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Ways We Could Have Met (Or Not)

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Spock followed her back to her quarters after their conversation in the gym. They needed to decide how to approach Captain Pike with the new information Spock had found. He wasn’t going to like their plan, but it was the best one they had, so getting him to go along with it was imperative. They were throwing arguments and counter-arguments at each other, trying to anticipate the objections of everyone else. It was nice to be working with her brother again, though she wished she didn’t have to nearly die to make it happen.

There was a chime from an incoming transmission. She recognized the customized tone immediately and groaned. He really had the worst timing. Spock raised an eyebrow.

“Someone is trying to contact you.”

“No, someone’s trying to contact Tilly, but the call has been rerouted here.”

“You are going to answer it? Why?”

“He’s sort of a friend of mine. This probably won’t take long. Computer, accept transmission.” The now familiar image of Jim Kirk appeared in the room.

“Hi… Michael? Where’s Tilly? Is she okay? Wait, are you okay? You look…” He studied her face for a second, “off.”

“I’m okay, Jim. Tilly’s okay, too. We’re just working on a pretty involved project right now.” She gestured at Spock. Jim looked skeptical, but let it drop.

“Never a dull moment, huh?”

“Not yet, no.”

“And you can’t tell me any of it. You probably can’t even introduce me to your colleague?” He asked. Michael breathed out slowly through her nose, she shouldn’t have pointed out Spock. Then the comm system wouldn’t have included him and Jim wouldn’t have known someone else was in the room with her.

“That’s right, but I guess I can introduce you. This is my brother, Lieutenant Spock. Spock, this is Ensig-”

“Lieutenant James T. Kirk. A lot of people call me Jim, though. Pleased to meet you,” he interrupted.

“Indeed. H—”

“You got promoted? Congratulations,” Michael said preventing Spock from saying anything more. She was genuinely happy for him. Jim ducked his head for a second.

“Thanks.” He smiled back at her. Was he blushing? It was hard to tell through the blue-tinged hologram. “Yeah, it’s part of why I was calling. I also wanted to congratulate you and Tilly for no longer being fugitives. I swear, your ship is always getting into trouble.”

“We try not to.”

“Sure, but it doesn’t seem to be working.”

“Why are you so familiar with my sister?” Spock asked.

“Spock,” Michael said, but it was ignored.

“Err… I don— I mean…”

“She outranks you. She is the second officer of a ship. You are only just a lieutenant. Yet, you refer to her by her first name. Furthermore, your reactions to her praise are indicative o—”

“We’re friends? She said I could?” Jim said, cutting Spock off with only a hint of panic, “Look, Tilly and I were at the Academy together. I met her through Tilly when they became roommates." His expression became mischievous. "The real question here is why they still room together, but I studiously don’t ask about that,” he winked at Michael. Sometimes he just could not help himself. Seeing her expression, he held his hands up, “I’m just saying that I bet second officers get really nice quarters. I’m friends with Tilly, too, and you don’t see me rushing to share a room with her. It was bad enough when she’d stop by my dorm. She kept reorganizing my books,” he made a face. Michael laughed.

“You must have been special. She doesn’t do anything like that to me,” Michael admitted.

“You don’t have anything for her to rearrange,” Spock pointed out.

“Thanks, Spock,” Michael replied dryly.

“Anyway,” Jim dragged out the word, “I don’t want to hold up your important project. Could you pass my news along to Tilly when you get the chance and maybe take a picture when you do?” He asked, neatly side-stepping the topic of her decor choices. “Also, could you tell her I’m proud of her for not falling back into her old criminal ways?” Jim added. Michael laughed again, both at Jim’s request and Spock’s bewilderment.

“Sure.”

“You’re a gem, Michael. It was nice to meet you, Lieutenant Spock. Stay safe all of you.” His eyes met hers and Spock’s, including him in the sentiment. “Bye.”

“You too. Bye.”

“Farewell?” Spock said, clearly taken aback by the entire conversation. The connection closed. “What did he mean by ‘old criminal ways’?”

“Tilly was a teenage runaway for a while.” Spock still looked puzzled. “It’s a long story.”

***

“Ah, here he is. Captain Kirk, allow me to introduce you to your first officer, Lieutenant Commander Spock,” Fleet Captain Pike said.

“We’ve met,” Jim said.

“You have? Mr. Spock, you could have said something. How many times have I told you not to let me introduce you to people you already know?” It was clear even to Jim that Spock was calculating a response. “Wait, don’t. That was rhetorical.” Captain Pike said.

“Yes, we met about eight years ago. He dressed me down when I was new lieutenant for being too familiar with a commander,” Jim explained. Spock raised an eyebrow.

“I was not expecting Captain Kirk to remember that conversation after so much time, Captain Pike. I apologize,” Spock said.

“Oh, on the contrary, I found it quite impossible to forget.”

“Fascinating, Captain. What was it that made it so memorable?”

“The Commander, of course. But, Mr. Spock, I never kiss and tell.” He’d also never gotten close to kissing Michael, but based on the greenish hue overtaking some of his complexion, Spock didn’t know that. Captain Pike blew out a noisy breath. Both he and Spock turned to look at him. If Jim was any judge, Captain Pike was trying not to laugh… or something. He was a bit red in the face, at any rate. He’d been on that ship eight years ago, too, Jim remembered. He’d clearly figured out who the commander could have been, but whether or not he would be able to call his bluff, Jim didn’t know. Captain Pike coughed.

“Well, then, gentlemen, I’m going to let you two get, uh, reacquainted then.” With that, Captain Pike walked away quickly, toward the bar.