Feedback: Makes me happy, just play nice
Disclaimer(s) can be found here (see Fandom(s) I’m Going To Hell For)
Summary: Jim and Bones have a tradition: Christmas consisted of Jim, Bones, a bottle of high-end bourbon, and questionably conceived pizza.
AN1: written for space_wrapped 2014
AN2: So when I started this I had this wonderful idea full of Bones!angst and schmoop, about a paragraph in I must’ve started smoking crack or dropping acid, then it somehow turned into extremely light Jim!angst and a massive helping of schmoop… so, yeah, I have no idea, but there is Jim and Bones and Christmassy stuff and schmoop and of course a happy ending.
AN3: Title is from “Christmas is Here Again” by Roger Whittaker (don’t judge me :P )/lyrics
…still going to special Trekker Hell.
Christmas had always been hard on Bones, at least as long as Jim had known him. For the last five years, Christmas had consisted of Jim, Bones, a bottle of high-end bourbon, and questionably conceived pizza.
That first year, they’d both been just past tipsy when they decided to make pizza and before they knew it their hastily thrown together pizza was covered with zigzagging stripes of green and red pepper, dotted spots of pepperoni and olives, covered with a smattering of cheese and finely chopped onion. Jim had instantly declared it their “First Christmas Together” ornament.
The next year, the pizza became a wreath. Green pepper pine needles mixed with jalapeños and artichoke hearts- they still weren’t sure how that happened since neither of them could stand artichokes- rings of red pepper centred with ham and olives served as ornaments, and layered pepperoni pine cones.
The following year was a snowman. Three successively smaller round pizza crusts linked together, its toppings hidden under a mound of cheese with peperoni buttons and an olive smile and eyes.
It was better not to mention their attempt at Santa.
The Rudolf last year was… well, it was. They’d both agreed that the meat and tomato sauce really worked much better under the cheese- but it did look good.
This year they were out in the depths of the black, a few months into their five year mission, but that wasn’t going to stop Jim. He’d been collecting the necessary ingredients for the last three months and Scotty had somehow procured a bottle of Woodford Double Oaked. This year was going to be epic, even with them both coming off doubles.
“Hey, Bones,” Jim greeted merrily, all but bouncing into Sickbay.
“Oh, God, do you have to bounce around like a kid at Christmas?” Bones offered by way of greeting, his bright smile belaying his attempt at gruffness.
“Shoe fits,” Jim agreed, hopping up on a biobed.
Bones chuckled- full and throaty. “We still on for tonight?” he asked, refocusing on adjusting the sensors on the biobed Jim had just jump up on.
“As if I’d spend Christmas any other way,” Jim scoffed lightly, using his not insubstantial captainly reserves to temper the anxiety he felt.
The warm smile on Bones’ face almost made him melt. It also terrified him. If things went badly tonight he might never see that smile directed at him again.
“You feelin’ okay there, Jim?” Bones asked, concerned at the readings coming off the bed.
“Hmm?” Jim quickly squashed the nerves threatening to take over. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine, Bones- just thinking,” he answered flashing one of his playful smirks.
“You know, Jim, I’m a big boy, if there’s someone else you’d rather spend Christmas with, I’d understand.”
“What! No!” Jim jumped down from the biobed, ignoring the erratic beeping coming from the machine. “My quarters. After shift. Don’t make me order you.”
Bones grunted then shook his head, something was up with his best-friend. He’d get it out of him eventually. For now, he simply agreed, “All right, I’ll see you then.”
“Good.” Jim nodded once to himself. “Good. Tonight,” he said, giving himself a mental shake as he left Sickbay.
Bones watched Jim go with a furrowing brow, before turning his attention back to the biobed and the strange readings. His brow furrowed even deeper if that was possible as he took in the elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and excessive endocrine production the bed reported, either the bed was malfunctioning or Jim was, well, if he’d gotten those readings on anyone else he would’ve called it scared.
“McCoy to Engineering,” he called into his comm.
“Engineering,” came a familiar brogue.
“Mr. Scott, could you report to Sickbay at your convenience?” Normally, Bones would’ve just asked for a tech to come run a diagnostic, but he wasn’t fond of the idea of explaining exactly why he wanted an emergency diagnostic on a biobed to a random tech.
“Aye, be there in a flash, Doc.”
“Prefer if it wasn’t,” Bones muttered when he disconnected.
An hour after their shifts ended, Bones stood in front of Jim’s door. He’d been thinking ever since Scotty had declared the biobed in perfect working order. Whatever was eating at Jim had to be serious, Bones had never seen those kinds of readings even in Jim’s worst condition. To say Bones was worried would be putting it mildly. He tried not to let his imagination runaway with him, but he’d considered everything from Jim telling him he was going on yet another suicide mission- alone- to his original suspicion that there was someone Jim would rather be with- he wasn’t masochistic enough to entertain the thought the he was causing Jim’s rapid pulse and elevated endorphin levels, for very long at any rate.
Inside his quarters, Jim wasn’t fairing much better. He was pacing through the living area, casting nervous eyes between his chosen pizza form and the door. This was ridiculous, he was Captain James T. Kirk, poster boy for the Federation, youngest captain in the history of Starfleet with the reputation and pride to seduce and win over the toughest of people. But Bones wasn’t ‘people’ and he wasn’t some stranger to be seduced and bedded. Bones was his best-friend, the one person who knew him warts and all and still stayed; he was the one person Jim couldn’t imagine life without, even if that life was merely one of friendship and undying loyalty. But Jim knew himself and knew he was greedy and wanted more.
He’d just taken a final deep breath, steeling himself in his decision when his door chimed causing him to jump. “Damn-it, Kirk, get a grip,” he berated himself. “Come on in, Bones,” Jim called.
“Hey, Jim,” Bones greeted warmly. “Merry Christmas.”
“I hope so,” Jim muttered.
“What was that?”
“Oh, nothing. You want a drink?” Jim mentally slapped himself- could he sound any more like a teenager on his first date.
Bones looked at Jim curiously. “You sure you’re feelin’ all right?”
“Yeah.” Jim waved Bones off, focusing instead on pouring them two fingers each of Scotty’s ill-gotten bourbon. Handing Bones his drink, Jim clinked their glasses together. “Merry Christmas, Bones.”
Something warm trickled through Bones at Jim’s simple words, words he’d heard many times over the years, but something felt different this time. Or maybe it was wishful thinking.
They sat together on Jim’s small sofa, side by side as always, nursing their drinks and talking about their days and ship news- they refused to call it gossip since it was their job to know the health and status of the crew, their friends.
After a while they slipped into a comfortable silence. The drinks and company relaxing them more than anything else ever could.
Jim wet his lips nervously. “You hungry?”
Bones looked up from his comfortable sprawl. “I could eat.”
“Awesome,” Jim practically bounced over to the tiny kitchen area in his quarters. “Then we should get started,” he said mischievously with a little eyebrow wiggle.
“What’re you up to?” Bones asked, following Jim and raising an inquisitive eyebrow at the brightly coloured fabric covering the items on the small kitchen counter.
“You’ll see,” Jim replied with a smile, waiting for Bones to join him.
With a flourish that only someone like Jim could pull off, he snatched the fabric away, revealing their dinner project this year.
Bones looked over the spread, a soft smile playing on his lips. “Mistletoe, Jim?”
Jim shrugged as carelessly as he could with his blood beating an ever increasing tattoo through his veins.
“Well, let’s get this party started. Pizza ain’t gonna cover itself,” Bones said playfully, rubbing his hands together dramatically before reaching for the tomato sauce.
Forty-five minutes later they stood admiring their handiwork. The ‘leaves’ were ‘snow-capped’ by cheese with enough green showing- some spinach-like vegetable they’d discovered a few months back- to keep them recognizable. The berries took a bit more work, they finally settled on outlining them with strips of red pepper that had a light coating of cheese to give it a pale pink tinge.
All-in-all, Bones thought it was a pretty fine lookin’ sprig of mistletoe.
“All right, genius, how’re we supposed to cook this thing?” Bones asked, an amused smile lighting up his face.
“I’m glad you asked,” Jim answered mischievously as he went to his closet, pulling out a large rectangular object about two feet by two feet by one foot.
“Is that…?” Bones began.
“Yep.” Jim’s smirk was in his voice. He set the small oven on the counter next to their finished pizza.
Bones just shook his head, wondering why he was even surprised. “Do I want to know?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Probably not. But Scotty really is amazing when you give him a challenge.” Jim had the audacity to smirk.
“Oh, God, I’m not only gonna die on a flying tin can, but my atoms are gonna be splattered and fused with pizza sauce.”
Jim rolled his eyes and bumped Bones’ shoulder with his. “It’s perfectly safe. I made sure Scotty and Keenser tested it- multiple times- before he declared it functional and safe.”
“Fine,” Bones agreed reluctantly. “Start ‘er up.” He gave a warm smile to his best-friend. “Least I’ll die in good company.”
“Ye, of little faith,” Jim teased as he turned the machine on. “You know I’d never let anything happen to you,” Jim spoke quietly while they waited for the oven to heat up.
Bones gave Jim another, more sombre, smile. “I know you’d do anything to keep it from happening.”
Jim swallowed the lump of dread building in his throat at the thought of losing Bones. The thought of losing him without Bones knowing how he felt was even worse. “Bones-”
The oven chose that moment to ding, signalling it was pre-heated for the pizza and effectively killing the heavy atmosphere.
Once the pizza was safely in the oven, Bones returned to the living area and poured them both another bourbon. Handing one to Jim, Bones took up a seat on the sofa, waiting for Jim to do the same. “That’s good stuff,” he said, sipping the molasses brown alcohol.
Jim nodded appreciatively.
“So, you plannin’ on tellin’ me what’s botherin’ you or am I gonna have to get you drunk first?” Bones asked, calmly swirling the liquid in his glass.
“What do you mean?” Jim tried not to squeak when he spoke.
“I’m talkin’ ‘bout you bein’ all on edge and secretive. And don’t try to tell me you aren’t. I know you too well. Best-friend, remember?”
At Jim’s uncharacteristic silence, Bones added, “If you won’t tell me for your sake, do it for mine. You know damn well how my brain works; all the possibilities rollin’ around this ol’ noggin.” He tapped his head for emphasis.
Jim stayed silent, although, he did make to speak several times, deciding not to on each occasion.
Sighing, Bones set his tumbler down and turned to fully face the infuriating man he cared probably too much for. ‘All right, guessing it is,’ he thought to himself. “You get some message from the Admiralty?”
Jim shook his head.
“You plannin’ to ask me to transfer out?” he asked mostly to get a reaction out of Jim.
“God, no! Don’t be ridiculous, Bones.”
“Fair enough. You’re not exactly making this easy.”
Jim made a grunting laugh of a noise and knocked back half his bourbon before reaching over to top it off.
“What, did you go off and get hitched and not tell me?!” Bones surprised himself with the amount of vitriol in that statement.
“Christ, NO, I haven’t secretly gotten married!” Jim all but yelled, his words carrying the sting of pain and panic.
Sometimes being Jim Kirk’s best-friend was trying, but as far as Bones was concerned it was well worth it. And sometimes being Jim Kirk’s best-friend meant he could read Jim better than anyone else. So it was no surprise that Bones caught the startled jump and ever so slightly off tone of Jim’s voice. “Jim? Is- is there someone?”
Jim took another pull of his drink.
“There is,” Bones said softly. “Jim, are you in love?” he asked, not sure he wanted to know the answer.
“Bones,” Jim said warningly- a warning Bones chose to ignore.
“It’s Carol, isn’t it?”
Jim’s face scrunched up in distaste. “That would be like being in love with my sister. Carol’s a friend, a good friend, but that’s all.” He exhaled heavily, realizing Bones had succeeded in engaging him. “Just drop it, Bones.”
Bones leaned back against the armrest, sipping his bourbon, but Jim knew he wouldn’t be deterred that easily. Sure enough, Bones’ gruff voice broke the fragile silence, though not with the question Jim was expecting.
Jim’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Why what?”
“Why do you want me to drop it? I thought you knew you can tell me anything.”
The soft lilt of sadness in Bones’ voice almost broke Jim. He turned, mirroring Bones’ position with one arm stretched along the back of the sofa. “Because they don’t even know,” he found himself admitting. “I don’t even know if they see me like that or ever could.”
Bones snickered. “Jim, you know as well as I do, you could seduce anyone you wanted to once you put your mind to it. With the possible exception of Nyota.”
Jim’s head fell back exposing the smooth, taut line of his neck. “I don’t want to seduce them.”
Pretending it was the booze burning his throat and not bile over the thought of Jim being that in love with someone else, Bones quirked an eye. “If you’re that serious then you have to tell them. Damn the torpedoes and all that.”
“What if I fuck it up? I can’t-” ‘lose you’, he almost said. “I’ve never really done serious. Never wanted to.”
Reminding himself that this wasn’t just about Jim, it was for Jim, Bones sat up straighter and placed his hand on Jim’s wrist and squeezed gently. “Jim, you won’t fuck it up. Anyone who knows you, truly knows you, knows you can do serious- just have t’ be properly motivated.”
Turning the wrist Bones held so their palms were facing, “Are you sure about that?” Jim asked in a soft whisper.
Bones sucked in a breath and slowly and deliberately slid his hand from Jim’s wrist, twisting until their palms were fully flush and he could lace his fingers with Jim’s. “Never been more sure of anything.”
With a quiet, “Bones,” Jim squeezed the other man’s hand almost painfully.
“C’mere,” Bones murmured, tugging lightly on Jim’s arm, urging him to lie on top of him and exchange the first of many soft, lazy kisses.
Much later, pizza and bourbons long since forgotten, Jim was resting his head on Bones’ shoulder, the steady, soothing thump-thump of Bones’ heartbeat playing in his ears and against his own chest as they drifted on lazy caresses and sweet kisses.
Suddenly Bones pulled back with a soft snort. “Mistletoe, Jim, really?” He found himself repeating his words from earlier, but with a much different purpose.
Hiding his head and groaning into Bones’ neck, Jim muttered, “Not like I could make it a heart with ‘I love you’ written in peppers and olives.”
Laughing, Bones asked, “Should I expect that on Valentine’s?”
“Don’t tempt me.”
Bones lifted Jim’s head from his shoulder with guiding fingers. When he knew he had Jim’s full attention, he smiled- a soft content thing. “I love you, too, you know.”
“I do now.” Jim closed the distance to capture those soft lips he’d dreamt of for so long. Pulling away the barest amount, he whispered, “Merry Christmas.”