Dog Watch

Jun. 22nd, 2013 04:44 pm
glorious_spoon: (frisky women)
[personal profile] glorious_spoon
Title: Dog Watch
Pairing: Gen; background Spock/Uhura
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Summary: Spock attempts an apology. Kirk isn’t having any of it. Missing moments from the 2009 Star Trek film, and the beginnings of a friendship.

A/N: So, I've finally popped my Star Trek cherry. This is my first time writing any of these characters, so please be gentle. :) Also, as a note, 'Dog watch', in naval parlance, is a split work shift between 16:00 and 20:00, or 4:00 PM 8:00 PM. It is (supposedly) named because Sirius, the 'Dog Star', is the first star to become visible during that time. Accounts vary on whether or not this is actually true.

It is 19:00 hours ship-time before he can convince Nyota to retire from her post on the command deck. She has been there for over 23 hours, routing the communications to the other survivors of Vulcan (there are more than calculated; their emergency broadcast, belated though it was, saved several hundred lives at least) and re-establishing contact with Starfleet. There are no ships near enough to assist their damaged vessel; with all resources necessarily directed elsewhere, it will be a slow, limping journey back to Earth.

Her dedication is commendable, and he tells her as much, but he can read weariness in the faint tremor of her fingers and the slump of her shoulders. She has been working steadily for nearly a day, and has been awake for at least twice that amount of time. Her reserves of strength are not without limit, he points out quietly, and she sighs, and rubs a hand over her face, and agrees. Even disregarding all other evidence, this would be enough to confirm her need for rest.

The cadet quarters were among those destroyed in the battle, and it is only logical, under the circumstances, that he offer his own quarters. Any appearance of impropriety can be easily stymied by the fact that he does not expect to sleep for some time yet. A quiet corner of the med-bay will suffice for his meditations, and if it pleases some primal part of his mind to see her curled up, soft-edged and sleepy, in his bed, that is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

He senses that if she were less exhausted, she might protest. As it is, though, she sinks down onto the mattress as though her legs are no longer capable of holding her. She yawns, only belatedly bringing a hand up to cover her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m just so tired--”

“Then it is only logical that you sleep,” he replies, and succombs briefly to the temptation to card his fingers through her long, loose hair.

As he pulls back, she reaches up and catches his hand between hers, the casual human intimacy so reminiscent of his mother that it brings an unexpected tightness to his throat.

“I wish there was something I could do,” she murmurs. She is already nearly asleep, he surmises from the imprecision of her diction and the looseness of her grip. “It doesn’t seem right that you’re taking care of me.”

Her hands are warm, and he can feel the echoing warmth of her thoughts through the bond. Exhaustion and grief, but also strength, a warm, dry strength that reminds him illogically of the desert stone of Vulcan. Bright and unbreaking.

He loves her with a fierceness that he cannot put into words.

You have done everything that could be expected of you and more, he whispers, mind to mind, and she sighs, and sinks down into the pillow.

She is asleep before the door closes behind him.

Their course is plotted, the injured treated, and the refugee Vulcans are as settled as can be expected under the circumstances. There is but one thing left for him to do, and no logical reason to delay any further. Any reluctance he might be experiencing is irrelevant.


He finds the acting captain in the med-bay, sitting beside Captain Pike’s bedside with his head down and his elbows resting on his knees, hands folded as if in some archaic prayer. Spock comes to a halt a suitable distance away, clasps his hands behind his back, and clears his throat.

Kirk looks up, blinking and startled, and Spock is struck anew by how very young he is. How very human. His voice is faintly raspy when he speaks. “Commander Spock. Is there something--”

“A word, Captain?”

“I--yeah, sure.” Kirk pushes himself painfully upright, and stands swaying on his feet for a moment before he seems to find his balance. “What can I do for you?”

Spock glances around the crowded med-bay. No one, patient or staff, is paying them any particular attention, and yet-- “Perhaps we could find a more private locale?”

Incredibly, a ghost of a grin flashes across Kirk’s face. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d take that as a come-on.” Before Spock can respond to this preposterous statement, he lifts his voice slightly. “Hey, Bones!”

The Chief Medical Officer--McCoy, Spock recalls--lifts his head from his tricorder three beds down. “What?”

“I’m gonna borrow Examination Room 3, okay? Official business."

"As long as you sleep afterward," McCoy says, and scowls when Kirk makes a nonverbal sound of protest. "I mean it, Jim. Get some sleep, or I will dose you with a sedative when you're not looking. I'm busy. I got better things to do than haul you off to bed when you collapse."

“The doctor makes an astute point,” Spock observes, then wishes he hadn’t when McCoy’s sharp gaze snaps to him.

“You. Spock.”

Spock lifts an eyebrow. “Doctor?”

“Make sure he goes to bed when you’re done with him, will you?”

“I shall do my best,” he says uncertainly. McCoy snorts and turns back to his tricorder.

“Mother hen,” Kirk mutters, but his tone is remarkably fond. “After you, Commander Spock.”

Spock leads the way into the examination room and waits until the door closes behind Kirk to speak. “Captain. Under the circumstances, I feel it best that--” He pauses, attempts to re-phrase. In dealing with Kirk, he is coming to realize, directness is best. “I must apologize.”

Kirk blinks. “What for?” Then, before Spock can answer, “Shit, please tell me you didn’t let Scotty start dicking around with the navigational controls, I told him--”

“As far as I am aware, the navigational controls remain fully functional. That was not what I was referring to.” The bruising around Kirk’s neck is an ugly purple-black, stark against his pale skin. It was not all Spock’s doing, of course, but it is his thumbprint, dark and damning, just below Kirk’s larynx. Had he exerted any more pressure there, he would have crushed the captain’s trachea.

Kirk must have sought treatment already; otherwise, his throat would be too swollen to breathe properly, but the bruising still lingers and will for several days yet.

“Okay, well, that’s something,” Kirk says slowly. His brows are furrowed, and the confusion does not appear to be an act; it is as though he genuinely cannot conceive of any other transgressions Spock might have committed recently. “What happened, then?”

Behind his back, Spock curls his fingers together, a shameful childhood habit of self-comfort of which he has never quite managed to break himself. Stiffly, he says, “I attacked you. I committed an assault on the person of a Starfleet officer. I cannot--it was an inexcusable loss of control, and I will not attempt to excuse it. But I am--sorry.”

Kirk stares at him for another moment, then lifts a hand to his own bruised neck, and then, incredibly, smiles, bright and relieved. “What, this? Seriously, Spock, I’ve had worse in Academy bars. Jesus. You scared me for a second there.”

This is not a reaction he anticipated. “I--”

“Anyway, I was trying to provoke you,” Kirk says, which is true, but irrelevant. “I mean. All things considered, I should be the one apologizing.”

“That is not necessary,” Spock says stiffly.

“Actually, you know, I think it is.” Kirk puts a hand out, then draws it back before his fingers can contact Spock’s shoulder, as though he is just now recalling his Academy seminars on interspecies etiquette. “I am sorry. About everything, really, but--I said some really shitty things.”

“I should not have reacted as I did.”

“I am really good at provoking that particular reaction in people, Spock, you’re just gonna have to trust me on this.” He grins. “You’re not the first guy to try to strangle me, not by a long shot.”

“I do not find that difficult to believe,” Spock finds himself saying, very dryly, and before he can attempt a second unsuccessful apology, Kirk bursts out laughing.

“You do have a sense of humor buried somewhere in there, I knew it,” he chuckles, and reaches out--clearly forgetting again the proper etiquette for dealing with touch-telepaths, but he is tired, and attempting to be kind, and so Spock will forgive him--and claps him on the shoulder.

Spock braces himself, but the angry jagged buzz he felt earlier is not in evidence. Calm now, Kirk’s mind is a bright place full of quick sharp edges, brittle humor and an odd, nascent affection that is directed, Spock realizes with a start, toward him.

The touch of his thoughts is nothing like Nyota’s; even calm, there is no steadiness in him. And yet, it is--not unpleasant.

Different, but not unpleasant.

The contact is brief, and then Kirk lifts his hand and pushes his fingers through his hair, scrunching up his face tiredly. “God,” he mutters. “I could sleep for a month.”

“The doctor did suggest something to that effect.”

“Yeah, well, the doctor is also the one who snuck me onboard, which means I don’t actually have assigned quarters, so.” Kirk shrugs. “I was going to find a spare cot down here somewhere, but I don’t think there are any.”

“Indeed, no. We are populated well past capacity,” Spock says, then hesitates. “I would offer my own bed, but it is already occupied,”

Kirk laughs again, a small, surprised bubble of it. “And again with the come-ons. Already occupied, seriously?”

“Lieutenant Uhura also required rest.” She has not yet officially earned the rank, but the title does not feel like a lie. He ignores the way Kirk’s eyebrows jump at that, the amused, suggestive curl of his lips that would have been infuriating only a few short days ago. Nyota is fond of him--exasperatedly so, but fond nonetheless. Spock is only now beginning to understand why. “I believe the captain’s quarters are available and are, technically speaking, yours by right.”

Kirk glances toward the med-bay on the other side of the transparent door, and although Spock doubts he can see Captain Pike’s bed from this angle, it is not difficult to divine his thoughts. “Yeah, no. I’ll figure something out.”


“He’s the captain,” Kirk hisses, with a sudden, startling vehemence. “I’m just--no. I’m not taking his bed.”

Spock opens his mouth, then closes it. Kirk’s response is human, emotionally driven and irrational, and his first instinct is to dismiss it out of hand. And yet, he finds himself hesitating. It was frequently thus with Nyota when they first became involved; the subtleties of human emotional response are not instinctive to him, even given his heritage. And Nyota is a fundamentally self-possessed woman--steady, composed, and inclined to forgive his stumbles. Kirk is mercurial. Hotheaded, a human colloquialism that is simultaneously garish and apt. He requires more careful handling.

“I do not believe,” he says finally, “that Captain Pike would begrudge you a place to sleep.”

“Yeah.” Kirk shoves both hands through his hair. “He got me into this, you know that? Recruited me right out of the middle of a bar fight. I don’t know what the hell he was thinking.”

“I cannot comment as to Captain Pike’s motivations, but his reasoning appears to have been sound.” Kirk stares at him, and Spock clarifies. “Your methods may have been...unorthodox, but they were also undeniably effective.”

“Is this your way of apologizing for marooning me on Hoth?”

“The planet’s designation was Delta--”

“Never mind,” Kirk says, cutting him off with a wave of his hand. “Earth joke. We’re going to have to introduce you to early Terran cinema one of these days.”

“I look forward to it,” Spock says, and is somewhat surprised to find that he means it. He nods toward the door. “Now, if you please, Captain--”

“Jesus, you and Bones, I swear.” Kirk peers into his face, and he keeps his expression bland and patient. Patience, he has already discovered, is not the acting captain’s strong suit, and it does not take long for him to relent. “Fine, okay. I’ll see if he can find a place for me to crash.”


“Crash. Pass out. Become expeditiously unconscious.” Kirk pulls the door back open. The quiet, controlled chaos of the packed med-bay filters back in. McCoy is calling for someone to bring him a dermal regenerator, but he glances up briefly when Spock and Kirk emerge.

“You all done with your conference?” Kirk nods. “Good. Now get the hell out of my med-bay. Go to bed.”

“I don’t have a bed,” Kirk says.

“Use the captain’s quarters.” McCoy holds out a hand, and a nurse slaps the dermal regenerator into it. Spock can sense Kirk begin to stiffen beside him, and apparently McCoy knows his friend well enough to anticipate this reaction without even looking up. He huffs loudly. “Pike is in a medically induced coma for the duration of the voyage, because I’m sure as hell not trying to detach that damn thing from his spinal cord with less than half a functioning med-bay. I don’t have any spare beds, and everybody up to senior staff is packed together like sardines. Use the captain’s quarters or sleep in the hallway, but don’t come complaining to me about your sore back afterward. I have enough to do.”

Then he turns his back, a clear and pointed dismissal.

Kirk mouths an obscenity under his breath, then sighs and looks at Spock, resigned. “Looks like I’m outnumbered.”

“It would seem so.”

“You have the override codes for the captain’s quarters, I take it?”

“Indeed. I would be pleased to input them for you.”

“You’re silently mocking me, aren’t you?”

Spock raises an eyebrow. “I would not dream of it,” he says, very blandly, and Kirk laughs.
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