Sometimes you don't have to say anything, Nyota had told him. Sometimes gestures speak louder than words.
With all the money and technology and innovation in Starfleet, one would think situations like this could be avoided. But no, between this, that, and the other, they're stuck here, all night, and only the one tent, and only the one sleeping bag. If only Scotty's newest “experiments” hadn't blown out the transporter again. If only the planet had some nice towns with some nice hotels, instead of all this jungle. If only they hadn't lost the second set of supplies in that surprise ravine. And by “they” he actually means himself. But still, if only that hadn't happened.
Though it could be worse. At least he's stuck down here sharing a sleeping bag with Spock, who, when they're not bickering over some obscure work detail, is actually one of Kirk's best friends. Yeah, he can say it. He’s mature enough for that. They play chess. They discuss Terran literature and astrophysics. Sometimes Spock even tells him stories about Vulcan, and he doesn't get that sour look on his face anymore when Kirk gives him a friendly pat on the back or slap on the shoulder. Sometimes, he almost seems to solicit Kirk’s touch—though it’s hard to tell, with Spock.
Your gestures are just too subtle, she'd told him. James Kirk doesn't do subtle. He does outdated pick up lines and undressing with the eyes. If you want to make your interest known, make it known.
The sun's all but set by the time he gets back to the tent. He'd been down by the river, washing his hands and face with water from Spock's complicated filtering machine. The tent's set up and looks, he thinks, a bit more stable than when he'd left it, and he's just debating whether or not he should comment on this to Spock—though perhaps it's best not to give him any opportunity to do his Vulcan version of gloating—when he slips in through the tent flap and stops mid-hello.
Spock has arranged everything: the sleeping bag is in the middle of the tent, spread out to cover as much of the ground as possible, and he himself is sitting on top of the bag, waiting. Which is fine. Pretty much what Kirk expected. Except he kind of thought Spock would have clothes on.
Kirk stops frozen in place at the sight, but there it is; he's not imagining anything. Spock is sitting there, on his knees and with his legs tucked under him, not a single piece of clothing on him, and he's staring up at Kirk with almost laughably round eyes and his cheeks flushed a dark green. But Kirk doesn't want to laugh. Laughing is in fact the farthest thing from his mind.
Just—know that you don't know how he'll react, okay Spock? You can't reason this one out with logic or theorums. This is a question of feelings, and feelings are unpredictable things.
“Oh Spock,” he hears himself whispering, as he drops to his knees too. He smiles faintly, sympathetically, and reaches one hand out to touch Spock's bare knee. At the gesture, Spock lowers his head and looks away and his blush gets, if anything, deeper.
Kirk reaches back, taking his eyes from Spock just for a moment, and zips closed the tent. Faint light comes in from the sunset outside, but not much, and Spock has left one light on in the farthest corner of the tent. He wants to ask Spock what's going on, what this is—but before he can form the words he realizes that he already knows. He knows exactly what Spock is trying to do.
This is how Vulcans seduce each other, maybe, he thinks.
But he knows that isn't true. This isn't 'Vulcans' or 'aliens' or 'others.' This is just Spock. This is Spock, taking a chance, showing his feelings, and it's this that shocks Kirk more than the sight of Spock's naked body. Kirk's never known his First to show the slightest nervousness or fear, not unless it's torn from him with violence and force. But now, now he looks vulnerable. Thin and pale and scared. Nervous, wondering what Kirk will do next. He does not want to look Kirk in the eye. Something twists up inside Kirk, right at the pit of his stomach, at this, and it's not pity, and it's not really love, but maybe it’s something that could be love, someday.
Spock does not say anything, and neither does Kirk, nothing more than Spock's name, once, as he breathes out. So faint it's almost inaudible. In that same moment, that same breath, he reaches out his spare hand and touches Spock's chin, gently tilts his face up so Kirk can look him in the eye.
Spock holds his gaze, but only reluctantly. He looks about to speak. Kirk shakes his head, and he keeps his silence. His hand is still on Spock's knee. With the hand beneath Spock's chin he pulls Spock gently toward him, closer and closer, he leans in too, until they kiss. He’s not had a first kiss like this since he was a teenager. He closes his eyes, but only after he's sure Spock has closed his as well.
He slips his hand around to the back of Spock's head, fingers running through his hair, holding him steady. He lets his other hand slip up Spock's leg to his waist, then around his back, and he shifts his own body closer. The kiss is maddeningly slow. Spock opens his mouth to Kirk only with reluctance. His whole body is tense with his nervousness and Kirk can feel it where his hand touches Spock's back, can feel it in the way he kisses, in the way he keeps his body stiffly away from Kirk's own.
He pulls away for air. Kisses Spock once on the side of his mouth. Once on the cheek. Once on his chin. Once on his ear, the shell, the point—his neck, his collarbone, a small line of kisses up his neck again. He pauses between each movement. He wants Spock to be hyper aware of each press of Kirk's lips to his skin. I want you, he wants Spock to know. I think you're beautiful. Everything about you is amazing.
He kisses Spock once more on the mouth, indulges in the kiss, lets it lengthen and deepen, and just when Spock reaches one hand to touch Kirk's hip, he pulls away. Spock's eyes search his face. He smiles in response, just a small smile at the corner of his lips. ‘It's all right,” he whispers. “Just lie down.”
As he says this, he pushes Spock back carefully until he's on his back on the sleeping bag, legs stretched out in front of him. His cock is half hard. Kirk lets his gaze travel the whole length of Spock's body, a long and steady gaze, almost appraising, but there is caring in his expression too. He only hopes that Spock can see it. He knows that Spock is watching him too, breath uneven and hair mussed, waiting, waiting to see what will happen next.
Kirk stretches himself out carefully next to Spock. The tent is small, not really big enough for two full grown men, but it’s fine, it's better this way—he wants to be close. He props himself up on one elbow, and he runs the fingers of his free hand down the length of Spock's chest, down his ribs, across his stomach, to his hip. He curls his hand around Spock's hip, rubs gently at his skin. He wants to see Spock relax at least a little. He leans in until his mouth is just at Spock's ear and he whispers, “It's okay, it's all right, it's okay,” almost incoherent words, but he knows the sound of his voice is calming Spock's nerves. His breath starts to come more steadily. Then it hitches again, sharply, as Kirk pulls Spock's earlobe between his teeth.
He smiles into the side of Spock's neck.
He lets his hand run down.
He kisses Spock again before he takes him, still half hard, in his hand. Spock makes a small noise of surprise, but it's lost in their kiss, and the sun's gone down completely now; they're in almost total darkness in their tent, just the one faint light left in the corner. Kirk wants to turn on the light on full, but he knows without asking that Spock would never let him. His skin is burning hot and Kirk knows he's still blushing fiercely.
He runs his tongue across Spock's tongue and his hand down his length and when he swipes his thumb once across the head Spock's hips buck up roughly in response.
He breaks away from the kiss, and Kirk lets him, keeps himself pressed close and their lips almost touching. He can feel Spock's hot breath against his lips, can feel his nose just touching Spock's, knows that Spock's eyes are closed and finds he must close his as well, they are too close to watch each other.
He wants to ask if Spock has ever had anyone touch him like this before but he’s not said more than two words, before Spock answers, “No,” in a chocked, almost incoherent whisper.
Kirk nods. He knows Spock can't see him, isn't sure if he can feel this slight movement, the way their noses rub together, the way their lips just barely touch. He kisses Spock again as he gives his wrist a quick twist, just to hear him moan into Kirk's mouth. Kirk knows he could make Spock come in seconds, he's so hard, so close, his ragged breathing audible in the small enclosed space.
But he doesn't. He wants this to last. He takes Spock to the edge and then he stops. He feels one of Spock's hands reach up under his shirt, running up and down his skin without grace or purpose. Spock's other hand is clenched in the sleeping bag.
At a certain touch of Kirk's hand on him he turns his head roughly away, eyes closed tight, and buries his face in the fabric of the sleeping bag. Kirk takes the opportunity to kiss Spock's neck, the long stretching line of it so perfectly displayed. He kisses and licks, keeps himself from biting, wants to tease but wants to make Spock feel good too—he has a feeling that if he doesn’t do this right, Spock will never trust him like this again.
Carefully, slowly, he moves his body so that he is half lying on top of Spock. They are awkwardly twisted together, Kirk's hand still moving steadily up and down Spock's length, Spock's arm still wrapped around Kirk, holding him as if he were about to get away—but Kirk just wants to kiss him, wants to kiss him one more time.
Spock does not get the hint at first, but then, quite suddenly, he does, and he turns his face toward Kirk. He lets Kirk press his lips to his, and he kisses back. He’s holding Kirk to him strongly now, his arm around his back possessive and almost confident.
Spock lets out one long, low, moan when he comes.
Afterwards, Kirk rolls over to his side of the sleeping bag, and Spock disentangles his arm, and they lie side by side on their backs in the hot, closed tent. Spock is blushing a fierce green. Kirk smiles at him, as reassuringly as he can.
For a few long moments, there is silence. The tent is filled with shadows, the one light Spock left on still flickering in the corner. Kirk can hear the faint sounds of animals outside.
He does not know what to say.
He finds he can't stop looking at Spock, the way his chest rises and falls as he regains his breath, the way he stares straight up at the tent's ceiling as if he could see the sky.
Gently, Kirk moves his hand a little to the right. He's not close enough yet to grab Spock's hand in his but he knows that the gesture, to Spock, might be too much, so instead he touches Spock's wrist gently with the backs of two fingers. “It's okay,” he whispers again. He doesn't know what else to say, what else to offer. He does not know, anymore, if this is what Spock was looking for.
Spock doesn't seem to acknowledge his words, just stares straight up as before. Finally, he moves to slip his hand gently under Kirk's, so that their wrists are crossed, and he presses his two fingers to Kirk's two fingers. A Vulcan kiss. Kirk closes his eyes and when he opens them again, Spock has turned to look at him.
“I know,” Spock says. “I know.”