McCoy sighed, walking to the turbolift. He called it and pushed the button for the bridge, watching the doors close. He had yet to catch Jim for his quarterly checkup and he knew that he was going to have to corner him on the bridge.
The lift opened and he walked onto the bridge, making eye contact with Spock who subtly got up and stood in front of the door. Leonard walked up behind the captain’s chair and laid a hand on Jim's shoulder. “I need you in sickbay, Jim,” he said, and Jim turned to glare at him, tensing up when he saw Spock blocking the doorway. Realizing that there wasn't any way for him to escape without causing a scene, he slowly stood up and Bones shifted his hand to firmly grip Jim’s upper arm before half-dragging him into the turbolift.
“Why'd you have to pull me off the bridge, you asshole!” exclaimed Jim, exasperated and anxious.
“Why won't you just show up for your damn appointments?” countered Bones, still holding tightly to Jim's arm.
The doors opened and Bones walked Jim to sickbay before dragging him into a private room. Bones pushed him onto the bed, forcing him to sit. Leonard looked at Jim, internally sighing. He was tensed and his guard was up. To be honest, he looked more like he was about to go fight an army of Klingons than like he was sitting in sickbay.
“Fucking relax Jim, we do this 4 times a year. You know I'm not going to attack you with stuff,” said Bones sharply, making Jim jump, startled.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, barely relaxing at all despite the apology. Bones set a hand on his shoulder, crouching down and looking him in the eye.
“No, no. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled,” he said softly, “You have nothing to apologize for.” He moved his other hand to cup Jim's face, gently rubbing his cheek with his thumb. Jim's beautiful blue eyes looked up into his, and he was saddened by the fear that shone in them, but also delighted by the implicit trust.
“You think you're alright to start?” asked Bones gently. Jim slowly nodded his head, and Bones smiled at him. “Alright, I'm just going to go to the other side of the room to grab my tricorder and the other stuff for later,” he said, standing up.
He grabbed all of his stuff, setting most of it on the table next to the bed before sitting next to Jim. He ran a hand through Jim's hair as he scanned him with the tricorder. He moved his arm to loop around Jim's shoulders, looking at the readings. He could tell that Jim was reading them as well and he tilted it so that Jim could see it better, purposefully not mentioning it.
“The readings are all great. Your heartbeat’s a bit on the fast side, but it's fine,” he said. He reached over to the little table, setting down the tricorder and grabbing a small bag that he set down next to him on the bed before moving so that he was facing Jim.
“I know you hate this shit, but I really need to do a blood draw and give you a few hyposprays,” said Bones, adding, “I promise I won't do anything without your okay,” when he saw Jim begin to panic.
When he didn't stop, he reached forwards and palmed his neck, pulling him into a hug. “Breathe, Jim. I know you're scared, but you still have to breathe . I'm sorry I cornered you earlier, I wish I hadn’t had to do that. I know it couldn't have helped. That’s it, just breathe, in and out, you're in control,” murmured Bones, rubbing Jim's back.
“I'm so damn stupid,” mumbled Jim, wrapping his arms around Bones.
“No you aren't. Trauma’s a bitch, Jim, and you can't control your phobias. You're already doing so much better than when we met. You tell me when you're hurt, you let me help you, and don't try to completely hide your emotions from me anymore. You're doing great, darlin’,” he said gently. They sat there for a while, Bones holding Jim, before Bones asked, “You think you're ready to try?”
“I'll try, I guess,” murmured Jim, “Can we do the blood draw first, please?”
“Sure,” said Bones, gently unwrapping his arms from Jim, who pulled back just enough to sit up. Bones grabbed his left arm and pulled it into his lap before grabbing the things that he needed out of his bag and putting them on the bed next to him.
“How do you want me to do this?” asked Bones, like every time, just in case the answer changed.
“Just- just tell me before you do it,” whispered Jim, same as always.
“I will,” assured Bones. He wrapped his left arm around Jim's shoulders, gently pulling the man so that his forehead was resting on Bones’ left shoulder. He ran his fingers through Jim's hair a few times before moving his hand back in front of him. Bones quickly tied a tourniquet around Jim's upper arm and cleaned his inner elbow, resulting in a shiver from Jim.
“D'ya want to watch me or close your eyes?” asked Bones softly.
“I'd rather keep my eyes closed. Tell me what you're doing though, please?” he asked.
“I can do that,” Bones confirmed. “Alright, then. Are your eyes closed?”
“I'm going to start. I'll count to three and then I'll do it, okay?”
At Jim's nod, he grabbed the needle and used his other hand to hold his arm steady.
“On three. One, two, three.” On three he slid the needle into Jim's arm, removing the tourniquet shortly after.
“Good, perfect,” murmured Bones, “You’re doin’ great, darlin’.”
He noticed that Jim’s right hand had clenched shut, digging his nails into his palm. He grabbed it with his left hand and opened it before guiding it to his shirt, allowing Jim to hold onto the fabric.
“There ‘ya go,” soothed Bones, rubbing his free hand along Jim’s arm a few times. When he let go, he reached into his bag and grabbed a cotton ball.
“I can take this out now, Jim,” said Bones, “Nod your head when you’re ready.”
A couple of seconds later he felt Jim’s head nod jerkily against his shoulder. He put the cotton ball over the needle, shushing Jim when he flinched, and carefully pulled it out. He quickly put a bandaid on top of the cotton ball.
Bones wrapped his arms around Jim and pulled him over so that he was practically in his lap, his head resting on his chest.
“That’s done, Jim. You did perfect,” reassured Bones, holding the other man tightly against him and gently running his fingers through his hair. He continued to murmur reassurances, swaying slightly side to side until Jim was breathing normally again.
“D’ya feel alright? You’re not gonna pass out or anything?” asked Bones cautiously.
“I’m not gonna pass out, Bones,” mumbled Jim, “I feel mostly fine, I'm just still kinda internally panicking.”
“Hey,” said Bones softly, “You’re gonna be alright, I’m really good at my job.” He heard Jim gulp, and he followed up with, “I promise I’ll be gentle and I’ll go as slow as you need me to. Remember, you’re in control of this situation. I’m not gonna do anything without your permission first, Jim.”
“How many?” Jim asked shakily.
“You said a few, but not a number. How many are there?”
“Four,” Bones responded, tightening his hold on Jim as he spoke.
“ Fuck ,” Jim said faintly, firmly pressing his head into Bones’ chest.
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault.”
“Yeah, but I’m still sorry,” Bones muttered. “I have one in my bag, but I need to go get the others. Are you good to stay here or do you want to come with me?”
“Come with?” Jim softly questioned.
Bones shifted so that he was able to stand up, pulling Jim with him. As soon as they were both on their feet, he wrapped an arm around Jim and tucked him up against his body. He walked over to the cabinet and grabbed what he needed, gently rubbing Jim’s arm.
He then guided him back to the bed, sitting and pulling Jim down as well. He continued to hold him with one arm while he set things up with his other. Jim scooted closer and curled up against his chest, tucking his head under Bones’ chin.
“Bones I- I really- I don’t like this,” Jim stuttered, grabbing onto Bones’ shirt.
Bones, having finished what he was doing, set down his stuff and wrapped his other arm around Jim, holding him tightly.
“I know you don’t, kid,” Bones said with a sigh. “Do you want me to tell you when I’m doing it or surprise you?”
“You don’t have to tell me when, but please tell me where you’re gonna do it,” Jim shakily replied.
“You got it, Jim,” said Bones, letting go with one arm while simultaneously tightening his grip with the other. “Can I start?”
Jim gulped, squeezing his eyes shut before letting out a shaky “Yeah.”
“Okay,” he said, picking up the first one. He gently tapped the side of Jim's neck with his finger. “Right here.”
He quickly injected the vaccine into Jim’s neck, murmuring reassuring words, and then repeated the process for the second one.
Bones could feel Jim trembling and he stopped, setting the empty container down and wrapping his other arm around Jim. When he listened, he could hear the other man’s ragged breathing.
“Jim, are you okay?” Bones asked, already fairly certain of the answer.
Jim shook his head in jerky motions and Bones tightened his grip.
“Is there something wrong wrong or are you panicking?”
Jim trembled against him. “Panicking.”
Alright,” he said, running his fingers through Jim’s hair. “Do you need me to do anything specific?”
The younger man wrapped his arms around himself and tugged on Bones’ hands. He tightened his grip, pulling the other man all the way into his lap and tucking his head under his chin. The more he tightened his grip, the more Jim relaxed. He was glad that it was one of those days. It’s much easier to hold him than to not touch him at all.
He slowly swayed back and forth, mumbling words of encouragement into Jim's hair. Suddenly, Jim’s breath hitched and he tensed up again.
“Bones- can’t- air-” Jim gasped, twisting in his grip, his hands reaching for something to grab onto.
“It’s going to be okay, darlin’. I gotcha,” Bones said. He quickly moved so that he could push Jim’s shoulders until he laid down flat on the bed. “Tap me if I make it worse, Jim.”
With that, Bones laid down next to Jim before rolling on top of him. “I’m here, you’re safe. Nothing’s gonna happen, not right now. No surprises, I promise,” he murmured, “I’ve got you. It’ll be okay. I’ve gotcha.” He was on top of Jim, his entire body weight pressing down on him. He let their foreheads touch and held the younger man’s hands, hoping that this would start to help soon.
Jim tried to calm down, focusing on Bones’ voice, the weight of his body helping to ground him. He took a breath and opened his eyes to see Bones staring back at him.
“There ya go,” Bones whispered, “Just breathe. In and out. All that matters right now is breathing in and out.”
Once Jim had caught his breath, Bones began to move, only to be stopped by Jim.
“Okay,” said Bones, quickly returning to his previous position. “I’ve gotcha, darlin’. I’ll stay like this as long as you want me too.”
Jim closed his eyes, working on relaxing his muscles, the pressure helping him to stay calm. He slowly breathed in and out until he felt calm enough to at the very least have a rational conversation with Bones. He tapped the other man on the shoulder and he rolled off immediately, sitting both of them up and pulling Jim back into a tight hug.
“Thank you,” he mumbled.
“Anytime, Jim,” replied Bones.
Jim leaned into Bones’ chest and sighed, wishing that this wasn’t such a big deal to him.
“I just feel stupid.” Jim paused and Bones stayed quiet, waiting for him to continue. “It shouldn’t be such a big deal. I’m always fine after, pretty much nothing ever goes wrong, and you listen to the things I say. I just wish I could control this.”
“It’s not your fault, Jim,” Bones said with a sigh. “You don’t need to try to hide it.”
“I just hate that I hate it. I want to be able to just get it done, but I always have to come back anyway, and I guess I just wish that it was easier.”
“I know, Jim, but don't forget, you have every reason to. Honestly, I'd be worried about you if you weren't terrified of doctors after everything you've gone through,” Bones said, gently running his fingers through Jim's hair.
“I know. I just-” he cut himself off and took a deep breath. “Bones, can you? I just want to be done,” he whispered, his eyes closing.
“Yeah, Jim. Need anything first?” he asked.
“No, just… don't let go?”
Jim leaned further into the man, closing his eyes, not wanting to make himself panic by watching.
Bones quickly administered the last two hypos and disposed of them before he helped the other man stand up. He led him out of the sickbay, which was mostly empty. Luckily, it was late, so the halls were mostly empty and they made it to the captain's quarters without being interrupted.
Bones punched in his override code and managed to get the captain into bed.
“Don't-” Jim began, grabbing onto Bones' sleeve
“I'm not leaving, darlin’. Just going to the other side of the bed,” Bones reassured, detaching his hand and quickly doing just that.
He laid down on the bed next to Jim and wrapped his arms around him. Jim turned into him, trying to press closer until Bones tightened his grip. Jim hummed happily and relaxed, much to Bones' delight.
“Sleep, Jim. God knows you need it,” he said softly. “I'll still be here when you wake up.”
Jim's eyes drifted shut and his breaths slowly evened out, and Bones smiled softly.