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Fic: Observations, Ch 219
Star Trek

It has begun.

Jim is slowly killing himself again.

All of the crew has been watching him carefully, making sure that he does not skip meals and eats at least two thousand calories per three shifts.  However, they cannot prevent him from exercising his body its limits.  And he does not sleep.

The time and distance from his memories seems to have eased his fear that I will detect what weighs so heavily on his mind and body.  He kisses me, sometimes feather light, sometimes deeper.  Burned into his emotions are the remnants of fear and desperation, a desire to capture me and hold me close.  We have not yet engaged in sexual intercourse.  I do not know why, but when he does allow me to sleep with him, I suspect the encounter will be more violent than we have been before.  There is a wildness underlying that he has not unleashed, not even in his countless rounds of boxing, wrestling, sparring.

The security personnel are all worried.  The ship is on edge.  The crew needs their captain, and they need him to be well.

I do not know how to reach Jim and pull him from the depth in which he is burying himself.  He is better than I anticipated at deflecting all my attempts at inquiry.

When he is finally exhausted enough to sleep, he dreams.  Nightmares.  Jim does not say anything out loud as I have often heard is the case with Terrans.  He simply wakes in the middle of sleep, chest heaving, hands gripping the side of the bed.  The first time this happened, I was working on a report in his quarters.  Jim woke with a shallow gasp, staggered to the fresher, and began to expel everything he had eaten.  He was trembling, kneeling on the floor when I reached him.

I asked no questions, only carefully helped Jim to his feet.  In the limited space of the fresher, I pulled him close and wrapped my arms around him, my left arm supporting his back, my right hand stroking his hair.  He shuddered against me and tried to pull away but I remained firm.  Standing there for a few minutes, I felt Jim’s tension rising and falling, fear mounting and collapsing.  Exhaustion was heavy in his limbs.

“Stay,” he whispered.

I guided us to his bed and he laid down.  I lay beside him, arms enclosing him.  He relaxed into me and I opened my telepathic awareness enough to detect when he had drifted off again into a fitful sleep.  At one point, Jim latched onto me forcefully, eyes squeezed tight.  Another soundless nightmare.

I remained awake, mind spinning with conjectures.  What happened?  Why will he not tell me?

His face is haunted.  The dreams give him no peace.  His body is wiry again.  The once smooth muscle and soft skin is replaced with a tautness, the frame of his body becoming more and more skeletal.

I love this man.  I will not let him destroy himself.

But I do not know what to do, I have no clue as to what presses on him, why he refuses to tell me anything.  If he would speak to someone—it does not have to be myself or Leonard—I could at least know that he is not keeping everything to himself.  What was Jim’s existence like before, that this is his natural reaction to life-shattering trauma?  Perhaps it is the only reaction one can have and remain sane.  What happened to him?  What did they do?

It is evident by the conversation that he was able to successfully appeal to them.  Why did they take him?  What alien species judged itself to have the right to do this to him?  To us?  Who decided these events were to take place?  Jim has told no one of the purpose, the contents, or the consequences of his experience.  We do not even know how long he spent with them, only that it must have been some weeks.

The question that hurts me most—why was I not there with him?  If they knew of Jim’s reputation, they must have known that he and I are in a relationship.  Was it a test of fortitude in the face of isolation?  Jim underwent this ordeal entirely alone.  What did he feel?  What did he think?  I swore I would never leave his side.

As he slept, I could not help but transmit images and emotions to him.  The image of our shore leave on Placer, kissing each other while treading water.  Our apartment in New York, cooking a meal together.  Small moments in intimate darkness when, after the pleasure of sex has passed, I kiss him under his jaw, on his right collarbone, on the left side of his hipbone.  But also ordinary occasions in the mess hall when all eight of us are dining together, laughing as Scotty tells another outrageous anecdote of his Academy days.  Underlying it all is the message—come back to me.  Come back to us.

I transmitted these messages, but I respected his mind.  I did not go so far as to see how they were received by Jim and his unconscious.

When Jim woke, some of the veil lifted in his blue eyes.

He made no move to leave, though we both had to report to duty soon.



“Was that you?  With those—?”

“Your sleep seemed uneasy.  I desired to alleviate that.”

“Did you see—?”

“No.  I did not invade your privacy.”

Jim looked simultaneously relieved and frustrated.  The relief is obvious, but the frustration—it is possible that he desires to tell me, but something is preventing him.  Habit, perhaps, or long accustomed fear.

“It was... I slept better.  I think.”

“I am glad it helped you.”

Such simple statements.  I am glad.  I helped you.  I would not have been able to say them to him a year ago.  Now I offer them, but Jim cannot decide whether to take my offer.  It grieves me that he is so painfully cautious.

Patience.  It is necessary to be patient.

Leonard is already impatient.  He and I seem to have a disagreement every shift, not necessarily related to Jim, but suddenly small differences have been blown out of proportion.  I understand the doctor’s concern and that he is more familiar with Jim’s episodes than I am.  However, I stand by my original position.

Yet I am constantly reminded of the fact that not one year ago, I had difficulty navigating my own emotions.  How can I navigate Jim’s, whose background is that much more complex?  I am insufficiently prepared to deal with what he is going through despite my desire to help him.

“Jim, will you not tell me?  I—it may help you to recount the matter.”

He disentangled himself and sat up on the edge of the bed, his back to me.  Jim stretched, his arms reaching above his head.  I watched his shoulder blades, sharp like knives, shifting, the bones of his spine curving in and out.

“I’m going to take a shower.”

He went into the fresher and closed the door.

I got up from bed, frustration and anger washing through me.  I heard the sound of water sputtering from the showerhead.  I sank to the floor and took a moment to center to myself and go through a light meditative exercise.  If I did not, I feared I would lose control during the shift.  He is so close to me physically, but the Trials stand between us.

By the time Jim emerged from the fresher, I had a hold of my emotions.

“You can have it now.  I’m done.”

I nodded and attended to my hygienic needs.

Jim was already dressed and working at his terminal when I began changing into a fresh uniform.  His eyes flickered to me every so often, but he said nothing.  I went to his side.

He threaded his fingers through mine and kissed me.  I returned his kiss, wanting more, needing more, but holding back.  He bit my lip and sucked, ran his fingers through my hair, then stopped abruptly.

“Ready to go?”

I recomposed myself.

“Yes.”  My voice was pitched low.

Jim’s body tightened at the sound of my voice, then relaxed.

“All right,” we stepped out of his quarters.  “I’m not really in the mood for breakfast.”

Jim.  Jim, please.


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I have no words for this.

Jim is better at shutting people out than Spock was at being emotionless prior to the five-year mission.

Better, of course, being relative. :/

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