Warnings: unabashed schmoop, lots of angst (reflects my mood, which is really sad...), and some pretty bad (not graphic, at least not too graphic) descriptions of captivity, and everyone being just a little OOC (if you squint, I mean)
Summary: Can miles truly separate you from those you love? Evidently, they can (especially if they have help).
Author's Note: Parts of this began as a comment-fic for these DCDD pictures over at jim_and_bones (join to see the pretty!) and I'm expanding, adding, and removing some things as it suits me... I haven't been feeling good, which means I should probably go out and do something productive, but I'm writing this instead. Unbetaed, enjoy!
Sun From Day
When Jim woke, he was in the palace of the ruling family of the local homids, with Spock settled next to him, reading something on a PADD.
"How long was I out?" he croaked, and Spock wordlessly handed him a glass of water before answering.
"You have been unconscious for 2.8 hours," his First said, raising an eyebrow as he opened his mouth to ask about Bones. "Dr. McCoy's location is still unknown, though I have been told that his vitals are better than they were even an hour ago, suggesting that either he is in a safe place or has been given medical treatment. His continued absence suggests the latter, though without more information it would be no more than speculation on my part as to his condition or whereabouts."
"And we all know how you feel about speculating," Jim said, smiling despite himself. A glint in Spock's eyes suggested that the smile had been his goal in giving the information as he had, and Jim smiled a little broader, knowing that there wasn't much that could be done at the moment. "Search parties?"
"Are heavily armed and searching the area; further study of the area immediately surrounding the coordinates suggests that the doctor was transported on foot to a local vehicle and further transported. Our grid has since widened, and the local population has reported en masse to assist with the search by providing maps and topographical information that was not readily available." Spock's voice softened minutely, but enough that Jim could tell. "We will find him, Jim. This I can promise you. He will be returned to us, and to you." Jim nodded, willing himself to believe his friend's words. They had to be true, because honestly, what else could he believe?
Star From Night
Len watched the human enter the room, surprise plain on his face. The Enterprise was the first Federation ship to approach this world and actually make plans to set foot on it, as far as anyone, including the rulers of the planet, knew, so who was this man who was very obviously looking him up and down?
"My name is Jarl Bernhart," the man said in a pleasantly accented Standard that wasn't coming from his Translator. "I apologize for the circumstances of your travel to my humble abode, but they were unfortunately necessary."
"Why was I taken? Why have you kidnapped me?" Len growled softly, not wanting to offend the man, but needing to know.
"Kidnapped? My dear man, I saved you." For some reason, the logic in that one didn't quite make it into Len's head, and he snorted derisively.
"I believe being removed from an area against one's will is the definition of kidnapping," he said wryly, crossing his arms.
"Oh, my dear Commander, you have it all wrong. I saved you from a group of hill-dwellers."
"They are of the local species, but they rejected the government and retreated to the hills, where they routinely catch anything that moves for food, or... entertainment. I would have let them take you; everyone has a right to eat, after all. But your Science Officer uniform was distinctive, and I knew that if I allowed it, then they would be utterly destroyed. So I had my people pick you up and bring you here."
"And where is here?" he asked acerbically.
"We are currently on the Night side of the planet, far underground. We will not be passing into the Day for many cycles, but rest assured that as soon as we are, you will be returned to your people, none the worse for wear." Len remembered reading that the above-ground temperatures on the Night side of the planet were many degrees below absolute zero, though the day side felt like a hot, dry day in Georgia.
"I need to contact them, let them know I'm safe," he said, which made the man burst into surprised and slightly self-deprecating laughter. "What?"
"Commander, there is no way to contact them. The ice storms during the Night make it impossible, and my tunnels simply do not stretch far enough to get to a place where communication is possible. I'm sorry for not having informed you of this earlier." Len had the feeling that this man was slightly mad, for all that he was engaging, and had done nothing so far but have his wounds healed and give him information.
"How long is a cycle?" he asked. As long as he was here, he might as well get as much information as possible, even if some of it was skewed or otherwise tainted.
Sun From Day
The searches had found nothing, and already the area that Bones had been taken from had fallen into the Night side, making further searching utterly impossible; the below-chemical-freezing temperatures and constant storms made sure of that. Which meant, in the long run, they had nearly a week ship's time before they could continue, and by that time the trail would be cold, both metaphorically and literally. Jim really wanted to hurt something, or someone.
The locals had expressed their grief at his brief (it had to be brief, he had to think that there would be an end to it, he just had to) loss, but also their eagerness to finish negotiations of a treaty so that all of the ship's and planet's resources could be bent to the search. Jim agreed distantly, and tried his hardest to pay attention, though no one commented when he wandered, least of all his hosts, as long as he understood the salient points of the treaty and their position, for which he was eternally grateful and allowed certain things to be added that he normally would have at least put a token resistance against.
It was the same for four days, until the treaty was completed, and he was finally able to return to the ship. Usually there would be a feast or a banquet or a dance, but the area they were in was preparing to pass into Night, and so celebration had to be understandably postponed. Their hosts also expressed a wish to wait until the doctor was found so that they could meet this man that had so effectively hobbled the Captain of the greatest ship in the Federation.
The ship immediately moved to the line where Night became Day, waiting for the original coordinates to return to the light. Jim spent hours simply staring down at the planet, wondering where Bones was, if he was okay (his vitals had completely disappeared about 3 days before, which was worrying, but ultimately chalked up to the storms) and what he was thinking. Waiting was becoming more than old in his mind, and he wanted to act.
Star From Night
When the light filtered in through his window, Len ignored it at first, being in a deep sleep set upon him by Jarl after he paced for nearly 30 hours, unable to rest. When he did wake up, though, he ran to his window, eyes alight. They were back in the Day! He ran to his door and tried to open it, only to find it locked, something that hadn't been the norm since before he met the man. He banged on it ineffectually, sudden anger and despair warring for first spot in his emotional queue. Anger won out and he broke his only chair before the door finally opened to reveal the same female from his first day.
"What the hell?" he asked, forgetting that the local species had no curse words and so would not understand him. "Why was I locked in?"
"It was for your own safety, Doctor," the voice that emanated from his translator replied coolly, and she turned without another word, leaving the door open behind her. He scrambled to keep up, irritation rolling off him in waves. She led him to Jarl's office and left without a word. He entered without knocking, to see Jarl speaking with the male leader of the planet, a male that he vaguely remembered seeing in the preliminary reports, and a female that had to be the Queen.
"Ah, Leonard," Jarl cried jovially. "So good of you to join us!" Turning back to his screen, Jarl chattered quickly in the local language, which translated to Len as instructions to keep the ship in the dark figuratively until Jarl was finished. When he got his acquiescence, the screen went black and Jarl turned back to him. "I apologize, but there is still much for us to discuss."
"The only thing we have to discuss is why I haven't been returned to my ship," Len growled, and Jarl looked a little startled, as if he hadn't thought that Len would want to return immediately.
"From what Amborsin could glean, you and your leader had differences before you left the ship, differences that prompted your choice of places to visit," Jarl said simply. Len looked at him, confused.
"Yes, Jim and I fought before I came down to the surface, but what does that have to do with anything?" he asked.
"Everything. Do you really wish to return to your ship? Especially when you will be returning to the same thing you left, being coddled unprofessionally when all you are trying to do is your duty?" 'Amborsin' had apparently gleaned a lot more than just the fact that they'd argued. Len would have to be careful about that in future.
"It's an old argument, one that Jim has with a lot of his people, especially people he cares about, which after 3 years on a ship with them day in and day out, is a very long list."
"But why should you have to deal with his arguments if they only cause you anger and pain?" Jarl seemed genuinely curious, but there was a hint of something in his eyes that made Len pause before answering, something that seemed inherently wicked.
"Because as much as he angers me, as much as he hurts me, I'm able to do the same to him," he finally answered. "Have you never had a relationship that behaved thus?"
"No. I awoke here quite a long time ago, with no knowledge of family or friend, kith or kin," Jarl said, and for a moment all that showed in his eyes was a deep pain, and a sorrow too sharp for Len to even approach.
"I grieve for you," he said quietly, which seemed to snap Jarl out of his mood.
"No need, for I am content as I am, with the Rodipots. As you could be, Leonard. You've nothing for you on Earth, and your family on-ship forsakes you for a treaty." Jarl held up a treaty that clearly held Jim's signature, and Len only shrugged, keeping the slight irritation of not being part of it from his face.
"They've not forsaken me," he said instead. "They had a job to do, and once they realized that the search would be impossible while their area lay in the Night, I'm sure they finished their job. It has nothing to do with me. May I speak with my Captain?"
"But... I want you to stay here!" Jarl cried, and instead of a tall man, Len was looking at a small Rodipot child, face screwed up in preparation of a tantrum. "I want it I want it I want it!" he wailed, and shortly, Amborsin came into the room, taking him into her arms and rocking him. She looked up at Len, eyes wide with surprise and not a little fear.
"Doctor, I would leave this place now, before you are not allowed to leave," she said quietly, speaking Standard for the first time. "Ultan will soon be over his tantrum and in control of himself once again. Please, save yourself." She looked truly frightened, and the screen beside her clicked on, Jim's startled face filling it. She spoke the coordinates and the screen died. "That is the most I can do for you, for he is stronger than I." As she hushed the little boy, she thought, and then smiled sadly at him. "Goodbye, Leonard McCoy. May you always walk in the Day, under the Sun, and under the Stars of the Night." He was suddenly on the surface, and felt the tingling of the transporter. He was still horribly confused.
Jim heard a loud roaring in his ears as he turned disbelieving eyes on his First Officer, who was already standing and starting for the transporter room. It wasn't until they were almost there that he realized he had called for Spock to follow and had lead the way; to him, the travel was instantaneous in the way that most such things are. They got there just as Bones rematerialized and it was all Jim could do to wait for the red light to turn off so that he could pull his slightly taller lover into a tight embrace. The embrace was returned with gusto, and slowly words filtered in, even as his vision went foggy with unshed tears.
"I'm so sorry, Jim, so sorry," Bones was saying over and over.
"Doesn't matter," he muttered, wiping the tears from Bones' face with gentle fingers. "It doesn't matter; you're here, and that's what does." He held on to Bones tightly even as he made the order to get out of there, not wanting to let go of him, ever. "You're home, Bones, you're home. I love you so much, and you're home." He was vaguely aware of Scotty shooing everyone out of the room, and couldn't care less as he kissed Bones, hard at first, and then softer.
"I love you so much, Jim, I'm never doing something that stupid again," Bones muttered, and Jim laughed raggedly.
"We both know that one or the other of us will piss the other off bad enough to do something similar, Bones, so never say never." Bones laughed with him, and then they were kissing again.
"I'm home," Bones finally said, and then his stomach growled, followed quickly by Jim's. It was time to get back into normalcy and put all this behind them, and Jim was more than ready to do so. He looked out the porthole in the corridor as they walked toward their quarters, and saw the cloud that had covered the Day side of the planet dissipate as if it had never been, bringing a smile to his face even as the planet disappeared. "What?"
"Nothing. It's just a nice sunny day." Bones looked at him a little strangely, but then again, when didn't he? It was a good day.
Okay, the ending doesn't please me, but there it is, a whole fic written in one night. Wow I'm tired.