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"Hey!" Jim snagged Spock's elbow as he was heading to the coffee machine. The filter was barely working, but apparently Spock liked his coffee that way, so whatever. At least Scotty hadn't gotten around to 'fixing' the damn machine and turning it into a cross-dimensional vortex, or something. "We just got invited to the Mardi Gras!"

Spock twitched. "I take it that we are to decline."

"Uh. Why?"

"We have more pressing matters to attend to."

"Dude, it's been three whole months since the last super-villain creamed his pants the moment you pinned him."

"I. I do not recall having that effect on. Doctor Cephalopod."

"That wasn't just his tentacle that was happy to see you, man. Trust me. And that goo wasn't just, uh, brine." Jim paused for reflection. "It might've had a similar composition to brine, though... Huh. Did Bones put those amino acid tables somewhere around here?" He started rifling through the desk. "Damn it, didn't Uhura tell him to pin them up? That's what the brown-board is for!" Jim discovered the color-coded tables with a muted 'A-ha!', and turned around to pin them up.

Spock blinked at him. "At times, you display a surprising facility for administrative tasks."

"Are you telling me I should've been a secretary?" Jim batted his eyelashes. "Why, Mr. Spock, I never knew you felt that way about me." He parked his hip against the file-holder, and delicately crossed his knees. "Allow me to fetch my nylon stockings, so that I might, uh, display myself prettily on your desk."

Spock looked disturbed. "I did not mean to suggest an alternative means of employment."

"But - "

"Please cease discussing it," Spock intervened, hurriedly. "We are getting 'off-topic'. I believe we were - "

" - talking about the Mardi Gras? Man, the thought of me in stockings must really traumatize you, if you wanna to get back to that conversation."

Spock glanced at Jim's legs. Abortively. "I assure you, it is nothing of the sort."

Jim smirked. "Yeah?"

"I am merely concerned that we might squander crucial mission-time on irrelevancies."

"Mission-time?" Jim gaped at him. "All we've done in the past week is foil a bank robber who didn't even get to the bank. And the Mardi Gras is a major event for this city, you know. It's officially opened by the mayor, and everything."

"It is a cultural idiosyncrasy." Spock's tone was dismissive.

"There is ribbon-cutting."

"I fail to see the relevance of - "

"Ribbon-cutting is important. Okay, here's your free 'Humanity 101' lesson of the day - when humans cut ribbons, it is important. Like, the event stands for something."

"There is no ribbon-cutting at weddings," Spock pointed out.

"Bouquet-throwing. Acceptable substitute."

Spock looked confused. Which was to say he had that adorable little frown-line in the middle of his forehead, the one that was almost invisible, because obviously, Vulcans didn't do expressions of emotion. Heh.

"Think about it. What's the common point, here, Spock?"

"When a decorative object is illogically and precipitously discarded in an activity whose most viable written description is one in which a hyphen prefaces the activity and the object prefaces a hyphen," Spock worked out, slowly, "it is a matter of cultural significance."

Jim beamed. "Bingo! So, you know, cow-tossing doesn't count as culturally significant. Because cows aren't decorative. Er. Unless their heads are mounted on a wall."

"To what purpose would an individual 'toss' a cow?"

"It's usually done in a group, actually. Just a bunch of drunk idiots having fun."

"Then they are felons." Spock's brows lowered. "To 'toss' a cow is equivalent to animal abuse, under Statute 4.2 of Section III of The Consolidated Cruelty Statutes, within the bounds of 'undue and unnecessary distress,' as well as 'potential bodily harm'."

"Oh, Mr. Spock, you bleeding heart!" Jim pressed a hand to his chest; a part of him was still enjoying the secretary persona. "You're practically Doctor Dolittle!"

For a moment, Spock looked like he didn't know which of those statements to handle. Finally, he said: "Firstly, my heart is not hemorrhaging. You need not concern yourself. Secondly: I am not familiar with the 'super-villain' who might bear that name, and I was certain that I had memorized the entire list. That," he frowned, "is a cause for concern."

Jim laughed. "Oh, dude. Like, seriously? No, don't worry about it. Dolittle was a good guy. A fictional good guy. Who loved animals. I thought you sounded like him."

Spock relaxed. "A childhood fable," he said. "I see."

"Right! So, back to the Mardi Gras, and, you know, the two of us being invited to it - "

"We will decline."

"We won't."

"The event is... colorful," said Spock, as if 'colorful' meant 'toxic and very likely fatal'.

"Spock, my costume is neon red and blue."

"I am aware of that." Spock's voice was strained.

Okay, this was not on. Nobody dissed the costume. "Oh, like yours is any better. Black latex, anyone? That fits right into the Mardi Gras! The kinky part of it." At Spock's raised, interrogative eyebrow, he realized he had to explain himself. "The word 'kinky' means 'perversely sexual', by the way. Put that in your internal database. Your costume's kinky, all right?"

Spock blinked. Slowly. "Vulcans do not participate in illogical displays of sexuality."

"Um. A penny for your Pon Farr, sir?" God, he wasn't going to be able to get rid of the secretary mindset for a while, yet.

Spock stiffened. "Nor do we engage in prostitution."

Shit. "No, hey, I didn't mean - I meant, not a penny for, I meant, not a literal penny - "

"Jim," said Spock, and Jim shut up. He knew that tone of voice. "I thought we had agreed that we would not discuss Vulcan mating practices. And we are not going to discuss the 'Mardi Gras' any longer."

Bummer. This was why Jim didn't trust his own conversation skills. He was so much better with his fists. Which was why he chose the vigilante lifestyle, actually. "Yeah, okay," he said, and tried not to let on how disappointed he was. Well, here was a last-ditch effort. "It would've made a big difference, though, for the people out there to see - role models - " as much as it freaked him out and also amused him to think of himself as a role model " - like us, uh, participating in community activities. Maybe it might even shut up a few of those newspapers. You know, the ones that keep calling us violent nutcases."

Spock… Spock paused. All over.

Oh. Oh, wow. How could Jim forget? Spock was all about logic, which was all about utilitarianism, which was all about the greater good.

"I will go to this 'Mardi Gras'," said Spock, and Jim - Jim quietly, mentally fist-pumped while squealing like a gleeful little girl.

"Yeah," he said, out loud, playing it cool. He could totally do this. He could keep from bouncing on his feet - and, possibly, off the walls. Spock - Spock! - was going to the Mardi Gras! The space-time continuum might, like, burst in an explosion of rainbow-colored glitter. And baby unicorns. "That's - that's great, man."

"I do wonder, however, why only the two of us were invited. Why not the rest of the team?"

Uh. This was probably not the best time to tell Spock that it hadn't so much been an invitation as the result of shameless begging, and the mayor admitting that having a superhero couple star on its Gay Pride float would do wonders to diminish homophobic hate-crimes. The fact that Spock didn't know that he was going to be the other half of said 'couple' was, er, best left unsaid. "W-well," Jim shuffled from foot to foot, "it ain't a good idea to involve all of the city's guardians in a - a recreational activity. Just in case something does happen."

"But why us, in particular?"

Because I want you to attend a public event as my boyfriend, even though you're not my boyfriend yet. "We, um. The mayor just likes us, I guess?"

Spock's eyes narrowed, the way they did whenever illogical human emotion was the impetus behind any major decision, but then, he nodded. "Arbitrary, but sufficient. For such a - light-hearted - event."

"Right. Sufficient. It's very… sufficient. So! I'll just formally accept?"

"You may proceed," said Spock, and Jim practically jumped for the phone.

"It'll be fun, Spock!" he exclaimed, as he speed-dialed Mayor Pike's private number.

"That," said Spock, dryly, "is not my motivation."

Yeah, whatever. It was going to be fun, anyway.

Even if Spock did kill him, afterwards.

Spock didn't kill him.

He did leave Jim strung up with zip-strips, though. And hung upside-down from the gym's topmost beam.

Neither Uhura nor McCoy let him down. Scotty and Sulu snickered. Chekov apologized.

But none of them, apparently, had the gall to confront Spock in a rage.

Not that Spock called it a rage, of course. According to him, leaving Jim suspended from the ceiling was a perfectly logical - and, indeed, even inevitable - act of 'discipline'. He seriously called it that.

Discipline. Jim grinned to himself, relishing the burn in his ankles. I knew he was a kinky bastard.

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