ETA: lj-cut fail! sorry, and fixed.
Title: In the Deep, Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 is here)
Fandom & Pairing: Star Trek Reboot (aka AOS, ST XI, etc.), Kirk/McCoy (with a plot-devicey side of McCoy/random guy)
Rating: NC-17, hoo boy.
Spoilers: Not really, unless Tarsus IV is a spoiler
Warnings: Discussion of past child sexual abuse, descriptions of genocide
Word Count: Around 14,000
Summary: Academy days: Jim walks in on something he shouldn't have; WOE and ANGST ensue, followed by shamelessly self-indulgent hurt/comfort featuring Bones' Magic Cock of Healing (MCoH™).
A/N (a.k.a. tl;dr): For purposes of this fic, I'm assuming that homophobia is alive and well in the future, at least in some form and among some people. (I'd be happy to discuss why if you're curious.) For some of the descriptions of the Tarsus genocide (and for so much more) I am deeply indebted to my grandmother, a holocaust survivor. May we never forget. Endless love & thanks to the lovely ennui_blue_lite for hand-holding, brainstorming, and always-insightful thoughts and comments. Title is from the Bird York song of the same name. Okay, with the serious stuff out of the way: OMG guys, IDEK how this happened. Jim and Bones just wouldn't shut up in my head. Talk talk talk they just kept going. So I'm sorry that this is so dialogue-heavy, but blame them not me. And the smut! It just goes on and on and on and on and on... and for that, I also blame the boys. Also, in case the reference to Bones' MCoH above didn't make it clear, this is not an attempt to deal realistically with the aftermath of child sexual abuse. It is hurt/comfort written totally to indulge my own kinks (well, and ennui's too) and I hope some of yours as well.
Disclaimer: Do I really need to say it? Not mine, no infringement intended, no money made.
Jim didn't even pause before he keyed in Bones' dorm room entry code, and in retrospect maybe that was his first mistake.
His second was no doubt continuing into Bones' room despite what should have been the obvious warning signs: dimmed lighting, rhythmic slapping, obscene moaning.
But, in his defense, it'd probably been like... two hundred years since Bones got laid, so excuse him if it wasn't the first thing he'd thought of upon entering Bones' room. Not that Bones couldn't've gotten laid if he'd wanted to; the man was seriously hot. He hadn't actually checked Bones out, of course, just that Jim always scoped out the competition.
Anyway, he definitely was not expecting the sight that met his eyes. Bones was kneeling on his bed, back to the door, naked, flushed, sweating, as he drove into his partner, ruthlessly, again and again. And those obscene moans? They were coming from said partner. Who was definitely, positively, male.
So, mistake number three. Not turning and leaving as soon as he'd realized what he'd just walked in on. This wasn't his room, and technically maybe he wasn't supposed to know Bones' entry code, and Bones definitely wasn't expecting company... well, not Jim's company, anyway. But Jim was frozen in place. Oh god, that was Bones fucking. Another guy. Bones was fucking a guy.
Jim was an enlightened sentient being, and he had nothing against homosexuality. Hell, some of his favorite porn was lesbian porn and surely that counted for something, right? And some of his best friends were gay! Well, okay, he really only had one friend, and Bones wasn't... but he now had indisputable evidence that said friend was actually... not completely straight. Jim only barely suppressed a hysterical giggle.
He couldn't have made himself move, even if the room had been on fire. Which you know, it sort of was, in a manner of speaking. He felt a curl of shame and self-loathing in his gut as he watched his best friend, totally oblivious to Jim's presence, enthusiastically and repeatedly shoving his dick into the pale and quite muscular ass presented for him. Jim most certainly did not feel jealousy. Or possessiveness. Why on earth would he feel like that toward Bones? They were friends, that's all. Jim didn't swing that way. Never had. He refused to let himself think about the times on Tarsus that he'd... that was just to survive. It didn't mean anything. Wasn't his fault, that's what the counselor he'd been forced to see had told him, while he sat, mutinously silent, through their required sessions. Could even see that rationally, maybe she was right, even if he couldn't actually believe it.
And so what if Bones did swing that way? Okay, yeah, it was kind of a shock. But he could roll with it, he could handle it. Just because his best friend was into guys didn't make him a predator, didn't make him some kind of sicko. Of course it didn't. Jim's palms were clammy and his forehead had broken into a cold sweat. Breathe, he reminded himself. Just breathe. It's just sex. Just Bones. Bones would never hurt anyone.
Then it changed. Bones picked up speed, ass muscles clenching tight as he thrust harder, still silent, and the guy under him stopped moaning. And oh god, now the guy was gasping, and keening, and was that pleasure or pain? The noises - so familiar, too familiar - filled the room along with the smell of sex and now Jim could hear Bones' breathing too, rasping and heavy. Jim was a talker during sex, always had been, because otherwise, in the silence, with the noises of two bodies, it was just too real. As it was now. Jim remembered. He didn't want to remember. Fourteen years old, face down in a bed, ass in the air and strong hands clenching his hips. Gritting his teeth, as quiet as he could make himself because he would not give the bastard the satisfaction of hearing him cry out. The sound of harsh breathing behind him, like Bones' harsh breathing now. The sound of skin slapping on skin, the creaking of bedsprings. And the feelings. How it felt to have someone's dick pushing hard into him... no. NO. Not going there. Oh shit, Jim thought, I'm going to throw up now. Bones is going to be pissed.
When he came to, he was, in fact, lying in a puddle of his own vomit, and yeah, Bones looked livid. In fact, he seemed to already be mid-rant.
"-believable," Bones was saying, through gritted teeth. "Can't get any peace for even one goddamned night, you have to get drunk and break into my room and pass out on my floor. After throwing up everything you've ever eaten. Because god forbid Jim Kirk do anything halfway."
He noticed vaguely that Bones, kneeling by his shoulder, seemed to be tipping his face to the side, making sure he didn't asphyxiate on his own vomit. The strangely gentle fingers were at odds with the angry tone of voice, but Jim was used to that dissonance by now. What he wasn't used to was Bones being so... so naked. Oh shit, Bones hadn't had time to put any clothes on, and his cock, long and thick even now, when flaccid, dangled obscenely between his legs, still glistening with lube. Jim groaned and turned his head the other way. Just in time to see the flash of a hastily-dressed back heading out the door. It was just him and Bones now. And Bones' naked dick. And the smell of vomit and sex, and the memory of how Bones looked fucking... Suddenly, Jim needed to be out of there as well. Like, yesterday.
He hauled himself upright, ignoring the taste of sick still in his mouth, ignoring Bones' surprised and indignant curse.
"Sorry, sorry," he muttered. God, he sounded like an idiot. And still, he couldn't think of anything else to say, couldn't make his brain or mouth form any other words. "Sorry," he said once more for good measure, and then he staggered out of the room, the echo of Bones' final "Goddammit, Jim!" following him like a shadow.
So yeah, here he was in the Academy library, two weeks and three days later, not that he was keeping track or anything, counting the mistakes that had led him and Bones to this place. This awkward, not-talking, not-hanging-out place that felt wronger than the wrongest wrong thing ever. For God's sake, he couldn't even look Bones in the eyes. Bones, his best friend! What the hell was wrong with him? He was such a fuck-up. Always had been. And now he'd just fucked up the best - the only real - friendship he'd ever had. He'd seen the looks Bones had been throwing him whenever they were in the same place at the same time - lecture halls, the cafeteria, the quad. First, the looks were irritated. After a few days, they turned puzzled. Then, after a week had passed, the looks Bones was giving him were purely pissed off with, Jim was pretty sure, a large measure of hurt hidden in there as well. It was only a matter of time before Bones tracked him down and confronted him, because after all Jim had kind of dropped out of contact, and maybe he'd been ignoring Bones' comms, and Bones wasn't the type to back away from an unpleasant emotional scene, wasn't a coward like Jim was.
And speak of the devil, there was Bones now, heading straight for him with a determined look on his face that said they were going to have this out here and now, and there was nowhere to go, because Jim had chosen a study desk in the back corner of the least-used room in the library. Bones sat down heavily opposite Jim, slinging his messenger bag into the chair next to him. He looked perfectly proper in his red cadet uniform, but Jim couldn't stop seeing him naked, ruddy, sweat-sheened, cock dangling only a few short feet from Jim's face... he looked away. He could not do this.
"What the hell, Jim?" Bones didn't sound pissed off like Jim expected. Instead he sounded... resigned, and bitter, and yeah, definitely hurt.
"Oh, hey, Bones." Jim tried for nonchalant, heard it fall flat, and winced.
"Oh, so it's gonna be like that, is it?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Well, that was a total lie, but Jim really couldn't think of anything better to say.
"Goddammit. I thought we were friends, Jim. Why won't you even talk to me? Have you decided I'm not worthy of the great Jim Kirk's friendship after all?" It was a low blow. Bones knew full well that he wasn't like that, didn't think he was special because of his name or history. Maybe that was why Jim replied the way he did.
"Maybe I did, McCoy. I thought we were friends, too. But then, I didn't realize at the time that you were such a perverted freak."
Bones flinched back as if he'd been hit. For one moment, all the pain, shock, and hurt showed on his face, and Jim wished harder than he'd ever wished for anything that he could take it back. Then the moment was over and Bones had retreated into tight, furious anger.
"Didn't take you for a bigot, Kirk. Guess we both misjudged each other. Be seeing you." With that, he got up, grabbed the strap of his bag so hard his knuckles turned white, and left without a backward glance.
The weeks that followed were... somewhat unpleasant, to say the least, if Jim were inclined to dwell on it, which he wasn't. He threw himself even harder into the social whirl of the Academy, went out drinking at trendy bars that he knew Bones would hate, and had sex with lots of women. Lots. While not thinking about Bones at all.
If he happened to see Bones around the Academy, he pointedly did not avoid him. Why would he want to avoid someone who meant less than nothing to him? When their eyes met, he kept an insouciant grin plastered on his face. Bones' face was mostly impassive, even if that muscle under his left eye was twitching, which Jim knew meant that Bones felt miserable, murderous, or both. And if Jim felt a slightly petty, vindictive satisfaction at that, well, he'd never admit it.
Things might have continued indefinitely in that vein if not for the shuttle test. All the cadets had to know how to pilot a shuttle manually and take it through a simulated emergency landing. Jim had passed the first month, but Bones had been putting it off, practically hyperventilating every time the subject was even brought up. Jim, of course, had pushed him into finally scheduling it, and had agreed to be - well, more like insisted on being, really - Bones' copilot for the test, but with everything that had happened it had slipped his mind. Until he was standing in the quad, flirting with a couple of girls from his astronavigation class. A third girl approached, eyes alight with malicious glee.
"Have you guys heard? Some cadet, an old guy, is about to wash out. He showed up totally drunk for his shuttle test!" She was practically bouncing.
"What? Who?" said girl #1 - Kaylee? Kylie? Something like that, anyway. Jim felt a burst of panic in his stomach as he waited for the answer.
"I dunno his name, I think he's a doctor. Didn't he used to be, like a friend of yours, or something?" chirped the newcomer in Jim's direction. She didn't give him time to answer before she was speaking again. "He's locked himself into the simulator and he won't come out and the instructor said he's got half an hour to sober up, find a copilot, and take the test or she's going to personally bounce him out on his ass. They're taking bets over at the simulation center."
Jim was gone before she even finished her sentence. Half an hour, shit. And probably less than that by now. His mind was racing. First stop, the infirmary. He knew a sweet little nurse there, and she owed him one.
Thirteen minutes later, an anti-intoxication hypo gripped in his hand, Jim burst into the simulation center's observation room, taking in the knots of whispering students clustered around like rubberneckers at an accident scene. Which, maybe, wasn't too far off.
"Okay, show's over, everyone clear out!" He made sure his voice was calm, confident. Half the secret to getting people to do what you wanted, he'd discovered, was acting like you knew what you were doing and had the authority to back it up. It seemed to work here, as, grumbling in discontent, the other cadets picked up their things and shuffled out, still talking under their voices and shooting glances at Jim, now, as well as the darkened display window.
As the room cleared, he found himself face to face with Instructor Ishida, her arms folded, staring at him with dislike. It would have to be her. Shit. She'd had it in for Bones since the first week when he'd bitched her out for breaking a cadet's ankle during combat class, and she hated Jim by association.
"Kirk. I should've known. You're McCoy's copilot, I take it?" she asked, voice dripping with disdain.
"Yep; sorry I'm late!" Kirk put on his most charming grin, figuring it couldn't hurt. It apparently couldn't help, either. Her disapproving expression didn't change.
"Well, then, go ahead. You've got - " she glanced at her watch " - seven minutes to get ready and get launched."
"Yes, ma'am," he said, in his most respectful tone. Which wasn't, maybe, very respectful. But at least he tried. "Umm, could we, ah, have a moment alone?" he asked, motioning between himself and the observation window, still darkened.
She rolled her eyes and sneered. "Fine. I'll be back in seven minutes." She turned on her heel and strode out of the room.
Jim sat at the observation console and gingerly pressed the audio transmit button. "Hey Bones, what's up?" he said, going for cool and casual.
"Whozat? Jim? Come to watch me crash and burn, huh?" Bones snorted at his own pun.
Fuck. He sounded really, really drunk.
"Nope, here to be your copilot. Lemme in."
"Oh, my copilot," Bones slurred, managing to make it sound like a curse. "Jim, you hate me, or had you forgotten? I'm a perterved - pert - pervet - fuckin' freak, right?"
Jim winced. Trust Bones' steel-trap memory to work perfectly, even when he was too plastered to get out a coherent sentence. Clearly Bones wasn't going to do this the easy way. He flexed his fingers and got to work on the entryway controls. Meanwhile, he kept talking. Best to keep Bones distracted.
"Ahh, about that. I might perhaps have been a tad bit harsh. But we can discuss that afterwards. Hey, did you hear that Buckley won the Greenleaf Prize for her work on surgical techniques in Andorians?" The Greenleaf Prize was the Academy's most prestigious award for a medical-track cadet, and Jim happened to know that Bones thought Andrea Buckley was the biggest idiot who had ever been admitted to Starfleet.
The diversion worked like a charm. "Yeah, I heard," growled Bones. "And did you know that she only won that prize because she's the daughter of the CEO of MedTech, and they're one of Starfleet's biggest civilian contractors? Her paper was complete bullshit and it's going to set back the field of surgery at least three years." He might have slurred his words a bit, but the righteous rage seemed to be burning through his drunken haze, and as he ranted on about Buckley and her undeserved award, Jim tuned out and focused on hacking the door controls. Bones had activated the emergency quarantine mechanism, actually a relatively simple and elegant way of holing up in the shuttle simulator. But Jim could sweet-talk a computer just as easily as he could a lovely lady, so a moment later, just as Bones was really winding himself up for a marathon diatribe, the simulator doors swooshed open and Jim ducked inside before Bones could react.
Bones had half-swiveled toward the doorway, but drunk as he was, his reflexes were no match for Jim's. Jim was next to him and pressing the hypo into Bones' neck before Bones could even rise out of his chair.
"What the hell?" Bones bellowed. "It wasn't enough to come watch my humiliation, now you have to bust in here so you can physically attack me, you son of a..."
Jim watched, slightly amused, as the Alacon kicked in and quickly neutralized the alcohol in Bones' bloodstream. This seemed to take the wind out of his sails. He blinked, took a moment to process where he was, who he was with, and the circumstances of their encounter. Then he groaned and buried his face in his hands. "God, just shoot me now."
"Hey, you can call me Jim, and why would I want to shoot you? We've got a shuttle sim to conquer! Come on, let's get this party started!" Jim kept his tone purposely light, friendly, non-threatening.
"I can't do this, Jim. You know I can't. Ishida knows I can't. Hell, the whole Academy knows I can't. Why can't you just let me flame out in peace? Then I can, I dunno, go drink myself to death under a bridge somewhere."
Damn, this was bad. Taking in Bones' several-days-past-scruffy beard, greasy unwashed hair, rumpled uniform, and the miasma of whiskey rolling off him in waves, Jim knew that Bones was in as low a place as he'd ever been, worse even than when he'd joined Starfleet out of desperation and despair, fresh off a brutal divorce. And he knew that this was his fault. He, Jim Kirk, had done what not even the-ex-may-she-burn-in-Hell (as Jim always thought of her) had managed. He had broken Leonard McCoy. God, he was an idiot. And an asshole. He didn't deserve Bones' friendship, didn't deserve the space that he wasted by just existing. But he shoved those non-productive thoughts aside for the moment. This wasn't helping. He had one chance, he knew, one shot to pull Bones back from the brink. And he knew how he was going to do it. It was mean, really low, and maybe Bones would never forgive him for it. But he knew Bones inside and out, knew his soft spots and weak points and knew exactly how to manipulate him. So he took a deep breath and sat in the copilot's chair next to Bones, swiveling to face him and leaning in close.
"You can't do that, Bones. You can't flame out," he said softly, gently, laying a hand on Bones' knee. "You can't, 'cause I... I need you. I need you here, with me. I can't do this without you. I fucked up bad, Bones, I know I did. But I can't go through the Academy" - through life, he thought, and holy shit, just like that, the world turned upside-down and everything changed as suddenly he knew it for the truth - "without you by my side."
Bones didn't reply, just looked at him. Jim held his breath, suddenly far more invested in the outcome of Bones' decision than he'd ever imagined he could be. He desperately willed his sincerity to shine through his eyes. After an endless moment, Bones gave a brief, reluctant nod. "Fine," he said. "Let's get this over with. And then you and I are going to have a talk."
Jim went practically numb with relief. "Yeah, okay, a talk," he agreed, although he knew that the upcoming conversation would be as painful as the weeks of silence had been. Still, best not to think about that now. "Shit, it's been almost seven minutes. We need to get booted up now."
He suited word to deed, swiveling back around to face the sim controls even as he was talking. Bones buckled his harness and Jim hit the simulation start button just as Ishida's voice rang out over the shuttle's comm system and the observation window went transparent.
"Test beginning now, cadets."
After all that, the shuttle test itself was strangely anti-climactic. He and Bones went through the sim smoothly, working together with effortless ease, just as they'd practiced so many times (at Jim's insistence). Bones kept shooting him these slightly incredulous looks, though, like he couldn't quite believe Jim was actually helping him, like he expected him to yell "Psych!" and start laughing at him at any moment. It sucked, and it sucked even worse to know that Jim deserved every suspicious, mistrustful glance, but at least it kept Bones distracted and too mentally preoccupied to have a panic attack.
When it was over, and they had successfully touched down, Bones sat back in his seat and looked like he couldn't quite believe he'd done it. Truth be told, he looked pretty bewildered in general, and Jim eased him up out of his chair with a hand under his elbow and, as unobtrusively as possible, guided him out of the sim-shuttle.
Back in the observation room, Ishida was looking sour, but there was nothing she could do - Bones had flown beautifully.
"I'm putting two demerits on your record, one for slovenly appearance, and one for conduct unbecoming in appearing for your test inebriated, McCoy. You're a disgrace," she shot at him spitefully. "Dismissed." She waited for the expected explosion, and Bones stiffened, ready to take the bait, but Jim kept them moving through the observation room and out the door before he could respond.
Their momentum carried them out into the bright sunlight and partway down the path to the medical dorm before Bones regained the wherewithal to pull his arm free of Jim's hand and stop walking. He glared.
"All right, Jim. Now we talk. What the goddamn hell has been going on?"
Jim darted a look around. There was no one currently within earshot, but this wasn't the place to have a private conversation. "Not here, Bones," he said quietly but forcefully. "I promise, we'll talk, and I'll explain, but not here."
"Fine," Bones said resignedly. "And since I'm the only one of us with a private room, I guess it's my place." He stomped off.
Jim followed Bones to his dorm room, and as they entered, Jim couldn't help but remember the last time he'd been here. God, he'd made such an ass of himself. He only hoped it wasn't too late to fix the mess he'd made.
Bones waved him toward the room's lone armchair, where an open bottle and an assortment of empty, if dubiously clean, glasses were already sitting on a side table. As Jim settled in and poured himself a drink, Bones grabbed a clean uniform from a drawer, stepped into the head, and after a few seconds, Jim heard the sound of the shower starting up. Good. It would give him a few minutes to organize his thoughts.
Only problem was, Jim had gotten no further in organizing his thoughts than Damn, Bones' room looks like a tornado hit it, before Bones was stepping out of the restroom, freshly-scrubbed, clean-shaven, and looking at him with unholy determination.
"All right, kid, here we are. Now talk," Bones said pointedly, sitting on the edge of his bed, across from Jim.
Fuck. Here we go. Jim braced himself to speak the truth that he'd hoped to never, ever reveal to anyone.
"I... was on Tarsus IV."
"You - what?" Whatever Bones was expecting to hear, clearly that wasn't it. He could see Bones processing, could see the media images that came to mind whenever anyone mentioned the Tarsus genocide. Gaunt, hollow-eyed starvation victims, bellies swollen and elbows thicker than their upper arms. Stacks of bodies where, at the end, they had lain, rotting, because there was no fuel to run the incinerators and nobody had the strength left to dig graves. And as haunting as the images were, they didn't hold a candle to the reality. Nothing could. Nothing could ever capture the depth, the magnitude of the horror that had been Tarsus IV. Jim's mind shied away from the details, and he struggled to get his thoughts back on track.
"I was... fourteen at the time. I'd fucked up one too many times at home, driven my stepdad's prized Corvette off a cliff... well, that doesn't matter. Anyway, I was too wild to handle, so my mom sent me and -" he swallowed "- my brother Sam to Tarsus to stay with an aunt and uncle there."
Bones didn't move, didn't even blink. He could see that Bones wasn't sure where this was going, but wasn't about to interrupt. Surprise flared in his eyes when Jim mentioned his brother, another part of Jim's past that he didn't like to discuss. Most people didn't know there'd ever been an older Kirk boy.
"When the famine got bad, Kodos had the colonists rounded up. The kids separate from the adults. It was chaos. No one knew what was going on, what was going to happen. We hadn't had hardly anything to eat for days, couple weeks maybe, so we were... disoriented, I guess. Sam was 17 at the time. He was rounded up with the adults, not the kids. I never saw him again. Learned later that he'd died out tending the fields, the goddamn fields that didn't produce anything anyway. Heat exposure, starvation, who knows. By that time no one was keeping track of cause of death anymore."
He trailed off, fighting memories that were becoming overwhelming.
"Anyway, the day we were rounded up, we - the kids, I mean - sat in a building for hours. I think it was the colony's courthouse. Some of the kids were holding babies, shit, ten- and eleven-year-olds with infants crying in their arms, 'cause all the parents were being held somewhere else. Then Kodos came in and read some prepared speech about how some of us had to die so that the best of us could live. Most of the kids were too young to understand it, but I knew what it meant. Kids were useless. We used up food and didn't contribute anything of value to the colony. We were going to be killed, put down like diseased animals, all of us, even the littlest ones."
His voice was shaking now, and fuck, he had to get himself under control.
"Jim-" Bones started, voice rough, but Jim cut him off. He had to get this out now, all at once, or he was never going to have the courage to finish.
"No. I'm okay." Well, that was a lie, pretty much had been every time he'd said it in his life, but maybe someday it'd be true. "Kodos had a bodyguard. Guy went everywhere with him. I'd seen him around the colony a few times, and there were... rumors about him. That he liked boys, and he liked 'em young. I'd even seen him looking at me once or twice. I wanted to live, goddammit. I just wanted to live. So I caught his eye, from where I was sitting in the group. And I winked and licked my lips and I..." he choked, couldn't continue.
Bones was at his side in an instant, soft voice murmuring nonsense, helping him fight his way out of the memories threatening to engulf him. Bones had his hand out awkwardly, poised to give comfort but afraid to touch him, and Jim grabbed his hand and held onto it like a lifeline. God, how could Bones ever think that Jim would be afraid to touch him, to be touched by him? How could he himself have ever thought that? Bones was his only anchor, the only person he was absolutely sure would never, ever hurt him.
Bones must've got the message, because he pulled Jim over to the bed, sat against the headboard with his legs splayed, and pulled Jim down to sit between them, turned sideways and leaning into Bones' solid chest. Bones' arms were warm around him. They breathed together for a few minutes, drawing reassurance from each other's presence.
Then Bones spoke again. "Jim, fuck, I'm sorry. You don't have to -"
Jim interrupted once again. "Yeah, yeah I do. You need to know this. You deserve to know this, after what I put you through. And maybe... maybe I need to get it out." Bones' arms tightened around Jim, but he didn't say anything else, just nodded against the top of Jim's head. After a moment, Jim resumed.
"The bodyguard whispered something to Kodos, Kodos nodded, and then he beckoned me over. I had to walk past all those other kids, knowing that they were all going to die. And that I was as good as killing them myself, by saving myself and not them. I couldn't look at them, Bones, I couldn't. Well, I'm sure you can guess the rest. Marcus, the bodyguard, he... provided protection and food, and I, well... I did whatever he wanted. The first day, I let him fuck me and then he gave me a bowl of soup. I ate every drop, and then I threw it all up again, all over his room. I never made that mistake again." Bones made a strangled noise and clutched him tighter.
"I tried to bargain with him to save the others, Bones, I swear I did. I offered to do whatever he wanted - cooperate, struggle, beg for it, whatever he wanted from me - if he'd save even one of the others. But he just laughed and said he didn't care if I struggled or not, it was all the same to him. He - shared me out, among the others in Kodos' inner circle, sometimes." He let out a deep, shaky sigh, feeling somehow as if some of the filth he was stained with was let out with that breath.
"So I just kinda... shut down. I don't know. Anyway, finally the federation rescue ships came. I was in pretty bad shape, but still alive. Barely. They made me go to counseling. Couldn't make me talk, though. I've never... never told anyone, before. The worst thing, though, is that my mom never looked me in the eyes again. I don't blame her. I good as killed Sam. He wouldn't've been there if not for my teenage rebellion bullshit. God, Bones. I killed him. First my dad, and then my brother too, then all those kids that I just walked past. All that death, just so I could live. I'm not worth it, Bones, I'm not."
At this, all the grief and guilt rose up in him like a wave and dragged him under. He started crying, choking sobs that wracked his chest. How long this went on, he wasn't sure, but it felt like years. He was adrift, lost, pulled out to sea by the undertow with no way back. And truthfully, he wasn't sure he wanted to get back. So long, so long he'd been pushing this back, this knowledge that he was poison, that he took and took and others died and died so that he could live, worthless as he was. Only a pretty face and a convenient body, after all. Only good for one thing.
"No, Jim, god no, that's not true." Bones' devastated voice broke through his trance, and he realized he must've been speaking aloud the whole time. "God, Jim, you're not worthless. I can't be sorry that you survived. I'm goddamned grateful you did. And shit, Jim, it wasn't your fault. None of it. You must know that, don't you?"
Jim's sobs had quieted to wet snuffles as he listened to Bones' impassioned words and ow, his head really hurt all of a sudden. He didn't answer, just burrowed his face a little deeper against Bones' chest. Didn't think he could answer, not just then.
Bones took his burrowing as a shake of the head, though, and growled softly. "Goddammit, Jim. Don't you know how amazing you are? I love you, you moron. Have since the day I met you. I'd... I'd do anything for you. Tell me how to help you. Tell me how to prove to you that you're not worthless. You're not poison. You're everything. Dammit, Jim, you're everything."
Fuck, now Jim was crying again. He hadn't been such a watering pot since he was like, a baby or some shit. These tears were different, though. Not sobs, didn't feel like they were tearing him apart. Just water sliding down his face, soaking into Bones' shirt. Felt like... like letting go, or maybe like acceptance. That didn't even make any sense, but that was how it felt.
He finally looked up. He must've been a total mess, eyes red-rimmed and puffy, and he could feel the snot flowing out of his nose. What a prize he was. But Bones... didn't look like he minded, or even noticed really. Bones was just staring into his eyes, the concern and - wow - love so clearly written on his face that not even someone as emotionally stunted as Jim could miss it. Jim drew in a long, shaky breath.
"Ow, Bones. My head hurts."
Bones let out a small chuckle. "Whiny brat. I can fix that, but no complaining about the hypo, okay?"
"But, Bones, where's the fun in that?"
"Not supposed to be fun, idiot." Somehow, while they were talking, Bones had leaned over and pulled a hypo out of his nightstand, and now pressed it to Jim's neck, much more gently than usual.
Jim yelped, but it was mostly for show. Then Bones was wiping his nose and his eyes with a handkerchief - a soft white square with "LHM" embroidered in one corner. Only Bones, Jim thought fondly. When Bones had finished cleaning up Jim's face, he pressed a small kiss to his forehead, and Jim dropped his lashes. This was... weird. He wasn't used to these small tendernesses, had never been treated with such gentle reverence before. It was bizarre, but kinda nice.
The hypo had kicked in, and his head felt better. Actually, he felt a little better altogether, better than he'd felt in a long time. Almost felt... lighter. He grinned up at Bones, and if it was a bit wobbly around the edges, well, Bones didn't mention it. "A handkerchief, Bones, seriously? Who has those anymore?"
Bones just rolled his eyes. "Me, obviously."
Jim huffed a small laugh, then turned serious. "Did you, ah, did you mean what you said, before?" He gulped nervously.
"I meant every word, Jim. What part do you mean, though?"
"Um, the part where you asked what you could do, to prove it to me?"
"Yeah? You got something in mind? Anything, Jim, I mean it."
Jim took a deep breath. "I want you to fuck me, Bones."
On to Part 2