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(Failure to) Understand (the crime and punishment remix)

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"You need to relax," Bones tells him, and adds "I could give you a sedative if--"

"No," Kirk says, abruptly. He doesn't need sedation he needs... /something/ else. Something better suited to his need for adrenaline -- and to the consequences of that need. It's one thing to get in trouble for property damage, for physical fights, for the need to leap before he looks. It's another thing to get in trouble for /people being dead/.

And it's something else, also, to /not/ get in trouble for people being dead. Everyone's telling him it's not his fault, he did what he could, his actions saved lives ... it's all bullshit, because he could have done more, acted more quickly, something, anything. And no one is punishing him.


Ironically, the best person to turn to, the only one Kirk things can understand, is the one that's least logical, and yet therefore the most logical, and he's been hanging around Spock too goddamn much if he's thinking about logic. But he can remember what it felt like to be slammed against the console with Spock's hand at his throat and all of the strength of a furious Vulcan behind that grip. And at the time he'd found himself detachedly wondering if he'd pushed Spock too far and would die for his transgression, but it had also held a certain amount of relief -- and, though Kirk would never want to admit it, arousal.

And he needs all that now. Pain and violence and adrenaline ... and someone willing to do that to him.

Spock meets his request with a raised eyebrow and a comment about the established Starfleet procedures for blah blah blah and Kirk shakes his head hard. "That's not what I mean," he says, "I need-- I--" and he can't find the words for what he wants, what he needs. He stumbles through attempt after attempt at explaining, but nothing quite works. "Dammit."

"Ah," Spock says, finally. "I do think I understand... Jim."

There's something in his tone of voice, something in the way he says Kirk's name (and it's his /name/, not his rank, thank God, because rank isn't the point; Kirk, as himself, not as the Captain of the Enterprise, is the one with the problem), that makes Kirk think that perhaps this will work.

"Do it," Kirk says, and that's the last time he speaks until it's over. Spock takes control, first by voice (strip; hands behind your back; face the wall; legs apart) and then physically (binding Kirk at the wrists, pressing him against the wall, biting down on the tense muscles of Kirk's shoulder and neck, his hands and mouth working brutally in the most glorious and arousing fashion possible) and Kirk just rides it. Lets Spock do what he wants, until Kirk loses himself utterly in the sensations, in the pain and pleasure and pure absolution of Spock's ministrations.


"Was that adequate?" Spock asks, after; and Kirk, aching and unsteady and more relaxed than he's been in months, bites back a laugh.

"Yes, Spock, it was -- more than adequate. Thank you."


Absurd as it is, they fall into a routine. Kirk comes to Spock when he needs it (usually waiting until Bones is threatening him with some sort of medical intervention), and Spock provides willingly. Kirk isn't quite sure how to classify this whole thing in his mind: it's not a relationship, quite, certainly not a flowers-and-dinner romance (though the thought of Spock's reaction to such an offer is, in Kirk's mind, kind of hilarious), and it's not really a business partnership -- and, honestly, Kirk doesn't know what Spock gets out of this. He hopes it's more than just following orders, but he's afraid to ask. Afraid to know.

Which also means that he's deathly afraid to even look at Spock, let alone meet his gaze. Oh, it's fine outside of Spock's quarters, on duty or off, but during the session? He doesn't want to know what he'd see in Spock's face. Approval? Disapproval? Arousal, disgust, shame, anger...? Can't know, can't find out, because that knowledge would change everything.

So he keeps his eyes down or closed while he's with Spock, and delegates some of the pleasurepain as punishment for his cowardice.


Bones barely has to growl at him this time; Kirk gets it. "I need to relax, yes, Bones, I know," and Bones snarks back with "Of course, you're the goddamn Captain, don't you know everything?" and then, "Go do whatever the hell it is you do when you're like this, whatever it is seems to work" and Kirk kind of wants to tell him, just for the look on Bones' face -- but no, because Bones wouldn't believe him at first but he's way too smart and observant, and he'd eventually realize that it was true, and -- Bones shooes him out of sickbay, and Kirk goes.

Things start as they always do. Locked door, wrists bound just tightly enough to hurt a little without actually cutting off circulation, Spock driving Kirk insane as always. Hurting him (marks and bruises, never anything serious) and fucking him (hands tight in his hair, controlling everything about him but the small noises that escape)--

--and it's supposed to be that he fucks Kirk until he achieves climax (whether he's doing this out of duty or not, there are things that even a Vulcan's libido fall prey to) and Spock jerks him off with a rough grip and then Kirk dresses and goes about his business like nothing happened between them.

But that doesn't happen.

Instead, Spock rolls him over with surprisingly gentle hands, and tells him to let go completely.

What the hell do you think I /do/ every time, Kirk wants to say, but he doesn't; part of the ritual is that he doesn't talk, and never mind that Spock's breaking pattern, Kirk damn well won't.

His resolve holds for all of ten seconds at the most. Instead of more pain, more of the rough brutality that Kirk craves, he gets a caress of wet heat as Spock takes Kirk into his mouth.

Kirk is startled enough to not only meet Spock's gaze for the first time -- and the dark eyes are full of exquisite tenderness that makes Kirk's heart wrench because, God, no Vulcan should show that sort of emotion; especially not Spock, especially not to Kirk, who let Vulcan be /destroyed/ -- but also to speak, protesting Spock's behaviour.

It's not that he doesn't like more pleasurable sorts of sex, because he does. It's just -- not what he came here for. And he can't explain that, so he tries to leave instead, but Spock pins him down. Vulcans are damn strong, as it turns out, even when they aren't emotionally compromised and pissed off, so Kirk doesn't stand a chance, no matter how hard he struggles.

(He knows he could end this at any time, but he doesn't want to stop; he /needs/ the resistance, needs the struggle, needs to fight.)

For a moment, Kirk is blindingly furious. He hears himself yelling at Spock, spilling some of the reasons why he does this, the first time he's really admitted it out loud; what he doesn't say is that every punishment Spock grants him, every bruise, every ache, every mark, is a tally on his body that never makes up for the (exponentially increasing) tally in his head of Ways Jim Kirk Has Failed.

And then he hears what Spock's saying, in that damnably calm voice, and he realizes what Spock's not saying as well as what he is.

What he says is that he is taking control, if Kirk will let him, of /everything/: not just Kirk's body, meting out the punishment he deserves, but the very judgment of those deserts.

What he doesn't say, doesn't need to say, is: Trust me. Let go.

Kirk, after a moment of biting back protest, does.


The release that Spock draws out of him this time, unencumbered by the usual mechanics of pain, is paradoxically so intense that it hurts, a deep ache that resonates in Kirk's body like the immediate aftermath of a full-body massage.

And afterwards, he breaks their routine again. Spock is usually silent as Kirk dresses and leaves; this time, he is not.

This time, he asks Kirk to stay.

This time, he asks Kirk for more.

(It sounds like a protest at first, and Kirk is able to process that okay, because it's not like Spock asked for this in the first place; but then he clarifies his meaning, and Kirk wants to say /I gave you everything, what more is there/, and he wants to say /are you out of your goddamn Vulcan mind/ and he wants to say /you don't mean that/ and he wants to say /oh God please/ and he wants to say ... he wants ... )

"Come to bed," Spock says, and even though his voice is gentle and not tinged with the weight of a command, Kirk obeys.

And when Kirk settles down -- curled up behind Spock, physically closer than any of their sessions had gotten -- he can hear the rapid beating of Spock's heart, and the slower rasp of breath as Spock falls easily to sleep; and maybe, just maybe, he can hear the full forgiveness that Spock has offered him.

/But I don't deserve it,/ his mind protests, drowsily, only to be followed a few minutes later with /...I guess that's not the point/.

"What is the point, Spock?" he murmurs.

Spock, sleeping, does not respond or even stir, and Kirk falls asleep himself before he can think of an answer.