Note: This story is set during the 5-year mission
* * * * *
The last big assignment lay back a few weeks ago. The crew began to indulge in rumours of whatever nature they were. Everything that could be in the remotest interesting became a topic of conversation.
Lt. Uhura and Nurse Chapel met regularly for the common breakfast in the mess. When Christine arrived that morning, Uhura was already there and was talking to Lt. Sulu.
"Christine," Sulu said, "come here."
"Morning you both." She replied as she sat down.
"You do not believe what Sulu just told me ..." Uhura began immediately.
Christine looked at her in expectation.
"Yes? And what happened then?" she finally asked.
"Go Hikaru, tell her what you told me." Sulu rolled his eyes in played exasperation. Then he leaned forward and whispered in a conspiring manner, "Well, yesterday I could witness something quite interesting on the bridge". He looked up with a suspicious look, then he continued "I don't know what exactly happened, but suddenly the captain shouted at Spock. Everyone was holding their breath. It was so quiet you could have heard Scotty thinking in his engine room.
Uhura smiled and looked at Chapels reaction. "What did he say?" she asked finally.
Sulu shrugged his shoulders. "I honestly I have no idea, but when I turned I just saw as Spock left the bridge, without saying a word."
"In the middle of his shift?" asked Christine. Sulu nodded.
The nurse tried to make sense of what she just heard. What could the captain have said to Spock that brought this logical thinking Vulcan to such a harsh reaction. No one ever saw these two apart. They were like Siamese twins. Where one of them was the other was never far. Her thoughts must have been written all over her face because Uhura interrupted her by saying "That was my reaction exactly."
"For the rest of the shift no one said more than absolutely necessary. We didn't want to be shouted at in that manner." Sulu cleaned his table and got up. "Well, I have to rush now. My shift starts in a couple of minutes …" he smiled cheekily "… and we don't want Him to be in a bad mood, do we?" With these words, he left Uhura and Chapel behind.
As soon as Sulu was gone Uhura whispered "And … what makes the story even more interesting, the captain was seen with Susan yesterday …"
Christine frowned and looked at Uhura incredulously. "What does he do with Connor? I thought she was with Riley ..."
"Yes, that is what everyone thinks. But maybe we are not up-to-date anymore …" Uhura joked.
* * *
A few weeks later the grapevine had settled down again. The crew was busy and other things were important again. Kirk stood in front of Spock's quarters. He hesitated. Since the escalation on the bridge they had not changed a private word. He knew it was his fault and if he wanted to get rid of this awkwardness he had to take the first step.
He pushed the doorbell and waited for the door opening. Then he carefully, he took a step inside, leaned forward and saw his friend sitting on the computer. Spock looked up at him shortly, but immediately turned back to his work.
"Spock?" The captain tried unsurely to draw the Vulcan's attention. "May I come inside?" Spock looked up again and nodded. Kirk stepped in completely and the door closed behind him. He walked up to Spock and stopped next to him.
"Spock … I am so very sorry. I didn't have the right to speak in that tone to you."
After a moment that felt like an eternity to Kirk, Spock turned his head saw up to Kirk. "Agreed." He only said just to turn back to his monitor.
One day before the escalation between Spock and Jim, McCoy had caught the captain and Ensign Connor in a clearly ambiguous situation. This alone was not what gave him headaches. It was much more the fact that Jim did this behind Spock's back and McCoy was convinced that Jim should open up about that to Spock. The doctor had repeatedly talked to Jim about this. He was for absolute honesty and loyalty, especially in such a sensitive thing as a love relationship, and exactly that was what Jim was putting on the line.
"What do you expect precisely, Jim?" McCoy had asked.
"I don't know. Perhaps just a reaction."
"And you think it's the right way to try that by starting an affair with Susan?"
Jim seemed to be terribly desperate. No matter what he said or did, Spock took it without showing even a hint of a reaction. If he was hurt or offended by Jim's behaviour, he could control it incredibly well. Spock had once said to Jim that he alone was responsible for his actions and that only he alone would determine whether he wanted to hurt his partner. Spock could not help Jim with that. Jim found that very confusing and questioned Spock's feeling.
"Jim", McCoy had said, "he is Vulcan and you knew that when all that started with the two of you". Jim had agreed but still he had difficulties to accept that for himself. Jim had hoped that Spock would open up a little, and he had, after all he had a relationship with him and not only in a mental way. But Spock had never said the words.
"Why is he doing this, Bones?" Jim had asked his friend.
"Why do you do this, Jim?" came the vigorous answer of the doctor.
Finally, he lost his temper. The Vulcanic behaviour was enough, this coldness of Spock's manner, he couldn't stand it anymore. And on the bridge, was it escalated although he knew how unprofessional that was.
Hesitantly he had walked to the science station.
"Spock, please believe me. That was not planned. I didn't want to hurt you …", he had tried to explain in a low voice.
"You didn't hurt me", Spock had obviously lied. "It is your decision what you do with your time. You are not bound to anyone."
"But you can't tell me that it's okay for you if I am not with you?" Kirk had insisted.
"You alone decide where you belong to, Jim." was Spock's stoic answer.
That was too much and Jim had shouted at him. ""You piss me off, with your shitty Vulcanic emotions, your stupid restraint and your crappy arrogance."
With that Spock had left the bridge without another word.
Now Jim was standing behind the Vulcan, his left hand gently stroking Spock's shoulder. Spock could clearly feel the chaos in Kirk's mind. Slowly he turned to his friend again and looked at him.
"Spock", Jim began gently, "if I tell you now that I love you ..."
"What would be then?" He interrupted him.
"Spock please, let me talk."
The Vulcan raised his right eyebrow expectantly and folded his arms in front of his chest.
"So if I told you that I love you … would you believe me?"
"I cannot tell you, Jim. Your acting does not match your words."
"I love you." He was almost begging to be believed. "More than anything or anyone else in this world, and I am infinitely sorry for what I said to you and especially what I did to you, I know I've hurt you very much I've been so frustrated because you did not show me ... did not tell me you loved me too, how can I know…? " His voice failed and he had to swallow.
For a moment there was silence, then Spock said in a low voice, "Jim, your fear is quite right, but you should know me by now, you wanted me although my behaviour, and I have not changed since then ..." With her arms crossed, Spock sat and looked at Jim. There was no wrath in his eyes, no trace of anger, only mourning.
After a while where both of them were silent, Jim whispered, barely audible, "She said she loves me."
"Oh ..." came Spock's quite cynical answer. "And that is enough for you; that is all you really need?"
Jim stared at the Vulcan. "It's more than you've ever said, Spock."
"It is more than I will ever say ..." the Vulcan whispered hardly audible.
Jim was shocked of what he heard but tried to ignore it and knelt down in front of his lover.
"Spock please … say it to me."
"Jim, are these words really so important to you? Do they count more than what I give you?" Spock asked with sad eyes.
"Spock …" Jim begged without reacting to his opponent's questions. "… just one single time."
With a mute sadness in his dark eyes, his hands in his lap, Spock just sat there and said nothing.
Resigningly, Jim rose. He knew there was no use. Slowly he went to the door. Behind him he heard the warm, dark voice of the Vulcan, who repeated the familiar words again. "Jim, you alone decide where you belong." Tears gathered in Jim's eyes, and his throat was tied. With the back to the locked door he stood there and faced his friend.
Spock deactivated the door lock, it opened and Jim left the quarters.
* * *
After Kirk walked a while through the ship and thought about Spock's words, he decided to go to Susan, although he wasn't sure if there was the place he belonged to. She was astounded and glad at the same time to see him.
"Jim", she threw herself onto him, "I am happy you came to me."
Yes, she was happy, but was he as well? Why did he come here in the first place? Was he running away from Spock? Running away from his coldness what seems to fill the whole ship … and especially his heart? He loved Spock, but this coldness, this self-effacement … he could not and did not want to bear anymore. So, he pulled Susan into his arms and kissed her passionately. Overwhelmed by his feelings, he freed her from her clothes and admired her beautiful body. He stroked her long, black hair, kissed her face and looked at her. Her slender body seemed almost tomboyish. She was just a little smaller than him, almost skinny and feminine forms were looked for in vain. Her narrow hips were what he loved most about her. He stroked her little breasts and flat stomach. His body reacted. With his excited loins, he leaned close to her. Susan smiled at him, slid with her hand to his lap and massaged his manhood. He breathed heavily and had to pull himself together, not to whisper Spock's name. Susan helped him out of his clothes and they went to her bed. The desire determined what was happening and Jim hated himself for enjoying it.
* * *
Exhausted, they lay side by side. She kissed him happily and smiled at him. Did he love her? Could it be that he really did not love Spock, but Susan? Might never really had loved Spock? He held his breath and listened to himself. No!
"Jim?" she interrupted his thoughts. "I love you, do you know that?"
He smiled. There were the words he had wanted to hear for so long, but unfortunately, they came from the wrong person. Spock ... my T'hy'la, he shouted in thought, hoping that they would reach the heart of the Vulcan.
"Will you stay with me tonight?" Susan asked after a time when they were lying side by side.
He looked at her, kissed her hand tenderly, and said nothing. He wondered what he should tell her. What did he want? Did he want to stay with her? After a moment that felt like an eternity he said hesitantly, "Yes … Susan, I will stay."
For a while they lay silently next to each other.
Susan seemed to know what was going through his head and asked, "Why do you stay with him if he doesn't do you good?"
"He is doing me very well," was his somewhat too abrupt answer.
"But why are you with me then?" She tried to decide the situation for herself. "Does he ever tell you … that he loves you?"
"It's not his essence, it's a distinction between words and deeds, and he showed me his love very often, only the words I sometimes miss."
"Why are you here then?" she asked once more. "Why are you not you with him, if you love him so much?" She seemed hurt.
"I've made my decision, Susan."
"And what for? What for, Jim?" she had set herself up and her voice was embittered. Suddenly she felt used.
"I'm here, is that not enough to prove that I've chosen you?"
"Did you really, Jim?" Kirk nodded slowly, but he was not sure of himself.
"I'm not just a simple way out…?" her voice trailed off. After an awkward silence, she added "What does your heart say, Jim, did your heart decide for the same?"
Again, he nodded slowly and stroked Susan's hair absentmindedly. Oh yes, his heart had also decided, but not for her, and that was what made the situation so difficult for him. He knew anyway that everything he would say or do would be wrong. And yet the following words left his mouth.
"Yes, Susan, my heart has also decided."
"But not for me, am I right?"
Jim said nothing.
For Susan, it was a confirmation of her guess and she withdrew. She wrapped the sheet around her naked body and stood up.
"Please get out … get lost", she said suddenly.
"But I've decided for you, Susan, please!"
She looked angry and she did not hear his words. "No, you are a liar, you're not just lying to me, you're lying to yourself, Jim."
He got up and went up to her, trying to hold her, but she pushed him away.
"Go!" She cried.
Confused, he dressed. Tears also gathered in his eyes.
"Susan, please believe me, I love you," he stammered, knowing that he had lied to himself.
She was still standing naked, only with the sheet around her body, which did not protect her from the cold from inside her and gave a contemptuous laugh.
"As much as you do love Spock?" came her soft sobbing.
Jim went up to her again, wanted to kiss her, but she still did not look at him.
"You should know that I loved you all along, Jim," she said to him with her back to him. "And you? You love him, I see it in your eyes, and when his name falls, He is the one your heart has chosen, and you will not change that. Now go. And leave me alone."
Hesitantly he went to the door, it opened and he left her quarters. Behind him, he heard the clicking of the door lock.
Jim stood for a moment in front of Susan's quarters. He almost wanted to ask for the recording again. He did not know anything. In his mind, he heard Spock's words, Jim, you alone decide where you belong ... Damn, where did he belong? He was confused. Where the hell did he belong? So he thought for a while to himself and then, very slowly, he turned away from Susan's quarters and left.
* * *
Spock lay still awake in his bed. One click told him that the door lock in the neighbour door was unlocked. With a faint hiss, the door opened and Jim entered Spock's quarters and tried to make a little noise as possible so he doesn't wake Spock up. He started taking off his clothes. The Vulcan did not move, but his eyes followed the man who was now approaching the bed. Spock looked at him without a word. Dressed only with the underpants, Jim came to the side of the bed. Spock still did not speak. He just lifted the sheet. Jim crawled into the bed and spooned with Spock. The Vulcan hesitated for a moment.
* * * * *
End without happy ending
Then he took Jim's hand into his. Then he braided his hand into his partner's, closing his eyes, but he did not fall asleep. They lay awake for a long time, but no one said a word. They both felt something was broken.
End with Happy End
Then he took Jim's hand into his and stroked her tenderly with his thumb. It was his way of expressing relief. He braided his hand into his partner's and closed his eyes. They lay awake for a long time, and no one said a word. After an apparent eternity, Jim finally whispered, "Yes, I know where I belong ..." He snuggled into the embrace of his partner and finally fell asleep.