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Spock sat on the floor in the middle of his quarters, legs crossed and eyes closed as he let the heat wash over him.  He heard the faint humming of the ship, the steady rhythm of his own breathing, the amplified fall of footsteps somewhere nearby.

"Don't start meditating now, Mister Spock.  I've got plans for you."

He didn't smile - it was still too ingrained in him not to let his emotions show so blatantly - but he allowed his expression to soften when he spoke.  "You informed me of such at the end of our shift.  However, it has been thirty-nine point nine minutes since your declaration and I have yet to see evidence of your planning."

"Your attire speaks otherwise, unless you regularly meditate in here with no clothes on."

Spock opened his eyes, raising an eyebrow at the Captain's cheeky response.  "I merely adhered to your request, as you well know."

"Yeah, because you take orders so very well, don't you?" Jim returned, mixing something in a bowl before moving to join Spock on the floor.

"As First Officer of the Enterprise-"

"You regularly ignore my orders whenever it suits you, and I let it slide because you're a pretty good judge of when you should listen to me and when you should drag my ass out of trouble."

The eyebrow crept further skyward.  "'Pretty good?'"

"The Horta comes to mind as-"

"For what purpose did you order me to remove my clothing and sit here while you cast aspersions on my judgment?" Spock interrupted, not wanting to discuss that particular mission at the moment.  Or ever again.

"Because you're going to love this, and you're going to want to be naked when it's over, so we may as well get your clothing out of the way now.  Plus I like you naked, so there's that."

Spock's curiosity was piqued as he watched Jim scoop a thick green paste into a small plastic bottle, fitting it with a pointed cone rather than a lid.  "And your own lack of clothing may be attributed to your desire for reciprocity?"

"Of course.  I'm all about fairness.  Besides, I have this inkling that you like me naked, too."

Spock merely sniffed at that, not wishing to admit his preference for Jim sans clothing.

"Gotcha," Jim grinned, erroneously deciding that Spock's silence was equivalent to agreement.  "Now give me your hand."

Spock held it out without hesitation.  "May I inquire about the substance in the bottle?"

Jim trailed two fingers over his in a Vulcan kiss before he began, turning Spock's hand so that the palm faced upward.  "It's a paste made from lemon juice, sugar, and a couple plants that I promise I didn't get from Sulu's collection."

Spock's olfactory senses picked up traces of lavender underneath a primary plant whose scent he didn't recognize.  "What is the purpose of the paste?"

As an answer to the question, Jim flattened out Spock's fingers and hand, squeezing a small drop of paste from the bottle into the center of his palm.

It wasn't much of an answer as far as Spock was concerned.  "I do not understand."

"You will," was Jim's smug response.

He followed up the dot with four thick lines emanating from it in cardinal directions, connecting them in curved lines until Spock had a simplistic, four-petaled flower drawn in the middle of his hand.  He shivered at the feel of the surprisingly warm paste on his skin.

The warmth increased as Jim devoted several minutes to thickening the lines of the flower, coloring in the tips of each petal with slow, quiet precision.  Spock's hand was tingling with sensation; the light, teasing feel of the applicator dragging over his palm was setting off a number of pleasure centers in his brain and he resisted the urge to squirm.

He must not have been succeeding to the degree he had thought, because Jim looked up at him with a wicked gleam in his eyes.  "Starting to understand now, I take it."

Wanting to argue the matter, wanting to protest the wanton sensuality of what was taking place and the imbalance of attention paid to Spock's pleasure as opposed to Jim's, Spock opened his mouth to respond.  Before he could say a word, Jim had already returned to his work; he painted several long, angular lines emanating from the flower petals, emphasizing their sharp definition with small dots and flourishes over the design.  "Yes," Spock choked out instead, either as an answer to the question or as encouragement - he wasn't sure himself.

"I knew you'd enjoy this," Jim murmured, finishing with the drawing on Spock's palm and starting to focus on his fingertips instead, establishing a boundary line at the first joint of each finger and using the paste to fill them in with solid color rather than with a design.  "It's called mehndi.  I saw Ensign Devi doing it to Chapel in the Mess Hall a few days ago.  She showed me how to do it and lent me the supplies to give it a try myself."  It was difficult to concentrate on the explanation when the applicator tip was moving in steady circles around the whorls of Spock's fingers.  He couldn't control his squirming then, wishing he had not chosen to sit cross-legged on the floor; the evidence of his arousal was making itself known, the sheath beginning to reveal his erection, and the way he was sitting made it impossible to hide it from Jim.  His other hand flexed against the floor mat as he resisted the urge to touch himself.

"Traditionally it's been a bridal thing," Jim continued his lecture, focusing on the pad of Spock's middle finger and either not paying attention to Spock's reaction or choosing to ignore it for the time being.  "Women got their hands painted before their weddings.  But it's also been linked to warrior cultures, painting their hands to celebrate a victory.  I thought you'd appreciate that, given Vulcan's history of mixing warrior culture with your bonding ceremonies."  The word t'hy'la thrummed through Spock's veins where their hands touched, the deep understanding of the word passing from Jim to Spock rather than the reverse.  "Add that to Vulcan hand sensitivity and I figured you'd love this."

Spock tried to keep up with the conversation, which was difficult when a fair percentage of his brain was focused entirely on the warmth of the paste, the dampness of it on his skin, the way the applicator teased over his fingers.  He hoped his voice didn't betray him when he responded.  "Am I to understand, then, that the paste acts as a kind of stain?"

Jim glanced up, taking in Spock's even, controlled expression and then sweeping over the rest of his body, lingering too long between his legs.  "Mhm," he murmured, and Spock forgave his smugness due to the way he was drawing a long, sensuous line down the length of his middle finger.  He failed to suppress the shudder fully, shifting fitfully on the floor.  "Won't be much to look at when we first take off the paste, but it'll get almost as dark as a tattoo when it sets.  It fades after awhile, though.  Couple weeks, I think."  Jim's speech was starting to falter a little, his focus divided between the design he was painting over Spock's hand and the reactions it was producing in his bondmate.

Spock's fingers twitched faintly, which would have ruined the preciseness of the design had Jim not been filling in another of his fingertips at the time.  "Do you intend to devote a significant amount of time to finishing your work?" Spock asked, proud of himself for not panting his way through the question.

Jim's focused expression took on an evil bent.  Instead of answering, he maneuvered Spock's wrist until his palm was inches from Jim's face.  Before he could inquire as to the purpose of the manhandling, Jim opened his mouth and blew a cool breath over his hand.

He had done it hundreds of times before and it was always a pleasant shock to his senses.  But the sensations were magnified by the paste covering his palm in elegant lines and solid layers over his fingertips.  Jim's exhalation breathed sensual fire over the still-wet design, and Spock lost total control for an exhilarating - terrifying - moment, moaning unreservedly for the space of a few heartbeats before he realized what he was doing.

"Go ahead," Jim murmured, his breath still tickling over the damp lines on his palm.  "React, love.  Moan if you want.  And if you're going to touch yourself, better do it now.  Because I'll be done with this hand in a minute and then I'll be drawing on the other one.  And since the paste takes a few hours to dry, you won't be able to use either of your hands at that point."

Spock hadn't realized that he'd wrapped his free hand around his cock until Jim spoke, and he gave another, quieter moan at finally getting some friction.  But it wasn't quite what he wanted so he fought for the control to remove his hand, reaching out and digging his fingers into Jim's thigh instead.  "I will wait," he rasped.

That earned him a raised eyebrow.  "You sure?"

He used the skin-to-skin contact to project an image of Jim with his hands roaming over Spock's body, allowed Jim to sense the pleasure Spock took in watching Jim touch and explore and own him, his preference for Jim's attention over a more immediate release.  "I am sure."

Jim's gaze faltered, his fingers pausing in their intricate work over Spock's hand.  Spock sensed the temptation to simply throw the applicator aside and pin him to the floor, forgoing his initial plans in favor of letting his libido run wild.  He sensed too what a struggle it was for Jim to reign in that temptation, watched him shake his head as if to clear it.  He finished his work on Spock's pinkie finger, pressing a kiss to his wrist and letting his tongue linger over the vein there.  "Next," he said, and his voice was all gravel and desire.

Spock shuddered again as he offered his free hand to Jim, letting the finished one fall to the floor.  Jim wasted no time in drawing over his palm, apparently just as impatient to finish as Spock was.  He wasn't doing intricate designs this time, wasn't even free-handing a random drawing.  Spock shivered as he felt a series of concentric circles being drawn outward from the middle of his hand, trying to shake some of the heavy want taking over his system so he could concentrate on what Jim was doing.

He let out a muffled, incoherent sound when he recognized the symbol in his palm: it was the Vulcan character for 'bondmate.'  He watched in fascination as Jim continued to write on him in his native language: 'beloved' scrawled over his thumb, his clan name written on his forefinger, his given name on his middle finger, an approximation of Jim's name on his ring finger.  By the time Jim was attempting to finish 't'hy'la' on his pinkie finger, Spock could no longer control himself.  He interrupted him before he could put the final flourishes on the character, unfolding his legs and rising on his knees in order to press his face forward for a kiss.  Jim's mouth opened under his, his tongue thrusting forward as if to devour him.

Spock moved to delve his fingers into Jim's hair, then stopped himself before he ruined the designs on his hands.  He lifted his fingers to touch them to Jim's temple, but stopped himself again.  He could not press his palm over Jim's chest to gauge the slow, steady heartbeat.  He could not make a fist around Jim's cock and stroke him to full hardness.  He was effectively bound without ever being tied.  He mewled his frustration into Jim's mouth.

He felt slick, plush lips curve in a smile under his, breaking the kiss and breathing hard into his ear.  "You didn't like being tied down when we tried it awhile back.  So I found another way to make you keep your hands to yourself."  As he spoke, Jim trailed his fingers along Spock's collarbone, down his arms, teasing at the hypersensitive skin of his wrists and scraping his nails lightly between his knuckles, all the while avoiding the slowly drying paste. 

Spock could not prevent another helpless moan from escaping him.  "Jim," he whispered, his hips jutting forward in a desperate search for friction.  "Jim, please..."

He felt more than saw the wild grin taking over Jim's face, felt the way it pressed into his ear before cool, calloused hands pushed him to sprawl over the floor, his legs tangling awkwardly beneath him before he got his bearings and spread them in invitation.  Jim stopped teasing him, fitting his hands to the jut of Spock's hipbones and swallowing down his cock.  Spock arched into the contact, feet scrabbling for better purchase on the floor as Jim's dragged his tongue over him, bathing him in saliva before fitting his lips over him again.  Spock ached to reach out for him, fist hands in his hair, dig nails into his back, his moans taking on a high keening quality when he was prevented from doing so. 

Jim took pity on him, using all his upper body strength to pin him to the floor, hollowing his cheeks and sucking him down to the base.  Spock had no defense for that, no way to keep himself from hurtling over the edge.  Between the long buildup of Jim playing with his hands and the unstoppable force of his mouth where Spock wanted it most, he was gone, releasing himself in long spurts down Jim's throat, reigning in the feral cry he wanted to make in favor of a quieter groan.  His body shook from the force of the orgasm Jim had wrenched from him, and Spock once again wished that he could reach for Jim, touch him in some way.

Jim must have sensed that desire through the muted link between them.  He let Spock fall from his mouth, stretching over him with his arms folded over Spock's chest, his chin resting on top of his folded hands.  "The henna was a success, I take it?" he grinned cheekily up at him.

Having Jim's body covering his own was better than not being able to touch him at all, but Spock's hands still flailed uselessly for a moment before he let them rest, palms up, at his sides.  "The physical results were satisfactory," he allowed, the slight hitching of his breath between words betraying how much he had truly enjoyed it.  "However, I find the inability to touch you most inconvenient, especially given that you have not yet found your own release."

Jim's grin just got wider, if that were even possible, ducking his head to press a kiss between Spock's pectorals.  "Ah, but therein lies your second challenge of the evening."

Spock raised an eyebrow.  "I was not aware that a first challenge had been issued."

"The first challenge was getting you to let me paint your hands.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be too much sensation, or not enough, or if you'd even enjoy it at all.  I know you like to have your hands touched but I wasn't sure how you'd react to having something wet all over them."

"I assume you have collected enough data to be confident about the results?"

Jim chuckled, crawling forward to lay another kiss over his Adam's apple.  "Wouldn't hurt to try the experiment again sometime in the future, but it'll do for now."

"Very well."  Spock tilted his head to the side allowing for better access to his neck and hoping that Jim would take the hint and pay a little attention to his ears as well.  "What, then, is your second challenge?"

Jim took his time answering that one, dragging his tongue over the arched cords of Spock's neck and indulging him by nuzzling against the shell of his ear, scraping his teeth lightly over the point before whispering into it: "Think you can screw me into the floor without using your hands?"

As a Vulcan, Spock was capable of performing dozens of calculations within the space of a second.  True to his upbringing, his brain engaged in any number of possible solutions to Jim's challenge, imagining Jim on his back, on his front, on hands and knees, bent over the bed...

"Consider your challenge accepted," Spock said, allowing himself the tiniest of smiles.

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