Rite of Passage

by Winter

Alternate Universe - Star Trek


Chris wrestled the door open and was forced to hold on as the brutal wind flowed into the shuttle. There was no telling how long Vin had been outside but Chris knew he couldn't last long on the planet's surface. Ezra picked up the lantern Buck left behind and moved in behind the captain. Chris leaned into the wind and pushed his way outside. Ezra stayed close to Chris and had an easier time since Chris was taking the brunt of the wind. Ezra checked the tricorder but the atmospheric disturbance made it impossible to get a reading.

"I can't get anything!" Ezra shouted over the howling of the wind.

"Shit!" Chris cursed. "We'll never find him in this?"

"I have an idea," Ezra yelled. "Let's go back inside."

Chris reluctantly followed the security chief back into the shuttle. They both wrestled the door shut closing off the howling wind.

"Lieutenant Sanchez," Ezra called hitting his combadge.

"Sanchez here."

"Have Ensign Corin run a search within a two mile radius of the shuttle," Ezra instructed. "Searching for the life patterns of a Vulcan."

"Dam it Ezra, are you trying to tell me Vin is outside?" Josiah asked worriedly.

"That is correct," Ezra answered. "Also locate Lila and beam her down to the shuttle."

"Good idea," Josiah agreed. "Maybe she can find Vin."

"That was my intention," Ezra said.

"I'll get right on it," Josiah said. "Maverick out."

Ezra turned to Chris and knew the captain was worried. Vin didn't do well in cold environments. They learned from the Vulcan that during his time at the academy they had to end the arctic survival training when Vin lost consciousness. Ezra just hoped they found him before it was too late.


"All personnel keep a look out for Lila and bring her to the transporter room immediately," Josiah announced over the ships internal communications.

"Sir, this is the transporter chief. Lila's already here."

"Damn," Josiah said in amazement. ""Beam her down to the planet."


They didn't wait long when a familiar hum and a shimmering filled the air. A few seconds later Lila materialized with her tail switching furiously. She immediately went to the door. Ezra and Chris were right behind her and they pulled it open. Lila walked outside and sniffed the air. She did this for a few minutes and Chris was sure she wouldn't be able to get a scent. Suddenly she turned to the left and headed for the cliff face. Ezra and Chris followed her as she prowled along the mountainside. Lila would stop every few feet and sniff the air. Once she was satisfied she had a scent she kept walking. Ezra wasn't sure how long they searched but his feet were starting to get numb and his fingers were getting cold. Lila stopped again and Ezra cupped his hands and blew on them to get the warm. He saw Chris was doing the same thing but he was also stamping his feet. Ezra gazed along the ice-covered wall and thought he saw a flash of red. He squinted his eyes and the snow stopped swirling for just a second he could see the gold sleeve of a Starfleet uniform. Lila noticed the same time Ezra did and they both ran to the spot with Chris close behind. Ezra dropped to his knees to find Vin wedged under an outcropping. Chris helped Ezra pull Vin out from under the rock. Chris gathered him in his arms and hit his combadge.

"Medical emergency two to beam directly to sick bay."

Ezra watched as they disappeared then turned to Lila and scratched her ear. He walked back to the shuttle to gather Vin and JD's gear as well as the flight recorder. The rest of the shuttle wasn't salvageable and Ezra called the Maverick to beam them up.


Nathan forced Buck to remain in his office. The news of what happened already spread like wildfire throughout the ship. The transporter chief must have over heard Buck accusing Vin and spread the gossip. Buck wasn't helping the situation with his anger. Nathan sighed and continued working on JD. The ensign's appearance was frightening but Nathan was able to heal the facial injuries. When he ran a diagnostic he found that one of JD's ribs punctured a lung. Also his right kidney was damaged. Nathan would have to perform surgery to correct the damage but he wanted to get JD's vitals stabilized. As Nathan fixed JD's broken leg he began to stir.

"Vin," he called weakly.

"Easy JD you're safe," Nathan said as he set the bone healer to automatic and moved to JD's side.

"Vin," JD cried as he came awake.

"It's OK JD," Nathan said grabbing his shoulders.

"No, we have to find him," JD said struggling in Nathan's grasp. "You should have seen his eyes."

"It's alright JD," Nathan repeated. "Vin can't hurt you any more."

"Not his fault," JD's said grabbing Nathan's arm. "He hit his head when we landed."

"Take it easy, JD, go slow," Nathan warned.

"Have to talk to Buck," JD muttered. "So he won't be mad."

"Nurse," Nathan called. "Get Commander Wilmington."

She nodded and left. Nathan tried to get JD to relax but he wanted Buck. He continued to struggle against Nathan until Buck showed up.

"I'm here JD," Buck said as he took the ensigns hand.

"Don't be mad," JD said.

"I'm not mad at you kid."

"No," JD pleaded. "Not me Vin."

"Damn it JD, he beat you half to death," Buck said angrily.

"Not his fault," JD insisted. "When we crashed Vin hit his head. There was so much blood."

"It's still no excuse," Buck said not convinced.

"No, Buck, listen to me," JD said grabbing Bucks sleeve as he tried to sit up. "He was frightened and did know who I was. He didn't mean it."

"Ok kid," Buck said holding him back, "You just relax."

"Have to find him," JD insisted as his eyes began to close. "He was so frightened."

"He's OK, "Nathan said as JD drifted back to sleep.

"I can't forgive Vin," Buck said not looking up at Nathan. "Not now."

"Let's just wait and see what happens," Nathan suggested.

Just as Nathan finished checking JD Chris materialized in the middle of sickbay with Vin in his arms. Nathan moved immediately to his side and they got Vin onto a table. Nathan hit a few buttons and a machine surrounded Vin. Nathan look at the readings and wasn't happy. The Vulcan was barely alive. He called for a powerful stimulant and the nurse handed him the hypospray. He placed it on Vin's neck and injected it into his system. Nathan flipped a few more switches and Chris could feel heat coming from the bed.

"Nathan what about all the blood?" Chris asked.

"Ain't worried about that right now," Nathan answered. "Have to get him warmed up. But I have to do it slowly."

Suddenly an alarm sounded and Nathan cursed as Vin's heart stopped. He swung and piece of machinery over Vin and programmed it to deliver electrical shocks to try and get Vin's heart beating again.

"Damn it Tanner, don't you do this to me!" Chris shouted.

As if Vin heard Chris his heart began to beat again but erratically. Nathan left the machine to monitor Vin's heart beat and told Chris to start to remove Vin's uniform while he checked his head wound. Nathan looked at Vin's face for the first time and saw the frozen tear tracks on Vin's cheeks. There were also ice crystals stuck to his eyelashes. The blood from the laceration was also frozen and Vin looked like a bizarre ice sculpture. He instructed the nurse to bring them heated towels.

"Damn it Nathan his uniform is frozen to his skin," Chris cursed.

"Take it easy Chris," Nathan said patently. "Just drape the hot towels over his body."

The nurse returned with a cart of warm towel. Chris grabbed a bunch and spread them over Vin. Nathan walked to the replicator and ordered warm water. When the bowl appeared Nathan carried it back to Vin and began to gently wipe the blood from his face. As he was doing that Vin's heartbeat began to fluctuate and he made some adjustments to the machine. Chris was finally able to remove Vin's uniform and wrapped him in the thermal blankets the nurse left close by. Nathan finished cleaning the cut over Vin's eyes. The Vulcan's eye was almost swollen shut and Nathan checked to see if anything was broken. When he was satisfied nothing was he began to seal the cut and bring the swelling down. When he was finished with that he checked Vin from head to toe for frostbite. He found some patches on his face as he cleaned off the blood ad regenerated the tissue. The tips of the fingers on his right hand were grayish as well as his right foot. Nathan wasn't happy at the extent of the damage to Vin's foot and shook his head.

"Nathan," Chris said. "Will he lose the foot?"

"Not if I can help it," Nathan said as he worked.

"How's JD?" Chris asked now that Vin was relatively stable.

"He'll be alright," Nathan assured him. "One of his ribs punctured a lung and I'll go in and patch it up as soon as I'm satisfied with his vitals."

"Nathan could Vin's head wound have caused him to attack JD?" Chris asked.

"It's possible," Nathan admitted. "JD thinks so anyway."

"What?" Chris asked confused. "He was awake?"

"Yeah," Nathan said. "Fool kid tried to get up to look for Vin. JD said it wasn't his fault. That Vin didn't know who he was and he was frightened."

"What about Vin?" Chris asked dreading the answer.

"Don't know," Nathan confessed. "According to the read outs his brain activity is good but I won't know for sure until he wakes up."


Buck watched as they worked on Vin. The Vulcan was in bad shape but Buck didn't feel anything towards him. He was still angry about what Vin did to JD. It was going to take some time for Buck to forgive him, if he ever could. The commander knew Vin was an important member of the crew and things would now be strained. Buck heard Chris asked if Vin would lose his foot and Nathan saying not if he could help it. Buck sighed knowing deep down Vin would never deliberately hurt anyone. He leaned back closed his eyes and tried to make sense of his jumbled feelings.

"Buck," JD called.

"I'm here," he said sitting up.

"Is that Vin?" he sale looking over at Chris


"How is he?"

"I don't know."

"Don't know or don't care?" JD said bitterly.

"JD," Buck began.

"No Buck," JD said. "You think its Vin's fault. You don't believe me that I said it wasn't."

"Damn it JD," Buck cursed. "He nearly killed you."

"You weren't there Buck," JD said. "You don't know. Something happened to him."

"Whatever happened doesn't justify what he did," Buck said trying to reason with him.

"You've always trusted my word before," JD said. "Why can't you this time."

"This is different," Buck insisted.

"Just go away," JD said turning away.

Buck sighed and stood up. He didn't want to push the issue with JD. He decided to wander over to see about Vin. The Vulcan looked worse than JD. His skin was pale and he looked dead. Chris looked up and saw Buck.

"How's JD?" Chris asked.

"How do you think?" Buck growled.

"Don't start Buck," Chris warned. "Not now."

"Well that's all I can do for him right now," Nathan said.

"How bad?" Chris asked.

"Not going to lie to ya Chris," Nathan said. "He's not good. Whatever possessed him to leave the shuttle I'll never know."

"Guilt," Buck suggested.

"Buck!" Chris said favoring the ladies man with his deadly glare. "I know you ain't thinking straight right now but give it a rest."

"I have to get JD ready for surgery," Nathan said. "If you two are gonna fight take it out into the corridor."

"Can I talk to him first?" Chris asked.

"I don't see why not," Nathan said as they walked over to JD.

"Can't leave you two alone can I?" Chris teased.

"Guess not?" JD said with a smile. "How is he?"

"Not good," Chris said knowing JD wouldn't want to be lied to. "What happened."

"Everything was great," JD said. "I was yaking away and Vin told me to shut up because he had a headache."

"Hold on JD," Nathan interrupted. "Vin wasn't feeling good?"

"No he was fine," JD said. "He just had a headache so he said he was going to take a nap and let me fly the shuttle. I was doing Ok until and alarm sounded then everything was crazy. Vin was able to land the shuttle. I thought for sure we were gonna die."

"What then?" Chris asked placing a hand on JD's arm.

"Don't know how long I was out but the cold woke me," JD continued. "Got up to check Vin and found the head wound. Patched it up as best I could then went to see if I could get the heaters going. Came back to find Vin awake and that's when he attacked me."

"Did he say anything?" Chris asked.

"No," JD answered. "I tried to talk to him but he didn't know me. I could tell by his eyes. I think he was afraid of me or saw me as an enemy."

"Alright time to get the rest of you patched up," Nathan said and shooed Chris and Buck out of sickbay.

They both headed for the bridge to inform Josiah and Ezra what was going on. Josiah asked if Nathan thought Vin's head injury caused Vin to attack JD. Chris said Nathan was sure but it was a possibility. Ezra listened to the conversation but didn't say anything. He had the feeling there was something more going on. The security chief's curiosity was aroused and he called up all files pertaining to Vulcan's.


The atmosphere on the Maverick was tense for the next few days. Admiral Travis contacted Chris to find out what was going on. Apparently one of the crew informed him about the situation. Chris calmly explained what happened. The Admiral was satisfied with the explanation and told Chris to keep him appraised of any other developments. Needless to say after talking with the Admiral the captain was furious. He thought the crew had more respect for him than to go behind his back to the brass. The fact that Vin still hadn't regained consciousness added to Chris bad mood. JD was mending and Nathan insisted he stay in sickbay for a few more days even though he was driving Nathan to distraction. Josiah was fielding questions about what happened on the shuttle from a number of the crew. The ones who knew Vin accepted that the head injury might have been a factor causing him to attack JD. Buck, on the other hand, was still torn. He wanted to believe that it was an accident but until he could sort out his feelings he was avoiding Vin as well as Chris. He spent most of his free time with JD. JD tried to convince Buck that Vin wouldn't hurt him intentionally. They would end up fighting and Nathan wold kick Buck out. Ezra kept to himself learning everything he could about Vulcan's. He would visit Vin and play solitaire by his side. Ezra tenacity finally paid off and he found something of interest and wanted to show Nathan. He walked into sickbay looking for the ship's doctor. Nathan was checking Vin and Ezra walked over and stood next to the bed. He noticed Lila under the bed watching Nathan. Ezra looked at Vin and saw he still looked terrible. Nathan was checking his vitals when he looked up and saw Ezra.

"Hey Ezra," Nathan said as he pulled the blankets back over Vin. "What can I do for you?"

"I was wondering if I might have a few moments of you're time," Ezra said. "But first how is Lieutenant Tanner?"

"Not too good," Nathan sighed. "I just don't know what else to do. It's as if he doesn't want to wake up. Now he's running a fever and has a cough."

"Pneumonia?" Ezra asked.

"Yeah," Nathan agreed. "Like he needed another complication. So what do you want to talk about?"

"Shall we go to your office," Ezra suggested. "This might take some time to explain."

As soon as Nathan walked away Lila jumped up next to Vin and lay with her head on hi stomach. Nathan led the way to his office and they sat down. For the next hour Ezra explained what he found. Nathan listened and couldn't believe it. He knew Vulcan's were a very private race but he'd never heard of this before.

"So you're saying this mating ritual caused Vin to attack JD?" Nathan asked.

"Yes," Ezra said. "It only occurs every seven years but a male Vulcan has only two options. He must find a mate or have a fight tot he death. If he doesn't he dies."

"What made you go looking for this?" Nathan asked.

"Vin's was acting peculiar before he left," Ezra answered. "He was showing all the signs of the disorder."

"I see," Nathan commented as he read the list. "Irritability, forgetfulness and aggressive tendencies."

"To name a few," Ezra smiled.

"But Ezra I don't know if this will help Vin or hurt him," Nathan said.

"I did some checking," Ezra replied. "It's seems the same incident happened on the USS Enterprise NCC 1701. Their science officer was a half Vulcan that experienced Pon Farr and killed his captain."

"He what?" Nathan asked surprised.'

"Let me finish," Ezra smiled. "The female that was chosen for him loved another. He didn't want her to be unhappy and was willing to die. His captain wouldn't accept that and challenged him to a fight. The Vulcan officer's blood lust was already aroused and he didn't refuse. He ended up fighting and killing his captain but he wasn't really dead. The medical officer gave him an injection to appear dead. No charges were brought since the captain wasn't dead. Starfleet Command now recognizes this as temporary insanity due to hormonal imbalances. All crews with Vulcan's are aware of the aliment."

"All but this one," Nathan said angrily.

"No wonder Vin left me alone," JD said from the door.

"JD what are you doing out of bed?" Nathan demanded going to his side and helping him to a seat.

"Ensign Dunne what did you mean?" Ezra asked.

"I knew I couldn't fight Vin," JD said. "He's just too strong. So I figured if I played dead he wouldn't think I was a threat."

"Good thinking," Nathan said. "I'm going to the bridge to talk to the others. JD I want you back in bed."

"But Nathan I'm alright," JD insisted and Nathan just raised an eyebrow. "Ok, Ok but I want to see Vin."

"Alright but only for a few minutes," Nathan relented. "Ezra can you see that he doesn't fall flat on his face."

"It would be my pleasure," Ezra said. "I wanted to spend some time with Lieutenant Tanner also."

Nathan left and JD made his way to Vin's bed. Ezra followed close behind and noticed JD was still sore and was limping. Ezra pulled up a chair and JD gratefully sank into it. Lila looked up at them but didn't move off of Vin.

"I don't understand Ezra," JD said looking at Vin as he petted the cat. "Why won't he wake up?"

"I don't know," Ezra said. "Perhaps he is afraid to."

"Why?" JD asked confused.

"Put yourself in Vin's shoes," Ezra said. "He might be afraid everyone will hate him for what he did."

"Nobody believes Vin attacked me for no reason," JD protested.

"No one?" Ezra asked.

"Well almost no one," JD grumbled. "I don't know why Buck won't believe."

"I think Commander Wilmington will come to the conclusion eventually but it will take time," Ezra said. "Sometimes he forgets Vin wasn't raised by Vulcan's. Vin social skills are lacking since he was stranded with his humans parents until he was seventeen. I think Vin's first experience outside their company was when he went to the Academy. The commander forgets this and expects Vin to act like everyone else. Except Vin isn't like everyone else."

"Yeah he doesn't seem to be comfortable with humans or Vulcan's," JD said. "Except for us."

"I believe the Lieutenant has a hard time making friends," Ezra said. "Not unlike myself, but the ones he does make he is very loyal to."

"That's why I don't understand Buck's reaction," JD sighed.

"Well it doesn't help that he's rather over protective of you," Ezra laughed.

"Yeah well I can take care of myself," JD grumbled.

They sat quietly at Vin's side just watching him. After a short time Ezra noticed the ensign falling asleep and made him go back to his bed. Once JD was settled Ezra went back to Vin and told the Vulcan he would be back later. He gave Lila one last pat before leaving. As he walked out of sickbay Ezra stopped and looked back. He just hoped thins got back to normal soon.


Vin slowly began to wake and reluctantly opened his eyes. At first he was confused about where he was until he recognized he was in sickbay and cringed. He was still alive. Vin turned on his side and curled into a tight ball. He pulled the blankets over his head and cried.


Nathan returned from talking with Chris, Buck and Josiah. The counselor wanted to kick himself for not thinking of Pon Far. Buck listened to what Nathan had to say but it didn't change his opinion about Vin. Chris asked Nathan and Josiah if they could write a report about this so he could give it to Admiral Travis. Josiah said he'd get on it right away. Buck said he had to get back on duty and left. Josiah saw Chris scowl and told him to give Buck some time. Chris just grunted and followed after the commander. Nathan told Josiah to meet him in sickbay so they could get started on the report. Nathan walked through the sliding doors and walked towards Vin. He immediately noticed Vin was curled on his side facing towards the wall.

"Vin," Nathan called when he noticed the covers over Vin's head.

He reached out and pulled them away. Vin's eyes were opened but he was just staring straight ahead. Nathan moved into his line of sight and the Vulcan only blinked. He could see Vin's lashes were wet and knew he had been crying. Nathan could also hear Vin was congested as his breath rattled in his chest.

"Hey Vin how ya doing," Nathan asked.

"Nathan he awake?" Josiah asked.

"Sorta," Nathan said glancing up. He hadn't heard him walk in. For a big man Josiah could move silently when he wanted. "He's not responding to me."

"Let me try," Josiah said walking over to Nathan. "Good to see you awake Vin."

The Vulcan didn't respond to either of them. Nathan was concerned there might be something wrong but Josiah was pretty sure Vin knew what was going on. He had a feeling Vin didn't want to be reminded about what happened and was withdrawing from them.

"What's going on?" JD asked when he saw them by Vin.

When Vin heard JD's voice he freaked. He began to scream and covered his ears with his hands. Josiah reached out to him and Vin scrambled back from him. He would have fallen off the bed if Josiah hadn't grabbed him. The Vulcan began to struggle and it took all of Josiah's strength to hold Vin even in his weakened state. Vin's struggles soon turned into a coughing fit as he gasped for air. Nathan grabbed a hypospray and injected Vin. His breathing was easier and he slumped in Josiah's arms.

"Better call Chris," Josiah suggested.

"Right," Nathan said and hit his combadge.

"Josiah," JD said as he started to move towards Vin.

"JD stop," Josiah said when he felt Vin begin to tense. "Vin's just a little confused right now. I know you want to see him but let's give him a little space."

JD nodded and moved away. Josiah pulled Vin's hair back off his face and JD could see the pain in the Vulcan's expressive blue eyes. Nathan gave Josiah a glass of water and had him try to give it to Vin. Josiah placed it to Vin's lips but he wouldn't drink. He tried forcing him but the water just flowed out of Vin's mouth. Nathan sighed as he grabbed a towel to dry Vin off.

"What's going on?" Chris demanded as he rushed into sickbay.

Chris saw JD standing in the doorway with a lost look on his face. Then he noticed Nathan by Vin and thought the worst until Nathan stood up and he saw Vin. He was lying in Josiah's arms and Chris saw hie eyes were opened. The captain moved quickly to Vin and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Hey Vin," Chris said as he reached out a hand. Vin just stared past him at the wall. "What's going on?"

"Not sure Chris," Nathan admitted. "He isn't responding to us."

"Except when JD talked," Josiah said. "Then he got a little hysterical."

"What do you think is going on?" Chris asked Josiah.

"I don't think he expected to be alive," Josiah admitted. "When he woke up here in sickbay it must have been a shock."

"Are you trying to say Vin wants to die?" Chris demanded.

"No, but Vin is a little confused right now," Josiah said looking down at Vin. "He thinks he's killed one of his friends and doesn't know what to do. I think he's just withdrawing so he doesn't have to deal with what happened."

"Damn it, Josiah, now what do we do?" Chris asked.

"This is going to take time Chris," Josiah said.

"I know," the captain said running his finger through his hair. "Can I sit with him?"

"I don't see why not," Josiah said and switched places with Chris.

Vin didn't acknowledge Chris was now holding him. Every once in awhile he would blink but that was the only movement he made. Chris could feel how hot Vin was and cursed. Nathan told him earlier that Vin developed Pneumonia from being on the planet's surface.

"Damn it Lieutenant what the hell am I going to do with you?" Chris asked as he noticed Vin's eyes begin to close. Chris got comfortable and stayed with Vin.

Josiah moved away and walked over to JD. He could see the ensign was upset and he placed an arm around his shoulders.

"I know, Josiah, give him some time," JD sighed.

"That's all we can do right now," Josiah said. "And to be there for him. Let him know we're still his friends."

"Sure," JD said dejectedly as he went back to his bed and climbed in.

Josiah knew this would be hard for JD. The ensign wanted everything to be the way it was before but Josiah knew you could never go back. He sighed as he grabbed Nathan so they could get started on the report for the Admiral.


Chris sat with Vin for the next few hours just talking, trying to get Vin to understand what was going on. Josiah wasn't surprised that Vin wouldn't acknowledge them. He knew it would take time for Vin to accept what he'd done. Chris didn't care he just wanted to make sure Vin knew everything was all right. It was decided that JD would have to stay away from Vin until they could get hi to understand the ensign was still alive. JD didn't like it but knew it upset Vin when he was around. When Vin finally went back to sleep Chris left sickbay and returned to the bridge.

The next morning Ezra showed up carrying a book. He entered to find JD sitting on the opposite side of the room. Vin was curled on his side with his back to JD. Occasionally a cough could be heard coming from Vin.

"Good morning Ensign Dunne," Ezra said.

"Hi," JD said sadly.

"Any change?" Ezra asked.

"Not really," JD sighed. "He wanders in to use the facilities every once in awhile but comes right back and curls up in his bed. Nathan can only get him to drink if he forces him."

"I see," Ezra said. "Has he said anything?"

"I don't know," JD said angrily. "They won't let me near him."

"I know," Ezra said in sympathy. "It's for the best."

"Hell, Ezra, I'm sorry," JD apologized.

"No need, I perfectly understand your reaction," Ezra smiled. "So when is Lieutenant Jackson emancipating you from your confinement."

"I can go today," JD replied. "But I don't want to leave."

"I assure you, Vin, will be here for awhile," Ezra said.

"Can you do me a favor?" JD asked.

"If it is in my power," Ezra agreed.

"Tell Vin I was here," JD said as he got up to leave.

Ezra watched as JD left sickbay. He knew the ensign wanted to talk to Vin but from what Ezra heard it would only upset the Vulcan. The security chief walked over to Vin's bed and sat down. The Vulcan was curled on his side just staring into space. Vin started coughing and Ezra reached over and rubbed his back. He could feel the heat radiating from the Vulcan. When the coughing fit ended Vin took a cautious breath and lay still. Ezra saw the pitcher of water and a cup next to the bed. He poured some water and was wondering how he was going to get Vin to drink it when he saw the straw. He put the straw in the cup and offered it to Vin. Vin closed his eyes and Ezra smacked the Vulcan's hand. Vin's eyes flew open and he looked at Ezra.

"Lieutenant Tanner I expect you to drink what I offer," Ezra ordered.

Ezra placed the straw to Vin's lips and he took two sips but no more. Ezra was satisfied with that and replaced the cup on the table. He leaned back in the chair and opened the book. It was Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and Ezra acted out all the parts. Vin watched him but said nothing. An occasional cough would accompany Ezra's recitation. After an hour Ezra noticed Vin was starting to fall asleep. He put the book down and leaned closer to Vin.

"Vin before you go to sleep I have message for you," Ezra said. "JD says hello and wants to see you."

Ezra saw there was no reaction to JD's name as Vin closed his eyes and fell asleep. The Lieutenant Commander stood up and sighed. He noticed Nathan was watching him from his office.

"Did you get him to drink anything?" Nathan asked.

"Two sips," Ezra answered.

"It's better than nothing," Nathan sighed. "He still refuses to eat. Which isn't helping him fight the pneumonia. I can supply him with nutrients using the hypospray but I can't make him want to get better."

"Maybe more drastic measures are called for," Ezra suggested.

"Maybe," Nathan agreed. "But not right now. He's not in any real danger."

"Do you plan on telling him about the Pon Far?" Ezra enquired.

"I'm not sure," Nathan said. "Been talking to Josiah about it. He thinks Vin should know so he can be prepared for the next time."

"I would have to agree with the good counselor," Ezra said.

"Even if it makes him feel worse about what he did?" Nathan asked.

"I believe the Lieutenant can handle it," Ezra replied.

"Like he's handling this?" Nathan said pointing to the Vulcan. "It's as if he doesn't want to live."

"Vin is stronger than you think," Ezra said. "Vin doesn't wish to die, he's just confused. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go on duty."

Nathan watched as Ezra walked out. The security chief seemed so sure that Vin would pull out of this but Nathan wasn't. He walked over to Vin to check his temperature. Nathan saw that he was shivering and threw another blanket over the Vulcan. Vin's temperature and vitals hadn't changed and Nathan decided to try a different antibiotic. He also gave Vin an injection if vitamins and other nutrients his body would need. Now if he could only get Vin to snap out of his depression.


Vin woke to find Josiah sitting next to him. He just wished everyone would leave him alone. Vin sat up and swung his legs over the bed. Josiah went to help him and Vin pushed him away. He made it to the facilities without falling. The Vulcan finished quickly knowing Josiah would barge in on him if he took too long. Vin shuffled back to his bed and crawled under the covers. Lila was under the bed and jumped up as he got comfortable. Vin went to curl on his side but the counselor tried to stop him. Lila growled at Josiah and he ignored her as he held Vin in place.

"Vin we need to talk," Josiah said.

Whatever for, Vin thought to himself as he ran his fingers over Lila's thick coat. He knew Josiah would insist and just decided to curl up facing the counselor. Lila lay down next to him and flicked her tail.

"Vin you need to snap out of this," Josiah insisted. "Your refusal to eat is only making it harder for your body to fight off the pneumonia."

Maybe I don't want to fight it Vin sighed to himself. Why can't you just leave me alone?

"Vin I know you're upset about what you did," Josiah continued. "But it's alright you didn't do anything wrong.

Right, Vin snorted and curled his finger into Lila's fur. Nothing except kill JD.

"Vin everyone is worried about you," Josiah said touching Vin's arm.

Not everyone, Vin sighed. Can't say as I blame him.

Vin knew everyone came to see him except Buck. Whenever he woke up there was someone at his side. Even Chanu left his beloved engineering to come see him. He didn't blame Buck for not wanting to see him. JD was special to Buck and if Vin were in Buck's shoes he wouldn't want to visit JD's killer either. Vin sighed and began to cough. He heard Josiah telling him to relax and take shallow breaths. Once he stopped coughing he just lay there listening to Josiah. The counselor was talking about Pon something but Vin wasn't paying attention. Vin didn't mind when Ezra came to talk to him. The lieutenant Commander never talked about what happened he just read that Shakespeare fella. The one that Vin hated the most to see was Chris. He knew Chris must regret every bringing him on the Maverick. He knew Chris deserved better than him. Thinking of Chris only made Vin feel worse and he went to curl away from Josiah. Lila was curled contentedly at his feet.

"Oh no you don't" Josiah said grabbing his shoulders and Lila began to growl. "You hush now. Vin I'm not going to let you hide."

Vin tried to pull out of Josiah's grasp but he just held tighter. Vin began to struggle more and tried to punch Josiah. The older man grabbed Vin's wrists.

"That's right Vin, get mad," Josiah urged. "Fight me."

When Vin realized what he was doing he went limp in Josiah hands. Let me go, Vin thought. Please let me go. When Josiah saw the look in Vin's eyes he let him go. The Vulcan immediately curled on his side and Lila lay next to him. Josiah sighed as Vin buried his face against the big cat.

"I'm sorry Vin," Josiah said as he pulled the covers over him. "I'll leave you alone."

Josiah gave Vin's shoulder a squeeze before he left. He walked over to where Nathan was standing and watching.

"What happened?" Nathan asked.

"I was just talking," Josiah said. "Explaining about the Pon Farr."

"Do you think he understood?"

"I don't think so," Josiah admitted. "Anyway he went to curl up away from me and I wouldn't let him. I grabbed his shoulders and he started to fight me."

"That's good," Nathan said excited. "At least you got a response out of him."

"Well maybe it wasn't so good," Josiah sighed. "Vin started punching me then he realized what he was doing an went limp. You should have seen the look in his eyes."

"Damn!" Nathan cursed.

"Damn what?" Chris asked as he walked in.

"I think I might have pushed Vin a little too hard," Josiah replied.

"Oh?" Chris asked.

"Yeah we got into a little tussle and Vin fought back," Josiah said.

"Good," Chris said. "I've wanted to kick his ass also."

"I might have made it worse," Josiah said defeated. "Vin started punching me then realized what he was doing and slumped in my arms."

"Damn," Chris sighed running his fingers through his hair.

"I think that's where Nathan left off," Josiah smiled.

"Can I see him?" Chris asked.

"Can't do any more damage," Nathan said.

Chris walked over to Vin's bed and Lila gave him a menacing look. Chris just stared at the cat and she backed down. The Vulcan was still awake and Chris reached out a hand to touch him. Vin saw the movement and puled away. Chris grabbed Vin's shoulder and felt Vin tense but remain still. A low growl came from Lila but she did nothing.

"It's OK Vin," Chris said soothingly.

Vin just blinked but wouldn't look at Chris. The captain finally released Vin and walked back to the others.

"I just came down to tell you I appreciate the report the two of you did," Chris said.

"Just doing our jobs," Nathan said modestly.

"I just got a call from Admiral Travis," Chris explained. "There won't be any investigation into Vin's behavior. He checked with the Vulcan embassy about the condition and agreed with your findings after talking with them. Coupled with the fact that JD isn't dead and doesn't want to press charges Vin's pretty much off the hook."

"Hmmm that might not sit well with all the crew," Josiah commented.

"Especial whoever went behind my back," Chris said angrily. "If I ever find out who it was."

"Maybe you should post the admirals decision for the crew to read," Nathan suggested.

"Good idea," Chris agreed. "Keep me informed about Vin."

"Aye captain," Nathan said.

"I have to go also," Josiah said as he followed the captain.

Nathan went to check on Vin and found him sleeping. Lila watched as Nathan placed the palm of his hand on Vin's forehead. He could get an accurate reading from the instruments but he was a hands on type of doctor. Vin was still warm and Nathan gave him more of the antibiotics. Nathan sighed knowing that was all he could do for the Vulcan. He sighed and scratched Lila before he left.


The ensign reading the admirals report just shook his head. How could they let the Vulcan get away with beating a fellow officer? If he had his way he'd show them what he'd do to the Vulcan. He walked out of the saloon as JD and Buck walked in.

"Hey, Buck, Chris has one hanging in here too," JD said pointing to the report.

"Yeah, kid, he had them put everywhere," Buck said and took a seat.

"You still can't accept it can you?" JD asked.

"Look kid I'm trying," Buck said defensively.

"You haven't even been to see him," JD accused. "Hell I want to see him and they won't let me!"

"I know," Buck said.

"Then you go see him for me," JD begged. "Please Buck. I think Vin knows you're the only one that doesn't come to see him."

"Look, JD, there's still something I need to work out before I can see him," Buck said.

"Like what?" JD persisted.

"Damn it, JD, I trusted him to protect you," Buck growled. "Not beat you up."

"I don't need protecting," JD replied. "Besides that's got nothing to do with you not seeing him. Please Buck."

"I'll think about it," Buck said and ordered a beer.

JD didn't say anything else. He just kept looking at Buck with his big hazel eyes and the older man finally gave in. Buck walked with JD down to sickbay and had no idea what he was going to say to the Vulcan. They arrived at sickbay and JD dragged him through the doors. Nathan looked up and was surprised to see Buck.

"Buck wants to see Vin," JD announced.

"I don't know," Nathan said knowing how angry Buck was that first day.

"I ain't going to do nothing Nathan," Buck said. I just want to talk to him."

"Alright," Nathan reluctantly agreed. "But if I hear you raise your voice you're out of here."

"He won't," JD promised as he led Buck to Vin.

"JD," Nathan called crooking his finger motioning JD back. The ensign sighed and returned to Nathan.

Buck walked over and saw Vin was awake. The commander was happy to see Lila wasn't around since he heard she had been guarding Vin. Josiah had said Vin was staying curled on his side and Buck was surprised how vulnerable it made him look. He sat down and Vin just blinked.

"Hey Vin," Buck said but got no response. "Don't really know where to start."

Buck, Vin thought. Buck's talking to me?

"I was pretty mad when we found JD in the shuttle," Buck began. "Couldn't understand why you did it. You hurt him really bad. You're so much stronger than he is. The kid didn't have a chance against you. Then Ezra found out about the Pon Far thing. Don't really understand that either but now we know why you did it. Not really sure if I can accept that as a reason but it will have to do. The hard thing will be getting me to trust you with JD again."

Buck stopped talking because he thought he heard something. He looked at Vin and saw the Vulcan was crying and mumbling something. Buck leaned closer and he could make out the words.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Vin kept repeating over and over.

"I know you are Vin," Buck said patting his hand and went to step away.

"No Please!" Vin screamed and grabbed Bucks arm. "I didn't mean it. I didn't want to kill JD. I don't know what happened. Please Buck I'm sorry."

Vin clung to the commander as Buck held him in his arms. Vin cried piteously saying he didn't mean it and understood if Buck never wanted to see him again. Vin was beginning to hyperventilate as he tried to catch his breath. Buck sat him up and looked at Nathan. The doctor came over and injected Vin with a sedative to calm him down.

"I think you better go," Nathan said to Buck.

"Alright," Buck agreed.

"Please Buck," Vin cried, "I didn't mean it."

"I know Vin," Buck said feeling terrible about the things he thought about the Vulcan.

"I killed JD," Vin sobbed. "I killed him."

"Hold on Vin," Buck said holding him as the Vulcan cried. "You didn't kill JD."

"Yeah I did!" Vin cried.

"No, Vin, I'm not dead," JD said moving to stand next to Buck.

"JD?" Vin said confused.

"Yeah it's me," JD said sitting on the bed. "I'm alright."

Vin reached out his hand and grabbed JD's arm. The ensign winced as Vin held on for dear life.

"Easy there Vin," Buck said grabbing his wrist. "Let's not break him."

"I'm sorry," Vin said and pulled his hand away.

"It's alright Elf," Buck said as he watched the sedative start to take effect. Vin fell asleep in Buck's arms and Nathan went to help him lay Vin back on the bed. "I got him. Can't believe how stupid I've been."

"I told you Buck," JD said in satisfaction.

"You were right," Buck said placing Vin back against the pillows. "I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. Damn Elf wouldn't hurt a fly, not on purpose."

Buck brushed back the sweat damp hair off Vin's face. They could all hear Vin's breath as it rattled in his chest.

"Nathan he don't sound so good," JD pointed out.

"All this carrying on hasn't help with the congestion," Nathan said. "Have to get him to start eating."

"Ya think he'll be alright when he wakes up?" Buck asked. "Never seen Vin cry like that before."

"This Pon Far makes Vulcan's emotions more intense. I figure that's what made him cry the way he did," Nathan replied. "I think he's going to be confused when he wakes up."

"Yeah it's not everyday the person you thought you killed comes back to life," JD laughed.

"We'll just have to take it slow," Nathan said. "Come away now let him sleep."

They walked away and JD took one last look back. He couldn't wait for Vin to get better. He missed having the Vulcan around.


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