*Well, that's it, then.* Jim thought, staring at the papers in front of him. He'd started the project shortly after realizing most of his fantasies now not only starred a certain pointy-eared friend, but often had nothing whatsoever to do with sex. Two months of his off-duty (and non-Spock, there was no way he was giving up chess nights) time given in the name of the scientific method had finally wielded results: he was pining, rather hopelessly, after Spock.
He dropped his head morosely onto the desk and spun one particular sheet around with a lazy finger.
The study had been intended to give him some logical reasons why they should be together that he could present to Spock in hopes of convincing the Vulcan to give a romantic relationship a try, but his control experiment had put those hopes to rest. He pulled it closer, as if by reading it one more time he could make it say something else.
/Hypothesis: Spock misses me when I'm not around... refrain from seeking him out... hide in McCoy's office, as Spock tends to avoid it... cease telling off-colour jokes to make Spock blush... Conclusion: Spock appears to have found the two weeks without my presence agreeable, as he has managed to complete both of our paperwork, further several 'fascinating' experiments in the labs, and increased his meditation. He has not attempted to seek out my attention other than a few inquiries into my health, as befits any concerned First Officer when their CO exhibits aberrant behaviour./
He crumpled that sheet up and tossed it at his trash can, no longer able to look at it. The last sentence of his conclusion was not so easy to banish, however. He sighed and headed for the door, forgetting about his chess date in his hurry to head to the gym and find a sparring partner. Maybe a few rounds in the ring would knock the mocking sentence out of his head.
*Based on this information, Captain Kirk should refrain from courting Commander Spock in order to avoid making a fool of himself.*
Spock entered his friend's quarters without waiting for an invite, as had been their custom for the last 18 months. Especially in the early days, when the young Captain had been finding his footing with his staff and staving off rebukes from his superiors, it wasn't unusual for him to be late for their chess games. On one particularly notable occasion he had been over an hour past the agreed upon time due to Admiral Komack searching for any little reason to put black marks on Jim's record. Spock had understood, but Jim had still felt guilty and had offered Spock the use of his beloved collection of hardcopy books any time he wanted. After that it became their habit that on days when small emergencies cropped up for Jim to return to his quarters to find Spock occupying the comfy chair and reading.
Other days it went the other way, and Spock was the one putting out both literal and metaphorical fires. On those occasions he'd hurry to Jim's room to find his friend curled up on the sofa with a book, tea already waiting.
It was a comfortable, friendly routine, but today Spock found himself hard pressed not to scowl. Jim had been inordinately busy the last 18.529 days, and Spock was concerned over the change in his friend. Instead of plopping himself down at Spock's table and chattering incessantly over his meal, Jim had taken his on the run. Instead of finding Spock during off-duty hours to joke or spar, Jim was spending his time in sickbay. Even during shift Jim's demeanor had changed, his jokes and smiles giving way to professionalism and very Captainly brooding. Spock had inquired after his health, only to be waved off with vague reassurances.
His first thought was that one of the Admirals was trying to unseat the Captain again, and to prevent that he'd taken to filling out both of their extra paperwork and proofreading the reports Jim got to before he did. That hadn't freed up any more time, just sent Jim scurrying to the CMO's office more often.
Given that Jim had assured Spock he was fine, Spock could only speculate that something was wrong with Doctor McCoy. That worried him almost as much, since he and the Doctor were rather close now, to the point where many crewmembers called them 'best frienemies', whatever that meant. Neither man was confiding in him, though, so Spock didn't enquire. It probably had to do with McCoy's ex-wife or daughter, and as such another human was the obvious person to go to with it.
He tried not to be too unsettled by the sudden withdrawal of the two crewmembers he was closest to, but he had long ago accepted that Jim made him /feel/ and McCoy's caustic commentary was proof that everything was going well in their little ship-bound world. Deprived of both of them, Spock had retreated to the labs, then to extended meditation when even science couldn't distract him any longer.
The absence of the two beings that disturbed his calm to most, added to the increased meditation, *should* have done wonders for his serenity. Indeed, he had gone to great lengths to project that image around the crew, not wanting to give everyone more to worry about. He knew, however, that he would never trade any amount of serenity and calm for the cheerful and occasionally harrowing chaos that Jim seemed to attract. He would never trade /Jim/, not for anything.
Jim had never missed chess yet, though, so Spock decided to stay. He was headed to the bookshelf when his name caught his attention, emblazoned boldly on the top of what looked like a study. Intrigued, he picked it up.
/A Study of Captain Kirk, Commander Spock, and their Compatibility and Chemistry/