"Captain, you appear to have forgotten something in my quarters last night," said Spock over the commlink.
Jim yawned, wide, and wondered if pretending he hadn't heard the hail Spock would give up and let him sleep. He doubted it. He yawned again.
"Kirk to Spock, that was a gift, over. I don't have shift for another hour, don't do this."
"Captain, I have no need of… this," said Spock's disembodied voice.
"Spock, Uhura told me to take good care of you while she was at that conference and this is just a little bit of the Jim Treatment for you. We'll talk later," said Jim and buried his face in his pillow.
"Very well, Captain," said Spock. With a beep, the commlink closed.
Spock had prepared a requisition order the night before with a certain business in mind.
The ensign who received the order, certainly unusual from Spock, was naturally curious. Despite this curiosity, all they gained in return was a fiercely emotionless gaze from the Vulcan that forestalled questions.
"Didn't like it, huh?" Jim grinned. Bones had told Jim he wouldn't dare give Spock that gift. Using Uhura's request for Jim to keep an eye on Spock had been the perfect excuse for the gag gift.
The gift? A best-selling Vulcan/Human romance novel entitled He Came Logically. Kirk discovered it while browsing for, well, it wasn't important what he'd been browsing for.
"It was acceptable, Captain," said Spock. He clicked another page on the datapad. "I merely completed it already. It had a great many misconceptions about Vulcan physiology, but the story itself was of interest to me. I've acquired more in the genre. This particular novel is Andorian."
Oh. Well then. Jim sat down. "You liked it, hm?"
"Did you intend to give me a gift I was not meant to enjoy?" Spock arched an eyebrow.
"No-ooo," said Jim carefully, "I would never."
"Of course," replied Spock. He set down his datapad. "A traditional Andorian marriage involves four separate genders. Their romance novels, I've discovered, can be fascinatingly intricate. And that is not including variations on the theme such as this one where the focus is on 'bucking' convention."
"Oh, I bet you'd like that," said Jim with a grin. "What else did you get?"
"Ensign Tre'kek informs me that due to the large selection on Scresta 15, they elected to use 'variety' as their chief acquisition parameter. I am not disappointed," said Spock. He gestured to a tall, but tidy pile. "Vulcan, Klingon, Romulan, Trill, Tellarite, and many cross-cultural. Anthropologically, they're fascinating."
Jim picked a Vulcan one up and clicked through it. "Oh, so I guess you don't have tentacles down there," he said as he got to a particular scene.
"I do not understand where that persistent rumour came from," said Spock with a faint note of amusement.
"Yeah, well, humans are creative. In a lot of ways," said Jim. "I once heard tha--"
"I am more alarmed than bettered by knowing what sexual rumours you've heard about other species," interrupted Spock with a note of finality. "What you said the last time you indulged me with your early assumptions was more than I had ever needed to know about your upbringing."
"My step-father educated me in a lot of ways. None of them really accurately. Hey, you've been highlighting these!" Jim pointed to a passage.
"Of course. I wish to discuss them with Nyota. I expect that she would find them as interesting as I," said Spock.
"These aren't even the sexy bits. This one is about how the heroine organizes her uniforms," said Jim.
"We often have discussions on that topic."
"You're setting her up for a letdown, pal." Jim thought to himself what married life with Spock would be like for Nyota, if they went that far. Jim expected lots of late night calls to bond over what Spock did now. It almost, but not quite, made Jim write off most of his Spock fantasies. His and Nyota's late-night talks about Spock had changed how he viewed the Vulcan significantly. His fantasies featured less 'Oh, Captain, I cannot contain my passion!' and more of, say, theft of reports to keep the Vulcan's attention on him and not work. Or trying to keep Spock from noticing an ornament that had fallen slightly askew while they-- Concentrate, Jim! Your Spock was talking. Time to focus.
"What you seem to expect of mine and Nyota's relationship has no bearing on the reality."
Jim ignored a little stab of jealousy and kept going through the datapad. Right now the lead was using a flowchart to seduce the Vulcan captain.
"For instance, you seem to be under the impression it's still of a romantic nature."
Jim stopped reading.
"I thought, Jim, that was why you were giving me attention with the 'Jim Treatment' after she left," said Spock, fingers steepled. "Me and Nyota agreed that we were not achieving our particular goals on that track."
"I… She just said that you could use some company while she's gone." Spock thought that Jim was hitting on him? That wasn't wrong, but Spock wasn't supposed to notice.
Spock quirked a lip. "It seems she believes I am in need of comfort."
"Because you're so good at being emotionless except when you aren't. So it was a totally logical break up and that's why you've got a giant pile of love stories to read while she's gone?" Jim set down the pad.
"It was for perfectly logical reasons. We both agreed. As for your theory about why I'm reading these stories, I simply enjoy the genre. It is, I believe, perfectly natural to be entertained by entertainment." Spock leaned back, a picture of Vulcan relaxation. But his steepled fingers were pressing harder against each other. Jim could see the tips turning white. Whiter.
"Aw, Spock, you should have said. We could have gone for break up drinks. It's traditional in my culture, when your pal becomes newly single," said Kirk, leaning in.
"That is exactly why I did not inform you. You are my friend as well as my captain. Neither of those roles required you knowing about the cessation of mine and Nyota's relationship until it was relevant." Spock looked up at Jim as if challenging him to say it was relevant.
Jim sat on the arm of Spock's chair, and impulsively hugged him around the shoulders. He managed not to jerk back in surprise when Spock leaned into the hug. Hey, that was promising.
"Hey, I mean, I'm here for you. In a lot of ways, Spock. Turning you onto new hobbies, turning you on--" Spock had just nuzzled him. Just lightly. Jim had a coughing fit. Spock jerked back.
"Are you well, Jim?"
"Just fine! Just fine!" said Jim, waving a hand as he composed himself.
"If you are ill…" began Spock.
"I'm fine. Anyway, now your secret's out. I told Nyota I'd take care of you, and that's just what I'll do. Wait, she didn't do this right before Pon Farr, did she?"
An unamused look. "No."
"Okay, I mean, I could try but we'd have to take vacation days and--"
"Jim," Spock rubbed between his eyes. "I have not the slightest idea what's going through your head right now, but the idea that Nyota would try to pass off that duty onto you…"
"Well, we talk, you know. Me and her. We're tight," Jim said, holding up his hands for peace. "She got me reading about you guys as part of the Vulcan preservation project. Oh man, did you break up because of that? Someone got on your case to help preserve the species? That's so not right."
"No. A half human is not considered so precious a commodity to the Vulcan empire, even with their reduced numbers. Vulcan's reasons are not to be discussed with you," there was an emphasis there that Jim couldn't quite figure out, "but I am not being pressured in any way."
"Well, good. I'd hate to lose my best second in command to a nature preserve."
"If you continue to refer to it like that, I will have you recommended for sensitivity training," said Spock.
"Yes, got it," Jim was still sitting on the arm of the chair, and patted Spock's shoulder. Spock didn't seem to mind him getting handsy at all. Jim could get used to this. "You know, if this is bugging you, imagine if it was Bones you were having a heart to heart about love with."
Spock went silent.
"All I'm saying, is if you need anything. Some shore leave, some buddy time, I'm here for you, Spock. That's all." Well, not all. That just was all he dared for now. You can't push a Vulcan too fast. This was heated commlink-sex level discussion for Spock, by Jim's judgement.
Spock let himself touch Kirk's fingers, the skin on skin contact doing wonderful things for his tactile telepathy. "I'll remember that, Jim."