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Caught in a Riptide

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Leonard is exhausted. It’s been nearly three weeks since a mystery virus ripped through the Enterprise, infecting two-thirds of the crew. It’s been only three hours since the cure’s been found, synthesized, replicated and begun to be administered. Their patients are recovering. In a few days everything will be back to normal.

At least until the next crisis.

Three weeks, and Leonard’s barely slept all -- hardly even stepped foot out of medbay. Every part of him hurts, physically and mentally. He just wants to sleep.

The corridors are a ghost town as he heads to his quarters. Medical’s been a madhouse, but every department’s been impacted. Those who hadn’t been afflicted have been working double and triple shifts with a skeleton crew. The few crew members he passes look as tired as he feels.

By some miracle, Jim, who is a magnet for trouble and disease, hadn’t come down with the virus, so through all of this, the ship still had her captain. It was something, at least, to hold them all together, and see them through. He hasn’t seen Jim in days, barely heard from him, though the relief in his voice had been palpable when Leonard had commed him earlier to tell him about the cure. Leonard should check in with him, see how he’s doing. But he needs sleep first.

When Leonard gets to his quarters, he doesn’t even bother with the lights, just sheds his clothes down to his briefs and falls into bed. Well. Not just falls into bed -- falls onto someone. Someone who gives a surprised yelp. The other person recovers quickly, though.

A sleepy rumble cuts through the dark. “Oh, hey, Bones.”

Jim. Of course it’s Jim.

He’s too tired for this. “What are you doing here, Jim?” Finding Jim in his quarters after a shift was in and of itself nothing out of the ordinary -- it actually was a fairly regular occurrence to come back to find Jim on his couch with a PADD -- or a drink -- in hand. That is, on days when Leonard didn't finish his shift first and head up to the bridge. Those days, they usually ended up in Jim’s quarters, for dinner and maybe poker and conversation.

But finding Jim in his bed is a whole other thing.

“I was waiting for you, and then I got tired, and your couch is kinda uncomfortable,” Jim says, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. “We gotta see about requisitioning you a new one the next time we’re in for repairs.”

“So you decided to Goldilocks your way into my bed?”

“Now that you mention it, it does feel just right.”


Jim shifts a little, and Leonard is pulled back to the realization that he’s half on top of his friend.

“Bones, you’re not wearing a shirt,” he whispers, like the thought has just occurred to him. Like they haven’t been pressed together ever since Leonard had landed half on top of him. Jim gropes around blindly in the dark, until his hand finds the back of Leonard’s knee. “Or pants.” His voice is laced with amusement. Leonard can hear Jim suck in a breath and get ready to say something else.

Before he can, Leonard untangles himself from Jim, shoving him over to the other side of the bed, putting some space between them.

“Jim, I am too tired to deal with this right now. Either leave or shut up and go to sleep.”

Jim stills beside him -- he clearly hadn’t been expecting to get a choice “Sure thing, Bones.” Leonard can hear him punch his pillow and then settle back down with a sigh.

It’s quiet for a few moments, but there’s tension in the air, like Jim’s waiting for Leonard to say something, to tell him to go back to his own quarters. And he probably should, but Leonard’s limbs are getting heavy, and it’s too much effort to speak.

Eventually, Jim says, “‘Night, Bones,” a little tentatively. He grunts in response, then sleep washes over him and he sinks down into it.


Leonard wakes slowly in the morning, warm and relaxed. He has his lights programmed to simulate a sunrise, and he can tell from the relative brightness that there’s still a little time before he has to get up.

Jim’s still there.

In fact, Jim is wrapped around him, head pillowed on Leonard’s shoulder, his arm trapped beneath him, soft puffs of breath against his clavicle, and drool pooling beneath his open mouth. Jim has an arm thrown across him, and his leg is hiked dangerously high over Leonard’s thigh.

Jim is still, somewhat surprisingly, nearly completely dressed, except for his boots. His shirt’s ridden up a little, though, and while he was sleeping, Leonard’s traitorous hand had apparently found that exposed strip of skin, right above Jim’s hip. His fingertips are pressed into Jim’s skin, almost possessive. Jim’s radiating heat, but it’s pleasant, rather than stifling.

He draws his hand back, and Jim, still asleep, makes a soft sound of protest when he moves and snuggles in closer.

Part of him wants to go back to sleep, to relax into this as long as he can. It feels... nice, to wake up with someone. It’s certainly been awhile. And, if he’s honest with himself, it feels particularly nice to wake up with Jim. Jim, his best friend.

But if Jim wakes up, finds himself wrapped around Leonard, it’s going to be awkward. There’s no way its not going to be awkward. Because for as close as they are, and for all the flirting, it’s never been more than that, and Jim’s the captain, for god’s sake.

Leonard involuntarily tenses up as the weight of the situation becomes more real the more he wakes up. Jim must feel the shift, because he makes another small unhappy sound and then there’s a deep breath, and Leonard knows he’s awake.

He quickly tries to run though some scenarios in his head -- of things he can say or do to make this all okay so that things don’t get weird between them. Maybe he should say something sarcastic, or make a joke, or just let Jim make a joke and then laugh along with him.

But all of those thoughts fly out of his head when he looks down and Jim’s smiling up at him softly, so damn fond.

“Ah, hell.” Leonard breathes out. And the only thing he can do is draw Jim in and kiss him.

The kiss imperfect, and little sour with morning breath, but Jim is kissing him back. The warm slide of Jim’s tongue against his sends a jolt through him. Jim bites at Leonard’s bottom lip as he pulls away. Leonard most assuredly does not whimper when he does so. A cold panic washes over him, and he thinks for a split second that he misjudged this. But Jim’s just repositioning himself: arms braced at either side of Leonard’s head, throwing his knee fully over Leonard’s waist to straddle him. Then he’s dipping back down.

The soft fondness in his eyes has been replaced with a steely focus, and while Jim’s still smiling at him, the grin is downright wicked. Jim whispers, “Bones,” once, before he dips back down to capture his lips again; the kiss is filthy and hungry and absolutely perfect.

Jim’s writhing over him, grinding down on him. Leonard’s hips are rising up to meet him. They both gasp at the friction, half hard and getting harder. They’re past the point of no return, Leonard’s swept up in it, might as well make the most of it.

He tugs at the hem of Jim’s shirt, and he gets the idea, sits back on Leonard’s thighs and pulls it over his head. Jim’s lips are already shiny with spit when his tongue darts out to lick them. The sight goes straight to Leonard’s dick, and he thinks about the possibilities of what that mouth could do to him.

Jim’s playing with the dark hairs below Leonard’s navel, tracing them down to where they disappear below his briefs. “This really happening?” he asks.

“Not if you don’t lose the pants, too, kid,” Leonard replies.

He didn’t know Jim could move so fast. Jim’s laughing as he’s shimmying out of his pants, and Leonard takes the opportunity to shuck his briefs, too. Then Jim is bearing down on him again. Leonard’s hand skate down his spine, over the curve of his ass.

There are so many things he wants to do with Jim, but the newness and surprise of this has made them both desperate, and far too close to release already.

So Leonard licks his hand and reaches down between them, gathers both of their lengths in his fist. When his hand closes around them, Jim’s head drops to his shoulder, momentarily, and he lets out a small, strangled sound. Jim recovers quickly, though, thrusting into Leonard’s fist. “Just like that, Bones,” he moans into Leonard’s ear.

The friction is almost a little too dry, just a little shy of too much, but his nightstand feels impossibly far away and they’d definitely have to pause for a moment, break apart, for Leonard to grab the lube. He’s too far gone from the sensation of Jim above him, against him, though, and he doesn’t think he can stop.

So he keeps moving, swiping with his thumb at the top of his upstroke to mix pre-come with spit. It’ll just have to be enough. Jim doesn’t seem to be complaining.

He feels the scrape of Jim’s stubble against his throat as he presses wet, open mouth kisses into his neck. Leonard’s mind is a rush of iwantiwantiwant. He wants Jim closer, wants to feel every inch of him. Wants him more than he thought possible.

Jim’s movements above him are getting erratic, and Leonard knows he’s getting close. He speeds up, twisting his hand around them, says, “That’s it, Jim, I got you.”

Then Jim is spilling out between them with a gasp, hot and wet, across both their stomachs. He leans heavily to one side and his hand joins Leonard’s on his cock, and Leonard lets out an undignified “Nngghhh.” Jim is pressing kisses against his jaw, up to his ear, as his hand works him.

“So hot, Bones, you’re so fucking hot,” Jim says into his ear, his voice gone impossibly deep. Their hands pump together, twice more before Leonard is spilling out, his come mixing with the mess Jim already left between them.

When Leonard is fully spent, Jim rolls off completely and flops down beside him, both of them breathing hard. He stares up at the ceiling and tries to get his brain working again. His mind circles back to worrying about whether this is going to change things between them. Well, obviously it is, it has, but hopefully not for worse. He’s also waiting for the inevitable smart-ass comment from Jim, but it never comes.

Instead, Jim reaches out and finds his hand, squeezes his fingertips. Leonard squeezes back.

Turns out it’s not awkward at all.