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Leonard McCoy had just managed to get to sleep when his door chime rang. He cursed softly, called for lights, and checked his chronometer. Someone better be dying or giving birth, he thought sourly, as he stumbled out of his bunk and to the door. The door slid open.

Jim Kirk stood on the other side. He wasn’t dying (not yet, Bones thought viciously), and he certainly wasn’t giving birth. He simply looked miserable.

“Bones,” he asked in that sad, melting, I’m-an-orphan-and-someone-took-my-teddy-bear tone that he had perfected, “can I sleep here tonight?”

“Oh for Christ’s sake!” McCoy waved him in, knowing he didn’t have the heart to shut the door (not to mention that this was his captain, who could put him on gamma shift for a year).

Jim padded in, head down, shoulders slumped. All he needed was a security blanket, and he could have posed as “sad little boy” for one of those God-awful black velvet tourist paintings that the Rigillians made a fortune from.

McCoy pointed to a chair. “Let me guess,” he said, sitting down opposite Jim. “You and the hobgoblin got into it again.”

“We did not get into it,” Jim said with dignity, a pose that was completely ruined by the wobbling chin. “Just because I refuse to sleep with someone who thinks I should be mature enough not to be doing extreme sports…”

“Which you should be,” McCoy interjected.

“And who insists on reminding me that he warned me I’d probably break several ribs on that rock wall…”

“Which you did.”

“Damnit, Bones, whose side are you on?” Jim asked angrily.

“I’m not on anyone’s side,” McCoy retorted. “You’re the one who showed up at my door at the ass-crack of night because you and Lover-Boy have managed to butt heads yet again!”

“I’m not going to let Spock boss me!”

McCoy gave his friend a penetrating look. Jim Kirk had never responded well to authority; frankly, McCoy was surprised that he’d ended up with a lover as strong-willed as Spock. But he also knew that Jim loved that pointed-eared mule.

“Jim,” he said gently. “Hasn’t it occurred to you that when Spock is ‘bossy,’ it’s because he’s worried about you, scared for you? He has to stand by while you throw yourself into landing parties, bar fights, and rock walls with the same enthusiasm. You know, most Vulcans don’t survive when a bond mate dies. Plus you told me he can feel what you’re feeling, which means every time you managed to crack another bone, he has to deal with the pain, too.”

Jim looked suddenly stricken. “I…I didn’t think about that,” he said quietly. “Oh, man. I never thought about that.”

“Maybe you should.” Just then, the door chimed. Jim jumped two feet in the air.

“Tell him I’m not here,” he informed McCoy.

McCoy yelled, “Come on in, Spock; he’s here.” Jim glared at him.

The door opened. Spock walked in, walked right past McCoy, and pulled Jim into his arms. “T’hy’la,” he said softly, “Please do not run away. I do not want to make you angry.”

Jim cuddled close and kissed him. “I’m sorry, love; I shouldn’t worry you so. I understand now; I’ll try to protect myself more.”

“Ashaya,” Spock breathed. “Thank you.” They kissed again—and again. Jim’s hand started sliding down Spock’s back. Spock pressed closer to Jim and started to purr.


McCoy was glad he had a spare couch in his office. Someone on the command crew had to get a full night’s sleep. He knew damned well Jim and Spock weren't sleeping.

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