It was a known fact across multiple universes (okay, so maybe only two universes, but since multiple, by definition, meant more than one, Jim wasn't going to argue semantics) that Jim and Spock played chess, Jim had confirmed it with older, other universe Spock and everything. That's just what they did. It was their code for 'your mind is the only one I find challenging enough to well, challenge, so bring it.'
So showing up at Spock's at a prescheduled time to play chess wasn't, in and of itself, anything new. They had done this a hundred times since their five year mission began. However, the low lights and goblets of what looked like Terran Merlot set out on the table were definitely new. The weird, hypnotic, 'insomnia curing' (a term Jim had coined when his grandmother had forced Bach or Debussy on him on multiple occasions throughout his youth) harp-sounding music was also a bit… strange, but whatever. Jim could beat Spock in any setting. Maybe Spock was just trying to throw Jim off his game by mixing things up atmospherically…
Ha, as if that would work. Jim would certainly show him, you couldn't beat Jim Kirk by trying to put him to sleep, no sir. He took his seat and claimed white and the first move.
However, despite Jim's determination to remain undeterred, he could admit that the way his First eyed him continually throughout the game, as if waiting for a reaction from Jim that he wasn't receiving, was a bit off-putting, that he would readily admit, especially since it gave him a convenient excuse for the fact he was losing so spectacularly… an excuse far easier to concede than the usual 'I have a secret Spock-crush/fascination/obsession with and it's starting to get distracting enough to throw me off my game'.
So what if that meant he was behaving like a chicken-shit infant (Bones' words from earlier that morning) by not owning up to his feelings like a man, at least it kept things even; at least it kept his emotion-repressing First from running to the hills from the weight of Jim's regard.
The wine, however, was still a bit of a mystery no matter how Jim puzzled over it. Vulcans couldn't metabolize alcohol, everyone knew that (and Jim had secretly always felt sorry for them there, and blamed a portion of their uptightness on the fact that they couldn't, biologically, get shitfaced) but to Jim it was a welcome distraction. The wine was tangier than he was used to, but fruity and fragrant and strong enough to take the edge off and cause him not to worry so much that he was in love with the unattainable, and losing a game, which sucked under any circumstances.
In fact, the wine felt so nice that Jim was starting to feel about maybe capitalizing on Spock's good mood (okay, okay, if 'good mood' was indicated by the corners of his lips possibly being higher than a straight line by a millimeter, if that) by coming clean and professing his undying love, when the choking started, and the shortness of breath, followed by overwhelming dizziness, and then complete blackness.
Jim's last thought before losing consciousness was, 'goddamnit, we've found another allergy, and just when things were starting to get good'.
When Jim woke it was to the sound of his other best friend laughing hysterically, and a quick, albeit dizzying turn of the head confirmed that yes, Bones was laughing, the bastard, and if his red face was anything to go by, had been for quite some time.
Spock, however, evidenced rather the opposite reaction. There was no humor in his eyes, at all, but rather that somber look of concern that Spock always got whenever Jim landed himself in sickbay, only this time there was some slight guilt, too.
It was that, more than anything, that caused Jim's heart to clench. And that which prompted him to respond, even if he did rather feel like he'd just climbed a mountain or two. Or twenty.
"Don't," Jim rasped, his voice embarrassingly hoarse to his own ears, "it's not your was nice. Liked the change."
Translation: 'hey buddy, I don't blame you for this, I blame my fucked up genetic makeup' but he knew Spock would read him regardless, that was how they worked. Jim would say something light to lift the mood, Spock would decipher the deeper meaning behind Jim's words, always.
"It was meant to seduce," Spock replied, "since my repeated invitations for chess over the past ten point two months had not produced the desired results, I decided to be employ a more blatant maneuver to progress our relationship towards the intimacy I desired. I regret that the attempt failed so catastrophically."
And then Jim went into shock for the second time in so many hours, though, thankfully, not anaphylactic shock…
"You mean that whole thing was… you wanted…?" Jim stalled, unable to complete a sentence, particularly when Bones' laughter reached a volume non-conducive to in-depth conversation.
"The two of you are… such… idiots. Geniuses my ass!" the doctor gasped.
Whatever tension charged the air-whether born from the granting of Jim's greatest desire, or the sexual energy between him and his first that he now realized was reciprocal-was lightened by their friend's mirth.
With a shake of his head, Jim turned to his first, and said, "Want to try it again once Doctor Hyena lets me out of here, this time while I'm aware of what the hell is going on?"
"Agreed." Spock nodded, the millimeter smile back in effect.
As first dates went, it was definitely Jim's most memorable. He just hoped all those to come would be breathtaking for quite another reason!