James Kirk had prevented Spock from achieving full meditation seventeen times during the past 2.3 months. Two of the seventeen times, Jim had to call his first officer when Spock was off duty because of emergencies on the ship. Those two times were not of concern to Spock and he therefore gave them no further thought after the emergencies had passed. Such events were a part of life on the Enterprise. Naturally, Spock would be by his captain’s side during a crisis; this was an inviolable fact of existence, accepted and depended upon by both of them.
It was the remaining fifteen times that worried him.
The first of those times, it was the memory of Kirk’s hand gripping Spock’s arm that pulled the Vulcan out of meditation. The touch had been nothing – nothing to Kirk, nothing that had not happened a hundred times before when they worked out together, as they had in fact been doing that evening when the touch in question occurred. It was a trivial incident. Yet the memory of it had been enough to disrupt Spock’s concentration, enough to prevent him from being able to achieve peace – or meditation, or sleep - the rest of that night. It was, he had been forced to admit to himself in the privacy of his quarters, most disturbing.
The second time, it was the memory of Kirk’s smile, the one he had flashed at Spock when Spock had come on the bridge at the start of his shift that morning. The smile, like the touch, was nothing that had not occurred countless times before. Kirk was, after all, a man who smiled frequently. He smiled at people, at circumstances – Spock had even seen him smiling to himself on numerous occasions. For a man of Kirk’s nature, the smile he had bestowed upon Spock that morning was an inconsequential matter. It was also of no consequence that the smile gave a most pleasing aspect to the captain’s face, that it projected all of the youthful joy of life that was such an integral part of Kirk’s self. It was certainly of no importance that it caused a strange tightening in Spock’s throat as he regarded it. Therefore, it was most illogical and actually rather shameful that Spock was not able to meditate or sleep the night after that smile happened.
The third time, it was the memory of Kirk’s eyes that interrupted Spock’s meditative state. Spock could almost forgive himself for this third incident: hazel was a most fascinating color. One never knew if it would turn amber, brown or green, depending on the surrounding light and the owner’s mood. When Kirk had looked at Spock that night over their chess game, his mood had been unreadable, but his irises held flecks of gold, fragments of fire. It was most aesthetically pleasing.
It was also most disadvantageous for meditation or for sleep.
The fourth time…
Spock sighed and stirred restlessly, resigned that tonight was fated to be the sixteenth night that he would fail to reach a deep meditative state because of Jim.
…The fourth time, and all other times since then, it had not been a memory that had disturbed Spock’s calm and stolen his serenity. It had been something far worse, much more dangerous, much more disgraceful. Spock closed his eyes for a moment and fought an all-too-human impulse to avoid the truth of the matter. I am a logical being, he reminded himself. Logic is based on fact, not on self-deception. And the fact is – he opened his eyes and sternly commanded himself to regard the truth – the fact is that the fifteen nights, now sixteen, have been the result of my own inappropriate desires. My own thoughts. My own… fantasies.
Spock rose from his kneeling position and, uncharacteristically, began to pace. His room in Reynor’s stronghold was lavishly appointed and quite large; he had much more space than in his own quarters on the Enterprise. He took advantage of this as he moved about, considering his problem from every angle, once again achieving nothing from his scrutiny except a faint tinge of panic. Problems were meant to be worked out, to be solved, and Spock generally was incredibly good at it. He could take scientific data, break it apart piece by piece, and quickly reform it into a brand new and often brilliant concept. But this problem was different. He did not know how to examine it or to dissect it. He certainly did not know how to begin to solve it.
Enough, he told himself sternly. Approach it as you do all other problems. Examine the facts. He crossed the room and stared into the fire that blazed in the massive hearth opposite his bed, steeling himself to confront what he could barely bring himself to think about.
Fact 1: For 2.3 months, you have entertained fantasies about your captain and your friend, fantasies that he would doubtless find inappropriate at best and repugnant at worst. Fact 2: You are unable to employ traditional methods to control these thoughts. Fact 3: In approximately 4.6 more days, your effectiveness as first officer of the Enterprise will become severely compromised because these thoughts are interfering with your ability to rest.
Spock brought his hands up to rest on the warm chimney above the mantel, disgusted to observe that they were shaking. He knotted them into hard fists and pushed them into the unyielding stone.
There was a fourth fact.
It was as true as the others and therefore should be listed; that is how facts must be treated when used to solve a problem. Once again, he shut his eyes, as if by not seeing the fire and the room around him he would also be able to overlook this remaining, agonizing item. You are a coward, he told himself. The truth is the truth; it is illogical to believe that it will cease to exist simply because it is not stated. He took a deep breath and forced his eyes to open.
Fact 4: When Reynor smiles at Jim, Facts 1-3 become much less bearable.
There. He had allowed himself to think it. He leaned his head against the chimney’s rough stone and allowed this final, most bitter truth to fill his mind. Reynor, the absolute ruler of the largest province on this planet, was the reason he and James Kirk were now on Seginus III. The Federation wanted right of way through the Seginus system in order to have a safe, direct route to the Merope colonies that lay on the very edge of the sector. Reynor was the man who could make it happen, and Reynor was willing to talk to a Federation representative. But Reynor insisted on talking to one particular Federation representative only: James Kirk.
When Spock had heard of the assignment, he’d asked Kirk to leave him on the ship. “Captain, the Seginians are well known telepaths. Although my own psi abilities are not as pronounced, I still fear that the constant barrage of thoughts from other beings will seriously impair my ability to assist you in this endeavor. It is therefore logical to leave me on the Enterprise and to bring another of the officers with you – perhaps Mr. Scott or Doctor McCoy.” He did not add that, given the events of the past 2.3 months, the last place he wanted to be was among a race of mind readers.
Kirk had laughed. “I’m not sure that Scotty is ready to join the diplomatic corps yet. And I’m damn well certain that Bones isn’t. I need you there, Spock. I need your level head… and your moral support.” Jim’s expression had turned suddenly serious as he’d added, “I have a strange feeling about this whole thing. I’m clueless as to why this Reynor is so insistent that I handle the negotiations. I’ve never claimed to be a diplomat, and as far as I can tell, I’ve never even met this guy. I can’t figure out how he knows about me, much less why he’s decided I’m the one for the job.” He had paused for a moment, and then added slowly, “It seems that I’m always assigning you the most difficult tasks. If you truly don’t feel you can do this, I’ll understand. But I would like to have you there with me if at all possible.”
What could Spock have done? Of course he’d pushed his personal concerns aside and agreed to accompany his captain. As to the rest, he had said, “I must confess I also am curious, Captain. Perhaps your questions would be best directed to Reynor himself.”
Of course, that is exactly what Jim did. A true diplomat would have skirted the issue, perhaps not have brought it up at all, for fear of muddying waters in negotiations. But Jim was not like that. If he wanted to know something, he asked. If he did not get an adequate answer the first time, he simply kept asking until he did. He made no exception in dealing with Reynor.
Last night, Reynor had hosted them at a sumptuous banquet. Spock had been surprised, based on the quantity and variety of food and drink, that the only people in attendance were Jim and himself and Reynor. For one who wielded absolute power over his subjects, Reynor was very solicitous, virtually acting as a servant as well as a host. He graciously urged them to try the delicacies he had ordered prepared for them and made sure that their goblets were always full.
Jim did not let much time go by before he asked the question that had been troubling him. “Forgive me for being blunt, but frankly it’s the only way I know how to be,” he said. “I am wondering how you know of me, and how you came to invite me here to discuss the right of way issue with you.” He sat back in his chair, apparently relaxed and confident, but Spock could tell from the determined gleam in his friend’s eyes that Jim was very intent on Reynor’s response.
Reynor paused for only half a second, then threw back his head and laughed. With a twinge of something that bordered on sadness, Spock remembered how the alien ruler had looked when he did that: black, unruly hair shining in the candlelight, dark lashed obsidian eyes dancing with amusement, and that flashing, white toothed smile that illuminated his extraordinarily handsome face. It was a smile that reminded Spock quite clearly of another, and Spock had felt a highly illogical pang when he saw that Jim was smiling back.
“Captain Kirk, you are a man after my own heart,” Reynor said, his smile still crinkling the corners of his eyes. “I sensed you would be. That’s exactly why I asked for you - I’ve got no desire to waste time on the mealy mouthed words of diplomats. I want to deal with someone who says what he thinks. That’s the way I am myself – it’s what I understand.” He leaned forward and fixed the brilliant grin again on Jim. “And it’s what I like.”
Jim also leaned forward, meeting Reynor’s gaze with one of his own, the trace of a smile playing on his lips. Although the Seginians were technologically advanced, Reynor’s taste apparently ran to barbaric splendor: the banquet room was swathed in vast folds of rich shimmering fabric lit solely with candles. The fire of these candles flickered in Jim’s changeable, mesmerizing eyes; Spock’s breath caught at the sight. “But how did you know to ask for me?” Jim persisted. “I would remember if I’d met you before – and I’m quite certain I never did.”
Reynor’s dangerous smile flashed once more. “I’ll take that as a compliment. You are correct – we’ve never met. But you must know that the galaxy is surprisingly small, and you are a well known man.” He looked down at his plate and pushed at a small morsel of food, suddenly thoughtful. “You were in command of the Enterprise during the uprising on Avior-Chara.”
It was a statement, not a question, but Kirk nodded. “That’s right.”
Reynor looked up. “Perhaps you are unaware that we were following the developments of that incident very closely here. The Avior-Chara government – the one that was nearly overthrown during that uprising – is one of our closest allies. It is vital to the economic and military interests of Seginus III that a stable government remains in power there. Had the rebels succeeded in taking over, it would have meant that we would have had a bitter and powerful enemy in our own backyard. It also would have seriously curtailed our trade routes and forced us to pour resources into a military buildup of our own.” His fathomless eyes never left Jim’s. “It was your quick action that prevented that, that saved the government… and the peace of mind of the citizens of Seginus III.”
Jim frowned slightly. “I followed orders, that’s all. The Federation had no intention of allowing one of its member planets to dissolve into political chaos. The rebels had some valid grievances, and the established government had every incentive to end the dispute peacefully. Once both parties came to the table, it was an easy thing to work out.”
Reynor’s laugh rang out again. “Getting them to the table was the hard part, was it not?” He rested his hand fleetingly on Kirk’s shoulder. “And it was you who pulled off that feat, no other! Of course, having the firepower of a Federation starship behind you must have helped considerably.”
He sat back in his chair, crossed his arms, and tilted his head. “You asked me an honest question. I will repay you with an honest answer. I came to know about you through the news reports about the Avior-Chara situation. Because I admired the way you handled that crisis, I determined to learn more about you. I therefore began to research your life and your career. I became increasingly intrigued – no, I admit it – I was fascinated. I wanted to meet you. I quickly realized that I had the means to bring that about by making it clear to Starfleet that I was willing to talk only to you during the right of way negotiations.”
Kirk opened his mouth, but Reynor quickly added. “Oh, have no fear. I fully intend to negotiate those rights in good faith – it’s in my interest as well as the Federation’s to do just that. But you see, I am very much accustomed to getting what I want. And if I can fulfill a personal desire while also meeting my political duties, then I will certainly seize that chance. I suspect that you would do the same.”
Kirk scrutinized Reynor with a look that Spock was not able to decipher. “I suppose that I would,” he replied slowly.
Reynor laughed again. “Yes. I sensed that we were kindred spirits from the start.”
For the first time, Reynor turned his gaze from Kirk to Spock. Spock had an instant to assess the Seginian’s dark gaze and was not reassured by what he saw. There was intelligence there, surely, and a certain aggressive energy that was far from unattractive. But the gaze also exuded a confidence so intense that it bordered on hardness. Jim Kirk’s confidence always was tempered with just enough self-doubt to lend compassion and balance to his decisions. But Spock sensed that this man would not hesitate to do anything necessary in order to get what he desired. He also sensed, almost in the same instant, that Reynor was attempting to reach his mind telepathically; he could feel alien tendrils of thought making their way into his own consciousness, sifting, questing, invading. Spock slammed his mental shields down against the uninvited intrusion. A look of surprise flashed across Reynor’s face, quickly followed by a glint of amusement. He raised his eyebrow at Spock in a mocking impersonation, and then calmly turned back to Kirk as if none of it had happened.
But behind his shields, Spock was far from calm, for he had learned something about Reynor during their short moment of contact.
Reynor desired Jim Kirk.
The fire had nearly gone out; the room was becoming uncomfortably chilly. Spock drew his meditation robe more closely around his otherwise nude body and knelt down to place two more logs on the embers. He watched them impassively until they began to flare. Then he turned and sat on the edge of his bed, his hands clasped in his lap, and reviewed the events of the hours that had followed that banquet. Spock knew he would always look back on the time with a sharp memory of the helplessness he had felt while on Seginus III. His shields had been up since Reynor’s initial attempt to contact him; he dared not lower them. Dared not – not only because he felt such uninvited contact was wrong on principle, but because…
…because for the past 2.3 months, your mind has been filled with shameful madness, and you cannot stand the thought of anyone knowing. If Reynor – or worse, if Jim – were to find out… Spock swallowed and bowed his head. To have Jim turn from him in disgust would be far worse than the most painful death Spock could imagine. With his shields in place, he was protected. None could pierce them and steal his most private of thoughts from him. But neither could he reach out. He could not feel the comforting, familiar presence of Jim Kirk in the back of his mind when his shields were in place, and (Fact 5, he thought to himself ironically) he missed it. Its absence caused a hole inside of him, one that could not be filled with any other.
“What’s wrong?” Jim had asked him that morning during a rare private moment in the garden. “You look tired – strained.” Those fascinating amber eyes, the ones that missed nothing, fastened themselves on Spock’s, and Spock had to lower his gaze. That uncharacteristic gesture worried Jim even more, so he persisted. “Are you ill?” True concern, the concern of a good friend, tinged Jim’s voice.
“I am ill, Jim. I am sick with wanting you, sick with shame, sick with some emotion I can’t even name – the one I feel whenever Reynor smiles at you – and you smile back.” Those were the words that threatened to rise impulsively to Spock’s lips. But of course he did not speak them. Instead, he replied with apparent serenity, “No - do not be concerned. I am fine,” and thus proved once and for all that Vulcans can indeed lie.
Still, Jim was not going to let it go. “Spock,” he said with greater urgency, putting his hand on Spock’s arm, squeezing gently. Spock stiffened and pulled back. He could not allow that touch: it had the power to crumble his shields into dust. Already he felt them weakening, felt his deepest self cry out for more of that touch, that hand… Spock clasped his own hands behind him and took a step backward.
He had just enough time to see the puzzled hurt in Jim’s eyes before Reynor came up to them, teeth flashing, eyes dancing, impeccably dressed and obviously well rested. “Captain Kirk! Mr. Spock! I’ve a great day planned. We’ll start off with a tour of the estate – I’m having a skimmer brought around right now. Then I thought we’d come back to the library and talk a little business, and later I have some friends I’d like you to meet – just a small reception, to show my appreciation for your willingness to meet with me.”
And so the hours on Seginus III wore one, a ceaseless whirl of activity and conversation. Jim plunged into it all with his usual adaptability and enthusiasm. He complimented Reynor on the beauty of the estate, showing a great interest in the alien wildlife that roamed free upon the sweeping blue green hills. Spock recalled Jim’s delighted smile when, as they flew along in the skimmer, a huge flock of brightly plumed birds appeared at their side, matching the speed and direction of their flight with military precision. Jim had pressed his nose against the window of the skimmer and followed their wake with his eyes long after the birds veered off; at that moment, Spock, who claimed to have no imagination, clearly could picture Jim as he must have been when he was a young boy. He practically jiggled in his seat with excitement. “Look at them – have you ever seen anything like them?” Jim grinned at his friend, his eyes turning a sea-like color in response to the deep blue of the Seginus III sky.
“There is an aviary species on Kalniyar that is similar,” Spock had replied. “Although I believe the plumage of these birds is somewhat more colorful.” Too late, Spock realized that Jim’s question had been rhetorical, a simple invitation for Spock to delight in the beauty of the scene. But Jim just laughed affectionately and raised his hand as if he intended to place it on Spock’s arm again. This time, however, Spock did not have to pull back: the same hurt expression of earlier in the morning clouded Jim’s face almost immediately, and he turned away and looked out the window again, his hand falling passively into his lap.
The promised “business talk” in the library was a farce. Reynor dismissed the issue of right of way with a wave of his hand. “Do not worry – I have every intention of granting right of way to the Federation. Let us not waste our time on what is virtually already settled. I’m much more interested in you, in your life on the Enterprise. Tell me about your ship, Jim. May I call you Jim?” Spock knew that Reynor must have been using his telepathic abilities to subtly uncover those things held most dear to his captain, and the Enterprise was a sure bet. Kirk looked exceedingly pleased at the opportunity to praise the virtues of his beloved lady, and happily began to describe the starship, its crew, and some of the adventures they had shared.
Kirk was an excellent storyteller: ordinarily Spock would have enjoyed listening to his captain’s vibrant voice recounting their journeys, their triumphs and their trials. Jim spoke easily for more than two hours, his narrative punctuated by Reynor’s appreciative laugh and enthusiastic questions. Not once did the eyes of the Seginian leave the face of the starship captain. Spock noted that nearly fanatical focus with growing unease. He had the unshakable feeling that Reynor’s telepathic ability and his obvious infatuation with Jim were a dangerous mix. He wished that he could discern what Jim’s response was, but there was no chance to ask him. He studied his friend intensely but was unable to sense what the captain was thinking. If only he could lower his shields and reach out mentally to Kirk, but that was of course unthinkable. Spock had no choice but to sit quietly, watch, and worry.
The “small reception” that evening turned out to be a massive state affair with over three hundred guests. Spock was in distress throughout the entire time: the jumbled thoughts of so many telepaths pressed at his shields and threatened to crush them in an overwhelming tidal wave. Kirk seemed to sense this and stayed at his Vulcan friend’s side, smoothing the way with cordial small talk and occasionally shooting Spock an apologetic look that seemed to say, “We’ve gone through worse. Just hold on.” It was strangely comforting to know that Jim understood him even though his shields were up, but Spock still had to muster every shred of control not to flee from the room.
At one terrible point, Jim became distracted by one of the guests, who pressed him to talk about the Avior-Chara affair. Before Spock saw it coming, Reynor appeared at his side and skewered him with his dark, intense gaze. Once again, Spock sensed the harshness behind those eyes and had to clamp down firmly on a surge of fear for his captain. For a long moment, the two regarded each other warily without exchanging words; Spock felt Reynor attempt to break through to him telepathically again, and again successfully thwarted him.
“You have a very disciplined mind,” Reynor said, too softly for Kirk to hear.
“I am a Vulcan.”
“But also human – am I correct?”
“That is true. My mother is human. But I was raised as a Vulcan and am therefore well versed in mind control techniques.”
“And they are standing you in good stead.” Reynor’s gaze drifted from Spock to where Jim stood, just ten feet away. “That is a shame. There is doubtless much we could learn from each other.”
“It is unethical for a telepath to enter another’s mind without that one’s consent.” Spock’s words were harsher than he had intended, but his control was starting to slip, weakened by the whirling mob of telepaths and by Reynor’s latest advance.
Reynor smiled, an entirely different smile than the one he used on Kirk. “I happen to believe that one should use one’s abilities to the fullest.” He removed his gaze reluctantly from Kirk and turned to the Vulcan. “Why are you so opposed to my contact? Jim has no such compunctions.”
A primal remnant of Vulcan’s ancient past began to burn deep within Spock. Rage. Pure rage. Primitive rage. He fought to keep his voice even. “The captain is a human, Reynor. He is not telepathic, and therefore does not have the ability to deny you. I say again, it is unethical for you to force contact on such a person.”
Reynor smiled again. “Perhaps I have not forced.”
“The captain would not willingly give his consent.”
“How do you know that? Are you the guardian of his mind? Jim and I are much alike. We share many interests, many traits. Perhaps he has craved to join with a mind so similar to his, one that can appreciate all that he is.” There was a slight emphasis on the word “all.”
Jim was making his way back to them; Spock knew he did not have enough time to continue to debate the issue. He glared down at Reynor and said, very quietly, “You shall do no harm to Captain Kirk.” Both men understood that it was a threat and not a plea.
When Jim returned to Spock’s side, he took one look at Spock’s drawn face and said, “Spock – you look terrible. You’re exhausted. I want you to go upstairs and rest.”
“Captain, I –“
“You are not fine,” Jim had said sharply. Instantly, his voice softened as he looked up at his first officer, his eyes pleading. “Please rest. I know this has been hard for you. I… I shouldn’t have asked you for any of this – it was selfish of me. Please go. I’ll stay here and fulfill our obligations.”
A log crashed down into the embers, sending sparks shooting up the chimney and onto the hearth, pulling Spock back to the present. He glanced out the window at the velvet blackness of the deep alien nightscape.
His internal clock told him that it was midnight on Seginus III.
Spock recalled Seginus III’s rate of rotation and realized that it would be 4.2 hours until dawn. He sighed, knowing that those remaining hours would be wakeful and long. He rose from the bed, making his way to the wide stone balcony that overlooked the perfectly manicured estate garden. Moving to the balustrade, he looked up into the sky once more, regarding the glittering stars with something approaching yearning. It was illogical to wish to be where one was not. Nevertheless, Spock wished that he were back on the Enterprise, hurtling through infinite space with Jim, far from Seginus III and from Reynor. But your madness will return to the Enterprise with you, he reminded himself. You will therefore have to make immediate plans to transfer or resign. To continue this way is not possible.
Depressed by the thought, Spock looked down into the garden…
Reynor and Jim were there, sitting across from each other on two stone benches, so close that their knees nearly touched. Reynor was leaning forward and talking to Jim; Spock could see his gestures, the flash of his teeth. He heard Jim laugh. Then, Reynor reached out and very slowly, deliberately and gently, touched Jim’s face.
The torrent of pain that coursed through Spock caught him completely by surprise, and for the third time that night, he closed his eyes in avoidance. Numbly, he turned and re-entered his room, fell to the floor and put his head in his hands.
In the garden below, Jim pushed Reynor’s hand away and stood up.
“Jim has no such compunctions.”
“Perhaps I have not forced.”
“A mind that can appreciate all that he is.”
Alone in his room, Spock heard these sentences over and over again in his head, uttered in Reynor’s mocking voice, cutting him like sharp daggers. Indeed, there had not been force in Reynor’s touch. Jim was laughing, happy – he had not turned away. Bitterly, Spock contemplated what a perfect companion a telepath like Reynor would be. He had gained entrance to Jim’s mind and discovered all the things that Jim loved. He now knew what to do to become one of those things himself. Moreover, he could show and tell Jim that he wanted him. He could smile at him, laugh with him. He could love - openly. He could do everything for Jim that Spock could not.
Alone in his room, behind his protective Vulcan shields, Spock allowed himself a few illogical moments to grieve the loss of something that never was and never would be. How can I feel this terrible void when I have not bonded with him, have not spoken to him about anything other than duty and friendship? How can I feel that he has been torn from my side when he never was mine – would never wish to be mine? Spock pressed his long fingers against his forehead as he struggled for control over the anguish of the loss, but then slowly sat up as a new thought occurred to him, one that was compelling in its perfect simplicity.
What Jim needs and what you need cannot be reconciled. Therefore, Jim’s needs are the ones that must be met.
Fact 6, Spock thought to himself. The final truth in the list. Or was it not just one more piece of data, but the solution to the initial problem? Spock’s orderly, meticulous mind considered this, analyzed it, and finally accepted it. It was, after all, ridiculously simple: Jim’s needs always had come first and always would. Jim had chosen the one who would meet those needs, and bring him happiness. Therefore, there was no purpose to any of this – the grief, the worry, the shame… or the shields.
Alone in the faint light of the dying fire, Spock shrugged off his own desires like a cloak that had grown too heavy, and with a sigh of what could have been either resignation or relief, let his shields down.
The mental scream instantly pierced Spock’s mind – a cry of desperate outrage and defiance, the howl of a cornered beast - or of a human fighting for something dearer than life. It was Jim, calling for help, in trouble and alone. Spock gasped and sprung to his feet, thinking of nothing but the overwhelming need to reach Jim, to help him, to stand between him and whatever this threat was. Spock raced through the long stone hallway and down the stairs toward the garden, mindless of his unclad feet and his open robe flying behind him. The galaxy had become very small: reduced to one human being with golden hair and hazel eyes.
Spock hurtled out of the doorway and into the garden. In the anemic light of Seginus III’s solitary moon, now a halfhearted crescent in the sky, his keen Vulcan eyes made out two forms: Jim, lying motionless on the ground, and Reynor, who crouched over him and tried vainly to shake him awake. Spock’s face was stony with fury as he approached them, his movements as silent and dangerous as a panther. He dropped to the ground beside his unconscious captain and roughly pushed aside Reynor, frantically feeling for a pulse and frowning as he saw how deathly pale Jim was.
There was a pulse, so faint and so uneven that Spock had to fight down a momentary surge of panic. If Jim was dying… He looked up at Reynor. “What have you done to him?” So calm, so relentless was the voice – like a fallen warrior’s lifeblood flowing across the hot sand of a Vulcan desert.
Reynor heard it, and felt fear for the first time in his life. “I… I wanted him,” he said, as if that explained all. “But each time I tried to reach him, there was an obstacle in his mind.” He looked down at Kirk’s still form. “I tried to remove it. I didn’t know that he would fight me so hard. I didn’t realize that it would… damage him.”
If anything, Spock’s voice was even quieter. “You forced him. He is not the kind of man to give in to force.” With infinite gentleness, Spock gathered Jim up into his arms, picked him up effortlessly, and cradled him protectively against his chest.
“What are you doing?”
“I am taking him to my bed.” Spock’s fiery black eyes raked over Reynor contemptuously. “If you come near him, I shall kill you.” With that, Spock turned and left with his burden, leaving Reynor hunched in the garden in the blackness.
Spock brought Jim into his room and laid him carefully on the bed, checking briefly to make sure there was still a pulse before he left him to get his tricorder. He wished fervently that McCoy were there, but the Enterprise would not return for at least ten hours, as it had gone on to the Merope colonies with medical supplies once Jim and Spock had beamed down to Selignus III. Ten hours would be too late. Quickly, Spock took the tricorder and scanned Jim’s body with it. It did not tell him as much as a medical tricorder would have, but its verdict was still all too clear: Jim’s respiration and heartbeat were becoming weaker. His life force was ebbing.
Spock set the tricorder down and lay on the bed beside his captain. “Jim.” He pulled Jim toward him and settled the human’s head upon his chest, reaching up with his long fingers toward the meld points on Jim’s face. “My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts…” Spock whispered the ancient words into Jim’s ear, reaching out with his own consciousness toward the familiar, warm brightness of Jim’s. He would bring his friend back from wherever he had fled, would infuse him with life again through the sheer force of his own spirit. He would do whatever it took. “Jim.” He sent his mind along the thin thread of their bond, calling out, seeking, entreating, reaching. “Jim, return to me. Let me bring you back.”
In reply, there was a frantic flurry of crazed, blind motion, struggle, panic. “No!” Jim lashed out at him with strength born of terror. “You will not take this from me! It is mine. My will, my memories, my thoughts!” The force of Jim’s outraged resistance struck hard at Spock’s mind, blazing a fiery, agonizing path and shoving the Vulcan’s consciousness back along the thread, away from what it sought. With a feeling of sick horror, Spock sensed that Jim had retreated even further. The bond between them stretched, weakened, and snapped apart, leaving Spock gasping in torment, alone.
Slowly, he became aware once again of the physical world around him, of Jim’s breath lightly stirring the hairs at his throat, of the faint crackle of the dying fire, of the beating of his own heart. Spock stared up at the ceiling, for once completely at a loss for what to do. The only way he could think of to bring Jim back was to meld with him, but Jim would not allow it, and Jim’s will was too strong to be overcome without causing even more damage than had already been done. Instinctively, Spock tightened his embrace around the unconscious human as if he could keep him alive by holding him captive in the world of the present. The passing moments became more precious than any Spock had known before. Everything fell away except for Jim’s slight breath at Spock’s throat and Jim’s fragile pulse under Spock’s hand. Spock’s mind whirred on in the dark, suggesting and rejecting a hundred courses of action.
How much time had passed? Spock turned his head and looked out the window. It still was night. His clock told him that it would be 2.2 hours before the sun rose, before the dawn came to Seginus III. Spock knew with utter certainty that Jim would be gone by then.
“It’s always darkest just before the dawn.”
His mother’s voice came to him unbidden, a memory from long ago. She had quoted the old Terran aphorism to him once when he was a young child. He’d been sitting at the kitchen table working fruitlessly on a mathematical problem. The solution had evaded him for several hours and he was growing frustrated, though he did not of course show it. But his mother knew anyway. She had smiled down at him. “It’s always darkest just before the dawn. Keep working on it – the answer will come to you when you least expect it.”
Spock had been genuinely puzzled. “But Mother, that is not logical. The darkest hour of the night would be when the area in question has rotated farthest away from the sun. Just before the dawn, however, the area would…”
Amanda had shaken her head. “You’re missing the point,” she had gently reproved him. “The saying isn’t really about darkness. It’s about hope.”
Hope and Darkness. Spock knew now that the saying was about both. Because at this hour, with Jim Kirk’s breath so light that Spock could no longer be sure of it against his skin, the world had never been darker. If Jim died, there would be no more light for Spock, no matter how many more dawns might come.
And yet… Here was Jim in Spock’s arms, and he was alive, at least for the moment. And Spock could not help it. He hoped. There was no logical reason for it, but that was to be expected. After all, Jim had the greatest capacity for hope that Spock had ever encountered, and Jim had told him time and time again that hope was not based on logic. Jim had never explained what hope was based on, but now Spock understood that too.
Hope was based on love.
Spock brought his fingers back to Jim’s face, seeking the meld points one more time. He knew now what he had to do. He closed his eyes and initiated the meld again, but this time he did not call out to Kirk, did not summon him or try to pursue him. He simply waited at the very edge of Kirk’s consciousness and dropped every last shred of Vulcan pretense and control… and sent his love. Love without demand, love without shame, love without boundaries, love without selfishness. Pure love. Joyous love. It filled Spock, overflowed, and cascaded like bright water into the vessel of Kirk’s mind, washing over the wounds from Reynor’s assault and cooling the lingering terror. Spock remained just long enough for this to happen and then slowly and silently eased out of the meld.
“If you come back to me, or if you leave me, T’hy’la, my love will always be with you.” Spock pressed his lips against Kirk’s hair and murmured this, surprised to find that, for the first time in 2.3 months, he felt some degree of peace. He closed his eyes and allowed himself to be enveloped in the warmth of Jim’s presence.
For once, his clock failed him. He had no idea how much time had passed in that dreamlike state before suddenly he felt the first shaft of Seginus III’s sun on his face, and knew the dawn had come. At the same time, incredibly, he felt Jim stirring in his arms. His eyes flew open, and he looked down…
…to find Jim looking back at him, his eyes large and incredibly dark, a strangely wistful look on his face. “A dream,” Jim said.
Spock could not take his eyes from the beloved face that was resting so trustingly against his shoulder. A wave of protectiveness and love washed over him, stealing his voice away. Wordlessly, he shook his head.
This brought him a sweet smile from Jim. “But it must be a dream. It’s exactly like all the others.” And with that, Jim Kirk brought his hand up to the back of Spock’s neck, pulled his first officer down to him, and with great gentleness, kissed him on the mouth.
There was time for a breath, a heartbeat, a blink of an eye. And then, “Spock!” It’s not a dream! You’re really here, and I…” But the last part of Jim’s sentence remained unspoken, because his cool, impassive first officer suddenly descended upon him and began to kiss him with all of the desperate hunger of the starving.
Spock felt that his body and mind must certainly ignite all at once; the feel of Jim’s lips beneath his, so long desired, so long denied, threatened to completely undo any control he ever pretended to have. And neither the Vulcan nor the human in him cared. He was conscious only of the growing fire within him and the cool human lips beneath his, now responding with equal passion, teasing him, challenging him, probing at his mouth and sucking his tongue. The sensation was impossibly sweet and unreasonably pleasurable - and it was not nearly enough.
With a small moan, Spock rolled over on his back and effortlessly pulled Jim on top of him. His hands slid of their own accord under Jim’s shirt, seeking the soft skin and the hard muscles beneath, exploring and stroking. Beneath his touch, he felt Jim’s body contract with pleasure. His shoulders were gripped tightly and a warm, gasping breath caressed the side of his neck, fanning his desire into white-hot heat. Every sensation seemed magnified and focused at the same time – all he could think of was obtaining more of this wondrous, golden, mesmerizing human. Touch, taste, scent, sight and sound all merged into a dizzying eddy of want, and Spock was in the middle of it, whirling headlong into the vortex, glad to let the relentless current take him.
From far way, Jim’s voice called to him, husky with desire but tight with apprehension. “Spock! Spock! Wait! This is… it’s incredible, but it’s going too fast. Spock!”
He felt Jim start to pull away, dimly heard the anxiety in Jim’s voice. Every instinct told him not to stop, but Jim’s voice was telling him otherwise. Jim’s voice must be obeyed. Reluctantly, Spock gathered the tattered remnants of his control around him, took his hands from that enticing, perfect body, and placed them firmly at his side.
Spock felt a wave of fear as he lay there passively gazing up at Jim, who rolled away and sat up next to him on the bed, still breathing heavily. Spock had been certain in the moment Jim first kissed him that Jim’s desire matched his own, but now he was unsure. Perhaps Jim was only responding to the aftereffects of the meld, and had not fully realized what he was doing. Perhaps once he realized, he did not want it after all. Spock swallowed, and willed his voice to be calm. “Forgive me. I thought you wanted…”
“I do,” Jim said vehemently. “I don’t think you’ll ever know how much and how often I’ve dreamed of this. But I need – ” He stopped for a moment, apparently considering his words. “I need to know where this is going to take us.”
Spock got up on his elbows and then sat up, studying Kirk intently, trying without success to discern exactly what Jim was asking. “I am not sure I understand,” he finally admitted.
Jim took a deep breath. “I don’t think you know how important you are to me. All of you, most of all the beautiful person you are inside. You are –” he looked at Spock’s bare torso longingly “- superb. But I already have too much of you to risk giving it up to get more.” He shook his head. “No, that’s not really it – I’m not making any sense.” He smiled ruefully. “Somehow, my head doesn’t seem to be too clear right now. Let me try again. I want your body – but I need your friendship more. If this moment is going to take that friendship away, then I don’t think I can go through with it.” His eyes lingered on the Vulcan again. “Much as I want to,” he added weakly.
“Jim, what are you asking me?”
“I’m asking you how much you are willing to give – and how much you are willing to take.”
Spock considered for what seemed like a long time. Finally he said, “If I had lost you last night, it would have been my fault. I protected myself, shielded myself, because I feared that you would turn from me forever if you knew what was in my heart. In short, I nearly lost you because I was afraid of losing you. I shall not make that error again.” His soft brown eyes sought Jim’s. “I will give you… everything. As to what I will take…” He paused. This part was harder; he was unaccustomed to reflecting on his own wishes. “I will take what you desire to give. If you wish to give me this moment only, then I will take it. If you wish to give me forever…”
Jim shook his head, dissatisfied with Spock’s answer. “Someday, I swear I’m going to teach you to value your own needs as much as you do mine.” He leaned forward; his tantalizing lips were mere inches from Spock’s. “Give me an honest answer. What do you want?”
Spock’s voice was as warm as the Vulcan desert. “I want this moment,” he replied, and added as Jim’s eyes widened in surprise, “I want forever. I want everything in between.”
Jim’s smile was a brilliant mixture of relief and love. “Then that is exactly what I will give.”
He leaned forward to kiss Spock again, but Spock held him back. “Jim, as long as you are sitting up, it would be most helpful if you would take off your shirt. I was endeavoring, unsuccessfully, to discern how I might remove it when you were prone. The position you are in right now is much more conducive to such an action.”
Jim laughed, albeit shakily. “Always efficient, aren’t you? All right.” In one swift motion, he hauled the offending shirt over his head and let it slide to the floor beside the bed. Entranced by the beautiful sight of Jim’s bare, muscular chest, Spock reached out.
“Oh, no you don’t,” challenged Jim. You’re sitting up right now, too. Off with it.” He slipped his hands under the collar of Spock’s open robe and pushed it off the Vulcan. His eyes swept over Spock’s slim, nude body and his rigid, long cock. “God, you’re perfect – magnificent in every way. Exactly the way I dreamed of you.” He leaned forward and kissed Spock on the neck.
Spock gasped. How did this human have the power to strip him so completely of everything but desire? If a kiss could do this to him, what would happen to him if…? His hands seemed to have a will of their own; they could not stay away from this alluring human, the smooth flesh, the rippling muscles of chest and abdomen, and… and of Jim’s hips, his beautiful hard cock, his ass. Dimly, Spock realized that Jim was completely naked beneath his hands. What had happened to Jim’s pants? He had no memory of removing them - had Jim done it? No matter. All that mattered was the feel of Jim’s skin and Jim’s kisses, the sound of Jim’s gasps of pleasure as Spock touched him and fondled him and pulled him to him ever more fiercely. So responsive, thought Spock. Responsive to me – to my touch, to everything I am. He had never felt such total acceptance, or such profound joy, or such piercing want. Jim was a fountain of cool water; he needed to immerse himself in it, to soak it into his own skin, to quench a lifetime’s worth of desperate thirst.
“Spock.” Jim was whispering to him at the same time he teased Spock’s erection with skilled fingers, bringing the Vulcan such ecstasy that he thought he might incandesce. “Let me pleasure you. Let me do this for you.”
Spock’s whimper was his only assent as Jim’s lips started to burn a scorching path from his neck to his chest to his navel. Jim paused there for a moment and swirled his tongue around the indentation, causing Spock’s sinewy muscles to contract with delight. “Jim. Please,” Spock hissed, not even able to think what it was he begged for, but certain that he would die if he did not receive it.
But Jim knew. His cool, moist mouth slid down to encase Spock’s entire length in one swift, sure motion. Spock arched his back and dug his fingers into the sheet beneath him; he had never felt anything like this beautiful, talented mouth plunging down on him and pulling up on him in a timeless, maddening rhythm that both tantalized and fulfilled. He felt the sensitive tip of his penis against the soft back of Jim’s throat, then the maddening scrape of Jim’s teeth along his length, Jim’s lips tight around the head of his cock, and then the back of Jim’s throat again. It went on and on, never ending, never enough, while beneath Jim’s mouth Spock thrashed and gasped and entreated, until at last with a final harsh cry he spilled his seed into the source of his torment and his salvation, and felt Jim’s throat constrict to claim every drop.
Jim pulled himself up so he could take Spock’s lips in a lingering, deep kiss, leaving Spock to savor the merged taste of both of them on his tongue. In a haze, Spock became aware of Jim’s rigid staff pushing insistently against his thigh; he reached down and wrapped his long fingers around it; immediately Jim’s clasp joined his and the human started to rock and push frantically, his face flushed with passion. At that moment, Spock knew that no matter how long he lived or where he traveled, he would never see anything more beautiful than that face, so transformed at his touch. “Yes – just like that – Spock – so hot – so good – oh!” And warm fluid spilled over Spock’s fingers, and Jim’s, and across Spock’s belly. With a final long sigh, Jim draped his arm over Spock’s shoulder and kissed him again, a long, sated kiss. “I love you,” he whispered, his lips brushing Spock’s collarbone. “I’ve loved you since birth. You’re the marrow of my bones.”
Spock made no answer – there were no words good enough or deep enough for what he felt. He pulled Jim closer to him and lay there with him a long time, wrapping himself in the closeness and the warmth of the human, the steady background hum of Jim’s thoughts and the even rhythm of his breath and heart.
As the sun of Selignus III slowly rose in the sky, Spock became aware that although Jim was lying perfectly still in his arms, his mind was far from quiet. Rivulets of chaotic thought coursed through Jim’s consciousness and spilled from the boundaries of his self into Spock’s. Disturbed by Jim’s tension, Spock tried to tune into the cause, and quickly understood that there could only be one source. Reynor. Fighting back a surge of fury at the damage the Selignian had caused his t’hy’la, Spock said softly, “Jim. Can you tell me what happened?”
Jim closed his eyes and shuddered beneath Spock’s hand, not with desire this time but with remembered dread. Too soon, thought Spock, and hastened to add, “Forgive me. If it distresses you…”
Kirk’s eyes flew open. “No,” he whispered. “It – it does distress me. But I want to tell you.” He looked into Spock’s eyes and said, “There will be no more secrets between us, never.” He looked into the cold hearth as if gathering his thoughts. “We were in the garden,” he began.
“Yes.” Spock remembered too clearly.
“He insisted that we talk there, after the last of the guests had left the reception. He said he had something important he wanted to discuss with me. I didn’t want to go with him, but I thought he might want to talk about the right of way agreement. So I went.” He grimaced. “He didn’t want to talk about the agreement.”
Spock did not answer; he just tightened his hold around Kirk.
“He told me he wanted me to stay with him, that he… desired me.” Absent mindedly, Kirk stroked Spock’s hair. Spock closed his eyes, relishing the touch but also fighting a much darker emotion that was beginning to grow within his belly.
“I basically told him to forget it – that I had my life, and it was on my ship. He told me he could make me change my mind. I laughed at him – told him there wasn’t a chance. When I turned him down, there was something in his eyes that was… I can’t even describe it.” Kirk trembled again.
Spock ran his hands along Jim’s back soothingly. “Hard,” Spock said. “Ruthless.”
“Yes. I should have known you saw it too. Anyway, he leaned over to me and touched my face. And when he did…” Jim swallowed hard, obviously distraught. “I felt him just rip through my mind, like someone would tear a flimsy piece of cloth. I couldn’t stop him, couldn’t even tell him no – he just did it, just like that.” He looked at Spock, and the Vulcan could see a shimmer of tears in Jim’s eyes. “I fought him, as hard as I could. I finally broke away from him, but not before he knew…” Kirk stopped.
“Before he knew what was in your mind.”
“More dangerous - what was in my heart. He saw that it was you, that it had always been you. He thought that was what prevented me from desiring him.”
“He said he saw an obstacle in your mind,” said Spock.
Kirk laughed, but there was precious little humor in it. “Yes. He saw a tall, beautiful, Vulcan obstacle. One that wasn’t going away any time soon. I felt his rage and his jealousy.” He licked his lips. “You know that I don’t scare easily.”
“Yes,” said Spock dryly.
“But I was terrified. I just knew he was going to do something horrendous. That’s when he said it.”
Spock slid his hands up to Jim’s shoulders and pushed him away just enough so that he could capture Kirk’s eyes. “What did he say?” His voice sounded stern, even to him.
Kirk touched Spock’s face gently. “He laughed and said I was a fool for wanting you. He told me that he’d already touched your mind, and you didn’t love me and never would. You were a Vulcan, you were incapable of love, and…”
Spock’s hands tightened almost imperceptibly on Kirk’s shoulders. “And?”
“And you were best forgotten, and he would do me the favor of making me forget.”
Spock willed himself to keep his voice neutral. “Did you believe?”
“That you didn’t love me? No. And yes. I never dared to hope you’d return the kind of love I felt for you. But I’ve never doubted that you do love me, Spock. You’ve shown me so many times, saved my life, risked your own to do it… and there’s a connection between us, like I’ve never known with anyone else. I don’t fully understand it, but I know that it’s rare and it’s precious… to both of us.” Jim leaned forward and looked into Spock’s eyes. “I didn’t believe him, Spock. It’s important to me that you know that.”
Spock couldn’t reply. Jim had kept faith in him. Why had he not been intelligent enough to know that this man would not turn away from him, ever? He felt a rush of guilt and also of horror when he considered what he had almost lost by shielding himself away.
Jim continued, “It didn’t scare me that he claimed you didn’t love me – I knew differently, deep inside. But it terrified me that he said he would make me forget you.” Jim covered his eyes with his hands for a moment, as if to erase the sight of Reynor. “I can’t really explain it, Spock. It’s been agony for so long, this want I’ve had for you. You come on the bridge and suddenly I’m only aware of you – how near you are to me, how the light hits your hair, your beautiful eyes, your presence. Or if you’re not on the bridge, it’s worse – my mind wanders to where you are, what you’re doing, whether you’re thinking of me. It’s been hell, and hiding it has been worse than hell.” He drew a shuddering breath; again, Spock thought he detected a film of tears in the beautiful golden eyes. “And I have to admit, there have been times I’ve wished I could forget the way I feel about you. It would have been so much easier, so much less painful. But when Reynor threatened to take you out of me – ” he gripped Spock hard with sudden passion “ – I realized I’d lose the best part of me. I told him that what I thought and felt was mine alone, and I’d never allow him to take any of it.”
“What did he do?” Spock’s voice held a calm deeper than death.
Kirk shut his eyes. From what seemed like a great distance away, Spock noted that his lashes were wet. “He just went ahead and tried it anyway. He didn’t touch me that time – it was all from his mind. I think by then he was so enraged that he didn’t care if he hurt me or killed me – he only cared about erasing you. It was like a forest fire in my head, racing through, sucking away the air and demolishing everything around it that was alive. I knew that at the end of it, I would be worse than dead. At the very least, I felt he had the power to take you away, and I knew when that happened the most essential part of me would be gone too, burned away.”
Sickened by the desecration that Jim was describing, Spock realized that for once, his Vulcan half and his human half were in accord. True, his human half wanted to see Reynor beaten until he was bloody and screamed for mercy, and then beaten again until he at last fell silent forever. His Vulcan half was more efficient. It argued for death through the snapping of the neck, and proposed that the sound of cracking bone would be infinitely more satisfying. But both sides were united in black, endless, consuming hatred. “What did you do, T’hy’la?” Spock asked, through clenched teeth. His voice shook.
“I went crazy,” Jim admitted. “I fought him. Not physically – in fact I’m not sure if I moved at all. But I remember lashing out at him, screaming, clawing, forcing my own will back at him, trying with everything I had to drive him out.”
“I heard you,” Spock told him.
Jim looked away. “It wasn’t enough. He was too strong, and he was too skilled. I knew he was going to win. I could feel his triumph, spreading through my head like some kind of cancer.” His eyes returned to Spock’s. “There was only one thing I could do. I decided that if I were going to be obliterated, then by God it was going to be at my own command, not his.”
In spite of himself, Spock’s eyebrow rose. How like Jim to find a way to gain the upper hand, even when he was outgunned. He thought of the self-destruct sequence on the Enterprise, and a time when Kirk had been willing to use it to regain control. “You took yourself away,” he said with certainty.
“Yes. I decided to choose death. I took myself so far away that no one could reach me any more. He tried to follow, but he didn’t want to die, so he had to turn back. And – ” there was a grim satisfaction in Kirk’s tone – “although I was too far gone to come back along the path, I knew that when I died, all of me would die – not just remnants that Reynor had chosen to leave behind.”
Spock clasped Jim to him fiercely. “But you were not too far gone to come back,” he said, more to reassure himself than to reassure Jim. “You did come back.”
Jim placed the palm of his hand on Spock’s chest and caressed the curly hair gently. “Not on my own,” he said. “I couldn’t. Someone came and got me. Someone held out a light to me that was so beautiful and so bright that I had to reach for it.” He looked at Spock and smiled, but the smile was haunted. “The same one who always seems to pull me away from the brink of hell at the last possible moment.”
“The brink of hell.”
Spock repeated it automatically, reading in Jim’s eyes and in his words all he needed to of the trauma that Reynor had caused Kirk. He tried desperately to think of a way to ease Jim’s pain, to take the past hours away, but before he could order his thoughts, Jim clasped him hard to his chest and whispered urgently into his ear, “Spock.” To his surprise, Spock felt his body instantly stir and respond; he was becoming aroused again. How did Jim have the power to do this to him, just by calling his name? Spock resolved to meditate upon it later; right now Jim’s seductive lips were too close to his. He leaned forward and pressed his own mouth upon them, immediately feeling Jim’s eager, almost frantic response, his need for comfort and for touch.
“You said you’d give me everything,” Jim reminded him, punctuating his words with maddeningly tantalizing flicks of his tongue against Spock’s neck and ear.
“Everything. Anything,” promised Spock hoarsely, twisting his head to capture Jim’s mouth again. He would never be able to get enough of those kisses. They were too enticing – they filled a part of him that had been empty far too long. Nevertheless he reluctantly abandoned Jim’s mouth for the moment and started to work his way down Kirk’s neck to his chest, to his hard rosy nipples. Beneath his tongue, Jim squirmed and moaned. Spock scraped his teeth against the left nipple and listened with satisfaction as Jim gasped and then tangled his hands spasmodically in Spock’s silky hair. He reached, and felt Jim grow hard beneath his hand.
“Then, I need you inside of me. I want you to fuck me so hard and so deep that I forget you were nearly ripped away from me.”
Spock felt his own rock hard cock pulse at the thought, but his stomach clenched with anxiety as well. He pulled his lips away from Jim’s chest and looked up. “Jim,” he began.
“No! You won’t hurt me.” Jim said fiercely, and then said, much more softly, “You’ll heal me.” His eyes were dark, the pupils dilated with desire and need. He pulled Spock to him in an embrace that nearly hurt and then started to brush his hands along the hard, sinewy muscles of Spock’s abdomen, finally bending over to run his tongue around Spock’s navel. Spock felt the blood start to pound in his ears; an involuntary moan escaped from his throat. “Don’t make me beg you. I need this. I need you – all of you. As much as you can give.” His breath fell hot on Spock’s skin, sending ripples of pleasure throughout the Vulcan’s body. “As much as I can take.”
With a strangled sound, Spock abandoned any pretense of resistance and sat up, gathering Jim to him, pulling him in one swift motion into his lap. As Jim’s legs encircled his hips, he reached down and grasped Jim’s erect cock and began to stroke it slowly, almost reverently. Transported by the magic of the skilled hands, Jim groaned with delight and kissed his lover, his tongue questing and probing so deeply in Spock’s mouth that Spock was certain he would vaporize from the pleasure of it.
Jim pulled away just long enough to brush his lips across the tip of Spock’s ear. “I want you,” he murmured. “I’ve always wanted you. Don’t make me wait any longer.”
“Yes,” Spock whispered, not able to think clearly enough to be entirely sure what he was agreeing to, but still certain that he could not live without it another minute. Claiming Jim’s lips in another long kiss, he slid his hands down Kirk’s back until they rested upon Jim’s ass. With one hand he spread Jim’s cheeks; with the other he tormented his writhing lover with a thorough and expert exploration that finally ended at Jim’s tight opening. He pushed against it but stopped when he felt resistance.
Jim’s buried his face in Spock’s neck. “Please!” he gasped, in between desperate nips and kisses. “Please!” The naked want in Jim’s voice inflamed Spock even more – everything fell away except the burning need to take complete possession of the beautiful man in his arms, the center of his universe, his certain destiny. Spock reached down and quickly slid his fingers across the head of his own cock and then Jim’s. Both were now slippery with pre-cum; Spock’s fingers were slick when he pulled them away. Carefully, ever so slowly, he pressed one finger against Jim’s tight opening, felt it contract instinctively and then give way beneath his gentle assault. Slowly, he slid one long finger in as far as it would go and moved it around inside of the canal; Jim shuddered and clasped the Vulcan to him tightly. “Yes, Spock. More.” His words were muffled but no less urgent. Spock carefully inserted a second finger and worked it along with the first to relax the muscles. He could feel Jim becoming ready to take him; the thought alone was nearly enough to make him come.
As if sensing this, Jim pulled back from Spock and bent over to take the Vulcan’s inflamed cock in his mouth. Spock gasped at the sensation of the human’s tongue swirling around his sex-swollen penis. He had to use every iota of his control to keep from taking Jim’s head in his hands and plunging madly into the human’s mouth until he found release. But Jim’s tongue remained on him only long enough to thoroughly lubricate Spock’s hot cock with saliva, and then he fell back on the bed, pulling Spock with him. “Now, Spock.” Kirk looked directly into Spock’s eyes; in their mercurial depths Spock read complete trust. Somehow, that trust was even more arousing than the feel of Jim’s perfect, firm body beneath him; every nerve burned for this man, so beautiful, so powerful, and now so eager to be completely taken.
By me, thought Spock, and closed his eyes against a giddy swell of adoration and gratitude. Ever so gently, he pushed the head of his straining penis against Jim’s tight opening, hesitating when he heard Jim’s sharp intake of breath. But the human who writhed beneath him would not be thwarted. He squirmed impatiently and pushed down as hard as he could. “Everything,” he demanded. “Everything.”
“Everything,” promised Spock again, and slowly, with profound care, pushed in the rest of the way.
A sharp cry from Jim – or was it from his own mouth? The unbelievable sensation of Jim’s anus nipping convulsively at the base of Spock’s cock, the blissful grip of Jim’s tight passageway – Spock felt that he was about to disintegrate from the joy of it all. Oh, T’hy’la, beautiful new universe. How did I ever exist outside of you? He had time for just that thought, and then his body and Jim’s took over. As the human beneath him arched his back and dug his hands into the bed, Spock pulled his long thick cock away, almost out of Jim. The near abandonment elicited a whimper of protest that quickly turned to a groan of pleasure as Spock thrust back into the moist tunnel.
Another strangled moan – from which of them? – and Spock felt himself begin to shatter into a thousand separate fragments of pleasure, bright and sharp and ablaze. T’hy’la. You are mine. The thought raced through Spock’s head like flame. Yours. Before birth, past death, coursed Jim’s reply. And then there was no more thought, no time, no space - just the overwhelming, savage need to thrust wildly into the taut ass of the human, to force him to cry out in ecstasy, to taste his lips, to stroke his hard sex, to own him in every way, with every portion of skin and soul and mind. As Spock pounded wildly into his human and felt himself careen ever closer to the edge of the abyss, Jim’s hard sex began to ripple beneath his hand. Eyes unfocused with passion, Jim threw his head back and screamed soundlessly, shooting warm cum all over Spock’s belly and chest. The sight of Jim undone was too much: with a harsh cry, Spock drove hard into Jim one last time as he unleashed his molten seed deep within the confines of his human.
Half an hour later, Spock carefully untangled himself from the exhausted Jim and slipped quietly out of bed. Though his many sleepless nights were taking their toll, he was resolved to wait until he returned to the Enterprise to allow himself to rest. At the moment, he had two important duties to perform for his captain. The first was to go to Jim’s room and get his clothing. The Enterprise would return soon to beam them up, and Spock was unwilling to allow Jim to leave the safety of this room in the meantime. Not after he had nearly lost him forever, not when the image of Jim’s lifeless body in the garden was still so fresh in Spock’s mind. There were times ahead, Spock knew, when he would have to endure having Jim out of his sight and in danger. Those times would doubtless be made more difficult by what he and Jim had just shared. But this morning was not one of those times. This morning he would make sure that his captain, his t’hy’la, was safe.
Which led him to his second duty…
Spock surveyed the naked human sprawled so peacefully, so trustingly, on the bed. Jim’s lips were slightly parted; his breath came deeply and evenly in sleep. One muscular arm was still outstretched from where it had draped over Spock after their lovemaking; the other was curled under Jim’s head, beneath his tousled fair hair, now made even brighter by a shaft from Seginus III’s midmorning sun. As Spock drank in the sight, he acknowledged to himself that everything was changed, and nothing. Before Jim had taken his lips in that first kiss, Spock would have laid down his life without question or regret for this beautiful golden human. But now, with the taste of Jim still fresh in his mouth, with the memory of Jim’s caresses still burning in his mind, Spock knew that what he felt for this one man went far beyond logic, duty – or perhaps even love, as love was usually defined. It was instead something akin to gravity, an inexorable, unalterable law of the universe, that had brought him to his t’hy’la and that would bind them together forever, whether fate brought either or both of them long life or swift death.
…It was this bond that called Spock to his second duty.
Reluctantly tearing his eyes from his sleeping captain, Spock went to make himself ready to meet with Reynor.
It took Spock not quite an hour to return. To his surprise, Jim had already risen and taken a shower. He was standing on the balcony clad only in a towel when Spock came in; at the sound of the Vulcan’s footsteps, Jim turned to fasten a brilliant smile on his lover. Spock surveyed him anxiously, looking for any signs of damage from the turbulent night, but saw nothing but joy and love on Jim’s face. The sight took Spock’s breath away; suddenly, he found that he could not speak.
“Spock.” Jim came over to Spock, who remained rooted in one place. “Thanks for bringing my clothes. What’s that you’ve got?”
For the first time, Spock remembered the portfolio he was carrying. “The right of way agreement,” he replied, handing the packet to Jim. “Granted to the Federation with no conditions and no limit of term.” He was careful to keep his voice steady - for some reason, it seemed to want to shake.
Two piercing hazel eyes fixed themselves upon him. “You saw Reynor.”
“Spock.” Jim’s voice was quiet but firm. “No secrets, remember? What did you do? I can’t imagine he just turned this over to you, just like that.”
Jim’s gaze was relentless; there was no way Spock could escape its scrutiny. He resisted the urge to squirm. “No,” he answered reluctantly.
“I allowed him to touch my mind,” Spock confessed. “He had been attempting to do just that throughout our stay here. I lowered my shields and let him see…”
“Enough,” said Spock. “Enough so that he was afraid I would not control. Enough so that he was afraid that I would do to him what he did to you.” With disgust, Spock realized that his voice was indeed shaking. Rage was not conducive to vocal control; all the more reason to purge it if possible. He had much meditation ahead of him.
Jim’s eyes softened; he reached up and laid his hands gently on Spock’s shoulders. “Spock.”
“He hurt you, T’hy’la. He forced you - he nearly tore you from me. I- I wanted to tear him apart in return. Perhaps I should have. Perhaps I did not do enough to protect you, or to revenge. But I found when I had him there before me, that I could not. I allowed him to pay with his fear alone. I had intended otherwise. But I could not.”
To Spock’s surprise, Jim smiled. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t you understand? I love you because you’re compassionate, not in spite of it. I would never ask you to go against your nature. And it’s over. Reynor hurt me, yes. But you brought me back, and you healed me. Reynor is the loser in this, and you and I…” Jim’s smile became even more brilliant; Spock could not bear to look away. “You and I have all of forever before us now. There is nothing to regret - or to revenge.”
Spock stood mutely, gazing down at the human, allowing himself to bask in the waves of acceptance that rushed toward him from his t’hy’la… and to study those beautiful, engrossing lips, so firm and yet so soft, so perfectly shaped, so…
The old familiar command tone had crept back into Kirk’s voice. Spock responded automatically. “Captain.”
“I’m warning you. If you kiss me, I will drop this towel and I will have you back in that bed faster than a Horta on cordrazine. And the Enterprise is returning soon.”
“Point four hours,” said Spock.
“And if we are making love instead of getting ready to beam up…”
“…There is a 98.5 percent chance that Mr. Scott will be thoroughly scandalized,” finished Spock.
“Really? I would have thought the odds were higher. But perhaps I was thinking of Dr. McCoy.”
Spock’s eyebrow shot up. “Acknowledged,” he said, stepping back hastily.
Kirk laughed, a joyful hoot that rang out loud in the Seginus III morning. “I thought you’d see it my way, Mr. Spock.” His smile faded and he shot a look of pure love at the Vulcan. Spock felt his knees start to weaken. “But when we are back home, we are both going to sleep for a full shift, no matter what may come. And after that…”
“After that?” Spock prompted.
“After that, you and I are going to start living our new forever – together.” And in spite of his warning, James Kirk reached up and lightly touched his lips to the mouth of his beloved.