It was Vanik’s idea to come sit by the community pool in his uncle’s apartment complex while his uncle’s boyfriend, Jim, did laps in said pool. Spock had not wanted to come sit under one of the faded umbrellas that clearly needed replacing, but Vanik had insisted.
“What if Jim is drowning and needs rescuing?” Vanik had reasoned.
Jim, who had heard, laughed. He was always laughing at Vanik’s interactions with Spock. It was a warm, pleasing laugh that always made both Vanik and Spock unreasonably pleased.
“I’m not going to drown, kid.”
“Certainly not if we are there to watch over you.”
Of course that reasonable, logical argument had worked. Spock agreed and the three of them had trudged down to the pool.
Vanik had pretended he intended to swim also by putting on a pair of swimming trunks his mother had thoughtfully purchased for him. Spock had come down in his usual clothing, though, at least, in deference to the August heat, he wore a T-shirt instead of a sweater.
They’d brought down with them a pitcher of lemonade and three glasses.
Currently Jim was in the pool swimming. There were a few other apartment residents frolicking in and around the pool as well.
“Have you popped the question?”
“Hmm.” Spock was studying his PADD instead of paying attention to Jim or even Vanik.
“Have you popped the question?” Vanik asked again.
Vanik sighed. Reached for his lemonade. “The big one.”
Spock glanced at him and then right back to his PADD. “Yes, his classes are going well and he fully expects to be the youngest captain of a starship in Starfleet history.”
Vanik closed his eyes and counted to ten as his father had taught him. Sybok had assured his son that he would need this particular coping mechanism when dealing with Uncle Spock. Boy, had his dad been right.
“Not about Starfleet,” Vanik said, patiently.
Spock looked at him. “What other question would be important?”
“The one to secure your future with Jim.”
“That is hardly your business, Vanik.”
“It is. I have an invested interest.”
“Which is all in your head. You did have something to do with my meeting Jim, I will give you that, but that doesn’t afford you the right to interfere with our ongoing relationship.”
“It is hardly inference.”
“What would you call it then?”
Jim suddenly appeared by their table, wiping his wet face with a towel. He was dripping pool water next to them. “An interest in what?”
“Vanik was inquiring into the advancement of our interpersonal relationship,” Spock replied.
Jim looked at him quizzically for a moment, then looked at Vanik. “Mine and Spock’s?”
Vanik cleared his throat. “It is a matter of universal interest, yes.”
Jim laughed again. Both Vanik and Spock straightened.
“I’m pretty sure the universe doesn’t give one whit about what Spock and I get up to. But, as it happens, we’re doing great.” Jim leaned over, ignoring the pool water dripping on Spock, to kiss him lightly on the lips. “Going back in. You two don’t have to stay. I won’t drown.”
Spock’s cheeks were lightly green. “We will stay.”
Jim smiled, kissed him again, and then ruffled Vanik’s hair, before turning around to go back to the pool.
Vanik made a face. “Chlorine.”
“Yes.” Spock went back to studying his PADD.
And Vanik decided he might as well stop pretending to go into the pool and actually go in. He ran toward the pool and jumped in, splashing water everywhere.
He heard Jim’s laugh.
It was good.