Spock’s life had become routine.
Normally, as a Vulcan, Spock welcomed routine. Living a life of routine was certainly logical.
Every day he rose in the morning, did an hour of meditation, broke his fast, tended to his garden of native Vulcan plants that would grow on New Vulcan, went into New ShiKahr to conduct experiments or whatever else was required of him to continue the species, though perhaps not everything, met with his father for tea in the afternoon, before returning home for another hour of meditation, eating an evening meal, and eventually, after exhausting all other ways to pass the time, retiring to bed once more.
Each day was fairly similar since he had taken up residence on New Vulcan. Gone was the excitement of a new mission, gone was the secret amusement at something illogical Jim would surely say, gone was…Jim.
Spock had only himself to blame.
After the dissolution of his romantic relationship with Nyota because of his undeniable feelings for his captain, Spock never quite found the time or the way to tell Jim of his deeper feelings. So as the mission ended, they’d parted as merely friends.
Jim had given Spock a rare hug that last time he’d seen him in person in San Francisco. His captain liked to touch people. A pat on the back, a squeeze of the arm. His hugs, though, when given, were brief things. And usually to someone like Leonard or even, once, Nyota, after a particularly harrowing mission.
But as Spock prepared to go to New Vulcan—and why had he done so—Jim had approached him, arms wide, smile warm and welcoming. He’d thrown his arms around Spock and held him tight, for much longer than Spock could remember any of Jim’s other hugs lasting.
He’d smelled like oranges and cream, Spock did not know why, and he’d leaned his cheek against Spock’s. For just a few seconds Spock thought he was going to get Jim’s thoughts or emotions, and he’d inhaled, ready for it, ready for such a rare thing, but they’d never come. There was just the warmth and sun of Jim holding him, his mind, his emotions closed off like a vise had been slammed down on them.
But Spock could not be disappointed. The embrace was more than he could have expected. As Jim pulled away, Spock reluctant to release him, he opened his mouth to tell Jim how he felt and Jim told him to be safe and keep in touch, and the moment seemed lost to Spock.
He was a fool.
Spock heard a beep which meant he had an incoming message. He switched to his terminal.
Nyota’s smiling face appeared. “Spock!”
“It is pleasing to see you, Nyota.”
“You too! It seems like forever since we talked.”
“I calculate that it has been three weeks, two days, seven hours and—”
“See! Forever.” Her smile softened. “How have you been?”
“Have you told him?”
“It has been even longer since I have spoken with him,” Spock admitted.
“Not Jim. But we’ll get to that. I meant your father. About the whole making baby Vulcans.”
This was still something of an uncomfortable subject between them. Three years into their five-year mission, Spock had doubts about the path he should take in order to help the Vulcan species. He’d nearly left Starfleet. He’d stayed not because of Nyota but because Jim needed him. This became further strife in his relationship with Nyota and not long after the mission continued once repairs on the Enterprise were done, they ended their romantic pairing for good.
”I did advise him that I did not wish to be bonded to a Vulcan woman.”
“Good for you. And what did he say?”
“That I could…donate.”
“Donate?” She scrunched her face up for a second then it cleared. “Oh. I see. Well. What about Sarek? Has he donated?”
Spock nodded. “He has. And he has also become bonded to a Vulcan woman named T’Lir.”
“Logically, I can have no objection to his suggestion.”
“Except that you don’t wish to become a father.”
“Arrangements would be made so that would not be a consideration.” Spock shook his head. “I have not ruled it out. As you are aware, I did consider my options in that regard some years back.”
She pursed her lips. “Yes, I recall. Which brings me to the other elephant in the room.”
“There is no elephant in the room, Nyota.”
“Spock.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m speaking of Jim Kirk.”
Spock was uncertain what to say to that so he did not respond. Nyota was well aware of his deeper feelings for their former captain. And she had been for quite some time. She once told Spock she knew there was more to it than friends as far back as when they faced Khan.
“Why haven’t you talked to him?”
“It is difficult to express my feelings.”
“Believe me, I know that better than most. But I don’t even mean to tell him you love him. I meant at all. I know you miss him, Spock.”
Beyond imagining, Spock thought to himself. Life was unexpectedly empty without Jim. He’d known it would take adjustment. But he had been unprepared for how much it affected him. Each and every day.
“Then why haven’t you commed him? I know you are going to say he hasn’t commed you, but he gets wrapped up in his head sometimes and you have to draw him out.”
“When I see him, I yearn for him,” Spock said softly. “I have been avoiding him because of that.”
“Honey, you have to just tell him. I have a feeling you’ll like the result.”
“He has never given me the slightest indication he has an interest in me that way, Nyota. And over the years, I have only ever seen him show interest in females.”
“But you’ll never know until—”
A loud beeping interrupted her.
“Oh, damn. I have to go. I’ve been waiting to talk to my brother and that’s him. We’ll talk soon, okay?”
“Yes, Nyota. Live long and prosper.”
The screen went blank and once more Spock was left to his routine.
Two weeks later, Spock had just returned from having tea with his father when he saw that he had a blinking message. Someone had contacted him while he was away and Spock imagined it was likely Nyota. It was rare anyone else contacted him these days.
But to his dismay and shock he pulled up the message to realize he had missed Jim. His heart thundering in his side, he played the message.
Jim appeared looking tired. There was perhaps a bit more gray in his hair than when they’d been on the mission but otherwise he looked much the same, except for a few days’ worth of growth on his face. He was almost too beautiful really. His lips were curved in a tiny smile that made Spock ache.
“Hey Spock. Guess I missed you. When you have time, could you contact me? I was wondering…well,I guess I’ll tell you when you comm me. Um. Okay. Kirk out.”
And he was gone like that.
Spock indulged himself and watched the message three more times. He would admit to no one that he behaved thusly. Or that he had a file of saved Jim messages. And he often accessed them. Such a weakness was something he was ashamed of, but he engaged in it, nevertheless.
He tried to calculate whether Jim would be available at this hour in San Francisco. Spock decided to take the chance that he would be.
At first it seemed like it would not connect and he would have to try again, but then suddenly Jim appeared on his screen, pulling a shirt over his head.
Spock’s mouth went dry as he stared at Jim’s sculpted chest and muscles. His smiling face appeared as he pulled the shirt down to cover himself.
“Spock! Sorry about that. Just got out of the shower.” His hair was still wet, too.
Spock tried not to think too much on Jim in the shower. It was a difficult thought to put out of his head.
“I apologize for calling at an inopportune time.”
Jim waved his hand at that and plopped himself down in a chair. “Nah, it’s fine. I just got home from a run and jumped right in the shower.”
“You have taken up running?”
“I used to do it years ago when I was a kid. It’s kind of nice to get back into the habit again. I prefer running in dirt to cement though, but I run where I can here.” Jim rubbed the stubble on his chin. “It’s great to see you.”
“It is pleasing to see you as well.”
“Sorry it’s taken so long to contact you again.” Jim shook his head. “The stuff around here. Just insane.”
“You know how bureaucracy is. But whatever. Enough about that. As of now they aren’t going to bother me.”
Spock barely stopped himself from frowning. “Captain?”
Jim laughed at that. “Jim. You aren’t even in Starfleet anymore. And I am officially on a leave of absence.”
“A…leave of absence? For how long?”
“Indefinite at this point.” Jim seemed entirely unfazed by this.
He laughed again, more heartily than before. “God, no. I did. In fact they spent the better part of this morning begging me to stay. Offering me promotions, any ship in the ‘Fleet.” He paused. His smile dimmed just a bit. “Except the Enterprise. That’s going to Decker.”
Spock opened his mouth to give the usual response of Captain Will Decker being highly qualified, but stopped himself. He was well aware Jim didn’t want to hear such things.
“Anyway, so, that’s the point of my contacting you?”
“I thought, maybe, if you could tear yourself away from your responsibilities for a couple of weeks you can come and stay with me in Riverside.”
It took at least fifteen seconds for that to sink in. Spock was aware Jim’s experiences in Riverside were anything but pleasant. In fact, Spock recalled a conversation once when a particularly intoxicated and loose tongued Jim told Spock he’d like to burn the place down.
Suddenly Spock realized Jim was staring at him expectantly, much the same way he had when he’d confessed to Spock he would miss him after the volcano incident.
Spock cleared his throat. “You are spending your leave in Riverside?”
“Yep. Opening up the old farmhouse again. Hasn’t been lived in since Frank croaked over from a heart attack.”
His tone was almost gleeful which was very unlike Jim, but Spock also knew from that same drunken conversation a few years back that Frank had been extremely abusive and so Spock could hardly bring himself to care.
“It was my understanding you did not care for the place,” Spock said carefully.
“I’ve decided that really it’s just a place, you know. Ha, maybe therapy’s helping me after all.”
Spock found himself blinking at that. “You have been undergoing therapy?”
“Don’t look so surprised, Spock. Anyway, my sessions ended a week or so ago. The point is, I don’t blame the farmhouse for the asshole that lived there. There’s two things I could do with the place. Sell it or keep it. And either way the place needs work.”
“Yes. So, if you’re willing, you can grab your tool belt and help me out. Spend a couple of weeks taking that vacation you never take.”
Spock tilted his head. “My tool belt?”
Jim grinned. “Look it up, Spock. You’re good at research. What do you say? Just the two of us tinkering around in an old house. We’ll get some provisions and set up ourselves for a good couple of weeks. If you’re willing and can tear yourself away from your duty long enough.” Those blue eyes sparkled with enough fire to warm the coldest night. And Spock found himself completely helpless to deny them.
Or the man behind them.
“Yes, I believe I can make myself available.”
Jim’s warm smile widened. “That’s fantastic. Can’t wait.”
And Spock, though he did not say so, found himself returning the sentiment.
It hadn’t been as easy to get away as Spock had anticipated. His father had, predictably disapproved, while trying to appear logical about that disapproval. In the end, in order to get away without more difficulty, Spock had ‘donated’ to the cause.
He was mortified by having done so, especially considering his use of the captain as inspiration during the process. It was something he never intended to mention again to anyone.
He left New Vulcan in the morning after his ordeal and was able to get a direct shuttle to the docking bay in Riverside, Iowa. Jim planned to meet him there. Spock looked forward to it with a ridiculous amount of anticipation and anxiousness. It was completely illogical and he felt entirely out of his element. He had never felt this way about anyone, even Nyota.
Spock had not yet decided how he would approach things. He felt that it was time to advise Jim of his deeper regard and yet he did not think he ought to blurt it out the moment he saw Jim. Perhaps he should even wait a few days into their visit together. Spock was not certain.
The shuttle ride was uneventful and they landed five minutes ahead of schedule. Spock collected his bag and managed to depart down the ramp ahead of the majority of the less efficient passengers.
Spock went immediately to the schedule board and tamped down his disappointment when he noted that Jim’s shuttle from San Francisco was listed as delayed.
And then he admonished himself. He was behaving like a human schoolboy, not an adult Vulcan.
He made to turn away from the board to seek a place to wait when someone stood next to him and jostled his shoulder. Spock turned, a reprimand on his tongue.
“Going somewhere, Mister Spock?”
Jim laughed and Spock could not blame him. He’d made a fool out of himself. But before he could apologize for his too enthusiastic greeting, Jim threw his arms around Spock in an embrace.
“God, it’s absolutely amazing to see you,” Jim murmured, close enough to Spock’s ear to make him shiver. Jim squeezed him then and released him.
Spock hoped that he could find his voice. “It is good to see you as well, Jim. I had just read that your shuttle was delayed. I am glad that information was not correct.”
“Oh, yeah, it was, I think. I caught an earlier shuttle. Couldn’t wait to get started.”
He realized then he could smell alcohol on Jim and suspected visiting such an establishment had also been something Jim couldn’t wait to get started on. Spock generally found the smell of alcohol unpleasant, but he would gladly endure it to be close to Jim. Yes, he was well aware how pathetic he had truly become.
Jim was eying Spock’s bag. “Is that all you brought?”
“You did say that the farmhouse had functional clothes washing equipment.”
“It does. Why does it not surprise me that you’re a light packer?” Jim’s blue eyes were sparkling like blue diamonds. He had even more stubble on his jaw then when Spock had seen him over the comm. “Let’s get out of here. I’m anxious for you to see the place.”
“Have you already been there?” Spock asked as he followed his former captain out of the building.
“Well…yeah. When I said I caught an earlier shuttle, I meant really early. I got here yesterday.”
“Were they bothering you in San Francisco?”
Jim grinned. “Nothing I couldn’t handle. But yeah. They don’t seem to get what ‘leave of absence’ actually means.” He clicked a key fob he held in his hand. “Here we are.” Jim had stopped before an old Earth car that had the word Porsche written across the back of it. He winked. “Get in.”
“You know how to drive this, Captain?”
Jim rolled his eyes. “Jim. I’m not your captain. And of course I do. Get in, Spock.”
Spock went around to the passenger side, opened the door and lowered himself into the seat. Jim tossed his bag into the back and then got into the driver’s side.
“Where is the seatbelt?” Spock asked, recalling that such vehicles were supposed to have them.
“Seatbelt? Nah, this car doesn’t have any. I think the asshole took them out years ago.”
Spock assumed he meant Frank though he did not clarify.
“Why would he do such a thing?”
“Who knows? He was an asshole, Spock. He didn’t need a reason.”
With a shake of his head, Spock resigned himself to gripping the handle on the door as Jim sped off out of the parking lot.
“Don’t worry, Spock,” Jim said with a flash of a grin. “I’m an excellent driver.”
He couldn’t really say he was worried, Vulcans certainly did not worry, but he was grateful when there appeared to be no other vehicles on the road as Jim made his way down a dirt road toward a lone farmhouse Spock spotted in the distance.
As Jim pulled up directly in front of it, it appeared to be deserted to Spock. A lot of the windows were boarded up and the few that weren’t had cracked glass. It had obviously been quite neglected and Spock made that comment out loud.
“Yeah, no one wanted it after Frank was gone. Mom thought about selling it, but offered it to me. I decided to keep it, though I didn’t really have anything in mind to do with it at the time.”
Jim got out of the car and Spock followed suit, grabbing his bag from Jim when he took it out of the back.
“Is it inhabitable?” Spock asked doubtfully.
“If it was winter? Definitely not. But this time of year? Sure.” Jim bent over and picked up a rock that was in front of the steps. His jeans tightened across his bottom and Spock certainly did not fail to notice. He appreciated the tightness of the jeans Jim wore. Jim straightened, holding a key. “Pretty old-fashioned, right?”
“You keep the key under rock? Is that safe?”
Jim shrugged. “No one ever comes out here and if they did, what are they going to do? Ransack the dust? Light it on fire? That might save me some time and bother.”
He stepped up to the front door. “Since I got here yesterday I already did some shopping for us. Don’t worry, I got you vegetables.”
“I was, in fact, not worried.”
Jim shoved the key into the lock and twisted the door. “This place is hundreds of years old.”
“Did it belong to your mother or stepfather?”
“Came through Mom’s family. Dickhead used to call it his house just because he married her though.” Jim kicked the door shut after Spock stepped in.
It sort of creaked on the hinges and Spock glanced at it warily. “Something you will be replacing?”
“Maybe, yeah. We’ll see. Have to fix a lot of crap, really. You brought your tool belt?”
“I secured what seemed to be what you were referring to before I departed, yes.”
Jim rubbed his hands together. “Fantastic. This is going to be fun. Okay, first, let’s get you up to your room and get you settled.”
“Have you done many renovations in the past, Jim?” Spock asked as they approached the staircase.
Jim glanced over his shoulder with a smile. “Well. Actually? I’ve never done any.” And then he laughed as he stepped onto the first step. “Kind of stay to the right if you can. I think it’s sturdier on this side.”
Spock stared up at Jim as he went up the stairs, on the right side.
Over the years, Spock had seen several typical Earth dwellings, and as he followed Jim across the hallway to the bedrooms, this seemed a fair sampling of a single family two-story house in this region perhaps with a little more wear and tear than normal.
Jim bypassed a couple of rooms to stop at a corner room that faced the back of the house. “This used to be my room. I figured maybe it would suit you okay. I’m in the master bedroom. Both because I figure this is going to be my house and because there’s a hole in the roof over that room and if we get some freak rainstorm or something I’d rather I got dripped on instead of you.”
“That is quite considerate of you,” Spock said as he entered the room.
It was nothing particularly special. It was a square-shaped room of a little less than average size with a double-sized bed, a white dresser and a white matching bedside table. There was a door on the one side which Spock assumed led to a closet and a paned window that looked outside to the backyard as Spock had suspected.
“It didn’t really look like this when I stayed here,” Jim explained. “I had stars and planets on the ceiling and a couple of posters and stuff on the wall. But all that came down when I went to Tar…Toronto. Toronto.” Jim smiled. “Anyway, when I arrived yesterday I put fresh linens on everything so you should be good to go. There’s no attached bathroom but there’s one in the hallway and there’s a closet next to that with towels.”
“Thank you. This will be more than sufficient.”
Jim flashed him a smile that increased Spock’s pulse. “I’ll give you some time to get settled in here. You can put your clothes in the dresser and the closet, if you want. They’re available. And I don’t know, you might want to meditate?”
Spock nodded. “Meditation would be welcome.”
“And perhaps a shower if that is permissible. It’s been sometime since I had a water shower,” Spock admitted. “I find myself somewhat eager to experience it again.”
“Now there I don’t blame you. Absolutely, Spock. You don’t need my permission to do anything while you’re here. This is like a vacation for you, right? So whatever. See you downstairs, later, yeah?”
Spock walked to the window after Jim left the room and gazed outside, trying to imagine a young Jim in this place. At this very window. It was perhaps sentimental to wish for it, but Spock would have liked to have known Jim then and even, perhaps, be able to save him from the abuse he knew Jim had suffered at the hands of his stepfather. There seemed to be stray echoes of a life lived here long ago and nearly forgotten.
He turned away and picked up his bag, setting it on the top of the dresser to unpack. So far, though he had not received any specific vibes from Jim that he shared Spock’s affections, Jim seemed quite receptive. It was encouraging.
It was almost an hour by the time Spock made his way back downstairs after unpacking, meditating and taking a rather indulgent long shower. He had changed into one of his Vulcan robes, figuring they wouldn’t get started on any repairs until the following morning.
Jim was in the kitchen when Spock came down, his back to Spock, gazing out the kitchen window, holding what Spock assumed was a mug of coffee in his hand.
Spock didn’t know how to be subtle, though he had tried working on it over the years, and so he said, “Remembering your time here?”
Jim didn’t flinch as he turned around but for once, since Spock arrived, he wasn’t smiling. There was sadness in his eyes.
“Yeah, actually. Mostly thinking of Sam.”
“My brother. Frank managed to chase him away. Now? I don’t even really know where he is. Could be dead for all I know.”
“He did not keep in touch?”
Jim shook his head. “No. He shook the dust off this place and never looked back. Me? I can’t seem to do the same.” Then the smile returned though this time Spock saw the clear attempt at avoidance. “How’d your meditation and shower go?”
“Nice robes.” This time Jim’s smile was soft, gentle somehow. And Spock wondered when it was he began to catalogue Jim’s smiles. “So anyway, I started some soup. Butternut squash. It has a little bit of cream in it. Is that okay?”
“After dinner, maybe we can play chess or something. I have an old set I brought. Nothing fancy like the one on the Enterprise.”
“That sounds quite agreeable.”
The soup turned out to be delicious and Spock indulged in two bowls. Jim had also made some homemade bread rolls that had been warm to go with the soup and they had also been very palatable.
They were now sitting in the living room at a small table Jim called a ‘card table’. Jim had found it in one of the closets and had set it up with a couple of chairs from the dining room table. Spock had tea and Jim coffee.
“Nothing fancy, I’m afraid,” Jim said again by way of apology, Spock supposed.
“Everything is fine, Jim.”
Jim moved his pawn. “Keep in touch with anyone? Besides me, obviously.”
“Indeed. I keep in regular contact with Nyota.”
“Yeah? How is she doing?”
“She is well and sends her best to you.”
Surprised by this response, Spock arched a brow. “Is something amiss?”
“I don’t know. I think…nah.”
He shrugged. “I’m not sure she ever really liked me much. Oh, sure. I think she grew to respect me as her captain and even thought I did a pretty good job of it. But like me? Doubtful.”
“I assure you that is definitely not the case. Nyota likes you a lot and considers you a friend.”
“Glad I’m wrong then. And I’m also glad she’s doing well.”
“Do you ever regret how things turned out?”
Before he could stop himself, Spock found himself saying, “Captain?”
Jim smiled. “You haven’t moved yet by the way.”
Spock glanced down at the board and then made his move. “To what do you refer?”
“Just you and her. You seemed pretty close for a while there. You even gave her your mom’s necklace. That’s not something to be taken lightly. Is it?”
“It is not. But I do not believe that either Nyota or myself regret the ending of our romantic relationship. We treasure the current state of our friendship.”
Spock struggled for a way to change the subject. It made him vaguely uncomfortable and he could not say why. “I did receive correspondence from the doctor some months back.”
Jim smiled at that. It was warmth for the doctor, Spock could easily recognize it. “Bones. I’m glad. He likes you.”
“I find him tolerable as well.”
He laughed at that, which is exactly what Spock wanted. Jim didn’t laugh near enough.
Spock let the conversation lapse for a time as he thought about how to go about revealing romantic feelings to another. With Nyota, back in the academy, she had been the one to pursue him and she had also revealed her deeper affections first. Jim was, as humans would say, a tougher nut to crack.
“One of the things I want to do is expand the master bathroom,” Jim was saying, and Spock made an effort to pay attention. “I may have to hire someone for that, I don’t know. But usually a bigger bathroom with like a large tub and a separate standing shower are what most women want. Probably get a jetted tub.”
There was something in what Jim just said that Spock realized he needed to understand more. He released his fingers from his piece for a moment.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Oh, I was just saying about the master bath. I’ll probably ask her first though.”
The word ‘her’ hit Spock like iced water in the face. And his heart suddenly clenched in his side.
“I am afraid I do not comprehend,” he managed to get out.
Jim shook his head and then smiled wryly. “Oh, shit. Sorry. I forgot to tell you. There’s a girl back in San Francisco. I’ve been seeing her for some months now. Practically from when I got back to Earth after the mission.”
“Uh-huh. Her name is Sybil. Sybil Owens. Anyway, I’ve been seriously thinking about asking her to marry me. So if I do, well, then this house and what she wants in it will be important. Right?”
Spock knew the answer he was supposed to reply with but instead he dropped his gaze to the chess board.
“Spock? Are you all right?”
Spock cleared his throat and forced himself to look at Jim. “I am feeling rather out of sorts. I’d like to retire if I may. Perhaps the game can be continued tomorrow?”
“Well, sure. But—”
Spock stood. “It is nothing, Jim. Just fatigue from traveling. I am certain I will be fine in the morning.”
Jim’s smile was back but Spock couldn’t quite place this one and he didn’t have the heart right now to even try.
“Okay, Spock. See you in the morning. Goodnight.”
Spock made it up the stairs, walking on the right side, and to his room before his expression crumbled. Horrid disappointment threatened to consume him.
He had thought…and to be so very wrong…it was painful. The hope he had allowed himself to feel suddenly winked out completely leaving him breathless and with a keen sense of heartache.
Spock’s goal now was to maintain his friendship with Jim. He could not let on how deep his caring for his former captain actually went, but if a friendship was all he was ever destined to have with Jim, then Spock would accept that and see that it flourished.
Spock woke to the scents of warm baked bread. It was an unmistakable smell. He glanced at the digital clock beside his bed and noted it was already close to eight. Sunlight streamed through the window.
It was completely unlike him to sleep so late, but his meditation had not gone as well as it should have as his mind was filled with images of Jim. Mostly platonic, but certainly not all of them.
Then to make matters even more unbearable, Spock woke in the night from an erotic dream that had prominently featured a naked and wet James T. Kirk. It was a wholly inappropriate image for his friend and former captain but Spock had been unable to keep his subconscious thoughts from straying there. And worse, he lay awake after, imagining those dream images as he took himself in hand. He’d been incredibly ashamed afterward.
Spock forced himself out of the bed and covered up any unseemly evidence before grabbing fresh clothing to take with him into the bathroom. He chose to take an indulgently hot shower wherein he attempted to meditate all sexual thoughts of Jim away.
Once he was satisfied he had done so, Spock emerged from the shower and dressed in jeans and a shirt appropriate for handymen to wear. Spock knew because he had researched it before ever leaving New Vulcan.
As he made his way down the stairs the scent of the baking bread mingled with the distinctive smells of Vulcan spiced tea.
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, Spock spotted Jim, bent over, ass in the air, peering into the oven. The jeans he wore were black and they were stretched taut over his perfectly rounded derriere. Spock’s mouth watered.
Jim straightened then and turned around. He wore a red plaid flannel shirt that clung to his form very much like a second skin and his day’s growth of the day before was even more prominent. It was as though he was looking particularly incredible just to tease Spock.
Surely that was it.
All his careful meditation in the shower went out the window and all Spock could think about was bending Jim over the table and taking him for long hours in the day.
It was terrible.
“Good morning, Sleepyhead,” Jim called cheerfully, adding a killer smile to his already torturous appearance. “I heard you in the shower so I started your tea. I think it’s ready over there if you want to get it.” He gestured to a small dark teapot on the counter.
Spock stepped over to it. “Where did you obtain this, Jim?”
“The teapot, surprisingly, I found in the basement. The tea itself I ordered from a teashop in San Francisco. It came in just before I was due to leave, fortunately.”
Spock was suffused with warmth at the idea that Jim considered him enough to special order tea for him.
“Thank you, Jim. That was thoughtful of you.” He poured tea into the cup Jim had left next to the teapot.
“My pleasure,” Jim answered, reaching for a mug of what Spock assumed by the aroma was coffee. “The green shirt looks good on you.”
“I researched attire for this sort of purpose,” Spock advised. “Where are we going to begin the repairs?”
“The roof. There are a couple of holes and a number of weak spots from what I could see when I was up there yesterday. But let’s get something to eat first.”
“You journeyed onto the roof by yourself with no one else around?”
“I didn’t journey, Spock, I climbed up a ladder. And I did, yeah.” Jim did this odd twirling thing. “As you can see I’m in one piece.” He gestured to the dining room table. “Sit down there and drink your tea. I’ll bring your breakfast in a second.”
Spock went to the table and sat, only mildly curious as to what Jim was preparing. It smelled good anyway and he’d heard from Doctor McCoy that Jim was a very competent cook.
It was difficult not to stare, though in all honesty, Spock did try. He’d never had so little control over himself. It was as though finally discovering his true feelings for Jim caused him to lose his mind. When they were not together, it was easy enough to push his feelings aside and control himself with logic, but the moment he was around Jim, Spock was lost.
“Here you go,” Jim said, coming over to him with a plate. “Stuffed French toast. Don’t worry, there’s no meat. It’s stuffed with cream cheese and orange marmalade. I baked the bread this morning.”
“You did not need to go through all that trouble, Jim.”
“It really wasn’t that much trouble.” Jim brought over another plate for himself. “I don’t sleep more than a few hours at a time anyway.”
Spock had been aware of Jim’s odd sleeping habits when they were onboard the Enterprise. McCoy had been forever attempting to assist with making sure Jim got enough rest. Spock often took part in the effort as well.
“Your sleep is still disturbed?”
Jim dropped his gaze to his breakfast, appearing to concentrate on cutting off a hunk of the toast. Spock was not fooled. He was well aware that Jim did not like to discuss his own personal health issues. Nightmares were included in that.
“You know how it is,” Jim murmured.
“I’m not going to spend my life hopped up on sleep aids, Spock. I sleep when I need to. It’s fine.”
Spock had learned over the years that Jim could be exceptionally stubborn when confronted too directly. For now, he would drop it. But he reserved the right to bring it up again.
“This is quite good,” Spock said after a few bites.
Jim smiled warmly. “Thanks.”
He didn’t quite know why he brought it up, but Spock found that he could not help himself. “This woman you are seeing. Sybil?”
“Yeah. What about her?”
“You must feel a great deal of affection for her considering you are thinking of proposing marriage. To be honest, I was not certain you would ever settle down in that fashion.”
“We all have to grow up some time.” Jim pushed his plate away. It was only half eaten. He brought his coffee cup to his lips. “What about you? Have you found a nice Vulcan girl to bond with?”
“I will not be bonding with a Vulcan woman.”
“No? Isn’t that what they expect all good Vulcans do? Create Vulcan babies?”
“Perhaps, but it is not necessary to bond to continue the species,” Spock replied, pushing his own plate away. Becoming too full on breakfast would do nothing for his ability to perform repairs. “Sperm donations are encouraged for those who do not wish a bond at this time.”
Jim lowered his coffee cup and gaped at Spock. “Sperm donations? Spock, did you—”
“I did, yes, before I came here.” Spock refused to feel embarrassed by it. It was a little uncomfortable discussing the subject but there was no shame in helping with repopulation efforts.
“Well.” Jim picked up his coffee cup again then frowned into it when he apparently realized it was empty. “That’s admirable, Spock.”
“Is it? I do not know. It seemed the logical thing to do.”
“What about someone else raising your offspring? Are you okay with that?”
“I have no real desire at this time to engage in raising a child.” Spock paused to gather his thoughts. “And you, Jim? Does this marriage between you and Sybil include a family?”
Jim shifted uncomfortably and rose from his chair, taking his empty mug with him. “I’m not even sure about any of it.” He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand as he used his other to reach for the carafe of coffee. “I said I’d been thinking about it. I’ve not really made any decisions.”
“Is that not the natural advancement of a human relationship?”
He shrugged. “Is it? I don’t know. You and Nyota dated for years and you never got to that point.” He added cream to his coffee and then leaned a hip against the counter. “Is that why you don’t want to bond with a Vulcan? Are you still hung up on Nyota?”
“Negative. I still hold a lot of affection for Nyota and she for me, but we are friends only, and are not romantically in love.”
For a long time he seemed to be considering whether to say more but then very slowly he shook his head, as though at himself, and then he set the coffee cup down on the counter and rubbed his hands. “Enough of this serious talk. Time to get up onto that roof.”
Spock rose. “Having researched the repair of holes in the roof, I feel it is more logical for me to climb to the roof to execute them.”
“Fat chance,” Jim said with a grin. “You can stay down below and make sure I don’t fall and kill myself.”
He gave Spock his best imperious captain look and so Spock fell silent. He was here, after all, as only an assistant to Jim, something he was used to as that had been what he was on the Enterprise, really.
And he was well used to making sure Jim didn’t kill himself.
They got to the back door and Jim stopped him, hands suddenly on Spock’s forearms. He tried not to shiver at the touch. It was a near thing.
“Feeling the material of your shirt,” Jim explained. “See if it’s warm enough.”
“It was my understanding we were not expecting inclement weather.”
He laughed at that. ”We’re not. Sometimes it gets a little windy which can be cool. Just don’t want you to be any more miserable than you have to be.”
He was absently rubbing Spock’s arms and Spock didn’t even think he was really aware of the action. There’d been many times on the Enterprise when Jim touched him. Jim was very tactile and touched most everyone.
“I believe the material of my shirt is similar to that of yours. Flannel.”
Jim nodded. “Seems that way. You just get colder than I do. Well, if it’s too much, we’ll come inside. There’s plenty of time and no reason to kill ourselves doing this shit.”
Spock followed Jim out the door.
Over the years of watching Jim endanger himself, which frankly had been frequently, Spock had developed his own inner way of dealing with it. Psychologically speaking, he simply pretended there was no danger to Jim, though deep down, of course, Spock knew differently.
But as his more personal feelings toward his captain became more prominent, Spock had started to experience what started out as mild panic attacks. They became more and more severe to the point that Spock had to rein it in, do something to stop it. Because Jim certainly had no intention of stopping his behavior, that much was clear.
He’d sought the advice from his counterpart, Ambassador Spock, shortly before his passing. Spock mostly repressed his romantic feelings for Jim at that point, having continued to maintain his relationship with Nyota, but he had become aware of a deepening friendship bond with Jim and so Jim’s actions had continued to alarm him. It had been the ambassador’s advice that he would never truly get over his sense of panic where Jim was concerned and he would just have to learn to deal with it.
Not entirely helpful, but Spock had come to realize what the ambassador had meant.
So now as he stood below the ladder watching Jim traipse across the fragile roof looking for holes to fix, Spock squelched his panic as best he could. There was no denying that Jim’s mortality was something he thought about too much. Thinking about it would never change the outcome, Spock knew that, but he could not seem to entirely think logically when it involved James Kirk.
His fingers tightened on the ladder. Jim had “ordered” him to stay below and “just make sure the ladder doesn’t fall”. Each creak under Jim’s footsteps made Spock inwardly wince.
“Ouch, fuck me.”
“Just hit my thumb with the hammer. Nothing to worry about.”
“Perhaps it is time for a break.”
“I’ve only been up here fifteen minutes, Spock.”
“Son of a bitch.” He heard sucking noises.
Spock pursed his lips. “If you will come down, I will apply ice to the injury.”
“Not until I get something done.”
Spock heard more hammering.
Point of fact, this was not even close to the danger Jim usually put himself in. Jim had died once. And there’d been a few times Spock had been convinced he would die again. A little bit of roof maintenance was nothing. But he also knew, now anyway, that Jim had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Generally, in Spock’s experience, that meant disaster.
Spock heard a loud crash and his heart thundered in his side. “Jim?”
“Um. Okay. I’ve sort of tripped.”
“Got my foot stuck. Think I twisted my ankle. Damn it.”
“I am coming up.”
“You do not have to carry me,” Jim grumbled.
Spock adjusted his hold on Jim in order to open the door into the house. He carried Jim through. “You could not walk. You said so yourself.”
Spock shook his head and refrained from commenting. He carried Jim to the couch in the living room and gently set him down. “I will return with ice.”
“I can get it.”
“No, you cannot.” Spock turned and went into the kitchen. How he managed to get his struggling and griping former captain off the roof and down the ladder without major injury to both of them was surely a miracle. He bundled up ice in a towel and brought it back to Jim.
Jim gave him a sort of sheepish grin. “Sorry about this.”
It was on the tip of his tongue to state that Jim should be, but Spock kept silent. On that anyway. “Does it hurt overmuch?”
“Kind of throbs. Fuck, that’s cold.”
“It is ice.”
Jim’s smile widened. “Yeah, I know. Thanks for getting me off the roof.”
“I would say it was my pleasure but it was not.”
Jim chuckled. “Well this is going to delay repairing the roof anyway. I did manage to patch one hole.”
“I can do it, therefore, there is no reason to delay the repairs.”
He eyed Spock. “What do you know about fixing roofs?”
“About as much as you, I imagine.”
Another chuckle. “Touché.”
“I may even know more as I have researched it. I am doubtful that you did.”
“You’ve got me there, Mister Spock. I haven’t.”
“That does not surprise me. I will bring you refreshment and then I will go up and see to it.”
“But there’s no one to act as a spotter for you.”
“I am certain I will manage.”
Spock brought Jim a glass of water and then went outside to climb up to the roof.
He came back to find Jim asleep on the couch. Jim lay on his back, his mouth slightly open, and a tiny trail on drool leading down his chin.
The fact that it should be disgusting and was in fact heartwarming was all Spock really needed to tell him that he was, in fact, beyond hope where Jim was concerned. As if he needed further confirmation.
He knelt beside the couch and put his hand on Jim’s face.
Blue eyes slowly opened. “Hey. You finished?”
Spock nodded. “The holes are covered up.” He hesitated. “Jim.”
“There was a-a glass panel over your room that had been covered up by boards. But it…I believe it was used for nefarious purposes and I—”
He shook his head. “Don’t.”
“Jim, your stepfather—”
“I don’t want to talk about that.” His gaze lowered.
Spock’s hand gentled on Jim’s face. “You can tell me anything.”
“Not that,” Jim said softly. “Not now. Maybe…someday.”
Spock would have to accept that. Even if it tore at him to do so. This man he cherished still hid so much inside. Spock would work for the rest of his days, if he could be granted this privilege, to know all there was to know about this most amazing human.
“Do not marry her,” Spock said, unable to stop himself.
Jim blinked at him. “What?”
“Do not marry Sybil.”
Spock took a chance. He knew he was doing so. “Because I fear it would do me irreparable harm.”
Jim’s blue eyes went impossibly wide and were so intensely blue Spock thought he could surely drown in them just like the ocean.
“I know that it is selfish of me to ask this. I know that you do not return my—”
“Spock, shut up and kiss me.”
Jim gripped the collar of Spock’s shirt and pulled him down to him so that their lips were mere inches apart. Perhaps less. It was difficult to analyze precise degrees of separation when Jim was making him the singular focus of his attention.
Jim huffed out a breath that ghosted across Spock’s skin. “Kiss me.”
He would not be asked a third time. His gaze went to Jim’s incredible lips and he lowered his face down until there was no space between them at all.
“Jim,” he whispered the name. It was soft like a caress because that is how Spock wished it. His lips touched Jim’s softly and lightly, far too tentatively, he imagined, but part of him was afraid he was still up on the roof daydreaming about this very thing. And if that was what it was, Spock did not wish to be brought to reality.
Jim was not one to be kissed hesitantly for long, though, for he took over the kiss, using his grip on Spock’s shirt to pull him closer still, until their lips were mashed together, deep and bruising and altogether thrilling.
Spock chanced thrusting his tongue past Jim’s lips and was granted permission, his tongue dancing erotically with Jim’s. His groin tightened in arousal, his fists clenching against Jim’s clothes, trying to resist the temptation to touch bare skin, to go too fast, to disturb this wondrous thing.
He was being yanked from his knees toward the couch and Spock got the idea well enough. He moved so that he lay atop his human, never breaking the fusing of their mouths.
If he shook just a little as he laid his body flush against Jim’s, then who could blame him? He’d all but given up this would ever be reality for him.
Jim’s arms came up around Spock, now that apparently he had Spock where he wanted him, and Spock sighed into the kiss as one of Jim’s arms rested on his upper back and the other his lower, just above his buttocks.
His already rising erection now became full blown. Spock bit back a moan.
Jim’s lips slipped from his and Spock went to chase them back, once more capturing those exquisite lips. Again and again he slanted his lips over Jim’s, sometimes nibbling tiny bits into Jim’s bottom limp just to hear Jim whimper.
He moved his leg to rest between Jim’s and ended up rubbing his thigh against the telltale bulge in Jim’s jeans.
“Spock,” Jim gasped out, his pupils blown wide, swallowing his blue irises.
They were clearly like-minded.
He moved his hands up Jim’s torso to the buttons of his flannel shirt. As he revealed skin with each set of buttons, Spock trailed open mouth, sucking kisses in his wake.
“Oh, God,” Jim moaned, pushing up to meet Spock’s questing lips.
Spock wondered if he should pause to question Jim’s response or to query further about what they were about to do, but in the end Spock decided, at the moment, anyway, conversation was not required.
He pushed aside Jim’s shirt entirely exposing Jim’s pectoral and abdominal muscles to Spock’s gaze.
“You are a fine specimen.” Spock was not able to keep quiet.
Jim’s laughter further aroused him and he latched onto an exposed nipple.
“Jesus.” Jim gripped Spock’s shoulders as he worked the nipple with his teeth.
He wanted it all, though, all of Jim’s body exposed to him for the taking. Spock added one last lick to the right and then the left nipple before leaning back to begin to work on removing Jim’s jeans.
“How is your ankle?” Spock thought to ask as he worked to pull off the jeans from Jim’s legs without jarring Jim’s injury.
Jim shook his head. “It’s fine.”
Jim now lay on the sofa with nothing but his briefs on and Spock took a long moment to examine him from head to toe. There really was no one more attractive to Spock, anyway.
It occurred to Spock, then, that though Vulcan’s penises did produce some lubrication, he was not entirely certain that would be enough for their purposes.
“What?” Jim put his hand on Spock’s jaw. “You look all concentraty.”
“That is not a word.”
Jim rolled his eyes. And leaned up to nip Spock’s jaw, right next to where his fingers were. Spock shuddered.
“It is only that it occurred to me that we may lack proper lubrication and—”
Jim pointed to the table behind him. “There’s a bottle in that little drawer at the end of that coffee table.”
Spock arched a brow but went over to the drawer and opened it, and sure enough, lubricant. “It would almost seem as though you anticipated such an occurrence,” Spock said as he returned to the sofa with it.
“Who said I didn’t?” Jim answered with a grin. “Clothes, Mister.”
He certainly wasn’t going to argue with that. He pulled off his sweater and let it drop from his fingers to the floor and then went to work on his shoes and pants. All the while Jim stared at him with wide dilated pupils.
His fingers feeling nerveless, Spock knelt beside Jim and reached for the waistband of his briefs. Jim lifted up to allow Spock to slide them off his ass and down his legs, which Spock did slowly so that he could study every inch of revealed bare skin.
Spock did not believe in a deity, but if he did, he would be thanking that deity this moment for Jim was incredibly beautiful. And yes, on some level, Spock already knew that quite well, but now seeing a completely naked and alluring Jim splayed out on the sofa in the living room of the farmhouse, Spock was certain that Jim simply had no equal.
“You going to stare all day or do something, Spock?” Jim asked, teasingly. He wore this tiny smile that was teasing and affectionate at the same time as being wildly sexy and it sent shockwaves to Spock’s penis, which was already about as hard as he could remember it ever being.
He reached for the lubricant and squirted out a very generous amount over his fingers. He could flip Jim over onto his stomach and take him that way—which the image of Jim on all fours, his ass rising in the air, was quite appealing—or he could keep Jim like this, lying on his back, hungry gaze on Spock, all the while Spock made him his. Finally.
Then he decided to go with Jim on his back, legs parted and wrapped around Spock’s waist, figuring if he were very lucky, and please let him be lucky, he would have other opportunities to try differing positions with Jim.
Spock hoisted one long, muscular leg up onto his shoulder as he carefully inserted two lubricated fingers inside Jim’s ass. The sensation of pushing his fingers into Jim was almost his undoing. It was an unexpected thrill.
Jim’s teeth sunk into his bottom lip as he continued to focus his gaze on Spock. A ragged moan escaped his parted lips and that only excited Spock more. Somehow Spock had hoped that Jim would be vocal when pleasured and he was delighted to learn it was true.
Jim moved his other leg so that his entrance was wide open for the third finger Spock added into him.
“Spock,” Jim moaned, his voice hoarse and needy.
He curled his fingers inside and watched, pleased, when Jim arched up, letting out a keening cry of want.
Spock thought that if this were not their first time, perhaps his fingers would play with Jim’s ass for hours, watching eagerly for his every reaction. But it was their first time and Spock was desperate to join their bodies as he’d only imagined doing.
“Jim,” Spock gasped out as he withdrew his fingers and slathered his aching erection with lubricant. He grabbed for both of Jim’s legs as he pushed his body between Jim’s thighs. “Jim. Please.”
“Yes,” was Jim’s only response but it was said with such fervor there was no longer any doubt in Spock’s mind. He pulled Jim’s legs around his waist and drove into Jim.
As one they cried out, welcoming the joining of their bodies, long overdue, and with Jim’s muscles loosened to accept Spock, he had no obstacle to thrusting in, balls deep, imbedding himself in this magnificent human.
Later, when he wouldn’t risk hurting him by bending him in half, Spock would spend a long time learning every nuance of Jim’s mouth. Something he looked forward to learning very intimately.
For now, he moved within Jim, grinding his teeth as Jim tightened his muscles around Spock’s shaft. He had never felt such bliss with another, never felt as though it was wholly logical and true.
His hands on Jim’s bare skin revealed to him the emotions flowing through Jim and Spock was gratified by them.
“Jim,” he ground out, as he began to move frantically within and against Jim.
When Jim’s hands moved up Spock’s flanks, sending shivers through him at Jim’s caress, Spock came undone. He pumped hard and fast, slamming into Jim, basking in the keening cries falling from Jim’s lips as he did so.
Feeling Jim’s cum splatter his skin, Spock let go completely, releasing himself deep inside Jim.
His body became seemingly boneless, and Spock could no longer hold himself up, so he pulled out of Jim and allowed himself to collapse, marveling when Jim’s arms wrapped around him.
He realized he’d fallen asleep when he came to with the amazing feel of Jim’s fingers in his hair, massaging his scalp. Spock could almost purr.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” Jim said softly and nonsensically.
“You did not fall asleep?” Spock murmured against Jim’s stomach where his head lay.
“No. But I enjoyed listening to you breathe while you did.”
Spock nodded. “I have…” He was surprised his voice cracked. “I have wanted this—you—for so long that finally having you exhausted me.”
He felt the comforting hum of Jim’s laughter.
“That sort of makes sense. Why didn’t you just tell me?”
“For a long time I could not imagine you would reciprocate my feelings.”
Jim’s fingers stilled for just a second in Spock’s hair before once more massaging. “Why?”
Spock thought it was plainly obvious but he shrugged slightly. “You have no equal. You could have any being in any galaxy. Why would you want me?”
“Spock,” Jim whispered, his arms tightening around Spock.
“I resolved to admire you from afar once our duties for Starfleet were over, even though I often hoped you felt the same.”
“I did. I do. You should have said.”
“Who am I to say you love me?” Spock said, ashamed at the lump forming in his throat. “I had resolved to tell you upon learning of your invitation to join you here. And then you mentioned Sybil.”
Spock was so surprised by Jim’s burst of laughter that he sat up and stared down at Jim, who lay on his back on the couch, his blue eyes filled with merriment.
“Oh, honey. There is no Sybil,” Jim said, his smile wide and warm.
“What?” Spock was dumbfounded.
“I guess, I don’t know, it was stupid and a game, which hell, I’m old enough to know better, but I thought you might be in love with me, I hoped you were, and I thought if I made up somebody I was serious about, you might finally admit you loved me.” Jim’s eyes crinkled. “But you never act the way I expect you to. It made you refrain from saying something, didn’t it?”
“At first, yes,” Spock agreed. He was torn between relief and exasperation. A frequent thing for him when it concerned Jim. “But as you are aware, when I came inside, I could no longer avoid confessing my feelings and asked you not to marry her.”
Jim sat up suddenly and before Spock knew what he was about he had arranged it so he was straddling Spock’s lap. The intimate contact with his naked skin made Spock almost believe he could be aroused again, even this quickly. Jim was a potent being.
His arms encircled Spock’s neck as he leaned into kiss Spock breathless.
Spock’s hands went to curl around Jim’s waist as he eagerly returned the kisses.
When finally Jim broke the kisses and allowed them to breathe, he stared down at Spock with impossibly blue eyes.
“I invited you here hoping for this. For you.”
“Not to do renovations?” Spock teased.
“Well. Isn’t it obvious I know absolutely nothing about working on old houses?” Jim chuckled. “This place? I don’t even know if I want to live here. There are things…memories…I don’t know. I might be able to overcome them. I can overcome anything with you by my side.”
Spock’s heart leapt. “I will never leave your side again.”
“As for the renovations.” Jim licked his lips. “I say we hire professionals.”
“I concur,” Spock agreed, pulling Jim down for a kiss. Then he cradled Jim’s face in his hands. “In case it was not clear, I cherish thee.”
Jim shivered. “I’m pretty fucking crazy in love with you too.”
Jim took a moment to shift on Spock’s lap, which reminded him.
“How is your ankle?”
“Well.” Jim flushed. “About that.”
“Yeah. I, uh, didn’t really twist it. I just wanted to stop working on the roof. And damn, Spock, you are so hot when you carry me.”
Spock shook Jim. “You are incorrigible.”
“And then you decided to go out there—”
“You could have stopped me.”
“But not without admitting I wasn’t injured.” Jim grinned.
“I ought to spank you.”
Jim sucked in a breath. “Spank me?”
Spock nearly rolled his eyes. “You would enjoy that, I can see. I will have to think of another punishment.”
“Okay. But you could still spank me.”
“Jim,” Spock said, softly, seriously. “I know this may be far too early for this, however, Vulcans bond and—”
“Are you proposing?”
“This is a serious matter.”
Jim just smiled. “I know. I know about Vulcan bonds. And Vulcans and their bonds. I know that the other us, Ambassador Spock and Admiral Kirk, they were together, and they were bonded.”
“He showed me,” Jim answered. “More than once. I carried that information around with me for years. While you were with Uhura.”
“And you said nothing?”
“What could I say, Spock? It wasn’t my place to tell you should be with me. What did you say earlier? Who am I to say you love me? Same for me.”
Spock closed his eyes. “We have wasted so much time, T’hy’la.”
“I know that word.”
He opened his eyes and looked into Jim’s gaze. “You should. It is us.”
“Then you are proposing?”
“Yes, I guess I am,” Spock agreed.
“Ceremony on New Vulcan?”
“Yes.” He hoped he did not sound too eager.
“Wild sex on the forge?”
Spock’s mouth dropped open. “You know about that too?”
Jim winked. “Baby, I know everything.”
Spock spread his fingers across Jim’s psi points. “Then you most assuredly know that you are mine.”
“Oh, yeah,” Jim said breathlessly.
And Spock kissed him. For hours.