esme_green (esme_green) wrote,
esme_green
esme_green

Team McChapel Entry for Round 6!

Title: Seamless
Author: esme_green
Beta: janus_74
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Crack, cliché, treadworn motifs
Prompt: Round Six - Wonderwall "maybe you're going to be the one that saves me"
Word Count: 6229
Notes: Hey, you want angst? Don't come to me. Also, F'Bxtwa is a nearly-humanoid nurse in my personal canon. Sorry you haven't met her before.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is not my intellectual property. I receive no material profit from this work.

******

Christine Chapel's first inkling that something was wrong came when she walked into the CMO's office.

Leonard McCoy looked up from his padd and gave her the laziest, sexiest smile she'd ever seen.

Wow.

"Darlin', I've been thinkin'," he drawled. "What say you and me take the rest of the day off?" He pushed away from the desk and sauntered towards her. "We could get a drink, maybe a little music—" He leaned in, and Christine could feel his breath warm on her skin. "—see where the afternoon leads…"

Damn. She put a hand on his chest. "Hold that thought," she said, her mind already jumping ahead. "I'll be right back."

"I'll hold anything you like," he said, flashing another easy smile.

Christine dashed out of the CMO's office and grabbed the first medical tricorder she saw. Glancing up, she caught sight of M'Benga behaving in a highly uncharacteristic manner, stretched out languidly on a biobed, his long-fingered hands moving gracefully as he spoke to a female patient.

Damn, that couldn't be a coincidence.

And whatever the hell this was, it worked fast. He'd been treating that patient for a sprained wrist two minutes ago.

She grabbed the other nurse on duty. "F'Bxtwa," she hissed, and jerked her head in the M'Benga's direction. "Check him. McCoy's the same way."

The other nurse watched him for about five seconds, cursed, and picked up a sedative hypospray.

"Good idea," said Chapel, and grabbed one herself. As she entered McCoy's office again, she heard Uhura's voice issue from the comm.

"Bridge to sickbay."

McCoy had leaned one hip against his desk, too close to the comm for her to stop him from answering. "Hey, darlin'," he said, and Chapel winced as she strode over, activating her medical tricorder as she did so.

"Doctor McCoy?" came Uhura's voice. "Several members of the bridge crew have started acting…strangely." There was a muffled noise in the background. "We need medical assistance."

"Anything for you—" McCoy said, snaking an arm around Chapel's waist as he let her scan him.

"Hands to yourself," she told him, and he let his arm fall away. She breathed a sigh of relief. Kicking your CO in the groin was contraindicated except in the most dire circumstances.

"Chapel, is that you?" Uhura asked.

Christine reached past McCoy and thumbed the communicator panel. "Yes. I think we have the same thing here. Both Doctors McCoy and M'Benga seem to be affected. We're running scans."

"Lieutenant," Uhura said, with an edge to her voice. "It appears that only the male bridge crew is affected."

Chapel stifled a curse. "Are they all suddenly very relaxed and trying to be charming?"

"Oh god," said Uhura, slightly horrified.

"Find out if it's ship-wide," said Chapel. Doctor Peskannot, their only female doctor, was on Lirril 3 at a conference, which left Christine the ranking officer in Sickbay. "I'll send help up as soon as I can. Is everyone behaving themselves?"

"We'll handle it," Uhura said tersely, and closed the connection.

"You're very capable, Nurse Chapel," McCoy said as he watched her scan him. "Nothin' sweeter than a sharp woman."

Don't say anything, Chapel told herself. You'll only make it worse.

He leaned in and she flushed.

Also, start monitoring yourself for symptoms, she thought. Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the scan results. "It's chemical, Doctor," she said. "Somehow, you've ingested a foreign substance that's affected your behaviour."

"That would make sense," he agreed, his hand sliding to her hip.

"What did I say about hands?" she asked.

"Sorry, darlin'." His hand fell away again. "But you like it."

"Behave yourself, Doctor."

"Yes, ma'am."

Chapel studied the scans for a few more seconds, then made a decision. "If I leave you here for a bit, you're not going to get into trouble, are you?"

"Absolutely not."

"I suppose it would be too much to ask you to start the biochemical analysis?"

"You work too hard," he told her, plucking the tricorder out of her hands. "Why would you do that, when we could spend the afternoon in bed?"

"I try not to go to bed with people who are under the influence of unknown substances."

"You worry too much, darlin'." McCoy stuck out his bottom lip. "I think it's probably fine."

Chapel stifled a sigh. "It's not fine. But come to that, how are you feeling?"

"Is that a medical or a personal enquiry?"

"Medical, please. Are you hot? Cold? In pain?"

"No pain," he said, a slow grin starting. "Relaxed. And warm."

Christine was feeling a little warm herself, watching him, but that probably didn't have anything to do with unexpected symptoms. "Right," she said. "Stay here, don't touch anything, and I'll be back…" She thought about the bridge, which would be a whole other handful."…as soon as I can."

"I'll be waiting," said McCoy, with another smile that did things to her she did not want to acknowledge, now or ever.

Allowing herself a tiny groan, she left the room to find that M'Benga had been sedated along with two male patients, and all of them showed traces of an unknown chemical agent in their systems.

"Wake up Chen and Belski," she told F'Bxtwa, naming the ship's two biochemists, who fortunately happened to be female. "Get them working on an antidote." She scanned F'Bxtwa with her tricorder, then F'Bxtwa returned the favour. "No trace in either of us. Were they any trouble?"

"No." F'Bxtwa gave what was for her species, a shrug. "Just annoying."

"Wish me luck, then," said Chapel. "Because I'm heading to the bridge."

"Oh, god," said F'Bxtwa, clearly realizing the potential problem. "I'll stay here."

Christine loaded up her hypospray with extra doses of sedative, then ran for the turbolift.

******

It was almost as bad as she'd imagined. The captain lounged against one of the science stations, chatting to a wholly unimpressed Lieutenant Adams.

"Nurse Chapel," Kirk said amiably, turning to her with a blinding smile of invitation. "How are you?"

"Fine, Captain." She got to work, activating her medical tricorder. "How are you feeling?"

"I can think of something," he practically purred, leaning in. "That would make us both feel better."

Torn between rolling her eyes and hoping the internal sensors were recording all of this (and absolutely, positively, in no way tempted), she managed to shake her head. "Sorry, Captain," she said. "It appears you've been poisoned by an unknown chemical agent. We need to see to that first."

"Are you sure?"

Not completely, and given how hot her cheeks felt when he leaned in like that, maybe she should be checking herself again. "Yes, Captain." Surreptitiously, she ran the scanner over herself. Nothing, thank goodness, except maybe she hadn't been on a date in a while. "We'll get this sorted out as soon as possible."

She went to Spock next, who didn't seem to be exhibiting the same behaviour as the other males on the bridge. But as she came close and activated her scanner, he turned suddenly, so that she was truly inside his personal space, and she took a quick step back, glancing over at Uhura.

"Lieutenant Chapel," he said. "I am experiencing significant discomfort."

"Describe it, Commander," she said, continuing to scan him.

"My head…"

And he fell. Christine managed to catch him before he hit the ground, but he was bigger than her, and heavy, and fortunately Uhura was immediately there to help, so that they could get him safely down onto the floor.

"His vital signs are normal," she said as the tricorder gave her more readings, hoping her voice sounded reassuring. She 'sprayed him with an analgesic to help with the pain. "Whatever this is, it must affect Vulcans differently. Get medical to send a stretcher up; we'll keep an eye on him in Sickbay."

Uhura nodded, her face still tense, and went off to send the message.

Chapel made him as comfortable as she could and then glanced around the bridge, looking for other potential problems. Sulu and Chekhov were apparently trying to chat each other up, ignoring everyone else, which under other circumstances would have been hilarious.

She went over to scan them, taking a quick glance at their control panels while she did so. She wasn't a pilot, but she'd had basic training and noted with relief that they didn't appear to be about to steer into a black hole or ion storm.

Lieutenant Adams pushed away from the science station, pointedly ignoring the captain. "Report, Nurse?"

"It appears that only male crew members have been affected," Chapel replied. "Lieutenant Uhura?"

Uhura nodded. "I'm getting similar reports across the ship."

"Symptoms in humans include loss of judgment, the inability to focus on assigned duties, and an unusual interest in copulation, though the latter seems paired with an uncharacteristic physical docility. My medical recommendation is that all affected personnel be relieved of duty until we synthesize an antidote."

The lieutenant nodded. "Agreed." She glanced briefly at Kirk. "Can you give me a hand with him?"

At that moment the stretcher arrived for the still-unconscious Spock. "Sorry," said Chapel, with real empathy. "Get Rand up here."

Even though it was a good suggestion, Adams grimaced as she glanced over at Uhura, who put the call through. "Fifth in command," Adams muttered, making her way to the captain's chair. "Who would have thought?"

"Enjoy it, sweetheart," Kirk said. "You look good in it."

Adams took another breath to fend off exasperation and glanced over at Chapel. "Hurry."

"Got it," said Chapel, scanning Spock one more time as the two orderlies hoisted the stretcher.

She was nearly at the turbolift when a tiny voice said, "Um, excuse me, Lieutenant Adams?"

Everyone on the bridge turned to the young ensign manning the Security station. If Chekhov was seventeen, she looked about eleven, and she blushed under the gaze of so many eyes.

"Yes, Ensign?" Adams said, not unkindly.

"Ma'am, we need to consider that the ship may be under attack," the little security officer said. "A chemical agent of unknown origin has been introduced to the ship, rendering sixty percent of the crew helpless within minutes. We should raise shields and go to yellow alert."

Chapel's lips tightened.

Adams sighed. "You're not wrong. Damn it. Raise shields. Computer, yellow alert."

"Also," the ensign squeaked as the klaxon sounded. "Recommend we confine all affected personnel to their quarters. If they've lost judgment," she glanced nervously at Chapel, who did her best to nod reassuringly, "they could inadvertently damage the ship."

Chapel agreed. "From what I've seen, any one of them could reach into an access panel and pull out the circuitry, just because it looks pretty."

"And because it impresses the girls," Kirk added, never one to be left out of the conversation.

"Fine," said Adams. "Ensign, coordinate your security teams to escort all affected—"

Thunder cracked across the bridge. Chapel slammed into the bulkhead as everyone reeled from the impact.

"Red alert!" Adams barked, racing for the sensor array. "Chapel, take the helm. Ensign, report!"

"Photon torpedo, close range!" The security ensign's earlier timidity was gone. "I can't get a lock on the enemy!"

Chapel picked her way past the two orderlies who had thrown themselves over the unconscious Spock to protect him, blinking to clear her head as she reached the helm and unceremoniously pushed Sulu out of his seat.

"Taking evasive action," she called out, her fingers remembering the elementary drill maneuvers.

"On screen," Adams said, and Christine looked up from the helm controls.

"It's so small," she said, surprised, and then almost ducked as the little craft launched another torpedo straight at them.

The hit shook the ship so bad her teeth rattled. "It's right behind us!"

"Came up in the wake of our nacelles and penetrated our aft deflectors," said the security ensign, her hands a blur as she scanned the information on her display. "Nurse Chapel, evasive maneuver delta-five."

Delta-five. Christine's mind flashed briefly to the mnemograms she and her roommates had come up with at the Academy to remember the different drills. Right. Her fingers danced over the keys. She could do this.

"I have a phaser lock, Lieutenant." the ensign announced a moment later.

"Target shields and fire!" Adams ordered, twisting away from the sensors long enough to see what was happening on the viewscreen.

"Direct hit."

"Take out their damn guns, ensign."

"Aye aye, ma'am."

On screen, three rapid flashes were all that indicated that the Enterprise had found her mark.

"Nice shot!" said Kirk to no one in particular.

"All right," said Adams. "They're toothless. Engage tractor beam. I don't want them running away before we have a word with them."

"Engaging tractor beam."

Adams turned to Uhura. "Damage report?"

"Warp core is offline. Two cargo bays compromised by the torpedoes. All personnel accounted for—just bumps and bruises."

"That's my cue," said Chapel, climbing out of the chair and dodging Sulu's hands as he attempted to hug her knees from where he still sat on the floor.

"Just a moment, Nurse," said Adams. "It's a long shot, but let's see if these yahoos will tell us anything valuable." She settled herself back in the captain's chair, ignoring Kirk as he came to stand behind her, and glanced over at Uhura. "Hail them."

The picture was poor—the Enterprise had evidently inflicted damage to more than just the aliens' weapon systems. From what Chapel could see, the small craft was staffed by hulking, musclebound, completely hairless blueish-green humanoids. She shifted surreptitiously to stand near Kirk, just in case he tried anything funny.

"This is Lieutenant Adams commanding the USS Enterprise." The lieutenant's voice was even and tempered with only a faint annoyance. "You have attacked a Federation vessel. What is your purpose here?"

One of the aliens peered at its viewscreen, then drew back in surprise. "You are female!"

"And he's male." Adams nodded briefly in Kirk's direction. "What's your point?"

The alien turned away, shouting in an alien language.

Uhura muted the transmission. "He's complaining that the…chemical? Biochemical? Didn't work."

"Let's keep him thinking that," said Adams. "Let me speak to him again." She paused a moment. "Alien vessel, you will stand down and prepare to be towed to Starbase 4, where you will answer for your crimes."

"This is impossible! You cannot…" The alien grunted in disgust.

"These phasers say I can," said Adams evenly.

"And don't even try to jam up your parking brake," Kirk added, before anyone could stop him.

Adams signaled for Uhura to mute the connection, but it soon became clear that the aliens were more concerned with yelling recriminations at each other, and then they broke contact.

"Chapel," Adams said, heading back over to the still unstaffed sensor array, "Plot a course to Starbase 4."

"I'm a nurse, damn it, not a navigator," Christine grumbled as she shoved Chekhov out of his seat, trying not to look into his big, adoring puppy eyes as he landed on the floor beside Sulu.

"Just point the ship in the right direction," Adams said dryly. "I won't make you dock us manually."

It took her much longer than it would have taken Chekhov, but her training slowly filtered back. "Course laid in. Estimated time of arrival, eighteen hours at full impulse."

"Do it," said Adams.

"Can I go now?" Chapel asked. "I do have an unconscious bridge officer, a sickbay filling up with minor casualties, and a biochemical agent to neutralize."

"Enjoy," said Adams.

Christine paused at the security station, where the little ensign was already coordinating damage reports. "Good work," she said quietly. "If you hadn't spoken up when you did, we would have been taken completely unaware."

"We'd still have got them," the ensign said confidently, her back straightening as she drew herself up.

"You're probably right," Chapel said with a smile. "And if you do have any spare personnel, funnel them down to sickbay and I'll put them on babysitting—er, escort duty."

"Yes ma'am."

"Come on." Chapel turned to the orderlies, who had picked up Spock's stretcher again. "Let's get him some help." With a final nod to Uhura, she stepped into the turbolift just as Yeoman Rand stepped out.

******

"Well, that was an exciting twenty minutes," F'Bxtwa said as Chapel trailed in behind Spock's stretcher.

"How are Chen and Belski doing with the antidote?"

"Working on it. You know it literally has been only twenty minutes, right?"

"Nineteen minutes too long." Chapel glanced around and the almost-full sickbay. "How bad?"

"Only minor injuries. I've woken up all the female med staff and anyone else with field medic training to help with the triage. My only concern is that the longer this goes on, the more likely it is we're going to see knee-to-the-groin injuries."

"My rage remains unfocused," Chapel deadpanned. She gave a quick overview of Spock's condition, then continued, "Security is going to start sending teams down to help us escort affected personnel to quarters. We'll seal them all inside, where they can't make daisy chains out of the ship's circuitry."

"Got it," said F'Bxtwa. "Where do you want to start?"

Christine shrugged. "Let's get McCoy and M'Benga out of here; they're taking up space, and then begin—"

There was a faint but distinct thump, and the ship lurched a little.

And then the comms came alive, reporting an accident in Engineering, and McCoy was damn well going to have to stay where he was for a while longer, Chapel thought as she grabbed a medkit and ran.

Fortunately, the incident wasn't too serious, at least by Engineering standards. Christine treated several minor burns and one or two cuts from flying debris, then dispatched all the men there back to their quarters with female escorts to make sure they got there.

Gaila made a face at her.

"Relax," Christine told her. "You'll get the women back in a minute, and we're working on an antidote for the men."

"I want the ship in perfect working order by the time we dock at Starbase 4, and I can't do that when two-thirds of my staff aren't here."

"Or your Chief Engineer," Christine added.

Gaila made a dismissive gesture. "He's locked himself in his office with Keenser." She waved in the direction of the Engineering Office, where Christine could see them through the glass, trading drinks.

"Other than calling me a," Gaila paused, frowning, "bonnie green lassie?"

"That sounds like him."

"He hasn't been any trouble at all."

"Wish I could say the same."

"Just get me my crew, okay? I want to do this right."

"We're working on it," Christine said, and then headed back to sickbay.

******

"Please tell me we've got an answer," Chapel said, dropping her medkit at the nurse's station and heading over to the triage area.

"They've isolated it and are running simulations," F'Bxtwa said. "For under two hours, that's the best we can expect."

Knowing she was right, Christine looked around at the dozens of crew members that needed medical attention and got to work.

In fact, it was three more hours before Chen and Belski ran in with a hypospray and excited looks on their faces, and by then sickbay was mostly deserted. When you had to send most of your patients back to their quarters anyway, it was easy to treat their minor injuries and then prescribe rest.

"This should do it," said Belski. "Where's M'Benga or McCoy? Let's get them first."

"Sent them off to bed a while ago," Chapel said, gently tugging her patient's hand off her forearm while she tended to a nasty scrape on his thigh. "But try this one. You don't mind, do you, Crewman?"

"Anything for you, Nurse Christine," her patient said dreamily.

Belski pushed the 'spray into his neck.

"Ow," he said, blinked, swayed, and then toppled backward on the biobed.

Both Chapel and F'Bxtwa made a grab for him, stopping him from falling hard, and together they laid him gently back.

"Belski!" Chapel barked. "What the hell?"

And then their test subject started to snore.

"You're kidding," Chapel said.

"No." F'Bxtwa flipped the screen around so Chapel could see the biobed scans. "He's just asleep."

Chen pushed forward with her tricorder to re-confirm. "The levels of the foreign substance are dropping already," she said. "He'll filter out the rest within the next twenty minutes."

Chapel and F'Bxtwa exchanged glances. "Fine," said Chapel. "Wait twenty minutes and then wake him up. If he's okay, synthesize enough for every man on the ship. What about Vulcans?"

"Vulcan biochemistry will assimilate the antidote in a similar way," Belski said, glancing over at Spock's bed. Chen didn't look so sure, but Christine figured they could argue about it amongst themselves.

"Fine," she said, and started towards the CMO's office.

"What are you doing?" F'Bxtwa called.

"Since we sent everyone back to their quarters, we're going to have to go cabin by cabin to treat them. I'm going to confirm our priorities with Adams and then requisition us an inoculation team. Otherwise it'll be you and me, one door chime at a time."

F'Bxtwa cursed in annoyance and waved her away.

******

"Engineering," Adams said promptly when Chapel asked. "Forget the bridge crew; we have it handled up here. What I need is people to get the damn warp core back online. Then security, because they're being pulled in all directions, and inventory, cargo, general operations…" She trailed off. "Basically, I want the ship in perfect working order by the time we get to Starbase 4."

Gaila had clearly been leaning on her, but Chapel knew exactly where they were coming from. The Enterprise never faltered.

"Fine," she said. "Speaking of security, I'm going to need some down here to accompany each medic as they complete the inoculations. If a patient gets frisky, we'd like to use as little force as possible. By some miracle I haven't had any foot-to-the-genitals injuries yet today, and I'd like to keep it that way."

She could hear Uhura snort with laughter in the background.

"I'm sure they'll be grateful for your consideration, Nurse," said Adams.

By the time Chapel had prioritized personnel according to Adam's requirements, Chen and Belski had confirmed the antidote worked. Their test subject was mortified by his behaviour, but otherwise alert and fit to return to duty.

Their next patient was Spock, who seemed to respond well, but much more slowly, to the treatment.

Even with several inoculation teams working, it took hours to get through everyone. Once a patient was treated and had fallen asleep, the computer was instructed to wake him sixty minutes later with orders to report to his duty station.

It wasn't until Christine was deep in the labyrinth of enlisted quarters on Deck 6 that she realized she should have added male medical personnel to the priority list.

Too late now, she decided. The male medics would get treated in order, just like everyone else.

Which was why it was another two hours before she dismissed her security detail and headed up to Deck 4 to roust McCoy and, of course, Kirk.

She sounded the door chime twice at Kirk's cabin before Rand answered, looking bleary-eyed and rumpled.

"Problem?" Chapel asked, holding up the hypospray.

"Thank god." Rand stepped aside to let her in.

Christine glanced, around, frowning. "Where is he?"

Rand nodded towards the bedroom. "Sleeping. We sedated him."

Christine bit back a snicker. "Okay, I'll check him out. If the sedative is still in his system, we should wait to give him the injection."

Stepping into the sleeping area, Christine ran her medical tricorder over the prone form of Kirk and frowned.

"He's just asleep," she told Rand quietly. "The sedative's worn off. I'll wake him up, and this will all be over."

"Wait." Rand laid a hand on her arm and pulled her back out into the main room. "Can we let him sleep a while longer?"

Christine frowned. "Has he not been sleeping lately? I came for him last—" almost last, because she still had to go treat McCoy, "because Adams has everything in hand. But Janice—"

"I know; she's sent over regular update reports."

"You look like death warmed over—"

"They woke me up to deal with him," said Rand. "I should be in the middle of my sleep shift. But with all these reports and communications—" She gestured at the desk. "I'm actually getting things done. Please?"

Christine shook her head. "We can't leave him like this."

"I know! And I would really prefer the non-goofy version back—"

Christine had something to say about that, but she bit her tongue.

"—but just a bit longer and I'll have everything finished."

Shifting her eyes briefly to the captain's console, where padds were stacked in suspiciously neat piles, Christine finally got it. "You're organizing all his work for the last eighteen months," she accused.

"He never lets me get near it!" Janice practically wailed. "'It'll keep, Rand,' he says, or 'We'll get to it later,' but we never do!"

"He's the captain, Janice," Christine said, stifling a laugh as she put a hand on the yeoman's shoulder. "If he doesn't want to—"

"No captain wants to," Janice said. "Not one in the whole of Starfleet. That's why he has *me*."

"Okay, okay." Christine squeezed her shoulder briefly. "We have—" she checked the chronometer, "eleven hours until we reach Starbase 4. You can have one more hour of peace and quiet, providing he doesn't wake up. But then you have to wake him up and give him this." She handed over a hypospray from her kit.

"One hour?"

"One hour, Yeoman, and that's against my better judgment." Christine briefed her on the effects of the antidote. "Call me if you need anything. In fact, call me when you've done it."

"Thank you, Nurse," Janice said gratefully.

"And then you are going back to bed," Christine said, because Janice really did look worn out.

"Yes, Nurse."

"Okay." Shaking her head, she left the captain's cabin and waited for the door to hiss shut behind her before cracking a smile.

Now for McCoy, she realized, her good humour draining away. Why hadn't she injected him sooner? Priorities, she told herself. They needed the engineers first, to make sure the ship would fly true while simultaneously towing back an enemy vessel.

But no, there was no good reason for why she hadn't come earlier, she forced herself to admit. She'd had everything handled, so there was no need for him. Maybe she had more in common with Janice Rand than she thought.

Or maybe she needed to get off her ass, finish her doctorates, and get her own damn ship where she could call the shots all the time.

No, that wasn't going to happen, she thought ruefully. She liked the Enterprise too much.

She sounded the door chime for McCoy's quarters.

Rumpled, but still with the laziest, sexiest grin she'd ever seen on a man, her commanding officer answered his door.

Shirtless. She shut her eyes for a moment.

"Christine," he drawled. "You're finally here. I've been waiting for you."

"Sorry, Doctor," she said, doing her best to keep her gaze on his eyes. "We had other priorities for the inocula—"

In one smooth movement he tugged her into his cabin and sealed his lips over hers.

Oh, that was good, she thought, as little butterflies flipped over inside her. Really good. His arm around her waist drew her closer. And he smelled good, too—

Damn.

Using both hands, she pushed him away gently, breaking the kiss and grabbing his hands when they tried to reach for her again. "Doctor," she said, trying to get her breath back. "You're still suffering the effects of an alien biochemical agent."

"Did I not say you worry too much?" he asked, trying half-heartedly to pull her back to him.

"I have the antidote here—" She brandished the hypospray.

"You can use it," McCoy agreed. "I'll let you. Eventually."

"You need to go lay down, Doctor," she said. "And I'll treat you right away."

Almost without exception, the dozens of other personnel she'd treated had come up with a cheesy pick-up line, but had gone to their beds when she'd told them to. After that, a moment was all she needed.

Which was why she was completely unprepared.

"Eventually, Christine," McCoy said, and in a swift movement scooped her up in his arms.

She couldn't stop a little shriek. "Doctor, put me down," she told him, even as he carried her over to his sleeping area.

"I will," he said, seemingly unconcerned.

Oh, this wasn't good.

He laid her down on the bed and then he was over her, kissing her again, and part of her really, really didn't want to stop because his skin was hot under her hands and his shoulders were solid, and—

She was still holding the hypospray. Right. Bringing her hand up, she took half a second to find a good injection site by touch.

It was half a second too long, because he batted her hand away from his neck. "Eventually," he said, breaking the kiss.

"No, Doctor," she said. "Now." She put some steel into her voice, and he rolled off her, though he slung a leg over her so that she couldn't easily sit up.

"Now Christine," he said lazily. "What's your problem? I can see you like this." His fingers danced down her arm, and her breathing quickened in spite of herself.

"You've been drugged," she said, and saying it that baldly poured ice water over her libido, once and for all. "I have to protect you, not take advantage of you."

"You're not responsible for me," he said.

"Right now I am," she said, her voice firming.

"What if I took that responsibility away?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You can't," Christine said. "You've been relieved, and you aren't fit—"

For someone who projected such an indolent air, he moved very fast. In a moment he was on top of her again, tugging both her hands over her head, and then—*snick*.

Handcuffs.

"Let me go, Doctor." She tugged against the restraints, but somehow he'd cuffed her to the headboard.

"See?" he asked. "You aren't responsible any more. You can't be." Dipping down, he nuzzled the crook of her neck, which muffled his voice a bit. "So now you can enjoy yourself, and I can enjoy myself, and everything will be fine."

He lifted his head briefly and grinned with intent. "And I am going to enjoy myself."

And there were the butterflies again. That was not fair.

"I never said I was," he answered, and she realized she'd said that last part out loud.

Think, she told herself. Think, think, think. She still had the hypospray. Surreptitiously she tested the limit of the cuffs, which he fortunately seemed to interpret as her arching into his ministrations.

The man had great hands. She could admit that even if she was trying to get away from them.

The only thing she could come up with was the lamest thing anyone had ever come up with, but hopefully McCoy would be easy to hook.

"Please," she moaned. "Please, I need to—" Raising her head as much as she could, she managed to plant her mouth on the side of his neck.

He groaned, leaning into her, his eyes fluttering shut.

Okay, extremely easy to hook.

She let her lips kiss and nip downwards, and he obliged, leaning into her and shifting up her body as she charted a course down his chest, which put his nipple level with her mouth, and his—well, their groins pressing together, but she wasn't going to think about that, because his neck was level with her hands, and…

The hypospray hissed.

He slumped down on top of her and started to snore.

Damn it.

Bracing her legs, she heaved up and he tumbled off her onto the floor, where the snoring continued uninterrupted.

Wonderful.

And then it dawned on her: there was no way she wanted to be here when he woke up. Taking a moment to inspect the handcuffs, she saw that they didn't have a traditional lock; they were keyword activated.

Guessing her boss's safe word wasn't something she really wanted to try. She glanced around at what was nearby. Maybe she wouldn't have to. Stretching out her leg, she was able to use the toe of her boot to activate the computer interface next to the bed.

"Computer, access Leonard McCoy personal files, medical authorization Chapel beta-alpha-mu."

"Files accessed," the computer parroted back to her.

"Search query. What is the release word for McCoy's handcuffs?"

The computer ticked over for a bit, then said, "Search complete. The release word for Leonard McCoy's handcuffs is 'peaches'."

Of course it was. "Peaches," she said out loud, and she was free.

Leaving the cuffs on the pillow, she stepped over McCoy and went to get her medkit. A quick scan revealed he was none the worse for tumbling off the bed, so she used his bathroom to straighten her clothes and freshen up, then headed back to Sickbay, leaving him asleep on the floor.

******

Forty-five minutes later, as she sat in the CMO's office, finishing reports and noting with satisfaction that they were nearly at full crew complement again, she got a brief call from Rand.

"He woke up?" she asked.

"He woke up," Rand confirmed, but she sounded a little shaky.

The woman was probably exhausted. "Okay," said Christine. "You only need to wait another twenty minutes. Then you can wake him up again and send him to the bridge, and you can go back to bed, Yeoman."

It was another half-hour before the door to the office slid open, and McCoy stood sheepishly in front of the desk, fully dressed with all traces of lazy, sexy Southern boy completely expunged. It even looked as though he'd taken time to shave, she realized, resolutely blocking out the memory of his stubble against her neck.

He waited for the door to slide closed behind him, then said, "Hi."

"Hi, Peaches," she said evenly, and watched him flush.

"Nurse." He cleared his throat loudly, as if he'd just choked on something. "Nurse Chapel."

"Doctor McCoy?"

He scowled. "Care to explain why the Chief Medical Officer was the absolute last person on the ship to be inoculated during the most widespread medical crisis the Enterprise has ever seen?"

"I apologize, Doctor," said Christine, trying not to blush because that was, absolutely, her fault. "We did have it handled."

"Not the point, Lieutenant."

"Understood," she said, though she could tell he wasn't particularly upset. Tapping the console to save her work, she rose from his seat and rounded the desk. "I've collected all the medical reports and summarized them for your review. We'll arrive at Starbase 4 in just under ten hours."

By which time all personnel would be back at their posts, as if nothing had happened. She wanted to laugh. The Enterprise never faltered.

"Ten hours?" he asked. "That's a lot of time."

"A number of medical personnel put in a double shift to deal with the crisis," Christine said. "Recommend a four-hour rest break for those staff before resuming the regular schedule."

He nodded. "Good idea. And you will be one of those resting, correct?"

"Unless you need me, Doctor," she said. "I'm not that tired."

"You've been run off your feet, Nurse, and I know it," he said.

"Thank you, sir."

"Right," he said, striding towards his desk and then paused, as if hesitating. "Maybe you could brief me on something else before you go off-duty?"

"Certainly, sir." She stood at attention, watching him, then all of a sudden he was coming back over to her. "Doctor McCoy?"

"Nurse Chapel," he said, taking her hands in his.

*snick*

The handcuffs again. "Doctor!" Dodging past him, she grabbed the tricorder and he stood patiently while she scanned him. And then scanned herself, just to be on the safe side, though he was openly laughing as he watched her do it.

Nothing. "You're clear," she said, surprised.

"And so are you." He took the scanner out of her cuffed hands and stepped into her personal space, draping the circle of her arms around his neck.

"Are you going to tell me again that I worry too much?" she asked.

He grinned *that* grin, and it was as if the floor dropped away beneath her. "Let's just say I'm relieving you of some responsibility."

This really wasn't good, she thought, not for the first time that day. But somehow she was already letting him guide her to the couch, allowing herself to be settled in his lap, nestling in to the heat of him.

"Besides," he murmured, his warm breath tickling a pulse point on her neck. "We clearly have unfinished business. And now we have four hours to discuss it." His lips drifted over to her earlobe.

"You handcuffed me," she pointed out. "Again."

"You know the release word," he answered. "You haven't used it."

"I might," she said.

"No," he said, his voice sure and dark as his mouth brushed the corner of hers. "You won't."

She didn't.





END



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