The first time Spock woke up with the captain in his bed, it was because of the very strangeness. There was some sort of cool, clinging blanket wrapped around him. There was also a smaller point of heat pressing against his shoulder blades, but that he easily identified as Tribble, Ship's-Cat 3rd Class (Under Fifty Pests Exterminated). He and the ship's-cats did not, exactly, get along, but they frequented his quarters because of the higher heat, and often curled up around him when he was in the rec areas. He did not find it unacceptable to share his bed with them or allow them to sit near him. He was always slightly cold, and the creatures were a welcome source of radiated heat.
The other presence, however, was unexpected.
It radiated the same sleepy satisfaction with its position that Tribble did, and yet the thought patterns were much more complex. There was something familiar, almost soothing, about the unconscious press of the mind against his own. Spock considered this, and opened his eyes.
From this vantage point the captain's face was not perfect. Spock could see the tiny scars along the side of this face where the dermal regenerator had not completely healed damage (doubtless because the captain had twisted out of Doctor McCoy's grasp before the process could be completed). He also had freckles across his nose and on his cheek, very faint ones, against the gold of his skin. His face was flushed pink. His dark gold lashes were against his cheek. His mouth was slightly parted, and his breath came out in slight, raspy wheezes, not quite a snore.
He was staring at the captain because the captain was in his bed. Even more illogically, given the captain's reputation, he was doing nothing but drooling on Spock's pillow. Spock had of course never wondered what Kirk would do in Spock's bed, but some faint human part of him thought he had expected there to be more groping.
Tribble shifted slightly against Spock's back, and began to purr.
Spock wrenched his mind into logical thought. It would be pure emotionalism to kick both human and feline off his bed, and would only result in vocal complaints from the pair of them.
The part of his brain that always sounded a little like his mother pointed out that the captain was extremely unlikely to have a logical explanation, and also that the coolness of Kirk's body against his body, combined with the small heavy weight of Tribble against his back, was pleasant, if rather like being in a living clamp. It was the middle of the night. Surely he could live with his unexpected bedmates until a more reasonable hour of the morning.
The Vulcan in him decided it was not acceptable, and also that he needed to get out of the bed and demand an explanation of Kirk. If he could get away and redress in something besides a sleeping robe decorated in script wishing the wearer pleasant slumbers, so much the better. This had been his mother's idea of amusing herself, although from various emergencies on gamma shift, Spock had formed a hazy theory that humans often wore clothing in the privacy of their rooms that was not accepted elsewhere. He secretly liked Nyota's shirt and pants and their decorations of small Earth animals, although he'd had to speak very firmly to the captain about his t-shirt collection. ("Captain, I have no desire to actually know why your shirt states that the viewer has been very naughty and should go to your room, or why that action is requested, but by Lt Uhura's reaction, I am assured it is neither appropriate nor professional.") Nothing really explained Sulu's t-shirts advertising Japanese television series from the 21st Century. ("'SRS RANGERS! LEGEND ON THE RAINBOW!' ... okay I don't even know what that's supposed to mean, Sulu." "Sir, the Legendary Sparkling Rainbow Storm Rangers were my great-great-grandmother's favorite show, sir. They had spirit beasts and there were giant robots and swords, sir." "...I'm just going to accept that explanation and not ask about your matching pants, Mr Sulu." "In Russia, is wery, wery important to keep great great grandmothers' ghosts happy, Keptin." "Not helping, Chekov.")
This decision was much sooner reached than carried out. Tribble disliked being moved, and the captain, naturally, had taken the outside edge of the bed. If he could only get Tribble to move, he could slide out toward the end of the bed. Kirk was a heavy sleeper, although for a human he did not sleep very much. He projected a thought/feeling at Tribble -- (move away awake).
Tribble only trilled, annoyed, and a feeling of (comfort don't disturb sleepy warm) as he curled into a tighter ball.
Spock did not sigh. He reached around carefully, twisting in the captain's grip, and scooped up Tribble. The creature was limp and a little irritated, but allowed himself to be deposited beside Kirk's back. His tail flicked once, but he curled up in the small of Kirk's back happily enough.
That left only the human. Spock began edging slowly to the end of the bed.
Kirk shifted. "Baby," he slurred, his hands reaching for Spock, in a highly inappropriate and overly familiar manner, "it's early, come on, we don't gotta --" His hands slid around Spock's waist. His hands were very cold, even for a human.
"I am not an infant, Captain!" said Spock, more loudly than he had intended. He pushed away. Kirk blinked sleepy blue eyes at him, with nearly the same expression of annoyance as the ship's-cat.
"Spock?" he said.
"Captain," said Spock. He tried to calm the spasm of a muscle near his eye, and did not succeed. "Would you care to explain your presence in my --" he choked on the word 'bed' "-- quarters?"
Kirk woke up the rest of the way. "Um." He rubbed at his eyes. "I -- have no idea."
"How is it possible to not remember how you ended up in someone else's quarters?" said Spock.
Kirk, despite the bed-head, the cat against his hip, and the t-shirt which read 'THERE IS NO AN /i/ IN TEAM: STARFLEET ACADEMY HONORS XENOLINGUISTICS CONFERENCE 2257' (and what a terrifying week that had been, with Kirk attempting to seduce most of the setinent beings in sight and also being a genius all over everything. Spock had not spent the week in a constant state of intoxication mostly because someone had to drive the other instructors home after they dealt with Cadet Kirk all day), managed a very passable leer at him.
"Without intoxication," added Spock.
"No, really," said Kirk. "Bones gave me a sleeping hypo - " Spock translated this as 'Doctor McCoy physically escorted me to my quarters, stood over me while I changed into my sleeping clothing, and injected me by force while my back was turned, which is a clear violation of medical ethics, and also sort of a dick move, but the only way I was going to go to sleep and Dr McCoy knew it' "- and I just remember falling asleep and then feeling really cold."
"A reaction?" said Spock. "Perhaps you should --"
"Nah, I feel fine now," said Kirk. "No swelling or anything." To his credit, he didn't even leer.
Spock sighed, a quick huff of breath.
Kirk tilted his head. "Does that really say 'sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite'?"
Not for the first time in his life, Spock cursed his mother's sense of humor. It was illogical, and furthermore, unfilial, to believe she was attempting to provoke an emotional reaction from beyond the grave.
"Is that little scarabs?" said Kirk, fascinated. "In night caps?"
"Sir," said Spock.
"So I don't know, maybe I sleep walked to a warm place," said Kirk.
"That is a logical possibility," allowed Spock. "However, I would appreciate it very much, Captain, if you would awake-walk back to your own quarters, and take that animal with you."
Tribble's tail lashed again, though he did not open his eyes.
"Fine," said Kirk, on a yawn. "We know when we're not wanted, don't we?" He got up and scooped the cat companionably under one arm. "Come on, Tribs, let's make the walk of shame. Without a kiss. Or a morning-after poem. Or even --"
"Out," said Spock, between his teeth.
The second time, Kirk really was mildly intoxicated from a painkiller reaction, but Spock woke up when he tried burrowing into Spock's side. He had no compunctions about kicking Kirk to the floor. Kirk went peacefully enough to his room, Tribble in his arms like a human infant.
The third time, Spock got up, went to Kirk's room with a tricorder, checked all the climate systems, turned the thermostat up two degrees, and then hauled Kirk, still asleep, down the hall to his own quarters and dumped him on his own bed. He searched out Tribble and another feline, known as Her Highness the Exalted Princess Fluffernutter Pie XXXVIII, All Glory to Her Name, Ship's-cat First Class (Over One Hundred Pests Exterminated), Call Name "Princess", Also Known As "Fluffybutt", Also Known As "Fluffer", Also Known As "Pickypants", borrowed someone's pet tribble ("Furbomb XXII - This Animal Is On A Limited Nutrient Diet by Captain's Order") without permission, and arranged them and a woolly afghan from Kirk's couch around him.
Then he went back to his own quarters, set the lock to a top-level security code, and fell asleep again, secure in his lack of companions.
The fourth time Spock woke up to the captain in his bed was approximately thirty point two seven seven five minutes after the third time. The captain had somehow managed to transport himself, the cats, the tribble and the woolly afghan back into Spock's bed, despite a security lock that shocked intruders first and asked for identification later. It occurred to him that the tribble smelled slightly of electricity. There were times when Spock wished with all his human heart that James Kirk actually was, to quote Dr McCoy again, as dumb and pretty as he looked.
Also all four beings and the woolly blanket were piled around and on Spock, and that was warmer than even a Vulcan liked to sleep.
The captain stirred, blinked sleepy and very blue eyes at him, and said, "We've got to keep meeting like this."
Spock considered his options logically, and nerve-pinched him.
He hauled the captain, wrapped in the woolly afghan, to the sick bay, trailed by the interested cats. The tribble rolled off somewhere, doubtless to eat itself sick. He dumped Kirk, not gently, into his usual biobed, and the cats leaped up to the bed. Her Exalted Highness curled up at Kirk's feet, and Tribble arranged himself, nightmare-fashion, on Kirk's chest, and began to purr. It was rather like one of those old tombs he had seen in holos of Earth's history of fallen heroes, except Kirk had begun to snore.
"Spock?" said Dr McCoy, from his office. "What on earth --"
"The captain requires an examination," said Spock.
"I ... see," said Dr McCoy, as if he did not at all. "Tribs, Fluffy-darlin', I'll thank you kindly to get off my biobed and out of my sickbay."
The cats stood up, as if they had suddenly thought of some place more interesting to be, and leaped off the bed again, landing with twin soft thumps, and wandered out of the room, as if it had nothing to do with Dr McCoy's command at all.
"Fascinating," said Spock, despite himself. "I had been given to understand they did not understand human speech."
"Oh well, they're ship's-cats," said Dr McCoy. "Smarter than barn-cats, even." He eyed the captain with an expression that Spock interpreted as amused and affectionate annoyance. "Not that I mind giving Jimmy a check up or nothing, but why at --" he looked at the clock "-- four am?" He peered more closely at the captain. "Besides the nerve pinch, which Lord knows I am not blaming you for."
"This is the fourth time I have woken up with the captain in my bed," said Spock.
Dr McCoy's eyebrows shot up.
"Without an invitation," added Spock.
"Usually Jimmy's pretty good about not going where he's not wanted," said McCoy, frowning. "'Course, sometimes he invites himself anyway."
"I have repeatedly sent him to his own quarters," said Spock.
"Huh," said Dr McCoy. "Well, better you than me. He is a god damn octopus, bless his heart."
Spock tilted his head slightly.
"We were roommates at the Academy, God help me," said Dr McCoy. "Jimmy hates like poison to sleep alone."
"I wasn't aware -- " began Spock.
"I ain't that friendly with Jimmy," said Dr McCoy, looking faintly nauseated. "I mean, just sleeping."
"So you are saying that the captain prefers to share a bed even if his partner has no interest in sexual relations with him?" said Spock. "Forgive me, Doctor, but I must wonder how you both fit on one of the bunks. Surely they were scarcely sufficient for one person of the captain's size, let alone --"
"Jimmy here can get real cozy," said Dr McCoy. "You'd be surprised."
Spock doubted he would be surprised at all. "This is fascinating, Doctor, but it does not explain why Kirk has turned his attentions to me." Kirk's face was slack and not exactly peaceful at rest. There was a stillness, but not a quiet one, about him.
"If you ever figure out why the hell Jim Kirk does anything, I'd be mighty obliged if you'd let me know," said Dr McCoy. He picked up a tricorder and began to scan the captain. "Far as I can tell, he just gets lonely sometimes."
"I left him with two cats, a tribble, and a hand made knitted bed covering," said Spock evenly.
"That's a pretty good start," agreed the doctor.
"The captain is not logical." Spock's voice remained placid, but something must have bled through his tone. Dr McCoy turned and looked at him thoughtfully.
"Ain't arguing there," he said. "Look ... Spock, when you were growing up, did you ever just feel like being near someone?"
"The desire for companionship is allegedly a human trait," said Spock. "Due to their primate ancestry, humans function more efficiently as part of a social group."
"I'll take that as a yes," said Dr McCoy dryly. "Jim's problems have problems, right? And sometimes..." He spread his hands out in a mute gesture of helplessness.
"What are you attempting to express, Dr McCoy?" said Spock.
"Well," said Dr McCoy, "If Jimmy ever tries to tell you that he's like this because he wasn't hugged enough as a child, he's more serious than he wants you to think." He picked up a hypospray and stuck it on the captain's neck without ceremony. "Jimbo, wake the hell up."
The captain's eyes fluttered open. He groaned and turned his head from the overhead light, lifting one hand weakly to block it. "Fuck, my head feels like I just had a mind meld without lube," he said.
Dr McCoy's eyes narrowed.
Spock also did not find that statement satisfactory on any level whatsoever.
"Now that's a real interesting thing to say, Jimmy, because melds aren't supposed to hurt," said Dr McCoy, and even though he was at least a meter away from Spock, he radiated tension and protectiveness enough to bleed through Spock's shields.
"What?" said the captain.
Dr McCoy turned slowly toward Spock. His upper lip was rising in a snarl, like the pictures of large, angry female mammals Spock had seen in books as a child.
"I have never melded with the captain," he said. He knew who had, though, and when he got his hands on his older self, there would be a long, logical discussion about keeping his distance from James Kirk. It's not that Spock was jealous of his older self, or or that his older self was jealous of him. But they had things that the other would have enjoyed the use of, and it's hard for a Vulcan to lie to himself, even another version from a time line drifting further and further away.
"Jim!" roared the doctor. "How many times have I told you -- "
"Oh my God, Bones," said the captain. "Please don't talk about my lack of self respect and limits in front of my first officer."
"I must say that the doctor has a point, Captain," said Spock, keeping his voice mild. "We are, I believe, fully aware of what happened the last time you had shore leave."
"Hey," said the captain feelingly. "Did you nerve pinch me again? You know I hate it when you nerve pinch me."
"I apologize, Captain, but I had not expected you to invade my bed again," said Spock.
"I didn't 'invade' your bed!" argued the captain, sitting up.
"You put yourself, two cats, a tribble, and a hand-knit bed covering in my bed, and then told me we should keep meeting like this," said Spock.
"I was sleepwalking again?" tried the captain.
"The door was locked," said Spock.
"I'm just that good," said the captain, and then Dr McCoy gave him a look that Spock had been used to seeing his mother give his father. "I swear to God, I didn't mean to do it! I keep dreaming about being cold, and then the next thing I know, I'm waking up in Spock's bed."
"Well, if you're looking for a warm place, that's a good place to start," allowed the doctor. He picked up the tricorder again and ran another scan. "Your vitals are normal. Do you feel cold now?"
"Yes," said the captain. He hunched a little into himself. "I'm sorry I got into your bed again, Spock."
"Apology accepted," said Spock.
"There's nothing wrong with you a sweater won't fix," said the doctor, frowning a little at him. "Why don't you go ask Environmental Services for an extra blanket and borrow that mutt from Engineering and a couple more cats?"
"Yes, mommy," said the captain. He swung his legs off the biobed and then hesitated, looking at the doctor.
"I have gamma shift," said Dr McCoy, not harshly.
The captain sighed.
Spock found himself with an illogical desire to offer to let the captain share his bed again. It was not logical.
The fifth time Spock woke up with the captain in his bed, it was because the captain was shivering, pushing his body closer and closer to Spock with unconscious urgency. Spock could feel his emotions bleeding through. He appeared to be having some sort of nightmare. They were on a diplomatic visit and their hosts had put them in a large room with two beds.
Kirk's face was tense and drawn in sleep. Spock could taste glimpses of his dreams. Sand. Hunger. Fear. Nobody in sight. Waiting. So so cold.
"Captain," he said, even as Kirk pressed his face against Spock's shoulder. "Kirk. Kirk!"
The captain stilled a little at the sound of Spock's voice, but he did not move. His breath was coming in tiny hitching gasps. Spock tried to think of how his mother would have handled this situation. "Jim," he said, trying to match his mother's soft, gentle tone. "What's wrong?"
It was clear when Jim - when the captain - woke up. He didn't go tense, or even relax, but his body went absurdly still.
"Sorry," said Kirk, pulling away. "It's just --"
"Your behavior is illogical, even by human standards," said Spock. "Firstly, you continue to seek out my bed, even though neither of us have stated a sexual interest in the other. Secondly, I am Vulcan by temperament and training, and thus am unlike to provide you with emotional reassurance, if that is in fact what you seek. Thirdly, Dr McCoy has in fact stated he is willing for you to share his bed platonically, and I have removed you from my place of slumber four times. Finally: your body temperature at this time is human-normal, and this room is comfortable even for me, a Vulcan." He turned his head and looked at the curve of Jim's blond eyelashes against his cheek. "I admit that I do not understand."
"Bones isn't --" began the captain, and let out a frustrated huff of air. "Okay, this is where I tell you that I wasn't hugged enough as a child."
"Dr McCoy mentioned that," said Spock. "However, you dislike being touched by casual acquaintances. You only welcome or initiate touch if you intend to engage in coitus, or consider that being a close friend."
"-- and this is where I remember I'm talking to a Vulcan, yeah," said the captain. He rolled to his back and flung his arm over his head.
"And while I would be honored to be considered your friend, Jim, you have shown no sign of wishing to engage in coitus with me," said Spock. Not that Spock was as expert as he wished to be in human non-verbal communication. It had been an extremely awkward conversation to have with Nyota.
"Maybe I was saving it for a special occasion."
"Kirk," said Spock.
Kirk remained silent. His eyes were closed, but Spock could feel his desire to avoid looking at anything. "Can we just drop this?" he said finally. "I'll get up, I'll leave you alone, I just --"
"When Dr McCoy said that you hadn't been hugged enough as a child, he meant that you had a desire for non-sexual comforting touch, am I correct?" said Spock. "Human children often require this to feel secure." He thought about it. "I am the only one," he said, with a strange, possessive jar of emotion at the thought. "There's nobody else you can turn to now. If you --"
"Embarrassing but essentially correct, Mr Spock," said Jim, from beneath his arm. "Well, there's Bones."
But McCoy was under Jim's command -- had never been in command -- had never had so many lives in his hands as Jim Kirk held every day.
"I believe you are correct, Jim," he said finally. "You did not receive enough positive tokens of affection as a child."
Jim took his arm away from his face and looked at Spock. Even in the dim light, his eyes were very blue. Spock allowed himself to raise his eyebrow. Something lit in Jim's eyes, washing away the darkness in them. Slowly, slowly, Jim's mouth began to curve in a smile, until it spread over his face, sweet as the smell of rain. He rolled over and lay half on top of Spock. "I'm really cold, Spock," he said seriously.
"If I allow you to leech my body heat, I will become chilled," said Spock. He rolled as if to escape, but Jim -- who really did resemble an octopus with all the limbs suddenly clinging to Spock -- rolled with him, and ended up tucked snugly against Spock's side. It was not unpleasant.
"I'm sure I can find a cat or five," said Jim. The tension of his body was seeping away, leaving him boneless and relaxed against Spock. It was very pleasant, Spock admitted to himself, and finally had an idea of why his parents had, in defiance of tradition, shared a sleeping chamber.
"That would leave me with very little space," observed Spock. His own body felt relaxed and oddly heavy.
"So I'll get you a bigger bed," said Jim, sleepy.
"I will take that into consideration," said Spock gravely, but Jim's mind was at rest, warm and full of content.