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What We Are (and What We're Going to Be)

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It could be seen in every Spock’s move: the way he gravitates towards and around Jim, never quite breaching but always hovering just outside his intimate space; how his face gets that little bit more expressive, his eyes get a little darker, his hands tighten behind his back. And the way Jim is around him in turn: always touching in some way, a hand on a forearm or biceps, a shoulder to a shoulder, a knee to a knee under the table; his eyes always attentive, their shade of blue impossible to describe in words; his whole body never quite turning away from Spock, always and forever accommodating.

oOoOo

There’s a prank war raging on the Enterprise and has been for the last three weeks. No one was bold enough to include the Captain, apart from some very very minor pranks from the bridge crew and so Jim decides to act. His first victim is Spock, who gets the old itching powder (made by Jim himself) into every garment Jim could reach.

When there’s no outward reaction from Spock the next day, Jim goes into his quarters again and gives his clothes another helping. After two more times of this, Jim gets restless. And suspicious. And a bit paranoid, yes.

Three days later Jim wakes up with his hair bright orange and with Spock looking at him all wide eyes and innocence.

It takes three weeks to wash the color all the way off.

oOoOo

Jim sings in the shower.

Every single morning, like clockwork, just when Spock is meditating before leaving for the Bridge.

At first, Spock is deeply disturbed by the lyrics, something about a daddy being on a mission to please. After a few days though, Spock starts to enjoy the routine of it. Jim gets in the shower humming and starts singing out loud exactly 68 seconds after he shuts the glass door. He sings for approximately five minutes (5.21 to 5.42). He continues humming while he dries himself and dresses.

Until one day, he does not sing nor hum.

And the next day.

On the song-less third day, after Jim finishes his shower, Spock knocks on the door to their shared bathroom and asks Jim if he’s okay.

'Of course, Spock. Why're you asking?'

'For the past 75 days, every single morning when you took a shower, you have been singing. That, however, change three days ago. Is something the matter, Jim?'

'Uhm, no, not really? Just, it never occurred to me that you can hear me until Scotty told me he hears Bones sometimes, through their shared bathroom, when he grumbles in the mornings. I'm sorry if I disturbed you, Spock, you should've said something sooner.' Jim shuffled his feet on the bathroom mat, holding his towel so it does not fall down his hips any further than in already has.

'You misunderstand, Jim. I have been enjoying your singing immensely.'

Jim’s eyes widen slightly and then he throws back his head and laughs, letting go of the towel to clap Spock on the shoulder. The tips of Spock’s ears turn a lovely shade of green.

oOoOo

Jim doesn’t realize how much he touches Bones and Spock people until Uhura gently reminds him that Spock is a touch telepath and would probably prefer it if Jim reigned himself in.

So Jim does.

Gone are the shoulder slaps and the way he’d sometimes stop Spock by grabbing his forearm. He refrains from bumping his shoulder to Spock’s, tries to always keep at least a few inches of space between them.

After the first day of aborted movements, Spock looks at him a bit funny. After three days of the Let’s Not Touch Spock Initiative, Spock downright frowns at him. Or what would pass for a frown on a Vulcan, anyway.

Four days in, Spock puts his hand, very gently, on Jim’s shoulder when he updates him on the status of the samples they collected during their last mission, his thumb moving in small circles over a patch of skin, making Jim take a steadying breath. When the Alpha shift ends the next day, Spock leans his shoulder on Jim’s in the turbolift, presses in, just a little, just to make Jim feel his weight. When they have breakfast next morning, their legs touch, from thigh to ankle, and Jim has to focus on drinking his coffee lest he accidentally drowns in it.

When Spock takes Jim’s face in his palms five days later, after a long game of 3D scrabble, and leans in to mingle their breaths, to touch his nose lightly to Jim’s, to carefully taste Jim’s lips while his fingers gently run over Jim’s palm, Jim thinks he will send Uhura a thank-you bouquet.

oOoOo

Sitting next to Spock, Jim was recounting something that happened in engineering and his tongue slipped, a quick ‘baby’ added to an end of a random sentence. Jim could feel Spock stiffen under his hand and thus an experiment began.

'Sweetheart' got an almost imperceptible flinch, 'honey' an exhale that could almost be called an exasperated sigh, 'love' a twitch of an eyebrow.

Jim got inventive after that, trying out French (‘mon amour’ and ‘cheri’) and other Terran languages. By the time Jim reached the Finno-Ugric languages, Spock was well aware of what was happening and was doing his best to suppress any and all reactions to Jim’s more and more ridiculous attempts at endearments. What he was not expecting, quite foolishly, was for Jim to persist and continue on to non-Terran languages as well.

Vulcan might’ve been an obvious choice, but it took Jim a while to get there because he’s grown to enjoy their little game quite a lot. So when he called Spock K’diwa one day after a game of 3D multi-language scrabble and Spock’s ears turned a pale shade of green at the tips, Jim just smiled and touched their foreheads together, radiating happiness and contentment, sighing when Spock laid his hand on the back of Jim’s neck to hold him in place, to keep him close.

oOoOo

Jim’s favorite pastime when off shift is stargazing. His second favorite, however, is Spock-gazing.

Sitting down on their bed, Jim would look up at Spock who would calmly take off his uniform and get dressed into his sparring outfit or his meditation robe or his off shift clothes, depending on the day and his plans. He would take off the blue outer layer and fold it haphazardly because it’s going into the laundry anyway, and Jim would watch his lean arms, the way they seem so much paler when contrasted with the black undershirt. Spock would then bend down to untie his shoes and Jim would watch the sliver of skin that appears between the hems of Spock’s trousers and shirt. The bit of skin that Jim gets to touch almost whenever he pleases.

Sometimes, Jim would extend his hand and graze his fingers just there, bunching Spock’s shirt up a little and moving his knuckles up Spock’s spine, watching how Spock stops untying his shoes for the briefest of moments. Ah, Jim would think, looks like we’re staying in today, and his fingers would continue to wander.

oOoOo

Jim wakes up and the other side of the bed is cold, no smell of incense in the air. It hits him, square in the chest, that there’s never going to be, not again, not after all he said last night. His head feels suddenly very heavy, like he’ll never be able to think properly ever again, the place where he can usually feel Spock is conspicuously quiet.. He gets up and dresses anyway, goes into the cafeteria to replicate himself some coffee, decidedly not thinking about the row and his stupid, fucking dumb words ‘maybe it’s just not meant to be then’ that got Spock’s eyes all hard and cold, that got him to leave their room, all straight backed and infuriatingly calm.

He’s thinking about adding a dash of milk into his cup when his head spins a little and he loses his balance and splashes the contents of his cup all over the cafeteria floor. And his pants. Of course. He also hears a huff and then there’s a steadying hand on his elbow.

'Maybe it just was not meant to be, Captain,' is said surprisingly with no malice. Jim looks at Spock, can feel his face contort into a grimace, but Spock just squeezes his elbow, holds it for a while, then lets it go. Jim reaches for his hand instantly, the lump in his throat preventing him from saying… He squeezes, hard. Their entwined fingers are crushed together as if Jim's life depended on it, as if it was a lifeline.

And it kind of does. And it kind of is.

'Spock, I-' Jim croaks. Is sat on a bed, their bed. Apparently they've been walking all the while and Spock managed to get him back into their quarters without further exhaustion induced incident.

'I didn't-' God, he can't even say it, what's wrong with him? The lump is getting bigger, heavier, and breathing is getting progressively more and more impossible.

'Jim. James,' his head is placed on a shoulder and the smell is familiar, incense and Enterprise and the weird smelling Vulcan soap, and a hand is on the nape of his neck and he clings to the edges of a science uniform. 

'You left.’ it’s almost a sob, a very quiet one though, and Jim would be ashamed, he really would, but all he cares about right now is that he didn’t. That he’s here.

'Jim. I am here.' and in his head As I always will be, K’diwa. You are mine, as I am yours. You cannot drive me away. Jim’s hands are on Spock’s nape, in his hair, holding, grasping, his breathing ragged, relief the only thing in his veins right now.

oOoOo

Jim learns that contrary to popular belief, Spock actually sleeps as much as any human. Or, should. Should sleep as much as any other human. His Vulcan half, though, seems to allow him to push himself, functioning on little to no sleep for long periods of time. And when he crashes, he crashes hard. On those days, when Spock allows himself the rest he needs, on their rare days off, Jim lies in bed with an asleep Spock and a book, idly running his fingers on Spock’s bare shoulder or playing with his hair and lightly scratching at his scalp —Spock makes the most delicious little whimpery-smacking noises of contentment at this— or very much unashamedly, he throws the book away —who was he fooling anyway— and gets under the covers, plasters himself all over or under Spock and listens to his heartbeat and his even breathing.

oOoOo

Jim has a deep appreciation for Spock’s fingers. Well, that’d be an understatement. He loves them, really.

Loves it when Spock brushes his fingers against Jim’s, seemingly by accident.

Loves it when Spock does it on purpose, in the quiet of their quarters, when all of Spock’s attention is on their hands and their intimate dance.

Loves it when the digits play with his hair, tug at them gently and later, more insistently as Jim chokes on Spock’s cock. 

But most of all, most of all, Jim loves it when Spock has two fingers in him and fucks him slowly, brushes his prostate, melds them with his other hand so Jim can feel just how much Spock gets off on this too, how fucking Jim with his fingers makes Spock hard and leaking, breathless and almost out of control.

Jim loves Spock’s fingers, he really does.

oOoOo

87% of the nights they spend together, Spock wakes up first and finds Jim sleeping on his stomach (43.4% of the time) or lying on his left side (39.1% of the time) or sprawled on his back (15.9% of the time). No matter the sleeping position, there is always physical contact between them, which continues to baffle Spock to no end and amuse Jim greatly.

It’s a hand on a hip, a foot pressed to a calf, a forearm pressed to a side, a forehead to a shoulder, a palm to a lower back.

The preferred position, although Spock would be hard pressed to divulge this information, is the one where Spock lies half on his left side, half on his stomach, with his right leg bent, thigh in a right angle to his torso, and Jim pressed into the space behind him. Jim’s right leg would fit perfectly behind Spock’s, thigh to thigh and calf to calf, Jim’s right hand holding onto Spock’s belly, pressing their torsos close and tight together. The two most pleasurable points of contact though, Jim’s groin snugly pressed right against Spock’s ass and Jim’s lips tickling the nape of Spock’s neck with every breath, those two points of contact make heat pool low in Spock’s belly when he thinks of them —and what will follow when they both are awake— every time he thinks about it.

oOoOo

They do sometimes, inevitably, share dreams. The pleasurable ones as well as the ones they'd rather not have at all.

Jim sees Spock at the bottom of a Volcano when the bomb goes off and Spock sees Jim, parted from him by thick glass, drawing his last breath. When Spock dreams about the last moments of his people and his planet, he wakes up distraught but Jim, Jim wakes up with tear tracks down his cheeks and his throat raw from screaming.

When Jim dreams about jumping from a speeding car, Spock wakes up and cannot breath. He doesn’t talk to Jim the following day, but stays close throughout, his eyes following Jim's every move. He holds him, crushingly hard, the following night. Jim keeps running his fingers through Spock’s hair, slowly, carefully, until Spock calms and his grip gets less bruising.

oOoOo

Jim still feels awed every time Spock touches him, seemingly accidentally, in public. The crew, well the crew is used to the two of them now, and while they’re not the sort to flaunt their relationship in public, Spock touching Jim and the way he looks at him is as good as the two of them making out in the middle of the cafeteria, because Spock does not really touch anyone else if he can help it.

Who was not used to it was the Vulcan delegation they were taxiing back to their new colony. Jim was very much prepared to keep his hands to himself but when Spock’s shoulder stayed warmly pressed to his during the delegation’s beam-up and when Spock’s fingers brushed his as they were escorting the Elders through the ship… Well.

'Spock?' Jim asked out loud.

'Yes, Captain?'

Jim brushed his fingers slowly over Spock’s wrist, their bond opening a little. T’hy’la. Jim could feel the warm contentment flow into his fingers, making them ache sweetly.

Indeed, Captain.’

oOoOo

Their first kiss happens after Spock picks him up from the hospital and accompanies him to his temporary flat. Bones insisted Jim be chaperoned, shutting Jim up with a look before he could say anything along the lines of I was only ever barely dead you said so yourself, and Spock volunteered for the task.

It is the deliberate drag of Spock’s fingers down the back of Jim’s hand, careful, but far from hesitant. Spock’s eyes are trained on Jim’s face, trying to gather if Jim understands the gesture the way Spock wants him to understand it. Jim is so very still, his eyes wide for a split second, then closing, as if to savor the sensation, his breath leaving him in an almost inaudible sigh. When his eyes open again, they zero in on Spock, looking into his eyes, at his mouth, the points of his ears, his neck and back to his eyes again. Jim takes half a step forward, breaching Spock’s personal bubble, putting his forehead on Spock’s shoulder, breathing in the smell of Enterprise-incense-Spock, and dragging his fingers, very slowly, over Spock’s.

Jim invites Spock inside and they end up curled on the fresh sheets, Spock cradling Jim in his arms, Jim’s head under his chin, one of his arms between their chests, the other holding on to the back of Spock’s tunic. Jim is the one to break the silence, looking up at Spock and not quite asking ‘So you figured it out, huh.’

Spock breathes out slowly, draws Jim even closer and places a kiss next to Jim’s nose, lingering on the meld point there, and then moving lower, his lips fitting against Jim’s, his hand on Jim’s nape. Jim makes a broken noise when Spock’s tongue runs along the seam of his lips as if to part them only to draw away altogether, lick the lingering taste of Jim from his own lips and then, ‘I believe I did, yes.’

oOoOo

For Spock, touching Jim is like moving your tongue over the space left by the tooth you recently lost, like swiping your fingers through a candle flame. It’s like drinking your coffee so hot you burn your tongue; like jumping into the cold pool after being in the sun for too long; like climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower although you’re terrified of heights, holding on to the rails and looking down, down, down. It’s petrifying and exhilarating, it makes the blood pump through his veins so fast he thinks his heart is going to give out, it makes everything sharper and unfocused at the same time. He wants to hold on and never let go.

oOoOo

Jim doesn’t say i love you. Both Spock and Bones notice, but keep carefully avoiding ever mentioning it. He doesn’t ever vocalize it, but he does show it, every time Spock is to be beamed down for a First Contact without Jim, his shoulder is squeezed by a strong hand, followed by a slow caress down his whole arm, by fingers tangled with his.

On top of that, he never lets Spock say those words either, not ever. Spock was about to actually say them only once, in this precise manner, but he didn’t get to do it, getting interrupted by lips on his. He can express a similar sentiment in Vulcan, but never those three words in English.

Jm doesn’t say i love you because he hacked into his mom’s PADD when he was 11 years old and listened to the last few recorded moments before the Kelvin went boom and the only thing left was static. Jim doesn’t say i love you.

oOoOo

Jim is pushing in, insistent and slow, the pressure and the stretch making Spock’s mouth form an O, but he doesn’t make a sound. Not yet, Jim thinks. He moves his right hand into Spock’s hair, pulling none too gently to bare Spock’s neck, burying his face there as he rocks back and pushes right in again, hard. Spock’s cock is pressed between their stomachs and Jim loves feeling the moisture that escapes the tip, loves that he can feel it on his skin.

He drags his mouth slowly down Spock’s throat, licks his way up again, pulls on his hair some more and then bites down, getting the skin right where Spock’s jugular is between his teeth and does not let go.

Spock’s back arches and Jim can feel the groan before he hears it, feels Spock’s chest rumble, then his throat. Jim shudders, establishing a ruthless rhythm, moving onto a spot a bit further up Spock’s neck and knowing the marks won’t last long enough for him to worry about where he’s making them. Spock’s left hand is in Jim’s hair, pushing his face further into his neck, his right one on Jim’s ass, squeezing, trying to play with his hole and hurrying him along.

'Spock.' he breathes.

'Harder, Jim. More.’

oOoOo

Jealousy is illogical, and he was familiar with the rumors about Jim, although they were actually much exaggerated. Jealousy is illogical, which is why, when Jim and Spock meet one of the girls Jim was in a relationship with, Spock does not stand too close to Jim nor place his hand possessively on Jim’s lower back, nor does he scowl when she leans close and kisses Jim's cheek in farewell.

When they get to their temporary quarters at the Academy, Spock pushes Jim against the door, kissing him, devouring him, pressing Vulcan words into Jim’s skin. Mine, always, no one else, not again, t’hy’la.

oOoOo

Spock understand that humans have different customs, but it displeases him when strangers touch Jim’s hands, no matter if it is the handshake greeting or other fleeting touches of fingers to the back of the hand. His Vulcan self is too possessive of his bondmate’s hands, Spock is aware, so he tries to suppress the urge to make Jim stop, because Jim is kissing people left and right and center. Instead, every handshake that happens in his presence is followed by Spock surreptitiously touching Jim’s hand. He will not embarrass his Captain, his bondmate, and so he learns, by observing, the art of human casual touches.

He bumps their shoulders together, grabs Jim’s biceps, places his hand on Jim’s forearm, taps his fingers against the back of Jim’s hand.

Jim’s eyes shine and crinkle at the corners and when they’re alone, he kisses Spock, the human and Vulcan way and doesn’t say I’m sorry, but does say thank you, with his whole body pressed to Spock’s, his mind humming with contentment and joy and love.

oOoOo

Jim never knows how to apologize to Spock, always fears that this was the last straw, this would get him to realize that Jim is just not worth the effort, that he’d be better off finding another bondmate, a Vulcan who would not get irrationally angry because that diplomat was touching Spock’s hand and Spock, trying to avoid an incident, let her, even though she knew very well what she was doing and that Spock was his for fuck’s sake for no apparent reason. He would sulk, sleep on Bones’ sofa, avoid Spock in their free time and be very professional on the Bridge, freaking the crew out a little. He’d avert his eyes when Spock would look at him and he’d get the i-will-move-my-stuff-asap speech ready for when Spock tells him that it’s over.

It’s Spock who seeks him out. Spock who knows him almost better than he knows himself, who can read him like no one else. He’d say ‘Jim.’ and Jim would look at his chest and mumble an I’m sorry, cough, man up a little and actually look Spock in the eye for the first time in what feels like ages but wasn't actually even two days and says again, with his eyes, his expression, I’m sorry.

Spock would nod curtly and say, quietly, ‘Come home. Please, Jim.’ and Jim’s heart would miss a few beats and then start beating up a storm and he'd be almost unable to breathe. In their quarters, Jim apologizes again, with his face pressed into Spock’s neck, one hand on Spock’s side, feeling his heart beat, the other on Spock’s nape. Spock’s eyes are closed and he holds Jim, holds on to him for dear life. 

oOoOo

Spock apologies are all stiff and closed off, formal, with his hands clasped behind his back, as defensive as if they were folded on his chest, as if he was talking to his Captain and not his bondmate. ‘I apologize,’ he would say, and Jim would sigh, angry and exasperated, and he would look away, hide his face in his hands. After a moment, he’d extend his right hand, without looking up, and would wait for Spock to deflate and grab it in his. He’d tug at the hand, get Spock closer, his stomach to Jim’s forehead, Spock’s hands in Jim’s hair, holding him in place. ‘I am sorry, Jim.’ and Jim would say ‘I know.’

oOoOo

Spock is missing five numerous pairs of his warmest socks. He is suspecting their yeoman of ‘borrowing’ them because ever since their last mission a week back, the environmental controls have ‘been acting all wonky’, as Mister Scott said, causing sudden drops of temperature by several degrees. On average, the ship is now at least 5°C colder than it was before, forcing most abroad into their warmest garments.

Spock is about to confront the yeoman when Jim’s trouser leg rides up a little and Spock can clearly see the blue of his warm sock peeking from underneath. When they retreat into their quarters that evening, Spock inquires, ‘Are you wearing my socks, Jim.’

'I might be?' he looks away and huffs out an awkward laugh, 'I was looking for my warmest pair, couldn't find it and yours were right there. So I borrowed them? But Spock,' he pauses, looks at Spock pleadingly, 'they're like heaven, it’s insane, really. They keep my feet at the perfect temperature, not too warm and not too cold either, and they’re so soft. Are they like, magical Vulcan socks or something?’

Spock does not even try to suppress his smile, ‘No, Jim, they’re handmade woolen socks, from a little store in San Francisco.’

'Oh.' Jim actually looks a little bit disappointed. Though, to be honest, even Spock did not believe they were not, as Jim put it, magic, when he first wore them.

'We will buy more when we return to Earth, Jim.' 

Spock never sees those five pairs again. Or, technically, he does see them, but he never gets to wear them again.

oOoOo

Jim finds out about the Spock-nearly-killing-Kahn-with-his-bare-hands a week after Bones lets him out of the hospital. He’s sitting in his temporary quarters at the Academy and catches a bit of the news and they happen to be recapping the whole Khan incident and there's a shot of two males fighting. It's unfocused and they're far away, obviously shots made of something else, the fight only discovered later and probably solved to the network. Jim, though, would recognize those two figures anywhere. He takes his PADD and sends a message to Spock, asking him to come over. 

Fifteen minutes later, there’s a knock on his door. Jim opens it and beckons Spock inside without a word. Spock looks at him inquisitively but does not speak either.

Jim sits down on the coffee table and indicates for Spock to sit opposite him, on the sofa. Spock doesn't question him and sits, their knees brushing.

Jim looks at Spock and asks, for the third time, hoping, knowing, that Spock knows the right answer now. 

'Do you know why I came back for you.'

Spock closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, opens his eyes again and looks right at Jim, ‘Because you love me.’

Jim breathes out, nods once, then two more times, bows his head and presses his forehead to Spock’s clavicle, and he can feel as well as hear the quiet ‘Jim. My Jim.’

oOoOo

Spock is a possessive bastard, Jim finds out. But he’s sneaky about it, oh so very sneaky, it makes Jim want to laugh out loud. It’s delightful is what it is.

He notices it at a First Contact when one of the dignitaries gets a bit too close to Jim, breaches his personal bubble and is about to grab Jim’s hand and Spock is just there, on his other side being allCaptain there is an urgent matter with a hand on Jim’s lower back and a look for that dignitary, all insincere apology and very clear warning. Jim just raises an eyebrow and, much later, when they’re finally alone back on their ship, kisses under Spock’s ear, noses at his jaw, worms his hands into the back of Spock’s pants, squeezes his ass and presses them together, breathes, ‘Love it when you get all possessive.’

Spock squeezes the nape of his neck, ‘I do not know to what you are referring, Jim.’

Jim laughs and kisses Spock long and deep and messy.

oOoOo

Jim has very mild hyperopia that he never got corrected even though Bones pestered him about it at least once a month. It’s usually not an issue, really, and it only bothers him when he’s very tired. He has these funny glasses with a thick black frame that make him feel a bit like a librarian.

Which is how Spock finds him one night. Jim is in their bed reading about new discoveries in warp technology, scribbling in the margins, tidbits he wants to talk about with Scotty. Their quarters run hotter for Spock’s benefit, so Jim’s shirt is off, his glasses are sliding down his nose and he’s biting the end of the PADD pen.

Spock freezes inside the door and only the noise of it trying to close jerks him out of his stupor.

'Hey. How's the experiment going?' Jim doesn't even look up from his reading, doesn't see the look on Spock’s face.

'I did not know you wore glasses,' Spock says, a little strained, a little quieter than usual.

'Yeah,' Jim finally looks up, pushing the glasses up his nose, just as Spock is taking off his shirt, pants, boots, all in quick succession. Jim smirks.

Oh. Well then.’

oOoOo

Jim gathered that Spock enjoys kissing the human way, but he really underestimated just how much he enjoys it.

Spock loves the moment before their lips touch, draws it out, hovers above Jim, a breath away, and when Jim leans in, Spock matches his movements and backs out a little, keeping the distance between their lips the same. This is where JIm starts making involuntary noises, small pained things that part his lips a bit more and get Spock’s eyes to close, his breathing to quicken.

Spock holds Jim still with a hand in his hair, his thumb moving in slow circles over Jim’s temple, and Jim yearns, craves. When Spock makes the last decisive move and presses their lips together, when his tongue dives in, Jim’s heart hurts a little and he cannot draw a proper breath, clutches Spock’s hair in his fist and presses his nails into Spock’s biceps, leaves marks.

oOoOo

Jim hates it when an away mission goes bad, when people get hurt. He doesn’t care about his own bruises or scrapes, he doesn’t care about broken skin oozing blood slowly, about his uniform being soaked through, red.

It’s Spock who managed to get him in the shower after a call to Starfleet, after the talks with families on Earth, after paperwork. Jim is gently nudged, here and there, and goes where Spock wants him to, knows they both need this ritual.

The shower is scalding, reddening Jim’s already sensitized skin and when Spock joins him, Jim lets his head loll forward, finally letting go of all the tension.

Spock presses his fingers near the cuts, making them bleed a little again. Jim’s bruises are probed, making him release a quick breath, making him tense for a bit before he lets go.

When Spock is satisfied that no lasting damage was done, that all the bruises are just superficial and that Jim is not seriously hurt, he turns the water off, takes Jim into his arms, holds him very close, pretends the wet on his shoulder is the water from the shower.

oOoOo

Just as Jim is fascinated by Spock’s pointy ears, Spock is fascinated by Jim’s round ones. He’s gotten accustomed to seeing them on humans while on Earth, but the novelty of touching the rounded ear does not wear of, no matter how much Spock indulges.

And indulge he does. Jim is so used to being woken up by a tickling sensation - Spock running his tongue oh so very slowly over his ear, mapping its round shape - it honestly does not even surprise him anymore. He suspects this is why Spock is so very fond of spooning him; one of his ears is always readily accessible for Spock’s ministrations.

And Jim is far from complaining. Spock’s tongue and breath on his ear make him flush all over, make his hips rock back, his hand reach for Spock’s hip, his ass, pushing them closer together, Spock humming his appreciation.

oOoOo

The Enterprise rescues some thirty (thirty-two) refugees from a broken down ship and is transporting them to the nearest base. Among the thirty (thirty-two), there is a small child, about 4 years old. The boy does not appear to have parents, does not speak to anyone, stays apart from the others.

It does surprise exactly no one that he takes to Jim almost immediately after seeing him. Jim smiles at him and lets him trail around the ship with him while Spock watches them from afar with a not-smile but not quite a frown on his face. Jim plays with the boy and appears to be enjoying himself immensely.

They reach the Starbase in about 5 hours (4.76 hours) and Jim gets a goodbye hug, Spock a curt nod from the small boy. Their shift ends an hour after that and Spock retires to their quarters.

They haven’t talked about it, but Spock assumed they were in agreement: a child is something Spock cannot even contemplate. With all the horrors both Jim and him have seen, have gone through… It is unimaginable, bringing another being into existence when the possibility that it would face even a tenth of what they did exists. What if they would be unable to protect it? Spock does not think he would be able to live with the consequences.

He is contemplating how best to broach this subject when Jim exits the shower and sighs tiredly, a slight smile on his face.

'I had so much fun with that kid but god, am I glad we only had to take care of him for 5 hours,’ Jim says as he sits on the bed next to Spock. He looks at him pointedly, intertwines their fingers and leans to peck Spock on the lips, a quick gentle touch. He stays close to breathe out, ‘I love you, Spock. I also know you, please don’t forget that.’

Spock feels his body relax, not even realizing he was prepared for a metaphorical blow, for Jim to say he wants a kid, for him to leave Spock. He squeezes Jim’s hand and replies quietly, ‘I do not think I will ever…’

'Yeah, Spock, I know. Me neither. I just - I can't -' Jim huffs in frustration.

Spock draws him close. They lie in bed, pressed close together, for quite a while, drawing comfort from each other, content, because someone finally understands.