Spock stopped in his tracks and stiffened hearing his name come from a familiar voice. He closed his eyes and mentally counted to ten before opening them and turning around. Stonn, his cousin and childhood bully, stood a few feet away from him. Stonn hadn’t changed much since Spock had last seen him. Spock had just rejected the VSA. Stonn had heard the news and decided Spock needed to hear how he was accepted without any insinuations to a ‘disadvantage’ and had just entered a betrothal bond with T’Pring after she’d had the one with Spock dissolved. Stonn couldn’t help but rub in anything that he thought could make Spock have an emotional response. That one did.
Perhaps I could punch him again, Spock thought. “Greetings, Stonn.”
“What brings you to Starfleet?”
Stonn stepped closer. “I was in Palo Alto for a science conference representing the VSA, and thought I would come visit my cousin.”
Spock narrowed his eyes. “I have not seen nor heard from you in seven years. You do not visit me nor do I visit you. Why are you here?”
“T’Pring is with child. She is due in two point one months.”
“Congratulations on procreating,” Spock spoke. “Excuse me.” Spock turned and walked away. He got a few feet before Stonn appeared next to him, walking with him.
“Do you have a mate?”
Spock internally sighed. “No.”
“A shame. With so many individuals in Starfleet, of all species and genders, one would assume you would find a match.”
Spock grit his teeth.
“It is just as I thought when we were children—neither Vulcan nor human. You have no pl…”
“I do have a significant other,” Spock blurted out. He immediately stopped in his tracks and mentally swore. You do not.
Stonn stopped and faced Spock. “You stated you did not have a mate.”
Spock blinked. “They are not my mate. Our relationship is in its early stages.”
Stonn eyed him. “I see. What is their name?”
Spock brushed pasted Stonn. “I am late for my class and as you are not a Starfleet member, leave.” Spock didn’t look back or think of Stonn for the remainder of the day.
A few days later, Spock walked along the paths of the botanical garden, admiring the beautiful plants and flowers all around him. It was the weekend so Spock was out of his Starfleet professor attire and in casual clothes; a sweater his mother had made him and gray slacks.
Spock followed the path around a bend and came upon a group listening to one of the docents. Spock stayed on the outskirts of the group and listened to the woman talk about the Zellerbach garden.
“Zellerbach is a funny name,” a blonde in front of him said.
“Jim, I’m trying to listen,” the brunette next to the blonde said.
“Zellerbach,” the blonde, Jim, repeated. “Why are we here again?”
The brunette turned his head to look at Jim. Spock arched a brow, recognizing the man from his classs a year previous. McCoy.
“Jojo is coming to visit next week and I need ideas of where to take her that she’d enjoy.”
Jim turned his head and Spock caught his stunning profile and a bright sapphire eye. “What six-year-old likes garden tours?”
“They have other stuff here she might enjoy. Like a treasure hunt.”
“Oh! Why aren’t we doing that? I like treasure hunts.”
“Dammit, Jim, you're not a child.” McCoy groaned.
Spock stiffened and internally groaned. He turned and once again found Stonn standing before him. “Stonn. Greetings.”
“What brings you to the botanical gardens this afternoon?” Spock asked.
“I was overseeing the planting of two Vulcan specimens to their Garden of the Galaxy exhibit. I way on my way towards the exit and I saw you. Is your significant other with you?”
Stonn stepped closer. “I am merely curious who could find your company tolerable.”
Spock clenched his fists.
“Unless there is no significant other. I spoke to your father last night and he stated you were not in a relationship.”
“My father and I have not spoken since my departure from Vulcan. And as I stated two days prior, my relationship is in its early stages, neither of my parents know that I am seeing someone. It is no one’s business.”
“So, they are not here?” Stonn questioned. An amused twinkle appeared in his dark eyes. Spock really wanted to punch him again. “Lying is a human quality, Spock. You are…”
“Jim,” Spock said loudly.
He heard a ‘what’ behind him. Spock turned and found two blue eyes staring at him. His heart beat quickened every so slightly as Spock fought to find his words.
“Jim,” Spock repeated, reaching out taking Jim by the arm. He pulled Jim to his side and looked to Stonn. “This is Jim, my significant other. Jim, this is my cousin Stonn.”
Silence filled their space for several moments. Spock had no idea if Jim would play along or if Stonn would believe him. He had almost decided to run when Jim moved his arm and slipped his hand into Spock’s. A jolt went up Spock’s arm from their contact and fireworks exploded in his head.
“Hey, Stonn, nice to meet you,” Jim said, leaning against Spock.
Stonn’s eyes roamed up and down Jim’s person before looking to Spock. “Jim is…male and human.”
“Correct,” Spock said.
“All human,” Jim spoke. “and all male. Right, honey?”
Spock looked at Jim and found the blonde grinning mischievously at him. Spock nodded. “Indeed.”
Stonn’s eyes went to their hands clasped together. “How indecent.”
“Oh, this isn’t indecent,” Jim said, holding their hands up for a moment. “What we did last night, now that was all kinds of indecent. Right, honey?”
Spock couldn’t help but feel his cheeks warm up. “Yes.”
Stonn stood up straighter and let his eyes roam over Jim again. Spock saw a look in those dark eyes that he could not place. “I see." His eyes tore away from Jim and looked at Spock. "It is time for me to depart. Goodbye, Spock.” Stonn held up his hand in a Vulcan ta’al. “Live long and prosper.”
Spock held his free hand up. “Peace and long life.”
Stonn looked Jim over one last time then turned and left. Once Stonn was out of sight, Spock took his hand from Jim’s and faced the blonde. McCoy walked up next to them and eyed Spock in confusion.
“What the hell was that?” McCoy asked.
“I thought it was fun,” Jim said with a grin.
“I apologize,” Spock said. “I mistakenly told my cousin I had a significant other to kept from hearing his derogatory comments about my mixed heritage.”
“The bastard,” Jim replied. “But hey, its no problem. Like I said, it was fun.” Jim smiled wondrously at him.
“Would be nice to know your name, though.”
“Commander Spock,” McCoy interrupted. He poked Jim’s arm. “This is the professor I was telling you about last year.”
“The hobgoblin?” Jim asked, looking at his friend.
Spock arched a brow while Jim continued. “I thought he’d be some old Vulcan guy, not some young hottie.”
“Jim, he’s right there.”
Jim turned back to Spock. “What? You know you’re hot, right?”
Spock opened his mouth, but had no idea how to respond. He closed his mouth and nodded.
“Dammit, Jim,” McCoy muttered.
“Well, Spock, it was nice to have met you and to pretend to be your boyfriend. I think Stonn was jealous.”
“He is Vulcan. Jealousy is illogical.”
“However illogical it may be, he definitely was checking me out and was jealous.”
Spock looked Jim over. The blonde was exceptionally aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Tall, blonde, sapphire eyes. Who would not be jealous of Spock’s boyfriend. Spock mentally shook his head. Jim was not his boyfriend. He had no significant other.
“Thank you for going along with the ruse,” Spock said.
“You’re welcome,” Jim replied. “If you need a fake boyfriend again, you can find me on campus.”
“I do not believe I will need a fake boyfriend again, but thank you for the offer.” Spock gave them the Vulcan salute. “Enjoy the rest of your day. Live long and prosper.”
“Seeya, Spock,” Jim replied.
“Yeah, seeya,” McCoy said as well, offering a small wave.
Spock nodded before leaving quickly.
Three months later, Spock had forgotten all about Stonn and Jim. He arrived home after spending the evening with his friend and TA, Nyota, to find his computer terminal beeping from a missed video call.
He sat down at the computer and saw that it was his mother that had called. He’d only missed her by ten minutes so he called her back.
The call connected after a moment and his mother’s beautiful face appeared on screen.
“Mother,” Spock greeted her. “I apologize for missing your earlier call. I just arrived home.”
“Oh, it’s alright, kan-bu,” she replied. Amanda then smiled. “Were you with Jim?”
Spock blinked. “Jim?”
“Stonn told your father and I about him a while ago, but since you hadn’t mentioned him, I didn’t think it would be right to bring it up. Are the two of you still together?”
Spock opened his mouth.
“Because if you are, we would love to have you bring him to the clan gathering in two weeks. You’re on break then, right?”
Spock blinked again. “Yes, Starfleet Academy will be on a short break. Clan gathering?”
“Stonn and T’Pring welcome their child a few weeks ago. T’Pau has deemed it necessary to have a clan gathering as it’s been a while since a child has been born into the family.”
“Three years,” Spock said. “It has been three years.”
Amanda waved her hand. “Still been a while. Anyway, Stonn told everyone about Jim. I’m sorry he did that. I’m sure you wanted to be the one to say something first. But since everyone knows, we’d all love to meet him.”
Spock blinked again. “We?”
Amanda nodded. “Yes. The whole clan wants to meet this young man you were holding hands with in public.”
“I see.” Stonn definitely needs to be punched again.
“I would love to meet him, Spock.” Amanda smiled at him. “Does he make you happy?”
“Happiness is a human emotion.”
Amanda chuckled. “And yet you are dating a human.”
Spock wanted to come clean to his mother. He hadn’t thought of Jim nor seen him since the time in the garden. His mother looked so happy. Happier than he’d seen in a long time. He did not want to cause her to be sad.
“Spock? Will you bring Jim?”
“Mother, our relationship is still new and…”
“I understand. You’re still young and sometimes things don’t last. It's alright, I'll just let everyone...”
“I shall bring him, mother,” Spock quickly said.
Amanda clapped her hands together. “Oh goodie. I’ll arrange your transportation and can’t wait to see you both.”
The next day, Spock tried searching for Jim but had nothing but a name to go one. Starfleet had numerous Jims and James in their academy and Spock couldn’t search by roommate’s name, eye color, or hair color.
Spock planned to spend the evening scouring the search results anyway until Nyota entered his office.
She smiled and handed him his PADDs. “I looked through the final essays and most are commendable. I wrote notes in the margins for you.”
“Thank you,” Spock told her, taking the PADDs and setting them to the side. Nyota took a seat across from him. “May I ask a question?”
Spock arched a brow but said nothing about the ‘shoot’. “I am looking for a cadet by the name of Jim. He has a roommate named McCoy.”
“Why are you looking for Kirk?” Nyota asked, furrowing her brows in confusion.
“Kirk. Is he blonde with blue eyes?”
Nyota nodded. “Yep, that’s Kirk. Is it about the Kobayashi Maru?”
“No, I merely need to speak to him. What dorms does he reside in?”
“He stays off campus with McCoy.”
“I will look into his schedule then.”
“You could, or you could just to the library. Did Kirk do something?”
Spock shook his head. “No, I merely need to speak to him. What do you know about Jim?”
“He’s a smartass.”
Spock arched a brow.
“But he’s intelligent. Top of our class. Hard worker. I do think he’ll be quite the starship captain one day. But again, he can be a cocky ass sometimes.”
“I see. So I can find him in the library?”
Nyota chuckled. “Yes, he practically lives there.”
Spock wandered into Starfleet library a few hours later. It was nearing dinner time and he hoped Nyota was right and Jim practically lived in the library.
He stood by the vacant information desk and looked around the grand building. Three stories high, thousands and thousands of books and data banks, and at least a hundred private rooms for meetings or studying. Spock internally sighed. How was he supposed to locate…
“Can I help you, Sir?” a familiar voice asked.
Spock turned towards the voice and internally beamed seeing Jim standing behind the information desk. Jim’s eyes widened minusculy in recognition. A smile spread across his features.
“Spock,” Jim said. “Long time no see.”
Spock stepped forward. “Indeed. Do you work here?”
Jim shook his head. “Nah, but I know this place so well they don’t mind if I help people occaisionaly. So, what can I help you with, Commander?”
Spock glanced around. The library wasn’t packed but it wasn’t empty either. He didn’t want their conversation to be overheard. “I came to speak to you, Jim. Is there somewhere private we may go?”
Jim brows furrowed slightly together before he nodded. “Yeah, sure. Follow me.”
Jim lead him around the desk and back into the stacks. He made a few turns before coming to a locked study room. Spock watched him type in a code and the door opened. Jim motioned for Spock to go in and the Vulcan did. He walked over to the desk in the room and looked at the contents. PADDs, paper notebooks, books, pens and pencils littered on top. Spock touched one of the notebooks and saw an advanced formula for ship codes scribbled on the paper.
“What did you need to talk about?” Jim asked, standing next to Spock. “Need me to be your fake boyfriend again.”
“Yes.” Spock faced Jim and saw a surprised look on his face. “You stated three months ago…”
“Oh, I remember,” Jim said, turning to Spock. He grinned at Spock. “Cousin back in town and annoying you? Want to show off my hotness?”
“No.” Spock resisted wringing his hands together. “May I sit?” He sat anyway without Jim’s permission. Jim didn’t say anything but nod and sat down across from him.
“Not exactly. Because of my lie to my cousin, he went back to Vulcan and informed the whole family about you.”
Jim stared at him. “Whole family?”
“Affirmative. Stonn and his mate just welcomed a child. It is tradition to present new children to the clan. Our matriarch, my grandmother T’Pau, has called for a clan gathering for the new child and my mother has requested, the whole family has requested, to meet you.”
Jim continued to stare. “Um…okay.”
“My mother seemed so pleased that I was involved in a relationship I could not tell her the truth. I do apologize.”
“Where is this family gathering?”
Jim’s eyes widened. “Vulcan.”
“That is what I said.”
Jim sat back in his chair and ran a hand through his blonde locks. “Wow. You got yourself in a pickle there, Spock.”
“Indeed, I did. My cousin and I have always competed with one another. Growing up, I bested him in academics, logic, and the occasional sport. His responses to his defeat have always been to bring up my mixed heritage—how I am neither Vulcan nor Human so I have no place in the universe.”
Spock nodded in agreement. “Most of his attempts to elicit an emotional response from me have been met with either my ignoring him or punching him.”
“I’d fucking punch him. Damn. And y’all are related?”
“As I stated earlier, yes. Our fathers are brothers. Stonn has also found it pleasing that my former intended bondmate chose him over me.”
“Wait, he stole your boyfriend?”
“T’Pring is female and she was not my girlfriend. We had a rudimentary betrothal bond established when we were seven. Neither of us enjoyed one another’s company so we ignored each other. Shortly before I came to Starfleet she requested the bond be dissolved to be with Stonn. It was and now they are bonded and have had a child.”
“Thus the family gathering?”
“Affirmative. I understand if this is too much to ask of you. I will come clean to my mother and…”
“No, no, I understand.”
“If this is too much of an inconvenience…”
“No, no, its fine.”
“Fine has variable definitions.”
Jim snorted. “Alright so it’s a bit weird, but its okay. What do you need from me? To come to the family gathering and be your arm candy?”
“Yes, but as it is it such an inconv..."
“No,” Jim interrupted. “Stonn sounds like a real asshole and from what I remember, dude looked jealous of you. Don’t give him the satisfaction of knowing you aren’t really seeing anyone.” Jim grinned. “We’ll go to your family gathering, make nice with everyone but maybe have a couple disagreements.”
Spock nodded. “So a plausible break up can occur after the gathering.”
“Right. Stonn can at least know you are capable of having a boyfriend or girlfriend. You have otpions and he’s stuck with that T’Pring lady.”
“Thank you for helping, Jim.”
“You’re welcome, but I want something in return.”
“I can pay…”
Jim shook his head. “No, I don’t want money.” Jim grabbed the PADDs on the table and looked through them. He found the one he wanted and tossed the others back on the table. Spock watched Jim tap at the screen of the PADD before he turned to towards Spock.
“So I know you program the Kobayashi Maru.”
Nyota mentioned the test. “I do.”
“Well I’ve already tried it a few times.”
“You are the cadet that has not understood the parameters.”
Jim snorted and waved his hands. “Oh, I understand, I just don’t like them. I don’t believe in no win scenarios.”
“Jim, the purpose of the test is to experience fear. Fear in the face of certain death. To accept that fear and maintain command of one's self and one's crew. This is a quality expected in every Starfleet captain.”
“And that’s great! But out there, out in space, any captain would have a fighting chance. This test is…narrow in the possibilities of what could happen and what a captain could do to save their crew.”
“Jim, the purpose of the test is not to win.”
“You know my dad?”
“George Kirk, yes. Everyone who comes through the academy learns about Captain Kirk’s sacrifice and how he saved every member of his crew including yours and your mothers.”
Jim nodded. “Do you think he won?”
Spock arched a brow. “I suppose he did win, despite the loss of his life.”
“He was in an apparent no-win scenario. A real-life Kobayashi Maru, and he found a way to win. Out of the limited options he had, he found one that saved his whole crew. If the Kobayashi Maru was programmed properly than there would be more options for the captain—limited options, but options. Because it is impossible for a cadet to simultaneously save the Kobayashi Maru, avoid a fight with the Klingons, and escape from the neutral zone with the starship intact with the programming there is.”
Spock looked to Jim’s PADD. There were streams of code running along the screen.
“I created a code, a subroutine, to give whoever is taking the test a fighting chance. That’s all. It’s a roll of the dice what happens and it’s up to the captain to decide how to handle the chance they’re given. Please take a look at it. In exchange for being your date, please look this over and consider it.”
Spock took the PADD from Jim. “I will look it over and get back to you tomorrow.”
“Okay. Thank you.” Jim tore off a piece of paper and wrote his comm number down. “I look forward to tomorrow, Spock.”
Spock spent the whole night reading Jim’s code. It was perfectly written and did what Jim said when he tested it early the next morning. The first instance, his fighting change came when one of the blasts from the Klingons missed its target and Spock was able to fire back and destroy two vessels and send the others running. Damages and some loss of life occurred, but they rescued the stranded vessel and managed to get out of the neutral zone.
The second attempt, his ship blew up.
On the third, two federation ships arrived and helped.
On the fourth, he managed to take out three of the vessels before his ship was critically hit. No way to rescue anyone.
Spock sat in the captain’s seat of the simulator and nearly smiled. This was a damn good subroutine. It still fulfilled its purpose, he thought, but also gave a fighting chance.
Spock left the simulator room and called Jim.
“Who’s this?” a grumbled voice answered.
“It is Spock.”
“Spock? Spock, its like…” Spock heard some rustling then a groan. “Its not even six. Why you calling so early?”
“I apologize for the early call, but I have read through your code and tested it thoroughly.”
“I must commend you for original thinking.”
“And I will bring it up with my superiors. They have final say in new programs but I do believe they will allow me to implement the subroutine.”
“Great. Can I go back to sleep?”
“Will you accompany me to Vulcan?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be your fake boyfriend.”
“Thank you. I will contact you later to go over the details. I believe we will need to plan a story as to not allow any holes to be poked in our relationship.”
Spock heard Jim yawn. “I’m sure you’ll come up with a logical ‘how we met’ story. I’m going back to sleep. Call me at a decent hour next time.”
“Affirmative, but you have class in two hours.”
“And I can get an hour and forty more minutes of sleep before then. Good night, Spock.”
“Good morning, Jim.” Spock disconnected and headed for his office. He had two and half hours before his class and needed to come up with, as Jim called it, a logical ‘how me met’ story that his parents and family would believe.