Title: A Long Hard Climb
Fandom: Star Trek the Original Series
Disclaimer: the show and its characters are Paramount's, no profit is
being made by this story.
Warning: angst, and Len's dad's death mentioned.
Note: some dialogue is lifted directly from Star Trek V, The Final
Frontier. No infringement is intended. Brief mention is made of a
medical directive, this is a legal document one gets a lawyer to make
that lists various procedures you will allow, those that you won't
and is legally enforceable. If it says "No cardiopumonary
resuscitation" then no one can use that to try to revive you,
provided they know of the document. A Living Will on the other hand
does not enforce your wishes, whomever is in the room can ignore it,
they however can not ignore a Medical Directive without severe legal
The following: *~*~* denotes time passing, I hope I've made it fairly
obvious what time frame each scene comes from.
Leonard walked hand in hand with his dad, each having a fishing pole
in hand and his dad carrying the rest of the fishing gear. Being with
his dad was the greatest thing in the world, especially when they
could be alone. His dad would answer all his questions if they were
alone and tell him stories, stories his mother would glare at his dad
for telling him.
His dad was so brave and strong, nothing would dare hurt him with his
dad around. His dad could do anything and he knew his dad would
always be there for him. His dad was the smartest person he knew.
Always willing to tell him all kinds of stories and teaching him
Leonard saw his father stumble once again, feet failing him. It hurt
so much to see him ashamed of how his body was failing him. It hurt
to see how each movement his father made hurt him. With every day,
his father's memory got worse. He sometimes couldn't remember what
day it was, the name of people he'd seen every day of the year, and
sometimes wasn't sure who Leonard was.
His father, who had been so strong, his memory so very meticulous,
and never showing fear, now was bent and looking physically week,
always confused and always looking worried and scared. There were
still times he seemed to look like his old self but they were growing
fewer with each day, further apart. Leonard was loosing his father
slowly and nothing he tried to do helped.
His doctor had changed his father's medication several times, tried
delaying the slow deterioration, but nothing they tried work. Leonard
knew the disease always ended in death, he knew what each stage of
the disease would do to his father, and he knew it would be a slow,
lingering, painful death.
His father was now bed ridden, no longer knowing who he was. He had
no idea why he was in pain, only that each moment was full of pain
that nothing else existed. Leonard knew there was nothing else he
could do for his dad, no hypo that would relieve the pain, no
medication that would delay or prevent his father's death.
His father's doctor had told him that the only way to prolong his
father's life would be an Esophagotomy Tube as his dad could no
longer swallow. He also knew the terms of his dad's medical
directive, a document that outlined just what his father would allow
to prolong his life and what he wouldn't. His father had had it
written up the day he had been diagnosed. He knew that his father
didn't want to be tube fed, but he could live for weeks, possibly
even months on just the IV drip of water the biobed gave him. Given
the way his body was deteriorating, his father had only a matter of a
few months before the biobed couldn't prolong death alone. He didn't
want to have to watch his dad in pain any more. Didn't want to see
the confusion, the eyes empty of all knowledge, the only thing in his
dad's eyes pain.
He knew the biobed was keeping his dad's heart beating and that all
he'd have to do to spare his dad further days or even weeks of pain
would be to turn off the biobed. But could he do it? If he did, would
it be murder or compassion? He wanted only to heal the pain, just
take it away.
He looked at his dad, so skinny balding, in the thin white hospital
gown, a white blanket covering him.
"I'm here, I'm with you dad." He whispered, and yet the eyes did not
light up with the love dad always had for him. His dad looked at him,
no hint of recognition in his eyes, his eyes just hollow, already
His dad could only whisper, "The pain, stop the pain." Voice tired,
as if resigned to the fact there was only pain. Nodding as he spoke
as if to give him permission.
"I'm doing everything I can do." Voice as comforting as
possible. "You've got to hang on."
"I can't stand the pain." He whimpers. "Help me."
Turning to the nurse, he says, "All of my knowledge and I can't save
"You've done all you can, the support system will keep him alive." He
"You call this alive?" Leonard let anger and frustration tinge his
For a moment there is recognition in those eyes. "Son, release me."
His father pleads, clasping his hand.
"I can't do that dad." Leonard whispers, "But how...how can I watch
him suffer like this?"
The nurse says, "You're a doctor." Words that seemed to condemn
Leonard to fighting against hope, keeping his father alive regardless
of the pain. His breath so ragged and each one drawn in pain.
"I'm his son." Words spoken with determination and resolve. Leonard
stands, straightens, right hand on his dad's shoulder, inserts a
control box into the biobed. Presses a button to connect, looking at
his father, the tears in those eyes. The fear and the pain and empty
again of any memory. Pressing another button to stop the biobed, thus
stopping life support. Death is instantaneous. Leonard immediately
places his hands on either side of his father's face, knowing he is
"Why did you do it?" The nurse asks.
"To preserve his dignity." Bitter, ugly words.
Not long after he "pulled the plug" they found a cure, a goddamn cure
for his father's disease. A cure.
The knowledge ate him alive. If he hadn't cured him, could he have
lived? It made him so angry and frustrated. He loved his father, he
released him from pain, he had done what he thought was right, hadn't
Why did the pain always nip at Leonard's heels? Why was there no
relief to his pain? Why was there no cure for him?
He knew he was growing older with each day that passed, would he
suffer the same fate as his father. A slow, painful death, where he
lost all sense of who he was?
He had only friends to rely on now, his daughter all grown up and off
planet. So he'd actually agreed to go with camping with them. He and
Spock having grown closer due to the Fal Tor Pan and making tentative
steps toward a relationship. But right now, his friend Jim seemed to
be set on driving him insane.
He was supposed to be relaxed. Here in the middle of nature, no sign
of Starfleet, no sickbay, just trees and mountains and birds. He was
wearing a pair of comfortable jeans, one of his favorite shirts, a
bandanna that Spock gave him one Christmas tied around his neck, a
warm sheep-skinned jean jacket, birds were singing, but was he
relaxed? No! And it was all Jim's fault he wasn't.
Jim did this on purpose, he knew it. There was no other Earthly
reason he'd go about trying to kill himself. Climbing up a mountain
side, no safety line clipped to it, just his hands and climbing
boots. He was going to kill himself with stubborness.
Leonard watched him through the binoculars, saw how little kept him
from plunging to his death. The idiot! "You'll have a great time
Bones. You'll enjoy your shore leave. You'll be able to relax." Jim
had said. "You call this relaxing? I'm a nervous wreck. If I'm not
careful I'll end up talking to myself."
Of course, just a few moment later Spock goes and distracts
Jim. "What in the hell is that green blooded Vulcan think he is
Spock has to know he wasn't very happy with this, heck, considering
the link between them. Heck, Leonard wouldn't be surprised if Spock
knew what he was thinking. Especially when he was thinking so loudly,
you'd almost swear he was talking out loud. "Goddamn
irresponsible...playing games with life."
Oh my God! Jim! He's going to be just a spot on the face of the
ground. Leonard ran toward the mountain, seeing Spock dive after Jim
and save him with just inches to spare from making a mark on the
Why did he put up with these two again? Looking at Spock's face
illuminated by the fire, he remembered. He put up with them because
he loved Spock and Jim was his best friend. They could drive a man to
drink, Jim pisses him off by risking his life on petty stunts and
Spock, well he could never admit to having feelings of any kind. He
might tease Spock about being immortal due to coming back from the
death. All he knew was he was drawn to Spock for some strange reason.
Maybe he was just masochistic.
Well, now Spock knew of what he did to his father. His friends knew
what he was capable of, how he had failed his father. Could Spock
ever come to understand and accept him? Could he ever come to admit
to having feelings? Or would he be condemned to always liking Spock
before he died?
He enters the room, he must have gotten things all in order now.
Sybok's gone, the ambassador's back on Nimbus III and headed back to
Earth to pick up the interrupted shore leave. "Leonard," no
inflection in that voice. "You have no reason to be ashamed, you did
what you thought was right. It was the logical thing to do."
"Damn it Spock, is that all you think of logic?"
"No, Leonard." He comes over and actually hugs him. "I also think of
comfort from time to time. It has been a long time since I thought of
"Finally." Spock says, regretting the time lost to them due to his
death. Remembering now how close they were to cementing their bond
before the death and only now fully recovered from the Fal Tor
Pan. "I finally remember." Holding Leonard closely. It would take
time before they were ready to cement the bond again, but soon, soon
he and Leonard would be one.