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Kirk dropped the beer bottle he was holding, and didn’t even blink when it hit the floor.  He crossed the room to the replicator and demanded, “Coffee!”

 

With the steaming mug in his hand, he resumed his seat across from Spock.  This time it was Kirk who initiated the staring contest.

 

Spock waited.  He was good at that.

 

The coffee cooled, untouched.  Eventually, Kirk set the mug on the desktop, next to the remaining beer bottles.

 

His shoulders drooped, and he scrubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands.  Slowly, Kirk brought his head up, so his gaze met Spock’s.

 

He winced, and said pensively, “So…are we like MARRIED now?”

 

Oh, Spock desperately wished there was the Vulcan equivalent of a guffaw!

 

He had to settle for raising one eyebrow, and he eased—just a little bit!—back in the chair.  And perhaps that was a twitch in the corner of his mouth, but it vanished quickly.

 

“No.”

 

Kirk sagged with apparent relief, and uttered, “Oh, thank God!”  But then he quickly straightened up and looked at Spock.  “Oh, no offense to you, Spock.  I mean…uh…oh, Hell, I don’t know what I mean.”  He gave up, leaned forward with his elbows braced on his knees, and cradled his forehead in the palm of one hand.  His gaze drifted to the floor, focusing on nothing.  “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”

 

“Captain.”  Kirk didn’t move.  “Jim.”

 

Kirk tilted his head, with his forehead still in his hand.  He looked at Spock out of the corner of his eye.  “Jim, you don’t need to do anything.  T’hy’la is something that is there, it simply is.”

 

Spock sat upright in the chair, and went into lecture mode.  “While T’hy’la is a very intimate bond, it doesn’t necessarily lead to a physical relationship.  It can be between parent and child, student and teacher, two siblings, or two friends.”  He opened his hands, and held them, palm upwards.  “There are, of course, fortunate individuals who share the marriage bond along with being T’hy’la.”

 

Slowly, Spock turned his hands so they faced each other, and he gradually closed the distance between them until the fingertips were just touching.  “Not everyone has T’hy’la.  If it were something obtainable, people would be climbing all over each other to get it.  Beg, borrow, steal, even counterfeit!”  He shook his head.  “It just is.”

 

Kirk exhaled a shuddering breath.  “You came to me, Spock, after Sam died.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You called it a ‘mind meld.’”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I hurt so BAD.”  Kirk scrubbed at his eyes again, with the heels of his hands.  “I was in a black hole of despair, and I knew I’d never come out.  I couldn’t come out.”  He looked into Spock’s eyes, straight on.  “You pulled me out.”

 

A tiny smile ghosted on Kirk’s lips.  “We looked at my memories of Sam, together.”  He closed his eyes for a moment.  “I could actually taste that homemade ice cream again.”

 

The agitation was gone.  “Thank you, Spock.”

 

An infinitesimal tip of the dark head in acknowledgement.

 

“I will never be alone again.”

 

“Nor will I.”

 

Spock stood.  “With that, I take my leave of you, Captain.”  He turned, and walked to the door.

 

Kirk didn’t know why he did it.  That pesky class clown must have surfaced again.

 

“So, now what?  We wear rings?  Exchange vows?  Pick out china patterns, get presents?”  Even though Spock’s back was to him, Kirk still wiggled his eyebrows.

 

That did it.  Even Vulcans have their limits.

 

Spock leaned against the wall and braced himself on his lower arms.  A huge exhalation of air exploded from his mouth.

 

It was over in a second.  He then stood ramrod straight, pulled the hem of his shirt to smooth it to perfection, and stepped out the door.

Chapter End Notes:

To my readers: first, let me thank you from the very bottom of my heart for reading my work!

Then I need to explain.  When I first began here at the K/S Archives, I had no idea what my direction would take.  I wrote my first little story, and received wonderful encouragement here!  So I wrote another little story.  And another.  And another.  They were all linked.  I DID go back and put the stories in series, but it is still difficult for many to follow just what in the Hell is going on!

Not only have I gotten carried away, I’ve taken a lot of people with me!  So here is the sequence:

Friend—Team—Spark—Interplay—Gotcha—Newbies—Remedy—History—Addedum—Green—Pledge—Alliance—Consortium (series Provenance)

Favorites—Abysm—Misery—Details—Reprise—Faces—Scroll—Entwine—Answer (series Paramount)

Rose—Three—Curls—Kiss—Goal—Toll—Conclusion (series Progression)

For anyone wishing to read the whole mess in one shot, contact me.  I’ll send it to you in an email.

And once again, I thank every single person who has read my stories here.  I love you al!  ~AKO

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