Author's note: This was written in about 30 minutes, all while I was crying my eyes out over my dog having to be adopted by another family. I was in dire need of a hug, and well...this is what came of it. Hope you all enjoy. It's unbeta'd, so all mistakes are mine.
Tears rolled down his face, blue eyes shining and wet. Soft sobs wracked his body as he laid on the bed, clutching the pillow tightly to himself.
And it broke Bones' heart.
He'd walked into Jim's quarters, hoping to surprise the kid and maybe have a drink before bed.
Instead, this is what he'd found. Jim sobbing quietly to himself, crying over…something.
"Jim?" Bones asked tentatively, stepping a little further into the room. Jim's sobbing stopped, briefly, and Bones could see his body tense. Shit. Not the reaction he'd been hoping for.
"What?" Jim asked, glaring over at Bones, sitting up and roughly scrubbing his face with the back of his hand in a futile effort to get rid of the tears that were still falling.
"Jim, what the hell is going on?" Bones asked, setting the bottle of burbon he'd brought with him down on the counter.
"Bullshit. I've seen you cry twice in four years, kid. What's going on?" And it was true. Jim had stumbled into their shared dorm room, drunk, the same night that their history professor had decided to cover Tarsus IV. He hadn't sobbed like this, but he had cried, quietly and long, while Bones awkwardly held him and let him sniffle his way through the story of what had happened on that planet, with his family and Sam and all the children and people dying.
The second time had been his birthday that second year into the Academy. The first year, he and Jim had simply gotten drunk together and laughed at Bones' failed attempt to pick up Christine, the blonde nurse with the husky voice at the clinic that Jim was so fond of. The second time some asshole professor had decided it would be a great idea to make that day's lecture over the U.S.S Kelvin, and how heroically George Kirk had handled the situation. Bones had come back to the dorm to find Jim holed up in bed, staring at the floor. It wasn't until Bones had approached him that the tears had come, falling freely and quickly, and soft sobs had pulled themselves from Jim's lips.
"Fuck off, Bones. I'm fine."
"Like hell you are." Bones sat down on the bed, fixing Jim with his patented scowl.
"I'm not talking about it."
Jim glared back at Bones, blue eyes full of anger and…sorrow? Bones couldn't tell, and honestly didn't care all that much. His best friend was in pain, and if there was some way he could make it better, he was going to.
"Dammit, kid. Just come here." Reaching out, Bones wrapped an arm around Jim's shoulders and pulled him in close. Jim sat stiffly in Bones' lap before finally deciding to relax, and wrapped his arms tightly around the older man's waist. He buried his face in the blue shirt, and began crying once again. Bones scooted back until his back and shoulders were pressed against the wall behind the bed, and lightly stroked the blonde man's back, not saying a word. This was how they worked; Jim would lose it over something, and Bones would be there, wordlessly offering comfort. In the morning, there'd be a joke about Jim not being that kind of girl when he finds Bones still in his bed. They won't speak of it again, nor will there be any jokes about it. It'll be as if it never happened.
Except Bones can expect to find a small gift on his desk; a new flask, one of the latest hypos, a real Georgian peach-things Jim knows Bones will love. There'll be a small smile over breakfast or lunch, and that'll be that.
That's how their friendship has always worked.
But for now, Jim just needs him. So Bones lets him cry, stroking his back until Jim finally passes out.
"I'm sorry, Jim," he murmurs to the sleeping blonde. "I love you, kid." He presses a light kiss to the top of his head, before shifting to lie down, arms still wrapped tightly around the younger man, holding him close.
That's just how their friendship works.