Word Count: 1726
Author’s Note: Happy Birthday, Jim! This wasn’t to the point I wanted it at, but I’ve got to get to work, so I had to cut the planned smut and the planned ending…
The first time you saw Jim Kirk, you knew your life would never be the same. There was something about him, even while you were both cadets. He made your world seem bigger. More dangerous. And infinitely more exciting. There was something about the way he looked at the universe with the promise of adventure that made you want to be near him. You were disappointed when he was caught fixing the Kobayashi Maru, and surprised when you saw he’d somehow made it onto the Enterprise. Once the dust settled from the Narada incident, the emergency crew assignments had been reviewed, and you were surprised to find that you were reassigned to the Enterprise, under Jim Kirk as your captain.
It was on the Enterprise that you really got to know Jim. He’d always been this larger-than-life character on campus, the focus of your unrequited crush, which left you filling in the blanks when you didn’t know the answers about him. He was at once better and worse, depending on what rumour was floating around about him. You were innately fond of him, no matter how many notches he scratched into his headboard. But it was a crush, and it was fleeting, and in those moments when you were honest with yourself, you would admit that the idea of Jim Kirk was a heady drug, but the reality would likely be a letdown.
Once you were serving together, you were pleasantly surprised to discover he was nothing like the man you’d imagined. Instead of a thoughtless lothario, he was overwhelming discrete in his romances. So discrete, in fact, that most people didn’t realize he still had any. He was smarter than you could have imagined, challenging the intellect of Commander Spock regularly enough that the Vulcan seemed perpetually frustrated. Unbelievably, he managed to know each member of the crew, and at least have some sort of background information on them so that each conversation he had built on the trust he already had gained. He took that trust, and in turn, returned it, giving him a loyal crew that would go beyond reasonable expectations for one another and for the ship. It was as though he was born to lead.
That wasn’t to say he wasn’t without failings, and you’d definitely seen those too. His successes made him prone to arrogance, and he liked to needle Spock just a little more than necessary. He was sometimes too headstrong. And his disregard for the Prime Directive was frustratingly obtuse. But the positives about Jim Kirk far outweighed the negatives, and you felt your youthful crush fading away into something more like an admiration, trust, and deep comfort. Simply put, you loved him. It remained unanswered whether your feelings were returned.