akainagi: (trek - k/b in reds)
[personal profile] akainagi
Title: Submit, Fight, Fail, Fall (or why you can't fight the blood that's in you)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] akainagi
Rating/Warnings/Spoilers: NC-17 / Spoilers for XI
Fandom/Pairing/Prompt: Star Trek AOS AU, Kirk/McCoy
Disclaimer: Alas, I do not own Star Trek.
Summary: Spawned by Word Wars over at [livejournal.com profile] jim_and_bones. Jim Kirk is an omega with a chip on his shoulder. He's convinced all alphas are assholes. Then he meets one that isn't.
Author's Note: This fic features the alpha/beta/omega trope. For a background on this trope check out the fanlore wiki HERE.



[CHAPTER 17]


When Leonard saw Jim’s name on the clinic’s triage report, next to the words “suspected rib fracture and multiple contusions,” his first inclination was to march into the exam room and give the man a tongue-lashing for his damn-fool reckless behavior. The list of injuries read like the results of a patented Jim Kirk bar brawl.

His second inclination, arrived at after a moment’s thought, was to hand the case off to someone who could actually come within shouting distance of impartiality.

His third, and ultimately final inclination, was to suck it up, walk into the exam room, and act like the fucking professional he was.

Jim sat on the edge of the biobed, shirtless and already beginning to bruise impressively. He leaned awkwardly on his arm, clearly favoring his left side. His eyes widened slightly as he watched Leonard enter the room. Then Jim let out a small huff of a laugh, followed by a wince and a curse.

“My sentiments exactly,” Leonard said acerbically, maintaining his distance a few feet from where Jim sat. “Imagine my lack of surprise when I saw what you were in here for.” The doctor eyeballed the impressive cut on Jim’s forehead and the developing shiner around his left eye. “Let me guess: you decided to donate some blood to the floor of the local barroom?”

Jim gave a half-shrug on his good side. “What can I say, Doctor, you know me too well.”

Up until recently, Leonard would have agreed with that sentiment. “Lie back on the bed and let me survey the damage,” he ordered.

Jim tried to comply, but from the hitching of his breath and the awkwardness of his movements, he wasn’t going to succeed without a sizeable amount of pain. A healer’s nature took over, and Leonard moved forward to help, stabilizing Jim’s injured side. Jim accepted his help with a surprising amount of forbearance.

As Leonard leaned in to help the other man lie back, a familiar scent assaulted him. Totally inappropriate for the context, but unmistakable, the tang of omega pheromones lingered in the air. Leonard was momentarily transported back to the moment almost two weeks ago when that seductive mix of chemicals had first reached him, at the time causing a stab of want so strong it had been shocking in its intensity.

If Leonard’s touch lingered on bare skin a few moments longer than was necessary, Jim was preoccupied enough that he didn’t notice. Jim’s teeth were gritted against his own discomfort at the changes in position, his muscles tensed in pain beneath Leonard’s hands. Leonard’s own jaw was set as he struggled against his body’s rebellious response to the stimuli. It was neither the time nor the place, and Leonard would probably never regain his place in Jim’s life. Nonetheless, the cool voice of rationality didn’t stop Leonard’s senses from inundating him with a flood of want. Leonard ruthlessly quashed his response to the seductive reach of Jim’s pheromones, and stepped away, feeling a wrenching in his gut as he did so.

The biobed quickly took stock of Jim’s injuries while Leonard loaded a hypospray full of analgesic, injecting it as gently as he could manage in the side of Jim’s neck. Next he administered a local muscle relaxant to the site of the injury. Leonard watched with approval as some of Jim’s tension immediately began easing.

The two fractured ribs were the worst of the lot. No concussion, despite the nasty gash in the forehead. Multiple bruises and contusions. Painful, but easy enough to heal with a regen unit. The fact that Jim was bleeding pheromones outside of his heat was enough to cause the doctor concern.

Leonard quickly tabbed the bioscreen to the readout for endocrine function. Heightened activity in Jim’s apocrine and eccrine glands, plus the tantalizing scent which lingered subtly in Leonard’s own senses told him all he needed to know.

“You’ve got cracks in two of your ribs and a shitload of bruising. And you’re bleeding pheromones. Could be a side effect of stopping the inhibitors. I should have thought of that.” He couldn’t keep the note of self-recrimination out of his voice.

He should have thought of that. His reservations about his own medical judgment where Jim was concerned had been damn well founded. He was too close to Jim, cared about him too much, had let fear overwhelm what should have been impartial medical judgment. A wash of shame warred with lingering feelings of arousal.

Jim was looking at him with an inscrutable expression from the biobed, saying nothing yet taking in everything as Leonard stepped away to program the dispensary and load the resulting cocktail into a hypo.

“If that’s a suppressant, I think I’ll die from irony.”

Leonard frowned at the younger man before emptying to contents of the hypo into Jim’s neck. Jim winced at the sensation. “It’s a cocktail of stabilizers. Should help regulate hormone and pheromone production. You may feel a little tired for the next 24 hours.”

“As opposed to how great I feel now,” Jim intoned sarcastically.

Leonard’s frown turned into a glare as he pulled out the regen units from where they sat beside the biobed. At least he was prepared this time when, as he touched Jim’s skin to strap the units into place, a subtle seductive scent teased his senses.

Leonard’s hands didn’t falter, but something must have showed on his expression. Jim, no longer distracted by his own discomfort, looked at Leonard with a wary but questioning gaze. Leonard ignored it, working as quickly and efficiently as he could to set the regen units.

“Don’t mess with the units, and try not to move too much,” he recited as he finished his task, finally able to free his hands from Jim’s skin.

“Yeah, I remember the drill,” Jim replied, surprising Leonard with the note of melancholy in his voice. Melancholy where before there had been anger tinged with betrayal.

Leonard excused himself before he revealed exactly how conflicted his own feelings had become, giving the units time to do their work. He busied himself with the patient in exam room C in the interim, another cadet who had apparently joined the same brawlers club of which Jim Kirk was a member. Although the man breezily informed Leonard that he had simply gotten carried away during a bout of hand-to-hand. As if Leonard had been born yesterday. On the way back to Jim’s room Leonard grumbled to himself about idiots who lied to their doctors.

Jim was surprisingly still lying in the biobed, regen units firmly in place. Leonard had half-expected to find him gone, considering his legendary allergy to medical.

Jim refocused his gaze from the bland white ceiling to Leonard. “Yeah, I’m still here,” the younger man confirmed, as if reading Leonard’s thoughts. “Can I get out of these fucking things now?” He squirmed slightly as if to emphasize.

Leonard unsuccessfully fought the urge to roll his eyes, moving to unstrap the regen units after confirming that Jim’s ribs were indeed healed. He then went to work with the dermal regenerator, repairing the forehead laceration, healing the worst of the bruises and repairing abraded knuckles. Jim regarded him all the while with a tinge of wariness.

No pheromones reached Leonard’s senses this time, although even without them there was no escaping the intimacy of Leonard’s hands on Jim’s bare skin. The stabilizers had done their job. Jim was just Jim again. The man who Leonard had once mistaken for a scentless beta. Leonard felt an irrational feeling of anger towards the drugs that had suppressed such an integral part of the man who until recently had been his best friend.

“So, you wanna tell me?” Jim asked suddenly, as Leonard was healing the last bruises.

Leonard didn’t look up from where he worked, his hand stabilizing the skin just above Jim’s newly-healed ribs. “Tell you what?”

“Why you can’t look at me without going all broody and silent or looking like you want to bolt.”

Leonard was vaguely insulted. “I don’t brood.”

“Yes you do. It’s just a very scowly brood.”

Leonard shut off the dermal regenerator, looking at Jim evenly. He was tired of prevaricating, tired of circling around this. “You’re an omega bleeding pheromones. I’m an alpha. You figure it out.”

Jim’s eyes widened slightly before his lips curled up into an utterly humorless smile. “Fucking omega. It fucks up everything.”

Leonard bit his tongue for once, though he wanted to ask how Jim could be fucked-up simply by being who he was. “It’s not being omega that fucked things up,” he said instead.

“Then what was it?”

Leonard didn’t back down from Jim’s challenging gaze. “It was you lying to me. It was you not giving a shit about risking your life.”

Jim’s expression hardened. “It was about you being high-handed and blackmailing me.”

Leonard shrugged. “Yeah,” he admitted laconically.

Jim’s jaw clenched momentarily before he turned to stare at the ceiling again. “It’s harder to hate you when you just admit it like that.”

“Sorry,” Leonard replied unapologetically, still surprised at the turn the conversation had taken. “I could be a dick and make it easier for you.”

Jim sighed heavily, tiredly, still studying the ceiling. “You’re a hard guy to hate, I guess. Even when you fuck up my life.”

“Right back at ya.”

The silence held for a moment, Leonard focused on Jim, Jim focused on some far-off-distance. Then the younger man abruptly swung his legs off the bed and sat up, signaling the end of the somewhat surreal conversation.

Leonard went with it, tabbing off the biobed, and setting aside the regen units for sterilization. “Watch the strenuous activity for the next 48 hours,” he recited. “Hold off on the running. No lifting more than –“

“Yeah, no hand-to-hand, no barfights, I’m-a-doctor-not-a-repairman, blah blah blah,” Jim rolled his eyes, sliding off the edge of the bed and pulling his shirt back on.

Leonard grunted his annoyance, grabbed his padd and made a notation in Jim’s chart. His hand hovered for a moment over the field that designated the cause of injury. Jim would get stiffed with a shitload of demerits for this. He looked up to find Jim still standing there with an indecipherable look on his face.

“Don’t get me wrong, what you did pissed me off,” Jim said evenly. "It still pisses me off. And I hate the way you went about it. But I don’t hate you. I leveled plenty of shit at you too.”

Leonard should have probably been ashamed at the flood of relief that washed over him at the admission. “Yeah, well I hate what you were doing to yourself. I hate that you didn’t give a thought for anyone who cares about you. But I don’t suppose I hate you either.”

Jim’s only response was a nod, before he turned to exit the room, the door opening with a soft whoosh. He was just crossing the threshold when his step faltered. He hovered in the doorway, his shoulders suddenly tensing.

Leonard set his padd aside, moving to the doorway. “Jim?”

A man’s voice cut through the air, the tone mocking. “Got them to make you all pretty again, huh? Don’t suppose you rethought my offer?”

Leonard recognized the lying idiot from C room. The man’s lips were twisted up in a lewd smile, posture radiating dominance from where he stood in the hallway.

“Fuck off,” Jim ground out, his jaw set like granite.

Lying Idiot took an exaggerated sniff. “Smelled better before. Wonder who took care of that for you?”

“That would be me,” Leonard said coldly, stepping smoothly past the seething Jim and into the hallway. “The doctor you just lied to about how you got those injuries.”

Lying Idiot’s eyes widened slightly in recognition, before his expression settled back into a smirk, all alpha posturing and false bravado. “I don’t know what you mean, doctor.”

Behind Leonard, Jim was still tense and radiating alarm. Inside Leonard, something primal snapped and snarled at the interloper, the other alpha who was trying to threaten one of Leonard’s own.

Outwardly, he leveled the interloper with his most withering glare, taking a step forward into the other man’s space, making it personal. “You have two choices. You can walk out of here without another word, before I call security. Or you can keep on harassing my patient and I’ll make sure you’re in urge management therapy until you can damn well behave yourself.”

The idiot (his name was Foster, Leonard dimly recalled, although he thought idiot was more apt) held his ground for a moment more, his eyes full of impotent anger. For a moment Leonard thought he might have to make good on his threat. Then the other man let out a disdainful huff and stalked off down the hall.

“That’s what I thought,” Leonard muttered, feeling himself come down of the sudden surge of adrenaline.

“What the fuck was that?” Jim hissed from behind him.

Leonard didn’t turn around, choosing instead to watch Idiot’s retreating back until he was well out of sight. “That was me trying to keep some semblance of order in this clinic. And I can’t do it with assholes like him throwing their weight around. Or with you standing there spoiling to undo all my hard work.”

“I don’t need you to fight my battles for me.”

Leonard felt like sighing. “I didn’t say that you did, Jim.” He turned around to meet the younger man’s stormy gaze.

“And I don’t need anyone’s protection.” Jim looked wary, defensive, as if Leonard were suddenly as much an enemy as Foster had been.

“I know you don’t,” Leonard replied, feeling even more tired than the hour warranted. “But what is so bad about having someone in your corner? What are you so afraid of?”

If Leonard hadn’t known Jim so well, he might have missed the minute flinch, the sudden flicker of the gaze that told him he had just scored a direct hit. “That’s it, isn’t it? You’re afraid. Of what? Of relying on someone?”

“Leave it alone, Bones.”

“I don’t think I will.” Leonard lowered his voice to avoid the prying ears of his coworkers. “You don’t trust me. You don’t want to rely on me, or anyone else. You think I’ll let you down.”

Jim cast his eyes to the side, as if he couldn’t face Leonard and say the words. “Everyone looks out for themselves. That’s the way it is.”

Leonard felt suddenly, irrationally angry. His voice rose in his frustration. “Goddamn it, Jim. What the hell have I ever done to make you think that about me?”

“You fucking blackmailed me! You threatened me!” Jim hissed, his own anger rising.

The words left him before he could think, before he could stuff them down under layers of denial. “Because I don’t want to lose you!” Leonard shouted.

Jim’s lips parted, his eyes widening in shock at the sudden admission. Down the far end of the hall, came a low-level chattering. Two nurses huddled together, their attention completely and unsubtly on Leonard and Jim.

Leonard was suddenly too tired, too wrung-out and far too sober to deal with this situation.

“Go home, Kid,” he told Jim quietly.

“Bones-“

“No,” Leonard cut the other man off. “Just leave it. Leave it and go home.”

Leonard turned on his heel, unable to bear the ghost of hurt in the other man’s expression at the sudden brush-off. Then Leonard walked toward his next patient, and away from Jim and all the unwanted revelations he inspired.

[Chapter 18]


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