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Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Commander Spock of the ISS Enterprise sat at his desk and thoughtfully stroked his chin. The body of Lieutenant Marlena Moreau was crumpled at his feet, her head twisted around on her neck. It seemed a waste, but once Moreau had divulged the information on the Tantalus field Spock simply could not risk that she might eventually use the device on him.

She had been foolish to try to seduce him. He was a Vulcan and was not in the habit of allowing sexual needs to dictate his actions, as humans were so prone to do. He had allowed Moreau to believe that her attempts at enticing him with her feminine charms were successful, but once he had the information he required he had granted her a quick, merciful death.

“The illogic of waste, Mister Spock. The waste of lives, potential, resources, time. I submit to you that your Empire is illogical because it cannot endure. I submit that you are illogical to be a willing part of it.”

The words of his captain’s counterpart were still ringing in his ears, the voice strong and reasonable. Spock had been forced to accede to his logic since, as he himself had admitted, the Empire was doomed to be overthrown within approximately two hundred and forty years.

“If change is inevitable, predictable, beneficial, doesn't logic demand that you be a part of it?”

Though Spock was not particularly ambitious, he could not deny that resisting what must surely come to pass would result in a senseless waste of his skills and intellect. The Empire’s corrupt and mercenary nature had placed it in an untenable position, and the collapse of such a base and treacherous system could only be beneficial to the galactic community.

“…one man can change the present. Be the captain of this Enterprise, Mister Spock. Find a logical reason for sparing the Halkans and make it stick. Push till it gives. You can defend yourself better than any man in the fleet.”

It was true. As a Vulcan he had his resources and with the Tantalus field his position would be most defensible. Of course, to take possession of the Tantalus field and assume the position of captain, he would first have to get rid the ship’s current captain.

James T. Kirk.

Though he would never admit to it, just the thought of the volatile, egotistical young captain made Spock grind his teeth in frustration. He had heard it said among the crew that James Kirk would “fuck his way to the top,” using his alluring physique to his full advantage. Spock was cognizant of the fact that James Kirk did indeed have a voracious sexual appetite, but he would not be so foolish as to overlook the fact that the man’s undeniable genius and unfailing intuition made him a formidable opponent.

Yes, Captain James Kirk must be eliminated, and soon. The man was already suspicious over the fact that Spock had failed to identify the other Kirk as an imposter and confine him to the brig. It was only a matter of time before his paranoia, justified in this case, would propel him into action.

Spock was certain that Kirk was not aware of his mutinous plans or he would have already used the Tantalus device against him. He must act immediately if he wanted to “maintain the upper hand,” as a Terran might say. Having come to this decision, Spock stood up, stepping over the body on the floor, and went to the door. When it opened, the Vulcan guard, Sorehl, stiffly saluted him and then stared past him at the dead woman, his face appropriately blank.

“Come,” Spock said, stepping past Sorehl and walking toward the captain’s quarters.

He walked at his usual brisk pace, purposeful but supremely unconcerned, and no one would suspect that he was on his way to kill the captain. It was the ship’s night, though, so they encountered no one in the corridor, and Spock found the silence and the slightly dimmed lighting soothing after a day of working with clamorous humans.

Spock had no doubt that Kirk would still be awake, as he had been particularly choleric and restive since returning from the other universe, and in such moods he often experienced marked insomnolence. He would also, no doubt, be possessed of a manic strength due his mental state, but Spock was confident in his own physical prowess and was certain he could overpower the human.

And he did intend to kill him with his bare hands. He would do him that honor, at least. He would not stab Kirk in the back; he would let Kirk face him and die bravely in unarmed combat.

At their approach, the human guard posted outside Kirk’s door stood a little straighter, glaring at the Vulcans. Spock came to a stop standing just in front of the man and said, “I am here to see the captain.”

“The captain doesn’t wish to be disturbed right now,” the man sneered, “even by you.”

“Very well.” Spock nodded. He started to turn away so that the guard relaxed back toward the door, and then he whirled back around, catching the guard by the neck and swiftly performing the tal-shaya. The man collapsed to the deck, dead.

“Dispose of this body and then remove the one in my quarters. I will go see the captain now.” Spock said.

The guard’s eyes widened fractionally. “Sir—”

“Do you question my orders?”

“No, sir,” Sorehl said.

“Very good,” Spock said. “I will require strict obedience from my men if I am to effectuate the change that is needed.”

“You will have it.” Sorehl bowed, and then bent to pick up the body of the guard, tossing it over his shoulder. He left without another word, and Spock turned to the captain’s door and buzzed for entrance.

Spock’s ears picked up the faint sound of a stream of expletives and then, after a pause, the door slid open.

“What the hell do you want,” Kirk snapped before the door had even closed behind Spock.

Spock raised an eyebrow and stepped forward. Kirk was leaning back against his desk, shirtless, his arms crossed over the smooth planes of his bare chest. Spock felt the familiar pulling inside him that he experienced whenever he was in close proximity to his captain, and he ruthlessly squashed the sensation beneath the crushing weight of cool logic. James Kirk was a man and nothing more; he had no power over Spock.

Seeing Spock examine him, Kirk flashed a cocky grin and thrust his hips out, stretching languorously before settling back with his hands behind him on the desk.

“Given the hour I think it’s safe to assume this is a social visit.” Kirk’s blue eyes flashed dangerously and his tongue flicked out to wet his full lips.

Spock was somewhat alarmed to realize that he was not sure how to proceed. He found himself distracted and struggled to bring his purpose back into focus.

Kirk shifted, watching him curiously, “I’m surprised Farrell let you in here. I told him I didn’t want any visitors.”

“Mister Farrell is dead,” Spock said. This simple statement of fact helped Spock regain full control over his thought processes and he took a deliberate step forward, once again driven by the need to carry out his plan.

Kirk’s eyes looked frantic for a moment but he recovered quickly and gave Spock a wicked little smile. “I never liked him anyway.” he shrugged.

Kirk stepped away from the desk, away from Spock, and, though his movements were smooth and casual, Spock did not miss the tensing of his right hand as it hovered near the knife on his hip.

“So, Mister Spock, what can I do for you.” His smile grew wider, menacing, distorting the jagged scar that ran along his cheekbone toward the corner of his mouth. “You look like a man—well, a Vulcan—with a lot on his mind.”

“I have come to understand that the Empire is deeply flawed and moving steadily toward collapse. I wish to hasten its downfall, but to do that I will need to be in a position of power. Becoming captain of the Enterprise is the logical first step to accomplish my goal,” Spock said, hands clasped behind his back

“You’ll have to kill me if you want my ship,” Kirk said, his smile twisting and then vanishing.

“I intend to.”

They stood facing each other, both of them hesitant make the first move. Spock let his eyes roam over Kirk’s body, admiring his athletic build and letting his gaze linger over the bulge in his pants. Kirk was certainly an aesthetically pleasing man, and if Spock were capable of such a feeling he would have regretted that Kirk must die.

Kirk moved with surprising speed, dagger flashing as it scraped over Spock’s throat. Spock had thrown himself back just in time, and as Kirk drew back and thrust the blade lower toward Spock’s heart the Vulcan side stepped and caught Kirk’s wrist. He twisted until Kirk yelped and when the knife fell to the floor Spock kicked it toward the door. Kirk landed a vicious blow to Spock’s head with his free hand and stumbled back into his desk when Spock released him.

Kirk’s cheeks were flushed with rage and his lips pulled back in a snarl as he yelled, “This is because of the other Kirk, isn’t it? He turned you against me.” Kirk dropped into a defensive crouch when Spock eased forward but he continued, “What did that feeble-minded weakling say to make you think you could succeed at this?”

“You are mistaken. Your counterpart is not feeble-minded or weak. In fact, I found him to be an impressive individual, both intelligent and capable.” Spock took another step forward, his hands ready at his sides to block an attack.

Kirk trembled with fury at this and he spat, “You useless half-breed! You’ve gone soft! You belong in the other universe with those sniveling, gutless, morons!”

Spock paused for a moment as Kirk’s insults slammed into him, mentally knocking him off balance. That should not have happened. Kirk’s words should not have been able to affect him as they did. It was all the more reason for Spock to end this quickly so that this malignant and consuming presence could be expunged from his life. Enough was enough.

Kirk must have seen the cold resolve form in Spock eyes because he tensed and braced himself. A moment later Spock was on him, catching him by the throat and throwing him across the room so that he slammed against the wall and slid to the floor, gasping. Spock strode over to him, shocking himself with his own cruelty as he hoisted Kirk up by the hair, landing a punch in his gut that made the human cry out and crumple to his knees. He caught Kirk by the hair again and viciously yanked his head up, staring down into the wide blue eyes. He had not meant to do this, to torment the human, but an inexplicable anger was burning hot in him and undoing his controls.

Spock took a step back, reinforcing his shields and preparing himself to accomplish his objective. He should not have allowed himself to become so angry and it was time to eliminate the source of his emotional upheaval.

Kirk was still kneeling on the floor, his arms wrapped around his abdomen as he struggled for air. The human was obviously in terrible pain, and it would be barbaric to prolong his suffering. Determined, Spock crouched down and reached for the human’s neck, his hand brushing the bowed head as he did so. Kirk lifted his head at the touch, his face drawn and uncomprehending.

Kirk’s mouth fell open and a gust of hot breath wafted against Spock’s face as he leaned forward to hear the human whisper, “Spock...”

Spock froze, his fingers ghosting over the vertebrae at the base of Kirk’s neck. It was a shame to kill such a remarkable human, but Kirk was cunning and bloodthirsty and Spock could not take the risk of sparing his life.

Allowing himself to feel just the faintest twinge of regret, Spock said “I am sorry.”

Kirk looked defeated for a moment, and then he let his head fall back before jerking it forward to slam into Spock’s face. “No, you’re not. But you will be,” he said, staring down at the fallen Vulcan.

Then the fight really began.

Spock managed to get to his feet but quickly realized that he had grossly underestimated Kirk. It would seem that Kirk had familiarized himself with Vulcan anatomy because every thrown fist and every swift kick landed with deadly accuracy as he methodically struck every vulnerable part of Spock’s body. Kirk had managed to move behind Spock, but Spock threw his elbow up and back and took savage satisfaction in the pained sound Kirk made as he fell back, clutching his head.

Spock charged him but Kirk wound around him, driving his elbow into Spock’s side, making the Vulcan’s heart stutter from the force of it. Spock went down with Kirk on top of him, but he quickly recovered and they grappled with each other, rolling across the room in a tangle of thrashing limbs. Kirk was no match for Vulcan strength, though, and his eyes went animal and desperate as he fought for his life, scratching, kicking, and biting like a man gone mad.

Kirk was slick with sweat and the salty smell of it, mixed with scent of their mingling blood, made something hot and needy stir up in Spock. He rolled them over, finally managing to get Kirk pinned beneath him, and wrapped a hand around Kirk’s throat.

He squeezed.

Kirk struggled, but he could not escape. He clawed at Spock’s arm and then his neck, drawing wet green lines against Spock’s pale skin, but Spock only squeezed harder and defeat, real this time, dulled Kirk’s eyes. The color seemed to drain out of them and his mouth gaped open, silently pleading for air. Spock refused to feel anything for the dying man, not even when Kirk ceased his struggling and surrendered, not even when the wetness in Kirk’s eyes spilled over, sliding over his temples and into his hair.

Spock’s shields were still firmly in place, but even so, he could feel an overwhelming desolation soaking into him through the bruised skin beneath his fingers. Spock’s head drooped under the weight of such anguish and his fingers loosened just a little as he felt Kirk start to slip away.

It was then that Kirk’s hand reached up, not clawing or striking, but just reaching, fingers feeling along Spock’s cheek before moving up. Spock was not prepared for what happened next. Kirk’s fingers moved until they were resting on Spock’s meld points and a violent jolt of electric emotion shot into him, sending him reeling back.

Spock climbed to his feet but then sank back down, holding his head in his hands as he attempted to understand this unexpected occurrence. His shields were up and Kirk should not have been able to reach him so easily. It was as if their minds had spontaneously leapt toward each other at the touch. It was… disconcerting.

He heard the high wheezing of Kirk sucking air into his lungs and when he finally raised his head he saw that Kirk had curled onto his side, his chest shuddering with the effort to draw in air. Kirk fought to regain control of his breathing even as Spock tried to regain control of his mind and the two remained close enough to touch each other but locked inside themselves for many long minutes.

“You bastard,” Kirk finally hissed. “You fucking…” His voice died in his throat as he rose up into a sitting position. His eyes were still dull and his movements listless, so Spock did not feel threatened by Kirk’s rapidly improving physical condition. In fact, he was strangely relieved, and even when Kirk climbed unsteadily to his feet and pulled his fingers into fists he found that he had no desire to restrain him in any way.

This was unprecedented. He should not feel this way. He should not feel anything, let alone relief at the continued survival of the man logic dictated he must kill.

He no longer had any desire to kill James T. Kirk.

“Get out,” Kirk rasped, his voice raw. He was standing over Spock, fists clenching and unclenching, his legs swaying beneath him, and Spock was only barely able to check the impulse to reach out and steady him.

“Get out, now,” Kirk said in a voice that would have been commanding if it was not so thin and raspy. Kirk clumsily swiped at the blood oozing down his forehead and then, without warning, collapsed into a trembling heap.

Alarmed, Spock crawled to him and rolled him onto his back, laying his palm across Kirk’s bloodied cheek to turn his head. Kirk’s eyes were half-open and glazed but somehow projecting enough menace that Spock nearly pulled away. Only, he couldn’t. Kirk’s skin was tingling against his hand and what he felt then was enticing and unmistakable.

Kirk’s mind was calling out to him.

Bewildered but determined, Spock placed his fingers in position for a meld.

“No!” Kirk cried. He tried to pull Spock’s hand away but Spock deflected his feeble attempts at resistance and plunged into Kirk’s mind, feeling the human go stiff against him just before reality disintegrated around them.

*

Spock recognized the place at once. It was both strange and familiar, it was an alien landscape and it was home. It was more than a place, though, and more a person; it was infinite, eclipsing everything else Spock had ever known. The name came to him unbidden and as forceful as the being around and inside him.

T’hy’la.

Spock’s mind lurched away in alarm, but there was no escaping this truth. It caught him and held him fast, reordering the systematic collection of his codes and mores with ruthless precision to accommodate this newborn infallibility. It was absolutely irrefutable: James Kirk belonged to him and he to James Kirk.

“T’hy’la!” Spock called, and his voice echoed through a starry expanse.

He was not alone, and could feel Kirk all around him, but Kirk’s mind had constructed defenses that Spock could not begin to know how to breach. If this was an interrogation, bound to end in the spilling of blood, Spock would have simply forced his way through the improvised barriers, but Spock would not risk damaging Kirk’s mind. He would have to draw him out.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” a small voice echoed from behind him.

Spock turned, the darkness around him swirling with dots of luminescence, and faced the young boy standing with his arms hanging at his sides. The child was unmistakably Kirk, light haired with eyes vibrantly cerulean, and Spock estimated he was approximately five years of age.

“I know you, and you aren’t supposed to be here,” Young Kirk said.

“Do you wish me to leave?” Spock asked.

Young Kirk crossed his arms over his chest and nervously bit his lip, but he gave no answer.

“What are these?” Spock asked, swatting at a dot of glowing green as it floated near his ear.

“The family lampyridae, of the order coleoptera,” Young Kirk solemnly recited. Spock blinked at him and Young Kirk shrugged “Fireflies.”

After a long silence the boy said, “Your name is Spock.”

Spock nodded.

“You hurt me.”

“I did, and I regret it now,” Spock said. “I will not hurt you again.”

Young Kirk huffed, but his eyes were disarmingly large and open and the sheer vulnerability of the child stirred up in Spock a violent desire to protect him. The boy watched Spock for a while longer and then dropped his arms to his sides again, giving Spock a tentative smile. Spock felt something in him tighten painfully.

“Okay. Good,” Young Kirk said, stepping up to Spock and taking his hand. “Come on, I want to show you the stars.”

They began to walk, hand in hand, and Spock noticed that as the ground grew more solid beneath their feet and the sky reached down to meet the suddenly defined horizon Young Kirk began to grow, inch by inch. He appeared to be eight years old when bruises started to spread across his cheek and temple, gashes opening up over his lip and forehead. He turned and looked up at Spock with a distressed expression.

“They’re coming,” Young Kirk said, eyes wide with fear.

Spock squeezed his hand reassuringly and turned toward the sound of raised voices. He saw nothing but churning darkness and small, dancing lights, but the noise increased, people yelling amidst a cacophony of breaking objects. Spock saw something like the shimmering of breaking glass and one voice rose above the others, screeching insults that made Spock burn with rage.

“You stupid piece of shit!” the voice said. “You’re useless! Do us all a favor; crawl off and die!”

James Kirk was not useless or stupid, and he was certainly not a ‘piece of shit,’ and Spock turned to tell the boy as much. Spock was surprised to see that Kirk had grown, and now appeared to be around thirteen years old. As Spock looked at him, blood began to flow from Kirk’s nose and he yanked his hand free of Spock’s, falling to the ground and curling himself up into a ball.

“Don’t touch me!” Young Kirk cried.

It was then that Spock heard a new voice, low and vicious, hissing all around them. It was inescapable and the boy curled tighter in on himself as it threatened.

“I’ll kill you and throw your body in a dumpster if you ever tell anyone about this,” it said. Spock’s fury overtook him as it continued, “No one will miss you. No one will even notice that you’re gone!”

“Enough!” Spock roared.

Silence fell and Spock turned around to comfort the boy. Young Kirk was sitting up now, knees pulled to his chest and arms wrapped around them. The boy looked up at Spock, eyes empty.

“I was going to show you the stars,” he murmured.

Spock was about to go to the boy and take him in his arms when heard the sound of phaser fire behind him. He looked over his shoulder and saw only the same swirling darkness and when he turned back Young Kirk was standing in front of him, looking older and more dangerous. He appeared to be seventeen or eighteen, and though his skin was still mottled with bruises Spock knew that the blood splattered on his face and hands was not his own.

“James,” Spock started.

“Call me Jim,” Kirk said, flashing Spock a salacious grin and canting his hips.

“Jim. You wanted to show me something.”

“I did.”

Kirk smiled wider and sauntered up to Spock, throwing his arms around Spock’s neck and pulling him in for a kiss. Spock gasped into the hot mouth, his skin prickling with desire as the wet tongue slid past his lips. Kirk wound his fingers in Spock’s hair, tugging lightly, and Spock moaned as the full lips pressed harder against his, hot and hungry.

“James Kirk,” a woman’s voice called from the dark.

Kirk jerked his head back and stared over Spock’s shoulder, his eyes going wide and his jaw clenching. He licked his swollen lips and looked at Spock, the anxiety written on his youthful face invoking an almost visceral reaction in the Vulcan.

“James T. Kirk,” the voice called again, louder this time. “Admiral Komack will see you now.”

Kirk dropped his arms and backed away, shaking his head. “I don’t want to do this.”

“Jim, come—”

Spock stopped when he heard the sound of footsteps echoing loudly behind him and despite what he knew would happen he found himself looking over his shoulder. As he expected, Young Kirk was gone when he looked back. He could not seem to thwart the feeling of loss he experienced and so he surrendered to it, turning to the approaching figure with a great heaviness building in him.

The man was very near when light from a source Spock could not locate fell across him, revealing the scarred face of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. This was the Kirk he knew, mouth twisted in a vicious smile and eyes glinting with animal fierceness. This battered, savage, soul-weary man was his t’hy’la.

“You weren’t supposed to see all that,” Kirk said, his tone conversational. “I’ll have to kill you when this is over.”

“Jim—”

“It’s captain, and don’t you forget it.” Kirk sneered. “You’ve forced your way into my head so, tell me, what do you plan to do now?”

Spock considered the question. Kirk intended to kill him when the meld ended and since Spock was unwilling to harm his t’hy’la further Kirk was likely to succeed.

Spock did not want to die.

He wanted Kirk. The logical first step was to establish a bond with him, linking them together telepathically. The bond might be able to impede Kirk’s murderous plans to some degree. Kirk would not like it, but Spock saw no other options which would facilitate his own survival without grievously harming the human.

“Commander?” Kirk cocked his head, eyes burning. “So, what’s it gonna be?”

“I will bond with you,” Spock informed him.

“You’ll— What?” Kirk seemed thrown, and the fire in his eyes dimmed. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“I will create a telepathic link between us that will bind us together. You will be my bondmate.”

“No.”

“I see no other option if I am to survive any attempts on your part to retaliate for my attack on you. It will be a mutually beneficial—”

“Fuck you. Not happening.” Kirk crossed his arms over his chest.

For a moment Spock was reminded of the younger Kirk, but the fierce light was back in the man’s eyes. Every last shred of softness and innocence had long since burned away, leaving only this hard shell, cracked and bleeding from deep within.

Perhaps, with time, Spock might be able to make him whole again.

“Forgive me,” Spock said.

Kirk’s mental landscape began to shimmer and fade as Spock pushed carefully past it, plunging deeper into Kirk’s mind. At first there were only flashes of color. The splashed red of blood, the deep purple of fresh bruises, the soaring delight of command gold, but then the colors swirled together, forming images, and the images coalesced, forming memories.

“No!” Kirk’s mental scream tore through Spock like a forced plasma beam but he ignored the pain, going deeper.

Spock saw the memories that Kirk sought to hide and was stunned. He saw himself through Kirk’s eyes and felt Kirk’s growing interest. He saw Kirk researching and interrogating, seeking any information he could find on Vulcan anatomy, customs, and the Vulcan language. He saw Kirk violently thwart an assassination plot, slitting the throats of the men who had sat planning Spock’s demise.

Spock saw himself through Kirk’s eyes and felt Kirk’s profound fear. He reached out toward the fear, pushing it aside to reveal its cause.

Desire. Kirk desired him.

Refusing to heed Kirk’s growing terror or acknowledge his ferocious mental attacks, Spock moved with determination to the place where the bond would be and then, after a brief pause, he anchored a part of himself to the human’s mind.

Suddenly Kirk’s pain and fear were his own and it blinded Spock, blotting out his sense of self and dismantling his controls. For a time he was James Kirk and when his consciousness finally began to diverge from Kirk’s he clutched desperately at his shaken identity. He had accomplished what he set out to do and so he fled back toward himself, leaving Kirk shocked and aching as their minds separated.

*

Spock came back to himself and was pleased when he realized he could feel the bond throbbing with life in his mind, full and strong, though currently thrumming with dark emotions. He had known that Kirk would be angry, though, and he sent reassurance through the bond to soothe him.

Kirk sat up and scooted away from him, his expression unreadable. He was breathing heavily but seemed remarkably calm and Spock might have been apprehensive of the cool and steady gaze on him if he hadn’t been so distracted by the hum of alien thoughts against his own. He hardly noticed when Kirk climbed to his feet and stumbled to his desk. He started to turn his head toward Kirk when he saw him returning.

“Captain, I apologize if I caused you—”

The force of the blow to Spock’s head knocked him to the floor and his vision faded out and back in again, swimming with colorful spots. He turned his head toward Kirk, a jerking movement that brought Kirk’s boots into view, and heard the thunk of a heavy object hitting the floor somewhere near him.

“I’ll kill you. You bastard. I’ll—” Kirk grunted as he slammed his fist into Spock’s face. “You son of a—” he landed another jarring blow, “bitch!”

Spock reached through the haze of hurt and confusion in his mind and touched the bond, letting his pain flow into it. Kirk faltered, his fist in the air, and Spock took that moment to act, catching his wrist and pulling him down, and then rolling over on top of him to pin him with the weight of his body. He was dizzy and his head was throbbing, but Kirk could not dislodge him and raged beneath him, kicking his feet and clawing at Spock’s back with his free hand.

“Cease your struggling,” Spock commanded, and was rewarded with the shattering force of Kirk’s head hitting his face for the second time that night.

Kirk threw Spock off and climbed on top of him, wrapping one hand around his throat and holding himself up with the other. The hand on Spock’s throat squeezed and Spock struggled to pull enough air into his lungs.

“Aren’t you going to fight back? Or maybe you want to die,” Kirk said, fractionally releasing his grip on Spock’s neck. It was just enough for Spock to speak.

“I do not wish to die, but I will not hurt you again.”

Kirk’s laugh came out a dry hiss and he loosened his grip on Spock’s neck a little more as he bent down to Spock’s ear.

“You think just because you saw in my head that I want to fuck you that you have some kind of power over me?” Kirk’s voice went lower and he dug his nails into Spock’s skin. “You don’t. You mean nothing to me.”

This should not have distressed Spock the way it did. Not long before Spock had been determined to kill Kirk and now he was bound to him, with nothing but an already fading image of what Kirk had once been and a steady flow of contempt flowing into him through their bond. Spock felt the vitality drain from his body, his limbs becoming numb and leaden. He let his eyes fall closed, blocking out the sight of the face above him that was so distorted with malice as to be nearly unrecognizable as human.

Spock felt Kirk shift on top of him, the hand on his throat releasing and sliding down his chest, and then Kirk’s mouth traced his jaw, nipping playfully before finally biting down. Spock let out a breath and Kirk’s tongue flicked out, licking over Spock’s jaw to his throat. Spock held himself very still as Kirk mouthed his neck, sucking until Spock’s skin was raw and bruised. When he bit down again, thrusting his hips into Spock as he did, Spock let out a sharp gasp.

Kirk chuckled, sitting up a little. “You like that?”

Spock did not answer, but he opened his eyes and met Kirk’s smoldering gaze, aroused by the feverish light in those eyes and the hungry working of his mouth as he bent his head back down.

“I’m going to fuck you,” Kirk said into his ear.

Spock still did not move and he felt a ribbon of uncertainty unfurl through the bond as Kirk seemed to withdraw from him without moving. Spock did not know what he would do if Kirk pulled away from him now, and, more importantly, he did not know what Kirk would do. The bond begged for consummation and Spock was concerned that if Kirk retreated from him now he would be unable to draw him back in. He knew what Kirk needed and he would give it to him willingly.

“You can try.” Spock challenged, letting his own desire flare in his half-lidded eyes.

He tumbled Kirk over but before he could maneuver himself above him Kirk drove his fist into Spock’s chest, knocking him back. Spock tried to scramble to his feet but his head was still spinning from the blows he had received and Kirk was on his feet first, catching Spock by the hair and dragging him toward the sleeping area. Spock struggled and finally tore free, only to have Kirk kick him to the floor. Kirk straddled him and tugged Spock’s shirt up until it was over his head, Spock’s arms still trapped in the twisted sleeves.

While Spock yanked his arms free of the shirt Kirk opened Spock’s pants and slid down his legs as he tugged them off, stopping just long enough to remove the boots. When Kirk settled back on top of him Spock was tempted to reach out and undo the clasp on Kirk’s pants, but he had given up control to him and would do nothing to compromise the very tenuous accord they seemed to have reached.

Spock looked toward the bed but Kirk ignored the unspoken question and dragged his nails roughly over Spock’s chest and then leaned down to kiss him, a stinging clash of lips and teeth. As Spock plunged his tongue into the mouth above his he felt Kirk reach down to tug at his own pants. Kirk pulled away from Spock and yanked his pants off and then he was pressing down on him again, his body hot and hard, his erection sliding against Spock’s as he rocked into him. Kirk’s body was still dewy with perspiration from their struggles and Spock could not stop himself from snaking his hands around to clutch at the slick back as he leaned up to taste the salty skin of Kirk’s neck and shoulder.

Kirk hummed appreciatively and after several minutes of writhing against each other while indulging in deep, greedy kisses Kirk pulled away and ordered “Don’t move.”

The damp heat of him was removed and the cool air of Kirk’s quarters assaulted Spock’s skin as Kirk fumbled around in a drawer for a moment before returning. He insinuated himself between Spock’s thighs and popped the lid open on the little bottle he had in his hand. Turning it upside down he squeezed a liberal amount of the clear liquid onto his hand and stroked his cock until it was glistening with the lubricant. He coated his fingers with more of the lubricant and then, after pushing Spock’s legs up toward his chest, he reached down to press the slick fingers into Spock, sliding them in and out a few times before withdrawing his hand. That was the only consideration he gave Spock before he nudged the thick head of his cock against the tight ring of muscle and then pushed in, the movement abrupt and firm.

Spock let out a strangled noise that seemed to inflame Kirk and with a long groan he began to thrust his muscular hips, driving himself deeper into Spock.

Spock was overwhelmed. The intense feeling up being filled up and the searing pain was such that he had difficulty blocking it, his shields being battered by the fiery waves of lust crashing into him from the man above him. Kirk moved in him, inundating him with violent emotion and sending shards of heated agony spiking through him, and Spock was unsure that he would be able to hold the pieces of himself together. He sent a cry along the bond but it only seemed to provoke the human and Kirk’s thoughts and movements become more forceful, almost ruthless.

Spock tossed his head from side to side and squeezed his eyes shut but opened them again when Kirk stopped moving and dug his fingers into Spock’s shoulder.

“Would you stop squirming,” he snapped, and then, under his breath, “You act like you’ve never done this before.”

Spock’s cheeks flushed green and he let his head drop to the side. “I… have not.”

Kirk was absolutely still now and though Spock refused to look at Kirk he could feel the human’s surprise. He felt himself grow irritable, and ground his teeth as he continued to stare out at the far wall of Kirk’s cabin. Apparently Kirk had believed the ship’s gossip and Spock cursed himself for never having set the record straight. Contrary to what people thought, Spock had never engaged in sexual activities with the former Captain of the Enterprise, despite Pike’s obvious interest in the Vulcan.

He had not been sorry when Kirk had assassinated the man and he was furious now that his bondmate believed them to have been intimate. Kirk was the first man Spock had ever allowed to use him in this way.

Kirk must have felt Spock’s simmering anger through the bond because a moment later he stroked Spock’s cheek and then turned his head so that they were looking each other in the eye. The raging heat that had been flowing out of Kirk had cooled to an almost tranquilizing warmth. Kirk kissed him then, a soft and far too fleeting touch of their lips that made Spock ache.

“Captain,” Spock said, his voice beseeching.

Kirk’s eyes were radiantly blue and his voice hopeful as he smirked, “Call me Jim.”

Spock felt himself lighten, as if an unpleasant and pressing weight in him had suddenly broken loose and drifted away.

“Jim.”

Spock’s erection had flagged and Kirk reached down now and began to stroke him, his hips tense but unmoving as he focused his attention on Spock’s body.

“Relax,” Kirk said, his voice low and warm.

He bent down to Spock’s chest and licked an olive tinted nipple, scraping his teeth across it and then sucking eagerly before moving to the other. Still stroking the length of Spock’s hardening cock, Kirk’s mouth moved over Spock’s chest and up to his throat, licking and kissing and biting. Kirk nipped Spock’s earlobe and then ran his tongue up to the pointed tip, his breath deliciously hot on the sensitive skin as he tugged softly with his teeth.

Spock sighed, feeling his body relax under the thorough ministrations of Kirk’s stroking hand and devouring mouth.

It wasn’t until Spock was gasping exclamations in Vulcan that Kirk began to thrust into him again, his movements starting off agonizingly slow and speeding up when Spock wrapped his legs around Kirk’s trim waist and pulled him closer.

The pain was gone and Spock felt as though he was melting into Kirk, their minds humming with mutual pleasure as their bruised and blood-smeared bodies moved together. Spock wanted him closer, wanted more of him, and his hand shook as he tried to resist the desire to reach up and join their minds together. He could feel Kirk’s thoughts but he wanted to be inside Kirk as much as Kirk was inside of him.

He was surprised when Kirk, already becoming adept at reading Spock through bond, caught his hand and pressed it to his lips before placing it on his meld points. As Kirk drove deep and hard into Spock’s body Spock slipped into his mind, setting Kirk’s mental landscape ablaze with his desire. It was a shallow meld, leaving them aware of the movements of their joined bodies while wrapping them up in each other’s thoughts.

Spock’s mind held Kirk’s, emanating so much protective warmth and loyalty that Kirk’s mind opened up in a way that Spock had not thought possible for the cynical human. Spock felt Kirk’s desire to trust him, his need for something stable to anchor him in the perilous, cut-throat realm of the Empire. Spock made his offer and hoped that Kirk would be able to accept. He felt Kirk waver in uncertainty and prudently moved them along the waves of thought until they found themselves lost again in carnal ecstasy.

They drifted together, bodies and minds merging in a fiery embrace of twin souls, everything else forgotten as they gloried in the awareness of their union. Spock felt Kirk’s pleasure building and building and then it peaked, Kirk spurting his seed in hot, strong bursts inside Spock. Spock let out a low cry and followed after him a few moments later, Kirk’s hand wrapped around his pulsing cock.

The meld broken, Kirk collapsed onto Spock, sticky and breathing heavily. He did not move even when, some minutes later, Spock gently shook him by the shoulders and shifted under him. When he showed no signs of getting up Spock carefully gathered the human in his arms and sat up. With Kirk’s head nestled on his shoulder, he slipped an arm under Kirk’s knees and stood, carrying him to the bed and gently setting him down. As he pulled away he saw Kirk’s wary eyes watching him and he could feel the rapid machinations of his mistrustful mind.

Spock had never done something so human as to sigh, but at that moment he was tempted to indulge in such an expression of emotion. He could not expect Kirk’s vigilance to relax so soon and yet it galled him that his t’hy’la was unsure of his loyalty to him.

Along with so many other things, that would have to change.

Spock left Kirk to his moody contemplation and went to find something with which to clean them. When he located a clean hand towel he wet it under warm water and returned to his bondmate, who was still carefully watching his every move. Spock ignored his bold scrutiny and set to work wiping the blood, sweat, and semen from Kirk’s lax body with long, gentle strokes of the cloth. When he was satisfied that Kirk was as clean as he could be without utilizing the shower he returned to the sink and, after rinsing the towel, quickly cleaned his own body.

This being done, he returned to the bed and crawled in next to Kirk, propping himself up on an elbow so he could look down at his bondmate.

“What now,” Kirk said, his voice even but his eyes questioning.

Spock could not resist the urge to touch him and traced the scar on his cheek. “Sleep. I will not let anyone disturb you.”

For a moment Spock could see the bitter conflict written across Kirk’s features as he mulled over Spock’s words, but then, to Spock’s relief, his face relaxed and he closed his eyes with a sleepy sigh. Spock knew that for Kirk it was an act of faith to lower his guard in this way and that would have to be enough for now.

Within minutes the exhausted human was asleep. Spock indulged his need to touch by lightly stroking the dark blonde hair and when that was no longer enough he lowered his head and brushed his lips against Kirk’s cheekbone, not kissing, but just touching. He let his lips wander, mapping the hot skin and inhaling the salty scent of his human. Had he not been so close to Kirk’s mouth even Spock’s Vulcan ears would not have picked up the words Kirk breathed out in a sleepy mumble.

“I want to show you the stars…”

Spock’s heart twisted and the arm he had draped across Kirk’s chest tightened reflexively but Kirk did not stir. Spock slowly willed his heart to stop pounding and the pressure behind his eyes to dispel. He wanted to track down every person who had ever harmed his t’hy’la and rip them into pieces with his bare hands. He imagined his fingers plunging through skin, cracking apart ribs and tearing through the throbbing muscle of a heart that had no right to beat, and the thought gave him dark pleasure.

When Kirk began to toss fitfully in his sleep, however, Spock swept the murderous thoughts away and projected a tranquility that was not difficult to manufacture when he looked down at Kirk’s features, smoothed by sleep.

Together they would accomplish much. They would be a formidable force, the likes of which the Empire had never seen. Spock was sure of this. He was as sure as ever of his ability to implement the changes he desired, and if the Empire did not know that a man with something worth fighting for makes a terrifying enemy then they would learn it soon enough.

Resolute and full of purpose, Spock settled down to guard his bondmate’s sleep.

Kirk would indeed show him the stars.

The future awaited them.