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"... of course, Mr President. I apologize for my tardiness, there was an unavoidable delay..."

"... yes Admiral, it sounds like a very noble ceremony, I'm sorry to have missed it..."

"... why Duchess, have you done something different with your fins lately?..."

"... no sir, I'm quite certain I would remember that..."

"... did you ever hear the one about the Vulcan ambassador and the Andorian merchant?..."

On and on the reception droned, Kirk's cheeks so aching from smiling that he thought he'd never get them to relax. A monotonous swirl of dignitaries, ambassadors, representatives and royalty swam before his eyes, punctuated by occasional brief conversations with someone he actually knew. Bones was floating around here someplace, mint julep firmly in hand. And if one could find Dr McCoy, one would probably find Spock not far away. In spite of his assurance that the combat had resolved the blood fever, Spock's endocrine activity was still unusually high. It didn't sit too well with either the Captain or the CMO. At his own recommendation and Kirk's request, McCoy was keeping an eye on the Vulcan, watching for any sign of a relapse.

As for Spock, he kept mostly to himself, huddled in an alcove or examining this or that piece of art. Occasionally, Kirk would catch him deep in conversation with a fellow scientist, usually fellow Vulcans, discussing the deep complexities of the universe. At times like those Kirk would envy him: That had to be more stimulating than the flitting mingling in which he was currently engaged.

Finding a lull, Kirk sipped his drink and scanned the crowd for a familiar face. Spotting Bones, he made a beeline, dodging a crown prince, a duchess, and two prime ministers along the way.

"Enjoying yourself, Doctor?" he asked with a grin.

McCoy rolled his eyes and tipped his drink. "I'm on my third of these, so I should be fine," he groused.

"Pace yourself, Bones, we've got a long night ahead of us." He sipped his own drink - brandy, and only his second. McCoy just grumbled and tugged at the stiff collar of his dress uniform. "How's he doing?" Kirk asked in an undertone.

"He's being his usual charming self, far as I can tell," McCoy answered. "If he's a little grumpier than usual, who could blame him?"

"He'd probably remind you that grumpiness is an emotion," Kirk said, keeping a covert watch on Spock, who was currently investigating a fruit platter.

"I know. That's what worries me."

Kirk sighed and nodded. "Keep me posted," he said, and tacked his smile back in place.

He wished he could feel assured that Spock was all right. But as he stared at the Vulcan, now spooning what looked like aquamarine guacamole into a bowl, something just didn't sit right. He shook his head and focused on aimless networking, keeping Spock in his peripheral vision.

He didn't have to wait long. Hardly half an hour later, while Kirk was engaged in a bit of playful flirtation with the daughter of a Chieftain, something caught his eye. Spock had toppled forward in a swoon. His Altair water spilled form his hand, and by the time the glass hit the floor, Kirk was at his side. McCoy was there a fraction of a second later, his scanner already whirring. Several shocked onlookers started twittering madly; Kirk and McCoy paid them no mind. Kirk just stared at the semi-conscious Vulcan, his pulse racing, hardly daring to breathe.

"I need to get him back to the ship," McCoy finally said.

"Can you help him?" Kirk tried to keep his voice neutral, but didn't know how well it worked.

McCoy didn't look him in the eye. "I'm not sure," he said, and pulled out his communicator. "Mr Scott - prepare to beam up myself and Commander Spock. Have Nurse Chapel meet me in the transporter room."

"I'll come too," Kirk said without pausing to think about it.

"No you won't," McCoy protested. "You've got your responsibilities, Captain." Kirk's jaw clenched, and he looked back at Spock laying prone between them. Spock's eyelids were fluttering furtively, trying to open.

"Bones, look..." Kirk murmured. Spock's lips moved - and in a cracked voice he whispered.

"Jim..."

Kirk's heart jumped into his throat - but at that moment, doctor and patient shimmered, turned insubstantial, and vanished.

Kirk took a steadying breath, closed his eyes, and counted to five. Then he yanked his smile back onto his cheeks and got to his feet to continue shmoosing.

"... I'm sure it's nothing, Mr President, you know how these Vulcans overwork themselves..."

"... yes, my science officer. He's suffered an illness recently, this is probably a minor relapse..."

"... Dr McCoy is a skilled physician, familiar with Vulcan physiology; he's in good hands and will be back on his feet in no time..."

... I hope.

****

Damned stubborn Vulcan.... McCoy pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "I should've expected this," he muttered.

"What is it, Doctor?" asked Nurse Chapel at his shoulder.

McCoy hedged for a moment. He didn't want to disturb Spock's privacy, but when his head nurse asked him a direct question... "He's still all out of whack," he said, "from the incident on Vulcan." It was part of the truth at least. "Adrenaline and testosterone abnormally high, not to mention a number of hormones we don't even have words for." With that cocktail swimming around in his bloodstream, McCoy wouldn't have been surprised if he jumped up and starting tearing the room apart. But he just lay there, occasionally breathing heavily or almost speaking, his hands trembling constantly. "Keep an eye on him, Nurse," he said, and went into the next room to do some calculations.

Nurse Chapel was no fool. She'd seen the readouts on Spock's endocrine activity, and she had her own observations and the intuition that made her a good nurse. She had seen this pattern before, in creatures and species with a specific mating season... or heat.

He has a wife, she reminded herself. But the word through the grapevine was that his wife - T'Pring - had rejected him. They certainly hadn't acted very warmly toward one another... but then again, they were Vulcans.

Her musings were interrupted by a broken sigh from the other side of the room. Spock was trembling all over - his lips moving in an effort to speak. She moved toward him. "What is it?" she asked. "What do you need?"

"T'hy'la..." he murmured. His voice was rough.

Christine blinked. "What does that mean?"

"T'hy'la... Jim..."

Confusing. "The Captain's down on the planet," she said, moving a step closer. Spock looked in pain - like he was about to cry.

"T'hy'la... I need you..."

"Oh Spock..." Christine lifted one hand and brushed her fingertips down Spock's jaw.

The effect was immediate and violent. His eyes snapped open and he slapped her hand away.

"Not you! Get me Jim!" There was fire in his eyes, a snarl on his lips. Christine backed away - but Spock's eyes seemed to clear. He sat up on the exam bed, blinking and shaking his head.

At that moment McCoy came rushing in. "Christine, what's - Spock!"

"Doctor..." Spock's voice had returned to normal. "Forgive me, Ms Chapel. Would you excuse us?"

Fuming, Christine complied.

"What the hell was that about, Spock?" McCoy demanded.

"As I'm sure you can surmise, Dr McCoy, the blood fever has not been resolved." Spock spoke the words like a confession, his gaze firmly on the floor.

"I gathered as much, yes. That's why I'll forgive you for terrorizing my head nurse." McCoy stopped for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "What you've got to tell me now is - where do we go from here? You haven't got a reserve wife waiting in the wings, have you?"

Spock's reply of "No, Doctor" came just a fraction of a second too late, raising all sorts of red flags in McCoy's brain. "The bond between T'Pring and I was exclusive. The breaking of that bond through the kahli-fee should have short-circuited my body's... urges."

"Well, obviously, it didn't," McCoy grumbled. "Spock, your hormone levels are up again, and rising. Your little fainting spell on the planet is proof that your body is starting to crack under the strain. A few more like that, and you won't wake up. You know better than I do how close you are to...." He couldn't finish the sentence.

Spock nodded, and finally met his gaze. "But without a bond, I cannot mate."

"Well, that leaves us in a right pickle then, doesn't it?" McCoy could feel his blood pressure spike. Spock couldn't be thinking of just letting this happen, just letting himself die! Damn stubborn Vulcan son-of-a-bitch....

Spock nodded. "Yes it does. If you will excuse me, Doctor, I must meditate."

McCoy blocked the retreat. "No way, Mister. I'm keeping you here for observation."

For a second it looked as though Spock would hit something - most likely McCoy. But he just closed his eyes and took a deep breath before turning to face the doctor. "There is nothing more you can do for me, Doctor. Please, allow me my contemplation."

With a sigh, McCoy stepped out of the way. "I want you to check in with me before you sleep tonight," he said.

"Yes, Doctor," Spock said absently even as he beat a hasty retreat.

"And I'm keeping medical surveillance on your quarters!" McCoy shouted after him. "Damn stubborn...." He fumed at the empty room for a while, then stepped into his office where Nurse Chapel was waiting.

"Doctor, what's going on?" she asked immediately.

McCoy waved a hand. "Vulcan biology is more complicated than we guessed is all," he said. "Listen. I need you to tell me exactly what happened in there, what he said to you."

She nodded. "Well... he was laying on the exam table. He started to come around, so I went to him. He muttered something in Vulcan. I asked him what it meant, and he started asking for the Captain. I told him he was down on the planet. He... tried to get up, so I pushed him back down, and that's when he started yelling."

"Something about 'not you, get me Jim', it sounded like." Christine nodded, not meeting his eye. "Hmm. Thank you, Nurse, that'll be all," he mumbled automatically, lost in thought. He barely noticed her leaving.

For a man who was desperate to mate, Spock certainly wasn't acting very hospitable when it was offered. McCoy knew Christine and her affections for Spock. If she had tried to touch him, it would be, in essence, offering herself to Spock. If he wasn't bonded to anyone in particular, wouldn't it be logical to take the next offer you got?

And what was this about asking for Jim?

McCoy froze.

No. It couldn't be.

... Could it?

No. Such a thing was completely illogical.

... Wasn't it?

He shook his head as if to clear it, but the pieces fit together too neatly to be dislodged. Spock, who avoided any and all unnecessary physical contact, often seen standing close enough to the captain that their shoulders brushed, or accepting a friendly hand on his arm or wrist. And Jim, his warm smile constantly tossed over his shoulder at his apparently cold and unresponsive first officer.

But Jim... to be frank, Spock wasn't exactly Jim's type. Even the few times when shore leave had found Jim in the arms of a masculine figure, they had either been men like Jim himself - brawny, charismatic, classically handsome - or soft, effeminate androgynes whom McCoy suspected Jim treated more like women than men. And the idea of Spock carrying an unrequited torch - for anybody - seemed patently absurd.

Sitting at his desk in front of the computer, the Doctor weighed his options. But at this juncture, there was nothing to do but to call Captain Kirk. At least he'd want to know what was going on.

He flipped the audio switch. "McCoy to Captain."

"Go ahead," came Jim's voice, so quickly that McCoy wondered if he'd been sitting somewhere, communicator in hand, waiting for the call.

He hesitated. "It's not good, Jim," he said at last. "The fever's back, and this time there's no planetside girlfriend to pin our hopes on. You know full well he won't go for any of the women on board the Enterprise - he nearly broke Christine's wrist when she tried to touch him. He'll die without mating, and he can't mate without a bond." It was becoming a mantra. A rather macabre mantra.

Through the radio waves McCoy heard Jim's sigh. "Is he there?" His voice was so quiet McCoy almost couldn't make out the question. Perhaps the idea wasn't so ludicrous after all.

"No, he went to his quarters to meditate. Jim -" in a split second, McCoy made a decision. "I think... you should try talking to him. Pick his brains, see if there's any other way out of this he hasn't told us about." He desperately hoped that Jim would accept this reasoning without question.

"I'll be right up," he said immediately, sounding relieved for something to do besides sit on his haunches smiling at dignitaries. "If you don't mind I'll head straight to his quarters."

McCoy nodded, his own relief starting to take shape. "Suits me fine. McCoy out."

And with that, the old country doctor stood, went to his medicine cabinet, and drank a toast in hope for his wary attempts at matchmaking.

****

Slow... deep... breaths...

The scents of sandalwood and chak-mayap twined together; Terran and Vulcan, in perfect harmony... musky... masculine... powerful...

... Jim...

In... out... breathe deeply... in... out... in... out... in and out in a primal, pulsating rhythm that Jim would know, Jim would understand, Jim would not ridicule his need, his fire, his shame...

No!

Breathe. Deep. Calm. Quiet. Clear thoughts... yes... down... breathe... bank the flames... quiet the fire, the rage... calm... t'hy'la, Jim...

Spock's tenuous trance was shattered by the soft chime of the door. In a fit of fury, Spock snatched up the nearest thing to his hand - the incense burner - and flung it in the direction of the door. It shattered against the bulkhead. He winced, but hoped that the noise would dissuade the intruder.

It didn't. A few seconds later the door chimed again.

Spock suppressed the urge to growl. "Come," he called, closing his eyes to try and recall some of his usual composure. The door swished open.

Spock knew before he spoke who it was who had disturbed his reprieve. The steady footsteps on the carpeted floor were familiar. More so were the traces of scent on the air, caught and augmented by his super-heightened olfactory senses. Instinctively he flared his nostrils. He could almost taste...

That, he told himself, is an illogical assertion. Spock waited, intent on his breathing, for Jim to speak.

"McCoy tells me your Pon Farr has returned," he said.

Spock took in a deep breath through the nose. "That is correct, Captain." He offered no further information.

"Well?"

"Well what, Captain?"

"What have you got to say for yourself? I thought the combat resolved it!" He sounded indignant, even angry. Spock could clearly see in his mind's eye the flush that would be rising up his neck - his bright eyes flashing, sweat beading on his forehead...

"Evidently, I was mistaken." He cursed his vocal chords for betraying his strain, but hearing the break in his controlled voice seemed to calm the captain; he heard a small sigh.

"I'm sorry," he said. "But I'm not going to lose you to this, Spock; I cannot let that happen."

My dear Jim... so protective. So passionate. You would have made a fine mate.

No. Stop that.

Spock let his eyes flutter open at last. Jim was leaning on his elbow against the screen that divided the two rooms of Spock's quarters. His weight was planted on one foot, and Spock found himself momentarily fascinated by the tilt of his hips, canted just so, hugged so neatly by standard-issue Starfleet trousers...

He straightened and averted his gaze before the Captain could see the naked longing with which he stared. "I regret that my life must end in such a fashion, but there is no alternative. The bond necessary to resolve the Pon Farr through mating is a lifetime commitment, and there is no one aboard the Enterprise who would find this an acceptable arrangement -"

"Have you bothered to check?"

The ferocity in Jim's voice was startling. "I have made a logical assumption, Captain."

"Based on what data?" He was intent now, his gaze fixed on Spock with the same focus he'd seen there so often when engaged in heated debate, or desperate to save his ship and crew from certain disaster. To be the object of such intense scrutiny...

"In my years on this vessel, I have... maintained a careful distance from the crew. With the exception of yourself and a few members of the senior staff and science team, I do not feel personally close to anyone aboard the Enterprise." A great tide of loneliness welled up inside him to admit this, and he took a moment to gather the shreds of his control. "Furthermore, none of the crew has expressed any interest in pursuing a personal relationship with me. I am, as they say, unattainable."

"What about Nurse Chapel?"

Spock had expected that. "I had considered the possibility, Captain. She obviously feels some affection for me. However, my reaction when she attempted to lay hands on me in sick bay... reveals that our minds are incompatible." It was at best half of the truth, but it was safer than admitting the whole of it.

"How do you figure that one?" Jim asked, taking a few steps further into the sleeping chamber.

Spock closed his eyes again, a fierce denial. "An unbonded Vulcan male in the heat of Pon Farr will accept any touch as an offer when made by a compatible mate, without regard to any previous relationship between the two. Hence the bonding ceremony in childhood, well before there would be any chance for... accidents." He neglected to mention that he was not, in fact, an unbonded Vulcan male, and hoped that Jim would accept his explanation at face value. Please don't come any closer, Jim, t'hy'la, my mate. I can smell you from here, I don't think I could...

Jim took another step. "Any offer?"

Spock swallowed. So much for safe omission. "From a compatible mate... yes." His breathing was becoming fast and shallow. He could feel the low burn of his blood spiking once again, threatening to consume him. "Please, Jim..." he had not intended to use his given name. "Do not... attempt to find a proper mate for me. I would not... force this... upon anyone who did not wish it."

"And if I found someone who did wish it?" he asked, and crossed the remaining distance to stand directly in front of Spock.

Something in his voice had changed. Spock looked up, met his eyes, and saw there not the fierce flash of challenge - but a warm and sensual glow, his lips hanging oh-so-slightly open. Spock's tongue darted out, longing to taste, desperate to taste...

"Then I would not wish... that person... to believe that I was merely... using them. That I would ever choose a mate out of... mere convenience and biological need." His voice sounded dry and croaked. He realized that his throat was parched, burned dry by the fire within.

"I could never think you would do such a thing."

Spock stared at his captain, trying not to think, not to hear what was implied, not to acknowledge the offer he could see in those eyes. He heard Jim's pulse racing just a few feet away, could smell the fresh burst of pheromones and averted his eyes. "Jim-"

"I'm not doing this out of chivalry, Spock. You have no idea how difficult it was to watch you march off to marry some girl you hardly knew. I admit it, I was jealous. I've never had to be jealous before, Spock.” That heartbreaking quirk of a half-smile. Jim sank to his knees in front of the bed, and Spock was surprised to see how much change in angle changed his expression. His face caught the light from above, giving him an almost ethereal glow, and the wet shine of his eyes was bright as he looked beseechingly up at Spock. "Please... I won't offer if you say no, but please, Spock... say yes." And then he was quiet. Sitting there with his hands on his knees, staring at a neutral point between them and letting him think. Spock was glad of that. He had to think. His powerful mind, addled by lust and completely unaccustomed to this particular brand of analysis, ground slowly through the facts and evidence and possible responses.

"It would be illogical for us to..."

"Regulations state that..."

"I cannot allow you to..."

He loves me.

He wants me.

Against all the odds, the one person Spock had ever truly wanted - the only person to ever induce such feeling in him, and what was more, to somehow negate that solid wall of shame and make him enjoy it - was kneeling before him and giving him a choice: to say yes, or...

To die, slowly and dreadfully.

The logic of the situation dawned on Spock, and as he looked back at Jim's shining face, his eyebrows hopefully lifted, still inquisitive, still waiting... he allowed a tiny smile, and nodded.

"Yes."

Jim's own smile was radiant, and he got quickly to his knees and reached out to run his hands up Spock's folded knees to rest at his elbows. "Thank you," he breathed.

The touch of Jim's hands sent fire racing through Spock's blood; he couldn't have held back if he'd wanted to. "No, Jim," he said, lifting one hand to Jim's temple and the other to curl protectively around his shoulder. "Thank you."

Jim shivered as he felt Spock's long arm wrap around him, and he turned into the hand that was searching for the sensitive meld points. "My mind to your mind..."

****

"...my thoughts to your thoughts," Jim answered as he felt his mind open, with a rush like wind through an open window. When Spock next spoke, he was little surprised to find that he was speaking in unison with him.

"Parted from me," they said, "and never parted. Never and always touching and touched."

"Oh Spock..."

"Jim...."

And with that, the meld solidified. Their two minds - gold and blue, light and dark - flowed together like metals melted down, mixing to form a stronger alloy. Jim felt himself gasp, felt his grip tighten on Spock's shoulders, but all was secondary to the heady rush of a mind, of another's thoughts, so totally caught up in his. He felt... so loved, so cherished, overjoyed, gifted that Spock would touch him so intimately. It was closer than love, closer than sex - any sex he'd ever had, at least - closer even than the melds they'd shared in the past purely for business purposes. And in that instant he knew - beyond a shadow of a doubt, he knew that this was not a bond being created... but built upon. It had already been there.

//Yes, t'hy'la. You are the reason I still burn. Your mind, your body.. you've been mine since the moment my link with T'Pring was broken.//

Jim felt like sobbing. That he might have lost him, and never known that he'd had him all along.

//I don't see how Vulcans can claim to have no emotions, when your bonding feels like this.//

//It is not that we have no emotions, t'hy'la,// came Spock's voice, resounding in their shared skull. //But that we share them only with a select few.//

//And I'm one of them?// he thought, honored beyond belief.

//You are the only one.//

//Oh, Spock...//

After an eternity, they returned to physical reality, and Jim found that his mouth was already locked with Spock's, though he couldn't remember consciously doing so. Though they had never kissed before, he knew this taste, the texture of Spock's mouth - his bondmate, his Spock - it was as familiar to him as his own. He had been inside his mind, had tasted him more intimately than the bonds of flesh. Nonetheless, it was the flesh he needed - and from the pulsing force of the link in his mind, like a glowing-hot iron, he could feel Spock's need that he answered.

There was wonder in Spock's eyes when they pulled back, but also a deep, overriding lust that could not be quenched other than deep within Jim's body. Jim shivered and reached for the fastenings on Spock's meditation robe, but was surprised to find his wrists caught in a stony grip.

"Jim," Spock said, warning in his voice. "You forget - this is my time." And with that, Jim found himself trapped in a brutally strong embrace, pulled flush to Spock's burning body, his lips and tongue being wholly devoured. Some new little instinct popped up in his link to his Vulcan lover and whispered to him: "submit".

He gave a feeble whimper, and obeyed that instinct.

And Spock knew it. With a growl he turned and tossed Jim to the bed on his back. "Disrobe. Now," he ordered, his own hands working on the fastenings of his robe while his gaze roved all over Jim. He could feel those burning eyes inside and out, and he could not comply fast enough. Formal uniforms had never been easy to remove, but now it was positively a prison. His boots were off quickly enough, but by the time he had his tunic off and started to work on his trousers, Spock was already naked, burning hot and unwilling to wait. He was on top of Jim in a flash, pushing him flat and devouring all the flesh he could reach. Biting and sucking strongly at the juncture of neck and shoulder - that'll leave a mark, he thought abstractly - thumbs and fingers flicking and twisting at his nipples. Jim was trembling with arousal, blood rushing to his groin so fast he felt a little lightheaded. On a whim he parted his legs, got one foot under him for leverage, and let Spock's naked body settle between them.

Spock's naked body. His brain stumbled over itself, and he realized that he hadn't taken the opportunity to look properly yet. So he looked down, past the sleek, dark hair and - God, that beautiful upswept pointed ear, he never thought he'd get to see it this close - he could see the long expanse of pale back, the sensitive hollows to either side of the lower spine, the sweetly curved, compact buttocks - and then Spock was busily worrying one nipple between his teeth, and Jim could look no more.

"Oh - God, Spock," he moaned, his hands reaching up to palm his shoulders, to muss that perfect hair - to swipe one thumb up the gentle curve of an ear, pinch the tip -

Spock gasped, a liquid sound, and Jim was suddenly looking into lust-clouded eyes. Jim rubbed the pad of his thumb up the cartilage ridges of the inner ear, watching Spock shudder and his eyes fall closed. Then he was fumbling at Jim's trouser fastenings. His own hands were batted away when he tried to help, so he just held on tight to Spock's shoulders and waited for his mate to finish disrobing him.

"On your knees," Spock growled when he'd shucked off Jim's trousers and briefs. Jim complied before he was quite aware of doing so, following that voice of pure instinct. He felt Spock's fingers prying open his ass cheeks, and felt the first flutters of fear through the cloud of arousal.

"Lubricant," he managed to gasp. Spock paused, his fingers stilled but his thumbs still massaging the dry, sensitive opening.

"Hmm?"

"I said lubricant! Something slick!" Even with the encroaching fear of dry, painful penetration, Jim was so hard he was leaking onto the coverlet.

He felt Spock shifting behind him, wondered if the Vulcan was more naughty than they'd realized and he had some stashed in a drawer - until he felt the unmistakable feeling of Spock's tongue - Spock's TONGUE - stroking his most private opening. He wriggled and let out a most undignified squeak.

Without warning, a hand snaked between his thighs from behind and closed tight around his testicles. Jim sucked in a breath. "Be still," came the voice from behind, and Jim felt no urge at all to disobey. That changed, however, when the busy tongue returned to its preoccupation; he wanted to squirm, to wiggle, to thrust, to worm his way further down on that dexterous muscle. (Was it his imagination, or were Vulcan tongues longer than humans'?) But with every inadvertent movement he made, the fist around his scrotum closed tighter. Considering that each clench sent a spike of pleasure deep into his gut, it didn't really help the squirming.

Then the hand was reaching forward, between his spread legs to the puddle his cock was dripping onto the bed. Two fingers first swirled around the head of his cock - Jim twitched and gasped - then around that puddle of fluid. Then the hand snaked back the way it had come, and found the newly wetted, opened hole.

And twisted inside. Both of them.

Jim jerked. That did hurt. But, perhaps sensing Jim's discomfort, Spock momentarily gentled his actions, stroking instead of jamming, bending to lick the sweat from Jim's lower back. When the tight ring of muscle relaxed and Jim's hips started to rock in time with Spock's thrusts, Spock started to prepare him in earnest.

"Oh Jesus... Oh Spock!" Jim sobbed when the pads of Spock's fingers found his prostate and rubbed mercilessly against it in tight little circles. "Oh Shit - Spock - I'm -"

"Do... Not... Come."

Jim spasmed with the attempt to obey that growled order. He held his breath and kept both body and mind deliberately still. Spock just held there a moment, slowly easing off the sensitive gland. When the tension left Kirk with a shudder and a groan, Spock slowly removed his fingers entirely.

"I... am going to... mate with you now," he grunted, and Jim had to bite his lips to keep from giggling at this most inopportune moment. Instead, he nodded and pressed his hips back into those hands. He could feel Spock moving behind him and twisted his head around. He had to see.

Spock's cock was long, slick, and smooth. It rose from farther back between his legs than a human apparatus, and from between two fleshy folds that resembled labia. Jim couldn't help but wonder, in the split second he had to look, if the Vulcan penis was hidden in its dormant state. There was no scrotum or glans, but the skin appeared wrinkled – loose, in spite of how impossibly hard he was. He supposed it must have been the equivalent of a foreskin.

Then he was watching as slim, powerful hips drew back, thighs parting over Jim's hips to allow deeper penetration - and with a single well-aimed thrust, he was impaled up to the hilt by that slick, beautiful organ. His whole body felt the shock, and he gave a keening cry.

Spock was fierce. Jim felt his thighs clenching around his trapped lower body, holding him a willing captive as Spock rutted down into him. Spock's hands were everywhere - scratching down his back, tangled in his hair, gripping his shoulders or his hips for leverage. Once his right hand reached down to trace two fingertips down the back of Jim's hand, and he tried to turn his hand over to return the caress - but Spock's was already otherwise occupied, having migrated up to pinch and roll a nipple. This was truly mating, he realized; no tender expression of love here. He was being fucked, bred, in the animalistic need that held Spock in its thrall. He gasped at the thought, and angled his ass up, trying to get himself fucked deeper, harder. "MORE." Spock leaned forward on his hands and eagerly complied.

Jim felt like his ass was on fire – heat radiating from that central point through his cock, down his legs, up his spine, flames fanned with each rhythmic thrust. Spock's forehead and nose and lips were now at the back of his neck, nuzzling, nibbling, murmuring in Vulcan to him. And then, those teeth found what they were looking for in the tender skin just at the top nub of his spine. Spock bit down hard, Jim thought he might have drawn blood, and the meld came flooding open between them. Jim screamed. A feedback loop of pleasure, heat and pain cycled through them, rising higher, hotter, harder, more, yes - and shuddering - screaming -

Falling with a jolt back into his body just in time to feel Spock's teeth release him, and the shockwaves of orgasm ebbing through him. It felt like his whole body had engaged in their orgasm, from his cock to his teeth to his prostate - definitely his prostate, it felt swollen and milked dry - from his fingers and toes to the roots of his hair.

And Spock was still moving. Not the frantic mating thrusts of earlier, but he was still moving in long, slow, languid thrusts. Jim felt absolutely powerless to stop him; he never would have dreamed of doing so.

"Jim-" came that parched voice.

"Mmm?" was all he had for a reply.

"I must... I must..." his thrusts were gaining speed again. Although Jim felt like he would not climax again for at least a week, he still felt a shiver go through him at the need in that voice.

"Please do," he murmured, doing his best to tilt his ass up in offering.

"Oh, t'hy'la... thank you..." and then he was up again, thrusting, pounding, groaning, and Jim felt wave after wave of pure delight spreading through him. The energy of sex permeated him, swallowed him whole, leaving him delirious and full of joy. His head was remarkably clear, and he found himself grinning, moving sensually under his lover. And this time, when Spock neared his orgasm, he brought his right hand to lay over Jim's, and wrap his fingers through Jim's from behind, pressing their hands tightly together. The meld flowed open again, and Jim felt Spock's orgasm flood through him. He felt it abstractly, watching from a distance, but feeling it all the same. It wrapped around and through his mind like the warmth of a fire, and he sighed with joy.

This time Spock was satiated enough to decouple gently from Jim, who straightened his legs but made no other signs of movement. "Are you alright?" Spock asked as he lounged at Jim's side. His hand ghosted up and down Jim's back, noting the savage marks he'd made with nails and teeth and wanting to soothe them, to care for them.

Jim pulled his face out of the pillows and smiled at him. "Better than alright," he said softly, and rolled over to pull Spock into a kiss. "I feel like you turned me inside out and shook out all the dust," he murmured, too exhausted and far too happy to worry about what was coming out of his mouth. It was a bit past the point of embarrassment by now anyway.

Spock's wandering hand found the purpling, bleeding bite mark at the nape of Jim's neck. "I hurt you," he murmured.

"Mmph. Don't worry about it."

"But I-"

"Spock." Jim made sure the still-distracted Vulcan was looking at him before he continued, a glowing smile on his lips. "Don't worry. It was worth it.” As if that settled the matter, he pulled his Vulcan lover close for a human kiss.

"All the same," Spock protested when they parted for air, "I should clean the wound before - before I..." but he found as he tried to leave the bed that his body wouldn't cooperate. His body was already realizing that it was lying in quite close quarters with the naked body of its mate, and it wasn't quite finished yet. Spock swallowed. "Before I..." but he couldn't remember what he'd been about to do.

Jim looked down. From between those not-quite-labia, Spock's cock was distending, rather smaller than it would be at full height. His eyes widened, and against all odds his own cock twitched in interest. Again??

With a mischievous glint in his eye, Jim reached down and parted the folds, coaxing out the little visitor. Spock's knees jerked apart and a moan broke in his throat.

"How long will this last?" Jim asked, trying not to sound apprehensive.

"I... do not know. Full-blooded Vulcans can remain in heat for... several days. My unique physiology... has given no clues."

Several days, eh? "We'll start with tonight," he said, and leaned over Spock to kiss him while his fingers continued to coax and stroke that tender phallus. His fingers were soon wet with a viscous mucous that reminded Jim more of vaginal fluid than anything else. He made a mental note not to be so worried about lubricant in the future.

****

It was well past midnight by the time McCoy received the expected call from C-deck. When an hour had passed without hearing from either Spock or the Captain, McCoy had taken it as safe to assume that Spock's Pon Farr would no longer be an issue. His mind skirted the edges of exactly how the resolution would take place - he was a doctor, and he'd been around the block more than once, which meant he was far from ignorant of what was going on, but that didn't mean he wanted to think about it.

Nevertheless, when he took the call on his telescreen, he was surprised by the image that greeted him.

The call came not from Spock, but from Jim Kirk, who was shirtless and appeared fresh from the shower. His hair was damp and sticking up in all directions, and his skin flushed. What startled McCoy was the harsh abrasions all around his mouth, and the deep purple bruises all down his neck - particularly one quite large mark just above the shoulder - and many white/red scratch marks down his arms, chest, and stomach. His nipples looked painfully swollen and abraded, and there were even a few deep bite-bruises along his pectorals.

What did not surprise McCoy was the glazed look to his eyes, the relaxed, contented glow that encompassed him. That look made McCoy relax some of the tension he'd been holding since the beginning of this whole Pon Farr escapade.

"My god, Jim, you look like you've been fighting with a pack of wild Andorian sand-mites," he reprimanded.

Jim looked down as though noticing his wounds for the first time. When he looked up he had the decency to look at least a little chagrined. "Oh. I suppose I do, don't I?"

McCoy shook his head and chuckled. "How is he?" he asked.

"Sleeping, for the moment." Jim glanced behind him at the privacy screen as if to make certain of that. "He told me you wanted him to check in, but I figured he should rest while he could. Before he... y'know."

McCoy's eyebrows shot up. "There's more? Does he plan to kill you?" he asked.

Jim chuckled. "You planned this, didn't you? You sly old coot." Jim glared and wagged a finger, but the expression lacked real conviction.

McCoy shrugged. "To quote our mutual friend - it seemed logical."

"Not too mutual, I hope." Jim couldn't seem to keep the grin off his face.

"Are you kidding? Do I look like I could survive all that?" He paused. "Out of curiosity, how long will this go on?"

Jim shrugged. "He's slowed down significantly already. I'm guessing you don't need the personal details?" McCoy shook his head. "He says full-blooded Vulcans go on like this for days, but my guess is we'll be done by morning." 'We,' McCoy couldn't help but notice. "Trouble is, I'm not sure how much good either of us'll be on the bridge tomorrow."

McCoy laughed. "I wouldn't risk it. I'm putting both of you on the sickbay roster for tomorrow - on account of that nasty reaction you both had to the fruit down on Altair VI."

Jim sighed. "I owe you one, bones."

"No sweat."

"Jim?" came a questioning call from the other side of the screen. Jim turned and looked, then turned back to McCoy, a goofy grin on his face.

"Time to go," he said.

McCoy rolled his eyes. "Try and get at least a little sleep, loverboy," he said. "I'll field any awkward questions and give you the details in the morning. Don't hesitate to call my quarters in an emergency, no matter how late it gets."

Jim nodded absently, and managed to mutter something like a goodbye before the screen went blank. McCoy stared at it for a moment, then laughed softly to himself. "You two," he sighed. And now that he knew his friends were safe and happy, he left sick bay to find his own, Vulcan-free, bed.

****

The next several hours were punctuated by alternating periods of slow, sweet lovemaking, and fast, rough mating, and well-deserved sleep. When ship's morning found them, Spock and Jim lay wrapped in each other's arms. The top sheet was all that covered them. Spock was curled against Jim's solid chest with an arm around his middle. One of Jim's arms was around Spock's shoulder, the other flung above his head.

Jim awoke first, his eyelids drifting open. He wasted no time in reminding himself whose bed he was in. The thought put a smile on his face and his heart did a little jig as he wrapped his arms tighter around his Vulcan.

When Spock awoke some time later, he sprang back as though Jim's touch had burned him. "Whoa - slow down, partner," Jim soothed, bringing his lover back into the protective circle of his arms. Spock sighed, then went willingly. Jim. Of course it was Jim. He had feared that the events of the previous night had been a dream brought on by the plak tow. Apparently not. He breathed in deeply of the human's distinctive musk and burrowed closer. "T'hy'la," he murmured.

"Mmhmm," Jim hummed back.

"You spoke with McCoy?" Spock hadn't really asked for details the previous night, so he asked now.

He felt Jim's nod. "He set us up, the sly bastard," he said. "He knew what would happen if he sent me here." He laughed. "I guess we owe him one, don't we? Two, actually, he gave us today off."

Spock, who had been enjoying the rumble of Kirk's voice resonating in his chest cavity, made a move to get up at that point. "We must not allow our personal lives to interfere with ship's business," he said.

Jim's arms tightened. "Spock - it's halfway through Alpha shift. You're recovering from a debilitating biological condition, and I - well." Jim grinned. "Facilitated that recovery. I think we both have legitimate excuses."

Spock did not look convinced.

"Besides," Jim let his voice drop down a notch or two, "I wouldn't trust either of us on the bridge today; I'm not sure I could keep my hands off you."

Spock let his eyes fall closed and let loose a moan. The fires were rising again, but this time gentler, leaving his head clear to fully appreciate that this was Jim in his arms. His heart trembled.

"We are both in dire need of bathing," he murmured in response.

"Mm. Share a shower with me?" Jim asked with a playful grin.

The devilish gleam in Spock's eyes was the only answer he needed.