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Setting Bones

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“Hey, outta the way! Hero coming through, hero who saved my life coming through. Come on, do you even know how to use your legs? Do you know who this is? Outta the way, redshirt.”

“Stiles—” Scott gasps, feeling every footstep, every lurch to avoid someone, every sideswipe like a phaser blast straight to his chest, as Stiles drags him tripping through the medical bay. “Stiles, you’re—you’re hurting me even more.”

“Oh?” Stiles rounds the cots farthest out, aiming down the row for Isaac, who’s standing at the ready with a wide, violent frown and a tricorder. “Oh! Holy damn, dude! Sorry, here, look, uh, there’s the good doctor now. Ready to heal you or—or eat you? I never really can tell with him. Maybe it depends on the day you, you know, get maimed, right?”

Isaac meets them halfway and shoos Stiles off Scott almost roughly, so he can hitch him up in his arms, like it’s nothing. Except everything hurts even worse that way than how Stiles had been holding him, and Scott chokes back a wet groan at the sudden shift. But it’s only, like, a second before Isaac’s at the foot of one of the best cots in the place (Scott would know, he’s been in it enough) and is sitting him down on it, as gently as he possibly can.

With a worn-out sigh, Scott gives himself up to the shock and Isaac’s hands. He slumps over himself, swallowing back the taste of blood in his throat, pushing a shaking palm against his ribcage, though Isaac urges it off with a blunt ‘no.’

Stiles hovers just behind Isaac, as Isaac starts tracing the tricorder over Scott. He’s white as a sheet and scrubbing his hands back and forth over his buzzcut, and, through the pain, Scott can’t figure out if he's just sticking around because he needs to see for himself that Scott’s okay or also a little because he’s always been kind of weirdly obsessed with the fact that one of the best doctors on the ship is half-human and half-Romulan, and he wants to make sure Isaac doesn’t start torturing Scott or dissecting him or something.

Even though Isaac’s human traits outweigh his Romulan ones, it still doesn’t stop people from judging him like that. All they see are his tipped ears and the harsh brows, and the facial tattoos popularized over the years in what’s left of the Romulan community. Sometimes Scott even overhears people talking about how his temper must be Romulan, too, but Scott’s known some way more intense humans, so that one could go either way, really.

And besides, Isaac’s got enough sentimentality for a dozen humans, and he always has these moments of what Scott considers 'softness' that, Romulan or human, are him, more than anything.

“You should have waited for the stretcher,” Isaac bites at Stiles, not taking his attention off Scott.

Now isn’t one of those soft moments, though.

Hey, I—” Stiles starts out, really ballsy. But then he’s deflating at the sound of Scott grunting, when Isaac follows the tricorder with a tentative hand, feeling out the damage to his chest.

“Okay, I may have a bad idea or two from time to time?” Stiles offers, voice sort of cracking.

Isaac’s eyes slim, only that Scott can see.

“I thought I could get him here faster than they could come. And I'm pretty sure I did, so...”

Isaac turns on him, then. “At the risk of more serious damage to his body? There’s a reason stretchers are used. I ordered one sent the second I found out.”

Again, don’t think things through from time to time. Hi, have you met me? Stiles Stilinski.” Stiles holds his hand out for Isaac to shake, but Isaac only stares at it.

It's not really just human or just Romulan, him doing that, but it's strange, the way that Scott second-guesses stuff like that and gets this...kind of vibe that Isaac always becomes a little more Romulan when he's stressed. Or around Stiles.

“Fair enough. Uh…” Stiles takes his hand back with this intimidated look, swallowing hard, like for a second there he was afraid Isaac might've gone for the shake, only to rip his arm off instead. “We’re here now, and you and your tattoos can fix him up nice and new, okay? Speaking of which, those things will never not be—” he grimaces, making a weird motion toward his own face. “I mean, you know, a doctor with tattoos is just…”

Isaac doesn’t even bother saying anything to that. His lip just curls up at him, probably vicious head-on, but Scott can only see it from the side.

“Guys,” he wheezes. “Dying here.”

Isaac snaps back to him fast and foregoes the rest of the tricorder scan, trying instead to slide Scott’s shirt up and get a better look at the wound, with his own eyes. It sticks to where the blood’s dried, though, and Scott seethes out a few hard breaths through his teeth, even as Isaac cups a warm, reassuring hand around the back of his neck.

“You know, what?” Stiles takes a huge step back, eyes rolling up toward the ceiling to just completely avoid the scene altogether – Isaac especially, probably, considering... “I just had the greatest idea. It involves me not being here. In fact, it involves me going to make sure Lydia got to her room okay, all the way on the other end of the ship. I think I’ll put it into practice. All the way on the other end of the ship.”

“Good,” Isaac says. Then, to Scott, in a gentler voice, “I have to cut your shirt off to see.”

Scott nods, frantic for whatever Isaac has to do to stop the pain. He’d cut it off himself, if he wasn’t afraid he’d black out and end up cutting something else off, instead.

“Okay, so it looks like you can handle the situation from here…” Stiles says, to no one, really. At least, Scott hopes he’s not looking for a conversation or confidence boost, right now? It’s definitely not the time.

Stiles ends up hanging around for another long minute, until Isaac has most of Scott’s shirt snipped away from the wound in small, patient pieces. After that, it’s not two seconds before he gets an eyeful, makes this terrible gagging sound and stumbles out of the med bay.

Scott can’t blame him. He hates being here, too, with all the weird smells and the feeling of impending death and how many bad memories get trapped in this place, with nowhere else to go. It’s kind of really shitty, how much he hates it, considering how often he winds up laid out on a cot anyway, on the wrong side of a tricorder.

It’s also really shitty that the person he’s been way into, the past few months, practically lives here, even on his off-hours. There’s not much opportunity to see him, sometimes, unless Scott's getting hurt — which is probably a bad silver lining, but at least it still is one?

Isaac pauses a second to urge Scott to lie back on the cot. Then he’s giving him this long, silent, parental look, if just to ask Scott how he got to be friends with Stiles in the first place or maybe to reprimand him for landing himself here again, so soon after the last time.

But he doesn’t say anything. And in the bizarre quiet of the bay, that’s way too loud.

Scott wraps his fingers tight in the shoulder of Isaac’s shirt, for something else to focus his desperation on than the rib sticking up through his skin. “I thought you’d have been waiting at the transporter pad?”

“I would’ve been, but,” Isaac smirks a little, bitterly, turning to try and grab the cleansing ray off the instrument tray, without disturbing Scott’s hand on him. But it’s just out of reach, even with those long fingers of his, and he has to untangle Scott from his sleeve with a shallow frown. “But I didn’t want anyone getting ideas. For your reputation…”

“What reputation? I don’t think they would’ve, anyway…? I’m hurt, you’re a doctor? Stiles still just thinks you hate him because you’re jealous he hangs out with Lydia.”

Isaac scowls. “Everyone isn’t Stiles… And I’m—not jealous of him.”

“Are you sure?” Scott doesn’t have to force his grin at that, despite Isaac pressing the ray against his wounds to start disintegrating away the blood and what shreds of the shirt didn't come off easily, in that light, pinching tingle he hasn’t ever quite gotten used to…even with the cool glide of disinfectant after it. Here he is with a rib basically sticking out of his chest, but somehow something much smaller makes him want to crawl out of his skin or abandon ship or something.

His hand finds its own way into Isaac’s shirt again, and he focuses harder on his smile, blinking back the sting in his eyes. “Are you? Because I—I kind of liked it?”

Isaac cocks a brow, but keeps his attention to the task at hand. “That so?”

“Yeah. It is.”

“I’ll have to remember that for later…” he mumbles so casually, Scott isn’t sure he even really heard what he said. But then Isaac licks this sharp leer onto his face, eyes still cast down.

Scott can’t help perking up at that, much to the resentment of his body. It's nice to know that even here, in these circumstances, he could get it up if he really wanted to. It's not like he hasn't thought about it, anyway, having sex down here. Mostly when Isaac's pulling double shifts or buried in lab results.

“Take it easy.” Isaac huffs a laugh, so close it skates over Scott’s skin, pricking up goosebumps. And Scott expects him to follow that up with something else equally teasing or promising or fun, especially in light of what he's just been through, but— “Under the blood and shirt, it doesn’t look too bad? I’ll set the rib and put you in the regenerator, but I want to take an ostreographic series to make sure there’s no other damage. Barring...any unforeseen results, you’ll have to take it slow for the next few days, but that’s it. Do you think you can do at least that little?”

No. Dude, no. Medical jargon. Obligations to rest. He seriously needs to stop getting hurt, or Isaac’ll never say anything else to him ever again.

“Do you?”

Scott nods, but it only takes a second under Isaac’s skeptical eyes for it to turn into a resigned shake, instead.

Isaac mimics him, shaking his head too.

“I could've guessed as much. Thanks for saving me the trouble of not believing you, though. Maybe I’ll just have to…” He purses his lips, considering his options for a minute, even though the brightness in his eyes gives away that he already knows exactly what he’s going to have to do. “I’ll just have to watch you like a true, full-blooded Romulan would. Won’t I?”

For some reason, that makes Scott’s cheeks burn and his stomach flip, his heart pound both quicker and harder than it had right before his rib snapped. And the look on Isaac's face doesn't calm any of it down, either.

It really never does

“Promise?” Scott asks

Isaac's smirk speaks for itself.