This was a Christmas gift for avictoriangirl, over on LJ

It's Always Back to You

Sighing, Bones scoops the chicken soup into two bowls. He doesn't even know what he's doing here. It's Christmas Eve, and he should be in Georgia, trying to scrape together as much time as he can with Joanna. But Jocelyn was in one of her moods, and refused to let Bones visit. On any other occasion he would be close, in case by some miracle she changes her mind tomorrow.

But he'd gotten a call this morning, from a severely bedraggled and obviously under the weather Jim. And just one word, and before Bones even realized what he was doing he'd inoculated himself against everything including the common cold, and hopped on the next shuttle to Iowa.

His shoulders fall as he thinks about his actions, actually thinks about them. No matter what his feelings for the blue-eyed man, they're not returned beyond friendship. But even though Bones knows this, he'll still drop everything, do anything in his power to make Jim happy. Like make him homemade chicken noodle soup.

Glancing up and through the entryway, his eyes find to the huddled form on the couch. A lopsided smile appears on his face, as he watches Jim in his cocoon of blankets. It's essentially the same position the blonde was in when Bones arrived this morning – hunched over, and radiating disgruntlement.

Finished with the soup, Bones lifts both the bowls and makes his way back into the living room. He sets his on the coffee table as he sits down gently on the couch, careful not to disturb the pair of eyes watching him over a tightly-wrapped blanket.

"Here, kid," he murmurs, holding out the bowl. "You should eat something."

"Don' wanna," comes a muffled complaint, buried beneath several layers of cloth. The eyes frown at him – but Bones ignores the expression, just grateful the feverish glow is starting to leave those blue eyes.

Putting the soup down for a moment, he rests his fingers against Jim's forehead. The blonde closes his eyes and Bones can hear what almost sounds like a sigh coming up through the pile of blankets. He smiles because it's safe, and lets his fingers linger momentarily against skin that's still too warm to the touch.

"But I made it…," he says, cajoling. Those bright blue eyes open and he's witness to a wistful, hopeful expression. Hiding his smile, he lifts the bowl closer to the nose that's buried under several inches of insulting warmth.

And he watches as Jim unwinds the blankets from the inside, somehow, and a hand pokes out. But then a startled expression lights those blue eyes, and the hand darts back inside. "Cold," he cries accusingly, and gives Bones a glare.

He sets the bowl down, considering, as the blue eyes stare at him. Somehow, Jim has even managed to make a headwrap with the blankets, and he's completely covered except for those eyes. "So cold," he mumbles again, and it comes out more a whine than accusing this time.

Bones' eyes alight on the fire that's cheerfully burning in the fireplace, and then back at the pile of blankets surrounding Jim. The fever might have broken, but it's still affecting the blonde. Only one moment of hesitation, and then Bones is peeling the blankets back.

A squeak of surprised terror from Jim, that is cut off as Bones pulls him close against his side. Silence as Bones busies himself with rearranging the blankets around them both. A head against his shoulder, burrowing close, causes Bones' heart to constrict and clog his throat.

"I'm sorry I called you out here," Jim says, out of nowhere and it's Bones' turn to be surprised.

"Don't be," he says, consoling, as he runs his fingers through Jim's fever-damp hair.

The voice that comes out is muffled, but this time against Bones' skin instead of the fabric. "But you should be with Jo, or your family, right now. Not me."

He can't tell Jim the truth – which is that he'd rather be here, in this moment, with Jim warm and solid against his side, than anywhere else in the universe.

"Don't be silly, Jim," he says instead, "I'm a grown man, and I only go where I want to be."

There's a bright blue eye peaking out at him from the safety of his shoulder. "Then why are you here?" Jim asks, confusion clear. "I'm grumpy, can't do anything fun and all I do right now is ooze snot."

Smiling despite himself, Bones brushes the damp hair off Jim's forehead and presses a tender kiss there. "I'll always be where you are." He means it as friends, always as friends, but somehow he can feel something more slip in. The blood stops in his veins, as he watches Jim's eyes widen. A shuffling beside him, and his heart falls as he feels Jim start to pull away. This is it, it's over and done with and the best friend he's ever had will never want to see him again.

But instead of leaning away from him, suddenly Jim is leaning toward him, and there's a nose bumping into his as soft, slightly chapped, lips brush against his. Tilting automatically to the side so their lips line up, Bones returns the kiss with enthusiasm, and just a hint of tongue.

After not nearly long enough, Jim has to stop as a racking cough hijacks his lungs. As soon as the last spasm ends, Jim burrows close again – but this time, his arms are wrapped tightly around Bones' waist, and he's half in his lap. Not that Bones would ever, ever complain about that abrupt turn of events.

"'M glad," he hears Jim say, as the blonde head rests against his chest.

With Jim's head down, it's safe for Bones to smile – which he does, so huge his cheeks hurt. And it doesn't want to stop. So instead of replying he just sits for a while, holding Jim close as he watches the fire burn merrily. He can feel the chest pressed against his moving as Jim's breathing slowly evens out and he falls into another nap.

And Bones is glad, too. It looks like this Christmas is going to turn out to be one worth remembering.