He’d thought about it for a long time. Commander Spock was nothing if not a deep thinker, and this particular issue was one of the most important he’d ever faced—indeed, perhaps THE most important outside of his duties.
How does one tell his commanding officer that he is in love with him?
After nearly two decades in Starfleet, both at the Academy and on board various ships, Spock had had plenty of opportunities to observe human courtship rituals. In addition, there was copious literature available on the subject, everything from scholarly sociology tomes to popular literature (some of it amazingly…explicit) and holo-vids of the “rom-com” genre. However, much of the information in question did not seem relevant to Spock’s particular need. For example, he could not imagine gifting Jim with a stuffed ursine, nor could he see any benefit in pretending a romantic interest in another crew member in order to arouse Jim’s jealousy. That seemed not only counterproductive but also cruel, both to Jim and to the hypothetical crew member being used as a decoy. Moreover, Spock was 98.7% certain that there was no need to resort to ploys in order to obtain Jim’s affection. The obstacles they’d faced together, the relationship that they had forged, those moment when Spock looked up from the chessboard and found those golden eyes regarding him with a certain wistfulness—all of this indicated that Jim would be open to a declaration of romantic interest from Spock (and thanks to Starfleet regulations, Spock had to be the one to make the first move; a superior officer could not proposition one of lower rank, lest the appearance of quid pro quo for future advancement be introduced).
Yes, Spock was 98.7% certain his advances would be welcomed---but there was that 1.3%, and as long as that number existed, Spock was determined to come up with an approach that would obliterate that nagging small percentage. But what approach? That remained an open question—and a vexing one.
Jim switched off his viewer and leaned back in his chair, rubbing his eyes. Paperwork, even in the 24th century, was a pain in the ass, but it was part of the captain’s duties, and despite the fact that Spock sneakily siphoned off as much of the routine work as he could and did it for Jim, there was still plenty in the in-box at the end of the day. However, as Jim reflected for about the millionth time, his job would be so much harder than it was if it wasn’t for the rock that was Spock, always there to help him, advise him, protect him, and offer the kind of steadfast friendship that Jim had never experienced with anyone else in his life. Jim never ceased to marvel at the fact that an “unemotional” Vulcan was his greatest emotional support. Jim smiled—and sighed softly. He suspected that his “unemotional” Vulcan might be harboring much deeper feelings that either of them had acknowledged, but as the one higher in rank, Jim couldn’t say anything, and even if that weren’t true, he’d never risk Spock’s friendship by pressuring him to take their relationship to a level that no doubt Spock had never even considered. And yet…and yet….Jim sighed again. He was almost certain Spock wanted more, too, but he wasn’t 100% certain, and without that 100%--and without Spock speaking up first—there seemed nothing Jim could do.
His door buzzed, breaking into Jim’s thoughts. He glanced at his chronometer. It was past 2300 hours, but the command crew knew that Jim was a night owl, so late visitors weren’t that uncommon. Maybe Bones needed to talk over a case. “Come,” Jim called out. The door swished open to reveal Spock, dressed casually for him in a thick forest green sweater and black pants.
Jim felt a welcoming smile spread over his face. “Hey, Spock. Come in. I just finished the month’s requisitions, so at least I can cross that off my list.” He got to his feet. “I think I’ll have a nightcap; would you like some tea, or is it too late in the day for caffeine?” He took one step towards the replicator but stopped as Spock didn’t respond, didn’t say a word, didn’t even move away from the door once he’d stepped inside. He simply stood there, those dark brown, almost black eyes enormous in the subdued light, staring at Jim almost as if he had never seen him before. Jim moved around the desk towards Spock, suddenly concerned.
“Spock? Are you ok?” he asked softly. “Is something wrong?”
Suddenly, all the hours of thought, all the weeks of hesitation, didn’t matter anymore. Spock knew exactly what to do. One simple step forward, and he and Jim were face-to-face. Spock reached out and laid his hands against Jim’s face, feeling the cool skin and faint roughness of stubble against his fingers. Jim stood still, eyes locked on Spock’s face, but the look of worry was fading, to be replaced by something that looked very much like joy.
“Jim,” Spock said simply. He took that last, necessary step forward and pressed his lips to Jim’s brow, breathing in Jim’s scent, projecting all his love and desire for this extraordinary being. Even if Jim moved away, this one moment was worth everything.
But Jim didn’t move away. Spock felt the human’s arms slide around him, holding him close, and he lifted his lips from Jim’s forehead, shifting to meet Jim’s gaze.
Jim smiled. “Yes,” he said, and their lips met. They were separate no longer. They would never be separate again.