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Dancing on air

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"I miss it sometimes."

Jim stopped in his tracks. He knew he shouldn't eavesdrop, but he couldn't help himself. He wanted to know what his best friend was talking about and also who he was talking with.

Glancing at the clock, Jim saw that it was nearly lunchtime. He had just woken up. Bones would have probably woken him up soon, since they always ate lunch together, even on the weekend.

"Isn't there anywhere you can go for this sometimes?" Jim recognized the voice that asked this. A medical colleague from Leonard. Geoffrey M`Benga, Jim recalled the name.

Now Bones sighed "I mean yes, there are events with ballroom dances, but it's just not the same. I don't want to just dance with a stranger. For me, dancing was always something to do with somebody I trust; with somebody I love, platonically or romantically."

There was a pause before Geoffrey answered "I see... I am sure you will get your chance to dance again and enjoy it."

"I hope so. But even if not, it won't kill me." Len replied and Jim could hear him move. Probably not to look at the other doctor.

"No, but it would make you happier."

****

Jim couldn't get it out of his head. He hadn't spoken to Bones about the topic of dancing. Still, he wanted to help his best friend somehow. Jim was pretty sure Geoffrey was right, that dancing would make Leonard happier. But the conversation had made Kirk also wonder if Bones would dance with him.

Slowly, an idea started to form in his head. In less than two months was Bones` birthday. Leonard had already told him that he had not planned anything. So Jim thought, why not go dancing with him?

The only problem was, Jim didn't really know how to dance any ballroom dances. Maybe he would manage a waltz. But he wanted to be good at it. For Bones. 

After a bit of research, Jim realised that there weren't many dance schools nearby and while he may be a genius he still needed time to study and write his essay. It would be much easier if there was somebody at the Academy, who could teach him. Hopefully more than once a week as well. But the only one he knew that could dance, besides Bones, of course, was Uhura and Jim didn't think they were close enough to ask her. For a short moment, Jim wondered if maybe Pike could teach him, but he quickly shoved that thought back where it came from. 

In the end, Jim sighed. It really seemed like the best way to learn how to dance for Bones was with Bones. 

  *****

Two days passed until Jim finally asked his best friend.

They just finished dinner when the younger man spoke up "Bones, there is something I want to ask you."

Leonard looked up. There was a bit of concern written on his face. Jim didn't know if he should be touched or amused by this. 

"What do you need kid?" Bones wanted to know.

Jim automatically rolled his eyes at the term "kid". Yes, he was used to this by now, still, in his opinion, it just made Leonard sound old. 

Anyway, Kirk had decided that straightforward was the best way to do this and so he took a deep breath and asked: "Can you teach me how to dance?"  

Leonard raised one of his eyebrows and leaned back before crossing his arms. "You want to learn how to dance? From me?" He questioned, sounding surprised but also suspicious.

Jim put on what he hoped was a charming smile "Yeah! I mean if someone my friends know how to do these ballroom dances, it's you, right?"

"But why?" 

"Well, there is someone I want to surprise with it," Jim replied. Pleased at himself that he didn't really lie to his best friend. 

However, an, in Jim's opinion, unreadable expression crossed the doctor's face for a second, confusing the younger man. Before he could think too much about it, Leonard already asked the next question "A surprise? Must be a special someone, then, if you go through that trouble."

Jim nodded and his smile softens "A very special someone." 

"I see, good for you, I guess." Bones muttered and stood up quite abruptly.

*****

Even though the conversation with Bones definitely didn't go as Jim had imagined, the doctor had later with a sigh informed him that he would help Kirk. 

Still, Jim had the feeling he had done something wrong and that bothered him. So he decided to talk to somebody about his plan. 

This somebody was Gaila. 

Apparently, after telling her the story, she knew what Jim had done wrong but found it more amusing to just laugh at him and call him an idiot.

Not even his pouting helped. If anything, it made Gaila laugh more. 

Jim felt like he was missing something very obvious.

*****

Jim didn't know how he did it, but Leonard got them one of the smaller classrooms for their first lesson. Or maybe they weren't actually allowed to use it, however, this seemed unlike Bones.

"You know, I thought we would do this in our room," Jim commented as he entered.

The doctor, who had already been waiting for him, huffed "I don't know about you, but I don't wanna move the furniture around every time." 

"Good point," Jim admitted. He honestly hadn't thought about that before.

"Anyways, what do you want me to teach you exactly?" Bones questioned now. He leaned against a table, seemingly relaxed and looked at Kirk expectantly. 

"Everything, I guess." Jim grimaced "I mean I danced the waltz like three times in my life, but even this was years ago." 

"I see…" Leonard muttered. Then louder "Okay, so let's start with the waltz and see what you remember." 

As Jim nodded in agreement, the doctor walked towards him. He grabbed one of the Blondie's hands and lead him further into the room. 

Jim was looking at his hand in Bones', noticing how big the doctor's hand is, the long fingers. Fingers of a pianist, Jim thought. He also enjoyed the warmth coming from his best friend's touch, making him smile nearly automatically. 

"If you want to impress someone, you should look more at their face," Leonard remarked, sounding amused. But there was also a fondness in his voice that caused Jim to feel a special kind of happy. He felt nearly giggly.

But before he could reply, Bones took Jim's other hand and placed it on his own shoulder, before he put his hand on Kirk's hips. 

"We'll start without music. Just to see how good or bad you really are. I lead for now." Leonard explained. 

Jim lifted his head to look at his best friend and give his confirmation, just to be shocked how close Bones actually was. Sure, they were going to dance with each other, but he rarely got to see the doctor so close. At least when they were both sober. So Kirk was kind of taken aback. 

What really took Jim's breath away were Bones' eyes. He always thought they were pretty. But now he could see the slightly different shades of brown and the speckles of green. Leonard had the prettiest eyes that Jim had ever seen. He could get lost in them, probably already did. 

Bones cleared his throat, making Jim snap out of it. At the questioning eyebrow from the doctor, Kirk couldn't help but blush. He wondered how his best friend would interpret this since there was no way Bones could miss it. 

"Are you quite alright?" Leonard asked.

Jim quickly nodded and put on one of his trademark smiles. "Of course! Why shouldn't I Bones?" 

This wasn't even a lie. Well, at least not a complete one. Jim didn't feel bad. There weren't any negative emotions, they were rather positive ones. But Kirk didn't know what he should do with them. This was his best friend, somebody he never wanted to lose. Now his heart had apparently decided that they should be more than friends. Or had this feeling already been there for a long time and Jim had just ignored it? Not recognising it for what it was?

This was something he had to think about later. Now he should better focus on Leonard. They were here for a reason. 

Jim calmed his nerves the best he could and tried to follow Bones' movements as the doctor started dancing a slow waltz. 

*****

"Gaila, I am in love with my best friend!" Jim Kirk announced as he stormed into the room where Gaila was studying for a test.

She looked up at him, surprised. "Why do you sound like this is a new discovery?"

This made Jim stop in his track. He looked at her in confusion. "What do you mean with this?"

Gaila shrugged "You two are in love with each other for quite a while now. I think nearly the whole Academy knows this. Even your hot captain mentor." 

Now Jim's eyes widen and he let himself fall onto the bed. He groaned. 

"Pike?" He questioned, "Does Pike think Bones and I are dating?" 

"Many people do." Gaila replied helpfully.

Again Kirk groaned. But that at least explained why Pike always addressed Bones as "Jim's better half". 

"So you really have just figured it out? That you love him?" Gaila asked like she honestly couldn't believe it. 

"Yes." Jim sighed, "And apparently I am the last to know."

"Well, if you two are not together yet, then Leonard is the last. So better go and tell him soon." 

But Kirk shook his head "No way I am risking the best friendship I ever had for this."

Gaila raised an eyebrow. "What is there to risk? You two just make yourself unnecessarily unhappy because you don't talk about your feelings with each other."

"What if you are wrong? What if he doesn't love me? Maybe we will stay friends, but it always will be at least a little awkward." Jim replied and stood up, starting to pace through the room. 

Gaila crossed her arms. "What if I'm right though? He loves you back and you can have your happy life with Doctor McHottie." 

"I am not telling him." Jim remained stubborn, "Not before I have proof that there is a chance of him having feelings for me."

"Oh, that's easy then." Gaila replied, "Just finally open your eyes and watch him. How he talks to you, looks at you, behaves around you."

*****

So watching Bones was what Jim did the next day. However, instead of seeing proof of the doctor's feelings for him, Jim noticed more and more how beautiful Bones was.

As Leonard came out of the bathroom in the morning, hair damp from the shower and towel wrapped around his waist, Jim couldn't help but stare. 

Jim couldn't deny that Bones was more muscular than him. It made him wonder what kind of sport his best friend did or had done back in Georgia. Because a muscular back like this definitely didn't come from running and doctoring alone. 

Probably neither did the strong arms of Leonard. Jim bit his lip as he imagined how it would feel to be held by those. 

Then, of course, there were also Bones' hands. Hands that saved lives. Hands that always touched so gently, so careful. Jim couldn't help imagine this strong, talented hands touching him, exploring him. These elegant fingers drawing abstract patterns on his skin. Jim didn't doubt that Leonard was fully capable of taking him apart with his hands alone. 

Leonard's face was, of course, beautiful as well. 

Lips that looked so soft, just kissable. Making Jim wonder what it would be like to kiss the doctor. Passionate, he imagined. Would Bones dominate the kiss? Had he ever kissed a man? What would make him gasp and moan? 

But lips don't just kiss. They could also form a smile. Jim loved Bones' happy smile. It made his heart flutter and smile as well. Making his best friend smile like this made him happy as well.

The only thing better was Leonard's laugh. It was probably Jim's favourite sound. Carefree and happy. 

There was also the whole thing with Bones' eyes and eyebrows. They were just so expressive. Jim was pretty sure he never met anybody who could express so many different emotions by eyebrow movements alone. Sometimes it was amusing, sometimes adorable. 

Only when the door of their shared dorm room shut and Leonard had left for his hospital shift, did Jim realize that he really spend the whole morning watching his best friend and thinking about how beautiful he was.

Jim sighed and rubbed his face. He couldn't believe that he had fallen so deeply in love with his best friend without noticing.

*****

When Jim went to the cafeteria to eat lunch with Bones, he saw the doctor already sitting at a table, together with Uhura.

Jim knew she and Leonard were close or at least closer than Uhura and himself. However, seeing these two sitting there now, apparently deep in discussion with one of her hands on Leonard's arm, awoke a feeling in Jim that he hadn't really experienced in years. Jealousy. 

Jim shook his head. This was childish. Leonard and Uhura were just friends and if the doctor wanted more from her, Jim would have been the first to now, right?

So Jim smiled and walked over to his best friend. "Bones! Fancy meeting you here!"

He could see Leonard rolling his eyes. Still, the doctor smiled slightly as he looked up. "You're late, kid," he commented. 

"Well, what can I say, " Jim stated and let himself fall down on the chair next to Bones, "the Professor loves to talk to me."

Uhura snorted and Leonard sighed. 

"What did you do this time?" Bones asked with what Jim came to call his default annoyance. 

"Nothing!" Kirk defended himself, "I just disagreed with parts of her theory."

Leonard opened his mouth, but Jim held up one hand. "No, don't you dare say I shouldn't do that. I know you are worse than me concerning disagreeing with professors. That one guy even let you teach a class because they hoped you would embarrass yourself, which you didn't, of course. Since you are an awesome and intelligent doctor." 

Leonard raised an eyebrow at this, a grin slowly forming on his face. "Well, thank you, I guess." 

Uhura chuckled. 

*****

"When do you have time for the next lesson? There is a lot we have to work on, so you don't step on your special someone's toes all the time." Bones asked casually as they were on the way to their favourite bar.

"Well, I have a test the day after tomorrow. So how about the afternoon that day?" Jim suggested. 

He ran a hand through his hair. Jim was already excited but also nervous about their next dancing lesson. Being so close to Bones, with feelings he had just realised. 

Jim was still against the idea of telling his best friend about his feelings, meaning these dancing lessons would probably be like sweet torture for him. But he knew it would be worth it. It was just the perfect surprise for Bones. 

"How did you meet them, actually? If you don't mind me asking." Leonard wondered. There was a tone in his voice, though, that Jim didn't know how to interpret.

He was confused by the question anyway. So a "huh?" was everything he said. 

The doctor rolled his eyes. "Your special someone," he clarified, "Where did you meet them? And when? If I recall correctly, you didn't talk about any… Potential partner for weeks." 

"Oh…" Jim replied dumbfounded. He didn't know what to tell Bones. He really didn't want to lie to his best friend but he also didn't want to ruin the surprise. Why hasn't he thought about this before? Of course Leonard would ask questions. 

Bones looked down as Jim failed to answer. "I mean, you don't have to tell me. I just thought…" The doctor sighed, "I don't know what I thought. Just that this would be something you'd tell me." 

The good mood was officially ruined and Jim still didn't know what to say.

*****

"You are an idiot!" Gaila exclaimed when Jim told her about the walk to the bar. 

He sighed "Yeah, I know. I just didn't want to ruin the surprise. Looking back, that would have been the better way though. 

"Yes, definitely." Gaila agreed, " Now he probably thinks that you don't trust him enough to tell him about such personal things."

Running a hand through his hair Jim sighed again. "What should I do now?" he asked.

"Talk to him. That's the best way to avoid more misunderstandings and hurt."

*****

Jim really wanted to talk to Bones but said man apparently didn't.

You probably couldn't say after just one day that the doctor avoiding him. Still, that's what it felt like for Jim.

He could barely concentrate on studying. His eyes always wandered back to the clock. It was an old fashioned one. It was Bones'. Jim had gifted it to him last Christmas. 

It had actually been the first time Jim cared enough for somebody to buy them a Christmas gift since his brother had left home all those years ago. Even more than that, Jim dared to say, Christmas together with Bones had been the best he ever experienced. 

Slowly, Jim could understand why so many people knew that he was in love with his best friend. 

There was nobody else he was so close to. Nobody else he trusted so much. Nobody else that could so easily make him smile. Nobody else he immediately looked for upon entering a room. Nobody else he wanted by his side.

Jim knew Gaila was right. That he should tell Leonard the truth about his feelings. But he was just so afraid of losing him. He didn't know what to do without him.

Nearly one day without Bones and Jim already missed him. 

*****

This time Jim was the first one in the room where he was supposed to meet Bones for their lesson. 

He was nervous. He didn't think Leonard would not come. However, what kind of mood would he be in? 

Jim wanted to use this opportunity to talk to him. He was still afraid, though. He hoped he would find the right words to say and that he didn't chicken out in the last possible moment.

Finally the door opened and Leonard stepped inside. The doctor was clearly surprised to see Jim already there. 

The two men looked at each other. Nervous and unsure.

Jim was the one to break the silence. He took a deep breath and walked towards his best friend. "We have to talk." 

Leonard sighed "You don't have to explain yourself, Jim. It's your decision what to tell me and what not. So let's rather get on with the dancing, so you can impress whoever it is that is so special to you." 

Jim closed his eyes for a second. He knew it was now or never. He looked Leonard in his eyes. "What if I told you my special someone is you?" Jim questioned, his voice not above a whisper. 

The doctor's eyes widen. He opened his mouth and closed it again without saying anything. Jim could see the uncertainty in his eyes but there was also something else. Hope. 

Jim decided to explain himself more, before courage left him: "I overheard a conversation you had with M'Benga, about dancing and how you missed it. So I wanted to surprise you on your birthday. Wanted to go dancing with you. The only problem was that I, how you know by now, can't dance that well." 

"So you asked me to teach you?" Leonard asks with a raised eyebrow.

Jim smiles softly at him "I didn't know anybody better suited for that." 

Leonard bit his lip and looked at Jim, seemed to search his face for something. After a moment he asked: "And when you say 'special someone' you mean…?" 

This was it. The moment of truth. Again Jim took a deep breath. "Originally my idea was to surprise my best friend…"

Jim wasn't finished but Bones already took a step back. The hope In his eyes gone as he muttered: "I see."

He shook his head and closed his eyes for a moment. "I appreciate the gesture, Jim, but it isn't necessary for you to learn how to dance just for me. Honestly, don't go through all that trouble for me." Leonard said before turning around and leaving the room.

Jim wanted to punch himself. He should have just been straightforward.

*****

Of course Bones wasn't in their room but neither was he in the clinic, Jim also couldn't find him in their favourite bar. The last idea Kirk had was the little jazz bar he knew Leonard was pretty fond of.

Jim really hoped to find Bones there. Then he would finally tell him the truth and this time he wouldn't let the doctor run away. 

When Jim stepped into the bar, he spotted Bones nearly immediately. He sat in the last row, listening to the music, a glass of Bourbon in his hand.  

Jim slowly approached the doctor, afraid he would run as soon as he saw Kirk. 

"What do you want?" Leonard asked as Jim sat down beside him, without looking away from the stage. His voice sounded tired, nearly like he gave up. It broke Jim's heart. 

"You misunderstood me, Bones, and I am here to fix that." 

Now Leonard looked at him. There were unshed tears in his eyes. "Really? I think you were perfectly clear. You wanted to make a nice surprise for your best friend. Nothing wrong with that. I am just ungrateful, huh?"

Jim shook his head. "Making my best friend happy, that's what I originally planned, yeah, but at our first lesson I realized something." 

"And what would that be?" Leonard asked quietly. 

Jim took the glass of alcohol from the doctor and placed it on the table before taking Bones' hands in his own. "I realized that my feelings for you are deeper than friendship. That I not only like you, that I don't simply love you like a brother but that I really love you. Romantically. I want to kiss you, want you to hold me, want to dance with you. But most importantly, I want you to be happy." Jim confessed. 

For the second time this day Leonard's eyes grew wide. "So you…. Are you saying that…?" 

Jim chuckled, still nervous. "Yes, I love you and I hope you love me too." 

"Yes! Yes, of course I do!" Bones exclaimed and pulled Jim into a tight embrace, causing the younger man to nearly fall out of his chair. Jim laughed, carefree now, and wrapped his arms around Leonard in return.

As they parted after a few moments Jim grinned cheekily at his partner. He stood up and offered Leonard one of his hands. "So, do you want to dance with me?" 

Bones smiled happily at him and took the offered hand. "There is nobody I'd rather dance with."