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“Leonard, you need to rest. You’ll be no good to Jim if you’ve pushed yourself to exhaustion.” M’Benga said softly, placing a gentle hand on Leonard’s shoulder.

“I’ll be no good to Jim if I’m not here.” Leonard replied, snapping harsher than he’d intended. He sighed, running a weary hand over his face. “I’m sorry, Geoff, but I can’t leave. Not while he’s like this.” Leonard sighed again, looking down at Jim’s still, deathly pale form on the biobed. Jim was unconscious, had been for the last two days, and Leonard silently cursed his partner for getting himself into a situation like this again.

Leonard didn’t even know the finer details of what happened. He didn’t care to know the finer details. When the landing party had beamed back aboard after what should have been a simple research mission, with a bleeding, unconscious and barely breathing Jim, Leonard had only cared about getting him into surgery rightdamnednow.

Only when Leonard had gotten Jim into surgery, he’d discovered that the large slash across his chest wasn’t the cause of Jim’s lack of consciousness, or his haywire stats. It wasn’t that bad, in fact, Jim had strolled into MedBay, by himself, with far worse in the past.

Leonard wasn’t sure if a lesser man would have panicked over seeing the man they loved dying in front of them, or if he was the lesser man for not panicking over seeing the man he loved dying in front of him.

Either way, Leonard was calm, and cool, and after a long fight, on top of Jim having a seizure, he was finally, finally, able to get him stable.

After the seizure, the pieces had clicked together. Poison. Jim had been poisoned by whatever had injured him. Bloodwork confirmed it.

It wasn’t anything they’d come across before.

Spock was on it immediately.

A too young Science ensign had wanted to work on it too, was incredibly passionate on working on it, and when Leonard caught her crying her eyes out by Jim’s bed, babbling that it was her fault, he understood why.

It had taken a long time for Leonard to calm the girl down, but when he did, he found out that Jim had been injured saving her. When the goddamn space pirates, carrying goddamn scimitars, had attacked the group, one of them had grabbed her, and started to drag her away. Jim had seen it, but with his phaser already having been knocked from his hand, the only thing he’d been able to do was take a dive at the pirate. It had worked, the pirate had released the ensign, but had taken a swing, and had caught, Jim with the blade.

The Ensign looked terrified, probably scared of being reprimanded and having to face Leonard’s anger. But how could Leonard be angry? It was Jim’s job to protect his crew, he would have put himself between any crew member and harm. It was what he did, and even though Leonard hated the danger Jim put himself in, it was also one of the reasons he loved Jim so much.  

Leonard had reassured the officer, and sent her on her way looking calmer and more determined.

Then it had been Leonard’s turn to slump in the chair by Jim’s bed and breakdown.

Now it was two days later, and while Spock and his team had isolated the poison, they were yet to find an antidote. Leonard knew many would say that it was good progress, but Jim was steadily declining, and Leonard was having to fight harder and harder to keep him alive.

Whatever chunk of rock those damned bastards had originated from, they knew how to be effective. Leonard was certain that without some sort of medical assistance, Jim would have been dead by the end of the first day.

Three

Four

Five

Five days since Jim had been poisoned. Leonard had worked in the lab with Spock, and they were closing in on a viable antidote. Another day or two.

Leonard snapped at both no one in particular and at everyone, that Jim might not have another day or two, that he was barely holding on as it was. He apologized soon after. He knew Spock hadn’t left the lab once over the last few days. Knew he was doing just as much as Leonard was to help Jim.

It was mutually decided that perhaps Leonard shouldn’t be in the lab anymore. That he instead should focus purely on keeping Jim as stable as he could.

That didn’t stop the cold dread of fear from gripping Leonard’s heart as he watched Jim deteriorate in front of him though. He’d tried everything he could think of to flush Jim’s system of the poison, but at best the effect was minimal.

Leonard hated it. It made his skin feel too tight, and only a brave few would dare approach him and suggest he go back to their quarters and shower, eat, sleep. He refused every time. He couldn’t help Jim any more than keep him alive, so the damned least he could do was sit and be with Jim, even if with every passing hour he felt his heartbreak a little more.

Six

Seven

A week in.

Everything was failing.

Jim was dying.

It was an odd realisation, to know that the man he’d adored since the Academy probably had less than a day left, and even with an antidote, the damage done to his body might be irreparable.

Leonard sat by Jim, as he always did, clutching a clammy hand tightly as he stared, fixated on the readings above Jim’s bed.

He could almost hear the clock tick down to the inevitable.

The chrono read as just past two am when Spock rushed in, clutching a vial.

A vial.

“It’s ready?” Leonard asked, on his feet immediately.

“We have not had time to complete thorough tests, but it has shown the most promising effects against the poison.” Spock answered, passing Leonard the vial.

Leonard had kept an empty hypo waiting, just in case, and he grabbed it, his hands perfectly steady in defiance to his rapidly beating heart as he prepared it.

The antidote was in Jim’s system in less than two minutes after Spock arrived.  

Leonard knew it was pointless to look straight back to Jim’s readings, it was impossible for any sign of improvement to show immediately, but he did anyway. He wasn’t alone though. Behind him, Leonard felt Spock watching the screen too, even if it did lack logic. “Thank you, Spock.” Leonard’s voice was quiet as he spoke. He looked over his shoulder at Spock. Despite his careful control, the Vulcan looked tired, though in less obvious ways than Leonard did. “You should go back to your quarters, get some sleep or meditate, or whatever the hell you do there. I’ll comm you if there’s a change.”

Spock looked as if he was about to offer the same advice to Leonard, but then seemingly thought better of it, so nodded instead. “I’ll return in the morning if there have been no changes through the night.” Spock cast one last look at Jim, then turned and left Leonard by himself again.

Leonard dropped back into his chair, ignoring the way his back protested at being in such a slouched position. “C’mon, Jim. We’ve given you what you need to fight now, so fight. You can’t do this to me.” He whispered, leaning over and pressing a kiss to the limp hand he was holding. “Not now.

Leonard fell to sleep. He didn’t mean to, but he did. When he woke with a start, the first thing he did was look up at the screen. Jim was no better. He was no worse either. That was something. So Leonard made himself believe anyway.

Eight

Nine

It was another two days of unrelenting waiting before they had their first sign. The antidote was working.

Leonard dared to let himself hope.

Ten

Eleven

The poison was cleared from Jim’s body. He was still unconscious, and the damage left behind was serious.

But Leonard could fix it.

Twelve.

Leonard started the process of regenerating the almost endless damaged tissue inside Jim’s body, glad to be back in territory he knew like the back of his hand, and knew he could do well.

He was saving Jim.

Thirteen

Fourteen

Leonard was once again sitting next to Jim, head on the bed and holding a much healthier looking hand. His eyes were closed, but he wasn’t sleeping.

A quiet groan and the hand flexed around his. Leonard was bolt upright in an instant, his hazel eyes meeting Jim’s bleary, yet still oh so bright blue ones.

“Jim, you look like crap.” Were the first words out of Leonard’s mouth, because Jim didn’t need to know immediately just how close he had come to dying, and he would have if Leonard was anything less than gruff. His words earned him a weak, tired smile from Jim.

Leonard fussed, as he always did, checking readings as if he hadn’t checked them only ten minutes earlier, before helping Jim take a sip of water.

“Could say the same about you, Bones.” Jim croaked, his voice still desperately hoarse.

Leonard couldn’t argue. He looked better than he had a week ago, but he was aware of the bags under his eyes, and the non-regulation stubble coating his jaw. He still huffed though, scowling at Jim. “That’s what happens when you both serve under and love a maverick of a Captain, who likes to fight space pirates. Why would anyone even want to be a space pirate anyway!?”

Jim chuckled. The sound was like music to Leonard’s ears. “Dunno. Space pirate sounds fun.”

“Would to you, you damned infant.” Leonard grumbled, his heart secretly doing many funny little things at the sight of Jim. Jim talking, smiling, laughing. Alive.

“You’d still come with me if I ran off to be one. You love me too much.” How Jim could just pull back from death’s door and find the ability to smirk, Leonard didn’t know. What he did know was that he didn’t care as long as Jim kept coming back.

“God help me.” Leonard muttered, allowing some of the tenderness to show as he pressed a kiss to Jim’s forehead. “I would follow you.”

“Good. Because I love you too.” Jim was already sounding tired again, so Leonard pulled back.

“You’d better with all the crap I put up with. Now get some rest before I sedate you.”

“Yes, sir.” Jim had barely finished speaking before was asleep again, somehow still smirking.

Leonard just smiled, and brushed his fingers through Jim’s hair.

He had his Jim back.