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Private Safe places

Discussion in 'Threads of Time' started by James Kirk, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. James Kirk

    James Kirk Star Trek

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    June 26th
    Early morning
    @Leonard McCoy

    Jim couldn't have said how long he'd stood in that tomb, back pressed so tight against the wall he might as well have been trying to pass through it, frozen in place aside from the minute tremors running through his limbs. He only knew that he could still feel the press of her lips against his, lips that were full and warm and soft according to his brain, and yet registered on his lips as something dry and withered. He'd always known, logically, that Pandora was a small place, especially considering the wide expanse of universe he'd once flown through, but it wasn't until now that he felt an oppressiveness from that smallness, an awareness that no matter how far he ran he'd never be more than a day away from her, wherever she'd gone, and that was at best.

    He ran to Bones.

    It was a habit that had developed early on in their friendship, even when he couldn't - or wouldn't - say why he was running or what he was running from, which had been often back then. The doctor's bluntness, the cynicism that veiled his kindness, was apparently the cure to just about all his ills, or at least a temporary salve that got him through without needing a trip to a psychiatrist (something he'd never appreciated until the mandatory counseling he endured after his 'death'). The trip back out of the tomb, out of the desert, was little more than a blur, body operating on autopilot to carry him somewhere it knew was safe. The exact hour was a mystery but the streets in Pandora Town were quiet and sleepy in a manner that suggested the small hours of the morning, a time when just about anyone with any sense was sleeping.

    It occurred to him, as he knocked on his door, that Bones might not even be here. Somehow he managed to work even crazier hours in Pandora than he had on the ship, and Jim could feel his heart start to beat just a little faster at the thought of the apartment being empty, of having to go to the hospital to look for him, of having to hope they didn't miss one another along the way. There hadn't been enough time from Bones to make it from his bed to the door but Jim couldn't stop himself from knocking again, the edges of the panic he'd thought he had under control showing in the rapid thud of his knuckles, as if he would break through the door if it didn't open soon.

     
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  2. Leonard McCoy

    Leonard McCoy Star Trek

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    [​IMG]
    Leonard had been sound asleep when he was startled awake by an insistent banging, like someone had decided it’d be a great time to redecorate their apartment at... the alarm clock on his nightstand read 4:24 a.m., and he couldn’t help but groan and shove his head beneath the pillow, as if it’d be enough to block out the noise. Who the hell was making such a racket at half past four in the fucking morning? And when he’d only slept something like two or three hours?

    The noise stopped, making Leonard sigh in relief from beneath his feather-soft fortress. Exhaustion tugged at him, enticing him to return to slumberland, but he’d been thoroughly startled awake by the noise. Falling back to sleep, despite how tired he still felt, was going to take forever now. Leonard exhaled and rolled over onto his side, rubbing sleepily at his eyes, but then the banging came again. And it was then, as he was struggling to put his furious thoughts into order, that he realized it wasn’t banging but... knocking.

    Someone was knocking on his front door.

    Grumbling, Leonard shucked off his comforter and swung his legs over the side of the bed, rising unsteadily and shambling through the apartment like a literal zombie. Whoever the hell was banging on his door so early in the goddamn morning was going to get an earful, so help him—

    He wrenched the door open to find Jim, looking... looking lost, and afraid, and a host of other emotions Leonard couldn’t put a name to. Leonard was suddenly vividly reminded of their Academy years before they’d become roommates, Jim dropping by at odd hours to hang out with him because the ghosts that haunted him were too much to deal with alone. He knew of some of those ghosts now, so his anger evaporated in a metaphorical puff of smoke.

    Sighing heavily, Leonard pulled his door open and stepped aside to let Jim pass through. “You’d better have a good reason for waking me up so goddamn early in the morning,” he grumbled, more to keep up appearances than because he was annoyed at Jim — though he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t a little annoyed, really — as he turned and shambled over to the living room. “You’re lucky I have a late shift tomorrow,” he added, plopping into an armchair.

     
    #2 Leonard McCoy, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  3. James Kirk

    James Kirk Star Trek

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    When the door finally opened the sense of relief he felt was almost enough to make him weak in the knees. He could have kissed him, he was so grateful he was there, but instead he just stepped inside, some of the tension in his neck and shoulders eased just by crossing that boundary. Though Jim normally liked to play the leader - preferably leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else until he was neck deep in whatever was going on - now he waited, following close at Bones' heels until he was left standing more or less in the middle of the room, not quite able to bring himself to sit. He'd always had a problem with having a little too much energy and even now he wasn't still, fingers twitching against his leg as he shifted his weight from foot to foot.

    "I…" He stopped, swallowed, realizing suddenly how ridiculous, how impossible what he was going to say was likely to sound. He'd seen a dead, dessicated corpse walking around. He'd helped it. It played on a loop in his head, the disjointed way her body had moved across the floor, not truly held together by anything and yet still functioning in a parody of humanity. He couldn't quite suppress a shudder, paling a little as he swallowed past an unexpected wave of nausea. That was definitely going to be nightmare fodder. "I need a drink, where's your scotch?" If he could just blur it a little, that would help.

     
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  4. Leonard McCoy

    Leonard McCoy Star Trek

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    [​IMG]
    Leonard lay in the armchair, drained beyond belief. He’d never been any good with being woken up in the middle of a sleep cycle, though if he put his mind to it he could go thirty or so hours without sleep. He scratched a stubbled cheek, yawning hugely. But of course, he couldn’t help but eyeball Jim. He was still standing, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Exhausted as he was, the silence that stretched out between them was... unsettling. Jim tended to ramble, especially when things weren’t all that bad. It was when he was quiet that Leonard knew he had to worry.

    “Uhhh...” he said oh-so-helpfully, memory trying to catch up with his brain. “Somewhere over... there, I think.” Scrubbing sleep out of his eyes with the heel of a hand, he pointed at the liquor cabinet. It was a small thing, really. Just a couple of shelves behind glass doors in the corner of the living room with an assortment of bottles. Some were still sealed, but others, like the very scotch Jim wanted a taste of, were open and already half-full. Or half-empty. It was all a matter of perspective.

    “Glasses’re somewhere in there too,” he muttered, pausing to yawn again. God, it almost felt like he cracked his jaw open with that one. “Hell, might as well join you. Sure hope you don’t want any ice, ‘cause I dunno if I bothered putting any in the freezer.” Casual remarks would do for now, until Jim had calmed down enough to start talking. Leonard had experienced enough of these late-night visits to have worked out the best way of dealing with Jim when he got this way, and alcohol... well, it wasn’t a medically-approved method, but it was a timeless one.

     
    #4 Leonard McCoy, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  5. James Kirk

    James Kirk Star Trek

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    The gesture was all Jim needed, in motion before Bones had even quite finished with his sleepy directions. He even managed to pull out the scotch and glasses without fumbling, and poured a large shot-worth into one, downing it without even bothering to set the bottle down. The way it burned on the way down was comfortingly familiar, as was the ritual of drinking away his troubles, and he stood there for a moment, savoring the sensation.

    A second shot nearly followed the first - he knew his limits, knew exactly what it would take to ensure he didn't have to try falling asleep with thoughts of that...woman...in his head. Hell, maybe he'd still go that far later but it turned out hangovers started being a real bitch after thirty. Nerves at least somewhat steadied, Jim instead poured a finger's worth of scotch for Bones, silently handing him the glass on his way to the couch. His own glass gave him somewhere to focus his moody stare, and he found himself glad to have an excuse not to look at Bones. The last thing he wanted to see was the look of incredulity that what he was about to say completely deserved.

    "I found a mummy today. In the desert. Except she wasn't some nicely wrapped museum display piece, ooooh no." The hand with the glass gestured emphatically, though not so much so that any of the liquid inside was in danger of spilling out. "She was alive in there, Bones. And she had some kind of...telepathy or something, I could hear her. So I figure I'll be a nice guy, help her get out of there before she suffocates to death and..." Revulsion passed across his face as the scene played itself out in his head again, not nearly blunted enough for his tastes, and Jim tossed back his second scotch. "That was a mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake. Have you ever seen a dead body walking? Because I have. It's..." Words failed him, nor did the gestures of his hands give really any real indication of the gruesome, unnatural action, though perhaps the visible shudder at least made it clear how ungodly it was.

     
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  6. Leonard McCoy

    Leonard McCoy Star Trek

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    [​IMG]
    Leonard made a small noise of assent when Jim passed him a glass, knowing not to pour him too much when he was so sleep-deprived. One of the little intimacies of spending the last several years in each other’s company, on the same ship and amidst the same crew. Leonard settled more comfortably into the armchair, taking a small sip to savor the flavor as it traveled down his throat. But he wasn’t blind to how Jim had poured himself a much more generous amount, or to it being his second glass already.

    He waited, as he always did. Jim would eventually talk, and when he did a torrent of information would come along with it. Of course, amid all the scenarios Leonard had already conjured up to explain Jim banging on his door at fuck o’clock in the morning, a living mummy hadn’t crossed his mind. He was pretty sure that was an oxymoron in itself.

    Maybe he gawked a little the longer Jim spoke, maybe he didn’t. Luckily, Jim was staring too hard at his drink as his tongue ran along ahead of him to notice Leonard’s staring. A part of Leonard genuinely wanted to sputter, to demand confirmation that yes, Jim was talking about an actual mummy, but the look on Jim’s face said it all. Besides, having run into people like Toby Daye and almost getting eaten alive by a kelpie played its part in Leonard suspending most of his disbelief on the entire thing.

    “Not walking, no,” he finally managed after a few gulps of whiskey. It took an iron stomach to handle dead bodies, really. For all of Jim’s strength, dead bodies wasn’t his strong suit. “But something tells me there’s more to this story than you almost pissing yourself,” he offered, expression like stone despite the almost playful tone of his words. He was following Jim’s cue in trying to keep things light, even if his body language screamed the opposite.

     
    #6 Leonard McCoy, Jul 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  7. James Kirk

    James Kirk Star Trek

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    "Lucky you," he said, not bothering to hide the bitterness in his voice. Jim was certain that no matter how much he drank, no matter how many years passed, he'd never be able to forget the sight of that dessicated body standing up, walking, even though there shouldn't have been any tendon or muscle left to make it possible. Definitely weren't any left if the sloppy way bone had moved against bone were anything to go by. It would have been funny if it weren't so grotesque, a facsimile of life that didn't belong in this world. He recognized, now, that magic had been involved, though of what kind he couldn't say. Frankly he didn't think he wanted to know, except that she was still out there somewhere...

    Bones hit the nail on the head without even trying, and though he wanted to be angry at the probing - anger was as safe and familiar as the alcohol - the doctor would have seen through that as easily as he did everything else. Jim had always used anger to hide hurt and vulnerability. Instead he sighed, the sound as heavy as his thoughts, and bought himself a little time with another trip to the scotch. Talking to Bones was easier than talking to anyone else but the subject...he didn't have much experience with mummies and mind control and god knew what else he'd stumbled into when he let her out, and though Jim could be rather eloquent when he felt the need for it he was having trouble putting words to the thoughts that were tumbling through his head.

    At least he felt calmer now, reassured by Bones' presence alone, but not being alone anymore, and the way he seemed to be taking this in stride. He'd always been good at that, letting Jim dictate the pace of his infrequent (and often drunken) confessions the same as he was doing now. Glass in hand Jim finally sat, though it wasn't the usual sprawl across the couch taking up every possible square inch of room, and without even thinking about it he set the glass on the arm, fingers twisting it around in slow circles on the fabric. "She was in my head. Not just talking but making me see things. Her. As she...used to be I guess." The explanation came halting and stilted, as sure an indicator that he was feeling it out as he went as the frown on his face.

    He could still see, vividly, the story that she'd paraded before him, her capture and entombment, feel the heat of the desert and her hand on his face as if he'd been there. But that wasn't what really bothered him, no, that was what she'd done after she'd come crawling out of her sarcophagus. "But when she came out, when I saw her...I'm telling you Bones-" He looked up, locking eyes so there could be no doubt about his sincerity. "I'm telling you, I was going to run, or or shoot her, hell I wanted to do both but then I couldn't." Empty hand gesturing helplessly at his chest he continued, "She made me feel calm, like this was all happening like it was supposed to and I was a good fucking helper."

    The bitterness had crept back into his voice, volume increasing by inches as if to combat the helplessness he'd felt, the realization that she'd played him like a fiddle and even when he knew the truth she was still making him dance to her tune. He didn't like not being in control of a situation but to not be in control of his own mind was a thousand times worse. He swallowed, hard, reminded himself that it wasn't as if she'd followed him here, that here, at least he was safe from whatever she was and he was most certainly making his own decisions. "She called me her 'Chosen one'," he admitted after a small pause, forcing his fingers to loosen their white-tipped hold on his glass. "I don't know what that means but after what I've already seen...I'm scared Bones."

     
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  8. Leonard McCoy

    Leonard McCoy Star Trek

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    [​IMG]
    Leonard waited for Jim to gather enough nerve to keep talking, to bolster himself with more alcohol. What else could he do? It seemed like their lot in life was to have private, vulnerable conversations in the dead of night. As if afraid that others would overhear them if they dared to discuss such things in the light of day, as if afraid that their insecurities and weaknesses would be dragged out and put on display. Leonard could jest all he wanted to, to pull Jim out of his dark thoughts. Then the conversation would move on to lighter topics, but nothing would get resolved. Whatever else was on the tip of Jim’s tongue would never make it past his lips, would linger and fester.

    So Leonard waited, finishing his glass and pouring himself another finger. Listened as Jim told him more about his encounter with this mummy, about how she’d invaded the one place Jim had always held sacred above all others. Hell, that anyone did. Leonard took another sip to suppress his grimace, maybe even hide his shiver. He didn’t know what he’d have done — what he’d have felt — were their places reversed. Actually, he did know, and that just made it all worse. Made bile rise up in his throat, made the helplessness he saw in Jim’s eyes feel like something had honest-to-god stabbed him through the chest.

    “Hey, it’s okay,” he said, getting up from the armchair to sit next to Jim on the couch, putting an arm around his shoulders. Not a move he often pulled, but one he did during times Jim was in particular distress. Like when he talked about his stepfather’s abuse, or disappointing Pike, or losing crewmembers. “It’s gonna be okay, Jim. You don’t hear her now, do you? That means she can’t touch you here, okay? You’re safe.”