It took Jim awhile to catch on, but then after dying and only miraculously coming back to life because of Evil Superman’s (aka Khan’s) blood, he thought he could be excused. He was too caught up in the just-happy-to-be-alive after glow to notice that he’d suddenly developed a second shadow.
And Spock was his first officer. It was natural for the guy to be underfoot on occasion. ‘Occasion’ being the key word.
But after a while, when ‘whew, still here, still breathing, life is fabulous’ became, ‘Geesh Spock, this is the third time I’ve tripped over you today’ he did start to wonder.
The thing was, Spock was everywhere he was. Away missions were a given, Spock had always insisted on accompanying him on those, even before Spock had liked him – back during the days when they were warily getting to know one another. (It took a few months, even beyond saving the Earth for Spock to see Jim as more than the young punk who cheated on his test; and for Jim to see Spock as anything other than the guy with a stick planted so far up his ass he doubted a team of surgeons with miles of certifications after their names could extract it). But every dinner, lunch and breakfast Jim took in the mass hall, Spock was there.
Not that Jim was complaining. He enjoyed being with Spock. Hell, Spock was one of the few people who, prior to the whole Khan thing, he wouldn’t have minded with hanging out with more. But, Spock had a girlfriend. A girlfriend who had taken to looking at Spock lately with a similar ‘what the ever loving hell?!’ expression Jim was sporting.
And when Spock had started escorting Jim to his quarters after a shift, and started showing up at his door in the morning to accompany him to breakfast, Jim figured it was time for an intervention.
Jim had been independent as a toddler – he most certainly didn’t need or want a minder as an adult.
“Uh Spock, I’m okay,” Jim announced the following day, when Spock had showed up at his door yet again. “You know. Alive. Never better. I know it was hairy there for a while and I can’t pretend to know what that was like for my nearest and dearest, particularly for you, who had already lost so much, to watch me die like that. But really, I’m good. And I think Uhura is starting to feel a bit neglected.”
Spock looked at him with dark, unblinking eyes, one eyebrow at half mass as if weighing Jim’s words and finding them asinine.
“Let’s get you to your morning, meal, Jim,” he said, motioning with his hand for Jim to lead.
Jim sighed. Okay then. So much for the direct approach.
It was time to call for reinforcements.
“So you’re boyfriend has decided his job description includes sentry duty and it’s starting to freak me out,” Jim announced to Uhura over his desk.
He had called her into a meeting into conference room #1 – the last recluse Jim had at his disposal that Spock wouldn’t attempt to follow him into… which might have something to do with the fact that it was right next to the Bridge and the only way in and out of it was through the bridge, where Spock currently sat, in Jim’s chair, covering for him.
Jim let out sigh, despondent. When Old Other-Universe Spock had said that theirs would be a life-altering friendship, he didn’t think that somehow translated to glued-at-the-hip.
“Yes, as I’ve pointed out to him at least once a day for the past two weeks,” Uhura replied, amusement shining from her eyes.
“Well can’t you, I don’t know, call him off? Assert your girlfriend-ly right to some of the times he’s wasting guarding me from the numerous threats I’m sure to encounter from my quarters to the bridge – you know, that infamous location where I’m told the boogeyman might reside?”
Uhura raised an eyebrow at him.
Jim thought the trait must be contagious.
“Were Spock and I still dating I would certainly do that. But since we are not, there’s only so much I can advise Spock… as his friend.”
“You guys broke up?!” Jim exclaimed, “when did that happen?”
“We agreed, mutually, just prior to the mission starting,” she said calmly, as if she hadn’t just dropped a bombshell on him.
So Spock was single?
We-ell… that just opened up a whole new can of worms.
Thoughts and feelings Jim had long since buried started to wake again anew, slowly rising back to the surface as Jim absorbed that bit of information.
First and foremost, Jim wasn’t a home-wrecker, even if he swung for both teams, as it were. And both Spock and Uhura were his friends… however, now that they were no longer seeing each other…
And this certainly did put Spock’s behavior in a new light – a light that went beyond being over protective because his friend and captain had briefly died.
Which meant that Jim’s once buried feelings might be reciprocated…
“Oh,” Jim told Uhura, planning.
That night, when Spock showed up at his door for dinner, instead of meeting him out in the hallway, Jim invited Spock inside…
Where a candlelit dinner for two was quietly waiting.
When Spock saw the table, he froze, eyes going wide.
It was a marvel to Jim that people thought Vulcans were emotionless. They showed emotions fine, one just had to know the proper means of eliciting them out to the surface.
It was a skill Jim was particularly good at.
“It occurred to me,” Jim said, “the circumstances which led to my death are hardly present during everyday life on-board our ship. And then I got to thinking, maybe there’s more to Spock’s over-protectiveness then just the, you know, protecting part of it. Am I wrong?”
Spock’s reply was soft, barely audible.
Luckily, there was nothing wrong with Jim’s hearing.
“No, you are not wrong.”
“So that’s what he meant by life-altering,” Jim announced, walking to stand before Spock.
The edges of Spock’s mouth quirked in a would-be grin and Jim thought, as he leaned in for a kiss, that having Spock underfoot might not be such a bad thing after all.