some things, you were glad you’d brought your own supplies. You set your medkit down, and organized a few things, just in case you needed them.

You were still trying not to get your hopes up. Even if Leonard was on this planet, you didn’t know what state he’d be in. Or if he was even alive. Your stomach lurched at the thought, and you gripped the edge of the counter tightly with one hand, while the other came up to rest over the engagement ring. “In my dreams I’ll always see you soaring by the sky. In my heart there’ll always be a place for you, for all my life. I’ll keep a part of you with me, and everywhere I am there you’ll be.” You took a deep breath, brushing a single tear away from your eye, and straightened up. You needed to be strong now. Strong for Leonard.

You returned to the bridge, and placed a gentle hand on Jim’s shoulder. He was just as tense as you. “How far out are we?”

“Not far. We’ll be nearing the planets orbit in about ten minutes.” Jim looked up at you, then down at the phaser in your hand. “Sure you want to come down with us?”

“I’m sure.” Jim looked back up at you, and he must have been satisfied with the determination in your eyes because he nodded.

“We’ll beam down. It’s safer. Chances are we’ll come under attack immediately. We’ll have to be quick. If Bones is there, we can’t give them the opportunity to do anything.” The likelihood that ‘anything’ meant kill Leonard remained implied. You swallowed thickly. “Uhura’s pulled up specs of the planet. They call it Maranga IV, and luckily it isn’t a large planet, and isn’t overly populated. We should be able to manage.”

“Okay. There’s some sort of MedBay on here, and I’ve got it as prepared as I can.”

“Good. We might need it.” Jim sighed, rising from the seat. “Let’s go to their transporter room. Lieutenant Ruess, once we’re down, scan and find any other ships on the planet and fire your weapons. Destroy them, and make sure there’s no escape route.”

“Yes, sir.”

You walked with Jim and Spock to the transporter room with the security guards. “Remember phasers to kill.” Jim reminded you all, and you checked your phaser. You just hoped you wouldn’t freeze in the moment. “Energize.” The engineer working the equipment nodded, and you closed your eyes, taking a deep breath as the rings of light circled you.

The planet was desert like, though with the fading day, it wasn’t too hot. You looked around the strangely quiet surroundings, taking in the sparse buildings.

“Mister Spock, where should we head first?” Jim asked, looking around too. His phaser was already raised, so you copied him and the security officers. It felt heavier than usual in your hands, but you tried to ignore it, and told yourself it was all psychological.

“There are lifeforms in every building. All Klingon, Captain.”  

Jim opened his mouth to reply, but before he could, shots began to fire from the buildings. The reaction in the others was immediate, and they returned the fire. You hesitated for a split second. Jim had run you through simulations, but this was still nothing like you’d imagined. Your heart hammered, and your eyes darted from location to location. Klingons were running out now, still firing at you.

One emerged with a larger weapon, that looked a lot more deadly than the phasers the rest were using. You didn’t think about it. You aimed your phaser, and squeezed the trigger. The Klingon fell to the ground, the weapon discarded. You stared, panting heavily. You’d killed someone. Your knees shook, and for a moment you thought they were going to collapse, but then the others were moving forward, and you forced yourself to move with them.

To your left, an explosion rang out, nearly drowning the sound of your ships weapons firing at the Klingon ships. Dust spread, blinding you, but there was movement nearby, and you fired your phaser again. Chaos was surrounding you now, and you lost sight of Jim and the others. Phasers fired all around you. A shot landed right by your feet, and you jerked away, diving through the closest door. You fired as you moved, and your attacker fell before he could shoot again.

The building you were in was empty. You looked around. Everything was the same gray as the ship, and as you slowly moved deeper, you saw that there were doors lining both sides of the walls. A Klingon prison. Leonard could be in here. “Leonard?” You called as loudly as you dared. You couldn’t see into the rooms, and the panels on the doors were beyond your comprehension, but hopefully they weren’t soundproof, and Leonard would be able to hear you.

You walked along the corridors, calling out Leonard’s name, but no answer came. You found yourself coming to a stop in front of what looked like a turbolift. It was simple enough to work, so you stepped inside. It only went down. You aimed your phaser ready, and hit the button to descend.

The doors opened to a completely dark room. “Leonard?” A quiet groan answered you. All hesitance left you, and you stepped out of the turbolift. “Lee?”

The lights came on suddenly, blindingly bright, making you close your eyes. A sharp pain burst through your head as something came in contact with you, and you tumbled to the ground, losing your grip on your phaser.

“Welcome to Maranga IV, Y/N. We would have put on a warmer welcome for you if we had known you were coming.” A cool voice, that sent a shiver down your spine spoke, and with a grunt, you managed to roll yourself over.

You opened your eyes, looking up at your attacker, despite your throbbing head. “How do you know who I am.”

The Klingon smiled, which only increased your unease. “I made sure I knew everything about Leonard, including his lover.” The other moved, picking up your phaser and aiming it at you. My name is K’gon. I command this planet.” K’gon leaned over, grabbing your arm and pulling you up. He turned you, your back to his chest and the phaser still aimed at you.

Your eyes fell on the table at the opposite side of the room, and widened as they saw Leonard. Even from here you could see the blood running down his wrists and ankles, the bruises covering almost every part of him. There was a blindfold around his eyes. He was awake, but from what you could tell, he was so far out of it, that he wasn’t aware of your presence. “You’re a sick bastard. I’m going to make you pay.”

K’gon laughed, pushing you away from him. You stumbled, but remained upright as you turned to face him again. “You? You’re a nurse. You couldn’t hurt me if you wanted to.” He smiled. “You are weaker than your lover. He has cried countless times. Usually at my feet. He has begged me for food. Begged me to stop. It has been most amusing.”

You snarled, seeing red. You moved quickly, faster than K’gon was expecting and he missed you by a wide berth as he fired your phaser. You collided with him, knocking him to the side. In his surprise, K’gon dropped the phaser again, and it went spinning across the floor. He grabbed your arm tightly, twisting it back painfully. “You will not beat me.” K’gon growled in your ear.

“Watch me.” You growled straight back. You kicked K’gon’s shin, bringing your free arm up at the same time for your fist to collide with his face. You suddenly had very little trouble performing the moves Jim had taught you. You wanted to hurt K’gon.

K’gon landed a blow to your ribs, doubling you over, but you ducked out of the way of his next attack. You caught his leg, attempting to bring him to the ground, but K’gon swerved, just managing to stay upright. He aimed another blow to your face. You caught it, to his surprise, and jerked around quickly. There was a satisfying crunch of bone breaking. Using your advantage, you brought your elbow down sharply between his shoulder blades. K’gon tumbled over, trying to steady himself again. With one last move, your foot came down hard on K’gon’s kneecap, another crunch echoing around the room. You smiled at his grunt of pain.

K’gon tried to rise again, but it was impossible. He watched you as you walked and gathered up your phaser again. “Well fought. You are stronger than you first appear.” The Klingon said as you aimed your phaser at him. “Kill me and claim your victory.”

You wanted to. Your finger curled around the trigger as you stood above K’gon. Everything he had done… He deserved to die. But then you saw his eyes. The Klingon wanted to die. Everything clicked. Of course he did. To die in battle and be seen as a mighty warrior. Your lip curled up and you shook your head. “No. You don’t deserve death.” You switched settings quickly. “You’re going to spend the rest of your life locked in a cell, wishing you were dead. A shell of the great Klingon you think yourself to be.” K’gon’s eyes widened a fraction, but before he could utter another word, you fired your phaser, stunning him.

Your phaser fell to the floor with a clatter as you dropped it, and you ran to Leonard. “Lee! Lee, it’s me.” You placed a gentle hand on his clammy shoulder, as you used the other one to remove the blindfold. Leonard was awake, but his eyes were unfocused. “Leonard, can you hear me?” You cupped his face lightly, drawing his gaze to you. Leonard blinked, and though his fogged eyes didn’t clear, the flicker of recognition passed through them.

“…Y/N…?” Leonard’s voice was hoarse, disbelief lingering in his tone. “No…stop…too much…too much…no…not real…” Leonard tugged violently on his restraints, shaking his head as he whimpered ‘no’ repeatedly.

“Lee…Lee it’s me.” You refused to move away, waiting until he calmed before getting him to look at you again. “I’m here. This is real.” You leant down, pressing a soft kiss to his dry, chapped lips. “You’re safe now. We’re gonna take you home, okay?” You pulled back, taking in his sunken eyes, surrounded by dark circles, his hollow cheeks, deathly pale skin emphasized by the dark hair around his jaw.

“Home?” Leonard trembled as he looked up at you. “You’re…really here?”

You nodded. “I’m really here. So’s Jim and Spock.” You began to pull away, intending to look for a way to release Leonard, but panic flashed through the others eyes and you stopped. “Just going to find the keys for your cuffs, okay? I’ll still be right here, I promise.” You moved again. Leonard still look petrified, but he didn’t protest. Scanning the area around you, you spotted a nearby tray. You frowned at the hypos on it, each filled with a bright green liquid that you didn’t recognize. There were keys next to them though, which you quickly grabbed.

“Going to unlock you now, alright?” You crouched down, making short work of the cuffs around Leonard’s ankles, before moving to his wrists. You cringed at the bloody marks that were revealed as each piece of metal fell away, and glanced again at the unconscious form of K’gon on the floor, once more resisting the urge to end him. “Okay, let’s get you sitting up, Lee.”

Leonard cried out in pain as you helped him peel away from the table, and as soon as you saw his back, you understood why. “Oh, Lee…” You’d seen plenty of hideous injuries during your career with Starfleet, but you were certain you’d never seen anything as bad as what was before you know. The lashes sprawled over his back, were angry and red, and quite a few had begun to bleed again at Leonard’s movements. There wasn’t even much skin left. You were close to vomiting, but you kept yourself together. “I’ve got some pain killer on the ship. Once we’re there, I’ll give you some. Then we’ll get you back to Geoff, and he’ll fix you up.” It was the only thing you could do for now. Leonard’s injuries were beyond the aid of the equipment on the Klingon ship.

“Y/N!” Jim and Spock entered the room through the turbolift, and you turned your head to see them take in the scene before them. “Bones…” Jim leapt over K’gon’s body, running to your side. “Good to see you, Bones.”

Leonard looked at you, and you could see the uncertainty in his eyes again. “It’s Jim. He’s real too.” There was confusion in Jim’s eyes as he looked at you too, but he didn’t question it, instead focusing on Leonard again who was looking at the blond.

“Jim…”

Jim offered a small smile, placing a hand on Leonard’s arm over a spot that wasn’t too banged up.

“You did not kill the Klingon?” Spock asked, standing from where he’d knelt by K’gon.

“No. He was the guy in charge of this whole thing. Figured he’d be of more use alive.” You explained. Leonard looked passed you, and to the form on the floor.

“You…you did…that?” He asked you quietly, his body leaning into you heavily.

“Yeah. Jim taught me a few moves.” You kissed Leonard’s forehead. The other closed his eyes, leaning into you more. You watched as Spock hoisted K’gon up, not gently, and by his broken arm you noted.

“Once I have delivered him to our security team, I’ll return and help you bring Doctor McCoy upstairs. We can’t beam out from down here.” Spock said, already walking back to the turbolift.

“Alright, Spock. Don’t take long.” Jim answered, glancing at the Vulcan before turning back to you and Leonard. “Not long now, Bones. We’ll be back on the Enterprise.”

You looked up at Jim. “Casualties?”

“Nothing that can’t wait until we get back. Focus on taking care of Bones.” Jim answered you, and you nodded.

“Okay.” You gestured in the general direction of the tray of hyposprays. “Need to take them with us. Analyse them. Think they might have used them…”

“I’ll get them.”

Spock returned quickly enough, and walked over to the three of you. He scanned over Leonard’s injuries with a frown. “Doctor…my apologies…but there is no way for me to lift you that won’t cause additional discomfort.”

“Sound like…you care…Spock.” Leonard mumbled, opening his eyes to look up at Spock.

A smile twitched at Spock’s lips. “I simply do not want to feel the wrath of Nurse Y/L/N, her new found combat skills have made her a fearsome opponent.” As he spoke, Spock took Leonard’s arm, and pulled him into a fireman’s lift, considerably more gently than he had with K’gon. Leonard cried out again, and you didn’t miss the way Spock’s jaw clenched for a brief moment This was the best way to carry Leonard though. It avoided any pressure on his raw back.

“Y/N…”

“Right here, Lee.” You smiled up at Leonard, following Spock closely, and leaving Jim trail behind you. Once you were all out in the open again, Jim contacted the the Bird-of-Prey, and all four of you were beamed up.

Jim passed you the loaded hypos he was carrying. “I’m going straight back to the bridge, so we can get going. I’ll have Uhura contact the Enterprise so Doctor M’Benga will be waiting for us ready, okay?”

“Okay.” You walked with Spock to the small MedBay, and carefully, Spock set Leonard down on the bed there. There was no good way for Leonard to lay down at the moment, so Spock supported him sitting upright, while you put the hypos to one side and grabbed your medkit. You wished you could do more for Leonard, but until you were back on the Enterprise there was nothing. You grabbed one of the pre-prepared hypos of painkiller that you’d brought, the strongest you dared use, and approached Leonard. “Something to ease the pain, promise.” You said softly at Leonard’s hesitant look, and he nodded.

“Trust you, Y/N.”  

You smiled. “Thank you.” You administered the hypo quickly, using the technique that Leonard himself had taught you to make it as painless as possible. You tossed the used hypo to one side, and looked up at Spock. “We should be fine from here. Thank you, Spock.”

Spock nodded. “Very well. It is good to have you back, Doctor.” He said, turning to leave but stopping when he saw the bright green liquid you’d put to one side. He raised an eyebrow, looking back at you. “I’ll take these, and have them analysed as soon as possible.” He said, taking the hypos with him.

Leonard was leaning against you again, getting heavier with each passing second as the pain killer took effect. “Let’s get comfy.” You murmured, gently moving the two of you around so you were sitting on the bed with your back to the wall, and Leonard was on his side between your legs, with his head on your chest. You were careful with how you positioned yourself, making sure you weren’t touching any particularly sore spots.

When I think back on these times, and the dreams we left behind, I’ll be glad ‘cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life.” You sang quietly, holding Leonard as close as you could. “When I look back on these days, I’ll look and see your face. You were right there for me.” Once the painkiller had done its work, Leonard quickly fell to sleep, though passed out would be closer to the truth, but you were glad. He needed rest now.

You continued to sing, stroking his longer hair gently. You could hardly believe you had him back. That Leonard was in your arms, alive, and coherent enough to know who you all were. You knew things weren’t over yet, that the repercussions of the last few weeks would be felt far into the future, but for now you were simply happy to have Leonard with you again. You’d deal with everything else as it came, and you wouldn’t stop until Leonard was better again.

Through a small window in the room, you saw the familiar shape of the Enterprise grow closer. “Almost home, Leonard, almost home.”

Chapter Text

True to his word, Jim had arranged for M’Benga to get a medical team together, and meet you as you docked on the Enterprise. They came on board with a stretcher, and very carefully you managed to maneuver Leonard onto it. Leonard whimpered a little as he was moved, but he didn’t wake. M’Benga had his tricorder out, scanning Leonard as you all rushed to MedBay, and frowning deeply.

“He’s got some weird toxin in his system. Tricorder can’t identify it, but it doesn’t seem to be currently doing anything to Leonard’s system.” M’Benga looked up at you, eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, we don’t know what they gave him, but Spock has samples, and he’s going to try and work it out. My guess is that it’s some form of hallucinatory drug. Leonard seemed pretty convinced at first that I wasn’t real, that he was dreaming.” You sighed, looking down at Leonard. “He was relatively coherent after that though.”

M’Benga nodded, snapping off orders to the team around him. “Alright, Y/N, go get yourself seen to, and I’ll take care of Leonard.”

You shook your head immediately. “No. I’m fine. I’m staying with Leonard.”

“You’re bleeding, Y/N. You need to get checked out.”

“What?”

“Your head. You’re bleeding.”

Frowning, you reached up, wincing as you lightly touched your head. You pulled back, looking down at the dark red blood now coating your fingertips. It must have happened when K’gon hit you, but you’d been so concerned with Leonard that you hadn’t noticed. M’Benga touched your arm gently, and you looked back up at him. “Go on, go. Leonard’s going to need you, and you won’t be able to help him if you’ve passed out. I’ll take good care of him.”

You hesitated for another moment, looking past M’Benga and over to Leonard, before sighing. “Okay. Thank you, Geoff.” You turned, reluctantly, and walked into one of the empty private rooms. You climbed onto one of the biobeds, another Doctor coming in just as you lay down. You didn’t speak much as the Doctor worked, answering questions when asked, but otherwise remaining silent. Luckily, the injury to your head was superficial, as were the other various scratches you’d picked up, but you were still ordered to remain on the bed for observation.

Time crawled, and you found yourself growing increasingly anxious, your fingers drumming the side of the bed as you waited for the all clear. Eventually you were released, and you shot out of the room, going in search of Leonard and M’Benga. You found M’Benga just as he was leaving another room. He smiled gently when he saw you. “Y/N, I was just coming to look for you.” He said, guiding you to one side so you could talk privately.

“Leonard?”

“He’s stable, and still resting. I’ve given him a sedative to make sure he stays asleep too. Apart from needing the rest, it’ll give us a chance to heal a lot of the damage so that when he does wake, he won’t be in as much pain.” M’Benga paused, giving you a moment to let the words sink in. “We’ve done all that we can for the moment. His broken ribs have been fixed, and we’ll work on the external bruising soon. There’s no internal bleeding, so that’s good. As for his wounds, we’ve healed the ones on his ankles, wrists, and face, and we’ve managed to close the injuries on his chest. Leonard will need at least two more rounds with the regenerator to completely heal them though.”

You nodded slowly. So far everything you’d heard indicated that Leonard would be able to make a full recovery physically. “What about his back?”

M’Benga grimaced slightly. “Once we washed the blood off, we found that there weren’t quite as many lacerations as it first appeared. However, whoever was responsible for causing them, seemed to make sure that they repeatedly hit the same spot. They’re incredibly deep, beyond the aid of our regenerators, so I’ve had to stitch them closed. My plan is to wait a couple of days, give them a chance to start to heal, then use the regenerator to try and speed up the process. But, Y/N…they’re never going to heal completely. There’ll always be scars.”

You sighed, playing with the sleeve of your uniform. You were glad that Leonard’s back didn’t have as many injuries as you first expected, but nothing else M’Benga said came as a surprise to you. “And you’re planning to keep him sedated until you can properly close the lacerations?”

“I’d like to, yes. Even now, the pain of them would be excruciating, and pain relief would wear off quickly. There’ll be pain with them for some time, but it’ll be manageable if we wait.” M’Benga explained. “It is up to you though. Leonard has you down as his health care agent, so you can tell us to wake him if you wish.”

You shook your head quickly. “No. Let him rest. The least we can do for him to make sure his body isn’t suffering too much, before he wakes and has to deal with however they’ve messed up his mind.” You sighed. “Can I see him?”

M’Benga nodded. “Of course. He’s through that door. I’ll stop by later to check on you both.”

“Thanks, Geoff.” You offered a smile goodbye, then slipped into Leonard’s room. Leonard was lying face down on the bed, to keep pressure off his back, and with the help of the sedatives, he looked almost peaceful. You sat in the chair next to his bed, leaning over to gently card your fingers through Leonard’s hair. You could see the bandages wrapped around him, peeking out from under the covers, and sighed softly. “Well you showed me how it feels, to feel the sky within my reach, and I always will remember all the strength you gave to me.

You sang quietly, losing track of how long you sat with Leonard, until a quiet knock on the door roused you from your thoughts. You looked up to see Jim enter, and smiled at him. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Jim replied, smiling back at you before looking Leonard over. He walked over and sat next to you. “I’ve spoken to Geoff, and he’s caught me up with everything.”

“It could have been a lot worse. Physically anyway. Mentally…we’ll have to wait an see.”

Jim nodded. “How’re you doing, Y/N?” He asked you quietly, and you turned to look at him again.

“I’m fine. It was just a few scratches.”

“I’m not talking about that, I know you haven’t got any serious injuries. I’m talking about up here.” Jim tapped the side of his head to make his point. “You were in your first ever fire fight down there, and your first ever fist fight. It must’ve been hard.”

“Oh…” You dropped your gaze down, looking at your hands. “Haven’t really thought about all that yet.” You swallowed thickly, and Jim’s hand came to rest on yours.

“It might take awhile to sink in, and when it does, if you need to talk or cry or whatever, you come to me, okay?” Jim was still speaking quietly, and he squeezed your hand gently.

“Thank you, Jim.” You whispered, sniffing quietly.

Jim shifted, moving so his arm was wrapped around your shoulders instead. “No need to thank me. We still need to stick together, now more than ever. Things are going to get hard, and none of us will get through it by ourselves. We need to be a team.”

~

You and Jim spent a lot of the next three days in MedBay, though you were practically residing there, refusing to leave until you were ordered to by M’Benga, who threatened to ban you altogether if you didn’t listen. Jim spent less time, but when he wasn’t needed on the bridge, he was with you and a still sedated Leonard. Progress was being seen on his injuries though, and M’Benga told the two of you that he’d take Leonard off them soon.

You were once again sitting with Jim when Spock entered the room. “Captain, Nurse, I wish to speak with you.”

“Go ahead, Spock.” Jim said, straightening up in his seat.

“As you both know, I have spent the last few days trying to determine what the new drug Nurse Y/L/N discovered was. After much research, I can now conclude that it is indeed a form of hallucinatory drug. Its chemical structure, and the way it interacts with the brain, suggests that it leaves the person it was given to, open to suggestions.”

You frowned. “Suggestions?”

“Yes. Once given, another being could plant an idea or thought in the head of the subject, and the drug would force the brain into playing out a related scenario. It is extremely advanced, something we have not encountered before.” Spock continued, his gaze drifting over to Leonard. “In the simulations I’ve run, these hallucinations do not last long, yet they are extremely vivid and lifelike. While the drug remains in the system however, it leaves the subject confused and paranoid, unable to know what is real and what is not. That is, of course, a long term side effect also. One that could prove permanent if one was exposed to the drug enough.”

You all looked at Leonard, and you sighed. Until he awoke, there’d be no knowing what state he was in. “Thanks for letting us know, Spock.” Jim said softly, rising from his seat. “I need to go and prepare my report.” He squeezed your shoulder as he left.

“The fact that Doctor McCoy was able to believe that we were real, suggests that his mind was not so altered that any confusion would remain permanent. It is likely that now the drug has been flushed from his blood, he’ll wake knowing everything is real.” Spock said, and you smiled at the comfort he was trying to offer you.

“Thank you, Spock.” You looked up at the Vulcan. “What did you do with the rest of the drug?”

“Most of it is sealed within my laboratory, but I did bring a sample here with me, in case Doctor M’Benga wished to see it, but he has assured he does not.” Spock tilted his head slightly as he looked at you. “I have left it outside for the moment, but I’ll have to ensure I collect it before I leave. Doctor M’Benga is currently preparing the medication for our prisoner, and it would be a terrible mistake for it to end up being delivered to him.”

You raised your eyebrows at that. “Terrible indeed.” You said as you rose. “I’ll walk you out, Spock. I could do with stretching my legs.”

Spock nodded, and the two of you went out into the main area. You saw M’Benga preparing a few hypos. He caught sight of you and Spock, and turned to look to you. “Y/N, once I’ve delivered these to our prisoner, I’ll come in and do one more session on Leonard’s back, before weaning him off the sedative.”

“Why don’t I take them to him? It would give you more time to help Leonard.” You suggested, keeping your voice as steady as you could.

“If you’re sure. You’re not on duty, and I don’t want to put you out.” He said, setting the last hypo down on a tray.

“I’m sure. It won’t take long.” You collected the tray, and turned just in time to see the not so sweet twinkle in Spock’s eye.

“I’ll walk with you. For company.” Spock fell into step by your side, and you walked silently to the brig. The medication K’gon was on, wasn’t anything special. Some mild pain relief because no one had bothered to fix his broken bones yet, and some nutrition shots. Nobody was in any frame of mind to treat the Klingon kindly, and with an obviously extremely malnourished Leonard on board, the decision to substitute food for the shots was made. In a few days, you’d arrive at a Starbase, and K’gon would be removed from the ship. He’d be interrogated, then charged with multiple crimes. Even if he cooperated with the Federation, he’d never see the outside of a cell again.

K’gon looked up as you entered the brig. A splint was strapped to his broken leg, sticking out awkwardly in front of him, and his arm was in a sling. The bones would be fixed at the Starbase, but you weren’t wasting resources on him here. He watched you suspiciously as you approached, his good arm chained to the cell wall to stop him from trying to attack, while Spock went to the controls to allow you entry.

“Time for your medication.” You said cooly, setting the tray down where K’gon couldn’t get a look at it. “That drug you gave Leonard, what did you make him believe?” You asked, starting to administer the hypos, one by one.

K’gon hesitated a moment before answering. “A number of things. My favorite was the fire though.” The Klingon sneered. “Just the thought that there was smoke in the room was enough to get him going. Leonard always screamed the loudest when he thought he was on fire, thought his skin was burning and his lungs filling with smoke.” The smug smirk of satisfaction on K’gon’s face was the final straw for you.

“You’ll have to tell us what that feels like sometime.” You said smoothly, reaching down for the last hypo. The one filled with bright green liquid. K’gon’s eyes widened, and he tried to struggle away, but he couldn’t. You pressed the needle into his neck without hesitation. “This is for Leonard, you sick son of a bitch.” You growled, dropping the used hypo down with a clatter. You picked up the tray, but paused, sniffing the air with a frown. “Can you smell that?” You turned to Spock. “Commander, can you smell smoke?”

Spock nodded, a half smile on his lips. “I do. We should evacuate the area immediately.”

You exited the cell, Spock sealing it closed behind you. You spared one last glance at K’gon, who was already looking panicked, then made your way to the exit. “Is the security camera on?”

“Yes. And it’s being relayed live to the Captain.”

“Good.”

You could hear K’gon’s screams down the corridor.

~

You were sleeping on Jim’s shoulder when a groan roused you. You opened your eyes to see Leonard looking at you drowsily. “Lee!” You leaned closer, your movements waking Jim too.

“Hey, Bones.”

Leonard looked at the two of you for a few moments, then opened his mouth to speak. His voice came out as a croak though, and you quickly moved to pass him some water to sip. It was an awkward angle with Leonard still on his front, but you managed somehow. Leonard swallowed the water, and paused for a few brief moments, before attempting to speak again. “Thought I was dreamin’…seeing you two.”

You smiled sadly. “We’re both here, Leonard. You’re back on the Enterprise. You’re safe now.” You whispered, watching as Leonard closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. “Are you in pain?”

“Ache a bit, not too bad. Stiff though.” Leonard mumbled, forcing his eyes back open.

“I know, sweetheart. Geoff wants to do one more round with the regenerator, then he says you should be able to lie on your back.”

“I’ll go get him.” Jim said, rising from his seat. He smiled at Leonard, then quickly disappeared out of the room.

“How bad is it?” Leonard asked, looking up at you.

“Nothing Geoff can’t fix.” You smiled, reaching over with the intention of running your fingers through Leonard’s hair. Leonard recoiled from you, eyes widening and suddenly filled with fear.

“No! Don’t, please, don’t!” Leonard turned his head, hiding his face from you as he began to tremble.

You immediately pulled back, dropping your hand. “It’s okay, it’s okay. Not gonna hurt you.” You whispered, wanting desperately to soothe Leonard but too scared of hurting him further by touching somewhere else.

“M’sorry.” Leonard whimpered, breaking your heart. “Grabbed it a lot. Hurt.”

“I didn’t know that, I’m sorry.” You murmured. “I don’t know much about what happened, so you have to tell me if something I do makes you uncomfortable, alright? And don’t be sorry about it. I can’t help you if I don’t know.”

Leonard nodded mutely, turning his head back to look at you. Tears were fresh in his eyes, and you wanted nothing more than to brush them away. “Sorry. Don’t want to be weak.”

“Oh, Leonard, sweetheart, no. You’re not weak. You’re strong. You’ve amazed us all by surviving all that.” You answered quickly, meeting Leonard’s eyes for a few brief seconds before he looked away again. “You’ve done so well, and now you have us all to help you. I love you, Leonard.”

Your words seemed to shock Leonard, making you frown. “You…you do? Still?” Leonard swallowed thickly. “I…I thought…you and Jim…you were together.”

“No! Leonard, no. I love you. I love you so much I can’t begin to describe it.” You moved, kneeling down by the side of the bed so you were eye level with Leonard. “Jim and I are just friends like we’ve always been, I swear. You’re stuck with me, I’m afraid.”

A ghost of a smile found it’s way to Leonard lips at that, and you returned it. “Love you too…thought about you so much. Can’t do this without you.”

“You don’t have to. I’ll be with you every step.” You murmured, rising as M’Benga entered the room.

“Good to see you, Leonard.” The other Doctor smiled casually, setting down his equipment.

“Do you want me to stay or go, Lee?” You asked softly, looking down at Leonard

“Stay, please.” Leonard looked up at you, eyes pleading.

“Of course, darling.” You smiled down at Leonard, then helped M’Benga remove the bandages from Leonard’s back. The injures were still raised and angry looking, but they were now healed enough that they wouldn’t reopen if Leonard moved too much. Leonard shifted his arm slowly, holding his hand out, and you smiled as to you took it, squeezing it lightly.

M’Benga began his work, and as he did, you talked to Leonard to try and distract him some. You spoke about nothing in particular, mainly just MedBay gossip and whatever light-hearted, unimportant topics came to mind.

“Your back is coming along well, Leonard.” M’Benga said as he finished. “You still need a few more sessions with the regenerator, but I think you should be able to return to your quarters tomorrow.”

Leonard smiled briefly. “Thanks, Geoff.”

“Not a problem, Leonard. Do you want to turn over? Might be a bit sore at first.” At Leonard’s nod, you and M’Benga moved, helping Leonard move his stiff muscles and move onto his back. Leonard grunted at first, but once he settled, he was okay. “I have an ulterior motive for getting you back on your feet as soon as possible anyway, Doc. I can’t stand all this damned paperwork. How do you manage it?” M’Benga teased, and Leonard actually chuckled a little.

“Lots of bourbon.” Leonard answered with a tired smile.

“I should have known.” M’Benga laughed. “Get some rest, Leonard. Try not to move around too much.” The other smiled at you both, then exited the room and left you alone.

Leonard’s smile slipped away once you were on your again, and he sighed. “So tired.”

“Get some sleep, Lee. I’ll be right here when you wake up.” You murmured softly, taking Leonard’s hand in yours.

“Still scared this is a dream. If I go to sleep, you might not be here when I open my eyes again.” Leonard whispered, sniffing quietly.

“I’ll be here, I promise.”

“Lie on the bed with me? I’ll know you’re really here then.” Leonard looked up at you with wide eyes, and it was impossible for you to say no.

“Okay.” Leonard moved over a little, and even though the bed really wasn’t big enough to fit two grown adults, you somehow managed to perch along the side. Your legs tangled with Leonard’s, and your head rested on his shoulder, but you concentrated on not touching more than the side of his torso. Leonard didn’t need your weight on top of his chest. You did drape an arm across him though, and Leonard brought his hand up. He wrapped it around your wrist, and you smiled a little as you felt him press his fingers against your pulse point. “I’m here, Leonard.”

Leonard hummed, and you felt him relax underneath you. “I love you, Y/N. I don’t deserve you, and you should be with someone better, stronger, but I love you so damned much, and thinking of you is what got me through most of it.”

“I love you too, Leonard. You’re strong and brave and amazing, and I’m proud of you.” You whispered, and Leonard held you a little tighter. “You resisted those bastards. So many wouldn’t have, but you did. You found the strength to fight. You prevented a war. Not many people can say that.”

Leonard didn’t answer, and you didn’t push it. There’d be plenty of time for the two of you to talk, for now you were just going to relish having Leonard around you. It took awhile, but Leonard’s breathing slowed, and you spent a few minutes watching him sleep. The endless sleepless night were still catching up on you though, and as much as you wanted to stay awake, the warmth of Leonard’s body next to you proved too much, and you slowly dozed off too.

“N-no, no stop…stop.” Broken whimpers began to wake you from your sleep, but before you could snap fully to attention, the body next to you jerked wildly and you found yourself tumbling from the narrow edge of the bed and onto floor. You landed with a grunt, looking up in time to see Leonard bolt upright on the bed. He was panting heavily, covered in a sheen of sweat, but he was awake.

“Leonard?” You asked quietly, climbing to your feet.  

Leonard’s head whipped around to look at you, and you saw the horror creep onto his face as he realized he’d pushed you off. “Y/N…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry.” He whispered, turning away from you, and hiding his face. His shoulders shook, and you heard the sound of quiet sobs.

“It’s okay, Leonard, it’s okay.” You sat on the bed, carefully placing a hand on Leonard’s shoulder. “You were having a nightmare, and the bed wasn’t big enough. I’m fine.” You murmured softly, resisting the temptation to run your fingers through Leonard’s hair. “It’s okay.” You felt stupid, saying that is was okay repeatedly, but you didn’t know what else to you. You weren’t a counsellor, you didn’t know how to help Leonard, and you didn’t know what he needed or wanted to hear, so telling him that things were okay and that you loved him felt like the only things you could say.

Leonard continued to sob, but he did turn back towards you, and you moved yourself around so Leonard was almost laying on top of you, face hidden in your shirt and clinging to you tightly as he cried. You continued to murmur quiet words of encouragement, running your hands over Leonard’s shoulders and down his arms, because it was at least something that wouldn’t upset him more. You hated seeing Leonard cry like this. You hated K’gon and every other damned Klingon who worked for him, for doing this to Leonard. You hated Starfleet for not allowing you to go searching for Leonard sooner. You hated yourself for not being able to do more to help Leonard. You hated that you were scared for what the future might bring.

~

The next day M’Benga released Leonard from MedBay, under the condition that he rest as much as possible in your quarters. He set an appointment for Leonard’s next session with the dermal regenerator, and sent you on your way. Jim offered to walk with you, in case the reality of being back in his quarters was too much for Leonard, but you declined, feeling the two of you needed to spend those first few hours alone.

Fresh tears fell when Leonard stepped into the room for the first time, and he looked around with wide eyes. The quarters had been completely tidied again, and everything was almost exactly as Leonard had left it. You managed to get Leonard to the bed, lying down together as you held Leonard while he cried himself to sleep. At least with your larger bed, when the next nightmare came, you were able to keep a safe distance away as you woke him up.

You spent the next couple of days alone mainly, Leonard didn’t want more visitors, and you only ventured out to see M’Benga again. Eventually, you managed to convince Leonard to let Jim come around, and while it was kind of awkward at first, Jim didn’t really know what to say to Leonard, they did finally relax.

“We’ll be docking at the Starbase tomorrow.” Jim told you both. “We’ll be restocking, and taking care of a few…other things, so we’ll probably be there a couple of days.” All three of you knew that ‘other things’ included K’gon’s removal from the ship. “It’s one of the nicer Starbases around, maybe we could all go down and stretch our legs?”

“Yeah. Maybe.” Leonard mumbled, looking down at his hands. You and Jim shared a look, both of you aware that that wasn’t happening.

Jim rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “Y/N…could you give us a moment in private please? I have some ‘Fleet business I need to talk to Bones about, and it has to be done with just the two of us.”

Leonard’s eyes widened, but you quickly put your hands over his. “I’ll just be in the bedroom, okay? Just call if you need me.” Leonard nodded slowly, and with a kiss to his cheek, you pulled away, and slipped into the bedroom out of earshot.

“Are they throwing me out?” Leonard asked, once he and Jim were alone.

“What? No! Bones, they’re pretty much viewing you as a hero! You’re going to end up with more bravery medals than me.” Jim smiled, moving so he was sitting next to Leonard on the couch. “At the moment, the ‘Fleet are willing to bend over backwards for you, that’s why they want me to speak with you before we dock.”

Leonard looked up at Jim frowning. “About what then?”

“They’ve sent a new therapist up here. He’s the best there is apparently, and…and he specializes in helping Starfleet Officers through…what you’ve been through.”

“He helps people get over being tortured you mean.”

Jim cringed a little, but nodded. “Yeah. He worked with Pike after the Narada, so he really is the best.”

Leonard nodded. “Yeah, I know him. We’ve spoken a few times over the years on a professional level. He knows what he’s doing.” He murmured. “So they’re sending him here for me?”

“Yeah. He can either come aboard the Enterprise, or…if you want you can leave the ship, go back to Earth together, then come back when you’re ready. They wanted me to ask you by yourself, because they want it to be your decision alone.”  

“If I go…Y/N won’t be with me, will she?” Leonard asked quietly.

“She can take some personal leave at first, she’s due it. M’Benga has signed her off as medically unfit for the last few weeks, so she hasn’t touched what she’s owed. But eventually, she’ll have to come back or leave altogether. Likely before you’re ready to return to duty.”

Leonard dropped his gaze back to his hands. “I don’t want to go. This damned tin can is my home, but…but it won’t be fair on Y/N if I stay. She’s barely sleeping because I’m barely sleeping, and I know what that level of stress can do to someone. It’d be selfish of me to stay.” He mumbled.

“I don’t want to influence you, because this is your choice so do what you think is best for you, but don’t go just because you think Y/N or anyone else would be better off, because that isn’t true.” Jim placed a hand on Leonard’s forearm and smiled. “It’ll be hard and stressful, yeah, but…but I think Y/N would rather go through it all than be apart from you. I would.”

Leonard sighed. “I don’t know, Jim. She’ll be working, and taking care of me…”

“Bones, Y/N was prepared to steal a shuttle to go and look for you. Crazy woman would probably have done it too, if I hadn’t convinced her otherwise. She learned to fight so she could help us get you, and when we did find you, she killed for you. Those aren’t the actions of someone who wants to be apart from you.” Jim squeezed Leonard’s arm. “If you think your recovery will go better on Earth, go. If you think it’ll go better here, stay. We’ll all support you either way.”

Leonard looked back up at Jim, and offered a small smile. “Since when did you get all grown up and wise?” He said with a weak chuckle. “I’m staying. Never thought I’d say it, but I missed this damned ship, I don’t want to leave it again.”

“I’ll let Command know.” Jim smiled back at Leonard, then rose. “I’ll give you some peace now, but if you ever want to talk, Bones, comm me. I’m always here for you.”

“Thanks, kid.” Leonard answered, watching Jim leave. He stayed where he was for a few minutes, staring at a random spot on the wall, before getting up and going into the bedroom. He found you laying on the bed, reading something on your PADD. “Hey.”

“Hey.” You smiled, setting your PADD down and moving to give Leonard some space as he joined you. “Jim gone?”

“Yeah.” Leonard lay down on his side so he was facing you. “The ‘Fleet are sending one of their hotshot therapists up here. He’s good. He’ll help.”

“The least they can do is send you the best.” You mumbled with a sigh. “He’s coming on board?”

“Yeah. Jim said he didn’t have to. I could leave the Enterprise for now and go back to Earth with him.” You tensed immediately at Leonard’s words, the fear of being separated from Leonard again filling you. “But I said I wanted to stay. With you.” Relief flooded through you, and you smiled.

“Good. Because if you went, I’d follow you.” You chuckled.

“Don’t doubt it, darlin’.” Leonard moved you around, so your back was facing him and pulled you close. Even through his shirt you could feel how bonier he was now. Leonard nuzzled into your neck, breathing deeply. Cuddling like this helped him relax you’d found. Leonard splayed his hand across your chest, covering your heart. “Jim…Jim said that when you came to rescue me…you killed.”

You tensed again, hesitating for a moment before nodding. “Yeah. Two, maybe three Klingons.” You still hadn’t really thought about the events of Maranga IV that much. Leonard’s arm tightened around you. “Nothing was going to stop me from getting to you. It’s fine.”

“It’s not, Y/N. You should never have had to that…not for me.” Leonard whispered. “I’ve been so busy thinking about myself, I haven’t even stopped to ask about you. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine, Leonard, really. I’m fine.” You continued, closing your eyes and hoping Leonard would drop the subject. You could already feel the tears prick at your eyelids, and you wanted to be strong and not cry, something you couldn’t do if you were forced to think that you’d killed.

“Y/N…”

“I said I’m fine!” You snapped harsher than you meant to, and you felt Leonard flinch behind you. You could tell he was getting ready to bolt, so you quickly grabbed his hand. “I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you, Lee, honest. It’s just…I haven’t really thought about all that yet, and I don’t know what will happen if I do, but I want to be strong for you, and I know I won’t be strong if I start crying all over the place. Let’s…let’s get you better first, then I’ll think about myself.”

Behind you, Leonard relaxed a fraction, the threat of him running from you passing. “It’s not healthy, Y/N. I don’t want you suffering for me.”

“Don’t worry about me, Leonard, I’ll be fine.” You threaded your fingers with Leonard’s, and squeezed. “One thing at a time.”

“Okay.” Leonard sighed, pressing a gentle kiss to your neck.

~

Leonard woke in a cold sweat, gasping for air as he sat upright in the bed. It took a long few moments for him to realize that he was in your quarters, in your bed, and not in the cold gray cell. Looking to his side, he saw you sleeping next to him, so exhausted that you didn’t even wake. Moving so he was sitting on the edge of the bed, Leonard placed his elbows on his knees, balling his hands into fists as he rested them against his temples. He hated the nightmares. Every one felt far too real, and it clung to him for the rest of the night.

A part of Leonard wished you would wake, it was always better with you around, but he was mostly glad that you remained asleep. At least he didn’t have to feel guilty for ruining another nights sleep for you. That was one of the worst things about going through this hell; he was dragging you through with him, and it made Leonard angry with himself. He told himself that it hadn’t been long. He’d only had a couple of sessions with this fancy new therapist, who had both times told him to give himself a break, that he was doing well, but none of it stopped Leonard being angry.

The position Leonard was in made his back ache, so he pushed himself upright, careful not to wake you. He left your quarters, and made his way to the observation deck. It was funny, he thought, how once he hated looking out the glass, but now he enjoyed it. The vast openness of it relaxed him, and reminded him that he wasn’t trapped in a tiny room anymore. He was free.

Leonard stood there, leaning against the cool glass and completely absorbed in his own thoughts for a long time. “Lee…” A gentle hand on his shoulder startled Leonard, and he automatically cringed away from the touch. The hand fell away and Leonard turned to face you. “What are you doing here? I was worried.”

“M’sorry. Didn’t want to wake you.” Leonard whispered, looking down at your hurt face. He brought a hand up to cup your cheek gently. “I can’t, darlin’…I can’t keep asking you to do all this for me. The sleepless nights, the tears, the way I flinch away from you. I’m not who I used to be, and I don’t know if I ever will be again, and it isn’t fair for me to ask you to go through it with me.” He whispered, closing his eyes so he wouldn’t have to meet yours. “Maybe…maybe it would be better if we weren’t…”

“Don’t you dare say it would be better if we weren’t together.” You interrupted, feeling tears you couldn’t stop well up in your eyes. “Don’t you dare. I didn’t nearly drive myself crazy, learn to fight, kill, for you to tell me we’d be better off without each other. So don’t even think about it. You’re stuck with me.” You grasped Leonard’s loose shirt, the material bunching in your fists. Leonard didn’t answer you, but you saw the tears slide down his face. “And you’re not asking me to do anything anyway. I want to be here with you. I want to help you.” You released Leonard’s shirt, and reached up to brush the stray tears away with one hand, while you used the other to slip the engagement ring out from under your shirt. “I love you Leonard McCoy, for better or worse.”

Leonard finally opened his eyes again, looking straight at the engagement ring around your neck. “You found it…”

“Yeah. I kinda trashed our quarters at one point, and I found it. Jim said it was your mothers.” You murmured, looking down at the dazzling ring too.

“She sent it to me as soon as I mentioned asking you to marry me.” Leonard reached to twirl the ring. “Does this mean you would have said yes if I asked?”

“Of course it does. I’d say yes now, but…I don’t think we need that added level of pressure yet.” You let your hand rest over Leonard’s. “If it’s okay with you, I’d rather wear it like this for now, just until we’re both in a better place. A place where maybe we could actually start thinking about wedding plans.”

Leonard nodded. “Yeah…yeah that would be best.” He murmured, dropping his hands to rest on your hips. He ducked his head down too, enough so he could press his forehead against yours. “Love you so much, darlin’.”

“Love you too.” You automatically reached up run your fingers through Leonard’s hair, but stopped yourself, letting them rest on his shoulders instead.

“Try it. Please. I miss having your hands in my hair.” Leonard whispered, and hesitantly you crept one hand back up to play with the hair at the nape of Leonard’s neck. The other tensed at first, but you didn’t stop, instead playing with the dark strands, and twirling them around your fingers gently. It took a few minutes, but finally, Leonard relaxed. “Feels good.”

“Missed this.” You murmured, continuing to play with the thick hair, something you’d always loved doing.

Leonard hummed in response, letting a silence fall between you for a few more minutes. “Sing for me.” He asked eventually. “The song we used to sing. I know I sung it at first…but as time went on, I couldn’t remember the words. I want to learn them again.”

When I think back on these times, and the dreams we left behind, I’ll be glad ‘cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life. When I look back on these days, I’ll look and see your face. You were right there for me.” You sang quietly, smiling as Leonard began to move you. It was just a gentle rocking rhythm, but it felt more normal than anything you’d done over the last few weeks. “In my dreams I’ll always see you soaring by the sky, in my heart there’ll always be a place for you, for all my life. I’ll keep a part of you with me, and everywhere I am there you’ll be.

It wasn’t until you’d finished the song, did you pull away again. “Forgot how beautiful that song was.” Leonard murmured with a small smile.

“Yeah, it is.” You smiled back, kissing Leonard’s cheek. “Come on, let’s go back to bed.” Leonard nodded, and you took his hand in yours as you guided him back to your quarters.

Things would be okay, you thought. They had to be. It would take time, but you and Leonard would be okay. You’d make it through. Somehow.

Chapter Text

Jim found you on the observation deck when he came looking for you. You were leaning with your forehead against the glass, gazing out at the stars tiredly. “Y/N?” You startled when you heard his voice, so lost in thought that you hadn’t even heard him approach.

Turning, you smiled at Jim. “Hey. Sorry about that, zoned out.”

“It’s alright.” Jim returned your smile, looking you over carefully. “You look like crap.”

“You do say the nicest things.” You chuckled, but there wasn’t much humor in your tone. You knew you looked terrible, but you were finding it difficult to care. In the three months since Leonard had been back, you’d barely slept at all, either because Leonard’s nightmares drew you from your sleep, or your own did. It was exhausting, and the strains of it were starting show.

Jim’s smile turned softer, and he leaned against the glass with you. “Spoke to Bones earlier.”

You grimaced. “He tell you about the fight?” You asked, the look on Jim’s face answering your question, and you sighed, pinching the bridge of your nose. “When he gets out of his session, I’m going to apologize. I shouldn’t have snapped at him.”

“He actually wants to apologize to you. According to Bones, he snapped first.”

“Well, yeah, he did, but the mood swings are to be expected, and I knew I shouldn’t have snapped back, I just couldn’t stop myself.” You sighed again, closing your eyes. “I feel terrible. I know he’s trying, and they are getting better, but…”

“You’re human, Y/N, and in a prolonged, extremely stressful situation, it’s only to be expected that sometimes you’ll lash out too.” Jim interrupted you. “Don’t beat yourself up over one petty argument, that wasn’t even about anything. Bones is getting better, quicker than anyone was expecting. Doctor Blackburn told me that when he gave me an update yesterday, and he firmly believes it’s because he has you.”

You opened your eyes again, and smiled up at Jim. “I’m proud of him.”

“We all are.” Jim answered. “But you need to take care of yourself too, otherwise you’re going to burn out. When was the last time you had a full night’s sleep?”

You opened your mouth to reply, but then realized you couldn’t, because honestly, you had no idea. “I don’t know. Leonard isn’t having nightmares every night anymore, but it always seems that when he doesn’t, I-”

“You what?”

“I have nightmares of my own.” You finished in a whisper, looking down as you played with the sleeve of your uniform. “The smell of blood, shouts and explosions, limp bodies on the floor, lifeless eyes…”

“Does Bones know?” Jim asked you quietly, placing a hand over yours.

“No. They never wake him, and I’m not about to start waking him in return either. He needs rest.”

“So do you, but I understand. You should at least tell him though, even if you don’t want to talk about them.”

“He doesn’t want to know, Jim.” You mumbled, your voice cracking as you tried to find the next words. “Leonard’s recovering, but the more he does, the more he seems to distance himself from me, shuts me out. When we first got him back, we talked a lot. He told me about everything. It was awful and gut-wrenching, and it made me wish I’d slit that bastard’s throat when I had the chance, but I was glad Leonard felt like he could tell me. Then he’d hold me, or I’d hold him, and things really wouldn’t be okay, but at the same time it felt like they were.” You sighed. “Now though…he’s distant. He’ll still hold me when he sleeps, it helps him relax, but that’s the only time. The rest of the time he keeps me at arms length, and I don’t know why, but I do know that I’m terrified I’m losing him.”

Jim stayed quiet for a few moments, processing what you said. “I…I don’t know what’s going on, but you aren’t losing him. Bones adores you. He’s told me that. Recently. He’s told me that he probably wouldn’t bother to fight to get better if he didn’t have you.”

“Then why is he pushing me away?”

Jim looked down. He didn’t have an answer. “Look, why don’t I stay over in your quarters tonight? You can go back to your old quarters, or hell, take mine for the night, the bed is comfier, and try and get as much sleep as you can. You won’t have to worry about interrupting or waking anyone.”

You looked up at Jim again. “Really?”

“Really.” Jim smiled. “I’ll hang out with Bones, maybe get him to talk a bit, then crash on the couch. If he has a nightmare, I’m sure I’ll be able to handle it.”

“Thank you, Jim.” You moved quickly, pulling the blond in for a hug. Maybe a night apart was just what you and Leonard needed. Spending nearly all of your time together was bound to cause a strain eventually, and the thought of having just one night where you didn’t have to worry about waking or stressing Leonard more than usual, did seem a nice one.

“You’re welcome.” Jim smiled again as he pulled back. “Why don’t I see if I can get you an appointment with Doctor Blackburn too? Apart from Leonard, he doesn’t have any regular patients on board. A guy as good as him must be able to help with your nightmares.”

You hesitated for a moment, but then nodded. “Yeah, okay. It could help.”

“Good, because my other alternative was to get you so drunk you couldn’t help but open up.” Jim teased.

You actually laughed at that, and rolled your eyes. “I don’t like the opening up part, but the getting drunk part sounds exceptionally good.”

Jim laughed in return. “Soon. One day the three of us will finally get that shore leave, and we’re going to get blind drunk, and laugh our asses off.”

“Can’t wait.”

~

For once, when Jim turned up at your quarters that night, he actually knocked rather than let himself in. Leonard eyed him suspiciously as he opened the door. “Who are you and what have you done to Jim Kirk?”

Jim returned Leonard’s glare with a bright smile, stepping into the room as he observed his friend. Leonard was looking better than he had three months ago, though he was still a little on the thin side, but from what Jim was hearing, Leonard’s appetite was gradually returning. “Didn’t want to startle you or anything.” He tried to shrug it off like it wasn’t important, but they both knew that wasn’t true.

“Startles me more when you actually respect my privacy.” Leonard muttered, though the hint of a smile on his lips suggested that he appreciated Jim’s concern.

Jim held up the bottle he was carrying. “Drink?”

“Sure. Only a couple though, I don’t think I could handle getting drunk yet.” Leonard replied, sitting down on the couch while Jim collected a couple of glasses. Jim soon returned, and poured them a drink each. He was glad that they were back to being relaxed around each other. Jim knew he’d been a little awkward at first, not knowing what to say or do, but as the time had gone on, they’d fallen back to how they used to be, and it made Jim happy. “Y/N left for your quarters just under an hour ago. She says thank you again.”

Jim shrugged. “It’s fine, and I know the beds in junior officer quarters aren’t all that comfortable.”

Leonard nodded, sipping his drink. “She needs some decent sleep. I know she hasn’t been getting much.”

“You do?”

“Hmm. Been a few times I’ve woken up to hear her pace around the kitchen or wherever. I don’t know why though. Haven’t asked.”

Jim raised an eyebrow, imitating Leonard’s own signature look. “That’s not like you, Bones.”

Leonard shrugged. “Yeah, well. There’s a lot that’s not much like me these days.”

Jim started to reply, then stopped himself. It was obvious that Leonard didn’t want to delve any deeper at the moment. So instead Jim switched topics, and began to talk about the few missions the Enterprise had been sent on. They’d all been straightforward diplomatic ones so far. The type with low risks, but a hell of a lot of protocol and paperwork. Jim smiled as Leonard laughed at his bitching. He didn’t mention that the reason they were doing such routine missions was because they didn’t have enough Doctors up to scratch to handle anything else. M’Benga was doing a marvelous job as temporary CMO, but the Doctor Starfleet had sent to take over M’Benga’s old duties, wasn’t quite living up to the job. He wasn’t a bad Doctor, but he was young, and inexperienced enough for Jim, and some of the others in Command to have doubts over whether he could handle a true emergency in deep space.

After talking for a couple of hours, the two men fell into a silence that stretched on. It wasn’t uncomfortable, and honestly, Jim enjoyed it. It was normal and peaceful and relaxing.

“I think Y/N’s going to leave me.” Leonard whispered eventually, breaking their silence. “I think that’s why she isn’t sleeping much; she’s trying to work out how to tell me. Or even worse, she’s feeling trapped because she thinks she can’t tell me, without me breaking.”

“What? Bones, no!” Jim looked over at his friend, but Leonard was staring down into his glass. “Y/N doesn’t want to leave you!”

“How would you know that, Jim?” Leonard snapped. “It makes perfect sense! I’m hardly an angel to live with at any point, but recently…I must be hell. I know I’m hell to live with.”

“But you’re getting better…”

“I know I am, but that doesn’t mean things still aren’t hell. Little things make me angry, and I know I snap or shout or whatever more than I should at Y/N. Over stupid, pointless things, and over things that aren’t stupid or pointless, but are just Y/N trying her best. I know I’ve hurt her, even though she said it’s fine.” Leonard set his glass down with a force, turning to face Jim. His eyes widened at the look on Jim’s face.

“Not like that, fuck no. There was once, nearly, but I’ve never… I meant verbally. Said things I shouldn’t have. Not that that’s any better.” Leonard groaned, dropping his head down into his hands.  

“What do you mean, nearly once, Bones?” Jim asked with a small frown.

Leonard sighed. “It didn’t even have anything to do with Y/N. We weren’t arguing and she wasn’t even here at the time. She was off…somewhere. Can’t for the life of me remember where. But I was here on my own, and the solitude was driving me insane. Felt like the walls were creeping in around me, like my skin was getting too tight, like I couldn’t breathe. I was pacing, angry and annoyed that I couldn’t be on my own for even a hour. And…the anger just grew until I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed the nearest glass and just threw it. Of course, as bad fucking luck would have it, Y/N opened the door just as I did. If I’d thrown a little more to the left…it would have hit her square on. As it was, it hit the wall next to her head, and the only thing that happened to her was a fright. Ha. Only.” Leonard spat the last word out, glaring down at the floor between his feet. “I’d throw myself out the airlock if I ever hurt her like that, or if I ever thought I was capable of doing it.”

“Bones, that was an accident. Y/N couldn’t have been that put off by it. And you’re not like that now, right?”

Leonard shook his head. “No. This was within the first month. Since then I’ve gotten more used to being on my own. I still don’t like it for long periods of time, but it doesn’t get like that.” He sighed. “But still. If you add it all up, it becomes easy to see why Y/N would want to leave me. It’s too much.”

“You’re wrong. Y/N loves you, I know she does. The reason she’s not sleeping isn’t because of that.”

Looking back up, Leonard frowned. “You know why?”

“I…” Jim bit his lip. It wasn’t his place to say, but at the same time not saying anything would just make Leonard worry more. “I shouldn’t say, Bones. I don’t want to break anyone’s confidence.”

“Jim, please. If you know…tell me. Doesn’t have to be all of it. I…I just need to know that she doesn’t hate me.” Leonard whispered pleadingly.

“Y/N…she’s having nightmares, and she doesn’t want to upset you more.” Jim gave in, leaning back against the couch.

“Oh.” Leonard looked back down quietly. “We’ve always been honest with each other.”

“Yeah, well…” Jim hesitated a moment. “She happens to think that you want to leave her. Y/N said that you’ve distanced yourself.”

“Because I thought she wanted to leave me, and well because of other things.”

“Other things?” Jim asked.

“It’s just that…I had my last session with Geoff and the dermal regenerator the other day, but there are still scars, and they really aren’t pretty. Geoff says they might fade some more in time, but it’s all he’s able to do.” Leonard admitted with a sigh. “And the better I get up here in my head, the more I realize that at some point, Y/N and I are going to, you know, again, and she’ll see them. She’ll probably want to take the next shuttle and run away forever.”

“That’s not going to happen, Bones. The two of you need to sit and talk. Properly.” Jim groaned. “And here I thought I was meant to be the infant on board.”

“Shut it, you. Just because I’m not back on duty yet, doesn’t mean I can’t handle a hypo full of sedatives.” Leonard muttered, glaring over at Jim.

“That’s the spirit, Bones.”

~

When you returned to your quarters the following day, you had to admit that you were feeling more refreshed. You had woken up once during the night, panting harshly after a nightmare, but you’d managed to toss and turn until you fell asleep once more. Now, however, you were looking forward to seeing Leonard again. “Hey.” You smiled as you entered the room, looking over at Leonard who was sitting in the kitchen. Jim had already gone on shift by the looks of it.

“Hey, darlin’.” Leonard was on his feet immediately, and before you were aware of what was happening, he was in front of you and pulling you in for a kiss. One that you hadn’t shared for a long time. You dropped the overnight bag you were carrying onto the floor so you were able to wrap your arms around Leonard’s shoulders.

“Where’d that come from?” You asked softly when the two of you were forced to break apart for air.

“Missed you.” Leonard mumbled, moving to nuzzle your neck instead.

“Missed you too.”

Leonard pulled back, bringing his hands up to cup your face gently while his thumbs traced over your cheekbones. “I love you so much, Y/N.” He said quietly, the honesty in his features so earnest your breath caught.

“I love you too, Lee. Always will.” You whispered, surprised when you felt the burn of tears well up in your eyes. A sudden fear that this was Leonard’s way of saying goodbye gripped your heart, and you clutched his shirt tightly. “What’s going on?”

Leonard must have sensed your fear, because he quickly pulled you into a bear hug, arms wrapped tightly around you, and even though you didn’t like the way his bones stuck out just a little too much, it felt like heaven. You didn’t release your grip on his shirt though, holding on tightly as you buried your face in Leonard’s chest. “Talked to Jim a lot last night, and what he said he made me realize that we really should talk. I think there’s been some mixed messages between us.” Leonard murmured into your hair, not relaxing his hold on you for a second.

“Yeah. I think we should.” You answered, immediately missing the loss of Leonard’s hold when he let you go. Leonard took your hand in his though, guiding you over to the couch so you could both sit down. “Where do you want to start?”

“I’d say at the beginning, but I don’t really know where that is anymore.” Leonard smiled sadly, and you returned it. “How about why you aren’t sleeping? Jim told me you were having nightmares. Didn’t go into detail or anything, just that you didn’t want to tell me.”

You looked down at your hands. “You’ve got enough to deal with. You don’t need my problems on top.” You shrugged.

“Darlin’, no. Just because I’m going through stuff, it doesn’t mean your troubles are any less important.” Leonard tugged you closer to him, so that your back was against his chest. “I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel like that.” He added as a whisper.

You looked up to see the guilt on Leonard’s face, and quickly squeezed his hand. “It’s not your fault, so don’t go beating yourself up over it.” You murmured. “Jim’s got me an appointment with Blackburn. I’m going to see him tomorrow.”

“Good. That’s good.” Leonard ran his fingers through your hair gently. “But still, if you want to talk, come to me please. I know I’m still fucked up, but I want to help you. I want to be here for you.”

You nodded, leaning into Leonard’s touches. “I want to be strong for you, Leonard. I’m already scared that you want us split up, and I’m even more terrified that you’ll definitely want to if I’m weak. You’ve been so distant…”

“God, Y/N, never think you’re weak, because you’re not. You’re amazingly strong. You’ve held the both of us up these last few months.” Leonard sighed. “And I know I’ve been distant, but it’s not because of you. Well it is, but not in a bad way.” You looked up at Leonard again, raising an eyebrow to prompt him to go further. Leonard hesitated a moment, before continuing. “The more I’m coming back into my own head…the more I realize that…that I don’t look like I used to. That I never will again. My back. There’s so many scars. I’m scared…I’m scared that you’ll see them and be disgusted by them.”

“I could never be disgusted by you, Lee.”

“You haven’t seen them.”

“Then show me.”

Leonard looked down at you, and for a moment you thought he was going to say no, but then he nodded. “Let’s go into the bedroom.” You stood with Leonard, and walked with him. Leonard sat in the middle of the bed, while you knelt behind him. The other hesitated for a few more moments, then slowly pulled his shirt over his head. “I know they’re bad, but Geoff said they’ll fade more over time. Maybe one day they won’t look so awful.” Leonard mumbled, and you didn’t have to see his face to know he was blushing.

“Relax, Leonard. It’s okay.” You soothed, running your hands along his arms gently, before turning your attention to his back. You hadn’t seen it since the first session with M’Benga after he released Leonard to your quarters, but you knew everything was going as well as could be expected. The scars were ugly, still raised, but paler than the last time you’d seen then, and overall they looked a million times better than then. You made a mental note to thank M’Benga. For now though, you focused on Leonard, who was cringing under your gaze.

Not knowing how to convey that you loved Leonard, scars and all with words, you leaned down and placed a gentle kiss to one sloping down the middle of Leonard’s back. Leonard’s breath caught as you did so. “Darlin’…” He whispered, so you did it again to one of the uglier looking scars that crossed over it.

“I love you, Leonard. Nothing’s going to make me stop.” You spoke softly against the raised skin, carefully running your fingers along a few of the others. “I promise.” In front of you, you heard Leonard sniff quietly.

“Don’t leave me, please.” Leonard managed to choke out around a sob.

“Never. Never leaving you.” You moved around, pressing your front to Leonard’s back, arms slipping around his waist as you rested your chin on his shoulder. The two of you stayed like that, Leonard’s hands coming to cover yours.

When your legs began to go numb, the two of you moved so you were lying down facing each other, your fingers trailing over Leonard’s chest. There were still a few scars there too, but they were already smooth and pale, and likely to fade until they were barely noticeable.

“Blackburn has put me in for a couple of shifts in MedBay next week.” Leonard told you after a few minutes of silence. “I won’t be treating patients or anything, just paperwork.”

You nodded, smiling softly. “You think you’re ready?”

“Yeah, I think so. Going stir crazy stuck in here all the time, and I miss my MedBay.” Leonard replied. “I should be able to handle some paperwork.”

“I’m proud of you.” You murmured, leaning over to kiss Leonard. The other smiled against your lips, pulling you close to him. “I’ll talk to Geoff to see if I can get some shifts the same days. I’m running out of leave, so maybe if I start back gradually, it won’t be so bad when it’s full time.”

Leonard hummed in agreement, moving to nuzzle your neck. “It’d be nice to have you there with me. In case it is a little too much.”

“You’ll do great, I know you will. You’re tough, Leonard.” You ran your fingers through Leonard’s hair, smiling again as you felt a kiss on your neck. “You’ll be ruling the roost again before you know it.”    

~

The day of Leonard’s first shift back in MedBay didn’t start off as planned. Leonard had woken in the middle of the night, chest heaving in the wake of his nightmare. You’d sat with him, carding your fingers through his hair, and singing quietly. Eventually you’d managed to coax Leonard back to sleep, before dropping off yourself, but you hadn’t slept for long. Your own nightmare claimed you, and you’d snapped upright in bed, choking on the imaginary dust in your mouth. Usually your dreams didn’t wake Leonard, but he hadn’t been sleeping deeply himself, so he awoke with you.

It had been nice to have Leonard awake with you for once, hugging you close as you clung to him, and running his fingers through your hair, but even with that comfort you’d been acutely aware of your combined guilt. Yours came from disturbing Leonard just before the start of such a big day, and you guessed that Leonard’s came from him being the reason why you were on that planet, and so the reason you had nightmares. Neither of you discussed it though, both too wary to dredge up even more emotions. Instead you simply held each other tightly, trying to convey your love for the other through the action, and watched as the minutes ticked by on the chrono until the alarm sounded.

“I can give Geoff a call and ask him to rearrange your shift if you’d rather get more sleep.” You murmured quietly, looking up at Leonard and brushing a stray hair out of his eye.

Leonard smiled softly. “I’m fine, I want to go.” He said, leaning down to press a kiss to your forehead.

“If you’re sure.” You returned Leonard’s smile, then reluctantly untangled yourself from the pile of limbs the two of you had become. While Leonard was in the shower, you made breakfast. It was just a light bowl of cereal and an apple; you knew Leonard wouldn’t be able to stomach any more than that this morning. Arms wrapped around you, and you looked up at the other, smiling at the glimpse of the blue shirt he was wearing. Seeing Leonard in his uniform was something you weren’t sure you’d ever see again.

“I’m not hungry.” Leonard murmured, scowling over your shoulder at the food.

“And I’m not letting you go back to work without breakfast, you know as well as I do that you need it.”

Leonard huffed. “Haven’t you heard that saying about apples and doctors?”

“I have, but if you try to use that as an excuse, I’ll tell Jim it works.” You laughed, pulling away from Leonard. “So unless you want to spend the rest of your life having apples thrown at you, I suggest at least eating some of it.”

“Fine.” Leonard grumbled, sitting down with the food while you went for your own shower. By the time you were done, and had put your own uniform on, Leonard had just about finished his breakfast.

“Thank you.” You squeezed Leonard’s shoulder as you passed, grabbing some breakfast for yourself too. You watched Leonard as you ate, trying to figure out how he was really feeling. There were nerves, definitely, but as he stood to clear away his empty bowl, you caught the glimpse of determination behind his eyes too. You smiled. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.” Leonard answered, turning to face you. You nodded, walking with Leonard out of your quarters and down to MedBay.

“Let me know if you need anything, okay?” You kissed Leonard’s freshly shaven cheek.

“Okay, darlin’.” Leonard smiled, and you watched as he looked around the relatively empty area, nodding in reply to the smiles offered to him by the other staff members, before disappearing into his office. You knew people were glad to have Leonard back, even in a mostly passive capacity, but you were also glad that everyone was giving him his space. Leonard hated attention, and if that attention came with a fair dose of pity, it would send him running. This way he was able to join everyone outside his office when he felt up to it.

Snapping yourself from your thoughts about Leonard, you looked around too, focusing on your own work. It felt good to be back working, you hadn’t realized how much you’d missed it. You’d talked with your friends and colleagues during your time off, of course, but you hadn’t really spent much time with them, and you were happy by how easily you slid back into the fold of things.

For you, the morning passed quickly. You weren’t particularly busy, but the fact that you had work to do at all, made the time speed by. As lunch approached, you prepared to go and see Leonard in his office, and find out how he was getting on. However, just as you’d replicated you both some food, the office door slid open, and hesitantly Leonard emerged from it. He scanned the room quickly, making his way over as soon as he spotted you. “Hey, darlin’.”

“Hey. Everything okay?” You asked, passing Leonard the salad you were holding, before starting to eat your own.

“Yeah. Thought I’d come see you, spend some time out here.” Leonard looked happy, genuinely so, and it made you smile. “I’ve missed my MedBay.”

“It’s missed you too.” You chuckled, nudging Leonard’s shoulder with your own. “How’s the paperwork going?”

“Boring, but it’s better than twiddling my thumbs at home.” Leonard replied with another a smile. M’Benga and a few other nurses came to the two of you while you ate, exchanging niceties and general chit-chat. Leonard handled it well at first, but you could see that the conversations were starting to tire him, and thankfully the others did too, because they took their leave, and left you alone again.

“I gotta get back to work.” You said, and Leonard nodded.

“Okay, I should get back to my paperwork too. Geoff really is terrible at it.” Leonard chuckled, pulling you in for a quick kiss, before leaving you go. You walked away, thinking over what needed to be done next.

“Doctor McCoy, can you sign this for me please? Doctor M’Benga is busy.” You overheard another nurse talking to Leonard, but didn’t think much about it. “Doctor McCoy? Sir?” The suddenly changed tone caused you to snap around. The nurse was balancing a PADD in one hand and a tray in the other. A tray with hypos on. Leonard’s attention was fixed solely on the tray, seemingly oblivious to the person in front of him. He’d paled, and even from the distance you could see the tremor start to run through his body. “Doctor McCoy, are you-”

“It’s all right, I’ve got this.” You were by Leonard’s side in an instant, one look to the nurse sending them away. “Come on, Lee, follow me.” You could feel Leonard shaking under your hands as you led him back into the office. You released him so you could lock the door, ensuring no one could get in, and when you turned back Leonard was standing by his desk, white knuckling the wood. “Leonard?” You placed your hand on his arm again, looking up at Leonard, but his eyes weren’t focused, distant. “Leonard come back to me.” You tried shaking Leonard, but still nothing. “Leonard!”

Leonard inhaled sharply, legs nearly buckling underneath him as he came back to his senses, and you only just managed to get him to his chair. You knelt in front of him, hands resting on his knees. “Lee?”

Leonard blinked down at you slowly, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Y/N…” He whispered, gripping the arms of his chair tightly as he fought to get his breathing in check. “I was there…I was back…I could feel the pressure on my neck…the drug in my veins…”

“It’s okay. You’re safe now, sweetheart. You’re with me.” You whispered in return, reaching up to brush the tears away. “Let’s get you home. I think you’ve done enough for one day.”

Leonard’s eyes widened as you spoke, jumping out of the chair and knocking you back in the process. “No! You can’t! Don’t take my MedBay away from me!” Panic laced Leonard’s voice, and you quickly scrambled to your feet.

“Leonard, calm down! No one’s taking your MedBay away.” You grabbed Leonard’s arms, trying to ground him. “But we both know you’re not going to concentrate anymore today. Let’s go home, get some rest, and you can come back for your shift tomorrow, I promise.” You looked up into Leonard’s eyes, letting him see the honesty in them.

Reluctantly, Leonard nodded. “Okay.”

You smiled, grabbing your comm and sending a quick message to M’Benga that Leonard needed to leave, and you needed to be with him, then gently guided Leonard out of the MedBay and back to your quarters. You showered together, Leonard leaning heavily against you. Now you were fully alone, the exhaustion fully hit home, and you had difficulty moving him around, eventually getting Leonard into bed. “Things’ll be better tomorrow. You did so well today, baby. I’m proud of you.” You murmured, running your fingers through Leonard’s hair as he put his head in your lap. “I love you.”  

~

The next day was better. Leonard went through his shift without any problems, though he didn’t venture out of his office all day. After talking to Doctor Blackburn, he decided to keep doing the odd shift, something you were pleased about. You’d been scared that the bad experience of the first day would push him back, so when you knew it hadn’t, you were relieved. Most of those shifts were spent with Leonard solely locked in his office, but as time went on, he gradually began to spend some time out of it, and thankfully there were no more flashbacks or panic attacks. There was a period of time when Leonard’s nightmares worsened again, a result of keeping himself calm during the day, but with a few more sessions with Blackburn, they settled again.

It took a long time, and a lot of discussing, but it was finally decided that Leonard had improved enough to start treating patients again. He was only to be assigned simple cases for now, everyone, including Leonard himself, still wary about if he could handle the pressure that came with more complex cases. Still, when the decision was made, you were sure you’d never seen Leonard so excited. Even with the nerves that came with it, Leonard still reminded you of a child at Christmas, making your heart ache with happiness that Leonard was able to feel strong, genuinely positive things for the first time in months.

When the day came, Leonard slid back into the job with ease. You shadowed him a lot, helping when he required it, and you found it difficult to suppress the smile on your lips as you watched Leonard do what he did best; be a Doctor. It was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, focusing on his patients allowing him to forget about his own problems. It was all going exceptionally well until Leonard needed to administer his first hypo. You had prepped it for him, but as he took it from you, you saw his world narrow down, focused on nothing but the hypo in his hand. You paused, waiting. You didn’t want to interfere too soon, knowing that it wouldn’t help Leonard if you removed any problem he ever faced. Time did start to drag on though, and you were finally going to step in when Leonard snapped himself out of it. He took a deep breath, centering himself, and his hand barely trembled as he gave the hypo. You offered Leonard a smile as you took the hypo back to discard it, and Leonard returned it with one of his own.

Leonard’s trouble with hypos continued on, but each time he managed to conquer it, making the pride inside you swell continuously. By the time the day came to an end, you could see how exhausted Leonard was, but at the same time, you could see the pride in himself. The two of you had planned on returning to your quarters after the shift, so you could relax and Leonard could recharge after being around so many people, but then Leonard’s comm beeped. It was Jim saying that he needed to speak to the both of you urgently. You and Leonard exchanged looks as you walked to Jim’s ready room, both curious.

Jim looked tired as you took your seats, a deep frown marring his usually bright features. “What’s going on, Jim?” Leonard asked, a frown of his own growing.

“I’ve been talking to Command. They had an update on K’gon.” Jim started, cringing when Leonard flinched at the name alone. “He’s been interrogated, they wanted to know where he got his information from, and he’s finally talked. His source was from inside Starfleet. Admiral Weller.”

“I’ve heard of him. He was one of-”

“Admiral Marcus’ protégé’s, I know.” Jim finished for Leonard and sighed. “It seems it wasn’t just wisdom Marcus passed along; he also passed on his want for war with the Klingons. After Marcus failed to start that war, Weller took it into his own hands. He couldn’t start the war from our side, not without raising suspicion, so he decided to aid the Klingons to prepare for war from their side.” Jim sat back in his chair, rubbing his temples. “Of course he didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire of a war, so apparently he made a deal with the Klingons. They paid him with a substantial amount of credits, no one’s sure where they got it from yet, and agreed to give him safe passage to a neutral planet of his choice, and in return, he gave them information that would guarantee they win the war. He told them about you, Bones. About what you did for me.”

Jim paused, giving you a chance to absorb this new information. “How did he orchestrate all that from Earth though? They knew almost everything about me, and if Weller had suddenly started to show that much interest in me or in the Enterprise, suspicions would have been raised.” Leonard broke the silence first, voicing what you had just been about to.

“That’s where it gets even worse. Weller wasn’t working on his own. He was paying others to do the dirty work for him, but we don’t know who these people are.” Jim continued. “He has some allies amongst the senior officers, we know that. It’s why we couldn’t obtain permission to cross the border; they were blocking us until we figured out what was going on, then they had to relent because it would look too odd. The officers not working for Weller are pretty sure that he probably has some junior officers working for him too, and they’re likely on board right now. Spies to relay information on us, on you, back to Weller.”

“Shit.” You and Leonard cursed simultaneously.

“Tell me about it. There’s going to be a massive investigation into it. It’ll be chaos. Weller admitted to it all, so he’s been arrested and stripped of his title, and he’s awaiting transport to a penal colony for further questioning. The Enterprise had been chosen to escort him there.”

“Is that wise if he has spies on board?” You asked.

“It isn’t ideal, but at the moment, we’re the only ship the ‘Fleet has where they can fully trust the senior officers. They don’t know if Weller’s web has stretched out to other Captain’s or not, but they do know that he hasn’t gotten to me or Spock, and I’ve vouched for the rest of our main bridge crew, so it’s their safest option.” Jim answered. “I also get the feeling that it’s some form of apology. It was made clear that we are to treat him to same way as we treated K’gon.” Jim looked over to you, the two of you sharing a knowing look, which of course Leonard immediately caught on to.

“What are you two talking about? What did you do to him?” You and Jim looked at each other again, before you sighed.

“When you were still sedated, Spock and I went to the brig to deliver some shots to him. Amongst them may have been a hypo of that stuff they gave you.” You explained quietly.

Leonard paused for a moment. “What did you make him think?”

“That there was a fire. He was so god damned smug with himself, going on about how that was his favorite, that I couldn’t stop myself.” You looked over Leonard, who simply nodded.

“What the bastard deserved.” Leonard replied. “When do we get to Earth?”

“The course has already been set, so three days.”

~

You and Leonard didn’t leave the ship when you docked at Earth. Leonard still didn’t want to risk being subjected to too many questions, or pitying looks, and he definitely didn’t want to see former Admiral Weller. Not yet anyway. So the two of you locked yourselves away in his office, going over the files of MedBay staff. An internal investigation had begun to try and root out the spies. An announcement had been made that every crew member was going to be investigated and questioned, and Jim said that if anyone had information about the identity of the spies, they’d be rewarded. Finally, Jim had said that if anyone came forward willingly, their co-operation would be taken into account during their hearing. As of yet though, no one had admitted to spying for Weller, so you and Leonard were left no choice other than to try and root them out yourselves.

You were both busy when Jim let himself into the office, but you stopped what you were doing to look up at him. “How’d it go?” You asked, setting your PADD back on the desk as Jim took a seat.

“Well enough. Weller’s on board and locked on the brig, and only a few people have access to him. Bones, Spock and myself. It’ll mean one of us will have to be present when it comes to meals and whatever, but it’s necessary to reduce the risk of him and one of his spies trying to form an escape plan.”

You nodded along with Leonard. “I can take care of things like that. If the only visitors he has is me with one of you three, it’d be impossible for him to try and escape.” You said.

“That makes sense, thanks, Y/N.” Jim smiled and you returned it. “Any luck with the files?”

“We’ve singled out a few newer staff members who might be working with Weller, but nothing concrete yet.” Leonard answered.

“Send the names to me, and Spock and I will question them.” Jim rose, walking to the door before pausing and turning again. “Bones, I don’t expect you to interact with Weller; Spock and I can take it in turns to escort Y/N, but as I said, you do have access to him if you wish to…see him. If you do though, I’d like if you’d let me know. I’d enjoy being present for that visit.”

Leonard nodded his understanding. “I haven’t decided yet, but if I do, I’ll call you.”

“Okay, Bones. See you both later.” Jim waved his hand, then disappeared from the room.

“If you do want to go and see him. I’ll be with you.” You smiled, turning to face Leonard.

“Thank you, darlin’.” Leonard leaned over to kiss you, smiling softly against your lips.

A few days later and Leonard did decide he wanted to pay Weller a visit. Spock joined you as well as Jim as you all marched onto the brig. Jim stood in front of the door, observing from a distance, while Spock moved to the controls. You stood a little behind Leonard, but didn’t enter the cell when Leonard did.

Weller stood when Leonard approached him, but he was a head shorter than Leonard, and you found a strange satisfaction in the fact Weller was forced to look up at him. “Doctor McCoy, I wondered if I’d see you. I thought perhaps you’d still be too incapacitated to pay me a visit.” There wasn’t even a hint of remorse in Weller’s voice, just coldness, and your hands curled into fists by your sides.

Leonard’s action imitated your own, and you could almost see the anger radiating off him. “It’ll take more than your bastard friend to break me.” Leonard growled.

“Yet he came close though, did he not? I was sent regular updates of your progress. A few more days and you would have given in.” Weller replied, stepping closer to Leonard. “I must admit that I admired K’gon’s skills. His handiwork was quite impressive.”

That seemed to be the last straw for Leonard, because suddenly he moved, quicker than you thought he could, and his fist came squarely into contact with Weller’s face. The crunch of a nose breaking echoed around the cell, and blood poured from it. Leonard drew his hand back, using Weller’s shock to land another blow. Weller stumbled backwards, Leonard following him until he had the former Admiral pinned against the wall, one arm resting across his throat, while he used the other to continue his assault.

A part of you thought that maybe you should stop him, but the rest of you really didn’t want to. You didn’t notice Spock had moved until he was right next to you, and pressing something into your hand. You looked down at the item, then back up at Spock and nodded. You entered the cell, and went up to Leonard. “Leonard. Use this.”

Leonard looked at your offered item, panting from the exertion. It was unlike Leonard to have such a hardness in his eyes, and it made you a little uneasy, but at the same time, you knew you were currently sharing the same hardness in your own. You exchanged a glance, then Leonard took the item from you and you retreated again. “You admired that bastard’s skill, did you? Well let me give you a taste of what some of that skill felt like.” Leonard held up the hypo he was holding, and by the way Weller’s eyes widened, as much as they could anyway, you guessed he recognized the the green liquid inside.

“No…” He started to protest, but the hiss of the hypo being pressed into him cut it off. You didn’t hear what Leonard whispered into Weller’s ear, but as Leonard released him and backed out of the cell, you saw the panic in his eyes.

“What did you say to him?” You asked, your question barely audible over Weller’s first cry of pain.

“I told him about the whips K’gon used. Figured that if just a hint of something can cause pain, a graphic description would cause even more. Seems I was right.” Leonard stated simply, watching Weller for a few more moments, before turning and exiting the brig, quickly followed by Jim.

“Does he require medical attention?” Spock asked, standing by your side again, and passing you a tricorder. You stepped closer to Weller who had already been reduced to whimpers on the floor, and knelt by his side.

“My Leonard is stronger than you could have ever hoped to be.” You whispered as you scanned him. You weren’t sure if Weller could even hear you, but it didn’t make the statement any less true. “Nothing that can’t wait until we arrive at the penal colony.” You said as you straightened again. “When we come down next time, I’ll bring something to wash the blood off, but that’s all he needs from us.”

Spock nodded, sealing the cell behind you. “Very well. I’ll inform the medical staff there that the prisoner will require some attention sometime after arrival.” He said, and you walked with him out of the brig, Spock locking it down quickly.

“I hope he rots there.” You muttered under your breath.

Spock naturally heard you, and while he didn’t say anything, the tell-tale half smile appeared on his lips.

You laughed.

~

You squeaked as Leonard grabbed you from behind, fingers tickling your ribs evilly. “Get off! I’m trying to open the door!” You laughed, squirming from the other’s grasp so you could finish entering the code.

“But I love you, darlin’.” Leonard whined, picking you up and making you squeak again as he carried you inside. He’d finally put the weight he’d lost back on, and if anything, he was even stronger than he had been before.

“Leonard McCoy, you’re a damned tease!” You giggled, holding onto him as he set you down again. You fiddled with the buttons on his dress shirt, smiling against Leonard’s lips as he kissed you.

You’d just returned from a diplomatic mission, though ‘mission’ probably wasn’t the right word. The ceremony and dinner, had been relaxed with alcohol flowing freely, which meant that you and Leonard were now pleasantly tipsy. The host planet was celebrating being a member of the Federation for thirty years, and so had invited members from all Federation planets to attend. As Starfleet’s flagship, the Enterprise had been sent on Earth’s behalf. Secretly, it was also a way to suggest that things within Starfleet were stable and fine, even though it was the exact opposite.

Weller’s betrayal had caused chaos, and the investigation that followed had discovered that he wasn’t the only one who had loyalties elsewhere. Internally, the revelation had sent Starfleet into disarray. Externally, they somehow managed to pretend that everything was fine.

At the moment though, you didn’t give a damn about the ‘Fleet’s public image, or what was going to happen in the uncertain future. What you cared about was that not only had Leonard successfully completed his first off-ship mission in over a year, he’d actually enjoyed himself too. Originally, he hadn’t wanted to go down, stating that Jim and Spock would have to go without him. But then, after a lot of coaxing, and a plan that involved you faking an illness after the minimum acceptable time to be present had passed, giving you both an excuse to leave, Leonard had agreed.

You all accepted the plan, and you’d been fully prepared to go through with it, but when the time had come, and you’d whispered into Leonard’s ear to ask if he was ready, Leonard shook his head. The simple gesture had both surprised and delighted you. Leonard had smiled back at you, and said that he was enjoying himself. Mainly because your hosts had gone to great lengths to obtain some rare and undoubtedly expensive liquor.

Now you were back though, and Leonard’s hands undoing your own dress uniform pulled you back from your thoughts. “I’m proud of you.” You smiled, leaning up to kiss Leonard as he slid your jacket from your shoulders.

Leonard smiled back, warm hands running over your now bare arms. “Couldn’t have done this, any of this, without you, Y/N.” He whispered, your breath catching at the utter reverence in Leonard’s voice. Strong hands trailed back up your arms, coming to rest on the chain hanging around your neck. “I mean it, Y/N. If I hadn’t had you, I never would have found the strength or will to fight for so long.” Deft fingers unclasped the chain, and pulled it away from you. You watched, eyes wide as Leonard slid the ring from it. “The main reason I wanted to get better was so I could do this.”

Leonard dropped down onto one knee, and you knew you should say something, do something, but you were frozen to the spot, eyes transfixed on Leonard. “I love you, Y/N. I love you so damned much, and I never want to be apart from you again. I know I’m not the man I used to be, probably never will be again, but nothing that’s happened over the last fourteen months has changed my feelings for you or what I see when I think to the future.” Leonard paused, taking a deep breath. “So, Y/N Y/L/N, will you do me the honor of marrying me?”

As soon as the question had left Leonard’s mouth, the spell that had come over you was broken. “Yes. There’s nothing else I’ve ever wanted more.” You grinned, feeling giddy as you watched Leonard slide the ring onto your finger. It fit perfectly, and you realized Leonard must have had it resized for you. Leonard returned your grin as he rose again, and pulled you close as he kissed you. “I love you too, Leonard.” You whispered a little breathlessly as your kiss ended.

Leonard smiled down at you, and took your hand in his. “When I think back on these times, and the dreams we left behind. I’ll be glad ‘cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life. When I look back on these days, I’ll look and see your face. You were right there for me.” You let your head rest on Leonard’s shoulder as the other guided you in small circles around the room, heart fluttering happily in your chest. “In my dreams I’ll always see you soaring by the sky. In my heart there’ll always be a place for, for all my life. I’ll keep a part of you with me. And everywhere I am, there you’ll be. And everywhere I am, there you’ll be.” Even after all this time Leonard hadn’t fully recovered yet. He was taking on more serious cases now, and he and M’Benga were sharing CMO duties, a few more months and he’d take over altogether again, but Leonard was still plagued by nightmares on occasion. You both were. They were getting easier though, slowly but surely. There were other things too. Leonard still had mood swings sometimes, though he could usually control them now, and on occasion a hypo would make him uncomfortable, but again you knew those things would get better. You had each other, and that was enough now.

‘Cause I always saw in you my light, my strength. And I want to thank you now for all the ways you were right there for me. You were right there for me. You were right there for me. For always.” You continued to listen to Leonard’s voice as the song came to a close, once again grateful that you were one of the few that got to hear it. “In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky. In my heart there’ll always be a place for you, for all my life. I’ll keep a part of you with me. And everywhere I am, there you’ll be. And everywhere I am, there you’ll be. There you’ll be.”

You pulled back as Leonard finished and kissed him. “Thank you.” You murmured quietly, running your fingers through Leonard’s hair.

“Thank you.” Leonard smiled, looking down at you. “How ‘bout we go to bed?” He asked with a raised eyebrow that gave away his intentions.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to push you-” You were cut off by another, deeper, more passionate kiss, and the way Leonard pressed against you let you know that this was what he definitely wanted. “Let’s go then.”

Leonard grinned at you wickedly, and once again scooped you into his arms. You clung to him tightly, smiling happily as you fell into bed together.

Yeah, everything was going to be just fine.