a/n: Just a little scene.


The first time Spock ever touched James Kirk, it was completely by accident.

He'd been a cadet at the Academy, in the second semester of his third year. He had failed the Kobayashi Maru test for the second time, and had been impatiently awaiting the end of the 48-hour grace period during which he was not permitted to inquire about the test "in any way, shape, form, or dialect" as the test instructor had put it. And technically, his timing was as such that he would arrive at Pike's office half an hour short of the full grace period; but he figured, since it was Pike, he might get cut some slack.

With haphazard grace, he careened through the halls of the Academy, whizzing by at a pace between a power-walk and a run. People greeted him as he passed by, but he could hardly be distracted. He'd gotten no sleep the night before, had been up all night (much to Bones' agitation) thinking the test over, going over alternate strategies, scrambling his brain until dawn; he had also forgone breakfast, which meant no coffee, and as such was not presently coherent to respond to cordialities, whoops, or any other form of hailing. His attention could not be diverted: not even by a sultry, "Hey, stud," from Gaila, nor a wicked-handsome grin from Travis Morris, his youngish sparring instructor who always managed to get a little closer than necessary when showing Kirk certain maneuvers and holds (not that Kirk complained). He was in a state of single-mindedness, heightened by sleep- and caffeine-deprivation, and was unable to comprehend anything save for the fact that he was sharply rounding a corner and heading straight for Pike's office door—

Or, at least, he would have, had he not almost run-into someone going the opposite direction.

Letting out an involuntary yelp of surprise, Kirk jumped as a tall, lean figure obstructed his path. He managed, rather ungracefully, to bring himself to a halt just in time to avoid colliding with said humanoid obstacle—and as a result, knocked himself off balance.

He was about to fall backward and land painfully (and in a rather embarrassing manner) on the high-polished floor when a pale hand darted out and grasped his forearm, long fingers snaking around his wrist tightly.

Instinctively, Kirk's hand, previously splayed during freefall, latched on in return, gripping the dark shirtsleeve of the person, thumb accidentally getting caught on the cuff and pushing the fabric up past a pale wrist—

He felt a jolt of something akin to electricity as this thumb moved over the bare skin, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood to attention.

The muscles under the flesh of the other party went taught instantly in response to the contact; the person on the other end of the arm froze for a millisecond, just long enough for Kirk to wonder whether or not they would jerk away. . . .

But the fingers around his wrist remained firm, and Kirk found himself being pulled upright all the same.

Once certain that Kirk had regained his balance, his savior immediately retracted their hand, almost recoiling. Kirk's eyes followed the hand back to its owner, who had taken a step back.

Dark, brown-black eyes surveyed him expressionlessly, peering out like ink-wells from a pale, angular face. Long eyelashes fluttered over the intense black orbs, breaking their spell briefly as the other person blinked.

When Kirk finally had regained the mental capacity and social grace to realize that he was staring (and quite openly), he looked away and (to his immense relief) noticed that the person- No, alien, he decided, he didn't know any humans that looked that exotic- was in the company of none other than Captain Pike.

Who, surveying Kirk with some restrained amusement, commented dryly, "You are, of course, quite right, Commander: though the zeal and alacrity expressed by the student body is admirable, it does tend to make them rather . . . careless."

Normally, Kirk would have sent an insolent look Pike's way, accompanied by some witty reply that ended in the endearment "old man". However, at that precise moment, the only thought that managed to pass through his head as he gawked at his alien Commander was I'd like to show him my zealous student body. . . .

His amusement growing by the second, Pike continued, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Though, in that regard, they are very lucky to have someone like you to guide them through their mishaps and pitfalls."

The last part of the remark, Kirk managed to notice, was rather pointedly delivered- whereupon he realized that he had not, as of yet, thanked the ethereal man before him for preventing what might have been a very painful fall.

"Uh, right . . ." oh, real smooth. Gathering the courage, he looked once again into those brown-noir orbs. He inclined his head slightly. "Thank you, sir."

The alien regarded him steadily, uncannily, and Kirk squirmed under the penetrating gaze. "There is no need for you thanks, Cadet, although I would remind you that these hallways are not for sprinting through."

"Yes. Sorry, sir."

"Your apology is unwarranted. In the future, however, exercise more caution."

Pike chose the second after this icy comment (during which Kirk was noiselessly trying to work his mouth into a response), to interject. "Yes, Mr. Kirk—where were you heading off to in such an unnecessary rush?"

Bringing himself to look back at Pike—all the while well aware of the alien Commander's gaze still trained on him— Kirk responded quickly, "On my way to see you, sir."

Pike raised an eyebrow. "About?"

For a reason unbeknownst to him, Kirk suddenly felt rather embarrassed. Which was not something James Tiberius Kirk was accustomed to feeling. However, it was difficult to keep the slight flush from entering his face, what with the stoic, exotic-featured commander examining him so. And he got the feeling that, if this Commander was on staff—which, judging by the instructor's attire, he probably was at least a teaching assistant of some sort—he was probably at least mildly aware of the hot topic of this crazy, pompous cadet who had taken the Kobyashi Maru twice, and within the same semester. For some unfathomable reason, he quite suddenly felt the urge to protect his identity as said hare-brained youngster from this impossibly well-bred, aloof, intelligent, rather dishy stranger.

"I wanted to talk to you—about that test," he replied quietly. Before Pike could give him an odd look or ask him another question, Kirk hastily added, "You know: that simulation I keep failing . . . ?"

Kirk thought he saw Pike laugh behind those steely grey-blue eyes.

It was at this point in time that the alien Commander (finally) withdrew his steady gaze from Kirk and returned his focus to Pike. In a voice as smooth and as calm as undisturbed water, he intoned, "If you have no further words for me, Captain, I shall take my leave of you, and allow you to hold audience with the cadet at your leisure."

Kirk boggled at him; Pike simply nodded.

"Thank you, Commander. I will review your assessment and memo a response to you by this afternoon."

He gave a single, respectful nod. "Captain," he bade Pike.

Kirk tense as the Commander rounded once again upon him, fixing him with that dark, unreadable stare.

Slowly, he nodded.

"Cadet."

And with that, he walked past Kirk, being careful, it seemed, not to touch him, and walked swiftly down the hallway.

Forgetting Pike for the moment, Kirk spun around, watching the black-clad alien depart with sharp, measured strides.

It was with no small amount of fascination that Kirk watched a slender hand reach across (unconsciously, it seemed), to touch the spot on the opposite wrist where Kirk's thumb had brushed the skin. . . .

"Kirk."

Kirk whipped his head back around just as the Commander disappeared around a corner. "I—yeah, uh—sir?"

"Simulation? You aren't referring to the Kobyashi Maru, are you?"

Finding his former cocky self again, a slow grin spread across Kirk's tired, but buoyant features.

"Actually. . ."