Spock awoke with a start, fighting back the urge to suck in a deep breath of oxygen. He was not stuck on Betatin VII, he was not curled up with Captain Kirk, and he did not have a shortage of oxygen in the small enclosure of his quarters.
Irrationally, memories of the ice cold planet haunted his unconsciousness. He had been out of Sickbay for approximately twenty-seven hours, even though Doctor McCoy had confined him to quarters until Beta shift today.
Spock stretched and then curled up again, drawing his pillow close to his face. These dreams had been nagging at him, preventing him from restful sleep. If he wasn't under doctor's orders- that were wholly unnecessary- Spock would have gone to the Science labs. That was wishful thinking, however, because he was under doctor's orders for another twelve point three hours.
He stifled a yawn and rolled over.
Spock pried his eyes open, looking around himself self-consciously. "Yes, Captain?" he asked, sitting up straighter.
"You're dozing off over your soup."
Spock looked down at lunch on the table, staring dully into his soup. "Yes."
"Do I need to get someone to stand in for you today?" Kirk asked, raising an eyebrow.
Spock shook his head. "That will not be necessary."
Kirk set his coffee cup down. He clasped his hands together and leaned forward, looking Spock straight in the eye. "Are you alright?"
Spock hesitated, but nodded. "I am experiencing... trouble sleeping," he admitted. "But it's not of utmost importance."
"You're falling asleep during your shift; I think it's pretty important."
Spock knew that Kirk had him there. It was a good catch on the Captain's behalf.
But Kirk continued, saving him from a response. "Nightmares?"
Spock inclined his head slightly. "Not particularly what you would call nightmares. Moreover memories."
Kirk sighed. "Yeah, me, too. It's always the same gut-wrenching, breathless heartache. All the regrets and final promises and the desolation..." he trailed off.
The crushing tedium of being stuck in a cave of pure ice cold tendencies. The failing ability to breathe, feeling each breath turning shorter and shorter, more and more difficult. The fact that he and Captain Kirk had been embracing, forced into sharing body heat to keep themselves alive was still unsettling. His own logic had been failing, his mental capacity short-circuiting, his ability to even move his lips to form words diminished. It had been... frightening.
Kirk shook himself just then, drawing in a deep breath. "Well, I went to Bones for a sedative. It might help you. Pill form or something."
Spock tilted his head. "Perhaps."
"Don't give me that 'I don't need it' shit. If you're having nightmares-"
"I did not say that I do not need it, Captain," Spock interrupted.
"I know." Kirk paused to yawn. "But you've got that stubborn Vulcan look."
Spock turned away and covered his mouth- unlike Captain Kirk- as he, too, yawned. "I fail to see how I look stubborn."
Kirk was about to respond when he instead yawned again. "Damn it!"
Spock raised an eyebrow. "Are you quite positive that the sedative has been working to its full effect for you, Captain?"
"Yes... No... I'm tired," he mumbled.
"Perhaps you should take the rest of the shift off and I will handle your duties," Spock said.
"Oh, don't try and weasel out getting some rest," Kirk muttered, downing his coffee in three gulps. "I'm going back to the Bridge. Don't fall asleep if you can help it."
Spock watched Captain Kirk leave and, knowing that he would probably fall asleep without a distraction, picked up his tray to empty and followed after his Captain.
Spock was in the middle of a chart when his door buzzed. He granted entrance without looking up, eyes intent on something that wasn't adding up in the calculations.
"Alright, Spocko, I've got sedatives and Vulcan tea," Kirk said, striding into his quarters.
Spock raised his head. There were multiple parts of the statement that he wished to convey, although none of them found vocals before Kirk spoke again.
"Here," he said, holding out the two tablets he was holding. "Take these, with this," he said, setting the mug down on the table.
Spock looked down at the mug. The scent of familiar home-brewed tea wafted towards his nose and he resisted the urge to pick up the mug and drink it immediately. It had been a long day.
Spock looked back at Kirk. "Very well." He set his holopen down and took the sedative tablets from Kirk, placing them on his tongue. He chased them down with a drink of his tea, setting the mug down again. "I advise that you get some sleep as well."
Kirk yawned widely. "Yep. Already taken mine. Figured I'd take matters into my own hands, though... I thought you were still working on that report."
Spock stood up, picking up his tea. "The report is not adding up correctly, Captain. I fear-"
"You're probably just too tired to add it up, Spock." An idea lit up his eyes. "Chess?"
"We have just taken sedatives, Captain. Our ability to play chess-" He stopped talking, pressing his lips into a fine line momentarily. "You expect to win while the sedative takes effect."
Spock gestured to the three-dimensional chess board. "You may have the first move, Captain."
Kirk strode to the table, flopping into one of the chairs. He moved a pawn and looked expectantly towards Spock.
Spock walked across the room and joined Kirk at the table. "If you wish to win, even in these weakened mental states, you must refrain from typical moves, Captain," he commented, countering the familiar move in his also typical response.
"Wait and see, Spock. Wait and see."
When Leonard McCoy decided to find both of his patients to check up on them, he thought the computer was malfunctioning when it said that they were together in Spock's quarters. This wasn't an uncommon occurrence- at normal time. It was just past 0200 hours now... and both Spock and Kirk appeared to be in the Vulcan's quarters.
McCoy sighed. If they were playing chess marathons again, so help him...
Grabbing his handheld tricorder, McCoy strode to the Vulcan's quarters.
He stopped in the doorway, almost dropping his tricorder. He stared at the pair for a moment before sighing again, turning away with just the slightest hint of a smile on his lips.
They were both sitting at the chess table, pieces laying discarded across the three-dimensional landscape. Kirk's head was pillowed on his arms, resting on the table, and he was snoring slightly. Spock was still sitting in his own chair, although slightly slumped now, his head propped up on his hand. They were both sound asleep.
Forgoing the fact that Jim was going to have the knight imprinted onto his face and that Spock was going to have a crick in his neck, Leonard turned and simply walked out.
After much muse-hating-me, I finally managed the epilogue for this chapter. So, I hope you all enjoyed this story... I enjoy it, pretty much... with all of its platonic cuddles and stuff. Thank you all for the support and your kind thoughts. :)
I do not own Star Trek. Thank you!