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Originally posted in the Side by Side #2 ezine, November 2001
Many thanks to D’Anne for editing.

The laboratory, any laboratory, had always been a refuge for Spock. When he had been grappling with the discontent that had finally caused him to leave Vulcan, he had buried himself in various scientific facilities during his late adolescent years. Later, as he attempted to adjust to life in a closed shipboard environment with too many humans, he had often preferred the precision of scientific research within four walls to the uncertain vagaries of social intercourse with an inexplicable species.

He was not retreating tonight, Spock told himself. Perhaps a few years previously that would have been the case, but he had grown and was more comfortable with himself since Kirk had taken command of the Enterprise. He would allow himself to examine the ramifications of his encounter with his captain later in the evening; indeed, he had every wish to assimilate what had happened. Jim, with a previously unsuspected sexuality...there was much to contemplate. He had not gone from the enlightening interview with Jim to biology lab four because he wished to forget the words Jim had said, or the look in his soft eyes, or the touch of his lips--for he wished to remember it all--but because Lieutenant Frank had requested his assistance. Duty guided his steps away from the observation deck and towards the lab. The organism--if that indeed was the correct term for it--from Mystic IIIA had so far continued to defy their analysis.

Spock settled on a high stool before his favored lab bench in the corner of the brightly-lit room and quietly commanded, "Microscope, view file Mystic three A nine C." Frank glanced at him but continued with his slide preparation without a word. The lieutenant, an older man of laconic habits and an expanding girth that barely met the Starfleet physical fitness requirements, was a congenial working companion for a Vulcan. The other projects in the bio section during late beta shift were being pursued in lab number one, so they were alone with the silence and their thoughts.

Spock was familiar with the habit of daydreaming displayed by some humans, especially younger ones, when they should have been attending to their work. Rarely had he been so tempted to indulge himself; it would have been easy to wonder what would have happened if he had said “Yes” to Jim that night. The possibilities were intriguing.

But he had not said “Yes,” he had said “No.” Nevertheless, Kirk’s words and demeanor had not fooled Spock, for he was much too familiar with his captain to conclude that Kirk had actually abandoned his campaign to enlist Spock as an intimate partner. But he had allowed Spock to leave the OD with his dignity intact, surely knowing that Spock would contemplate what had happened.

But not in bio lab four. With a furrowed brow at his almost-lapse, Spock shifted forward and concentrated all his attention on the steam of numbers the boson microscope projected on the screen. The Mystic sampling was challenging. It was possible that the compound would eventually reveal itself as one of those irregular forms that hovered between life and non-life, similar to a virus. A close examination of the DNA strands and other structures within the outer boundary layer would provide the answer, but that layer was deceptively strong and greatly shielded the genetic code that hoarded the truth. Frank, an accomplished research scientist with excellent practical lab skills, had been working for more than a week simply on getting a look at what lay hidden within before he had asked for his superior's help.

"Computer, display latest sampling results."

The work Frank had accomplished during the past hour--an hour that Spock had spent in intimate communication with his captain in privacy--flashed onto the screen. Apparently the lieutenant was pursuing the filtration technique Spock had suggested the day before, but the results were at best inconclusive.

He glanced over at the scientist in his white lab coat. Frank was one of the few crew members involved in a formal sexual union; he was married to a lieutenant who supervised the Enterprise's hydroponics unit. Occasionally Spock had been able to detect signs of recent sexual activity when he and Frank worked together: swollen lips, a mark upon the man's neck, a certain look in his eyes linked unmistakably to physical satisfaction.

The air in lab number four sometimes lacked the appropriate ambient humidity. Spock licked his lower lip. No such evidence would be obvious on his body; no one who looked could know that his captain had kissed him.

And that was an inappropriate thought for his current location. Surprised at himself, Spock sat upright. His normally well-ordered thoughts were flowing like water over a jumble of rocks: in all directions. An application of discipline should suffice to return him to the serene purity of logical thought.

His fingers targeted the special keyboard he had made himself; Spock was able to type complex mathematical functions and commands far more quickly and efficiently than he could say them aloud. Sample Mystic IIIA might be amenable to a certain manipulation. . . .

Three hours later Spock had made no more inroads on the mystery of the specimen than the lieutenant had, but he had successfully held any further thoughts of Jim in the starlight of the observation deck at bay. There was satisfaction because his self-control had held. But Lieutenant Frank said, “Good night, sir,” the lab would be needed for another project soon, and Spock felt the fingers of fatigue plucking at his body. It would be logical to rest.

The moment he stepped into his cabin he released his hold on his thoughts. His quarters were quiet, neat, orderly. They almost always were, because Spock seldom had visitors who dared to invade his sanctuary. Lately, Jim. But otherwise, no one. He had always told himself that he preferred it that way. If he and Jim were to join, there would be no solitude, no peace on awakening alone in his bed in the mornings, rather he would be forced to deal with the tumult of Jim’s thoughts, his vigor and enthusiasm. Unless he could convince Kirk that they should part after sexual activity?

He considered whether such a separation would be desirable or not as he moved through his office towards the bathroom. It was necessary for him to be clean before he reclined for slumber; it was one of Spock’s peculiarities that he could not sleep well when his body was even slightly soiled. So he checked the privacy light, walked into the bathroom, efficiently and impersonally stripped his clothing from his body, turned to open the shower door. . . .

The sight of his naked body in the mirror stopped him, arm outstretched. Spock seldom regarded his own image beyond what was required for daily grooming. He looked but did not really see. It was a deliberate maneuver, designed to help him focus on what was truly important. Physical appearance, Surak had taught, was ephemeral and incidental to the true being. The young adolescent Spock had also learned that ignoring the physical helped him cope with hormonal surges he was sure other Vulcan boys, full-blooded and not hybrid constructs, did not experience.

Yet Jim had said he wished for sexual congress with this body that Spock owned. The implication, unstated, was that Jim found his body, if not attractive, at least acceptable for physical union. And Jim had always been attracted to very beautiful women.

Spock examined himself. Tall, thin, pale-skinned compared to Jim’s burnished tan. Deceptively-muscled. Vulcan muscles tended to be flat and not bunched as Jim’s were.

He allowed his vision to linger on his genitals. Simple curiosity had led him to examine the configuration and size of other men. Spock knew that compared to most human males, his penis in a quiescent state was relatively small. Perhaps two inches in length, although that was, he believed, quite normal for Vulcanoids. His sex did expand considerably during arousal, however. He had a hazy memory of Zarabeth praising his length. At the time, he recalled that pride had suffused him; from a distance, such an emotion seemed illogical. Why be proud of that which nature alone had endowed? His penis was such a size and no other.

If he had said “Yes” to Kirk, and if they were to share the shore leave Kirk had hoped to obtain for his weary crew on Canabria, and if on that leave he were to also share his captain’s bed--what would Jim say about the size and configuration of his genitals?

He could not imagine words such as Zarabeth had uttered on his captain’s lips; the thought was almost absurd. But then, Spock had not shared sexual intimacy with any human males, and he was unsure what transformation in behavior might occur during arousal. There was a certain loss of dignity during intercourse; Spock did not wish to see Jim undignified. The thought made him uneasy.

Spock turned away from both his uncomfortable emotion and the image of the lanky Vulcan in the mirror to step into the shower stall. Sonics were almost as efficient as a water shower and did not use that precious resource; Spock was accustomed to the hum efficiently filling the small space as he lifted his arms, shifted his legs, bent over to expose his back and buttocks, cleansing accomplished without touching his own skin.

If he were to indulge in a regular sexual relationship with anyone, he would be forced to grow accustomed to someone touching him. Spock straightened and, rather than palm the sonic release mechanism, he tentatively pressed splayed fingers against his chest, just under his neck. He held them there and assessed: pressure of skin against skin, movement as he inhaled. He flexed his fingers, moved them down to experience the tickle of masculine body hair against his palm. He remembered how Leila had run her fingers again and again through his chest hair, had seemed delighted by it. Such an expression appeared incomprehensible from the distance of time that separated him from Omicron Ceti III. Why should a secondary sex characteristic have excited her so?

Jim, he knew, had no chest hair. Spock tilted his head in the shower stall, the sonics humming all about him, and considered: was that a point in his captain’s favor or not?

And with a small shock he realized that he was seriously considering Kirk’s proposal.

One minute and fifteen seconds later Spock was clad in long-sleeved navy blue Starfleet pajamas and in bed. He pulled the Starfleet issue coverlet over his chest and contemplated the darkened ceiling.

Was Jim’s assessment of their relationship correct while Spock’s perceptions were flawed? He did not trust himself on this uncertain ground. Perhaps the genuine affection that bound him to Kirk--he had begun to call the emotion “affection” months ago, rationalizing that it was an acceptable word to use between shipmates--was something more, as Jim asserted. Perhaps the profound gratitude he had often wished he could express to his human friend--first real friend, brother, and companion in all things of importance--was instead an acceptable manifestation of his hesitant sexuality. It was possible. Perhaps the honest admiration for his captain that he guarded in his heart and so seldom displayed was actually a reflection of the emotion humans craved above all others, and which Jim was asking from him.

If Jim were correct, then at least there existed the emotional basis that a human would find necessary for the type of relationship that appeared to be Kirk’s goal. All the way to that, Kirk had said, implying a permanent, publicly acknowledged social contract. Marriage. Or a bond.

Abruptly, Spock shifted onto his side as a pang of longing shot through his chest. To share the mind joining with a best friend. To be comfortable with sex and sexuality because your partner was not a stranger who tolerated you and your needs but a beloved companion who desired you in turn. He had been away from Vulcan for too long, for the sterile bond offered by his clan held no allure. He wished. . . .

But there was still the question of physical compatibility. The kiss had not moved him.

Because you did not allow yourself to be moved a small voice accused.

Because my body does not reflect human sexuality he responded. And then another, more honest response: Other than the times when it has. He could not deny his experiences with Leila and Zarabeth. His mind and will might not have participated in those encounters, but his body most certainly had, and in a very human way.

How to accomplish what Kirk wanted from him? What he felt for Kirk ran deep, like a tumultuous underground stream, but it had never been tapped. He had never considered that his understated but very real regard--his emotions--might geyser up from their secret cavern.

An apt metaphor when contemplating sexual activity between two males. An ironic spark of amusement curved his lips in the darkness. Sexual activity between two males. . . . His amusement faded.

Two males could share the strongest bond of all, the Vulcan philosophers taught, because their minds must be superbly matched to bond at all. That bond would guide the two through pon farr, allowing them to share their minds to the deepest level possible. And with the joining of the mind would come the joining of the body.

With determination, Spock rolled onto his back. There was another way of solving the equation: repeat the experiment. Establish if his lack of response to the kiss--if your disturbed equilibrium is not a response, what is?--would be duplicated through other physical and emotional interactions with his captain.

Decided. He would attempt masturbation with Jim as focus. Tomorrow. Tonight was already too far advanced, and he would not wish to influence the results because of his fatigue.

Interesting. Already his genitals were lifting, filling in anticipation of an event at least twenty hours in the future. Severely, Spock initiated body controls that returned his vascular system to quiescence and, right before he applied the mind discipline that sent him into slumber, he thought: how very brave Jim is.

* * * * *

The whistle of the intercom calling for the first officer brought him upright in his bed with a rush. He swung his feet to the floor, processed the time--0437, he had been asleep for fewer than three hours--and slapped the intercom.

“Spock here.”

His captain’s image appeared on the screen, bare-chested, partly reclining as he leaned up on one elbow, and blinking the sleep from his lion eyes. He must have been calling from his bed in the cabin next door

“Good morning, Spock.”

Spock had no doubt at all that there was a purpose to this early morning summons and also no doubt that his captain’s state of undress was deliberate. Despite the amusement that surfaced just below his state of readiness to fulfill whatever task was about to be presented, Spock found himself examining the swell of the pectoral muscles and the rosebud nipples in a more deliberate way than he had ever looked at Kirk before. Nudity had never been an issue between them; partial nudity, with the man who wished to experience carnal relations with Spock stretched out upon his bed, the line of his black briefs barely showing over the casually placed sheet, was suddenly most definitely an issue.

Spock retrieved his gaze from south to north and responded to the greeting with a raised eyebrow. “This is earlier than your usual morning salutations, Captain.”

Kirk ran a hand across his chin and grinned tiredly. “Don’t I know it. I just heard from Delahoya on the bridge. We’ve got a distress signal from a personal cruiser. Sorry to wake you, but I want you on the scanners.”

“Of course. I will dress and report immediately.”

“Good. It’s handy that you already took a shower last night, isn’t it? You’ll make it before I will.”

Spock held Kirk’s steady, open gaze for a long moment, long enough for the silence to take on additional meaning. Kirk had been listening. Hours after he should have been asleep, Kirk had been awake and listening to the movements in their shared shower.

“Spock?” Kirk, suddenly serious, broke the silence. “Are you okay?”

“Very much so, Jim.” How easily he was able to bring back Kirk’s smile, the curved lips that had touched his.

“Good. I’ll see you on the bridge. Kirk out.”

If he and Kirk were t’hy’la, the call from the Delahoya would have awakened them together, entwined in the same bed, and Kirk would have reached for the intercom from the circle of Spock’s embrace. . . .

Kirk’s vitality might not, after all, be such a burden early in the morning.

Spock reached the bridge within five minutes. He relieved the gamma shift science officer and ran a quick calibration. Before he was finished, Kirk’s efficient presence emerged from the turbolift.

“Good work, Mister Petel,” Kirk told the comm officer as he examined the log recording. “Not everyone would have recognized that signal.”

The lieutenant straightened as he sat. So easily Kirk enslaved his officers and crew; Petel knew that Kirk would take the time and effort to insert a notation on his record for work well done. The man turned back to his board with renewed vigor, and Spock prepared to run his first scan.

It was a frustrating exercise. They pursued the faint trace of automated distress for hours. The signal was easily identified as generated by a Class II personal cruiser manufactured by Tricorn Industries. Spock pursed his lips at its inadequacy as it waxed and waned, was obscured by simple stellar radiation. A message came through from Starbase Six mid-morning that eight human males were on board, wealthy individuals traveling with a sporting purpose.

“Hunting selaphants?” Spock heard Sulu say behind him as he maintained his bent posture over the sensors. “I’m not sure I want to rescue these guys. Selaphants’re the closest animals we’ve found to elephants. They should be a protected species.”

“Lieutenant Sulu,” Kirk said from the center seat.

“Yes, sir.” Kirk’s comment had been unspoken yet had been understood.

Kirk ordered bridge personnel to take thirty minute breaks for lunch, calling up replacements so there was no interruption in the ship’s relentless pursuit. The captain, as was his habit under such circumstances, made do by consuming two protein bars and a cup of coffee while he stood by the engineering station.

“Sir,” Spock heard from the other side of the upper circle as he reached forward to delicately adjust a scanner control, “don’t you think Mister Spock would also like something to eat? We have the supplements for vegetarians.” It was the yeoman, a newly assigned young man not yet comfortable interacting with his senior officers.

“No,” came the captain’s voice. “Don’t bother Mister Spock. He prefers not to eat on the bridge.”

Very true.

An hour later the signal disappeared again, but this time nothing Spock could do reacquired it. Kirk came to talk to him; he perched on the railing that encircled the upper level with folded hands held calmly in his lap. It was a familiar pose, one he had assumed many times during myriad consultations. Spock swiveled in his chair to face him.

“What do you think?” Kirk quietly asked. “Have we been following a genuine signal or maybe a decoy? It wouldn’t be the first time smugglers have tried to get Starfleet out of their way.”

“Insufficient data to draw a conclusion,” Spock answered. “The signature appears to be genuine to an eighty-six percent probability.”

“Error margin?” Kirk asked evenly.

“Large. Five point seven percent.”

“Hmmm. And your opinion, Mister Spock?”

“Continue to seek the signal for the next three hours.”

“Three hours,” Kirk mused. “Not so very long a time if they’re really in trouble. If I were in a small craft with engine trouble, maybe hit by a stray asteroid, I think I’d want somebody searching for me to be more persistent.”

“Undoubtedly. Which is why the individuals aboard the August Moon are most fortunate it is the Enterprise that detected their distress. Her captain is known as a most persistent person.”

Ready amusement sprang to Kirk’s eyes. “Good. I’m glad you realize that, Mister Spock.” Kirk pushed himself up from the rail and tugged his shirt down, suddenly all-business. “Were you going to try a Neuhauer analysis next?”

Spock nodded. “Although it will require a reconfiguration of the scanners. But a change in perspective might yield positive results.”

“Do it,” the captain ordered.

Forty-two minutes later Spock straightened from his post, turned to the center seat and announced, “Sensors have just detected a Class II cabin cruiser drifting in space a mere three parsecs away.”

Kirk shifted forward in the captain’s chair and lifted his intent face to the viewscreen. “Any life signs, Mister Spock?”

“Affirmative. Eight adult individuals, apparently in good health. No signs of exterior damage to the craft.”

“They’ll live to hunt another day,” Sulu muttered.

Naturally Kirk insisted on beaming aboard the derelict, and Spock followed soon afterwards to assist Scott in assessing the possibility for repairs. The cruiser had been piloted by one of the passengers, and though he held a registered license, he had not known enough not to run a warp conduit reconfiguration while the engines were engaged. The resultant damage to the conduit would take a major shipyard to repair.

“But can’t you take us anywhere closer to New Bangladesh? Our hunting lease is only for the next week, and it was damned expensive,” Spock heard one of the men complain to Kirk. He was retrieving the ship’s log in the small control center, and all eight sleekly-groomed, well-dressed men were gathered around Kirk in the entrance alcove.

“I’m sorry, Mister Tikkanen, the Enterprise is not a passenger ship. We’ve been ordered to take you to the closest registered Federation spaceport, and even that is out of our way. But I understand that Canabria is a beautiful planet. You’ll probably like it there.”

Spock sharply turned his head to regard the genial magician wearing the captain’s gold tunic. Canabria? With the Canabrian Islands where Kirk had hoped for leave for his weary crew? His determined captain’s conversation with Admiral Komack, conducted immediately after the ship had been boarded, had apparently obtained the long-desired permission for rest and relaxation.

“We’ll arrange for a private salvage firm to bring your ship to the planet of your choice, but we’ll be taking all of you with us. You’ll have three days to sample our hospitality before we get to the planet.” And with that Kirk herded the gentlemen to the back of the ship for transporting.

Spock regarded the communication controls before him. He was beginning to feel as if he were caught in a small but inexorable tide, gently and painlessly propelling him in one particular direction. Just as their passengers were being taken to Canabria, so too was he being taken to the Canabrian Islands, where Jim would ask him to share shore leave, accommodations, and more.

Patience, Spock counseled himself. Three days to test. . . .

He bent to his work with renewed vigor, anxious to return to the Enterprise.

An hour before midnight Spock wearily pushed himself back from the desk in his office. His report on the day’s activities was finally completed. He could easily have entered the data into the computer, but over the past few months he had fallen into the habit of bringing daily reports in hard copy directly to his captain. Often, welcome conversation followed, a time of ease and pleasure. He always felt welcome in Jim’s cabin.

There was no reason, Spock told himself, to discontinue that habit just because Jim had kissed him.

To Spock’s discomfort, Kirk was in consultation with Sulu when the door to the captain’s cabin opened in response to Spock’s buzz. The helmsman sat at half-attention to one side of the captain’s desk, but when he saw who stood in the doorway he immediately rose.

“Mister Spock, sir. Captain, I’ve taken enough of your evening. I think it’s time for me to go.”

Spock raised a restraining hand. “Lieutenant, there is no need for you to cut short your conversation with the captain. I will simply give him this report--”

“No, it’s all right. We were just finishing up anyway. Thanks for the drink, sir.”

“Any time, Hikaru.”

Kirk came around the desk and leaned against it as he watched the helmsman leave, then he smiled at Spock. “I was wondering if you’d come. I guess I haven’t scared you away after all.”

“There is no fear involved, Jim.” Not fear but a tightening anticipation that seemed to be centered low in his belly, a tight coil winding tighter.

“No?” Kirk quirked an eyebrow. “All right. What have you got for me there?” He took the report from Spock and without even glancing at it placed the paper behind him. “Want a drink? Sulu and I opened the white wine I bought last time at Twelve.”

“I do not believe so. I am somewhat fatigued, and alcohol does not usually contribute to my restful repose.”

“That’s right, booze makes you antsy.” Kirk stretched and yawned. “But a glass of wine makes me mellow. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.”

“Your rest period was interrupted last night, and our duty shift was tense.”

“But successful. I wish all our days ended this way.” Suddenly the fatigue left Kirk’s face, and he lifted his gaze to look meaningfully into Spock’s. “I wish all our days ended this way, you and me, together.”

Spock was not quite ready to agree with him, although twenty-four hours had given him time to assimilate the possibilities.

But he did not yet have enough data to know if it were possible. So he said, with a teasing lilt he hoped disguised the images running rampant through his mind, “You so seldom accept defeat, Jim.”

“Accurately access the situation,” Kirk said lightly. “Understand every aspect of it, not just the first and most obvious. That’s what they teach you in Command School. Spock. . .do you want to talk about it?”

Spock drew in an audible breath that he would have preferred to keep silent. “Yes--but not at this time. Perhaps in a few days?”

“You’ve got a date,” Kirk agreed. “In every meaning of the word. All right?”

Perhaps he should have resented Kirk’s forthright attitude, his continued pushing, the awareness of possibilities that Kirk had made obvious between them all day long. But Spock could not find any manifestation of resentment within him. For perhaps Kirk had not pushed so much as he had seen with newly opened eyes.

“Affirmative. We have a date.” The word sounded strange and amusing on his lips, and since he saw the same amusement spring for the same reason to Kirk’s eyes, Spock allowed himself a small smile.

Kirk breathed in with a sharp little hitch, and Spock realized, with some amazement, that his small display had created genuine desire in his captain.

Kirk clapped one arm on his shoulder and gave a small half-grimace, half-grin. He shook his head ruefully. “God, Spock, you don’t know what you do to me.”

“On the contrary,” Spock asserted, “I do. I am inexperienced but not na´ve.”

“Oh?” Kirk bantered, and he gave Spock’s shoulder a small shake. “Then you know that if you don’t get out of here right now, I’m going to do something that I promised myself I wouldn’t do again. At least, not until you want me to.”

“You refer to the kiss we shared yesterday.”

“That’s right.” Kirk lifted his arm away from Spock’s shoulder, though Spock was aware it would have been easy--and perhaps desired?--for Kirk to have transformed the small motion into a caress. “Good-night, Mister Spock.”

Such affection in the formal term. Had it always been there? “Good-night, Captain.”

* * * * *

Slowly sliding into bed, expanding his perceptions, allowing his skin to register the softness of the sheet against his buttocks, his thighs. Pushing the sheet and blanket down to the floor, letting the warm air from the ventilation system flow over him as he lay back.

A deep breath. It was late, he was tired, it was not a good time to conduct this experiment, but he could not sleep with heavy anticipation residing within him. Shadows on the ceiling, in the corners of the room, another shadow in his mind: Jim. Standing next to the bed, looking down at him, at his exposed body. . . .

A reflex action: he jerked his left leg up to hide his genitals from this phantom lover. No. Not a time to hide.

Slowly Spock lowered his leg, felt a pulse of blood to his penis. He looked down at it in the dimness. Barely visible, but without touching himself he knew what was happening. Arousal. Allowed a few times before when he was young and curious about the limits of his hybrid body. Experienced only twice before with other living beings. Women. Now, arousal for and because of his captain.

So, this at least was possible.

Fingers on his chest, less-than-calmly sliding them down to his nipples. A slow swirl of one finger pad against his left areole. Would it be the same as he remembered when Zarabeth had caressed him here? A tingling, a softness mutating into the hard tip of his nipple coming erect. A sensation that caused his lips to part with a quiet sigh. Pleasure. Physical pleasure being born beneath his hands.

Yes, he was still sensitive there.

Restlessly, he moved his legs against the sheet, felt his penis stretching. Jim in the shadows still watching. Would Jim’s nipples be sensitive as well? If they became lovers, Jim would come to this bed--this bed; the immediacy of it made him shiver--and lay down next to him. Would Spock have the courage to slide his fingers--like this--down his captain’s hairless chest to give Jim pleasure?

Or perhaps. . . . Leila had urged him to use his mouth. He remembered the soft mound of her breast in his palm, the heft of it, uninhibited cries as he’d suckled on her breast. It occurred to him: such sucking could be used in foreplay between two males as well. Would Jim want that? Would he want to do that to Spock? Two males. What was appropriate?

He wet a finger in his mouth and returned it immediately to swirl over his anxious nipple. Yes. He wanted to do that to Jim. Hear the sounds he would make as inhibitions fled, as the roles they carried with them through the day were shed with their clothing.

Jim, naked in this bed, with his head against this same pillow. Quickly Spock turned his head, as if to catch the phantom who might some day be there, so close. Only shadows for now.

A whisper remembrance of what Jim had said to him on the Observation Deck: I want to kiss you, Spock. Let me kiss you.

What else might Jim say to him as they attempted to initiate intimate congress?

Touch yourself, the voice from the shadows commanded

Again, Spock shivered, but before he could consciously think of refusing his hand was on his penis.

“Ahhhh.” Not intended, that sound, but it was forced from his lips as his fingers wrapped around his so-sensitive member. He had remembered and not-remembered at the same time; how could such sharp, singing delight be accurately stored in the mind when it was so much a sensation of the body?

Go on, Kirk whispered in his ear--when had that cool human body turned to press against his side?--I want you to enjoy this. I only want to give you happiness and pleasure.

Even as he tightened his grip and tried a less-than measured stroke, Spock wondered how accurate his representation of his captain was. Is this what Jim really would say?

Spock knew what his body was saying. More!

He knew how to do this. The area directly under the head of his penis was the most sensitive, as well as the much smaller space between his ridges, and he knew the pumping motion that would provide the most stimulation, the flick of his thumb to add that extra thrill. That had apparently been impressed on him from his adolescent experimentation, for he fell into the rhythm without thought and with growing enthusiasm.

“Hah. Hah,” he panted. His penis was so sensitized, he could feel the pressure of each finger, the difference between the upward and downward motions, and he could dimly remember how satisfying it had been to sink into a moist vagina, the pressure of it around him, its enfolding softness that was the source of such gratification. That’s what he wanted, that same sensation. . . .

Not here. Here there was just his hand. His other hand, down now to touch his testicles, which were descended fully in his out-of-season excitement. But no woman, no vagina, just some day Jim next to him, providing manual excitation. . . .


. . .or perhaps Jim would be further down on the mattress, and his mouth would provide. . . .

“Uh! Uh!!”

. . .or Jim would be on top of him and Spock’s legs would be up over his captain’s shoulders, he would feel Jim’s organ sliding into his anal cavity, and his captain’s face would be alive with delight and lust and the way he always looked at Spock with such affection. . . .

“Uh! Uh!”

. . .or instead Spock would be on top of his captain, and he would be sliding not into the warmth of a woman he barely knew, but he would push his aching, jerking penis into Jim’s body, into Jim who wanted to kiss him, into Jim whom he loved, who even now was arching beneath him and crying out his name. . . .

“Uh! Uh! Uh!”

It took a full five minutes before Spock’s breathing returned to normal. He lay still and did not even remove his grip from his softening penis. The stickiness of his emission barely wet his fingers; Vulcan bodies conserved fluid in all ways.

He closed his eyes against the emotion that was ballooning inside. Not triumph at the successful results from his experiment. Instead, he felt an empty, aching, familiar sensation that had kept him company through so many long years of his life. He could trace it all the way from the first realization that other Vulcan children did not care to spend time with him, to those hard days at Starfleet Academy trying to adjust to the ways of the humans, to the intense years under Captain Pike where he had learned so much--except how to like himself. Through all those times loneliness had paced his hours. Until Jim Kirk had taken command.

Jim wasn’t here now. But he could be. They could have shared this and added so much more. Not just communion of the body. Spock wanted Jim with him here, now. After the eruption of the body, it was his soul that yearned for a companion in the quiet of the darkness. Not only when he awakened in the morning--Jim’s dynamic personality, glistening in a new day, infinitely desirable--but in the nighttime, when day was done and they could find ease and comfort with one another. And after they had held one another, they would drift into slumber.

Whispered aloud, though no one was there to hear. “I want you, Jim. I want you in all ways.”

Experiment concluded.

* * * * *

Three days later Spock watched as Lieutenant Kyle operated the transporter controls that sent eight disgruntled sportsmen to the Federation envoy on Canabria. Kirk stood beside the console, a sarcastic smile fixed to his face until the last atom had disappeared. Then he turned to his first officer with a vigorous swing of his arms that barely contained the happiness so obviously ready to burst from him.

“Are you ready for some shore leave, Mister Spock?”

“Affirmative, Captain.”

They positioned their luggage on the pads to the side, took their places on their accustomed spots. Before Kyle could engage the controls, Kirk softly said, just for Spock’s ears, “You’ll tell me why you changed your mind about this leave, won’t you?”

Spock smiled his sedate smile, then registered Jim’s delight in it. He would tell Jim everything: there would be no secrets between them. But somehow he did not think there would be much time for speech when they materialized in their isolated cabin on Canabria’s seashore. The first thing he intended to do when he felt his body again was turn to his captain and kiss him.

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