"I've also heard," Jim continued, "that there's no such thing as destiny."

Spock's eyes narrowed just a little bit, and Jim found himself mirroring the action. "You are attempting to engage me in meaningless conversation."

"Me? Meaningless? No such thing, Spock. Meaningless, I mean. Conversation is always meaningful."

"I beg to differ," and the raised eyebrow indicated precisely the conversation to which he was referring.

"Well then, so do I."

They went back to staring, and Jim wondered how the conversation had gotten off track so fast. He had to fix this. "Uh, I mean, even if it isn't a particularly intellig-" no, not that word "uh, interest-" no "er, scintillating" gak! "conversation, you can still learn something about the person you're conversing with." Shit.

Spock tilted his head a little, and Jim considered it a win that he knew that meant Spock was...perhaps intrigued? Maybe interested? Well, either way, that look went into the plus side of the column.

"Perhaps you would provide me with an example?"

"Sure. Okay. So...um...well..." don't go there "you remember when we were on the bridge," SHIT "and I got all 'you're just a cold-blooded data processor', and, like, you got all 'ROAR' on me, well, I learned a lot about you."


And if Jim hadn't learned something about Spock the last time, on the bridge, he certainly did this time.

"Ahuh." Which really meant, pleasedon'tkillme!

Wow, and now they were back to staring again. Jim gave it his very best shot, because seriously, his genius level IQ needed a hard re-boot right now. And that process was going really really slow.

"Perhaps you would care to elucidate."

And that was in no way, shape or form a question, Jim was coherent enough to know that much. In fact, based on the current conversation he now knew that any statement from Spock that started with "perhaps" was not going to be a question as much as it was going to be a one of those suggestions that, aside from the subtle (or not so subtle) underlying command, one ignored at one's own peril.

While Jim's sense of self-preservation was markedly non-existent most of the time, there were moments that it leaped to the fore, and this was one of them. Over the years Jim had developed a theory that his sense of self-preservation only emerged when (as) he was tipping over that fine line between win and maybe-this-really-wasn't-such-a-good-idea-after-all.


"Yeah, I'll elucidate. See, I have this sense about people. I get them. I can read them. In seconds. You? Well, it's been kinda odd with you. At first? No. Not a clue. But seriously, we've got two missions under our belts and now I think I get, well, some things about you."

There went another eyebrow lift, and this time Jim knew it meant he had better get to the point in maybe about roughly three point four eight seconds.

"You really do care about your mother. Yeah, that's a no-brainer. But also, you have no patience for idiots, and I gotta say, you and me, we're like twins right there. Well, just that last part, I mean."

"I fail to-"

"Just wait, I'm not done yet. Also." Thiiiiink... "And just so you can follow, because I tend to jump around a little and this is from a previous conversation, while you may blindly hate me, you are still willing to listen to whatever logic and reason I happen to spout."

Spock shifted, the first movement either of them had made (aside from trying not to blink).

"Back to my first point. You logically must care about your father; or at the very least, you care what he thinks about you. You do care about your people and your planet. And based on that, plus some other trade secrets I'm not about to give away, you care about my ship and my crew. And that means I can trust you, with my life. I do trust you."

Spock blinked.

Jim pointed at him. "I win."


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