A/N: Something short and random that came to mind while I was thinking of the differences between the color of Shatner's and Pine's eyes… How that turned into this... I don't know.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, (damnit), nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
"You're a mystery," he said with a smile, the blue eyes lighting with well-meaning humor. "And I loves to solve me a mystery."
Spock, on hearing his new Captain utter those words more than a week ago, had tensed very slightly. He doubted if anyone would have even noticed unless they had been standing behind him, had seen as his fingers tightened around each other minutely. He rather hoped no one had seen that tiny lapse of control. More troubling, however, than anyone witnessing his reaction, was what it revealed of his own mind. He would be guilty of a falsehood if he were to try and convince himself that Kirk's statement, lighthearted and teasing as it was, didn't make him feel a certain amount of uneasiness. He would draw the line at 'trepidation', but uneasiness he could admit to, at least privately.
He wasn't at all sure that he wanted to be 'solved'. There had been previous attempts made throughout his youth by peers and elders alike, all notable first in their failure and secondly in their utter disregard for his privacy. They often resulted in discomfort on his part, sometimes in flashes of anger, brief lapses of control. The thought that something similar was to be attempted by his Captain made him, to his mind, understandably wary. They were still new in their association, only a few months out on their officially sanctioned mission of deep space exploration, and coming off of a very precarious beginning. They were still learning their way around each other in a professional capacity, finding those ways in which they worked best together, how to read each other, predict movements, anticipate needs. All those seemingly little things that would be essential in their mission.
This was acceptable; this was expected, in order to become a functional team.
What James Kirk seemed to be proposing with his lilting remark was something more than that. Something deeper, more personal. Something more intimate, even.
Spock found it unlikely that there would be a repeat of the incident that had taken place on the Bridge during the Narada Crisis. While it was most certainly revealing of certain aspects of Spock's character, it was an experience neither man had enjoyed, nor was in a hurry to revisit. Spock rather hoped Kirk's sense of tact – and self-preservation – protected him from that danger. Besides which, what would be the point in repetition?
Scientific surety, came the treacherous thought from the recesses of his mind. He did his best to repress and ignore it.
Moreover, the thought of anyone, should they succeed in 'solving' him, of coming to know his thoughts, his inner workings, was distinctly uncomfortable. He wasn't at all certain he wanted thoughts to be known at the best of times, even by those he would consider to be closest to him. These were not the best of times – he and the rest of the Federation still struggling to gain some kind of equilibrium after the decimation of the Vulcan race – and Jim Kirk would not be his first choice of beings to know him very well.
Even for a human, he was impetuous, unpredictable, and turbulent. He was intelligent; there was no denying that, and a good Captain, even in times that weren't fraught with imminent Armageddon. Early on Spock had wondered if Jim Kirk would have the right kind of personality to handle the day to day workings of running a starship – the paperwork, the work rosters, the day in, day out sameness that made up the bulk of interstellar travel – but the man had surprised him in that as he had in so many other things. Knowing him as he had in the first few days of their acquaintance, it was easy to think of Jim Kirk as the kind of Starfleet operative best suited for the fighting, the kind who signed up to be sent to those areas that were in conflict. As much as the Fleet tried to keep to the side of peace, there were always places that required fighters, and on first meeting him, Spock would have said that Jim Kirk could probably fill the role very well.
After the few months in space, Spock had been forced to reevaluate his initial judgment. Kirk was, against expectation, not only capable of quiet contemplation, but seemed to enjoy it. He handled the pedestrian portions of his command well, with humor, and if there was the occasional glimpse of boredom, that was to be expected in one so young. He never let it show in his performance, only in the occasional fidget or two during his shifts.
He worked hard. He was the youngest starship Captain of the Fleet, and he had the prized lady of the Federation, the U.S.S. Enterprise to care for. Where other men might have taken that honor and grown complacent under it, Jim Kirk worked well into the night, every night, in making sure he knew all there was to know about his new ship and the crew that ran her. It was only reasonable, logical even, but he was working himself to distraction in attempt to stuff his brain with as much information as possible. More than just making sure that he had all the required knowledge at his fingertips, he also held a genuine affection for his crew, a kind of need to know everyone aboard his ship in better terms than just rank and function. Observing him, intermittently intervening to convince him to not work himself into a fever, it became apparent that he was, either knowingly or not, trying to build a sort of family out of the Enterprise crew.
Knowing even what little he – and every other member of the crew – knew about Jim Kirk, son of George Kirk, that was understandable, harkening back to human psychology 101. But for Jim, even if his past had been different, his actions aboard the Enterprise probably wouldn't have been. He worked to understand everything and everyone, to foster a sense of more than camaraderie between other crew members, but of true friendship, of trust; of love.
Coming to understand, or at least to monitor more of his Captain's habits, did little to assuage his uneasiness over Kirk's proposed mission to 'solve' him. If Spock could have just believed Jim Kirk to be a slightly reckless but greatly talented young Captain, then he could have lived with the uneasiness and put all extraneous considerations out of his mind. But such was not the case. His Captain was reflective as well as a man of action, kind as well as clever, insightful as well as charismatic. He found he couldn't dismiss him and his off-the-cuff comment so easily.
"You're a mystery. And I loves to solve me a mystery."
It wasn't just that he thought Kirk could accomplish the feat, at least to a certain degree – because he did – it was he found the notion of Jim in his mind singularly unsettling. With his insight, his discernment, what he found would undoubtedly be cast in a light even Spock would be unused to. Who knew what it might reveal?
No doubt Jim saw Spock as just another one of the many crew members, another to integrate into the family he was trying to meld together out of disparate parts. Likely there was nothing particularly significant in what he meant by his being a mystery to solve… but then why did Spock feel so apprehensive?
Weeks passed with no follow up to that enigmatic statement, not so much as an out of the place look or question that went beyond friendly inquiry. Nothing, no sign, and Spock could not convince himself to lower his guard. It made working conditions a little stiffer than the norm, if not quite tense. If anyone other than the Captain and himself noticed it, they refrained from remarking on it.
When it finally felt as though Spock were losing some of his tight-held control, it was, of course, when he was alone with Jim, during one of the chess games that were quickly becoming a regular habit. He found Jim's style of play an interesting blend of classic stratagems and unexpected innovation, making him a difficult opponent to beat. It was surprisingly enjoyable, to be challenged at a game he believed he'd all but mastered, and Kirk raised no objection to repeated play. Spock suspected that he was amused more than anything else, believing Spock's insistence at continued rematches to be a combination of obstinacy and pride. Tonight, though, he found his concentration hard to hold on to. His focus was being taken away from the game by the smallest movements or sounds coming from the other side of the table. A slight shift, a sigh; he was too sensitive to Kirk, too aware of him and all that he was, his presence pressed against his senses. He was too aware of himself and how Jim Kirk might perceive him, what clues he might be garnering by his motions, unconscious sighs, or even his hesitations.
After a particularly poor move, Kirk grunted. "Spock, what's wrong? Your mind's not on the game and it's showing. A lot."
The Vulcan shifted slightly in his seat, considered his options quickly. He decided that an attempt at lying or concealment would not only meet with failure, it would most probably only complicate matters further along, even should it succeed. With obfuscation not an option, Spock chose honesty. Meeting the light blue eyes, now slightly darkened in their troubled frown, he made his voice steady. "There is nothing 'wrong', Captain," he said. "I merely find myself somewhat distracted by a statement you made a short time ago; about 'solving' me."
For a moment Jim was blank. Spock could almost see him replaying the scene, and many others that had taken place since then, in his mind. Then his mouth worked, forming something like a sheepish smile. "And that's what's been bothering you?"
"I have found the idea discomforting, let us say."
Jim sighed, leaning back in his chair, and turned his gaze down to the chessboard, perhaps feeling awkward himself. "Spock, relax. I won't be hacking into your personal files to find out more about you or deliberately pressing your buttons just to see what happens. I think we've both experienced enough of that kind of experimentation," he added with a chuckle. "I value our working relationship too much to risk it just for curiosity's sake. And I value any potential friendship even more."
That last, Spock noted with some interest, was said much more quietly than the rest, as though he hoped Spock would not hear, or had decided not to say it but his mouth would not obey. Even his eyes, already averted from his First Officer, trailed away even further, falling to the floor. The Vulcan had to consciously fight back a small smile. "You believe, then, that there is the potential for a friendship to form between us?"
Blue eyes came back up, intense in their frank openness. "I do."
Spock nodded, pleased at the flat neutrality of his voice, the smoothness of his brow. "I am sorry that I have to inform you, then, that your supposition is flawed. I do not believe that there is a potential for a friendship to develop." Jim's face fell, and Spock allowed his own mouth to finally curve into a tiny smile.
"I believe such a relationship already exists."