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Chapter 1: "Guidance"
Series: Star Trek (Original Series AU)
Disclaimer: PG-13 work-safe.

Spock & Mr.Mallory by Jen
Kirk by sumeragiskank

This morning had consisted of an unfortunate series of events. Events that had ultimately lead Spock here, to the Starfleet Academy Counselor's Office. It was a spacious facility made up of many private offices offered to students for the purpose of their educational career planning, as well as resolving the apparently inevitable emotional crisises faced upon undertaking such an endeavor. As if demonstrating its very purpose for Spock in that moment, a nearby office door opened and a human girl not much younger than himself exited in haste; she was in tears. Spock raised an eyebrow. Fascinating.

After informing the receptionist that he was there for his appointment, he sat down on one of the couches in the holding area. Spock noted that many of the decorations, mainly small sculptures, paintings, and the style of furniture itself, dated back a couple of centuries... to the 20th century, if he was not mistaken. He assumed such languid decor was for the benefit of giving its troubled human occupants an ease of mind, a place where they would feel at home. For a Vulcan, it provided little else but a social study on human behavior.

Spock had never visited his counselor personally, and was not here to do so today. He was seeking employment. After hearing the school board's final decision on the future of the chess club, Spock was forced to find a means of earning the finances to maintain it. Since his father Sarek would not permit him taking on outside work that could interfere with his studies, Spock had to rely on services within the school system.

The most advantageous of these was the teaching aid program. This was also the best avenue open to him. As he understood it, a senior student would tutor an underclassman who was unable to function at the proper level required to complete the course. Spock was familiar with all the understudies and had received perfect marks in every subject; he was a prime candidate to perform this job. Spock's mother was also a teacher and he had observed her instruction practices with human children before, there was nothing difficult about it.

After a few more minutes, precisely 2.3 minutes past being punctual, his contact entered the waiting area to greet him. Mr. Eugene Mallory was a robust-seeming middle-aged man with prematurely graying hair. He smiled at the Vulcan. Spock only nodded in acknowledgment.

"You must be Spock. I'm Mallory."

"Indeed, I appreciate your meeting with me." Spock stood to address the man. "I am here in regards to the teaching aid position."

"Fine, that's fine. Your record precedes you, Mr. Spock, you are more than qualified to fill the role." Spock could almost feel a sense of pride emerging at those words, but it was forcibly dismissed as the adviser continued. "However, a grasp of the curriculum is not the only requirement necessary for this job. You must understand that these students need extra attention beyond what they receive in class, and that doesn't always include a simple case of not understanding the material. They also need encouragement."

"I'm sure you'll find, Mr. Mallory, that I can be very dedicated."

"I have no doubt of that. I'm more concerned that the Vulcan definition of dedication may be overwhelming to the average human's stamina and work ethic."

"I will take that into consideration and proceed accordingly." Spock persisted.

"Alright," Mallory seemed to think about it. "I tell you what, I'll give you a trial run. If you're able to help the student I assign you, then we'll make it permanent."

"Most logical." Spock agreed.

"Come back to my office, that student is there right now. I'd like you to meet him."

* * * * *

The door clicked shut with a highly annoying finality that left James T. Kirk, star quarterback of the school's championship winning football team, wishing he could punt something. He'd been summoned to the guidance office after a particularly mind-numbing vector calculus class only to be told that he was failing said vector calculus class and in serious jeopardy of being placed on academic probation. This meant he would be unable to play and forced to the bench, all while the playoffs loomed in the not too distant future.

It was a tough pill to swallow when he'd only even signed up for the class because he needed one last math credit for the year. He'd also heard the Andorian teacher was a total babe who was easy with the extra credit. And she had been for every semester until Kirk's, when a position in a new interplanetary teaching fellowship was offered to her and a bitter old mathematician had taken her place. Kirk was anything but dumb, but the class fell in that unfortunate time slot right after rough, first thing in the morning football practices. It was so easy to nod off when old Mr. Makowski started droning.

Kirk ignored the voice inside his head that reminded him that this mess was firmly on his own shoulders and he should be thankful he was being arranged a personal tutor to help prevent his probation. It was much more enjoyable to glare at the door. He continued to do this for a few more moments before slumping back in his chair. It wasn't going to take Mr. Mallory that long to fetch his shiny new tutor, and it would not do Kirk any favors to be seen sulking. He needed to keep his cool in front of his tutor, after all.

Kirk grinned to himself as his mood started to shift. Maybe she'd be cute.

Mallory returned a short while later, allowing the door to swing open wide and stop on its own just inches before meeting with the adjoining wall. It had not been designed that way, it was merely impeded by the tacky shag carpeting.

"You're in luck, James. We were able to find a tutor for you on short notice, and he is the very best."

The lanky, impeccable upperclassman who followed Mr. Mallory appeared as if he wanted to dispute the claim, but he kept his lips pursed in a taut line. He stopped in the doorway and stood dutifully at attention, disregarding Kirk entirely with his hands clasped behind his back in military fashion. Even more noticeably daunting was the stark bowl haircut and distinctive pointed ears.

She wasn't cute. She wasn't even a she. He was a Vulcan.

"James Kirk, this is Mr. Spock. Your academic and extracurricular future is now in his hands. I suggest you make use of him to the fullest." Mallory smiled at the scenario as if he had invented it for his own amusement.

"Shit," Kirk hissed under his breath as he took in the harsh lines of his new tutor's face. Sure, Vulcans were known for their academic prowess and that was a plus for a math tutor, but their stoic life philosophy meant that Kirk would be finding no actual enjoyment in their sessions. This Spock was going to slowly and coldly torture him with example problems and logic.

Spock regarded him with a stern twitch of his eyebrow as he had clearly heard Kirk's muttered profanity with those ears of his. Ignoring it, Spock attempted to initiate a greeting with the standoffish youth by awkwardly offering his hand in a human gesture that the Vulcan was clearly unaccustomed to. He'd no doubt read about it in a book somewhere. "I look forward to aiding you in your studies, Mr. James Kirk."

Mallory continued in his impromptu orientation. "James is captain of the Academy football team, so I'm sure you realize the importance in keeping him off academic probation."

"I see..." It was subtle, but the Vulcan's mannerisms changed ever so slightly upon hearing Mallory's information. His body became more rigid than it already was, as if he was fighting something within himself. How strange for a Vulcan to show so much. Spock slowly clenched the fingers of his offered hand into a fist, pulling it back to his side.

Kirk's eyes shot up, searching that impassive face for any hint of emotion after the obvious slight. That was something a bland, rational Vulcan did not do and Kirk was intrigued by it. Even though Spock seemed to have recovered from his momentary lapse of control, Kirk couldn't let it go. His mouth twisted into a small, cocky smirk. "Big football fan, are we?"

"No. I find it to be a barbaric sport." Spock left it at that.

An uneasy silence settled in the room as the boys stared each other down. Mallory shifted uncomfortably before clearing his throat and interrupting their awkward moment with a pile of paperwork, which he thrust into the Vulcan's arms. "Well then, I'll leave you to it, Spock. Here are Kirk's course materials as well as his testing schedule. Proceed however best suits you both; I suggest getting to know each others' study habits and working out a method from there."

"Understood, Mr. Mallory." Spock did not make eye contact with Kirk again.

"Great. And one more thing, Spock--" Mallory clamped a hand on the Vulcan's shoulder. "Don't let him razz you."

Spock opened his mouth momentarily as if to ask a question about the use of slang, but shifting his gaze sideways toward Kirk, he closed it again, clearly refusing to show weakness before his new student. He nodded at Mallory and turned to leave, waiting for Kirk out in the hallway.

Kirk let out a sigh as soon as the door closed, some of the tension leaving the room. He looked over at the guidance counselor, his smirk turning into something more self mocking. "Thanks. I think he likes me." With the air of someone bravely marching to meet his executioner, Kirk gathered his school bag and left to find his tutor, wondering what the strange Vulcan would be like without adult supervision.