Kirk/McCoy. NC-17. 6,035 words.
"All Vulcans are liars."
Sing About Tragedy
The Academy's dorms were all creepily underpopulated now, and Jim's was the worst. It had housed mostly seniors and post-grads, and it was utterly silent tonight. Jim had started out trying to escape his thoughts by running up and down the emergency stairs, but his thoughts kept pace and the quiet had started to get to him.
Now he was on the roof, because it was the highest place he could get to without requisitioning a shuttle; for all the hints they'd dropped about where he was headed when they finished the debriefings, he didn't think that would go over well. He'd paced for a while, and wound up sprinting from edge to edge before he realized that that wasn't going to work, either.
There was something wrong with his brain, and it wasn't his usual homegrown self-destructive shit; he knew that inside out and he knew how to outlast it, how to short-circuit it, how to use it. This was--well, obviously. What was wrong with his head now was somebody else's shit. Jim had no idea what he was supposed to do with it, but apparently none of his usual methods were going to work.
He sat down on the roof's edge and considered the universal cure: 100 mL of Cardassian Sunshine in a clear bottle, small enough to tuck into his pocket or hold in the palm of his hand.
Cardassian Sunshine was the essential ingredient in a true Cardassian Sunrise and, so far as Jim knew, there wasn't anything actually Cardassian about it. However, in addition to being alcoholic as hell, it fluoresced slightly in a shade of yellow-green that really was reminiscent of the actual Cardassian sun, so Jim figured it ran about even on truth in advertising. The bottle Jim was holding wasn't actually enough to kill him, but it was more than enough to stop him thinking about anything at all, no matter where the damn thoughts came from.
Jim looked up, even though he knew he couldn't see the place from this latitude. 40 Eridani didn't come into view for another five degrees south. Not that it was really visible, even there--all that was visible in the sky above Earth was old starlight.
Sixteen minutes away in Warp, the star that had given the light was being dragged into a new singularity, following Vulcan down into its own center. The light--the dark--of the disaster wouldn't reach them for another sixteen years. From where Jim sat now, it hadn't really happened yet.
He couldn't think about it like that, though--couldn't think about the idea of having a chance to go back, to stop it somehow. He could go to Romulus, destroy their world before Nero ever had a chance to be born. He'd been picturing it on and off, how he could do it; he'd found himself sketching out plans, and that was about when he figured out that something was seriously fucking wrong.
Jim knew all about anger. He knew about violence. He even knew a thing or two about revenge: wanting it, planning it, getting it. But this thing in his head wasn't him, this ice-cold implacable rage and the will to commit genocide in order to punish a man who was already dead or hadn't yet been born--and might never be, depending on how you looked at it.
Jim didn't believe in no-win situations and there was one unfolding in his brain every goddamn time he stopped thinking about anything else. Vulcan had been destroyed, so Romulus should be destroyed, something should be destroyed, just because ...
Just because his homeworld was gone, and his people with it.
Jim stared out at the scattered few lights of the other dorms. He was sitting on Earth, and if he hadn't been born here, still, it was his homeworld and the home of his race--half, said the unfamiliar echo in his brain. Half his race. Jim opened the bottle of Sunshine and inhaled the fumes, and when he looked up the stars seemed to be swinging slightly in the sky.
The roof access door slammed, and footsteps approached from behind him: a long, steady stride. Jim frowned down over the edge, recognizing the stride and debating how to play this.
Bones had come looking for him. Jim was alone, not even drunk--no way to pass this off as any kind of normal behavior, not with somebody who knew his baselines as well as Bones did. Well, fine. He couldn't fix this thing. Maybe Bones could.
Directly behind him, McCoy said, "Is that--dammit, Jim, how much of that did you drink?"
Jim mutely offered him the bottle, and McCoy took it and sealed it with one hand even as the other closed on the back of Jim's collar.
"Why don't you just come off that wall," McCoy said, not at all a question, since he was tugging Jim backward as he said it. Jim shrugged and shifted his legs, trying to get a heel up to push back with. McCoy apparently thought he was doing something else, because he pulled suddenly harder, leading to one of those long almost-recovering stumbles that took them two meters from the edge before they both sat down hard.
McCoy was at Jim's back, at a slight angle, and now he leaned forward, grabbing Jim's chin and looking him in the eye.
"Are you sober?" he demanded, like he'd never lectured Jim about alcohol poisoning. "What the hell are you doing up here?"
Jim tugged out of McCoy's grip and straightened his shoulders, and McCoy leaned his shoulder into Jim's and waited.
"There's something wrong with my brain," Jim said, finally.
McCoy's shoulder jumped against his. "There's something--"
Jim felt the moment when McCoy realized he was completely serious, as well as sober. He twisted in place, so that Jim's face would be out of his peripheral vision, and he grabbed a handful of the back of Jim's jacket. "All right, tell me what's wrong with your brain."
"When I was down on Delta Vega I met this Vulcan--"
"Ambassador Spock," McCoy interrupted. "Worst-kept secret in Starfleet these days. What happened?"
Jim opened his mouth and for a few seconds nothing came out, while we don't talk about it reverberated around his skull. Jim shook his head, then shook off McCoy's grip and twisted around onto his knees, extending his hand with fingers splayed until it landed on McCoy's face, fingers bracketing a brown eye that was first baffled and then frowning in concentration.
"All right, we got that in Vulcan physiology, that's the primary contact point."
Jim's throat loosened suddenly--fuck, he would mind-meld with Bones if he could, except that he might spill this shit further--Jim was a fucking disease vector, his brain should be quarantined--but if he just described it, that wouldn't be as bad. Words couldn't really make it real, that was why Spock had done it to him in the first place. "Yeah. He showed me who he was, so I would trust him. He showed me the destruction of Vulcan, from his mind."
Jim pulled his hand back from McCoy's face, but McCoy continued to frown. "He--all right, he showed you the destruction of Vulcan. We saw the destruction of Vulcan."
Jim shook his head and turned away to sit again, with his whole side against McCoy's back, as if he could absorb calm through his skin. "He said emotional transference was a side effect of the process."
"Emotional transference? From a Vulcan?"
Jim snorted without humor. "All Vulcans are liars."
McCoy returned an equally grim breath of a laugh, and said, "All right, so somewhere deep down they've actually got feelings, and..."
"And I saw my homeworld destroyed," Jim said flatly. "I saw--"
Between one word and the next he found he couldn't limit himself to words, couldn't keep still, and he was up on his feet and striding fast to the edge of the roof, fists clenched, heart racing--Vulcan had been destroyed, Vulcan must be avenged--
McCoy caught him solidly from behind, both arms hard around his chest, and Jim looked down the sheer drop and realized how far out he was leaning. He struggled a little--between the thing in his head and his own instinct to move first and let the consequences catch up on their own time, he couldn't stand it.
McCoy, smart bastard, got a foot up on the roof ledge and pushed back, transforming abruptly to dead weight. Jim landed kind of hard on top of him--Jim heard his breath go out--but McCoy's arms didn't unlock.
Jim blinked at the stars, literally jolted out of his thoughts, and said, "You know I couldn't have fallen. Or jumped. There are catch-fields all the way around the roof and at every window level."
McCoy wheezed for a couple of seconds and then said, "I'm not even going to ask why you know that. Sit up."
He didn't let go, so Jim dragged them both half-upright, and waited for a diagnosis, prognosis, course of treatment--maybe just the sudden jab of a hypospray, leaving explanations for later.
What McCoy finally said was, "Open your mouth."
Jim did, and barely caught a glimpse of McCoy's glowing fingertip before it pressed against the center of his tongue, a couple of drops of Cardassian Sunshine delivered directly. The universal cure. Well, it would be enough for tonight, and tomorrow they'd figure something out.
The burn of the Sunshine nearly hid the taste and feel of McCoy's fingertip from him, but Jim closed his lips over the finger as it was drawn out, even as he felt warmth diffuse from his mouth outward; his head felt like it was suddenly floating a centimeter higher, his whole body held down only by McCoy's grip as gravity slowly relaxed its hold on him. Even the knot of black rage seemed to loosen.
"Okay, so, obviously you're continuing to experience effects from the transference," McCoy said, his voice all business.
Jim nodded slowly. "I want to destroy Romulus," he explained calmly, just like describing where it hurt or how long he'd been having that burning sensation. "I want to jump into a singularity just for the chance to kill Nero with my hands, and then go back in time and do it again. And then go back further and kill his parents."
"I... see," McCoy said. Obviously he didn't. Jim was glad. Bad enough that there were two--no, three--of them walking around like this. Hell, maybe ten thousand, but Jim could hope it was only the half-humans who felt it so much.
Jim reached back, trying to find where McCoy had put the bottle of Sunshine, and got nothing but knee and thigh, which were solid and distractingly good to touch. He rubbed his thumb over the seam of McCoy's pants, the one small motion he seemed able to get away with. McCoy didn't tell him to stop.
"You know, we got advice on dealing with Vulcans behaving irrationally and violently, in class," McCoy said. "Nothing from the textbook, just a piece of wisdom the instructor had picked up somewhere."
"Yeah?" Jim felt a stirring of curiosity, though McCoy sounded too grim for hope.
"Yeah. Get the hell out of his way and don’t tell anyone what you saw."
Jim smiled a little. "You're in my way, Bones."
McCoy tightened his grip and spoke seriously. "Well, if it's any consolation, I won't tell anyone about it."
Jim nodded--he knew that. Bones had a pretty serious thing about confidentiality.
"This seems like a stupid question," McCoy said, "but have you considered getting laid?"
Jim blew out a breath. "No. I--everyone in this town--hell, everyone on this planet--knows who I am. I don't want to fuck somebody who wants to fuck a hero." He closed his eyes and shook his head against McCoy's shoulder, because that wasn't even it. It was this thing inside him, this thing he'd caught from Spock's hand on his face.
"I don't want to touch anyone," he confessed, and it grated out of his throat, the most damning admission yet.
"You don't, huh," McCoy said, and his arms loosened to let his hands sweep down Jim's sides, making him conscious of his own hand, flat on McCoy's thigh, his weight resting against McCoy's chest. Something whispered in his head that it had to be skin to skin to be real, but when he pressed his fingers to the place they knew to look for on the inside of McCoy's wrist, all he felt was a pulse and his own suddenly intense longing.
"So I guess it'll have to be me," McCoy sighed, as his hands came to rest on Jim's hips.
His body started kicking into gear, tuning in and turning on and all ready for the escape Bones was offering him--fake reluctance and all. Still, Jim couldn't resist saying, "You said never again. You said you liked your relationships monogamous and your one night stands one night, so that was it. Once."
"I didn't want to be your next Nyota Uhura," McCoy muttered. "And I had a fuck of a hangover by that point. Dammit, Jim, you're my best friend. Do you want a pity fuck or not?"
"I'm--actually--" Jim didn't even know what he was going to say, except maybe to ask for more Sunshine so he could stop thinking. He didn't want to think anymore tonight. McCoy raised a hand to his chin, twisting Jim around until their mouths met, already open. Jim felt weirdly clumsy--fucking Sunshine, his tongue still felt pressed down in his mouth, like McCoy's finger was still there, except it was McCoy's tongue now, slick and hot.
Jim broke away, laughing a little, and muttered, "Numb tongue," against McCoy's jaw.
McCoy snorted against his ear and said, "Have you turned into a lightweight on me?"
Jim shook his head, although he thought it was possible he had; he couldn’t remember the last time he'd had time to get truly, seriously drunk. Maybe after midterms sometime. He also couldn't remember eating anything today--he'd been too keyed up this morning and during the brief breaks they'd given him, and by the time they let him go the idea of food was vaguely nauseating. "All I'm saying is I think somebody should check the gravity generators, okay, who the hell is running Engineering on this tub?"
"Oh, Christ, get up, I'm taking you to bed now while you can still walk." McCoy stood, dragging Jim up with him, and Jim stumbled against him--not because he was drunk, but he got kind of dizzy, standing up all of a sudden. It just reminded him more of that vaccine scam that had started it all, barely five days ago. He leaned against McCoy's shoulder and laughed, because what else could he do?
McCoy kept up a steady stream of grumbling and hauled Jim back to the access door; Jim let his head fall backward as he walked, looking up at the stars. They bounced and swayed above him as he walked, but none of them were falling just yet. Whatever was happening up there, out there, it would still be waiting for him in the morning. He dragged his head up and followed McCoy inside, and into the lift.
"Is this actually an approved medical procedure?" McCoy propped him against a wall and punched a button to get them moving. Jim tilted his head and watched McCoy through his eyelashes. "Fucking people to make them shut up about their problems? Doctors do this?"
McCoy gave him a dark look and said, "If that's actually what you think I'm doing, you can feel free to go sleep in your bed."
Jim's bed was two floors down on the other side of the building; there wasn't another occupied room for fifty meters in either direction, now. Jim was pretty sure Bones wouldn't send him down there, but there was no point pushing it. He kept silent until the lift stopped.
McCoy grabbed Jim's arm and towed him out into the corridor. Jim stumbled along beside him, even though he'd have been steadier walking on his own. "So what are you doing, if you're not fucking me to shut me up?"
McCoy tapped in the access code for his room and tugged Jim inside. "I'm supporting the patient's established coping mechanisms where they do not cause harm to self or others."
Jim actually laughed at that; McCoy gave him a stern look, and then backed him up against the doorframe and kissed him again, slower this time. It was a deep, dirty, thorough kiss, and Jim let McCoy drive for a few seconds and then got his hands up, one on McCoy's shoulder and one in his hair. He pushed back into the kiss, easing his tongue into McCoy's mouth and letting his hands slide toward the few inches of bare skin available.
McCoy stepped back before Jim got very far, catching Jim's wrists, and Jim let him, waiting to see where McCoy was headed. He looked Jim in the eye, sighed his I'm-the-responsible-one sigh, and said, "If you're sober enough to fuck, walk over to the bed and take your own clothes off."
Jim grinned. "Is that a challenge?"
"No, Jim, it's a test," McCoy muttered, and the proceeded to completely prejudice his results by kissing Jim again.
Jim pulled away laughing, only a little breathless, and turned to walk over to the bed heel-to-toe with his arms spread wide for balance, though the wobble halfway there was only half clowning. McCoy applauded him anyway, when he fell onto the bed. Jim squirmed over onto his back and started yanking open his jacket as he watched McCoy move slowly closer. He was sauntering, Jim decided, watching his hips. McCoy didn't quite have it in him to stalk, or it might have been that, but he was almost smiling, eyes all bright watching Jim, so it was definitely a saunter.
"You're sauntering," Jim pointed out. "You should try a swagger sometime."
"I think you've got that one covered," McCoy said, opening his own uniform jacket.
Jim was on a mission and did not mean to fail because he'd gotten distracted, so he shut his eyes and focused on undressing as directed. He shoved his undershirt and jacket off all in one practiced motion, with only a little more flailing than usual. Then it was just a matter of opening his pants, pushing them down, and...
He opened his eyes to see that, yes, he really had gotten stuck on his boots. McCoy was standing over him with his uniform jacket hanging open, the top button of his pants teasingly undone. He was giving Jim a profoundly skeptical look, and Jim made a quick decision about whether he was going to look more incapacitated fucking with his boots or arguing.
"You said clothes," he pointed out. "I got my clothes off."
McCoy's lips compressed, and then he shook his head. "Rules lawyer."
He sank to his knees without further argument. Jim's dick, which had so far been taking a more or less casual interest, got serious in a hurry. McCoy looked up at him with a half-twist of a smile--wry, definitely.
He looked down to unfasten Jim's boots, and then there was just the view of McCoy's dark head between Jim's awkwardly splayed thighs, beyond Jim's dick, which was getting harder by the second. Jim's hand was on his dick before he'd decided to move--McCoy was pulling Jim's socks off and hadn't looked up. Jim gave himself a hey-how's-it-going squeeze, followed by a few casual strokes, and then McCoy did look up, dark eyes going darker, riveted on Jim's fingers.
Jim smiled and licked his lips, stroking faster and watching McCoy watching, waiting to see what he'd do next. McCoy kept still for a few seconds, lips slightly parted, color rising in his cheeks, and then he leaned forward and licked a stripe up Jim's fingers to the head of his cock--suddenly and without hesitation, like Jim would have moved away if he let on. Then he stood up and turned away, just like that; Jim was not responsible for the outraged little noise he made.
He got a good look at McCoy in profile, though--he had a serious tent in his uniform pants, and whether it was the hard-on or Jim's advice, he was just about swaggering as he came back to the bed. "Close your eyes."
Jim obeyed, but let his hand keep moving lazily up and down his dick, sliding his thumb over the little bit of wetness from McCoy's tongue, even as he felt McCoy coming closer, weight on the mattress and a presence in the air above him.
For a second he just felt the wetness on his lips, a finger spreading it around, and he thought McCoy was getting the whole lube concept kind of upside down. Then the burn hit, and Jim chased McCoy's finger with his tongue as his whole mouth went kind of tingling and numb from the Sunshine. He wondered if his lips would glow, if he'd know which finger McCoy had used by looking at it...
McCoy's finger was lingering on Jim's lower lip, and Jim flicked his tongue against it--everything tingled, everything was warm and good to touch. Jim sucked for a few seconds, and then picked up his head, opened his eyes, and jerked his chin in the direction of McCoy's erection, still in his pants for some unknowable reason. "C'mere."
Jim still had McCoy's finger in his mouth, but McCoy obviously understood, and for once he didn't argue. He shifted forward on his knees, until he was straddling Jim's chest, and slid down the zipper on his pants. Jim raised his hands to help, and got only a little sidetracked touching the pale skin of McCoy's hips, soft over muscle and bone--Bones.
Jim swallowed a giggle and licked his lips again. His fingers skidded downward to where McCoy's hands were lingering at the open fly of his pants, pushed down hands and pants and underwear all at once to free McCoy's cock. Jim stared for a few seconds, letting himself just want, and then looked up to meet McCoy's eyes. "Bones. Come here."
McCoy groaned and closed his eyes, but he shifted forward again, raising one hand to brace against the wall as he tilted his hips down over Jim's face. Jim got a hand on McCoy's hip with an effort. He was getting clumsy, and when he raked his teeth over his lip the little pain was transmuted into something that sent sparks straight to his dick, which meant he'd had about as much Sunshine as he probably should. His mouth watered for more, and he tugged down on McCoy's ass and lifted his head to bring the head of McCoy's cock to his lips.
McCoy cursed, above him, and then there was a hand at the back of his head, fingers threaded through his hair and holding him up. Jim grinned and opened his mouth wider, soft and wet and sloppy as McCoy thrust in, a tiny, convulsive motion. Jim flicked his tongue against the crown, and McCoy's fingers twitched in his hair; he tightened his own grip on McCoy's hip, and won another tiny thrust.
It was a horrible angle--he couldn't get much more into his mouth like this--but the taste of sex, the teasing weight of McCoy's cock against his tongue, the slick slide over his lips--he wanted more but he had to have this, now, just one more little jerk, one more bitter drop, one more breathless curse from McCoy.
"Fuck," he snarled, finally, and Jim smiled and sucked hard, knowing that he'd finally teased enough. McCoy's hand under his head jerked down as his cock broke free of Jim's mouth with an obscene pop. Jim blinked--slowly, he guessed, because by the time he got his eyes open again McCoy's face was over his, and McCoy's cock pushed against Jim's hip, not quite close enough to Jim's own aching dick. His hips thrust up reflexively, seeking friction against McCoy's belly, and McCoy growled, "Tell me what you want," and then, once again, contradicted himself by kissing Jim, stopping his mouth.
Jim went with that, thrusting his tongue into McCoy's mouth, sharing the taste of pre-come and the tingle of Sunshine until McCoy broke away, breathing raggedly. Jim had done that to him (could have done it any time, maybe, but then it wouldn't be so exciting now, and it was good that it was exciting now because--because--exciting was better, that was why).
"Fuck me," Jim said, with McCoy still panting above him, arching his whole body up to touch skin to skin and get some friction on his dick. "Fuck me, Bones, I want you to."
"Of course you do," McCoy said, grinding his hips down, shifting a little sideways so his cock was right beside Jim's, making Jim shudder. Jim tried to decide whether he sounded smug or just generally amused, and then McCoy pushed up and was gone again.
Jim got his elbows under him, but his head lagged behind his shoulders, his neck more flexible than it should be, his head swimming when he finally did pull it upright. He blinked a few times and then got everything in focus, only to see McCoy--fully naked at last, standing with one knee propped on the end of the bed, smoothing slick onto his hard cock. As Jim watched, McCoy stroked himself once, businesslike, making sure he had it evenly covered, ending by circling the head of his cock with his thumb, activating the nano-seal. He was like something out of an instructional holo, perfect and precise, and Jim couldn't hold back a groan.
McCoy looked up sharply at that, and then he smirked and came back onto the bed with the tube in one hand. "Your turn."
Jim rolled over, pulling his knees in at the same time, which gave him the spins for a second and left him feeling like he was going to float or fall off the bed--but then McCoy's hand was on his ass, McCoy's knees were nudging at his, and Jim was anchored again. McCoy pushed a slick finger into him, then another, and it all felt way better--more--than it should. Jim jammed his face into McCoy's pillow, breathing in the smell of his hair and shoving his hips back onto McCoy's hand, silently demanding more. McCoy's fingers twisted--fucking textbook, perfect--and Jim slapped his free hand down on the mattress as his hips jerked uncontrollably.
"Oh," McCoy said. "Right--there?" He did it again, and again, until Jim was struggling to breathe through the pillow, trying to remember which way to move his neck to lift his head. His hand found his cock easily enough, though--his own personal fixed point. He stroked himself clumsily, feeling it as much in his tingling fingers as his dick.
"All right," McCoy said, and that was as much warning as Jim got. His fingers eased out, and then there was the blunt pressure of his cock pushing in, meeting hardly any more resistance than his fingers had. Still, Jim felt like the room was spinning again by the time McCoy was all the way inside him, and found himself gulping cool air with his eyes clenched shut, cheek still pressed hard into the pillow. He was clutching his dick like a lifeline, until McCoy's fingers found his and tugged them away. Jim spent a few seconds getting his fingers tangled with McCoy's, trying to find something to hold on to, and then McCoy started moving.
Jim said, "Harder," automatically, and the second syllable came out harsh as McCoy slammed into him.
"Oh, harder," McCoy panted, closing a hand on Jim's wrist, achingly tight. He fucked Jim hard, fast--not quite brutal, though it might have been if Jim had been up to offering any resistance whatsoever. As it was, Jim was pounded into the mattress, pushing back in uncoordinated spasms as pleasure sparked almost randomly--his ass, his dick, his balls, but also the inside of his thigh where McCoy's skin rubbed against his, coarse hair sliding in the friction-heat, his lips where they dragged against the pillow, his spine where sweat rolled down.
His orgasm was as sudden and startling as tripping into a gutter and finding his own bed at the bottom of it, complete with flashing lights behind his eyes and a lot of animal noises that probably came out of his mouth. The main event petered out into aftershocks, McCoy still fucking him, his whole body still singing drunkenly, his face still jammed into the pillow--wet now, fabric clinging to Jim's face. He shifted a little, scrubbing his face around, looking for a dry spot and clamping his lips shut, and then he realized the wetness was under his cheeks. It was coming from his eyes.
That was really weird. He actually managed to pick his head up a little, blinking, to see if something was wrong with his eyes--but they were only a little blurry, stinging. Wet. McCoy's movements were getting uneven behind him, and an unexpected jolt of perfect overload pleasure drove more moisture from Jim's eyes. He hid his face in the pillow again, on instinct.
He felt something like incredulity, distant and dazed--he was crying, that was so weird. He couldn’t remember the last time he had. His eyes didn't well up when he was in pain, he'd trained himself out of that a long time ago. Why--
It all happened at once, like Bones had said the very first day they met. One tiny crack, and once you gain enough altitude, bam, explosive decompression. Jim wondered why he was crying, and behind-above-inside him, Bones was coming. That was it, end of the ride, and Jim remembered destruction, loss, the end of everything. Rage and vengeance crumbled away, and suddenly Jim was drowning in unspeakable grief.
He clenched his teeth and breathed through his nose as his eyes ran with tears. Bones dropped a brief kiss on his shoulder, put a hand on his hip, and gently disengaged. For the third time, he was suddenly gone, leaving Jim alone, fucked out and defenseless: his planet was gone, his people were gone, his mind was empty of the voices it should hear and would never hear again. He was all alone, alone and cold and failed and doomed to live on. He tried to hold his breath, tried to hold it in his head that Bones was right there, that he'd come back, that Jim didn't even need him to come back--but his lungs heaved. His body curled reflexively, trying to hide, and his face came free of the pillow as he sobbed.
He slapped his hands clumsily over his own face--he wasn't doing this, he didn't do this, not drunk and not after sex and not ever, James Tiberius Kirk did not cry, especially not where anyone could see, especially not where people he wanted to fuck could see. Hands closed over his--Bones was talking to him. Jim was making a lot of noise, choking on every breath as he tried to hold it back, coughing and gasping and generally making a mess of himself. Jim tried to pull away, desperate, don't let them see you break, don't let them see when they get to you--his own thoughts and the others were for once in perfect agreement.
He struggled against the hands holding him, lashing out with his feet and sending his head spinning again as he fought. He realized the tipping sensation wasn't just him when he realized he was suddenly on top of Bones, and through his blurred eyes he could see enough to realize they were both on the floor now, that Bones was still trying to catch his hands, cursing steadily and methodically. There was a glowing puddle on the floor, and then a wet touch at his mouth--his lips were already pulled back from his frantically clenched teeth, and something jabbed into his mouth, burning-tingling bright on the inside of his lower lip. McCoy's thumb. Sunshine from the spilled bottle.
"I'm going to have to buy more of this stuff," McCoy muttered. "Stock it in sickbay--turns green blood red when taken in combination with a good solid fuck. Jesus, Jim, you scared me up there, did you hear what you were saying? You sounded--"
Jim shook his head as the burn spread slowly through his mouth, and then another sob escaped and he tried again to pull away, twisting his face aside. McCoy levered them both up, dumping him onto the bed and falling on top of him, pinning him down as he melted back into the mattress, the first panicked burst of energy gone. Sobs kept shuddering through him--it happened over and over in Jim's mind, the planet sinking into itself and disappearing, places he had known vanishing, people dying, people who would never be--but McCoy held him pinned. There was nowhere to hide his face but against McCoy's throat.
The weight and the expansive touch of skin slowly brought him back toward something like control. After a while, he realized McCoy was still talking, low and hoarse and repetitive. "I've got you. Shh, you're all right. Go on, let it go. I've got you."
"I don't--" Jim gasped, and it was still, still so fucking weird. "I'm not--it isn't my--"
"It is now," McCoy sighed, and then slightly louder, "Lights out."
The room went dark, and McCoy shifted around, pulling Jim up to lie on his side and then pressing himself to Jim's back, holding him still with an arm and a leg thrown over him. Jim didn't really feel like he needed holding down--gravity had been turned up, now, every thud of his heart and push of his lungs strained against it--but it was good anyway, an anchor against the random shaking of his body. His face was doubly hidden, in the dark and at this angle; the last desperate tension melted out of his spine.
"It's yours now," McCoy repeated. "Even if no one else in the galaxy believes it or understands, you're a survivor of Vulcan. Spock made you one."
Jim shook his head, though he didn't exactly disagree, and the room rocked around him. He closed his eyes and pressed back against the steady warmth of McCoy. His heart began to slow, and even his worst memories blurred in the dark, softened by alcohol and sex and pure weariness.
A lot of people had died, and there were a lot of places he'd never go back to again, and if he kept breathing in just the right way he could hold Amanda Grayson in his head and heart the same way he held George Kirk; if he looked at Vulcan from far enough away it was the same size as a particular farm in Iowa. Another time, when he wasn't drunk and fucked up, he might be able to just be angry about it, like a human being. He might even figure out how to just be sad. Bones would be with him. Bones would help.
"Vulcan," McCoy said softly. "I never saw it. What was it like?"
Burning deserts and knife-sharp mountains flashed through his mind, earthquakes, volcanoes, lakes of fire under a sulfur sky. It was the kind of place you'd expect to produce a lot of rules-obsessed pointy-eared bastards--that was what he'd have said another time, what he might say tomorrow when he was hungover and McCoy asked again.
"It was beautiful," Jim whispered, thinking of fields of rock like fields of corn, mountains rising to the sky like the starships they built down the road. "It was home."