Actions

Work Header

Memories of a Life

Work Text:

“Try them again,” Jim barked, peering deeper into the blackness of the cave where they were taking cover from an unexpectedly intense storm on Hesha, a small inhabited planet in the Jenusia system.

Spock lingered near the cave’s entrance, his short black bangs fluttering as tendrils of wind whipped into the cave. “The storm will prevent communications for several more hours, Captain,” Spock replied, snapping his communicator closed.

The crew had warned him about the storm, and Jim knew he’d been cutting it fine by allowing Spock and two other members of the science team to take more samples of the unusual flora. Spock had seemed so enthralled that Jim didn’t have the heart to end the exploration.

“Figures,” he muttered. It was only their second mission since he’d been awarded Captaincy of the Enterprise and he was already making bad decisions.

Jim took a few steps into the blacker reaches of the cave, touching the wall for guidance. “How deep do you think this goes?” he asked, wondering if there might be another way out, somewhere without the storm.

“Unclear, but I do not recommend exploring without proper illumination. There is a fifty-one percent chance that the cave will end in a blind precipice.”

“Ah, right. Gotcha.” Jim stepped back out of the dark and glanced around the cave. No need to die just yet.

With nothing else to do, Jim plopped down onto the hard floor, and winced as he settled on something sharp. He leaned away and swept the floor free of small rocks and twigs. “How long did you say?” He hated to be still and wanted to get the hell off this planet.

“As I recall, the storm was relatively small on initial scans. While it is possible it has expanded, I estimate that in two-point-four hours, the mineral particulates blocking communications will be sufficiently diminished to allow communications. Transporter functioning, however, must wait until the storm ceases.” Spock spoke as he scanned the interior walls of the cave. Jim watched as he cocked his head to the side, a sign of curiosity.

“What is it?” Jim asked, and stretched his legs out flat.

“The striations on this particular wall appear to be artificial.”

“What do you mean, artificial? Man-made?”

“Well, the Heshans are roughly humanoid, so yes. It appears that this cave has been excavated.”

“Well, check out the storm. Those winds could take the skin right off you. It’d make sense to dig out some caves just in case. We’re a couple clicks away from the town.”

“Your assertion is logical, captain.”

“Why, thank you, Spock.” Jim grinned in the Vulcan’s direction. It wasn’t often that Spock paid him a compliment.

Not that he’d had much of a chance. Their first mission together, a detailed scan of the Juno-7 solar system, hadn’t even involved him. And if he were quite honest, he’d been hoping a Klingon ship would appear just to give him something to do.

Jim flipped his communicator in the air and caught it. “I wish we had some entertainment. Like chess. Hell, even checkers. Or a book. I should remember to carry a book when I travel.” Jim smiled at his own joke.

“You play chess, captain?” Spock turned in his direction.

“Yeah. Fun game, although it’s been a while. Last time I played was during break after my first year at the Academy. Professor Lawson took pity on me one Sunday night and offered to play.”

“Pity?” Spock asked and continued scanning the rocks on the other side of the cave.

Jim frowned. He wasn’t sure how much Spock really wanted to know, but what the hell. “During the first year, Starfleet foots the bill for a trip home and lots of cadets go visit their families.” Jim shrugged. “I didn’t have anywhere to go. My mom was off-planet, as usual, so it was just me and couple of Trifons who are so boring that I’d rather bleed out of my eyes.”

“Ensen Nettle is a Trifon.” Spock stopped scanning and peered over at him.

“Yes, and a fine technician, but that’s not the point. Lawson spotted me in the lounge, reading the textbook for Quan’s advanced propulsion class. Tapped me on the shoulder and told me I wasn’t supposed to be studying during break. Suggested chess.” Jim shrugged again, suddenly self-conscious.

“He is a formidable opponent. I have played him four times and found it challenging.”

Jim tossed a stone across the cave. “Yeah. He’s pretty good.”

“Your tone suggests that you were not victorious,” Spock said.

Jim chuckled. “Well, sort of. Two and two. He had fancy names for all of the moves. Said I needed to learn strategy if I wanted to command a starship.”

“Yet, I infer from your story that your unorthodox strategies achieved victory. Am I safe to also infer that the professor was surprised?”

Jim smiled at the memory of Lawson’s face. “You could say that.” Lawson had actually been dumbfounded, although Jim had played it off.

“If I may offer an observation, Jim?” Spock asked. Jim was surprised to hear his first name. As many times as he’d requested it, Spock seemed more comfortable referring to him as ‘Captain’.

“Sure.” Jim braced himself for a criticism.

“While I am often confused by the nuances of human interaction, I find that I can accurately predict human responses seventy-four percent of the time. In your case, my accuracy is substantially lower, only thirty-seven percent. Your reaction to your chess victories is unexpected.”

“It’s not a big deal, Spock.” Jim squirmed under Spock’s questioning gaze.

“Many humans would gloat about winning against such a formidable opponent. You, however, have not done so.”

Jim shrugged again. “Lawson was a nice guy. Made my break a little better. He knew my dad, so…”

“I see. Professor Lawson acted as a temporary father figure to you when you did not have access to your own family. Thank you, Jim. Most enlightening.” Spock’s observations, so blandly offered, always cut to the heart of the truth.

Jim looped his arms around his waist. “Damn, Spock. Why do you do that?”

“Captain?” Spock asked, straightening even more than his usual Vulcan posture.

He was so damned innocent sometimes that Jim felt bad being angry with him. “Forget it, Spock. I’m just sensitive about my dad.”

“I apologize if I upset you, Jim. That was not my intention.”

“Yeah. I know, Spock. Forget about it.” He watched Spock tilt his head once in acknowledgment and go back to fiddling with the tricorder.

He’d managed to go an entire three days without thinking of his dad. Now, it hit him hard and he had nothing to do to ease the sharpness of it. He kept drifting back to Bones’ advice telling him to be grateful, that seeing his dad for a few hours had been a gift. In a way, he guessed, it had been. But it had also been cruel, knowing that his father had survived for twenty-five years on Nero’s ship, enduring freakish torture just because that fucking Romulan had wanted it that way. He felt incredibly guilty for just wishing his dad had died when the Kelvin had smashed into Nero’s ship.

Jim absently watched Spock as he continued his examination of the cave. “The passageway does indeed end in a sharp precipice. Approximately twelve meters. A human is unlikely to survive a fall of that distance.”

“Thanks for the warning,” Jim said as he watched Spock finally settle himself against the opposite wall. Even sitting on the floor, he managed to sit upright and formal.

“Spock, why don’t you relax? Gonna be here a while, right?”

The Vulcan’s brows raised slightly. “I can assure you that I am quite relaxed.”

Jim just stared at him, envious of his ability to keep working after the destruction of Vulcan, the death of his mother. Jim, on the other hand, had felt like crawling into a hole when his father had finally died, only hours after being rescued. One of Nero’s men had gotten off a lucky shot just as they were beaming away from the Narada. His father had been hit in the chest.

As if sensing his stare, Spock looked up and cocked his head. “You appear to be troubled.”

“How do you do it, Spock? Keep all those feelings away. I mean, I know, Vulcan meditation and everything, but don’t you miss her?” Jim let his envy put sharpness into his tone.

He seemed to consider Jim’s words before responding. “At times…I feel a sense of loss. It is an emotion which I strive to prevent. It is not logical to allow emotions to interfere with my duties as your Science Consultant.”

Jim snorted a laugh. “I really should have come up with a better title, Spock. Doesn’t exactly sit well on your record.” Spock had turned down Jim’s first offer to join the Enterprise as his First Officer and he had been forced to appoint another. When Spock showed up at the last minute, Jim had made up a position on the spot.

“My service record is irrelevant. I desired to serve on the Enterprise and I am doing so. That is, as I believe you have said, all that matters. And Commander Frazier is an excellent First Officer.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Sorry, Spock. I’m just cranky at being stuck in this hole. I hate being trapped with nothing to do.”

“Have you thought of meditation? It is quite simple and could offer you relief from your boredom.”

“All right. I don’t think I’ll be any good at it, but I’ll try.” Jim scooted towards Spock to sit with his legs folded. “Go ahead.”

“Close your eyes, Jim. Take four breaths in and out through your nose.”

Jim did as he was told and felt his body begin to relax.

“Observe your breathing. Feel your lungs expand and contract with each breath. Notice your breath as it flows inward and then outward again. If a thought comes, let it pass without focusing on it. Feel your breath flowing, in and out.”

Jim tried to focus on his breath, the feeling of rushing air. Thoughts did come, ones of the cave and the ship and the storm raging outside. He tried to let them pass, time and time again focusing on his breath. Spock’s voice continued, guiding him.

Unable to keep his focus, he listened to Spock’s voice instead, holding his eyes closed and letting his mind drift. He thought of the ship and their mission, the Heshans and their egg-shaped torso’s and four gesticulating limbs. The storm that had swept over them, the debris and biting dust that had forced them into the cave. Professor Lawson’s face sprang up, too, his long moustache an oddity in the Academy. And then his absence at his father’s funeral. Jim felt a crest of emotion as he remembered that day. The pitying glances.

He took another deeper breath, sharp against his ears as he struggled again to return his focus to his breath. In and out. In and out. Spock’s voice had stopped; the connection to the Vulcan felt very far away. Jim reached out, clasped his hand on the Vulcan’s thigh. He felt Spock startle and his eyes popped open.

Spock’s eyes were wide, somewhat pained and Jim quickly removed his hand. “Sorry,” he said and rubbed his palm. He couldn’t meet Spock’s gaze, worried that he’d offended him.

“Your meditation did not succeed,” Spock said smoothly, his features seeming normal when Jim looked at him again.

“I — It’s hard for me to calm down, you know. I have so much going on in my head. Been that way forever.” The only time it ever stopped was when he was rip-roaring drunk or after sex. And they wondered why he partied so hard.

“Some humans are quite capable of meditating. While they do not have the same brain structure as Vulcans, they are quite adept at experiencing the present moment without errant thoughts. They are called Yogi, I believe.”

Jim gave a wry smile. “Yeah. Never was much into that. Too slow and still for me.”

“Yet you read and play chess. It is interesting that mediating should be so different.”

“Those are active, Spock. My brain’s always thinking about other things. Sometimes it takes me a couple of tries to start reading. I think that’s probably the closest I will ever get to meditation.” He shrugged, feeling foolish that he had tried.

“I disagree, Jim. You have considerable aptitude for every skill you have attempted to learn. It is possible that you did not have the right teacher.”

Jim felt his chest puff out a little at Spock’s comments. He was surprised that he’d noticed. “I suppose.”

“It may require several attempts to succeed at meditation. Shall we try again?”

Jim nodded. He had nothing else to do.

Closing his eyes, he took another four breaths as Spock began his instruction. This time he noticed his breath more easily. He also noticed other sensations in his body, his hands folded in his lap, the mild twinge in his neck from sleeping poorly the night before, the stretch of his uniform as he breathed.

Spock’s voice paused and started again several times. Each time it drew Jim’s thoughts away from the other intrusive thoughts that entered his mind. Spock’s voice became a tether that Jim focused on, letting go of the other images and sensations. When Spock paused, his thoughts would drift again. He didn’t think this was how it was supposed to go.

Finally, Spock ceased talking altogether and Jim’s mind wandered, swinging back to the funeral, Lawson’s absence, his mother’s. She’d just never been around. Pain blossomed again, but he let it come. His mother had been too wrapped up in her refugee missions to care what he was going through. He shouldn’t have expected her to come to his dad’s funeral. Like always, he faced these things alone.

“I want to know what my mother was like when my dad was alive,” Jim said, breaking the silence. The way he remembered her seemed so different from what everyone said she was like. How caring she had been.

“Jim?”

He opened his eyes. “You have my father’s memories, Spock. He’s been dead for almost two months and I haven’t even asked.” Spock had been with them when it became clear that his father could not be saved.

Spock didn’t answer, just stared at him. He could almost see the war going on inside Spock’s head. Spock had refused his initial request to share the memories with Jim, citing the trauma and insanity present in his father’s mind. Jim knew he would never order him to share those memories, but he had to ask again.

“I no longer believe it is my place to withhold them from you. I caution you, however, that the memories will be disorienting. Some are quite painful and you may suffer the effects of trauma.”

“Yeah, I know. Is there a way…I don’t know. Could you just show me something good? Like what it was like when he and my mother met or when they were on the Kelvin before Nero? Can you do that?”

After a pause, Spock answered. “Yes, I believe I can share that with you. I cannot guarantee that you will experience no unpleasantness. Your father’s memories are surrounded by physical pain and terror.”

Jim felt fear snake down his insides. He swallowed and closed his eyes. “Okay, hit me.”

A moment later he felt Spock’s fingers on his cheek. At first, a warm reddish glow suffused his mind and he felt Spock’s presence, calm and firm. He saw the hazy image of a starship corridor and felt himself rushing, his heart racing. It felt like him but not him. He skipped the final few steps and grabbed the doorway as he spun into sickbay. He dashed across the expanse of the room and called out, “Winnie?”

“George! I’m here.” He pushed open the curtain to see Winona’s face, blond hair pulled into a ponytail. My god – she was so young. He reached her side and took her hand, squeezing it tightly.

He glanced away from Winona’s face towards a bioscreen. On it was the image of a tiny figure on a dark background. “Oh, my god, is that our baby?” His voice rumbled with emotion.

Winona grasped his fingers. “That’s him. Or her. Do you want to know?” She looked at him with love shining in her blue eyes.

“I don’t know. I kind of want to be surprised.” He looked at the technician. “Do you know the sex?” he asked.

“Yes, sir. But let me leave you two to discuss it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

George pulled a stool next to the bed and stroked Winona’s arm. “Is it okay to be surprised? Do you mind?”

“No, whatever you want, George. I don’t care. Boy or girl, it will just be so wonderful to start our family.” She leaned over and kissed him softly on the lips. “I am so happy right now,” she said. Tears welled up and he felt wetness on his face.

Winona stared back at the screen and George winced, a sharp burning sensation crawling up the back of his spine. He doubled over, crying out and the memory abruptly stopped.

Jim gasped and opened his eyes. “What was that? What were they doing to him?” He felt the remnants of the pain and stood, trying to stretch against it. It hadn’t happened to him.

“Nerve stimulator, I believe. Vulcans use a similar device for medical purposes. Are you okay, Jim?” Spock stood, too, and moved close, examining Jim’s face intently. “You are crying.”

Jim swiped at his eyes and turned away. He felt the deep well of love his father had felt for his mother. He felt humbled by it, by what his mother had lost. “God, Spock. My mother… he loved her so much. How could Nero have taken that away?” He felt the tears coming harder now and the anger coming up to push them away. The Romulan had taken so much of his life away from him. From all of them.

“I grieve with thee,” Spock said and Jim turned around, struck by the unchecked pain in Spock’s voice.

“You felt it, Spock? What they felt?” Jim searched his face for answers.

“Yes. I experienced it, although not in the way you have.”

“It must be so weird for you, to have someone else in your head all the time.”

“I have shared the memories of other dying Vulcans. It is our way. I cherish them.”

“Cherishing is a human feeling, Spock.”

“I am half-human.” Spock nodded as if it were the most obvious fact in the world. Jim was as confused as ever.

“Spock —” He started to talk, but had no idea what to even say.

“Jim, I suggest you rest to allow your brain to assimilate what you have experienced.”

“Yeah, okay.” He wandered over to the edge of the cave, grateful for the wind whipping against his face.

~*~

Three hours later and the storm had yet to ease. “I can no longer offer estimates on the duration of the storm. It appears that the mineral particulate density has decreased by only nine percent. Since the density has fluctuated several times in the last hour, it provides no useful data by which I can predict the storm’s end.”

Jim had just woken up from a nap and he rubbed his shoulder where it had been jammed against the hard floor. “I’ll start worrying when we’re getting closer to dehydration. For now, we’re fine.”

“Acknowledged.”

Jim yawned and remembered the wisps of a dream he’d had. “Do you have other good memories of my parents, Spock?” Jim asked. As difficult as it had been, it had felt good to cry about it, releasing a part of his grief that he hadn’t dared to touch.

“Yes, there is more, although that was one of the clearest positive memories. Others are more distant memories or fantasies that your father constructed to save himself.”

“Yeah, I get it. I feel that memory inside my head, but I know it’s not me. I mean, I guess the closest thing is that it feels like a dream. Only real. Does that make sense?” Jim was confusing himself. “It’s like the other Spock’s memories. I know they aren’t mine.”

Spock’s eyes widened and Jim blinked. “Explain yourself, Captain.” Spock had gone stiff all of the sudden.

Oh, fuck. “Spock, look. I know I should have told you. It was on Delta Vega. Spock, well the future Spock, saved me from this giant creature that was going to have me for dinner. He knew who Nero was, he showed me what happened with Romulus. I mean, like, showed me with his brain.”

“He melded with you?” Spock’s voice sounded remote.

“Yeah, I mean, just for a minute. It was really intense. That’s how I knew about the ship, the one you flew in your future. I mean, the one the future Spock flew before he came back in time. Fuck. You understand?”

“Yes, captain. I understand perfectly. I would have preferred that you share this fact with me directly after it happened.”

“You mean when you were choking me to death?” Jim snapped, angry at Spock’s tone.

Spock opened his mouth to speak and Jim held up a hand. “Look, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t tell you. The other Spock told me not to. And you hated me anyway, so it wasn’t like you were going to trust me or anything.”

“I followed your orders, captain.” Spock straightened his shoulders, clearly offended by what Jim had said. Wasn’t the first time.

“You helped save Earth, Spock. You’re on my crew. You’re my friend, okay. Can we let this go?” Jim didn’t want to go back where they had once been, untrusting and wary.

“Jim, what you so casually dismiss has great importance. You have seen my future.”

“I saw a future. And it doesn’t even exist anyway. We’re living a different future now.” Jim shifted away from Spock, remembering the emotions that had accompanied the elder Spock’s mindmeld. His great love for his Jim, the loss he had experienced. Even now, if Jim were honest, he couldn’t tell the old Spock’s feelings from his own. He felt something for Spock, this Spock right in front of him and he didn’t know how to handle it.

“You are keeping information from me…Jim.” Spock’s voice dropped lower as he stepped towards Jim. “Is this what human friends do?”

“No. I mean, yes. Sometimes.” Jim waved his hands in exasperation.

“I wish to know.” Spock spoke quietly and Jim stared at him.

“Fuck.” Jim felt possessive of those memories and didn’t want to share them.

After a moment, Spock stepped back, seeming to concede defeat. “It is your choice. I will not pressure you, as you did not pressure me to share your father’s memories.”

The two stood with their backs turned away from each other. The distance made Jim’s heart feel worse, squeezing it in his chest. He’d experienced so much loss and couldn’t bear for Spock to be angry with him.

He turned and spoke to Spock’s stiff back. “Look, there are memories and feelings from the other Spock. I’m not sure how you’ll react. I don’t want things to be weird between us.” He was dancing around sensitive matters, unwilling to admit his growing need for the Vulcan in his life.

Spock spun around. “Clarify.”

“Shit. This is ridiculous. Fine, just take them.” Jim realized that he didn’t want to say it out loud at all. Let Spock figure it out on his own. “Technically, they’re yours anyway.” Jim stood with his arms crossed tightly over his chest.

Spock regarded him and stepped forward. “You are protective of these memories.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you consent to the meld, Jim?”

“Sure. Yeah. Do it.” Jim let his arms fall to his side.

Spock moved closer and lifted his fingers once again to Jim’s face. This time, the red glow was brighter, more focused and he felt Spock’s presence. Jim experienced the rapid fluttering of the other Spock’s memories. It only took seconds before Spock pulled away.

With a hard swallow, the Vulcan, stepped back. Jim moved forward. “Are you okay?” Dismay radiated off of Spock in a way Jim had not expected. Spock was horrified by what he saw. Hope withered inside him.

“Your feelings extend beyond friendship,” Spock blurted, not looking at him.

“I — I don’t know.” Jim shifted from one foot to the other, staring first at Spock and then at the ground.

“Jim,” Spock grated, his voice raw as he rushed at him, smashing their mouths together. A second passed before Jim could respond to the hard press of Spock’s lips, his strong fingers squeezing his shoulders. When he did, he sank into him, letting his body fall against the Vulcan and opening his mouth to kiss him back. A frisson of pleasure skittered across Jim’s skin as he wrapped his arms around Spock’s waist.

Spock kissed him deeply until Jim pulled back to gasp for breath. He stared at Spock, taking in the mussed hair and red swollen lips. “I didn’t know…I thought it was just me.” Their arms stayed wrapped around each other.

“It is why I do not care about my title. The thought of you leaving with the Enterprise, the opportunity to know you better, to explore the complicated feelings inside me. I tried to meditate, but when you came to my office…”

“You were so cold, Spock. I never had a clue. I thought the future Spock was wrong, that you hated me.”

Spock leaned forward and kissed Jim again, touching his face. “I never hated you, Jim. My rage was at Nero, at seeing my world destroyed. You were right to push me and now I see why you had to.”

“I didn’t want to. Spock convinced me and I trusted him. Just like I trust you.” Jim reached up to stroke Spock’s jaw and to trace a finger along the point of his ear. Spock’s eyes closed in pleasure. Jim’s lips traced the same path and he felt Spock shudder against him. “I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he whispered.

“Jim,” Spock practically growled and pulled Jim’s mouth against his again. He crushed their bodies together, and Jim felt Spock’s erection straining against his own. Jim licked into Spock’s mouth and gripped his ass, pulling him painfully tighter. He wanted him so fucking much.

“My god, Spock. You’re so fucking hot.” Jim broke away again to breathe, his head fuzzy from lack of oxygen. “I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve never wanted to be stranded so much in my goddamned life.”

Spock reached between them to squeeze Jim’s erection, making him groan with want. Jim wanted everything all at once and didn’t know what direction to take. His hands found the zipper on Spock’s pants and pulled it down, letting his fingers slip inside. He was thick and long and Jim panted at the thought of it inside him. Fuck this cave — with no lube, Spock would wreck him.

Instead, Jim dropped to his knees. If he couldn’t have him one way, he’d have him another. He yanked Spock’s pants down and let his dick bob free. It was a gorgeous warm green, with a double ridged head and moisture at the tip. He gave an experimental lick and groaned at the sweet-salt taste. They really ought to advertise.

Jim licked slowly down the shaft and against the hairless skin of his abdomen. Spock’s fingers twisted against Jim’s scalp, pressing harder when he started to take him into his mouth. He worked his way down the shaft, using both hands and his mouth to stroke him. Spock groaned when Jim took most of him into his throat, a trick he’d learned from an Orion a couple of years back.

“Jim,” Spock said, voice strained, as he ran his fingers through Jim’s hair. Jim had no idea how long it would take for a Vulcan to come, but he just kept going, moving faster and faster, letting saliva drip down his chin. It was so fucking sexy.

Spock’s yanked hard on Jim’s hair and thrust himself into Jim’s mouth. Seconds later, Spock growled and Jim’s mouth was filled with hot, sweet liquid. He pulled back and swallowed it down. He felt a sense of glee and satisfaction and only wished he could have seen Spock’s face when he came. My god, he couldn’t even imagine it.

Spock’s hands were hot on Jim’s neck and then he was being hauled up into Spock’s embrace. The Vulcan was touching him all over, planting kisses on his face and neck and shoulder. Jim was overwhelmed by his affection, and shocked because he’d never suspected it was possible.

Jim yanked Spock’s pants back up and tucked him away. Despite his own desire, he didn’t want more than what he had at this very moment. When Spock reached between them, Jim tried to still his hand. Spock ignored him, and pushed under the fabric to take him in hand.

Jim groaned, eyes slamming closed with pleasure. Spock’s hand was hot, searing against his sensitive flesh. He stroked expertly, reading Jim’s pleasure through his fingertips. Thank god for touch telepaths. It was fucking perfect and Jim came hard, his face buried into Spock’s neck. “Oh, god, Spock.” He panted breath. “Fuck.” Jim had to talk, it was his nature. “You’re so fucking amazing.”

Jim did the best he could to clean himself up, but ended up sliding wetly back into his pants. Spock held him loosely then lowered them down onto the hard floor of the cave. Jim fit neatly against the hardness of Spock’s chest and threw a leg over Spock’s thighs.

“I’m so damn happy we got stranded. I have no idea how this would have happened otherwise. I was so scared to say anything. I thought it was all from the other Spock, loving his Jim so much. I couldn’t even tell my own feelings.”

“I sensed them when we melded the first time, Jim. I sensed your trust in me, right at the surface, and then something more, but I was focusing so much on shielding you from your father’s pain that I was not certain. This time, though, I sensed your protectiveness, your care for me…”

Jim crawled up to kiss Spock again. “I do care about you. I’m so damned lucky to have you in my life. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come on board the night before we left port.” Jim’s heart swelled with gratitude.

“Nyota contacted me that morning,” Spock said softly, eyes dark and intent.

“She did?” That was unexpected.

“Actually, she was quite angry. Nyota is quite intimidating when she is angry.”

Jim chuckled. “What did she say?”

“She told me I was a fool for rejecting your offer and she reminded me why I joined Starfleet in the first place.”

“Why was that?”

“As I was accepted to the Vulcan Science Academy, the chief minister indicated that my mother was a disability that I had successfully overcome. The comment made me quite angry, although I did not recognize it at the time. I know now that it was my love and respect for my mother that caused me to reject the Science Academy in favor of Starfleet. In considering my decision about the Enterprise, it did not seem logical that she was the reason I was now abandoning Starfleet.”

“Your mother must have been an amazing woman.” Jim rubbed his hand along the side of Spock’s neck, giving comfort.

“My mother was an emotional human and as a child, I struggled with it. During my training, I rejected my emotions and was repeatedly informed they were a sign of weakness. It was not until I met you, that I came to understand that emotional reactions have merit. That what you call the “gut instinct,” and the simple need to save someone you love, could guide one properly. While Nero’s version of revenge was abhorrent, your need to save Captain Pike, your need to stop Nero, those came from emotion, Jim. I cannot say that I appreciate your feelings all the time, but you are a gifted starship captain because of them.”

Spock’s admiration overwhelmed him and he slid on top of the Vulcan to kiss him again. “I predict that you are going to be questioning that comment sometime soon, Mr. Spock,” Jim teased breathlessly.

“Your prediction is logical,” Spock said, with a hint of humor in his voice. Spock pulled Jim’s head down for another searing kiss.

“Enterprise to Captain Kirk. Come in, Captain Kirk.” Commander Frazier’s voice came through the comm.

Jim released Spock’s lips with a grin and rolled to the side. He snapped open his communicator. “Kirk here,” he said.

“Good to hear your voice, Captain.” Frazier’s voice was animated. “Communications should be consistent now. The storm is ending.”

“What about Nelson and Viidi? Have you heard from them?” The two other members of Spock’s science team were also stranded.

“Yes, Captain. They are safe and waiting for beam-out.”

“Very good, Commander. And transporter functioning?” Jim asked.

“We should be able to beam you up within the hour, sir,” Frazier answered.

“Take your time, Commander.” Jim wrapped his hand around Spock’s long fingers. “Mr. Spock and I have been making our own discoveries planetside. Kirk out.”

He snapped the communicator closed and slid back on top of Spock. He grinned and kissed his lover. “Now, where were we?”