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Everyone else is relieved Kirk's alive, and truth be told, so is he, but his first time seeing the captain in the hospital begins with, "You're a goddamned asshole, you know that?"

Kirk blinks at him, then grimaces and otherwise stays silent. Scotty takes this as leave to keep going. His keeps his voice at a conversational level so as not to summon any unwanted interlopers, wishing all the while he could shout at the top of his lungs. "You just, mug me, and get yourself killed fixing the warp core, and leave me there to explain things to Spock? You should've seen him! I've never been so scared in my damned life. And then, and then, Chekov and I have to put you in one of those goddamned bags." He's shaking, so he gets out his flask and has a sip. Much better. "And take you to McCoy--Christ, he's the one who's known you the longest, that was completely horrible. And then everyone staring at you there in sickbay. Just--you're a selfish prick, is what you are." With all of it out, he feels exhausted, and throws himself into the chair next to Kirk's bed. "You've no idea how long I've been waiting to tell you this." As an afterthought, he adds, "Captain."

Kirk's reply is a strained, quiet, and rough, "Sorry."

Scotty finally looks at him. He's alive, though clearly in no shape to leave the hospital. He also seems embarassed and humble, and the later isn't something Scotty's seen much of from the captain.

"Are you really?" Scotty demands. "Actually?"

"I'm not sorry I did it." Oh, there's the Kirk he knows so well. Scotty can feel his anger flaring back up until Kirk continues with, "I'm sorry I put us and the ship in a position so that it even came up. I'm sorry I let those torpedos on booard. And I'm sorry the only way to save the crew was to put you through that."

Scotty lets Kirk stew while he thinks that olive branch over. He finds he's much too tired to stay mad, and at least Kirk understands the real causes of his death (which is to say, rampant stupidity in the face of Marcus' duplicity), so he sags further into the chair. "Just, for the love of God, if you ever try anything like that again, I'll make certain Spock's there to stop you, and you know he'll break your damned legs if that's what it takes."

Kirk looks away; outside the hospital, the view-dominating wreckage of the Vengeance is slowly being torn down and sorted into various scrap piles. "Yeah," he says, his voice low and distracted.

Scotty stares at him hard. "I mean it. You shoulda seen him."

Kirk gives another nod, and though he doesn't reply he does meet Scotty's eyes. Satisfied by the chastened look in them, Scotty has another drink, and Kirk's gaze falls on the the flask. He looks back up and raises his brows at Scotty in a silent question.

You have got to be kidding me, Scotty thinks, though he's not sure why he should be the least bit surprised that Jim Kirk has died and returned from the dead still every inch Jim Kirk.

He sighs, leans over to check the hall, then passes Kirk the flask. The captain's hand has a slight tremor, but he takes the swig and hands it back without spilling a drop. Capping and stowing the flask in his jacket, Scotty mutters, "If McCoy or Spock catch me giving you this, it's my legs that'll get broken."

"Mum's the word."

"You bet your ass it is. Captain. Also, I'll tell them you ordered me to do it."

Kirk clears his throat. "Right. So. How's the ship?"

Scotty groans. "You don't want to know. But since you asked."

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