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Spock sighed.

Then he castigated himself for sighing.  Then he was irritated for needing to castigate himself, then he realised that he was irritated, then he said, “Shit!” and put his head in his hands, mentally cursing the human who had taught him to swear, and that particular swear word.

He left his computer terminal and headed for the meditation mat for the third time that evening, but his door buzzed.

“Come,” he called, schooling his features swiftly into impassivity.

“Hi, Spock,” said Jim Kirk.

Spock now realised that he was staring stupidly at the Captain, and said out loud, “Hello, Captain.”

“Look what I found in my cabin.  It’s practically an antique,” smiled the Captain, holding up a flat box.

The Captain’s smile spread warmth through Spock’s body, starting somewhere in his stomach, leaching down into his legs via perilous pathways, rising into his eyes…. shit! Spock kept the warmth from his eyes… or so he thought….

Jim Kirk chuckled, and said, “Knew you’d love it!  Do you play?”

I do not love it.  I do not love anything.  Or anyone.  I am completely immune to the emotional behaviour of humans.  There is no love, therefore there is no loss of love, therefore there is no grief.  Simple logic.

“Yes.”

“Wanna play now?”

“Chess?”

Again the chuckle, which rolled into Spock’s ears like a purr.  To his surprise, the warmth returned, via the same perilous pathways, starting in his legs now and moving upward.  I will claim control!  I am a Vulcan! I will send this disturbing presence from me and meditate until my mind is back in that frozen place.  I am a Vulcan.  I will not let him stay.

“That would be acceptable, Captain.”

Do not give in to him.

“Great.  I think this board needs assembling somehow.”

Do not touch him.

“Here, you hold this bit and I’ll see if I can….”

Do not touch him.

“Oh, that goes there, I think.  Here, you hold this in place and-“

What are you doing?  I said ‘do not touch him’.  What part of that meant ‘hold his hand’?  Unwrap your hand from around his!

“That’s it.  Gee… your hands are really warm.”

“I am a Vulcan.”

“What? Oh, the higher body temperature.  Yeah, of course, I forgot.  Here, move your hand now, and hold this bit…. Thanks.  Hey… I thought Vulcans didn’t like to touch people?”

“That is a cultural misconception.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“There is no need to apologize.”

“Great, now, if you’ll just let go my hand….”

“What?”

“Spock?”

“Oh, I am sorry, Captain.”

“It’s Jim, call me Jim.  We’re off duty.”

“Yes, of course, Jim.”

“Yeah, and now, if you’ll let go my hand…”

“Of course.”

“……Spock?”

I can’t let it go… it’s the warmest thing I’ve felt for a thousand years, I can touch your soul again, after all this time…..

“Yes, of course, Captain…”

“Jim.”

“Ah, yes, Jim.”

“Gee, Spock, if you’re tired maybe we should leave the chess for another night?  You seem, I don’t know, distracted?”

“No.  Here, put it on the desk and I will place the pieces.”

“Oh, okay, if you’re sure you’re okay.”

“I am a Vulcan.”

“You said that.”

“I did?”

Again the chuckle, that warm vibration that flings itself into my soul…. holy mother of Surak I am going to have to meditate for a month….

“Does the Queen go on her own colour?”

The Vulcan half of him had lost faith entirely, now, and was sitting back with arms akimbo, openly accusatory.  Do not reach for it at the same time, do not let your hand brush his….

“Oops, sorry, Spock.  Hey, you okay?  You shut your eyes for a second there, like you were really tired or… something.”

“I am well, Jim.”

“I guess we’re all a little guilty of thinking you guys are indestructible-“

The blood left his face, and he looked into Spock’s eyes, appalled at what had slipped from his mouth.  He is so kind, so loving, that it is torture for him to think that he has hurt another…. say something.

“Oh, shit, Spock, I’m….”

Open your eyes.  Look at him.  Do not let the emotions overwhelm you.

“It’s okay Jim, I know you did not mean what you said….”

“It’s not okay.  Spock, I….” but words were not enough, and he stood and came around the desk to Spock and knelt before him and took his hands…..

and that damned warmth is flowing back into the ice that is your body, and those blue eyes are looking intently into yours, and Spock saw the blue of Earth in them and realised that he had saved his planet, his mother’s planet….

He knows what you need before you do, and stands and pulls you by those traitorous hands of yours to your feet, then slowly pulls you to him in a warm hug.  You are frozen, but then your body weakens and you let your head drop onto his shoulder and let him hold you….  you tell yourself that this surrender is just for a moment… just a second of release from the constant control… just a tiny drop in the ocean of time that will be your life… to be weak, to be held, and then you will control again…  Vulcans do not lie to others, but my, oh my, do they ever lie to themselves….

Jim whispered, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” and just held Spock, then stroked his hair gently, over and over.  Spock knew that Jim was not apologizing for what he just said, but for the terrible tragedy that overtook Spock’s people.   There was no need in Jim, just warmth and love and…..

“Please,” Spock whispered, not sure until he had spoken, what he was going to say.  Jim pulled back and looked into his eyes, like he had a direct pass to his soul.  The Vulcan’s eyes had a plea in them, to match the single word that he had spoken, but it could have meant any of a thousand things….

“Yes, Spock?”

There must have been some sort of translation in Spock’s eyes or perhaps a connection between their hands or bodies which told the human what Spock needed, because Jim tilted his head, then he moved in hesitantly….. and deliverance was in those warm lips which breathed across Spock’s.  Spock did not move, and Jim became braver and gently traced his lips across Spock’s.  Again the Vulcan was still.  Then Jim tilted his head and hesitated, then brought his lips slowly in to rest against Spock’s.  Slowly, he pressed a little and then explored Spock’s lips with a series of soft kisses, which brought the Vulcan back to life… but from where….?

“Spock?” he whispered gently, hoarsely, and Spock realised that throughout this whole encounter, he had given Jim no sign as to what he thought of his actions.  His human half was metaphorically sitting with its head in its hands, having given up on him.  His Vulcan half was wide awake, singing, are we claiming him??  Spock told it, perhaps, but ‘perhaps’ was more than enough, and suddenly Spock was bringing the human back to his bed, he had Jim in his arms, he had lifted him like a child and was carrying him back to his den to claim him, to make Jim his…..

Jim was so human and gentle and Spock was terrified that he would hurt him, but he was also warm, open and gave endlessly, so that- … the pain that numbed you is somehow eased, somehow he reaches you in that dark cave where you have hidden since the day of destruction, and although he cannot bring you out yet, you sense that he will soon.   Meanwhile, he is with you, even in that dark place, making it a little less dark….

You trace fingers over his golden body in wonder, watch him shiver to your touch and think, you are mine…. And somehow he has mended the torn and shattered thing that your soul had become…. He has achieved the impossible and fixed you somehow, like Scotty fixed those shattered engines when he should not have been able to.

You bury your face in his golden hair, and cling shamelessly to him, fingers curling around his face, bringing the bond back from where it has lay dormant for too long…. somehow you know him…. and he wonders….

“Spock?” he asks.  It is the second word he has spoken all evening, through all your lovemaking, since he first kissed you.  It is almost as though he does not believe that is your name.  He stares at you as though he knows you, but does not know you…. as though you are the sun in his sky, yet it is an alien sky…. He is puzzled, and whispers your name again, “Spock….” as though to say it will make this all seem real, not like the impossible dream of a larger, darker, future time where you are his only constant...

“I am here,” you whisper, but ‘here’ is everywhere and nowhere.  It seems to be enough for him, for he settles and curls himself into the hollow of your body, wraps your arms around him and pulls his arms across his face, holding your hands to his face even in his sleep, as though he could save you both from oblivion again by maintaining the bond.  It is a strangely familiar gesture, although you know that is a contradiction in terms.  He does not ask permission to stay, because he knows you will not give it.  He is stubborn, and stays anyway, and draws your body around him like a blanket so that you cannot comprehend asking him to leave, for you are his protection and warmth.

Your controls have been eroded, and sometime in the night your tears for your mother finally come, surprising you with unbidden heat and wetness on your face.  You try to hide your utter shame from him, but that is never going to happen.  He seeks out your face, holds it, and waits for you to meet his eyes, then reaches for understanding in the meld.  He is silent and reverent, then begins kissing the moisture on your eyes, allowing it to drip across his lips, sharing each moment with you, drinking your tears like they are holy water, then letting you kiss the drops of moisture off his lips.  Your body rocks with deeper sobs, yet still he holds you, and you fall in love with him at the same time as you learn to mourn your people and your home.  You are unsure if this is the right way to do any of this, love or grief or bonding… but it is the only way that you know, and his seems to be the only soul that you have ever really known.

You fall asleep with his lips pressed softly against your still-damp eyes, his body pressed against yours in worship and reassurance, his mind bleeding into yours around the edges like a too-wet watercolour.

He wakes up and curses, “We’re late for shift!” and jumps up.  You stare at him.  You have never been late for shift.

You dress together and he stops you before you both stride out the door, looking hesitant, “Spock…”

“Yes, Jim?”

“If you don’t want anyone to know, that’s fine with me.”

You nod, not sure what to think, and head with him to the turbo lift.  You are on the bridge for an hour, before you step up to the command chair and stand beside him, and ask softly, “What about you?”

“Mmmm?” his voice and eyes are soft as he looks at you enquiringly.

“Do you wish this to be kept confidential?”

He thinks about that, and shakes his head, “It doesn’t worry me either way, Spock.  Why?”

Something relaxes in you, then, and you reach across with two fingers to touch his hand gently, in full view of anyone on the bridge who understands the gesture.  He looks up, with a smile that lights his face like sunshine, and gazes entranced as you lift his hand to your lips and kiss it gently, slowly.  It is a gesture which the whole bridge crew understands, and all of them are watching you, now.

Let them watch.  Some are starting to smile.  In fact, most.

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