Spock has always believed that the expression, “you can hear a pin drop” is a typically exaggerated human construct.
Furthermore, students in his classes are always silent during his lectures, in addition to being on time, attentive and prepared to answer his questions at any moment. Therefore, it is with some surprise that he realizes that heretofore there has not, in fact, been perfect silence in his lecture hall. This reality is brought to his attention by the sudden and complete stillness of all the attendees of his class. Indeed, some appear to be pausing in their breathing functions.
When he identifies the likely cause of the cessation of all activity, his own breath stutters in his chest for approximately three seconds. This reaction is clearly illogical, but he has grown accustomed to some small amount of deviation from strictly logical actions and behaviors over the past few years. It is therefore no shock to him that, just as has been the case at other times, the cause of his illogical behavior is one James T. Kirk.
Though Spock’s respirations are back at close to normal, his heart rate is not. Looking at Jim across the packed lecture hall does nothing to slow its beats.
Jim is here unannounced and unexpectedly. Furthermore, he is wearing the dress uniform of the SEALs, a uniform Spock has only seen Jim wear on two prior occasions, both of them involving the death of a colleague. The dark navy accentuates the color of Jim’s eyes, which are bright with a mix of emotions Spock reflexively attempts to catalog: excitement, humor, elation, fear, love, daring. This is not an uncommon set of emotions for Jim, but there is something about the way he is holding his body, the slight tremor in his hands...
“Jim?” he asks, and two hundred pairs of eyes swivel to stare at him. His students are perhaps surprised at the informality of his query. Or perhaps there is some emotion evident in his voice that he is unaware of displaying.
Jim looks around at all the students, then cocks his head to the side and smiles. It is the look Spock has come to associate with Jim doing some outrageous and daring thing, something dangerous. It is unfair that Spock’s heart jumps when he sees that grin, since he would be the first to tell Jim that whatever he is contemplating is most likely illogical. Apparently some part of Spock has come to admire that look, though, considering the evidence of his body and how it responds to it. Of course the SEAL uniform does not help Spock regain his composure, given how it clings to every hard line and curve of Jim’s body and how its color contrasts with Jim’s skin.
“I have a proposal!” Jim says across the silence.
“A... proposal.” Spock does not allow his voice to show how happy he is to see Jim after their long separation. Jim has been on operations somewhere on the other side of the world. Emails and texts are hardly enough, it seems, though Spock tells himself they should be.
Jim nods, sharp and decisive. However, when he speaks, his voice is modulated in a way that indicates he is in fact under some emotional duress, despite his outward appearance. He strides towards Spock, lessening the distance between them. Jim’s uniform pants are perfectly creased and form-fitting.
“I have a question for you, a,” Jim snaps his fingers, “what’s the word again? Help me here, Spock.”
Spock stares at Jim.
“Fine. My point is, the Administration finally ratified all portions of the order dismantling “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I am free to be as gay as I want to be. Which isn’t very gay at all, really, except for me asking you to marry me.”
Spock stares at Jim some more. He loses count of how many seconds he does so. He loses count of everything, and loses awareness of why he is in this building or what he is supposed to be doing. “Jim?” His voice comes out quiet, tentative.
Jim’s face loses the about-to-do-something-dangerous look and begins to look like it does after he realizes his actions have been foolhardy. Spock takes an involuntary step toward Jim. It is oddly hard to draw breath.
“I...” Jim says softly, no longer projecting to the whole room, but only to Spock. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. People are celebrating and it just--But you know what? Forget anything I said, I’m just messed up because of the change in policy. I’ll just. Be going.” Jim edges toward the door of the lecture hall.
“That is not what I--” Spock says, even as his thoughts swirl and his feet bring him in one quick motion to where Jim is. The cloth of Jim’s uniform is thick and rich, expensive-feeling.
“Hey, easy,” Jim says.
Spock looks and sees that his hands are clenched in the fabric of Jim’s jacket. “I--” he tries again, but no words come out. This is a singular experience for him and he cocks his head to the side as he analyzes the phenomenon.
“Let me go,” Jim murmurs, trying to pull back out of Spock’s grip. Spock can tell he means it. “Don’t you think I’m already humiliated enough?” he hisses. He nods towards the lecture hall, the rows of silent students.
“Yes,” Spock finally manages.
“I know. Plenty of humiliation, but that’s what you get when you work on impulse.” Jim presses his lips together, and his eyes have the look they get when Jim is thinking about his past.
“That is not what my ‘yes’ referred to.” Spock wills his hands to unclench slightly.
Jim looks down and pushes Spock’s hands away completely. He straightens, military bearing fully in place. “I never expected you to stick around, anyway,” Jim says under his breath. “It’s better this way; let’s make it a clean break.”
If Spock engaged in the human behavior of rolling his eyes, this would be a time he would implement it. “I was referring to your proposal,” Spock says, loudly and clearly so there is no possibility Jim will think he is ashamed. “I was saying, yes.”
“You were--” Jim’s head snaps up and his eyes meet Spock’s for the first time today.
“Yes, Jim, I will marry you.” Spock is having trouble getting adequate oxygen. “Unless... perhaps I misunderstood? It is possible that I, after being apart this long, misunder--”
Jim grabs Spock’s head between his hands and shakes it, starting to grin.
“I do not see why manhandling me in this fashion is responsive to--”
“Check this out for responsive,” Jim says, then curls his fingers behind Spock’s head and kisses him, right there in front of the lecture hall. As Jim would say, he in fact kisses “the hell” out of Spock.
Though it is illogical to care about a ceremony that will merely formalize what they both already know, Spock finds himself suffused with feeling, and he kisses the hell out of Jim in return.
Slowly, Spock becomes aware of an odd sound. Jim finally pulls back and they rest their foreheads together. Jim whispers, “If we were alone...”
Spock nods. Jim’s skin is warm through his clothing, and Spock can only too easily picture what he would look like sprawled out on white sheets underneath him, panting and stripped piece by piece of his perfect uniform, how--
“Spock,” Jim cautions, laughter in his voice.
Spock coughs and realizes what the strange sound he’s been hearing is: his students, all two hundred of them, on their feet and clapping. His face heats further, but somewhere inside, warm blooms. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is the ridiculously illogical type of construct only the human race could invent, and it is criminal it has lasted this long. Still, there is satisfaction in this moment.
He clears his throat. There is immediately silence in the lecture hall. “May I present my future husband, an exceptional member of our military and now allowed to formalize...” He is horrified to realize his throat feels tight.
“His commitment,” Jim fills in, smiling at the banked rows of desks, and sending a quick, heated glance under his lashes at Spock.
Grateful, Spock just nods.
“So, how long does your class last?” Jim asks, all nonchalance.
“It--” Spock thinks about where Jim’s been, where he is likely going, places with endless deserts and people out to kill anyone from here, thinks about Jim’s endless courage. He turns to the class. “You are dismissed. I will upload your assignments for our next meeting onto the class bulletin board.”
The students cheer, then file by offering their congratulations. At the end, one girl cocks a grin at them both and stage-whispers to Jim: “It must be love; we had two hours of class left.”
“Spock!” Jim says, a twinkle in his eye. “I’m shocked at this shoddy--”
Spock makes sure that Jim does not have the opportunity to say much else the rest of that evening.