Originally published in January 2005 in the print newsletter The K/S Press # 100 – The (100th issue) Celebration Zine.
At 1900 hours, First Officer Spock completed his report on the latest mission of the USS Enterprise. He reviewed it with customary precision, then flagged it for the captain’s approval and tapped in the command that would enter the file in the ship’s official records. Next he called up the status report on the thirty-six experiments in progress in the various science labs. It was his habit at least to scan the list daily, often logging comments and assessing any unusual supply requisitions. Tonight, however, he read only a half dozen entries before finding himself staring at the screen with complete and utter incomprehension.
Frowning, Spock sat back in his chair. Simple fatigue might explain his lack of attention, but that seemed unlikely. Though he had spent the better part of the last week in the hostile environment of the unaligned planet known as Hahn’s World, the experience had hardly been taxing by Vulcan standards. He would not deny that a certain amount of stress had been involved, as he and James Kirk first lost contact with their landing party, then endured days of negotiations with the regional government and not one but three armed opposition groups, each of which claimed to have taken the Enterprise personnel hostage. Despite the perilous circumstances, Spock had watched his captain unravel the complexities of local politics with something akin to satisfaction. James Kirk the diplomat never failed to impress, all the more because his conciliatory words and velvet gloves belied teeth he was quite ready to use.
But as they had many times before, Starfleet training and allegiance to the Prime Directive prevailed, and Kirk recovered his landing party having delivered blows only to the pride of the guilty parties. Back aboard ship, he conducted a preliminary debriefing before sending the former hostages off for a medical check followed by much-needed rest. Spock remained behind, and they sat in the briefing room for almost another hour, discussing the situation on Hahn’s World and framing their recommendations to Starfleet Command. Kirk looked tired by the time they finished, and when he invited his first officer to join him for dinner, Spock excused himself, citing a backlog of work awaiting his attention.
In truth he had needed not time to work, but time alone, away from the increasingly compelling presence of James T. Kirk. Though years of living among humans had taught Spock not only to accept his own emotions, but to trust them, he did not know what to do with the feelings he harbored for his commanding officer. Their professional relationship he respected without question; their friendship he cherished, as he believed Kirk did also. They seldom spoke of it, but as their months of service together turned into years, Spock found that each mission gone bad—each brush with death—brought home to him just how vital Kirk’s presence in his life had become. And now….
Spock closed his eyes and let his thoughts run. He pictured Kirk as he had looked the previous morning, poised with controlled fury before the governing council of Wreng’teh Province. The chamber was richly appointed, but dark with native wood and stone, and the human standing in sunlight slanting through windows high in the walls had looked a vision of gold. Most of Spock’s attention remained focused on the proceedings at hand, but the rest was drawn inexorably to the man he believed he loved, if indeed a Vulcan could grasp the meaning of such an emotionally-charged word. But Spock thought that he did. At the very least, he no longer cared how his attraction to Kirk might be defined. Knowing his soul-deep instinct to guard Kirk’s life with his own, what did it matter if he could also imagine the council members filing from the room, leaving Kirk and him alone? If he could imagine crossing that floor, walking into those luminous eyes as Kirk turned to his echoing footsteps, watching his captain smile even as Spock bent to his mouth….
Like a bubble the fantasy dissolved, and Spock found himself blinking at the status report still on his computer screen. In a moment of either self-indulgence or self-knowledge, he decided that attempting further work in his current frame of mind would be useless, and shut down the terminal. He knew he should meditate or perhaps simply retire for the night. Instead he remained where he was, considering the mystery of physical attraction. He had experienced uninhibited sexual desire only once in his life, while under the influence of the Berthold rays on Omicron Ceti III. The exquisite coupling he shared with Leila had haunted him ever since—not because he regretted it nor because he wished to repeat it with her, but because he had come to understand that there was another with whom he did wish such a physical relationship. He could scarcely imagine what Jim might think if he knew. Sometimes Kirk looked at him with a tenderness that made Spock wonder…but no, he could not be sure. And though he might allow himself these appallingly illogical flights of fancy, never would he risk their friendship and mutual regard.
Still, there were moments when Spock longed to express what he felt. Repressing a sigh, he rose from his chair and tidied his desk before stepping into his sleeping area, pulling off his uniform tunic as he went. What did it matter that the mission just completed had been the one hundredth of Kirk’s career as captain of the Enterprise? One hundred missions, and Spock had shared nearly all of them. He had discovered the number some months before, quite by accident, while assembling statistics requested by Starfleet Command. Since then he had kept count, partly in quiet appreciation of every success that spelled another day of survival and partly because he knew the importance humans attached to such things. The crew was given to celebrating all manner of anniversaries and milestones, some of which seemed trivial to Spock, but Kirk accepted invitations whenever possible and always seemed to enjoy the festivities. With that in mind, Spock had considered dropping a hint to Doctor McCoy or Lt. Uhura, but could not quite bring himself to do it. He told himself it was the captain’s dignity he was protecting, yet in his heart he could admit that this simply was something he wished to share with Kirk alone. But not knowing what sort of acknowledgement would be appropriate without appearing too intimate, in the end Spock determined to say nothing. Now that the hundredth mission was accomplished, he felt a hint of regret even though he knew his decision had been the only one possible.
Pulling off his boots, he sat down to polish them, wielding the brush until the synth-leather shone. Though as a senior officer he was entitled to the services of a yeoman, this was one task he preferred to handle himself. He found the simple, repetitive motions conducive to thought, and more than once the elusive solution to a problem came to him by the time he finished.
This night he found no answers. He had set the boots aside and was turning down his bed when his door buzzer sounded. Spock hesitated, then stepped back into his office and called, “Come.”
James Kirk walked in, wearing clean workout clothes and a smile that faltered as he took in the scene.
“You were going to bed,” he said. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Not at all, Captain.” Spock considered the human, who was standing just inside the door with both hands behind his back. “It is still early, and I am not unduly fatigued. Please, come in and sit down.”
“Well…if you’re sure. I won’t stay long, but I was hoping you’d be willing to share this with me.” ‘This’ turned out to be a bottle of Valderian spirit-wine, which Kirk proffered with an apologetic grin. “You do like this stuff, right?”
Spock nodded. “Indeed. It has a most pleasant flavor, which I have heard humans compare favorably to Terran champagne, but without its unfortunate aftereffects. May I inquire as to the occasion?”
Kirk was already making himself comfortable. “Find some glasses and I’ll explain.”
Spock obeyed, trying to ignore a tingle of impossible surmise and the even more acute pleasure of being out of uniform in his captain’s presence. He watched Kirk pour, then sit back and raise his glass, clearly pleased with himself and thoroughly at ease.
“Cheers,” Kirk said. “Here’s to the first one hundred missions of the best damned command team in Starfleet.”
Spock stared in amazement. “You knew,” he said finally. “Why did you never mention it?”
A blush colored Kirk’s cheeks, but his eyes sparkled. “It’s supposed to be bad luck to keep track. Tempting fate, you know. But I’ve always paid attention, I guess at first because I hoped that once I had a certain number of missions under my belt, they wouldn’t kick me out if I made some god-awful mistake. After that, it…sort of became a habit.” He gestured at Spock’s untouched glass. “Drink up. It’s supposed to be a toast.”
Again Spock obeyed. The wine was cool and slightly sweet, and its fizz sounded impossibly loud in his ears. “I had thought to congratulate you,” he admitted, “but I feared you might think it odd that I knew how many missions you have commanded.”
“Why would I think that? You always know everything. And they weren’t just my missions, you know. They’re ours. I hope you know I couldn’t do my job without you.”
“Nor could I do mine without you.” It was the truth, but not one Spock had intended to speak. Too late to take back the words, but he saw with relief that Kirk was smiling.
“From everything I heard, you were doing just fine before I came along.”
Spock inclined his head. “Perhaps I should rephrase. I know myself to be capable of performing my duties under any captain Starfleet sees fit to assign, but….” He glanced up, decided to throw caution to the winds. “I’m not certain I would wish to.”
“Ah,” Kirk said lightly, but his blush deepened as he refilled his glass. “I’ll take that as a compliment.” He studied the Vulcan for a long moment, then seemed to relax. “That’s an interesting uniform, Mr. Spock.”
Embarrassed, Spock started to rise. “Forgive me, I should have—”
But Kirk was grinning now. “Sit down, for heaven’s sake. You know I was only teasing. It’s just us, and we’re not on duty. Besides, it looks good on you.”
“Black. It suits you.” He sipped his wine, still smiling. “But then, just about any color would.”
Spock finished his own wine to give his hands something to do, to stop himself from once again blurting out exactly what he was thinking, which was that Kirk in his deep red, softly clinging workout suit looked beautiful and utterly desirable. And so close, with only the desk between them, and their eyes locked in a long, searching look as Kirk’s face went quiet, waiting.
“I still cannot believe you knew about the missions,” Spock said finally. He swallowed, licked his lips. “What else do you know?”
Kirk did not hesitate. “That you love me, of course,” he replied, “and that I have loved you for a very long time indeed.”
“Jim….” Somehow he was on his feet and Kirk was there, near enough to touch, but holding his breath, still waiting. “Please, I don’t wish to misunderstand.”
“Then tell me exactly what you’re feeling. I promise that nothing you say will offend me or drive me away or make me think any less of you. Trust me, as I trust you to speak the truth. Now, for the sake of all those missions we’ve lived through together.”
Never before had his captain asked such a thing of him, and Spock felt a stirring of mingled fear and happiness so great that it amounted almost to pain. “I feel,” he said, “that you are infinitely precious to me. I feel that you complete me as no one else ever has. You show me my own humanity, and in the process enable me finally to accept the Vulcan in me as well.” Spock closed his eyes. “I do love you,” he whispered into the darkness, “and I long to touch you, and know your body, and share our lives forever.”
Truth—all that he knew—and in the silence that followed, Spock awaited Kirk’s judgement that would say live…or die.
But Kirk’s hands were gripping his arms, shaking him a little, and the human’s voice held nothing but joy.
“Look at me,” he said. “I wasn’t so sure I’d ever hear you say that, but I couldn’t have said it any better myself. My logical Vulcan. Mine. Dear lord. And…you can touch me all you want.”
And Spock did, daring for the moment only to lay both hands at Kirk’s waist and press their foreheads together. The human’s scent was intoxicating, his skin flushed warm against Spock’s face, his whole body trembling with anticipation. After a long minute, Kirk straightened, his eyes shining like burnished gold.
“I would like to kiss you right about now,” he said carefully, “assuming it’s all right with you.”
“Oh yes,” Spock breathed. To kiss James Kirk…oh yes.
Kirk leaned closer until, with their lips almost touching, his golden eyes smiled.
“Here’s to another hundred missions,” he said.
But Spock shook his head. “No. Two hundred.” And then said no more, for Kirk took his breath away.