This shift needs to end. This shift needs to end so that McCoy can slink off to his quarters and perhaps fall into some type of strong alcohol and pretend he doesn't exist. But there are still two hours left in this shift and obviously the universe can't pay him any favors by letting those two hours go faster.

When McCoy finally leaves sickbay, he's been on shift for three days with barely more than five hours sleep whenever he's lucky enough to catch a break. On top of his regular duties and in between stabbing Jim with hypos, there had been an outbreak of a particularly harrowing alien disease that he still hadn't gotten to the bottom of that had been kind enough to infect almost a third of the main crew. Just his luck; it prevented him from the one video-call he had managed to fit in with Joanna this week, only adding to the endless heap of crap the universe seemed content to throw at him.

He's in two-day old clothing and smelling like roadkill by the time he gets to his quarters, and he's no happier to discover that his sheets are still rumpled and his laundry still mockingly waiting by his chair to be dumped into the recycler. He doesn't have the patience to do much more than to pull off his clothes and thump his forehead against the shower wall as the spray finally works out the knots in his muscle. He groans; deep and miserable, because he's been on his feet for twelve hours straight, trying to make sense of the conundrum that lead to nasty boils and a high fever in everyone that got infected with whatever disease it is he's dealing with.

McCoy resolutely keeps his mind away from that. Everyone is fine, he's done what he can, and he's damn well going to get some peace of mind now that he's away from the bustle of the sickbay.

Except that when he steps out of the shower, he's stiff with tension and irritable. It figures that even when he gets downtime, his body won't let him relax. In an astounding display of disregard for formality, he slides into his sleep clothes as soon as he's half-dry and leaves his hair damp. Not an excellent choice for a doctor, but he hardly cares.

After he locks his door to keep people out from his self-imposed misery, he settles down in his chair with a bottle of saurian brandy and leans back with a sigh. Still jittery, and he feels on edge. There's a familiar churn in his stomach that won't leave him alone, and he begins to feel himself run hot and cold with adrenaline, pent-up and with nowhere to go.

At least it's quiet, he consoles himself.

A sudden cacophony of noise alerts him to the fact that nope, he can't have even something as small as that.

The door opens without ceremony or allowance. For all his exhaustion, he cracks open his eyes and just glares half-heartedly at Jim. "Have you ever heard of ringing the doorbell?" he mutters, disdainful and annoyed. It's not new that Jim overrides the lock or hacks it to be a showoff and a little shit, and McCoy is almost expecting it by this point.

"I'm the captain," Jim says easily. "I don't have to follow protocol." The door closes with a soft sound behind him, and McCoy barely even raises any protest when Jim grasps the bottle in his hand and pulls it away with the hint of a frown. It's not late, but McCoy is bleary-eyed and they haven't had shore leave for god knows how long, occupied as they've been. First a drawn-out mission, then the disease hit, and McCoy's life was a never-ending string of groaning patients and sleeplessness.

"Yeah, well," McCoy grunts, reaching out to curl his fingers around Jim's to reclaim the bottle. It's warmth against cold, McCoy's fingers chilled from the glass and Jim's still clinging to warmth. Jim lets it slide from his fingers with reluctance, and McCoy goes back to sipping stubbornly at the drink. He doesn't particularly want to get drunk, but it eases the itch in his skin to a tolerable buzz.

"What did I tell you about cutting yourself off from me?" Jim says, voice tinged with amusement that McCoy hears slide into affection. "I distinctly recall it being my job to cut myself off from the people who care about me. Bones, man, you're stealing my thunder."

Jim cards a hand through McCoy's hair with a sigh, like he's indulging him. McCoy tips his head back and closes his eyes with a soft hum.

They stay like that for a while, just breathing, until Jim draws back and settles himself on the side of McCoy's bed and McCoy opens his eyes again. Jim is still in uniform, but looks more put together than McCoy has felt in a long time. His fingers run over the rumpled sheets, smoothing them out with casual ease. McCoy sets down his drink and allows himself a sigh, rubbing his neck with a mutter.

Jim fixes McCoy with a stern look, one that McCoy is familiar with. He's usually the one reprimanding Jim to take care of himself and sleep enough and dammit Jim, don't eat that mushroom, but sometimes, Jim is the one who sets McCoy straight. "You could have talked to me," Jim says, low and focused. "Something's bothering you."

McCoy shoots him an annoyed look that wavers at the concern on Jim's face, unguarded and intense. "Couldn't come to you. You were busy. Official captain business and – all that."

He receives a rolling of eyes in response, and focuses on the way Jim is shifting, the sheets rustling as he repositions himself. "Well, I'm here now, forcibly, so what's eating at you, man?"

He shrugs, shivers in the cold. The point of his pulse jumps, and he rearranges his legs on the floor. Looks anywhere but at Jim. "It's nothing, infant. Forget about it. Haven't you heard of the concept of a bad day?"

Jim chuckles, low and short, eyes warm. "You don't have bad days, Bones. You have bad weeks that pile up on you and make you more inclined to stab me with hypos when I get in your way. I'm here now. I had to hack my way in because you felt it salient to use your medical override...but I'm here. So spill."

It's the oddest thing; sometimes, hearing Jim say things like that – it causes a shortness of breath and tightening of McCoy's gut.

"Is it...?" Jim says, and there's unmistakeably something new in the air. Not new as in unfamiliar, but there's undoubtedly something heavier between them than McCoy's snappish mood and Jim's concern.

McCoy nods, can't bring himself to really meet Jim's eyes yet. The buzz reawakens, becomes that same itch that he can never get rid of on his own. His stomach feels leaden, and the telltale warmth of a flush paints his neck.

A hand on his shoulder, then, another in his hair. The response is instantaneous; he tips back and sighs shakily, allows a moan to be chased from his lips when Jim leans down and breathes heavy against his ear. "You don't even have to ask," Jim murmurs, the weight of trust and promise in the distance between them. "I just have to know, okay?"

Another nod, more helpless, comes from McCoy. Jim is as good as his word. He tilts McCoy's head back with clever fingers beneath his chin, and McCoy's breath comes shallow when teeth scrape down his throat, over the hollow of it and to the side. They close on his skin, tug at it until he feels raw and warm and his hands are clenching on the armrests of his chair. He makes out the curve of a smile against the underside of his jaw and murmurs his dissent when Jim draws back. He's bright-eyed in the dim light of the room, and deftly works his hands beneath McCoy's shirt. His skin jumps where Jim touches him, followed by a shudder that has him goose-bumping. "Relax, Bones," Jim says, not a trace of condescension in his voice. "I always take care of you, don't I?"

He gives credit where credit is due, and nods, biting his lip hard when Jim's fingers skitter over his chest. Jim nudges his inner thigh with a knee, bumping it, and McCoy spreads his legs so that Jim can fit between them as he kneels in front of the chair. His breath is warm on McCoy's neck, where his mouth leaves trails that blaze with warmth while his hands are busy running along skin and muscle, tracing a body as familiar as Jim's own.

McCoy lifts one hand from the armrest and curls it around Jim's neck, a wordless plea and invitation. Jim leans in and lifts McCoy's shirt; the air is cold or his skin is hot, because another shiver runs through him when Jim mouths along the faint ridges of muscle, biting lightly and smiling slightly at the way McCoy jumps. "Easy," McCoy mutters, and Jim soothes the bite with a gentle swipe of his tongue, half a kiss.

He's too warm against the leather of the chair, and the part of his back exposed by the lifting of his shirt sticks to the back of it. He's biting his lip raw, and Jim is barely touching him, warm against McCoy's skin, still carrying a trace of dampness from the shower. A droplet of water escapes his hair; it makes a dark stain against his pants, and Jim touches a hand to the wet hair at the nape of his neck with a disapproving sigh.

"Again?" he murmurs, shuffling closer, hand sliding to McCoy's hip. "For a doctor, you're not very good at taking care of yourself."

"That's what I have you for, isn't it?" McCoy says.

Jim bites at his hipbone and mouths along the waistline of McCoy's pants, humming beneath his breath. "Like this?" he asks, bright eyes looking up at McCoy as he unzips the fly, warm breath on McCoy's stomach. McCoy groans, tightening the fingers on Jim's neck. Even now, with Jim on his knees and McCoy bracketing him with his limbs, he feels undone. "Not tonight," he says quietly. Jim nods, like he understands. By now, McCoy suspects that he really does.

"Alright," Jim whispers. He coaxes McCoy into lifting his hips with a nudge of his fingers to the underside of McCoy's thigh, and he lifts himself up as Jim slides his pants down and off with languid ease. "Bare-assed on a leather chair, Jim?" McCoy mutters, but that's all the protest he puts up. A faint smile curves Jim's lips and he murmurs about stubborn jackasses, and then his mouth is on the inside of McCoy's thigh and he has no more reason to complain.

He's hard already. Just this; the brief touches, the anticipation, the building heaviness in his stomach and the buzz at the base of his spine. It's enough to make him quiver, if only briefly.

McCoy swallows thickly when Jim presses his mouth more firmly to his thigh, nipping the skin. Easy, at first, but with purpose; his teeth sink in and McCoy's breath hitches audibly. He doesn't try to jerk away from the swell of pain, the slight burn. He turns his flesh into it and fights not to curl his toes when Jim's tongue chases the raised lines his teeth left. He doesn't ask if it's too much. He doesn't need to.

"Up?" Jim suggests, leaning back to study McCoy. He stands, pulling off his shirt with only minor discomfort. The room really is cold.

He half-turns to run fingers along the bite-mark on his thigh, near the back. Jim mirrors him, running his own fingers down McCoy's spine, earning a shudder and appreciative groan. "Cold?" Jim asks, hinting at a smile from behind McCoy. "Yeah," he replies, unceremoniously dropping his pants to the floor and stepping out of them. He keeps his underwear on.

They're the same height, but McCoy is broader. Jim has narrower thighs and McCoy has broader hips, and their shoulders are about the same. Jim steps in close and nips at McCoy's lips – not a kiss, because it's all teeth, and he leaves McCoy with the taste of blood on his tongue when he swipes it along his bottom lip. "Don't have to maul me," he says. Jim puts his hands on his hips and tugs him in close, and McCoy crosses the distance of three steps until Jim can put his teeth at his neck and tease his tongue out between them.

Jim's nails bite into his skin. McCoy leans into the slight sting, not nearly enough to draw blood, but enough to make the dents throb dully. Jim is still clothed. He steps away, looks at McCoy like he's evaluating him; a sharp, clinical assessment of his physical state, then it melts into something warmer, darker, more intimate.

"Bed," he says, and McCoy interprets it as a command this time around. It's a tight fit; he lies down on his back and his heart is pounding, a furious rush of white noise in his ears when Jim kneels above him, leaning in to nuzzle at McCoy's neck. He closes his eyes with a sharp, wrecked noise, high with desire he long refused to put a name to.

Jim braces himself with his hands on the narrow space left on either side of McCoy's head. "Okay?" he asks; "Yeah," McCoy breathes.

He pulls his knees up. Jim pushes them back down, and he leaves them that way, straight on the bed. Usually, Jim is the one that touches him, breaking him down piece by piece until he hits the spots that ache relentlessly, but McCoy reaches out and runs his hands down Jim's clothed back, tentative despite the pressure of his fingers. Jim doesn't comment on it.

Warm skin. Warm, smooth skin, and McCoy traces it all, up and down the length of Jim's spine. He finds muscle he's seen bruised, and presses down hard. Jim exhales sharply and dips his head, shoulders bunching as he traces his mouth along McCoy's sternum. He's warm with arousal, pressing into McCoy's thigh, insistent but not urgent. McCoy drags his fingers down each and every vertebrae that juts up beneath Jim's skin, groaning deeply when Jim rocks against him. His cock strains in his underwear, and the hands that were touching leisurely clutch Jim, now.

They're both breathing heavy, and dampness is collecting on McCoy's skin. Jim slides a hand down his side and he arches into it, inhaling sharply when teeth close around his nipple and bite. He feels sore, pulse pounding in his ears, but the warmth and the heavy arousal builds until he's bucking, Jim's thigh pressed between his leg and his cock aching. "Get on with it," he mutters, and Jim laughs, sharp and fast, biting just a bit more viciously and smiling at McCoy's hiss. "Don't pretend like you don't like it rough," he whispers, heated words uttered against McCoy's throat.

He fists his hand in Jim's hair and tugs at it, not enough to be vicious, but hard enough to get the point across. "Not the only one," he counters, but the words are without heat. Jim slides a hand beneath McCoy to tug his briefs off, and again, he lifts his hips and then lies back when he's naked. Not like a prize, or anything like what he reads in novels. Just lies back, easily, on his back with his heart pounding in his chest and sweat beading on his temple. Jim kisses him, then, hungry and deep, with a nip of teeth to McCoy's already bruised lips.

"You're wet," Jim comments, sliding his hand against McCoy's stomach. There's water mixed with sweat, and McCoy just hums in agreement as he lifts his hips, hoping to make contact with the firmness of Jim's thigh, anything to grant him friction. Jim moves down his body, and then he moves off the bed, and McCoy has a moment to fight against the dizzying rush of heat that is so strong it's almost overwhelming. He's used to it. He can deal with it.

It intensifies when Jim puts a hand between his shoulder-blades and murmurs for him to face the wall. He turns, shifts so that one leg lies draped over the other and makes more room for Jim on the bed, the sweaty line of his back exposed to the cold air. Jim fits in behind him, and there's skin to skin contact now, coaxing a moan infused with breathlessness from McCoy when Jim's cock slides against his lower back. Any other man would laugh, tease and call him eager and desperate. Jim just closes a hand over his hip and tugs him back until they're flush against each other, sweaty chest against sweaty back. He rocks against McCoy, slow and steady, each slide of his cock against McCoy's skin making garbled, choked groans rise from his throat.

He's half on his side, half on his stomach, and Jim presses his mouth to the side of his throat and breathes shakily, curling his fingers around McCoy's cock. A gratified sigh leaves him, tension dissipating slowly from the tenseness of his back. Jim presses his forehead to the back of McCoy's shoulder, mouth warm and damp when it touches his skin on an exhale. The hand that's still free gropes for something on the bedspread, and McCoy can hardly bite back a strained whimper when Jim replaces his hand with the slick fingers of his other one, running slowly along his cock. It's cold sensation along heated flesh, and he shudders at the sensation, thrusting into it with a bitten-off whine when Jim slows down. An apology is murmured in his ear, sincere.

"Turn over a bit more," Jim urges, tone low. Sometimes, McCoy wonders if Jim isn't in this for more than personal gratification.

He shifts, now more on his front than on his side, one arm curled beneath the pillow and his legs still slotted together, one knee touching the wall. While Jim settles back, reaching for lube, McCoy takes in the silence; thorough and piercing, and his own shallow breath isn't enough to upset the air of calm. His skin prickles when Jim slides forward again, and slightly down, nose briefly nudging against the skin on McCoy's mid-back.

His breath is coming faster, and the hand Jim brushes down his side is soothing. He lavishes slow, even caresses of McCoy's skin continue until he relaxes his muscle, exhaling shakily when slick fingers slide down his lower back, dip down and between to stroke gently against his entrance. He clutches the pillow just a bit harder.

Alright? Jim asks with the gentle pressure of his hand above McCoy's heart. Yeah, he replies, with the next steady exhale.

Jim presses a kiss to the bite on McCoy's shoulder and pushes forward with two fingers. Just enough for an ache, but not enough for outright pain. McCoy shudders and pushes back, reaching back with his other arm to fist his fingers in Jim's hair. He tugs, shakily, and Jim seals his mouth over an unmarked patch of skin while he presses deeper with his fingers. Like this, McCoy is unguarded. He moans, deeply and with an edge of hurt. Jim doesn't pause, biting sharp and shallow, and McCoy twists with a gasp on the bed, slinging one leg back to drape over Jim's.

Sharp, heavy hurt, and he's shaking. Jim fits his mouth to the join of shoulder and neck and just breathes, curling his fingers and drawing a hissed curse out of McCoy. He chokes out something, probably something stupid and stubborn and breathless, and he can feel Jim's smile against his neck when he shifts. His cock jumps against his stomach when Jim twists his wrist, angles his fingers deeper and presses until McCoy is choking for breath and straining to push back. The fullness makes his toes curl, makes him pant for breath when Jim begins to thrust his fingers in earnest, slow but deep, an all-consuming heat rising from inside and spreading all the way to McCoy's toes.

Jim's breath is even, focused. Even now, on the edge of delirium, McCoy can tell that Jim is listening intently; for a pained gasp with more inflection than he means to evoke, a groan that tilts too far into the bad side of painful. He shudders and grinds back against Jim, a near-sob torn from him when he presses back inside with three slick fingers. His legs are shaking, his chest heaving. Jim is murmuring into his neck, incoherent but apologetic and encouraging, and McCoy hurts. For Jim, for doing this; for being the anchor to McCoy's tangled-up desire, the pillar that he can ask anything from and be given twice as much as he asked.

His fingers slide out and McCoy is nearly frantic, pushing back until Jim has to press his hip down into the bed as he pushes back inside, and McCoy groans deep and makes a helpless sound caught between eagerness and hurt. Over the sound of his own breathing, he can hear the slick slide of Jim's fingers, the obscenity of the noise flaring heat in his stomach. Dampness builds where Jim is breathing against his skin, and he nearly rips out strands of hair when Jim presses right against his prostate and McCoy's whole body convulses violently.

Pain chases the pleasure, but only because Jim withdraws his fingers, his whole body; McCoy twists his head and looks back, eyes heavy-lidded and mouth slack, complaint on his tongue before he really sees Jim.

Guilt churns in his stomach. Jim is trembling. Wide-eyed, almost feverishly bright, and he looks as if he wants to draw away. McCoy reaches back, curls his fingers around Jim's arm, and tugs him down until he can't leave. "Wasn't planning on bolting," Jim whispers, and the genuine curve of his smile makes something unclench in McCoy. "Just – needed a moment."

McCoy mumbles something and shifts to his front; his shoulder is cramping from being pressed to the mattress, and this is easier. When he doesn't have to face Jim, it's always easier, and he closes his eyes. His hair clings to his forehead, sweaty and matted, and he moves his legs apart when Jim kneels between them. His pulse jumps; there's always a nervous, tense moment where he's not sure if he can do this. The Jim fits himself along his back and pushes the head of his cock against his entrance, condom-covered and slick with lube, and he pushes back with abandon.

Jim doesn't fuck him right away. Teases; pushes against McCoy until he's almost breached him, until his fists are curled in the bedspread and his limbs trembling, but every time he's almost inside, he pulls back. It's relentless; McCoy is shaking with repressed desire by the time Jim finally pushes inside. The familiar blunt, dull ache is comforting, and – a flare of pleasure stuns him when Jim reaches beneath him, hand on his hip to pull him to his knees instead of his stomach in order to fist his cock. He feels weak, shaky, hands white-knuckled as he grips the sheets and meets the first few slow, deep thrusts.

A stuttering moan falls from his lips when Jim couples the touch with a bite, low on McCoy's left shoulder-blade. He can barely hold himself up by this point, and outright whines when Jim goes too slow at first before picking up his pace, nearing brutal but always staying on the fuzzy side of pain; the one that makes McCoy's heart beat wildly, that makes him so hard he hurts.

He chokes on a breathless, high-pitched groan, and Jim is whispering a steady litany of nonsense into his skin. His hand works his cock and he fucks McCoy like he needs it as much, to be felt as deep as he can go. McCoy tenses his shoulders and tries to breathe, but it's too much, too fast, all at once, and then Jim changes the angle and McCoy's whole body lurches forward, a startled gasp reverberating around the room.

Jim's nails dig into his hips. They sink deep, maybe even draw blood. McCoy pushes back as much as he can and cants back with his hips, wanting deeper, harder, with the edge of pain smoothing into something clearer. His eyes nearly fly open when Jim sets a pace that leaves him gasping for breath, and finally, when he comes, he bites his own lip bloody.

He hears white noise for minutes.

His whole body aches when he finally shifts, realizing he's on his front again. Jim's hand is in his hair, his voice a steady murmur. McCoy musters an annoyed huff, receiving a chuckle in response. "You blacked out for a while," Jim says. McCoy grunts, turns his head into the caress of Jim's fingers. "You probably need another shower."

Pause. Silence. Then, "You alright?"

"Always am," McCoy murmurs. There's cooling sweat on his skin, and the back of his neck itches. He hasn't been out long enough for the semen on his skin to dry, so it slides sticky against his stomach when he tries to lift his hips. Jim continues to card his fingers through his hair, and McCoy stops moving long enough to enjoy it. His body feels like a big bruise. He can breathe easier, now.

Jim is dressed again. His clothed knee touches McCoy's sweaty thigh, and he doesn't hesitate in running his hand down McCoy's back to check for tenseness. "You don't have to check up on me, kid. That's my job."

"Yeah, yeah," Jim relents, smiling slightly. "I'm going, you grump." He stands, but runs a washcloth down each of McCoy's thighs, eliciting soft, pleased sighs for the gentleness. "Seriously, shower. You stink."

McCoy kicks in Jim's general direction. "Buzz off."

"Going, going," Jim laughs, and strokes McCoy's hair a last time. "Don't forget that I'm here if you need me. Okay?"

"Okay," McCoy murmurs. Jim leaves his fingers in his hair for another beat, and McCoy falls asleep to the weight of it.