Jim was getting better and there was no way to deny that and Leonard knew that he couldn't keep Jim here any longer. When the day came for the younger man to be released, Leonard walked into the room and was greeted by a half naked and smiling Jim. "Ready to get out of here?"

"As soon as I find the shirt they brought me," he said looking through the rumpled blankets until he found the t-shirt. Jim slipped it on and flashed Leonard another smile. "'kay, now I'm ready."

Leonard led him out of the hospital, his eyes flickering to him every few steps. "Need a ride somewhere?"

Jim eyed him before nodding. "Sure."

They got into the car and Jim gave Leonard the address. As they drove he could feel Jim watching him and he could feel something constrict in his chest. "What?"

He shrugged, "You tell me, Bones. You're the one that wants to ask me something."

The Doctor frowned, "What if I do?"

"Man up and ask it." Jim just laughed when Leonard scrunched his face up and mimicked him. "Seriously, what's up?"

Leonard gripped the steering wheel tighter and bit his lip. "Well, you said you do odd jobs to make money."


"I have some stuff at the house that would probably keep you busy for a while. How are you with power tools?"




Leonard nodded. "You can start this weekend."

Jim smiled and nodded. "Just give me a time and place."

"I'll pick you up at eight. That work?"

"Sure. Oh, pull up right here." Jim undid the seat belt and climbed out. "Thanks, Bones. I'll see you Saturday." Leonard watched Jim walk in the building before taking off and heading home.

He drove the quiet country roads, his mind going over his day. Automatically, he turned onto his drive and followed the rows of trees until he parked in front of the house. Leonard walked in and just dropped his stuff inside the door. Jocelyn gave him a questioning look, but he just waved her off and walked upstairs to see his dad. "Hey, pops."

David smiled tiredly and looked at his son. He could see the lines around his eyes and the nervous way he was worrying his lip. "How was work?"

"Can't complain; got a lot done in the lab today. Things are looking good with this set of tests. I'll have the readouts next week and run a couple more trials. If everything is safe we can give it a shot."

"What else is on your mind?" Leonard frowned at him and David rolled his eyes. "Don't give me that look. I can see something else is going on."

Leonard sighed and leaned back, his fingers running through his hair and his palms dug into his eyes. "You always could read me like a book. Jim got released today. I dropped him off at a place down town. I mean, the place looks like it's going to fall down on top of him. I don't even want to imagine what the inside of it looks like."

"Well, he's young and on his own. He probably doesn't make good money, especially if all he does are odd jobs."

Leonard nodded and leaned back in his chair. "I offered him some work here. Ever since Joe left for Star Fleet we haven't found anyone to take over, plus he says that he can do a little bit of everything."

His father raised his eyebrow and for once Leonard saw why other found the expression annoying. "Is that why you offered him work?" When Leonard coughed and blushed David smirked. "He's almost legal."

"He's a kid!"

David rolled his eyes, the movement looking awkward coming from a man of his age. "He's young. Don't give me that look, you're barely seven years older and from what you've told me he's less of a kid then someone your age. We can't compare him to you because you've been an old man since you were nine."

Leonard growled at his father. "He's still immature."

"Which is something you need, but can you blame him? We know he's been abused, been on his own for a while, and since a chunk of his file is missing something big obviously happened. Maybe he just needs to be a kid sometimes."

Leonard nodded and helped his dad drink some water. "Either way, I just don't see something happening between us."

David let out a sigh and laid back. "You never know, son."

"Get some rest, pops," he said and gave his father his hypo. Leonard watched his dad sleep for a few minutes before he went downstairs and looked over some recent results and made notes on them.

When Saturday rolled around Leonard was thankful; instead of picturing Jim's blue eyes he would be seeing them. He drove to the building where he had dropped Jim off and saw him leaning against the side. His mouth went dry when he saw the younger boy, man, in worn out jeans and a t-shirt that had seen better days. He cleared his throat before opening the door. "Let's go."

Jim smiled a carefree smile. "Can't wait to get me home, Bones?"

The Doctor felt himself blush but he rolled his eyes and took off once Jim was fastened in. He took in the younger man's appearance and saw that he looked tired and a little haggard. "Rough week?"

His smile went from bright to tired and guarded. "A little."

"What happened?"


Leonard asked more questions but Jim deflected them easily. By the time they got to the McCoy farm, Leonard was laughing at the things Jim was saying instead of worrying about what was going on. Jim looked over the place and his eyes got wide. "This place is great."

"Been in the family for years."

"I lived on a farm in Iowa and…" he trailed off and shook his head before continuing. "I loved it. Want one when I'm older."

"It's a lot of work."

Jim shrugged. "I don't mind. It keeps me busy and lets me think, ya know?" Leonard nodded and smiled as they both got out of the car. "What do you want me to start with?"

"Let me show you the barn; once that gets cleared out you'll actually be able to get to everything. Our old guy used to bring his own stuff so all of ours is run down and a lot of stuff has just been stuffed in there over the years."

"What happened to him?"

"He went and joined Star Fleet."

Jim nodded and Leonard led him through the yard and to the back. "Like I said, everything is in here, just needs to be cleaned out. If it looks like trash it is so go ahead and get rid of it. I'll have someone come to clear the trash out once you've finished."

"You weren't kidding about this place, were you?"

"Like I said, nothing's been done with it for a while."

"No shit," Jim said looking at all the things that were piled up. The paint was faded and everything was covered with various amounts of dirt and mud. "What time do you want me out of here tonight?"

"Not too late, can't over work you," Leonard said smiling. "There's a trash can in the corner…somewhere."

"I think I'll need more than a trash can." He watched Leonard before nodding. "All right, Bones…see you if I make it out alive."