The Sickbay was in ruined disarray when Jim ran in, chest heaving with the exertion of running full tilt from the Bridge. His eyes scanned his surroundings, seeking out patches of shadows and darkness filled with sparks arcing from damaged lights and medical equipment. Even though the battle with the Klingons was over and their enemy temporarily defeated, the resultant clean-up was only just beginning. Jim ploughed through injured bodies and busy doctors, until he found a face he recognised - M’Benga.
“Bones? Where’s Bones?” he yelled at him, straining to be heard over the noise and confusion.
“Shouldn’t you be on the Bridge, sir?” M’Benga yelled back, as he struggled to be heard himself.
“Spock’s taking care of things for now. Where’s Bones?” Jim yelled, last words masked by another explosion.
M’Benga hadn’t heard his question, dark eyed gaze merely clouded with the need to help the injured. Jim cursed and left the busy doctor’s side, heading deeper into the ruined Sickbay. He felt tension thrumming through him, coupled with an incessant need to find the missing doctor. Bones had been worryingly silent for a while now, either refusing or unable to answer Jim’s repeated calls to Sickbay.
“Please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead,” Jim said, praying with everything that he had that Bones was just too busy or merely injured.
He caught hold of Chapel’s arm as she passed, forcing the nurse to stop.
“Bones,” he screamed into her face as another light popped and scattered sparks down all around them. “Where’s Bones?”
Chapel opened her mouth to answer, yet an all too familiar voice came from behind Jim, stopping her flow of words before they could even start.
“What the devil are you doing down here, Jim? You should be up on the Bridge,” Bones said, his all too familiar Southern accent clearly heard over the noise.
Jim whirled, allowing Chapel to leave, hands immediately arcing and grappling for the familiar shape of Bones’ arms against his palms. He pulled the doctor into a rough hug, hiding his face in the curve of Bones’ shoulder, inhaling the familiar scents of the other man. Bones stiffened in surprise, yet his body soon relaxed, melted into familiar lines against him, and his hand rose to rest firmly against the small of Jim’s back. Jim could feel the other man rubbing a soothing hand against him and he turned his head, captured Bones’ mouth in a heated, too rough kiss, filled with gratitude, relief and fear. Bones made a noise of surprise, yet he kissed Jim back after only the briefest of hesitations.
“I thought you were dead, you bastard,” Jim ground out when the kiss ended. “You weren’t answering your communicator.”
“I lost the damn thing in the confusion, Jim. We were being attacked, in case you hadn’t noticed,” Bones replied, with his all too familiar scowl pulling dark brows down low over his eyes.
Jim didn’t answer; instead, he pulled Bones into another rough hug, and his hands bunched into the familiar fabric of the other man’s tunic. He kissed Bones again, refusing to let Bones go when the doctor tried to pull away.
“Dammit, Jim, we’ve got plenty of time to do this, later. People are injured here. I’m a doctor; I need to do doctor things, now,” Bones said, as he tried to extricate himself from Jim‘s grip. “In fact, why don’t you make yourself useful and actually do something? You could help here, you know.”
“Okay, Bones, okay,” Jims aid, finally letting go of the doctor and stepping away. “Just tell me where to start and I’ll do my best.”
Bones gave him a sharp nod and directed him towards the far side of the Sickbay, where people with minimal injuries had been situated.
“Smith’s there. Help her with the bandages or something,” Bones said, before he scurried away, to help elsewhere.
Jim did as Bones had asked, soon lost in the press of bodies and the ebb and flow of applying dermal regenerators and bandages to torn flesh. Occasionally, his eyes met those of Bones, each seeking the other out in the melee, and the shadowed darkness. Despite the fact that Jim suspected that Bones was keeping an eye on him, to make sure he was doing everything right, Jim didn’t care. It was enough that Bones was alive to watch over him; he knew that once the immediate crisis was over, he would take his time with the doctor, to show how much he appreciated that Bones was still alive. Jim grinned, more to himself than to the doctor, before returning his attentions to another gaping wound.