It was a few days ‘til Christmas. The Enterprise was in space-dock being repaired after sustaining some heavy damage in the surprise attack near the Neutral Zone. They’d only been out in space for a few months. Back out there, that was. Jim was still eternally grateful that on this second five-year mission the name of her captain was ‘Kirk’… and that of her first officer ‘Spock’.
He’d changed. It had all started with V’Ger.
Jim looked out of the small log cabin's window. Outside, the Rockies were covered in a thick blanket of snow, the lower branches of most trees weighed down so low that they touched the ground.
Spock would be joining him in a few short hours. His heart beat faster at the thought. To calm himself and while away the time he made himself a strong coffee. As the light glinted off the metal of the kettle it reminded Jim of the fittings on board his ship. As he stared at it longer, he stopped seeing the kettle entirely. The sneak attack on his ship played itself out again in his mind. It had been just a few days ago, near the Romulan border…
Jim exited his quarters. He’d awoken to the sound of red alert sirens, but the comm system was down and he’d not been able to get hold of the bridge.
“Status report!” he barked.
Around him people were hurrying through the corridor.
“Decompression, everyone out! Out! Right now!” someone yelled.
People rushed past him.
“We don’t know either. Sir, we must move!” a crewman said.
Jim nodded and started running too. He could hear people around the corner up ahead. “The turbolifts aren’t working; we’ll have to find another way to section six.”
Jim stopped the crewman he was running with. “Take everyone up ahead to engineering via the Jeffries tubes. I’ve got to get to the bridge.”
With that he turned and went back the way he’d come. There was a way to the bridge, he just hoped he’d be able to get back to the Jeffries tube he needed before the emergency doors sealed it off. If that was even where the hull-breach was…
It was Spock.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Jim couldn’t help but feel relieved at the sight of his first officer running towards him. Spock was still alive. At that moment the ship was hit by a blast of phaser fire and it tilted sideways. They were both thrown together.
“We’ve got to get to the bridge. Back that way, Spock,” Jim pointed in the direction Spock had just come from.
“Negative, Captain. We cannot go that way.”
“But the other Jeffries tube leads to Engineering. We need to find out what’s going on.”
“No choice, Captain. We will have to deal with the situation from down there.”
Jim clenched his jaw, but nodded.
Spock steadied Jim and so they ran, arms around each other’s backs, hands hovering just in reach of each other’s arms, to steady the other, until they got to the Jeffries tube next to the turbolift. Everyone else was already gone. Behind them smoke was filling the corridor and there was a loud crash.
“Hull stability has been lost. Captain, you go first.”
They’d rushed down the ladders and tunnels and then… Spock had been right behind him, but the ship had shook and then there’d been a deafening crash. When Jim looked back, an emergency door had shut behind him. Spock was on the other side. He turned back and battered it with his fists.
“Spock! Spock! Can you hear me? Are you still there?”
There was a terminal. Emergency power only. But it showed clearly that the corridor behind was in a section that had lost containment. It was losing its atmosphere fast. Spock was going to die if he didn’t manage to open the door.
“Computer. Captain’s override code gamma, zeta, kappa, phi.”
But nothing happened.
“Computer! Open the goddamned door!”
He threw himself shoulder first against it.
“Jim! Go!” the words were faint, but he could tell Spock was shouting.
“No, I’m not leaving you!”
“You must get to the bridge.”
He felt tears prick his eyes. “I won’t let you die.”
“It is already too late.”
“No! Spock, I love you!”
His breathing was hard and the adrenaline in his system gave him extra strength. Once more he threw himself at the door. Again, it didn't move an inch.
“I love you too.”
At the sound of those words Jim stopped and slumped against the door, tears flowing freely down his face.
Then the door slid open and Jim fell backwards into Spock’s arms.
“Bridge to Captain Kirk. We’re out of danger now. Power and hull integrity have been restored. But reports of casualties are coming in from all over the ship. Sir,….”
It was hard to believe that had only been a few days ago. They hadn’t talked about it since. There hadn’t been time. Now the ship was in space-dock for repairs and the world outside was covered in a soft blanket that masked all sound. It was eerily quiet, but the sound of the red alert sirens still rang in Jim’s head. They just wouldn’t be silent.
He’d invited Spock to spend some time with him alone in this cabin he’d rented for them. He’d gotten one with two bedrooms. And he wasn’t sure what he wanted to happen. He knew for one that he himself wasn’t gay. Bisexual? Jim pulled a face. He’d never felt sexually attracted to a man before. And yet… and yet… Spock? Did he really want that with Spock? His best friend?
They had a lot to talk about.
The screen on the old comm station in the cabin blinked. Jim frowned and went over to it. The message would have to be from Spock, surely? He put it on screen.
“Captain, I have finished overseeing the repairs in Engineering and will be making my way to you now. I look forward to spending the next few days in your company. Although I hesitate to speak on something of such a personal nature to you via this message, rather than in person, I feel it would be best that I inform you before my arrival that I am not homosexual so that there are no misunderstandings. I apologize now if I have said anything that might have indicated to you that I am-.”
Jim turned off the screen. He looked away and took a deep breath. He needed something a little stronger than coffee.
Jim saw Spock materialize several meters away from the hut, a small suitcase in each hand. Immediately he threw the door open, pulled on his jacket and leapt out.
“Here, let me take one.”
They walked to the hut in silence and then Jim let his friend unpack while he lit a fire in the living room fireplace.
“I’ve helped myself to some whiskey,” he said when Spock had finished and seated himself in the living room. “Would you like one? Or I could make you a tea.”
He grinned, as he already knew the answer to his question.
“Thank you, tea would be good.”
In the end Jim made two teas, but fortified his own with whiskey. Then he sat on the sofa next to Spock facing the fire, careful not to sit too close though so that their legs didn’t brush.
“Did you get my message?” Spock said at last.
Jim leant back into the couch. “Yes, I did.”
“I’m not either, you know. Homosexual, that is.”
Spock raised an eyebrow at him.
“Huh, well, you’ve got some nerve to raise an eyebrow at me,” he said. “You also said those three words.”
“And I meant them,” Spock said earnestly.
Jim turned his head to look into his eyes.
“You love me as a friend. I get that.”
For a moment Spock’s whole body stiffened. Jim could see it in the line of his shoulders, but it was the flicker of uncertainty he saw in Spock’s eyes that threw him.
“Is that how you love me? As a friend?” Spock asked.
Jim bit his lip.
“No,” he whispered and took a sip of his tea.
It burnt his lips and tongue, but he drank more. Anything to stall, but eventually he had to talk.
“I love you. Not in any one way. I just… love you, Spock. I don’t know how to put it. I’m not attracted to men, not in any way. That’s simply not how my brain works really, and yet... I love you more than I have ever loved anyone else. You complete me. You’re the one I want to share my life with. Even though it makes no sense.”
Spock put his own tea down on the low living room table.
“When you invited me here,” he said, “just us two, to a mountain hut for a few days… I assumed you had romantic intentions. In light of the confession it was logical to assume that. I have seen that you have shown an interest in women, but that did not mean you might not be bi-sexual possibly. But you are not.”
“No,” Jim said. “But I thought the same of you. That maybe you were. I see I was wrong.”
He smiled. How wrong they’d both apparently been, damn all those assumptions.
“I’d heard,” Jim said, “that some people, who are heterosexual, still get together with homosexuals. It’s rare, but I know it does happen. Because sometimes, a person has found they actually don’t care that they’ve fallen in love with someone who’s sexually incompatible in that sense… someone’s who’s the same, rather than the opposite sex. And they just go for it. I thought… maybe… that would be us.”
“You are not attracted to men and yet you wanted to enter a relationship with me because you thought I was?”
Spock stared at him and Jim couldn’t take the scrutiny. He looked into the fire.
Spock started talking again. “Did you listen to the entire message I sent you?”
Jim shook his head. “No.”
Quickly he looked back at Spock, whose lips were quirked upwards.
Spock spoke. “I too found that once I contemplated what it might be like to be in a relationship with you, despite the fact that I am heterosexual, that I found even though it would present a number of difficulties… I could not wish for a better partner. I could not think of anyone else who might suit me better.”
Their eyes met and there was a spark in Spock’s eyes now and Jim felt his lips go dry as his stomach twisted as he thought about the implication of those words.
“Could this… work?” Jim whispered.
Spock cocked his head to one side and was about to answer, but Jim had to know what it was like to kiss those lips. They could talk about this all they wanted, in the end they did love each other, didn’t they? But were their feelings strong enough to transcend gender?
He leant forward and met Spock’s alien lips with his, his eyes closed. They were soft. For an agonizing heartbeat they were slack, then they returned the kiss.
Jim’s heart was beating so fast, the blood rushing through his ears in a deafening torrent.
Their lips still locked Jim reached for Spock’s hand. They held on tightly to one another, while Jim ran his other arm up Spock’s back and neck so he could run his fingers through the soft black hair at the nape of the Vulcan’s neck. Beneath the hair the skin felt hot and dry.
Jim pulled back from the kiss breathless, but he didn’t let go of Spock otherwise and the Vulcan made no move away from him either.
Hazel eyes met deep brown eyes. Jim blinked.
“So, what do you say, Spock? Can this work?” he breathed.
Spock raised an eyebrow and then leant in again for another kiss. Deeper this time.
Jim’s heart was straining to beat in time with the Vulcan’s, but in his soul a peace was settling that mirrored the peace of the snow blanketed world outside. He knew that no matter what problems they’d face from here on, and he was sure the road would be rocky, that they would face them together, always.