On the bottom bunk, Bones can just see movement from above. The shadows disturbed by a leg carefully lowered down the side of the top bed.
“Nope.” Bones mutters, throwing an arm over his face. “Too early.”
Jim’s voice is raspy with brushed off sleep, that leg still dangling over the edge. “How’d you know?”
Bones snorts in response. “Just come here.”
He scoots over just a bit, pressed up against the cabin wall. The bunk smells like fabric softener and rain. A wet breeze stirs the short hairs on the back of his neck as Jim hops down and slides in next to him, a wince held tight on his face.
“What I miss?” Bones asks.
“Nothing.” Jim’s too quick to respond. Jim who comes and tells Bones of every paper cut, stubbed toe and headache but once, after an away mission that put their youngest ensign in a coma, hid a scrape on his side for a week until Chapel caught him popping pain killers like candy in the medbay supply room when he ran out of his own allotment, eyes feverish from infection.
“Bullshit.” Bones reaches out and runs a hand down Jim’s arm, brow furrowing in the dark at the grey tee just damp with sweat.
“Bones, seriously, I’m fine.” Jim coughs into his shoulder and eases down into the bed. “I’m sorry for waking you up.”
Bones won’t lose his grip on Jim’s sleeve. “No, you’re not. Where were you going?”
“For a walk.”
“At 3 in the morning?”
“It’s 4.” Jim yawns.
“Can we just go to sleep?”
Bones sits up, careful to duck his head so as not to hit the bunk above. “Get up.”
Jim sighs. “Come on.”
“Get your ass up, you infant, or I will drag you myself.”
Jim’s still for a second and Bones can see him deliberating. He knows how this ends. Bones has been manhandling him into doctor’s appointments since the Academy and he knows his husband well enough to tell when something needs extra care and attention.
Finally, slowly, Jim sits up, head just touching the planks of the bunk above. He works his out of the bed with some difficulty and Bones eyebrows draw together so tightly he can feel a headache forming.
Finally, Bones eases out of the bed and turns on the electric lights. Their rustic getaway seems foolish now, the dreams of a couple who can afford a low-tech vacation. But Bones wishes for a transporter pad and easy access to his medbay.
Jim shifts uneasily from his seat on the worn chair in the cabin’s main room.
“I don’t know.”
Bones stares at him, unblinking for what feels like minutes rather than second until Jim looks away, toward the shadowy kitchen area and deck of the cabin.
“I don’t.” Jim frowns, his facial expression mirroring what must be on Bones face. “I just haven’t felt right since…since Aurora.”
Aurora. The impetus for this vacation. When Bones and his med team were taken hostage for three days and Jim gave himself up to pirates so that the injured security officer and young nurse could leave.
Bones was furious. He was furious at Jim for not thinking of a plan to get them all out, furious that the pirates hadn’t had access to medical supplies and had taken them in the first place, furious that Jim would sacrifice himself again and again. How many times do we have to do this? How many times do I think I’ll see you for the last time? Bones had screamed at him in their quarters, hands shaking, legs weak, dehydrated and sick. Jim had slunk off and worked three shifts straight while M’Benga forced Bones to rest in their quarters. It was Spock who had bodily forced Jim back home, who had stood between them and without words basically forced them to get their shit together.
They’d collapsed together without a word, sleeping for a whole day as the ship whirled around them. The idea of the cabin sprung to Bones in a moment of half-sleep, Jim curled into him, the lights at 30%, a feeling of contentment hard earned settling over his thoughts.
And so here they were, a week and a half past Aurora and the ordeal diluted from their conversations like blood in water.
“What is it?” Bones asks finally.
“That’s the thing. There’s nothing. No scrape, cut, bruise. I’m…I’m fine.” Jim rubs his palms into his eyes as if he can clear his vision and find the answer. “I just hurt.”
Bones takes out his tri-corder and slowly, with gentle ministrations, combs over every inch of his husband’s body.
He rocks back on his heels, his knees popping as he stands. “Nothing.”
“I told you.”
“Nothing physical. Jim…”
“We need to talk about Aurora.”
“No we don’t. You said your peace. I get it, Bones but I can’t stop doing my job.”
“You have a crew to worry about Jim. That’s your job. You can’t just up and sacrifice yourself any time you feel like it. Even if–.”
“Even if it’s for you?”
Bones blows out his breath. “Yes.”
Jim stand up, wince on full display and gets close to Bones. “And you wouldn’t do the same thing? You have done the same thing! You played God, you said it yourself. You brought me back, you risked your life, your job, hell, your soul. And I’m not allowed to do the same?”
“I need you more than you need me. I need you alive. I can’t. I can’t go through that again.”
“Well, fuck you Leonard McCoy because I can’t lose you either. You selfish asshole.”
“Me? Selfish? You, who threw yourself in front of that blast last month not thinking that a whole ship full of people need you, look up to you.”
“And if you weren’t there to put everyone back together, to make sure they’re safe, what would happen to the ship then?”
Jim deflates before Bones can respond, forehead resting on Bones chest in near supplication. “I’m sorry.”
Bones laughs or chokes on a sob. The sounds are the same that early in the morning. “Me too, darlin’.”
“Let’s just agree that we can’t lose each other okay?”
“We’re both selfish assholes.”
“I love you more, though.”
Bones lifts Jim’s head and kisses him gently. “No you don’t.”
The groan turns into something sweet as the kiss deepens and they move slowly back to the bedroom, eschewing sleep for something else entirely.