Never Leave You
Michelle Perry

He clutched the golden tunic with all of his remaining strength. Clutched the golden man to him - tight. Close. There was nothing to be done now. The medkit was gone - clattered down a condiut during the escape. The bandage McCoy had managed to tie before they were separated was still there, soaked through, but firmly in place. But his captain's head was covered in blood, and the gashes in his chest were leeching slowly onto his own uniform shirt. But it wasn't the wetness drenching his torso, or even the vivid trail down the side of Jim's face that filled him with a steadily growing terror. It was the wetness against his face - the slow viscous spatter Jim had coughed up just before losing consciousness - that set his hands trembling, even as they desperately gripped his motionless form.

"My ship. My crew. Bones, I... c-can't l-lose the-" Then his face had become a study in agony. He'd let out that hacking, dangerously fluid-filled cough, and went completely limp. For some time, he could think of nothing but the amount and severity of internal injuries that could cause such symptoms, and his complete powerlessness to treat any of them. Eventually, though, even those thoughts were stilled and nothing was left but the need to hold. Keep. Protect.

He felt the trail of his tears mingle with Jim's blood, and his own sweat. The fluids rolled slowly down the side of his face, down his chin, and coalesced, taking an eternity to finally drip down onto his arm. The heat was getting worse - would continue to get worse as the intruders attempted to flush out the few pockets of remaining fugitives. It wouldn't work for him. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't move. Couldn't leave Jim. He'd left him once to help others, and this had been the result - his beautiful, golden hero, broken, bleeding, and left for dead on the engineering room floor.

No. It wouldn't work. He would never leave Jim again.

Time passed. Hours? Days? Unknown. He felt a cool breeze waft past his face. He shuddered. Voices - human voices calling out to someone. Anyone. He didn't answer. Could be a trap. Invaders were tricky that way, and no one was going to trick him into leaving Jim alone. He closed his eyes and waited for them to go away - willed them to give up searching before reaching the little alcove. Soon, though, footsteps approached. He tensed, but he simply didn't have the energy to pull Jim away and hide.

He looked up, raising his eyes slowly. Sharp features looked down at him - haggard, but openly relieved. Green blood joined red and black - the blood of the enemy - on his clothes and on his face. He extended a hand. "It is over, Doctor. The danger is past."

He looked down at the bloodied face of his captain. "It isn't for Jim," he said, not recognizing his own voice.

"You will help him, Doctor. Medical bay is fully functional. Come. Please."

He allowed Spock to take Jim - he could trust Spock - but he didn't move more than an inch from them as they hastened to Medical. The destruction was harsh, but he barely noticed it - he had eyes only for Jim. They laid Jim on a table, and he did what he did best. Stabilize. Repair. Think later.

And when later came - when those beautiful blue eyes gazed at him with wonder, gratitude, and love - he spoke his promise aloud. "I'll never leave you again."


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