Author's Note: Written for the comment_fic prompt: Motion sickness: three times they managed not to puke and one time when they failed abysmally.
Objects in Motion
When Spock is eight years old, his mother takes him to visit her sister on Earth. His cousins insist on visiting an amusement park near to their home, and Spock is dragged along with them. It is a fascinating – if slightly overwhelming – experience, and Spock finds himself sampling a whole range of strange human customs.
He tries out a stall devoted to throwing balls at stacks of bottles and comes away with a large stuffed animal, then spends some time watching a clown make long cylindrical balloons into animal shapes. For lunch he samples a vegetarian burger and milkshake under the guidance of his older cousins, and finds the taste curiously appealing despite its dissimilarity to anything he has previously consumed.
The only part of it he dislikes are the rides. His mother assures him that the rollercoaster is perfectly safe, but it is difficult to remember that when he is being strapped into a full-body harness and staring up at the first giant hill in the track.
The fear of falling does vanish when they finally begin to move, but only because it is replaced by a different fear. The act of swooping and whirling and turning upside down has a decidedly unpleasant effect on his stomach, and he spends most of the ride fighting to keep his lunch where it belongs.
When the ride is finally over he staggers off, victorious but still utterly miserable, and collapses onto a bench. He spends the next half-an-hour sitting quietly, taking occasional sips of water, and mentally crossing 'rides' off his list of things to sample.
All Starfleet cadets are required to complete a series of practical simulations. There are extra, more difficult simulations for those on the command track, but even science track cadets like Spock have at least one per year.
One of them involves attempting to land a shuttle that has lost gravity. Spock is well versed in shuttle piloting by this point in his course, but he did not realise how disorienting it would be to attempt it in zero-gravity. He has heard of other students becoming ill during the simulation, and he quickly begins to understand why. Any movement makes his head spin and his stomach lurch, and he begins to seriously regret having breakfast that morning.
In the end he completes the simulation without vomiting, but it is a rather close call.
Even taking into account his lack of experience with primitive vehicles, the captain's driving leaves much to be desired. Spock swallows as the car takes another lurch forward; the constant stopping and starting is not doing wonders for his stomach. He draws on Vulcan techniques to control the body and hopes that they will reach their destination soon. Kirk is depending on him, and Spock will get out and walk before he allows his weakness to affect their mission.
When they finally arrive at Krako's place, Spock is extremely, un-Vulcanly relieved.
Kirk is the first friend Spock has ever had, and Spock values him greatly. So when Kirk suggests renting a boat during one of their shore leaves, Spock agrees immediately. He has never been on a boat before, but he is not averse to trying new things, especially when it makes his friend so happy.
At first it is quite a pleasant experience. In contrast to his attempts at driving, Kirk is a competent sailor, and Spock listens with interest as he describes the computer systems that control the boat. But after approximately twenty minutes of sailing the wind begins to pick up and Kirk turns his attention more fully to the process of steering, leaving Spock to his own devices.
The wind is not particularly strong, but it's enough to kick up some waves and make the boat rock from side to side as they sail. Spock retreats to a bench, concerned about losing his footing, but quickly becomes aware of a larger problem. Nausea coils in his stomach as the boat continues to rock, and he takes slow, deep breaths in an attempt to control it.
After a few minutes, when the wind has died down a little, he suggests to Kirk that they head back. Kirk studies him for a long moment. "Are you feeling okay?" he asks.
Spock pauses, not wishing to lie, but reluctant to reveal his condition. In the end he avoids the question entirely, saying only, "I would prefer to return to land."
Kirk appears to accept this, however, and merely nods before setting a course back to the harbour.
The knowledge that they will soon be back on land gives some relief, but it is short-lived. Around halfway back Spock's nausea spikes, and he realises he will likely not be able to make it that long. He closes his eyes and drops into meditation, trying to keep control. Just a little longer...
The voice breaks Spock's concentration, and with it his tenuous control over his stomach. Opening his eyes, he barely has time to lean over the side of the boat before his breakfast makes an abrupt reappearance. He can feel a hand on his back, rubbing gently, and digs his fingers into the side, flushing with shame at the thought of Kirk witnessing this humiliating loss of control.
When the sickness finally passes, he sits back, avoiding Kirk's eyes. "I apologise," he says quietly.
"Don't," Kirk says. "It's okay." His hand is still on Spock's back, and he rubs gently as he adds, "I thought you were looking a little pale. Why didn't you tell me you were feeling ill?"
"I believed I could control it," Spock replies honestly. "Obviously, I was wrong."
Kirk leaves his side for a moment and returns with a bottle of water. "Here," he says. "Sip it slowly. The boat's on autopilot, and we'll be back in about ten minutes. Hopefully you'll feel better once we're back on dry land."
Spock takes a cautious sip of the water. "Thank you, Jim."
Kirk smiles. "Don't mention it." He leans back in his seat and adds lightly, "You know, when I was ten, my dad took me on this ride that spun round and round like a top." He gestures with one hand as he speaks. "I got off, took two steps, and threw up all over his shoes."
Spock raises an eyebrow. "Indeed?"
Kirk grins. "Yeah. Not one of my proudest moments. At least you managed to do it over the side."
Spock takes another sip of water as Kirk chatters on, feeling his embarrassment begin to fade. He still would have preferred not to lose control like that, but sitting here, with Kirk touching him and smiling at him, he thinks that things could have been a whole lot worse.