spock: logic is sexy

Star Trek Fic: The Most Convenient Definitions (1/3)

Title: The Most Convenient Definitions
Author: igrockspock
Link to Art: Here by deliciousny
Mixer: vertrauen
Beta: circ_bamboo
Character/Pairing(s): Spock/Uhura, Spock/Gaila, Kirk/Uhura, Pavel Chekov, Christopher Pike, Janice Rand
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: References to past child abuse
Word Count: 23,000
Summary: Five teens meet in detention at George Kirk Memorial Preparatory School: Jim Kirk, perpetual misfit. Spock, star of the debate team, perpetually under pressure from his overachieving parents. Nyota Uhura, linguistics expert and resident ice princess. Pavel Chekov, small, brilliant, utterly incapable of fitting in. Gaila, an escaped Orion slave who doesn't fit in and doesn't want to. Together, they are trapped under the command of Headmaster Christopher Pike, and they just may discover they have something in common after all. A twenty-third century adaptation of The Breakfast Club.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to circ_bamboo for her patient work tidying lines of dialog, spotting typos, and fixing my endless paragraphing mistakes. The story would not have been the same without her watchful eye!



Jim strides toward the school, resisting the urge to pull his coat tighter against the early morning chill. Frank had put a retinal scanner on every motor vehicle on the farm, and it's a long walk from home to school. But he's not confessing that he got detention, much less that he's going to attend it, and that means he's walking all five miles. He hears the car speeding across the parking lot, but he keeps walking, daring it to break him. When it screeches to a halt inches from his legs, just like he knew it would, he doesn't even spare it a glance. That means he doesn't see the Riverside City Child Protective Services logo on the side, doesn't see the green skinned girl in the secondhand coat step outside, doesn't see the driver slam down the accelerator just as the girl bends over to thank him for the journey. People look at James Tiberius Kirk all the time -- he makes sure of it -- but he never looks at anyone he can't fight or fuck, and that's okay by him. No matter what he misses.

***




Seconds after Kirk steps inside the school, a sleek black Mercedes glides into the parking lot and stops in front of the doors.

" i="I">believe</i> you couldn't get me out of this. I can't believe I couldn't get myself out of this." The voice is high and mellifluous, musical even when complaining. Its owner is meticulously arranging black leather gloves over freshly manicured nails, preparing herself thoroughly even for the brief journey into the cold. "I am ranked third in my class. I am devoted to my studies. I speak seventeen languages and play three musical instruments. I serve on the student council and participate in multiple volunteer organizations. I am not a delinquent and I do not belong in detention."

The voice of the man beside her sounds long-suffering but not unsympathetic. "I'll make it up to you. You're right. Skipping school to crash a linguistics conference does not make you a delinquent. I'll take you shopping after I pick you up."

Nyota rolls her eyes.

"Next time, just get me into the conference." She steps out of the car without waiting for a response, sniffing slightly when she sees Jim Kirk milling around the lobby. She enters the school with her head high and shoulders back, black Louis Vuitton boots clicking with every step. If she has to be here, she will make it clear that she doesn't belong.
***



The next car to enter the parking lot is another black Mercedes, indistinguishable from the Uhura family car except for the diplomatic license plates. The teenage boy in the passenger seat reaches for the door, but a small hand gesture from his father stops him.

"Spock, though you may not have anticipated this information, I too committed transgressions in my youth. It is not uncommon, even for Vulcans." The voice is careful and even, didactic rather than disappointed. "However, your position is more precarious than mine. I am the Ambassador to Earth, and all of us must show respect for every law and regulation on this planet. Moreover, you must by now be aware that because of your ancestry, many on our planet watch you carefully. You must give them no reason to criticize."

"Father, I am already aware of the nature and repercussions of my actions. Mother explained them most thoroughly last night." Neither his voice nor his face show any trace of impatience; he is merely a dutiful Vulcan child, accepting the teaching of an elder.

"Nonetheless, you must consider that the Vulcan Science Academy does not offer positions to those whose emotional urges cause them to violate trivial rules. It is my expectation and, I hope, your own that your conduct from henceforward will be unimpeachable."

At this, Spock's jaw clenches faintly, but as his father is staring forward, the slight lapse goes unobserved.

"Yes, Father," he says, and steps out of the car.
***



The final car to pull into the lot is older and more battered than the others. Three occupants are wedged tightly into the front seat: an older, portly woman with her hair tied in a kerchief, a young girl who is nonetheless nearly as tall as her older brother, and a teenage boy with the face of a ten-year-old beneath an unruly mop of curls.

"Pavel Andreivich Chekov, I did not move this family here from Russia so that you could break rules and waste your education. Is this the first time we do this or the last?"

The boy looks at the floor and mutters, "Last, Mother."

"Then get in there and use this time to your advantage."

"Mother, we are not allowed to study. We are to sit and do nothing." Pavel sighs. He has explained this to his mother many times already, yet she cannot seem to understand that he cannot break the rules while being punished for violating them.

"Then you figure out a way to study. You will not waste this day."

"Yeah!" adds the little sister, and Pavel glares at her. She is not carrying the weight of the family's expectations; she does not deserve to criticize him.

"Well, go!" his mother calls, and Pavel dashes out before his sister has a chance to urge him on.
***



Spock enters the library with measured steps. His presence here is inconvenient, but he believes he can still use the day to his advantage. He has reviewed the behavior code for students serving detention, and meditation is not prohibited. Moreover, his eidetic memory will allow him to review his texts while maintaining the appearance of inactivity.

He intends to select a secluded seat to avoid distraction but pauses when he sees Nyota Uhura sitting rigidly in the first chair of the first table. After 1.2 seconds of consideration, he indicates the seat next to her, and she responds with a delicate shrug. He sits quickly, reflecting that this change in his plan is not illogical. Due to their shared interest in linguistics, Ms. Uhura would make an ideal study partner, but her rigorous extra-curricular schedule and his own demanding study schedule have precluded the possibility of an introduction. Perhaps he can accomplish this today.
***



Gaila watches the exchange from her vantage point behind one of the interactive research stations. She learned this as a pirate -- to be the first to enter a room and the last to sit down, and to spend the time in between watching, observing, making judgments. Before, she'd done it to survive; now she does it because watching these naive human children sort out their social hierarchies amuses her.

Uhura had sat down first of course, always early to everything she does. Equally predictably, she had chosen the position that would require everyone who entered the room to walk past her and look at her. Not coincidentally, it is also the position that declares to teachers her eagerness to impress.

Spock had been next, and his choice of seat had surprised Gaila; she had thought the Vulcan would sit alone. But he noticed Uhura, like everyone does, and now he is sitting beside her in the front row. Just like her, he finds the seat that proclaims his desperate longing for teachers' attention.

The door swings open again and the skinny Russian kid wanders in, staring uncertainly at the small selection of tables and chairs. He doesn't know his own position, or even what he wants his position to be. After a second's pause, he walks toward the table behind Spock and Uhura, not front and center but not too far toward the back. His walk is decisive, trying to cover for his moment's hesitation at the door. Every second or two, his eyes flick toward Spock and Uhura, and Gaila can tell he simultaneously longs for their attention and fears that they will see his uncertainty.

As soon as Chekov sits, the door flies open so widely that Gaila thinks its hinges will snap. Everyone looks at Kirk, just as he wanted, and he makes a show of his entrance, touching everything at the check-out stand and pocketing office supplies just to prove he's not afraid to steal. With a single glance, Kirk forces Chekov to move across the room, and he settles ostentatiously into the abandoned seat, putting each of his feet on the table with a heavy thud.

Gaila rolls her eyes at the show while the others stare with a mixture of awe and disgust. Now it is her turn to make an entrance, and she does so simply, walking all the way around the library to take a seat in the very back. She ignores Uhura's smirk, Spock's raised eyebrow, and Chekov's confused stare. With their entrance and choice of seat, each of them had proven that their universe revolves around the others' opinions; her behavior declares simply that she is not a part of their world and does not wish to be.
***



Pike rises reluctantly from the faux wood desk in the center of his small, cluttered office. The civilian suit hangs awkwardly from his lanky frame, foreign after so many years in uniform. He had rescued it from storage in his mother's basement, and he suspects that is many years, possibly many decades, out of style.

This was not what he had imagined when Starfleet had assigned him to a two-year Earthside recruiting tour. "Two five year missions and then on-planet rotation," they'd said. "It's mandatory. Time to unwind." He is not unwinding.

"Look, George Kirk Memorial Preparatory School generates more than thirty-five percent of successful applicants to the Academy," a balding admiral had said with stars in his eyes. "We want more. We want you to inspire them, pick out the best of the best, make sure they come to us. You'll love it." Another admiral had clapped him on the shoulder hard and offered his arm a manly squeeze. Pike had known then that he was defeated. He will never forgive them for this.

He walks into the library and tries to imagine that it is the bridge of the Yorktown. This only makes him more disappointed when he sees five sullen teenagers instead of the navigation array and captain's chair.

"Well, well here we are! Congratulations for being here on time." His voice is as hard and dry as he's ever heard it.

Nyota Uhura raises her hand and speaks without waiting for recognition.

"Sir, I apologize, but I believe this is a mistake. You said yourself that my linguistic skills were beyond reproach and I quote, my dedication to excellence outstrips even senior Starfleet officers. Detention is not the appropriate place..."

Pike keeps talking. If she wants to join Starfleet, she'll have to learn that she's not above the rules.

"It is now oh-seven-oh-six. You have exactly eight hours and fifty-four minutes to ponder the error of your ways..."

Jim Kirk tilts his head back, spits into the air, then catches it in his mouth, hoping as always for more attention. Pike doesn't react; he once saw a Klingon devour the liver of an unfortunate redshirt, and ever since then, juvenile delinquents who swallow their own saliva haven't really merited his attention. He keeps talking.

"You may not speak, you may not read, you may not study, and you will not move from these seats."

Authority at least comes easy, though it's been many years since he's needed to utter trivial commands to cadets who break trivial rules. He fixes Jim Kirk with his full-on captain's stare.

"And you..." he says, then yanks the chair out from Kirk's feet and pauses till all the eyes are on him.

"...will not sleep. All right, people, we're going to try something a little different today. We are going to write essays -- of no less than one thousand words -- describing to me who you think you are."

This is a bad idea, he knows it. In the best case scenario, he will read five thousand words of their drivel; in the most likely scenario, he will be forced to spend yet another Saturday with them when they do not complete the assignment. Still, he holds some shred of hope that this essay might shed some meager lights on the enigmatic workings of their teenage souls, so he passes out styluses and padds whose wireless chips he'd spent the morning removing.

"Is this a test?" Kirk asks, and Pike ignores him even though he's already tired of this juvenile game of asserting authority by withholding attention.

"And when I say essay, I do mean essay. Not one word repeated a thousand times. Is that clear, Mr. Kirk?"

"Crystal," the kid returns, not even bothering to hide the sarcasm in his voice.

"Good. Maybe you'll all learn a little something about yourselves." He is bullshitting now, doing his best to play the role. "Maybe you'll even decide whether or not you want to return."

The Russian whiz kid -- Chirpov, Chelkov, something or other -- leaps to his feet, standing inexplicably at attention.

"I can answer that question now, sir. The answer is no."

"Sit down, Chekov."

"My office is right across the hall. Any monkey business..." Did he just say monkey business? "...any monkey business is ill-advised.”

He casts one long, hard glare over them for effect. And because he really wants them to leave him the fuck alone all day.

"Any questions?"

"Yeah." That's from Jim Kirk. He stifles a wince.

"That Rigelian lounge singer in the Riverside Shipyard Bar wants his suit back."

That is not a question, but that is beside the point.

"I'll see you next Saturday," he snaps, resisting the temptation to inspect the suit. He strides out of the room, hoping he still has a little dignity intact.
***



Jim reclines in his chair, propping his feet on the table and looks across the room toward Pike's office. Mentally, he rations his time: half an hour of silence for himself; ten or fifteen minutes for an equally silent assessment of his fellow inmates, who don't seem all that interesting, but you never know; another thirty to plot his next confrontation with Pike, who will check on them every two hours, as per school regulation.

He is just beginning to get comfortable in the hard wooden chair when he hears a loud snapping sound behind him. The sound continues, and first Chekov turns to look, then Spock and Uhura. He keeps staring straight ahead, letting the others check it out first, deciding if it's worth his while. Finally he turns his head, eyes open wide with mocking amazement.

"You keep eating your hand and you won't be hungry for lunch..."

The green girl spits a fingernail at him, which earns her a bit of his attention and respect.

"I've seen you before," he says. It's a compliment, telling people he's noticed them. Or a threat. But this time he means it as a compliment. No one is paying attention now, though. The green girl has gone back to her solemn meal of fingernails, and Chekov's repeating "who am I?" like the answer's going to drop down from heaven or some shit. The kid is really getting on Kirk's nerves, acting like all of this matters somehow, so he stares hard and watches, satisfied, as the kid gives a little nervous laugh. Chekov pauses for a moment, searching for a way to make it look like he was genuinely distracted instead of scared shitless by Kirk, so he starts peeling off his jacket. And Jim, because he's bored and there's nothing better to do, starts pulling off his coat just so he can see what the kid's made of. Sure enough, Chekov pauses with his jacket dangling awkwardly around his elbows, then shrugs it back on and rubs his hands together as if he'd suddenly decided he was cold. He feels a little sorry for the kid, and even sorrier for himself because this is fucking boring and if they were going to assign him detention, they at least could've had the decency to put someone challenging in the room with him.

Luckily, he's never been the sort to dwell on what he doesn't have. Maybe everyone in here is boring, but at least one person is hot. She isn't paying attention to him right now, but he can change that. He flings his padd toward her head, being careful to aim just a little too high. It cuts through the air with a satisfying whoosh, but Uhura barely even flinches. She doesn't even bother to look up. That's all right though. He hasn't even come close to exhausting his tricks.

"Nah nah nah nah...nah nah nah nah," he sings, deliberately out of tune. He has perfect pitch, actually, but he doesn't advertise that.

"I can't believe I'm here," she mutters, disgust dripping from every syllable. It's progress.

"Oh shit!" he shouts, putting as much genuine shock and fear into his voice he can muster. "What are we supposed to do if we have to take a piss?"

"Please," she hisses, and he knows he's got her now.

"If you gotta go..." He unzips his fly. "...You gotta go!" he finishes triumphantly.
Now they're all looking at him.

"This is not an appropriate place for urination," Spock says.

"Don't talk! Don't talk! It makes it crawl back up!" Kirk squawks.

"If you remove your member from your pants, I will take physical action to prevent you from soiling the floor."

Kirk gasps. "You're pretty sexy when you get angry." He offers a mock tiger growl to finish it off, then turns to Chekov before Spock can react.

"What say you close the door and we'll get the ice queen here...impregnated?" The threat is low, even for him. He doesn't touch girls who don't want to be touched; it's wrong, and besides, he has enough willing partners that he doesn't need to mess with girls who say no. He considers feeling guilty for a minute but decides against it: he wants to see how far he can push her and Spock both before they snap.

Spock's jaw clenches, but Uhura responds first.

"If you enjoy having your dick attached to your body, I suggest you retract that statement."

Jim greets her glare with a cocky grin. He really admires a woman who can make a threat stick without even leaving her seat, and he adds another point to her score when she turns smoothly in her chair and begins ignoring him again. He's pretty sure he can still win the game though; if he can't get her attention by bothering her, he can sure as hell get it by bothering Spock.

"Hey, Spock, what'd you do to get in here? Somebody see you showing emotion? Telling mommy you love her?"

The Vulcan's shoulders tense slightly, and when he turns around, something in his expression tells Jim that he's struck gold.

"Your frequent presence in detention does not confer the privilege of questioning my behavior."

"It's a free planet. Shouldn't you know that since daddy married a human and all?"

Spock turns, face impassive, but his eyes alight. The eyes are human, Jim thinks. He knows then that he can get him, not that he had ever really doubted it. He opens his mouth to make one last comment, but Uhura beats him to it.

"He's just doing it to wind you up."

She lays a hand lightly on Spock's arm. Jim notes this. Spock colors faintly and turns around. Jim notes this too.

"So, you guys boyfriend-girlfriend?" he asks conversationally, strolling around the table.

Uhura rolls her eyes.

"Steady dates?"

The Vulcan won't look at him.

"Lovers?" He pitches his voice low and grins lasciviously. He leans forward and puts one hand on the table on either side of Uhura.

"Level with me. Is his dick green?”

"Go to hell," Uhura says coolly.

"Your accusations are tiresome. Please find an alternative means of amusing yourself," Spock says.

Kirk surveys them silently. Uhura's doing her homework now, making a show of ignoring him, but she fidgets a little under his gaze. Her small but unwilling recognition of his presence is enough for him, he decides, and strolls away to lean on a nearby railing.

"What say we close the door? We can't have any kind of party in here if Pike can see us." He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively and looks at Uhura, who sneers back.

"I believe the door is to stay open," the Russian kid stammers.

"So what?" Kirk asks and watches the kid jerk back like a kicked puppy.

"Chekov's objection is relevant. The decision is not exclusively yours. Four other individuals are present in this room."

"Way to go! You can count! I knew you had to be smart to be such a... a..." He lets his jaw slacken into ape-like torpor. "...a master debater!"

"I do not believe you can credibly judge me."

"Really," Uhura sniffs.
The attention bolsters Spock, who puffs up like Pike when he's ready to deliver an extra-stern lecture.

"You are not significant here. If you disappeared forever, it would make no difference. Indeed, you might as well not exist."

"Oooh, then I guess I'd better run out and join the debate team like you."

Uhura laughs, sharp and hard, and Spock raises an incredulous eyebrow.

"They don't take people like you. People who don't matter, I mean," Uhura says.

"Then I guess I'll just have to join the pep club and student council so I can be important like you."

"You know why guys like you knock everything? It's because you're afraid. You know you can't cut it here. You know you're a fuck up who's only here because your dad died, and everyone else knows it to.” Uhura says it like she imagines it's a scathing insult, but it's nothing Jim hasn't heard a hundred times before at home.

"Thank you. You just saved Daddy Frank a whole shitload of credits. See, I was going to get a shrink to pscyhoanalyze me, but since I have you to tell me what I'm thinking, I guess I won't have to," he fires back.

Uhura rolls her eyes.

"You're a coward."
***



Gaila listens to their conversation without raising her eyes from the warp engine schematics she's sketching. The human children understand nothing of power. Each tries to prove their strength by demonstrating how little they care about the others, but their attempts to ignore each other only prove how much they desire the others' approval.

"I belong to the physics club," Chekov contributes. At least he does not hide his desire to fit in.

"You're afraid they won't take you," Uhura says to Kirk, ignoring Chekov to demonstrate her importance.

"Or it could be that you're all assholes and ice queens," Kirk fires back.
Gaila yawns, but not ostentatiously in the way Kirk might have to demonstrate his boredom. She has no wish to be drawn into their petty power struggle.

"I'm also on the mathletics team," Chekov says. Importance is out of his reach, so he struggles for relevance.

"'Scuse me a second," Kirk says, turning his stare to Chekov, who flinches slightly. "What are you babbling about?"

"I...I said I was in the physics club...and the mathletics team." Now that he has finally attracted the attention of the more powerful group members, he does not know what to do. He fears they will unite and turn their strength on him. It is a novice mistake; Gaila learned the hard way that if you are weak, you must not draw the others' attention.

"What do you guys do in your club?" Kirk asks brightly. Gaila can tell he's faking enthusiasm, but Chekov does not sense the trap.

"Well, ah...we talk about physics...the properties of physics, yes." He leans forward eagerly, basking in the scraps of attention. Gaila wonders if she should bother helping him if they spring on him.

"So it's social, right? Demented and sad, but also sort of social?"

"Yes. I guess you could consider it a social situation. I mean there are other children in my club and uh, at the end of the year we have, um, you know, a big banquet, at the, uh, at the Hilton."

"So you get loaded, you party?"

"I am not familiar with this expression loaded. But we...ah...get dressed up. Is this loaded?"

Uhura turns to Kirk, looking as if she's smelled something disgusting.

"Only assholes like you get loaded."

"And, ah, I didn't have any shoes, so I had to borrow my dad's. Only my mom hates for me to borrow my dad's. She thinks it's gross, wearing someone else's shoes. And my cousin Dmitri, ah, came in from Siberia, but he did not feel like he belonged here..."

"Kind of like you." Chekov wilts for a moment, then rejuvenates when he sees Uhura is talking to Kirk.

"Excuse me, but if you persist in your loquacity, Pike will investigate. I am scheduled to compete in a debate tournament next weekend, and I would prefer not to miss it due to your conversation."

Kirk moans in fake agony.

"Missing a whole debate tournament? However will you cope?"

"You persist in mocking me when you have no credible claim to judge me. You have not engaged in a single competitive activity at this school,” Spock says cooly.

Footsteps sound outside the door, and Gaila suppresses a snort when all of them immediately go silent and retreat to their chairs. Each pretends to be so powerful, yet they are so easily cowed. Gaila could kill them all with her bare hands, even Pike. For a moment, she considers telling them the precise points she would press to still their breathing, but then she remembers she cares nothing for their attention.
***



Pike pauses outside the library door and hears voices inside. His fingers pinch the bridge of his nose in a gesture that has become almost automatic since his assignment here. The students are not to speak in detention; the rules are clear on that. But this is not a starship, and the rules here are petty attempts to enforce discipline, not essential regulations designed to save lives. None of it matters. He walks past.

In the restroom, which he has finally stopped referring to as "the head," he inspects himself in the mirror. He does not look like himself in a suit and tie. Mentally, he counts the days until he can return to space, and prays that today at least, the kids will be smart enough not to do something that he's obligated to notice.

If there are gods, they're not listening. The library door is closed when he steps out of the bathroom, and that infraction is too big to ignore. He really hopes that they haven't sealed it shut because if he has to get an engineer out here to unstick a fucking door...

It hisses open as soon as he arrives in front of it, sparing him the necessity of completing the threat. Which is a mixed blessing really, since now he is forced into yet another meaningless confrontation with Jim Kirk.

"Who closed the door?" He looks at Kirk but does not name him directly; making assumptions will not do, and besides, he wants to know if this is a crew that sticks together or one that turns its members in.

"I think the computer malfunctioned, sir." Kirk's voice is unctuous, his hands folded in front of him with mocking sincerity.

Pike makes eye contact with them one by one, daring them to turn Kirk in.

"The door inexplicably closed, sir," Spock offers. "As you had forbidden us to leave our seats, we naturally were unable to investigate the cause."

Pike mentally readjusts his impression of Spock. The Vulcan kid obviously wanted into Starfleet, even if he wouldn't say it, but Pike had quietly encouraged him toward the Vulcan Science Academy. An officer with no emotion at all was a liability, but this small demonstration of solidarity showed some promise. But he is too aware of the mechanics of command to let himself be distracted for too long; he needs to find and punish the perpetrator before the students lose their belief in his authority.

"Who?" he asks, staring hard at the Orion girl in the back. She responds with a series of clicks in a pirate dialect that are probably imprecations on his parentage and his manhood, but he's sure as hell not bothering to find out. He's already let one kid get under his skin today; he's not making the same mistake twice.

He considers asking Chekov, but he knows the kid will tell, and that will just make his life more awkward and painful here than it already is. He was the captain of the Yorktown for ten years before he came here; he can handle a single insolent teenager without informants to help.

"Tell me how you did it," he says, taking a step toward Kirk.

"Sir, I know this might be hard to believe, but the world is an imperfect place. Doors malfunction all the time."

But Pike is ignoring him, already striding toward the door to see if he can fix it. As soon as he pries off the control panel, he sees that the wire connected to the opening mechanism has been removed.
"Wires don't vanish by accident," he says. "Give it to me, Kirk."

"I told you that I don't have it."

"With all due respect, sir, why would he steal a wire?" Uhura asks.

The answer to that question is so bitingly obvious that he ignores it completely in favor of demanding that Spock come to repair the door.

"Sir, I do not believe the door is reparable. The circuitry utilized by the school is a very unusual alloy which cannot be replaced by routinely available spare parts. While I could remove wiring from one of our padds, it would likely damage the system further."

If this had been the Yorktown, he would have known for sure whether Spock was shitting him; there wasn't a bolt or wire on that ship he didn't know by heart. Knowing the schematics of a school in the middle of Iowa had hardly seemed worth his time, though, a fact which he now regrets. He'd like to tell Spock to try fixing it anyway, but the risk of an electrocuted Vulcan is sadly not worth the potential pay-off, especially when other alternatives are available. Command 101: if your crew revolts, give them the opposite of what they wanted. They wanted secrecy; he'd repay them with surveillance.

"Very well, the door stays closed," he says. "I'll just be back to check every thirty minutes from now on."

"Suck my dick," Kirk mutters under his breath, just loud enough for Pike to hear.

Inwardly, Pike closes his eyes and groans. Truth be told, he wants out of this library just as badly as they want him out, but Jim Kirk can't fucking let him go.

"You just bought yourself another Saturday, Kirk." He hopes the tiredness in his voice doesn't show.

"Jesus fucking Christ," Kirk says.

"And one more after that."

“I think I'm free,” Kirk says, “just let me check my calendar.”

He begins to remove a comm unit – which he was supposed to have checked in with security – from his pocket, and Pike is obliged now to punish him for the additional violation.

“That's one more detention, Mr. Kirk.” He should try to confiscate the phone, but that will only cause a physical altercation. “Are we through?”

He desperately hopes so.

“No!” Kirk shouts. He doesn't look angry; in fact, he looks alive, even gleeful.

Pike plants his hands on the table, one on each side of Kirk. He leans in close and speaks very, very quietly.

“Mr. Kirk, if you are not careful, I will have you in detention for the rest of your natural-born days. Now I will ask you one more time, do you want another detention?”

Kirk looks back at him with equal frankness.

“Yessir.”

“Then you've got it.”

“Do you really think I give a shit?”

Now Pike can feel the anger building inside him, pounding inside his skull and throbbing in his temples.

“That's another right there!”

“Cut it out!” Uhura cries, and out of the corner of his eye, he sees her mouthing 'stop it' to Kirk. The anger inside eases just a little. Just enough for him to remember that he is in control of the situation, not Kirk, and it's a mistake to keep asking the kid if he wants more. He straightens up and backs away.

“You're not fooling anyone here, Kirk, except maybe yourself. Unless you aim to be the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest, you might spend a little less time impressing others and a little more time making something of yourself.”

He sees the answer forming on Kirk's lips but doesn't give him a chance to speak. Instead, he shifts his attention to his remaining students, all of whom are staring at him raptly.

“I'm going to be right outside that door. Do not give me another reason to come in.”

***


Kirk screams, “Fuck you!” the second the door closes behind Pike.

Gaila doesn't react. For once, neither does anyone else.

The chronometer says 0745.

Kirk lights his shoe on fire with an old-fashioned chrome-plated lighter and lights a cigarette with that. Gaila wants to know where he'd gotten one of those – he must have good contacts – but she shifts her gaze away from him a second before he notices she's looking.

She watches Uhura, who pretends not to notice that she is being watched.

She watches Spock arrange styluses on his desk in exactly parallel lines.

Chekov adjusts his balls; Kirk extinguishes his shoe and strums an imaginary guitar.

Gaila draws an Orion freighter on the table top, then a Federation starship behind it. She wonders whose side she's on, but she can't answer, so she erases the whole thing.

They all fall asleep together.

***


Pike stares at his students, rubbing sleep out of his own eyes.

“Wake up!” he shouts. “Who needs to use the head?”

Everyone raises their hands.

He tries to imagine the letter he will write to One at the end of the day and can't imagine sending it.

“Dear Captain One, today I got in a shouting match with a sixteen-year-old, and then I took my students for a pee. Did you kill any Romulans today?”

He watches them file into the bathroom one by one. Their detention will end at five this evening; his lasts another year and a half.

***


At 10:22, Kirk decides he's had enough of sitting still and swipes an antique book from the paper section of the library. It's locked, or rather, it was locked, but that hadn't been a problem for him since he was seven. Now he's sitting on the librarian's desk next to a plaque that says Mrs. Van Landingham and a sign that says “librarians are novel lovers.” The thought of Mrs. Van's large, floppy breasts slapping against her no-doubt-unattractive husband rids Jim of the last vestiges of his guilt, and he rips out a page of the book.

The sound of tearing paper shatters the silence of the library, and Spock, Uhura, and Chekov stare. Gaila does not, which is annoying, but Jim figures he has enough of an audience to continue.

“Reading is so much fun!” He rips out another page of the book and watches it float toward the floor. “Mollett really turns me on!”

“That book is an antique!” Uhura snaps. She covers the distance between them in long strides and snatches the book from his hands. “And it's pronounced Mol-yer.”

She articulates each syllable carefully, just to prove she's better than him. She's not; Jim speaks Spanish fluently, and he'd memorized a French and a Vulcan dictionary in detention last week. He just doesn't advertise his linguistic skills like she does. Unless it will get him laid.

“Will you say it again?” he asks, mock pleading. He likes watching her lips wrap around the French syllables.

But Uhura ignores him. She's walking back to her table with a roll of tape, muttering, “I think I can fix this.”

Jim follows her.

“You grounded tonight?” he asks.

“My father tried. He failed.”

That's kind of interesting, but Spock beats him to the follow-up question.

“I understand that Samuel Stebbins is hosting a large party tonight while his parents attend a diplomatic event on Mars.”

“Really?”

Jim listens for a hint of sarcasm in Uhura's voice, but there isn't one.

“Could you attend?”

Jim isn't jealous. No way. He's just mad that someone like Spock is putting the moves on a hot girl before he did. It doesn't matter anyway; Uhura is pursing her lips and shaking her head.

“I doubt it. Things between my parents are tense right now. I don't like to leave my little sister home alone when they're fighting.”

This time, Jim beats Spock to the follow up question.

“Who do you like better?”

What?”

Jim articulates each syllable slowly and clearly, the same way Uhura had said Moliere's name.

“Do you like your father better than your mother?”

“Don't be ridiculous,” Uhura says, but he can tell from her eyes that the remark hit home. She's been thinking about it, who she's going to live with when the big fight comes and mommy moves out of the house and gets a lawyer.

“Your questions are intrusive,” Spock says.

Jim grabs a chair and pulls it up next to Spock.

Striking a listening pose, he asks, “Do you get along with your parents, Mr. Spock?”

“Regardless of how I answer this question, you will insult me.”

Jim steeples his fingers in front of him and says, “Most perceptive, Spock,” in his best imitation of a Vulcan. Then he flashes him a patented Jim Kirk grin. “And if you say you get along with your parents, I'll call you a liar.”

Jim stands up and slides his borrowed chair neatly back to its place at a neighboring table, looking for his next target. He's about to make a smart-ass remark to the green girl, just to see if he can catch her off guard, which is why he's so surprised when he almost trips. Almost. He catches himself before anyone else can notice, but when he looks down he sees Spock's foot placed ever-so-casually in the aisle. He looks at Spock, expecting him to try and cover it up, but the Vulcan only looks at him blandly. Jim calculates. It's too early in the day for a fight; he's got to save that for when he's really bored. Besides, he doesn't think the others saw him trip, so it's not like his reputation is on the line. He settles for backing away and pointing his middle finger at the floor, then tilting it slowly upward.

“You get that, Mr. Spock?”

He's curious how Spock will react, but the dumb Chekov kid jumps between them almost immediately, spewing verbal diarrhea as if that would really stop him from beating Spock to a pulp if he wanted to

“You guys, I do not get along with my parents either. They do not have, how do you say, compassion? Or understanding?”

Maybe he's not trying to stop a fight, Jim realizes. Maybe he's just trying to feel a tiny bit less lonely in the world. But if that's the case, acting weak and pathetic is not the way to go about it, and the sooner the kid figures that out, the better his life will be.

“Dork,” he says, “you are a parent's wet dream.”

Then he looks away, but Chekov's still talking.

“I know. That is the problem, okay?”

“No,” Jim says in a credible imitation of Pike's you-are-straining-my-patience voice. “Let's face it, you have nothing to do except make mommy and Mother Russia proud.”

Chekov looks wounded, and Kirk feels guilty for a second because it's kind of like kicking a puppy. But then, why bother feeling sorry for Chekov when he has noble protectors like Spock to defend him?

“It is not necessary for you to insult everyone.”

“I'm not insulting, I'm honest,” Kirk explains patiently. “I would expect someone as logical as you to know the difference.”

Spock looks mildly irritated, which Jim finds gratifying, but riling up hot girls is much more fun than harassing Vulcans, so he turns back to Uhura.

“Are you a virgin?” he asks conversationally.

“Go to hell,” she mutters under her breath. Without bothering to look at Kirk, she presses a strip of tape down with a carefully manicured fingernail.

It's not the incandescent rage he'd been hoping for, but that's okay. He's not done yet. He bends over her table, leaning in close the way Pike had during their last confrontation.

“I'll bet a million credits and my dad's 1969 convertible that you are.”

Still no response, but he can feel the tension quivering between them.

“Let's end the suspense. Is it going to be a white wedding?”

“Shut up.”

Her voice could freeze the balls off a lesser man. Not Jim Kirk, though.

“Have you ever kissed a boy on the mouth?”

He's sure she has. Nobody could be that hot and not use it.

“Have you ever been felt up? Under the shirt, over the bra?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Spock flush faintly green. He leans in closer to Uhura and pitches his voice low. He wants her to imagine doing these things with him.

“Over the panties, no bra, blouse unbuttoned, jeans in a wad on the front seat after eleven on a school night?”

“Stop,” Spock says, his voice low and dangerous. Jim ambles toward him.

“You gonna make me?”

“Yes.”

Jim has to admire how intimidating that Vulcan cool is. He hadn't expected it. Not that he's really scared, of course.

“You and what army?”

“I do not require tactical support. My strength is sufficient to incapacitate you. I will demonstrate at your convenience.”

Jim looks at Uhura. She raises her eyebrows coolly. He can hear the question: what are you going to do, Jim? Chekov is staring at him too, looking half-terrified and half-excited. Kid's probably never seen a fight before. Even the green girl is looking at him out the corner of her eye. And Spock is sitting at his table, looking just as calm and bland as he does in second period physics. Like Jim's not even worth going through the etiquette of a fight for. No threats, no posturing, not even the decency to stand to make a threat. Jim can't let that slide. He lunges. The next thing he knows, Spock is on top of him, his arm is twisted behind his back, and all he can see is gray industrial carpeting.

“I don't want to get into this with you, man!” he squawks.

Not that he couldn't win, but it's not even 11:30 in the morning, and how would he occupy the rest of the day if he gets into a real fight now?

Spock lets him up. Wuss.

“Your previous statements indicated that you were quite willing to 'get into this' with me.”

Jim stands up, bouncing on his toes a little to prove that he's unharmed and eager.

“If we got into it, I'd kill you,” he says conversationally. He would. After that move Spock had pulled, he wouldn't let the kid live. “And your parents are some kind of big time diplomats, and they would sue me, and it would be a whole big mess, and I don't care about you enough to bother.”

It's true. He might have told Pike a time or six that he didn't mind being the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest, but that didn't mean he wanted to do time on trumped-up assault charges for beating up some ambassador's kid.

“You are a coward,” Spock says and then walks away without even waiting for a reaction.

Jim can't have that, so he pulls out his switchblade – he thinks it was his dad's, but he can't be sure – and throws it into the chair Spock was about to sit in. The blade quivers in the wooden seat and Spock raises a single eyebrow. He walks back to Kirk and hands him the knife matter-of-factly.

“You will not talk to Miss Uhura. You will not look at her, nor will you even think about her. I consider this matter resolved.”

Spock is damn lucky that Custodian Rand picks that moment to walk in. She's hot, almost too hot to be a janitor, and just distracting enough to take Jim's attention off Spock's ridiculous order.

“Pavel, how are you doing?” she asks with a radiant smile that makes Jim a little jealous. Hot women should always look at him.

“Your mom works here?” Jim asks, half to remind Chekov who's in charge here and half so that he can quietly slip the switchblade back into his pocket. No use letting Pike confiscate it, especially if it had been his father's.

“Janice.” He sidles toward her, pretending he's on the prowl. “Can I ask you a question?”

Rand looks distinctly unimpressed.

“What?” she snaps.

“How does one become a janitor?”

“You interested in becoming one?”

“No, but my buddy here is very interested in pursuing the custodial arts.”

He claps Spock on the back.

Rand narrows her eyes.

“Oh really? You think I'm some untouchable peasant? A peon? Let me tell you something, Jim Kirk. I listen to your conversations, I read the notes you throw in the trash. I know you're just a pathetic little boy who can't fill your dead father's shoes. And you know what else? That chronometer is twenty minutes fast.”

Part 2
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