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Story Notes:

Huge thanks to waketosleep for the beta and for squashing my British English.

~*~

"Captain!" Sulu's voice carried across the low hum of the bridge. "Incoming asteroid, heading seven-two…mark eight."

"Evasive maneuvers," Jim commanded.

"Aye, sir."

The change in direction was violent. Jim was thrown against the side of his chair; ahead, he saw Chekov and Sulu holding on as the ship swung around. Yet everyone was able to remain in their seats – everyone, except for Spock, who was flung from the science station and hit the side of the command chair, hard.

As the ship righted itself, Jim called out, "Status?"

"Impact avoided, Captain," Sulu confirmed.

"Very good. Resume original course." Then, in a slightly lower voice, "Mr Spock?"

Spock picked himself up and stiffly straightened his uniform. Satisfied that his first officer had injured nothing but his pride, Jim returned his attention to his duties but added as a discreet aside, "Drop by my quarters this evening, would you? Say twenty-one hundred hours?"

Spock's nod of acknowledgment would barely have been perceptible to anyone else, but Jim caught it.

*


"You're early," Jim remarked when Spock appeared in his quarters that evening.

"On the contrary, the time is twenty-one hundred hours, fifteen seconds."

"Of course." Jim glanced at his own chronometer, which read twenty fifty-eight. "Have a seat."

Spock hesitated a moment before sitting. Jim caught his wary glance towards the chronometer, and suppressed a smile.

"Care to tell me what's going on?" he asked once Spock was seated across his desk.

"Captain?"

"That asteroid this afternoon. Did your sensors miss a fifty-kilometer hunk of rock, or were you not paying attention?"

"An unforgivable error," Spock conceded. "I consider myself suitably chastised. Now if you would excuse me –"

"Not just the asteroid," Jim cut in. "You weren't even paying attention enough to hold on while the ship came about. And now I find your timekeeping's out of whack."

"I maintain there must be a fault with your chronometer. Regardless, I have observed that humans operate with error margins considerably in excess of two minutes."

"Most humans can barely guess the hour," Jim agreed. "But you're not human, and this isn't normal for you."

Spock looked stoic, as usual, but Jim noticed that the Vulcan was quite carefully avoiding eye contact.

"Look Spock," he sighed. "I'm not berating you. There's something bothering you, distracting you, and I want to know what it is."

"I am unaware of what you're referring to, Captain. I shall endeavor to –"

"No." Jim thumped his fist on the table. "Just spit it out."

"Captain?"

Jim sighed. "It's a figure of speech. Tell me what's going on."

"I do not believe this matter is of your concern."

"It is my concern when it starts affecting the running of my ship," Jim insisted. "Which it is. So what is it? Woman trouble?"

Oh, he hoped it wasn't woman trouble. Not that he didn't know a lot about women – he did – but somehow, the thought of discussing such matters with Spock was incredibly uncomfortable. He would sooner give the sex talk to Chekov.

Realizing the Vulcan was not replying, Jim sneaked a look at him. He was frowning, and clenching and unclenching his hands in a way that almost resembled –

"Spock? Are you…fidgeting?"

"Certainly not, Captain." But there was a tremor to his voice that left Jim in no doubt. He felt his stomach plummet to the floor.

"Right," he said. "What's Uhura done?"

Spock remained taciturn, as usual.

Frustrated, Jim resorted to, "Do I have to make that a direct order?"

That, finally, seemed to work.

"The Lieutenant has not done anything," Spock insisted. "She has merely…made a request, repeatedly and vociferously, that I find I am unable to oblige."

Jim fought a losing battle to suppress a grin. On second thoughts, this was too good to pass up. He'd always known Uhura would be a kinky one.

"What is it she wants? Strap-on? Role play? A threesome?" Jim surreptitiously crossed his fingers for the latter.

"I am unfamiliar with those terms, Captain, and I wish to repeat my opinion that this is not an appropriate conversation."

"Come on," said Jim. "You can't shock me, I've seen it all. So what is it?"

A deep green tinge spread across Spock's cheeks. It took a moment for Jim to release that was a blush, and he found he had to look away to conceal his smile.

Looking at the floor, then the door, the ceiling – in fact, anywhere but at Jim – Spock replied, "Nyota has expressed a desire for a physical relationship."

That knocked the wind right out Jim. His jaw dropped, and all he could do was stare blankly.

"Naturally," Spock continued, "I have attempted to explain –"

"Whoa, hang on a sec," Jim interrupted. "Do you mean to say you're not sleeping with her?"

"I assume you intend 'sleeping with' in the colloquial sense as a euphemism for sexual intercourse. That being the case, no, I have not."

"But…" Jim waved his arms in a vague gesture to indicate the sheer insanity of that. "She's hot."

Spock considered that for a moment. "On the contrary, her body temperature is the equal of any human's, which to a Vulcan seems quite cool."

Jim rolled his eyes. "You do that on purpose, don't you? I mean she's attractive. Physically."

"She does possess the symmetry and low body fat that your culture deems desirable, I suppose, though I have never comprehended the use of those factors in determining the suitability of one's mate."

Jim took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This was obviously going to be harder than he had thought.

"All right," he said. "So what...factors…do you take into account? Intelligence? 'Cause she's not short on that."

"Indubitably. Though I fear you are missing the point."

"Which is?"

"That it would not be appropriate –"

"Oh, don't give me that," Jim scoffed. "There are no regulations against onboard liaisons, and you know it."

"If you would allow me to finish, Captain –"

"Call me Jim, for goodness' sake."

"– Jim. The reason I consider it inappropriate is that I am already married."

Jim could only gape at him. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he finally said, "No way did I hear that right."

"That is a loose interpretation in your cultural terms. In fact, I expect you would deem it somewhat less than a marriage… but more than a betrothal."

Wow. He was serious. A hundred questions raced through Jim's mind, but all he could say was, "What? When?"

"It was arranged by our parents when we were but seven years of age."

Jim's eyes widened. "Whoa. That's pretty hardcore. You don't get a say in this?"

"The…time had not yet come for the bond to be completed when…"

"Oh." Jim suddenly understood. "Was she…"

"She perished on Vulcan," Spock confirmed.

"Wow. I mean, I'm sorry.”

There was another long, uncomfortable silence. Eventually, hesitantly, Jim said, “You know, it's been a few months now... I don't think you have to feel bad about wanting Uhura.”

Spock inclined his head. “Which is precisely the point,” he explained. “I have no wish to pursue what she desires.”

Jim frowned. "Spock…I'm sorry if this is an overly personal question, but are…" He took a deep breath. "Are you a virgin?"

Spock considered that for a moment. Jim supposed he was probably searching through some mental catalog for this new human terminology.

Then, finally, "I have not completed a bond."

Jim pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking in his exasperation that sometimes talking to Spock was akin to talking to a small child.

"That's not what I asked. I'm not talking about lifelong commitments here. Have you had a fling? A one night stand, even?"

Spock looked as though he didn't understand the question.

"Have you ever had sex?"

"No, as I said." Spock's eyes were narrowed in that way that meant he probably felt as though he were talking to a small child as well.

"Right, then. So is that the problem, that you're nervous or something? 'Cause if you need tips…"

"I am at a loss to understand what you find so incomprehensible," Spock replied. "I have already made it clear that my desire is not to engage in this activity with Nyota, nor has it ever been. I was unaware that this was something she would require of me.”

Jim tried, and failed, to keep the disbelief from his face. “Um...Spock, I don't know much about what's gone on between you two, but what I saw wasn't just a friendly kiss.”

“Interesting.” Spock had a distant look, similar to when he was presented with a scientific problem. “Your implication is that this gesture is a prelude to mating.”

“Not always. But it usually means it's on the cards, yeah.”

“Human rituals are most confusing. Thank you for clarifying this, Captain. Jim.”

Jim gave his first officer a sidelong look. “Does that sort things out?”

“Indeed. I realize I have been remiss in allowing this discomfort to affect the performance of my duties, and I intend to rectify that."

"Rectify it? How?"

"I shall terminate my association with the Lieutenant forthwith. Now, if you would excuse me…" Spock stood and turned towards the door.

"Spock, wait." Spock did not turn to face him, but he paused, so Jim continued, "I know you're not au fait with our peculiar human ways, but you should know that – in human terms – you've kind of been leading her on. Big time. So let her down easy, okay? And be careful. She has a helluva right hook."

"Duly noted."

Jim waited for the door to sweep closed behind the departing Vulcan before he heaved a heavy sigh and shook his head in disbelief.

He'd seen some strange things in his – admittedly short, so far – stint as a starship captain, but finding out that his first officer was breaking up with the hottest woman on the ship because she wanted to have sex with him… Space was going to have to turn up some mighty surprises to beat that one.

*


Jim knew when it had been done. There was no action, nor even a word, out of place, but something in the clipped way Uhura said, "Commander," the stiffness of Spock's posture as he replied, and the furtive glances exchanged by Chekov and Sulu all combined to say more than if Spock and Uhura had had a full-on screaming match on the bridge.

Come to think of it, that would have been fun. Jim would have paid to have seen that. He glanced surreptitiously over his shoulder, to where Uhura was busily working at the communications station, and hid a small inward smile. Vulcan strength or no, his money would have been on Uhura had it come to a fight.

"Captain?" Uhura's voice was terse. Jim gave her a guilty smile; he supposed he hadn't been as discreet as he'd thought.

"After-shift drink?" Jim suggested.

"Not even if that's an order. Captain."

Jim shrugged. "Can't blame a guy for trying."

The chair at the science station turned slowly, and Jim was treated to the full force of one of Spock's incredulous eyebrows (that being how Jim internally classified the eyebrow that was a fraction higher than simple query, yet not as high as outright surprise – he was getting good at this eyebrow-reading thing).

He responded with a wink. Spock turned back to his station, but not before Jim caught the very slight frown and minute shake of the head that said 'Illogical,' as clearly as though it had been spoken aloud.

*


At dinner with Spock that evening, they both very carefully avoided all mention of or allusion to Uhura. It made conversation difficult, since Jim was strangely preoccupied with the matter and could think of little else, so he was relieved when he saw Bones heading towards their table.

"Hey Jim, you free this evening?"

Jim shifted over to make room as McCoy sat down. "Depends what you have in mind," he replied.

"Finest Saurian brandy, and –" Bones cast a furtive glance in Spock's direction – "a bit of light entertainment."

Jim looked between Spock and McCoy, trying to work out what it was that the doctor wouldn't say in front of – "Oh! The new vid from Orion?"

"The very same," McCoy grinned.

"I'm there," Jim confirmed. "Spock, you joining us?"

Bones apparently had something lodged in his throat. Spock waited until the coughing ceased before replying, "I regret I do not understand the entertainment value in what you propose."

"Don't understand –" Jim frowned. "But it has Orion girls. They have aircar chases."

Spock raised one eyebrow, somewhere between query and incredulity.

"They blow things up," Jim continued.

Spock's expression remained unchanged.

Sighing, Jim brought out the big guns. "They wrestle." And, with a grin, he finished triumphantly, "In their underwear."

Nothing. Jim frowned.

"You're wasting your time, Jim," McCoy warned.

"For once, the doctor is correct," said Spock. "I entirely fail to see the appeal of such banality."

"Well," Jim tried another tack, "you're a scientist. See it as an…experiment."

This time, Spock's raised eyebrow shot straight up to disbelieving – the next step up from surprise.

"If you gentlemen will excuse me," he demurred, "I believe I have work to return to."

Jim slumped in his seat as Spock left the mess hall. He didn't realize his gaze was lingering on the Vulcan's retreating form until McCoy waved a hand in front of his face. He snapped back to attention.

"Are you out of your mind?" McCoy hissed.

Jim shrugged. "I just thought he could use a little…loosening up."

"You'd have more luck getting him to dance an Irish jig."

Jim had to concede the point, but added a wistful, "It's a shame, though," which caused Bones to shake his head and mutter something about space madness.

*


He wasn't sure at what point it became an obsession. At some time in the future, he would look back and realize that he'd always wanted to see Spock's primal side, ever since the Kobayashi Maru hearing. But the need to push him into revealing his sexual side – because surely, it wasn't possible for him to actually be asexual; Jim couldn't even process that idea – was a more recent development.

He would be lying if he said he'd never thought about Spock in a sexual way. In the past, though, such imaginings had been decidedly unflattering towards the Vulcan. After all, Spock had the hottest woman on the ship, the woman who had turned Jim down. Or at least, Jim had assumed Spock was having her. Many a time when he had been frustrated by Uhura's rebuffs, he would comfort himself by imagining her dutifully lying back and thinking of the Federation while Spock carefully counted out thrusts. Then he could allow himself a smug grin and comfort himself with how much Uhura was missing out on, and all was right with the world.

It started slowly. He began including Spock in his more bawdy conversations with McCoy, where before he had exercised restraint in the Vulcan's presence. Spock's contribution to those conversations, however, was invariably limited to a casual observation of the illogical manner in which they spent their time.

Next, Jim tried inviting an especially attractive yeoman – Jane? Janice? – to join them for dinner. It turned out they had little to talk about, though; they didn't move in the same circles, and Jill – or whatever her name was – had an irritatingly simpering manner around her commanding officers.

Ever one to learn from his mistakes, Jim next found a bright young lieutenant from Engineering. Her long auburn hair was drawn back into a perfect bun, and she rarely uttered a sentence that didn't contain at least one number. Just Spock's type, Jim thought proudly. She was engaging company, too. Over dinner, they talked at length about the recent innovations in warp drive design, and it was only as she left that Jim realized Spock had not said a word all evening.

"So what did you think?" Jim prompted afterwards.

"She is a promising engineer," Spock replied.

Jim rolled his eyes. "Yeah, but did you like her? You want me to set you two up?"

Spock looked at him as though he'd grown an extra head. Which, from Spock, meant simply an elevation of that damned left eyebrow.

"You're hopeless," Jim sighed, resigned but not yet defeated.

James T. Kirk was good at lots of things. Seducing women – and men, and aliens of nondescript gender – was one of his fortes. He could play chess well enough to keep Spock on his toes. He was even turning out to be quite good at this Captain thing. But if there was one thing that he could absolutely not do, it was admit defeat.

So it was that, over the next few months, he turned to increasingly desperate attempts to break his first officer. He would slip inappropriately erotic images into reports – trusting that Spock would make the necessary edits before forwarding them to Starfleet – and once 'accidentally' handed him a disk of pornography instead of the updated technical manual.

In the face of all Jim could throw at him, Spock's demeanor never changed. It was beyond frustrating, now. It was downright infuriating.

"You're wasting your time," Bones told him one evening when he caught Jim rifling through his stash of pornography.

"I'm not quitting," Jim insisted, engrossed in his task.

Bones huffed and snatched the porn out of his hands. "What I mean is, when have you ever known that green-blooded machine to show an interest in any woman where it was his idea?"

From his seated position on the floor, Jim looked up at McCoy's towering form, and a grin spread across his face as understanding dawned.

"You mean he's into men?"

Bones rolled his eyes. "Nothing that pedestrian. Probably androids, or computers. Maybe he's got something going on with that tricorder of his. Point is, you're barking up the wrong tree."

Jim considered this for a moment, then thanked Bones for the idea, and made his way back to his quarters. McCoy was left in his office, gathering up his porn collection and shaking his head in disbelief.

*


Jim's opportunity came a few weeks later. They were to stop by Starbase 27 for supplies, and both he and Spock were due a night off. Given the huge variety of lifeforms that could be found on Starbases, there had to be someone – or something – to Spock's taste.

The day of their arrival, the ship was a flurry of activity as engineers and maintenance crew moved crates back and forth. Having made a cursory effort to ensure everything was properly underway and to greet the appropriate officials on the Starbase, Jim convinced Spock that they were not needed and could go off duty.

Back in the Captain's quarters, Jim carefully conceded their chess game. (In truth, he would have been hard pressed to escape from that trap Spock had set him, but since his intention had been to lose anyway, he was at liberty to convince himself otherwise.)

While Spock reveled in his victory – which involved casting a brief but satisfied glance over the board – Jim fetched drinks from the replicator. He watched Spock sip his Vulcan spice tea for a while, enjoying the companionable silence, then downed his brandy in one and said, "We're docking at the 'base overnight."

Spock favored him with that patient but expectant look he often used when Jim stated the obvious.

"I've decided you need a break. We both do. So we're staying off duty for the evening and I'm taking you to a bar."

Jim expected Spock to decline. Jim would then insist, and finally he would make it an order. Then, finally, Spock would yield, as he always did.

What he did not expect was for Spock to look him straight in the eye and ask, upfront, "Captain, are you endeavoring to seduce me?"

Taken aback, Jim could only gape at him and splutter a most undignified, "What?"

Spock's gaze was relentless as he explained, "I have observed the most peculiar behavior in you of late."

"I…have no idea what you're talking about." Jim felt suddenly light-headed. Had he really been giving that impression? And if so, had anyone else come to the same conclusion? Was that why those young ensigns in Engineering had taken to smiling at him? Oh, good grief…

"Then it is not your intention to solicit a sexual relationship between us?" Spock's eyebrow was raised only to 'query,' the same as though he were asking a routine question on the bridge. Jim looked away, unable to meet his eye, panic fluttering in his stomach.

"No, Spock," he said. "That was not my intention."

"Then I shall have to decline. I believe there are some soil samples –"

Jim's head snapped up. "Hang on," he cut in. "Are you saying you would come if I were…soliciting?"

"I am given to understand that social engagements outside of one's usual setting are the standard precursor to such a venture."

Jim was completely dumbfounded. That Spock could sound so cool and detached, while he wanted the floor to open up and swallow him, was mortifying. Yet there was one thing that didn't make sense.

"I thought such…ventures weren't your thing?"

"A cultural misconception," Spock replied in a dismissive tone. "Having observed the activities of yourself and the doctor over the course of our time on this ship, and correlated those observations with those I witnessed at the Academy on Earth, I conclude that for humans the sexual act is merely a compatibility test rather than a bond in itself."

"So are you and Uhura…" Jim completed his question with a vague gesture.

"It was never my wish to form a bond with Nyota. Since I had a pre-existing bond to another at the time, that was not an issue. Now, however, I find myself unbonded, and though I must confess I had not thought to consider you a viable bondmate, it is only logical that I proceed with the formal compatibility test before forming a conclusion."

Jim's first thought was Bondmate? What the hell? We're talking about a screw here, but what came out was, "And what's wrong with me?"

"I would have thought that would be obvious."

"Not to me." Jim folded his arms across his chest. "I'm a catch, you know. You'd be lucky to have me."

Spock's eyes narrowed. "Forgive me, Captain, I find myself once again confused. Did you not say you had no interest in pursuing –"

"No, I said it wasn't my intention. Now I want to know why you think I'm not good enough for you."

"That was not my implication. I merely suggested an incompatibility –"

"Right. Why?" There was heat to Jim's voice, although he could not have said why this was suddenly so important to him. "Am I not your closest friend?"

"You are," Spock conceded with a wary tilt of his head.

"Do you find me unattractive?"

"On the contrary, your physiology is quite appealing… for a human."

Jim decided to overlook the last remark. "I can beat you at chess."

The slightest quirk of Spock's mouth indicated an almost-smile. "Occasionally, and only through the implementation of severely illogical tactics."

"I beat your test."

"By cheating."

"By exercising ingenuity," Jim corrected him.

"Do you have a point?" There was no impatience to Spock's tone, merely polite inquiry.

"Yeah, dammit. I'm hot. I'm the youngest Captain in Starfleet. I'm a fucking catch." Jim beat his fist on the table to emphasize his point.

Spock waited a beat, watching the three-dimensional chess set waver precariously, before remarking, "Furthermore, your modesty is admirable."

Jim almost pouted. It was incredible how those eyebrows could make him feel as though he were twelve years old.

"Fine," he said. "Then let's do the social engagement…thing."

Spock inclined his head, and somehow the gesture was almost a smile. "I believe the colloquial term is a 'date,'" Spock offered.

"Yeah," Jim nodded. "I'm asking you out. On a date."

"Then I accept. I shall meet you here at 20:00 hours."

A curt nod that was almost a bow, and then Spock was gone. The door swooshed closed behind him, and Jim could only stare after him, astounded.

He wasn't sure – it was quite possible he'd been at McCoy's liquor cabinet and his mind was playing cruel tricks on him – but it seemed that he had just been maneuvered into asking his first officer out on a date.

Bones was right; space was a dangerous place.

*


The chronometer read nineteen thirty-five. Only two minutes had passed since the last time he had looked. He fell back on the bunk, staring at the ceiling, and muttered curse words in the languages of four different worlds.

He had already showered, meticulously, and changed his shirt three times, and even as he leaped off the bunk to change again – he liked the purple, but the blue clung to the muscles of his chest in a much more flattering way – he was aware of how ridiculous he was being. This was Spock. Spock, who had seen him dressed in rags, had been imprisoned with him on alien worlds, unkempt and without a shower for days. Not to mention, he had seen each one of the few civilian shirts Jim owned countless times. What possible difference could it make which one he selected for this evening?

Nonetheless, he buttoned up the blue shirt, and flung himself back on his bunk. The time was nineteen thirty-eight. He groaned aloud.

What was he even thinking? What would Bones say? Jim cringed. Scratch that; whatever happened, whichever devices of torture were used upon him in the future, there was absolutely no way Bones was finding out about this.

Nineteen forty. Jim realized he was sweating profusely and decided on another shower. At least it was something to do.

He set the sonic shower to the highest pitch available, then pulled on a green shirt and examined his reflection. The green suited him, he thought, hugging his figure in just the right places. He turned around and peered over his shoulder. These pants weren't doing his ass any favors, though. He swapped them for a more tight-fitting pair and spent a full three minutes admiring the result in the mirror.

Nineteen fifty-six. Jim collapsed on the bunk again, closing his eyes so that he wouldn't watch the time. In his head, a voice that sounded suspiciously like Bones was reminding him that he was not a teenager and that this behavior was absurd.

As he thought about it though, he wasn't sure he'd ever been on an actual date before. Hooking up in bars was his thing, without all this nonsensical preamble. He understood why, now, and concluded that this dating thing was really not for him. After tonight.

Not that tonight was an actual date. It was Spock, for goodness' sake. Spock just didn't understand human conventions, that was all.

Jim peeked at the time. Nineteen fifty-nine. His stomach lurched. He held his breath.

At the precise moment that the numbers shifted to indicate twenty hundred hours, the door chime sounded.

"Enter," Jim croaked.

The door slid open to reveal Spock clad entirely in black, which gave him the appearance of being even taller and slimmer and more imposing than usual. Jim swallowed and attempted a smile.

"Shall we?" Spock inclined his head, demonstrating none of the crippling nerves that were already causing Jim's palms to sweat.

They made their way to the bar in silence. Jim was vaguely horrified by how many Enterprise crewmembers they passed along the way, though he knew he shouldn't have been surprised; the Starbase was not so large that he could reasonably expect to avoid over four hundred people.

Fortunately, the bar was dimly lit. As soon as they entered, Jim made a beeline for the booth in the far corner. It was a sound idea, tucking themselves away in the corner where they could be unobserved, but it also meant they passed numerous familiar faces on the way. When they reached the booth, Jim slid into the seat and made himself as small as possible.

Spock sat opposite him, his trademark serenity intact, but his left eyebrow was in query mode.

"You are uncomfortable," he observed.

"Not at all," Jim insisted. "Just… I wish the whole crew wasn't watching."

Spock simply looked at him for a moment, then around the bar, his gaze lingering on a few of the crew who were all engrossed in their own conversations and paying no attention to their commanding officers.

"I fail to comprehend your concern," Spock said at last. "It is not an uncommon occurrence that we are seen together. We take meals together almost every day, in fact."

"Yeah, but…"

"Not to mention, a significant portion of the crew already believes we are engaged in a sexual relationship."

"WHAT?"

That caused almost the entire bar to stop and look in their direction. Jim felt the blood rush to his face. Spock just regarded him coolly until the hum of conversation resumed, then said, "I surmise that you have yet to encounter this rumor. I find that surprising."

Jim shook his head. "Meaning you have?"

"Many times," Spock admitted, in the same calm tone with which he would report sensor readings.

"That's outrageous!" Jim kept his voice down, but made sure his indignation was evident. "How do you respond?"

Spock demonstrated his response by – of course – lifting his left eyebrow.

"That's a bit ambiguous," Jim grumbled, mortified. His own crew thought he was sleeping with his first officer? That was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard. Not to mention disrespectful. The first person to mention such a thing in his presence would have a nice long spell in the brig.

The irony that he was having these self-righteously indignant thoughts whilst on a date with said first officer did not escape him, but it was irrelevant really, as the date thing was only a matter of semantics. It wasn't like anything was going to happen.

"Good evening, gentlemen."

Jim was brought abruptly back to the present by a startlingly attractive Deltan waiter. He cast an appraising look over the slender but muscular form, but then caught sight of Spock's reproachful eyebrow and looked hurriedly at the drinks menu instead.

If only Starbase bars served Romulan ale, Jim thought ruefully, before settling on a whiskey.

He wasn't sure where to look once they were left alone once more, although Spock's gaze rested unflinchingly on him.

"I must confess," said Spock, a definite hint of amusement in his tone, "that I am somewhat mystified by your success in the area of human courtship rituals."

"Hey!" Jim frowned, affronted.

"My observations suggest you exhibit more discomfort on a date than when facing enemies in armed combat. It is most curious."

Jim gave a short, mirthless laugh. "To be fair, this isn't a normal situation, whereas fighting hostile aliens is normal. Bizarrely." He made a face. "Anyway, I've never actually done this before. The date thing." Not that this is a date, he added silently.

"Indeed?" The eyebrow registered surprise. "Then I am most honored."

And then Jim did laugh, for real, because this was weird – far more so than landing on a strange planet and finding himself in a fistfight with a multiple-headed alien – but Spock was still Spock, and there was no one else with whom he would rather spend his evening off.

Jim was still laughing, to Spock's evident bemusement, when the Deltan returned with their drinks. Jim didn't even notice him as he acknowledged the whiskey with a polite nod.

It was easy, then, to talk about the crazy worlds they had visited together, the strange and wonderful beings they had met. Spock in particular seemed to enjoy recalling some of Jim's more outlandish problem-solving methods.

"Actually, that was entirely logical," Jim, now on his fourth whiskey, countered one such critique. "The androids could only comprehend logic, so acting in a completely illogical manner was…logical!"

Animated in his defense – and perhaps slightly tipsy – Jim grasped Spock's hand without thinking. Spock's reaction was instantaneous; he tensed, and instinctively withdrew his hand. Almost as quickly, though, his posture relaxed and he slowly, quite deliberately, turned his hand over and clasped Jim's in return.

Jim found he was suddenly breathless. He had momentarily forgotten how weird Vulcans were about touching, and especially about their hands. With a hesitant, almost shy, smile, he ran his thumb over the back of Spock's hand.

Spock's response would have been indiscernible to the casual observer, but Jim saw the way his pupils dilated and the slight hint of green that suffused his cheeks. The air between them suddenly became heavy and unaccountably warm, and Jim was struck by the absurd, ridiculous urge to –

"'Night Captain, Commander."

Wrenched violently from wherever his head had been, Jim withdrew his hand, realizing suddenly that his heart was racing, and arranged his face into a steely expression as he turned to the crewmember who had greeted them.

"Good evening, Lieutenant," he replied somewhat stiffly.

Spock said nothing. Jim was reasonably sure he imagined the smug expression on the lieutenant's face, but couldn't bring himself to care; he was more concerned that he may have caused Spock embarrassment.

"Perhaps," said Spock in a low voice once they were alone, "it would be advisable for us to relocate to your quarters?"

Jim's reply was a fervent nod. As they made their way out of the bar, he carefully kept his head down so that he wouldn't see whether they were observed.

On the way back to the ship, the easy comfort of being in Spock's company began to ebb, revealing the raw nerves he had felt earlier in the evening. What was he supposed to do, invite him in for a drink? A game of chess? Or was he expecting more?

The whole thing was insane, he mentally berated himself. This was the part he was good at, usually. Why did the Vulcan have this unnerving knack of disproving everything he thought he knew about himself?

He fumbled over letting Spock into his quarters, and his unease settled into outright panic. The door closed behind them, and Jim turned to face his first officer, ready to say that this was all a mistake and could they pretend it never –

He was not prepared for the way Spock was looking at him. Lips slightly parted, his expression cautiously unguarded, his gaze lingered on Jim's right hand. Spock reached out his own hand, and Jim instinctively responded in kind. And then in the most curious gesture Jim had ever seen, Spock ran his first and middle fingers along Jim's, up and down, over and again.

Jim watched, bemused but mesmerized. His fingers tingled where Spock touched them, tremors running up his arm and through his body. He glanced up to gauge Spock's reaction, and was enthralled; Spock's eyes were closed, his lips parted on shuddering breaths.

As though he could sense Jim's scrutiny, Spock's eyes fluttered open. He looked so exposed in that moment that Jim felt his resolve shatter.

"Fuck it," he murmured, and leaned up to brush his lips against Spock's. A charge darted through him, and the kiss did not remain tender for long; it became urgent, hard. Spock's hand stilled, his fingers entwining around Jim's, pulling him closer, until they were pressed together along the entire length of their bodies.

Jim brought his free hand up to Spock's neck, pulling him closer still. Spock's lips were softer than he would have imagined, but he was far from gentle. Seeking more, Jim swept his tongue along Spock's lower lip, then dipped inside -

Then, abruptly, he felt himself being pushed back, and found that he was an arm's length away from Spock. He blinked in confusion, wondering if he'd gone too far.

Spock's expression was inscrutable. He looked entirely composed, where Jim was breathing heavily, his pulse racing.

"You all right?" he gasped when Spock didn't say anything.

Spock nodded, though his brow was creased in a frown.

“You want me to stop?”

"Negative."

Jim couldn't deny his relief, but he kept a wary eye on Spock as he tentatively took a step forward and reached for his hand. Carefully watching his expression, he mimicked Spock's earlier gesture, running his fingers along the Vulcan's. When Spock's breath hitched, he guessed he was probably doing it right.

"This," he said softly. "This is how Vulcans kiss, isn't it?" He wasn't sure how he knew, but he was certain of it even before Spock nodded.

Jim waited until Spock's eyes drifted closed before he leaned in and kissed him. He kept up the motion of his fingers this time, and felt Spock respond with increasing fervor. Then Spock's tongue pressed against his lips, and he parted them with an audible moan.

The touch of Spock's tongue against his was tentative at first, but then fierce and demanding. He tasted of spice tea – hot and exotic and alien. Jim thrust his tongue into the Vulcan's mouth, needing more, deeper, closer. It was taking all of his concentration to keep up the action of his hand against Spock's, though it trembled and he ached with the need to pull Spock closer to him.

Jim groaned in protest when Spock broke off the kiss, but then the Vulcan's lips were grazing his jaw, and teeth tugged on his earlobe. Then, to his relief, Spock withdrew his hand from Jim's, using it to grasp at his hair and tug his head back. Jim willingly exposed his throat to lips, tongue and teeth while he slid his arms around Spock's back, pulling him closer. He insinuated a leg between Spock's and let out a pained whimper as his erection pressed against Spock's thigh.

At that, he was suddenly lifted from the ground, turned and pressed violently against the wall. The demonstration of Vulcan strength was at once terrifying and intensely arousing. He clawed desperately at Spock's back, bucked his hips and groaned.

Jim felt teeth grazing lightly against his collarbone. He gasped, and let out a long steady breath right by Spock's ear. Spock stilled with a barely discernible shudder. Intrigued, Jim licked tentatively at the pointed tip of the ear. Spock buried his face in Jim's shoulder, and Jim watched, mesmerized, as the ear tip turned distinctly green. Encouraged, he licked it again, and followed that up with a light graze of his teeth.

Spock's head shot up. His gaze was unfocused, there was a green tinge to his complexion and his lips were bruised. It was the most erotic sight Jim had ever seen.

“Everything all right?” Jim asked, his voice coming out as a rasp.

“I find that I am eager to proceed, yet I am...unfamiliar with the usual sequence of events,” Spock replied, the green hue of his skin darkening.

Jim gave him a fond smile and ran a finger over the sensitive ear tip, delighting in the way it caused Spock's breath to catch; he would never have imagined that the Vulcan could be so responsive. “There is no usual sequence,” he explained. “Just...do what feels right.”

Spock's expression became curious. “I have been given that advice before.”

“And what feels right?”

Spock hesitated, leaning into his touch, before he replied, “I believe I would like you to show me how humans mate.”

Jim's insides lurched, Spock's directness arousing him more than he had thought possible. “Fuck, yes,” he groaned.

Spock suddenly stilled, and something like uncertainty flickered across his face. "I confess,” he said, “to some anxiety that I may find the human method, relying as it does solely on physical sensation, without a meld…unfulfilling. I trust, if that is the case, that you will not feel it reflects on you."

Jim wanted, more than anything, to tell him to stop analyzing, stop processing for one goddamn minute and get his clothes off, but he held back. This was not some lay at the Academy that he could brag to Bones about and then forget. This was Spock, and it had to go right, however much effort it took.

“Just do what feels right,” Jim repeated. “You can tell me to stop, any time.” He meant it, but sincerely hoped it wasn't tested, as he was not at all sure he'd be able to stop once they got going.

Spock considered this for a moment, then his hands moved to the buttons of his shirt and Jim could only watch, aghast, as Spock undressed, quickly but methodically.

Jim could not even retain the presence of mind to be amused as Spock neatly folded his shirt and placed it on the table where they normally played chess, because he'd never paid attention to Spock's body before. His slender form concealed powerful muscles, more dense than a human's. His chest was lightly furred, the dark hair tapering into a line that traveled down his torso and disappeared beneath his waistband.

Jim bit his lip, catching himself with the ridiculous notion that he would like to lick that line.

He realized Spock was staring at him, his eyebrow on its query setting. Somewhat flustered, Jim all but tore off his own shirt, tossing it over his shoulder, then hurriedly dispensed with the rest of his clothing, leaving it scattered haphazardly around the room.

Spock watched all of this with an almost entirely neutral expression, but when Jim finally stood up straight, entirely naked, he was amused to see that the green tinge spread down Spock's neck and across his chest.

Jim grinned with not a hint of bashfulness. "Well?" he prompted, eyeing Spock's pants and fighting the urge to lick his lips.

Spock complied, and though his actions were methodical, Jim could not have been more aroused. He drank in the sight of every new piece of skin that was revealed, and had to bite back a moan at the way Spock's black boxers clung to his ass when he bent over.

When Spock's fingers slipped into the waistband of his underwear, Jim could hear his own pulse hammering in his ears. He watched, simultaneously mesmerized and terrified, as Spock revealed his hips, then a thatch of black curls, and then, finally – Oh.

Spock's penis was more human-looking than Jim had expected – or perhaps feared. It was uncut, like Jim's own, and seemed of average size, though it was difficult to tell because it was completely flaccid.

Though momentarily taken aback, Jim was undeterred. He approached the Vulcan, and stood before him, only inches apart. He met Spock's gaze and held it, intently, as he slowly reached out his hands and traced Spock's collarbone, then down his chest, grazing his nipples, and tracing the trail of dark hair, ever lower, then intentionally missing his cock, tracing instead the line between leg and hip, then reaching around to cup his ass.

By the time he finally gave in and took Spock's penis in hand, it ought – if his previous experience with men was any guide – to have been rock hard. Yet still, it lay quiescent in his hand. Damn.

"Am I doing something wrong?" he asked at last.

"Negative." The usually terse word, when it came out on a shuddering breath like that, was one of the hottest things Jim had ever heard. Yet it made no sense.

Throwing subtlety to the wind, Jim pointed out, "But you're not hard. If there's something else I need to do, just say."

Spock's eyes narrowed. Then he glanced quite obviously towards Jim's erection. "I had assumed that by preemptively readying yourself to penetrate, you were laying claim to that role in this encounter."

"Preempti-what?" Jim took a step back, frowned, and glanced between the hard cock jutting out from between his legs and the soft one lying against Spock's thigh.

"I realize that I am somewhat inexperienced in these matters," Spock explained, "but I have familiarized myself with the theoretical mechanics, and it is not my belief that we can each penetrate the other at the same time."

Jim's mind unhelpfully supplied images of situations in which they could do exactly that, albeit with their mouths, rather than –

"I don't care about mechanics," he said, chasing away the increasingly distracting imagery his mind was providing. "I just… Well, aren't you aroused at all?"

Spock seemed to consider that for a moment. "My heart rate and respiration are elevated," he confirmed.

Jim supposed that was Vulcan-speak for Yeah, you turn me on, so he continued, "But not enough to…" he indicated his own erection.

Spock lifted both eyebrows and his eyes widened ever so slightly, in an expression Jim recognized as indicating that a logical puzzle had clicked into place.

"Are you implying that humans signal sexual arousal by making the phallus erect?"

"Um." Jim ran a hand through his hair, suddenly aware that he should have taken more xenobiology classes. "Sort of," he hedged. "I mean, you make it sound like a conscious thing, and really… it just happens. Whether you want it to or not."

"Fascinating."

Jim was not given to shyness, but the intense, scrutinizing gaze Spock turned on his penis then was too much, and he felt heat rise in his cheeks. Spock reached out a hand towards Jim's cock, then seemed to check himself and glanced up to meet his eyes.

"May I?"

Jim could only nod dumbly, but he couldn't hold back the startled "Oh!" as Spock's warm fingers brushed across the head of his cock and then danced up and down the shaft. The touch was too light; enough to set his nerve endings alight but making him crave more. He bucked his hips involuntarily, causing Spock to start and draw his hand away.

Jim wanted to yell at him not to stop, but Spock was still wearing that expression of scientific curiosity and Jim knew he was going to have to deal with his questions before the Vulcan would let himself go enough to carry on.

"Well?" he prompted when Spock didn't say anything. "Any remarks on how illogical the design is?"

Spock looked momentarily alarmed, but a glance at Jim's teasing smile seemed to set him at ease. "Perhaps," he said, in his own teasing tone. "It is intriguing… the rigidity appears to arise from blood pressure rather than any structural feature."

"Well, yeah." Jim regarded his own cock for a moment, confused. "That isn't how yours works?"

By way of answer, Spock's penis suddenly sprang to life and was hard almost instantly.

Jim was gobsmacked. "That's…" Spock was looking intently at him, and Jim was sure that was a flicker of apprehension on his face. "It's brilliant," he finished. "And you can just switch it on at will?"

"The bone extends from within the pelvis when required," Spock confirmed. Then, with no discernible effort, he retracted it, and his penis lay soft against his thigh once more. Jim watched, enraptured. “I was given to understand that most Earth mammals were similarly equipped," Spock added.

Jim considered that. "That's true, actually. But not humans."

"I would be grateful if you would permit me closer inspection. Perhaps in a more comfortable location?”

It wasn't quite what Jim had in mind, but it involved nakedness and the bed, so he was willing to work with it. With an eager grin, he bounded towards the bunk and lay on his back, hands behind his head.

Spock approached him slowly, his gaze sweeping along the entire length of Jim's body. Jim shuddered under the scrutiny and his cock strained, aching to be touched. Spock guided Jim's legs apart and knelt between them, but at first he did not touch.

Jim lay back, waiting, his heart pounding, the tension becoming unbearable. When he could stand it no more, he propped himself up on his elbows, ready to order his first officer to get on with it already.

When he caught sight of Spock's expression, though, all words fled. No one, male or female, humanoid or otherwise, had ever looked as his body that way, as though it were precious, remarkable. Jim's breathing was ragged as he watched Spock reach out a hand, so slowly it was almost agonizing. With his first and middle fingers, Spock traced the length of Jim's cock, the touch tantalizingly soft. Jim gasped, fell back on the bed and made fists in the sheets.

The touch was too light, but the significance of the gesture was no lost on Jim. In his own Vulcan way, Spock was kissing his cock; sort of a Vulcan blow job. He laughed at the thought.

"Does that tickle?" Spock inquired.

"No," Jim gasped, and then groaned as Spock's hand withdrew. "Just…fuck. Stop teasing. I'm dying here."

Spock's long fingers wrapped around his shaft and squeezed. Jim let out a startled sound and arched his back.

"I believe the definition of teasing implies that I do not intend to see this through to its logical conclusion. I can assure you that is not the case."

Translation: I'm going to make you come, Jim thought, and at that a spasm wracked his body. Spock's hands started to move, then, stroking up and down, caressing the head, exploring, testing, never quite settling into a steady rhythm. Jim could only writhe helplessly beneath his touch, alternately pleading and whimpering, though of course he would strenuously deny the latter. Then one of Spock's hands dipped down to fondle his balls, and Jim had to bite his lip to keep back a cry that would have alerted half the ship.

Then, abruptly, the touch was gone. Jim made a weak, pleading sound in the back of his throat. When there was no response, he propped himself back up on his elbows.

Spock met his eyes briefly before returning his attention to Jim's cock. He reached out his two fingers and slowly caressed the vein along the underside. Jim shuddered.

"My observations suggest that you exhibit the strongest response to pressure here," Spock's voice was husky, belying the clinical words. "Also here," he ran one finger around the edge of the head, lingering in particular at the spot on the underside. Jim's hips bucked involuntarily. Then Spock met his eyes again, and there was a wicked gleam within them. "You are also rather sensitive along here," he remarked, and ran his fingers from the point directly behind Jim's balls, backwards towards his entrance.

At that, Jim cried out and scrambled back up the bed. He sat there, arms clasped around his knees, breathing heavily, until he registered Spock's alarmed expression.

"Sorry," he gasped. "Just…overload, y'know? You have no idea what you're doing to me."

Spock's lips twitched in a manner that would have been a wicked grin on anyone else. "On the contrary," he said. He reached over and ran those two fingers down Jim's calf as he explained, "I can feel what you feel."

Through the cacophony of Jim's mind, sudden understanding dawned. "Fuck," he said, indignation dampening some of his arousal. "You mean you've been doing that mind thing on me?"

Spock withdrew his hand and looked confused. "It is not a meld. But Vulcans are touch telepaths, and the hands are especially sensitive."

"Which is why you're so weird about people touching them," said Jim, several past incidents suddenly clicking into place. Then, turning his attention back to their current situation, he added, "But it's a bit rude not to tell someone when you're reading their mind."

There was that very slight frown again. "I am not able to read your thoughts without a meld," he explained. "I merely sense your feelings. Only in a very vague sense, just the slightest hint, but it is…somewhat pleasurable."

Spots of green color rose in Spock's cheeks at that, and he looked away, avoiding Jim's eyes. Jim's indignation vanished as quickly as it had erupted, and he was overcome with a sudden wave of tenderness. He crawled over and knelt before Spock, took his hand, and smiled.

He waited. Spock's posture and facial expression did not change, yet Jim could sense, somehow, when he relaxed. Once he felt the tension ebb away, he reached up and traced a finger along the edge of Spock's ear, up to the tip. He leaned in and murmured, right into Spock's ear, "Do you feel what I'm feeling now?"

Spock's reply was a whispered, "Affirmative," that caused Jim's nerves to puddle somewhere in the pit of his stomach.

Jim turned his head to trail kisses along Spock's jaw, then allowed himself to be pushed back down on the bed. Spock followed him this time, leaning over him, hovering barely an inch away.

The ache returned instantly. Jim arched his back, seeking contact. He tried to slip a hand between them, but Spock batted it away. Jim opened his mouth to protest, but then Spock's lips were trailing down his body and he could no longer see a problem with how things were proceeding.

He should have known that Spock would be a thorough lover. There was barely an inch of skin left untouched by lips, tongue and, occasionally, teeth, and all the while Spock's hands danced all over him. By the time Spock's face was level with his cock, Jim was writhing once more, his cock leaking from the tip, and he almost came from the sensation of Spock's breath over the head.

He almost shot clean off the bed when Spock's tongue darted out to taste the fluid pooling at the end of his cock. Then lips closed around the head, and Spock's tongue ran around the ridge while his fingers ran along the shaft and Jim felt a wave of intense heat shoot from his groin through his entire body as he shuddered through his climax.

He lay back, panting for breath, spasms still rippling through him. He felt himself slip from Spock's mouth, and let out a moan.

"You are quite vocal," Spock observed.

Jim didn't know whether, let alone what, he'd shouted as he came, but he couldn't form the words to ask.

"Your taste is interesting," Spock added.

Jim had to laugh, hearing his stalwart first officer comment on the taste of his semen in such a matter-of-fact tone. He opened his eyes and watched with fond amusement as Spock licked his lips, his expression one of scientific curiosity.

Catching himself being observed, Spock cast a meaningful glance down towards Jim's crotch. “Are you able to restore...?”

Jim grinned and reached out his arm. Understanding, Spock lay down alongside him, on his side, his hands running idly along Jim's waist.

"Keep that up," said Jim, indicating Spock's hand, "and it'll be right back."

They kissed languidly. Jim didn't usually like experiencing the taste of his own seed in another's mouth, but somehow on Spock the taste was intoxicating. Perhaps it was simply the proof that the usually reticent Vulcan really had allowed Jim to come in his mouth – and even thinking that was making Jim's cock twitch again – but his tongue sought the flavor desperately.

As the embers began to burn within him once more, Jim pushed Spock onto his back and rolled on top of him, pressing their bodies together. Spock's arms reached around him, his hands running up and down Jim's spine. He arched his back at the touch and thrust his hips so that his cock slid alongside Spock's.

It was then he remembered that Spock was still stubbornly soft.

"Do you think you could do that thing?" he asked. At Spock's quizzical eyebrow, he elaborated, "With the bone?"

Jim grinned as a definite erection prodded his hip. Spock, however, still had his eyebrow raised.

"Your desire is to be penetrated?" Spock asked.

That hadn't been Jim's thought – he just wasn't keen on the idea of performing fellatio on a flaccid penis – but his cock gave a twitch of approval at the suggestion.

"Yeah," he said. "That is, if you –"

"I would find that quite agreeable." Spock's tone may have been cool, but the green flush that spread over his chest told a different story.

Jim grinned and gave him a swift kiss. "Wait here."

With that, he leaped off the bed and darted into the head. He had to rummage through several cabinets, his mind too fogged to think clearly, before he emerged triumphantly with a bottle of lubricant.

Spock seemed quietly amused at his eagerness as he settled between the Vulcan's legs. He set the bottle down and turned his attention to the erection in front of him.

It was longer than his own, but much thinner. He supposed he'd be grateful for that soon; it had been a while since he'd been penetrated. It was much like a human's in shape, but the head was a dark green. He touched it, gently at first. It felt strange, softer than an erect human penis, since the rigidity stemmed from the inside. It was odd, Jim decided, but pleasant. He squeezed it gently as he ran his hand up and down the shaft, enjoying how unusually pliable it felt.

Even more enjoyable was the reaction Jim's ministrations were eliciting. Someone unfamiliar with the Vulcan may have described him as disinterested, but Jim could see the way his hands clenched and unclenched, the light spasms that darted across his body, the way his lips parted on shuddering sighs.

Keeping his eyes fixed on Spock's face, Jim leaned down and licked his cock from base to tip. There was a sharp intake of breath, and Spock's hips jerked.

He wanted, very much, to keep going, but this exploration was going to have to wait, because he had a burning need to feel Spock inside him. He opened the bottle and got into an awkward kneeling position so that he could prepare himself. It was perhaps not as thorough as it could have been, but impatience was short-circuiting his brain. He spent rather more time covering Spock with a generous layer of lubricant, rubbing it in and then just continuing to rub because it felt good.

When he was done, he took a deep breath and met Spock's eyes as he straddled him. He leaned forward and kissed him deeply, then straightened up and reached behind himself to guide Spock into position.

The sensation as the head of Spock's erection pressed against his entrance was the most intense thing he had ever experienced. He lingered, savoring the ripples of anticipatory pleasure that coursed through him. When he could take no more, he pushed back. There was momentary pain at the pressure, then the muscle gave way and Spock abruptly slid inside. Jim threw back his head and cried out, blinking back tears from his eyes.

He took the rest of the length in slowly, easing back down as his hand guided Spock inside. By the time he was fully sheathed, Jim was gasping for breath and heat was coursing through his veins. He paused. Beneath him, Spock was trembling. Their eyes met, and Jim held his gaze as he rose, slowly. Then Spock's hands closed around his cock and he bit his lip and threw his head back.

From there, it was frantic. Jim slammed down, then rode Spock hard, heedless of the burning in his thighs, gasping and moaning. Spock did not make a sound, but he twisted and thrashed, breathing heavily, and his hands moved faster on Jim's cock.

Just when Jim felt the onslaught of orgasm approaching, Spock suddenly stopped. Jim let out a cry of protest, but Spock responded by pulling him down and rolling them over. There was an awkward rearrangement of limbs, and Jim winced as his legs were hauled over Spock's shoulders, but then Spock was looming over him. His eyes were dark, intense, and utterly intoxicating. Then he thrust, hard, and Jim let out a cry of pleasure.

From that angle, Spock could reach even deeper into him. He set a frantic pace, with a steady rhythm that Jim had no doubt was the product of careful calculation.

Jim squeezed his eyes shut, focusing on the rhythmic slap of skin against skin. On every thrust, Spock rubbed against Jim's prostate, causing fire to spread through his body from that point inside him.

Suddenly, the rhythm faltered. He snapped his eyes open, just in time to see Spock throw his head back, his mouth open on a silent gasp of ecstasy. Jim felt warmth flood inside him, and a shudder chased through Spock's body.

Jim reached out to draw Spock down to him, but the Vulcan stayed perfectly still, as though collecting himself, then resumed his previous pace, the way now eased by his own seed.

Jim grinned as sudden realization dawned; it had not occurred to him that Spock could probably keep that thing hard as long as he wanted to. What irony, that Vulcans had been designed as the perfect lovers, only to repress the hell out of themselves. Not that his own Vulcan felt very repressed right then.

"You are amused," Spock gasped, not breaking off his rhythm.

"Mmm," was the only reply Jim could voice. "You're... God, this is perfect."

Spock faltered then, but recovered quickly. Then he reached a hand between them, wrapped his fingers around Jim's cock, and that touch was all it took for Jim to plummet over the edge. Spock was kissing him, swallowing his cry of ecstasy, and waves of pleasure crashed over him, pulling him under.

He was still shuddering as Spock gathered him in his arms and planted a firm kiss on his forehead. Then Spock was gone, but Jim could only wonder dumbly at the loss, too drowsy to open his eyes.

The mattress dipped as Spock returned, carrying a cloth. Jim chuckled at the relentless practicality, but rolled over gratefully to allow Spock to tend to him.

Once they were cleansed, Spock discarded the cloth and neatly withdrew the bone from his penis.

Jim smiled. "Very practical," he said. "Very…logical."

Color rose on Spock's cheeks. "Actually," he said, "I find I am rather partial to your…arrangement, however illogical it may be."

Jim grinned and pulled him into a kiss. "Will you stay?" he asked, feeling somewhat ridiculous.

Spock held his gaze for a moment before replying. "I understand that remaining overnight is the usual custom, but I confess I find the temperature of the air in your quarters somewhat uncomfortable."

Jim shrugged. "We can fix that." He drew the covers over them and pulled Spock back against his chest, enclosing him in his arms. "Just for the record," he said. "I'm keeping you warm. Not cuddling."

"Of course, Captain." A beat, then, "You are, of course, aware that your body temperature is lower than mine."

Jim sighed. "Fine. Computer, raise air temperature three degrees." He did not let go of Spock, though, and to his relief this was not commented upon.

They lay quietly for a while, Jim idly brushing his lips along Spock's neck.

"Jim?" Spock's voice broke the silence.

"Hmm?"

"I have no point of reference, but would I be correct in assuming that the compatibility test was completed with positive results?"

Jim smiled against Spock's skin. "Yeah," he confirmed. Then, "You know, you're quite good at being human."

Spock bristled "I was given to understand that insulting one's partner after the sexual act is rather bad form."

Jim chuckled. "You're right. My apologies, Mr Spock."
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