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The Vulcan waited in his cabin, certain that Kirk would arrive soon. Spock was quite aware that there would be retribution for his act, but he wasn’t sure what form it would take. Death, perhaps, by Kirk’s phaser, or maybe by a nameless assassin. But not yet. Not until the Captain confronted him with what he’d done. Spock knew Kirk that well. One thing he didn’t have to fear was the tantalus field. That issue had been settled long ago, and he could trust Kirk to keep their bargain. Whatever happened between them would be more honest and open. Spock was confident that, in his Captain’s eye, his First Officer’s past loyalty rated more than anonymous ‘blinking out’—he had at least earned the chance to fight for his life, no matter what he had done.

Janice Lester had been executed immediately, of course. That was expected. What had surprised Spock was that Kirk did not carry it out with his bare hands. Certainly he had enough justification. But when the transference reversed, Kirk had calmly followed through with Janice’s own plans and had the woman put to death. The body of her doctor was discovered soon after, with a knife firmly lodged in his chest. So now there was no one left who knew the truth of what had happened or who cared.

Except Spock.

He kicked off his boots, tugged off the satin shirt, and lay back on the bed relaxed, unfrightened of what was surely to come. Struggles with his Captain always amused him. Kirk was the only human who had ever been able to match him intellect to intuition, logic to cunning. An excellent opponent in chess or in life. And an even better partner. Their talents complemented each other so well, the Enterprise was easily the most efficient and profitable of the entire fleet.

It was difficult to know when that trust had developed into a stronger feeling—at least on his part. Perhaps it was when he’d glimpsed the softer, compassionate side of his Captain in the Other One. It had been very appealing. Of course, it had no place in this universe. That gentleness would be tantamount to suicide here. Yet it was hard to forget, and impossible to deny that it made him view his own Kirk in a different light. The magnetic beauty of Kirk’s face and body, the quick grace, the humor in the hidden smile—he’d seen it all before, but only absently, merely as part of the man he had chosen to follow. But he began to notice after that, admire and even yearn for it. He had begun to wonder how it would feel to have that body yield to him, what it would be like to master that implacable will and melt it into submissive passion. Those thoughts were irritating, unproductive, not because he had them, but because they were impractical. Kirk was too cautious to ever offer that much of himself, as the Captain’s numerous women had discovered. Marlena had died in a freak accident in the lab very soon after the incident with the alternate universe. Spock had no illusions as to the cause . . . although he had been startled to see a flash of regret in Kirk’s eyes.

In spite of that, Spock did not believe Kirk was planning an accident for him. He didn’t doubt that Kirk related to him far more than to any woman he’d had. Kirk even admitted, once, on a night when he was half-drunk and flushed with triumph from a recent battle, that Spock was the only one in the galaxy whom he really trusted. And the Vulcan also knew that that would be what made it so much harder for Kirk to accept what Spock had done to him.

The door opened to Kirk’s master key, and the human strode into the room defiantly. He stopped short when he saw the Vulcan lying on the bed, arms behind his head casually. A myriad of emotions flashed across Kirk’s face: anger, disappointment, hurt . . .

“I should kill you.”

Spock didn’t move. “It might be difficult, but you are at liberty to try.”

“Damn you, I thought you would believe me. I didn’t expect anyone else to, but I was sure you would know—” He broke off and leaned back against the dividing screen tiredly. “She almost won. That bitch almost took what was mine—mine! She even had you fooled.”

Spock studied him through narrowed eyes. Was Kirk trying to give him an escape? The excuse they both needed to forget what had occurred? It wouldn’t work. Sooner or later it would spill out, degree by degree, until they ended up killing each other. It was better to confess it all now.

“I knew,” he said quietly, and waited for the reaction.

Kirk’s head jerked up. “What?”

“I knew about the transference. No need to look surprised; you were quite aware that I knew.”

Kirk’s jaw tightened. “So you really did— Why? Why did you let it happen? Did you want command that badly? You could have taken it from her easily enough, that’s certain.”

“Aren’t you really more interested in why I raped you?”

Spock saw Kirk’s hands ball into fists as he held to the last strands of control; the Vulcan’s cool words had flicked him like a whiplash. “You bastard,” he said savagely, “you knew it was me all the time, and you still . . . did that. Wasn’t it enough that you were going to let her kill me? Did you have to make it worse?”

“I had no intention of permitting your death, Kirk. You may have every right to hate me now, but you must know I would have stopped her someway.”

“Liar!” Kirk snapped. “You’d never have dared touch me if you thought I’d live to make you pay for it. You knew I’d kill you for what you did.”

“For making you like it? Because you enjoyed it when I took you?”

In spite of his intentional goading, Kirk’s lunge took Spock slightly off-guard. Kirk struck him twice before Spock managed to catch his arms and pin them down. He rolled Kirk over on the bed until he was on top of him. Licking the blood from the corner of his mouth, he smiled, and pushed his lower body against Kirk’s, making him aware of the growing erection.

“You did like it, Kirk. More than that. You loved it. Remember how you squirmed beneath me? Fighting, yes . . . but fighting to put me deeper inside you. Tell me, is it different when a female reaches orgasm? I still have your nail marks on my back.”

The gold-green eyes blazed up at him, the hard body straining against the Vulcan’s brutal hold. “I’ll kill you . . . I swear I’ll kill you for this.”

“Then it makes little difference if I give you more reason.” He bent his mouth to Kirk’s, but pulled back sharply when Kirk bit him. His face darkened angrily, aroused enough by this battle to take Kirk again—this time as he really wanted him, in this body—without even caring about the inevitable outcome. But Kirk’s expression stopped him; it was bewildered, even wounded.

“Why, Spock? I thought we had . . . something special between us. A trust. Why did you want to ruin that?”

The openness startled Spock into responding, “I didn’t. I was greedy. I wanted more. I’ve wanted you for a long time . . . you, in this body. But I could not have that—you wouldn’t have permitted it. Then I saw the chance to have you in another way, I could not resist. Illogical to wait so long for what I wanted—and then only take second best.” He reached down with one hand to unfasten the gold vest.

“Wait,” Kirk said, halting the Vulcan automatically with the force of his command voice. “I. . . I think you should have just asked me. I might have said yes.”

Spock regarded him suspiciously, the capitulation was too easy. But the hazel eyes were wide and intense. “What do you mean?” Spock demanded.

“Just that. I’ve trusted you with my life, why do you think I wouldn’t be willing to give you more if you wanted?” Kirk’s tone was silky, and he twisted his hips teasingly beneath Spock. The Vulcan continued to restrain his arms, pinned above the sandy hair, but his hold stopped cutting into Kirk’s flesh.

“All right,” Kirk’s voice was a harsh whisper, “I admit it. I was turned on when you took me in Lester’s body. You’re a damn good lay, and it was . . . certainly something different. Maybe I’ve wanted you all along, too, and that was just a good excuse to get a taste of you. Like you said, I stopped fighting you, didn’t I?”

Spock’s grip loosened slightly. “Then why are you fighting me now?”

“I’m not . . . now. You just took me by surprise. I didn’t realize you wanted me, not her.”

“Her?” Spock moved against Kirk again. “She was nothing. She wasn’t even desirable to me. But your mind inside her body made the act . . . incredibly erotic.”

Kirk smiled, the lazy, self-confident smile Spock would have killed for—and had. “Okay, then let me show you how much better it is to have the real thing.” He raised his head and kissed Spock seductively. The Vulcan released his hold and pulled the human close, but still maintained his dominance, thrusting his tongue inside the now willing mouth.

After a moment, Kirk pulled back a little, eyes smokey with desire. “Let’s get undressed. I like to see you naked.”

Spock rolled to one side cautiously, but the human made no move to escape. Kirk reached for the fastening of the Vulcan’s black pants. “Let me . . .” he whispered, opening them and sliding the material down the slim hips. As he began to caress the already erect cock, Spock moaned, losing himself to the touch of that hand, to the sweet, swift sensations. His eyes flew open as Kirk moved off the edge of the bed and stood, but he relaxed again as the human swept his hand up the inside of his thigh, pausing to fondle the testicles. Spock watched with hungry eyes as Kirk straightened and began to undress, starting with the gold vest.

Then it was Spock’s turn to straighten as he saw the deadly little phaser in the Captain’s hand.

“You fool,” Kirk snarled. “Did you really think I’d come in here and let you take me all over again, just as if I was still in that weak, flabby body? Did you think I’d let you use me like that without making you pay for it? I may not have your Vulcan strength, but this is definitely an equalizer. We’ll see who does the taking this time.” With a harsh laugh, he stunned Spock, using the lowest setting on the phaser.

The Vulcan fell back on the bed, muscles melting like warm butter, still conscious but only able to move in slow, lead-weighted motions, uncoordinated and weak. He cursed himself for his gullibility. He’d wanted to believe so desperately—but he should have known Kirk would never surrender so simply. And perhaps he had expected it. Perhaps he had wanted to be punished for breaking Kirk’s trust.

Kirk put the phaser down on a table and stood for a long moment, hot eyes raking the naked form. He slipped a dagger from his boot top, the razor sharp metal glinting evilly in the reddish light of the room. Kirk smiled as he approached the bed.

“How does it feel to be the weak one, Spock? To lose your strength and not be able to fight back?”

He ran his hand down the Vulcan’s chest and stomach. The stun effect had taken Spock’s erection along with his energy, and Kirk took the limp organ roughly in his hand. He toyed with the knife purposefully, holding Spock’s eyes, watching for a flicker of fear.

“Maybe you need to feel what it’s like to lose it, too. Poetic justice. Proper revenge, don’t you think, for what you did to me?”

Spock held his breath as the knife edged closer; for a second he was convinced Kirk would do it. But his quick panic faded as he saw the subtle change in the human’s expression: an instant of indecision followed by a renewed hunger. The grip on his cock turned into a hard caress, sweeping back up his bare body.

“No,” Kirk said with deceptive softness. “Not that. Besides, it would be a pity to mutilate this magnificent body—just yet. Oh yes, I’ve noticed you the same as you noticed me. Watched you move like some sleek, dark cat. I’ve always had a taste for the exotic. And I’ve felt you watching me, and I liked that, too·. Maybe . . . just maybe I’d have let you fuck me anyway—but it would have been on my terms. You made a big mistake thinking you could change that. I always win.” His eyes were a glittering green now as he savored his victory. “It would’ve been a lot easier for you if I was that Other One . . . from the other universe. The world of sheep. I imagine he would be simple to seduce—” He stopped and shook his head. “No, you wouldn’t like it to be easy, would you? You’re made of the same stuff I am. Rape is more interesting.”

Spock’s skin was beginning to tingle as the stun effect started to wear off, but he was still unable to move more than slightly. “The Other was not a sheep, Kirk. In ways he was stronger—” he tried to speak but his words were slurred and slow, and the human cut in impatiently.

“We’re alike, Spock. Too much, maybe. You’re becoming dangerous; you know me too well—although obviously not as well as you thought. The Other Spock knew his captain much better . . . .” He trailed off, glancing at the dagger. “The Other Spock . . . now there’s an idea.” He smiled wickedly. “You looked much better without the beard.” He touched the blade to his thumb experimentally, testing its sharpness. Impulsively he walked to the dressing table and returned with a small crystal jar. He flipped off the lid and sniffed the scented lotion. “Very nice, Spock. Argellian, isn’t it? You’ve always liked your luxuries. He poured some into his palm and began rubbing the cream over the Vulcan’s chin. “This should do very well.”

Spock tried to turn his head, strangely unwilling for Kirk to do this. It was a form of taking his identity, although he supposed he should be grateful Kirk hadn’t carried through with his original threat.

Kirk jerked the Vulcan’s head back around. “I would advise you to remain quite still while I have a knife at your throat. I’m not very good at this, and I’m still very angry.” He began to scrape the beard none too gently from the Vulcan’s chin. Before he was finished Spock was bleeding from several shallow nicks. Kirk bent down and licked the trickle of blood curiously, tasting the flat coppery flavor and the lingering spiciness of the lotion.

“That’s better. . .” He stroked his hand across the smooth jaw and traced Spock’s lips with his fingertip. “You have a very sensual mouth. You shouldn’t have tried to hide it behind that beard.”

The Vulcan started to move restlessly, uncomfortable with Kirk’s mercurial mood changes, waiting for the anger to erupt again. Spock could feel some of his strength returning, though slowly, and Kirk sensed it, too.

“You’re coming out of the stun quicker than I expected. But there’s still plenty of time. Anyway, I want you to feel everything I do to you.” The expressive eyes mirrored both raw desire and a desperate need to prove something. Kirk stood and began stripping off his clothes. Spock watched, warily enjoying the sight. He still wasn’t sure of exactly what Kirk had planned, but he was positive it would not all be pleasant.

The Vulcan’s quarters were too warm for the human and there was a gleam of sweat on the broad chest. The man was all stocky muscles and golden skin, marred in places by white lines from old scars. Spock could almost catalogue them by memory and date them from successful battles. The strong, vibrant body was alive with the passion for survival, charged with kinetic energy. And Kirk was right—he would always win. It was in the nature of the beast.

As Kirk neared the bed, Spock’s gaze centered on the human’s erection. Spock had known the very evident bulge in the Captain’s pants did not lie about its size and virility. It was very long and thick, as beautiful and alive as its master.

Kirk stood for a long moment at the edge of the bed, caressing himself teasingly, exploring every inch of the Vulcan’s frame with feverish eyes. Then he threw one leg over Spock, straddling his waist. Their gaze locked; Kirk’s daring and mocking, Spock’s unflinching and steady.

Kirk laughed, a harsh, fierce sound. “I’ll be damned, you’re enjoying this, aren’t you? This is what you wanted in the first place, isn’t it?” Kirk seemed annoyed at the Vulcan’s calm acceptance.

“Not in this way,” Spock managed to say.

Kirk hit him, hard, with the back of his hand, snapping Spock’s head to the side. “Good!” he growled, sudden fury flushing through him. “I don’t want you to like it. I want you to hate every minute . . . and me.” Kirk almost seemed to be fighting himself more than Spock.

He moved up farther, placing his knees on Spock’s shoulders, pressing his weight down painfully. “Take it in your mouth,” Kirk commanded harshly. “Suck it. And if you bite me, I swear I’ll do what I started to—cut off your cock and choke you with it. Go on! Eat it, damn you!”

Spock hesitated. He wanted to do it, but he couldn’t bear the way this was happening. Something very deep inside him ached that it had to be this way between them. There had to be more to life than just taking or being a victim.

The fleeting thought left him as Kirk angrily grabbed his head by the hair and yanked it up to him. He almost gagged as Kirk’s cock was shoved back into his throat. Kirk thrust several more times, but then pulled out impatiently.

“Forget it,” Kirk said sarcastically. “That’s something that takes practice to make it real good, and you obviously haven’t had enough. That’s not how I want to fuck you anyway.” He moved from Spock’s chest and turned him onto his stomach.

Spock could have resisted now—most of his strength was coming back into his abused muscles—but he didn’t even make the attempt. Although he did not relish the idea of more pain, he understood Kirk’s need for revenge. To halt this now would mean he would end up having to kill Kirk, or the human would simply find another method of obtaining his justice. Possibly this would be sufficient and it was better to have it finished now. With any luck they could start fresh, with all of this pushed into the past.

As he felt Kirk spread his legs and begin to probe roughly between them, Spock felt a new wave of regret. Kirk must have his retribution—there was no way to change that—but it was such a sorrowful necessity. An hour ago he would have thought this chain of events perfectly logical, predictable from the beginning. It was the manner of the universe. But not all universes, he reminded himself suddenly. There were other possibilities.

Spock clenched his teeth as Kirk rammed into him, pounding against his ass viciously, forcing his way inside until he was completely buried. Kirk rested for a moment, lying full length on the Vulcan’s back.

“How does it feel?” Kirk taunted. “Does it hurt?” He jerked out and shoved in again, causing Spock to wince. “Don’t you like me inside you?” The human’s voice was strained now, the words almost hollow. An odd thought occurred to Spock. It was almost as if Kirk were feeling the pain more than his victim. “God damn you, do I have to tear you up before I get any reaction?”

Spock shut his eyes tightly, clutching the pillow. He felt no anger, only an ever-deepening well of sorrow, and an inexplicable pity for both of them, for their whole, insane, twisted universe. “Just do what you must do,” he whispered hoarsely.

A strange sound came from Kirk, almost like a sob. “You bastard! You filthy, green-blooded bastard! Why aren’t you fighting me? The stun has worn off . . . I know it has! Fight me . . . you coward! You traitor! Fight!” He crashed his fist down on Spock’s back, knocking the breath from him, then sank his teeth savagely in the Vulcan’s shoulder, drawing blood.

Spock still refused to move. “No,” he grated through his teeth. “It’s your revenge. You take it. I won’t make it easier for you.”

“Easier for me by fighting me?” Kirk scoffed. “You’re a fool . . . or a masochist.”

“I am neither. But I do know you far better than you wish to believe.”

“You’re crazy!” Kirk snapped, but the anger seemed to have drained from him, too, leaving only purpose. He moved inside Spock again, quickening his pace, as if anxious to have it over. In a few moments he reached climax. He slid off Spock and lay on his back, arm flung over his face. He looked more defeated than Spock had ever seen him.

Another wave of sadness washed over Spock, so intense he felt his throat tighten. For the first time since he’d been a very young child, he felt like weeping. And suddenly, with blinding insight, he was certain that Kirk felt the same. Beside him the human’s body was trembling slightly.

“Kirk . . . “ he whispered, starting to reach out, some deep instinct telling him to do something, say something.

“What happens now?” Kirk asked hollowly. “Are you going to try to rape me now? Kill me? The knife’s on the floor beside you.”

“No, I don’t wish to harm you. I—” Spock stopped, confused by what he did feel. “Kirk, we can forget what has happened. We must. I do not want this to destroy us.”

Kirk didn’t seem to hear. “It didn’t help. I thought hurting you was what I needed, but it didn’t work. It should have. I trusted you, and you—”

Spock pulled Kirk’s arm away from his face. “I was wrong in what I did, Kirk. I regret it. Like you, I thought all desires could only be satisfied by taking. But I do not believe that is what either of us need. Perhaps we need to . . . give. It is a lonely universe.”

The hazel eyes were filled with pain and doubt. A single tear had slipped from the long lashes to trickle down his cheek. Spock didn’t think Kirk was even aware of it, or would have denied it hotly if he was. Kirk turned his head away, unwilling to reveal his weakness. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he muttered. “You’re talking crazy again. Like you did before you gave up that insane idea about changing the Empire.”

“Perhaps it was not so insane after all,” Spock mused. “Even if we cannot alter this wretched civilization, we might be able to change our own part of it. Why must we continue to be cruel to each other, when that is not what we want at all?” Spock touched Kirk’s face softly, turning it back so he could watch it. “We need one another, Kirk. Why are we so afraid to admit it?”

Kirk’s gaze flickered uncertainly. “I don’t need anyone. I never have. Least of all you. What are you trying to do to me?”

“I’m trying to make you understand, and it is difficult because I do not understand it well, myself. I crave something more from life than to take . . . continually taking, with no place for tenderness or compassion. I think that is the lack we both feel. There is another path we can choose.”

Spock thought Kirk would pull away from his touch, refuse to listen to this uncharacteristic talk of tenderness. But the human didn’t move. His expression was serious and thoughtful. Encouraged, Spock stroked his fingers across the fair cheek, even daring to brush away the unguarded tear. “Is it so inconceivable, Kirk? That we can feel something other than hatred or anger, or take an action not motivated solely by greed or self-interest? Can we not even try?”

Kirk swallowed and closed his eyes. “I don’t know any other way, Spock.” His voice lowered to a shaky whisper. “I don’t know how to be . . . gentle.”

“Nor I,” Spock answered. The hard knot of anxiety in his stomach melted at the human’s hesitant admission. “But we can learn . . . if we wish to.”

“I don’t know . . . the idea, it’s kind of scary. Maybe I’d be a fool to be that vulnerable, to open up that much.” But his hand moved out hesitantly. Before Kirk could change his mind and pull back again, Spock took the hand and interlaced their fingers.

“I will not break your trust again, Kirk.” He paused, surprised at the sudden rush of unnamed emotion. “Please believe me, Jim.”

Kirk’s eyes widened, and a mocking smile curved his mouth. “No one has called me that since my mother died.”

“If you would prefer that I didn’t—”

“No . . .” The smile deepened, lightening, becoming genuine. “It sounds good.”

Impulsively, Spock leaned over and kissed him. Kirk drew back, startled. For an endless moment he considered the consequences of becoming so vulnerable. It was not an easy thing for either of them. He’d lived too long by the rules of their universe—and very successfully. It was true for Spock as well. They were risking much by admitting they needed something softer.

Finally Kirk took a deep breath. His arms slid around the Vulcan’s shoulders, his body unguarded and open. “Okay,” he said softly, more to himself than to Spock, “okay.”

His mouth met Spock’s tentatively, testing how it felt to perform this intimate gesture without lust or even arousal, just for tenderness. For a long time they simply held each other, the contentment building slowly as they both began to accept this strange new closeness. He felt absurdly safe, cut off and cushioned from the viciousness of the Empire. He began to realize how uniquely wonderful it would be to be able to totally drop his guard and relax in another’s embrace. Even with Marlena he had felt the need for caution—and he had come closer to having a real relationship with her than with any other woman. Close enough to confide in her about the tantalus field, although he had regretted it immediately after—in fact, that was the point at which their affair began to cool. But this feeling with Spock was so very different . . . so serene and comfortable.

Eventually Kirk stirred restlessly against the Vulcan, his hand sliding enticingly down the lean back. “I almost wish we could keep sex out of this,” Kirk murmured. “But I don’t think I can change that much.”

“I would be most disappointed if you did,” Spock replied, smiling. He pressed closer. “It is difficult to lie beside you like this and not want you. You are an incredibly attractive individual.”

Kirk flashed his brilliant grin. “It has its advantages.” He kissed Spock again, and this time the passion was there. He opened the acquiescent lips with his tongue and explored Spock’s mouth sensuously.

Spock’s hands smoothed over the wide, muscled back down to the perfect buttocks. He cupped the cheeks and tugged Kirk’s hips forward until their cocks rubbed, growing hard at the friction.

Kirk raised his head, catching his breath. His eyes were wide and full of wonder as he delicately traced Spock’s strong features. “You know, this all feels very good, but . . . different somehow. From other sex, I mean. I can’t explain why.”

“Because it is different. Better. And it will be, for we will make it so.” Spock sat up and looked down at the reclining form of his Captain. With deft, light fingers, he caressed the broad, square chest, lingering at the bronze nipples, flicking them erect, then swept over the stomach to the groin. His hand curved around the human’s cock, thumb brushing over the tip maddeningly, causing Kirk to gasp and thrust upward in reaction. Spock tightened his grip for a moment, pumping Kirk deliberately, watching Kirk’s entire body respond to the stimulation: breath quicken, muscles tense and relax rhymically, thighs opening to invite more intimacy.

Spock began teasing again, feather light touches on balls and inner thighs and pubic hair. Kirk groaned and raised his head questioningly, obviously expecting something more direct.

“You told me I needed more practice,” Spock pointed out blandly. “This is all a little novel to me.”

Kirk looked a little surprised. “You’ve never been with a man before?”

Spock shook his head. “The idea never appealed to me until I began wanting you. I preferred other diversions.”

“Yes, but . . . never?”

“No. I take it that you have?”

“Sure. When I was young. It’s not like I had much choice. On Tarsus IV—” He broke off, face darkening in memory. “Well, it kept me alive anyway. Maybe that’s why I . . . couldn’t accept being taken again . . . even if I liked it. Some memories die hard.”

“And since then?” Spock probed curiously.

“A few. Nothing that terrific.” A sneer marred his face. “I took that little bastard Chekov before I had him killed.”

Spock regretted letting the subject arise. The gentleness had vanished from Kirk’s face, leaving the familiar, hard expression. “Jim . . .” he said softly, trying to call him back.

The human’s look softened, meeting the dark eyes. “I guess I should say . . . I’m sorry . . . for what I did to you.” He let out a breath slowly, and touched Spock’s cheek. “That wasn’t as hard to say as I thought. I am sorry.” Then he grinned mischievously. “But I’m not sorry I shaved you. You’re a hell of a lot prettier now.”

“I am glad it pleases you,” Spock said drily. “I surmise your real motivation was jealousy because you cannot grow one yourself.” He stroked the smooth chest.

Kirk laughed. “I’ve never tried, but you may be right.”

Spock turned his attention back to Kirk’s erection, which had softened somewhat during the conversation. He bent slowly and took it in his mouth, sucking hungrily. Kirk’s fingers entwined in the silky black hair, directing the motions eagerly. The organ came alive again in Spock’s mouth, pulsing strongly. After a moment, Spock lifted his head.

“Much better,” Kirk evaluated. “But use more tongue.”

Spock looked at him sharply, but saw the humorous twinkle in the bright eyes. He smiled. “Perhaps you should demonstrate the technique?”

Kirk laughed again, lightly, freely. “Spock, the subtlety of your maneuver is beyond compare. You’ve always been a brilliant tactician. Turn around, then.”

The Vulcan obeyed and Kirk teased his cock with swirling tongue and provocative caresses, driving Spock to return them voraciously. They settled down to a mutual rhythm of sucking, bodies swaying in delightful acceptance. The passion burgeoned until they were both close to the edge of releasing it, and they broke away simultaneously, regaining control with deep, ragged breaths.

Spock moved around to hold Kirk again, kissing him deeply, running his tongue over the even line of teeth, down to the strong throat and up to nibble on the small, perfect ears. He began licking like a cat, relishing the salty taste of the smooth skin as he made his way down the chest, licking the hard nipples in bold strokes of his He felt a touch on his hair and into the hazel eyes.

“Spock, I want—” Kirk was hesitant, almost shy. “I want to fuck you again . . . but only if you want me to. Not like the last time. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Yes. Yes, I want you.”

Kirk brushed the dark bangs so softly they hardly stirred. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he repeated.

“Do not be concerned. This will be different. You will not be taking—we will both be giving freely.” He rolled onto his back, and pulled Kirk on top of him, kissing him fiercely.

Kirk lifted his head, eyes very serious. “If I was really ready to . . . give, I would let you . . . .” He flushed slightly, ashamed at his weakness. “But I can’t. Not yet.”

“It does not matter. We can share the sensations . . . this way—” Spock raised his hand to Kirk’s forehead.

Kirk wrenched back sharply. “No!”

“You are afraid?”

“No . . . All right, I am. I can’t give myself this easily, Spock. My body or my mind. All I know how to do is take. Maybe I can’t change at all.”

“But you do trust me now?”

“I trust you enough to think you’re right—I do need this . . . gentleness . . . very badly. But I can’t transform everything I’ve been, what I am, this quickly.”

“It is enough that you want to. It does not come naturally for me either.”

The accepting openness in those dark eyes made Kirk a little uncomfortable. It was all happening so quickly, Kirk wasn’t sure if he was quite prepared for this. Although Spock was meeting him more than half way, he was giving the Vulcan an enormous power over him—and hadn’t Spock broken that trust once? But the circumstances were different then. It had been an unspoken trust, more a hunch than anything concrete. And Spock had never made any promises until now. In any case, Kirk was a gambler, and this incredible feeling of harmony and peace—and even belonging—was worth taking a chance.

Kirk kissed Spock lingeringly, sensually. “Damn, I never realized how fantastically sexy your mouth is. Kissing you sends a shock right into my balls.” His voice lowered huskily. “I want you.”

Kirk spread Spock’s thighs and lifted his legs over his shoulders, caressing the Vulcan’s genitals until the dark head was tossing fitfully on the pillow. Unable to wait any longer, Kirk sought the opening and carefully began to press inside. Spock tensed once, but the milking hand on his cock caused him to relax and thrust upward to the impaling shaft. When Kirk had sheathed himself to the hilt in the delicious heat, he stopped, holding himself in check for a moment. Their eyes met and held.

The human’s body was trembling slightly with the need to move, to take the magnificent body possessively, to claim it totally. But he held still, questioning the black eyes silently, unwilling to disturb this precious time of tenderness even in the violent need for completion. But the dark eyes were smoldering now, the heat coursing through the slim body, flushing it a lovely green bronze, like old copper.

“Please, Kirk . . . Jim—”

Kirk began to move again, slowly, drawing out the sensations until they both moaned at the exquisite feel of it. He built them, watching the animal passion on the Vulcan’s face grow until Spock reached up for him wildly, crying out wordlessly. They wound together in an abandoned sexual dance, limbs tangled, hands gripping, demanding, bodies clashing, bruising each other in the blind need to merge together, to be one. Taking or giving was momentarily forgotten in simply needing. Seeking a symbolic release from old frustrations, old pain; pouring out and purging themselves to start clean and fresh. There was a frozen second of limbo as they came, almost frightening in its ecstasy, shaking them both to the core of themselves.

They lay together, chests heaving, Kirk still inside Spock, his head pillowed on Spock’s breast. Spock stroked the damp, tousled hair, and an emotion so intense, so powerful filled him that he wished he had his lyre to release it in music. Words could never hold it. The singing inside him needed a more fitting accompaniment.

Kirk let his breath out slowly, and it felt cool on the Vulcan’s skin. He turned his head to look at Spock. His gentle smile was dazzling. “I can’t remember ever feeling such . . . calm within myself,” he said softly, wonderingly. “It’s like . . . I always had something wound tight inside, so I couldn’t breathe without it aching. And now, it’s gone.” His face darkened. “But when I walk outside this room, it’ll start winding again. I’ll have to fight and plot and hate. None of this is real, what we found together. It’s just a dream, and as soon as I put that uniform back on, we’ll wake up and see what sentimental fools we’ve been.”

“No,” Spock said fiercely. “We can have it back when we want. We won’t lose it. I refuse to let it go. This is real; the rest is sham.”

Kirk’s smile returned, but it was bittersweet. “I almost hope you’re wrong. It would be better if I was dreaming. You scare the hell out of me.” He laid his palm against Spock’s cheek. “I need you, damn it. And that’s a weapon I’ve never let anyone have.”

Spock held him tighter. “It would be mutually assured destruction. You are equally armed, and . . .” He smiled, suddenly confident. “. . . and, Jim, I am not frightened at all.”