Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek. T for language. This is slash, pretty tame, but still; don't like it, don't read it. Inspired by post 55837840150 of tumblr user deforrestkelley. Title from Motion City Soundtrack's 'Hold Me Down'.
He hurts. God, he hurts.
It's his fault, really. Normally he would laugh and sputter and try to pin the blame on anyone, anyone but him––the other guy piss drunk, he was getting up in his business, he wouldn't leave that girl alone, he started it––no, it was never his own fault. He was always blameless.
A cheeky, bitter smile finds its way up his face and splits his torn lip even further. He's been tastin' copper since he set foot in the damn bar in the first place. There was something in the air, something in the beer, something that was not. Quite right. Usually he trusts his gut instincts but this time they were overwhelmed by the desire to get absolutely drunk out of his mind. So he did. Well, he tried.
It's his fault he's like this, bleeding, limping back to his dorm at some ungodly hour and, fuck he hurts. His head pounds like there's something stuck between his brain and his skull that's beating with fists, trying to break its way out. He runs his fingers through his blond hair to clear it from his face and he winces. The hand he pulls away is streaked with contrasting bright-and-dullness of fresh and dried blood. Fuck. Fuck. God.
He stumbles over his feet, shuffling until he comes to a stop in front of the door to his dorm. He hesitates. Bones is home tonight. He'll be sleeping. He's always sleeping. Jim fights the urge to run his fingers through his hair again. He feels his pockets, front pockets, jacket pockets, panicking briefly when he can't find the keycard. He pats his back pocket and the moment of anxiety passes and he pulls out the slim piece of plastic. It slips through his fingers and he swears softly but stoops down to pick it up and god he hurts. The blood rushes to his head and he's dizzy when he rights himself and braces himself against the wall.
He has to be quiet; Bones may kill him, like, truly. It's finals week and the doctor is stressed enough as it is. Jim passes a hand in front of his face and waves the card in front of the lock. Quietly, quietly, he pushes the door open.
The single room is dark and Jim curses their tiny living arraignments, the one room and closet bathroom which is basically a sink hanging over a toilet; next semester they're supposed to be moving into something a bit bigger. Bones could, he thinks suddenly, have had a bigger place from the start. Bones is a medical officer. Surely he could have reasoned his way into private living accommodations, something with more than one room, something nice. But that would've meant that Jim would have to find somewhere else to live.
Maybe the small space isn't too bad.
He closes the door with a click and freezes. His back is to Bones whose back is to him. He shuts his eyes and counts to ten and the rustling of blankets fills the air and every swear Jim knows in over a dozen languages flash by in his mind. There's the sound of a body turning over.
"Jim?" Bones' voice is cloudy with sleep. Jim can't. He can't. He can't look at him. He's standing with his face to the door and he's almost certain he's got a concussion and six other problems. He swallows. God, Bones'll kill him. Murder. And won't even be thrown out of Starfleet, because everyone knows how much a pain in the ass he is. They might even give him a medal. "Jim? Is that you?"
"Yeah, Bones, who else?" He smiles and remembers the torn lip a second too late and winces. He turns slightly. "Go back to sleep."
He can't see Bones' face crease up in sleepy confusion. "You okay, Jim?"
He swallows. Peachy. "Yeah, Bones, I'm great. Go back to sleep."
Bones frowns. He can hear the strain in Jim's voice. He knows what that means. "Lights, thirty-percent––"
In the brief second Jim is lit up like a christmas tree or a firework or a lightning storm, the back of his head matted with blood that is always redder than people expect, his leather jacket filthy and torn and stained with something that might be mud or grass or beer or blood. Probably all four.
"Jim." Bones' voice is thick with concern but Jim can't. He won't. He can't look at him, look him in the eye and see pity or––god help him––disappointment. Not again. He's tired of people looking at him like that, George Kirk's would-be golden boy, the only repeat offender in the midwest with a genius IQ, or whatever they thought of him. He lets down everyone he knows but he won't, he can't take it from Bones. Not again. He swallows around the knot in his throat and fuck, he hurts. God, he hurts.
Bones sits up slowly. He's only in an undershirt and boxers and––Jim could laugh––his socks. "C'mere, Jim."
"No. I'm okay."
"Like hell you are. Just––let me look at you." There's no harshness in his voice. Jim swallows again and his turns to face his roommate, staring at his feet the whole time so he doesn't have to see Bones' hazel eyes widen with concern. He glances up and, shit, he must look worse than he thought.
Bones surveys him, up and down, gaze resting at his face but Jim doesn't catch his eye. A sigh, nothing more than air expelled from his lungs, and Bones rubs the sleep from his eyes, blinking them wide. "Get your ass over here." He scoots over and leans forward, rummaging for something under the bed.
Jim hesitates before crossing over to the far side of the room. He perches on the very edge of the mattress and Bones emerges, holding the bulky med kit of white shiny plastic they have both become very familiar with. Jim shrugs off his leather jacket and leaves it in a heap on the floor.
Bones opens the case and rifles through its many layers and compartments. He deals with the back of Jim's head first, cleaning blood away from his hair and the lacerations. Nothing is too deep, and they've stopped bleeding, finally. No stitches. Jim's got a lump the size of an egg, though, that must be killing him. Bones' lips ghost over the bump, so gently that Jim can't even tell.
Bones takes a disinfectant pad to Jim's scratched up palms, his scraped knuckles, putting bandages on the worst of the cuts. He looks Jim directly in the eyes, in his big blue eyes, his telltale eyes, always giving away what he's feeling. He brings his bandaged fingers to his lips and kisses them, forcefully, and Jim's brow creases slightly. Bones replaces the hand and leans forward with a new pad and wipes the blood from the corners of Jim's lips and the side of his face but his cheek is swollen and they don't have an ice pack in the kit because they used it last time, so Bones settles for another kiss, hard enough to feel but not enough to cause pain.
He draws back slightly. "What else hurts?" His voice is barely a whisper.
Jim wants to smile. What else hurts. What else hurts.
"That's it for tonight."
No. God, not even close. His back hurts and he thinks he twisted his ankle and his whole fucking torso must be mottled with bruises. Ha ha, fuck.
But Jim allows a small smile and looks down and nods, short and tight and god god god. "Thanks, Bones."
The doctor swallows and licks his lips and he wants to throw the med kit across the room. He wants bandages and creams and sutures to go flying, wants to feel the impeccable white plastic break under his feet. But he doesn't, no matter how badly he wants to, because who knows when they'll need it next?
He folds it up and puts it back under the bed and Jim hasn't moved, he's starin' at his bandaged hands and he looks so young, he looks like the broken boy he is and Bones reconsiders the action of not destroying the med kit, because who could hurt a face like that? But not everyone sees what he does, hell, no one sees what he does.
"C'mon, you." He tugs at him, gently finagling their respective limbs into something somewhat comfortable on top of the bed sheets, as comfortable as two grown men can get sharing one single Starfleet issue twin-size mattress. The moment they're horizontal, Jim's eyes slip closed.
Bones buries his face in the crook where his neck joins his shoulder. Jim smells like booze and blood and ink and something else, something salty. Bones adjusts his breathing to match that of the man in his arms, but there's nothing his can do to sync up their heartbeats. He lets the gentle, uneven thumps lull him to sleep. He can deal with the rest of Jim's injuries in the morning.
Everything's better in the morning.
A/N: I haven't written slash, no matter how light, in about 300 years, so feedback would be really appreciated! Thank you for reading!