Spock wasn’t the type to ever talk about the things he wanted. His sentences never began with “I wish I had a -“, which, to Jim, was understandable. Spock seemed to have been that way his whole life, probably out of some unspoken rule of Vulcan etiquette that sharing one’s personal desires with others was vulgar. But Spock had become ever so slightly better at it over the years, it certainly greatly improved once he and Jim got together. Must have been that human side getting dragged out of him in Jim’s presence.
So the most you could get out of him was a hint at the experiences he wished to embark upon, as opposed to material desires. And so every time Spock ventured into the territory of conversation on where to potentially vacation, Jim would be listening, maybe even surreptitiously taking notes under the table.
Because what Jim wanted, was to delight and surprise the Vulcan. Back when they were still working on the Enterprise, Jim would plan their shore leave according to all the notes he had taken. The payoff was worth it every time.
And now, in their retired state, Jim thought he had finally found one thing that could potentially top them all. Their cottage was just the right size for the two of them, that had been the intention. But Jim knew there could be room for one more, if only a small creature.
He had been thinking back to quite long ago, maybe it was 23 or 24 years ago, he and Spock had been on a mission to figure out what the business of one mysterious Mr. Seven was. And when that man had accidentally beamed aboard, he had a companion with him, one sleek black cat, adorned with a rhinestoned collar who took to Spock well - and vice versa.
The ‘cat’ had later turned out to be an alien in disguise for unknown reasons, as Spock had told Jim after he had petted her fur. His touch-telepathy had picked up on very un-catlike thoughts and feelings, but he had failed to mention it until after she had left with Mr. Seven. “I saw no relevance in bringing it up. I detected no harm in a cat, and Isis ended up causing no trouble at all for us.” Spock had told Jim. “Maybe you petted her a little too long, Mr. Spock - you are forgetting she scratched up the faces of some of our crewmen.” Jim didn’t think he needed to remind his First Officer of those insignificant injuries, but he guessed the cat had had a real impact on Spock for him to forget that.
And it wasn’t as if it was surprising that Spock adored cuddlesome animals - Jim would never forget the business with their first contact with tribbles, and especially the very telling moment there was in the mess hall, when Spock was handed a tribble he couldn’t stop cradling close to his chest. Any Vulcan will tell you they cannot tell a lie, but Spock lied adorably when he claimed to be unaffected by the sweet nature of the little beast. Jim could tell there was a real blinding affection for pets from there on and forward.
And now, because they were finally in a position to fulfill that long-awaited wish of Spock, Jim had been making arrangements for a little surprise that afternoon. A cage had been delivered to him that morning, and Spock’s daily hike was about to conclude, so Jim sat ready in the livingroom with his secret hutch on the tabletop, waiting for the door to open.
The familiar swoosh of the front door sliding apart sounded and Spock appeared in the doorway, taking his scarf off to hang up. Jim had trouble containing his smile when he went up to kiss his husband on the cheek. “You wanna come through to the livingroom? I have something to show you.”
Spock had a mildly intrigued look in his eyes. “I will. Although I am afraid your surprise has been spoiled by my senses, Jim. If I’m right that there is a feline in our house, that is.”
Jim deflated a little. Damn it. He hadn’t thought about that. He should have masked the area with a foreign scent. “You and your goddamn Vulcan sense of smell and whatnot - it’s impossible to truly surprise you, and it’s making my job very hard!” Jim playfully poked him on the chest before leading Spock through the doorway.
“At least you don’t know what colors she is - what color fur, what color eyes. Can your Vulcan sensibilities detect that?” Jim joked as he loosened the clasps on the cage.
“Now that would be too much to expect of me. Although -“ Spock calculated for a beat, “I predict a probability of the fur being black and shorthaired at ninety-two percent and the eyes yellow at ninety-eight percent. So how close am I?”
Jim stared at him as he picked the cat up out of the hutch by her shoulders in order for him to place her onto his own shoulder, supporting her soft back with his palms. Spock was smiling smugly, almost like he was trying to hold back laughter.
She was indeed black with yellow eyes, a shiny coat of short hair and prominent, triangular ears. Jim already knew why Spock liked that cat back then - its appearance resembled his own perfectly flat, black haircut and outstanding ears.
He handed her carefully over to Spock, whose arms were already stretched out in welcome.
The moment of truth came, because Jim had secretly feared one thing going wrong with this present: the cat not liking Spock for some illogical reason. That happened with pets at times, all have different personalities and can’t be expected to like everyone. Especially cats were notorious for acting indifferent to many of their owners, just by nature of not always being pack-oriented animals.
So Jim could relax his shoulders when Spock cradled her in his arms and she seemed to relax. He had her lay her head in the nook of his elbow, and she was soon purring with contentment. Her little claws hadn’t even gotten stuck in the yarn of Spock’s sweater, so that was a plus. Jim thought his allergies were flaring up again, his eyes got misty at the sight.
He regained enough composure to walk up and ask Spock: “What do you wanna call her? Maybe ‘I-Chaya’?”
Spock gave Jim a look and an even more arched eyebrow. “I-Chaya is a traditionally masculine name. And also I believe pets should not be named after their predecessors, it would be an unnecessary amount of pressure to live up to.”
It was then that it truly occurred to Jim that Spock had really not had a pet since he was about 7 years old, when his sehlat I-Chaya died, defending his owner honorably. That was a very long time to go without a pet, especially for a person like Spock who so clearly longed for that special contact one can only have with a pet.
“Then what should her name be? You wanna call her Isis?” Jim laid his hand on his husband’s back to caress him. He was already feeling a bit envious of the amount of pettings the cat was receiving.
Spock remembered how he had scratched Isis behind her ear back in the day and he became aware he had unintentionally done the same to this new cat.
“I shall think about it.” Spock leaned down to kiss Jim, lightly squashing their cat between their chests. Fortunately, she didn’t care much, as long as she was being scratched behind the ear meanwhile.