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The touch of his own skin felt strange to Kirk.  For one brief second, he was back in that secured room in a body not his own, waiting for a chance to escape the fate Janice Lester planned for him.

That feeling hit him out of nowhere.  He’d had those episodes frequently on the trip to Starbase 2, the broken wreck of his once-blazing long dead-passion for Janice haunting every corner of his dreams.

He hadn’t told anyone about these strange feelings.  McCoy was perceptive, offering help in every way he could.  Kirk had told him he was fine.  He figured he’d just get over it.  All he needed was a bit of time.  If it weren’t for knowing he could go to Spock at any time he probably would have broken down and taken one of McCoy’s little red pills, just to get some sleep.

He’d found plenty of work to keep him busy, and Spock had recognized his unspoken request.  He’d left his door to their shared bathroom open, nevertheless. 

But Kirk had closed his.  He hadn’t wanted to dump all the garbage taking up room in his head into Spock’s orderly and supportive mind.

Now, with Janice Lester confined, medicated, and under psychiatric care, with Starbase 2 behind them, he’d decided it was time to move on.

But it had happened again:  his skin felt like it belonged to someone else.  His body seemed a stranger to him.

Naked from the shower, Kirk flattened his hand on the mirror.  Pulled his arm back.  Let it fall to his side.  Hazel eyes stared back at him. 

They had been blue for only a short span of time.  He blinked, for a moment.  Blue eyes.  Hazel again.  But before:  the shock of looking at the feminine arm.  Getting out of the Sickbay bed.  The near-stumble at his body’s abruptly-changed center of gravity.  Mind racing as recent memories surged back – Camus II.  The strange equipment.  Janice’s attack.

Startled blue eyes stared back at him out of the Sickbay mirror.  Familiar eyes, gazing out of delicate, refined features. 

Those eyes had never ever held that particular expression when he’d first known her.

Rage, yes.  Passion, yes.  Need, yes. Ferocious jealousy.  Cunning, petulance, and a rock-solid core of self-interest that nothing could chip or dent. 

Janice had hit his world like a meteor, interrupted his studies in a blaze of sexual hunger that, for her, had raced right past seduction into obsession.  She’d been exciting – so very different from girls he’d known back in Iowa.  He’d been drunk on her, but had never let go of his goals, never neglected his studies.  The memories he had now of the Academy were of classes and field assignments, marathon study and work sessions, interrupted by an occasional haze of partying and sex sex sex.  They’d fucked in more places than he could count.  But since going on active duty, the few times he’d looked back, he’d thought more of Ruth and Carol, of professors and classmates and even Finnegan, than he ever had of her.

He’d never seen her as the center of his life and she knew it.  Their arguments had brought on angry daggers of recrimination that hit like lightning strikes and vanished again, retreating to distant rumbling threats on the horizon.  But even if he had devoted his life to her, he knew now it would never have been enough. 

And everything he did – she had to do better.  Neck and neck they raced, in grades and goals, their bouts of sex a strenuous battlefield, a challenge, like everything else between them, to achieve ever greater heights.  Until.

He found himself running his hand down his arms, his chest, his thighs.  He’d done this frequently, the first day or so after he’d gotten his body back, just to confirm with the touch of his hand, the pressure on his skin, his hand on his cock, that his body belonged to him again.

Back when it happened, once when he’d been alone, he’d lifted the short hospital gown and ran his hands all over the female body.  A body he had touched many times, enjoyed many times, done the whole Kama Sutra with many times, all those years ago.  So very familiar.  So strange to his touch.

But his mind had been unchanged, and after that first shock and brief exploration he had already been planning this last battle in their long-ago war.

“You SCUM!” Janice had screamed, that last time he’d seen her all those years ago, right after she’d been expelled.  “You got away with it!  Why can’t I?”

Yes, he’d cheated.  The Kobyashi Maru had required creative thinking.  He had always been determined to beat the odds.  Tarsus had taught him that, taught him the value of quicksilver thinking, the bluff, the gamble, the choices you could make to swing the odds to your side. 

He hadn’t known what she had planned. They didn’t confide these things to each other, preferring to brag about achieved accomplishments.  But she’d been hasty, cut corners, too certain of herself to be patient. 

No one had died because of what she had done in her attempt to beat the odds.  But it had been very close.  He could see how she’d thought she’d get away with it.  Rig the power source so her experiment would run at an unsafe speed for just that crucial moment, that extra second that would place her in the top slot.

It hadn’t shut off.

No one had died.  Amazingly enough, no one was seriously injured.

He’d heard it said he’d had a charmed life.  He knew he made his own luck.  Was there any more to it than that?  Someone had once asked him if he thought he was just luckier than most.  He’d said, “I don’t give up.” 

Neither did she.

But she had lost everything she’d dreamed of, with no one to blame for it but herself.  Except of course that was the one thing she’d never been able to do.  Self-awareness was not in her nature.

She’d disappeared from the Academy, from his life, from earth, and he’d tried to forget her.  He hadn’t thought of her in years.  Until -

He took his soft cock in his hand, just to remind himself, cell deep, that he needed to settle his mind back into his body, to fully understand that his body was his.

He didn’t turn when Spock came in to the tiny bathroom.  Stood behind him, as naked as he.  He watched their reflections for a moment, then leaned back against Vulcan heat, his back and ass to Spock’s chest and groin.  He pressed his ass against Spock’s cock, then remained still. 

Long arms reached from behind.  Long fingers trailed down his chest, down to his belly, lower still, until they cupped his right hand and held it while it still guarded his quiescent cock.

Spock’s mouth touched the spot where his left shoulder joined to his neck.  A shudder ran down his body as Spock’s lips moved in a gentle kiss.  Retreated.

Spock’s large warm hands moved to his waist, clasped his sides.  Then, with a gentle urging, he turned Kirk around.  Met and kept his gaze.

It had been so clear, that moment in the secured room when Spock had touched his mind, a necessary intimacy under the watchful eyes of the guard.  An intimacy sought and enjoyed many times before; now the key to his salvation.  Or possibly their doom.  He’d never seriously considered that possibility, relying on his skill and the loyalty of his friends and his luck to hold out one more time. 

His only concern, from the moment Spock stepped in to that room, was with what the guard might do.  He hadn’t been careful in how he phrased it, but he’d managed to distance it from you know me to you know him

“You are closer to the captain than anyone in the universe.  You know his thoughts.”

Spock had.  Spock did.  From the first moment they’d crossed the boundary from friends to lovers, just weeks after the Babel conference. 

The first meld melting into each other’s embrace and thoughts, paths forged of need and deep respect and love.  It had just happened – one day, one glance, one touch, and they had been in each other’s arms, their surface thoughts already conjoined, drawn together without awareness of when and where that first subterranean touch of their minds had occurred.

That link had grown deeper with time.  Every word he had spoken was the absolute truth.

Spock’s arms were back at his sides.  Spock’s eyes held worry, concern.  He lifted one hand:  an invitation.

Kirk’s arms went around him, held tight, his lips parting.  He took that half step forward; thrilled at the touch of their naked bodies, the gravity that had always been between them bringing them still closer.  

Spock’s mouth felt new again.  Kirk savored his taste.  He felt Spock stir against him, become hard.  Spock’s breath quickened.  Threading their fingers together, Kirk led them out to his bed.  There, he settled on his back.  Opened his arms, his cock stirring in anticipation.

Then Spock was lying next to him.  “She would never have succeeded in her plan.”

“No. You would have known.  It was just a matter of hours.”

But what if –

He had always known how to let go of all those possibilities, the things that had never happened.  He needed to let go now.  The link had broken.  The transfer had reversed.

There were no ‘what ifs’.

Spock knew better.  He rolled on his right side, embraced Kirk with his left arm.  He rested the fingers of his right hand on Kirk’s temple and cheek.  All it took was a touch.  There was no barrier.  There hadn’t been for a long time. 

He drifted into the touch, deeper, so little in the way of thoughts exchanged now.  Instead, a metaphysical echo of their physical embrace.  He felt every part of him known and loved.  Felt a sense of questing, as Spock unerringly found the remnant sharp spikiness of what the transference had done to him.  Spock searched them all out, the last broken fragments of the fears which invaded Kirk’s dreams.  Displayed them to Kirk, brought them to light. 

Let yourself feel.  Spock’s voice was not audible and he felt a sudden flood of love for this man who would know, did know, what he needed.  His hand had left Kirk’s temple.  His fingers trailed along Kirk’s flank, a ghost-touch, leaving tingling lines of sensation in their wake. 

Spock gently guided Kirk to lie on his back.  He gazed up into Spock’s brown eyes.  He gripped Spock’s shoulders as Spock mouthed and licked and bit his way to his nipples, drawing each to a peak of pain/pleasure.  Spock continued his journey down his body, every scratch, every gossamer touch, every kiss and bite and lick sending its distinct note of pleasure, that blended together and raced to fill his hardening cock.  Kirk felt like every inch of his body had been touched, mapped out, known, and felt the way everything connected and was whole, and focused on the hard demanding need arrowing from his groin.

Spock paused, still bending over him.  He took one of Kirk’s hands, and with the same meticulous attention he gave to his experiments, put Kirk’s fingers into his mouth one at a time, sucking hard, licking at the underside, head bowed, looking up, keeping his gaze on Kirk’s eyes.  Kirk grabbed Spock’s shoulder with his other hand, dug his fingers in.  “Now,” he commanded.  “Now.”

Spock gave the finger in his mouth one last delicate lick and let it go, setting Kirk’s hand by his side.   Spock moved further back on the bed, watching Kirk as he lowered his head toward Kirk’s straining cock.  Then he bent his head further, and Kirk cried out as his cock was engulfed in that hot mouth.  He thrust, again, Spock adjusting his position, letting Kirk’s full length slide easily into his throat.  He moved his tongue and then swallowed.

Kirk’s mind went white.  All was sensation, bright, ecstatic, annihilating.  His eyes squeezed shut.  He heard himself gasping, calling Spock’s name, and then he was coming, and Spock was with him, all the way through his last gasp of pleasure until he relaxed completely into the bed, boneless, and utterly happy.

Spock’s mouth, when he opened his eyes, looked bruised and wet.  He reached up, pulled down Spock to lie beside him.  He sent one hand exploring over Spock’s body, brushing it against his hard cock.  Spock caught his hand, entwined their fingers together, squeezed hard. 

Kirk got to his elbows.  “Stand against the wall.”

A small smile touched Spock’s lips.  He quickly obeyed.

Kirk followed and went to his knees before them, needing the hardness of the cabin floor beneath his knees, the sensation of the air moving across his skin.  Needing the heat and hardness of Spock’s penis in his mouth, opening wide to take it in.  Needed the keening cry Spock made when he scraped gently with his teeth.  Needing the pungent scent of arousal, the feel of that hardness, the controlled thrusts, needed Spock’s fingers tangling in and tugging at his hair.  Needed it all, and when Spock cried out, hips stuttering, he needed to drink it all down, and savor the bitter taste after. 

Every sense alive, he got to his feet.  Took Spock’s hand.  Went back to their bed.

He woke up hours later in the half darkness.  Spock was asleep next to him, his hair tousled out of his orderly perfection.  He watched him breathe slowly in, out.  He felt himself breathing.  Savored it and each and every sensation his body communicated to him.  Stilled his mind and just let himself feel. 

He hadn’t thought he’d sleep again.  But when he did, he dreamed he was on the bridge.  Seated in his chair.  Spock by his side.  An endless starfield around them, visible through the suddenly transparent walls of the ship.  And when he woke, pressed close to Spock, hearing the almost subliminal thrum of the ship’s engines, seeing the familiar lines of his cabin, feeling the warmth of Spock’s skin against his and the touch of his own hand against his thigh, the sudden awareness that his body was his again was not overwhelming, but something known and true.