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Title: In Any Universe
Author: Deanna Grey
Rating: Eighteen and over only.
Contact: All feedback greatly appreciated. Please send to: tranya@frontiernet.net
Disclaimers: Paramount owns Star Trek, Kirk and Spock. No money is being made from this story.
Note: In Any Universe was originally published by Beyond Dreams Press in Beyond Dreams 6. A big Thank You to Jenna and Dusky for editing and publishing my story.

IN ANY UNIVERSE


by Deanna Grey



Kirk arose an hour earlier than usual, so he was showered, dressed, and ready by the time the soft chime rang to wake him.

After three weeks on medical leave he was anxious to return to duty. In his opinion he could have gone back several days ago, but McCoy would not be budged, making comments on how lucky he was to have been released to his quarters the last few days.

Kirk studied himself in the mirror. He was a little thinner but that was all right. He looked and felt healthy again. There was no sign that he'd almost died after that zulaac had mauled him. Lasering him back into one piece had been the easy part; the blood loss and subsequent infection from the animal's claws were what had complicated his recovery.

But McCoy had pulled him through again. And Spock. Kirk smiled. Spock had played a major role in his rapid recovery, spending hours in sickbay with him while holding down the three top posts on the ship.

His recollection of the days his body had burned with fever was poor, but he did remember a soothing presence nearby, which later he’d learned was the Vulcan, stationing himself by his captain’s bedside whenever he was off-duty. After the fever broke and his recovery was underway Spock was still there, bringing him news of the ship, playing chess, or just sitting in companionable silence. Once Spock had even brought his lyre and given him a private performance.

Spock had helped him escape from sickbay as well, promising McCoy to check up on him often. And the Vulcan had made good on his word, keeping him company and not letting him do too much too soon.

There wasn't another captain in Starfleet that had a first officer like his. They had forged a friendship that was close and special, and Kirk was grateful for it. Life on the Enterprise was rich and challenging but not always easy, and Kirk was glad that Spock was by his side for all of it.

His mind turned again to the end of the mission, as it had so often these last few months. There were only four months left—what would happen once they returned to Earth? Kirk knew he wanted to stay in space, but the odds were high he would be given a promotion and possibly a ground posting. Captaining a starship was what he did best, and he was prepared to fight for another command. But what about Spock? The Vulcan had never mentioned the end of their tour together, and Kirk hadn’t either. He was pretty certain Spock would prefer to stay in space. But in what capacity would he serve? It was possible Starfleet would offer Spock a command of his own. Would Spock accept it, despite his claims of preferring scientific duties? Would HQ let him refuse?

The simple, disturbing fact was that unless they were both posted to the same ship or to similar ground assignments, they would hardly see each other. His hands balled into fists and his muscles tensed as if preparing for a fight. He would not allow that to happen. He couldn’t contemplate life without Spock. The vehemence and determination behind his resolution didn’t surprise him as much as made him nervous. There was such an intensity lately between him and Spock, like they were on the edge of something, some new truth between them, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to acknowledge it.

Kirk shook his thoughts away, chiding himself for them. There was still time before they returned to Earth, and at least two or three months of debriefing following that. Later there would be time for such decisions. Right now he had a ship to run.

Glancing at the chronometer, Kirk decided he would head for sickbay early for his final clearance. If he hurried, he could meet Spock in the mess and they could have breakfast together.

Kirk left his cabin and walked the corridors of his ship. His step was light and his good mood restored. He was not going to let worries about the future bother him today. All he wanted to do was get back on the bridge where he belonged.

*****

Spock rose at his customary hour and prepared himself for duty. For the first time in three point two weeks he was looking forward to being on the bridge, because today his captain would be there, returning to his rightful place.

It had been a long three weeks while Kirk recovered. The first week had been the worst, a waking nightmare that still haunted Spock. He recalled with all too vivid clarity the pale, sweat-soaked skin and the absolute stillness in Kirk's body as he lay unconscious on the bio-bed. He had come so close to losing the precious human.

It was illogical to dwell on what could have happened. Kirk had survived and was healthy and ready to command again. Still, some dark corner of his mind whispered of dangers that could yet surface during their last four point three months in space.

Worry was also illogical, he reminded himself sternly. Illogical, yes, but he could not stop himself from it. His captain was impulsive and fearless, a combination that lent itself to danger.

Spock allowed himself a sigh. While these traits were certainly contributing factors, the truth was he would worry about Kirk no matter what. It was the reason why that was so disturbing: against all logic and training he had fallen in love with his captain.

Only recently had he been forced to acknowledge his inappropriate emotions for his superior officer. Long had he denied it, telling himself that he felt nothing but comradeship and that all his actions concerning Kirk were born of duty and friendship, until the dreams had started and lying was no longer feasible. Dreams of wrapping himself around cool, human flesh, his hands exploring every inch of Kirk’s tantalizing body, learning to pleasure his captain as well as take his own. Dreams so real, he could almost feel Kirk’s strong hands on his body, taste his moist lips, feel the play of muscles in the sturdy form as they moved together, touch the very tendrils of Kirk’s thoughts as their minds also joined. Many nights he had awakened from these dreams, finding his organ erect and wanting, his mind aching. But always he was alone.

He had been determined not to give in to his feelings, seeking instead to bury them, careful to never make any overt gesture or do anything to make Kirk believe his regard was anything but that of a friend. But inside….

It was turmoil of a kind he had no experience with, both blessing and curse. The acceptance and friendship Kirk had given him was something no one else had ever offered him. It was precious to him. Any time spent with Kirk, duty or not, he cherished and carefully stored in his memory.

But he was cursed to know that his true feelings would never find expression. Kirk was attracted only to females. It was illogical to hope he would ever turn to his male first officer in a monogamous sexual relationship. Watching Kirk move from one dalliance to another and share his body and warm nature so casually with strangers, knowing the human would never be his—it was an aching wound that never healed in his supposedly stone heart.

Spock sighed again. Dwelling on such things was illogical. There was no hope or resolution for him. At one time he had considered transferring but had immediately dismissed the notion. He had deemed it far better to endure Kirk’s multitude of affairs than to not see him again. The need for the human’s friendship and acceptance was too great. He thrived on touching that golden aura, even if only lightly and not in the soul-deep joining of t’hy’la.

With the end of the mission looming so close, however, he was again contemplating leaving, and not only the Enterprise but Starfleet as well. Spock’s eyes slid over to the idol, whose dark eyes stared back at him, mocking him. His controls had weakened considerably since his service under Kirk. It was becoming harder and harder to follow the strict tenets by which he had chosen to live his life. Too many years among humans had eroded his will and strength and he was weary of the constant struggle. His human half clamored within and he was hard pressed to control it. He was too close to this illogical species, and far too susceptible to Kirk in particular. It had been so long since he had lived among his own people, and as never before Spock yearned for the comforting heat of Eridani, the blaze of red sky above him and hot sands beneath his feet. On Vulcan he might find relief.

A decision was not needed today, however. Resolutely Spock set his dark thoughts aside and left his cabin, making his way toward the mess. He was not hungry, but Kirk would be there this morning.

Though he would not admit it, his being filled with relief and joy as he entered the mess hall and saw Kirk sitting at their usual table, McCoy just sitting down next to him. His captain was back.

*****

"Good morning, Commander," Kirk smiled in greeting as Spock took the seat opposite him.

"Captain, it is good to see you returning to duty."

Kirk’s smile grew. "It’s good to be back, Spock."

McCoy watched his two senior officers staring at each other. He’d seen them do this before, focus so intently on each other that it was like no one else was in the room with them. He cleared his throat.

"How are you feeling, Jim?"

"Fine, Bones. Ready for anything." Kirk didn’t bother to look at the doctor, keeping his eyes glued to Spock’s.

"That’s some breakfast you got there." McCoy tried again to break their concentration. This time Kirk did turn to him.

"After what you gave me in sickbay, I deserve this. Besides, my weight’s perfect and Spock’ll give me a good workout in the gym later." Kirk took a large bite of his food.

"Whoa, there. You were just released. I don’t want you getting your butt kicked around the gym by Spock."

"I do not ‘kick his butt,’ Doctor, as you so inelegantly put it. We spar." Spock’s gaze returned to Kirk and his voice softened. "And I would not injure him."

"I know," Kirk replied.

They were doing it again. McCoy gave up, finishing his meal in silence but watching them with interest. There was an energy between them that McCoy could feel but couldn’t quite identify.

It was a quick meal, and as soon as they were done Kirk rose.

"Ready, Spock?"

"Yes, Captain."

"See you later, Bones."

McCoy looked after them as they left, walking side by side. That had been the weirdest breakfast, and he wondered what was going on with them now. He’d be damned if he could ever figure those two out.

Down the corridor, the lift just arrived to take the captain and first officer to the bridge. Kirk grasped the control and engaged the turbo.

"Bridge,” he ordered. Kirk twisted slightly toward his companion.

“How long to the Gamma quadrant?”

“Two hours, twenty-four minutes. Long range scans will commence in one hour.”

Kirk snorted. "I can’t believe we’re stuck surveying a whole quadrant of empty planets."

"It will yield valuable information."

"I know, but I’d like to explore an inhabited planet, meet with a new race. There’s so little time left." He murmured this last statement.

"Our last survey was far more eventful than expected," Spock said pointedly.

Kirk glanced at the Vulcan, seeing disapproval and pain in the dark eyes. How anyone could think Spock didn’t feel anything when it was so plain in those eyes, Kirk couldn’t fathom.

"Don’t worry, I’m staying aboard. I still have some reports to catch up on." He turned to face Spock fully. "I haven’t thanked you for saving my life. Again. McCoy told me you pulled that zulaac off me."

"There is no need for thanks."

"I have a need to say it. Thank you, my friend." Kirk put his hand on Spock’s arm.

"You are welcome," Spock hesitated, "my friend."

Kirk drew slightly closer, their gazes locked. Kirk’s chest went tight and it was suddenly too warm in the lift. Something was happening between them, right there in the lift, something important. Kirk drew in a deep breath. But whatever might have happened next didn’t, for the lift stopped and the doors opened onto the bridge.

Both men stepped out and went to their posts.

*****

"Captain’s log, Stardate 6672.3. The Enterprise has just finished the scientific survey of planet T-385 in sector fifteen of the Gamma quadrant. Initial studies show this uninhabited planet to be poorly suited for colonization or agriculture; however, mining of perconium, dilithium, raytac and other resources would be possible. The scientific teams are beaming back aboard and the final reports will be forwarded to Starfleet Command with Commander Spock’s recommendations."

Kirk clicked off his log and stood from his chair.

"Mister Sulu, you have the con. I’ll be in the transporter room."

Kirk made his way to transporter room three, where the science personnel were beaming up.

"How many more, Scotty?"

"Just Mister Spock, Captain. I’m resetting now."

Kirk turned expectantly toward the transporter, listening to the switches being flipped, feeling more than hearing the first low hum of the transporter as it worked to retrieve the Vulcan from the planet’s surface.

"Captain Kirk!" Sulu’s voice cut in sharply over the comm. The ship suddenly pitched, sending Kirk and Scotty tumbling across the room. The Enterprise shook violently as Kirk struggled to his feet.

"Scotty!" Kirk yelled, horrified as he realized the transporter beam was still trying to deposit its charge onto the platform.

The engineer managed to get to the console and began hitting buttons as the ship righted herself. Kirk smashed his fist down on the console.

"Sulu, what’s going on?"

"Captain, we were hit by a magnitude eight ion storm. It came out of nowhere."

"Position?"

"It’s gone, sir, as suddenly as it came. Instruments are ionized and inoperable. Crew injuries and damage reports are being compiled."

"Captain," Scotty gasped.

Kirk snapped his head up and stared at him. All the color had drained from the engineer’s face and there was a look of horror in his eyes. He was staring past Kirk, toward the transporter platform. Icy fear swept through Kirk.

Not daring to breathe, Kirk slowly turned. There on the pad was a formless lump of flesh, mutated beyond recognition. Kirk took one faltering step forward, and a firm hand grasped his arm.

"No, Captain."

Kirk shook off Scotty and took another step, but he couldn’t bring himself to go any closer. Black and blue and green were melted together, bubbling in some places, in hideous mockery of what had once been a living person.

There was suddenly no air to breathe and the room tilted dangerously. His heart was beating furiously, its pounding rhythm echoing in his ears. Bile rose in his throat and his stomach heaved. Kirk turned away, a shaking hand reaching for the console. He was dizzy and sick and his legs felt as if they would buckle. He could hear Scotty calling sickbay for a team to remove the remains, but it was as if from a distance, though the engineer stood only a few inches from him.

“Captain?”

Kirk closed his eyes and shook his head. The smell of burnt flesh and charred clothing was thick in the air, suffocating him. It seemed forever until McCoy and his team arrived, although Kirk knew it was only minutes.

He forced himself to watch the morbid spectacle. Silver-suited technicians were carefully lifting the heavy bundle of deformed flesh, placing it on a gurney. To Kirk, they seemed to be moving in slow motion, each moment agonizingly long, the rustle of their decontamination suits irritating to his ears. At last a steri-blanket was placed over the body, covering the smoldering remains. Kirk’s eyes followed the gurney as it was pushed, the transporter room doors hissing loudly as they opened, allowing the medical team to leave with their grisly burden. Footsteps echoed loudly in Kirk’s ears only to be abruptly cut off by the closing of the doors.

"Jim?"

McCoy’s voice. Kirk couldn’t even look at him, just stared at the bulkhead across the room.

"Come on, Jim. Let’s get out of here."

Fingers gripped his arm and his body was pulled forward but Kirk shrugged the hand away. There was a loud buzzing filling the room. It took him a moment to identify what it was—the transporter chamber, running through decontamination procedures. Scotty was manning the controls, and next to him was an engineering tech in a decon suit, waiting to manually check the equipment.

“Jim, come with me.”

There was nothing he’d rather do than go to sickbay and find out it was all a mistake, but he was the captain and his ship needed him.

"I have to go to the bridge."

"Bullshit."

Kirk gathered himself and gave McCoy a sharp glance. "Right now we’re defenseless and without communications or sensors. I’ll be on the bridge, doing my duty. Go to sickbay and do yours, Doctor."

Kirk spun about and left, walking as quickly for the turbo as his leaden legs would take him.

"Bridge," he ordered. The lift sped on its way. A black tide of grief hovered over him, threatening to spill and overtake him. But he couldn’t allow that. He couldn’t give in to his emotions. He was the captain. His ship and crew needed him. He had no time to grieve for his best friend. Time for that later.

The turbo arrived at the bridge and Kirk stepped out, heading for his command chair.

“Status?”

"Holding orbit, Captain," Sulu immediately responded. "Instruments are ionized and inoperable, as reported. Estimated time to recovery: eight hours.”

"Casualties, Uhura?”
r32; “Twenty-three injured, several requiring surgery. No fatalities, sir.”

Kirk’s throat felt as if it were squeezed shut. He had to force the words out. "There was one death, Lieutenant. Commander Spock." His voice cracked slightly on the name but he quickly gathered himself. "Log it once you receive Scotty’s report on the transporter.”

Deathly stillness descended on the bridge.

"Aye, sir,” Uhura said, her usually melodic voice filled with sadness, causing a fresh wave of grief to wash over him.

“Captain.” Lieutenant Warrick, currently manning the science station while Spock was on the planet. Spock had spoken well of him, stating he would someday make a good science officer. Now it seemed he had the opportunity to show it, Kirk grimly thought.

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

“I was performing a sensor check right when the storm hit. I can’t be sure, but I thought I saw a fluctuation of some kind.”

"Ramifications?”

“Uncertain, sir. Sensors are unreliable when ionized, and I’ve never seen readings during an actual storm before. I don’t know if this is a normal phenomenon or if something unusual happened. I only saw it for a second. Commander Spock…” Warrick trailed off uneasily. Sorrow was plain to see on the young man’s face.

"Run diagnostics as soon as the computers are operational, Lieutenant,” Kirk ordered gently.

"Aye, sir.”

Crew casualties and status reports kept Kirk busy the next several hours, but as time wore on and repairs were made, there remained less for the captain to do other than wait for the ionization to pass and allow instrumentation to return. Time seemed to stretch immeasurably and he could not keep his mind from Spock.

How could this have happened? There should have been some warning. Even as he thought it Kirk dismissed the notion. That was his anger surfacing. Years in space had taught him that things sometimes happened very quickly and with dire consequences. This wasn’t the first time his ship had been caught in the throes of a severe ion storm, and Spock wasn’t the first casualty of one.

But this was by far the worst. The few seconds it had lasted had been all that was needed to destroy his brilliant, gentle friend. Such a waste. And such an agonizing death. Kirk knew all too well that Spock would have felt his body decomposing in the beam, would have felt his blood boil as his life was torn from him….

Stop it, he commanded himself. The bridge was no place for mourning. Not knowing what else to do, he activated the comm and paged sickbay.

"Nurse Collins, Captain. Doctor McCoy is still in surgery."

"Have him contact me when he’s done with the au…when he’s free.”

"Yes, sir."

Kirk pushed out of his chair and walked slowly around his bridge, checking consoles and asking for updates. He knew there was nothing new to report yet, but he had to do something, anything, to keep his mind off Spock.

*****

Several hours later all systems were nominal as the Enterprise continued her orbit around planet T-385. Kirk handed the con over to Beta shift and retreated to his quarters. He stood just inside the door. The silent blackness of his room was an exact match for his mood.

Retrieving a bottle and one glass from his bedroom, he brought them back to his desk. There he sat in the near-darkness, the bottle of brandy his only company.

Kirk poured and downed one drink, then two. The third he just held, swirling the amber liquid in his glass. He recalled the last ion storm that had struck them—five months ago, also a big one, taking out their instruments for almost seven hours. He’d come to his quarters afterward, but Spock had remained on the bridge, refusing to leave until every single circuit was checked and rechecked to his personal satisfaction. It was near the middle of Gamma shift when the Vulcan had paged him with a final report.

The comm shrilled and Kirk nearly jumped. His heart beat rapidly in his chest. He flipped the channel open, somehow hoping to hear a deep baritone…and was bitterly disappointed when a light tenor sounded through his cabin.

"Lieutenant Warrick, Captain. I finished the computer diagnostic and was able to confirm that the sensors did detect some kind of anomaly. I still haven’t been able to trace exactly what happened, though."

"Fine, Lieutenant. Log it into your final report. Kirk out.”

He snapped the toggle with more force than necessary but he didn’t care. He was angry, so damn angry that such a stupid accident could happen, so close to the end of their tour.

Kirk gulped down his drink and poured another. There had been so many times he thought he’d lost Spock, only to somehow have him restored to his side. This time there would be no reprieve, though. Spock was dead.

No, a corner of his mind still protested, and his heart twisted. Something inside him just couldn’t accept that he would never see Spock again, but he had to. He had seen the body.

The last five years had been fraught with danger; so many times either of them could have died. It was a part of living in space, a risk all spacers lived with—he knew that. But they had survived. Mainly because they were always there for one another. Now this had happened, and he hadn’t been able to do a damn thing.

Kirk slammed his glass down. That’s what made him so angry. Spock’s death was so…senseless, and wasteful. Ghod, it hurt so much. Over sixty of his crew had been lost over the years, and he remembered every one. Each was a personal failure to him and he grieved every lost life, but this was so different. Spock wasn’t just another member of his crew. This felt like a part of himself had died, too, a part of him that was precious and necessary. Gone. His heart felt like it had been ripped open, and his soul felt sundered. How could it hurt so much?

He leaned forward, resting his head in his hands. He hadn’t been able to help his friend, hadn’t been able to touch him. He hadn’t even been given a chance to say good-bye. His eyes stung with unshed tears.

"Spock." A pained whisper in the dark.

r32;The buzzer interrupted his morbid reverie but Kirk ignored it. It grew louder, more insistent, but Kirk just blocked it from his mind. He knew who it was and he didn’t feel up to hearing this right now. But McCoy was nothing if not persistent, and Kirk wasn’t surprised when the door opened and the doctor strode into the room.

"Didn’t you hear me?"

"Go away, Bones."

"Jim, I have to talk to you. I did the autopsy—"

"I don’t want to hear this, McCoy. Just get out."

"You don’t understand—"

"I said get out!" Kirk was on his feet, grief and anger radiating from his body, the last vestiges of his control threatening to crumble. "Just leave me the hell alone."

"It’s not Spock."

All the fight was suddenly sucked out of him with the shock of those words, as if someone had opened a hatch and the oxygen was lost to the vacuum of space. Somewhere in a corner of his heart the tiniest ray of hope sparked.

"It’s not Spock," McCoy repeated. "I started the autopsy, running the genetic decoder first for verification of identity—standard procedure. That wasn’t Spock we beamed up, Jim. It wasn’t even a Vulcan. It was an Orion."

Kirk felt his body sway as relief washed through him. Not Spock. It wasn’t Spock. He clung to that thought as he steadied himself.

"You’re sure?”

“I checked it out thoroughly four times, Jim. Definitely Orion.”

Kirk sank into his chair, literally weak with relief. Another thought immediately struck him, however, and he hit the comm unit as he recalled the name of Gamma shift’s science officer.

“This is the captain. Lieutenant Kramer, start scanning the planet for any signs of life. Report to me immediately."

Not Spock. The words echoed in his mind.

“Jim?”r32;

"What would an Orion be doing in this quadrant and on T-385?"

"There’s more than that. He was wearing a Starfleet uniform."

Kirk considered this news. "Was he altered in any way, like Thelev was that time?"

"Not that I could identify. He was an Orion openly wearing a Starfleet uniform."

"That’s impossible."

"But true. There was one thing, though. The tunic was made of slightly different material than Fleet issue, but the pants were genuine regulation made."

The comm whistled.

"Lieutenant Kramer, sir. Scans do not detect any sign of life on the planet."

"Repeat scans, focus sensors on Vulcan life signs.” Kirk hesitated a moment before issuing his next order. “Search for any trace of a body as well."

There was a slight pause.

"Aye, sir."

"Helm, I want a complete, detailed sweep of the entire T solar system. I want to know if there’s anything out there besides us."

"Yes, sir," came Hickson’s deep voice.

"What do you expect to find?" McCoy asked.

"I don’t know, but if we didn’t beam up Spock, and he’s not on the planet, where is he? What would a lone Orion be doing down there and in a Starfleet uniform that isn’t Spock’s? There would have to be a ship somewhere, and maybe they’ve got Spock."

"I hate to remind you, but this all happened hours ago. They would have left by now."

"Maybe not. If there was one Orion on the planet there have to be more somewhere, on a ship or a base hidden somewhere that we didn’t detect."

"Captain?" the comm interrupted again

"Yes, Mister Kramer?"

"All scans are negative for life forms on T-385, living or otherwise. Initial sensor sweeps show no ships or life signs anywhere in the system but us."

"Continue scanning until further notice. I’ll be in sickbay."

Kirk closed the channel and faced his friend.

"I want a look at what we beamed up."

They made their way to the autopsy room. McCoy must have anticipated his captain’s actions because the remains were in the exam room under a sterile field. They gowned up and went inside.

"I noticed right away the flesh was much darker than Spock’s, but I attributed that to blood. Now look at this." McCoy switched on the computer panel above the table. "Genes can’t be mutated into another species in the transporter. They can be scrambled and mixed with anything within the beam, but an accident can’t turn a Vulcan into an Orion. This is verified Orion DNA, with no trace of Vulcan or human genes."

Kirk studied the readout carefully. He trusted Bones, but he needed to see with his own eyes that this wasn’t Spock. Looking down, he glanced over the remains. The Orion had died horribly. Enemy or not, Kirk hoped whoever it was hadn’t suffered too much.

McCoy picked up a nearby specimen dish.

"This is a piece of the tunic. See? It’s a different material than what we use, but the pants are definitely Starfleet. I’m going to give this to the lab to run tests on and see if we can identify exactly what materials were used. Maybe the Orions manufactured it to look like Starfleet uniforms."

Kirk studied the swatch of blue for a moment but he was beyond being able to pinpoint what was bothering him about it. His head was pounding fiercely and his energy was drained.

"Come on, Jim. My report’s logged and there’s nothing more here."

Kirk reluctantly followed McCoy from the room and pulled the medical garb off, shoving it into the disposal. He ran a hand through his hair. Ghod, he was tired. He looked back toward the autopsy room.

"We’re overlooking something."

"Enough, Jim. You look about ready to fall down, and I know I’m ready to. I want you back in your cabin and getting some sleep."

"I can’t sleep, Bones. I have to find Spock."

Kirk strode from sickbay and made his way to the bridge. Relief that it wasn’t Spock and concern over where the Vulcan was and what might be happening to him swept his fatigue away. He wasn’t going to rest until the mystery was solved and Spock was returned to his side.

*****

Spock swayed as soon as the beam released him in the transporter chamber. The onslaught of dizziness and disorientation incapacitated him momentarily. He blinked, attempting to stabilize his senses. Kyle was manning the console but was staring at him oddly for some unfathomable reason. Spock almost stumbled as he descended the platform but quickly recovered. Clearing his throat, he focused his attention on the stunned crewman before him.

"Mister Kyle, is there a problem?"

The man shook his head but still didn’t utter a sound. Spock was about to question him when the doors whooshed open and a stern but familiar voice called out behind him.

"Is that jackass aboard yet or not?"

Spock spun about just in time to see his captain halt mid-stride. Spock blinked. It was James Kirk; he would know the human anywhere. And yet, it was not. Gone was his uniform tunic, replaced with a gold vest with matching sash around his waist, and his pants were tucked into boots that came up over his knees. A phaser and dagger were secured to his waist. There were several pendants on the left side of the vest, most of which he did not recognize, although one he did: the insignia of a captain. On the right breast was single pendant of a small disk that obviously represented Terra with a sword driven through it from the top. But more disturbing than the odd clothing was the anger emanating from him and the aggressive stance.

"Spock?" the apparition of his captain said, taking a step forward but stopping again about a meter from him. The human’s eyes narrowed and hazel orbs hardened.

"You."

Then Spock knew. He was in the alternate universe that his Kirk, McCoy, Scott and Uhura had been trapped in. A mirror universe, his captain had called it. Spock remembered this Kirk, his violence and rage, the threats he had flung and the bribery attempts for his release from the brig where Spock had imprisoned him and the others. This time, however, it was he who was trapped in a foreign universe, with a savage, undisciplined James Kirk in charge of his fate. It was a most alarming situation.

"Guards," Kirk called, his eyes never leaving Spock’s face. The guards instantly stepped up.

"Take Mister Spock to the brig." Kirk stood close to him. "I’ll come for you later. Do I have to restrain you?"

"Force will not be necessary."

"Good. For your sake. Take him."

Spock walked calmly to the brig with his security escort, silently examining his surroundings. The ship itself appeared to be identical to his Enterprise except for minor detailing, such as the Imperial symbol that seemed to be on every wall. Other more significant differences were the large number of security officers stationed throughout the vessel, the open weaponry on all crewmembers, the different uniforms. The attitude of this crew was also very different from that of his universe, a stifling current of anger and hate permeating from everyone they passed, all seemingly directed at him. None of the crew was overtly hostile, but the looks they gave him were openly aggressive. It was logical to assume they thought he was their first officer, and he found their attitude very disturbing. What was his counterpart like, to warrant such regard?

Arriving at the brig, Spock waited quietly as the forcefield was deactivated. He was shoved inside and the brig perimeter crackled back to life behind him. This room was exactly the same as the brig on his own ship. Spock sat on the solitary bench in his small prison and awaited this Kirk’s arrival with more than a little unease.

It had been over two years since he had last seen this man, but he recalled the savagery he had witnessed at the time. Kirk had been particularly difficult to deal with. Spock well remembered the threats this one had issued against him, and he had no doubt this Kirk also remembered. It was possible the human would carry them out, now that their positions were reversed. In fact, Spock suspected he was being held in the brig right now as revenge for having detained Kirk two years ago.

This was James Kirk, and yet so very different from his own captain. His Kirk could stand up to Klingons, Orions, and Starfleet echelons, and win whatever battle he waged with them, but he did not need to revert to brutality to do it. He was strong, sometimes willful, but always fair. A strange churning in his stomach occurred as his mind contemplated the thought that he would possibly not see his captain again. He could not allow that. He had to return to his Kirk’s side.

The hours were long as he waited for Kirk, and although Spock knew it was illogical, he could not help but miss his captain, and worry about his return.

"So here you sit, Mister Spock. Like old times."

Spock looked up into a familiar face wearing an unfamiliar smug expression.

"Except this time I’m in charge and you’re the one imprisoned, with no information, no idea what’s going to happen to you."

"Fascinating," Spock replied dryly.

The other snorted. "I still amuse you, eh? That’s good, very good," the human said snidely. "Come with me."

The forcefield was deactivated and Spock left the brig, following Kirk through the halls, surprised when they arrived at the captain’s quarters. Kirk ushered him inside, the guards taking up station right outside the door.

Spock stood at attention and waited, watching as Kirk retrieved two bottles and glasses from the corner of his work area.

"Oh, at ease, Mister Spock. There’s no need to be so formal, is there?" A wolfish grin accompanied the seemingly innocent words.

Spock shifted into his usual position: his legs slightly spread and his hands clasped behind his back.

"I must ask if there were any unusual conditions that might account for my presence here."

Kirk sipped at the drink he poured for himself. "You even sound the same." Spock noted he was now pouring a blue liquid into the second glass. This he held expectantly to Spock.

"No, thank you," Spock declined.

"It’s Romulan Ale. My Spock liked it so you should, too."

"Was there any power surge in the transporter?"
Kirk put the ale down, swirled his own drink and took a sip before answering.

"Yes, we had a power surge. There was a strong but brief ion storm that occurred just as we were using the transporter."

"No doubt it recreated the same circumstances as occurred at Halka. I will need access to your computer."

"For what?"

Spock’s brow rose. "So I can simulate the conditions and return myself to my own dimension and restore my counterpart here."

"Your counterpart," Kirk muttered.

"The ‘jackass’ you referred to."

Kirk looked sharply at him.

"I wouldn’t call my Spock a jackass, and certainly not within earshot of him. That wasn’t him in the beam."

"Who was it?"

"My science officer, Narn. He’s the jackass."

Inexplicably Spock felt a chill descend his spine.

"Where is my counterpart?"

"Gone." Kirk gulped down the rest of his drink. "He left me. Said he’d had enough and went back to Vulcan."

This news surprised Spock, for two reasons. First, his theory regarding the crossing of parallel universes involved the exchange of parallel beings. This was obviously incorrect. Second, and more disturbing, was the fact that he had been contemplating returning to the sands of his fathers, and now, learning that his counterpart had already done so, it seemed as if his path had been chosen already. According to general theory on inter-dimensions, a balance of sorts was required between parallel universes. All things being equal, this pointed toward a future on Vulcan, without his Kirk. Spock swallowed. Even though he had been considering such an action, the mere thought of life without Kirk was painful. But this was no time for emotionalism. Mustering his control, Spock turned his attention back to this alternate Kirk.

"You still need your science officer back."

"Not necessarily."

His brow rose again. "I do not understand."

"No, you wouldn’t."

Was there a hint of sadness in his voice? He could not be certain. Kirk did not expand on his statement, prompting Spock to probe.

"Explain."

Kirk gave him a small smile. Had his captain done so it would have been gentle and warm, drawing Spock as a magnet does metal. This smile was cold and calculating, a reminder to Spock to be wary.

"Well, I have you here. You can be my science officer, and your Kirk can keep Narn."

That shocked Spock, even more so as he realized the human appeared quite serious.

"That is impossible," Spock stated flatly and definitely.

"Tch, tch, Spock, you know nothing’s impossible." Kirk suddenly scowled at him. "You’re here, and you’re going to stay here."

"I must return to my captain."

Kirk gave a short, bitter laugh. "Your captain. Not your ship or your duty, but your captain. He used to call me that, too. His captain. Until he left."

"I must insist that I be allowed to use the computer. The local field density between our two universes is likely unstable and will cause the window for crossing over to be brief."

"I said you’re staying, and that’s that," snarled Kirk. As suddenly as his anger came it went, replaced by a deadly calm. "Why go back to him anyway? You’re planning to leave him."

A statement, not a question, and the words rocked Spock. How could this man possibly know what he had been contemplating? Ah, but he was James Kirk—cunning, violent, different, and yet equally perceptive. Spock took a step back as Kirk moved toward him.

"I’m right, aren’t I? Is it because he’s doing to you what I did to my Spock, taking you for granted? Did he deny you the bond the way I denied mine?"

"Bond?"

Spock had been steadily retreating as Kirk advanced, but he was now against the bulkhead and there was no place to go. He was forced to stare into those cold eyes, so like and unlike his own captain’s, struggling against the fierce aura permeating his shields.

"You aren’t lovers?"

Spock eyes went wide and he swallowed convulsively. "No."

"Why not?"

Kirk now had his arms on either side of Spock’s body and was leaning toward him. Hazel eyes traveled blatantly over his body, sending a shiver down Spock’s spine. The man was too close; his handsome face, the force of his persona, his masculine scent, the strength and power he exuded were battering at his controls, just as his own Kirk did.

"I asked you a question."

"He is my captain."

"So? I was my Spock’s captain."

"He does not desire me, or any male."

Those sharp eyes were boring into his own and Spock felt naked before them.

"Really? But you desire him, don’t you?"

Spock tore his gaze away.

"I can see it in your eyes, Spock. Your eyes always give you away."

A hand touched his cheek and Spock could take no more. He shoved past Kirk, putting needed distance between them. He was at the limits of his control. This Kirk was a seducer and he would not fall prey to him.

"This conversation is ended. I will work in auxiliary control until I can leave."

"Sorry, Spock. I was stupid enough to let him go." Kirk pulled out his phaser and adjusted the setting. "I won’t let you go, too."

"Captain Kirk—"

"Exactly. I’m your captain now."

Spock started for him with Vulcan speed but the human was fully prepared. The phaser fired and the bolt hit Spock with precise accuracy. Weakness flooded him and consciousness fled as he crumpled to the floor.

*****

Hours of intensive scanning and searching passed without results. Spock was nowhere on the planet or in the entire Gamma T solar system. Kirk left the bridge and headed for sickbay, finding McCoy in his office.

"I was just about to call you," the doctor said.

"Did the lab finish analyzing that piece of material?"

"Just got the results." McCoy waved a tape. "It’s made of similar materials to ours but there are special metal filaments woven into it. Damn sophisticated job of it, too, because it’s pretty strong and yet you can’t feel the metal at all. It won’t stop a phaser, but it would help protect against a knife or other sharp object."

"The Orions openly wear their armor, and they don’t have the technology to make a fabric like that."

"Maybe they stole it."

There it was again, something nagging him about that damn piece of material.

"None of this makes sense. We had several science parties on the planet for four days. All our equipment had been removed and all personnel but Spock were back on the ship. Why kidnap the sole crewmember left on the planet when it would be so obvious, especially when it was clear we were going to break orbit?"

"Maybe it was worth the risk to them to get a Starfleet hostage."

"They’re not stupid enough to engage a starship. Besides, our sensors would have detected their presence. Unless…."

"Unless?"

"Unless someone was operating a transporter at the same time we were and the ion storm mixed the beaming signatures."

"But you said there weren’t any other ships in the area," McCoy protested.

Kirk tapped on the doctor’s desk. "That’s right, I did. Bones, I think I know what happened."

"Well, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell me."

"In a minute." Kirk leaned and switched on the comm. "Mister Scott."

The engineer’s visage appeared on the screen. "Scott here, sir."

"Report to Doctor McCoy’s office immediately."

"Aye, Captain."

Kirk shut it off and paced the small room. If what he was thinking were true….

"Jim, what’s going on?"

"Something bad, Bones."

"Jim." The doctor sounded exasperated.

"I want Scotty to hear this, too."

Within minutes the engineer arrived, taking a seat next to an impatient McCoy.

Kirk began. "Scotty, we were in the middle of beaming up Mister Spock when a sudden ion storm flared and disrupted our systems, including the transporting beam."

"Aye, that’s what happened."

"Was there a power surge?"

"I didna notice at the time, but readings indicate there was."

"And that power surge would have affected the transporter lock since it was in the process of beaming."

"Aye, it could." The Scotsman’s eyes widened. "Captain, you doona mean…?"

"What?" McCoy snapped.

"It’s what happened several years ago, Doctor," Kirk said grimly. "If you remember, another ion storm triggered a power surge in the transporter mechanism and disrupted the beaming lock, sending four people from this ship to an Enterprise in a parallel dimension."

His chief medical officer’s pale face told him McCoy knew exactly what he was talking about: the mirror universe he, McCoy, Scott and Uhura had been swept to and had been very lucky to leave.

"Dear god, you mean the same thing has happened again?"

"It would explain why there’s no sign of Spock anywhere," Kirk answered.

"But we didna beam up his alternate. Doctor McCoy said it was an Orion."

"The body we beamed up was also in a different shirt, not Spock’s uniform tunic," McCoy added. "When we were there we were beamed into our alternates’ clothes."

"Which means Spock wasn’t switched with his alternate," Kirk replied, everything now suddenly clear. He knew now what had been bothering him about the blue fabric—he’d seen it before, and now he knew where. He leaned over the desk, almost hovering over his officers.

"The Orion was probably part of that Enterprise’s crew, and he was beaming up at the same time as our Spock did, so when the ion storm hit they traded places. But it wasn’t an exact crossover of counterparts. The Orion ended up here and our Spock is in that universe."

There was a moment of silence as the two men absorbed this, until McCoy voiced the unthinkable.

"Assuming you’re right about all this, Jim, it probably means our Spock died in transport, too."

"I won’t accept that."

He could see the shock and disbelief in his chief medical officer’s and chief engineer’s eyes.

"Jim—"

"Just because the Orion died doesn’t guarantee Spock did. He could have survived and is now trapped over there. Scotty, the last time we were able to reproduce the same conditions of the ion storm using the warp engines—I want it done again."

"Aye, sir. There is one thing, though, Captain." Scotty seemed hesitant. "If ye remember, the last time this happened the two-way matter transmissions affected the field densities between our two universes. If that’s happened again there’s the possibility the window for transposition has already closed and we canna reach him."

"I know, Scotty. Do your best to make it work."

"Aye."

The engineer departed, leaving Kirk and McCoy alone. Kirk was keenly aware of the doctor’s fixed gaze on him.

"We don’t have anyone to beam back there," McCoy reminded his captain.

"If we can’t get a fix on Spock then I’ll go over and get him."

McCoy stared in amazement at him.

"Are you crazy? Have you thought about what could happen to you if you do that? You could become trapped, too. What about your counterpart? He’ll be there—you have no idea what your presence might do. He might even kill you."

"What do you suggest I do, Doctor?" Kirk snapped. "Abandon Spock?"

"We don’t even know if he’s alive."

"Until I see his body I consider him alive."

McCoy was now looking at him like he was insane.

"Maybe there isn’t a body; there wasn’t much left of the Orion."

"Then I’ll find out what happened."

"You sound so…desperate."

"I am. I need him back. I need him here. With me."

"Jim. I know he’s your best friend and you thought he was dead and this has been hell, but what you’re saying now, what you’re planning on doing…. I don’t understand it."

"I can’t explain it, Bones. I don’t fully understand it myself." Kirk rubbed his hands together. "He’s not just my friend, Bones. We’ve become so close. He’s…. I can’t explain it. But if there’s any chance at all I can get him back, I have to take it, whatever the consequences."

He held McCoy’s gaze for a few moments, relaxing when the older man shook his head in resignation.

"All right, Jim. I still don’t understand but you’re determined to do this and I’ll stand by you. I’m not sure I can stand to see Spock’s counterpart but if you go over there I’ll come with you."

Spock’s counterpart. Kirk remembered him very well. Cold and cruel, willingly using violence to maintain order and achieve his goals. That Vulcan had ripped into his gentle friend’s mind, invading his very thoughts and stripping him of his own sense of self. McCoy hadn’t even been able to fight him. It had made the doctor nervous around their own Spock for a while, and the few times afterward when Spock had had to meld with McCoy the physician had withdrawn for several days. Yet, here he was, willing to face that danger again to help him and Spock.

"I appreciate it, Bones, but that won’t be necessary. If I have to go I’ll go alone. I don’t want any more of our people there than necessary. It’s going to take Scotty awhile to set things up; I’ll be on the bridge."

"Jim, are you sure you know what you’re doing?"

Kirk stopped short but didn’t look back. "I’m doing what I have to, Bones."

Kirk strode out of sickbay and headed for the nearest turbo. He gripped the control, ordering it to the bridge.

I’ll find you, Spock, he vowed. Whatever it takes, I’ll find you.

*****

Cool air caressing his skin was the first sensation to waft through Spock's still-numbed mind. Keeping his eyes closed, he concentrated on clearing his thoughts, but to his dismay he was unable to lift the fog hovering in his mind. The mind-rules were somehow vague and beyond his grasp.

This was not the typical after-effect of a stun, although the possibility existed that the phasers in this universe were slightly different and thus were the cause of his disorientation. Spock tried to run an internal check of his bodily systems to determine if he had sustained any injuries when he had fallen, but even that was beyond him at the moment.

Opening his eyes revealed he was still in the captain’s quarters, illuminated to only one-quarter. It was and was not like his Kirk’s cabin. This was no time for comparisons, he chastised himself. Indeed, he did not really wish to compare his Kirk with this one.

A chill swept through his slowly reviving body. To his shock and embarrassment Spock realized he was naked upon Kirk’s bed. Automatically he tried to sit up but couldn’t. His arms were raised above his head and he could not lower them. The stun was now rapidly wearing off and Spock could feel the material fastened about each wrist, securely binding him in this position.

Spock shivered again but this time it had nothing to do with the cool temperature of the cabin on his exposed skin. Struggling, he attempted to free himself but his bonds were too tight and he seemed to have no strength. His muscles were not fully responsive and there was an unaccustomed heaviness to his body that matched the sluggishness in his mind. Even the smallest movements were difficult and took unusual energy and effort, and Spock was soon forced to abandon his struggles.

Movement from the darkened office area registered in Spock’s bleary mind. A figure emerged from the shadows to stand at the foot of the bed. Kirk, clad only in a short robe and holding a glass partially filled with an amber liquid.

With his controls gone Spock could not prevent the flush from stealing over his face. Thankfully it was dark and the human seemed not to notice. Kirk’s eyes raked over his body and Spock felt the blush deepen. Never in his life had he felt so…exposed, and vulnerable, as he did at this moment, under the intense scrutiny of his captain’s mirror image.

"So you're finally awake. I was beginning to think I might have given you too much."

"Too much what?" Spock's throat was very dry and hoarse.

"Just a little something to relax you, keep you from blocking anything out or using your telepathy."

Drugged. That explained the lassitude gripping him. Something to be expected from this Kirk, he supposed, but it still surprised and hurt him. The caring affection of his Kirk made it seem impossible that this one could do these things to him.

"We only look alike, that's what you're thinking, eh, Spock? Don't be fooled. We're more alike than you know."

"He is nothing like you," Spock retorted, his words slightly slurred.

Kirk shrugged. "You might be right, especially if he’s too stupid to know what he’s got. I guess you’ll get to learn all our differences first hand." A devilish grin crossed the human’s face before he drained the contents in his glass and set it aside. Moving to the side of the bed, Kirk untied his robe, letting the fabric slip off his shoulders and cascade down his body to puddle in a dark heap at his feet.

Spock’s breath caught in his throat and a chill stole through his body as his mind tried to comprehend what was happening. He swallowed. Despite his shock, Spock could not help but stare at the body being exhibited before him. Kirk was, simply put, the ideal specimen of masculinity by any standard: muscular arms and legs, strong, handsome facial features with the most beguiling eyes. The mirror image of his captain turned, flexing the muscles in his back and his perfect buttocks, flaunting his body before the dazed Vulcan. The human faced him again and, against his will, Spock’s eyes settled on the thick, rosy/tan penis that was swiftly rising between Kirk’s legs, surrounded by a crown of bronze curls, with plump, rounded sacs hanging below. Something stirred deep inside Spock. The only marring of this perfection was several scars on his chest, probably due to past assassination attempts—a sharp reminder that for all his appearances, this was not his Kirk.

"This is how he’d look, too, Spock. Like it, don’t you? Try to deny it. Tell me you don’t like what you see."

With effort Spock turned his head away, Kirk’s mocking laughter ringing in his ears.

"Oh, look away, Spock. Close your eyes if you want. But you can’t escape me, or yourself."

Kirk lay down on the bed beside him, mere inches separating them.

"You’ll feel every moment of this, the drug will ensure that. You’ll know it’s my hands and mouth and body on you."

Spock’s chin was taken in a firm grasp and his head was jerked back to force him to face Kirk.

"Don’t be a fool, Spock. I can give you what you want. What you’ve always wanted. I know you, because I knew my Spock. He made no secret about his desire for me. Your Kirk may not want you, although I’m not too sure about that, but I certainly want you. And I’m going to have you, and keep you."

"I will not stay."

Kirk laughed. "You’re as stubborn as my Vulcan was. Very endearing, Spock. But I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. While you were unconscious I had Scotty check things out. The field densities between our universes have already diverged. You can’t go back. This is your home now. With me."

"No," Spock whispered, refusing to give in to the rise of despair Kirk’s words invoked in him. This Kirk was a liar, not to be trusted. He could not believe him; he could not give in to the terrible thought that he would never see his own captain again.

"Oh, yes. And now it’s time to take what’s mine."

Cool, human lips descended, lightly touching his cheek and literally taking Spock’s breath away. He was stunned at his body’s quick, intense response to that tiny touch. More kisses followed, along his jaw, his chin, his brow. Shivers assailed Spock as Kirk kissed and licked his temple, right on his psionic point, tapping into Vulcan sexuality centers and bombarding Spock with never-before felt sensations.

"My Spock told me how sensitive this spot is for Vulcans, because of your telepathy. It should feel very good to you, too. The drug interferes with your controls but it leaves your senses open. You do like this, don’t you?"

Spock did not bother to answer and Kirk was apparently not expecting him to, because the human brought his mouth full upon Spock’s, pressing his tongue into Spock’s mouth and delving into every crevasse. The possession rocked Spock to his core. He could taste the brandy the human had been drinking, mixed with the tantalizing flavor of James Kirk. His nostrils were filled with the familiar scent of the man. By his fathers, he had so wanted to kiss his captain, but this man was not his captain. Spock tried to close his mouth, turn his head away, but he was too weak. Kirk grabbed a fistful of his hair, holding him in place and deepening the oral assault. Kirk’s other hand stroked his temple, face, and neck before sliding down to his chest.

Spock gasped as his left nipple was pinched. It immediately hardened into a tight bud under Kirk’s hand. Kirk pressed against him, and Spock could feel the undeniable bulk of the human’s penis. His mind spun. He—his body—was arousing James Kirk. Ah, but it was not the James Kirk he knew and loved. This was another Kirk—selfish, conniving, and dangerous. He did not want this Kirk. He wanted his Kirk, whom he would never have.

Bitter pain and despair filled him at the thought, and at the irony that put him in this man’s bed and not his beloved captain’s.

Kirk was now moving down his body, the human’s mouth nipping sharply at his other nipple. Spock squirmed ineffectively. Without his controls he could not withstand the stimulation. His body only knew it had craved Kirk for so long and was at last being granted its wish. The human bit his nipple, hard, drawing blood, then swiping it away with his tongue. Kirk’s hands caressed his flesh, raising goose bumps and sending shivers down his spine. Every kiss, every touch, lit Spock's nerve endings with sexual fire, warping the energy throughout his body to finally settle in his genitals, heightening the pleasure and pressure. His penis was stirring with need, his testicles churning in their sacs.

"It’s been so long," Kirk groaned, traveling back up Spock’s body.

The human’s organ brushed against his, causing a burst of sensation that bordered on being painful.

"You’re getting hard, Spock. Hard for me. I knew you wanted this. You can’t deny it anymore, either. Your body is saying everything."

Spock shook his head vehemently, which only caused Kirk to laugh.

"Still so stubborn."

Kirk pushed himself up so his body hovered over Spock’s. Golden-green eyes stared down at him and the human’s lips curled in a victorious smirk.

"Tell me, Spock. Tell me you want me. Tell me you love everything I’m doing to you. It’s what you always wanted, isn’t it?"

Kirk lowered himself just a fraction, allowing the briefest touch of their organs.

"No," Spock denied, and gasped as Kirk rotated his hips, brushing the glans of his penis over Spock’s length.

Sweat popped out on Spock’s brow and his body trembled. He cursed his body’s betrayal.

"You want this, don’t you?"

Kirk’s organ swiped over Spock’s again, smearing him with the human’s fluid. Spock grasped for the mind rules, desperate to regain control, but it was useless. The drug hummed in his veins, heightening the physical sensations and blurring his mental faculties, leaving him helpless. Spock bit his lip. He was helpless against Kirk’s onslaught but he would never admit it to this man.
"You want this, don’t you?" The human repeated, his tongue flicking over Spock’s lips. "It feels good, doesn’t it?"

The teasing was relentless. Kirk’s mouth, penis, scent, and aura were literally overpowering Spock. He shook his head in denial but the mirror Kirk just laughed.

"This," Kirk said, one hand wrapping around Spock’s penis, "tells me otherwise."

Spock turned his head away. The human lowered himself onto Spock, thrusting. Hands roamed his body, teeth clamped onto his neck and he was being bitten and sucked and stroked, while Kirk moved upon him, jabbing him with the most lethal of his weapons. And Spock could do nothing but lie there, defenseless, filled with shame as his organ swelled with sexual heat. It was only a physiological reaction, a result of drugs and intense stimulation, but it still felt very much like a betrayal of his captain.

Pressure grew, vacillating between pain and pleasure. Kirk moved harder, faster, apparently lost to anything but his own needs. The human suddenly stiffened and cool wetness bathed him. Dazedly Spock identified it: Kirk’s semen, spattering onto his abdomen. If this were his Kirk…his own body violently erupted, a cry of relief and sorrow torn past his lips.

Trembling, his head pounding, heart thundering in his side, and his lungs aching with the effort to draw in enough oxygen, Spock lay motionless. So long he had dreamed of sharing physical intimacy with Kirk, and now he'd had to endure this mockery of it. This man wore his captain's face, but that was all. They had shared nothing. There was no joy in this coupling, only shame and sadness. It would have been so different with his Kirk, a union of bodies and minds and hearts. Spock grieved for what might have been.

Kirk rolled off him, giving Spock a small reprieve with the distance between them.

"Don't look like that. You enjoyed it. You came."

"A physical response, nothing more."

Kirk gave a humorless laugh. "Right. Keep deluding yourself, Spock."

"It is you who are laboring under self-deceit. You are not my captain and I am not your first officer. We are strangers to one another."

Spock watched Kirk run a finger languidly through the spent seed on his stomach.

"I’d hardly call us strangers now."

"Your behavior is quite illogica—"

"That's enough!"

Kirk’s fingers dug into his skin and Spock quieted, sensing the dangerous mood of the human. Muttering, Kirk swiftly rose and disappeared into the bathroom. Within moments Spock could hear the water running and wished he could clean himself. The semen on his body quickly cooling into a thick, sticky substance was blatant evidence of his desire for his Kirk, and increased his shame at responding to his captain’s doppelganger.

It was not long before Kirk returned with several towels in hand. The blood rushed to Spock's face as the human began cleansing him.

"That's very becoming," Kirk teased. "I never saw my Spock blush."

The words only served to heighten the color in his face and increase his discomfort. Spock groped for a distraction.

"Why did your Spock leave?"

Kirk finished his task and tossed the towels aside before answering. "For one thing, your Kirk put a bunch of stupid ideas in his head about crusading against the Empire."

"You consider freedom and peace stupid?"

"I consider my freedom very valuable and I’m not about to give it up."

"Your Empire fosters terror and greed and cruelty. There are better ways."

"That’s the same crap your captain infected my Vulcan with. Talk of peace and an end to tyranny, and carrying on like the two us could single-handedly do it. What do you think would happen if the Empire gave up its power? The Orions or Tholians or Nupheans would move in and take over. I’d rather be a captain in this Empire than a slave in those. This is not your sugar-coated universe."

"A strong coalition of planets working together could effectively prevent another empire from conquering. Is it not worth exploring the possibilities?"

"You sound exactly like him," Kirk murmured, more to himself it seemed. Spock could sense the tension in the other man.

"I’m not interested in talking politics or treason with you. That’s not why I kept you."

Spock was alarmed when Kirk leaned over and picked up a hypo from the headboard.

"I am still experiencing the effects of the drug," he protested.

"I know, but it'll wear off before I get back and I want you calm and pliant." The human emptied the hypo's contents into his arm.

"I believe the term is drugged."

"I know you don't like the lack of control, Spock, but it's necessary."

"This is your intention, then, to keep me in an incapacitated state so you may indulge your sexual appetite with me?"

The human grabbed him by his shoulders and shook him so violently Spock’s vision blurred and his teeth rattled. Kirk released him with a final shove and turned away. Spock could feel the inner battle this Kirk was waging with his temper, and hoped he would win it.

"Stupid son-of-a…." Kirk caught himself and drew a deep breath. "Whether you believe this or not, I don't like drugging you. I don't just want you in my bed; I want you on the bridge and at my side."

"You cannot be serious." Spock nearly flinched at the sharp glance Kirk gave him.

"I'm always serious, Spock."

Suddenly the human was leaning over him, gently stroking his cheek, his voice low and seductive, wearing the same smug, conniving expression he had worn when trying to bribe him from the brig.

"It doesn’t have to be like this, Spock. Give me your word you won’t try to escape, that you’ll serve me and stay with me, and I’ll let you up. You’ll be my first officer and science officer, just like you were in your universe. I can give you power and wealth, and the one thing you’d never have back there: me. James Kirk, the man you always wanted."

"You are not the James Kirk I…." Spock clamped his jaw shut to prevent any more from slipping out. But it was too late.

"Not the James Kirk you love, Spock? No, I guess not. But if you think about it, I’m even better, because I welcome you in my bed, like he would never do. You said yourself he doesn’t want you. Why should we both be denied what we want?"

"I do not want anything from you except to return to my rightful place."

"You’re rightful place is here now, so you better get used to it."

The warning tone to Kirk’s voice should have alerted Spock to be silent but the words were out of his mouth before he could consider the consequences.

"And if I do not I will remain shackled to your bed and used as a receptacle for your misplaced lust. I believe I understand why my counterpart left you."

"You bastard, don’t you ever say that again. Ever!" Kirk loomed over him menacingly, but Spock was beyond caring at this moment.

"It is the truth, is it not?"

Kirk suddenly lashed out at him, his open hand striking Spock hard across the face, and swinging again to savagely backhand him. Spock’s head rocked with the blows, but the physical pain was less disturbing than the anger and desire to hurt emanating from the human and battering his unprotected mind. Kirk’s rage flailed him and he was unable to escape it. This was not his Kirk but the v’tu, the essence, of this man still felt like his captain. He could not bear Kirk’s wrath, not even this one's, and it was inconceivable to him that any Kirk could treat him so.

The human finally ceased his assault and was on his feet, pacing and ranting. The force of Kirk’s anger combined with the drug’s effect weakened Spock more and made it impossible to decipher what Kirk was saying. At the moment he did not truly care; he wished only to calm the tumult within his mind. Kirk abruptly stopped his tirade and stared down at him.

"Don’t you ever dare say that again, or mention my Spock. That’s an order."

"Yes, sir," Spock replied, his energy too depleted to resist at the moment.

The human glared at him for a minute or so before sitting next to him again.

"I shouldn’t have hit you. I don’t want to hurt you."

It was probably as much an apology as he was going to get. Spock merely nodded.

"I’ve got a lousy temper, Spock. Don’t push me." Kirk ran a hand through his hair, the stubborn lock in the front falling back down, and Spock’s heart ached at the so familiar gesture.

"He always pushed—drove me crazy sometimes. But he knew exactly how far to go and when to stop. The pointed-eared bastard was a damn tease." He chuckled. "What a fucking pair we were."

"You were explaining to me why he left."

Kirk shook his head. "You really are just as stubborn as he was. All right, since you’re so eager to hear this: he left because of me."

The drug was taking full effect now and Spock found it hard to concentrate. Kirk and everything else in the room appeared somewhat fuzzy, and the human’s voice seemed to be coming from a great distance.

"He was good to me, I have to give him that. He supported my command, provided protection. He was at my side through everything. I could trust him. That’s…invaluable here, though I guess you can take it for granted in your universe."

"No, not always."

"Something we have in common." Kirk’s expression and voice softened. "He wanted to bond with me and declare ourselves to the whole Empire."

Kirk’s gaze hardened and Spock sensed the welling of anger in the other man.

"I refused him. He accepted it, but that never stopped him from asking. I always said no, though. He told me he loved me. Can you believe it? He admitted it, right to my face. More than once…he said he loved me."

Spock thought he detected a hint of sadness in the hazel orbs gazing down on him, although he could not be certain with his blurred vision.

"I never said it to him. Never. Not even once, not even when he was leaving. I wouldn’t give him the certainty of that, though I demanded it of him. I still screwed around with others, too, and I made sure he knew about it. I wanted to be sure he knew that he didn’t own me. One time he said he didn’t like me sleeping around. Just that one time. I told him if he didn’t like it he could leave. He didn’t. He stayed and never mentioned it again."

Kirk was now staring across the room.

"I guess he’d finally decided he’d had enough, though. It was nine, no, ten months ago. The only thing he left was a brief note, some crap about being away from Vulcan for so long diminishing his controls so he decided to return there to establish a new life for himself, away from any ‘human contamination.’"

A small sound, perhaps a sigh, escaped Kirk. It was so low even Spock could barely discern it.

"The contamination being me, of course. Spock was strong; he could take anything and give it back just as good, or usually better. Most people knew not to cross him. I was his weak spot, though, and I exploited that."

"Have you attempted to contact him?"

"Why would I? He walked out on me. If he wants to reach me he knows where I am."

"Perhaps he is waiting to hear from you."

Kirk gave a mirthless laugh. "Not my Spock. By now he’s bonded to some Vulcan bitch and all memories of me are erased, or neatly stored in some obscure part of his mind, never to be thought of again."

"Should you not at least try to communicate with him? It is obvious you desire his return."

"I don’t need him," Kirk snapped. "I’ve got you now. He can rot on Vulcan for all I care."

"I cannot be him or give you what you want."

"You’re going to have to try."

"I will not."

"I’d rather you cooperated, Spock, but whether you do or don’t, you’re staying."

"You may possess my body but you will never have my devotion. Or my heart."

The grim look on Kirk’s face was disturbing.

"Then I’ll just have to be satisfied with that."

The human strode from the cabin, leaving Spock to ponder his fate in dark solitude.

*****

Kirk’s frustration was mounting as his chief engineer gave his latest report. It didn’t help that McCoy had tagged along to the briefing room as well. The doctor meant well, he knew, but he was annoyed at his constant presence since they had realized what had happened to Spock. He didn’t want to be psychoanalyzed and he certainly didn’t need McCoy’s particular brand of badgering. All he needed was Spock back, which was looking bleaker with every moment that passed.

"I’m sorry, sir. The field densities between our two universes have diverged and thar’s no way to breach them."

"There has to be. There has to be some way." Kirk’s fist smashed the tabletop.

"Jim, he can’t change the laws of physics any more than you can. We all want Spock back, but we can’t do the impossible."

"I thought you were a doctor, not an engineer."

"That’s right, I’m a doctor—one who’s wondering what’s in his commanding officer’s head. Certainly not common sense. Spock’s beyond our reach."

"I don’t accept that."

"You’re going to have to. Or are you planning to keep this ship here indefinitely, waiting for another ion storm to come along in the hopes of maybe intersecting that universe? That’s if Spock’s even there. We have no idea where he is or if he’s even alive."

"He’s alive and he’s there. I know it."

McCoy snorted. "Jim, even if you’re right, and I’m not saying you are, we have no proof and no means of getting to him. Starfleet gave you two days to search for him and that time is about up."

"I’m aware of the time, McCoy."

"Are you also aware that if you don’t leave when we’re supposed to you’ll be in violation of orders? Starfleet will hand you your head on a platter. You’ll be pulled back to Earth now instead of in four months."

"Doctor, you are dismissed."

"Jim—"

"I said dismissed!"

Kirk met the doctor’s glare and returned it. He waited until McCoy departed in a grumbling huff before turning his attention back to Scotty, who had remained silent during the heated exchange. Forcing a calm he didn’t feel, Kirk brought up his final option.

"Mister Spock once told me he was researching what happened that time at Halka."

"Aye, we’ve spoken a number of times aboot it."

"He had a theory about a way to use the transporter and warp engines like we did but he mentioned something about compensating for the field densities of each universe."

"Aye," the Scotsman said slowly, "That he did. Mister Spock said he thought it would be possible to transverse inter-dimensional universes. He showed me a rudimentary formula he had devised."

"Is it possible to use that formula?"

"I doon’t know, sir. As far as I know he was still working on it, but he hadn’t shown me anything recently. The early formula would nae have been usable."

"But he might have a newer formula."

"As Mister Spock is so fond of saying, ‘there are always possibilities.’ I’d need access to his computer and data."

"You’ve got it. Work in his cabin, use anything you need."

"Aye, sir."

Scotty was on his feet and hurrying away when Kirk called out to him.

"Make it work, Scotty. Whatever you have to do, make it work."

"Yes, sir."

"And Scotty…we don’t have much time."

"Understood, Captain."

Kirk glanced at the chair in front of the computer. So many times he and Spock had been together in this room, planning their strategies, doing whatever it took to carry out their duty, save lives. They were the best command team in the 'Fleet, their victories unparalleled. Despite their many differences, he and Spock understood each other, trusted and respected one another, working off each other's strengths and weaknesses as naturally as breathing.

They hadn't always been successful. There were failures that Kirk knew would haunt him the rest of his life. But it came with the territory in Starfleet, and somehow all those missteps had been easier to accept and live with because of the strong, quiet presence that had been by his side for these five long years.

Five years. Five years of working and living together, being a part of each other's lives, sharing joys and sorrows and dreams.

Kirk lightly ran his fingers along the console, as if he might somehow feel Spock's warmth lingering there.

The five years had seemed to be a lifetime, yet now, with the mission in its final few months and preparations beginning for everything that had to be done for when they returned to Earth, now it seemed so short.

He didn't want it to end. He wanted to keep his ship, his command, and his crew. Exploring the stars on the Enterprise had been the hardest, most challenging, most wonderful time of his life and he didn't want to lose any of it. He had friends among his crew that he cared about and wanted in his day-to-day life.

But more than all that, he didn't want to lose Spock. It bothered him now that he had no idea what Spock had been considering. Until recently he had taken it for granted that the Vulcan would choose to stay with him.

And now this had happened, four months before the end. Kirk clenched his hands into fists. Every time the Vulcan's life was in jeopardy it seemed his own was hanging in the balance, too, like both their lives depended on the other's.

Well, dammit, he loved Spock, how was he supposed to react to....

That stopped his thoughts cold. There was that odd feeling again, like he was on the verge of a self-revelation that he should have already known, or had known all along but never dared voice, even to himself.

The shrill whistle of the comm startled him. Kirk jabbed the button.

"Kirk, here."

"Scott, sir. I've found the formula Mister Spock was working on. I might be able to put something together from it."

Kirk closed his eyes in relief. Finally, something they could do.

"I'm on my way, Scotty. Kirk out."

Kirk left the briefing room, adrenalin coursing through him. He was more than ready to take action. This would work—it had to. It was their last chance.

*****

Delightful shivers spread throughout his body as the cool tongue bathed his penis. Ahhh, so cool, so wet, the tip circling the glans, now sliding between his ridges. Strong, sure fingers cradled his scrotum, squeezing.

Spock's legs splayed open, yielding to his lover's ministrations. Climax was moments away and he wanted it and yet did not wish for this to end.

Ahhh, too late, his testicles were contracting, his sperm jetting from his organ as wave after wave of erotic sensation swept over him.

"Jim, Jim," he cried out.

Suddenly Spock was awake. A dream? But he was weak and trembling and his breathing was heavy and unnaturally loud in his ears. He had definitely ejaculated, something he had never done before in dreams.

Something brushed his penis and Spock glanced down his body, finding himself staring at James Kirk, naked, bent over his groin. For a moment his heart beat wildly in his side until reality asserted itself and Spock realized he was still a prisoner. What had been done to him was real, but in his drug-induced sleep he had dreamt it was his Kirk doing it. By the look on this Kirk's face it was obvious he knew it, too.

The human landed roughly on him, his weight momentarily crushing Spock, thrusting his swollen member against Spock's now-flaccid one. Kirk's hands locked on his hips, fingers digging into his flesh, grinding their groins together and sending hot bolts of pain through Spock's sensitized genitals.

"Damn you, damn you, damn you all to hell," the human snarled in his ear just before he orgasmed. Spock remained totally passive as Kirk spent his semen—anger and hate and love spilling inside his mind from the volatile man. The onslaught was too much and Spock tried desperately to withdraw but the drug again refused him sanctuary.

When at last Kirk finished he rolled off and sat up, breaking all physical contact between them. Roiling emotions were still bombarding him from Kirk. Spock turned his head to meet his fiery gaze, unable to comprehend what exactly had happened and how this unpredictable man would react. Kirk just sat there, unmoving, unspeaking, staring hard at him for long minutes.

Suddenly Kirk stood and disappeared into the bathroom. The shower unit ran for approximately two minutes, and shortly after that the human returned and put on a fresh uniform. Spock's stomach muscles tightened in apprehension as Kirk towered over him. Reaching out, Kirk gave a swift yank to his wrists and Spock's arms were suddenly free. He drew his arms down carefully, rubbing his sore wrists. An outstretched hand loomed over him.

"C'mon. Get up."

Warily Spock accepted the help. He was swung upward too quickly and his drugged body rebelled, threatening nausea. The room was spinning uncontrollably and although Spock could not calculate precisely how long it would take, he was certain he would vomit soon. He clutched the sides of the bed as he sat there, trying to remain motionless.

"Easy," the alternate said softly.

Kirk knelt before him, tipping his head slightly and studying his eyes.

"You're pretty drugged. I didn’t give you that much, though."

"I am a hybrid—my reactions are not always predictable."

"I was going to suggest a shower but I doubt you could manage it."

Kirk picked up a towel and proceeded to wipe his abdomen. Spock gathered what strength and equilibrium he could and reached for Kirk's shoulder. He was too slow and uncoordinated from the chemical in his system, though, and Kirk too quick. Spock found himself pushed back onto the bed and pinned under the human.

"I'd have been disappointed if you hadn't tried, Spock, but don't do it again. It'd be pretty stupid of you to fuck things up now when you're going home."

"Home?" Spock repeated, stunned.

"Yeah, home, to your wonderful universe and your great captain."
Kirk climbed off him. Spock just managed to sit up again when his clothes were tossed onto his lap.

"Get dressed. We'll see what we can do to get you back to your own universe."

"Why are you freeing me?"

"You should be happy I am."

"I would still like to know why, given your previous refusal."

"Because I can't stand to see you look at me with accusation in your eyes any more, or hear his name on your lips when I touch you," Kirk snapped. "I don't want a limp body, or to feel like I'm raping you. I don't want you, Mister Spock."

"You want your Spock."

Kirk's shoulders slumped and suddenly he seemed very like his Kirk, when a mission had gone wrong and lives were lost.

"Yeah. I want my Spock. I thought you could replace him but you can’t, not any more than I can be your captain for you."

"Contact him."

"Are you going to tell your Kirk how you feel about him?"

"I cannot."

"Then don't try to tell me what to do about my Spock."

"You were lovers once. You know he loves you. My Kirk will never want me as anything but a friend, and I will not risk losing that friendship."

A grim laugh. "We can't have the ones we want and we can't make do with each other. Pretty pathetic."

"Captain—"

"Just get dressed, Spock, so we can try to come up with something on the computer." The human left him alone, going into the work area and sitting down.

Spock set about putting his clothes on.

*****

"The transporter's set, Captain. The warp engines are tied in, and if all goes right you'll beam aboard the I.S.S. Enterprise."

"Did you set the coordinates for Spock's cabin?"

"Aye, per your order, but if you doon't mind my saying, I think it's risky putting yourself in that Vulcan's quarters."

"It's beyond risky, Mister Scott," McCoy broke in. "It's dangerous and foolhardy, but what do I know? I only had my mind assaulted by him."

Kirk checked his temper, knowing the doctor was worried for him.

"I know you're both concerned, but it's the logical place to start. Where else are they going to put him but in that Spock's cabin? They won't want anyone there to see him."

"Just be careful, Jim."

"I will, Bones."

"Here, Captain."

Kirk took the palm-sized module Scotty had hastily built from Spock's theory.

"According to Mister Spock's data, this unit will be able to carry trans-dimensional coordinates, enabling the user to beam between the two universes. There's no way to test it so I canna guarantee it'll work. Even if it does work and you transport over, the circuitry is delicate and may burn out, leaving you stranded. Or it might malfunction and you’ll be nonexistent."

"Spock developed it and you built it. That's good enough."

Kirk gave his nervous chief engineer and chief medical officer a confident smile before taking his place in the transporter chamber.

"You have the con, Scotty, until we return."

"Aye, Captain. Good luck."

McCoy, Scotty, the transporter room, and his whole universe shimmered away.

A moment later Kirk materialized in an empty room, disoriented and mildly nauseous, but alive. He looked around. It was a ship's cabin, the same configuration as that of the Enterprise. Since there weren't any bare quarters on his ship this had to be another vessel. But was it the right one?

Kirk's first inclination was to go into the corridor, but if he was in the mirror universe he had once visited that could prove too dangerous. The computer would tell him what he needed to know. Voices nearby alerted him, though, before he could go into the office area. The bathroom door was open, and that seemed to be where the voices were coming from.

Going there instead, Kirk found it connected to another room, as his and Spock's were joined. The voices were definitely from the next room. One sounded just like him, and the other...the other was a deep baritone he'd know anywhere. Without another thought Kirk crossed into the next cabin.

And halted in the middle of what appeared to be his own cabin, with very few differences, and standing in front of him was…himself. An exact replica. No, not a replica, another James Kirk, and not exactly like him. Like the cabin, the James Kirk of this universe was subtly different. The lines on his face were etched deeper and his eyes sparked with distrust. There was a hardness about the tense figure, and an angry, dangerous air about him, all testaments to a life filled with brutality and violence.

But his attention was quickly riveted onto the lean, dark-haired figure standing nearby.

His Spock. Alive. Even if he weren't clean-shaven and wearing a Starfleet regulation uniform, Kirk would know him by those gentle, soft brown eyes. He felt weak with relief and flooded with joy at the sight of him. After the horror and uncertainty of the past days, he had found his Spock, alive and well.

But not quite right, because the Vulcan’s eyes looked almost black, his pupils were so dilated. Kirk was suddenly aware of many things: Spock's uniform was crumpled and his usually impeccable hair was mussed. There were dark smudges under his glassy eyes and what looked like a bruise on his cheek. Kirk squinted. What was that mark on his neck, just under his ear? It looked like…a love-bite. Mixed emotions burst through him as his mind raced with possibilities, causing him to look at the bed. It had been recently used, and he now detected the scent of sex clinging in the air. Black rage filled him, but before he could do or say anything his counterpart spoke.

"Well, well. Look who’s here."

"What the hell’s going on here?" Kirk demanded.

The other Kirk scowled at him. "This is my Enterprise, Kirk. If you want to stay alive, I suggest you remember who’s the captain here."

"That’s my first officer, and I want to know what’s been going on."

"All in good time." His counterpart went to the door and opened it, revealing a burly guard standing just outside. "Clear the corridors from here to the transporter room, then escort Mister Spock there. I’ll follow in a few minutes."

The guard saluted smartly and proceeded with his orders. That Kirk stepped back into the cabin and stood directly before the Vulcan.

"Go wait in the transporter room."

"Not without my captain."

"He’ll be along in a few minutes." He glanced at Kirk. "We have something to discuss."

Kirk watched as Spock blinked, then swallowed. He seemed nervous.

"I request that I be allowed to remain with my captain."

"Denied. Report to the transporter room."

Kirk’s anger at his counterpart mounted as the other issued his orders, and he was glad when Spock defiantly took a step towards him. His alternate, however, grabbed Spock’s arm and shoved him roughly toward the door, causing Spock to stumble.

"That was an order, not a suggestion."

Infuriated, Kirk advanced but his mirror twin whirled on him. "Let him go. I have something to say to you."

Kirk stopped, considering. Spock looked drugged or sick, and he wanted him the hell out of here and away from this man.

"Go on, Spock. I’ll be right there."

Spock hesitated before giving a slight nod and carefully making his way out. Once the doors closed behind the Vulcan, Kirk turned on his counterpart.

"What did you do to him?"

"Shut up and listen to me, you fucking idiot."

That was it. Days of worry and frustration, compounded with the fury that felt now, boiled over and propelled him at his twin.

Kirk’s arm was drawn back and ready when he reached him. His fist impacted with his counterpart's face, wiping the smug look from it, to Kirk’s satisfaction. He grabbed him by the vest and swung again, but his alternate had already recovered and blocked him, managing to land a punch to his gut. It quickly turned into a brawl—a brawl that Kirk found himself losing. Despite their equal strength and weight the other Kirk had a lifetime of fighting to survive and claw his way up Imperial ranks. He was faster, wilder, and had an adrenalin boost from his unchecked temper. He, on the other hand, was drained from worry and lack of sleep. Basically he was getting his ass kicked and was quickly forced into a strictly defensive mode. Twisting free, he backed up to give himself some distance.

"Fighting for him, Kirk? Do you even know why?" sneered his counterpart.

"I want to know what you did to him," he snarled back, anger pulsing through him like a phaser building toward detonation.

"Things you never dreamed of," came the smug reply, a wolfish, predatory gleam in his eyes.

For the first time in his life Kirk experienced exactly what "seeing red" meant. A red haze seemed to fill his vision and the explosion broke. He leapt at his alternate feet first in a flying-leg kick.

Which the other Kirk neatly sidestepped, causing him to sail past and land in a heap on the deck. Mocking laughter rose from behind him.

"You forget we're both Captain Kirk. I knew you'd try that. And now that you're down there, maybe you’ll listen to me."

The fall had taken some of his anger, replacing it with embarrassment and pain. Climbing to his feet, he warily eyed his twin.

"I'm listening."

"You're a fool."

Kirk tensed again. "That’s what you wanted to say?"

"Shut up and listen: you haven’t the slightest idea what you have or that you’re about to lose it."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

A smirk crossed the other's face. He couldn't help but wonder if he ever looked like such a smug bastard.

"I’m talking about Spock. You’re going to lose him."

"He's coming back with me," Kirk said vehemently.

"For now. For a while. How long do you think he’s going to wait around?"

"Wait around for what?"

His counterpart stepped up to him and hissed, "For you. For your love."

"Spock’s—"

"My friend," his twin mimicked, then snorted. "I can't believe we're the same man."

"We're not," Kirk retorted.

"We’re both James Kirk. You know, I thought my Spock would stay, too. I thought I could have him and still screw around and he’d be there waiting for me. But he got tired of waiting and so will your Spock."

"You and your Spock were lovers?" Kirk was stunned. Whatever he’d been expecting, this wasn’t it.

The other Kirk chuckled. "Shock your delicate sensibilities, Kirk? We were together for almost a year." Suddenly he grew somber. "But I don’t think you could call us lovers. Oh, my Spock loved me, no doubt about it. I didn’t want to admit to loving him, though, and I did everything I could to deny it and keep a certain distance between us. I guess even Vulcans have their breaking point."

"The empty cabin next door," Kirk said, things clicking into place.

The alternate nodded. "After he left I couldn't let anyone else move in. I used to go there and remember what it was like to lie in bed with him, our bodies touching. You have no idea how that feels, do you? I’d go to that empty cabin and try to somehow feel him."

It was exactly like what he had done, going into Spock’s cabin, lingering at the science station, touching things Spock had touched, trying somehow to be near him, sense his presence.

"I don’t step foot in there now. It’s just another reminder of how empty I am without him. Then your Spock showed up here. What a fantastic stroke of luck it was for me. My Spock was gone but here was another one, damn delivered to me."

Kirk’s jaw tightened and his counterpart must have noticed because his gaze hardened.

"Don’t think about taking me on again," he pulled his phaser off his belt, "or you’ll need to be carried to the transporter."

"What did you do to my Spock?"

"You can ask him that. I will tell you that he wasn’t willing."

"You bastard," Kirk growled but held his ground as the phaser was leveled at him.

"I certainly am, but you don’t have to worry: it didn’t work. I couldn’t replace you, and I didn’t want to spend my life being in your shadow, knowing every time I touched him he’d think of you. He’s also not my Spock. I need my own devil, not yours."

"He’s not mine," Kirk protested. "You and your Spock might have been lovers, or whatever you want to call it, but my Spock and I are friends."

"And you’re happy with that so fuck what he wants, is that it? Don’t you understand what I’m saying? He’s in love with you."

"You’re crazy."

A dark expression came over his alternate. "The last man who said that to me is dead," he warned, fingering his weapon. "Spock told me you didn’t go for men. Another difference between us, I guess. But if you don’t wake up and realize what you have with him, he’s as good as gone. He’s ready to leave."

Kirk went cold inside. "Spock told you he was going to leave…the ship?"

"He’s not going to leave the damn ship, he’s going to leave you. He didn’t come right out and say so, but I know it. It’s in his eyes. I saw it in my Spock’s eyes and I ignored it and he left."

"You don’t know anything about my Spock."

"Okay, suppose I’m wrong or I’m lying. What about this: our universes are parallel to each other. That means what happens in one will basically happen in the other. My Spock is gone; chances are yours is going to leave, too, unless you do something to make him stay.”

"And maybe you think that if I become lovers with my Spock you’ll get yours back, based on the same theory."

A hunger leapt in the hazel eyes, blazing and fierce. It was unnerving to Kirk, seeing such a fierce need on his own face and knowing it was for Spock.

"It might have crossed my mind."

"I’m not responsible for your problems."

"It’s going to be your problem soon."

Kirk’s head was spinning and he had had enough. He didn’t want to talk about Spock anymore with this man. "You never even asked about your crewman who was transported to my universe."

"What’s to ask? He either beamed back with you and slunk off, figuring to avoid me as long as possible, or he’s decided to stay in your universe and isn’t here. I couldn’t care less either way."

"He’s dead. Died during the beaming process."

His alternate shrugged. "Figures. He never did do anything right. This’ll be my fourth replacement science officer since Spock left."

It sickened Kirk to think a version of himself could be so cold and indifferent.

"I have to get back to my universe."

"And Spock?"

"My Spock and I are of no concern to you."

"You stupid—"

For a moment Kirk thought the man would attack him, but at the last minute he seemed to restrain himself.

"Fine." His counterpart shook his head in disgust and stomped toward the door. "We’ll both be losers. Let’s go."

They walked in silence through the deserted corridors, arriving at the transporter room to find Spock waiting by himself.

"Captain, are you injured?" Spock was still unsteady but he went to stand by his side.

"I’m fine, Spock. It was…an interesting discussion." He eyed the other Kirk, who was now behind the controls.

"Do you have coordinates?" his twin asked coldly.

Kirk went to the console and set the controls to match the settings with the module in his hand.

"It’s locked in. You just have to activate it."

Kirk joined Spock in the chamber, taking a place on one of the pads.

His counterpart flipped the switches.

"Think about it, Kirk. Don’t be a fool."

The beam caught him before he could make any reply, and the universe disappeared.

Darkness, a wave of dizziness and nausea, sparkling lights gradually fading—and suddenly he was in the transporter room. Kirk blinked. Scotty was at the controls and McCoy standing nearby. They were home.

His relief was short-lived as Spock swayed beside him. Kirk worriedly looked at him. The Vulcan’s pupils were still enormously dilated and he was pale.

"Spock, can you make it to sickbay?"

"I would prefer to go to my quarters."

McCoy’s scanner was already whirring. "You’re going to sickbay, Mister Spock. You’re having some kind of reaction."

"He was drugged. Bones, run a complete physical on him."

"That is not necessary," the Vulcan protested.

"It’s an order, Spock." The words came out sharply and Kirk cursed inwardly. In a softer tone he said, "I have to go to the bridge right now, but I'll see you later."

Once the physician escorted his patient out of the room Kirk handed Scotty the now burned-out module. His luck had held once again, and Spock was home with him.

"Tis good too have you both back, Captain."

Kirk grinned, happy for the first time in days. "It's good to be back, Mister Scott. Now let's get this ship out of here."

It took a little over an hour to get the Enterprise under way, send his report to HQ, and check in with McCoy. Spock was given an antidote to the drug and a clean bill of health, and was released to rest in his quarters.

He wanted to see Spock but Kirk went to his own cabin first. He needed a hot shower to soothe his aching body. His counterpart hadn't done any serious damage, but he was sore from their fight. Pulling off his tunic, Kirk noticed the privacy light was on for the bathroom, indicating Spock was in there. Listening, Kirk detected the sound of running water. He frowned. Spock usually avoided hydro showers, preferring the sonics.

If that Kirk had been trying to use Spock as a substitute for his Vulcan…. A dark image of what that Kirk might have done to Spock flashed through his mind, fostering anger and…something else, something he’d felt before about Spock, but not anyone else. He had never examined it before.

And he didn’t feel like thinking about it now. There were too many feelings clamoring within him: relief and happiness that Spock was back, anger at his doppelganger for abusing Spock, shock at learning his and Spock’s alternates were lovers. Kirk reflected on his relationship with his own Spock. They were good friends, but there hadn’t been anything but friendship between them. Although they had been drawing even closer to each other lately, and it seemed again to Kirk that their relationship was on the verge of some change.

But what did Spock think of their relationship? That Kirk had said Spock was in love with him. His counterpart could very well have been lying, of course. Kirk recalled his recent injuries and how Spock had taken care of him. No other first officer would have done what Spock did.

Well, they were friends. That reasoning didn’t quite ring true in his mind this time, though. Yes, they were friends, best friends, but he had never had such a close relationship with anyone else, not like what he and Spock shared. Kirk thought about all the women he had known. There had been so many; he didn’t even remember some of their names. There had been a few he had cared about, even loved. He’d been looking for someone who’d complete him, the other half of his soul, and after countless relationships he’d never quite found it. The only one who’d ever really known and accepted him unconditionally was Spock.

Kirk’s world spun like a planet thrown out of its orbit. Ghod. Was his counterpart right? Was Spock the one he’d been searching for? But how could he be in love and not know it?

Maybe because he hadn’t wanted to know it. Bones had told him once his string of affairs was a sign he didn’t want any commitments. Freedom and independence were important to him—did he see love as something that would take that away from him? With a woman it would. He’d have to give up his command to stay with her and a family, and Kirk knew himself well enough to know he would not do that.

There was also the fact that Spock was a male. He had nothing against same-sex relationships; a few couples like that were on board his ship right now. But he had never considered becoming involved in one himself, for the simple reason that he’d never felt attracted to another man before. Even though he was in love with Spock, he had no idea if he could respond physically to him.

In love with Spock. The words seemed to ricochet in his brain like a phaser pulse bouncing off a reflective surface. He remembered the devastating loss he had felt when he thought Spock had died, his stubborn refusal to give up searching for him even when the hope of finding him was so slim, and against Starfleet orders. Now that he thought about it, from the very beginning he had pursued the Vulcan, determined to push past the logical veneer to the man beneath. Something always seemed to draw him to Spock, and Spock’s devotion to him was plain. No one knew him like Spock, and where that might be uncomfortable or even invasive with others, with Spock it brought contentment, peace. The source of his rage at what his counterpart might have done to Spock was clear now, too: it was not just protectiveness, but jealousy.

Kirk stood frozen in the middle of his cabin. He was in love with Spock. Shit, his counterpart was right, he was a fool. Everything he’d been looking for was right there by his side all along.

His physical response to the Vulcan was still something he wondered about, but his heart had chosen. It wasn’t in his nature to turn aside from any challenge. And the simple fact was that he and Spock already were lovers. No, they had never touched one another intimately, but in all the ways that really counted, they were lovers. Their minds and hearts had made love countless times, through endless dangers and quiet chess games, silent companionship and numerous arguments. A physical union was all they lacked, a last step on a journey that had started five years ago.

Kirk glanced toward the bathroom. The privacy lock was off. Stripping off his uniform, Kirk went to take his shower. He would not make the same mistake his counterpart had. He would not lose his Vulcan.

*****

Spock stood under the water, letting it beat down on him. The jets were set at full pressure and at a temperature that would scald a human. He did not customarily use water—the sonics were efficient, faster, and more comfortable for his desert-bred body. Right now, however, after the events of the other universe and McCoy’s probing he felt the need for a purely physical cleansing.

Spock scoured his skin roughly. While the drug had been removed from his system, his controls were not fully restored. He was in sore need of meditation. That other Kirk’s actions had not been welcome, but some small part of his mind greedily held onto the memory. They had looked exactly alike—the handsome face, golden, muscular body….

Spock glared down his body, finding his member beginning to stir. Jim. Several times he tried to bring his recalcitrant body under control but it was futile. How frustrating, being in this state and unable to do anything about it. When he had finally acknowledged the nature of his feelings for Kirk he had experienced physical arousal, but he had ruthlessly suppressed it along with his emotions. It had been imperative to do so, in order for him to remain on the Enterprise with the human. Over time he had built up his shields, to totally block any hint of sexual response to Kirk. Occasionally in his sleep his guard dropped, and the dreams would haunt him, but during his waking hours he had maintained strict control. Those controls had been eroding lately, and now his defenses were laid bare. The mirror Kirk had stripped them away and left him vulnerable.

Hesitantly Spock wrapped his hand around his organ. Sliding his hand up and down, he gasped at the shock of pleasure the simple gesture brought. He did it again, and again, his hips giving a slight forward thrust. His mind conjured a vision of Kirk, naked, doing this to him.

Spock abruptly released himself. This was wrong. He would not abuse his friendship with Kirk in this manner. The human was not his and he had no right. Shutting off the water Spock stepped from the shower, staring at his dripping reflection in the mirror. His penis was still erect, his nipples had hardened into tight peaks, and his skin tingled. Inappropriate sexual arousal for his captain, he admonished himself, but the thought did nothing to diminish it. Grabbing a towel he briskly dried himself off and returned to his sleeping area.

Naked he stood in his bedroom. The idol was there, the ever-present flame flickering in its belly. Ancient Vulcan weapons adorned one wall and his lyre was hanging in its customary position. Everything was the same as always.

Except for him. He was different. He now possessed carnal knowledge of James Kirk and he would never be the same again. His body no longer responded to his mind’s commands. Every part of his body was sensitized—the feel of the warm air on his bare skin, the scent of incense wafting through the room. He could hear his blood pulsing in his veins and his heart thrumming. His penis ached with need, and his mind longed for Kirk’s.

There was no longer a decision to be made. Returning to Vulcan was necessary. Only under the searing heat of Eridani might he be able to expunge the physical longings that stirred him, burn the love from his heart and the memory of his cherished human from his mind.

Donning a clean uniform, Spock proceeded to Kirk’s quarters. It was twenty-one hundred hours, so Kirk was likely there. His captain would not welcome his choice, but Spock knew there was no other path for him now.

"Come," came the muffled response to the buzzer. Gathering what control he could, Spock stepped inside. Kirk was dressed in plain black trousers and a simple gray pullover.

"I hope I am not disturbing you, Captain."

"No, Spock. I was just thinking of going to see you. You can give your report tomorrow, but I thought you might want to talk about what happened."

"Indeed."

"Yes, indeed. Sit down."

Spock’s stomach twisted at the warm smile his captain offered him. To never see this man again…. Spock dismissed the emotional thought as he took his seat. He was not certain how to begin, and the words refused to form coherently in his mind. The silence stretched between them. He finally turned his gaze to the human, to find Kirk staring at him with an odd expression on his face.

"Did he do that?"

"Did ‘he’ do what?"

"That mark on you—was that from my counterpart?"

Certain his captain was referring to the bruise on his face, Spock answered, "Yes. He struck me when I was…uncooperative."

Kirk’s expression darkened and fledgling anger filtered into Spock’s mind from him. The human was up out of his chair and around the desk before Spock could react. One of Kirk’s hands tilted his head to the side while the other pressed against his neck. He flinched slightly at the soreness the gesture brought.

"This is what I meant. He did this, didn’t he?"

Spock stood, breaking their contact. Kirk was furious, and his anger pounded into him.

"What else did he do?"

"I was locked in the brig for a number of hours. Afterward I was brought to his cabin where I was stunned and then drugged. He stated he wanted to keep me in that universe as his first officer, a replacement for his Spock."

"He wanted to keep you all right, but not just as his first officer. Now I want to know what happened."

"Very well," Spock said coldly, his own anger surfacing. "He sexually molested me. I did not willingly participate, and he soon discovered I was an inadequate substitute for his Spock, whereupon he released me. I was going to begin research on his computer for a way to transport back when you arrived. Is that account satisfactory?"

The barely contained rage was clear on the human’s face, and his hands were balled into fists.

"What exactly did he do to you?" This was said in a calm, deadly tone, one Spock had heard a few times but never before had it been directed at him.

"I see no reason to give explicit details—"

His words were cut off as Kirk grabbed him, but the next instant he was released and the human was backing away.

"I’m sorry. It’s that bastard I’m mad at, not you, Spock."

Spock’s anger slipped away, his instinct to protect Kirk surging.

"It was not your fault."

"I know, but it bothers the hell out of me that my counterpart did this to you."

"I understand, but can you understand that I can and do differentiate between the two of you? He may be James Kirk, but he is not you."

"He still wore my face, my body." Kirk returned to his chair.

Spock cocked his head to the side. "As I stated, I understand. You have no reason for self-recrimination. In any case, it is not what I wished to speak to you about."

Kirk nodded and motioned for him to take his seat again. Spock did, swallowing as he prepared himself for what must now come.

"There is little time before this tour of duty is over, and of late I have been considering what path I should take once we return to Earth. I have decided to resign my commission and leave the Enterprise. I had thought to wait until the mission’s end but I find that is no longer possible. If I am allowed to work solely on my end-of-mission reports and recommendations, I estimate I should be able to leave in approximately four weeks, with no detriment to the ship."

"Resign…leave the ship? You’re leaving?"

"It is necessary."

"Where are you going?"

"To Vulcan. I have been too long gone from my Homeworld. I will be applying to Gol as an acolyte of Kolinahr, the dedication of life to the pursuit of pure logic."

"Why?"

"I have wandered too far from the Vulcan path, and the result is internal chaos."

"Hiding from your feelings behind a wall of logic won’t help, Spock. You have to face them."

Spock looked away.

"Is this because of what that bastard did to you in the other universe?"

"No," Spock said quickly—too quickly, because the human’s eyes narrowed. "This is something that has been a long time building, Captain. My…conflict in the mirror universe has merely shown me the need to depart sooner than I had planned."

"Enough beating around the bush, Spock. I’m the reason you’re leaving, aren’t I?"

"I have stated my reasons." Spock focused on a point on the bulkhead behind his captain.

"My counterpart told me you’d leave."

Spock snapped his head back to look at the human, and apprehension flooded him.

"He told me about him and his Spock being lovers. He told me something else, too, about you."

By his Fathers, that Kirk had done it. Spock had suspected he would tell his Kirk, but he had had no proof. Now he did. His secret was now laid bare to his captain.

"He told me you were in love with me, and he was right, wasn’t he? You do love me."

Too many emotions threatened to overwhelm him. It was with difficulty that he spoke. "I beg forgiveness."

"For loving me? Or for not telling me? Don’t ever say you’re sorry for loving me, Spock. And I’m the one who should be begging forgiveness."

"Do not say any more," Spock quickly said. He knew Kirk could not reciprocate his emotions; he did not need to hear the words. Indeed, he did not think he could bear it.

"This needs saying. I’m sorry for not giving you all I could. All I should. I never realized just what you meant to me until my counterpart pointed it out. He was right, I am a fool."

Spock was completely taken aback. "I do not understand."

"I’ve been taking you for granted, just like my alternate did with his Spock. He told me if I didn’t do something you’d leave me, just like his Spock left him. I didn’t believe him, but here you are, ready to go."

Kirk leaned forward in his chair, the power of his aura seeping into Spock and pulling him forward as well.

"I don’t want you to leave, Spock. Stay with me."

Spock eyed the human warily. "What exactly is it you are offering me?"

"Myself. Us, together. Lovers."

Spock’s refusal was instant. "No."

"What?" It was the human’s turn to be shocked.

"I cannot share myself with you in such a manner without total reciprocity."

Kirk’s anger was back. "Do you think I’d take you to bed just to keep you with me?"

"To my knowledge you have never desired males before; I do not see your entire life’s sexuality suddenly changing, and I do not desire your pity."

"Pity?" Kirk was out of his chair again. "You think I pity you, Spock? I don’t. Not at all. And even if I did I’m not foolish enough to base an intimate relationship on that. I’m trying to tell you I love you, like you love me, and I want us to be together."

"Jim?" was all Spock could manage to utter.

"We’ve been more than friends for a long time now, Spock. We’ve shared everything, been through all kinds of hell and back, accepted each other, stood by one another. Making love is another way to share ourselves, to complete what we are to each other." Kirk stepped closer, holding out his hands. At first Spock could only sit there, trying to make sense of this revelation, but when Kirk shook his hands, silently demanding a response, Spock rose and grasped them.

Kirk’s hands tightened around his and his voice was softer than Spock had ever heard it. "I love you, and I want to be with you and I want us to try for a life together because I can’t imagine not sharing everything with you."

Spock swallowed, finding it hard to reply. “I wish for the same."

Their eyes searched each other’s and their hands gripped tighter. Kirk’s eyes flickered over him, and Spock noted how his expression darkened again, and once more the human's smoldering anger was lit, its intensity augmented by their physical contact.

"I really need to know what he did to you, Spock."

"He kissed me…and touched me."

"What else?"

There was an odd light in his captain’s eyes, one Spock could not decipher, but his tone clearly brooked no refusal. He was reluctant to speak of that Kirk, he had better use for their energies, but he knew Kirk.

"He did not penetrate me, if that is what you are asking."

Kirk released a breath. "Good. Although I could kill him for what he did do."

"Jim, I am undamaged. What he did was motivated by desperation, and it is over. Do not allow it to trouble you."

"Trouble me? It does more than ‘trouble’ me, Spock. This isn’t easy to admit, but part of that anger, and what happened here earlier, was jealousy. I’ve never liked anyone who’s taken your attention from me. That time with Leila—it wasn't just that I needed to free you from the spores; I needed to free you from her. I never realized that until now. Then your pon farr, when you were going to bond with T’Pring, I was so afraid she’d be aboard the ship and take your time from me. There were a lot of other times, too. It’s a part of me I never quite realized but it’s there. This isn’t another casual affair for me, Spock. I love you. When I think that my counterpart put his hands on you…it makes me furious. I want to be the one who touches you."

"It is your right alone," Spock said softly, roughly translating an ancient Vulcan mating rite.

Kirk was smiling now, that dazzling smile that lit the human’s face and this Vulcan’s heart.

"Can you handle my possessiveness, Spock? Will you be able to cope with all my human emotions, and the emotions I bring out in you? You said you were in chaos. I don’t want to hurt you."

"You will not. My decision to leave was based on the belief that you would never choose me for your own. My emotions for you were growing too strong and I feared losing control, thus destroying our friendship and working relationship. I thought returning to Vulcan my only option."

"You know that’s not true, don’t you?"

Spock had heard that sultry tone from Kirk before, more times than he cared to count, but never before had it been aimed at him. The stirrings of desire began.

"Now I do," he replied, hardly able to believe it was his voice, embellished so with emotion.

"Is there anything else that we need to talk about?"

Kirk drew Spock closer, squeezing his hands, and Spock’s respiration increased.

"I do not believe so."

"Good."

The human’s lips brushed his own. Spock’s head tilted down to meet Kirk more fully, his eyes closing of their own volition. Kirk released his hands to encircle him in strong arms and Spock slid his arms around his captain, breathtaking joy filling him.

It was and was not like the other’s kiss. Both Kirks’ lips were cool and moist and soft, sharing the same wonderful taste. But whereas that other human’s strength was used for conquest and domination, his Kirk’s strength was shared, offered for pleasure and love.

The kiss deepened, their tongues battling playfully. Kirk drew him into his mouth and Spock eagerly explored the cool cavern, tasting and touching, knowing he would never have his fill of Kirk’s mouth. He yielded his own to his captain, moaning as the sensuous organ darted into every corner, leaving nothing uncharted.

As one their bodies drew together. The distinct bulk of an erect penis was rubbing against his own rising organ, and it was with dizzying delight that Spock acknowledged Kirk’s desire for him.

"Mmm, I don’t think we’re going to have any problems, do you?" Kirk murmured into his ear, just before his teeth nipped the lobe. Spock gently bit the softness of Kirk’s neck.

"Negative," he whispered, the human’s soft chuckle warming him.

His hands slid lower to cup Kirk’s generous buttocks, filling his hands with the pliant flesh and squeezing. Kirk thrust against him, his hands moving from Spock’s hips to his buttocks and squeezing back. Their mouths met again as they rubbed against each other. It was Kirk who finally pulled away.

"Get undressed."

A thrill went through Spock at the order, given in Kirk’s command tone. This man he would obey, without question or hesitation. Relocating to the sleeping area, Spock hastily discarded his uniform while watching the human shed his clothes. His organ throbbed as Kirk stood before him, naked, his body glowing in the dim light of the bedroom, his penis tall and thick, rising proudly from its bed of curls.

Spock could not help it. He lightly pushed the human down on the bed, so he was sitting. Kneeling before him, Spock spread Kirk’s legs. He bent his head forward but stopped, glancing up. Kirk’s eyes were smoldering.

"Yes, Spock, suck me.”

Kirk’s hands tangled in his hair and urged his head the rest of the way to his groin. Spock rested his cheek against Kirk’s organ, feeling the echo of the human’s heart throbbing in the pulsing column. He rubbed his face against the shaft. The skin was so soft and seemed so delicate but the flesh beneath it was strong as titanium, thrumming with blood and power.

Spock buried his face into the wiry pubic hair, breathing deeply. His tongue snaked out to catch a few curls and lap at the root of Kirk’s phallus, tickling the top of the generous pouch of testicles. Kirk’s hand gripped his hair tightly, pulling at it and sending pain/pleasure prickles through his scalp, down his spine and into his penis.

With the flat of his tongue Spock glided up the long pillar, tonguing just below the single, exotic ridge. He returned to the base again, running his tongue up one side and then the other.

"Spock," Kirk rasped, and Spock’s member jumped between his legs in answer. Finally he licked the large glans of Kirk’s penis, tasting the drop of moisture beading from the small slit. It was as cleansing and life-giving as the springs of Vulcan. The human’s moist, rich, masculine flavor tantalized his taste buds, and, needing more, Spock opened his mouth and drew his captain inside.

He had never done this before, but instinct and love guided him. Carefully, so as not to cause pain, but eagerly, needing, Spock sucked and lapped and stroked his human’s column. He cradled Kirk’s sac with his fingers, rolling the small organs within. Kirk began to rock his hips, pushing his penis deeper into Spock’s mouth and he accepted it, swallowing the thick length, wanting more than anything to pleasure Kirk.

"Spock, ghod, that’s so good." Kirk still gripped his hair in one hand, and his other was clasped on his shoulder, fingers digging into his skin with bruising strength. The head of Kirk’s member flared wider and Spock sucked harder, but Kirk was tugging him back by the hair, removing his penis from Spock’s hungry mouth.

Spock allowed the human to pull him up onto the bed, rolling them over so Kirk was on top. Kirk captured him in a deep kiss, actively seeking his own taste in Spock’s mouth, which Spock was pleased to share. He ran his hands down Kirk’s back, feeling the muscles ripple beneath velvety smooth skin. The other Kirk had denied him touch, keeping his hands bound. Not that he had wanted that Kirk, but in his drugged mind, dreaming of his Kirk, he had so wanted to feel his hands upon the human. Now he was here with his Kirk and he was free to touch. It was now his right to lay hands upon this man, and give his body over to him for his pleasure.

Spock gasped as Kirk tongued his ear tip and then nibbled on it. It was so sensitive as to be almost painful, but he endured it, wanted it, ached for it. Kirk made his way down Spock’s body, using tongue and teeth and fingers to tease him. Every spot the human touched was instantly charged, pulsing waves of energy to his genitals.

Kirk suddenly moved back up over him, kissing him. He grabbed one of Spock’s legs and hoisted it up over his shoulder. Spock wrapped his other leg around Kirk’s waist, bringing their organs together, and he arched up, rubbing against Kirk. The human’s penis slid lower, pushing once against his testicles before burrowing in the cleft of his buttocks.

Suddenly Spock knew exactly what Kirk wanted, and what he himself needed. He shifted his leg higher on Kirk’s waist, opening his body more. Kirk gasped and broke their kiss. His eyes never leaving Spock’s, Kirk leaned forward slightly and reached for something on the headboard. His hand now held a tube. Flipping it open, Kirk squeezed a generous amount of ointment into his palm, tossing the tube aside. He then reached between their bodies and grasped his own penis. Spock remained still as Kirk quickly prepared himself. In a moment his captain’s now slick penis was once again between his buttocks. It found what it sought, the opening to his body, and Kirk pressed forward.

Spock released a breath and willed the muscle to relax, to accept Kirk’s bulk. The head of Kirk’s penis pushed through and the human moaned. A quick stab of pain flashed through Spock but it was quickly gone. Kirk stopped, and they stared at one another, panting.

"You want this, don’t you?"

Spock’s entire body shivered. Those were the same exact words the other Kirk had used. But this was different, this time he did want it, with all his body and soul he wanted this, wanted Kirk to possess him. Verbalization of his emotions was difficult for him and the words simply would not come. So instead, he reached down to grasp Kirk’s buttocks and pulled his lover forward, at the same time arching his body up, sliding Kirk full-length inside his body.

Kirk’s eyes were blazing green and gold. "Tell me, Spock. Please tell me you want this."

And the words finally came. "Yes," he growled, "I want this. Only with you."

His reward was immediate. Kirk slowly pulled back till just the head remained imbedded, then thrust forward again to fill him completely.

Spock contracted his internal muscles, gripping at the flesh that plundered him over and over. His hands squeezed the mounds of Kirk’s ass, feeling the flexing of those powerful muscles, pushing the human deeper with every thrust. He was grateful for his Vulcan agility that allowed his body to curl up tight, allowing their mouths to reach. Kirk’s tongue mimicked the actions of his penis, jabbing in and out of his mouth. His own penis was trapped between their bodies, throbbing from the friction their movements provided. A rising swell of pressure in his testicles and mounting pleasure throughout his body, especially in his phallus, signaled climax was near.

Kirk shoved in more deeply than before and held himself there. Cool liquid splashed his insides. Spock toppled over the peak, his own organ spurting between their bodies. Spasm after spasm shook him, and he cried out his lover’s name.

"Jim!"

"Spock!" His name was upon his captain’s lips as he writhed in completion. Fulfillment at last.

Long dream-like moments passed, where they both remained still, only their harsh breathing filling the quiet of the cabin. Kirk’s organ was softening within him, a distinctly wonderful feeling. He had brought pleasure to this man, and had received it and Kirk’s seed in return.

Kirk slowly withdrew, allowing Spock to lower his legs. They trembled with weakness, but he knew he would recover soon. He turned his head to face Kirk, who now lay beside him.

"I love you," Kirk murmured softly.

Spock’s chest filled with emotions so deep it was difficult to breath. How could mere words convey what this man meant to him?

"You are my heart, t’hy’la."

"Stay with me."

"Always."

Spock rolled onto his side, curling up into Kirk’s waiting arms, his head nestled on a broad shoulder.

Peace and happiness followed Spock into sleep.

*****

Kirk stepped quietly into his cabin. He peeked into the sleeping area, finding Spock sleeping soundly. Kirk smiled. The Vulcan had not had much rest these past two weeks, making sure that everything was ready for when they would dock. Everything was finally finished and in order and both of them could relax and spend some much-needed time together for the last four days before entering Earth’s orbit.

Kirk stripped off his uniform, acknowledging he was tired, too. They would need the next few days of quiet. They didn’t know what Starfleet had planned for them but they were determined to get another command. Even if they didn’t, they were going to be together no matter what. The last few months as lovers had been wonderful. It wasn’t perfect, there had been many changes in both their lives, but their love was deep and true and Kirk had no doubt they could survive anything, as long as they were together.

Pulling back the covers so he could climb in their bed, Kirk saw something flash in the office area. He quickly went to investigate. Everything seemed normal. A glance at the computer screen showed the message light flickering. Kirk frowned. He had checked for messages already and there had been none. What now? Kirk groaned inwardly. The last thing they needed was some problem surfacing now, mere days before they disembarked.

Kirk toggled the switch and found nothing but static. Checking the computer confirmed something was there, but for some reason the signature wasn’t clear. Annoyed, Kirk tried to clear the static. After several minutes he was finally successful, and was startled to suddenly find himself looking at his own face.

"I don’t know if this message will make it to you, or if it’ll do any good if it does, but I decided to try. I went to Vulcan shortly after our little rendezvous and brought my Spock home. To stay. Our mission is ending in a few days, so I’m guessing yours is, too."

His counterpart leaned forward, staring earnestly. "If you already blew it, maybe you can take comfort in the fact that since my Spock is back with me, maybe someday your Spock will return, too. But don’t leave it to chance. Remember, James Kirk is no fool. In any universe."

The screen went dark and Kirk switched the terminal off. Returning to the bedroom, he carefully climbed into bed, trying not to disturb his bedmate. Still sleeping, the Vulcan immediately snuggled in beside him. Kirk wrapped his arms around his love, kissing the dark head. He was glad the other Kirk had found his Spock again. He couldn’t imagine his life without his Vulcan, and he had no intention of ever finding out.

No. James Kirk was not a fool, in any universe.

THE END
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