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I Took the Stars from My Eyes (and Then I Made a Map)

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Accelerated command track. I’ll do it in three.

 

Jim is a fucking idiot.

 

“I will pay you to write this exam for me,” Jim says to Gaila, half-crazed by exhaustion and a severe case of caffeine withdrawal. Does he sound deranged? He feels deranged. He feels like there is a hamster living inside his heart. “I will pay you in anything you want. We can barter, or I can just sign over my soul. I’ll draw up the papers right now.”

 

Gaila purses her lips and seems to consider his offer. They’re sitting in the Cochrane Hall library, as Jim slowly but surely loses his shit. There is no physical way to complete all the work he is required to complete in the time he’s been given. Maybe he’s supposed to invent a way to bend time. Maybe that’s the real test. Maybe Jim will just go back in time and tell Captain Pike to go fuck himself.

 

“Look, all you’d really have to do is sign my name on it,” adds Jim. “I’ll still pass the module and it will barely dent my staggeringly awesome GPA. I just have other things I really need to be doing.”

 

“I’m still trying to decide what I’d want in return,” says Gaila. “You cannot rush this kind of decision.”

 

Jim abruptly loses structural integrity in his body and crumples into the surface of the table with a soft groan.

 

This is sheer lunacy.

 

And now he’s talking like Bones inside his head and it’s then he realises he hasn’t even seen Bones in close to a week; his bed has been gathering dust, clearly not slept in. Is he still alive? Jim doesn’t have the time to check. It’s every man for himself.

 

Hopefully he’s just been sleeping in the on-call room at the clinic and isn’t being stored in the Medical building morgue or something with all the other people that just couldn’t handle the shit-storm of first year finals week at Starfleet we-just-don’t-care-about-your-other-classes Academy.

 

When the year is over, and they have two blessed weeks of break before summer courses start, they are going somewhere bright and sunny and Jim will fucking drag Bones there if he has to.

 

oOo

 

“There you are,” says Jim from the floor when Bones stumbles into their dorm two days later. “I thought you’d fallen to the communists.”

 

Bones narrowly avoids stepping on Jim’s face. “What in the good goddamn are you doing down there? I nearly broke your nose.”

 

“I thought I’d become part of the floor,” says Jim, rubbing his cheek against the carpet. “I thought this could be my new career.”

 

“You’re a little too fleshy and lumpy for that to be successful,” says Bones, stepping over Jim to face plant into his bed. He makes a small pleased sound and rustles around. When Jim turns his head to look, all he can make out is a cocoon of blankets.

 

“Stop crushing my dreams, man,” mumbles Jim. He’s starting to rethink his decision to occupy the floor rather than his bed.

 

“Shhh,” slurs Bones, voice muffled. “I haven’t slept in 72 hours. Do you even know what ‘fallen to the communists’ means?”

 

“That part of the conversation is over,” says Jim, rolling over onto his back. There’s something hanging from the light fixture. It may or may not be a pair of boxers. “The part of the conversation where we discuss summer vacation plans is starting now. I was thinking sun and sand.”

 

“I was thinking I’d sleep for two weeks straight and you’re in direct conflict with those plans right now,” retorts Bones sourly. “Don’t make me forcibly remove you from the path to my immediate happiness.”

 

“No,” says Jim, instantly vetoing Bones’s overwhelmingly boring idea. He waves it away from them like it’s a mosquito. “We’re actually going to the beach.”

 

“If I say yes, will you shut up and let me get some sleep?” snaps Bones.

 

Bones’s lightning-fast capitulation is almost too easy to feel like a real victory.  Jim pouts at the ceiling. “Yes,” he says sullenly. “I’m booking transport tomorrow.”

 

In response, Bones lets out a loud, theatrical snore.

 

“Shutting up,” says Jim.

 

“Forever grateful,” says Bones.

 

Then Jim ends up accidentally falling asleep on the floor and waking up in the middle of the night to a foot on his dick, which Bones ruthlessly maintains is entirely his own fault.

 

Bones is a lying bastard.

 

oOo

 

When Jim gets up the next day (in his bed, this time), it’s not because of crushing pain in his genitals, but it is because the sun is shining directly into his eyes like a laser beam, so he stages a quiet rebellion and pulls his pillow over his head. The current plan is to go back to sleep, because for the first time in ten months, he hasn’t got any pressing deadlines, but then he finds his PADD under his pillow and spends an hour planning his beach brocation with Bones.

 

Bones, who is completely invisible beneath the swell of blankets on his bed, soundly asleep.

 

“Bed and breakfast included,” murmurs Jim, scrolling through pages of available accommodation. “Beachfront property, queen-sized beds...”

 

The cost of a week-long stay is almost obscene. Jim bites his lower lip.

 

The things is, he can afford it. Ever since he turned 21 he’s had access to truly ridiculous amount of credits thanks to the fund set up following his father’s death. He gained access to the account over a year ago and hasn’t been able to think about touching it.

 

It seems frivolous, blowing a good ten percent of his life savings on a single week’s stay in Pismo Beach.

 

Jim rubs at his eyes and scowls at the screen. The air under the blanket is stifling.

 

jamestkirk (0734): are you awake?

georgeskirk (0735): just got into the office

jamestkirk (0736): i want to take bones on a romantic beach holiday but it costs like five bajillion credits

georgeskirk (0738): ...i literally only understood half of that sentence

georgeskirk (0740): is bones a person?

jamestkirk (0741): my bestest bro and roommate

georgeskirk (0741): right

georgeskirk (0743): it’s your money, jimmy, you’re allowed to use it

jamestkirk (0744): sam

jamestkirk (0744): sam

jamestkirk (0744): sam

georgeskirk (0745): jim jim jim

jamestkirk (0748): aren’t you going to ask invasive personal questions about my life choices

georgeskirk (0750): why should I bother when you always tell me anyway?

jamestkirk (0751): you’re no fun

georgeskirk (0753): I haven’t had any coffee yet

georgeskirk (0755): anyway you deserve a vacation

 

Jim thinks of Bones and three days without sleep and the haggard slump to his back whenever he gets off shift from the clinic.

 

He books the trip.

 

oOo

 

“We leave tomorrow,” says Jim, pushing his PADD across the table. “Six nights, all-inclusive.”

 

Bones finally emerged from his coma after sixteen solid hours of sleep and now they’re sitting in the mess hall while he devours every single thing in sight. He hasn’t bothered to brush his hair or properly dress himself, so he’s wearing a faded Atlanta Youth Lacrosse t-shirt and plaid pyjama pants in blatant defiance of the campus dress code, giving the evil eye to anyone that dares make eye contact.

 

“We leave tomorrow?” echoes Bones, squinting at Jim. He’s methodically working his way through a stack of pancakes.

 

“Beach vacation,” says Jim. “It’s already booked and paid for. Also you agreed to go if I let you sleep and I totally did that.”

 

Bones lowers his fork slowly, mouth tipped down on one side, like he can’t decide how mad he wants to get over this. “I don’t remember that,” he says slowly. “I don’t remember anything about getting home after my final practical anatomy exam.”

 

“You stepped on my dick,” offers Jim. “That was a thing that happened.”

 

“I remember that,” scoffs Bones, “because that was hilarious. But if I promised you anything in the hour immediately following my triumphant return to the dorm, it should be recanted due to impaired judgement.”

 

“Did I mention that it’s already booked and paid for?” repeats Jim, tapping at the PADD.

 

Bones reluctantly drops his gaze down to frown at the information on the screen. “How much do I owe you?”

 

“Nothing,” says Jim. “I said it’s paid for. Do you need to get your ears checked?”

 

The look on Bones’s face transitions quickly from vague irritation to sharp-eyed distrust. “What?”

 

“I won it,” says Jim, waving his hand dismissively, brushing away Bones’s near-palpable suspicion like so much smoke. “There was a contest. On the. Thing.”

 

“You’re a shit-terrible liar, you know that?” says Bones.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” says Jim. “Anyway, I know you’d rather avoid shuttles whenever possible, especially after suffering through Basic Flight for an entire semester, so we’re driving.”

 

Something goes funny and soft in Bones’s expression and Jim knows he has him. Jim’s intimate knowledge of how easy it is to manipulate Bones into doing what he wants is a shameful, private thing. He doesn’t allow himself to take advantage of it. Often.

 

“I hate you,” grumbles Bones, turning back to his pancakes.

 

“You hate everything,” points out Jim helpfully. “To be honest, Bones, it starts to lose meaning. I just translate the word ‘hate’ into ‘secretly adore’ and it makes you sound like 50% more affectionate.”

 

“Maybe you’re just a guilty pleasure,” mutters Bones. Jim gives him a quick, hard look, but Bones doesn’t seem to have realised exactly what he’s said; he’s scrutinising his pancakes instead.

 

“There’s no such thing,” says Jim. “Own your love.”

 

Bones makes a noncommittal noise, picking up another little package of vacuum-sealed maple syrup and peeling it open to drizzle over his plate. “I love coffee. I love pancakes. I tolerate you.”

 

“Your life is so hard,” says Jim sympathetically.

 

Bones grunts. “Damn straight.” There’s a tiny smile clinging to the corner of his mouth.

 

Jim considers it a victory.

 

oOo

 

The drive down to Pismo Beach takes about three hours.

 

Jim rents a car for the occasion, picking it up at fuck o’clock in the morning with the admirable intention of leaving San Francisco early and getting there with the day still ahead of them.

 

He doesn’t really count on the extra time it takes to scrape Bones out of bed.

 

“I will kick you in the fucking face,” groans Bones, when Jim makes the tactical decision to play dirty and yanks his blankets off his body. “It’s still dark.”

 

“Up and at ‘em!” yells Jim, throwing his blankets onto the floor. “You’re wasting daylight!”

 

Bones claws at his face, writhing on the bare mattress. There are pillows creases on his cheeks and his hair could house a family of birds. “I can’t waste it if it isn’t there,” he moans. “Why are you doing this, we’re on vacation.”

 

“Not yet,” says Jim. He stands over Bones’s bed with his hands on his hips and ponders just how much Bones would kill him if Jim pushed him onto the floor. “We’ll be officially On Vacation once you get your ass into the car. I’ve already been up for an hour.”

 

Bones still hasn’t opened his eyes. How he can tell it’s dark outside, Jim doesn’t know. It’s probably one of his creepy other senses. Bones has a finely-tuned bullshit detector and he supposes waking up before sunrise when you’re on vacation qualifies under the broad heading of definitely total bullshit.

 

“Anyway, you can sleep in the car,” says Jim. “But that would involve getting into it first.”

 

“Oh my god,” mutters Bones, curling up into a ball, his hands not budging from his face. “Fine. Get me a coffee, turn on the hot water in the bathroom, and then I’ll get up.”

 

Jim rolls his eyes. “Anything else, your majesty?”

 

“Yeah,” mumbles Bones. “A bagel wouldn’t go amiss.”

 

Because Jim loves Bones with a pure and unending fervour that sometimes borders on the completely inappropriate, and because he wants to get to the beach before noon, Jim completes all of these tasks. He goes out to the student union and gets the breakfast requirements, then sets them out on the table before heading into the bathroom to heat up the water in the shower.

 

Moments later, Bones falls out of bed, spends about two minutes lying face down and unmoving on the floor, and then fucking crawls into the bathroom.

 

“You,” says Jim, watching his progress from the kitchenette, “are a drama queen.”

 

His statement is met by aggressive silence as Bones ignores him like a goddamn pro.

 

oOo

 

An hour later than Jim intended and they’re finally on the road.

 

Bones curls up in the passenger seat, his knees pulled up and his head lolling against the window, sunglasses hiding his eyes. He’s wearing sneakers, shorts, and a t-shirt, the most casual Jim’s ever seen him other than in his pyjamas, and as soon as he’s settled he starts snoring softly.

 

Jim turns the radio on, lowers the volume to an acceptable background level, steals the remains of Bones’s lukewarm coffee from the cup-holder, and relaxes as the coast rolls by.

 

oOo

 

“You don’t get much sun, do you,” says Jim.

 

Bones shoulders his bag and shuts the car door. Even from behind the sunglasses, Jim can see him scowling. “What are you talking about?”

 

Grinning, Jim points to Bones’s legs. “I didn’t even know you owned shorts.”

 

“I’m from Georgia,” says Bones, pushing his sunglasses up into his hair, to better squint-glare at Jim, apparently. “Are you actually kidding me with this? I’m capable of dressing for summer weather.”

 

“You’re practically reflective.”

 

“At least I don’t own self-tanner,” says Bones meaningfully. “At least I’ve never ended up turning orange.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” says Jim. “C’mon. The faster we check in, the faster we can hit the beach.”

 

Even Bones has to admit this place is pretty great. Their suite is actually a tiny cottage with a fully functional kitchen, and the entire resort faces out onto a quiet, private beach for guests only. The main hotel building has a breakfast/brunch buffet included in their stay, as well as a restaurant that opens for dinner after five o’clock.

 

The more they explore, dropping their bags in their rooms, the more the expression on Bones’s face turns appreciative. “I really don’t want to know how much this cost, do I,” he  finally murmurs, standing at the sliding glass doors that open up onto a small deck with the beach spreading out into the horizon.

 

“We agreed not to bring that up,” says Jim.

 

“I agreed to no such thing,” says Bones.

 

“Whatever,” says Jim hurriedly. “Ditch the clothes. We can get in a swim before lunch.”

 

Bones sighs. “Fine. But you have to tell me some time.”

 

oOo

 

“Nope,” says Bones, standing up to his ankles in the water, one hand up to shield his eyes as he watches Jim splash around like an asshole.

 

The light glints bright and brilliant off the gentle waves, shimmering like scales. It’s already hot despite being only midmorning, the sun beating down from a clear sky. It’s stupidly picturesque and Jim almost can’t actually believe their luck. Maybe tomorrow it will piss with rain and they won’t be able to leave the room.  

 

“Did you put on sunscreen?” demands Bones. He’s changed into swimming trunks, but he’s still wearing a t-shirt. “You’re going to burn to a crisp!”

 

“You are severely harshing my groove, Bones,” says Jim, rising up out of the crisp water in a cascade of droplets.

 

Bones backs up a step, looking wary. “I don’t feel like getting wet. Don’t you dare.”

 

“What’s that?” says Jim, advancing on Bones with a smile. “You feel like getting wet?”

 

“Remember that I hate you!” yells Bones, right before Jim tackles him into the water with a supremely satisfying splash.

 

“I am going to murder you,” gasps Bones when he resurfaces, sputtering and shaking. “Jesus CHRIST, that’s cold.” He claws his way out of the shallows while Jim just laughs, but then he gets to his feet and strips out of his sopping wet t-shirt, and Jim’s laughter dies in his throat.

 

Sometimes he forgets his debilitating attraction to Bones. Sometimes he’s able to manage it. Sometimes Jim can get through a whole day without imagining what Bones would feel like pressed up against him.

 

This is not remotely possible, however, when Bones is standing on the beach half-naked, dripping wet and scowling, droplets sluicing down the broad plane of his chest and following the scoop of his iliac crest as his hips disappear into his trunks. Bones pushes his wet hair off his forehead and scowls righteously.

 

“Come on,” calls Jim, sitting on his ass in the shallows. “You can’t expect to go to the beach and not get wet.”

 

“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to swim ever,” protests Bones, snatching up a towel from his bag and wrapping it around his shoulders, shivering visibly. “I said I didn’t feel like getting wet now.”

 

“Just lie in the sun for a while, you’ll be dry in no time.”

 

Which is what Bones ends up doing, actually, after an expected degree of huffing. Jim lazes around in the water while Bones sprawls out belly-down on his towel and presumably goes to sleep.

 

Eventually, Jim gets hungry and cold, so he reluctantly abandons the sea and pads through the hot sand to where Bones is sacked out like a lazy cat.

 

“If you drip on me just when I’ve gotten nice and warm, I will kneecap you without the slightest hint of mercy,” Bones mutters.

 

“You get violent when you’re sleepy,” says Jim, sorely tempted to drip on him just to see what, if anything, Bones will do. “Come on. Let’s go eat.”

 

oOo

 

The first two days are spent doing little more than sleeping, eating, and going to the beach. They explore town a bit, getting ice cream on the boardwalk and eating clam chowder at a small seaside restaurant where the edge of the deck opens up onto the waves. Bones pokes around in souvenir shops, finding a gift for his mother, while Jim takes photos and forwards them to his mother and to Sam, tagging them with witty captions and profound observations that are almost entirely centred around Bones and how desperately in love with him Jim is.

 

On the afternoon of the third day, after a long swim, Bones gets out of the water, towels off, sprays himself with a thin layer of sunscreen, and lies down for a nap.

 

Jim’s not really ready to get out of the water yet, so he does some laps of the little bay’s beach, then floats on his back for a while, finding shapes in the drifting clouds. When his fingers get wrinkled and prune-like, he swims back to shore and gets out, heading over to where Bones is sprawled out half-asleep on his towel, his book abandoned on the sand.

 

“You asleep?” asks Jim, dripping onto the sand. A droplet must land on Bones, because he flinches.

 

“I’m not anymore,” he mumbles, voice muffled by his towel. “Remember what I said about your kneecaps?”

 

Jim grins, holding his hand over Bones’s broad shoulders, letting water drip down. Bones shudders and twitches, making an irritable noise. Jim is momentarily mesmerized by his muscles shifting beneath his skin.

 

“Hey,” says Jim. “You’ve got freckles.”

 

He’s almost 90% sure Bones didn’t have freckles prior to this point. In fact, Bones has, in just two days, tanned like a motherfucker. Jim is kinda jealous. Jim burns painfully and then peels like a banana before ending up right back at stage one with no visible change in complexion.

 

“Bones? Are you ignoring me?” Jim flicks more water down onto Bones’s exposed back, watching him flinch and listening to his startled curse.

 

“Okay,” says Jim. “Two can play at that game.” Stepping over Bones’s hips, Jim straddles his waist and kneels down over his ass in his wet trunks.

 

The reaction is delightfully instantaneous.

 

“Sweet Jesus Christ, were you dropped on your head as a child!?” cries Bones, jerking up in shock. He paws at the towel, glowering at Jim over his shoulder when he proves impossible to buck off. “You’re soaking wet and fucking freezing!”

 

He’s right. In comparison with Bones, who’s been baking in the sun for an hour, Jim is frigid, his wet trunks soaking into the dry material of Bones’s own shorts. “You’re going to burn,” says Jim. He reaches out and presses the palm of his hand against the hot, salt-dusted skin of Bones’s shoulder.

 

“No I’m not,” grumbles Bones, his body tensing with a controlled shiver. “I don’t really burn. I just—”

 

“—Tan,” Jim finishes for him. “Yeah, I can see that.” Bones is sun-kissed and flushed with ruddy heat and Jim is helpless to resist. There are little clusters of freckles all over him, dotted over the curve of his shoulders and sprinkled down the length of his spine.

 

“What in hell are you even doing?” says Bones, resigned to indulgence. “You’re heavy, you know.”

 

“It’s all my buff muscle,” murmurs Jim. Bones drops back down onto the towel, arms pillowing his head, too lazy to deal with Jim appropriately. Jim takes shameless advantage, pressing his palms into the tension of Bones’s shoulders, leeching warmth from his skin. “Do you ever relax?”

 

“I was perfectly relaxed,” mumbles Bones, squirming. “Then you sat down on me.”

 

“Yeah,” says Jim quietly. “I guess I did.” He brushes his fingers over a constellation of freckles right at the juncture of neck and shoulders, tracing a path down the knobs of his spine. Bones doesn’t say anything, just sucks in a soft breath at each tentative touch.

 

“You caress all your friends like this?” asks Bones. His voice is hushed.

 

“No,” admits Jim. Then he leans in and presses a kiss to the nape of Bones’s neck. “Just you.”

 

Bones shivers again. “Is this why you wanted me to come on vacation?”

 

Jim finds another patch of freckles and darts out his tongue to taste them, heat and brine spreading over his tongue. “Yes and no,” says Jim. “I want to do everything with you.” He kisses his way across the broad expanse of Bones’s shoulders like he’s connecting the dots.

 

By the time he pulls back Bones is trembling, one hand fisted in the towel, face hidden from Jim, his hair a rumpled, salt-streaked mess. “Bones?”

 

“You gonna let me turn over?” asks Bones, his voice muffled, shaky.

 

Jim shifts his weight enough for Bones to roll onto his back. He settles back into place, knees either side of Bones’s hips, brushing sand off Bones’s belly. With one hand shading his eyes, Bones squints up at Jim.

 

“Should’ve realised you were wooing me,” he murmurs, and Jim reaches out impulsively, thumb catching the shape of Bones’s lips as he speaks. “It’s practically a couples resort.”

 

“Never said I was subtle,” says Jim, smiling.

 

“Goddammit, kid,” mutters Bones. “You are blinding.”

 

Jim lets out a laugh, cupping Bones’s jaw as he leans in for an open-mouthed kiss. Bones’s lips are dry, a little chapped from the sun and the ocean, parting his mouth easily and pushing up to meet the angle of Jim’s face. He’s all slick heat and languid tongue, licking and nuzzling with slow, lazy grace, like they’ve got all the time in the world.

 

“We should really take this inside,” mumbles Bones when they part.

 

“Why?” says Jim. There’s a smattering of freckles across the bridge of Bones’s nose; he was clearly designed with the deliberate intention of destroying every single ounce of Jim’s good sense. Not that he had much to begin with, which is why this is so dangerous.

 

“If you actually think we’re fucking right here, you’ve got another thing coming,” snaps Bones. “Been there, done that, spent a week digging sand out of the crack of my ass.”

 

“You should go into the greeting card business,” says Jim. “Romantic realism. I’m sure there’s a market for it somewhere.”

 

“That’s what I’m saying,” says Bones. “It’s hard to be romantic when everything chafes. Trust me.” He smacks Jim’s hip lightly. “You’re still heavy, by the way.”

 

Jim sighs and gives him one last kiss before he stands up.

 

“Are you pouting?” demands Bones, sitting up and raising an eyebrow at Jim. “Am I ruining your grand seduction?”

 

“I didn’t plan a grand seduction,” protests Jim, swiping sand off his trunks. It’s an utter lie, but Jim didn’t really expect this to work. Jim still isn’t entirely sure he’s not just dreaming this whole week. It wouldn’t be the first time.

 

“Jim,” says Bones. His voice catches a bit, his eyes dark and wide. “You infuriate me. Sometimes you make me so mad I want to punch you in the goddamn head. There is nobody—literally nobody—in my life that has ever treated me with the same possessive entitlement with which you regard my person and the damndest thing is that I let you do it. You think you know how to manipulate me, Jim, and that’s true, but I am aware of you doing it, you know. I’m aware of it. I see you.”

 

Jim’s mouth has gone dry, his heart bucking against his ribs like a jackrabbit. The look on Bones’s face is intent, focused, stripping Jim of his presumptions. “Bones—”

 

“Just...shut up a second,” interrupts Bones. “I let you do it because I want you to do it. I want it. I want you. This wasn’t your grand seduction? I don’t give a fuck, because I say it is. You can’t watch me every day like you’re trying to crawl into my skin and then just shy away like you can’t believe your luck when I look back. Now are you gonna take me inside and fuck me like you mean it, or not?”

 

“I—yeah,” says Jim, his eyes wide. The petulant curve of Bones’s mouth makes him want to do all manner of inappropriate things. Bones is right. Bones is ridiculously right. “Let’s go. Right now.”

 

“This is what I’m sayin’,” blusters Bones, as Jim grabs his elbow and practically drags him back across the beach.

 

Their feet kick sand into the room, gritty under their toes. Jim hauls Bones up against the wall as soon as they clear the door, catching his wrists and pinning them either side of his head.

 

“The wall?” grumbles Bones. “Really? There’s a bed right there—”

 

“Bones, now it’s time for you to shut up,” says Jim, catching his mouth in a rough kiss, swallowing his retort before it can even leave his lips. Bones submits with a muffled grunt, arching forward as Jim crowds him against the wall with a knee between his thighs.  

 

Jim’s still chilly-damp from his swim, enough that pressing against Bones’s hot, sun-drenched skin is a shock to the system, shaking loose a tremor from the base of his skull that Bones echoes with his own shiver.

 

They haven’t been drinking, but intoxicated is how Jim feels, too big for his body, all elbows and knees and shaking fingers, like he’s fifteen again and kissing Annetta Cavallo for the first time.

 

But they’re not teenagers, and Bones doesn’t taste like waxy lipstick and beer, and he’s not small and round; the warmth of his mouth is soft and slick and tinged faintly with salt from the sea and his body is lean and well-muscled. He’s broad and solid and matches Jim perfectly in height, mouth to mouth, chest to chest.

 

It’s only a brief moment of paralysing insecurity, over before it even truly takes hold, and then Jim stops thinking about everything and everyone that came before and thinks about now, about the immediacy of Bones’s pulse against Jim’s fingers where he’s pressing Bones’s wrists to the wall.

 

“You still there?” murmurs Bones, squirming a little, rocking into the pressure of Jim’s body. He’s panting, lips parted, eyes huge and dark, a shock of hair fallen loose across his forehead.

 

“I like this,” says Jim, letting go of Bones to push one hand into Bones’s messy hair. He hasn’t brushed it all week or even brought any product along, and it’s thick and just a little damp between his fingers. “This looks good.”

 

Bones makes a face, his freed hand falling easily, naturally, to Jim’s hip. “You know it’s regulation, right? Otherwise I’d have to cut it like yours. My choices are either keeping it neat or cutting it off.”

 

“I know, I’ve read the handbook,” says Jim, curling his hand into a fist and tugging Bones’s hair, a grin spreading across his face. “I’m just making an observation.”

 

“I live for your observations,” says Bones dryly. “Is this still the grand seduction or did I miss it?”

 

Jim purses his lips, pulling a little harder to guide Bones’s head back to bare the line of his throat, holding him firm and exposed. He can see the jump in Bones’s pulse, the delicate flutter against flushed skin. Bones watches him from beneath his eyelashes, the stubborn set of his jaw no less than a dare.

 

If there’s one thing against which Jim Kirk has no chance of developing immunity, it’s a challenge, and there is challenge written into every hard angle and smooth curve of Bones’s body.

 

Jim does eventually take Bones to bed, but he makes sure to leave an almighty hickey right over the throb of his heartbeat first.

 

oOo

 

When Jim finds a subject worthy of his focus, he becomes single-minded in his dedication.

 

Everything narrows down to Bones under him, around him, the tiny hitch in his lungs as Jim fingers him open, the rippling tremor of his muscles, the tension in his thighs. For once, there’s nothing but time, no deadlines or tests of knowledge, and the frantic edge that carries Jim through his day to day life slows down to a crawl and resolves into endless reserves of concentration and serene patience.  

 

By the time he’s ready to fuck him, Bones is a quivering mess, stretched open around four of Jim’s fingers, pupils ringed with a near-invisible hoop of hazel. “You,” Bones says unsteadily, the first words they’ve spoken to each other in nearly thirty minutes, “aren’t trying to have sex with me, you’re trying to kill me. I—ah—” Jim curls his fingers to the knuckle just to feel Bones squeeze snug around them.

 

Bones swallows hard, throat bobbing, words gone. Instead, he whimpers, and the sound settles as an ache in Jim’s balls.

 

“That would kind of kill the mood, Bones,” Jim observes. He rubs the pad of his thumb against Bones’s perineum and Bones pushes his hips into it with a guttural moan. “I’m not really into that.”

 

“What are you into?” Bones manages to demand. His voice is shredded. Jim’s got him on the very precipice of reason, limits shattered.

 

“You,” says Jim, slipping free his fingers.

 

“Not goddamn yet,” huffs Bones. “I’m beginning to think never.”

 

“I bet you even complain in your sleep,” says Jim, catching Bones’s leg from beneath the knee and folding it up against his chest to expose his lube-slick hole, pink and open. Jim’s dick aches just from looking at it, looking at Bones laid out like this just for him, cheeks and chest and the tips of his ears painted with a deep flush that spreads down his body, freckles standing out against his skin like it’s just a backdrop.

 

“We sleep in the same room,” protests Bones, toes curling a little, hips arched against the mattress.

 

“I don’t sit and listen to you while you’re sleeping,” says Jim, scooting right up against the curve of Bones’s ass until his hips are flush, hard cock catching the sloppy stretch of Bones’s rim. “That would be creepy.”

 

Bones doesn’t appear to have a verbal response for that, but in all fairness Jim also chooses that exact moment to push into him with a deep, rolling thrust, and it’s difficult to speak coherently when your overloaded brain jumbles up perfectly good syllables into keening little mewls. 

 

 “Fuck, that’s hot,” pants Jim, bracing himself over Bones’s taut, trembling body. “Bones. That noise—”

 

It looks like Bones is falling to pieces beneath him, fingers pressing into the flesh of Jim’s hips so hard he’s probably going to bruise. “Jim,” he breathes, cherry red mouth parted on a sigh, blinking up at Jim languidly.

 

Jim’s gaze is fixed on Bones’s helpless face, his glassy eyes, hair plastered to his forehead. “Eyes on me,” says Jim, when Bones’s lashes flutter and threaten to close. “Eyes on me, Bones.”

 

Bones groans, head tipped back, eyes half-lidded, but he obeys. “Like I could look away, you asshole.”

 

Jim silences him with a hard roll of his hips, hard enough to shove Bones up the bed and dislodge a moan.

 

Together, they fall apart, and Jim doesn’t know which pieces are his and which belong to Bones but it doesn’t truly matter at all.

 

oOo

 

 “Look at you,” murmurs Jim later, when Bones is asleep, his face pushed into a crumpled pillow, fists curled loosely into the sheets.

 

There had been two and half rounds of sex in as many hours, and Jim is profoundly smug about how thoroughly he’s fucked Bones into unconsciousness.

 

“The stars are written into your skin like a map,” he continues quietly as he traces a meandering line from freckle to freckle along the dip in Bones’s spine.  “That’s why you belong up there with me, Bones. You’re the only one that knows the way.”

 

Bones snuffles softly, still dead to the world. Jim shuffles closer, throwing an arm around his waist to spoon up behind him. There’s a dusting of freckles right at the curve of Bones’s shoulder, clustered together like a starting point, and Jim kisses it, safe in the singularity of their shared present.