A/N: Okay, so...I'm incapable of 100-word drabbles. I'm too wordy. My images get way too complicated in my brain, and it's difficult to describe what I see...so you get more. Or less. Or something.
Inspired by an actual RPF piece written by blcwriter that I shied away from (I just...have a hard time with those and prefer gen-het pairings) - but I highly recommend checking out her fantastic work! Then, a fellow reader, understanding my hang-ups, did a simple find/replace name exchange and turned the original RPF into an ST-verse piece for my own personal perusal, which then gave me this little sugar-coated 'after the migraine' drabble (of sorts). This is an odd tense for me to write in, constructive criticism is welcome; I'm rusty and this hasn't been beta'd! But, you might have to visit the dentist afterward.
Premise: Enterprise has docked following the Narada engagement, the crew has been beamed to Earth for a litany of painful and exhausting debriefings (or reprimands), and Jim's physical/mental depletion has ended up resulting in one helluva migraine. Thankfully, he's got a best buddy doctor who knows just how to handle it and take care of his friend...and a surprising few others who just might, as well.
Sometime later, Leonard becomes aware once more. Taking a deep breath, his eyes peel open and he instantly realizes that the room is nearly dark with dusk settling outside. He blinks slowly, swallows, and allows the last vestiges of a surprisingly deep sleep dissipate before he fully remembers where he is and the unrelenting gravity of the past days settles in the back of his mind. Slow, even breaths register in his ear and he glances down. Jim is still out cold, and doesn't make a peep as Leonard painstakingly extricates himself from the bed and stretches. He reaches down to pull the blanket up around Jim's shoulders and silently sets to tidying up the room - gathering up the reds hastily discarded (in lieu of comfortable civilian wear) between Jim's bouts of migraine-induced heaving, their boots by the door, clothes in the laundry, unpacking the case he'd boarded Enterprise with a week ago. He's not really tired after a nearly five-hour nap, but he knows Jim has not had a bit of downtime since the ship docked and the crew was beamed down for the onslaught of debriefings.
He's waiting for a small pot of honest-to-goodness, non-replicated coffee to finish brewing (there are times that blowing credits on realcoffee beans to keep around is worth it) when from across the room a muffled sigh reaches his ears. Jim is shifting, slowly, and with a lot of effort.
"Bones…?" he mumbles uncertainly, barely above a whisper, keeping his eyes shut.
Leonard crosses the room, setting down a mug and the backlit PADD he'd been using to see with on a side table in the tiny sitting area. "I'm right here, Jim," he calls softly.
"'Kay." Jim drags in a slow, deep breath, but his voice is barely audible. "Izzat c'fee?"
"Yeah…shit, I'm sorry…is the smell bothering you?"
Jim lies quietly for a long moment, then shakes his head slightly, his eyes still closed. "No," he finally murmurs.
"You want any?" Leonard offers tentatively, fussing needlessly with the blanket draped over his roommate.
The dark- blonde brow furrows a bit. "Mmm….mm-mm," comes the negative response, and Leonard can tell Jim is already sinking back into sleep, the brief conversation draining him.
Leonard pads back over to the couch, calling up a dim light from the lamp next to him. He's halfway into a second bookmarked journal article - he isn't about to let the quacks at 'Fleet Medical flub up the work he's done on Pike's nerve regeneration - pausing to roll his neck and consider a refill of his mug when the door comm chimes softly. Leonard raises his head and frowns at the offending door, unfolding his body from the couch and glancing over at Jim's quiet form. After a bit of hesitation, he finally keys the door open and blinks in surprise to find Uhura and Chekov standing uncertainly on the other side.
"Hi," Nyota whispers, respectfully taking the cue of the suite's down-played lighting. She smiles almost shyly, while beside her, Chekov does the same. It's then that Leonard realizes they're each holding a brown paper bag - Good Godthat's not replicated food in there - and simultaneously the overwhelmingly delicious smell emanating from them forces his stomach to betray him with a hearty growl. He has the good graces to redden a bit.
Nyota just nods, holding her bag out to him knowingly. "We thought you might like some dinner, even though you couldn't join us. How's he doing?"
"He's doin' better, now," Leonard responds in a quiet drawl, stepping aside to usher them across the threshold and key the door closed, effectively silencing the noise as a talkative group of cadets enters the hallway. And damn if he doesn't have to catch himself, as he turns around and notices, with a strong tug of endearment, the same thing Nyota seems to have noticed, her mouth drawn in a silent "oh" of bewilderment. Jim is still dozing, nestled comfortably into the pillow with one arm tucked beneath it and the other dangling limply over the edge of the bed.
Leonard chuckles, the ease in which it slips out seeming to startle the pair. He shakes his head slightly and crosses his arms over his chest, offering, "Perhaps I should be charging admission? 'A Side of Jim Kirk You Never Knew Existed'…"
Uhura shakes her head. "I've seen a few of those lately," she admits reluctantly, once again taking the bags of food and setting them on the kitchenette counter. She frowns suddenly. "Do you think he'll want any of this?"
Leonard's eyebrows arch and he shrugs noncommittally. "Let's see how the smell hits him. I'll ask…"
Hinging at the waist, he tugs his pants upwards to settle more comfortable at the edge of the bed, reaching out to brush his knuckles against the slumbering man's temple in a surprisingly tender gesture. "Jim…"
There's an almost indiscernible grunt in response.
"Jim?" he tries again, opting to reach back and gently rub the younger man's back, earning a sleepy sigh and a mumbled "Mmm?" in reply.
"We've got company…Nyota and Pavel brought some dinner…think you can handle some?"
Nyota actually rolls her eyes as the use of her first name garners enough energy for Jim to blink his eyes open, but the sheer exhaustion she witnesses in them effectively admonishes her reaction. She feels an unexpected pang of sympathy. Leonard has no issues rolling his eyes, however, and offers her a wry shake of his head.
Young Chekov is frowning, peering around Uhura. "Ze Keptin…er, Mr. Kirk," he amends sheepishly, nodding towards the bed. "He does not look so good…"
Leonard follows the kid's gaze back down, taking in Jim's glassy, half-lidded stare. He is still rather pale, dark rings bruising the skin beneath his eyes, and he's so groggy and lethargic at the moment - truly an uncharacteristic sight - that Leonard can see what he means. Nonetheless, he smiles reassuringly at the genuine concern radiating off the teenager. "I had to dose him pretty heavily, so he's still pretty out of it. Hit him awfully hard, considering…" Considering the hell he's been through, is what he doesn't say. They've all lived a piece of it, anyway. Stubborn, impetuous, self-sacrificing Jim Kirk just took longer to crash. "Not to worry, Pavel. He'll be all right."
As it turns out, Jim would eventually manage to sit up for a bit and nurse a cup of warm soup while Leonard tucked into a generously portioned sandwich (all from a little dive Scotty had all but begged - on his knees, no less - to visit since it served "real food" - a recounting that would make Jim chuckle softly, but carefully, from the bed) and the likes of which both men would sing praises for when they were finished. And when Scotty and Sulu would show up shortly after, bearing another small bag of freshly ground beans, they'd think nothing of making more room. It's Spock's appearance around 21:00 that baffles everyone - especially Jim - particularly when the Vulcan dares to allow a hint of concern flash across his stoic features when Jim is still too worn out to leave the bed.
Leonard frowns, realizing just how cramped their suite has become. Despite the impressive hush that has prevailed throughout the conversation, he's suddenly worried about how it is affecting Jim.
One look at the kid says he needn't have worried; he's relaxed - more so than Leonard's seen him in ages - against the pillows, eyes closed, comfortably hovering between wakefulness and sleep as he listens to the quiet whispers around him. The corners of his mouth are turned ever-so-slightly upwards in a contented expression…and as Leonard returns his attention to catch the end of another one of Scotty's stories, resulting in a quiet laugh from everyone (well, perhaps an amused eyebrow from Spock), he realizes where that expression is coming from. He settles back into the cushions and ignores his subconscious' warnings against consuming a third cup of coffee because, in spite of himself, he realizes that he is enjoying this...this unlikely communion feels kind of...nice. Feels right. Feels like…coming home.