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Leonard palms open the door to the quarters he shares with Jim, not really surprised to find them dark. When Jim loses crew members, he sometimes spends hours wrestling with the official reports, and the letters to soon-to-be-bereaved families, honoring his own feelings of responsibility and guilt. And he prefers to do it in his ready room, just like Leonard prefers to do the same work in his office in Medical.

Leonard doesn't order the lights up, just steps inside and lets the door close behind him. All he really wants is to wash off the day and curl up in bed; little spoon to Jim's big.

For now, he'll have to settle for one out of two.

He reaches down to tug at the hem of his layered shirts, and startles when hands close on his biceps. Jim's rigid arms bear him slowly but inexorably backward; Leonard can feel the bunched tension in the controlled way Jim moves.

Leonard's back bumps the wall, and Jim's hands come off his arms to cup his face for a kiss: lightly at first, then more possessively, tongue stroking across Leonard's lips, then heavy in his mouth when he parts them, welcoming Jim in with a soft moan.

Jim's heat and urgency are contagious, driving Leonard's fatigue from his mind. Their mouths ravish each other, lips and tongues in frantic motion, Jim's taste and feel always familiar and always new but especially dear now. This crushing desire springs from the same well in both of them: if Jim hadn't tracked down the danger that had invaded his ship in time, he might have lost Leonard; if Leonard had been a little slower to pull himself together he might have watched Jim die.

Leonard plucks hard at Jim's shirt; he wants Jim's bare skin under his hands, needs to pull him closer, feel the warm blood moving under the broad muscular planes of his back.

But Jim catches his wrists, pins his arms to the wall, pushes lips into the hollow under the corner of his jaw. The kiss sends a pulse of want through the three focal points of Leonard's awareness: his hardening cock and the startling thrill of Jim's weight pinching his wrists.

"Please, Bones — Leonard," Jim whispers against the sensitive skin, "I need..."

Leonard doesn't try to free his hands, a strange trembling running through him in counterpoint to the weirdness of Jim saying his given name.

"All right, darlin'," he answers, brushing his lips against Jim's temple. "All right..."

Jim's head lifts, and he reclaims Leonard's mouth with breath-stealing aggression; a ferocity born of emotion Jim can't otherwise express. He lets his eyes fall closed, yielding to the weight pressing him against the slowly-warming duranium wall, and gives Jim more room between his legs.

When the kiss breaks, and Jim's lips slide toward his other ear, Leonard rumbles, "Want to put my arms around you."

Jim's grip tightens on his wrists. "No. No."

Leonard looks into his eyes, breathless with wonder at the tidal rush of desire provoked by his lover's uncharacteristic sharpness. Leonard's not afraid — even driven by unnamed needs, Jim won't hurt him — but his heart races anyway; he can't help responding to the strength that holds him pinned.

Jim stares back, breathing a little heavily himself, searching Leonard's face for fear or something else. His tongue flicks at his upper lip, a sign of uncertainty Leonard hasn't seen since the Academy. That tongue pushes out and around and over Jim's lower lip all the time when he's concentrating; some people might mistake the ridiculous faces he sometimes makes for boredom, but no one knows Jim's moods and quirks as well as Leonard does — or thought he did.

Leonard waits in a strangely suspended calm, holding the gaze between them until Jim's unsettled desperation coalesces into something more resolute: his chin drops so he's looking up from under those heavy brows, the whole force of his personality blazing from his eyes. Suddenly Leonard understands everyone he's ever watched back down from James T. Kirk's unyielding stare.

"Tonight I need you to do only what I tell you."

"Okay. Okay, Jim," he answers faintly, "Anything you want, it's yours."

Jim nods, hungry approval in his smile; he backs away on bare feet, toward the screened-off bed, drawing Leonard after him. And Leonard follows without hesitation, matching his steps to Jim's. The bedroom is nearly dark, lit only by a reading light glowing over the top of a worn paper book.

Jim's sure enough in the way he shoves Leonard's ass against the low dresser, releases his wrists and strips his shirt and undershirt up so fast Leonard doesn't have a chance to do anything with his hands — his mind's spinning, head cocked back and elbows pinned against his ears for the moment Jim needs to unhook the collar from Leonard's chin.

Jim tosses the shirts aside, follows them with his own. Leonard only just remembers to keep his hands down, rather than give in to his aching desire to reach out. Too much distance separates them.

At least Jim feels the same; he presses in close between Leonard's spread legs, nuzzling with open mouth against face and neck, his hands rubbing over Leonard's bare chest, around his shoulders, up into his hair and then down over shoulder blades and ribcage. His touch is urgent, impatient, as if he can't get his fingers warm enough against Leonard's skin, or maybe as if he's marking territory, trying to set his imprint down to Leonard's bones. He has to curl his fingers around the edge of the dresser to either side of his hips to keep his hands still, and his calves start to hook around Jim's legs of their own accord.

"Stop," Jim says, the same flat way he'd said "move aside"; earlier, his phaser aimed at the thing Leonard had mistaken for Nancy Crater.

"Sorry," Leonard says, the breathy want in his voice shaken by unforgiving memory. "I just... I need you."

Leonard knows a part of his response is guilt — this afternoon was the first time he's defied Jim's authority since they left Earth again, and his insubordination damn near got Jim killed. He'd been woken out of a drugged sleep, and had about thirty seconds to process exactly why Jim had his phaser pointed at the woman Leonard had once loved. The right and proper thing, as it turned out, but Leonard sure as hell hadn't known that at the time, and Jim had been strangely uptight since they'd gone down to the surface of the planet. But even with his brain logy with soporifics, Leonard shouldn't have questioned him, shouldn't have moved to defend her. Shouldn't have given her — it? — the chance to break free, to attack any of them. Shouldn't have had to kill the creature himself, to save Jim's life.

Jim steps back, opening the fly of Leonard's trousers wide and unceremoniously tugging his briefs down below his cock, both waistbands inching down his hips from the elastic tension. Then Jim steps out from between Leonard and the bed and gives his shoulder a hard push.

Leonard suffers a momentary flare of stubbornness — Jim hasn't actually told him to get on the bed — but he bats the feeling aside, takes the two steps to the bedside and then hesitates, looking over his shoulder because he's not quite sure how Jim wants him. Jim is stripping his own pants off in that same efficient way, like he's prepping for some exotic naked emergency in the Starfleet manual, but the tempestuous blue of his eyes puts Leonard in mind of nothing less than the afterimage of a lightning strike.

Jim's forgiven him already, he's almost sure; if Leonard were ever going to screw up out here, they've both known all along it would be on the side of protecting life. But he has to know it's not so easy for Leonard to forgive himself: for taking a life at all, for hesitating, for doubting Jim, and this, this.... He climbs onto the bed, flush with gratitude for the opportunity to make his part in this clusterfuck right.

Though he's not submitting to Jim just from the need to offer an apology, any more than Jim's acting just from a need to establish dominance. The unspoken needs on both sides have grown, mutated, and now they're both crackling with lust in response to the fierce tension in the air: demanding and yielding, power and surrender.

Again, Jim lets his touch do the talking, pushing him forward onto his hands and knees on the blanket, then yanking at the zippers on the sides of Leonard's boots, peeling and tossing his socks away.

Leonard bites his lip, shifting his body only enough to help Jim divest him of his clothing: the pants and shorts go next.

"Down. Put your hands over your head."

There's a part of him still wants to question, talk this out, but he keeps his promise and obeys despite the tension and desire snapping down his spine. He stretches his arms out, clasping his hands above his head, cheek pressed into the coarse coverlet and backside almost resting on his heels. He's never given anything up easy in his life but… but Jim needs something, asked him for this.

He listens to Jim slamming a drawer open and closed; resists the desire to look, because Jim hasn't told him he can. He closes his eyes again.

Leonard's muscles twitch when the mattress dips near his shoulder, and then one of Jim's hands pins Leonard's, the other wrapping something rough and stretchy around and around his wrists, binding the heels of his palms tight against each other. He keeps his fingers intertwined beneath Jim's grip, fights the urge to spread them, to try to stroke along Jim's skin.

Fighting. Struggling. Arguing. His own stupid stubborn inability to just lie down and trust; that's what's gotten them here. He hears Jim tear off whatever's binding his wrists, while a final shudder runs through Leonard's lean frame, chasing out the last lingering traces of doubt and defiance. His lids relax but his eyes don't yet open, his body settling fully into the supplicant's posture, draped over his own folded knees with everything he has offered up to Jim's eyes and hands.

Jim sits on the edge of the bed for a moment, no sound but the rasping of his breath, before his fingertips brush, just barely, over the nape of Leonard's neck. The touch is hesitant, almost reverent — until it's not, and Jim's hand clamps down, holding Leonard's neck and head immobile against the coverlet. He feels Jim's other palm against his coccyx just before a slick finger presses between his buttocks.

He can't help his breath catching in his throat, doesn't stop the surge of desire under his skin from curling his spine, raising his ass into Jim's touch. One probing fingertip is quickly followed by another, two fingers twisting slow but deep while the firm hand on his neck holds him down.

"Mine," Jim growls.

Leonard nods, moaning, cock throbbing in response to the rough, possessive treatment. This is the lover he will do anything for, the captain he's already followed into the darkness and silence of space, the man he now knows he'll kill for.

"God yes, yours, Jim."

The fingers pull out, though he's barely warmed up, and Jim settles heavily over Leonard's back, one arm propping his weight over the other elbow, braced against the bed with that hand still wrapped over his nape. Jim's breath coils hot into his ear.

He shoves his cock blindly between Leonard's cheeks, searching against slick skin until the head of it lodges just right, pushing and stretching him open but going no deeper. "Tell me."

"Yours, Jim," he repeats on a panting groan. "All yours."

Jim's cock rams in deep and all at once, a rough grunt fills his skull, and the sudden breach forces a whimper from Leonard even as he pushes back against Jim, begging for more.

"Tell me you need me," Jim says, rocking into him fast and hard, filling his too-tight heat again and again.

"Like air, Jim, like earth..."

He can hardly move, unable to shift his head or bring his hands down, unable to do anything but writhe beneath Jim's thrusting weight — and he feels oddly light, as though he might float free if Jim weren't anchoring him to the bed. There are no life-or-death decisions to be made here. His only responsibility is to allow his lover to take what he needs.

To give him what he needs.

Tell me....

"Jim, God, Jim, love you. Love you dearer than eyesight, space and liberty, love you like meat loves salt. Need you like grass needs rain." He knows he's babbling and he doesn't care; he means every timeworn word tumbling out of his mouth, things he couldn't normally let himself say. "Happier'n a fat tick on a skinny dog just spendin' time with you, so knowin' you're mine and I'm yours is..."

He loses the thread of what he's saying under the rough slide of Jim's cock. Then, like a bolt out of the blue, he knows exactly what truth he needs to tell.

"Never loved anybody th' way I love you."

Jim's supporting arm collapses underneath him, throwing most of his weight onto Leonard, who grunts in mingled pleasure and pain. Jim slides that hand up under Leonard's chest, clutching fingers into his collarbone; his forehead presses hard against Leonard's shoulder. His body drives Leonard forward and back, still caught in the urgency of their joining, but Jim is almost shaking.

"S’right, darlin', yours," Leonard says, gasping in Jim's crushing embrace, bound and protected, owned and desired, loved and needed. There's a frightening exhilaration in just letting go, letting his body be the shore to Jim's ocean.

He'd laugh at the poetic image if he could draw a full breath, but his air's all bound up in involuntary cries. He's never come to the brink this fast before but he has no control: Jim's demanding everything he has to give, and his pleasure runs away with him, mad and unbridled somehow beneath Jim's hard hands and the words he can't hear but can feel Jim mouthing against his shoulder.

Leonard shudders in the aftermath, ethereal and light within his solid, earthbound body. Jim continues thrusting into him, driving and driven, until he stiffens with the silent force of his own orgasm and collapses, clinging like a limpet to Leonard's back. The hand that has clutched bruises into Leonard's collarbone relaxes, slides down his chest to rest over his still thundering heart.

Mine, he whispers, and though Leonard's not sure Jim meant him to hear he answers, yours, just as softly.

Jim slumps to the side, pulling Leonard with him. Their breathing slows, and he brings his bound arms down in front of his chest and snugs closer up against Jim — and just a little further from the wet spot.

"Are you okay?" Jim asks, voice still low and throaty. He almost never talks during sex, or after — his effort and his concern are a gentle caress against Leonard's floating awareness.

"Good. Beyond good," Leonard says, turning his forehead against Jim's cheek. "You?"

"Better," he says sincerely, though deep thoughts lurk beneath the word. There's a lot they need to talk the morning. Old insecurities; new dimensions to their relationship. For now, Jim rubs soft, silent hands over Leonard's skin, and the warm touch winds all through him, an irresistible tide of gravity drawing him fully back into his body.

Finally, Jim unwinds the gauze binding his wrists, and peers over his shoulder to inspect Leonard's hands. He spreads his fingers, showing Jim he's got no permanent damage before he shakes out the faint pins and needles.

When his hand relaxes, Jim captures it so he can plant a gentle kiss on his palm, and fold it against Leonard's heart, covered by his own. Leonard lets his eyes drift closed, sheltered and cherished with Jim curled serenely around him, big spoon to his little.