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this is what happens when you save earth, apparently

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I.


Kirk hates interviews.

But it's better than sitting in the cramped Finance and Budgeting office at Starfleet's San Francisco headquarters, he reminds himself, where Admiral Komack currently presides over a meeting on historical-department funding and recreational requisitions. He had the option of sweltering in the most poorly-air-conditioned room at Starfleet Academy for six hours, talking about the most boring budget problems in existence, or enduring an hour of makeup and fifteen minutes of on-air questions for the sake of PR. The choice was obvious.

Even so, the fussing technicians at the studio leave him impatient. He waves off a woman hovering hopefully at his shoulder with a comb, brushing past assistants to sit on-stage with a wide-smiling Betazoid woman. Are you ready, Admiral? she projects into his mind.

Kirk has never been bothered by telepathy, though her sclera-lacking eyes are a bit disconcerting. “Of course,” says Kirk, smiling pleasantly. She smiles back, as though they aren't both aware of the lie; Kirk was unable to sleep the night before, haunted by dreams of 1930s New York, a blaring car, and more things that had never happened – McCoy charging at a policeman and being gunned down, Spock locked away and dissected by corrupt scientists, both of them freezing to death in a quiet, indifferent flat...

He just wants to sleep. But after years in the service Kirk is accustomed to neglecting that particular need.

“Five minutes,” the technician tells him. Kirk nods.

Spock, of course, will be back at the Academy. He hates interviews even more than Kirk, but he promised they can do the next one together. That's always more fun, even if the PR people at Starfleet always make vague, unspecified complaints about how they're 'unprofessional' together. Kirk will never understand publicists...

“One minute.”

Kirk straightens in his chair.

The set of Second Star News is small, belying a long history. The company it represents was one of the first Earth-based interplanetary news agencies in the Federation. Being located so close to Starfleet has been its own boon – there are other popular news-brands, but Star News always has first word on everything ranging from new political developments to shattering scientific discoveries. Spock and Scotty's innovation of a cold-fuel engine start – coupled with time travel! - had dominated the station for a month.

All of this is to say that the organization has a special relationship with Starfleet, and Kirk trusts them as much as he can trust any news agency.

Unfortunately, that means: not very much.

“We're on in five yesar,” says the Betazoid, leading him to a chair in the center of the stage. Kirk smiles blankly as the host approaches to shake his hand, eventually translating this to mean about three earth-minutes.

Ms. Milec, the news anchor, shakes his hand politely but perfunctorily; they'll be doing it again soon for the cameras. She thanks him for taking the time to speak with them – Kirk thinks guiltily of that missed meeting on Starfleet budgeting – and then he's left staring out into the studio-audience, a sea of swimming faces blurred into meaningless colors under the stage's harsh headlights.

Across the stage a series of lights flicker on – green and purple, the latter being the universal 'go' signal for most non-human races.

As expected, she greets him again after introducing him for the viewers. “This is, what, your seventh visit to our station?” she asks.

“Eighth,” says Kirk, who remembers every unpleasant encounter.

“Of course, during some of those meetings you were still a captain! And now you've been promoted to vice-admiral. Do you think you're settling into those new duties? Sitting at a desk seems a big jump from captaining a Constitution-class starship!”

Kirk smiles tightly; before arriving he'd familiarized himself with all major political issues in Starfleet, just in case Ms. Milec tossed him some tough questions. But of course, he's basically become the face of Starfleet in recent years – which means, bizarrely enough, being treated a bit like a celebrity or vid-star.

So, questions about his personal life it is.

“I'm very fortunate in that respect,” he says, not letting the irritation slip into his voice. He pictures that angry, fussy little Andorian lieutenant at headquarters – the one who keeps reminding him to smile for the camera, Admiral! and baring her icy-blue teeth. “Starfleet is always reaching out to new planets, so the work is never dull,” as long as you can find ways to weasel out of meetings about the history department's dire need for new dating equipment. “We're all getting older now, of course... some of my former officers have commands of their own. Like Captain Sulu, who's been give command of the Excelsior.”

“They've just sorted out a new treaty with the Tholians, haven't they? You must be proud.”

“I'm glad to see all my officers fulfilling their potential – though I can't claim any credit for it.”

“And what about the officers like you, here on Earth? It must be a much different life.”

This, at least, is more familiar ground. Recent tensions with the Klingons have inspired people to examine the more militaristic side of Starfleet, taking turns criticizing its 'softness' only to turn around and accuse Starfleet of inducing trauma in their officers by holing them up during long deep-space-rotations. “I'll never regret serving on a starship – and there are many times I miss it. But it's always good to come home for awhile and get back to our roots.”

“What do you say to the people who claim that Starfleet has become too human-centric, Admiral? Earth might be familiar grounds for you, but there are career officers in Starfleet who haven't been home in years.”

Another contentious issue. “I'd say that I fully support the inclusion of a more diverse Starfleet,” he says smoothly. “We need the greatest possible range of minds and abilities – god knows, I'd have been lost enough times during our five-year mission if I didn't have Commander Spock at my back.”

It's not really an answer – there is a disproportional number of humans in Starfleet, and they both know it. But Ms. Milec must be feeling generous, because she lets his vagueness slide. “You continue to work closely with Commander Spock, then?”

“Well, not too often; you've probably seen more of Spock than I have lately,” he jokes. Milec laughs politely – they've interviewed Spock just a few weeks ago about one of his new theories, and a month or two prior to that to discuss the new starship modifications that the Enterprise, and other ships, will be undergoing soon.

Kirk, of course, is lying through his teeth. He talks to Spock at least three or four times a week – preferably, every day. Sometimes he feels like Spock is the only thing keeping him sane between the endless meetings.

Milec asks him about recruitment among other founding-planets – Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and so forth – so for awhile they talk about efforts to create more mixed ships. Starfleet is finally seeing some Vulcans among the Academy recruits, and Kirk always sees them and wonders how many were inspired by his friend's example. All of them, maybe – god knows Spock's classes always seem packed with Vulcans.

The conversation has to be ending soon, but they get an announcement that the new interviewee has canceled, so they have time for a few more questions, if Kirk doesn't mind?

He pastes on that PR smile and makes a mental note to ignore poor Lieutenant Steleka for the next month. An 'easy' interview, she'd promised him – as though such a thing exists.

Having evidently exhausted her prepared questions, Milec asks how he fills his time outside Starfleet. This provides a nice opportunity for Kirk to advocate a few volunteer activities in the area – not all of which he's participated in, but he can still encourage others. It's a useful, neutral answer no one can criticize.

Then, of course:

“So, why haven't you settled down with some lucky lady yet?” the interviewer asks.

Maybe it's the blinding set-lights, or the fact that he hasn't slept in thirty-five hours. But for some reason Kirk blurts, “Honestly, they all end up getting jealous of Spock.”

There's a brief moment that feels like the swelling second between a phaser-burst and impact. Kirk hears his own voice, realizes what he's done. He sees the same realization mirrored behind the wide-eyed delight on Milec's face.

The audience bursts into a storm of chatter.

“Can you elaborate, please?” Milec urges.

“...Ah, no,” says Kirk.

A beat.

Kirk doesn't have a choice; he has to try to salvage this. “Captain Spock is my best friend, of course,” he says. “We're quite close – I mean, he's the most important person in my life, and some people don't – understand us. That's all.”

Milec blinks at him, eyebrows twitching. She glances at someone off-stage and must evidently decide she won't be getting any more slips. “Alright,” she says. “Um, let's move on. I understand you've been teaching a course on command skills. How would you say this newest generation compares to your own memories of the academy...”


“I'm sorry, Sir,” says Ensign Loras, studiously avoiding his eyes. “Captain Spock is giving a lecture right now.”

A passerby snickers. Kirk pauses to shoot a narrow-eyed glances around the sleek Physics  office, where passing cadets either stare or pretend that he's invisible, depending on their notions of subtlety. “No he isn't,” Kirk argues, and doesn't realize how this will sound until he's already added, “I know his schedule.”

“...It's a special lecture,” whispers Loras weakly, and presses his lips together, hard.

Kirk scrubs a hand over his face. Behind Loras a wide-eyed cadet in administrative stripes looks between them with unhidden glee. “...Right,” Kirk says. “I'll just. Wait in his office, then.”

“It's number - “

“I know where it is.”

In fact, when he arrives in the office Kirk notices one of his own coats tucked away in a corner, along with a small book he finished last week. He must have forgotten them. The sight doesn't make him feel any better; he sits down and scrubs at his face. Stands up, paces. Finally, bored, he starts rifling through Spock's desk and ends up flipping through a list of thesis proposals and budget reports. A few are interesting enough to distract him.

It takes Spock forty minutes to arrive, and he seems utterly unsurprised to find his office thus commandeered. He's carrying a bag over one shoulder and balances two steaming mugs.

Kirk jumps to his feet. “I'm sorry,” he says immediately.

Spock, without responding to this, shoves one of the cups into his hands. Vulcan tea; Kirk wrinkles his nose at the smell. He drinks it anyway and promptly gags. Definitely wakes him up, though.

Spock sets aside his bag and takes a calm sip of his own drink, watching as Kirk downs the rest in one shuddering gulp. “I presume you are not referring to the vandalism of my reports,” he says at last.

“I mean about the interview. You must have heard about it by now.”

“Yes. But I do not understand why you feel the need to apologize.”

“You mean aside from the fact that there's going to be even more rumors about us after this?”

They both know about those rumors, of course. It's the first time people have concluded that Kirk is sleeping with a male subordinate, but he's well accustomed to speculation. For some reason, people look at their friendship and assume that Spock would only allow his tactility and... general behavior... if they're having sex.

Or at least that's the only conclusion Kirk can reach – he's never understood the fuss, himself. Of course Spock's the most important person in his life, and always will be. Why do people find that so strange?

“There have always been rumors,” Spock tells him. “Public Relations has already requested that I give an interview to quell any misconceptions that may exist.”

Yikes. “They want you to give an interview specifically about your private life,” says Kirk, doubtful.

“My lack of a private life, Jim.”

“Still. Are you comfortable with that?”

“No,” is the deadpan response. “But it has been requested.”

Kirk frowns. “I can have a talk with them - “

“Thank you, Sir. That is unnecessary. Interest in these matters tends to be quite fleeting; I am sure it will be settled swiftly.”


The next day, Bones calls him up and laughs before Kirk can even say 'hello.' He asks if Kirk has seen 'the interview,' and Kirk assumes he's being mocked.

He is. But Bones isn't referencing Kirk's floundering on Second Star News. Under his directions Kirk searches online for a copy of Spock's latest interview.

He finds a recording of Spock standing at a podium, taking questions. Kirk doesn't recognize the background, but Spock's standing in front of the Starfleet symbol, so it's probably somewhere at the Academy or Headquarters.

The clip starts mid-question. “...opinion on Admiral Kirk's statement?”

“I have many opinions, on many topics,” Spock deadpans. “Please specify.”

Oh, great. Passive-aggressive Spock is a pain on the best of days.

The reporter doesn't seem fazed. “Admiral Kirk stated that he's had multiple girlfriends leave out of jealousy for your relationship – is this true?”

“If the Admiral says it is true, I would not doubt his word.”

“How would you label your relationship?” someone else calls.

“The Vulcan term would not translate well,” Spock says.

This only causes a brief riot of shouting. Kirk closes his eyes. “Do you think he does this on purpose?” he asks McCoy.

Tinny laughter. “God, I hope so.”

“How would you explain Admiral Kirk's remark that his girlfriends are 'jealous' of you?”

“I cannot explain human emotionalism.”

“Captain Spock, do you think it's contradictory that the Admiral is both your superior officer and your friend?”

“Yes.”

“...?”

The interview continues. The next loud question must come from someone a bit more familiar with the Vulcan skill of obfuscation. “Does Admiral Kirk have the qualities you would want in a good husband?” someone calls.

They're probably hoping for a simple answer that can be spun wildly out-of-context. Instead Spock pauses, looking directly at the reporter in question.

“Adminral Kirk,” he says, “Is a man of unparalleled passion, brilliance and moral character. While I cannot say what constitutes a 'good husband,' I have been greatly honored to serve at his side, and he deserves all the loyalty he receives from his officers. Therefore I cannot imagine that anyone privileged with Kirk's lifelong company would find him wanting.”

Silence. In the wake of this pronouncement even the assembled reporters seem taken aback.

Someone finally shouts, “Do you love him?”

“As a Vulcan, I find that a rude question,” is all Spock says.

This seems to be the end of the clip. Kirk covers his face with one hand.

And over the call Bones says, “You sure there's nothing you two wanna tell me?”


“Perhaps if we accept an interview together -

“Absolutely not,” says Lieutenant Steleka. “I've seen how you and Captain Spock talk with each other, and that's the last thing we need.”

Kirk is disappointed. He was under the impression that interviews always went better with the two of them – certainly, they seem to pass much faster. “Then what should we do? I'm at your disposal, Lieutenant.”

She tells him.

So, under strict directions from PR, Kirk does not set up another interview. He does not appear on any public programs, and he does not give any official statements. The trick is to make it seem like the rumors are entirely unimportant – so unimportant he barely even notices the fuss. This shouldn't be necessary – usually a blunt statement from a Vulcan would be enough to quell any questions, but in this case Spock's specific brand of honesty hasn't been very helpful.

Kirk ignores the way his students suddenly find repeated opportunities to mention past exploits that just so happen to have included Spock, clearly angling for stories. He ignores the side-long glances from coworkers, and from civilians when he leaves the Academy Grounds. And then, as Steleka predicted, he's eventually assailed by a pushy reporter while buying a sandwich nearly six days later.

“Admiral Kirk, San Francisco News. Do you have a moment?”

“One or two,” he agrees easily. “Though if this is about the recent debates over the Neutral Zone boundaries, I'm afraid I can't comment.”

The young reporter's face briefly blanks – he clearly has no awareness of any negotiations, and possibly doesn't know what the Neutral Zone is. “Of course,” he says anyway. “Admiral, can you comment on the rumor that you and Captain Spock are lovers?

"I was never previously aware of this 'lovers' rumor,” Kirk muses, trying to remember Steleka's advice. Vague, but firm. Pretend to be completely oblivious, pretend he doesn't even understand why people think he's with Spock. He can do that. “Although I have been told that Spock encountered it several times. Apparently, he'd always dismissed it with his characteristic lifting of his right eyebrow, which usually connotes some combination of surprise, disbelief, and/or annoyance...” He trails off a minute, picturing that look clearly in his mind's eye before registering the reporter's confusion. “And, ah, as for myself, I have always found my best gratification in that creature called woman*.”

Oh, wait. Maybe he should be a bit more clear. Vague is good, but he doesn't want people jumping on him like they did with Spock, just because he never outright stated that they aren't dating. Kirk adds, “Also, I would not like to be thought of as being so foolish that I would select a love partner who comes into sexual heat only once every seven years."

There. That sounds fine, doesn't it? It's a good thing he has so much experience with public speaking. Even if uplifting mid-battle declarations, reprimands, and diplomacy all strike him as a bit easier than wading through trash news segments.

Maybe he shouldn't have referenced pon farr... or implied that relationships are all about sex, come to think of it. He remembers some fuss about the Tanorian people getting very offended about the sexual obsessions of so many species; apparently they're only interested in sex for about six months out of their lives, and view the rest of society as a bit insane.

Musing on this, he almost misses the reporter cough. “Erm... Thank you, Admiral? So are you lovers?”

“I think I answered the question,” Kirk says, lifting his sandwich. Steleka said to keep things simple and clear. “Have a good day.”


Bones' next phonecall is just as mocking as the last.

The call from Lieutenant Steleka is worse.


II.


 

SCANDAL IN STARFLEET

 

ADMIRAL KIRK AND CAPTAIN SPOCK ENGAGED IN ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP?

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(GUEST)

 

This article is a joke – not surprising from the Federation Speculator. There are no Starfleet fraternization policies that apply in this situation. Admiral Kirk and Cpt. Spock aren't even in the same chain of command now, and even when they were, relationships are acceptable within two ranks either direction.

          (NF-Blue_Ferengi)

          11:55 Unknown

 

          Yes, that's all true. But ignoring the bad research, they DO have some genuine interviews here, and I can't believe no one's discussing the starfleet ensign who saw them holding hands. For Vulcans I'm pretty sure that's considered groping.

 

(T3-NickelNickelDime)

1:22 AQ4/TelamaIII

 

I'm confused by the mating habits of any species with less than six sexes, honestly, and I'm not sure how all the limbs are involved. But Kirk's attempt to deny those rumors was weirdly specific.

Do you notice he actually never said 'no, we're not together?'

 

          (Guest)

 

I'm pretty sure the entire Federation noticed that, yes...

 


 

FEDERATION – POLITICS & PEOPLE

 

[[This thread is dedicated to specific discussion of the rumors regarding Admiral Kirk & Captain Spock's relationship – please remain respectful.]]

 

….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(T5-siryessir)

22:58 AQ3/Traveling:

Previous Enterprise officer, here.

Is NO ONE going to mention the backrub incident? That shit funneled the gossip-mills for months...

27:11 AQ3/Traveling:

I have been informed that we do not discuss the backrub incident.

 

(E1-CarrotCakeCommunist)

01:28 AQ2/Earth:

Davey as your cousin I am BEGGING for details.

 

(T5-siryessir)

02:24 AQ3/Traveling:

Lory I am sorry but I am more scared of Lt. Commander Uhura than I am of you

 


 

(E5-YouCantProveImNotRoyalty)

13:45 AQ2/Earth:

Okay but people are aware of Kirk's murder trial from his time as captain, right? He was found not-guilty at the end but PLEASE listen to Commander Spock's testimony in his defense.

 

          (R5-StarFan88)

          26:14 AQ2/RegulusV:

          I'm crying.

 

          Commander Spock during Kirk's murder trial: It is categorically impossible for Captain Kirk to be a killer.

          Tribunal: The computer literally shows him killing this man. The files cannot be faked.

          Spock: That is true, and logical. But I have some evidence you have not considered.

          Tribunal: Which is?

          Spock: I love him.

 

                    (R2-HoppityHop)

                    17:00 AQ1/Rigel II:

                    Perfect summary.

 

                    (E5-TheKlingonsAreRight)

                    00:17 AQ2/Earth:

                    Will aliens PLEASE stop adopting old earth memes, it's so cringy...

 


INFORMATIONAL PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USERNAME: V1-ShiKahrNative

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Are you really Vulcan?

 

Yes.

 

Why did you choose the username 'ShiKahrNative?'

 

I have been informed that 'usernames' on this site are meant to represent certain characteristic traits of an individual. I am native to ShiKahr.

 

Why are you on a social media site?

 

My company, registered as Agricultural Company 19824 in the Vulcan Industry Archives, frequently corresponds with a variety of businesses who wish to purchase the Sh'helas plant and its derivatives. I understand that it is frequently used for beauty-projects for younger individuals of varying species. It was suggested to us that a 'social media presence' was essential for networking purposes, and would increase our sales. I am currently testing that theory.

 

I can't imagine a Vulcan selling beauty products.

 

Vulcans are naturally quite appealing without artificial aids. This is understandable.

 

Are there Vulcan janitors/breadmakers/receptionists/waiters...

 

I am uncertain why these types of questions are so common. Vulcan does not typically outsource work. The vast majority of workers on our planet are, of course, native.

 

Will you marry me?

 

I believe you have misunderstood the purpose of this site. You may have intended to search for 'ShiKahr singles.' This appears to be a common mistake.

 

Is your account a joke?

 

Vulcans do not 'joke.'

 

How can I buy Sh'helas oils?

 

There is a form here listing the contact information for our agents. This page lists our general rules of sale, shipping policies, and so forth. Please note that off-world shipments must be a minimum of .5 tons, and we no longer ship to these planets, due to a recent incident involving Orions seducing our agents.

...

...

...

 

Q & A:

 

 

 

 

Greetings. As there has been a recent surge of interest, I will be holding a 'question and answer' session for the next three standard hours. I encourage everyone to use this as an opportunity to ask questions pertaining specifically to business #19824, but per the interest noted in this poll I will answer any questions.

 

Responses will be given on a 'first come, first served' basis. Please submit your inquiries now.

 

 

Question 1: Are you aware of the recent rumors regarding Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock?

 

Yes.

 

Question 2: Are you married?

 

By Vulcan law, yes. By general Federation standards, I am engaged.

 

Question 3: What's your favorite color?

 

I do not understand this question.

 

Question 4: Do you think Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock are 'together' romantically?

 

The human concept of 'romance' does not translate easily. However, if you are using a euphemism, I would say that they are quite clearly conducting regular sexual relations.

 

Question 5: Do you have any pets?

 

No.

 

Question 6: LKDHGLANJKLANGLFJSGDKLIE

 

Please retype your inquiry.


III.


Kirk and Spock are both banned from further interactions with the press. Which is probably fair. In lieu of this Kirk finds himself frustratingly confined – paparazzi have assumed a new habit of popping up whenever he steps foot off campus, which makes it a pain just to venture back to his apartment, much less go anywhere.

Which is how he finds himself touring the newly-built Anthropology wing with Spock, desperate for anything to do.

“I think half my students are more interested in reading news articles about us than studying,” Kirk says.

“Given the human propensity for procrastination, that is hardly surprising.”

Kirk feels he should have some vague obligation to defend the human race. He also has hazy memories of staying awake on nine cups of coffee the week before his senior thesis was due, so he does not. “Has anyone said anything to you?”

“One of the researchers I've been assisting at the Vulcan embassy congratulated me,” Spock muses.

Ouch. People are gossiping about them on Vulcan?

Although, well... Kirk has met plenty of Vulcans. They're absolutely a bunch of secret gossips.

“That's too bad,” Kirk comments, peering at an odd display outside the main Anthropology office. It seems to showcase local history. He wonders if non-humans actually find it interesting. “These rumors aren't going to help when you need to arrange a new marriage.” Kirk's still not sure how Spock survived his last pon farr, but he knows Spock hasn't married yet. “It's strange that so many people believe the rumors. Especially the Vulcans.”

“'Especially,' Sir?”

“Well – I just mean, with you being a Vulcan... a relationship with a human male would be illogical.”

“How so?”

Kirk blinks, caught off-guard. Spock's interest seems a little too intense for the situation.

“Well, I imagine you'd marry for children and political reasons in your family... and to, ah. Satisfy that seven-year itch.”

If Spock disapproves of this reference to pon farr he doesn't voice it. “Males are perfectly capable of serving that function,” he says. “Though such unions are atypical; cycles rarely align, which causes some inconvenience. When both males are Vulcan, of course. Your other points are also irrelevant. I cannot have children, which would make any political connection through marriage rather brief. And, of course, no more or less valid with a man.”

“But you're not gay,” Kirk points out, stupidly.

“I am not,” Spock agrees. “I am Vulcan.”

Kirk twitches. He wants to ask what that means, in this context, but he has the sneaking suspicion Spock will avoid the question.

“Well,” he says. “Either way, I doubt I'm your type.”

“On the contrary, I would consider myself quite fortunate to marry you,” says Spock easily. “But I understand if you feel differently. Excuse me, Admiral; I have a class soon.”

Kirk stands frozen outside the shiny new office, staring open-mouthed as Spock walks away.

...What?


Slightly dazed and definitely panicked, Kirk calls up McCoy.

“What,” Bones says, “You really aren't shacking up? I thought you were trying to give me plausible deniability, or something.”


Kirk finds a forum online and starts reading some of the speculation.

It goes back farther than he expected.

There are posts and anecdotes people have dug up from years before, from the first five-year mission.

News blurbs featuring pictures of Kirk and Spock, side by side, at a treaty signing: I know this treaty is important, but can we talk about this Vulcan dude staring at his captain like he holds all the logical answers to the universe.

Kirk, in a formal dress uniform, giving some announcement at a non-descript Starbase. Halfway through he pauses and smiles at Spock, standing slightly behind him. His first officer arches an eyebrow and twitches his lips into a little smirk. Someone has captioned it, When you have to work but you get to look at your boyfriend's ass the whole time ;)

Kirk slinging an arm around Spock at some formal function. Half a dozen other Starfleet officers are visible in the picture, holding little flutes of champagne or finger-foods, but they're only looking at each other. CAPTAIN KIRK AND PARTNER ARRIVE AT ANNUAL ANDORIAN NEW YEAR CELEBRATION, reads the official sub-line. There's a clipped excerpt from the article comments filled with people demanding to know the context of 'partner' in this setting, including a few who scoffingly insist, well, obviously they're married.

And on, and on, and on – the examples are endless.

One video clip in particular catches his attention. Kirk remembers the moment well – a year into their second five-year mission, Spock left for a brief research assignment on the USS Tripoli. The ship was involved in a scuffle with pirates and Spock was captured along with several other crewmembers. They were eventually recovered – but when the Enterprise reached Space Station fourteen, this information hadn't yet been disseminated.

Kirk had been shocked to see Spock – shocked, and delighted. The video shows him confronting a solemn, but visibly amused Spock who watches Kirk's tentative approach with soft eyes, lips twitching. When Kirk grabs him in a hug the tiny video-Spock keeps one hand folded behind his back, but uses the other to brace between Kirk's shoulder-blades, drawing them closer.

It's not – overemotional. Not really. Spock's posture is stiff and Vulcan-perfect; Kirk only holds him for a few seconds, surely no more than anyone could consider appropriate under the circumstances. But the way he's smiling in the video, breathlessly delighted – the way he pulls back, looking at Spock like he's the only important thing in the universe -

It looks, Kirk thinks, like a reunion between lovers.

He sits and scrolls through the rest of the forum for a very long time.


“Admiral,” Spock greets, annoyingly unfazed by Kirk's presence at his door at 9pm. “How may I be of assistance?”

Kirk pushes at his chest until Spock obligingly retreats into the apartment; Kirk follows, snapping the door shut.

“You're in love with me,” he says, feeling rather indignant about it.

“As I told the reporter, it is rather impolite to speculate on a Vulcan's emotions,” Spock reproves.

Kirk could strangle him sometimes. “Spock. You never really answered their questions. People keep assuming we're – partners. Lovers. Married!” A pause. “Would you marry me?”

“Yes,” says Spock without prevarication. “You seem surprised.”

“You – I – you never said anything!”

“You never asked.”

Kirk really does think he's going crazy. Completely, off-the-walls, lunatic-crazy. He grabs Spock's shoulders and the Vulcan obligingly lets himself be pushed against the wall.

“Do you know,” Kirk says, “How many rumors I've heard over the years? How many people speculated – and you never said anything -

“I cannot be blamed for your lack of attention,” Spock points out, and he looks so tolerantly amused, so – aggravating – that Kirk has to kiss him.

And then Kirk kisses him again, again, again, pressing their torsos together, holding Spock so tightly that a human would be bruised and aching. He keeps this up until Spock gasps raggedly against his lips in the space of each breath, skin flushed, gripping Kirk for balance.

“Spock?”

“...Yes?” comes the weak reply.

“My old girlfriends may have had a point.”

“Please do not discuss your previous partners at this moment.”

“Alright.” Kirk kisses him again. “Will it offend your Vulcan sensibilities if I said I loved you?”

“I believe I would find that quite acceptable, Jim.”


“You know,” murmurs Kirk later. “I can't believe it took us this long.”

“Hmm,” Spock hums. He easily maneuvers around Jim – still lying in bed – and rises to conjure a cup of tea from absolutely nowhere.

Kirk wrinkles his nose at the acrid scent, but he's paying more attention to Spock's face. The Vulcan isn't smiling, exactly, but Kirk knows all his non-verbal cues. Spock feels smug about something. It's the satisfaction that might come about from the successful results of a long-standing experiment, or...

Kirk narrows his eyes and props himself onto his elbows. “You... planned this,” he accuses. “The media attention, the rumors, all of it.”

Spock sits neatly at the end of the bed. “I assure you, Jim, that your eloquent speaking skills are entirely the result of your own efforts.”

“Don't sass me. You expected this! You knew about - “ Kirk waves a hand between them furiously. “Why did you never say anything?”

“It is my experience that humans feel more accomplished when they work through situations on their own,” says Spock serenely. He sets the tea aside and begins to smooth out an edge of the rumpled bedspread. “Additionally, I was curious to see how long it would take for you to realize.”

Kirk tries to be outraged; the laughter bubbling from his throat makes it difficult. “You're lucky I love you,” he says.

“I am,” Spock agrees. “But I believe we have slept too long, Jim. We are required at the Academy.”

“What? What for?”

“I have just received a message from Public Relations. They wish for more details of our 'platonic friendship,' to help dispel the rumors circulating through the media.”

“...Spock?”

“Yes?”

“That might be a problem.”