Jim wrung out his shirt and trousers over the bath tub and then hung them wherever he found a space fit for this purpose in the small bathroom.
The bathroom was like the rest of the hotel antique style and even had a door that swung on actual hinges, complete with a doorknob and all. Jim looked behind said bathroom door and found what he had been looking for: two robes. They were both in an ugly champagne tone with the logo of the hotel stitched onto the seam of both sleeves. Tasteless, yes but more than enough for a wet, freezing guy.
Jim plucked both of the robes from where they hung at the door, slipped one of them on and brought the other one back into the hotel room.
Amidst all of the rich, antique furnishings of the room, Spock stood still where Jim had left him before he’d gone into the bathroom. The Vulcan looked oddly displaced with his fancy should-be water-proof gear. Standing stiffly with a little puddle at his feet and dripping from his sleeves and nose, Spock looked like the pissed off statue of a drowned cat.
Lips twitching and trembling, Jim had to fight hard to contain the laugh building in his chest. But laughing at Spock in his current mood? – bad idea if Jim wanted to enjoy the rest of the day.
“Don’t you want to take off your wet clothes, honey?” Jim asked. “Here, I brought you the robe from the bathroom.” He held out the tasteless bit of clothing towards Spock who eyed it as if it were poisenous.
“Now C’mon. It won’t bite you.” Jim wriggled his outstretched hand and made the robe he held swing. “Spock, just get out of your clothes and stop being bitchy, it’s only water!”
Spock’s eyebrows dipped a little bit deeper and he tried to melt Jim with a very persistent glare. Good thing, Jim was immune to the Vulcan death glare.
Finally Jim sighed and lowered his hand. He smiled at Spock and put the robe on top of the bed.
“Listen, they’ve got a sauna here. I’m going to go there now. You wanna join me?”
Spock still hadn’t moved or stopped glaring.
“Fine.” Jim sighed. “I’m sorry, that my idea of a shore leave got us all wet. But the weather isn’t exactly my fault. As well as it isn’t my fault, that the water-proof gear you brought isn’t water-proof at all.” He rubbed his neck and let his eyes travel over the champagne colored carpet on the floor of the room. When Jim rose his eyes to Spock’s again, the Vulcan’s eyebrows where somewhat back to normal, the death glare morphed into a normal glare.
“I’m happy you came along, though.” Jim said sincerely. “And I’d be even happier, if you’d join me now for the sauna. I’m sure you’ll like it. It’s a wooden room, heated nicely up to 90° centigrade. It’ll have you warm again in no time. So, what you say?” He looked at Spock expectantly.
Spock tilted his head to one side, “I think this temperature is far too high for your well being, Jim.” he stated.
Not the answer Jim would’ve liked to hear, but at least Spock was back to talking again.
“Nah, it’s all right. saunas get used since, dunno, the middle ages or something. Makes use of the human ability to sweat. I just have to be drinking enough, that’s all.” He smiled at Spock, still hoping, that his pissy little Vulcan princess would make up his mind and join him.
Jim was sure that the sauna’d be able to also kill Spock’s foul mood in no time, as well as persuade him to be amendable for other activities.
The thought alone of Spock clothed in a bath towel only, hair wet and sticky, made Jim all hot and bothered. And he knew that a relaxed, cozy, warm Vulcan would be very responsive to a Jim trying to get into his pants (or towel in that case).
“So?” Jim asked again.
Spock tried to suppress a shiver. The fact that his shoulders rose a bid in a brief full body twitch told Jim that his poor Vulcan was really, really cold. Even though Jim was just a little bit annoyed with Spock being so stubborn, it nevertheless made his heart ache to see the other guy was being miserable. He stepped closer to Spock and took hold of the collar of his jacket and fumbled for the zipper. Spock’s gaze rested intently on Jim’s working hands. “What are you doing?” Spock asked.
“Undressing you, as you seem to be unable to do it yourself.” Jim answered solely. Spock’s gaze rose to Jim’s eyes and he was glaring again.
“I am perfectly able to take off my clothing myself.” Spock said as Jim pulled the zipper down and tried to slip the jacket over Spock’s shoulders. “Doesn’t seem so to me, love. You’re still wearing all of your gear and I can see that you’re cold.” Jim held Spock’s gaze as he still tried to get the wet jacket off Spock. But the Vulcan blocked the attempt by moving his arms forward and thus made it impossible for Jim to get the jacket anywhere.
“Listen, I’m sorry, I really am.” Jim said. He could feel his annoyance rising steadily. “But I don’t see the point in you staying wrapped up in freezing, wet clothes just so you can keep nagging and whining.”
“I am hardly nagging or whining, Jim.” Spock said snootily.
“whatever you say, princess.” Jim muttered under his breath and earned himself the next Vulcan death glare.
“Okay. Do whatever you want. I’m leaving for the sauna now.” Jim said annoyed.
He went back into the bathroom, grabbed one of the fluffy white towels and slipped on a pair of the shower sandals sitting in front of the bathtub.
Spock had watched him move about and had finally pulled off his wet jacket.
“You sure you don’t want to join me, Mr. Spock?” Jim asked. He flung the fluffy towel over his shoulder and flashed Spock a crooked grin.
Spock took in Jim’s attire in a once over, his eyebrows dipping slightly again. “You are wearing a bathrobe only, Jim.” He stated.
Jim looked down at himself, wondering briefly if the cold had finally damaged Spock’s brain, letting him state the obvious. “Yeah. So?” he asked.
Spock moved to stand between Jim and the door, “you will not leave this room when you are not dressed properly.”
Jim felt his mouth open slightly. Why the hell had Spock to be on his top of bitchiness when this place had a fucking sauna? And a nice warm bed to stay warm after getting thoroughly heated in said sauna.
Jim took a deep breath. “Well, if you’re afraid someone will try to peek a look under my bathing robe – which is sufficiently covering me – I’m afraid, you’ll have to come with me as my bodyguard.” He said.
And thank god for small wonders – this suggestion seemed to get through Spock’s thick skull. With a tiny nod and his lips pressing into a firm line for only the briefest moment, Spock walked into the bathroom and put his still dripping jacket into the bathtub. With a pair of shower sandals instead of the boots on his feet and a towel in hand, he came to stand in front of Jim again.
“I will walk with you to this sauna. I have not yet decided if I will be going to also use the facility.” Spock stated flatly.
Jim nodded, “take your bathrobe, too, you might want to wear it.”
Spock raised one angular eyebrow but complied and took hold of his bathrobe, too.
This is how Jim now was on his way to the sauna of a nice antique style hotel. A freezing, wet and still a little pissed Vulcan in his tow.
It was easy to find the stairs leading down to the sauna facilities.
The hotel was build onto the rocky surface of the mountain, each story with it’s own window front overlooking the valley below.
When the hallway finally opened into the big relaxation room preceding the sauna, Jim and Spock saw themselves faced with a spectacular view of steep, blue depths and rolling hills in the distance.
A line of deckchairs stood in front of the windows. Like an invitation one white, fluffy towel on each of them.
In the middle of the room there was a pool. Jim went to the edge of it to dip his toes into the smooth water – yep, ice cold. Maybe he would dare go for a swim when he was all overheated from the sauna.
But now – bring on the fun!
Jim put his towel in the shelf on the wall and then shrugged off his bathing robe to put it on a hook right next to the fogged up glass door of the sauna. With all the steam condensing there, Jim couldn’t tell if there was already someone inside.
But he couldn’t dwell on this thought. Spock’s eyes went round in consternation. “Jim!” it was the nearest to a shout Jim had ever heard from Spock. Jim froze in his move to hang up his robe and squeaked when he found himself pressed onto freezing cold, wet clothes as Spock tried to cover his bareness.
“Spock! For fuck’s sake, you’re freezing! Let me go!” Jim struggled against Spock’s strong arms.
“We are in a public area and you are currently wearing nothing but shower sandals!” Spock stated and Jim could downright hear the Vulcan’s death glare.
“I’m going to put on my towel. And besides there’s nobody here to witness my being naked so don’t freak out.” But Spock had no intention of listening to anything a naked Jim said in a public place and wrestled Jim back into his bathing robe. “Hey!”
Damn this Vulcan strength!
Now Jim glared, too. They stared at each other, Jim panting, Spock with his lips pressed into a firm line.
His eyes not leaving Spock’s, Jim yanked his towel from the shelf and slung it around his waist under the robe to then go for another try and shrug off the robe a second time. This time Spock only watched him with his brows furrowed slightly, eyes dark with the Vulcan equivalent of fury.
“See? Still sufficiently dressed!” Jim grumbled with his arms raised slightly. The look on Spock’s face read ‘I do not agree.’
Jim thought it best to ignore the Vulcan’s discontent for the moment in order to finally focus on talking Spock into using the sauna and getting him warm again. He indicated the changing rooms, “you can go into one of these if you don’t wanna get naked here in this room.”
“Naked?” Spock echoed not very brightly as if he’d already forgotten that he had just freaked out because Jim had been naked in this very room.
Jim wondered again if something in Spock’s brain had got blast-frozen and wasn’t working properly. “Yes, love, naked.” He said and smiled at Spock as brightly as he could manage with annoyance bubbling in his stomach.
Spock made a face Jim hadn’t seen on him ever before and Jim forgot that he wanted to be annoyed. Something in him went ‘aaaaww’.
“That’s the point of sauna.” he explained to Spock. “You go in there wearing a towel only and get nice and warm.” His sweetest and brightest smile came easily with all his annoyance gone. “So c’mon, take off your clothes. You won’t regret it.”
Spock just stared at him. His dark eyes skipping towards the glass door briefly to then settle on Jim again.
“Will there be other people using the facilities as we do?” Spock asked.
Jim shrugged, “dunno. Maybe there’s already someone in there. But guess the place is big enough for all of us.” He indicated Spock’s bathing robe with his chin, “As you don’t overheat so quickly, I guess it’s save if you wear your robe to cover your body. Even though I think everyone who’ll probably be in there will know what a nude body looks like.”
“You misunderstand.” Spock said and it somehow sounded grumbly. “It is not my own nudity that concerns me. It is rather that I do not appreciate the idea of having to share the view of your naked body with anyone.”
Could Vulcan’s be miffed?
Jim batted his lashed at Spock. He was still not ready to admit defeat. “Well, I won’t be naked. I’ll only be naked under my towel. As for now, you are the only one ho knows there is nothing under that towel.” He wriggled his eyebrows and held out his hands towards the changing rooms. “Now if you please. Take off your clothes and let’s get warm again!”
Spock cast the changing room a glance full of disdain and Jim his most disapproving glance.
“Now c’mon Spock.” Jim began again. “If you’re not going to join me, then at least get back to our room and get out of these clothes. It bothers me to see you all cold and suffering.”
Spock’s eyebrows dipped on hearing this. “I am not suffering. The cold is manageable.”
“Sure is.” Jim breathed eyeing Spock and trying to guess his chances that his highness could be moved to actually try something new.
That thought got Jim a new idea of how to get Spock to join him.
“Well, what do you say? Wouldn’t it be fascinating to go in there and see how this whole sauna thing works? Additionally you can be my chaperone and make sure that no one peeks under my towel. And you can check that I don’t overheat.” Jim crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked at Spock, his eyebrows twisted quizzically, “You could do a real life study of me reacting to sauna and of how the thing works and of how your body reacts to it. Isn’t that something?”
Spock’s eyes left Jim’s for a few heartbeats to sweep over the wall behind Jim.
Good, the man was at least considering Jim’s suggestion.
“I think your point is valid.” Spock admitted. “I shall be wearing my bathrobe.”
Jim couldn’t help his mouth opening in bewilderment. If that was all it took to convince Spock, why exactly had they been fighting for the last thirty minutes or something?
Or Spock really was just about to freeze to death and his brain had finally really stopped working properly. Maybe the ‘argue for the sake of arguing’ area in his brain got frozen over.
He looked at Spock expectantly but the Vulcan just calmly gazed back at him.
“So?” Jim asked, “You want me to help you undress?”
“Well then move it?”
Spock stepped into one of the dressing rooms and Jim heard the rustle and squelch of wet clothes getting pealed of wet, sticky skin. Quite impressive how Spock managed to undress without even muttering a curse under his breath. But that’s how Vulcans worked.
Soon Spock emerged again, dressed up properly in his ugly champagne colored bathing robe. His hair was still wet but nevertheless neatly cemented into his helmet cut. A few curls of black hair peeked out of the neckline of his robe. Jim thought that it looked kinda sweet and equally ridiculous.
He had to fight back a grin by sucking on his lips.
Spock looked at him expectantly. “Please, lead the way, Jim.”
Jim nodded and opened the glass door for Spock to step inside. But Spock only moved as far as the threshold to then stop and gaze critically at the heavy fog hanging inside the small wooden room.
“Are you sure, it is save for your physical well-being to enter this room, Jim? It is quite hot in here.”
“That’s the point of a sauna, Spock. Now shut up and move your pretty little ass in there!” Jim said sweetly. He slapped Spock’s butt with the flat of his hand. The impact gave a nice pop and had the desired effect in that Spock jumped over the doorstep and even gave something close to a muffled yelp.
Jim grinned wickedly and pushed Spock further in, closing the door behind them. On turning around to find a place to sit for himself and Spock, Jim slammed into his Vulcan who had frozen in place only one step into the room. Jim wanted to protest but then too spotted the only other two occupants of the sauna.
One was a woman, delicately wrapped up in one of the hotel’s white towels and clearly enjoying herself. Her dark hair was tied up, dark skin shining wetly. She sat relaxed but still gracefully propped up against the wall behind her.
The other of the two was a guy, head in his hands and by the way his shoulders slumped, he wanted to die or at least disappear.
“Hi Bones.” Jim issued from behind Spock.
Bones didn’t move.
“Please tell me you haven’t just slapped Spock on his ass.” He groaned.
“I shall go to our room and wait there for your return, Jim.” Spock stated, turned and tried to get past Jim.
“Ah ah ah!” Jim was quick to step in. “Look, they’ve already seen you, so to chicken out now is bullshit! Just sit somewhere and pretend we’re alone in here. What do you say?”
Spock didn’t look very convinced.
But Bones’s head snapped up at that, “Damnit man! The hell you’re gonna do! Least pretend you’re all alone in here!” He shouted and Jim was sure he heard a small chuckle from Uhura.
“I have to admit that for once I have to concur to doctor McCoy’s opinion – I think it best if we leave this facility again.”
Jim rolled his eyes and let his head fall back. “Spock!” He groaned. “There’s absolutely no sense in leaving. Bones’s just afraid that I’ll jump you right in front of him. Which I won’t!” He said in Bones’s direction. Then back to Spock again, “look, I’ve been looking forward to using this very sauna all day long – hell since I booked this place actually! I won’t let anyone ruin this for me. So if you’re really willing to chicken out and freeze your butt off in our room, then go for it. Your choice. But I’d rather have that you relax and give it a try. Just ignore this idiot over there.”
“Watch it kid!” Bones grumbled but it sounded rather weak. Well, if the cozy heat in here could even melt down Bones’s outer shell of grumpyness, there was still hope.
“Look honey, I didn’t mean our shore leave to be cruel to you.” He said to Spock. Bones grunted at the endearment and Jim ignored him. “I’d feel much better if you where comfortable, too. So, please, join me?”
Jim found a spot for himself to sit on the second row of benches, leaned back against the third and topmost step and patted the space beside him. But Spock still only stood stiffly in the middle of the room, his eyes on Bones. Bones in turn raised one of his eyebrows and then looked at one of the walls as if he’d never seen anything more interesting.
Jim closed his eyes and tried to focus solely on the warmth that started to seep through his cold skin. A moment later Jim felt Spock brush against his arm as the Vulcan sat down next to him.
Jim opened one eye to peek a look at Spock. The guy was sitting stiffly next to him, eyes trained straight on the wall facing him. Jim smiled and closed his eyes again.
From across the room came a soft sigh as Bones let himself get comfortable on his seat again.
Some minutes passed by undisturbed. Then Uhura left the room and Jim heard her get into the pool and out again. She didn’t come back into the sauna though.
When Jim finally opened his eyes after quite some time, Bones was watching him.
“Maybe you should go for a round in that pool, too, Jim. You look pretty overheated.” Bones told him in a very soft voice. Jim had to strain to hear him.
When he opened his mouth to answer, Bones put his right index finger to his lips, wriggled his eyebrows and nodded towards next to Jim where Spock sat – er, lay.
The Vulcan had slumped back onto the backrest created by the wooden steps of the sauna. His body followed every ankle of the wooden sitting range as if it didn’t contain any bones. His head, ebony hair plastered to his forehead in wet strands, rested on the edge of the topmost sitting range, the slack features of his face and the slightly opened mouth depicting a stark contrast to his angular brows and sharp cheek bones. His bathing robe had loosened somewhat and now showed a little more of Spock’s gorgeous hairy chest.
In short – Spock was very clearly fast asleep.
Jim felt his heart bubble over with love, a stupid bright smile invading his face.
“Keep it down, Romeo.” Bones said, voice still low. “Keep your hands to yourself and let your elf get his beauty sleep. Let’s go out, check out the pool, you look like a lobster.”
Reluctantly, Jim got to his feet and followed Bones outside. But he couldn’t stop the grin on his face.
Spock was cozy and warm and even relaxed enough to fall asleep in a public space. After Jim got himself cooled down a little, he would wake Spock and take him back to their room to continue warming his Vulcan in their king-sized hotel bed.
After a rough start, shore leave at last seemed to change for the better.