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Three Meanings

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He was pretty sure based on the way his leg was twisted and bent beneath him that it was broken. He was also certain he had a pretty nasty head wound. Warm blood still flowed from it.

And no one was around.

He would die alone.

He honestly figured this was it. The end. Again.

He’d died before and it felt like this. Hopeless. Painful. Over.

He sucked in a painful breath that caused him to cough and blood splurted from his mouth. Great. Just…

A familiar sound and then—

“Enterprise, I’ve found the captain. Two to beam up.”

His eyes closed as Spock leaned over him.


His eyes opened as Bones leaned over him.

“How are you feeling?”

Like maybe he’d been run over by a tank.

“Pretty terrible.”

A nod.

“It’s okay, Jim. You’re going to be okay.”


And then Bones moved away and it was Spock leaning over him.

Jim smiled weakly. “Hey thanks.”

“Your thanks are not necessary.”

“Still. Bones says…gonna live. You saved…”

Spock kissed his forehead. “Rest and save your strength, t’hy’la.”

He frowned as Spock moved away.

Bones reappeared. “What’s the matter? Are you in a lot of pain?”

“Did Spock just kiss me?”


Jim stood outside Spock’s quarters, his hand poised to notify Spock he was there. But he hadn’t moved for a good minute or two.

“Rest and save your strength, t’hy’la.”

He’d looked up that word and it meant…brother.

Yeah. So…Spock…Jim’s crush…or maybe something more…thought of him like a brother.

And that meant the kiss on his forehead was just a platonic bit of affection.

Jim was okay with that, sure. Yeah, so okay.

He sighed, pressed the comm.

The door slid open and Jim stepped inside Spock’s very warm quarters.

“You have been released.”

Somehow Spock made it sound accusatory. Probably was.

Spock had changed out of his uniform and into some sort of exercise looking outfit and when Jim smelled a hint of incense, he guessed Spock was about to meditate or do his Vulcan martial arts. The word for that escaped Jim at the moment.

“Sorry to interrupt.”

“It is nothing.”

He nodded. Wasn’t even sure why.

“I just wanted to thank you again.”

“As I said before, it is not necessary. I will always save you if it is in my power to do so.”

Jim smiled. It totally felt genuine. “I know. I looked up that word.”



For a long time, Spock did not respond. Then, “Did you?”

“Yeah. I was curious. It means brother.”


“And I love that. It’s great that you see me like a brother. That’s a really close relationship.”

“My brother,” Spock said without inflection but softly.

“Yep. So, um, thanks. I think of you the same. Completely. Glad we’re on the same page, so to speak. And now I’m tired, still recovering after all, and want to get out of your hair. So, goodnight, Spock.”

As Jim turned around, Spock stopped him.


“The word has another meaning.”

Jim blinked. “Yeah?”

“Perhaps you might do some additional research.”

“Okay, sure. Thanks, Spock. I’ll check it out.”

Jim shrugged a little, and left to go to his own quarters.  


Jim returned to Spock’s quarters the next night. Spock had been expecting him and so was both pleased and filled with anticipation at what Jim would say.

It was their regularly scheduled chess game, something Spock enjoyed more than Jim did, admittedly. But Spock was certain that Jim had wasted no time in further researching t’hy’la.

Spock had already secured a cup of coffee for Jim and tea for himself.

Jim arrived on time, as he always did, but his fake smile was firmly in place, and that made all of Spock’s anticipation disappear.

Spock spent far too much time categorizing those smiles not to know the difference. And the fact it was the smile greeting him did not bode well at all.

Spock said nothing as he set up the chessboard and laid out the snacks, cashews, he always put out for his captain.

“So, I did what you suggested,” Jim said, as he sat, already reaching for the bowl of cashews.

“Yes?” Spock sat in his own place and waited for Jim to move his pawn as he sipped his tea.

“Yep. The other meaning is friend.” Jim’s gaze rose to his, blue eyes bright in his still too pale face from his injuries. But those eyes were sure and true, and very certain he had the right of it, Spock could tell.

Spock nodded. He should have, certainly, anticipated this. The plain truth that he had not made him realize he would never quite understand James Kirk.

“And that’s great, Spock. You know you’re my friend. You and Bones are my closest friends. And he’s like my brother too.” Jim smiled. “I guess that makes us t’hy’la too.”

A conclusion Spock most certainly had not wanted Jim to draw.

“No,” Spock said firmly. And then he changed the subject and they got on to other things. How the mission had gone wrong and the members of the crew they had lost. Whether Jim would need assistance in giving the reports to their families.  

As Jim was leaving to return to his own quarters when the match was finished, Spock stopped him once more.


“Yeah, Spock?”

“There is one more meaning of t’hy’la.”

“Oh.” Jim nodded. He seemed both confused and surprised by this. “I’ll check it out.”

“I very much hope that you will, Jim. Goodnight.”


It took Jim longer to discover the third meaning of t’hy’la. Jim considered himself to have mad hacking skills, which he’d put to work more than once. But still for the first two days after Spock declared there was a third meaning, Jim couldn’t find anything.

He caught Spock’s gaze following him rather intently during their interactions during those days, but Spock made no particular demands on Jim’s personal time, and left Jim, presumably, to discover that third meaning.

He was half wondering if he ought to comm Sarek, of all Vulcans, as he was close to giving up. But Spock wanted him to know what this elusive third meaning was for a reason, and obviously to discover it for himself or he would have simply informed Jim what the meaning was, so Jim decided he needed to be even more determined.

He had, at one point, punched a wall in frustration, damn that hurt, and even wrote out a message to Uhura asking her if she knew what all the meanings of t’hy’la was. Because she surely knew her ex better than anyone.

But he just didn’t want to deal with her smirk, plus again that was kind of cheating when he knew Spock wanted him to find it himself.

He’d just gotten himself a glass of wine and a bologna sandwich—shut up, don’t judge him—when he’d managed to hit on the correct way into some ancient Vulcan lore page he’d been having trouble with.

Jim took a few moments, and bite of sandwich and sips of wine, to take in the idea there was a site about Vulcan lore. He never would have guessed before. Historical sites, sure.  And he had checked every last one of those.

Which is how he found the entirely secretive Vulcan lore one.

At first, he didn’t think too much of it. His Vulcan reading skills were fair and of course it was in Vulcan. Some of it ancient Vulcan. He wasn’t great at reading that.    

And that ended up being where he found it.

Yep, there it was.


“Something something warriors, hand-to-hand combat…” Jim paused, blew out a breath, and leaned back in his chair. Stuff was beginning to hurt his head.


“Yeah got that.”

“Brother. Uh-huh.”

Jim leaned forward, frowning in concentration at a particularly troublesome word.

“Jeez. How the hell am I…?” He sucked in a breath. Shook his head rapidly. “No. No. No.”

Jim scooted closer and pounded on his keyboard that took him to another site. This one was Ancient Vulcan Script.  

His heart pounded so hard and rapidly in his chest that it almost hurt. The sandwich and wine soured in his now twisted stomach. He pushed the plate and glass away.




He went back to the Vulcan Lore site and found…

“Shit! Vulcan porn!”

There were drawings of two male warriors in very compromising positions.

So yeah, Jim thought, lover.

And Spock wanted him to know…

“Spock,” Jim whispered. He put his fingertips to his forehead where Spock had placed his kiss. “I’m just a dummy, aren’t I?

He stood up from behind his desk and began to make his way to the exit of his quarters. But then he stopped and breathed on his hand.


Bologna and wine mixed together was just gross.

He went to his bathroom and brushed his teeth twice and then used minty mouthwash.

Jim looked in the mirror on his way by and realized he looked as wrecked as he felt, but he couldn’t delay this any further and he sure as hell didn’t want to either.

He only hoped Spock was there.

Jim leaned his forehead on the door of Spock’s quarters and then hit the button.

Barely moved his head when the door opened. He staggered back just a bit and then staggered in.

God, what if Spock wasn’t alone? Maybe he had a friend over and…


Jim blinked at the Vulcan standing in the middle of his quarters, still dressed in his uniform, which, he didn’t know why, brought tears to his eyes. He didn’t even stop them from falling out and onto his cheeks.

“Jim? Are you—?”

Jim flung himself at Spock, pushing him against the nearest wall and devouring his mouth. Kissing and kissing, never having tasted a sweeter mouth. And Spock didn’t even hesitate one second before returning his burning, crazy kisses.

Spock’s hands were on Jim’s ass, lifting him off the floor with that Vulcan strength. Jim scrambled for purchase, arms around Spock’s shoulders, tilting his mouth for each heady, consuming kiss.

He was carried to Spock’s bed, laid out on it, Spock covering him up, lips crushing lips.

And then they finally decided to breath. For just a moment.

“You know the third meaning.”

Jim smiled against Spock’s mouth. “Yeah. Yeah. I do.”

"Someday, you should look up...Pon Farr."