Summary: Sequel to Assumptions. Jim is forever one of his worst enemies. It's a good thing he has supporters like Leonard and Spock, because now it seems like he has to play three-dimensional chess with Vulcan lives against a formidable opponent.
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek. I don't profit from writing this story.
Warnings: disregards Into Darkness, slash, very bad language, alcohol, xenobiology, violence, politics, philosophy, religious themes, inappropriate jokes, occasional Len's POV… uhm, flangst?
A/N: Assumptions was supposed to be a one-shot. I think it does well enough on its own. I'm almost certain that this sequel goes off somewhere beyond the final frontier…
I considered writing this after I read the reviews from sapere7 and seacat03 – this is a little bit your fault! – and their suggestions have been implemented, but the story and its characters just took lives on their own, as my stories and characters tend to. It's different. Hope that doesn't keep you from reading and enjoying it.
On another note, I do realize that I trampled all over the canon in some cases, but I plead AU-Reboot. Hence, Bajorans in the twenty-third century. And other stuff I'm pretty sure I mistimed or misplaced.
"The problem with having Spock on board," Jim had once said to Len, "is that he's so passionate and outspoken about his philosophy, that people who were formerly staunch propagators of logic and rationality become allergic to even hearing the words."
Len had written it off as the most steaming pile of bullshit he had ever heard. Then, gradually, he came to the realization that he had been wrong. It just went to show that Jim's head wasn't actually full of straw, as it often seemed to be, but that he had a pretty good idea of the people he worked with.
Two years later, Len was a very different person. So was Jim. It seemed, terrifyingly, as if the only constant in their lives was Spock.
Alright, fine. Spock wasn't exactly unchanged, either. He was still a hypocritical talking computer and basically a walking justification for all Len's xenophobic moments, but at least he was less emo about it.
"What I question," Spock said, looking with intentionally expressed distaste at the French fries with ketchup that a burly cadet was eating with his fingers, "is their persistence of belief in a doctrine that is self-contradictory to the point of nonsensicality."
"All intelligent beings need some sort of escape. It is perfectly normal." Pavel offered to share his chocolate-covered raisins, but anybody could have told him the hobgoblin wouldn't take any.
There was the thing Vulcans had about touching their food – heh, listen to them talking about rationality – but also the matter of chocolate (which was officially just an urban myth, but Len was acquainted with Jim, who had his own Vulcan to play with, so he had insider information).
"Take Keptan Kirk," Pavel continued, undeterred. He offered the bowl to his other side; the female cadet sitting there took a few raisins and popped one into her mouth, scowling all the time. "He beliewes in God. Religion is his safe place – the place vhere he occasionally goes to escape from the horror of reality. To recuperate."
Spock's eyebrow moved up; obviously that was either new information, or a new point of view. "How…"
"Illogical?" Len muttered into his salad. He couldn't help it. It was instinctive at this point – just as Jim had said it would be. Trust a Vulcan to make rationality sound like a bad thing.
"Not at all," Spock replied coolly. "It is perfectly logical. And imaginative. In my opinion, this method of reconciling with the harshness of life is very artless, but very effective."
"Imagination constrained by logic, Mr Spock?" Jim's voice cut through the din of the room. "Sounds bleak." A couple of seconds later, the devil kid was leaning over the back of Len's chair, one hand on Len's shoulder as if Len was not a doctor but some kind of a goddamn armrest. Jim wasn't giving him an iota of attention, though – that was all expended on his First Officer. "And in your case, self-defeating – don't you imagine?"
"Do I – imagine, Captain?" the Vulcan asked, quirking an eyebrow.
For a reason incomprehensible to anyone who wasn't plugged into their little Spock-Kirk mental LAN, this made Jim give him the puppy eyes and retort absurdly: "Do you suppose – you go as far as to suppose, sometimes, Mr Spock?"
Spock looked at Jim with admonishment that momentarily became shadowed with amusement, which Jim of course caught and reflected back tenfold. Len didn't have the first clue what was so funny about suppositions, but then, he was well aware that these two's respective senses of humor had never been on speaking terms with sanity.
"Presently and at other times, Captain," Spock replied, joining his hands behind his back, and for some equally incomprehensible reason sending Jim into a laughing fit.
"I actually need to discuss something work-related with you," Jim said then, and the tension in between them ratcheted up to near-pornographic levels. Who did the kid think he was kidding anyway? "Do you think you could sacrifice thirty minutes of your time? An hour at the most."
Really? He was going with that?
Spock solemnly stood, inclined his head, and without further ado followed Jim out of the mess hall, as if they hadn't just engaged in the most round-about round of PDA Len had ever had the misfortune of witnessing. This was very unhealthy and, as the CMO, he should be implementing counter-measures…
Len mentally visualized a cliff. Then he shoved Spock off that cliff.
He instantly felt a little more optimistic.