After Spock leaves with a goodbye and a wish for his continued wellness, Jim turns in his bio bed to look at Bones. The doctor is standing off to the side, copying down readings from Jim’s charts into his PADD. Jim knows that it’s just busy work, knows that it’s an excuse not to look at him. He studies the rigid line of Bones’ shoulders and decides to break the silence.
“Bones,” he says gently.
“As far as your readings go, it looks like you’re going to be back to annoying the hell out of me far sooner than I hoped,” Bones says over him. His voice is tight and he’s speaking fast and louder than usual.
“Bones…”Jim says again, voice calm and quiet and filled with a request.
Bones’ shoulders tense even more, Jim hears him suck in a breath as he finally turns to look at him. Jim can see his chest heaving, can see his neck muscles flexing with the urge to hold back.
“I know you and Uhura helped, Bones,” he tilts his head to the side, unable to hide the look of affection that he knows is plastered across his face. “But I know how you react and I just didn’t want you losing face in front of the ‘Green-blooded hobgoblin’,” he says, voice a terrible mockery of Bones’ drawl.
Bones lets out a laugh that’s more of a sob than anything and sits down on the side of Jim’s bed, falling against his chest like a marionette whose strings had been cut.
Jim presses the control on the side of the bed and the room’s privacy glass darkens. He buries his hands into Bones’ hair and holds him tight, whispering soothing noises until the quiet tremors running through the doctor’s body come to a halt.
“Promise me you’ll never do that again,” Bones murmurs after he gets his voice back, it sounds as broken as Jim still feels.
Jim can feel the heat of breath against his neck as Bones begins kissing him. He nearly acquiesces with the request, but he can’t bring himself to. “You know I can’t, Bones,” he sighs, laying kisses of his own along Bones’ jaw line. “But I’ve got you to patch me up. Don’t I?” Jim presses a long kiss against his temple and holds him tighter. “My Bones…”