No Way To Be In Heaven
In the end, it had taken five large orderlies to pin Jim down long enough for a nurse to sedate him. Leonard scrubbed his face with both hands and sighed heavily, while Jim was transported up to the second floor for observation. He'd tried to stay with Jim, but he was barred from the room. "He's in good hands, Doctor," one of the orderlies said gruffly. "Just take a seat."
Leonard bristled at being ordered so, but he knew he never wanedt worried family members underfoot when he was performing an examination, so he didn't argue. He did wonder when in the hell he'd started thinking of himself as a member of Jim's family, but he refused to dwell on the question. There were other things to worry about... like what they were supposed to do about identifying the body in the basement. If it had been up to Leonard, he'd have positively identified the decedent as Jim Kirk, and that would be the end of it. But the presence of Jim Kirk in the cab, by his side in the morgue, upstairs in an observation room... that took the choice out of Leonard's hands. It also gave him the hell of a headache.
"Dr. McCoy?" Leonard looked up to see one of the doctors he worked with on a fairly frequent basis. Elijah Himmel was a practical man, not given to flights of fancy or fits of hysteria. Leonard relaxed fractionally as he got to his feet and followed Himmel to a corner of the waiting room, where they could discuss Jim's condition more privately.
"I'm going to be frank," Himmel started. The corner of Leonard's mouth quirked up slightly. Good man, he thought. "I have no idea what the hell is going on in this hospital right now."
Well. That was completely unexpected. "Well, lets start with Jim."
Dr. Himmel frowned slightly. "For the most part, I'd say he's fine."
"Fine?! You call that-"
Himmel held his hand up. "For the most part, Doctor. I could find no physical cause for the symptoms that landed him in observation today." Himmel hesitated, which was unlike him. "I did notice something strange, however."
"And that is?"
Himmel looked around, and drew closer. "Listen, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but... this hospital has come under fire more than once because of the unethical deeds of a handful of individuals." Leonard's temper flared, but before he could do more than sputter, Himmel held up his hands. "I'm sorry, Dr. McCoy, I don't mean to accuse you of any wrong doing, but I just don't know what to think about any of this, and the administration is chomping at the bit to point the police back towards Starfleet Academy, just to get us out of the hot seat."
"Don't know what to think about any of what? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Okay," Himmel said. "When Mr. Kirk was placed on the bed, readings came up right away that matched the chart of another recent patient." Himmel hesitated. "A patient currently being stored in Lower Level Two."
All the rage drained from Leonard's body as the situation slowly began to make itself clear. "This deceased patient... did he die on my table a few days ago?"
Himmel nodded. "We all thought it was strange that the police identified the patient as having been a Starfleet Cadet, what with the particular variety of his violent death, and the fact that you were the surgeon who'd lost him. And now you come in with your... friend - McCoy, you must know what this looks like..."
Leonard began to laugh, though nothing was even remotely funny to him. "Wait," he said through his laughing fit. "This is one of the UFP vs Holister Pharm hospitals, isn't it?"
A sob cracked Leonard's hysterical laughter, but he just kept right on cackling through the fucked up insanity of it all. "And James Kirk was one of their victims, wasn't he?"
"It appears that way, anyway," Himmel said slowly. "The chart associated with the decased matches certain... readings for Mr. Kirk. Cellular make up, DNA readings, evidence of specific injuries line up perfectly in estimated healing time and location. The only major difference is that the body in the morgue came in with several fresh wounds that the man upstairs doesn't have."
"Of course not! Because they aren't the same person!" Leonard stumbled to the nearest chair and collapsed in it, giving vent to pent up fears of his own sanity and reason. Of course. They aren't the same person.
Dr. Himmel took the seat nearest Leonard. "You do realize that according to Starfleet Academy records, Lieutenant James T. Kirk is too young to have been a participant in the Holister Experiments." It wasn't a question.
Leonard shook his head as his frantic laughter finally began to subside. "But there's no other explanation. It isn't as if anyone else is trying to illegally clone people, and Jim would never have participated in a legally sanctioned medical experiment on Academy grounds, no matter how much the Admiralty begged or fluffed his ego about it." Leonard was certain of that - Jim was relatively fearless, but he'd always steered clear of the Academy Hospital. A dislike of medical clinics, distrust of biological scientists, apprehension (and eventual terror) of being in this hospital in particular... Jim had an almost unhealthy dislike of all things medical, except for Leonard himself (and in the beginning, even that wasn't necessarily true, Leonard realized belatedly). It was entirely possible that Jim had been duped into being one of Holister's medical trial volunteers, and had to endure some unknown torture that never made it out of the closed courtrooms.
But if Jim had been one of their victims, why didn't he just explain all this to Leonard in the first place, especially since the ruling against Holister Pharmaceuticals had rendered any nondisclosure statements null and void? Why insist that Leonard must be mistaken about the identity of the man in the morgue? And why the panic? Unless... "Do you think I could see Jim?" Leonard asked softly. "I just want to make sure he's okay. He panics in hospitals..."
Himmel gave Leonard an odd look. "If you knew that, why'd you bring him here?"
"He insisted. He wanted me to see that the man in the basement wasn't him." Leonard shook his head and got to his feet. "So much for that."
But Himmel was hesitant. "I... I'm not sure that's a good idea. If you're following orders, keeping tabs on a test subject..."
"Fine." Leonard wouldn't say he understood - he didn't. "So what are you going to do? Hold on to him until a family member comes to collect him? His mother's a commander in Starfleet. His brother and sister in law are biologists in Vienna. His father is the late George Fucking Kirk. Starfleet is his family."
"Then I'll recommend he be kept under observation until he's made a full recovery-"
"And how long will that take? What if I'm telling the truth, and it's Holister that's done this to him? How long will it take for him to get over being in a hospital that locked its volunteers away and threatened them with death unless they agreed to the company's ridiculous demands for silence? You don't trust me? Go to Starfleet Academy. Ask for the security feeds. See whose side he sticks by, Dr. Himmel, and tell me if he's trying to get away from that person. Hell, check the security feeds in here, and tell me whose side he sticks next to, when all he wants to do is run! Go ahead! I'll wait!" Leonard's chest heaved and his ears rang in the sudden silence. He glanced around and realized everyone in the waiting room was staring at him. Good.
Himmel ground his teeth. "Fine. But if he shows any signs of distress, you'll be removed-"
Leonard popped out of his seat and stormed to the nearest lift. He liked Himmel, he really did, and he could certainly see the man's point of view, but if he had to sit there and listen to the man's self-righteous lecture for a moment longer, Leonard was going to clobber Himmel right in the face. He slipped in the lift and held the doors shut before Himmel could trap himself in the lift with Leonard, and breathed a sigh of relief as the chamber deposited him on the second floor. It took him a moment to find the room where Jim was, but he made it to the private room without being harassed by hospital staff.
Jim lay in the middle of the bed, staring at a point somewhere beyond the top of the wall across from his bed, but below the ceiling, where no one but he could see. His cheeks were dusted a pleasant rosy pink that contrasted perfectly with the otherwise winter frost of his skin. His arms were strong and well muscled, and ended in thick, meaty hands that gently gripped the bedsheet gathered on his lap. But despite all this, he looked frail and tiny in the middle of the narrow bed. Lost. Jim was lost.
Leonard stepped in slowly and grabbed the chair near the bed, pulling it closer, until it was almost underneath the medical apparatus. "Hey," he said softly, as he lowered himself into the chair. No response. Leonard frowned and reached for one of Jim's hands. "Hey, kiddo."
Jim hissed and yanked his hand away as if Leonard's fingers were made of acid. The monitor above Jim's head reflected his elevated heart rate, and Leonard pulled away, sadly. He watched Jim for a few moments before deciding that he was doing more harm than good, and stood to return to the waiting room.
"Bones," Jim said hoarsely. He was gripping the sheet more tightly, but he'd slid his eyes to meet Leonard's. "I need to get out of here."
Leonard frowned a little. "Your vitals are a little out of your norm, Jim. They prob-"
"I need to get out of here, McCoy." The monitor beeped faster, and Leonard worried that a nurse would come in and shoo him away. "If they find me..."
Leonard shrugged helplessly. "If who finds you? Not... Holister...?" Jim gasped, and the biobed's alarm began to shriek. "Jim, Jim, calm down! That was years ago!"
"They'll kill me!" Jim threw the blanket off himself, but he lay there, frozen on the bed, wearing nothing but the jumper they'd dressed him in. "Bones..."
A pair of orderlies came rushing in the room and shoved past Leonard. One had a hypo in hand, but apparently the hospital hadn't learned their lesson from just a few hours earlier, because Jim threw the man off easily. Apparently galvanized by the threat of sedation, Jim got to his feet and slammed the other orderly into a wall, and took off down the hall. Leonard could do nothing but follow.
A pair of security guards, three nurses and a doctor held Jim in check near the nurses station, but he struggled against the doctor's attempts to sedate him again, this time using his Starfleet training to keep the woman from getting a purchase on him. Leonard hesitated, but when two more security guards came in, phasers drawn, Leonard knew he had to step in. He snatched the hypo from the doctor's hand, disengaged the vial and threw it across the room, before dropping the instrument to the floor. "Jim! It's okay! They won't hurt you! I won't let them!" He struggled to pull the hospital staff off Jim, and together they broke away, where Jim could grab a couple of rolling chairs to use as a barrier against his mostly human opponents. Leonard positioned himself between the armed guards, hands up in supplication. "Let him be! He's afraid of you - just let him go, and he'll calm down."
"What the hell is going on - you." Dr. Himmel stormed into the nurses station, mouth pursed. "I want you out of here, McCoy. Now."
"I don't think that's a good idea, Elijah," the other harried doctor said. "He's the only one who has control of the patient."
"Of course he has," Himmel spat. "It's probably all his show, anyway - who knows how many of those things are running around now! Hell, for all we know, Doctor McCoy might have the real subject tied up in a lab on the base, and this is just another of those things."
Leonard's boiled. "Jim is not a thing, dammit." He heard a strangled squeak behind him, and whipped his head around to see. Jim's face was a mask of horror, eyes like saucers, skin like alabaster. "You're not a thing, Jim. He doesn't know what he's talking about."
"You bastard," Himmel growled. "You didn't even tell him? He probably thinks he's a real boy!"
Leonard stepped through the useless barricade of rolling chairs and reached for Jim, not caring what anyone saw, or thought they were seeing. "It's alright, Jim. It's alright." He pulled Jim into a tight embrace, and bit his lip so hard he could taste copper when Jim's strong arms reciprocated. "You're not a thing. You're Jim Kirk, and I haven't lost you, and that's what matters."
"Don't let them kill me, Bones," Jim pleaded. "I - I forgot. I didn't know. I-" He squeezed Leonard even tighter, until his feet didn't quite touch the ground anymore. "Please, Leonard. Help me."
"Someone draw up his discharge," the bedraggled woman doctor said quietly. "He'd probably prefer to see someone at Starfleet Medical."
"Where they can run more experiments on him? Or put him down, like they put the other one down?" Himmel sounded hysterical, something Leonard never thought he'd hear.
"Oh, cut it out, Elijah! The body downstairs was seen in a barfight! That had nothing to do with Starfleet Academy, or this patient! And if they were hurting this patient here in the room with us, do you think he'd go completely apeshit on us and then climb into the lap of a Starfleet doctor? He's afraid of us. You want to talk about the amazing coincidence of Starfleet cadets and cadavers, but you don't want to talk about the amazing coincidence of them showing up at this hospital, or the even more amazing coincidence that the cadet isn't afraid of our mutual colleague, but he's convinced we're all out to kill him! Open your eyes, Doctor! Starfleet isn't the enemy!"
Someone cleared their throat at the station proper. "I need a signature here."
Leonard turned to the mousey sounding man. "For what?"
"Mr. Kirk's release. It's best to have his-"
"You'll leave me alone?" Jim still clung to Leonard, though he'd loosened his grip enough for Leonard's feet to touch the floor properly again.
The nurse hesitated. "It just says that you're rejecting further care, and won't hold us responsible for anything..." He trailed off and backed away from the flashing screen.
"Just sign it, Jim. Go ahead, and we'll get back to our room, and we'll never have to come back here."
Jim swallowed audibly before releasing his deathgrip on Leonard, and approached the desk warily. All the staff backed away, giving him space to reach the desk. Jim picked up the waiting stylus and signed hesitantly, before rushing back to Leonard's side. "Keep away from me," he growled to the room in general.
"Put his clothes in his room. Let him change before you clean the room out," the female doctor ordered. "Don't crowd him."
Leonard nodded his thanks to her as they moved slowly back to the observation room. Jim's clothes were waiting for him in a bag, and he got quickly back into uniform. Once his cadet reds were on, the color began to return his cheeks, and his demeanor became a little more certain, a little less feral. He turned to Leonard and did his best to fake that brilliant smile of his. "So. Shall we?"