Bones suspected he should’ve seen this coming. Cut it off at the source, stopped it from becoming a bigger thing than it already was but…There was only so much temptation he could run from before he either gave in or it broke him.
If pressed, the only thing he could come up with—why tonight of all nights the dam finally broke—was that five years of wanting had finally broken free. It wasn’t just one thing; it was a combination of all of them; all the longing and looks had overflowed into one burst of emotion that couldn’t be taken back, that wouldn’t dare be taken back or blamed on alcohol or a temporary burst of insanity or convenience.
But when Bones looked over at Jim, naked, and on his bed, snoring and drooling on his pillow, he couldn’t muster up the regret he knew he should’ve felt. After five years of looking at Jim and trying to draw up professional lines, lines that he was careful to never cross because Jim was his fucking captain, Bones just said fuck it and kissed Jim, pressed him against one of the empty bio-beds, all bravado up until his brain started working again and he realized what he was doing and wrenched himself so far away from Jim, he probably got whiplash. But Jim was talking about not knowing what to do or where to go from here after they completed this one last mission, and Bones couldn’t believe the five years was already almost finished with. He just saw that Jim would probably move farther and farther away from him; their tight-knit family they had found aboard Enterprise would be disintegrating as soon as they docked in San Francisco—probably for the last time, and while he might not have felt okay about being phased out slowly from everyone else’s life when they went their separate ways, he wouldn’t have held on with a tight grip; he wouldn’t have felt his heart squeeze painfully.
He thought it was okay to, just this once, let his heart have control over his head. After several more weeks, it wouldn’t even matter where their professional boundaries where drawn, and after countless card games and shots of whiskey after tough missions, Bones felt vindicated in thinking, screw Starfleet, no one gave them authorization on who should fall in love with whom anyways (though Bones would never think this out loud or in near vicinity of any other Starfleet personnel; his mama raised him polite and proper). The point was that it didn’t matter that he and Jim were friends first and foremost. On the ship they were colleagues and though Starfleet would never go so far as to outright outlaw fraternization between colleagues of the same rank, it was different when that fraternization dealt with the captain himself. But, again, Starfleet didn’t know the hardships Jim had to bear as captain, all the losses they had endured over these five years square on his shoulders, and the whole of the Enterprise and her people, all their well-being, and not well-being, heaped on Jim to deal with alone. Really, fucking screw Starfleet.
So, no, Bones had no regrets, thank you very much, even if the whole of Starfleet wanted him to feel that way.
He couldn’t feel regret, not when Jim had followed him back to his quarters after Bones practically molested his captain in his own medbay, and kissed him back just as passionately. Jim’s mouth was hot and insistent on his own—no trace of regret or hesitancy to be found anywhere. They wrestled each other for dominance until they fell back against Bones’ bed and somehow got naked without losing skin or mouth contact.
It was the memory of touching Jim not so innocently for the first time that Bones was now awake and replaying over and over in his mind, how Jim sucked on his neck, trailed his wet lips down Bones’ bare chest and played with his nipples for an excruciatingly long time before Jim’s mouth engulfed his penis. Maybe the only thing Bones did regret was how fast he came in Jim’s mouth, and how much he moaned. Seriously. He did not take himself to be that much of a moaner. Then again…he hadn’t really been intimate with anyone for the last five years and even before he set off into space, thinking he’d never return to see Earth again, he hadn’t been with anyone. Back then, the sting of divorce was still too fresh to even fancy hooking up with someone, even if it was just for sex. Bones never could do casual too well. So maybe he really was a moaner and just forgot it? It seemed he had forgotten that he liked men as much as he fancied women once upon a time, and Jim was nothing if not unsubtle about pouncing on you when he targeted you.
That was probably one of the reasons he held out against the famous James Kirk charm for as long as he did. If things went sour between them, there was no fleeing the state to put distance between them like he did with his ex-wife. Jim could do casual as easy as the flick of his fingers. (Though, again, star ship and not a lot of options if Jim didn’t want to break the fraternization rule, which he upheld more often than not—or at least people would be surprised how often he held up that rule. Or not surprised if they really knew what kind of person Jim was—and the rule-breaking, free-spirit, devil-may-care attitude they all slapped on him didn’t count.)
When Jim had gotten him off, and Bones returned the favor, Jim turned the lights off, turning onto his side and into the curve of Bones’ hip. Bones had acquiesced to the inevitability of cuddling and asked him, “Why?”
Jim, of course fucking knew what Bones was really asking, replied, “Because we’ll never be here again.”
And of course they wouldn’t. It would all slip away from them too fast, too soon.
For the first time in a very long time, Bones would not wake up alone in his bed.