He took a deep breath and blew it out in short staccato bursts of sound, tensing his muscles. He saw Spock moving to the other edge, strangely not making eye contact with Jim, still focused on whatever was happening behind him. Jim didn’t have time to think about what that might mean. There was another deafening crash, and Jim began to sprint, his legs and arms pumping as he took off. He felt the flat surface begin to tilt, felt himself start to slide.
It was by the purest luck that the rock happened to fall in the same direction Jim was running, otherwise he never would have made it. He jumped, seeming to hang in the air for several minutes before he started to fall, madly pinwheeling his arms and legs to try propel himself even the slightest bit forward.
Jim could only see Spock’s all-too-human eyes as they widened before he was crashing into the side of the rocks with enough force that he heard a few of his ribs snap. He slid, scrambling to use his arms, hands, elbows, feet and legs- anything that would keep him on the side of the cliff face instead of down in the center of the moon’s surface. Spock held out his arm and Jim almost caught it, his hand sliding against Spock’s blood-covered wrist so quickly that he had no chance of tightening his fingers in enough time.
Jim had the strangest visual sensation, like an impression of rocks tumbling in on themselves as though sucked in by an enormous vacuum over-layed with almost incapacitating foreboding before he slid out of contact with Spock. He felt like a subspace transmission that had a video feed playing into it. Too much information was in his head, and he knew that they weren’t his own thoughts.
A short scream ripped from his lips as he went over, before he caught himself on a jutting rock several feet from the edge. He heard his ankle bone snap with the impact and he lurched, hugging the small face with everything he had, adrenaline and terror and confusion churning inside of him.
Jim froze, his heart hammering in his chest. He shook his head, hard trying to rid himself of the disturbing images that still replayed themselves behind his clenched eyelids. He didn’t have time for his mind to start to play tricks on him; God knew when this whole thing was going to crumble into dust.
“Spock! I’m here!”
Jim looked up, noting with one small part of his mind how fierce Spock looked at that moment. It was like his mind was slowly noticing little details:
“Commander- I will beam you first and---” Chekov’s voice was tense, the panic clearly audible but carefully restrained.
--Spock’s face was like a statue of him at his absolute coldest, frozen into a mask of utter blankness- until Jim chanced a look at his eyes.
-- Chekov’s voice, babbling in broken Russian like he always did when he was scared, tinny and almost incomprehensible over Spock’s communicator.
-- The rumbling, crashing, groaning sound of rocks twisting together, the ground a fierce growl as it rumbled with another quake.
-- His own heartbeat, thudding so quickly in his throat that he wasn’t sure if he would puke or pass out.
“Negative. You will beam the Captain to safety immediately!” Spock’s voice cracked on Jim’s title and despite everything, Jim felt the almost uncontrollable urge to laugh. Here he was, ass to the wind and Spock was still insisting on protocol.
“Spock. Don’t be ridiculous. Get the fuck out of here.”
“Negative.” Spock cautiously wiggled out another few inches, attempting to reach out to Jim again.
“Spock- come on! They can beam me out after--”
“No, Jim. They cannot. There is too much interference.”
“Spock, damnit! Don’t you move! The fucking edge is gonna go!” Jim got a face full of sediment, turning slightly to allow the rocks to fall without hitting him full in the face. Spock was balanced precariously, his long, lean body stretched almost impossibly, fingers splayed as he reached for Jim.
Jim could feel it; a hot shameful little ball of panic that choked him. His balls felt like they’d taken permanent residence in his stomach. He was peripherally away that he was shaking- but couldn’t separate his own movement from that of the now desperately denigrating planet. Sweat was cold on his back. He winced away from a large boulder that fell down, almost losing his balance, and scraped what felt like most of the skin off of his fingers as he gripped the surface again, trying to hang on literally with his toes and fingertips.
Jim gritted his teeth and looked up at Spock’s face, shocked to see that a line of sweat had beaded up onto the Vulcan’s lip. He took a deep breath to center himself.
Did he trust Spock?
No question about it.
Jim raised both of his arms, standing up on his tiptoes. The tips of his fingers brushed just slightly against Spock’s, and he had another fleeting image of a woman, wrapped head to toe in a light brown headdress favored by Vulcan women, her large brown eyes widened even further with terror.
“You must jump, Jim.”
The quiet intensity of Spock’s words caused Jim to catch his breath.
“I-- I don’t know that I can.”
Jim bit his lip, looking up at Spock. There was no time to weigh his options. He knew what would happen if he jumped and Spock didn’t catch him. There was no way that his ankle would support him, and it was extremely unlikely that he would be able to catch his balance again once he landed. He barely had hung on when the boulder had winged his shoulder.
They stared at each other for a few heartbeats.
Jim closed his eyes... and jumped.
This time when Spock’s fingers curled around Jim’s wrist they did not let go. He felt the fragile bones in his arm grind against each other as Spock threw his weight backwards, pulling him up inch by painful inch. Jim reached up with his other hand and cried out when their hands joined.
--Notagainnotagainnotagain...Not my Jim, no not again--
--The woman with the beautiful eyes turns looks up at Spock, a terrible, final knowledge on her face.--
--Jim sees his own upturned, filthy, bloody face from what has to be Spock’s point of view, the same terrible knowledge; accepting his own death---
Jim was overwhelmed with sensation, his mind screaming at him with whatever the fuck was happening, his body bruised and sore as his shoulders took the brunt of his weight as Spock hauled him to safety, moving so quickly and surely that Jim had the surreal sense that he weighed nothing, the oddest feeling that he was falling up, as the whole scene rewound itself.
--The crushing, desperate feeling of loss, of worthlessness as she disappears in front of you. The useless, feeble attempt to reach out and hang on--
He felt a surging wave of blackness when Spock firmed his grip, pulling Jim to his feet and flinging them away from the edge. He couldn’t separate his own thoughts from Spock’s as the Vulcan’s arms crashed around him, holding Jim’s body to him as they fell over. JIm had a vague understanding that he was between Spock and the ground. Jim fought to stay conscious, had one brief moment to look around him at the way the ground folds in on itself before the familiar white light of the transporter surrounds them, whisking them away to safety.
--Safe He’s safe nirsh ashayam we’re safe t’nash veh worla, worla m’ashayam... --
“Yomayo1! Oh Hikaru, I can’t believe I did it! They’re both here!”
Jim wasn’t sure if he’d fainted or not. He can’t really understand the babble of voices around him, or the fleeting, almost out of focus images in his head. He is in pain, that much he knows. He’s wrapped in something so tightly that his broken ribs rub together, sending bright sparks of agony behind his closed eyelids.
Jim blinked, trying to force breath into his lungs. All he could see was blue, and for a second everything was so confusing, so overwhelming that he only wanted to shut off his brain for a minute.
“GODDAMNIT EVERYONE SHUT THE HELL UP!!!”
Even as hurt as he was, Jim’s lips twisted into a ghost of a smirk. Only Bones.
Bones waited a minute, purposefully, until everyone was silent. When he spoke, his voice was very gentle, as though he were speaking to a broken, hurt thing. “Spock. Come on, Spock. Everything’s okay now, but Jim is hurt. I need to examine him.”
Jim heard a low, basso growl under his cheek. It slowly began to dawn on him that Spock was holding him, Spock’s arms were wrapped around him so tightly that he almost couldn’t breathe. The arms tightened further when Bones took a careful step towards them, and Jim couldn’t contain a small, hurt sound.
The growl stopped abruptly. Sickening, immense waves of guilt rolled over Jim, so intense that it caused his stomach to heave.
“Spock.” Bones crouched down, keeping several inches of space between him and where Jim was sprawled so uncomfortably in Spock’s lap. Spock shifted, moving so quickly that Jim didn’t even have time to categorize what was hurt, and what was not. The arms lessened their hold slightly, and suddenly Jim could breathe. He gasped in a breath, then another, just listening to the silence of the room, the thrum of engines gone to warp.
“The miners? The Klingons?”
“Safe, Keptin. Lieutenant Sulu got us to warp seconds before the moon Praxis exploded. As for the Klingons, no sign of their wessel, sir.
“Now, Jim, don’t worry about that. You just calm yourself. Spock, that’s great. Now I just need you to---”
Jim’s whole world tilted when he was swung up into Spock’s arms. He froze for a minute, unsure which was protesting more loudly: his stomach, his head, his ribs or his ankle.
“Hunnhh. Fine then. Try not to jiggle him too much.”
Spock didn’t say anything but Jim got a distinct feeling of disgust.
“Spock, why can I feel you---” His mumble was almost indistinct, but the double emotions cut off with the finality of a door slamming shut.
Jim shivered, feeling suddenly cold and alone in Spock’s arms.
1- Translated as “Holy Fuck!” (Yelchin says it in the film. He says it as “Oh Man, but in the comments someone else says it means Holy Fuck, so yeah. Going with that. http://trekmovie.com/2009/05/08/