Mardi Gras

"Computer, locate Captain Kirk," Spock requested as he stood in indecision in the corridor.

"Captain Kirk is in Recreation Room 6," the computer informed him.

Spock reversed directions, returning to the site of the night's revelry. When he entered the largest of the Rec Rooms, the lights were at 50%, one lone figure on the far side of the room. "Captain," Spock said as he approached.

"Spock," Jim responded, leaning on the broom he had been using to sweep up some of the remnants of the Mardi Gras party. "What brings you here?" he asked cheerfully. Along with his uniform, he was festively attired in at least a dozen strings of beads, a feathered mask on top of his head like a drunken hat.

"You," Spock said, studying the push broom. "What are you doing, sir?"

"Sweeping up," Jim said with a smile.

"I see that, sir. What I meant was why are you sweeping? Maintenance can take care of it tomorrow."

"Yeah," Jim agreed with a shrug. "But things got a little bit out of hand so I thought I'd get up some of the confetti at least. So no one would track it through the corridors. Not that a little glitter every hurt anyone."

"No," Spock had to agree although he wasn't sure he did agree. Or understand completely. He and his Captain were still trying to figure each other out, their previous animosity slowly changing into mutual understanding if not yet affection.

"Did you need me for something?" Jim asked as he continued sweeping up the glitter and confetti that was strewn all over the floor and beneath the tables.

"Sir?" Spock said.

"You came to find me. I guess I was wondering why," Jim said, glancing over at Spock who seemed mesmerized by the Captain sweeping.

"I wanted to askā€¦" Spock stopped, shaking his head. "No sir. I do not need anything at the moment."

Jim nodded, knowing that when Spock changed his mind like that, there was generally a pretty good reason. He had finally figured out that Spock did things his own way and for his own reasons, and there was almost always a valid reason behind of his actions. And even his inactions. It had taken some time and several false steps before Jim had figured that much out about his First Officer but he was slowly starting to understand what made Spock tick, and how he dealt with the world around him.

And he wasn't surprised when Spock picked up the second broom, helping Jim bring some order to the Rec Room. Any extra necklaces Spock found were collected and presented to Jim so that he could add to his collection, twice as many around his neck when they finished as when they had started.

"Better," Jim decided when all the chairs and tables were righted, the lingering dishes disposed of, most of the streamers taken down. He finally took the feathered mask off of his head, hanging it on a pushpin on the corkboard that was empty except for the Rec Room schedule for the week. "I think I'm ready for bed."

"Yes sir," Spock agreed, going with Jim to the officers' level, wishing his young Captain a good night before they went into their quarters, each considering the strides they had already made, although they knew equally well that there was still a distance between them they had yet to close. At least they were on the right road and they were on it together.