Leonard isn't the least bit surprised to note that Jim's in a foul mood that morning. It was his birthday, after all. The one day of the year that's guaranteed to find Jim Kirk in the foulest of moods, hiding away from the rest of the world. You're guaranteed to get his answering machine if you comm him, and you're going to get no response if you knock on his door. And if you do manage to coax Jim out of hiding? You're going to end up with a very surly, solemn man, who barely speaks and stares off into space.
So when Leonard overrides the code to their quarters, he isn't surprised to find Jim curled up on the couch, wearing Leonard's worn sweatshirt from his days in medical school, and a pair of his old sweatpants. He's sunk low into the couch, arms crossed over his chest, and he's staring off into space. He looks as though he's been crying, and that breaks Leonard's heart a little.
Wordlessly, he sits down next to Jim on the couch, and gently nudges him. Jim's head lolls to the side, and he glares at Leonard.
"How're you holding up?" he asks, already knowing the answer to that question. Jim simply continued to glare at Leonard.
"Anyone come by to bother you?"
"No," Jim mumbled, turning to stare back at the wall.
"That's a nice change."
Sighing, Leonard rubbed his face. He never knew just how to handle this day with Jim. The past three years, they'd just gotten drunk and reminisced, and Leonard had made Jim laugh with stories about his failed attempts to win Jocelyn over in college. He'd shared stories about Joanna with him, and Jim had smiled and almost forgotten about what the day actually was.
But now? Now they were CMO and Captain of the starship Enterprise, and had been in a relationship for a little over a year now. Somehow, getting trashed on his birthday just didn't feel right anymore.
The two sat in silence for several more moments, Leonard contemplating what to do, and Jim staring off into space. Finally, Leonard reached an arm out and slipped it around Jim's shoulders. He gently tugged the blonde towards him, pleased when Jim didn't resist; however, he didn't budge from his position, arms still folded across his chest and staring off into space. Leonard reached around with his other arm and slowly turned Jim's head towards him. Jim stared up at Leonard, eyes still set in a glare. The glare softened slightly when Leonard smiled at him.
"Happy birthday, darlin'." Before he could snarl or do more than scowl at his boyfriend, Leonard closed the distance between them and kissed Jim gently, slowly, until he felt the blonde begin to relax. He uncrossed his arms, and slipped one around Leonard's waist and the other around his neck.
When they broke apart, Leonard smiled warmly at Jim.
"This is your day, Jim. It's all about you. So, what would you like to do?"
Jim pondered that one for a moment, the hand resting on the back of Leonard's neck idly stroking the hair there, staring off into space again.
"Honestly? I'd be perfectly content to just stay here with you all day," he replied, turning his gaze back on the doctor. Leonard felt his entire body flood with warmth at that, a slow smile working its way across his face.
"All right. We can do that."
"Thank you." Jim sighed, resting his forehead against Leonard's. "I really don't feel like going out and having to deal with all of their sympathetic stares and sad eyes, or with all the people looking at me and only seeing my dad, the hero."
Leonard's felt a twinge of guilt, knowing full well how people would react to seeing Jim when they were planetside. While Leonard was sure their crew would know better than to stare or comment on the day, he wasn't going to push the issue.
"What are we going to do in here, then?"
"I don't know. Just…talk to me. Something. Keep my mind off of…everything else."
"All right." They lapsed into silence for several more minutes, Leonard searching for something to talk about. Jim had re-situated himself so that his head was resting on Leonard's shoulder and one hand was covering the doctor's. Leonard turned his hand over so their palms were touching, and laced their fingers together. He gently squeezed Jim's hand.
"Joanna called today." Leonard finally broke the silence, thumb stroking over Jim's hand.
"Yeah. She wanted to wish her Uncle Jim a happy birthday. I told her to call again tomorrow, because you were busy celebrating today."
Leonard felt Jim's smile, rather than saw it.
"Thanks. I don't ever want her to have to see me…" Jim trailed off.
"I know." He pressed a kiss to the top of Jim's head, his free hand stroking his back.
"She's got a play this weekend. She's only a minor part, but she's so excited."
"Yeah. She made her momma promise to send me a copy of the video she's going to make for it. Even Jocelyn can't resist the infamous Joanna pout. Which, by the way, she perfected thanks you, you little shit." Leonard punctuated his last sentence with a light swat to the back of Jim's head. Jim simply laughed and snuggled deeper into Leonard's lap.
"Sorry, Bones. Couldn't help myself." He yawned, and Leonard felt his heart break again, just a little; there was no telling how little sleep Jim had actually gotten the night before, as Leonard had had to work an overnight shift thanks to an outbreak of the flu onboard the Enterprise. He'd come back to their quarters to find Jim sitting at the computer, typing away and doing research like a madman. After a grunted greeting, Leonard had left him alone and staggered into bed. When he'd awoken in time for his next shift, Jim had been gone.
"'S all right. I suppose there's worse habits of yours that she could have picked up on."
Leonard smiled at the murmur, looking down to find Jim's breathing had evened out, and his body was lax against the doctor's. Settling back in the couch, Leonard squeezed Jim's hand again and let his head fall back onto the back of the couch. This was by far the smoothest birthday they had celebrated together, with no tears or fights to speak of, and no need for alcohol to numb Jim's pain and Leonard's heartache at being unable to help. Jim was finally relaxed enough to allow himself to sleep, and Leonard wasn't going to bother waking him up. No, he was content to stay on the couch and follow Jim into sleep, a small smile on his face.
There was always tomorrow for a more proper celebration, after all.