Spending Time Together

(_)(_)(_)

Things went quiet after their encounter with the unknown ship. The Enterprise really had done damage enough, apparently, that the mystery ship had to withdraw. Either that or it was holed up somewhere nearby (relatively speaking of course) while its crew patched their ship up. Jim wasn't sure which it might be, and neither was anyone else.

Cruising around the Klingon Empire keeping a watch for trouble was rather boring, to be honest. Which Jim was kind of okay with on one level, because excitement meant trouble for the Klingons. Given the situation the Empire was in, trouble was not a good thing. Especially if the trouble was this unknown deciding to invade in force. A single ship, or even two or three, the Enterprise could handle. An entire armada? That might be a bit of a tall order. And the Empire simply didn't have anything remotely resembling a fleet capable of defending it right now. All they had was ten very old and worn out warships that had been on the verge of being decommissioned, and roughly thirty hastily retrofitted cargo ships that would absolutely not be able to handle a war. Hell, the cargo ships would barely be able to defeat a single ship in combat.

Then again, the Enterprise and her crew had managed to deal with Nero's hellship. Which was definitely something to brag about. So who knew. They just might manage to send an entire armada packing. Jim just didn't want that sort of thing to come up, for the Empire's sake. But if it did and they kicked ass? He was never going to stop bragging about his ship and his crew. Because damn. He was pretty sure the rest of the crew would be the same way. That kind of thing would be eternal bragging rights, if they didn't already have them for kicking Nero to the curb. Which he figured they kind of did, but none of them were really taking advantage of said bragging rights.

For the moment, though, bridge shifts were very dull. Even scanning for interesting things only did so much to relieve the tedium, mostly for Spock, though he did occasionally pipe up if he found something especially interesting. Jim spent so much time on paperwork that he actually managed to catch up. Which was kind of stunning, given the amount of paperwork a captain had to deal with. Jim had been under the impression that the paperwork never ended.

So, after the third straight day of nothing, and with all his paperwork done and filed, Jim had resorted to reading. He also chatted with Sulu and Chekov. He'dve talked to Uhura, but she was keeping a close ear on the airwaves, just in case. He hadn't bothered Spock, as he was fairly sure Spock wouldn't be inclined to engage in a random conversation on duty. Whether he was actively working or not. Jim might have managed to engage him in a debate on something scientific, but nothing suitable presented itself. Ahh well.

So. Boring.

He wasn't the only one bored out of their minds, either. When Chekov and Sulu hadn't been talking to him, they'd had their heads together. Jim was almost afraid to find out what they'd been talking about. Those two seemed to feed off of each other's crazy. Which was good in the execution of their jobs. Actually, it was beyond good. Navigator/Tactical pairs that could do what Sulu and Chekov were capable of were hard to come by. That kind of synergy usually either took years of working together to develop or, more frequently, simply didn't develop at all.

The latter didn't mean the pair would be crap at their jobs, of course. Most ships were crewed by Nav/Tac pairs with little or no synergy, and they still managed to kick ass. The lack of synergy slowed their reaction times and eliminated the really extravagant and crazy plans of attack or defense, since they had to talk to each other more in order to know what the heck they were going to do. Pairs like Sulu and Chekov, whether they started out that way or got there after years, could employ complex plans of action with only a word or two, a shared look, or sheer instinct – a 'knowing' of what their partner wanted or was going to do.

Pairs that had good synergy from day one were unbelievably rare and jealously guarded by their captains. Because as good as they were on day one … well, they only improved with time. So give Sulu and Chekov a few months of practice and they'd be the terror of the galaxy. A few years down the line? Jim grinned toothily at the thought and tried not to laugh. Because by then, the two would probably be capable of conquering the entire galaxy instead of simply terrorizing it.

The two of them sharing the same brain and feeding off each others' crazy outside of their jobs, though, was the stuff of nightmares. It was only a matter of time before the two of them started a prank war or something. So Jim both kept a weather eye on the two of them and practiced the ancient art of feigning ignorance so he wouldn't have to officially reprimand the two of them when they finally went and did something crazy outside of the execution of their jobs.

Thankfully, just about at the point where Jim was going to resort to doing something drastic to relieve the boredom, shift ended. Jim passed the baton to his beta shift relief as quickly and efficiently as he could and all but bounced off the bridge right on Spock's tail.

"Hey, Spock. I've been meaning to ask. Want to spar? I need to figure out how to deal with beings substantially stronger, faster, and more durable than humans when a phaser blast to the face isn't an option." Jim asked. "I can handle Klingons but those Romulans were kicking my ass."

Spock had kicked his ass too, but Jim didn't mention that. As far as he was concerned, that nonsense was in the past and would stay there. It had been unbelievably extraordinary circumstances that would never repeat themselves. Bringing it up to Spock all the time would just be plain shitty.

Spock gave him … well, quite the look. Raised eyebrow, slightly cocked head, the whole bit. Jim was still learning Spock's expressions, but this one wasn't all that hard to read. It all but came with an 'Are you serious right now?' sign over Spock's head.

Which, ok, Jim might deserve. Sort of. Just because he had put it in the past didn't mean that Spock had forgotten their little encounter on the bridge. Jim wanting to spar with Spock after that was probably breaking Spock's logic circuits. Jim just might be a bit of a troll though, because he'd found that yanking Spock's tail was fun. He didn't want to piss Spock off, of course. One encounter with that was two encounters too many as far as Jim was concerned. But teasing Spock in a friendly way? Was a blast. Jim waited Spock out, and Spock eventually decided that Jim maybe had a point.

"That is logical." Spock said.

Disguised, of course, as it being 'logical'. Having met – and been schnookered by – Spock's older counterpart, Jim had his suspicions about just how far 'logic' could be twisted to suit one's needs, especially if one was only half Vulcan to start with. The worst part was, if his counterpart was anything to go by, Spock wouldn't even have to actively lie, or the like. He just said things in the right way to get you to make the jump he wanted you to make. That whole 'don't tell your version of me about me' thing being a stellar case in point.

What the old guy had probably meant was that telling Spock about the old guy would probably have gotten Jim a quick trip to a thickly padded cell, rather than fix the problem. The way he said it, though, made it sound like some sort of universe ending paradox would happen and things would go boom even worse than they already were and had.

Jim didn't know if Spock already had that level of skill at chicanery or if that was a product of age. He kind of wanted to find out. Though he suspected it was less a product of age and more a product of … well … him. Or, well, his counterpart in the old guy's universe.

That 'A trick I learned from an old friend' comment was kind of telling, especially in concert with the old guy's very clear affection for one James T. Kirk. In which case, Jim was going to have all sorts of fun corrupting his Spock. Couldn't let his Spock get left in the dust, after all. It never occurred to Jim that the 'his Spock' part of that thought came out sounding distinctly possessive.

"Very well." Spock said after another moment's thought. "I shall meet you in the officer's gym in half an hour."

"Right, meet you then, Spock." Jim said, grinning toothily. When the turbolift doors opened, he bounced down the hall to his quarters. Literally. Not really ostentatiously, but there was a definite bounding element to his walk.

He stripped out of his uniform and pulled on something he could sweat in without wanting to claw his skin off. The uniforms … had their problems. They were designed to keep most beings from looking like they were soaked in sweat, no matter how much they were sweating and honestly did do a good job of keeping you dry. The problem, though, was that past a certain saturation point, the material became really, really uncomfortable to wear. It got sort of tacky and sticky.

He grabbed something to eat after he'd changed. Nothing heavy – heavy food and sparring did not mix – but something. By the time he finished that, it was about time to head to the gym. He beat Spock there, amusingly enough, and used the time to stretch out and warm up a little. Obviously, if all heck broke loose he wouldn't have that luxury, but fighting cold when he didn't have to was just stupid. And led to avoidable injuries. Injuries that would have Bones reading him the riot act for. So yeah, avoid that sort of injury was a must. Jim was not a fan of the stealth hypo-ing that would result from such carelessness on his part.

Spock arrived just as he was finishing up stretching. Which earned him another cocked eyebrow when Spock realized what he was doing.

"In my perusal of your file." Spock said as he headed for the sparring mat. "I noted that you had a marked preference for the more aggressive forms of combat."

"Yeah." Jim said.

He had been – and still was – entirely too angry to find the more passive/defensive combat forms to his liking. He'd had a dire need to beat the shit out of everything that got in his path for a long time, though thankfully that urge to physically beat the shit out of anything and everything in his path had eventually disappeared. Thank everything ever he'd ended up with really good instructors. The kind that didn't just teach people the nasty stuff and then let them out into the world. Jim had ended up with the kind of instructors that had hammered it into his head to you know, be responsible with what they taught him. Using it to scare the crap out of people for no reason or bully them was simply unacceptable. Using it in defense of his own life or someone else's was perfectly fine.

Fortunately, Jim had been perfectly fine with that idea. Eventually. It'd taken his first instructor more or less sitting on him until the worst of his unreasoning rage had worn itself out, but he'd gotten there. Doubly fortunately, that first instructor had twigged to the fact that Jim just was not going to go for most of the spiritual side of martial arts and had settled for, aside from the whole 'don't be an asshat' thing, teaching Jim to get control of his rage. He hadn't bothered trying to get Jim to get rid of it (or however you wanted to put that).

"This may be the root cause of your difficulties in fighting those beings who are stronger, faster, and more durable. Against such an opponent, the best way to leave a fight relatively uninjured is to not be there when the being strikes at you, and to use their speed and momentum against them, rather than taking multiple hits. There are several martial arts native to Earth which specialize in such maneuvers, if you wish to pursue such. Doing so, however, would be problematic at best if none of the crew are versed in such arts. I shall endeavor to teach you the same type of tactics, if without the benefit of them being a practiced art."

Jim grinned. "Might be better that way. I mean, sure, Romulans or random bad guys we run across aren't likely to know an Earth martial art, but they might be able to recognize that what is going on is organized and codified somehow – and be able to predict what else I might do. If it's just random stuff, they're not going to have anything to go on." Then Jim snorted with amusement. "Not to mention that all Earth based stuff presumes your opponent has the same body structure as a human. Not everyone keeps their vulnerable bits in the same places. And there are, of course, beings with body structures that aren't even humanoid."

Martial arts had, sadly, very nearly died out thanks to World War Three. By the time that was over, the number of people who knew enough about any one martial art to teach it to others had shrunk horrifically. Worse, most of the stored knowledge, electronic and physical, of martial arts had been destroyed. Some of the rarer forms had actually died out completely, thanks to one or both factors. The ones that had survived had never regained the number of adherents they had once enjoyed. Humankind had been entirely too busy picking themselves up out of the ashes and then, after first contact, exploring the stars to bother. The advent of 'space guns' and the like had obviated the need for physical attacks in a lot of peoples' eyes, so no one who actually knew how to, had ever sat down and tried to create a martial art that focused on dealing with alien physiologies.

Spock nodded, though whether that was agreement of Jim's points or merely acknowledging that Jim had spoken he wasn't sure.

They spent the next half hour working on various things. Jim could tell that Spock was working at about half speed, based on what Jim'd dealt with on the bridge that day, but that was quite fine with Jim. They could work at speed once he had a better idea of what to do, and was more confident in being able to do it when opportunity presented itself.

Eventually, they called a halt.

"Thanks for this, Spock. I'd like to keep working at this whenever we can." Jim said. "I know there'll be times when our schedules won't allow for it, but … "

Spock nodded. "It was a not disagreeable way to spend thirty-five minutes."

Which Jim was pretty sure was Spock speak for 'this was fun, let's do it again sometime soon.'

"So, want to play chess?" Jim asked.

That got him a slightly flinty look. Not an angry-flinty. Just … yeah. Flinty.

Because Jim did not play chess like most people played chess. Because of that, he managed to win about half of the games they played, and it drove Spock nuts. He just could not figure out how to predict Jim. Despite having acknowledged that thus far there was nothing to predict. Spock was adamant that Jim had to eventually have a pattern of play he favored other than 'complete and utter chaos'.

Jim happily let Spock dream his impossible little dream. If Jim did have a pattern, it was 'never do the expected'. Which left a lot of room to maneuver on the chessboard. Because people generally expected one or two particular moves after any one gambit they pulled. Not doing those one or two moves left Jim with a plethora of choices elsewhere.

"That would be acceptable." Spock said. "Though perhaps after dinner."

"Nah, we can eat and play at the same time. Not like I don't have a bunch of vegetarian options on my room menu." Jim said.

"Which I find curious." Spock said. "Few humans are content with even the occasional meat-free meal."

Jim shrugged. "I have to be careful with what I eat. A lot of foods are made with that compound I'm allergic to. Including a lot of meats, because the grains they developed with it grow just about anywhere and are pretty cheap to buy in bulk and feed to whatever animals."

There was, of course, another reason. Six months of starvation left lasting damage and problems in its wake. But that was something Jim never talked about and only rarely thought about. And then, only after the occasional nightmare about those days that reared its head. He'd much prefer not to even remember that happened, never mind thinking or dreaming about it.

Thankfully, Jim's allergy was common knowledge among the bridge crew. He'd seen to it that they all knew, just in case he had a problem off-world. Bones would make sure everyone had the requisite hypos to deal with the inevitable problems, but they had to know that's what to look for to know it was that allergy acting up as opposed to some random reaction to an alien whatever. Which meant Spock knew about the allergy and probably wouldn't think to consider there might be other reasons behind Jims' meal choices.

Spock followed him to his quarters, and headed for the shelf where Jim kept his chessboard when they weren't in the middle of playing a protracted battle. Jim headed for the replicator to get their meals.

"What do you want?" Jim asked.

"The lasagna, please, Captain." Spock said.

"Jim. We're off duty, so it's Jim." Jim reminded him, for probably the fiftieth time since they'd re-launched the Enterprise. He dialed up the lasagna for Spock and a hearty meatless chili for himself, and brought them both to the table.

"So. Anything interesting on the scopes today?" Jim asked. Meaning, of course, anything interesting that Spock hadn't spoken up about.

"Several unusual debris fields." Spock said. "None within a solar system, nor with obviously being-made debris. Which is indicative of a mid-space crash between two or more asteroids or other celestial bodies. If our patrols take us through this area again I would very much like to examine them more closely."

"Not a problem. We'll have the time to do it, if we're not currently chasing some asshole out of Klingon space." Jim said, then made a move. "Speaking of chasing assholes. Any new guesses about our mystery ship?"

"None at this time. We have very little intelligence to work with." Spock said. He made his own move.

"Yeah, that's a problem. Especially since getting more intelligence means them coming over here and starting problems again, which the Klingons really don't need." Jim sighed, then moved again.

"Agreed." Spock said. He considered the board for a few moments before moving one of his pawns. "It is a most perplexing problem. I am aware that many expected trouble, but from what I understand, everyone was expecting trouble from a known source."

"Yeah, a lot of folks had their money on the Romulans." Jim agreed. "Though the Orions were also being considered as a potential problem."

From what Jim knew, enslaving Vulcans just didn't work. They had such control of their bodies they could, apparently, will themselves to die. That said, a lot of people weren't willing to put it past the Orions to not try, or worse, to develop some drug that kept a Vulcan from self-destructing on them. If that ever happened, all hell was going to break loose. To be perfectly honest, Jim would be leading the charge. Slavery made him sick to his stomach.

There had been a reason he liked and respected Gaila, and the handful of other Orion women who had turned on their own and sought asylum in the Federation. It took solid metal balls the size of the Enterprise to realize the bullshit you lived with day in and out was wrong, turn your back on literally everything you knew and hope like fuck you landed on your feet.

Spock gave a very abbreviated nod. "Vulcans are now a rare … " He didn't change facial expression at all, didn't even really change his tone, but the disgust came through loud and clear. " … commodity. Were they to discover a way to successfully enslave us, they could become troublesome."

Boy, did Spock have a way with understatement.

"Personally, I'm fully expecting trouble from within the Federation itself." Jim said. "I mean, we're making friends with the Klingons. That's going to have a lot of people pretty grumpy. Plus there's … " Jim waved one hand energetically, encompassing the Enterprise and her crew. "Us. Some folks will be upset about us for any of a number of reasons. I know Komack is frothing at the mouth. Admiral Pike's been having a lot of fun telling me all about it."

"He is a less than agreeable man." Spock said. Which, coming from a Vulcan, was roughly the same as calling him a dirty rotten son of a bitch, Jim figured. "A most illogical trait in one of his position. I am forced to wonder how he attained his Admiralcy."

That did it. Jim let out a low whistle. "What did the guy do to you, Spock?" Because that? That had been downright, outright vicious by Vulcan standards. That had been worse than Spock's 'attack' on Jim at the academic trial.

Jim very briefly wondered if the dumb son of a bitch had badmouthed Spock's mother. Then as quickly decided no. Because even if Spock had started such an encounter a damn sight more emotionally stable than he had when Jim had pushed his buttons, Komack would still be in traction and Spock would very probably still be in the brig, or worse. Jim knew how to fight, how to take a hit. Komack was a soft-bellied desk jockey of the worst sort. If Spock had gone after him physically … yeah. That would have been ugly. And the odds of Spock having attacked Komack physically were insanely high.

Spock had been entirely too vicious and, despite his trauma, focused on beating the life out of Jim for that to have been the first time he'd gone to war in his mom's name. Jim kind of felt bad for the previous idiots to trip that particular trigger. Kind of. His own mother might have been shit, but he knew others weren't, and clearly Spock's had been one of the good ones. And the good ones? Deserved to be protected from assholes. So anyone badmouthing Spock's mom had deserved what they got, but still. Ouch.

Spock cocked an eyebrow at him.

"I may not know you all that well." Yet, Jim thought. Give it a few more months and they'd be a lot better acquainted. "But you calling someone's rank into question is kind of telling. Besides, I know the asshole."

"He made several oblique comments as to the advisability of the existence of 'half breeds' in my presence." Spock finally admitted.

Well shit. Not quite insulting Spock's mom, but dancing really damn close to the line. Komack had no idea how close he'd come to a beatdown.

"Has he figured out yet that whatever comeback you hit him with was an insult?" Jim asked.

Because that was the other thing about Spock, aside from his mom trigger. The guy definitely favored a scorched earth policy. A tendency Spock would have been forced to cloak in some sort of really cutting comment that only later was discovered to be a massive insult. Because Komack had the rank to, if not drum Spock out of the Academy, then make his time in the Academy so miserable Spock would quit, if Spock had done anything really overt.

Spock looked incredibly smug without, as far as Jim could tell, so much as twitching a hair from his usual placid non-expression. "I do not believe so."

Jim gave him a toothy grin. "Good for you, then."

"I find myself curious as to the particulars of your confrontation with him." Spock admitted.

"Confrontations. Plural." Jim said. "He didn't want me in Starfleet at all. Fought it tooth and nail. There might have been a few very loud 'conversations' between the two of us a few times."

Something Jim had been able to get away with because despite his wild ways that first year, he hadn't once broken the rules. He'd just mercilessly exploited loopholes. Between that, his top-of-the-class grades and … well, who he was … Komack had gotten precisely nowhere with booting Jim out of Starfleet Academy.

Spock gave another of those abbreviated nods, and Jim grinned at him toothily. They shared a mutual moment of solidarity in their past history of Komack baiting. In that spirit, Jim decided to share some of Pike's tidbits.

"According to Pike, Komack threw an actual, I kid you not tantrum at one of the Admiralty meetings." Jim told him.

That got him a cocked eyebrow. "Indeed?"

"Yep. Apparently, he got upset when everyone basically told him to sit down and shut up over his constant moaning about me." Jim said.

"Quite unprofessional." Spock said. "Perhaps he should be sent to remedial classes in the comportment expected of high ranking Starfleet officers?"

Jim almost fell off his chair laughing. "Oh man. I ought to suggest that to Pike, then get him to record it when he brings it up to the Admiralty the next time Komack's being a shit. His reaction would be hysterically funny." It took him a minute to calm down and refocus on their game. "Check, by the way."

Which got him a very intense look that almost crossed over into being a glower. "I will eventually discover a way to defeat you more consistently." Spock proclaimed.

"Maybe." Jim allowed. "But today is not that day." He gave Spock a toothy grin as Spock made the necessary move to get his King out of danger.

Of course, Spock being Spock, Jim might have managed that check, but the game was far from over. Sometimes, they could and did play a single game over the course of several days, a couple hours or more each day. Between Jim's chaotic playing style and Spock's steel trap of a brain, they were pretty close to even, which made the games fun and challenging as hell. Unless one of them was really distracted or tired, they could and usually did trade the 'lead' back and forth a few times before someone finally managed a checkmate. Or – and these were the most fun and longest games – they played themselves to a point where neither of them was going to be able to get a checkmate.

Jim figured the frequency with which Spock suggested playing indicated he was as thrilled to find a challenging opponent as Jim was. Even if Jim's playing style drove Spock insane. Either that or Spock figured the games were a logical way of getting to know one another in a somewhat less fraught atmosphere than when they'd first been introduced. Which was both not wrong and a good idea, if that was the case. It was rapidly getting to a point where Jim was almost considering Spock a friend. A potential, challenging-to-get-there friend. Which really, it was a good thing Jim adored challenges.

"Heard anything from the colony lately?" Jim asked as he made another move. Not one that put Spock in check again, sadly.

"Yes. Father commed me just yesterday. He was going into seclusion in the morning, to fully, properly prepare to carry extra kahtras long term. As the youngest of the Elders, he was the last to undergo the process." Spock said.

"Which means the rest of them have already done it and are out of danger." Jim said. He didn't pretend to understand all the ins and outs of this kahtra business, but he understood that holding more than one even short-term had its risks, especially if the Vulcan doing such a thing didn't have time to prepare for it.

"Yes. Several older Vulcans have also been vetted and accorded Elder status since the establishment of the colony, which has lessened the burden on the rest. Selik was not among them." Spock told him.

"Probably didn't want to risk letting everyone know who he really is and where he's really from." Jim said. "I heard from him last week, and he's been helping out, but mostly quietly. Though apparently he ended up adopting an orphaned Vulcan baby."

Jim knew that Spock tended to avoid interacting with his elder counterpart. It was easy enough to do … and completely understandable. Logic be damned, meeting your significantly older self from another reality had to really screw with your head. Hell, meeting Selik had screwed with Jim's head. He couldn't even begin to imagine what it did to Spock.

"And your brother?" Spock asked in his own turn.

Spock had only asked about Winona once. Jim still wasn't sure what had been on his face, but Spock had never mentioned her again. For which Jim was grateful.

"Having the time of his life on the colony." Jim admitted. "He and Aurelan both. Things had slowed down considerably at their previous post – enough for them to get bored. They're both thrilled to be up to their eyeballs in work again."

Discovering, classifying, and naming flora and fauna on a new world might take several human lifetimes, but past a certain point, the discoveries dried up to maybe one a decade or so. Re-classifications as more in-depth information on something came to light were about as frequent. Sam and Aurelan's previous post hadn't quite reached that point yet, but it'd been close. A year's hunting in really out-of-the-way places had produced only one discovery.

At the colony right now, they were discovering roughly ten new things a day – and that was just in the area around where the city was being established. Sam and Aurelan (and all the other scientists in their specialties) would be busy on the colony the rest of their lives as they worked their way around the planet.

"You'll get a kick out of this." Jim said with a grin. "Peter, their eldest son, has evidently made it his life mission to make friends with a particular Vulcan kid a couple years older than he is. Complete with following said kid everywhere he goes."

That did get a flicker of amusement from Spock. Given the shit he had gotten, Spock couldn't help but find uptight purebred Vulcans having to deal with an illogical human toddler amusing as all hell. Not that Spock had said all that much about his life pre-Starfleet, but Jim could draw more than a few conclusions from what little had been said – that and Spock's extreme tetchiness where his mother was concerned.

Like Jim had thought earlier, someone had spoken ill of Amanda Grayson prior to Spock coming to Starfleet Academy. Probably more than once. Enough so that child-Spock had felt driven to rise to her defense at least once, but probably more than the once, again given how tetchy he was about people badmouthing her. That was … kind of telling, in and of itself. And did not put Vulcans in a good light at all.

Because if a completely illogical human could spot the logic fails in giving a child shit about things he had zero control of (like who his mother was and what species she was), but Vulcans, supposedly the arbiters of all that is logical, went and harassed said kid anyway … yeah. And it went beyond the kids. Because Jim refused to believe that none of the kids ever got caught giving Spock shit. Which made at least some adult Vulcans complicit in acts of illogic. Also, the kids would have had to learn how to give Spock shit from somewhere, which pointed the finger straight at their parents and any other adult Vulcans they interacted with regularly. Who were, by definition, adult, fully trained and supposedly fully logical Vulcans.

Speaking of, as strongly as Spock reacted to Amanda being badmouthed, Jim really did not want to know how Sarek reacted. That … yeah. That had the potential to be utterly terrifying. Jim had no idea who Spock got his temper from, but if he got it from his father … yikes. Jim would not be at all surprised to discover, were that the case, that Sarek had killed someone for their effrontery. On the other hand, Spock inheriting his mother's temper amused the hell out of Jim. Mostly because it came with the mental visuals of Amanda reading some idiot Vulcan the riot act. Jim was pretty sure most Vulcans wouldn't have a clue how to handle having someone get in their face the way some humans tended to when angry.

"And this is being permitted?" Spock asked.

"Less permitted and more … tolerated, if I read Sam right." Jim admitted. "Like none of the adult Vulcans have the energy to spare to put a stop to it, and Sam certainly isn't going to try, because trying to explain why it might not be a good idea to a human kid Peter's age is … pretty futile. The Vulcan kid at least doesn't seem all that bothered by it. Finds Peter 'illogical', which is hardly a surprise, but doesn't apparently make any effort to make Peter go away."

Given the kid was very probably an orphan, his reluctance to chase Peter off did not surprise Jim (or Sam and Aurelan) one bit. It probably also partially explained why the Vulcan adults were being so tolerant.