The Evil Within

Kirk didn't feel well. He hadn't felt well since he'd beamed back aboard the ship from Alpha 177, and he'd felt even worse since the procedure to try and re-join his evil half with his good one. He hadn't initially experienced any unpleasant side effects, he'd just been relieved to be feeling more like his normal self again, and had returned to work on the bridge without a second thought. McCoy had voiced the opinion that he should probably take the remainder of the day off to rest, but he had no real reason to certify the captain unfit for duty and so hadn't pushed the issue. He assumed that Kirk knew his own body well enough to know what he felt up to, and so had returned to sickbay.

That was until barely half an hour later when he'd received an urgent call from Spock, letting him know that Kirk had collapsed. He'd hurried back to the bridge as quickly as he could to find the captain sitting on the floor, slumped against his chair. Spock had been kneeling down beside him and seemed to be helping to hold him up. Kirk was evidently conscious, but his eyes were closed, and he was groaning intermittently.

"What happened?" McCoy had asked as he'd pushed his way forward and Spock had barked the order to the group of shocked and evidently worried crew to return to their posts. He'd helped the doctor to lift Kirk and sit him back down in his chair, keeping one hand resting firmly against his shoulder to steady him whilst McCoy ran his hand-held scanner over him. Kirk's complexion had turned a ghastly shade of pale.

"I don't know doctor." Spock had told him, honestly. He'd had his back to the captain when it had happened. "I just heard a thump and when I turned around the captain was already on the floor." He'd explained. "He did suddenly go quiet in the middle of giving navigation an order. Mr Sulu said that he turned around to see him sitting with his eyes closed, when he suddenly slumped forwards in his chair."

"Did he lose consciousness?" Bones had asked.

"I don't think so." Spock had shook his head.

Kirk had opened his eyes, only to close them again quickly when he'd realised that the world was still spinning. The dizziness had been debilitating. He'd felt nauseous, and if it hadn't been for Spock's hand on his shoulder, pinning him firmly to his chair, he knew that he would have fallen out of it again. If he'd thought the dizziness and disorientation had been bad when he'd first beamed back aboard the ship, it had been nothing compared to what he was experiencing now.

"I didn't faint." He'd protested weakly. "I'm just dizzy that's all."

"Jim, I think we should get you to sickbay." Bones had explained. "Some of your readings are slightly off, I'd like to run a few tests. Do you think you can walk?"

"I don't think so." Kirk had shook his head – immediately regretting the gesture as it only made the room spin faster. He'd kept his eyes tightly shut. It had been bad enough that his head had been swimming as though he'd been caught in the grip of a riptide – he hadn't wanted to have to see the world moving around him as well.

"If you can't walk then I'm going to have to call a medical team Jim." McCoy had told him quietly, out of ear shot of the rest of the crew, and the captain had nodded.

"I think you might have to Bones." He'd agreed. There had been no way that he was going to be able to make it all the way from the bridge to sickbay. He'd have had to crawl, and that would have been even more humiliating than having a medical team remove him there. He'd become vaguely aware of the doctor leaning over him as he'd spoken into the comm – ordering a medical team to the bridge. Kirk had been disorientated and only vaguely aware when Nurse Chapel and a couple of junior physicians had arrived with a bio-bed to take him down to sickbay. Movement of any sort had made his head spin violently, but he'd found that once lying down, if he'd kept his eyes tightly shut, it was just about bearable. He'd heard McCoy barking out orders and had then heard the hiss and felt the sting as a hypospray had been administered. He hadn't asked the doctor what it was for, but it had helped the dizziness a little, and had made him feel slightly sleepy. He'd later find out that he'd fallen asleep before they'd even reached sickbay – which had apparently been McCoy's intention.

When Kirk had next awoke he'd been lying in a bed in the sickbay. The screen had been switched on above his bed and had been monitoring his vital signs, but the lights in the room had been dimmed. His head had hurt him slightly and he'd still felt a little dizzy but he could now open his eyes and look around him without feeling as though he was going to pass out. McCoy had walked in just as he'd started to try and prop himself up, and had quickly hurried over, taking him gently by the shoulders and lowering him back down onto the bed.

"Woah, Jim." He'd said in a hushed tone – he'd seemed to be making an intentional effort to keep his voice quiet. "You need to lie still. Don't try to get up. I've given you something for the dizziness, but you're still very weak."

"What happened Bones?" Kirk had asked him.

"There were some physical repercussions from the re-joining of your two personalities." He'd explained. "It's affected your inner ear and there were some neurological complications involving your neocortex."

"What's that?" Kirk had frowned – he really hadn't liked the sound of that. The mention of potential neurological effects had alarmed him a little.

"It's the part of the brain involved in sensory perception." McCoy had smiled, laying a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "But it's nothing to worry about Jim. I've had you under close observation here for the past few hours now and there's absolutely no indication that any of the damage is permanent. In-fact I can accompany you down own quarters soon." He'd said. "I've given you something for nausea and the dizziness. Aside from that all you need is rest, and plenty of it."

"Bones…" Kirk had started to protest, but the doctor had been quick to silence him.

"That's none negotiable Jim." He'd said. "I think you know already that there is little point in arguing. Can you honestly tell me that you feel up to command at the moment?" He'd asked him, his eyebrows raised as he'd eyed him critically, and he'd folded his arms against his chest, indicating that there was absolutely no point in him protesting his decision.

Kirk had considered his response to this for a moment. He'd considered lying, but he'd known that it would have been impossible to fool the doctor. McCoy would never have believed him, and so with a great deal of reluctance he'd shaken his head – regretting the action immediately.

McCoy had nodded.

"I'll prepare another sedative, and arrange for a medical team to take you back to your quarters then." He'd told him. "I'll accompany you. I want to carry on monitoring you for the next couple of hours."

Jim had looked up at him, his complexion had been pale and his cheeks and forehead dotted with beads of sweat, but a slightly crooked, impish smile slowly crept across his face - reaching from one ear to the other.

"What?" The CMO had asked him. "What are you smiling at Jim?"

Kirk had shrugged - he hadn't been smiling at anything in particular. He couldn't find any joy in being stuck in sickbay, or the prospect of spending the next couple of days confined to his quarters. He hated being ill, rest didn't come easily to him, and without work he'd known he was feited to endure kind numingly, tedious boredom.

This time he'dalready suspected that things might be a little different however. He'd been tired, as much as he'd hated to admit it, even to himself. He'd felt drained, as though someone had syphoned away the seed of his usual energy, leaving him empty and weak.

"You're always there Bones..." He'd said. He'd sounded as exhausted as he'd looked and McCoy had immediately looked to the screen above his bed to check his heart rate and blood pressure. The doctor has relaxed again once he'd assured himself that all his patient's vital signs were still stable.

"Rest now Jim." He'd told him, patting him gently on the arm. He'd watched the man relax back into the bio bed, unable to resist his body's instinctive desire to sleep, before leaving to prepare him a sedative.

When Jim had next awoke he'd been lying in his own bed. The lights were dim in his quarters, but as he'd looked around he'd observed that he wasn't on his own. A chair had been pulled up to the end of his bed, and Bones had been sleeping - his head leaning to one side, tilted at an odd angle. He'd looked terribly uncomfortable, and strongly suspected that the man would probably awake with a cramp in his neck, but Jim hadn't been able to help but smile.

He'd known that he'd be hard pressed to find anyone better at doing the same job - any man more caring and more loyal. Jim had realised what a lucky man he was. Comradeship was a given amongst the members of any Starship crew - but true friendship was still rare, and hard to find.

He'd realised a long time ago that Bones was so much more than just a doctor - he had become a friend, and it was as his friend, not as his physician that he'd made the decision to stay with him tonight.