kinderjedi: (Default)
[personal profile] kinderjedi
Title: In the Air
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,766
Warnings: None.
Summary: A bit of fluff in which Bones’ voice melts Jim like butter. For [livejournal.com profile] space_wrapped prompt #60: “Somehow, Bones is bribed/threatened/cajoled into singing [holiday or not] songs and he has an amazing voice. This, of course, gets Jim hot.”
Disclaimer: I don't own them.

All was quiet on campus. Most of the cadets had dispersed for the holidays, the bulk of the chatter over the past week focused on celebrating at home or going away somewhere for a vacation. Of the few who remained, many were taking advantage of the quiet to get ahead on their class work, had jobs keeping them busy during the break, or both.

Leonard supposed he qualified for both. Though he’d done respectably in his end-of-term exams—his mama hadn’t raised an idiot, after all—he knew he couldn’t afford to fall behind in a few of his subjects, and so was using his free time to study when he wasn’t working at the hospital. This had the added benefit of keeping him too busy to dwell on the fact that the closest he’d get to his little girl yet again this Christmas was a vid call, if Jocelyn was feeling charitable. Better than the last two years, he supposed. He didn’t like thinking about that first Christmas out here. The second, though, had been slightly worse, thanks to the promise of a visit which had been cancelled at the last minute. He couldn’t fault Jocelyn for keeping Joanna home when she really was sick, but it had hurt just the same.

At least there’d been Jim, dragging him out for Chinese and refusing to let him wallow too much. They’d ended up stuffed full of good food and more than a little drunk, stumbling home from Chinatown with a few other cadets, many of them serenading the good folks of San Francisco with whatever broken renditions of Christmas carols came to mind. Leonard had flat out refused to sing but had secretly enjoyed the company, and especially Jim’s easy manner of just accepting him, warts and all.

Making notes on a couple of charts toward the end of his shift, Leonard glanced up at the chronometer with a sigh. Ten more minutes. He’d tried to get Christmas Eve off entirely, but had been assigned the day shift. At least it had been relatively quiet. Jim had seemed anxious to make sure he got out on time, and sure enough, just as his shift officially ended Jim Kirk came bounding in the doors, grinning from ear to ear when he spotted him. “Bones!”

Finishing up one last chart, Leonard shrugged on his jacket, slinging his backpack over his shoulder as he strode over to Jim. “All done until the twenty-sixth,” he confirmed as they left. “Now are you going to tell me what’s got you so worked up?” Leonard paused to zip his jacket, the cold wind a bit too much for him even after the past couple of years here.

“It’s Christmas,” Jim replied patiently, as if Leonard was slow. “Don’t you remember?”

“Technically, it’s Christmas Eve,” Leonard corrected him drily. “And yes, Jim, I do remember that. It’s still a pretty big deal, you know.” He shoved his hands into his pockets as they hiked across campus toward the closest transit stop.

“Bones. Focus. Tonight’s a big deal. Though if we’re being technical,” here Jim paused, cutting him a teasing glance, “it’s actually a day early. But I didn’t want to waste any of your time off.” He reached over as they walked, tugging Leonard’s near hand free and entwining it with his.

“Jim…” Leonard squeezed his hand, caught by the expectant expression on Jim’s face. Damn, he thought. Here was Jim talking like something momentous had happened last Christmas, and he had no fucking clue what that something had been. Reverting to a stalling tactic he’d found limited success with before, Leonard leaned in impulsively and kissed him. When they broke apart, both a little breathless, Jim leaned his forehead against Leonard’s and chuckled.

“You’ve got no clue, do you?”

“Not a one.” Confession over, Leonard softened it with another brush of his lips over Jim’s.

Jim pulled back with a smug grin. “It’s the anniversary of our first date.”

Of all the things that had crossed Leonard’s mind, he could honestly say that none of them had even come close. He stood stock still, gaping at Jim until the other man tugged on his hand, insisting they’d be late if Leonard didn’t get a move on. Leonard allowed himself to be led for a few minutes, his brow furrowed.

“How d’you reckon that? Unless you count what happened after we got back to my room. But if you ask me, it was less a date and more what I’d call dinner followed by drunken fooling around.” Leonard glanced over at Jim, vividly recalling waking up that next morning, the two of them wedged into that narrow bed.

Jim shrugged, his cheeks flushing a little with the cold. Or maybe it was a touch of embarrassment, Leonard wondered, observing the sheepish look on his face. “If you want to be prosaic about it, then yeah,” Jim admitted. He stepped up into the waiting tram, leaving Leonard to follow. They edged down the aisle and slumped into a seat near the back.

Leonard looked straight ahead, lost in thought. If he was honest with himself, that day had marked a change in their friendship, going from something more casual to the more substantial sort, cementing them as inseparable outside of class or other duties. The kind of friendship that stuck, no matter what you did or where you went. Nothing that followed would have made half as much sense without that coming first.

And here was Jim, who had been excitedly planning to recreate that night for at least the past three weeks, if the incessant questions about Leonard’s schedule meant anything at all. Leonard mentally smacked himself upside the head. He had learned over the past few years that Jim, despite the hard life he chose not to speak about unless it was unavoidable (being his personal physician had led to a few such conversations, usually followed by a liberal application of medicinal bourbon or, lately, sex), somehow had managed to maintain a childlike enthusiasm for a handful of things. Among those was Christmas. And then there was this relationship they had stumbled their way into—well, if he was still being honest with himself, Leonard was the only one who’d done any stumbling. Jim had coaxed him along like a horse that had been spooked, gentling him into it with a patience that still startled him at times, and took great pleasure in remembering dates and plotting surprises. Like tonight.

Leonard shifted a little closer to Jim, stretching his arm along the back of the seat. “Remind me to thank you properly when we get home,” he murmured, leaning in close enough that his nose just brushed Jim’s ear. The brilliant smile Leonard was rewarded with made him grin, relieved that his obtuseness hadn’t ruined the fun.

“I’ll do that,” Jim promised, leaning comfortably against Leonard. They rode along in silence for a while, the piped Christmas music a pleasant distraction as they watched other passengers come and go, chatting and gossiping amongst themselves as they made their way home or out somewhere, many with packages in tow.

They were nearly to their stop when the music paused, prompting Jim to speak up. “I wonder if we’ll run into any carolers this year.”

“You mean you didn’t arrange that, too?” Leonard teased as they walked up the aisle, waiting behind a mother carrying a small baby as they pulled up to the stop.

“Couldn’t find anyone available,” Jim admitted as they stepped down onto the pavement.

They paused to look in a shop window filled with brightly colored odds and ends, the door propped open despite the chilly weather. Music drifted out into the street, something fast and spirited at first, then mellowing into a familiar old tune Leonard remembered from Christmases long ago. He was humming under his breath as they continued on their way, causing Jim to cast him a sideways glance.

Clearing his throat, Leonard started out softly. His voice was rusty from years of disuse but soon warmed into a rich, velvety baritone, the words and the tune coming back to him as they strolled along. City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas.

Jim’s hand slipped into his as they continued down the street. Feeling a little bit self conscious, Leonard looked over at him, raising his eyebrows as if to say join in anytime, please. A smile and a squeeze of his hand was Jim’s only reply, but the intense, bright gaze from those blue eyes assured Leonard that he had his full attention. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile.

The smiles of the passers by grew as they continued down the street, Leonard’s voice growing just a little bit louder and more confident with every step. And then a tiny old lady just ahead joined in, marching along with her wavery soprano and her blue hair, dragging one of those personal rolling shopping carts, her granddaughter adding her soft alto after another half a beat. And on every street corner you hear.

Leonard couldn’t help the broad smile working its way across his face as they all strolled along, Jim’s eyes sparkling in amusement and something more, something just for him. And with every few feet it seemed they added another voice, first a woman in a blue suit with a truly dreadful ear but such enthusiasm they all sang a little louder, then (to Leonard’s surprise) a Vulcan man carrying a case that looked like it might house some sort of musical instrument. They all paused at the next corner, waiting for the traffic to stop so they could cross. Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city.

Working their way through the crowd, Leonard and Jim turned down the side street to wind their way to their favorite Chinese restaurant, leaving the impromptu group of carolers behind with a cheerful wave, the sounds of their mingled voices fading as they continued in the other direction. And still Leonard continued to sing, somewhat quieter now as they walked along alone. They were nearly to their destination, the warm, enticing scents already wafting toward them when Jim stopped and nudged him over into a dim, deserted doorway. Jim’s lips were warm and soft and a little chapped as they met his, the kiss relatively tame but the look on his face when they broke apart a promise of more to come.

Ring-a-ling, hear them sing. Soon it will be Christmas Day.
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