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Unbonded

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Jim watched his first officer rising from the bed and kneeling down to pick up his clothes. He didn’t say anything. Just watched as Spock carefully redressed. When Spock sat on the edge of Jim’s bed to pull his boots on, Jim shifted just slightly, sitting up from his prior prone position.

Spock looked back at him, his lips curving in just the slightest way. It was usually the closest thing to a smile he generally got out of his lover.

Jim smiled back. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask Spock to stay with him that night. They’d been coupling for close to three months and as yet, every time they finished sexual congress, as Spock would say, either Spock left Jim’s quarters or Jim left Spock’s. At first it had been no big deal. Jim had never stayed the night with anyone before. But those were casual hookups and he very much hoped Spock was not.

“Jim?"

He smiled again. “Yeah, babe?”

“You seemed to be lost in your own thoughts.” Spock tilted his head. “May I make a query?”

“Sure.”

“Are you experiencing sleep disturbances?”

“Hmm. I never sleep totally well if that’s what you mean.”

Spock nodded. “If you would like, there are methods to ensure you relax for potentially better rest.”

His heart rate increased. Did Spock mean a meld? He had been trying to hint to Spock about melding. And not the kind where it was informational stuff but like a more intimate thing. Spock hadn’t really been taking the hints.

“Yeah?” Jim asked, trying not to sound too eager. “Like a meld, maybe?”

Spock’s brows furrowed. “No, Jim. I was speaking of a massage to loosen your tense muscles.”

“Oh.” He nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”

“If you will lie on your stomach, I will begin.”

“Or, um, you could, you know, stay with me. If you wanted to.” He toyed with the top sheet and tried not to look like he was hoping for a yes.

“I rise much earlier than you as I do not need as much sleep and I would not wish to disturb you when I wish to meditate,” Spock replied. “You do not care for the smell of the incense I use when meditating either as it disturbs your sinuses.”

It was as though Spock had anticipated that Jim would say he could simply meditate in Jim’s quarters.

“The massage?”

Jim shook his head. “Nah, that’s okay, I’m good.”

“Very well.” Spock carefully touched his two fingers to Jim’s in his typical departure greeting. “I will see you in the morning for breakfast.”

“Yep,” Jim said cheerfully. “Night, Spock.”

Spock exited Jim’s quarters, and presumably headed for his own.

Jim sighed and rose from the bed, going to his wardrobe for his pajama bottoms. His ass was pleasantly sore from the evening’s activities and he was a bit wrung out from the two times Spock had made him come. And yet, he knew sleep would elude him just then. He went to the synthesizer and ordered warm milk. Something his mother used.

Then he took the milk with him to his terminal and pulled up a file.

Ambassador Spock appeared frozen on his screen. An old recording before the old Vulcan’s passing.

“God, I miss you,” Jim said softly. “If you were still alive I could ask you so many questions. But you aren’t. And I…I just don’t want to fuck this up.”

He hit the button to play Ambassador Spock’s message. He’d played it many times.

“Hello, Jim. I hope this message finds you well.

In your last message to me you asked many questions about my timeline to which I am afraid I must decline to answer. Do not pout. And yes, I know you would be pouting. Understand, ashayam, that to reveal too much risks altering your timeline, perhaps to your detriment. And that I cannot allow. One that I do feel I can answer is regarding the closeness I had with my own James Kirk. You asked if we ever bonded in our time and the answer is yes. It was many years later in age than you and Spock are now. In time, I believe your Spock will recognize that Nyota Uhura is not where his destiny lies. But until then, I ask that you, what is the human term? Ah, yes. Keep the faith. Live long and prosper, Jim.”

The recording stopped. Jim had many such recordings from the ambassador. He had saved every one. But he listened to this one the most.

“Well, he’s not with Uhura anymore, but…I don’t know.”

He sipped his warm milk. “Talking to a ghost or something.”

Bones had thought after the events of Altamid that Spock and Uhura were headed for a reconciliation. He’d told Jim that at Jim’s birthday celebration, having overheard their conversation. And Jim had resigned himself, once more, to put aside his own feelings.

Spock had spent six months on New Vulcan after that and Jim had assumed Uhura went with him. Part of him had wondered if they would bond while there.

During those six months, Jim had gone to Riverside to visit his mother. Bones had gone to Georgia for his daughter. It was a lonely six months, actually. He got along pretty well with his mom these days, and Sam and his wife, Aurelan, and their infant son, Peter, had also visited, but he missed his friends, his crew and his ship.

He’d missed Spock.

And then, after Jim settled into temporary residential quarters on Yorktown while the Enterprise continued to be rebuilt, Spock had come to see him.

“Hey, Spock, how—” was all Jim had got out of his mouth before Spock’s tongue was halfway down his throat.

Now, here he was. With everything he’d ever wanted in his life.

Almost.

Jim was frankly afraid to push his luck. Asking for more from Spock then he was willing to give. And anyway, maybe by Vulcan standards, their time together was like a week was to humans.

Jim touched the screen where older Spock’s image still showed. Maybe it was true. The older you got, the more you turned into a sentimental old fool. He exited the screen and stood.

Paced his quarters.

Went to his comm. Punched in a number.

“’lo?”

“Bones, you up?”

A long pause.

“I am now, brainless,” Bones said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Sorry.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Go back to sleep. Ignore me.”

He could hear a little rustling. “If you’re sure.”

“I am. Night, Bones. Talk to you later.”

He finished the milk with a wince and deposited the glass in the dish receptacle.

Jim supposed he could at least attempt to sleep. Instead, he walked over to where he had a bunch of holo-pics. Really, that and books were the only things he used to decorate his room with. A lot of the ones he’d had were destroyed with the Enterprise, but a few he’d had in Riverside with his mom. And one had come to him on Yorktown.

There was a holo-pic of him and his mom. One of his parents when they were really young. One of him and Pike from the Academy days.

“I miss you, too.”

The final pics were one of him and Bones, also at the academy. One with Spock and Uhura and himself when they were still a couple. And the last was with him and the ambassador. He'd received it on Yorktown after the ambassador's death.

“Damn, I’m maudlin tonight. What the hell is wrong with me?”

He turned away and went to his bed. “Computer, lights out.”

Jim pulled the covers around him. Wistfully touched the side of the bed that Spock should be laying on.

He had his ship back, shiny and new. He had his best friend and brother, Bones, by his side. The best crew in the Fleet. Spock hadn’t gone to New Vulcan to make babies and left him forever. Spock was with him, engaging in sexual congress on a regular basis.

And God, it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t.