Spock's shoes make a thunking sound as they hit the floor, and Jim turns around to see him out cold on the couch, one arm curled under his head. Jim's seen this before, Spock asleep (or passed out or whatever) in the upstairs guest room after their adventures in inebriation, but it's still distracting. Jim holds the blanket in his fists for a second and just watches him.
He makes himself move, because Spock looks cold and kind of curled in on himself and Watson is glaring at him from the foot of the couch like Jim is a bad mom or something. Spock makes this weird noise when Jim covers him up, kind of like a hum or a purr. It rumbles in his chest and when Jim smooths the blanket he can feel it vibrating under his fingers, soft and low.
He forgets, most of the time, that Spock is partially alien. Not because he thinks of Spock as human, but because he forgets Spock has categories - that he's half-Vulcan, that he's a detective, that he's a workaholic, that he's half an orphan with a past that he won't talk about and Jim can't bring himself to look up. Thinking back, Jim can only remember Spock being something that didn't fit neatly anywhere.
Mom comms him a few hours later, asking about Gregson's car out in the garage. Jim winces pre-emptively.
"Uh, haven't gotten around to it," he says.
He can hear the scowl on the other end. "Jimmy."
"I got sidetracked," Jim argues.
"Oh, God," she sighs, "I thought you were done making regrettable life choices."
"It's not that."
"Then what? Shipyards making you stay for extra shifts? You need me to call Pla'ot again, tell him to stop riding you?"
"Wow, no, that needs to not ever happen again," Jim says, because he still has flashbacks of his boss locking himself in the bathroom after Mom had come down the shipyards and reamed him over some safety issues that Jim had mentioned last month. Getting your mom to make some grownup cry like a bitch stopped being fun around the second grade.
"Then what? Gregson commed me just now, and I haven't heard from you in a few days--"
"Spock was in an accident," Jim says. It sounds like an admission, like when he had to tell her about driving Steve's car over the cliff when he was eleven. His stomach has that same hollow feeling right now. "I've been, uh, he's staying with me for a while."
Mom's quiet for a second. "Is he all right?" she asks. Her voice is softer than he's ever heard it.
"I think so. His vee's pretty much toast, though," he says. He knows he should smile when he says that, but he can't do it. "He's asleep in the new library right now. Hey, did you know Vulcans purr?"
Mom just sighs. "All right, I'm coming out there right now. Do you have anything for that poor kid to eat when he wakes up?"
Jim tries to think - his fridger has beer and some cheese, but probably not much else. He should just cave and get a replicator, but he hates them, hates the way chicken tastes like milk tastes like carrots. "Uh," he answers.
"God, just like your father," Mom sighs, and hangs up. Jim can't help the grin on his face; Mom doesn't talk about her first and best husband much, and it seems like Sam's called dibs on all of the good habits George Kirk Sr. had (good father, good husband, good at shutting up instead of talking back) but when she talks about how Jim's bad qualities remind her of his dad, it somehow sounds like affection.
She shows up, as threatened, with bags of groceries and the towtruck, because they're both facing the reality that Jim's not moving more than twenty feet from the new library in the next day or so.
"You bought me beets." Jim paws through the bags once they've been hauled to the kitchen. It's all depressingly healthy shit, weird vegetables that were probably grown in some greenhouse that specializes in Vulcan... whatever the hell these are. Jim holds up a bright purple donut-shaped object. "I wouldn't eat this if I were him."
"Yes you would, because if you were him you would be a decent person."
"If I were him I would've been raised by a hot cougar instead of a grouchy alcoholic." Jim barely flinches at the slap on the side of his head.
"I just looked in your fridger, Jimbo, don't talk to me about who's winning the drunkard award in this family."
"Didn't you bring anything for people who don't have four stomachs or whatever?" Jim asks. "Chicken soup, or something."
"I wasn't shopping for you, I was shopping for your husband. Besides, I bought you tomatoes and milk, quit whining."
"He's just a friend," Jim says reflexively, and Mom rolls her eyes.
"Jimmy, I've met your friends. Don't insult our good detective by calling him that. Besides," and her voice gets that softness again, "He hasn't spend millions of credits reinforcing anybody's home but yours." Embarrassed the way she always is after saying something nice, she clears her throat and says, "Now, you remember what those vids in school told you about sexually assaulting someone who was handicapped, right?"
"God, Mom," Jim groans, "Way to ruin the moment."
Mom just laughs, because at heart she's a pretty terrible person, and claps him on the shoulder. "Come on, help me hook up Gregson's car to the truck. It'll take five minutes, tops."
Spock sleeps like it's his job; Jim thinks he should wake him up and give him some food or something, but he doesn't get up the nerve until the next morning. Even then, he hesitates, not knowing how to actually do it. Mom would come into his and Sam's room and touch them on the cheek, gently, when she was on-planet and they were slow to get out of bed before school. It had always been the best part of his day, seeing her smile at him, smelling the reassuring motor oil that she could never quite scrub off. He leans over Spock, wondering if it still works like that.
But Spock almost fell over trying to get away from him yesterday, and Jim guesses there's uglier things in him than even he knew about, if that shocked expression was anything to go by. So instead he grabs Watson and puts him carefully on Spock's stomach.
Spock's eyes open, a little bit, and focus on him. He smiles and says, "Hello," sweet and quiet.
"Good morning, sunshine," Jim says, tilting his head a little to look at his face.
Spock's smile falters into something confused. "Is it - morning?"
"Yeah. I've got some breakfast, if you're hungry."
"Mmm," he replies, still a little blurry, and burrows a little deeper into the blankets. "I was dreaming about you. It was very nice."
It's probably really wrong to sit down on the coffee table and press for details. "Yeah?" Jim says, sitting down on the coffee table. "What was I doing?"
But Spock is already asleep again, that odd little rumble in his stomach louder this time. Jim gets to his feet and tries to remember where Mom put that fresh loaf of bread.