Bones’ laugh is an amused snort. “Nope.”

“Half a day?”

Jim’s in bed, comforter wrapped around his middle, head propped up by a mountain of pillows. 


Bones is tugging on his jeans–he’ll change into scrubs at the hospital or a suit if he feels like going to any of the meetings that stretch ahead. He prefers patients over the bereaucratic medical boards any day.

The sun isn’t even up yet—something JIm nor Bones could care less about having learned to judge time other ways— but their kids work by that measure. Their bodies running on a sun cylce, up as the firsts rays hit their windows, sleepy and droopy eyed when the moon peaks. 

It’s Jim’s day with the kids–well, Jim’s day with Mads. Jo and George will be in school for most of the day and he’s…apprehensive?

What kind of asshole is apprehensive to spend time with his kids?

The kind of asshole who hasn’t spent real time, actual quality time with them, in months. 

He could make excuses–diplomatic conference, surprise Klingon attack, scary coma thing–but none of them change the fact that he’s probably on track for worst father of the year award. 

Bones had the last three weeks off while Jim “recovered” and probably would have took today too if Jim hadn’t voiced his concerns when he was sure they would be swallowed by the dark. He never meant for Bones to hear them. Or for him to not say anything to disagree, just declare that he would be going to work tomorrow and Jim had the day with the kids. Bastard. 

How could he know that Jim’s hands still felt like they were fighting off the Klingon ship, that he still felt every shock from his Phaser, every thud as the bodies collapsed around him. How could he know that Jim was afraid–his hands started to shake–at the idea of holding his three-year-old with the same killer hands. Babies were perceptive. Would Maddy know what her father had done? Three weeks ago, three months ago, years ago. 

Bones leans forward to kiss Jim on the forehead, hand firm at the base of his neck. Jim’s sorry for worrying him. Always so sorry. He wish he knew how to stop. 

“DADDY!” A collection of stomps as Maddy runs from her room on the other end of the hallway. The door, always halfway open, swings with a bang against the hinge. “Mornin’”

She’s sheepish at the doorway, one hand holding her swinging Teddy, the other a gold sparkly crown someone–probably at daycare–gave her. 

Beyond her, in the dim light of the hallway, he sees Jo usher Georgie into the bathroom for his morning ritual. She waves, her morning ponytail flopping as she shuffles with her younger brother. She’s not a morning person. 

Jim’s out of bed to scoop his youngest up, up and onto his shoulders while she makes raspberries, flinging both crown and Teddy into the air. “Papa! Work?” 

Bones makes a raspberry on her cheek, a little spittle finds it’s way on Jim’s own cheek. “Sorry, baby girl.”

“Thas otay.” She says. “Daddy play princesses?” Her voice is high and squeaky, too much of a question at the end of that sentence. Daddy got boo boo? She asked the same way, while climbing gingerly onto the bed three weeks ago.

Jim swings her down. “Of course, your highness.” He plays at an English accent. Bones raises an eyebrow–remember that for later?–and Maddy giggles. She tugs on his hand. 

“Princesses want pancakes, daddy!”

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