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The one problem with sharing quarters with a Vulcan – or this Vulcan, at least – was the tendency of all the cats of the ship to consider it their headquarters. Jim was very fond of cats, but he drew the line at them lined up in a solemn row on the bathroom counter, obviously critiquing his shit. (Spock seemed not to mind, or even to notice.) When Jim walked in the room, the four cats that seemed most attached to Spock were all on his desk. Jim's desk, not Spock's.

Jim sighed. "Off," he said, not expecting it to do much. Spock had promised to talk to the cats about sitting on Jim's things, but Jim had grown up around farm cats and had a low opinion on how biddable a cat would be, even for Spock.

To Jim's shock, all four cats made token shows of 'this was our idea anyway' yawning and stretching, and then got off his desk.  "What the hell," he said aloud, as Fat Bill tipped himself over on the floor, displaying more of his equipment than Jim was really comfortable looking at, framed artfully by his rolls of fat. He began to wash. "Look, thanks for getting off the desk and all, but could you guys get out? Out. Shoo," he tried.

Fat Bill looked up from his balls long enough to give Jim a pitying look.

"Spock!" shouted Jim. "Why are there four cats in here? Why is Fat Bill washing his balls at me? Why are you not here to tell me how illogical sulking after a bad day is?"

"The cats are here because they wish to be," said Spock, appearing from other room. "I confess, I am unable to tell you why Fat Bill is washing his genitals at you. It is extremely illogical to tell you how illogical you are being, if you are already aware of it." He came closer to Jim and touched the side of Jim's head gently with two fingers. Jim let out a long sigh and tilted his head into the touch.

"It was a long day," said Jim, moving closer to Spock. The two fingers were joined by the rest of Spock's long hand, curving around the side of Jim's head as they stood close together. Jim breathed in and out, smelling Spock's faintly spicy skin, like marigold flowers. He could feel the heat radiating from Spock. Something settled in his mind, as if he could finally fit into his own self again.

"No day is longer than any other," said Spock, a little scolding, and then relented enough to say, " But I am sure the subjective passage of time was very slow."

“I think a glacier formed and died during that second meeting," said Jim, crowding into Spock and wrapping his arms around him. "Even Uhura looked like she wanted to die a little.”

Spock's mouth twitched against the side of Jim's head. "I have my doubts," he said.  He pulled away from Jim and began to lead him toward the bedroom.

Jim hung back. "You aren't going to make me get dressed for tonight already?" he said. "I wanted to relax for a little first." He heard the petulant edge to his voice and winced.

"No, Jim," said Spock. He pulled at Jim again and this time Jim let him, only to stop short at the entrance. The bed was covered by a sheet towel and the temperature of the room was at least five degrees higher than the living quarters.

"Spock," he began. He was all for being groomed and petted, but when Spock got into this mood, he was apt to spend hours at it. The dinner would begin in three hours, and Jim needed to - a warm hand covered the back of his neck, right where it was tightest. He yielded. "I have to be coherent tonight," he said, half-playful.

"Really, captain," murmured Spock, a hint of reproach in his quiet voice.
Jim had never gotten the nerve to ask if Spock's thing for washing and grooming people was just A Spock Thing, or if it was some sort of holdover from the distant Vulcan past. Even the old man, who was (by Spock's reaction) terrifyingly handsy for a Vulcan, never tried anything beyond straightening Jim's sleeve or collar. He had decided he wasn't going to worry about it.

The ritual always started with Spock carefully undressing him, folding each item of clothing as he removed it, and laying it aside to put in the laundry chute later. Then he pointed Jim toward the shower - always a sonic shower first, and then a water shower without soap or shampoo. When Jim came out, Spock was waiting  with a towel.

Jim let Spock envelop him in the warm, smooth linen, and stood patient while Spock dried him and laid the towel away. He could see the look in Spock's eyes; half heat, half some aesthetic appreciation. This was the part that Jim wasn't so fond of.  If it were him running the show, this wouldn't be happening.  They'd be on the bed already, and Jim would be well on his way to relaxing completely.

Spock nudged him over to the bed, where a small bowl of unscented oil waited. Jim was going to get an answer about that oil one of these days. Spock said it was only for cleansing and moisturising skin, but Jim noticed that he spent a lot of time rubbing the bend of his wrists over Jim's skin while he worked.

He also noticed that other Vulcans and species that engaged in serious scent marking tended to keep a respectful two meters between him and themselves for a few days after Spock gave him one of these massages.

Jim spent a lot of time playing dumb blond, but he could put two and two together. It was okay though.

He let out a long shuddering sigh as Spock pushed at a knot of tension in his back. Spock gave backrubs even better than Bones.

"It's kind of nice to not worry about being inappropriately aroused by this," he said dreamily.

Spock paused for a moment but then realized what Jim was talking about. "I find it difficult to believe you shared a room with Dr McCoy for three years without gross bodily harm inflicted on your person."

"He's secretly a pacifist," said Jim. "And I think Pike told him that there was a strict ‘you break it, you buy it’ policy."

"That certainly would explain why the doctor followed you into space," said Spock.

"I did not break Bones," said Jim, by now a warm puddle of relaxed nerves. "Might have banged him up a little, but-"

The sub-vocal rumble that served Spock as a laugh vibrated in the air. "Turn over," he said. His voice was slow and deep.

"If you start with that, neither of us are going to the dinner," Jim pointed out. "After all the trouble the kitchen went to make something like roast beast for you, too."

"Jim," said Spock, lifting his hands enough so they just barely ghosted across Jim's skin.

Jim sighed and rolled over to allow Spock to stroke the oil over his chest and arms. "It's not even soy roast beast," he said, as Spock worked out tension Jim had not been aware of holding in his upper arms.

"That is fortunate, as Lt Vro is violently allergic to it," said Spock. His hands moved lower, skirting Jim's groin and kneading the muscles of his legs.  Spock's second eyelids were half-dropped over his eyes, as they did when he was very sleepy or contented. Jim stretched into Spock's hands.

A minute or an hour later, Jim woke from his heavy doze because there was no longer warm Vulcan hands petting him. "Wha' time it?" he slurred.

Spock didn't answer, but Jim heard rustling in the closet. With a massive effort, he turned toward the clock on the side table and saw, to his horror, that there was scarcely an hour before the dinner began. He leapt from the bed, cursing Vulcans and tiredness and (as he tripped over Fat Bill) cats indiscriminately. He had to get dressed and review the insanely complicated protocol again. He had to poke his head into the galleys and mess to make sure neither murder or suicide had been committed. He --

Ran directly into Spock's immovably solid form. Spock held his uniform and shoes in his hands. "Spock," said Jim, wheedling, "can't we save that for--"

Spock crowded Jim relentlessly back toward the bed. Jim sighed and said, "Don't you care about what Pike will think?"

"No," said Spock.

Jim had to give up. Pike's opinion was the only thing Spock seemed to care about besides Jim's; Jim thought he could have argued with him if he had had Spock's mother to back him up but for fairly obvious reasons Jim tried not to pull that one out unless it was something like 'I bet your mother loved big cabled alpaca sweaters on you' and not 'Your mother would turn over in her grave, if she had one'.

Spock pressed him gently down to sit on the bed and ran the razor with agonizingly slow and calm deliberation over Jim's face and throat. The slight sonic buzz tickled Jim's skin. Jim was deathly afraid that one day, Bones would give him an old-fashioned straight razor, Spock would use nothing but it to shave him, and the captain of the mighty Enterprise would spend even more of his time trying to suppress a boner.

Spock smoothed aftershave on Jim's skin, and began to methodically dress him. He helped Jim into his socks and boxers and pants, pushed him to sit again, and knelt in front of him to put his long polished dress-boots on him. Jim looked down at Spock's black satin head and loved him helplessly. He reached out to stroke his hair. Spock looked up with  a brief, pleased twitch of his lips, but rose up to pull Jim's under shirt over his head.

He buttoned up Jim's dress shirt with the deliberate care that was so clear in every move he made. Of the many, many things he loved ridiculously about Spock, he loved how careful he was the most. He tried to steal a kiss from Spock, but Spock stepped away absently, smoothing the shoulders of the shirt as he did.

Jim sighed and submitted himself to his fate.

Spock lifted his heavy shantung dress jacket, rich gold silk with golden bands on the sleeves. He fitted Jim into it with a little secret smile in the corner of his eyes, as if it pleased him to see Jim wearing it. Jim could easily imagine a Vulcan warrior wearing that same secret look of pleasure as he adorned his bondmate in the captured riches he brought back. Jim swayed forward again, helpless, and Spock relented enough to press a short kiss against Jim's nape.

Jim tilted his head up as Spock fastened his buttons, trying to remember why they had to go out of the room, even to kick Fat Bill out of it. Spock pinned his medals on his breast and stepped back, satisfied.

“Pike’s never going to let me live this down,” said Jim.

Spock kissed him again.

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