As Jim studied the insides of his eyelids, cursing the tiny bit of light that still managed to get through, he wondered how humankind had yet to find a cure for migraines.
Sure, there were painkillers, and the ones he’d been prescribed worked just fine. And medicine had definitely progressed in the liver department, so there was no reason for him to worry about the damage to his body, since he wasn't likely to destroy his system with too many drugs.
That still didn't mean he liked taking them, though – and maybe that was how he'd ended up like this.
Curled up under a blanket, with his brain trying to seep out his ears, and someone slamming a hammer against his ear drums. Spikes of pain were shooting through Jim’s head, radiating from his temples to his upper back, and nausea was finally setting in, but he couldn't find the energy to go in search of something that would settle his stomach.
Jim Kirk, renowned captain of the Enterprise, incapacitated by something as commonplace as a migraine.
He'd been in worse pain before, certainly - but there was something about this particular pain that snuck along every nerve of his body, making it impossible to move. The room was rather dark, but opening his eyes even the tiniest bit would surely have overturned his stomach –
His intercom suddenly buzzed loudly, cutting through his brain like a rusty knife, and Jim nearly smashed it into pieces trying to shut it off. "Goddamnit," he muttered roughly, eyes still squeezed shut, not caring who heard him. "Who is it?"
"Spock, Captain. May I enter?"
Common sense was screaming at him to remain alone, but his heart immediately engaged his brain in battle, and won. Jim had never been able to refuse Spock anything, and even though he was miserable, some part of him could use a friendly voice.
Jim choked out a sigh and blindly reached for his console, stupidly grateful that he could unlock the room without leaving his bed. The door opened with a whoosh, and he cringed at the light that slipped in from the hall, though his body warmed at the familiar silhouette.
Nothing but polite curiosity, of course, and Jim pulled the blankets closer around himself, grateful that the door had closed again.
“Migraine, Spock – I forgot to pick up my drugs. What do you need?”
Spock said nothing in response, but Jim was hurting too much to care. He blindly pulled the pillows up a little higher, his eyes screwed shut as he tried to find a better elevation for his head.
“Allow me, Captain.”
Spock was suddenly right beside the bed, a warm presence in the semi-darkness, and Jim jumped. The movement made his head spin, but he instinctively tried to protest any help, not wanting to be treated as an invalid.
“I see no reason for embarrassment, Captain. There is nobody here but me.”
The soft words slid through his body, and Jim had to concede the truth there. After some of the horrors they had endured together, there really wasn't any cause for embarrassment now – and he had to admit that his heart was skipping a little faster at Spock’s concern.
Not waiting for an answer, Spock began rearranging the pillows, and Jim managed to raise his head, giving Spock room to manoeuvre. He regretted it immediately, as the slight action sent waves of pain across his skin, and his stomach attempted to climb back up his throat.
“Shit,” he muttered, and tried to hold himself in place as Spock organized the pillows, but his neck was aching almost as much as his head, and his stomach kept rolling –
Jim must have been more out of it than he realized, because Spock’s low voice washed across his skin like a caress, and he was glad that the darkness hid his blush. He lowered his head to the pillows with a sigh, focusing on the sudden relief that slid through every inch of his body.
“Thanks, Spock,” he whispered, hearing the painful gratitude in his voice. “Pretty sad for your great captain to be taken down by a headache, isn’t it?”
“Headaches and migraines are quite different conditions, Captain.” Spock’s voice was still perfectly clinical, but Jim hadn’t really expected anything else. “I presume that Doctor McCoy has your medication?”
Knowing that nodding would be disastrous, Jim settled instead for a muttered affirmative, his skin crawling at the idea of putting more medication into his body.
“I shall return. Do not lock your door.”
It was an order disguised as a suggestion, and Jim couldn’t stop a snort, though the movement made his eyeballs throb out of their sockets. He buried himself into the pillows as Spock left, and then pulled the blanket up around his neck, wondering why he was alright with Spock taking care of him. He had never been a good patient, and he still put up at fight whenever Bones tried to help him, despite knowing the doctor for over fifteen years.
The thoughts were just making his head hurt more, so Jim started a gentle massage against his eyes and temples. Pressure, release, rub – pressure, release, rub – it was an old dance, something his body was familiar with, causing a blissful few seconds of abated pain –
The door hissed again, and Jim stopped his movements, eyes squeezed shut against the sudden light. It faded as Spock entered the room, and Jim made a face at the pill bottle’s familiar rattle, glad that Spock couldn’t see his expression.
“Here, Captain.” Spock was beside his bed again, and Jim reached out to wrap his hand around a glass of cool water. His heart tried to do something sappy and stupid, but Spock was opening the bottle, the sound loud in the quiet room, and increased nausea curled through Jim’s stomach.
“Dr. McCoy said for you to take two.”
Spock’s voice was still toneless, and Jim took the medication without speaking, hearing the glass clink against his nightstand once he’d handed it back. Even that tiny sound hurt, and Jim buried his face in the pillows again.
“Thanks, Spock. ‘Preciate it.”
“No gratitude is necessary, Captain.”
The quiet words drifted from somewhere above him, and he let Spock’s gentle voice slide against his senses, knowing that he had a good ten hour sleep ahead of him. He closed his eyes, trying to convince his body to relax –
When Jim realized that Spock was making no attempt to leave, the butterflies that fluttered through his stomach only served to ramp up his nausea another notch. He breathed through it and managed to crack one eye open, wishing he could see more of Spock than just his outline.
“These’ll make me pretty loopy, Spock. You probably don’t wanna stick around for the fallout.”
He was aiming for casual humour, trying to hide the sudden racing of his heart, but Spock didn’t seem to buy his nonchalance.
“Captain, if you will allow me, I can assist you.”
Moving hesitantly, as though the blankets beneath him would break, Spock seated himself on the side of the bed, and Jim was suddenly positive that he’d managed to get himself smashed on the head, because this had to be some trauma-induced dream –
“Spock?” he croaked, then winced at the shake in his voice. “Look, I’m really not the best company right now –”
“Will you trust me?”
The gentle question cut through his protest, and Jim’s heart did a ridiculous dance inside his chest. It wasn’t something that Spock would normally say, but he probably knew it was what Jim needed to hear, and the words somehow twisted inside his body, finding the place that quivered whenever Spock’s human side managed to sneak through.
“Of course I will. You know that. I always do.”
It was the only possible answer, and it seemed to satisfy Spock, who hesitantly reached out to curl his fingers against Jim’s temples. The warm touch was a blessing against his aching head, but Jim was suddenly having trouble breathing, because this was Spock, and he was sitting on Jim’s bed in the dark, fingers stroking across his skin.
"Spock, what are you -"
“You are hurting, Captain. Let me do this.”
Spock’s fingers dug in, sending the pain scrambling for just a second, and Jim couldn’t have stopped his groan for anything the world. When Spock did it again, putting just the right pressure into his fingers, Jim muttered a curse and closed his eyes, letting his body relax against the bed.
“You’re a saint.”
Spock said nothing, but he began massaging with both hands, and Jim stopped trying to think. Those warm fingers were moving in gentle circles, and Jim couldn’t have stopped the warmth that spread through his body for anything in the world.
“Let me know if I am too rough.”
The unintentional innuendo hovered behind Jim’s eyes like a neon sign as Spock’s fingers slid across the sensitive skin of his eyelids, and Jim suddenly found himself painfully turned on, despite the migraine still twisting through his mind. Spock barely ever touched people, but he was doing so now, and he was drifting dangerously close to illogical concern, since Jim’s drugs were guaranteed to be more effective than a massage –
To be the recipient of such uncharacteristic behaviour left Jim squirming, his heart leaping like he was holding hands with his grade eight crush – and when Spock’s fingers pressed down against his eyelids, Jim couldn’t stop a stuttered moan, wondering if he’d ever felt anything as wonderful as this.
“This – feels good, Captain?”
Even after decades around humans, Spock still had trouble with the word, and Jim couldn’t stop a grin, a blinding surge of affection shooting through his body. He reached up to briefly curl his fingers against Spock’s arm, needing him to know how much this meant to him.
“Better than good, Spock. You have the hands of angel.”
“As humanity’s notion of heaven is illogical –”
“No, stop. Please don’t make me laugh.”
A slight exhale of breath, as though Spock was genuinely amused. “I am glad my hands are satisfactory, Captain. Please lie completely still.”
Spock’s fingers suddenly shifted to a dangerous location, applying five points of solid pressure against his skin, and Jim fought down a surge of panic, not wanting another mind inside his aching head, especially when they had never done this before.
“Spock – I don’t think –”
“I will not hurt you.”
The words were soft, and there was no way for Jim to argue such a simple truth , so he tried to relax against the bed, curling his fingers into the blankets beneath him. When Spock leaned closer, his breath brushing against Jim’s cheek, he frantically tried to not notice how good Spock smelled, panicking at the thought of Spock seeing that in his mind –
“My mind to your mind.”
Then Spock was inside, and Jim was floating in a sea of sensation.
Pain dancing along his senses, travelling through both of them, scraping against every nerve – memories that didn’t belong to him, images of deserts and mountains, a strange backyard, with one lonely swing – seeing himself seated in the captain’s chair, scanning the bridge with calm determination, a slight smirk curling across his lips – math equations he didn’t have a prayer of figuring out, mixing with the colour of Jim’s eyes, and the gentle slope of Spock’s beautiful cheekbones –
When Spock pulled out, an almost painful fear of being alone twisted through Jim’s body, and his mind was instantly aching for another presence. It was like nothing he had ever experienced, as though he’d been living with half of himself for his entire life, and was only now realizing it.
“Don’t leave,” he gasped, before ruthlessly biting off the words, because sharing a meld was one thing, but begging Spock to stay was completely different –
“My apologies, Jim. I do not know if I can remain longer.” Spock’s shadowy expression was almost troubled, and there was something in his voice that Jim couldn’t quite read. “Our minds are too compatible. I was... unaware of this. Prolonged exposure could create a semi-permanent link.”
The impossible words took a second to process, and Jim was startled to realize that the idea actually didn’t frighten him – and that was scarier than anything – but he could remember how fantastic it felt to be in contact with Spock's mind, completing something he hadn't realized was missing -
“Hey, hang on.” Elation and confusion suddenly snuck across his skin, leaving him a little lightheaded. “My migraine’s almost gone. What did you do?”
Jim could only get a hint of Spock’s expression, so he had no chance of guessing what he was thinking, but he could see Spock shake his head. “It would be prudent to let the medication run its course. I shall explain when you wake up.”
Jim knew when Spock was being evasive, but the pain was mostly gone, and exhaustion was tugging at him, so he didn’t argue. His mind was still reeling from having Spock inside it, senses screaming for more of that contact –
“Thanks, Spock. For everything.”
The words were inadequate, and when he got no response, Jim wondered what Spock was so frightened of. He reached out to curl his fingers around Spock’s, and heard the hitch of breath in return, but was too tired to feel bad about startling him.
“Seriously, you’re wonderful. Remind me to buy you dinner the next time we’re on shore leave...”
Jim trailed off as he rested against the pillows, suddenly too exhausted to continue speaking. Spock remained silent, but Jim felt the distant slide of fingers against his, before the blanket was tucked up around his neck, and darkness began to creep in.
The words seemed to come from a distance, and Jim slid under to the feel of fingers curled in his own.
- - -
When Jim gradually clawed his way to consciousness, he had no idea where he was, and he blinked blearily for a few seconds. His fight-or-flight instincts weren’t kicking in yet, so he must have been somewhere safe –
A slight huff of breath from beside him had clambering to his knees, only to freeze upon seeing Spock asleep in a chair, and realizing that he was safe in his room. Everything suddenly came screaming back – his migraine, the mind meld – and Jim couldn’t stop his face from going completely scarlet.
Okay, then. Apparently Spock was a sucker for him when he was in pain. But what the hell had he done to get rid of that migraine, and why was he sleeping in Jim’s chair?
As the thought crossed his mind, Jim couldn’t stop a smile, realizing that the word cute was suddenly applicable. Spock was slumped over in that chair, his hair just the slightest bit mussed up, and Jim didn’t think he’d ever seen him look this unguarded or undignified.
It was damn well adorable.
Wrapping the blankets securely around him, Jim reached out to rest his fingers lightly against Spock’s knee, reluctant to wake him up, but knowing how uncomfortable that chair was. “Hey –”
Like switching the engines to warp drive, Spock was suddenly wide awake, and Jim’s fingers were caught in an iron grip. He barely had time to panic before his hand was freed, and Spock visibly pulled himself together, something like shame flashing through his eyes.
“My apologies, Captain. I was having a nightmare.”
There was something in his voice that Jim couldn’t quite understand, but Spock had glanced away, so Jim decided not to push it. “Good thing I woke you up, then,” he said breezily, pretending not to sense the relief in Spock’s frame. “That chair doesn’t look comfortable.”
Jim phrased the sentence as a question, and nearly swallowed his tongue when Spock’s skin coloured slightly, as though he was embarrassed. “I remained to ensure that you did not suffer any ill effects from our mind meld. It was not my intention to fall asleep.”
Jim ruthlessly beat down the urge to wrap his arms around that adorable body, wanting to hold him close until he was green-tinted everywhere. “No worries – it’s surprisingly nice to have someone look out for me. What did you do to get ride of my migraine, anyway?”
“A simple transfer of sensation, Captain.” Spock cleared his throat softly, still trying to get himself back together, and Jim wondered what exactly the nightmare had been about. “I was able to remove some of the pain from your mind, which allowed your medication to work more effectively. Although I did not anticipate your quick descent into sleep, your system must have already been exhausted –”
Jim could hear the unhappiness in his own voice, but Spock simply raised an eyebrow at him.
“You put my migraine into your head?”
Spock’s lips thinned slightly, but it was confirmation enough, and Jim bit back a scathing assessment of Spock’s intelligence, wondering how the hell Spock had considered this a good idea.
“That is – somewhat accurate, if rather simplified. Vulcan physiology allows for effective pain management – far more than humans are capable of – and I simply split your discomfort between our two minds.”
Both affection and irritation were spreading throughout Jim’s body, and he didn’t know whether to hold Spock close and thank him, or to tell him to get over his goddamn martyr complex.
“And you thought this a good idea.”
His voice was rather flat, but Spock seemed to miss the sarcasm. “You were in pain.”
The simply statement seemed to explain everything, and Jim felt another surge of affection, realizing that he truly was seeing something that came perilously close to illogical compassion. What was done was done, and since neither of them seemed to be in any pain, he decided to let it go, planning to be more wary in the future.
“Well, Spock, I don’t really understand what happened, but the next time Bones says you don’t have a heart, I’ll make sure to stab him with one of his own hypos.”
The eyebrows came together slightly. “Sir?”
“I’m trying to thank you.”
Jim shot him a grin, waiting for the reminder that gratitude was illogical – but Spock just went green again, a wonderfully endearing flush, and Jim couldn’t figure out what was going on.
“Alright, what is it.”
One eyebrow twitched this time, as though aiming for innocence. “Sir?”
“Don’t sir me, mister. You keep blushing. What’s going on?”
“Vulcans do not blush, Captain. And I assure you that nothing is wrong.”
“Then why are you blushing?”
“I am not –”
“Look, I’m sorry if I embarrassed you, but it really is illogical to take someone else’s pain out of their head, and put it in yours –”
“I am not capable of embarrassment, sir. You need not concern yourself –”
“Then explain the blush.”
Spock seemed to sigh slightly, and Jim knew that he should stop pushing, but he had to understand what was happening. When Spock just shook his head, as though unwilling to explain, Jim fought down a surge of annoyance.
“It is – nothing, Captain, I assure you.”
Spock suddenly seemed lost for words, was dangerously close to stuttering, and Jim felt unease twist through his body, suddenly realizing what this could be about.
“What did you see in my mind?”
He hated himself for the nervousness in his voice, but Spock’s face was still that odd green colour, and he looked like he wanted to bolt, his eyes actually flicking from Jim to the door.
“You should still be sleeping.”
“Don’t change the subject.”
“Captain, you were quite ill –”
“And I’m fine now, since you sucked that goddamn migraine out of my mind. What was it?”
Spock stared at him, barely blinking, as though trying to see right through him, or straight into him, and Jim started to squirm, wanting Spock to say something. There was something in his eyes that Jim had never seen before, something he couldn't quite read, but it was directed solely at him, and he could feel his fingers twitching against the bedsheets.
“Spock, you’re making me nervous –”
Jim’s words were cut off as Spock leaned forward and kissed him.
It was a simple brush of lips, barely enough to be felt, but Jim was left clutching at the blankets beneath him when Spock pulled back. There was something close to fear in his eyes, as though he was expecting Jim to push him away, despite what he must have seen in Jim’s mind –
“Shit, Spock,” Jim breathed shakily, fingers drifting to his lips, which he could have sworn were tingling. “You’re allowed to steal my migraines any time, if this is the result.”
Something like annoyance flitted across Spock’s face, but Jim couldn’t stop a grin, his heart trying to beat out of his chest, suddenly feeling like he’d been given the entire world. Fighting the urge to say something sappy, he reached out to wrap his fingers around Spock's, loving the way that green tint spread further across his cheeks.
“Fancy digging around in my head some more? I have some pretty vivid images of you floating around, if you're interested.”
Spock’s raised eyebrow was a mix of embarassment and exasperation, but he was leaning closer again, and Jim sighed softly as their lips slid together, caught up in the feel of Spock’s skin under his fingers, wondering if this level of bone-deep happiness was even legal.
Perhaps there was a cure for migraines, after all.