James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise scuffed the toe of his boot against the fine red earth of the walkway and glowered at nothing in particular. A few meters away, his Chief Medical Officer was involved in a heated exchange with a street vendor. The argument revolved around a trinket that Bones wanted to buy for Christine Chapel, the seller’s outrageously high asking price and the doctor’s ridiculously low counteroffer. It had gone on a long time; Kirk’s patience, none too plentiful these days as it was, had dwindled to near zero. “Just give him the damn five credits, for the love of God, so we can get the fuck out of here,” Kirk muttered viciously under his breath, glaring at his dusty toe as if his boot were responsible for the whole excruciating business. Bones didn’t hear him, of course. He just kept on haggling.
“…one much better than that on Agena, for half the price.”
“Ah, but I fear that you insult both me and the master craftsbeing who so lovingly and skillfully wrought this.” The vendor’s tone had become mournful; it was apparent he was losing ground.
Kirk grimaced. The poor bastard didn’t stand a chance: Bones kept his debating skills well honed by continually picking verbal fights with Spock. Compared to the intractable, super-intelligent Vulcan, this street merchant would be child’s play. “C’mon, Bones,” he murmured. “Just move in for the kill and get it the hell over with.”
“All right,” he finally heard his CMO say. “I still think it’s too high, but you’ve got an honest face. I’ll take it.”
Kirk rolled his eyes. The street vendor was endowed with a pair of the beadiest eyes he’d ever had the misfortune to see; they darted about in a continual dance of evasion, right in time with the six-inch-long cerulean blue tongue that had zipped rapidly in and out of the alien’s mouth, anteater-on-speed style, throughout the course of the transaction. Perhaps on whatever world the seller came from, “honest” would be the first word that would pop into one’s head upon regarding his face. But for humans… well, the kindest word Kirk could think of was “shifty.”
“You are so full of…” he began to mutter, but he was interrupted by a grinning McCoy.
“Hah! Nothing quite as satisfying as a bargain first thing in the morning, unless it’s a drink first thing in the afternoon,” Bones chortled, holding the hard-won necklace up for Jim to view.
“I’m glad you’re happy,” Kirk said sardonically. “I just hope Christine’s not too old to wear it by now.”
“Very funny. You can’t just let these folks take you for a ride – you gotta negotiate. And that takes time. But it’ll be worth it, because she’s gonna love it. Look at that center stone – it just matches her eyes.”
Jim shook his head, amused in spite of himself. Leave it to Bones to notice, and to go to the effort to pick just the right gift. And when he gives it to her, he thought, he’ll just as likely bark at her when she tries to thank him. Big softie.
“What?” Bones demanded, noting Jim’s smile with suspicion.
“Nothing. Let’s just… just move along. I’ve had about all I can take of this bedlam.”
Jim scanned the chaotic street scene as he said this. The city of Zibal-Zahir, on the planet Dsiban IV, flourished under the government’s strict NQA economy: “No Questions Asked.” Merchants of countless species were everywhere: packed into tiny stands, lounging inside ornate tents, peering out of darkened doorways. Goods of every imaginable sort were stacked, piled, hung, heaped, spread out, draped, and mounded. Colors abounded. Smells proliferated. And noise…!
Noise was a constant, cacophonous barrage.
Mindful of the brutal competition, vendors shouted, brayed and cajoled. They held up their wares and screamed of beauty, of rarity, of the once-in-a-lifetime deal. They flattered the customers, insulted the other traders, described and exclaimed and pleaded. From every direction, in every place, came the yells, clucks, whistles and bellows of those who wished to sell.
Kirk rubbed his forehead. He was getting a headache. Naturally. It was the one thing he lacked in order to make his black mood blacker.
“Yeah, it’s kind of loud, isn’t it?” Bones yelled over the background clamor. He pulled out and unfolded a yellow sheet of paper and studied it, then looked up. “It looks like if we head over to the right and go about a block, we’ll get out of all this street stuff and find a row of stores. I bet it’ll be quieter there.”
“You don’t need to ask me twice,” Kirk told him grimly. “I can’t stand this.”
They trudged on silently for a time, Kirk staring at the ground and McCoy staring at Kirk. Finally, Bones observed, “Tell me if I’m out of line, but you seem to be just a little bit on edge these days.”
“You’re out of line,” Kirk said promptly.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say.”
Silence fell again, broken only by the increasingly distant sounds of the vendor’s cries and the two men’s footsteps. McCoy gave his captain a sidelong look. “It’s probably just as well you don’t want to talk about it, anyway. Because I have a theory about what’s bothering you, and I’m sure I’m way off.” He waited. When Kirk did not respond, he continued, “See, I think it has something to do with Spock, and with Shibok, and with how much time the two of them have been spending together.”
Kirk stiffened, but kept on walking.
“And like I said,” McCoy continued, undeterred, “I’m probably wrong.”
“Drop it,” Kirk ordered, through clenched teeth.
McCoy stopped in his tracks and grabbed Jim’s arm, forcing him to a halt. “Listen, Jim. As the only Vulcan on the ship, Spock feels it’s his duty to make Shibok feel at home. He’s just being polite, that’s all.” His piercing blue eyes bored into Kirk. “Don’t you trust Spock?”
Jim bit his lip and looked away. “Of course I trust him,” he retorted. “It isn’t that. I just…”
Kirk pulled his arm away from McCoy’s grasp and started walking. “I just miss him,” he mumbled.
McCoy shook his head in disgust. “Well, have you bothered to tell him that? I’m sure if he knew how you felt, he’d…”
Kirk glared, and said fiercely, “No. I’m not going to beg him to spend time with me. I’m not that far gone yet.” They had reached the promised row of stores; Kirk scanned them quickly and then gestured toward one. “I’m going to look around in there,” he said abruptly. “Why don’t we meet back here in about a half an hour?” Without waiting for McCoy to answer, he strode off.
McCoy stared after him, eyes narrowed. “Well, I’ll be damned,” he said to himself. “I would have sworn Spock was the most stubborn man on the Enterprise.”
In his haste to get away from Bones, Jim had picked a store at random. As he neared it, he belatedly read the sign that hung above the door. Ostentatious gilt letters on a black background decreed, “PERIOD AND REPRODUCTION CLOTHING – TEXTILES FROM AROUND THE GALAXY.” Crudely hand-lettered below the gilt was scrawled the addendum, “Ask about our Alsafian socks.”
Jim stopped in the street, considering. Now that he really looked at the place, it had sort of a decrepit, ramshackle look that was far from promising. He could just make out, through the grimy windows on the front of the building, piles of what he assumed were bolts of fabric. They were by no means carefully stacked; in fact, they appeared to have been dropped from the sky and then abandoned. Hanging front and center in the right-hand window was a gauzy long dress with six sheer sleeves. Pinned onto it was a sign that read, “Getting Married? Lesathian Wedding Dress ½ Off This Week Only.” The sign was yellowed and tattered: it was obvious the wedding dress sale had gone on a little longer than initially expected. Kirk scowled and chewed his lip. He should have been more selective when he chose a store – this one just didn’t look good. On the other hand, he really didn’t want to shop anyway. And let’s face it, he thought. This is just as appropriate a place to brood in as any other. With a little shrug of his shoulders, Kirk entered.
“They can sssend a Furudian to Outer Grafia. Why can’t they make a ssshirt with buttonsss that will ssstay on?”
Kirk blinked in the sudden darkness and tried without success to trace the source of the soft, hissing voice. As his eyes adjusted, he made out a seemingly impossible array and amount of fabrics and articles of clothing, along with a jumble of benches, stools and counters. But not a person was to be seen.
“But no. They will not do it. They do not care about the quality. They sssew them by machine, one by one, and one by one they all come off. And then the poor ssshopkeeper or the unfortunate cussstomer is ssstuck with sssewing them back on, by hand, asss ssshould have been done in the firsssst place.”
This time, Kirk was able to discern that the voice emanated from behind a tall glass counter. He walked up to it and peered over; sure enough, there sat behind it what he assumed was the proprietor, a bright orange dragon in a maroon velvet smoking jacket and a multicolored fez. Kirk had seen so many life forms in his career that he almost never stared, but he made an exception in this case: he had never before witnessed a button-sewing dragon. But there he was, wielding the needle with surprising dexterity in one claw, fastening a button onto the shirt with a speed Kirk could only describe as astounding. And it was a good thing, too: the shirt had been made for some type of multi-limbed creature, and it looked like about half of the fifty or so cuff buttons were loose. The proprietor was going to be busy for a while.
The dragon looked at Kirk mournfully. “Do you sssew?” he asked.
“Er, no. I’m afraid I don’t.”
The dragon shook his head, his demeanor if anything becoming more morose. “Of courssse you don’t. No one doesss anymore. Ah, well.” With a shrug of what might have been his shoulders, the dragon carefully laid aside the shirt and stood up. “But where are my mannersss? I am Lessarth, the proud owner of this esstablishment. Welcome to my ssstore, the greatessst and mossst complete sssource of period and reproduction clothing in the galaxy. May I asssissst you in finding ssomething ssspecial today?”
Kirk hesitated. He couldn’t imagine there was anything in this junk hole that he’d take if it were handed to him, but it doubtless would be impolitic to tell Lesarth that. “Well,” he finally said, “my mother’s birthday is coming up, and I…”
“Yesss,” Lesarth hissed approvingly. “And a fine and dissscerning sson you mussst be, to plan an extravagant birthday pressent for your beloved mother.”
The corner of Kirk’s mouth twitched. “I’m not sure that ‘extravagant’ is what I had in mind,” he informed Lesarth dryly. “Maybe more like ‘a small gesture.’ She’s a pretty practical woman, and she…”
Lesarth made a raspy noise that Kirk could only interpret as a laugh. “Of coursse,” he replied. “But even the mossst practical of beingss lovesss to be lavissshed with ssplendid thingsss.” His yellow eyes blinked at Kirk with knowing significance. “Your mother isss beautiful?”
“Of course, but…”
“Then ssshe desserves sssomething beautiful to wear. And I know exactly what will jusst sssuit. Thiss way, pleasse – the humanoid sssection iss to the rear.” With that, Lesarth made his way toward a doorway at the back of the room.
Kirk followed reluctantly. All he had wanted was an escape route from McCoy. Things seem to be getting a little out of hand here, he thought, as the vivid dragon led him to the second room.
If the front of the store had been crowded and jumbled, the rear humanoid room was vast and impeccably organized. Along the walls were hung all sorts of gowns, uniforms, costumes and suits, all sorted according to species and time period. Various tags pointed out whether the piece was contemporary, antique or reproduction; every article also had a label describing the style and fiber content. The center of the room was devoted to a series of bins, most of which were teeming with smaller clothing items and with accessories. Kirk noted that one held the much-vaunted Alsafian socks.
Lesarth ignored all of this, walking purposefully to a far corner of the room. “The Kitalphinsss,” he announced, “are unsssurpasssed in the desssigning and sssewing of beautiful clothing. Thisss-” he flung his claw proudly toward a silken robe suspended from the ceiling, “iss one of their mosst masssterful workss. It iss absssolutely perfect for your mother.”
Kirk looked up at the robe. He had to admit, it was one of the most gorgeous articles of clothing he’d ever seen. The material was extraordinary: it literally glowed, making the intense green color of the garment appear to shift and change. At one moment, it was nearly black - the next, deep emerald. Covering all of it was gold embroidery of stitches so minute it gave the gown the appearance of being encased in a fragile, shimmering spider web. Fascinated in spite of himself, Kirk reached out and touched one of its sleeves. He couldn’t restrain a little shiver of pleasure as his hand made contact. Did it feel like the finest silk, or the softest fur? It was neither, and it was both. It was sheer, unmitigated decadence on a hanger, that’s what it was.
Reluctantly, he drew his hand away. “I’m afraid,” he told Lesarth, “you don’t know my mother. She lives on a farm. She never dresses up. This is just not…”
“But ssshe isss beautiful?” Lesarth asked.
Kirk made an impatient gesture. “I told you she is already. But that’s not the point. She just wouldn’t…”
“Have you told her ssshe iss beautiful?”
Kirk stared at the persistent dragon, exasperated. “Well, not in so many…”
“Yesss,” Lesarth said sympathetically. “It iss an apparent weaknesss of your ssspeciesss. You humansss find it difficult to expresss thesse thingsss.” He grinned suddenly, exposing sharp pink fangs. “And that isss precissely why garmentss like thiss exissst. You will give thisss to your mother, and ssshe will know you think ssshe iss beautiful. You will not have to go through the painful processs of sssaying it at all.”
Kirk tore his eyes away from the brilliant face of the dragon and studied the robe. What would his mother do, he asked himself, if he were to give her this totally frivolous, ridiculously lovely thing? He pictured his hardworking, no-nonsense mother opening the package and holding the gift up, her face transformed with amazement. Yes, she would be amazed… but would she be delighted?
Kirk thought she might, now that he thought about it at all. He had to admit what Lesarth had said did make some sense. If he gave his mother this superlatively glorious item, he would show her that he saw her as someone who was both beautiful and worthy of being lavished upon. Which of course, she was – on both counts. “How much?” he found himself asking.
“One hundred credits,” Lesarth said quickly, his hiss mysteriously gone.
“What? You’ve got to be…”
“But as it happens,” the dragon added hastily, “I am running a fifty percent off sale on this very garment, this very day. So for you, the price would be a mere…”
“Twenty credits,” Kirk said.
Lesarth made a pained noise that was somewhat like a rusty hinge being dismantled by a rabid Yridian yak. “Forty credits, no less.”
Lesarth’s back suddenly erupted in spasmodic motion, and for the first time Kirk realized that the shop proprietor had a pair of wings crammed underneath the smoking jacket. “I cannot possibly sell this lovely work of art for such a paltry sum,” he whined. “Thirty-five credits.”
“I’ll go thirty, and that’s it. You know and I know that’s an absolutely outrageous price for a robe.”
Lesarth flashed his pink fangs ingratiatingly. “Split the difference?” he wheedled.
“Oh, for the love of…” Kirk glared at the dragon and finally sighed in exasperation. “All right, fine. Thirty-two fifty it is.”
“Sssplendid,” said Lesarth, resuming his customary hiss. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a receipt book. “I’ll jusst write that up for you, and…” he cocked his head, hearing a noise in the other room. “Oh, my goodnesss, I’ve got another cusstomer. I’ll be right back. Feel free to look around – I won’t be a moment. Don’t forget to check out the binsss,” he said over his shoulder. “Many wonderful bargainss there, I promissse you.”
Kirk opened his mouth to protest, but the dragon was gone. Shaking his head, he started to pace around the room, staring sightlessly at the neatly displayed garments. The robe transaction had been a momentary distraction, but now that he was alone, his thoughts returned to what had been bothering him nonstop for the past twenty days.
Kirk scowled and reached into one of the bins. He pulled something small and stretchy out of it and played with it idly, not bothering to try to identify the flimsy article.
Damn it, it just wasn’t fair. He finally – finally – had found the courage to tell Spock how he felt about him, a mere two months ago. He’d figured it was probably the biggest mistake he’d ever make in his life, because he fully expected his valued first officer to turn and run away as fast as his maddeningly slim, long, gorgeous legs would take him.
Kirk leaned his elbows on the bin and smiled faintly, twirling the piece of material in his hand, remembering. I should have given you more credit, Spock. I should have known you’d surprise me, just like you always do. Closing his eyes, he thought back to that night, the night of his long-delayed confession. He had blurted out to the cool, impassive Vulcan everything he felt, and everything he wanted. And…
…Spock hadn’t run. He hadn’t protested. He hadn’t even pointed out the total illogic of the situation.
He had instead gathered Kirk into his arms and kissed him so thoroughly that the starship captain’s feet didn’t touch the deck for a good six days.
Jim shivered, recalling how they had made love for hours that first night - how he lay awake long afterwards, Spock curled closely around him, so full of love and gratitude and joy that his body and brain practically sang.
And it had been like that every night since then.
Kirk dropped the piece of material and picked up another one, bunching it up in his fist.
Damnable, ramrod straight, prissy, obnoxious, asshole Vulcan Shibok.
Kirk took a deep breath and let it out slowly in a vain attempt to relax his shoulders, which were bunched more tightly than the material he held wadded in his hand.
Some deskbound genius at Starfleet had decided that it would be a great idea to hire Shibok, a department head at the Vulcan Science Academy, as a consultant. Shibok was supposed to check out the science labs on every starship in the fleet, assess their resources and their procedures, and make recommendations for improvement. He was supposed to be, in short, a pain in the ass.
And he was very, very good at what he did.
Shibok had been on board the Enterprise for twenty days and had another three to go. Provided he lives that long, Kirk thought grimly. In that time, he had totally monopolized Spock, demanding that the science officer call up all kinds of long-filed reports, making him explain the procedures and the reasoning employed, forcing him to defend every tiny decision that had been made and every order he’d given. It made Jim mad to see Spock forced to put on such a stupid dog-and-pony show for such a stupid reason. But that was the business of consulting for you, and he had to admit Spock handled it all with a grace he would not have been able to muster himself.
No, his real objection to Shibok wasn’t the Vulcan consultant’s job duties.
It was the way Shibok looked at Spock.
And it was the way Spock acted whenever Shibok was around, which lately amounted to always.
Jim glared as he pictured that insufferably speculative look he always saw on Shibok’s face whenever the consultant cast his eyes on Spock. It was the universal look of someone who was sizing up a potential sex partner, and nothing anyone could say would convince Kirk otherwise. He knew the look very well. He’d been a giver of the look many times; he’d been the recipient of it more than once. And he under no circumstances enjoyed watching Shibok look at Spock that way.
“Don’t you trust Spock?” McCoy had asked. But trust was never a question with Spock: Kirk could leap off any given precipice and know that his first officer, his friend, and now his lover would catch him or die trying. No, Kirk had answered honestly when he had told the doctor that the problem was that he missed Spock. And it was more - and worse - than having Spock’s physical presence taken from him this soon into their new relationship.
The crux of the matter was that Shibok’s presence had caused Spock to withdraw from Kirk in a much more essential way.
As he stared sightlessly into the packed bin, Kirk recalled the last time he had passed Spock in the corridor. Of course Spock had been heading to the lab, and of course that damnable Shibok had been pasted to his side. As Kirk had passed the pair of Vulcans, both Spock and Shibok had nodded simultaneously at him and then continued on their way, carrying on some obtuse, dry-as-dust conversation about X-matrix field theory and the refractive index. Shibok’s jet black eyes had been slithering all over Spock; Spock, for his part, was as stiff and straight as an offended Caruthian postulant. There was no raised eyebrow, no little half smile thrown toward Kirk, to soften the severity of Spock’s expression as he proceeded down the hall, intent on his conversation. Kirk had stopped in his tracks and stared after his first officer longingly, wondering where in the galaxy the beautiful, passionate lover who fucked with such sensual abandon had gone.
In Shibok’s presence, Spock became a total Vulcan. Kirk, on the other hand, was in love with someone who was precisely fifty percent Vulcan, no more and no less. And he had no intention of allowing Shibok, or anyone else, to sequester away the true, unique, complete Spock - the one that only James Kirk knew.
I’ve got to come up with a way, he told himself, to reclaim him… all of him.
“Ah, I ssee you have discovered the Ssspeedoss.”
Kirk jumped slightly, surprised to find that Lesarth had suddenly appeared at his elbow. “Uh… Speedos?”
Lesarth peered into the bin. “Yesss. An old Terran brand of ssswim and exercissse wear. Known for innovative desssign, high performance fabricss and ability to cling to the body. Thesse are all reproductionss, produced from patternss more than two hundred yearsss old.” He reached in and carefully hooked a claw around the waistband of one of the items. Drawing it up, he dangled it in front of Kirk. “Thesse would be very nice on you. They are… let me ssee.” He fumbled for the tag. “Oh, yesss. Item Number 38-2446, Sspeedo Optic Beam in Green. Featuring reinforced sseamss, full front lining, and a non-ssslip drawsstring at the waisst.” His yellow eyes flicked toward Kirk. “The color and sstyle would be mosst sssuitable for you.”
Kirk eyed the skimpy swimwear dubiously. “I don’t know. They look like they’d be pretty tight.”
“Tight, yesss. But uncomfortable, no. They ssstretch, you ssee.” Lesarth demonstrated by pulling the tiny trunks to and fro like taffy. “Nylon and ssspandex. An unbeatable combination of ancient fabricsss.” He flashed his pink teeth and added, “Most humansss desscribe the fit and the feel asss ssexy.”
“I can imagine they do,” Kirk said ironically, but nevertheless took the garment from Lesarth’s hooked claw.
Sexy. Yes, he could definitely see that aspect. It was pretty obvious that they would hide absolutely nothing; that they would cling in a way that bordered on the obscene, in fact. Kirk considered them silently for a moment, rubbing the slippery material absentmindedly between his thumb and forefinger. He pictured Spock’s dark hungry eyes raking over him as he reclined on the bed clad only in these body-hugging trunks and a seductive smile. Spock’s hand reaching out to touch the smooth, slick contours of his body, sliding over the rapidly hardening bulge beneath the fabric, working impatiently under the non-slip drawstring…
…or would he rather be the one to do the reaching and the touching, the sliding of fingers over taut stretchy spandex, while his lean, wiry Vulcan lover squirmed beneath his hand, head thrown back, gasping and panting and begging for release?
Spock in a Speedo. Now that would be a Wonder of the Universe.
“Do you have any in black?” he found himself saying.
“Black, black, black… Let me ssseee,” Lesarth said, pawing through the bin. “Hmm… sssaphire… viper sssplice… tech check in red… I’m afraid I don’t – ah! Wait a minute. Wait jussst a minute. What have we here? Yesss!” Triumphantly, he pulled out a garment so infinitesimal its tag looked large by comparison. Peering down at it, he said, “Item Number 36-2367. Classsic Sssolid Thong in Black. One inch leg cut, reinforced ssseams.” Pink fangs flashed. “Ssstyled to keep the wearer well ventilated, apparently.” The dragon flipped the garment around, displaying the miniscule butt strap in the back. “Iss thiss what you had in mind?”
Kirk struggled to keep his tone neutral, a task made much harder by the vivid image of Spock’s slim, muscular ass cheeks framed in stretchy black. “Maybe,” he said carefully. “How much for both pairs?”
Lesarth cocked his scaly head, calculating. “For both? Let’sss ssee. Well, they’re regularly sseven creditss each… I could give them both to you for twelve.”
Lesarth’s pink smile stretched for light years, somehow managing to look endearing and slightly threatening at the same time. “Sssold,” he said. “And may you and your friend wear them in good health.”
Five minutes later, Kirk stepped out into the dazzling sunlight, two carefully wrapped packages under his arm. He shielded his eyes with his hand and scanned for McCoy, trying at the same time not to dwell too much on the puzzle of how Lesarth had deduced he was buying one of the pairs of Speedos for a friend. Is it that obvious to everyone? he asked himself. Or just to orange dragons? Bones emerged from one of the stores, and Kirk resolutely shrugged off the question and hurried over to meet him.
“Hey, Jim boy,” the doctor beamed as soon as Kirk reached him. “Perfect timing. Hold the door for me, would you?”
“Uh, sure,” Kirk said, grabbing the battered green door with one hand.
“Thanks.” McCoy darted back into the dark opening. Kirk heard him call out, “I’m all set, Xex. I’ll have your wagon beamed back to you just as soon as I get back on the ship. Thanks again for everything. And let me know if that cough doesn’t get better right away.”
In reply, there came a sound very much like splintering wood, followed by one of the most horrendous, phlegm-fueled coughs Kirk had ever encountered. Instinctively, he drew back in an attempt to avoid whatever airborne sputum might be zinging through the doorway as a result of the paroxysm.
“Great guy, that Xex,” McCoy told Kirk cheerfully as he carefully maneuvered the borrowed wagon through the narrow opening. “You shoulda heard his story about the one eared Arrakian and the catapult. I thought I’d die laughing.”
“Mm,” Kirk said noncommittally, as he surveyed the wagon. It was packed nearly beyond capacity with bottles of diverse shapes and sizes, all full to the brim with variously colored liquids. Xex apparently had as wide an assortment of booze as Lesarth had of Speedos. “Quite a collection,” he told McCoy.
“It sure is,” Bones replied happily as he wheeled the clinking contents onto the walkway. “It’s been at least ten years since I’ve run into Ruchbanian Thunderwater. But Xex had a whole shelf of it. And you wouldn’t believe his supply of Gianfarr Brandy – I’ve never seen anything like it.” He peered at Kirk. “So what’d you buy?”
“Oh, er… a robe for my mother. Her birthday’s coming up.”
“Very nice,” McCoy said approvingly. “What else?”
Kirk looked down quickly at the smaller of his wrapped bundles and then glanced up at the doctor. “I’ll tell you what,” he replied slowly. “You don’t ask me any more questions, and I’ll assume that all of those bottles you’re planning to bring onto my ship are completely legal, and totally medicinal.”
“Hmm,” McCoy said speculatively, and then shrugged philosophically. “O.K., since you put it that way - you got yourself a deal.”
A little over an hour later, Kirk emerged from the bathroom, rosy from a warm shower and a brisk toweling, and pulled on the new Speedos. Flexing his legs experimentally, he noted with satisfaction that, true to Lesarth’s sales pitch, they were both clingy and comfortable. Not bad, he thought to himself as he surveyed himself in the mirror. Maybe my ancestors really were onto something with this nylon and spandex thing. They sure knew how to show off everything they had, anyway.
Thoughtfully, he moved away from his reflection and over to the bed.
It was time to execute his assault.
Ever since he’d left Lesarth’s store, Kirk had been trying to work out in his head exactly how he was going to lure Spock out of the lab, away from the infuriatingly proprietary gaze of Shibok, and into his quarters. It didn’t take much thinking to figure out that the direct approach probably wasn’t advisable: “Spock, this is the Captain. I’m horny as hell, I’m poured into spandex, and I’ve got a pair of thongs with your name on them. Report to my quarters immediately.”
No, something subtler was definitely in order. He could, of course, lie. He could call the lab and tell Spock he needed him to come up and help him with some urgent ship’s business. He knew Spock wouldn’t question that; probably Shibok wouldn’t either. But Kirk’s code of ethics always had demanded that he separate duty from personal desires. He never would have initiated an affair with his first officer if he hadn’t been convinced he could maintain that separation. He certainly wasn’t going to turn his back on those standards now, no matter how much he longed for Spock’s touch.
With a determined look, he got on the bed and lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. What’s the point of being in love with a telepath, he asked himself, if you can’t use it to your advantage? With that, he shut his eyes and conjured an image of Spock.
For the past twenty days, Kirk had done everything he could to suppress his desire. He’d worked out with fanatical devotion. He’d thrown himself into every competitive game he could think of. He’d spent long hours arguing ethics with Bones. He’d read long, dry reports promptly, even eagerly. All in the name of keeping himself from going stark, raving mad with want.
But now he changed his tactics. Alone in the dimness of his quarters, Kirk allowed his love and his desire to flare within him unchecked and uncensored. Spock. He pictured his gorgeous first officer naked, writhing impatiently beneath his touch. He heard Spock’s voice, rough with passion, calling his name. Felt Spock’s warm, demanding hands upon him, drawing him close. Come to me. Come to me. Come to me. Kirk squirmed on the bed as his erection filled the tight, slippery fabric of the Speedos; he envisioned the Vulcan’s hard, hot cock sliding into him, filling him with heat and slick wet seed. I need you, Spock. Come to me.
Was it hours or minutes until the chime at the door? Kirk had no way of telling; he’d become too lost in his exquisite self-torture. But at some point, the chime did sound, and Kirk answered, “Come,” though he felt a slight twinge of anxiety as he did so. If this isn’t Spock, I’m going to have one hell of a time trying to explain all this.
The door slid open. “Captain, are you all right? I thought…” The Vulcan’s voice trailed off as his eyes fell upon Jim.
Kirk saw an eyebrow shoot up. He waited, his erection throbbing insistently beneath the thin, clinging material.
The door swished shut. After a moment, Spock clasped his hands behind his back and walked over to the bed, head tilted slightly as he considered Jim’s unusual garb. “Most decidedly non-regulation,” he said softly.
Kirk looked up at him with what he hoped was a seductive expression. “The clothing, or the hard-on?”
Without removing his eyes from Kirk’s body, Spock seated himself on edge of the bed. “I do not believe that either,” he replied thoughtfully, “are Starfleet issue.” He reached out and slid his hand over the scanty Speedos, obviously fascinated.
“No, they’re not. But I’m off duty, so it doesn’t matter.” Kirk smiled sweetly. “You are, by the way, currently fondling Item Number 38-2446, Speedo Optic Beam in Green. Do you like it?”
Spock slipped his hand lightly over Kirk’s bulging erection, ostensibly in order to caress the silky, taut spandex. “It is… most interesting,” he finally noted, a bit hoarsely.
“I thought you’d think so. I got it in Zibal-Zahir. I bought something for you there, too - it’s in the bathroom. Try it on for me.”
When Spock hesitated, Kirk held his breath, waiting for the Vulcan’s reply. His erection had not abated; in fact, Spock’s nearness had only made it more insistent.
For an instant, a flicker of desire sparked in the fathomless dark eyes and Kirk was sure he’d won. But just as quickly, the Vulcan shields slammed down; the fire was squelched. Spock’s voice was toneless as he began, “I should like to. However, I fear that I must…”
Enough is enough, thought Kirk, and sat up abruptly, his mercurial eyes flashing. “No. Not tonight. Tonight… make us the priority. Please.”
Spock stared wordlessly at his captain, a range of conflicting emotions surprisingly apparent on his face. Finally, he leaned forward and kissed Jim lightly on the mouth, reached up and touched the human’s face gently with his fingertips. “Of course,” he whispered. “Of course I shall. Forgive me.” Gracefully, he rose from the bed. “I will require a few moments to call the lab and to…” he scanned Kirk’s snug attire once more, his eyebrow creeping up. “… to change into your gift. I must confess I am most curious.”
Kirk fought the childish impulse to clap his hands with glee. Instead, he grinned up at his lover, delight and anticipation apparent on his face. “So am I,” he told Spock. “So hurry up, would you?”
How does a Vulcan blow off another Vulcan? Kirk wondered idly as he waited for Spock to return. Naturally, it would be done with extreme restraint and with admirable efficiency. The efficiency part was good: that meant Spock would waste no time in returning to Kirk’s side. The restraint part, on the other hand, interfered with Jim’s personal fantasy of having Spock tell Shibok something like, “I am unable to return to the lab at this time because my captain has requested that I don some type of sexually provocative clothing in preparation for making passionate love to him. I anticipate that the amount of time required to remove my uniform and dress in the garment will be minimal: a mere 2.9 minutes. However, foreplay, fucking and sleep shall occupy us for at least 6.8 hours afterward, with fucking most probably consuming the greater proportion of that time. I do not anticipate, therefore, that I shall be returning to the lab tonight. I apologize for any inconvenience.”
The opening of the bathroom door interrupted Jim’s wishful reverie. Spock emerged, lithe and leanly muscled, clad only in the skimpiest wisp of formfitting black fabric. Kirk found himself suddenly completely divested of his ability to breathe. “Oh, my God,” he finally murmured, once his heart started to beat again and his lungs to function.
Spock paused in the doorway; seemingly oblivious of the effect his appearance was having on his captain. “Jim, I fear that you did not inspect this garment carefully enough before you made the purchase,” he chided gently. “It is incomplete.”
The Vulcan first officer turned around, providing Kirk a delicious view of bare ass cheeks. “Yes. The back apparently has been inadvertently omitted.”
Kirk allowed himself a small hiss of appreciation before he replied. “The back’s been omitted, all right, but there’s nothing inadvertent about it,” he told the Vulcan huskily. “Allow me to introduce you to Item Number 36-2367, Speedo Classic Solid Thong in Black.”
“Indeed,” Spock replied, over his shoulder. His eyebrow rose in inquiry. “And does this… classic solid thong… meet with your approval?”
Kirk tilted his head as if he were pondering. “Wellll,” he drawled. “It seems O.K. at first glance. But since you think I didn’t inspect it closely enough the first time around, maybe we’d better play it safe. Come on over here, so I can look it over more carefully.” He moved over on the bed and patted the vacated space invitingly.
Slowly, Spock walked over to his captain, his movements so graceful and unselfconscious that Jim shook his head in admiration and wonder. Who else but Spock could maintain such aplomb while wearing nothing but a microscopic thong and being scrutinized so thoroughly and so lecherously? You are magnificent in every way, Kirk thought, with a surge of desire so intense it strained even the super flexible boundaries of his Speedos.
He sighed happily as Spock settled in beside him, then reached out to gently caress the Vulcan’s cheek. “I’ve missed you,” he said simply.
Spock’s dark eyes softened as he regarded the human. “It has not been my wish to be apart from you,” he whispered in reply as he took Kirk’s fingers and drew them to his lips, kissing them softly and deliberately.
Jim shut his eyes, partly from the pleasure of the sensation of Spock’s lips and partly from the remembered pain of Spock’s absence. “Why?” he murmured. “Why did you stay away so long?” He held the Vulcan’s gaze with his own. “I know you’ve felt you need to be at Shibok’s beck and call. And I know he’s been unreasonably demanding of your time and your… your attention.” Kirk fought to keep his voice under control: he was angrier with the consultant and his commandeering ways than he really wanted to admit. “But…” his voice trailed to a barely perceptible whisper. “You haven’t even looked at me. Not once in twenty days.”
Spock hesitated before replying, then sighed and took Jim’s face in his hands. “If I looked at you, he would see.”
“Everything. It would all be there on my face for him to read: what you are to me, what we have shared, how I…” he looked away for a moment, shutting his eyes in shame, and then continued, “how I feel about you. I do not wish for him to see these things. And yet I cannot seem to conceal them when you are near.”
Kirk studied Spock’s face carefully, considering his first officer’s words and the meaning behind them. He said slowly, “You think Shibok would make things difficult for us - quote regulations, maybe report us to Starfleet?”
Spock nodded and pulled Jim close to him. “Yes.”
“He would, too, the bastard,” Kirk said bitterly.
Regulation 32, Section A, the paragraph forbidding sexual relations between officers, was ignored far more often than it was followed. But Shibok was just enough of a tight ass to push the matter. Kirk drew back a little and looked at his lover, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. “So tell me this: how long was he on this ship before he propositioned you?”
Spock’s eyebrow shot up in surprise, but he responded promptly. “Two point four hours.”
It was Kirk’s turn to be astonished. “Two point four hours? Pretty fast work for someone who’s so intent on following the regs to the letter.” He glared. “Fucking hypocrite.”
Spock tilted his head to one side, considering. “You are half right,” he finally told his captain, an impish glimmer in his eye.
Kirk laughed in spite of himself and pulled the Vulcan into a close embrace, nuzzling against the soft skin of Spock’s neck and smiling as he felt Spock’s pulse start to race in response. “Nonetheless, I think I’d better have a little talk with Shibok,” he said, in between little kisses along the Vulcan’s throat. “Sooner rather than later.”
“It is of no consequence,” Spock assured Jim, tilting his head back to allow the human’s lips and tongue better access to the sensitive skin of his neck. “He will be gone in three point… oh!” The sentence ended in a gasp of pleasure as Jim’s teeth scraped gently against his Adam’s apple. He pulled the human closer to him, running his hands over the hard muscles of Kirk’s back and his rounded, spandex-clad ass.
“Mmmm,” Jim purred in response, bestowing more kisses upon the Vulcan’s shoulder and collarbone and chest. Taking one of Spock’s dark nipples between his thumb and forefinger, he played with it until it became hard, and then claimed it with his mouth, alternately tormenting the inflamed skin with his teeth and soothing it with his tongue.
Spock groaned under his ministrations and slid his hands to the front of Kirk’s waist, to the non-slip drawstring of Item Number 38-2446. With his usual efficiency, he had it undone within seconds, and Kirk was quickly divested of the clingy Optic Green Speedos. Impatiently, Spock threw them to the floor and promptly turned his attention to a thorough and unhurried exploration of the human’s nude body.
Under Spock’s touch and his dark intense gaze, Kirk felt himself catch fire. There was no one in the universe that made him feel as revered or made him want so much. Yes, Spock’s night-black eyes were beautiful, as were his slender, expert hands. Any lover of beauty might desire the Vulcan for those eyes and those hands alone. But it was the wholehearted devotion that shone in those eyes, that lived in the touch, that won Kirk’s heart over and over again, every time he looked at his first officer, his friend, his lover. It was a devotion that gave all - courageously, unconditionally, absolutely. And it demanded all in return. And I give it to you, Kirk thought, trembling in ecstasy under Spock’s hands. I give it all to you – every human atom – body, brain, heart and spirit. He gasped as Spock found his long, hard cock and began to stroke it.
“So beautiful,” he heard Spock murmur, as if from a great distance away.
Kirk reached blindly for the Vulcan, desperate to touch him in return, and found that Spock’s stiff rod was jutting lopsidedly out of the tiny triangle of spandex. With a breathy laugh, he hooked his fingers over the waistband of the stretchy garment and pulled it down, liberating the Vulcan’s engorged sex completely. “Too big for your britches,” he whispered. “I was afraid of it. Next time, I’ll buy…” his sentence was cut off by a deep, passionate kiss.
Kirk always considered it his personal mission to make Spock lose control. There was just something about reducing the cool, restrained Vulcan to a quivering mass of raw physical need that he couldn’t get enough of. And he was certainly not above committing every ounce of his considerable sexual expertise to achieving that goal. But this time, as Spock stroked and fondled him with methodical and relentless fingers, the tables were turned: it was Kirk who found himself writhing and half-crazed with desire. “Spock, if you… if you keep doing this to me, I’ll come,” he finally gasped.
“Yes,” Spock ordered him, his warm breath falling upon Kirk’s neck. “I want you to. In my hands, Jim. Come now.”
In your hands, Kirk echoed within his mind. A deep, secret part of his soul acknowledged the rightness of that statement, at the same time that he arched and shuddered in orgasm, shooting his slippery cum into Spock’s waiting hands.
For a nebulous fragment of eternity, Jim floated halfway between consciousness and awareness, his body and brain so relaxed that he was no longer certain he still existed at all. Spock’s rock-hard penis was still clasped loosely in his own hand; he felt it pull away from his grasp and whimpered softly in protest, already missing the contact but somehow lacking the ability to move to reclaim it. Through half-shut eyes, he watched the Vulcan reach down and begin to stroke himself with semen-slick hands, lips slightly parted and dark eyes locked upon Kirk’s face. When his cock glistened with Kirk’s slippery fluid, he gently parted the human’s legs and knelt between them.
Kirk felt his lethargy begin to transform into a tingle of anticipation. Wordlessly, he opened his legs wider and drew his knees up in preparation for the long green cock he knew was soon going to be jammed inside of him.
“Jim,” Spock exhaled softly as he shoved the head of his sex partway into his captain’s taut hole.
Kirk gasped once at the pleasure-pain of the intrusion, and Spock waited until he sensed that the human was ready to take more of him. Slowly, in a series of gentle shoves and patient hesitations, he gradually encased himself fully within his human sheath.
For a moment, there was stillness, broken only by the sound of ragged breath. And then Jim felt his cock start to stir to life again and his heart begin to hammer. A single surge from Spock, deep inside of him, and the passion flared up once more, just as imperative as it had been before Spock’s hands had given him release. He found himself pushing against the Vulcan’s increasingly insistent thrusts, wordlessly urging, mutely commanding.
Spock’s voice, abraded with lust, called out Jim’s name as he drove his hot cock repeatedly into his captain’s tight tunnel. Kirk threw his head back, lost in the sensation of being filled over and over again with the Vulcan’s searing rod. He felt a hand reach up, find his temple, search for the meld points. The door between the lovers’ minds suddenly flew open, bathing Kirk in the white-hot light of Spock’s pleasure. This is what you give to me broadcast through the human’s brain.
And this is what you are to me, Kirk relayed back, offering up to the Vulcan willingly all of the love and adoration that his heart held.
Spock trembled, stiffened, and shot his seed deep within Kirk, his unleashed joy expanding outwards far into the human’s self. Beneath him, Jim cried out with the brilliant force of his own orgasm, anointing Spock’s lean belly with thick warm cum, filling the Vulcan’s brain with gratitude and delight.
The first thing Kirk saw when he woke up was two tiny bunches of castoff Speedos, crumpled and wilted-looking on the floor by the bed. And I know just how they feel, he thought sluggishly. I too must’ve been transformed into a big limp pile of nylon and spandex while I slept. Probably those damn Klingons – maybe they’ve figured out how to put a “Speedo” setting on their disruptors, or something.
“You are awake.” A deep, familiar voice rumbled behind him.
“Mm. I think so.” Kirk smiled lazily and rolled over to face his first officer. “Somebody seems to have slipped in here and made off with all of my bones and cartilage, though. Do I look like a beached jellyfish, by any chance? Because I feel like one.”
Spock’s eyebrow rose slightly. “You will doubtless be reassured to know,” he informed his captain solemnly, “that your resemblance to a stranded free-swimming marine coelenterate is minimal at best.”
“Thanks. You Vulcans give the nicest compliments.” Kirk stretched and then snuggled back against Spock’s warm, lean body. “I feel like I could settle in for about six days straight. How long were we asleep, anyway?”
“Three point two hours.”
“That’s not so bad.”
“No.” A slight hesitation. “I should, however…”
Kirk grimaced. “I know, I know. How much longer until that asshole’s off this ship?”
“Two point nine days,” Spock replied, not bothering to pretend that he did not know to whom his captain referred.
“Well, he’ll wish he were leaving sooner by the time I get done with him. I’m going to tell that pain in the ass that he can just…”
“There is no need.” Spock sat up and stared down at the human calmly.
Kirk struggled to a sitting position as well, scowling. “You’ve got to be kidding. He’s using his position to force you to…”
“He has forced me to do nothing.”
“He propositioned you.”
“And was rebuffed.”
“Jim.” Spock leaned over and kissed Kirk. When he pulled away, he said, “He will never take me away from you. His presence on this ship alters nothing that is in my heart. Nothing – and nobody – ever will.”
Kirk exhaled slowly, and realized that his shoulders felt relaxed for the first time in more than twenty days. “I know that,” he told the Vulcan softly. “But still, I… I needed to hear it anyway.” He placed his index finger lightly on Spock’s lips. “From your own beautiful mouth.”
Spock kissed the fingertip gently. “Then I shall endeavor,” he promised his captain, “to remember to inform you of that more often. And now, I really must take a shower and return to the lab.”
“Yeah, all right,” Kirk agreed grudgingly, and got out of bed. Glancing at the chronometer, he mused as if to himself, “I, on the other hand, am still off duty for another couple of hours. If I hurry, I should be able to make it down there and back in plenty of time.”
“Down where?” Spock asked, puzzled.
Kirk picked the Speedos up from the floor and dangled them in front of Spock suggestively. “Down to Zibal-Zahir, to talk to the orange dragon who sold me these. He had a little number called a ‘Viper Splice’ that would look fantastic on you. I bet he’ll give me a good deal on ‘em, too.”
Spock’s eyebrow shot up beneath his bangs. “Sir, are you planning to require me to wear small stretchy items of clothing every time you wish to engage in sexual activity?”
Kirk grinned at him. “Certainly not.”
Spock relaxed somewhat. “Good.”
Kirk gazed up at his first officer, his amber eyes glinting with mischief. “Only when I feel I need to do something drastic to get your attention.”
“I see,” Spock said dryly. “I assure you, I shall certainly take that under advisement.”
“See that you do,” Kirk said crisply, dropping the Speedos into the replicator. “After all, I’d hate to have to resort to bringing out the Alsafian socks.”
Jim looked down at the Vulcan’s bare feet, brow furrowed. “I wonder if they come in argyle,” he murmured. “Argyle would be very nice on you, I think. I’ll have to ask Lesarth.” He looked up at Spock, who gaped at him open-mouthed in a very un-Vulcanlike way. “Well, don’t just stand there,” he instructed his first officer blandly. “Hit the shower – Shibok’s waiting.”