Spock didn't make a habit of visiting bars or clubs like many of the other cadets at Starfleet. It would be illogical to waste one's time-consuming alcohol and interacting with strangers when one could be productive and use that time for better purposes. None the less he was at a bar close to the Academy tonight, apparently very popular amongst the other cadets who were all talking among themselves over drinks and behaving in, what Spock could only describe as, a very human manner; loud, inappropriate and emotional.
Most people did not dare approach him, scared off either by Vulcan heritage alone or his reputation at the Academy for being brutally honest and intimidating. Those intoxicated enough to brave a greeting left soon afterwards, discouraged by his lack of emotional response, and Spock was glad for it. He was not here to converse with random humans. He was here because of a date.
Spock had never entertained the thought of dating a human until he met Nyota Uhura. After all, most humans made their opinion on him very clear by either avoiding him completely or mocking him when they thought he couldn't hear them. That's why Nyota's interest in him had taken him somewhat by surprise, and when she suddenly asked him to accompany her for drinks in the middle of a conversation about the Klingon language he was ashamed to admit he had felt slightly flustered. None the less he had accepted her invitation, which led him to his presence at the bar tonight. Nyota had struck him as a complex and highly intelligent human. Exploring the idea of a relationship with her was only logical.
The only problem being that Nyota had yet to show up.
Having been a resident on Earth for a couple of years already, Spock had learned to tolerate and accept many forms of illogical human behaviour, one of them being lateness. It had baffled him at first that humans would often decide on an appropriate time to meet, only to then arrive late for the appointment they had set and been aware of. It really was illogical. In the end, he had learned to tolerate such behaviour from the illogical humans, knowing there was nothing he could do to change the actions of an entire race.
Waiting for someone for almost two hours, however, was pushing his tolerance to its breaking point, Vulcan patience be damned.
"Hey mate! You alright?"
Spock's head snapped up from where he had been staring at the counter while deep in thought and came face to face with the bartender who was eyeing him up and down while wiping off some glasses.
"I am functioning optimally."
His response earned him a nod from the bartender, who threw the towel over his shoulder and leaned over slightly, probably to make himself heard over the music playing in the background.
"It's just that you have been sitting there for over two hours now and the only thing I have served you is ice tea. You also keep looking at the door as if you expect someone to walk in at any moment. Got stood up?"
Spock spent a couple of seconds trying to wrap his head around what seemed to be yet another jumble of words which he had found made up an alarmingly big chunk of the Terran language. How they all understood one another would forever remain a mystery to him. "I have remained seated for the past two hours. So far nobody has attempted to forcibly eject me from my seat."
He felt inclined to feel offended when the bartender snorted into his hand, clearly trying to hold back laughter. The man quickly regained his composure though and turned back to Spock with a smile still on his face. "Sorry about that. I just didn't expect that as an answer."
Spock nodded his head. "There is no need to apologise where no offence was taken. I would, however, appreciate if you could explain the term that you used in your earlier enquiry. It is not one I have encountered before."
"Of course." The bartender picked up a glass and a bottle as he spoke, busy mixing drinks for the other patrons sitting at the counter. "To get stood up means that you have gone on a date, but the other person never showed up."
For a moment Spock sat silent and contemplated the information he had just received. "Do you believe I have been "stood up", as you would call it?"
The bartender shot Spock a look filled with what Spock could imagine was sympathy. "Mate, if they haven't shown up by now and hasn't contacted you all night, then yes you have been stood up." A new glass of ice tea was put in front of him. "On the house. Sorry mate." He then stepped over to attend to some customers on the other side of the bar, leaving Spock with a feeling in his chest he could only describe as hollow.
For several minutes he stared into his ice tea and pondered why Nyota had decided to not attend the date she had asked him on. Had he misunderstood her? Was it his mixed heritage? His thoughts were interrupted when some patrons a couple of seats away from him decided to take their leave, and two male cadets took their place. Spock found himself looking at them, observing their flirty behaviour and how they leaned into each other to talk over the music. He soon recognised one of the cadets as Jim Kirk, who he had only seen from afar but he knew had quite the reputation as a lover of all and a genius. He observed them for a while longer as Kirk leaned in to laugh into the other man's shoulder in apparent glee.
He also observed how the other man swiftly dropped a small capsule into Cadet Kirk's drink.
Spock was on his feet before he had even consciously made a decision to do so, marching over to the pair and grabbing a hold of the unidentified cadet's shoulder to tear him away from Cadet Kirk.
"Hey!" The cadet tried to break free from Spock's grasp but was unable to do anything against his Vulcan strength. "What the hell do you think you are doing?"
"It appears I should be the one asking you that question." Spock then ignored him in favour of locking eyes with a very confused Jim Kirk. "I would advise that you discard of your drink Cadet Kirk. I observed your companion dropping a capsule of an unknown substance into it, and I am 98,7% certain that its effect on you will be unfavourable."
Cadet Kirk looked at his drink and then back at Spock, his mouth open in obvious shock. "Are you serious? Oh my god I-"
"Get out of my bar!" The bartender interrupted Cadet Kirk, leaning over the counter to get right up into the other cadet's face. "Get out right this instant, and be very grateful that I am not calling the police! And don't you dare show your face here again." Leaning back, he gestured to Spock. "If you wouldn't mind?"
"Not at all." With that, Spock heaved the cadet over his shoulder, ignoring the kicking and screaming the action spurred, and dumbed him without ceremony right outside of the bar. The cadet quickly scrambled to his feet, rubbing the hip he had landed on and glaring at Spock.
"How dare you-"
He got no further as Spock took a step closer, almost relishing in the way that the other man flinched as he did so. Staring at the other with a completely blank face, Spock decided to use the intimidation he had become known for in a way he had never done before. "If you go near Cadet Kirk again, I will personally arrange a meeting between you and the head of the Academy so you can personally explain to them your reasoning for trying to drug and take advantage of another cadet."
"I did not-"
"I advise you to think over your future actions very carefully. Starfleet does not take kindly to sexual assault, even of the attempted kind." He was just about to turn around when he shot the other cadet one last blank look. "And should Starfleet fail to handle your punishment properly, I won't hesitate to take the matter into my own hands. Do I make myself clear cadet?"
Spock would forever be in denial over the smirk that graced his face as he watched the cadet flee for his life.
Spock zoned in on Cadet Kirk as soon as he re-entered the bar. The cadet was still sitting in the same seat he had occupied before, a glass of water now in front of him on the counter. Spock observed the bartender shooting Kirk concerned looks between serving drinks. Stepping up to the cadet, Spock waited for him to notice him before speaking. "Would you find it acceptable for me to occupy the seat next to you?"
He was slightly taken aback when the cadet actually gave a watery chuckle. "That's a complicated way of asking if the seat is taken." Spock watched on with concealed concern as Kirk wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "Go ahead. I could use the company."
Nodding in acceptance, Spock took a seat. "I wished to inquire about your wellbeing."
Once again Kirk laughed, but it sounded dead even to Spock's ears. "The guy who earlier this evening asked me to be his boyfriend just decided to try and drug and date-rape me. I think it's fair to say that I am feeling like crap."
"It is understandable."
"Thank you for that, by the way. I don't even want to think about what would have happened had you not come over to warn me. So thank you." Kirk's next smile, although small, looked relaxed and natural as his eyes connected with Spock's. Spock felt his heart beat harder in his side. How very odd.
Gulping down the last of his water, Kirk slammed the glass on the counter and hopped off his chair. "I should head back to the dorms. Even though nothing happened I really want to lie down."
Spock too stepped down from his seat. "If you do not wish to travel back alone, I see no trouble in escorting you." For reasons he could not understand, Spock found himself unwilling to part ways with Cadet Kirk just yet.
Kirk smiled and patted Spock on the arm, causing the vulcan's heartbeat to once again accelerate. "Thank you, but I already messaged my friend and asked him to pick me up. Thank you for the offer though." For a moment he was silent as if lost in thought. Then he graced Spock with another grin. "Wait outside with me?"
"Of course, Cadet Kirk."
As they stepped outside together, Kirk turned to Spock, eyebrows drawn together. "That reminds me. You seem to know my name, but I have no idea who you are. I know I am not the best with names, but I am pretty sure I would have remembered you had we met before. You don't see a lot of vulcan's in Starfleet."
Spock allowed the corners of him his mouth to lift ever so slightly. "Your observations are accurate. Although we have not met, your name is familiar to me as it is to many others. You do have quite the reputation." His smile stayed in place as he watched Cadet Kirk blush. "As for me, I am Spock. I am a student of the science track at the Academy."
Kirk's smile seemed almost blinding. "It's good to meet you, Spock. Although I wish it could have been as course mates or something rather than... this."
"A wish I too share, Cadet Kirk."
"Please, just call me Jim. Using rank makes me feel like I am talking to a professor or something."
Spock could almost feel the tips of his ears turning green. "As you wish Ji-"
"Jim! Everything alright?"
Spock and Jim turned simultaneously as a shout was heard from the other side of the street. Spock found the source to be a man of their own age, and Jim's face seemed to relax further at the sight of him. As the new man got closer, Spock could see that he was donning a jacket with the Starfleet medical logo on it. It was only fair to assume that this man was studying at Starfleet as well.
The man crashed into Jim with so much force, Spock was surprised they didn't fall over. He could hear Jim laugh from within his friend's embrace. "I am fine Bones."
"Like hell you are." The man who Jim called Bones' reply was slightly muffled by Jim's neck. "Jesus kid, you scared the devil out of me."
"I am fine, really! Spock warned me and got rid of Gary before anything could happen."
"Who the hell is Spo-" Before Bones could finish, Jim took him by the shoulders and turned him to face Spock. "Oh. I guess you must be Spock."
Spock, who had been feeling very out of place as the two friends embraced, nodded. "Indeed I am. You must be the friend Jim mentioned, Mr Bones."
He watched in bewilderment as Jim crumbled to the ground laughing, while Bones groaned and slapped a hand to his face. "Goddammit, Jim!"
"I am afraid I do not understand." Spock began to feel concern for Jim, who seemed unable to stop laughing and was now holding his abdomen.
"My name is Leonard Mccoy. "Bones" is a nickname that kid gave me when we first met. He refuses to drop it no matter how many times I ask him."
"Oh, get over it Bones, you secretly love it." Jim, still giggling, stood up and slung an arm over Leonard's shoulders.
Leonard grumbled under his breath and blushed as Jim poked him on the cheek, obviously pleased with himself. Something in Spock yearned for Jim to be that close to him, but he quickly dismissed the urge as illogical and stored the thought away. He would have to think it over later during his meditation. His eyes snapped up when Leonard stepped closer to him, eyes suddenly serious.
"Thank you for looking after Jim. God knows what could have happened."
"It was no trouble. Such vile actions must be stopped. It is only logical."
"Logical or not, I am still grateful." Leonard scratched the back of his neck and sighed. "Jim is my best friend and more. I love the kid and I just want him to be safe."
"It is only logical to look out for those you care about. It is an admirable course of action."
Leonard snorted and slapped the Starfleet medical logo on his arm. "Well, I am taking that to the extremes. How logical is it for an acrophobic doctor to follow his best friend into space?"
Indeed, the idea appeared fully illogical, and when Spock found himself without an answer Leonard slapped him on the arm and chuckled. He then turned back to Jim, who was pulling on his arm and whining about how space was amazing and how Leonard would love it once he got there. Spock could only categorise Leonard's reply as a snort. He locked eyes with Jim, who let the doctor-in-training go in favour of joining Spock.
"I am treating you to dinner."
Even though the words were spoken loud and clear, they may as well have been another Terran idiom. "I am afraid I do not follow."
"As a way of saying thank you. You will pick what you want to eat, and I will buy it for you." Suddenly, Jim leaned closer and Spock could feel his hot breath on his ear. "It is also a sneaky way of saying that I want to talk to you again."
As he leaned back, Spock could almost admit to feeling slightly lightheaded. "I would not object to seeing you again Jim."
Jim grinned widely. "Great! That would have been really awkward had you said no." Taking out his communicator, he handed it over to Spock. "Here, add your number. Much easier than me having to track you down later."
New contact added, Spock handed the device back to Jim. "I shall await your message."
"I will see you around Spock." Jim slung an arm around Leonard's shoulders and Spock watched as the pair begun to walk away. He was about to head back to his own place when Jim turned around and cupped his hands around his mouth to shout. "And don't be a stranger! Come and say hi if you see us around campus. I need company and Bones is always ignoring me and being boring!"
"Damn it, Jim! I am a doctor, not a babysitter!"
Spock kept observing the pair as they walked away together, laughing and arguing with one another. He had a feeling this was not the last he was going to see of the future starship captain and the grumpy doctor.