Kirk attempted to finish his little speech as calmly and rationally as he could. He’d already decided, weeks ago, to keep this conversation non-threatening; emotion was not going to help him here. He swung around and said, “It’s about the only thing we don’t share. I’d like to try. Tell me what you think.”
He allowed himself to look at Spock for the first time since he began his measured, breathtaking, life-altering revelation. They’d started out, two friends in the private room of the observation deck, sitting side by side during one of the few quiet moments the command team of the Enterprise had enjoyed in many shifts, but then Kirk had launched into words he wanted so desperately to say. Adrenalin had pushed him up to his feet and across the room before he realized it. Now he paused; time for Spock to react.
Spock looked up at him from where he sat on the Starfleet-issue gray divan and held his gaze for long moments, and Kirk was struck again by what an astonishing transformation had been wrought within himself. For to him, the lover of many women, his friend’s strong, masculine features looked beautiful in starlight. The ship was passing close by an especially luminous nebula, and soft bluish light washed through the OD windows, gently bathing his first officer as he sat against the cushions. It had been many months since he had looked at Spock in any light--in starlight, in the bright sun of a planetary survey, in the artificial illumination on the bridge--without feeling a sharp pang of desire. But always he had subdued it, giving himself time to evaluate, to test, to ask himself again and again if what he felt was genuine. Now he thought he knew.
It was Spock, any way, in any light, whom he craved. To touch this proud, amazing man, who had already given Kirk so much. . . . More. Kirk wanted more than what he had.
The betraying bob of the Adam’s apple proclaimed, at least, that Spock had not been unaffected by his question. Good. Kirk was willing to take whatever he could that would reassure him that he wasn’t a fool, that he wasn’t going to merely run into the hard stone wall of Vulcan indifference. Indifference had been his worst nightmare.
“I am not certain how to respond.”
“With the truth, Spock. Whatever that might be.”
“You have apparently been contemplating this conversation for some time.”
Kirk ran his fingers through his hair, resisting the temptation to pace back to the transparent aluminum window. If he wanted the truth from Spock, he had to offer the same in return. And he’d always known that Spock would be logical, even in this. Perhaps, especially in this. “Yes. I’ve been aware that my feelings have been changing, no, strike that, not changing, they’ve always had the same flavor where you’ve been concerned. Growing. My initial pleasure in having you as my first officer has. . .” he spread his hands out, palms up, “grown.”
“To what you say is love.”
“I know it’s an emotion that Vulcans don’t allow themselves to experience.”
Spock looked down at his boots, his hands clasped between his knees. He seemed to find some answers in the contemplative pose, for a moment later he forthrightly recaptured Kirk’s gaze. “Untrue. It is the overt expression of the emotion that is discouraged, or allowing one’s actions to be illogically affected by that emotion. It is not that Vulcans--that I--do not experience emotions, merely that they are controlled.”
Was Spock saying what he thought he was saying? Damn, as well as they knew each other, still sometimes Kirk just couldn’t read him. “And?”
But Spock would not give him what he wanted to hear. “Why have you not initiated a discussion earlier, if you have been in this emotional state for some time?”
“Because I’m the captain, you’re my subordinate. Section 127-B of the regs advises caution in sexual relationships among officers for good reasons. I wanted a place and time where we could talk this out without our ranks and responsibilities on the ship interfering. I was hoping shore leave, together.”
Comprehension dawned in the dark eyes. “The trip to the Webnarian Islands you have mentioned.”
Spock standing bare-chested in the surf, his bangs plastered in wisps to his forehead, the waves lashing up his naked legs, revealing, concealing, revealing what Kirk wanted to share, wanted to possess, as he already possessed friendship, loyalty, ease. . . . Kirk relinquished the picture he’d long painted in his night time contemplations. “If we ever get that leave that Komack’s promised us. But it’s not going to happen soon, and Webnaria’s halfway across the sector. It’s been one mission after another, high pressure, that run-in with the Klingons. . . . So I decided I could talk to you any time, any way. We’ve never had a problem with that.”
“Indeed, I have often contemplated the ease of our communication. It was not expected.”
Kirk nodded. He wanted to sit down next to Spock or for Spock to stand up. This inequity in their physical positions suddenly bothered him. He didn’t want to tower over Spock, he wanted to be on equal footing with him, together in openly declared passion, devotion, commitment. He thought they were all there: in his first officer’s eyes, the cant of his head, and the tremor of his heart so seldom seen. The uncertain judgment that Spock shared it all with him already, that they were equal in their obsession with each other, had finally encouraged Kirk to make his brave declaration of love.
Carefully he walked over to the upholstered chair that was set at a right angle to the couch. Too conscious that his pulse pounded heavily in his ear, he sat down on the edge of the seat with his hands on his knees. Maybe Spock could hear it, here in this quiet room that sheltered just the two of them. “Humans and Vulcans don’t generally get along like we do. Your parents being a notable exception.”
“Correct. Our friendship has been a source of interest to others as well.”
“I know. Like I said, we do everything together. There isn’t anybody else I’d rather spend time with than you, my logical Vulcan friend, and sometimes other people are surprised at that. So they talk.”
“Such as the time we rearranged our accommodations during the briefing at Starbase Eleven. That created some comment, I believe.”
Kirk snorted. “You staying with that prig Dudley? And me with that Casanova Massenhoeven? I’d rather bunk with you any day.”
“And I with you, although Lieutenant Commander Dudley was not intolerable. But I could not enjoy the time I might have spent discussing computer modifications on the Lexington with him as I could time with you.”
“What did we talk about those three days?” Kirk asked rhetorically. “Nothing. Everything. I sure didn’t have anything to say to you about computers.”
“We discussed the briefing, Admiral Komack’s shortcomings--”
“You discovered that computer parts store on the east side of the base the first day, it had that component you’d been looking for forever.”
“And the next evening you regrettably discovered the mountaineering facility with the simulated rock face, which you spent some small time conquering.”
Kirk smiled at that. In the few free hours they had enjoyed the second day, Spock had patiently watched him from the floor of the facility while he expanded his knowledge of pitons and the latest in hyper-boost cables.
“Were you really bored?” he asked softly.
“Negative. Certainly no more than you were during the hour I spent examining the latest computer designs,” Spock replied in his normal tone, but the look in his eyes sent shivers of hope up Kirk’s spine. That was what had started it, the stars he saw in Spock’s eyes. . . .
“Ben Massenhoeven,” Kirk said directly, “would have kept me up all night with his comings and goings. The man never sits still, you know.”
“Some would say that Starfleet had made the attempt to match us with compatible roommates.” It was a challenge.
“I’ve changed,” Kirk said simply. “And I think maybe you have, too.”
He sat in silence, having successfully brought the conversation back to the essential question, and waited. Spock had never been a man who could be pushed.
But the silence between them did not last very long. Abruptly Spock stood and walked over to address the starfield. “Is there a reason why we cannot remain as we have been? Why the need to add the physical to our relationship?”
With a sigh Kirk sank back against the cushion. “It might not be a necessity to you. But with me, well, I can’t separate the way my mind and my heart feel about you from the way my body responds. I’m a sexual being, Spock. I love you. Surely that’s not a surprise for you to hear.”
“I have. . .suspected. My interpretation of emotions is not always accurate, and I could not trust. . . . I have thought that you harbored strong emotions for me.”
Spock turned to face him with another challenge. “I am familiar with that phrase.”
For a moment Kirk was baffled, then he realized the context. If Spock needed reassurance that his intentions were sincere, he’d give it. A second later he was on his feet, and less than a meter of recycled, reconstituted, artificially enhanced Enterprise air separated his body and Spock’s. “I want to say ‘I do’ to you. With you. I don’t know how far you could go with this, but,” he drew in a deep breath, “that’s how far I would go, if we could. If it works between us. All the way to that.”
Spock cocked his head to one side. “That appears to be a precipitous announcement on your part, considering we have not previously discussed this subject, nor have you experienced sexual interaction with me.”
“I’m a precipitous person.”
“I am aware of that.”
“And I have dreams. Do you, Spock? Do any of them include me?” He did not ache to reach out and take Spock in his arms, he would not allow himself to feel that way because it would interfere with this careful, logical, non-threatening conversation they were having. He would not drive Spock away with the sudden fire of his caring.
Spock made a small, aborted movement of his shoulders, as if he wanted to turn away but checked himself. He contemplated the uninspiring floor covering and said, his voice rough and deep, “You refer to daydreams, wish fulfillments. Desires that are illogical.”
Kirk matched the emotion with earnestness and addressed his friend’s bowed head. “I don’t think that you and I together is something illogical. It seems more logical than anything else I can think of. We match, Spock. We always have.”
“Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable for one espousing the Vulcan way to entertain thoughts of an outcome that is not likely to occur. You have not previously exhibited homosexual inclinations. I have not thought of us together in the way you propose.”
“But now. What do you think now that you know that I do have a strong inclination--towards you?”
Slowly the dark head came up. “Jim. . .” Spock said gently, too gently. “I don’t believe that. . .I cannot think that. . . . Jim. No.”
Kirk did not allow himself to react. He had devised strategy and tactics for this most important of personal campaigns for the last several weeks, and he thought he’d been prepared for anything, from Spock stalking from the room in dour silence to making frenzied love with his Vulcan on the observation room floor. No, so quietly said, with the bonds of friendship and caring still between them, had been one possibility.
He turned back to the sofa, eased himself down to the warmth where Spock had been sitting. “Will you tell me why?”
“I am honored by your feelings. I also. . .have considerable respect for you. There is--”
“Only respect, Spock?” Kirk asked with an ironic eyebrow.
Spock had the grace to look embarrassed; a swallow rippled down his throat as he clamped his hands behind his back. “I am aware that you would not, that you have not characterized your emotions with that word.”
“Nor would I use it to describe your feelings for me.”
“Perhaps, from your perspective, you are correct. From my own perspective. . . . I have experienced emotions all my life and yet have been diligently taught to suppress them or to channel them into more productive areas. I do not have the same experience humans do with naming the hormonal reactions that too often lead to irrational behavior. The Vulcan way does not allow it. Perhaps the manner I have interacted with you, especially over the last year, would lead you to place an interpretation on my behavior that I have not anticipated.”
“There’s an old saying, my friend. Actions speak louder than words. Yes, from the past year, you’ve given me a reason to talk to you today with some hope. Because we use different words to describe the same thing, does that make one of us right and one of us wrong? Spock, I don’t want you to do anything that doesn’t feel right or comfortable. What I am asking you to do is. . .consider it. Us. Talk about it with me.”
“As we are doing. Your argument--”
“I’m not arguing,” Kirk interrupted swiftly, and he emphasized the point by casually crossing one leg over the other and raising one arm to rest along the back of the cushion.
“Indeed not,” Spock countered dryly. “However, I concede that part of your reasoning is valid. Our friendship is extraordinary based on others’ expectations of the normal interaction between first officer and captain, between human and Vulcan. That you wish to add a physical dimension to our relationship should not have been a surprise, especially given your sensual nature. However,” slowly Spock shook his head, “I do not see how it is possible. I do not believe that I am capable of engaging in a relationship such as you seek.”
Kirk frowned. He’d better make sure he knew exactly what Spock was saying. “Do you mean. . .” there wasn’t any other way of putting this, “. . .physically?”
Spock’s shoulders slumped into relief. “Indeed.”
“But I thought. . . . Forgive me if I’m being too personal, but I thought you had. . . . With Ms. Kalomi on Omicron Ceti III and with that woman from the past, remember her?”
Spock gravely inclined his head. “Indeed, I do remember her and honor her memory, as she is long dead.” His shoulders straightened. “You are correct, I did perform intercourse with those two women, but I was in an altered state of being each time and not myself. Even the memories of those events are dim.”
“Then why. . . .” Kirk spread his hands as he searched for the right words.
“Other than those two incidents, I have almost no sexual experience. Certainly I have none with a human male. And I have not shown that I have any ability to express myself emotionally in a way that would be satisfying to a human partner in an intimate relationship such as you propose. I would not be adequate for you, Jim. I cannot give you what you seek.”
That drove Kirk up and over to stand in front of the friend he wanted for a lover. “How do you know without trying?” he asked, more intently than he wanted to sound. “Do you know how much experience I have with males?” He didn’t give Spock time to consider the question. “None. Nothing. I’ve never even kissed a man, Spock, and I know it will be different, there will be a lot to change in my own sexual behavior. But that’s not stopping me from reaching for what I know is right for me. No, not just for me, for us.”
“How can you speak for me?” Spock challenged, but there was no bite to his soft words.
“I can’t. I know I can’t. But I see you, Spock, I know you better than you think. Do you think I could ever have fallen in love with you if there hadn’t been some feedback from you, some subliminal indications that it could work between us? I’m not one for hopeless causes, my friend.”
“You are attempting to convince me against my own perceptions and judgment.”
Strategic retreat: Kirk took one large step back, half-turned to face the closed door. Again he reminded himself that emotions were not effective weapons for him to use this day. One deep lungful of air, loud in the stillness, calmed him. After a few more moments of thought, he swung back to the conversation.
“I have a suggestion.”
Spock folded his arms and looked at his captain warily, as long experience prompted him to do. “I am listening.”
“You’ve said that what I want is unanticipated. All right, I can understand that maybe this is an idea that you need some time to wrap your mind around. You’ve also said that you don’t think you can be a satisfying partner for me. Right?”
“Correct. I doubt our compatibility because of my inexperience and my innate nature as a Vulcan.”
“That’s what I thought you meant. But at the same time, you’re still here, we’re still talking about this, and I don’t get the feeling you want to stalk out of the room. Right again?”
Pursed lips almost made Kirk laugh. It seemed almost unfair to dissect his friend in this way, but he knew Spock loved a challenge as much as he did. It was part of what did make them compatible.
“What are you trying to say, Jim?”
“I want to kiss you. No, I want us to kiss each other.”
The lean form straightened, either in indignation or simple surprise. “I do not see what that will accomplish.”
“And that’s the point,” Kirk said, leaning forward to make it. “You genuinely don’t see what I’m getting at. You said that the Vulcan way prevents you from putting a name to the emotions you experience. You said you don’t know the proper word to describe what you feel for me. You--”
“Not precisely, Jim.”
Kirk punched a hand in the air. “It’s close, though. The point is that you don’t make the automatic connections between actions and emotions that I do. If we give ourselves a chance with the physical aspects of a relationship, I’m betting that the connection is going to be made and you’ll understand why, when emotional beings love someone, they want to touch. To be intimate. To share their bodies and make love. You’ll see how right it is.”
“Your reasoning is flawed. I am not an emotional being.”
Kirk erased most of the distance between them. “How can you say that?” he asked softly. “A few minutes ago you said that it isn’t that Vulcans don’t love, it’s just that their actions shouldn’t be illogically affected by the emotion. I’m not asking you to indulge in illogical acts, because what I’m proposing isn’t illogical. The most logical thing in the world is the free flow of love into action. Into sensuality.”
And that was it for a very long minute while Kirk stood under his first officer’s scrutiny. One of the skills Kirk had picked up long before was judging when it was detrimental to add another link to a chain of reasoning. His knowledge of Spock told him the Vulcan often preferred to assimilate the implications of events, especially emotional events, over time. Maybe they could try to revive this conversation tomorrow--
But then the smallest of curved smiles transformed the stern lines around eyes and mouth as Spock, arms still crossed, regarded him. “You make an impassioned argument, Jim.”
Kirk smiled back at him, the tension draining from his shoulders. “I know.”
“I will acquiesce to your proposal, simply because if I do not you will undoubtedly favor me with an unabridged version of your speech concerning the need for exploration of unknown situations. As I believe you generally put it, to go where no man has gone before.”
“Spock,” Kirk reproached, but he took a half step closer. “I wouldn’t.”
“There is very little you will not do to get your way.”
A gentle, knowing accusation, but it stopped Kirk in his tracks. “No. No. If you’re doing this just because I’m pushing you, to let your captain have his way, then--”
“Jim.” Spock stopped the flow of words as his arms came down to rest by his sides. “That is not the case. I acquiesce because. . . .” He paused, as if formulating reasons clearly for the first time to himself. “Because, based on the way our friendship has grown, there appears to be some evidence for what you say.”
Kirk had plenty of experience reading between the lines of Spock’s proclamations. He smiled. “Because, despite your protests, you really do want this.”
“At the very least, such an experiment will suggest that one of our evaluations of the situation is incorrect. It is a valid procedure in order to gain more data.”
“Like I said, you want to kiss me.”
Spock cocked his head as if examining his friend from close range for the very first time. “Perhaps.”
So, this was it. He’d tried so hard to be reasoned, reasonable, calm, but as Kirk placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders--allowed them to slide in a small caress to hold the upper arms--as he tilted his face up to examine Spock’s, so close, his heart began to pound. If this pressing of lips didn’t go well, this might be the only kiss he would ever share with Spock, and that thought propelled him toward desperation, toward the idea of pouring into this one kiss all his love, all his longing, all his hopes for the future. If he could, if he could show Spock what he really felt. . . .
. . .then he’d scare this rational scientist away.
Denial, then. Caution. Calculation when what he wanted was abandon, to open the floodgates to desire. Kirk swallowed hard, had himself back under control a moment later. So be it.
Spock was close now, close enough for Kirk to see the little flare of nostrils as his friend took in a significant breath of air, to feel the small exhalation propelled downwards and to the side, against his cheek, as if even now, as close as they were, Spock still avoided the direct reality of what they were about to do.
Nevertheless, slowly, Spock’s arms came up to mimic the way Kirk’s were already clasped around his biceps. They’d been this close before many times: in desperate situations--when they were trapped together in a collapsed mine on the largest moon of Darius VII--and not-so-desperate--when Kirk was flung from a dance chain on Metribius II to land with a laugh in Spock’s lap and within his instantly supporting arms. But this was different. Close enough, as the saying went, to kiss. To be kissed.
Kirk shifted his weight from one leg to another and then back again.
Into the silence Spock asked, quietly, “Perhaps we should establish parameters of behavior. For example, is there a method of osculation that you would prefer to use? I understand,”--a swift glance downwards, then up again to gaze at Kirk through a fringe of eyelashes--”that you are accounted something of an expert.”
So like Spock to say something like that at a time like this, to cause a gurgle of amusement to bubble in Kirk’s throat just as they were leaning in towards each other. . . .
And yet also so strange to be standing in the starlight kissing Spock. Quickly his amusement turned to deadly-serious intent. He hadn’t expected passion, didn’t try to convey any of his own, but within a few seconds of stillness he knew this wasn’t going to work. He hitched forward slightly, pressing more intently, but dry, closed, defiant lips refused to yield to the softness and non-threatening affection Kirk attempted to convey with his own. He was much too conscious of the seconds passing, of Spock’s utter passivity, of the way they were each holding their lower bodies away from the other, of the grip they had on each other’s arms. That touch seemed more real, somehow, than this sterile pressing of mouths.
And even worse was the psychic stillness that had dropped over Spock more effectively than a sonic curtain that deadened sound. Those Vulcan barriers were up and strong.
Nevertheless, Kirk couldn’t help but project: I love you, Spock. We could be good for each other. Please, let me. . . .
Easing back fractionally, he murmured while they were still in contact, “Relax.”
Feet shuffled as Spock attempted to comply. His first officer's idea of relaxing would qualify as “at attention” for most earnest cadets. Would he ever hold this man in the boneless aftermath of sex?
He forced himself away from that thought, tried to concentrate instead on this intimacy Spock had allowed, but a moment later Spock was making a small movement of withdrawal, opening his hands--
No, don’t go! Not yet. . . .
--releasing the hold on his arms, removing his unyielding lips from where they had touched his captain’s.
That wasn’t a kiss. Nothing but a physical action.
He knew the answer to his question before he voiced it. “The Earth didn’t shake for you?” It was easier to make light, to cover up his disappointment. So foolish to think the kiss was going to make a difference. Still, he’d had to try.
“I will not pretend to misunderstand your reference. No, Jim, I regret to say that nothing has changed.”
Slowly Kirk paced to the transparent aluminum window. He wanted to convince, to plot and scheme, but that comment about an unabridged speech had stung. Somewhere between Spock and the window, he made his decision.
He swung around, walked back swiftly to his motionless first officer. “Okay. Still friends?” He stuck out his hand. To hell with the Vulcan reticence to touch, he needed this at least.
“Still friends,” Spock said with conviction, and he slid his hand forward to join with Kirk’s. He paused, stared down at where their flesh was joined, prevented Kirk from moving when he tried to pull back. Something indefinable happened, akin to a minor shock or a frisson of unease but different. . . . Kirk realized that Spock had lowered his shields.
“You are experiencing a considerable degree of disappointment,” the Vulcan said in a soft, marveling tone. “I am. . . . This is unexpected.”
“What did you expect?” Kirk said roughly. He broke their handclasp. “This wasn’t a game I was playing, Spock. I meant this. But it’s okay, I’ll get over it.”
“I am not sure that I want. . . . Perhaps. . . .”
“Perhaps a second experiment.”
“Another kiss? I’m sorry, I’m not going to make a fool of myself twice.” Amazing, how much bitterness laced his tone; he hadn’t known it was even there. He was too proud for his own good.
“Negative. Perhaps a different approach.”
Kirk examined the open look on Spock's face, the hint of distress that showed there. Spock cared that their experiment hadn't yielded positive results. Perhaps because it hadn't just been his captain teasing--had Spock really wanted to kiss him?
“What other approach?”
Uncharacteristically, Spock turned his back on his captain and retreated to the window that still showed its glorious view of stars and nebulae. Then he slowly turned so he was half-facing Kirk, his hands clasped firmly behind his back and his gaze rooted to the deck. “You speak of a connection that I lack--between emotion and sensual action. It is not that the. . .affection is not there, Jim.”
It was the admission Kirk had been waiting to hear. His feeling of foolishness dissolved as if it had never been. “I know,” he said softly. “I've always known.”
“What you propose between us. . . . It is not repugnant to me.”
“No?” Kirk asked, a quick grin quirking his lips. Spock was still here, talking. Determination grew.
“I do not express myself well. As you can see, the language of emotion is still difficult, will probably always be difficult for me.” Spock captured breath with a small, determined inhalation, faced Kirk fully with the truth. “What you propose between us is. . .perhaps it is possible.”
“It would be right,” Kirk said swiftly. “It would be a reflection of how I really feel about you, how things really are between us. That, plus. . . . I find you very physically desirable, Spock.”
Spock tilted his head to the side, a habit that Kirk found rather endearing. “I believe that, if I were to think of you as a sexual partner, I would also find you desirable, Jim.”
Kirk folded his arms aggressively over his chest. “What do you mean, ‘if’ you were to think of me that way? Think of it! That’s the point.”
Spock started, as if surprised by Kirk’s sudden vigor, then he stared at his captain as Kirk watched and waited. Spock’s eyes narrowed, and a moment later he stood directly in front of Kirk, his voice impassioned.
“If I knew how to do this thing, there is no one I would choose but you. I would have sex with you in the human way, I would learn your body with my mouth and with my hands and with my penis, and I would offer you my own body for your pleasure. We would learn all the things that two men can do together.
“If I knew how to do this thing, you would find me acceptable, and we would do far more than share the intimacy of the body. I would ask for your mind. We would share the meld in the Vulcan way, learning the ecstasy of the halut--the entwining--and the delight of the iri’tin, when two matched minds slide within one another, against one another. I have often thought of sharing mental communion with you, Jim.”
A small silence as Kirk assimilated the sudden passion in Spock’s words. It thrilled him down to his core. This was the Spock he’d always known was there.
“Just as I’ve often thought of sharing physical communion with you. We both feel the same way, we’re just expressing it differently.”
Spock bobbed his head. “Agreed.”
“And your suggestion for a different approach. . . . You mean a meld?”
All the words seemed to have left the Vulcan after his intense torrent, and as Kirk examined him, he knew more words weren’t needed. Just the touch of the mind. . . .
Confidently he faced Spock again. The light from the nebula was strong, the shadows harsh, casting half of Spock’s face and the palm of his upraised hand in darkness. His first officer seemed made of stone, unmoving; Spock wanted, Kirk realized, for him to take that last step to mental intimacy.
So he did, moving forward to place his face against Spock’s strong fingers. Pinpricks of warmth settled into his skin.
“My mind to your mind, Jim.”
They’d melded before but never for pleasure, never without pressure and danger and always with an urgent, driving goal that propelled them past the wonder of the simple intimacy: two minds merging. Now Kirk closed his eyes the better to experience that inexpressible moment when the inner world became real, when on some level he could never explain he felt Spock in him and over him and around him, when he experienced his friend’s essence unfettered by the body.
Kirk had never heard that word before, but he immediately caught the emotional undertones when Spock projected it. Warmth and ease and comfort, the protection of a srethere cloak during a driving sandstorm, the promise of water after a day’s journey, the knowledge that at shift’s end he would be welcomed in Kirk’s quarters for conversation or a game of chess.
//Of course, always. I want to share it all with you.//
//And I have appreciated our friendship, t’hy’la.//
But Kirk sensed more. In the meld he did something he did not understand and could not have explained, but it was as if he adjusted the light that Spock cast on them to shine from a different direction.
//T’hy’la also means. . .this, doesn’t it? Show me.//
Within the mental joining, Spock came closer, the essence of what he was seemed to strengthen, gathering all together into one intense point. That point focused and, with delicate certainty, slowly bowed forward into the center of Kirk’s being.
Kirk’s mind. . .contracted, shivered, surged forward to meet the vibrating delight that Spock offered. He’d never felt anything like this ethereal stroking across the singing chords of his mind. Pleasure sang where they touched. . . .
//Ohhhh. So good.//
//This// the whisper thread of Spock’s voice declared, //is how I feel. T’hy’la. It is not of the body, but the feeling is there.//
Kiss of the mind. Of course.
A ripple of amusement. //Is that what you think of the iri’tin? It is a kiss?//
//Exactly like this.//
And on the physical plane where they were two bodies so close together, Kirk leaned forward and dared to place his lips against the Vulcan austerity that had earlier rejected him.
“This is how I feel,” Kirk murmured against the silken pressure he craved. “It’s not of the mind, but the feeling is there.”
“Ohhhh,” Spock whispered against the press of their lips. The meld faded but did not completely disappear. Kirk felt tendrils of Spock still lingering within him even as their mouths molded one to the other.
And this kiss was different. Not stiff, not formal, not restrained. Kirk surged forward, wrapped his arms around his first officer--first and only man I’ve ever kissed--and poured all his passion into his lips and tongue.
Because Spock was there with him. Now Spock followed and understood each physical impulse down to the root deep in Kirk’s heart and mind. There he found the glowing affection that Kirk had harbored for him for so long; it had grown and grown until love was the only word that a human could use to describe it.
//This// Spock murmured in wonder through the meld. //I had not known. You and I, we are the same.//
Perfect. Being kissed by his Vulcan was perfect. Spock’s arms as they dropped from the meld position to wrap around his back, long fingers splayed and supporting; the press of Spock’s body against his, that lean warmth uninhibited and sensuously molding them as closely together as they could be, mimic of sexual intercourse and bodies entwined, mimic of the iri’tin and minds entwined; the first touch of their tongues one to the other, touching wetly, a thrill from their point of contact straight to Kirk’s groin, to his penis that lifted and began to fill, pressed against Spock’s groin without shame or secret or hiding because. . . .
Spock understood. He shared. He felt the same way.
Gasping, Kirk drew back, desperate for air but unwilling to allow anything more than mere centimeters to separate them. “My God,” he heaved, eyeing the man in his arms with amazement. “Spock. . . .”
“Jim,” Spock breathed, his eyes wide with wonder. “Yes.”
A moment while Spock visibly sought for the control, while Kirk’s heart pounded. And then the words he had dreamed of hearing for months.
“From a human perspective, the correct term for what I feel for you is love.”
Shaken, Kirk rested his forehead on his Vulcan’s shoulder. Relief swept over him even greater than his arousal. A few short minutes ago, he’d really thought that he was going to have to leave this room in defeat, would never be able to convey his love through touch.
“I love you,” he said quietly but distinctly. But then he realized he needed to see Spock’s face when he said those words. He lifted his head to look in the sable eyes. “I love you,” he repeated.
For a long moment Spock quietly returned his regard, with swollen lips and wisps of his bangs disarrayed, making him look more appealing than Kirk had thought possible. Then one hand came up and, without asking permission, he initiated another contact, mind to mind.
//I greatly value your words. See what I feel for you. T’hy’la.//
Another moving together, another sliding forward so that their spirits touched, joined, reveled in the pure pleasure of matched souls finally as one, then shivering in the aftermath of being so close. . . .
Kirk opened eyes he hadn’t realized were closed. “I didn’t. . .” he began to say, but the words came out a croaked whisper. He tried again. “I didn’t know.”
A raised eyebrow questioned him, and with a half-suppressed laugh that was laced with emotion, he unwrapped one arm from where he was holding his severe, serious, ever-logical first officer in a loving embrace to trace the wondering slant with his fingers.
“I didn’t know that was how Vulcans express their love. Like that.”
Spock settled more definitely into the orbit of his captain’s arms, bent to bestow a butterfly kiss on the side of his captain’s neck. Kirk shivered.
“And I,” Spock said quietly, “did not know that physical expressions of affection could be so. . .genuine.”
“The mind and the body together. We can have both. We can give that to each other.” Then, echoing what he’d said, it seemed like hours ago, “I’d like to try.”
“Even though you are aware of my inexperience with sex?”
“I’m just as inexperienced with sex between two men,” Kirk countered, “You said we could learn all the things two men could do with one another, together. God, Spock.” Erotic images stirred him: compelling, exciting, so desired with this man. “I want to do so many things with you,” he breathed against the heated skin.
“Yes. With you.”
“And I’ve never loved anyone within a meld before.”
The Vulcan pulled him even closer so they were cheek to cheek. He whispered into Kirk’s ear, enflaming him. “I would learn with you. . .everything. And I would teach you the ways of my people, of the iri’tin.”
To experience more of that mental communion, the “kiss” they’d already shared? And further, Kirk wanted to dive into the most profound understanding possible, to uninhibitedly revel in close and glorious contact with the man for whom he hungered. He imagined them naked together, sprawled on a big bed, their organs moist and satisfied from sex, Spock’s hands upon the meld points, their breathing in unison as they sank deeper and deeper into each other. . . .
For hours. He imagined losing himself in Spock for hours.
He took Spock’s face between his hands and looked long at the masculine face that was more beautiful now to him than the stars.
“Yes,” he whispered. “Show me everything. Teach me.”
And they kissed.