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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

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Something was wrong in his relationship and Jim knew it. He just didn’t know where he’d gone wrong. He’d done everything so carefully.

He’d been respectful of Spock’s cultural differences. He’d discussed topics he knew were of interest to the Vulcan. He’d waited through four dates before he’d even tried to Vulcan kiss him. Six before a human kiss. They’d seen each other on ten occasions before they’d had ‘sexual congress’ the first time. He’d tried so hard to be subdued and not needy during sex so as not to put Spock off or offend him.

And yet, this morning, after a night of unbelievably fulfilling sex, even by Jim’s standards, Spock had shut down. More so than he ever had. He was different. Colder. More aloof. He’d gone back to the way he was before their first date. Before all of Jim’s careful planning.

A hollow feeling in his stomach that crawled up into his heart told Jim that last night he had clearly shown too much of himself to Spock. He’d let loose a little too much. Been too needy, too demanding.

Too Jim.     

And Spock hadn’t liked it. Him.

Jim had awakened to an empty bed, but that was not at all unusual. Spock often rose before he did. He’d gone into the bathroom and took a long shower. When he’d come out of Spock’s bedroom, Spock had been sitting at the dining room table with a PADD and a cup of tea. He looked up when Jim came out.

And that’s when the blood in Jim’s veins turned to ice water. Spock’s face was shuddered, blank, devoid of the usual warmth he had reserved for Jim.

“Everything okay?”

“Affirmative.” Spock had risen and shoved his PADD into the bag he always carried with him. He was already dressed in his instructor blacks. “I do not have time for breakfast so if you are ready to leave…”

Jim’s chest had constricted. “Uh. Yeah. Sure. I’m, uh, meeting Bones for breakfast anyway.”

Spock nodded and headed for the door of the apartment. Which made Jim scramble to get his shoes on and gather his things. All the while Spock had said…nothing.

He’d almost leaned in to give Spock a goodbye kiss but there was something almost hateful about the blankness in Spock’s eyes and Jim pulled back at the last minute.   

“See you tonight?” Jim asked as they rode down in the lift together.

Spock shook his head. “I am unavailable.”

The doors had opened and Spock had stepped out and walked in the opposite direction of the Academy, which had surprised Jim. He had also not said goodbye.

“So what do you think?” Bones asked, from across him at the table at the restaurant where they’d met for breakfast.

Jim stared at him. “About what?”

Bones scowled. “Have you been listening at all, Jim?”

“Uh.”

“About the chances of me passing that test I am taking tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Jim waved. “Piece of cake, Bones. You’ll ace it.”

“What’s up?” Bones asked through narrowed eyes.

“Nothing,” Jim denied.

“Bullshit. Is it Spock?”

Jim wasn’t surprised he’d zero right in on Jim’s relationship with Spock. “Why would you think that?”

“Because ever since you started seeing Spock you’ve been twitchy.” Bones sighed and took a sip of coffee. “Hell, we’re just in the beginning of the semester really. From the first day you walked into my class, by the way, you set your sights on him. What’s it been now? How long has this one lasted?”

“Well. It’s been pretty slow for me,” Jim admitted. “Tomorrow we’ll have been seeing each other a month. And we’ve only been, er, sleeping together for about a week of that.” He picked up his coffee and cradled it in his hands, not drinking from it, just letting it warm his hands.

“So what’s the issue?”

“I think it’s over, maybe.”

Both of Bones’ eyebrows shot up. “What? Over already?”

Jim nodded and looked away.

“I can’t say I’m sorry.”

His gaze flew back to his friend. “What?”

“Jim, you aren’t even being yourself. You’ve been, I don’t know, behaving like a Vulcan or something. Trying to be what he is instead of yourself. And the minute a little bit of you comes out, you pull it back. I don’t like it. Either he likes you for you or he can get lost.”

“I think he’s getting lost.”

“Tell me.”

“Bones.”

“Come on. You may as well. I’m going to start a website for the lovelorn or something.”

Jim rolled his eyes. “Yeah that will go over just swell. You are divorced.”

Bones shrugged. “Just because I screwed up doesn’t mean I don’t know things. Eat your breakfast. Your eggs are getting cold. And tell me all about it.”

“Well, that whole thing about being myself? I was. Last night.” Jim stabbed at his eggs. “The-the sex was amazing.”

“Jim—”

“Do you want me to tell you this or not?”

“Okay, okay, Carry on. But if I need antacid after this, it’s your fault.”

“And the intimacy, God it was—”

“Amazing.”

“Yeah. I’ve never experienced anything close to it. It was like we were on some other plane of existence.” Jim sighed and pushed his plate of food away. “I-I let too much of myself out, Bones. I was too-too…me. I tried so hard and in the end, God, it didn’t matter. This morning it was like…" He closed his eyes briefly and then opened them to look at Bones miserably. “He suddenly realized he was with James Tiberius Kirk.”

“Jim, are you sure it wasn’t something else?”

“What else could it be?”

“You could ask him.”

“He shut me out. You didn’t see him Bones. He didn’t want to talk to me. At all.”

“When are you seeing him again?”

He grimaced. “I’m not. I mean I asked about tonight and he said no. For the last month I’ve seen him almost every night.”

“Maybe he was just busy. It doesn’t mean the end of the world.” Bones stared at Jim for a moment. “Want to go to the movies with me tonight?”

“Don’t you have to study for that test?”

“Thought you said I’d ace it.”

“You will. I just…Bones, this is my problem. And I don’t need you interrupting your life just because I suck at being someone’s boyfriend.”

“Not someone’s. Spock, apparently.” Bones shook his head. “I knew I didn’t like that hobgoblin.”

“Yeah, well it’s his test you have to pass tomorrow. Forget it. I’ll find something to do. Even if it’s staying home and playing games or something.”

“If you’re sure—”

“Of course I’m sure.” He smiled. Almost meant that smile even. “Maybe I’ll call up Ga—”

“Nope. Don’t even finish that sentence. You are not calling up Gary.” The scowl was back. “Promise me.”

“Fine. No Gary.”

Bones rose from the table. “I have to go. See you later?”

Jim nodded.

But Jim had a shit day. Everything seemed to go wrong and he was feeling more out of it and depressed by the hour. It had been a long time since he’d felt this low.

He was headed to his last class for the day when he changed directions and decided to go see Spock instead. Maybe he could talk to Spock. See what had happened that upset the Vulcan.

He stopped, his footsteps faltering, when he watched Uhura, from the bar in Riverside, throwing her arms around Spock’s neck. Spock’s arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her close.

Jim spun around and walked away.

****

Jim woke with a splitting headache and a mouth full of cotton.

“Ugh.”

He stretched his arms in bed and then froze. He’d touched something. Someone. He turned his head and saw long red, curly hair and green Orion skin.

Shit.

Oh no.

He didn’t. He couldn’t have. But Jim was naked and so was she and so he knew he fucking must have.

He stumbled out of bed and searched for his clothes in what was most definitely her room. He pulled them on, his heart hammering painfully in his chest. His stomach so tied in knots he was surprised they weren’t visible. And he was so nauseous, he was about to throw up.

Jim hurried to the door just as it opened and Uhura walked in. Her eyes narrowed.

“Kirk, what are you—” Her gaze flew to her sleeping roommate.

But Jim ran out before she could say anything else.

He ended up running right off campus, ignoring anyone who called to him. He was all the way downtown before he stopped. He did vomit then. And cried, too.

When he couldn’t cry anymore tears, he pulled out his communicator and pressed a button.

“Jim?”

“Yeah. Um. Where-where are you?”

There was nothing but silence.

“I want to come there. Please.”

“What about the Academy?”

Jim closed his eyes. “I’m quitting. It…it didn’t work out.”

“All right. I’m on Omicron Three.”