Title: Unwritten Fate.
Fandom: Star Trek.
Characters/Pairing: Kirk/Spock (slow building).
Universe: Reboot (AU).
Warnings: Just for swearing.
Summary: Jim considers what his best option is given that he is not longer the Captain of the Enterprise.
A/N: A while ago I tried to fulfill the prompt on the KinkMeme about Spock being Captain and Jim being his First Officer. Somehow the story took life of its own, I decided to de-lurk and be more active in this awesome fandom and here is the result. Thanks to the amazing Anbessette who helped me with the beta.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the fantasies in mi head.
Prologue: Quid pro quo
"Are you kidding me?"
James Kirk looked at Christopher Pike with wide eyes. Kirk had a hard time understanding why Starfleet hadn't given him the Enterprise after the Narada incident. At first Jim thought, startled, that the Kobayashi Maru trial was coming back to bite him in the ass; but Pike set him straight, telling him that the admiralty thought it was better to leave Kirk as First Officer, respecting the promotion Pike gave him before going to Nero's ship. That also meant leaving Spock as Captain of the Enterprise.
Jim knew that Komack had probably made a big fuss about giving Jim the Enterprise. That man sure could hold a grudge. Since a few incidents involving a girl somewhat related to the admiral (not entirely Jim's fault if the girl didn't give him details about that) Komack had made it his personal crusade to get Jim out of the Academy. And now, his new mission was getting Jim out of Starfleet. Komack was just angry because Jim doesn't bend to his orders (and screwed his… cousin? niece?), and leaving Jim as First Officer was the admiral's way of saying: 'I got you, so either you take it, or you do us a favor and leave.'
Of course, Komack was an idiot if he really believed that Jim was going to give up after all the effort it took to get this far. Sure, Jim hated the decision, and perhaps he'd been very vocal about that, but he was strong-minded and he was going to be the best damn First Officer in the history of Starfleet. Then in a year, Komack will be out of excuses for not giving Jim his own ship. Even if it won't be the Enterprise, that hardly matters. The point is rubbing Komack's face in the fact that he will be the youngest Captain in Starfleet. A year means nothing. He can get the Enterprise when Spock ends the five year mission.
However, when the admirals gave Jim the information about his new promotion (hardly a promotion, he was Captain already), he assumed it wasn't the Enterprise he'd be serving on. After all, Spock was the Captain now (that stung a little, not that he'd ever admit it), and hell will freeze over before Spock wants Jim Kirk as part of his crew.
Bearing that in mind, Jim sorted out his options. Maybe he was being assigned to the USS Archimedes, commanded by Gary Mitchell. Mitchell and Jim had worked together in the academy a few times; they made a good team and they both hated Komack. The Enterprise was Jim's dream, but he could wait to get it.
Furthermore, Jim didn't want to be under Spock's command. The Vulcan was uptight and frustrating, so being First Officer of another vessel wasn't that bad. Especially after seeing Komack's face when he told him that he accepted the position of Commander and First Officer after a drunken night with Bones, who endured his rants about revenge and insubordination. The Admiral was red with rage, and no doubt he was cursing Jim under his breath. Kirk didn't believe in no win scenarios. Being First Officer is a major accomplishment for a cadet fresh out of the Academy. Yeah, it's not the same as being Captain, but it counts, and Komack's stunned face was enough reward for now.
Of course Jim should have known the Admiralty wasn't done with their 'surprises'. Being told who requested him specifically to be part of the crew, Kirk knew it must be a joke. Maybe Jim shouldn't have told Pike all those tales about men in wheelchairs.
Still, this was going too far.
"I'm not kidding." Pike took a deep breath. This was going to be a long talk.
"Is this because I gave you that sign for handicapped people, sir? Because that sign is a classic piece from the 21st century, and you should think of the effort it took me to find something like that, not to mention the credits it cost me to buy it for you."
"I have sense of humor." Pike smiled. "After all I was the one who convinced you to join Starfleet, wasn't I?"
"Then I don't understand -"
"You don't have to understand anything. I told you loud and clear. Spock wants you as First Officer on the Enterprise. Aren't you supposed to be the genius who hacked the Kobayashi Maru test? Somehow I'm beginning to question that."
"Well, you must understand my edginess sir; the man you assure me is now requesting me as First Officer is the same man who wanted me expelled in the first place."
"There's a fine line between love and hate" Pike smirked.
"Yeah, thanks, that's even more disturbing. Are you sure Spock, the Vulcan guy with pointy ears and green blood, asked for ME, the infuriating human, to be his First Officer?"
"You know, that comment could be labelled as xenophobic. But yeah, Spock requested you as his second in command."
"Just out of curiosity… the Spock who requested this was a young one, right?" Jim suddenly remembered about the other Spock, and maybe that one had used some mental voodoo to hypnotize the Admirals and make them think that Spock (the younger) wanted him in his crew.
"Yes, Kirk, the ONLY Spock I know of asked for you to be in his crew. I don't know how many Spocks you see in your hallucinations, but I guarantee you, the real one talked to me." Pike looked at Kirk, probably thinking 'Are you dumb?' "Are we done with this? Because I need you to sign the contract for the Enterprise."
"Whoa, wait, wait. I didn't say I'm taking it."
"What? Are you insane? Wait, don't answer that. Why in the hell would you refuse?"
"Because it would mean having Spock giving me orders. Maybe you don't recall last time because you were busy being tortured by Nero, but the guy almost killed me".
"So? Half of the professors in the Academy wanted to kill you. Hell, half of the professors in the Academy still want to kill you. What's your point?"
"My point is that Spock has the strength and the authority to actually do it. I have survival instincts, you know? Spock and I on a ship where he can toss my body onto any desert planet is not a good idea."
"Don't be melodramatic. This is a great opportunity. Do you want your ship someday? Being under Spock's command could do the trick. Komack will be impressed."
"I don't give a fuck about what Komack thinks, he's an asshole."
"Language, Kirk. I'm an Admiral now. I can't allow a First Officer to use offensive expressions about my colleagues."
"Even if I'm right?"
"Especially if you're right. Now sign."
"I'm not signing anything until I've given it some thought. You can at least give me some time, right? An hour ago I thought my commission was going to be with Captain Mitchell, and now you tell me that the person I thought hated me the most in this building has requested me as First Officer. The word revenge comes to mind. Repeatedly."
"Unlike you, Spock doesn't hold onto feeling of resentment. He uses logic, and you seemed the best option for command. If you paid any attention to your Xenobiology classes instead of sleeping with the professor - " Pike waved his hand in front of Jim as a dismissal of the protest the blond was about to make "Yes, I was aware of that, Kirk. Anyway, if you paid attention, you would know that in these days Vulcans are a race of pacifists. They only react violently when necessary."
"Tell that to my neck," muttered Jim.
"You deserved it." Pike gave Jim a hard look. "You want time? Fine, you have twenty four hours. Although you know this is a time of necessity, Kirk. We need the best cadets in the best ship. Spock requested you for a good reason. Don't forget that."
"You're supposed to be on my side," complained Jim, knowing he sounded childish.
"I'm on your side, son," Pike smiled gently. "Now get out, I'm a busy person."
"Yeah, sitting on your ass all day must be exhausting." Jim dropped every word with his best sarcastic tone.
Before Pike decided to switch sides, Jim quickly made his exit.
Spock wanted him as First Officer. Damn. Jim needed Bones to get drunk with. And he needed him now.
Of course, when he really wants his friend, he is nowhere to be found. But when Jim didn't need Bones to see him in bed with Gaila, he was the first to arrive to the dorm room. Sighing, Jim gave the search a rest, thinking about all the implications of Spock's offer. First of all, the thought of Spock voluntarily requesting him as second in command gave Jim the creeps. It would have been more credible if the Admirals had forced the Vulcan to do this. After all, Komack was always sticking his nose in other people's business. But Pike told him that every Captain has the liberty of choosing the main crew. So that option was out, even though it is more logical that the one where Spock actually wants him.
On the other hand, Pike had a good point. If Jim could be efficient and obey orders like a good dog (well, not all orders, and even dogs bite sometimes), it would mean winning the Admiral's sympathy, and Komack wouldn't be able to delay his promotion. It would be perfect if Spock himself were to give Jim a recommendation. It would be like slapping Komack in the face. If Jim can hold for a year with Spock as his Captain, he may get his own ship as he planned. Even if he signs up for the five year mission, Starfleet can promote anyone who proves to be capable of doing the job and, as Pike said, 'this is a time of necessity.' A lot of ships will end their missions next year, it would be logical to ask for a promotion in that time.
Destiny is an overrated term, and Kirk hated it. But this time would leave his decision to luck. Somehow it seemed right to do it this way. So, if Bones was requested for the Enterprise as CMO, Jim would take the offer. After all, if someone annoyed Spock even more than Kirk, that was Leonard McCoy. The odds of the Vulcan requesting both were practically zero. Unless Spock was a masochist.
It was decided. If Bones is part of the crew on the Enterprise, Jim signs too. That would mean having someone on board who actually liked him or at least tolerated him, and drunk nights were always fun with McCoy. Spock in command means a boring ship, and having his friend serving with him will make that endurable. That is, assuming Bones is part of the Enterprise crew. If he is not, Jim will follow him to whatever ship his friend was assigned. Somehow Jim always imagined his career in Starfleet with Bones by his side. And they'd been through too much just to be separated by different assignments now. In addition, Bones knew Jim's medical file almost by memory. It's good to have a best friend who is also an obsessive doctor.
This new train of thought cheered Jim the rest of the afternoon. He found Sulu in the hallway and he informed him that he was also requested for the Enterprise, along with Chekov. Kirk found this interesting. He had assumed that the only person who had her place assured on the Enterprise crew was Uhura, because she was dating Spock or something like that. Jim didn't want to think about those two in a relationship, since it provoked a strange feeling in him. Borderline anger, but not so intense that he would actually do something about it. The worst part was that Jim didn't have any idea why he felt something sinking at the bottom of his stomach when he thought about them. It's not like Uhura was the only woman in the academy. Still, it was weird. Jim felt like something wasn't quite right between Spock and Uhura. Something was missing. But again, Jim should be taking care of his own business, and not trying to break up the perfect couple.
Walking to his dorm room, Jim wished Bones was there. He couldn't deny a certain curiosity about his friend's new commission; after all it's what would define his future. Opening the door, he was greeted by the sight of Bones reading in one of the beds. McCoy lifted his eyes, frowning at seeing Jim.
"About time you show up," said Bones with an edgy tone.
"Me? I was looking for you!"
"I have things to do, Jim; a lot of medical charts need to be updated. I don't have time to check when you need to get drunk. Besides, I though your Scottish friend was the man for that kind of job in these days."
"Oh, come on, don't be jealous. You are still the number one gal in my heart, Bones."
"I'm flattered," answered McCoy dryly.
Jim walked towards his friend, sitting across him on the bed.
"So, did you receive your assignment today?" Jim asked casually.
"You know damn well I did. I told you yesterday. The question is, did you?"
"Yes, I received mine too. Where were you assigned?"
McCoy cocked one eyebrow, curious. Jim was acting stranger than usual. They both knew that Jim was staying as First Officer, Bones was in the front row of the "Komack is a bitch" breakdown that Jim had three days ago when he found out that he wasn't going to be Captain of the Enterprise, but they didn't have any clue about which ship was the one assigned to Kirk.
"You tell me first which ship is going to get the bad luck of having you as Commander," said Bones calmly.
"I asked first," Jim smiled broadly.
"So? What are we, ten?"
"Just answer, Bones," demanded Jim.
"Fine, fine, hold on to your panties. I was assigned as Chief Medical Officer for the Enterprise. I'm going to be under the command of the damn hobgoblin, happy? You can laugh now."
Jim couldn't believe what he heard. Bones as CMO? What the hell? Did Spock request all the crew involved in the Narada incident? His previous thoughts came rushing into his mind, fast. He'd left his decision to take Spock's offer up to luck. And now with Bones telling him that Spock was, in fact, a masochist, Jim wondered if that was a good idea.
"I can't help noticing that you are not laughing your ass off," observed McCoy. "What the hell is the matter with you?"
"Guess who requested me as First Officer."
"What? How should I know that?"
"That's why I used the key word 'guess', Bones," teased Jim.
"All right smartass… I don't know, Jim… Mitchell? I don't like him, but he is the only Captain who hasn't slept with you or tried to kill you."
"You forgot Pike."
"Pike doesn't count. So, what? Are you going to be First Officer in the USS Archimedes?"
"No. I always thought you and I would be together until death tears us apart, Bones."
"Stop threatening me. And I don't know how that could possibly happen. I honestly doubt that Spock wants you as second in command. The man is not an idiot."
"Well, you'll be happy, now you have evidence to the contrary. He requested me."
Jim could barely contain his laughter when he saw how his friend's eyes widened and his mouth hung open. He looked like a pet fish Jim had when he was a kid.
"Are you saying that Spock actually wants you on the Enterprise as First Officer? I don't believe you!"
"Why would I lie about it? Pike is waiting for me to sign."
"You haven't signed yet? What are you waiting for? Do you expect for the hobgoblin to beg you in person?"
"I just wanted to make sure I'd be with you, on the same ship. You are my soulmate!"
"Idiot," McCoy scowled. "Honestly Jim, what is the matter? I thought you were already over the fact that Komack didn't give you the ship."
"I'm considering it. You were the one who told me that I shouldn't rush into things. Pike gave me twenty four hours to decide. I have sixteen hours left."
"Well, now that you put it that way, I can see why you're still considering it. Spock marooned you on an ice planet and then tried to kill you; having him as your superior is not going to be a fun ride."
"Still, you said yes," pointed out Jim.
"Of course I said yes; I'm not the one who provokes him by just opening my mouth," Bones sneered. "Besides, this is good for my career, and he even left me choose my staff. It's a huge opportunity."
"So Bones, what do you think? Should I accept too?"
"I'm not the right guy to advice you in this, Jimbo. As your friend, I would say you tell the hobgoblin to shove his promotion up his ass and you'd better start your career with a less controversial Captain." Jim wanted to debate this point, but McCoy shook his head, holding up his hand to stop him. "But as your fellow classmate I would say that this is a big chance, in fact, one of a kind. If your goal is making Komack regret not giving you the ship, this is the best way to do it. Besides, after all we went through, I imagine you'll control that tongue of yours."
"There's actually a rule against fraternizations, Bones," Jim winked at McCoy.
"I didn't mean it like that, you pervert," complained McCoy "but if you take the job, I can make sure to have some kind of disease on hand that also affects the elf, just in case he gets difficult."
"Bones, Bones, didn't you take an oath to actually cure people?"
"It's just a precaution. If it makes you feel better, I have one for you too."
"Some friend you are."
"So, what now? Are you going to take it?"
"I don't know yet. Let's get drunk and see if that helps me clear my head."
Even when Bones glared at Jim disapprovingly, the blond knows that his friend would cave. After a lot of tequila shots, and with Bones laying down on the dorm floor soundly asleep, Jim was in front of their sink, wondering what his best option was: throwing up, or just passing out. Somehow his mind decided now was a good time to remember what Spock (the old one) had said to him. The man seemed determined to convince Jim that he and Spock (the younger) would get along and somehow with the mind meld thing Jim could see how it was for the James Kirk of that time. They were really friends, and there was no doubt that Spock cared a lot for that Jim Kirk. Of course Jim didn't expect that to happen in this time, but perhaps he and Spock could reach some sort of understanding. Maybe this was Jim's chance to try something different.
The worst thing that could happen is that next time Spock tries to choke him, nobody will stop him. To avoid that, Jim was going to make sure to be on good terms with all the crew minus Uhura and Cupcake, they would probably help Spock, but at least Jim could probably count on someone reminding Spock that killing a crew member would look bad in his resume.
Dizziness overwhelmed Jim, who stumbled across the dorm room trying not to step on Bones. Finding a bed (his? Bones? who cared?), Jim lay down, deciding sleep was his best option right now. Tomorrow he'd continue with the methodical analysis concerning his decision.
Even though he'd said that if Bones was part of the Enterprise, he would take the promotion, now it seemed like a risk. However, Jim Kirk was a man of bold decisions. The question remained: was this one worth taking?
Jim groaned, trying to fall asleep again. There was a buzzing sound that kept annoying him, and prevented him from accomplishing a few more minutes of rest. Who or what was daring to disturb his slumber? Getting up to locate the irritating noise, Jim noticed that Bones was no longer a piece of the floor's decoration. Hearing water running in the bathroom made Jim wondered if his best friend was as hungover as he was. Finally finding his communicator and the source of the noise, Jim sighed. He still wasn't part of any crew, and yet the Admiralty insisted on giving Jim a communicator so they could reach him anywhere, any time.
"Kirk here." Jim tried to sound casual and definitely not annoyed.
"About time you answer." Yeah, Jim should have seen this coming. It was Pike "I need you in my office."
"What? I still have… six hours to make my decision!"
"I don't care. I want you in my office in fifteen minutes. Pike out."
Pike didn't even give Jim time to dispute his order, which was just rude. And Jim hadn't decided anything yet. He remembered parts of his drunken state last night, but the balance was the same. If he takes it, he'll be with Bones and probably Scotty. If he doesn't take it, Jim gets another Captain who is not Spock. It's a hard choice.
Looking as presentable as possible at this time in the morning, Jim wrote a note for McCoy and left the dorm room. Seeing the empty hallway, Jim couldn't help feeling lonely. Before this was the most animated corridor, with people always chatting cheerfully. Now the silence just left an empty reminder of how much is lost.
As soon as Jim opened the door to Pike's office, he regretted it. Spock was standing next to Pike, with his hands behind his back. Seeing that running away was no longer an option since Pike and Spock had already noticed him in the door frame, Jim entered slowly, like he was expecting a wild animal to attack him any moment.
"Good morning, Admiral. Captain Spock." Jim swore he tried to say it without sarcasm. Some things were just impossible.
"Mister Kirk," Spock said dryly.
"At ease, Commander," Pike winks at Jim. The bastard.
"I thought you wanted to see me, sir. If you're busy, I'd be glad to come back later." Jim tried to flee as quickly as possible from that room. Having Spock in front of him was not helping with his choice making.
"See? I told you he can be respectful of authority," Pike smiled at Spock.
"Indeed," answered Spock without any inflection.
Jim took a deep breath. He'd only been in the same room as Spock for a minute, and the blond wanted to hit him already. This was not going to work.
"I need to get some paperwork from Komack's office." Pike started to approach the door. "Wait here, Kirk."
"I'll go with you, sir." Oh, no, Pike wasn't going to leave him alone with Spock.
"It's not necessary Jim, I can go alone."
"Perhaps I could supervise the advances in –"
"No Spock, you'll stay too. I need your signature on some forms."
"But sir –" Jim made an effort not to sound desperate, without success.
"I'll be back in a minute. You are two grown men, I don't think you'll need supervision." Pike looked at them coolly.
I wouldn't be so sure, Jim thought bitterly.
Seeing Pike close the door, Jim felt trapped. He didn't have any clue about what to do now, and watching Spock rigid beside the desk gave Jim the notion that the Vulcan was in the same predicament. Neither knew how they'd survive without any witnesses.
Jim was a tactical genius. He knew it, and the best option right now was trying to make things smooth between them. Even if he didn't take the job, having Spock as enemy couldn't be good. He can choke you when you are on his bad side. Jim sat in front of Pike's desk, watching Spock neutrally. Of course, Spock's eyes are in the ceiling, probably watching some spot he found fascinating or something.
"Are you as uncomfortable as I am?" asked Jim suddenly, trying to sound respectful.
"I am not. Vulcans do not have emotions."
"Yeah, I saw that when you tried to choke me on the bridge."
Jim knew he'd crossed some sort of line without even noticing it. He could tell as he watched Spock go stiff, and Jim could swear he saw the Vulcan's eyes go dark. What happened to making things smooth between them?
"I didn't have the opportunity before, but I would like to apologize to you" said Jim finally "for everything I said that day. It was insensitive and rude, and I felt like a jerk while I was doing it."
"I understood your reasoning. Apologies are not necessary."
"Yeah, well, I apologize anyway. Everything went really fast… and it was like a nightmare. Sometimes I wish I could wake up, and realize I'm still a cadet and nothing happened."
"It is understandable. I desire to apologize as well."
"Don't worry, people are on your side. You're not the first one to want to strangle me."
"I do not doubt it; however, that is not what I meant. During your Kobayashi Maru trial, I used your deceased father as an example –"
"Oh, that," Jim interrupted Spock. He didn't want to talk about his father "I guess you could say we're even. Besides, with the way things are these days, it doesn't make any sense for us to hold feelings of resentment. At least for my part, I know you just said you don't feel anything, but you can see my point. We are on the same side."
Spock actually agreed with him. When Jim told this to McCoy, his friend was going to think Jim was hallucinating from being hungover.
"Can I ask you a question?" Jim decided that he needed to know all the facts to know if he was making the right decision, even if that did mean he risked unleashing the Vulcan's fury.
"I believe you already did. You may ask, nevertheless I do not promise you will receive an answer."
"All right, that's fair. Why do you want me as First Officer? Is it guilt over the Kobayashi Maru thing? Is it gratitude for helping you in the Narada? Or is it pity because they didn't give me the Enterprise?"
The silence stretched between them for a few seconds and Jim thought Spock was not going to answer him. Then Spock inclined his head, looking Jim right in the eyes for the first time since the blond entered the room, and started talking.
"My decision was not influenced by any of those things. I do not know the procedure by which the admiralty decided to leave me as Captain; however, my decision was made on basis of the facts. The Academy encourages having different qualities in the service to complement each other. I could appreciate this necessity better when we reached an understanding and achieved the same goal in the Narada event. I regularly acknowledge that your human nature is -"
"Irritating? Frustrating? Provoking?"
"Yes. Nonetheless, eighty nine point five percent of the crew of the Enterprise consists of humans. Having a First Officer who is also a human would benefit the work environment. In addition, you have one of the highest records in the Academy. You are qualified for the job, and you possess abilities that could be useful in the command. I considered other options, you appeared the most logical."
"And you don't think we're going to kill each other in the near future if we work together?"
Spock lifted an eyebrow as an answer.
Hearing Pike getting close, Jim stood up quickly, showing respect (not that Pike deserved it, after what he just did). Jim decided to interpret the eyebrow thing as a 'no'.
"I'm glad to see my walls still bloodless," the Admiral greeted them, looking far too amused for Jim's taste.
"Sir, I do not understand, Commander Kirk and I were -"
"Relax Spock, I'm joking. Although knowing Kirk…"
"Thank you sir," Jim glared, offended.
"You know it's true, son. Now, let's get on to business. Spock, you first. Sign this, and you can go."
Spock silently signed at least five documents and nodded at Pike respectfully. Muttering 'Admiral', he walked to the door. As he passed next to Jim, he slowed his pace and looked directly into the blond's eyes again. Jim used all his willpower not to look away, since the Vulcan's eyes were very intense, and Jim could have sworn he saw some sort of glint in those eyes. A respectful 'Commander' was said, and then Spock was gone. Jim was so stunned he even didn't say anything, just stood there, wondering what the hell just happened.
"Kirk, still with me?" Pike broke whatever spell Jim was under.
"Yes sir, sorry… I got distracted." Jim blushed faintly without knowing exactly why.
"I could see that. Well? What's your decision?" Pike eyed Jim with curiosity.
"Did you leave us alone so Spock could convince me to join the Enterprise?"
"Do you think I'm that manipulative? I'm hurt, Kirk. I assume your answer is yes, right?"
Jim knew that what he said next was going to determine his future.
"Yes. I'll sign."
Even when he had "no" on the tip of his tongue, something stopped him. Yes, being with Gary Mitchell would be nice, but being part of the Enterprise… it was his dream, even when if he wasn't Captain. And he could get Spock emotionally compromised any time so he could be in command once in a while.
"I'm pleased to hear that. You didn't have an option anyway."
"The Admiralty decided that if you didn't sign with the Enterprise, you wouldn't serve on another ship. And no, it wasn't Komack's idea, stop scheming against him."
As usual, the Admiralty was fucking up his life.
"If I didn't have a choice, why did you give me 24 hours?" Jim looked positively livid.
"I know you, Kirk. If I told you that, you were going to get stubborn. Do I need to remind you of your little episode when you heard about staying as First Officer?"
That was a good point. Still, Jim felt manipulated. Since he learned about his promotion, he'd considered himself the puppet in the hands of the damn Admirals.
"It's against the rules not to give me the opportunity to chose where I serve," complained Jim, but still he approached the desk to sign the papers.
"Yeah, the Admirals were getting ready for the battle. They thought you were going to give a lot of problems. I'm happy to see that you make the right decision."
Was it the right decision? Jim no longer knew.