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i wake up some days (with a knot in my heart)

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Len wakes up before his alarm can off, aware of the med bay's general lightening as alpha shift and the ship's artificial day approached. He'd slept on the floor, having insisted Chapel take the couch in his office. M’Benga is across the hall, no doubt asleep on his own couch. None of them were in fit state to return to their quarters after last night's clusterfuck, and more honestly, none of them had wanted to be alone.


He doesn't get up, instead listening to Chapel breath in the tiny, closed space that is his office.


He doesn't feel tired, but he doesn't feel rested either.


He waits until he's pretty sure Chapel is awake before he gets up. He's not really sure what to say to her. She seems better than last night. She lets him bully her into coffee and breakfast before she goes back to her rooms. He reminds her that she can always get in touch with Starfleet Mental Health Services if she wants, especially in the case of an emergency like this. She promises she will, maybe, and then tells him he should make sure he does too. Physician, heal thyself, she says wryly. He takes what he can get and sends her on her way.


He does try to call Starfleet Mental Health Services though. They put him on with a social worker as soon as he chokes out what happened - the comm from M’Benga, running across the ship with Chapel, finding Lieutenant Mitchell on the high catwalk that looked down over seven stories. It's good, talking to the social worker. The man knows not to interrupt, and just makes listening noises occasionally, so Len knows he's there. Len can't talk long - he's given Chapel and M’Benga the day off to recover, and the Med Bay is slowly filling up with the usual headaches and burns and broken fingers, but getting it out, making the whole thing real and over, feels good.




Sometime in the afternoon, Len has a very upsetting call with Starfleet Mental Health Services.


He leans on the door of his office for a minute before he has to go out and handle whatever plague of green spots has befallen the crew now.


Len is shaking with anger.


He's furious. He's furious that SMHS apparently has such a pisspoor monitoring system that they hadn't realized they had already logged Mitchell. He's furious that they decided the appropriate course of action in this situation was to comm him, rated urgent, and rake him over the coals until they realized their system synced and they did indeed have the report log. He's furious that they implied he wasn't doing his job.


Mostly, he feels betrayed.




When Len gets off shift, he goes to his quarters. He has things to do- he should call his grandmother, and get started on the paperwork he obviously didn't do last night. He should do any number of errands he's put off. Or he could go to the gym for a run, or to the rec room and shoot pool, if he was feeling indulgent. He really should keep himself busy.


As he considers what he should do that evening, Len climbs into the bed he didn't sleep in the night before and lies down.


As an officer, his quarters have a tiny faux-window of what's happening on the outside of the ship. Today the Enterprise is dropping slowly out of warp. Len watches as the brilliant streaks of light flying by gently slow, and then stop, his room becoming dimmer and dimmer until his room is only illuminated by pinpoints of light, far in the distance. He's aware of the time passing, but can't seem to bother to get out of bed and do anything, as he watches the light slowly fade. Sitting there, in the dark, is restful, though he still doesn't feel at peace.


He stays there until he has to get up for dinner. He knows better than to skip a meal.




Time passes in a haze for the next few days. Len is aware he is not doing well. He really is. He's just not sure what to do about it.


M’Benga and Chapel seem to be doing well. Both of them appear to have taken everything in stride. M’Benga schedules an appointment with SMHS and comes back seeming more stable. He asks if Len has tried talking to them. Len’s not sure what to say.




The next day, Len has dinner with Spock and Jim. It's to go over ship business, officially, but it's honestly Jim's excuse to stick them both in a room and watch them fight. Normally, Len looks forward to it all week.


Both are immediately concerned when he doesn't even take notice of Spock's dig about irrationality of meat consumption.


He tells them the whole story, somehow. He doesn't even remember starting. But he tells them it, he thinks, more or less in order.


“I'm just not sure,” He says, trailing off. What to do he supposes he meant to say. Or, how to get over this.


Jim is speechless. Len thinks, uncharitably, that he's finally found something Jim Kirk doesn't purport to know all the answers to.


Spock stares at him. Len stares back.


Spock and Len looked at each other for a solid minute. Len had never felt so clearly that the man had no idea how to process the emotions in front of him.


Len wonders, idly, if Spock was aware of the two hours he and M’Benga had spent, after Spock signed on as First Officer, hammering out how keep an eye on him, or the biweekly discussions they'd had on the subject ever since. And the second two hour discussion, where they reworked their original plan, after the business with the damn volcano. Or the third, over drinks in a half destroyed Yorktown. He doesn't think so. Spock’s mental state had been fraught for as long as he had known him - the overwhelming loss he had experienced, his incessant risky behavior, and his continually tumultuous relationships. M’Benga and Len had done a pretty good job of keeping him grounded, when all was said and done, but he doubted Spock was aware of how much time the two of them had spent, quietly trying to smooth his path. He's stable, which is all they can ask.


“Doctor,” Spock said, “ this experience appears to have troubled you deeply. Many humans find catharsis in discussing dramatic events with others, especially professionals. Have you considered doing so?”


“You're right Spock,” Len said, humorlessly. “I should talk to someone about it.”