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"Dr. McCoy. If I may make an inquiry of you?"

"Oh? And what could a lowly human doctor possibly help a Vulcan with?"

"I have an inquiry about the Captain."

"Well of course you do."

"It has not escaped my attention that since we returned from Sarpeidon yesterday, he appears to have been avoiding me."

"You don't say."

"You do not seem surprised."

"That's because I'm not."

"You were aware of his behavior already?"

"No. But it doesn't surprise me."

"I confess I am surprised. I do not understand why Jim would avoid my presence."


"Negative. And I...do not wish for the situation to continue."

"You mean you miss him and you want to know what you did wrong so you can grovel for forgiveness and make up?"

"I hardly think - "

"Here the thing, Spock. How would you feel - "

"You are aware that Vulcans do not - "

"How would you feel if you were trapped in a prison somewhere, about to be burned as a witch, and instead of looking for you, or worrying about you, or trying to get back to you, Jim wrote you off as a lost cause and decided to screw some girl he'd just met?"

"I - "

"And then Jim decided that he'd rather stay and screw that girl he'd just met instead of coming home? And he only begrudgingly came back to you because I couldn't have come back without him?"

Spock was quiet for several moments. "I see," he finally said. "Perhaps I should talk to him."

"You bet your pointy ears you should," McCoy said, and took another sip of his drink. 



Kirk, startled, looked up from his desk as the doors to his quarters swished opened and his first officer strode confidently in. Spock had long ago decided that announcing his presence was unnecessary, and that if he wished to enter Kirk's quarters, he was going to. 

Kirk normally found it endearing and welcome, but at the moment he wanted to run and hide. "Mr. Spock," he said carefully. "What can I do for you?"

"Do you believe that I preferred Zarabeth's company to yours?"

Kirk froze. "That's...direct."

"It would be illogical to delay our necessary conversation with unnecessary words. You believe that I would have preferred to remain on Sarpeidon with Zarabeth and as a result, have avoided being alone in my presence since we left Sarpeidon yesterday."

He'd noticed? Kirk tried to be evasive. "I haven't exactly avoided - "

"You have. I do not wish for the situation to continue in such manner. I wish to resolve the matter immediately so that we may resume normal relations."

The words were delivered impassively, but Kirk caught the barest hint of upset beneath Spock's statement. Kirk felt a moment of guilt when he realized that not only had Spock noticed that Kirk was avoiding him, Spock was unhappy about it and had come to fix things. 

He should have known. Spock didn't use emotional words and phrases like I miss you, but Kirk knew Spock wasn't made of stone. Like a cat who seems not to care if you leave, only to curl up in your lap the instant you return home, Spock always stuck close to Kirk after being reunited, even if their separation had been brief. 

Kirk knew this about Spock. And he knew Spock didn't like being denied their usual post-mission closeness. He sighed, realizing Spock wasn't going to leave without some kind of explanation. "Bones said Zarabeth was a beautiful woman." 

"She was. How is that relevant?"

Kirk ignored the painful sensation Spock's words caused in his chest. He forced a smile, and said lightly, "Is it so odd that I might believe that my very male friend would prefer the company of a beautiful woman to my own?"  

There was the barest hint of a challenge in his voice. They'd done this dance for three years. Flirted with each other, but slept with women. Kirk clung to the fact that no matter how enticing or beautiful the woman, at the end of the day they were back on board the Enterprise. Together. Kirk had really thought they'd always choose each other. 

Then Bones had told him what happened with Spock and Zarabeth.

"Captain," Spock said seriously. Warningly. "I was not myself on that planet."

And didn't that just make it hurt all the more? Kirk's smile became tight. "I know, Mr. Spock. Stripped of your logic and emotional control, you tried to choose Zarabeth over - " Kirk stopped himself from saying me just in time. "Over returning to the Enterprise," he said instead. "Like you did with Layla Kalomi."

The instant he'd mentioned Layla, Kirk wanted to take it back. Could he be more obvious? There was no way Spock hadn't noticed his jealousy on Omicron Ceti III. Why not throw his bleeding heart at Spock's feet while he was at it?

But Spock's eyes only narrowed. He actually looked slightly angry. "I ask you again: how is this relevant?"

Not a denial. Kirk closed his eyes, knowing Spock had no idea how much his words had hurt. "I'm just being stupidly human right now, Spock," he said bitterly. "Wishfully hoping that you stay on as my First Officer for more than just logical reasons."

"You believe that my desire for Zarabeth and Layla was more genuine than my desire to remain on the Enterprise?" Spock sounded incredulous. "Because such desire manifested itself through emotion without logic?"

"Spock," Kirk said, more heatedly than he'd intended. "You just as good as admitted it!" He stood, putting his hands on the desk and leaning forward. "Every time your logic is stripped from you, you try to leave m - the Enterprise," he said, swallowing thickly. "So I can only surmise that beneath your logic, you'd truly rather be with someo - somewhere else."

"By your reasoning, Captain," and only Spock could make Kirk's formal title sound like a threat, "I should be offended that when you were split into two beings, you tried to engage Yeomand Rand in relations instead of me."

"What?" Kirk sputtered, shocked. "How can you even say that? It's completely different!"

"It is not," Spock said calmly. There was a flash in his eyes. "When you were split, your baser emotions were encompassed by your darker half. That half, composed of emotion without reason, did not come seeking me. Shall I then believe that in your truest emotional state, you would choose Yeoman Rand to the exclusion of myself?"

Kirk's mouth opened, and then snapped shut. Then opened again. "Of course not - "

"Or perhaps I should conclude that you preferred your marriage to Miramawnee to our...friendship." 

Kirk had to swallow. The old adage, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, came rushing back to him. Because Spock may have slept with Zarabeth, but Kirk had once married someone else. Whatever this not-relationship was they had with each other, Kirk had given Spock just as many reasons to get jealous as Spock had given him. Kirk had just always assumed that Vulcans didn't get jealous. 

Looking at Spock's still narrowed eyed, Kirk realized that it was possible he'd assumed wrong. "It was different," he said tightly. "I had amnesia."  

"My point exactly." Spock's voice was low, and almost belligerent. "You had none of your thoughts or memories to distract you from your pure emotions. Perhaps I should believe that in your state of amnesia, you manifested your truest self. And that your truest self preferred Mira - "

"No, Spock, that's not true," Kirk interrupted fervently, unwilling to let Spock believe, even for a second, that there was someone, anyone else in the universe he would choose over Spock. "Both of those times, I wasn't me."

"Yet you believe I was." Kirk heard the note of accusation in Spock's voice loud and clear. "You believe that because I was compromised - whether by spores or my own regressed, animalistic biology - that those emotional states were a more accurate representation of my true self than the being who stands before you right now."

Kirk watched as his carefully constructed conclusions about Spock came crashing down. "I - "

"In Sarpeidon's Ice Age, my very basest lusts took control. It was not me. I would never have abandoned my search for you. I did not truly desire Zarabeth and to leave the Enterpriseanymore than I truly desired to murder Dr. McCoy. And I hope you do not believe that I secretly wish to see our good doctor dead."

"Of course not - "

"And Captain," and here Spock pinned him with such an intense look that Kirk was momentarily frozen in place, "it may interest you to know that had it been you who had joined me in that Ice Age, instead of Dr. McCoy...I would not have noticed Zarabeth."

Kirk went very, unnaturally still.

A loaded silence fell, as Kirk tried to process exactly what Spock might have just admitted in his determination to make Kirk understand. "That's - " Kirk stuttered. "You - are you saying - are you saying you want - ?" 

He couldn't find the words. Spock's simple statement - its potential implications - could Spock possibly mean that he wanted - 

Spock folded his arms across his chest defensively. "I trust I have dispelled your misapprehensions sufficiently?"

Still stunned, Kirk could only nod. 

"Then we may resume our mutual companionship?"

Kirk could not miss the hopefulness that colored Spock's voice. Spock had missed him. Kirk would deny it to the death - but he kind of melted. "Of course, Mr. Spock."

He'd let Spock's previous bombshell go without demanding an explanation.  
For now. 

"Excellent." Spock sounded pleased. He sat himself in the other chair at the desk, across from Kirk, and pulled the chessboard between them. "I believe it is my turn to play White. I will begin."

Kirk grinned and took his own seat.

Zarabeth might have had Spock yesterday. 

But he had Spock's tomorrows.





Beautiful pictures created for this story by T'racionn on livejournal: No one over Spock and Spock's tomorrows
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