“Spock?” James T. Kirk called up the stairs of the cabin over the boom of thunder outside. “Are you going to come down for dinner?”
He climbed halfway up the steps, wondering if his Vulcan’s legendary hearing wasn’t as sharp as he’d been led to believe all those years ago. “I made a vegetable stir-fry. Not a single sliver of meat in it, I promise. Not even broth. Just some oil and all the vegetables a growing, hungry Vulcan needs.”
Annoyance flared in Kirk’s chest as vividly as the lightning that flashed outside in the storm. Fueled by his irritation in his husband’s silence, he stomped up the rest of the way and flung open the bedroom door. “Alright, Spock, what is the—” He froze for only a second as he noticed the open, swinging balcony door, the loud sound of the storm increased without the barrier of the door. Irritation fled his mind as panic took its place. Kirk rushed across the bedroom and out into the storm. “Spock!” What if something had happened? “Spock!”
“Lower your voice, Jim,” the husky, calm voice of his Vulcan husband instructed.
Kirk spun around, his clothes already beginning to soak through, to face Spock. His mouth fell open. Reclining on the Adirondack chair as though it were a sunny, warm day was Spock, eyes closed, lips slightly parted, and limbs completely relaxed. The rain sometimes landed in his mouth. The drops plastered his black hair to his skull.
But most noticeable of all in this odd picture, Spock lay completely bare, every inch of his skin receptive to the caress of the storm’s offering of torrential rain.
Kirk couldn’t decide between confusion and arousal. “Spock,” he said, stepping a little closer. “What are—” He cleared his throat, then tried to adopt his most authoritative captain’s voice. “What are you doing, Spock?”
Spock inhaled deeply, slowly, meditatively. “I am surviving.”
Kirk planted his hands on his waterlogged hips. “I certainly hope so, Mister, but I meant what are you doing out here like this?”
“Ah,” Spock acknowledged the specified query. “I am maximizing my body’s ability to absorb water for preservation.”
Kirk stared at him. Confusion currently won over arousal. “What? Preservation of—Explain.”
Spock’s calm demeanor didn’t shift in the slightest, but the exaggerated patience in his tone revealed his tinge of aggravation. “On my home planet, Vulcan,” he began much to Kirk’s annoyance. Like he had no idea his husband, a Vulcan, was actually from the planet Vulcan. “The climate is typically arid and therefore precipitation of any kind is a rare event. During such times, and since the prehistoric days of my ancestors, when such precipitation occurs, which usually is through conditions ranging from a light fog to brief yet heavy rainfall, Vulcans remove all clothing and stand naked in the rare, damp environment in order to absorb and store water in their bodies to ensure survival. This technique is taught to the present day as a survival technique.”
Kirk couldn’t help himself. He started to laugh.
Spock turned his head towards the sound. “Does this amuse you, Captain?”
He knew he was in trouble when Spock called him that in seriousness. In more frisky occasions, they would teasingly use their ranks in the bedroom, or whatever other room things turned to the amorous side. But during serious discussion, even while lying nude, when Spock called him by his rank, Kirk knew his husband hovered on the edge of being offended. But he couldn’t help himself this time. “So, Vulcans are like…succulents,” he barely managed to say. “You store water because you don’t know when you’ll have another rainfall.”
Kirk stifled another laugh but only barely succeeded. “You’re a Vulcan cactus.”
Spock stiffened in offense. “I am not.”
Kirk leaned against the doorjamb. “Sweetheart, you’re green, you’re lying there in the rain to soak up water to store in your body somewhere, and I’ve heard Bones call you prickly on more than one occasion.”
Spock angled his face skyward directly towards the falling rain. “That is his unflattering opinion.”
Kirk shook his head, chuckling softly, as his eyes raked over the lounging, wet body of his husband. Confusion now cleared up by the explanation, his arousal remained. “You know, my little cactus, we could…um…head into the shower inside and I can show you just how much I don’t mind being pricked by you.”
Spock huffed. “Jim, as appealing and satisfying as all coital experiences with you are, please let me complete this.”
Kirk’s mouth fell open for the second time that evening. “Are you serious, Spock?”
The only sound on the balcony was the rain and the deep rumbling of the thunder growing distant. Kirk shifted his weight. “We could stay out here in the actual rain and—”
“Jim,” Spock growled. “I will join you as soon as the rain has stopped and my ritual is complete.”
Kirk frowned. “How come I never knew about this until now?”
“The situation never arose before considering in most of our interactions, we were aboard the Enterprise where it never precipitated, or we were on a planet during an away mission and it would have been extremely inappropriate for our crew and subordinates to witness the First Officer in my present state on a strange, new world standing in the open to absorb and preserve the atmospheric moisture in the air.” Spock shifted his body and stretched his neck back, extended his legs out, and limply hung his arms over the armrests. “Therefore, I have not had the proper opportunity to exercise practice in this ritual until this moment.”
Kirk accepted that explanation. “Okay.” He looked out at the night sky. It didn’t look like the storm would be letting up anytime soon. “So, you’ll be out here until it stops raining, then.”
“And there’s no hope of convincing you to do something normal like some dinner?”
Kirk sighed. “I’ll put your stir-fry in the fridge, then.” He turned away to head inside for a change of clothes and to eat dinner by himself.
His departure halted when a slick hand grabbed his own. He looked at his husband and saw that Spock had opened his eyes and looked back at him with a remarkably open expression. “I am grateful for being bonded to one who understands and respects my needs, Jim. Do not think I reject you or your wishes because I do this.”
Kirk squeezed Spock’s hand in reassurance. “I never thought you did, Spock.” He smiled softly at him. “Take all the time you need, baby.” He let his hand trail from Spock’s until the last contact was a gentle brush of their first two fingers. By the time Spock returned inside the cabin, Kirk had gone to bed. Spock slipped under the covers behind him, curled around his husband, and pulled him against his chest. He succumbed to sleep within moments, lulled by the heat of his mate’s body and the even sound of his t’hy’la’s breathing.