Warnings: Fairly gratuitous swearing during tantrums, odd humor, and lethal amounts of fluff.
Summary: Doesn't quite stick to it, but it's inspired by this prompt: The ship is in Spacedock and the crew's all got leave for the holidays, but Bones didn't get Joanna for the holidays and he's bummed because Jim is stuck dealing with paperwork or something that keeps him tied to the ship. They spend their holidays on the ship, dancing through the empty deck to holiday music.
A/N: Alrighty now, I’ve actually never posted a story before. Ever. *gasp* This is my ‘jumping out of a perfectly safe plane just cuz somebody said it was fun’ moment. XD Man I hope I'm doing this right.
Disclaimer: God I wish they belonged to me, but they don't...and that makes me cry.
“Looks like it’s just you and me for Christmas, sweetheart,” Jim sighed, trailing his fingers along the back of his chair as he stood in the oddly comforting silence of the empty bridge. Unsurprisingly, Enterprise’s only response to her captain was the faint hum of her engines and the routine beeps and blips of the computers. To Jim, it was as good an answer as any, just his ship’s way of saying she was content.
It had been sixteen months since they’d touched base at Earth, and now, after all that time away, the closest Jim was getting to solid ground was the panoramic view of Earth from space on the view screen. With Enterprise tucked safely away in her space dock, the crew had disembarked to enjoy a rare treat: shore leave during Earth’s holiday season.
Giving one last glance to the jagged splotch of blue meeting green that was San Francisco from twenty-three thousand miles up, Jim smiled and headed for the turbo lift. “Home sweet starship.”
He wasn’t too heartbroken about staying behind, at least not enough that he’d bother to acknowledge the tiny twinge of jealousy he’d felt listening to the excited chatter of plans being made among his crew for the past week. Jim’s remaining family was halfway across the quadrant, his mother on the Saratoga and Sam living on Deneva with his new wife and son. He had nowhere to go on Earth save for an empty farmhouse that held memories as frigid as the current weather in Iowa, so a week alone with his ship and the mountain of paperwork he’d been neglecting was the next logical choice. Powers-that-be forbid his First Officer ever find out all that silly Vulcan reasoning was wearing off on him.
With no one left on the ship to dodge in the halls, Jim allowed his mind to wander, letting some form of inner autopilot guide his feet back to his quarters where a long shower and well-worn jeans awaited him. His thoughts turned to what was foremost in his mind, his senior officers, who were always the last few to leave the ship. Most of the plans he’d overheard had been discussed on Beta shift the day before.
Scotty was apparently getting cozy in good old Scotland with the lovely new transfer Lieutenant Romaine, or so he’d heard from Gaila before she shipped out to Paris of all places.
Chekov, from what he’d gathered, was taking Sulu to Vladivostok for his grandmother’s mad awesome Borscht and Christmas itself. Sulu in turn was kidnapping his boyfriend for the always awkward “parental introduction”, made up for with the promise of New Years fireworks over San Francisco Bay.
Spock was intent on assisting with a research project at the academy, something to do with desert-tolerant vegetation. Uhura was intent on a project of her own, the aptly named ‘Distract Spock By All Means Possible To Have My Way With Him’ project, if the smoldering looks she’d been shooting the Vulcan since last Tuesday were any indication. Another indication was the revelation that Vulcan’s could blush a truly impressive shade of green when on the receiving end of said smoldering looks.
Then there was Bones, whose plans had remained something of a mystery, though Jim was pretty sure Bones –
– Bones was not supposed to be on the ship.
Except Bones was on the ship, because Jim was staring up at him from the floor where he’d landed after running face first into the frazzled doctor at a particularly sharp corner near Sickbay. “Bones?”
Leonard McCoy promptly stopped in his lecture about the dangers of not watchin’ where in the ever-lovin’ hell you’re goin’, you idiot to roll his eyes.
“No, Jim, I’m the god damn Ghost of Christmas past,” he drawled with characteristic sarcasm, though this time there was no undercurrent of amused affection under it. He pulled Jim back to his feet with a rougher-than-usual yank.
“Why are you still on the ship?” Jim knew it had been the worst possible question to ask as soon as it left his mouth. The general air of irritability that typically liked to follow his grouchy CMO intensified into a full on black, swirling mass of Gloom and Doom and Oh Shit, Run for Your Life.
“Why?” Leonard repeated, a disturbingly hollow laugh escaping his throat before he launched into a tirade of a whole new caliber. “Why don’t you ask my evil, manipulative harpy of an ex-wife?”
Jim was fairly sure that had been a rhetorical question and wisely kept his mouth shut. Bones didn’t wait for a reply anyways.
“Apparently there’s some new rule about makin’ goddamn promises about lettin’ me see Jo that means they can be broken at the drop of a fuckin’ hat! All because her new quack of a husband suggested some cockamamie therapist bullshit about the ‘importance of forging new family ties without interference’ over the holidays,” he mocked the offending excuse with a snarl. “That sunnuva bitch has a new thing comin’ to him if he thinks I’m just gonna step aside an’ let him play daddy to my daughter!”
“Damn, Bones…I’m sorry. I know how much you wanted to see Joanna.” Jim said, with the utmost seriousness and empathy on his face. Leonard’s hard expression faltered for a split second, a tiny crack in glacier thick ice, before returning to its new default setting of murderous rage.
“Yeah, well what the hell good does that do me? I’m this close to my little girl and instead of spendin’ Christmas with her in Georgia, here I am!” he made a broad, sweeping gesture to their surroundings. “Stuck on a glorified tin can in outer fuckin’ space!”
Stunned though he was at the anger hurled at him, Jim went into defensive mode over the insult to his ship. He was sputtering out a demand for Leonard to take the tin can bit back, but nothing intelligible made it out before the upset doctor spun on his heel and stomped through the doors to Sickbay.
Jim was positive that if Bones could’ve found a way to slam an automatic sliding door, he would’ve done it.
Jim had forgone the long shower and just gone straight for his civvies before collapsing onto his sofa, head still echoing with the royal chewing-out he’d just gotten for reasons that were, for once, not his fault. Slapping back the fraction of his bruised ego that wanted to take Bones’ rage personally, he picked up a PADD of supply requisitions to sign off on and started mulling over a solution to his CMO’s situation.
Half an hour, seventy-six signed forms, and a disappointing lack of brilliant ideas later, Jim was stuck. He had considered calling the evil, manipulative harpy and asking politely for a change of heart. That thought process had quickly been thwarted when every time Jim tried to plot out a casual way of explaining the circumstances he wound up mentally throttling a woman he’d only ever glimpsed over vid comms. He couldn’t order them to do anything, they were civilians. Threatening to blow their roof off with a well-aimed phaser blast if they didn’t comply fell under the ‘loss of ship/dishonorable discharge/arrested for domestic terrorism’ category. A veritable trifecta of consequences he wanted to avoid at all costs.
“This blows,” Jim groaned, tossing the unhelpful PADD back onto his coffee table and slumped back into the regulation gray cushions. “So much for the ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ theory – THAT’S IT!”
With a determined gleam to his eyes and a master plan formulated, Jim jumped off the couch and headed for the bridge.
Meanwhile in Sickbay, Enterprise’s CMO was on his second glass of bourbon and his third PADD stylus of the hour. The other two unfortunate styluses had come to their final resting place in the waste basket, and really, it wasn’t Leonard’s fault they made the little things so breakable. The personnel reviews he was drafting were distracting enough to calm him down, he’d just have to remember to edit out the part in Nurse Baker’s file where he’d scribbled some less than helpful remarks in the margins. ‘Doesn’t have the brains god gave a turnip’ was definitely not on the list of acceptable performance critiques.
“Probably be insultin’ the turnip,” he muttered, scratching it out and saving the document. He’d have plenty of time to type them up later, his schedule suddenly cleared for the week.
Feeling his temper flare again, Leonard set the PADD and the stylus down, sparing it the fate of its brethren. Instead, he retrieved the glass tumbler of Jim Beam from his desk and leaned far back in his chair, kicking his boots up on the edge of the desk.
The hand not occupied with his drink reached automatically to the shelf behind him, fingers closing over a well worn picture frame. Hazel green eyes shaded by thick brown hair, the bright grin marred only by a missing front tooth as his little girl laughed and waved at him. The frame may have been old, but the holo was from her birthday earlier in the year. There were six of them now with the newest on top, all sandwiched together in the too-thick frame he’d gotten that very first Father’s day after she was born. It would’ve been easier to just replicate a new one for each picture, but Leonard had never been a big fan of doing things the easy way. No matter how much he nagged Jim to the contrary.
He sighed, tracing the edge of the holo with his thumb. “I’ll make it up to you, JoJo, I promise. Next year it’s you and me for Christmas, come hell or Rigelian fever outbreak.”
Leonard would’ve been content to sit that way for the rest of their leave, no company save for the burn of bourbon in his throat and the captured smile of his baby girl, but those plans were derailed mere seconds after he’d formed them.
“Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock. Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun, now the jingle hop has begun…”
Christmas music suddenly flooding Sickbay and his office through Enterprise’s intercom was definitely not what he was expecting.
Not by a long shot.
For the longest time, Leonard didn’t move, just sipped his drink and shuffled through all of Joanna’s pictures. It wasn’t until six songs had passed, and the seventh now midway through the final chorus of ‘Sleigh Ride’, that he noticed his foot involuntarily tapping to the rhythm of the song. With a roll of his eyes he brought his feet down to the floor, straightening in his seat and carefully putting all the holos back into their frame. He perched it in its place on the second shelf, giving the sparkling green eyes a last glance before turning away.
“Computer, location of the captain?” he queried over the bluesy strains of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’.
“Captain Kirk is on the bridge,” the computer informed him, and Leonard shook his head with another eye roll and a begrudging smile touching his lips. He was starting to feel like an ass. Yelling at Jim wasn’t a new thing, by any stretch of the imagination, but this time Jim hadn’t deserved it.
And when Leonard was wrong, he damn well owned up to it.
“Sickbay to Bridge...hey, Jim?”
“Nice timing Bones, I was about to give up and come harass you into cheering up,” Jim’s chipper voice answered him and McCoy sighed, propping his elbows on his desk.
“Only you would think of harassment as a method for brightening someone’s day,” he retorted, scrubbing a hand over his face and drowning the last of his bourbon.
“They didn’t make me captain for my good looks, you know. Well…not only my good looks.”
Leonard snorted at that. “Look, Jim, I’m sorry. I was mad enough to spit nails and you were a convenient target,” he apologized, feeling foolish over how much his gut twisted in apprehension at the long pause from Jim that followed it.
“I’ll forgive you on one condition,” Jim replied, and Leonard would’ve sworn he could hear the man’s shit-eating grin.
“I’ve got a feelin’ I’m gonna regret this,” the CMO grumbled, “Alright, what is it?”
“Get up to the bridge and you’ll find out.” Jim signed off and ‘Santa Baby’ replaced his mischief-laden voice.
Leonard pushed himself out of the desk chair and headed that way.
The bridge was dim, the lights at thirty percent or so, but anything the doctor had been about to say regarding safety hazards died on his lips at the sight before him.
San Francisco, in all its holiday season glory, was displayed in an areal close up across the view screen. Glittering lights in vivid shades enhanced the city’s typical nighttime aura of gold, standing out brilliantly against the black buildings and reflecting off the water. It cast flickering shadows and a warm glow across the darkened bridge, and Leonard was stunned.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Jim’s voice startled him.
“Breathtaking,” he agreed, tilting his head to look at his friend. “Gonna fill me in on that one condition?”
Jim’s grin widened, “You have to dance with me.”
“What?” Leonard’s eyebrows headed for his hairline in disbelief. “Are you shittin’ me, Jim? You want to dance? That’s the condition?”
“It’s Christmas, Bones, and I’ve never gone without dancing with someone on Christmas,” he explained, taking a step into the older man’s personal space. “Come on, don’t make me pull out the puppy eyes.”
“I developed a vaccine for your damn puppy eyes years ago,” Leonard scoffed, stalling, but he didn’t back away.
“You’re bluffing. One dance, Bones, and I’ll even get you so drunk afterwards you forget it ever happened,” he promised, closing in a little more.
Jim’s expression was open, honest, and the way the light was catching his hair made it impossible for Leonard to do anything but say yes. His resolve was null and void anywhere this man was concerned, but hell if he was ever letting Jim know that, the good-looking bastard.
“Fine, dammit, if only to get you to forgive me,” Leonard groused, leveling a finger at the captain, “One dance, Jim, one.”
“Yeah, yeah, one dance, got it. Stop glaring daggers at me and come here,” Jim laughed, snagging Leonard’s hand and tugging him in close. He tangled their fingers together, bringing their hands up in the traditional position, his other hand white hot on Leonard’s side, the heat bleeding through the soft fabric of his sweater.
He wasn’t used to being led instead of leading, in dancing at least, but after a few minor fumbles and silent disagreements, Jim was swaying them around in a wide circle to the easy beat of ‘Please Come Home for Christmas’. It should have felt more than a little awkward, slow dancing chest to chest with his best friend in the most romantic setting he’d ever seen, but to Leonard...it felt more like home.
“We good?” Jim asked, pulling back just enough for blue eyes to meet hazel. Leonard nodded to the affirmative, hand squeezing Jim’s arm briefly.
“Never been better,” he replied, and the flame of hope that sparked to life in Jim’s gaze made his stomach turn flips. Jim didn’t say anything until the song had ended and they slowed to a stand still. Neither of them made to let go of the other, and Jim’s eyes flicked nervously across his face.
“I’m about to do something reckless, Bones. Try not to hypo my ass too bad if it’s stupid,” he joked weakly, and for once Leonard didn’t have a witty comeback. He just gave a fraction of a nod, subconsciously holding his breath for what he was hoping, praying, needing to happen next.
When Jim leaned in, Leonard did too, and like always, they met in the middle.
The kiss was all warm lips and a light scratch of stubble and Jim’s soft sigh against his mouth, and Leonard couldn’t remember why the hell they hadn’t been doing this for ages. Especially when Jim licked his way into Leonard’s mouth and the taste of apples and coffee and something distinctly Jim flooded his senses. Jim’s arms wrapped tight around his waist and Leonard threaded his fingers through Jim’s soft hair, pulling their bodies flush against each other.
They were breathing hard by the time they came up for air, and Jim had this silly smile on his face that Leonard was pretty sure he was wearing too.
“I’d have asked you to dance a lot sooner if I’d known what the results would be,” he teased and Leonard actually laughed, deep and genuine. Jim’s breath caught in his throat at seeing the CMO’s face light up like that, and he swore silently to himself that he’d put that smile there as often as he possibly could. A new song came on, and Jim grinned at the lyrics before starting to sway their bodies back into motion. They stayed like that for most of the song, trading long, open kisses while their hands mapped out what they could through their clothing. The last verse was almost through when Jim finally pulled back. “Hey Bones?”
“Yeah, kid?” Leonard’s voice was low, and the husky Southern accent slid down Jim’s body like honey, sending a pleasant tingle up his spine. Jim nipped at his lower lip in retaliation, pleased with soft growl it pulled from the doctor’s throat.
“Can we make a little Christmas of our own tonight?” he murmured the question into Leonard’s neck, lips against that smooth, sensitive bit of skin just below his ear.
The shudder he got in response was as perfect an answer as any.