A/N: This is based on a headcanon I''ve read once. So, misterreese, this is for you. I told you I would write it and I had to do it.

Another Life without the Stars

It's interesting… You are lying in the middle of nowhere, and it feels so comfortable… The starry sky is right in front of your eyes, and it reminds you of the ceiling you had in your room when you were little. For a moment you don't want to think, but that was never really an option with you. You have always been thinking. When nobody asked you any questions, you just asked them yourself. "You are too smart for your own good, Montgomery," Mum's voice sounds from somewhere far away, making you wonder for how long you haven't actually heard it. And soon enough the questions flood your mind.

"What happened? Why am I lying on the ground? Where am I?" there were more, but those were the only ones Scotty could make out in the blur that was now his brain.

The last question was answered almost automatically – Delta Vega outpost. Then the second must be… yes, indeed, not quite ground, but snow. Clear and pure, he used to like it back in the day… So white, even now, with the only source of light being the far away stars and the compound he could now barely see. It was so soft and welcoming and white and… red? Blood, Scotty's mind whispered to him again. Which brought him back to the first question. And he still couldn't answer it. He vaguely remembered trying to repair something… what the bloody hell was it?... it didn't matter, as it was now a pile of metal on top of him. And it was only now that he was beginning to feel its weight.

And then his brain remembered something very important – he needed to get out. And his body agreed, sending signals as violent shivers. Cold, Montgomery, you feel cold. Got to get out, got to get up and run back to safety and warmth. The bloody thing pinning him down disagreed though, not wanting to budge. Instead, every move he tried to make sent agony through him, as some of the metal bits were pressing on him harder or digging deeper in some places. Stuck. He needed a hand, and there was only one living being on this planet that could help him now.

"The wee bastard will enjoy this too much," Scotty let out a shaky giggle, reaching for his communicator with a trembling hand, picturing Keenser's reaction to seeing him like this. Obviously, he wouldn't say anything, but in the time spent in this place alone with him, Scotty had learned to read his emotions from his barely moving features. Oh, they were going to have a laugh once they were warm and safe. Scotty could barely feel his fingers as they finally found the communicator in his pocket, burning like fire at the touch. Even frozen like that, he could tell there was something wrong with the device. His body let out quite a fierce tremor, which nearly made him drop the communicator on its way to his face. A closer inspection, however, proved what the touch had been suggesting – it was crashed. Out of order. That was when the cold seemed to have spread inside him.

He was now shaking constantly, his extremities completely numb and hurting. He wondered how long it would take for Keenser to realise he's been gone too long. And then he realised that Keenser probably didn't even know about his absence in the first place, as it was night and he now remembered leaving without saying anything. Just to look at the stars. Without knowing some of the supports would collapse one moment. Well, at least he could look at the stars now. In fact, he was practically unable to look at anything else, as his neck refused to obey him and move in any way. It suddenly dawned on him that he was probably going to die.

He wasn't afraid of death. However, dying here and like this just felt disappointing. He hadn't accomplished anything. All the dreams he had were now being crushed, just like the metal support on top of him. And he was here, in the middle of nowhere, for trying to do something good, to move science forward, to improve people's lives. He looked at the starry skies and got hit by a thought that he would never travel among them anymore. His head was swimming, his eyes getting wet, his vision blurring. He couldn't tell if it was because of the cold wind or he was just crying. He looked at the sky again, trying to calculate where Earth would be. Just to say goodbye to the expectation he had had of his future while still there.

Pain was now spreading through his whole body, as his breathing was getting increasingly troubled. Why was this taking so long? His thoughts refused to go in order, and he suddenly got stricken with the answer – Earth was in the other hemisphere at the moment, so he couldn't look in its direction. For some reason it made him feel even more miserable and lonely than ever. He felt his chest shake with a sob, which under the circumstances turned into a cough.

Maybe… in another life he could be a great engineer, travelling across galaxies aboard a starship. He could be a miracle worker, he knew he could. He was smart after all. But that would be another life, he thought as darkness began to cover his vision. In this life… this life was now ending. And he now knew his mother had been right. He really was too smart for his own good… For a second he thought he saw his mother's face as she was saying it, before darkness finally mercifully consumed him.

The End