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Spock concentrated on the exercise he was doing.
He heard a clatter, then someone said, “Ow. Shit.”
“Forget it, Bones.”
Spock concentrated on the exercise he was doing, going through the eight-hundred and ninety-sixth of the thousand forms and….
“Let go!”
“No, it’ll drop on you!”
“Let go!…….? oh… thanks, Spock.”
“Yeah, thanks,” growled McCoy.
“Why are you attempting to lift such an excessive weight for a human?”
“I was not attempting, Spock, I was doing,” the Captain’s voice was indignant.
“He was actually. He’s pretty strong. I was the one who kept dropping it,” admitted McCoy ruefully.
Spock gazed at them silently, waiting for a further explanation.
“Spock, I spent my teenage years on a heavy gravity planet. I’m fine with heavier weights. Didn’t you wonder, when we were on Nero’s ship?”
He had been puzzled by the human’s easy speed in the high-gravity environment on the Romulan vessel, but there had not been time to ask. In fact, Spock suddenly recalled a moment on the ship when he had noticed Jim skipping along, which had struck him as odd in a gravity field two point seven times that of Earth’s.
“I had noticed.”
“Hey! Do you think you could spot for me?”
Spock hesitated.
Jim sighed and looked away, “No, I guess not.” He remembered that Spock basically hated him.
“Very well,” decided Spock.
“Don’t you hurt him,” warned McCoy, and quietly stepped back.
“Who are you talking to, Bones?” chuckled Jim.
“Me, of course. Dr McCoy would not be concerned if I were hurt,” Spock’s voice was as urbane and unemotional as ever.
“Now, that’s not true, Spock!” protested McCoy. He was answered with one raised eyebrow.
“Well, not entirely.”
“Stop it, you two!”
“Stop what?” McCoy and Spock spoke in unison, then stared at each other.
“Exactly. That. Spock, can you add another forty to the bar, please?”
Spock complied.
McCoy said, “I have work to do,” and walked out.
“Dr McCoy is put out,” suggested Spock, as he flicked the dial on the bar to 40 kilograms higher. He locked in the dial and stepped back behind Jim, putting the bar within Jim’s reach, but waiting.
“You’ve done this before?”
“Many times. My father and I spent much time exercising when we were on Earth. It is necessary to maintain one’s strength and bone density on a low gravity planet.”
“Yeah, you noticed that too, huh? Did you know that once a human has been on a high gravity planet, they have the same problem?”
“How so?” Spock was intrigued.
“Once your body has adapted to the high-G environment, if you go back to low-G, you start losing bone density, and if you don’t exercise, it doesn’t stop. You keep losing bone density, down to about half of what it should be. You end up with about half the bone density you would have had, if you had stayed on Earth in the first place. You have to do compensatory exercises.”
“That is what you are doing now?” Spock sounded puzzled: Jim had, to his knowledge, been at the Academy for the past three years.
“Well, not really. I left Tarsus five years ago, Spock, the effect really only lasts a year, two tops. This… it’s just a habit, now. It gives me an advantage in combat, too, as you saw.”
“Tarsus? Tarsus IV?”
And Jim’s face went Vulcan. Spock did not know how he did it, but he did. The human’s face lost all expression, and went calm, and Jim was… no longer there. He was somewhere deep inside himself, not out at the surface, not looking out from those blue eyes anymore. Spock was impressed, but saddened at the same time. For such an open faced, heart-on-your-sleeve type person to suddenly dive so deep within himself, indicated great pain.
“I am sorry.”
Jim nodded, and glanced up at Spock, and for a moment Spock saw him rise to the surface in those blue eyes, but then he disappeared again, and once more, as he had noted so often in the last few weeks, Jim had slipped back into his Captain’s persona.
“Thank you, Mr Spock.”
Spock spotted for Jim for an hour, then Uhura turned up looking for Spock.
“Did you forget our music lesson?” she asked him archly, letting her eyes skate contemptuously over Kirk.
“Why didn’t you let me know, then?” Her voice had an edge in it that Jim recognised, and didn’t like. It reminded him of someone he used to know…
“I was busy,” said Spock quietly, obviously not wanting to create a scene in front of his Captain.
“Oh, you were busy, eh? Too busy to step over to the comm?”
Jim had had enough of her attitude, and stood up, his muscles bulging from the exercise, sweat glistening on his torso, “He was helping me, cadet. My spotter had trouble with the weights I was lifting, and Vulcan strength being what it is, Mr Spock volunteered to help. Perhaps he felt it would be rude to stop my workout to attend to his social life. Do you think your demands on his time should take precedence over his helping the Captain?”
“I- I- ah, sir-“ she was thrown completely, and looked to Spock for help, but Spock stood like a stone.
“No, sir, I’m sorry sir,” and she made her escape.
Spock watched her go, his lips curving in a very slight smile.
Jim pursed his lips, and looked at Spock, “Hope I didn’t, ah…. you gotta live with that.”
“There will not be an issue. In fact, I have been doing some reading, and it appears that in human culture, the female is normally the subordinate in the relationship?”
“Ohhh… that’s a bit of a touchy one, Spock. They used to be, but now… things have changed a bit over the last three hundred and fifty years.”
“Hmmm, but still, it would explain a lot about the difficulties I have been having with the lieutenant.”
Spock turned to face Jim, and the human almost laughed at the expression in Spock’s eyes. Spock looked almost human for an instance as he rounded his eyes and rolled them to the ceiling, then nodded and repeated, “Difficulties.”
“What difficulties?”
They walked to the showers, talking, and Jim stripped off the rest of his clothes. Spock stripped too, because he had been working out and spotting by now for two hours. Their conversation was silenced as they stepped into adjacent cubicles, and turned on the water function. Sonics just didn’t cut it after a gym workout.
The Vulcan didn’t mind the water showers, but they always had an embarrassing effect on him. Because he was not used to water, his body reacted to the heat and wetness as though it were… he always made sure he left his towel hanging on the edge of the cubicle so that he could cover himself as he exited the shower, and then…
Jim stepped out of the shower, and sighed and stretched, stark naked and….
“Oh,” said Spock, and could have bitten his own tongue off for saying it out loud.
“What?” asked Jim, casually naked with his own hard-on standing at attention. He grabbed his towel and started drying himself, not bothering to use the towel to cover his situation.
“I did not realise I was not the only one…” Spock did not know how to say it, instead looked pointedly at Jim’s lower waist, then looked away.
“Jesus. I didn’t know Vulcans did that,” teased Jim, grinning, “But no, you’re not the only one. There’s nothing like a hot shower…”
Spock bit his bottom lip, embarrassed at the turn the conversation had taken, and Jim took pity on him and dressed quickly, efficiently. “See you on the bridge, Spock. Thanks for your help this morning.”
“You are most welcome. Should you wish further assistance…”
“Could you? You’re the only person on this ship that could spot for me. And we could do some sparring…” but he looked hesitantly at Spock.
“I promise I will not choke you again.”
Jim grinned, “Tomorrow morning, 0600 then, Mr Spock?”
“Aye, sir.”
Jim got in the turbo lift, smiling and thinking, ‘I promise I will not choke you again’ – so Vulcans do have a sense of humour….

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