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To say that there are never storms on Vulcan would be incorrect. It would even be imprecise to say that there are rarely storms, but the rate of storms and rain is not equivalent, which might be perplexing to those unfamiliar with desert weather. Dry thunderstorms can occur when rain falls so high in the atmosphere, or in such high temperatures, that the water vanishes long before hitting the ground. But the storm can be felt nevertheless through sudden pressure changes - these caused by cool air and moisture - and even moreso from the distant herald of thunder.


In San Francisco both rain and storms are common. But after years of duty in space Spock is still not accustomed to either, and when the alien rattle of rain starts to shake the ceiling of his and Jim's shared apartment he immediately awakes from the beginning of a light sleep.


Spock stares at the ceiling for several minutes as his eyes adjust to the darkness. He typically sleeps on his back with his hands folded neatly over his abdomen. Jim is sleeping by his side, curled up and half-leaning against Spock's arm.


The Vulcan's placement is excellent for both sleep and meditation, but he can summon neither. He has worked through far greater disturbances than a mere thunderstorm, but the intermittent clamor sends a surge of adrenaline through his system whenever he is nearly ready to slip into repose.


Finally, the distraction proves too great. Spock releases a quiet sigh and begins to shift out of bed.


A hand on his wrist stops him.


Jim raises his head blearily, propping up his elbow and blinking away traces of sleep as he takes in Spock's alertness. “What is it?” he asks. Then, looking at Spock more thoroughly, he frowns and asks, “What's wrong?”


There's nothing more guaranteed to disturb Jim than the idea that Spock is distressed, so the Vulcan hastens to reassure him. “It is nothing,” he says lowly. “ - Return to your sleep, Jim.”


The crackle of thunder belies his statement. To their right an arc of lightning flashes from outside the window and sends the room into dim relief.


Jim sits up more thoroughly and looks at him. “Can't sleep?” he asks gently.


“...I have been experiencing difficulties.”


“Don't tell me you're afraid of a little thunder.”


“There is no need to be insulting.”


“It's not insulting,” Jim reasons. He reaches out with one arm and tugs Spock against his side; the Vulcan does not have to be 'afraid' to appreciate this warmth, so he does not protest. “A lot of people don't like thunder.”


“A lot of people are not Vulcans.”


“Mm-hmm,” Jim hums. Spock narrows his eyes, but Jim turns his head and presses a careful kiss to the skin just below his hairline.


Spock decides not to press the point.


“You've never been bothered by storms before,” says Jim, because apparently they are discussing this.


“I frequently meditate through the night. Or work.”


Jim seems disturbed. “You can always wake me, you know.”


“It would be illogical to interrupt both our rests.”


“You can always wake me up,” Jim repeats. The statement sounds sincere, but is ruined somewhat by a yawn.


Spock raises an eyebrow pointedly.


“Really,” Jim adds ruefully. “Sorry. I'm still waking up.”


“I fail to see how you could sleep through this noise.”


“I've always found it soothing,” Jim admits. His fingers are tapping distractedly. “Of course, usually I could be safely indoors – just hearing the sound against the windows – and it's not as though the storm does any harm, unless maybe a tree falls or there's a tornado - “


Spock's eyebrows inch up dubiously.


“Which is very unlikely,” Jim adds, laughing. “You know that. Anyway, it provides a nice background sound. Like - listening to you play your harp.”


A particularly ominous rattle shakes the side of the building, lowering into a heavy, percussive shudder. “You would equate this to the sound of my harp?”


“Oh, you should be flattered. Poets often equate the best sorts of music to the purity of nature - “


A flat BANG emphasizes his words. Jim smiles guilelessly.


“Indeed,” Spock says.


If he focuses, he can smell the heavy, curling scent of rain leaching through the walls – a pervasive dampness that is utterly foreign. There is a quick series of flashes as lightning makes shadows dance on the walls. Spock catches a quick glimpse of Jim's body tilted toward him – his eyes soft, his shoulders bare over the sheets and glimmering with faint perspiration in a room where the temperature has been set to a careful compromise between human and Vulcan norms.


A clap of thunder makes Spock exhale. Jim reaches out with his free hand, the one not wrapped around Spock's back, and starts to stroke along the curve of his neck. Spock tilts back his head to allow the touch, and Jim makes a sound in his throat.


“Can I try something?”


After a moment Spock nods. Jim pulls him closer with gentle motions, rearranging their bodies until Spock is lying with his head pressed over Jim's chest and one of his bondmate's arms around his waist. As he remains there Jim cups his other hand carefully over Spock's ears so that all the sounds in the room go quiet.


Spock closes his eyes, starting to understand. One ear is pressed against Jim's heart; against the other ear he can hear the reciprocal pulse of blood running through tiny human veins. And at first these sounds are disturbing, too. There is almost a cavernous roar in the spaces between every human-slow heartbeat. Strange, irregular wet sounds can be heard dimly from the man's shifting organs. Every low hitch and exhale Jim makes causes his chest to rise and fall, his lungs to crackle.


But as Spock allows his muscles to relax, a pattern develops. The beat against his ear is heavy and warm. It pounds strongly enough to overshadow the distant, forgotten interruptions outside. Against his back there is a hand pressing down on the knobs of his spine, massaging in slow circles.


Eventually, Spock realizes that he's hearing a new sound. “Spock?” Jim is saying.


“Hmm?”


A pause. “ - Nevermind,” Jim chuckles. It's unexpectedly pleasant, the sensation of a hand stroking against his scalp. “...Good-night.”


And for the rest of the night he dreams to the rhythm of a human heart.

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