Notes: A deviation from the norm! This is not K/S! (Be really, really afraid.) Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
Notes: A deviation from the norm! This is not K/S! (Be really, really afraid.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek 2009, and I make no profit from this work.
The heads of department rose as one to leave, and Pike called out sharply. "Dickinson!"
Commander Dickinson, Head of the Combined Sciences, turned from his idle conversation with Commander Carter (probably about baseball or something equally dull) with a surprised look. "Sir?"
"Remain a moment."
Pike waited until the others had filed out before turning his full attention to Dickinson. "Have you given any thought as to your replacement yet?"
"Not...as such, sir," Dickinson replied. "Seeing as how you won't be leaving again for at least another eighteen months after I'm reassigned..."
"Yes, yes," Pike waved a hand. "I'll stop beating about the bush. The Vulcan that we can't pry out of your astrophysics lab for love nor money. What do you think of him?"
Dickinson snorted and grinned. "Spock? Brilliant mind, but his interpersonal skills are...interesting."
"He can out-nerd every single one of my astrophysicists. They love him. Hell, they made up an Earth birthday for him because the Vulcan and Terran years don't match. But outside of the labs, I don't think he says a word to anyone except you, and possibly Lieutenant Tasarovitch in communications. And only then because she speaks Vulcan."
"She doesn't," Pike said flatly. "She speaks Romulan. She's teaching him."
"He's due for promotion," Pike said. "Overdue, if anything. Do you reckon he's up to being head of the sciences?"
"He more or less is," Dickinson replied. "I haven't handled anything directly to do with them for four months. Sir."
Pike nodded, decision made. "That will be all."
Dickinson wasn't a fool, and Pike never expected him to be. Everyone knew why Pike had little to do with the running of the sciences, and nothing at all to do with their duty rosters, their shore leave assignments, or their away mission rotations. If he could get away with passing off a task involving that department onto Dickinson or his XO, he would.
Everyone knew why, but everyone was also too polite to mention it.
From the moment they'd met, there had been rumours about Captain Pike and Lieutenant Commander Spock. Spock had been a Lieutenant in the Astrophysics labs then, when Pike had been transferred onto the USS Roma to replace then-Captain Barnett. Pike had walked into the labs on his first inspection, and promptly been politely but firmly ejected by a determined Vulcan in the middle of critical experiments.
He was, to use Spock's own terms, fascinating.
One of the most frustrating things Pike found about being a Captain was that people deferred to him when he didn't want them to, and resisted him when they shouldn't. Spock constantly resisted him, in the most subtle and passive of ways. He questioned his orders, even if he did them anyway. He outright rejected orders pertaining to his own safety. He would argue with the Captain over physics, philosophy, theories in both realms, and Earthside politics. Pike found himself reading up on Vulcan politics just to argue those, too.
They became friends, however much Vulcans turned their elegant noses up at the idea.
The rumours swept the ship when Spock was promoted to Head of Astrophysics. The Roma was the flagship at the time, and thus equipped with extensive laboratory facilities; most ships didn't have separate departments, but the Roma did. Dickinson was a brilliant officer, but eventually complained of overwork. Pike promptly promoted Spock to take over astrophysics.
The rumour mill exploded.
It turned out that most of the ship were well aware that Pike and Spock had formed a friendship, and had taken that to mean that they were fucking behind closed doors. Vulcans, it was argued, did not do friendship. Which, for the most part, was probably true. So for Spock to tolerate or even welcome the Captain's company all the time - there had to be more going on.
Back then, there hadn't been.
But it wasn't because Pike didn't want there to be.
The first time Chris kissed him, it was in the middle of Gamma Shift, which neither of them were meant to be working, in a darkened lab, interrupting a discussion about the binary star system they were observing. Chris couldn't even remember what exactly Spock had been saying, but he had suddenly moved his hands in a very human communicative gesture, and Chris had snapped.
He had seized Spock by the front of his tunic, pushed him up against the bulkhead (probably only because he'd caught him by surprise) and kissed him, hard and unyielding and not giving him room to breathe.
For several seconds (6.3, Spock would later inform him) Spock kissed him back.
They had broken apart to breathe, and to stare at each other at ludicrously close quarters, then Chris had cleared his throat awkwardly and stepped back.
"There is no need for an apology."
"Yeah," Chris shrugged. "I just..."
"Are you attracted to me?"
The lack of a title or a name struck Chris as odd, and he narrowed his eyes for a moment, before relaxing and nodding. "Yes. I'll admit that. But I'm sorry for kissing you. It won't happen again. You know the regulations as well as I do, and your career is just starting. I won't have it tarred with that brush."
Many a promising career had been cut short by allegations of relationships between officers. Chris, being the Captain, wasn't allowed to start a relationship with anyone on this ship. The bitter irony was that if Spock wanted a relationship with his Romulan-speaking friend in communications, he could. They had no ranking relationship to each other.
But with Chris? No. Not while serving on the same ship.
"I'm sorry," Chris said.
It would be a long time before they spoke of it again.
The Roma was grounded for her refit, and her officers and crew scattered to the four winds.
The party was magnificent. The Roma had been the first Starfleet ship to go on long-term, deep-space missions, and her crew were the cream of the crop. She'd had the biggest quota of alien life forms serving on board, only the most distinguished Academy graduates, and a waiting list for postings as long as the starboard observation desk.
Everyone had worn civvies to the party, and Dickinson had been there with his heavily pregnant wife, beaming and wishing his old colleagues good luck. A quiet toast had been made to those who'd begun the mission and never come home from it, and then people's minds had turned to happier thoughts.
Chris had found Spock in conversation with Nadezhda Tasarovitch, who was taking a teaching post at the Academy, and drew him away. "What will you be doing, in the meantime?" he asked, and Spock tilted his head.
"I have...multiple options at this time," he said carefully, eyes scrutinising Chris' face. At times like this, Spock seemed to be able to see through Chris' skull and into his thoughts. If Chris didn't know better, he would have accused Spock of literal mind-reading.
"Well, I happen to know," Chris said, lowering his voice, "that they're going to consider me for captaincy on the Enterprise when she's ready."
A small, fleeting expression of...something...crossed Spock's pale features. "The new flagship."
"My congratulations, Ca-"
"I want you there."
"And I'm not taking no for an answer," Chris added, almost as an afterthought.
Spock said nothing, a tiny frown forming between his brows.
"Look," Chris stepped closer, crowding him now, until their faces were mere inches apart. "Here's the thing. Until then, I'm taking a teaching post at the Academy. Three or four years, I'll be here. Earthside. You can more or less do whatever you want from this point, and it won't change this: I won't be your commander anymore."
There was another pause, then Spock provided his answer; he tilted his chin up, and brushed their lips together.
The next three years were easy - and that's all there was to it. Between Spock's complete disinterest in power, and Chris' lack of patience for over-emotionalism, they fit together like hands and gloves. Chris didn't find Spock's Vulcan attitude or demeanour off-putting (if anything, it provided a challenge during sex) and he could trust absolutely that Spock wasn't in it for personal gain.
It was...ridiculously simple.
Chris had never done relationships, or even really understood them. But suddenly he did understand it - the random surges of love and affection that would rise in his chest, just observing Spock doing mundane tasks. The urge to kiss him, or even hold his hand - neither of which Chris was prone to feeling urges for at all. The sudden sappy, ridiculous desire to refer to making love as opposed to sex - he didn't give in to that one, but judging by the vague amusement crawling through Spock's skin right before orgasm, he knew about it anyway.
Sometimes, Spock would smile - a small, secret smile, in the privacy of their rooms, and then would kiss him, as if discovering his own emotions for the first time. Every time he did it, Chris wanted to hold onto him and never let go.
In the end, it became clear that neither of them would quite be able to accept going their separate ways in the 'Fleet. For just over three years, they remained at the Academy.
It was never spoken of, but everybody knew.
They fell into a routine. Although they shared quarters on the Academy campus, they were both busy for most of the time. Often, they would fall into bed separately, and welcome each other home in the morning with lazy, sleepy sex. (Chris quickly discovered that sleep-ruffled Vulcans were stupidly attractive.) Their long discussions on physics, philosophy, politics and everything in between continued as they had before, with the exception that, often, they were conducted while curled together in their bed, or on the small couch in their living room.
In public, they remained discreet. Chris wanted no allegations of favoritism, and Spock's upbringing meant that he was very uptight about public displays of affection. But Chris would smile, sometimes, and the lines in Spock's face would soften slightly - and even if nobody else noticed, Chris did.
It wasn't perfect...but it was easy.
The last morning that they spent together was one of their rare lie-ins. Chris had the day off; Spock had a disciplinary hearing in the early afternoon to attend regarding a cheating cadet. But that was not until 1300; it was 0900 when he woke to Chris' warm embrace.
Spock had not been used to the human art of cuddling until he came to share a bed with Chris. He had been forced to get used to it; it was one of Chris' rare dealbreakers. He cuddled, and Spock would just have to fucking deal with it.
Several years after that discussion, Spock reluctantly admitted to enjoying it somewhat.
Largely, his telepathy made it a pleasant experience. Chris' skin was warm, and Spock would instinctively gravitate towards him regardless of his thought patterns. In the morning, with no pressing concerns and no work to attend to, Chris' thoughts were invariably content, passive and affectionate, hugging Spock's skin where they touched, and trailing along the outskirts of his mind, welcoming and accepting and happy.
"You're thinking too hard," Chris murmured, shifting and raising a hand to stroke through Spock's hair.
Spock made no reply, curling into the hold like a cat and soaking up the heat.
"Sometimes," Chris murmured, "I think I love you."
Spock said nothing, laying a hand flat over Chris' heart and feeling that slow, settled heartbeat so unlike his own. They have learned each other's bodies the way students learn cultural texts - through repeated readings and re-readings, until they are as familiar with each other as they are with themselves. Perhaps more so; Spock still cannot quite grasp Chris' odd worship of his most Vulcanoid features - he had never observed humans pay particular attention to ears before.
"Sometimes..." Chris paused.
Spock murmured questioningly - another compromise to human communication. One that he has never been too bothered about.
"Sometimes I want to stay like this forever."
The call comes from Vulcan that very afternoon.