It was almost midnight in San Francisco when he opened the front door of his apartment and found Mr. Spock standing in the corridor.
“Spock,” he said, frowning. “Is something wrong?”
“Negative, Captain,” Spock said and then raised one eyebrow as his eyes dropped lower. Jim stood still and waited. Sure, he had been ready to go to bed and wasn’t wearing too many clothes at the moment, but Spock had seen him in various states of clothing during their five-year mission. And it wasn’t like he had just appeared at the door of his friend’s flat, unannounced and staring at the man without an attempt to explain.
“Spock,” he said finally, because Spock was still eyeing him and not talking to him.
“I apologize,” Spock said, blinking. “I realize now that I have caused you discomfort by my sudden visit in an uncustomary time. I should have waited until the morning.”
“Well,” Jim said and took a deep breath. What the hell. He had been alone anyway, like he always seemed to be these days. Besides, he hadn’t seen Spock in three Earth weeks at least, and the last time had been at Starfleet Headquarters where they had passed each other by in the corridor. He had stopped himself from grabbing Spock’s arm and instead asked if Spock might want to have lunch with him, and Spock had declared being too deeply occupied with his research to do so. That night Jim had felt curiously lonely, perhaps even lonelier than he usually did in his empty apartment.
“Captain?” Spock said in a serious tone and Jim realized he was still standing in the doorway, thinking about how he had sat down onto the chair, watching the night sky through the glass and thinking about the games of chess they had used to play up there somewhere.
“Don’t call me that,” he said and tried to soften it with a smile, “I’m not your Captain anymore.”
“That might be strictly speaking true, but I was rather referring to our personal relationship. I cannot stop thinking about you as my Captain.”
“Okay,” he said. He would argue this later. “Come in then, Mr. Spock. Let’s not just stand in the doorway or people might talk.”
Spock followed him inside but watched him carefully. “And what exactly might these people talk about?”
“It was just a saying,” he said and walked straight to the living room. Spock would follow him. These days there weren’t many things he was certain of but this he knew. “And a very stupid one. I wouldn’t care about any gossips and I think you wouldn’t either. Do you want anything to drink?”
“Negative, Captain,” Spock said. Jim wondered if he could open a bottle of beer. Spock’s sudden visit might be an excuse good enough so that he wouldn’t feel pathetic in the morning. But Spock was already standing in the middle of his living room, clearly not planning to sit down and chat about the weather. Jim sighed and placed himself facing Spock, not very unlike to the days when he had been Spock’s Captain. Maybe he should try to explain how it made him feel even more adrift that Spock insisted in addressing him like that, as if they had still been on their ship. Later, though. He knew the firm look on Spock’s face. Something was wrong and Spock was serious about it.
“Tell me,” he said.
“It has come to my knowledge that Enterprise has been signed for another five-year mission. You are to be her Captain.”
Jim blinked. “What?”
“I believe that you will be informed shortly. It is by coincidence that I got to know this before you. I was present because of reasons regarding my research as the decision was addressed.”
“I’m not upset,” Jim said and clenched his fists. He wanted to grab Spock’s shoulders and he would have, two years ago he surely would have. But the longer they had been in San Francisco, the less he had known how to act around Spock. He had complained about it to Bones once while quite drunk and Bones had told him with a grunt that he was a stubborn idiot who didn’t know what to do with himself now that he wasn’t flying around in space and that was the problem, not Spock.
He blinked and tried to realize what Spock had just said and, most importantly, why Spock’s face showed no sign of joy over the news. Surely he would still know Spock well enough to be able to tell whether the serious expression on the man’s face was one of content or distress.
“What’s wrong? Why aren’t you happy?”
“I am not assigned to accompany you, Captain,” Spock said with a low, steady voice.
Jim opened his mouth and then closed it. Shit. “That’s…”
“Most unfortunate,” Spock said. “I have given both my formal and informal request that they would reconsider but I have been informed quite clearly that I ought not to be optimistic about the outcome.”
“But why? They must know that you and me are the best team in the whole fucking Fleet.”
“There is no reason to use inappropriate language,” Spock said, and there was this certain tone underneath his voice that suggested he appreciated the inappropriate language Jim was using. “However, I believe I have made a terrible mistake.”
“You?” Jim said and then cleared his mouth. “I mean, what mistake?”
“My research,” Spock said, sounding totally miserable in his calm, controlled way. “It has become essential. I failed to foresee that the accomplishments of the research I am conducting at Headquarters might seriously damage my possibilities of getting assigned to another five-year mission.”
“With me,” Jim said. He was suddenly a little cold, but well, he only had his underpants and a t-shirt on.
“With you,” Spock said.
“Listen. I will talk to them. I will tell them that I’m going and you’re coming with me.”
“Captain,” Spock said, and there was this longing in his voice that made it very clear that he very much wanted to call Jim his captain for another five years, “you long for another mission in space. I will not let you give it up for me.”
“I’m not doing such thing. But they’ll have to take us both.”
“I am grateful for any attempts you might do regarding the situation,” Spock said, and Jim made himself keep his eyes locked in Spock’s even though he kind of wished he wouldn’t have had to face the sadness Spock wasn’t able to hide, “but it is highly improbable that you would succeed. Besides, they know how much you desire the opportunity they are offering you.”
“Yes,” he said. Spock knew it anyway. And he knew that Spock knew. He was lost on Earth and he wanted to get back to the sky. But he wanted Spock with him. “I’ll try anyway. You know that. And you know how stubborn I am. I’m going to talk to them until they let me have you.”
“I do not doubt that you would,” Spock said, “but there is no gain in it. I do not think even you can win the bureaucracy.”
Jim drew a deep breath and turned to look through the window. Once in a while, usually a few times per night, he wished he could just switch off all the lights of the city. Perhaps then he would have seen the stars. He placed a hand onto his face and waited for the sound of Spock’s steps following him, but the room was all quiet. Spock must have been standing still, patient as ever, except that he had come to Jim’s place in the middle of the night. Jim didn’t mind, of course, it wasn’t like he didn’t often sit in his empty flat wondering what Spock was doing.
“So,” he said without turning around, “you only came to tell me bad news.”
“I regret if my visit has been inconvenient.” Spock paused and Jim tried to tell the man that it wasn’t, it definitely wasn’t, how the hell could he even think he wouldn’t be welcome to come to see Jim anytime he wanted to. But Jim couldn’t make himself say the words aloud and then Spock drew a somewhat sharp breath. “And, Captain, I must be clear about this. I wish you to take the opportunity. This is good news for you. This is what you have desired since our first mission ended one point eighty-seven Earth years ago.”
“That’s true,” Jim said and turned to face Spock. Spock was watching him carefully and he wished he had had more clothes on, preferably his uniform. “And you’re coming with me.”
“Captain,” Spock said.
“I will bribe them if I have to.”
“That would not be wise.”
“It was a joke,” he said and Spock cocked an eyebrow at him, “kind of. There must be something that I can do.”
“I have been assigned to another position. I am afraid that even as a captain of a starship, you will not be able to challenge that unless the person in question were your legal spouse.”
Jim swallowed. “So, that’s what it would take.”
“A marriage or a bond of same level of commitment is often regarded as a relevant factor in the situations like this,” Spock said and there was absolutely nothing in his voice suggesting that he might have been thinking the same thing than Jim was. “This is very unfortunate, Captain. Perhaps I should now depart from your apartment. I realize it is late and as a human, you require more sleep than I do.”
“No,” he said, “wait. You aren’t going anywhere. Sit down.”
“Excuse me?” Spock said.
“That was an order, Mr. Spock,” Jim said. Spock looked slightly surprised but sat down into the nearest chair which happened to be a very cozy and very soft armchair that almost seemed to swallow Spock. Jim bit his lip as Spock watched him with wide eyes and apparently tried to find a way to sit in a bit more graceful posture. “So. Tell me. Would it make a difference?”
“I wish you would specify your question,” Spock said, but his voice wasn’t so calm anymore now that he was struggling with the armchair.
“Would it make a difference if my spouse was a scientist assigned to work at Headquarters and I told them I'm not leaving without him?”
Spock raised an eyebrow at him. “With a probability of 72.3 percent, yes. But this is highly irrelevant when it comes to our current problem.”
“Well,” he said and wished he had been wearing pants. “Mr. Spock, I trust that you haven’t made plans to marry anyone anytime soon.”
Spock blinked. “Captain, the question is highly –“
“Personal, I know,” Jim said. “Sorry. I wish you would answer, though, because I’m going to propose to you and it’s going to be much more awkward if you’ve got engaged since I last saw you.”
“I have not,” Spock said, watching him with wide dark eyes. “However, I fail to see how this line of thought –“
“Fine, then,” Jim said, “we will get married.”
“Jim,” Spock said and cleared his throat.
“Yeah,” Jim said, “I’m surprised, too. And I know things are moving on quite quickly for the two of us but we have a starship to catch.”
“You are, as you might say, joking,” Spock said. He sounded horrified.
“But you must be.”
“Listen,” Jim said, “I’m not going to marry a nice girl and buy a house and have children. That’s not going to happen. For last two years I’ve been standing in front of this window, thinking I’m the unluckiest person ever lived because I’m on the ground and not in space.”
“You might meet someone,” Spock said. He looked like he really wanted to stand up but didn’t remember how. “Perhaps you meet someone on Enterprise, possibly a fellow officer. Then you would not be required to stay on Earth in order to participate in a satisfying relationship.”
“I need to have you on board with me.”
“Jim, you are being illogical.”
“Captain,” he corrected, “it’s Captain to you, Mr. Spock. You and me are getting back out there and we’re going to do it together.”
“I believe I must ask Doctor McCoy to evaluate your mental state. I am concerned that prolonged stay on Earth might have compromised you in that area.”
“You bet,” he said and realized he was smiling. No wonder that Spock thought he had gone mad. “I know I’m not logical enough for your taste, Mr. Spock. But I promise I will kick your ass in chess.”
“I do not wish my ass to be kicked nor wish I to complain about your use of logic.”
Jim opened his mouth and then blinked. “Really?”
“Negative, Captain. Your way of thinking is often imaginative and not, strictly speaking, logical. However, you have often achieved in solving situations that, from the point of logic, were impossible to solve.”
“Well, thank you, Mr. Spock. I think we’re going to be fine.”
“Jim, you do not –“
“Yes, I do.”
“I will not let you sacrifice yourself for my sake,” Spock said. His voice was now tense and not very calm and Jim wanted so badly to grab his shoulders and caress his arms and tell him to stop worrying, but they weren’t on Enterprise and there were two uncomfortable years in between them and he didn’t dare to touch his first officer anymore. But he would. Later. When they would be back on the ship and everything would be back to normal.
“This is not for your sake,” Jim said, straightened his back and tried to find the strength he had once had in his voice. “This is for my sake. I ask for you that you do this for me, but only if you want to.”
“Jim,” Spock said, grabbed the armrests and stood up.
“If marrying you is what it takes to get you to Enterprise with me, then I’ll be glad to do that with no regrets whatsoever. But if you don’t feel the same, I understand.”
“Jim,” Spock said in a very quiet voice, “I feel the same. I want to be on Enterprise, by your side. However, you are planning to lie about the nature of our relationship to multiple people.”
“Surely what we’ve done for each other is enough to suggest that we are... that the compassion we share is strong enough for a married couple.”
“Jim, you are purposely avoiding the point.”
“I know,” he said and grabbed Spock’s shoulders before he realized he was doing it. Spock stared at him. He stared at Spock and then squeezed slightly, and Spock’s eyebrows inched but didn’t raise. Jim took a deep breath. If he was going to marry the man, surely he should have the guts to grab him by his shoulders in a friendly manner. “I know. I’m asking you to avoid the point with me. Will you do it?”
He leant in closer. “Really?”
“If you ask me to do it, then I will,” Spock said with a voice that was once again calm and controlled. “However, I wish that you will not make fun of me once we are married.”
“I would never make fun of you,” Jim said and tried to think clearly but it was getting very difficult. He was getting married. He was fucking getting married and he was getting back to space and possibly he was panicking a little but also happier than he had been since he had glanced Enterprise over his shoulder and walked away almost two years ago.
“Yes, you would.”
“Yes, I would,” he grimaced, “sorry. But only very gently.”
“I do not wish to mock the concept of marriage. I find it quite alike to Vulcan concept of bonding, which I keep in high regard.”
“I know,” he said and stepped back, “I know, Spock. I’m not trying to make fun of marriage or you. I’m trying to get to spend my next five years with you on a starship.”
“Perhaps in the morning you have changed your mind.”
“No,” he said, “not going to happen. But perhaps you should go home anyway. You might want to think about this.”
“I have given you my answer,” Spock said with a firm voice, “I will marry you in a human concept of marriage if you wish me to.”
“Good,” Jim said, “it’s settled then. I think I should tell Bones before he sees the announcement in the newspaper or something like that. I could ask him to come over tomorrow.”
“I did not realize you wish to announce our plan to marry in the newspaper.”
“Well, maybe not. But I’ll talk to Bones anyway.”
“The doctor will find your decision quite illogical.”
“I know,” Jim said, “I’m looking forward to telling him. Do you want to come?”
“I absolutely do not,” Spock said.
“Yeah, it might be best that I tell him by myself. But we should see later tomorrow, sort things out, that kind of stuff. Do you want to -,” Jim paused and blinked. They were going to be married and he was uncertain whether he could ask Spock come to his apartment or if the request was too personal. “Will you come here?”
“If you wish me to,” Spock said, watching him.
“I do. Maybe we could play a round of chess, too. We haven’t done that in ages.”
“Five hundred seventy-four Earth days.”
“That long,” Jim said and frowned, “really? Well, we’ll have plenty of time to do that on Enterprise. Once we get there.”
“Affirmative,” Spock said slowly, “Captain.”
Jim realized hazily that he was leaning in, probably trying to pat Spock on the shoulder. He placed his hand behind his back and walked to the front door. Spock followed him. Surely there was something else that should have been said, but he couldn’t figure out what exactly. Of course he realized that Spock was probably logically concerned about the whole deal but that was fine, Spock wouldn’t have said yes if he hadn’t meant it, and they would both get used to the idea in no time at all. And then they would be in space again, back in where they belonged, and together. Everything was going to be fine.
"Good night, Jim,” Spock said in a few seconds, standing in the corridor and looking like he was very much trying to look calm.
“Good night, Spock,” Jim said and closed the door.
“Fucking hell, Jim,” Bones said and coughed into his cup of tea, “have you lost your mind?”
“I want that ship,” Jim said, “and I want him with me.”
“You reckless kid,” Bones said, glaring at him, “you always made stupid decisions faster than I could prevent them but this is beyond even you, you idiot.”
“If there’s a chance that I could get back on Enterprise with Spock, I’m going to take it.”
“You utter idiot,” Bones said, “you’re telling me you two will get married so that you can run away to space together.”
“It’s not like that at all,” Jim said, although it kind of was.
“And are you really saying that Spock agrees to this? The most illogical plan you’ve ever managed to think out?”
“Then you’ve both gone mad.”
“So,” Jim said and crossed his hands over the table, “obviously I want you to come to the wedding.”
“The wedding,” Bones said and looked like he was going to fall from the chair sometime soon, “surely you aren’t trying to tell me there’s going to be a wedding.”
“Of course there’s going to be a wedding,” he said, “but a very small one. I’m going to talk Starfleet into letting me have Spock who is probably the most brilliant scientist they have. I’m not going to risk it by eloping with him.”
“You should have your head examined.”
“You’re welcome to do it yourself once we’re on Enterprise,” Jim said. “The official assignment came this morning, by the way. I am now again the Captain of Starship Enterprise.”
“I know,” he said, “I can’t help it. I’m going to see Spock this evening and we’re going to talk about the details but I think we want only a few people there.”
“In our wedding.”
“Oh my fucking –“
“You of course,” Jim went on, “and Uhura, Scott, Sulu and Chekov if they can come. I don’t think Spock wants his parents there but I wouldn’t mind if he did.”
“Jim,” Bones said and pointed his finger at him, “I’m only going to say this once. Or actually I’m going to say this many times because you’re too stubborn to believe anything I say, ever, but I hope I’d only have to say this once. You’re getting deep into something you have no idea of.”
“It’s just Spock,” Jim said and smiled his best smile but unfortunately Bones seemed to be still rather immune to it, “it’s just me and Spock.”
“This is not about the two of you saving each others’ poor asses in space.”
“That’s exactly what this is about.”
“I’m going to call your mother.”
“No, you aren’t,” Jim said, “because she’d blame you. I’ve told her that you keep me out of trouble.”
“No one could keep you out of trouble,” Bones said, “you create trouble out of nothing. I can’t believe that those idiots in Starfleet will let you have your own starship once again.”
“I think I should get going,” Jim said, “I have a wedding to plan.”
Four weeks, he thought and shook the admiral’s hand, only four weeks and then he would be back on Enterprise doing the only thing he knew how to do. Only there was one more thing he probably should mention before he would go.
“Admiral Thompson,” he said and smiled at the man who looked rather surprised to find out their talk wasn’t over yet, “I suppose a starship captain has a right to demand that their spouse should be released from other Starfleet assignments in order to accompany the said captain to a mission.”
Admiral Thompson frowned at him. “Well, that is the custom, Captain Kirk. But I’ve been under impression that you’re unmarried.”
“Not for long,” he said and patted the man on the shoulder. “Have you met my science officer, Mr. Spock? A brilliant man. I hope you get a chance to discuss time warps with him sometimes. Well, anyway we are planning to have a simple wedding quite soon, perhaps in a week. I’m sorry it must be hurried but another five-year mission took us by a surprise, you know how that is.”
The admiral looked like he definitely didn’t know.
“Anyway,” Jim said, “I just thought to ask you whether I should file a request right now or wait that we’re officially married. We wouldn’t want to delay the departure of Enterprise because of a small problem like my husband being still assigned to do research at Headquarters, would we? Of course I understand that Starfleet wants to keep him here, did I mention that he’s a brilliant scientist?”
“I think you did,” Admiral Thompson said and cleared his throat. “You can of course file a request as soon as you like, only I think it won’t be taken into consideration until you two are… married.”
“Good to know,” Jim said and nodded, “I’ll do it right away. Thank you for your time, Admiral.”
He got lost twice before he finally found the right office. There was a pretty young woman sitting behind the desk. He smiled at her and then realized what he had come here to do. The girl nodded her head seriously when Jim declared that he, Captain James T. Kirk of the Federation starship Enterprise, was to be married to Starfleet science officer Mr. Spock shortly and that he wanted his husband to be transferred to his ship. Afterwards he was a bit short of breath but the girl didn’t seem to notice.
“Very well, Sir,” the girl said, “your request has been filed.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“And congratulations on your engagement, Sir.”
He thanked the girl again and then walked out of the office. Well, that had gone well. He should probably cut the flirting, though. He knew he had a habit of smiling to every beautiful female whom he encountered and who wasn’t working for him. In their last five-year mission there had been times when even Spock had seemed to be a bit frustrated about Jim’s behavior but only when Spock had thought it might compromise their current task. This time there would be no flirting, so Spock didn’t have to worry about his personal weaknesses of that nature anymore. Maybe he could ask Bones to kick him in the leg if he accidentally slipped back to the flirting even after he was married.
Oh shit, he thought and tried to focus on the positive side of it all as the shuttle of public transport filled with busy humans. He was going to get Enterprise back. He was going to get back to space with Spock. There was no reason to start panicking about all this now. And so what if he couldn’t kiss beautiful women this time? He would have Spock. That was the most important thing.
Besides, it was already done. He had told Admiral Thomposn and the girl in the office, and of course Bones. There was absolutely no way he could panic and cancel the wedding now. And Spock couldn’t, either, which was great, because he had a vague idea that Spock might have spent the morning trying to find a logical way to convince him that they should not get married.
He was exactly right about that, of course.
“Jim,” Spock said later, standing in the corridor just like yesterday. “This is madness. We must cease our plans to marry.”
Jim took a deep breath. He had been home for something like half an hour now. Maybe he hadn’t been completely successful in his attempts to calm down but there was no way he would let Spock panic about this.
“Mr. Spock,” he said, straightened his back and locked his gaze into Spock’s eyes, “are you trying to say that our personal relationship isn’t close enough so that you could not give a commitment of marriage to me?”
Spock glared at him. “Captain, that is not the essence of the problem.”
“Well then,” he said, “are you trying to tell me you want to marry someone else instead?”
“Definitely not, Captain. However –“
“Or perhaps you wish to tell me that you have changed your mind about another five-year-mission. Perhaps you prefer to stay on Earth. Or perhaps you would like to serve under another Captain.”
“I would never,” Spock began and then drew a somewhat sharp breath. Jim grabbed the man’s arm, pulled him into the flat and closed the door behind them. Inside, he let go of Spock’s arm and Spock stood still, watching him. “Jim.”
“I need a drink,” he said and turned around. “Follow me.”
“Jim,” Spock said, “last night when we talked, I let my personal desire rule over my logic. The distress of being declined to follow you in your next five-year mission was so overpowering that I made a misjudgment.”
“You did not,” he said, passed a glass of water to Spock and opened a beer for himself. “But now you’re panicking. That’s why you’re trying to talk me out of it.”
“I am not capable of panicking,” Spock said, holding the glass of water and looking like he didn’t know he had it. “However, I would like to state that –“
Spock blinked. Jim leaned his back against the counter and watched the man who stood still in the middle of his kitchen. He knew that look. He had once thought he knew all Spock’s expressions, no matter how hard Spock tried to hide whatever he was thinking. “Spock. Do you wish me to go without you?”
“I do not, but –“
“And do you dislike the idea of being married to me?”
Spock looked like Jim had just beaten him in chess. “Negative, Captain. I do not.”
“I’m glad,” he said. “So, you must realize by now that you’re going to lose your battle unless you tell me you don’t want to marry me.”
He held his breath. Spock stared at him. He stared at Spock. The flat was unbearably quiet.
“Fine, then,” he said when he had given Spock plenty of time to say I do not wish to marry you, Jim and Spock’s mouth still staid firmly closed. “Let’s go to the living room. I think we could have our wedding in a week. What do you think?”
Spock opened his mouth and then closed it.
“I’m glad you agree,” Jim said and sat down onto the armchair by the window. Spock followed his example looking extremely uncomfortable in a very calm and controlled way. “So, how about next Saturday?”
“That is acceptable.”
“Great. Great. So, I think we should invite Uhura, Scott, Sulu and Chekov. And Bones, of course. And probably Miss Chapel, too, although I think she is going to be a bit sad to see you married off to a certain handsome starship captain. Is there someone else you want to invite?”
“My parents,” Spock said.
Jim took a firmer grip of his bottle of beer. “Really?”
“They are currently on the planet,” Spock said. “Certainly you realize that they will hear about their son getting married. If we do not invite them to our wedding, my mother will be upset in a most distressing and human way.”
“Of course,” Jim said and put the beer aside. “Okay. Do you want to tell them the truth?”
“Which truth?” Spock asked.
Jim frowned and opened his mouth but for some reason he didn’t suddenly know what to say.
“My parents are well aware of my high opinion of you, Captain. I believe my mother will be surprised nonetheless but we must allow that since she is a human. My father will attempt to find the logic in our decision and I believe he will succeed with that attempt.”
Jim took a deep breath. “You think he will… you think your father would believe you want to marry me.”
“Jim, I have never in my adult life expressed a wish to be bonded with a Vulcan female in order to conceive children and, as you yourself said yesterday, buy a house.”
“Yeah,” Jim said and tried not to imagine Spock with a house and a bunch of pointy-eared tiny Spocks with a calm stare. “I know that. So, we’ll invite your parents.”
“I’ll inform them tomorrow.”
“Good,” Jim said and placed his palms onto his knees.
“Jim, I believe you are experiencing nervousness over the thought of my parents attending our wedding.”
“Yeah,” he said, “sorry. I don’t mean to. Maybe I should tell you now that I’m a little bit afraid of your father.”
“I am, too,” Spock said seriously. “But you do not need to lie to him. I, obviously, do not intend to lie and neither should you.”
“But,” he said and grabbed his beer.
“You yourself said that our commitment to each other goes far beyond what is considered proper for a human couple planning to get married. There is no reason to lie.”
“Yes,” he said, “no, you’re right. Of course you’re right. I’m just getting myself worried by overthinking it.”
“Jim, you are allowed to worry. I only wish that you share your concern with me so that I may try to ease it.”
Jim leaned in and placed his hand on Spock’s knee. Spock raised an eyebrow at him and he made an attempt to smile. He was pretty sure the smile wasn’t as confident as he would have hoped but Spock didn’t seem to mind.
“We’re going to be fine,” he said and squeezed Spock’s knee slightly, “you and me. As we always are.”
“Yes, Captain,” Spock said and kept watching him with a serious look in his eyes.