Jim had been attending Starfleet Academy about a week before he saw Spock. There weren’t a lot of tall, gorgeous Vulcan males on campus, of course, plus Jim recognized him from their very brief prior acquaintance.
Spock hung out with several other cadets in an area everyone called the quad. There was a large leafy tree with several benches surrounding it and it was there Jim spotted Spock on a couple of occasions.
Jim had doubts about approaching Spock. He didn’t know if he would remember Jim and if he did whether he wanted to remember Jim. He certainly knew Tarsus and those from those years was a sore subject for some.
On the other hand, Jim did recognize Spock and didn’t want to pretend otherwise, not to mention Captain Pike had specifically noted their connection. It would probably not be a good idea to ignore it.
So, when he spotted Spock separating from his group, Jim decided now was his opportunity to approach the Vulcan.
Spock stopped in mid-stride and gaze blankly at him.
“Uh. Jim. James Kirk. From Tarsus Preparatory School.”
Spock gave a slight nod. “Yes, I recall. Good day to you.”
When Spock started walking again, Jim blinked in shock.
“Hey,” he called after Spock.
Spock stopped and turned around.
“I thought, you know, because we both went there, I should say hello.”
“And you have done so.” Spock paused. “I don’t mean to be rude, Mr. Kirk, but I am not looking to be part of some sort of Tarsus Preparatory School Survival Club.”
When he made to turn around, Jim laughed.
“You don’t mean to be rude?” Jim asked, incredulous. “You sure as hell do. I never said I was looking to establish some kind of Survival Club, dude. Captain Pike told me you were here, and I saw you and thought to acknowledge you. That was it.” Jim held out his hands, palms up. “It’s absolutely no skin off mine if you want to be a jackass. Feel free to go back to your snooty friends.”
This time it was Jim who turned around to leave, every breath he took feeling steamy from irritation. The days where Jim let himself get walked over were long gone.
He almost didn’t turn around. Kind of was made at himself for doing so.
“I…apologize. You have every right to be angry with me. My behavior is uncalled for.”
Jim nodded. “Okay. See you.”
“If you would permit me, Mr. Kirk, perhaps we could go for…coffee?”
Jim should say no. But then, maybe, he’d be as dismissive of Spock as Spock had been of him. And that wasn’t Jim.
“All right, sure. But then it’s Jim. Or if you have to Kirk.”
“This way.” Spock gestured.
Jim looked at him rather sideways as they made their way off campus. “You drink coffee?”
“I always thought Vulcans were more of a tea drinking bunch.”
Spock shrugged. “I enjoy a cup of tea from time to time, but my preferred beverage is coffee.”
Jim was familiar with the tiny coffee shop Spock led them to as he’d been there a few times with his new friend, Bones. Well, Leonard McCoy. He’d met the doctor on the shuttle to San Francisco.
After they got coffee, Jim’s with cream and sugar, and Spock’s black, they chose a tiny wooden table next to the window.
Jim took a sip of his and then thought about the way to break up the kind of awkward silence.
So he was kind of surprised when it was Spock who spoke first.
“Was it your mother or stepdad who picked you up from the space station?”
“You remembered? Wow.” Jim smiled a little. “My mom, thankfully. Up until then we didn’t really have the best relationship. She was off planet a lot. In fact, I was there at the school thanks to him.” He shook his head. “Anyway, he’s gone. Not dead or anything, but out of our lives. We see him around Riverside sometimes though. Iowa. Where I’m from.”
And Jim turned red knowing he was babbling like a fool. Spock was definitely going to be sorry he didn’t just let Jim walk away. To cover his embarrassment, he took another drink of coffee.
“You got off all right with your dad?”
“I did, yes.”
He didn’t elaborate. Jim didn’t want to press.
Instead he said, “I don’t want to keep you if you have somewhere to be or something.”
“I do not. Not until this evening when I am meeting my friend Nyota for dinner.”
Jim knew who he meant. Nyota Uhura. She was one of the ones he spent time with by the tree in the quad. Probably his girlfriend. Jim guessed he didn’t have a right to ask.
Jim frowned. “Me?”
“I do not wish to keep you from something you would rather do,” Spock said. “I had been having rather a troublesome conversation just prior to your approach, so I did not react well. My apologies.”
“You wouldn’t be the first one to react badly to me,” Jim joked. But Spock did not crack a smile, not even a Vulcan one, so Jim let it go. “Anyway, no plans either. Just studying later at the library. Other than you I’ve only met Bones.”
“My friend, Leonard McCoy. A doctor. Met him on the shuttle here and he’s got a dorm just down the hall from me.”
And Jim figured he was boring Spock clear to death. So he finished his coffee and made to stand.
“Thanks for the coffee, Spock. It was very nice of you. But I really didn’t intend to bother you. Just wanted to say hi.”
“Very well,” Spock said quietly. “Perhaps at another time, I could call on you?”
“Call on me?”
“For dinner, perhaps?” Spock paused. There was the finest tightening around his eyes. Jim almost missed it. “Unless…you are engaged in a relationship with Doctor McCoy?”
“No.” Jim shook his head rapidly. “No, I’m not.”
“Then my question still applies.”
“Yeah. Sure. Uh. Yeah.” Jim knew he sounded like a fool. “You can.”
And then he did leave the coffee shop, a little befuddled. He hadn’t thought Spock liked him at all, let alone to ask him out. Weirdest date request ever, Jim thought. And he wondered if Spock actually would follow up.