Before the evening meet around the fire, Scotty offered to take you on a full tour of the facility. You were extremely grateful for the tour; although the camp was remarkably well hidden, it was also extraordinarily large. The camp was set out pretty much like a rectangle: the medic quarters was at the north of the camp, just a ten minute walk from the fire. There were two towering piles of debris; the North West debris pile and the south west debris pile (so fantastically named by Scotty) and between the two, directly west of the campfire, was the tent in which you'd met TJ, Ruben and Clark. There were two tents to the south - one which held supplies, rations, weapons etc., and another for general sleeping arrangements. The east of the camp was home to an enormous tent that seemed as if it was barely still standing- the sheets were so worn and ripped that there was barely any coverage, and any slight gust of wind had the entire structure waving from side to side,
“This is where the magic happens!” Scotty rocked back and forth on his toes with his hands behind his back, looking extremely pleased with the rotting construction,
“The magic of impending doom?” You stifled a grin, and Scotty's eyebrows furrowed,
“I'll have ye know I helped build most'a this place, this is the main meetin' room where people come doon and discuss the happenin's of the day.”
“It's impressive I suppose, considering you made it from scrap.”
“You're bloody right it's impressive lass, now come on, let's go t' the fire and have a drink. Everybody’s probably gone ‘n’ gotten ‘emselves jaked already.” You frowned slightly as he led you towards the faint glow in the distance that was the campfire and you could already hear hearty laughs and yelling. You weren’t sure you’d be able to let yourself go as much as they sounded they had, but you could only try,
“What the hell does ‘jaked’ mean?” You found yourself starting to laugh slightly at the slang as Scotty let out a loud laugh,
“Sorry las, I meant drunk.”
“I had a hunch.” The two of you laughed.
Not a few moments later you were approaching the campfire which was surrounded by several people, namely Bones, Sulu, Chekov, Grace and oddly enough – Spock – although he didn’t look all too pleased to be here (that being said, he always had a monotone expression so you weren’t actually too sure, truth be told). Bones was the first to notice your arrival, and he was already swaying even though he was sitting down on a makeshift bench,
“I told ya, lassie, didn’t I?” Scotty elbowed your side with a grin and took a seat next to Spock whilst Bones patted the empty spot next to him and you shook your head, smiling as you obliged and sat,
“You two were gone a while, ya sure you were just takin’ her on a tour?” Bones stared long and hard at Scotty and your cheeks heated as Scotty stared back, one corner of his mouth unsure of whether it wanted to turn down or turn up in a quivering, gobsmacked manner. Before Scotty could sputter a reply, McCoy’s face broke into a grin and he commenced exulting about Scotty’s face being ‘absolutely priceless’ and he handed him a bottle of beer from the crate next to him on the floor,
“Sorry kiddo, just pokin’ a bit of fun.” Bones turned to you with a bottle in hand and a more gentle smile which just made you blush more furiously than you already were.
You couldn't help noticing how laid back everybody seemed; it was heightened by the fact that Nyota was not there observing them.
"Where's Uhura?" You whispered to Bones, almost being headbutted as he leant back to get closer to your words.
"Late patrol shift." He flashed you an inebriated grin which almost seemed to warm you from the harsh winds. "It's fun night."
You took the beer that he offered you and downed a hearty sip. It'd been years since you'd tasted alcohol; and although the taste wasn't entirely pleasant, it reminded you of better times. Times when you'd sit up in your Starfleet academy dorm with Pavel and his friends, drinking and laughing. Planning the next get together, or the next away training mission. You'd just sit there watching movies or telling jokes, some days just you and him. Grace coughed sharply, almost as if she was reminding you of your place.
"Why the long face kid? You've got people to talk to now. Enjoy yourself!" Bones nudged you in the side and winked, causing light flips in your stomach. He was rather charming you had to admit- even when incredibly intoxicated.
"So, ___(y/n). How long exactly were you alone in the field?" Sulu smiled over at you,attempting to make conversation.
"Oh, about two years- from the day Khan's crew destroyed the academy. Nobody had anywhere to go, and when they created the camps and hideouts, I just wasn't wanted because I wasn't a fully trained nurse. I wasn't exactly helpful; you guys are the only people who gave me a chance." You lowered your head in fear of ridicule, or even rejection from a group once more- however all you heard was a sharp intake of breath from Sulu, a muttered swear from Scotty and a soft, almost inaudible "I'm sorry" from Pavel.
A hand was placed gently on your leg and you glanced over to see McCoy, looking up at you with a sympathetic eyebrow raised. "I'm truly sorry sweetheart, I couldn't imagine being alone for that long. Ya sure are brave. I gotta say, my worst fear right now is Jim out there on his own. He's hidin' out ya know, from Khan? My best bud is all out there all on his own. Sure as hell can't wait until I can see him again." He removed his hand and took a slow, longer gulp of his drink. The stress lines on his face had never seemed deeper- and he became almost weary with worry. There was a thick shroud of discomfort around the circle from those who knew the truth.
"Right then, enough'a the depressin' shet in this circle, let's play a game a' used to play when a' was a wee lad. A drinkin' game, o'course. 'Never Have A' Ever.' Ya up fur that, lass?' Scotty raised his bottle in your direction.
"I don't think I know the game." You smiled back.
"It's a wee bit personal mind, but we'll get ta' know each other. One person says somethin' they've never done, and if ye have done it, ye drink! Ye doon for that, ___(y/n)?"
"Well, I doubt I'm tipsy enough to spill my innermost secrets just yet- but I'll give it a go."
"Mr Scott, I have to object to this game. As a Vulcan, alcohol has little to no effect on my system, therefore I do not believe this would be an enjoyable activity for me to take part in. Also, I must interject that-"
"Goddamnit pointy, shut your trap and play the damn game." McCoy slurred over, grinning as he did- so as not to cause Spock too much offence. "I'll start. Never have I ever...had feelings in any way towards somebody of the same sex."
You glanced around the circle, eager to see who would drink. Scotty was the first to drink and you could feel the corner of your mouth twitching into a smile- you had assumed Scotty was a regular drinker, so the thought of him bunking with another guy didn't entirely shock you. TJ was the next to drink and you had to suppress a snigger; the thought of this enormous bearded man fancying another guy just made you sit in awe. The third and final person to drink? Hikaru Sulu.
"Christ Sulu, really?" Bones laughed in disbelief, taking an idle swig of his beer. Sulu stared at him with a shrug and Bones’ smile seemed to drop, “No way, seriously? Wow.” You smiled slightly at the look of surprise he now had in replace of a smile, “Never woulda pegged you to swing the bat for the other team.” Another sip of beer,
“I guess playing for one team just gets a little boring, Dr McCoy. ” Sulu replied and one corner of his mouth twitched up for a brief moment,
“Whatever floats your boat, kid.” Bones smiled back and suddenly Scotty raised a finger and his mouth formed an ‘O’ shape,
“Aye! I got one for ye. Never have a’ ever… Had sexual encounters with a species other than my own.” Scotty swiftly tipped his bottle up and took a drink, grinning as he waited for the rest of you to respond. Grace didn’t miss a beat and chugged down a bit more than you were supposed to, but there weren’t exactly rules about how much you drink – you just drink. TJ smirked and took a sip, Spock seemed to be staring intensely at his bottle like a war was waging in his head before he eventually took a drink and you paused for a moment to think, frowning as you did so. Something nudged your side and you turned to see Bones also drinking, and you felt a familiar pang in your gut – jealousy,
“Him and Uhura, I s’pose he figures Uhura is another species seeing as he is a… a… Hybrid? Is that it? Whatever.” Bones mumbled with a smile at first, but upon struggling for the word ‘hybrid’ it disappeared into his usual frown. You shifted uncomfortably, trying to control that jealousy that seemed to be creeping up on you like the tide does; slow, but unstoppable. Why were you jealous? Well, you had to admit that he was handsome, and charming, and had helped you and stuck up for you when they wanted to cast you out like the rest… But that didn’t give you reason enough to already be attached and feel jealous, right?
“Oh, I see.” You nodded. Everybody seemed to be chatting (or what sounded more like arguing) and laughing at somebody who had taken a drink, presumably, but by the time your mind came tumbling back down to earth the moment had passed and somebody else had come up with another one.
"Never have I ever-" Spock's voice was blunt, as if he'd had the thought in his head for a long time but didn't have the courage to spill his idea. "Felt remorse whilst killing one of Khan's crew."
The air around the campfire became as thick as wool, and for a few seconds nobody dared to move. Images flashed through your head- your fallen comrades, the crumbled remains of the buildings that you once called home- the thought of McCoy having to deal with the knowledge that his best friend had been possibly obliterated, or worse. Your hands remained still- and so did the hands of every other person in the circle. The atmosphere became dark and heavy, and Spock's eyes narrowed- you sensed a slight regret at thinking of the idea, and silently prayed that somebody would think of another one before everyone in the circle decided on some form of mass killing spree.
"Oh right, I've got one now!" McCoy sliced through the collective sadness with ease, slurred words echoing through the air. "Never have I ever...and this is honestly true...slept with a Starfleet Officer."
A couple of audible giggles. Your cheeks reddened. Every single person began to drink- even Pavel, TJ, Spock, Sulu- everybody but you and McCoy.
He began to chuckle. "So, when was the orgy and why wasn't I invited?" He smiled but his eyes flickered to the ground and you began to wonder if he was embarrassed. You couldn't entirely blame him, being the only other person in the circle not drinking drew attention, and Bones turned to you and raised a questioning eyebrow.
"I have an early shift tomorrow- I'd better get some rest. Pleasure drinking with you guys." You used Bones' shoulder to get some leverage, but he grappled your forearm and pulled you back down to the ground before you could even plant your feet. 'Naaaaaaaaaa'w darlin', stay with us a little longer- we've barely gotten ta know you yet.' He rested his head on your shoulder and you struggled to suppress the silly little flips that occurred in your stomach. You watched McCoy reach for his bottle, and miss three or four times before finally grappling the neck and holding it the wrong way up.
"Okay that's it, you need to get some rest too." You hooked your arm underneath his and pulled him to his feet- ignoring the jeers and chants from Scotty on the other side of the circle.
It was about a ten minute walk from the fire to the medic's tent, but the evening's fog made it uncomfortable and threatening. McCoy was gripping onto your arm for stability and the light pressure from his fingertips was somehow reassuring.
"Never slept with a Starfleet officer huh?" He had tilted his head so that his mouth was by your ear, and the tickles of his breath made you shudder slightly. "So you and the Russian...you never-?"
You smiled and shook your head. "Mr Chekov was always incredibly focussed on his work. No matter how much he liked me, he just- there was some studying that was more important. I didn't mind."
Bones scoffed and removed his arm from yours, scruffing up his hair slightly. "Stupid kid."
You forced back a flattered smirk.
When you reached the tent, Bones wasted no time in collapsing on the pile of blankets and attempting to pull you down with him. You dug your heels into the ground and remained standing, but his arm remained firmly attached to yours.
"Bones." He murmured sleepily, eyes already closed.
"Bones, I'll be waking up in a few hours. I'd really like to get back to my own bed."
"Hey girlie, I just wanna say-"
"____(y/n)." You reminded him, playfully.
"____(y/n), thank you."
"For, uh- runnin' into me."
"Why are you-?" Before you could finish, he had already drifted off to sleep. You hoped he had gone to a place far nicer than the hell you were living in.