On achieving Captain (and who saw that coming? Seriously?), Jim had been fairly sure his days of being bailed out of jail at two am were over. Not so much, really. But as it turns out, it could get worse.
"Sir," Spock says, looking almost aggressively out of place in the small town police station. Behind the bars, Kirk considers the benefits of further incarceration.
"Spock." Straightening, Jim ignores the fact he's somewhat less than sober and the potential of this interview containing the words "unbecoming an officer" because Spock says crap like that, and more, he means it. "So. Your ex really does hate me."
Spock tilts his head. "I was unaware of any negative feelings Lieutenant Uhura may have for you," he says, serious and very Vulcan. Jim can't deal with Vulcans with an incipient hangover and still riding the queasy edge of fall-down-drunkeness (which is in fact a state of being; Jim knows. He used to achieve it regularly). "Her message, however, lacked sufficient detail to evaluate how the situation should be approached."
That would be because Jim was trying--so stupidly, so very, very stupidly--to minimize the humiliation of this entire night, but hey, the humiliation came to him.
"I was arrested," Jim says, glancing at the door, waiting for the officers to return with proof positive he is not, in fact, Joe Curtis, so his night can get that much better. "Spock, I don't suppose I ever told you about some unfortunate--involvement--I've had with local law enforcement during my youth?"
Spock looks distinctly uninterested.
"Let's try this--how do the words arrest warrants in three counties sound to you?" And that's just the stuff he knows about; he's made a concerted effort since joining Starfleet to know a lot less.
Spock raises an eyebrow to express his utter shock that it was possible to care less than he had before.
Jim sighs. This won't end well, he knows it. "It wasn't my fault."
"I see." Spock folds his hands behind his back. "So it was an accident when a patron of the local--tavern, I think is the term--fell onto your fist and broke his nose?"
"Followed by five of his closest friends?"
There is that. "Spock," Jim starts, leaning against the bars, because drunk or not, he's doing this like a Starfleet officer--or at least, like a man who used to be one before an unfortunate bar in a town that he should have damn well avoided when he was anywhere near a drink. "All right. Fine. I fucked up. Happy?"
"No." Spock takes a step toward the bars, which Jim supposes is supposed to someone sober would be intimidating. "I understand that humans have a variety of ways of processing--"
"Yeah, no, we're not playing analyze the human for fun and profit tonight, thanks. Either get me out of here or get the hell out and I'll figure this out for myself."
Spock frowns, coming up close enough to the bars that Jim could touch him if he wanted to. "Captain--"
"Now, Spock. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and I thought--I don't know what I thought." Maybe that Uhura wouldn't rat him out, which was his third mistake tonight, the second being that he didn't get his head out of his ass and get out of there before law enforcement showed up. Lesson learned.
The first, he thinks, though, was inevitable, and he can't see that as a mistake at all. "Well?"
Abruptly, Spock does something quick and familiar with the interface, and Jim watches in shock as the door swings open. "You're fucking with me." Because if there was ever, anyone, anywhere that would not--holy shit, hack jail security, it would be Spock
Spock does this thing where he's not rolling his eyes, but it's pretty much the same thing. "Unless you wish to wait until your hearing?"
"Nope." The outer room's two robocops are remarkably still in that way that indicates Mr. Spock has not been sharing with the class on his talents on the wrong side of the law. Stopping at the terminal, Jim checks the transmission log and finds the arrest record, breathing thanks that Spock must have arrived before they could send it up.
Jim hesitates, then looks at Spock "So if I crash their system--"
"You were the only arrest tonight at this location. Under the circumstances," and there's something unreadable in his voice, "I believe it would be prudent--"
"We're good." Local security is kind of depressingly easy; Jim supposes all those years patiently working his way through the various levels of Starfleet encryption have spoiled him. Bringing up the security net, Jim overrides the failsafes. "Open the door so we can get out," he says, then brings down the system with a feeling of satisfaction far out of proportion with the actual effort expended.
This sort of shit was a lot more fun before he started commanding starships, he has to admit. "All right, let's get out of here."
Spock nods silent agreement that manages to imply their discussion isn't close to over.
From God knows where, Spock acquired both a vehicle and the ability to drive. Jim takes a second to ponder a world where Spock can drive.
"When did you--"
"I lived on Earth for several years, both during my Academy training and after," Spock says with that kind of expressionless calm that means he really thinks you're too stupid to live. "Please enter the vehicle. The system will reboot in six point five eight three minutes and we should not be in evidence."
"Right." Jim doesn't even try to approach the driver's side, not least because he's in no shape to drive. Climbing in, he relaxes into the seat, feeling it shift around him, conforming to his body. The temperature is too hot, but Jim doesn't care enough to touch the settings, leaning back into the padded headrest and wondering how twenty-seven can be so much like seventeen.
"They got away," Jim says shortly. All of them will have to answer some awkward questions when they go to get fixed up, which is pretty much the only thing that's gone right tonight. Possibly the only thing that's gone right in the last week. "You would think I'd know to duck a bottle flying at my head, right?"
Spock doesn't answer, which Jim didn't particularly expect, but the quality of the silence is unnervingly similar to the time Jim was involved in a rather acrimonious breakup, which also, unsurprisingly, involved physical injuries with a bonus trip to the clinic.
"Do you require medical attention?"
Jim thinks that part of the night, he can live without. "No." He gets a sideways look for that one. "Bones left his kit at the house when he beamed back last night." And if Jim had done the sensible thing and called him directly, he would have brought it with him, giving Jim narrow looks between bitten off comments while he clucked over every bruise, but no, Uhura hates him and sent Spock, and somehow, this became his life. "Speaking of, where's Bones?"
"Asleep," Spock says without pointing out that it's past midnight ship's time and has been a damn long week for everyone, because he's an asshole like that. Slumping in his seat, Jim looks out the window at the passing scenery.
Between the heat and the alcohol, it's several minutes before Kirk realizes they're going in the wrong direction. Straightening, he looks a question at Spock.
"I thought you might prefer--privacy--before returning," Spock says. "I brought Dr. McCoy's medkit."
"I'm good," he says.
Jim can hear the answer Spock doesn't bother indicating by so much as a glance; they both know he's not.
The thing about traveling with Spock in strange new worlds and new civilizations is that of all his many talents, Jim's learned to appreciate the fact he can kill small talk with a single, expressionless look. The proprietor hands over the card and doesn't look directly at Jim once, which is quite a trick, because even with the competition of a Vulcan, Jim knows his face is something to see right now.
Following Spock to the room, Jim flips the lights, dropping on the edge of the bed and regretting it as the remainder of the adrenaline leaves his system, replaced by ribs that met several booted feet and the throb of a split lip, bruised cheekbone, and the heavy ache that's probably not a concussion only by the grace of Starfleet-trained reflexes when a flying bottle is in evidence. Reaching up, Jim rubs at the spot, feeling the dried blood lining the shallow cut.
Spock, being Spock, watches him for a moment, then leaves the bag containing the medkit on the mattress. Jim considers actually using it for an entire three seconds before lying back, tilting his head with a hiss when the bruised, split skin meets the hard mattress.
The sound of running water breaks the quiet before he hears the light, even sound of Spock's footsteps, coming to a stop at the foot of the bed. Silence has always been Spock's most effective weapon, as sharply honed as the lirpas he taught Jim to use, and possibly far more dangerous.
"If you will sit up," Spock says, "I will see to your injuries."
It's not a request, but Jim can pretend it is. "I'll do it," he says, hearing the exhausted slur in his voice, wondering distantly how long it's been since he slept. On the Enterprise, probably. "In a minute."
"It is not logical to leave even a minor injury untended," Spock starts, and suddenly, Jim has a flashback to Bones' last first aid seminar (mandatory for everyone, no matter how many regulations Jim found to support his position that a captain should not be subjected to eight hours of Bones and his almost gleeful recitation of the many ways you could die from a papercut). Spock (who had shot down every. Damn. Argument.) had taken notes.
Opening his eyes, Jim squints up at Spock. "They're not that--fine, okay." Pushing himself up, Jim swallows the roil of nausea--when did he last eat anything, anyway?--and closes his eyes against the drunken spin of the room. "I can take care of it myself," he says, sliding to the edge of the bed as slowly as he can so Spock doesn't catch on to the fact Jim is seeing three of him.
"Hold still." There's the unmistakable sound of the medical tricorder, then it's set aside, and Jim sits patiently through the steps of "What To Do When You Have an Injured Colleague" by McCoy as interpreted by Spock, who doesn't mutter but also moves just a little too quietly. "Are you feeling nauseated?"
Jim swallows, hiding clenched teeth behind a smile. "No."
"It is illogical to lie about your condition when the contrary is apparent. Please remove your shirt."
Jim thinks of his ribs and shoulder for a moment, then reaches for the hem, pulling it over his head and tossing it to the side, ignoring the flash of white-hot pain trailing up his side like hot metal.
Fingers touch the heaviest bruising, and Jim goes still, startled out of the numbness that's followed him for days, watching as Spock takes out the regenerator.
"Does Bones know you ran off with that?" Jim asks, still feeling the heat of those fingers even through the throbbing pain in his side. "Are you even licensed to have one of those?"
Spock gives him a measuring look, then returns to his adjustments.
It's odd, Jim thinks, watching Spock work with a sense of detachment; he can remember every time Spock's ever touched him outside of sparring. A touch on his arm to get his attention, once, sickbay, ten months ago, days after they'd left earth and began their first mission as colleagues and not antagonists. When Spock taught him how to use the lirpa, three feather-light brushes to straighten his back, raise his arm, balance the weapon in one hand or with two, five months ago.
His shoulder, three days ago, surrounded by what felt like half of Starfleet and Admiral Pike beside him; it was there and gone so quickly it had felt more dream than reality, like everything that happened that day and every day since.
Now, a warm, steady pressure on the back of his neck, palm fitting over the knobs of bone, holding him steady as the regenerator eases away the night's damage, another piece of Jim Kirk's incredibly fucked-up history erased like it had never happened at all.
"There will be some stiffness," Spock says as the sharp, throbbing pain eases into a dull ache. The hand shifts, easing Jim's head back, and Jim feels the hum again against his skin as another wound vanishes into forgotten history.
Jim licks his lips, tasting the sweet-iron edge of blood; there's nothing to do with superficial wounds but wait until he sees Bones, who will give him a look that will last for weeks. This type of regenerator is for the stuff that can't wait. "Thanks," he murmurs, reaching for the gauze. The odd disconnection isn't fading; he knows that his knuckles should hurt, but he can't remember exactly how that should feel.
Spock picks up the gauze before Jim's uncertain aim can get to it. "I do not think that would be wise," Spock says, and Jim turns obediently at the next touch.
Tiny butterfly bandages on his forehead, each one so precise that Jim bets they could double for a ruler; the sharp smell of antibiotic and alcohol as the excess blood is gently cleaned away; quiet, so quiet, almost impossible that Jim's not alone with only memories like half-forgotten ghosts.
"My mom was good at this," Jim says as Spock picks up his hand, the softness of gauze like a dream of touch circling the bloody knuckles. "She got good, I mean, with a regenerator. At night, she'd make me sit at the kitchen table while she did it when she was on leave, and she'd never say a word before she sent me to my room."
"Did you frequently engage in altercations as a child?" Spock's voice is so quiet it's almost like a part of Jim's own thoughts.
"All the time." Jim let out a slow breath as Spock moves to his left hand, relaxing into the easy touch, like something they do every day and never before this moment. Spock touches him like Bones does, like he touches himself; too familiar to be uneasy, too well-known to be unwelcome. "Kids aren't that great at thinking ahead. I didn't, anyway." Jim considers his current location and condition. "Still don't, I guess."
"I suspect that isn't entirely accurate." The bandage smoothes over the wounds, and it's almost like hiding them is erasing them, too, and Jim reaches up, brushing a thumb over his swollen lip. "I will procure a pain reliever."
Jim grins, not wincing at the pull of the scab and fresh trickle of blood. Procure. Such a Spock word.
Jim feels the bed shift, thinking of the unscarred stretch of his back, his belly, the unbroken bones of his face and neck and arms, of the questions Bones has never asked with every tricorder reading and every scan he takes.
The hypo presses startling cold beneath the surface of his skin, and Jim shivers, reaching for his shirt before remembering that there's no way he can wear that in public and not get a lot more attention than he wants to deal with. "Did you happen to grab--"
"There is clean clothing in the bag," Spock says, and Jim nods, wadding the shirt absently between his hands. "You should rest."
They should get back before Uhura sends Pike after him or something and really make this a party. But it's a lot easier just to reach down, strip off his boots, and stretch out on the thin, hard mattress that's nothing like his bed on the Enterprise or the biobeds in sickbay.
Spock turns the lights out, and Jim has a vague curiosity where Spock is going to sleep, but the thought drifts off when he feels the bed shift to his right. Right. Very Spock. Logical use of given space. Jim closes his eyes and drifts.
"As a child," Spock says, and that's enough to make Jim open his eyes, turning his head to look in the general direction of Spock's matter-of-fact voice, "I was often accused of reacting too strongly to emotional stimulus."
Jim blinks; he can count on one finger the number of times Spock's indulged in something as potentially illogical as personal anecdotes, and none of those times have ever been with him. Sorting through the sentence, Jim pulls up his Spock to Standard dictionary and hazards a translation. "They caught you smiling at a puppy."
So it's not a good translation.
"Other students would make a habit of trying to incite negative emotional reactions by denigrating my heritage," Spock answers with the faint impression that perhaps the injury to Jim's head had left him somewhat wanting for rational thought. "Sometimes, they would succeed."
Jim rolls onto his side; there's just enough ambient light he can make out the Spock-shaped mound less than two feet away. "Vulcan kids do that?"
It seems kind of obvious, but imagining the tall, sober Spock as a kid is next to impossible; tiny and infinitely more fragile, and half-human in a society that wasn't thrilled with full humans, in a Federation that was only forty years past dissolving the nightmare of legal and social controls that had long made interspecies marriage difficult at best, and risking death at worst.
It wouldn't have been too long after that, Jim thinks hazily, that a very young woman would walk past the cameras of a thousand worlds and the protestors of a thousand cultures, would board a ship, contract a marriage, and bear a child in the face of the xenophobia of two species, a child that would revolutionize genetic engineering, maroon Jim on an ice planet in a fit of temper, and save the Federation.
Jim wishes he could have met Amanda Grayson. She must have been something else.
"So did they get a reaction?" Jim asks; a tiny Spock-like figure forms in his head, small and solemn and Vulcan down to his logical toes, surrounded by everything the Federation was meant to oppose.
"There were occasions," Spock answers reluctantly, "when I allowed my emotional response to supersede logical thought and would face reprimand for my uncontrolled--reaction."
Translation's strangely easy; his Spock to Standard's getting better every day. "You beat them up."
There's a faint sense of embarrassed silence from the other side of the bed. Jim feels himself grin, lip stinging at the stretch of broken skin.
"How many occasions are we talking about?"
Jim can almost see Spock close his eyes, the Vulcan equivalent of utter embarrassment.
"So you're like, a Vulcan juvenile delinquent." It's like the world just shifted. Jim turns his face into the pillow, swallowing the bubbling laughter. "Oh man. That's--"
"I would prefer this information--"
"Never tell a soul." No one would believe him.
The stretch of silence after feels more thoughtful than anything, and Jim feels himself begin to drift.
"My father would be summoned by my instructors," Spock says steadily. "And before we returned home, he would assure that any injuries acquired would be healed, so that my mother would remain unaware of what had transpired."
Jim's smile fades.
"When I was a child, I assumed it was to spare my mother the embarrassment of knowing her child behaved with so little discipline. It was only later that I realized it was to spare her the knowledge that my behavior had been provoked due to her species. When I understood that, I took measures to ensure that she would continue to be ignorant of the circumstances that transpired during these altercations."
Jim swallows. "What, like claiming you walked into a door or fell out of the hayloft a few dozen times?"
"I eventually achieved a high level of proficiency with a lirpa."
Jim closes his eyes, thinking of the bright blade of the lirpa and how the blade would look nothing like the hard round bruises that only come from closed fists. "The thing is," Jim says, "I mean, there's only so many times you can claim black eye via lirpa before she'd wonder if you were having seizures while holding one or something. Or wonder why you're just so bad at it and don't quit and take up, I don't know, knitting or something. Or why you were climbing a hayloft at eleven at night, or got in a fight every day, or fell down the stairs again? You weren't that clumsy, she knew that. She knew that. After a while, don't you think she'd have known? That something wasn't right with that?"
Spock hesitates, and it's almost an answer in itself.
"I do not know," Spock says finally, and Jim gets why people say Vulcans can't lie. "I believe my skill with a regenerator helped, however."
After a moment, Jim hears himself say, "Did you forgive them? For what they did to you?"
"Forgiveness would imply emotion--"
"Which you don't do, right, got it." It's not, Jim reflects, a bad way to live. Probably keeps you from getting into brawls at bars with people you'd hoped you'd never see again.
Abruptly, there's warmth against his jaw, points of sudden heat against his skin.
"--but I have never forgotten."
Jim opens his eyes. "I always wondered if we had anything in common."
"I suspect that this is not the only thing," Spock says; the touch doesn't move. Hazily, Jim thinks that there's something weird about that. "I believe we are both very skilled with a regenerator."
Jim nods slowly. "It was easier if there was nothing she could have asked about, you know? Then I--then I didn't wonder why she never asked."
After a moment, the touch vanishes; Jim frowns, reaching up to capture the ghost of heat with his fingertips. "Would you have gone after the guy--the kids that hurt you? 'Cause I'm not seeing it."
Spock's silent for a few seconds. "There is a human proverb about 'living well'," Spock answers. "It is stated that satisfaction should be achieved in a life lived well despite obstacles presented--"
Jim snorts; figures.
"--but I admit, while I understand the sentiment, I do not find myself entirely in agreement with it."
Jim pauses. "Really."
"Then again," Spock says meditatively, "my opponents were my equal in age and strength, and they lacked authority over me. I suspect it is harder to embrace philosophy when none of those things are true."
Pushing himself up, Jim stares down at Spock, mouth dry. "You know, we should stop having these heartwarming talks."
"Do you have a better way to pass the time? I suggest rest--"
"Shut up." Catching the front of Spock's shirt, Jim leans down, stopping the next logical words with his tongue; it's a fairly shitty kiss, too angry to be anything but mean, and Jim pulls back after a second, surprised to realize he's shaking. He's not this guy. He's never been this guy. He sure as fuck isn't starting now. "Sorry. I didn't mean. Just--just stop, okay?"
"If I had been in such a situation," Spock says, pushing Jim back on his heels, fingers tight on his injured shoulder, sitting up himself so Jim can see his lip's already swelling. "I would not have gone to a bar in anticipation of provoking a confrontation--"
"--with the person who had injured me in my youth. But if I had, and I had been able to escape arrest, I might have set a flag in the system should one of the other participants go to a clinic for treatment so there would be questions how they had arrived in such a state." Spock lets that settle before continuing. "And of course, so that the bar in question would know who should be contacted regarding restitution."
Jim licks his lips, the taste of copper on his tongue. "That's--very logical."
"Thank you." The fingers loosen, though not enough to imply he can move away. Jim doesn't really feel like moving anyway. "It can be difficult to be logical when faced with a personal loss."
Jim swallows, dragging in a breath to clear his head, which does jack shit. "The thing is," he hears himself say, helpless to stop the words from spilling between them like a confession, "he was at her funeral. Like he had the right."
Spock doesn't answer; really, there's no answer for that anyway. Reaching out, Jim touches Spock's lip, the bruise darkening beneath the thin skin, faintly green even in the low light. "Sorry about that," he says finally.
"Emotional volatility is not an unusual result of--"
"I mean," Jim says, realizing that he's running his thumb over the unbroken skin and really has no excuse for this shit, except he's wanted to for a while now, "doing it like that. Wanting it isn't new."
The hand on his shoulder pulls away; before Jim can remind himself that talking when drunk just never ends well, warm fingers touch his jaw, tilting his head up. "I would have preferred something like this," and then Spock kisses him.
Spock kisses him, warm and gentle and achingly careful, like Jim hasn't fought with broken ribs and a concussion, like he thinks that somehow Jim can still be hurt. Jim kisses back, surprised by the soft press of tongue, the way it's like something that was going to happen for a while now and Jim was just too slow to figure it out, so he might as well get this thing going already.
He suddenly doesn't feel drunk at all. Pulling back with a gasp, Jim meets clear brown eyes and says, "I know you don't do pity--"
"Of course not."
"--but if you think this is just a one-off for me, get off the bed now. Cause it's not."
Spock regards him thoughtfully. "Of that I am aware. You are not subtle, Jim."
Jim feels his face heat. "Could have fooled me."
"That is because you do not always pay attention," Spock answers, thumb stroking distracting circles against Jim's jaw. "Do you have any objections?"
"No," Jim whispers as Spock kisses him again. Slow and easy, incredibly hot, yes, good, beyond words. He lets himself be eased back onto the mattress, belatedly remembering bruised ribs and the distant remains of a headache, but it's like that happened to someone else entirely.
Reaching down, Jim gets both hands under Spock's shirt and pushes it over his head, catching his breath at the heat of his skin compared to his own. Spock is as methodical, as competent at this as he is at everything he tries, and Jim thinks maybe he never appreciated that like he does now. With quick, efficient movements, Spock sits back on his heels and unfastens Jim's pants, each brush of his fingers against bare skin making Jim want to arch into the touches, fleeting heat like a brand that he could wish would leave marks behind. It's almost unreal, lifting his hips obediently for Spock, watching unblinking as Spock rises on his knees to do the same to himself.
It's not new; they live and work on a starship where privacy is an illusion that's easily broken. Spock's all lean muscle, pale the way humans aren't, and none of it is new except all of it is. The polite fiction of not-looking isn't expected now, and Jim realizes he's hard just from watching Spock, being allowed. "Wow."
Spock's eyebrow quirks, and Jim wants to touch him so badly he's shaking with it. "Spock," he manages helplessly; he can't remember ever being this turned on and unable to do shit about it.
"Do you require instruction?" Spock says, fingers closing over Jim's hips as he braces himself on one hand over Jim's body, tantalizing centimeters between them. Warm air brushes against his ear, and Jim shivers at the wet, hot brush of Spock's tongue. "I can provide it."
"So like the bridge, then," Jim breathes, starting at the quick brush of teeth, like a prequel to the sharp bite seconds later, painful and fantastic, and Jim realizes he's arching his hips, a silent plea for contact, for anything he can get. Spock's fingers tighten, holding him against the bed; when Jim fights it, he gets another bite, sharp and warning.
When he's still, Spock licks the sting away, gentler against Jim's collarbone, learning the shape with his tongue before he returns for another slow, drugging kiss. The entire day seems to retreat with every touch, the entire goddamn week dissolving, and Jim goes with it. Draping his arm lazily over Spock's back, he skims his fingers down the smooth skin, tracing the knobs of his spine, tilting his head back at the first nudge and rewarded with a thigh pressed against his cock. "Fuck."
Spock lifts his head; this close, he should be so much easier to read. "I prefer to hear your voice when you speak my name," he says, and maybe Jim can't read him, but there's a dark curl in his voice that tells Jim a thousand things. Jim presses his nails into Spock's back, scratching down the length and closes his eyes at the sharp gasp he gets for it.
He gets more than that; he gets bare skin, the weight of Spock pinning him to the bed from shoulders to hips, a kiss that steals his breath before he can groan at the stroke of cock against cock, and want so strong that it makes him dizzy, mindlessly rutting against hot bare skin and wondering if he's ever wanted anything as badly as he wants Spock right now.
Abruptly, Spock threads his fingers through Jim's, pinning it above his head; the other cups his chin until Jim has to open his eyes. He's waiting, Jim realizes, and swallows, mouth dry. "Spock."
Spock shifts against him, making Jim groan, then Spock's moving against him, hard and fast, skin slicking with every thrust. Spock's forehead presses against his own, skin hot and damp with sweat, the room around them like a furnace. Spock is tense against him, like he's holding back something, and abruptly, Jim remembers Vulcans are touch-telepaths, and maybe he is holding back.
"You can--Spock," he says, trying to form words and failing. Slowly, Jim pulls his hand from sweat slick skin and touches Spock's cheek. "You--I don't mind if you--" Frustrated, he forms the thought in his head as Spock's eyes meet his, flaring with heat. Clumsily, he shapes his hand to Spock's face, I'm not afraid of you.
In all the times that he's seen Spock initiate a meld, it's never been anything like this; there's a moment of stillness, then something seems to dissolve between them that he hadn't even known was there. As Spock's fingers slip precisely onto his face, there's more: how Jim's body feels beneath Spock, alien-cool and golden like dawn after a cool desert night; cold anger under strict control when he'd been told what had happened to Jim; want, carefully hidden, now freed and fiercer for being so long confined, as heady as a drug. Jim's fucked telepaths before, felt the overflow of their minds in his own, but never, never like this, immediate and addictive, as aware of Spock as if he lived within his skin.
It can't last like this; nothing this good ever could. Jim gasps in a breath, not sure which of them comes first as it echoes through them both, and God, he may be screaming and he doesn't care, shaking and exhilarated and high like only the very best drugs should get you. He never wants to come back down, never wants to give up the heat of the body stilling against him, the mind wrapped around his, threading through his thoughts possessively, radiating hot pleasure and cool satisfaction.
Exhausted, he doesn't move when Spock eases away, his single breathed objection quieted with a kiss before the blankets are eased from beneath them as the chill of the room penetrates. Jim feels Spock against him, hot as he settles against Jim's back.
Go to sleep whispers through his mind, and Jim laces his fingers through Spock's against his stomach and falls asleep between one breath and the next.
Pike calls them a few hours after they get back to the farmhouse, and Jim regrets he asked for some extra time before they're beamed back to the Enterprise so he could shower. His uniform shirt hides a lot of sins, but it doesn't do shit to conceal the row of bruises training down the side of his neck or the state of his face, and Pike's the kind that noticed that sort of thing.
For a second, Jim wants to pretend the monitor isn't working, then gives it up. "Sir," he starts, "we're about to leave--"
The expression on Pike's face isn't encouraging. "Your former stepfather showed up in a clinic last night in pretty bad shape."
Well, fuck. "Um, yay?" Beneath the desk, Jim clenches his hands into fists, feeling the pull of the unhealed skin of his knuckles. "So you called to give me good news?"
"He won't say what happened," Pike continues relentlessly. "But from what the authorities have worked out, he and some friends got into a fight at a bar with an unknown person who apparently vanished into thin air."
Yeah, Pike never got his sense of humor. "Where were you last night, Jimmy?"
He's a good liar, always has been. Jim opens his mouth and the easy words won't come, trapped on the tip of his tongue. Staring at the monitor, Jim watches Pike's face dissolve into disappointment without surprise, like maybe all along, he'd been waiting for Jim Kirk to fuck up and was only amazed it had taken so long.
"He was with me, Admiral," Spock says from behind him; startled, Jim half-turns, wondering how long he'd been standing there. A warm hand rests on Jim's shoulder, subtly turning him back toward the screen, and Spock leans over, looking into the monitor soberly. "I thought that Captain Kirk would prefer company on his last night on Earth."
Pike looks between them narrowly, and all at once, Jim remembers waking up this morning to Spock hard against his back, the lazy, sleep-glazed morning sex that had made Jim wish they'd had lube, and the feel of Spock's skin against his lips and beneath his hands. Then the slippery-slick slide of skin in the shower upstairs, the tile against Jim's back and God, he's thinking this with Pike looking right at them. From the way Pike blinks, slow with shock, Spock looking like he recently had his captain hard and wet against a shower wall is pretty new, even if Jim's condition's less than unique.
Spock's fingers tighten as he leans closer, dark hair brushing Jim's cheek, smelling like Jim's soap and fresh, unrecycled water; all at once, Jim's hard again and Pike is looking right at him.
"I see." Clearing his throat, he looks down like there's something really fascinating on his desk, and Jim wonders what he's imagining that would involve Jim needing butterfly bandages on his face and both he and Spock with visibly split lips. "No bars, Jimmy?"
Jim licks his lips. "Spock hates alcohol," he manages. To his surprise, there's a faint trace of approval that isn't from his own head as Spock and the Admiral awkwardly pretend this is a social call and finally, God, finally, Pike signs off.
Without hesitation, Spock draws back and turns Jim's chair with casual ease, looking at him thoughtfully. "I can usually lie better than that," Jim says dumbly, not sure what he's saying or even if he cares all that much. Then, "He didn't tell them it was me. Why didn't he tell him it was me?"
"Perhaps he forgot?" Head tilting, Spock draws Jim unresistingly to his feet, warm fingers sliding with easy, unthinking familiarity beneath Jim's tunic and shirt and coming to rest against the small of his back. Like this is something that he does all the time, like something he'll be doing from now on. "It will be an hour before we are transported to the Enterprise."
"Yeah." Jim's glad he brought more than one uniform; this one's going to be on the floor in seconds. Curling his fingers in Spock's hair, Jim kisses him, licking over the cut on his lip and tasting copper, bright and sharp. This morning, Jim kissed Spock, licking into his mouth and undressed him unhurriedly in the light of day, enjoying the slow reveal of every inch of flushed green skin. "Glad I didn't bother with boots.
Spock hadn't been dressed when they fell asleep last night.
"No." Spock answers the thought, fingers trailing down Jim's face in a line of bright heat. He could get used to this, Jim thinks dazedly. Maybe he already has. "I was not."