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[personal profile] imagined_haven
Title: Open Windows
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing: Jim/Bones
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,100
Summary: Jim had never believed anything anyone said about eyes being windows to the soul or whatever it was. Then he met Bones.
A/N: Written for Ship Olympics over at [ profile] st_respect .

It all started with a glance, a single shared look.

Jim had always thought the saying about eyes being windows to the soul or some such sentimental crock was complete and total bullshit. It just didn’t make sense; eyes didn’t light up or any of that, they were one color that maybe changed with different lighting. They’d always seemed kind of flat to Jim, impossible to read, so how could they be everything everyone else seemed to want to believe? It was just some poetic device, just one more reason for people to arbitrarily decide to trust or not trust or think they knew what was going on in the lives of others.

Jim went right on believing that until the day he joined Starfleet.

The man was rough around the edges, scruffy and unkempt, clearly either half-drunk or hungover, but that didn’t scare Jim into finding a different seat or saying the one next to him was taken like he was pretty sure most others might’ve. How could he, after all, when the blood from last night’s fight still stained his own shirt? That would’ve been incredibly hypocritical of him, and if there was one thing Jim hated above all else it was hypocrisy. Nor did his rant perturb Jim; he’d heard worse, he was sure. Besides, everything the man was mentioning were incredibly rare worst-case scenarios and weren’t at all likely to happen to this particular shuttle on this particular flight.

Then, as he was accepting the offer of whatever was in the man’s little flask, everything changed.

In those clear hazel eyes he could see everything that was going on in the man’s--McCoy’s, Leonard McCoy’s--head. He could see all of the all-too-real fear verging on panic, but behind that he saw weariness, pain, and sorrow. It was an overwhelming mix, and one he just couldn’t bring himself to ignore. He was idly wondering what could have happened to the man--Leonard, who really needed a better name--when he froze for just a moment in realization.

He had read those emotions from the other man’s eyes.

Why was this happening now? Why, if the universe was going to prove him wrong as it so frequently liked to do, did it have to happen at this particular moment with this particular person? He glanced away, looking at the girl from the bar--Uhura, he was pretty sure her name was. Nothing. Her eyes were just as flat as they’d been the night before, leaving him to rely on other facial cues to suggest she wasn’t exactly happy to see him.

All right, so that had most likely just been a fluke. He was probably projecting or hallucinating or some other shit, and whatever he thought he saw in Leonard’s--Bones’, he would call the man Bones--eyes would disappear soon enough, probably when they were both sober.

That didn’t stop him from avoiding the man’s wild-eyed gaze for the rest of the shuttle flight, though, even as he attempted to keep him calm so as to avoid being thrown up on.


It didn’t go away. Whatever madness or hallucination had come over Jim in that shuttle ride, it didn’t go away when they stepped back onto solid ground in San Francisco. They were roommates, the last two to sign up, shoved into a little room that was inconvenient for both of them in terms of where their courses were to take place. That meant Jim got to watch the play of first surprise, then a hint of distaste at their surroundings, and then resignation through Bones’ eyes.

Jim took one look around at the bare quarters, claimed the too-narrow bed on the right-hand side of the barely-functional door, and started to unpack what few possessions he had brought with him, making a note that he should probably pick up some more clothes when he could get off-campus. The process went by too quickly, as Jim truly hadn’t had a chance to grab much of anything to bring with him, and as he leaned back with his arms over his head in a gentle stretch he realized that Bones either had equally few belongings or unpacked incredibly quickly.

“So,” Jim started. “You’re a doctor, you’re crotchety, and you just got divorced. Anything else you think I need to know about you before we start living together, Bones?”

He saw more resignation with a hint of amusement before the nickname caught up with the brunet. “What did you just call me?”

Jim grinned. “Bones.”

The incredibly skeptical look made Jim grin, even as it continued to unnerve him that he could read all this from the other man’s eyes, of all things. “And why,” Bones started, “have you taken it into your damn fool head to call me ‘Bones’?”

“Well, what was it you said on the shuttle?” Jim asked, not waiting for an answer before responding to his own question with a caricature of Bones’ gruff, accented voice, not quite managing to pull off the Southern accent if the look on Bones’ face was any judge. “‘All I got left is my bones.’ And that got me to thinking, you know how doctors used to be called ‘sawbones’, right? You’re a sawbones, and all you have left is your bones. It’s fitting.”

Jim knew he would delight in the eye-rolling that he was sure would come frequently. It was most definitely impressive. He was pretty sure the man would strain a muscle doing it someday, though, and so he felt inclined to warn him.

A snort rewarded his efforts to be the concerned friend. “It ain’t happened yet. I’m not too worried about it.”

Jim grinned again. “Anyhow, that wasn’t really the point and you know it.”

As it turned out, Jim had to coax any information he got out of Bones. For all he’d been happy to rant throughout the shuttle ride, it seemed his willingness to share had disappeared with the panic. Jim was all right with that, though; he’d grown to be very persistent over the years.

This was going to be fun.


It wasn’t until halfway through their second year that Jim realized Bones was in love with him.

He returned to their quarters--bigger and better now that they weren’t last-minute recruits in their first year--covered in bruises and scrapes and tiny cuts from a hand-to-hand class. This in and of itself wasn’t unusual; neither was the snort that came from Bones’ side of the room or the rummaging for a dermal regenerator.

“I’m fine,” Jim protested. “A couple of little cuts and bruises, that’s all.”

“This time,” came the response. “And if you don’t mind I’d like to see that for myself. Remember last time you tried to tell me you were fine?”

“That was different!” Jim replied, defensive at the sight of the odd concern in the other man’s eyes. “This time that’s really all it is!”

It wasn’t a new look, exactly. He’d seen it the last few times he’d come back hurt, refusing to go to the clinic for something as minor as a couple of cuts, but he was unable to place it. It was vaguely similar to a couple of other looks, but he wasn’t sure how, and it was oddly frustrating after getting used to his apparent ability to read Bones like an open book.

Bones sighed, clearly determined to at least heal the cut that ran along his cheekbone. “Why is it,” he asked, “that you seem to feel the need to get hurt at least once a week?”

“I don’t feel the need to; it just happens!” Jim protested, trying to ignore the odd feeling he always got from the dermal regenerator at work. “It’s kind of unavoidable in a combat class.”

The cut was almost definitely healed by now. It had just been a shallow little thing, barely worth noting, though it had probably looked more impressive than it actually was. Yet still Bones lingered, turning off the regenerator but looking the area over, and Jim could’ve sworn out of the corner of his eye he saw one of the other man’s hands twitch. “Still,” he said. “You’re going to be the death of me one of these days, you know that?”

Jim tried to bring out his usual grin he responded to those words with, the charming one that said nothing bad could possibly happen to him, but he couldn’t quite manage it. This was unfamiliar territory couched in familiar banter, and he wasn’t at all sure how to deal with it.

Suddenly he managed to place the looks by focusing on the facial features. It wasn’t anything he’d experienced, far from it, but it was a look he’d seen other people give to each other. He didn’t see it in just any couple, but occasionally one person would look at the other with that look and the other would smile.

Well, shit.

Jim had absolutely no idea what to do. Sure, he’d vaguely thought of Bones as attractive, but love? It wasn’t something Jim did.

There was only one thing left to do, and so Jim attempted to ignore it and go on acting like he hadn’t seen it. He wasn’t going to lose a friend just because he was a dick when it came to long-term commitment.


When the Enterprise started its long limp back toward Earth, Jim wondered how it had taken him so long to pull his head out of his ass.

When he had beamed back aboard supporting Pike, one of the last things he’d expected to hear was the shout of “Jim!” Even less expected had been the sudden surge of emotion in response to it that had threatened to drive him to his knees. Bones was here, and it would be okay. So many others lost, so much destroyed, but his Bones was here.

His Bones?

They had still had a crisis to deal with, though, and so Jim had hurried back to the bridge with Spock, leaving behind thoughts of that sort. It was over now, though, and when Jim had slumped back into the captain’s chair those thoughts were the first things to return to his mind.

Why now? Why had it taken so much loss to make Jim see what he had in front of him? He wasn’t sure, not at all.

His thoughts continued in circles before being interrupted by Spock practically ordering him off the bridge until he got some rest. As soon as he entered the turbolift, though, they returned again with another concern added.

He had no place to sleep. He’d been smuggled on, hadn’t been a part of this crew in the first place, so he’d never been assigned quarters. He guessed he could technically sleep in the captain’s quarters, but those belonged to Pike and he couldn’t take them.

While his mind had been whirling his feet had been moving, and he soon found himself at Bones’ door. Jim let out a single humorless laugh. Of course they would.

If nothing else, though, Bones would probably let him sleep on the floor, and so he hesitantly chimed.

No response came. Jim briefly wondered why, and then it hit him. Odds were Pike was still in surgery, and if Pike wasn’t stable yet then Bones was definitely in Sickbay. It was just what the other man did.

Sure Bones wouldn’t mind, he hacked his way into the older man’s quarters and curled up on the bed, prepared to move when Bones returned.

It seemed like only seconds had passed before Jim forced his eyes open at the sound of someone else entering the room. “Bones?”

The brunet looked over, startled and exhausted. “Oh. Jim.”

Feeling the tiniest bit uncomfortable with the need to do something really stupid like crawl into Bones’ skin or hold on tight and never let go, Jim looked away. “I can leave, if you want.”

“No, it’s fine,” came the reply as Bones swayed a bit on his feet.

Jim got up, helping him over to the bed and gently removing his blue shirt, leaving the pants and undershirt untouched. Suddenly, the need to be closer to Bones struck harder than before and by the time Jim realized what was going on, he was clinging to the brunet, face buried in his shoulder.

There would be words, later. But those weren’t important now. All that mattered was the gentle trace of Bones’ fingers along his cheekbone and the soft look in his eyes as they curled around each other to sleep.
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