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They're retired from active duty. Well, promoted above it. Spock is torturing children. Jim is torturing the admiralty. Mostly, everyone is really really regretting that they let Jim and Spock retire from active duty.

Spock sometimes seems to regret it too, mostly because Jim putters around their house updating things and letting Scotty come in to fix their replicator to actually brew Vulcan tea properly and hype their communications so that Uhura can call to wish them happy birthday or yell at Jim for letting her husband work on his house, or commiserate with Spock about having married crazy people.

It also lets Chekov check in and bitch at them about how they ruined him for any normal crew. Spock always points out that the amount of fuckery they encountered (okay, Spock doesn't say fuckery, but he means it) was only about 40% Jim's fault.

The point is, the house is tricked out and Spock is scaring the shit out of cadets and Jim crushes all their little brains by being married to him willingly while he sits around arguing with admirals and politicians (because sure, he's a man of action, but fuck, he's been on the other end of shitty bureaucracy and now he's gonna fix it).

So life's good.

Which...yeah. Is when the puppy shows up.

The puppy follows him home from his run, which he takes at ten because it's his fucking vacation and he's not pulling his ass out of bed before nine. No fucking way.

"Go home," Jim mutters, waving. He's not actually allergic to dogs, he's just—

Pretty sure Spock would have a bazillion reasons why not to have a dog and Jim's never really had that urge. Plus, you know. Tiny puppy.

Really tiny puppy.

With little eyebrows. And no collar.

…Yeah, so that's how they wind up with a puppy in the house. He (it's a he, Jim checked, and then rubbed its head apologetically because dude, indignity) is named "Cory". Jim thinks it's a good name for a dog.

"What is that?" Spock demands. Jim looks at him over his glasses and over the top of the book, hand stilling from rubbing Cory's back. Cory shifts a little in his sleep like with the power of his sleeping brain he's going to get Jim to start rubbing again.

"His name is Cory."

Spock's eyebrow is so far up his forehead Jim can't actually see it under his hair. And he's doing the head-tilt. The one he did whenever Jim had made some completely accidental societal faux pas like, oh, putting his left leg in front first when he went to walk.

You know, the head-tilt of "why are you my responsibility?"

Which is…you know. Fair.

"He followed me home," Jim offers. "He's very cute."

"How old?"

"Scanner says 8 weeks."

"I see."

It could turn into a cold war. Sometimes they do that. It's not as much fun when they don't have the crew (the kids) scared shitless with Chekov and Sulu betting on who's going to get the crew in the divorce, but they still do it. Mostly because Jim never really grew up and Spock is kind of too smart for this except for how he isn't because he hasn't divorced Jim yet.

Jim's okay with this. It's the power of his cock, he knows (okay, it's more than that and it's t'hy'la and it's—just. Fuck it. It's the power of cock, okay? Leave it alone).

"You wish to…keep it."


Spock looks at him. "Is this your midlife crisis?"

"If I say yes can I have a puppy?"

There's a long silence, which Jim's brain interprets as "fuck yes, James T. Kirk."

"Yes," he says.

"It will need supplies."

Spock wants nothing to do with Cory, which, hey, totally fine. Jim takes care of walking and bathing and feeding and vet stuff and training and Spock endeavors to be elsewhere, or looking with the pure hate of a Vulcan at a couch which has been shed upon.

Spock hates Cory.

Bones says this is because Spock has no love in his soul, but Bones mostly says that affectionately. Mostly. He still won't come stay at their place (okay, so that one time and the couch had a stain but they were like, 27 and in a new relationship and these things happen...Okay, they were 54 and it was last year but Bones is a doctor and he had the guestroom to himself and it's not like the couch wasn't cleaned off, it just...was kind of stained).

The point is? Spock is not a fan of the dog.

Or so Jim thinks.

Then he comes home from a conference early (he actually paid one of the local kids to walk Cory so that Spock wouldn't have to deal with it because the two of them have like, a time share agreement on Jim or something and mostly ignore each other).

Spock is sitting on the couch grading papers with one hand. Cory's head is in his lap, and the fingers of Spock's other hand are massaging just behind Cory's ears. Cory looks blissed out, which, who can blame him, Spock has amazing fingers, but—

"What is this?" Jim demands, pointing at them.

Cory springs up and tries to become a boa constrictor as soon as he sees Jim, wrapping around and through Jim's legs, and Jim fixes Spock with an accusing stare.

"He is good company," Spock admits calmly like for six months he hasn't been silently protesting Cory in their lives.

"He is—I paid Enrique!" Jim is flailing, he is aware. And while he makes it look good, it's not his best look. Not even when he was twenty.

"He was very gratified to be compensated for work which did not need doing. As he was hired under false pretenses I allowed him to keep it." Spock let the kid walk away with fifty bucks. Fifty bucks he did not earn.

Which is beside the point.

"False—you hate him!" Jim says, bending down to let Cory lick his face and have a little cuddle.

"I do not." Spock looks smug. Like he's enjoying this. Asshat.

"You like our dog," Jim says.

"I admit to a fondness."

"Oh my god. I've been so good about keeping him away and you let me but you like our dog!"

Spock's giving him the patient look, like Jim belongs in remedial everything.

So Jim gets up and kisses him, because, you know. Jim doesn't belong in remedial everything. He's pretty much the only person with a passing grade in getting-away-with-shit-around-Spock-for-going-on-thirty-years.

Fuck yeah.