Jim is wont to say that the nights in space are as long as they are cold. Though Spock has never tracked a noticeable difference in temperature during the evening hours upon the Enterprise, he has found that the statement, when viewed as a metaphor for loneliness, does carry some weight.
On this night (though, as he has told Jim many times before, the sense of time passing aboard the ship is purely illusory, perpetuated by the ship’s lighting system and clocks synchronised with that of Earth’s Pacific Standard) Spock has been off-shift for approximately five-point-two-zero-six hours. Spock would ordinarily find himself on the bridge at this time. However, Dr. McCoy had ordered that he “take the night off” and recuperate from the “gaping hole” in his side. A narrow encounter with the rampantly violent inhabitants of Circe IV had compelled Spock to agree, though now it appears that the discomfort of injury has disturbed his sleeping patterns and made standard meditation difficult.
He is, therefore, attempting to complete a review of the latest ship logs (attempting, and instead contemplating several solutions to the distracting quiet that permeates his quarters) when his communicator crackles to life.
“Mr. Spock,” Jim says when Spock answers. “I thought you’d be asleep.”
“Captain,” Spock says. “What do you need?”
He does not say that he also expected the captain to be asleep. While he was uninjured on Circe IV, Jim was also told to rest.
“Nothing, Mr. Spock,” Jim says. There is a pause. “Since neither of us are sleeping, would you mind having some company?”
“The door to my cabin is unlocked,” Spock says. Minutes later, the door slides open and Jim enters, swaddled in what seems to be a knit blanket. He does not speak, but simply seats himself on the sofa beside Spock. Their shoulders brush- or rather, Spock’s shoulder makes contact with a large fold of blanket that obscures Jim’s shoulders. Jim leans closer, tilting his head to better see the screen of Spock’s PADD.
“All work and no play,” Jim says.
“Captain,” Spock says. “Vulcans do not play.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Jim says, and Spock finds himself momentarily distracted by the way that the low lighting of his quarters has caused Jim’s eyes to take on a pearlescent sheen. “I see the way you get with your experiments. It may not be a game of tag in the middle of a field somewhere, but I bet you and your little Vulcan pals used to have tons of fun with your beginner chemistry kits back in the day.”
“I am unfamiliar with…tag,” Spock says.
“Oh, you’d hate it,” Jim says. “It’s all about physical contact.” He smiles and shifts the blanket so that it covers most of his body. Only his hands are visible where they have emerged on each side to pick at stray fibers of the blanket. Spock is reminded of one of Dr. McCoy’s more frequent utterances- “God give me strength-” and of a Shakespearian epithet which Lieutenant Sulu had recited in the mess, only a week previous to this night:
“Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. Then your love would also change.”
At the time, Spock had thought the phrase ridiculous, characteristic of William Shakespeare’s emotional prose.
But perhaps, he thinks as Jim pries the PADD from his hands (fingers brushing, carrying with them a faint impression of contentment) and inquires of whether or not Spock has ever seen a John Wayne movie, perhaps a changing love is to be desired, given that one is prepared to change with it.