This was a reader prompt, sort of, and while I doubt she had quite this in mind, well…here you go.
“So, um, you want to learn to play poker?”
Spock nodded. “That is what I said.”
Jim bit his lip. Turned away from Spock to pour
himself a drink. Red wine tonight. A gift from Bones on his last birthday.
on our last shore leave, Jim, been saving it ever since.”
Spock was in his quarters now. He’d come to play
chess, which they’d started to do once a week after the newly built Enterprise
had begun its voyage after the whole Krall mess.
They’d kept it pretty casual, at first. They’d
started in the rec room playing just one game each week. Though Spock won most
of them, Jim had a few good days in there, too.
It moved to their quarters when Jim was running
late one week and contacted Spock to say he would be later still. Spock had
suggested he would just bring the chess set there. Jim had hid his surprise and
The next week, Spock had suggested playing chess
in his quarters, and ever since they’d alternated between Jim’s and Spock’s.
Never returning to the rec room. And they generally played several games now.
“Well, I think it was Bones who said he’d like to
teach you,” Jim said, taking a sip.
There had been talk of poker when they’d been
confronted by a hostile alien, or so they’d thought at the time. Balok. Jim had
bluffed and suddenly Spock became interested in poker.
“You do not wish to teach me?”
There was just the hint of a tone in Spock’s voice
that Jim could not quite place, but he knew it made him feel bad. “No, no. Not
at all, Spock. You want to learn, that’s fine. Um, generally, it’s more than a
couple of players though.”
“Yeah. So, you want me to find out if anyone else
is available to play with us?”
Which honestly, Jim was not at all keen on the
intrusion into his private time with Spock, and he feared it would quickly
become a thing where everyone played every week, and there would go any alone
time he had managed to obtain with Spock, which he’d won with a lot of effort,
but, if Spock wanted him to get a group going for poker, Jim would do it.
“Is that the norm for strip poker?”
Jim stumbled forward, spilling wine on the floor.
“What? Did you say…strip poker?”
“I have been doing some research prior to
broaching the subject with you, of course.”
“Of course you have.” Jim went over to the
bathroom for a cloth to wipe up the spilled wine. He bent down and cleaned up
the mess. “I don’t think that’s a really good idea. Sit down, Spock.”
Spock took his seat dutifully. Jim had already set
up the chess set, but as Jim sat across from Spock, it remained untouched.
“There are a series of hands that beat other
“Indeed, I researched those.”
“Good. That gives us a head start. Basically,
poker is a lot of bluffing.”
“As you did with Balok.”
“Right. So, with the hand you’re dealt, unless you
get a royal flush dealt to you, which believe me, doesn’t really happen, you’re
usually going to want to convince those playing with you that you have a better
hand than you do. If I have two queens and you have a full house, that beats me.
But I want you to think I have something more than you do so you’ll fold. Or
basically, give in.”
“Which is what I did with Balok. I wanted him to
think we had a better weapon than he did, so he would fold. But he could just
have easily called my bluff. Which is why in poker, you call.”
“So it is a means of lying.”
“Pretty much. Unless you really do have a royal flush,
then you aren’t lying.”
Spock inclined his head. “I am certain that I
would have no trouble knowing that you were lying.”
Jim laughed. “Yeah? Why do you think that, Mister
“I know when you lie, I can tell. So I cannot be fooled
by your bluff. We have known each other long enough for me to read you quite
“That’s it! You’re putting your money where your
Jim grinned. “Yep. Four queens.”
“You only have a full house, Spock.”
“Yes, I know that your hand beats mine. It is simply
that your behavior during the match—”
“As well as your body language indicated that you
had a much lower hand than you were pretending to have and yet…”
“Yep. So you don’t know me as well as you thought,
Spock. Not my lies anyway.” Jim leaned back. “I think you should remove your pants.”
Spock’s cheeks greened. “Captain.”
He burst out laughing. “I’m totally kidding. I
know we weren’t playing strip poker, babe.”
Spock stared at him. “Babe?”
“I didn’t say babe,” Jim said quickly. “I said
“No. I heard babe.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Mister Spock.” Jim stood. “Will
you look at the time? I’m going to have to cut this short. I have about three hundred
reports to do.”
Spock stood too. “Three hundred, Captain?”
“Three hundred and two. I forgot a couple.” Jim
ushered Spock to his door. “As amusing as this was, next week, back to chess?”
“As you wish, Captain.”
Jim smiled, patted Spock’s arm. “Goodnight, Spock.”
The door of his quarters opened and Spock
disappeared through it.
Jim stared after him. Shook his head. Too much
wine going to his head. He laughed and turned away.