Leonard wasn't originally rooming with Jim. For the first month they were at the academy they had other roommates. Leonard hadn't minded his, though he was way too damn hyperactive and chatty, and as far as he knew, Jim hadn't had any troubles with his roommate either.
He was obviously wrong about that, as would become a theme over the course of their friendship.
One day, Jim showed up at his dorm room with a serious scowl on his face and he asked—because at that point Jim still asked for things once in a while—if he could come in. The chatty roommate was there as Jim took a seat on Leonard's bed as he was prone to do when he visited. Leonard stood above him; staring down at his…he supposed he could call Jim his friend at this point.
"What's the matter with you, Jim?" he asked gruffly.
Blue eyes looked up at him and his stubbled jaw was clenching. "I wanted to ask if you wanted to be my roommate. Mine apparently can't sleep with me around."
He hadn't liked the thought of that, only imagining what Jim was doing that would cause his roommate to feel that way, what Jim was doing that would cause Jim's roommate to break down and tell Jim that. He wondered why Jim was taking it so hard. After all, Jim let blows glance off him like they were nothing.
Leonard sighed and looked over at his roommate, whose name in years to come would be forgotten unlike the name of Jim's roommate. He had been blissfully silent in the minute and a half Jim had been there, which may not seem like long to anyone else, but it was practically a godsend to Leonard. "Do you care if you get a new roommate?" he asked.
He shook his head, bright red hair flopping around his head. And then his mouth was off. "No, no, I'm good with that. I like meeting new people. I'm sure I'll get along just fine with Trey. Not that I don't get along with you, of course. But you are kinda stodgy, no offence…"
Leonard didn't care to listen. He had heard what he needed to. He returned his gaze to Jim, nodding towards the door when he caught the ice blue gaze of is friend. Leonard's roommate was still talking but when Jim stood, his spidey-senses must have gone off. "Oh, so, you're gonna go get the paperwork taken care of then? Good plan! It's best not to dawdle." He nodded resolutely. "Okay, well, just remember to tell me who's switching rooms with who."
Leonard nodded and Jim managed a half-hearted smile before they were out of the room.
When Jim had said his roommate couldn't sleep in the same room with him, he had thought that maybe Jim snored, or that he was an insomniac. Hell, he wouldn't be surprised to find that Jim even brought girls back to party at night—which had that been the case, Leonard would have put an abrupt stop to that. But the first few days they were roommates, Jim showed to have none of those practices. He was a little messy. His studying technique consisted of reading his text aloud to himself, which could be a little grating, sometimes but he was quick about it. Other than that he was almost a normal roommate.
His sleeping habits were a little odd, Leonard conceded.
Jim slept on top of his blankets, fully clothed. The only thing he removed from his person was his boots. He was a light sleeper too. Sometimes things as simple as Leonard setting the alarm could wake him from his sleep.
Leonard didn't question it. He was good at not questioning Jim, mainly because he had learned Jim was good at not answering.
So, Jim had some odd sleeping habits. It was nothing he couldn't handle. And if he tried pulling a blanket over Jim so he didn't catch a cold from the frigidness of their room, well no one could blame him.
It was only after they had been living in the same dorm for about a month and a half when it became apparent what Jim's roommate had been talking about. Leonard had gone to sleep sometime after Jim, pulling a blanket over the blonde because not only was it cold in their room, it was rainy outside and he didn't believe anyone should sleep above blankets on a rainy night. It only invited colds.
He had only been asleep for about an hour when he woke up to the tossing and turnings of Jim, struggling with the blanket that had been thrown over him. His plight only served to tangle him further into the cover. Leonard watched him momentarily, wondering when Jim would wake himself from whatever nightmare he was in the throes of, but as soon as the blond banged his head against the headboard in a violent twist, Leonard was out of his bed.
"Jim!" he whispered loudly, urgently as he stepped onto the cool carpet. "Jim, wake up!"
One more twist brought him close to falling off his bed, close to slamming his head into the beside table. Leonard reached across Jim's bed to grab onto his arm, intent on dragging the blonde back. Just as he got his hand around Jim's red-clad arm though, Jim freed an arm and the brunette nearly met with a face-full of fist. He lurched back, just as Jim jerked up, seemingly awake.
Leonard stood up straight. He didn't say anything to Jim for a few seconds, his heart beating a little faster than it usually would. But that was nothing to what the blonde seemed to be going through. He looked around frantically, throwing the blanket off of him in disgust. He was sweating, shaking, and casting his eyes around the room, until they landed on Leonard.
"Bones," he said, his voice trembling. Leonard started for him, intent on asking if he was okay, but, as he came closer, Jim scrunched his brow and waved his hand in the direction of their kitchenette, saying, "Make sure the muffins don't burn."
Then he was back to sleep, falling back onto his mattress.
Leonard stood where he was for many long seconds. He was a little confused, honestly. Jim had been in the middle of a nightmare, but spoke about…muffins? He shook his head and rolled his eyes. It figured.
They didn't even have an oven.
After a minute or five, Leonard went back to his bed, back to sleep, but from that night on he slept lighter than he used to, always keeping an ear out for Jim.
He never put a blanket over Jim's sleeping frame again.
Despite Leonard's many grumblings about Jim's sexual prowess, his roommate really only sought to sate his carnal pleasures on the weekends. And even then, he never brought his conquests back to their dorm. He made a point to be back at the dorm by three o'clock on the weekends and midnight on weeknights if he even went out at all. He never stayed the night anywhere but their room, which was probably a good thing because Leonard didn't think Jim would be able to handle the thought of anyone else knowing about his night terrors.
A few times he had tried to talk to Jim about his nightmares, but Jim would always look at him as if he were crazy, which he was beginning to think that maybe he was. Jim honestly had no clue what he was talking about. Leonard also tried asking why he slept in his clothes, to which the reply had been, "Have to be ready to go."
He might as well have said that he had to be ready to run away.
It hurt Leonard a little that Jim was running from something, especially since he was pretty sure he was running away from something in his past, probably the same thing that haunted his dreams. Jim shouldn't have to run.
When he asked why Jim couldn't sleep under a blanket what he got was a glare and a resolute, "Leave it alone, Bones."
With winter coming on, Leonard couldn't leave it alone. He could not ask, because as he said, Jim was good at not answering. However, just letting it drop from his conscience wasn't likely. He was a worrier after all, and living with Jim he was practically getting it down to an art. He didn't like that Jim didn't sleep with a cover. It was unhealthy and just invited ailments.
So, since he couldn't cover Jim up, he took to keeping the heat up at night. Jim stayed warmer that way, though Leonard had to practically strip down to nothing. Jim didn't say anything about the sudden temperature spike, though he caught Jim staring at him as he turned the heat up for the night, as he stripped down to his underwear and slipped under his own covers.
He tried not to think too much about those stares, hating how confused they always looked, hating how untrusting they became. He tried not to think about what they did to him. How it hurt in a way he didn't want to think about that Jim didn't trust him with such simple things. Leonard could patch him up after a fight, tell him fabulously embarrassing stories about himself, tell him when to stop drinking, but he couldn't do something as simple as turn the heater up.
As the holidays came closer, Jim's nightmares worsened, going from an occasional phenomenon to a damn near nightly occurrence. They also drank more, which may have had something to do with it, but Leonard had never witnessed a consistent correlation between the two.
He was getting better at helping Jim through the terrors of his mind without actually waking him up. He learned around month two, that simply sitting on the edge of the bed and saying, "It's just a nightmare, Jimmy," did wonders for his friend, as if Jim could hear him in his sleep.
It was a small wonder to Leonard that calling him Jimmy helped. He had tried the same saying with 'Jim' and 'kid' in place, but he never responded as well as when he said 'Jimmy.' It was odd to him mainly because Jim hated being called Jimmy while he was awake. One of the cadets, Gaila, whom they spent some bar time with, had called him that once, only for Jim to tell her in a semi-serious threat that if she called him Jimmy again he would leave.
Leonard hadn't gotten the impression that Jim would leave the bar they were at, as much as leave altogether. He believed that if anyone called him 'Jimmy' for any amount of time, he would disappear from the Academy, from San Francisco…from California all together.
"Have to be ready to go."
He thought about the day Jim told him that often, feeling the phrase consume him as he sat on the edge of Jim's bed, soothing him while he slept. He wondered who Jim was running from, and why a name as simple as Jimmy could sooth while asleep, but elicited such a strong need to flee while awake. There were so few things that Jim ran from after all.
One night, close to their finals, after Leonard had returned from his shift at the medical center, he opened the door to the sounds of Jim moaning in his sleep, lobbing around on his bed. He made small keening noises; his brows furrowed tightly even in the midst of sleep. To anyone else, it might have seemed as though Jim was in the middle of a sexual fantasy, but Leonard knew better. He always knew better.
He raced to Jim's side, sitting on the edge of the bed just as disoriented blue eyes flew open and pale, pretty pink lips let out the most heart-wrenching scream Leonard had ever heard. Jim's petrified gaze flew around the darkened room, before he started scrambling away from Leonard, mumbling something that sounded an awful lot like, 'No, don't,' over and over again.
Leonard didn't reach for him, knowing that Jim was probably still asleep despite what it looked like. Instead, he said in a soft, placating voice, "Jim, it's just me."
He stopped struggling to get away from him, but suddenly the pattern was broken. He didn't go back to sleep and he didn't calm. Jim hopped off the bed and began for the door. "We've gotta go, Bones," he said seriously. He sounded like he was close to tears and the sharp, fearful tone in his voice made Leonard's heart contract almost as much as Jim's next words. "He's coming. He's gonna find us. We have to go."
Leonard didn't move from his place by the bed. "Who's coming?" he asked sharply, looking at Jim with that perfected worried look.
Jim was by the door and he mumbled, "He always finds me. He never let me go. Bones, we've gotta go! He's gonna get me!"
Leonard stood from his place on Jim's bed and moved over to Jim's side, gently, hesitantly, resting his hand on the younger man's arm. Jim pivoted on his heel, blue eyes distant. He was awake, but he wasn't there. Jim's mind had galloped off to a not so distant as either of them would like past.
He pulled Jim away from the door, paying no mind as the blonde clutched his arm, and set the security codes, as much for Jim's mind as for his safety. He didn't want Jim running off tonight. With that finished, he ordered, "Computer, set panic mode." It was probably overkill, but Jim believed someone was coming for him, and on the off chance that this wasn't a nightmare induced anxiety, he didn't want whoever-it-was getting what they wanted. The computer activated, locking the door and windows and chiming that Security would be alerted if anyone tried to enter.
He turned to Jim, who was still clutching the arm of his shirt. "There. He can't get you now."
He didn't look like he believed Leonard. He said solemnly, "He always found me."
Leonard still didn't know who the hell Jim was talking about, but he told him fiercely, "He won't this time."
He wanted Jim to believe him, to take his words to heart and go back to sleep. He wanted Jim to tell him who was after him. He wanted to go to sleep without having to worry about Jim. He didn't get what he wanted, though. Leonard was sure Jim didn't believe him and he didn't reveal who they were hiding from and Leonard didn't get any sleep that night.
Not even after the blonde did return to his bed where he flopped down into a heap of bonelessness.
Unfortunately, this too would become a trend in the future.
The next night, when Leonard came back to find their dorm spotless, he was floored. He and Jim weren't necessarily messy, but they were busy and there was always a bit…or a lot of clutter to be found in their dorm.
Not tonight. Tonight, everything was in pristine order. Books were stacked neatly. Bed sets were washed and outfitted on the mattresses. The random dirty clothes from the last two days were not to be seen (he would discover later that they were also folded and put away neatly). Even the dishes from last night had been put in the recycler unit.
He cast his eyes around the room in disbelief. Their room didn't usually get straightened unless it was by him and if Jim did clean anything it was because Leonard made him.
He stepped further in and found Jim at his desk, reading quietly aloud to himself.
Briefly, he thought about being kind and letting the event go unnoticed, but it wasn't in his nature. He was curious. He wanted to know what had brought on this cleaning spree in Jim. More importantly, he wanted to know if it had anything to do with the previous night's events. He didn't want Jim to think that payment was due for Leonard helping him.
That in mind he set his bag by the foot of his bed and asked in his usual gruff tone, "Any particular reason you decided to clean house?"
If Jim was startled by the question or even by Leonard's appearance in their dorm at all, he didn't show it. He stopped his self-mumbling, saying as if he had rehearsed his answer in the damn mirror, "Sometimes I need a blank canvas on which to scatter my filth."
Leonard could have believed it. After all, Jim was just quirky enough for that to make sense. However, he didn't. His Jim senses were going off, telling the doctor that the other was lying.
"If this is about last night, you didn't…"
"Last night?" Jim was playing dumb; the tell in his voice alerted him to that.
Perhaps he should have argued. Lord knew he saw the need to argue, but he didn't want to make Jim uncomfortable. They had been friends and roommates for a considerable time, but they still had certain lines that couldn't be crossed yet. Jim didn't ask about his divorce. He didn't ask about Jim's nightmares.
"Nevermind, Jim." He sighed, going to his bed. He intended to catch some sleep before he woke to Jim's nighttime terrors, instead he thought about the clean room and what Jim must have been thinking to do something so…considerate.
It wouldn't be the last time Jim surprised him.
Over the course of the next year, Bones learned most of Jim's tics, habits, and inner-workings, but he never learned what drove the man's nightmares. In lieu of that though, he had learned what set off the worst terrors.
They corresponded heavily with dates…family holidays, birthdays of his family. It wasn't strictly regulated to that, Bones (no, his name was Leonard) conceded to himself. Sometimes, on rare occasions, a simple conversation with one of the other cadets Jim frequented would ask a personal question that lead to a night of setting the room on Panic mode and the next day filled with too much cleanliness.
Mostly, though, it was the time of year that set the dreams off.
He had become used to it too, as terrifying as that thought was. Over the past year, his body had learned to function with as little as four hours of sleep, when it used to be he had to get at least seven. He had tuned his ears to the sounds of Jim in the midst of a nightmare, even when he was dead asleep. He knew all the right words to say, and even a few that made the nights worse (those were memories that would burn him forever).
He was also used to Jim in general. Jim with all of his habits and quirks, from sleeping without covers to hidden knowledge that kept Bones guessing how much work it really took to act that brainless all the time, was an intricate part of his life. Hell, Jim was getting closer to Bon-Leonard than Jocelyn had ever been, and that was frightening.
He supposed that was why he was shocked when Jim just kept throwing back shot after shot.
Winter had rolled around again, bringing a steady onslaught of sleepless nights and Leonard's more pre-occupying hobby: Jim watching. Their last winter together had been alright. Not great, but definitely acceptable and that was a lot better than Leonard had had in years. Jim had been the perfect person to be a miserable, lonely doctor with during the day, but at night, after he and Jim had drank their way through more bars than anyone should see in their life let alone one night, the terrors had been enough to make Leonard wish he hadn't drank so much.
This winter was turning out to be much the same, though Leonard couldn't and wouldn't complain. He was however going to complain when Jim had seventeen shots and was still going full speed ahead. Now he didn't deny it; the blonde had an alcohol tolerance that had most alcoholics jealous, but seventeen shots was pushing it.
"Jim, maybe you should slow down," he coerced, not reaching for the bottle that was resting at Jim's elbow, but hoping his young friend would take his advice.
Another shot. Eighteen. "I' gud, Bones."
He wasn't. Bones knew that by now, but Jim was too plastered to feel whatever pain he always hid or fear whoever he was running from. His smile was radiant…real, so Bones was hard-pressed to put any real effort into making him stop.
Which was a huge mistake, he realized half an hour later after saving Jim, yet again. Surprisingly, the idiot had not partaken in yet another bar fight (which really should have been the doctor's first clue that Jim was not alright), but on their way back to the dorms, after having fallen down several times Jim decided he wanted to dance in the streets that way everyone could see how awesome he was.
"Dammit Jim! There's a reason they have sidewalks!" he said as he pulled Jim close to him, keeping his arm firmly around his waist. "So people like you don't get run over!"
Good God, the man actually giggled. Of course, he also stumbled, nearly falling for what felt like the millionth time. He threw his head onto Leonard's shoulder harder than he would have if he were sober and said, "D'ja see 'm, Bones? He honked 't me." A smug smile graced his features. "'e thought I's hot."
Bones rolled his eyes. "Of course, he did. Everyone thinks you're 'hot,'" he said fumbling around the last word as it wasn't usually a word he said. He meant to be appease Jim, to get him to shut up so maybe he would have just a little more coordination.
He didn't respond when Jim looked at him with drunken hope shining in too blue eyes, asking, "Even you?"
Then his plan suffered a massive fail.
Jim, if possible, lost coordination. He started falling again and just because life hated him, he grabbed onto Bones (dammit, Leonard) as he fell to the hard cement ground. Lying sprawled on the cement, Leonard had finally had it. He wasn't going to make it back to the dorms with Jim because the blonde would either kill himself or, more likely, Leonard would kill him. He stayed on the ground, sore and counting all the things that could possibly be wrong with both of them, with Jim halfway on top of him… giggling again and the dark haired man just stared at the sky.
Then he looked around at his surroundings for the first time in his tipsy stupor and life apparently didn't hate him as much as he thought, because there was a hotel, brightly lit and calling to him. It was across the street, which could be a problem with Jim on (literally on) his side, but if he could make it there, Leonard wouldn't run the chance of killing his best friend.
Leonard pushed the other man off of him, standing quickly, saying just as hurriedly, "Come on, Jim, get up."
He hauled the blonde to his feet and together they made it to the hotel with little incident. Jim didn't even try his dancing skills again.
The next morning met with a very tired Leonard McCoy sitting against the headboard of the hotel bed, practically broiling at the temperature he had set the thermostat at. The hotel only had two rooms left and the double mattress had been more expensive than Leonard cared for considering he had thought he wouldn't be getting much sleep.
He hadn't received much sleep either, but not under the circumstances he'd become accustomed to.
When they had entered the room, Jim hadn't wasted anytime in passing out on top of the bed. That much Leonard had expected and he had sat on what was apparently meant to be his side of the bed in Jim's mind, waiting for the nightmare or at least for some form of twitching only to find that Jim had stayed completely still. He didn't even twitch when Leonard turned on the light to the bathroom, and usually that woke the young man out of a dead sleep.
He didn't like Jim's deep slumber at all, though he admitted that if Jim hadn't been drunk the actual deep sleep would have done him well. He didn't like the fact that Jim was completely still through the night, either. The blonde was a force of nature that didn't quiet, didn't settle, and sure as hell didn't sleep away ten hours at a time. It worried Bones a lot more than he wanted it to. People shouldn't worry that their friend was finally getting much deserved sleep, but the fact that Jim had been beyond inebriated and Bones was a doctor…the cocktail was disaster.
He had managed to refrain from waking Jim up at noon, had even managed to catch a few minutes of sleep here and there, but he hadn't been able to catch a complete night of sleep which meant the his shift tonight would be long and probably end with a few interns crying. Leonard really didn't do well without sleep, but he didn't do much better with Jim passed out, possibly needing him as he died of alcohol poisoning.
Luckily, it was Christmas break so most of the cadets and hell probably half of San Francisco was out of town, or visiting family. He wouldn't have to deal with much tonight besides the idiocy of his coworkers and 'superiors.' He rolled his tired eyes at the thought of his bosses, but decided not to rile himself up.
He looked over at Jim's form on the bed, which had finally shifted. The blonde looked to be waking up. Leonard listened for the yawn that always preceded stumbling morning conversations. He was unprepared for Jim to visibly start or the words that came flying out of his mouth.
"Where did you take me this time, you sick fuck?" Jim demanded scornfully, brokenly, as he all but leaped out of the bed.
He knew the question wasn't for him, but he answered in an annoyed tone regardless due to the fact that he was tired of battling against a ghost…tired of being stared at for heart-stopping seconds at a time like he was that ghost. "You got shit-faced, Jim. You weren't gonna make it back to the dorm so I decided to stop at a hotel for the night!"
Jim, who hadn't stopped to see who he was actually with, who seemed desperate not to know who he was with, let out an audible sigh of relief and shame. He turned around, his blue eyes blurry with unshed tears. Whether they're from getting his surroundings wrong again or from the ever present anxiety that whoever is after him finally got him, Bones didn't know. "I'm sorry, Bones," he croaked tiredly as he brought his palms up to wipe at his face. "Jesus, what did I drink last night?"
"About a fifth of tequila and half an ocean of whiskey."
Jim dropped his hands, staring at the ground and looking, for all the world, like a small child who was about to be reprimanded. "Did I, uh, did I do anything?"
Bones snorted. "You made a grand show of trying to prove to me you were invincible, fell down at least thirty times, and then promptly passed out on that bed."
"Oh," he breathed a sigh of relief, finally casting his blue eyes up to see Bones. "Well, that's not too bad. No harm, no foul."
"Jim…" he warned, because Jim was dodging again. "Who were you talking to?"
"Talking to? Wha…" Jim's playing dumb was beginning to get seriously grating. He hadn't had any damn sleep, he was tired of taking the blasé approach and he was tired of Jim being scared of this ghost.
"Jim! When you first woke up…who were you talking to?" Leonard demanded.
"It was nothing. I was just…"
The doctor beat him to his own sentence, having heard it so many fucking times in the past year. "You were disoriented? You sounded pretty fucking alert to me. You weren't having a nightmare, so you can't blame your amnesia on sleep. Who were you talking to?"
"Just drop it, Bones." He opened his mouth to protest again when Jim all but hollered, "I'm serious, Leonard!"
He was shocked more than intimidated by Jim's last statement. The blonde never called him Leonard, ever. He had almost stopped introducing himself as Leonard, because so much of his time had been spent as Bones due to so much of his time being with Jim. To hear that name tumble from those lips…it was like getting something ripped out of his chest.
Jim looked down at the floor again and shook his head. "Let's just go."
"Yeah, okay. I've gotta get ready for my shift anyway."
Leonard (because apparently he wasn't Bones) didn't mention that his shift didn't start for another several hours. He just wanted to leave this situation behind them, he wanted to forget about the last twenty-four hours, and he wanted Jim to stay. He didn't want to think about why this argument hurt, or why it upset him that his friend had one secret that Leonard knew of that just would not reveal itself.
He didn't really even want to think of why Jim would stay at hiselbow, hands in his pocket and hugging his jacket protectively around him in the cooler air the entire walk home, even though it was apparent that the blonde wasn't pleased with him.
Everything was smoothed over by the time Spring Break rolled around. Jim had all but forgotten the day Leonard (maybe he was Bones) pushed at his defenses and the brunette had all but forgotten the Jim had ever called him by his given name. They were back to the normal routines, of nights where four hours of sleep was considered good and six was a fucking godsend for both of them; nights with the Panic mode set and 'It's okay, Jimmy.'s; and days where they pretended that they were just normal roommates.
That day was a Tuesday and one of the only days of the week that Bones had off and didn't have to worry about being on call. With all the idiots around who just loved the beach, loved the city, and basically didn't love being safe had come to San Francisco and wouldn't you know it they all loved getting hurt. Leonard (because he was Leonard at the hospital) had seen more patients with stories of nearly drowning in the last three days than he thought he would ever meet in his life.
That day he decided he was just going to sleep. He was gong to sleep and sleep and for dessert…he was gonna sleep. He did too. For hours upon glorious hours, with only short bursts of consciousness when Jim had woken him with a lazy brush of his knuckles against the older man's cheek to tell him that he was going out for a while, and again when he realized that it was dark and Jim was nowhere to be seen, and the last time…the last time.
He almost thought it was a dream, a really strange dream where he woke up to the sound of the door swishing open, emitting light into their room that was kind of blocked by a definite Jim-shaped shadow. Bones turned around under his blanket to blink owlishly at him, watching him as he came up and laid down beside the doctor, above the blanket, and almost not touching him save for the gentle brush of his fingers against Bones' spine.
He realized it wasn't a dream when he noticed the scent Jim carried with him. It wasn't that of a bar, or alcohol, net even another person, it was just Jim which Leonard found odd. In the past two years they had known each other, the one thing Leonard understood the best about Jim was that he had autophobia in both senses of the word. He was afraid of being alone and distrustful of himself while alone. It was the main reason for the steady stream of conquests and the dwindling need for bar fights and why he had all but glued himself to the doctor's hip. He didn't like to be alone.
He noticed it wasn't a dream…
Because not even his dreams could manufacture the sheer perfection of blue that Jim's eyes were as they watched Bones so blatantly he could feel the gaze. His dreams couldn't make up the confident hesitancy as Jim slowly crawled into this to small bed that really shouldn't have fit the two of them. His mind couldn't fabricate the feel of never-noticed-how-perfect lips felt as the barely brushed the shell of his ear to whisper,
"Go back to sleep, Bones."
He did. Sleep was good…it was even better next to Jim.
He woke up the next morning, unbelieving that he had actually slept for nearly sixteen hours, and even more surprised the Jim hadn't woken him up during the night. His nightmares had lessened during the springtime but the night terrors would still call for Bones to sooth him, not to mention the fact that Jim twitched a lot during his sleep and since the doctor was used to sleeping on his own, he had figured he would be woken by something.
He looked over his shoulder, since he had slept on his side to accommodate the presence of Jim in his small bed. However, he found that his friend was missing from his bed and from the bed not too far away. He listened for sounds from the bathroom, wondering if Jim had gone to take a shower, but at the silence he guessed not. Jim had obviously left early in the morning, which he was sometimes one to do. The blonde enjoyed his morning runs; it was just that mornings for Jim usually came sometime after breakfast, three coffees and a bitchfest about how tired he was.
Leonard groaned as he got out of bed and made for his morning routine. Bathroom, computer, communicator, and then the kitchen were he would try to find something palatable to eat from the replicator.
When he made it to the kitchen he was a little shocked to see breakfast already made for him. It was simple, but still warm. Jim had obviously known when Bones would awaken. The blonde had set out some bacon, some toast, no eggs, but Bones didn't much care for those anyway. And off in the corner was a large pot of coffee that practically had his name written all over it.
He sighed and shook his head at the offering, more blackmail he had learned. When Jim did something for Bones, it wasn't to get the doctor to stay, at least not anymore, though it may have been in the earlier stages of their friendship. No, when Jim did something for his friend it was more of a plea to get him to leave whatever had happened the night before where it was.
Leonard hadn't exactly been planning on going all soft-hearted and asking Jim if last night meant something to him, but he would like some things explained to him. Hell, he would like a lot of things explained to him.
He ate his breakfast and pretended not to remember how he had felt having Jim crawl into bed with him.
Jim slipped into bed with him a few more times before summer time started. The nightmares waxed and waned in that time, causing more visible cracks to appear in Jim than Bones thought he would ever be able to see on someone so young. How long Jim had weathered these nightmares, he didn't know, but they were starting to really take control of his friend.
It didn't surprise Leonard that Jim had taken so long to feel the effects of his nightmares. Jim's psyche worked on a different clock than everyone else's. Everything about Jim worked on a different timescale than what was perceived as normal. Leonard had once heard Gaila make a comment about that and Jim had responded in something not unlike scorn when he said, 'that's what happens when you're born in space where time is a distant memory.'
Maybe that had something to do with it, but Leonard thought it was more likely that the kid was just too damn stubborn to actually crack like everyone else. He liked to be different and strong, even if he was sometimes whiny about it. More importantly he liked proving people wrong. That was what got Jim into most of the messes he encountered, trying to prove people wrong.
Bones (Leonard, Bones…he really should just pick one and be happy about it!) considered that as he entered into his dorm one hot summer night. He hadn't had a shift at the hospital for one, but a new virus had broke out last week and unable to let it go he had spent most of his free time in the library looking up possible cures and histories of similar viruses. He hadn't made any headway, yet, but he would.
He snorted, wryly. He sounded like Jim.
Maybe he and his friend had more in common than Leonard let on.
He looked into the room, searching to see if Jim was out, or if he was asleep. He didn't hear anything but summers were harder for Leonard to predict than winters. He was a little surprised, however, to see Jim on his bed.
Usually, Jim waited for Leonard to fall asleep before he slipped into bed with him as if afraid that the older man would kick him out of bed. Okay, Leonard admitted he probably would have six months ago, but suddenly there was just no way. It wasn't that he was used to it. Jim didn't crawl into his bed that often. He liked the feeling of someone in bed with him though; the fact that it was Jim was just icing on the cake.
He walked further into the room, forgetting that without his frame would let light hit Jim's face before the door was all the way shut again. The blonde twitched from sleep when the beam splashed light across his eyes. He lifted his head, bleary blue eyes looking around frantically.
At least he wasn't a ghost tonight, Bones (now he was Bones again; maybe Jim's presence swayed his identity) thought with relief.
"Yeah, Jim?" he answered gruffly as he changed out of his jeans and into a pair of sleep pants. The reply was nonsense wrapped up in garbled gibberish. It tried to be a real sentence; it just fell short of the basic requirements. Bones shook his head as he slipped under the cover beside Jim.
The blonde wiggled to let his friend have more of the blanket, murmuring, "S'rry I didn' wait for ya. I got tired."
Bones didn't respond immediately. Instead, he moved closer to Jim's back, pressing his lips against the warm flesh of his exposed neck. He tried not to linger too long, but he managed to inhale and exhale a few times before he moved his lips up to the shell of Jim's ear, telling him in a gruffer manner than he was normally told, "Just go back to sleep, Jim."
The noise of contentment followed into Bones' dreams, though he tried to pretend it had nothing to do with it when he woke extra early to go take his shower.
The night it all came to a head, the nightmares, the memories, the slipping quietly into bed with each other, was a bit of a shock to Bones, who had come to terms with the fact the Jim would just suffer his tragedies and fears on his own. They were on the Enterprise shortly after the Narada incident, limping their way back to Earth, running solely on grief, pain, and stimulants when Jim just couldn't stand it anymore.
Bones deduced that it had to do with the new pain that weighed down on three or more long years of old pain and it was just too much for Jim. It would have been too much for anyone two and half years ago without the death of six billion plus people. Jim had always been too strong for his own good, which was why there was a subtle feeling of surprise when the blond woke him out of his slumber.
"What s'it, Jim?" he asked still mostly asleep.
His acting captain, still sharing a room with him and still on top of the covers, dressed in his uniform, leaned over and kissed him gently. His lips dry and chapped, yet still so perfect against Leonard's as they bled everything from the passed three years into the older man. All the love, the fear, the pain, the happiness, the hope, the regret all passed from Jim to Leonard in a few short seconds and it left the brunette feeling slightly disoriented.
When he looked up into those open, too bright eyes, searching for an answer, what he got was apprehension.
The hopeful question he had been asked almost a year ago, echoed breathlessly through his mind. He hadn't realized that Jim had meant it so seriously, had still to this day been expecting an answer from him. He wanted to answer now, but Jim had a pension dedicated to cutting his thoughts off when he wanted to keep them lush.
"Will you listen to me?" Jim asked as if it was some sort of chore for the doctor. He pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, something he never, ever did, not even in front of Leonard. "Don't talk…just listen."
Ah, that was the chore in this.
Bones just nodded, knowing whatever was about to transpire between them, it would change their entire dynamic, and he would have to start learning things about Jim again. He had better take notes while he could.
Jim took a deep breath, nodding as well before he moved over to rest his head on Bones' chest. The bed they were on was bigger than the bed in the Academy, yet they still slept relatively close together when either of them deigned to sleep. Bones (hell, even Leonard) hated to admit it but most of the time they were in bed, they were spooned, Jim's long fingers running down his spine as they listened to each other breathe.
He took a deep breath, raising his hand up to Jim's shoulder; running his thumb soothingly over black-clad skin.
"I was twelve when I was taken away from my home," Jim began quietly, his voice straining from being choked three times in a twenty-four hour period. "I ran a car off a cliff. I was mad at my step-father for childish reasons, unwilling to see anything from anyone else's point of view. I didn't see that we needed the credits, or that selling the car was for the good of the family. All I saw was Frank trying to get rid of my father's car."
He was silent for a few moments, as if letting that realization wash over him again. He had been wrong. Even if it was still in the past, it was hard for Jim to admit he hadn't been right about something important…something that mattered.
"The court who dealt with my hearing decided I was a hazard to myself and that my mother was too dedicated to her work and leaving me with my step-father was a mistake since he had already lost my older brother.
"It wasn't fair. Everyone tried to tell the court that, even me. It wasn't entirely their fault. Mom did a lot of off planet work, so yeah, she wasn't there a lot, but she still loved me. And Frank…while being a do hard-ass most of the time…he loved us, too, as if we had been his own. No one was swayed, though, and they lost custody of me. I was put into the system and eventually sent to live with Dennis Hopper."
Jim tensed as he said the name and wove his arm around Bones' waist. He sought comfort after so long of trying to handle everything on his own. Bones wouldn't deny him that comfort, not in a million years. The doctor tightened his grip around his captain's shoulders, holding him steady, keeping him present.
Jim made a grateful noise for Bones' efforts, continuing in his story with a relaxed strength that he shouldn't have. "Dennis…he liked looking at me. He thought I was pretty." He snorted derisively. "Everyone thinks I'm pretty. He said these things to me, too…things no twelve year old should hear from their guardian."
Bones could only imagine. The next thing out of Jim's mouth was no surprise, but it still had the doctor seeing red as he rubbed his thumb soothingly into his friend's shoulder.
"He touched me. Inappropriate in its ownway, but never enough that I could say something about it. It was just the way he did it…while he looked at me like I was some piece of meat.
"I told my mom, because she had been trying to get custody of me still, trying to get her life back. Frank had left her after I was gone, after my brother had run away. That hurt a lot, because after he did that I always felt like I was the one who had made him do it. I always thought that maybe if I hadn't been so infantile maybe I wouldn't have broken my mother's life in half."
A sharp inhale, like a sniffle, but Jim wasn't crying. Jim was too strong to cry.
"She told me she'd take care of it. I guess she talked to Dennis about it, because not two weeks later, Dennis told me he put a restraining order on her. She wasn't allowed to come within five-hundred meters of me. He said, 'we'll be better off this way, Jimmy,' like we were in a secret relationship and I had bemoaned how my mother would never approve. That was the first time I ran away. I couldn't bear to hear him call me Jimmy." He swallowed thickly. "It was the last thing my mom called me."
Leonard (because Bones couldn't take this) lay there silent, in awe as everything from their past three years together fell into place. It made sense why calling him 'Jimmy' in his sleep calmed him, but while he was awake…he always felt the need to run. While he slept, he could find shallow comfort in the memory of his mother. When he was awake…
"He found me, of course," Jim said angrily.
"He always found me."
"Dragged me back to some seedy hotel. Always back to some seedy hotel after he found me. Never did anything, though. He always said it wasn't fun unless his lovers were willing. He said I would come around. He told me everyone came around and that always scared the living shit out of me. I was never sure what his definition of 'willing' was. I was afraid to drink anything he gave me, afraid I would pass out and wake up with him…wake up and he would be…"
Leonard (no, he was Bones; he had always been Bones; could never be anyone else again) ignored the teary strain his voice had taken on, fighting to remain silent so Jim could get through this. He knew if he said anything the spell would be broken. Jim would clam up and he was so close to letting this all out. He was so close to finishing that first big leap.
Despite those thoughts, he nearly broke his promise when Jim's voice cracked.
"I was seventeen and Dennis had taken me to his family's house for Christmas. They were nice people regardless of how freaky their son was. His mother gave me eggnog and his father taught me how to drive his motorcycle. I guess the eggnog was real, or that when I wasn't paying attention, Dennis slipped something into one of my glasses. But when I woke up…we were in this barn of some sort that was way removed from civilization."
"Where did you take me this time, you sick fuck?"
"I have no idea how he got me in there. He wasn't that strong and I wasn't that light. He was undoing my jeans and my shirt was off. God, I was so out of it." Jim swallowed repeatedly, as if controlling the urge to throw up, which would surprise Bones at all. "He was…going down on me…and I just kept saying, 'no' over and over again until I finally gathered enough strength to grab the lantern he had brought with him and I just…I smashed it over his head until I was sure he was unconscious."
He was holding onto Bones tightly now, trying to regulate his breathing. The older man thought that perhaps the story was over and he hugged Jim to him tightly, trying to reassure Jim that he was there and that Dennis couldn't get him again. He was safe.
He wasn't safe though. In his own mind, Jim was still running from him, would probably always run from him, because…
"He still found me. It was like he had planted a tracking device under my skin. I couldn't stay anywhere for long because it was like he could read my thoughts. He knew where I would go. I went back to my mom's house, I went to Frank's, I stayed in alleys, and ruddy motels…he always found me and it got to the point where I would move each night just to stay ahead of him."
"Have to be ready to go."
"It wasn't until I enlisted in Starfleet that he finally lost track of me. I guess he never expected me to do what I had always said I detested." Jim looked up at him, his blue eyes shining with so many emotions, so many regrets, fears, hopes, and letdowns, trust. "I guess he never really let go of me, though."
A wry smile curled on his lips and that made Leonard's heart break. Jim had a talent to make every smile look like he meant it. There was a forced glow in his eyes that made all of them seem too real... until Bones was this close. That smile that seemed so beautiful was like the Golden Gate Bridge. It was bright and lush from a distance, but up close it was rusty and it took a lot of care and maintenance to keep it going.
He could help with that. He may not be an architect, but Jim wasn't really a bridge. Jim was a man, and Bones was his doctor. Fixing Jim was what he did best.
"He'll never hurt you again, Jim. No one would ever let anyone hurt you again," he said firmly as he brought his hand up to cart through Jim's short hair. "Everyone here loves you too much to let that happen."
It was true. You had to love the man who saved you, even if you didn't always like him.
Jim was quiet for a few moments before he said with just a little hope leaking into his voice like it had all those months ago, "Even you?" He picked his head up to look into Bones' eyes, waiting for his answer.
"Even me," he responded with a nod.
It would be months before the nightmare lost their sway on Jim, months before he actually started sleeping under the blankets and out of his uniform, months before either of them got more than four hours of sleep a night, but they would weather the wait together. For now, Jim pushed up to kiss him again, pressing his way passed Bones' (he would never be Leonard again) teeth and telling him without words that he trusted the doctor to keep his secrets, to keep his pain…
…to keep him safe.