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“Perhaps it would be prudent for you, as his captain, to simply order him to accept the next dress,” Spock suggests, sounding perfectly level and reasonable as though he isn’t suggesting Jim choose Leonard’s wedding dress for him.

Jim points out, “I let you choose your own, didn’t I?”

Spock’s brows knit together. “I believe I chose one specifically to your taste, Captain.”

That’s fair. Jim did pick out the one Spock’s currently wearing, and he was surprisingly interested in seeing it on—he even tried to sneak into the change room before getting caught. One of the fuzzy Mrennenimian consultants intercepted him and politely steered him back to one of the many couches in the enormous main room of the reception hall. There he received a lengthy lecture on the proper protocol, which Jim, naturally, listened to. He promised to follow it. He is, after all, one of Starfleet’s best, and he must be on his best behaviour. He’s on an important mission of peace and diplomacy. He’s required to meet with the alien queen, and to do so, he, and his entire party, are required to wear proper ‘dress uniforms.’ Which, in this case, are actual dresses. White dresses. Some have lace, some beading, plenty of satin and tulle and other vaguely familiar fabrics. Another starship might’ve balked at such grueling requirements, but Jim’s fought a Gorn with his bare hands—he can handle this.

He wasn’t so sure Spock could do this, but seeing Spock in a trim, tight-fitted, mermaid-style wedding dress makes his own gigantic ball gown worth it. Now they just have to wait for Leonard. The two of them sit side by side on the couch outside his dressing room, a little farther apart than usual, because the bottom of Jim’s frilly dress takes up extra space. It’s fairly heavy, but it should prove marginally easier to walk in than Spock’s dress, and Jim figures at least one of them has to be battle-ready, just in case.

The door behind them opens, and Jim turns to watch Leonard’s consultant waddle out. She’s also wrapped in a wedding dress, but a relatively plain one, likely to keep from upstaging her clients. From what Jim’s seen thus far, everyone in the capitol’s castle wears them. She guides Leonard out, and Jim bites the inside of his lip to keep from chuckling.

It probably wouldn’t look so bad if Leonard weren’t scowling like they’re being asked to repeatedly punch each other in the face rather than just put on some native clothing. He’s guided in front of the full-length mirror before the couch. He’s made to look at it, only to glare down his own reflection. It gives Jim a chance to marvel at the elaborate corset back, which cinches the ruched fabric tightly around his waist. The entire gown is covered in floral lace, including sheer sleeves. The high neckline is surprisingly flattering on Leonard, though the train’s unrealistically long for a diplomatic mission.

The consultant garbles through their universal translator, “What do you think?”

Leonard gives her a look that would have any human running for the hills. Jim only allows it because the Mrennenimians don’t seem to understand their facial expressions. Jim provides, “I think we should try a strapless one.”

“Are you kidding me?” Leonard splutters. He tries to turn around but almost trips over himself in the process—a beige paw darts out to help steady him. Leonard swats the consultant away and splutters, “This is ridiculous!”

“Spock did it,” Jim points out, because if there’s one thing that amuses him, it’s pitting Leonard and Spock against each other. He doesn’t add Spock was much more well behaved than you, but it’s implied. Granted, Spock blushed green the entire time, but at least he restrained his comments in an effort to respect a different culture. Jim can’t help throwing in, “Of course, Spock found the perfect one rather quickly—” The consultant shakes her hands, which Jim assumes is a show of pride, given that she helped. “But I’m sure we’ll find one that looks almost as good on you.”

Leonard turns his gaze to Spock and flatly says, “You look like an idiot.”

To Spock’s credit, his feathers don’t visibly ruffle. He merely replies, “The captain disagrees.”

Jim fills in, “The captain thinks you’re gorgeous.”

Spock turns green again and pointedly doesn’t meet Jim’s eye, replying, “Thank you, Captain.”

Leonard rolls his eyes. Jim gives up on him and asks the consultant, “Could we see a strapless one on him? And maybe something with a bit more sparkle?”

“I know just the thing!” she chimes, sounding thoroughly excited despite Leonard’s bad attitude. “We shall be right back!” She sweeps Leonard back to the changing room, and he grumbles but follows.