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The CMO’s Couch

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“Jim you have to let me look.” 

Jim only groaned and continued to writhe on the biobed.  The privacy curtain had been pulled tight around the biobed but it didn’t stop the sound from traveling throughout the rest of the bay.

“Jim,” McCoy said more forcefully. 

“No,” Jim pushed himself over the edge and vomited on the deck plating right next to the doctor’s bedroom slippers.

“Chris!”

“Right here, boss,” the curtain parted to reveal the head nurse with a basin and a few packets of biodesicant. 

McCoy shoved the basin under Jim while the nurse dumped the packets of power over the puddle of emesis. 

“Sorry, Bones,” the man was in absolute agony. 

“Jim, you don’t have to be in this much pain.” 

“Then give me something.” 

McCoy set a comforting hand on the captain’s hip, “I will after I see what’s going on.” 

“Let me die then,” Jim groaned before vomiting again in the basin. 

“Can you give us a minute?” McCoy’s eyes flicked to the opening in the privacy curtain. 

“Sure thing,” she pulled the fabric shut after leaving.

“Jim,” McCoy spoke softly this time.  “You know I need to look.” 

McCoy thought he heard a growl before the man rolled onto his back. 

“I’ll be quick,” the doctor snapped on a pair of gloves.

Jim’s only response was to bring his elbow over his eyes while the doctor lifted the waistband of his pajama bottoms. 

“Good god man!”

Jim wanted to die of shame. 

“How in the hell did you do that?” 

Jim flinched as the cold, gloved hand touched his inflamed and swollen testicle.  McCoy wanted to wince himself; he didn’t want to imagine this ever happening to him. 

“Nothing, just rolled over in bed,” Jim looked down and wished he hadn’t.

“Are you sure you were just lying there?” McCoy continued to manipulate the swollen tissues. 

“Bones,” he was anxious for the doctor to be finished.

“I’m done, I’m done,” McCoy set the waistband back down and peeled off his gloves. 

“And yes, I was actually asleep.”

“Yeah, well that bastard is good and twisted like a damn pretzel.  At least you had the good sense to comm me; if I don’t operate soon you could lose the testicle.” 

“What?” Jim suddenly pushed to his elbows.

“Easy,” McCoy easily pushed him back down.  “Plenty of time for me to fix it.” 

“Surgery? On my balls?” 

“Well I don’t think you want me to untwist it while you’re awake.” 

“Booones,” the last thing he wanted in the middle of the night was surgery.

McCoy set a comforting hand on his patient’s shoulder, “It's fairly simple, and I can have you back in your bed by mid morning.”

Jim huffed in displeasure. 

McCoy struck the side of Jim’s neck with a hypo he had hidden, “I owe you something for the pain.”

“Fuck,” Jim slapped the injection site. 

“C’mon darlin’,” McCoy helped Jim rise up and swing his legs over the side of the biobed. 

Any movement was agonizing and it was a painful and slow shuffle to the OR Chapel had gotten ready.  McCoy deposited Jim on the table and moved towards the door. 

“Where are you going?” Jim was hunched over and in pain. 

“I’m not operating in my pajamas and bedroom slippers,” McCoy waved to his less than professional attire as Jim had commed him in the middle of the night in tears from the pain. 

“Don’t worry, Captain.  I’ll get you taken care of while the boss changes,” Chapel appeared. 

McCoy left satisfied as Christine was helping pull Jim’s t-shirt off.  He quickly changed into a spare set of scrubs and boots he kept in his office.  The surgeon sterilized his hands and walked in without gowning up, the procedure really was simple enough to do out in the main bay but the captain cocooned in blankets on the hard table deserved the privacy. 

“Ready, kid?” McCoy took a hypo from Chapel’s outstretched hand. 

Jim tilted his head ever so slightly to expose his neck and McCoy was unusually gentle as he delivered the sedatives.   

As quickly as Jim felt like he was falling asleep he was waking up again.  He could hear muffled voices and when he opened his eyes the room was shockingly dark.  Rising up was a painful choice so he rolled his head around to see that he was wrapped up warmly on the homey sofa McCoy had demanded be installed in his office.  A sheet had been tossed over the cushions and a real pillow was under his head. He had rolled his eyes at the CMO’s request at the time but now he was grateful for it and more importantly the privacy he now had. 

The door swished open revealing McCoy with a data pad in the light. 

“Jim?” he called softly. 

“Yeah?” the captain groaned.

McCoy entered the rest of the way with the door closing behind him, “Lights 25%.” 

The lights came up and Jim noticed the doctor was in his ship blues.

“What time is it?” 

“A little after 0800, feelin’ any pain or nausea?” McCoy crouched down with a data pad displaying Jim’s vitals from a monitoring bracelet around his wrist. 

“Did you sedate me?” 

“Nope, that was all you,” McCoy was pushing the blanket aside and lifting up Jim’s pajama bottoms before he could protest the indignity.   

“Why am I in your office?” 

“Didn’t think you’d want an audience out in the bay once morning Sick Call got rolling,” the doctor was satisfied and replaced the clothing and blanket.  “The procedure went smoothly and everything looks the way it should be. There’ll be some swelling for a day or two but it’ll go away, and I went ahead and fixed it so the other side won’t ever have the same issue.” 

Jim didn’t care; he just wanted to stop talking about his balls. 

“All right, I have some pain meds for you and I’ll leave you alone for a while,”

 Truth be told, he was starting to hurt and readily took the hypo. 

“Get some more rest, darlin’,” McCoy stood up and dropped the hypo on his desk. 

“Lights off,” the surgeon said on his way out. 

“Doctor McCoy, have you seen the Captain this morning?” 

The door was shut but there was no mistaking the voice of his First Officer outside the CMO’s office. 

“Yep, saw him at Sick Call and sent him back to his quarters to rest.”  

“Is the Captain ill?”  

“Nothing major, he just needs a day or two.”  

“Very well, thank you Doctor McCoy.”  

The voices and footsteps retreated and Jim relaxed into the cushions. 

### 

“Hey Christine, is Bones here?” 

The nurse looked up from her desk and would’ve been lying if the sight of the captain willingly in sickbay didn’t shock her.  Her expert eyes told her he was definitely here for business and not just to irritate her boss. 

“Captain, you look terrible.” 

“Damn migraine from hell,” he pinched the bridge of his nose. 

“Let’s get you somewhere dark then, an engineer slipped a disc on gamma so Leonard is in surgery right now.” 

The petite nurse led Jim to McCoy’s darkened office.  She sat him down on the couch and left, only to return moments later with a tricorder. 

“Okay, let me take a look to be sure you actually have a migraine.  I don’t think Leonard would appreciate me letting you walk around if your brain is bleeding.” 

Jim was in so much pain he honestly didn’t care and submitted willingly to the over cautious nurse. 

“Any nausea or dizziness?” 

“No but light and sound are making it worse.” 

“Okay, Jim,” she whispered.  “Be right back.” 

Chapel left with a reassuring pat on his knee.  The door didn’t close behind her but the alcove the sofa was in was dark enough to provide some relief and he tipped over to lie down on the cushions. 

He was sure he was about to start drooling on the armrest when Chapel returned with her arms full and closed the door behind her. 

“Lights twenty percent,” she called after the room was plunged into the pitch black.  “Okay, Jim. With what Leonard wants me to hit you with we’re gonna set you up here to rest.” 

Jim was more annoyed than anything; all he wanted was something for the pain and to go crawl in his own bed in his own quarters. 

“But…” 

“He wants you close, Jim,” she said softly. 

“Fine,” Jim groused, he knew he wasn’t going to win once the CMO went into mother hen mode 

“Okay, let's get you comfortable and then I’ll leave you alone,” Chapel guided him to a sitting position. 

He would have blushed if his head weren’t hurting so bad when she crouched down and slipped off his boots.  He obeyed without a complaint when she ordered him to lose the pants and gold shirt next. A sheet and pillow was put down before he was allowed to lay back down in his shorts and undershirt. 

“Okay, Jim.  I need you to roll to your side.  This hypo needs a large muscle.” 

“I’m never coming to sickbay again,” he huffed while pulling himself to his side. 

“Well this is the extra good stuff,” the nurse grabbed the band of his shorts and pulled them down.  “Fair warning, this stuff has a bite to it.” 

He felt the cold of the hypospray’s nozzle before he felt the deep stabbing pain of the medication injecting into his glute.  Jim wasn’t sure what was worse, his migraine or the injection that was supposed to take care of the migraine.  

“Fuck.  Just let me keep the migraine the next time.  I came in for a headache and now I’ve had to strip and get a hypo to the ass.” 

The nurse chuckled and righted his shorts before unfolding a blanket. 

“I’m supposed to be on beta shift today,” he was already fighting the pull of the medication. 

“Not anymore,” Chapel gathered up her paraphernalia. 

“He did this on purpose to keep me here,” even Jim’s tongue was feeling heavy. 

The captain was asleep before she could tell him to get some rest.  She turned the lights the rest of the way off on her way back to her desk to finish up the charting she’d been doing. 

“How is he?” McCoy came out from the back of the bay pulling an anti-grav stretcher with the engineer, his surgical mask was still around his neck. 

“Hasn’t so much as twitched.  Did you really have to give him that much?” 

“He won’t stay down otherwise,” McCoy and a nearby corpsman got the engineer transferred to a biobed in the main bay. 

The surgeon finished up his notes and left the data pad in the slot at the end of the biobed. 

“How long has it been since you dosed him?” McCoy pulled his mask off and dumped it in a trash bin. 

Chapel looked down at the chronometer on the computer terminal, “An hour and a half.” 

McCoy reached for the chart he knew she had ready.  He tabbed through it to satisfy himself that nothing more serious was wrong with Jim.  Chapel knew her boss and wordlessly set the CNS specific tricorder on the counter. The doctor reddened and grabbed it, heading towards his office. 

The door slipped open without a sound.  He closed it behind him and ordered the lights up just enough so he could see.  Jim appeared to be dead to the world and was drooling on the pillow. McCoy dropped to one knee and waved the tricorder wand around the man’s head. As confirmed by Chapel and her scans, it was nothing more than a migraine that was on its way to being resolved.  McCoy pulled the blanket up further and smoothed out the edges. 

Chapel only gave him a raised look when he returned. 

“Yes you were right,” was the only consolidation. 

“He said he was on beta so you need to authorize his absence.” 

“You know as soon as I do that hobgoblin will be down here.” 

“I don’t know why, I sent the captain back to his quarters.” 

McCoy caught the twinkle in her eye and pressed his thumb to the data pad she held to him. 

### 

The small coffee maker beeped to signal that brewing was complete.  McCoy greedily grabbed the carafe and filled his mug to the brim before adding the rest of the pot to another mug.  He took a sip from his mug so that the precious liquid wouldn't slosh everywhere as he moved.  

"Uh huh," Christine Chapel eyed the level of coffee in the mug placed in front her to that of the one in the CMO's hand. 

"What?" his eyebrow was inching upwards. 

"Funny how mine is never as full as yours," she pulled out a sugar packet from a desk drawer and sprinkled it into the steaming brew. 

"You should be thankful I'm sharing so you don't have to drink replicator sludge.  Beggars can't be choosers," McCoy perched on the counter to the nurse’s station to sip his coffee. 

Chapel scoffed, "Just you wait.  I'm sure the Captain would not be pleased to hear that his gift to sickbay is not being shared equally." 

"And what do you think Jim would do about it?  He wouldn't come within 50 meters of this place willingly.  You are more than welcome to brew the coffee. I think long ago the nurses used to bring the doctors coffee, not the other way around." 

McCoy surveyed the brimming sickbay over the lip of his mug and realized he was beyond exhausted.  A particularly infectious strain of the Ankarian Flu had somehow made it on board and began its assault on the crew.  It had all of the classic symptoms of most Terran flus but this one had the bonus of causing short-term memory loss in a significant portion of those infected.  It was pure luck if their antivirals affected the strain so most of the crew was left to fight it on their own with sickbay only being able to provide supportive care.   

McCoy tabbed through their latest statistics while he drank his coffee; they had finally come through to the other side of the peak and most of the medical staff had been dismissed to get much needed rest. 

“Galley to sickbay.”  

Chapel huffed and set down her mug, “Chapel here.” 

“Uh, we found the Captain, ma’am.”  

McCoy straightened, his muscles on alert. 

“Is there a problem we can help you with?” 

“We’re about to start mid rats and he’s asleep in a corner in the mess hall.”  

She saw the door close behind McCoy before the crewman had finished explaining the situation. 

“Thank you, someone will be right there.” 

“Galley out.”  

Chapel managed to finish her coffee and change an ensign’s IV bag that was about to run dry before McCoy returned with a glassy-eyed captain in his grip. 

“He definitely looks sick, but we’re out of beds,” Chapel looked at all of the closed privacy curtains.  “We can put him in OR-2 if we need to admit him.” 

“Can you get my office ready?  We’ll put him there for the time being.” 

“Sure thing,” Chapel crossed the bay to the supply room. 

Jim was shivering on the couch when she entered the dim office with a stack of bedding and pajamas.  She knew McCoy and she knew he was going to keep Jim in sickbay while he was on shift even if he didn’t need to be admitted.  McCoy eyed her and lifted Jim off the cushions so she could make the couch ready. 

“Can you bring a couple of bags of saline?” McCoy lowered Jim. 

“Want to try the triloxavir?” 

“Yeah, what the hell?  Start with 10 migs per kilo.” 

Chapel nodded and left.   

“Bones?” Jim had a moment of awareness as McCoy pulled off his shirts.  “What’s going on?” 

“You didn’t think to tell me you were feeling this bad?” McCoy wrangled the man’s long arms into the pajama top. 

“What?” 

“Ankarian Flu.  Jesus, Jim, I can hear your chest rattlin’ from here.  You just had to catch it for yourself. Can you stand? We need to get you changed.” 

Jim looked down at his pants and was confused. 

McCoy rolled his eyes and hefted the man into a standing position, “You should’ve told me before it was this bad.  Your fever is on the high side and your hydration is crap.” 

Jim was even more confused when he lost his pants, “Bones?” 

“A little help, darlin’?” McCoy struggled to pull Jim’s feet through the pants. 

Jim gingerly stepped out of his uniform pants and into the pajamas.  McCoy pulled them up and tied the drawstring.  

Jim remained standing, “Am I sick?” 

McCoy put a firm hand on the captain’s shoulder and pushed him to the sofa, “Yes, Jim.” 

“I don’t remember…” 

“It causes memory issues.” 

“Oh,” Jim was pushed onto the pillow. 

“I only have a manual start kit, all of the autos are being used,” Chapel entered, pulling an IV stand that had several bags swinging from its hooks. 

McCoy rolled up Jim’ pajama sleeve on the closest arm and slipped on the inflatable tourniquet cuff, “These veins are shit.  Looks like he’s been dehydrated for a while.” 

“Want me to try, boss?” Chapel said after watching the doctor struggle for a few minutes to find a suitable vein. 

“Sure,” McCoy moved out of the way. 

The nurse sat on the floor and pulled the captain’s arm over the edge so that his hand was dangling over her lap.  After a few moments of rolling and flicking her fingers along the inside of his arm she placed her thumb down and asked for the needle.  Her movements were slow and deliberate but she was rewarded with a flashback on the first try. McCoy saw her cheeky grin as she pulled the needle free and deflated the cuff. 

“Show off,” McCoy handed her the end of the line he’d primed for her. 

“Just have to keep proving I’m worth keeping around,” she connected the line and secured the tubing.  

“Yeah, yeah,” McCoy placed Jim’s arm back on the couch and pulled the blanket over his sleeping form. 

“We should just set you up with a private biobed in here.” 

“Don’t you have work to do since you’re so valuable?” McCoy scowled. 

Chapel grabbed the biotrash and left. 

“Hello, Commander.  You’re down here awfully late, is everything alright?” McCoy heard on the other side of the closed door. 

“Nurse Chapel, I apologize for the late hour but I have been unable to find the Captain or Doctor McCoy.”  

“I’m sorry, sir.  I haven’t seen the Captain but Leonard is in his office resting for a bit.”  

“Thank you, Nurse Chapel.  I will attempt to speak with him at a more appropriate hour given the exhaustion of the medical staff.”  

“Good night, sir.”  

“All clear, boss,” he heard her call out moments later. 

“You are a saint,” McCoy told his head nurse as he left Jim to rest while he continued his shift. 

### 

McCoy heard the captain well in advance of him being supported into sickbay by Uhura and a security crewman.  The man was glassy eyed and singing in an alien language at full volume. 

“What the fu—,” McCoy stopped what he was doing at a patient’s bedside to gape at the spectacle. 

“What’s that noise?” Chapel came around the corner from the back of sickbay.  “Oh.” 

“Where can we put him?” Uhura looked like she was about to strangle the man singing loudly next to her ear. 

“Depends on what happened,” McCoy stepped in front of Jim with his tricorder. 

“He drank something from the bowl the Premier gave him to toast the signing of their charter.” 

“Just great,” McCoy scowled at the results.  “Well, he doesn’t appear to be in any immediate danger.”    

Jim proved him wrong by belting out some particularly high notes. 

“What’s he singing anyways?” McCoy winced at the volume change. 

“Every other word is a different language.” 

McCoy looked around the bay, “Uh, let’s put him in my office.  Let’s hope the door will dampen the sound.” 

Uhura sighed with relief once they dumped him on the sofa and shut the door behind them.  They could still hear the captain, but at least it was at a more tolerable volume. 

“Want something for a headache while you’re here?” 

“Oh, definitely.” 

McCoy motioned to Chapel and she pulled the communications officer to the nurse’s desk. 

“Want a torpedo, boss?” Chapel delivered pain meds to Uhura’s exposed neck. 

“What’s a ‘torpedo’?” Uhura asked. 

“Combo of three different meds guaranteed to take any agitated patient down.  Nah, we need to let some of those psychotropics degrade before we hit him with anything.” 

“There was more than one in that cup?” 

“Probably given how his brain was lit up like a Christmas tree on the scan.  How long ago did he take it?” 

“Maybe a couple of hours?” Uhura had to think since she didn’t witness Jim toast the Premier. 

Everyone winced when another string of high notes made their way from behind the closed door. 

“Want me to find some ear plugs?” Uhura took that as her cue to find peace and quiet elsewhere. 

“He might tire himself out soon?”  

“Good luck with that,” the communications officer threw over her shoulder as she bolted for the door. 

McCoy blew out a breath he was holding. 

“There’s not anything in there he can break can he?” Chapel looked at the door after a particularly loud thump was heard. 

“I don’t think so?” 

“Good luck, boss,” Chapel watched as the doctor headed towards his office. 

“Dammit man!” McCoy opened the door and nearly tripped over Jim who was on the floor in front of the door. 

“Booooooooones,” Jim stared up at the man with unfocused eyes. 

McCoy knelt down, “Jim?” 

“You don’t have to yell, you know.” 

“Jim, I’m not yelling,” the doctor peeled open one of Jim’s eyes with his thumb and forefinger. 

There was barely any blue the pupils were blown so wide. 

“I think I’m high?” 

McCoy rolled his eyes, “Yeah, no shit, darlin’.  Do you know what you took?” 

Jim’s response was a few lines of some song in Klingon. 

“Chris, can you—“ 

“Right here, boss,” Chapel was in the doorway with a blood collection device. 

“Do you even need me here?” McCoy scoffed and took the thin instrument. 

“Yeah, he’s all yours,” the nurse left before she could get roped into listening to more of Jim’s off key and loud singing. 

McCoy pushed up the captain’s sleeve and turned his arm over.  He placed the device over a vein and activated it. Jim howled. 

“Jim, what’s wrong?” he held Jim’s arm steady as the chamber in the device filled. 

“It hurtsssssss.” 

“What?  No it doesn’t.  I’m already done you infant.” 

Chapel returned long enough to take the full collection chamber from the doctor. 

“C’mon, let's get you off the floor,” McCoy heaved the dead weight of a captain to a shaky standing position. 

Jim was of no use for the short shuffle to the sofa and fell with a heavy thud into the cushions. 

“This couch is really comfy you know?” 

“I’m sure it is, Jim,” McCoy swung the man’s feet up onto the sofa. 

“I don’t want to lay down,” Jim pouted. 

“Yeah you do, kid,” 

“Yeah I do,” Jim rolled his head along the armrest. 

Satisfied that Jim seemed stationary, McCoy left to find Chapel analyzing the blood sample. 

“How is he still conscious?” Chapel stared at the results on the display screen. 

“God, that’s enough to take down a herd of elephants.” 

“Hey, Booooooones,” Jim was upright and leaning heavily in the doorframe of the CMO’s office. 

“Dammit, Jim,” McCoy stomped to the captain with the sloppy grin and pulled him back to the sofa by his arm. 

McCoy backed out of the room once he had Jim lying down again. 

“Doctor McCoy?” 

The CMO’s heart skipped a beat and he spun around fast enough to make himself dizzy. 

“Christ, Spock.  Don’t sneak up like a damn ninja.” 

“My apologies, Doctor.  I came to ascertain the condition of the Captain, Lieutenant Uhura expressed some concern after he consumed a potent beverage.” 

McCoy didn’t need to answer as Jim had resumed singing as everyone in sickbay could hear the captain from behind the closed door. 

“Is there nothing you can give him?” 

“Not with all that shit still in his system.” 

“That is most...unpleasant.” 

“For us or for him?”   

“For you of course, Doctor.  Please keep me apprised of his condition.” 

“Yeah, yeah,” McCoy waved off the Vulcan who seemed glad, in his own way, to escape the noise. 

It wasn’t long after Spock left did the office suddenly fall silent.  The silence was so abrupt both McCoy and Chapel rushed into the room to find the captain passed out on the sofa, 

“Finally,” McCoy held two fingers under Jim’s jaw. 

“I’m going to find a bucket, I’m guessing he’s going to wake up with one of the worst hangovers in his life.” 

“Serves him right for drinkin’ alien hooch,” McCoy rolled Jim to his left side. 

### 

“Have you seen the Captain, Doctor McCoy?” 

“I haven't, Spock, but I just got here.  I thought he was still on the surface coordinating rescues.  He’s probably about done, we’re finally down to a trickle of incoming wounded here.” 

McCoy saw the Vulcan’s eyes flick over his shoulder to the closed door of his office. 

“I will try again at a later time.” 

“I’ll holler if I see him.” 

Spock gave a nod of his head and spun around on his heels to leave.  McCoy ran a hand through his hair as he surveyed the bay. They had been in the middle of a science mission when they received a distress signal that sent them hauling ass to the edge of a quadrant to a colony that had suffered a terrible seismic event that leveled their city.  Wounded had been brought up to the ship throughout the week and finally they were discharging more than they were admitting. Efforts on the planet had shifted from rescue to recovery and Starfleet dispatched ships with heavy equipment that could handle the remaining work better than they could. 

“I’m outta here for the day,” M’Benga clapped McCoy on his shoulder. 

“Get some rest, Geoff.” 

McCoy made rounds before telling Chapel that he would be in his office to catch up on charting. 

“Want me to comm the mess hall for dinner for him?” 

“Thanks,” he tossed over his shoulder as he neared his door. 

He tabbed the door open and was met with darkness and the sound of soft breathing. 

“Lights thirty percent,” McCoy checked to see if the lump on his sofa moved. 

Jim didn’t even twitch.  The doctor checked the rate on the IV pump and smoothed out the blanket covering him.  The poor guy had exhausted himself during his week on the planet’s surface.  

McCoy pulled out his chair and sat at his terminal; he angled the screen so that it was positioned where he would watch both the display and the sofa.  He usually dictated his notes but this time he typed them out so he wouldn’t disturb the finally resting captain. 

“Boss?” there was a gentle tap at his closed door a while later. 

“Thanks,” he took the tray from her hands. 

Jim was dead to the world and didn’t hear the items on the tray rattle as he set it down on his desk.  His ever-thoughtful nurse even put another bag of IV fluids on it since she knew the first bag would be almost finished.  McCoy changed the nearly empty bag on the IV stand before he crouched next to the side of the sofa. 

“Jim?” McCoy called out softly. 

Even in the dim light he could see the sunburn on the bridge of Jim’s nose and forehead.  The planet was on the warm side to say the least with average temperatures around 40C. 

“Jim?” he called out again and set his hand on the shoulder poking out from under the blanket. 

“Jim, it’s time to eat,” there was a gentle shake. 

Jim finally stirred. 

“Hmmm?” Jim didn’t open his eyes. 

“Time to wake up.  You need to eat, kid.” 

“Mmm tired.” 

“I know, but I’ll let you sleep afterwards.  It’s more important to get some food in you.” 

Jim made like he was going to fall back asleep when McCoy wiggled and arm under his shoulders and hefted him upright. 

“I get it, I’m up,” Jim tipped his head to lean back on the cushions. 

McCoy pulled the blanket down to Jim’s lap. 

“What the hell’s this?” Jim held up his hand with the IV catheter in it. 

“That’s what you get for running yourself ragged on the hottest planet ever.” 

Jim scowled as the tray was set on his lap. 

“Eat everything and I’ll take it out when you finally need to go take a piss.” 

McCoy pulled the lids off the bowl of broth and cup of juice. 

“You know all I wanted when I got back was a cold beer.” 

“Next time I’ll have Geoff stick you in the main bay you ungrateful brat.” 

“Please, everyone knows I’m your favorite,” Jim dutifully picked up a spoon and got to work on his dinner. 

McCoy rolled his eyes and sipped at the coffee Chapel put on the tray for him. 

“I’m sure Spock has already been by.” 

“And that’s precisely the reason I put you in here, you’d be tempted to work instead of rest.  Eat your dinner,” McCoy turned back to focus on his terminal. 

McCoy approved when Jim held up his empty bowl.   

“Need you for a minute,” Chapel said from the other side of the door. 

“Stay here, and behave.” 

Dealing with the colonist he was summoned for took longer than expected and Jim was asleep again by the time he returned to his office.  The bag of fluids was done so he disconnected the line and capped the port in his hand. 

“Just take it out already.” 

“Shit, Jim,” McCoy jumped.  “Did you piss yet?” 

“Help me up then,” Jim grimaced as his sore muscles protested the movement. 

McCoy got Jim into his boots and standing before he struck the side of his neck with a hypo from his pocket 

“Every damn time,” Jim slapped the stinging injection site. 

“Come on, darlin’,” the shuffle to the head was slow. 

Jim absolutely refused any more help past the bathroom door. 

“Happy now?” Jim exited. 

McCoy peaked at the screen on the wall displaying the analysis from the toilet bowl sensors. 

“Yeah, yeah.  I’ll get Christine to pull the line.” 

The nurse either had great hearing or a sixth sense because she was waiting for him at her desk. 

“Every time I’m here you guys poke me with shit,” Jim closed his eyes and held out his hand. 

“All done,” Chapel finished before Jim really had a chance to whine. 

Jim looked down at his hand with not a hole in sight, “You’re much less heavy handed than he is.” 

“Get some rest, Jim,” the nurse wisely deflected while her boss was in earshot. 

“I tagged you off duty tomorrow,” McCoy ushered Jim to the main doors. 

Jim opened his mouth to complain but was silenced by the doctor’s glare. 

“Night, Bones,” Jim said with a wave of his hand as he left before McCoy’s mind changed. 

“Night, kid,” McCoy said to the closed doors. 

### 

“Boss, why don’t you go wait in your office?” Chapel said sternly to the pacing CMO.  “At the very least go sit down and get off your leg.” 

The nurse’s words shook the doctor out of his thoughts and he looked down at himself.  His knee was still in a brace and a plastic frame around his wrist. 

“Yeah, you’re right,” McCoy hobbled to his office. 

Once he got in there the anxiety ratcheted itself up a few degrees and he started to pace.  By dumb luck the transporter had managed to lock onto his signal while Jim was still stuck on the planet in the sandstorm.  Though he couldn’t be certain that it wasn’t by design after the scaly camel beast they’d been given to ride tossed him from his saddle.  He’d broken his wrist from putting his hands out to brace his fall and a few ligaments in his knee were torn when his foot got stuck in the stirrup.   

Geoff fixed him up easily enough once he returned, but Jim and a few others on the away team had to ride out the storm in some rather questionable dwellings.  He kept refreshing the screen on his data pad to see if the weather was abating any. 

A sharp pain flashed in his still healing knee when he spun around to fast while pacing. 

“Dammit,” he limped to the sofa and fell to its cushions. 

He pulled the knee to the cushions and leaned back onto the armrest.  Another refresh of the data and no new information. 

“Boss?” Chapel peeked through the door. 

“Yeah?” 

“Can I grab you anything?” 

“I’m fine, go worry about someone else.” 

Chapel retreated and shut the door to leave the wounded bear alone.  No sooner than he pulled up a live transcript from the Bridge did the nurse come back. 

“What now?” he growled. 

“Just brought you an ice pack and a pillow for that knee,” she held up her full hands. 

“Thanks,” he shoved the pillow under his leg and topped the aching joint with the ice pack. 

“I’ll let Geoff know you’ll finish his paperwork.” 

McCoy wanted to throw the data pad at her back when she left.  He grumbled for five minutes before getting started on the work, it wasn’t like he could be on deck helping out with patients. 

He toed his boots off and wiggled deeper into the cushions. 

“Damn couch is too squishy.” 

“Doing all right, Boss?” Chapel was back a couple of hours later. 

“Fine,” he waved her off. 

He wasn’t sure when he fell asleep but something pricked at his mind that someone else was in the room with him.  The room was almost pitch black except for the bright glare of his computer terminal. 

“Lights,” he commanded. 

“Shit, Bones,” Jim’s head came around the back of the terminal, his blue eyes electric in the glare of the screen. 

“Jim?  What the hell are you doing here?” 

Jim didn’t look any worse for wear other than some dark circles under his eyes and being incredibly dirty. 

“Writing my report while it’s still fresh,” he pointed to the screen. 

“When did you get back?  Did Geoff look you over?” McCoy pulled himself to a sitting position. 

“Yes, mom,” Jim rolled his eyes.  “Everyone was fine and it’s been about five hours maybe?” 

McCoy tasted the tell tale sign of a stale mouth. 

“Did you know how loud you snore?  Chapel had to shut the door on you because you were bothering people out there.” 

McCoy swung his feet to the ground and was surprised to feel the absence of any pain in his knee.  He looked down to see the brace was gone. 

“They ran another regen cycle,” Jim flicked his eyes to see the doctor test his range of motion. 

“Why didn’t you wake me?” McCoy pulled on his discarded boots. 

“Christine and I both tried to wake you but you were dead asleep.  She said to leave you be and then I got busy; didn’t realize how much time had passed.” 

“I didn’t mean to fall asleep,” McCoy was still warming his brain up. 

“Yeah, that couch is dangerous.  Give me five minutes and I’ll be done,” Jim typed furiously. 

McCoy stood up and stretched his muscles that had been compressed on the sofa for longer than he meant. 

“All done,” Jim waved the screen off. 

McCoy stopped Jim as he came around the desk.  Jim knew to stand still and let the doctor appease his sense of worry with a quick visual exam. 

“You bring out anything to poke me with and I’m out of here.” 

“You’re absolutely filthy, kid.” 

“Yeah, sand blocked the door and we kinda had to tunnel our way out,” Jim ran a hand through his hair and sand fell to the floor. 

“Jim,” McCoy was not happy to see the mess on his office floor. 

“C’mon, Bones, it can be cleaned up.  Let’s go to the mess, I’m starving here.  All we had with us were those damn protein nibs.” 

McCoy followed the captain from his office 

“Captain, Doctor McCoy,” Spock was waiting for them on the other side of the office door. 

“Hey, Spock.” 

“The shift report said you were in sickbay, Captain.” 

“Oh, yeah.  I was using Bone’s terminal to write my report while he was asleep.” 

McCoy felt the tips of his ears flush with warmth. 

“I trust you have recovered, Doctor?” 

“Fit as a fiddle.” 

Spock eyed the Captain unconvinced. 

Jim threw up his hands, “I promise I was not hurt.” 

“It’s true,” M’Benga tossed from the nurse’s desk he was working from. 

“Very well.  I would not have expected you to enter sickbay willingly given the previous examples—“ 

Jim rolled his eyes, “Is there anything you need, Commander?” 

“Not at this time, Captain.  Rest well.” 

“Hobgoblin,” McCoy muttered as Spock left. 

“C’mon, Bones,” Jim pulled the doctor through the doors.