Watching as Jim's body slowly relaxed and the human slipped into a deep slumber, Spock finally allowed the tension to drain from his own form and relaxing his mental bonds. But his attention never waivered from blond, just in case Jim needed him. Jim who had once more stressed his body to the absolute limit of human capability in the last twenty-four hours. The Captain had not slept, ate or had a moment's respite since the unexpected attack had crippled the Enterprise and enemy sentries stormed aboard. It was Spock's duty as his First Officer to encourage rest now that the ship was out of danger and the refugees had been accommodated, but as a friend he had given his own quarters for Jim's comfort.
It was amazing how complex human emotional interaction and personalities were in comparison with the rest of the species strewn across the galaxy. Jim, from all appearances, was an arrogant, egotistical, self-serving womanizer. Though the longer Spock stayed in his presence, the more he saw the Jim that was buried deep beneath the bravado. He cared for others and would lay his life on the line without a moment's hesitation to protect his crew. In fact, more often than not it was Spock whom he was protecting. Humans had evolved to hide any signs of weakness that could be exploited by their enemies, yet they allowed those closest confidants into their inner mind. Jim Kirk was one of the few who had developed that psychological shield to perfection with very little cracks. Only a handful had ever seen behind the Captain's mask, Spock was honored to be counted amongst them.
Fondly, Spock reflected upon the events that had led his commanding officer to his bed while slipping into a light meditative state. Eighteen hours after the attack on the Enterprise and roughly one hour previous, Dr. McCoy had commed the bridge asking Spock, who had the con, to 'check on Jim and make sure he had eaten something'. Requests of this nature were not uncommon, so Spock passed the con to Sulu and immediately began his quest. He had not bothered to use the computer's locator abilities, Spock knew where Jim would be after an attack.
No one on the ship, not even Chief Engineer Scot, took greater pride in the Enterprise than her Captain. As he had deduced, Spock found Jim covered in blood, sweat and machine grease in the Engineering department assisting Mr. Scot in repairing the damage inflected during the phaser fire. Dr. McCoy had been right in guessing that Jim had not eaten or slept since the attack began twenty-four hours and forty-five minutes previous. Spock stopped to admire the ease with which Jim slipped around the heavy equipment, following the engineer's orders with a steady hand, even as he stood exhausted on his feet. His blue eyes were bright, despite the tell-tell dark circles around them. While it was illogical to applaud such self-destructive behavior, Spock could not suppress the rush of pride as he watched his young Captain.
Finally, Jim had noticed Spock's presence and had reported off to Mr. Scot, coming to stand before his First Officer. "Spock." He smiled in greeting, Spock dipped his head in answer. "Is everything alright?" He wiped his hands on a blue shop towel a young Ensign had offered in passing.
Knowing that Jim was only inquiring after the ship's welfare and his own, still choosing to ignore his disheveled state, Spock nodded once. "The ship is nearly back to full capacity. Dr. McCoy reports no fatalities and the wounded have been treated. All the refugees have been assigned quarters. Lieutenant Sulu reports we are on course and will be arriving at the closest Star Base in fourteen hours with current repairs." He held no emotion in his tone, however he was well aware that Jim had given the leader of the displaced peoples his own quarters as accommodations.
Taking a deep breath, Jim sat on the bench where Spock had led them. "That's good. We've managed to repair the damage to the shields and the warp drive is finally back online." His blue eyes gazed far into the distance, no longer seeing the department around him, his exhaustion evident.
Gently, for Spock had learned how to approach a human, he began to breech the subject weighing most heavily on his mind. "Jim, have you eaten today?" Allowing a small amount of concern to coat his voice, Spock watched his features closely searching for any signs that Jim would not answer honestly.
Shaking his head negative, Jim groaned. "No, I have not eaten today. Did Bones send you down here to find me and harass me?" He ran a stained hand through his dirty hair.
Sitting down beside the younger man, Spock raised an eyebrow. "Dr. McCoy did ask me to locate you and ask if you had eaten. However, I was going to search you out at the end of my shift, so I ordered Mr. Sulu to take the con early to offer you my assistance." Jim slowly turned to face the Commander. "During times of crisis, Captain, you put the needs of your own body last. I have come before you to demand, as is my right as your First Officer, that you eat, sleep and shower. It is for your own well-being and to ensure you will be healthy enough to face the next Red Alert." His voice was stern, as a father speaking to his rebellious son.
Jim's shoulders sagged with defeat. "Alright." He mumbled, but his blue eyes flashed with challenge. "I'll sleep, but you are going to rest too, Commander. I am sure that you have also been on duty the entire time." He smirked.
Nodding, knowing there was no other alternative and he would have to ensure that the Captain did rest; Spock followed Jim down the crowded hall leaving the noisy Engineering department behind. First, they headed to the Mess. It was mostly empty, as Spock had left his shift thirty-three minutes before his relief was due. The two men made their choices and took their seats at the closest available table. Jim had immediately begun devouring his hearty meal, as Spock did the same with his leafy vegetables. Several minutes later, Spock was surprised to see that his plate was empty and no conversation had transpired between the two. It was rare that anything, even hunger, stopped Jim Kirk from his constant chatter.
Spock disposed of their plates quickly, meeting a waiting Jim at the door. "I am aware that you have allowed the Leader to use your quarters, therefore I am willing to agree to you sleeping in my quarters." They walked down the hall, no other words exchanged between them, Jim finally too tired to argue with the Vulcan, for once. Jim leaned against the turbo lift walls for support after the doors slid shut behind them, his eye lids drooping, his yawns coming more frequently.
Knowing that Jim would rather fall to the floor before asking for assistance to walk down the hall in full view of his crew, Spock simply wrapped the human's arms across his shoulders and held firm to his waist. Their bodies crushed together as Jim leaned most of his weight against the stronger man. While most humans secreted sweat that was unappealing in smell, Jim's odor was never unpleasant enough to cause his sensitive nose discomfort. Of course in this situation, Spock would have not complained or shown outward signs of distress because of the urgency to get Jim in bed so he could finally sleep.
As they finally stood before his door and Spock keyed his entrance code, Jim chuckled. "I don't think the walk down our hall has ever been that long. I think someone tied weights to my legs when I wasn't looking." He allowed the Vulcan to once more assist his ambulation efforts.
Eyeing Jim, Spock led them into the room. "Computer, lower temperature ten degrees Fahrenheit, lights twenty-five percent." Though Spock could have navigated his room in the dark, it was more logical to allow Jim an unimpeded path to the bed so he could assist in dragging his weary body across the room.
Finally sinking down onto the mattress, Jim sighed in relief. "That's why I don't eat when we are in danger." He mumbled, attempting to kick off his boots.
Kneeling before his Captain, Spock unlaced the boot and eased his foot free. "Clarify." He moved to repeat the action on the other foot.
Tugging off the gold tunic, it took several minutes for Jim to reply. "When I'm this tired, a full belly puts me straight to sleep." He then pulled his black undershirt of over his head and with great effort he stood and began unbuttoning his pants.
Spock stood and backed away from the human. While Jim had little modesty, he had never been in this advanced a state of undress in Spock's presence. His tanned skin was slowly exposed save for the small covering his standard issue briefs allowed. Most of his body was covered in red marks, scratches and bruises, but he was alive, and for that Spock was most grateful. "While it is most illogical to Vulcans, I would like to thank you for saving my life today, Jim." His human side assured him that thanking his Captain for rushing an opposing guard, whose phaser was aimed at his heart, was appropriate.
Smiling, Jim sat back down, kicking his ankles free. "I had to save you. You are Spock. Jim Kirk can't live without Spock." He mumbled, falling back onto the bed.
It was no doubt a message his older self had given this Jim, but Spock felt illogically touched by the comment. Reaching forward, he assisted the blond under the cover, tucking it around his muscular form. "I believe the appropriate statement is 'good night and pleasant dreams'." He repeated the words his mother had whispered into his hair night after night. Jim simply smiled as his eyes drifted shut.
Spock had taken his spot on his meditation mat, pondering their friendship. While their companionship was the most unconventional, second only to their command style, it was fulfilling. Jim accepted Spock as he was – half of two worlds. Spock accepted Jim as he was – a son of a hero. They allowed the other to be who they were, not the shadow of their past or their parentage. And for someone who had never been accepted in society, Jim's friendship was a scared part of the Vulcan's life.
Spock was instantly aware when Jim began shifting restlessly in the bed, pulling himself from his light mediation. A whimper from the shorter man's throat had the Vulcan on his feet at standing beside the human. There was little doubt that Jim was experiencing a nightmare, but Spock had no prior knowledge of helping alleviate the night terrors. Calling for Dr. McCoy would take time, for the doctor was no doubt also resting. Unusually panicked by Jim's apparent terrifying dream and his own uselessness, Spock tentatively reached for Jim's shoulders and shook him, trying to wake him and bring him back to the safety of reality.
Jim's face was twisted in fright and sweat was beading on his forehead. Suddenly his eyes opened and he cried out. "Spock!" Before the Vulcan could pull away, Jim wrapped his arms tightly around him up under his armpits, crushing his face into the crook of his neck. His breath was coming in pants as he kept chanting his First Officer's name, choking back sobs.
Startled by the sudden contact and the emotional need seeping though their shared physical contact, Spock was unaware he had wrapped his arms around Jim's neck, one hand petting the blonde hair. He projected gentle emotions and calming thoughts towards the human. "I am here." It seemed the best response as Jim's thoughts seemed centered on an irrational fear of loosing him.
A small laugh escaped the human's lips. "I know." He pulled away, put did not release his grip, Spock mirrored his actions attempting to comfort the human as long as he needed. "Every time we have a mission that goes wrong and you put your life in danger, I can't help but worry about you." He whispered into the dark, his breath slowing and his mind returning from the nightmare.
Spock was at a loss for words. Never before had someone shown such attachment to his person. Jim was obviously committed to their friendship in such depth that he had not realized. "I am privileged to have such a devoted friend." His hands softened against the human's skin, his touch becoming more comforting and open. Jim sighed, relieved. "Perhaps, if you would allow it, I could rest beside you on the bed. Maybe my close proximity will alleviate your anxiety." Spock fought to keep his voice level.
Smiling, Jim slid towards the edge of the bed. "I would allow it with great pleasure." Spock stripped off his blue tunic, boots and pants, but left his undershirt as the room was cooler than he was accustomed for Jim's comfort. Silently they adjusted themselves on the small bed, Jim's back to Spock's abdomen.
The temptation to touch the blonde over-powered any logic in Spock's mind. His hand reached out of its own accord, gently resting atop Jim's shoulder. Knowing that his Captain was safe and well on his way to a peaceful slumber, Spock allowed himself to rest and to recuperate from the long ordeal. The danger had once more passed them by, but it would return and these two men would fight to protect each other – their best friend.