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Story Notes:

So much love goes out to queenzulu and M for their awesome betas and encouragement. It would be a much crappier story without them. queenzulu especially, was an invaluable sounding board in the early stages.

They've just received new orders from Starfleet Command when Sulu first realizes the problem and brings it to Kirk's attention. "The helm isn't responding, sir," he says, a slight mocking edge on the word sir, the sort of tone that always makes Kirk wonder what tone of voice Sulu would use when Kirk is gouging out his eyeballs with a plastic fork.

At first, Kirk tries to think of all the the possible ways that Sulu could benefit from a malfunctioning helm or lying about a malfunctioning helm, because over the past few months he hasn't forgotten how Sulu rose to the position of Head of Security. The only way they could identify Adewuyi's body was through DNA testing. But there's nothing here for Sulu to use in this particular situation. All of the options are so few and so complicated that they can be almost disregarded. Sulu's reporting this to cover his ass, and Kirk doesn't blame him.

"Where are we headed, Mr. Sulu?" Kirk asks. He does not enjoy it when his ship stops working the way he wants it to, but he will definitely enjoy inventing new ways to make the person responsible for this suffer. It had been such a nice day so far. They'd just come off a fun assignment to colonize and enslave the Capellans in order to take the natural topaline deposits of their planet -- the Caprellans were so tall they always made a particularly lovely thunk when their bodies hit the ground -- and Kirk was looking forward to what Command had in store for them next.

"Unknown," Sulu says, pushing a few buttons on his console. "The heading jumps every few minutes." With behavior like that, it could just be a malfunction, a freak crossing of a few wires after their last run-in with the Klingons. Kirk still owes Kras a long, slow, unpleasant death for that one. Most likely by starvation; he really likes the idea of watching a Klingon wither away into nothing.

Kirk punches in the comm code for Engineering. "Scotty," he says. "Double check the navigational control circuits. Sulu says the helm isn't responding."

"I'll get right on that, sir," Scotty says brightly as someone screams in the background. Heinrich, probably. Scotty's always been a little too fond of making him suffer. Kirk would probably be less amused by Scotty's tendency to "have fun" while on duty if Scotty was any less good at his job. As it is, Kirk is perfectly content to give Scotty as many disposable crewmembers as he wants as long as he keeps those engines running.

"I expect a report on the situation at 1600 hours," Kirk says and flips off the comm. The bridge crew is watching him closely, he can tell. They wouldn't have made it this far without knowing how to spot opportunities as they arise. "I want the status of all other systems," he snaps, and he smirks a little as they turn back to their consoles. Uhura and Chekov are especially quick on the uptake. Chekov's new, fresh out of the academy and hungry for a promotion. Uhura's game of playing sweet and innocent is a lot less convincing when you take a look at how many of her superior officers have been killed with the same M.O. over the past few years. Kirk will have to keep an eye on them, make sure they don't get too comfortable. Chekov especially needs to get some of the ambition fucked out of him, and he's just pretty enough to make it worth Kirk's while.

One by one, each system besides navigation checks out as normal, and the back of Kirk's neck begins to prickle. His instincts are telling him this isn't some accidental malfunction due to normal wear and tear, and he'd be a lot deader right now if his instincts weren't good.


He calls a meeting with his senior staff to go over Scotty's findings in Conference Room 3. Most of the bridge crew shows up at the same time Kirk does, taking up their usual seats around the long conference table with Kirk at the head. Uhura's skirt rides up when she sits down, and Kirk watches as the fabric bunches near her dagger, exposing a lovely patch of skin. It's a pity that the male uniforms cover up so much more than the female ones. Maybe Kirk can get the uniform policy changed. On his own ship, at least.

Bones shows up seven minutes late, which isn't a surprise because he looks hungover, and everyone on the ship knows that Bones only has two modes: drunk and hungover. Spock also shows up late, but only by two minutes. "I was delayed by an ensign who asked me to verify her experimental results," he says by way of explanation after he salutes.

It's a perfectly reasonable excuse, but it's also enough out of character that it still piques Kirk's attention. Every single science lab could be on fire, and Spock would still show up on time. But when Kirk takes a closer look, there are no cracks in Spock's Vulcan facade. "Very well, Mr. Spock," Kirk says. "Take a seat."

Scotty continues with his report. "The whole thing is fried, and the controls have been routed to another computer system. Whoever did this knew the system well, but it also looks like a rush job, sloppy. They left behind a lot of damage."

Kirk considers whether or not the saboteur could explain themselves if all their teeth had been removed without anesthesia. Probably not. It's too bad, because Kirk would have really loved to be the one with the pliers. "How long until you can get this fixed?" he asks Scotty.

"A few days on the outside," Scotty says, a bit sourly. "It's quite the mess, and we've got a few knuckledraggers who haven't been properly broken in yet."

Kirk nods. Breaking in the new ones is always the most obnoxious part of command. They're always so scrappy before the first few visits to the booth. "Mr. Spock, have your team assist Mr. Scott's, and I'd like you to help oversee the repairs." Scotty grins at that. No one is quite as ruthless and terrifying as Spock with a task to accomplish. Also, Kirk trusts Spock to make sure Scotty stays on track. There are times when Scotty can be distractable, especially when he gets a bit overzealous with the new ones.

"Very well, Captain," Spock says. It looks as though his mouth straightens further, getting tense. But it's hard to tell with the beard, and Kirk might just be looking for things that aren't there. He makes a note to talk to Spock later, after this whole thing gets cleaned up and taken care of. He can never quite shake the nerves he gets when he doesn't know exactly where he stands with Spock. Most of the time, Spock is good at letting him know straight out by simply telling him, but right now, Kirk feels as though he's on unsteady ground. He wants to know what's going on.

But he should worry about that later. He turns to Sulu next. "Mr. Sulu, work with Lieutenant Uhura to see if you can find the person responsible for this. Monitor shipboard communications, and if anything interesting shows up, let me know immediately. I want to know what they were up to."

"Yes, sir," Sulu says. Uhura can barely conceal her distaste, and Sulu is already beginning to leer at her. Good. That should keep them too busy to try to aim any higher. Maybe, with any luck, Uhura will even eliminate Sulu as a threat entirely. It's not like she'd ever fuck him.

"Mr. Chekov," Kirk says. "Figure out where we're going if we are, in fact, going anywhere."

"Right away, sir," he says, and maybe it's the accent, but there's something particularly slimy about his tone of voice. Kirk really will have to do something about that. He likes his officers competent but unambitious. Chekov's certainly competent, but Kirk might need to make an example out of him. A very public example, of course. Kirk is actually looking forward to it.

"Dismissed," Kirk says, and everyone stands up to salute before they leave.


It only takes Sulu and Uhura sixteen hours to track down some suspicious comm activity to Crewman Patterson in Engineering. Kirk gets the call just as he's getting out of bed. Alone, of course, seeing as he hasn't picked a permanent bed partner yet. Though he did have fun with Lt. Malik and Ensign Ng last night. The highlight was probably watching Malik shove her long pretty fingers up Ng's ass as he sucked Kirk's cock, and really, there's a reason why Kirk always picks the two of them when he's having a bad day.

"We've got him in the brig," Uhura says. She sounds like she's about five seconds away from stabbing someone in the face. She must have been spending too much time with Sulu.

"I'll be right there," Kirk says, pulling his shirt on. He'll have to postpone breakfast, but it's a small price to pay for a suspect. Everyone's been too well-behaved lately. The booth hasn't been used in weeks.

He stops by Spock's quarters on his way to the brig. He's very useful for quietly intimidating the crew into submission. Kirk's never experienced a mind meld himself, but he's seen Spock perform it a few times on some of the more stubborn members of the crew, and he can remember the expression on their faces as Spock tears them apart. It's not something easily forgotten. Kirk's pretty sure most of the crew remembers it too. Heck, maybe if Patterson doesn't behave, there could be another demonstration.

The Vulcan guard outside Spock's door gives Kirk a cold look, but Kirk is still the captain. No one is going to stop him. The last person who tried had to go on duty in Engineering with every single one of her fingers broken. When Kirk rings the door chime, Spock answers with can only be described as a snarl. "Do not interrupt me. If I wished to be disturbed, I would have left my door open."

It's so bizarre, Kirk prefers to pretend he misheard it. He has enough too deal with without having Spock going off the rails, too. That conversation might have to happen sooner rather than later. "It's the captain," Kirk says, putting a bit of authoritative snap into his voice. "We've found a suspect."

It takes Spock a few moments to open the door, but when he does, he's every inch Kirk's composed first officer. Kirk is so relieved, he's willing to write off large chunks of the last few minutes to the sleepiness that lingers right after you've woken up. Spock's salute is as crisp as ever. "If you would like me to accompany you to the interrogation, I will," Spock says.

"I do," Kirk says, and when he turns to leave, Spock follows.

But the sharp, uncomfortable feeling lingers in the pit of his stomach. Well, there's one way to make that feeling go away. He almost feels bad for Crewman Patterson.


Patterson cowers in his cell when Kirk and Spock enter the brig. His expression is pure terror, and Kirk feels a bit of a kick from knowing that he's doing his job well. There's nothing quite like fear to make a man feel powerful. "Have you gotten anything out of him yet?" he asks Sulu.

"No," Sulu says, frowning slightly as if he knows that Kirk is the one who's going to have all the fun with the prisoner. "All he does is keep insisting that it wasn't him, that we have the wrong guy."

Not entirely impossible, Kirk has to admit, but Patterson has both the access and the skills to do the damage to the navigational controls. Plus, Kirk is in a bad enough mood to torture Patterson just because he wants to. Kirk watches the man through the cell's force field, the red uniform a bright slash of color next to the cold gray walls.

"Would you like to use the booth, Captain?" Spock asks, standard Starfleet procedure.

Kirk considers the suggestion. It wouldn't be enough to get anything out of a trained operative (and really, there's no way someone like Patterson is really the mastermind of this operation, even if he's faking the whimpering), but it might make him more malleable later. Kirk doesn't really believe in using all this high-tech machinery for interrogation. Sometimes you have to get up and personal so you can see every bit of pain and honesty in their eyes. Still, the high-tech machinery does have its uses. "Put him in for half an hour. Then let's see how willing he is to talk," Kirk says.

"Yes, sir," Sulu says with a little relish in his voice, and a couple of burly security guards drag Patterson away.


They don't get much out of Patterson besides some details of a truly embarrassing child pornography ring, even after Kirk gets a chance to try out some of the pieces in Sulu's collection of 19th century thumbscrews. Kirk is forced to admit Patterson probably doesn't know anything of use about the sabotage, even though he suffers very nicely. Kirk can see why Scotty likes him so much. Patterson gets tossed back into his quarters to recover, and once again, they're out of leads and suspects.

Spock had excused himself halfway through the interrogation. He claimed that it had something to do with tests he was running in the labs, but that's not very convincing. Sometimes, Spock is a very poor liar.

Kirk contemplates what his other plans could be. Readying an assassination attempt, perhaps? Dealing with Vulcan politics? Fucking one of those pretty Vulcan females who seem to hang on to every single one of his words? Kirk doesn't know, and he very much hates not knowing about the things that are happening on his ship. He can tell already that Spock won't tell him anything about it if he asks. Kirk hasn't fully mastered the ability to read Spock (and he knows that's a deliberate move on Spock's part), but he can tell when Spock's going to be close-mouthed and tight-lipped on a particular subject. The fact that Spock's not going to tell him anything about this annoys him more than it should.

And for some reason, even Patterson's screams of excruciating pain don't make him feel any better.


The Tantalus Device reveals nothing. Spock spends time writing communiques to Vulcan, meditating, manning the science console on the bridge, and assisting Scotty with repairs. It's all incredibly boring, though there are brief periods where he seems agitated, but those pass quickly and without incident.

The search for the saboteur is not going any better. Sulu and Uhura don't find any more suspects.

According to Scotty, the repairs are taking longer than expected.

Kirk is just in a foul mood all over all the time. One afternoon after he wastes twenty minutes watching Spock read lab reports, he stares at the blank screen and considers all the other people he should also be keeping an eye on. Sulu and Uhura, maybe, just to make sure they haven't decided to team up against him. He should make sure that Chekov is keeping on task and not planning any more shipboard malfunctions that will "accidentally" take out a large chunk of the senior staff.

He should find someone pretty and useless and fuck them until they can't walk properly for the next few days.

But no, Kirk needs to nip this Spock thing in the bud to get rid of this cagey, restless feeling. He calls Farrell, head of his personal guard, to his office. "Bring me one of Spock's operatives, alive. I don't care which. Just get me one," Kirk says. He needs to hurt something right now. Might as well someone who will give him answers afterwards, too.

Farrell says, "Right away, sir," and salutes as he leaves.


The Vulcan Farrell brings him is T'Kir, one of Spock's lower ranking operatives who works in Security. She's attractive in that Vulcan colder-than-nitroglycerin sort of way and also particularly young for a Vulcan in her position. Kirk briefly wonders if she's one of the ones Spock's fucking. They'd be pretty together, dark and dangerous. Kirk can even imagine what it'd be like between the two of them: missionary style, with Spock's thrusts timed at perfectly logical intervals, impersonal, machine-like.

Kirk laughs out loud at the image, drawing his dagger and running the blade of it along T'Kir's neck. Her hands are safely bound behind her back, and she's staring straight ahead with that unsettling Vulcan calm. "So," he says, "Tell me what's keeping Spock so busy lately." Kirk has no illusions about the importance of Spock's continuing support to the success of his command. He has placed a lot of faith in Spock's promise that he did not desire the captaincy after Pike's death.

T'Kir doesn't respond the to threat of the knife, but then again, Kirk wasn't expecting her to. "Commander Spock has been occupied with his duties," she says.

"Oh, I don't think that's even half of it," Kirk says. He considers using the agonizer, but they're not incredibly effective on Vulcans. Vulcans have their own ways of keeping their kind in line.

"I would not tell you the full truth even if I knew it," T'Kir says. Her words would almost sound angry, but in her level Vulcan monotone, it sounds like a simple statement of fact.

Still, there's something there that Kirk can exploit. He laughs right into her face. "That's how much he cares about you, isn't it? I could gut you right now, and he wouldn't even blink an eye. I could dump your mutilated body in front of his quarters, and when he woke up, he'd simply step right over you."

It's only because he's leaning in so close that he sees T'Kir stiffen. "Caring has no meaning to Vulcans --" she starts, but then the comm on Kirk's desk beeps.

"Bridge to Captain Kirk," Chekov says.

Kirk ignores T'Kir in order to take the call. "Kirk here," he says. It better be good news, because Kirk's getting pretty fucking annoyed at being stonewalled at every turn. He wonders whether or not Spock would appreciate it if Kirk carved pretty pictures into T'Kir's flesh.

Chekov says, "Captain, after reconstructing our course from the course changes over the past few days, I have been able to determine our overall heading and likely destination."

Good news. Kirk won't have to kill Chekov just because he's grumpy. "Where are we going, then?"

"It appears as though we are traveling towards Vulcan, sir," Chekov says.

Vulcan. With those words come a sharp clarity, all the different pieces snapping into place, click-click-click. It's not a complete picture, not hardly, but it's enough to act on. "Thank you, Mr, Chekov," Kirk says, snapping off the comm. He turns back towards Farrell and T'Kir, and he's pretty sure the rage is showing on his face. "Round up all of Spock's operatives. Toss them into the bring. Have Commander Spock confined to quarters."

Farrell salutes. "And what am I to do with this Vulcan scum?" he asks before pistol-whipping T'Kir across the face with his phaser. It doesn't seem to affect her at all.

Kirk salutes back and waves them off. "Put her in the brig with the rest of them." He can't worry about her right now. He needs to have that conversation with his first officer. He needs some explanation about what the fuck is going on right now.


Spock is waiting for him when Kirk arrives at his quarters. He's sitting at his desk, inhumanly still. The quarters almost looks exactly the same as it always does, Vulcan statues in the back, lit in a dark red, a lyre resting on a chair in the corner. The one exception is the computer terminal on Spock's desk, which has been smashed into a twisted hunk of metal and exposed wires. The only person who could have done that is Spock, and Kirk knows he's strong enough to destroy it with his bare hands.

"I want to know why you did it," Kirk says straight off, because when it comes to Vulcans, it's always best to cut to the chase.

Spock's expression never budges, but the strain of maintaining it is clearly visible. "I can only admit my guilt in sabotaging the helm and navigational systems. I can give no more explanation for my actions."

There's something here that Kirk can use. He just needs to figure out what it is. He steps in close to Spock, invading Spock's personal space, and enjoys the flinch that runs through Spock's body. "What's on Vulcan?" he asks as he slides his thumb across Spock's cheek. He usually doesn't touch Spock out of respect for Vulcan touch telepathy, but Spock gave up the right to that respect the moment he went behind Kirk's back. Kirk's more than willing to make him feel all of Kirk's unpleasant, unruly human emotions, more than willing to force all of his anger underneath Spock's skin. "You don't seriously expect me to believe you went through all that trouble just to visit your parents, do you?"

"It's none of your concern," Spock says. From this close, Kirk can see the way his entire body is shaking with the effort to maintain his unnatural stillness. It's a fascinating sight, all that power so close to being unleashed. Kirk would be lying if he said he wasn't interested in seeing what a Vulcan looked like out of control, but he'd also like a little more information beforehand.

"It's my ship you were tampering with," Kirk says, putting his hand on the back of Spock's neck, the heat of Spock's skin bleeding into his palm. "You bet it's my concern." His voice rises slightly at the end, because Spock's reluctance is really beginning to piss him off. He doesn't know why Spock can't just just tell him.

It happens in the blink of an eye, or maybe it takes longer and Kirk is simply not prepared for it, but the next thing he knows, Spock's shoving him against the bulkhead, his own dagger pressed against his throat. Spock is pressed so close, Kirk can smell his breath. One of Spock's arms is pushed up tight against Kirk's chest, making it a bit harder to breathe. "You will cease with your questions, Captain," Spock hisses.

Kirk's blood is really up now; he's ready to fuck or fight. He looks up at the cold fury on Spock's face and licks his lips and thinks he wouldn't be adverse to a little of both. The knife against his throat would only make it better. His own erection is no surprise, but the hard press of Spock's cock against his stomach is. Spock's not the type to be aroused by simple power games like this. Kirk keeps tabs on all of his officers' sexual perversions, and this is not one of Spock's. He laughs and takes an educated guess. "Not a visit to your parents," he says, pressing the heel of his palm against the bulge in Spock's crotch. "Vulcan blue balls. I wonder what's waiting for you on Vulcan that you can't get on this ship."

The blow to the face is also unexpected, though Spock doesn't hit him hard enough to knock him out. Hard enough to put Kirk on the floor, though, and Kirk just gets more turned on by the explosion of pain across his jaw. He'll have to see McCoy about the bruise later today. "You know nothing," Spock snarls, his eyes dark with something Kirk's never seen before. "Do not speak of what you do not understand."

It was a good guess, then. From Kirk's position on the floor, Spock barely looks like Spock, more like a wild animal that has decided to inhabit Spock's skin for a while. Kirk wants to see if it will let Kirk mark its neck, a vivid, angry green bruise. Kirk's dick certainly likes that idea.

But then Spock seems to reassert some control, dropping the dagger onto the ground and crumpling into his desk chair again. This is the first time Kirk's had something over Spock, and he intends to use it to his advantage. Kirk stands up, straightens his uniform, and says, "You can tell me right now, or you can tell me later when you'll be so desperate to come you'll be begging me to fuck you. It's your choice." And maybe he's a little pissed that Spock didn't even bother talking to Kirk before sabotaging the ship. And maybe he wants to make Spock suffer a little for his lack of faith.

Spock doesn't say anything as Kirk leaves, his eyes fixed on one blank spot on his wall. Kirk is fine with that. It'll take a little time to properly break Spock down until he's ready to talk, and Kirk's more than willing to wait it out.


Spock doesn't get any more willing to talk over the next few days, but Scotty does manage to finish his repairs on the navigational systems. He even manages to do so without putting more than two members of his crew in sickbay. This means they can continue back to Altair VI, where they need to depose the dictator of the system and install an Empire-sympathetic puppet government. At one point, Kirk considers going to McCoy about Spock's condition, but he doesn't want any details getting out. Let them speculate as to why the captain and first officer are having a spat, but don't let anyone get too close to the truth.

They're about a day into their corrected course when Uhura tells him that they are being hailed by Starfleet Command. The bridge has been too quiet all morning, and Kirk is a little more on edge than usual. He hasn't been sleeping well.

"Well, put them through, Lieutenant," he says.

Admiral Komack's distinctly unpleasant voice comes on over the comm, and Kirk's just glad they're not using the viewscreen so Komack can't see his face. "Captain, you are to reroute your ship to Vulcan immediately."

Kirk grits his teeth. He's always wanted to stab Komack since he refused to let Kirk burn Omicron Ceti III to the ground. Those flowers didn't deserve to live, and Kirk would have loved nothing more than to see entire fields go up in flames. "What about Altair VI?" Kirk asks. It's too much of a coincidence that this is happening now, just when they're back on course.

Komack says, "That situation can be taken care of later. Some political higher ups on Vulcan have requested the Enterprise specifically, and what the Vulcans want, the Vulcans get."

"Of course, sir," Kirk says and imagines Komack bleeding out all over the floor of his own office, his red blood soaking the carpet. "Kirk out." He leans back in his chair and scratches his chin. This must be Spock's doing, still turning levers from his confinement. Well, Kirk isn't going to let Spock win this. Not while this is still Kirk's fucking ship. He imagines how Spock might react if Kirk threatened to cut off his balls.

"Plot a course to Vulcan, sir?" Chekov asks, his hands poised over the controls.

Kirk shakes his head, "No," he says. "Not just yet." He just needs a few more days to get Spock to crack.

A few more days; that's all he needs.


The thing about Spock is that he's essential in a way Kirk should have never let him be. Kirk needs him to be the quiet, dangerous one, the omnipresent symbol of Kirk's authority. He needs Spock's sharp eyes and cool head.

He needs his goddamn first officer, and it's dangerous to need anything. Especially in this line of work.

The ship hasn't been running as smoothly as it should be with Spock gone. The acting science officer, Lt. Bates, is a total incompetent. Kirk has been forced to deal with everyone's petty, whiny problems, though the number of those go down once he starts sending them to Scotty. All the bureaucratic nonsense that Kirk refuses to deal with is beginning to pile up in his inbox. Losing a good chunk of the Vulcan contingent has impacted every single department on the ship.

It doesn't help that none of the Vulcans are willing to talk about Spock's condition, and Kirk's really beginning to regret not paying closer attention to the parts about Vulcan torture in his xenobiology classes at the Academy. Even after combing all of the databases for information on Vulcans, he has still has no clue as to what's caused Spock's behavior. There are times when Kirk wonders if this whole Spock situation is making him go crazy. They say that happens when you spend too long out in space. Too much emptiness surrounding you. Kirk's never believed it before, but now he's beginning to wonder.

Sometimes these days, he'll jerk off in the shower to the fantasy of Spock spread out on Kirk's bed, shaking like a virgin, begging Kirk to fuck him, his voice low and hoarse and desperate. And when Kirk comes, the scalding hot water sliding down his back, he thinks about getting a proper captain's woman. Someone to warm his bed and keep his mind off things like this. He's been avoiding making a decision on the issue, preferring to play all the likely candidates against one another to keep them occupied. Still, it was true if he delayed any longer, the other captains might take it as a sign of weakness.

But the search for the right one, one he wouldn't always have to watch out of the corner out his eye, would have to wait until later. Later, when this Vulcan business was finally concluded.


He's on the bridge, watching Uhura to make sure she doesn't try anything funny like contacting Command to tell them he's disregarding their orders, when he gets a call from Farrell.

"We've got an incident here, sir," Farrell says, and it's a testament to how long they've been working together that Kirk immediately knows where "here" is.

"I'll be right there," Kirk says, because he knows that tone of voice, too. He gives Sulu the conn and almost runs to the turbolift. Something's gone wrong. He just doesn't know what yet.

When the doors of the turbolift open again on Deck 5, he can see that the hallway outside Spock's quarters is littered with bodies dressed in crewman blue. It reminds him of the time he and Spock had to put down a non-violent mutiny lead by Khan Noonien Singh. Khan's preachiness about love and peace had become really annoying about five seconds after he had been revived, and Kirk had later wondered why he hadn't killed Khan on the spot. Still, it was worth it just to watch Security slaughter all of the dissidents with some truly impressive efficiency.

Right now, Kirk can see that a few of the bodies have bright, fresh bruises. One has its arm bent at some impossible angle. It doesn't match up with phaser damage. Hand-to-hand combat, maybe. One of the bodies set apart from the others is Spock, face down, his arms splayed to the sides.

"Report," Kirk says as soon as he and Farrell exchange salutes.

Farrell sighs. He has dark circles under his eyes and a slight tremor in his voice. Kirk's bad mood must be making him nervous. Good. It should be. "I don't know what happened. He just went crazy and the guards at the door couldn't stop him. I managed to show up in time to stun him before he could reach the turbolift, but that's all I know."

Kirk looks over the damage again. Not as bad as it could have been, but still not the way he'd hoped things would turn out. "Good work. Bring them all the ones that are alive to Sickbay, and tell Dr. McCoy I want a full examination of Commander Spock."

Farrell nods and looks a little relieved as he scurries off. Kirk looks down at Spock's body, trying to figure out what happened. It was a bad call, not going to McCoy first. But he couldn't dwell on past mistakes right now; he just had to compensate the best he could, and hopefully this would get Kirk some answers.


McCoy does get him some answers, but they're not the kind Kirk wants to hear.

"I give him about a day," Bones say, his words slurring together slightly.

Kirk almost wants to tell him he's crazy, too drunk to know what he's talking about, but even drunk, Bones is still better than most CMOs are when they're sober. That doesn't mean Kirk won't decide to destroy all the alcohol on the ship one day, just to pay him back for all the times Kirk has been less than pleased with his medical opinion. Spock's unconscious body lies between them on a standard sickbay bed, and the medical display on the wall seems to be indicating that he's still alive, but that's about all Kirk can read from it. "What's happening to him?" Kirk asks.

Bones shrugs and downs a vial of amber liquid. "Chemical imbalance of some sort. Pretty soon all his organs will start failing. And you don't have to be a doctor to know that massive organ failure leads to death." He holds the empty vial up to his face and smiles. "I need to find out where Scotty got this stuff. It's good."

Kirk ignores him and turns to Farrell who is carefully not listening to them from the Sickbay door. "Put Commander Spock back in his quarters," he says.

Bones raises an eyebrow and looks like he desperately wants another drink, but then again, that's what he always looks like. "And what the hell do you think you're doing with my patient?" he asks.

Kirk grits his teeth, because he's still the captain. It's still his job to make the tough decisions. "Taking care of Spock's chemical imbalance," he says. "How long until he wakes up?"

"You've got about an hour left," Bones says. He looks more entertained than concerned.

Kirk nods. It's enough.


He gives instructions to the new guards outside Spock's quarters not to let anyone in until he gives the order. This whole situation could get really ugly really fast, but Kirk can take care of himself. And besides, it's his own mess to clean up.

Spock is still unconscious on the bed when Kirk enters. He looks as though he's asleep, still in his uniform, so normal Kirk almost expects him to wake up and start reciting the digits of pi or give them the exact amount of time it will take them to get to Altair VI. He doesn't look anything like the beserker that took out four guards, two crewmen, and an ensign. Not anything like this wild thing that's taken over Spock's body.

Kirk waits. He sits at Spock's desk and considers all the different ways this could play out. Maybe Spock will be exactly the way Kirk's always imagined him having sex, coldly logical. Maybe Spock's body will have corrected the imbalance while unconscious, and tomorrow he'll be back on the bridge, same as always. But both of those situations are almost laughably unlikely.

It's possible that Kirk could be going about this all wrong. Maybe he can't be what Spock needs, can't be whatever it is on Vulcan that Spock was going after. Well, they're too far out from Vulcan to get there in time, and Kirk sure as hell isn't going to let anyone else have a shot at this, not on his ship. He'd let Spock die first.

Spock wakes with a jerk, sitting up ramrod straight, looking a little disoriented, every part of him going alert all at once. Kirk grins. "Look who's awake," he says.

Spock's head snaps in his direction. He looks more like himself, but Kirk can tell how tenuous his control is. "You should not be here," Spock says, and each word sounds weighted down by the effort it takes to force them out of his mouth. Spock's face twists into a grimace. "I burn."

Kirk doesn't care about Spock's cryptic warnings. If he actually wanted to warn Kirk off, he'd have done it the last time they had a conversation face to face. Kirk says, "You're a stubborn sonofabitch, you know that, right?" He peels off his vest and enjoys the flare of Spock's nostrils, the darkening of Spock's eyes. Well, that answers that question. "The problem with you Vulcans is that you've never quite accepted the central tenet of the Empire." His boots and belt and pants go next, leaving him in just his boxers, the front of which is already tenting in anticipation. "It's perfectly logical to take what you want." He gives Spock his best challenging look, daring him to give it a shot.

This time, he sees it happen in slow motion: Spock's smooth movements as he stands, the quick predatory steps he takes as he crosses the room, the fist that lashes out and crashes against Kirk's face. Kirk goes down this time too, but Spock follows him down, straddling Kirk's hips and pinning Kirk's wrists to the floor with his hands. They stare at each other for a few moments. Spock's eyes are black and unreadable, and that just kicks up Kirk's already racing heart rate up a few notches. This must be what Spock looks like when he's beyond logic, when he's beyond speech.

Then the moment breaks open, and Spock kisses him, rough and harsh, like he's trying to devour Kirk's mouth with his own. His beard scrapes Kirk's cheeks and chin, leaving a pleasant burn on his skin. Kirk kisses back with as much teeth as possible and enjoys the copper-salt taste of Spock's blood when he manages to bit hard enough into Spock's lip.

That earns him another punch across the face from Spock, and he ends up tasting some of his own blood as well. Kirk laughs as some of the blood runs down his chin. "That can't be the best you can do," he says. He uses his free hand to grab the collar of Spock's shirt and pulls, ripping it open from shoulder to hip. He needs more of Spock's skin.

Spock backhands him and grinds his still-clothed cock against Kirk's hip. It feels fantastic, almost as good as the punch to the face did. Kirk tilts his head to the side and bites down hard on Spock's collarbone, draws blood again, green rivulets running down Spock's chest.

Spock snarls, and fuck, Kirk never would have even guessed that Spock had it in him. It's possible that Spock might just kill him at some point, but the edge of danger just makes it better. What was the point of doing anything if there weren't any life or death stakes involved? Kirk sucks in a sharp breath when Spock tears off his boxers and squeezes his cock a little too hard with his hand. Every nerve in his body feels as though they're going off at the same time.

When Spock lets go, Kirk takes advantage of the split second of time to use Spock's weight against him and flip them over so that Spock's the one on the bottom, looking up. Not giving Spock a chance to recover, he slides down Spock's body and yanks Spock's pants and underwear down to his ankles. Spock's cock is so fucking gorgeous, it makes Kirk's mouth water. Kirk sucks it all the way down to the base in one go the same way he used to use to impress his teachers at the Academy.

But before Kirk can show Spock some of the truly amazing things he can do with his tongue, Spock grabs a handful of Kirk's hair and yanks him off, tossing Kirk aside like he's a rag doll. It really pisses Kirk off, because he was really looking forward to having Spock's cock in his mouth for a while. He can't do anything about that, though, because Spock shoves him back onto the ground. Spock wraps his left hand around Kirk's throat. His right hand slides between Kirk's thighs. Two fingers go in without lube, which hurts like a motherfucker, and Kirk can't breathe right with Spock squeezing his windpipe. And fuck, he's as hard as the bulkheads right now.

He's thrusting his hips up so his cock brushes against the wiry hair of Spock's stomach, just wanting Spock to fuck him already, when Spock presses his fingers to Kirk's face. Maybe if Kirk was capable of speaking, he'd protest, because he's seen Spock do this enough times to other people to know what's coming next. Spock says, "My mind to your mind," with a voice that barely sounds like it's from this universe let alone this galaxy, and then Kirk feels the oncoming rush of Spock's mind, drowning his own thoughts.

Spock's mind feels like lava, like fire, like it's burning Kirk through from the inside out. Kirk wants to scream, but he doesn't have the air. Spock is fucking him hard, but the pain from that is distant and far away. All he can feel is Spock's mind filling him up, pulling him under, pulling him down. Pulling him deeper and deeper and deeper until everything goes black.


Kirk wakes up stiff and sticky and exhausted on the floor of Spock's quarters. He smells like semen, human and alien, and he can still taste blood on the back of his tongue. When he sits up, his entire body protests, pain traveling down his back from neck to his shoulders to his spine to his knees. His chest is covered in his own white spunk mixed with Spock's green blood. So he did come. Too bad he can't remember it. His ass hurts in a way that makes him want to see McCoy immediately for some hypos. All in all, he feels pleasantly fucked out, thoroughly used in a way he hasn't been since he was an ensign.

The bathroom door opens, and Spock steps through. He's dressed in a new uniform, and his hair has been combed, and he's once again the epitome of Vulcan control. Kirk tries not to let himself feel too disappointed.

"How long was I out for?" he asks, stretching his arms over his head, feeling the pull in his back and shoulders.

Spock sits down in the desk chair and looks Kirk straight in the eye. "One hour, thirty-seven minutes, and twenty-three seconds," he says.

"How long until this happens again?" Kirk stands up, not an entirely pleasant feeling. He manages to hide his wince.

It takes Spock a second too long to answer, a long slow blink before he responds. "The length of the cycle is seven years."

More's the pity. Kirk was hoping for at least one more go around before the mission ended. "What's on Vulcan?" he asks, because Spock seems more talkative now that he's fucked Kirk on the floor of his quarters, and Kirk might as well take advantage of that fact.

"My wife," Spock says.

Kirk snickers. How boring and pedestrian. He was hoping it had more to do with perverse Vulcan sex rituals. "So," he says. "I guess this means you owe me your life."

That makes one of Spock's eyebrows arch up, and that more than anything else reminds Kirk that everything's back to normal. "I have already contacted Vulcan. You will suffer no consequences from Command for refusing to reroute there. I can make no promises about the future. But for now, as long as our agreement holds, I will not be a threat to you."

Kirk nods, short and tight. It's good to hear that, even when he's always known it's true. Spock shifts in his chair, and Kirk can see the faint outline of the bandage Spock is using to cover up the bite he left on Spock's collarbone. Just an edge of it peeking out from underneath Spock's shirt. The sight of it makes Kirk's dick twitch. He wants to be the one who's choking Spock, the one who's fucking Spock raw. He wants to shove his cock so far down Spock's throat Spock gags on it. He wants to feel Spock's fingers on his face again, their minds swirling together, merging into one. He wants to leave permanent marks all over Spock's body so that when Spock sees his wife again, she'll know that Kirk was there when she couldn't be. But he won't do any of these things for the same reasons Spock couldn't tell him he needed to go to Vulcan. "You can keep your experiments," Kirk says. "Just don't try to pull a move like that on my ship again." It's a promise and a threat all in one, and he's pretty sure Spock can hear what he's not saying.

He waits for Spock's nod before he collects his clothes and brings them into the bathroom. He washes away most of the visible evidence of the last few hours, dresses in his uniform, and doesn't even bother looking at Spock as he heads straight for the hallway, letting it close behind him as he leaves.

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