The Enterprise had been repaired, ship’s supplies had been restocked, and replacement personnel had been posted, all while they were docked at Starbase 28. The ship and her crew were now back at work, mapping unexplored areas adjacent to the Romulan Neutral Zone. Drone work with the potential of life-shattering encounters: in other words, typical Starfleet duty.
Kirk had punched the “End Transmission” button on the arm of his command chair so hard, everyone on the bridge winced.
Well, everyone but Spock, of course.
The Captain had been pissy all morning, and his mood was only getting worse. The way he kept twitching around, Uhura wondered if his underwear were on backwards, or something. An involuntary laugh at the thought escaped from her lips, and she tried to cover it with a cough. Deep breaths, deep breaths, think of something else.
“You need to go on sick call, Lieutenant?” Kirk growled.
“Uh, no, Sir, I’m fine. Just a tickle in the back of my throat. Sorry for the outburst.” She turned quickly back to her communications board. God forbid she meet Sulu’s eyes, she knew he could give her a glance that would have her busting wide open. And the Captain’s grouch absolutely wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense today.
Kirk wished Uhura would have responded differently. He was aching for an argument. He tried to calm himself, settle his thoughts, present a professional mien. Ugh, wrong word: he felt mean all right. Damned cactus thorns jabbing his brain…
He slowly swiveled the chair around until he was facing the science station. Spock was bent over his viewport, oblivious to the undercurrent on the bridge. Kirk’s eyes arrowed daggers into Spock’s back. There was almost a sigh of relief from the rest of the command crew, now that a target had been sighted and it wasn’t them.
The Vulcan straightened, clasped his hands behind his back, and pivoted so he faced the center of the bridge. “Yes, Captain.”
Kirk practically leaped from his chair and stomped off the bridge. “My ready room. Now.”
As soon as the doors closed behind the retreating men, Uhura snorted with laughter and collapsed on her console. Despite deep breathing and centering her thoughts, she was unable to get the picture of James T Kirk in backwards underwear out of her imagination.
# # #
Spock had barely cleared the doorway to the ready room when a red-faced Kirk turned towards him and exploded. “Get the Hell outta my head, Spock!”
Spock’s nonreaction just fed the fire of Kirk’s anger. “Captain?” he asked, with that one-eyebrow business.
Kirk threw up his hands in frustration, and turned away. “Arrghhh. You know what I mean.” He turned back to Spock with his fingers wiggling and said, “That twinkle business, that spark, whatever it is, the minds’ touching. It’s making my BRAIN itch!”
You’d have to really look for it to see it, but Spock’s shoulders drooped a little. “I assure you, Captain, I am not doing it.”
Kirk grabbed handfuls of the hair on his head and pulled—hard. The anger dissipated, and only annoyance remained on his face.
Spock’s eyebrows were back to normal. “Agreed.”
Kirk walked over to the replicator and requested a cup of Spock’s tea, and a jumbo mug of coffee. He would have preferred a blast of rotgut whiskey, but the ready room replicator was not programmed for alcohol.
After Kirk retrieved the beverages, he motioned Spock to his desk, and sat down. “I guess we have to talk.”
Spock braced his hands on the back of the guest chair, and exhaled. “Indeed,” and took his place across the desk from his Captain.
“So this isn’t something that you are doing?” Kirk inquired. He took a swig of coffee, and damn near scalded his tonsils. He was so aggravated, though, this caused no reaction.
Spock stared at his tea cup. His head barely moved as he made a negative response. “No.”
“Crap. I guess that means you are getting this whatever, spark-thing too?”
All motion stopped and Spock closed his eyes and turned into stone.
Vulcan eyes popped open, and drilled a look into human blue eyes.
Oh, God, the staring contest again.
“If you recall, Captain, I specifically told you that I did not want this.”
The Kirk-smirk. “Yeah, well, I guess we got it anyway.”
Spock’s facial features softened, just a tiny, tiny bit. And then he sipped his tea.
The conversation began. It was uncomfortable, it was awkward, and they both struggled. These were two loners, two strangers, now irrevocably, unexplainably joined. They decided to play together, or as Spock put it, “recreate together.”
(that phrase made Jim Kirk crack up)
They’d meet twice a week or so, and match skills over 3D chess.
Neither one knew yet, but this was the birth of their friendship.