Spock does not flirt. It is the principle of the matter, the poorly used humor, the pandering, the nonsensical teasing. Also, he does not know how. So he does not flirt but he does look, and sometimes - on occasion, and occasions are not often suitable or ideal or enough always - sometimes this looking leads to the eventual destination that flirting would have, but never does, arrive at. For him, at least. He is well acquainted with the successes of his myriad coworkers, the stacks of napkins in the back bearing numbers, and the power of Jim’s smile across the counter, offered with a steaming cup of coffee and more often than not an accompanying wink.
Spock has never - and likely will never - drive anyone to simper in the same way that Jim can and as he does not especially want to this is convenient and not frustrating with his limitations, his persistent inability to simply do in the way that others can so easily - but the man seated at the table by the window has glanced over at Spock twice in the time it has taken him to finish his coffee, and that is twice more than nothing.
Which is likely why Spock’s phone chooses that moment to ring.
“Is there an Apple recruiter at the counter?” Jim asks into Spock’s ear.
“I am busy.”
“Microsoft? Damn, Spock, I thought you had standards.”
“The morning rush will begin in approximately-“
“-Why else would you take more than one ring to answer?” Jim asks. Then, his voice drops. “Are you dying? You can tell me.”
“Is there a reason for your call?” Spock asks.
“No. Yes! When I get back, I need the evening off.”
This. Again. “I know,” Spock says. The man has returned to his phone and his furious tapping at it with one finger.
“Cause of Bones. Spock, you’ll love him,” Jim says. Spock has been informed of this, and of the impending visit of this ‘Bones’, and Jim’s excitement, and their storied friendship - we met on a plane, it was awesome in a so-not-awesome for him kind of way, Spock - and Spock knows this and all that Jim will spout into the tinny speaker of Spock’s iPhone, so he simply wedges it against his shoulder and returns to the pastry case before him, the dozen donuts that need sorting, the croissants, and blueberry muffins.
“So you’ll cover for me?” Jim asks and Spock pulls his eyes from the man by the window. Jim will return tomorrow. Spock could - but does not bother to - calculate the probability that this is not the last time that Jim will ask - again - to ensure his time with ‘Bones’.
“You are the manager,” Spock reminds him. “You are able to take time off at your own discretion. Such as now. Currently. As we speak.”
“I’m working,” Jim says. “Pike has me elbow deep is sales graphs, I’m not even kidding, it’s like-“
“-A weekend in Mojave?” Spock eyes the fog hanging thick outside the window. The man is scowling at his phone.
“A working retreat,” Jim says. “I’m giving a-“
“-Presentation,” Spock says and places three donuts on their tray. “That Nyota designed for you. I will - as I have told you - cover your shift tomorrow evening. Goodbye.”
He ends the call with a tap of his thumb before he has to listen to - again - Jim’s despair at representing Pike’s flagship café to a group of investors - boring as all hell, Jim had called it - as if the leadership thereof is not a responsibility he leapt at, quite nearly literally - the best of the best, Spock, can you believe it - and instead bends over the pastries again.
He looks up at the sound of footsteps only to wish he hadn’t as the cafe, while not large - cozy, their Yelp reviews often term it - is still spacious enough that Spock has interrupted his task before the man is within easy speaking distance and until then, Spock is unsure how, precisely, to fill the moments that tick past.
“Another?” Spock finally asks. He dislikes his own nervousness and dislikes even more the irritation that rises in him at the realization he is nervous to begin with. He clears his throat. It is a coffee order. Not even. A refill. Nothing more. He takes the proffered cup. “Mr-“
“McCoy,” the man offers and Spock nods, for that is what Sulu wrote on the cup, the Y a cheerful underline to the rest of the name. “Doctor.”
“Doctor,” Spock echoes. Unnecessarily, in all likelihood. “Regular?”
“Good God yes,” McCoy says. His accent is Southern. And… rather pleasing. “Decaf isn’t real coffee, it’s a damn cup of swill.”
Spock does not react. He does not allow himself to react, that is, even though a response forms all the same, a response that he swallows down during the time it takes him to pour coffee into the cup. When he turns back, McCoy is drumming his fingers on the counter. Up close, his eyes are red and Spock would rethink his own interest due to the stubbled jaw and the disarray of clothes but then he is presented with a broad back as McCoy returns to his table and the line of straight shoulders and yes, Spock thinks. It is not unappealing. He is not unappealing. When he is not speaking, at least.
And he has nice hands.
Spock resumes placing the donuts in the case. Beyond the glass - cleaned with windex and wiped down carefully, streak free and immaculate for the beginning of the day - McCoy - Doctor McCoy - settles with his coffee and phone again, and Spock begins on the muffins, unacceptably and inexorably distracted.
“Let me see,” Nyota says and Spock pockets his phone.
“Your paycheck,” he says but she dodges the proffered envelope - “Direct deposit, Spock” - and pats at his thigh. Anyone else - anyone else other than her or Jim that is, if Spock is to be specific and above all else Spock prefers specificity - and Spock would twitch away. He does not flirt and he does not touch, not so simply and not so casually, but Nyota touches him and Jim touches him and sometimes - often - he thinks he would like to allow himself the ease with his friends that they take with him. But he does not - cannot, he thinks sometimes - and his hands that find strangers’ sides, their hair, the skin beneath their clothes is not the same simplicity of contact that has Nyota batting at his wrist until he turns his phone over to her.
He does not bother to sigh. They both know this was the eventual destination of the moment she saw him bent over in Jim’s rather hazardous office that is in fact an area crammed with a desk at which Spock works and Jim does not, a couch upon which Jim does work, and an ice machine, all of which are rather unfortunately one and the same space, so the sigh is unnecessary.
“There are customers,” he says.
“There are not.” She taps in his passcode. Logical, when he gave it to her, speaking to her on Jim’s phone when his own was left behind and he needed access to an email. Illogical to have not since changed it.
“There are,” he says. An inane argument. There is one patron - unmoving, at his table next to the window, frowning at his own phone - but she has not looked at the front of the cafe and will not look, not when she has come to collect her tip money, her pay stub, and whatever information she deems fit to glean from Spock’s phone.
“He’s cute,” Nyota says, her thumb sliding over a series of pictures as she flicks through them and Spock jerks his attention from where he has peered into the front room. “I’m messaging this one.”
“Oooh, him too.”
“One more,” she says. Her lips purse. “Ok. Two more. Three. Ok, I’m done.”
She is actually done on the fifth and he decides to find fortune in that she did not access his previous messages - stilted, painful, forced on his end, even the simplicity of logistics escaping him, though translated over text bubbles how contrived the communication is hopefully - hopefully - is largely lost. And it must be, for otherwise Spock would not achieve the eventuality to which such effort leads - shirts shoved up, the arch of a neck - and he would not bother.
But he does.
Which Nyota knows, rather unfortunately.
“I liked that one,” she says and tucks her paycheck into her purse and her hair behind her ear.
“There are customers,” Spock says again.
“Number four,” she calls and pushes backwards out the door, the one that leads to the alley and the bus stop and her day. “Brunette. Totally your type.”
“I do not have a ‘type’,” he says to the door that swings shut.
When the door does not reopen, he unlocks his phone. No new messages. Nyota has, however, sent a series of greetings, all but one of which is accompanied by a parenthesis and semicolon. This time, Spock does sigh.
“What’s good?” Spock hears and looks up from a myriad of erections, each picture sent with an entreaty for a submission on his own.
No, he types. “Pardon?”
“To eat,” McCoy says. He squints at the boards hanging above Spock. It exposes the line of his throat. He is in need of a shave. The man, not Spock, who has never and would never his own home in such a state. “What’s aioli?”
“A mixture of egg and olive oil. It is…” Spock pauses, considers the proper adjective. “Spreadable.”
“Why don’t you just say it’s mayo?”
“Jesus,” McCoy says. He mouths a word. Spock believes, though he is not sure, the shape McCoy’s lips move in the form of pedantic.
Spock eyes McCoy’s shoulders. And his hands. Again.
“Just a- I don’t know, a salad,” McCoy says. There is what was clearly once a tan from a wedding ring on his finger, the white line of it now nearly indistinct. Lost, perhaps. Or taken off what must be some time ago. “With nothing funny on it.”
Spock’s phone buzzes against his thigh as he arranges walnuts and dried cranberries over a plate of spinach. “Goat cheese?”
“Huh?” McCoy asks. His thumb is moving over the screen of his own phone. He locks it and looks up. The screen left behind is of a girl with pigtails and teeth missing from her smile. “No.”
When Spock drops his change into his palm, McCoy dumps the coins into his pocket, not the tip jar. Still, Spock watches him return to his table.
You around later?
Spock does not, and cannot, know if the message is from Nyota’s ‘number four’, only that the man in profile picture in question unquestionably has brown hair.
“That Jim?” Sulu asks. Spock looks up. “Texting you?”
“It is not.” A man with brown hair who is turned from the camera - Spock look at me, Nyota had said, brandishing his own phone; No. Desist, please - and Spock’s thumb hovers over the keypad. “The inventory-“
“-Brewing. That guy can put it away, can’t he,” Sulu says and tips his head towards the man at the window. Spock absently nods.
Yes, he types, deletes it, and replaces it with I am. He does not frown at his own words, but neither does he send them. I am available this evening, he finally writes and the moment he has pressed send, lays his phone on the counter. Face down on the counter. But Sulu is arranging a vase of flowers, humming quietly, uninterested in Spock’s preoccupation with his phone, the espresso machine beeping at him to be cleaned, and the family of four who have just entered, jingling the bell Jim hung over the door knob.
His phone buzzes as he is steaming milk - two hot chocolates, a double latte, a decaf cappuccino - and he has deposited the drinks into mugs and the mugs onto the counter and their change into the mother’s palm before he picks it up again.
It is not yet another unsolicited phallus. Still, it is… less than ideal.
Whenever your free. Spock does not allow himself to cringe.
He does, though, let out an exhale when *you’re pops up a moment later.
I am off work at 5, he taps out with his thumb.
Bar @ the hilton?
Married, then. Or living with someone less indulgent than a roommate. He would prefer to not know. Spock has been invited to worse hotels; he has been invited to nicer ones too and is only picky about not bringing anyone to his own apartment, his neatly ordered belongings, his space that is invaded only occasionally by Jim and far less disruptively - or loudly - by Nyota.
Nyota who, given the chance, would likely answer with another set of smiley faces or - worse - emojis. Spock simply types I will be there and pockets his phone. It is not far. A few blocks.
He has forty five - forty four - minutes until then. And a button down in his bag free of the crest Jim had emblazoned on the left chests of their shirts above his name tag.
Across the cafe, McCoy pitches his empty cup into the trash. When he leaves, he does not push in his chair. Spock watches him exit and jog across the street, worrying at the nudge of disappointment that settles in his chest.
Identifying someone from the expanse of a bare shoulder and the curve of tricep is difficult in the extreme, and added to that fact is that Spock’s only other clues are the neat edge of a haircut, the angle of a clean shaven jaw, and Leonard, of a similar age to Spock. Even so, Spock eliminates the majority of patrons immediately upon ordering - club soda, lime - as too old, too young, female, or not similarly solitarily perched with a drink, a phone, and an eye out for company.
A body slips onto the stool next to him. Spock takes in long, slim legs in pressed and creased trousers. A neatly tucked in shirt. Raises his eyes and-
“Harold?” McCoy asks.
Spock blinks. “It is my middle name.”
“Harold,” McCoy repeats. “What in ever loving hell.”
A question, technically. Spock does not answer.
“Leonard McCoy,” Spock is told with a heavy sigh. “Don’t call me Leonard.”
“Spock,” he offers in return.
McCoy lifts his eyes towards the ceiling. “Great.”
He has shaved. And his rumpled shirt has been traded for one that is neatly ironed and left open at the collar. McCoy catches him looking and an eyebrow creeps upwards.
“And this morning I thought you were staring me down, pissed I was using the wifi for so long.”
Spock’s tongue is too thick in his mouth. He is not good at this. The talking. The unnecessary chatter. The prevarication and hedging and the need to be amusing. He dislikes - strongly - anything at which he is not proficient. “You purchased a beverage.”
“Yeah, well, I was raised right.” McCoy has such nice hands, a palm laid over his phone, slim fingers resting on the bar. In his other hand, he has a glass of amber liquid - bourbon, whiskey, scotch, all drinks that Spock does not drink but will, when pressed, similarly hold a tumbler of, ordered for him but not by him - that McCoy raises to his lips and says against the rim, “I don’t really do this, you know.”
Spock would not know. Does not know. McCoy peers at him from the corner of his eye.
“How does this work?” McCoy asks and swallows a mouthful of his drink. “You want to come upstairs?”
“You do not sound particularly enthusiastic,” Spock says.
“Are you really here for the conversation?” McCoy raises an eyebrow. “Siblings? Pets? Favorite hobbies?”
Spock’s life is filled with neither siblings, nor pets, and hobbies he has, but not ones he has any particular interest to discuss.
“I presume you understand the goal of using such an app,” Spock says.
“I can barely use my damn phone. And where I’m from, we generally do dinner first.” McCoy manages to both frown and take a long sip of his drink. Then, he sets his glass down. “Let’s get this over with. You work at a coffeeshop, I’m a doctor. I’m in town to see a friend - tomorrow - which leaves my night free. It’s convenient - you have coffee, I’m on East Coast time and need coffee, and here we both are. That’s enough now, isn’t it?”
McCoy’s fingers tap against his phone. Irritated, perhaps, or nervous. Spock is far from adept at translating those small tells into anything sensical.
“Why are you here so early to meet your friend?” he asks.
McCoy cocks an eyebrow. “None of your damn business, now is it.”
It is not. And Spock appreciates, above all else, privacy.
“Very well,” Spock says. He does not flirt. But this, upstairs… he can and does.
“I got it,” McCoy says when Spock reaches for his wallet.
He leaves a dollar tip on their drinks. Spock slips out two more bills and McCoy sighs. “C’mon then, would’ya?”
In the elevator, Spock does not allow himself to hold onto the strap of his messenger bag. Instead, hands at his sides, he says, “It is a cafe.”
“We prepare and serve food. It is a cafe, not a coffeeshop.”
McCoy squints. “It’s a shop that sells coffee.”
Spock turns back to the doors before him, their reflections rendered hazy and indistinct. No, he is not here for the conversation.
There is a rather horrible beat of silence before McCoy kisses him and Spock is not used to being kissed. Or, rather, he is, but not so thoroughly, and not at such length, and not in a way that is not cursorily subservient to other… activities in which they could be engaged but are not, as McCoy is holding him quite chastely by the waist and kissing him. A thumb slips beneath Spock’s shirt. It is, in combination to the mouth tugging at his and the hand squeezing his side, rather alarming in how intensely arousing it is, that slight brush of touch on him.
“Do you want a drink?” This, into Spock’s neck.
“No.” He tips his head to the side for the mouth that travels to the lobe of his ear. Pulls there. His hand tightens on McCoy’s shoulder.
“What’d’ya want then?”
To put down his bag. McCoy pulls back and for a moment Spock is sure he has spoken this aloud. His ear is wet.
“Intercourse,” Spock says, even though it makes his cheeks heat to actually speak it out loud. Better when it simply happens, when this - when sex - is something done to Spock, done with Spock, not done by him, not in any real way.
“Cut to the chase, don’t you now,” McCoy says.
“It is preferable.” Equivocation leads to hesitation which leads in turn to contemplation and given his current circumstances, Spock would rather expedite the proceedings than engage in any type of reflection. And speaking - any attempt made at a discussion - so often fails that Spock has found logic in simply sidestepping the possibility there of. Better to simply proceed.
“What’d you do, swallow a dictionary?” McCoy releases him. There is a small duffel, the only object in the room not ostensibly supplied by the hotel or Spock’s own belongings - his bag that he does set down, his jacket that he carries always against San Francisco’s unbearable climate - and through it McCoy rummages. Spock watches the stretch of McCoy’s shirt across his back. The wide band of his belt, how his pants pull. “You could just say you’re down to - whatever the kids are calling it these days.” He straightens. He clearly does not have many items with him. The clothes he is wearing, the shirt he had on earlier draped over the arm of a chair, the handful of objects in the bag. “Netflix.”
“I have some,” Spock says when McCoy picks a nail at the edge of a box of condoms. A new box. Which he struggles to open. Clearly, the rarity of these encounters was not an exaggeration, unlike most of the other statements that come from McCoy’s mouth. “What relevance does Netflix bear?”
“No idea.” McCoy picks up the condom Spock lays on the bed, flicks open the bottle of lube, closes it, and says, “Boy scout.”
“It is prudent to be prepared.”
“I’m not really into vocabulary,” McCoy says. For a moment, they simply watch each other. Then, McCoy hooks his finger into Spock’s collar and Spock lets himself be pulled forward with the accompanying tug. “So there’s probably a joke in here about shutting you up.”
“Please do not voice it,” Spock says and there is a soft huff of laughter against his mouth just before McCoy kisses him again.
It is good. Quite good. Which is fortunate, as the pleasure provides a suitable distraction from the swearing - Jesus fuck Spock you feel oh God - and the noise of a TV clearly discernible in the next room. This and more - the chatter, incessant as it is - Been a while McCoy mutters and Spock is unsure if this is meant for him to hear - he sets aside, ignores, compartmentalizes and focuses on the rough shove of McCoy in him, the near ideal stroke of a large hand half trapped between his groin and the mattress, the sweaty, heavy weight of-
Spock is gasping. “What?”
“C’mon.” Spock’s back chills without the press of McCoy’s body to him. “Wanna see you.”
“No, in five minutes. Yes, now.” The hand unwraps from around him. Spock will not wriggle, will not allow himself to - he has standards - but he does shift his hips backwards. A hand presses into the small of his back. “Stop that, you hear.”
Spock cannot help but hear, McCoy’s mouth entirely too close to his ear for anything else. “Continue. Please.”
McCoy does not.
Spock sighs. “Fine.”
“Fuck,” McCoy says again - a convention, apparently - as he pushes in once more and Spock stares at the ceiling beyond the bow of McCow’s dark head and says “Simply carrying on would have been-“
“That’s what I thought,” McCoy says when Spock words cease with McCoy’s firm, hard thrust.
Spock pulls in a long breath. It shakes. He will admit to himself, but not aloud, that it is in pleasure. Considerably so.
“You’re gorgeous,” McCoy says, sat back on his heels. He drags a hand from Spock’s collarbone to his sternum, his abdomen, and skips down to his thighs. Spock will not wriggle and he certainly will not squirm but McCoy’s mouth widens into a grin all the same, twisted at the side and crooked as his hand edges back up. Unbidden, Spock’s hips rise into McCoy’s firm touch. “God, look at you.”
Spock does not particularly care for the eyes McCoy traces over him, that casual appraisal. Spock likes to look, but does not enjoy being looked at, not if he can help it.
“I have yoga at seven thirty,” he says. “So if you would not mind proceeding…”
“Of course you do. And a stop at a vegan juice place afterwards,” McCoy says. Slowly, he leans forward, a single, careful push deeper into Spock. He does it again and Spock feels his mouth fall open. “You gonna bother denying that?”
“Yes,” Spock says but it is in answer to the hand that draws up the length of him, tight and hard just as he likes.
Spock does not immediately open his eyes. A soft mouth touches to the corner of his own. “I’ll get you a washcloth.”
Spock licks at dry lips. He attempts to even his breathing. “Thank you.”
McCoy brings a glass of water as well. Spock cannot make sense of the man and does not try, does not sort through the push and pull of ire and annoyance and the hand that McCoy offers to pull him upright, friendly in its helpfulness.
“Is there a place for a beer around here?”
Spock pauses halfway through his water and then resumes his sip, sure that his hesitation was noted. “The Whistle Stop,” he says for it is where Jim goes, were Jim here, and where Spock is asked to go repeatedly - ad nauseam - and this week has been a break from that, a quiet span of days without incessant, constant texts of just one drink, Spock, come have some fun that will nearly certainly resume on Jim’s return tomorrow and for a moment, Spock is certain he is about to be invited again, now, once more induced to the same bar but by a different person in such extremely different circumstances.
But McCoy just says, “Enjoy your wheatgrass and kale,” and refills Spock’s glass while Spock buttons his shirt with fingers he wills to be more steady than they are.
“Nice to have met you,” McCoy says at the door. He is in only his boxers. His neck is flushed a ruddy pink. Spock’s face still feels damp with the water he splashed quickly in the bathroom.
“Have a pleasant remainder of your trip,” Spock says and they shake hands with an incongruity Spock could - but does not - wonder at.
“Thanks,” McCoy says and the heavy door settles shut behind Spock with an easy finality.
And that, he thinks to himself in one of Jim’s colloquialisms, is that.