I don't own Star Trek. I am however impatiently waiting for the American release of 'Into Darkness'...Soon...
This is Kirk/Spock and something like love.
Little White Lies:
Or the benefits of a Vulcan lover. When Jim gets himself in trouble, Spock lies to protect him. Now they both have to deal with the consequences and figure out how to fix it.
… .. . .. … … .. . .. … … .. . .. …
One year. One god damn year.
Oh, sure, he'd had worse years. (He shuddered at that thought, downing the drink in his hand.)
But still. One year. One long year of near isolation. One long year of keeping his distance from the people who served with him. One long year of death and pain and no one to turn to. Oh, sure, he had Bones, but he would never forgive himself if he leaned on him. He knew what it felt like to be leaned on, and would never ask for that kind of support, no matter how he offered it.
He'd always known it was hard, being the one everyone looked to. Hard being the one to bear the burden, being responsible for so many people. And he knew it was going to be rough, being the Captain of a starship. He'd accepted that burden.
But one year.
One year, and he was already feeling more stress than was strictly good for him.
Now, he would have been remiss to neglect to mention it was at least half his fault. He didn't trust people in position of powers, not even himself. Especially not himself. He hadn't had the best remodels in his life for not abusing power. So he most definitely did not trust himself not to overstep the boundaries of his position. So naturally, he isolated himself so he simply couldn't overstep those bounds. That didn't stop the fact that his crew kept a distance as well.
He could practically feel their mistrust in him. An entire year of it. They were unsure of his abilities, made worse by the fact that he most certainly was not proving himself competent.
Seven officers in one year. Dead. Because of his negligence.
He took another drink at that, nodding thankfully to the bartender, who had seen fit to refill it while he was distracted.
So the crew had settled into this odd kind of distant tension with him. Conversations didn't stop abruptly when he entered rooms, but slowly and surely, they did taper off. And he could hear them start whispering as he left. Bones never brought it up, and he didn't blame him. The last thing they needed between them was the awkwardness of Bones trying to inform him of the crew's opinion of him. So they just dodged the topic entirely.
James T. Kirk sighed, downing the last of his drink and closing up his tab.
He stood, noting with a sloppy grin that there was a pleasant buzz stretching him. His head was trying to float off and his feet seemed to want to sink into the ground. It was a strange sensation, one he found usually came a drink before he was too plastered to walk straight. It made him feel tall, invincible. He knew for a fact that it was a dangerous place for him to be.
Especially during shore leave on a remote starbase.
Jim pitched sidewise as a lean, colorful, bird-like creature shoulder blocked him. It squawked something that sounded distinctly not friendly and the five, duller bird-things with him screeched. Jim slapped a hand over one ear and flipped the guy off.
"Watch where you're going." Jim snapped.
The response came back in a flat, toneless translation. "Useless human. Apologies must be making."
Jim snorted, wondering where the hell they got their translators, because they sucked. "Squawk on this bastard." And he displayed a gesture purely Klingon in origin.
One of the lanky bird-things with the colorful one snatched its feathered appendage out. Dimly, as his focus was mostly on the long claws digging into his throat, he noticed they had a strange, feathery bat like quality about them, not actually bird. He racked his brain for the species, and sort-of recalled a new addition to the trade union for the Federation.
Bird-like. Planet had numerous medical properties and dylithium. Easily agitated. Demanded ridiculous punishments that were basically year long torture sessions that would end in death if you…if you attacked one of their elders.
Their elders, who became more colorful as they aged and were given positions of power, such as ambassador.
"Shit." Jim groaned, lashing out with one leg at the arm holding him.
He nearly cackled with glee as he felt the thin bone against his boot. It may not have broken, but sure as hell would hurt. The bird screeched, tightening his grip. Jim spat at him.
Might as well have him kill him here and get it over with.
"Kroykah!" A far too loud voice sounded. "Stop!"
Jim shifted his head sideways as the pressure on his throat lessened, and saw his crew standing there. Not all of them, obviously, but the important ones. Shit. Now he'd embarrassed himself in front of his crew. And Spock, managing to look serene and pissed all at once. Bones…McCoy was standing with the rest of them, shifting awkwardly, like he wanted to jump in.
"Vulcan." The pretty, old one started speaking. "An affront. Abusive, insulting, needing of punishment."
Spock tensed, glancing at Jim, who made one futile tug at the claw around his throat. "I see. Have your man put him down."
The bird-men (Was men the right word? It seemed wrong.) hesitated then the colorful one nodded and Jim was on his feet again. A second later, the boney claw hand removed itself from his neck. It felt oddly warm with the lack of hand. Sticky. What the man-thing's hand-thing sticky with something? Shit. Maybe he was a touch more buzzed than he thought.
"Demanding retribution. Deliver." The old bird insisted.
Jim watched the ripple of tension through his crew and winced. "Fuck you."
"Jim don't." McCoy warned even as the birds squawked.
A claw returned to his neck and he choked out a grunt. There was a crowed beginning to grow. He could hear the stilted jeers and subtle inching of chairs. People wanted to see this fight.
"I told you to release him." Spock nearly growled, catching the boney sort-of-wrist in a tight grip.
There was a distinct crunch, followed by a unique screeching howl from the bird holding him as it promptly dropped him. The other birds puffed up, looking particularly hilarious with their feathers sticking every which way. Jim laughed, then snorted, wobbling a bit when the alcohol deemed he wasn't allowed to have balance and humor.
A warm hand situated itself in the small of his back and Jim froze, the laugh dieing in a lump in his throat.
"Forgive my lover, he does not handle his drink well."
Where the hell did the floor go? Because it wasn't under Jim's feet. In fact, he had a feeling he was incredibly wrong about how much he had to drink, because shit had just gotten weird. As in, I really am hallucinating, right, weird. Because he could have sworn his first officer was touching him, and calling him his lover.
The birds all squealed highly, a sound he was beginning to dislike, and bowed back away from him, into the bar.
"Forgive. Forgive." The old bird insisted. "We were unaware."
And just like that, Jim felt himself being lead away from the bar, Spock still possessively resting his hand on his back, his crew surrounding him. It was surreal and, Jim decided, he was definitely drunk, passed out and having the strangest drunken dream. Why he was dreaming that, he had no idea.
"What just happened?" Jim finally asked when he'd been lead to a fairly secluded area, and found himself backed into a corner by his crew.
"You attacked and aggravated an ambassador that was about to have you ritually disemboweled." Uhura spoke up, eyes flashing with anger.
Jim cringed, her tone going straight to his alcohol addled brain. "Uh…so what was that back there?"
Bones broke out into a grin, and Scotty and Sulu started snickering. Chekov was slowly turning red. Uhura…well she pursed her lips, like she wasn't sure if she wanted to be amused or yell at him. Seeing as he was getting no answer, he slowly, cringingly, turned his gaze to Spock.
Spock had leveled him with a frigid look, eyes nearly tan with his pupils constricted in anger. Jim boldly didn't squeak, but it took quite a bit of effort not to scrunch his shoulders up. Making himself smaller seemed counterproductive at the moment. Like showing weakness would encourage another attack.
"Had I not interfered, you would be dead, Captain."
Jim winced and brought his hand up to rub his neck. There was a soft squelching sound as something slick and sticky coated his palm. He yanked his hand back, and saw it coated with red. He was bleeding…oh yeah. Claws.
"Sorry?" Jim tried, looking his crew over.
"Sorry?" Sulu barked. "You're sorry?"
Jim ducked his head. "I guess."
A distinct rumbling growl from his first officer made him snap it back up. "I do not take pleasure in lying for you, Captain. Do not place yourself in such a position that I must do so again."
Jim saw red, and thanked the buzz for making the transition to anger so easy. "Well fuck you too. I didn't ask for you to step in, did I? I can handle myself."
"Ye were handling yur self inta a bad spot." Scotty scolded.
Jim lashed out with a glare at all of them. "What the fuck do you care? If I fuck myself over, you get another Captain. Big deal."
There was a moment of stunned silence, before Chekov spoke up. "You…you hawe no attachment to us? Ve are simply creuv?"
The young blond swallowed hard and Sulu wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "That's fucked up Kirk. Maybe it'd be no skin off your nose if you had a completely different crew, but we give a shit about you."
Jim snorted. "Yeah. Sure. I'm your Captain, not your friend. I know that."
"We aren't friends?" Uhura asked, sounding genuinely surprised.
Jim found this hilarious, for some reason, and was nearly hysterical with laughter. "Why the fuck would we be?"
McCoy squirmed. "Jim…"
"No." Jim straightened himself, voice flat, with no traces of humor any more. "Come on. This is bullshit. Why are you really here? I mean seriously, we're barely acquaintances. We have nothing in common. We don't talk about anything outside of work. You can't play the friend cards. So why?"
"Because you are our Captain. We trust and respect you." Uhura told him, voice still shell-shocked.
"Enough, Captain." Spock told him. "It would be best if you allowed Doctor McCoy to inspect your wounds and then returned to your quarters to sleep off the effects of the alcohol in your system."
Jim wrinkled his nose. "I don't think I like you ordering me around."
"Down you go." McCoy announced as he jabbed him with a hypospray.
Jim crumpled to the ground in seconds, the sedative doing its job. Spock lifted him swiftly, casting a look at McCoy.
"It was the best option right now." McCoy shrugged.
"Vhat vas Keptin beliewing?" Chekov asked, following as they all started towards their provided rooms. "He vas being wery…strange, da? Vhy vould he not be beliewing ve are his comrades?"
McCoy sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Boy has issues with authority. Naturally, he assumes everyone else does too. That translates to issues with him. Combine the fact that he draws the attention of everyone in the room…he probably feels isolated."
"That would make sense." Uhura watched him thoughtfully. "The crew, even us, tends to try to impress him, rushing to tell him ship business when he's around or clamming up in the fear they'll embarrass themselves. He probably thinks they…we can't picture him as anything but a Captain to be feared and avoided."
"Aye, he's as bad as our lad here." Scotty thumped Spock's shoulder and received an eyebrow in response.
"I do not comprehend your statement."
"Says the man who took seven months to figure out the science department couldn't barely talk to him because they idolized him, rather than despised him." Sulu chimed in.
"By the way." McCoy grinned, looking up from where he was waving a tricorder over Jim as they walked. "That was fucking brilliant back there. Who knew point-eared computers could lie?"
Spock stiffened a bit in his walking. "It was logical to use duplicity in such a situation to ensure the safety of the Captain."
Uhura giggled. "Uh huh. And that was completely necessary, I'm sure."
Spock went a little green around the ears. "While it would not have been my first choice to diffuse the situation, the Captain seemed determined to find the worst transgression he could commit and attempt to do worse. It was the quickest and most effective method for remedying the problem."
… .. . .. …
Jim groaned, getting a mouthful of pillow for his effort. A mouthful of damp pillow. He must have been drunk if he was drooling. That, and the taste of dried sweat and battery acid soaked socks in his mouth (don't ask, it was a weird summer) was a very good indication that he'd had too much. Sometimes he drank a bit father than that blissfully stretched out feeling before it actually caught up with him.
"Uh." Jim groaned again when he extracted his mouth from the pillow, wiping his hand across it.
It was gross.
"Bout damn time Jimmy." McCoy growled from somewhere to his…fuck, to his back.
"Uh." Jim agreed, trying to struggle up.
"Do you remember last night?" Bones hummed in a almost chipper tone, readying a hypo.
Jim froze, clutching at the memories. "Oh shit. Oh shit. Ohshit. OHSHIT! Oh fucking hell."
"I'll take that as a yes."
"Why the hell did you let me say that shit in front of them?" He groaned, sitting up and gripping his head. "I made a damn fool of myself."
"You're damn right you did." McCoy growled. "Mouthing off like that when you have no clue how much we all really-"
"Nu-uh." Jim shook his head. "Hypo first."
McCoy rolled his eyes, but complied. Jim hissed at the sharp injection, then sighed in pleasure as the feeling of a hot poker being stabbed into his brain through his nose dissipated. Hangovers sucked.
"You're a miracle worker."
"You're an idiot."
"If I've said it once, I've said it a dozen times. Your crew loves and respects you." McCoy huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Shut up." McCoy growled. "And get up and eat something."
… .. . .. …
His crew was staring. His entire crew was staring. He was sure every member of the Enterprise was in the canteen, along with several people from the starbase that he did not know. There were, he noticed as Bones pushed him past, a distinct number of mournful looks cast his direction. His walking stuttered to a stop as he realized Bones was directing him to a table with his senior staff, who he'd embarrassed himself in front of the night before.
Jim winced as they all spoke at once, save for the Vulcan giving him a silent, measuring look. McCoy pressed him into the seat next to said Vulcan.
"Gotta sit with your boyfriend Jimmy."
Jim flushed scarlet and Spock sent him what could be misconstrued as a scathing look. "W-what?"
"Everyone's heard by now." Uhura explained. "So as long as we're on the starbase, you have to play happy couple."
"Aw shit." Jim groaned. "I am so sorry."
"It was I who chose to present such a relationship, Captain, therefore I should be the one to apologize."
"No. No. You saved my ass back there last night, like always." Jim shook his head. "I owe you one. A big one."
"Very well Captain."
Sulu choked on a laugh. "You've done it now Kirk. You made him lie for you so he will be collecting that debt eventually."
Spock simply quirked an eyebrow at the table and returned to his meal. Jim sank further in his seat, scrunching up his brow. Most of the table occupants assumed it was directed at the fact that he would in fact be paying up some favor or another eventually.
Jim's thoughts couldn't be farther from that.
Here his crew was, laughing and talking with him like it were a daily routine. Maybe…it was? They did eat together often, but Jim was always quiet when it wasn't ship business, and the conversations tapered off quickly when all eyes darted to him. Could…could that be because they thought he wasn't enjoying the subject and actually wanted to include him? Was…had he been paranoid the entire time? It seemed almost like they were…content. Like they were so used to thinking of him in a friendly manner that even when he fucked up and made a damn fool of himself, that was just something friends ignored. And apparently teased about.
Were they friends?
Jim didn't know the first thing about friendship, really. All of his past 'friends', with the exception of Bones, had been horribly fucked up relationships with more 'benefits' than benefits. The air quotes definitely made it less classy.
He noticed, with a start, that the table had lapsed into silence again. Everyone was watching him politely, waiting. He knew to the second what was going to happen.
"So I was in the labs the other day…" Sulu started, in the hope of interesting him in ship business.
Jim squirmed, looking away from the table. Was it bad that he knew what he was doing? He'd never really thought about it before, even if he instinctively knew it was happening. So was it a bad thing, now in light of what it could be?
"Look uh…I've got some work to look over. Outfitting and all that." Jim stood, flashing a captainly grin at them. "I'll see you another time."
There was a chorus of goodbyes and several strange looks as he headed off. Absentmindedly, he wondered if it was true. Did his crew really actually like him? And if so, why? Clearly he payed no attention to them, so why would they like and respect someone like that?
So lost in his thoughts, Jim didn't notice the big, blue-shirted man until he crashed straight into him. The man turned around, and Jim instantly wished he hadn't. Because he knew this tall, sandy brunette standing in front of him quite well.
"Finnegan." Jim croaked out in his best casual voice.
Tim Finnegan, to be precise. Senior during Jim's freshman year. Bane of his existence. Man who never learned that pranks could go too far. Man who was currently staring down at him with a mixture of glee and pure mischievousness.
"Jimmy!" He wrapped his arms around him and practically picked him up in a hug.
Jim coughed, a loud whooping sound in the other man's ear, and was promptly set down, shit eating grin still in place. Jim straightened out his shirt, grinning weakly.
"Aw Jaysus. Haven' seen you in forever." Finnegan laughed, punching his arm. "And look here, you've got braids and everything! I heard it but I couldn't believe it."
"Yeah, well, you and me both." Jim grimaced at his own words, but it went unnoticed.
"Ha. I bet. Hell, you're probably the same six dollar whore you've always been." It was said in a jovial tone, almost pleasantly.
Jim paled, clenching his fists tightly. "I was never a whore."
Finnegan blinked at him, and his grin redoubled when he realize he struck a nerve. "Oh yeah? Guess not. You never did get paid for it. Just a hot shower and a meal. Sometimes not even that. Rode hard and put away wet, hu?"
Jim gritted his teeth, well aware that everyone was staring now and wishing he had at least made it into the hallway to have this conversation. "The hell would you know Finnegan? You were never part of my personal life."
Finnegan hissed, taking the attack personally. "Your personal life, or your sexual life? Oh, wait, I forgot, you don't actually separate those. But I've never seen you in a command position before."
Jim blanched, and couldn't hear the sound of a few chairs scraping over the blood rushing to his ears. "Don't you fucking dare."
"Dare what? Insinuate that you can go around ordering your Yeomen to bend over and take it? Because I'd never suggest you abuse your power that way."
Jim lunged, and never moved an inch as two pairs of arms wrapped him up, holding him back. Sulu and McCoy struggled against him a moment as he tried desperately to listen to the red clouding his vision. Finnegan barred his teeth at Jim, proud of himself. And then…not so much.
Jim blinked, realizing what he had just seen.
Spock had swept forward, grabbing Finnegan by the shirt and chucking him. Hard. Into the wall. Almost six feet away. All while looking completely serene and displaying no emotion. Finnegan sputtered, trying to stand against his protesting body as security officers made themselves known.
Sulu and Bones released Jim, who was gawking at Spock.
"What happened here?" One officer demanded.
Finnegan so politely answered. "That green blooded fuck attacked me."
Spock quirked an eyebrow at him, almost as if the gesture was offering to show him a real attack. The officers looked at him, hands on their phasers.
"Why did you attack this man?"
He gestured lightly to Jim. "He was verbally abusing my-"
"Oh!" One guard squeaked, cutting him off. "Oh god. We are so sorry. We won't bother you further."
Jim and Finnegan both looked like someone had just decided to start talking about the Andorian bocce ball league. The guard that hadn't interrupted knelt quickly to help Finnegan up.
"We should get you out of here."
"What? You're just going to let him-"
The guard slapped a hand over his mouth and hissed. "You just insulted his boyfriend, so yeah."
Finnegan turned a strange shade of pale violet, like he was trying to get flushed with anger and be pale from blood draining away from his face. Jim would have found that hilarious, but he was busy trying to figure out what just happened. He was good up until the point where his 'boyfriend' was apparently allowed to do what ever the hell he wanted. And there was so much to turn over in that statement that he didn't know where to start. Finally, he broke it down by the biggest issue first.
Okay, yes…he'd said last night…but that was just…and Bones had only been teasing…so why did everyone…why was Spock still…no. Just…No. There was no relationship there. They barely spoke to each other. Spock had admitted it was a lie. But he was still using it as an excuse? What the hell?
Okay. That was going to take a long discussion to sort out.
Spock. Spock threw Finnegan. Spock threw Finnegan into a wall. Spock threw Finnegan into a wall and didn't get in trouble. Spock threw Finnegan into a wall, because he insulted Jim, and didn't get in trouble. Spock threw Finnegan into a wall, because he insulted Jim, and didn't get into trouble, because he insulted Jim? Because he insulted Jim and Jim was (in theory mind you) his boyfriend? How the hell did that work?
There was a rather incessant pushing at his shoulder, and Jim found his crew practically shoving him out of the canteen. "What just happened?"
Déjà vu much?
Spock had the decency to look bashful. "I should apologize captain. I did not deem in necessary to allow you to place yourself in trouble with the authorities at this juncture."
"So that's why Sulu and McCoy held me back while you threw him." Jim almost snapped. "I kind-of figured that out already, thanks. What I want to know is why the hell they took one look at you and cut and ran."
Spock went green, and Uhura took over the explanation. "There are certain…benefits to being romantically involved with a Vulcan."
Jim wanted to ask about that. Wanted to point out some very interesting things he was starting to notice about it. Wanted to demand an explanation. His mouth, however, got started before his brain could. "You would know, hu?"
Everyone winced collectively. Well, Spock's eyebrow winced, which was actually pretty cool…
"You really haven't been paying attention to anything about our personal lives, have you?" Uhura asked, and damn if her voice didn't sound just a bit hurt.
Jim furrowed his brow. "I'm sorry. Okay? But even now…I'm not going to magically just know shit I didn't think was my business before…"
Uhura offered a weak smile. "Yeah okay. Spock and I broke up two and a half months into the mission."
"W-what?" If Jim was a little floored, well, maybe he had a right to be. "Why?"
Spock lifted both eyebrows at him. "We had determined we were incompatible as romantic partners and further attempts to change that would be detrimental to our performance on the ship."
"Oh…okay…uh…" Jim glanced around, wondering how the hell they were all so calm with this sharing. "So…what do you mean benefits?"
McCoy rolled his eyes. "Right back to the point with you, isn't it?"
"Well yeah. I want to know what I just got volunteered for." Jim huffed. "I mean hell, are they just this nice because no one really knows how to stand up to Vulcans since they're an endangered species?" Jim's eyes widened as soon as he finished speaking. "Oh shit. That was…that was so fucked up."
"I can assure you that is not the reason for their allowances." Spock told him, looking no worse for wear because of the statement.
"Vulcans," Bones launched into explanation, "Are extremely protective of their mates. It's a biological thing that they can't actually help much. The Federation has always given leeway to couples with Vulcans involved, to some extent."
Jim scowled. "Wait, always?"
"Yes Jim, always."
"How the hell did I never notice?"
"Most Vulcans don't couple outside of their own species." McCoy shrugged. "And it's just generally understood that if you fuck with a Vulcan, their mate will have words with you. Besides, most of them can care for themselves."
"I can take care of myself." Jim didn't miss the half beat of skepticism. "Seriously."
"Yeah, but assuming you actually were romantically involved, Spock would still want to protect you anyway." Uhura told him.
When he glanced sideways, his first officer was doing a rather fetching imitation of a green tomato. And where the hell had his mind pulled the word 'fetching' from? And that made him turn red. Shit.
"Not that we don't want to all protect you anyway." Sulu cut in.
"Tha' would be why the lad went so far ta protect ye."
"Because he's obviously not actually interest in you romantically." If there was a touch of glee to Bones' tone, it was directly attributed to the teasing material he now had on both men.
"Right." Jim mumbled, stopping from where they had slowly but surely been making their way through the shops on the base. "Uh. I was serious about that work. So…"
"Yeah, yeah. Get out of here. But try to be more careful, please?" Uhura pushed his shoulder gently.
Jim scowled. Mostly at the insinuation that he would get in trouble again. Partially at the fact that he had somehow become Uhura's friend. After three years in the academy of doggedly being nice and trying to be friends. One year of basically ignoring her, and she was as loyal as any friend he could ask for. That was wrong on so, so many levels.
… .. . .. …
Jim groaned, slamming his head into his desk as the chime on his door sounded. Apparently every member of his crew felt the need to come speak to him. Most were congratulatory, some were disheartened as missing a chance to get him, and some were disturbing and vaguely hinting that Jim should probably warn Spock he had some people he should stay away from on the ship. With a long suffering groan, he shuffled over to the door. There was no way he was inviting them into his room anymore.
He punched the release and the door slid open to reveal his slightly harried looking First Officer. "Spock?"
"Captain. May I enter?"
"Uh…" Jim caught sight of a few giggling ensigns a distance away and flushed. "Yeah okay."
Spock brushed past him rather quickly and Jim shut the door just as fast. Great. Now, on top of the awkward rumors Spock started about them being in a relationship, people were going to think…
Jim sat down hard on the ground, earning a sharp, surveying look. "Are you unwell?"
"I don't want people to think we're sleeping together." Jim said quickly, before he could stop himself.
To his surprise, Spock looked relieved for a split second. "You would not have cause to worry. Vulcans do not traditionally engage in coitus until marriage."
"Thank god." Jim whispered, closing his eyes and tilting his head back to hit the edge of his desk. "That's actually a load off my mind. If nothing else in this fucked up situation is clear, I want that to be."
Spock actually, visibly squirmed. Only a little, really more of a subtle shift in where he was resting his weight, but it totally happened. Jim missed it, because he was contemplating the inside of his eyelids. But it did happen.
"I apologize Captain. I was unaware that my course of action would have the consequences it has." Jim cracked one eye open to see an almost bashful look in those dark eyes. "I have caused you discomfort."
Jim snorted. "Not really. I mean…it's weird, yeah. And this whole situation couldn't be more complicated, but we can sort it out. We can tell the crew what happened, or we can break up, or whatever and be done with it. It doesn't have to be awkward."
"Indeed." Spock inclined his head to him. "I suspect simply informing them of the occurrences will not suffice. The crew is notoriously stubborn in clinging to what they believe to be denial."
Jim actually laughed at that, hauling himself up. "You mean if we tell them it was just a lie to keep me safe, they'll assume ulterior motives, sexual tension or some hidden feelings or something? I guess we'll just have to break up in front of everyone then."
"I do not understand why this must occur publicly. Would it not be acceptable to simply allow it to be heard that we were no longer…pursuing each other?" Spock was blushing, which he should really stop doing, because it ruined his tough, emotionless look.
Jim grinned. "I'm an exhibitionist. And besides, we want this over fast, like removing a bandage. If people actually see us arguing and breaking it off, they'll find it much more reliable than Bones telling them I sat down and had a talk about feelings with him."
Spock raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to reply when the chime went off again. Jim dropped his shoulders, cursing as he turned to answer the door. Cupcake was standing there with a gift basket in his arms.
"What the hell?"
"Sorry. Security insisted and since I'm head of it they wanted me to deliver it." Cupcake…Giotto, scratched idly at the back of his neck with one hand. "It's…ah…it's a congratulations gift. We know your relationships still pretty…uh….new, but…well everyone's been betting on you two getting together sooner or later…and…we're happy? Uh…that you two got this all worked out…or something. There was a lot of squealing and shit when I ducked out of there."
Jim shared a grimace with him and accepted the package. "This is way too generous. We aren't-"
"Nonsense, Captain." Giotto smiled actually. "We all adore both of you. If it makes you happy, we're going to back you on it. This is just a little token to prove that."
Jim's mouth flapped open and shut a moment before Spock stepped in, thanking him. Giotto's face matched his shirt as he realized he had obviously interrupted something and he hurried off. With the door shut again, Jim placed the basket on his desk, staring at the candies and stuffed toys and what not.
"They've been in and out of here all day, congratulating me…"
"I as well have had to accept the congratulations of the crew." Spock inspected the basket with a look of mild interest. "I am curious, however, why the security crew would believe it inevitable that we eventually found ourselves in a romantic relationship."
"Because they have nothing better to do than gossip?" Jim growled.
Spock quirked an eyebrow at him. "I believe we were discussing the cessation of our perceived romantic relationship before Lieutenant Giotto's interruption?"
Jim flushed a little. "Yeah, okay. Do you see my point?"
Spock seemed to ponder it a moment before inclining his head in agreement. "Very well. What do you suggest be the focal point of our argument?"
"Well, it'd have to be something big, and something that just isn't going to change…" Jim tapped his fingers on his chin. "I suppose we could argue about our different emotional needs or something. That would probably be the most likely…"
Jim trailed off, noting the pinched look in Spock's eyes. "You are correct, Captain. That would be the most likely cause for the termination of a relationship at this stage."
Jim scowled, just knowing that was one reason Spock and Uhura broke up, and not wanting to be like her a bit. "Actually, it probably won't work. It just isn't something I would have a complaint about. So we'll have to find something more believable."
An unreadable look flashed through Spock's eyes. "I admit I am unfamiliar with what would normally be grounds for such a course of action."
"Me either. Technically, you're the first person I've ever dated." Jim flushed as soon as he said it, wondering what the hell had made him put his foot in his mouth like that.
Damn Spock and his unreadable looks. "Perhaps we should employ the aid of Doctor McCoy or Lieutenant Uhura."
"Yeah, probably." Jim chuckled. "Shit, we can't even find a good reason to break up on our own."
And it sank in what he said. They both flushed spectacularly, eyes darting elsewhere. Had Jim really just implied that they wouldn't make that bad a couple? Well that was just stupid. Besides, they weren't…
"Are you Bi?" Foot in mouth: 3. Filter: 0. "Are Vulcans even allowed to be Bi?" Filter was still at zero.
Spock quirked an eyebrow at him. "While the standard purpose of a mate is indeed to procreate, there are other considerations. It was not uncommon, in pre-Surakian times, for Vulcans to have one mate of each gender. One for procreation, and one for mental compatibility."
"Hu. Go figure." Jim really didn't know what else to say to that.
"If you are not still engaged by work, I would request we speak to our companions now."
"Right." Jim scrubbed his hands on his thighs. "Okay. We should totally do that."
… .. . .. …
That was how Jim, Spock, Bones, and Uhura all ended up with their heads bowed together in a little café on the starbase. Once they'd explained the situation, and what they were planning to do, Uhura and Bones had jumped on the opportunity to assist. So far, they had nothing.
"How the hell does that not bother you?" Bones snapped, speaking on one of Spock's personality traits.
"It just doesn't." Jim shrugged, staring down at his coffee.
"Well, maybe you're allergic to his incense?" Uhura tried.
"I would change my incense if that were the case." Spock reprimanded.
"Besides, I like how he smells." Jim nearly choked on his own words, managing to bring a blush to his face. "You know…objectively."
Bones squinted at him. "How about the fact that you don't do commitment? Maybe we could make an argument that Spock needs more stability in the relationship and Jim can't settle down that much?"
"Vulcans can wait a really long time if they think someone is worth it." Uhura told him.
"Ug." McCoy downed half his coffee, looking frustrated at the two. "Are you sure you actually want out of this relationship? I can't think of anyone actually standing your shit more."
Jim flushed. "I'm not gay Bones. And I'm not interested in Spock like that." Why was that a separate point?
"Then why don't you just tell people that you were incompatible?" Uhura asked, frustrated herself.
"With the exceptions of sexuality, actual interest, and some unknown variables, we are quite compatible." Spock told her. "But we do not desire such a relationship."
"Aw hell." Jim groaned, placing his face in his palms. "Maybe I should just go start a fight and you shouldn't swoop in to rescue me. That might get the point across."
"And defeat the purpose of his lying for you in the first place." McCoy reminded.
"Well I have no idea then." Jim groaned. "Because believe it or not I don't sleep around anymore and I don't think I want to start that up again just so people think Spock dumped me for cheating on him."
"That's oddly mature of you." Uhura hummed. "I'm sure we'll think of something. I'll let Sulu and Scotty know to try and think something up."
"Chekov is half sure you two will 'come to your senses' and decide you do want to be in a relationship." McCoy snorted.
Jim huffed, standing. "I'm exhausted. This shit is too much."
The lack of proper sleep and his day of avoiding food had apparently caught up to him with a sudden, minor dizzy spell. He promptly fell flat on his ass, in Spock's lap. Spock was far too concerned over his health to really be stressing over the improper touch at the moment.
"I'm fine." Jim insisted, gripping his head. "Just a little dizzy."
"When was the last time you ate?" McCoy asked, tricorder already waving over him.
"This morning." Jim grunted. "Don't think I've drunken anything since then either."
"So you got drunk, dehydrated yourself, and then didn't do anything about it?" McCoy tucked the tricorder away, shaking his head. "Get something to drink before you go to bed. Preferably a fruit juice to help with the low blood sugar."
"Uh huh." Jim responded absently as he tried to squirm out of his First Officer's lap. "I can handle myself now Spock. Sorry for falling on you."
"You are forgiven." Spock told him, holding onto his waist a second longer before assisting him up and standing himself. "It is prudent I retire to meditate. I will accompany you to your room."
"What?" Jim froze, giving him his best hell no look. "I do not need that."
"I'm with Spock on this. Either I follow you back to your room, or he does. Since he needs to head that direction anyway, it's more logical." McCoy told him, grinning like a madman. "I don't trust you not to get in trouble, not take care of yourself, or get kidnapped or something."
Jim huffed, but turned on his heel to leave. Further protests would just get ridiculous. Spock followed after quickly, arms in a comfortable parade rest at his back. Jim was content to pretend he wasn't actually following him, until an obscenely strong, warm hand wrapped around his bicep and pulled him flush against him. Jim's eyes darted up to Spock who was looking at someone else entirely. When he glanced over, he saw six very nervous birds.
"Ah. Ambassador." Jim bowed to him, hampered only slightly by Spock's grip on his upper arm. "I apologize for my behavior last night."
"No! Not necessary. Not." The old bird insisted hurriedly. "All forgiven."
Jim smiled winningly at him. "Thank you all the same. I can assure you I will never behave in such a manner again."
"Wonderful, wonderful." The bird insisted, eying Spock the entire time. "Departing time. Until again?"
"Of course." Jim smiled.
The bird and its entourage hurried off. Jim watched them go a moment before ripping his arm free of Spock's grip and sending him a scathing glare. Spock simply lifted an eyebrow at him.
"You didn't have to do that."
"It was prudent they remember who you belonged to."
Jim choked on the air he was breathing, tripping over his own two feet and careening into a wall to his side. Spock didn't move to catch him, hiding the amusement in his eyes with a look of mild inquiry. Jim took a deep breath, finally understanding why some people said things hit them like a physical punch. He suddenly felt very weak kneed, and blissfully loose and it was disturbing as all hell.
"B-Belong to?" Jim squeaked. "I don't belong to anyone."
Spock had the audacity to blush. "I apologize, Captain. The concept of relationships on Vulcan is perhaps more…demanding that those of earth humans."
"H-how so?" Damn he would like to have control over his voice again, because he wasn't sure himself if he was pissed or thrilled and that was just not happening.
Spock's eyes darted sideways. "One is both possessing and possessed by their mate, touching and touched…"
"So this is an equal thing?"
Spock almost looked affronted. "Of course."
"O-oh." Why did that make things worse? Because seriously, he felt like jelly. Any second now he'd hit the ground with a wet flop.
"Are you in need of assistance, Captain?"
Jim shook his head, righting himself. There was no way he was getting assistance back to his rooms because his First Officer laying claim to him made him weak in the knees. Nu-uh. That would be admitting it happened. And that would require scrutiny. And that…that was not happening.
"You know. If we were in a relationship I would never stand for that."
Dare he say it, Spock looked momentarily displeased. "I see."
Jim realized how that came out, and felt the indescribable urge to explain. "You calling me Captain, that is." Spock glanced at him, but he noticed a hint of interest there. "I mean, obviously on the bridge and in important meetings and things, yeah, but we're on shore leave. One shore leave, I should just be Jim."
This time he didn't trip, but that was only because robots put more inflection on his name. Still, hearing Spock actually call him that was weirdly huge. Damn this weird friendship for sneaking up on him. Now he couldn't run away from it like he did with most of his friendships. And suddenly there were feelings and crap. He wouldn't stand for that, either, but he had no idea what he could do about it. Apparently ignoring them and only acting professional didn't help. And saying 'I'm a big wuss who can't handle being liked' sounded like a bad idea.
Spock stopped walking and it took Jim a moment to realize they were at his quarters and Spock was waiting to be let in. He found himself flushing a little. "You have the codes into my room you know. You don't have to ask permission."
Wrong thing to say. Because Vulcans sure did blush a lot when they actually blushed. "Understood, Ca-Jim."
Shit. Hearts weren't supposed to flutter. That was a medical condition or something. Because it was just weird finding it adorable that you made your usually stoic, thought-out-every-word-before-saying-it, perfect, Vulcan First Officer to stop mid word and change it.
Wait, rewind. What was that one in there?
Jim hurriedly punched his code in, deciding the lack of care for himself was a lot harder on his mental state and he was in shock anyway. He could be excused some weird thoughts. It wasn't like his thought process was normal on a good day.
"Okay." Jim entered, and immediately braced himself on the wall to kick his boots off. "Replicator 's in the corner…but you know that. Of course you know that. The layout of theses rooms are all the same. Down to the annoying way they vacuum the carpet to orbital west. And the dampener behind the head board, like anyone is getting laid in these rooms."
Jim halted, realizing he was rambling, and gave Spock a sheepish look. Spock simply quirked an eyebrow at him, glancing subtly around the room.
"You have spent considerable time on starbases." Not a question, which meant he didn't have to answer.
"Are you staying for tea or just watching me down k'vass?"
Both of Spock's eyebrows winged up. "I do not believe that is what the doctor had in mind when suggesting you drink something with high sugar content."
Jim shrugged. "So?"
Spock considered him a moment before nodding. "If it is no trouble, I would desire a glass of sweet tea."
"Oh so you can desire things?" Jim teased, before scowling. "You're not going to drink it, are you? You're going to shove it down my throat."
Spock almost, almost, pursed his lips, like he were amused. "I think you will find I have developed a taste for the drink, Jim. It was introduced to me, along with peach tea, by Doctor McCoy."
Jim rounded on him, eyes narrow. "Okay, what the hell? Is everyone friends on this ship but me?"
"They had presumed you to be their friend as well."
Jim's shoulders rolled forward immediately in a defensive hunch. "So maybe I fucked up on that. Okay. I get it. But seriously. How did I not notice you and Bones becoming friends?"
"Friends may be a strong sentiment for our relationship, however I believe your lack of observation stemmed from your belief that our personal relationships were our own. While attempting to afford the crew privacy, you actively blocked yourself from observing changes in the crew."
Jim scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "If it helps, I am sorry."
"I do not believe they find you guilty of any transgression."
Jim smiled up at him, and suddenly it was back to normal…which was actually just weird instead of tense. Not that there wasn't some kind of tension going on. He just had no idea what it was all about. So extra weird. Like, Spock standing over him like they were really close to each other and ensuring he drank two full glasses of fruit juice before he could change for bed. Or the cat call from one of his crew members when he said goodbye at the door to his room, insisting they kiss goodnight. Yeah. Took a while for the blush to go down.
And that added to the weirdness because James T. Kirk did not blush. Not even when he did want into someone's pants. And not when people actively tried to embarrass him. And not when he put himself in ridiculous situations that would be cripplingly humiliating for anyone else. But apparently he blushed when he was dating his first officer.
… .. . .. …
They hadn't found a solution. Which meant they shipped out from the base with everyone still believing they were in some kind of relationship. Which was awkward as all hell. But he was sure they would figure out how to deal with it. It wasn't like it would be too hard to convince his crew they broke up once he actually figured out how to do it.
But the best laid plans and all that nonsense.
"Sorry to bother you just when you got back from shore leave." Pike said in a flat tone to convey how very little he meant it.
"Oh I'm sure." Jim grinned like the little bastard he was. "But I simply can't guess what you could need from us when we're supposed to be charting unknown territory."
"I'm afraid there's been a special request for your presence." And now Pike looked grim, so Jim sat up straight and put a serious face on.
"T'Pau." The entire bridge crew snapped their heads up and over, looking shocked.
"Wait, T'Pau." Jim valiantly didn't glance sideways at Spock. "What does she want us for?"
"She didn't specify, just said it was prudent you come to New Vulcan immediately." Pike looked as pleased by that news as Jim did. And neither of them liked being given cryptic orders.
"I guess we don't have much choice then. Kirk out." Jim stood as the view screen went black. "Any idea Spock?"
"Perfect." Jim growled. "I swear, if this is something that could be handled over a subspace call I'll-"
"Jim." Spock's tone was surprisingly warm and warning all at once.
"Yeah, yeah. I know. I know she's the head of your family and I know how important she is to the federation and I'm pretty sure she could still kick my ass no matter how old she is but that won't stop me from fantasizing about punching her in the face." When Jim finally looked the room over, most everyone seemed amused.
He realized he'd never done something like that in front of his crew, not even during the Narada incident. He was always the consummate professional around them. They'd never actually seen him be the cocky captain he had so liked to pretend he would turn out when he was in the academy. He almost automatically shrank back on himself, not physically, but mentally. His brain screeched alarms that this was far too open for a captain, but their warm smiles were trying to tell him otherwise.
"Chekov, set a course for New Vulcan." Jim tried grinning, and found it was met with blatant smiles. "And Spock?"
"Could you…I don't know, try sending a message and see if anyone will give you the time of day? Because I'm willing to bet three months on Risa that this is some private Vulcan business they want you there for." Jim flashed him a mildly annoyed look. "It would be a load off my mind if you could at least tell me it wasn't an emergency."
Spock stood, nodding once to him. "Of course, Captain. I was inclined to request your permission to do so had you not suggested it."
Jim flashed a grin at him, feeling better already. "Yeah, well, I guess we're just in tune."
Aw shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Jim flushed and sat back down in the Captain's chair. The crew was giving him those looks. And he couldn't believe he just said that, because it had sounded an awful lot like flirting. Was he always this flirty with Spock? Because he didn't feel like he was doing anything different. And if he was this…well, this then no wonder everyone was saying he was friendly and thought he had a thing for his First Officer. It felt all intimate and shit.
How did he manage to be so oblivious for an entire year?
He didn't notice when Spock returned from composing his message, but he noticed when Spock got an answer. Uhura straightened in her seat and sent the message on, eying Spock for some reaction. Jim and, by virtue of it being an interesting topic, the rest of the bridge crew, watched as he read the message over. His posture stiffened and his fist clenched at his side. Jim found himself standing and approaching before he really thought it over.
Spock closed the message down and stood. Before Jim could comment, Spock had a hold on his bicep and was dragging him from the bridge. He yelped, flailing his free arm in a pinwheel to keep from overbalancing as he tried to walk sideways to keep up with his First Officer.
Spock released him when they were in the safety of the turbo lift. Jim immediately crossed his arms, offering himself some protection from being hauled around like that again. Spock took a deep, centering breath and fixed Jim with an almost apologetic look.
"What exactly was in that message?"
Spock glanced away, locking his eyes on the wall. "You were correct in your assessment that only my presence is necessary."
Jim dropped his hands, taking a step closer and furrowing his brow. "Is something wrong?"
Spock closed his eyes, looking pained by answering that. "T'Pau has deemed it necessary I become engaged for political reasons."
"WHAT?!" Jim's voice must have gone up a couple octaves.
Spock winced at the volume in the enclosed space. "While it is not prudent that I be wed, an engagement would provide the image of stability within my family. Such stability would offer greater power in the decisions being made on the colony with so many families in precarious positions."
Jim snarled. "So that's it? She just, what, arranges for some girl to get engaged to you?"
Spock flinched a bit. "I would be fortunate if she chose a woman."
Jim imagined he was that interesting shade of pale violet. "W-what?"
Spock sent him a long suffering look. "I am a hybrid Jim. She has always been of the opinion that I was…genetically less than a pure Vulcan. With the population in the state it is, it would not be surprising if she chose my betrothed to be another man incapable of procreation."
Now Jim was flushed with anger. "Two birds with one stone eh? Fuck that bitch."
Spock blinked at him in surprise. "Jim…"
And it struck Jim like a wonderful, brilliant, stupid idea was won't to do. "Tell them we're dating."
"Come on Spock, I owe you one. You clearly don't want to be engaged. This isn't about you having kids, so my being a guy isn't a problem." Jim listed off the points like he were under fire. "You can explain our not actually being engaged away as needing to take it slow since I'm human. And you don't have to tell them when we 'break it off' until you're good and ready to get married. And hey, I'm the human captain who defeated Nero, how much better can you do politically? That was totally rhetorical so don't answer."
Spock didn't seem inclined to answer though, deep in thought. Jim bit his lip, thinking maybe he'd just overstepped some boundary and made Spock very uncomfortable.
"Our presence would still be required on New Vulcan. They would wish to asses the validity of our claim." Spock's ears were going green. "It would require…certain acts of intimacy…"
Jim blushed. "Like?"
Spock gracelessly extended two fingers towards Jim. "Vulcans kiss with their hands."
Jim mimicked the shaped of his hand, and hovered his fingers a few inches from Spock's. It suddenly felt as awkward as leaning into each others space, breathing each others air.
"Okay." Jim coughed uncomfortably, drawing his hand back. "Anything else?"
Spock folded his hands behind his back. "They will most likely desire to asses our mental compatibility. This will require a meld with a healer."
"I can handle that." Jim said quickly.
Spock nodded, and this time Jim saw him squirm. "Very well. If you are positive…"
"Hey, you saved my life." Jim smiled weakly. "It's the least I can do."
Spock nodded once, dubiously. "You need not do this because you feel indebted to me."
"Spock." Jim chided. "It's what friends do."
And that got the amused twitch of an eyebrow. Jim had the odd urge to brush his fingers over it. He shook his head, offering his hand in a kiss. His cheeks went red when Spock gave him a unique, inscrutable look.
"I figure we'd better get past it being awkward, or no one would believe us." Jim figured if he had to leave his hand there another second he was going to run away.
Spock spared him that, tentatively brushing their fingers together. And damned if it didn't make Jim all warm and tingly and weirdly relaxed. Spock, however, seemed to tense up and draw his hand back quickly. Jim flushed, biting his lip as he considered what he was about to do. Spock lifted an eyebrow at him and Jim decided to go for it. He leaned in quickly, brushing their lips together.
Spock froze on the spot. Jim couldn't help but notice how warm, and dry, and pleasantly firm his lips were for the split second they were touching. Jim was sure he was blushing fiercely when he pulled back.
"Uh…you know…because it might be necessary…" Because that didn't sound like a completely made up reason at all.
Spock didn't reply, at least, not verbally. He leaned down and closed the distance between them, pressing their lips together gently as he pushed their fingers together again. Neither of them really moved, making it far less of a kiss, and more of an awkward session in personal space management.
Comedic timing being what it is, the doors to the turbo lift chose to open at that moment.
Jim yelped, throwing himself away from Spock. Their combined blushes looked like Christmas come early. Much like the look on the little navigator's face. Chekov was practically beaming at them, eyes big and shining.
"Ah…ahem." Jim coughed awkwardly. "Excuse us."
Chekov continued to watch them, giddy and silent as they hurried past and he backed into the turbo lift. Jim stopped outside his room, realized how this must look, and darkened to the point where he was sure he was going to pass out from all the blood in his face. To his surprise, Spock punched in the code to his room. They both entered silently.
"I apologize Captain. I should not have-"
"I started it." Jim interrupted. "I…shit, sorry. That was awkward. Aw hell. Chekov's going to go tell people."
Spock continued to stand stiffly in the middle of Jim's room. "If we are to…insinuate…a relationship between us for the deception of my family, the crew would become aware of it."
Jim nodded, and sat down hard on his bed. "Okay…okay. Get over here and give me a crash course on what I should know as your boyfriend."
Spock quirked an eyebrow.
"Seriously." Jim scowled. "I don't want to embarrass either of us by knowing next to nothing about your culture when supposedly we've been dating for a while now. Oh god. That's another detail we need to hash out, how long have we been dating? And how…uh…how far have we gotten?"
He looked down at his hands in his lap, beet red. It would be really nice if he could stop blushing soon.
Spock took a seat next to him. "I believe it would be best to state the start of our romantic relationship as occurring one month, two weeks, and three days ago."
"One month, two week…? Oh." Jim's eyes widened as the date came back to him. "Just after the mission to Caelestis. We nearly lost Rodgers and I was in sickbay for two days. You…you spent the first night by my side until McCoy said I was stable."
Spock flushed at that. "I was merely determining that my assistance would not be necessary."
Jim's heart was trying to do some weird little acrobatic maneuver in his chest. "I must have been one shitty friend. I never once…"
"Do not blame yourself Jim." Spock told him calmly. "I would not have asked you to take time from your work when you could be of no assistance any time I was injured."
"It isn't about being useful in your healing." Jim sighed. "It's… it's about being there for people you care about, even if they are hurt…I…you're the first person, other than Bones, who ever stayed with me when I was hurt. And he's my doctor…"
"Sorry. That probably came out really sappy." Jim laughed. "I'm just a little new to this whole friendship thing. But I know, no matter what, friends are supposed to be there for each other. And no matter what, I'm going to be sure I am for my crew…and for you."
"Thank you, Jim." Spock said sincerely, standing. "I must return to the bridge."
Jim nodded. "I'll be up soon. We'll figure this out."
Spock nodded and left, leaving Jim sitting on his bed. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had a problem. There was no denying that.
… .. . .. … … .. . .. … … .. . .. …
Damn. That was a long chapter for me. Maybe I should cut the next one down? I'm enjoying writing this, because I like to see where these two idiots take themselves. I probably won't go too deep into Jim's past (I've got other fics for that…) but plenty into the now and their awkward not-a-relationship. And it shall be deliciously awkward if I have any say in it. Which I do. Because I'm the author.