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This was crazy…what was happening was crazy. Leonard could barely wrap his head around everything that had taken place in just a matter of hours. The whole universe had changed – literally.

Vulcan was gone. Starfleet's ranks were decimated.

And Jim…oh god, Jim.

In the privacy of Dr. Puri's office, Leonard rested his head in his hands and slowly let out a shaky breath. The medbay had finally reached a stable state. The most seriously injured were either stabilized or dead – small mercy that it was more of the former than latter – and the refugee Vulcans they were able take on board were accounted for. Enterprise crew had generously and compassionately given them as much space as they could, knowing they would need to be with each other, now more than ever. He worried that some must be teetering on the edge of psychic shock, but there was very little he could do to help them, and that made him anxious and pissed off.

But the worst was the fact that Jim was no longer on board the Enterprise. In a fit of absolute madness, Commander Spock had ordered Jim marooned. And Leonard hadn't done a damn thing about it. Jim wouldn't let him.

"Bones," Jim had said in a rushed moment before all hell had broken loose. "You're gonna catch enough fallout for getting me on board as it is. No matter what, do not do anything that's going to give them any more ammunition. I need your word, man – no matter what happens. I mean it."

Confused, rushed, taken aback by the vehemence in Jim's voice, still trying to manage Jim's symptoms from the severe allergic reaction he was having, and chasing him all over the damn ship – like a complete idiot – he'd agreed.

And now, Leonard was on the Enterprise and Jim was on a god forsaken ice planet – each of them alone.


Jim sagged against the wall of the turbolift, the throbbing ache in his body finally too much for him to ignore anymore. And, more than that, he needed to see Bones.

The turbolift slowed to a stop and Jim straightened painfully, wincing at the uncomfortable pull in his chest. In the moment before the doors opened, he smoothed the expression on his face as much as he could. The crew needed to see him confidant, sturdy, strong…any weakness he was feeling he needed to keep to himself, at least until he made it to the privacy of an exam room.

As he made his way down the corridor, nodding to the crew members he passed, he wondered about Bones' state of mind. When he'd showed back up on the Bridge, it was obvious that Bones was pissed, and he was hurtful. And when he made it back to the Enterprise with Pike, Jim wasn't sure what he saw in that brief moment, but what he heard was relief tinged with fear.

The medbay was quiet and dark, and Jim had the thought that it was the middle of the night…Bones might not be here.

Leonard looked up from the monitoring station outside the private area Pike was resting in. Jim was standing just inside the doorway, looking around…obviously looking for him. He watched him for a moment, the wash of emotions – everything from desperate relief to anger to complete exasperation – rushing through him.

"Was wondering when you were going to show up," he said. Jim's eyes landed on him and he offered Bones a small, uncertain smile. He looked at him through a doctor's eyes, pushing everything else to the side for now, took in the way Jim was holding himself, the limp he was trying to compensate for, the abrasions he could see…he was a mess. Picking up some supplies, Leonard headed over to him, nodding at one of the empty biobeds. "Take a seat, Jim." The half-smile on Jim's face faltered at the tone of his voice.

"Bones…I-"

"Not now, Jim," Leonard interrupted without looking at him. "Sit your fool ass down and let me fix what you managed to screw up." Jim dropped his eyes and carefully settled himself on the biobed. Apparently, Bones had worked his way through everything and landed back on pissed. Jim sighed and let Leonard do what he wanted, too tired to even put up a token resistance.

Leonard worked quickly and quietly. Jim's injuries were pretty extensive, and though all of them were painful, none of them were life-threatening. Looking at him, Leonard realized the most dangerous condition Jim was facing right now was sleep deprivation.

"You have somewhere to sleep?" he asked quietly. Jim shook his head.

"Not even supposed to be here, if you remember," Jim murmured. Leonard rolled his eyes.

"I'm just about to go off shift. Come with me to mine."

Jim nodded. "Okay."

The walk to Leonard's quarters was thankfully a short one. Jim was still sore, but he felt a lot better, and the lack of pain, along with having allowed himself to stop working long enough for Bones to fix him up, seemed to exacerbate the exhaustion he was feeling. Leonard keyed the code for entry and Jim followed him in. Once the door closed behind them, Leonard's demeanor changed. He slumped, as if he'd been keeping his posture by will alone, and ran a hand through his hair.

"Bones?" Jim said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Are you - oof" Jim grunted in pain when Leonard suddenly turned and wrapped him in tight hug, one hand coming up to gently cup his head. "Hey," Jim said, bringing his arms up around Bones. "It's okay…I'm okay."

"I just stood there," Leonard breathed, his voice rough. "I just stood there, and watched. Let that green-blooded hobgoblin leave you to almost die on that planet." Leonard pulled away and glared at him. "How could you do that to me?"

Jim blinked in surprise. "How could I – ? I didn't toss myself off the ship!"

"Don't be an ass, Jim! You knew I gave you my word and I had to stand by and watch as Spock just…" Bones seemed to deflate slightly. "I was so angry - and I don't know who to be more angry with…you for making me give you my word, or me, for actually going along with it!"

Jim looked at him, a bemused expression on his face, and reached for him – relieved and gratified when Leonard allowed himself to be drawn into his embrace.

"I'm sorry," he said against Leonard's shoulder. "I didn't realize how…hard…that was going to be for you. I just wanted to protect you. And it's not like I knew Spock was going to do that…bastard," Jim muttered, almost as an afterthought.

"I really thought that was going to be the last time I saw you," Leonard admitted. "And I just let it happen. Never again, Jim."

Jim tightened his hold on Leonard and nodded. "Never again," he agreed.