Normally, James T. Kirk found some twisted pleasure in proving Spock's claims about the superiority of the Vulcan race to be incorrect. He was making leaps of progress in this private little mission of his.
He'd already managed to disprove the statement, "Vulcans have no emotions." Everyone that had been under that assumption but present on the bridge of the Enterprise to see the Vulcan then acting captain nearly kill the current captain by strangulation because he was, that's right, emotionally compromised could not possibly be in agreement with that assumption about Vulcans anymore. It was quite clear that Spock at least, as a Vulcan, certainly has emotions. Frequent sparring sessions between him and his first officer was clearly the human's method to try to disprove that Vulcans had significantly more strength than humans. Though by now, Kirk was beginning to accept that one, having gotten beaten soundly by Spock with practically every single session. One statement he desperately wanted to disprove, but was never able to get evidence to the contrary, was "Vulcans do not get sick."
However, that got shoved aside for what was occurring right in front of him, which instantly made his latest investigation, "Vulcans are vegetarians." When Uhura had briefed all landing parties that the native culture of the planet was heavily carnivorous, Kirk was determined to see if Spock ate anything, and if he did, what it was that he ate. His opportunity came after several days on the planet. It was at another diplomatic negotiations-disguised-as-a-festival situation in which yet another elaborate banquet was held once the agreement or treaty or whatever the technical term they decided to call it this mission was signed, sealed, and delivered back to Starfleet. It was at this banquet all the way from across the humungous hall, might he add, that Jim spied his first officer at this charming planet's chief ambassador's side standing a little stiffer than usual, as though desperate to appear normal and in control. Jim leaned back in his chair at the table, ready to watch his first closely for the whole night if necessary.
"Jim, I've scanned everything, and so help me if you're allergic to any of this stuff that I have on this plate, this will be more embarrassing for you than it is for me."
Jim Kirk looked at his chief medical officer out of the corner of his eyes, a lopsided smirk playing at his mouth. "Going to go with me on the transporter to rescue me from death and disease?" He snatched a bright magenta item from his friend's plate and popped it into his mouth, finding the taste pleasant but not the texture. He tried to hide the grimace with an exaggerated grin.
"I saw that face!" McCoy growled at Jim. Apparently, his grin was a little too exaggerated. "Can't let me tell you what it is first before you go leaping before looking, can you?"
"Nope," said Jim, this time smiling genuinely at his oldest friend.
"Hate transporters, Jim. That's why I have your kit right here with me." He patted the medical bag he had slung across his chest. Jim knew that in there was the special bag labeled ‘Jim's Allergy Kit.' Bones moved the plate a little further away from Kirk so that he could talk without the younger man eating something else for which he might not be prepared. "Almost everything here is meat, just so you know. Makes me wonder what our resident hobgoblin's going to be nibbling tonight. Seems to me that whatever's not a chunk of meat cooked in every way imaginable has meat added to it somewhere!"
Jim looked at Bones's rather colorful and highly piled plate for a long moment, trying to figure out the truth of that statement. As far as he could tell everything really did seem to contain meat in some way. But that can't be possible, could it? Wherever he was in this throng, Jim was sure to wager that Scotty was somewhere fully contented by the food options. He remembered the time he'd tried to convince everyone to sample some haggis for his birthday but very few people had the courage at first. Once Jim had announced that they would all probably be forced to sample more frightening things than haggis by the natives of unknown planets by the time their tour of duty was over, very few people were left that had not sampled the haggis, which resulted in a very pleased chief engineer. Among the very few who still abstained was a certain Vulcan science officer.
"How come you didn't have Spock check for allergies?" he asked. He'd almost gotten used to spending much more time with his first officer ever since Rand accidentally tried to kill him with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich two months ago. With Spock practically following him all over the ship making sure Jim didn't so much as breathe in anything he shouldn't was at times reassuring, and at other times annoying. Either way, though, he'd gotten used to it.
Bones rolled his eyes. "If you haven't noticed the whole time we were here, this whole treaty agreement is all thanks to your Vulcan's diplomatic skills, since yours need some serious refining, and our lovely communications officer who can miraculously understand as many languages as I can cure alien sicknesses!"
Jim lost his train of thought for a moment at Bones's statement. He briefly had the thought of Uhura and Spock. Were they still together? Were they ever really together? He looked over at the amount of crew personnel and native inhabitants of the planet spread all about the large room. He saw Uhura standing in a tiny crowd with Sulu, Chekov, several others from communications, one or two of the beefy security members, and a number of the natives. She seemed to be heading a friendly chatter among everyone. Serving as interpreter, no doubt. He watched her for a long while and noticed that not once did she look anywhere else other than her large group.
Distantly, Jim realized that Bones was still talking. "He can't be your little food minder forever. Besides I let you eat normally - what you call normally, anyway - again last week. Do you want to drop over again trying to breathe because you ate something you weren't supposed to?"
Jim pretended to be offended as he completely ignored most of McCoy's rant. He tried to go back to the original discussion as much as possible. "Hey, I understand tons of languages."
Bones actually snorted in reply. "When you're trying to charm someone into-" He hesitated as he tried to finish the sentence. "Actually, with you it doesn't even have to be a bed."
"Bones, come on!" replied Kirk, this time truly offended, just a little. "You, of all people, should know my reputation is just that - a reputation."
"Sometimes I'm not so sure."
Kirk was almost stunned to silence. Almost. In retaliation, he snagged another item that looked close to grilled chicken and chomped viciously on it. There was no way he'd be able to look nearly as vicious and savagely offended were he forced to angrily nibble on a lettuce leaf.
As he thought of lettuce and the earlier conversation before it became about him, Jim found his gaze back on Spock, who was still standing next to the ambassador. He suddenly felt a twinge of sympathy for Spock. How could a vegetarian eat anything in a totally carnivorous culture? Then, again, maybe Spock-the-Perfect-Vulcan was really a carnivore masquerading as a vegetarian just to enhance his alienness. But that didn't make sense either. Someone as private as Spock would certainly not want to draw attention to himself by being different...would he? I mean, other than the differences that were clearly out of his control such as the pointed ears and slanted eyebrows, not to mention that amazing vocabulary which was no doubt a product of his amazingly brilliant mind.
Why was he all by himself? That was odd. Jim realized that Bones was right that the success of this mission was completely due to Spock and Uhura. Shouldn't they be talking about how awesome they did somewhere together? Or celebrating their success privately somewhere? Shouldn't Uhura be showing off her great-at-diplomacy boyfriend? Shouldn't they-
Everything that he'd been thinking left his mind as Jim saw Spock delicately pick up, briefly examine - if his staring at the object as he quickly rotated it in his grip was anything to go by - the thing, and then eat what Kirk was certain was...a piece of the same thing he'd just eaten. The piece of meat that closely resembled grilled chicken. His blue eyes widened in shock.
He knew it!
Jim didn't pause to look where his hand was slapping as he hissed, "Bones!"
He heard a choking noise before a raspy, "what?"
Jim was still staring over at Spock. "He just ate something."
Bones sighed. "To quote the pointy-eared bastard, ‘Fascinating.'"
Jim swiveled in his seat and stared hard at his friend. "No, he just ate meat!" He realized that his friend did not nearly find this factoid as interesting as he did since he'd gone back to enjoying the local cuisine. "Bones, do you know what this means?"
"No, and I'm not sure I care that much either," was the replying around a mouthful of whatever he was eating.
"It disproves another Vulcan myth! ‘Vulcans are vegetarians?' Sound familiar? Spock just ate meat, therefore he's not a vegetarian." Jim felt a smile spread on his face at this idea as he glanced back at Spock, who accepting a meat item that the ambassador was handing over to him. Jim watched excitedly as Spock and the ambassador both took a bite of the meat simultaneously. Spock looked as stoic as ever. This was going to be amazing to throw at his first later. Was Spock this excited when he had a breakthrough in the science labs? Oh, wait, ‘Vulcans don't feel emotions.' But thanks to him disproving that one, Jim knew they did. He bet Spock practically did a Vulcan version of a happy dance when he discovered something new, but humans simply didn't recognize it as a Vulcan happy dance. He couldn't wait to confront Spock about his non-vegetarianism when they got back to the ship.
"Jim," began McCoy in a tone that made him sound like he was lecturing a child rather than his superior officer or even his friend. "Just because Spock ate a piece of meat at a social dinner does not mean he isn't a vegetarian. Maybe he's trying not to cause a political scene by refusing to eat it, and tick off the whole planet, thus endangering the fragile treaty he'd just managed to secure? You'd probably learn something about diplomacy if you actually paid attention during negotiations."
Jim threw himself back in his chair with a satisfied smile, taking one last piece of ‘grilled chicken' from the doctor's plate as he went. He was only able to focus on one thing as he chewed ravenously, victoriously. "So not a vegetarian," he concluded.
As the familiar surroundings of his ship got clearer and more solid, Jim was already talking to McCoy. "That wasn't so bad, Bones, was it?" He leaped off the transporter pad and spun to watch his friend stagger off the platform, running his hand along one of the walls as he fiercely glared at Jim. He was talking but completely unintelligibly, all of it coming out in an aggravated but sick-sounding mumble. Without saying anything - at least anything understandable - to anyone, Doctor McCoy left the transporter room.
Kirk watched the rest of the group leave the pad. Chekov - who seemed barely awake anymore - was practically being dragged away by Sulu, who shook his head at his captain as he passed, a soft chuckle escaping. Kirk couldn't help but laugh back softly. Scotty still had some of the local cuisine in one hand as he was talking quietly to Uhura about the similarities of the planet's native food to the dining options back in his native Scotland. Uhura seemed genuinely interested. Scotty raised what seemed to be the smoked leg of some small creature at Kirk in a form of salute. Uhura turned when the engineer did this to face Kirk.
"Ny-" He held up his hands to mean no offense meant as he corrected himself. "Uhura." He flashed a little smile. Would he ever be allowed to use her first name? You would think after this long they'd be at that point by now. Apparently not. Maybe she was annoyed that he'd inadvertently monopolized her boyfriend's time for the last few months. But if she had issues with that, her problem should be with McCoy, not him. Bones picked Spock for the job of ‘Jim's Dietician,' so it was al his fault! But either way, it wasn't what he wanted to say, but even so he couldn't resist how he ended up phrasing his speech. "Thanks for putting that talented tongue of yours to good use down there." He almost laughed as she tilted her head and glared at him. He immediately sobered. "No, really. You were awesome. Thanks for having it all under control."
For a second she looked surprised. She quickly recovered but only managed to nod at him. Obviously she still found it hard to believe that he could be serious. She shook her head then as she turned to leave the transporter room.
"Hey, Uhura!" She turned around and planted one hand on her hip. Clearly, he was delaying her from something important. "Would you thank your boyfriend for me?"
She looked at him with this strange expression that quite frankly confused Kirk. What? He wasn't supposed to encourage her to hang out with her own boyfriend? He thought she would have responded positively to that. He was practically saying, ‘Don't mind those anti-fraternization regs! Didn't stop you when Spock was acting captain, so why should it now?' But she didn't have to look at him like he'd just suggested that she should go and...and...well, do something worse than hang out with her own boyfriend!
Uhura pivoted slowly, as though she were lost in thought or something, and then left. Scotty followed her with a quick, "G'night, captain!" at Kirk. Then, more confused than ever, Kirk looked at the transporter room tech and then quietly dismissed him. The tech looked relieved to leave his station and he practically jogged out of the transporter room.
Kirk thought back to the events on the planet below and remembered that he had evidence to disprove the statement that ‘Vulcans are vegetarians.' With a smile, Jim Kirk headed towards his quarters, fully intending to have pleasant dreams revolving around a properly flustered and frustrated Spock as he informed his first officer that he was a bad example of a Vulcan for eating meat. Maybe he'd announce this on the bridge while on shift. Lightly embarrass him. It was always fun to do. Jim was convinced it improved crew morale to see their command team tease each other with some light-hearted debating, which usually ended up with a sparring session after their shifts during which the Vulcan would let out his offended non-feelings on his captain, with his unfair suus mahna advantage! Maybe one day he could convince Spock to teach him some of that.
However, as soon as Jim entered his quarters he heard something from behind the door to the bathroom he shared with Spock. The fresher room separated their quarters, which made things a whole lot easier when Jim had a simple question he had to ask Spock. Sure beat leaving his rooms, walking down the hall and then signaling at the Vulcan's door. Usually Spock was so quiet in the fresher that Kirk had to call through the door to make sure it was empty before he would go to shower before his shift on the bridge. One time he'd walked in on Spock as he was combing his hair into its normal shape, and by the way the Vulcan reacted, someone lounging on Jim's bed would have thought he'd caught Spock about to step out of the open shower or sonic unit wearing nothing but his stoic expression! If Spock reacted that strongly to "an invasion of privacy" when he was only styling his hair, Jim wondered how he would have reacted if he had walked in as Spock was coming out of the shower!
But at that moment, the sounds from the other side of the fresher door made it obvious that someone was in there. Jim approached the door slowly, wondering if he'd be reprimanded for once again invading Spock's privacy. It didn't sound like he was doing anything of the hot and sexy variety in there, which meant he had to be alone...or his partner was mute, that is if there was a partner in there with Spock.
When he heard a dull thud hit the floor of the fresher, Jim found himself right at the door. "Spock?"
He heard a cough from the other side and then his first's voice respond, albeit in a tone less firm than normal. "I require solitude, captain. Do not enter."
Jim realized that the voice was coming from closer to the floor than it should. That couldn't be a good sign. "Spock? Are you okay?"
Then there was a small...whimper? "I am fine."
"Fine?" Jim exclaimed, surprised. "You never use the word fine, so I know you're not fine, Spock."
"Captain, I assure you that I am function-"
The Vulcan's voice was cut off abruptly by the sounds of violent retching. "Spock?" The response Jim received was a gasp and then the sounds of more retching. By then, Jim didn't care. He signaled the door to open, and when it did and he looked down upon the crumbled form of his very ill first officer all thoughts of teasing him about not being a real vegetarian fled his mind.
The image of Spock on the floor of the fresher unit looking as close to helpless as he did stopped Kirk in midstride. The way Spock was propping himself up with his arms, one vainly clutching the countertop while the other rested flat on the floor and covered in the Vulcan's expelled vomit, was a pitiful sight. His legs lay at an angle that clearly revealed that the Vulcan had remained in the position in which he'd collapsed. His breathing was a little more labored than normal, even after a sparring session, which alarmed Kirk. But what brought Kirk out of his staring at his first officer was when the fallen Vulcan's head tilted back and his eyes looked at him with an unspoken plea.
Spock's eyes looked so much like a child when he looked up at Kirk at that moment. Like a confused and ill child who didn't understand why he had just expelled everything in his stomach.
Jim, released of his momentary paralysis, crouched down next to Spock, trying valiantly to ignore the scent of non-human stomach bile mixed with whatever was partially digested but now on the fresher floor. "Spock," he began, just as confused as the other male looked. "I-" He finished the sentence in his mind. ‘-have no idea how to help a sick Vulcan.' He wasn't even sure how to care for a sick human really...anyone sick. That was McCoy's job, not his. Kirk's skills in taking care of someone was rather lax, considering the only person to ever care for him in any way was Bones, who was not the best example of bedside manner by medical standards. However, when Kirk compared him to the loving abandonment of his mother throughout his entire life, Bones's gruff caretaking methods were fantastic.
"Captain," came Spock's voice in a raspy whisper. "I told you that I required solitude."
He sounded exhausted. At least that was similar to humans - being sick uses quite a bit of energy. Unconsciously, Kirk smiled at the revelation of something in common.
Unfortunately, Spock was watching him. "Is there something about my-" Spock drew in another labored breath. "-situation that amuses you?"
That sobered Kirk instantly. "No, I - uh - I'm just...not sure what to do."
Spock closed his eyes and...actually sighed! "You can do nothing for me. It is a reaction to ingesting a particular food to which I do not react well."
For a fleeting second Kirk wondered if Spock had any type of food allergies like him. Wouldn't that be something? Both commanding officers of one ship having serious allergy problems! Maybe Spock's had something to do with his hybrid biology. Then, suddenly, he began to piece together the problem.
Vulcans are vegetarians. Spock, a Vulcan, ate meat...
...Bones was right. Well, he was right too. Vulcans do get sick. But at this point, Kirk thought it would be just plain mean to shove that in Spock's face now!
"Come on, Spock, let's get you to Sickbay." Kirk went to take Spock's arm, but found it out of his reach when Spock feebly shifted away.
"No, Captain. I will not go to Sickbay."
Well, now he's being stubborn. "You're obviously sick. And you go to see a doctor when you're sick, right? So, you're going to Sickbay." Kirk reached towards Spock, but again the Vulcan jerked away, his soiled hand slipping in the vomit on the floor. But Kirk managed to grab hold of him and steady him. "Can you stand?"
Spock nodded, his jaw set stubbornly. Kirk was shocked at just how much emotion his first officer was displaying. Maybe sickness did that to a Vulcan. "But I would not be averse to assistance," Spock said quietly.
Kirk realized that Spock had just asked him for help in his own semi-disguised, Vulcany way. Kirk smiled a little as he took a firm grip on Spock's upper arms and steadied him as Spock got to his feet. He saw that Spock was shaking just a little, so he tightened his hold on him. Spock shuddered and his now-sallow hands came up and clutched at Kirk's arms tightly. Kirk knew he'd probably have bruises thanks to the inhuman strength in Spock's grip, but he'd get over it. He also ignored the rather gross hand holding onto his arm. The vomit on Spock's hand was now spreading on his gold captain's shirt, probably staining it. Kirk didn't care at this point. He cared that Spock was sick, needed to get better, and really had to stop looking so sad...and a little pathetic.
"Alright, Spock, let's call Bones and we'll get you to Sickbay." He began to lead Spock out of the fresher, but found himself restrained by the Vulcan's grip.
"I must not be seen like this."
Kirk stared. "Like what? Sick? We've all been there, Spock. Do you know how many times I've had to have Bones haul me back to our room when we were cadets? Do you know how many people in this crew probably saw someone else looking a lot worse than you right now?"
Spock shook his head. "That may be so, captain, but I am quite certain that none of these others to which you refer were Vulcans."
Kirk rolled his eyes. He ignored the comment. "How about we get you cleaned up a little and then get you to Sickbay?"
Spock nodded. "I believe that is an effective first course of action."
Kirk noticed that Spock became much more cooperative as he maneuvered him towards the shower unit. He managed to activate the water setting and was about to shove Spock into it, clothes and all, just to get the vomit off. Kirk admitted to himself that he really had no idea what he was doing. He tried to urge Spock into the spray of the shower, but saw that the Vulcan's eyes were clenched shut and he was flinching away from the door. "What's wrong?"
"I-I only use the sonic setting."
"Spock, sonics won't get the puke off you."
Spock hesitated, then looked at the water as though a cat that was reluctant to get fully groomed. "Would not then the sink be more appropriate rather than attempting to drown me?" It struck Kirk suddenly how much like a child this sick Spock seemed.
"I'm not trying to drown you," he replied with a soft chuckle. "I'm trying to help you."
Spock looked at him with such a stubborn expression that it demanded he look at him in return. "I do not wish to bathe in the water setting, nor will I go to Sickbay."
Kirk huffed. This was getting ridiculous. "So you'd rather stay here in this bathroom with only your pile of puke over there for company? Just stop being stubborn and go to Sickbay later!"
"No, captain!" Spock almost shouted. At least if he were human he would have shouted. He tore himself from Kirk's steadying support and braced himself as best as he could against the wall. He closed his eyes for an extra moment to compose himself a little before continuing, though with less stability than he would have preferred. "I will not be Doctor McCoy's experiment!"
Kirk froze. "His...experiment? What-" Then, as he looked at Spock it became clear. He saw Spock close his eyes and clench his jaw. He suddenly understood. "Okay, Spock, okay. What do you want, then?"
"I need to rest. This will pass on its own. I do not need to be poked and prodded by another member of medical personnel when they have insufficient knowledge to treat me."
Kirk deactivated the water shower. "Okay. Rest it is. In your quarters or..."
Spock nodded. He made an effort to leave the fresher on his own, but when he stumbled a little, Kirk was there to steady him again. If the situation was more of a social visit that brought him to Spock's quarters, Kirk would have looked around a little more. But his attention was on Spock and on getting him safely in his sleeping alcove. "You know, though, you should probably change out of anything with puke on it."
"A wise suggestion, captain," Spock agreed, even though he seemed to have no intention of getting a change of clothes, at least not with Kirk still in the room.
"I'll let you change. And besides, someone's gotta clean up the mess you made in there." Kirk tried to smile at Spock, but realized that his smile was wasted since Spock was not looking at him.
"It was not my intention to...I believe the human term is ‘trash' the fresher."
Kirk's smile grew. "I believe you just tried to make a joke, Spock." Without waiting for a response, he began to return to the fresher. With his hand on the doorjamb he looked back, seeing Spock walking shakily towards his wardrobe, his hand running along the wall for balance. "Don't be afraid to comm. me if you need anything, alright?"
"Vulcans do not feel fear."
Kirk shook his head, deciding that to throw the fact that he'd already disproved that a certain Vulcan did indeed feel...and that he was fully capable of feeling fear at Spock when he was sick would be unfair. He'd wait for another time...maybe forever. In light of suddenly needing to care for a sick Vulcan, trying to prove false all the things said about Vulcans seemed incredibly pointless.
After Spock was forced to endure the indignity of his captain - who'd also changed clothing - seeing him violently ill a second time in one night, he was determined to attempt something that he'd learned long ago was appreciated by humans. He was ready to extend a proverbial olive branch in an attempt to thank Kirk for his patience. This is how Spock found himself wrapped in a thick blanket in the chair at his desk, staring at the tiered board in front of him, awaiting his captain.
Kirk knew that Spock would have been humiliated to summon a yeoman to take care of the evidence of his second stomach-emptying on the floor at the side of his bed. Spock was unable to get out of his bed to vomit properly in the fresher. He had started to take care of the mess himself, getting sufficient supplies from the fresher once he was able to move about again, but was interrupted by his communicator chirping at him. That resulted in Kirk coming into his quarters, through the fresher that connected them, to find a very sick Spock trying to clean up vomit from the floor.
When Kirk went back into the fresher Spock thought that his captain was too disgusted by his illness to be in the room. However, he was admittedly surprised when only minutes later, Kirk returned with a bucket. "Come on, Mister Spock. Let's get you comfy somewhere else," he'd said.
"I am perfectly capable of cleaning my own floor," Spock said, his nausea making him far less intimidating than normal. He continued to attempt cleaning. He did not even hear Kirk come closer until his wrist was caught in the human's hand.
"I know, but would it kill you to let someone help you?"
Spock looked up at him and saw that the man seemed sincere. The idea of someone helping him voluntarily with no expectations of reward or an ulterior motive was completely alien to Spock. In normal circumstances he would not have trusted himself to accept help from anyone if he could accomplish the task himself, but in that moment Spock was too ill to want to refuse aid. He simply sat back and leaned against the side of his bed. Spock was unable to stop a shiver.
Then, Kirk had allowed a tiny smile at him. Then, he stood up and snatched the topmost blanket from his first officer's bed. "First thing is to get you settled somewhere else. I need space to work."
Spock looked up at Kirk, who stood over him with the blanket spread wide in his hands. He tilted his head at the captain. "What are you doing?"
"Well, you need to get up so we can wrap you in this and get you sitting down somewhere." Spock would later deny vigorously that he'd sighed aloud before he managed to get to his feet. He was thankful that Kirk knew enough about Vulcans not to try to wrap him in the blanket. Spock managed to do it himself, even though he knew it was a little silly. But he remembered when he'd spoken to his mother during his first year at Starfleet Academy when he'd grown frustrated with the illogic and intrusive interactions with humans. She told him that he had to humor - or accept - human mannerisms sometimes if he expected to last on Earth surrounded by them. It was for such a reason, that he allowed himself to be stifled by a blanket. He did not approve of the constriction, or the lack of efficient movement.
Kirk guided him to sit in his desk chair and then he put the bucket down on the floor next to the chair. "For something to throw up in," he'd said, before he resumed Spock's activities of cleaning up the vomit. Spock almost pointed out Kirk's poor grammar, but decided he should not provoke him to anger. He was, after all, helping him...even if he had not asked for his assistance.
Kirk had disappeared from his quarters for a few minutes before returning, burdened with items. They were cleaning supplies. Spock had no idea where Kirk has managed to procure them so quickly. He watched silently as his commanding officer proceeded to wash the floor, disinfecting it of all bacteria as a last step. "Captain, why are you doing this?"
"People shouldn't have to be alone when they're sick and miserable."
"But I am not the latter."
Kirk looked at him like he didn't believe a word he'd just spoken. "Could've fooled me. Even a sick Vulcan looks miserable." Then, Kirk disappeared again through the fresher.
Spock remained sitting in the chair, unsure of what to do. He decided that if Kirk returned, which seemed likely considering his comment about being sick and alone, that he would try to convince him to play a game or two of chess. He didn't even know if the captain knew how to play. He hoped he did. He slowly moved about the cabin to fetch the tri-dimensional chess board from its storage place and brought it to his desk. With delicate care, he positioned the pieces in their starting points. This took a considerable amount of time. Then, Spock sat back in his chair. Kirk had still not returned. Perhaps he was not planning on returning unless he'd heard another emergency. For some reason, this idea displeased Spock. He remained in his chair, staring at the board, illogically hoping for company as he was sick.
He was jarred out of his reminiscing as the door to the fresher hissed open to reveal Kirk with a small smile. Spock instantly noticed that Kirk held something steaming in his hands. He looked at him inquiringly. Kirk seemed to understand the unspoken question. "I've heard tea is good for sick people. Bones thinks it's complete crap, but I just think he likes to hypo people. Me, especially." Kirk came towards Spock and slowly lowered himself into the other chair on the other side of the desk. "Figured you'd like something all natural and something that didn't come from anywhere near Sickbay. Ginger apparently helps upset stomachs - even yours, or I've been tricked by a pretty reliable source." Spock knew immediately the identity of the reliable source - his older counterpart. He would likely share similar taste in teas. He focused his attention back on Kirk. "I can't stand tea, though, so I get coffee." Kirk set the steaming tea down in front of Spock, making a point to avoid the elaborate chess set between them.
Spock continued to look at Kirk, not yet focused on the offered tea. "Are you certain that you should be consuming such a beverage at this time?"
Kirk smiled. "You mean so soon before bed?" When Spock inclined his head, Kirk actually chuckled. "I thought you were relieved from being my dietician."
Spock looked at him seriously. "As first officer it is my duty to ensure your health."
Kirk shook his head. "Don't worry, Spock. Coffee and I are good friends." He took a sip of his coffee and then seemed to be studying the complicated thing in front of him. "What is this thing?"
Spock stopped mid-sip of the ginger tea in surprise. Kirk didn't know. "It is a chess set." Kirk's eyes widened. Spock continued. "It is a tri-dimensional set, which requires more strategy and thought into each move, and offers a greater challenge between opponents to the game."
"I've only ever played the - you know - the flat one. I wasn't bad."
Spock watched as Kirk sipped his coffee. He looked down for a moment, studying his tea. He realized that he was hesitating. This wouldn't do. However, when he spoke, it was quiet and as hesitant as he felt. "If you wish, I could instruct you in the playing techniques."
When Spock looked up at Kirk, he saw that Kirk was softly smiling and nodding. "Awesome."
It was the worst time for Kirk's communicator to chirp. He was steadying Spock as the Vulcan was again violently ill in the fresher. At least they'd manage to get him in there this time. The previous time they did not make it. Spock was not sure he was ever more pleased to have a bucket near him than that moment. This time, Kirk's communicator was chirping insistently near the sink, but the human was holding onto one of Spock's arms, while the other rested on his back in a very human gesture of comfort and support.
"You must answer, captain," he managed to say just before he began dry heaving over their shared toilet unit.
He heard Kirk chuckle. "I think you can call me Jim, Spock. I've been here as you heave your guts out three times. Trust me, we're at that point." Spock heard him grab the communicator from the sink. "Kirk here." Spock tried desperately to be quiet as he continued to heave.
"Jim!" came the aggravated voice of Doctor McCoy. Once Spock recognized his voice, he was even more determined to be as quiet as possible. He did not want the doctor to barge into his quarters and admonish him for neglecting to go to Sickbay for treatment, especially when he was so close to recovery. "I was just sent more information on Vulcans - particularly those like your goddamn first officer - than I ever cared to know! You know the kind that are half-human and all!"
"Bones!" Kirk tried to interrupt, but clearly the doctor was having none of it.
"Thought Spock was the only one that is half-human, half-Vulcan! Anyway! Not the point. Point is that I have all these medical files about how to treat someone like Spock. Did you tell someone to send me this?"
"No," replied Kirk. "I might have talked to a Vulcan elder about how it's pretty stupid that we don't know much of anything about Vulcan anatomy or medicine because they're so tight-lipped about it, and that it made no sense to not know since one of them is on my ship."
Spock's stomach was calming down. He had been paying attention to the conversation so far, and was beginning to suspect certain things.
"This Vulcan you talked to named Selek by any chance?" asked McCoy.
Kirk smiled to himself. "Well, that's what he calls himself." Spock saw his captain's eyes focus on his for a moment. "At least sometimes."
"Well, think he'd think a thank you would be offensive and illogical?"
Kirk was still looking at Spock as though waiting for his reply. Spock shook his head. "No. Besides, I think Selek would like to hear from you, Bones."
"Now, what in the blazes is that supp-"
"Bye, Bones." Kirk ended the communication, and pocketed the little device before turning his attention back to Spock. "On your feet, science officer." He helped him up from the floor and let Spock make his way back into his quarters with his own power. Spock knew, though, that he was close enough to steady him if he needed to.
Kirk leaned against the room divider as Spock managed to get himself into bed. "Feeling better?"
Spock pulled his massive amount of blankets over his body as he reclined. "My illness has abated considerably. I should be well enough for duty."
When he finally got the blankets comfortably situated he was surprised to see Kirk put the cleaned bucket down at the side of his bed. "Just in case."
Spock watched Kirk begin to leave his cabin through the fresher door. "Captain," he called. The man turned to face him again and waited for him to continue. "Why did you have my other self provide Doctor McCoy with medical files?"
Kirk shrugged. "Because he's a great doctor, Spock. He cares about his patients even when he's yelling at them or jamming hypos into their necks. I was hoping that you might give him a chance if you knew that he knew what he was doing. His patients aren't experiments, ever. I don't know what kind of things you've had to deal with because doctors don't know how to treat you. So I thought Selek could give us all a little help to make things easier for you." He sighed. "I don't like hospitals either. I've had my share of them. But if Bones was there, then I know I'm safe. I know I don't have to be scared that someone will give me something I'm not supposed to get. I've had so many reactions to things." Then, he grinned just a little as though lost in a memory. "Bones says that I'm allergic to the universe and that I'm crazy to go exploring on a starship." Then, he grew serious again. "But my point is...Once he knows how to treat you he'll do everything to help you or save you and..." He looked directly at Spock, his blue eyes gazing compassionately into Spock's. "And you won't have to be afraid of hospitals, or doctors, or medicines anymore."
Spock was about to reply, but he was prevented because Kirk's communicator chirped again. He listened as he answered.
"Kirk, listen. Do you know how many strings I had to pull to get this to work?"
Kirk turned to head towards the fresher, his pace slow as though he wanted Spock to hear this conversation. "I'm sure more than you wanted to deal with, Chris."
"I'm talking to you as your superior not your friend, so Admiral or Admiral Pike or anything close to respect would work here, son." There was a slight pause as Kirk snorted. "Anyway, you're cleared to divert to the Vulcan colony to pick up Doctor M'Benga as soon as you finish your current assignment. Took a lot of convincing to get the Vulcans to let their favorite medical intern leave. They won't admit it, but I think they like him."
"I'm sure Spock will like to be treated by someone who's trained in Vulcan medicine. At least more than the crash course Bones is about to go through." Then, the doors to the fresher hissed closed behind Kirk's departure.
For the first time, Spock felt an emotion that he could not label. It was simpler than gratitude, and yet much deeper. If he were human, he would have simply said that he was touched.