"OK Spock, so if I'm going to ask him out, what should I ask him out to do? It's not like this ship was designed with dating venues in mind."

"That is a weak attempt to avoid the primary issue, which is asking him to do something with you in the first place. I am hardly a qualified relationship counselor, and I have no intention of ever becoming one."

"You're right. I'm sorry for dragging you into this. See…what does he like to do?"

"Abuse his medical powers, drink far more than is healthful, worry about the Captain, and generally harass most people within his vicinity, especially over-worked nurses and pointy eared hobgoblins."

"What do I see in him?

"I am at a loss to understand that, myself."

"It's still sad how quickly you can list his negative traits."

"What do you like to do, Margie? Perhaps a better strategy would be to immerse him in your world."

"Logical. Where did you learn to give such good advice?"

"It is the result of many years of practice."

"Stuff it."

"I believe the proper response is 'Yes Ma'am.'"

"Then say it."

"Yes ma'am."

"Gird up your loins like a man." That's what his grandmother always told him to do when he was feeling unsure. He'd asked his mother what it meant. She had replied that it was a reference to the book of Job in the Bible, which basically meant "Put on your big boy pants and do something already!" That's how she had described it. So that's what Leonard did. He had it all planned out. He would ask Margaret if she would watch a holovid with him in the rec room. Slightly juvenile, but it was casual and it would be enjoyable, and if she refused, it wouldn't be too embarrassing. Of course, the first step to doing that would be to approach her. He would sit with her at lunch.

Now or never. "Dr. McCoy!" Margie beckoned him to sit with her. "Come! Sit!"

"I'd be glad to, little lady. To what do I owe the honor?"

"Entirely your own merit, I'm sure. Actually, I wanted to ask you something. I plan on watching an old holovid tonight in the rec room. Care to join me?" McCoy almost spit out his coffee.

"Let me get this straight. Are you asking me on a date?" She pretended to consider it.

"Yes, I suppose I am. But if you spit coffee onto my clean blouse, I might just rescind my offer." McCoy laughed out loud.

"Darn you, woman! I've been trying to work up the nerve to ask you out for a few months now, and the day I decide to go for it, you beat me to the punch! Typical."

"May I take that as a yes?"

"You may." He smiled at her widely. They ate companionably for a few moments.

"Leonard?"

"Yep?"

"What did you have in mind for a date, anyway?"

"I was going to ask you if you'd watch an old holovid in the rec room with me tonight."

"Oh?" she smiled mischievously. "Too bad. We can do that another night."

"Aren't you going to ask me how my date went?"

"No, I shall not."

"Spock, you're such a joy-kill. Why ever not? It's customary for a friend to ask their friend how their friend's date went."

"Ignoring the atrocious grammar of your statement, I offer you a rationale. Firstly, it is unnecessary, as by the irritatingly wide smile on your face I have concluded that you enjoyed yourself immensely. Secondly, it is customary between friends of the same gender. Do I seem female to you? Thirdly, I am not even your friend, I am your brother. Fourth and foremostly, I simply am not interested in the details of your date with Dr. McCoy."

Margie smiled. "As eloquently as that was put, you're gonna have to suck it up because I need to tell someone about my date."

"It would be beneficial to both of us if you would cultivate some female friendships."

"You're probably right. Do I even have any friends on this ship? You're my brother, Leonard is my love interest, and everyone else is a colleague of varying familiarity. Mr. Scott is probably the closest thing I have to a friend on this ship."

"That, to use a human expression, is slightly sad. I recommend Nurse Chapel. She can be annoyingly sentimental and moody, but she is an intelligent woman who in all probability will make you a great friend."

"You're only saying that because you want me to distract her from her crush on you." "While I confess that I find that to be a highly desirable scenario, I did not have it in mind while making the suggestion. Furthermore, she works closely with Dr. McCoy, and would probably be willing to gossip about him with you."

"Also self-serving. You're tired of me talking to you about the doctor, and you want me to unload it on someone else."

"Essentially."

The captain was a very clever individual, especially when it came to problems that needed to be solved. But occasionally, he could be positively dense. So it was that he did not notice anything out of the ordinary in his first officer's behavior. He didn't know anything was up until the whole peanut butter cookie incident. But since he had been cognizant of the change, he had quietly observed Spock's behavior, noting several strange patterns.

1. Spock was more laid-back and less "Vulcans don't experience the human emotion of insert human emotion"

2. Spock didn't work past his shift quite so often anymore

3. He'd cut back arguing with McCoy significantly

4. Spock didn't play chess with him nearly so often as he used to

5. He often talked with Lieutenant Reinhold between shifts

Kirk was painfully slow in putting the pieces together, but he eventually concluded that all signs pointed to Spock having a girlfriend, most likely Lieutenant Reinhold. Still, that seemed ludicrous to him, considering that this was Spock. So he decided to exercise his prerogative as captain, and demand that Spock explain to him what was going on. That was probably over the top and budding into something that was none of his business, but when it came to Spock, the captain had to know. His curiosity was overwhelming.

"Excuse me, Captain?"

"You heard me, Spock. You're a Vulcan; you heard me perfectly well."

"Captain, I was under the impression that 'excuse me' is a human expression used to denote bewilderment at a particularly asinine inquiry-"

"You just called my question stupid!"

"It was an implication, at best."

"Now you're trying to be funny. Well, answer it! Are you seeing the Lieutenant?"

"Negative Captain. I see the Lieutenant quite often, but I am not currently looking at her."

"Don't be dense, Spock. It's unbecoming." Spock merely raised an eyebrow. "Fine. Are you in a relationship with Miss Reinhold?"

"Yes, I am."

"A romantic one?" Again, Spock raised an eyebrow, but significantly higher this time.

"Negative, Captain. I am not engaged in a romantic relationship with Miss Reinhold, nor shall I ever be."

"That's a relief. I'd hate to think I was so far out of the loop that I didn't notice my first officer was spending a lot of time in someone else's company. It's part of my job to know what is going on with my crew."

"Jim, I never claimed not to spend a lot of time with the Lieutenant. I spend approximately 65.3% more time with her off duty than I ever spend with you." Kirk felt slightly gypped. He'd always assumed that he was one of Spock's few friends and connections to the world of people. He enjoyed that position.

"Seriously? When do you have the time?"

"You often forget that as a Vulcan I require significantly less sleep than humans."

"Yeah. What about Miss Reinhold?"

"Captain, you have exercised your prerogative to question me about my relationship with a fellow crewmember. Any further inquiries involving Miss Reinhold would likely compromise her privacy, and I would suggest that you pose them to her instead of me."

"Fine, be that way."

"Pouting is as becoming as being dense, Captain." Jim left more confused than he had come.

On their third date, McCoy finally asked her. He hadn't even planned on it, but it came up in casual conversation as Margaret was teaching him how to play dominoes. "This is the only game I can still beat Spock at," she'd said, with the mother of all smiles on her face.

"Margaret," he'd asked, "what exactly is your relationship to Mr. Spock? Y'all seem very close."

"I'm surprised you're the first person to ask me that. He's…. my brother."

"Your brother?" he'd replied. "I can see the family resemblance," he added, looking at her bright red hair and grey eyes, and mentally comparing them to Spock's dark glossy hair and dirt-brown eyes. Chocolate brown, he'd say if he were sentimental. But they really looked more like dirt, whereas Margaret's eyes looked like the Gulf of Mexico on a cloudy day.

"In a symbolic sense," she defended.

"How's that work?"

"This is Spock's story to tell, as well as mine, so I'd ask that you keep it to yourself."

"Can do," McCoy smiled, overcome with curiosity. This was going to be good.

"Well growing up I had two older sisters, Sharon and Lydia. They were both really nice, but since they were closer in age, they tended to do everything together. They didn't mean to leave me out, but that's what ended up happening. Plus I've always been rather weird and slightly antisocial. Bookish, you might say, although I like to think I have a broad range of interests. I'd never been interested in traditionally female pursuits, like fashion or toe-nail painting or gossip about boys or interior decorating. It just seemed like a waste of time. That and the fact I'm not particularly friendly resulted in me having, like, no close friends. Nobody was mean to me, but I guess I was tired of shallow friendships. I was lonely. So I was about fourteen when I signed up for this internet pen-pal thing a teacher told me about, and I ended up with the contact information of a six year old Vulcan. Actually, six point two six three Standard years, if I recall. We were matched up according to interest."

"I guess you have a lot of scientific pursuits."

"Don't think that's the only thing we had in common. There's a lot to Spock. Anyways, we immediately hit it off, and we stayed in frequent contact."

"I dunno, he sounds more like a best friend to me."

"Quit interrupting, Leonard. I'm sure you're mother taught you that it's rude. He was my brother. We talked about anything and everything. I still didn't have many friends until high school, when I met Gia. She was the only other girl in shop class. She's my best friend. She's married now, has four surly teenagers and works to repair hovercars. Loves her life. I think I got slightly off subject."

"I don't mind," Leonard laughed. "What was Spock wanting a pen-pal for?"

"You'd have to ask him. That's his part of the story. So, I've told you part of my life story. I expect something in return."

"What, do you want me to tell you about all the psychologically scarring events of my childhood?"

"There was more than one?"

"Smartmouth. Well, it all started in Georgia, the birthplace of civilization."

"Lies. I have it on good authority from thick-haired teenage ensign that the birthplace of civilization was nearer to Eurasia."

"Just outside of Moscow, right?"

"Right."

Spock hadn't canceled his chess game with the captain like he had been doing for the past week or so. When asked why, Spock replied, "I am no longer obligated to listen to the emotional distresses of a particular Terran female, a burden which is usually quite time-consuming."

"Spock, I'm tired of interrogating you, but seriously, what is your relationship to Lieutenant Margaret Reinhold? I can't figure it out, and I'm burning with curiosity."

"A trait I share, though not to the point of self-harm. She is a cherished one. We have a sibling relationship."

"I see," Kirk replied, still not quite getting it. "And how did this….sibling…..relationship come to be?"

Spock detested lies, but the truth did not flatter his logic, and his captain was always pressing him to be more emotional than he was by nature. Well, that was mostly Dr. McCoy, but the captain did it too, on occasion. So Spock thought for half a moment on how to make his decision seem logically based so as not to encourage Jim, but to only tell him the truth. Fortunately, most Vulcans are highly skilled at making all their decisions seem logical, without specifically stating that said decision was made for said logical reason. Spock was no exception. "I began the correspondence when I was six years old. As you are aware, I have always been fascinated with Earth culture. It seemed logical to gain a human's perspective to further my studies. I did not want to always be troubling my mother with questions about Earth, and it was logical to ask someone still living on Earth."

"So this correspondence is intellectual in nature?"

"Miss Reinhold is a very intellectual individual, for a human. She has taught me much."

A/N Thanks for letting me know that my formatting was bothersome. I've attempted to fix it for all my chapters. If there are still errors, I hope they are not quite so distracting. I appreciate the feedback:)