The water was way too hot for human skin to handle, but Jim couldn't feel it. He was numb, numb to the scalding water, numb to the fact he was crying, just numb. The water had long since turned his skin red, but he didn't care. He just sat there, his knees drawn up to his chest, his back against the wall as he tried in vain not to think about the mission that had just gone wrong.
The scensors had not picked up any life forms on the planet, it was suppossed to be uninhabited, Starfleet had said it was uninhabited. Jim had beamed down to the planet along with nine other crewmembers from science, medical, and security. But they had learned very quickly that Starfleet and the scensors had been wrong. Of course that wasn't hard to do when you have people shooting some type of weapon at you. It had all gone downhill the moment they had beamed down. They had been attacked before they could even contact the ship and request to be beamed back up.
It had only lasted a few minutes, no more then four but six of the nine crewmembers who had beamed down with him had died. And the remaining three had been injured, he had been as well, but it wasn't bad, just a cut. He had had worse from bar fights, and all Bones had done is clean it and had silently regenerated the skin. Bones had not even yelled or ranted at him, for once the doctor had been silent as he worked. And then he had released him to quarters where Jim had immediately stripped off his uniform and had gotten in the shower where he was now and had remained for the last half hour.
"Captain?" a voice called out, he knew the voice belonged to Spock, his first and science officer, not to mention lover, but he remained silent. He didn't want to talk to anybody, not even Spock.
"Captain" the voice called again closer this time "Doctor McCoy has asked me to check on you." he finished. Jim was not surprised that Bones had done that, the doctor had probably been concerned by the way Jim had not even argued or cringed at the hypo that had been shot into his neck. But he still remained silent, hoping that Spock would assume he was not in his quarters and leave.
He had completely forgotten about Vulcan superior hearing, and only remembered when the Vulcan had appeared in the door to the fresher. He sighed, why couldn't Spock have just gotten the picture and left?
"Captain did you not hear me calling for you?" Spock asked, he still didn't utter even a sound but he did look up from where he had been staring at the floor of the shower. Spock stepped forward a little when he did.
"Captain are you well?" Spock asked. Jim reached up and wiped at his eyes desperate to hide the evidence that he had been crying. He was a starship captain and starship captains did not cry, it simply was not done. Spock seemed to think of whether to step closer or not, seemed to think of the logical thing to do. Jim didn't know if it was logical or not but Spock walked to him and knelt by the shower.
"Captain?" Spock asked one hand reaching out and hovering in the air for a moment as if Spock had no control over it before he laid it on Jim's shoulder, a second later he pulled it back as if burned. And maybe he had been, after all Jim knew how hot the water was, even if he didn't feel it.
"Jim the water is too hot for a human, why do you have it so hot?" Spock asked standing up gracfully and turning the shower off.
"I feel numb Spock" Jim mumbled, speaking for the first time.
"Do you not feel well?" Spock asked concern showing through his brown eyes.
"Six people died in the expanse of just a few minutes" Jim said, and Spock realized the man was not talking to him as much as he was himself. "It was all my fault, I failed my crew, I failed" Jim was still mumbling quietly but the Vulcan heard it all the same.
Spock once again knelt on the floor outside the shower and placed a hand on the blond mans shoulder as an offer of comfort.
"Jim, we must get you dressed, you will become ill if you stay in the air wet for long" Spock told him softly. Jim looked at Spock for a second then just shook his head and turned back to staring at the shower floor.
"A captains job is to protect his crew, I failed my crew Spock" Jim said.
"Jim please we will discuss this when you are dressed" Spock told him gripping Jim under the elbow and pulling him to his feet. Jim nearly loses his balance from not using the mucsels in his legs for as long as he did, but Spock wraps an arm around his waist and keeps him up.
Spock has to support him as he walks, his legs are numb from lack of use, and in the end Spock decides that getting Jim dressed is more then the blond can manage in his state at the moment as he wraps Jim's bath robe around him. Jim doesn't argue when Spock leads him to his bed and forces him down on it. Once he is on the bed he lays down and curls into a ball, hands close to his chest as he tries to keep from crying again.
Spock watches the man for a minute before he stands and moves to the replicator in the room silently. A few seconds later Spock makes his way back to the bunk and the man laying there with a glass of water in his hands. Kirk looks at him and Spock does not mention that the man is once again crying, instead he just sits on the bed making sure that he does not spill any of the water and silently offers the glass to Jim.
Jim sits up on his bunk taking the glass of cold water from the Vulcan and holding it in his hand, but does not drink any of it.
"Jim are you alright?" Spock asked.
"Ensign Matherson had a wife and three year old child on earth" Jim told him staring at the water he held.
"I am aware of that" Spock said.
"That kid will grow up without his father now, no child deserves that Spock" Jim said, Spock did not say a word even as he moved closer to the human. "Lieutenant Richards was getting married in a month, he was so happy about it. He told everyone who would listen about the wedding plans. Ensign Moore had a sister who adored him, she wants to join Starfleet like her big brother. Ensign Hart was suppossed to take a ground posting next month when we stopped at a starbase, she was going to take a shuttle back to earth. Ensign Thompson just started his carreer. Lieutenant Ortiz had just gotten promoted. They all died, it was all my fault" Jim said.
"Jim, it was not your fault, you have no blame in their deaths. They knew of the dangers when they joined Starfleet, and they knew of the dangers of away missions. You are not to blame" Spock retorted. Jim just shook his head and Spock's heart broke a little at the tears that fell unrestrained from his T'hy'la's face to drip onto his hand.
For the first time Spock did not think of his action before hand as he took the glass and placed it beside the bed before he wrapped his arms around the blond and pulled him to rest against his chest. Jim gripped a fist full of the material of Spock's shirt and buried his face into Spock's chest as he cried. Spock held his lover as he cried out his grief over losing six members of his crew, and his guilt for their deaths. All the while that he held him, Spock ran his hand through the human's hair in an attempt to comfort him. Spock knew prefectly well that Jim always took the death of crew members to heart and felt guilt for them. As a captain it was his responsibility to protect his crew just as he had said, and Jim took that very seriously.
"Hush T'hy'la, all will be alright" Spock said.
"Six people died in four minutes" Jim sobbed. Spock chose not to correct the actual time, it would not help Jim any, it would offer no comfort to his distraut human. And thus it did not matter, all that mattered at the moment was comforting the man he held in his arms.
Spock shifted on the bed and loosened his arms reaching for the glass of water on the bedside table only to be stopped by Jim clingling to him desparately. Spock looked down at the blond head that rested on his chest in concern.
"Spock, please don't leave me, please" Jim begged around a hiccuping sob and Spock wrapped his arms around the human.
"I am not leaving my Jim, it is well, I am here" Spock soothed rubbing the back of the blond who shook in his arms with each sob. Still Jim clung desparatly to his body, his hands gripping the blue science uniform Spock wore. Spock remembred that as a child his mother had rocked him in the few times he had cried. Spock once again did not think as he began to rock Jim back and forth whispering soothing words to his T'hy'la, and petted his soft blond hair.
After an hour Spock became aware that Jim had fallen asleep when the sobbing had quieted and stopped completely. Spock manuevered Jim with slight difficulty so that the human was laying on the bed. Spock thought about his next action for a few minutes before laying down next to Jim and pulled the human into his arms.
Spock watched Jim sleep for an hour, studying the peaceful look on his human's face and committing each line of his face to memory, before allowing sleep to claim him as well.