Jim sighed and buried his head further down in his book as he heard the squealing from a gaggle of girls sitting behind him in the cafeteria, one of whom had just been asked out on a Valentine's date. Valentine's was two days away, and it seemed to be on everyone's mind. Jim liked to pretend it wasn't on his, but if it hadn't been, he would probably have been reading something more cheerful than Poe. Not that he didn't like Poe, but he tended to read his works whenever he was already in a gloomy mood over something.
As much as Jim wished he could simply ignore Valentine's completely until it was over, it was impossible. Everywhere he went, people were talking about what they were doing on Valentine's, who had asked them out and what gifts they had received, and there were posters and ads and hearts and teddy bears and cards and chocolate everywhere, only serving to remind him that he was very much without a date for Valentine's this year, just as he had been every other year.
Not that he really wanted a date anyway; there was only one person he'd been interested in lately, and, well, there was no way in hell that the most popular guy in school would date Jim. Sure, they'd talked, but only because they had been paired up as partners for a science project by their teacher, and Jim was sure Spock would much rather have had one of the other popular kids as his partner. So, no. Jim didn't want a date. He just wanted everyone else not to have dates either. Especially not Spock and whoever he was going with – he had probably gotten a date for Valentine's weeks ago, what with all the girls who were crazy about him.
Without noticing that he was doing it, Jim looked up from the book and scanned the room, and when a familiar pair of dark eyes rose to meet his from where Spock's "gang" was sitting, Jim quickly averted his eyes and pretended to be focussing on his book. Which was why he wasn't prepared at all when someone tapped his shoulder and he turned around to see Spock suddenly standing there.
Spock had never quite understood the concept of Valentine's Day, and wasn't sure he did so even now, after having had his mother explain it to him. He had never partaken in it, despite having had numerous offers every year since his family had moved to Earth and despite having been in a relationship with Nyota last year. He did, however, feel that he understood it somewhat more now, and this year there was actually someone he would want as his "Valentine."
He had never talked to Jim Kirk until 3.15 months prior, when they had been assigned a science project together – Jim had never seemed interested in talking to people, and Spock hadn't had a logical reason to try to make his acquaintance – however, as they had interacted together over the past couple of months, Spock had realised that Jim was highly intelligent, had a pleasing sense of humour which surfaced whenever they were so engrossed in the project that he let himself relax around Spock, and that his eyes were the most startling shade of blue behind his thick-rimmed glasses.
Until Spock had met Jim, he had thought he only cared about the mind and personality of people and not their appearance, but with Jim it was both. And both were equally pleasing. This was why he had decided to use Valentine's Day as an excuse to ask Jim out and why he decided to go over and do just that when their eyes met in the cafeteria.
Feeling a rush of some emotion – Spock's mind provided him with the word "nervous," but he dismissed it – Spock tapped Jim's shoulder, and Jim's blue eyes were wide when he turned around.
"Uh, Spock. Hi." Jim looked confused, which was understandable; the science project had been finished, and they had not really talked since. "Did you want to talk about the project?"
"Negative, Jim. I was wondering if you would wish to have dinner with me at an establishment of your choosing in three days' time."
Jim blinked owlishly. "You mean... on the fourteenth."
"Indeed," Spock confirmed, feeling a flush of warmth rush to his face as he knew that Jim had surmised what he was actually asking – if Jim would be his Valentine.
Jim continued to blink for a while. "You know, I'm pretty sure you're supposed to say that holding roses or chocolates or a teddy bear or something. Why don't you try that next time?" He grabbed his tray and his book and walked away, leaving Spock in the middle of the cafeteria, utterly confused.
Jim slammed the door behind him as he came home and went to the kitchen to replicate a cup of coffee.
"Hi, honey," his mother said from where she was sitting at the kitchen table, eating a salad. "How was school?"
Jim huffed and rolled his eyes. "It was great, Mom."
Winona frowned and got her patented 'worried' look. Jim hated it when she got that look.
"It's nothing, it's just – Spock was a bit of a jackass today."
"That boy you were working on that science project with? What did he do?"
"He asked me out for Valentine's."
Winona chuckled, and this time, it was her turn to roll her eyes. "Yes, Jim, I can see how that qualifies as being a jackass."
"Yeah, well, he didn't mean it. It was probably just some kind of prank."
"Are you sure? It's not like a Vulcan to lie and play pranks on people. Plus, he seemed very nice when he was here that time, working on the project with you."
Jim sipped his coffee. "Ow. Motherf—" He stopped himself as he saw Winona's disapproving look. "It's scalding! I must have been distracted when I entered the temperature." He rubbed his tongue against his teeth – it had gone numb.
"Distracted, huh? So... are you interested in this boy?"
Jim glared at her. "First of all, I was just distracted because Spock was an ass today, not because I'm secretly in love with him, and secondly, it doesn't matter anyway, because there's no way he was serious. He's the most popular guy in school and has girls throwing themselves at him constantly, and I'm the hopeless nerd who doesn't talk to people and has to wear glasses because I'm allergic to Retinax 5."
"Oh, honey." Winona got up from her chair and wrapped her arms around Jim, who pretended to struggle a bit before accepting the hug. "You know there's so much more to you than that, and anyone who can't see that is a fool. But you know, there might be more to Spock than you give him credit for, too. I think you should give him another chance."
Jim snorted. "And come crawling back to him and ask if I can please be his Valentine after all? No thanks."
"Well, maybe not, but you know, if he asks you again or something."
Yeah, right. As if Spock would ever come crawling back to Jim, even if he had been serious. That would never happen. It didn't stop Jim from imagining the scenario in his mind, though.
Spock had not understood why the invitation he had extended the day before had not been sufficient in itself, and why Jim had suggested he try again bearing a gift of some kind, but when he had talked to his mother about it she had laughed and explained to him that Humans wanted romance when it came to Valentine's Day – they wanted to be wooed. So here Spock was, standing in the hallway holding a large teddy bear with a red heart on its chest, looking for Jim while several girls for some inexplicable reason flocked around him and seemed to be fluttering their eyelashes. Spock wondered if there was something in the air which irritated their eyes.
"Excuse me," he said, pushing past the girls in front of him when he spotted Jim. "Jim." He touched the other boy's arm, and Jim turned around. "I apologise for not presenting you with an appropriate gift upon extending the invitation for dinner yesterday. I hope you will accept this stuffed toy, and that you will accept my invitation."
Jim's mouth fell open. "Um, I..."
"Hey, Spock, what are you doing?" Ricky came up to Spock and put a hand on his shoulder. Spock had never particularly like Ricky – he cared too much about being popular, and very often tried to impress people by doing or saying ridiculous things that were hardly impressive in Spock's opinion. "Trying to push one of the gifts you don't want onto four-eyes here?"
Spock was about to correct him and tell him not to use such derogatory remarks when Jim suddenly turned around and left. Annoyed that Ricky had interrupted, Spock shrugged Ricky's hand off his shoulder and went to find a black marker. He wrote 'JIM' inside the heart on the teddy bear, partly to make sure no one else would take it and partly because of the symbolism of doing so, and placed it underneath Jim's locker. An hour later the bear was gone, and Spock hoped it was Jim who had taken it.
Jim tried to ignore all the happy couples around him as he entered the school. Tomorrow, the Valentine's hype would finally be over.
He entered the biology classroom and walked over to his desk... and found a bouquet of roses lying on top of it. He read the card – The invitation still stands – and sighed. He couldn't deny that he hoped Spock was serious, but he just couldn't take the chance. If it really was a prank, he would be ridiculed. And if Spock was so cruel that he'd do that to Jim, then he'd rather not know. It was better to ignore the romantic gestures.
Later that day, Jim ran into Spock – quite literally – in the hallway, and fell on his ass. Spock took his hand and pulled him to his feet, and Jim blushed, pulling his hand away and mumbling, "Sorry. And thanks for helping me up." He walked off before Spock got the chance to say anything about the invitation.
Spock looked at his hand, recalling the feeling that had been transferred from Jim as he had helped him up from the floor earlier that day. Before that incident he had almost lost hope, assuming that Jim might simply not be interested. However, as their hands had touched, there had been a brief flicker of... something. Something which felt similar to the attraction Spock felt for Jim, and Spock had known then that he could not give up until he knew for certain. Which was why he was now standing on the porch of Jim's house, ringing the doorbell.
After a moment, Jim's mother opened the door.
"Hi. Jim didn't tell me he was expecting visitors," Winona said, smiling as she glanced at the green, handmade, heart-shaped card Spock was holding.
"He did not know I would come here. I am here to give him..." Spock awkwardly gestured to the card and felt a flush rise to his face.
"Of course." Winona grinned. "He's in his room, you can just go upstairs and knock."
Jim was lying on his bed, reading more Poe and absentmindedly smelling one of the roses when there was a knock on his door. He hesitated briefly; his mom usually never knocked. "Come in."
The door opened, and Jim froze when he saw Spock standing in his doorway. Belatedly, he noticed that he was still holding the rose, and dropped it immediately. "Spock! I, uh..." Jim saw Spock's gaze travel from the rose he had dropped to the teddy bear and the rest of the roses on his desk, and he knew he was blushing furiously. "What are you doing here?"
Spock came closer, and Jim noticed that he was holding... a card. A heart-shaped card – green, the colour of a Vulcan heart.
"I wish to give you this."
Spock held the card out, and Jim took it. If Spock had actually come here to deliver a card, then... it was unlikely that it was a prank, wasn't it? He began reading the card, aware of Spock's eyes on him as he did so.
The card described all the things Spock liked about him, and small things he had noticed about him that Jim thought no one knew. The phrasing wasn't very romantic, but it was very Spock, and the meaning behind the words was more than romantic enough. Jim felt a swell of happiness, and looked up at Spock, who seemed... nervous?
Jim tentatively reached out and touched Spock's hand. "Does the invitation still stand?"
Spock's features relaxed, and if Jim didn't know better, he would say that there was a hint of a smile there.
When Jim came back from their dinner date later that evening, he put Poe back on the shelf and opened Jane Austen instead.
This is the prompt the story is written for:
"AU-- Jim is the nerd recluse of his high school, while Spock is the popular, mysterious, handsome alien dreamboat. Spock, for all that he is the recipient of a plethora of illogical Valentine's Day well-wishes and gifts, has never seen the point of giving them, even while being in a romantic relationship. A well-timed explanation from his mother coincides with a run in with the outcast Jim, who Spock finds inexplicably charming, intelligent, and attractive. Cue Spock, come Valentine's Day, to woo Jim with gifts... except Jim thinks it's all an elaborate prank with him as the butt of the joke, and Spock sucks at giving gifts/being romantic."