A/N: So it's just a tiny little something that has bugged me for a while. There are some serious themes some of the characters have to deal with in the aftermath of the film's events. I think Scotty deserves more attention, so I came up with this.
I don't own them.
How Do You Forget
Sometimes it wasn't easy to get drunk. Montgomery Scott knew it very well, probably better than anyone else. It wasn't that he couldn't get drunk, it just took him more than the others to do so. His friends at the academy had joked that if all conflicts could be solved with drinking competitions, he would drink all his enemies under the table without leaving them a chance. He sometimes chose to pretend to be drunk, just to be on the same page as everybody. And also for it to be more socially acceptable to say a little more than he normally would. Well, not quite acceptable, but a wee bit more understandable.
He had lost count of the shots he had already taken, and yet his mind was still painfully clear. Keenser was looking at him judgingly from across the table, but the Scot simply stopped looking up at him after catching a few of such glances.
The Enterprise was under reconstruction, her captain fully recovered and out of hospital. The Federation was recovering after the attacks in London and San Francisco. The damage was being restored, the injured had been tended to and the deceased had been buried. What couldn't be restored though, were people's minds. Some had lost their friends and family members in those attacks. And some… were direct participants in the events.
Scotty put another empty shot on the table, noticing that his hand had begun to shake, his vision getting slightly blurry. So he was drunk. And yet his mind wouldn't rest, wouldn't give him a break, still torturing him with flashbacks. The realisation that it was his transwarp equation that bastard had used to get away in-between the attacks… How could Starfleet have done it? How could they have allowed it? And could he keep working for them after all they had done to him, letting his invention be used in monstrous ways?
He begged the thoughts to leave him, and they did. For a few seconds he was happy, but then another sound tore through his memory. A scream. A scream of a person whose lungs were being ripped into pieces. Literally. A horrible, painful death. And it was he, Montgomery Scott, who had caused it. He kept telling himself that he couldn't have done anything else, that he had had no choice. And that guy had been up to no good anyway. But those arguments had no effect. He had killed someone, that's what mattered. He had taken someone's life… And he would bolt upright in his bed at nights, woken up by that same scream. Criminals killed people. Terrorists killed people. How different to them was he?...
Scotty rubbed his face with his hands and sighed. This wasn't working. Why couldn't he just forget? Just erase it all from his memory? He didn't have the time to ponder on that as his mind kept wandering on. Engineering… Jim… Spock… Stop it! But no, the flashback wouldn't listen, wouldn't stop, making the Scotsman relive that moment again, watching one of his closest friends die in front of him and being unable to do anything about it. He should have stopped him, he should have gone instead of him! He was the engineer after all. Fixing the ship was his job, no matter what the cost. What good was he if he couldn't prevent a man– his captain— his friend— from killing himself in front of his very eyes? He covered his face with his palms and shut his eyes, taking a shaky breath. As he opened his eyes, he saw Keenser looking at him with sympathy. For some reason his silent presence was not comforting him at all.
"Don' look a' me like that!" he shouted, annoyed, his Scottish accent thicker in his drunken state. It was then that he saw a young man standing next to their table, looking at him with an emotion he could only identify as concern.
"Jim," he said in a levelled tone, looking down and trying not to show what exactly was going on in his head.
"Are you alright?" Kirk asked, sitting down next to them.
"All in workin' order, Captain," was the reply, as the engineer still avoided looking at the younger man.
"Look, Scotty, I wanted to say… I'm sorry," these words were still not easy for him to say, but he felt the need to. "I'm sorry it came to that and you had to be there and watch everything… and… I'm sorry I punched you in the face," Kirk still felt bad about that but he knew that if he hadn't, Scotty would have definitely followed him after realising he couldn't stop him, resulting in two deaths instead of one.
The Scotsman nodded, still staring somewhere into the empty space behind Keenser's head.
"I'll add that to the list o' yer apologies," he replied melancholically.
Kirk let out a humourless laugh. For a brief moment he wanted to apologise for not having listened to Scotty from the very start. For being so selfish and stupid. To think of it, had he listened to the engineer about those torpedoes, everything would have gone differently. They would've known about Starfleet's foul play and… but what was the point in thinking about all the if-s?
He took a breath and opened his mouth to speak but stopped. He had already said that… sort of. Back then, when he had called Scotty to tell him the coordinates he needed checked. Scotty had said he had considered that an apology, right? No need to apologise twice.
"Just how many drinks have you had?" he asked instead, looking over the table and noticing Keenser shake his head.
"Depends on how ye count," the Scot shrugged jokily with a broad grin, finally looking at Kirk for the first time, and yet his eyes were bloodshot and puffy. "Too much fer some things an' not enough fer the others".
"Are you sure you're okay?" Jim asked, applying more pressure to his voice.
"Aye, I'm fine," the engineer waved his hand dismissively. "And now, if ye'll excuse me, Captain, I should go home an' get some sleep," he nodded his head in a comic bow and stood up a bit unsteadily before making his way to the door.
Keenser also stood up and shrugged at a slightly stunned Kirk before following the Scotsman out. It took him a few seconds to catch up with him and, once they were out of the captain's view, he noticed Scotty slow down. He looked up to see his face and noticed that the smile was long gone. He sighed and shook his head.
"Don' look at me like that," the Scotsman asked again, his voice quieter and softer this time.