After some missions, Spock wants laughter and company. To remind him that there is still hope, that they are still alive. To feel his blood thrum in his veins. To look into another face, so open these humans, see tiredness, the cost, the thrill of having survived, the certainty that given the same situation they would rush in again. The clap on the shoulder as they disperse for the night. The sign of inclusion, that wide easy grin that communicates so much.
After some missions Spock is so angry that his face feels stiff when he tries to speak. His anger strives to take control of him, abandon logic and respond in an unproductive way. So hard for him to contain. So hard to contain while in a relationship with Uhara. She does not understand his need to lash out. She does not understand his shame. She tries to make him happy. He just wants to be left alone to implode. He wants someone who is tough. To give him something to rail against in return. To make him feel something except for anger gripping him. A bright eyed man looks at him and gives him what he needs.
After some missions Spock comes back bruised and sometimes bleeding, so tired he can barely see straight. Dismisses the nurse with a few words, going around his routine before he can allow himself to rest. Seeing the pale hands reach over his pale green skin and gently brush them out of the way. Hands that are far steadier than his. A voice that simultaneously tells him what a stubborn sod he's being while gently letting him know that it's okay, he'll handle it. Gentle touch that Spock is too exhausted to do anything about. Guiding him down to his quarters, threatening to lace his tea with sleeping tablets if he doesn't get his ass into bed. Touch that communicates exasperation, tiredness, concern, amusement and an easy familiarity. The echo of that touch cradles him into sleep long after it's owner has departed.
After some missions Spock steps down from the transporter pad unable to speak. A body cradled in his arms, he feels the blood slowly drying on his fingers, the labored breathing making his own heart beat twice as hard. That sick feeling every time McCoy fails to mask his comments in dry wit and sarcasm. Watching the pale face with it's golden halo against the bright white pillow. Ignoring the nurses' tuts and thinly veiled hints to get some rest. Watching the rise and fall of the chest, knowing he should be able to count to four for each breath. It becomes a steady mantra in his head In-1-2-Out-3-4. Knows that flutter of eyelids before a gleam of blue shows through as the owner swims to consciousness. "Spock." The voice is so often raspy and pain filled, but the acknowledgement makes his blood flow faster.
"Captain." He watches closely, not satisfied till he hears the rest of the now ritualized exchange.
"You know you stink." The reference to their third mission together involving a swamp never fails to reassure him that the mental faculties are intact.
"Fascinating." He knows to do it with his eyebrow raised. It is rewarded with a raspy attempt at a laugh and flash of teeth in a tired semi-grin. And he swears to himself that he will never have to carry him unconscious again. He will never have to watch to make sure the man breathes. That next time he will be quicker. That before next time happens, that man will know Spock's secret. That next time he says it, it won't be to, often bleeding, unconscious ears along with the admonishment that he will wake up. But for now, watching Kirk breathe is enough.