brighteyedjill: Bones is pensive (ST: McCoy in gray)
[personal profile] brighteyedjill
Title: Stop What You’re Doing and Breathe
Pairing: Kirk/McCoy
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 770
Note: Written for Five Acts, Round Four for [livejournal.com profile] tresa_cho for the prompts drowning, nightmare, and hurt/comfort
Summary: McCoy has to get to Jim, no matter the obstacle.



McCoy knows the creek that ran through the upper pasture at his Grandpa’s farm doesn’t belong here, winding its way through sickbay. His feet carry him towards the edge of their own volition.

Jim stands on the far side of the water. His hand is pressed to his side, and McCoy notices dark trickles of red staining his uniform. Jim has one of his trademark devil-may-care grins slapped on, but McCoy can see the strain in the wrinkles around Jim’s eyes.

“It’s fine,” Jim calls across the water. “I can handle it. Go back.”

“The hell I will.” McCoy wades forward into the muddy shallows, but the water is rising, lapping up over the deck.

“Bones, don’t!” Jim steps forward, but stumbles. Grimacing, he falls to one knee. A spatter of blood lands at his feet.

The mud pulls at McCoy’s boots. He manages to drag one of his feet free and lunge forward, but the creek bed has eroded beneath his feet. He pitches forward, his flailing arms slapping ineffectually at the water’s surface before he goes under.

McCoy hadn’t thought the little creek had a current, but the rushing water is strong, dragging him down. He fights his way up into the air. On the opposite bank, which seems unbelievably far away, Jim is lying face down on the deck. McCoy gulps in a lungful of precious air and shouts, “Jim!”

The undertow tugs him under again, and this time when McCoy kicks he can’t feel the bottom. His lungs start to burn as he struggles. Now that the surface of the water is beyond his reach, he’s painfully aware of his body’s need for oxygen. He opens his eyes, but the water is as dark as the vacuum of space. He tries to breathe, but only succeeds in gulping in water.

Panic pours into McCoy along with the liquid, and he kicks frantically. He has to make it to Jim. The rushing water is carrying him down, down, downstream and away. He’s sinking further and further, toward the cold, muddy bottom far below.

“Bones!”

The voice sounds miles distant, muffled through the rushing water.

“Bones, it’s me!”

He thrashes against the pull of the current. If he could just break free, he could get some air, he could make it to the other side, to Jim. If only the water wasn’t so damn cold.

McCoy slams into something, hard, and the impact forces the air from his lungs—Air? He gulps in a breath, and his lungs fill with oxygen.

“That’s it, Bones. Breathe. Breathe.”

McCoy’s eyes fly open to see Jim’s worried face above him. His hands are braced on McCoy’s shoulders, pressing him to the bed. He’s stripped to the waist, and there’s no blood, no wound. He’s fine. McCoy sucks in breath after precious breath, still not quite convinced that he can really get enough.

“Whoa,” Jim says. His smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes. “We’ve got a live one, here.”

McCoy can’t really manage a brave smile in return. He fists his hands in the sheets and just breathes while Jim traces little circles against his shoulder and whispers nonsense.

“Tell me?” Jim asks eventually.

McCoy shakes his head. When he closes his eyes he can still hear the terrible silence of being underwater. It’s too much like the kind of death one could expect in space.

“The shuttle only lost pressure momentarily,” Jim says softly. “There are backup environmental controls for that sort of thing. Sulu had the power back in less than two minutes. It’s not like we were completely depressurized. Well, obviously. I mean, I wouldn’t be here if… Oh.”

McCoy realizes that his breathing has quickened again, shallow and panicked. He lets go of the covers to grip the sharp edge of Jim’s hip and ground himself in something solid and warm. “Don’t die like that,” he says. “Please don’t die like that, where I can’t get to you.”

Jim leans his head forward and rests against McCoy’s forehead. “I won’t,” he says. “I’m going to die an old man, bored to death in rural Georgia with my cranky country doctor husband.”

“That’s fine,” McCoy says. “That’s just fine.” He curls a hand around the back of Jim’s neck to pull him into a kiss, and breathes him in like oxygen.
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brighteyedjill

January 2012

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