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Tooth & Claw

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Tooth & Claw

By Bane Huntress

Part of 'Kitty Time AU' and it's own 'Kitty Trek AU'

Tooth & Claw - Spirk - By Bane Huntress

 

Jim woke up and for a moment, not knowing where he was or why he was waking up in a cold dark place that smelled funny. Or in fact why he also felt odd. But as he took in his surroundings he realized he was in a cramped escape pod, and he was on some planet, and no longer abroad the Enterprise.

“Computer, where am I?” He asked, trying to get some semblance of where he was.

/”Location: Delta Vega. Class-M planet. Unsafe. There is…”/ The computer droned on to herself as he felt a wash of anger and despair.

“Oh. You’ve got to be kidding me.” He groaned as he removed the bandage from his hand. He had to get out of here and find the Outpost and get back aboard the Enterprise before that stupid Vulcan…

For a moment his breath caught in his throat as he thought about the Vulcan.

As he stared out at the ice and sky above him he slowly reached up to the collar about his neck, it was still in place, Making sure that no one could grab the back of his neck, or if they did, it would not affect him or start a Bonding. He had been wearing one since he reached puberty so he could be a ‘normal’ person and be allowed to wander freely. Only a handful of people were authorized to remove it. So how had he been rendered unconscious? The collar had very little give in its construction for outside pressure to be applied; the damn thing covered his throat and shoulders for Christ sake.

Then he remembered what had happed before he passed out… Spock… a shiver of something ran down his spine he was certain had nothing to do with the cold… Spock had tried to remove him from the bridge, the stubborn bastard wouldn’t listen. He closed his eyes as he remembered attacking the two security officers like it would do any good.

Then someone’s hand landed on his collar covered shoulder from behind and he was consumed by a sense of Spock, of deep grief, of lose and an iron will cocooning it all. Then as Jim felt his body stiffen as his empathy reach out to that pain, trying naturally to sooth it and before everything went dark, he felt a spark of recognition from the Vulcan.

Jim covered his eyes and groaned. “Computer…” He whispered. “Are Vulcan’s telepathic?”

/”Affirmative.”/ The computer answered as Jim felt his chest go cold with dread. /”Though like with other species, it varies on how strong their ESP ability can be. Vulcan’s have a strong moral imperative to not use their ability…”/

“Enough!” He barked out as he banged his head back against the seat. Great, just great. No doubt his natural Shifter ESP had reacted in some way to the Vulcan’s.

This was bad, unbelievably so…

Mostly because he could feel the need to get back abroad the Enterprise just to be near the most frustrating alien in the galaxy.

For the millionth time he cursed the genetic throwback in his blood that made him a Shifter.

His entire life he had been nothing more than a sperm making machine. He was never expected to be anything else. Pike was the first to see him as something other than the collar about his neck, or the cat he could turn into. But here Jim was, kicked off the Enterprise by a pointy eared bastard that had started something Jim wasn’t sure he wanted to see through, stuck in an escape pod because of said pointy eared bastard, on an ice planet with no hope of rescue anytime soon.

So, with a sigh, he started to sort out what he had, and decided on the best way to get out of the hell hole he found himself in.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

It was fucking freezing, growing up in a dust bowl did not prepare him for this type of cold. Sure the academy liked their climate training, but you knew that would end in a few days. Being Marooned on Delta Vega was not his idea of ‘fun times’.

He was relieved that someone at least, had equipped the pod with cold weather gear.

What he had not been trained for though… was running for his life from some bloody great red monster!

The air burned in his lungs as he tried to breath in the fridged air. And as he plummeted down the side of a cliff, hitting every rock or sharp lump of ice on the way down, he wished, not for the first time, that he could remove the collar about his neck so he could Shift, running on all fours was easier than trying to get over the rough terrain in clumsy boots.

He groaned as he tried to get his tired battered body to his feet as the red monster decided to try and fall on him.

He had no idea where he was running, but something in his gut was pulling him toward…

‘What the hell…’

Toward a cave in the ice?

He put everything into an extra burst of speed trying to reach the promised safety.

What he did not expect was the huge monster to try and follow. In stead of the cave narrowing it was opening out to give the damn thing more room!

He felt something around his feet as he went down while also being pulled backwards towards the monsters terrifying mouth. He cried out trying to think of someway to not be eaten by the damn creature when suddenly it was letting go as it screamed and began to retread.

He tried to get his breath back as he saw someone flailing a burning torch around, Slowly the figure turned and looked at him, and something niggled in his head that he should know this guy… but apart from Spock, he had never met a Vulcan before, if the ear’s were anything to go by. Then the stranger said his name and he couldn’t believe the guy also knew him.

“Excuse me?” He said in disbelief as he struggled to his feet.

“How did you find me?” The old Vulcan asked.

Jim really didn’t want to say something stupid like he was ‘pulled’ or ‘guided’ to the cave. And he knew he hadn’t smelled this man, his nose, while usually as sensitive as his lion form, couldn’t smell anything in the blizzard he had just run through. So he went with a question of his own. “How do you know my name?” he let his suspicion enter his tone.

“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” The old Vulcan replied as if it was something he should instantly know.

“Wha.. Oh, look.” He stammered as he felt the adrenalin starting to ease off and the cold start to make him shiver. “uh, I don’t know you.” He said honestly. Damn if his brain was getting sluggish, it didn’t help that there was also the niggling of a pain he couldn’t put his finger on, threatening to give him a headache or a heart attack, which ever came first.

“I ‘am’ Spock.” The old guy said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the universe.

Which it damn well wasn’t. Unless he had fallen through time, this was not the same man who had just kicked him off the Enterprise… “Bullshit!” he growled before he took a closer look at the guy, he might not see the resemblance, but something inside him sure recognised him… it was like when his mother, or brother came to see him and he could feel them near by, not just see them. A familiarity he had only ever had with his blood family.

The old Vul… Old Spock? Whoever, gave him an indulgent smile, “Please, this way.” He said holding an arm out, corralling Jim to start walking deeper into the cave. Which he did, glad the old guy didn’t try and touch him. He wasn’t prone to freaking out, but he was sure he was about to get very close. “I can see you are cold, and there is a fire just around the corner. Then we can discus solution to our current predicament.”

That at least sounded like a good idea as he shivered again with the cold and just as promised, there was a real little fire burning away and he went straight to it. Ignoring the old Vulcan as he sat down and began pocking at the fire.

But then he started talking about how ‘pleased’ he was to finally see him, and how he missed him, and how he should be the captain of the Enterprise instead of just some stowaway who just got thrown overboard. Then talk got to Nero and the old Vulcan was on his feed and coming straight at him, reaching out his hand.

“Whoa!” He said backing away. It was the height of rudeness to touch a Shifter, never mind be so blatant about it. but it was like this guy didn’t even realise what he was doing… but yet insisted that he knew him? “What are you doing?” he demanded.

The old Vulcan frowned at him. “Our minds, one and together.” He said, once again with such familiarity that Jim couldn’t help but respond to it.

He couldn’t look away from the old Vulcan’s eyes as hot dry fingers touched his face. He frowned, not understanding what was going to happen, but something inside him accepted this strangers touch, welcomed it unconsciously… needed it. He was just going to pull away, not consciously comfortable with ‘any’ of this when suddenly the old Vulcan’s voice stopped being outside his head, but inside it.

There were suddenly so many layers of thought, images and emotions that he floundered until one voice took over the narration of what he was seeing.

He listened to this parallel universe / future self of Spock as he told his story of how Nero had come through time and space to wreak havoc in this time and space.

But there was something underneath all that, something that called to Jim in a way he had never experience before. It was soothing and whispered of comfort and warmth, he reached out for it, but before he could take hold, abruptly he was in his own head again and it left him reeling physically and mentally as he struggled not to fall over.

In those last moment, there had been an image of a man, older in a uniform Jim didn’t recognise. The emotions attached to this image were strong and just before a grief so deep overtook him, he heard his name whispered, but knew it was addressing this other man, not himself.

“Forgive me.” He was aware of Spock saying, because Jim knew now that’s who this Vulcan was. “Emotional transference is an effect of the mind meld.”

Jim stared into the Vulcan’s eyes, then he had to get some distance from him as his mind tried to process what had just happened. If what he had felt was anything to go by, this Spock had loved so deeply the other version of himself it was staggering.  Still the whispers of T’hy’la ran through his mind, it had great meaning, but he was fucked if he knew what the hell it was. “So you DO feel…” he gasped out.

“Yes.” Spock answered matter of fact.

Then he remembered what Spock had been trying to tell him. “Going back in time… you changed all our lives.” He said in realisation.

“Jim, we must go.” Spock said, “There is a Starfleet outpost not far from here…”

Jim knew when the damn Vulcan was trying to change the subject. “Wait.” He said, there was a question he had to know. “Where you came from… Did I know my father?” As he searched the few fading memories of the other him, he seemed so foreign Jim hardly recognised him.

“Yes.” Spock answered patiently as Jim felt his stomach drop out. “You often spoke of him as being your inspiration for joining Starfleet. He proudly lived to see you become Captain of the Enterprise.”

Jim couldn’t quite believe it. The only farther he knew was an abusive asshole when his mother wasn’t around, and even when she was, it was hardly any better. He almost wanted to dismiss Spock’s words. “Captain.” He scoffed. He was no one, worthless, after his brother left, he ran off the rails and stayed there until Pike came along. And despite what Pike said, he knew if he ever made Captain, it wouldn’t be for a long time, if ever.

“A ship we must return you to as soon as possible.” Spoke said as he started to walk away.

Jim couldn’t agree more as he took a step to follow.

Something had led him to this cave and this version of Spock… but this Vulcan still wasn’t the Spock he knew just an echo… or the one he really had to get back too was far out of his reach.

 

-- -- -- <(-_-)> -- -- --

 

Jim really didn’t want to leave old Spock behind. He could hardly leave the Vulcan’s side, so the thought of leaving him behind on Delta Vega was not a pleasant one. But what could he do if the stubborn alien wouldn’t come… So he stood back letting the transporters take him away with Spock’s Farwell ringing in his ears, that sounded a little too final for his liking.

Then he was on the Enterprise and the sense of Spock flooded his mind. The relief was overwhelming for a moment as he closed his eyes, letting the need to find the stubborn Vulcan make his nerves tingle.

But it soon occurred to him he couldn’t smell the engineer. “Mister Scott!?” he called. Then it all went to hell as he tried to rescue the man that had got him back abroad the Enterprise.

 

-- -- -- <(-_-)> -- -- --

 

Jim couldn’t quite believe his luck that he was being taken to the bridge and not straight to the brig. And the more he got closer the more the dull throbbing pain inside him seemed to lessen.

Then those dark eyes burned into his own and Jim felt his heart flutter as the Vulcan strode towards him with purpose. But the damn alien didn’t even address him, instead turning attention onto Mr Scott.

His first attempt to make the Vulcan angry seemed to fail, and even he knew the jibes were a little childish. So as Spock was trying to get information from Mr Scott, Jim remembered what the Older version of this Vulcan had said, and his angle of attach changed, even as he took a step closer to Spock, he fought to ignore the need to actually reach out and touch the Vulcan, knowing that would only complicated everything further. But he couldn’t resist the attraction anymore as he stepped into the Vulcan’s personal space.

“What is it with you, Spock?.” He asked, finally having the aliens full attention as dark eyes fixed on him, “Your planet was just destroyed, your mother murdered, and you're not even upset.” Even he knew it was a low blow as he saw the aliens eyes harden.

“If you're presuming that these experiences in any way impede my ability to command this ship, you are mistaken.” Spock replied.

For a second Jim thought the Vulcan had actually outsmarted him, but there was a wavering of doubt that he knew wasn’t his own, but before he could dwell on that feeling his mouth decided to carry on speaking. “And yet you were the one who said fear was necessary for command. Did you see his ship? Do you see what he did?” He asked.

“Yes, of course I did.” Spock answered and Jim knew he had opened a crack in the bastards resolve.

“So, are you afraid or aren't you?” He taunted. The alien hadn’t blinked once as Jim moved a little closer, the urge to push his chest against the Vulcan’s was becoming more than need. But he couldn’t take his gaze from those damn eyes.

“I will not allow you to lecture me about the merits of emotion.” Now there was a note of anger in the Vulcan voice. Jim could also hear the warning in it, but he wouldn’t stop pushing.

The Shifter inside him wanted nothing more than to roll over and give it’s self to this being that infuriated him beyond reason. But the stubborn ness that had got him to where he stood right now against all odds would not let him back down. He had people to save and revenge to seek and he wasn’t going to give up on it now. Whatever the cost.

“Then why don't you stop me?” He asked challengingly.

“Step away from me, Mister...”.

But Jim was done listening to Spock, he couldn’t let him regain any of the confidence he had lost in their little conversation. “What is it like not to feel anger or heartbreak or the need to stop at nothing to avenge the death of the woman who gave birth to you?

Spock tried again. “Back away from me...”

But that was one thing the Shifter in Jim could not do, “You feel nothing! It must not even compute for you!” Yeah, he was going to far, but he couldn’t help but snarl our his next poisoned filled dagger. “You never loved her!”

Jim felt the moment Spock let his anger go, he hardly had time to register the Vulcan was about to attack him as he was filled with hatred and grief, all tinged with anger, anger at Jim, anger at Nero, anger that he couldn’t save his mother, guilt that he hadn’t been quick enough or strong enough to save her.

He only just managed to stave off the bodily attack as his mind tried to cut off the negative emotions coming from the Vulcan, but with every physical connection Spock’s emotional turmoil just kept knocking into him. Jim wasn’t used to shielding himself from the mental onslaught and it made him sluggish to defend himself. Never mind that the Vulcan was stronger than him when he was a normal human.

Yet again, for a nano second, he hated the collar about his neck preventing him from Shifting and pinning this bastard to the ground. But there wasn’t much he could do when he found himself pushed over one of the consoles as he clutched at his neck. At some point during the fight, Spock must have hit him in the throat, the bastard, and somehow he had broken the collar that was now digging into Jim’s neck and he couldn’t get his fingers under it to stop it chocking him. But that was until he felt Spock’s fingers digging into his throat, just under his jaw. And at that moment, all the fight left him as he held onto the Vulcan’s wrist and tried to breathe as Spock was trying to do his damndest to kill him.

Jim could feel it through the thin connection they shared.

Spoke was pouring all his negative emotions into him, and Jim was accepting them like the idiot he was.

His mission forgotten as he let go and just accepted what was happening to him. The Shifter inside him had won as it knew instinctively what Spock needed. And if that was dumping all his emotional strife into him, then Jim would take it.

Between one struggled breath and a cough, Jim pushed his own feeling back towards the Vulcan, letting the alien know he had surrendered in this, that he would take Spock’s violence and lose of control, that if he needed to kill him, Jim would not, could not, fight him.

For a moment, the violence turned into something primal and sexual. Jim felt his body responding to the vicious arousal that Spock’s own confused emotions were causing.

Jim closed his eyes as he felt a moment of possessive glee come from the Vulcan above him before it was instantly followed by a jolt of surprise, then instant guilt as the pressure around Jim’s neck instantly lifted, along with the emotional connection they had shared.

He struggled to get air into his lungs as he fought down the consuming lust that had taken him at the last moment. Carefully he sat up, watching Spock walk away from him, desperately wanted to reach for him, follow him, soothe the feeling of guilt and shame. But as Spock relieved himself of duty Jim felt his heart begin to sink.

He had a mission.

He might have just destroyed something he thought he would never have, definitely not with someone he had only just met, and not in the best of circumstances.

None of that mattered now.

He had people to save.

He HAD the mission…

He just hoped he would live long enough to see everyone on the ship, and Earth, safe.

Then, and only then, could he give up… in agonising pain, if the stories were to be believed.

He stumbled over to the Captains chair as he took command of the Enterprise. Then he felt Uhura come along side him.

“I sure hope you know what you're doing,” She said, and it didn’t take Jim much to hear her anger and pain. “Captain.” She spat his new title out.

“So do I.” He admitted at she walked away, once again his confidence plummeting. After all he was about to do something either really stupid or really heroic. But he com’ed the entire crew letting them know what he was going to do before signing off.

He tugged hard on the collar around his neck, pulling the broken thing off completely as he let it slip through his fingers to fall to the floor, forgotten.

He then noticed Bones stood close to his side.

“I don’t think we have any in stock.” Bone’s said softly as he gestured to his own neck, indicating the Shifter collar that now lay on the floor at the side of the chair. Jim gave it a glance, a part of his mind finding the symbology amusing, casting off his old life so easily, if only it was that simple.

“It’s okay.” He told his old friend with a smile. “I don’t think I’ll be needing it anymore.” He watched as the cogs worked in Bone’s face as he slowly realised what Jim was implying, He took a quick look over his shoulder where Spock had left. Before Jim found the doctor leaning down to him. “Are you serious?” He gasped.

Jim gave his friend a half smile and shrugged one shoulder. “We have a job to do.” He answered. He really didn’t have time to think about what the Vulcan would do once this was all over. He also couldn’t afford to figure out why he had instantly fallen for the alien. “Can you stop that…” He asked when he realised Bone’s was scanning him with a tricorder.

“It’s already affecting your internal organs!” Bone’s hissed. “Christ, Jim, your organs are failing.”

“I have time…” He growled, almost a question, mostly a prayer.

Bone’s hissed. “I have no god damn idea! But if you and that pointy eared bastard don’t sort this out soon, it’s going to be too late!” Then Bone’s went to touch him and instinctively Jim flinched away, earnings himself another sympathetic look. He had never had a problem with Bone’s touching him before, he was one of the few people who could touch him without him hating it.

“You’re in pain already.”

Jim gave a small nod as he looked away before he got to his feet. They needed a plan and he knew he needed everyone to try and find an answer.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Leonard watched his friend walk past him and his heart clenched with empathy for the young brash idiot that he called friend.

Not many people wanted to associate with a Shifter who wasn’t stupid, meek, bonded or submissive. Everything Jim tried hard not to be. Sure, when the twit got drunk he would cling to Leonard like a bur, once even begged him to remove his collar and Bond with him. He had been tempted for all of a drunken nanosecond before he pulled the young Shifter into his arms and snuggling together they slept off their drunken haze.

But to suddenly find out, when everything was going to shit, that his friend had gone and Bonded with the Vulcan that not twenty four hours ago, had been accusing him of cheating.

He looked back down at his tricorder. Jim’s vital organs were already showing signs of stress, even failure. Yet again, the urge to grab Spock and throw him in a room with Jim and lock the door was tempting. Forcing them both to consummate their Bond so Jim wouldn’t die from something so simply resolved, but nothing was simple when his young friend was involved. There was nothing he could do right now, but wait and watch his friend as closely as he could.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --


“You asked me once why I married your mother.” Sarek couldn’t help but remind his son how much he resembled his mother at times. “I married her because I loved her.” He tried not to show the emotion thoughts of Amanda caused in him. But at the moment he was struggling.

 

His son turned to look at him and Serak smiled, knowingly. “I can feel something’s changed with you… and Kirk.” It was thick in the air, despite all the numb horror he could sense from his fellow Vulcan’s onboard the ship, he could feel the bonds he shared with family also extending towards the young man Spock had just tried to kill.

Spock turned away.

Sarek carried on speaking. “He is a Shifter, as I believe you know. As I am also sure that Starfleet would not have been remiss in teaching you the laws when it comes to Kirks kind. And that as a Vulcan you are prohibited to even touch one, especially one that is unBonded. As I believe Kirk... was.” He waited for his son to react to his use of a past-tense.

Spock did not turn, but lowered his head, much like his mother was want to do when she was regretful about something. A most human gesture, but now it just made his chest tighten a little. He was still unable to explore his grief for the human woman who had given him a son to be proud of.

“I did not mean too…” Spoke finally spoke, his voice subdued.

“And I’m sure from your display and that of Kirk, on the Bridge just now, that he has not rejected you as a potential Mate?” He asked gently, this was not what he wanted for his youngest son. But even with their people at such low numbers. And T'Pring most assuredly lost with Vulcan. The others would not want Spock’s mixed blood and genealogy right now to help build their race. But Amanda had spoken hopefully of grandchildren. Even if she had survived, he knew she would never get it now from her son, and he felt another stab of grief threaten to surface.

“I do not think he is aware…” Spock started to say.

“He is very much aware.” Sarak cut off his son’s doubt.

Spock turned to look at him them, his dark eyes wide, displaying shock. But his son nodded, accepting his knowledge as his own. “His intelligence in astounding.” His son whispered. “I do not fully understand his human rashness or how he infuriates everyone around him while also gaining their loyalty…”

“Humans are illogical creatures.” Sarek answered. “But they are also fascinating.” His son gave him a half smile.

“I did enjoy Uhura’s company, I though…” He shook his head once. “She was calm and quietly intelligent… I assumed I might spend more time with her…”

“You have not thought fondly of her recently?” Sarek asked.

Spock’s gaze turned to the floor. Another human trait. “Not since I laid eyes on the human who hacked my training program, re-wrote it without noticed, then brashly acted as if he had done nothing… It had berly been forty eight hours since that incident… but I can not stop thinking about him…” He ran a hand over his eyes.

Sarek had heard human’s talking about ‘love at first sight’ it was an illogical concept, but Amanda had joked about it, but even she could not explain it without using words like, passionate and Romantic. But he surmised, that maybe he was seeing it in his son now, with a rare creature from Earth.

“Then maybe you should go and be with him.” Sarek advised. “If you have in fact Bonded with Kirk, then as I understand it, you need to be close to him, or he will suffer.” That got his son’s immediate attention as he turned fully to him.

“Explain?” Spock all but demanded.

“I have not studied this aspect of Human society,” He confessed. Humans were very reluctant to discuss the secret working of the Shifter customs, much like aspects of his own culture when it came to mating practices.  But what he had observed from Earth’s modern culture, he knew Shifter were highly sexualise once they were partnered with a Human, and that if they were separated from their Mate by distance they would be subjected to pain. He was not sure of how much distance was necessary. But Kirk had seemed very eager to get back abroad the Ship. “You need to be near him now.”

Spock tilted his head to one side, his eyes intense as he seemed to be thinking, then he gave Sarek a nod. “Thank you father.” He said respectfully. “I will speak with you later.” Then he was striding away.

Sarek watched him leave, knowing Spock would follow his heart, as he did when he left their home for Earth and Starfleet. And once again, he was proud, and confounded by his miraculous son.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Jim could hardly contain his relief when he had turned to see Spock come back onto the bridge. Just having the Vulcan within sight was a relief, but he knew he couldn’t let Spock go alone on their mad-cap mission… he couldn’t let the alien walk away again.

Now thought, as he stepped onto the transporter pad that would take them on their hairbrained plan to bored Nero’s ship, Uhura was now chest to chest with Spock and he couldn’t suppress the growl that rose from his throat as he made a step towards the woman who was touching his Mate, he could smell her attraction and for a moment all he wanted to do was grab her and make her disappear.

But one sharp look from his ‘almost’ mates dark eyes as he gently pushed Uhura away from him. That look, stopping Jim in his tracks.

“We will talk later, Nyota.” Spock told her, but only looked at her as he spoke her name intimately. Then he gave Jim a slight nod before stepping onto his own transporter pad. Jim did the same, his as he tried not to glare at Uhura.

“Energize!” he told Scotty as his vision clouded for a moment.

Then it was game on as they ran for their lives abroad the Narada.

 

-- -- -- <(-_-)> -- -- --

 

The pain when Spock took his older versions ship had almost been his undoing as the pain made him want to throw up, but being strangled, again, was not his idea of fun.

Then having to half carry and drag Pike to safety was hell on Jim’s senses until Bones took Pike from him. The only saving grace was that he felt Spock near him again as they both hurried towards the bridge.

But after Nero wouldn’t take his offer of rescue, and they watched the Narada sinking into the black hole, they had nearly lost everything until Scotty had saved their collective asses. And as they pulled into clear space he couldn’t help the relief they all shared.

His plan had worked.

The Enterprise and all her crew were safe.

Earth was safe.

He turned to look over his shoulder at Spock, receiving a smile from the Vulcan and he couldn’t help the laugh of relief with the rest of the crew. But his smile faded as his body seemed to throb with a dull ach, reminding him that it had been to long.

He smiled to himself, realising that he must have been a captain longer than his farther, and his ship, he glanced around at the cracks, was mostly intact.

Slowly he pulled himself to his feet, ready to hand over the chair to Spock. Despite all his recklessness, Jim knew when to call it a day, and he had pushed his body longer than it could tolerate.

He tried to turn and address the Vulcan when his world greyed out and he was going down, down into blackness and a place where there would be no pain, no fight to prove anything, no disappointment or repercussions. And for a change, he went willingly instead of fighting tooth and claw.

 

-- -- -- <(-_-)> -- -- --

 

Leonard swore as he heard Sulu’s panicked voice come over the comm.

/”Sickbay, this is the Bridge. Captain Kirk is unconscious, we need a medical team here stat!”/

“Go.” Captain Pike croaked at him.

Leonard gave him a hard look before he growled. “Is it a requisite of Captains to be stubborn fools?” As he then began to move towards the door, satisfied when he saw some of his colleagues already rushing away with a gurney.

“It’s in the job description.” Pick coughed at his retreating back making Leonard snort in amusement.

When he got to the bridge he couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Johnson was trying to get to Jim to put him on the gurney, but the stubborn Vulcan was having none of it, keeping the nurse away with a hand and a glair.

“Jack, step away.” Leonard growled at the poor man. Ignoring all the eyes that were watching the scene play out on the floor. “He won’t let anyone touch Kirk, and no one should be touching the captain anyway.” He sighed as he kneeled down and began to scan Jim with his triquater. As he suspected. Jim’s vital organs were hours away from shutting down completely, he already had a heart murmur and one of his lungs sounded congested.

Then he looked up and into the Vulcan’s dark eyes that were watching everything that he did as he held Jim against his chest possessively. Leonard would have preferred Jim to be laying flat and not crushed in the strong aliens arms. But he knew better. “You have quarter abroad the ship?” He demanded.

Slowly those dark eyes disappeared as the Vulcan blinked, then he gave a nod, “I do.”

“Great,” Leonard gruffed as he got to his feet. “Can you carry him?” He asked.

Without a word, Spock rose to his feet, easily pulling Jim limp body with him, where he then put one arm under Jim’s legs.

“Now, go to your quarter and do what needs to be done.” Leonard ordered, as he waved an arm towards the corridor. But the stubborn fool just frowned at him.

With a sigh Leonard began crowding the Vulcan towards the door, he had already heard a gasp from Uhura behind him, and knew there would be gossip running rampant the moment everyone’s adrenalin crashed and they realised Jim’s Shifter collar was still on the floor where he had discarded it after Spock had attacked him.

Once they were in the corridor he spoke again. “I’ll send what you need to do to your terminal.” He hissed quietly. “Jim is dieing and you’re the only one now who can save him!” he desperately wanted to reach out and touch his friend, but knew he couldn’t.

Spock didn’t say anything, just gave him a solemn nod before striding off like Jim weighed nothing.

With a sigh, and a sinking heart that he might not see his friend alive again, he went back onto the bridge to collect his people. But when the doors opened he was faced with a sudden hush as all eyes turned to him, and he tried to hide his grimace as he saw Uhura stood by the Captains chair, in her hands, Kirks broken collar. “Shit.” He muttered under his breath as he walked up to her. “Get back to Sickbay.” He told his colleagues, who quickly did what he asked, all of them casting looks at what Uhura still held.

“Is it true?” Sulu asked into the silence.

Leonard rubbed a hand over his face, knowing he couldn’t play his privacy card. Whatever happened, everyone was going to find out soon enough. “Yeah…” he answered to a collection of indrawn breath. “Spock and Kirk are Bonding.”

There was a sudden burst of whispers as the crew turned to gossip.

“Wh… when?” Uhura stuttered as she turned to look at him. Leonard couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She had just lost her boyfriend. But before he could come up with a response she held the collar out to him, “Was it when this happened?... When Spock attacked him?”

Leonard shrugged. “More than likely.” He answered quietly so he wasn’t overheard by the rising volume of gossip. “Vulcan’s and a few other species aren’t meant to come in physical contact with un-bonded Shifter because of their telepathy or empathic abilities.” He reached out and took the collar from her unresisting fingers. “All it took was one touch.” He said looking down at the damn thing, knowing how much Kirk had hated the things. He wondered now, if his friend would give anything to get it back.

“But couldn’t Kirk reject the Bond?” Uhura whispered back, her eyes fixed to the floor. “They don’t even know each other.”

Leonard just reached out and patted her arm. “That’s something I can’t answer.” He offered before turning and going to sickbay to send Spock all the information he had on Shifters and Bonding with one, and god knew how they would manage to get it on when there was so much grief on the ship.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Spock lean back in the chair as he let his vision un-focus from the vid-screen.

It had not taken long to read through all that the Doctor had to offer about the strange human, cat hybrid creatures. It was fascinating on an anthropological level, but that would have to wait for another indeterminate time.

According to the documents, Kirk’s own body would be failing him until such time as he was copulated with by the being he had Bonded to. And Spock knew that being was himself.

He had ordered the Shifter thrown off the ship in his emotional turmoil to get rid of the latest emotional inconvenience that he had neither the time or patience to deal with. But the moment of recognition and emotional response when he had finally laid eyes on the human again was – comforting. Despite everything, Spock was finding some semblance of calm in those impossibly blue eyes. But in all things, the calm had another side, and the human had goaded him into violence. Violence that towards the end was unbelievably sexual in nature. And without his father’s presence, he knew he would have taken what he knew as instinctually his on the floor of the bridge, or flipped him onto his belly and taken him over the console.

He looked over to the man sleeping in his bed. He could feel the man’s fatigue and pain, even though they hadn’t fully Bonded in anyway yet.

Spock looked away suddenly as he tried to feel for the slight Bond he had with T’Pring, but where the irritating itch had been, was now a saw wound, meaning that she would have perished along with Vulcan. The severed bond was not plesent to feel, but he never had any love for the woman, or she for him, but he had never wished her dead.

He mentally turned away from thoughts of what he had lost, logically, he had something to fix, mend, heal, and there was a deadline, literally, to it.

Slowly he stood and made his way over to the bed he had never used, in quarters where his belonging still sat in crates.

The man on the bed was pail, making the cuts and bruises around his left eye stand out in stark relief. He was also deathly still as he slept. The only movement was from his chest as he breathed.

With care, Spock found himself sitting on the bed at Kirk’s hip. With such close proximity, Spock could feel the Shifters exhaustion, knowing he needed the rest, but there was a pain Spock could also feel, that had a sickly tinge to it.

He reached out his hand, his fingers already in a position to touch the Shifters Meld points, but he pulled his hand back, fisting it. The Shifter was too fragile at the moment, and he couldn’t give his consent to the intrusion, which brought a flicker of annoyance to the surface of his own emotions.

Instead he laid his hand on Kirk’s shoulder and shook it slightly. Then his breath was caught in his throat as those stunning eyes blinked up at him.

He was lost to them, knowing in that moment, when it was just the two of them, that he would give his all, protect and cherish this strange being he now found himself tied too.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Jim felt his world rocked a little as he tried to drag himself from the blackness he had been resting in. where nothing hurt and he didn’t have to think about what an idiot he was, or have his empathy picking up on all the grief and sadness.

He opened his eyes finally to find his Mate looking down at him. Intense dark eyes seemed to be looking straight into his soul, and he instinctively relaxed, but he was reaching up a hand, hovering it centimeters away from Spock’s cheek, not touching. “I’m sorry.” He whispered, hearing his own voice breaking. “You’ve lost so much… you can walk away…” He tried to smile through his pain, trying to pretend the sacrifice wasn’t killing him… literally.

Spock had lost his home, his mother and god knew what else. And the last thing Jim could do to him was force him to complete the Bond, forcing them together for as long as he lived… He let his eyes drift up to the ceiling past Spock’s ear as a cold dread shot through him again. Spock could finish the Bond with some stupid sense of duty to something rarer than the whole Vulcan race now. And in so doing Jim would be left to pine after the Vulcan as he went about whatever life he chose for himself. There was no way Spock could possibly understand what this meant for him.

He managed to lurch up and roll away from Spock, and with an ‘oomph’ of pain he ended up on the floor.

“Kirk!” Spock’s voice called in concern and Jim could hear him coming around the bed, so he buried his face into the rough carpet as he held a hand up to stop the Vulcan advance.

He had tried once again to reject his connection to the alien, but it just ended up with a sharp pressure in his head that made him stop immediately, like a coward. He gritted his teeth knowing that whatever had linked him to Spock was not going to let him go now.

“You are in pain.” Spock said; close enough for Jim to flinch badly. “Would you not let me help you back onto the bed?”

Jim growled a pained laugh into the carpet. “Leave.” He managed as he closed his eye so tight it hurt just like everything else.

“I… I can not do that… Jim.”

Jim rubbed his forehead into the carpet in frustration. “You have to…” Christ it hurt to talk now, but his lungs wouldn’t stop pulling air in and his heart wouldn’t stop beating just yet, even if the rest of his insides were giving up the fight to stay functional.

Jim heard a rustle of clothes, then there was a hand on his shoulder and he wanted to sob. “I will not.” Spoke’s voice was now firm, just like the hand on his shoulder. “I have caused the pain you now suffer. I will do what needs to be done to end it.”

Jim really did want to cry as he moved his head so he could look up at the other being with one eye. “If you do that…” he tried to swallow, his mouth dry. “… then it’s for life… the rest of my life, anyway.” He managed a half deprecating smile. “I wouldn’t be able to leave your side… and I mean literally, maybe to the end of the ship, I’m not actually sure… It’s not far though.” His eyes were unfocusing as he began to babble, his mind losing grip on what he was saying. Another part of his mind compared it to being blinding drunk or incredibly tired, he couldn’t keep a hold on his thoughts for a moment. He waggled one of his fingers in front of his face, marveling at how numb he was feeling.

“Jim?”

“Spock?” Jim smiled as he managed to look up at his Mate, clarity finding him for a moment, then his eyes stung, he hardly knew the alien, how could you know someone in a few days, hours, really. They hated each other… didn’t he?...

“I have read the ships database about Shifters while you slept and I am well aware at what I have wrought, and the responsibility I now have to you.” Spock was speaking matter of fact. “Just as if your mind would not have accepted me, mine would not have accepted yours if I did not wish it on some unconscious level.”

“You don’t know who I am.” Jim uttered as his body relaxed to the floor completely.

“Or you, I.”

Jim was sure there should be humour in that last sentence, but he was beyond thinking much right now, but one thing did filter through his pain and crumbling self sacrifice. “Uhura… you had a thing with her?” He wasn’t sure if Spock said anything, but he got a very distinct feeling of regret as the hand on his shoulder grew a little tighter. “Sorry.” He repeated himself, letting his eyes drift close.

“It is not your concern, Jim.” Spock’s voice seemed soft. “But will you allow me to assist you back on to the bed?”

Jim twitched a finger of the hand that lay on the ground, and the next thing he knew his world was rocking as he was held against someone’s chest like a child, then he was being lowered, and what strength he had left he latched onto whatever he could. “Don’t…” he begged piteously.

“I will not.” Was the reply as Jim felt Spock lower himself to rest, tight, against his side. “You need to rest some more…”

Jim felt a moment of regret and frustration. He marvelled that he couldn’t hear it in the Vulcan’s voice. But there was a question.

A moment of panic swept through him, “I can’t.” He whispered his confession, terrified that if he closed his eyes again, it would be the last time.

How long had he been shivering anyway, it couldn’t be good.

“I will make you well again.” Spock’s voice spoke directly into his ear, which made Jim shiver in a more pleasant way as he turned his head to look at the Vulcan snuggled up at his side.

“I…” he swallowed dryly. “I’ve not done this before.” He whispered as he felt a hand grip his own. “Are we even…” He felt himself start to blush and it made him dizzy.

“I have had sexual contact with humans before.” Spock said, matter of fact, and Jim was sure he was being laughed at. “They have assured me I am compatible.”

“Was with girls?” Jim asked as his mind suddenly went blank and the pain from his body eased a little as strong cool fingers were wrapped around his wrist. The pressure growing stronger until he winced, but as soon as he did, the pressure eased.

“Is this helping?” Spock asked as Jim felt their foreheads touch and Spock was rolling up over the top of him.

“Yeah…” He managed.

“It said that holding your wrist or the back of your neck would help.” Spock was saying.

But all Jim could concentrate on was the cool breath against his lips, then he felt questing fingers at the back of his neck and he lifted his head a little, then he was aware of gasping in air as his whole world exploded in blinding colour. A small part of his mind that never seemed to stop assessing everything was acquainting the experience of Spock’s fingers digging into a spot, just below his skull, on either side of his spine; to orgasms he would give himself to stay sane. But this made them all pail in comparison.

His senses were filled with the being above him. Smell, sound, touch… and there was something more, something he had already felt, but this time he wanted it, needed that feeling. With a little effort he pulled his wrist that Spock still head, up to the side of his own face, pressing what he could of Spock’s fingers into the side of his temple. He whimpered, not sure of what he was asking for.

Then Spock’s fingers left his wrist and fanned out at the side of his face and as soon as the last digit touched his skin Jim found himself feeling a maelstrom of strong emotions that were not his own. There was confusion, bafflement even, but beneath all of that was an attraction, a need to touch, to claim totally and utterly.

Jim felt his body shiver with parallel emotions as he reached out to the need in the others mind, soothing and reassuring the chaos as he pulled it close, letting it enfold him. As the other mind settled a little Jim felt himself totally encased, and it was warm and for the first time in his entire life he felt safe.

He rested there for a moment as he observed the storm that was the other mind. He thought his own brain was a mess, but right now he was aware of Spock becoming frustrated with his own emotion.

He reached beyond his safe heaven, like reaching out his arm and tried to reassure Spock that it was okay to be a mess… a lot had happed in the last two days, it was fine to be sad for a time. But he felt Spock’s frustration. And physically he was aware of Spock growling over him.

Jim sighed as he retreated to his own new safe place to watch and wait. But after a short time he grew bored, so with a little mental and physical smirk he began to think about the last time he had had a chance to touch himself. It had been in the shower the morning before all this crap started, the water was just the right temperature, the soap just slick enough. He couldn’t recall the fantasy he had jacked off too, and began wondering if it was that guy from that show Bones liked to watch, or that green skinned chick… but his thoughts were suddenly cut off as his safe haven was invaded by a very disapproving Spock.

Jim got the distinct impression that Spock really didn’t want him thinking about anyone else while they were together. And Jim could feel the tendrils of violence drifting off towards whoever he had been fantasising about.

Jim found it funny, he was a little relived that it wasn’t directed at him for a change.

Slowly he settled down to smirking again as he once again recalled the thoughts in the shower he had been having, only this time he pulled Spock into it.

At first there was a moment of confusion and Jim felt Spock assessing the memory, then before Jim could find himself getting embarrassed. His memory suddenly incorporated Spock, pressing up, naked and cool against his back. And just as quickly it wasn’t just his memory anymore as it began to take on a tone of its own.

He felt Spock reach around his waist, one hand going up to his chest, the other sliding down his belly.

“Is this what you want?”

Spock was asking and Jim felt it and heard it with his ears.

He nodded mindlessly as he felt a cool hand touch his penis and his world dissolved into a mindless orgasm that was nothing like he had ever experienced before. It shattered through his mind until there was nothing left but the shared ecstasy.

He was aware he had screamed out his release, but there had been an answering roar above him.

Carefully, Jim found himself back in his own mind and body. And he was becoming aware of his surroundings.

Spock was on top of him, he was heavy and Jim was finding it a little difficult to breathe as he came down from his orgasm. But Spock’s face was pushed into the pillow besides Jim’s head and he was panting heavily.

Jim just lifted his arms to rest his hands against Spock’s heaving sides. But as he waited for his Bond Mate to calm himself, he was aware that he had come in his pants, he wasn’t even sure if Spock had even touched him physically, down there, and he rolled his eyes.

“Well this isn’t embarrassing at all.” He groaned sarcastically.

“It was not ideal, no.” Spock answered as he began to sit up, Jim was happy he could now breath, but he felt an icy shard of fear as his Mate began to pull away, it was gone the moment Spock reached out and took one of his hands in his own. “You need physical contact.” Spock said matter of fact, as he looked at their joined hands. “It causes you pain to be apart for now?”

Jim smiled as dark eyes finally looked down at him with concern. He shrugged, “I guess.” He answered before adding. “This is all new for me too.” He smiled. “At least one of us has some experience, but as much as I liked what we just did, I’d like to try it just on the outside too.” He watched as Spock cocked his head a little and a small smile touched his lips, which warmed Jim up from his very core. “But, err, not right now.” He winced, then he was almost breaking his own jaw as he yawned, shivering this time with the force of it.

“You are tired.” Spock said firmly.

And Jim found himself being picked up off the bed. “hoo, what?” he asked as he managed to get his arms around the Vulcan’s neck as he found himself being swept into the bathroom, then lowered onto the toilet seat.

“You need to be cleaned and redressed appropriately.” Spock was saying, as with one hand he started the water in the sink, then opened the cupboard over the sink and pulled out an unused washcloth. His other hand had not let go of Jim’s the whole time, and Jim wasn’t about to let go either.

He hadn’t tried to separate himself from his Mate yet, but the horror stories he had herd was enough for him to not try it just yet. He still felt fragile and so tired he couldn’t even help Spock take care of him.

He couldn’t remember the last time he had ever been so tired, or when he had relied on anyone else for anything.

Life had taught him well that he could rely on no one but himself; everyone had left him in the end. Everyone he was told should be his pillars of support, had all walked away, or he had run from them.

The first person to actually look at him as something other than an inconvenience or a Shifter, had been Pike, then a few day’s later, Bones.

Bones just needed a friend, someone who could put up with his sharp edges while simultaneously being willing and able to put up with all Jim’s own baggage.

Pike on the other hand wanted to see him become more than his tragic past, or the cat he could be or the trophy Shifters pet. Pike challenged him, wanting him to become a Captain of a star ship because he saw beyond Jim’s pelt to his intelligence no one else seemed to care about. And Damn it, Jim had liked the thrill of the thought of running around the galaxy commanding a crew.

So as he went though the Academy, Pike had mentored him, housed him in his own home when he wasn’t permitted to stay in Dorms. Despite the fact he had a collar; the Admiralty still wanted him Chaperoned to some degree. So as he grew closer to the two men who treated him as a normal human being. He had started to learn to rely on them, trust them.

Now though, he had someone else in his life. With a smile he looked up into dark brown eyes that were glaring at him and his smile faded, Spock looked angry.

“Do not think of other men while in my company…”

Jim blinked at the fury in Spock’s tone; he was sure he could also feel it on the edges of his own surprised and worry. “I was just thinking of Pike…” he whispered, reaching out his other hand to reassure his Mate when Spock growled deep in his chest. “He’s like a farther figure.” He tried to explain as he slowly realised Spock was jealous and he let his fingers touch Spock’s jaw. “Without him I wouldn’t be here.” He said softly as his natural empathy tried to reach out to the other being, reassuring him.

Jim watched as Spock put a hand over his own as he tilted his jaw a little for more contact and he seemed to soften a bit. “The other?” Spock asked.

Jim smiled at that. “Bones?” he asked, but when he felt a moment of confusion he clarified. “Doctor McCoy, I call him Bones. We met our first day at the Academy and he’s my best friend. He’s quite funny once you get past his rough edges…”

“Enough.” Spock said harshly and in such a tone that Jim tried to tug his hand away as memories of his step farther came into his mind, followed by all the crappy emotions of being scared and worthless, but before he could swallow them down and hide them behind a smile. Spock was on his knees and pulling Jim into his arms. “I apologise.” Spock was repeating into his ear as his hold became painfully tight. “I did not mean to scare you.”

Jim closed his eyes as he breathed out slowly, letting his arms come up to hold the Vulcan in turn. “You didn’t.” Jim whispered as he let the unresolved issues with his family fade into the back of his memories as he buried his face into Spock’s neck.

“I was jealous.” Spock was confessing.

Jim cracked a smile, “I know.” He assured his Mate, finding it surprisingly easy to share his emotions, especially when his empathy would cause crippling migraines sometimes if he wasn’t careful. It was also kind of reassuring to feel the Vulcan’s emotion in return. “I always though it would be weird being Bonded with someone.” He said his thoughts out loud.

“But we are finding it surprisingly easy.” Spock finished making Jim chuckle as he pulled away enough so he could look into his Mates eyes.

“Yeah.” Jim let his smile widen. Then he felt an unease coursing through the connection he had with the Vulcan and he let his smile fade.

“I was betrothed.” Spock said. The emotions Jim could feel were tinged with a strange sadness that was mixed with a sense of liberation.

“Uhura?” Jim asked. Why would Spock be relived over being with her? She was gorgeous, if a little waspish. But Jim was getting true regret from his Mate when he spoke the lieutenants name.

Spock shook his head, “No, though I know I will not be able to carry on my relationship with her.”

“Sorry.” Jim supplied, he did feel guilty and he wasn’t sure he could apologise to her for what had happened.

“You had nothing to do with it.” Spock said forcefully in a low tone. “If I had not let my emotions towards you overwhelm me, I would not have put you in danger.”

“You…?” Jim asked before his mind read between the words. “You liked me before you nerve-pinched me!?” He watched in fascination as a slight green tinge came to Spock’s cheeks. “But all you did was accuse me of cheating…”

“Which you did.” Spock said a little offended.

Jim just grinned but chose not to answer, he was sure Spock would feel his smugness over it, but he wouldn’t feel guilty about it. “But you still liked me?”

Spock nodded, “It is not often that I find a human with such intelligence to get around my programming.” Jim watched an eyebrow get razed, “Or one that had the audacity to pull it off, then gloat about it and think he wouldn’t get caught.”

“So you liked me at first sight?” Jim asked, as he matched Spock’s eyebrow with a half smirk.

Spock’s eye darted between his own for a moment and Jim found it fascinating before Spock gave a nod. “It would seem so.” He answered and Jim felt true waves of warm affection coming through to him, it was something close to what he got from Pike and Bones. But this was warm and all consuming as he mentally snuggled into it.

“As I was trying to explain.” Spock spoke after a few moment, letting Jim indulge himself. “I was betrothed as a child to… another Vulcan.”

“Humm?” Jim asked, he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear this, but he knew this was something Spock wanted to tell him.

“But she is gone now… She did not manage to escape the planet in time.”

“I’m sorry.” Jim said softly. He hadn’t really lost anyone or anything he truly loved before so all he could offer was his own regret.

“Do not be.” Spock said. “We never did like each other.”

Jim got the distinct impression that She hadn’t thought much of Spock.

“She was not impressed with my mixed heritage.” Spock answered his thoughts. “But I morn her passing… along with everything else I had known…”

Jim tightened his grip on his Mate. “He can’t hurt anyone anymore.” He said roughly, thinking about all that Nero had taken from them both, more so Spock.

Spock held him just as tightly for a moment before carefully pulling away. “I need to tend to your wounds and prepare you to rest.”

Jim let him go with a smile, but kept his hand against Spock’s side as he busied himself with getting the small unused med-kit under the sink. Then Spock was tending to the cuts around his eye, rubbing healing cream into the worse bits, as well as the bruises Spock had given him.

He had winced when Spock pulled his shirt off. The multiple bruises given to him by Spock and the damn Romulan’s were only just starting to darken and make themselves known. He wasn’t sure if the defensive ones on his arms from Spock’s fury, or the one across his chest from slamming into one of the walkways on Nero’s ship hurt more. Then he guessed it didn’t matter. “At least nothing broken.” He smiled up at his Mate, who was looking him over with a deep frown. “Hey.” He said loudly, trying to snap the Vulcan out of his guilt. “I’m tired here, and as much as I want you to look at me all you like, I really want to sleep.” He let the Vulcan feel how heavy he felt, his body was beginning to ach just to lay down.

Jim found himself relaxing as cool hands first washed his upper body with a warm cloth, then rubbed cream into his bruises. He wished it was a little more sexy, but he would take all the comfort and caring he could. After all, he wasn’t really sure what sexy entailed really, but he was damn sure it would be good.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Spock busied himself with the matter at hand, and at that moment, it was trying to support Jim as with his other hand he removed his, now, lovers Trousers and undergarments that had become soiled by their impromptu mating.

It didn’t take him long to clean up the mess Jim had caused, but he found himself frowning as he looked up at Jim as he chuckled to himself.

“I wish I wasn’t so tired.” Jim smirked at him, and through the mental link they had somehow formed, he could feel the humans arousal at his touch, but the flaccid penis he still held in one hand showed no signs of becoming engorged.

“I am sure there will be more opportunities in our future.” He answered as he stood to put the wash cloth into the laundry. “But for now, I need to attend to my own needs before finding you something to wear to sleep.”

Jim was waving his hand around in a human gesture of dismissal. “I prefer to sleep in the buff.” He answered and it took Spock a moment to realise what he was implying.

“That may be acceptable when you are not on a ship where you can be called away at any moment.” Spock tried to reason as he went through the inventory of his belongings. He would have a robe he preferred to sleep in, but he would just have to dress his lover in a uniformed undershirt and a pair of his own undergarments. He did not have anything appropriate to cover Jim’s legs.

“Maybe we can call someone to bring up something from stores.” Jim was musing as Spock began to pull his own soiled garment off.

Spock noted Jim’s use of the plural. “I have spare appropriate garments for us both.” He said as he began to clean the mess from his own genitals, “Everyone who is still capable will be working on repairs for the next five hours and thirty seven minutes.”

“We should be out there!” Jim growled, then Spock found himself forcing his lover back down onto the toilet seat.

“You will remain where you are.” Spock commanded. “You have mitigating circumstances. And as much as I would favour to be working at my station, I know I can not leave your side, and that you need time to recover.”

“But…” Jim said softly as Spock could feel the fight go out of the Humans muscles under his hands. “I should be helping…”

Spock took a moment to catalogue all of the emotions he was feeling from the Shifter, Guilt, self deprecation, a strange disjointed feeling of grief. “You need sleep.” Spock finally spoke as he realised how in need his Lover was for rest. “We will go to bed and I will wake us up before we reach Earth.” He then reached down and picked his lover up in his arms with ease.

He recognised the warm feeling of contentment within himself at having the other man close, and it would seem skin to skin contact was very satisfying.

“Not tired.” Jim was protesting. But as Spock laid him on the bed, Jim was already starting to relax.

Spock chose to ignore the statement for the obvious lie it was as he pulled the covers out from under his lover and put them over him, finally with a sigh or realisation that his robe was too far away to reach, he went and lay down next to his lover, pulling Jim against himself. Jim grumbled something before resting his head against Spock’s chest, then drifting off to sleep. His mind going a little dull as he did so. But Spock could still feel the colours and chaos that made up a mind so filled with brilliance and intelligence it never seemed to truly shut down.

As Spock found himself patting smooth blond hair, he let himself take the opportunity to truly assess everything that had happened in the past few days that had changed the cause of his life forever.

For a moment his irrational mind pondered if loosing the planet he grew up on and his mother was worth gaining the being he now held protectively close. His grief was deep, but his elation was irrationally high. The mix of emotions where strong and unwanted so he fought them back under control. He needed to meditate, to sort everything into rationality.

So he fought them all down with logic, knowing there was nothing gained by letting his emotions surface now, so he put them aside for later.

He would just rest until it was time for them to go back to the bridge.

From what he had read about the first days of Bonding, Jim might not be ready to be around people. They were beings that could not afford to be physical with normal people other than their immediate blood relatives, and from what he had read from his quick look through the cadets file, James Tiberius Kirk had very little to do with his Mother or Brother. So their transition from being a solitary creature to one that was suddenly dependant on another physically might take some adjustment.

With a slight shift of his body to pull Jim closer, he let his eyes close as his forehead touch the Shifter and he let his touch telepathy meld into his Mates mind completely.

He did nothing but observe as Jim entered a REM cycle. Spock couldn’t catch the dream, it was colourful, but soon became tinged grey as an anxiety set in darkening Jim’s dream. Spock didn’t like the thought of Jim being subjected to something Spock couldn’t protect him from. So quickly he began to project calm into Jim’s mind. There was a moment of recognition from Jim before his mind quietened and he slipped into a deeper sleep.

Spock found himself following and was soon sleeping soundly.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

“Spock…” Jim found himself laughing. “I’ve been dressing myself for years; I think I can figure it out.” He said as his Mate was pulling socks onto his feet.

“You are still exhausted.” Spock said matter of fact. “Also, before I woke you, Doctor McCoy has tried comm’ing me twice.”

Jim frowned as he looked over to the terminal on Spock’s desk. “What did he want?” he asked. Feeling his stomach clench a little with anxiety as he reached out needing to put a hand on his Mates shoulder for reassurance, which only made him grimace with annoyance. He didn’t like being needy.

He was about to pull his hand away when cool, strong, fingers pressed again his own.

“Your worry is illogical.” Spock said, but his tone didn’t hold any reproach and as Jim found himself caught by Spock’s dark eyes, he could feel the Vulcan pushing ‘calm’ and ‘Stillness’ at him.

“Thanks.” He whispered, giving his Mate a small smile.

Spock kept their eye contact for a few heartbeats more before he reached for Jim’s boots. “As to your verbal question.” He carried on talking and Jim took a dizzying moment as he remembered about Bones. “I do not know why Doctor McCoy was so adamant in contacting me.”

“He worries.” Jim grinned.  “He’s probably stood outside the door right now with a hypo ready to jam in my neck.” Then he winced, because knowing his friend, it was quite possible.

“I will be taking you to sickbay once we are ready to leave.” Spock said as Jim slipped his foot into his other boot. “I took the liberty of looking into your medical file after you collapsed on the bridge, only to learn how much harm I have caused you.”

Jim shook his head, knowing that he shouldn’t be shocked Spock had looked at his files. “I’m surprised you didn’t break my arms or break my neck.” Jim chuckled instead as he tried to look at the other side of his free arm, already knowing he was bruised beneath Spock’s borrows undershirt. Along with the ones across the rest of him.

“I am sorry.”

Jim felt like ice water had been sloshed through his insides as he looked quickly at his Mate who still sat on the floor at Jim’s feet, his head bowed, the only contact now was Spock’s hand lightly resting against Jim’s knee.

“If I had not been emotionally unstable, I would not have nerve pinched you to quickly resolve an issue I was not capable at that time to deal with sufficiently. I would not have forced this Bond upon you.”

The hand of Jim’s knee slowly curled into a fist as Jim picked up on his Mates self loathing. Quickly and instinctively Jim reached out to ease that pain.

He pulled his feet back as he slipped off the bed and straight into his Mate, Spock couldn’t keep his balance and ended up on his back on the floor as Jim pressed himself down on to Spock’s chest, tucking his head under the Vulcan’s chin as he held the alien down with his arms and thighs.

He took a couple of breaths to calm the discomfort the move had cause, while also being glad Spock hadn’t just pushed him off. And as Jim got himself settled, he realised Spock wasn’t moving because he had resigned himself to whatever punishment Jim was about to give.

Jim snorted. “I already tried to reject you.” He said honestly as he closed his eyes, feeling the body beneath him stiffen. “But it would seem since the moment I laid eyes on you in that auditorium, before everything went to hell; it was already too late for me.”

Jim felt Spock finally start to relax. “I… I could not take my eyes from you.” He was whispering. “From the moment you defeated my test through deception, I was unable to keep you from my mind.”

“Those thought’s nothing good?” Jim pressed with a little amusement, but instead he felt Spock’s chest rumble beneath him, then a hand on his lower back, pushing up his borrowed shirt to rest fingers against skin and then Jim was filled with warm affection, tinged with fond frustration and a confusing curiosity.

“Not so.” Spock had moved his head so he was whispering into Jim’s ear.

“I guess not.” Jim gasped as he tried to get over the strong emotions from his Mate. “I guess neither of us believe in ‘love at first sight’.” He chuckled softly. “But cupid shot us both in the ass.”

“I do not believe…”

“Shhhh.” Jim silenced his Mate, knowing he was about to say something about not being shot. “Let fate just have her way with us.” Then feeling his Mate become more confused. “It’s just a saying.” He whispered as he settled down as he wiggled his hands from the outside of Spock’s arms to the inside till his hands where under the Vulcan’s shoulders as he snuggled down a little trying to get comfortable.

He felt the hand on his back move to rest over his spine, while Spock’s other hand moved up his back until fingers ghosted over his neck in just the right place and his mind suddenly went still and his body relaxed into a boneless heap.

The Shifter in Jim giving over all control to his Mate. His body, his mind, open and susceptible to anything Spock willed of him.

The small part of his mind that could still function, was conshus that he had never given up control like this for anyone, and it was part scary and part liberating to do so.

“Fascinating.” Spock whispered as Jim felt the fingers just below his skull begin to flex.

Spock was experimenting with the pressure of his fingers as to how Jim would act. But it was also having an effect on Jim as he gave a small groan feeling his penis beginning to swell with interest.

“We have to report on the bridge…” Spock said, but Jim heared the quiver in it of hesitation as he was aware of Spock becoming aroused too.

Jim let his Mate know through his empathy, that he was quite willing to have Spock fuck him into the floor right here and now, rather than go out and face the galaxy. Spock was responding by pushing his hand from the back of his neck into his hair. Then Jim found his head being pulled up till he was looking directly into Spock’s dark eyes, then they were closing as Jim found himself being kissed. It was just a meeting of lips, but it was Jim’s first kiss and it sent a tingle down his spine. It went on for a moment longer, then a cool tongue was licking across his lips and he couldn’t help the chuckle at the ticklish sensation before that same tongue was inside his mouth. He let Spock do as he pleased before tentatively trying to push his own tongue against his Mates.

He was just getting used to it; in fact, he was enjoying it thoroughly as Spock kept leading the encounter, his hands carding through Jim’s hair or across the bare skin of his back. Jim felt Spock’s muscles beneath him begin to bunch and he made himself ready to be flipped onto his back when there were a huge bang against the main door.

He tensed instinctively, making all the aches and pains suddenly make themselves known as nausea rushed through him. He was aware of being moved, it didn’t matter how carefully he was being handled he was in pain.

“You must calm yourself.”

Jim focused on Spock’s voice, wincing as he tried to get his equilibrium back.

“Enter!”

Jim buried himself against his Mates chest as he felt another presence enter the room, he wasn’t in any shape to entertain right now. He was still off kilter with the Bond being so new and he despised showing any kind of weakness in front of anyone, from experience, weakness made people hurt you. And god damn it he wasn’t worthless!

“You are safe.” Spock’s voice was telling him. “I or Doctor McCoy will always value your worth.”

“What the…”

Jim flinched away from his friends voice as Bones came closer, but Spock’s arms tightened around him protectively.

“What happened.” Bones was asking.

“You happened.” Spock replied in a very disapproving tone for a Vulcan which made Jim chuckle a little.

“What’s that supposed to mean!” Bones barked his usual cranky self.

“We were doing just fine.” Jim said as he relaxed against his Mate, finally opening one eye to peer at his friend. “Then you banged on the door…”

“And that means you’re both on the damn floor with you in pain?!” Bones demanded as he began to wave a tricorder around, peering at the readings.

“Well.” Jim decided he liked it where he was, resting against Spock’s chest. Spock was right. Bones had been the only person who he felt he could be himself around. “We were down here for more interesting reasons.. but we were interrupted quite rudely by a mother hen…”

“Mother HEN!” Bones spluttered, before recovering. “Well this mother hen is about to tell you that you are improving and your organs arnt about to shut down and kill you!”

“That’s a relief.” Jim smiled at his friend.

“He is injured by a multitude of bruises and contusions.” Spock said. “He is also experiencing stiffness and muscle pain, as you have just witnessed.”

“Don’t tell him everything.” Jim groused. “He liked guessing.”

“YOU think I like guessing when I wish you would just tell me what wrong before you fall over!” It was a usual argument between them. “Does he have anything that I have to be concerned with?”

Jim wanted to feel a little annoyed that Bones was talking to Spock and not himself. But realized quickly it was going to be part of his life now. He was even aware that he was accepting this new Shifter Bond with such ease, it would be worrying if it wasn’t so natural.

At his realisation he felt a echo of his epiphany from Spock, though Spock’s did contain a spatter of nervousness, which even Jim recognised as understandable.

“I do not believe so.” Spock was telling Bones.

“Fine… I brought a painkiller shot with me, and something to help with the bruising and soreness…”

Jim watched as he pulled out a damn hypo, then rummaged around in the small bag he had also brought to produce another. “I’m guessing you wont let me anywhere near.” Bones was saying as he held out the two hypos to Spock.

“Correct.” The Vulcan offered as he took the offending object, then placed one down on Jim’s leg as he prepared the other.

“Just put it against his neck, then press the button… that’s it.”

Jim let out a small flinch, expecting the hard jab that always accompanied Bones’s administrations of the damn things, but all he felt was a little discomfort, then the pain was gone.

“Don’t go too easy on him!” Bones admonished Spock. “Or he’ll think they don’t hurt and he wont be so careful with all the stuff he’s allergic too!”

Jim glowered at his friend as Spock prepared the second hypo and injected him with it, again there was no pain. “Bones.”

“Yeah, kid.” Bones was laughing at him, even if he only had a smirk on his face.

“He’s doing the injecting from now on!” He said raising his hand to point at his Mate.

Bones shook his head as he grind. “You just keep telling yourself that.” then the Doctor was getting to his feet. “We are about to enter Earths comm range… Are you ready to make an appearance on the bridge?”

Jim was just about to push himself up, when Spock suddenly moved, and standing he lifted Jim into the air at the same time.

“You are still stiff.” Spock told him before he could protest. “I will assist you to the turbo lift. You may proceed from there to the Captains chair where you will be seated.”

Jim opened his mouth, then closed it as he cast a glance at Bones, who just shrugged at him with a big smile on his smug face. “Fine.” He conceded. “But can I get something to eat?” He asked as he rubbed his belly. “I can’t remember the last time I ate.”

“Sure.” Bones said as he started to leave Spock’s quarters. “Let’s stop at the mess hall to get something. Earth can wait for a report from you. It’s not like we are going anywhere fast.”

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Jim chocked down some chicken soup and half a ham sandwich before he gave up completely.

He had hated being carried to the Mess hall, even more the looks he was getting from the crew that they encountered. They all grated against his empathy.

The general feeling of relief and elation was prevalent in almost everyone they encountered. But beneath that was curiosity, some smattering of humour, not all of it friendly.

Some people didn’t like the idea of a Shifter in a position of power. Despite the fact that most Shifter’s were taken into hiding at the start of the Eugenics wars, the few the scientists managed to enslave had proved useless. But that didn’t stop the social stigma of anything that was considered a genetically altered human being dangerous. And were as Shifter’s had always been considered dangerous when in cat form, or when their Mate was threatened. But on the most part Shifter’s were mostly seen as passive and controllable. Which Jim knew didn’t help others think of him as a captain of a starship.

On any other day, he would stand up to them all and prove he was more than capable of leading the crew. He had fought people’s low expectations of him ever since he had run his dad’s car off a cliff.

But today he felt fragile and exposed. Like he had so many time when he was a little kid.

And he hated it.

He just wanted to go back to Spock’s cabin and hide for a day or two. Even the Shifter classes he had been forced to attended in his youth taught him that it was too soon for him to be out if he felt he should still be hiding, or ‘seclusion’ as the Registry like to call it, and as he recalled, it could be damaging to the Bond he was forming with his Mate.

“I am here.” Spock was suddenly leaning into him and whispering in his ear, as a hand wrapped around Jim’s wrist and squeezed lightly. Jim felt a sensation of calm wash through him as Spock’s fingers gently massaged the tendons on the underside of Jim’s wrist, forcing the Shifter in him to accept it and relax.

As he looked down at their hands together, he remembered others trying to use his wrist to control him before. Thinking that the Shifter weakness would and should work for them, and it did for a split second before the feeling of revulsion would over take him and he would start flying with fists. Only his mother and brother had ever been able to control him that way and that had been years ago. He looked up to make eye contact with the person he had met only three days ago. The person who he was told he should trust, told he could be friends with. Even if the person who told him that was an older version of the being he now called Mate.

He gave Spock a smile as Spock suddenly looked at him with a razed brow and a touch of curiosity coming through Jim’s empathy.

“We can talk about it later.” Jim promised as he pushed his chair back and started to stand. He was lucky Vulcan’s had quick reflexes or he would have face planted the table as he lost all strength for a split second.

“Damn it Jim, you need to be in bed!” Bones, as always, had his tricorder out. “Your organs are still recovering, never mind all the physical damage you’ve taken.”

“Is that your medical opinion?” Spock was asking as Jim just rested against him, he was hoping in a manly way, and not in an ‘I’m gonna throw up’ way.

“Yes!” Bones snapped.

“Then we…”

“We will go to the Bridge!” Jim growled as he tried to stand on his own two feet. “I need to take command and report to Starfleet.” He patted Spock’s chest with the back of his free hand. “Then you can both do what the hell you want with me.” He promised, surprising himself as he really meant it. But hoped he wouldn’t be made to regret it.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Spock stood besides his captain, one hand lightly resting on Jim’s shoulder, his other tucked behind his back in a fist.

His hand on Jim’s shoulder had at first been because lack of physical contact still, illogically, caused Jim discomfort and a modicum of pain that would leak through the Bond with most unpleasant affects. But now, after the Captain had reported back to Starfleet, Jim was becoming alarmingly fatigued, and Spock’s hold on his shoulder was the only thing keeping him upright and alert.

“I will be expecting reports at my terminal as soon as you and your crew have the time Captain Kirk.” Admiral Banks said, and even Spock could see the weary compassion of which she spoke. “We will send what help we can to your location.”

“Thank you Admiral.” Jim said and Spock felt his fondness towards her, as well as a familiarity he did not comprehend. Admirals didn’t normally associate with cadets, or at least not enough to form such close acquaintance.

Admiral Banks paused for a moment before she closed the connection between them. “And I will let Jonathan know you’re okay. Admiral Banks out.”

Then the screen went blank as Jim chuckled to himself.

“You are familiar with her?” Spock found himself asking as a moment of an emotion he wasn’t common with prevailed his censes, it took another moment to name, and the recognition came from Jim, who was looking up at him with a small, tired smirk.

Jealous.

He had a moment of jealousy.

“She was talking about Admiral Jonathan Archer.” Jim answered him, instead of drawing attention to his momentary emotional laps. “Chris introduced us.” Spock got a vague image of Captain Pike. “He would drag me to dinners and throw me at all the people he was trying to avoid.” A fondness of memory suffused Jim’s mind, like a soft glow in the dark. “I tripped over one of Jonathan’s dogs, so he makes me come by his house once or twice a month for dinner and to walk the dogs.” Then Jim waved a hand to indicate the ship. “It’s why I always wanted the Enterprise. All the stories he keeps telling me about his adventures abroad the first Starfleet flag ship Enterprise... And then she was Chris’s.” Spock was now looking down into eyes bright with determination, and for a second, Jim’s mind was as focused and sharp as any Vulcan’s, if not more so. “I want her, Spock… I want her and I want to keep her as long as I’m able.”

Spock blinked at the conviction in his Mate’s voice, and instantly he knew he would do everything in his power to see Jim had his desire.

Jim gave him a smile before his eyes closed and his head tilted till his cheek rested against the hand Spock still had on his shoulder.

“Your duties are now complete.” Spock affirmed, but he didn’t raze his voice, not wanting to rouse Jim into any more excitement. “I will take you to Sickbay.” Jim gave a slight grumble of protest before Spock felt him slip into a fatigued sleep. “Mister Sulu, you have the conn.” He spoke to the pilot, who Spock noted looked tired. “Also arrange a rolling shift change. We have six point three hours until the first ships arrive; I want the bridge and engineering crew off duty first to have a five hour rest period.”

“On it commander!” Sulu replied as he turned back to his terminal to arrange Spock’s orders.

Spock then picked up his Mate carefully and turned to leave the bridge, pausing when he found Uhura stood by the doors he was about to exit through. Her body language and the determined set of her delicate facial muscles told him she was about to engage in a conversation he had wished to delay until both he and Jim could separate physically.

After all, two day’s ago, he and Nyota had been in a romantic liaison. That side of their relationship was now void. Vulcan’s were monogamous by social constructs, but divorce was not uncommon. But from what he had learned, Shifter mated for life to one individual and loss of that Mate by any means would cause the Shifters imminent death. A fact he ascertained, most humans would be versed in.

He gave her a slight incline of his head as he walked past. He needed to get Jim to sickbay. He still was not happy with his Mates physical health. He was sure Jim had the same stamina as the rest of the human crew, so for him to need constant rest did not feel natural.

He was aware the lieutenant was still following him as he entered the quiet but full sickbay. He was saved from having to enquire as to Doctor McCoy’s whereabouts when the man came up to him, and without a word indicated for Spock to follow him. Which Spock did, allowing himself a little curiosity as to where the Doctor’s sharpness had gone, and surmised it must be due to fatigue along with the rest of the medical staff and crew.

“Put him here.” Doctor McCoy indicated a medical bed around a corner from the rest of the sickbay. It was not secluded, but offered a modicum of privacy, a fact Spock was thankful as he laid his Mate down carefully, taking special care not to let Jim’s head fall back against the mattress, and if his hand lingered in the soft blond hair for a moment, well, he would swear that it was to make sure his Mate remained asleep. But before he removed his hand from Jim’s head, he made sure to take his hand.

He stood quietly besides the bed as Doctor McCoy performed his examination.

“Well, he’s still improving, so I guess his organs wont fall over right this second.” the Doctor said in a gruff manner before he looked up at Spock.

Spock noted the Doctor assessing him again, before the human shook his head.

“I have no idea what he was thinking.” Doctor McCoy said as he brandished his medical tricorder at Spock’s chest as if it was a phaser. “But if you cause him any pain…”

“I would not.” Spock stated, a little affronted at the very thought, until he saw the doctor’s skin darken and his scowl deepen. He did not need to touch the human to know he was remembering the attack he exerted on the being he could, or would, never hurt like that again. “I will not.” He amended firmly as he tightened his hold on the warm limp hand he still held. He was not about to tell the Doctor that he would probably kill anyone who harmed his Mate from now on.

The Doctor glowered at him a bit more. “Yeah… well that remains to be see… but I’m telling you now that if you ever try to mind fuck him, I’ll put you in a medical induced coma so fast all you will have to wonder, is why your neck is stinging!”

Spock tilted his head to one side as he looked at the man who claimed to be one of Jim’s friends. “It depends on your definition of ‘Mind fucked’.” He said, watching in satisfaction as the human in front of him reddened further. “Do you mean actually physical intercourse? Or the human slang to mean ‘harm’?” He watched in satisfaction as the Doctors eyes widened considerable. “We have already shared minds on a most intimate level that was most satisfying. If you were implying physically, I dare say the feat would involve medical intervention and be most unbeneficial for both parties.” The Doctor began coughing as he turned away. Spock caught spluttering that were insulting the colour of his blood and his ears.

“Maybe I’m worrying about the wrong person!” The Doctor managed after he had calmed himself down.

“If you have finished here, I would request to take him back to my quarters for further rest.” Spock ignored the implications.

Doctor McCoy waved his hand in a stay gesture. “If you will let me touch him, I want to set up an IV for an hour or two with saline and some antibiotics he can tolerate.” The Doctor turned away.

Spock felt a pang of anxiety at the thought of another touching his Mate, but he was not medically trained to perform the procedure.

“I’m going to have to remove his shirt.” Doctor McCoy intruded into his thoughts.

“No…” he replied, maybe to quickly as he looked back at the rest of the sickbay, noting some eyes looking in their direction, Captain Pike from his own sick bed and Uhura’s being the most noticeable. “I…”

McCoy’s deep sigh made him turn back. “I can put it in the back of his hand.” The Doctor said as he reached for something on a tray he had put together. “Lean over the useless sack and hold his hand for me… unless you have an objection for me touching you?”

Spock did not have a problem with holding Jim’s hand. He also had shields against any mental transference from the other human. So he leaned over his Mate and held Jim’s other hand, then withstood the doctor as he manipulated his hold to his satisfaction. Then the doctor was pushing a needle into Jim’s skin.

Spock tried to remain calm, but the sight was making him want to knock the humans hand away as he felt his Mate sture in his sleep, meaning there was discomfort in the act.

“Just attacking the bag… Okay, I’m done; you can stop growling at me now.” Doctor McCoy informed him. “Once the bags are empty, call me and I’ll see about kicking the pair of you out of my sight!”

Spock gave him a nod as he righted himself and moved his hold to Jim’s other hand as he reached out, running his other hand from the top of his Mates head down to his warm cheek where he let himself linger.

“Are you Bonded with him as he will be with you?”

Spock tried not to flinch as he heard Uhura come up to the end of Jim’s bed. He moved the hand from Jim’s cheek to the small of his own back as he turned a little to face his former lover. “From what I have had the time to study about Shifter’s. My response would have to be, yes.”

Uhura took a step closer to him, “But you don’t even know him.” she said. moving her eyes to Jim. He wanted to step between them, but found it impractical when his hip bumped the edge of the bed.

“No…” He affirmed. The look in her eyes was one he had come to identify as hurt. He had been very fond of her; she was strong and knew her mind, knew what she wanted and how to get it. She was also what his mother would class as beautiful. And, apart from her insistence at a romantic relationship, she had been more than patient with him. So, with the fond regard he had once had for her. He would at least be as honest as he could. “But from the moment I witnessed him pass the Kobayashi Maru test…”

“Cheated.” Uhura murmured.

Spock chose to ignore the truth in the word he had used himself. “I was intrigued as to how, a mere human cadet could not only reprogram, but hack into the system in the first place.” He said lowering his tone so he would not be overheard, not even by his own kind still present in sickbay. “I was not allowed to question the human myself.”

“Because he’s a Shifter…” Uhura finished his sentence in realisation.

“Yes.” Spock answered. “I did not even have clearance to view his cadet files. Other than his name and rank, it was stated that any and all inquiries were to be directed through Captain Christopher Pike, or through the Shifter Registry.”

Uhura nodded as she rested her hands upon the footrest of Jim’s bed.

“I did not have time to do either before I brought up the charges of miss conduct.” He could not resist moving his gaze to his Mate’s face. “J… Kirk has used a human vernacular of, ‘love at first sight’, to explain our immediate connection… I can not provide another axiom that would be more accurate. However illogical that might be.” He looked back up at his former lover. “I regret that I was not able to conclude our relationship in a more ideal situation.” He tried not to notice the tears in Uhura’s eyes.

“Is there such a thing as ideal when someone brakes up with you?” She asked with a slight smile as she raised one hand to wipe at the tears, Spock was sure, she would not shed here and now. Then she was looking down at Jim again, the smile still on her lips. “I thought he was just a stupid hick when I first saw him, then his intelligence annoyed me… but… he still managed to make me laugh.” Her eyes came back up to Spock’s, and he held them willingly. “I know he’s going to drive you out of your mind.” Her smile lost its brittle edge as she talked and her dark eyes brightened with it. “But I don’t think you’re ever going to be bored with him around.”

Spock frowned, the way she phrased it, it did not sound like something positive.

Uhura gave out a small chuckle as she held her hand over her mouth. “It was fun while it lasted.” She said as she stood straight and faced him straight on, then she bowed slightly to him. “I hope you are both very happy together.” Then she turned on her heals and strode from sickbay, her hair swishing behind her.

“I always liked her.”

Spock spun as he realised Jim must have woken at some point during his exchange with Uhura. The annoying thing was he hadn’t noticed. “You should be asleep.”

Jim tried to raze the hand with the catheter in and winced letting out a small cry as his attention turned to it and he tried to reach for the needle with the hand Spock still held. “Bones!” he cried as he kept trying to tug his hand free from Spock’s hold, to no avail.

“It is antibiotics and saline… you will refrain from trying to pull it out.” Spock informed his Mate. Then Jim was struggling to sit up. “Stay as you are.” Spock told him as he reached for the bed controls and began to raze the top of the bio-bed, only stopping when he could feel his Mate satisfied with his current state of being upright. “Satisfactory?” Spock asked allowed.

“No.” And Spock was sure his Mate was what his mother called ‘pouting’. “Come around this side.” Jim said, tugging on the hand Spock held.

Spock saw nothing objectionable with the simple request. Even though it meant a lot of stretching for him to get all the way around without them letting go of each other. but once he was on Jim’s right side. His mate began tugging at his hand again.

“What are you trying to achieve?” Spock asked, perplexed at the wriggling his Mate was doing. But Jim went limp with a sigh.

“I’m trying to get on my side so you can sit down with me.” Jim said tiredly. “But I’m guessing from you hoofing me around like I weighed nothing, that Vulcan’s have superior strength to humans?”

“You are correct.” Spock clarified. “We also have superior hearing, sight and smell.” This seemed to amuse his Mate.

“Just wait till I Shift.” Jim chuckled as he rested his head back against the bed. “I’ll be a match for you then!”

Spock frowned. “I still have not seen you change into your other form.”

Jim started to fidget again. “Help a guy out here.” He said, “I need more of you closer.”

Spock could not deny the request, so after a few moment he had pushed Jim to the furthest side of the bed, then pulled him onto his side, where the human made himself comfortable with bent legs and arms. And finally Jim demanded Spock sit on the bed in the hollow made by Jims body and legs, facing him. It was not the most comfortable position. But being more in contact with his Mate, even through clothes, was most satisfactory.

“See, isn’t this better?” Jim asked as his eyes began to close.

“It is satisfactory.” He answered as he recalled the memory of them in his bed together while he placed one hand on Jim’s shoulder, the other cradling Jim’s hand with the canula.

“That’s not fair.” Jim said, as Spock found himself looking into one narrowed amused eye, before it closed again and Jim rolled against him a bit more. “Sorry… didn’t realise I was such a snuggler.” Jim murmured softly.

“I do not find it objectionable.” He replied as Jim’s mind once again became quiet as he slipped into sleep.

--

After twenty minutes of observing his Mate breathing in his sleep, Spock entered a light meditative state. The pull of Jim’s quiet mind and the stresses of everything that had happened recently, was enough to make him rest recklessly in the security of sickbay.

--

He wasn’t sure how long he had been lost in his own thoughts when he was hyper aware.

His first reaction was to his Mate. Jim was moving. Their Bond issuing Alert, fear, protect and attack all coalesced into a violent focus. That focus happened to be Nurse Kim.

As Spock took in the scene, Nurse Kim was snatching her hand to her chest as she started to back away, a look of horror on her face.

Then Jim took Spock’s attention back as his Mate was growling, a sound that was coming from deep in Jim’s chest as his free hand was making grabbing motions towards Nurse Kim. There was also something wrong with Jim’s hand, but before he could try and register what that was, Doctor McCoy was rushing into their area.

“What the hell!?”

“I think I accidentally touched him.” Nurse Kim said weakly. “I didn’t mean too.”

“Get out!” Doctor McCoy snapped at her. “NOW!”

Spock watched her go, as Jim tried to lunge after her, almost toppling them both for a moment, Spock wondered at Jim’s sudden strength as he fought.

“Hold him still!” Doctor McCoy yelled at him as he began to prepare a hypospray.

“I am endeavouring to do so.” Spock replied as he managed to get a hold of Jim’s wrist, it was slippery with red blood from where he had ripped out the catheter. But the pressure Spock was applying to his Mates control point was having very little affect.

“Stop him from Shifting!” McCoy yelled as he was still struggling with his medical instrument.

Spock frowned at the comment as he managed to get a hold of Jim’s other wrist, and squeezed, knowing he was putting more force into it than was medically safe. But the urgencies in McCoy’s voice heightening Spock’s tattered emotions.

Jim had quietened though, but as Spock looked up into his Mates eyes he couldn’t help but take an indrawn breath of surprise.

The blue in Jim’s eyes had bled out the white completely and were the pupil should be round; it was now a thin slit of black in the bright lights of sickbay.

Then McCoy was jabbing something into Jim’s neck.

Jim let out a yawl, at which point Spock noted the pronounced canine teeth. Then, it was like it had never happened as Jim regained his normal features, and promptly collapsed against Spock’s chest with a slight groan.

Spock had no hesitation in holding Jim against himself, in fact, it pacified his need to pick the sick Shifter up and carry him out of sickbay and away from all the prying eyes.

“Cant a… guy… catch a… break?” Jim asked, though his voice seemed slightly slurred.

“No.” Doctor McCoy was growling. “Were you trying to damage yourself?!” He was almost yelling now. “You lied to me! You didn’t get Doctor Rizzer to help you last month did you? No! I have an urge to put a damn collar on you right now you flea ridden bag of matter fur!”

“I don’t…”

Spock noted that Jim was finding this whole exchange amusing, but Spock could not see the humour in it. “Please refrain from insulting my Mate, Doctor.” He said pointedly. To which Jim gave a weak chuckle that soon subsided as Spock found Jim relaxing against him more.

“Now you see here…” The Doctor’s face was turning red, a sign in humans of embarrassment or anger. Spock assumed the latter.

“Bones.” Jim was whispering, but it managed to influence the doctor enough he instantly quelled. “You know how busy I’ve been.” Jim carried on. “I was going to ask you to help me the day this whole mess went down… I knew I would be okay... I guess not.”

“Just go and get it seen too.” The Doctor said, his voice now a normal tone. “Your vitals improved some what. So the sedative I just gave you shouldn’t last too long.”

The Doctor was about to put his hand on Jim’s shoulder, but Spock intercepted it and knocked it away as softly as he could manage. The Doctor gave him an opened mouthed stair, but he did not have another outburst of emotions.

“Please explain what has not been done.” Spock said, he had not understood the conversation.

Jim moved against his chest a little, but Spock was reluctant to let him move away, but the human soon settled. “They take the Collar I was wearing…” He gestured to his throat vaguely with his unbloodied hand. Spock had wondered why the Cadet was wearing a non regulation item that had covered the back of his neck into his hairline and only tapered some to under the chin. It had looked hard. And when Spock had been emotionally compromised and had his hand around the thing Jim wore, he had been satisfied when he heard the thing crack beneath his fingers. “… and take it off once a fortnight so I can Shift for an hour.”

“If he doesn’t…” the Doctor cut in. “He can get stuck in his Shifted form. Or if he gets startled his body will try and force a shift, which could chock him if he was wearing a Shifter collar or great harm if he’s wearing normal human clothing that wont give if he Shifts… which is why he’s now got a Shifter tranquiliser in him, because he was startled and didn’t have the sense not to stay human!” The Doctor was now looking down at Jim and chastising him. “Which is an extremely stupid move!”

“I concur.” Spock affirmed. He did not want Jim to harm himself. “I will endeavour to make sure he… Shifts… as much as possible.”

He felt a sharp form of surprise and pleasure come from his Mate, along with a scence of relief Spock didn’t quite understand.

“Also… Is there another form of dress?” Spock inquired of the Doctor, after his remake about ‘normal’ human clothes. He had not been privy to any other.

“You’re gonna have to go buy a new wardrobe.” The doctor was grinning as Spock felt his Mate groan. “Also, requisitioning a whole new set of uniforms.”

“Stop!” Jim groaned “They are gonna be pissed with me as it is… and you know it’s gonna take weeks after this mess…”

Spock felt his Mate suddenly become still, both physically and mentally as his last words died away in the silence of their corner. Spock understood his Mates blankness all to well. So he tightened his hold, something his mother would do for him when he was very young, before he discouraged her human comfort.

“Yeah… Well, get out of here you two.” McCoy was saying, his voice deep and rough. “Spock, make sure he Shifts as soon as you gets back to your quarters…. I’ll send another transmission home for you, about your uniform.”

“Thanks.” Jim said softly.

Spock knew it was his cue to pick up his Mate, who seemed boneless in his hold, and he started to leave.

“One moment Mr Spock!”

Spock tried not to grimace when Captain Pikes called out. “Yes, captain.” Spock said instead.

“Are you okay?” Jim asked Captain Pike from Spock’s arms.

Spock reluctantly moved to Captain Pikes biobed, making sure Jim would be able to look down on the other human without straining himself.

“I was about to ask you the same thing.” Captain Pike smiled at Jim.

Spoke felt a moment of apprehension and a little embarrassment from his Mate before he answered. “I’ll be fine…” Jim said as Spoke found Jim glancing up at him. “I guess that’s a we now.”

“I can see that.” Captain Pike answered with a knowing smirk. “Spock?”

“Yes, Captain.” Spoke replied.

“You look after him.” There was a hint of warning in the Captains voice.

Spoke was distracted as he felt a wave of unease come from his Mate, which made him once again look down into blue eyes. “I endeavour to do just that.” he said with conviction, more to his Mate than to the question asked of him.

“Ugg, Dismissed.” Captain Pike said as he lifted a hand to wave them away. “I will talk to you both later.”

“Captain.” Spock replied as he began to turn.

“Don’t tell Jon!” Jim said as they moved away.

“Fine.” Captain Pike called as Spock walked from the sick bay.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Jim just wanted to sleep as Spoke placed him down on the bed, but he could feel the lion inside himself yearning to be free. The moment in the sick bay as he went after the nurse had awoken his Shifter and he needed to feel his fur.

He bit his lip as Spock was already taking his shoe’s off. “Can you undress me?” he asked quietly. Hating the need to ask this of the Vulcan, but he could hardly lift his own head, never mind pull his borrowed shirt over his own head.

“I am endeavouring to do so.” Spock’s clipped reply came from his feet.

“I mean everything.” Jim clarified. “Bones was right…” he sighed as he felt Spock pause. “I need to Shift.”

“Will it cause you distress?” Spock was asking as Jim felt him carry on removing his clothes.

“Only if I don’t.” Jim chuckled softly as he tried to ignore the fact his Mate was trying to remove his pants. “But…” he closed his eyes. “It’s been years since I was allowed to stay Shifted for more than an hour or so…” The last time had been before his brother had left. His mother never liked to see his worthless Shifted form, and his step father was scared of him, so he soon learned never to Shift near him.

He gasped and opened his eyes when he found himself being pulled up and against Spocks chest. One of Spock’s hand had gone to the back of his head, holding it tight against his shoulder. “Spock?” he whispered as he brought his own hands up to rest against the aliens back, perplexed at the sudden reaction.

“If you wish to change… I will never stop you.” Spock was saying into his ear with a ferocity Jim had never heard used in his defence before, by anyone.

Jim smiled, unsure how to respond to such emotions. “You can’t promise never.” He said reasonably.

“I will endeavour to do so.” Then Jim felt Spock pulling him away from his shoulder, enough so that Jim was looking into intense dark eyes, mere inches always from his own. “Will you show me your other self?” Spock whispered against his lips.

Jim couldn’t help but glance down at those lips. “Umm…” So many people had asked before, a hunger in their eyes of one form or another. He found himself looking back up into Spock’s eyes. “Sure.” Never before had anyone, except for his brother, had he ever been willing to do it when asked. “I still need to be naked though.” He smiled trying to hide his embarrassment.

He watched Spock blink slowly, then the Vulcan was pulling away and in a short amount of time, Jim found himself naked, sat on the side of the bed with the fully dressed alien.

He gave his Mate one last shy glance before he leaned forwards while Shifting, and before his hands hit the floor, he landed on all four paws.

He gave a growl of discomfort as he shook his mane out. He really had left it too long without Shifting, he felt stiff and his fur itched a little. As he stretched he also couldn’t help the yawn that stretched his mouth open fully. Then he flinched when he felt hands sinking into his mane. He whipped his head around to find Spock looking at him, a look on his face Jim couldn’t even pretend to understand, that was before a tendril of something seeped through their forming Bond.

It was an old Grief, tinged with guilt, but there was also a fondness.

Jim gave a grunt of curiosity, which seemed to snap the Vulcan out of whatever memories he had been in. Then he was pulling his exploring hands away and Jim moved, missing the lose.

“Apologies… I should have asked permission.” Spock said as he folded his hands on his lap. At some point, the Vulcan had sunk to his knees while Jim had Shifted.

Jim huffed in frustration that he couldn’t speak in his Shifted form. So instead he shuffled so he was facing his Mate. And slowly he lifted his right paw and placed it atop Spock’s clasped hands, then gave out another huff, trying to project that he had quite liked Spock’s hands in his fur. But Spock just cocked his head at him. So Jim removed his paw and turning his head, he lowered his neck till his fur touched Spock’s hands.

Jim couldn’t help a little contented huff as once again long fingers carded themselves into his mane.

Jim had only really let his brother touch him in such a way. Others had tried, but it had made his skin crawl as bile rose in his throat. But now he knew what they tried to teach him in Shifter School. That the touch of his Mate would be welcomed, and welcome it he was. Much to his own surprise.

He closed his eyes as those hands that sent zings of pleasure through his body were soon moving up to his ears. He flicked his ears at the ticklish touch and laughed the only way his Lion form could, with huffs. Then his jaw was being held as thumbs rubbed the sides of his mussel. He opened his eyes then to find Spock looking at him, a slight smile on the Vulcan’s lips.

“Amazing.” Spock said reverently as his eyes seemed to be taking in ever stand of fur in Jim’s face.

Jim was sure that if he could blush in this form, he would, then one hand was being stroked up over his brow and back into his mane. “I know you have taken on the form of an Earth lion.” Spock was saying. “But somehow, irrationally, you remind me of the pet I had as a child.”

Jim blinked, from what little he knew of Vulcan’s. He never imagined that they had something as frivolous as pets.

“I-Chaya was a Sehalat… resembling an Earth bear.”

Jim snorted, he had been called many things, but never a bear and he wasn’t sure he liked it.

“Sahalat’s are very fierce, intelligent and brave creatures…” Spock whispered, as if answering Jim’s disapproval. “Much like I have been led to believe Earth Lions to be…”

Jim blinked at that as he felt a fondness come from the being in front of him. It was a light touch, like a light breeze running through Jim’s soul. He closed his eyes so he could feel it better, but as he did so, Spock began pulling his hands back.

“You are exhausted.” Spock said, his tone raised to a normal level, any emotion that might have been there gone. “Will you be sleeping in this form?”

For a moment Jim was baffled by the question, he hadn’t slept as a lion ever since they strapped a collar about his neck when he was a kid. But as he looked down at his paws, he was a little taken aback by the fact he really did have a choice. He looked back up at his Mate, but he couldn’t see any hint of disapproval at the idea, but neither was there approval. So, without thinking about it he just nodded his head.

“The bed will not be adequate for us both.” Spock was saying as Jim watched him get to his feet.

Jim felt a bolt of anxiety go through him, the bed really wasn’t big enough, but he couldn’t not sleep next to his Mate. But it seemed his fears were unfounded as Spock began pulling the sheets from the mattress.

“If you would move aside.” Spock asked him, so Jim obliged as he moved out of the way as Spock began laying out the bedding on the floor. “Will this be sufficient?”

Jim shrugged, it would still be a tight fit between the wall and the bed, so he moved in to sink down to his belly at the wall, resting his head on his forepaws as he watched Spock begin to remove his own clothes.

The Vulcan was very quick when it got to being naked Jim observed, and it wasn’t long before the Alien began laying down at his side.

Jim looked into the dark eyes, that hadn’t really looked away from him the whole time. Then Spock was reaching up a hand to rest on his mane. But it wasn’t enough, so Jim leaned forwards and licked his tongue across cool lips cheekily before rolling onto his side, his back pressed against Spock’s chest. He smiled to himself when he felt an arm force it’s way under his head, as Spock’s other arm reached over his shoulder till his hand was resting on Jim’s chest.

With a huff of breathe, Jim closed his eyes and let exhaustion pull him into sleep.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Spock meditated as he held his sleeping Mate.

Normally he would have prepared, as he always had, in solitary to meditate, but as he felt Jim’s quiet sleepy mind through the hold he had on the lion, he found it surprisingly easy to slip into his meditation.

But that only lasted five point three hours.

He had let himself drift into Jim’s dreams as the human drifted into his REM cycle. And he found himself running alongside his Mate as he ran free through fields of crops, or across dusty plains. There was a joy in the act that seemed to calm them both. But Spock didn’t let it break him from his own calm thoughts, just let it play through until Jim once again entered a deep sleep.

He slowly came out of his meditation as Jim came awake and aware.

“You should sleep a little longer.” Spock informed him, he was aware humans normal sleep patterns were from seven to eight hours.

Kirk began to move under his arm, and soon he was looking into strange blue eyes.

Spock got the impression that Jim was wishing him a good morning. “It is not yet morning.” He answered, which only got him a snort from the large cat at his side. “I do not find the humour.”

Then he once again witnessed Jim turn from a lion into a human. The process seemed at least twenty nano-seconds faster than it had previously. The process was still fascinating. Bone and skin seemed to morph like water over rocks, he was aware of his irrational romanticised notion of the transformation, but anything more analytical seemed inappropriate.

“But I’m awake now.” Jim was smiling at him.

Spock watched Jim look away as a slight blush came to the humans cheeks and he couldn’t help but reach out and touch them, amazed that they were actually a fraction warmer. Then he was aware of blue eyes looking at him and he found himself glancing down at full lips, they were slightly open and he couldn’t help but put his hand around the back of his Mates head, pulling those lips towards his own.

They were soft and warm beneath his own, he let his hand slip down over soft hair till his fingers pressed against the spot on his lovers neck that gave a little and sent the human beneath him arching up with a gasp.

The urge to meld again was strong, but he resisted, wanting this coupling to be a pure physical experience, knowing on some level that it was also what his Mate needed.

--

Spoke took a moment to come down from his orgasm.

He had taken his time with his Mate, mapping every inch of Jim with him mouth or fingers. Finding the places that brought out soft gasps or throaty groans. He had only paused when he had to retrieve lubrication from the bathroom, making sure he was within Jim’s line of sight as he did so. Then he had stretched and prepared his Mate, eventually flipping him onto his knees and moving in behind.

It had been the right move when Jim was eventually pushing back against him, groaning out his pleasure.

Spock was now laying atop his Mate’s back as he pulled air into his lungs, his hands still gripping Jim’s tightly, pinning him thoroughly to their impromptu bedding on the floor. He licked his teeth, tasting a metallic copper.

In his moment of release, he had bitten the back of Jim’s neck. As he looked now he could see his own teeth marks, still bleeding. He felt a smile of primal satisfaction come over him, remembering the way his Mate had screamed out his own release as Spock had bitten him. but it was soon replaced with guilt. He had mindlessly harmed his beloved.

He quickly pulled himself from deep within Jim’s body, making the Shifter groan as he fell to his side limply. Making Spock surge forwards to brush damp blond hair from his Mates face. Jim was covered in perspiration; his eyes seemed to be looking at nothing as he carried on panting, his whole body seemed limp.

“Jim?” He asked, worried his loss of control had harmed his lover more than just the bite he had inflicted.

Jim blinked once, then Spock was caught by blue eyes that looked up at him. “We are SO doing that again.” Jim gasped his breathing still irregular, a slight smirk on his swollen lips. “And we are gonna do it a LOT!”

“I hurt you…” Spock said numbly as he moved his hand from Jim’s check, over his shoulder to just above the damage he had caused.

Jim flipped a limp hand at him, “pfft… that was almost the best bit.” His smile had widened as his eyes once again lost focus. “Will it leave a scar?”

Spock frowned as he actually moved over his Lover to look. The marks were deep. “I do not know.” He confessed, noting the bleeding was slowing. “I am positive that the medical staff will be able to eradicate any scarring left…”  Suddenly Jim was pulling away as one of his hands came up to cover the wound.

“No.” Jim said vehemently. “I don’t want that… I… I…?”  

Spock did not like the look of insecurity that passed over his Mates expression, and he reached out to lay a hand on the arm that Jim still had up, protecting the wound at the back of his neck. “Please calm yourself.” He said. Recognising the small part of himself that was satisfied Jim did not want to have his mark removed, even if another part of himself did not want to be reminded of his more baser instincts. Surak’s teaching would not approve of such emotions. But Spock couldn’t deny how right it felt with the rare human before him right now. “It will still need tending too, nothing more.” That got him a small smile as Jim slowly let his hand fall away from his neck. Only to intertwine their fingers together.

“Thanks.” Jim said softly.

Without thinking to much about it, Spock found himself tugging on their hands as he pulled Jim up against himself, folding his arms around the stocky frame.

 

-- -- -- <(-_-)> -- -- --

 

“Bones… Please, I’m fine.” Jim was saying as Spock stood patiently at his Mates side as they stood in Hanger one.

Once a passenger ship had come within range, they were ferrying their wounded and the Vulcan refugees aboard for quicker passage to Earth, as the Enterprise limped back on its own.

Jim had insisted on seeing everyone off, and Spock had not resisted, even though he knew Jim was still not comfortable with being out in public. But Spock had also wanted to speak with his father before he left.

He saw his farther walking toward one of the shuttles and quickly turned to his Mate. “Can you spare me for a moment? I wish to talk to my father.” he asked.

Jim looked at him, then gave a hesitant nod as he squeased their hand before slowly letting go.

Spock leaned in, kissing the side of his lovers mouth. “I will stay within your sight.” he whispered for Jim’s ears alone before walking away, hearing doctor McCoy muttering about something derogatory.

“Father.” Spock called to his fathers retreating back. But when the man turned, he was obviously Vulcan, but Spock did not have the same psychic scene he shared with all Vulcan’s. Through there was something of blood with this man, it was not one he shared with his father, older brother or cousins… It took him a moment to realise the Vulcan stood before him felt like looking into a psychic mirror or sorts. There, but not.

“I am not out father.” The other Vulcan replied and Spock realised he was in fact talking to an alternate, and much older, version of himself. “There are so few Vulcan’s left, we cannot afford to ignore each other.”

With that, Spock suddenly realised why Jim had seemed so open and familiar with a mind meld. His older version had initiated such a contact, and as Spock let his mind filter through those memories, he gleamed the whole fragmented story from his lovers perspective.

“Then why did you send Kirk aboard, when you alone could have explained the truth?” he found himself asking.

His older version smiled. “Because, you needed each other. I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together.” He said, “Of a friendship, that would define you both, in ways you cannot yet realize… or maybe you can now.” The other Vulcan’s smile widened a little.

Spock chose not to comment on his relationship as it now stood with the human. But something else irked him. “How did you persuade him to keep your secret?” he asked, keeping his emotions from his tone. He did not like the thought of being lied too, but quickly realised he had not had the time to ask the right questions. He would resolve the matter soon.

“He inferred that universe-ending paradoxes would ensue should he break his promise.” Replied in amusement.

Spock didn’t like the other Vulcan thinking his Mate was stupid, but he couldn’t believe his older self would become so immoral. “You lied.” He stated.

“Oh, I... I implied.” The other Vulcan replied.

“A gamble.” He tried to reason out the duplicity.

“An act of faith. One I hope that you will repeat in the future at Starfleet.”

Spock frowned. He hadn’t had time to give it much thought. But he replied with the most logical answer he could come up with. “In the face of extinction, it is only logical I resign my Starfleet commission and help rebuild our race.” But he couldn’t help looking over to where he could see his Mate, doctor McCoy still stood at his side. Jim was talking to some cadets who were part of the wounded contingent being transferred to the passenger ship. He was already aware of how his Mate would be reluctant to leave the Enterprise, never mind Starfleet all together. The duelling thoughts and emotions were enough to give him pause.

“And yet.” His older self interrupted his thoughts. “You can be in two places at once.” He said knowingly, “I urge you to remain in Starfleet…” and Spock saw him also glance over to Jim for a moment. “Though I strongly assume that will not be a problem.”

Spock had a moment of jealousy, knowing that this other being had been inside his Mates mind before himself, even if it was irrational, as it was himself, but a self with different memories and experience. The paradox was enough to give him want to meditate for a long period.

“I have already located a suitable planet on which to establish a Vulcan colony.” His older self was saying, his attention once again on him, and not his Mate. “Spock, in this case, do yourself a favour. Put aside logic. Do what feels right.” And his tone was tinged with something Spock couldn’t quite place, maybe sentimentality, or more disturbing, lost opportunities. Had this version of himself never actually knowing his James Tiberius Kirk the way he himself now did? But before he could form a question, the other Vulcan was already turning to leave.

“Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say good luck.” He said, giving a salute. Which Spock gave back automatically as the other Vulcan walked away.

Spock watched him bored the shuttle, still caught among his own warring thoughts.

“Spock?”

He turned to see his father coming up to him.

“Father.” He greeted. “I had wished to see you before you departed.” He said, remembering his original reason for leaving his Mates side.

“I saw you talking to the Ambassador.” His father stated.

“It was most enlightening.” Spock replied.

“Much.” His father acknowledged with a hint of sarcasm, something Spock had not heard from his father before. “He was aboard one of Starfleet’s rescue ships who managed to rescue more of our people.” He said. “He sought my audience while you were indisposed.”

Which brought Spock back to his original reason for seeking out his father. “I wish to introduce you to my Mate.” He said matter of fact.

His father gave him a nod. As they moved back to where Jim was talking to Doctor McCoy and the engineer who had boarded the Enterprise with him.

Once he was close enough, he reached out a hand, needing to connect physically with the man, instantly Jim turned to look at him, a smile on his handsome features and a wave of relief through their Bond, they had been separated to long so he moved his hand to the small of his lovers back, moving in close to his side.

“Jim. I wish for you to meet my father.” He said, turning to the Vulcan at his side. “This is Sarek, Vulcan ambassador to the Federation. Father, this is Captain James Tiberius Kirk, my Mate.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Jim said and to Spock’s revelation he actually pulled off a perfect Vulcan salute, which his father returned.

“Live long and prosper, Captain Kirk.” His father greeted.

“Thanks.” Jim responded, and Spock could feel his awkwardness.

“I have heard it is you that helped facilitated in the rescue and evacuation of Vulcan before its demise.” Sarek said.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t quicker.” Jim replied and the guilt in their Bond had a bitter taste to it.

But before Spock could reassure his Mate his father spoke again. “My people owe you a great debt Captain Kirk, one we hope to repay one day. Without your quick insight the Vulcan race would not have survived. Even diminished as it is, we have a chance to rebuild we would not have had if not for you.” Then his attention moved from Jim to Spock himself. “Once we are settled, I would hope you will both visit… I am thinking Koon-ut-kal-if-fee is not necessary?”

Spock couldn’t stop the embarrassment at his father mentioning such a thing, especially in public with human’s present. “I do not believe so, no, father.” Spock responded as he felt Jim leaning a little harder against his side.

“And to other things?” His father asked vaguely.

Spock knew he father was referring to Pon Farr, and he fought down another shard of embarrassment. But the blood fever had not come upon his yet, if it ever would. “Not for the foreseeable future, if at all.”

His father gave him a nod; Spock’s mixed heritage meant there were a lot of unknowns. He might aspire to be a full Vulcan and could live like one. But his mother’s blood would always come out in the most unpredictable ways.

“I am expected aboard the shuttle.” His father said as he took a step back. “Captain Kirk, welcome to the family.”

“Oh, yeah, thanks.” Jim gave his most charming smile and the shock of joy he was releasing with his own empathy, Spock was sure all Vulcan’s in the hanger could feel.

Spock noticed an imperceptible smile on his fathers own features. Then he was giving another salute. “Farewell.”

Spock returned the gesture. “Live long and prosper, father.”

Then he watched his father striding away.

“What’s it feel like to meet your father in law?” Doctor McCoy was asking, amused by something Spock didn’t understand.

“Slightly odd.” Jim answered. “What’s ‘Coonun cal if fee’ anyway?”

“I will explain later.” Spock said stiffly. Letting his embarrassment and displeasure of discussing it in public seep through their Bond.

“Oh, is it something sexy?” The engineer, Mr Scott, said with a leer.

“Sounds more like marriage to me.” Doctor McCoy growled disapprovingly.

“Marriage!” Mr Scott said pointing between Spock and Jim. “I heard you two got Bonded or something… this mean we get a party? Only I need to find some whisky if there is!”

“Let’s just get home first.” Jim was chuckling. “We still have to face the registry… and see… what we do from there.”

Spock didn’t like the unease coming from his Mate.

“I’ll be invited though?” Mr Scott was insisting.

“Sure.” Jim laughed, “I think everyone on bored can come.”

“Can I be excused?” Doctor McCoy grumbled.

“Not a chance in hell!” Jim’s mood was lightening as he talked to the Doctor. “You will be my best man.”

Spock watched the doctor glare at Jim, before McCoy rolled his eyes and began to smile. “Sure kid… Oh look… injured people, excuse me.” Then he was walking away.

“Will there be a free bar?” Mr Scott was asking enthusiastically. “And sandwiches?”

Jim was laughing now. “For you, Scotty, anything!”

Spock was uncertain why such a food should be cause for such amusement, but before he could answer, more injured were coming through that took his Mates attention to other topics.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Spock sat besides his Mate, quietly reading his data-pad. He was scrolling through Jim’s medical records that doctor McCoy had hastily sent to him. This was the first opportunity he had found to actually study and commit everything to memory. And he was diligently. It was a list of everything his Mate was allergic too, from food, to dyes, right down to household chemical components. Along with each allergy was a list of symptoms and how to treat them in order of severity. At some point in Jim’s history, it had been found that some allergies could be nullified by him Shifting into a lion. Others were the Shift would allow urgent time for medical assistance to be sought.

The most interesting fact was that when Jim was Shifted, his tiger was immune to all his human allergies.

“Do you have to read that now?” Jim asked from his side.

“This is the perfect opportunity.” He answered.

They were sat in the San Francisco Shifter Registry. An old building set four point five miles from the Academy.

After they had returned to Earth space, and the Enterprise taken into dock for repairs, the entire crew had been interviewed and questioned about what had happened.

The whole of Starfleet was still reeling from its lose of ships and the greater loss of trained personnel and cadets that had all perished in the attack on Vulcan.

It had been devastating for his Mate to find out that the only people to survive the rescue fleet had been on the Enterprise. Any escape shuttle or pods, destroyed by the Narada or in Vulcan’s destruction.

It had been an intense two days, the only rest and personal time was when they had been allowed to retreat to Spock’s quarters. Where the nights were spent sleeping on Spock’s narrow bed.

The time had at least allowed Jim to become more comfortable with being around people again. Something that pleased his Mate.

“I agreed to visit Jon after this.” Jim was saying and Spock found himself reaching out one hand to stop Jim’s knee from nervously jumping up and down. “Then we have to go over to Chris’s place so I can get my stuff.” Jim said as he plucked at his borrowed shirt. “I don’t mind wearing your stuff, but I would like my own clothes.”

Spock frowned. He had taken a modicum of pleasure with his scent surrounding his Mate. But knew, rationally, that it was not always practical.

“Do you think there will be room at your place for all my books?” Jim mused as his knee began to jump again.

“Books?” Spock enquired as with one hand he shut his data-pad down, turning his full attention to his Mate and his irrational nervousness.

“Yeah…” Jim said distractedly. “I like real books, it’s the smell… and I like turning pages.” He shrugged to himself, then his blue eyes were looking at him, a daggers edge of self-deprecation coming through their Bond. “Stupid, hu?”

Spock squeezed the knee beneath his hand. “If you find pleasure in it, then no, it is not, as you say, stupid.”

Contentment spilled from Jim as Spock watched him bow his head a little, then blink up at him through his lashes. “Thanks.”

Spock felt lust warm his belly as he leaned toward his Mate. Pleased when Jim’s eyes opened wide, then he was kissing his Mate. It was still a pleasure to feel Jim submit to him.

“Mister Kirk, Spock?” A woman’s voice cut into their moment of passion.

Spock suppressed a growl as he pulled away from his Mate.

“Lets get this over with.” Jim was laughing as he began to stand up, pulling Spock with him by the hand.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Jim yawned to hide his annoyance. He could see Spock sat across the hall from him in another room. Having his own interview by the registry staff.

He knew they had ancient tech that could force the Bond he had formed with Spock apart. Or so the rumours went. It’s what he had been on edge about all morning. Only the kiss Spock had given him, less two hour ago had settled his nerves.

“So you believe your interest in Commander Spock happened when you saw him as he was accusing you of cheating?” Mister Oki asked. Jim really didn’t like the dismissive tone the Shifter Registry staff member had. He had heard of Bond’s forming over less.

He shrugged. “It formed when he nerve pinched me.” He answered, once again looking back over to his Mate. “Which just proves how good them god awful collars are.” He muttered sullenly, smiling when his Mate looked over to him.

“So he forced contact with you?” Mr Oki demanded.

“Look.” He said, turning his attention back to the wiry man sat across the table from him. “It might only have been a week…”

“Five days.” Mr Oki corrected.

Jim ground his teeth. “Five days… but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

“From what we have learned you were both under a lot of stress.”

“So?” Jim answered sullenly. It wasn’t something he hadn’t thought himself.

“Did you try and reject him?” Mr Oki asked.

Jim sighed deeply as he looked at his hands, hating this man for making him doubt. “Yes I tried… but nothing happened… I…” He fisted his hands on his knees. He remembered his own empathy reaching out to Spock’s chaotic emotions, the need to sooth him had been almost overwhelming. Could a Bond really be formed on the back of such devastating tragedy?

“Vulcan’s are naturally telepathic.” Mr Oki was saying. “They are forbidden from having contact with un-Bonded Shifter for this reason. And as his race is now endangered, would he not want to help repopulate his species. A fact he can not do while Bonded to you?”

Jim closed his eyes. “He’s the best thing that ever happened to me…” he whispered. Desperately trying to blot out the uncertainty, they had discussed this.

But he couldn’t keep his step-fathers hatful voice from snidely entering his thoughts, corrupting them, twisting them into distrust and paranoia. Was he so desperate for someone to love him that he had misunderstood everything? Had he finally done something so unthinkably selfish and dragged Spock into it with himself?

He was well aware that he would have children by now with who knew how many woman, all hoping to get a Shifter from his geans. The registry had taken enough sperm from him before he joined Starfleet to populate a world. So the thought of children had never bothered him. He just wanted his ship the moment Chris Pike had suggested such a thing. And he had worked hard for it…

But what if Spock wanted to go back to his people? They hadn’t talked about it yet. They hadn’t had time to talk about much of anything.

He would have to give up everything he had worked so hard for if Spock wanted to leave Starfleet. The Shifter in him would deny his Mate nothing, even if it shattered his dream.

But could he let Spock be with another? Even if it was only for children? Even contemplating what they had forced him to do for years, leaving deposits in jars, made him sick to the stomach.

“Are you the best for him?” Mr Oki’s disdainful voice broke through the turmoil in his thoughts.

‘No.’ his step-fathers voice sneered at him inside his head.

Jim felt something cold stab through his heart like an icy dagger. He gasped at the physical pain of it as he clutched his chest with both hands. He opened his eyes to find his vision had gone black around the edges as he looked down at the table.

Then cool hands were on his face, forcing him to turn his head as it was tilted upwards.

He gasped again when he felt Spock’s mind touch his own, quickly replaying the last two hours they had been separated by distance.

“Calm yourself.” Spock’s composed voice reached his ears, that moments ago only heard the sound of his own frantic heartbeat. “Your aspirations parallel my own.” An image of himself sat in the captains chair flashed into his mind from Spock’s perspective, and the feeling of pride came with it. “At your side.”

Jim wanted that. Wanted his ship. His Captaincy. His Mate by his side. A Mate that had given him a freedom that only Bonded Shifter got to experience.

But what was he giving his Bonded in return, the poisonous thought shattered through him.

He felt exasperation sweep through him. Then foggy fragmented images of another time, another him and another Spock. Or Spock realising too late his true feelings for the human he called friend, of emotions he had tried to eradicate and ignore for so long, by the time he realised them, his Jim was already gone, and the grief was overwhelming. Then suddenly the images were cut off.

‘But I’ll do that to you… eventually!’ He thought into the void of his joined mind with his Spock, who’s cool hands pressed against the skin of his face hard.

“Will you deny me the time our other selves never had?” Spock sounded distressed.

‘We aren’t them…’ He tried desperately. Needing to believe, but not quite managing it.

“No.” Spock confirmed as Jim felt their foreheads being pressed together. He tried to blink the fog from his eyes, but realised tears had been obscuring his vision. “We will be together.”

‘But…’ Jim’s traitorous mind tried weakly, recalling the last thing Mr Oki had said to him.

He felt a bitter amusement come from his Mate. ‘Being a half breed, I am sterile.’

Jim felt shock go through him, as he managed to finally look into dark brown eyes mere centimetres from his own.

‘I was tested a long time ago.’ Spock confirmed. ‘It was one of the many reasons my betrothed did not consider me for mating.’

‘She was a purist?’ He asked.

‘Indeed.’ Spock answered. “Now, will you calm yourself?” he asked allowed. ‘I will walk besides you, wherever that may lead us.’

“Thanks.” Jim took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. ‘Sorry… I’m not normally so… emotional.’ He confessed.

‘I do not think that is the case.’ Spock replied in amused exasperation.

‘Fine… I don’t normally cry like a little kid.’ He amended with a smile of his own.

‘That I can accept.’ Spock acknowledged.

Then Spock was removing his hands from Jim’s face. Jim felt a moment of disappointment as the mental connection they had dulled a fraction at the loss. Then one of Spock’s hands was wrapping around his left wrist, squeezing slightly, which had the instant affect of calming him further.

He closed his eyes as he moved his face so their cheeks were resting together as he let his Shifter side submit to the pressure on his wrist, letting clenched muscles relax and his mind quieten.

He was aware of Spock lifting his hand, then Spock was rubbing two fingers against his own index and middle finger.

With a gasp Jim pulled his head back, looking down at their fingers. Then he was looking up into intense eyes looking down at him.

Jim let a crooked smile touch his lips as his belly squirmed pleasantly. “Really?” he asked in disbelief. He would never have guessed, something so innocuous could be such a turn on for his Mate.

‘Very much so.’ Spock replied as his finger swiped down Jim’s own. And Jim felt his borrowed pants getting tight. He couldn’t help it as he moved in to push his lips against his Mate’s cool ones.

“I’m sorry sir, he just got up and came here.” A woman’s soft whisper intruded their peace.

Jim pulled away from his Mate. He had forgotten about where they were and what they had been doing. But he wouldn’t be embarrassed about it, not with Spock’s hand on his wrist, or the Vulcan’s mind still pouring acceptance through their Bond.

“Your conclusion?” Mr Oki was asking the other woman.

“A Bond formed under difficult circumstances.” The woman was saying as Jim finally looked at her, aware of Spock getting to his feet at his side, from where he had been kneeling, but thankfully Spock did not let go of his wrist. “Not common, but not unheard of… I could find no dishonesty or ulterior motives for a Bond being formed.”

“You are a telepath.” Spock stated and Jim felt a wave of displeasure come from his Mate.

The woman nodded. “Only so much as I can only sense things from direct question.” She replied matter of fact.

“We do not have to inform you beforehand if we use someone with ESP.” Mr Oki said sharply. “The Registry has always run by its own rules.”

“Acknowledged.” Spock nodded. “But I have had quite enough of this interview, so has my Bonded. We have another appointment with Admiral Archer and my Mate wishes not to postpone it. If we could conclude this matter swiftly.”

Jim grinned up at his Mate, surprised by the feeling of annoyance. But he was glad Spock was as bored of all this as he was. It also helped that Mr Oki looked like someone had just puked on his shoes. It was also funny, because Jon wouldn’t give a crap what time they showed up.

“Tina.” Mr Oki asked the woman who had been interviewing Spock. “Can you please see to the rest of the Data.” He snapped as he stood up, then without another word, left the room.

Once the door closed, Tina turned to them with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry.” She said as she went around the table to where the distasteful man had been sitting. “He has a thing about overseeing ALL Bond’s.”

“Then why did he leave?” Jim couldn’t help but ask. He wished he had spent his last two hours with her; it might not have ended so dramatically.

She gave a long suffering sigh. “He likes to vet all potential Bond Mates. It doesn’t help that he protested your joining Starfleet in the first place.” She looked at Jim. “He was slightly annoyed that his only influence was that the Academy was to keep all their ESP capable races and aliens from you.”

“They did a good job for three years.” Jim smiled as he squeezed Spock’s hand as he glanced up at the Vulcan. “But lady fate always likes throwing me a curveball.” He grinned when Spock looked down at him, one eyebrow raised in inquiry. “It’s a baseball reference.” He told his Mate, to answer the unspoken question. “Just means surprising outcomes, good or bad.”

Spock tilted his head in acknowledgment of the comment and Jim found it endearingly cute, which only exasperated his Mate and Jim was sure if Spock was human, he would be rolling his eyes.

“I would not.” Spock answered the unspoken observation, only making Jim chuckle some more.

“Would too.” Jim teased. Then he noticed Tina smiling at them both. “So... what else do we need to do?” He asked.

“We just need to fill in the missing Data, then get you both to sign some things, and we should be done… I’ll be sending the Acadamy your new information for chipping.”

Jim grimaced. “Another one?” He already had an ID chip in his arm from when he hit puberty.

“Sorry.” Tina said, sounding truly apologetic.

“Chip?” Spock asked, and he did not sound to happy about it.

“Yes. Mister Kirk already has one, as do all Shifter. It’s just to say who they are and what their Shifter status is.” Tina informed Spock. “And now you are both Bonded permanently, Mister Kirk will need an updated one, and you will have one stating you are Bonded to a Shifter, and who he is. It’s just for security, and if anything should happen to you, identification will be easier.”

“It’s a legacy from the Eugenics wars.” Jim sighed. “Just to prove I’m not genetically modified or something.”

“And I will be required to have one?” Spock asked.

“Um, yes… unless it goes again your culture?” Tina said as she turned to her data-pad and began typing.

“I do not think it will be a problem.” Spock replied. “If it is required.”

“Oh, that’s fine then… shell we get this over with?” She smiled at them.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

“I thought Jon when easy on you.” Jim was laughing as he was putting clothes into a travel bag.

Spock did not see it that way. He was sure he had been threatened with bodily harm if he ever let any harm come to the Shifter. Admiral Jonathan Archer might be retired and of advanced age, but he was still fit and Spock had no doubt he could perform his threat of castration if provoked.

“I thought he was rather direct.” Spock answered as he picked up another hard backed book from where it was stacked with others atop a dresser.

Jim’s room in Captain Pike’s home was surprisingly neat, but Jim’s possessions would fit into the back of their rented vehicle.

“You will probably get that from most of the Admiralty.” Jim chuckled. “Most of them like me.”

“You are very likable.” Spock said, putting the paper book amongst others in a box he was filling. Suddenly he felt arms around his waist and Jim’s body pressing up against his back.

“Is that so?” Jim’s breath ghosted across his left ear and he gasped as a jolt of desire made his heart jump in his side.

“No one’s home right now.” Jim was whispering, his hands fanning out over Spock’s belly. “And my beds large enough for two?”

Spock tried to control his breathing, to calm himself. “You wished to visit Captain Pike before dinner…” He reasoned.

“He won’t mind if we are a little late…” Jim was purring now and Spock could feel it through his back. Then one of the Shifters hands reached out and pushed his fingers over the back of Spock’s own that still held a book and Spock found himself gasping at the contact. “You don’t want to hold me down and take me?” Jim asked, his voice so soft as vague images began to seep through the Bond and Spock could control himself no longer as he turned in Jim’s arms, wrapping his own arms around his Mate as he began walking him backward towards the bed, once he felt Jim hit the side, he pushed his Mate back, letting him fall to the mattress, where he sprawled in a most fetching manner.

“Was this what you had in mind?” Spock asked as he began pulling his shirt off.

“Yeah…” Jim replied breathlessly and Spock watched as he licked his own lips.

“Good.” Spock said as he let his shirt fall to the floor as he pushed a knee between Jim’s, resting it on the mattress, forcing Jim’s legs apart a little more. Then he was leaning over his Mate, claming that soft mouth with his own.

 

-- -- -- <(^o^)> -- -- --

 

Spock watched as the younger version of Kirk accepted his award and became the relief of Captain Christopher Pike to captain the Enterprise. All the time, his younger self stood just behind Jim’s left shoulder.

From what he had learned from his father, and with a thorough search of the archives, he had learned why this Jim seemed so different to his own.

It wasn’t just that the Jim of this timeline was filled with uncertainty and doubt of his own self worth underneath his brash exterior. Some thing that his Jim very rarely had. His Jim was self assured and confident. But he had known Jim later in his life, and he had not suffered as this Jim had. Something that grieved Spock, knowing he had helped in the making of the man he was looking down on now. He was certain, that if George Kirk had lived, Jim would be the man Spock had known.

But that wasn’t the only handicap this Jim in this timeline had dealt with.

It had been fascinating to learn about the Shifter trait that would occur among the human race. But it was just another difficulty Jim had overcome.

He witnessed Jim turn to his younger self and take Spock’s hand as they then both turned to the crowed gathered in the hall below to a standing ovation.

He couldn’t help but feel a little resentful, that the two men had found each other so quickly, and of his own blindness to what he could have had with his own Jim. But the resentment melted away as soon as it had come.

Both men where different to what he had been and known.

Jim was battling with his past to become the strong man he would no doubt become. And Spock was dealing with the loss not only his mother so soon, but the whole of Vulcan.

Spock knew they would heal each other with time.

“Live long and prosper.” He uttered down to the two young men as he then turned and walked away.

 

-- -- -- <(^_^)> -- -- --

 

Epilogue I:

 

Spock had donned his robe, lit his candles, turned off the overhead lights in the cabin that he shared with Jim and had settled down to Meditate.

Usually Jim was either reading in bed or more times, sleeping, when he chose to have a moment peace, to settle his thoughts and put them in order.

But tonight, Jim had been following him about in his Shifted form. And now, Spock found the large lions head on his lap. Jim had flopped down in front of him, then huffing, had rolled himself onto his back. All four paws were now in the air as Jim slept.

Spock sighed, knowing he would not get much meditation done as he found his fingers sinking into Jim’s impressive mane. The long rough fur felt sinfully pleasurable across the sensitive parts of his hands. With his wandering fingers he felt and heard Jim begin to purr from deep within his larger lion’s chest. It was a sound that could always sooth Spock, and quickly he found himself slipping into a meditative state. His mind brushing against Jim’s sleeping one.

He wasn’t aware of how long he was under, or when Jim had entered his REM cycle. But the dreams were soft and warm nonsense, of peace and happiness, glimpses of smiles and kind brown eyes, comforting safe places filled with the soothing colours of dusk or dawn.

The only sound within the dream was a soft muttering, and under that a soft reassuring deep purr. But just as Spock felt his own mind begin to shut down into sleep, one word shattered through their shared dream.

T’hy’la

Instantly Spock opened his eyes to find himself staring at a candle guttering across the room.

Such a simple phrase, but one that would explain his instant attraction to his Mate, and in return, the reason Jim would not have been able to reject their Bond when it had first been formed.

Friend, Brother, lover.

Everything they were together.

He looked down at his Mate and found crystal blue eyes gazing up at him.

‘That simple.’ Jim stated. As always when Jim was Shifted, their telepathy was stronger in lieu of not being able to form physical speech.

“It would seem so.” He answered.

It really was that simple, Jim had been right when he mentioned fate, however illogical that was.

‘Finished meditating?’ Jim was asking, like the matter was solved.

Spock nodded as he removed his hands from deep in Jim’s mane. Then he watched his Mate roll over and get to his feet.

‘Bed…’ Jim yawned, his large white teeth flashing in the candle light.

Spock got to his own feet. “Stay as you are?” he asked as he began to remove his meditation robe, the thought of fur against his skin seemed most appealing.

Jim gave a huffed growl. ‘Fine with me, I’m still sore.’ He muttered into their Bond.

Spock would have apologised, if, in face he had been repentant for their earlier love making. Instead he just lifted the covers of their bed, so his Shifter could follow.

 

-- -- -- <(^o^)> -- -- --

 

Epilogue II:

 

Leonard was getting annoyed. Jim should have been in for a check up an hour ago. And Leonard had better things to do than chase the stupid captain down. They might have only been wandering about in space for four months, but he had told Commander Spock about the appointment, so he at least assumed the green goblin would have dragged the Shifter in already!

“Bridge!” He barked into the comm.

/“Here, Doctor McCoy.”/ Uhura answered immediately.

“Is that stupid cat on the bridge?” He growled.

/“No doctor.”/ Uhura answered with amusement. /“As per your orders, he hasn’t been here since you let him out of sickbay last shift.”/

“Can you tell me where he is?” He demanded, then waited for her reply.

/“He is in his quarters, Doctor, would you like me to hail him?”/ She asked, though there was something else in her voice he really didn’t care about right now.

“Thanks. I do it myself” He snapped before hanging up and dialing through to Jim’s personal quarters. Tapping his foot in annoyance as he waited for him to respond. He was just about to get up and march on over when the com connected.

/“Spock.”/ Came the Vulcan’s calm voice.

“Where’s the Captain?” Leonard barked into the com, he should have known better, after all the two were more inseparable than ever, especially if Jim got himself hurt, which was starting to feel like an occupation for him. Who knew someone wearing perfume could have given him such a reaction.

/“He is currently indisposed.”/ Spoke answered and if Leonard wasn’t mistaken, he sounded a little out of breath.

“Well make him NOT indisposed!” He growled. “He was meant to be in the infirmary an hour ago for a check up!”

/”Spock! Not there… oh god!”/

Leonard felt his eyes almost pop out of his head as he heard Jim’s vague voice in the background.

/”Not so dee… shit! Deeper!”/ Jim was pleading.

/”If you would make up your mind.”/ Spock sounded a little annoyed. /”This would go a lot easier.”/

Leonard tried not to chock. He was very well aware of what they were bloody doing,

/”Shut up and fuck me!”/ Jim demanded, then he let out a yelp.

/”Did I hurt you?”/ Spock sounded concerned.

“If you did I’m coming over there right bloody now!” Leonard yelled. “For heaven sake I just stitched him up the other day you green blooded devil!”

/”Bones?”/ Jim suddenly gasped, all amours’ panting gone.

Leonard smirked evilly,

/”Apparently you missed your sickbay check in.”/ Spock intoned.

/”Why didn’t you tell me!”/ Jim was starting to sound distressed.

/”You insisted that we…”/

/”Hang up!”/ Jim snapped, then he was letting out a long drawn out groan of pleasure. /”Bones YOU hang up! Stop that… Cheater, that’s not fai… Oh… my… G… uuuuggggg”/

/”We will be along shortly.”/ Spock said, then the line went dead.

“Is the captain on his way?” Nurse Kim asked softly, looking at him in concern. Leonard hoped she hadn’t herd all that.

“Eventually.” He chuckled. He would have a particularly long list of hypo-sprays waiting.

 

The End

 

Of this part ^_^

Chapter Text

Kitty Trek

Tooth and Claw # 2

By Bane Huntress

Spock was brought out of his meditation by an awareness of someone standing at the other side of his chamber door.

He looked over to the bed; Jim was still sleeping soundly and should be for some time.

Their previous day had been long, filled with their official Vulcan binding ceremony, out in the full morning sun, followed by a meal from locally grown foodstuffs on New Vulcan, proceeding that was the Vulcan council honouring Kirk, and the rest of the original crew, for his part in the rescue of those who managed to flee Vulcan’s destruction. All ending with a private meal consisting of Spock’s close remaining family that were on the planet.

Jim had observed all the proper Vulcan decorum, and Spock could not have been prouder of his Mate. He had been impressed that his Mate managed to keep his energy in check when they were required to be still.

Jim had let it all out only hours ago once they were alone together within their fathers home, and in the privacy of their room, Sarek had had prepared for them for whenever they chose to stay.

But during the day, Spock was aware of one person being distant from all the proceedings.

He rose and made his way to the door and opened it.

“Spock.” The Vulcan acknowledged him.

“Spock.” Spock greeted. “Jim had wondered as to your wear about. I will admit to sharing his curiosity.” He observed the older Vulcan smile.

“Did you inform him of our first meeting?” Older Spock mused.

“We have very few secrets. The Bond we share is of such a fashioning that it would be detrimental to keep things from each other.” He stated.

“And his reaction?” His older version asked.

Spock found himself looking over his shoulder at his still sleeping partner. “He found it highly amusing.” He said dryly. He did not add, that Jim’s thoughts had also aired on the side of a threesome fantasy, and the fact Spock’s own jealousy had rendered his Mate senseless for the rest of the night, and uncomfortable for the proceeding day when ever he tried to sit, Spock had experienced both shame and smugness over the fact.

“Indeed.”

His older self was laughing at him.

“As to your original question.” The older Vulcan said softly. “I was overseeing the new construction of an irrigation farm and did not want to impose upon this most auspicious day.”

“You would not have been unwelcome.” Spock frowned. Then he was distracted by a noise behind him and he turned to see Jim had Shifterd and turning over to face them.

“Who ya talking too?” Jim asked, still not fully awake.

Spock was just about to answer, when his older self spoke first.

“I am sorry to have awakened you.” He said. “I was just on my way to my own room.”

Spock recalled his father saying that his older self had accepted his offer to dwell together, but that his bedchamber was at the other side of his father’s home.

“Oh, it’s fine!” Jim was saying. To Spock dismay his Mate began to get out of bed, luckily the Shifter was also pulling the sheet around himself as he stood and padded towards them, rubbing his eyes. “We missed you today.”

“Unfortunately I had other plans that I could not postpone.” Old Spock apologised smoothly. “I was hoping to join you both for breakfast in the morning.”

“That’s great!” Jim said as he joined them at the door and Spock felt his Mates hand touch the small off his back and stay there. “I’m guessing bacon’s off the menu?”

“There is still some beef jerky in our luggage.” Spock offered. If it was one thing he quickly learned, it was how their food choices differed. Unlike most human’s, Jim’s Shifter nature and genome could not sustain a vegetarian diet for him to stay healthy. Doctor McCoy had been most adamant on the fact. Jim didn’t answer allowed, instead sending Spock a sense of amused fondness.

“Did you get our invitation?” Jim was addressing his older self. “I know it’s still a few weeks out, but we had to wait till my mother and brother could both make it.”

“Our father did pass on the invitation to your wedding.” Older Spock replied, and Spock was sure there was some reluctance in the other Vulcan’s tone.

“Great, you’re coming than?” Jim asked enthusiastically.

Spock, not for the first time, thought inviting his older self might not be the wisest cause of action.

“If you wish it. I will endeavour to do so.” Old Spock said was a slight nod of his head.

“I wish it.” Jim smiled, then reached out and laid a hand on Spock’s counterparts arm.

Spock gasped, with Jim’s hands on them both, even through cloth, Spock was overtaken with a sense of grief, overlaid with a fond amusement and longing.

Before he could react, Jim had his arm around the older Vulcan and was hugging him fiercely. Jim’s empathy had felt all of the emotions and reacted to it instinctively, the way he would have done if it was Spock himself. Jim’s other hand had found Spock’s and was gripping it painfully tight, all the time Jim was whispering apologies into the older Spock’s ear.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking… you don’t have to come.”

Spock watched the other Vulcan briefly put his arms around Jim. But suddenly Jim was pulling back, removing all physical contact.

“We’ll see you at breakfast…” Jim said as he stepped back, his gaze now fixed on the floor.

Spock frowned at his Mate, their Bond had gone numbly silent.

“I wish you both goodnight.” The other Vulcan said, and as Spock turned to look at him, he was already walking away. So he closed the door and reached out for his Mate’s bare arm. Still feeling a numbness that he did not like.

“Explain.” He said, to which Jim was against his chest, fisting his hands into Spock’s robe.

“I’m so stupid, I should have realised…” finally some feelings were coming through, mostly self-deprecation, something Spock was used to from his Mate, but never liked.

“If you do not tell me the cause of your concern.” Spock said, “I can not help you.”

“He’s you.” Jim said adamantly as he pulled away enough so they could look at each other.

Spock frowned. “Yes.”

“He’s you!” Jim said louder, as if that should convey an explanation, but instead he just groaned, no doubt picking up on Spock’s own confusion. “Who do I have a Bond with?”

“Me.” Spock answered, and then it fell into place, and he growled, ready seek out his older version and… and… He paused. He wanted the competition irradiated, but that was illogical. “You are Bonded to the Ambassador?”

“Yes… no… I…” Jim pulled away and Spock followed as he went to their bed and sat down, putting his head in his hands. Spock sat down at his side, but kept a physical distance. “How am I supposed to figure out how this works?” Jim finally said into his hands in frustration. “I know I was Bonded to you when I met him… then he did a mind meld on me before we solidified our Bond.”

Spock waited patiently for any more from his Mate, but when he was sure Jim would not continue he asked his own question. “You need to complete a Bond with him?” he had tried to keep his anger from his voice, but failed.

“No!” Jim said, sitting up to face him. “God, no!” He insisted adamantly, then he reached out a hand, laying it on Spock’s robe covered arm. “I don’t feel the same way about him as I do you… but the connection, bond, is still there when I touched him… I just felt his sorrow. He never knew his Jim the way we are… Every time he sees us, he’s reminded of what he could have had… It’s painful.” Jim signed. “I’m not explaining this very well. His emotions are like fire to my empathy… because I can’t give him what he wants; it’s almost like me not giving you what you want.”

Spock really didn’t like it, or the fact his Mate was in so much turmoil about it. “You are not to touch him ever again.” He ordered.

He had never ordered his Mate to do anything before, and now he knew why. His Mate stiffened his eyes wide before he nodded once as a small hard edge formed in Jim’s mind.

“Okay.” Jim whispered quietly. And Spock vowed, after this morning, he would endeavour to never let the two meet again, so Jim would never be forced to obey the order.

“I apologise.” Spock said as he finally moved, pulling Jim against himself. Letting his Mate feel that he was sorry for the order. He was sorry he couldn’t shield Jim from his alternate self’s emotions. But he also could not rescind said order for his own sanity. “Do you wish to spend the rest of the rest cycle in your Shifter form?” he asked, knowing Jim liked to sleep that way, he said the lion didn’t have nightmares.

“Sure.” Jim answered softly. “Didn’t Chris say he’d be here in the morning?”

Spock nodded, “Affirmative.” Admiral Pike had been invited to all the proceeding by Sarek, once he learned that Jim viewed the Admiral as a farther figure. His father had also tried to invite Jim’s mother and brother. But both had been to far away, or unwilling to travel, and where once family had been very important to the Vulcan culture, any family bonds now were highly cherished.

“I’ll stay between you both then.” Jim said as he pulled away, giving Spock a kiss to the side of his mouth, then he was Shifting and Spock rose to once again help him into their bed.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

Jim lay with his back against his Mate, now husband, as far as Vulcan’s were concerned, and he couldn’t help but smile as he played idly with Spock’s fingers, knowing the effect it had on his Mate, but knowing they were both too tired to start anything that morning, it also didn’t help they had to get up soon. Something Jim was all to willing to put off as long as possible.

He still felt guilty about old Spock and his own naiveté. But the order Spock had given him that night, still resonated through his entire being. Spock had never done that before, and sure, Jim had heard other Shifter mention how it affected them, but to actually experience it himself was another thing entirely. All he could be thankful for, was that Vulcan’s weren’t known for their physical nature and he just had to keep his hands to himself.

“Will T’Pau be at breakfast this morning?” He asked, trying to take his mind off the older Spock.

“My father made no mention of it.” Spock replied by his ear.

Jim turned his head a little so he could glance at his Mate over his shoulder. “And you could have warned me about her.” He smiled, as Spock looked him in the eye curiously. “You forgot to mention she was your grandmother.” He had been surprised that she would be the one actually performing the ceremony, but to then find out she was also family was a little weird.

“I did inform you.” Spock said gravely.

Jim snorted playfully as he ran his fingers up the underside of Spock’s making his Mate quiver behind him. “Was I listening?” He asked.

“I was instructing you on the ceremonies etiquette at the time.” Spock answered as Jim felt him swallow.

“That’s probably a no then.” Jim grinned. He kinda remembered it, but he had been more shocked that she had survived, being off world at the time. Then Bones had distracted him with complaints about the heavy robes and the air being thin on New Vulcan. But it had been nice that the whole crew had also being honoured in the earlier ceremony and they would be meeting up with them after the family breakfast. “But it does make me feel like Cinderella…”

“An old Earth fairytale?” Spock queried. “From the book you purchased last month?”

“Yup.” Jim answered as he stretched a little, snuggling back against Spock.

“I fail to see the comparison.” Spock said, confusion radiating through their physical contact.

“I’m a commoner who married his prince charming.” Jim chuckled.

“I’m no…”

“You are the nearest thing to Vulcan royalty there is.” Jim grinned as he turned a little so he could face Spock easier. “Let a guy have his fantasy!”

“As you wish.” And Jim was sure Spock sighed a little. “But now you must stop doing what you are doing, or we will be late… and you can explain to farther why we are late.”

Jim laughed as he stopped playing with Spock’s fingers. “Now there is something I do not fancy doing.” He said as he threw the thin sheet from his legs and started to get up.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

Spock had paid particular attention to his Mate through breakfast.

Jim had sat between himself and Christopher Pike; the two humans had mostly discussed the next mission. Jim had also talked with Serak, and thanked him for being considerate of his dietary needs.

In the time they had been together, they had quickly found out Jim was intolerant to some Vulcan vegetables and spices. Even the feast the previous day, attention had been paid to Jim’s needs.

Jim had avoided eye contact from his older self. And in return, Ambassador Spock had also not tried to engage Jim, or even look at him. A fact Spock was grateful for, as attacking his older self seemed outlandish.

The conversation had been flowing and finally the family morning meal was breaking up. Spock let Jim and Christopher Pike precede him, but was halted by a voice softly speaking his name.

He turned to see his older self staring at him.

“A word if I may?”

Spock turned to see Jim glancing at him. Obviously his Shifter had heard the softly spoken plea, and his Mate gave him a nod as he turned to follow Pike and Sarek.

“Yes?” Spock asked as he stepped closer to the Ambassador, clasping his hands firmly behind his back.

“I will apologise for any dishonour or distress I have cause your mate.” The Ambassador bowed his head a fraction.

“It is not to me whom you should be apologising too.” Spock answered coolly.

Ambassador Spock nodded again. “No, you will not let me near enough to him for me to convey my apology. I also know he does not wish my near him as of this moment.”

“No…” Spock offered, “But fault is not altogether yours.” He frowned as a theory settled into his mind. “From what I have gleaned from the mind-meld you shared with my Mate. In your time line and universe, there were no such beings as Shifters, and your Jim was not one.”

“You are correct.” The Ambassador confirmed. “Your Jim is much different from the one I… miss.”

Spock remained silent. It was a fact after all.

“But this is not what I wished to discuses.” The Ambassador stated as he straighten his back. “I do not know how the future will unfold now. But I will not disturb this time line anymore than my presence has already changed the past. I will not do a disservice to the future, this I have vowed myself.”

Spock knew this was something he would have concluded himself, if he was in the same position as the Ambassador. “Acknowledged.”

The Ambassador gave him a salute, “Live long and prosper.” He offered, more impersonal than the first time they had met, and Spock returned the gesture. Then they were parting ways.

The spark of violence toward his older self was now extinguished as he felt himself nearing his Mate. After all, he had his Jim. They may have come together through their own biology and a chance meeting. But Spock could not imagine being without Jim now. Jim, who managed to captivate him every day. From his ever present charismas, down to his private insecurities.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

[The Enterprise over Nibiru]

 

Jim ran into the transporters room just as his Mate materialized. “Spock! You alright?” he asked as his jumped onto the pad, but his hand’s felt the heat from the suite Spock wore before he stupidly touched it and burned his palms off. So he just grinned at his Mate who was frowning at him.

The moment Jim panicked when Spock had smothered their mental connection as he was about to accept his fate forgotten for the minute. Just being close to his Mate again was enough to stop him feeling the distance sickness that was threatening to floor him until that point.

“Captain, you let them see our ship.” Spock intoned and Jim could feel the Vulcan’s disapproval.

Jim waved Spock’s concern aside, his own relief enough to flood out anything else. “Are you alright.” He asked again as Spock’s annoyance and confusion began to flow through the Bond.

Then Uhura’s voice was coming over the comm.. /“Bridge to Captain Kirk.”/

“Yes, Lieutenant?” Jim answered automatically.

/“Please notify the Commander that his device has successfully detonated.”/

Jim grinned at his Mate again. “You heard that?” he asked. “You just saved a world.”

“You violated the Prime Directive.” Spock displeasure was almost a palpable thing now.

“Come on Spock, they saw us. Big deal.” Jim tried to wave the matter away as his adrenalin started to wane.

“It is in fact a ‘big deal’.” Spock answered as Jim knew he was about to go into a lecture that they had already argued about.

“I asked you to find some other way…” Jim began, trying to not lose his temper.

“There was no time.” Spock said quickly.

Jim held up his hands. There really hadn’t been any time. The moment the surveying team realised the volcano was about to blow all over the densest packed group of local inhabitancy, it had been every department scrabbling to come up with the quickest solution.

Ending up with Jim and Bones being the only people left on the Enterprise free enough with not helping Spock or keeping the ship together as she submerged in the plants ocean.

In the few moments they had together, Jim had begged Spock to find someone else to set the damn bomb they didn’t have time to set up for remote detonation. But Spock had asked him to whom they should give the task, and Jim had taken one look at the exhausted science team behind Spock and given his grudging agreement. Knowing his Mate would do everything to keep safe.

“I know.” Jim deflated. “Come on. We need to get you cooled down before you burn a hole in my ship.” Then he turned to go and almost bumped into Bones, who still looked angry.

“Heartless.” Bones actually muttered as he fell into step besides him and Jim remembered the comment Bones had said to him on the bridge. ‘He’d let you die too.’ And there was no denying it. Spock had been willing to let them both perish for the code they worked by.

He felt a shot of anxiety at that little fact. But he couldn’t let it linger. Once again telling himself, he didn’t believe in no win scenarios.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

[Earth]

 

Jim couldn’t help but feel the bubble of excitement in his guts.

When they had gotten the official call from Pike’s office to come in, they had only gotten back from their boring surveying mission a few day’s ago and Jim hadn’t even had chance to call his friend yet or anyone Earth side yet.

And it was official business or they would be going to the Admirals home not the office.

So he couldn’t help the bounce in his step as he walked along side his Mate towards Starfleet headquarters. “I’m telling you this is why he called, I can feel it!” he sang.

Spock, though, was being his usual stoic self. “Your feeling aside, I consider it highly unlikely we will be selected for the new program.”

Jim tried not to roll his eyes. They had already gone over this, something about forgetting seniority. After all, they wouldn’t have just sent them out to ‘Test run’ the flag ship on a boring mission together for nothing.

“But a five year mission Spock! Deep space, uncharted territories.” He enthused as he skipped in front of his Mate. “Think how incredible that’s going to be!” He grinned as he fell into step with Spock again, noticing some young cadets passing them with flirtatious smiles on their face. so he hooked his arm through Spock’s. “Hello lades.” He grinned back, immediately he felt Spock’s insane jealousy shoot through their Bond before the Vulcan smothered it, along with a feeling of discomfort at the public display of affection.

“Hey,” Jim smirked, “Once you marry me human style,” He whispered. “I can just flash them the ring.” He finished as he pushed himself close to Spock’s side before letting his Mate go and just walking at his side.

He watched as Spock glanced at him sideways. “Rings are not permitted as part of serving crew uniform.”

Jim huffed. “Pfft.” Spock couldn’t hide his emotional response, so Jim was well aware his Mate approved of the significance of a ring. Spock was one possessive bastard when he wanted to be, so he was up for a physical show of ownership, especially Earth side. After all, all Vulcan’s didn’t even need to be told they were a bonded couple, they could feel it. “I’ll have it tattooed.” He said airily as he lifted his left hand to look at the back of his hand. “And it’s permitted if we aren’t on active duty.”

Suddenly his hand was grabbed as Spock laced their fingers together and brought their hand down to their sides without saying anything.

Jim just smiled as he squeezed Spock’s sensitive fingers playfully as they waked into the headquarters.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

Jim’s uplifted mood was soon crushed. Chris hadn’t greeted Jim as he usually would. This wasn’t his friend sat behind his desk, coolly going over his report. This was a pissed off admiral. But as Pike went over his report Jim’s heart sank further. He tried to tell himself he wasn’t lying to the man who meant so much to him, he just wasn’t telling the whole truth.

The moment he found out Spock had actually told the whole truth in his report, he couldn’t help but be a little betrayed. He hadn’t read it, hell he didn’t even know it existed, but then they hadn’t really discussed what ‘their’ truth, and the ‘official’ truth should be. “You filed a report? Why didn’t you tell me?” he found himself asking.

“I incorrectly assumed that you would be truthful in your Captain’s Log.” Spock shot back and Jim felt his disapproval.

“Gentlemen. Starfleet’s mandate is to explore and observe, not to interfere!” Pike snapped at them.

“Had the mission gone as planned, Admiral, the indigenous species would never have been aware of our interference.” Spock said as Jim watched his Mates back straighten.

“That’s a technicality.” Pike said as he limped around his desk towards Spock.

“I am Vulcan, sir. We embrace technicality.” Spock replied and Jim tried to keep his lip from twitching. Spock would claim to follow Suraks teachings to the letter, but that didn’t always seem to cover sarcasm.

“You giving me attitude, Spock?” Pike asked.

 “I’m expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously, sir. To which are you referring?”

Spock’s reply was almost Jim’s undoing, but his dream of the long term mission was lying in tatters on the floor. And even though he didn’t want to blame Spock for it, he just couldn’t help himself, so all he could do was try and smother his own empathy so he wasn’t broadcasting to the entire building how disappointed he was.

He took a glance at Chris, the man was annoyed and for a moment he thought he would tell Spock to leave. But instead he was turning his attention to him, before looking between them both.

“Do you both have any idea what a pain in the ass you both are?” Pike asked, but there was no amusement in it.

“I think so sir.” Jim answered for them both. After all, it had all gone tits up because of him. If he had just left the Nibiruan’s to their fate. They wouldn’t be getting their asses kicked now.

Pike turned to him now, but Jim couldn’t look at him. “So, tell me what you did wrong. What’s the lesson to be learned here?”

“Always read my officers reports first.” Jim answered, still trying to keep his temper.

“Now see, you can’t even answer the question, you lied. On an official report, you lied. You think the rules don’t apply to you because you disagree with them.” Pike snapped.

“That’s why you talked me into signing up in first place, that’s why you gave me your ship.” Jim answered, after all, Shifters didn’t get these kinds of opportunities, it went against all Starfleet’s unspoken rules in the first place.

“I gave you my ship because I saw greatness in you…and now I see you haven’t got an ounce of modesty.” Pike growled into his ear.

He finally let his anger show. “What was I supposed to do? Let Spock die?!” He demanded.

They locked eyes for a moment before Pike took a step back as he looked now at Spock, then back at him.

“You should have done what your mission mandated and observer only!” Pike snapped. Then looked at Jim. “You should not have let your first officer risk his life.” Then he was looking at Spock. “And you should NOT have endangered your captain’s life!” Pike was truly angry now and it battered against Jim’s already strained shields.

“If there was any…” Spock began; his temper was also showing now.

“There was!” Pike shouted. “Has no one told you that risking your own life also risks his?!” He nodded his head at Jim without braking eye contact with the Vulcan.

“I am well aware…” Spock tried to reply.

“I don’t think you are!” Pike seethed. “His actions are almost understandable given the damn circumstances you placed him in!” Pike banged his cane against the ground. “The Shifter in him would have had no choice but to save your damn life, it’s in his very nature, it’s what Shifter do! Protect the life of their Mates even if it means they die in the process! And it’s your job to make sure he’s never put in that position in the first place!”

“I…” Spock began, but then Spock was looking at him.

Jim lifted one shoulder minutely in acknowledgment before he found himself looking at the floor. There was no denying it. He had tried to talk his Mate out of setting the bomb himself. So he could never be sorry for what he had eventually done.

“Out…” Pike finally said to Spock. “You’re dismissed. Go stand in the corridor; I still have something to say to Kirk.”

Jim felt Spock’s eyes on him, so he just gave him a single nod. He felt Spock walk behind him and out of the room. He instantly missed his physical presence in the room. He forced himself not to turn and look at the door. It didn’t help Pike had brought up his in-bread short comings that was now attacking his insecurities.

“Which brings me to you.” Pike said, sounding disappointed.

“Sir.” Jim answered. Not sure what was about to come. But his empathy was not picking up on anything good from the other man.

“I know this wasn’t all your fault… but you’re a captain. Yours is the last word and you should have known better. You think you’re infallible.” Pike sighed. “You think you can’t make a mistake, it’s a pattern with you. The rules are for other people.”

“Some should be.” He couldn’t help the feeble verbal attack. His life had been controlled by one rule or another, always set by other people.

“And what’s worse is you’re using blind luck to justify you playing God!” Pike growled, but Jim knew all his frustration now wasn’t solely directed at him. “Given the circumstances, this has been brought to Admiral Marcus’s attention. He convened a special tribunal to which I was not invited…” He sighed. “You understand what Starfleet regulations mandate be done in this point?”

Jim felt his stomach drop.

“They’ve taken Enterprise away from you…they’re sending you back to the Academy.”

“Chris, listen…” Jim couldn’t help pleading. This was the last thing he imagined. Almost his worse nightmare.

“No.” Pike spoke over him. “You’re not ready…”

Jim felt numb as he looked at the man he respected. The man who he thought of as family. He couldn’t even be angry with him. It was obvious that Chris had no choice in the ultimate decision in the matter, but nether did he object fully with it.

“Go.” Chris said softly. “Try and see Jon, he’s asked after you.”

Jim just nodded as he turned and walked from the office. He was aware of Spock falling into step at his side. Could feel the concern and curiosity leak through their Bond, but he was incapable at the moment of responding. There were too many people in the corridors.

He walked past the people waiting at the bank of turbolifts and instead entered the stairwell. He stood still as the heavy door close behind them. The stairs were blessedly free of prying eyes, so he finally just turned to his Mate and gripping the front of Spock’s grey uniform jacket he buried his face under his Mates chin, just breathing in his Mates scent, letting it calm him as best it could.

“Jim?” Spock whispered.

Jim couldn’t answer as he just stood their, letting the shock wash through him. After what seemed like hours, he pulled away then absently tried to smooth out the rumpled he had caused in Spock’s uniform. “Let’s go home.” he said, managing a small smile before turning away and making his way down the stairs.

 

- - <(>_<)> - - -

 

Jim looked into the bottom of his glass morosely. He’s already downed two beers and he still didn’t feel any better.

Once they got back to their apartment he had told Spock what had happened, that they had taken his dream from him and were sending him back to school. Which also meant Spock would more than likely be given another job at the Academy, probably for the next two years.

The demotion was humiliating, but he couldn’t regret anything that he had done.

So finally he had gotten dressed in his civis and Spock had silently followed him to the nearest bar where Jim was trying to drown his sorrows the way he had always done… only this time it wasn’t working.

So with a sigh he took another swallow of his drink, waiting for Spock to get back from the bathroom, then he would take his Mate out to find something to eat.

He was putting his drink down when someone suddenly sat down at his side, when he looked up he found Chris staring at him. “How did you find me?” He asked, not particularly wanting to speak to his friend right now.

“I know you better than you think I do.” Chris smiled at him. “The first time I found you was in a dive like this. Remember that? Got your ass handed to you.”

Jim smiled too, his life had done a one eighty on that day. Mostly for the better, but he wasn’t going to admit he had lost that fight, so they argued about it for a bit until Chris lost his smile.

“They gave her back to me. The Enterprise.” Chris said, and he at least sounded regretful as once again Jim’s stomach did a flop.

“Congratulations.” He replied sulkily. “But I guess you’re going to have to get a new first officer.” he couldn’t help adding bitterly, after all, they couldn’t take Spock from him.

“Yeah.” Chris answered. “Number One was swearing at me when she heard about this whole thing when they were considering her to be my first officer again… Obviously Spock is being reassigned.”

Jim nodded. He had guessed as much. “Good luck with that.”

Chris chuckled. “You’re going to be my first officer.”

Jim almost chocked as he looked back at his mentor.

“Yeah, Marcus took some convincing…but every now and then I can make a good case.” Chris was smiling at him in amusement as Jim downed the rest of his shot in one go.

“What… what did you tell him?” He wheezed as the whisky burned down his throat and he felt a hand laid on his back and Spock’s calming presence seeping into his side.

“The truth.” Chris said as he also glanced at Spock. “That I believe in you both. And if anybody deserves a second chance, it’s Jim Kirk and Spock.”

Jim blinked. Sure, the man had taken him in and been his inspiration, but to have this much faith in a Shifter and its Mate almost floored him. “I don’t know what to say…” he admitted.

“That’s a first.” Chris laughed. “It’s going to be okay son.”

Jim smiled as warmth flowed through him, he through he was too old and jaded to have a single word make him feel so special. He had always been someone’s son, but Chris was the first person who actually meant it in reference to himself. And the emotions Jim’s empathy was picking up, he knew the older man meant it.

He was sure he was about to say or do something embarrassing when Chris’s communicator went off and Chris reached for it. and instantly the mood turned tense.

“An emergency session at the Daystrom. That’s us.” Chris said getting to his feet. “You too Spock. You might just be my science officer now, but I don’t know how long this is going to take… Lets go.”

“Admiral.” Spock acknowledged. “We will change and meet you there.”

 

---<(>_<)>---

 

[The Daysrom Building]

 

Jim wasn’t sure when everything had gone to hell. But it had gone there fast.

When they had gotten to the Daystom building, Admiral Markus had given them both a glance, but nothing more as Jim took a seat besides Chris, and Spock had taken a place stood just inside the door.

Sometimes Jim was glad that all his stupid allergies meant that, for the moment, he couldn’t receive the gene therapy that would enable he and Spock to be separated for great distances for long periods. Nibiru had been hell on his system. But like now, Spock could be near him and no one could even send him away, not even to the bottom of the tower.

It was small comfort though when Jim had stood and seen the single person craft flying toward them.

As it had opened fire, Jim had screamed a warning as he kicked off his shoes and Shifted, his stiff uniform be damned as its seams gave and he ran low towards the side of the room, his instinct kicking in as his mind raced, taking everything in, picking up a phaser riffle in his jaws as he went. Once he had gotten to the corridor parallel to the attacking craft and hidden behind a wall he had Shifted again to peek around the wall as a plan formed in his mind. One he quickly performed to bring the craft down.

But as he stood and watched the craft spinning out of control he found himself looking at the man who had just attacked them. Unbelieving what he was seeing as it looked like John Harrison was dematerialising as he transported out. The coward!

All too soon, as he watched the craft plummet to the ground, the sounds of people in pain seeped back into his awareness, and adrenalin once again forced him to move. But it didn’t make him move far as his instinct instantly took him towards his Mate.

Spock was on his knees. Chris in his arms.

Jim took a step back. Not wanting to process what he was seeing.

 

- - <(>_<)> - - -

 

[Some time later]

 

Spock sat with his ashayam’s large head on his lap as he stroked his fingers through the lions thick mane. Thankful that his Bond Mate was asleep and his mind finally at rest.

It had been four one point three hours since the Daystrom building had been attacked by the fugitive John Harrison.

Four point four hours since he tried to soothe Admiral Pike’s fear and pain until the moment he felt his passing in an all too intimate way. Then there was his Mates grief and devastation at Pike’s death.

But what Spock found more unpalatable was the overwhelming felling of revenge that caused their Bond to be dulled with bitterness.

Spock was all too familiar with those feelings, but they had been expunged with Nero’s death. Then after the lose of his mother and his home world they were soothed further by the fascinating human creature he found himself with as they slowly got to know each other more personally.

He knew logically, he should be calming Jim’s raging emotion, but found that sometimes he needed to just stand at his Mate’s side and be there when he fell or, as experience would have it, succeeded.

His Mate flinched in his slumber as Spock felt him slip into an un-restful REM sleep pattern and with a little focus, as he dug his fingers through fur to skin, he projected calm and quiet, it soon worked and Jim slipped again into a deeper sleep.

At that, Spock finally let himself let give a soundless sigh as he thought about the events of the last forty six hours.

The thought of being reassigned to an instructor position again, he admitted to himself, was not an ideal one. Jim had not been happy, and the thought of trying to keep his Mate happy and content for the next two years, as he finished his training, was not a pleasing one.

After the chaos of the attack, and after Pike’s passing. While the sounds of people calling for help or crying out in pain where going on all around them. Spock had left Pike’s body to go to his Mate side.

Jim had stood silently as Spock had ascertained he had suffered no damage that was medically urgent. Then Spock fixed Jim’s clothing that had been disturbed by his Shift as he run for safety. He had taken his times refastening the seams on trousers and arms to make his Mate presentable as he had heard the emergency crews descending on the scene of devastation. He had taken a quick look to see if Jim’s footwear could be located, but they were lost in the mayhem. So he had moved Jim in a path across the hall, away from the broken glass and other sharp objects that littered the floor. He had been distressed by the bloody foot prints his Mate was leaving. But by the time he had manuvoured Jim to another seating area, and EMT had approached them and quickly healed and bandaged Jim’s feet.

Then security had begun taking statements from everyone who could still talk.

Jim had given his statement in a monotone. Then sat silently as Spock gave his own.

Once they were released, they had come back to their apartment. All the time, Jim was strangely silent. Immediately he had removed his uniform and Shifted. Which lead to their current location.

Spock was just about to try and enter a meditative state when his communicator went off. He felt his Mate awaken as he answered.

/”Commander!”/ Mister Scott’s voice came over the speaker. /”I found something, I need to see you guys straight away!”/

Then everything was launched into motion.

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

[On the Enterprise after getting back from Qo’noS]

 

Jim was just about to enter the brig where security had already marched Harrison. He had no idea what he would say to the bastard as he was still running on adrenalin and he wasn’t sure how long it would keep him on his feet.

“Jim!” Bone’s voice rang out loud.

“I need you to…” He was saying as he turned to see his friend with scanner in hand and a frown deepening on his brow.

“I need you in medbay RIGHT NOW!” Bone’s growled,

Jim was just about to protest when the doctor turned to Spock.

“Why the hell didn’t you tell me he was so bad!” Bone’s accused the Vulcan. “Grab him and follow me!” then he was turning away and Jim felt a hand grab his elbow and he winced with pain.

“Come.” Was all Spock said as he moved his hold up to a spot that only ached, then began leading him after Bones.

“I need to do this now!” He tried to protest, feeling his legs wobble a bit as he tried to keep up.

“It will wait.” Spock said, not even looking at him as they walked past crew who had come to see the criminal in person. “Do not think I do not know the pain you are in.” he said quietly for his ears only.

Jim gritted his teeth and sighed through them. After he had attacked Harrison he had gone straight back to their ship, collapsing in his chair. And it had taken some effort to actually get out of it again.

A little corner of his mind that was still functioning rationally had been both concerned and relieved that his Mate was a silent presence just behind his shoulder. It wasn’t the first time the Bond they shared had been muted by Jim’s own emotions. Spock usually followed his lead, only pushing when he disagreed with something. But since this whole mission started, Spock hadn’t protested even once. The first time he had felt a flood of emotion and approval from his Mate was when Jim had decided, at the last moment, to take Harrison alive.

Now, as he followed his Mate, not his Commander, he could feel his adrenalin dissipating alarmingly fast. His feet felt like led with every step and as they entered the turbolift he was glad when a strong arm wound around his waist, putting him against Spock’s side.

“Should I even ask how you got a broken rib?” Bones asked.

Jim started a little, he hadn’t even realised his friend was in the lift with them.

“Is their anything else broken?” Spock was asking.

“Extensive bruising… Everywhere.” Bones exasperated. “A cracked knuckle.” He said as the Turbolift reached its destination and Jim let himself be practically dragged down the familiar corridor. “Get him on the scanner, then go get him a new uniform. I’ll know more when you get back.”

Jim couldn’t help the weak chuckle. “Don’t mind me.” he said, as they talked about him like he wasn’t there.

“Will you need any medical attention?” Bones asked Spock, as the Vulcan finally helped him sit on the scanner bed.

“I do not believe so.” Spock answered the doctor. “Jim…?”

Jim frowned looking up, even as his Mate leaned down to him, was painful. “Yeah?”

“I will be back shortly, ashayam. Comply with the doctor till then.” Spock said intimately.

Jim sighed. “Sure.” It wasn’t like Bones would give him a choice. Then Spock leaned in and laid a kiss on the side of his mouth before he was striding away.

“Okay, kid. Why don’t you try and lie down for me without injuring yourself in the process?”

“Oh, ha ha.” He managed but when he tried to move the broken rib decided to make its self known as he gasped, then felt Bones’s hands on him helping him down.

- - -

Jim was feeling a lot better, at least physically, when Spock came striding up to him, a stack of cloths in one hand. “How are you?” Spock asked as he rested his other hand on Jim’s shoulder.

“He should be feeling less broken.” Bones said before Jim could even open his mouth. “He’s also stopped bleeding, I’ve strapped his ribs. So no Shifting for now so you won’t break all your damn ribs and crush your own lungs.”

Jim sighed. “I’m fine.” He told his Mate. “Can I get dressed now?” He asked his friend over his shoulder. Noting Spock had changed into his uniform and cleaned himself up.

“Fine.” Bones said. “And while you’re at it, maybe you can tell me why you wanted me to go to the brig? I’m not even assuming it was to see you.”

“No.” Jim answered as he watched Spock put his clothes on the bed besides him, then pick up his undershirt and begin to shake it out. “I need you to take blood and run some tests on Harrison.” He said as Spock began helping him into his shirt, trying not to gasp as his cracked rib protested.

“Why?” Bones asked.

“I knew something was different about him the first time I saw him.” Jim said as Spock pulled his shirt down and reached for his command shirt. Anything to distract himself from remembering that night where he lost Pike. “But I didn’t know what it was till we were on Qo’onS.”

“And that is?” Bones sighed in frustration.

“He is a Shifter.” Spock said.

“What?!” Bones demanded. “You can’t be serious!”

Jim let Spock settle him into his uniform before he spoke again. “He feels like one.” He said, looking up at his Mate, feeling the same confusion coming from him. “But he feels wrong.”

“Agreed.” Spock said, reaching for Jim’s trousers.

“How do you mean?” Bones asked as he began to sort out his equipment to take to the brig.

“I don’t know.” Jim lifted his sore leg so Spock could pull his pants on easier. “I’ve always been able to tell if a Shifter is near me, and I have that, I can feel he is on the ship… but it’s not the same.”

“I have never met another Shifter.” Spock said as he straightened. “But I am also aware of Harrison. Though from my little experience… He feels… Wrong.”

“Wrong, Spock?” Bones scoffed. “Is that the best you can come up with?”

“He’s right.” Jim answered before the two people he cared most about began to argue. “He just feels wrong.” Then Spock was pulling him off the bed. He had to cling to his Mate for a moment as his whole body protested. Then Spock was pulling his pants up all the way. “He’s strong for a normal human.” He said as he managed to put his feet in his shoes.

“He also did not seem affected by your attack.” Spock said.

“I’m guessing that’s where you cracked a knuckle.” Bones sighed. “Is there anything else I should know?”

“I don’t know.” Jim answered. “Lets go.”

 

- - <(-_-)> - - -

 

[Brig – After they find out what’s in the torpedoes]

 

Jim hadn’t felt anything from the man they had found in a torpedoes, he didn’t feel the same as Harrison, but that could have been because of the ancient crio tube. There wasn’t really anyway to tell. So now he found himself facing the murderer again, but at least this time Spock was by his side.

“Why is there a man in that torpedo?” He demanded.

“There are men and women in all those torpedoes, Captain. I put them there.” Harrison answered.

“Who the hell are you?” Jim demanded.

“A remnant of a time long past.” Harrison answered calmly. “Much like you, I was genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to a peace in a world at war.”

“You’re nothing like me!” Jim growled.

Harrison smirked at him and Jim wanted nothing to try and beat it off his face again. “Not as you are, stood before me with your weaker human frame. But I know what you are. I can feel it.”

Jim didn’t flinch; the other man had just confirmed his suspicions.

“You were part of the Eugenics wars?” Spock asked.

Harrison glanced at Spock and gave a slight nod. “But we were condemned as criminals, forced into exile. For centuries we slept, hoping when we awoke things would be different. But as a result of the destruction of Vulcan, your Starfleet began to aggressively search distant quadrants of space. My ship was found adrift. I alone was revived.”

“I looked up John Harrison. Until a year ago, he didn't exist.” He even had them search the Shifter Registry database, but everything had come up empty.

Harrison just smirked again. “John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smokescreen to conceal my true identity.” He said. “My name is Khan.”

Jim could feel the resolve from the Shifter behind the glass, like his name was meant to mean something to them, but it didn’t. He had learned about the Eugenics war in school. Shifters were taken into hiding, as they were in any war. But mostly to keep them from being experimented on or exploited. There had been rumours that scientist back then had captured a few Shifters, but all their diabolical experiments had never worked. Now this Khan was telling them he was one of the successes? But he didn’t have time for this.

A moment of surprise and recognition from Spock shot through the bond, so maybe his Mate did know something. But he had no time at the moment to question it.

“Why would a Starfleet Admiral ask a three hundred year old frozen man for help?” he asked, keeping a tight hold on his empathy and curiosity.

“Because I am better.” Khan answered.

Jim tried not to scoff, only years of training made him keep a straight face. “At what?” He asked.

“Everything.” Khan answered and Jim’s empathy got the sharp tug of smugness from behind the glass. “Unlike you, I do not suffer from all the inbred restriction that keep you obedient. Captain.”  

Yet again, Jim didn’t like the way Khan said his title. Back on Qo’noS, he recalled the other man being surprised at it, now he used it as an insult with disdain.

“Explain?” Spock said.

Khan didn’t even look at Spock as he began to answer the question. “I have none of your weaknesses. I can not be controlled by wrist or neck. I do not have to Shift to gain my strength.”

“Wont?” Spock was asking. “Or can’t?”

That got Khan to finally turn his attention to the Vulcan as Jim’s empathy felt a moment of irritation from Khan before it was closed off.

“I also do not need a ‘Mate’ to be complete.” Khan all but spat in disgust at Spock. But Jim felt something else there too and his empathy wanted to reach out instinctively to it.

“You can’t Bond?” Jim asked, softening his voice. But not letting his pity for the other Shifter/not-shifter leak past his shielding.

Khan looked back at him again; his piercing eyes wide for a nanosecond and Jim knew he had hit a nerve. “A weakness.”

Jim could understand that, after all, before Spock he had never wanted a Bond Mate either. He had thought he was stronger alone, because he had been bored of being abandoned by everyone before joining Starfleet. “Still… why are you here?” he asked, knowing he did not have the time or will to give this being his sympathy.

“Alexander Marcus needed to respond to an uncivilised threat in a civilised time.” Khan began.

Jim listened to what the other man had to say, letting his anger and disbelief only grew. He couldn’t believe Admiral Markus was capable of this betrayal. But when Khan talked about his people, Jim’s empathy picked up clearly on the pain and fear Khan had for them and he couldn’t help moving closer to his Mate. But when Sulu commed them from the bridge he knew shit was about to hit the fan.

 

- - <(o_o)> - - -

 

[Aboard the Enterprise, just after its engines have been restored. Bridge]

 

Spock had become aware of his Mate as soon as he was beamed aboard and he had felt relief, even if he knew Jim was in pain and injured. But he had no time to indulge their reunion as he tried to save the stubborn crew and to stop their ailing ship plummeting to the ground. Putting their trust in engineering.

Now, though, as the Enterprise rose, he could not join in with the bridge crews joy. He knew something was wrong.

“Mister Spock, Altitude stabilizing.” Sulu said.

“It’s a miracle!” Darwin said in awe.

“There are no such things.” Spock said as he made to get up, unable to remain still.

“Engineering to bridge.” Scott’s voice came over the com. “Mister Spock!”

“Mister Scott?” He answered immediately.

“Sir. You’d better get down here.”

Spock’s chest tightened with dread as the engineers voice cracked with emotion.

“Better hurry.”

Spock didn’t need telling twice as he ran from the bridge. The feeling of dread only intensifying the closer he got and the closer he was also getting to his Mate.

Until finally he saw Mister Scott.

Then he was stood before the shielded door that led into the warp core.

Jim was on the floor and Spock watched as his Mate seemed to struggle to Shift into human form.

“Open it!” He demanded desperately of the chief engineer.

“The decontamination process is not complete. You'd flood the whole compartment. The door's locked, sir.” Scotty replied, meaning even more death.

Spock went to his knees, for a nanosecond wondering if he cared for the lives of others, but also knowing Jim would. So as he watched Jim finally finish his agonising transformation into his human form, the need to hold him was overwhelming, He watched as Jim reach up to press the control to close the door leading directly into the warp core. Even in his state, he was thinking about the ship, the crew. Then those blue eyes that so captivated him, opened to look at him.

“How’s our ship?” Kirk asked as he gasped for air. And of course that would be the first thing on his Mates mind.

“Out of danger.” Spock answered. “You saved the crew.”

“You used what he wanted against him.” Jim gasped, his eyes losing focus for a moment as he struggled to breathe. “That's a nice move.”

Spock felt the humour and approval from his Mate, not understanding how, even now, in so much pain, Jim could make light of the situation. “It is what you would have done.” He said automatically.

“And this… This is what you would have done.” Jim answered.

Spock knew it was true. It’s what his older self had done. But His alternative universe self had had a way to come back, a way to cheat death… But this was different; there was no coming back from this, not for Jim…

Not for either of them.

“I’m scared, Spock.” Jim finally said into their shared silence.

All humour and bravado gone now between them as Jim’s empathy flowed through the glass between them. Jim’s fear, like copper on his tongue.

“Help me not be.”

Spock felt something inside him crumble at his Mates pained plea.

Spock had lost his home, his mother and in so doing found this being that meant more to him than all of that, and now… now he was about to lose that too. And in Jim’s moment of weakness and need, he could do nothing. He was powerless and terrified. And knowing Jim would be feeling his helplessness, only made it worse as he could not even touch his Mate, to let their telepathy flow freely.

“I want you to know why I couldn't let you die.” Jim was saying, struggling to keep his eyes open now. “Why I went back for you…”

“Because I am your Bond Mate.” He replied. Now he truly knew why Admiral Pike had been so furious at him. It was easy taking your own life to save others, but not when it meant sacrificing the one you loved to do so.

He had never truly understood the meaning of ‘heart break’ until Jim was resting his hand against the glass that separated them, and he reached out his own, coming in contact with nothing but the cold unyielding material, instead of the warmth of his Mates touch.

Jim was slowly moving his fingers to match his own as Spock felt their Bond becoming dull.

Fading.

Jim’s gaze finally moving away as his hand slipped down to rest at his side as his stunning crystal eyes became as lifeless and dull.

Spock felt the moment his Mate passed.

Like a knife being driven through his side, ripping into his heart and tearing it apart.

Illogically he reached out, desperate to feel anything, not wanting to believe what he knew to be true…

Than he felt ‘Him’HE was still alive… and Spock couldn’t be in a world where He still existed and his Mate didn’t.

And as he screamed out Khan’s name, he let his rage consume him.

 

- - <(>_<)> - -

[Enterprise Medbay]

 

Uhura stood looking through the viewing window into the isolation room Leonard had taken Kirk into once they got Khan back aboard. But now it was just a waiting game to see if Khan’s blood would actually work or not… and if it did, what would they be bringing back to life? She couldn’t help but wonder, ghoulishly.

She looked to her right where Spock had stood. His gaze had been fixed on Kirk for the past hour they had been here. She desperately wanted to reach out to him, put a hand on his arm, to let him know he wasn’t alone. But she knew it would not be welcomed.

She had loved him once, thought that maybe they had a future together. She didn’t fool herself that it would have been easy. But once she had gotten over the shock and anger that Kirk had ruined her happiness, she finally started watching them together, and slowly her resentment had turned to resignation.

At the end of the day, she had come to realise that Spock was happy.

Even if they had come together through some cruel twist of their physiology and genetics, she figured that fate must have had some cards on the table too.

The two men complimented each other. Smoothing out each others ragged broken edged.

“How’s it going?” Scotty said as he came to stand to her left.

She glanced at him. “Still waiting.” She answered softly.

“It’s gonna be okay lass, he’s a tough kid.” Scotty smiled as he rested a hand on her elbow.

She appreciated the contact as she smiled weakly back.

That’s how they stood as more concerned crew came and went, and still they waited.

It seemed forever till she glanced back at the statue that Spock had become, and she couldn’t help but gasp. He was pale, his cheeks flushed green. “Spock?” She questioned with concern as she faced him.

He didn’t even look at her as he said. “I am fine.”

“Like hell!” Scotty barked. “You look like hell!”

“I am fine.” Spock reiterated, but Uhura heard the waver and stress in his voice.

She quickly reached up and knocked on the glass to the iso room and as soon as Leonard turned to look at her, she gestured at Spock. She watched the doctors eyes go from a deep frown to wide with worry as he took a step forwards.

But before anyone else could move, Spock was moving, keying in his security override to get into the iso room.

“You can’t come…” She heard Leonard bark as Spock strode straight up to Kirk, his hands reaching out at the same moment monitors began beeping loudly and the other medical staff flew into action as Spock’s hands finally came to rest on either side of Kirk’s face.

Uhura hung by the door as she watched Spock rest his forehead against the captains. And through all the chaos she heard him utter in Vulcan. “I am here.”. and her heart broke all over again.

Then Spock was collapsing to the floor.

 

- - <(-_-)> - -

Leonard was exhausted.

They had finally got Jim into a stable condition, and of course, the kid was mildly allergic to the irradiation transfusion he had set up, so they had to keep him in a coma. Luckily the serum he had made from Khan’s blood was working. But he was damned if he knew what problems that would bring.

Now he was going to check on his other patient.

After Spock had collapsed, the Vulcan had become his second headach. After all, it was pointless bringing Kirk back if his Bond Mate was dead. Then all his hard work would have been for nothing.

“Shouldn’t you be resting?” He asked Uhura, who was still sat at the Vulcan’s bedside.

“To tired to rest.” She answered as she stretched in her chair. “How’s the captain doing?”

“As well as can be expected.” He answered as he checked Spock’s vitals. “He’s alive, so better than he was.”

“And how’s Spock…” She asked. “Khan had beaten him pretty bad.”

Leonard sighed as he slumped down into the chair at the Vulcan’s other side. “He’s pretty beat up.” He answered, but not wanting to elaborate. He knew they used to have a thing between them, but she didn’t know Spock had extensive stress put on most of his bones, especially his thick skull. “But he passed out because his internal organs were under more stress.” He saw Uhura sit up straight at that.

“How do you mean?”

He waved his hand at his patient. “From what I can tell.” He sighed again. “He was going through what a Shifter would after losing their Mates, mass organ failure that would result in his death.”

Uhura gasped. “He’s an Alpha?”

Leonard shrugged. “I really couldn’t say. He is mostly Vulcan, just like everything he is and does, it’s unprecedented.”

“So they really were destined to be together…” Uhura whispered.

Leonard sighed again as he stood. “Who can tell… All I know is that even though I don’t like the green goblin much… He’s right for Jim.”

“Yeah…” Uhura uttered. “Will he be okay though?”

“He’s improving.” Leonard answered as he checked the readings again, even in the short time he had been talking to the lieutenant, Spock’s vitals had risen. “I think he’s in a medical trance right now, or whatever it is Vulcan’s do to heal themselves… Let me know if he comes out of it before you leave.”

“Sure.” She answered as Leonard went to check on some of the other crew.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

[Starfleet Medical – Two weeks later]

 

Jim woke up with a start. For a moment he didn’t know what was going on or where he was.

“Oh don’t be so melodramatic.” Came Bones exasperated voice from his right. “You were barely dead.”

Dead?

“It was the transfusion that really took its toll. You were out cold for two weeks.”

“Transfusion?” What the hell?

“Your cells were heavily irradiated. We had no choice.” Bones said as he kept waving his medical equipment around.

Then it hit him, as a fragment of memories flooded back. “Khan?” He asked.

“Once we caught him, I synthesised a serum from his superblood.”

Hu?... why was that a thing?

Then Bones was leaning into him. “Tell me, are you feeling homicidal? Power mad? Despotic?”

Jim smiled at his friends humour. “No more than usual.” He managed to shoot back. “How'd you catch him?”

“I didn’t.” Bones said as he began to move away, and Jim finally saw Spock. And he felt everything suddenly come right with the world as his Mate came up to his bedside.

He tried to lift his right hand, needing to touch, to feel, to reconnect with his Mate. But he couldn’t find the strength. But as always, his Mate knew what he needed and reached out with both hands to take his own.

As soon as their skin touched Jim smiled, relief washing through him. Both Spock’s and his own.

“You saved my life.” He said.

“Uhura and I had something to do with it, too, you know!” Bones grumbled from his left.

“You saved the ship, the crew.” Spock finally spoke. “And my life.”

“Wha…?” then he remembered fully what had happened in his last moments.

He was dieing.

He had died.

He had left Spock behind, unable to hold on any longer as his body failed him.

His Mate had been there, but they may as well have been separated by light years!

“For god sake Jim, you have to calm down!” Bones was yelling as the sound of monitors began alarming madly. “Spock!”

“Jim.” Spock was saying, But the contact they had wasn’t enough and he didn’t have the energy to move how ever hard he tried to reach out.

He whimpered when he felt Spock let go of his hand, but then one of his Mates hands was going to the back of his neck, instantly finding just the right spot where their Bond flared into life.

‘I’m sorry… I’m sorry.’ He shouted into the link they shared.

‘You are with me.’ Came the reply, filled with relief and joy.

Then Jim was being lifted till he was pressed against Spock’s chest and held there. He tried feebly to lift his own arms to reciprocate but he just didn’t have the strength.

“Don’t jostle him around to much.” He heard Bones mutter from his side. “Remember he’s still got tube in him.”

“Oh, god.” Jim groaned as he realised just what Bones meant.

“Gotta bear it kid, till we get you on your feet.” Bones was laughing at him he knew. “Think you can lay him back down now?”

“No.” Came Spock’s clipped reply.

Jim felt Spock’s hold get tighter he was picking up on his Mates need for physical contact, that was even stronger than his own.

“Fine.” Bones was sighing. “I’ll go arrange that second bed for you now.”

“Hu…?” Jim managed as he heard Bones walking away.

“They would not let me stay with you for prolonged parades of time until the radiation therapy was complete.” Spock said against his ear.

“Hu.” He guessed that made sense as his eyes grew heavy, and whatever strength he had he could feel leaving him. Then he felt himself being laid back and he desperately forced his eyes open again.

“I will not leave you now.” Spock was saying softly. “But you must sleep if you need it.”

Jim wanted to protest, but he really couldn’t keep his eyes open, the last thing he was aware of was Spock’s fingers finding his meld points, and he smiled, knowing whatever dreams he had, they would be pleasant ones.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Jim was about ready to crawl out of his skin. “When will they get here?” he asked for the third time.

They were waiting for a medical doctor from the Shifter Registry to come so he could finally try and Shift. Bones had been insistent that there had to be someone with more medical knowledge present, in case the radiation sickness or Khan’s blood had any adverse affects on him Shifting. And Spock had agreed.

“There is still three point four minutes for them to get here.” Spock replied.

Jim sighed as he pulled the sheet off his legs. “Help me up.” He asked as he struggled to swing his legs over the side of the bed, and instantly Spock was by his side ready with a protest, but before he could speak, Jim cut him off. “I’m stiff; I just need to walk a little.”

Just like with the last four days, he clung to his Mate as he let his body adjust to being upright.

As soon as he got rid of his catheters he was on his feet and struggling to the bathroom, and yesterday he had made it down the hall and back. He felt so weak and he thought he should have hated it, just like he had always done. Life had taught him being weak meant you got hurt or killed. But since Bonding with Spock, Tarsus IV and his time with his stepfather seemed distant memories. So much for Bones and all his talk about ‘super blood’. Jim wasn’t feeling ‘very’ super right now as he staggered at his Mates side.

“For gods sake Jim, I told you to stay in bed till I got back!” Bones was bitching as he came through the door, followed by a woman Jim hadn’t seen before.

“I’m stiff.” Jim shot back.

“Jenny, this is Captain Kirk. Jim, Spock, this is Doctor Jenny Franks. She’s come to make sure your furry ass is gonna be okay.” Bones introduced them.

“Hello Doctor Franks.” Jim managed as he let Spock take some more of his weight. Why the hell did walking seemed easier than standing still.

Doctor Franks was smiling at him. “Thank you Captain Kirk. I’ve been read into your unusual case. I’m glad to see you on your feet.” Then she was looking at Spock. “And I’m assuming you are his Bond Mate?”

“You are correct.” Spock answered. “How are we to proceed?”

“Oh, well.” Doctor Franks gave Bones a glace. “I think we just need to see Mister Kirk Shift, then back again.” She said more professionally. “So whenever you’re ready Mister Kirk.”

“Let’s get this over with then,” He answered as he started to pull his hospital shirt up. But before he even got half way, he felt Spock leave his side, then the Vulcan was returning with the sheet from the bed, holding it up like a screen between himself and everyone else in the room. He let his Mate feel his confusion. After all, he had been necked in front of Bones loads of time. But the feelings he got back were confusing, so he just smiled at his Mate as he rested a hand atop Spock’s that was holding a corner of the sheet up. ‘It’s okay.’ he thought reassuringly, knowing Spock heard him, before he began pulling his clothes off behind his makeshift screen.

Vulcan’s might be a logical race, but they were also modest and private. And Jim knew his Mate could feel protective and possessive over him at the oddest times.

“Okay, let’s do this.” He said mostly to himself as he crouched down, then began to Shift.

He heard himself screaming before it turned into a loud roar as his paws hit the floor.

Shifting had never been painful before. It was like breathing, something he just did without actually having to think about it. It just happened.

The pain was fleeting, even though it had felt like his skin was on fire only a moment ago and his bones seemed to ache from their very core. He now found himself sat on his ass trying to just breath through the shock of it.

Then Spock’s hands were on him and concern and surprise was thrumming thought the Bond.

What? He thought through his own shock. Knowing his Mate could understand his non verbal thoughts.

“You are changed.” Spock said softly.

No shit. Jim thought. Then he caught sight of Bones and the registry woman looking at him with wide eyes and their shock grated against his empathy, and he felt a spike of panic as he tuned his head to look past Spock’s hands to his own flank.

He let out a whine.

Instead of his normal sandy one coloured coat, he now had small rings of a darker brown coming through his fur.

“Doctor, please pass me his Padd.” Spock was saying as he reached out one hand.

Jim wanted to get up, he needed to see himself better, but Spock’s other hand was keeping him in place. Then his Mate was getting to his feet and Jim whined again at the loss of contact, as even Shifted he struggled to get onto all fours.

Something SO wasn’t right and it was starting to scare him.

“Do not move.” Spock said, then Jim saw him starting to take pictured using his Padd, then just as quickly Spock was kneeling at his side again, as he began accessing the photos. “Here.” He said, holding the Padd so Jim could see.

Jim didn’t recognise the creature Spock was showing him.

Instead of the lion with a full mane, he was seeing something caught between a lion and a leopard… It still had a mane, but it was a lot shorted, shot through with brown patches, it also didn’t reach down his back or over his shoulders as it should. It looked more like the ruff on a domestic cat. The spots covered his back but lightened out towards his belly, leaving his legs the same as they had always been. And at least he still had the hair on the end of his tail. His head and body shape still looked much the same as what he was used to.

He finally reached up with one paw and pushed the Padd away, not wanting to look anymore.

“It must have been the transfusion.” He heard Doctor Franks saying and he looked over to see her talking to Bones but her eyes were on him. “From what I read. It was established by our genealogists that Khan had a jaguar’s genetic makeup. Maybe because of the direct blood transfusion serum mixed with the radiation damage and treatment it has affected Mister Kirk’s genetic makeup… I will ask for a sample of his blood for the Registry so we can look into this further.”

“That can be arranged.” Bones answered, though he didn’t sound happy about it.

Jim just wanted to know if this was permanent, or if he would fully turn into a bloody jaguar… or worse, what if he lost the ability to Shift at all? What if he lost his Bond!? After all Khan had said it was something he could never have.

“Is this permanent?” Spock asked loudly to the two doctors.

Jim could feel himself panting as he tried to squash his own panic as he moved stiffly to push himself against his Mate.

“Oh… umm…” Doctor Franks seemed to remember where she was, “I couldn’t possibly say. It will take monitoring for any changes.” Then she took a few steps closer and addressed him directly. “It sounded like you were in pain when you Shifted?”

Jim rolled his eyes as best he could.

“He experienced it only while Shifting.” Spock spoke for him. “It was fleeting.”

“Does he feel any different?” She asked Spock.

“You may address him directly.” Spock told her sassily and Jim managed a small bubble of amusement.

Jim saw her blink as she looked back at him. “Do you feel any different?” she asked him.

Jim actually gave it a moment, and now he was over the shock of not looking like himself, he didn’t feel any difference. If he wasn’t feeling so damn weak, he might be taking this all a little better.

“He does not think so,” Spock said. “He more wants to know if this could have adverse reactions of those which Khan experienced.”

Jim watched the registry doctor’s eyes widen and felt her surprise and excitement clearly. Though he wasn’t sure why.

“Hu?” She asked, her eyes now taking on that hungry look he had been all too familiar with in his youth, and it made him shrink back against Spock. People with that look just want to own and use him, and where he had learned to act like a complete jerk to put them off, in his current state he felt like he did when he was a child, powerless and scared.

“Take a step back!” Spock was growling as Jim felt his Mate move an arm around his front in an attempt to put himself between Jim and the Registry doctor. “Now.” He warned.

“Come here lass.” Bones had come forwards and was pulling the woman away, much to Jim’s relief. “Why don’t you try Shifting again, Jim?”

Jim didn’t really want to, not if it hurt again. But he nodded then waited for Spock to pick up the sheet again. But he was turning to Bones and holding it out to him.

“If you would?” Spock asked Bones, who instantly came forwards and held the sheet up for him. Then Spock was kneeling at his side again, a hand on his shoulder. “When you are ready.”

With a huff, Jim grit his teeth, then Shifted.

There was just a slight tingling over his skin, but nothing more as he found himself on the cold floor, Spock’s hands a firm comfort, preventing him from breaking his nose on the floor.

“You okay kid?” Bones was asking as he peered down at him over the sheet he was still holding.

“Yeah.” He managed. “Just a little tingling.” He said honestly.

“Think you can Shift a few more times?” Bones asked.

Jim sighed, but managed a small smile for his friend. “Slave driver.” He uttered, but with a thought he Shifted again. There was a little discomfort again, but nothing like the first time. After his third time Shifting, he felt nothing that he wasn’t used to. But once he was human again he felt his arms shaking as they tried to support him.

“Okay, that’s enough. Spock can you get him back into bed?” Bones said as he handed Spock the sheet, which he quickly wrapped around Jim, then he was being lifted as Spock stood with him in his arms. And for a change he didn’t protest, he wasn’t sure he could even sit up straight, never mind stand. And god he was hungry.

“Can you order the Captain some sustenance?” Spock was asking as he was tucking Jim into his biobed like a child.

“Double cheese burger and coffee!” Jim called. “Extra bacon.”

“Would you like a pound of lard with that?” Bones grumbled, but Jim saw him walking towards the door.

“Only if it comes with the rest of the cow.” He answered back. Feeling the meal would come with a side of salad he would thoroughly ignore, or maybe he could get Spock to eat some when Bones wasn’t looking.

“You know I will not.” Spock answered as he finally sat down on the edge of the bed at his hip, pulling one of his hands into his lap.

Jim pouted, knowing his Mate would try and get him to eat it anyway.

“Most assuredly.” Spock intoned and Jim knew he was being smirked at. “You may ask him your questions again.” Spock was saying as he looked away and Jim realised that the Registry doctor was still there and his good humour vanished.

“Oh… yes.” She said and Jim watched her take a step forwards. There was still a fanatic look in her eyes he didn’t like, but he wasn’t going to shrink away. “Your ability to Shift got easier the more you tried?” She asked, looking down at her Padd.

“Yeah.” He answered.

“And he did not have anymore signed of change?” She was asking Spock.

“No.” Spock said. “All the new markings were in the same place and size.”

“Good, good.” She typed something in her notes, “We will have to get you back at the registry to take new images of your new coat, and measure you for changes. We don’t have anything for half breeds but I will sort something out…” She carried on distractedly.

Jim felt a sharp bolt of anger come from Spock when she mentioned ‘half breed’ and he responded instantly by squeezing Spock’s fingers. “I guess we are a pair now.” He smiled up at his Mate as Spock turned to him, his eyes hard with emotions Jim could understand. Being rejected before you even met someone for what you were, was hard. Always being forced to the outside of their peer groups sucked and they had both grown up learning that people were sometimes assholes. “We are the first of our kind.” He said with a smile, trying to ease the hard edges around Spock’s eyes. “And it seems the whole galaxy conspired for us to crash into each other!”

“Your thinking is Illogical.” Spock said, but his eyes softened considerably.

“Maybe.” Jim answered. ‘Parted from me and never parted, never and always touching and touched.’ He thought, quoting their Vulcan marriage vows that actually mean something to him, and maybe a little more now.

He felt warmth coming from Spock, then the same vows repeated at him. “I could do with some more of that touching.” He grinned.

“You could have it.” Spock said, though his tone had a sassy vibe. “If I was not 99% sure you would pass out on me mid way.”

Jim couldn’t help but laugh as he relaxed into his pillows. “I would at least give it a 40% chance.” He shot back deliberately running his index finger over his lovers.

“I have another question.”

Jim felt himself stiffen again, he really just wanted the Registry doctor to bugger off, so he could eat, snuggle with Spock then go to sleep, and not necessarily in that order.

“Ask.” Spock said, going back to his stoic self.

“You can communicate non verbally?” She asked.

“They do it all the time.” Bones said as he came back into their room.

“Yes.” Spock answered. “As a Vulcan, I have touch telepathy.”

“Oh, of course.” If it was possible, doctor Franks looked deflated.

“Pfft.” Bones said as he came to stand besides the other doctor. “They do it all the time, especially when Jim is Shifted… Don’t protest kid, your empathy can’t pick up on that much. And you’re not always touching when you do it.”

“Really?” Doctor Franks perked up.

“It can get annoying, but sure.” Bones answered. “But I know where you’re going with this, and from what little I know. When we thought Kirk had… died… Spock internal organs had also been under stress, almost failing too.”

Franks was looking at her notes furiously. “I don’t…”

“No, I didn’t submit Spock’s medical records, as he’s not a Shifter.” Bones said. “You will have to ask him yourself for them if you want them.”

“Oh, Mister Spock…?” She started to ask.

“What relevance will this have?” Spock asked coldly.

“She wants to find out if you’re an Alpha, Spock.” Bones sighed.

Jim gasped as he looked at his Mate. Then he started laughing. Trust himself to not only get Bonded to an alien, but the only half human/Vulcan in the galaxy, but then for the Bonding to also make Spock an Alpha? It was almost too unbelievable to think of. The chances were astronomically low. The ancient genetic gene that had been found to produce the Alpha trait in humans had been so watered down over the years it was practically nonexistent now.

“I do not understand.” Spock said.

“Alphas can interact with other Shifters like they would their own.” Franks said. “If they use a restrictive hold, the neck or wrist.” She pointed at her own to demonstrate. “The Shifter will submit to them without a fight.”

Jim felt a jolt of disgust come from his Mate. “She doesn’t mean you will Bond with them too.” He smiled at his Mate, projecting reassurance. While he also felt a little smug that Spock thought the possibility of Bonding with someone else abhorrent. “Just that you can calm them that way… or so I understand it.”

“Yes, exactly.” Franks nodded. “Other Shifter will be able to scene it. I have read it’s comforting to them, almost like their mother would feel.”

“Then I will endeavour not to meet any other Shifters.” Spock said solemnly, which only amused Jim some more. “As I have inquired before, will this blending of two types of Shifter have any predictable adverse affects?”

“Other than maybe going into heat during rutting season, I can’t see any.” Doctor Franks said, almost off hand.

“What?!” Bones barked out.

Jim would have done the same if he was quite so horrified.

“But it’s highly unlikely.” She said, quickly, looking a little spooked.

Jim knew he had let his emotions slip past his shielding so there was no doubt everyone in the room felt it. Spock defiantly did as their eyes locked.

“What is the difference?” Spock was saying, not looking away. After all, Jim had gone though his rut two months ago, when his sex drive had gone through the roof, and he needed it at least once a day, if not more for two weeks. It had always been hell, but being with a Mate during it, was a whole different ball game, if exhausting. But Spock had kept up with him and not seemed to mind. Especially when he knew what was happening. He had called it something… Pond fur? Pound far…

‘Pon farr.’ Spock corrected into his mind. ‘A time of mating.’ But Jim knew there was a deeper meaning to it than just sex, but they had had this conversation before, and all he got off his stubborn Mate was that it would probably never happen to him and not elaborate beyond it. but back then Jim had just wanted Spock inside him and he had forgotten about it.

“It means.” Bones growled. “That once a year, you could get Jim pregnant!”

Jim felt himself go cold. Jeez!... kids?... He knew he must have some out there, the Registry hadn’t demanded a deposit each year for nothing. Mostly to add his Shifter bloodline to willing families who were struggling to have their own biological children. After all, it was seen as a great honour to have a Shifter child. Shame no one told his damn mother about it. he thought bitterly. But the though of carrying his own was terrifying. His dream of having a long career as a Starfleet captain could be cut short.

“Calm yourself.” Spock said allowed as Jim felt a hand on his cheek. “The chances of that are negligible.”

Then Jim was aware of his Mates true regret and he felt like a selfish bastard.

This wasn’t just about him anymore.

“Sorry.” He croaked out, feeling tears stinging his eyes. Here he was terrified a child would ruin his life when Spock already knew he couldn’t have any at all. God he was so tired, he couldn’t think straight.

“Rest.” He heard Spock say as Jim felt himself being pulled up and against his Mates chest, to be cradled there. ‘Once you are healed, we will talk about this again.’ Spock was reassuring him. ‘Now rest.’

Jim didn’t need telling twice as he closed his eyes and breathed in his Mates scent as he let his body relax and pull him under.

 

- - <(-_-)> - -

 

Spock finally sat down in the chair at Jim’s bedside. The Registry Doctor had left soon after Jim had fallen into an exhausted sleep. Bones soon after that, grumbling about wasted food and a demand that Spock comm him the moment Jim woke up.

Spock knew he really needed to meditate on all that had happened in the last few hours. But he did not have that luxury as he held his Mates hand as he slept, easing Jim’s fitful dreams to more pleasant ones, that would help him truly rest and heal.

It didn’t help that his Mate kept experiencing a dream that Spock knew had more roots in reality that he cared for. It was of blood and people screaming as they died, of a man’s hungry eyes, of unwanted hands running over his coat, then those hands causing pain, an overwhelming feeling of being helpless and a hopelessness so deep it was disturbing. Spock was just thankful the dream never had a feel of sexual abuse attached. The dream had become more prevalent after Jim’s near death, and one day he was determined to learn the truth about the nightmare, however painful it would prove to be.

He also knew that when his Mate awoke, he would have to assure him about the new appearance his new Shifter form took. Spock admitted to himself he would miss sinking his fingers into his lovers mane, but from what he had felt of the new shorter mane, it had felt softer and not so coarse. He actually still made quite a sticking creature.

Then there were the other changed that Khan’s blood might have wrought in his Mate.

The prospect of Jim being able to carry a child had been a surprise, the thought of him actually carrying their child had, for a moment, brought him a hope he didn’t know he possessed. That was until logic reasserted itself and he felt the emotional of regret that it could not happen. He had then felt his Mate horror at the prospect, then his overwhelming guilt at his own response.

As Spock foolishly contemplated such a prospect. He was certain that if they ever did decide that this was a path they chose to take. Then the Vulcan health ministry might be able to help them. After all, his own birth would not have been possible without their medical intervention. But he would leave any more dwelling for when Jim was fully healed and he wasn’t quite so exhausted, so he could think rationally and not be so emotionally compromised as his sickness was making him.

He knew that whatever happened, they would figure it out together.

After all, in their one point nine years of being together, they had very rarely come to any disagreements. At least not ones that either of them could not come to some form of agreement over. Even if Spock found his Mate frustrating at time, Jim had always given him reasonable explanations, and in turn, Jim had always listened to his reasoning as well.

At first, he had to confess to himself, that he had been very apprehensive that their relationship would be taxing and difficult. Jim was an irrational human, with high emotions that would batter against his own shields along with Jim’s chaotic intelligence that could be distracting. But Spock had quickly found he did not mind the chaos.

He admired the way Jim could turn into a capable captain, filled with confidence and self assurance the moment he stepped onto the bridge. The way he could step up to any station on the ship and be confident enough to run it, or how he knew every corner of the ship. A fact that had saved the ship and her crew, but ultimately lead to his own, almost, demise. Jim was an exemplary commanding officer Spock found nothing but pride in, and that the crew wanted to follow no matter what. Jim was a man Spock was willing to take orders from.

But in the quiet of their room in private, their rolls would be reversed. And Spock felt honoured that his Mate would trust him so completely to let himself relax in his presence. Granted, this is when Jim’s insecurities could emerge. But Spock had learned that physical contact was sometimes all his ashayam needed, and oft he would just pull his Mate to the sofa or bed and hold him close. This was when Spock also found his dominant side would come to the fro, and as he had researched, this was quite normal for a Shifter to expect and need from their Mates. It was as aspect of their relationship that would help Jim relax and be at peace.

It had at first confused Spock, with his other romantic liaisons they had always come together as equals privately. And with Jim natural ability to commander. Spock had assumed this would be Jim’s approach to their relationship also. But Jim never complained when Spock found the need to help Jim into his own clothes, or pick their meals, his ashayam would only project endearment, or fond amusement at such times. Something Spock appreciated, especially when the urge was to strong for him to resist coddling his Mate.

So life with Jim was never boring.

After some time, he pondered reading another of the paper books one of Jim’s visitors had brought, when he was aware that Jim was awakening.

“Ugg… time?” Jim asked before even opening his eyes.

“You have only been asleep for two point four hours.” Spock informed him as he stood.

“I’m bored of being tired.” Jim complained as Spock pressed the controllers that would raise the head of the biobed. “Thanks.” Jim yawned when he was upright. “Am I still naked?”

“Affirmative.” Spock answered as he cupped his hand against his ashayam’s cheek with his free hand then kissed the side of his mouth, feeling his Mate’s lips curve up into a smile as he squeezed the hand Spock still held.

“I’m gonna be fine.” Jim whispered.

“Assuredly.” Spock answered before pulling away. “I will dress you then order more food. Do you think you can stay awake long enough?” His last remark having the desired affect as Jim let out a gruff chuckle.

“This time?” Jim grinned. Then his stunning blue eyes were widening as they both heard a growling coming from the direction of Jim’s midsection. “I Think even if I do take another nap, you’re gonna have to wake me up or my stomachs gonna eat my spine.”

“Then I shell endeavour to prevent that from happening.” Spock intoned. Once again feeling Jim’s amusement bubble between them. Which in turn soothed Spock’s own irrational worries.

“Now please tell me I have some civi clothes. I can’t bare anymore scrubs!” Jim pleaded.

“You will have to endure.” Spock replied as reluctantly he pulled away to retrieve the garments left by the medical staff. But before going back to his Mate he quickly reordered Jim’s last meal request.

“Did Bones say anything about when he’s going to let me go?” Jim asked as he struggled to sit up fully.

Spock was instantly at his side, helping Jim in his endeavour. “You may ask him again once I inform him of your status.”

“Then tell him to stop off at our apparent first and bring me in some real clothes.” Jim groaned as Spock began helping him into his shirt.

“I can not do that.” Spock told him, as he pulled the covers down.

“Hu?” Jim asked as he flopped back against the raised biobed.

“During your treatment.” Spock said as he prepared Jim’s undergarment and trousers to be pulled on simultaneously. “Number One had me sign documents, putting Admiral Pike’s former dwelling into our names.”

“WHAT!?” Jim exclaimed as he sat up again. “But I already said she could have it!”

Spock felt his Mates distress and putting down the garment he was holding, he went to lay a hand on his ashayam’s shoulder, making Jim look him in the eye. “I was aware of your reluctance to take ownership of your former guardian’s home. But as Number One explained to me. Admiral Pike had not changed his will since we became Bonded. When he wrote his will he only had your wellbeing in mind, that Number One would be your legal guardian in his demise and that you would always have a home.”

Jim blinked a few times, his eyes to bright with moisture.

“So as you now have me.” Spock lowered his voice. “She wanted you to take the dwelling, as it had been your former home and she had no need for it.”

“Oh…” Jim answered. Though his emotions had dulled with a little confused.

“Members of the crew that were willing and able moved our belonging while you were in a coma and I cancelled the lease on our apartment.”

Jim nodded. “I guess that makes sense.” He uttered.

“I did not mean to cause you any distress by my actions.” Spock said solemnly. It had been the most logical of solutions.

“No… no…” Jim smiled, though it didn’t quite reach his eyes or project through their Bond, though it was tinged with grief. “I was just surprised. Just put it down to illogical emotions… It’s just gonna be weird… Him not being there anymore and us rattling around in his stuff.”

“Then we will make it our ‘stuff’ to rattle around in.” Spock promised. And once again his Mate smiled, and this time positive emotions outweighed the negative. “Now, will you let me finish dressing you before your meal is brought?”

Jim actually let out a small chuckle as he slipped from Spock’s hold to rest back against the biobed. “Sounds like an exhalent plan Mister Spock, proceed.”

Spock did just that, and as he was pulling the cover back over Jim’s legs he heard the door open behind him.

“Oh, sorry.” He heart Naota gasp from the direction of the door. “I’ll come…”

“Please, come in.” Spock said as he turned slightly to look at her. She had a bunch of red flowers under one arm, and a little brightly wrapped parcel under the other.

“Thank you Spock.” She smiled at him. “It’s also nice to see you awake, captain.” she said as she stepped closer.

“Thank you, lieutenant.” Jim replied just as formally.

“Oh, Spock, do you have anywhere I can put these?” She asked, holding the flowers out to him. “Don’t look like that.” She sighed. “I made sure with McCoy that he’s not allergic to these roses.”

“You can put them over on the table.” Jim said, pointing to the table across from the foot of his biobed that was already filled with cards and fruits he could eat as well as a purple stuffed toy bear from Sulu and family.

“Oh, I forgot a card.” Uhura exclaimed as she made room for the roses in their bag of water that acted as a vase. “But I did get you something you might like.” She said as she walked to the other side of Jim’s biobed. “Here.” She said holding out the little parcel.

“Uhura?” Spock said, as Jim reached out for the parcel.

“Yeah?” She asked.

“May I ask how long you will be visiting?” He asked, then watched as her eyes narrowed, indicating she was annoyed. “I only ask.” He continued swiftly. “To ascertain if I have time to retrieve some belongings from our home and return.”

“He wants to know if you wouldn’t mind babysitting till he gets back.” Jim said.

“Oh!” Uhura answered as her demeanour changed to one of surprise. “I can stay till you get back. I’m finally off duty for a few weeks, so I have the time.”

Spock bowed his head to her. “Thank you.” He said. “A meal will be brought before long, see that he consumes it. Doctor McCoy should also be attending shortly, please see that he does not tire the captain. and if he wishes to sleep, see that he does.”

“I can do that.” She replied. Though she did not look to sure. But Spock saw that he had no other choice at the moment, as he did not wish to leave his Mate alone for the time it would take for him to carry out his errand. After all, she was not the first crew member he had asked such a favour from.

“Go.” Jim was laughing at him, he could feel it. “I’ll be fine till you get back. And the distance sickness wont bother me if you’re quick.”

Spock moved closer to his ashayam, leaning down to him. “I will be as swift as possible.” He assured, then gave his Mate another kiss to the side of his lips. Then he was striding away.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Naota watched a little dumbfounded as the door closed behind Spock.

“He’s just a little paranoid at the moment.” Kirk said.

“I guess that’s a little understandable.” She shot back giving him a little annoyed look. After all, Kirk hadn’t seen how upset Spock had been while he was in a coma.

He gave her a crooked smile. “Yeah.” He said softly. And she wanted to kick herself.

Kirk wasn’t in an isolated medical room, with no one around him for ten meters in all direction for nothing. McCoy had warned her Kirk might be having some trouble shielding his own empathy, so he was picking up on everything.

“Sorry.” She sighed as she sat down in the chair at the side of his bed. “I didn’t come here to make you feel bad.”

“That’s a relief.” Kirk smiled softly at her. And now she looked she could see how tired and warn he looked.

“Don’t make me change my mind.” She grinned back. “But sorry I couldn’t visit sooner. They dragged me in to do an urgent treaty translation.”

“Well, you are the best.” Kirk was nodding.

“I know.” She grinned. “So open your present!”

Then she watched as he swiftly opened the wrapping, then smiled, McCoy had been right, Kirk was having trouble with his empathy, as he was projecting joy right now, and she couldn’t help but respond.

“Sharpe’s tiger, by Bernard Cornwell.” He said reading the title of the book she had found for him in a dusty old bookshop she had found online. She had read the book off of a friend Padd years ago. But for her to find the book in a local shop had been a miracle.

“It’s about a commoner rising through the ranks of the British army back before the eugenics war.” She told him. “I thought you might get a kick out of it.”

“I’ve heard of it.” Kirk was saying as he began turning the old yellow pages. “But never got around to reading it… I only wanted to read it in print.”

“Well, now you can.” She smiled.

“But how?” He asked, finally looking up at her. And she knew what he was asking.

“Spock mentioned you liked paper books when he was pondering what to get you for your birthday.”

“Hu… He did get me the entire works of Shakespeare.” He smiled fondly, before she saw him looking away from her as his eyes got distant. “I wonder if it survived.”

Naota felt a moment of sorrow sweep through her. “Your quarters aboard the Enterprise were fine. Scotty and Chekhov packed all your stuff and took it to your house.” She assured quickly. Thankful when the depressing mood lifted.

Then she blinked as Kirk’s stomach growled loudly, and her captain started chuckling like a school boy.

“Sorry. I’m really hungry.” He apologised, just as the door opened and a nurse came in carrying a tray.

They carried on with small talk as Kirk ate his meal like a starving man. He had mostly wanted to know about her part in his rescue, and she hadn’t let out her own heroic feats, to which Kirk was believably impressed as he thanked her. After all, she had saved Spock’s life down on that truck as well as Kirks. And when he was finished with his meal, McCoy came in and bustled around Kirk like a mother hen, something she had witnessed he only did with Kirk. But she knew they had been best friend since they met that first day on the shuttle to the academy. But McCoy soon left and she could tell Kirk was coming to the last of his energy.

“I’ll turn the lights down so you can get some rest.” She said getting up and turning them down by 50%.

“It’s okay.” He answered yawning loudly.

She sighed loud enough so he could hear. “Go to sleep, Captain.” She watched as his eyes closed for a moment too long as he fought to stay awake.

“Spock…?” She heard Kirk utter as he snuggled down into his pillows and she moved closer and began lowering the bed.

“I’ll stay till he gets back.” She said softly, hoping he could feel her trying to be reassuring. “He promised you he wouldn’t be long.” Though he had been gone over two hours.

“Never told you…”

Naota only just caught Kirk’s sleepy murmur as she leaned closer. “Told me what?” She asked softly, just in case he had fallen asleep.

“Sorry…” Kirk said as he tried to turn onto his side, but wasn’t quite managing it.

Without thinking she reached over and laying a hand on his shoulder, she helped pull him onto his side. Then she realised what she was going and let go. Kirk hadn’t given his consent to be touched, and he hadn’t initiated it. It was basic one to one of Shifter etiquette. Even more so for an empath. And now she felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. She was just about to apologise when she saw a slit of blue looking at her.

“He loved you…” Jim uttered.

Naota took a quick intake of breath, as an old grief with a tang of bitter anger overtook her for a moment before she pushed it away. She had made her peace with Spock a long time ago. And just seeing how contented Spock was with Kirk, she couldn’t stay angry and bitter with the annoying idiot she had known back when they were cadets together. Kirk had more than proved he wasn’t that boy anymore. And she respected him.

“I know.” She answered finally.

“He still trusts you too.” And Finally Kirk closed his eyes.

“I know that too.” She watched as Kirk let out a long breath, relax and she was now sure he was asleep.

With a sigh she sat down again and watched him sleep. He looked warn out. But she was grateful for his last words.

She wasn’t sure that Kirk had even been aware of her feelings, or cared. It wasn’t like it was something you talked about in casual conversation. But she was now sure his apology had been honest and maybe now, that last shred of bitterness she harboured against him was finally going to heal.

She was just about to reach over to the book she had brought for Kirk and start reading it as she waited, when the door opened and she saw Spock enter with a small suitcase trailing behind him.

She quickly stood and put a finger to her lips, then waved her hand at Kirk.

Spock gave her a quick nod as he came forwards. Then he was leaning down to Kirk and she wanted to push him away. But Spock laid a kiss against Kirks temple, as a hand when to the back of Kirk’s neck.

“Rest, ashayam.” She heard Spock utter, and she blinked at the Vulcan endearment.

Then Spock was moving his fingers to the side of Kirk’s face as he was mind-melding with him.

It only took a few moments before Spock was standing up again. “So long as we keep our voices at a low volume we will not disturbed him.”

“I was just wondering what was taking you so long.” She smiled at him.

“I was having some difficulty in finding Jim’s clothes. They are still packed and I also needed to freshen up.” Spock answered as his left hand found Kirk’s atop the sheets. “I was also rearranging the date of our human nuptials.”

“Oh my! That was tomorrow?!” She almost cursed, she knew there was something else she had to buy other than flowers and a book.

“Affirmative.” Spock answered, “I have rescheduled for fourteen days hence… I do not believe his mother can make it.”

She was sure she heard some agitation in his tone at that. But then Kirk’s mother had not even been at his graduation or their Vulcan bonding. “Is she on Earth now?” she asked curiously. And there was a tightening around Spock’s eyes.

“She sent me a comm informing me she will try and make it, even though I had already informed her of Jim’s condition and location.”

She looked at the sleeping man in the bed; her own family would have dropped everything to come to her side if she was sick, never mind actually having died. She just couldn’t imagine her parents not being worried sick.

“However, his brother has assured me he will be present along with his family. And will be visit as soon as they get off the shuttle.”

“At least that’s something… is he close to his brother?” She asked.

“They comm occasionally.” Spock said and she was sure he was sighing.

“So that’s a no then… I thought his family would have been more involved.” She said as she sat back down. She actually felt sorry for her captain. The crew would die for him, as he would for them. But his own flesh and blood couldn’t give a toss. She looked over to the pile of cards and presents that covered the extra table. “I’m guessing non of that is from any of his family.”

Spock also looked over to the table. “The fruit is from the Vulcan embassy and my father. Everything else is from the crew and other members of Starfleet currently on earth. Along with comm’s that are still coming in form those off world.” Spock said. “So as to your question; I can honestly say, it is all from the only family that matters to him.”

Naota smiled at that. “Are you sure the venue for the wedding is going to be large enough to sit everyone?”

Spock’s tilted his head to one side. “I am having doubts.”

Naota couldn’t help a burst of laughter and she quickly covered her mouth as she looked over at Kirk. But relieved she hadn’t woken him. “I’m sure it’s all going to work out.” She promised.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Kirk was still tired, but Bones had finally let him leave the hospital, and it was so good to be home.

It felt a little strange when Bones, who insisted on driving them home, went past the apartment build he and Spock had rooms and carried on to the familiar direction of Chris’s old home, where Jim had lived for three years while at the academy.

Now he was stood inside the entrance hall, he actually felt much better about taking the house. It was the first place he truly felt he was welcome, and somewhere he could call home. It was also still a little strange, that everything was still where it had been when he was living here. But then it had barley been two years since he left.

“I need a bath.” He finally said as he made his way towards the stairs. He needed a good long soak to get the smell of the hospital off his skin, and being honest with himself, he just needed to get off his feet.

“I’ll go make lunch.” Bones said as he made his way towards the kitchen.

Jim smiled, it wasn’t Bones’s first time here either, so he knew where everything was. “I need meat!” He called after his friend, who he could hear mumbling as he moved into the kitchen.

Then Jim felt Spock’s hand on his back.

“Come, I will help you.” Spock said from his side.

“Great… cos I don’t think I will make it.” He said honestly as he let Spock all but push him up the stairs.

He was relieved when Spock directed him towards his old room, and not Chris’s, he didn’t think he could take it right now, he felt bad enough now knowing this house was his, never mind taking his mentors bedroom too. But he did have to pause when Spock opened the door.

The room was full of boxes, some of them were open and there were clothes in neat piled on the bed. He felt his knees wobble. Just the thought of now having to unpack made him feel more exhausted. And Damn it he hated it.

Spock left his side as they entered further. “I will unpack while you are bathing.” He said as he began to move the clothes from the bed to any other flat surface he could find.

Jim made his way to a clear patch on the bed and flopped down.

“Undress and I will fill the bath for you.” Spock said as he went to the on suite bathroom.

“Make it nice and hot!” Jim called as with a sigh he began to pull off the tee-shirt Spock had brought the other day. Then he got to his feet and after undoing his belt and fly he pushed his jeans and underwear down to his knees before flopping back onto the bed. He could hear the water running into the bath as he closed his eyes and pondered how he was going to get his shoes off without moving. He tried kicking his legs a bit, but he only wore himself out.

After the last barrage of tests Bones and his colleagues had run him thoughr all morning. Jim just wanted to sleep. He was feeling a little stronger than yesterday. But he couldn’t help but wonder, as his mood darkened, if he would ever know what normal was again; or if this weakened state was it.

“Jesus Christ!”

Jim snorted as he opened his eyes, he had just been on the cusp of falling asleep and now his heart was jumping out his chest.

“If you can’t even get yourself undressed without passing out!” Bones was complaining as Jim felt his left foot being lifted and tugged at, “Then maybe I should drag your ass back to hospital right now!”

“Nooo.” Jim groaned as he felt his foot pulled free from his shoe, then Bones was working on his other foot.

“I will do that Doctor.”

Jim grinned as he felt his Mate’s annoyance at what Bones was doing.

“I’m quite capable of helping this fool get undressed!” Bones snapped back as Jim felt his right foot get freed. “Now take that mug and pour the salt in his bath water.”

Jim heard his Mate moving, then Spock’s confusion. “Salt?”

“It will help.” Bones replied as Jim felt him tugging at his jeans. “Best thing for sore everything.”

“I hardly see…” Spock said.

“It won’t hurt!” Bones growled out as he finally got Jim’s jeans off with a rough tug. “Come on.” Bones was saying as Jim felt his arm being tugged on. “Sit up.”

With a groan Jim let his friend do most of the work till he was finally sitting up. “Why am I so tired!” he moaned as he clutched Bones arms to keep him upright.

“I duno kid.” Bones replied, then he was moving and when he sat on the bed next to him, the bed dipped and Jim leaned against his friend boundlessly. “But you’re getting better every day… it’s just gonna take time.” He said as Jim felt Bones put an arm around his shoulders.

“I don’t wana be grounded.” He whispered his fears.

Suddenly Bones’s other hand came up to the side of his face and Jim found himself being hugged tightly.

“I’ll do my damndest to get you back up there.” Bones whispered into his ear. “And god help me, I’ll be around whatever happens.”

Jim felt his eyes stinging as he tried to fight back his emotions as he let his best friend hold him. Knowing that Bones actually meant what he said. “Thanks.” He chocked out. Then he felt his right hand, which had been resting on his bare legs, being lifted and held. He opened his eyes to see Spock crouched down in front of him.

“I too, will do my ‘damndest’ to get you back abroad a ship.” Spock spoke softly and Jim smiled.

“I still want the Enterprise.” He said. Nothing else would do. Not now.

“Then we shell endeavour to make your wish a reality.” Spock said, and Jim saw the corners of his mouth turn up into a smile.

“Thanks guys.” He said, feeling his despair reseeding for now.

“Yeah.” Bones said sardonically, “I must be mad. You know how much I love space.” Then he was manoeuvring Jim away from himself. “Now, however much I love you, I’ve had enough of hugging your naked ass… Spock if you would.”

“Pfft, like it’s the first time.” Jim shock back, feeling his spirits lifted a little.

“But we were both blind drunk at those times.” Bones growled with a grin as he slapped him on the back.

“Ouch.” He moaned and then Spock was getting to his feet and leaning over him. and within moment, he was being carried like a blushing bride against Spock’s chest. Then he gasped. “Shit… the wedding!?” He had forgotten all about it!

“The one you should be attending right now?” Bones asked, still grinning.

“I postponed it.” Spock said. “For two weeks hence.”

“When?” Jim asked surprised.

“Two day’s ago.” Spock answered, always knowing what he actually meant. “I have informed everyone.”

“Hu.” Jim acknowledged, a little stunned.

“I’ll carry on making food then.” Bones was saying as Spock was making their way to the bathroom. “When’s George getting here?”

“What?” Jim asked.

“Your brother and his family will be arriving once they have secured accommodation… they did not give me an exact time.” Spock said in annoyance.

“I’ll keep an ear out.” Bones said as he left.

“I take it my mother couldn’t make it.” Jim asked. Feeling his good mood failing.

“I have not received any comm from her.” Spock told him. But his Mate wasn’t quick enough to mask his annoyance at the woman, and Jim got it, he would have been too. if he wasn’t used to it by now. Still didn’t stop it hurting.

Then Spock was leaning over the bath of steaming hot water. “Wait, you’re gonna get wet!” Jim said, but his Mate didn’t listen as he was lowered. He sucked in a breath as his skin touched the water, but as he became more submerged he let out a sigh as he relaxed into the heat. Sonic showers were fine, but there was nothing like a good hot bath.

“Is the temperature satisfactory?” Spock asked.

Jim just hummed out how satisfactory it was as he leaned his head back, sinking a little lower.

“I will go and unpack our belonging.” Spock was saying as Jim closed his eyes. “Call for me when you are ready.”

Jim managed to lift a hand out of the water to wave lazily in the air as he felt his Mate leave the room.

- - -

Jim wasn’t sure how long he had been asleep in the bath. He had dosed off just listening to Spock move around in the other room, the sound reassuring that his Mate was near. But now the water was getting cooler and he knew he should think about getting out.

“Are you ready to be cleaned?” Spock asked from the doorway.

“As always, Mister Spock.” Jim grinned. “Your timing is impeccable.”

“I felt you awaken.” Spock said as he came over to him, collecting a washcloth from the cabinet above the sink, along with some soap. “Can you sit up?” Spock asked as he knelt down at the side of the tub, then plunged the cloth and soap into the water by Jim’s thigh.

Jim grabbed the sides of the tub and heaved himself up. “Hu… I think Bones’s old remedy worked.” He actually felt less stiff and achy.

“Will I be requesting a bath tub in the refit?” Spock asked a little sarcastically. But Jim actually thought it might be an idea. So as he let Spock begin to wash his arm his mind was busy thinking about where and how they could install it, about the filtration they could use, maybe a recycling system would be the best choice, as water aboard the ship was a finite resource. But if it was installed properly then it could be done, Then he was thinking about maybe installing some communal baths somewhere else on the ship for the crew. He wouldn’t be the only one who appreciated a good soak. He would have a word with Scotty when he saw him next. Maybe it would give the engineer something else to do, other than trying to install an illegal still.

“Lean forwards.” Spock was saying and it brought Jim out of his musing, and when he did what was asked of him, Spock began to run the washcloth over his back and it felt like heaven. It wasn’t often he got pampered, and it strangely reminded him of the first day they had Bonded, and the way Spock had looked after him then too. It also reminded him of other interesting things that happened then too.

He tried not to think about that to hard though, “Request that bath.” He said, “I’ll also ask Scotty to see about fitting some the crew can use too.” Then he shivered as Spock ran the washcloth over his shoulder and around his throat. “Spock…” He whispered huskily as he grabbed his Mates hand then looked into warm brown eyes that were looking at him intently and another pleasant shiver ran though Jim’s belly. Then Spock was moving their hands down Jim’s chest, over his belly ever so slowly as they dipped below the waterline and carried on down.

Jim gasped when Spock’s talented fingers encircled his awakening erection. They hadn’t done anything while they were in the hospital, Jim hadn’t had the strength to get it up, he wasn’t sure he could do everything he wanted now and it made him whimper with frustration. It had been to long. But Spock was surging up over him as their mouth met and Spock began kissing him hard.

Jim felt Spock’s other hand come up to the side of his face and he closed his eyes as he opened his mind to his Mates. And as Spock penetrated his mind through their Bond Jim clutched onto his husbands physically as Spock’s other hand worked on his shaft beneath the water.

All too quickly, Jim was stiffening as his body spasmed beneath his Mate as he spent his release into his Spock’s fist, groaning the rest of his orgasm into his Mates mouth.

He was aware of Spock pulling back from the mind meld and he knew Spock hadn’t come and he didn’t like that thought at all.

‘I can not deny you this.’ Spock said directly into his mind. ‘But I will have you once I know you are ready.’ he said.

‘Promise?’ Jim asked, still feeling a little guilty, knowing now he was a satisfied boneless heap, his strength had gone again.

‘Always, ashayam.’

Jim smiled, that one word always conveyed such meaning, caring, love, need… a promise to always be by his side.

“Now will I be able to carry on washing you without distractions?” Spock asked.

Jim grinned. “I have no objections.” He joked back.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Jim was tired again. The nap both Spock and Bones teamed up on him about after his bath and lunch had actually done him the world of good and he had felt better than in the hospital.

He had woken up though when he felt his brother was near. It was something he had always been able to scene and he had found it now extended a little to his nephew. Spock had been intrigued by it, so Jim knew the questions would no doubt come later.

Now he was sat at the dining room table, helping his nephew play chess against Spock. And so far they were winning, even if he was telling his nephew mostly what to do. But Peter seemed to have inherited the intelligence gene and he was actually giving Spock a good game.

“Move your knight.” Jim whispered to Peter, “That’s the horse, remember, he can jump over peoples heads and his rider can only swing his sword left or right past his shield?”

“Oh, yeah!” Peter said as he moved just the right piece.

“Check.” Jim grinned at his Mate, who was studying the board, his brows slightly drawn down in concentration.

“Cos the queens a woman, she can move how ever she wants, right?” Peter was asking as Spock was about to move his rook but paused.

“Yup, and what do pawns do?” Jim asked.

“They are carrying huge shields, so they can only move forwards, stabbing people to the left or right?”

“That’s right.” Jim said, grinning at his Mate, knowing that his childish battlefield explanations to how the pieces moved across the board was infuriating Spock. But as he looked at the board again, he was impressed with Peter’s subterfuge. He was about to checkmate Spock with a bishop that had been left mostly un-played.

Finally Spock moved his own bishop to get out of check, and without even having to prompt Peter, the kid moved his own bishop.

“Check mate?” Peter asked as he looked intently at the board.

“I believe it is.” Jim smiled as he sat back in his chair, watching as Spock did the same.

“Mom! I won!” Peter hollered to his mother who was sat in the living room with Sam and Bones.

“Really?” Sam exclaimed as he got up and came to stand besides his son as he also looked at the games. “With lots of help from your uncle no doubt.” Sam gave Jim a smile.

Jim ruffled Peter’s hair. “Not much actually. Your boy’s a genus in the making.”

“And don’t I know it.” Aurelan said as she also came to look at the board. “He’s forever taking things apart to just see how they work.”

“He’ll figure out how to get them working again one day.” Sam chuckled.

“I got the vid-screen working again last week!” Peter protested, then he was turning to Jim. “I wana be an engineer one day, Uncle Jim!”

“That’s great,” Jim answered, “Then I will know who to come to when my ship needs fixing.” He watched as Peter’s eyes went wide.

“Really!?” Peter asked.

“But not till you can fix everything you take apart.” Aurelan cut in. “And you will have to do good in school first.”

Jim grinned up at Sam’s wife. “Yup, you have to do all that first, then you get to do all the fun stuff.”

“No fair.” Peter sighed, looking deflated.

“In a few weeks, I’ll introduce you to Mister Scott, he’s the best engineer I know. He even helped save earth and my ship a few times.”

“Really!” Peter said again.

“Sure.” Jim grinned.

“Yaay!” Peter said as he got off his chair and threw his arms around Jim’s shoulders, and Jim pulled his nephew into his lap.

“Peter!” Aurelan gasped, making a move to pull her son away.

Jim even saw Spock tense out of the corner of his eye. So he waved their concerns down with a hand. “It’s not a problem.” He told them. Knowing he would have to tell Spock that he never had a problem with kids touching him, especially not Peter, but that was probably because he was blood. But kids never triggered his empathic ability either.

“He still can’t climb all over you, you look warn out,” Aurelan said softly. Spock and Bones had explained what had happened to him while they were eating dinner, and she had been leaking concern towards him all evening.

Jim was about to assure her he was perfectly fine when he let out a loud yawn.

“You are over due for a rest period.” Spock said as he got to his feet.

“I’ll take him.” Sam suddenly said as he came up and picked Peter up, handing him to Aurelan, then he was pulling Jim up by his arm.

“But we haven’t seen the cartoon yet!” Peter was whining as Jim found himself clutching his brothers arm so he didn’t fall over.

“We can watch it later kido.” Sam assured, “Remember your uncles been sick so he needs to take a nap. Unless you want to take one too?”

“Noooo” Peter protested as Aurelan put him down and he ran into the living room.

“Come on then.” Sam said as Jim felt Sam’s other arm go around his waist.

“Jim?” Spock said as they walked past.

Jim gave him a smile. “Come wake me in a few hours.” He told his Mate as he walked past. He had a hunch Sam wanted a word with him alone.

He wasn’t wrong when Sam finally helped him sit on his bed, then sat down besides him.

“So?” Jim asked as his brother looked at him.

“Aure wanted me to ask you some things.” Sam confessed awkwardly.

“Shoot.” He sighed, hoping this wouldn’t take long, he really was tired.

“Are you happy with Spock?” Sam asked right out.

Jim couldn’t help barking out a laugh, but he knew the bigger question his brother was asking, feeling his concern. And it wasn’t like he had spilled his guts to Sam through comm’s. He sobered as he nodded, “Yeah…” He answered. “Seems fate threw us together and I finally found someone…” He was about to say, ‘who wont leave me.’ but that wasn’t fair to Sam. His brother had done what he could to save himself all those years ago when he left Jim behind. And Jim had forgiven him long ago. They had just been children. “Someone who can stay at my side… and I’ll stay by his.”

Sam nodded. “For anyone who I thought you would Bond with… A Vulcan?” he smiled.

Jim shrugged. “It wasn’t like I had ever met one before.” He grinned. Knowing his brother had worked with one in the past. “And don’t believe that emotionless exterior they put on, they can be quite loud sometimes.”

“Your empathy?” Sam asked.

Jim nodded again, covering his mouth as he yawned again.

“Okay, next question… Spock is willing to let you be a captain while he’s not?” Sam asked.

“Sure.” Jim answered immediately.

“But…” Sam was floundering as Jim saw him look around the room. “I don’t know… You being a Shifter, aren’t you mean to do what he wants?”

“I haven’t been that submissive little Shifter kid since I hit puberty.” Jim laughed. “I’m not about to start now.” Thought he couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed that his brother didn’t really know him that well anymore.

“And he’s still okay with that?” Sam insisted, a frown on his brow.

“He knows how much being a captain means to me.” He said honestly. “And if there is a time when that changes, we will discuss what we do next.”

“Like you will ever leave Starfleet.” Sam grinned.

“True… So anything else?”

“Are you really okay?” Sam asked. “You really do look like shit. And we heard it on the news you were considered dead.”

“Oh.” Jim sighed. “I was… or I should be.”

“What the hell happened?” Sam demanded putting a hand on his arm and his worry shot through Jim like ice.

Jim quickly ran over what he could remember, then about what he had been told.

“So, blood from an ancient Shifter from the genetic wars brought you back to life?” Sam tried to clarify.

“Pretty much.” Jim answered. “It also changed me.” He said softly.

“How?” Sam asked.

“I’m not a lion anymore… Well, not fully.”

“You’re not a Shifter?” Sam gasped.

“No, I am… but I’m half a jaguar now. Spots and all.”

“Can I see?” Sam asked.

Jim shook his head. “Not right now. Bones wants me to do it only when he’s present.” He kinda fibbed, as Bones just wanted to be near by, not necessarily in the same room. But Jim was still insecure in his new fur, even to let his brother see at the moment. “When I’m feeling better I’m sure Peter is itching for me to Shift for him.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “He tells everyone his uncle is a famous Shifter.”

“Sure that’s not infamous?” Jim chuckled, then he was yawning again.

“Come on,” Sam said as he stood. “Get some sleep before your Mate comes up here and drags me away.”

“Bones will be the one doing the dragging.” Jim laughed as he flopped back on the bed, hearing his brother sigh. Then he felt his legs being lifted.

“Help me out here.” Sam said as Jim shuffled up the bed a little, then he felt his shoes being removed. “You want the comforter?”

Jim shook his head, not opening his eyes.

“See you tomorrow then.” Sam said softly. “I think your friends roped my wife into helping with your wedding party.”

Jim groaned as he turned onto his side. He didn’t hear when his brother left as he drifted off to sleep.

 

 - - <(^_^)> - -

 

[Nine day’s later]

 

Spock watched as George Kirk was trying to teach his son how to play an ancient arcade game that involved plastic guns on wires, while they tried to shoot zombies on a large vid-screen. Spock did not see the amusement in such a pursuit as it seemed an impossible scenario to win.

“Sam still at it?” Jim said as he came to stand besides him. Spock accepted the hand Jim pushed through his elbow.

“Affirmative.” Spock answered as he looked at his Mate.

Over the last nine days, Jim had improved. As he physically became stronger, his mental state also strengthened. Now his smiles were genuine and reached his eyes that were once again, illogically, bright. He did not have to rest at least four to five times a day, Spock still made sure Jim took a ‘nap’ in the middle of the evening, depending on what their activity was.

“Is there anywhere to sit down?” Jim asked softly. And instantly Spock reached out to their Bond, feeling how exhausted Jim had become, so he instantly began to lead the way to where he had seen benches earlier.

“You should not push yourself.” Spock admonished as he took a seat at Jim’s side.

“I know.” Jim sighed, then Spock lifted an arm as Jim leaned against him, placing his arm down around Jim’s shoulders, securing Jim to his side.

He was just about to ask if Jim needed a drink or sustenance, as it had been a few hours since they had eaten with the rest of the Kirk’s, and on doctors McCoy’s instructions, he made sure Jim ate healthy snacks between meals. But he stopped himself as a group of young adults walked past, and they took great interest until they were a few meters away where they began whispering amongst themselves, glancing back until they were out of view.

“Sorry.” Jim whispered.

Spock tensed the muscles in his arm, preventing his Mate from moving from his side. No doubt Jim had heard some of the words spoken by the youths. Mostly excitement by seeing an actual Vulcan and more about him having physical contact with a normal human.

Though Spock knew Jim was anything but ordinary.

“You don’t have to force yourself.” Jim whispered from his shoulder.

“I am not.” Spock answered honestly. “It is illogical to deny you the physical contact you need.”

“You’re such a romantic.” Jim chuckled and Spock felt it through his chest.

“Would you like me to buy you flowers and chocolates?” Spock shot back, making his Mate laugh out loud.

“I would never say no to chocolate and some good coffee.” Jim purred huskily and Spock could scene his Mate’s slight lust, mostly for the food items.

Spock turned his head to look at his ashayam, “There is a shop selling both on our way back to our vehicle.” He answered.

“And the tea you like.” Jim lowered his voice as he turned his chest more to Spock, and he felt his Mates hand on his thigh. “Then maybe we go home and you have a nap with me… then maybe later…” His Mate left the rest unsaid, but Spock picked up clearly on what Jim was implying.

“You think you are ready?” Spock asked. Ignoring his own desire to reclaim his partner in such a basic way. They had had sexual contact but it had never involved penetration.

Jim pouted at him a little; it was endearing, but not becoming of a ships captain in public. “Fine…” Jim sighed. “I tell you what.” His smile came back. “We’ll wait till our wedding night.” He said, pulling himself closer as he lowered his tone. “I’ll be the blushing bride.” He purred as he took Spock’s free hand and lifted it to his own meld points on his face.

Spock swallowed as he initiated the meld.

“Then you can take me like you did the first time we did it.” Jim said into his mind, providing images and sound from his memories.

“The day will be an arduous one.” Spock said allowed, pulling his hands away before Jim’s mind could effect him in a more embarrassing way. Though he was loathed to do so.

“Spoil sport.” Jim grinned, but he put his own emotions under control. “Though it’s not going to be as long as when we bonded on Vulcan.”

“It was not.” Spock answered, letting Jim settle into his side again.

“Wasn’t?” Jim asked curiously.

“The original quest list confirmed their attendance for the new date. But Mister Sulu and doctor McCoy have been receiving requests to double, if not triple the original number.”

“Really?” Jim asked surprised. “But I thought the venue only took two hundred people if most of them were willing to stand?... and what about the reception dinner? How many more want to come to that?” Jim was pushing away now, to look at him.

Spock felt Jim’s anxiety beginning to rise. And maybe McCoy had been right in his advice they should keep all the new arrangements for their upcoming human wedding from Jim.

“Mister Sulu and Mister Scott are handling the new arrangements and invitation requests.” He assured.

“What arrangements?” Jim was asking, his tone stressed. “Apart from the crew who can make it, a few friends and family we have and some of the admiralty who don’t hate me… who else is coming?!”

“A large percentage of requests are coming from other planet ambassadors and their embassies. I believe Naota is handling those for Mister Sulu.” Spock answered.

“Why?” Jim frowned.

Spock resisted the urge to sigh. “Because the Enterprise prevented the Federation from having to go to war with the Klingon’s. So they want to attend the wedding of its captain.”

“But so many people died that day…” Jim whispered, as his mood suddenly turned dark, their Bond began to pulse with a dull throb of pain.

“The memorial for all those who lost their lives on the Enterprise and on the ground when the Vengeance crashed occurred while you were still in an induced coma.” Spock tried to reassure. “I believe in these situations, that any source of celebration is beneficial to most races and cultures within the Federation?”

“I guess.” Jim whispered. But Spock knew his mood was still lifted. “Who else wants to come?” He asked listlessly.

“The Press is most interested.” Spock said. “I believe it is because both Starfleet and the Shifter Registry are still refusing all requests for a personal interview with you, the Press are also prohibited from contacting you directly.”

“So they just want to crash the wedding instead?” Jim assumed.

“From what Mister Chekov has informed me. They are more focused on the fact that a Shifter, who made captain and has single-handedly saved the Earth twice, is marrying a Vulcan.”

Jim snorted, “It was hardly single-handedly… I hope they are including the rest of the crew!”

“I do not know.” Spock said, relieved Jim’s mood had improved fractionally.

“Also, it’s not like they haven’t already reported on us being Bonded.” Jim sighed deeply. “After all, this wedding was really for our friends and family, not us. Now it’s becoming an intergalactic event.”

“Agreed.” Spock had been satisfied with their bonding on New Vulcan. But the crew were eighty percent human, so they had wanted something they could understand from the two of them.

“Tell them to include whatever Press they think is best. I’m fine with the ambassadors, as they might start complaining because your dad’s gonna be there, even if he’s not there in an official capacity.” Jim sighed, then yawned. “Same with anyone else who wants to come… There is just one person who I don’t want to be anywhere near.” He finished darkly.

“His identification had already been shared with those involved.” Spock assured, knowing Jim was talking about his stepfather. Though if he did decide to show himself, then Spock was sure if he broke a few bones in the human, he would not be held accountable. “

“Good.” Jim yawned again. “Damn… I think I need a nap.” He said as he slumped against Spock’s side again.

“You have changed your mind about the coffee and chocolate?” Spock teased.

“Heavens no!” Jim grinned. “And wasn’t there a book shop down a side street?”

Spock nodded, feeling his Mates excitement at the prospect.

“Then let’s go tell Sam and Aurelan then!” Jim said as he started to get to his feet.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

[The Wedding Day]

 

Leonard still couldn’t believe the amount of people that had shown up, or how on earth Sulu had managed to secure a damn cathedral for this damn fiasco! And as he watched the live news footage on his Padd, still more people were pouring into the massive hall. He had also clocked the huge public vid-screens outside the venue for all the people that couldn’t actually fit inside.

And what was with all the press anyway? He had told Chekov to only accept a few of the most reputable Press. But it seemed like every network from every corner of the galaxy were crammed at the back of the cathedral, even more in the gallery above.

At least they had been singing Jim’s parses, and at least the feed he was watching also mentioned the crew, also naming them as they walked into the hall.

“I still do not know why we have to be separated.” Spock was saying behind him.

“Because it’s tradition.” Leonard said back, distracted as he watched George’s wife and son coming in. The news caster was excitedly saying who they were. Then wondering where George was.

“Tradition in these circumstances also dictates that we should not have seen each other the day before the wedding.” Spock was droning on. “But that was not the case.”

“No.” Bones sighed as he glared at the Vulcan. “That’s because the bloody admiralty were arguing about who actually got to perform the damn ceremony!” Admiral Clara Banks had finally been chosen, but that was only after Admiral Archer had turned it down, complaining he was too old for such things. Though he was now in the front row, sat next to George’s wife. So it had taken till the last moment to actually do a quick rehearsal last night at Kirk’s home.

“I also believe that there is a tradition for the ‘bride’ to wear a veil.” Spock said. “Have you also purchased one for Jim?”

Leonard glared at his best friends intended, he had a strong feeling Spock was actually trying to make a joke, but he was never sure. “We got him a pretty white dress and a huge bouquet of white lilies.” He grinned as he watched Spock’s eyes widen. If he remembered right, the lilies were meant to represent ‘Virginity’. And he had caught them enough times to know that hadn’t been the case in a long time.

“I’m sure he will still look fetching.” Spock said back, looking away.

Leonard snorted a laugh, now regretting he hadn’t actually tried to pull that one off. Instead they were all wearing their dress uniforms. Though Spock had seemed perturbed that he hadn’t got to help Jim into his uniform before they drove here. Which only amused Leonard more, as it seemed to have pissed Spock off more, if that were possible.

“Did you also remember something new, something borrowed and something blue?” Spock asked as one of his eyebrows rose.

“Did your research I see,” Leonard said as Spock just looked at him, that bloody eyebrow still halfway to his pristine hair. “And it’s not like any of it matters.” He groused instead. “Lucky for you that divorce doesn’t exist for you two fools.” He said, remembering his own disastrous marriage followed by the messiest divorce in history, forcing him into bloody space for god sake!

“I will take that as a compliment.” Spock replied, deadpan.

Which only irritated Leonard more. He knew Spock was good for Jim, but he still didn’t have to like the alien when he was stressed out. Like now. He was just about to answer with a ‘don’t’ then there was a knock on the door and Chekov poked his head in.

“They are vaiting for you now.” The young lad said, looking flushed.

“Come on then.” Leonard growled. “Let’s get this over with… Lets just hope Jim doesn’t come to his senses and leaves you standing at the alter.” He grinned.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

For some reason Jim felt jumpy. He had been fine till Bones had pulled Spock away to another room, deeper in the cathedral. Not helping was the fact Spock was in a bit of a bad mood. Now Jim’s nerves were getting to him as he was finding it hard blocking so many people’s emotions from invading his senses. They ranged from exited, to bored and everything in-between. He was just thankful nothing negative was coming through, or at least not what he could sense.

“Calm down.” Sam was saying to him as they waited to be called. “It’s not like this is your first wedding.”

“The Vulcan bonding ceremony was a lot less stressful.” Jim answered.

“How so?” Sam asked.

Jim knew his brother was just trying to make him concentrate on something else. “We just had to kneel for a long time.” Jim said as he picked up his Padd for the fifth time, before putting it down again, not turning it on. “Then his grandmother mind melded with us both at the same time, did some poking around in there.” He pointed at his own head. “Gave a long speech about fidelity and how our bond was a special one…” He frowned. “I only understood half of the Vulcan side of it as she was using long words I haven’t learned yet.”

“You can understand Vulcan?” Sam asked, surprised. “Man, you can hardly speak standard, I’m impressed.”

“Oh, ha ha.” Jim grinned back at the joke. “I can understand it and read a little. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to speak it. That’s hard.” He said finally sitting down opposite his brother. “I can hardly even pronounce Spock’s full name.” he sighed, hoping he didn’t fuck it up in front of so many people.

George laughed at that. “What is it then?”

“Sa… S’chn T’gai Spock.” Jim managed, he always had a problem with the first part.

“That’s a mouthful.” Sam agreed.

“It’s not like I ever use your full name.” Jim grinned, to which his brother rolled his eyes.

“I do, and everyone else,” Sam said exasperatedly. “Only you call me Sam.”

“Because I don’t like ‘George’.” Jim complained, pulling a face.

“And because you couldn’t pronounce it as a kid… I’m starting to see a pattern.” Sam laughed. “God help us all if you used anyone’s real name!”

Jim smiled too. “It’s a sign of affection.” He tried.

“Now, that I can believe.” Sam acknowledged with a fake solemn nod.

Jim kicked his foot in Sam’s direction. But his humour died instantly when they heard clapping echoing through the walls of the room they had been shoved into. And the excitement from the crowds cranked up a notch, grating at his shielding like sandpaper. He might be physically stronger then he was even a few days ago. But he was still having trouble blocking everything out, so the mass of people that had shown up was proving to be unbelievably taxing.

He jumped when someone knocked on the door.

“Yeah?” Sam called as Jim felt his brother’s hand on his shoulder. Jim hadn’t even realised he had gotten up.

“Ve are ready for you now.” Chekov said, sounding a little breathless.

“We’ll be out in a second.” Sam said as Jim heard the door close again. “Come on. Get up.” And Jim found himself being pulled to his feet.

Then his brother was stood in front of him, both hands on his shoulders. “Hey, come on.” Sam shook him a little. “You’re just about to marry the man of your dreams, again. In front of half the galaxy… why so nervous?”

“Only half?” Jim joked back weakly.

“I’m sure the rest will know soon enough.” Sam said with another annoying shake. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

“Sure.” Jim sighed, as his brother suddenly pulled him into a hug. Something they hadn’t done since they were kids. Then he was pulling away, slapping Jim on the back, hard.

“Chin up.” Sam said as Jim let him take his hand and put it through his elbow.

“Why do I have to be the blushing bride anyway?” Jim grumbled, as he let his brother lead him out of the room.

“The privilege of being a Shifter.” Sam chuckled. “Remember, you’re supposed to be the submissive one.”

“Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting.” Jim grumbled sulkily. It wasn’t like it was the first time people expected that of him. Even if he had fought that stereotype ever since… since Tarsus IV. And suddenly his mood was in the gutter again as Chekov was waving them over to the doors that would lead them into the crap of people and their damn emotions.

“Hey, Hey!” Sam hissed concerned. “Whatever you just thought, stop it, you’re leaking!”

But Jim couldn’t. Chris was supposed to be leading him down the isle and giving him away. Chris had been thrilled and honoured by the idea when they had talked about a traditional wedding. Sam was gonna be his best man, now he had to do both.

“Whoa… Jim?” Jim felt his brother hugging him again, only this time it was tight as notes of worry and sadness came through his brother’s emotions. “Okay… let it out, I got you.”

Jim growled into his brother’s shoulder, feeling his eyes sting.

Again, this was something his brother would do when they were really little, when Jim still wasn’t able to shield his empathy reliable, and he would have to bottle up all his feeling, or receive more abuse from their stepfather. So Sam would take him away from the house and hold him tight while Jim released all his emotions.

“Chris.” He chocked out, remembering how Sam liked to know why he was being Jim’s emotional punching bag, so he didn’t affect the whole county. “Mom…” He whispered. “She’s not here.”

“I know.” Sam sighed, tightening his hold.

Jim had logically expected her not to come. The last time he had seen her in person was at Sam’s wedding, and she hardly said two words to him. Just sat there feeling vaguely of guilt and grief in equal measures. Jim was used to that from her, it still hurt. But he had stupidly hoped she would at least be here, actually make an effort. Even if it was only to see him while he was in the hospital on the weddings original date. But she hadn’t even sent him a vid-call message.

“Captain?” Chekov said hesitantly.

“Yeah.” Jim sighed, then pulled away from his brother, as Sam reached up to run the palm of his hands over Jim’s eyes.

“We haven’t done that in years.” His brother said softly with a smile. “You okay now?”

Jim nodded. Thankful that Sam was at least with him, and to know he was still there for him was touching. Even if they hadn’t been as close as he guessed either of them wanted to be, Jim really did love his brother. “Lets do this.” He said as he squared his shoulders, putting his own hand through his brothers elbow this time. “Proceed Mister Chekov.” He said. If he didn’t feel as confident as he wanted, he could at least act the part.

Chekov waved at them to stand by two large doors then gestured to someone else and suddenly the traditional wedding march music started and Jim groaned.

“Wow.” Sam was laughing, “When they said ‘traditional’ they really went all out.”

“I think I’m going to have to throw some people in the brig.” Jim muttered as Chekov opened the door.

Jim only moved because his brother was pulling him forward.

The hall beyond the doors was crammed with people, the only free space being the isle, and all eyes were turned to him.

He was used to speaking in front of crowds, that was easy, but this was a whole different ballgame. At least the crowds emotions were quiet as he walked besides his brother. But it wasn’t helping his anxiety.

Then he finally looked forwards and he couldn’t help but smile.

Spock was stood ahead of him, he was dressed in his full Starfleet dress uniform, his hair was immaculate and his face expressionless. But his brown eyes were the only ones Jim cared about looking at him. Waiting.

“Remember the rehearsal.” Sam hissed at his side, subtly pushing him back to the left, and Jim realised he had stated walking straight towards his Mate.

Then he couldn’t help but frown a little, and it took him a nanosecond to realise what was wrong.

Bones had a tight grip on Spock’s bicep, like he had been holding him back. And Spock had one foot slightly forwards.

Jim’s knew something was wrong. But his brother wasn’t going to let him speed up. And it seemed to take forever till Jim was less than a meter away from his Mate.

“Who gives this Shifter to be lawfully married here today?” Admiral Banks suddenly said, making Jim look at her. She was smirking at him. After all, she found the whole thing amusing. This eased some of Jim’s tension bit.

“I do.” Sam said at his side. “George Samuel Kirk.” Then his brother was moving him into place facing Spock.

“Thank you.” Banks said as Jim felt his brother move away to stand at his back. “You may be seated.” She said to the crowd at large.

Jim waited through all the noise, but he couldn’t take not touching his Mate and as he reached out, Spock also did the same, taking his hands in his own.

Jim closed his eyes and let out a little breath of relief as Spock’s shier physical presence bolstered Jim’s own empathic shielding and the emotions from everyone in the hall finally quietened.

“As It’s a bit late for anyone to have any objections with why these two cannot be married today, I’ll just continue.” Banks said to a twitter of amusement that, again, threaded there way through Jim’s thin shields, but quickly they were gone, knowing Spock was helping him.

“A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks.” Banks began her speech. Something she had been pulling faces over last night at their rehearsal, even though she had been the one to pick this speech out because she thought it was amusing. “When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be…”

Jim tuned her out, knowing it would take some time. “What’s wrong?” he asked his Mate.

“You were in stress.” Spock said, and Jim could feel his concern, and only his. “Doctor McCoy would not let me come to you.” He was annoyed by that. But it explained why Bones had been holding Spock back.

Jim swallowed, he didn’t want to start sobbing in front of so many strangers.

“James.” Spock whispered his concern becoming urgent.

“I thought about something that happened a long time ago.” Jim finally managed, and his traitorous mind started supplying images. Images of a man looking down at him with a possessive smile, of hands trailing over his coat, making him feel sick. Of hundreds of people’s terror shattering through his empathy while he tried to deal with his own.

Then he felt Spock’s presence merging with his own as their communication became more than just telepathy. Spock was soothing him, carefully pushing all Jim’s horrible memories of Tarsus IV back into the dark place they had come from. Smoothing the jagged edges a little as he did so.

“We will reserve this for another time.” Spock was whispering through him, surrounding him in comfort, letting him know he was safe. Jim slowly realised why. Spock had stepped closer to him, resting their foreheads together as he used his right hand, that wasn’t facing the crowd, to meld with him. “There was something else?” Spock was asking.

Jim sighed. There was nothing he could keep secret with Spock in his mind. “I thought my mother would have at least shown up by now.” He said, knowing Spock could feel the betrayal he felt, disappointment and somewhere in a quiet corner a grief filled accepted acknowledgment she didn’t care for him.

He was a little surprised to feel Spock respond with anger directed toward his mother, it was also shot through with resentment and offence.

Jim projected his own confusion.

“My apologies.” Spock finally responded tensely. “I should not harbour such resentment towards a woman I have never met… But I can not understand her motives.” Then Jim was getting images of a woman with a kind smile and warm hands. “My own mother, if she were still alive, would have been at your side the moment she knew of your grave health.”

Jim reached out to comfort his Mate, feeling his grief surface quietly. “Thanks.” He said honestly, wishing that he could have met her.

“… Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.”

Jim opened his eyes suddenly when he felt Spock pulling slowly out of the meld. It took him a moment to remember where they were. And he managed to straighten up. Realising that Banks had finished her speech. He glanced at her and smiled. ‘sorry’ he mouthed, to which she rolled her eyes.

“Now the rings.” She said, looking over at Bones, who stepped forwards with the gold ring they had picked out months ago.

“Here.” Bones said gruffly as he handed it to Spock and Jim could see moisture in his eyes, just before he stepped back.

“Proceed.” Banks said.

Spock rested his hand in his own as he held the ring just before Jim’s left ring finger.  “I. S’chn T’gai Spock, take you, James Tiberius Kirk, to be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forth, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, every day of our lives.” Spock spoke, his voice clear. “With this ring, I thee wed. A sign to all of our union.”

Jim felt him self blushing inexplicably as Spock began to push the ring up his finger.

“Never parted, never and always touching and touched.” Spock whispered an abridged version of their Vulcan bonding vows as the ring finally rested in place and Jim looked up into his Mates intense brown eyes. They hadn’t rehearsed this yesterday and he felt his heart quicken in his chest, resisting the urge to lift his right hand to his mouth, he just grinned.

“Sneaky.” Jim projected along with his affection.

“Honesty.” Spock shot back, but it was tinged with amusement and mirrored Jim’s own feelings.

“Mister Kirk? The ring?” Banks said and Jim started a little as he looked at the Admiral. Then realised she had been addressing his brother, as Sam held out the ring, a matching plain gold, that looked like his own, but where as his had facets in it that would stretch when he Shifted, Spock was solid.

Jim took it, glad his hands weren’t shaking as he turned back to his Mate, who had already placed his left hand in his own. Jim held the ring just before Spock’s ring finger as he looked once again, into his Mates eyes.

“I…” He found himself pausing as his mouth went dry. He hadn’t really expected this to affect him so much. It hadn’t last night while they were having a laugh about it all. But he mentally shook himself. “I James Tiberius Kirk, take you… S’chn T’gai Spock,” He was actually proud he had managed it perfectly. “… To be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forth, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and honour, every day of my life.” He said, changing the last few words, watching as Spock’s eyes widened as his head tilted ever so slightly to the left. “And with this ring, I thee wed. A sign to all of our union.” He said, pushing the ring onto Spock’s sensitive finger, not shy about brushing his Mates other fingers with his own. “And that no one else can have you.” He grinned, feeling Spock struggle not to show his amusement on his face. Allowed he said. “Never parted, never and always touching and touched.” Loud enough for at least the first few rows to hear.

“May the wedding rings you exchanged today remind you always that you are surrounded by enduring love.” Banks announced. “Mister Spock.”

“Yes?” Spock asked, but he wasn’t looking away from Jim.

“You may now kiss your husband.” Banks proclaimed.

Jim’s grin turned to a smirk waiting for Spock to lean forwards and chastely kiss him quickly on the lips. Knowing how much his Mate hated public displays of affection, especially one so intimate.

Instead he gave out a little squeak as Spock suddenly put one arm around his waist, pulling him against his own, his other hand went to the back of Jim’s head as Spock leaned in and began kissing him passionately, bending Jim back as he did so. Jim found he could do nothing but cling to the front of his Mates uniform as he revelled in the attention.

But all too soon, Spock was pulling away and Jim was thankful his Mate didn’t let him go as he straightened, his knees had gone to jelly, and he was sure it wasn’t all to do with his lingering exhaustion. Then he was aware of the rest of the hall.

The crowd was cheering and clapping. And as Jim looked around the many faces, they all at least looked like they had enjoyed the show. There were also more people than he expected wiping at their eyes. So he couldn’t help but give them all his winning smile.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen!” Banks called making the whole room quieten. “There will be a private reception lunch for family and friends!”

Jim heard a murmur start up at the back of the cathedral, and once again Jim found his shields being tested, most of the people were not happy.

“Concentrate on me.” Spock said and Jim felt him envelop him, quieting the negativity.

“Shhh!” Banks snapped at the crowd. “Everyone is still invited to the wedding party that will start at sixteen hundred hours at the Old Levi’s stadium. There will a barbeque and salad bar to cater for everyone’s tastes: an open bar with a… disco.” Jim watched Banks shiver at the idea; he was more worried about the open bar. “There will also be the first dance and the cutting of the cake!”

“First dance?” Jim looked at Spock to feel the same surprise and unease. It wasn’t like he didn’t know how to dance; after all, he was forced to take a few classes in classic ballroom along with every other cadet on a command path. Didn’t mean he had to like it.

“Indeed.” Spock intoned.

“Well, you can lead.” Jim answered. “I’ll just stand on your toes.” He smiled.

“If you wish.” And he felt Spock rolling his eyes.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Jim was tired as he leaned against Spock’s side, who was having a deep conversation with a very drunk Scotty, about something to do with engineering. Jim had stopped listening a while ago as he just watched the crowd around him carry on enjoying the party.

The reception lunch had gone fine, even if Bones, as Spock’s best man, regaled their friends and family about Jim’s more amusing reckless moments in the academy. And some of their more unclassified mishaps on missions. Then Sam had done the same, adding in some stunts he had pulled, and about how he liked to run around naked so he could Shift whenever he wanted. Jim was just happy Sam didn’t add in that if he was caught, he was punished for it.

The food had been stunning though. None of it was replicated. Not like Bones had allowed him to eat anything that wasn’t freshly cooked since he awoke in the hospital.

Then they had moved to the stadium. They had been forced to dance as everyone watched. It had thankfully been less awkward than Jim had feared. Then they had cut the cake. Scotty had suggested that he should shove some cake up Spock’s nose, but Jim had resisted. Humiliating his new, new, husband wasn’t on his ‘to do’ list anytime soon.

There had been more food. Freshly cooked meat from the barbeque had filled Jim enough to satisfy him, because he didn’t care how much Bones glared, he wasn’t going to add vegis to it.

So here he sat, half asleep leaning against Spock, a beer bottle loosely held in his hand and a smile on his lips.

The day had been long. But it was nice to actually feel human again.

He liked being around people most of the time, so watching them having fun was nice. But he knew he had been at his limit about two hours ago. And now he just wanted to go home and sleep.

Bones kept glancing at him. Jim knew he wanted to send him home too. But instead his friend just sat down at his other side and made sure to talk with anyone who came over to talk or congratulate them, so Jim didn’t have to.

With another yawn he put his bottle down on the table and laid his hand on his friends back. To which Bones turned to him. “Thanks.” Jim smiled at him.

Bones gave him a smile. “No problem kid. You need me to make your excuses?”

Jim nodded. “You really are too good to me.”

Bones rolled his eyes, but Jim felt his affection for him. “Don’t I know it.” Bones sighed. Keeping his gruff exterior in place as he leaned past Jim to poke Spock on the arm.

“Doctor?” Spock said, braking off his conversation with Scotty on nacelles.

“Time to take your husband home before he passes out and cracks his head open when he slips off his chair.” Bones grumbled.

Spock turned to look down at him where he rested under Spock’s arm and Jim realised he was about to slip off his chair if he sank any lower. Then he was looking up at Bones. “Have we completed everything expected of us?”

“Yeah. Go.” Bones said, making a shooing gesture with his hand. “I don’t think this party is gonna wind down anytime soon… I’ll come round later tomorrow.”

“At what time?” Spock asked.

Bones sighed. “Some time after lunch.” He answered vaguely making Jim grin, knowing his friend was being obtuse just to annoy Spock. It was just a shame it worked most of the time. “Now piss off.” He said which only sent Scotty of into howls of laughter.

“How we gonna get home?” Jim yawned, feeling Spock’s arm slip down to his shoulder and grip him tightly making sure he really didn’t end up on the floor. After all, cars and shuttles had been used to get everyone from the cathedral to the stadium hours ago, and he doubted they would still be around.

“There are cabs waiting outside.” Bones answered. “Just go grab one.”

 

- - <(>o<)> - -

 

Spock had managed to carry Jim up the stairs to their front door. His Mate had come around a little once they were in the cooling night air from the warm interior of the cab.

“Carrying me across the threshold?!” Jim was chuckling drunkenly. “My gallant husband!”

“It is only logical.” Spock answered. “Open.” He said to the door, thankful the voice recognition lock opened instantly. “You are inebriated so I do not trust you not to break you neck getting up the stairs.”

Spock felt Jim tighten his arms around his neck as he leaned closer to his ear. “Don’t think I didn’t see you scoffing those chocolate covered raisins.” Jim whispered, the air from his breath tickling across Spock ear. Spock ignored the bolts of desire going towards his groin from the simple action.

Three day’s prior, Jim had been eating and enjoying the chocolates and coffee they had purchased. And he had insisted that Spock try some, so Spock had to explain how the coco within had the same affect on him as alcohol would have on a human.

Jim had immediately tried to feed him a treat, but Spock had refused, and was pouted at for two minutes and four seconds.

Right now he knew he was being affected by his inebriation, but it wasn’t enough to impede his movements or cognitive functioning.

“I still have some chocolates left.” Jim was saying as they entered the house, the door locking instantly behind them.

Spock raises his eyebrow at his Mate. “I thought you would be more interested in ending our time of abstinence, than eating more.” He said. Strangely satisfied when his husbands eyes widened, not so much when Jim’s eyes narrowed as his mouth thinned into a grin.

“Who said we can’t do both?” Jim asked, humour emanation from him in a wave as Spock began to ascend the stairs. “I’d like to see you a little tipsy.”

“I do not agree.” Spock answered. “It is enough that you are already ‘tipsy’.” He manoeuvred them both into their bedroom.

“It’s not.” Jim whined, then he was struggling and Spock put him onto his own feet. “Come on, just one.” Jim said as he walked around the bed to his bedside table where the remains of his box of chocolates rested. Then he was plucking one out, it was darker than the rest, and Spock knew it would contain a higher amount of coco. Then Jim was walking over to him again, a sly smile on his lips, lips that parted as he placed the treat between them. but he did not consume it.

Spock tried not to be affected as Jim came to stand just in front of him, not touching. Then his Mate was reaching up and pulled apart the second clasp that held his dress jacket together, the first having been opened hours previous. Then Jim was doing the same to the third, just as slowly till there was a pop as metal parted.

Spock found himself not liking this; as he reached up too move his Mates hands away, to proceed undressing Jim himself. Since Jim had awoken, he had not dressed or disrobed without Spock’s assistance. And Spock had like doing it. He was very reluctant to stop now. But Jim took an illogical step backwards, away from him.

Spock went to take a step to follow, but Jim shook his head, lifting one hand to point a finger at the treat in his mouth. Spock tried again to reach out to the very same effect, only this time Jim uttered a negative past the object in his lips.

“U-uh.”

Spock sighed then quickly grabbed his Mates head and forced their mouth together, but before he could push the treat further into Jim’s mouth, his Mate had already pushed it into his own, then was pulling away.

“Eat it.” Jim was laughing. “Then… you get to remove my jacket.”

With a growl, Spock crushed the treat with his teeth, realising it had a coco and nut filling that invaded his taste buds. And where he wanted to hate it, the sweet filling was divine. And for a moment he was distracted before he finally swallowed.

“See.” Jim smiled at him. “Not so bad after all.”

Spock ignored him and lowered his hands to continue opening the press-studs that held Jim’s Jacket closed.

“Satisfied?” Jim chuckled as Spock put his hands against his Mates stomach and drew them up. Jim had lost some muscle mass he realised as he finally got to Jim’s shoulders, then pushing his hands under the shoulders of the jacked, he moved his hands down Jim’s arms, letting the garment fall to the floor, forgotten. He was about to reach for the undershirt he had insisted Jim wear, as the weather hadn’t been that warm. But his Mate stepped back again and growling in frustration Spock followed.

“Wait… wait!” Jim was laughing at him, putting one hand on his chest. Then his Mate was walking away, to his side of the bed again. But Spock didn’t wait as he followed.

“There are two left.” Jim was saying as he reached into the box again, pulling out another chocolate an exact copy of the last. “This for the shirt.” Jim said as he held the sweet out.

“I do not see…” Spock said in frustration but Jim interrupted him.

“Humour me?” Jim asked as he lowered his head, looking up at him through his lashes.

“This is tantamount to blackmail.” Spock sighed.

“The best kind.” Jim was purring at him, smile still in place.

Spock knew that if he truly wanted this little game to end, Jim would not push it. Instead Spock grasped Jim’s wrist that held the sweet, rubbing his middle and index finger across the underside. Instantly Jim sighed and melted against his chest. As he looked into stunning blue eyes that gazed up at him, he pulled the hand he held up closer to his mouth and without braking eye contact he licked at the chocolate, making sure he also licked the fingers that held it.  

It was fascinating to watch as Jim’s pupils dilated. Lust invading their Bond. Then Spock took the sweet and savoured it as he rested their foreheads together. With his other hand he pushed it under Jim’s undershirt then moved it up his Mates back slowly.

“May I remove your undershirt now?” Spock asked.

Jim nodded a little but did not reply. So Spock let go of Jim’s wrist and with quick efficiency he pulled the garment off as Jim raised his arms to help. Again he let the garment fall to the floor. And to his dismay, Jim had turned to retrieve the last chocolate, but before he could turn back, Spock pressed his chest to Jim’s warm back, moving his hands to the elasticised waist of Jim’s trousers. A little, irrationally, disappointed now that he had insisted Jim wear his Shifter clothing, in stead of ones that would require a belt.

“Last one…” Jim uttered, his voice in a lower tone now in his arousal. But he was holding another chocolate over his shoulder.

Spock didn’t hesitate to open his mouth to accept the offering as he pushed his hands into the waist band of Jim’s trousers, making sure he also caught his underwear in the process.

He moved his hands to Jim’s hips then began to push down a little, and as he pulled away a little he saw the back of Jim’s neck. And for a moment he was fascinated by the scars that were still quite visible from their first sexual encounter. But that was all he saw.

Since that first time, Jim had insisted that whatever happened. Spock should always re-mark him. Spock through his obsession with it was almost pathological. Until Bones had assured him it was ‘insane’ but perfectly normal for a Bonded Shifter.

Now Jim’s neck was clear of bruising. And for the first time, Spock finally understood why his Mate was so insistent on the physical harm Spock wrought. Because right now, Spock needed to see his claim on his Mate that meant more than the ring he now wore.

He pushed Jim’s trousers down with a shove, then bought his arm’s up to encircle his Mates chest as he laid his mouth against Jim’s neck, scraping his teeth along the flesh. He felt his Mate shiver in his hold, pushing himself back as he lowered his head and with that invitation, Spock bit down while simultaneously sucking hard, running his tongue over the skin he had access too, tasting his Mate as he did so.

Jim let out a long groan and that was all Spock needed to bite down harder as he pushed his own cloth covered erection against his Mates bare rear. He moved his left hand up to Jim’s chest, keeping him in place as his right hand moved down to take hold of his Mates arousal and pulled hard.

He knew his Mate was on the edge of ejaculating so he let go, removing his hand while also pulling back from his neck, satisfied when he looked that the skin he had been abusing was already red and would form a mark soon enough.

“Nooo.” Jim was gasping as he tried to turn in Spock’s arms. But Spock knew that if he let Jim orgasm now, he would be falling asleep afterwards, and Spock did not want that.

After seventeen days, eleven hours and twelve minutes. Spock needed to reclaim his Mate. He could/would not wait another moment.

Without saying anything he spun his Mate then pushed him onto their bed.

 

- - <(^o^)> - -

 

Jim fell onto the bed where Spock had pushed him and he tried to reach out to his own erection, needing to finish what Spock had started. The back of his neck was throbbing pleasantly in time with his own heartbeat and god he needed release.

“Hands off!” Spock snapped and instantly Jim pulled his hands away from his groin as he looked up at his Mate.

Spock was glaring down at him, looking a little angry, but Jim saw his Mates eyes and could see how blown they were, almost black. Then Spock was removing his own clothes with his Vulcan proficiency. But he was letting them fall to the floor, something he only did when Jim had riled him up enough to have mad passionate sex with him. So he was deeming it a success with the chocolates.

Once his jacket and shirt were gone, Jim licked his lips, waiting for the rest to come off. He could see the bulge in Spock’s trousers and wanted the show to continue. But Spock was leaning down to him and Jim realised he was still wearing his own trousers and boots. He lifted his legs, helping Spock remove them as quick as possible.

Finally Spock was undoing his own belt, and as Jim watched Spock push down on his trousers, he got his first glimpse of a thatch of black hair and he licked his lips in anticipation.

--

Jim was gaping for breath, his cheek squashed into the sheets as he tried to recover from his second orgasm while Spock was still trying to find his first.

Jim groaned as he felt the ridges of Spock’s cock swell inside him and he contracted his own muscles, even though he was over sensitive, feeling each ridge leave him, then enter again with more force, each time, hitting the sensitive place inside him that made him groan with each pass and prod. He felt is own body trying to get hard again, but he was too spent as Spock was pushing his shoulders into the mattress.

It was only moments before Jim was aware of Spock’s movements becoming erratic, the grip Spock had on his lower neck suddenly tightened as Spock was crying out his own wordless release above him.

Then Jim squeaked as Spock was falling onto his side, pulling Jim with him till they lay on their sides. Jim let out another groan when he felt Spock’s phallus leaving his body, half regretting its loss, feeling empty without it filling him up.

“I have inflicted more bruising.” Spock said breathlessly, with a little regret, behind him as Jim felt fingers stroking over the back of his neck.

Jim chuckled. “Like I’m complaining.” He said as he tried to turn onto his back, but all his limbs felt like lead weights were attached. Before he could ask for help, Spock was already moving and pulling Jim onto his back, so he was looking down at him. “Husband.” He grinned up at his Mate.

“Ashayam.” Spock answered back, and there was a smile on his face, his cheeks still tinged green from their love making. Then Spock was leaning over him, a hand going past his face and at first Jim thought Spock was going to mind meld with him again, but instead Spock pushed his sensitive fingers into his hair. “I have only just notist.” Spock said. “That you have developed a few of the round markings from your Shifted form in the hairline at the back of you neck.”

“Really?” Jim asked, a little alarmed as he reached back, past Spock’s own hand, touching the patch of thick, wiry hair he always kept short, because if he let it grow  long it was unmanageable, It was the only Shifter mark he had on his body, meaning he wasn’t a pure. But it was something most lions had, or a line of hair down their backs.

“They are only noticeable on close inspection.” Spock was reassuring as his fingers slipped over Jim’s. “If you grow your hair a little, they will not be noticeable.”

Jim was confused for a moment, sensing a second of regret from his Mate, before he understood it. “You want me to grow my hair?” He asked, a bit surprised. Spock had never really asked anything of him like this.

“Only if that it what you wish.” Spock said, though his fingers were sliding up into his hair again.

“That wasn’t what I asked.” Jim smiled. Reaching up to push his own fingers into Spock’s dishevelled hair, mussing the sweat, soft black mop in to further disarray.

“Then I would appreciate the prospect.” Spock answered.

Jim grinned. “Then I guess I can go with a new style.” He said as he ran his fingers over the sensitive part of Spock’s ear, watching his Mate flush more. “You can be selfish now and again you know.”

Spock was swallowing as Jim continued to play with his ear. “When we are alone, I desire equality between us.”

“Pfft.” Jim pinched the pointed tip of Spock ear a little. “We can never be equals.” He said, feeling his Mates instant denial. So he continued quickly. “At work, I’m officially your commanding officer. But alone and ALL the time...” He reached his head up to lick his tongue out at Spock’s lips. “You are my possessive, dominant Mate, and I am your willing submissive Shifter.” He grinned, knowing it was vastly simplifying their relationship. But at their core, that was how it worked. He watched as Spock opened his mouth to protest. “Most of the time.” He grinned hearing his Mate sigh out loud again, and it was thrilling, knowing his Mate was drunk enough to let such human expressions show.

“Then as your ‘dominant’ and ‘possessive’ Mate,” Spock said with a note of sarcasm. “I require you turn onto you side, shift and go to sleep.”

Jim laughed as Spock began to push him onto his side again. “Yes, honey!” He sang before he closed his eyes and Shifted into his hybrid form, squirming a little to straighten out his fur that was laying in an owquard direction. Once he was satisfied, spock was pushing an arm under his head, the other going around his chest as he settled at Jim’s back.

“Now sleep.” Spock told him and Jim closed his eyes as he settled down. Sleep soon over came him after the long day they had had.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

The next morning, Jim was busily opening their wedding gifts at their kitchen table, while Spock was in the middle of preparing them pancakes. Something Bones had taught him how to make. Jim had been disappointed he hadn’t seen that.

“Oh, nice.” He exclaimed when he opened Bones present. It was a few bottles of Sauian brandy, then he read the label and laughed. Feeling a note of curiosity from his Mate he read it allowed. “I know you are going to need this. And you can share it when you do. Your long suffering friend.” He finished holding up a bottle by its long neck to show Spock what he was talking about. “I’ll have to get him some whisky for his birthday, so he can reciprocate.”

“Indeed.” Spock answered absently. He was a little hung over and had been in a bit of a sensitive mood all morning, mostly remaining quiet and moody. Though he hadn’t taken ‘no’ for an answer after they got out of bed and Jim had tried to put on some underpants after leaving the bathroom, Spock had all but grabbed them from his hand and after helping Jim into them, had silently begun pulling out the rest of Jim’s clothes, then dressed him. Jim was guessing that he would not be dressing himself anytime ever again. And he really didn’t mind.

Jim grinned as he carried on opening brightly coloured boxes and cards. So far they had received a replica Vulcan tea set, along with a variety of galaxy wide tea’s. there was also coffee blends from all over the place Jim had been more exited about. There were also some theatre tickets, various vouchers for restaurants around san Francisco. A comedy duvet covers that said ‘pussy cat’ on one side on a white background, with ‘his’ on a thinner bit of black. Jim once again laughed at that, it was true. He also found a set of towels that said much the same thing.

Uhura had got them a box of scented meditation candles and when Jim sniffed one, he knew it was Spock’s preferred scent. But he squirreled them into the pile of other gifts. Spock wasn’t the only possessive one in their relationship, so however much he knew Uhura meant well, he would be putting the candles with the rest of Spock’s stash later.

Then there were some personalised shot glasses and someone had gotten them both a titanium shaving kit with their initials engraved on the handles. He tried to look for the note to say who it was from, but like so much of the other gifts, they were lost or had fallen off. But whoever had bought them knew what brand he used.

Then finally he was on the last gift. It was a small wooden box with their initials carved into the lid, the note that was still attached read ‘Crew’. But he was sure he had already opened a gift from everyone he knew personally. So he opened the lid, frowned at the contents then burst out laughing, then stopped as his head throbbed reminding him he had a bit of a hangover too.

Spock’s hands were on him instantly, projecting concern.

“I’m okay.” He grinned as he lifted the box up for Spock to see, who frowned, then reached in and pulled out a sturdy looking brush with long metal bristles. Remaining inside the box were some scissors, large claw trimmers, two long metal combs and gloves that looked like they had rubber palms.

“It’s a pet grooming kit.” Jim answered his Mates confusion. Then Spock was reaching into the box, examining each item with curiosity.

Jim sighed. “You can groom me after I eat.” He told his husband, who wasn’t hiding his excitement very well at the prospect.

“That would be acceptable.” Spock answered as he put everything back before turning away and rushing over to the stove, where he had just let a batch of pancakes burn.

- - -

An hour later and Jim way laid across Spock’s legs as his Mate sat with his back propped against the sofa.

He squirmed his belly into Spock’s thigh as his Mate ran the metal comb through the fur on his lower back. He couldn’t describe the pleasure, caught between the best scratching of an itch and an orgasm. Though his Mate was having to hold his tail down, so he could run the comb to the base of it, otherwise it would be smacking Spock in the face.

Spock had already used the brush to get any tangles out of what remained of his mane. But once he started using the comb, all preteens of this being relaxing was off. When the combs bristles got to his skin, he was purring in earnest while he moved, trying to get to just the right spot. And to his pleasure, Spock knew just what bit needed attention.

He was thinking this was almost better than sex.

“Jesus!” Bones suddenly gasped into the silence, making Jim yup out in surprise. “Cant you keep his tail down? That’s the last thing I need to see!”

Jim wanted to blush, realising he had been pushing his ass in the air giving Bones a show. So he plonked his stomach down on Spock’s legs, moving his tail flat to the floor.

He was going to get up and Shift, but Spock kept his hand on his shoulders.

“Nice of you to knock.” Spock was saying sassily, making Jim grin, despite his embarrassment.

“Pfft.” Bones was saying as he came around so Jim could see him as he flopped down in a chair. “I guess I should start, what with you guys now taking your sex life to the livening room!”

Jim chuckled, but it come out in huffs.

“I am grooming his coat.” Spock answered.

“You got a nit comb to find all those flies?” Bones asked.

Jim growled then snapped his teeth in Bones’s direction. It wasn’t like Bones hadn’t given him a brush down when he asked for it. Though Jim had to admit, that hadn’t been as pleasurable.

“Scary kitty.” Bones grinned at him.

“The reason for your visit?” Spock was asking as Jim felt him start to stroke him.

“To see my patient after all the excitement of yesterday.” Bones replied. “And I have news I thought you might like to hear.”

Jim was fine. He was tired. But he was getting used to that, but he had been getting stronger as the days passed.

“He is still experiencing exhaustion.” Spock said for him. “But he is recovering, if slowly.”

Bones nodded. “No ill affects from yesterday?”

Jim shook his head.

“Just the after affects of inebriation.” Spock said, so as Jim turned to him, he lifted his tail and batted Spock in the side of the head. To which his Mate just grabbed the end of his tail and razed an eyebrow at him.

“Just make sure he drinks as much water as you can get in him.” Bones said. “Kitty want a bowl of water?” he asked sarcastically. So Jim nodded at him. “You know where the kitchen is.” Bones shot back.

“What of your other news?” Spock asked.

“Oh well.” Bones said as he slumped further down in the chair. “Little drunken birds told me last night that the Enterprise is indeed going on that stupid harebrained mission for five years once she’s fixed and upgraded.”

Jim felt a bolt of excitement, before he crushed it down.

After everything that had happened they were never going to give her to him again.

“And that her crew will be young but experienced go getters.” Bones was saying and Jim was feeling nothing but disappointment and annoyance from his friend, and his heart sunk lower. “So why the hell they want me on the death trip of a mission is beyond me!” Bones growled.

Jim wanted to feel happy for his best friend, but the though of him going on a mission without him was disheartening. He had been Jim’s physician since the day they met. And he wanted to always be on a ship with him.

With a little effort he managed to push himself up with his forelegs, then slumped against Spock’s chest, putting his head under Spock’s chin as his Mate started stroking the side of his muzzle.

“Don’t look so depressed.” Bones snapped. “I’m not going to be alone! Apparently the admiralty want some young brash idiot to captain the Enterprise and his equally insane Vulcan husband to come along for the ride.”

Jim gasped as he looked at his friend, not quite believing him.

“This is a fact?” Spock asked.

Bones shook his head as he shrugged. “It’s not in writing till we all get comm’s with our orders.” He said. “But from what Admiral Archer was telling me after a few whiskies, he’s caused a stink in the halls of Those That Be, and he’s demanding it, and apparently, your fury ass is well liked, even now.”

Jim pulled away from Spock so he could look him in the eyes. Was this really happening… could it?

“I do not see why not.” Spock replied. “You saved Earth and stopped the Federation from going to war. Those are some impressive achievements.”

Jim grinned and he licked his tongue up Spock’s face, much to his Mates aversion, but he tasted so good. Then he quickly got to his paws and bounced over to Bones. His friend tried to push him away but he got to lick Bones’s cheek too before he bounded off. Then he Shifted as he walked over to the table of gifts and plucked out the Sauian brandy.

“I believe this is cause for a little celecration!” He laughed as he went to get glasses for them all.

“Put some damn clothes on first!” Bones yelled at him, then to Spock. “Cant you control your fool of a husband!”

“Not at the present.” Spock replied as Jim laughed some more. Finally he felt as light as air.

Life was good.

 

- - <(-_-)> - -

 

Epilogue I:

 

Winona sat watching the communal vid-screen as she sat eating her lunch in the quieter of the common rooms of the ship she was currently stationed on.

She had ignored most of the news as it played, there was some mention of the disaster that happened on earth in San Francisco then she stopped eating as the casters started reporting about the wedding of the year. And her eyes widened as she watched two images come on the screen of the happy couple, a Vulcan and a blond human with the brightest blue eyes.

“Hey, Winny.” Sharon said at her side. “That’s your boy isn’t it?”

Instantly the other people in the room turned to look at her.

“Hum?” Winona answered, hating the attention.

“Yeah, that’s your youngest isn’t it?” John asked. “Didn’t he also save Earth a few years back?”

“Yeah he did.” Sharon was saying excitedly.

Then they turned to listen to the vid-feed again. And sure enough, the announcer was singing all James’s prises, that he was not only the youngest captain ever in the Fleet but that he was also a Shifter, the first of his kind, and then that of the Vulcan he was marrying. How Spock was a human/Vulcan hybrid who had served with Jim through all their accomplishment.

They showed some clips from the wedding, including famous people, finally settling on Jim and his Vulcan exchanging rings. The announcer commenting over the top, of how, only two weeks ago, Jim had been severely injured while he saved the Enterprise and her crew, and that they were surprised to see him back on his feet only a month after the incident.

Soon though the news show was moving on to other topics.

“He doesn’t do things by halves.” Sharon was saying, sounding awed.

“How come you didn’t go?” John asked his attention on her again. “I know the captain was going to give you some time off.”

“I was busy.” Winona said as she pushed the rest of her meal away, no longer hungry.

“Too busy too go see your own son?” John asked as he frowned at her.

Winona didn’t answer, she had her reasons. Reasons that if she said them out loud would seem selfish or just weak excuses.

“He looks just like you.” Sharon was saying into the awkward silence. “And wasn’t that your oldest behind him? They look like a pair of fine young men.”

“Yeah.” She answered. “I have an early start.” She said as she stood up. “I’ll see you guys later.” Then she left, and as the door closed behind her, she could hear the quiet hisses of gossip already starting.

She went straight to her quarters, tears already stinging her eyes. When she entered she leaned back against the door and looked over to the photo she had sat on her desk. It was of George, one of the few she still had left.

Then Sharon’s throw away comment came back to her. All these years she had avoided her son thinking he looked too much like her first husband, the love of her life who she just couldn’t seem to replace, and every time she looked at their kids, all she saw was the face of the man she had lost.

Slowly she walked over to the photo and picked it up.

Sharon was right, her boys now looked more like her than they did their farther. And if anything, Jim more so.

She clamped a hand over he mouth as she let the tears fall. But for the first time in years, they were tears of guilt and not grief.

She put the photo down and dried her eyes. She knew she should have stopped being so selfish years ago. George and James had never done anything wrong, but she had run away from them both. And guilt had stopped her going back so many times. After all, what could they possible want from a mother who acted like she didn’t love them?

Then she looked back at the photo. Knowing that the man she knew would not have understood her grief. If the tables had been turned, he would have raised their boys himself. But she also knew he would be telling her, ‘now is always a good time’. Like she had been telling herself for years. But been to much of a coward to do anything about it.

So before she could think any further on it, she picked up her Padd and looking through her contacts, she pressed reply on a comm she had gotten weeks ago, then waited for an answer.

 

- - <(^_^)> - -

 

Epilogue II:

 

“You missed a gift?” Spock was asking as Jim tried to pour himself another brandy, but he was having a hard time getting it in his glass.

“I did?” He asked. Then made grabby gestures toward the long box Spock was holding. “Hu… Sulu and Chekov?” He said, managing to read the label. “They already got us something.”

“Oh god, they didn’t.” Bones was groaning from the other side of the kitchen table.

Jim frowned at his friend, wondering how he was so drunk on three shots of the brandy, when Bones hardly seemed affected. But he began opening the box, ripping off its paper, then lifting the cardboard lid. For a moment his mind struggled to understand what he was seeing. Then he slammed the lid back down.

“Fuck, I guess they did.” Bones started laughing. “Show us then!”

“I don’t think I’m old enough!” Jim grinned back. Then with some Dutch courage he opened the box and pulled out what was inside. Then shook it in Bones’s direction, making his friend howl with laughter as he banged a hand on the table.

“What it tha…” Spock was asking as Jim kept waggling the thing in his hand, watching it bend back and forth comically.

“A damn dildo!” Bones hooted. “I guess we are all feeling a little inadequate about now!” Bones laughed.

“Oh I dunno.” Jim answered as he grabbed the huge pink dildo by the base and began waggling it some more. “I like a good stretching!” He laughed along with his friend.

Suddenly Spock had plucked the thing out of his hand and was looking at it. Jim felt his Mates curiosity quickly turn into revulsion. Then Spock was striding over to the trash and he all but threw the dildo in it, slamming the door shut after it.

“Oww… someone disapproves.” Bones sang.

“We could have had some fun with that.” Jim grinned at his Mate, as his mind skipped to other toys he had heard about that might be fun too.

“Nothing goes into you, but me.” Spock said matter of fact.

Jim blinked in surprise, then he felt touched. Trust Spock to make possessive sexy. “I can live with that.” He smiled at his Mate as he held his hand out to him, satisfied when Spock touched his fingers with his index and middle finger.

“Hey! HEY!” Bones was yelling. “No alien kissing till this third wheel isn’t here!”

“Spoil sport.” Jim stuck his tongue out at his friend.

“Then leave.” Spock answered, a slight growl to his tone, which only sent Jim into a fit of giggles as the two most important men in his life glared at each other.

Then they were all distracted as Spock’s Padd went off signalling he had an incoming call.

Jim reached out for it under the box containing the tea set, then clicked answer and his blood ran cold when he saw who was on the screen.

“Mom?”

“Hey Jim.” His mom was actually smiling at him. “Sorry I couldn’t get away. Just wanted to congratulate you… and to say…” Jim watched as she hesitated, her eyes moving to something at her side. “And to say, I’m proud of you.”

 

The End.

 

Of this part ^_~