Notes: For Nicky, because this pairing is to her what shoes are to my sister. Sponeswhores and shoewhores.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
McCoy came out of the bathroom, leaned against the doorframe, and narrowed his eyes.
It was almost undetectable, but it was there - a slight stillness about the base of the skull, a mild tension of the muscles in the jaw, the barest ghost of a crease between the eyebr- aha.
"You've got one of those damn migraines again, haven't you?" he demanded.
Spock glanced up from the console almost as if he hadn't noticed McCoy standing there - which sealed it. There was no way the hobgoblin didn't notice something that damn obvious unless he was preoccupied, and it sure as shit wasn't star mapping that had him so distracted.
"How long?" McCoy snapped.
"It is quite manageable."
"Not what I asked. How long?"
"Its duration is irrelevent as long as it does not interfere with..."
"Spock, we can do this my way or we can do this your way. My way involves gettin' rid of it. Your way involves trying to bullshit me, and then gettin' medicated up to your pointy ears for even tryin'. Which is it going to be?"
There was a short pause, before Spock switched off the screen of the console and rose from the chair. "Medication will not be necessary."
"You let me be the judge of that," McCoy said. "Strip down and get into bed."
He didn't keep much in the way of medication in their quarters - he was rarely in need of it, and Spock had the oh-so-wonderful combination of not liking medication, and being one of the most difficult people in existence to medicate thanks to his frankly insane physiology. Still, he kept enough around to be able to dig up a medical tricorder and a couple of doses of lighter sedatives and standard-issue painkillers by the time Spock had settled, cross-legged, on the mattress.
"How long?" McCoy repeated as he ran the tricorder around the back of Spock's head, where the muscle tension was at its greatest.
"Four point two hours."
He dropped the tricorder to the bedside table and chose the lighter of the two painkillers. "Alright. You particularly stressed, or you been in lab four again?"
Lab four was infamous for it; almost nobody could work in there for more than four hours without getting a migraine from the constant whine that the astrometrics equipment gave off. McCoy could practically write textbooks on sound-induced migraines by now; hell, he could specialise if he really wanted to. And anyone with sharper hearing - so Spock, and Ensign Rawls from Xenobiology, and Lieutenant M'Ress - succumbed to the trigger much quicker.
"I'm going to write a formal complaint about that lab," McCoy muttered, depressing the hypospray into Spock's neck and passing a light kiss with his fingertips over the spot as he put the instrument down. "Alright, c'mere."
He settled himself behind Spock on the bed, leaning up against the headboard, and buried his hands into that thick, dark hair, splaying his fingers out until his palms cupped the crown and he could feel the heat radiating from Spock's brain.
Then he pressed, and Spock's spine sagged perceptibly.
"Just relax," he murmured, pitching his voice low, and curled his fingers in before pushing them out flat again, pressing down hard into the tough bone. It would have been borderline painful for a human patient, but Spock's skull was a hundred percent Vulcan, and about three times as dense. The gradual drop of his head back into McCoy's hands spoke of anything but finding the treatment too rough.
While his fingers fell into a push-and-pull rhythm along the top of the skull, his thumb curled under into delicate framework where skull met spine, and he dug, nails buried either side of the spine. Again, in a human, he would never have dared to do it, but Spock let out a long breath and the muscles in his neck began to give.
"Four point two hours, my ass," McCoy muttered, rubbing his thumbnails up and down once before digging in again, a little lower. Something creaked, and he drew up his knees either side of Spock's torso when his spine relaxed further. "This is a six-hour doozy if I ever saw one."
Spock said nothing. As McCoy spread his fingers down to continue the rubbing along the sides of his skull rather than the top, he tilted his head back and allowed McCoy's thumbs to rub circles into the crown of his hair. The skin was thinner there, and he lessened the pressure until he could feel the blood flow underneath his fingertips beginning to match his rhythm. It was only here that he could feel the blood flow at all, although a faint pulse point drummed just off-centre from the crown.
He dug there, experimentally, and Spock's shoulders performed an odd twitch.
Gradually, as the tension around the skull itself began to lessen, Spock began to lean back until McCoy finally moved his hands around to the temples entirely and began to rub gentle circles into them. At that point, Spock's back met his chest, and he was suddenly pinned to the headboard with the greater weight of a fully-grown Vulcan, and a relaxed one at that.
"How's the pain?" he murmured, still rubbing small circles into Spock's temples. He was no telepath, but his fingers were definitely getting a light buzz, almost like touching a live wire to something that didn't take a whole lot of power. Like standing in an electrical storm in Georgia in the summer, and feeling the lightning in the air around right before it hit the trees on the ridge.
It was an oddly pleasant feeling.
"It has significantly decreased," Spock's voice was pitched equally low, but McCoy suspected not deliberately. The dark eyes were closed, and his breathing distinctly slowing and falling into a deeper rhythm.
"You gonna stay out of lab four tomorrow?" McCoy asked, giving up on the head massage entirely. Spock's head was resting against his shoulder, and he dropped one hand to curl over the Vulcan's chest and measure the respiration rate. The other opted to remain in the dark hair and brush over the faint heat at the hairline. He rarely had the opportunity to mess up that too-perfect Vulcan hair, and wasn't going to miss out on it now. Besides. People were like cats; they liked to be stroked.
"I am on bridge duty tomorrow," Spock - murmured, there was no other word for it, and McCoy caught the smirk before it fully emerged.
He kept quiet watch, stroking his thumb over the perfect line of hair that cut off the high forehead until that breathing rhythm slipped entirely from consciousness and awareness, and into purely mechanical shifts. The heart finally slowed to perceptible beats, and McCoy spent half a minute counting them before giving up, and simply sitting in silence. He didn't think, he didn't ponder, he didn't even wonder at the lack of action in just sitting. For long minutes, he simply sat and stroked and did nothing else.
Eventually, he would have to move him, which would probably wake him, and he would have to get ready for bed himself.
But for now, he kept a hand tucked into now decidedly imperfect dark hair, and listened to his breathing.