Spock decided not to wait for Nyota’s class as he was too curious about James T. Kirk to adopt his usual amount of patience.
He tried to pretend to himself it had nothing to do with how uncommonly attractive Kirk had been. At least in Spock’s opinion.
And there was the added fact that Bombay’s eye color seemed to be an exact match for Kirk’s. A coincidence of course but it made Spock all the more curious.
After doing some preliminary research, Spock decided to contact George Samuel Kirk, the older brother and seeming spokesperson for the family. He requested communication with him if it was permitted.
It was a few hours later when Jim Kirk’s brother contacted him.
George Samuel Kirk, he told Spock the family called him Sam to distinguish him from George Kirk, resembled George Kirk more than he did his younger brother, Spock thought.
Sam leaned back in a rocking chair and stared rather sourly at Spock.
“What is it you want exactly?”
“To make inquiries about your brother’s disappearance.”
“Don’t you mean death?”
Spock shook his head.
“Your Starfleet has declared him dead.”
“I am sorry. But you and your family have doubts.”
Sam snorted. “You bet we do. They never found a body in the wreckage. Nothing like that.”
“What did they find?”
“It’s all a matter of record,” Sam said with no hidden disdain. “They found the burned out crashed shuttlecraft and the remains of Doctor Helen Moore, and her two medical assistants, Ensign Allen Luras and Ensign Inid Harr. The door of the shuttle was inoperable and there was no sign it was ever opened after the crash. They found no trace of Jim’s remains, though there was evidence someone had used the seatbelt in the co-pilot’s seat beside Helen Moore.”
“And they are certain Commander Kirk was on the shuttlecraft when it left the Endeavor?”
Spock nodded. “Do you have any theories?”
Sam hesitated, then slowly shook his head. “Other than someone must have abducted Jim. That’s always been our belief.”
“For what purpose?”
“How should I know?”
“And how would they have done so when the door was inoperable?”
Sam’s lips thinned. “There was a hole in the door.”
“Large enough for Jim,” Sam insisted. “But there was no sign of him on the planet anywhere. Or so they said.”
“You don’t believe it?”
“No, I don’t. Jim’s alive. I can feel it. And someone has him. I don’t know why they haven’t come forward. But my family hasn’t given up no matter what they tell you. Starfleet may have decided Jim’s dead, but he’s alive.” Sam frowned. “I gotta go.”
And then the screen winked out and Spock was left staring at nothing. HE couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something Sam was not telling him. Some elusive clue.
Spock decided not to wait for Nyota’s class as he was too curious about James T. Kirk to adopt his usual amount of patience.
Spock found himself somewhat reluctant to leave, so he, perhaps, lingered over his coffee overlong.
Jim had an engaging personality, an animated way of speaking and acting, that Spock found, admittedly, inordinately fascinating.
He’d told a story of how a couple of years ago he and his mother ran into his ex-stepfather in the city proper of Riverside. And that they hadn’t had to do or say anything because “Frank” had managed to make an ass out of himself in public without their help.
Spock did not generally appreciate the humor behind people humiliating themselves, but given what he gathered from Jim’s stories, in this case, he would make an exception for this man.
“Hey. You hungry? I can make us some fried rice.” Jim smiled. He smiled a lot, actually. “Vegetarian of course.”
“You are a vegetarian?”
Jim laughed. “Nope. But I know you are so I can make it sans meat.”
He jumped up from the chair he had been sitting in, but never without constant motion, to go into a cabinet in the little kitchenette. He grabbed out a frying pan and the went to the refrigerator for other ingredients.
“Unless you’re in a hurry to go home?” Jim asked.
“Negative,” Spock said quickly. Home, his own dorm room in the next building over, would be especially lonely without this effervescent man there. He never really had minded being alone, but just then the idea was incredibly unappealing.
He watched while Jim added already cooked rice and assorted vegetables to the pan.
“You know, you mentioned that day that you’d been having an unpleasant conversation with the group you hang out with. Anything you want to share with the class?”
Spock hesitated for two reasons. He did not wish to admit that he was somewhat the butt of jokes and those that had teased him had since apologized for the situation getting out of hand.
“I was…being teased about my nature and I did not react well.”
Jim frowned. “Teased?”
“Yes. About being Vulcan and different than the rest of them.”
“That’s fucked up.”
“Well. They have since apologized and advised they meant no harm.” Spock paused. “I am somewhat sensitive about it due to some issues with Vulcan classmates as a child. I likely overreacted.”
“Or more likely they are a bunch of insensitive jerks.”
Spock found himself smiling just slightly in spite of himself. “Perhaps.”
Jim grinned back. “Rice is done.”
He dished it out then on two plates and brought it over to the table.
“It’s made worse when it’s done by people who are supposed to be your friends, I imagine,” Jim said, handing a fork to Spock.
“It really is a small matter, Jim. And as I said, they did offer apologies.”
“This is quite good,” Spock said, because it was true, and he wished to change the subject.
“Thanks. Mom taught me how to cook when I returned from Tarsus. Funny how so much of my time after that ended up being about food and nutrition.”
After Spock finished the rice and helped Jim wash the dishes, he had to realize that he probably ought to leave before he overstayed his welcome.
“I will be on my way now, Jim. I very much enjoyed my visit here.”
“I did too.” Jim walked him to the door. “See you soon.”
If Spock maybe had hoped for a goodnight kiss, he was disappointed, as one was not forthcoming. Jim opened the door and smiled, and Spock exited.
A moment later he left Jim’s dorm building and headed to his own.
Chapter Five: First Day/Date
Jim’s first day at Gad-Shen proved to be very challenging.
He dropped and broke two plates, one of which had food on it. He was sure that Spock was going to tell him at the end of the day he was fired.
The other wait staff, Gaila, a fun and flirty Orion female, and Nyota Uhura, a regal Human female, seemed to know way more about working in such an industry then he did.
Jim noticed that whenever Uhura was not waiting on someone, she was chatting up Spock. Gaila apparently noticed it too for she smiled with amusement and nudged Jim.
“She’s wasting her time.”
“Nyota. Spock’s sexual preference is males. He’d be much more likely to be into you then into her.” Gaila laughed and winked. “Literally.”
“Geez.” Jim felt himself blush. “Stop that.”
She laughed again. But she moved on to wait on someone who had just arrived.
When the day was over, Jim found himself in the kitchen talking to the chef, Montgomery Scott—Scotty—as they both cleaned up for the day.
“How’d it go, laddy?”
“Pretty bad I think,” Jim admitted. “Broke a couple plates. He’s probably gonna fire me.”
“Nah, not likely. Just your first day, Jim. He’ll cut you some slack. Don’t you worry.”
“I hope so. I really need this job.”
Scotty nodded. “Heard you lost your job at the shipyard.”
“Yeah. It was a good one while it lasted.” Jim shook his head. “My luck doesn’t always run good though. Still I can’t let it get me down too much. Lily deserves a dad who will keep thing safe and fun for her.”
“You’ll be okay, Jim. I’m sure of it.”
“Thanks Scotty. What’s a guy like you doing here anyway? Do you have chef’s training?”
“I do, yeah. Back in Scotland. I actually went to join Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Wanted to lean engineering.”
Jim leaned against the nearest wall. “Yeah? What happened?”
“Was denied,” Scotty said, matter-of-factly. “Told they had no room. Apply again next year.” He sighed. “I didn’t want to go back. Met up with Spock and we got to talking. Said I could work here in the meantime while I waited for my next chance.”
“I’m sorry about the Academy.”
“Yeah, it is what it is.” Scotty surveyed him. “What about you, Jim? Ever thought about enlisting?”
“A long time ago, sure. Now? I don’t know. With Lily to care for, it’s hard. And I’ve heard how difficult it is to get in. Even before you told me your situation.”
“Understood. Well, I’ve got this under control, Jim. You can go ahead and go home. See you tomorrow?”
Jim grinned. “I sure hope so.”
He left the kitchen and noticed that Uhura and Gaila had already left. Spock was straightening a few last empty tables, setting them up for the morning again.
“Need help with that?” Jim asked.
Spock glanced at him. “If you do not mind. It would make it go quicker.”
Jim went over to the tables in the corner Spock was working on setting up. “Uh. So. Sorry about the plates.”
“A small matter.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not usually that clumsy.”
“You did advise you lacked experience.”
“I promise to be better tomorrow.”
Spock nodded. “As I said, it is a small matter. There is a learning curve.”
“Well, thank you. I really appreciate you being so nice about it.”
Jim fell silent as he continued helping Spock, but he did notice that periodically Spock glanced his way.
Finally, Jim couldn’t stand it any longer. “What? Is there something hanging off my nose or something?” He laughed to show he was joking.
Spock’s lips twitched. “Negative. I was…would you care to have tea with me at the tea shop a few doors down? I know you wish to pick up your daughter, but I thought…”
Jim nodded. “Sure. I can go have a cup. Just let me message my babysitter that I’ll be a little bit longer.”
He tried to ignore his heart pounding, recalling what Gaila told him about Spock. And asking him for tea sounded kind of like a date. And? Well, yes, Jim found Spock very attractive. But he was his boss. Still…
“Very well. Let me dismiss Mr. Scott for the day and lock up the restaurant and we can have that tea.”
Jim smiled and nodded and prepared to notify Maggie.
He’d awakened in a bed, a hospital one, some time later, and Bones had fussed over him like the mother-hen he seemed to be to Jim. And Bones had declared he’d changed his mind, and for a moment, Jim had got hopeful maybe he would somehow avoid the hospital after all, only to find out, that no, Bones actually meant he wanted Jim to stay in the hospital at least two nights instead of the original planned one.
Again, Jim was too exhausted and pain-wracked, and perhaps more than a little sad, to argue with his best friend, and so, with an admittedly strained smile, Jim accepted it, and waited for Bones to return with some food.
He’d been staring toward the window of whatever floor his room was on for so long, wondering if his life would ever be the same again, and guessing not, when movement caught his eye and he turned his head back toward the door of his room, expecting it to be Bones with a tray of hospital food guaranteed to turn most people’s stomachs, but Jim had learned never to be fussy with food.
But it was not Bones. Or any of his friends from the Academy, as might have been his second guess.
Instead it was the older Spock, the Ambassador, who had entered his room. And Jim couldn’t have been more surprised, as he was certain he would never seen the old Vulcan again.
The slightest of smiles as the old man approached Jim’s bed. “Jim. I am quite sorry to see you’ve been admitted to the hospital.”
He smiled in return. “Well. Blame Bones. He insisted.”
“It is fortunate someone has your best interests. I should have insisted myself when I saw you earlier. You were clearly in danger of collapse.”
“I don’t know about that.”
Spock shook his head. “But I do, since you did, in fact, collapse.”
“What are you doing here? I thought you had somewhere to be.”
“I have completed the task that I believed to be pertinent and I will be departing Earth for the new colony first thing in the morning.” He perched himself lightly on the bed, neatly folding his hands in front of him. “A few hours now, as I suppose it is already morning, since it has just passed midnight. I apologize for the late visit, and for disturbing any attempt you made to rest.”
“I woke up, I guess, and anyway, Bones is bringing me a little something to eat. I had an early dinner with Mom before she had to leave. But I don’t want you to miss rest just to come see me.”
“Vulcans need less sleep than Humans. And I will rest on the shuttle. You need not concern yourself with my well-being, Jim. It is you I am concerned over.”
Jim shook his head. “Nah, likewise. Don’t be concerned. I’m okay.”
He pursed his lips. “And Spock? Have you seen him?”
“No. Not since I saw him at HQ.” Jim scrunched his face up. “Whenever that was. He’s busy with his folks.” Jim paused. “Your folks, I guess. And getting ready to go to the colony like you, I’m sure.”
Jim smirked. “I don’t like that hmm. What does it mean?”
“I cannot say.”
“Don’t give me that ‘that’s for me to know and you to find out’ nonsense.” Jim sighed. “You sure are cryptic.”
“Out of necessity, Jim.”
It was at that moment, Bones came into the room with the expected food tray. “Now, we have…oh.” Bones squinted at Ambassador Spock. “Kind of late for a visitor.”
“No, he is correct, Jim. I only wished to ensure you were receiving adequate care for myself and to find out of there would be anything you needed prior to my departure.” He stood. “But you are in the quite capable hands of Dr. McCoy.”
He frowned, glaring at Bones. “You don’t have to leave.”
“In fact, I do. And I am certain that both myself and Dr. McCoy want to see you get the much needed rest and recovery that you’ve been lacking.” He moved closer to Jim, reaching for Jim’s hand and holding onto it for a minute or so. “Do not let the admiralty bully you, Jim. They will attempt it, I assure you.”
Jim smiled. “I know.”
“And do not give up on Spock, Jim.”
At this his smile dropped, just a little. “Can I ask you something before you leave? I mean again. Obviously. You know since I already did before.”
“I am listening.”
“Did you…” Jim stopped, looked at Bones pointedly. Bones sighed and walked to the other side of the room, still holding the tray. “Did you ever get so mad at him that you…”
“Tried to strangle him to death?”
Jim swallowed heavily. “Yeah.”
“Yes,” Spock said simply.
Jim waited for more, but the old Vulcan did not continue. He opened his mouth to ask for additional information, but Ambassador Spock held up his hand.
“I thought I had killed him, and actually, was prepared to accept whatever punishment there was for me, but he was not dead, and he forgave me what occurred. I was not myself.” He paused, looked thoughtful, but did not continue.
“There was also a time when he emotionally compromised me as required by the mission, and I fought with him.” Here the old man blushed.
Jim nodded. “Okay.”
“We feel very deeply, Jim.”
He squeezed Spock’s hand, which still held his. “Have a safe trip. And keep in touch if you want. All right?”
And then he was gone, and Jim felt bereft again.
Bones walked over with the tray, looking sympathetic instead of cranky for a change. “Just some toast with peanut butter on it. Nothing too heavy until breakfast.”
Jim took it, gratefully, already biting into it. “Thanks. I mean I ate dinner, but I think I was too agitated to eat much or enjoy it.”
“Things okay with your mom?”
“Oh yeah. It’s just…everything.” Jim sighed. “I was supposed to go to a memorial for those that died because of Nero, including Gaila, and I just…it’s tomorrow.”
“I know, Jim. I get it. But you need to take care of yourself, no one is going to do it for you.” Bones grimaced. “Except me.”
“This is good.” He waved the peanut butter toast at Bones. “Thanks, Doc.”
“You’re welcome. Eat that, and then back down you go to sleep. Got that?”
“I got it.”
Short chapter but it’s something to move the plot into the next part I’d like to happen
When Spock had not seen Jim for two days, he walked over to Jim’s house himself.
After ten minutes of waiting after he knocked, Jim opened the door. He looked a little beat up, a little worse for wear, and pale. He wore a t-shirt and jeans.
“Hey.” Jim looked back in the house and then back at Spock. Then he stepped outside and closed the door behind him. “Hey,” he said again.
“You have been hurt.” He felt like he was stating the obvious, but Jim’s appearance disturbed him.
“Yeah.” He moistened his lips. “Got into a fight with him.”
“He struck you?”
“It’s fine, Spock.”
“It is not fine.” Spock made a move forward, but Jim put his hand on Spock’s arm.
“Can we just…go somewhere?”
Spock drew himself up and stared into Jim’s blue eyes. “Where would you like to go?”
“The city? Walking? I don’t care. Anywhere but here.” Jim’s hand on his arm dug in but it was not painful. “I’m glad you came. I wanted to see you but—”
“You did not want me to see you in this condition.”
“Yeah. My family’s fucked up, Spock. I just wish he’d disappear.”
“I will take us in my hover car into the city. Lunch perhaps?”
“Sure. But I have to…get my additive. I have these problems. I’ll tell you later.” He moved to go back into the house and Spock wanted to stop him, because he did not like the idea of Jim returning here. But he didn’t. He let Jim go.
Fortunately he came out a moment later and Spock led him back to his own house to get the hover car.
Jim was quiet on the ride into the main city and he did not comment when Spock pulled in front of a vegetarian restaurant.
“Is this acceptable?”
“What?” Jim’s gaze cleared, and he nodded. “Yes. Yes. Sure.”
After getting a table, Jim leaned back and gave Spock a strained smile. “So, um, I guess I should tell you about Tarsus.”
“Tarsus? You speak of Tarsus IV.”
“Yeah. I was there.”
“I don’t really talk about it. A lot. I mean I see doctors. There’s one here in the city. She thinks, I don’t know, that I’m unstable or whatever.”
“You do not seem that way to me,”
Jim smiled. “Thanks. Anyway, um, I got poisoned by the fungus. A lot of did. The ones that survived. So I have to add this to stuff before I eat.” He shrugged. “No big deal.”
“I think that it is, actually, a big deal.” Spock found himself reaching for Jim’s hand and also feeling glad when Jim gave it to him. “If you ever desire to talk to a non-judgmental party, I am here to listen.”
“I-I appreciate that.” Jim’s smile widened. “This almost feels like a date.”
Spock felt his cheeks heat. He looked down at his menu. “Do you think?”
“Spock. Is it?”
His gaze rose to meet Jim’s, held those blue eyes. “Would you like it to be?”
“Never mind that. Would you?”
Spock gave a simple nod. Then he saw Jim’s cheeks turn pink. He nodded too. And Spock let out the breath he was holding.
“Then it is a date.”
“Our first, huh?”
“Unless you count sharing a bed last night.”
Jim grinned. “Totally counts. In a platonic way.”
“I am sorry he hurt you,” Spock said softly. “And I do not want him to hurt you again.”
Jim nodded. “We’ll work it out, Spock.”
“We will. Okay? Let’s just, let’s just have our date.”
Spock dropped it for now because he had to. But he did not want to because he could not stop thinking about Jim being hit. Hurt. It was wrong. And Spock could not just sit by and let it happen.