A Home From Iowa
It's in the middle of the McCoy family football game when it hits him.
Leonard had volunteered to play referee while the others burned off the energy they gained from all of the food yesterday. He claimed it was so that they would all follow the rules, but they all knew that that was a lie. A referee for a McCoy football game is essentially useless since there were no rules, they make up everything as they run around the leaf-strewn yard. Leonard just wanted an excuse to wallow more...or to not get full-body slammed into the ground.
As the sounds of laughter and yelling, crunching leaves, and swearing filled the air, he couldn't help but think that it was something that Jim would have loved.
Another pang of guilt echoed throughout Leonard's body.
Jim would have loved everything about this trip.
His family would have loved everything about Jim.
The Starfleet Thanksgiving break extended from the day before the ancient holiday, all the way up to Sunday night. When his mother had found out, the McCoy matriarch had demanded Leonard come home to visit and to bring “that incredibly handsome roommate of his”. Leonard had turned so red and incoherent that his mother simply gave him a pitying look and bid him goodbye.
She didn't have to say any words on it, he had said everything she needed to know over the dozens of vidcalls they exchanged. Calls that slowly became consumed with stories of Jim Kirk; stories of his failures and his victories, of his stupidly long list of allergies and his bad habit of crashing on Leonard's bed instead of his own. Hell, there wasn't a single call that didn't mention him at least once.
It was a week before he managed to tell Jim about the invitation, because that's how long it took to come to terms with how much the vibrant blond meant to him. Leonard was far too old to have a crush on someone. A genuine interest, maybe, but not a crush. Crushes were for horny teenagers fretting about who they'll take to the prom. They aren't for nearly thirty-year old, divorced doctors.
No, Jim is an interest. One that Leonard wouldn't mind keeping in his bed all the time, but it isn't up to him.
No, because while Jim is Leonard's interest, Leonard is pretty sure he isn't Jim's.
Jim's interests are coy and giggly and everything that Leonard is not.
But, despite everything, he still felt guilty.
It was Tuesday when, like an idiot, he finally brought up the invitation. His heart had dropped when Jim said no, that he already had plans. It was when Leonard was trying not to throw-up in the shuttle that he realized that Jim probably – no, definitely – made up his plans. Leonard made it seem like it was a spur-of-the-moment, pity invite and not the genuine one that it was.
He definitely threw-up after that.
Two days. Two days the guilt flickered about in his body. All Leonard wanted to do was to go back in time and invite him out to Georgia with him sooner so he wouldn't be left --
It was the football that broke him out of his shock. He rubbed the spot where it struck his temple before sprinting to the house, shoving aside anyone that got in his way.
“Leo?” His mother stood from where she sat on the porch swing. “Leo, what's wrong?”
He paused for a second, right in the middle of the door he just ripped open, with a look of sudden awareness.
He may not be Jim's interest, but he is Jim's friend – Jim's family – and Jim is his.
“I have to go. I have to go home.”
But, most importantly, Jim is home.