It had begun innocently enough. Spock and Kirk had been sharing their weekly drink in Kirk’s quarters, an idea that Admiral Pike himself had suggested to build their camaraderie. At least, that was the front for it; Pike had heard very quickly about the strangling incident that had occurred in his absence, and was doing his best to prevent another episode. It had taken only one such session for Kirk and Spock to simultaneously realize how much they did have in common, which was at once fascinating and horribly awkward.
So, instead of talking about things they enjoyed, like music or Sherlock Holmes, they talked about work. Specifically, they talked about the most boring parts of work.
But this last time had been different somehow, not that it had begun that way. It may well have been Spock’s fault, something he would be hard-pressed to admit later. As usual, Kirk was nursing a half-glass of cognac and going on about reports. Spock, however, had not yet picked anything to drink.
Kirk took another sip from his crystal glass and surveyed his first officer. “You’ve got to be thirsty.”
Spock wrinkled his nose slightly. “You know I do not drink alcohol, Captain.”
“I know. You’ve drunk tea every time we’ve had…” He waved at the minimal set-up. “These.”
Spock nodded in agreement. “I believe the correct expression,” he mused, “would be that I am bored with my usual choice.”
Kirk flashed him a brilliant grin and started towards the replicator. “I’ll surprise you, then.”
“Non-alcoholic, please,” Spock reminded him.
Kirk waved the comment away airily and poked a few buttons on the replicator. After a few milliseconds a small, steaming cup materialized in the replicator, and Kirk whisked it off, presenting it to Spock with a flourish. “Try?” he asked with another winning smile.
Spock raised the cup to his lips and took a tentative sip. The drink was surprisingly cool despite the steam, and had a slightly bitter aftertaste to it. “What is this?” he asked, looking swiftly up at Kirk.
“Funny earth creation called coffee,” Kirk answered.
Spock nodded and took another sip. “It’s good so far. You have a rather interesting taste in drinks, Captain.”
The night went on painfully slow after that, at least, until Spock’s cup was three-quarters-empty. His head was beginning to swim uncomfortably, and he could feel his concentration slipping more than once. Finally he realized that something must be wrong, and tugged on Kirk’s sleeve for his attention.
That may have been the first mistake.
“What is in this?” Spock asked, briefly holding up the cup. “It cannot be simply coffee.”
“It’s a mocha, Spock,” Kirk hiccupped. There were five empty glasses on his side of the table, and a nearly-drained one in his hand. “Nothing special.”
“What’s in a mocha?” Spock asked, more vehemently. His fingers were still curled around Kirk’s shirt, near his wrist.
“It’s—” Kirk paused to hiccup again “—coffee and chocolate.”
Spock’s eyes widened in horror. “Chocolate is to Vulcans what alcohol is to humans,” he hissed, grip tightening. “Don’t tell me you did not know?”
Kirk’s eyes widened too, though more in surprise than absolute terror. “I didn’t know that,” he whispered. He thought about it a little, then his mouth dropped open. “You’re drunk?”
A wave of dizziness passed through him, and Spock’s hand slipped to Kirk’s wrist and clung there like a drowning swimmer. “You made me to be.”
“You told me to pick,” Kirk shot back.
“And I said non-alcoholic!” Spock growled. He was too frustrated, knew it, felt his composure slipping away faster than he could hang on to. His face was beginning to flush as well, from the chocolate. Only from the chocolate—not because the lines in his head were blurring, making Kirk look far too attractive in his rather tight-fitting uniform, making him feel flickers of emotion that should only be reserved for pon farr.
Kirk blew air from between his lips, straight into Spock’s face. “Like I pay attention to what makes you drunk. How bad does it get, anyway?”
“Very, very bad,” Spock groaned. At last he found the sense to release Kirk’s wrist, and put his hand to his brow. At least he wasn’t sweating.
“Do you black out?” Kirk asked.
“I doubt I will tonight, but my thinking is already...already incapacitated…” Spock made to stand and move away from the table, but his knees were suddenly too shaky, and he buckled before he was two steps away from the chair.
But he never hit the floor. Kirk was there, holding him up by the arms with little discernible difficulty. He was no longer grinning and hiccupping, but absolutely serious, blue eyes fixed on Spock’s in concern. “You can’t hold your liquor at all, can you?”
Spock would have glared, but his facial muscles weren’t responding properly. Besides, Kirk’s eyes were too soft to glare into. “I assume I can hold several beers as easily as you can, Captain.”
“Without lowering your inhibitions, Spock?” Kirk asked half-jokingly, letting Spock gently onto the floor. It’s like he’s hardly drunk at all, Spock thought suddenly, especially compared to my current state.
Especially compared to what flew out of his mouth next. “I would not go so far as that, I think.”
Kirk’s eyebrows went up. The tip of his tongue darted out, flickered over his lower lip, and Spock watched it with utter fascination as it disappeared. “Really?”
Spock nodded. Were their faces coming closer, or was that his imagination? “I’m starting to think so, at least.”
It wasn’t his imagination anymore; he could feel the heat radiating from Kirk’s face in waves, feel the cognac-tinted breath puffing gently against his face. The voice emanating from the captain’s lips seemed oddly disconnected from the rest of him, even as Spock saw them move: “How much?”
And then, of all the illogical things, Spock moved forward. Their lips connected, and this time Spock could actually taste the liquor reserved in the nooks and crannies of Kirk’s mouth. Oh, gods above, his mouth. Mindlessly he plundered its depths with his tongue, pulling Kirk down towards him and running his fingers through the soft blond hair. And amazingly, Kirk was letting him kiss, even kissing him back, letting their tongues touch and massaging them together in endless and indescribable bliss—
And then Spock realized multiple things at once. Kirk was straight. Kirk was also captain. He was kissing the captain. This was not good.
In a whirl of chocolate-sodden thoughts Spock scrambled to his feet, breaking the kiss and leaving Kirk half-sprawling onto the floor. The Vulcan shook his head like a wet dog, half-wishing the thoughts in his head would abandon him with every shake. He couldn’t even look Kirk in the eyes anymore, couldn’t bear to fall into the trap again.
So instead he choked out “This never happened,” turned on his heel, and fled the room.
Spock took the most elaborate pains to avoid Kirk for the next five days. Even when they were on the bridge together he would never look in the blond’s direction. Conversely, Kirk was constantly asking for Spock, no matter where they were; at one point Spock discovered the captain was actually following him to the mess, and Spock simply started eating in his quarters.
Occasionally Spock would find himself wanting to confront Kirk about following him. The idea in itself was logical, and relatively peaceful. Why on earth would the captain take to following his first officer? Spock had not been shirking his duties as first officer, nor had he been performing at any rate under optimal. In any case, Kirk should in no way desire his company, particularly after that kiss.
That kiss. Spock shivered every time he thought of it, the way Kirk had tasted under his tongue. If he had learned nothing else from that night, he knew that the flickers of emotion he’d felt had not been created by the alcohol. No, the alcohol had only made them surface fully, and now Spock could not avoid them.
But he could at least avoid Kirk.
The same could not be said for Uhura. He did not have to tell her the truths he had uncovered, or even how it had happened, but she was clever enough to guess, particularly when Spock began refusing her kisses. She did not cry, though, but accepted the truth in silence, and for that Spock was thankful. Even if he admitted nothing, he admitted needing someone to talk to, in lieu of Kirk. He would also admit to needing a distraction from said Kirk.
“‘Karaoke night,’ Uhura?” Spock repeated. Even the phrase left a sour aftertaste in his mouth. “Don’t you think that’s more foolish than distracting?”
“The two go hand in hand sometimes, you know,” Uhura replied coolly. Her long fingernails flicked through the glossy pages of March’s Cosmopolitan. “You don’t have to sing, even.”
“But I have to listen to our crewmates sing. Realize that most of them have not been professionally trained, and that I have very sensitive ears. Honestly, if you wanted to add to my stress level you could have simply stuck me in a room alone with the captain.”
Uhura huffed and threw down her magazine. “You want to get your mind off of him, Spock? Watch a bunch of people make worse fools of themselves than you did.”
“Nothing can compare with the fool I made of myself, Uhura,” Spock retorted bitingly.
“Not even watching Chekov get drunk and serenade Sulu with something none of us will understand?”
Spock steepled his fingers and considered his options. On the one hand, he could go to Kirk’s quarters for their usual meeting, which was at the same time, or he could watch the spectacle of the Enterprise crew toppling over themselves to sing. His lips curled upward at the latter. Perhaps Uhura was right—perhaps the illogicality of a karaoke night would get his mind off of things. In any case, he could avoid Kirk.
With a sigh, Spock picked up Uhura’s magazine and handed it to her. “Very well,” he said reluctantly. “I’ll go.”
Approximately eighteen hours later, Spock was half-regretting his decision to go. They were in the mess, the set-up of which had been transformed to resemble that of an old-fashioned comedy club. Spock and Uhura were sitting together at a table about ten feet away from the stage, the former massaging his temples in hopes that the noise would subside. Though he had nearly laughed when, as Uhura predicted, Chekov drank a little too much and serenaded Sulu, much to the Lieutenant’s perceived embarrassment.
All in all, it wasn’t too terrible a night, but the noise was hard to stand.
“Alright, lads and lasses, that was one heck of a show,” Scotty said, taking an approving gulp of whisky as Chekov tottered off the stage. He consulted his list of participants briefly, and his eyes widened slightly. “And it seems we have another coming up! This one’s a shocker.”
Spock rolled his eyes imperceptibly and took a sip of his water. He seriously doubted anything could top a half-Russian rendition of “Beyond Antares.”
“Next up we have a classic as done by our very own Captain Kirk!”
Spock choked. He whirled around in his seat, almost immediately spotting Kirk, who had apparently been sitting in the back, towards the door. The female ensigns in the room cheered enthusiastically as he stood up, downed a glass of amber liquid in one gulp, and strode forward. Spock ducked his head as he passed, but it was unnecessary; Kirk passed by their table without any effort to speak to his first officer or his communications officer.
Still, for good measure, Spock kept his head mostly down. From his peripheral vision he saw Kirk stop and whisper something into Scotty’s ear. The engineer nodded, almost apprehensively, before handing Kirk a wireless microphone and waving him onto the stage. Once the captain was in the center spotlight, Scotty flicked a few switches on the control panel, and pressed “play.”
Kirk’s mask of concentration wavered and broke as the first beat dropped. Then he smiled good-naturedly and started to sing in a surprisingly pleasing, not-utterly-untrained voice. “This was never the way I planned, not my intention. I got so brave, drink in hand, lost my discretion.”
Spock looked up slightly, eyes still about the size of dinner plates. Kirk was still not looking at him—payback, perhaps, for the treatment Spock had been giving him—but his eyes were roaming steadily over his audience of swooning girls and chuckling guys. Without missing a beat, Kirk ran a hand through his hair and kept on, looking almost apologetic: “It’s not what I’m used to—just wanna try you on. I’m curious for you, caught my attention…”
And then suddenly the blue eyes snapped to attention, latching directly onto Spock’s. “I kissed a boy and I liked it—the taste of his spearmint chapstick. I kissed a boy just to try it—hope my girlfriend don’t mind it. It felt so wrong, it felt so right; don’t mean I’m in love tonight. I kissed a boy and I liked it—I liked it!”
The audience around them burst into cheers and laughter, and Kirk went on singing, but the sound was almost totally muffled to Spock’s ears. Blush was rising in his cheeks faster than he could control, and his usual logical train of thought was falling down around his ears. The chorus had been more than enough, too much, in fact. There was no way to avoid it: the song was a blatant reference to their kiss. The lyrics were not entirely accurate—no way Kirk had actually enjoyed the experience—but it was the most logical explanation that fizzled through Spock’s now-utterly-malfunctioning brain.
There was a sudden jabbing pain in his side, and he whirled around, his hearing reactivating in the process. Uhura’s head jerked towards the stage. Spock looked that way and, to his horror, Kirk was no longer stationary on the stage. No, he was actually starting to dance, if one could even call it dancing for all the sexuality behind it. His hips moved like a pendulum, minutely and very slowly back and forth as he sauntered across the stage. He flexed his arms, too, showing off powerful biceps that literally made one of the female ensigns swoon from pleasure.
What was worse, Spock’s mental reminder of “this is the mess hall” was the only thing keeping him from doing exactly the same thing.
The song seemed to skip forward into the bridge. Mercifully Kirk’s hips stopped moving, but his eyes locked once again onto Spock’s and held them there with an unbreakable force. As he sang, he ran his fingers up his leg from his knee, earning endless whistles and screams from the crowd. “Us guys, we are so magical: strong arms, soft hands so kissable. Hard to resist, so touchable, too good to deny it! Hey, no big deal, it’s innocent…”
With a wink at Spock, he started to gyrate again. “I kissed a boy and I liked it—the taste of his spearmint chapstick. I kissed a boy just to try it! Hope my girlfriend don’t mind it. It felt so wrong, it felt so right; don’t mean I’m in love tonight. I kissed a boy and I liked it—I liked it!”
The mess burst into uproarious applause. Kirk took several flourishing bows before finally handing back the microphone to a laughing Scotty and disembarking from the stage. As he sauntered toward the door, past a very green, slightly open-mouthed Spock, their eyes caught again. Without slowing or stopping his pace, the captain smirked and tossed another, more devious wink in his first officer’s direction.
Once he was gone, Uhura turned to Spock. Even without a meld the Vulcan could sense a flurry of concern racing across her brain. Spock shook his head and, after what he approximated was ten and point-seven-five seconds, left his seat to trail Kirk out the door. A confrontation was now absolutely necessary.
It took three minutes before Spock could locate and catch up to Kirk. In that amount of time the blush had transformed into a furious rush of blood that spread all throughout his body. The embarrassment from the mess had been changed, too, into an ugly combination of emotions Spock would be loath to admit to any other day. But, of course, on any other day Spock wouldn’t have had real cause to feel confused, angry, aroused, or even embarrassed in the first place.
When he finally spotted the blond head, some of that anger burst forward. “Kirk!”
The captain turned around. His momentary surprise gave way to the same smirk from before. “Mr. Spock,” he returned coolly.
The easy manner of Kirk’s speech only managed to infuriate the Vulcan further. He strode very quickly forwards, until his heaving chest was level with Kirk’s and they were looking each other square in the face. “What was that?” he growled. “That thing you just sang in front of half our crew.”
“It’s Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl,’ Spock. Old Terran song from the twenty-first century.”
“That song,” Spock seethed, “was not about kissing a girl.”
Kirk’s lips quirked upward, widening the smirk. “Oh, you caught that part?”
Spock let out a low, primal rumble. “Do you have any idea what you have essentially revealed to the entire crew?”
“I haven’t told them anything, Spock. In fact, if they wanted to guess anything about the other night, they might read it in the—how shall I put this?” He leaned in until he was almost nose to nose with Spock. “They might see something in the illogical way you’ve been acting lately.”
Spock spluttered. “I've been?”
One of Kirk’s fingers inexplicably landed on Spock’s cheek. The feeling was of instantaneous cool against emerald burn. “Giving me the cold shoulder all week, then flaming up like this,” Kirk murmured. The wayward finger stroked the hot skin, and Spock felt arousal shoot back up to the top of his emotional pile. “If I didn’t know differently, I’d say you had a little crush on me.”
Excitement was stifled once again by anger. “That is the most illogical thing I have I ever heard from you.”
Kirk rolled his eyes good-naturedly. “Try me.”
Spock shook his head, freeing himself briefly from Kirk’s touch. For the second time in his life he felt himself short of breath and inexplicably dizzy. “Why are you doing this?”
“Which what, Spock?”
“Touching me,” Spock mumbled. “Pretending to enjoy touching me.”
“Spock, I’m hurt!” Kirk whined. “You think it’s all lying?”
“You are straight,” Spock said bluntly. “You could not possibly have enjoyed…the whole thing only occurred because we were both intoxicated…”
For a moment Kirk’s blue eyes reflected a genuine, poignant hurt that Spock could feel radiating in the space between them. “You honestly think that’s why I kissed back?”
The Vulcan blinked twice. “That is the only logical explanation I have.”
“Then…” Kirk floundered for words, looking around the hall nervously until something clicked in his brain. “Then what if I kissed you again?”
It was Spock’s turn to roll his eyes. “You have already drunk a glass of what I assume is brandy—”
“Can you smell it on me?” Kirk asked excitedly.
Spock started to open his mouth in vicious reply, but he stopped before a syllable left his throat. As good as his senses were, he couldn’t detect a trace of alcohol on Kirk, not on his breath, not even on his fingers where some amber liquid could have splashed.
Reluctantly, Spock was forced to answer. “No, I cannot. But I saw you drain a glass tonight,” he added vehemently.
Kirk’s eyes seemed to light up in triumph. “That was soda, thank you,” he said, grinning. “Now. About that kiss?”
In a swift move Kirk’s hands shot out, caught Spock’s wrists and hands in strong fingers. Spock let out a soft hiss at the touch, which was at once far too rough and far too erotic, and made to pull back. But Kirk’s hold was too tight, too viselike to escape without physical repercussion, and in a matter of seconds Spock was pinned with the wall at his back and Kirk’s chest at his front. They were hardly touching, save for their hands and a fraction of their torsos, but Spock couldn’t have imagined a more compromising position to be caught in if someone came wandering into the now-empty hallway.
For some reason, the idea made his head spin giddily. “Captain,” he breathed, voice catching in his throat.
Kirk’s hot breath rebounded against Spock’s neck. “Do you want the honors?” he purred. One of his fingers reached upward from Spock’s wrist and petted the flesh of his palm. When Spock didn’t respond—other than a soft hiss of pleasure, because the touch made him too distracted to speak—Kirk shook his head and grinned. “You started last time, so it’s my turn anyway,” he reasoned huskily.
With a surprising gentleness, Kirk pressed their lips together. In itself the kiss was chaste compared to last time; there was no hint of tongue, only Kirk’s lips massaging his own with slow, controlled movements. Spock marveled silently at Kirk’s self-control, at least compared to his own the other day, and did his best to contain himself. All the while Kirk’s fingers caressed the sensitive skin of Spock’s wrists and hands, making Spock shiver delicately and melt even further into his captain’s waiting arms.
After a long while the touches slowed and stopped, and Kirk released him from the hold and the kiss. “Still mad at me?” he panted, resting his brow against Spock’s.
“I am not quite as angry as before,” Spock conceded. “But only because you kissed me.”
Kirk’s mouth widened in a very foolish-looking grin. “Fair enough reason.”
“I still do not understand,” Spock went on. “Why go through all the histrionics just to…to…”
“To kiss you?” Kirk laughed. “I’ve been trying to get your attention all week, to see if you weren’t faking. And you ignored me. What else was I supposed to do?”
Spock felt a guilty start at the bottom of his stomach. “Understandable.”
“Hey,” Kirk murmured. Very gently he cupped Spock’s chin, tilting their lines of sight until they were gazing into each other’s eyes. Another wash of emotion passed between them, this time a warm, almost overly-gentle tenderness. “It’s okay. I get it.”
Somewhere towards his navel, Spock’s heart seemed to skip a few beats. “It is not ‘okay,’ actually,” he said, shaking his head gently. “At the very least it leaves me indebted to you by, I hypothesize, several drinks that should have been consumed at our non-existent meeting tonight.”
Kirk broke into a wide, brilliant smile. “Oh, right. Those.”
Spock went on, mouth slowly curling in amusement. “I may also owe you several kisses, considering we have apparently been attracted to each other for quite a while.”
Kirk tentatively reached out and touched Spock’s hand. “Maybe we should go and have our usual drink?”
“I think that may be the best idea you have had tonight, Captain.” Spock steeled his will and laced his fingers with Kirk’s.
Kirk’s thumb trailed over the back of Spock’s hand. “Oh, I don’t know,” he countered with a wink. “Karaoke night might top that, don’t you think?” He laughed heartily as Spock’s jaw dropped and, without saying more, pulled them away down the corridor to his room.