Sometimes, after a night out drinking, Jim goes to Bones’ dorm and pretends to be drunker than he really is.
It starts with the nights he strikes out in the bar (not often, everyone has their off days) but doesn’t want to spend the night alone (his roommate washed out mid-semester, and the room is just so empty), with or without orgasms. So he pretends he isn’t halfway to sober, wanders across the quad, and wheedles and begs and sometimes hacks his way into Bones’ cushy single to crash on his couch. He inevitably leaves with a crick in his neck and twenty minutes’ worth of bitching, but the bitching and the tweaked neck are worth the comfortable sound of Bones breathing and shifting as he sleeps in his bed across the room.
Sometimes, Jim is so drunk that the only thing he can remember is the way to Bones’ room. Those are the nights that Bones will bitch less and spend the rest of his allocated complaining time examining Jim to make sure he hasn’t done anything stupid. He’ll manhandle Jim onto his couch and check him all over for injuries or new and exciting venereal diseases, his doctor’s hands moving swiftly and surely even as he squints and yawns and grumbles. Jim finds he likes being the center of Bones’ attention when there isn’t blood or broken bones involved, that he likes Bones’ big hands touching him with a purpose. So if Jim finds himself getting drunk to have an excuse to show up on Bones’ doorstep, well, that’s between him and his glass of whiskey.
Tonight, Jim doesn’t even realize just how drunk he is until Bones is glowering at him—hair askew and worn-out t-shirt on backwards from putting it on in the dark after Jim hit (i.e.: leaned on) the door chime—hissing “Goddammit, Jim, get your ass in here,” as he grabs for the collar of Jim’s jacket. He doesn’t even bother asking how or why anymore. He can tell Jim is very drunk because he leans right into Bones’ insistent tug instead of resisting it, stumbling over the threshold and almost into Bones, who stops him with a spread hand against his chest.
“Does your fool head know what time it is? It’s bad enough I spend all day treating cadets who don’t know their eyes from their assholes, but to come home to my own bed only to be dragged out of it by James The-T-is-for-Testing-My-Goddamn-Patience Kirk? You’re damn lucky I took an oath to do no harm, kid.” As he’s talking, he herds Jim to the couch like a sheepdog with unceremonious pokes and prods into Jim’s various soft places as Jim struggles out of his jacket and kicks off his boots.
“How long—ack, quit it—have you been sitting on that one?” Jim asks, collapsing on the couch and scrunching up his face as the room lurches. Bones descends on him, checking his knuckles for evidence of fighting silently instead of answering him. Despite his anger, Bones is as gentle as ever, cradling Jim’s hands like every bone in them was broken. “Come on, Bones, is there no trust in the world? I’m hurt.”
“Where?” Bones snaps, looking up abruptly from his hands.
“In my feelings.”
That makes Bones grunt and roll his eyes as he grabs Jim’s face, big hands curling around his head and angling it toward him with the strong, insistent press of his thumbs under his jaw. And even though Bones is dragging down Jim’s lower eyelids more roughly than usual and glaring at his pupils like they’ve caused all the hurt and suffering in the world, Jim can’t help but sink into those warm, sure hands. So much so that his eyes drift shut and he hums a little in the back of his throat.
“Hey,” Bones growls, sharply tugging on the hair at the back of Jim’s head. Jim snaps to attention, a thrill that even copious amounts of alcohol can’t dull shooting down his spine. “Don’t you dare pass out on me before I get some water in you. I ain’t setting up any more drips in here for you to rip out on your way to take a leak.” Jim winces at the memory of The IV Incident as Bones stands and walks towards the bathroom. “And don’t you throw up, neither. My hospitality has its limits.”
Bones is a big softie who wouldn’t kick him out, but pointing that out has never gained Jim any traction. He rubs his face and considers removing an article or two of clothing. He feels hot and the tag of his shirt is making the back of his neck itch. The room spins sluggishly.
“Quit fidgeting.” Bones sits back down and Jim reaches for the glass of water in his hand, only for Bones to jerk his hand away. “Nuh-uh, kid. There’s enough painkiller dissolved in here to shut even you up during a hangover, and I am not wasting perfectly good medicine to watch you dump it all over yourself. ‘Specially since you can’t even take a hypo like a normal person without swelling up like a goddamn balloon.”
Jim pouts as Bones lays a hand against the back of his neck to steady him and lifts the glass up to his mouth. When the frown line between Bones’ eyes looks like it might etch itself all the way down to his brain matter, Jim drops the pout and tilts the glass the last half inch with his fingertips against the bottom.
Bones watches intently as Jim drinks, tilting the glass obligingly while his thumb makes small, unconscious, soothing movements back and forth beneath Jim’s ear. Jim doesn’t lean into it. Instead, he finishes the last swallow and shifts back a bit, watching as Bones gets up to refill the glass. “Do I get a prize?”
“Yeah, you get to wake up not feeling like a warmed-up pile of shit. Congrats,” Bones’ voice echoes from the bathroom. Jim picks at the frayed edge of the couch cushion and considers, not for the first time, climbing into Bones’ bed while he’s otherwise occupied. The couch has never been quite long enough for him and he hates sleeping with his knees awkwardly bent. Not enough to leave, though.
“Anything else?” Bones asks a few minutes later, placing the glass on the nearby table and crossing his arms over his chest.
Yawning, Jim moves to stretch out on the couch, shaking his head. “It’s kinda hot,” he mumbles, letting his eyes drift closed.
The palm is smooth and cool against his forehead. “You’re not. I’m leaving the climate controls where they are.”
“Pssh, I’m as hot as they come, ask anyone.” Bones’ hand disappears and Jim frowns, shifting to avoid the lumpier parts of the couch, but he can practically hear the eyeroll. “S’not fair, you’re just as hot, but I get all the grief.”
Jim hears a snort and the shush of fabric as Bones takes his shirt off, cracking an eye open just in time to see Bones’ bare shoulders disappear beneath the covers. “Get some sleep, Jim, you’re not talking sense,” Bones says quietly.
“Night,” he sighs, definitely not adjusting himself in his jeans and drifting off to the imagined feeling of Bones’ hands on his face and neck, deliberately working their way downwards.