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Mother, Why

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Despite claiming to be an emotionally repressed Vulcan who closely followed Surak’s teachings of logic, Spock had an unusually close relationship with his mother in comparison to what he had observed in the other Vulcan children growing up.

He would often find comfort in her hugs and kisses when he was younger, and this comfort had extended through puberty and adulthood. Though Amanda wouldn’t openly display her affections when in public, when at home she would often touch him. Simple acts such as rubbing his back when he was tired, giving him hugs at every opportunity, and placing kisses on his forehead.

The comfort he sought from his mother was not something he was ashamed of any longer, but Amanda still felt that it would be best if she didn’t give him physical touches when out and about on Vulcan. He had always maintained an open and honest communication with his mother, keeping her up to date on the ongoings of his life and current work. Amanda would always listen closely, and let Spock know how proud she was of him for all that he’d achieved. Spock always took pride in the words despite the fact that they were repeated often. He knew his mother was genuine in her praise.

Amanda had always encouraged debates in their home, discussing a range of subjects from both Vulcan and off-planet. His mother was a passionate woman, and that passion would always shine through when she got into an explanation or conversation with someone over a subject she felt strongly about. Spock had grown up thinking his mother was a vivacious and affectionate woman, and now as an adult he maintained that perception. Amanda was one of a kind, and Spock was grateful that she was his mother. He held deep affections for her, constantly wished to please her to the best of his extent, and cared for very much.

In fact, he cared for his mother so much, that he would even agree to partake in a social engagement which she had predetermined for him and an unknown potential romantic interest.

A blind date. Spock’s mother had set him up on a blind date, and he had gone on it, because he was just that much of a mommy’s boy.

In actuality the idea hadn’t been Amanda’s, but of one of the Human representatives at the Earth embassy. Amanda had joined Sarek on his most recent trip to Earth, wanting to visit Spock while they were planetside. Sarek had been invited to dine with the Human representatives on his first night there, and he said he’d bring along his wife to the engagement.

At the dinner, Amanda got into a conversation witha woman called Julia, telling her about Spock and his achievements. At one point she revealed that he did not have a partner, and Julia jumped at the chance of playing matchmaker.

Amanda had apologised to Spock for agreeing to the date without his knowledge, but said that he should at least give trying to date a Human a go. Spock wasn’t entirely certain he agreed with her. Even though he did believe in gathering results from different subjects before coming to a conclusion, he did not think the rule applied to dating.

Still, he went on the date, because his mother had wanted him to try it.

Spock arrived outside the Duchess restaurant at 18:55 that evening. The stranger he was to meet was waiting for him inside, and so Spock spent no time dwelling on uncertainties and entered the establishment.

The inside was not incredibly busy, but it was not empty either. The design was simple and the colours not too strong, consisting of mainly dark red and brown. There were beige curtains tied to the sides of the big entrance leading into the dining room, and the sounds of chatter and cutlery on plates travelled through. Spock stepped up to the concierge who smiled up at him.

“Good evening, how do you wish for us to address you?”

“Male.” Spock informed them. “I am meeting someone here.”

“Yes, of course, sir. What’s your name?”

“S’chn T’Gai Spock.” Spock saw the concierge frown slightly at the name, but did not say anything. They looked down at the sheet of paper on their stand, eyes perusing the list until they stopped somewhere near the bottom.

“I’ve found you, sir. If you’d just follow me, please.” They said, and motioned towards the dining area. Spock trailed after them, stepping through the various tables until they stopped at one with a sole occupant. The person sat at the table had brown eyes and brown hair, lighter than Spock’s own.

“Here you are, sir.” The concierge said, gesturing at the table.

“Thank you.” Spock said, removing his jacket and draping it over the back of the chair. He made to sit, but before he could do so the man sat opposite him stood up and grabbed Spock’s hand.

“Gary Mitchell. Nice to meet you.” They smiled.

Spock couldn’t process the words, as he had immediately frozen up the moment the man grabbed his hand. Whether Gary knew about Vulcan hands or not, Spock could not decipher, but he was overly enthusiastic in his handshaking which had shaken him up quite a bit. He stayed stock still and didn't fully relax until the man let go of his hand a few seconds later.

They both took their seats, and Gary asked, “So what’s your name?”

“My name is Spock.”

“Just Spock?” He asked with a raised brow.

“It is what your vocal chords are capable of pronouncing.”

Gary snorted and shook his head. “Alright, fair enough.”

A man dressed in black, pressed trousers, a white formal shirt and black tie approached their table, carrying two menus under his arm.

“Good evening and welcome to Duchess. My name is Jim and I’ll be your waiter for the evening. If you have any questions or want to know anything about the food during your stay, please let me know.” He greeted, and handed them each a menu. “Here are your menus which show our set of prices for both small and large meals, and you’ll find that the table already has a copy of today’s specials along with our cocktails menu.”

“Thank you.” Spock said as he flipped open the menu.

“Not a problem, sir. Let me tell you what this evening’s specials are; we have roasted salmon with quinoa and asparagus which will be drizzled with the restaurant’s own soy sauce, traditional Mn’omxi root vegetables with your choice of salt, pepper or vinegar, and finally a Terran sandwich with a side of red pepper and tomato soup. The sandwich consists of hummus, feta cheese, black olives, and slices of red onion, and will also be drizzled with lemon juice.”

“That’s a lot of veggies there, man.” Gary commented, idly flipping through the menu.

“Well a lot of our customers come to the restaurant for the vegetarian options as we have quite the variety.”

Spock had to agree, the options were plentiful. There were a variety of restaurants and cafés in San Francisco that offered vegetarian and vegan food, but they were primarily Terran cuisine. Duchess however seemed to be carrying dishes from several Federation planets, and even some outside of it.

“I’ll give you both a few minutes to look over the menu.” The waiter told them with a smile, and then left.

Spock and Gary took their time looking through the menu, browsing the options in silence. Spock had decided he would order the avocado pasta, as he had an affinity for the fruit and enjoyed roasted red peppers which the dish included. He placed his menu down on the side of the table and waited for Gary to finish. The waiter returned after a few minutes, and Gary was still looking through his menu.

“Hello again, sirs. Have you decided on what you would like to order for this evening?”

Gary looked to the waiter. “Yes, we’ll have two orders of the sirloin steak with potatoes, and uh, a bottle of wine.”

“Of course, sir. What kind of wine would you like?”

“Give us a bottle of Sauvignon blanc.”

“Will do, sir.”

“I wish to replace one of the sirloin steak orders for the avocado pasta, please.” Spock said, directing his attention at the waiter.

“Not a problem, sir.” He smiled.

Gary frowned at Spock, but didn’t say anything. Instead he turned to the waiter and asked, “Not gonna write any of this down?”

“I’ve got excellent memory, sir.”

Gary clearly didn’t believe the man, looking very unimpressed.

“You don’t like steak?” Gary asked Spock once the waiter was gone.

“I do not consume meat.” Spock explained, and Gary, with no right whatsoever, looked put out by this information.

“That sucks. What about wine, can you have that?”

“Alcohol has no effect on Vulcans.”

Gary sighed. “Guess I’ll have the bottle for myself.” Spock did not approve of the man consuming an entire bottle of wine on his own, but he did not comment on it.

Gary went into a description of the wine, telling Spock about how it was made and what other wines were similar to it. He went on for ten minutes, comparing the drink to other forms of alcohol such as beer or vodka, arguing that wine was by far the best and gave an extensive list of reasons as to why.

The waiter arrived with their plates of food just as Gary was winding down and moving onto how vineyards in France worked. Another waiter had followed the man, carrying a bottle with them. The waiter rounded Spock’s side and placed down his dish.

“An avocado pasta for this gentleman here,” He said, then rounded around to Gary’s side. “And a sirloin steak for this gentleman.”

“Thank you.” Spock said. The waiter accepted the bottle from the second waiter. He uncapped it and began to gently pour it into Gary’s glass.

“May I have some water, please?” Spock asked.

“I’ll bring a bottle right over for you, sir.” The waiter assured him. “Would you like still or sparkling?”

“Still.”

The waiter nodded with a smile. “Sure thing.”

Once he had finished pouring Gary a glass of wine, the waiter gathered their menus and left the table with a farewell bow.

What followed afterwards were some of the most troublesome moments of Spock’s life. It had been fifteen minutes since Spock had arrived at the table, and in that time Gary had proceeded to take on the role as the active speaker, prohibiting Spock from making any input in the conversation.

“Surfing… cruising those waves, it’s just amazing. Have you ever been surfing?”

“I have not. I do not enjoy water.”

“What? How can you not like water? It feels so good going for a swim on a hot summer’s day, the waves lapping at your torso. You really should try it. I can’t believe you’ve never been surfing.”

“Vulcan is a desert planet, and therefore has no access to bodies of water.” Spock explained.

Gary snorted. “You guys are messed up.”

Spock tensed up at the comment, not appreciating the man’s quick assumption of his race. He did not know enough about Vulcans to draw such conclusions.

“So like, how do you shower then?” Gary asked, then grimaced. “I mean, you do shower, right?”

“I prefer sonic showers.”

Gary shook his head and sighed. Spock didn’t have much understanding of Human behaviour, but he had picked up on obvious body language cues, and currently Gary was loudly displaying his displeasure. He clearly was not happy with what Spock was saying, and it was disconcerting. Spock found himself uncomfortable with the man’s negative reactions towards him as a being.

Spock was appalled to find that Gary deemed it acceptable to take food from his plate without asking. The first time he had done it, Spock had been too surprised to comment on it.

“It’s alright.” Gary had shrugged, and returned to his meal.

The second time he’d done it, he’d taken a large bite of the pasta, and Spock felt indignant at the act.

“If you wished for avocado pasta you should have ordered it.”

“I don’t want that.” Gary argued, grimacing. “I was just wanting to see how it tasted.”

“You already tasted it and deemed it be adequate.” Spock pointed out.

“And it’s still alright, I just wanted to check.” He huffed, cutting up another piece of his steak. “If it was good I was going to recreate it, but I could do better on my own. Usually most of my dishes are better than the original. Like, I make a mean pasta carbonara. You gotta try it.”

“I do not consume meat.” Spock reminded him.

Gary frowned. “Right.”

There had not been a moment of silence since then. Well, from Gary’s part there had been none. Spock had remained silent for the past thirty minutes, rarely being given enough time to inject a phrase or one word response before Gary continued on speaking. Spock rarely took note of the time, but he found himself frequently sneaking glances at his communicator when he was able to.

He had taken to sipping from his water nearly constantly, and the glass would find itself empty after not even five minutes. Thankfully their waiter would often walk past their table, and Spock took the opportunity to constantly ask them to refill his glass. The waiter showed no indication of finding the amount of times he asked for refills to be odd, something which Spock appreciated.

The refills at least allowed him to excuse himself to the bathroom for a brief recovery. He did not wish to terminate the social engagement early, as he did not wish to disappoint his mother if he told her he could not withstand a meeting with a Human for a long period of time.

Gary spoke about many things, but Spock could not find himself interested. He never spoke about general subjects or specific events that were occurring in the world, but only about himself. He told Spock about his job, how he finds it, about going to the gym and his training regime along with the diet he kept, as well as his dislike for modern music. Not once did he brush on any subject outside of himself.

The waiter stopped by their table and smiled at the two of them.

“Any of you want a refill?”

“No.” Gary said dismissively at the same time Spock almost desperately said, “Yes, please.”

The waiter poured water into his glass, filling it to the brim, and Spock immediately took a sip once he was done. He saw the waiter’s lips quirk up momentarily before he seemed to force it away.

“What about you, sir?” He asked Gary.

“I’m good.” Gary said, lifting his glass of wine. He had finished half off the bottle already, though Spock assumed it would not affect the man greatly since the food would hinder the alcohol’s impacts.

“Alright, then.” The waiter nodded, and left the table once more.

Gary turned back to Spock and asked, “So what do you do?”

The question took Spock by surprise, as he had not expected Gary to inquire about himself. Certainly the evening’s proceedings had suggested such.

“I am a Professor of Xenolinguistics at Starfleet.” He answered.

Gary snorted. “Xenolonguistics doesn’t make any sense. I don’t even know why it’s taught as a subject. I mean, if aliens come to our planet they should be the ones to learn Standard, not us learning their languages. They should’ve just made Standard the universal language back when they created the Federation, because now it’s easier for aliens to get to Earth and stay. They can get by with living here and not having to learn the language well. It’s like Starfleet ships out Humans, and in return we get aliens who speak broken Standard and bring along their own cultures, trying to incorporate it into Earth. That’s so wrong. If they’re coming here, they should adopt to our societal norms and culture.”

Spock’s eyebrow twitched. He had so much to say to that.

It was xenophobic. It was absurd. It was impossible. To have aliens adapt to the Terran societal norms and culture when Earth had over two hundred various cultures and languages was ludicrous. The majority of Earth’s population did not speak Standard as a first language, but a second or third, and so Gary’s statement was not only hypocritical but inane.

Most native Standard speakers would not even learn a second language in their lifetime since almost everyone else on the planet learnt the language of their own accord. Furthermore, Standard not only enabled everyone on Earth to be able to communicate with each other, but allowed for the cultures to be shared and relations formed between them.

However, before Spock had a chance to voice his very well-thought out and constructed opinion, Gary jumped into a rant. “We’ve got this lady at work, a Betazoid, and she’s really shady. I don’t trust her at all. It’s like having a Klingon or Romulan in the workplace, you just don’t feel comfortable being around them. Like, what if they read your mind and you don’t even know? That shit’s got to be ethically dubious at best.”

“Betazoids follow a strict protocol of maintaining their telepathic abilities to themselves when somewhere it is not accepted.” Spock informed him.

“But how does anyone know if they’re following it or not? You don’t know, they’re just too damn sneaky.” Gary took a sip of his wine. “A buddy of mine has this theory the government is planting Betazoids in the workplace so that they can infiltrate our minds and see how often we’re slacking off. He would know, he works within HR.”

Spock had come to the realisation that this social engagement had turned out most disastrous, and there was no reason he would ever consider continue to keep in contact with Gary. He believed the man to be rather aggressive in his attitude towards aliens, and as an alien Spock could not accept such behaviour. He decided not to argue as he usually would when confronted with someone xenophobic, choosing instead to finish the evening without causing a scene.

Thirty minutes later the dining room had grown near empty, and excluding Spock and Gary’s table, there were only two more left with occupants. Gary pushed back his chair and stood up, informing Spock that he was going to use the restroom before leaving.

Spock took this opportunity to collect himself and think of what to do next. He did not wish to fraternize with Gary any longer than necessary, but he did not see the evening coming to an end anytime soon. Gary still had almost half a bottle of wine left, and Spock had seen him perusing the dessert menu twice already. Perhaps he would not be entirely to blame if he were to depart from the meeting early, citing irreconcilable differences.

“Are you alright? You’ve been asking for a lot of refills tonight.” Spock came out of his thoughts at the sudden voice. He looked to the source and saw their waiter looking down at him, a brow raised in question.

“I apologise, I was not aware I was consuming such a high amount.”

“Hey, no need to apologise, you can have all the water you want.” The waiter laughed, waving away Spock’s apology. “Just thought it was weird that you’ve had… thirteen refills.”

“You have kept count?”

“It’s hard not to, that’s a lot of refills.” The waiter held up the jug of water in their hands. “Another?”

“Please.” Spock sat in silence as the waiter filled up his glass for what was apparently the fourteenth time.

“Your Standard’s pretty good.” The waiter commented idly.

“It is my second language.”

“Still, for a non-native speaker that’s very good.”

“I am familiar with languages and their complex systems.”

The waiter nodded, looking impressed. He straightened up after having finished refilling Spock’s glass. “Do you speak any others?”

“Several. I speak Vulcan, which is my first language, Bajoran, Ferengi, Standard Mn’omxi and High Mn’omxi, and Andorii.” As Spock listed off the languages, he could see the waiter’s eyebrows rise higher and higher.

“Wow. That’s a lot.” He laughed.

“It is not difficult as teaching the languages along with their grammar structures and rules are part of my occupation.” Spock clarified.

“Oh yeah, what do you do?”

“I am a Xenolinguistics professor.” The waiter looked as if he had had a sudden epiphany.

“Wait,” he began, “do you teach at Starfleet?”

“I do.” Spock confirmed.

The waiter laughed. “Aw man, my roommate hates your guts.” At Spock’s expressionless face he coughed and continued. “It’s cause— well, see, he’s studying to become a doctor in Xenobiological medicine, and he had to choose an elective in order to gain the points needed for his degree. He’d heard that the Xenolinguistics module was an easy pass, so he chose that one, but I guess he didn’t bet on the old professor dropping out and a hardass replacing him.”

“Many of my current students seem to share that sentiment.” Spock agreed.

“Aw, come on, don’t feel too bad about it, Bones hates practically 99% of everyone he meets.” The waiter grinned. At Spock’s frown the waiter explained, “Bones is his nickname.”

“Who is your roommate?” Spock asked.

“Leonard McCoy.”

“Ah. Him.”

The waiter laughed again. The sound was very pleasing, a deep rumble. “Yeah, that reaction sounds about right.”

The sound of a chair scrapping across the floor caught Spock’s attention, and he immediately whipped around to see if Gary had returned. He had not.

“You clearly seem very excited to see your date coming back.” The waiter teased.

“I did not attend this appointment of my own volition.” Spock explained, and turned to face the man once more.

“Well, I don’t see anyone holding a phaser to your head.”

“My mother orchestrated this social engagement.” Spock revealed.

The waiter’s eyes widened. “Wow. Your mother? That’s insane, man. I can tell you nothing good comes from your mom making your romantic decisions for you.”

“I must agree. Tonight’s ‘date’ is most… challenging.” The waiter looked to be holding back a laugh at Spock’s tone.

“He sounds like a fucking nightmare from what I’ve picked up. Sorry, for saying that.” He quickly amended, seeming to realise what he had said and to whom.

“That is quite alright.” Spock assured him.

The man smiled gratefully, but then frowned. “Um, sorry for asking, but why would your mom set you up on a date? I thought Vulcans were bonded when they were really young.”

Spock was slightly impressed by the man’s knowledge of Vulcan relationships. He wondered if he had studied it prior. “I had a bond previously with another, however, it was dissolved.”

The waiter let out a low whistle. “Sucks, man. But shouldn’t she try to set you up with another Vulcan then, instead of, you know…” He vaguely gestured towards the empty seat.

“My mother is Human, and she wished for me to, I quote, ‘give dating a Human a try’.”

The waiter laughed. “Classic mom.” He smiled brightly at Spock. “So you’re mixed race, huh?”

“Indeed.”

“Honestly, I never would have been able to tell by just looking at you.”

Spock’s brows furrowed lightly. He found the comment impolite.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it to come out xenophobic.” The waiter apologised immediately, seemingly having realised how they sounded. “It’s that, um… like, with some mixed race people, they look more like just one of their races and so that allows them to blend in easier with that species. And you know, they might encounter things that people would not usually reveal if they knew of their heritage, such as xenophobic species like the Dubonians.”

Or Vulcans, thought Spock.

“That is a very interesting observation.” He admitted, because it certainly was.

“Thanks.” The waiter smiled. “I’m quite interested in things like that, seeing how it affects a being’s upbringing when they’re exposed to something like that. My friend actually wrote her dissertation on a similar subject, because she’s studying sociology. I liked the sentiment behind her subject, but I had a problem with the idea of her questioning subjects of mixed race heritage. I mean, they’re living, breathing beings with feelings, it must feel awful being interrogated and made the subject of some experiment.”

“I am certain no ethical rules were violated. If your friend followed the proper guidelines of conducting a social experiment, she must have asked for volunteers and ensured they signed a confidentiality agreement which protects them from any harm, physical, psychological, or in any other form.” Spock said.

The waiter nodded. “I suppose. Still doesn’t sit right with me. Emotional Human and all.” He laughed to himself, then perked up. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have gone off on a tangent like that.”

“Your apologies are unnecessary. I find your conversation to be most illuminating.”

The waiter laughed. “This is the most I’ve heard you speak all evening.”

Spock looked to the empty seat. “My partner seems to have an affinity for listening to his own voice.”

The man laughed even harder. “You’re a funny one, man. Comedy might be somewhere in your future.”

“Seeing as I have no interest in the subject matter, I highly doubt it.” Spock told him.

The waiter shook his head. “Shame. What do you like to do then?”

“I enjoy cooking on occasion.”

“No way, that’s awesome! What do you cook?” He grinned.

“I often cook vegetarian meals from different cultures. My mother tends to send me new recipes she thinks I will find interesting, and when she visits will ask that I recreate the meals for her. We share an interest in cooking.” Spock explained.

“That’s nice. You close to your mom then?”

“Extremely.”

The waiter smiled fondly. “Well, she’s lucky she gets to taste your food. I’m sure you’re a terrific cook.”

“Thank you.”

Suddenly the waiter melted back into a straight posture, his hands falling behind his back. “Incoming.” He muttered.

Spock turned around and saw Gary approaching the table. He felt his good mood drop at the sight.

“Don’t look so down, now.” The waiter chuckled. “Night’s almost over and you can be free.”

“I will never be free.” Spock said forlornly, watching as Gary neared. He heard the waiter snort, and then the sound of footsteps as he departed. Gary approached their table and slid back into his seat.

He nodded behind Spock. “Was there something you needed?”

“I was simply asking the waiter about their selection of teas.” Spock told him.

Gary shook his head with a huff. “Can’t handle tea. Nothing else really wakes me up in the morning like coffee. My colleagues at work know not to talk to me until I’ve had at least two cups of coffee.” He laughed.

Spock felt a small stab of sympathy for Gary’s colleagues.

Suddenly the waiter appeared at their table, jug of water in hand. Without being asked, he leaned over and topped up Spock’s glass.

“Do you need me to make an excuse for you to leave?” He surreptitiously whispered to Spock.

“That will not be necessary.” Spock assured him quietly.

Gary frowned. “Did you say something?”

“Thank you for the water.” Spock told the waiter at his regular volume.

The man smiled. “Of course, you’re welcome.” He turned to look at Gary. “Sure you don’t want some water, sir?”

“No, I’m good.” He dismissed rudely, throwing the waiter an annoyed look. “Is the tea ready yet?”

The waiter’s eyebrows furrowed. “The tea?”

“Yeah, my date ordered a tea earlier. Where is it?” Gary persisted.

“I did not order a tea,” Spock corrected the man. “I simply asked for their selections of tea.”

Gary opened his mouth as if to retort, but the waiter beat him to it. “Of course, sir, I remember you did. Have you come to a decision yet?”

Spock looked to the waiter, and guessed, “The vanilla tea, please.”

“I’ll have it prepared for you immediately.” The man smiled and walked off.

Gary looked after him and shook his head. “Does he have to hover so much? It's so annoying when waiters do that.”

“He is simply doing his job.”

“I don’t like it.” Gary said firmly, and picked up his glass of wine.

Spock decided he could not endure any more of the evening, and promptly told Gary, “I believe I will be departing now.”

Gary’s eyebrows shot up. “Uhh, why?”

“I am feeling fatigued and wish to rest.” Spock said. The words were true, but they were not in relation to the evening, but to spending time with Gary.

“Aw come on, don’t be like that. The night’s still young.” Gary complained.

“You may enjoy the rest of the night as you wish. I, however, will be leaving.” Spock told him, and raised his hand to get the waiter’s attention. He immediately noticed Spock and briskly walked over.

“Can I help you, sir?”

“Yes, I would like to pay for my meal, please.”

“Of course, sir.” He told Spock, and looked to Gary. “Will you be paying now as well or will you be staying longer?”

Gary looked as if he had tasted something sour, looking at Spock with a deep frown. After a moment he sighed and downed the remainder of the wine in his glass. Spock locked eyes with the waiter, and he was certain they both shared concerns about the man’s priorities.

“I’ll be leaving too.” He said, placing his empty glass on the table.

“Very good, sir. I’ll bring your bill right over.” The waiter said, and made to leave.

“Please cancel my order for the tea.” Spock told him quickly.

The waiter halted in their step and nodded at him. “Will do, sir.” They then left and walked through the door behind the bar.

A tense hush fell over the table, neither Spock nor Gary speaking. It was the first time all night Spock had wished for the man to talk, and so he decided to ask questions until the waiter returned with their bill. Gary seemed to be reluctant at first, but quickly got back into taking up all of the conversation with his personal achievements.

The waiter returned to the table with a menu and a chip reader. “Here you are, sirs. Will you be paying separately?”

“I’ll be paying for it all.” Gary said, just as Spock said, “Separately.”

Gary looked to him, his brows furrowing, but Spock would not be intimidated.

“Separately.” He confirmed.

“Very well. That’ll be twelve credits for your avocado pasta then, and for you sir, it’ll be forty-two credits for the steak and Sauvignon blanc.”

“Forty-two?” Gary exclaimed, shocked. “That’s a fucking robbery!”

Spock saw the waiter’s jaw clench briefly, and so he turned to Gary and said, “You were aware of the cost when you ordered the dish and beverage. You should not act so surprised.”

Gary shot Spock an irritated look, but took out his credit card and inserted it into the machine. The waiter inputted the number and handed it back to Gary, letting him type in his pin. The machine beeped and Gary pulled out his credit card, glaring at the waiter as he did so.

“Thank you, sir.” He turned to Spock with a smile and handed him the chip reader. “And you now.”

Spock inserted his card and inputted his pin, making sure he added in five credits for the waiter’s tip. He had been the most enjoyable part of the evening, and Spock wanted to show his appreciation. The chip reader beeped, and he removed his card, allowing the waiter to take back the machine.

“Thank you very much. I hope you both enjoyed your evening here, and I hope to see you again in the future.” He said cheerily.

“Thank you.” Spock said, and Gary grumbled something under his breath as he stood from his seat. The waiter left, and Spock followed Gary’s suit, both of them taking their coats off the back of their chairs and donning them.

“Where do you live?” Gary asked.

“Why do you wish to know?” Spock asked, suddenly suspicious.

“I was thinking I could drive you back.” The man explained.

Spock felt himself tense at the notion. He did not wish to spend any more time with the man, and certainly not have him follow Spock back to his apartment, potentially misconstruing the situation as being invited inside.

“That will not be necessary.” Spock said, not offering an explanation.

Gary shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

They both headed for the exit, not exchanging any words as they walked along. They were almost there when the waiter intercepted Spock.

“Excuse me, sir,” He said, tapping Spock on the shoulder.

Spock turned around, and the waiter held out a take-away cup with a napkin wrapped around it.

“On the house.” He said with a smile. Spock was surprised at the action, but carefully accepted the cup. It was hot in his hands, the steam from the cup curling through the air. He could smell the sweet aroma of vanilla rooibos.

“Thank you. That is most gracious.” Spock said, genuinely grateful. The service at this establishment had been commendable, and he marked it down in the back of his mind as a location he could return to often. Perhaps he would introduce it to Nyota or Hikaru, and they could dine together at some point.

He promised himself he would pay back for the tea he had been given, and perhaps, if by any chance the waiter was present at that time they could converse some more. Spock had found himself interested in the man’s words, and had wished they had met under better circumstances.

“You coming or what?” A voice called from behind Spock. He held back a sigh and turned to face Gary.

The waiter nodded at Gary. “He’s good to go, sir. Enjoy your evening.”

Gary still didn’t look to be too keen on the waiter, snorting as he stepped outside. Spock gathered his strength and followed after the man.

Once outside, Gary turned to Spock with a raised brow. “So, about a second date…” He trailed off, and Spock immediately jumped on the chance to deny him anything ever happening.

“There is no possibility of us engaging in a second social engagement.” He said bluntly.

Gary’s brows furrowed and his mouth thinned, but he nodded once. “Whatever.”

Spock watched as the man walked off, thankful that the evening had finally come to an end. He turned around and headed in the opposite direction, thinking he could walk the half hour back to his apartment.

The hot cup of tea was a comfortable warmth in his hands. Spock lifted it up to his lips and blew at the steam in an attempt to cool it down slightly. He did not require the napkin at the moment, and so he removed it from around the cup. Just as he was about to place it into his pocket, he saw there was some writing on it. He held it up and saw that there, clearly written across the napkin, was a number along with a name.

Jim.