“Why don’t you tell me what brought you here?”
Jim glared at Helen.
Jesus, he thought, Bones couldn’t be more sadistic.
“You know why I’m here. The whole ship and half the Admiralty knows why I’m here.”
Helen merely smiled professionally back at him, crossed her legs and said, “I want to know why you think you are here. I know what the rumours have said and I know how you’ve been acting on the ship but in the past three years that I’ve served on the Enterprise and after countless requests for you or Commander Spock to see me after an extreme mission-after Yorktown even, neither of you have ever sought counselling. So, why don’t you tell me in your own words.”
He hated therapists.
Hated was an understatement.
Helen Blake was the best of the best in the field. One of the older chiefs on his ship (which was saying something since the majority were far too young if compared to every other Starship in the Federation) she was nice and never once overstepped. She was the first therapist that never once stuck her nose in even when she was curious.
Jim liked her.
He just liked to avoid her more.
She reminded him of when he had been small and weak and dying.
All therapists did.
“I’m here because I fucked my life up.”
“How do you think you did that?”
Jim tensed even more than what he already was. He leaned farther back into the seat and glared more.
He couldn’t say it.
It went against everything he strived to be.
Everything he swore he’d be.
It clawed at his chest, it dug into his soul and tore away every good thing he managed to do, everything he had slowly and cautiously became proud of.
He couldn’t give it a voice. Couldn’t make it even more real.
He was living it, seeing it in every waking moment, dreaming of it.
Fuck, Helen knew what happened.
He shouldn’t have to say it. Jim crossed his arms and remained silent.
Helen just stared back at him.
Jim was a pro at seeing through people. As much as he pretended to be the clown, the happy-go-lucky captain that everyone-until now-had seen he could look at someone, eye them up and see most of their faults. It was something that he had instinctively had and equally taught himself for necessity. He knew Helen was a good person. She was patient though and as with all therapists, she was fucking annoying as hell. She had that same instinct, to see someone and truly see them.
Another point against her and all therapists out there.
After twenty minutes, Jim sighed and gave in, “Isn’t there something you should say next?”
Helen just shrugged and closed her PADD. “I’ve read your file as you know. At least the tiny bit that isn’t classified, omitted or deleted. And I think that the first thing we need to do is establish the truth. You value honesty and loyalty and I’m going to be blunt with you throughout these meetings. You have traumas going back to a very young age. You’ve never sought treatment for those and I do believe they have affected your adult life. When and if you’re ever ready to talk about that we can. But first I want you to be honest with me. No bullshit, no lying and no bending of the truth to suit either one of us. I need to hear why you’re here.”
“Because only when you acknowledge it will you be able to talk about it and only then can you sort through it all, which I’m here to help you with. After all that, maybe you move past it.”
Jim clenched his jaw and looked away from her.
He tried to say it and the words screamed inside him.
Bellowed so loudly it was all he heard. They were etched into his eyes, deafening to his ears.
He bled those words.
They stayed silent for the next forty-five minutes until Helen said neutrally, “Time’s up. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jim immediately ran out of the room. He hurried along the empty halls and breathed a sigh of relief as he entered the lift.
He didn’t know how he was going to do this. He pressed his forehead against the wall and repeated over and over; survive, survive, survive.
The only problem was that he was running out of reasons to fight.
And he was so god-dammed tired of fighting to survive.
He sought refuge in a guest room on the ship. He hadn’t been back to his own since it happened. He couldn’t go in. Every time he tried, his mind kept repeating what happened. He was scared that going in was going to somehow kill him, smother him until he couldn't see past it, feel past it, couldn't make himself survive.
He was scared of seeing Spock outside of the bridge.
Scared of seeing anyone.\
And every day, every night, every second he felt empty, off kilter, he felt as if he should just lay down.
Lay down and never get up.
Jim gasped awake confused, alert and stinging.
“Serves you right, having me running around all over this damned ship.” Bones was glaring at him, a hypo in his hand that he was changing.
“Honestly, you need to go back to your own cabin.”
Jim slowly removed his hand from his neck as Bones descended with another shot. It had woken him up and like every morning he felt just a bit better. It would wear off but for the next ten minutes he’d be happy. Or as happy as one could get artificially.
“I…I just need a bit more sleep.”
Bones frowned, concern in his eyes as he sighed back at him, “I know. Do you want me to call in for you?”
Jim slowly sat up and tried to wake himself up. Half the time, he couldn’t sleep but when he did he never seemed rested.
“No. No. I had two weeks off and the Admiralty are starting to considering letting me go. I need to go in.”
“They wouldn’t do that and you know it. You’re too famous.”
Jim snorted. The sad thing was it was true. He might be a shit captain right now but he was too famous to fire. There’d be too many questions on his health and then where would the Admirals be? Employing an ex-MACO solider with Post-Traumatic-Syndrome and with known mental issues for the past month.
“Alright, hypo me one more time and I’ll be off.”
“No, you’ll be off once you’ve had breakfast.” Bones made him eat. Jim managed to get away with just a portion controlled meal, though Bones would have liked to see him eat a larger (old-Jim) meal. He didn’t mention Jim’s new vegetarian lifestyle.
He managed a bright smile walking onto the bridge.
He nodded over at Sulu who nodded back at him, gave Pasha a wink and the younger man grinned back at him. He glanced over at Nina on tactical and she smiled back.
Uhura didn’t turn and Jim didn’t look over at Spock to see if he noticed him.
Just like the last two months, Jim listened to Sulu and Chekov quietly talk to themselves. No one joked or really bantered. Sulu had to have been dying to crack some kind of joke and Chekov sometimes looked like he had this amazing, brilliant thought but look around, dimmed and kept it to himself.
It hurt Jim to see what had been so perfect gradually diminished to this. This was professional and normal and probably what it was like throughout Star Fleet. Conversations kept to work or projects, no one invited anyone out, no one played truth or dare (dares to be done after shift), no games or gossip. It was very Star Fleet and not so much Jim’s Star Fleet.
In the middle of the shift everyone tensed as Spock came up to him to hand him a PADD.
“Captain, I am conducting an experiment in the Science Labs and I require your authorization to use Gyu Mevit-troitsm while teaching Cadet Williams.”
Jim winced at this formal request.
Such things had once been overlooked entirely. Spock ruled over the Science Labs as if it were his own personal empire (one of the ensign's even put a sign up saying Spock's Kingdom and it was still there now despite Spock's protests) and Jim had whole-heartedly let him, only ever dropping by to tease him or generally curious when Spock mentioned something he was working on.
On the PADD was the information on the experiment but Jim just stared at it unseeingly feeling Spock's heavy gaze on him. He took a professional amount of time to look like he was seeing it.
God, to think it had only been two months.
Quickly, he signed it without looking at Spock.
The only thing that he saw was the pale, graceful, long fingered, hand when his First took it back and then it was quiet once more.
One good thing at not talking to anyone was that he managed to get so much paper work done.
Seriously. Fuck he was actually looking forward to it most days.
Since he couldn’t go to Spock with any of it and Spock himself had stopped organizing it all for him he was constantly working on the ship.
He hadn’t gone down to Engineering for simple fun in forever. He hadn’t touched his half-finished experiment in his room since he never went back there. He didn’t even plan on finishing his paper for publishing.
His only concerns were the ship and his crew.
Were they happy?
Was the ship in top condition?
Did anyone need anything approved and or looked over? Send it on down. And then send a copy or two.
What could he do to improve their experience for the next two years?
Could he do this for two more years?
Helen was waiting patiently for him.
They sat in silence.
And she was waiting again on Wednesday.
And everyday for the next month.
They passed each meeting doing paper work. The silence pressing in on him each time.
Then a great mission came by.
It was October back on Terra. But this planet was all summer all the time with only slight cool periods that really (for them) didn’t qualify as anything close to autumn. There were beaches upon beaches and a light green sea.
Star Fleet wanted more research on their new planets. And that deflated all of his excitement.
He needed Spock on this one.
Since their last planet had been a meeting with a civilization that had turned out friendly and nice, Jim had gone down with Bones. This time he needed Spock to go down. And he couldn’t even look at Spock never mind go on a mission with him.
He got all of his Chiefs together and told them what they needed to retrieve. The planet was uninhabited to their sensors so he appointed two security members to go with Spock and that he could take another science protégé with him.
“Captain, you will not be beaming down?” It was the first-time Jim heard slight emotion in his voice in months. It startled him and he glanced over at Spock.
He was sitting straight backed and regal. Spock was looking curiously back at him. No hatred. No harshness or condemnation.
Just wondering why Jim wouldn’t be joining him as if it were still normal-routine-Jim-and-Spock-like-always-missions. He shook his head and made himself look away.
“No Spock. Regulations. Besides, we just need a few samples so I’m going to take a much-needed break.” He saw Spock’s brow go up. Not in surprise but in confusion.
Jim never once considered not going down to a planet a break.
And he fucked so many regulations he was pretty sure the cadets at the academy had made his name a warning regulation itself.
Bones glared at him and everyone else looked away.
When Spock and his team beamed out, Jim was sitting opposite Helen.
She, very unprofessionally if you asked Jim, was laying down and playing a game on her PADD. Last time she was doing yoga. The time before that she was ordering bedding and asking him which colour would suit her cabin.
Why did the Enterprise get the crazy ones?
His leg was doing that bouncing thing again and he tried to stop it, Jim said, “So, is this how the next two years are going to play out?”
Helen glanced over at him and shrugged unconcerned, “I don’t know. Is that how you’d like for them to go?”
“No. I’d rather be doing something. Anything different than this.”
“I don’t know. Working out. Having a glass with Bones. Playing pool with Scotty. Anything.”
“Funny. I know from all the talk around this high-school that you haven’t gone to see the doctor at all these past couple of months. You haven’t played pool with Scotty for just as long. And Sulu complains you’re never in the gym anymore. So, what do you really want to be doing?”
She looked over at him curious and he found himself pinned under her gaze.
Finally, he spat out, “Sleeping.”
She seemed surprised at that and asked, “Have you been having trouble with that?”
“I’ve always had trouble with sleep. It’s just a little more persistent lately.”
Helen nodded and then asked, “Why are you here?”
Jim rubbed his forehead and finally said with a sigh, “I accidently bonded with my best-friend.”
Helen just silently stared at him and she arched a god-damned brow.
He fucking hated it when people did that.
Jim breathed deeply and let his head fall onto his hand. “I made Spock bond to me.”
A few minutes of silence passed.
It pounded into him. He could feel it with every hard thump of his heart.
Tell the truth.
Tell the truth.
Fuck. He was such a disgusting piece of shit.
I’m a monster. I’m everything Frank and Kodos and Adam said I was going to be.
Go ahead, Jim.
Go ahead and admit it.
You were never a great person. Spock made you a good Captain. And now you’re a shit friend.
It was so fucking cliché.
Everything he ever had was crumbling around him. He could feel the sparkling grey walls rust under his fingertips, feel the hatred and betrayal from Nyota, he could feel Spock’s anger, his horror, his astonishment.
Something hard hit him and he jumped.
Jim blinked and realized he had fallen down.
Panting, his heart racing, black spot danced around his vision and Helen hit him again.
He jumped away from her and alert, now was surprised.
She stood and didn’t look frightened or concerned. She looked angry.
Jim backed away. Frightened irrationally now, he shook his head and backed up until he hit the wall.
He only realized he was still panting when his chest started to burn.
“Say it!” Helen barked.
Jim tried to rationalize this.
His heart was beating too quickly, too hard.
Helen was tiny, he could take her in a fight. He was in control. He was her Captain.
She was doing this because it was part of her job.
But suddenly, he was seven years old and pinned down and open and bleeding and she was ordering him.
Jim moved his mouth and a sound came out much like a wounded animal and he tried several times before he whispered, “I raped him.”
Then he had nothing.
No body, no heart, nothing but hollowness and he crumbled slowly to the ground.
He didn’t even realize he was crying until Helen wrapped her arms around him and he clung on as if he were drowning, gasping for one more breath before the wave took him into the dark.