akainagi: (trek - k/b in reds)
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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 / warning for references to past non/dubcon / 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 35]


What kind of alternate universe had he fallen into that not seeing Gary Mitchell for two weeks made him nervous? The man had gone from stalking him on an almost daily basis to being nowhere in sight.

Jim knew Gary well enough from their two years together to know that the man was not easily dissuaded. If Gary had something on his mind, something he wanted, it was unlikely that a few threats and a fist to the jaw would make him back down.

Jim just hoped to hell that what Gary wanted wasn’t him. Because no force on this planet or any other could make him go back to that.

At least not seeing his former mate prevented him from having to lie to Bones by omission. After the disastrous run-in with Gary, Bones had extracted another promise that Jim would let him know if Gary continued his pattern of harassment. It wasn’t that Jim wanted to keep Bones in the dark, he just didn’t trust that the other man wouldn’t do something rash out of some misguided protective instinct.

It had been satisfying, watching Bones take his fist to Gary’s face. Almost as satisfying as it would have been to do the pounding himself. The was a time when Jim would have been furious at the way Bones had stepped in, would have been furious at the idea that he needed to be protected. But there was something right about knowing that Bones was in his corner. He was, all else aside, a friend. And Jim would have done the same for him had the tables been reversed.

It was finally sinking in. Bones was not Gary, was nothing like him. The way he had given Jim space through this whole affair? Gary would never have done that. His former mate had been an oppressive, controlling force in Jim’s life. Bones was the opposite, letting him go when he needed it, but welcoming him home in the end.

It was doubts about himself that held him back now. He knew he was damaged. That fact had been driven home by this most recent confrontation. Bones had spoken about his divorce rarely, but Jim had been able to glean a small measure of the pain that it must have cause the alpha. Jim’s track record was a string of one-night stands and Gary fucking Mitchell. Could he even give Bones what he needed as a mate? Bones seemed to think so, but Jim wasn’t so sure. What if Jim said yes, but in the end couldn’t be what Bones needed, what he deserved? Jim didn’t want to visit that kind of hurt again on Bones or himself.

Jim knew one thing for certain; he couldn’t keep stringing Bones along forever. It was cruel, and besides, his next heat was due soon. Very soon, if his cycle continued to run on the early side.

God, a week from now he could be mated, claimed, wearing Bone’s marks on his skin. It all depended on him, hinged on his decision. He held both their fates in his hands. The idea was terrifying. It was too much. But the decision was his to make. He would have to make it.

And so he did.


[CHAPTER 36]


Leonard showed up for his shift early, looking forward, for once, to the tedious work ahead. Anything to take his mind off the fact that Jim’s heat was in less than a week, and he still had no answer. And the longer it dragged on, the less certain he became.

Leonard was not an optimist by nature. And after the agonizingly slow withdrawal of his wife from their marriage, rejection was not an easy thing for him to contemplate. He was not a natural risk taker in his relationships. Jim would probably never understand how much it cost Leonard to put himself on the line like he did, just as Leonard would probably never understand what making such a decision was like for the omega.

He worked his way through the steady stream of outpatient visits; fixing injuries, dispensing hypos and writing prescriptions, occasionally beating his head against the wall with some of the dimmer members of the student body. Seriously, how some of these idiots had managed not to wash out already, Leonard would never know.

He was able to successfully put Jim out of his mind for the most part. At least until his comm chimed. The message was from one Kirk, J.T., asking him when his shift ended. Leonard felt his heart accelerate as he typed in his answer. The comm chimed again almost immediately with a request to meet at Leonard’s dorm after shift. This was it. Leonard felt it in his gut. He typed his answer with a speed that probably should have embarrassed him, but all he could think was that all this waiting was finally over. But now he would have to make it through the next – he glanced at the time – four hours. He couldn’t help the audible groan that escaped his lips. He closed his comm with a snap and dove back into the sea of patients, trying to ignore the fact that in a few hours, he would find out whether he had a friend, lover or mate in Jim Kirk.

***


Jim lay sprawled across his bed, staring at the comm still in his hand.

It was funny. He had expected to feel more settled, now that he had made his decision. Instead there was still the itch under his skin. The feeling of buzzing anxiety that he had so much trouble sitting with. It was a feeling he either fought or fucked to relieve. And since fucking was out, that left him with the latter.

Jim heaved himself off his bunk abruptly, the need for motion, for any kind of activity, taking over. If he couldn’t sit with it, he would do the opposite. He would head for the gym, find himself a sparring partner and punch his way through it.

He added a fresh set of sweats to his gym bag, shoved his feet in his boots and headed for the door. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn’t notice the man on the other side until he bodily ran into him, his bag dropping to the floor.

“Shit,” he cursed, looking up, expecting to see his roommate. “Sorry, man –“ The words died in his throat.

“Hey, Jimmy.”

To Jim’s credit, the stab of panic he felt didn’t make it to his face. Gary, he remembered, thrived on weakness. Jim poured all of the anger he felt into his next words.

“What the fuck do you want, Gary?”

Gary smiled, ignoring the hostile tone. Jim remembered that smile. Gary had used it a hundred times for a hundred attempts at reconciliation. And it had always worked save for one time, the last time. And there was no way in hell it would work now.

“I just want to talk.”

“No,” Jim said flatly. “I mean what do you want? Why are you doing this? You have to know I don’t want a goddamn thing to do with you after what you did. Or was breaking your jaw five years ago not clear enough for you?”

Gary rubbed his jaw meaningfully. “Your new boyfriend seems to have the same sense of unerring accuracy.”

“You should be glad he’s not here right now, or you’d be in one fucking world of hurt.”

Gary shook his head, his expression amused. “It’s not like you to hide behind an alpha. You’ve changed.”

“Yeah. I won’t put up with your shit anymore,” Jim replied pointedly. The initial shock of panic was wearing off, leaving behind it a well of anger that had been sitting inside him for the last five years. “Since you don’t seem to be getting it, let me spell it out for you.” Jim approached Gary, invading his space, squelching the uncomfortable feeling that rose up at being so close to the other man. “I want nothing to do with you. You know what you did, and nothing you say or do - nothing - can make up for that. I’ve moved on. Do the same, or I’ll report you for harassment.”

Some of the smugness seeped out of the alpha’s face. “Look at little Jimmy. All grown up.”

Jim made a disgusted noise. Clearly Gary wasn’t listening and there was nothing more to be said. He pushed past the alpha to head down the hall, suddenly wanting nothing so much as to be out of Gary's presence.

Jim was brought up short when a hand gripped him by the arm and jerked him back roughly. A wave of anger and fear traveled up his spine and he reacted, turning on Gary, knocking his hand away and giving a hard shove. The alpha stumbled back into the wall.

“Don’t you fucking touch me,” Jim grated out, loud enough to be heard by several cadets down the hall. They watched with interest the drama playing out between the two men. “You don’t have the right to touch me anymore.”

Gary recovered himself quickly, advancing on Jim again, his arms raised in a placating gesture. But Jim wouldn’t be placated at this point. His vision had turned to red, and he stepped into Gary, taking a hard swing.

Gary must have been expecting it, because he avoided the punch easily, grabbing Jim’s outstretched arm and twisting it behind his back before shoving him roughly, face-first, against the wall. Jim felt a ringing in his skull, pain blossoming behind his eyes and a sharp pain travelling up his shoulder.

“Jimmy, Jimmy,” Gary chided, his voice against Jim’s ear. “You can act all wronged and offended. But both of us know that part of you liked it. You like to submit. It’s what you were made for. The things I could do to you, Jimmy.”

Jim couldn’t repress a shiver of revulsion as he felt and hand travel down his side, his hip, coming to rest on the front of his thigh. The omega could feel Gary’s breath, hot and damp, wafting against the shell of his ear. His skin crawled and panic blossomed in his guts, followed by a surge of adrenaline and base fury.

Jim took his foot and brought it down hard, digging his heel into Gary’s boot at the same time he wrenched himself around, feeling something give in his shoulder, a white-hot pain taking residence in the joint there. Gary was thrown off balance and Jim wasted no time in using his full body to plow Gary into the far wall. The alpha couldn’t react fast enough to block the knee that came up hard into his groin. Gary doubled over, giving Jim time to bring up the same knee into Gary’s face.

The alpha fell to the floor, curled in on himself, and Jim couldn’t resist giving him a hard kick to the midsection while he was down. The breath left Gary’s lungs in a whoosh, leaving him gasping for air.

“You aren’t going to do a goddamn thing to me, you fucking piece of shit,” Jim yelled. “Because I’m not yours to do anything to! You don’t fucking own me! You never did!”

Jim readied himself to give Gary another boot to the abdomen when a sharp voice cut through the air, ordering him to back off. Jim’s head whipped around to see the red-uniformed men of campus security. The hall was littered with spectators who had come out of their rooms to watch the conflict.

Jim stumbled back, his head still ringing, his right shoulder feeling like a ball of fire. He clutched the arm tightly as he watched the officers advance. Jim explained himself in minimal terms, watched as they dragged the still-groaning Gary off the floor. The adrenaline was fading, leaving exhaustion and pain in its wake.

The only thing Jim could think, as the security personnel hauled them both, unresisting, towards medical, was that Bones was going to go fucking ballistic.


[CHAPTER 37]


Leonard checked the chronometer for the umpteenth time that evening. Two hours to go. Two hours until he would have an answer to his proposal. If he weren’t so caught up in his own anxiousness, he would be berating himself for being so fucking pathetic.

He sat at the computer terminal and closed out his last patient, moving on to the next. He scanned the information on the triage screen and his breath stuttered in his chest momentarily. The name James T. Kirk glared at him from the terminal, closely followed by the name Gary C. Mitchell. He was out of his chair in a shot, grabbing his padd, heading to Jim’s exam room.

When he got there he saw Jim sitting on the side of the bed, shirtless, clutching his right arm and looking tired and dazed. He was flanked by a member of campus security, who appeared irritated as he spoke to Jim.

“I’ll ask you one more time, cadet. Explain what happened.”

Jim didn’t answer; he simply turned his gaze to Bones with a tired, weak smile.

Leonard put on his most professional face. “If you’ll excuse us officer, I’d like to examine my patient.”

The man looked like he wanted to argue the point, and then thought the better of it. He gave a curt nod and left the room. He no sooner did than Leonard was beside Jim, running his hands over him, needing to reassure himself of his safety. The doctor caught Jim’s wince as he ran a light hand over the omega’s right shoulder.

“I think it’s dislocated,” Jim offered. “And I have a bitch of a headache.”

A thousand questions swirled through Leonard’s mind. “Jesus, Jim, what happened?” he asked, part of him afraid of the answer. He quickly checked Jim’s pupillary responses, finding that they accommodated nicely, much to his relief.

Jim gave Leonard a one-shouldered shrug. Leonard glowered as he gingerly palpated the misaligned joint, his clinical findings consistent with what Jim already suspected. Leonard helped the omega lay back on the biobed, checking the readout for confirmation that Jim’s shoulder was indeed dislocated. He then grabbed a hypo of local analgesic and one of muscle relaxant and administered it gently to the joint. Jim grimaced nonetheless.

“Jim, talk to me,” the doctor said imploringly.

Jim didn’t look at Leonard, but focused his gaze on the blank white ceiling instead. “He came to my dorm room,” Jim began. “He said he wanted to talk.”

Leonard listened, hating the man in the next room more with each word that came out of his lover’s mouth.

“He told me that I was made for this. That I was made to be abused. That I liked it.”

Leonard’s voice was choked as he replied. “Dammit, Jim. You know that’s not true.”

Jim finally looked at Leonard. A weak smile flitting across his face. “Yeah, Bones. I know.”

Leonard dreaded asking his next question. “Did he do anything to you?”

A haunted expression flitted across Jim’s face, and was gone. “No,” he denied.

Leonard sighed, knowing that Jim was trying to spare him the details. “Tell me, Jim. Because you have no idea what I’m imagining here.”

Jim gave him an inscrutable gaze before focusing again on the ceiling. Like he couldn’t look Leonard in the eye and say the words. “He just –“ Jim faltered. “He put his hands on me. And I lost it. I got him in the balls, actually.” The omega huffed out a bitter laugh.

Leonard didn’t even try to curtail his sense of malicious satisfaction. “Good,” he replied. “How’s the shoulder feel?”

“Better.”

Leonard nodded. “I have to realign the joint. It’s going to hurt like a bitch.”

“I know,” Jim answered. “Been there before.”

Leonard helped Jim to a sitting position, gripped his arm and then stabilized his shoulder. “One … two …” He rotated the shoulder inward and then outward, applying traction, feeling the joint slide back into place.

Jim let out a strangled sound, tears coming to his eyes, but disappearing just as quickly. “What happened to three?” he asked, his voice choked.

“It works better if you don’t tense up,” Leonard explained, administering another hypo, this one an anti-inflammatory.

Leonard turned away to dispose of the used hypo when Jim reached out with his good arm, fisting a hand in Leonard’s shirt and hauling him into an embrace. Leonard settled obligingly between Jim’s spread thighs, wanting nothing more right now than to be close to Jim, to reassure himself of the other man’s safety, his solidity, his presence in Leonard’s arms.

Jim laid his head on Leonard’s shoulder, burying his face in the alpha’s neck. Leonard ran his hands up and down Jim’s back soothingly, careful of the man’s injured shoulder. They stayed like that for long moments, until Leonard heaved a sigh, drawing back enough to look Jim in the eyes.

“I have to go see Mitchell,” Leonard explained with a sour look on his face.

“You promise me you won’t try to euthanize him?”

“Oh, I promise,” Leonard replied vindictively. “I want him to suffer.” A thought occurred to the doctor. “What are you going to tell security?”

“The truth,” Jim answered. “That he got grabby, tried to put my face through a wall, and I fought back.”

Leonard felt a fresh wave of anger at Jim’s blunt description. He forced it down. “Are you going to tell them about how he’s been stalking you?”

Jim shook his head. “I don’t want to get into that. They’ll ask questions about the past, and I don’t want to relive that all over again. I’ve relived it too often lately.”

Leonard took a deep breath, steeling himself for Jim’s disagreement. “I think you should tell them everything.”

Jim looked at him disbelievingly. “What? Why?” the omega asked.

“Because it’s the only way to make sure that he stays damn good and far away from you, that’s why,” Leonard replied passionately. “At best he’ll have a permanent notation on his file, at worst they’ll psych eval him, find him unfit and he’ll get drummed out of the service.”

“There’s no way they’ll believe me.”

“I can corroborate the stalking part of it,” Leonard countered.

“You’re my mate, Bones. They won’t exactly find you impartial.”

The doctor was about to argue when Jim’s words hit him. Leonard’s eyes widened, his lips parted and his breath stuttered in his chest. “Your what?"

Jim looked at him, his eyes large and blue and impossibly bright. “Your mate. That is if the offer’s still open on your end.”

Only Jim would drop a bomb like that as if it were casual conversation. Hope rose inside Leonard like a wave, crashing in on him all at once. On its heels came a trickle of doubt.

“Jim, you’ve been through a hell of a day. I don’t want you to make a decision for the wrong reasons,” Leonard told the omega, the words feeling like they were wrenched out of him. He wanted desperately to accept Jim’s answer, but the cynic in him had a hard time believing in his own good fortune. God. What was wrong with him that when the thing he wanted most in the world was laid in front of him that he tried to turn it away?

Jim placed a hand on the side of Leonard’s neck, stroking the skin of his jaw. “I was going to tell you tonight. I decided before all this even happened,” Jim explained, his voice soothing. “That’s why I commed you. Why I wanted to meet you tonight.”

Leonard remembered. It seemed like an age ago, instead of a few hours. He found himself choked with hope. It was an overwhelming and terrifying and wonderful feeling. He stepped into Jim, pressing their foreheads together, wanting to be closer, but not wanting to relinquish the ability to look Jim in the eyes.

“You wanted to claim me,” Jim said, his voice barely more than a whisper. “Well, I submit.” Jim leaned in and pressed his lips to Leonard’s. The touch was soft, fleeting. “I submit,” he repeated gently, murmuring against the alpha’s mouth, and Leonard finally let himself believe.

This really wasn’t the time. Leonard was right in the middle of his shift, he had to go see that bastard Gary, and there was a goddamned security officer waiting outside the door. Despite this, Leonard couldn’t help himself from taking Jim’s lips. The kiss was thorough, and possessive, and Jim made a rolling, contented noise into Leonard’s mouth.

So many emotions rose up Leonard that he was hard-pressed to put a name to all of them. Foremost among them was a sense of overwhelming awe. In a week, maybe less, Jim would be his. The omega’s heat would come, and Leonard would take him and keep him, inscribe his marks into Jim’s skin.

Leonard pulled back and pressed their foreheads together again, gripping Jim by the back of the neck firmly, anchoring him, almost afraid the other man was going to disappear or change his mind. “Mine,” Leonard whispered. His voice held a creeping edge of wonder.

“Yours,” was Jim’s answer.

They stayed that way for long moments until Leonard let out a heavy sigh, switching gears, shutting down that part of himself and letting the professional take over. “Jim, I need-“

“To go see Mitchell,” Jim finished. “And I need to talk to our friend out in the hallway.”

Leonard reluctantly let Jim go, pulling away, dragging his hands away from warm skin. He studied Jim for a moment. He looked tired, a little pale, and it was clear from his expression that he was not looking forward to talking with security. Leonard wanted to reiterate his encouragement to tell them everything. But Jim was his own man, he would do what he felt he needed to do.

The security officer was still waiting in the hallway when Leonard left the room. “You can go back in,” he told the man. “But try to keep it brief.”

“Injuries?” the officer asked curtly.

Leonard scowled. “Dislocated shoulder. Looks like he sustained some minor head trauma, but no concussion.”

The officer nodded, moving past Leonard and into the exam room. Leonard couldn’t help taking a last look at Jim, still sitting on the biobed, looking pensive, before the door closed. Then he went to find Gary fucking Mitchell.

He found the man lying on a biobed in exam room B. Mitchell’s head turned when Leonard entered the room, his eyes widening in recognition, an expression of surprise crossing his face.

Mitchell rose to a sitting position with a slight wince, and Leonard remembered Jim telling him he got the bastard in the balls. Leonard didn’t bother suppressing the feeling of satisfaction he felt at the other man’s discomfort.

Leonard kept his face neutral as he crossed over to the biobed. “Complaints?” he questioned briskly.

“So, you’re a doctor,” Mitchell questioned. “Little Jimmy’s moving up in the world.”

Leonard glowered at Mitchell. “I’m asking you if you have pain. If I have to ask again, I’m walking out of this room and you’re on your own.”

“Well, my balls are killing me from where your boyfriend kneed me in them.”

“A blow you no doubt deserved,” Leonard answered coldly. “You’re on your own for that one. Anything else?”

“My ribs hurt,” Mitchell answered. “He kicked me when I was down,” the man sounded surprised at that.

Leonard’s glare lost none of its severity. “Lie back on the bed,” he ordered. Unlike with Jim, he didn’t bother to assist the other man. Once Mitchell was down, Leonard adjusted the readout to scan for breaks. There were none, although there were some muscle spasms in the intercostal spaces on the left side. The doctor loaded two hypos, one full of analgesic and one with local muscle relaxant and administered it none too gently to the affected area. Mitchell winced and fixed Leonard with a glare of his own. The two alphas traded meaningful looks for a moment, each refusing to back down.

Leonard spoke first, all business, despite the anger and disgust that burned just beneath the surface. “You can sit up. You have a couple bruised ribs. No breaks.”

The man swung his legs over the side of the bed, rising to a sitting position. A smirk widened Mitchell’s features even as his eyes continued to glitter maliciously. “Now why do you sound so disappointed about that, doctor?”

“Maybe because you assaulted my mate,” Leonard ground out. It wasn’t strictly true, not yet. But it was true in all the ways that mattered right now.

Mitchell’s face registered shock, then anger, his smirk falling away. “You’re lying,” he declared.

“Even if I was, it wouldn’t make any difference where you’re concerned. Jim is off-limits to you. He wants nothing to do with you, and, furthermore,” Leonard stepped forward, getting into Mitchell’s space, a clear challenge. “He’s mine.”

Mitchell sneered. “He was mine first. It bothers you doesn’t it? That I got there first?"

“What bothers me is what you did to him. How you treated him. Damn straight I wish I got there first. Then you wouldn’t have gotten your fucking claws in him at all,” Leonard growled. Mitchell opened his mouth to speak, but Leonard wasn’t finished. “But now he’s mine. You had your chance and you fucked it up. I won’t. So you stay good and clear, because if you so much as glance in his direction again, I will fucking end you.

Mitchell looked furious, like he was inches from taking a swing at Leonard.

“And if by some chance you don’t believe me, believe this.” Leonard stuck his finger in Mitchell’s face. “Jim is down the hall right now telling security everything, and I mean everything. So coming near him again won’t work out too well for you and your ‘fleet file, if you catch my drift. If you value your career, you’ll stay far, far away.”

It was a bluff. But from the momentary look of panic on Mitchell’s face it had been at least partly effective, Leonard noted. Satisfied that he had gotten his point across, he stepped back, reaching for a regen unit and proceeding to strap it in place over Mitchell’s injured ribs. And if he strapped it a little too tightly for comfort, oh well.

Mitchell continued to glare at Leonard with impotent anger, but clearly knew when he was at a disadvantage.

Leonard picked up his padd, making a couple notations. He gave Mitchell one last disdainful look before exiting. He made his way quickly back to exam room D in time to see the security office leaving the room. The man had a closed-off expression and Leonard couldn’t help but wonder what Jim had told him.

“Doctor,” the officer said by way of acknowledgement. “You examined Cadet Mitchell?”

Leonard kept his voice carefully neutral. “He has a couple of bruised ribs and one swollen pair of testicles, but beyond that, he’s fine.”

The officer raised an eyebrow. “Consistent with being kneed in the groin and kicked in the ribs?”

“Yes.”

“Cadet Kirk reports that he was pushed headfirst into a wall, and that his arm was wrenched when he tried to escape the hold of Cadet Mitchell. Are his injuries consistent with that?”

Leonard had to grit his teeth to keep a particularly vicious piece of profanity from escaping. “They are.”

“He also reports that you can corroborate claims that Cadet Mitchell was harassing him?”

Leonard nodded. “I can.”

The officer made a considering noise. “I’ll need to talk to you further after I question Mitchell.”

“I’m here ‘till 2300,” Leonard replied, not adding that he didn’t plan on staying a moment longer.

The officer headed down the hall and Leonard made a beeline into Jim’s exam room. He found the omega struggling to put his shirt on. Leonard made an irritated noise, crossing the small room quickly. “Hold it right there, Jim. “I still need to regen that shoulder.”

Jim wore a put-upon expression as Leonard helped him out of his shirt again. “Back on the table,” he ordered as he picked up a regen unit and started calibrating it.

“Jesus, you’re bossy,” Jim groused as he hefted himself back onto the biobed and lay down.

“Doctor’s prerogative,” Leonard explained dryly as he examined the display, noting that the inflammation had gone down and the muscles were no longer in spasm. He strapped the regen unit in place with much more consideration than he had shown Mitchell. He activated the unit and was about to pull away when Jim grabbed his hand, gripping it tightly.

“I told him what I could. It wasn’t everything. I just couldn’t go through that again,” Jim told Leonard hoarsely.

Leonard’s heart ached for the man on the bed. Jim’s expression was a mix of exhaustion and shame. The alpha reached up and ran his fingers through Jim’s short hair, comforting him the best he could in this setting. “I know, Jim. I’m proud of you. You did good.”

For a moment the only noise in the room was the quiet hum of the regen unit, then Jim closed his eyes and let out a long, shaky breath, leaning his head back, tilting into Leonard’s touch. Leonard yielded to temptation, leaning down and pressing his lips gently to Jim’s forehead. Jim’s hand tightened on his own, a silent acknowledgement that Leonard’s actions were understood and appreciated.

Leonard straightened, but continued to card his hand through Jim’s hair. There was a time not that long ago when Jim would have balked at showing such vulnerability to Leonard, would have snapped and snarled like the wounded creature he had resembled. How far Jim had come. How far theyhad come. And now, probably within the week, Jim would be his mate. Leonard would become the only one with the right to touch the omega like this.

Jim slowly opened his eyes, a ghost of his familiar smile flitting across his features. “Do I want to know what happened with you and Gary?”

Leonard shrugged, not taking his hands off Jim just yet. The possessive feelings created by his encounter with Mitchell were still humming through him. “I just told him the score.”

“Which is?”

“That you’re mine,” Leonard answered, feeling the words down to his core. “That he can’t have you. That if he tries to touch you again, he’ll regret it. And not just because you’ll kick him in the balls again.”

Leonard half expected Jim’s usual protestation that he could take care of himself, but the younger man just let out an amused huff. Then looked at him soberly. “I’ll be fine, Bones. And I’m sure you have work to do other than hold my hand,” he said gently.

Leonard frowned, and opened his mouth to protest, despite the fact that it was true.

“Go. Work,” Jim said firmly. “I’m not going anywhere.” He shrugged his injured shoulder, where the regen unit continued to hum away. “I need a few minutes to get my head on straight, anyway.” Jim released Leonard’s hand after giving it one last, meaningful squeeze.

Leonard sighed, unable to erase the frown from his features. He didn’t want to leave Jim alone, not with Mitchell just down the hall. Rationally, he knew that nothing would happen, but his every protective instinct balked at the idea nonetheless. Jim’s face was set determinedly, clearly not willing to accept no for an answer. Leonard knew better than to push the issue. Nothing would alienate Jim off faster than trying to coddle him or being overprotective.

“Fine,” Leonard replied, still frowning. “But I’ll be back to take off the regen and see how your shoulder’s doing.”

Jim nodded, and gave Leonard a small, reassuring smile.

The doctor picked up his PADD and, after one last look, left the room and headed to his next patient. Leonard managed to see two other cadets, one with a clear case of the flu and another with a sprained ankle, before he judged it was time to check on Mitchell’s ribs and send him on his way, preferably never to be seen or heard from again.

He entered the exam room to find Mitchell still sitting on the side of the bed, scowling. Leonard decided anything that put such a sour face on the bastard was probably a good thing, although the campus security officer had a none too pleased expression on his face as well. Leonard looked pointedly between the two of them, asking the officer to excuse himself while Leonard finished treating his patient. Not that he gave a shit about Mitchell’s privacy, but a patient was a patient, no matter how much of a bottom-dwelling prick he was.

The doctor unstrapped the regen unit, and palpated the ribs firmly. Noticing no signs of discomfort, he pronounced Mitchell healed.

“Now get the hell out of here,” he added.

Mitchell looked ready to spit nails, his mouth set in a hard line, barely taking his eyes off Leonard long enough to pull his shirt on over his head. Leonard fervently hoped that the other man would leave without comment, because he didn’t know how much more he could take without taking a swing at the bastard. He thought he was going to get his wish until Mitchell, halfway to the door, turned and leveled the doctor with the same glare.

“Why Jimmy?” The disdainful expression didn’t lift, but there was an undertone of genuine curiosity underneath. “Why go through so much trouble for some hick omega with an inferiority complex from Asshole, Iowa?”

Leonard’s teeth clenched at the idea that a hateful, grasping idiot like this had ever laid hands on Jim. “You know what the sick thing is?” Leonard replied coldly. “You had him for two years and you still have to ask me that question.” He turned away from Mitchell, setting aside the used equipment for sterilization, purposely keeping his back turned until he heard the hiss of the door opening and closing. Then he sighed heavily and leaned against the biobed. What a long, strange, frustrating day this had become. And happy. He had received his answer today. Jim would be his mate, and no one, not Gary fucking Mitchell or anyone else, could rub the shine off that realization. Leonard smiled to himself as he finished making notations in Mitchell’s chart and closed it out on his PADD.

He was halfway back to Jim when he was ambushed by the security officer. He found himself peppered with questions all designed to ferret out the truth behind Mitchell’s alleged harassment. Leonard’s jaw clenched at the use of the word “alleged”, and wasn’t shy about telling the officer what he thought of the term. Then came the question that Leonard had been expecting.

“Cadet Kirk says that the two of you are involved.”

“He’s my mate,” Leonard corrected pointedly. “Or will be in the near future.”

“Congratulations,” the officer offered with all appearance of sincerity.

Leonard raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Thank you,” he replied

“I won’t take up any more of your time, doctor. I’m sure you’re anxious to get out of here.”

Leonard glanced at the chronometer on the wall, finding it just shy of 2300. Leonard had never been so happy to see the end of a shift in his life. Leonard nodded. “I believe I’ll take you up on that, officer.”

After collecting Leonard’s comm number, the officer took his leave. Leonard wasted no time heading to Jim’s exam room. He entered to the omega’s entreating expression, fixed on him from where the man still lay on the biobed.

“Can I get this goddamn thing off me now?”

Leonard shook his head at Jim’s impatience, crossing over to unstrap the regen unit. “I’m surprised you kept it on this long,” he relied honestly. He fixed Jim with a considering gaze. “How’s the shoulder,” he asked as he palpated the joint.

Jim didn’t bat an eyelash. “Good as new,” he confirmed.

“And the head?” He checked Jim’s pupillary responses again just to be sure.

“Better,” Jim replied. At least the omega waited till Leonard was done to roll his eyes. “I’m fine, Bones. Can we get out of here?”

“Keep your britches on,” Leonard groused. “I just have to finish up some notes.”

“Says the guy who’s always taking my britches off,” Jim pointed out, his expression amused.

“Yeah, you’re definitely better. Your terrible sense of humor is back.”

Jim gave Leonard a mock-wounded expression before swinging himself into a sitting position and giving his shoulder and experimental roll. Apparently satisfied, he reached for his shirt and began pulling it on.

“Why don’t you go out to the waiting room? I’ll be finished in a few.”

Jim slid down off the biobed, grabbing his uniform jacket from a nearby chair. “I’ll be out front. I need some air.”

“Jim-“ Leonard started to protest.

“Bones,” Jim interjected firmly. “I’m fine. I promise I’ll stay out of trouble.”

Leonard tried to shove away the mental picture of Mitchell lying in wait for Jim outside medical. He regarded Jim with a sour expression.

“Put the frowny face away, Bones,” Jim ordered. “I’ll be right outside the front door.” He shook his head. “You know we really have to work on the overprotective shtick.”

Leonard’s voice came out louder than he intended, his expression becoming downright severe. “Well excuse me for my concern after you’ve already been fucking assaulted once today!”

Jim recoiled slightly at the change in tone before his expression softened into one of understanding. Leonard managed to hold onto his anger for a few moments, but when Jim’s arms came around him and his face nestled into Leonard’s neck, the alpha melted. His grip on Jim was fierce, his tone impassioned. “If anything happened to you, I don’t know what I would do,” he said, his voice breaking ever so slightly. “A year ago I didn’t even know you. Now I don’t think I could ever do without you.”

Jim kissed an apology into the skin of Leonard’s neck. “I’m sorry Bones. I didn’t think. But you know I can take care of myself. You can’t wrap me in cotton wool.”

Leonard sighed, knowing Jim was right, but hating it all the same. They stood like that for long seconds before Leonard pulled back, his expression resigned. “Just give me a few to finish up. I’ll meet you out front.”

Jim nodded, taking one last moment to run his hands across Leonard’s shoulders and chest, straightening out his uniform. Then he followed Leonard out of the exam room, turning to head for the front of the clinic as Leonard headed for the work stations, where the chaos of shift change was in progress. He plodded though the last of his notes, making sure to be especially thorough on both Jim’s and Mitchell’s, in the event they were used in disciplinary action. He then gave a quick report to the oncoming physician before making a beeline to the front entrance.

He found Jim to be blessedly alone as he sat on one of the benches that littered the front of the clinic. His legs were stretched out before him as he leaned back and stared up at the sky. Leonard took a moment to admire the long line of him, the easy grace, before he made himself known. “You ready, or are you going to stargaze all night long?”

Jim turned his head, a small smile quirking his lips . “More than ready. You know how much I love medical.”

“You may have mentioned it once or twice,” Leonard drawled.

“Your place?” Jim asked as he rose.

“My place,” Leonard replied, inordinately grateful that that he wasn’t going to have to argue again. He wanted Jim close, needed it like air right now, and Jim seemed to finally understand that. They fell into step beside each other, walking in companionable silence, each following their own thoughts.

Despite the lateness of the hour, there were still some students milling around in the corridors of the medical dorms, studying in the common areas and conversing in the hallways. The pair bypassed them all in favor of the quiet of Leonard’s room. As soon as the door shut, Jim let out a heavy sigh and slumped against it.

Leonard looked at the omega with an amused expression. “Just a little further, Jim. C’mon, don’t pass out on me now.”

Jim was clearly trying for a look of annoyance, but it was ruined by a truly massive yawn.

It was terrifyingly, beautifully domestic, being together like this. The two of them navigated around each other so seamlessly in the small spaces that Leonard marveled at the ease of it. Neither of them spoke, the words just seeming unnecessary. It wasn’t until they were warmly ensconced in Leonard’s bed that Jim’s voice finally punctuated the darkness. Leonard could feel the breath wafting against his skin from where Jim’s head was pillowed on his shoulder.

“Thank you,” was all Jim said.

Leonard made a questioning noise. “For what?”

“For putting up with all this shit. All this drama. Part of me wonders why you do.”

Mitchell’s words from earlier that night returned to Leonard with force. “Why go through so much trouble for some hick omega with an inferiority complex from Asshole, Iowa?” Leonard tightened his arms around Jim, feeling sorrow for the fact that Jim had clearly taken statements like this, probably uttered repeatedly during his years together with Mitchell, and internalized them to such a degree that he doubted his own self-worth.

Leonard let out a heavy sigh. “You talk like it’s all bad. Like you don’t bring anything good to my life. I Wish I could make you understand how good these past few months have been for me. And today, when you told me you’d mate with me. God, words can’t describe how that made me feel.”

Jim pulled away enough so that Leonard could see his eyes, suspiciously bright in the dim light. Jim’s voice cracked as he breathed, “I don’t deserve you.”

“No. You deserve more.” Leonard caressed Jim’s lower lip with his thumb before pressing soft kisses into his skin. One to his jaw, one high on his cheekbone, a feather-light one to the tip of his nose that made Jim huff a watery laugh. Finally, a kiss to his lips that Jim responded to in kind.

They made slow, sleepy love, punctuated by endearments and promises, and fell asleep holding each other close.


[MORE TO COME]


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