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Originally published in Beyond Dreams 4

      The beam caught Kirk, and the planet Triskelion dissolved before his eyes, replaced with the coalescing form of the Enterprise's transporter room. His body solidified and gravity pulled at him again. Kirk stepped off the transporter platform, grinning at his chief engineer and chief medical officer. His relief and happiness at being back on board quickly faded, though, as he realized Spock was not there to greet him.

      "Jim!" McCoy called out.

      "Captain, 'tis good to see ye again. All of ye." Scott smiled broadly.

      "It's good to be here. Where's Spock?" The quick glance between McCoy and Scotty didn't escape his notice.

      "He's, uh, still on the bridge. Probably getting us ready to go back where we belong."

      "Ah'll be getting to me bairns, Captain." Scotty was halfway to the door when Kirk halted him.

      "Just a moment, Scotty. Uhura, Chekov, report to sickbay. McCoy'll be there in a few minutes. You're off duty until tomorrow, pending the doctor's exam. I'll expect your reports then."

      "Aye, sir," the two junior officers said, leaving the room.

      Once they were gone, Kirk turned to McCoy and Scotty. "Gentlemen, I get the distinct impression something is wrong."

      "Jim, we found you and you're all okay. What could be wrong?" McCoy was already running a scanner over him.

      "Why isn't Spock here?"

      "I told you, he's up on the bridge. He's in command of this bucket of bolts until you're back on duty, y'know."

      Kirk glared at McCoy. "Spock's usually here when I return." He looked at Scotty. "Well?"

      "There was a bit o' trouble...a misunderstanding really."

      "I won't ask again," Kirk warned.

      "All right, Jim. Nothing's really wrong. Scotty and I sort of gave Spock a hard time about searching way out in neverland for you."

      "Why? He was right."

      McCoy rolled his eyes. "Of course he was right. Isn't that blasted Vulcan always right? Look, we were really worried about you, and Uhura and Chekov, and for what seemed like no reason Spock warped out of orbit and headed halfway across the galaxy."

      "It's true, sir. Mister Spock was acting a wee bit odd."

      "In what way?"

      "He checked the ship's instruments from the bridge, and did several scans of Gamma II, but he seemed...preoccupied somehow. You know how intent yon Vulcan can be; he just didna seem that way this time, and it's no' like him, especially you being among the missing. Then when I reported about the transporter, he didna seem surprised. A few moments later a slight distortion of a hydrogen cloud was discovered and he just upped and ordered us out of orbit. He didna even check the transporter himself, which isna like him, either."

      "So there we were warping across the cosmos, following some vapor trail that spanned light-years. What were we supposed to think?"

       "We didna mean to give Mister Spock a hard time, Captain."

      "Honestly, Jim. We were just worried, and his actions were strange. But don't worry about Spock; he knows it was nothing personal. Besides, we'll be hearing about Vulcan superior reasoning and logic for a long time now."

Kirk looked from one man to the other. "You deserve it. I want you both to remember that when I'm off this ship Spock is in command. Don't undermine his authority or question his decisions. You have to give him the same respect and cooperation you give me."

      "Aye, sir. Sorry I am."

      McCoy only nodded, and Kirk knew that was about as much as he'd get from the doctor.

      "Dismissed, gentlemen."

      All three men left the transporter room, Scotty heading in the opposite direction toward engineering, McCoy accompanying Kirk to the turbo.

      "Deck five," Kirk ordered.

      "I want to see you in sickbay in twenty minutes, Jim."

      "I'm fine, Bones."

      "Regulations. Those welts on you need treatment, and I'm sure they hurt. I don't want an infection brewing."

      "Later. After I get cleaned up I'm going to the bridge," Kirk said as he stepped out of the lift.

      "One hour, Captain. Then I send out security to hunt you down."

      Kirk didn't bother to answer, just headed for his quarters. He was irritated. He'd been away from his ship for too long and now that he was back the last place he wanted to be was sickbay.

      Once inside he tugged off the harness from Triskelion and threw it into the disposal. He pulled off his boots and socks, and stripped out of his pants and briefs. After a short shower he donned a fresh uniform and headed for the bridge. As the turbo activated, he felt the telltale vibration of his ship slipping into warp. He smiled to himself. Spock was getting them underway.

      Kirk stepped out onto the bridge, his smile growing broader as he found Spock standing beside his command chair. He sat down and looked at his second-in-command, who was patiently waiting. It was so good to be back on his ship. To see that familiar face.

      "Captain. Welcome aboard."

      "Thank you, Mister Spock. I'm happy to be back."

      "I regret not meeting you in the transporter room but I thought it best to break orbit as soon as possible."

      "That's fine. What's our status?"

      "The ship is on course back to Gamma II at warp two. We cannot use higher warp drive until Mister Scott finishes repairs on the transverse coils. The sustained warp used to locate you caused moderate fusing. Repair estimates are three hours and fourteen minutes, at which time we can increase speed to warp five. Current EPA is twenty-three point six hours. Starfleet has been apprised of the situation."

      His efficient Vulcan. "Thanks, Spock. It's good to be back. I missed you."

      He hadn't really meant to say that, but somehow it slipped out. It was true, though; he had missed Spock. He always did when they were separated.

      One brow lifted. "Indeed. I was concerned for you as well."

      Kirk smiled at the words. Spock must have really been worried to admit it. The brown eyes were regarding him warmly, and Kirk wondered for the thousandth time how anyone who knew Spock thought he was cold and unemotional.

      "I would have thought the good doctor would have issued an invitation to sickbay."

      Kirk laughed. "He certainly did." He stood up. "All right, I'm going. If I know McCoy, I won't be back on duty till at least tomorrow, maybe the day after. How about dinner tonight? You can fill me in and maybe then some chess? I think it's your cabin this time?"

      "Correct. I will be off-duty at 19:00, if that is convenient."

      "Fine. See you then."

      Kirk watched Spock sit in the center seat before leaving, making his way to sickbay. Yes, it was good to be back.

****

      Kirk sipped at the spicy Vulcan drink, watching as Spock cleared away their dinner dishes. The dinner had been a combination of Vulcan and Entanial foods, a surprising but delicious blend. Spock had given him his report, and he had related the events on the planet. Kirk finished his drink. Triskelion was already light-years away, and except for the discomfort in his back, it seemed in the distant past. But it could have easily been his future, if it weren't for his Vulcan friend.

      He glanced at Spock. He was wearing a plain robe that looked soft and comfortable. The rich brown color complimented his dark eyes and hair. He liked seeing Spock out of uniform. It was rare, and only in the privacy of his own cabin. He liked that Spock could relax when they were alone like this. Any time they could share together was good, but here, guarded by his privacy, Spock was secure enough to really let down his barriers. Kirk felt honored he was the only person Spock would do this with.

      Kirk stood and stretched, wandering into Spock's sleeping area. It was a bit warm, but not uncomfortable. Of course, Spock had lowered the temperature for him. Kirk remembered, all too well, the times Spock had been hurt and recovering in sickbay, and the medical staff had set the temperature for Vulcan-norm. He had broken into a sweat just upon entering. But right now it felt nice. Cozy. He glanced around the red-lit room, at the flickering flame of the idol, the ancient weapons. Once this room had seemed so alien to him, strange and mysterious. It still held mystery, but it was not strange anymore. He knew this place.

      "Jim?"

      Kirk half-turned. "I don't really feel like chess right now, Spock. I'd rather just relax, talk. If that's okay with you."

      "As you wish." Spock joined him in the bedroom and indicated one of the exotic chairs he kept in his small reproduction of his homeworld. Kirk sat down, liking the plush feel. His hands reverently stroked the wooden arms of the chair. Real wood was rare on Vulcan. He glanced up in time to see his host settle himself on the floor in a nest of pillows.

      "You look very comfortable."

      "Contrary to what the crew believes, I do not sleep upon a rack to ensure my 'stiff back' will not bend."

      Kirk chuckled. "The accommodations on Triskelion were almost that bad."

      Spock's eyes darkened and his brows pulled down into a frown. "It is illogical that a superior intelligence such as the Providers would purposefully misuse other sentient beings."

      "They weren't so superior after all."

      "From what happened and what you reported, their technology is quite impressive. They were able to transfix on your position and beam over eleven parsecs of space. The underground chamber you described housed vast machines that were able to hold the Enterprise in orbit and render us defenseless, while controlling everything else on the planet. All of this done solely by their mental emanations."

      "Technologically, yes, they are superior. But they had lost a vital part of themselves. They forgot what it was like to feel, to be corporeal. They didn't recognize those other beings as people. Just because those beings weren't as educated or intelligent as the Providers, they treated them like inferiors, almost like animals-from selective breeding to betting on gladiatorial battles. The thralls' whole lives were completely controlled, from being told when to eat, rest, exercise, when and whom to fight. Life had no value. It was all for the Providers own vicarious thrill."

      "Mm." Spock seemed to think it over. "Do you believe they will keep their word and train the population?"

      "I hope so. They honored all their past wagers. I think they'll find teaching and preparing such a variety of species to be an independent society all the challenge they'll need."

      "Indeed."

      "There were species there I didn't even know. Some I did, but some were completely new to me. All those different life-forms we've encountered, and there are still so many out there we don't know about."

      "The universe is a vast place."

      They fell silent for a few minutes. It was a comfortable, easy silence. Kirk's eyes wandered over the alien bedroom.

      "It's funny how some things are so different between species, and yet some things are the same. Look at us-we're two different species, but we've always gotten along. We think differently, but our objectives and goals are pretty much the same. We balance each other so well. We're a perfect match." Kirk's grin faded as he noticed the other man suddenly stiffen and look away.

      "Spock? Did I say something wrong?"

      "No. You are correct, of course. We are an efficient command team."

      "Yes, and we're also good friends. I like being here with you, like this."

      "So do I." Spock's voice sounded normal, but Kirk noticed him swallowing, usually a sign of nervousness.

      "I heard about the hard time McCoy and Scotty gave you. I talked to them about it."

      "That was not necessary. Their concerns were only for you."

      "I know, but that's no excuse to be disrespectful. You're my second-in-command and my friend." Kirk remembered something. "They said it was because you were behaving oddly."

      Spock glanced quickly away and swallowed again. Kirk's mind snapped into alert mode.

      "Spock? Was something odd going on?"

      "Humans often misunderstand my behavior."

      "Some, yes, but Scotty's worked with you for years. Bones knows you better than that, too." Kirk sat up straighter. "He does know you better. Is something wrong with you? What happened?"

      Spock remained silent.

      "They said you seemed preoccupied, that your checks on the instruments were not as thorough as they usually are. You left the quadrant after only a few sensor sweeps, following a nearly blind trail."

      "It was the only lead, and it was the correct course of action."

      "But you didn't know that at the time. How were you so sure? Why didn't you spend more time searching Gamma II?"

      Spock swallowed again.

      "I expect an answer."

      "Very well." Spock folded his hands in his lap. "I left the Gamma II system because I knew you were not there."

      "You knew the three of us were somehow beamed out of there?"

      "No. I knew you were not there."

      "Just me?"

      Spock gave a sharp nod. "I could no longer sense you. You were gone from me."

      "Gone from you? Spock, I don't understand."

      "I feel you, your being, within myself. That was gone when you disappeared. I knew you were not close by."

      "What do you mean you feel me within?"

      "It is called the Shi'llaru, the shadow touch. Our past melds have caused an echo, a resonance between our beings. It is difficult to explain to a non-telepath, but I can feel you."

      "Can you...." Kirk bit back the question. He trusted Spock.

      "I cannot read your mind," Spock answered it anyway. "I simply have a sense of your presence, much like humans have when someone enters a room and they know who it is without even looking up."

      "So when I disappeared you knew when I was gone, out of the Gamma system."

      Spock nodded. "The touch is not strong. My sense of you fades with distance, and it had done so right after you and the others disappeared. When the spatial discrepancy was discovered to be an ionic trail, I realized that there was no other explanation but that you had somehow been taken from the Gamma system. I simply followed the trail to you."

      "I guess it's a lucky thing we have this shadow touch, or you probably would still be searching for us. I wonder if you'd ever have found us," Kirk mused.

      "I would have found you. No matter how long, or what the trail, I would have found you."

      The force of the Vulcan's words astounded Kirk, and he just sat there. A dark fire burned in the brown eyes but was quickly extinguished as Vulcan control took over. Kirk's instincts went into warp drive.

      "What else is going on here, Spock?"

      Spock refused to look at him. "Nothing."

      "You don't lie well, Spock, and I don't like you trying it with me."

      "It does not concern you."

      "Oh yes it does. It has something to do with you and me and this touch thing. I have a right to know."

      Spock's face hardened and he remained stubbornly silent.

      "I'm waiting, Commander. Consider it an order."

      Spock glared across at him. "Yes, sir." Kirk noted the coldness in the deep voice.

      "Your perception is accurate, as usual. The minds involved must be very compatible in order for the Shi'llaru to develop. Even though our contact has been extremely limited, the touch formed between us."

      "So our minds must be very compatible."

      "Yes."

      "What's wrong with that? That's just what I was talking about before, how well suited we are for each other."

      "The Shi'llaru is not there because we are a command team."

      "We're friends, too."

      "It does not form under such conditions."

      "What conditions does it form under?"

      "Minds that are close to one another."

      Kirk was getting angry at the run-around. "I'll have the whole explanation now, Spock."

      Spock blinked, swallowed, then seemed to gather himself. "Recurring mental contact between matched minds can form the Shi'llaru, as has happened with us. If our minds continue to touch, it eventually will deepen to a link. Such a link would increase our awareness of each other, even over distance. We could consciously reach out to one another. In time the link would develop into a bond. A permanent bond." Spock's voice dropped to a whisper. "A mating bond."

      Kirk sank back into his chair. The implications tore through his shocked mind. Words tried to form, but he couldn't manage a coherent thought. He looked up to find naked fear in Spock's eyes. His tongue finally loosened.

      "You're saying-"

      "Our minds are suited to each other. It is indeed why we are so strong a command team, why we are friends in spite of so many differences. But it is much more than that for me. Since the beginning I felt your charisma, the pull of your being. I tried to resist, but I was drawn to you as matter is to a black hole. I could not resist, and later I did not wish to. Then the Shi'llaru formed, and I knew at last what you truly meant to me."

      "And that is?" Kirk was holding his breath.

      Brown eyes held his. "I love you."

      Kirk stared at him.

      "I wish to be with you, in all ways."

      Kirk couldn't do anything but sit there. His whole being was on overload.

      "How long?" he finally stammered.

      "I have been aware of my love for you the last one point three five years."

      "One point...." He couldn't believe it. Spock had just confessed to love him, and had for over a year. Why hadn't he seen it before? He was supposed to be the one with the emotional experience.

      "Why didn't you ever tell me, Spock?"

      Spock looked at him with such open sadness; it pained his heart to see it.

      "Tell you what, Jim? That I fell in love with my captain? With my friend? There was no point in telling you as there is no future for us. I did not wish to alienate you in any way."

      "You think I'm so shallow, I'd-"

      Spock raised a hand. "No, you know I do not think that of you. But I am your first officer. We could not work together as we must if there were awkwardness between us. I never wish you to be uncomfortable with me. I want our friendship to continue as it always has."

      "It's already changed for you."

      "But it need not for you. Jim, I wish to remain your friend."

      "You'll always be my friend, Spock. I don't want anything to happen to that, either."

      "That is a relief." Spock took a deep breath. "We will go on as before."

      "Wait a minute, I didn't say that. I can't pretend nothing has happened."

      "Nothing has happened."

      "My best friend tells me he's in love with me, and you say nothing happened?"

      "It is not your concern, Jim. I will deal with my emotions in my own way."

      Kirk knew what that meant: lock them up, bury them, deny them.

      "I don't think that's a solution."

      "It is the only one. Jim, I am well aware of your preference for females. You do not wish for a male lover. I am also cognizant of your desire to avoid long-term commitments. Such being the case, I am disqualified as a potential partner for you. I accept that."

      "Spock-"

      Suddenly the Vulcan was on his feet. "Captain, the hour is getting late and you must be tired from your ordeal. I would advise you to rest now."

      Before he could protest, Kirk found himself in the corridor, staring at Spock's closed door. Dazed, he headed for his own cabin and a sleepless night.

****

      Kirk shifted again, staring with irritation at the empty science station. For two days Spock had avoided him, only speaking when duty demanded it. This morning he had found a message on his computer from the Vulcan, stating that a healer would be waiting for them when they reached Esorn to dissolve the Shi'llaru. The whole situation was nagging at him.

      "Sulu, you have the con. I'll be in my quarters."

      When he arrived at his cabin he poured himself a drink. Spock loved him. Ever since the Vulcan had dropped his photon torpedo he had thought of little else. Such a thing had never occurred to him-Spock, a lover. He had certainly never envisioned them together.

      From the beginning Spock had given him loyalty and devotion that surpassed what duty and his Starfleet oath required. Kirk had blindly thought it was because they were friends as well as a team. But thinking back on it now, he realized just how much Spock did for him, how protective he was, how willing to do anything Kirk wanted. How many times had he shielded Kirk, with his mind, with his body? How many times had he stood up for his captain, even against Starfleet? What could it be but love?

      Wait. He had done those same things for Spock. He was frantic with worry whenever Spock was hurt or lost. That time when the Galileo was missing-that had been horrible. Seven crewmembers, including Bones and Scotty, were on board that shuttle, but his thoughts had been focused on Spock, on what he would do if he lost Spock. He felt so close to him, cared so much for him.

      Kirk put his drink aside. He had some serious thinking to do.

****

      It was late, but Kirk knew Spock was still awake. Without hesitation, he touched his palm to the buzzer. There was a brief silence, followed by a low, muffled voice.

      "Come."

      Kirk stepped into the heat of the Vulcan's cabin. Spock wasn't in the outer room. He walked to the room divider and peered in. Spock was sitting on the bed, his feet on the floor, elbows on his knees and his head bowed. Kirk just looked at him for a minute. His friend. His very dear friend. Seeing Spock so still in the almost dark just confirmed what several hours of introspection and soul-searching had taught him-his heart was right. This was right. Tonight, his life and Spock's would change forever.

      He entered the sleeping alcove, stopping next to his friend. Spock didn't move, didn't even look up at him.

      "Why are you here, Captain?"

      "Jim, and we need to talk."

      Spock finally raised his head. His eyes seemed like black pools, so sad and resigned.

      "We have spoken. I also informed you that I contacted Esorn and that a Vulcan healer is available and will meet us."

      "Pretty presumptuous of you, don't you think? Don't I get a say in any of this?"

      "Why do humans insist on speaking of things that need no discussion?"

      Kirk recognized the hurt in Spock's voice. He sat down next to him on the bed, and Spock abruptly pulled back.

      "Captain-"

      "You will listen to me, Commander. Is that understood?" He used his command voice, the one Spock couldn't help but respond to. It worked, as he knew it would. Spock sat stiffly and folded his hands inside the wide sleeves of his robe.

      "I was shocked the other day when you told me about your feelings. I really never guessed it. I suppose I should have, because it's all been there for me to see, if I'd been paying attention. Of course, you did an excellent job of hiding it. You knew exactly how far to go and when to pull back.

      "Then there was me. I was so wrapped up in my command image, in thinking I needed to preserve the myth that a captain is supposed to just fuck 'em and leave 'em, that I couldn't see what was right before my eyes."

      "Captain, we both know I am unsuitable for you."

      "Shouldn't I be the one to determine that? But now that you've brought it up, let's look at that, logically. You said you couldn't be a partner for me because I didn't want any commitments. Well, you're right, and you're wrong. I made a commitment to Starfleet, and to this ship and my crew. I couldn't see myself marrying some woman that I'd only see every few years or so. It wouldn't be fair to either of us. So, in that sense, I haven't wanted any ties to anyone. But you and I share a commitment to the ship and Starfleet, and to each other. Our lives are already joined. There'd be no conflict."

      Spock's brows rose but he said nothing.

      "As for your other point...yes, I've always been attracted to women. I've never wanted a man. But I've also never cared for anyone as much as I care for you. No one has ever meant more to me." Kirk looked down at his hands. "I've thought so hard about this, tried to imagine us together. I still can't quite picture it, but I want it. Know why?"

      Spock shook his head slowly.

      "Because when all the thinking is done, what it really comes down to is feeling. When two people love each other, nothing else matters. Not gender, age, species. I love you, Spock. I think I have for a long time, even though I didn't realize the extent of it before. Now that I do, I don't want to settle for less than everything. I can't picture my life without you, and I don't want to try. I wish to be with you, in all ways," Kirk repeated Spock's words.

      Spock swallowed. "Jim, I do not think-"

      "Don't think. Feel." Kirk took the Vulcan's face in his hands. "I. Love. You." He brought the stern face to his, bringing their lips together for the first time. Sweet fire unfurled in his belly, licking at his insides as his lips slid along hotter ones. His tongue insinuated itself into Spock's mouth, and the fire blazed to engulf him. If there had been any doubt about his ability to respond to Spock, it was gone. His entire being was already reaching for the Vulcan. A tiny whimper from Spock sent a shiver down his spine, and he drew back.

      "You okay?"

      "Yes," came a deep, breathy whisper.

      Kirk stood, Spock following his lead. For the first time in his life, he took another man in his arms. Strong arms encircled him as they stepped into an embrace. It was awkward at first; Kirk was not used to holding someone taller than himself, or feeling a hard body pressed tightly against his own. But as their lips met once more in a long, deep kiss, he relaxed. It was wonderful. He and Spock fit together so perfectly it couldn't be anything other than right.

      Kirk kissed along a stubbled jaw. He never knew it could be so exciting to kiss someone with a five-o'clock shadow. "Want to stop?"

      "No. Never."

      Smiling, Kirk slid his hands to Spock's shoulders, his chest, and down until he found the belt that held the Vulcan's robe. He opened it, sliding his hands up and down Spock's flanks. The skin was hot and smooth under his fingers. He explored the hair-covered chest, delighted in the texture. At last Kirk pushed the velvety material from the Vulcan, letting it slide to the floor in a dark puddle.

      He looked into Spock's eyes and found trust and love there. He gently tugged his friend back into his arms, hands resting on narrow hips, hugging the naked Vulcan to him. Spock bent and caught his lips in another kiss. It intensified, their tongues gently dueling, tasting each other. Kirk rubbed his hardening organ against Spock's. Gods, he was making Spock hard. He trailed kisses over Spock's face, down his throat. He sucked the tender skin in his mouth as one of Spock's hands came up around his neck, fingers carding into his hair. Kirk squeezed his hand between their bodies and boldly closed it about the Vulcan's shaft. It was so hot. Spock drew a sharp breath.

      "Let's lie down," Kirk murmured.

      They parted long enough for Kirk to shed his clothes and join Spock on the bed. He kissed his new lover, his hand lovingly stroking the hot column. He had never touched another man's cock before. It was a wonder to him. The skin was soft, like satin, a sharp contrast to the internal hardness. Spock moaned as his hand caressed the sensitive organ. God, it was so sexy, hearing his logical first officer making such sounds.

      His lips captured Spock's again, his tongue exploring the hot mouth fully. Spock's hands were shyly exploring his skin, novice fingertips finding all his sensitive spots, as if the Vulcan instinctively knew just where to touch him. Oh, it felt so good. Spock always did know what he needed. He lightly scratched a fingernail over the head of Spock's cock. Spock whimpered into his mouth, the puff of breath, the sultry sound arousing Kirk even more. Kirk pulled away, smiled into passion-filled dark eyes, and inched his way down the slender body, worshipping it with his hands and mouth.

      At last he came to the Vulcan's penis. It was slender, like the rest of Spock, with a long, bell-shaped head and double ridges. Tiny veins made intricate patterns down the shaft, and it was flushed a delicate olive color. But the yearning flesh in his hand was anything but delicate. It pulsed with life and masculinity and need. The thought filled Kirk with a feeling of power and awe. This was Spock, a Vulcan, a man who never needed anyone, lying here needing him. He was the one being Spock wanted. This supposedly unemotional being loved and desired him.

      Looking up at Spock, Kirk swathed his tongue over the head, tasting the clear fluid already welling up from the tip. Spock's head tossed on the bed, his breath was coming in gasps. It was so erotic, watching the Vulcan lose control, seeing him embrace his passion. His tongue licked between the ridges and traced a path over the veins on the shaft. Below he found two plump balls, smaller and more rounded than his own, nestled securely in midnight curls. He lapped at them, working his tongue back up to the needful cock.

      Kirk ran his tongue from the base to the tip. He dipped his tongue into the tiny opening, eliciting a cry of pleasure from Spock. His own cock was pressed painfully against the mattress. He ignored it, concentrating on pleasuring his Vulcan.

      His fingers gently fondled the tight balls, and Spock spread his thighs. Kirk took the cock head into his mouth, wrapping his fingers about the shaft. Spock arched and cried out. The Vulcan's sounds were making him so hot. He sucked happily, drunk on the smell and taste of Spock, loving the lean body writhing under his touch, his mind memorizing the sight of his staid first officer clutching the sheets and moaning in pleasure.

      His own cock was throbbing now. He freed the weeping organ, stretching his body out on his friend's. He thrust against Spock and both of them shuddered. They rocked against each other, their cocks and bellies becoming slick. Spock pulled him into a fierce kiss, and Kirk felt the first wave of his orgasm rising. He tore his mouth away, using every technique he knew to stop the tide.

      "I want to be inside you."

      Spock groaned, parting his legs further.

      Kirk rolled off him, reaching for his pants. He pulled out the tube of ointment he'd brought with him. He turned back to Spock.

      "I thought I should be prepared," he explained, opening the tube.

      "Logical," came the teasing answer. It was so wonderful, seeing such warmth in those dark eyes, hearing joy in the deep voice.

      His hands were shaking as he lubricated them both. He wasted no time; they were both more than ready for this. Spock started to turn over but Kirk stopped him.

      "I want to see you. I want to see your face as you come."

      Wordlessly Spock rolled once more onto his back.

      "Lift your hips," Kirk instructed, shoving a pillow beneath the complying Vulcan.

      Carefully Kirk placed Spock's legs over his shoulders. Though he had never done this before, his cock seemed to instinctively find its mark. Easing forward, Kirk slipped just the head of his cock past the tight ring.

      Spock gasped, and Kirk, using every bit of control he had, stopped.

      "Am I hurting you?"
      Spock's head shook on the bed. "No, Jim, do not stop, please do not stop."

      Kirk steadily entered, surprised and pleased at how easily Spock's body opened to him. Hot tightness molded around his organ, driving him to the brink. Spock reached up and settled his beautiful hands on Kirk's face.

      "Oh, Jim, I love you so."

      That did it. Kirk began to move, exquisite sensations shooting through his body as he slid in and out of his love. Spock's hands remained on his face, and they gazed deeply into each other's eyes.

      "God, you feel so good," Kirk panted.

      They kept their eyes locked upon one another as they moved in synchrony, already falling into step with each other, their motions fluid and smooth. Yes, this was what he'd always wanted, had been searching for in the arms of so many women. Nothing had ever felt so right, so fulfilling, as making love to Spock.

      Kirk took Spock's organ in one hand, stroking it in time to his thrusts. Familiar, sweet pressure grew in his loins until it was almost unbearable, finally erupting into climax. His seed pumped deep into Spock as hot semen spurted over his hand. Kirk, body shaking and lungs heaving for air, gazed down in wonder at his Vulcan. The dark bangs were pushed to the side, pale lips were kiss-swollen, moist skin was flushed a beautiful verdant color.

      When he thought he had enough strength, Kirk gently pulled out. He started to move off the Vulcan but strong arms pulled him down tightly. Hot stickiness spread between them-Spock's semen, proof of the Vulcan's love for him. He wrapped his arms around Spock. Their mouths met and they shared a slow, deep kiss. Spock rolled them over so they were side by side.

      "I love you," Kirk said softly.

      Spock ran a finger over his cheek and lips. "You have taught me what that means." A tiny smile lit the dark eyes. "You passed all my barriers and found my heart. You are why it beats. I give it to you, forever."

      It was hard getting an answer past the lump in his throat. "I accept, and give you mine."

      "I shall guard it always."

      Kirk captured Spock's mouth in a kiss, sealing their vows. They snuggled into each other's arms. How could he have not known about this before, when he knew he couldn't live without it now?

      "Can you show me this Shi'llaru? I'd like to learn about Vulcan links and bonds, since I'm going to have one some day."

      Spock looked at him, eyes shining. "Indeed," he murmured.

      A slender hand reached for him. Warm fingers slid over the neural points, Spock already so comfortably familiar with his face. Tendrils of warmth and love seeped gently into him and flowed from him back into Spock. It was so natural between them. One day they'd be bonded. As his mind met Spock's, he knew it was inevitable. Love made it so.

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