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Story Notes:
June 26, 2009. Interlude set before Two Men & a Motorbike.
It’s been sort of nice to be one of the few students remaining on campus during the summer. Leonard likes the quiet more than the constant noise that crowds of cadets make. Next week, they all return as a new school year begins at the academy, so he only has a few more days to enjoy the fact that he can walk without groups of annoying people loitering in his way. After a school year of dealing with people, this has been a welcome reprieve.

Too bad it’s nearly over. Today was the last day of his summer rotation in xenobiology, and fall semester will be starting in another week. He’s actually looking forward to getting into psychology classes, especially if he can learn anything about phobias. If he wants to get his fear conquered, he’s going to have to figure out how all that mental stuff works exactly. Once he knows that, he can focus on working through the phobia so that it doesn't control him anymore.

When he enters his dorm room, his plans of getting some reading done tonight seem to be in jeopardy. Jim is lying on his bed staring at the ceiling and his shoes-- “Damn it, Jim. Get your boots off my blanket,” he mutters. “And how many times do I have to tell you not to break into my room?”

“Bones! You’re finally home.” Jim sits up and grins, not even complaining about having to get his feet off the bed. That’s enough to make Leonard immediately suspicious. “Besides, it’s not breaking in when you gave me the code. That makes it like an open invitation.”

“I’m not going to the bar tonight,” he says firmly, ignoring Jim’s logic about the code because it might be accurate, in a twisted way, and he doesn’t want to give Jim the satisfaction of admitting that. “I just pulled a twelve hour shift, and I’m not in the mood for that shit.”

Jim’s smile dims slightly before he shrugs. “Alright. We don’t have to go to the bar. But I’m not letting you lie around all night doing something boring. Go change. We’re going out.”

“Try listening, kid.” He rolls his eyes. “I don’t want to go out tonight.”

“Not to a bar. Somewhere else,” Jim says, shaking his head. “I can hear, asshole. No bars. You didn’t say anything about anywhere else, though.”

“I’ll amend my earlier statement then. No bars or anywhere else. Happy now?” He arches a brow and puts his PADD on the table before he takes off his lab coat.

“I’ll be happy when you quit putting up your normal protest and just give in,” Jim tells him. When Leonard looks at him, Jim just smiles his ‘why, yes, I am a perfect angel’ smile that’s so inaccurate it’s disgusting.

“I’m serious this time. I don’t have any interest in going out. I’m a doctor, not a damn socialite,” he mutters. He gets a bottle of water and falls into his favorite chair. Favorite because he’s only got two and the other one is uncomfortable as hell.

“Bones,” Jim whines. When Leonard just arches a brow, he purses his lips then tries something else. It’s almost too easy to read the kid sometimes, or maybe Leonard’s just mastered the subject of James T. Kirk over the last year. “I can’t believe you forgot what today is. I’m going to be offended and hurt and shit if you don’t make it up to me by coming with me.”

“It’s Friday,” Leonard says before he takes a drink of his water.

“It’s our anniversary,” Jim announces matter-of-factly. The water goes down the wrong way, and Leonard starts to choke, gasping as he glares at Jim because it’s his fault.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Leonard demands as he studies Jim for any sign that he’s figured out Leonard is having sex dreams about him. It’s just like him to make it into some joke or pull a prank.

Jim smiles and tilts his head slightly. “It’s been a year since you puked on me. I figured we should celebrate. I’ve never had a best friend before, so it seems kinda important to commemorate.”

Has it really been a year? Leonard frowns and considers it, placing the date and realizing Jim’s right. The damn kid’s sentimental. Go figure. And he looks all eager and expectant that Leonard can’t refuse. “I’m not puking on you again,” he grumbles, not wanting to give in too easily even if he’s flattered, in a way, that Jim thinks their friendship is something worth celebrating. He just needs to stop calling it an anniversary because that makes Leonard think of Jocelyn and marriage.

“Good. Once is enough to last a lifetime,” Jim says. “Having to arrive here with puke on my jeans really wasn’t the best first impression, especially when I only had the clothes I was wearing.”

“I did warn you,” he reminds him as he stands up and walks over to the closet. He unfastens his uniform shirt and shrugs it off before he pulls his undershirt over his head. “I’m not going to any bars.” He knows Jim well enough to make sure he says that several times because then it might finally be heard. If he’s lucky. He glances over at Jim, who is staring at the ceiling. Weird kid.

“No bars. Promise,” Jim says, clearing his throat before he looks at Bones. “We can go to the beach, then you can just go like that. Might even get propositioned.” He waggles his eyebrows and leers.

“No thanks. I’ll let you deal with the casual sex.” He frowns and pulls a pair of black pants and a dark green shirt out of his closet. He has no idea what Jim wants to do, but he figures they’ll end up at a bar despite his warning.

“You don’t know what you’re missing, Bones. Sex is great. A partner is a lot more fun than your hand.” Jim stops praising the merits of one night stands, and Leonard looks over his shoulder as he steps out of his uniform pants. The kid’s staring at the ceiling again, which makes Leonard tilt his head so he can see if there’s a leak or something of interest up there.

“My hand doesn’t require small talk or dealing with all the games that are involved in that dating nonsense,” he says after determining that there’s chips of paint missing on the ceiling. He’ll have to let maintenance know so he doesn’t get in trouble for it.

Jim snorts. “Don’t think you’d have to worry about games,” he mutters. “There are women who’d stand in line if you’d give them a chance.”

Leonard laughs as he pulls his pants on and zips them. “Yeah, I’m such a catch,” he says dryly. “Old, bitter, cynical. I can see why they’d want me. Nah, kid, you’re the type they want. Which is fortunate, since I’m a monogamous man. My hand might get jealous if I step out on it.”

“I think all the studying you do is messing up your brain,” Jim muses. “Or maybe you’re just crazy.”

“I’m best friends with you. I think that’s a good enough case for the latter option that it doesn’t need further analysis.” He pulls his shirt on and goes into the bathroom, putting on some deodorant before he begins to button it. When he steps back into the room, Jim’s up and pacing. All restless energy and long limbs. Leonard stops his thoughts right there, before he lowers his gaze to stare at the firm ass he still can’t forget seeing a couple of months ago.

Jim stops and looks at him. “You look good in green, old man.”

Leonard rolls his eyes, an action that he’s done more in the last year than he’s done in the twenty-seven years prior to meeting Jim. “No bars,” he says one more time, just so he knows he’s tried to get it into that stubborn skull. He sits down to put his shoes on, and Jim starts pacing again. Damn kid can’t seem to sit still for long.

“I get it, Bones,” Jim says in an exasperated tone. “We’re not going to a bar. I’m taking you somewhere else. Somewhere I’ve never taken anyone else, so you should feel special.”

“Oh, I do.” He stands up and smiles slightly when he sees that Jim is smiling. Probably going to be smug all night because he got his way again. Leonard doesn’t fool himself into thinking that Jim is happy because they’re hanging out tonight, but he’s developed this annoying habit of liking to make Jim smile. “Alright, I’m ready. Let’s go celebrate and shit.”

“We’ll take Jess, and we can pick up a bottle of that bourbon you love on the way,” Jim tells him, almost bouncing as they leave the room and walk through the dorm. “This is one of my favorite spots in all of San Francisco, high up on a cliff overlooking the Bay.”

“Huh.” Leonard can’t believe that Jim sounds excited about going to sit somewhere and drink without women to try to pick up or people to fight. “Sounds fun.” And it does sound fun, just kicking back somewhere private with Jim and some bourbon.

“Well, we can’t have our anniversary not be fun,” Jim informs him. “What kind of best friend would I be if we had a horrible night of it?”

“The normal kind who don’t remember first meetings, much less insist on celebrating them,” Leonard points out as they reach Jim’s bike.

Jim stops and slowly smiles. “Bones, haven’t you figured out during the last year that I’m not normal? It’s one of the reasons that you like having me around, you know? Well, that and because I make you get out and remind you that you’re not as old as you feel.”

“Who said that I like having you around?” he asks before he straddles the bike. “Maybe I just put up with you out of penance for throwing up on you last year.”

“I say,” Jim says simply before he gets on the bike. “Hold on tight.” It’s the only warning Leonard gets before they roar out of the lot. When he curses and warns him to slow down, Jim laughs and goes faster. As they leave campus, Leonard tilts his head towards the sky and smiles as he listens to Jim’s laughter and feels the wind in his hair. Maybe anniversary can mean something good, after all.