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Ignis Aurum Probat

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The first thing Spock becomes aware of as he snaps suddenly back to consciousness is the smell, the commingled odors of blood and vomit threading through the unmistakable musk of sex.   

He looks about his quarters to find them in curious disarray.  The bedsheets, stiff with dried fluids, are pulled halfway off his bunk, the pillow similarly stained and torn.  Several objects that normally reside on the desk or the low shelving behind it lie in a wide arc on the floor.  And everywhere there is blood, spattered and smeared, on the walls, the bed, the floor...

And that is where he finds Kirk, lying unconscious on his right side, wearing only a black undershirt that has been pulled almost completely off his body to wrap around his neck.  Dried blood cakes his face from the nose downward, another track on his left temple starting from above his hairline and trailing alarmingly far down his neck. Numerous bruises, bites, and scratches cover his neck and upper torso. His left arm is twisted behind him, bent at an unnatural angle, the shoulder and forearm swollen and discolored.  And more blood daubs his hips and thighs in streaks and splotches, much of it dried but some of it still fresh, still flowing, tracing a slender path across one buttock to pool on the deck beneath him.

Who has dared to harm thee?!

Then the memories begin to return.  The illness that plagued him for days, causing him to lose his appetite, to remain wakeful even when his mind screamed for rest, to restlessly pace the decks and the mess hall and the bridge until the captain relieved him of duty and ordered him to Sickbay. Dr. McCoy, having found nothing obvious, sent him to his quarters with a mild sedative, but it only made his growing irritation worse to feel sleep hovering, so near but tormentingly unattainable, on the edges of his consciousness.  Then the waking dreams began, the visions of incense smoke carried on hot desert winds, the slow beating of drums, hands on skins thumping a rhythm so like the rhythm of his thrusts into the body of his mate as they lie together on the animal furs on the floor of their tent, its sides ballooning outward with the wind and billowing inward again, the swirling firelight mirrored in the alien eyes that capture his own, urging him on, begging for his release to come, to flood the willing body with his seed, to mark it as his...

And Spock realized only then that his time was upon him and went to the captain to request a diversion of their ship to New Vulcan as well as a leave of absence for himself to visit a healer.

Kirk had agreed readily, without knowing, without even asking, why.  Five solar days' time and they would be there, five days during which Spock would voluntarily confine himself to his quarters, altering the door code so that no one could enter after him and bear witness to his descent into madness.  At first he answered comms from the captain and the doctor, but soon the irritation evolved from mere hypersensitivity to a persistent smoldering anger, and he began to ignore their increasingly frequent comms.  The last thing he remembers is gripping his communicator, the captain's code blinking incessantly, infuriatingly, on it, and hurling it against the wall with a roar.

He now retrieves the shattered communicator, sees at a glance that it is useless, and comms Sickbay from his terminal.  

"Sickbay.  McCoy here."

"Doctor."  His voice is ragged, deep and gravelly.  He cannot think what to say next.

"On my way."  

 

***

 

The door buzzer sounds, and Spock releases the lock with a verbal command.  McCoy enters, alone and carrying a stretcher, pausing just long enough to locate the body of the captain across the room before moving quickly to his side and scanning him.  Spock is seated against the wall, by the door, and does not rise.

"Sweet Jesus," he hears the doctor whisper and watches, numbly, as McCoy cuts the remains of the undershirt from around Kirk's neck before delivering into it the contents of two hyposprays.  He splints the damaged arm and rolls the unresponsive body onto the stretcher, covering it with a sheet and a thermal blanket.  

"He's in shock.  The knock to his head's caused a subdural hematoma; he'll need immediate surgery to relieve the pressure or he'll die.  The...other injuries will also require surgery."    He engages the antigravs and lifts the stretcher.  "I'll comm you when he's in recovery.  You can come see him then."  

He leaves Spock's quarters without another word and guides the stretcher along corridors he ordered cleared before he left Sickbay, knowing what cargo he would be transporting upon his return.

 

***

 

Several hours later, Spock gets the comm from McCoy.  It is nearly another hour before he makes the short walk to Sickbay.

McCoy meets him in the doorway.  "He's groggy but he's awake, and he wants to see you."

"That will be impossible, Doctor.  I must report to the brig for the assault I committed on the captain.  I have come only to inform you of that fact before I do so."

McCoy shakes his head.  "Didn't he tell you?  He knew this was gonna happen, or something like it.  He put Sulu in command and told him not to let Security take you no matter what you might do.  There won't be any charges."

"He...knew?"

"Yeah.  He saw we weren't gonna make it to New Vulcan in time so he..."

"How could he know?"

McCoy frowns slightly as his eyes angle down and away from Spock's for a moment before returning.  "I don't know.  He didn't tell me.  Just that he was going in and that you were probably gonna hurt him, and to come get him when either one of you commed me."

Spock nods and closes his eyes momentarily before opening them again and fixing the doctor with a steady gaze.  "Will you accompany me?"

McCoy agrees, realizing only later that the request was not made, as he first supposed, out of a desire for moral support, but rather as a safeguard against the possibility of his further injuring the captain.

They advance toward the biobed together and look down at the figure lying upon it.  Kirk's left arm is immobilized in a plasticast that extends from neck to wrist, the protruding fingers swollen and purple.  The left side of his face is similarly discolored, crusts of dark red still evident in the hair that remains around the incision McCoy made to drain the blood from his brain.  His eyes open at their approach and blink as they see Spock, toward whom he now extends his right hand, palm up, on the bed.

And Spock recalls his conversation with his older self, the Ambassador, an hour ago in his quarters, a direct ship-to-shore comm between himself and himself, in which he haltingly outlined the events that brought them to this place, his head bowed in mortification while the Ambassador nodded and sighed heavily.

"Spock.  Listen to me.  If your James Kirk is anything like mine was, he has forgiven you already.  Do not be dismayed on that account.  He will not disappoint you."

Yet he cannot bring himself now to accept the request for contact, folding his hands behind his back instead.

"Sir.  I cannot begin to think how you can forgive me.  Although I know I can never truly atone for the damage I have caused you, I swear to you that I will spend the rest of my life attempting to do so.  I understand if you prefer to dissolve our association, but whether you do or not, I give you my word, my pledge, that I will do everything possible to prove myself worthy of your continued trust."

"Spock."   The voice is rough and low but not weak.  "I knew what I was doing when I went in.  I know you couldn't help it."

"You do not understand.  I too knew what the pon farr entailed.  I was simply too embarrassed to tell you.  Had I demonstrated the courage to do so, your injuries would have been avoided."

"Yeah, right, and you'd be dead.  Listen to me."  Kirk's hand still lies open on the bed, and his fingers beckon until Spock places his first two fingers onto the waiting palm.  "You've seen...the worst of me.  And you didn't give up on me.  Now I've seen the worst of you.  We're even."  The hand squeezes his fingers.  "I'm not going to keep score, and neither should you. You don't owe me a thing."  

Spock can feel the calm resolution in the captain's mind even as he slides out of wakefulness, and as the grip on his fingers slackens, he realizes that Kirk is wrong, that Spock does owe him something, and he seats himself next to his friend and steels himself in preparation for honoring that debt, the payment of remembering and acknowledging all that he did to his beloved.

And for the second time in his adult life, Spock weeps, the silent tears coursing down his cheeks as the loathsome memories now seep into his mind in retrograde fashion, colored with impressions from Kirk's fading consciousness.  And he first recalls the last event before waking, his exhausted, satiated collapse onto the ruined bed as Kirk slowly rolls off onto the floor and starts to crawl toward the bathroom, his left arm trailing uselessly as he propels himself along with the other, his ravaged lower body dragging behind, and he pauses to retch, his stomach weakly clenching in an attempt to disgorge the ingested blood and semen, then resumes but only briefly before sinking back down to the floor, panting, eyes closing against the pain, the dizzy blackness of concussion winning over his resolve to clean himself up before leaving Spock's quarters...

Then more, as he remembers Kirk rising at one point, hours into the ordeal, and turning away from the bed to reach for something innocuous, a drink of water, but Spock responds as if Kirk means to leave him, and his reaction is one of senseless fury as he springs off the bed and seizes Kirk's wrist, deaf to the snap of tendon and bone as he wrenches it behind his back, then propels him with the arm still in his grasp to slam his body up against the bulkhead

NO you will STAY

and Kirk rebounds off the wall with an only partly stifled grunt of pain, the only sound of protest he has made since he entered Spock's quarters, and there is more blood, this time from his nose and his mouth and the side of his head, and its odor inflames Spock anew, it calls to his own blood, causes it to rise again, and he pushes Kirk back down on the bed for more, ignoring the grimace on the paling face before him, heedless of the agony of their combined weight on the crooked arm beneath, searching only for the entrance to the body he craves, to take it again, and Kirk presents it to him again, silently, by hooking his uninjured arm behind one knee to draw it to his chest...

And earlier, the memory of Kirk, his thighs already flecked with blood, on his knees as he accepts his mate into his mouth, the orgasm choking him with its torrent until it finally concludes and he pulls back to gulp in air, but Spock allows him no rest, hoisting him to his feet by his shirt, twisting it off one arm and around his neck to pull the gasping face up to his and crushing the quivering lips with his own, tasting his own seed and Kirk's blood and feeling himself stiffen again, and he laughs and turns the pliant body around, bending it over the desk for another onslaught...

And the beginning of the end, the fever of the plak tow, the interminable torment of being apart from his bonded one, and the sudden savage joy at the sight of the door sliding open, unlocked by the captain's override code, granting him access to a space Spock has already desperately begged him not to enter.  And his heart leaps as he hears the sound of the door closing and locking behind Kirk, as he hungrily watches him pull off the gold shirt and fold it to place it on the desk before turning to Spock and holding his arms open, inviting, accepting, surrendering to what is to come.