1. Year 1, Semester 1:
Goddammit but Leonard barely knew the guy, and despite their shared drink on the shuttle to San Francisco, he was getting ready to put a fist in the kid’s face, ‘do no harm’ be damned. That wasn’t to say Leonard didn’t like Jim - he did, but sometimes Jim was just… enthusiastic. Other times he would sink so far into his silence that Len was terrified he wouldn’t surface again, but he always did. Leonard found himself promising the that he wouldn’t let that happen while he slept (when he actually slept). Dammit, he was getting soft in his old age.
However, ‘annoying’ and ‘obnoxious’ were both words that Len would still happily use to describe Jim; he could go on for a day and night about how much James T Kirk irritated him. But, and Len kept this secret deep down where it couldn’t sneak out and surprise him, he could also go on for a week about what he liked about the kid: the way his smile could light up a room, how he didn’t judge Len when he woke up sobbing in the night, his arms aching to hold his daughter to his chest. Not that Jim knew he had a daughter, of course; Len wasn’t quite close enough to him yet to trust him with that particular titbit, but it was his quiet hand on the shoulder, and cold glass of water that earned Leonard’s respect.
But today Jim was far from quiet. Len was trying to study for the upcoming Xenobiology 101 test but Jim ‘I’d rather be hands on in my biology learning’ Kirk had somehow managed to weasel his way out of the compulsory unit. Evidently, that meant that Leonard wasn’t doing the unit either, at least in Jim’s world; in Len’s world, however, he most certainly had a test, and that test was tomorrow.
“Bones!” Jim said, bouncing on the balls of his feet with excitement. “Wanna go out to the bar tonight?”
Len arched an eyebrow without so much as looking at him. “No.”
The kid didn’t get the memo. “Buzzkill much,” he said, before sprawling across his bed like some sort of ungainly octopus-human hybrid. Len waited patiently for Jim to continue talking, already aware that nothing kept him down for long. He was right: a minute later Jim was bouncing off the walls again, his apparently endless energy starting to grate on Len’s nerves. “Guess it’ll just be me and Gaila then,” he said, and patted Len on the shoulder as he leant over him to peer at his xeno notes.
“Ooh nice ring,” Jim said, eyes dropping to Len’s left hand where it was holding his textbook open. Leonard couldn’t believe that they were in the 23rd century and still had to use paper. It was ridiculous. He kept getting paper cuts. Then Jim’s question sunk in.
“Um,” said Len, “thanks?”
“Where’d you get it?” Jim asked, with a small grin lighting up his face. The goddamn kid loved mysteries too much, especially unravelling them, whereas Leonard would prefer they stay just that - mysteries.
“Um,” said Leonard again. “Just…”
The door buzzed and Jim’s attention was gone as quickly as it had arrived. He gave Len another pat on the shoulder before bounding over to the door, slipping away with a hasty “See ya Bones!” thrown over his shoulder. Leonard sighed, and thunked his head on the desk. Goddamn kid bringing up feelings he had no place knowing about, while not even knowing that he had. Len gave the whiskey hidden behind a stack of his medical texts the briefest of thoughts before shrugging off the incident as a one-time thing. Jim’s attention span was about as long-lived as a mayfly. The ring wouldn’t surface as a topic again, he was sure of it. He was also hoping that Jim’s nickname for him wouldn’t stick (although he secretly hoped it would).
2. Year 1, Semester 2:
Len had a friend. Said friend was a cocky overgrown brat to be sure, but he was Len’s friend, and that meant Len would follow him anywhere. Jocelyn had once seen that sort of loyalty as his best feature, before their relationship had morphed into something ugly, and then she’d thrown his devotion back in his face. But now Len had a friend that he was 100% loyal to, and thankfully, said friend had yet to realise just how quickly Len had fallen for his charming friendship.
Thus, it was a combination of Len’s concern for his friend, and his doctor side that meant when Jim walked into their shared room looking like a horse had kicked him in the face, Len didn’t let it go.
“Jim, what happened to your face?” Len asked the second Jim looked at him. Jim shrugged and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. A frown made its way across Leonard’s face, not an unusual sight to be fair, but for once there was a reason other than his natural moodiness. “You ain’t getting rid of me that quick, kid,” Len said as he whacked the door to let know Jim he was going into their shared broom closet of a bathroom. There really wasn’t enough room for two full grown men in there, but dammit, Len was going to have to make this work.
When Len forced his way into the bathroom, Jim was leant over the sink, pure exhaustion dripping down his features. Len mentally rolled his eyes as Jim looked up with a mildly panicked expression. “Um, Bones, I’m fine, really,” Jim said, lying through his teeth. Len raised an eyebrow and Jim crossed his arms defensively. “I am!”
“Jim,” said Len patiently, “you’ve got a black eye, a cut lip, and multiple other contusions on your face, you’re holding your left arm to your chest to try and keep the pain down, and that’s what I can see. If I know you, you’re probably beat to all hell and back under your clothes as well. I’m a doctor, so strip and let me help you.”
Jim shrugged, curling in on himself as he turned away from Leonard. “You just wanna get me out of my clothes,” he muttered, but the remark lacked its usual energy, and Len knew he’d won.
“C’mon kid,” he said reaching out to gently lift the hem of Jim’s shirt, “let’s get this off at least.”
An hour later, Jim’s skin was near-flawless once again (excepting the numerous scars that Len pointedly didn’t ask about) and his arm was in a temporary sling while the osteogenic stimulator went to work on his fractured ulna. Len hadn’t asked, but Jim had muttered something about a group of off-worlders tormenting a stray dog.
“Hey Bones?” Jim asked, sprawled on his back in a patch of sunlight.
“Yeah, Jim?” Len returned lazily, staring at his PADD which he was pretending to read while in actuality keeping an eye on Jim for any other internal injuries he might’ve picked up. His medical tricorder was currently being updated, and he wouldn’t trust the temporary one he’d been given with a tribble’s diagnostics.
“Why’d you wanna be a doctor?” Jim asked, and his voice was soft and contemplative.
Bones raised an eyebrow at the seriousness of the question and spun around in his chair to face Jim. “My dad was a doctor, and I saw him helping people and wanted to do the same,” Len answered, mostly honest. “Why?”
Jim shrugged then winced as he jostled his fractured arm. “Just curious, I guess. We’ve been roommates for six months now, but I still know almost nothing about you, but you know like, everything about me.”
“Well, not quite everything,” Leonard responded sheepishly, realising that Jim had noticed Len’s sly questions and quiet observations. He really had thought the kid had been oblivious, but apparently not. Damn, he’d have to be more cautious in the future.
Jim snorted. “You memorised all of my allergies within a week of meeting me,” he said, “which is kind of ridiculous because I can’t pronounce half the names of those medicines.”
“I don’t exactly want to lose my medical license because I accidentally killed my roommate,” Len defended himself, and Jim laughed.
“That’s fair enough I guess.”
A moment passed and then Len asked, “Well, what do you want to know?” And was rewarded instantly by Jim’s eyes lighting up.
Len rolled his eyes. “You’re not finding everything out about me just yet kid, go easy on an old man.”
“Okay,” Jim acquiesced. “So how old are you, really?”
“You’re literally only two years older than me, old man. Favourite food?”
“Depends on the day.”
“Medical Advancements in the 22nd Century.”
“Wow, that’s boring,” Jim said, and Len raised an eyebrow.
“Touché. Why do you wear that ring?” Jim asked, and what seemed an innocent enough question sent Leonard’s shoulders rigid, and his voice was tight when he answered.
“I just do,” he said, and his tone said that that was all Jim would get.
Unfortunately, Jim had never been one for noticing things that he didn’t want to. So he promptly ignored Len’s answer. “Really?” Jim asked, “It looks quite fancy.”
“It is,” Leonard replied shortly, pointedly not looking at Jim like he normally would have. Jim frowned out of the corner of his eye, but thankfully dropped it, his attention dancing away.
“So, what’s your favourite sex position?” Len regretted everything (but not really).
3. Year 2, Semester 1:
Bones stormed into the room he shared with Jim and flopped on his bed. “Stupid goddamn interns,” he fumed, and Jim raised his head from where he’d fallen asleep on his textbook.
“What?” he muttered sleepily, and then his eyes widened as he realised that Bones was genuinely pissed at something, not just his usual grumpy. He eyed Bones warily before deciding to poke the ice-bore’s nest. “What happened?”
“Intern lost my ring,” Bones said, and Jim furrowed his eyebrows. It was just a bit of jewellery, wasn’t it?
“Why’s it so special?” He asked, which was apparently the wrong question to ask, because Bones somehow managed to contort his face into an even deeper scowl before his anger suddenly deflated. Or at the very least, appeared to. “It’s not a problem,” Bones muttered, “sorry for waking you; you don’t get enough sleep as it is.”
Jim ran a hand through his hair. “Well, I’m pretty sure I that I currently have a book imprint on my face, so my good looks are thanking you,” he said. “Not that they need any help. I’d be attractive with a–”
“Please don’t finish that sentence,” Bones said, and Jim frowned. Normally Bones would’ve let him finish and then made a snarky comment. That ring definitely meant something more than Bones was letting on. Jim decided that Bones was clearly hurting, and pretending not to. Looking at the morose man lying on his back, Jim also realised that he didn’t like Bones hurting. He immediately knew that he wanted to fix whatever was causing Bones’ distress. But first, he had to throw Bones off the scent; the man was like a hedgehog when it came to others caring about him.
“Alright,” said Jim brightly, walking over to Bones to rest a hand on his shoulder. “Say, I gotta go meet Gaila to study, I’ll see you later okay?” Bones shrugged tiredly, exhaustion from his shift clearly vying for attention with his ire. Jim hesitated briefly before snagging the blanket from his own bed and tucked Bones in like a child, receiving a half-hearted swat on the arm for his efforts.
“Piss off, Jim,” Bones sighed, the annoyance in his voice belied by how he snuggled under the blanket. Jim hid his smirk.
“Pissing off now,” he said, saluting Bones before he exited the room. Now, to make Bones happy again. Jim smiled to himself. Bones was gonna love him forever.
Bones was pissed again, thankfully not at Jim. “Half a bottle of saurian brandy? That ring is worth at least two bottles. Idiot intern.”
Jim shrugged. “Looks tacky, I guess,” and Bones’ eyes narrowed, “I meant, looked tacky to the intern who pawned it, not me, no I love your ring?” Jim backtracked as Bones side-eyed him. “Um, yeah, it’s a lovely ring.”
“Smooth, kid, smooth,” said Bones as he poked lovingly at the metal with a polishing cloth. Jim tried to keep his eyes off Bones’ hands before they did things to him. Now was friend time, not little Jim time.
“Are you going to report him?” Jim asked curiously and Bones smirked.
“Already have,” he said, “he’s lost his placement, so now he’s going to have to go work in a retirement home. Or worse: at General Medical.”
“Oh you cruel, cruel man,” said Jim dryly before his eyes lit up. “Is it true that people can vomit up¬‒”
“Whatever you’re asking, yes. People can vomit up anything,” said Bones with the barest trace of disgust. “The human body is incredible, yet horrifying.”
“Huh,” Jim mused. His eyes drifted to the ring as Bones slipped it onto his pinky again, something settling in him as he did. It was… interesting, Jim thought. How something so small meant so much to Bones. He wondered if he could ever mean that to someone.
Bones caught him looking and gave him a small smile. “Thanks for getting it back Jim, it means a lot,” and then he did something even stranger than smile. He pulled Jim in for a hug. Jim was stiff for the barest moment before leaning into Bones. No one had held Jim like that, with such care and affection, for as long as Jim could remember. It was nice, Jim decided, making Bones happy. Definitely worth using up all his favours with half the med staff, and being indebted to the other half. Jim thought that he’d do anything to keep Bones smiling like that all the time. But for now, a brief smile and a hug was enough.
4. Year 2, Semester 2:
Bones was warm and snuggled into his best friend’s side, a position, that yeah, sure, most friends wouldn’t assume, even best friends, but Jim and Bones were different. They always had been, right from their meeting on the shuttle. Sure, Bones had been more than a little drunk, but he’d seen Jim’s beaten-up face, a reflection of Bones’ beaten-up soul, and had known they were going to be different. What kind of different, Bones didn’t think about. He was happy being the Bones of Jim-and-Bones.
Unfortunately, being so comfortably affectionate with Jim meant he was now in an awkward situation, one that he’d gotten his own damn self into.
“Bones? Are you asleep?” Jim asked, which was kind of a redundant question if you asked Len. But he was sleepy, and warm, so he ignored him, which in retrospect had been the decision that had left him between a rock and a hard place. A few moments passed, then: “Bones,” Jim said softly, “I know you’re asleep, but I like talking to you, even when you’re asleep. Is that weird? Talking to someone while they’re asleep?” He paused, and Bones mentally counted to ten to try and keep his breathing even. Jim talked to him while he was asleep? From anyone else that might be odd, but from Jim? From Jim, it was par for the course.
“Today was nice,” Jim said at last. “Normally I don’t like weird weather days like this, but you made it better. They always remind me of the last time I saw my mum. She was actually on-world for a week and came to visit.” Jim huffed a sarcastic laugh. “Mum of the year award goes to Winona Kirk.”
“I think you already know that Frank used to shove me around; actually, I’m pretty sure you figured it out within a day,” Jim continued, which Bones had to conceded was true. “You don’t ask me about it though. You just treat me like a person. Mum never noticed. The week she came home, Sam had already taken off for good, so Frank only had one punching bag, not two. She saw the bruises, Bones; she saw them and didn’t do anything.” Jim’s voice cracked. “How could she have not known?”
More than anything, Bones wanted to pin Jim down with a hug, but he knew that Jim would clam up. He settled for pretending to shift in his sleep, pressing his body more firmly against Jim’s. Jim’s grip on his shoulder tightened. “Bones?”
Len kept his breathing even, and Jim’s grip loosened, satisfied Bones was just moving in his sleep and not waking up. He felt the tiniest bit of guilt in deceiving his friend, but he also suspected Jim would be unnerved if he knew he’d been awake the entire time. Better to tell him in the morning, in the light of day. Or not at all. “On a lighter note,” Jim said, all traces of anguish gone, “I really wish you’d tell me who gave you that ring.” Bones fought hard not to flinch. He’d thought Jim had forgotten about it. “It’s been bugging me for two years now, Bones, two whole years. Do you know how long that is for me?” And now Bones was struggling to keep a straight-face and hide his amusement at Jim’s whining. “It’s so long, Bones. But I don’t want to push you; I know you’ll tell me if you want to.”
Well. Bones did want to tell Jim but ‒ he couldn’t. If he was being honest with himself, and Len tried to be, he was scared. Scared to tell Jim about Joanna, tell him about the life he’d been forced to leave behind when Jocelyn had filed for divorce. He hadn’t been joking when he’d told Jim that Joce had taken the whole planet in the divorce - Jo had been his whole world.
Jim kept talking while Bones mused about his two lives - Before Jim and After Jim, about how the three most important people in his life were all linked by one letter, about telling Jim about Jo. Jim’s voice was soothing, however, and despite his attempts to stay awake, to listen to Jim telling him about how annoying the TA in his Tactical Analysis course was, how she refused to listen to Jim’s suggestions because ‘he was just a country kid with a famous name’, Bones was lulled to sleep. His last thought was that Jim had probably known he was awake the entire time.
5. Year 3, Semester 1:
Bones stroked a hand through Jim’s hair, marvelling at the softness. He wondered vaguely if Jim used one of those really expensive shampoos, but then decided against it. Jim wasn’t frivolous like that; he probably just washed his hair regularly like a normal person and genes did the rest. “That feels nice,” Jim murmured sleepily. The pair was curled up on the window seat that was barely big enough for one grown man, but somehow they made it work. ‘Somehow’ meaning Jim sprawling entirely on top of Bones while Bones wrapped his arm around him and got a mouthful of hair every time he breathed.
“Why’d you always wear that ring?” Jim murmured sleepily, and Bones hand temporarily stilled before resuming its petting. He’d wanted to tell Jim for a while now, and it seemed like Jim had given him the an opening.
The moment was almost perfect, and Bones didn’t want to ruin the quiet peace of their room; but he also had to tell Jim. He had to.
“Her name is Joanna,” Bones said into the quiet dark of their room. “She’s my daughter; I haven’t seen her, not in person anyway, for three years. I call her every week though, when you go to your xenolinguistics club.” He paused for a moment, grateful that Jim hadn’t interrupted him. “She’s seven now, turning eight in a few months. I’ve already gotten her an Orion painting, you know, one of the ones that glows at night. Gaila helped me pick it.”
This was it; he was going to tell Jim. “The ring you keep asking me about,” Bones said after a moment of silence. He stopped again and looked at Jim’s serene face, his hair falling over his eyes. Bones frowned. Jim only let his hair fall on his face like that when he was... “You’re asleep, aren’t you,” Bones said dryly. He shook his head. Typical.
Well, there was always the morning.
Except, in the morning, Jim walked out the door and straight into the swinging fist of a surly fourth-year cadet. His yelp of pain instantly summoned Bones, who’d just received news that he was off-shift for the day due to ‘complications’.
By the time Bones had leapt from the couch where he’d been napping and darted to the hallway, Jim was crumpled on the floor, the clear recipient of the full brunt of a cadet’s fury. Said cadet was stalking away down the hallway, clearly satisfied with his handiwork. Bones glared at the bystanders who just, well, stood by while one cadet had beaten the shit out of another, but resisted the urge to berate them in exchange for kneeling beside Jim. From a glance he could see a broken nose, a couple of broken fingers, and Jim’s posture indicated at least two broken ribs as well.
“What did you do this time?” Bones asked, pulling out his tricorder and studying Jim’s torso. Definitely two broken ribs, one of which was in danger of puncturing a lung.
Jim coughed up some blood. “Nothing? For once I think that was completely uncalled for,” he said, wiping his mouth.
“Stop using that hand, you’ve got broken fingers,” Bones scolded absently. Jim obediently switched to the other hand.
“Where’s all this blood coming from?” He asked. Bones raised an eyebrow. Great; the kid had a concussion as well. He sighed, before standing up.
Len offered Jim a hand. “Gotta get you to the city,” Bones said dryly. Jim staggered to his feet. “There we go.”
“Why the city?” Jim mumbled as Bones draped him over his shoulder.
“Some idiot contaminated medical with Levodian flu; it’s gonna be quarantined for another thirty hours at least.”
“Oh,” said Jim. “That’s why you’re not there.” Bones adjusted his grip. For once, he was extremely glad that he’d signed up for Starfleet. What Jim wasn’t saying was, ‘thank you for being here for me’ and Bones didn’t have an answer to that.
“I take back everything I’ve ever said about your terrible bedside manner,” Jim proclaimed as Bones returned from fetching him some food that was actually edible.
Bones gave Jim a cautious look. “Are you on meds?” He asked, and Jim nodded enthusiastically. “Great,” said Bones, “I leave you alone for ten minutes and you’re high as a kite.” He shoved the food at Jim who eagerly grabbed it and dug in, before picking up Jim’s medical PADD.
“Looks like you should be released in a couple of hours, Jim,” Bones said, “Don’t know why they gave you pain meds, if you’re a-okay.”
“They’re kind of in a rush,” said Jim, “I think they may have just dosed me to keep me quiet.”
“Sounds about right for a hospital like this. Also, while I’ve got you here,” Bones said, realising he still hadn’t talked to Jim about Jo, “I need to tell you something.”
Jim briefly stopped stuffing his face. “Sounds serious,” he said. Bones shrugged, opening his mouth before closing it again and frowning, narrowing his eyes as he looked at Jim.
“Jim, what meds did they give you?”
“Uh, I don’t know, why?”
Bones sighed, picking up the PADD again before immediately cursing incompetent doctors. “Oh great, they gave you metorapan.”
“Is that bad?” Jim asked, and Bones looked at him. “Ask your swelling face that.”
“Ah,” said Jim. “That explains the tingling in my fingers.”
“You’re tingling?” Bones switched into doctor mode, pulling a hypo out of his pocket and jabbing it into Jim’s neck. “That should stop the swelling for now,” he informed him.
A nurse poked her head into the room. “Sir, you’re not a doctor! You can’t just give people hypos!” Bones rolled his eyes with a muttered ‘I don’t have time for this’. He turned to face the young Orion.
“I am a doctor actually, and I don’t trust whichever doctor gave him the medication he has a fatal allergy to, to fix this without killing him. I need 20ccs of Hyperzine.” The nurse looked uncertain. “Look,” said Bones, fumbling his Starfleet ID out. “Starfleet doctor. Hyperzine, now. Before he dies, preferably.” Reassured, the nurse slipped off, returning moments later with the requested drug.
“Some competency from the doctors here?” Leonard snarked as he injected Jim, whose face was turning a rather interesting shade of purple. “Jeez kid, you’re really having a hell of a day.”
Jim wheezed, “Not my worst,” and Bones sighed.
“I’m not surprised.” He turned to the nurse, who was checking Jim’s stats. “How’s he doing?”
“Stats are settling back down, but his heart rate is still a little high,” she reported, and Bones nodded.
“That’s normal for him after a reaction.” He hesitated. “Thank you for your help.”
The young woman shrugged. “No problem. I better go now before the actual Doc realises.”
“Thanks,” Jim whispered from the bed, words a little slurred as his face returned to its regular size. She winked at him before disappearing down the corridor. He turned to look up at Bones with a pleading expression. “Can we go home now? I want to go home.”
“Of course, Jim. Right after I report that idiot to the medical board.”
+ 1. Post-Narada Incident:
“We’re five months into our first mission, Bones, and here you are sleeping on the job,” Jim said loudly after closing the door to his CMO’s office behind him. Said CMO startled awake at the sound and tipped sideways, barely managing to catch himself before he fell to the floor.
“My shift ended two hours ago,” Bones said with a pointed glare at the chronometer on the wall. “Goddamn captains thinking they can just walk in on people.”
“Well if you slept in your quarters like a normal person rather than in your office like a work-obsessed hobo, I wouldn’t be able to walk in on you, would I,” Jim commented light-heartedly before grabbing the chair opposite Bones’ and plonking himself down.
Bones raised an eyebrow. “Do I need to get out the Romulan Ale?” He asked and Jim shook his head, his face settling into a serious expression. In Bones’ expert opinion, that was not a good sign.
“What’s up Bones?”
Jim leaned forward to put his elbows on Bones’ desk. “You’re not sleeping in your quarters, you’re working double shifts unnecessarily and you’ve missed the last three crew-bonding nights. Need I go on?” Bones was starting to get an idea about why Jim was here. That didn’t mean he was going to admit it. He looked patiently at Jim, who narrowed his eyes slightly in response. “Alright, I’ll continue: as far as sleeping goes, you don’t look like you’re enough and no, naps don’t count. I’d hazard a guess to say that you’re currently running on fumes, hypo-stims and coffee.” Bones winced at Jim’s bluntness. “Chapel tells me you’re skipping meals, which is rather hypocritical of you, Doctor, considering how much you nag at me to eat, oh and I’m worried about you. And she won’t admit it, but Uhura is too. Gaila is also very concerned, and she won’t shut up about it. So.”
Bones shifted, guilt pooling in his stomach. “I’m fine, Jim,” he said softly. “I’m just having difficulty to adjusting to the whole idea of being on a starship. I thought I’d be at an outpost, not in a tin can.” It wasn’t exactly true, but it certainly wasn’t a lie.
Jim’s expression, however, softened at Bones’ admission. “Alright. But you’re still coming with me, right now.”
Bones eyed him warily. “Where?”
Jim smirked as he stood up from the desk. “You’ll see.”
It turned out that Jim had made Bones dinner in his captain’s quarters. Well, he’d programmed a meal from the replicator, but as Jim said, ‘same difference’. Bones was too hungry and tired to argue the particulars.
“So,” said Jim, after they’d finished eating, “we haven’t really hung out lately.”
Bones looked at Jim. “We’re both busy, Jim,” he said gently, “you’re captain and I’m your CMO.”
“I know,” Jim said. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it. You go from spending three years with a man to barely seeing him every few days.” He looked away from Bones, but not quite fast enough to keep Bones from seeing the distress in his eyes.
“Jim,” said Bones, moving to kneel beside the captain. He offered a small smile. “I miss you too.” Jim’s eyes snapped to Bones and he offered a shaky smile.
“So will you tell me what’s really wrong?” Jim asked, and Bones tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes.
“You’re a sneaky bastard, has anyone told you that?”
“You’re deflecting,” Jim pointed out and Bones conceded the point. The problem was, he didn’t quite know how to spit out the words ‘I miss sleeping in the same room as you and hearing you breathe’ without coming off as creepy. Jim could clearly see the conflict on Bones’ face though, because he said “you’re my best friend, Bones.”
The magic words. “And you’re mine, kid,” Bones said, looking away so Jim wouldn’t see the raw emotion that he knew he was unsuccessfully trying to keep from his face.
“Can we… can we talk?”
“We’re talking right now,” Jim pointed out, quiet amusement colouring his words. Bones shook his head.
“Like we used to at the academy,” he clarified, and Jim grinned at him.
“Aw, Bones, you want to cuddle,” he teased, but he was already standing up and eagerly dragging Bones over to his bed. Len quickly found himself on his back with Jim latched onto his side, soft blonde hair tickling his jaw. “I’ve missed this,” Jim murmured, and Bones nodded, knowing Jim would feel it.
Bones was quiet for a moment before speaking. “I know I really should have told you this sooner,” he said, “but I have a daughter.”
Jim craned his neck to look up at Bones, who was worrying his lip. “I know, Bones,” he said, his voice tender. He’d figured it out a few years ago, from Bones’ quiet, perfectly regular weekly calls, the presents sent back to Georgia for Christmas and birthdays, and probably ‘just because’. Bones tightened his grip on Jim.
“Her name’s Jo,” Bones whispered. “I haven’t seen her since she was five.” Jim was silent, but he seemed to be pressing himself even closer to Bones’ side in quiet support. “I miss her so damn much.”
The two were quiet again, and Jim was nearly asleep the next time Bones spoke. “I know it’s been bugging you for years,” he said, and Jim narrowed his eyes at the amusement clear as day in his voice. “The ring, Jo-Jo gave it to me. Well, I gave it to her as one of those ‘wear it when you’re older’ gifts first. But then she gave it back to me and informed me that I was to keep it so I’d remember that she loved me, even when I was on the other side of the universe. I have to wear it on my pinky because that’s the only finger it fits on.”
“She sounds sweet,” Jim said, and he sat up so he could look at Bones. “C’mon, tell me everything, I want to know exactly how to spoil her next time we get shore leave.” Bones’ smile lit up the room far more than any light ever could.
And then, Bones surprised Jim once again, yanking him down for a kiss that started with a somewhat painful clacking of teeth but shifted into something gentle, something … nice. It felt right, Jim thought, and he smiled against Bones’ lips. “About time,” he informed the older man, who smirked up at him.
“Can’t believe I had to make the first move,” he said slyly, “what with your constant bragging about how slick you are.” Jim whacked Bones’ shoulder as he flushed an interesting shade of pink, which for once wasn’t a sign he was having a reaction to a new medication.
“I was being a gentleman!” He defended and Bones smirked at him.
“Well then, be a gentleman and get back down here.”
“Don’t have to ask me twice,” Jim said, but he stayed where he was, face hovering above Bones’ as he studied it, cementing the image in his mind.
Bones rolled his eyes. “Apparently I do,” he muttered, and Jim smirked.
He did take the hint though.