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Armchair Psychology

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“You two are the most childish pair of senior officers this side of the galaxy!”

“I beg your pardon—”

“I’m not childish—”

“Nope, don’t want to hear it!” McCoy said, sticking two fingers in his ears and humming.

“Oh, so now who’s being childish?” Jim scoffed. McCoy took out his fingers so he could angrily point one at them.

“You two drive me so far up the wall that I’m pacing the goddamn ceiling! This is the third time you almost ruined a mission because you were too busy having a pissing contest than paying attention to whether or not the local natives are seconds away from shish kabobing the away team.”

“We had no way of anticipating the events that occurred,” Spock said evenly. Jim rolled his eyes heavenward, ready to finish the argument they’d started on the planet.

“I told you that there was something off about the chief, but no, you brush it off because it was based on a feeling. It’s called intuition, something that saved our asses today.”

“You recall, Captain, that we would have no need of defending ourselves had you contained your dislike of the chief.”

Jim bristled. “And I’m supposed to, what, just sit there poker-faced while he bitch-slaps his own wife?”

“Their cultural expectations differ—”

“ENOUGH!” McCoy yelled. Jim and Spock both quieted, staring at McCoy’s face flushed in anger. Jim wanted to shrink a little, because there was a wild light in McCoy’s eye, a glint that said, Fuck hyposprays, I’ll straight up knock you out with a bedpan if you don’t listen. “If you two don’t want me to report y’alls behavior to Starfleet, then you’re going to start getting along. It’s been two months since the start of the mission and you have both done nothing except raise my blood pressure.”

McCoy walked away, and Jim almost began counting his lucky stars that he was done already, but a second later McCoy was shoving two slim PADDS at Jim and Spock.

“My momma had me and my cousin do this when we broke our swing set wrestling. You two boys have yourselves an assignment. Every week you’re gonna write ten things that you like about the other. I won’t read them unless you piss me off or I don’t think you’re being honest,” and here he glared at Jim, clearly indicating that he didn’t trust him as far as he could throw him, “But these PADDS are programmed to weed out negative language, so I’ll know if you’re writing ‘Spock can shove it up his ass’ or ‘the Captain is foolhardy and reckless.’”

“You cannot order this,” Spock said confidently, looking distastefully at the PADD as if it clashed with his uniform. Priss.

“No, but I can report your behavior and that’ll go on your record and internal affairs will audit this ship. Either that or one of you could transfer.”

Jim almost wondered if Spock would go that far. He breathed a little easier when Spock stood straighter and said, “Very well,” spinning on his heel and high-tailing it out of there.

“Jim,” McCoy said, the anger abating momentarily. “Take this seriously. You’re a good team when you’re not too busy going at each other’s throats.”


The first week was hell. Jim managed to muster three positive things about Spock:

1. Sometimes, he shuts up.

2. He bagged Uhura, so he has some game.

3. He does his job well.

The other seven digits with their empty spaces yawned open before him like a doorway leading to a steep mountain drop off. Spock irritated him, was always on his ass about something and was always ready to step in and tell Jim how to do his job. Trying to think of anything that didn’t start with ‘Spock is an asshole’ was hurting his brain. By the end of the week, the rest of the list was cobbled together with whatever he could think of.

4. He bathes regularly.

5. I didn’t see him today, so he basically made my day.

6. He’s punctual.

7. He nearly tripped over the bridge railing, so he made me laugh.

8. His food doesn’t stink up the mess hall because it’s as bland as he is.

9. His name is short and sweet.

10. I don’t have to deal with him during off hours.

He closed the program and buried his face in his hands, wondering how the hell he was going to scrape together another list when he’d used his best material already.


That next week, Jim found himself studying Spock, searching for anything positive, even something as small as ‘his nails are trimmed’, and hey, there’s #1 already. Jim jotted it down, perched on the captain’s chair with one leg crossed over the other, comfortable and confident.

“Captain, may I speak to you in private?” Spock asked from beside Jim. Well, so much for that moment of serenity.

“Why, of course Mr. Spock,” Jim returned, feeling like he was going to gag around the fake sincerity coming from his mouth. A minute later they were in the ready room, and, naturally, Spock was on his ass as soon as the door slid shut.

“I do not approve of the measures we are taking against the Omri Alen colony,” Spock said. “The human colonists there are well within their right to demand the Federation’s protection.”

Jim shook his head. “Their rights end when they decide that the slavery of the native people is justifiable.”

“However you may feel about the morality of the colony, their lives are our responsibility and they are in need of supplies.”

Jim’s insides clenched. What did this spoiled little rich boy know about emergencies? Whatever else had happened to Vulcan two months ago, every ship available had been sent out at the first distress call. Spock wouldn’t be able to comprehend a colony needing vital supplies like food for survival and Starfleet hesitating for weeks because of politics.

“The ‘supplies’ they need are not crucial. We’re sending them furniture and fresh food. Basically, we’re sending them a congratulatory fruit basket and a nice cushy chair to sit in while the natives work their asses off to feed their privileged asses.”

“I emphasize the necessity of maintaining peaceful relations. This would not be the first time a colony would turn against the Federation and ally with another major power.”

“And I emphasize that as long as they know they have us by the short hairs, they’ll never recant. Slavery is outlawed by the Federation and we shouldn’t sit around and wring our hands when someone is outright breaking the law.”

“I stand by my point,” Spock said officially, face a wall of ice.

“All right, you do that. Tell you what—let’s drop this fight and compromise. Lay this decision entirely on my shoulders. Put into your log how against my orders you are, that way if this mission fails, you’ll have covered your ass, and if it doesn’t fail you can delete the log and I’ll try not to rub it in your face.”

Spock hesitated. “No. Despite our difference in opinion, you are the commanding officer and I must abide by your command.”

“This isn’t a dictatorship, Spock. You know you don’t have to do that. In fact, they made up a whole section in the Starfleet handbook about not doing that just for situations like this.”

“I am aware, Captain. If you will excuse me.” Spock left the room. Huh.

2. Spock is loyal.


When the middle of week 3 rolled around, Spock came by his quarters. This was interesting as Spock had never actually been in Jim’s quarters, given that they always avoided each other off duty and it was a simple matter to hail each other to discuss business in a more neutral location. Jim let him in, wishing he’d done a little cleaning up, but Spock didn’t seem to notice the piles of unfolded clothes on his bed or the gradually congealing leftovers from dinner at his desk.

“I inquired whether our assignment from Doctor McCoy was complete. He implied that my father never married my mother and confirmed that it was indeed an ongoing project.”

Jim smirked at that, translating it to, ‘not on your life, you pointed-earred bastard.’

“That’s nice to know.”

“I am finding it difficult to conjure new items for my own personal list.”

Jim held a hand to heart in mock pain. “But how could you not? I figured you’d be able to write hundreds and hundreds of wonderful things about me.”

Spock just looked at him. Amazing how the angle of just one eyebrow could express an entire gambit of emotions. This one said, ‘not impressed.’

“To make this passing easier, I suggest that we exchange positive facts and anecdotes about ourselves while the other takes notes, thus expediting the process.”

“Uh huh, so you want to cheat.”

“I wouldn’t put it exactly in those terms—”

“So you admit that cheating isn’t a black and white concept?”

Spock gave him a withering look, which just made Jim smile from being awesome. It was actually not a bad plan. It would save time and effort. Plus, he was curious as to what Spock would name off as his good traits.

“Deal. I’ll start us off.” Spock poised his stylus over his PADD, ready to jot down notes like this was grade school. “I’m great in bed.”

“If you are not willing to take this endeavor seriously—”

“Who’s being facetious? I really am great in bed.”

“As I am unwilling to verify that statement by interviewing a litany of past lovers, I find this ‘fact’ unsuitable.”

“Hey,” Jim said huffily. “You just sort of called me a slut. I’m actually kind of impressed.”

“I suggest we continue, and this time I shall start. I fluently speak 11 languages.”

Jim wrote that down as, ‘He has a talented tongue.’ Jim chewed his bottom lip. It was easy spouting off wonderful things about himself when they were flip. In truth, Jim sort of didn’t care to boast about any of his good traits because he didn’t see many that were worth noting. He was a decent human being and his scholastic accomplishments could easily be looked up on the net, but apart from that he didn‘t have much to write home about.

“Right, a positive fact. I like mountain climbing,” Jim said lamely, feeling like this was a speed date.

“That was not in your official record,” Spock stated simply. Apparently Spock was finding it difficult to write his lists if he had to scour the net for ideas.

“Yeah well, I guess that means I like nature, so that’s good, right?”

“Mountain climbing is a dangerous activity. I admit I cannot comprehend wishing to climb a rock and willingly expose oneself to injury or death purely for the sport of it.”

“You’re really disapproving of that? Really?” Jim said, incredulous. “This whole thing is stupid because if you can’t find anything redeemable in pastimes I enjoy, then we might as well beg Bones for amnesty and start figuring out who’s going to transfer, and that sure as shit won’t be me because this is my ship.”

“My disapproval of one aspect of mountain climbing does not signify that I find the entire sport negative. Mountain climbing is a good physical activity which gives humans vast amounts of confidence and satisfaction with their effort and success.”

Mollified, Jim motioned at Spock. “All right, hit me with something that I can’t look up on the net.”

Spock, predictably, had to think for a moment. Was the guy entirely made up of facts and figures, easily accessed via database?

“I am a grandmaster chess player.”

Jim leaned forward a little in interest. “I play chess. I mean, I was never in a chess club and most of the time I played with a computer, but hey, something in common. Do you like chess or should I just write for the third time ‘he’s smart and might know everything in the universe?’”

“I relish the game,” Spock said. “Perhaps one day we can play a match.”

“That would be cool.”

Jim’s eyes widened in realization—they were getting along! Not only did they have something in common, but it was something that lent itself to future moments of peace between them.

“It is your turn,” Spock reminded him.

“All right. Favorite book?”


Weeks three and four passed much smoother. Jim suddenly saw the brilliance in McCoy’s plan. Thinking about and going over the good qualities of Spock at least ten times a week made the negative things seem less important. This had forced them to interact, and really, Jim wondered if they couldn’t have solved their problems from the beginning if they’d been locked in a room for a week or so. The list was easier to make, and good thing it was because he’d rather spend his time engaging in his new hobby, beating Spock at chess.

They’d been equally surprised when Jim won their first game, and from then on Jim won most of the time (78.2% of the time, Spock informed him.) That had been #9 on week 3’s list, ‘Spock isn’t a sore loser.’ Week 4 started out momentous with ‘Spock has a wicked sense of humor’ after Spock had responded to Chekov’s earnest, ‘It was just a little joke, Sir,’ with ‘extremely little, Ensign.’ By week 5, Jim had no trouble coming up with a list in one day, freeing him for the rest of the week.

Week 6 marked trouble. Jim had been bored out of his mind on the bridge, doodling in the margins of the halfway finished list when he glanced over at Spock bending over his scanner and thought, ‘damn that’s a nice ass.’ He’d startled and dropped his PADD, then sheepishly had to get up and retrieve it under the weight of a dozen stares. Where the hell had that come from? Shaking it off, Jim tried to get back to finishing his list, but suddenly the blank spaces were being filled in his imagination with things like ‘legs like a fucking gazelle’ and ‘looks good in form-fitting pants.’ Jim put the PADD away and tried to focus on other things, failing miserably.

It was like he had opened a floodgate and out came a whole rush of liquid sex. Even after he’d completed his weekly list, he couldn’t help thinking about it, thinking of Spock’s rockin’ body and the fact that, apparently, Jim wouldn’t mind being manhandled. It was a good thing that Spock was taken, because the guilt incurred from imagining Spock riding him in the captain’s chair was the only thing keeping him from spending all his time dwelling on it.

Week 7 hated Jim Kirk, because Spock and Uhura broke up. He’d never jerked off so much in his life.

Week 8 was to be the last week. McCoy had personally come to Jim and told him how proud he was of his captain (or, well, he‘d said that it was about damn time they nut up and shut up.) Technically, McCoy didn’t require Jim to finish a list for this week, but Jim still wanted to finish it because now he was sort of fond of it. The lists had made him and Spock friends and whatever sexual frustration it had foisted on Jim, he had to admit that he owed McCoy a drink or twenty.

The difference between this list and the first was as different as night was to day.

1. He’s fucking brilliant, even by Vulcan standards.

2. He’s loyal to a fault, sacrificing himself like an idiot for everyone, but I can trust him when I’ve never trusted anyone before.

3. He doesn’t lie or sugarcoat things, so I know where I stand with him.

4. He can make up the most beautiful music off the top of his head.

5. He always has my back.

6. He tries to pretend he has no emotions, but just give him a never-before-seen species of plant and he’s babbling all bright-eyed like a kid who just found out that there’s a free candy store buried under his house.

7. Once in a while he’ll take shore leave with me even though he says it’s completely pointless for a Vulcan.

8. He works daily with his ex-girlfriend and there is no tension between them.

9. He actually tucked me in the other day when I was bone tired after a long mission.


Jim started to write, ‘he’s beautiful’ but dropped his stylus as the thought occurred to him. Jim had eventually gotten used to being in lust with his first officer and friend because that was relatively harmless and he was only human, but this was something else entirely, and the horrible realization hit Jim:

He loved Spock.

He cursed himself for wanting to finish the damn list, shut it down, and went to lay in the dark, not sleeping.


Jim still thought of their relationship in terms of weeks. Week 12 saw him and Spock in Spock’s quarters, enjoying a game of chess. Right in the middle of a tense moment, they were interrupted by someone in the science labs needing Spock’s help real fast. Jim had offered a rain check on the game, but Spock assured him it would only take a few minutes and thus left him in his room alone.

Feeling pathetic, Jim immediately got to his feet when Spock was gone and started looking at everything closely like a lovesick teenager, hands lingering over Spock’s harp and firepot, breathing in the exotic incense and imagining what that would smell like mingled with the smell of sex. When he turned to sit on Spock’s bed and delve even further into his imagination, his hip caught on a bookshelf and a few things came rattling down. One of them was the identical PADD from McCoy that contained Spock’s lists. Curiosity got the better of him and he sat on the bed with it, intending to just read the first couple of lists because they must be entertaining as hell now and it was very unlikely they’d contain anything too personal.

Jim laughed out loud at some of them.

1. Captain Kirk expends carbon dioxide which is necessary for the respiration of terran plant life.

4. Captain Kirk amuses his friends.

7. Captain Kirk was not illogical today.

Chuckling, Jim did a cursory search for ‘illogical’, wondering just how many times that word cropped out. The next was from week 3, ‘The Captain enjoys illogical pursuits, yet can give them merit where few could.’ That must have been from the mountain climbing discussion. The next was from week 6. ‘It was illogical of me to think the captain would not trust me to follow his orders when he has proven to be a fair and trustworthy individual.’ Jim warmed from that one. So Spock trusted him too. That must have been when Jim had ordered Spock to stay with the ship while Jim ventured into a hostage situation, arguing that it was going to be hard enough for just one of them to negotiate with the paranoid terrorists let alone adding another that wouldn’t know how to apply the right amount of bullshitting involved in empathizing with known murderers.

The final ‘illogical’ was in the last list, and Jim smiled when he realized that Spock was as a big a geek as he was, finishing out a list that wasn’t required. He almost didn’t read it because it was likely going to be personal as hell, but the temptation was too great and he would have bet a thousand credits that there wasn’t anything he didn’t know written there.

10. Jim compels me to behave illogically, incites me to go against my Vulcan teachings, yet for his hand I would forever turn my back on it all.

Jim stared at the writing, wanting to rub his eyes to make sure it was real. His hand? Did that mean…

Of course, that was when Spock walked in. He took one look at the PADD and one look at Jim’s flummoxed expression and swiftly put them together.

“This is a breach of my privacy,” Spock said, almost angry. Jim powered down the PADD, about to come up with a winning lie that he’d only read the first couple of lists before he looked closer at Spock. Spock was flushed like he was embarrassed. His eyes wouldn’t meet Jim’s, and now that Jim thought about it, angry wasn’t the right word. Panicked fit much better.

Jim stood up and threw the PADD to the bed behind him. Spock, misinterpreting the gesture and Jim’s serious expression, straightened to his full height like he was preparing himself to be punched in the face.

Instead, Jim marched straight up to Spock and kissed him. Spock almost instantly deflated, lips softening and parting slightly on a relieved sigh. Jim pulled his mouth away and moved it to Spock’s ear.

“You going to report my misconduct?” Jim whispered.

Spock shuddered. “I—believe that certain reparations can be made.”

Jim later added a number 11 to the last list just for fun.

11. Spock is great in bed.