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Dynamic

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“I mean, who the heck does he think he is!?” Jim slammed down his chess piece harder than necessary, rattling the whole board.

“I am sure he believes he is the chief medical officer, as well as your friend.”

“It was a rhetorical question, Spock.” Jim rolled his eyes. He couldn’t even complain to Spock, because he’d have to pause and explain everything he was saying. You shouldn’t have to do that in a rant. “It’s just…where does he get off saying we have bad dynamic? He’s the one who’s always picking fights with you…ugh!”

Jim wasn’t even sure why McCoy’s comment bothered him so much. It wasn’t exactly wrong. He and Spock were in a strange situation now. Spock took the chance to tell Jim every time he disagreed with a decision, which was a lot. But then again, he never went behind Jim’s back and did things his own way. Spock was loyal, almost painfully so. That was the part McCoy didn’t really know about.

McCoy also probably thought that most nights Spock and Jim were doing paperwork, which is what they’d started out doing, before it evolved to chess, and more often than not, just talking. The first time it happened, Jim did think it was suspicious that Spock offered to help him.  But with Spock’s input, Jim was able to completely restructure his paperwork schedule to get it all done in a third of the time it usually took. That left a lot of free time, and he wasn’t too keen on having Spock leave just yet. Luckily, the Vulcan seemed to feel the same, so their evenings usually only consisted for working for about an hour before they relaxed with a game of chess.

“You find the doctor’s comment insulting?” Spock asked.

“Of course! Don’t you?” He didn’t even know why he was asking. If Spock didn’t get offended by the things McCoy said directly to him, then he wasn’t going to get offended by some off-handed comment.

“I do not, but I find that the comment was made in haste, with little evidence behind it.” Spock said this casually, but Jim could tell he really meant it.

“Right.” He grinned. “See? We get along fine…mostly. We have great dynamic. We should prove it to him.”

“How do you mean?” Spock had been contemplating his next move this entire time, but he now glanced up for just a moment. They locked eyes, and somehow, the answer came to Jim.

“We should date.” He grinned wider, trying to pass it off as one of his trademark charismatic schemes, but inside, his stomach felt like he’d missed several steps going downstairs.

Spock didn’t comment right away, he just looked up at Jim for a moment, completely abandoning his focus on the game. The piece he’d picked to move now fiddled between his fingers, and Jim decided to watch that instead of Spock’s face.

“You are referring to beginning a romantic relationship?” Spock asked after a moment. Jim looked up and saw an almost softness in his eyes, that was quickly replaced with the fascinated sort of look he always got in the labs. “What purpose would it serve?”

“A lot of purposes…” Jim knew he’d have to pitch it, and he was already ready, considering he’d tossed around the idea in his head practically every night –hypothetically of course. “For one, it will show everyone that not only are we a good match in command, but our personalities are a good match as well.”

Spock looked as if he were contemplating it deeply. His brows were knitted together as he stared down at the board, his chess piece now abandoned. Jim’s heart seemed to pound in his chest harder with each silent second. He was just thinking he should laugh it off and say it was just an advanced human joke, when Spock finally looked up.

“I agree to this arrangement.” He said with a nod.

“…You do?” Jim blinked in surprise. He really hadn’t been expecting that to work. Looking back, it was such a feeble argument.

“I do.” Spock looked down at the board long enough to move his piece. Jim glanced down to, and saw he was checked. He didn’t really care at the moment, though.

“Well, uh, alright then.” He chuckled nervously. “I guess it’s official.”

“It is.” Spock nodded.

“We’re dating…” Jim reaffirmed. “Starting right now…”

“Yes.”

Jim really couldn’t believe this was happening. Spock just sounded so calm about it, as if it were the most logical plan he’d ever heard in his entire life, instead of a lame half-assed thing Jim had just made up.

“Alright then.” Jim looked down at the board, but couldn’t make himself focus on the game anymore.

“Perhaps we should finish this game at another time.” Spock said, standing up. “I have some other things that require my attention.”

“Okay.” Jim was secretly relieved. There was no way he’d be able to play at his optimum efficiency, and he didn’t need Spock seeing how much he was already effected by their arrangement. He was sure he was going to be permanently blushing from now on.

“Goodnight, Captain.” Spock started towards the door to their shared bathroom.

“Wait.” Jim looked up from putting away the chessboard. “If we’re dating, you have to call me by my first name. At least when we’re not working…” It’s something Jim had been trying to instill in Spock for months, with little luck, but hopefully the fact that they were not on a slightly more intimate level would do it.

“Very well, Jim.” Spock nodded before leaving Jim alone with his thoughts.

Jim was on autopilot for the rest of the night. He showered and brushed his teeth, all the while glancing at the door to Spock’s quarters. What the heck was he doing in there? He didn’t have any work that Jim knew of, unless he was meditating. That was probably it. He was probably meditating and mulling all of this over…wondering how he got himself into this situation.

Well, whatever, Jim thought to himself as he climbed into bed that night. Spock already agreed, and there was no going back now. Plus, those reasons Jim listed actually did make sense. He and Spock were a great team, just because they didn’t agree on everything didn’t mean they didn’t have good dynamic. What did McCoy know anyways?

❖ ❖ ❖

Spock stood in the middle of his quarters for a long moment. Normally, he would have completely set the mood for meditation prior to contemplation, but he found he did not have the focus. He was feeling very…emotional.

His heart was beating very fast and his hands were shaking ever so slightly. The previous conversation with Jim felt like it did not truly happen, as if it were a dream.

One does not just meet their T’hy’la without knowing it. On some level, he’d know the moment he watched the smug cadet beat his simulation, but he did not fully come to accept it until the moment he walked back onto the Enterprise.

It was something he carried with him always, the knowledge that he and Jim could be something more. Lately, he was worried it was starting to effect his performance at work. Just this morning, he stood at his station for almost a full minute just watching Jim. He could always tell when his captain had opted for a water shower rather than a sonic one, as it left his hair looking especially soft.

He could not continue on like this. He knew all of these feelings, those he had long since stopped trying to deny and suppress, would all come out in some sort of fashion. He just assumed it would be in a more dramatic way. Perhaps he and Jim would touch hands during a game of chess, as it happened every so often. Their eyes would lock…Jim would smile that infectious smile of his…

Well –it wasn’t as if he spent multiple hours thinking about it or anything.

No, his entire reason for agreeing to Jim’s proposal was exactly what the captain had said. It was to prove how efficient their dynamic was. Any chance to treat Jim in a romantic fashion was simply an added perk, and if Jim happened to return his romantic affections as a result, well, that was just their good dynamic in play.

Spock did not lie to Jim when he said he had work to be done. He did have a sudden influx of research that required his attention. It was something he’d never tried to understand before, but it seemed suddenly very important. He was sure he could find a great many things online about human romantic relationships and how to properly act now that he was in one.

❖ ❖ ❖

“Checked your email this morning, Bones?” Jim asked as he dropped his tray down by his friends the next morning.

“No, why?” He didn’t look up from his food.

Because, I sent you a back all those things that needed my approval…and you said you weren’t expecting any of it back until tonight. That’s called efficiency.”

“Really?” McCoy looked up at Jim as if examining him. “You didn’t stay up all night to do it, did you? That’s not healthy, and coffee can’t replace sleep.”

“No.” Jim couldn’t keep the grin off his face. This was exactly the sort of bait he was hoping for. “My new significant other helped me do it all last night. We have very efficient dynamic.”

“Oh, God.” He recoiled, and Jim knew he was probably thinking of something along the same lines of the people he’d dated back at the academy; relationships that never lasted long enough for Jim to know much more than their body, let alone their minds to know if they were really compatible.

“What the hell are you doing, leading around some lower ranked girl?” McCoy dropped his voice and fixated Jim with what he dubbed as the serious doctor look. “It’s a bad idea…not to mention they are rules against fraternization like that.”

“Yeah, I’ll remember that the next time I see Uhura stopping by med bay for the fifth time that day…” He grinned, knowing he was hitting a sore spot. McCoy reddened in the way Jim had expected, but did not drop it.

“It’s not like that, and you know it. She isn’t some kid sucked in by the novelty of the captain’s attention.”

“Are you saying my significant other is only attracted to me because of my rank?” Jim asked incredulously. His friends previous comment that started it all, the one about he and Spock’s dynamic, seemed to rise fresh in his mind. What the heck was with his friend saying such rude things?

“No, I’m saying it’s gotta be someone of a lower rank…” McCoy said.

“Not much lower.” Jim mumbled under his breath.

“ --And, I just don’t wanna see any drama because of a break-up.”

“Hey.” Jim slammed his fork down. He hated to get angry at his friend, but he was really pushing it. “It’s not like that. I really care about this person, for more than just their body. We work well together, both on and off the bridge. Our minds are like this…” He laced his fingers together.

McCoy just stared at Jim with an almost scrutinizing look, as if he still didn’t really believe him. Jim glanced over McCoy’s head and saw Spock approaching their table. Jim grinned and waved him over.

“If you care so much, why don’t you talk to my new significant other yourself?”

Jim moved down in his seat just as Spock sat down next to him close enough that their hips touched. To Jim’s surprise, Spock reached for Jim’s hand that was on the table and held it in his own. Jim looked up and gave McCoy a smug look.

“Oh, dear god. Is this real!?” He looked between them as if begging them to reveal it all as a joke.

“Yep.” Jim squeezed Spock’s hand in his and felt as if his heart was trying to climb out of his throat. He hoped his hand wasn’t too sweaty.

“I believe congratulations are customary, Doctor.” Spock said.

McCoy just looked between them for a second longer before picking his tray up and going to a table across the room the join Uhura and Scotty.

“Well, I didn’t ask for your approval anyways!” Jim shouted after him. “…I can’t believe it.” He inwardly prayed that Spock didn’t let go of his hand now that they were alone. “He was being such a…jerk. He’s never really like that…he was saying all this stuff to me like I’m taking advantage of my rank and stuff.”

“And he did not offer congratulations.” Spock looked over to the table McCoy had left them for. He was now talking to Uhura and Scotty, and Jim could see them all glancing over at where he and Spock still sat pressed together.

“Well, there goes the rumor mill.” Jim turned his attention back to his food and attempted to eat with his left hand, as Spock was still holding his right. “This will be all over the ship in by the time our shift starts.”

“How should we go about our behavior?” Spock asked. “We are both wishing to convey a sense of realism to this relationship, as well as not to let it affect our work.”

“Right. If we let it affect our work, then I’m basically proving Bones’ point about our dynamic…as well as any opinion he has about my ability to stay professional.” Jim found himself gently stroking Spock’s hand with his own as he contemplated. “Let’s just wing it.”

“Wing?” Spock was staring down at where their hands touched, and Jim stopping his stroking in case he’d somehow crossed a line.

“It means we’ll improvise.” Jim explained. “Just do what feels…right.” He couldn’t help but think how right this whole hand-holding thing felt.

“Then you are giving me permission to continue this…” Spock was still looking down at their hands.

“Sure.” Jim smiled, feeling his heart pound again as Spock stroked the back of his hand in the same way Jim had done. “Good instinct by the way…”

“Holding hands is a common sign of romance in humans.” Spock said. “According to the internet.”

Jim found himself laughing unexpectedly. He saw McCoy and Uhura look over from their table, so Jim made sure to lean closer to Spock so that their shoulders touched. If they wanted to stare, he’d give them something to stare at. With immense satisfaction, Jim saw Uhura lean in towards the others and whisper energetically.

❖ ❖ ❖

Spock attempted to focus all of his attention on work today, but found his focus slipping more than ever before. He had stayed up in his quarters researching romantic relationships so that he could properly show Jim affection. He had been in such a state of anticipation for today, that he did not sleep well.

In addition to suppressing the urge to yawn, Spock found that his hand still tingled from his earlier extended contact with Jim. He’d never touched Jim for so long before. It was listed as a common sign of affection, as well as something Spock had observed in his time on Earth, but he had not been prepared for just how it made him feel. The mix of nerves and hyper-awareness would usually tire him out, but this had been quite…wonderful.

Jim was right that the news of their relationship seemed to be everywhere now. The eyes of every crew member seemed to be on him as he went throughout his day. His sensitive hearing also picked up everything that the others whispered about him on the bridge.

“It was obvious.” Sulu whispered to Chekov. “I see Spock staring at Jim all the time…”

Spock stiffened and tried not to listen. Surely, he’d never been that obvious? He’d have to reduce the time he spent looking at Jim…No, actually he didn’t have to. He and Jim were romantically involved now. Spock could look at him all he wanted.

As if to prove this point, Spock looked over at Jim now. Jim was mostly upright in his seat, reading something on the console intently. Spock admired the way his eyes looked so intense, and the way his hair looked…he’d definitely opted for a water shower the night before.

Jim glanced over at Spock now. Spock’s breath hitched in his throat as their eyes locked. Jim now knew he’d been staring. But Jim did not look away. He just gave Spock a small smile and turned back to his work. When Spock did the same, he found his heartrate had increased slightly. It did not return to its normal resting rate for several minutes.

Spock chose to sit across from Jim that evening at dinner. Not only would it let them more easily look at some work, but Spock found it the optimum arrangement for looking at Jim as much as he wanted.

“Maximum efficiency…” Jim smiled to himself as he scrolled his signature across something before returning to his meal. “No one can say we aren’t working hard now.”

“Yet, I found my performance slacking today.” Spock admitted.

“Me too…” Jim gave him a soft smile. “I guess I just couldn’t stop thinking about other stuff…oh, here comes Bones.” Jim reached for Spock’s hand across the table.

Spock watched as Dr. McCoy went to the replicator and a moment later left the dining hall with a drink. He had observed the doctor’s tendency to spend the evenings in his office, but he knew Jim had been hoping his friend joined them.

❖ ❖ ❖

Jim paced his quarters that evening, actually bored that he didn’t have any work to do. Usually when he wasn’t working, his first instinct was to go see what McCoy was up to. Even if the doctor was busy, there was something comforting about watching McCoy fuss over patients. It was like a reassurance that he really did have not only the best CMO in the Fleet, but the best friend as well.

It was weird to be in a fight with him, especially because for the first time in their friendship, Jim was certain he was right and McCoy was wrong. Maybe McCoy was onto something when he assumed Jim was just having a fling with a subordinate, but when Jim had corrected him, he should have realized how serious Jim had been being.

He glanced towards the door as someone requested entry. Could it really be McCoy, free from work and wanting to knock back some illegally acquired booze? Jim let him in and felt his heart jump for a different reason when he saw it was Spock.

“Good evening, Jim.” Spock stepped inside.

“Oh, hey.” Jim smiled and felt majority of his woes melt away. “Why didn’t you use the back entrance? Won’t it look weird for you to come in this way?”

“On the contrary.” Spock said, making himself comfortable by assuming his ordinary cross-legged position, this time on the bed. “I purposely entered this way so that people would take notice. Those in romantic relationships frequently visit one another after work. In addition, I believe I should stay here tonight…for authenticity.”

“Yeah, okay.” Jim hoped he didn’t sound too eager as he tried to keep himself from grinning. “You wanna play chess or something?”

“I memorized the position of the board yesterday. We could pick up where we left off.”

As they played, Jim noticed Spock watching him. He’d noticed the same thing on the bridge and again at dinner. It was kind of adorable, but Jim tried not to read too much into it. He noticed Spock’s hand was on the table now instead of in his lap. Jim was contemplating taking it. Would it be weird, considering there was no one around for them to show-off to? He was just about to reach out when the door chimed again.

“Hold on, Spock. I’ll be right back.” Jim went to the door. “Well if it isn’t the good doctor…”

“Can I talk to you for a sec?” McCoy asked, and then looked over Jim’s shoulder at Spock. “Out here?”

Jim contemplated telling him that anything he had to say could be said in front of Spock, but he didn’t want to risk McCoy leaving in a huff again. Jim closed the door and stepped out into the hall.

“I’m sorry.” McCoy said it so readily that Jim was taken aback for a moment. “I was being dumb, and I didn’t realize how serious you were about…this.”

Jim had been expecting it to feel like some sort of high to know he’d been right and to have McCoy admit it, but instead he just wanted to push past this whole thing as fast as possible and pretend it never happened.

“It’s okay. I know you were trying to watch out and make sure I didn’t do anything stupid like back at the academy, but I’m different now. I’ve matured.” Jim couldn’t say that last bit without smiling, and he was glad to see his friend smiled too.

“And, I know Spock and I have never actually gotten along, but if he makes you happy, then I promise I’ll try harder not to let him annoy me.”

“You will?” The thought of the three of them getting to hang out without Spock and McCoy bickering was quite appealing, especially with the added image of Spock holding his hand again. He could very much get used to that arrangement. “Good.”

“Alright, well I gotta get back to work.” McCoy said. “I’m sure you’ve got work to do too.”

“Yeah, we were definitely working.” Jim said with a grin, greatly enjoying the way his friend visibly recoiled. Jim tried with little success to hold in his laughter until he was back in his quarters.

Not only was it worth it to see the look on his face, but anything to help to help the rumor mill along with the story that Spock was staying in his quarters tonight.

The rest of the night played out relatively normal. Spock ended up winning their chess game, but Jim knew he would. He’d been completely unable to focus once he’d sat back down and Spock had immediately reached for his hand once more.

Once it hit the time of night that Spock would usually go back to his own room, that’s when things got slightly more intimate. Jim had never been in their shared bathroom at the same time as Spock, yet he found himself brushing his teeth side by side with his new significant other.

He watched them in the mirror and couldn’t help but love how cushy and domestic they both looked. Spock seemed to somehow keep his trademark neutral Vulcan face, even with brushing his tongue. Spock went through to his own quarters to get his pajamas, and Jim took the short absence as a chance to change into his own pajamas without being watched.

It wasn’t that he was embarrassed of his body, far from it, actually. He just didn’t really know where he and Spock stood at the moment. Sure, they were referring to each other as their significant other, but Jim was still uncertain about whether they were still doing this just to spite McCoy or not. McCoy had said that Spock made Jim happy, and Jim had to admit he truly did.

“Which side do you want?” Jim asked Spock as they stood by Jim’s bed. Jim was just trying not to think about how small the bed suddenly seemed.

“The side is irrelevant to me.” Spock looked confused by the question.

“Well, it matters to humans.” Jim tried to explain.

“In that case, which side do you usually take?” Spock asked.

Truthfully, he slept right in the middle, taking as much space and blanket for himself as possible. He couldn’t very well do that now. He pulled back the covers and got in, sliding as far to one end as possible. Spock got in next to him, and Jim was suddenly aware of how much hotter the Vulcan was. Usually Jim slept without any pants on because he got so hot, but there was no way he was going to try and take his pants off now.

“This is not how humans usually sleep together.” Spock said, his voice disembodied in the darkness as they both laid on their backs, staring at the ceiling.

“Uh, no, you’re right…it’s not.” Jim shifted a bit and felt Spock’s leg touch his. Jim quickly pulled his leg away.

“No, there are much more comfortable positons that are also signs of affection. Perhaps we should try one?”

“Um.”

Jim was still trying to process what it was that Spock had said, when he felt the Vulcan shift and suddenly wrap his arms around Jim’s middle. Jim gasped, feeling Spock pull him closer until his back was flush against Spock’s chest. Jim’s brain lagged behind, it took him several seconds to realize he and Spock were spooning. And Jim was the little spoon.

“You…saw this on the internet?” Jim asked, feeling Spock’s arms tight around his middle.

“I did.” Spock’s voice came from beside Jim’s ear, and his breath tickled.

“Well…okay, you’re right, this is normal…for romantic couples, I mean.” Jim could feel Spock’s heartbeat against the small of his back and tried to remember if Vulcan’s had a higher heart-rate than humans, or if Spock was just as nervous as Jim was.

“Very good.” Spock nodded, and Jim felt the Vulcan’s face press into the back of his head and his breath on his neck. He was so warm. It was very relaxing. “Good night, Jim.”

“Night Spock…” Jim closed his eyes and let the steadying beat of Spock’s heart put him to sleep.

Chapter Text

Spock knew within the first twenty minutes of stepping out into the corridors the next morning, that somehow the entire ship, or at least everyone he saw, seemed to know that he spent last night with Jim.

That morning, he’d woken up feeling extremely warm and content, almost to the point of happiness. His arms were still wrapped around Jim, who was still sleeping soundly, his breathing soft. Spock could not help but gently press his face into the human’s hair. It was even softer than he had ever imagined, and seemed to smell much better than the clinically clean scent of the provided regulation shampoo.

He was usually early to rise so that he could meditate and eat breakfast in the dining hall before majority of the crew awoke, but that morning he found that he did not want to leave the bed at all. Vulcans had a high tolerance for heat, so he had no qualms with pressing tighter against Jim, pulling the human closer to him gentle enough that he would not awaken.

He’d stayed awake, skipping his meditation and early breakfast time in order to hold Jim longer. It was strange to think of Jim as his, yet Jim had confirmed it several times. They were officially in a romantic relationship, something Spock had often hoped for, but never approached. And it was just as strange and thrilling as the person he was in it with.

Jim had implied this was something that would show the crew how efficient they were together, yet Jim did not protest Spock’s romantic advanced when no one was around, such as sleeping in the same bed. It was very confusing, but Spock was not upset by it.

Sometime later, Spock carefully extracted his arms from around Jim and leaned up. The human’s face was so peaceful and clean. Spock felt that familiar dizziness that he often felt around Jim, and knew it was a product of deep affection. He had never observed Jim from this close before. He was so…beautiful.

Spock remembered that the information he’d read about the sleeping position known as spooning (named because it resembled the way spoons were stacked in a drawer), that it was customary to wake one’s partner up with a kiss.

Well, Vulcans did kiss with their hands. Spock gently reached up and brushed two fingers just above Jim’s eyebrow. Humans were so different with their downwards eyebrows, and Jim’s seemed to be even more intriguing.

“Spock…” Jim’s voice was slightly raspy from sleep. “What time is it?”

“It is still early.” Spock pulled his hand away from Jim’s face with reluctance.

“I never get up this early…” Jim said, despite the fact that he did not even open his eyes to check the time. He reached for the blanket and pulled it over both their heads. In this slightly more intimate setting, as well as the reasoning that Jim was going to go back to sleep, Spock wrapped his arms around Jim and pulled him closer once more.

“Did you…uh, sleep okay?” Jim’s voice brought Spock out of his own attempt to fall back asleep.

“I slept soundly. As for yourself?”

“…Really great, actually. But I had a really weird dream.”  Jim shifted a bit, and for a moment Spock thought he was getting out of bed. Instead he just rolled over so that they were facing one another.

“Dreams are often our subconscious sorting through our deepest thoughts.” Spock said, trying to ignore the spreading heat over his face. “Therefore, I believe it is safe to say that all dreams are weird.”

“I guess.” Jim looked away, and a second later Spock could feel Jim’s foot brushing against his own. “But it was about us…being together.” There seemed to be a growing heat on Jim’s own face.

“We are together, Jim.” Spock said, feeling as if he were missing something.

“Yeah.” Jim smiled, and looked up to meet Spock’s eyes. Their mutual blush seemed to grow. “So, I guess it wasn’t that weird.”

Spock found the rhythmic movement of Jim’s foot against his very relaxing, and with the lack of his morning meditation, felt traces of a similar calm emotion radiating from the human. Spock was tempted to close his eyes, and for the first time ever, skip work.

“Is this…weird?” Jim asked, his voice barely audible.

“To what are you referring.” Spock opened his eyes and was saddened when Jim’s foot stopped moving.

“Us being together. I mean, you’re not having any second thoughts, are you?”

Spock wanted nothing more than to hold Jim close once more, and tell him all about how they were meant to be together for the rest of their lives, therefore, having doubts about their relationship was illogical.

“No.” Spock wanted to say more, but what came out was akin to what Jim had said at the beginning. “In addition, I do not believe enough time has passed for everyone to observe our successful dynamic.”

“You’re right.” Jim smiled, and Spock could feel Jim’s wave of relief from their shared contact just before he pulled away. “We should probably get up.” Jim pushed back the blanket and sat up.

Jim’s quarters were much cooler than Spock’s, but he hadn’t noticed the entire night while embracing closely with Jim. Now that Jim was gone and heading towards the facilities, Spock felt an immense coldness. He sighed, still feeling the strange desire to stay in bed a moment longer, before finally getting up.

He exited into the corridor from his own quarters after getting dressed, but that did not stop the immediate glances and whispers that seemed to persist throughout the day.

Though Spock attempted to focus on his work to make up for yesterday’s slack, he was still finding it hard to focus. Not only could he still practically feel Jim against him, but he was very aware of the whispers.

“Um, Mr. Spock…” A voice behind him said. “Last night I finished the work you sent me. I wanted to give it to you, but when I stopped back your quarters, you weren’t there.”

He turned towards Ensign Shay. She was someone he’d worked with in the labs quite often, but she never seemed to be the type to go the extra mile by staying up late to work. No, she was more like the type to quit working as soon as her shift was over. He also often saw her gossiping with her friends, the same friends standing just a few ways away, when she should be working.

“I was not in my quarters last night.” Spock told her. Immediately she started giggling, as did the girls behind her.

“You don’t say…” She stifled her laughter by pressing a hand to her face. “Well, where were you?”

“That is irrelevant.” He said, and this somehow made them laugh harder. “Furthermore, if you wish to contact me, you have my email.”

Spock felt someone tug at his arm and turned to see Nyota. She pulled him back and Ensign Shay went off with her friends. They all seemed to be laughing so hard. Humans were so odd in that regard.

“You don’t have to humor them.” Nyota said, dropping his arm.

“Pardon?”

“Didn’t you know, they were making fun of you.”

“Were they?” He was no stranger to that, but the usual attempts were much more straight-forward and he was used to ignoring them.

“Well, I guess it backfired if you didn’t even realize what they were doing. They’re probably going to laugh about it anyways, though. Some people around here really need to grow up.” She glanced over his shoulder to make sure they were really alone, before dropping her voice. “I’m sorry…I have to ask…is it true?”

“You are asking if it is true that I spent the night in Jim’s quarters?” He asked bluntly, though he was confused on why she would ask such a thing when she just spared him from having to talk about that.

“N-no, no…” She chuckled, going red. “Just…what everyone’s saying…about you and Jim being…together.”

“Yes, we are in a romantic relationship. You will find that it has greatly improved our work efficiency.” He’d been practicing the words in his head in case he was asked directly. After all, that had been Jim’s initial reasoning.

“Oh!” She blinked, apparently not having expected that blunt of an answer. “Well…that’s great! As long as you’re happy. You are happy, aren’t you?”

His instinct was to say that Vulcans did not feel happiness, but instead, he took a moment to contemplate the question. The feelings from this morning alone, holding Jim and being able to inhale the human’s scent and watch him sleep…all of that alone constituted happiness.

“Yes.” He nodded. “This is something I have desired for a very long time. I am quite…happy.”

She looked just as surprised to hear this as he had been to say it. He felt relieved in the small way that if she hadn’t previously known he had feelings for Jim, perhaps he hadn’t truly been as obvious as Mr. Sulu had made him sound. Yes, maybe Mr. Sulu was just very perceptive about that sort of thing.

“Now, If you will excuse me, I have work to complete.”

He found that his attention was much sharper with a certain mantra, the fact that by preforming at one hundred percent proved that being with Jim did in fact benefit their work. He told himself that if he completed his shift with zero mistakes, he would allow himself to give Jim a special Vulcan gesture of affection.

“Captain, there’s a call for you.” Yeoman Rand said.

Spock had been trying to avoid looking at Jim for his entire shift, afraid a mere glimpse would ruin his concentration, but he could not stop himself now. Jim was wearing his uniform in the slightly disheveled way he was so fond of, with his sleeves pushed up and the hem of his undershirt just visible under the gold.

But it wasn’t Jim who looked back and locked eyes with him, but Rand. She caught his eye before, usually offering a pleasant greeting, but this time she went scarlet and turned away as she followed Jim to his ready room.

As Spock went back to work he realized it must have been her who informed the entire ship that he was with Jim last night when she went to his quarters to clean and found it practically untouched. He did not believe she did it out of malicious intent, more likely she just gossiped to a few friends, but in such a confined space, it spread.

Spock did catch Jim’s eye as he was coming back, and Spock was certain Jim brushed against him on purpose. The wave of Jim’s scent seemed to linger and make Spock’s mind fuzzy and fingers shake. Despite his mantra of one hundred percent efficiency, he decided that in the end, ninety-eight would be good enough.

❖ ❖ ❖

Jim knew everyone was talking about them. It was human nature, and with four-hundred people hulled up together, news spread fast, especially something as juicy as this. He was naïve in thinking it would blow over, though.

“Hey, guys, let’s keep it professional.” He said sternly to a group that had congregated in the hall. He knew the sounds of gossip all too well.

“Yes Sir.” They dispersed, red in the face.

Other than that, Jim thought his plan was all going over well. Once the novelty of their relationship wore off, and everyone was assured they still worked together fine, Jim was pretty by then Spock would return his feelings just the same –it was only logical.

“Everyone’s talking about us.” Jim sat across from Spock at dinner yet again. He noticed Spock had skipped lunch to work, so he was making sure his Vulcan ate properly. “I guess you can’t really blame them.”

“I have been informed that people are making fun of me.” Spock said without looking up from his soup.

What?”

“They seem to find our relationship…humorous.”

“I’m…sorry. Does that upset you?” Jim actually realized as he said it that he cared about Spock enough to pull every crewman aside and personally reprimand them. He also realized he was truly willing to cut things off with Spock if that’s what Spock wanted.

“It does not.”

“Good.” Jim smiled in relief. “Yea, I had a conference call today, and not even that could squash my spirits. I think we’re both walking on cloud nine.”

“Cloud?” Spock raised an eyebrow the way Jim loved.

“It means we’re both really happy.” Jim chuckled. “You are…right?”

“I am very satisfied. I completed my shift at almost one hundred percent efficiency. I believe it is because we make a good team.”

Jim suddenly felt Spock’s hand cover his on the table. Two fingers gently traced over the back of his hand, up and down. He practically shivered with how good it felt. It was more than ordinary hand holding, he somehow knew.

“That feels…nice.” Jim wondered if it was something else that Spock read off the internet.

“It is how Vulcans show affection.” Spock said, and Jim noticed he was blushing too. “I believe it is deserved after we have both worked so hard today…and they are watching us.”

Jim looked over towards the replicators, where Sulu and Chekov quickly glanced away. So, they had been staring, was that the only reason Spock took his hand? Well, Jim had said this was all to show the crew how great they were together…but Spock had cuddled him all last night when no one was around. There was something else Jim could do to gauge things.

“So, there’s something else.” Jim said. “The form. We have to sign the form for Starfleet saying that we’re in a relationship.”

“Yes, of course.” Spock nodded. “I should have taken care of that yesterday, yet it slipped my mind. I believe it was the cloud you were referring to.”

“Heh, yeah…” Jim chuckled somewhat nervously. “But, uh, once we sign it…by the time we get to Delta Vega and deliver the cargo, everyone at the outpost will know about us.”

“I suppose they will.” Spock said.

“That doesn’t…scare you?” Jim asked. He had the form on his padd and he could whip in out and have them sign it in seconds. Spock just had to say the word.

“Vulcans are not afraid, Jim.” Spock stroked his fingers along the back of Jim’s hand once more.

“Well…okay then.” Jim reached for his padd, momentarily chilled by the loss of Spock’s hand.

It was a mundane task, signing his name with the stylus. It was something he’d done a billion times, yet his hand shook just slightly. Once he was done, he passed the padd to Spock. Spock seemed to sign with flourish, his hand as steady as ever.

“Well, okay.” Jim said again, taking the padd back and picking his tray up. “I guess now it’s double-official.” They put their left-overs in the recycler and Jim was placed that Spock took his hand once more as they walked towards Jim’s quarters.

Spock suggested that they alternate and spend the night in Spock’s quarters. Jim had a feeling Spock was just very cold, but didn’t want to admit it. He agreed, but said first he had to change for the warmth. While Spock carried the chess board and Jim’s pillows to his quarters (Jim denied that he hogged all the pillows, yet Spock insisted) Jim changed into pajamas and went through the facilities into Spock’s quarters.

It mirrored his own, table, shelves, desk and bed all in the same spots, yet it was very different. For one, it was hot. It was borderline between stifling and just warm, and Jim realized Spock must have lowered it for Jim’s comfort, because now Spock was wearing pajamas with long sleeves.

“This is customary for romantic couples.” Spock said as he took Jim’s hand a little while later as they played chess. “Do you find it distracting?”

“You want me to find it distracting so you’ll win, right?” Jim smirked and moved one of his pieces. He noticed he had Spock in check a lot faster than usual. Spock’s plan to distract Jim seemed to be backfiring.

“I was hoping the game could end. I have something I wish to…discuss with you.”

Jim noticed Spock’s tone and looked up from the board to see that Spock was looking just as nervous as he sounded. He didn’t meet Jim’s eyes and just stared down at the board.

“What is it?” Jim instinctively stroked his fingers along Spock’s, hoping to still his nerves.

“You told me it was alright for me to show you affection…” Spock seemed nervous still.

“It is.” Jim nodded, liking where this was going.

“This…” Spock took his hand out from under Jim’s and placed it on top once more to stroke his fingers along Jim’s. After a second, he turned Jim’s hand over and did it to his palm. “This is actually referred to as a Vulcan kiss. Now that you know, is it still alright?”

“Yeah…” Jim suddenly felt his heartrate speed into overdrive. Spock’s room suddenly felt ten times hotter, as did Spock’s hand. “I like it.”

“There is…something else.” Spock looked away, and Jim could see how hard he was blushing. “I think I would like to kiss you in the human way…o-on the mouth.”

Jim felt as if all the air had been sucked out of his lungs. He shivered despite the heat. Did Spock really just say that? It was the kind of thing Jim only dreamed about hearing.

“Okay.” Jim said a little too loudly, though he tried to hide the true level of his enthusiasm by then lowering his voice. “If you really want to.”

“I believe it would be beneficial to practice…” Spock still wasn’t looking at him. “When we arrive at the outpost, the other officers will be expecting a certain level of familiarity between us…”

“Wait…” Jim paused as he was leaning in. “Are you…Spock, have you never kissed anyone before?”

“I have never h-had the opportunity…”

“It’s okay.” Jim felt his heart swell with such emotion but willed it down just to focus on the moment. “I can show you how…come here.” Jim moved the chess board aside and scooted closer.

After a moment, Spock looked back towards him and leaned in as well. Up close, the darkness of his eyes was so rich, as was the color in his face. Jim carefully reached up and placed his hands on either side of Spock’s face.

“Okay, so…” Jim could feel his heart hammering in his chest as he nervously licked his lips. The closer he moved in, the harder Spock seemed to blush. Jim was sure he looked about the same. “Okay, so, it’s just like this…” He couldn’t resist stroking his thumbs across Spock’s face as he closed the gap between them.

Jim closed his eyes, cutting off all of his other senses. He was only aware of the light touch of Spock’s mouth on his, the hot skin under his hands.

He was gentle at first, until the overwhelming need to taste Spock had him running his tongue along Spock’s bottom lip. His mouth opened hesitantly and Jim slipped his tongue inside. Spock’s mouth was so hot, it seemed to seer through his whole body. He felt Spock’s tongue, so rough and different from a human’s, and eagerly teased it with his own. He couldn’t help but moan when he felt Spock’s tongue push back against his.

No sooner had the moan escaped him did Spock quickly pull back. Still somewhat dazed, Jim opened his eyes to see Spock was breathing heavily, his eyes squeezed shut.

“Spock?” Jim’s voice was deep, betraying his arousal. “Are you okay?”

“I…” Spock gasped, his fists balled tight in his lap. “Yes.”

“Do you wanna stop?” Jim lowered his hands from Spock’s face.

“Y-yes…” Spock’s head dropped down onto Jim’s shoulder, and Jim’s arms instinctively went around him. “I-I am sorry…”

“It’s okay.” Jim held him tightly. “It’s okay if you didn’t like it.”

“That is not it…” Spock was still breathing heavy and Jim could actually feel him shaking. “I did enjoy it…v-very much. It was just…very overwhelming.”

“It’s okay.” Jim gently rubbed his back, feeling Spock’s heart beating hard in his side. He tried not to think about the fact that when Spock said he was overwhelmed, what he probably meant was that he was getting aroused. Jim definitely was. “But, uh, are you sure you’ve never done that before? You’re pretty good at it.”

“Perhaps it is natural talent.” Spock said, his voice muffled from Jim’s shoulder.

Jim laughed, and hugged his Vulcan tighter. After a moment, Spock’s breathing seemed to steady and Jim had pushed his own arousal down in favor of comforting Spock.

“Do you wanna finish the game?” Jim asked, smoothing Spock’s hair down on the back of his head.

“If it is all the same, I think I am ready to go bed. I must get up early tomorrow and meditate.”

“Do you want me to be the big spoon?” Jim smirked at the idea, but actually figured that he was very willing to do so if Spock said yes.

“That would be most agreeable.” Spock lifted his head from Jim’s shoulder, and he could see he was looking less flushed now. Jim gave him a soft smile as he began to put the board away.

“Okay then, you got it.”

 

Chapter Text

Spock had been lying in bed for now what was ten minutes past his normal wake time, but in contrast to the first night, Spock was not warm and cozy. He was hot and uncomfortable and painfully aroused.

Each night, he and Jim alternated quarters, and each night before going to bed, Jim kissed him in the human way. Each time it was just as fascinating and amazing as the first time. He couldn’t help but play it over and over in his head.

He could feel Jim’s hands on his face, slightly calloused and tan in comparison to Spock’s own smooth pale hands. Jim’s scent incased him as he leaned in. Spock wanted to watch for as long as possible, but his eyes instinctively closed, and then Jim’s mouth was on his.

He didn’t know what he was expected, but he was very surprised nonetheless. Jim’s mouth was so warm and soft, his lips fitting perfectly against Spock’s. He could feel his own heart racing, pounding relentlessly in his side and well as his pulse racing in his wrists.

Jim’s fingers gently stroked his cheeks and Spock could feel Jim’s tongue pressing gently into his mouth. He felt like fire was running through his veins as their tongues moved together. Jim’s was so smooth and cool, yet he was so hot. The fire seemed to be just under his skin and pooling between his legs. Jim moaned into his mouth and Spock pulled back.

He was burning up, and the air in his quarters was much too thin to properly breathe. He couldn’t open his eyes, couldn’t bear to look into Jim’s face when he was feeling this way.

“Spock, are you okay?”

“Yes.” He lied.

“Do you wanna stop?” Jim’s hands dropped from his face, and Spock could breathe again.

“Yes.” He leaned forward head colliding with Jim’s shoulder. “I-I am sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Jim just wrapped his arms around Spock and held him. “It’s okay if you didn’t like it.”

“That is not it…” Spock was still breathing heavy, unintentionally inhaling Jim’s scent with each breath. “I did enjoy it…v-very much. It was just…very overwhelming.”

Overwhelming had been the word he’d used at the time to describe the way his skin felt like fire, but over the next two nights he came to realize it wasn’t really his skin that was burning, but something deep in his core, like his loins.

Each kiss before bed was much too short, but at the same it was torturously long. He would pull back always just when Jim would moan, his hands sliding around to the back of Spock’s neck and into his hair. He could always feel Jim’s small amount of disappointment, his shields practically disintegrated after the intimate contact of the kiss.

He felt a twinge of guilt at depriving them both of what they both wanted, to deepen the kiss, to feel each other’s skin. Jim’s so fascinatingly cool…how was he not freezing all the time? But it was just…so much. Spock never lost control, and while the way arousal made his body shake was fascinating, it was also dangerous.

That was how he laid now, aroused and still in his bed, Jim behind him. Jim was in such deep sleep that his grip around Spock’s waist was loose. It would be easy to slip out of it and retrieve his mat for meditation, but he did not move.

It was a fleeting thought, the notion that this time, if he and Jim kissed, then Spock had already had enough practice to where now it was not too much. He would like to kiss him and hear that moan and feel that fire, and then…well, he was not sure what to do with that when he got that far.

He carefully rolled over still in Jim’s arms. The human’s face was now inches from his own. Their breaths mingled for a moment, and Spock considering the possibility of just watching him sleep.

“Is it time to get up?” Jim cracked his eyes open.

“It is not.” Spock reached up and brushed some of Jim’s hair from his eyes.

Then, before he could lose his nerves, and because Vulcans did not get nervous, Spock leaned in and kissed him. The hand from Jim’s hair now slipped down and gently cupped his cheek, but Spock did not want to leave this kiss gentle. He wanted it deep, so that it would be impossible to pull away.

Jim seemed surprised only for a second, before he returned the kiss. Spock pressed his tongue in, sweeping it back and forth across the smooth expanse of Jim’s and earning one of those moans, only softer now. It was as if Jim was afraid Spock would stop if he were any louder.

Spock wanted to hear more. He pulled Jim’s face closer, stroking their tongues together and letting his free hand move to Jim’s hip, where there was the smallest strip of cool skin where his shirt had risen up.

“Spock…what?” Jim was gasping when they broke for air, but Spock did not stop. He pulled Jim closer and latched their mouths together once more, pressing in and swirling his tongue the way Jim had done to him the night before.

It seemed to have the same effect on Jim that it had had on Spock the night before. Jim moaned loudly, his hands going around to the back of Spock’s neck. The sound and vibrations went straight through Spock’s body and settled between his legs. He seemed to finally understand what to do to help the feeling.

Their mouths didn’t break apart as Spock’s hands both went to Jim’s hips and pulled him closer, desperate to feel Jim’s body against his own aching hardness. The feeling was so much. It seemed to quench the fire yet make it worse at the same time.

Spock gasped, his head falling back and finally breaking their kiss as Jim straddled his waist and rolled him onto his back.

“God, you’re so hot.” Jim’s breath was hot in Spock’s ear, but the rest of the skin that Spock could get his hands on was so cool.

“Jim…” Spock couldn’t breathe or think. His body seemed to move on his own, grabbing Jim’s hips harder and rubbing their bodies together. When he finally drew breath, he couldn’t stop moaning, louder and louder as Jim grinded against him.

“Oh, fuck yeah…baby I can feel you so hard for me.” Jim moaned in Spock’s ear. Spock wanted to touch Jim’s chest and back, to feel those muscles beneath his hands, but he couldn’t take his hands off Jim’s hips. His body seemed to have one goal in mind –to reach climax and finally cool the burning heat that had been building in his body for days…no, since he’d first known Jim.

It didn’t seem to cool. It only got hotter and hotter. He could feel it burning as if he had a live wire along his shaft. It was so much…too much. He could not feel Jim’s mouth on his neck, that smooth tongue gliding with no resistance. He’d been holding his breath without realizing, and he couldn’t stop. He was going to die if he did not breathe, and his skin was going to burn up.

His hands tightened on Jim’s hips once more and in a final act of desperation, he pushed Jim off, disconnecting their bodies. He could finally breathe again, but there seemed to be a worse aching in him now, lower in his testicles.

“Spock, what’s wrong?” Jim pulled off of his completely, and Spock could feel the cool air against the wet skin where Jim mouth had just been on his neck.

Spock just gasped and squeezed his eyes shut, unable to look at Jim and see what he’d done to him. His cheeks were so pink, and his pupils were blown wide. When he spoke, there was the unmistakable roughness of lust.

“Is it…too much?” Jim asked, though he sounded as if he already knew the answer.

“No…I…” Spock opened his eyes. He didn’t know what was wrong. He was aching and burning and he didn’t know how to make it stop. Perhaps he should start meditating for regularly, and for longer periods.

“We can stop if you want.”

“What do you want, Jim?” Spock knew Jim must be feeling just as burning hot, even with cooler skin.

“I…” Jim ducked down, and Spock felt the tip of his thumb trace just along the waistband of his pajama pants and slip under to touch his skin. “I really wanna make you come. I think it’s what you need.”

Spock felt his breath catch it his throat. He opened his eyes. Jim was looking at him now, those blue eyes nearly obscured by his dark pupils. Would climax really make him feel better? Logically, yes. He just…didn’t know how to get there.

“I have…never…” He gasped again when he felt Jim’s fingers reach further under his clothes. His nails gently scraping along his skin.

“Really? Not even by yourself?” There was the tone of amusement in his voice that made Spock’s skin flush further.

“N-no…” Spock closed his eyes again. Masturbation was, contrary to what the more conservative species believed, a healthy way to relieve stress. Yet, Spock was never able to try it, favoring meditation to purge all sexual thoughts before. And now that Jim was…his, it hadn’t occurred to him to do either.

“You…have?” Spock wasn’t even sure why he was asking.

“All the time. Like three times in a row at night in the shower.” Jim laughed, and Spock felt the breath on his neck and shivered. He could picture Jim in the shower, water flowing down his muscles, his hands working against his erection.

“So…I guess I shouldn’t ask if you have any…sexual fantasies.”

Spock swallowed hard. Truthfully, he always went to meditate as soon as he caught himself thinking about Jim for too long. Whether it be after a chess game in which their eyes had met for longer than usual, or after work when he’d happen to glimpse Jim’s backside in those tight trousers as he leaned over the console. Either way, it never moved past stirring feelings, he never let it. So, no, he did not.

“You want me to tell you mine?” Jim’s mouth moved closer to Spock’s neck just as he could see Jim blushing harder.

“Yes.” He wasn’t sure what made him say so, but perhaps knowing what Jim thought about would help him reach his own climax.

“Really? Okay.” Jim shifted so that he was straddling Spock’s lap once more. Spock sighed as he felt Jim’s erection press so close to his own. “Okay…so it starts with you and me, and we’re on this alien planet…”

Spock had not been expecting himself to be in the scenario at all, but in hindsight, why wouldn’t he be? If this was a scenario that had been in development for the last few days, as long as they’ve been together, then there was no reason why Spock shouldn’t be in it.

“And we’re on the planet…and apparently I fuck up and somehow and offend their leader.” Jim chuckled, and Spock could not help but think that a scenario like that was more likely to actually occur rather than just be a fantasy. “So, the leader has to punish me…”

Spock sucked in a breath. He had a feeling he knew were this was going now. Masochism for the sake of sexual gratification made very little sense, but he did not want to interrupt the story.

There was a pause as Jim shifted slightly against Spock. He could feel how hard they both were, but he did not know what to do with his hands. Instead he just clenched his fists and tried to enjoy the feeling of Jim against him, without letting it overwhelm him.

“But…you don’t let the leader do it. You step in and say that you’ll do it…You should be the one to punish me, cuz I’m your captain.” Jim’s lips brushed Spock’s ear just slightly as he spoke, but it was enough to have him shaking. Spock pushed up Jim’s shirt and greedily ran his hands over the smooth skin of his back.

He hadn’t even realized he’d been moaning softly as Jim grinded their bodies together. It was so satisfying, not overwhelming the way it’d been before, because now Jim was going slow. So slow, that Spock could feel the literal second that their cocks lined up perfectly, making them both cry out.

“…And so, you tie my hands behind my back…and you pull my clothes off.” Jim pressed his face into Spock’s neck, muffling his voice slightly. “And you…and you start to fuck me.”

Jim’s movements became faster now, their cocks brushing together for several seconds now, and Spock found that he was able to breathe in spite of it; long gasping breathes as his hands moved up and down Jim’s back.

“But you make me do all the work…You lay on your back and make me fuck myself on your cock…And, God, you’re so big. I can feel how big you are.” Jim grinded down harder, and Spock moaned louder. It was as if Jim knew how to handle the fire in his body just right so they didn’t get burned.

“So…I lower myself down onto your cock and start fucking myself while everyone watches.” Jim moaned into Spock’s ear. “And my thighs are shaking, but I can’t stop. I’m screaming…and everyone thinks it hurts, but really it feels so good.”

Even with Jim’s quickened pace, Spock needed more. His hands moved to Jim’s hips once more, moving Jim harder against him so that their bodies never parted, their cocks pressing together through the layers of fabric that separate them.

“Spock, Spock…shh…” Jim’s hand goes to stroke his side, and Spock hadn’t even realized how loud he’d been moaning. His eyes snapped open, but then quickly closed again, the bright lights and ceiling taking his mind’s eye off the way Jim may have looked during the scenario described.

“Please…please continue.” Spock gasped, attempting to keep his voice low. His hands never stopped, his fingers digging into Jim’s hips and his own hips rocking as if they had a mind of their own.

God. You feel so good…your cock feels so good inside me.” Jim moaned once more, and Spock couldn’t help but echo it. “And…I’m so…so close, but I know I can’t ask you to touch me, because this is supposed to be a punishment. So…I just look you in the eyes and…silently beg you to touch my cock.”

Spock felt the same sort of desperation Jim was describing. The heat in his body was steadily rising, and he could feel his muscles clenching in his abdomen. He felt the backside of Jim’s hand stroke just on the corner of his mouth, and he quickly bit his lips, but it did little too muffles his noises.

“But…You don’t touch me.” Jim went on, his voice shaking hard, punctuated by gasps and soft moans. “You just grab my hips and fuck me harder…until I come…all over your chest.”

Spock did just that, grabbing Jim’s hips hard and rutting their bodies together harder and faster. He felt Jim’s mouth on his neck and could hear Jim moaning. His own body seemed to burst into flames and spasm uncontrollably.

He was vaguely aware of Jim’s hand clamping hard over his mouth, but Spock could not stop moaning, his moans turning to screams and his eyes shutting tight as wave after wave of pleasure surged through his body, burning him up.

“Jim…Jim…” Spock gasped against Jim’s palm as the aftershocks of his orgasm continued to shake his body.

“Oh my god.” Jim gasped, and Spock could feel the inside of his pajamas wet with his own ejaculate, just as he could feel Jim’s were damp as well. “You’re so loud. You’re a screamer!He laughed, pressing his face into Spock’s neck once more.

“I…I…” Spock didn’t know what to say to that. His cheeks flushed with heat, but the rest of his body was finally, for the first time in days, starting to cool down. He’d never felt pleasure like that before. It was as if his entire body existed just to feel that, and he could not imagine how existed for so long without it.

“It’s okay, at least now we know for next time.” Jim settled against Spock’s body as if he were going to go back to sleep.

Next time…what did that mean? Jim wanted to do this again…and those things he was saying in Spock’s ear. They were so…illogical, yet they added so much to their sexual encounter. Spock was uncertain if he would have reached climax without it.

“Jim…” Spock found that his mouth was so dry from all of the panting, his throat was raw as well from having raised his voice so much for the first time in so long. “That scenario you described…how long had you been thinking of it?”

“Oh, you liked that, huh?” Jim smirked. “Um…that one’s a favorite…probably…uh. God, I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but since that time that you…almost killed me on the bridge.”

Spock’s fingers instinctively tightened in Jim’s shirt, pressing their bodies closer once more. That had seemed so long ago, but he had not forgotten it either. But he had looked at it as such a source of shame and discomfort, never as anything romantic or sexual.

“Don’t worry, I’m not mad. I’m not…anything, it’s sort of funny now.” He chuckled. “I guess I’ve just been thinking about it a lot more now, because of where we are.”

Spock actually sighed. The ship would be in orbit over Delta Vega while supplies were beamed down to the outpost below. It was no one’s choice of a mission, but while everyone else’s hated it on the off chance they’d have to step out into the cold, Spock especially did not like it for the memories he associated with this planet.

“Speaking of which… I know I told you we’d stay on the ship, but well, the crew of the Genesis have been down on the outpost for like ever waiting for these supplies, and I talked to the captain, and well…she’s an old friend…”

“You would like for us to go see her?”

“Do you mind?” Jim idly stroked a hand across Spock’s still clothed shirt, and Spock found it impossible to say no.

❖ ❖ ❖

“Hey, Captain!” Jim grinned, calling down the long hallway of the outpost to the captain of the Genesis. The new outpost on Delta Vega was must larger than the one Jim had first met Scotty in, and it housed the crew of the Genesis with ease.

Areel Shaw had only been holding the position since last year, but as the second youngest captain in the fleet, she’d already made her mark. Jim knew she wished that mark hadn’t included almost destroying her entire ship and having to park it on Delta Vega while repairs were made.

“Captain.” She gave him a warm smile as she approached. They saluted one another, before she pulled him into a hug. “Jim…it’s so good to see you.”

“You too, Areel.” Jim was aware of Spock’s slightly stiffer posture beside him. For someone who just had an orgasm, Spock was suddenly very uptight. Jim smirked slightly when he realized Spock was getting jealous. “Areel’s an old friend from forever ago.” Jim stepped back, addressing Spock now and hoping to squash the jealously.

“Greetings Captain.” Spock nodded at her. “I regret that we are meeting under such circumstances.”

“I know.” She sighed and started down the hall and they followed. “I can’t believe this happened. Everyone was already having doubts about me before…”

“But Captain Keller recommended you, he promoted you!” Jim felt defensive not only because she was his friend, but because he knew those same doubts all too well.

“Yes.” She nodded. Maybe it was because Jim knew her so well, but he caught the slight tinge on her cheeks. “The good news is, everyone seemed to agree I made the best decision back there, even if it did damage the ship.”

“You saved lives!” Jim would have made the same call.

“Right! But we almost completely severed the thrusters. Our landing was more of a crash…we had no power…and then…last night.” She sighed as they stepped onto the bridge, wrapping her arms around herself.

“What happened last night?” Jim had never seen her in this way.

“Yaxley. My chief science officer…” Areel straightened her posture when Jim noticed the few crew members in the room watching her. “He said he was picking something up out at the old outpost not far from here. We knew the supplies there were low, since we were waiting on you…so no one had been out there. But Yaxley said he thought he could somehow wire the power from the old outpost to this one, then he could fix the replicators so we’d have more food until you got here. So I let him go.”

“Was he properly equipped for the temperature?” Spock asked.

“Yes, he and Daniels both.” She nodded. “Sure enough, about half an hour after they left, the power came back on here. Yaxley commed and said they were on their way back…when…”

“They never showed up…” Jim finished for her, and she sighed, collapsing into a chair by a console that was no doubt linked to the Genesis.  While most of the crew was crammed here, Jim knew the engineers were back in what was left of the Genesis, working hard.

Losing people and having to make hard decisions always got to him as well. He lifted a hand to place it on her shoulder, but Spock’s sudden words held him back.

“I fail to see how you should blame yourself. Furthermore, Yaxley and Daniels could still be alive, but simply have an injury that prevents them from returning.”

“I was waiting for you to get here.” She straightened up. “Now that you’ve given us the supplies, we can take time to get a search party together.”

“I can go.” Jim turned to see a woman in a red uniform. “Me and Saunders.”

“You’re both needed here.” Shaw said to them before looking back to Jim. “I hope you don’t mind, the engineers wanted to ask if Montgomery Scott could go with them? Take a look around?”

“I bet he’d love to.” Jim nodded. “He’ll get your back up and running…though, not without a few modifications.”  

Soon enough, practically everyone from the Enterprise’s engineering went and joined those on the Genesis. Everyone else from the Enterprise was making arrangments for Shaw’s crew to beam up and join them.

“You guys deserve somewhere warm to rest.” Jim said when Shaw protested. “We have nowhere else to be for the time being, and I won’t take no for an answer.”

The chance for two crews to mingle didn’t happen often, but Jim walked through the halls of the Enterprise feeling elated as he watched the crews exchanging stories. The ones from the Genesis all recounted the mission that got them to this state, and Jim overheard a few recounts of similar battles on their end.

Spock had been pulled into a conversation with one of the Genesis’ science officers. She seemed a little star-struck, and now Jim felt jealous as she signed energetically.

“I apologize, but I know very little Standard Sign Language.” Spock had said. Uhura stepped in and was now translating.

“She said she read your article on the theory on chemical manipulation on Mori. She said she’s working on a response.” Uhura translated, and Lieutenant Parducci nodded. She then signed something else that made Uhura laugh. “Oh, it’s a sign language pun…”

“Captain!” Jim glanced up instinctively, but saw that the officer was actually addressing Shaw. He held a communicator that crackled with static. “Incoming transmission! I think it’s Yaxley!”

“Oh!” She grabbed the communicator from him, and the room fell silent. “Yaxley! Can you hear me? The Enterprise is here! They can beam up you and Daniels!”

“Chekov, see what you can do.” Jim called to the young Ensign who’d been getting very close to one of the Genesis’ medbay nurses.

“Yes sir!”

“Yaxley, are you with Daniels?!” Shaw pressed the communicator to her ear and then sighed. “I can’t hear anything.”

“Not picking them up, sir.” Chekov called.

“Yaxley, stay where you are.” Shaw said firmly. “We’re beaming down to get you.”

“I’ll go.” Jim said instantly. “I’ll go with some of mine. We’ll bring them back.”

“Jim –Captain.” Spock was by his side suddenly. “I cannot allow you to do that.”

“I’ll be fine.” Jim touched his hand gently. “I’ve been down there before, remember?” The look on Spock’s face proved that was the wrong thing to say. Jim quickly stroked his fingers over the back of Spock’s as an apology.

He didn’t necessarily feel shy about it, but he kind of wished Areel and so many people from the Genesis weren’t watching. Only then did he recall how he’d first asked out Spock with the excuse that they were doing it to show off to people. In the days since then, Jim found he much preferred it when they were alone…because he loved Spock. His stupid excuse about showing off their dynamic seemed even stupider now. Why couldn’t he just tell Spock the truth?

“I will go in your place.” Spock said. He then lowered his voice slightly, leaning towards Jim just a fraction of an inch, but it was enough. “I send you down there once, and it was a mistake. Never again will you ever feel cold or be harmed when you are with me.

Jim stared back into Spock’s face, emotion welling in his chest. More than ever, he wanted to be alone with him now, but he then remembered Areel and the others were waiting.

“Okay…” Jim sighed. “But you’re bundling up big time!”

“Agreed.” Spock nodded, and Jim saw the hint of amusement in his eyes.

In the end, it was decided that Spock would beam down to the planet’s surface with Sulu, Chekov, and one of Areel’s own officers. They were all bundled in special thermal suits, and Jim insisted they take weapons with them.

Jim and Areel stood with a select few officers from both ships as they prepared to beam them down. Jim watched Spock standing with the others and tried to push down any worries he felt.

“The outpost is due north from where you’ll land.” Areel was saying. “Grant, you’ve got the medical kit just in case?”

“Affirmative, Captain.” He nodded.

“Alright.” She glanced to Scotty at the control, and then to Jim. “Well…Jim it’s your call.”

“Right, beam them down.”

“One moment.” Spock said. Everyone glanced over to him. Jim thought Spock was going to go through the plan once more, or perhaps ask a question, so he was very surprised when Spock stepped down, calmly walked over to Jim, and placed his hands on either side of his face before kissing him.

Jim was still dazed, feeling his face grow hot as Spock went back to the transporter pad. Through the fuzz of his mind, he could hear whispers and giggles, and then they were gone.

Even though they were supposedly dating to prove something to people, Jim realized that was their first kiss in front of people. A lot of people. Jim only hoped that kiss was enough to keep Spock warm down there.

“So, I suppose I don’t have to ask if it’s true.” Areel gave him genuine smile that, for the first time, wasn’t warped by worry. “There was a rumor…but I wasn’t sure.”

“Yes.” Jim couldn’t help but grin as he made up his mind. When Spock returned, Jim would tell him. “I love him.”

Chapter Text

“I am…so freaking cold…”

Spock had listened to the others complaining of the temperature for the past two hours as they moved through the heavy snow and ice. He tried to drown out their voices by listening to the wind, but it did not help.

“Saying it over and over again isn’t helping, Hikaru.” Chekov was clutching the tricorder in a way that suggested his fingers may have frozen, as he scanned the upcoming acres for signs of Yaxley and Daniels.

“Complaining keeps me warm…” His muttering was barely audible through their bundled clothes, but that did not stop Chekov from retorting.

“Well, it makes me colder, so shut up. And we are supposed to be professional…they need our help. Maybe you should walk in front so you can look ahead…” Chekov said through chattering teeth.

“And what? Get hit with all the wind?!”

Spock thought the entire exchange was very illogical. He knew it was the bitter cold that was leaving them so snippy. It was especially odd when they were two people who were usually very friendly, even to the point where they referred to one another by their first names, even when on duty.

Even though it was illogical, Spock could not help but feel as if he were treading down the same path. The cold bit as his nose and he was very grateful Jim had insisted that they wear the suits that covered their ears with special pads, even if it did mean their weapons were buried under layers. He kept his eyes ahead and mouth closed, in case he too felt like being too short with someone.

He looked over to Tygiel, one of the med staff from Shaw’s ship. She carried a medical kit just in case Yaxley and Daniels were injured. Spock was no expert on human emotion, but there was a worried knit in her brows. Perhaps she thought the worst had happened to her companions. After all, they had yet to receive another reading since they arrived.

“Hey! Hey! I’ve got something! Up ahead!” Chekov called, looking down at the tricorder that whirred loudly.

“Enterprise crew to Yaxley, come in.” Sulu immediately whipped out his comm and tried to contact the other.

“Never mind that.” Chekov looked up and pointed towards the same glacier-like structure they’d been heading towards. “I bet they’re up there in the cave!”

Spock’s limbs were too cold for much exertion, and luckily he was not alone. They moved towards there with a goal now, and Spock counted his breathes that came out in hot puffs as he attempted to think of anything other than how cold he was.

“Yaxley!” Tygiel spoke for the first time, reaching the cave before anyone else. Spock knew the idea of seeing her companions again must have been the perfect motivation.

The wind was cut off in the cave, the crystalline inside sounding eerily silent. Spock put one hand on the inside of the mouth, its sharp edges pressing even through his mittens. He surveyed the dark small space, his Vulcan vision adjusted rapidly.

He spotted two people near the back wall, one crouched over the other. He did not know which one was Yaxley and which one was Daniels, but Tygiel moved to help both of them as Chekov and Sulu followed through.

“Is he alive?” Sulu asked, and Spock came closer.

“He’s fine. Frostbite I think…” He looked at Tygiel and gave a small nod.

“Oh, um…Mister Spock, can you help me. I think there’s something for him in the kit.” She placed the kit on the cave floor.

Spock knew it was logical for them all to take a part so as to get everyone back to the Enterprise as quickly as possible. He turned his back on the other and crouched to help her. As soon as both of his hands touched the kit, it seemed as if several things happened so fast that he could not have foreseen it.

Tygiel went from crouched in front of him to standing, her phaser pointed between his eyes. He felt one of the men behind him grab his arms and pin them back as the tip of Tygiel’s phaser pressed to Spock’s neck.

Spock did not fight back, as his immediate worry and first thoughts went to his companions. The needs of the many outweighed that of the one, though he did feel a twinge of fear for his own life when the man holding his arms barked to the others.

“One move…one move and the Vulcan gets it.”

Spock was pulled by the arms so that his entire body rotated, and he now faced the others. He could see the man that was previously lying hurt was now standing and had a weapon Chekov and Sulu, who both had their hands up.

Sulu’s face did not betray his anger and only the small twitches of his gloved fingers gave away the fact that he’d rather be wringing someone’s neck. Spock was reminded again of the fact that Sulu was very much made for a role of high stress and leadership, even if he did not do well in the cold.

On the other side of the spectrum, Chekov very much showed his age in the way he whole body shook into his boots, as well as his voice.

“W-what the heck?!” He locked eyes with Spock for a second, and Spock actually felt a tug as the most human parts of his conscious empathized with the crew’s youngest member. “So…you do not need our help!?”

They ignored him, and Spock felt the person holding his arms tighten his grip in anger and at an attempt to turn to Tygiel, who still held a weapon to Spock’s neck. Spock thought of his own weapon, buried under layers.

“What the fuck? You said you’d get Shaw out here! That was the plan! Daniels and I have been waiting for two days!”

“It wasn’t up to me, Yaxley.” She said. Spock could feel a millimeter of the skin on her wrist against his neck, and his telepathy gave away her apprehension. “Kirk stepped in Shaw’s place, and then Spock stepped in Kirk’s.”

“Let’s throw the plan.” Daniels said. He lowered his phaser from Chekov and Sulu just slightly as he turned to meet Yaxley’s eyes over Spock’s shoulder. “You said you wanted Shaw, or Kirk if it came down to it…They aren’t worth anything.”

“Wrong.” Yaxley growled near Spock’s ear, and Spock tried to calculate an escape in a way that kept Chekov and Sulu safe. “He’s worth something…an endangered species…”

“Is he, though?” Daniels turned back to Chekov and Sulu, keeping them in line with his weapon. “Isn’t he actually a half-breed, or something like that?”

Spock could not help but growl at his least-favorite way of being described. It seemed to drag up flashes of hearing the same words through the mouths of Vulcan school children. His cheeks burned in spite of the bitter cold.

Everyone else seemed to have notice, as Spock now felt all eyes on him. The phaser pressed again against his neck, and Tygiel chuckled darkly, despite Spock clearly feeling her reluctance. It seemed logical that she was buying time, using any excuse to spare Spock’s life for seconds at a time.

“No, I mean…because of what he’s worth to Kirk.” She said, and Spock felt as if his stomach were dropping. Her intentions didn’t matter to him now. “That was quite a display right before we left…I didn’t believe what everyone was saying about you, since I swore Parducci was flirting with you, but I guess it is true…you’re Kirk’s now.”

“What?!” Yaxley laughed in Spock’s ear, and he felt his skin crawl. “You’re Kirk’s what!? Like his pet!? That’s fucking disgusting!”

Spock growled again, his whole face flushing. He could not risk acting out if it was going to get the others hurt, though he wanted to now more than ever. He locked eyes with Chekov and Sulu for a split second and could actually read sympathy from them now. That made it worse, knowing they were embarrassed for him.

“So…ransom then…” Yaxley mused aloud. “That might work…”

“Come on, Yaxley.” Daniels sighed. “This wasn’t the plan! We were supposed to take out Shaw, you were supposed to be Captain…”

“Because Keller should have picked me!” Yaxley snarled.

“Killing them will not aide your goal.” Spock spoke for the first time. His voice was calm and impassive, yet it drew everyone’s attention. “Let them go.”

“Why? So they can run back to Kirk? Hell no!” Yaxley gripped Spock’s arms harder. “Daniels, kill them.”

Spock’s eyes widened in fear, as did Chekov’s and Sulu’s. Daniels, however, lowered his weapon. “This wasn’t the plan.” He said again. “This was about Shaw. I’m not gonna kill these random people…he’s just a kid!”

Spock knew that Chekov did not like to be reminded of his age, or patronized for it, but now he seemed relieved to use it as an excuse to be let go. Though, whether he was making himself cry for added effect or if they were real tears, Spock did not know.

“He’s right…” Tygiel seemed to jump onto Daniel’s point, only backing down now that she wouldn’t be first to do so. “I said I would help you, but I never agreed on this. Let Spock go…he isn’t worth it. Kirk would land the whole Enterprise on our heads before he let us try and sell Spock back for ransom.” Spock sighed in relief as she lowered her weapon and took a few steps back.

“NO!” Yaxley screamed, and Spock felt his grip loosen slightly as he raged. One hand moved from holding Spock to snatch Tygiel’s phaser, though he fumbled one-handed and did not turn it on Spock. “I should have never trusted you two! You’re weak, like Shaw, who didn’t come herself! Like, Kirk who—“

It would most likely have been a very trivial insult to Jim’s character, yet Spock did not care to hear it. He pulled out of Yaxley’s grip, his Vulcan agility finally catching up to his freezing cold limbs. He turned on the spot and reached out to subdue Yaxley.

Yaxley held up his phaser and fired just as Spock’s fingers closed around the spot on Yaxley’s neck. Yaxley’s entire body went limp, knocking the beam just off center enough to hit Spock in the right side of the chest. The pale moon-colored expanse of cave floor behind him was immediately slashed with dark green.

Spock gasped, his eyes wide as the world seemed to slow down. Somewhere in the background, he heard shouts and more fires. He was unsure if he failed his mission of protecting the others as he crumbled to the floor.

“Oh my god…oh my god! Is he alive!?”

Pain seemed to burn all of his nerve endings. His entire right side seemed to be aflame. Spock could do nothing but squeeze his eyes shut and curl in on himself. Normally, he could suppress this pain, hold something to the wound, and carry on, but something was wrong.

As his hot blood sizzled onto the cold floor, it seemed to drain his body of warmth. He seemed to be becoming one with the ice and snow. It felt worse as hands grabbed him, rolling him onto his back.

Everything else was forgotten, and Spock knew only one thing. He had to get to Jim. He had to tell Jim the truth. He fought through the pain and through the fact that he was freezing.

“Jim… Jim.” He gasped as someone pressed something to his wound. He coughed and tried to breathe.

“Grab the kit Tygiel had!” Sulu sounded so far away. Spock felt himself slipping into a comforting healing trance, though it was a dizzy ride from blood-loss.

“What about them?” Chekov sniffled from cold and tears.

“Not our problem.” Sulu said quickly. “Try to comm the ship. We need to get him to McCoy.”

“Is he alive?” Chekov asked.

“For now. Go!”

“Jim…Jim…” Spock tried again to call out for his mate. He had to tell him the truth.

“You’ll be alright.” Sulu said. “We’ll get you to Jim.”

“Jim…I am sorry…I lied to you…it was a lie…” Spock coughed, feeling as if his lung were filling with blood.

“Hey, just relax.” Sulu pressed something to the wound and Spock felt himself falling. His body begged him to slip under, as it would help him heal, but first he had to tell Jim.

“Jim…I have always loved you. It was never just for show. I have always wanted you…”

“I’ve got Scotty on comm! He’s gonna beam the three of us up!” Chekov sounded so far.

“Thank god…I think he’s delirious. He won’t shut up.”

As Spock’s Vulcan biology finally forced his consciousness to shut down, he desperately tried to draw up warm memories to keep himself from freezing. The feeling of Jim’s skin was cooler, but began to sear with heat when they kissed. He tried to recall that feeling, Jim’s hot mouth, his warm laughter, his body…hard under Spock’s, yet so unlike the same hard ground beneath him now. His beautiful mind, so tactic and yet brash.

“Jim…”

❖ ❖ ❖

“…Spock.” Jim hadn’t moved from being crouched by Spock’s biobed since they’d brought him in. His adrenaline levels had lowered and were slowly replaced by dread, fear, and anger as the time went on. Though he still remembered the initial spike of it when he saw what had happened.

Chekov had come in just as crackly as Yaxley, so no one knew what to expect as Scotty reached for the controls to beam them up. Jim was only feeling relief at seeing Spock safe.

He and Areel had been alone in the transporter room. She wore a stony mask the entire time, only occasionally broken by tears. He’d known her when they were both so young, ambitious and optimistic, so this came as quite a shock.

But when he got her to open up, his hands on her shoulders as she cried, she revealed how she’d begged Keller to reconsider picking her to take his place, but he had not relented. Jim had only ever seen Keller in passing, but he could picture the old man shaking Areel’s hand proudly, despite her protests. Keller had had quite the reputation for being eccentric, but he was something like a secret genius. Even though Jim nodded sympathetically, he actually agreed that Areel was a great captain, even if losing some crew members so soon seemed to have dampened her spirits.

“Relax…I’m sure Spock and the others found your guys no problem.” He smiled at her purposely in the same way as when they were young, and he saw her younger self when she smiled back.

“I think Yaxley resents me…” She said, taking Jim by surprise. “I think he was gunning for Keller to recommend him.”

“That must be…awkward.” Jim took his hands off her shoulders and she straightened in her chair.

“I try to be professional, and Yaxley was my friend…before. But now it’s like that never mattered. He and Daniels –“

“Oi! Captain! I’ve got Chekov on the line!” Scotty called over.

Jim excitedly glanced towards the transporter pad. A second later, his stomach seemed to drop into his feet. The first thing he noticed was that Sulu’s arms were covered in blood. Vulcan blood. Chekov held the crumbled remains of his tricorder, and Spock was unconscious, barely supported between them. There was no sign of Areel’s crew members.

“What happened!?” Areel demanded as Jim practically pushed them aside and took Spock into his arms.

“Yaxley…it was a trap. He was trying to kill you.” Sulu panted, placing his hands on his knees as he no longer had to hold Spock. “He shot Spock.”

“Spock…” Jim tried to tenderly hold the man and keep him from touching the floor. Spock was unconscious, but Jim could feel his heartbeat as he held him close.

“He’s alive.” Sulu assured him, but Jim did not calm down.

Pure hot rage seemed to surge through him. He gritted his teeth as he unwillingly imagined Spock fearing for his life…facing a weapon…feeling anything other than pure happiness and contentment at Jim’s side. How could this happen…how could Jim have let him go down…be put in danger.

“Jim, let us take him.” McCoy was suddenly at his side, gently pulling him back by the elbow.

Jim barely registered the flock of med staff suddenly there, and the stretcher. Jim couldn’t let go…couldn’t let the person he loved be hurt ever again, be anywhere else than in the safety of his arms.

“No…no…” Jim tried to push him away, but then Sulu was there, holding him back as McCoy and the others took Spock away.

“He’ll live.” Sulu said, and Jim clenched his jaw, hating to hear what he didn’t know was absolutely true.

“What happened!?” Areel demanded, her rank showing to the point where Jim would never have believed what she confessed to him earlier.

“It was a trap.” Sulu said again. “They wanted to kill you. Yaxley wanted to hold Spock for ransom.”

“W-was he being serious, d-do you think?” Chekov’s voice shook.

“Who knows.” Sulu began shedding his thermal suit.

“But what would someone want with Spock?” Chekov stepped closer, and Jim could see tear streaks on his face.

“Well…you heard what he said…about him being worth something because he’s…” Sulu dropped his voice, but Jim could still hear it. “An endangered species…”

“Stop! I…” Jim shuddered and shook his head. “I can’t hear anymore…what…what happened to the others?”

“Well, we left them behind when they turned on us.” Sulu said. “Spock did that…thing and made Yaxley pass out. One of the phasers hit the cave wall and it fell in, but as far as I know, the others are all still down there.”

“Should we send someone after them?” Jim asked Areel, mentally checking the brig for room.

She looked past him, her face an impassive mask. Her shoulders were back and in that moment she showed no insecurities. “Leave them.”

Jim paced outside the medbay for almost an hour until McCoy finally let him back to see Spock. In that time, Areel had a meeting with both crews explaining what happened, but Jim couldn’t bear to hear it again. It was bad enough to replay just the thought in his head of Spock getting shot.

He sat at Spock’s bedside, his knees aching in the hard floor, and his upper body laid across Spock. He listened to the bed beep in sync with Spock’s heart. He kept one hand over Spock’s, gently stroking his fingers and trying not to look at the bandage on his chest.

“…Spock.” Jim breathed softly, watching his lovers face. “God…I’m so sorry. I should never have let you go down there. I should never have…lied to you.”

“Jim…” Spock croaked.

“Spock!” Jim sat up, reaching for Spock’s hand with both of his. “Spock…you’re alright…Bones said you’ll be okay.” He still couldn’t believe it. He hadn’t stepped away for a second and risk Spock waking up alone.

“Jim...” Spock tried to sit up, but winced and laid back down.

“Shh…just take it easy.” Jim rubbed his hand over the back of Spock’s. “Spock…I’m sorry. I lied to you…this was never about work. I just wanted an excuse to be with you…”

“Jim…Yaxley…” Spock sighed.

“No, don’t worry. Areel took care of it. Sulu told us everything.” Jim assured him, though he felt a sting of pain at the fact that Spock seemed to not understand his confession.

“No, Jim…Yaxley…he called me yours. He was right.” Spock turned enough to look Jim in the eyes. “I have always…belonged to you. I have felt it. That is why I wanted to be with you. I hoped by being together you would start to feel the same way…”

“Gosh…we’re both so dumb…” Jim chuckled, actually feeling tears prick at his eyes. He held Spock’s hand tighter and laid his head down gently on Spock’s stomach. A moment later, he felt Spock’s fingers softly in his hair.

“Indeed…why did we not simply talk to each other?”

“I don’t know.” Jim laughed. “I mean…we kissed…we slept in the same bed. We really were dating, but we had no idea if the other was even into us.”

“I began to have a suspicious when you mentioned I was a part of your sexual fantasy.” Spock said, and Jim laughed. He really laughed, feeling the weight of it all lift from his shoulders, as well as the love he felt for Spock finally wash over his mind. He turned his head enough to bury his face in Spock’s hospital gown and inhale his scent. It was there, under the masking smell of clinic.

“Does it hurt?” Jim asked it a whisper, almost fearing the answer.

“I feel only contentment…” Spock blinked slowly, reminding Jim of a happy cat. “I am with you.”

They fell into silence, exchanging Vulcan kisses as Jim attempted to climb up and share the bed with Spock. They were comfortable for about three seconds until McCoy walked over and shook his head.

“Jim, get down, you’re messing up the readings.”

“Mmm…make me.” Jim just closed his eyes.

“Dammit. I’ve got a lot of people to take care of, and I have to make sure Spock is getting better. So get—“ He was cut off as the bed was approached by more people.

“Hey, you are alive!” Chekov sounded relieved.

“I am.” Spock said. “However, it was not my own life I feared for. Yaxley was willing to kill both of you.”

“Yeah, but he didn’t.” Sulu said proudly. “Because you got him!”

“That thing was so cool!” Chevok’s eyes widened. “Can you teach me how to do that?!”

“Ah…I cannot.” Spock said, but Jim thought he sounded secretly very pleased at the attention. “Unfortunately, it is something only Vulcans are capable of, as it requires a lot precision.”

“Aw…”

“Okay, okay, everyone get out.” McCoy grumbled, grabbing Sulu and Chekov by the shoulders and pushing them towards the doors. “You next.” He pointed at Jim.

“Fine…” Jim slid off the bed, before reaching back to touch Spock’s hand. “I’ll see you later. I love you.”

“I love you too.” Spock closed his eyes.

When Jim walked past McCoy to leave, he expected some sort of disturbed look at his friends face, instead McCoy just shook his head fondly.

❖ ❖ ❖

The Enterprise left the crew of the Genesis with plenty of supplies for the time being. When Jim hugged Areel goodbye, she was still somewhat stiff, and Jim wondered if she’d ever really get over Yaxley’s betrayal. Personally, he didn’t think he could.

Spock was released from medbay, but only to his quarters, and not to work. Jim crossed and uncrossed his legs in the Captain’s chair all day. He wanted nothing more than to go back to Spock’s quarters and spend time with him, but his duties came first.

As soon as his shift ended, he bolted off the bridge and down the hallway. He entered his quarters and paused only to change into a t-shirt and shorts to face the temperature in Spock’s quarters.

“Hey.” Jim smiled as he looked over at Spock.

“Good evening.” Spock was sitting up in his bed holding his lute. Jim tried to focus on that sight, rather than the bandage that was still over the right side of his chest and showing under his shirt.

“You know, I’ve never heard you play before.” Jim approached the bed. “Actually, that’s a lie. I used to hear you through the walls…back when the mission first started. I guess I should say I’ve never seen you play before. I haven’t actually heard you play in a while. Why’d you stop?”

“The ka'athyra is a very special instrument.” Spock shifted slightly, drawing his legs up so that Jim could sit at the foot of the bed. “Many Vulcans believe it takes absolute precision to play, but they are wrong. It takes…a true understanding of what makes music so special. It takes an…understanding of emotion. That is why I began to play again.”

Jim moved from the end of the bed to lay beside Spock, laying his head down on the pillows and watching Spock through half-lidded eyes. He hadn’t realized how tired he was until now, but he did not want to sleep.

“Let me see you play, then.”

“Recently…I have come to understand emotions more than ever. You stir something in me. You make me understand why certain emotions are logical.”

“Alright, then let’s hear it…” Jim unsuccessfully tried to fight the color from his cheeks as he reached out with one foot to brush it against Spock’s.

Spock began to play and Jim slowly closed his eyes. He felt something new now, like a tiny twinge in his mind that seemed to connect them. Spock assured him that they would grow to understand the link together, but Jim didn’t need any convincing.

As he reached out to place a hand a hand on Spock’s thigh, he was certain that for the first time ever, they were finally on the same page.