Jim didn’t precisely throw down the papers, but he did slam them on the desk with enough force that what little dust was on the surface of said desk swirled viciously about the air for a few moments before settling innocuously in a new pattern as it landed. Spock, for his part, simply raised an eyebrow minutely. Most of his focus was on the reaction itself, though a small portion remained fixated on the presence of actual paper aboard such a technologically advanced ship. The obsolete ink-and-carbon forms meant something of significance must have been occurring.
“God damn it,” the captain ground out, not paying his first officer any mind. They’d been discussing something before he’d opened the outdated envelope, but now it seemed of little consequence. “There’s gotta be some regulation against that. This better be wrong.”
Spock clasped his hands behind his back. “Is something amiss?” he asked, not certain if this was an instance in which the man would be his captain or his friend. The man heaved out a sigh.
“Komack,” he growled. “He’s been trying to get the Enterprise out of my hands since I got it. He thinks he’s finally found a way.”
This was troublesome. Spock allowed his eyes to flick from the papers on the other man’s desk to the white-knuckled grip the human had on his chair. There was considerable tension in his posture. “Has he indeed found a way, Captain?”
Jim bit his lip. Spock watched in mild fascination as an exotic pink flushed the area. “He might have,” he said quietly. “Regulation 447-22. All Starfleet officers must retain citizenships of Federation planets outnumbering citizenships of non-Federation planets.”
Spock allowed one eyebrow to stretch upwards. “Are you not a citizen of Earth?” he inquired, taking in the man’s form. There was no hint of anything but Terran blood in the man.
“Yeah, I am, but,” he said in a rush, pounding a fist against the papers. Of course, this action did not result in anything significant, just another faint swirling and resettling of dust. “But I was born in Klingon space. Since I was actually born off the Kelvin in a shuttle, I can be considered a fucking Klingon citizen. A one-to-one ratio doesn’t count as ‘outnumbering’.”
The Vulcan wondered for a moment whether the Klingons were actually aware of Kirk’s citizenship, but he banished the thought from his mind. It was a logical race to declare the captain a citizen of as it could neither be confirmed nor denied. The Klingons were not likely to cooperate with a Starfleet inquiry. After a moment’s thought, he needlessly straightened his back.
“He is filing an injunction?” Spock queried, more a statement than anything. Jim nodded in reply anyway. “Until what date are you permitted to remain captain?”
Jim glanced over the papers, obviously seething. “Two days for the injunction to be made official,” he spat. “Two fucking days. How am I supposed to sort out my citizenship issues in two days?”
Spock strode to the desk, lifting the abused papers off of it. They were dry, smooth – he preferred them, almost, to a PADD. Two days. Komack had certainly done his research on this; Jim’s birth records, his Starfleet admissions paperwork, a thorough history of the man’s residences and family, and varied other information occupied the pages. It was, in fact, put together almost flawlessly. From a neutral standpoint, even Spock could admit that the data was enough to purge Kirk from Starfleet entirely.
“There is no denying that you are, in the eyes of the Federation, a Klingon citizen,” Spock murmured, flipping the pages superfluously because there were pages to flip. But he could at least argue that he was doing so to make a point. “The only advice I can offer is to scour the records to locate or attain a third citizenship.”
“’Attain a third citizenship’?” Jim frowned. “Spock. I lived on Earth and Tarsus. My parents were both human. I’m not finding another citizenship. Unless I can convince some ambassador to give me honorary citizenship with his planet, I’m fucked over. And the only ambassador I’m on good enough terms to ask that of? Doesn’t have that power in this timeline.”
Spock nodded, just a slight incline of his head. “The only other viable option would be marriage,” he conceded, tapping the papers straight again and setting them down. “However, I have not observed you in a particularly monogamous association with anyone, let alone a member of another Federation planet.”
Jim let out a long-suffering sigh, pulling his chair out and all but throwing himself into it. “Yeah, and it’s not like I have a secret lover waiting in the wings either,” he groaned. “Fuck. How am I supposed to keep my ship?”
Spock reminded himself that the regulations existed for a reason. He respected them, followed them to the best of his ability. He had never before found reason to question them or attempt to break them, and yet—
And yet Captain James T. Kirk was possibly the best thing that had ever happened to Starfleet. It would be illogical to oust him from his position on the whim of a jealous councilman.
“Perhaps a crew member will agree to marry you, should you make your situation known,” Spock suggested, watching the man’s hands clench into fists.
“I can’t tell anyone if I want to remain in Starfleet in any possible way,” he said lowly, elbows digging into his sides. The man was all but compacting himself. “And besides, the only citizens of planets besides Earth are you and Keenser. And forgive me, but I’m not marrying that little green midget.”
A thought occurred to Spock then, an illogical and impulsive and preposterous thought, and before he could stop himself, his voice carried it out.
“Then the only logical course of action would be to marry me.”
The room was completely silent for a few seconds, still, not even the sounds of breathing making their way through the permeable quiet. Then, with a long inhale to precede it, Jim opened his mouth a laughed. Raucously. Crazily. Completely uncontrolled.
“Fuck, Spock,” the man managed, choking on air. Spock did his best to remain impassive. “Fuck. You gotta be kidding me. Marrying you is the most rational decision? How did you even come up with that?”
Now that he had offered, Spock could not rescind. “It is to Starfleet’s benefit that you remain Captain of the Enterprise,” he found himself saying. “As a member of Starfleet, it is therefore to my benefit as well. As it would be in the interest of the majority, it is logical that any means necessary are taken to ensure that you remain an officer in Starfleet. If Vulcan citizenship through a marriage to me is the only way to do this, then it is only logical that I offer.”
The laughter died down abruptly, Jim’s eyes wide and fixed on his first officer. “You’re serious,” he stuttered, as though the idea had just occurred to him. “You’re actually offering to marry me.”
“Indeed,” Spock acknowledged, valiantly attempting to hide his nerves. “Although in the eyes of the Federation, the citizenship you would gain would be tentative until the marriage had been sustained for at least 13 months, and beyond that point you would keep the citizenship even if we were to divorce. Assuming you can manage a wedded life with me for that length of time, you would have full Vulcan citizenship.”
Jim’s face was a struggle in and of itself. Spock watched the handsome eyes flick everywhere but to his own. He watched the man’s lips purse and pout and disappear into his mouth—
It was perhaps an ill-thought-out idea to offer his hand in marriage to a man he found himself physically drawn to, but there was no necessity in touch. Hidden emotions would remain hidden, and desires Spock hardly acknowledged as present would be buried beyond what they had before, should the captain accept his proposition.
And then Jim’s eyes found their way back onto Spock’s own, a hesitant determination evident even to Spock’s untrained eyes.
“Okay,” the man breathed. “Now. Before I change my mind.”
There had been much to discuss, the last of which was completed a mere twelve minutes before they were due on the bridge. The plan was laid out tediously, but it had to be such to merit Spock’s approval and Jim’s confidence. And what might have irritated the Vulcan (if he were low enough to permit irritation) was the sheer simplicity of the plan in question.
Step 1: Set course to New Vulcan.
Jim gave the order to Sulu, who followed it without question. Chekov, however, in his unchecked curiosity, asked quite plainly why they weren’t maintaining their current course to the Lurentian system. “Are ve going to come back? Now I am wery curious vhy ve alvays change course vhen ordered there…”
Two occurrences were not substantial enough to form a pattern. Spock was tempted to inform the young man of this, but he was prevented by Jim’s simple answer: “Just needed to run something by the council. And it really can’t wait.”
Step 2: Engage in a public display of intimacy such as to alert the crew to their impending arrangement.
Spock had specifically listed the displays he would permit, but all that seemed pointless when all the captain did simply lay a hand on his shoulder while he was working at his station. He turned to look the man in the eye, prepared to question what he needed. Jim cocked his head, smiled, and said in a voice that under normal circumstances would have been quiet but in the sudden silence of the bridge was almost a yell, “you didn’t have breakfast, right? So how about we grab some lunch?”
Spock turned back and finished the sequence he’d been in the process of completing before standing, accepting the man’s offer wordlessly. He made his way off the bridge at Jim’s side, tossing back an authoritative, “Sulu, you have the bridge,” as he left.
Step 3: Prepare the captain’s quarters for cohabitation.
It was with some hesitation that Spock found himself moving his belongings into Jim’s rooms. It was also with relief (and some amount of confusion) that he found the closet completely empty, Jim’s only explanation being that he could fit everything in the dresser anyway, so he didn’t need it. The arrangement suited Spock perfectly, given his preference to hang his clothes. He only needed a quarter of one drawer outside the space the closet provided, and that quarter of one drawer was immediately surrendered to him.
His chessboard was set up carefully and tastefully located, and his few personal belongings – a few books, two artifacts of Ancient Vulcan origin, and a single photograph of his mother – found their way to the room’s ample bookshelf. The move took less than an hour.
Jim glanced over the newly redecorated quarters slowly, and Spock set about familiarizing himself with the surroundings. It was not entirely different from his former residence – the only notable difference being the expansion of the bed to accommodate two. And only then – with the worst possible timing – did the Vulcan realize it.
He would be expected to sleep alongside Jim.
He stared at the bed for perhaps a moment too long, and then Jim was at his side. “I can deal if you can deal,” he offered. Spock nodded absently, trying to ease his tension. “By the way, I hog the covers and I sleep on the left.”