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Star Trek reboot fic: A Lesson Learned

December 24th, 2014 (06:13 am)
Tags: ,

feeling: ditzy

Title: A Lesson Learned

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek in any iteration.

A/N: For sockie1000. Apologies for the unbeta’ed mess, but I hope it’s still a subject you can enjoy :)

Summary: Leonard McCoy has learned many things over the course of his career with Starfleet.


Leonard McCoy has learned many things over the course of his career with Starfleet.

First, space travel is highly overrated.

Second, it doesn’t pay as well as he thought it might.

Third, it’s dangerous (which, not coincidentally, is one reason why no paycheck would ever possibly be enough).

Fourth, there’s only one person more insane than his ex-wife: his captain.

Oh, and fifth, bear traps?

Are a hell of a way to die.


It’s supposed to be a simple mission.

Which, of course, is laughable.

As far as Jim is concerned, they’re all simple. That man has no sense of reality and an over inflated sense of ego that makes him think he can do anything. The fact that he almost always turns out to be right is just as infuriating as the multitude of horrible and dangerous situations he puts them in in the name of peaceful exploration.

McCoy is pretty sure he’s come to find a serious problem with the Starfleet idea of do no harm. The problem being, quite obviously, that everyone and everything in the galaxy wants to do them harm.

So when they end up on the run from angry settlers that weren’t supposed to be in the region, that’s not really a surprise.

When an atmospheric storm impedes their ability to transport out, that’s pretty much to be expected.

When Jim grins at him with the biggest shit-eating grin ever and says, “Having fun yet, Bones?” that’s just how it always is.

But when McCoy takes that step over the log, turning toward the left, to the coast, to clear skies, to safety, there’s a metal clinching sound, a whoosh of air and the worst pain imaginable.

He goes down hard, and there’s not time to brace himself as he falls so he ends up eating a face full of dirt. That’d be disconcerting if not for the paralyzing agony that’s running up and down his leg, pulsing through him with every beat of his heart.

He looks down, horrified.

Where the bear trap has clamped around his ankle, cutting right through his Starfleet issue boots and into his flesh, all the way down to the bone.

That’s the part that, of everything, that he didn’t see coming at all.


Jim’s a few paces in front of him, and he turns back when he hears McCoy fall. He’s trying to drag Bones to his feet, muttering something about taking his sweet time. McCoy tries to protest, but his tongue is thick, and Jim is too set on his task to stop until he pulls a little too hard.

The teeth of the trap catch, pulling on the already raw skin, and there’s nothing that McCoy can do but scream.

That gets Jim’s attention and he half drops McCoy in shock.

“Bones? What the--”

On the ground, McCoy seethes. There’s already sweat breaking out across his forehead, and his palms feel sweaty. “My leg,” he hisses, barely managing coherent words through his clenched teeth. “My leg.

Jim looks puzzled, and he’s shaking his head until he looks down.

His face pales; his eyes widen.

McCoy fists his hands against the ground, biting back a cry as he lets his head drop by.

“What was that you said before?” he asks. “About a simple mission?”

Jim swallows audibly. “Well,” he says. “I’ve been wrong before.”

McCoy looks up, breathing tautly. “Did you actually admit that?”

“First for everything,” he says.

“Like stepping in a bear trap during an away mission?” McCoy asks, propping himself up again.

He looks down his leg with wet eyes, trying to figure out if there’s anything he can do. Part of him knows he needs to get the trap off, but without any proper supplies, there’s no way to stem the flow or even start a round of antibiotics to combat the inevitable infection that’s going to incur. He should check for circulation, muscle damage, tissue degradation -- but it hurts too bad to do anything but cry.

Jim moves down toward McCoy’s foot, tentatively reaching out to examine the wound. “They probably don’t have bears here,” he says, pulling at the fabric of McCoy’s pant leg.

McCoy stiffens, but does his best not to pull away. “Then what the hell would you call it?”

“Well, it’s obviously a trap,” Jim says, starting to rip the fabric. He winces as he fingers the boot. “But a bear trap?”

The pain is intensifying again, because Jim’s an acceptable captain most of the time, but he’s a damn terrible medic and his hands are like bricks. “You’re going to argue that point with me?” he grunts, curling the toes on his uninjured foot.

“You’re the one going off about it,” Jim comments, trying to shift the boot.

It’s one action too many. McCoy can’t hold back another cry.

“Sorry, sorry!” Jim says, dropping his voice down. “We have to keep it down -- they’re not that far behind us--”

As if on cue, there are voices in the distance and the sound of rudimentary gunfire.

McCoy groans again. “Great,” he says. “Now they can put me out of my misery like an animal.”

Jim shakes his head, still fixed on McCoy’s leg “We’re going to have to get it off.”

Craning his neck, McCoy looks at his leg again, feeling his distress start to spike. “We don’t have any proper equipment,” he says. “We don’t know if it’s hit a major blood vessel; we don’t know if the tips are barbed to do more damage when they come out -- you need my kit--”

“There’s no time!” Jim hisses, looking at the locking mechanism now.

The voices are closer, calling back and forth to each other.

McCoy feels his heart beat quicken, and he can identify the early stages of shock even as he feels himself start to panic.

He shakes his head, more adamantly now. “If you can administer an antibiotic shot,” he says. “Something to numb the pain--”

Jim’s not listening, though.

The son of a bitch never listens.

“There has to be a release,” Jim says.

There’s more gunfire.

McCoy’s breathing tightens in his chest and his tongue starts to feel sticky. “If we can get a reading on my vitals,” he says. “Give me something to lift my blood pressure--”

“Oh, wait,” Jim says, narrowing his vision. “Here’s something--”

“No,” McCoy says, throat seizing up a little. “No, no--”

Heedless, Jim pinches a lever. There’s another metallic clink, but the mechanism doesn’t release.


It just clamps down harder.

Pain bursts from his ankle, and it spirals through his body with an intensity that McCoy can’t even comprehend. For a horrible second, he thinks the damn thing has cut his foot clean off.

But the waves of unrelenting agony tingling down into his toes assure him otherwise.

Even so, his stomach is queasy and his head is light. The shadows seem to darken, and Jim’s face slides out of focus, even as he hovers above him.

He looks terrible, sweat dripping down his face and his cheeks drained of blood. He’s talking, and it takes McCoy a long moment to realize that Jim is talking to him.

“Bones!” he almost yells. “McCoy!”

McCoy takes a staggered breath. “Damn it,” he says, trying to catch his breath and failing. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.

Jim is getting to his feet. “We have to go--” he says.

“That’s not so easy--”

“No,” Jim says, shaking his head as if in total denial. “We have to go--”

There are voices, too close now. It’s all closing in on them, and the trees seem to be falling as the world starts to dim precariously.

Jim runs a hand frantically through his hair. He’s pacing now, short, quick steps across the ground. “We have to go,” he mutters. “We have to go, we have to go--”

It figures that now’s the time Jim loses it. When McCoy needs him to do the impossible, Jim’s fresh out of ideas.

McCoy drops his head back, squeezing his eyes shut for a moment. The pain is a constant threat now, and he can feel his the fluttering of his heart as shock takes a deeper hold. “Well, I’m open to ideas,” he growls, because he doesn’t want to die here. He doesn’t want to die at all.

“Okay,” Jim says, sounding resolved. “Okay.”

McCoy opens his eyes.

And he’s staring down the business end of a phase pistol.

“What the hell?” he gasps, and he wants to scramble out of the way but he can’t, given that he’s stuck in a damn bear trap. “If you want to leave me behind, that’s one thing--”

Jim’s face is pinched. “I’m sorry,” he says, voice cracking.

McCoy thinks he might be hallucinating. Because if stepping in a bear trap is hard to believe, the idea that Jim Kirk is going to murder him is just about more than he can handle.

Because this was a simple mission.

And Jim always pulls them out.

“Jim,” he says, his chest hitching. “Jim, I--”

There’s nothing to say, though.

Because Jim fires.


In that instant, McCoy learns something new about his time with Starfleet

Sixth, for everything he knows.

He sure as hell doesn’t know anything at all.


He’s alive.

He breathes a curse.

He’s alive.

Blinking rapidly, he looks down dumbly as Jim pulls at the links of the chain, grunting the freshly burned metal presses hot against his skin. It works, though, and the chain falls away.

“You cut it off,” McCoy says hoarsely.

Jim is busily securing the rest of the chair to McCoy’s foot. “Of course I did,” he says. “What else would I be doing?”

McCoy doesn’t have the energy to tell him that he thought Jim had been ready to kill him.

Jim looks at him. His face contorts. “Wait, you thought--”

McCoy shrugs listlessly. “You pointed a phaser at me!”

“So you thought I’d kill you?” Jim asks incredulously.

“If there was no way out, it might have been a mercy,” McCoy says. “Who knows what they’ll do to me?”

“There’s always an out, Bones,” Jim says, gathering him up with a grunt. “Even if I have to make it myself.”

The movements are jarring and awkward, and McCoy’s not sure which is worse -- the agony in his leg or the indignity of being carried. “Someday you’ll be wrong about that,” he says, even as his words start to slur.

“Someday,” Jim relents, adjusting his grip to make sure McCoy is secure. “But not today.”


The forward motion is somewhat reassuring.

It’s also the most painful thing he’s ever experienced.

The trap is still tight against his skin, the teeth cutting into his flesh with more intensity every step Jim takes. The weight of it threatens to pull his foot clean off, and the uneven footfalls make the entire process of running nothing short of torture.

McCoy’s bleeding now, and he’s hot and cold all at once. It’s all slipping away from him, moving just beyond his tenuous control.

He’d never wanted this, any of it. He’s not even sure why he joined Starfleet sometimes except that the notion of getting the hell out had seemed pretty good at the time. Maybe if he’d known, he would have made a different choice.

The motion stops, and suddenly he’s on the ground again. The shadows have been traded for light, and the twin suns are haloed behind Jim’s head.

“Kirk to Enterprise!” Jim all but screams over the approaching sound of gunfire and the sound of the ocean against the cliffs. “I need an emergency beam out -- now.”

A safe choice, McCoy thinks absently. Something without starships and maniacs and bear traps.

Jim kneels down, a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “I’m getting you out of here, Bones,” he says. “That’s a promise I’m going to keep.”

Maybe, McCoy wonders.

The light brightens and the familiar whir of the transporter fills his ears as the rest of it fades away. It’s just him and Jim and a simple mission that’s going to get done, one way or another.

Then again, McCoy knows, maybe not.


McCoy passes out during transport.

He wakes up in Sickbay, with Nurse Chapel clicking her tongue.

“A bear trap, Leonard?” she asks disapprovingly.

McCoy frowns. “It wasn’t my fault.”

She shakes her head, moving away from the bed. In her places, Jim is standing there, smirking.

“Don’t look at me,” Jim says. “You can’t blame this one on me.”

“I can’t?” McCoy asks.

“I didn’t push you into a bear trap,” he says.

“But it was your simple mission,” McCoy snaps.

“It wouldn’t have been so hard if you didn’t go around stepping in bear traps,” Jim says.

McCoy glowers. “So this is my fault?”

Jim chuckles. “I’m not that mean,” he says.

“Just mean enough to keep dragging me on these mission,” McCoy mutters petulantly.

Jim rolls his eyes. “You’re going to be fine, by the way,” he says. “No permanent damage.”

“Too bad, maybe,” McCoy says. “If I was permanently impaired, maybe I wouldn’t have to go with you on every stupid away mission you plan.”

“Aw, come on,” Jim says. “You’d miss it.”

“No, I wouldn’t,” McCoy says, craning to look at the monitors above his biobed. His vitals are good but still a little depressed. He’s got a mild fever, but given the drugs he’s on, that shouldn’t be a problem.

And they are good drugs.

McCoy can’t feel anything.

Except his annoyance.

“Oh, you would,” Jim says confidently.

“And what on earth makes you think that?” McCoy demands.

Jim’s smirk widens obnoxiously. “Because if I’ve learned anything,” he says. “It’s that you’re more bark than bite. You love this job, and you love me.”

McCoy harrumphs, looking insistently at the ceiling. “There’s one thing to come from this, then,” he says.

“Yeah?” Jim ass.

McCoy offers him a sideways look. “At least you’ve learned something.”

At that, Jim laughs. “Like I said,” he says. “There’s a first for everything.”


Leonard McCoy has learned many things over the course of his career with Starfleet.

First, space travel is highly overrated.

Second, it doesn’t pay as well as he thought it might.

Third, it’s dangerous (which, not coincidentally, is one reason why no paycheck would ever possibly be enough).

Fourth, there’s only one person more insane than his ex-wife: his captain.

Oh, and fifth, bear traps?

Are just one of many things that McCoy has suffered -- and survived -- thanks to James T. Kirk.