In retrospect, the mind meld probably wasn't the best course of action.
At the time, though, it seems like a good idea. (A sentiment that Jim tends to be quite fond of, but that Spock generally disapproves of, just because an idea either holds logical merit or doesn't.) The alien life form posed an obvious concrete danger to both of them, and was impervious to phasers even on the highest setting, but it clearly had some sort of intent, which implied intelligence. There were no signs of it recognizing speech as language, but mind-to-mind contact was more direct.
And Jim -- Jim stares at him, wild-eyed, held immobile by the cold strong tentacles that make up the creature's body. Jim, whose expressions have ranged from sheer terror to sheer delight, whose body has been exposed to what must be overwhelming sensations and has reacted in ways that are beyond his control.
He looks at Spock.
And Spock promises him, "I will fix this," and means it with every fiber of his being.
Physical combat was ineffective, but mental persuasion might not be. And so he reaches out, seeking the mind behind the flesh.
It doesn't occur to him until too late that mind-to-mind contact works both ways.
//Don't kill him.// Spock pushes the concept of personal importance: This man, this being, is important to me. He doesn't know if the creature can understand -- it could easily be the sort of entity that lives in utter solitude, never meeting another intelligence, never understanding the concept of other -- but he needs to try.
//not death.// It's not really words, not as such, more colors than anything else. //not-death. thing-that-is-not-death.//
//Life,// Spock realizes.
Assent, curling around his mind like a pale green tentacle.
//He is not yours,// Spock sends with a fierceness that surprises even him.
//Mine,// Spock says. //He is mine.//
//share,// the creature suggests, swirls of crimson and yellow.
//Mine,// Spock insists.
//ours// it says. //take. use. breed.// And a mental tendril, black and deep as outer space, curls around Spock's mind and starts to squeeze. //need.//
Need. It becomes the most important thing in Spock's mind, and Spock feels himself slip under the relentless pressure.
And Spock is no longer Spock, but a reflection of what the creature wants.
He remembers everything, after.
Every word he says, every gesture he makes. The way Jim feels against him, under him, around him. The struggles Jim puts up that aren't quite enough to throw him because even without the help of the tentacles, Spock is stronger, always has been.
He takes what he would otherwise be afraid to. Pushes past barriers, both physical and mental, that he has no right to be near. It feels so right, so very perfect and necessary, that he finds himself wondering why he hasn't done this before.
Especially since Jim takes it. Everything that Spock gives him, Jim takes, and practically begs for more.
He hadn't been asking Spock to stop what was happening, Spock realizes with a cold clarity. He'd been asking Spock to help.
And where he had fought against the creature's tentacles, he is pliant and unresisting to Spock's hands and cock.
To Spock's mind.
(Vulcans are not strangers to irrational compulsion, but this is nothing like the fever of pon farr.
A part of Spock knows that this is wrong, they should not be doing this, /he/ should not be doing this; but that part of Spock is subsumed by the need that runs cold through him. He can't untangle his own desires from the creature's, but in some respect that is irrelevant, next to the bare fact of what exactly he is doing.
He knows he needs to stop, but he can't. Not until it's over.)
Jim's mind is a strange, chaotic place, but Spock is still able to pull two things from it that make him shiver.
One is a thought of quiet desperation: //You don't want me.//
The other is a current of ... something that is both eerily familiar and quite alien, directed at Spock.
It takes a moment of analysis for him to place the feeling.
"You care for me," he says finally, and it's a revelation of sorts. There is no logic behind the way Jim feels, but perhaps there doesn't need to be.
He doesn't mean it as a criticism, but Jim still turns his face away and mutters a quiet, broken apology.
On the way out, Jim asks him for a favor: keep the details private.
Spock promises to do so, in no small part because, while Jim is guiltless (in all but his usual tendency to explore beyond what is reasonable), what happened does not reflect favorably on him.
He carries Jim all the way back to the ship, aware of how impossibly fragile he feels, and does not let go until he has to. The crew he encounters all know better than to ask questions, but Spock answers their unspoken queries with just a glower and silence, not just because of the promise he made to Jim.
He does tell McCoy an abbreviated version of "what the hell happened down there", because as a doctor he has to know what happened. He would probably figure much of it out, even if Spock didn't tell him, because as frustratingly human as he is, he's not unobservant.
McCoy flushes dark with anger as he listens, but doesn't vocalize it as Spock is expecting. Instead, he sighs, and says, "Don't worry, Spock, I know you did everything you could."
Spock nods stiffly and is very glad that McCoy is not a Vulcan, because humans, even the observant ones, do not know what shame looks like on a Vulcan's face.
That night, Spock dreams of the alien they'd met. Or, no: dreams of being it. Of unspeakable loneliness, broken only by the perfect vessel for the next generation. Of reaching out with everything he is, exploring and searching, probing the vessel for weaknesses and finding only strength.
Of a strange, cold sort of love.
In the dream, he is not interrupted. In the dream, he finishes what he starts, and it is glorious and it is good and it is so very right.
He wakes, aching.