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Pipe Dreams (and other things you'd rather forget about in the morning)

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He's lying in the road (the road, the goddamn road, this is not okay at all) and there are lights spinning above his head and the word 'concussion' is going off like an alarm clock in the back of his head and he really wishes it would stop. Jim's fairly certain it's dark out, but it won't be for long because that is definitely lighter sky to the east. And fuck, he can still taste the booze on his tongue and the cheap whiskey on his teeth and what he really hopes isn't lipstick on the side of his mouth.

In short, he's a wreck. A huge damn wreck, lying in the road, just waiting to be run over by someone similarly drunk but with more access to a vehicle. And then boom, you're dead, afterlife away and all that. If there's an afterlife. But there probably is, because he'll probably go out swearing like a goddamn sailor and they probably sit up there in afterlife town not letting people in because they swear too much. There's probably a whole list of Things You Can't Do When You're Dead. Swearing, drinking, hairstyles from over a hundred years ago. Forgetting to call back in the morning, and oh, did he mention swearing? Girls who can kick your ass. Can't do them. Guys who work for you. The really hot nurse who has a thing for your scarily monogamous first officer.

And now Jim's making a list of People He Can't Do While Alive, which is a really good sign that he needs to shut the fuck up inside his brain and do something productive like passing out or standing up and staggering home.

(And this is why he's not allowed to live on his own anymore. Fuck shore leave; he's getting back on the ship of his whether there's a huge chunk missing out of the starboard hull or not. Scotty's ire is preferable to solitude.)

The stars are starting to slow down overhead, which means he can try sitting up again, because god forbid he actually be in any less pain than he's in right now. So he sits up and watches them speed up again, and he doesn't see the car coming but he hears it stopping right in front of him.

Things happen very fast all of a sudden. Someone's speaking very loudly, or maybe that's just him, and then there are about seven faces wavering in front of him and someone's asking how he is and he's pretty sure it's Sulu, but that's ridiculous because Sulu's at home, wherever that is, and anyway Jim can definitely see curves, so Sulu is right out. Unless of course there was a medical procedure that he didn't know about. But that's impossible, because Jim uses his wiles to bully Bones into telling him things that are up with people and Sulu is several things but a woman is really not one of them.

"I'm drunk," says Jim, because it's kind of an important thing for whoever sounds like Sulu and looks like a seven-headed Uhura, now that he thinks about it. "Extremely drunk."

"It's kicking in already," all seven faces say at once, and then Jim's head starts hurting like hell and there the stars go again, fuck that hurts like a bitch. "Pass me the sedative," says Uhura times seven, and then there are more voices and someone sounds angry and someone sounds concerned and they're all misunderstanding.

"No, it's okay, I did this myself," he says – or tries to. What he actually ends up with is some incoherent mumble that stumbles and staggers just like he might, and then something stabs his neck. And he should probably mention that, or object to it, except hello, it seems like a really good time to take a proper nap. On the street.

…and then the world is still spinning and there are still a bunch of fucking painful stars spinning around his head, except there are also lots of blinding lights and the seven-headed Uhura monster is gone. There is a duplicate Bones standing next to the original, and both of them are waving a clipboard menacingly. Jim smiles and contemplates falling into a coma just to fuck with him, except then he sees the rest of his bridge crew loitering across the room and they're really good at guilt-tripping him by their existence. That would be pretty fucking cold. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he has friends now, a whole shipful of people who cross wormholes and investigate dangerous situations and have dance parties just because he's Captain James T Kirk.

"Oh, look, he's finally awake," say both Bones. Boneses?

"Didn't know you had a brother," Jim says, and smiles his widest.

"Awake but not lucid. What happened?" That's Sulu. Again. Doesn't anyone respect the sanctity of shore leave anymore?

"They got him," says Uhura, and now Jim can see her, just one of her. She looks funny. Wrong, somehow. Like he's expecting something that's not there, but unless he's looking for the other six heads he doesn't really know what that could be. His head's still reeling. "Those bastards slipped him a dez five-oh-three."

It sounds bad. The gasps she gets sound bad. "Who did what to me?"

"Later," say the Boneses. "This might hurt some." Then he jabs something into Jim's neck and it's sleepy time again.

..and then it's like there's fire in his head and his chest and he can't get a breath and his hands are shaking and his head is aching and –

"Bones, what the hell did you give me?" Last he remembers is Bones standing over him, wielding a hypo. He doesn't remember the cables hooked up to his chest or the neon lights above his head. But they're there now, all right.

"I'm sorry," Bones says, which is weird, because Bones doesn't apologise idly. "We had to delete the virus you were infected with. Scott says the process shouldn't leave any lasting damage, but Chekov did it, and the kid's seventeen, Jim!" He's not making any sense. No sense at all. What does Chekov's age have to do with anything?

"Wasn't I drunk last night?"

"No, Jim." Bones gets all quiet, which is how Jim knows something's gone terribly wrong. "It's just the goddamn programming."