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written for [livejournal.com profile] ksvalentine 2012

prompt: Because things like holding hands, eating chocolate, and exchanging flowers (it's canon Vulcans eat Earth flowers as a delicacy, right? maybe? let's say roses are an aphrodisiac.) are not so innocent in Vulcan culture, Spock has the wrong idea about the spirit of St. Valentine's Day. Cue cultural misunderstandings, maybe jealousy, maybe Spock being very scandalized/embarrassed/aroused by the taboo? lol and if you could somehow work in something about Spock being horrified to discover McCoy lets young Johanna celebrate the holiday, even better. How Jim reacts to all this is up to you!

The Way to a Vulcan's Heart | R | 1910 words | complete

"These from Jo?" Jim asks as he and Spock sit down across the mess table from McCoy, who is contemplating an open box of chocolates. "She seems to be taking advantage of the fact that we're at a starbase around the holiday."

"To which holiday are you referring, Jim?" Spock asks, feeling an illogical warmth at the way the captain smiles at him for using his name. The captain had requested that he do so when they are off-duty for the first 5.4 months of the mission, and continues to be pleased when Spock honors that request.

"Valentine's Day!" Jim says, as if it is obvious. "Ancient Terran holiday in the month of February."

"I am vaguely familiar with the existence of the holiday, but I am not aware of the details of its celebration," Spock says.

"Oh, it's all romantic crap meant to make singles feel like shit and force couples into spending money," McCoy says, selecting a chocolate and placing it in his mouth.

"And these chocolates are from the doctor's daughter?" Spock asks, confused. It is strange for him to consider a child sending her parent something like chocolate, but considering the doctor's reliance on alcohol, it may not be unusual for him.

"Yeah," McCoy says, unwrapping another candy. "Kids and families and couples exchange chocolate and flowers and cards with saccharine messages. It's all pretty ridiculous, but it makes Jo happy, and she has good taste in candy, for a twelve-year-old, so who am I to say no?"

"And you allow your child to participate in these activities?" Spock asks, confusion morphing into shock. "That is highly inappropriate. It is clearly logical that your former spouse was granted custody of your child."

"Whoa, cultural misunderstanding going on," Jim says, cutting of whatever the doctor was beginning to say. "Spock, Valentine's Day is harmless. It's only a provocative, sexy thing between grown-ups."

"But the exchange of rare or intoxicating foodstuffs--" Spock begins, but Jim starts laughing.

"Human holiday, Spock," he says. "Sure, chocolate is a treat to humans, but it's not an intoxicant. Oh! And Vulcans eat flowers, right? Humans don't, generally. They're just a decorative gift, they don't mean anything other than an expression of esteem."

"My apologies, Doctor," Spock says, and McCoy grumbles but waves Spock off, focusing on the box. Spock looks at his plate, no longer hungry. "I believe there are experiments in the laboratory that require my attention. If you will excuse me." Spock can feel Jim's eyes on him as he dumps his tray in the recycler and leaves the room.

*

In the time that Spock has lived among Terrans, he has learned much about them, but by far the most valuable thing he has learned is when to ignore them. Humanity is a capricious, illogical species, and it had been Spock’s habit to spend as little unstructured time with its members as possible while he was at the Academy. But aboard the Enterprise, it is more difficult. And this means that Spock is regularly bombarded with evidence of Valentine’s Day in the days leading up to the holiday itself.

It is propitious that Jim had explained the holiday to Spock, for evidence of its celebration mounts hourly over the next 3.46 days. Having been forewarned, Spock expects and ignores the exchanges of chocolates and flowers by friendly and amorous crew members, and the decoration of off-duty public spaces with symbols they call hearts. Spock does not understand why--they do not resemble the structure of the hearts of any species in or known to the Federation--nor does he understand the profusion of a material called “glitter” that decorates them. The glitter is particularly unpleasant, as it manages to get everywhere and Spock has yet to discover a method of guaranteed removal of the pieces that find their way onto his shoes, clothes, and even his skin, though he does not know how it is possible.

These distractions and annoyances are minor, however, compared to the most egregious behavior the crew engages in: handholding. Spock does some of his own research on this, to avoid another cultural misunderstanding, so he is aware that the act of holding hands is very different for Humans than it is for Vulcans. This does not negate the unfortunate physiological response Spock has to the sight of individuals holding hands in the corridors, in the mess, in the recreation rooms. Amorous couples seem to be everywhere.

Fortuitously, Spock is off duty on Valentine’s Day itself. Normally, he would spend the day in the labs, working on the various experiments he maintains in his free time, but instead he chooses to spend the day in his quarters. He is not hiding; he is merely engaging in self-protecting behaviors when presented with something that is incompatible with his physiology.

*

It is 1857 ship’s time when the computer indicates that someone is at Spock’s door. “Enter,” he says, a little warily, but the door opens to reveal Jim. Spock is reassured, until he recognizes the expression on the captain’s face: Jim is, to use a Terran colloquialism, up to something. “Captain, how may I help you?”

“Ok, so I know Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing,” Jim begins, removing his hands from behind his back to reveal that they are not empty. One contains a small, gold-colored box, tied with a thin gold cord; the other holds a blooming plant in a terracotta pot. “But I went to all this trouble to get these for you, so pretend like you’re not appalled at my Human emotionalism and accept them.”

Spock lifts the plant from Jim’s outstretched hand first. It is a succulent, with puffed, waxy leaves and an abundance of fragrant, multipetaled white blossoms. “This is a Tellarite moonrose,” he says. “They are very rare.”

“And yummy, at least according to some people,” Jim says. “I know cut flowers are the done thing, but I thought you’d find the waste illogical. So, a living plant, ideally suited to the warmer temperatures you prefer, and it would actually do it good to have its flowers plucked off every so often. Helps it grow.”

“It is a most thoughtful gift,” Spock agrees, and Jim grins, obviously pleased. Spock turns his attention to the other gift, undoing the bow and removing the lid. “Chocolate?”

“I know you don’t usually indulge, so it’s only a little, and they’re plain, just dark chocolate truffles,” Jim says, and Spock can tell he is nervous.

Spock closes the box and fastidiously reties the cord. “These are both pleasing gifts, Jim,” he says, and Jim relaxes minutely. “But they are also curious. May I ask a personal query?”

“Always, Spock.”

“Why did you choose to give me gifts at all?” Spock asks. “As was clearly evident in our conversation with Dr. McCoy 4.72 days ago, this is not a holiday with which I am familiar. And you did not seem particularly enthusiastic about its celebration in your interactions with other members of the crew, even those you consider friends as well as colleagues. It is--”

“Illogical?” Jim finishes for him, mouth curving up in a self-deprecating smile. “Maybe I wanted to help in your continued study of Humans--yes, I know you treat social interaction like one of your experiments, don’t tell me you don’t--and involve you in the celebration of a venerable Human holiday. Maybe I consider you a friend, and wanted to honor that fact.” Jim takes a deep breath. “Or maybe I wanted to use a Human ritual to appeal to your Vulcan sensibilities.”

“This is a romantic overture?”

“Only if you want it to be.”

“I do,” Spock says, and the look of surprise on Jim’s face would be comical if not for the seriousness of the situation. “You did not anticipate a positive outcome?”

“I didn’t let myself expect anything,” Jim says. “It’s easier on the nerves that way.”

“I would not know,” Spock says, allowing the smallest of smiles to tug at the corners of his mouth. Jim grins back brightly. “If you are amenable, I have sufficient time for us to engage in coitus before my evening meditation.”

“Whoa,” Jim says. “Don’t you want to, I don’t know, go on a few dates first?”

“I am familiar with the Human concept of ‘taking it slow’,” Spock says, stepping into Jim’s space and taking his hand, tangling their fingers. “I do not wish to do so.”

“This isn’t just a fling to me,” Jim says. “You’re important to me, Spock. I don’t want to mess this up. You need to know that.”

“I am fully aware,” Spock says, lifting their linked hands into the range of Jim’s vision. “You need not tell me, Jim; I know.” He feels Jim’s continued uncertainty wash over his skin. “Your regard is returned. I can show you.”

Spock brings his free hand into position on Jim’s face, Jim nods minutely, and then Spock opens his mind. He keeps the meld shallow--he is drawn to the lure of Jim’s mind, naturally, but he has other plans for right now--showing Jim his esteem, his attraction to Jim’s body and his mind. He comes out of the meld with Jim’s lips pressed against his own, Jim’s free hand tangled in his hair.

“So cool,” Jim says after drawing back for breath, and while Spock would not have considered that the desired response, he can still feel Jim through the connection of their hands, and it is enough. He shifts his fingers against Jim’s, and feels the frisson of desire down both their spines. “So, um, bed?”

“I regret to inform you that I am not particularly knowledgeable about such matters,” Spock says, and he can feel a faint heat in his face that means his cheeks are suffused with a sage-colored blush. “In the abstract sense, I am aware of a range of sexual behaviors, but I have very little practical first-hand knowledge.”

Jim smiles brightly, fond and not at all mocking. “Then let me show you.” He steps backward into the bedroom portion of Spock’s cabin, tugging Spock along by their linked hands. “It would be my pleasure to instruct you, Mr. Spock.”

Jim pulls Spock into another kiss, this one heavy with the promise of what is to come. Spock feels a warmth under his skin, unlike anything he has ever experienced. It is...very pleasant, but it also makes him want more.

Jim grunts when Spock deepens the kiss, and his fingers tighten against Spock’s. Then he lets go, but only so he can bring his hands to the hem of Spock’s shirts, pushing his hands up and underneath the thermal layer and resting them against the skin of Spock’s chest. His hands are cool, and somehow they both quench the flames under Spock’s skin and fan them higher. It is fascinating.

Jim pulls away, helping Spock remove the tangle of his shirts before stripping off his own. He pushes his fingers into Spock’s chest hair, leaning in to steal another kiss, his desire sizzling over Spock’s skin. Of their own volition, Spock’s arms encircle Jim’s waist, palms resting on the small of his back. Spock lets Jim press him down onto the mattress, losing himself in cool, smooth skin and the warmth of Jim’s mind.

Feedback is better than chocolate.
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