Notes: Everyone has to write obligatory stuck-on-the-surface-during-an-away-mission-h/c... This is mine.


"Well," said Bones as they stood shivering inside the mouth of the cave, drenched from the pouring rain. "That went well."

"If you are applying sarcasm to our situation, Doctor," Spock replied flatly, "then I ask you to kindly desist — it is most unhelpful."

"And I suppose you standing there and sniping at me is?" Bones muttered to himself, running his arms up and down his sleeves in an effort to keep warm. "This mission has been just one bloody disaster after another."

"Indeed," Spock agreed, scanning the perimeter of the cave with his tricorder. "This structure appears to be solid. We should be safe here for the night."
"Wonderful," Bones said drily. "Provided, of course, the natives don't find us."

"The rain will have likely washed away any traces of our passage. If we are fortunate, they will not find us before we are able to re-establish communications with the Enterprise and beam back up to the ship. Until then, I suggest we keep watch."

"Best idea I've heard all day," Bones said, stretching his arms up over his head. "I'll take first watch. You get some rest, Mr. Spock. But before you do, I'd like to have another look at that leg of yours."

"I assure you, it is healing adequately. Due, no doubt, to your competent skills as a healer."

"Now, now, Mr. Spock," Bones said, opening his medical tricorder. "Flattery will get you nowhere."

"You misunderstand," Spock said, subtly shifting his body away from the medical scanner. For someone remote and detached, he seemed to have a strange dislike of medical procedures. "I did not mean to flatter."

Bones blinked. "Only you, Mr. Spock, can make something that is usually a compliment sound like an insult."

"And only you, Doctor, can make a remark that is clearly intended to be an insult seem like a compliment," Spock replied. "It is a strange turn of events that the natives responded the way they did to your presence."

"Now hold on just a damn minute," Bones said, lowering his scanner. "That was not my fault. I had no idea that I looked exactly like the evil deity from their local pantheon."

"No," Spock replied. "I am merely remarking that it is a strange turn of events. You have, after all, remarked on several occasions that my appearance looks similar to your 'Devil'. I believe the proper phrase for this situation is: 'what goes around, comes around'."

"Well you do look damn demonic with those ears and those eyebrows, Spock," Bones replied. "And it's hardly my fault that the people on this planet have no appreciation for beauty."

"On the contrary, Doctor, I found their architectural style and design motifs to be most harmonious."

"Spock?"

"Yes, Doctor?"

Bones gave Spock a final poke with his medical scanner in the leg once just for good measure. "Shut up."

For a brief moment, Bones could have sworn that he saw the smallest flicker of pain on Spock's face, and he sighed. "Your leg still needs work, but I haven't got the proper tools to do anything about it now. I want you to stay off it as much as possible while we're here, though. And get some rest."

"Yes, Doctor."

Bones wasn't an expert in Vulcan physiology by any means, but he knew a fever when he saw one, and Spock definitely had one.

"Damn," he said aloud, over the raging wind of the unabating storm. Spock shivered.

"Damn," he said again.

There was really only one thing for it. He had nothing in the way of medical equipment, short of a tricorder and a scanner, and he'd already given Spock an antibacterial treatment on the wound. He scanned it again, both visually and technologically, and was relieved to see that it hadn't begun to fester. That much was good — it just meant that Spock had picked up some kind of illness while on the surface. It appeared to be a respiratory infection of some kind, however none of the treatments he had with him had worked.

Spock was still shivering.

So, really, the only thing left to do was to keep him warm, and wait for the fever to break, or the Enterprise to find them — whichever came first. It also meant cuddling up to Spock.

"You had better stay unconscious you pointy-eared bastard, or I will make your next routine check-up a living hell," he muttered aloud as he lay down beside the shivering Vulcan and wrapped his arms around his thin frame, drawing him close to his side to transfer as much body head as possible. Spock shivered again, shaking violently against Bones' side.

"You just had to go and get sick, didn't you?" Bones muttered. "You're hopeless, you know that? I've met dogs who take better care of themselves than you do."
He tried very hard not to think about the fact that Spock had been injured while protecting him, and then fallen ill while running from a group of rabid natives who were chasing him. He found it hard to dwell on the evidence of Spock's friendship and loyalty to him, finding it far too irreconcilable with the starch, toneless vision he had of Spock. And he tried very, very hard not to think about the touching. Ever.

Yet, somewhat of their own accord, his arms drew the Vulcan closer as Spock shivered violently, his body wracked with fever. Bones grit his teeth, and gently stroked Spock's hair, splaying out his fingers and then drawing them in, like scratching the belly of a cat — the same way Spock had the last time they'd been stuck in a cave together.

It was entirely inexplicable, and medically unsound, but it worked — Spock stilled, and the chills stopped. And slowly, as Bones, exhausted, dropped off to sleep, the rain stopped as well.

"So," Jim said, grinning widely in a way that made Bones feel distinctly uncomfortable. "Have a good time on Telos III?"

Bones eyed him wearily as he sat down at his desk. "No."

Jim's grin, if possible, grew even wider. "That's not what I heard."

Bones' eyes narrowed suspiciously. "What did you hear?"

"Oh, that the natives didn't like you very much," Jim said.

"And that gave you the impression that I had a good time?" Bones grumbled in reply, arching an eyebrow.

"There's no need to lie to me, Bones," Jim replied. "I know you're happiest when you've got a reason to grouch at people." He sat down across from Bones and put his feet up on the desk. "I think calling you the devil was a little harsh, however."

Bones snorted, and gestured for Jim to take his feet of the desk. Jim ignored him. "But that's not all I heard — rumour has it that you took the opportunity to get to know Spock a little bit better on this mission…"

Bones snarled, silently coming up with ways to "accidentally" murder Mr. Scott. He'd know this would never keep quiet, based on the look of glee on the Scotsman's face when he'd beamed Spock and him up, still wrapped around each other.

"Sleeping like babies, I heard. All cuddled up," Jim said, gleefully.

"I am going to murder your engineer, and then I am going to kill you and stuff you both out an airlock," Bones said.

"That's mutiny."

"I don't care. My career is over anyway."

"Don't be so melodramatic. Besides, I heard Sulu and Chekov are getting you a very nice wedding gift."

Bones let out a noise that sounded eerily like a howl of rage.

"Seriously, though, Bones," Jim said, sounding rather like he was suppressing an urge to laugh. "I'm glad the two of you are putting aside your differences so well."

"Oh, shut up and get out," Bones said. "Let me die in peace."

Jim flashed a grin. "I'll leave you to it, then," he said. "Oh, and Bones…"

"Mmm?"

Jim reached out, still grinning maniacally, and gave a quick scratch to the top of Bones' head.

"Oh, get off!" Bones shouted. "I don't put up with that from him and I certainly won't from you. I am not a dog!"

"Whatever you say, Bones," Jim shouted behind him as he strolled happily out of sickbay.