Notes: This was originally for arcadii because of her lovely feedback and insightful comments. Now this is doubly for arcadii for her wonderfully generous donation this week. (Also, there will be more fics for you, pet, as you're just that outstanding!)
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
"That," Jim said, "is driving me fucking nuts."
McCoy grunted over the top of his paper. He'd only been home from the night shift for ten minutes, and for the entirety of that ten minutes, the neighbour's dog had been barking. Which wouldn't be so annoying if it wasn't six in the morning, and if the dog in question hadn't been so loud.
Kevin-next-door had moved out last week, and the new neighbour - some bald antisocial sort with a poor taste in heavy metal music, heavy tattoos and a motorbike that coughed liberal amount of fumes whenever Baldie took it joyriding - had a dog. A big, ugly, noisy dog.
It hadn't shut up in about...a week.
"Boooones," Jim whined, poking him in the side with his toes. It was a Sunday morning, which meant Jim had crushed himself into the corner of the couch and waited to shove his abnormally cold feet under McCoy's ass and leech off his body heat when he got home from the hospital. "Go see what the fuss is."
McCoy heaved himself off to the sofa and headed for the patio doors. Squinting out into the morning mist, he distinctly saw into about a third of the neighbour's garden, and the dog jumping up against the fence, barking repeatedly.
"Jim, your cat's a sadist."
Spock was sitting serenely on the top of the fence, staring loftily down at the dog as though it were a mildly interesting, and vaguely disgusting, experiment. Perhaps it was; McCoy wouldn't put it past the damn animal.
"It's taunting the dog."
"How is he...?" the couch creaked, and then Jim was at his shoulder, and snorted. "That's awesome."
"That's also why the dog's going batshit."
"Eh," Jim shrugged. "It'll wear itself out eventually."
Spock began to casually wash his paws, and McCoy shook his head. That cat was just fucking evil.
It only happened the once, and it only needed to happen the once to convince McCoy that Jim's cat was not a cat, but some incarnation of the devil himself. Satan had appeared as serpents and demons in the Bible, and after that Thursday night, McCoy was utterly convinced that the Second Coming would involve Satan, and would involve him as a cat.
For once, however, McCoy wasn't the victim.
He had shifted when Jim had escaped the bed - he'd only just come off an emergency call-out and wasn't truly settled yet when Jim wriggled from the bedroom and mumbled something that could have been "bathroom" or "Bethlehem" or anything inbetween. He stumbled out onto the landing, not bothering to turn the lights on - and about ten seconds later, screamed.
Working in the emergency room for the last four years had given McCoy reflexes that were just that bit scary, and he was wide awake, out of bed, and in the hall with Jim's alarm clock in hand ready to bash whatever intruder had made Jim scream like JoJo at last year's Christmas party.
"Don't. Move!" Jim yelped shrilly. The bathroom light was on, and McCoy could just make out the ghostly pallor of his face. "Don't - fucking - move."
McCoy obediently stilled, and followed his tense gaze down the stairs.
At the bottom, a pair of luminous yellow eyes glowed. They looked alien - fuck that, they looked like something out of a horror movie, and they were getting closer.
"Oh, for fuck's sake, Jim."
"Bones, what the fuck is it?" Jim hissed, still most definitely in panic.
"It's your fucking -" McCoy began, and Spock padded serenely into the circle of light from the bathroom door, the discs in his eyes glinted once more before he blinked, meowed, and rubbed himself happily around Jim's ankles.
Jim didn't pet him, shaking from head to toe.
"Jesus fucking Christ," he breathed.
"Yes," McCoy said flatly. "I can't believe you've had a cat that long and haven't seen that before."
Spock meowed, and headbutted Jim's knee.
"That was...fucking hell, that was..."
McCoy said nothing, returning to their bedroom and dropping the clock back onto the stand. He collapsed into bed when he heard the bathroom door close, and a moment later, a lump bounced up onto the bed and settled at his feet.
"Fucking sadist," he grumbled.
The cat purred.
Jim worked with a guy called Sam Giotto that, frankly, McCoy couldn't stand. The man was a complete meathead, only in the security industry because even the police thought he was too much of a thug and the local nightclubs had thrown him out of their clients' workplaces too many times to hire him. He constantly grunted, snorted and belched instead of talked, and there was a constant and suspicious smell of weed whenever he was in the immediate vicinity.
This was not, in itself, a major problem. Jim worked for the largest security firm in California, and had about four hundred or so coworkers with which to socialise. Sam Giotto was not typically one of them - although they were acquainted, and often attended the same parties and socials due to sharing a fair number of less obnoxious friends, they did not really actively communicate with one another.
And then the car broke down.
McCoy wasn't bothered by the car breaking down - the hospital was a twenty-minute walk, and it was the middle of summer. Jim, however, had been pushed onto a project in San Diego and had been taking the car every evening for his night shift. McCoy supposed - grudgingly - that it was generous of Giotto to offer Jim a ride, but it meant that the great hulking moron would have to come near the house.
And then McCoy discovered his own evil streak, around the same time that Spock displayed his again.
The cat had been perfectly saintly (i.e. barely in attendance) for most of the summer, spending his nights hunting and his days sunbathing on the patio and thoroughly out of McCoy's way. He did, however, take a distinct interest in this new person.
They lived on a fairly busy road, so Giotto would have to pull the car into the driveway in order to pick Jim up and not get rear-ended by some jackass who'd only had his license for three days. As such, he entered Spock's territory - and Spock did what he always did with cars in the summer, and would jump up onto the hood, seeking out the ridiculous heat and stretching out happily on it.
Turned out Sam Giotto had a crippling phobia of cats.
Jim was quite sympathetic to this, removing Spock from the hood when he came out and shooing him away from the car. But it wasn't possible to keep Spock locked in the house until they'd gone to work, purely because he wouldn't be in the house until roughly September when the heat began to subside anyway. And whatever the cat was sensing from Giotto, it was not intimidated.
If anything, he became more persistent, even going so far as to try and get in the car with Jim one evening, and reducing Giotto to a jibbering mess in the attempt.
"It isn't funny," Jim scolded McCoy once, when he laughed at the spectacle of the great beast of a man reducing to a shivering child by the mere presence of a nine-pound cat.
"Yeah, Jim. It really, really is."
It was a stupid, sappy, sentimental thing to admit - and one he never would - but waking up early in the morning and just...well, cuddling, was one of McCoy's favourite benefits of harmonious relationships. And Joss had never much been into it - too active, too busy, and anyway, you didn't get time to cuddle once you had a baby anyway - but Jim liked his lie-ins, and was perfectly happy to doze under McCoy's arm and suck up his body heat like a weird endothermic sponge.
Wednesday mornings were the best. McCoy always took Wednesdays off, barring emergencies, and Jim's shifts meant that he didn't go until noon at the earliest anyway. So Wednesdays had become McCoy's peaceful mornings - no bleepers, no demands, no shouting or arguments, no nothing but staying firmly buried under a mound of sheets, one arm slung over Jim's ribs, and feeling him breathe.
It was just...one of those things. It was nice. Jim was half-asleep most of the time, so there was no need to think of anything to say. Jim was so devoted to his lie-ins that even morning sex was out of the question - too energetic. So there was nothing else to do, and no reason to feel guilty about getting that simple pleasure.
And screw anything else: it put Jim in a good mood too. He might tease McCoy about it, but McCoy knew the truth. He was a doctor, damn it, and he knew a good mood when he saw one. And Jim definitely had them if they'd spent the morning cuddling.
But then some mornings were like - McCoy groaned when the bedroom door squeaked - this one.
Sometimes, cats were worse than children.
He didn't always do it - it was usually directly related to how many small, furry creatures he'd disembowelled in the night, and how empty the food dish in the kitchen was - but some mornings, like this morning, Spock would interrupt the cuddle.
And McCoy never worked out how. He would - the bed dipped - jump up onto the end of the mattress and prod and poke at their feet for a while. Jim would - he stirred - murmur and mumble into his pillow, and then Spock would take the movement as a cue to carry on.
And McCoy had no clue how a cat that didn't weigh as much as your average baby did it, but he would almost tiptoe over the mounds of their bodies until he found the point at which they joined - around sternum level - and...
He would walk in tight circles, burrowing into the sheets until Jim began to wriggle. Backwards. Leaving the cat an ever-widening hole into which to curl, until he suddenly ended up purring between them, and Jim had woken up enough to stroke him and blearily smile at McCoy over the sheets and pillows.
"Morning," he mumbled, and yawned.
Spock purred even louder as McCoy glowered at him.
"What?" Jim asked.
"He only ever does that when we're being lazy, you realise that?"
Jim snorted. "Bones. He's a cat."
"He's a damned smart cat."
The purr got even louder, if that was possible.
"Yeah, you are, aren't you?" Jim crooned, scratching behind pointed ears until those sharp eyes closed in feline bliss. "What's your point, Bones? He's just trying to get a cuddle and some warmth."
"What do you think I'm after?" McCoy grumbled.
"Yeah, but," Jim said, leaning over Spock carefully to kiss McCoy's stubble and deliberately dodge the attempted return, "he's just an animal. You're a grumpy jerk with morning breath."
And if cats could look positively smug, then Spock did.
Jim was a charmer, and he'd taken one look at Jocelyn and charmed the expensive stockings right off her.
She'd come around to try, for the nineteenth time, to talk McCoy into signing an agreement allowing her to move to New Zealand - and take Jo with her. She'd spouted on and on about the fresh air, the countryside, the people, getting away from all that rude, loud American culture - and all McCoy had heard, and all he heard every time, was how Joss wanted to take his little girl away from him.
Jim had managed to keep it civil, mediating between them with all that charisma that seemed like he wasn't mediating at all, and Joss liked him despite herself - you could see it in her face. She liked him, even when she'd tried to use, on three separate occasions, McCoy's bisexuality to overturn the joint custody ruling.
Keeping things civil between him and Joss wasn't easy, and McCoy had bitten back more than a dozen nasty remarks, and so now he'd escaped - supposedly for the bathroom, but ended up sat on the stairs in the hall, head in his hands and mentally calling Jocelyn every name under the sun, including some lovely Punjabi curses he'd picked up from the new junior intern in the cardiology unit.
And so he was there when Spock returned the victor from a hunting trip.
Normally, McCoy would have had the front door open and the cat kicked out into the garden again the moment he registered the mouse dangling from lethal jaws, but he simply felt too tired, and watched listlessly as Spock circled the hall once before dropping the mouse on the mat and batting it around a couple of times to make sure that it was quite dead.
"You don't have to torture it," McCoy grumbled, and earned himself a distinctly unimpressed stare before Spock picked up the mouse again.
Instead of presenting it, however, as he was wont to do, he stepped daintily over Jim's work boots and McCoy's sharp leather shoes, and patted the narrow heel of Jocelyn's elegant black shoes that she'd left, side-by-side and pristine, by the closet door. He sniffed around them curiously, prodding the hard leather a couple more times - and then, very deliberately, dropped the distinctly dead mouse into the left shoe.
Apparently, that was all the pomp and circumstance required, for Spock stepped out of the mess of shoes, stretched luxuriously and flexed every claw on his front two feet, and came to rub around McCoy's ankles just in case the loose fur had managed to drift away from his pants yet.
"You're evil," McCoy told the cat as it rubbed its head against his left ankle. "That's just downright evil."
He dropped a hand to scratch behind one pointed ear, earning himself an approving purr before Spock arched his back and padded off to the kitchen in search of food, Jim, or both.
It was evil, but perhaps in that instance, he wasn't going to complain about it.
It was well after midnight by the time McCoy came off-shift, and beginning to lightly snow. The drive home was freezing, his hands frigid on the steering wheel, and the ice crunched under his boots as he fumbled with his keys for the front door. He registered faint surprise when Spock didn't bolt in or out around his ankles, but didn't pay it much attention, glancing up the stairs to the darkness of the landing and supposing that he was probably either outside destroying small ecosystems, or occupying McCoy's pillow in a feline fit of anger at some supposed transgression.
Then he closed the front door, and the exclusion of the wind let the faint yammer of the television leak into his range of hearing.
Stepping into the living room, he found an advert for perfume playing quietly in the background, and the long form of Jim curled up on the couch and apparently asleep. A dark lump on his pale sweatshirt solved the mystery of Spock's location, and a pair of eyes slitted open to peer at him in mute curiosity.
He stepped around the back of the couch to lean over it and stare at Jim's face. He was completely asleep: lax and pliant, sinking into the lines of the couch, and somehow beautiful despite the faint snoring, and the spittle collecting on his chin, and the unsightly, uneven growth of stubble from three days of laziness and unwillingness to stay in the cold bathroom any longer than necessary. One arm had fallen off the couch, the hand grazing the floor, and the other was curled around Spock in an instinct protection from the cat falling off.
"Keeping watch?" McCoy murmured to Spock.
The cat rose and stretched, Jim murmuring and snorting incoherently at the change in pressure, and jumped up onto the back. He rubbed his head against McCoy's chin momentarily, purring loudly in a surprisingly warm greeting, before settling himself quiet deliberately over McCoy's hands and stretching out, burying the icy fingers into his underbelly and the warm fur and skin there.
Cats were shockingly warm, and the blood rushed to the frozen regions when his purr kicked it up a notch - and McCoy frowned, peering at Spock in a mixture of pleased surprise and utter confusion.
"Since when did you give a damn?" he muttered.
The cat - obviously - did not answer.