Leonard’s hands were shaking where they pressed against Jim’s side.
“How the fuck does this even happen?”
Jim knew how it happened. It happened because when they were put in dry dock last month for maintenance, a corrupt line of code had been accidentally downloaded into the ship’s main computer. Scotty normally went over every bit of maintenance done on the ship two or three times, because he didn’t trust any engineer who wasn’t part of his team. Except Scotty had been confined to quarters with a particularly vicious bout of Ankaran flu, and the bit of corrupt code had slipped through unnoticed. The Enterprise had turned on them now, three weeks later.
“Shut up, Bones,” he hissed. He pushed Leonard’s hands away and applied pressure to the wound with his own hands. Somehow, that made the pain slightly more tolerable.
“Well, what the fuck are we supposed to do now?”
Leonard was worried. Fucking out-of-his-mind worried. He only ever swore like that when he was truly and utterly out of his depth. Sure, he was fond of telling Jim that he was out of his corn-fed mind or calling Spock a green-blooded hobgoblin, but that wasn’t the same as swearing up, down, left, and right about their whole god-forsaken situation. Which was what Leonard had been doing for the past twelve hours.
It wasn’t going to get them anywhere.
“You need to focus,” Jim said.
“Focus?” Leonard sputtered. “Focus - what the hell am I supposed to focus on? Besides the fact that you’re bleeding in six different places and you’ve broken your leg and you’ve got a concussion and don’t you fucking fall asleep on me, Jim!”
Jim dragged his eyes open and met Leonard’s blazing gaze. Leonard had beautiful eyes, he thought absently.
“Just resting for a moment, Len,” he said softly.
Leonard pinched his thigh, hard, and suddenly Jim was alert again. “Don’t even fucking think about it. I can’t let you fall asleep until we know how bad that concussion is. I swear to God, if you fall asleep and don’t wake up and leave me to face this goddamn void on my own -”
Leonard broke off, breathing heavily. Jim rested his free hand on Leonard’s knee. The emergency lights did little to illuminate the room. Leonard’s face was mostly obscured by shadows, except for his overbright eyes. He could do little to assess Jim’s injuries in the dim light and even less to treat him. They were trapped here, without supplies or a means of escape. Leonard had crudely set the broken leg and bandaged Jim’s wounds with what clean linens he could scrape together, but that was the extent of it.
The most they could do was hope there was someone on this ship in better shape than they were. Before internal communications shut down entirely, they had been in contact with a handful of people in engineering who could tell them what the problem was, though they could do little else to help, being trapped in engineering themselves. Jim had lost track of how many explosions had rocked Enterprise when the corrupt code manifested itself and tore through the ship’s systems. He had been unconscious for part of it. Leonard had stopped counting after fourteen separate blasts.
An abrupt wave of pain stole the breath from Jim’s chest. He dug his fingers into Leonard’s knee. Leonard took his hand in both of his own and grasped it.
“Breathe, Jim,” he said. “Breathe. It’ll pass.”
Jim couldn’t imagine how frustrating this must be for Leonard, to be faced with a patient he couldn’t treat. To be trapped here at all in the first place, when he could have been safely in his own cabin.
“Sorry, Len,” he whispered.
Leonard’s eyes flashed. “What the hell are you sorry about?”
“Wouldn’t be here right now if I hadn’t -” He stopped abruptly, breathing through another stab of pain. When he could continue, he said, “If I hadn’t wanted you in my bed last night.”
Leonard gave a wan smile. Or Jim thought he had, at least. It was difficult to tell in the dim light.
“Wouldn’t want to be anywhere right now but here, Jim,” he said gently. “I’m with you, okay? Always. Even if it means getting my ass blown up along with you.”
Jim snorted, and then hissed. He privately thought that Leonard should probably add a cracked rib or two to his list of Jim’s injuries, but didn’t want to mention it. There wasn’t anything Leonard could do about it.
He shifted uncomfortably on the hard floor. Leonard, concerned, cupped his cheek and met his gaze, searching for some kind of reassurance. Jim shook his head.
“M’fine, Bones,” he said softly. “Ass was fallin’ asleep.”
What he really wanted was those arms to hold him; to rest his head on Leonard’s chest and drift off. God, he was so fucking tired.
“I know you are, darlin’,” Leonard said sadly, and it was only then that Jim realized he’d said that last part out loud. “Help will be here soon. Just hang in there for me a little big longer.”
Jim nodded. He could do that for Leonard.
“Remember how you wanted to go on shore leave while we were in dry dock?” he asked.
“Yeah, and you told me in no uncertain terms that you weren’t leaving your ship in the hands of strangers so you could go tan your ass on some alien beach?” Leonard said dryly.
Jim felt a stab of guilt. “Might have been too hasty in my decision.”
“Yeah?” Leonard sounded almost amused. “You reconsidering your life choices because you’re bleeding out on the floor of your cabin?”
“Basically,” Jim said. “Can I have a do-over?”
“We survive this mess, you can have as many do-overs as you like,” Leonard said.
Jim sighed and closed his eyes. “Love you, Bones.”
“Yeah, I know,” Leonard said. He pushed Jim’s hands out of the way and inspected the wound in his side. “Just stay awake for me, Jim, you hear?”
“Anything for you, beautiful.”
Leonard rolled his eyes. Jim couldn’t see it, but he could certainly feel it. “Oh, he’s being charming now. Yeah, you’re gonna live.”
It was a weak joke, but Jim took it anyway.
“ ‘Course I’m gonna live. Who else will retire to Georgia with you and live out the rest of his days on a farm in the middle of nowhere?”
“I dunno,” Leonard said lightly. “Scotty’s got some new engineers I’ve had my eye on -”
“Hey,” Jim protested weakly. He coughed, and then gasped at the pain. Leonard gripped his shoulder, instantly concerned.
“Only kidding, Jim. No need to cough up a lung on my account. You’re the only one for me.”
“Yeah, same here, Bones.” Jim closed his eyes for a moment. Then, remembering that he couldn’t do that, he forced them open again. “No one else but you.”
He felt Leonard brush a kiss across his brow. “Just a little while longer, Jim.”
“Okay.” Jim found Leonard’s hand and squeezed it. “A little while longer.”