“What did you want to say to me?”
Jim’s expression is open and inviting. Warm even. It is encouraging.
“It is a personal matter,” Spock explains.
“Yeah?” There is no change in Jim’s expression. It remains pleasing. “Go ahead, I’m all ears.”
A curious Human idiom that Spock ignores. Jim uses it frequently.
“I have…come to the conclusion I have developed a close romantic attachment to…a member of the crew.”
He falters here and he is aware of it. Even with the warmth encouragement Jim gives him, Spock finds it difficult to express such emotional thoughts out loud. He’s spent too long suppressing them. Made aware they are a weakness.
“A member of the crew,” Jim says slowly, nodding. “And not Uhura because you guys broke up, right?”
“Yes, Jim. It is not Nyota, though she has encouraged me in my pursuit of…the individual.”
Jim smiles faintly. “I see. Well, if it’s Nurse Chapel, you’ll not only make her day but her lifetime, I’m guessing.”
Spock is aware Jim is joking, trying to lighten things. But he is also aware that the ship believes Nurse Chapel has a crush on Spock. Perhaps she does, but it is not something Spock considers serious nor a matter for humorous speculation.
“It is not the nurse,” Spock corrects. “My sexual interests are in the pursuit of male companions,” he attempts to explain.
Jim’s expression clouds then. Like he is unsure what Spock means, but then it clears, and he nods again. “But you were with Uhura.”
“Yes, but it was during our relationship it became clear to me that my preference was for males.”
Spock exhales. He has been stalling and for no good reason.
“Jim, my romantic affection is directed toward you.”
Jim’s warmth openness abruptly changes. His expression suddenly goes blank, and his blue eyes no longer hold the sun in them. They are not exactly icy, but they chill Spock, nonetheless.
“Spock.” Jim purses his lips. “I…you’re my friend. I adore you. I don’t know what I’d do without you, you know that. I’ve told you dozens of times. But I…I don’t feel that way toward you. I’m sorry.”
And just like that, Spock’s heart, beating in his side, shrivels and dies. Jim is shaking his head and talking, saying nothing has to change between them due to Spock’s ill-advised declaration, but it is a lie and they both know it. Everything has changed.
And Spock begins to reconsider his decision not to go to New Vulcan.
Spock wakes with a pained gasp. His quarters are dark and the temperature not ideal.
“Computer, lights on and temperature raised twenty degrees,” he said, his own voice hoarse, rough.
Very slowly, Spock returns his breathing to normal. He has not made the mistake of revealing his love for Jim. It was merely a dream.
Impulsively, Spock gets up, dresses in his uniform, and makes his way to Nyota’s quarters.
It takes a moment, but she lets him in, having pulled a robe around her regulation red pajamas.
“Spock? What is it?”
“I apologize for disturbing your rest.”
She puts her hand on his chest and smiles. “No, it’s all right. You want some tea? What’s happened?”
Nyota brings him tea without him responding to her query and they sit on her sofa. Part of him feels foolish, though he knows she wouldn’t judge him.
“I told the captain…Jim how I felt, and he doesn’t reciprocate.”
She frowns. “What? Are you sure? I thought he—”
Spock shakes his head.
“When? When did you tell him? And tell me exactly what he said.”
“It was a dream,” Spock admits.
“Oh Spock, then you’re fine. That’s just because you were anxious, so your mind made up a nightmare. Jim is not going to reject you.”
“What if it wasn’t?”
“I don’t understand,” she says.
“What if it is a …premonition.”
She gave him a look. “Have you ever been clairvoyant before?”
“But Vulcans are telepathic. It is possible that I am acquiring some sort of telepathic signal from Jim that—”
“Oh, Spock. Please. You don’t believe that.”
Spock shakes his head. “I cannot take the chance. If what I dreamed came true, I would be forced to leave the Enterprise.”
“Forced to leave? Jim would never do that.”
“Not knowingly, no. I do not mean that he would request I depart. But the situation would become so untenable, I would have no choice, personally, not to leave service under the captain.”
“Please, Nyota. I cannot risk it. The only solution is to remain quiet regarding my feelings for Jim. Should Jim come to me with an expression of affection toward me, then I will admit to my own. But to be parted from him, is worse than remaining silent.”
A short time later, Spock returned to his own quarters, determined not to listen to any of Nyota’s arguments.
In the morning, they would begin shore leave on the planet, Mesador, which bore an uncomfortable resemblance to Risa as far as Spock was concerned. Though Jim would no doubt take part, Spock would stay behind so as to not subject himself to the sight of Jim having too much fun there.
When morning came, Spock finds himself in the turbolift with his captain.
Jim smiles warmly at him. It is that open inviting smile, that expression that has given Spock hope, however falsely.
“What did you want to talk to me about last night?” Jim asks. “Sorry I wasn’t available. Mom and I have a longstanding conference Tuesdays when we’re anywhere within range. You said it was personal?”
“I…was able to handle the matter on my own, Captain.”
“Oh.” Jim nods and this time his expression changes infinitesimally. Just a small change that no one would likely notice save for Spock because there is nothing he misses in Jim. “Okay.”
The word is spoken softly and though it’s not exactly sad, there’s something there that is off.
“Is something the matter, Captain?”
The full watt smile is back. The one that Jim projects to say he hasn’t a care in the world. Spock has seen it used on many people over the years. When he first notices it, back when Spock felt jealousy over it being aimed at Carol Marcus, he hadn’t recognized it as being a defense for Jim. He knows it now.
“No, no.” Jim shrugs. “Just…I liked the idea of you confiding something personal in me. Made me feel good about us being friends. It’s nothing, Spock.”
Fear is illogical, Spock thinks. He vaguely recalls McCoy telling him that fear of death was what kept humans alive. But this is not a matter of life and death. Or perhaps it is.
“Are you going down for shore leave, Captain?’
“No, I’m staying onboard. I figured I’d man the ship and let everyone else have fun for a change.”
Spock frowns. “You do not intend to frolic on Mesador?”
He uses the term Jim used for their last shore leave.
Jim smiles, a little more genuinely. “I’m going to take your advice, Mister Spock, and rest. I’ve got lots of reading to catch up on.”
“Reading,” he repeats. The doors open onto the deck and Spock follows Jim out onto the deck with their quarters, though originally Spock was headed to the bridge. “Books? Not reports, correct?”
“If you are behind, you can send them to me. I am not going on shore leave. I am more than qualified to complete them in your stead.”
“I know, but I’m not asking you to, and anyway, no, it’s not reports. Some actual books I picked up at a bookstore in San Francisco last time we were there. Very relaxing, Spock.”
Jim stops in front of his quarters. And Spock takes a chance, even though he feels as though he may shake apart. The idea of ruining everything he does have with Jim is—
“Captain, there is something I would like to share with you, after all.”
“Yeah? I’m all ears. Come on in.”
Spock follows Jim into his quarters, his head buzzing from hearing Jim say the words he did in Spock’s dream.
It might be an omen.
He does not beat around the bush, as the human idiom goes. Spock seems to be full of them these days.
“Jim, I wished to advise you that I have developed feelings of a romantic nature for…you.”
And just like in Spock’s dream, Jim’s expression shudders.
His mouth dry, Spock continues, “I am in love with you.”
Jim slowly blows out a breath. It is the longest exhalation in history, Spock is quite certain.
“Spock.” The word is a whisper along Spock’s brain. It is not followed by the terrible words…you’re my friend.
Jim moves closer to him, puts his hands on Spock’s forearms. He feels the heat where Jim touches him. It scorches his katra.
“Are you sure?”
Spock swallows. “Quite.”
The warm smile returns and even more slowly the sun that warms up the blue of Jim’s eyes. There are tiny crinkles by Jim’s eyes when he smiles that Spock finds obsessively appealing.
He meets Jim’s mouth as Jim rises up to kiss him. It is like being reborn in some way.
“I love you too.”