Thankfully, there was little in the way of awkwardness when McCoy woke. They had actually stayed on their separate sides. Spock was curled up with his back to him. He looked strangely relaxed just lying there, pointed ears, dark pristine hair, and muscular back. McCoy frowned at the way he could see Spock's ribs a bit too much through his shirt. That Vulcan should eat more.
In his position, Spock's pointed ears looked large. They were, dare he think it, kind of quaint. He shook the errant thoughts out of his head and quietly slipped out from underneath the covers. He went to go shower and change. Ugh. He should have done it last night, he thought. It had just been too darn cold and he had been exhausted.
When he came back into the room, Leonard noticed that Jim was still asleep and Spock's eyes were open. Spock had turned over, watching him move around the room. Though, something about his eyes seemed different.
"Did you sleep well, Spock?" He asked softly.
He noticed that the captain was still sprawled across his own bed, quietly snoring.
"Sleep was unnecessary." Spock stated.
"Weren't you tired? You sounded worn out last night." McCoy approached the bed and sat down.
Some sort of inner alarm was ringing within him. Spock had looked tuckered out last evening. Why had he not slept? With his proximity closer to the Vulcan, he noticed the slightly hooded eyes and drawn, pale look on his face. Spock did not look well.
"I was weary. But my discomfort made sleep quite impossible."
"What discomfort? Where does it hurt?" McCoy stopped himself from reaching out and touching him to assess the answer for himself.
"I am experiencing hunger, headache, and light-headedness. The situation will soon be remedied once we partake of a morning meal." Spock assured him.
"Wait, you were hungry all night and so you couldn't sleep?" McCoy's eyebrows rose almost to his hairline.
"I believe that is what I have just said, doctor." Spock said with a hint of impatience in his voice.
"Why didn't you wake me? Or Jim? Vulcans shouldn't even feel hunger that acutely unless your body is in dire need of something." McCoy's brow furrowed.
"Your human bodies were in need of rest more than mine was. I could not move without disturbing your slumber, so I chose to wait."
"Of all the pig headed things to do-" McCoy shook his head.
The doctor seemed temporarily at a loss for words. McCoy's posture was hunched over, as if he was dispirited about something. Spock slowly sat up, placing a hand hesitantly on the doctor's shoulder.
"I fail to see what has caused your alarm." Spock said quietly.
"You do? Well, I'll be sure to enlighten you once we get breakfast." The doctor stood.
Spock attempted to glean the doctor's thoughts by watching his expression. They had broken physical contact, which made his touch telepathy unhelpful. McCoy could wear an impressive myriad of emotions all at once, which made determining his current thought processes more difficult.
"Come on, Jim. It's time to get up." The doctor said more loudly.
The captain did not stir, but after some cajoling and pokes in the back he came awake grumbling.
"We're on vacation. It's too early."
"This is what you get for dragging us out on long hikes. We could have gone tobogganing or jet snow surfing. Instead you walked us into the ground with your nature tours." McCoy said darkly.
"So this is my punishment for exercising you? It hardly seems fair." Kirk sat up, stretching.
"No, this is me telling you to get your bum out of bed because we all need to go to breakfast. Spock is hungry."
McCoy might as well have announced that the sky was falling.
"Yes. Now, as his doctor I am telling you to hustle or we'll have to go eat without you."
"Alright, alright. Wait a minute and let me change."
Sighing, the captain made ready for the day. It would be a stressful morning with McCoy in full mother hen mode. His worry for one friend often caused him to worry about anyone else in the general vicinity. It was 'get a lecture from Bones' day in full force.
They all walked down to the lodge restaurant. They were not keen on using the lobby replicators for meals, so quality took place over convenience. The restaurant was roomy, yet with cozy touches in the style of old Earth. There was a tiny stone fireplace, antlers adorning the walls, and warm lighting. The walls were faux wood, but a good imitation nonetheless.
They seated themselves and ordered from the digital menus. Then they all waited, engaging in conversation. Kirk and McCoy did most of the chatting and Spock would only respond with a few words to questions put to him.
The doctor noticed the Vulcan's reticence. He picked up on Spock's sallow complexion and slightly sagging posture with only a glance. Jim, who was sitting opposite of them, started shooting worried looks at Spock as well. McCoy stood.
"Why don't we switch places, Spock? This dang fireplace is too hot. I don't know what possessed them to put it so close to customers' tables. You can take the heat better than I can."
Spock did not look fooled for one moment. Nonetheless, he switched places with the doctor and moved closer to the fire. Spock was so pale that he looked gray. Even the usual flush of green was gone from his skin.
"Hang in there, Spock. They'll bring us breakfast soon." McCoy reached over and rubbed the First Officer's shoulder.
He did the gesture out of instinct, momentarily forgetting Spock's wariness of touch. The science officer was just another ill friend to him.
When the doctor's hand passed over his shoulder blade in a rhythmic movement, a rare feeling came over Spock. The Vulcan felt himself take a slow, deep breath. The breath became momentarily lodged in his throat as it came up from his diaphragm. The air paused and rumbled out. Everyone at the table froze.
"What was that? Is that thunder in the distance?" Kirk looked out a nearby window while McCoy's hand stilled. They started looking about for the source of the noise.
Spock silently berated himself for vocalizing his purr, but he hoped the other two officers would soon forget the incident.
"Don't be silly, Jim. This planet doesn't get thunderstorms. I guess someone could have dropped something in the kitchen. It kind of sounded like one of those old-fashioned serving carts on wheels." McCoy settled back in his seat, taking on a relaxed posture.
"Could have been a planetquake." Kirk mumbled, sitting back down.
The doctor nodded.
"That would be quite a way to top off our first two days of leave. Just this once, I would like to come back from vacation not looking like something the cat drug in." McCoy lamented.
"There's nothing the matter with a little adventure." Kirk looked unfazed.
"Tell that to your First Officer." McCoy said grimly.
Soon, a male waiter brought them their breakfast. The young man had been star struck when he recognized Kirk from the news. It seemed that the human was a pilot in training, and so they discussed the Enterprise before they ate. Kirk smiled, watching as Spock warmed to the topic with the waiter. Well, perhaps this trip was not destined to be a complete disaster after all. The thought helped alleviate the captain's guilt.
"Jim, what do you say we just take today to take it easy? I think we could all catch up on some rest rather than doing another sport or something. I know that I want to try old fashioned skiing, but I want to wait for tomorrow." McCoy propositioned.
"It's your vacation, Bones. You don't need my permission." Jim said with an amused smirk.
McCoy would sometimes forget that he was not under orders while on a trip with them. It was charming, in a way. Though admittedly, Kirk had pulled rank on them yesterday when Spock was ill, so it really was no wonder.
The various recreational rooms were quite opulent and set up for indoor games of all sorts. It was made up of several connected rooms and hallways. The three officers chose the less frequented one to lounge by the fire. Like in the restaurant, they let Spock take the space closest to the fire. Spock remained quiet on the subject of their continued consideration. It appeared he knew that he would be fighting a lost cause if he tried to dissuade them.
Kirk had grabbed up a book and sat in an easy chair while Spock sat opposite to him close to the hearth. McCoy had scooted a chair in between them. The doctor was thinking. Something about that morning struck him as odd. They still had received no explanation for the rumbling noise during breakfast.
McCoy almost felt as if he had a physical sensation that accompanied it. He remembered that his hand had vibrated when the noise had occurred. His hand had been on Spock's shoulder, so the rumble most have emitted from him. He blinked. Of course! But what kind of noise would cause the first officer to vibrate like that? It almost reminded McCoy of a cat-
Comprehension dawned swiftly on McCoy and he made an awed expression.
"Doctor?" Spock raised an intrigued eyebrow.
"You can purr!"
The Vulcan confirmed it as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
"You can purr? Was that the noise that we heard at breakfast?" Kirk's eyes widened.
"Explanation?" Kirk asked as if he were expecting a formal report aboard the Enterprise.
"It is said that the ancient Vulcans were once evolved from giant desert cats. It is purely speculation, but certain evidence has proven the theory to be solid." Spock explained patiently.
"So the reason for your pointed ears, your extra eyelid, and your purring is that your distant ancestors were a bunch of desert kittens?" McCoy smirked.
"Felines, doctor. And they would be my very distant ancestors. The Vulcan race only has traces of their traits." Spock said in a serious tone.
A grin crossed over McCoy's face.
"So, what triggers a purr? Is it the same thing that triggers cats to purr?" McCoy was careful to keep the excited inflection out of his voice.
"I fail to see how this information would be of medical use to you." Spock said coolly.
"Call it an anatomical curiosity." McCoy said innocently.
After a moment of hesitation, the Vulcan relented.
"The answer is yes, doctor. Vulcan purrs are triggered by the same scenarios that effect cats."
As soon as Spock admitted it, he knew he had done something that jeopardized their constant war of teasing and had given McCoy ample ammunition. The doctor beamed.
"I made you purr! Jim, the son of a gun always says I'm so horribly illogical and irritating, yet I made him purr! You can't say that you dislike me now, Spock."
Spock looked befuddled for a moment.
"I never claimed dislike of you. Though I fail to see how this topic is of such great personal interest. My genetic makeup merely responded in a way that was always intended. Your stroking of my shoulder made it quite inevitable."
Kirk watched the discussion unfold curiously. He was still pondering over the fact that Spock was similar to a cat, to the point that he even purred like one. Of all the cold Vulcan character traits he possessed, this one seemed the most unique.
"Spock, I've worked side by side with you for two full years. Even I didn't know about this." Kirk stated.
"It was not relevant to the working of the ship or to any of our missions." Spock replied.
"It's still remarkable. Sometimes, I quite envy the differences that come from your Vulcan side. It seems to give you all of your advantageous traits like super strength, sight, and hearing."
The captain's face seemed to flush a little after speaking, as if embarrassed. He tried to casually go back to his book, but Spock was looking flattered and unable to let the comment slide. The Vulcan almost seemed smug.
"Why thank you, captain. Vulcan heritage is deemed by many to be a privilege. I am pleased that you are of the same opinion."
McCoy frowned. Trust Jim to take the Vulcan's side.
"That doesn't stop you from being half human. You still get emotions like the rest of us. The fact that you are here with me and Jim instead of on the ship is living proof of that. You have feelings of friendship for us that you can't deny." McCoy said firmly.
"Indeed, doctor. Certain emotions are no longer shameful to me, for I have experienced their benefits. The emotions associated with friendship are unique and covetable. I will continue to hold them in a lofty regard." Spock turned back to watching the flames flicker from behind the fire grate, deep in thought.
McCoy made a small choking noise, glancing over at the captain to watch his reaction to Spock's speech. Kirk lowered his book, a warm smile blooming across his countenance.
"I am glad of it, Mr. Spock."
Author Notes: Thank you for reading this. It was a lot of fun to write. I know purring is just a fan theory, but I couldn't resist adding it. Thank you for reading this on account of cold urticaria awareness. It is an irritating condition (and sometimes dangerous), and I hope they come up with something to cure it.