His footsteps echoed emptily as James Kirk walked through the hallway to his quarters, long hallways that should have been filled to the brim with cadets, jostling into each other as they made their way to classes, passed data pads of notes and bemoaned their fates as they faced that exam orthis instructor. Sounds that he'd grown so accustomed to over the past few years that he only noticed them in their absence, silence washing over him and the only noises were his own.
Tomorrow the hallways would be filled again, only the silence would be no less deafening, families coming to gather the possessions of the dead or lost, surrounded by their silent gray ghosts.
In the midst of everything, the stillness of hallways--
( and the knowing because he'd seen it with his own eyes, the torn wreckage of half a dozen ships that held the burned or frozen remains of his fellow cadets, or maybe not even that much, barely a stain of ash left as a memento to a life that no longer was)
--it hadn't seemed real, the loss too enormous to be contained in his thoughts, until he keyed open the door and walked into his own quarters. The floor was littered with clothes that hadn't made their way to the recycler, data pads stacked haphazardly around, nearly at the tipping point that would send them scattering to the floor as they had a dozen times before but this time Robert wasn't there to curse as he gathered them up, there would never be another time to stay out too late and come back still drunk, laughing even as they tried frantically to study for the exam tomorrow or to finish that essay that they hadn't even begun, but that girl had been something else, hadn't she, so worth it, but never again. Never.
Because he was dead. Him and so many other cadets were dead and burned and...gone.
It was 0300 hours and James Kirk looked at his oh, so empty room for a long, long time before he turned around and walked back out the door.
The physical training facilities were as empty as the rest of the Academy but here at least there were things to do. Distractions. He keyed in his normal program and stretched out on the weight bench, grasping the bar as it flickered into existence and exerted the maximum amount of pressure that he could lift against. The silence was still here, following him like a mist, but here he could concentrate on the mindless physical labor, and not Robert, not Aleesa, not a thousand accusing eyes following him.
(if he'd known, if he'd remembered a little sooner, made them believe a little sooner could he have saved, could they all have been saved, if he'd remembered, if)
The sound of footsteps made him jerk, the computer's bland voice suggesting he terminate this program to prevent muscle injury but he ignored it, straining his neck to see who could be --Spock. Of course. Who else would be using the senior facilities, how many people were even still alive.
He was dressed plainly in a basic Starfleet exercise suit, the jacket fastened all the way up to his neck, keying his personal code into another machine.
"Hey," Jim grunted, muscles trembling with the effort. He ended the program and sat up, snagging a towel from a neat stack to his right and swiping it roughly over his face.
Spock nodded curtly and Jim didn't bother hiding his eyeroll. After everything, he was still the same sanctimonious prig. It figured. McCoy was probably rejoicing.
"Trouble sleeping?" Jim offered, rubbing the towel briskly under his arms.
To his surprise, Spock merely said, "Yes," stripping off his jacket. He still had a tank underneath it, only baring his arms and Jim resisted the urge to roll his eyes again. Maybe they were destined to be friends, maybe he would captain his own ship permanently, maybe, maybe, maybe but right now the only thing Spock had that Kirk needed was a pulse.
"It's so quiet," Kirk said, softly. He studied the floor at his feet, the lights reflecting starkly in the high gloss. "My roommate is dead."
"As a graduate, my quarters are for a single occupant," Spock informed him. He was doing some sort of weird stretching exercise. Huh, Vulcans were pretty flexible for such a rigid species. "However, I admit, I am finding the silence at the Academy to be somewhat...disconcerting."
"Yeah, I guess that's the word for it."
"My meditation was not proving an adequate distraction. I thought perhaps that physical exertion could—"
"You figured if you wore yourself out maybe you'd be able to sleep," Jim interrupted, swiping at his forehead again with the towel. "That's pretty much what I was thinking."
"As you say."
Whatever the stretching was, he seemed to be done and Spock only stood there, not quite uncertainly, almost expectant waiting. Maybe he needed something too, not friends exactly, but Jim had a pulse, too, and he could offer that.
And when it became clear that Spock wasn't going to tell him, he suggested, "Want to spar?"
If Vulcans ever scoffed, surely that was what it would look like. "Vulcans are proportionately stronger than humans."
Translation, I would kick your ass, you pussy.
"Oh, come on. It'd be good practice for me." He grinned. "Think you're ever going to get another opportunity to kick my ass?"
A brief silence and then, with perfect obviousness, "Practice room three is empty."
Yeah, that was what he thought.
Jim Kirk had always had this little a quirk, maybe one could even call it an anomaly, a glitch of sorts. Bones usually called it a pain in the ass, but whatever the name was, there were times that it was definitely a problem.
He didn't like to lose.
Not that he'd actually thought he stood a chance against a Vulcan in a fair fight; he'd admitted that much from the beginning, hadn't he? But three pins in ten minutes was a bit much for his pride to bear and the taste of plasticine floor mats mixed with his own blood was heavy on the back of his tongue, his split lip still sending a fresh trickle for him to swipe away impatiently.
And Spock wasn't even breathing heavily, his eyes cool and dispassionate, and maybe it was that, or maybe it was that silence, still hanging over them, the knowledge that a stinking cloud of grief would overwhelm them all tomorrow as a flood of parents and loved ones swept in for a memorial service that would comfort no one. He wanted more than the taste of his own blood or his own anger, he wanted to see something in those eyes, some grief that matched his own. Something.
So he opened his mouth and said it. "I'm surprised that you'd even noticed how quiet the Academy was. I figured Vulcans wouldn't pay attention to that sort of thing, mourning death being so illogical."
"You are trying to provoke me," Spock observed mildly, "It is a response that I am quite familiar with."
"It worked before."
"You spoke to me of my mother. I believe even by Human standards that insults concerning a parent are considered off limits."
"Yeah," Jim agreed coolly, blinking away the sweat that was sliding into his eyes. He didn't dare raise his hands to wipe it away, didn't dare lower his guard even a fraction. "Kind of like how you brought my dad up at the trial, isn't it?" he shrugged, a little. "Not that I really knew him. Didn't really even have a chance to love him, now did I? You of all people should know about that."
Lightly, just that faintest edge of mocking and he didn't have a chance to appreciate the flare of emotion in those dark eyes, barely even saw it as the padded floor rushed up to meet his face again, hard enough to drive the breath out of him. His arm was pulled up behind his back, a grip like steel around his wrist holding it there. The strain in his shoulder winced through him warningly.
"Do you yield?" Close to his ear, breath hotter than any human's could be.
"No," Jim snarled, trying and failing to find some tiny bit of leverage, some advantage that hadn't already been stolen away by a stronger, heavier body on top of him. His free hand was wedged beneath him and Spock wouldn't let up even a centimeter, certainly not enough to pull it loose. He tried to struggle, twisting his wrist in that harsh grip and all it got him was a hard upward yank on his arm, one that sent hot pain burning through his shoulder.
No way to free himself, no control here, not now, and still he thrashed grimly, refusing to give in. As if to remind him of the futility, Spock lowered himself down on Kirk's back, a shock of heat even through two layers of clothing.
"Bastard," Jim said, his voice a bare hiss. Spock was surprisingly heavy and it was difficult to draw in a breath.
"I told you," Spock's mouth was so very close to his ear, "Not to speak ill of my mother."
I was speaking ill of you, Jim nearly said, the retort dying unspoken because through the haze of pain and anger clouding his thoughts, some little realization was creeping in. Another point of heat, this one hard and jutting against his ass, so much more real for being right there.
Spock was hard and was pressed against him, and Jim could taste the sharp iron taint of blood in his mouth from his split lip, not thinking of anything but advantage when he pushed up towards it, grinding his ass against that hard heat.
It was the sound that almost did him in, the faintest whisper of breath that was almost like a groan and it snapped awareness into him, oh, God, what were they, what, they couldn't, he didn't--
"Let me up," Jim said, and to his own ears his voice sounded thin, unconvincing.
Spock's held no such uncertainties. "Yield to me."
Jim ground his teeth, pressed his face into the coolness of the cushioned floor, sliding against his own sweat. Numbness was flowing into both his arms, pin-and-needle pain a minor distraction and Spock didn't move, didn't rub against him, just stayed over him, holding him down.
"Let. Me. Up!" Jim gritted out, the last word echoing like a shout and it earned him another pull on his arm, hard enough to tear a yelp from his throat. An eyewateringly long moment later, the pressure eased and he could breathe again, harsh gasps as he drew air into his lungs and the throb of pain in his shoulder slowly dulled.
"If you want me to let you go, you must yield." It brooked no argument, purely logical, of course, it made perfect sense but none of this made sense.
"No," Jim breathed, licked at the cut on his lip
A pause and then, "Very well."
The knee between his own should have been a shock and yet somehow, it wasn't, and his legs spread easily, widening enough for Spock's body to fit between them. Making room for him, Jim realized, fitting them together like pieces of a living puzzle. The only bare point of contact was Spock's hand around his wrist, unyielding as Jim himself was and his arm was numb but he could still feel it, the inhuman heat shaped by each finger against his skin.
"Please," Jim whispered, barely aware of begging and he was, wasn't he, he was pleading with Spock but for what?
"If you wish for me to stop, then you must yield."
It was the calm in the voice, unwavering inner stillness that made him want to bare his teeth and snarl at the ceiling, wanted to shout into that unbearable silence and hear his own voice break it. They were alive and sweatily entwined on a floor that had held hundreds, maybe thousands, of other bodies although maybe none like quite like this, and it didn't even matter because those other bodies were dead. Dead, dead, dead, maybe nothing but icy limbs floating in empty space, or dust, less than dust, either way they were dead and he and Spock were still alive.
He could end this with a word, two words, but instead, Jim moved, using whatever leverage he could to rub against that hardness; he had to have something out of this, couldn't just be here for Spock to use, like any body that was still warm and alive would do.
Ground himself against it the best he could, driving against that hardness like they were already fucking and now he could hear the raggedness in Spock's breathing, only faint but it was there and it was real, really real, and maybe he couldn't break that calm, not this time, but he could batter it, bruise himself against it.
"Come on, you bastard, do it, then!" Jim barely recognized his own frayed voice.
The unexpected release of his wrist made him cry out in frustration, instinctively drawing his arm free and the sudden flood of blood resuming its normal flow made him stifle another cry, his fingers swollen and cold as he pulled it up to rest by his face. The body lifting off of his own was another betrayal and for a moment he was lost in grief, shivering in the sudden chill.
Strong hands were dragging his pants down to his thighs and it made his breath seize in his chest, stuttering exhalations and bare skin was abruptly against his own, stiflingly hot and damp.
An unexpected but not unfamiliar sound and he nearly laughed, barely able to visualize any Vulcan, much less the cool, arrogant one he'd seen on the bridge of the Enterprise spitting but wet fingertips pressed against him, inside him. Spock was inside him, not quite slick enough and Jim hissed a little at the burn, an odd, strengthless little sound that wasn't a protest.
His own cock was pinned uncomfortably underneath him, the wetness leaking from the tip not quite enough for him to slide against the padded floor but even the friction was good and Jim rocked his hips almost helplessly, caught between the finger inside him, twisting and loosening him with unbearable thoroughness and near discomfort of the floor.
Abruptly, that finger withdrew and he felt Spock shift over him, felt hands on his hips lifting him, positioning him and...there, heat. Blunt pressure and heat against him, just on the verge of pushing inside and there Spock hesitated, shifting so that both his hands were on the floor on either side of Jim, holding him there.
He'd never done this, couldn't even imagine that Spock had, did Vulcans do this, it seemed like the very definition of illogical and somehow just the thought of it made him want to laugh again because what the hell, it didn't matter what either them had or hadn't, did or didn't; they were, they were here right now and this was happening. Now.
"Do you yield?" Spock's lips brushed against his ear, maybe the softest touch of a tongue but so brief and Jim shook his head, denying. He might have imagined the smile in that dark, cool voice, but Jim could pretend.
He couldn't have held back the whining gasp burning in his throat for any amount of pride in the world as Spock pushed forward, prying into him that hot, hard length that Jim hadn't seen but he'd felt and, damnit, there was so much of it, every time he thought they'd reached the end, that it was enough there was more cramming its way inside, making room in him where none should be and ithurt, so much deeper than he'd expected.
"Relax," murmured against him even as Spock pressed a little deeper, taking every fraction of yielding that Jim could offer and there was, was that tenderness in his voice? Concern? Jim didn't know and he couldn't see Spock's eyes, couldn't even guess at what he might be feeling but it was enough for him to pull in one gasping breath, another, forcing himself to obey just that tiny bit. It was enough to let Spock slide all the way inside him, the smooth pressure of his hips against Jim's backside.
"There," Spock said and there was no way Jim imagined the faint crackle of stress in that word. "There, that is..." he dropped his head to press his face into the sweat-damp valley between Jim's shoulder blades and for long moments all he did was breathe, cooling blurts of air until Jim wanted to shove up against him, force him to do something with the unyielding pressure of his cock that was so still deep inside.
Finally, finally, he moved, pulling out slowly and leaving Jim empty and aching. There was an uncertainty to it, a hesitance, but it didn't last after that first thrust, almost too fast and then again, Spock driving into him with growing confidence and Jim was clawing at the floor desperately, snarling with need as he pushed up into it, he wanted more, he wanted it deeper, wanted those strong hands to hold him, bruise him again, wanted one of them around his cock, stroking him. He was alive and he wanted to feel everything, every shred of pain, every fragment of pleasure.
Instead, he writhed against the barely yielding floor, sliding in his own sweat, took his pleasure in the low, deep grunt escaping from Spock as he thrust in hard, deep enough that the burn returned and Jim had a fleeting, grimly amusing thought of staggering into the Medical unit and seeing Bones, having to explain how he'd bruised his internal organs getting fucked.
The heat inside him suddenly doubled, turning slick and the sudden ease in those hard thrusts was enough to tip him over the edge, his own come jetting against the floor and he could ride that slickness, glide in it even as he shuddered, pushing up in jerky little movements as he tried to get just a little more, just a little, a little.
Jim sagged into the floor like he could absorb himself in it, allowing himself the comforting illusion of blindness as he buried his head into the curve of his arm, tasting the sweat beaded on his upper lip. Long moments passed and the breathing so close to his ear slowly eased, the body heavy on his own managed to crawl up on shaky elbows enough to let him breathe a little easier.
What now, he didn't say, didn't even want to consider it. It was easier to just lay here and bask in unthinking blankness, to pretend just for a little while.
Then, so softly he might have imagined it, "I loved my mother."
Jim didn't lift his head from the floor, breathed through it for a long, long time and when he felt Spock stiffen, felt him starting to pull away he snapped a hand down to catch Spock's wrist, keeping him there.
"Yeah, I know," Jim said quietly, "I know you did."
The floor was clammy beneath him, smeared with his own sweat and fluids and Spock was too heavy and hot over him, but Jim still held him there until he relaxed again, lowering his head to rest his chin on Jim's shoulder.
The silence around them was still there, lingering death all around them but Spock was warm and his breath was soft, and Jim could lie there with him, just a little while longer.