The Statistics of Touching
Okay, here's my entry for the last Friday's challenge from cashew, under the topic of statistically abnormal behaviors. I think it came out okay.
Title: The Statistics of Touching Fandom: Star Trek TOS Characters: Kirk/Spock, Sarek/Amanda Genre: Drama. Rating: PG Warnings: Slash Summary: While stuck in sickbay, Kirk has an awkward and illuminating conversation with the parents of his Vulcan friend.
Kirk lay on the bed in sickbay, bored out of his mind. McCoy had just went off duty, still muttering about stubborn Vulcan physiology and crazy captains who let themselves get knocked around in space-battles while suffering from a stab wound. Spock would still be stuck on the bridge for another duty cycle. Starfleet regulations didn't require that the first officer take over all of the captain's duties when said captain was incapacitated, but Kirk knew his Vulcan friend. If asked, Spock would no doubt deliver some platitudes about Vulcan abilities and lack of need for as much off duty "down time" as humans do -- anything to avoid admitting an emotional basis to his actions. But when he actually did pull himself off duty, Kirk knew, he'd probably come down to sickbay with their chess board to divert his captain's cabin fever. They knew each other that well.
Kirk was pulled out of his thoughts by a strong voice on the other side of sickbay. It was from the only other patient there, Ambassador Sarek, the father of the first officer he had just been daydreaming about. In fact, Kirk noticed that aside from the ambassador and his wife, there was no one else in the room, and that he was the focus of two very scrutinizing looks. For no reason that he could discern, Kirk felt an urge to run out of the room.
"Yes, Ambassador?" He flashed his usual charming grin and congratulated himself on keeping a steady voice.
"What is your exact relationship with my son?" The voice was perfectly level, and slightly curious. Yet Kirk still had the impression that he was being interrogated. He tried to ignore Lady Amanda's knowing look. Sarek couldn't possibly know what that question insinuated to a human. Or so he hoped.
"Spock is my first officer, a valued member of my crew... and my good friend." Do Vulcans even approve of having friends? Or was that considered too emotional?
But Sarek was already shaking his head. "No, captain. I mean to ask, what is your... private... relationship with my son?"
Sarek drew breath to reword the question for the third time, when Amanda gently laid a hand over his to forestall him. She turned back to Kirk and the light blush on her cheeks did nothing to allay his growing trepidation.
"What my husband meant," Amanda explained, "is do you and Spock have a romantic or... sexual... relationship together?"
Kirk gaped, and it was a while before he could find his voice. "No! No, we're just friends... good friends..." he stammered, his voice an octave too high even to his own ears. Get a grip on yourself! "Why... why do you think that we--that anything's... going on?"
Sarek and Amanda exchanged a Look. Kirk tried not to squirm on the sickbay bed.
"You... touch him," Amanda said hesitantly, "and he allows it. Vulcans generally don't like physical contact..."
"It is to prevent accidental mental contact," Sarek elaborated pedantically. "A logical habit to develop for a species with touch telepathy. My son, though half-human, has a higher than average psi-index. Yet you touch him more often than is statistically normal among even human males, and he allows you to do so."
"I didn't know that," Kirk muttered under his breath. "We're just good friends." He desperately tried to forget the comment about him touching Spock more than is statistically normal. Trust a Vulcan to be able to quote statistics on something like that... He didn't really touch Spock that much, did he?
But Sarek wasn't finished. "The only case where such contact is... not unusual, is between a Vulcan and... a human bondmate."
Amanda covered a grin. "Like father, like son."
The two men stared at her. Sarek in the typically stoic Vulcan expression that was belied by his eyebrows climbing past his hairline. Kirk in a half-mortified and half-panicked state of mind.
But before anyone could say anything more, the door to sickbay swished open to admit Nurse Chapel. Kirk let his head drop back onto the bed, and made a mental note to talk to Bones about getting Chapel a raise.
The next few days swept by Kirk in something of a daze. The Enterprise arrived at the Babel conference without further incident and dropped off the diplomats she had been carrying. Dr. McCoy pronounced Kirk fit for duty again, and released him from the confines of sickbay. Best of all, there were no more disturbing conversations with the parents of his friend and officer.
Kirk leaned back into the captain's seat appreciatively as the Enterprise pulled away from Babel, happy that that particular mission was finally over. He swept his eyes over the bridge, taking in his crew doing their excellent job as always... Uhura at the comm, Sulu and Chekov at the helm, Spock at-- Abruptly, Kirk realized he was staring at the backside of his Vulcan officer as Spock leaned over the sensor monitor at his station. A perfect view of said backside. The conversation from Sickbay echoed in his mind. He could feel heat rising from his neck to his face, and wrenched his seat back around to stare at the empty viewscreen, where it was safe.
He had a feeling that the universe had just gotten a whole lot more complicated.