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“It’s just a routine mission, right?”

Spock looked up from his console into the half-smiling face of his captain. “All indications are that it is, yes.”

Kirk tilted his head. “Then really, only one of us needs to go down.”

Spock straightened then, pulling down on his uniform shirt. His captain almost never went on a mission without him. In fact there were reasons there were rumors of how close they were. That they were, as McCoy said, ‘joined at the hip’.

This was not the norm.

“I will go then, Captain.”

“No, I don’t think so. I’d like you to stay behind.”

He took a step forward without even thinking about it. “I do not understand.”

Kirk glanced away, his smile slipping from his face, replaced by a slight frown. “This storm.”

“You have concerns?”

His gaze returned to Spock, his eyes an intense glacial blue. “Not concerns. More a feeling. I want someone in the command chair who can handle anything, Spock. And that’s you.”

“And you, Captain. If you remain behind—”

“They’re expecting me. They asked specifically for me.”

“Jim—”

Kirk’s hand shot out to rest on Spock’s chest. Preventing from moving any closer. “I’m sure it’s fine, Spock. It’s not like I’m known for my intuition.” His gaze slid away again and swept over the bridge. When it returned to Spock once more the blue had hardened. “If the storm gets bad, get the Enterprise out of here.”

“Captain—”

“You have your orders, Commander.” Kirk looked at the bridge again. “We have some time before we reach orbit. Come with me. Sulu, you have the command.”

“Yes, sir.”

Spock followed his captain into the turbolift, uncertain what Kirk’s intentions were. The doors opened on the deck with the officers’ quarters and Kirk headed straight for his own. Spock followed him inside. He prepared himself for anything. A reprimand was most likely. Kirk was in charge on the bridge and he took that very seriously.

“Spock—”

“I know,” Spock said quickly “My behavior—”

“Shh.” Kirk leaned up slightly to kiss him to silence. “I know.”

“It is only that—”

“Babe, I know.” Kirk kissed him again and Spock closed his eyes. “This is new for both of us. But if we can’t get our shit together, they’re going to tear us apart.”

“I would not let that happen.”

“Nor would I,” Kirk said. “But we have to proceed with caution. There are those who are looking for any excuse. I’ll go down, deal with the dignitaries, and be back in no time.” Kirk smiled. He leaned into Spock. “You can fuck me all night.”

 Spock tamped down the arousal that instantly spiked at his captain’s words. Time touching Kirk, embedding himself within, would soothe him as nothing else could.

“Okay. You ready?”

Spock nodded. “Yes, Captain.”

Even though he would not accompany Kirk down to the planet, he walked with him to the transporter room. There two security guards, Mr. Scott, and Ensign Chekov waited.

“I’ll keep you advised,” Kirk promised as he stepped up onto the transporter pad. For a moment, his gaze held Spock’s, and then he said with a nod to the transporter chief, “Energize.”

****

Spock had been required to take the Enterprise out of orbit two hours later when the storm became too unstable. Prior to that Kirk had kept his promise and advised Spock everything was going as planned.

It was another twelve hours before the storm let up enough for the Enterprise to return to orbit the planet.

“Enterprise to Captain Kirk.”

When there was no response, Spock turned in the captain’s chair toward Uhura. “Lieutenant?”

“Everything’s operational, Mr. Spock.”

“The storm did not affect communications?”

“Not that I can see, sir.”

“Enterprise to Captain Kirk. Spock to Kirk.”

“Mister Spock.” Scott’s voice.

Spock tried to quell the panic that rose within him. There were any number of reasons Scott could be speaking instead of Kirk.

“Spock here. Go ahead, Mr. Scott.”

A pause. “The-the captain’s been injured. Request immediate beam up.”

“Transporter, beam up landing party.” Spock ran from the bridge and into the turbolift. He ordered Dr. McCoy to the transporter room as well.

When Spock arrived the party was there. Scott was cradling Kirk in his arms. There was blood everywhere, soaking through Scott, soaking through Kirk. All over the security guards and Mr. Chekov, who looked very pale and appeared to be crying.

As Spock approached them he saw there were tears in Scott’s eyes too. He dropped to his knees and pulled Kirk to him.

Kirk’s eyes were open but his eyelids were drooping and the light in his blue eyes dimmed even as Spock held him. “H-hey.”

“It will be all right. Dr. McCoy is coming.”

“Not this time, Spock.”

“Jim—”

“Hurts.”

Spock’s eyes began to sting. “You cannot—”

“Just…” Kirk licked his lips. “No matter what I’ll always love you. Anywhere, any place, it’s always you, Spock.”

“Please, do not leave me.”

“Always and forever. Don’t forget.”

The door opened behind him and he heard McCoy cursing and rushing forward as he felt the life fade from his captain.

****

“You can’t do this, Spock.”

“Watch me, doctor.”

Spock went to the transporter and operated several switches.

“To interfere with another universe—”

“I do not require a lecture right now.”

McCoy grabbed Spock. “But you’re going to get one. No one is more upset about Jim’s loss than I am.”

Spock’s jaw clenched.

“Except you,” McCoy said quietly. “I know. But you can’t go to another universe and take the place of another Spock just so you can have Jim back.”

“I have chosen a James Kirk where the Spock is not with him, so the loss of Jim will not matter to him.”

“They are still friends, Spock, even if they are not a romantic pair.”

“You cannot compare mere friendship with what I had-have with Jim.”

“I know it isn’t the same but Jim wouldn’t—”

“Jim said he would love me any place, anywhere.”

“That’s not what he meant.”

“It is precisely what he meant. The Spock that will take my place will be captain.”

“Are you saying trading Jim for a captaincy is a fair trade?”

“I do not care about fairness, Leonard. Nor does this universe in which I find myself. It would never have taken my t’hy’la from me if it had. I am harming no one by taking the place of this Spock and loving Jim.”

“You don’t know that. Spock, this isn’t logical.”

Spock shook his head. “I am not currently ruled by logic.”

McCoy deflated. “What of this Jim you go to? You said he and Spock are not together. Why is that?”

“Currently my counterpart is engaged in a relationship with Uhura.”

“Uhura? You and her?”

Spock shrugged. “It is peculiar. But that will not hinder my plan. Jim is my t’hy’la in any universe.”

“Wouldn’t he be that Spock’s t’hy’la then?”

“Likely. But if he chooses to ignore that, then he should have no problem adapting to a universe without Jim. I cannot do so.”

“Then I’ll go with you.”

Spock took a step back. “For what purpose?”

“To try and convince you that you have to live without Jim.”

“Never. If that is your purpose, then stay here.”

McCoy glanced at the transporter. “How do you intend to do it?”

“There is a storm.”

“And the Leonard from there would come through here?”

Spock nodded.

McCoy swallowed heavily. “To-to see Jim again. Even for a brief time.” He wiped his eyes. “He might not be like ours.”

“He is as close as I could find.” Spock finished the coordinates and controls on the transporter. “If you come, there is a chance you cannot come back, even if that is your intention, your desire. We may never get back to our universe. In fact, it is unlikely.”

“This is wrong.”

“Stay then.” Spock stepped up onto the transporter. He was not surprised when McCoy stood next to him just as his program engaged.

They wavered in space for a moment and then reappeared on the transporter.

“Thank God. That storm was a bitch. Good job, Scotty,” said an achingly familiar voice.

Spock stood on the pad, staring down at James T. Kirk. His uniform was almost the same. Except instead of the three same sized stripes at the wrists of his uniform Spock was used to, there were two thicker stripes and a thin stripe between them. But he was beautiful. His golden hair perfectly groomed, his blue eyes sparkling, a smile curving his sensual plump lips.

“Jim,” he whispered, staggering down.

Jim looked puzzled. He reached out and steadied Spock with a hand on Spock’s arm. “You okay? Did that storm mess you up?”

Spock stared, trying to force the longing from his face that must surely be there. “I am unharmed.”

Jim smiled and stopped touching Spock. “Good. How about you Bones?”

McCoy was staring at Jim too. How could they not? “I’m-I’m fine, Jim.” He cleared his throat. “Never better.”

 

Chapter Text

Can I banish another of myself to an existence I myself find unbearable? 

It was a question Spock asked himself but he never had an answer other than perhaps he would. In fact, he had.

He was aware that McCoy—Leonard—was the weak link. Leonard’s affection for Jim was not in doubt, but he was clearly bothered by the guilt of it. Spock did not know if Leonard would crack and reveal who they were and where they came from to Jim.

And this Jim.

He was not exactly the same Jim Spock had left behind. He was far less boisterous and cheerful for one. There was a touch of sadness behind the bright blue that Spock could not put his finger on but was immediately noticeable.

“So,” Jim said as Spock walked along the corridor beside him. On the other side was Leonard. “How’d it go other than the storm being a problem there at the end?”

“Completely satisfactory,” Spock replied, though he had no real way of knowing. “Routine just as you indicated.”

Jim glanced his way and for a moment Spock thought he had gotten it wrong. But then Jim nodded. "Figured.”

They got in the turbolift.

“I’m going to my quarters if you don’t mind,” Jim said. “I’ve got a bitch of a headache. You can handle the bridge, right?”

“Of course, Captain.”

“Perhaps you should come to sickbay for your headache.”

Jim frowned at Leonard. “Sickbay? You got a nickname for the medbay or something?”

Leonard blinked but quickly recovered. “Yep. Just something we’ve been calling it. Me and my staff.”

“Yeah, okay. But no thanks. I’m sure if I lay down for a bit it’ll go away. Last time your headache remedy made me break out in hives I didn’t get rid of for a week.” Jim visibly shuddered.

Spock was reluctant to let Jim out of his sight so quickly though he did not wish to appear too anxious. His own research of his counterpart from this universe is that he adhered very much to his Vulcan side.

“I will accompany you to your quarters.”

Jim stared at him for at least thirty seconds before responding. “Reason?”

“There is something I require in my own quarters so I was heading that way.”

“Makes sense,” Jim said then.

The doors opened and Spock and Jim got out, leaving Leonard behind.

“Jim!”

Jim stopped and turned toward Leonard. “Yeah, Bones?”

Leonard’s gaze slid away for a second and then back to Jim. “Just…glad to see you.”

Jim tapped his right fingers against the sleeve of his left arm. “Take care of yourself, Bones. Okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll do that.”

Jim swung around as the doors closed on the doctor.

“Are you sure nothing weird happened down there?”

“Yes, Captain. Why do you ask?”

“Making sure nothing happened to Bones. He seems off.”

“As you are aware he does not like the transporter. With the storm, perhaps it unsettled him.”

“True,” Jim agreed. He stopped in front of his quarters.

Spock had to fight himself to keep from taking a step closer. He had to suppress his need to push Jim against the bulkhead and kiss him breathless. But he did reach out and put his hand on Jim’s forarm, which earned him raised eyebrows of surprise.

“Was there something you wanted, Mister Spock?”

You.

“Negative. I wanted to ensure you were unharmed.”

That earned him just the tiniest of smiles. Spock had a feeling this Jim was stingier with his smiles than the one Spock had lost.

“It’s just one of my migraines, Spock. A little rest and it’ll go away.”

There was nothing else he could do to keep Jim from separating from him so he removed his hand from Jim’s arm and watched as Jim accessed his quarters and went inside, the door closing in Spock’s face.

Spock went to the quarters that had a sign that said Commander Spock on the door and punched in the same code he had on his own ship. He was not surprised when the door slid open giving him access.

Once inside the quarters, Spock looked around for changes from his own back in his universe. They were very similar, except for the placement of one or two things.

With a sigh, he reached into the pocket of his uniform pants and pulled out the scrap of golden tunic he kept there almost all the time now. He brought it to his nose and inhaled.

Jim.

It was said everyone had a unique scent and yet…this Jim…he smelled the same. Perhaps it would be a universal thing. Spock did not know. He only knew that he had found Jim again. Found his t’hy’la.

For the first time since Jim’s death, Spock had hope.

He touched the piece of tunic to his cheek.

Back on his own ship, he still slept with Jim’s pillow in his arms. He’d worried that it would eventually fade and he wouldn’t even have that anymore.

But he didn’t worry now. Because Jim lived. Jim was here. And Spock would not lose him again.  

Chapter Text

There were those that thought Jim wasn’t particularly astute. That he was too into himself to notice anything going on with anyone else. He’d always been aware of negative opinions of himself. There’d been plenty of them. And Jim was generally of the mind that those who thought poorly of him could go fuck themselves. He’d proven himself over and over and if there were still those out there who thought otherwise, he just didn’t care.

Spock wasn’t himself.

He couldn’t quite tell what it was, what was off. But there was something.

Spock looked and sounded the same. Hell, Jim had just gotten close enough to his station to notice Spock even smelled the same. Not that he went around smelling his first officer. But, well, a love struck guy can’t help but notice these things. No there wasn’t any physical change. He was still just as immaculately groomed as he always was. Still sharp and to the point in his responses and reports.

And yet…he seemed…more human.

Which had to mean Spock was sick or still upset over his breakup with Uhura. Spock had sworn to Jim not that long ago that it had been a mutual decision. Things had never quite gone back to the way it was between them before everything went down with Yorktown and Ambassador Spock’s death and after a brief try at rekindling things between them, they’d mutually decided it was no longer working and they were better friends.

Jim decided he couldn’t really ask either of them about it while they were on the bridge. And at the moment, he was too antsy to sit still. Which meant pestering Bones in the medbay. He rose from the captain’s chair and turned to Spock.

“I need to go to the medbay, you have the con.”

Spock straightened from his station and turned. “Are you ill?”

“No. Just need to see Bones for a bit.”

Spock took a step toward the turbolift in Jim’s direction instead of the captain’s chair.

“Mister Spock?”

“Yes, Captain.”

Jim nodded and left the bridge. More concerned than ever that something was ailing Spock.

He found his friend hanging out in his office, glaring at his terminal.

“Hey, Bones.”

Bones looked up startled and for a second had a weird look on his face. “Jim,” he said hoarsely.

Jim licked his lips. “You okay?”

“Sure, sure, have a seat.” Bones paused. “Drink?”

Jim grinned as he sat across from Bones. “Now you’re talking. Just a little one. I’m on duty.”

Bones poured him a small amount of bourbon and then leaned back. His gaze was a little more intense than usual, but he said, “What’s on your mind?”

“Spock.”

“Oh?”

“I know, I know. Like usual.”

Bones nodded and sipped his drink. “What specifically then?”

“Well, I don’t know. I thought with the breakup he was okay. He said he was.”

“Breakup?”

Jim sighed. “Yes, Bones. Pay attention. He said he was. They both did. Uhura’s acting okay, I think, but—”

Bones set his glass down on the desk. “Spock and Uhura broke up?”

“Yes.” Jim frowned. “I told you that. Jesus, what’s wrong with you now?”

“Nothing.” Bones grimaced. “I just forgot for a moment. It’s not important. I think it’s normal for anyone who’s just been through something like that to be acting a little out of character for a bit.”

“Yeah?”

“Sure. Even if it was a mutual decision—”

“It was.”

“They’d been together for a while, right?” Bones scrunched up his face. “Since they met at the academy.”

“Yes.”

“I’m sure any irregularities in Spock’s behavior come from that. He’ll settle down into his normal logical self in no time.”

Jim smiled at Bones’ reassurance. “You’re right. See, I knew talking to you would help. It’s just I’ve been so wound up about him forever and I’m trying to give him time with the breakup, but it’s hard.”

“If you want my advice, Jim, if you have feelings for Spock I wouldn’t wait to tell him.”

“You think he’d be receptive?”

Bones picked up his drink and finished it. “I know he would.”

“All right.” Jim stood. “Gotta get back to work. Thanks again, Bones,”

“Anytime, Jim.”

****

“You think that maybe you’d want to play chess or something later?” Jim asked Spock as their shift began to wind down. Only a short time was left.

“Chess?”

Jim shrugged. “Well. If you want to.” It wasn’t as though they had never played before. Though the way Spock said chess sounded like maybe they never had. Weird.

“Of course, Captain. I look forward to it.”

Jim returned to his chair and wondered if he ought to say something after all. Bones said he should, but well…

Spock had informed him of his breakup with Uhura only a couple of weeks ago. It could very well be too soon.

He glanced toward Uhura. But she was focused on her station. What would she think of him making a move on Spock?

Spock had told him during a meal in the mess room.

“I’m surprised you aren’t eating with Uhura,” Jim said, when he had noticed the lieutenant sitting with a couple of other lieutenants at another table.

Spock had followed his gaze. “Nyota and I remain friends.”

Jim lowered his fork. “I’m sorry?”

“For what do you apologize?”

“No, I mean. What?”

Spock nodded. “We have ended our romantic relationship.”

“When?”

“Two evenings ago. It was a mutual decision. As I said, we will remain friends, but for the time being Nyota wishes for some space.”

“I’m sorry, Spock,” Jim had said. He was too, though also hopeful. Which he probably had no right to feel. Felt it anyway.

“Thank you, Jim. But I do believe it is for the best for both of us.”

Jim noticed Uhura heading for the turbolift at the end of her shift. He slipped in after her and closed the doors before anyone could join them.

She blinked in surprise at him. “Sir?”

“Hello, Lieutenant.”

“Something on your mind, Captain?”

“You’re doing all right?”

“You mean after the breakup?”

He nodded.

She smiled. “Yes. I’m not that fragile. And you know it was a mutual thing. I love Spock. And I always will. But we’re going to be better at being friends.”

“Okay.”

She smirked. “Why do you want to know?”

“Um. No reason.”

Uhura actually laughed which had Jim glancing at her in surprise. “Sure. Listen, you should know.”

“Know?”

The turbolift opened.

“Spock does.”

And then she left, Jim staring after her.

Chapter Text

“Can I get you anything? Some tea maybe?”

“Yes, thanks.”

Jim raised both brows at him.

“Captain?”

“Just…um. Thanks?”

“Should I not be appreciative of your efforts as a host in your quarters?”

“Yeah. But…well, never mind.”

Spock watched as Jim turned to fetch the tea he’d just made for him. Spock admitted he probably spent far too much of the time staring at Jim but there was a couple of reasons. One, of course, was the most obvious. He greatly missed Jim. His Jim. It was an ache he could not get to go away, even with this colder Jim. And yes, this Jim was colder than his. But Spock believed that was because in this universe they were not yet together. And the other reason was because he was constantly watching this Jim to see if there any differences, even subtle ones.

Jim turned back around and handed the tea to Spock with a smile. “Anything to eat?”

“No, Jim.”

“Mind if I have something? I’m kind of hungry.”

“Of course not.”

Jim took a seat with a plate of crackers and some sliced cheese. “I hate being hungry. Even a little.” He popped some in his mouth.

“Indeed?”

Jim was looking at the chessboard not at him. “You know after Tarsus.”

“Tarsus?”

Jim’s gaze rose to his face, sharp and intense. “Yes. I told you about my time on Tarsus IV, remember?”

Spock had no idea what Jim was referring to but he could tell by Jim’s look that he needed to agree. And quickly.

“Yes, I recall. It is your move.”

For a moment, Jim continued to stare at Spock with far too much scrutiny. Then he narrowed his eyes, and reached for his first piece to move.

“Is the breakup affecting you?”

“Captain?”

“You said breaking up with Uhura was a mutual decision.  But I don’t know, you’ve been…different.”

Spock stared at the chessboard, willing himself not to show any reaction. He had chosen this universe because the Spock here was not together with Jim, but rather with Uhura. Which, of course, carried its own difficulties. Spock, himself, would have had to orchestrate a breakup with her. He did not like this plan exactly. It had its immoral complications. And yet, he would do anything to have Jim again. Anything. The fact he did not have to breakup with Uhura was a positive outcome. For him. But part of him did wonder if he was stealing Jim away from his counterpart. Was it wrong to do to another Spock what he himself could not stand? A life without Jim. Without his t’hy’la.

But…he had Jim. Or would have him. And he would do anything. He really would.

“Spock?”

“I apologize, Captain. I do find myself somewhat distracted.”

“So you still have feelings for her?”

“Feelings?”

“Romantic ones.”

Spock shook his head.

“Really?” Jim leaned back in his chair. “You guys were together for a long time. Nothing residual?”

Spock had not been particularly close with the Uhura in his universe. She was an efficient and excellent communications officer. “Yes, some. But I am certain we can continue having a fulfilling professional relationship with minimal interference.” That certainly sounded logical.

“Hm.” Jim smiled a little. “Well as quite logical as that sounds, it’s not your professional relationship that concerns me. She did say you remain friends.”

“You spoke to her?”

“To be sure you both were okay.”

“I assure you we are.”

“Okay.” He reached for another cracker.  “You’ll tell me if something changes?”

“Indeed.”

****

When Spock got back to his quarters, he went to his computer and looked up Tarsus IV. At first, he could not bring up any information. Then what he discovered was classified. After several tries, he finally found the information.

Spock sucked in a breath.

Jim.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile

“I’ll tell you, I can’t wait to get back to the ship. This Ion storm is freaky,” McCoy said to Spock as they prepared to return to the beam out spot.

Spock did not reply, but if he had it would have been to admit to being somewhat anxious himself. He felt strange. It was not a good feeling. But it would be illogical to admit to such a thing. And he didn’t want to encourage more theatrics in the doctor.

He flipped open his communicator. “Spock to Enterprise.”

“There you are!” Jim’s voice. “You were supposed to check in an hour ago.”

“My apologies, Captain. The Ion storm is making communications challenging.”

“Yeah, I know. We’re aware of the storm. Scotty says there’s a little window of time to get you two back up here. You okay?”

Spock glanced at McCoy. “We are adequate.”

“Adequate my ass. Jim, we lost two crew members down here and this storm is damn scary.”

Jim chuckled. “Okay, okay. Standby for beam up.”

Spock waited as the familiar sound engaged and then there was a slight…hiccup. He wavered, feeling a little lost, like doom pressed down upon him. And then after another little waver, he appeared at last on the transporter pad, McCoy beside him.

Mr. Scott and the transporter chief stood in the room. There was no sign of the captain.

“Welcome back, Captain,” Mr. Scott greeted him with unexpected warmth. “Doctor. That was a wee bit touchy-like, but we got you back in one piece.”

“Captain?” McCoy repeated as he stepped down from the platform. “Where’s Jim?”

Scott frowned and then exchanged a quick glance with the transporter chief. “Begging your pardon, doctor?”

“Jim. The captain.”

“Oh.” Scott nodded, an obvious pained look on his face. “Hit your head a bit, did you? I bet M’Benga can check you out right quick in the medbay."

“Who the hell is M’Benga?” McCoy demanded.

“Mr. Scott,” Spock spoke up.

“Aye, Captain?”

“Where is Captain Kirk?”

Scott seemed to shrink in on himself. “That storm must have really been something.”

“Mr. Scott—”

“Captain Kirk died several months ago, sir,” the transporter chief blurted out. “He-he died in this very room.”

“Laddie.” Scott shook his head.

For a moment, Spock felt as though he could not breathe. His hands were clammy. And shaking. He could see that the doctor was in worse shape than he was. McCoy was in danger of losing it.

“Doctor, we should be checked out in the medbay at once.”

McCoy closed his mouth and nodded curtly. “This way.”

For the first time, as Spock stepped toward the door, he noticed he wore a gold shirt instead of his science blue one, though McCoy still wore the blue. The stripes were also a little different than those Jim wore.

“What in blazes is going on here?” McCoy demanded the minute they were out of the transporter room.

“Not now, doctor. We will wait until we reach the medbay.”

The journey there seemed to take forever, and Spock’s legs felt as though they were made of lead. He saw crewmen that appeared to be familiar and yet there were slight differences in each one.

When they reached the medbay, McCoy went straight for where his office was on the Enterprise and sure enough it was there. The ship appeared to be the same.

The door shut behind them.

“Computer,” Spock spoke up. “Identify this vessel.”

“USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, Constitution Class, Starship.  Starfleet, United Federation of Planets.”

“That’s us,” McCoy said. “Computer, what is the Stardate?”

“Stardate 2264.5.”

“Computer,” Spock said slowly. “Who is the captain of the Enterprise?”

“Captain Spock of Vulcan.”

Spock frowned slightly. “His predecessor?”

“Captain James T. Kirk of Terra.”

“Biography of James T. Kirk.”

“James T. Kirk was from Riverside, Iowa on the planet, Terra. Captain of the Enterprise from 2258 to 2263.9. Date of death—”

“Computer, stop,” McCoy blurted out. “Date of death? How in the hell is that possible? We just talked to him!”

“I am well aware of that, doctor. Your histrionics will do us no good at present.” Spock sat before the terminal.

“My histrionics? That machine just told us Jim is dead!”

Spock scanned the screen before him. “Indeed. And in this universe James T. Kirk is dead.”

“What?”

“Somehow, during the storm, we were transported to a different universe, doctor. One which is very close to our own, a mirror universe if you will. However, in this universe, Jim has died.”

McCoy sank into a nearby chair, his expression one of clear devastation. “I-I don’t believe it.”

Spock continued reading. His heart began to beat quicker in his side as he read the true nature of the relationship between James T. Kirk and Spock of this universe. They-they had been—

“Was it Khan?” McCoy asked. “Did I not save him here?”

He slowly shook his head. “Not Khan. From what I am reading, this Enterprise has yet to encounter Khan Noonien Singh.”

“Then how—”

“A fatal injury dealt to him on a planet where it was supposed to be a peace mission.” Spock gripped the desk.

“Jesus. Jim is dead and you act-you act like it’s nothing.”

“It is not…nothing, doctor. But you and I have never met the James Kirk from this universe.”

“He’s still Jim! Just like the other Spock was still you. The older one.”

Spock did not comment on that. The ambassador’s death was yet still too painful to think about overmuch. “They were together,” he said softly.

“Who was together?” McCoy asked with a frown.

Spock swallowed heavily. He read the words again, then shook his head. “Captain Kirk and the Spock from this Universe.”

“Like a couple?”

The way he asked made Spock glance at him. “Is that so strange?”

“Yeah. Well…no. Not from Jim’s point of view, anyway. But you… never mind.”

“Explain.”

“You were with Uhura up until very recently.”

“Not here. I do not think this Spock was with Nyota. And also…Vulcan has not been destroyed here.”

“Wow,” McCoy said softly. “That’s really something. So there are a lot of differences.”

“So it would seem.” Spock hesitated. He did not think they could afford a lot of distractions. And yet, he could not help but want to know. “What did you mean when you said it was not strange from Jim’s point of view?”

“I shouldn’t have said that.” McCoy stood up and began to pace the office. “I’m a doctor, not a matchmaker.”

“Explain.”

“Look, Spock, right now we should be figuring out a way to get back to our own universe where our Jim is still very much alive. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stay in a universe where Jim is gone. I went to a great deal of effort to keep him alive.”

There was a light tap on the door before it slid abruptly open.

Uhura rushed in. “Oh, thank God. I heard about the storm. You’re all right?”

Spock opened his mouth to reply, when she rushed right past him to throw her arms around Dr. McCoy.

McCoy took a step back. “Uh.”

“I know you said the time wasn’t right, but all I can think about is us,” she whispered. And then she was kissing the doctor.

When the kiss ended, the doctor stared down at her, quite unable to hide his surprise. “Uh.”

“Uh? Is that all you can say, Leo?”

McCoy glanced helplessly at Spock and then back to Nyota. “Thanks?”

Chapter Text

Spock was becoming increasingly aware he had not done as thorough a job of investigating this alternate universe as he had first thought.

After discovering what he could about Tarsus IV, and there wasn’t much as he would have liked because he was unable to get into all the classified files, Spock decided to do further research on the differences.

In this universe a renegade Romulan named Nero had destroyed the planet Vulcan and six billion people with it, including, it would seem, Spock’s mother. He had never guessed or even thought to search for such a thing when he’d chosen this universe and this Jim. It was, at least, some comfort that back in the universe where he actually came from, his mother was still alive and quite well. If he had known about this event, Spock decided ultimately he would have still come to this universe for a Jim who deserved for Spock to love him.

In this universe also, apparently, Admiral Pike, along with several other officers, had been murdered by a super being named Khan Noonien Singh. There were also mentions of a rogue admiral named Marcus who had revived the super being. Ultimately, the Enterprise had been successful in handling both Khan and Marcus, but some of the details were a bit sketchy on this, as well.

And there was some talk of a twisted and mutilated former Starfleet officer named Krall who attacked and destroyed the Enterprise. There was much information about this particular incident.

None of this really gave Spock pause, though it was disconcerting that he hadn’t done his research better. He blamed his overwhelming grief.

The fact that the Spock from this universe was no longer engaged in a romantic relationship with Nyota Uhura gave him only slight pause. There was no factual evidence to suggest the ending of their relationship had anything to do with Spock’s deeper feelings for Jim. And even if that had been the case, what he’d done was not something that could be easily undone. In the end, he would have what he wanted. Jim back.

That outweighed for Spock any other considerations.

This Jim was not as easy and breezy has his own had been. Really the only thing he’d argued with his own Jim about was going on away missions without Spock. And after Jim’s death it was a hollow victory to be proven right all along.

Evidence seemed to suggest that this Jim and his Spock had a rather adversarial relationship, at least in the beginning. This Jim was closed off in ways Spock was not used to dealing with. And Spock didn’t fail to notice Jim seemed to regard him with a definite edge of suspicion. Spock would have to tread lightly but also he didn’t want to waste too much time. His intention was to make Jim his and sooner rather than later. Ultimately the goal was to bond himself with Jim. Then he could begin to repair the empty void in his head.

With that in mind, Spock had messaged Jim to ask him to come to dinner in his quarters. When the chime of his door sounded, Spock believed Jim had arrived, but when he ordered the door to open he was rather startled to find Nyota Uhura entering his quarters.

In his universe, Spock had come to the early conclusion that he preferred males over females. In this new universe that was soon to be his, Spock carefully reminded himself, Spock apparently had not.

“Nyota,” Spock said, forcing his voice into what he thought was likely familiar pleasantness. “I was not expecting you.”

Her gaze went to the table he had set with non-standard plates, utensils, and wine glasses. She smirked. “And just who were you expecting?”

Spock opened his mouth to reply.

“Don’t try to say no one either. Vulcans don’t lie.”

“I am half human,” Spock reminded her.

She laughed at that. “Touché. Is it Kirk?”

Spock arched a brow. “How did you come to that conclusion?”

Uhura rolled her eyes. “Duh. Seriously? Who else would you invite to a romantic dinner? I’m actually impressed. I didn’t think you could be this romantic.”

“You never found me romantic during our courtship?”

She snorted rather indelicately. “I can’t say you never tried. I think you did.” She pulled out a necklace and fingered the pendant. “You did give me this.”

Spock recognized it, which surprised him. “My mother’s.”

She smiled with fondness. “Yes.” She tucked it back inside her uniform. “That was one of my favorite nights together. Do you remember?”

Before Spock could answer, she spoke again.

“Of course you do. You remember everything. Anyway, I thought you would ask me to bond—”

“Nyota—”

“But you didn’t.” Uhura sighed. “I should have realized then that my feelings were stronger than yours. I’d better go. I just wanted to check on you. The Captain was asking me how you were handling our breakup just the other day.” She smiled. “I guess pretty well.”

She startled him then by stepping up to him and leaning up to kiss his cheek.

“Be gentle with him, Spock. He’s more fragile than you think.” She walked out of his quarters then.

And all Spock could think was that he of all knew exactly how fragile Jim Kirk really was.

Chapter Text

There were some of his own crew members that would likely accuse Spock of madness. He was aware of this. He couldn’t deny he had some instability. His bond had been severed with Jim’s death and he had not had his mind repaired. He’d convinced himself he could handle this on his own. By bonding with James Kirk again.

The door to his quarters chimed and this time Spock simply ordered the entry without giving into the hope that it was Jim. He had already been wrong when Nyota had arrived.

He relaxed his clenched fists when this time it was Jim who stepped into his rooms.

In a way it was painful to look at him. The loss of his bondmate was greater pain than Spock had ever felt and there was a part of him who would always want for that Jim. He fit Spock better than anyone ever had or could, and though he was eager for this Jim, Spock knew there would always be something missing.

But the Jim now in his quarters was breathtakingly beautiful just like his former Jim. And though there were lines around Jim’s eyes his lost love had not had, it was a minor thing. This Jim’s life had been much rougher.

“Good evening, Captain.”

Jim’s eyebrows rose. “Spock. What’s all this?” He gestured to the table Spock had set for their dinner. “I thought we were going to play chess.”

“I did include in the invitation the indication we would engage in dinner.”

“Well. Yeah. But I expected much more casual than this. Eating a sandwich over a game or something.” His glaze flicked over the setting. “This looks, um, romantic, almost.”

Spock did not say anything to that but picked up the decanter he had prepared prior to Jim’s arrival. It was filled with red wine. Or what passed for it on a starship anyway. “Wine?”

“Okay.”

Jim’s eyes were on him as he poured wine into one of the glasses. Spock set it down and then reached for one that held water. He filled his own with that.

“Trying to get me drunk so I’ll lose the game, Mister Spock?”

“My goal is not to alter the outcome of the game. Please sit.”

Jim’s brows went up again as he sat on the chair where Spock placed the wine. “What is your goal then?”

Spock took the seat opposite. “I hope to relay it to you tonight.”

“Hmm. What are you serving?” Jim eyed the silver domes that covered their food. “I haven’t had dinner like this since we were on Rigel 7.”

“What did you have then?” Spock asked curiously.

“Rigelian spiced shrimp, actually.” Jim smiled a little. “It was good. And the company was better still.”

Spock tried to school his expression to blankness as he suspected the Spock Jim knew would. But inside he felt jealous. He was certain the captain was about to relay some information regarding a sexual escapade. “Oh?”

“Uh-huh. You remember the governor’s sister. Ellena was her name. Very pretty and quite sweet.”

His grip tightened around the step of the wine glass as he lifted the water to his lips. “Then you had sexual relations with her?”

For a moment Jim’s blue eyes narrowed and Spock was certain he’d somehow overstepped with this difficult captain. But then Jim laughed and shook his head. “Yeah. Yeah, I did. But that was a long time ago.” Jim took a sip of his wine. “This is surprisingly good. And you know, now that I think about it, we’re probably due for some shore leave. Haven’t had any since we left Yorktown.”

“Did you love her?”

“What?’ Jim burst out laughing then. “Ellena? No, Spock. It was a one-night thing. Love? I’m not even sure what that is.”

While Spock thought about how to process that declaration, he lifted the silver dome from Jim’s plate of steak, baked potato, and green beans. He’d studied Jim’s eating habits via the computer in the last few hours and knew that these were all items he would enjoy.

“Steak, Spock?”

“Indeed.” He removed his own to reveal spaghetti squash with marinara sauce.

“Fancy.” Jim picked up his utensils. “Almost feels like a…”

Spock didn’t look at Jim but he knew that was the exact moment Jim figured it out.

“Spock, is this a date?”

“Yes, Jim, it is.” His gaze rose to see how Jim would react to that. He wasn’t certain if Jim’s blank stare filled him with relief or dread. “Is it unwelcome?”

Instead of answering, Jim cut a piece of the steak and popped it into his mouth. He chewed and then swallowed it. All the while Spock watched his every move. He was mesmerized. There was something particularly mysterious and intense about this version of Jim. It made him yearn. Jim made him yearn.

“No,” Jim finally said very softly so that Spock had to strain to hear.

“I am gratified,” Spock allowed himself to say.

“So the romantic setting was intentional?”

“Indeed.”

“So, um, you, what exactly? Want to date me?”

Spock nodded. “Yes.”

“Why?”

He twirled spaghetti squash around hid fork. “For the usual reasons one seeks to date another. The intentions are sexual congress and a deeper emotional connection.”

Jim choked on a laugh. “You definitely don’t beat around the bush.”

“Beat around the bush?”

“Never mind. Another odd human colloquialism. Why me if I may ask?”

“Because I find you incredibly attractive, both sexually and mentally, and therefore, it is my desire to engage in a relationship with you,” Spock replied.  He went for it. “With the ultimate goal, since you did query as to what my goal was, to have a bond between us.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there, Spock. I’m still wrapping my mind around dating you and you’re already proposing?”

Spock winced inwardly though admittedly Jim sounded amused. “I apologize. It is not my intention to rush you.”

“Good. Because I have to put the brakes on that right away.” He was playing with his wine glass and the intensity that he already had, seemed to increase tenfold. “I’m not very good relationship material.”

“You believe that to be true because you have never been in one with me.”

Jim’s lips twitched. “Oh, yeah?”

He nodded. “I intend to ensure that you will find a relationship with me very rich and rewarding.”

“I see.”

A terrible thought occurred to Spock. He hoped he was wrong. Jim had said it being a date was not unwelcome. But still. “Are you having doubts because you are not attracted to me?”

At that Jim laughed again and it was so filled with mirth that Spock found himself nearly joining in. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Negative.”

Jim shook his head. “I’m attracted to you. I can’t even believe you would doubt that. I know you have mirrors in here. And you didn’t need steak and wine to seduce me. I’m much easier than that.”

“Actually, Jim, I do not think there is anything easy about you at all,” Spock said honestly.

“Well.” He shrugged a little. He cut another bite of steak. “This is surprisingly good though.”

Spock allowed himself a small smile and judging by Jim’s look of surprise his counterpart from this universe did not smile often. “I am glad you appreciate the effort.”

“There’s something…”

“Jim?” he prompted when Jim chose not to continue.

“Never mind. Does this mean there’s absolutely no chance of reconciliation between you and Uhura?”

Spock nodded. “There is zero chance of my resuming a relationship of that nature with Nyota.”

“What happens after dinner then? Chess or—?”

He cleared his throat and reached for his water. “We should start with chess and then we will see.”

Chapter Text

Spock did not have a lot of patience. He suspected that the Spock from this universe had significantly more than he did. But it was clear that this version of Jim would be very difficult and would likely push Spock firmly away if he pressed his romantic interest too intently.

So after the dinner Spock had provided Jim during their date the prior night, Spock had engaged in chess with Jim and…nothing more. He’d wanted to kiss Jim. Had been about to, when Jim abruptly declared he had reports to do and left.

Spock had been frustrated but also sensed that he was making progress with Jim. At least Jim admitted to an attraction to Spock even if he had also basically said he felt no love for Spock or anyone else.

He’d started to think, based on evidence gathered since his arrival, that romantic feelings had been developing between Jim and Spock’s counterpart, but based on his own date with Jim, Spock had begun to doubt that the interest was mutual. It was more likely that his counterpart had developed feeling for this Enigma Jim but was too afraid to express them, fearing rejection.  And based on Jim’s reaction to Spock desiring to pursue a relationship, the fear was reasonable.

The difference was, he had absolutely nothing to lose in expressing his interest in Jim, since he had already lost everything. His very reason for living.

Spock was now making his way to see Dr. McCoy as he had been summoned there. Medbay. Where he and Leonard were from, they called it sickbay. They both had to learn what to call it here. Jim was far too brilliant not to become suspicious.

Leonard was waiting for him in his office and he had Spock close the door after he entered. “Take a seat, will you?”

Spock did.

Leonard’s gaze was shifting everywhere but failing to land on Spock. “I-I think we made a big mistake.”

“How?”

Now Leonard did look at him. “How? Spock, we shouldn’t even be here. We’re messing in things that just aren’t right. Back home Uhura and I were maybe starting something but here—”

“And yet you chose to come with me anyway.”

“I know. But now that I’m thinking a little clearer, I think it was wrong.”

“You could have and clearly should have stayed behind.”

“Yes.”

“But it is too late, Leonard. We are both here now and even with your doubts, we will have to make the best of it.”

“We could try to get back. We could—”

“You were Jim’s best friend,” Spock said quietly.

“I know. I know that.”

“But Jim was more than a friend to me. He was the center of my universe. He grounded me. And I-I cannot be without him.” Spock dropped his gaze. “I will do anything to have him.”

“I know he was all that for you, Spock. And I’m sorrier than I can ever say. But this-this is not Jim. Not your Jim, anyway. This man is Jim Kirk, certainly. But not your Jim Kirk.”

“He is as close as I can get.”

Leonard closed his eyes and sighed. “I can’t persuade you from this madness, can I?”

“Ideally, I would have my Jim with me at this very moment, but since that is not an option, then I must have this Jim.”

“And what of the Spock and Leonard who come from this universe?”

“What of them?”

“Spock—”

“I am sorry for this,” Spock replied. “Truly. But whatever pain Spock feels for the loss of this universe cannot compare with the pain I feel. He knows, at least, that Jim is alive. My Jim died in my arms.” He stood up and wiped at his eyes. “And I will never get over that. You cannot make me with mere words, Doctor. If I cannot convince this Jim to be with me, then I will die.”

****

Jim stepped off the transporter and yawned. “I swear that was the most boring ass diplomatic mission I’ve had to endure yet.”

Spock fell into place beside him as they exited the transporter room. “I surmised that by the plain fact you were nodding off during the governor’s speech.”

Jim grimaced. “You noticed that, huh?”

“Indeed. But if it will make you feel better, I believe my nudge to wake you up was successful before anyone else became aware of your snoring.”

Jim laughed. “Nudge? Was more like a swat. God, I need a shower.”

Spock cleared his throat, which had Jim looking at him curiously. “Would you like company?”

Jim’s steps faltered. “In-in the shower?”

“It would improve ship-wide efficiency,” Spock replied, smoothly.

“Ah, I see. So you’re all about efficiency.”

Spock could see the captain was clearly amused. “Indeed.”

He followed the captain to his quarters and Jim didn’t stop him so Spock considered that a victory even if he was not allowed to share his shower.

As soon as the door closed, Jim pulled his uniform shirts off but then as he noticed Spock staring at him, he paused. “You aren’t going to share my shower, Spock. You know that, right?”

Spock sighed. “I was afraid that would be your response.”

Jim shook his head and tossed his uniform toward but not in the laundry chute. Spock went over and picked up the shirts and set them in the chute.

“Thanks,” Jim said with a small smile. “For that you earned a kiss.”

Spock hoped he didn’t appear too eager as he stalked over to where Jim stood. Somewhat to his amusement, Jim held up two fingers as though he intended to initiate a Vulcan kiss. Spock would have none of that.  He pushed Jim against the bulkhead, one hand rising to cup Jim’s face, as he leaned into him and covered Jim’s lips with his own.

Jim gasped ever so slightly at the bold touch.

Which meant his lips were parted for Spock’s tongue. Jim’s eyelids closed as Spock tangled his tongue with the captain’s.

Those lips. They were the same. And Spock was lost.

He moved is fingers up Jim’s face and—

Jim pushed away.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. I said a kiss, not harvesting my brain or something.”

Spock frowned. “I do not understand.”

Jim wiggled his own fingers. “No melding. No offense or anything but those haven’t been fun for me and I’m not going from let’s date to let me into your head.”

Spock straightened. “I would ask permission before I initiated a meld.”

Jim nodded, licked his lips. “Okay. You’re a-you’re pretty good at that.”

“To what do you refer?”

“Kissing.”

“Ah. Thank you.”

Jim smirked. “You’re welcome.”

This Jim truly was frustrating, but Spock schooled his features as he was certain his counterpart would in these same circumstances.

“Now, if you will excuse me?”

“Captain?”

“Shower. You. Go.” Jim gestured to the door.

“Very well. I will see you on the bridge.”

“Yeah, I’ll be there after my shower.”

Spock could think of no reason to delay his departure, so he forced himself to leave. Once in the hallway he touched his fingertips to his lips. He needed more. So much more.  

Chapter Text

“Captain’s Log, Stardate, Stardate…ah crap.”

Jim Kirk, looking somehow softer and younger than his own captain, rolled his eyes at himself, and turned his head slightly to look off screen.

“Hey, Spock? What’s the Stardate? Spock? Honey?”

Kirk sighed. He smiled to himself. It was a beautiful smile just like his own captain’s and yet there was a brightness, a relaxed element, his Jim’s did not have.

“Must be meditating. And anyway, this is my personal log. I’ll add in the stupid Stardate later. So, Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate to be determined.”

Spock watched Kirk pick up some sort of planet shaped object on his desk and play with it as he spoke.

“I guess the first order of business is that we probably ought to log in our change of status with the brass. Oh, and that’s the thing. I am newly relationshiped. If that’s a word.”

“It is not,” Spock own voice came from somewhere off screen. He sounded exactly like himself and this Kirk sounded just like his. It was…unsettling.

“Oh. It’s not.” Kirk grinned. “Spock and I…that’s Commander Spock and I have been dancing around each other ever since we got assigned on the Enterprise together. We went back and forth on the commanding officer thing, but in the end, well, Spock just couldn’t keep his hands to himself.”

There was a low murmur off screen that Spock couldn’t quite pick up but it made Kirk’s grin widen. Spock tilted his head. This Kirk was lighter than his. And Spock decided he must not have had a lot of the experiences his did. In that, Spock, supposed, he was fortunate. But in other things…not at all.

“Hey, do they ever watch these things or is it private?”

“They can watch it,” again his own voice from off screen. “But seldom have reason to do so.”

“Except in the event of my death or something.”

Spock’s insides went cold at that and he gripped the edge of the desk.

“But that’s not going to happen any time soon.” Kirk waved his hand dismissively. “The point is, after two hundred and twenty-three days—”

“Twenty four.”

“Twenty four days—”

“Fourteen hours, six minutes, and 43 point 2 seconds.”

“Oh, be quiet, you,” Kirk said with a laugh. “We’re together. Spock could no longer resist me.”

As Spock watched, his counterpart from this universe suddenly appeared on screen. His uniform was very similar to Spock’s own, except the symbols at the sleeves were slightly altered. Otherwise, it was like looking at a mirror image of himself. This Spock appeared to be the same age as him with the same haircut. Spock could see that he would have absolutely no issues with appearing to be his exact replica in Spock’s own universe.

Except that as Spock watched, his counterpart smiled. It was a soft, tender smile full of much love directed at Kirk sitting there at the desk and Spock felt an ache in his side.

Kirk smiled just as besottedly at his first officer. “Want to sit with me?”

“You are recording a log.”

“Yeah, but who cares?” Kirk moved off the chair and pulled the Vulcan down, then he placed himself in Spock’s counterpart’s lap, wrapping his arms around his neck. “That’s much better.”

“Perhaps. But it is likely not appropriate even on your personal log.”

“Yeah, okay. You’re right. I’ll have to erase all this part later.” Kirk started stroking the tips of his first officer’s ears.

Spock found his own ears turning warm as he watched the far too intimate and affectionate action. He was invading their privacy watching this, and yet, it was something Spock yearned for so greatly with his own captain. He did not know if his captain could ever show such unabashed joy in being with Spock, but he longed to know.

“T’hy’la,” the other Spock murmured as he kissed Kirk.

Spock’s throat clogged and he closed his eyes. T’hy’la.

When he opened his eyes, his counterpart was reaching over to shut down the transmission. The log ended.

There was a beep for entry.

“Come,” Spock called out and the doctor stepped into his quarters. His counterpart’s quarters, actually.

“What’s wrong?” McCoy asked.

“They were T’hy’la.”

“Who? And What?”

“The Spock and Kirk from this universe,” Spock replied quietly. “A rare bond that is treasured amongst us but has not occurred in hundreds of years.” He looked down at his twisted hands. “Or perhaps it has.”

“Spock, are you saying that you and Jim—”

“I dare not hope for such a thing though it would explain much. And it was entirely possible that Ambassador Spock had a similar connection to his captain.” Spock shook his head. “I am not even certain that Jim shares my…” He trailed off even as he was aware Leonard was staring at him intently.

“Your feelings? Were you about to say your feelings?”

Spock glanced away. “Vulcans do not speak of such things.”

“Give me a break, will ya?” Leonard sighed. “Look, Spock, given our present situation, which pretty much sucks as bad as it could, it’s distinctly possible we will never get back to our universe. I don’t think I’m doing anyone a disfavor by revealing to you at this point that Jim very much shares those things Vulcans don’t speak of.”

Spock quickly glanced back at the doctor. “I had…hoped.”

“And yet you were taking your sweet time to do anything about it. Both of you are idiots.”

“At present I cannot find the will to argue the point. We must find a way back to our universe. However, I can see why the Spock from our present universe wished to travel to ours.”

“It’s not rational to assume you can trade one lover for another and that it will be the same,” Leonard insisted.

“I do not believe he is rational,” Spock replied quietly. “He has likely experiencing mental instability due to the extreme loss he has suffered.”

“Great, so a mentally unstable Vulcan is with Jim.”

“He would not harm him.”

“How can you be so sure?”

Spock thought of the log entry he had just seen. “It is…a gut feeling.”

Leonard sputtered. “What? God, you’ve been around Jim too much.” Then he winced. “That was stupid. God, what am I even saying? How the fuck do we get out of here, Spock? I can’t live like this.”

Spock swallowed. “Nor can I. Which is exactly why I understand my counterpart’s actions. There is only one answer.”

“And what would that be?”

“We must revive the James Kirk from this universe before attempting to return to our own.”

Leonard stared at him. “How the hell do you think we can do that? You said yourself they haven’t even come across Khan. Not to mention Jim’s been dead here for months. His body isn’t even around anymore.”

“I am aware, Leonard.”

“Then, how the devil do you propose such a thing?”

“Time travel.”

“Time…are you out of your Vulcan mind? What are we supposed to do? A slingshot around Earth’s sun?”

Spock arched a brow. “An intriguing idea, but no.” He pressed a button on the terminal and for a second, the Jim from this universe appeared again.

“Captain’s Log, Stardate, Stardate…ah crap.”

Spock hastily exited out when he noticed Leonard wiping at his eyes.

“Fine,” Leonard said through gritted teeth. “How do we bring the kid back from the dead here?”

Spock pressed a button to bring up the star system. “The Guardian of Forever.”

“Have they run across the Guardian gate here?”

“It does not appear so. However, by my calculations, it is—” Spock pointed. “here in this sector.”

“That could be dangerous, Spock. We could change history.”

“That is our intention in this case. With the proper calculations, we can go back to the time and place when James Kirk was killed and prevent it from ever happening.”

“My God. Do you really think we can?”

“We must try. If we are successful, we will most certainly have an ally in James Kirk in trying to right us to our universe and his Spock back to his.”

“And his Bones, don’t forget,” Leonard muttered.

“Indeed, that too. No one I know is more brilliant than Jim. With him, I believe we can find a way to duplicate the circumstances of the storm that switched us in the first place.”

“But what about back home? They’d have to want to come back at the same time and that Spock isn’t going to want to come back because he’ll think Jim is still dead.”

“I believe that our Jim will figure out that he is not me. And you, of course,” he added quickly when Leonard was looking disgruntled. “He will be ready.”

“Are you sure?”

“No,” Spock admitted. “It is entirely possible that Jim will fall in love with my counterpart and find that he does not want me back.”

“Spock—”

“I hope that is not the case.”

Leonard frowned. “If we change time and bring this Jim back, doesn’t that mean it will be changed back and we’ll never come here and he never went to ours and…I’m getting a headache. “

“With our own experience in the Guardian, we did recall everything that went on, including the events leading up to that point.”

“True. I still have a headache.”

“Uhura to Captain Spock.”

“Spock here.”

“Your mother, sir. She’s on to speak with you.”

Spock exchanged a quick look with Leonard. “Standby, Lieutenant.”

“Spock, I didn’t even…your mom is alive here.”

 “So it would seem.” Spock clutched the arms of the chair. “To-to see her again, I would…but she would likely know it was not me.”

“Maybe. Or not. Spock, I don’t know what to tell you to do.”

Uhura buzzed. “Captain? Should I tell her you’ll contact her later?”

He should. He should not talk to her and yet…

“Patch her through.”

Leonard squeezed Spock’s shoulder. “Contact me if you need me.”

Spock nodded, not even looking at Leonard as he departed and his mother appeared on screen. He could barely breathe. The woman on the screen was his mother.

“Mother,” he whispered.

She smiled, though it was wistful. “Hello, Spock.”

“It is…pleasant to see you, Mother.”

“You look so pale. Oh, Spock. You aren’t doing well at all with this, are you?” She shook her head. “I keep trying to convince your father that we need to find a way to see you. To help you with this loss. But we haven’t been able to get away.”

“I am managing.”

“Not very well, I’d guess.” Her eyes filled with tears. “It will get easier, Spock. The loss.”

Knowing that the loss of his mother never got easier, seeing her now and his compromise was proof of that, Spock did not know how to answer that. If none of this worked and he never saw Jim again, how could Spock go on?

Against his will, he felt his eyes well with tears. It was too much. Seeing her, alive again, learning Jim was likely his t’hy’la and not having him near, seeing the Jim from this universe and knowing he was gone and a Spock was broken because of it.

“Oh, sweetheart,” his mother said softly.

“I must go, Mother. I am needed elsewhere.” He knew he was being abrupt. But this-this was not his life. This was not his mother.   Not really. And if he did not keep it together all would be lost.

“Very well, Spock. I love you, my dearest.”

He could not recall even the last time his mother had said that to him. Because once long ago he had told her not to, that to say such things on a regular basis was wholly illogical. She had accepted his words with her sad little smile and had not said the words again.

But she was gone from his screen before he could return the words.

And he suddenly felt so very alone.  

Chapter Text

“What do you have in mind?” Jim asked Spock when he had gained entry into the captain’s quarters.

Jim wore only a tank top and a pair of pajama bottoms and he looked so incredibly sexy that Spock had to keep himself from launching himself at the man. This was not his original Jim, Spock reminded himself. This one was most definitely different even though he looked the same.

This one acted with an overabundance of caution.

“I thought we could simply spend time together this evening.”

Out came the tongue to slowly lick at his lips. Spock had never noticed that particular thing with his own beloved, but it was not unwelcome with his new one. Because yes, Spock would make this one his. Preferably tonight, if only he would cooperate.

Despite Leonard’s continual interference and endless warnings of caution, he would no longer be deterred. Holding back was getting him nowhere.

“Like where?” Jim frowned. “The rec room?”

Certainly not, Spock thought. He was not about to allow Jim to put them in front of an audience where they would make absolutely no progress.

“Here in your quarters.”

For a long time, those cold blue eyes stared at him as though they could see into his very katra.  As though he was reading, quite well, in fact, the plain fact that he was another Spock, entirely. His second greatest fear. The first being that something would happen to this Jim. Spock could not allow that.

“Okay,” Jim said after such a long bout of staring.

He allowed himself a tiny exhalation of relieved breath. The Spock Jim was used to preferred Vulcan ways, according to his own research, so if he was going to convince Jim to be with him, then he would have to, accordingly, alter his behavior. He tried to be as cool and emotionless as possible even though inside he was counting it as quite a victory.

“Did you want to play chess?” Jim asked.

“I was thinking something more…intimate.”

Jim’s eyebrows rose at that word. And the wariness appeared in his eyes immediately. Spock inwardly cursed.

He covered it. “Will you join me on your sofa?”

“We’re going to get intimate on the sofa?”

“My plan is to converse.”

Jim looked amused at that. “Converse,” he repeated.

“Would you care for a beverage?”

Jim chuckled at that and sat on his sofa. “You plan to play host in my quarters, do you, Mister Spock?”

“I desire to serve you.”

Jim’s lips curved. “Oh the desire is to serve me, huh? Okay. I’ll have some of that tea you like.”

“You may choose to indulge in alcohol.”

“Nope. I think I need my wits about me with you.”

Spock hesitated slightly at that statement but he obtained them both tea from the replicator and brought them over to the sofa where Jim sat waiting. Spock sat as close to Jim as Jim would allow, which surprisingly, was very close indeed.

“So, what do you want to converse about?”

“I want to know everything there is to know about you.”

“Everything? How much time do you have?” Jim laughed again, but there was a slight uneasiness to the laugh. Spock got it. This Jim was very closed off.

“Tarsus,” Spock said softly.

Jim looked away then. “I told you all I’m willing to tell.”

Which, of course, had been to the other Spock, not him. All he knew was only what he’d read. And even that made him ache. No Jim Kirk should ever be made to suffer in this manner.

Without thinking whether this was something the other Spock would do or not, Spock reached for Jim’s hand and took it. Startled blue eyes returned to gaze at him. Spock did not withdraw his hand.

“If my…” Regard, Spock reminded himself. “If my regard is reciprocated, as I am most hopeful it is, sharing personal details with me would be expected, would it not? I would guard anything you tell me with my own life.”

“Regard,” Jim repeated.

“Yes. It is my intention, as you are aware, to establish a romantic relationship between us.”

“That’s-that’s still a little weird.”

He tamped down his alarm. “You do not share my feelings?”

“You know I do. It’s just—”

“You are not used to anyone wanting to cherish only you.”

The lips curved again and out came the tongue. Spock wanted, unbearably to capture it between his lips. Between his teeth.

“You do have a way with words.”

Spock turned Jim’s palm upward and traced his fingers the raised skin just under his fingers. “I ache to be joined with you,” he whispered.

“Joined? A link? Spock—”

“No, I do not speak of a bond or even a meld at this point. I know you are cautious and I will allow you that caution. I speak of a far more physical need.” He lowered his gaze, looking up at Jim through his lashes, watching the captain’s reaction to his words.

Jim’s breath seemed to still. “You want to fuck?”

It was all he could do not to yell, yes! And he certainly appreciated Jim’s blunt words.

“Yes,” Spock said with a calmness he certainly did not feel. “I want to unclothe you, spread your nude body out, enter you, immerse myself in you, thrusting into you, over and over again.”

Jim swallowed, his Adam’s apple sliding along his throat. “Like I said, you have a way with words.”

“Do I have your permission?”

Jim’s bottom lip trembled. “Fuck. Yes. Okay. Yes. Do it. Fuck me, Spock.”

He pounced on Jim then, for he’d been waiting for this very thing, desiring it above all else. He fastened his lips to Jim’s, crushing them firmly beneath his. They were so incredibly sweet and soft, Spock was instantly addicted. He tasted the spice of the tea, yes, but the rest was all Jim. So familiar and new at the same time.

Spock’s cock fully rose, pressing uncomfortably against his uniform pants. Lust overwhelmed him. He had no idea how long he could last so he knew he had to be within this Human soon.

Spock stood up and yanked the captain with him, placing him on his feet, as he tugged him toward the captain’s bed. He was grateful that all Jim wore was the pajama bottoms and the tank top for he was able to remove them quickly, exposing all that golden, tanned skin to his hungry gaze.

His gaze was so intense, Spock felt like he was drowning, and his heart sped up and twisted in his side as the thoughts, the memories, got tangled in his head for a moment.

“Spock?” Jim asked, his concerned voice breaking through.

Spock kissed him then, a little desperate. Jim returned the kiss with equal fervor, maybe equal desperation. His hands slipped up Spock’s arms to his biceps and with a low growl, Spock pushed Jim onto his back on the bed as he wrenched his own clothes off. It took far too long, even seconds was too long to get his bare skin next to Jim’s, but when he had completed disrobing, Spock laid himself over Jim’s naked, scorching body. The little hitched breath Jim gave was his own undoing.

Need so great, want and lust, and love overwhelmed him and drove him on to claim this Human. This Human, James Kirk, was always meant for Spock, no matter the universe, no matter the circumstance. They were one.

Spock slid his hands into Jim’s hair as he devoured those lips, so giving, so luscious. He would drink all that there was to Jim and more. When he felt he could tear himself away from Jim’s mouth, and it was almost painful to do so, Spock scooted down Jim’s body until he reached Jim’s beautifully erect cock, leaking and straining toward Spock’s eager mouth.

Closing his eyes, he parted his lips and sucked in Jim’s length. Jim bucked up on the bed, fingers digging into the sheets. The moans and cried falling coming from Jim made Spock impossibly harder. If he did not enter Jim’s ass soon, he would spill his seed.

Releasing Jim’s cock with a slurping pop sound, Spock spoke hoarsely, “Lubrication?”

A dazed Jim gestured toward the nightstand beside the bed. Spock scrambled to its location, opened the drawer, and located the bottle.

His own cock provided a slick substance so he didn’t bother to anoint himself, but he slicked up his fingers to push inside his beloved.

When he thought Jim was prepared enough and loose enough to accept the intrusion of Spock’s cock, he turned Jim onto his stomach. Lifting Jim’s thighs just a little to line up their body, Spock slowly pressed in, the double ridges pushing past the tight ring of muscle with surprising ease.

At last.

Spock was home.

And he would not last at all long enough. It was too much. He’d wanted this, wanted to be with Jim once more, for so long, he could not contain it. He rutted again and again within Jim, pushing harder and harder to find the blessed relief of orgasm.

“Jim,” he cried hoarsely as it was pulled from him, wrenched from him, as he poured his seed into this most sacred of Humans.

He withdrew after a moment, hardly able to catch his breath, turned Jim onto his back once more and sucked his erection down his own throat, desperately sucking Jim’s very life essence as Jim came hot and musky, Spock swallowing it all.

After, he gathered Jim into his arms, kissing him all over, unable to keep his hands off this Human, whose heart pounded beneath his wandering hands.

“I thought you wanted to talk,” Jim said breathlessly, a while later.

“I do apologize. You were most distracting.”

Jim laughed. “No, I don’t mind. I don’t like to talk anyway.”

He felt a little twist of guilt at that, for he should have pressed more talk, but it had been so very long and lonely without Jim. And now here he was, with Spock, in his arms again.

“Sleepy,” Jim whispered.

And only moments later, his breathing changed and Spock knew he had fallen asleep.       

Chapter Text

Spock hadn’t meant to fall asleep for so long. It was just so comforting to be next to Jim. It almost scared him how easy to feel comforted by being with this Jim actually was. As much as he was starting to care about this Jim, Spock did not want to forget his own beautiful Jim. And yet after their amazing intimacy, Spock found himself mesmerized. He had fallen asleep.

And now, as he woke up, he found this Jim, this enigma, watching him with those startling blue eyes that were just a little bit colder, icier than his beloved’s had been.

“Hello, Jim.” He sounded tired and drained to his own ears. “How long have you been awake?”

“A while,” was his answer.

And if there was something in particular Spock did not like in this version of his beloved, it was his insistence on remaining vague and imprecise in his answers. His own Jim would have responded with, “Oh, ten minutes” or “half an hour”.

But his Jim was no more. This Jim was his now. And if he experienced a certain uneasiness over that, Spock pushed it aside.

Jim’s mouth thinned almost imperceptibly. “Are you sorry?”

“Sorry?”

“We slept together.”

“I am experiencing no regrets,” Spock assured him. “You?”

He smiled the little half a smile he had. “No. Surprised, maybe. But not regretful.”

“Surprised? I do believe I made my intentions toward you plain enough.”

“No, you did. Definitely. I’m more surprised at me.”

Spock considered that. “You are surprised to be attracted to me?”

“No,” Jim said softly. “I’ve been attracted to you since you pulled down your shirt as you approached the podium.”

Uncertain to what Jim referred to, Spock chose the wise course of not replying.

“I’m surprised I acted on it,” Jim continued. “I’m pretty sure you and me is a very bad idea, Spock.”

“Your hesitation is unwarranted,” Spock said. He reached his hand over to stroke Jim’s cheek with his thumb. “My affection and desire for you is unmatched.”

“I can definitely get on board with the desire part,” Jim answered with a ready smile.

He was incredibly sexy and seductive, this Jim. Without even trying. It was in his eyes, his smile, his body movements. It was effortless. And Spock certainly could not resist it. Nor did he wish to resist.

An answering intense desire thrummed through his veins and already he felt his penis thickening in arousal. Eventually they would be required to attend to duty, but for now, Spock intended to take Jim again.

He shifted on the bed so that Jim lay underneath him as he fused their lips together. Jim’s mouth had parted on a breath as Spock had moved over him with intent, and so it was easy to slip his tongue past those parted lips and into Jim’s mouth. There was a raw ache to this Jim that Spock didn’t quite understand and he was uncertain he ever would.

Spock slid his hands down naked skin, warm from sleep, and warm because it was Jim, whose skin was always on the warm side. Spock was fully erect now and leaking fluid. He reached past Jim to the bedside table where he’d left the lubricant earlier and then adjusted Jim so that he lay comfortable on his side, while Spock hooked his leg up and over Spock’s while Spock pushed slicked fingers inside him. Jim loosened easily, still somewhat loose from their earlier activities.

Jim’s breaths were coming in moaning pants and Spock found he was very eager to join their bodies once more. He withdrew his fingers, and with Jim still on his side, leg hooked back around Spock’s, Spock pushed his throbbing cock inside Jm.

For just a moment, Spock stilled, not moving in any way, just feeling Jim’s channel snug around him. If he move too fast or too soon, this would be over and he wouldn’t be able to linger here with Jim, and he very much desired to make every single moment spent with Jim last. He knew the moment when the young captain grew restless at his inaction, but Spock ignored the hints from Jim’s squirming body. Instead he closed his eyes and wrapped an arm around Jim’s middle, pulling his ass tight against Spock’s groin.

“Patience, James,” he said lustily into Jim’s ear, which earned him a throaty moan. “I will take you at my own leisure.”

“Vulcan bastard,” Jim gasped out, but his tone was a mixture of amusement and frustration, both which fed Spock’s lust and spike it up even higher.

“Do you like how full you feel with my cock in your ass?” Spock asked, as he leaned in and nibbled Jim’s ear. “It is a perfect fit, is it not?”

Jim pushed his ass against Spock, almost violently and it succeeded to imbed him even deeper, and Spock was unable to keep his groan from escaping his throat, needy and wicked. Nor come he stop himself from thrusting back into Jim.

Still he did his best to take it slow as he made his thrusts short and shallow, bringing both himself and Jim ever closer, but always keeping them on the brink. As he leaned over and brushed his lips on the edge of Jim’s forehead he tasted the sweat forming there. He thrust in longer and deeper, more powerfully, drawing out a keening moan out of Jim that sent shockwaves of desire and need throughout Spock’s body.

“Unh, Jim,” Spock desperately gasped out. He slid his hand down to the front of Jim, his fingers curling around the hot, slippery cock between Jim’s legs.

Jim whooshed out a breath and moved frantically against Spock, his ass clenching around Spock’s member so tight, he could not contain himself. Want it to happen yet or not, Spock’s orgasm was coming.

Coming.

Coming.

And he was spilling into Jim, over and over, even as Jim was screaming out his name, cum oozing over his stroking fingers, splattering the sheets around them.

After he withdrew, Spock turned Jim to face him in his arms and he kissed him for long minutes, sucking lightly on Jim’s tongue, pleased at the warm and languid Jim that lay in his arms and allowed this.

“I love you,” Spock heard himself say, knowing it was far too soon to say for this Jim, perhaps always would be, and still unable to keep himself from saying it.

To his credit, Jim did not stiffen in Spock’s arms, but he felt Jim’s unease through the direct contact of their skin. Not unease, precisely. More like disquiet.

“I am well aware that you are incapable of expressing such a return sentiment at this time,” he told his captain quietly.

“Not incapable. Just…cautious.”

Spock closed his eyes. “And I do not blame you. But neither can I find myself willing to keep the depth of my own affection from being expressed.”

“Yeah. No. I mean, if you want to say it, you should.”

“Thank you, Jim.”

Jim’s gaze met his. “Spock, I—”

He stopped Jim’s lips with his fingertips. “I know. And there is no requirement at this time. I am content with how things stand between us.”

“Yeah?”

He allowed his lips to form a small smile. Something he was much more used to doing in his original universe, but this Jim was used to that other Spock, but even still, he felt that a small smile would be acceptable and not deemed too suspicious.

And yes, he was content. The alternative was far too horrible to accept.

“Yes, beautiful one.  Now, I believe we must rise from bed and prepare for duty.”

“Shit. Yeah. I guess it’s that time.”

Spock leaned over and kissed him thoroughly and then rose from the bed. He gave a slight thought for his counterpart who did not have this, have Jim, but it was fleeting and gone by the time he reached the shower.

Chapter Text

“Doctor,” Spock greeted McCoy as he came into the captain’s quarters on this Enterprise. The wrong one. The one without Jim. He glanced at McCoy. He arched his brows at the bite marks covering McCoy’s neck.

Leonard blushed. “Uh. Well, um, Uhura, she’s pretty persistent here.” He sat next to Spock who worked on the terminal. “Um, is that awkward for you?”

“Why would it be?”

“You and Uhura—”

“That was back in our own universe.”

“But still—”

“And we are no longer together. Who Nyota pursues a relationship with is not my business in any universe. It would be illogical to object when I am no longer romantically interested in her.”

Leonard nodded. “But you are in Jim.”

“Of our universe, yes.”

“It’s difficult to be interested in a dead man,” Leonard said, not unkindly.

“I mean to reverse that.”

“How’s that coming along?”

“We should reach the area where the Guardian should be in this universe within the next four hours. Provided its location is the same as ours,” Spock advised.

“And then what?”

“We go through the gate at the appropriate time and save the James Kirk from this universe.”

Leonard shook his head. “How do you know we can calculate the exact time? Wasn’t there a problem with that before?”

“I have been working on it for days, I believe my calculations are correct.”

“And if you are wrong? We could be stuck in some wrong timeline for-for what…forever?”

“I must take the risk,” he said quietly. “For his sake.”

“Jim’s?”

“No,” Spock said softly. “For Spock’s. He needs his captain. And I need mine.”

“We’ll still need to somehow get back to our own universe and get that Spock back to this.”

“Yes.”

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, Spock.”

“Yes,” Spock admitted softly. “But the alternative is to live in this universe with no James Kirk.”

Leonard looked away for a moment, clearly overcome with emotion. “When you put it that way—”

Spock nodded. He only hoped his calculations really were correct.

****

Spock and Leonard beamed down to the Guardian planet by themselves. The head of security argued with Spock but in the end, Spock as captain, won out and it was only him and McCoy.

He was already taking a huge risk of being trapped somewhere never to get out again. The fewer he risked with such a plan the better.

“Leonard, perhaps you should wait here while I go in through the gate.”

“What? Why?”

“To risk both of us—”

“If we find and rescue Jim he might still be injured and will need me,” Leonard pointed out.

“We must enter the gateway at precisely the same time. A slight hesitation or miscalculation on your part could send you into some time period you are not prepared for.”

Leonard’s jaw twitched. “I won’t miss, Spock.”

“Doctor—”

“We’re wasting time we could be rescuing Jim from certain death,” McCoy said stubbornly. “We came into this predicament together, Spock. And we’re staying together.”

Spock held McCoy’s gaze for several moments, then nodded his agreement. “Very well.”

He provided the planet and coordinates for the time they needed to the Guardian.

Spock watched as several images flashed before their eyes. They had to know the exact one.

“Now, doctor!”

They jumped through the archway in perfect sync.

At first, Spock saw nothing but a barren looking planet with a sort of red sky. Then in the distance he heard what sounded like Ensign Chekov’s voice.

“This way,” Spock told Leonard.

They rounded a corner and Spock immediately spotted Chekov bending down to examine plant life. Not far to the right of him was Mr. Scott. A little farther from their location were a cluster of rocks. Next to them was a group of what Spock assumed were the natives who had asked to speak with Captain Kirk. They wore long flowing robes and had rather pronounced bulbous foreheads.

The captain himself was there and he was flanked by two security guards.

For a moment all Spock could do was stare at Kirk. As illogical as it might seem, there was a glowing vibrancy radiating off Kirk. Almost a golden aura. He was smiling brighter then Spock had ever seen from his own captain. Lightening flashed all around them and Spock was reminded that there had been a storm the day their captain died.

He suddenly stopped mid-sentence and looked at Spock and McCoy.    

“Spock? Bones? What are you doing here?”

Leonard made a choking sound and took a step forward. “Jim.”

Kirk’s gaze went to McCoy. “Yeah?”

Spock scanned the area around them, looking for the danger that Kirk faced.

Kirk turned to the natives. “Excuse me for a moment.” He walked over to where Spock stood. “What’s going on? I told you to stay on the Enterprise.”

“Affirmative, but--”

Suddenly one of the natives cried out and ran toward Kirk, a sharp jagged weapon held in his hand.  Spock grabbed Kirk and shoved him out of the way, knocking him to the ground as those around them yelled. Spock reached toward the native to incapacitate him when he heard the firing of a phaser. The assassin dropped to the ground. Spock quickly realized it was Leonard who had fired.

“Wow,” Kirk said. “What the fuck?”

The others ran toward them as Spock helped Kirk to his feet, instantly placing himself in front of him.

“Captain,” one said fretfully. “I am dreadfully sorry. Dreadfully sorry. I don’t know what came over him.”

“I understand, Chancellor, but I think maybe it’s time for my team to return to the Enterprise so we can regroup,” Kirk said.

“Yes, sir. Please, understand, we don’t want the Federation to come after us. We will cooperate in anyway.”

Kirk nodded, then took Spock’s arm and pulled him a little ways away. “How did you—”

“There is no time to explain now, Captain,” Spock told him. “We will talk…later.”

Kirk searched his gaze. “All right. Landing party.”

They gathered next to him and Jim flipped open his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise. Beam us up.”

****

Spock and McCoy jumped through the Guardian of Forever’s doorway.

Leonard looked around. “Where’s Jim? Didn’t it work?”

Spock tensed. “I do not know.”

Just then his communicator beeped.

“Kirk to Spock.”

Spock exchanged a look with McCoy. “Spock here, Captain.”

“What the hell are you doing down there? Scotty said you and Bones beamed down there. You didn’t even discuss it with me.”

Spock closed his eyes. He exhaled very slowly. “We are ready to return, Captain.”

When they reappeared on the transporter, Kirk was waiting for them. He had his arms crossed in front of his chest. Both brows were raised.

“Mind telling me what that was?”

Spock nodded. “If we could discuss this privately in your quarters—”

Kirk looked at McCoy, then back to Spock. “Fine. Bones, I’m not done with you either. We’ll talk later. Spock?”

Spock followed Kirk from the transporter room and into the corridor. Kirk said nothing but that same radiance seemed to come off him as he headed for the turbolift.  Spock was also aware that in this universe, Kirk and Spock were already together. And having been without his own Jim for the time he had been thrust into a different universe made him yearn to touch this one. To really know he was actually alive. Because, he had not been.

Spock had risked all to bring this man back. For another Spock.

Kirk said nothing as they rode the lift to the deck with the officer’s quarters. Spock went to the captain’s quarters with Kirk. What had been his until they’d gone to the Guardian.

They entered and as the door closed behind them, Spock opened his mouth to speak. But before he got to form a sentence, Kirk was kissing him, deeply, passionately, all-consuming kissing him.

Spock gave a little cry and pulled the human to him, closing his arms around him, and kissing him back with all the love he had been suppressing for so long.

“You are alive,” he whispered against Kirk’s cheek as they broke for air.

“Well, yeah.” Kirk laughed. “Usually thanks to you.”

Spock pulled back and placed his hands on Kirk’s face. “Yes.” He swallowed heavily. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

“Are you all right?” Kirk asked, his gaze searching Spock’s. “You seem…upset. Did I do something wrong?”

“No.”

A crooked smile. “Then what? Why’d you and Bones go down to that weird planet? Orders were to stay away from it.”

“It was just a…short visit.”

“I know. You weren’t there more than five minutes.” Kirk shook his head. “I don’t remember the ship even going there. Isn’t that weird?”

Spock exhaled. “You haven’t been yourself. I do apologize for going down there without informing you first. We needed to…”

“Needed to?”

Suddenly Spock was uncertain how much he should be revealing to this Kirk. Perhaps he should not tell him of his death and resurrection. Would it be better to just find a way to switch himself back with the other Spock? And how much would the other Spock remember? Obviously he recalled everything, but—

“Spock?”

“I am sorry, Captain.”

“Captain? Why such formality?”

“Jim,” Spock whispered, aware his hands were still on Kirk’s face and entirely unable to force himself to remove them. Touching Kirk’s skin soothed him in a way he dared not analyze.

“You know what you need, Spock?”

“What, Jim?”

And Kirk kissed him again. It was filled with almost unspeakable passion and longing and as the kiss deepened, Spock became aware that the longing came from him. He should fight this pull. This man was not his and he was not this man’s Spock.

Kirk’s eyes opened and looked into Spock’s. “Hey. You in there?”

“Yes,” he breathed. “Yes, I—”

Once more Kirk’s mouth closed over his. He found his thumb rising to the edge of Kirk’s mouth, gently probing it open at the corner, enough for Spock’s tongue to slip inside, almost against his will, but certainly not.

He was growing extremely aroused. His member rising against the confines of his boxer briefs and trousers. To engage in coitus would surely be—

“Bed,” Kirk groaned into his mouth. “Whatever we need to talk about can wait until after you fuck me.”

Spock seemed powerless to resist the pull of this man. He was being dragged toward the bed. No, not dragged. He offered no resistance.

Kirk was laughing as their legs butted up against the bed. “Clothes off.”

Spock lifted his arms in the air as Kirk scooted both his under shirt and tunic up his torso and over his head. All protests died on his lips. Any sense of wrong seemed to be firmly tamped down in his mind the moment such a thought began to form.

Kirk’s hands on his bare skin were like a welcome hot brand. This human burned bright and warm and wondrous like the very sun. His radiance was addicting in a way Spock had never expected and he was helpless to fight it. He wanted this. He wanted to experience this man. This Kirk. To know why his counterpart would go to such lengths to have his bondmate back, even another version of him.

Kirk tugged at Spock’s pants and this time Spock did not just stand there passively. He pushed aside Kirk’s hands to unfasten his trousers himself. He pushed them and his boxer briefs down, freeing his straining hard cock.

“Perfect,” Kirk said with a wide grin. He dropped to his knees before Spock. “Lift your foot.”

Spock did and Kirk yanked off that boot and then the other when Spock lifted that. Next Kirk pulled down Spock’s trousers and briefs all the way down to his ankles and then off entirely as Spock shifted back and forth on each foot. He was naked now and Kirk still fully clothed.

Steamy breath stirred the hair of his genitals just before he felt Kirk’s hot, moist mouth engulf him. He had an errant thought of this man had been dead less than an hour ago and was now on his knees making Spock scream.

And scream he did. A very un-Vulcan-like scream of ecstasy as he was deep-throated. Sucked in to the very root of his cock. His legs felt like jelly as he held onto Kirk’s head and fed his cock into his mouth over and over again, each thrust pulling almost unnatural moans from him. He felt wickedly decadent. As though he should be quite ashamed but he was unable to be so.

As Kirk pulled off him with loud, slurping pop and sat back on his haunches, Spock gazed down at him. His own cock dripped saliva and Vulcan produced slick, it point slightly upward and waved next to Kirk’s flushed cheek. This young captain looked sinfully debauched. Red cheeks, eyes glistening, lips fat and swollen and shining from Spock’s fluids.

“Undress,” Spock croaked, suddenly desperate to have him.

Kirk stumbled to his feet, his fingers struggling at the hems of his uniform shirts. It occurred to Spock that he ought to be helping to expedite matters but all he could do was stare dumbly at Kirk as he pulled the offending garments off over his head and flung them to parts unknown.

He was beautiful as Spock knew he would be. Toned and sculpted and all golden skin.

There were no scars that Spock could see and no sign at all that he had been raised from the dead. Flawless.

He gave Spock a charming smile as he sat on the edge of the bed and toed off his boots. Then without standing again, he undid his pants and shimmied out of those together with his regulation briefs.

Spock was riveted.

He tried once more to rein in his eagerness. It was surely wrong to have his first sexual experience with Jim be with this version of him. Logically he told himself that. But his heart beat wildly in his side and his passion and desire could not be contained.

He stepped up close to the bed and knelt on the edge, leaning down to capture Kirk’s lips with his. His whole body shook with an encompassing need to take possession of this man.

Kirk lay flat on his back then and Spock leaned further down, hovering over him as their lips met, slanting over each other breathlessly. He had an ever increasing need to meld with Kirk but this he fought harder against. His first meld with Jim would be with his captain and no other version.

The human beneath him turned slightly so that he was angled slightly to the side and then he hooked his leg around Spock. It succeeded in aligning Spock’s cock to the pink puckered hole almost perfectly. Holding his breath, Spock gripped Kirk’s hipbones for purchase and then pushed inside.

Spock had never felt anything so magnificent. To say Kirk closing tightly around his erection as he plunged forward was magical was entirely illogical and yet he found no other explanation.

He moved easily within Kirk, no resistance, just easy, incredibly stimulating thrusts gripped tight by Kirk’s clenching muscles. Spock was aware of his own guttural cries, could not begin to stop them, and even more aware of the enthralling whimpers and whines of Kirk beneath him as he shifted and angled himself in such a way that Spock plunged deeper still within him.

He watched, transfixed, as Kirk’s tanned fingers wrapped around his large, thick shaft, pulling and tugging on himself in fast rhythm to Spock’s thrusts. The blue eyes were glazed over, pupils blown wide. But then he looked straight into Spock’s eyes and something shifted somewhere. Like an axis. For a moment, Spock felt extremely anxious and unsettled, but it went away almost instantly, as though it was never there, and he was orgasming, pulsing almost violent as his penis erupted inside Kirk, emptying ever last thing he had into this man.

Kirk twitched and shuddered on the bed beneath him, long ropes of cum shooting out from the cock he’d been stroking, splashing both of them.

Spock collapsed upon Kirk, but still attempting not to squash him with his Vulcan weight. He couldn’t remember his heart ever beating so fast. He could barely move and yet there was a niggling bit of guilt already in the back of his mind. And yet…how could he regret this?

Then there was a slight push to his chest, not firm but not weak either and Spock realized it was Kirk telling him to move. He slid off and lay beside Kirk, who was now on his side watching Spock very carefully.

“Jim?”

Kirk smiled. “Who are you?”  

Chapter Text

For a long time, Spock was unsure what to say. That Kirk had figured it out was not altogether surprising. This Kirk shone like the sun, there was no denying that, but he was quite obviously very astute and brilliant.

Kirk’s smile widened perceptively. But he continued to wait for Spock to reply. There was warmth in his blue eyes, not the cool, cautious glint he usually saw in his own Jim’s eyes.

“How did you know?” Spock finally managed.

“You think I don’t know my husband?” Kirk tsked. “You’re Spock, there’s absolutely no doubt of that. You kiss the same, you fuck the same, you even smell the same.” He shook his head. Then reached up and tapped his forehead. “But in here, nope. Totally different.”

“And yet you engaged in coitus with me.”

He laughed at that. “God, if my head didn’t tell me that, certainly that would have.”

“I do not understand.”

“You haven’t called sex coitus in…well a while. To be honest, I didn’t know you weren’t my husband when we started. There was something off but I couldn’t quite place it. But by the time we finished, I knew.” He put his hand on Spock’s cheek. “Who are you? Where are you from?”

Spock exhaled. “I am from another universe similar to this one but there are a number of differences as well.”

Kirk frowned. “Another universe? Okay so if you’re Spock there, is it sort of a mirror to this one?”

“Basically, though as I said there are a number of differences.”

“Do I exist where you come from?”

“Indeed and that is why I am here,” Spock said carefully.

He shook his head. “Mind if I get dressed? It’s easier to pretend I didn’t just cheat on my husband if I have this discussion with clothes on.” Kirk got out of the bed and Spock averted his eyes as best he could, considering the sight of a naked Jim was difficult not to gawk at.

Spock decided to also dress and so he ignored Kirk for the moment to see to it. When he had finished, Kirk was standing, redressed in his uniform, by the replicator waiting for coffee.

“Want anything?” he asked Spock.

“Tea, please.”

Kirk smiled. “Some things are the same. Go sit on the couch. I’ll bring it over.”

Spock automatically did as Kirk commanded, thinking that indeed some things were the same. And while he could not deny this Kirk was very compelling, he also missed his own captain. He had much to say to Jim when he returned to his own universe. And he was determined to do exactly that.

Kirk brought his tea and then cupping his mug of coffee sat down beside Spock. “Is my husband all right?”

“I believe he is, yes. I believe that he is currently in my universe occupying my position as first officer with my captain.”

“Your husband?”

Reluctantly, Spock shook his head. “Negative.”

“You two are not married yet?”

“Our relationship has not progressed in the same way yours has.”

Kirk raised both brows. “You aren’t together?”

“We are not. At least when I was abruptly switched to this universe we were not.”

He narrowed his eyes but said, “Why weren’t you? I can’t imagine I’m not in love with you there.”

“You have never said you were.” Spock barely held back a sigh. “When Jim and I met it was in less than ideal circumstances. We did not start off as friends and in the beginning I was romantically involved with Nyota Uhura.”

“Uhura?”

Spock found himself blushing at Kirk’s tone. “Yes. We are no longer together, however, I have not made very much progress with Jim.”

“You’re not into him?” Kirk grinned. “I gotta say I find that hard to believe after your performance tonight.”

“I am into him, as you say. But he has hardly been encouraging. He is not like you.”

“If you say so. So how’d you get here in place of my Spock?”

Here would come the difficult part. Not that it was easy, any of it.

“Your Spock orchestrated the switch,” Spock said simply.

What? Why? Why would he do that? Do not say he wanted to leave because I just say bullshit.”

“Calm yourself, Jim. I assure you that the truth is precisely the opposite.”

His jaw clenched. “Explain.”

“He was unable to deal with your…death.”

Kirk’s eyes suddenly seemed very large in his pale face. His tongue came out to trace his lips. “What?”  

“Until a short time ago, you were dead,” Spock said softly. “You were assassinated during a mission.”

Kirk set his mug down on the table and scrubbed his hands across his face. “You and Bones were—”

“Not supposed to be on the mission with you, yes. We changed it to bring you back by going through the Guardian of Forever.”

“And that’s why you were on that planet without my authorization?”

“Yes.”

“Wait. Fuck. Are you saying…Spock?” He rubbed his face again. “Bones came with you too?“

“Yes both the Spock and McCoy from here switched to our universe. Your husband found a universe where James Kirk was not dead.”

“Yours,” he whispered.

“Mine.”

“This is a lot to take in,” Kirk admitted.

“Starting with your untimely demise, I imagine.”

At that Kirk smiled wryly. “Well, sure. Although I guess if I was dead I didn’t really know about it. I-I can’t believe he did that.”

“I have experienced your death,” Spock said quietly. “It is not entirely surprising to me.”

“You just said your Jim was alive.”

“Yes.”

“You’re giving me a headache, Spock.”

“Something my own captain frequently complains of.”

“Can I get him back?” He eyed Spock. “You do want to get back to your own captain, right?”

“More than anything,” Spock said. “You are extraordinary, Captain Kirk. You truly are. But no more so than my own and I want him.”

Kirk smiled. “I would expect nothing less of you, Commander. And as pissed as I am right now at my husband for doing this, I want him back too.”

Spock nodded. “Yes. He very much deserves to know you are not dead.”

Kirk’s eyes sparkled. “Thanks to you.”

“And Doctor McCoy.”

“You risked a lot. Both of you.”

“Neither of us wanted to live without you.”  

Chapter Text

When Spock joined him on the observation deck, by the windows on the left side, Jim was surprised that Spock immediately wrapped his arms around Jim and drew him against him.

“Uh.”

“What is wrong?”

Jim couldn’t quite put his finger on it. But there was something very…odd. Or off. He disengaged himself from Spock and turned to look at him. By appearances, all was well. Spock looked like Spock, albeit with perhaps a little bit of confusion showing through.

“Are you okay?” Jim asked.

“Do I not seem so?”

“Yes. And no.”

“Clarify.”

“You don’t show affection like that. Normally. When you were Uhura it was always her who came to you. Any kissing or hugging in front of anyone else was always at her instigation. And now—”

“We are alone right now,” Spock replied.

“We’re still in a place anyone can appear at any time. And that’s just all so…illogical.”

Spock tilted his head. “To share affection with the man I love is illogical.”

“If it was just in our quarters, no. But out here?” Jim gestured to the area with his arms. “We need to talk.”

“Very well.”

“Not here. Meet me in my quarters in an hour.”

Spock hesitated but then nodded.

“I’m going to see Bones right now. I’ll see you then.” And Jim left without waiting for any further responses from Spock.

And yet when he reached the medbay, Bones was waiting for him. Which could only mean—

“Did Spock tell you I was coming?”

“Spock?”

Jim narrowed his eyes. “Yes. Half Vulcan. First officer.”

“Right.” Bones nodded. For a moment Jim thought he wasn’t going to answer, but then he said, “Yes. But he contacted me about something else and mentioned it at the same time.”

“Your office.”

Jim followed Bones in there and waited for the door to close before speaking.

“Do you think there might be something wrong with Spock?”

“Wrong with Spock?”

“I’m really losing patience, Bones. Yes. An ailment.”

“Well, Jim, why are you asking?”

“Because he’s not acting like himself.”

“What are his symptoms?”

Jim pursed his lips. Because saying, ‘oh he’s too affectionate’ seemed completely ridiculous all of a sudden. “Just, um, not very Vulcan-like.”

Bones raised both brows. “Some specifics might be in order. I can say that his last physical showed no signs of any ailments.”

“Do you remember how he was with Uhura?”

“Well.”

Jim wasn’t sure whether that meant Bones remembered or not. He was looking really uncomfortable and Jim couldn’t quite imagine why. It was like it was there at the edge of his mind but he couldn’t quite get to B from A.

“She was the one always leading him to show her affection,” Jim continued. “But now, well, he…he comes up to me and touches me and it’s just, he’s never ever done that. It’s weird.”

“Is this what you’re basing your questions on? Because Spock likes you?”

“Not that he likes me, Bones. Though I have to admit I didn’t really see that coming either. Just that he’s so…I don’t know. Blatant.”

“I think you’re reading too much into all this, Jim.”

“So, you don’t think he’s going into that thing Vulcans do or something like that?”

“That thing,” Bones repeated neutrally.

“Pon Firr.”

“Pon Farr,” Bones murmured. “No, I don’t think he is.”

Jim sighed. “Okay. If you’re sure.”

“I’m sure.”

“All right. Well, I’m going to talk to him. And maybe I’ll get some answers.” He went to the door.

“Jim.”

He turned back. “Yeah?”

“Don’t-don’t be too hard him, okay?”

“Hard on him? I won’t be. You never need to worry about that. You know how I feel.”

“I know. But there are circumstances…just keep an open mind.”

“What do you know about this, Bones?”

But his friend shook his head. “Talk to Spock.”

Jim grimaced but he left and headed for his quarters.

****

By the time Spock appeared at his quarters, Jim was a little stressed out. All right, a lot stressed out. He couldn’t shake the fact that something big was going on. Something that felt very near to being a disaster. And yeah, maybe he was melodramatic. But he thought maybe he had cause.

And yet when Spock walked in, he looked at Jim with those warm brown eyes that always turned his insides to jelly. Jim’s steps faltered along with his resolve to demand answers to…what exactly?

Spock walked over to him and put his hands on Jim’s biceps and began to rub up and down Jim’s arms in a way that was far more soothing than it ought to be. He was so close to just forgetting the whole thing.

“You are concerned about me,” Spock said softly.

“Bones again? You two are weirdly close.” He searched Spock’s eyes. “Is there something wrong with you? Are you sick?”

“No, Jim.” Spock’s gaze moved to over Jim’s head. “There is…I think I have no choice but to explain.”

Jim’s heart began to hammer. “Explain?”

“I fear that if I do not, Leonard will do so for me. And perhaps it is time.”

“Spock, what’s going on?”

“Perhaps you should sit.”

“I don’t want to sit,” Jim maintained stubbornly. “Just tell me whatever the fuck this is.”

“If we are ever to bond, you will require this information,” Spock said, almost to himself.

Jim was suddenly very very cold. “What information?”

“I am…from another universe.”

Of all the things he imagined Spock would say, this was not on the list.

“What?”

“Where I come from, my husband has died.” On these words, Spock’s voice trembled.

Jim tried to wrap his mind around this. “Are you the younger version of Ambassador Spock?”

“No. My universe is not another timeline to yours but rather more like a parallel.”

“A parallel.”

“It means aligned, a thing—”

“I know what it means,” Jim cut in sharply.

“Yes,” Spock whispered. “My captain, my husband, was unexpectedly killed during an away mission. It was…difficult. Impossible. I was unable to deal, to live without him. I had a breakdown.”

Jim frowned. “Vulcans don’t have breakdowns.”

“I did. Day and night I worked to find a way to bring my husband back to me, but when I was unable to do so, I found another solution. And that was to find a universe where James Kirk was still alive. You must understand, Jim, that I could not function. He was my life. My everything. To be without him, I wished to end it all.  Dr. McCoy was intrigued by the idea of a universe where Jim was not dead and before I really even thought about it, I was planning. I could not simply come to your universe while-while the Spock from here still existed.”

“Wait.” Jim grabbed him, shaking him. “Did you-did you kill Spock?”

“Negative, no. I could not. I planned it so that Leonard and I would switch places with your doctor and the Spock from here. Leonard found living without you almost as unbearable as I did, however, once we arrived, he has had a change of heart and is filled with doubts about our actions.” Spock lowered his gaze. “I did not.”

“I-I don’t even know what to say.”

“I chose this universe because the Spock here was not already engaged in a relationship with you. You were not romantically involved. He was with Uhura. And I thought…”

“What did you think?” Jim demanded, feeling sick and lightheaded.

“That he could find someone else in my universe. Whereas there is no one else for me but James Kirk.”

“Fuck me.” Jim pulled away from Spock, recoiling. “This is so messed up. So-so Spock and Bones are in your universe.”

“Yes.”

“Oh God.” Jim buried his head in his hands.

“Jim.” Spock moved toward him.

“Don’t touch me.” Jim moved away. “I should have known. God, I did know. I did. And I let myself pretend.”

“Known what? Jim, you are not making sense.”

He laughed hollowly. “That you couldn’t have been Spock.”

“I am Spock.”

“Not the one from here. And now it makes sense. You’re out of your mind. You don’t want me you want him. And you can’t accept that he died.  My Spock doesn’t feel that way about me. He’s never felt that way about me. And I knew that.” Jim felt tears prick his eyes. “I’ve had experience with being the second choice Jim and I have to tell you it fucking sucks.”

“No, I—”

“I’m not him, Spock. Just as I wasn’t Ambassador Spock’s Jim. And you coming here, I mean, I get it, sort of, in some twisted fucked up way, it’s, um, sort of sweet and romantic, all that undying soulmate love shit. But you chose wrong.”

“Jim, no.”

“I’m nothing like your husband. Don’t you get that? There’s a reason the Spock from here doesn’t love me.”

“But…you love him.”

“Yes. Yes. But that doesn’t matter. I wasn’t ever going to tell him because-because it didn’t matter. I don’t matter.  We’re friends and that’s it. I accepted that a long time ago. And now you’re here and you changed everything. How am I supposed to deal with that?”

“There is nothing you need do but agree to continue being with me,” Spock insisted.

“Spock—”

“Jim, do you not see? We belong together.” Spock paused. “In any universe.”

“That’s insane.”

“It is not. If I cannot have my Jim and you cannot have your Spock, we can have each other. I am in love with you.”

“No, you aren’t! You’re in love with him.”

“Jim—”

“Get out.”

“What?” Spock had gone very pale.

“Get out. Get out. I can’t deal with this now.”

“Should I-Should I get Dr. McCoy?”

“No! He’s the last one I want to see.”

“But—”

Jim turned away. “Please. Just go.”

For a long time, Spock did not move. But after several minutes passed, Jim heard the door swish closed.

Jim slammed his hand down on his desk. “Fuck!”

And now he was going to have to deal with sending this Spock back to his proper universe. A Spock who was most definitely not going to want to cooperate. But even though Jim now knew what it was like to be loved by Spock, false or not, Jim had to set things back to right. The Spock born here had friends and family who cared about him. He belonged here even if he did not love Jim. And this Spock, who he had given so much to over the last few months, he had to go back to his own universe, even if it was to grieve. To experience unspeakable loss.

And Bones? God, what he must be thinking. He’d been through so much with Bones. His Bones. And this one? The one here? Knew nothing of that. He’d bonded with another Kirk.

Jim was not happy about any of it.

Chapter Text

He kind of anticipated that Bones would show up. He knew Bones. His Bones anyway. And this one did a good job of pretending to be the same, so maybe he wasn’t that different, anyway.

Jim had taken himself off duty and had avoided everyone. Even Uhura had tried to talk to him. Jim didn’t know why and he didn’t care. He was in no mood to deal with Spock’s girlfriend. Even if she was his ex.

And yet here he was in a little used corner of the observation deck most crew members missed because it was in a hidden alcove and if you didn’t know the ship better than you knew yourself you might not even know about it. Jim knew.

It had been added to the new Enterprise. The one built after Altamid.  Jim had developed this skill, back from his skills with computers, where he could block others from finding his location. Jim would always answer emergencies. He knew his responsibilities. But it would not be unthinkable that Spock would try to trace him via ship’s computer.

Jim didn’t know if Bones showing up in this exact spot meant his Enterprise had the same location on it or not.  And he couldn’t even bring himself to ask. He just stared at the man claiming to be Bones. Were their difference he should have seen? A mole out of place? A thicker neck? Anything?

“You look exactly the same,” Bones said, surprising Jim.

“You read minds in your universe?”

Bones raised his eyebrows. “Huh?”

Jim shook his head. “I was just thinking about your appearance and if there was something I should have seen.”

“Ah.” Bones nodded. He sat down on the bench Jim was on, looking out at space. “I think I’m just really surprised how you’re a dead ringer for him.” Then Bones winced. “Poor choice of words.”

“Presumably that’s why your Spock chose me. I’m guessing you’ve talked to him.”

“Yeah, he told me he revealed everything. You looking just like Jim certainly influenced him. That and you not being with the Spock from here.”

“That’s something that should have been a red flag for me. And it was. But I ignored it.”

“What, Jim?”

“The Spock from here, he doesn’t…he’s not in love with me,” Jim said quietly.

“Are you sure about that?”

He smiled without humor. “Pretty sure. He and Uhura, well, they did break up, but it had nothing to do with me. More to do with Spock, I think. And I think she even thought maybe he had feelings for me, but she was wrong.”

“Why do you think that?”

“Because he never came to me after their breakup and said anything. It was the same as it’s always been. Hardly even friends, really. We played chess and stuff but that was at my urging, not his.  He had lots of opportunities, Bones, and nothing.”

“But you didn’t say anything either.”

“I’m not…that’s not me. He was in a long term relationship with a woman and she was very, very different from me. It was up to him to indicate any interest. And he didn’t. He wouldn’t. I’m not like your Jim and I’m not like the other one either.”

“You don’t need to be like anyone but yourself, Jim.”

“This from the guy who came from another universe to pretend to be someone else.”

Bones sighed and the pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know. I should have, I don’t know, done anything to talk Spock out of coming here, but he was so determined, I doubt anything I said would have changed it.”

“You could have said he was unfit for command and locked him up.”

“Can you really see yourself locking up Spock? Any Spock?”

Jim looked away. Bones had a point. “So, what? Your solution was to come with him? That makes no sense, Bones.”

“I wasn’t thinking clearly either, Jim. I just knew you were dead and I couldn’t handle that. I was almost as bad as Spock. I don’t know, Jim, I have it in my head, always have, that I’d go first. I’m older and anyway, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

“It is?”

“Yeah,” Bones insisted. “And when that-that didn’t happen—” Bones shook his head. “You don’t understand, Jim. He was the glue that kept us all together. He made us what and how we were. There were times when nothing and no one could get us through something but him. And then like that—” he snapped his fingers. “He was gone. For something that never ever should have happened. We were all a little irrational at that point. I didn’t think too far ahead except seeing Jim again.”

“But I’m not him, Bones. I have different experiences. All we really share is the same name.”

“You share more than that, Jim. At your core, you are the same. Just as I’m the same. And Spock is the same. The three of us are meant to go through life together in any universe.”

“Do you really believe that?” Jim asked.

“How can you believe otherwise? The evidence of that has been there for you to see with your own eyes. This universe, my universe, the one the old Spock came from, it’s always the same, isn’t it?”

“Scott to Captain. Scott to Captain.”

Jim flipped open his communicator. “Kirk here.”

“Captain.” Scotty sounded shaken.

“Scotty, what’s up?”

“I wouldna believe it if I weren’t looking right at them.”

“Scotty?”

“Here, Scotty.”

Jim glanced at Bones in surprise. His heart suddenly thundered hard in his chest and he rose from his seat.

Bones had turned white as a sheet.

“Hey, Jim?”

“Wait. What?”

His own laugh came from the communicator. “Hi there, Captain Kirk. It’s Captain Kirk. And I have two officers with me that I’m pretty sure belong to you.”

Jim glanced at Bones. “I thought you said he was dead.”

“Holy shit,” Bones said. “My God. It can’t be.”   

Jim gave Bones a look. “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” he said into the communicator.

“Yeah, well. About that. I suggest maybe you should meet us in your transporter room. Bring my husband. And if that’s Bones I hear with you? Bring him too. Kirk out.”

Jim frowned at his communicator. “What the absolute fuck?”

Bones was already moving out of the alcove, running, so Jim followed after him, flipping open his communicator to call Spock to the transporter room.  

Chapter Text

Spock was pale when Jim met up with him and Bones just outside the transporter room.

“Jim, what—?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know any more than you do, Spock. Let’s just see.” He put his hand on Spock’s arm. He could see the Vulcan was shaken to his core and on the verge of completely losing it.

Bones stepped forward. “Come on, Spock. This sounds like good news.”

“But how is it possible?”

“Let’s find out,” Jim said gently.

Spock nodded but as Jim moved toward the door, he still hesitated. Jim took Spock’s arm and brought him close to the door so that it opened and then he drew him inside the room.

And there Jim couldn’t help but stare. Standing in the transporter room with his Spock and his Bones, presumably, anyway, was Kirk from another universe and damn, but it was like looking in a slightly warped mirror. Only he supposed he was the side of the mirror that was warped for this other Kirk practically glowed with vitality, energy, and even happiness. If he could see auras, this Kirk’s would be golden.

It left him feeling even more unworthy than usual. He certainly didn’t fail to notice the reaction of this Kirk’s Spock and Bones to seeing him. There was unending joy, that even Spock had been unable to suppress. While his Spock and Bones remained on the side of the room, not jubilant in the least. Somehow he failed to be surprised.

“Are you two all right?” He forced himself to ask.

“Yes, Captain,” Spock answered, just as he would always answer. And what else would be do? Jim was reminded he and his Spock were not together. Didn’t have the relationship of the other Kirks and Spocks, in whatever universes. Not even close.

“You, Bones?”

His friend was staring at him, somewhat dazedly but when Jim spoke directly to him, he cleared his throat, and nodded. “Yeah, Jim. Am I damn glad to see you.”

Jim smiled a little. “Me too.”

He now turned his attention to the others in the room. The Spock who had been with him for he didn’t even know how many weeks, who’d fucked him inside and out, really, was now on his knees in front of the other Kirk, openly weeping as he clung to his captain.

“How? How is this possible?” he demanded, looking up at Kirk with worshipful eyes.

Sunny Kirk grinned down at his husband. “Your counterparts. They found a way to bring me back. They’re damn smart, those two.”

The other Bones embraced him. “I never thought-not in a million years…my God.”

“Clearly. Since you two just decided to dump our Enterprise for this one,” Kirk said. “We will have words, the three of us, when we get back.” He dropped down on his own knees next to his husband and pulled him into his arms. “Hey. It’s all right. I’m here. I’m here.”

Spock gasped and buried his face in Kirk’s neck. He spoke rapidly in Vulcan and Kirk just stroked his back as he continued to cry.

It was a little awkward, to tell the truth, Jim thought. It should be a private reunion. This was definitely not the Spock he was used to and he wondered how he had ever truly been fooled.

He turned to Scotty. “Why don’t we give them some time alone? And arrange for them to have guest quarters, too.” He turned back to Kirk. “You’re staying?”

Kirk nodded. “For a couple of days, if that meets with your approval. We need time to program things to get us back to our time and I’d actually like to talk with you when the opportunity presents itself.”

Jim agreed. “Okay. So, Scotty, arrange for quarters for Captain Kirk and his husband, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. I’m sure our own Spock and McCoy would like their own quarters back.”

Scotty was frowning. “Captain?”

“Yeah?”

“I don’t understand any of this.”

Jim patted his shoulder. “I know, Scotty. It’s okay. But you remember we’ve experienced another Spock before.”

“Aye.”

Jim gestured to his Spock and Bones. “Let’s give them privacy.”

His officers dutifully followed him out of the transporter room and Scotty went off to arrange the quarters.

Bones stopped in front of Jim. “Are you all right, Jim?”

“Of course I am.”

“You’ve got dark circles under your eyes and you look like you’ve lost weight.”

“My first officer and my CMO were both missing and in another universe,” Jim replied. “It’s been pretty nerve wracking.”

Bones nodded. “For us too. You can’t imagine being in a universe where you died. It was pretty damn awful.”

“But you changed that. You brought him back. You’ll definitely have to tell me how.”

“Over a long stiff drink,” Bones said.

“Definitely. He’s, uh, he’s different than me.” Jim bit his lip a little. “Yeah?”

“He is, sure. Different circumstances shaped each of you. But at your heart,” Bones paused to put his hand on Jim’s heart, “you’re the same. And I’m so glad we were able to bring him back.”

“Me too. For his Spock’s sake, anyway. Imagine coming to another universe just to find me.” Jim shook his head. “He had to be pretty disappointed.”

Bones eyes widened. “Jim—”

“I’ll come by later for that drink.” Jim squeezed Bones’ shoulder. He turned toward Spock who had been silently standing by, waiting. “Commander, my quarters.”

Spock fell in step without a word as they headed for the turbolift.  

Jim was having trouble reading his first officer’s mood. Which was kind of odd, because before all this, he’d gotten pretty good at knowing what was up with Spock. He didn’t relish starting all over again with that. But Spock seemed more closed off than ever.

Jim couldn’t help but wonder if it was become he’d gotten a taste of that other Kirk and realized just how lacking Jim really was.

They got off on the officers deck and headed down the corridor toward Jim’s quarters.  Suddenly more weary than he’d felt in a long time, Jim accessed the door and headed inside, followed closely by Spock.

“So.”

Spock was staring at him with that intense but blank way he had of staring. He didn’t say anything.

Are you okay, Spock?”

Instead of answering, Spock began to pace around Jim.

“Spock?”

He stopped after a few minutes and stared again at Jim. “You have engaged in coitus with him.”

Jim’s mouth dropped open. “Uh.”

“I smell him.”

“Well.” Jim licked his lips. “Yeah.”

Spock’s brows furrowed.

“I thought he was you,” Jim said simply. “I don’t know why, honestly.”

“Explain.”

“Because I should have known better.”

Spock shook his head, looking confused.

Jim sighed and ran his fingers through his head. “He wanted me. And you…don’t.”

Chapter Text

Spock could only stare at his captain. Yes, his captain. His Jim. His. And yet he was speaking of, he was saying…

“Spock?” Jim’s voice was whisper soft, barely there, and filled with a certain cadence that the Jim from the other universe did not have. He couldn’t explain it if he was tortured for the information.

And those eyes. The same blue, yes, but so much more expressive, so much more pain-filled, needy, wanting.

Spock looked down at the floor, unable to bear the scrutiny at the moment. “I…was intimate with him.”

“Why?”

Spock glanced at Jim, startled. It was obvious that Jim really did not know, and yet, Spock could barely believe in that truth.

“Because he was-he is James Kirk,” Spock finally got the words out.  “I was sent into a nightmare of proportions I was very much unprepared for.”

“A…nightmare.”

“One where you were no longer alive. I have never…it was unimaginable. Even though it came very close to being the case here as well. Leonard brought you back to us.” Spock shook his head.

His heart hurt. It was hard to breathe. Here he was back in his universe, so why did he feel so much pain?

“Just when I had begun to-to imagine declaring my feelings, I was abducted from here and sent there.”

“Your feelings?” Jim frowned. “Wait. What? What feelings?”

Spock took a step backward. “That you imagine I do not want you is…I would die for you. I would kill for you. I would do anything for you. I would bring back the dead for you. To return to be by your side and no others. How can you not know that one moment with you is worth hundreds with him or anyone else?”

Jim stepped forward. He was wringing his hands. His eyes were shiny and his face rather battered looking. “But. But. But he’s sunny and happy and beautiful and joyous and so many things that I—”

“Perhaps he is all those things,” Spock agreed. “Perhaps he is.”

“Spock.”

“But he is not you. He can never be you. You share the same name. The same face. The same incredible ass.”

At that Jim laughed, though it sounded rather like a cross between a laugh and a sob.

“He even sounds like you. Kind of. Not quite though. There is something you have that he lacks. And I need that. I need you. And the circumstances that you have lived with that have created you as you are. And those that have created me as I am. Those circumstances that worked to shape our lives together. All of that. I need that. I need you, James Tiberius Kirk.  I do not want some golden copy of you. I want you. I love you. With everything I have and am. For as long as I live and beyond. Eternally.”

“Oh.”

Jim blinked rapidly and then he looked down at the floor.

“Ashaya,” Spock whispered. “Please tell me that I am not wrong and that you love me as well.”

Jim shook his head and Spock suddenly felt weary and certain that the emotional pain of Jim’s rejection would be something he could not survive.

But then Jim looked up, his eyes full of tears. “God, I love you so fucking much I can’t breathe.”

There was a cry and it came from him.

Spock ran to Jim just as Jim ran to him and Jim flung himself into Spock’s arms and Spock’s mouth consumed him.

Jim was laughing and crying at the same time. Spock pulled him closer still, wrapping his arms around him, feeling his warmth, his energy, how alive he was. For him. For him.

“I-I thought,” Jim said. Stopped. Cleared his throat. Kissed Spock again with a wet face and mouth. “They were so happy to see him. And you and Bones, you were just, oh we’re back. And I wanted-for a moment-I wanted that enthusiasm.”

Spock closed his eyes and held Jim tightly. “My beautiful, beautiful James. We are not them and they are not us. Believe me when I say that Leonard and I could not have been more ecstatic to be home. Here. With you.”

“You feel so good,” Jim whispered against Spock’s throat. “So very good. So…right.”

“You are mine,” Spock told him. “You are my t’hy’la.”

“You’re amazing,” Jim whispered. “That you would do all that you must have to bring him back, so he could be with his Spock, so that you could be with me, I don’t even know what to say. I’m in awe.”

Spock picked him up then and carried him, without protest, toward the bed.

He laid them side by side, so they could look into each other’s eyes, kissing and touching, and just being together.

“I want you,” Jim said after a while. “I want to be intimate with you.”

“I want that as well,” Spock admitted. “I want to cover his scent with mine.”

“God, Spock.” He was suddenly frowning and looking sad again. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Our-our first time together, it should have been us. Not substitutes. And we can never get that back.”

Spock put his hand on Jim’s face, rubbing his thumb along Jim’s jawline, slightly roughened with stubble. “Our time together will be wonderful simply because I finally have you.”

At that Jim smiled. Spock realized then how very precious Jim’s smiles were. They touched him bone deep, katra deep perhaps, because when Jim did give them, and yes they were a gift, it was the most special thing. And that Spock could even think that or feel this way, he would never have believed.

Jim changed him.

This Jim. His.

He might not smile sunnily, freely, and often. But yes, Spock treasured them. Treasured Jim. More than anything.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Jim replied. “Whoever went before us, none of that matters. Only you do.”

Spock’s hands maybe shook a little as he prepared to undress his captain for the first time. Jim helped with the boots and then tugged off his own shirts, but Spock’s finger went to the fastenings of his trousers. Once he had the buttons undone, he slid the zipper down slowly.

“You seem a little nervous,” Jim said softly.

Spock shook his head in denial. “Not nervous. More like…the anticipation is killing me.”

A soft laugh. “That’s a very human thing to say, Mister Spock.”

“Yes,” he acknowledged. He slipped his hands into the waistband of Jim’s pants and began to pull them down. Jim rose up a little so it was easier to scoot them down off his rounded bottom. When Jim was left in nothing but his socks and boxer briefs, Spock rose up, bracing his arms against the mattress as he stared down at his t’hy’la. He sucked in a breath. “You are perfect.”

Jim laughed again, his skin flushing red. “Spock.”

“It is true,” he whispered, reverently. “That you would give yourself to me, that you would allow me this, I am at a loss for words except, Taluhk nash-veh k'dular. And yet they hardly seem enough.”

Jim stared at him with eyes so deeply, richly blue they seemed almost preternatural. “Your clothes.”

Reluctant to be parted from Jim even for a moment, Spock got up from the bed to rid himself of his own currently offending attire. He wanted skin on skin. Nothing separating them in any way. As soon as he was stripped, he was on the bed again, on Jim, fusing their lips together until neither of them could catch their breath.

They removed Jim’s briefs together and then slid their bare bodies together, across each other, over. Hot skin against hot skin.

He thought of lubricant and then realized his penis was secreting quite a generous amount of his own fluid. Still, he opened his mouth to ask Jim, when Jim seized his head and pulled him down for more kisses.

Jim groaned against his mouth. “Fuck me.”

“Do you—”

“Now,” Jim cut him off. “It’ll be enough. Want you inside me. Now.”

Spock could not deny Jim and he found that he had no desire to deny himself. Lifting and parting Jim’s legs, Spock drove in to the tightness of Jim’s body. Jim framed his face and pulled him into another kiss, even as he bent his body near in half.

“Jim, Jim, Jim,” Spock moaned out, pulling back a little to slam into Jim hard and fast. Deep. Everywhere they touched there was a warm, almost electric buzzing, a thrilling pulse. His t’hy’la. This was how it should be, how it could be. Always.

He wrapped his fist around Jim’s phallus, unable to help his own grunt of satisfaction when Jim whined and keened at the touch. He used his other hand to grab one of Jim’s hands, threading them together, seeking any contact he could have.

Jim’s eyelids drifted half-closed and he panted heavily, the hand not held by Spock, smoothing over every inch of Spock he could touch, that thrilling pulse following wherever he did.

How had he ever survived without this, without him? Spock hoped he would never have to know again. Jim filled a void Spock hadn’t known existed.

“Spock, I-I…”

“Yes.”

Jim cried out, nearly mewling like a cat, as cum shot out of his cock and onto Spock’s fingers and all over Jim’s torso. “I love you, I love you.”

Spock released Jim’s hand to place his hand upon Jim’s face, spreading his fingers over the psi points there. “Jim?”

Jim nodded, his eyes glazed still, beads of sweat dotting his flushed skin.

Spock entered Jim’s mind just as he was within his body. Flashes of light and splashes of color alighted everything inside him, warmed him, embraced him, the brilliant, electric mind of his beloved.

“James.”

Spock’s hips thrust frantically as he poured into Jim, his orgasm more intense than any he had ever felt, as he joined fully with his t’hy’la.

“Hey.”

Spock felt a gently push on his shoulder sometime later. He tried to open his eyes.

“Babe, you’re squashing and roasting me.”

Spock forced himself to slide out of Jim and off of him to lay beside him, once more facing him, and looking into those nearly glowing blue eyes.

“Computer, lower temperature twenty degrees,” Jim called out, dazedly.

“I worship you,” Spock whispered, his hand going to the spot on Jim’s chest where his heart beat.

“The feeling is very mutual.” Jim groaned. “I should get up, shouldn’t I? We have guests.”

Spock shook his head. “There is no requirement at present to rise. Considering everything, and their own reunion, they will not mind.”

“Good. Because right now I don’t think I can move and anyway I just want to be with you. Like this.” Jim reached out his hand and placed it on Spock’s side where his heart beat. “I feel you. In my head. It’s not intrusive or anything. Just like a presence.” He smiled softly. “I feel safe.”

“You are always safe with me.”

Jim yawned then and laughed softly. “Sorry. I just haven’t had a lot of sleep and that really wiped me out. So intense.”

“Sleep, T’hy’la. I will watch over you. Over everything.”

Jim’s lips curved as his eyes closed.

Spock was home.