When Spock Met Carol
When Spock had applied for the Enterprise post as his first officer, Jim thought Spock would probably spend most of his time pointing out his mistakes. He seemed like that kind of guy. A real stickler for the rules; a keen, observant mind; that was Spock.
Yet, that isn't what happened. Spock did, of course, offer alternate, admittedly saner plans than his, but beyond a quirk of a brow, or token reminder of regulations, the Vulcan stood behind Kirk one hundred percent. He defended Jim, not only against hostiles, but even before Starfleet when they came questioning him. Sometimes the things Spock said about him just made Jim downright glow.
It didn't take long for them to get friendly. They ate together in the dining hall a few times a week, as their schedule permitted. Occasionally, they played chess afterward. They shared the bathroom connecting their two rooms harmoniously; Jim never caught him in there when he wanted to use it. Which he found odd, but maybe Vulcans needed less time in there.
Through it all, Jim noticed how hard and tirelessly Spock worked. It wasn't easy being the First Officer while also being head of the Science department. Sometimes their hangout time would get cancelled because of his duties. Spock never showed any signs of complaint, but Jim thought he could use some help to lighten his load.
So when he asked for, and was granted, a new science officer aboard the Enterprise, all in all, Spock's reaction was quite unexpected.
"Impressive credentials, but redundant now that I'm back aboard the Enterprise," Spock said.
"And YET, the more the merrier!" Jim countered, welcoming Carol aboard.
If Jim thought that Spock would warm up to the new addition, he was quite mistaken. In fact, Spock treated Carol in much the same way Jim had feared Spock would treat him: fault-finding and relentlessly critical. He excluded her from decisions and meetings whenever he could and gave her the most menial tasks. Jim tolerated it at first and apologized to Carol on his behalf. When Jim tried to point out to Spock Carol's good qualities, he got dressed down himself – in a coolly "logical", Spockian way. Spock even at times went so far as to claim he only liked her because he liked surrounding himself with pretty females. If Jim thought having Carol aboard would increase his time with Spock, he was mistaken there as well; Spock now worked twice as hard, as if to prove Carol was indeed redundant. Whenever Jim tried to be friendly with Carol, or eat lunch with Carol, Spock seemed to magically appear and cut in between them, often in a rude way.
The old man was no help. When Jim asked him what was wrong with, well, the other him, the old man just smiled enigmatically and said it was nothing to worry about.
"But it's affecting the morale of my ship! We can't function like this. We need to work as a team, and he's not!" Jim insisted, frustrated. If the old man couldn't help him, who could?
"Truly, Jim. It is best if you find out on your own. I believe you will be pleased with the result."
"You mean you were this snotty with your guy and your crewmates?"
"Not as such, no. I did not act out the way he is. But indeed, perhaps it would have been better if I had. He is much more accepting of his feelings than I was at that age."
No matter how much Jim wheedled him and sometimes asked him out of the blue, the old man still wouldn't say a word.
So Jim did he always did when at the end of his rope. He had a drink with Bones and moaned about his problems.
"Am I your doctor, or your bartender?" complained Bones. "What did Spock do this time?"
"How did you know it was Spock?" said Jim. He'd tried to keep his frustrations to himself up until now. Captainly image to maintain and all.
"Who DOESN'T know? I think there's even a betting pool going on about which one's going to get kicked off the ship, and when."
"He just won't lay off of her. No matter what I say! And the old man won't give me any clues. He almost seems pleased with what's going on! Talking to them doesn't work. I can't call Spock to task officially because he's smart enough to avoid breaking regulations. From what I've seen, Carol's performance isn't any worse than anyone else's on the ship. Heck, I'm beginning to admire the way she's taking what Spock's dishing out. And Spock, he's still the best officer on board." Spock was still there whenever Jim needed him. In fact, more than ever. WHY wouldn't he listen to him about Carol?
"You want my advice, kid? Call for some shore leave. We all could use some. Make him go. Maybe some time off will do the trick."
So that is just what Jim did. Spock wasn't at all pleased to go on shore leave, but agreed to go when Jim insisted. Jim decided to spend his leave with Carol. He wanted to get to know his new science officer when Spock wasn't around to cast a black cloud over their conversation. Besides, he had to admit. She WAS attractive. Spock was right on that front.
So Jim spent the next few days with Carol. She was quite sweet, charming, funny, and smart. Very much his type. Too bad she was his subordinate, or he might have thought about going further with her than harmless flirting. Sometimes he thought he saw Spock glowering in a corner, but whenever he looked again, he wasn't there anymore. Jim mused he must be paranoid.
All in all, Jim felt quite refreshed when shore leave was up. He felt confident, at least, that Carol was fine and knew he was in her corner, and that he was doing his best to resolve the situation. He hadn't seen much of Spock, but he felt optimistic that perhaps the time off cured whatever ailed him.
Boy, was he wrong!
When Jim saw Spock enter the bridge, he had to do a double take to make sure it was just his hair he was seeing, and that a black cloud hadn't actually materialized over Spock's head. When he reviewed Carol's scientific report, he criticized everything and ended with, "Perhaps if you weren't so busy flirting with the Captain, you might actually live up to your credentials."
That did it.
"Spock, conference room, please," Jim ground out, seething. Spock's brows pulled together but he followed him in obediently. Once the soundproof door was fully shut, Jim spun around. "WHAT is your problem?!"
"It is not I who has a problem, Captain – "
"That's just a bunch of bullshit!" shouted Jim. He'd never shouted at Spock, or any of his crew before, but he had to admit, it felt good, even though it wasn't captainly. "Other people make mistakes, and you laugh it off as them being human!"
"I do not laugh – "
"You're not listening to me!"
"There is no need to shout."
"Why don't you like her?"
"Just because you can't resist any woman who comes your way – "
Jim ground his teeth, refusing to be sidetracked. "This isn't about me! It's about the inhuman way you treat her! You can't treat her like a Vulcan!"
"I see no reason to play favorites with her the way you do. You spent your entire shore leave with her. It is you who are biased – "
"I was trying to clean up the mess YOU made –"
"I have noticed you spend more time with her than any of the other crew – "
"Because she needs more morale , because of YOU!"
"If she can't live up to Starfleet's standard, she doesn't deserve to stay on the ship!"
"SPOCK!" Jim shouted, enraged, heaving, fists clenched at his sides. Spock just WOULDN'T listen, god, he just wanted to –HIT him – to – to –
Without thinking, Jim launched himself forward, hauled Spock to him bodily with the front of his shirt, and kissed him. Then, equally abruptly, he let go.
SHIT, Jim thought to himself in a panic. WHERE did that come from? DAMN to hell his urge to fight or fuck! God he'd just made things worse –
Before he could continue that train of thought, Spock grabbed him and kissed him hard, pushing him against the conference table. In shock, Jim froze limply in his arms, letting him do it. His head filled with a strange buzzing and white noise. He felt nothing but Spock's lips insistent against his, and his strong body pressing him down.
After several heated seconds, Spock let him go. His dark, searing gaze penetrated his for a moment, before Spock spun around for the door.
"Hey, wait a second, Spock," Jim gasped as he caught his breath, his head spinning. He'd forgotten what they were in there about. His mind was still numb with shock.
Spock obediently turned around, a strange light in his eyes.
"What was that?" Jim asked stupidly. I mean, really. Spock kissing him back? Where did that come from? While he'd been subconsciously aware that Spock was attractive, he'd written him off as a possibility from the beginning. Judging from what he saw, Jim was as far from Spock's type as could be imagined. But now that this had happened, well, he was getting on board with being Spock's type. Very much so.
Spock raised an eyebrow.
"You – you – " sputtered Jim, realizations going off like fireworks in his head. The whole thing with Carol – Spock was jealous! "I uh, didn't know…"
"Is that all, captain?" Spock asked, the glint still sparkling in his eyes, now joined by humor.
"Yes. I mean, no. Will you have dinner with me tonight?"
"We always have dinner on Tuesdays, captain."
"Yes, I mean. Well." Jim didn't want to say date. "Dinner in my quarters this time. You know. So we won't be interrupted."
"That is satisfactory."
"Good. Well, dismissed."
Spock marched out, followed closely by Jim. He could feel everyone's attention on them, though everyone was professional enough to appear not to be looking. They probably weren't expecting Spock to come out looking so self-satisfied or Jim so gob smacked. He sat down in his chair, thinking briefly of the other Spock. That old man. He'd known all along! Jim had been so blind. If it'd been anyone else, he would've realized what was going on right away.
"I have some additional reports for you to review, sir," Carol said to Spock, her voice polite yet steely.
Spock accepted the PADDs and reviewed them. In complete silence.
Jim couldn't help but turn his head toward them curiously. Usually Spock had gotten in at least fifteen criticisms in by now. He was quite efficient at that. Yet, Spock finished them all without a word!
Most of the bridge crew were staring openly now.
"Well done, ensign. I will put a commendation in your file."
Jim thought he could hear everyone's jaws hit the floor, including his own. What?
Spock gave her a polite nod, then returned to his work.
Carol stared at him, her mouth hanging slightly open. Then she straightened and responded, "Thank you sir," and returned to her console.
To refocus everyone, and himself, he started making his rounds, reviewing everyone's work. In the back of his mind, though, his thoughts still buzzed about Spock. Him? This was really all about him the entire time? Now that he thought about it – jealous Spock was kind of hot. He sure fought hard for him.
He needed to process this. So he did what he always did when he needed to process things.
"Am I your doctor, or your therapist?" grumbled Bones when Jim entered his Sickbay. "I heard about what happened on the Bridge."
"Already?" asked Jim, surprised.
"Yep. Spread like wildfire. What'didya do to him? I was told he came out of that conference room meek as a kitten."
"Well- " started Jim hesitantly.
"Don't worry kid, I'm sure he deserved whatever you dished out. He crossed a line."
"It's not that –"
"Don't tell me you kissed him," said Bones jokingly.
Jim gave him a deer in the headlights look.
"You didn't! Dammit Jim! Is he blackmailing you to get her off the ship? I knew I should have – "
"No Bones. He isn't."
The implications finally sank in. "You? Then he?"
"Yes," Jim confirmed. "I thought I was going to get sued for sexual harassment, then he comes at me like - "
Bones covered his eyes as if to defend himself from the images. "No details! Ugh, where's brain bleach when you need it?"
"Now we're having dinner tonight. In my quarters."
Looking like he really was afraid to know, Bones ventured, "Going to finish what you started?"
Jim grew hot at the idea, yet uncertainty filled his stomach. He LIKED this guy – he'd never slept with anyone he'd had feelings for before. And, he had to work with this guy. He wanted to do it right.
Bones, seeing this, added, "Well, it all makes damn sense now. He's obviously nuts about you, if a Vulcan can be nuts about anything. Just be blunt with him. He's not too good with our dating rituals."
"How do you know that?" asked Jim suspiciously.
"Good god, Jim, do you ever listen to the ship's gossip? It's the whole reason he split with Uhura soon after he rejoined the ship. Though now, we know, maybe not the only reason."
"I thought it was just the whole subordinate thing," Jim muttered. It had sure weighed heavily on his mind during that transition period.
"Didn't apply in that case. Well, looks to me like you have some thinking to do. And I have a Sickbay to run. Scat!"
Jim gave Bones a humoring look and left for his quarters.
Jim paced his quarters nervously as he waited for Spock to arrive. Spock had been in his quarters from time to time, but never for very long. Never like this. He mindlessly straightened things. Spock was a neat freak. He wanted to impress him.
His door chimed exactly on time. "Come in," Jim called.
Spock entered, his eyes gleaming with good humor. "Jim," he greeted.
"Have a seat," Jim invited, gesturing toward the table set with Spock's favorite food. "How was the rest of your day?"
Spock filled him in, speaking as amicably about Carol as he did about everyone else.
Jim noted this. "I'm pleased see you've patched things up with Carol."
"I believe it would be more accurate to say, that I have patched things up with you."
The atmosphere changed as they both thought about the kiss.
"Yes, that you did," confirmed Jim, which drew a very satisfied look from Spock. "Still, that was a LOT of crap you put me through. Maybe you might have to… patch things up with me some more," he continued playfully.
"Indeed. Perhaps I should get started right away?"
Their food forgotten, they stared at each other for a second. "Sure. Why not?" Jim replied, trying to keep his voice casual.
They both got up and approached each other until they were just inches apart. Then they leaned in and started kissing, short, slow, heated kisses. Jim felt Spock's arms go around him, drawing him in tighter and tighter. He could get used to this. He would get used to this. Because he didn't have to do much thinking to know he wasn't going to let this go.
Spock sure wasn't going anywhere.