Day 11

Title: Day 11
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Kirk/Bones
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Bones is sneezing. Things get rocky.
Notes: Written during my 13 Ficlets in 13 Days in 2016 project for undersupply

The boisterous bar wouldn’t have been James T. Kirk’s first choice for an evening with Bones. There was a smell in the air that made Jim a little sick, and there was too much action taking place—women dancing on bars, people winning and losing bets at the game tables, patrons who’d had too much to drink shooting their mouths off. And, sure, this would have been just his kind of place years ago. And it wasn’t as though the wildness in him was smothered just because he was in Starfleet Academy now. It was… well, he wasn’t exactly sure what it was. But ever since he and Bones had been together, he hadn’t wanted anything or anyone else.

So Jim did whatever made Bones happy. And tonight that meant going out to the bar for drinks. Jim’s tasted terrible, but ordering something else would only make their time here last longer. It felt like they’d already been here for hours, even though Jim was sure it hadn’t even been fifteen minutes.

The problem was that Bones wasn’t talking tonight. Jim hated silence between them. Normally, Bones rambled on and on about any given subject, especially when he got a little alcohol in him. But tonight he was tightlipped and full of concentration.

“Something on your mind?”

Jim asked.

Bones just shook his head, staring down at his drink.

A sick feeling settled in Jim’s stomach. Did this mean this thing they had together was over and Bones just couldn’t bring himself to say? Did it mean something worse, that Bones had done something?

h’IHKttjjshhhhh!” Bones sneezed suddenly into the crook of his arm, practically bouncing on his barstool.

“Bless you,” Jim offered, glad to finally have something else to say to Bones.

“Thanks,” he replied tersely, but that was that. No further conversation. Nothing. Just a rub at his nose, a soft sniff, and a return to the beer he’d been nursing.

Jim sighed, but Bones probably hadn’t been able to hear it, not in this noisy place. The music itself was so loud Jim could feel the baseline pounding in his chest. Or was that his heart pounding with panic?

hah-Kifffshhhhhh!” Bones sneezed again, taking them both by surprise.

And the feeling of panic in Jim switched to worry. “Is this an allergy or did you catch something?”

“Neither. I’m fine.”

He didn’t look fine, not with all the sniffing and wiggling his nose that he was doing. “If you’re fine, why are you sneezing so much?”

“It’s…” he began, and then he stopped as though he had run out of words. Jim worried that he would not continue. “You’ll think it’s stupid.”

“Well then, tell me and give me a chance to think it’s stupid.”

Bones smiled at this, and Jim thought that was a good sign. He leaned over on his stool, bumping arms with Bones in a gentle nudge. With a deep breath, Bones explained. “We were studying infectious diseases today, and I… well… sometimes that stuff makes my skin crawl, you know? Makes me feel like I’ve got whatever the hell we’re talking about.”

Jim laughed, despite himself.

“Aw, thanks!”

“No,” Jim said, still laughing as he shook his head. “It’s just that you’re a Starfleet cadet who hates space and a doctor who is a hypochondriac.”

“I’m not a….” He trailed off, rubbing at his nose. “All right, maybe I am a little.”

“You always think the worst.”

“Yeah, and I’m usually right!” He took a sip of his drink to punctuate the sentence and made a face. “Just like this beer. I knew it would be terrible, and it is.”

Jim laughed again and pushed his glass away. “Oh, mine is too. How about we get out of here and find somewhere quieter?”

Immediately, Bones slid off his stool. “Thought you’d never ask.”


Jim woke to the sound of quiet coughing, but he was certain it was the shaking of the bed that had really woken him. He pried his eyes open to see Bones sitting on the edge of his bed, hunched over, fist pressed to mouth. His body shook hard with every cough. And, as they got worse and worse, he launched himself forward and walked over to the sink in his room. He ran his hand under the faucet to activate it then shoveled cupped handfuls of water into his mouth until the coughing subsided. He splashed some water on his face and dried it with a towel before heading back to bed.

He froze after a few steps, noticing Jim awake, sitting up, and watching him. “Tryin’ to scare me?” Bones asked, patting his chest and continuing to the bed.

“I could say the same. What’s wrong?” Bones sat back down on the edge of the bed instead of climbing back in under the covers. He kept his back to Jim, who reached out and stroked it. “What, were you dreaming about coughing, so you woke up doing it?”

Bones shook his head. “No, I… I… huh-IHTChhshhhhhhhhhh!” He pitched forward, shaking the bed again. He sniffed as he sat up, rubbing his palm at his nose. “I think you’d better go, Jim.”

“What? Hey, no…” He rubbed again at Bones’ back, but Bones pulled away. He stood back up and crossed his arms over his chest, hugging himself. He spotted Jim’s pants on the floor and kicked them closer to the bed for him. “Bones, this is… it’s the middle of the night. Get back in bed.”

“Just go,” Bones croaked. He rubbed more at his nose. “Please.”

Jim gave him a moment to reconsider. But when he didn’t, Jim felt nothing but anger. “Fine.” He threw back the covers and got out of bed to round up and put on his clothes. He was no stranger to climbing out of a lover’s bed and heading home in the middle of the night, but usually that was his choice. And Bones had never kicked him out before.


Professor Beah Armitage taught Survival Strategies at the academy. It wasn’t Jim’s favorite course, but usually class was more interesting than today. Today the professor had droned on and on about fight versus flight instincts. “To expand upon that point, flight can show itself in many different ways. Instead of running, some races hide or camouflage themselves. Though they might not be removing themselves from the situation’s proximity, it’s still a type of avoidance rather than confrontation.”

Jim had just about stopped taking notes, but he keyed the word “hiding” into his pad.

“But just because an individual might be a member of a race that can camouflage does not mean that is the action the individual will choose to take when in danger. It’s a personal instinct. Humans might not always react with fight, Vulcans might not always react with flight.”

Jim rolled his eyes. This was all so obvious. He didn’t even understand why he was in this class right now. He could be at home, catching up on sleep. He hadn’t been able to get much sleep once he’d gotten back to his room. He’d fought through confusion at being kicked out and worry about Bones, who was clearly sick with something.

The professor paced back and forth at the front of the class, going on and on and on. “But one must not mistake an individual’s actions for their instincts or choices. An individual might be outmatched and take a different strategy or physically unable to fight. The individual might even be injured or hurt and hiding is the only option. During this course, you will come to discover your own reactions, though you may have to fight against them in some cases in order to survive.”

Jim leaned back in his seat. He wasn’t thinking about hypotheticals any more. He wasn’t even thinking about the class. He was thinking of getting back to Bones as soon as possible.  

In fact, when class was over, he went straight to Bones’ room. A few knocks on the door didn’t make it open, so Jim resorted to yelling. “Bones! Open up!” He knocked again. “C’mon, open the door!”

“Hey!” A purple-skinned alien with large, dark eyes stuck his head out from a room down the hall. He squinted and blinked and yawned. “Keep it down. Some of us are nocturnal, you know!”

“Sorry!” Jim called back, waving. And as soon as the alien was back inside his room, Jim knocked again, louder than before. He kept on knocking until the door opened.

Bones stood there in a gray sweatshirt with a black Starfleet Academy logo on it and black workout pants. In one hand he clutched a bunch of tissues. “What’re you doing here?” he asked in a sleepy voice.

Jim invited himself in, shutting the door behind him. “I know what you were doing.”

Bones gestured toward the bed. “Yeah. I was trying to sleep.”

“Besides that, I mean. You were hiding from me because you’re not feeling well.”


“No, I understand. Your instincts told you to try to hide your weakness. I get it now.” He steered Bones over to the bed. Then he grabbed the top blanket off the bed and draped it over Bones’ shoulders. “But my instincts are to fight. So I’m not going to let you push me away again.”

Before Bones could answer, he buried his nose in his handful of tissues. “hah-Kahshhhhffffffff! H’KShhhuffffff!” Jim sat down on the bed and leaned over, bumping arms again, just like they had at the bar. “I sniff! I didn’t want you catching this from me and getting sick.”

“I appreciate that. But how about next time you tell me what’s going on and let me make my mind up for myself?”

Bones nodded, mouth dropping open and hand with the tissues going up. “hahh-KShuhhhfff!

“Bless you. Have you seen a doctor?”

Sniff! Every time I look in the mirror.”

“Very funny.”

He cleared his throat. “I got some medicine, yeah, but the only real cure for a cold is lots of rest.”

“Well then, we should get into bed right now.”

“But… buh… huhh… hahhh-KIHTchhffffffffff! Hah hah-h’Ktschhhffffff!” Jim moves closer, rubbing his hand up and down Bones’ back.

Bones pulled away, sniffling into the tissues. “Jib sniff sniff sniff! Jim, I really don’t want you catching this. It’s an awful cold. Hih… H’KGShhhffffff!

“It’s awful to kick your lover out of bed in the middle of the night. So I’m inviting myself back in.” Jim pulled back the covers, lay down on the usual side of the bed, and held an arm out in invitation. “Are you just going to sit there or are you going to let me cuddle you?”

Bones looked down at his bed, conflicting emotions at play. Finally, he lay down and immediately Jim wrapped his arms around the man. For a few moments, Bones was stiff, tense. Then he relaxed, leaning back into Jim. And when he coughed or sneezed or yawned, Jim hugged him tighter so he didn’t shake as much. There was silence between them again, but this time it didn’t bother Jim as it meant Bones was falling asleep.