James T. Kirk felt like he would be doing the stuff-classes-never-told-you-about-when-you-become-a-captain forever at this rate! Paperwork. At least it would have been paperwork if it still actually used paper. For a fleeting moment, the young captain glanced longingly at his small real ink and paper book collection before he shook his head and huddled over the mountain of reports to sort through. Wasn't this why he had a first officer?
Too bad his first officer seemed to detest the very sight of him, although Spock would never admit to feeling an actual - oh no, look out - emotion like detestation towards Kirk, even though he was certainly capable of feeling affection - or at least having felt affection...he wasn't sure anymore if Spock even felt anything for Uhura since the only time he ever touched her was that incident on the transporter pad in the life or death situation a while back with the whole crazy Romulan Nero from the future that wasn't their future! Either way, he was almost positive that Spock detested everything that had anything to do with James T. Kirk. Why did he offer to even be his first in the first place? Shaking his head again, he folded himself over the padd on which he was working.
If only he had food to keep him going. Ever since their meeting on Delta Vega, he'd made a point to keep Scotty as comfortable with as much food as the engineer wanted. Was it so much to ask that someone made sure he was eating enough? Wasn't this why he had a chief medical officer who only happened to be his best friend?
Just as he was in the frame of mind to slam his fist into the intercom button to call his yeoman - the one he'd never even met yet somehow despite every time he came off his shift from the bridge his quarters were clean and tidy, which kind of creeped him out just a little - and demand food now, his doors opened with a gentle hiss and in stepped his mystery yeoman with a...was that a covered tray?
Kirk stared at it dumbly for only an instant before he realized something. His yeoman was a woman. A young woman. A young blonde woman. A pretty young blonde woman.
Who assigned her as his yeoman?
He stared dumbly now at this rather attractive person coming right at him. He knew she was saying something but he had zero ability to register what she was actually saying. All he saw was some very shapely...kissable lips moving. Then, the cover came off the tray and he realized, as it almost collided with his jaw, that he'd leaned in towards her. For what, he actually wasn't sure, but the fact that he'd done that even subconsciously threw him off. He was in trouble. He'd have to come up with a reason for getting rid of this yeoman as fast as possible, even if she was a nice girl and did her job well. This was just ridiculous. He was the captain, and a stupid distraction like a...he glanced at her...really kissable subordinate just would not do. Maybe he'd be able to come up with a reason to get rid of her soon. If he could beat the Kobayashi Maru - and that was made by a Vulcan! - he'd surely be able to outwit the human, at least most likely human, that decided this woman would be his personal - what? - secretary, he supposed, and get her away from him as soon as possible.
"-and wanted you to eat something. You've been working all day and-"
"So you bring me a tiny bowl of leaves with a sandwich?" he said in a testy voice. Maybe she was easily offended. It was worth a shot.
"Well, I left the jars there on the tray for you in case you wanted to add more of some things to the sandwich. I made sure that you have protein, grain, vegetable, fruit and even a little sugar. And of course a tea."
That would be a no, then, to easily offended. Apparently, this was the only person on his ship who didn't know he preferred coffee to tea by an astronomically high gap. He offered her the tightest smile he'd ever given anyone. "Of course."
He grabbed the fork with one hand and was about to start stabbing into the bush-in-a-bowl when he caught her still nearly in his personal space. Did she have any sort of interaction with people? He suddenly knew what Spock felt like when people got in what he considered his personal bubble.
"Something else you need, yeoman?"
She smiled brightly at him and shook her head in the negative. Kirk sighed a little uncomfortably and decided against the leaves for a minute and picked up the sandwich. Was this like a clingy girlfriend or something that made dinner for her lover and was anxious to see what he thought? As he swallowed the bite of the rather creamy and fruity sandwich he almost choked and thought ‘I hope not!'
He took another bite and glanced out of the corner of his eye. Yep, still there. "You can stop hovering," he almost growled. This was getting him on edge.
"Doctor McCoy said I was supposed to watch you eat everything before I left."
"Really?" Again, she nodded. Kirk admitted that she was cute and all, but that was where he decided to draw the line. She still had to go.
He was around halfway through the sandwich when he started to feel strange. Was he sick? He didn't think he felt sick before he started eating. "Yeoman?" he asked, as he put the sandwich back on the tray.
"Hmm?" she responded taking another step closer.
Then, realization started to dawn on him as he felt nauseous as his stomach clenched! Immediately afterwards, it felt like someone much, much larger than him was squeezing his chest in a fist. He began to wheeze as he struggled to breathe. He hauled himself to his feet with difficulty, leaning heavily on his desk for support.
"Captain?" Gone was the peppiness. Now, there was only concern.
He felt sweat practically burst from his skin. He knew what was going on. "Bones!" he croaked.
"Bones?" she asked.
With what little remained of his energy at this point, Kirk punched the intercom button. "Sick...bay!" She tried her best to keep him as steady as possible, which was impressive considering how much smaller she was than him.
"Yeoman Rand to Sickbay! Doctor McCoy!" she practically shouted into the intercom.
Rand? That was her name? It registered as a higher priority than what was happening to him for only a second. Then, he heard a familiar voice. "What is it?" It was the snappish tone of a doctor who'd rather be anywhere else than where his job required him.
"It's Captain Kirk!" she was nearing hysterical. ‘Why?' he thought. ‘Not like anything was wrong with her!'
"Jim!" shouted McCoy. "What's wrong with him?"
"Bones!" he croaked again. "Allergic," was all he managed before he became a dead weight in his yeoman's arms. She seemed to go down with him.
"Damnit!" was the last thing Kirk heard before he started to lose consciousness.
"You've got to be kidding me, Rand!" was the first thing Kirk heard as he started to regain consciousness.
He realized that he was in his bed in his quarters, if the lack of medical scanner beeping was anything to go by. Apparently, he hadn't gone far. He didn't want to move, so he didn't even try to open his eyes. He just stayed there in bed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know!" came the hysterical sobbed response of his yeoman. Former yeoman if he had anything to say about it.
He heard McCoy pick something up. He assumed he was likely waving the object in Rand's face. "It says right here on the label! ‘Contains peanuts!' It's peanut butter! What'd you think it had in it? It's got ‘peanut' in the title!"
Apparently the only thing Rand could do was sob and cry in response. Yes, she was definitely not going to be his yeoman anymore. At least he had a reason now. Nearly killing your commanding officer seemed a pretty good reason to go. The irony that he'd almost been killed by peanut butter instead of something like a crazy-fierce battle between himself and fifty Klingons - what a fight that would be! - made him smile, despite how much he didn't want to let anyone know he was awake.
"Doctor, the captain is awake."
Damn! Spock was here. Kirk didn't even try to hide the groan. This was only going to be one more piece of evidence his first officer would have to think of him as completely incompetent! He could see the report of the incident now. ‘The Captain is incapable or, at the most, unwilling to read labels in order to ensure that he does not ingest any substance that could endanger him. This shows a clear disregard for his life. If he shows little concern for his own wellbeing, then it stands to follow that he would demonstrate as serious a lack of concern for all under his command.' Kirk then thought he had something figured out!
"S'why you agreed to...be my first...officer!"
"I beg your pardon, Captain?"
Did he say that out loud? Damn. Now he had to explain that.
"Waiting for me to slip, weren't you?" He opened his eyes finally. It would have been amusing to see the emotional disaster that was Rand, and the aggravated concern of Bones looking at him as he opened his eyes, but the blank regard of Spock ruined it.
The Vulcan's eyebrows drew closer. "I do not-"
"Don't be coy, Spock. You're waiting for me to do something...stupid so you can say I'm not fit for command and then take my ship from me."
His first officer seemed to hesitate. "I have no intention of usurping your position. One experience in command of this ship has allowed me to know that I do not desire the position, unless it falls under my duties as your first officer to assume command when you are unavailable to do so."
Kirk stared at Spock for a moment. Well...that was unexpected.
"Jim, you okay?" Bones was suddenly in full doctor mode. Kirk heard the whirring of the tricorder as the doctor moved his hand all over above his body. "Move it, you hobgoblin!" ordered McCoy.
"Bones," Kirk was about to admonish, when he saw Spock stand from where he had been seated. Had his first officer been sitting on the bed? Kirk looked around his room and noticed that the chair he kept close to his bed was in its usual place in the corner. It hadn't been moved. There was nowhere else for Spock to have sat.
He watched as Spock ushered Yeoman Rand out of the room. He saw them near the door to his quarters talking.
"Listen, Jim," Bones was saying as he put away the tricorder. "I've decided that you have to get your own food. Apparently, just as you were too lazy to read a label, your yeoman was too lazy to read your file and find out just what sort of things your body says ‘no' to." Then, he started to put away the hypos in a bag. Kirk looked at it, and smiled as he saw that it was labeled ‘Jim's Allergy Kit.' He had his own emergency bag. Bones cared that much. Something softened in Kirk. "So, I've reworked your diet plan and put someone on the assignment to at least make sure you eat when you're supposed to. And!" he raised his voice as he saw that Kirk was about to interrupt. "They'll know what you're not supposed to eat! So, there shouldn't be any more mistakes!"
Kirk looked over and saw that Rand was once again quietly sniffling in front of Spock, and that the Vulcan looked decidedly uncomfortable. It brought a smile to his face. Whenever Spock looked uncomfortable was always an amusing sight to behold.
It didn't take him long to figure out that the person McCoy had put on Operation: Jim Eats Three Meals per Day was none other than his first officer. He didn't notice right away, even though it was unusual that Spock accompany him to meals. That was weird. Then, after about two days of this routine, Spock began to actually sit with him in the mess. He never sat with him before. That was weirder.
Finally, after about a week, Kirk just had to ask.
"Did Bones put you up to this?"
"Up to what, exactly, Captain?"
Kirk slammed his fork down, surprised that he actually managed to startle the Vulcan. "This! My own little private diet trainer!" He glared at Spock, who looked at him like a young child who'd gotten caught stealing a cookie.
Spock immediately looked down and, with superbly ingrained table etiquette, lifted his soup spoon to his lips before sipping it. But Kirk knew what he was doing and it was called stalling. "Answer me, Commander."
Spock's eyes darted up to meet Kirk's. Then, he actually released a tiny sigh. "The doctor did suggest me as the logical choice to observe your eating habits and diet since it would be the least inconvenient of anyone else aboard."
"Really?" Kirk was skeptical. "He didn't say it so that you could bully me into following orders?"
Spock's expression hardened just a little. "I do not approve of bullying. It is distasteful, and not something I am inclined towards." He went back to quietly eating his soup.
Kirk looked at his first officer, wondering why he felt like he'd just been - if not done in a very quiet fashion - told off. There was only one reason why someone would answer a statement like the one he'd made in the manner that Spock had responded. Suddenly, Kirk realized that he'd discovered something very important about Spock. Just as he didn't like to talk about his childhood too much - especially to do with Frank, his dictator step-father - he was guessing that Spock did not particularly enjoy discussing his youth.
He decided to change tactics.
Kirk peered across the table at Spock's soup. "What...is that?"
Spock did not look at him. "It is Vulcan plomeek soup."
"What's it taste like?"
Spock sighed just a little again, but in a way that was only just closer to a sigh than a simple exhale. "I have difficulty in comparing the taste to Terran cuisine. However, I have heard many humans that have sampled the soup to describe it as ‘bland and flavorless.' A Vulcan tongue would find it highly flavorful."
"Did Uhura ever try it?"
Spock shook his head. "Lieutenant Uhura prefers foods that rely heavily on spices for her main courses."
"Is that a no?"
Silence hovered between them for a moment. Kirk stared at the collection of lettuce leaves on his plate. When Bones said he was playing it safe for a while, he wasn't kidding. Kirk looked again at the soup - plumick? He couldn't remember - in front of Spock, who was now absently stirring it, occasionally sipping another spoonful. Then, Kirk had an idea.
"Am I allergic to anything in that?"
Spock's brows furrowed in thought. When he stirred the soup he seemed to be examining it. "I do not believe so, Captain."
"Can I just get it from the replicator or-" Before he'd even finished the question, Spock was holding up his own diet card.
"Doctor McCoy has restricted your diet severely, Captain. Also, as the only Vulcan and crewmember aboard who finds the meal palatable, the code for it only exists on my diet card."
Kirk looked at it. "You offering?" Spock nodded. Kirk took the card from Spock and made his way over to the replicator, looking around like a bad thief that was about to steal an apple from a market. ‘Just like the old stories,' he thought with a small grin. He keyed in the request and then found himself back at the table with his own bowl of Vulcany soup.
He saw that Spock was looking at him...was that anxiety on the Vulcan's face? Kirk gave his first officer a small smile as he dipped his spoon into the soup. He noticed that Spock mirrored the action. He watched as Spock silently tried to show him how to properly eat soup. It wasn't that Kirk didn't actually know how to eat soup, but his version of soup was usually more on the stew side...chunkier, less liquid. There was less delicacy required for eating the Kirk version of soup. Either way, he allowed Spock to teach him how to eat the Vulcan soup the correct way.
Kirk mirrored Spock's actions and gently blew on the steaming spoonful of liquid. He knew that Spock's soup was long cold by now, but he appreciated the tutorial. Maybe when they stopped at New Vulcan, he wouldn't make an ass of himself. Maybe even the older version of his first officer would be impressed. I have been and always shall be your friend. Maybe something as simple as trying a Vulcan soup could help them become the friends that the older Spock and - he assumed - the older, alternate James T. Kirk obviously had to have been. It brought a smile to Kirk's face. He actually missed the old Vulcan. He suddenly hoped they stopped at New Vulcan soon.
They both sipped the soup. Spock replaced his spoon in the bowl and watched for his captain's reaction to his native cuisine.
Kirk's spoon stayed near his lips in surprise. After having had to endure days of leaves and the safest foods ever forced upon another person by a doctor monitoring someone's intake... "This is delicious, Spock."
Spock looked at him with a nearly unreadable expression, but Kirk could have sworn that there was just a hint of a smile at the slight upturning of his first's mouth.