Title: Four Times Spock Was Faithful to Uhura (And One Time He Wasn't)
Summary: Set shortly after the events of the Star Trek 2009. Kirk is driving Spock crazy, and he doesn't even know it. I hope it doesn't suck!
Rating: R

Spock was cold. Since he could neither change his position nor influence the temperature by speaking, he chose not to mention it. His captain had warned him before they beamed down that Spock would probably find Omicron Persee 4 uncomfortable - a revelation that had actually taken Spock by surprise. Not because Kirk had been right, but because the other man had bothered to issue the warning at all. Despite that, Spock had thought himself prepared - and he would have been but for the sabotaged shuttle and the unresponsive transporter. Now they were stranded on a planet dozens of degrees cooler than he could readily tolerate, with no end in sight.

"Spock, are you all right?"

"Yes, Captain." The response was immediate, complete before Spock really had a chance to think about it.

"Are you sure?"

"Quite sure."

"It's just... you look a little cold."

Spock frowned. "Absent of physical response, which I have exhibited no sign of, how can one look cold?"

Kirk gestured at his own face. "It's in your eyes, Spock. You look miserable."

The words were not meant with malice - Spock knows that - but he suffered anyway. "Captain, my eyes cannot express an emotion that I am not feeling."

Kirk tosses another piece of wood on the fire and shrugs. "Whatever you say, Spock. But we both know that if you insist you're not cold then you are lying." His lips twisted into a small smile. "And Vulcans don't lie."

Spock inclined his head. "It is as you say, Captain. I can't lie and I am cold, but there is no point in discussing the matter."

"Sure there is."

"And what point is that?" Spock asked politely.

"So we can do something about it."

Spock's only visible reaction was a brief blink. He knew the Captain was not joking, and yet, he couldn’t begin to imagine what Kirk might propose. They had already found a cave that did well to block the winds and trap the heat of the fire. They had used their phasers to warm the rocks they sat on in an effort to keep their muscles from becoming cold and cramping. Food or warm beverages would be the most helpful in that situation, but the planet seemed barren of edible vegetation.
"I do not know that that might be."

"Come on, Spock. You and I both know there is a way for two bodies to keep each other warm."

Spock just stopped himself from gasping, but he knew his face still betrayed just a sliver of shock. What the captain was suggesting was unthinkable on several levels. It was inappropriate given their working relationship, immoral given his commitment to Uhura, and unthinkable that a man like Kirk would even want to do what he seemed to imply. Still, once it was introduced to his mind, Spock couldn't quite stop himself from thinking of Kirk's mouth and fingers, touching him in an intimate, private way. The way that only one other person ever had. The brief stab of guilt was completely illogical - thoughts were not crimes, especially when they were not acted on. And of course, these would not be.

"I mean, I've never cuddled with a man before, but I'd be willing to try it this once."

"Cuddling, Captain?"

"Spooning would probably be best in this situation. Unless there's some Vulcan way to do it that you want to show me."

"I am not sure that that would be wise, Captain."

Instead of bowing to Spock's clearly superior logic, Kirk scoffed. "Wise? We're going to be stuck here all night and I don't want my first mate to be turned into an icicle."

"It is physically impossible at these temperatures, or at any time, to be turned into an icicle."

"It was a figure of speech and you know what I meant."

Spock did know.

"Come on. It's the logical thing to do."

When Spock used that word, it was a simple explanation of a chosen path. When Kirk used that word, it was a blunt weapon to be wielded on his path to victory.

Spock hated it when Jim Kirk used that word.

"What do you suggest, Captain?"

Kirk tilted his head, considering the cramped space they shared. This was not their first mission to a planet together. This was not even the first mission to a planet that went awry. It was, however, the first time they had to share a space that was less than eight feet long and eight feet across. It changed things for Spock, and he was unable to explain why. Somehow, he thought, an extra foot in either direction would have helped the situation considerably.

"I'll lay down like this." Kirk settled on his side, propping himself up on one arm, "with my back against the wall. And you lay against me, facing the fire."

Back-to-chest would be wise, if he was going to agree to this crazy plan. That way he would not be ensnared by Kirk's bright eyes, or his easy smile. Best yet, he wouldn't be in danger with exposing too much of his thoughts. Most men found Spock's face impassive. Kirk, however, was not most men, and he was already becoming adept at reading Spock's visage.

"Yes," Spock said carefully, "that does seem logical."

"Good. Come here."

Spock studied him for a long beat before obediently moving to the other side of the fire. Kirk watched him without blinking - without even smiling Spock expected at least a triumphant smirk - the one visible wherever Kirk got his way. But this wasn’t about Kirk being right or winning a battle of wills. As Spock settled in place, he realized this was about a Captain concerned about his first mate. In a completely un-selfish way.

Spock's length stirred at the epiphany. Kirk's body was as solid as the rock wall. A result of the hours he spent in combat training. It didn't have the soft welcoming curves of Uhura's body. Uhura had spent many nights fit against him, and not a single second of any of those nights felt as good as this. Everything felt different. Spock did not understand.

"So, is this a first for you, too?" Kirk asked lightly.

"I have never... Yes, Captain."

"Are you ever going to call me Jim?"

That absolutely would not be wise. Because Captain Kirk was his superior expressing concern for a member of his crew. But Jim was a man holding him in a way that sent all of Spock's thoughts into a turmoil - a man who evoked emotions that should not exist - that should belong to Uhura alone.

"I believe we should rest, Captain.”

Kirk responded with silence. Which was probably for the best, Spock told himself.


Spock was almost, but not quite, annoyed. He did not understand why the Captain insisted that they visit the small, tacky bar while on a diplomatic mission. At best, it was a pointless, time wasting excursion. At worst, it was a foolhardy errand that could drastically harm the mission and set negotiations back months or years. Spock had, of course, pointed that out, but he only had so much control over Jim Kirk. The best he could do was act as the voice of reasoned logic. Which, to be quite honest, was usually enough. Kirk might not have taken many things in his life seriously, but he did not shirk his obligations and duties as Captain.

Except, when he did. At which times, Spock found himself at a total loss. Humans could be difficult to predict because of their illogical, emotional responses. But Kirk was even worse than average. Because Kirk could go for days, for weeks even, without throwing Spock for a loop.

“We’re here to have fun, Spock.” Kirk slapped him on the shoulder. “Relax. Have a drink.”

“I do not drink, Captain.”

“And you don’t have fun, either, do you?”

Spock did not dignify that with a response.

Choosing to keep his own counsel, he selected a corner booth, as far away from the rowdy drinkers at the bar as he could possibly get. It was a good opportunity to observe the weaknesses and excesses of humans—though to be fair to them, they were being a bit outdone by the various other humanoids in the bar. They were the typical rowdy bunch you would find at any planet that was nothing more than a glorified space dock. People came to Matar Prime for the cheap good times they found there. Spock thought the entire planet was a waste of time.

He tried to watch Kirk from his vantage, but the other man was soon lost in the crowd. Which made Spock uneasy. The Captain could take care of himself, but he had the tendency to get into trouble. One did not need to know his history to know that bar brawls were a common occurrence in his life prior to his enlistment in Starfleet. Though his discipline record was spotless.

Spock resolved to give Kirk a time limit before he left the bar. That way, he could explain that he had tried to be reasonable, but he could then excuse himself to focus on more worthy ways to spend his time. He chose fifty-two minutes, since he had already been seated for eight minutes, and a full hour seemed like it was certainly long enough for whatever the Captain was planning. They weren’t on shore leave, after all.

At the forty-six minute mark, Spock finally caught a glimpse of Kirk. He was hurrying across the room, though he managed to do while looking as cool and casual as he usually did. Probably only Spock could tell there was something amiss. Especially since Kirk was heading right towards him.


“If anybody asks, I was with you the whole time.”

“You wish me to lie?”


Spock arched his brow. “I cannot do that.”

“You can if you don’t want me to be smashed like a Alcorian beetle.”

Spock pursed his lips. To say that he did not approve would be an understatement.

“Perhaps it is best that we leave.”

Kirk shook his head. “No, that’ll be too conspicuous. People around here will give chase if you start running.”

“Chase us where? Mr. Scott is waiting to transport us back to the ship.”

“I’ve got this under control, Spock. Don’t worry about it.”

Despite their truce, and even friendship, Spock often thought he would have very good reason to dislike James T. Kirk. Most people would. Perhaps Kirk sensed that, because he offered one of the most potent weapons in his arsenal—a winning smile. Spock should have been immune. He was not.


The word bellowed around them like a gust of wind. Everybody in the bar went silent. Spock did not tense, but his senses were on high-alert, thousands of years of instinct jumping to the forefront at the possibility of a physical altercation. Kirk’s eyes didn’t even flicker.


“Captain?” Spock murmured.

“Follow my lead,” Kirk said under his breath.


“Just…do what I say and follow my lead.”

Spock inclined his head. He could do nothing else.

The being that approached them was clearly not human, though humanoid in appearance. He was tall—at least two feet taller than Spock—and his head was massive. It put Spock in mind of a pumpkin. His eyes were curiously shaped, like lopsided triangles, and his mouth was reptilian. He was probably from Sudosh II, but Spock couldn’t be sure, having never personally met anybody from the backwater planet.


Kirk put his hand. “Okay, look, there’s no reason to bellow. I’m not deaf, you know.”

The Sudoshian glared at him. “You have stolen the jardine.”

Kirk blinked, looking genuinely confused. “What are you talking about? I haven’t stolen anything.”


Kirk shook his head. “No, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been over here all night.”

The Sudoshian blinked, his brow furrowing between his sluggish eyes. For a moment, he looked like he wanted to believe Kirk. But only for a moment. “I SAW YOU.”

“Are you sure? I’ve been here with my friend all night.” Kirk slid closer to Spock as he spoke, until their shoulders were touching. “What interest would I have in your jardine?”

Spock frowned. What was that word? Without knowing the language they were referencing, Spock couldn’t be certain of any translation.


“I’m sure she must be but…” Kirk leaned forward. “I have been here, with my friend, all night.”


Spock kept his face a cool mask, though curiosity and a little apprehension had ignited inside of him. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand desire. In fact, he was coming to understand desire all too well. But a hostile bar on a strange planet was no place to come to terms with that strange development.

“Prove it? You want me to prove it in front of all these people?”


Kirk stiffened. “Nobody calls me a liar. And Vulcans don’t lie.”

Spock hadn’t actually been given the opportunity to lie, but he chose to hold his tongue rather than point out that fact.



Spock didn’t even see Kirk move. One moment he was sitting at Spock’s side, and the next second, Kirk’s mouth was pressed to his, and his hand was cupping the back of Kirk’s skull. Uhura had broken Spock with her mouth, leaving the sweetest kisses on his lips until he had had no choice but to respond, to seek out more. Since then, he had become an avid fan of the act, if a reserved one. He never, ever kissed her in public. He would never dream of it. But there he was, sitting in a bar, the center of attention, in the middle of a disagreement he barely understood, with Captain James T. Kirk’s tongue practically down his throat.

And worse, he liked it. A lot.

Some instinct, some basic desire that should be purged from his system, took over. In a thoughtless, automatic moment, he parted his lips and his tongue slid against Kirk’s, and it was good. Really good. Spock wanted another one. And one after that. And it didn’t matter if it only lasted for a moment—that desire became the most overwhelming, the most real thing, in the galaxy.

Then it was over.

Kirk leaned back in the seat and flashed a triumphant smile. “Satisfied? If not, you know where the peep booths are.”

The Sudoshian glared for a long beat, then inclined, and finally—blessedly—walked away.

Kirk immediately flipped his communicator open.

“Scotty? You got her?”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Great. Beam us up in two minutes. Kirk out.” He flipped it closed and looked at Spock with an unmistakable apology. “I am so sorry.”

“What…I do not understand why that was necessary.”

“It was necessary,” Kirk responded grimly. “I needed to cause a distraction without getting myself killed or any of my crew arrested. I think that was a fair bit of improvisation.”


“Why? Rescue mission. That jardine he was looking for? A little girl that had been kidnapped off the moon Ardam to be his bride.”

“We’re not supposed to interfere…”

“When little girls are going to be wed against their will, we interfere,” Kirk said flatly. He snagged a drink from a passing waitress and downed the entire thing in a single swallow. “She’s safe now, we’re going to get out of here with our necks intact, and we haven’t disrupted any of the negotiations. That’s not bad for a night’s work.”

Spock licked the corner of his lips. He could still taste Kirk’s mouth. His heart had slowed down to its normal pace. He had no choice but to agree.

“I am sorry, though. I promise it’ll never happen again.”

“Thank you, Captain,” Spock said absently, wondering if his tongue would ever stop tingling.


Spock wasn’t distracted. He stared at his monitors, processing the readouts, responding instantly to every word, every command, from his Captain. The tiny spaceship had not seemed like a threat at first. In fact, it hadn’t even seemed hostile at first. But before they could even hail it, its shields had gone up, and then the first shots had been fired. Kirk had tried several times to hail it and call a ceasefire, but whatever manned the strange ship would not respond.

“Incoming torpedo,” Spock warned. Ten seconds later, the bridge shook.

“Scotty. Report.”

“Aye, the power’s holding. But I’m not sure if we can take much more like that.”

“Divert all auxiliary power to the shields. Sula, Chekov, stay on defensive maneuvers. Spock,can you tell how many more torpedoes are left?”

“Sensors indicate there are four remaining torpedoes, Sir.”

“Right. Uhura, tell Bones to make sure sickbay is ready for all possible casualties.”

“Sir, are you going to bring them on the ship?” Spock asked.

“As soon as they run up the white flag.”

“Captain, I am not certain that whoever this is will have any intention of negotiating any sore of ceasefire. They did begin firing without provocation.”

“They’re scared.”

That statement was so nonsensical, Spock didn’t even know what to do with it. “They are scared, Captain?”

“Yes, they are. They have a limited number of munitions. They are much smaller than us. They’re acting out like a bee might. Only, when they’re done stinging us, we won’t crush them.”

“I don’t see how you can be so sure of this. They might have other munitions.”

“Do they?”

Spock double-checked his monitor, typing in a few more commands and changing the readout. There was only one possible answer. “No. Do you intend to let them fire on us four more times?”

“No. Chekov, take care of those torpedoes, will you?”

“Aye, Captain.”

Kirk leaned forward in his chair, watching the viewing screen intently. Spock looked back down to his monitor, counting off the incoming torpedoes just before the tiny marks disappeared from the radar, destroyed by Chekov’s fire.

“Arm phasers. Can they take out the artificial gravity without knocking out their atmosphere?”

Kirk was addressing him. From the tone of his voice, he expected Spock’s answer immediately. “Yes. A shot on the right side of the engine should cause that sort of damage.”

“Fire once, gentleman. Uhura, be prepared for their hail.”

“Target has been hit,” Chekov said.

“Bullseye,” Sulu added under his breath.

“Sir…there’s another ship approaching.” Spock paused before adding, “A much larger ship.”

“How much larger? On screen.”

The viewing screen immediately flickered to show the incoming vessel. It dwarfed the Enterprise, and for a moment, looked more like a small moon than a starship. Kirk and Spock exchanged a glance, both with the same question in their eyes. How had they snuck up on us like that?

“Sir? We’re being hailed.”

“On screen.”

The face that immediately popped into view was not a familiar one, but Spock had seen others like it a million times. Old, marked with the years and endless battles, and arrogant. He could almost see the glee in the humanoid’s eyes.

“I’m Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise.”

The humanoid’s eyes crinkled. “You are nothing more than a child.”

If the barb bothered Kirk, he didn’t show it. “Well, a child knows that it is only polite to respond in kind after an introduction.”

“I am Admiral Runyon, and you have fired on the shuttle that was carrying my wife and daughters to my ship.”

“That shuttle fired on my ship, unprovoked.”

“It is our way to defend our shuttles from interlopers.”

“It is our way to defend ourselves against unprovoked attacks,” Kirk countered. “We are on a peaceful mission, but that does not preclude defense.”

Spock glanced over his shoulder to where Uhura sat. Like everybody else on the ship, she was sharing at the screen. If either Kirk or Runyon wanted to push, the confrontation could have been considered an act of formal war. And given the size of Runyon’s ship, they might very well be the first causalities after the declaration of war.

“You flew too close to the shuttle. You must have noticed it on your sensors. That was an act of aggression.”

Kirk’s lips thinned for a moment. “I would like to negotiate a peace with you.”

“Over communication channels?”

“As a sign of good faith, I will transport to your ship so we can discuss this.”

Runyon paused for a moment before nodding. “You will not bring weapons.”

“No, but I would like to bring my senior advisors.”

“Preparations will be made.”

The communication ended. They all exchanged glances in an uneasy moment of silence before Kirk jumped up from his chair. “Spock, come with me. Sulu, you have the conn.”

Spock stood and calmly adjusted his shirt. Uhura sent him a worried glance, but he did not acknowledge it before following Kirk off the bridge. He did not truly believe that they would fail in their mission, but it was the first time Kirk had dealt with such a delicate diplomatic situation.

Spock prepared himself for things to go wrong, knowing that the chances of a benign misunderstanding were just as good as a genuine misstep. But his preparation was for nothing. He would never admit that for a few moments, as the Captain and the Admiral first shook hands, he genuinely did not know what the outcome would be. But Kirk charmed his way through the negotiations so easily, Spock was sure nearly everybody else forgot there had ever been any hostilities at all.

Spock was relieved, like they had just marked some particular obstacle. It wasn’t the most difficult thing Kirk had ever done, but there was some shift, some small moment, where everything became different. It made no sense. But Spock was quickly getting to the point that he didn’t expect Jim Kirk to make any sort of sense he could understand.

When they finally returned to the Enterprise, Kirk waited until they were all alone before he turned his brightest smile on him. “That was almost too easy.”

Spock arched an eyebrow. “I thought things were quite tense.”

“Well, yeah, maybe at first. But it wasn’t long until we were like best friends.”

“He certainly seemed impressed with you,” Spock allowed.

“Seemed? He didn’t just seem impressed. He was impressed. We should celebrate.”

“How do you propose we do that, Captain?”

“I don’t know. How do you celebrate on Vulcan?” The final word was barely out of his mouth before he paused, looking stricken. “Oh, Spock, I’m sorry. I don’t know…”

Spock held up his hand. “You do not need to apologize to me.”

“Yes, I do.”

“It was a mistake.”

“It was a stupid mistake,” Kirk countered. “One that I shouldn’t have made.”

“Jim.” The simple word caught Kirk’s attention, as Spock knew it would. “It is illogical to react like this to a stupid mistake.”

“Yes, well.” Kirk put his hands on his hips and looked away, his shoulders hunching slightly. “I’ve found that I’m usually illogical when it comes to you.”

“What do you mean?”

Kirk glanced up briefly, and then his gaze shot away again. “Nothing. I didn’t mean anything. What are you still doing around here, anyway? You’re off duty now. You should go…check in with Uhura or something.”

Spock knew he was being dismissed. But he didn’t want to go. Not quite. He took an experimental step forward, unsure of what he actually intended to do. Unsure why his mind seemed to be at cross purposes with the rest of him. He hoped that Kirk would take a step back, cede the ground. But, of course, Spock knew that would never happen. So instead of proving something he couldn’t even name, he only succeeded in invading Kirk’s personal space. Which reminded him of how Kirk’s body felt. And the soft, yet firm, shape of his mouth.

Spock studied Kirk’s eyes for a beat and knew—felt—that if he took another step forward, Kirk would not push him away. Why? He could solve any puzzle, and quandary, placed before him. There was no scientific formula so difficult, no math equation so complicated, no puzzle so oblique, no challenge so overwhelming, that Spock could not solve it. But what he was doing in the narrow corridor, staring down at his Captain, standing chest to chest—that was a mystery he had no chance of untangling.

“You should go see Uhura,” Kirk mumbled.

Spock inclined his head and stepped back. He might one day untangle said mystery, but it wouldn’t be any time soon.


Spock was scared. It was the sort of stomach-churning, throat-clenching, heart-racing fear that he should have long ago purged in favor of a calm, logical serenity. He told himself that it was a purely human reaction, but it seemed to come from the deepest, darkest part of him. The part that required the most control. And it spread like a cancer, consuming him inch by inch, bit by bit.

Dr. McCoy would simply not let him in the operating room. He knew that McCoy was a ready and capable medical officer, but he also knew that McCoy was not as objective as he should be. James T. Kirk was not just his patient, not just his captain, but his friend. Would McCoy be cool under pressure? Would he be able to make difficult decisions in a split-second? Or would he be slow in a crisis, wary of taking a risk?

Spock did not sit. He paced. He fretted. He attempted to meditate, but the attempt was short-lived and seemed rather ridiculous. Especially since he could not stop seeing Kirk’s blood. So red. Staining his shirt. Staining his skin. Staining his hair. It hadn’t been the first time Spock had seen Kirk bleed, but it had been the worst. It had been the worst because there had been no one source. It seemed to flow from everywhere, all at once. It had no single source. It just emerged from him. And then they were drowning in it. Spock knew how much blood was in the human body—in a man Kirk’s size, it would be approximately five liters. And yet, there was so much more than five liters. Spock knew it, even as his mind rejected the absurdity.

The blast had been wholly unexpected. Spock didn’t know if it had been explosion that injured Kirk, or if it had been the flying debris. Somehow, Spock had managed to duck and avoid the worst of it. In that moment, he believed the Captain had been safe as well. When the ground finally stopped shaking, and the rocks finally stopped falling, Spock had lifted his head, still believing that they were both fine.

And then Kirk had moaned. A horrible, broken sound. A muffled sound. Like something in his chest had been crushed.

Crushed. Broken. Humans were such fragile, frail things. Even Jim Kirk. Especially Jim Kirk. He should have pushed Jim out of the way. He should have thrown his body over Jim’s, shielding him from the caved-in ceiling. He should have done a dozen things he didn’t think to do, and now he couldn’t stop thinking about each one.

If something happened to Jim, he would be the captain. He was acting captain now. That was his one duty, his one responsibility. To be there, to serve, in case Jim could not. He did not think he could take over control of the ship while feeling so guilty, so angry. The emotions were a fog around his brain, choking him until all reason was impossible.

Spock lost the ability to track time. Each second was a minute, each minute an hour, each hour a year. Uhura came in to comfort him, to sit and keep watch with him. Spock held himself stiffly, and if noticed any change in his demeanor, she didn’t mention it. Or perhaps she only assumed he was experiencing the same sort of fear coursing through her? It was not the same sort of fear.

Spock was certain of that.

McCoy could not disguise his emotions as he stepped out of the operating room. He looked grim, and tired, but he did not look devastated.

“He’s already asking for you.”

Spock straightened. Uhura’s touch had been light, but a steady reminder that he wasn’t alone. Her hand fell away, but she stood as well. “Can I see him?”

McCoy shook his head. “One visitor is all he’s allowed now, and then I’m going to make sure he gets some rest.”

Spock was not surprised Jim asked for him. He wasn’t even surprised that Jim was smiling. It wasn’t a real smile. It was a weak tilt in his mouth, but Spock understood the intent.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Jim murmured good-naturedly.

“Like what?”

“Like you’re looking at a ghost.”

“I did not expect to speak to you tonight.”

Jim waved his hand. “I have the best medical officer in the Fleet.”

“You were quite injured.”

“I heard. Are you all right?”

“I was uninjured.”

“And you’re not…” Jim paused, though Spock couldn’t tell if it was because he needed to gather his thoughts, or if he was simply too tired to continue speaking. “I thought the whole situation might bring up bad memories.”

Spock had not had time to consider the memories Jim alluded to. Every thought, his entire being, had been focused on one thing, and only one thing.

“I only feel happy that you are mended and in recovery.”

“Happy? That’s an emotion, Spock.”

“Yes, Captain.”


“Jim. Yes, it’s an emotion. But it would be…pointless to deny that it exists. I am happy, and pleased, that you will recover.”

Jim snorted. “Yeah, you’re not the only one. Bones told me that I’m going to be stuck in here for another two weeks. I told him I’d better be ready to go in five days.”

Spock arched his brow. “How did he respond to that?”

“He pointed out that he could pull rank, but I think I’ll win this fight.”

“You cannot simply will your body into healing. As much as you might like to.”

“I’ve been through worse. Besides, my ship needs me.”

I need you, too.

Wholly true. Wholly inaccurate. Wholly inappropriate.

“Were you scared?”

Jim didn’t seem surprised by the question. “No.”


“Sounds crazy, I know. But nothing’s going to happen to me.”

“How can you know that, Captain?”

“Because Spock…the other Spock…he said we’re going to have a great friendship. And since I don’t think that’s happened yet…”

“He was speaking of another dimension,” Spock pointed out.

“Perhaps, but I know what he felt.” Jim blinked slowly. “I think Bones gave me sedatives. It’s getting difficult to…speak.”

That was just as well. “I will leave you to rest. I need to brief the ship on what has happened.”

Jim nodded, but he reached out at the same time. His fingers snagged Spock’s, and he simply held him for a moment. Torn, Spock wanted to pull away. He didn’t want to pull away at all. He had once asked Uhura what boundaries she required in a relationship. Partially because the nuances of human relationships were so new to him. Partially because he wanted her to understand that he did take it seriously. She had given him a short explanation. It had been simple and elegant. Intimacy, physical or emotional, with another person would not be tolerated.

“Do you…need something, Captain?”

“Yes.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “No.”

Spock waited for an explanation. When none was forthcoming, he asked, “Would you like me to stay here?”

“There’s nothing…nothing you can do. Should go.”

Spock disagreed. There was something he could do. He untangled his fingers from Jim’s, but he didn’t leave. He asked a nurse to bring him a chair. When Jim fell asleep, Spock was sitting beside him. When McCoy told him he needed to rest himself, Spock didn’t move. When Jim woke again, his eyes were considerably clearer, and his relieved smile told Spock he had, at least, made the right decision.


Spock was losing. He hated losing. The desire to win was a wholly human, wholly ridiculous thing. One shouldn’t play chess for the personal satisfaction of triumph. One should play in order to sharpen one’s skills and test one’s expertise against another. Spock should have accepted Kirk’s challenge in order to practice. And yet, he accepted because he wanted to win; however, despite his desire, he was not victorious. It began as a vague suspicion that Jim was out-thinking him, somehow. And that vague suspicion gradually became a certainty.

“In two hundred and twenty-three matches, I have not lost once,” Spock commented.

“You haven’t lost yet,” Kirk said good-naturedly.
“I do not understand why I am losing at all.”

Kirk made his move, putting Spock’s king in check. “I do.”

“Do you wish to explain?”

“Now? If I tell you now, then I’ll make it easy for you. We can’t have that.”

“Why not?”

“Because if I make it easy for you, you won’t agree to play with me anymore.”

“That is an unsupported accusation, Captain.”

“Is it? How many times have we played?”

“This is our twelfth match.”

“And how many times have you played against anybody else on this ship?”

“Are you suggesting that I only wish to play chess with you because you provide a challenge I can’t find elsewhere?”

Kirk inclined his head. “That’s exactly what I’m suggesting.”

“That is simply illogical, Captain. I couldn’t very well deny your request for a game of chess.”

“Because I’m the Captain?”


As soon as Spock answered, he could see that he gave the wrong response. Unfortunately, he did not know what the right response was.

“You don’t have to play chest with me. You could…test yourself against the computer. Or spend your free time with Lt. Uhura.”

“Why would I wish to do that, Captain?”

Kirk arched his brow. “Why would you wish spend time with Lt. Uhura?”

“Why would I wish to play against the computer?” Spock deflected.

Kirk shrugged. “Seems the logical thing to do if you don’t like playing with me.”

“I never said I did not like it, Captain.”
“You have me there.”

“I do wish that you would tell me why you are such a challenge.”

Kirk touched his tongue to the corner of his mouth. It was a small, unconscious gesture. Nothing more than a twitch. Kirk had dozens of them. Spock had noticed them all.

“Because you never know what to expect from me. You find me unpredictable.”

Spock could not argue with that assessment. “It’s as simple as that?”

“Yes. You play as though you are playing against the computer. You make the most logical move, and you expect the same from me. But I don’t. And you don’t really know how my mind works. Which makes me wonder…”

“What does it make you wonder, Captain?”

“I wonder about what Spock…the other Spock…said. What I know he felt. I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. And I…” Kirk shook his head. “Never mind.”

“Will it be beneficial to you if you keep your thoughts to yourself?”

“It might be.”

“If there is a problem, we can’t solve it unless you tell me what it is,” Spock pointed out.

“You didn’t see what I saw, Spock. You didn’t feel it. You don’t feel it. That’s all.”

“I am at a disadvantage to you. There is no way I can fix that.”

“There is one way,” Kirk pointed out softly. “You could do a meld with me.”

“With respect, Captain, I do not want to experience what the other Spock did that day. It is…difficult enough.”

“Of course,” Kirk said quickly. “But couldn’t I block that from you? Then you can only experience what he felt when he saw me.”

Spock did not actually believe it was any of his business. He had no business knowing what his doppelganger had felt or thought. He had no business knowing what was going in Kirk’s head. He had no business partaking in emotions that had nothing to do with him. Curiosity had its place, but Spock wasn’t certain this was it.

“It can feel like a violation if one is not used to it.”

“I know what it feels like, Spock. Besides, it’s not a violation if I tell you to do it.”
Spock could not deny that. And he sensed that Kirk wanted to communicate something to him. Despite their strange, sometimes inappropriate emotions, humans, in general, were very difficult to communicate with. Instead of speaking their thoughts plainly, they couched them in language meant to obscure their real intent. Instead of clearing away emotions in favor of reason, they clung to their confusing and overwhelming feelings. Instead of speaking the truth, they would willingly lie if they thought it advantageous. Kirk was a good Captain, and Spock was beginning to learn he was a good man, but at his core, he was irrevocably and undeniably, human.

And so, perhaps the only way to understand the man who was his Captain, and maybe his friend, was to agree to his request.

They slid their chairs closer, until their knees were touching. Jim didn’t look away from him. His bright eyes bore into Spock’s, as though he was trying to read Spock’s thoughts. There wasn’t a hint of fear or apprehension. Most humans did not embrace the melding technique. It frightened them to have somebody searching their thoughts. He had never attempted it with Uhura for precisely that reason.

Spock placed his fingers at the familiar points on Jim’s face, and took a deep breath to brace himself. It wasn’t difficult to find what he was looking for. An echo of emotions fluttering in Jim’s mind. Emotions that did not belong to him. Despite the time and distance since his mind meld with the older Spock, the effects of the emotional transference were still being felt.

It rushed through Spock like water rushing to fill an empty and long dry river bed. Love. Just love. It was not tinged with duty. It was not the sort of devotion and loyalty one might feel for a long-time superior officer. It was not tinged with sadness, like one might feel for something that had long been lost. It was not weighed down with a sense of jealousy or despair, like love that had long been disregarded. It simply was. Raw and pure. Spock knew he was not capable of such a thing. Nobody was capable of such a thing. Emotions were always an impossible mess, a tangle of muddy and hopeless vines, a cacophony of pointless expression.

But this...this was serenity.

It couldn’t have lasted for more than one or two seconds. It was there and gone, leaving only Kirk’s thoughts for Spock to explore. But Spock was not fully prepared for that either.

A flurry of images. He saw himself, as Kirk must have seen him. Sitting on the bridge. Pressed back against his body. Looking bored in a bar. Looming over a bed.

And smaller moments. Adjusting his shirt. Muttering at a computer screen. Rolling his eyes at McCoy.

And moments that never happened. The two of them naked, bending around each other. Spock should have pulled away, but he pressed at the thought. Forcing it to give way to another and another, each one more specific. Each one more intimate and private. He was greedy for them. The more he saw, the more he wanted. Kirk kissing him. Kirk at his feet, his mouth covering Spock’s body. Kirk bending over his back. Kirk lying beneath him, eyes trusting, without guile. Kirk inside of him, his flesh pulsing, his body moving in a relentless rhythm.

Each image was accompanied with a fresh wall of lush. It slammed into him, pushed through him, left his lungs frozen. Air was a luxury he couldn’t afford. His own body throbbed, his heart raced, and he lost track of himself. They were Kirk’s fantasies. They were his fantasies. They were nothing and everything and they didn’t stop.

Not until an explosion rocked Spock’s body.

He was thrown back, like somebody had shot him with a phaser. But just because the physical connection was gone did not mean the lust disappeared. He blinked, trying to clear his mind of the images. Moving like he was under water, he looked down at the front of his pants, and realized what the explosion had been. When he looked up again, Jim was watching him with knowing—and not at all apologetic—eyes.

He had done it on purpose. Spock had no doubts of that. He should get up and make his exit—a dignified one, if it could be managed. There was a very long list of reasons why he should go, reasons he should request a transfer, reasons to be very angry. And only one reason to stay. Spock stood, though he was unsure of his decision. Kirk stood as well.

Spock knew that Jim wouldn’t stop him. Either way.

They moved at the same time, almost as though they were still connected. There were a swirl of emotions between them when Spock finally claimed Kirk’s mouth in a hard kiss, but surprise was not among them.
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