It was supposed to be a routine away mission, but routine missions never seemed to go quite as simply as they were supposed to. Jim thought that, in fairness, the mission itself did technically go just as it was meant to, but the side effects were certainly unexpected.
He stood in the doorway to Spock's bedroom, leaning against the frame, and looking at a sight he'd never really expected to see. Spock was huddled under his covers, shivering, while his cat was curled up in a ball against his stomach.
"Computer, raise ambient temperature by 4 degrees," he said softly, before walking over to sit on the edge of the bed.
Spock opened bleary eyes and looked up at him. "Jim..." the single word was hoarse in his throat.
"I brought you some water, don't want you to get dehydrated from the fever," Jim's light tone was betrayed by a note of concern that crept into his voice nonetheless.
Spock struggled to sit up, and Jim set the glass on the bedside table so that he could help him. He frowned as the movement sent Spock into a coughing fit, "Are you sure you don't want to go to sickbay? Bones said he'd rather have you there under observation, but you'd refused to stay."
He offered the glass to Spock once more, and the vulcan took it, sipping the water to soothe his throat and calm his coughing. When he'd recovered, he shook his head slightly, "I will remain here. The doctor determined that the virus I contracted on Sigma Penta VI is very similar to has-mar-yon, which is why I have contracted it and the rest of the landing party has not."
"I don't follow."
"It is only contagious to species with copper based blood," Spock replied before being thrown into another coughing fit.
Jim rubbed his back and held the glass until Spock settled and could take another sip. "If it's so similar to a known disease, why hasn't Bones cured it?"
"It is apparently different enough to resist the standardized treatment, and the doctor is not versed enough in vulcan physiology by either of our measures to experiment with creating a new medication when his concoctions very well might do me more harm than the virus." The hint of Spock's usual sarcasm regarding McCoy's abilities was present despite his exhaustion.
"I still think Bones may have had a point about keeping you in for observation, just in case," even as he said it, Jim knew his words fell on deaf ears.
"And I would rather be in the peace and quiet of my own rooms, where I may attempt meditation to aide in healing undisturbed," and this time Spock was uncharacteristically snippy.
Jim smiled wryly, "I take it that hasn't been going so well?"
Spock took a last sip of water and handed it back to Jim, before settling back down into the bed, "No, it has not. My condition thus far has impeded my focus, I believe I may have to resort to the traditional treatment for has-mar-yon, as inconvenient as it might be."
"Oh, and what's that?"
"Not unlike the terran common cold, rest and time." Jim figured his vuclan lover must certainly be feeling awful, because he sounded downright petulant as he had said that.
"Well then," Jim said as he took one of Spock's hands in his, lacing their fingers together, "I suppose I should let you get back to the resting part." He raised their joined hands and pressed a kiss to Spock's knuckles, he couldn't be entirely sure if the resulting shiver was from the contact or the fever, and he gently tucked Spock's arm back against his chest. "I'm not back on shift again for 14 hours, just comm me if you need anything, alright?"
"If the event arises, I will do so." Spock closed his eyes, clearly ready to return to sleep.
"Good... sleep well, Spock." Jim reluctantly got to his feet and walked from the room. He paused in the bedroom doorway for a moment, contemplating. This illness seemed like it would be around a few days, and tomorrow was Valentine's day. Jim didn't usually put much stock in the overly saccharine holiday, but he didn't usually have someone he actually cared about to spend it with either. His original plans certainly weren't going to do under the circumstances, so Jim headed once more for the bathroom that would lead to his own quarters. He had some reading up to do on traditional treatments for has-mar-yon.
Jim sighed at the synthesizer, it was no good, what he was looking for wasn't there. There was a sad dearth of Vulcan recipes in the synthesizer's repertoire, considering the ship's first officer was a Vulcan. He'd have to rethink his plans for the night, or maybe give up on making the night special altogether. Hopefully he could try again next Valentine's Day...
"Knock it off Jim, you don't believe in no-win scenarios, remember?" he muttered to himself, giving his problem some more thought. He grinned as the obvious solution came to him, the ship's crew might rely mainly on the synthesizers for their meals, but the ship had a galley and an assigned chef for a reason.
With a spring in his step, Jim left the mess hall and headed down the corridor to the galley. When he got there, he stopped just inside the doors in surprise. The sight that met him wasn't the chef finishing up for the day, but rather Scotty puttering about at one of the counters.
He looked over at Jim and grinned, "Eve'nin Captain. Canea help you with something?"
"Well, I had been looking for the chef..."
"He's off the eve'nin, but I cleared usin' the galley with him te other day," Scotty gave Jim a curious look. "Were ye wantin' something the synthesizers don't have?" He gestured for Jim to come on over.
"Well, with Spock being ill a regular dinner wasn't going to suit, so I thought I'd get something both appropriate and special," he smiled sheepishly, "being Valentine's and all. The synthesizers don't have it though."
"Aye, I know how that goes. Nyota and I are havin' dinner in her quarters tonight, and I'm ta bring the dessert. Makin' an ol' family specialty that the synthesizer wouldn't know where ta start on." Scotty grinned proudly and gestured to the items before him, what appeared to be some chocolate bars, a bowl of batter and some sliced strawberries.
"Oh, and what's that?" Jim asked, intrigued at the odd combination.
"Deep fried Mars bars, with vanilla ice cream and strawberries." Jim's doubt at the combination must have been clear on his face, because Scotty continued, "Don't knock it till ye've tried it, Captain. Now then, what was it you were lookin' for?"
Jim held up the PADD in his hand, "Plomeek soup. I have a recipe, I tried entering it into the synthesizer manually, but it didn't recognize all of the ingredients."
Scotty took the PADD and thoughtfully looked over the recipe on the display, "Looks like a fancy vegetable stew, really. I can help you make some, with a few substitutions of course."
"I don't know," Jim again looked dubiously at Scotty's ingredients.
"Trust me, lad," Scotty grinned, "If there are two things any good Scotsman knows how to do in the kitchen, it's deep fry an' make a stew."
With a shrug and a smile, Jim replied, "Well, what do I have to loose?"
"Tha's the spirit! Come on then, we'll see what this galley has an' synthesize the rest." With that, Scotty lead Jim deeper into the galley, and set about giving him a crash course in making a stew.
A couple of hours later, Jim arrived at the door of Spock's quarters, a lap tray in hand. On the tray was a domed cover and a vase with a single rose in a token tribute to the holiday. He set the tray down and keyed the access code into the door-pad, picking it up again and carrying it in as the doors opened. The lights were dim in Spock's quarters, and the temperature was still up quite high, but Jim ignored his own discomfort and walked through to the entrance to Spock's bedroom.
"Spock?" he said softly, and the lump in the bed shifted restlessly. He smiled and walked into the room, setting the tray off to the side. "Computer, raise lighting level to 50%." He sat down on the edge of the bed, "Spock, I've brought some dinner. Hopefully one you'll enjoy despite your condition."
The covers were pulled down to reveal ruffled black hair and tired but curious eyes, "What have you brought?"
Jim grinned, "Sit up and you'll find out."
With a bit of help from Jim, Spock was soon sitting up against a couple of pillows, and Tiberius had been relocated to the bottom of the bed. The cat didn't really seem to mind, having promptly gone back to sleep. Jim picked the tray back up and settled it over Spock's lap, and arranged himself on the bed beside it.
He lifted the cover, revealing two bowls of lightly steaming soup, a pair of cups and a pot of tea. Jim watched Spock uncertainly, as he explained his offering, "It's a pot of that green tea I know you like, and... well it's my attempt at plomeek soup."
The tilt of Spock's brows clearly conveyed pleasant surprise, "Plomeek soup? I had not thought the ship carried the components for the recipe."
"It doesn't, actually. When I couldn't synthesize it, I went to the galley and Scotty helped me make this, with a few substitutions... I hope it's a fair approximation of what plomeek soup should taste like."
Spock was speechless for a moment, taking in the fact that Jim had made the soup himself. Jim, whom he knew had never prepared a meal more complicated than sandwiches and reheated soup back on Earth. "Your efforts are most appreciated, Jim."
"Don't thank me till you've tried it," Jim smiled wryly.
"Nevertheless, the effort itself is worth appreciation." Spock picked up a spoon and dipped it into the bowl nearest him. He took a taste and paused, seeming to consider the flavour. Just as Jim was about to give up on Spock commenting and ask, the silence was broken, "The flavour has distinct differences from traditional plomeek soup, however, the taste is quite pleasing."
Jim beamed, "Excellent! I'm glad you like it. I know it's not a fancy dinner, or anything else normally considered suitable for Valentine's Day, but I was just hoping to find something you'd be able to enjoy anyway."
"Valentine's Day... I had wondered at the presence of the flower. Rest assured, Jim, the effort of the meal makes it far more appreciated than the most complicated dish that you might have synthesized." His lips curled with the faintest of smiles, a look only Jim was usually privy to, it made Jim's heart soar in what he knew was a rather cliched way and he didn't care.
Jim poured out the two mugs of tea and lifted one up in a toast, "Well then, Happy Valentine's to you, Spock."
Spock lifted his own mug, "To you as well, Jim."
They sipped their tea and tucked in to their bowls of soup. It might not have been the most traditionally romantic of Valentine's Day dinners, but it was special nonetheless, because they were sharing it together.