1. The Time With the Hacker.
The cadet hacking the Kobayashi Maru bites the apple and stares at them all defiantly with a pleased twist of his lips. And Spock has no idea how he did it.
He spends days combing through the firewalls, the lines and lines of code, meticulously and methodically searching for the corruptions, for the effects of the subroutine—how he got the subroutine implemented.
And the mind that he encounters—the way it subtly shaped and and crafted; the message it was trying to send: that no-wins are avoidable; that no-wins only occur as a consequence— is one of the most fascinating, engaged minds Spock has come across.
And so even when he writes him up for academic suspension, even when he demands a hearing for the fraud—Spock cannot help the tightening in his stomach, the fierce desire to know that mind.
And as he gazes over at Cadet Kirk, whose face is intense with Human emotion, his shoulders straight with it, his voice hard with it even as he demands to face his accused, to make them see what he was telling them, he is startled by his own reaction to the man. And even though Spock can see that Kirk has no expectation that any of them will truly comprehend, he continues to try to press the point.
Even knowing Nyota as he does, he suddenly understands how his father could find it logical to love a human.
2. The Time on Huang Yi.
"You are fortunate indeed, to have one full of such joy," the chieftess observes. The planet of Huang Yi is one of the few entirely homosexual planets in the galaxy; a culture in which life-pairings are homosexual, with heterosexuality acceptable only for the sake of reproduction.
It is a fascinating sociological specimen, and the captain had desperately wanted to visit (Nyota informs him that on Earth, the sight of two women in a passionate embrace is stimulating. Spock keeps his suspicions that there might be another reason why Kirk wanted to come here to himself).
The man in question is currently playing a variant of soccer with the local children. He is cheating most outrageously. It seems not to offend the locals, but rather to endear the crew of the Enterprise to them, the clustered adults laughing and cheering, a few participating in the cheating, much to the consternation of their offspring.
"The captain is a credit to us all," Spock agrees after too long a pause.
"Yes," she agrees with a sparkle in her eyes, resting her hand on his shoulder and squeezing in an indulgent manner. "But you are lucky to have found such a love."
Spock has no opportunity to deny it, even when he realizes that their presumed harmonious future is about to be celebrated.
The Huan Yin find them attractive due to the misunderstanding about his relationship with the captain; Nyota murmurs that she thinks this is the reason they have been so welcomed. To set the record straight would embarrass these people needlessly and would be illogical, so Spock remains quiet.
There is a celebration in which his hand is bound to the captain's with a length of flowers entwined with ribbons, a circlet of blue flowers which match the captain's eyes exactly placed upon his head.
There is a dance, which Ensign Chekov laughingly stumbles his way through, even with Lt. Sulu's help. Nurse Chapel guides Nyota through, and Mr. Scott and Dr. McCoy toast the celebrations from their inebriated places on the sidelines.
They have all paired off according to local custom, though Spock has his suspicions about the relationship between Chekov and Sulu not being the farce they are presenting it as.
The captain leans against him late in the evening, laughing and pleased. The Federation has another planet within its sphere of influence, and the Huang Yin have a guaranteed market for their textiles and semi-precious stones. Spock imagines that, given the fact that the last seven planets they went to ended in blood-loss and violence, this reception is perfect.
Given this, and the extent of the deception, he can find no logical reason to pull away and disturb the captain, who is resting somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. Nyota gives him a speculative look from her place beside Nurse Chapel, where she is coaxing music from a strange metal figure.
Later, after he has guided the captain to their shared quarters and ensured that he has managed to discover the bed, the chieftess knocks on the door. She smiles at his state of semi-dress— he had removed his shirt in order to sleep more comfortably, Huang Yi is a tropical planet—and presses a pair of rings into his palm.
"May you live together in harmony," she says. "He is a good man, to have found love such as yours."
"I—" Spock begins, but she merely smiles again and turns away to where her wife waits for her a small distance away.
He supposes, as he closes the door and examines the rings, that they haven't had an argument on this planet, and so it was logical for her to infer that their relationship is harmonious.
It is not so harmonious when the captain insists on wearing his ring and calling Spock Human petnames, which have most of the bridge crew trying desperately not to laugh.
He cannot be in love with this man.
It is not logical.
3. The Time with Sex.
First, there was the obligatory life-threatening scenario.
He and the captain had argued (Jim shouting, Spock calmly pointing out again and again the abject dearth of logic in every single one of Jim's rescue plans) about how to best approach a planet whose civil war had roiled itself into near-extinction, the genocide perpetrated on both sides reaching truly staggering levels.
The Rubios had sent out an SOS, asking for a mediator. In the face of extinction, it is a logical request.
The Ganeht warned that they would shoot to kill, and given the planet's history, no one doubts this promise.
In the end, Spock only agrees to allow the captain to beam down if he accompanies him and Dr. McCoy stayed aboard. Spock is strong enough to both carry the captain and run while doing so. His ability to get the captain to safety would be worthless if the doctor is not aboard in full health, ready to perform his work to its usual level when (and it is when, not if) the captain finds himself in trouble.
And yet it is not the captain who is shot, from whom blood spurts.
Spock stares blankly down at the deep green staining his hand (which is shaking- fascinating) and then into the blue of Jim's eyes.
He sees the captain's lips moving, calling, demanding help as the security detail fires ruthlessly into the assembled crowd.
They have only just beamed down, right into a trap.
This planet is doomed; if they do not kill each other, Jim will wreak vengeance, as Spock will no longer be around to mitigate him.
He has blurry memories of Nyota and Jim both at his side, the bright lights of the sick bay.
When he is well enough to be released (and far more more than well enough, but Dr. McCoy has a perverse sense of humor, and Spock suspects him of executing tests), he finds the captain sitting on his bed.
"You could have died," Jim informs him. His eyes really are spectacularly blue, and it is not logical that Spock should continue to notice that. "You could have died, but I didn't kill them."
He allows the captain to touch his scar; to invade his personal space. Humans often need physical reassurance that someone has recovered completely—a need to see for themselves, rather than accept the word of another.
He is not surprised when the captain leans in, pressing against him, but neither can he say he expected this. While it is a logical progression of their relationship; but the captain is hardly logical, which changes the way the equation must be computed.
He knows he is one of the only people who ever says "no" to the captain, but this is not a time for that, not as the captain follows him down onto the bed, sprawled inelegantly on top of him. His hips roll against Spock's, three layers of fabric between them (the captain does not believe in undergarments, which appalls Dr. McCoy and Nyota both, titillates Ensign Chekov, causes Mr Sulu to smirk, and causes Mr. Scott to ask far too many questions).
Their mouths slide together easily, Kirk deftly finding the right angle to deepen it and Spock gives in, just gives and gives to him, whatever Kirk wants.
The kiss lasts an age until Kirk finally pulls back, shifting his weight enough to undo Spock's pants while he mouths his neck, his fingers wrapping around Spock's cock, stroking and pumping and—
And Spock is illogically, impossibly irritated at the fact that Kirk is so at ease with these movements. There is no awkward fumble, no hesitancy; indeed, it is almost natural, speaking of great experience; speaking of many others. Many who are not Spock.
And so Spock reciprocates, sliding his own hand into Jim's pants, palming his cock and dipping his head to find his mouth, to bite at his lips before kissing the sting away. His breathing is coming quicker, though he is not quite gasping as Jim is—he is not spilling dirty words into Jim's mouth as Jim is into his.
Jim sounds—needy. And Jim never sounds needy— the captain never needs anything, and something in Spock's stomach turns to liquid heat at the sound of it.
He twists his wrist, brushes his fingers against Jim's balls even as Jim slides his thumb over the head of Spock's own cock. The movement of their hips is rapidly losing pace: it is swiftly becoming desperate and yet good, so good.
Jim groans and spurts all over Spock's hand, the flush rising from the collar of his shirt and spreading over his face, teeth clenched around the almost painful sounding groan.
Spock has the unaccountable desire to make him scream, thinks impossibly that he might as Jim's fingers become more clever, as he licks and presses his way into Spock's mouth.
"C'mon, Spock, come for me, c'mon," he urges. "Wanna see you, God—"
And Spock does, the fingers of one hand tight in Kirk's hair, the other pulling Kirk's hips against his.
There is a mess between them, but Kirk doesn't pull away.
Instead, he merely lays there, entangled with Spock.
"Not allowed to die," he mumbles into the skin of Spock's neck as though they would lodge there and become true.
Spock watches him, knowing he will regret not having removed his clothing in the morning, but finding himself unwilling to dislodge the other man.
"Okay, James," he tells the face of the sleeping captain, knowing it is illogical: that he is making a promise he cannot hope to keep because he cannot say no to this reckless Human.
But this is not love.
4. The Time with Ambassador Spock.
"He is very different," Ambassador Spock observes.
The ambassador rarely speaks of his Jim Kirk, but today is the day of Kirk's birth, and they are on New Vulcan, and celebrating. Spock is pointedly not examining why Jim would pick New Vulcan, rather than Earth, as the place for the celebration.
The captain is being reckless and encouraging Scotty to make what appears to be a piece of scrap metal and a piece of abstract art fly. Chekov is watching with morbid fascination, and Dr. McCoy prudently has his medical kit within reach. Spock watches as Jim balances on the flimsy hovercraft, arms flailing as he bends at the hips and laughs brightly.
"When you fall and die don't come crying to me!" Dr. McCoy shouts, but there is a fondness in his eyes and a smile attempting to manifest on his mouth.
"How so?" Spock inquires, looking at Ambassador Spock, who is watching with an almost winsome expression.
"He was much calmer," the ambassador says with a quieter fondness. "Passionate, but not quite so young. He was 32 when he obtained his commission for the Enterprise, of course. And obtained her under much less… fraught conditions. Jim was full of life, but he wasn't like this."
They watch for a moment in companionable silence.
"You should tell him," the ambassador says. "I never did. He knew, and I knew that he did know, but. I never got to say the words. I will always regret it."
He squeezes Spock's shoulder and walks away—and Spock tries to to imagine what might come to pass to soften the edges of his voice in that way; to sink his eyes in, to bend his shoulders so wearily.
He does not even get the chance to say that there is nothing to tell: that that was Ambassador Spock's reality, not his own.
In his reality, there isn't anything to tell.
In his reality, if there was something to tell, if Jim knew, the words wouldn't matter.
5. The Time with the Romulans on Outpost 4
How the Romulans manage to take over Outpost 4 of the Neutral Zone is anyone's guess. Spock has theories, but they knew so little of the Romulans that they are only educated guesses at best, extrapolated from his own people's distant warlike past.
The Enterprise docks for a fuelling and to make contact, to send datafiles to the Academy for study. Spock stays aboard, wanting to study a star system on the edge of Romulan territory; this is the closest he is likely to get in quite some time.
So when Liorae-sihaer, an infamous Colonel in the Romulan fleet (there have been three recorded interactions with him), appears on the viewing screen with one of his tattooed hands in the captain's hair and the other holding a wickedly curved and jagged knife to the captain's throat (which is already red with spilled blood), Spock is as surprised as the rest of them.
"What will you do now, Vulcan?" Liorae-sihaer sneers. "You cannot destroy me without destroying your precious captain."
The entire bridge crew stiffens, but they do not otherwise react; he will have to congratulate them all on this discipline at a later date. Perhaps a commendation in their permanent files.
"Mr. Sulu. Fire at will," Spock commands quietly, sitting deliberately in the captain's chair. He is sure that the lingering warmth of Jim's body is only in his imagination.
They are grim-faced as they fire, knowing that the building could collapse at any moment; knowing that they have an 83.20052% chance of killing the captain.
Spock is relying, illogically, on Jim's ability to defy the odds. He tries to convey this as they lock eyes, and Jim grins tiredly, bloodily, grips the wrist holding the knife and jerks his own head to the side, forcing Liorae-sihaer to cut his own throat.
They lose visual contact, but then Chekov is yelling that he's found him, and Mr. Scott is giving him precise bursts of power just as they need them, Sulu holding them ready to get out as soon as Kirk is aboard.
"I hate Romulans," Jim informs them all from his slouch on the transporter pad. He looks at Dr. McCoy earnestly, blood covering his neck and the lower half of his face. "Bones. Romulans are mean bastards."
"Damnit, Jim, hold still," Dr. McCoy growls, squinting at the bruising around Jim's neck, reading his instruments and looking fiercely relieved. They all look fiercely relieved.
Later that night, Spock will trace the necklace of bruises, suck one of his own into it because it is a rare opportunity to mark the captain in a visible space.
And if he fucks into him a little harder than usual ("James, James, James"), holds on a little tighter—it's not because he was worried in any way but professionally:
He does not, in fact, want to captain this ship.
and 6. The Time Where It's Been There All Along
Spock knows that Jim prefers to be "Jim". He tolerates "Kirk", allows "Captain" ("revels" is perhaps a better verb- the captain revels in his title), but no one calls him "James" except for Spock.
And even then, only in the quiet moments.
And then one day he realizes that when he calls Jim "James"—that he's really saying "I love you."
And that Jim knows it.
And perhaps they aren't so illogical a fit after all.