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A note to you from the Author: I wrote this story back in 1992, and I’ve learned a lot about writing since then. I had hoped to be able to edit Parallel Courses before I posted it to the archive, but Real Life just isn’t giving me the time to do so. Rather than wait for that mythical day when I’ve got some extra time away from my other writing commitments (currently, I’m writing gay romance that’s being professionally published by Dreamspinner Press), I’ve decided to post all the Sharing the Sunlight stories and novels without additional editing, errors notwithstanding. I hope that you’ll enjoy these stories anyway. I’d be happy to receive any feedback directed either to Hilary54@aol.com or as a review on the archive. Thanks!

Parallel Courses is the sixth entry in the author’s Sharing the Sunlight series, which includes, in order:
Sharing the Sunlight (novel)
Reflections on a Lunar Landscape
Pursuing Hyacinths
Heart’s Delight
Primal Scream
Parallel Courses
Double Trouble
Son of Sarek
Promises to Keep (novel)
Jagged Edges
Journey’s End
One Night
In the Shade (novel)
All stories and novels in the Sharing the Sunlight series will be posted to the K/S Archive

(Parallel Courses first appeared in No Greater Love, published by Diversity Press, and in Setting Course: the Jenna Sinclair Collection, published by Kathleen Resch. Many thanks to the editors for editing help.)

Parallel Courses


by Jenna Sinclair


Kirk caught himself before the tune that was singing its way through his head managed to find its way through his lips. Great! he thought wryly with a shake of his head. Just what this ship needs, a captain who starts singing while he's walking along a corridor on deck seven. What's next, shouting to the hilltops?

But even though the music did not find expression in sound, it continued to play along in his mind, a jaunty tune that he translated into an even more uptempo beat to his already vibrant stride, and an extra swing to his arms. Life felt so very, very good....

"Jim! Wait up!"

Kirk turned to see McCoy hurrying along the corridor.

"Good morning, Bones," he said cheerily, as McCoy caught up with him.

"And what has you so chipper this morning?" Bones asked as he fell into step.

"What? Oh, nothing in particular. Just seems" Kirk shrugged with a smile, "like a good day."

"A good day, huh?” McCoy eyed him suspiciously. "We're out in the middle of nowhere, heading for some backwater planet on the border, there's nothing on up on the bridge until we get there, and suddenly you think it's a good day?"

"Uh-huh.” Kirk watched his companion as they walked, a slower pace now as he accommodated McCoy. The doctor seemed unconvinced. Kirk saw the need to elaborate. "Just came back from a great shore leave...."

McCoy brightened. "Yeah, wasn't it ever. Mine was terrific. You know, we haven't had the chance to relax with a drink so you could tell me all about yours."

"I know," Kirk said ruefully. "I've been working so hard on the annual budget requests that I've hardly come up for air for days.” He chuckled. "It's really cut down on my social life."

McCoy matched his smile. "Well, how was it?" he urged. "The shore leave," he prompted, when Kirk momentarily looked blank.

"Oh, that. I already told you have the discovery Spock and I made by the ruins."

"Yeah, yeah. But did you have any fun?"

"Bones..." Kirk threatened.

"Oh, come on, you know what I mean. Any action?"

It was obvious that McCoy would not be deterred. Kirk had managed to avoid these kinds of questions by hiding behind the budget process, but now, on deck seven, McCoy would have his way.

Kirk quirked a smile. He wouldn't lie. He'd tell Bones the truth, sort of.

"Well, there was this one woman. Ting. A little older than my usual," Ting had been seventy if she'd been a day, "but she was so different.” Ting was a waitress at the hotel where he had stayed with Spock. "She was so outspoken.” She'd deduced that they were lovers from the moment she saw them together, and hadn't hesitated to tease them from the start. "Spock even liked her."

"Spock liked one of your women? Now that I find hard to believe.” McCoy raised on eyebrow and looked skeptical.

Oops. That had been a tactical error. "Then there was this absolutely gorgeous brunette I met in the bar.” He might be committed to his Vulcan lover, but he wasn't dead below the belt. "She had the most stunning legs I've ever seen.” His hands sketched a calf in the air. "Fantastic."

That seemed to satisfy McCoy. "Good. I'm glad you managed to relax at least a little."

"Uh-huh. At lot, as a matter of fact. Which probably explains," Kirk rotated his shoulders as he walked, "why I feel so great this morning. Reports be damned.” It sounded good to him. Would Bones buy it?

McCoy was looking at him with a gleam in his eyes. "You know, I'm under specific orders from certain members of the crew to capitalize on every good mood the captain has."

"You are, huh?” Kirk gave him a sidelong glance. "What do you, I mean they, want?"

"Genuine, non-reconstituted steak from the galley tonight?" McCoy asked hopefully.

They had reached a juncture in the hallway. Kirk paused and snorted with laughter. "Okay, Captain Bligh relents. Real steak tonight. Would the dancing girls be too much?"

McCoy put one hand to his chin and appeared to think deeply. "Hmmmm, let's see. As resident shrink for this shipload of oversexed men and women, I would say that the dancing girls might be too much for our people to bear.” The hand dropped to his side, and a grin took up residence again on his honest face. "Steak will be more than enough."

Kirk slapped McCoy on the shoulder as he turned to walk down the intersecting corridor. "You underestimate our crew, Bones. I wouldn't be so sure."

"All right, all right," the voice followed as McCoy called after him. "Maybe I was wrong. Bring on the dancers too!"

Kirk chuckled and shook his head, but continued on his way. He was scheduled to meet with Scotty in the engineering office up near the nacelles for an early morning, before-breakfast conference. He didn't intend to be late.

But the good mood followed him. And Kirk knew the source of it exactly.

God, he had never had it so good. He'd be crazy not to recognize it. Never, not with any one of the women he had ever slept with, had sex ever been as good as it was now. And never, had he ever been so much in love.

Sex and love, he thought, a little in awe. What a terrific combination.

Kirk stood before the turbolift doors and waited for them to open. He allowed himself to imagine what he would have said if he had answered Bones' innocent query honestly:

Why am I in such a good mood, Bones? Spock woke me up by nibbling on my ear. We had the best session.... You know there's nothing like great sex in the morning to get a man out of bed smiling.

But he hadn't been able to say any of that to McCoy. Nobody knew yet about his intimate relationship with Spock. Under other, more normal circumstances, McCoy would have been Kirk's privileged confidant, for the two of them had been sharing details of their love lives for years. Kirk remembered the many times they had relaxed together after shift. He would describe the curvaceous blonde he'd found in some little bar during shore leave, then McCoy would launch into an exaggerated account of how he'd left his companion for the evening gasping for breath because of his prowess. They would both laugh, take another sip of their after-dinner brandy, and go on to embellish some more.

And Kirk recalled when it had been more serious. He'd done everything he could to support his friend after the difficult break with Natira, for McCoy had been truly heartbroken over the decision that circumstances had forced them to make. And Bones had been a pillar of strength after Edith.

But Bones didn't know about him and Spock. Not yet. There was something inside of Kirk that wanted to tell him, very much. Sometimes, like this morning, he was so filled up with satisfaction at the way his life was going that he wanted to share it.

It would be great to be able to talk to Bones, instead of guarding his words and expressions. He wouldn't reveal any intimate details, like how Spock looked in the mornings, so tousle-headed and sleepy that Kirk could never resist him, or how they had discovered that a certain position stimulated a peculiarly Vulcan area of sexual sensitivity almost past his lover's ability to withstand the pleasure, or how the sight of Spock in the midst of orgasm was the most fantastic, heart-stopping, soul-filling event he had ever witnessed, or....

The turbolift doors swooshed open, and Kirk came to himself with a start. As he entered he nodded to the female yeoman who was already inside, and hoped fervently that his wandering thoughts hadn't produced a typical physical reaction. He didn't think he had a hard-on, but he sure wasn't going to look down and check here.

But even so, Kirk couldn't help smiling to himself. Could it really be more than five long months since he and Spock had gotten together? There was a time, Kirk knew, when he would have vehemently denied being attracted to a male body. He had to suppress a chuckle as he remembered the one time he'd been propositioned by a man in a bar. On Centaurus, that had been. Without thought, Kirk's hand came up to rub his jaw. The fellow had been darkly handsome, and had sported an accurate left jab, once he'd heard Kirk's deliberately vulgar and provocative reply about his proposal's utter impossibility.

But impossible or not, it had happened. There was no doubt about it, the thought of Spock taking off his blue tunic, revealing that long lean sexy back, exposing the rippling muscles in his shoulders and arms.... It was enough to send a shiver of sexual feeling all through him, even here in the lift at 0630 in the morning.

The doors opened, and the yeoman walked out. Kirk leaned back against the wall and folded his arms across his chest as the lift moved up again. His relaxed posture matched the thoughts that ran through his mind.

It wasn't just physical. As great as lovemaking between them was, there was so much love there too. A great satisfaction came over Kirk with the thought, and he heaved a happy sigh. He loved that Vulcan so damned much....

And he knew Spock loved him. Without a doubt. The melds they shared were incredible, and he had seen himself reflected in his lover's beautiful soul. Their "emotional melds," Spock had labeled them in the beginning, and Kirk had been surprised at how eager his reserved friend had been to enter into that glowing world with him.

And that was just one of the types of melds in which they had indulged. Kirk pursed his lips as he tried to decide which one was his favorite. There had been that special time Spock had created a whole new world for him. The meadows had been filled with wildflowers; he could still hear the trilling of the birds. Everything had looked and felt so real. Even now, it was difficult to remember that it had all been a projection of Spock's mind.

Kirk shook his head with the memory, looked down at the floor, and smiled. That one had to be his favorite. It was the first time Spock had said, "I love you."

But then, there was melding under an entirely different set of circumstances.

Kirk straightened against the turbolift wall as he remembered last night, and how they had joined minds while making love. Spock had shown him something new. Five months, and still they were having first times. It had been fantastic, and like nothing he had ever experienced before....

He subsided against Spock, feeling all the sexual tension drain out of him. His head fell forward until he rested upon a hairy chest.

Awkwardly, Spock pulled his legs down from Kirk's shoulders, and wrapped them as best he could around his lover. Kirk felt arms tighten about him too, but he was so enervated it was hard to respond. He knew that Spock hadn't followed him into orgasm, could still feel the stiff prick poking against him, but right now he just wanted to lay here, chest hair tickling his nose, catching his breath.

They stayed in that pose for a full minute, while Kirk felt his cock softening. Finally he sighed, and pulled backwards. He slid out with a sucking sound.

Spock was already reaching for the wet disposable clothes they kept by the bedside. Kirk cleaned himself off, then lay down on his side with a contented sound. He gathered his lover within his arms.

"Do you know how much I love coming inside you?” He asked softly, hands gently stroking through Spock's hair. "That was terrific, love. Just what I needed."

"I am pleased," Spock whispered. He moved down to kiss the strong neck where it merged into shoulder, his gentle movements becoming more urgent as his tongue explored the softness at the hollow of Kirk's throat.

Kirk noticed the changed. His hand snaked between their bodies to firmly grasp a twin-ridged hardness. "I think it's your turn now," he whispered. He rolled over onto his back, spreading his legs, tugging on Spock's penis until his lover was positioned over him.

Spock gazed down at him, brow quirked in question. "Are you sure?" he asked softly. Spock was seldom the aggressor in their lovemaking.

"Uh-huh," Kirk nodded. "I want to watch you."

A smile flickered across Spock's face. "I shamefully indulge your voyeuristic tendencies," he complained, and reached for the tube of lubricant.

"You're the best thing I've ever seen," Kirk breathed. "Can you blame me?” And bending his knees to give better access, avidly he watched.

Spock was always so careful in applying the lubricant, always so gentle when he entered. Kirk loved looking at him, face alive with passion, yet so solemnly inserting a cream-coated finger up his ass. Even better was when Spock leaned over him, trembling with excitement, and nudged his cock up within Kirk's crack. But tonight, even with all his lover's care, without the masking intoxication of his own sexual arousal, Kirk couldn't help but wince as the ridges breached his still uncertain sphincter.

Spock was instantly still, just the head of his penis lodged inside, in a monumental display of control that Kirk knew he would never be able to match.

"Am I hurting you?" he gasped.

"No, no," Kirk reassured, and ran a hand up the tensed arm. "Just a twinge.” He steeled himself against the discomfort, and jerked upwards to impale himself some more, just to encourage his hesitant lover. He was rewarded when Spock moaned, closed his eyes, and thrust forward in one abrupt motion.

Spock pulled out and pushed in again, quickly falling into the rhythm of short, shallow strokes that Kirk knew he favored in the beginning. But already the strokes were lengthening and the cadence of heaving breaths was deepening; Spock was awfully close to coming.

Kirk arched up into the rhythm, squeezed with his anal muscles, and looked intently to see his lover's reaction. The hardness churning within him was still a little uncomfortable, but to see Spock like this was worth every bit of discomfort. God, he loved to see the passion on Spock's face. Even better, he loved to watch his lover come.

Spock sensed his scrutiny. He opened his eyes and, without breaking his rapidly increasing tempo, rasped, "Meld with me. Share this...."

Spock shifted weight to reach for his temples, and Kirk feel forward willingly into the meld, expecting to encounter the exquisite thrill of Spock trembling into orgasm, unleashed passion overlaying Kirk's own perceptions. But he found something completely different instead....

He was falling, falling, rushing past flashing red lights, spiraling down, down.... Then he was surrounded by a green haze, and he was rushing up, up.... And the sensational feeling that was his cock inside his enfolding ass kept getting more and more intense, the electric charge that was in his prick seemed to grow and grow, to fill up all the spaces in his body....

It was a slow-motion heaven. He didn't feel the pleasure in the cock, he was the cock. Stiff and swollen, surrounded by heavenly heat, pushing against a smoothness that sent fiery charges of delight all through him. And in this new world where it took torturous seconds for a neuron to fire, he could actually trace the path of his pleasure as it moved from the nerve endings that filled the surging head, then flashed over the flared-out ridges and danced down and all through the erect stiffness that was, suddenly, all the rest of him.

For long, long minutes he willingly opened himself up to the pathways of bliss, loving it as the pleasure possessed him, convulsing over and over with each new wave, watching it get closer and closer, letting it run over him like water from an ocean, soaking him, drowning him in delight....

He'd never, never felt anything like this. He felt totally, vibrantly alive. Every part of him was immersed in sexual pleasure. It was like a drug that he would never get enough of; he wanted the high to last forever.

But his world was changing again. Kirk felt his perception narrowing, the green misty world was rushing by as he became smaller, and smaller....

He came to a quivering standstill, hovering, hovering, on the edge of... what?

Something flashed into him from the side, took hold of his new body, transformed it utterly with an electric charge of pure sexual sensation that swept through him, stretching him and pulling him tight.... One of his long limbs reached out, twitching with the stimulation, and all the pleasure followed that path, down the limb, over an enormous glowing space and onward into infinity....

And then the final explosion. He felt it coming long before it arrived, warned by the flashing of the dendrites along his side and the twitching of the axons that were his arms and legs. He reached out, anxious for the cataclysm, stretching to accommodate the passage of so much life.... And then it was there, one gigantic rush, charge after charge of pure rapture running through him, turning him into nothing but a sweet, singing, stretched-out universe of ecstasy that went on and on and on....

And then Spock was lying spinelessly over him, gasping for breath. Kirk could feel the slowly deflating cock already slipping out of him. Spock pulled back, collapsed next to him on the bed, and Kirk looked down at himself.

His quiescent cock lay along his thick. There was no sign of ejaculate, no cum spattering his groin. And yet he felt as exhausted as Spock looked, as if he had surely sprayed out his second incredibly intense orgasm of the night. They'd melded during sex before, an act which had always triggered both their climaxes, but never had it been anything like this.

He looked over in amazement at Spock, who was staring up at the ceiling, his chest still heaving to pull in air. "What... what did you do?"

Spock turned his head. His bangs were matted with sweat against his forehead. "I...I.... Did you not find the experience pleasing?"

"Pleasing?" Kirk asked. He rolled over onto his side and placed a hand on a deceptively thin arm. "Spock, the human body wasn't meant to sustain pleasure like that. I can't believe that I didn't come again. Where was I, anyway? I felt like I was....” Kirk paused, for suddenly the words sounded ridiculous.

"I wished to minimize your physical discomfort by distracting you with other sensations," Spock said seriously. "Also, I was approaching the peak of orgasm more quickly than I desired...."

Kirk stared at him. "So?"

"So I changed our perceptions of the experience by allowing us to focus on the reactions of various body parts....” His voice trailed off again.

Kirk raised his head from the pillow and looked with disbelief into the warm eyes.

"It slows one's perception of the passage of time," Spock defended. "A part of the training for deep meditation that I learned as a child."

"I... I really was your cock?" Kirk asked incredulously. A nod from Spock. "And a... a cell? I could feel myself all stretched out, like I was connected to everything there was...."

Spock nodded again. "Yes, that is the way it feels. However, I have never experienced my body in just that way before, under those circumstances. I must thank you for the opportunity.” He looked at Kirk, deadpan. "It was a most fascinating six seconds."

As the turbolift slowed, Kirk smiled at the memory. Spock had such an understated sense of humor. It was just one of the things about his first officer that he loved now. One among so many.

The smile lingered on his faced as Kirk exited the lift and strode down the deserted corridor that led to the lower deck of the port implosion chamber. Even just before shift change this section of the ship was quiet, and it was one of his favorite parts of the Enterprise. Without the masking sounds of human life, and this close to the engine, the hum of the matter/antimatter conversion was clearly audible.

Kirk slowed his pace, trying to walk softly, the better to hear the mighty forces that gave life to his Lovely Lady. He smiled at the fancy, thinking of a certain person who would label his behavior "illogical.” With a look of pure devilment, Kirk drifted to the side of the hall and ran one caressing hand along a grey steel bulkhead. Illogical or not, she was his Lovely Lady. Kirk fully understood why Scotty tended to schedule so many of their meetings here, where anyone who listened could hear her song. The both loved her, only in different ways.

But when Kirk arrived in the small briefing room tucked away behind the protective bulkheads of the seldom-used secondary chamber, Scotty had not yet arrived. The captain settled down before one of the table's built-in computer screens and called up the schematics on which they would be working.

He was deep into the list of parts his chief engineer would need to improve the air circulation on the upper decks of the engineering hull when the intercom sounded.

"Kirk here."

"Captain.” Scotty's usual forthright tone was absent. He sounded abashed. "Sorry I am that I'm late for our meeting. Ah've been delayed in engineering. Ken ya give me ten more minutes? Ah shouldn't be much longer."

"That's fine, Scotty. I'll be here.” Kirk punched off and returned his attention to the screen before him.

The Enterprise needed this modification, one that Kirk had already recommended to Starfleet Command. Because they hadn't known about the build-up of ozone in the antimatter production chambers, the excess creation of antimatter had almost destroyed the ship and everyone in it. Scotty's plans were a safe and efficient way to correct what was a basic design problem.

Kirk stared at the careful detailing of material they would need, but now he didn't see the words. In his mind's eye there was a brilliant explosion of color, soundless because of the velvety backdrop of the vacuum of space. It could have been. It almost had been. Because of a damned design problem, they'd almost lost it all.

Kirk's throat contracted, and he stared sightlessly over the computer console, chin propped against one hand. The vision hurt even more now than it would have a year ago, or seven months ago. Now that he and Spock had found one another, he had so much more to lose....

His melancholy couldn't last. His thoughts drifted back, to the first time he had felt those forbidden, deliciously warm lips against his, to the unforgettable sight of Spock laughing within the meld, to the deep contentment that welled up in his soul the first time his strong lover had fallen asleep within his enfolding arms.

Unknowing, Kirk's lips curved back into a smile. Sometimes he thought the last few months had been just about perfect. He felt so incredibly special to have been admitted into Spock's life in such an intimate way. It was almost perfect. Except, of course, that he still felt strange about falling in love with another male. It was hard to think of announcing to the world, to anyone, even to Bones, this sudden change in his sexual orientation. He was still dealing with that....

Not that Spock was exactly pushing them into an open declaration. Even if Kirk had been willing, he understood his lover's reluctance to be open about their relationship, to display affection before others. That was just part of the way Spock was, an intensely private person accustomed to the pathways of restraint and control. It had been a major breakthrough for the two of them to become lovers at all, and for Spock to admit the roles that emotion and physical sensation could play in his life.

No, Kirk understood the propriety that Spock expected outside their quarters, he even agreed with it, though sometimes, perversely, he longed for a casual openness for which he knew he was not yet ready. Like being able to talk to Bones about why he was in such a good mood this morning. Or sauntering up behind Spock on the bridge and, without pretense, suggesting that the two of them spend the evening together on the observation deck.

Wistfully, Kirk contemplated that image. On the ship, the OD was the best place he knew of to temporarily shed his role of captain, and all the responsibilities that went with it. One of the private viewing rooms, the stars all around, hours away from paperwork and the formality of quarters, he and Spock, together. He wished....

No, Kirk thought, shaking his head, he wouldn't even try. It would probably take months, or maybe even years of persuasion before he could overcome his lover's reluctance to visit one of the private rooms on the deck. Spock would never be comfortable with him there, even if they just went to look, and not indulge in what those rooms were famous for. He didn't want to push his reticent Vulcan past boundaries where he felt comfortable. He wanted Spock to feel at ease with him, and with their love. Happy.

The way he had made Kirk happy.

Suddenly Kirk was filled with resolve. He wanted to do something special, something wonderful for Spock. Something that would make the stern features relax into one of those rare and delightful smiles. Maybe something that would show Spock that he was trying, really trying, to push past the doubts that had come to plague him....

Kirk's small smile grew wider, and he straightened against the back of the chair. It was obvious. Two gifts in one. Both the gift, and the giving. Spock would understand.

Far down the hallway, Kirk heard the sound of the turbolift doors opening, and then the measured cadence of Scotty's footfalls. He blinked and refocused on the glowing list on the computer screen before him. Back to work.

It wasn't difficult for the captain of the Enterprise, all business, to conduct his meeting with the chief engineer. Even though deep within, something inside him was singing, matching his Lovely Lady's silver song.


"Did everyone arrive at the answer 2.57 radials?"

Spock observed the six junior officer who were his students in this early morning, before-first-shift science class. Everyone was seated about the table in briefing room number 9, which he had appropriated more than three years ago for the continuing education classes that were a hallmark of service on board the Enterprise. While Captain Kirk required no one to participate, it was no secret that a thirst for knowledge was an essential element for success under his command. Spock approved of the eagerness that led the young people before him to enroll in this particular class in the plasma physics of interstellar space; although this was only their second session, it promised to be a rewarding group.

One of the students looked uncertain, an emotional state Spock had been able to decipher from his very first days at the Academy. He had seen it frequently on the faces of his fellow cadets.

"Ensign Hunyady, do you have a question?"

The woman looked up from her comp slate, her auburn hair brushing against her shoulders as she moved. "Yes, sir," she said. "I thought that 5.14 was also a possible answer."

Spock nodded, approving of her frankness. Hunyady was a promising member of the General Sciences program, a most talented individual with a vibrant personality. She had an inquiring mind, and frequently saw beyond the obvious. Very much like the captain of the Enterprise. Perhaps she should consider a change to the command track.

"And what reasoning did you use to arrive at this answer?” It was important to draw her out. Answers were not important; reasoning was.

As Hunyady spoke, and a part of him listened to every word, Spock also observed Lieutenant Dawson, a duty officer from engineering. He was seated opposite Hunyady, and scarcely took his eyes from her face as she detailed a complex chain of logic. Spock did not approve of the way Dawson was dreamily staring at the young ensign. Such behavior was unprofessional, and distracting for others. He had thought that such expressions of affection would change with Dawson and Hunyady's marriage ten days ago. Apparently not.

Hunyady paused, at a loss to explain the next step, and Dawson eagerly supplied the missing equation for her. Spock compressed his lips. If all of those who were romantically involved with each other exhibited such obvious behavior, the Enterprise would be a poorly functioning ship indeed. These crewmembers should confine their expressions of affection for one another to the privacy of their quarters. As he and Jim had agreed to do.

Although, to be honest, Dawson and Hunyady were among the elite group of junior officers on the ship. Their emotional interactions over the past several months had not interfered with their efficiency. To the contrary.... Spock stirred with surprise as a new thought occurred to him. Perhaps their performance had actually been enhanced by their relationship. It was an intriguing speculation.

Hunyady finished her explanation; Spock returned all of his attention to the class and nodded his approval. He looked about the table. "Does everyone understand why in N-dimensions, the ensign's answer is an alternate solution?"

Ensign Tarn, one of the Enterprise's non-human crew members, shifted his long legs under the table. His perfectly round eyes blinked in confusion.

Spock addressed the class. "Would you care to elucidate for Ensign Tarn?"

With satisfaction, Spock listened to the enthusiastic discussion of N-dimensions that followed. This was a procedure he had found was especially effective in teaching young humans. The act of thinking through the problem and explaining it to a fellow classmate reinforced the strands of reasoning leading to a solution, a much more efficacious technique than merely having a teacher repeat what had already been said.

Several comp slates came in to play as the students sketched out their defining equations. Ensign Tarn was now the center of much solicitous attention, and for a few moments Spock allowed a part of his mind to wander again.

There were times when being the center of solicitous attention could be a rewarding experience. Since he and Jim had initiated their intimate relationship he had learned that, as he had learned many other things. Physical sensations that had been an occasional indulgence were now an essential part of the way he expressed himself, and he was becoming skilled in this language he had so rarely used before. The yearning that he had suppressed for so many years, to touch and to be touched, had finally defined itself, and then taken shape every time he and Jim kissed, each time they laid themselves bare to the openness of orgasm.

And yet, the satisfaction of physical congress with Jim was matched by the wonder of the casual intimacy that Spock had never known before. He found himself dwelling upon this new experience far more frequently than he should. Even now, there was a strong temptation to indulge in reverie....

Spock glanced at the junior officers, still immersed in their discussion. Consideration of his recent experiences with Jim would only take a few seconds....

The being who had been raised on a planet where logical thinking and precise control were paramount carefully set his internal clock to thirty seconds, so that he could revel in a memory of unbridled emotion. Last night had been so stimulating....

Spock looked up from the document on his desk in surprise, as the door to the outside corridor swished open without the prior warning of the buzzer. But then he relaxed as the familiar figure of James Kirk strode confidently inside.

Kirk paused in the middle of the office area, placed his hands firmly on the small of his back, and stretched. "Oougghh," he grunted, face raised to the ceiling.

Amused, Spock watched this ritual, enacted almost every time his lover entered his quarters. The physical display seemed to be a barrier Kirk placed between their duty hours and the time they managed to spend alone together, relaxing. Spock wondered whether his lover was even aware that he did it.

Now Kirk wandered over to stand beside the desk. "Reports?" he queried, twisting his head to see.

"The last one of those you permitted me to assist you with," Spock agreed. "When I am finished with this I will be able to assume responsibility for a few more."

"Nope.” Kirk shook his head and moved behind Spock, where he placed his hands upon the narrow shoulders. He began to knead tight neck muscles. "I am not a slave driver, recent evidence to the contrary. I'm tired of curling up with a computer tape at night. I hereby declare a moratorium on reports for the rest of the evening.” He leaned forward and dropped a kiss upon Spock's cheek. "I think I need a nice relaxing evening with you."

Spock twisted around in his chair to look up into warm hazel eyes. "That is a most agreeable plan. We have been unable to share much time together recently."

"I know.” Kirk began to rub around a flat shoulder blade. His voice was tender. "After spending practically all our time together when we were on shore leave, it's been kind of a shock, hasn't it?"

"Indeed. I had not anticipated that I could become so used to leisure conditions in so short a period of time."

"That wasn't leisure you got used to, lover, that was me.” The smile took the swagger from the words.

Spock nodded. "Perhaps. At any rate, even I do not find budget reports to be stimulating company after shift."

Kirk chuckled. "Me neither. I'm glad we're almost through. Just security requisitions to go, and they should be simple. Giotto's pretty well organized. So," Kirk moved away, "any requests for this evening?"

Spock looked at him carefully. "There is a journal article I must review. Professor Kramer has published another response to the astrophysics department's article on interstellar masses. Perhaps you would care to take a shower while I examine it?"

Kirk grinned, reading the invitation between the lines. "Join you in bed in ten minutes?"

Spock looked regretful. "The article is a long one, and will require careful perusal. Perhaps, thirty minutes?"

"You're on, lover.” Kirk swiped at a narrow shoulder, then headed for their shared bathroom, already stripping the shirt off over his head.

Spock watched his lover retreat. He enjoyed witnessing the smooth skin being revealed, and the play of muscles in Jim's back as his shoulders and arms flexed. He felt the first stirrings of desire. They had not indulged in physical intimacy for six days; the pressure of duty and the additional paperwork had kept them apart. Now, Spock wondered what particular activities Jim might have in mind.

Turning back to his desk, Spock depressed the privacy lock for his door, and commander the computer to re-route all but absolutely essential calls. He checked in with the bridge, then picked up the hard copy of Professor Kramer's article from the stack of journals neatly piled on the credenza. With diligent application, he might be able to finish it before Jim emerged from the steam he was generating in the bathroom.

But Spock's attention was soon diverted. The unmistakable sound of Jim's voice raised in song drifted from the shower. Spock's eyes darted toward the closed bathroom door. Then, in the privacy of his office, where not even his lover could see, he smiled.

Concentration would now be impossible, but Spock could not find it in himself to regret that. He leaned back in his chair, hands folded in his lap. His eyes remained trained on the door, and the smile still hovered about his lips.

A cornucopia of emotions assaulted him, and as he had tried to do since the day he had opened himself up to his feelings, and to the possibility of a physical relationship with Jim, Spock attempted to sort them, catalog them, and experience them fully.

Amusement was within him, certainly, for Jim was singing a highly scandalous ballad from Argo V. Deltans, Andorians, and a human female named Maud figured in it prominently. Kirk's vigorous voice lingered over a high note, then tunefully descended into a scatological description of antennae.

Spock contemplated the surface of his desk as his amusement deepened into incredulity. He, Spock, the human/Vulcan hybrid, actually had a lover who chose to exhibit his positive emotions in song, when he knew that Spock could hear every note. Before they had become intimately involved, Jim had never succumbed to musical inclinations while bathing, probably in deference to Spock's need for privacy. No one had ever indulged in informal singing in Spock's presence before, not even his mother, and certainly not his father. Vulcan music was formal, precise, not intimate, and definitely not abandoned like the music being made in his bathroom right now. Spock did not attempt to contain the shiver that made its way through his body. Did Jim know how such a small, unthinking act delighted him so?

But there was yet another emotion waiting to be catalogued, and Spock had no trouble labeling it. It was evident that Jim regarded Spock's quarters as a sanctuary where the cares of the day could be discarded. Jim wanted to temporarily forget the budget requests, and duty; he wanted to relax, and he chose to relax with Spock. Although pride was not an emotion to encourage, Spock allowed it to grow.

Spock turned to the computer and ordered, "Computer, on. Set thermostat to ship norm.” This was part of a game they frequently played with one another. Jim would increase the temperature in his own quarters for Spock's ease, and Spock would regulate the temperature in his quarters for Kirk's comfort. A somewhat illogical proceeding, but an unspoken courtesy in which they both indulged. And Spock did not mind. If the adjustment required him to place a few doubled-up blankets on his side of the bed, that was but a minor sacrifice.

But the time Kirk emerged from the shower, clad only in the towel he was using to vigorously dry his hair, Spock was settled beneath those blankets, propped against two pillows, the journal in his hands. The right side of the bed, Kirk's side, was covered only by a sheet.

"Hey, it's cold in here," Kirk shivered. "Aren't you going to put something on?” Spock's torso was bare above the blankets bunched at his waist.

"I do not require nightwear," Spock intoned. "I am accustomed to normal ship's temperature."

"Not when you're completely out of uniform, you're not," Kirk grinned, and leaned down for a kiss. He propped a knee up on the mattress for balance, then pulled back when it bumped against a hard object.

"What's this?” He picked up the book that had been hidden beneath the sheet. "This is the sequel to Beyond the Storm. Where did this come from?"

"I purchased it on Fal-T 3 during leave. Since you enjoyed reading the author's first effort, I thought you might appreciate this as well."

Kirk was already turning pages. "I will. Beyond the Storm was great.” He slid into bed, face absorbed, and settled back against the pillows Spock had placed there. But then he looked over at his bedmate. "Uh, do I detect a subtle Vulcan message here? What did I do to deserve a present tonight?"

"I did not wish you to become bored while I was finishing this article," Spock said.

Kirk laughed, and leaned forward for another kiss. "Not much chance of that now, is there? You might have to pry me away."

"If that becomes necessary," Spock agreed, and readily returned the affectionate caress.

"Thank you, my shivering Vulcan," Kirk murmured against his lips. "If you don't cover up, you'll have green goose bumps.” And he pulled the blankets up over Spock's chest.

They settled down to reading in the narrow bed, a feat that Spock would have once declared impossible without considerable discomfort. But recent empirical evident proved him wrong. There was no discomfort in the way Jim's arm and shoulder pressed against his own, no distraction in the infrequent soft noises he made. And there was definite pleasure to be gained from the close proximity of his and Jim's bodies.

Spock looked down at where Jim's right foot had bent, snaked under his flexed left leg, and burrowed under the blankets. The ball of his lover's foot was rubbing against Spock's calf, with the occasional diversion of toes coming into play. While not an erotic sensation, the feeling of the digital extremities passing back and forth against the hair on his legs was gently stimulating, in a way difficult to define. It was... comforting.

Kirk interrupted his musings. He too was looking down at where their legs touched under the blankets. "You know, I slept with a really hairy woman once.” His foot traveled down to Spock's ankle, toes scratching.

"Did you indeed?" Spock asked in a disinterested tone. He no longer felt threatened by the specter of Jim's former lovers. At least, not as much as he had.

"Uh-huh. An Entoac. Just to see what it would be like. She had fine, silky hair, all over, not wiry like yours.” His foot traveled up the length of Spock's leg again, bending to reach up almost to the knee.

"And?" Spock encouraged.

"I didn't like it," Kirk declared. "It was like sleeping with a collie. But you know something?” His toes curled against Spock's calf, petting.

"What?” Spock attempted to suppress his rising interest. Jim frequently delighted in this sort of teasing verbal foreplay. The playful mood often led to some shockingly enjoyable physical encounters.

"I might not have liked her hair, but I sure do like yours."

"My body hair is a masculine characteristic. I am surprised that you find it attractive.” Spock remembered many times when Jim had stroked his chest hair over and over again. And there had been times when it had been covered with seminal emission.

"Yeah, well, it's you. You finished with that article yet?"

"Five more minutes," Spock reassured.

"Okay," Kirk sighed with the air of along-suffering martyr. He returned to his book.

But after a few minutes of silence, he slipped out of bed and padded to the bathroom. Spock could hear the sound of water running as Kirk got a drink of water, and then he heard him return to stand motionless next to the bed. Resolutely, Spock kept his eyes trained on the page before him.

"Five minutes are up, Spock," came a silky smooth voice.

"Four minutes and thirty-seven seconds, Jim," Spock replied pedantically.

"If you don't come up out of that nest and kiss me, I'm not sure that I'll be able to survive," came a voice trembling with amusement.

Abandoning the journal, Spock slid out of the bed, walked into Kirk's outstretched arms, and straight into a demanding kiss.

Perhaps it was their days long abstinence that lent fervor to their embrace, perhaps it was the extended, subtle foreplay they had just enjoyed, pressing the sides of their bodies against one another in the bed. Or perhaps, Spock thought dizzily, it was because Jim was without a doubt most skilled in the art of osculation. But whatever the reason, the simple pressing of lips together quickly turned into a feverish, hungry groping. Spock groaned when he felt Jim's tongue pressing against him, demanding entrance, and he sucked the welcome intruder into his own mouth. He was suddenly desperate for the touch of his lover's wet warmth, for that aggressively loving contact.

"Oh, God, Spock," Kirk moaned, pulling back and gasping. "I've missed you. Why the hell do we let these damned reports get in the way?” Roughly, he turned Spock's head to one side, and began to forcefully suck on an earlobe.

Spock gasped, as much from the dominating handling he had just endured as from the incredible tactile pleasure of the warm moisture encasing his sensitive skin. He and Jim were often considerate and gentle with one another in their physical encounters, but there had also been some stimulating occasions when they were not....

Spock did not try to catalog the thrill that raced through his body, composed of equal parts anticipation and sensation. He had always admired Jim's strengths....

He wrapped his arms around Jim hard, felt the answering thrust as Jim pushed against him once, twice, and then they toppled over onto the bed, clutching at each other and kissing vehemently.

They touched and kissed in rudimentary foreplay, racing towards only one goal. Kirk tore his mouth away from the lips devouring his and panted, "God, you make me hot," before moving down to find a nipple amidst all Spock's chest hair. Frantically, his lips searched for the little nub, found it, and bit down hard.

It was an incredibly stimulating sensation, a compound of pain and pleasure that merged into a sizzling that went straight from Spock's chest to his achingly erect organ. Spock thrashed his head back and forth upon the pillow, already too far gone in sexual arousal to control his reactions. He moaned, and tightened his hold on Kirk's head to press it even more firmly into his chest. He looked down to see Jim swipe wetly across the erected nipple, then grab it again in his teeth. Jim bit down, and looked challengingly up at his lover from under lowered eyelashes.

It was too much for Spock, who felt his hold on rational responses slipping. Abruptly, he reached down and pulled Kirk back up to cover him completely. He grabbed the fleshy buttocks in both hands and began to undulate with ferocious intent.

"Oh," Kirk gasped, surging against him, "you make me feel so damned good. God, I love this. I love you. Came you feel me hard against you, Spock? Can you? Can you feel my cock? It's rubbing against yours."

"Yesss," Spock hissed, and arched up to push his length more firmly against the heat that seared against his groin. Jim had become more and more verbal in their lovemaking in the past few months, and Spock had schooled himself to try to respond. It was difficult to fight past these particular inhibitions, but the effort had become automatic. Frequently all he managed was a word or two, but it seemed to be enough to satisfy Jim.

Kirk pushed up on stiffened arms, and jabbed his cock into Spock's belly with quick, almost angry motions. "I want to fuck you," he growled. "I really want to shove it up your ass."

A shiver ran the length of Spock's spine, and settled into quivering awareness in his now vibrating penis. He was months past analyzing why the possessive tone of Jim's voice thrilled him so, and why Jim's body within his own was always so satisfying. He only knew that at this moment, in this time, Jim needed to take his pleasure in Spock's body, and Spock wanted more than anything else to take his own pleasure in wanton surrender.

Unable to verbalize, Spock squirmed over onto his stomach, grinding his blood-filled penis against the mattress, then arched his buttocks up in open invitation. But he felt strong hands at his waist, urging him over onto his back again.

"No," Kirk said breathlessly. "I want you like this. I want to see your face.

Kirk reached for their tube of lubricant, at the same time maneuvering himself between Spock's legs. He pushed them up and back while his impatient finger penetrated, reaching upwards to coat his lover's tight channel.

Spock flexed into the seeking digit. "Come into me, Jim," he managed to say, to inflame his lover into action.

It was all the invitation Kirk needed. In seconds he coated his own organ, pulled Spock's legs over his shoulder, and penetrated deep inside.

Spock gasped in satisfaction as he felt the heavy warmth stretch him. How many times had he attempted to describe to himself the wonder of joining in this way with his lover, and the awful exposure this act involved?

Jim's finger within his anal canal, Jim's engorged penis seeking a home, needing relief, breaching the muscle that protected the entrance to Spock's body. Reveling even in the awkwardness and helplessness of his position, with his buttocks pressing against the moist warmth of his lover's groin, and his legs bent over strong shoulders. Knowing with a secret defiant thrill that the sexual organ did not belong inside his body, knowing that it did belong there, in an elemental way, like the way that Spock belonged by Jim's side and Jim belonged in Spock's mind.

Feeling the slow excruciating slide of strength moving through his very self, the coarse, physical definition of where Jim was going, where Jim had been and would return again. Feeling his body fold itself around the penis ramming within him, hearing the slick wet sounds as his lover withdrew and then thrust within again, listening to and measuring the tempo of excited gasps. Looking to see the glistening moisture that covered the blood-thickened penis as it hovered for scant seconds in the open air, its tip still embedded inside. Bearing down as the hardness filled him again, and being rewarded as Jim grunted in pleasure.

The incredible intimacy as he witnessed the look of lust on his lover's face, the sheen of sweat upon his brow, the glow of love that even in the midst of passion filled Jim's eyes.

Finding the courage to look back at Jim, to show him all the physical sensations that Spock had denied for so long. To allow the earthy moans and gasps of satisfaction to escape from his lips, to allow them to penetrate the air as Jim was penetrating his body. To arch into the vigorous thrusts, matching passion with passion.

Being wanton. Being sexual. Becoming a lover.

To feel the rhythm of the thrusting change, and to accommodate the fierce, shallow jabs that presaged the coming orgasm with rocking motions of his own, to listen to Jim's grunting with such excitement, such awareness. They had not melded, but always, always, it felt like this, Spock taking his pleasure from the cadence of Jim's movement upon him, within him.

And finally, to arch up into the three deep strokes Jim always took right before his orgasm, and to hear him triumphantly cry, "I'm coming!” To feel the warmth as a human penis pulsed within him. To feel Jim subsiding against him, slowly, the tension dropping away, his head falling forward until finally, finally, his forehead rested upon Spock's chest....

Awkwardly Spock pulled his legs down from Kirk's shoulders, and wrapped them as best he could around his lover. He tightened his arms and prepared to wait while Jim recovered his energy. Spock's own sexual organ was still erect, but he felt no immediate urgency. He could wait. His turn would come.

Blinking, Spock observed that the junior officers' discussion of N-dimensions continued. No one had noticed his momentary lack of attention. Spock experienced gratitude for the specialized construction of his Vulcan brain that allowed him to experience such vivid memories so quickly. Because his physiology was Vulcan, he would never forget even a moment of his times with Jim.

And he wanted to remember them all, especially evenings like last night. Their activities had been... most satisfying. He had even appreciated the wildly unorthodox chess game Jim woke him up to play at 0200. The lost sight was well worth the sight of his naked captain, sitting cross-legged on the bed, fiercely concentrating on a thirty-second-per-move contest, grinning at every good move he made, groaning with every lost piece, enthusiastically displaying all his emotions... relaxing in his own inimitable style, with Spock.

That had been followed by an equally pleasing communication this morning. Jim left his quarters for an early morning meeting with Engineer Scott, a contented smile on his face. Despite the fact that it was an emotionally based reaction, Spock had to admit that he was eager to see that expression repeated again and again. When Jim looked up at him, the corners of his mouth quirking, his eyes so soft and warm, when his hand came up to cover Spock's cheek and he whispered, "Thank you".... It would be illogical to deny the very real surge of emotion that his lover's actions evoked. Breathlessly, he had watched Jim leave the bedroom, and had only blinked himself back to awareness when the door to the outer corridor swished shut. It would be the height of illogic not to attempt to reproduce actions that generated such positive effects in both his lover and himself.

He remembered another time when Jim had looked at him in that certain, glowing way. They had been on shore leave, and in the middle of a crowded drinking establishment, when Jim had turned to enthusiastically embrace him as a favored sporting team on the holostage scored. Spock had allowed the embrace. He had even tentatively returned it by rubbing his cheek shyly against his captain's. The special glow that this unprecedented event had produced in his lover's eyes would linger in Spock's memory always.

Such a small think, to have produced such an effect, Spock mused. He had it within his power to produce happiness in James T. Kirk. A somewhat daunting thought, given Spock's own lack of experience in emotional interactions, but it was a power he took very seriously.

Now, while the discussion among the young officers swirled about him, Spock stared down at the briefing room table in silent contemplation. As he understood the situation, it was his duty to continue to produce positive emotions in his lover. A matter of self-interest, actually, for if Jim were happy, their so-pleasing relationship was likely to continue. And he would be likely to continue to favor Spock with that smile that so intrigued a Vulcan/human hybrid.

Speculatively, Spock looked up at Lieutenant Dawson, who was openly smiling into Hunyady's eyes. Spock's earlier thoughts about the couple had surely been in error. It was a basic scientific principle to learn by observation....


The slight stiffening of the body next to his told Spock that there was something more of interest in the lab than the slides he and Ensign Singh were examining. He straightened, and saw his captain in the doorway across the room.

Their eyes met. Spock suppressed the strange sensation that fluttered in the pit of his stomach, and saw his lover compress his lips over a threatening smile. They each nodded.


"Mister Spock," Kirk said. "I'm here to observe in the lab for a while. Carry on.” He moved down the long bench to where a young technician was working with an oscilloscope. They began a low-pitched conversation.

Spock returned to his slides, pulling Ensign Singh's attention with him. But he had to ask twice for the proper dissolving solution, and she was on the verge of inserting the wrong lens before he caught her lapse. It was obvious that her eyes continually strayed from the cellular complexes before them to follow her handsome captain as he walked about the room.

Kirk spoke with each of the crewmen and women, listened to their explanations, nodded and smiled lightly. His presence among them was not too unusual, for Kirk was always a very accessible captain, but still they were anxious to impress during this impromptu inspection. His arms were lightly clasped behind his back, and he appeared to be giving all his attention to those with whom he was conversing. Kirk sounded and looked as he usually did, confident, assertive, strong. Was there also a certain gleam in his eye, an added lilt to his voice? Possibly.

Spock bent back to his work, and continued to record the results of Ensign Singh's experiment, but he could not suppress a subliminal awareness as Kirk's movements brought him closer and closer to where he and Ensign Singh labored.1

"Ensign Singh. Are you helping to write the lab's latest paper for the Journal of Interstellar Physics? The response to the infamous Professor Kramer?” Kirk's eyes, full of humor, slid sideways to meet Spock's, then returned to the anxious woman.

The very young ensign straightened a bit more, if that were possible, and tugged at the back hem of her uniform. She swallowed audibly. "No, sir. That is, I am helping with some of the research. But Lieutenant Tu is coordinating the writing. I do hope to be able to publish on my own someday.” Her dark eyes appealed helplessly to Spock.

Kirk took pity on her. "I'm sure you will. Your last evaluation was quite favorable, was it not, Mister Spock?"

Spock replied evenly, "Ensign Singh is adequately performing the duties assigned to her, Captain. She will begin training for a bridge rotation next week."

"Good, good. You're a fortunate woman, Ensign. Take advantage of this opportunity. You won't find a better teacher than Mister Spock."

"Yes, sir. I know, sir. I'm looking forward to it, sir," she managed.

But Kirk's attention was no longer on the tongue-tied woman. He turned to face Spock again and started to move in the direction of the lab office, drawing Spock with him. "It's almost lunch time. Are you free to eat?” They moved together into the office, and the door swished shut behind them.

Spock moved over to stand next to the desk. One long finger went out to activate the lock, then he turned to face his lover.

For a moment they just looked at one another across the room. Kirk's gaze softened, and he smiled gently. Slowly, he walked forward. When he was standing only centimeters away, he reached out to touch the black collar of the blue science tunic.

"You look just like you always have, so proper," Kirk whispered. His finger roamed along the collar, from shoulder to the front of the neck, then pulled the material down. "No one else knows this is here. Just me.” Where he had exposed Spock's skin a bright green love mark flared, just centimeters away from being above the protecting line of shirt.

Spock's hand settled over the one that was still stretching the fabric. His fingers flexed, then curled to cover as much of the soft skin as possible. "That fact pleases me," he said softly.

"I'm glad.” Kirk brought up his other hand to trace the outlines of the mark of passion with a fingertip. Then he looped up into his lover's glowing brown eyes. "I enjoyed giving this to you this morning. But I should have been more careful. I don't want you to have to go into a healing trace to erase the marks every time we make love.” He released the collar and took two steps backwards, leaving a clearly defined, innocent-looking space between them.

"Indeed not," Spock replied, straight-faced. "It would undoubtedly interfere with my efficiency."

"Ah, Spock, I don't think anything could do that. Not even a Klingon attack could do that."

Spock tilted his head, and smiled in a way he knew Kirk would recognize. Smiles reached his eyes so much more easily now. "Indeed? I have noticed a tendency in myself to be less precise than I was before we became lovers."


"I dismissed my astrophysics class this morning three point five minutes after their allotted time had elapsed. I was, most inexcusably, immersed in thought."

Kirk cocked an eyebrow and grinned. "Thinking about this morning? Or last night?”

Spock allowed himself to look amused. "Would it please you to think so?"

"Well, I'd like to think that I have some effect on those perfect Vulcan brainwaves of yours."

Spock picked up a computer tape from his desk and walked over to the wall file. "I assure you, the effect you have upon me is, at times," he dropped the tape in the correct slot and turned back to face his lover, "quite startling."

Kirk chuckled. "Good. That's the way I like it. Can you join me for lunch?"

Spock moved up to stand next to the desk. "Yes. I would be pleased to do so. However, before we go, there is something I would like to discuss with you. I do not believe it will take long."

Kirk turned back from where he had already been heading towards the door, his demeanor now business-like. "All right. Got a personnel problem? Scheduling?"

"In a manner of speaking," Spock said evasively. He moved to stand directly in front of Kirk, violating the personal space that Kirk had so recently and carefully vacated. His hands went out to rest upon his lover's waist.

Kirk stared at him, amazed, his eyes searching the angular features for a reason for the atypical action. He knew that he occasionally stepped beyond their strictly-professional behavior while on duty, had just done so. But Spock? Never!

"I am aware that I have asked that we restrict our personal interactions to the privacy of our quarters," Spock said too levelly, the lack of expression in his voice betraying the effort it took for him to speak. "And I wish to thank you for agreeing to my request. However, I have observed that humans do not typically so restrict themselves when they are," he swallowed hard, "romantically involved. I am willing to consider modifying my behavior, if you so --."

Kirk took a half step closer to the lean body and interrupted. "No, Spock. That's not necessary. Just because we were able to be freer with each other on shore leave doesn't mean that I would ask that of you."

"Nevertheless," Spock continued relentlessly, determined to pursue the subject, "it is illogical to deny you a small action which would contribute to your happiness."

"I am happy," Kirk objected.

"So I have observed. But perhaps I can contribute to your state of well-being in a more positive way and to greater effect than I have done before. It is my obligation, and my desire, as your intimate partner. For example, the door to this office is locked, and no one could possibly witness this expression of my affection for you."

And to Kirk's complete astonishment, Spock leaned forward and kissed him full upon the lips.

It was a simple, affectionate, closed-mouth kiss, but very, very definite. Kirk felt as if a phaser cannon had gone off in his gut. An explosion of surprise consumed him, far beyond any sexual feeling the innocent gesture might ignite. He was shocked into immobility. This was Spock, the reticent friend who had had to make an effort to loosen up even on leave, kissing him in the middle of the astrophysics lab office!

It was Spock who pulled back, breaking their contact, and stood looking at him uncertainly. Kirk swallowed, and suddenly wished that he had something to do with his hands. They hung uselessly at his sides.

"Uh, Spock," Kirk licked his lips, "to say that you've surprised me would be an understatement."

Spock nodded. "I understand. You are unsure of how to react. However, please believe that my actions are sincere. I have learned from our experiences while on leave, and from other observations. I do not wish to deprive you of the emotional intimacy that you expect from an intimate partner."

Kirk took a quick step forward. His voice was strong as he said, "I don't expect anything from you except what you are. You don't have to change for me. I don't want you to be uncomfortable."

Spock looked at him earnestly. "Nevertheless, change is a constant for all living beings. As I said, I can adjust my behavior when there is reason to do so. While I do not believe that I will ever be comfortable with public displays of affection, such as humans normally indulge in, I believe that I have been unnecessarily rigid in imposing restrictions upon us. Privacy is available in other locations besides our quarters and shore leave facilities. And we are not always on duty."

Kirk regarded him with awe. "You really mean it, don't you?"

Spock nodded once, definitely. "Yes."

"You're willing to loosen up a little, for me?” Kirk's voice came out sounding small, and he hastily cleared his throat. "For me?" he repeated.

Spock tilted his head and considered. "Perhaps this is something I wish to do for myself. I wish to modify my behavior in order to maximize your happiness, so that my own satisfaction can therefore increase. I do not believe I have miscalculated."

Kirk couldn't help himself, the wonderful feeling welling up inside him had to be expressed. Swiftly, he closed the small distance between them and embraced his lover in an enthusiastic hug. "Spoken like a true scientist," he whispered. Under other circumstances, the hug would be prolonged, and might even have led to an obviously sexual kiss. But they were on duty, and Kirk was sure that he would not twist Spock's shyly offered gift past propriety.

So he pulled out of the brief hug and stepped back to look at his marvelous lover. Love glowed in his eyes. "I don't know what I've done to deserve this. I appreciate what you're trying to do, and I promise, I won't take advantage, or abuse your offer."

Kirk brought up his hand between them, two fingers extended in the gesture of Vulcan intimacy. It was silent pledge. Spock stared at the outstretched hand, then at his lover, and pressed his own fingers against Kirk's.

"I know," he said, his voice sounding deeper than usual because of the emotion vibrating through it. "I trust you."

"And I trust you," Kirk whispered. "Always. And I love you so much for being willing to bend a little for me. Thank you.” Their hands slid against one another in a lingering caress, then fell away.

Kirk turned away, suddenly uncomfortable with the intensity that existed between them. He ran his hand over the back of his head, kneading his neck, as he walked towards the desk. What an incredible person Spock was. And how incredible that the empathy that had characterized their teamwork from the very beginning worked even in their newly found emotions. Because he had a surprise for Spock, too....

Kirk paused next to the computer and flicked it on. Still facing away from his lover, he said, "Uh, would you like to come over here for a minute?” His finger beckoned from over his shoulder.

Spock came abreast of him uncertainly, curiosity blazing on his face.

Kirk turned to screen towards them, and said self-consciously, "Computer, file K/S dash sixty- nine.” He shrugged at his companion's disbelieving look. "Well, it seemed appropriate at the time. Anyway, you weren't the only one who's been thinking of some changes.” He gestures towards the glowing document.

On the screen was a quartermaster's requisition form, authorizing Lieutenant LeCoeur to purchase four double-sized beds at their next port of call, and instructing him to install them in the quarters of the captain, the first officer, the chief medical officer, and chief engineer of the Enterprise.

There was a long moment of silence while Spock assimilated the report, head bent and intent while Kirk watched anxiously. There was a chance he had miscalculated, that Spock wouldn't appreciate the talk that the requisition was sure to bring....

But then Spock looked up, and the look on his face calmed all Kirk's fears. Kirk instantly decided that this was the best surprise he had ever pulled on anybody. Damn, if he could get Spock to look this happy from such a simple thing....

They stood staring at each other, speechless, the smile growing wider on Kirk's face, trembling more and more on Spock's lips, until finally Kirk had to look down at the floor. "Do you think Scotty and Bones will appreciate the gesture?" he asked, voice quivering with the strangest combination of happiness and laughter and an incredible shyness that he hadn't felt since he was sixteen years old.

"I am sure that they will. And I... I also appreciate the gesture, and the courage that it took for you to make it. Jim," Spock's hand touched Kirk on the shoulder, then fell away, "are you sure that you wish to do this? It may lead to some... speculation."

Kirk looked up at him swiftly. "Nothing I can't handle. I was a little worried that you would mind. I mean, I can't imagine that anyone would connect this with the two of us, but in a way it's an imposition on your privacy."

The corners of Spock's eyes crinkled in amusement. "There are some members of this crew who believe I recline upon a bed of nails. Tales of Vulcan asceticism are overdrawn, I believe. It will not disturb me for the crew to imagine me indulging in a larger bed."

Kirk smiled. "Will you indulge in it with me?" he asked lightheartedly, but his eyes were serious.

"Always," Spock assured. The trembling sincerity in his deep voice and the intense look in his eyes were at odds with the distance between them.

Kirk ached to bridge the gap and hug his lover breathless, but instead he stayed rooted to the floor, and let his own eyes tell Spock of his joy. How is it, Kirk wondered, that we keep skirting such intensely emotional subjects in such an inappropriate location?

Blinking, Kirk turned away from the emotion written so clearly on his lover's face. He cleared his throat and tugged at his uniform shirt. "Well, I suppose we should go on to lunch. But first," he glanced up, almost shyly, "do you know what I'd like to do tonight? Besides...," he swallowed hard, embarrassed with his own thoughts, then forced himself to go on, "... besides make sweet love with you?"

Spock looked down at the deck. "No, I cannot imagine your thoughts. What would you like to do?"

"I'd like to go to the observation deck. To look at the stars with you. Will you do that with me?"

Spock looked up, and Kirk could see a warm light kindled in the brown eyes. "In one of the privacy rooms," Spock affirmed. "So that I can hold."

"Yes. And so that I can hold you.” His hand went out to touch the point of an angular shoulder, then dropped to his side.

Straightening, Spock nodded once. "I will be there at 2100 hours. I have always found sharing the stars with you to be an exhilarating experience."

Kirk smiled. "That's how I've felt all morning. Exhilarated. Wonderful. And now you've just made it better.” He shook his head and looked around the room. "Well, I never thought we'd have this kind of conference here. Are you still game for lunch?"

Spock walked over to stand next to the desk, his hands folded behind his back, head up movements suddenly brisk and economical. He was the first officer of the Enterprise. "Yes, Captain, I am ready for the mid-day meal. I believe we have concluded our discussion.” He flicked the switch that unlocked the door and strode towards where Kirk waited for him.

But Kirk put a hand on his arm to momentarily restrain him. "Concluded, Commander?” He shook his head. "I don't think so. All we have in front of us is... beginnings. I won't ever conclude anything with you."

Spock stared into the bright eyes turned so steadfastly, so lovingly towards him. "Indeed. I believe that beginnings can be... fascinating."

Together, they walked from the room.


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