“What are you doing?”
The sharp question startled Jim for a moment. He stopped mid-stride and looked down at the rigid figure of Spock, sitting against the rock wall in the cave they are currently sheltered in.
“I’m bored, so I’m pacing.”
“And it is as disconcerting as it was the last three times you have done it.”
“Disconcerting? You mean irritating, Spock.” He returned to pacing.
“Vulcans do not feel irritation.”
“But you do.” Spock closed his mouth instead of continuing to argue and Jim was glad. He really didn’t want it to descend into some childish “No, I don’t” “Yes, you do” sort of thing. That was surely beneath them.
He walked over to the entrance of the cave and looked out the pouring rain.
“How long have we been stuck here?”
“Six hours, thirty-four minutes and twenty-three point four seconds.”
Jim bit back an unfunny retort that Spock should be more precise. He wasn’t really in the mood for it. Honestly, what he was in the mood for was tearing off his clothes, straddling Spock, and going for the ride of his life.
Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.
But Spock looked insanely hot. Seriously.
He was dressed as casually as Jim for a change. Which he would be given they were on shore leave. He wore tight, dark blue jeans, a sort of olive green T-shirt, and a leather jacket that made Spock appear to be the bad boy he certainly wasn’t.
Funny, Jim was dressed similarly. Jeans, a blue T-shirt instead of green, which yeah he’d chosen to match his eyes, so what, and a brown leather jacket instead of the black one Spock wore.
Neither were real leather, of course. But they both did a great job of looking as good as the real ones of the old days did.
But Jim was pretty sure he didn’t pull it off to the degree Spock was.
The thing was, they’d gotten lost. Yeah super lost.
Jim figured they’d be found eventually because those in charge of this planet knew they were there and eventually Bones or Uhura or Scotty would notice their commanding officers had never returned.
They were off, Spock and Jim, to find the location if some ancient scientific thingamajig that Spock wanted to study. And okay, yeah, Jim was so stupidly smitten he’d agreed to go along with Spock on this exhibition rather than have real fun in the city.
It was supposed to take a couple of days to reach the place. They planned on camping out overnight. Honestly, Jim had been surprised Spock was interested in camping. Jim had done it as a kid a few times, once on his own when he’d run away from Frank and home, but Spock, well, the Vulcan had admitted he’d never done it.
So they set out with backpacks and tents and the like.
Jim had thought Spock would ask Uhura to go with him. Yeah, they had decided to be friends only, after everything, which surprised Jim, it did, but they were still super close and she seemed, er, the logical choice.
But then he asked Jim.
Turns out, as it happened, Jim found out just before they headed off on this, more adventurous outing than he’d planned on, Spock had, in fact, asked Uhura first. She’d said no, turns out she was no longer as stupidly smitten as Jim was, and she’d thought better of the idea.
Jim didn’t know how he felt about being second fiddle, okay, he did know, it sucked, but it didn’t suck enough to make him turn Spock down or change his mind. Which now, Jim knew, he should have.
They’d gotten lost, badly so, and then they’d crossed over this rickety old rope bridge that decided to break just as Jim was bringing up the rear, naturally, and he almost fell into a stream of rocks below and became the former Jim Kirk, except that Spock grabbed him and pulled him to safety at the last possible minute. Which he really wasn’t sore about. Much.
They clearly could not go back the way they’d come, whatever way that was, because all the maps Spock had never listed a rope bridge. And then, just as they were studying Spock’s PADD, trying to figure it out, the PADD had died. Not a slow death or anything, just a catastrophic failing.
Spock had turned to Jim and asked for his PADD.
Except, Jim hadn’t brought his. Shore Leave, you know.
And then the storm of all storms hit.
They’d somehow managed to find this cave without killing themselves in the process. But the storm hadn’t let up at all, and in fact, had gotten worse.
They’d had their communicators, of course. Yes. But no matter how many times they tried contacting somebody all they got was static.
Spock had spent the first two hours trapped here attempting to fix his PADD. To no avail.
“How much longer will we be here before someone finds us, do you think?”
“I cannot say.”
“Well, could you guess?”
Spock sighed. “I cannot calculate how much longer this storm will last. The roads and paths we took to get here are washed out. The bridge, as you know, is down. I did suggest we not take that bridge, but you insisted—”
“Wait. So, this is my fault?”
“Our communicators are not working,” Spock continued. “And we are not expected back until three days from now.”
Jim stared at him.
“It is entirely possible it will take that long before they will realize we need to be rescued, Captain.”
Spock arched a brow. “And if you plan on pacing for all that time, you will most definitely wear yourself out.”
Jim huffed. He walked over to where Spock sat against the rock wall and plopped down next to him, leaning against it heavily.
“You might think this is my fault, Mister Spock, but you are the one with faulty maps.”
Spock said nothing.
“And the PADD that broke was yours too,” Jim pointed out, rather petulantly, he could admit.
“You did not bring any PADD,” was Spock’s retort. Then he shook his head. “I will not allow you to draw me into an argument about who is at fault for our circumstances.”
“It’s not an argument. It’s a discussion.”
“Nevertheless, it is futile.”
Jim fell silent. The cave seemed to have gotten quite a few degrees colder in the last few minutes.
“That is because night has fallen.”
Jim gave Spock the side-eye. “Did I say that out loud or are you sucking the thoughts from my brain?”
“I have told you numerous times that is not the way my telepathy works. You spoke your thoughts out loud.”
“Well, fuck anyway. I think the ceiling is too low to set up the tents and I’m not going out there in tents with that rain.”
“We will have to spread out our sleeping bags on the floor of the cave.”
“But it’s literally hard as a rock.”
Jim counted to five so that he could stop himself from a childish mocking “affirmative”.
God, he really did love this Vulcan. And not at all platonically, obviously, but man, Spock tried his patience sometimes.
“Fine. Rocks it is.” He flung himself up from the cave floor dramatically and went to his backpack. He crouched down to pull out contents, aware that Spock was doing the same thing nearby. “So, I have a query.”
“Why, er, why was I not your first choice?”
“For this mission. Yeah, I mean, it’s not a mission, it’s shore leave. But you know what I mean. I thought…” Okay, now he was starting to sound pathetic, and he hadn’t meant to do that, at all, but how did he get out of it at this point? “Why did you invite Uhura first?”
Spock paused over his own backpack, in the process of detaching his sleeping bag.
“Are you guys getting back together?” Jim asked, though he dreaded the answer with every fiber of his being. But it was a legitimate question. They were on again, off again.
“No,” Spock replied.
And for the longest time he didn’t say anything else, so Jim wasn’t sure if maybe he should drop it or what?
He carried his sleeping back over to near where they’d sort of set up camp. There was no dry wood so they didn’t have a fire or anything. But they did have a lamp. He spread out his bed.
He leaned back on his haunches. “Do you want to?”
Spock spread his out next to Jim’s, very close, maybe even closer than it needed to be, honestly, but he’d noticed the Vulcan shivering just a little and hell, Jim was freakishly cold too, so he could hardly blame Spock. He didn’t want him far anyway.
“I love Nyota,” Spock said softly.
Jim winced, but tried not to.
“But I am not in love with her, as I think, humans would say. She is very special to me and always will be. But any romantic love feelings we had for each other have given away to a comfortable, family love.”
“Oh,” Jim said, brilliantly.
“Similar, I am guessing, to the way it is between you and Doctor McCoy.”
“Yeah,” Jim replied, and then said, jokingly, “Except for the fact Bones and I never fucked. He wanted to, but—”
“What?” Spock’s expression had gone almost glacially blank, if that made any sense. It did to Jim, but he figured probably no one else.
“I’m kidding, Spock. Bones and I never got to that point. It’s been friends since day one. Not like you and me.”
“You and me?”
“We wanted to kill each other from day one. Not sure that’s entirely changed either,” Jim murmured. He knelt down on the sleeping bag.
“I do not desire to kill you,” Spock said slowly. “Any more.”
Jim laughed. “That’s good to know, Spock.” He shrugged off his jacket and set it to the side and then shimmied out of his jeans, leaving those on top of his jacket. Then he removed his shirt and did the same with it. He turned around just in time to see Spock’s gaze slide away from him, kind of sneakily.
Nah, Spock couldn’t have been watching Jim get undressed. He shook his head and peeled back the flap of his sleeping bag.
“Brr, it’s cold.”
“Yes,” Spock agreed, immediately. “In fact, I was about to suggest that we interlock our sleeping bags together to combine heat and conserve energy.”
“Mm. Probably a good idea.”
Though honestly, Spock noticing him sporting a woody probably wouldn’t be, and if he was lying all cozy next to his first officer, Jim was pretty sure that was exactly what was going to happen.
“If you will get into the sleeping bag, Captain, I will attach mine to yours.”
Yeah, yeah, Spock meant the sleeping bags, Jim totally got that. He did. But it still sounded wonderfully perverted.
Anyway, he was too cold to argue, so he scooted under the bag, somewhat annoyed he’d left his socks on. It occurred to him he wasn’t quite sure what energy they were conserving. They had plenty of food. In fact, only a cup of hours ago they’d had a big pot of beans with toast. Bread made into toast with a phaser was weird, there was that. An hour ago, Jim had eaten a chocolate bar. He’d offered to share it with Spock, but Spock had shaken his head, quite emphatically.
Spock had finished combining their bags and now appeared to be undressing himself.
Jim closed his eyes. If he had any hope of surviving this ordeal without complete and utter embarrassment, he needed to avoid watching a mostly naked Spock. He felt the sleeping back lift and then Spock lay beside him in the very large, way too cozy sleeping bag.
“Warmer?” And if his voice came out sounding thick, well who could blame him. Spock was so close he could feel his body heat, which was yeah the point, but Spock was so close he could feel his body, and smell Spock, who absolutely smelled like heaven, Jim’s version of it, obviously.
“Yes, Captain. Much warmer.”
Jim’s head was flat against the rock floor and damn why wasn’t he smart enough to have thought to bring a pillow anyway? Some genius you are, Kirk, he thought to himself.
“So, uh, you didn’t answer.”
“Why you invited Uhura first instead of me.”
“Because I was not certain that this was the type of shore leave you anticipated, Jim.”
Ooohh, Jim. It was unfair the way his insides melted every time Spock called him Jim. If he was a dog, he’d be panting.
“What kind did I anticipate then?”
“Generally, the kind you prefer are carousing with the doctor.”
Too true. And that was exactly Jim’s plan before Spock invited him.
“If I had turned you down like Uhura, would you have invited someone else or gone by yourself?”
“Well, with your faulty maps, I’m glad I went with you then.”
“Yes, I am also glad.” A long pause. “Though I would not have chosen to cross that rope bridge.”
“This is not my fault.”
“As you say, Captain.”
Jim opened his mouth to argue again but then thought better of it. Okay, maybe it was a little bit his fault. And maybe he didn’t care. Because he was alone with Spock. And yeah, no one knew where they were. But they would. Eventually.
Besides, Spock had just scooted closer.