Spock did not like to impose on his captain, normally. If Jim had merely invited him to his quarters and to his bed, as was usual, Spock would have gone very willingly. Eagerly, in fact, for he had  no desire to spend the night alone in his cold bed without his heater beside him.

And tonight of all nights…

The mission had gone so terribly wrong. It was a miracle both he and Jim were physically unscathed. But they were both exhausted and emotionally, as Jim would say, fried.

And yet…there had been no invitation from Jim. He’d just said goodnight and gone to his quarters.

Spock stared at him empty cold bed and made a decision he hoped he did not regret.

He picked up his sleeping robe and walked out of his quarters and went next door to Jim’s. On the prior Enterprise their bathroom had been shared, but that was an old design, and when they were forced to rebuild the ship after Altamid, they’d all gotten their own bathrooms. Jim’s and Spock’s being the largest floorplan.

“Enter.”

Spock stepped inside  as the door slid open, then remained by it, as he held his robe staring at his captain, who already lay in bed. Jim was dressed in a tight fitting T’shirt, molded to his muscles, and Spock suspected, his usual cotton pajama bottoms with the stars dotted on them.

“I…”

“Yeah?” Jim was leaning up against the pillows that propped him up. He had a book in his hand.

And now Spock felt foolish. It was obvious Jim had not wanted him there. Why hadn’t he gotten that?

Jim’s gaze went to the robe clutched in his hands as Spock remained silent. “Spock, what is it? Are you all right?”

“I…wanted to…may I stay with you tonight?” He felt that his face was flushed and knew that he must be a very dark shade of green. But this was not his element. Nyota had never made it this hard. Everything was difficult with Jim. Watching Jim breathe was.

Without a word, Jim picked up the corner of the blanket and sheet, holding it aloft.

Spock swallowed. “I understand if you do not—”

“Just…get in.”

“If you would rather—”

“Spock.” Up until that moment Jim had sounded almost harsh, but just then his tone and his voice had softened considerably. “Put on your robe and get into bed. It’s okay.”

Spock nodded, undressed and redressed quickly, and then slid into bed next to his captain, who had now put aside his book to watch Spock’s every move.

“If I have overstepped—”

Jim held out his fingers toward Spock who was suddenly filled with such relief, he was shaking, as he touched his fingers to Jim’s.

“You can’t, okay? You can’t overstep. And I’m glad you’re here.” His mouth thinned. “What a craptastic day. Yeah?”

“Beyond imagining.”

‘I’m sorry. I should have…I really wasn’t thinking. I just wanted to get in bed and have the day all over.”

“And me as well. But I needed…”

Jim smiled then, soft and sweet. “I know. It’s all right. I don’t mind. Lie down and come here.”

They both lay flat on the bed and then Spock scooted closer, wrapping himself around his captain. He closed his eyes and sighed.

“Computer,” Jim called. “Lights off.”