Kirk looked up from his desk and saw Doctor McCoy standing in the doorway to his quarters carrying a bottle of Saurian brandy and two glasses.
“Little early, isn’t it, Bones?
“The hell it is,” grumbled McCoy, setting the glasses down on the desk. “Not after everything you’ve been through.” He popped the cork off the bottle of brandy and poured. “This is medicinal.”
“For you, or for me?”
“For both of us.” He sat down and sipped; smacked his lips.
Kirk smiled and took a drink. “Alright, Bones, I’ll bite. What is you’re trying to tell me?”
McCoy’s face grew serious, and his tone softened. “Jim, it’s been three weeks since the funerals, and aside from your eulogy at Sam’s, you haven’t said one word about losing your brother to me or anyone else.”
“I’ve said all I need to say, Bones. Are you finished?”
McCoy scowled and leaned over the desk. “Not by a longshot. First Edith Keeler, now your brother and his wife… Normal people take time off to grieve, Jim. They don’t just bury it inside and keep going like nothing happened.”
“How I grieve is none of your business, Doctor.”
“On the contrary, Captain, as this ship’s chief medical officer, the physical and mental health of every single member of this crew is my responsibility. That includes yours. Now are you going to put in for two weeks of shore leave yourself or do you want me to petition Starfleet Command with an official request?”
Kirk sighed and rubbed his temple. “My plate’s a little full right now, Bones. I can’t afford to take the time–”
“You can’t afford not to take the time off,” McCoy snapped. “You’re irritable, you’re distracted, you’re not getting enough sleep, and your performance is suffering. The crew is noticing. And talking.”
This got Kirk’s attention. As a starship captain, he was well aware of the importance of projecting an image of strength and unwavering confidence to the crew. If I lose that… He knocked back the rest of the brandy in his glass.
“Thank you, Bones.”
McCoy seemed confused. “For what? Barging into your quarters and threatening to have starfleet command forcibly remove your butt from that damned chair up on the bridge long enough for you to get yourself together?”
He smiled. “For the brandy. And for being such a pain in the ass.”
“Jim, my concern isn’t purely professional. I’m telling you this as your friend.”
“I know, Bones.” said Kirk. “I know.”
“I’ve already discussed this with Spock and we’re in full agreement,” McCoy went on.
Kirk’s eyebrows shot up. “Mutiny, eh?”
“Concern, Captain. Spock may not show it, but he’s worried about you too. We all are.”
Kirk shut off his desktop terminal and threw up his hands in resignation. “You win, Doctor. I’ll… put in for shore leave immediately. Now pour me some more of that brandy.”
“Yes sir,” said McCoy, clearly pleased with himself. “Any idea where you’re going to go?”
Kirk took another sip of brandy and leaned back in his chair, his mind drifting elsewhere. “I… might have someplace in mind.”