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Fourth and Inches

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Leonard is buried in work, literally -- padds and old-fashioned notepads and five different writing implements in three different colors -- when he hears an automated voice say "access denied," an indignant squawk, and then a heavy pounding at his door. He sighs and takes his time putting everything away; he's known the person out in the hall long enough to acknowledge that his arrival means the end of time spent productively. And it's Jim's own damn fault if he can't be bothered to remember the security code, let alone the fact that he could just as easily gain entrance to Leonard's apartment with his fingerprint.

"Hold your horses, Jim, for God's sake," Leonard says, stomping to the door to let him in. "I heard you the first seventy times."

When he opens the door, though, the cause of Jim's difficulty is apparent: he's got a cardboard box the size of a refrigerator in his arms and a cookie stuffed in his mouth. Leonard steps aside and Jim staggers past him, going two steps before dropping the box heavily on the floor.

"What on earth."

"My mom," Jim explains, mouth full, as he takes a bite of the cookie and then rubs his shoulder with his other hand. "She's living the dream of the empty nest cliché and turning my room into a home gym or something. She shipped me a box of my old shit. Also: homemade cookies!"

Leonard is nosy and has started poking around in the box before Jim is done talking, perfectly aware that even if there was anything about Jim Kirk that he didn't already know, Jim Kirk would not have brought this box over to Leonard's place for no apparent reason if he had anything to hide. The top of the box is mostly clothes -- worn tee shirts, thankfully no underwear; under that is a layer of books and data drives. Then, jackpot: Leonard pulls out a well-worn stuffed monkey, of all things, and raises an eyebrow. Jim blushes and grabs it from him.

"Hold on," Leonard says, still pawing through the box's contents. "Empty nest? You've already been gone for three years."

"What can I say, Bones, I'm a hard habit to break." Jim hops up onto the counter in Leonard's kitchenette and swings his legs a little. Leonard notices that he's wearing a pair of scuffed motorcycle boots that Leonard has never seen before but most definitely fit the mental image that he has of Jim in Jim's repeat offender days.

Leonard doesn't bother to acknowledge the inescapable truth of Jim's statement, in any case. He sees an Academy ring on a chain, Jim's mom's or his dad's, hard to tell. Either way, he pushes it aside and pulls out a football from the bottom of the box and tosses it to Jim.

Jim catches it one-handed, and then shifts it around to fit his fingers against the laces. "Oh, hey," he says, extending his arm and testing his grip. "Sweet. Think we could get a game of pick-up together?"

"You played football?" Leonard doesn't bother to cover the surprise in the question. That, on the other hand, did not fit with Leonard's idea of Jim's juvenile delinquency.

"You didn't?" Jim responds, looking equally surprised.

Leonard had, actually, but it was a lifetime ago. "On an actual team?" he clarifies, and Jim rolls his eyes.

"With cheerleaders and everything," he says. "The Pride of Riverside: all-state running back, two years in a row." And that makes a little more sense, how a school would overlook adolescent Jim Kirk's grades and spotty attendance and, undoubtedly, tendency to skip more practices than he attended to keep him on the team.

Jim slips off his perch and brushes past Leonard to stretch out on the couch on his back. His tee shirt pulls up a little over his flank, and he crosses his legs at the ankle. He tosses the football in the air, lazily, maybe lost in a memory that Leonard selfishly wants to pull him out of.

"And what was in it for you?"

Jim glances over at him. "I already mentioned the cheerleaders, right?"

If it didn't have less to do with chasing willingly-caught skirts and more to do with Jim's dad, Leonard would eat those stupid boots, but he doesn't say anything.

"Not sure we can wrangle up cheerleaders on short notice for a game of pick-up," he does point out. "If that's what you're after."

Jim grins and winks at him, both unfazed and not fooled. "Let's play in that quad by Uhura's dorm, just in case. Come on, Bones! It'll be fun."

Leonard can feel himself scowl, even though he knows he'll give in. It's just a question of how long it takes Jim to realize that, as always, he's already won. "Of course it'll be fun, right up to the point where you get tackled and break your leg and I have to carry your books to class and you have to repeat a whole year because you can't meet any of your physical training reqs and you walk with a limp the rest of your damn life."

"I bet Avery'd play," Jim ignores him. "And Oliver, and that one guy in your xeno class, the one built like a Klingon-"


"-yeah, Firenze! And Romanov, and Peters-"

"Peters, are you joking-"

"Not that Peters; the other one. And Barrett. That should be enough to start, right?"

Jim swings his legs around and sits up, and Leonard can't tell whether his eyes or his smile sparkles more brightly. He tosses the football over to Leonard, who catches it easily out of reflex. That just makes Jim grin even wider, like Leonard had given something away that he hadn't meant to.

"I can tell when you just want me to beg for something, you know," Jim says, then, and just like that Leonard's not looking at his mouth any more but the pull of worn denim across Jim's spread thighs, just like the cocky bastard undoubtedly intended.

"So says the man who's never had to beg for anything in his life," Leonard points out, even as he shuffles across the space between them on his knees, stopping just out of Jim's reach.

Jim shrugs and spreads his knees a little farther apart. "Just because I don't have to, doesn't mean I won't." He runs a hand up his own leg and tucks his thumb under the waistband of his jeans, three inches to the side of the button at the top. And it shouldn't be sexy -- it's too obvious, first of all, and Leonard should be immune at this point anyway -- but God gave with both hands when it came to James T. Kirk. "I thought that was one of the things you liked most about me, Bones."

"I like it more than your pathetic attempt at a come-hither voice," Leonard agrees, "especially since I'm already here." He doesn't shift any closer, but he does lean forward and rest his hands on the edge of the sofa cushion on either side of Jim's body. He doesn't care one way or the other about playing football -- the rest of his afternoon is shot, regardless, so he might as well spend it doing something that makes Jim happy -- but if Jim wants to offer himself up in return, Leonard would be a damn fool to say no.

"This is a very conducive position to beg for something, that's for sure." Jim's voice sounds a little tighter, just a little strangled, and Leonard licks his lips just to see the automatic response in Jim's hips. "If I'm trying to bribe you, shouldn't we switch places?"

It's Leonard's turn to shrug before he leans closer still, his chest fitting in the space between Jim's legs, and nudges the edge of Jim's shirt up with his nose. He just breathes against the bared skin of Jim's stomach for a second, then nips at Jim's bellybutton with his teeth until Jim takes his hand out of his jeans and cups Leonard's jaw gently. "Isn't this what your cheerleaders did?"

"If you mean the teasing, yes," Jim grumbles, but it's not like he's trying to guide Leonard's face anywhere. "C'mere."

He slips his hands, warm and strong and comfortable, under Leonard's arms and hauls Leonard up into his lap with very little help -- but no resistance -- from Leonard himself. It's not a position Leonard's used to, from this side anyway, but Jim's lined up their dicks with the unerring precision with which he's blessed. And, God, it's good. It's always so good, ever since the first time, and even with way too many layers between them. Leonard rocks a little, experimentally and probably awkwardly, feeling uncharacteristically clumsy and oafish but absolutely too smitten with the man beneath him to care.

Especially when said man groans like that, looks so pleased and dazed at once, coaxing Leonard's arms around his neck but letting Leonard set the pace of their hips, their mouths, their tongues. "Bones, Bones," he says on every exhale, fisting his hands in the hem in the back of Leonard's shirt but not pushing or pulling. His head falls back against the couch and he comes first, just like Leonard intended, and kisses Leonard through his own shudders and aftershocks.

"Holy shit," Jim says, still watching Leonard with not a little bit of wonderment when Leonard peels himself away and starts stripping off his track pants. He wasn't wearing anything underneath them so they're a lost cause; the blatant wet spot on the front of Jim's jeans implies the same for him. "Man, Bones, what got into you? I didn't even share my mom's cookies with you yet."

It's not like Leonard could put words to the feeling he gets when he learns something new about Jim, or that Jim would even understand why it was a big deal if he tried. There's a reason they don't talk about that kind of stuff. He does allow himself a small, private smile when he's out of Jim's line of sight, stalking bare-assed into his bedroom to grab shorts and briefs for both of them from the mingled contents of the clean laundry on the chair.