The knocking was soft, but persistent. Jim grumbled and kicked back the covers, gooseflesh rising across his skin at the touch of cool air.
Scratching lazily over his chest, Jim stifled a yawn as he padded to the door, pressing the intercom button. "Yeah?" he said, voice thick with sleep.
Jim's ears perked at the ragged voice. "Bones?"
When he didn't get a response, Jim quickly typed in the door release code, fingers tapping impatiently as the door unlocked and swooshed open.
Jim didn't say anything for a moment, his eyes wide and taking in Leonard's disheveled form: dirty, bruised, bare-chested and bleary eyed. Leonard leaned heavily against the doorframe, eyes downcast. His tongue peeked out to swipe over a bloodied lip.
"Bones," Jim said, brows furrowed with confusion and concern. "You - what happened?"
"Don't want to talk about it," Leonard mumbled, pushing away from the wall and propelling himself into Jim's room. Jim caught him as he stumbled over something in the dark, the door automatically closing behind them.
Jim guided Leonard over to the spare bed, but Leonard dug in his heels, head shaking.
"Just wanted to use your shower," he said tiredly. "Mine's not working. Wouldn't have bothered you, but…" his voice petered out, hand rubbing ineffectively at his dirty-sticky skin.
"You kidding?" Jim asked. "You're ready to pass out. You'd probably fall asleep with your mouth open and drown." Jim almost grinned at how much he sounded like his friend just now, but it was true.
Leonard's grip tightened around Jim's shoulders. "I can't sleep like this, Jim," he whispered, voice hesitant and wavering, too close to broken for Jim's liking.
Jim sighed and pulled Leonard into the bathroom, sitting him on the toilet.
Jim undressed himself, then carefully undressed his friend, eyes lingering on scrapes and cuts as they were revealed. Leonard, for his part, said nothing, moving only the minimal amount needed to assist, eyes at half mast and thoughts a million miles away.
Clicking on the water, Jim adjusted the temp control to a comfortable setting, then helped Leonard stand with a hand under each arm. Leonard leaned into him, seeming to take comfort from his solid presence.
They stepped together under the shower head, water drenching them both. Jim took Leonard's arms and looped them loosely around his own waist, leaving his hands free for the task of cleaning the grit and grime from Leonard's skin. Grabbing a clean wash cloth, he soaped it up and gently placed it against Leonard's shoulder, rubbing in even, concentric circles, stopping often to wash the dirt away from the cloth and starting anew with a fresh dollop of soap. Leonard said nothing as his skin was scrubbed, eyes closed, body swaying now and again with fatigue. Jim kept a steady hand on his waist, holding him upright.
Leonard hummed when Jim sank his fingers into Leonard's hair, massaging gently at his scalp, washing away oil, sweat and dried blood.
"Bones," he said, his voice edged with a pleading note. "Tell me what happened." Jim watched Leonard's jaw clench, watched his throat work, his eyes squeezed shut against the water and soap and memories.
He tipped forward, forehead pressing to Jim's until even that became too much effort, and his head slipped to rest against Jim's shoulder. Jim curled his hands around Leonard's ribs, wash cloth forgotten as the water continued to rain down.
It wasn't until the temperature went lukewarm, then cold, and he could feel himself trembling, that he moved to shut off the tap. Leonard twitched, rousing himself enough to step out of the shower with Jim. He managed to stand under his own power long enough for Jim to towel him dry, and then they moved back into the dark dorm room. This time when Jim steered Leonard towards the bed Leonard made no protest. He sat heavily on the mattress, immediately slumping forward into the pillow. Jim tugged the blankets out from under Leonard's still form and covered him, tucking him in. He swallowed around the lump in his throat as Leonard relaxed, face slackening as he drifted away. Jim ran a hand through Leonard's damp bangs, fingers lingering on his skin a second too long.
With a sigh, Jim moved back to his own bed. As he lay against the tangled sheets, he stared up at the dark ceiling and knew that sleep would be a long time in coming.