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When the Long Trick's Over

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The first morning earthside, Jim woke up early. He rolled onto his back, reaching for Spock’s side of the bed. The mattress was cool. Typical, Jim thought. He wouldn’t know a day off if it bit him in the ass. He sat up, blinking at the chrono. Barely 0700. “Ugh,” he said aloud. He’d possibly stayed up just a little later than he should’ve last night, but it wasn’t every day you got to celebrate finishing your first 5-year mission with your crew and ship mostly intact. He turned to the window, squinted into the sunlight. The Golden Gate jutted proudly out of the fog over the bay. They’d bought the place sight unseen, squinting at real-estate listings on Spock’s PADD in the evenings after shift, weighing the merits of size versus location, Jim attempting to explain the concept of a breakfast nook. In the end, they’d kind of shrugged at each other. “I admit to a somewhat sentimental attachment to this particular view,” Spock said, pointing to one of the images. And that was it. That was their place. They emailed the contracts the next day.

Today, Jim had absolutely nothing on his schedule, and he was excited as hell about it. He eyed the pile of boxes stacked in the corner with distaste. Spock wasn’t going to let those stagnate for long, but he guessed he could get away with a day of adjustment before unpacking became mandatory. So, nothing to do. Spock was probably in one of the Academy labs, arranging some sort of Machiavellian audition process for his new TAs. Who knew how long that would take. Jim figured he’d get dressed, head out and grab a coffee somewhere, maybe go bother Bones and Carol later.

So, he thought. First order of business. Jim slid the closet door open, peered into it, and frowned. Spock had unpacked their clothes last night, presumably after Jim had passed out. Now, he was faced with a rack of command gold tunics and black slacks. “Well, that’s boring,” he said to himself. “What happened to the rest of my stuff?” He tried to remember the last time he wore something non-Starfleet issue, and couldn’t come up with anything. There was stealth mode on unexplored planets, sure, but ‘Fleet had guidelines for that and a veritable costume department to back them up. Jim had always been a jeans and t-shirts kind of guy, but evidently even those had fallen by the wayside over the years. Oh well. He could wear the gold shirt on his first day of vacation, no big deal.

But wait--there in the back. What was that? He leaned into the closet, stretching to reach the scrap of green peeking out behind the last gold shirt. His fingers closed on the sleeve, and he pulled it out, victorious. He stepped out of the closet, holding the shirt up before him. It was that weird alternative uniform shirt--he only had one of them, and somehow it had only seemed to make it into the rotation when his laundry was in dire need of a trip to the refresher. Who knew what had possessed Starfleet to put this into production. But...he kind of liked it. The green was nice, and the gold trim was snappy. And it was a change. Jim shrugged, and pulled the shirt on over his head. He finished getting dressed, pants and his trusty boots, and he may or may not have checked himself out in the mirror before locating his comm, his keycard, and his credit chip and leaving the apartment. Not bad, Kirk, he thought. Not bad at all.


It was early afternoon by the time Jim got back to the apartment. Spock was sitting at the table in the breakfast nook (which he steadfastly refused to refer to as such) drinking a cup of tea and reading something on his PADD. He glanced up at Jim, mouth open as if to say something, and then a strange look passed across his face and he closed it, nodding at Jim instead.


Spock shook his head. “It is nothing,” he said, taking a sip of tea.

“Hmmph,” Jim said. “Once upon a time, I heard this fairy tale about how Vulcans don’t lie, and--”

“Where did you find that shirt?” Spock said.

Jim stood up a little straighter, pulling the shirt down reflexively. “In the back of my closet,” he said. “Why?”

Spock muttered something Jim couldn’t totally make out.

“What did--wait, did you just say you should’ve thrown it out the airlock?

“If you heard my statement the first time, why did you find it necessary to ask for clarification?”

“That’s not the point,” Jim sputtered. “What’s wrong with my shirt? And why would you, like, secretly try and get rid of it? That’s just...controlling and weird.”

Spock at least had the good grace to look chastised, and the tips of his ears went green. “It was a poorly executed joke,” he said. “And regarding the shirt have more flattering apparel.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Spock bit his lower lip. He started to gesture at Jim’s midsection but appeared to think better of it and folded his hands in his lap. Jim smoothed his hands over his stomach protectively. “You’re crazy, man,” he said. “I do like a thousand crunches every other day.”

“The results of which might be more advantageously highlighted in a different shirt,” Spock said.

Jim growled, fighting the urge to rip the shirt off and advantageously highlight Spock’s dumb face with it.

“Well, if you’re so invested in my wardrobe, you can come clothes shopping with me,” he said. “I realized this morning I don’t have anything besides uniforms, and if we’re going to be earthside for a year waiting for the refit I’m going to need some stuff.”

Spock stood up and crossed the room, wrapping an arm around Jim’s waist and pulling him in close. He looked contrite. “That would be acceptable,” he said. He ran a finger over the gold piping on Jim’s collar. “It is a pleasing color,” he says. “I suppose it does have that to recommend it.”

Jim sighed, feeling his irritation fade. He shrugged his shoulders, rotating them forward and back to loosen the tension he’d suddenly become aware of. Shake it off, Kirk, he told himself. He smiled at Spock. “You just like green,” he said.

They went to one of the new shopping centers that had sprung up in their absence. It wasn’t like Jim hadn’t been to the mall before--he’d whiled away many an hour squiring eighth-grade girls around the Riverside Galleria before he could (legally) drive--but this was like some kind of mutant supermall. There might have been a ferris wheel. He found it a little disturbing. He took Spock into the first store that looked promising, increasingly feeling the desire to get this over with as quickly as possible.

Spock squinted up at the store’s logo. “What is the purpose of naming a clothing store after a...blank space? Is there some human philosophical nuance I am unaware of?”

Jim shrugged. “Dunno,” he said. “Maybe; it’s like 400 years old or something. But whatever, they have khakis. Let’s go do this thing.”

Half an hour later, Jim had a headache, a dressing-room full of rejected clothing, and a boyfriend who seemed to care more about Jim’s sartorial choices than he could ever have imagined.

“What about this one?” Jim sighed, tugging at the neckline of the sweater he was wearing. Spock had nixed the v-necks immediately, citing something about wardrobe versatility that Jim privately thought made no sense. He raised an eyebrow, reaching out to pinch the fabric between thumb and forefinger.

“Is this acrylic?” Spock asked incredulously, and that was it, Jim was done. He stepped back, so Spock lost his grip on the sweater, and almost tripped over the chair unhelpfully located directly behind him in the dressing room.

“Goddammit!” Jim said under his breath. “Who are you?” he said to Spock. “That’s rhetorical, by the way, so don’t start.” He made a frustrated noise. Spock was staring at him with a perfectly neutral expression, which just made everything worse. He always felt so fucking messy when he got mad at Spock, like his feelings were getting all over everything. Totally irrational, but there you go. Jim was only human, and it wasn’t like they hadn’t had that conversation about ten thousand times in four and a half years.

“Here,” Jim said, tugging the sweater off over his head and tossing it at Spock. “ whatever you think is good and I’ll pay you back later. I need some air.”

Spock found him at the food court ten minutes later, slurping angrily on an orange julius in a halfhearted attempt to recapture the magic of middle school, or something. I wasn’t working, and the cold was making his headache worse. Spock sat down across from him, gesturing wordlessly at Jim’s cup. Jim slid it toward him, and when Spock reached for it he deliberately brushed their fingers together. He took an experimental sip, and they sat in silence for a minute until Spock finished, setting the cup down on the tabletop and fiddling with the straw.

“I meant only to help,” he said quietly.

Jim sighed. “I know,” he said. “I’m sorry."

“It appears returning to Earth will require a period of adjustment on both our parts,” Spock said. “I had difficulty sleeping last night. I grew accustomed to the ambient noise on the ship.”

“Yeah,” Jim said. “Everything just feels off, somehow.”

Spock moved the cup aside and laid his hand palm up in the center of the table. Jim reached for it, lacing his fingers through Spock’s. “So,” he said. “What’d you buy me?”

“Let’s go home,” Spock said. “And I will show you.”


For all Jim’s protestations, Spock had done well in the end. There were a couple pairs of jeans, some t-shirts, three button-downs, and then at the bottom of the pile--

“Spock, what the hell is this? How much did this cost?” Jim ran his hands over buttery soft black leather, unable to resist unzipping the jacket and slipping it on.

“Consider it a gift,” Spock said. “I seem to recall that you frequently wore one similar to this at one time, though I have not seen it personally.”

Jim grinned at himself in the mirror. The picture--he wasn’t sure where it was; he used to keep it on his desk in his quarters and it was probably buried somewhere one of the moving boxes. But he could conjure up the image in his mind’s eye as surely as if it was in front of him. It was a snapshot of Jim and Bones, the day they flew in on the recruitment shuttle. Jim was smiling, and somehow it looked genuine even though Jim knew for a fact that he’d been hungover as hell and scared absolutely shitless that day. Next to him, Bones looked green. And sure enough, Jim was wearing his black leather jacket. He remembered what happened to it, too. It hadn’t made it past the academy; back in his second year he took out that Andorian kid who couldn’t hold his liquor worth anything, and Andorian stomach acid had a pH of like negative ten, which Jim found out when he tried to have the jacket dry-cleaned and it disintegrated in his hands.

He’d gotten the first jacket secondhand at a grimy little store in Des Moines, and this one definitely couldn’t compete in terms of patina. But the leather was thick and lustrous, and it fit him better than the first one had.

“Thanks, Spock,” Jim said. “This is awesome.” He turned back to the mirror and struck a pose. Spock came up behind him, sliding his hands around Jim’s waist and resting his chin on Jim’s shoulder.

“I should admit that my motives were not entirely altruistic,” he murmured, grinding just slightly into Jim from behind and nipping at the tender skin just below his jaw.

“So you’re into leather,” Jim said, shuddering a little at the sting of teeth. “That’s...good to know.” He turned around, bringing his hand up to cup Spock’s cheek. “Seriously,” he said softly. “Thanks.”

Spock’s eyes darted down to Jim’s mouth, and he licked his lips. Jim almost laughed, because as it turned out subtlety was not exactly Spock’s strong suit when it came to some things. Jim kissed him, softly and sweetly at first, but then Spock ran his hands up Jim’s shoulders. He squeezed at the leather and growled into Jim’s mouth, and Jim did laugh then. He deepened the kiss, sliding his hand around to the back of Spock’s neck and raking fingers through the close-cropped hair there.

Spock began to back up, pulling Jim with him until they reached the bed. It was higher than the low-slung beds on the ship, and Jim took a second to note the weirdness of having to climb up onto it instead of flopping down. But then Spock was stretching out under him, and Jim’s brain was loathe to dwell on anything but his pale throat and how unfortunate it would be if Spock had to wear turtlenecks to his first week of classes.

Jim traced his way up Spock’s neck, pausing here and there to bite at his flesh. Spock tried valiantly to stay still, but his neck was his Achilles’ heel, so to speak. So it wasn’t long before he was writhing and gasping beneath Jim, trying to grind up into him, to insinuate fingers under Jim’s clothes to skate over his skin.

“I want--”

“What do you want, Spock? Tell me.”

Spock moaned, turning his head this way and that on the pillow, cheeks flushing green. Jim thought he’d never get used to this, the way he could bring Spock straight out of his comfort zone with just a few well-timed words.

“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

“Jim, please...I...”

Jim laughed, running his thumb over Spock’s cheekbone, over his kiss-swollen lower lip. Spock nipped at it, which made Jim laugh harder. “I should make you tell me,” he said. “I should stop doing this and not start again until you tell me want.” He punctuated his words with a slow grind of his hips against Spock’s.


“...But I won’t, because I’m nice,” he said, “and because I was a dick today and you were nice to me.” Spock hummed his assent, and Jim was gratified to note the slightly desperate cant to the sound. “But you were wrong earlier, hating on my green shirt,” he said, kissing the corner of Spock’s mouth. “You were oh so wrong.” He sat up, taking the jacket off and tossing it somewhere in the direction of the chair in the corner. He ran his hands over the green fabric underneath. He had half a mind to fuck Spock’s brains out wearing the shirt, just to prove a point, but it had long sleeves and he was starting to overheat already. So he looked down and gave Spock his best bedroom eyes before pulling it over his head and dispensing with it in the same direction as the jacket.

“What are you waiting for?” he asked, gesturing at Spock’s clothing. “Off.”

Spock made short work of his blacks--and yeah, that was a good look for him; being back at the Academy had its perks--and leaned back against the pillows to watch Jim shimmy out of his pants. His cock was full and hard already, and Spock made no secret of stroking it through his briefs. Jim kicked his pants off the bed and pounced, working his thumbs under Spock’s waistband and tugging, fisting Spock with one hand as he caught Spock’s own hand in the other and brought it up to take Spock’s first two fingers into his mouth. Spock hissed as Jim sucked them down, laving the pads with his tongue and thinking very focused thoughts about doing the same thing to other parts of Spock.

“J-Jim,” Spock said hurriedly. “Jim.”

Jim looked up, letting Spock slide his fingers out of his mouth with a lewd pop. “Hmm?” He already felt hazy with sex, like he was drifting out to see and Spock was calling him back.

“I’m...I am close,” Spock said. “I don’t want to--”

“Yeah, me either,” Jim said. “I wanna fuck you,” he said breathlessly, kissing at Spock’s fingers. “Is that okay?”

Spock gave him an incredulous look, and Jim laughed again. “Okay, okay,” he said. “Don’t suppose you unpacked the--”

“The drawer in the nightstand,” Spock said. “I was anticipating, as you might say, ‘christening’ our new bed last night, but as you were overserved--”

“Sorry, sorry. I was just--”

“I know,” said Spock. “I was, as well.”

You don’t know what I was going to say, Jim thought. But somehow, he suspected that didn’t matter. He reached for the lube.

It could have gone a thousand different ways, Spock and him. Or maybe it couldn’t, maybe this was it, this hot press of Jim’s slick fingers up into him, Spock’s arch and the little whistle of air sucked in around teeth. It didn’t take much; Spock was ready for him, and sometimes he liked it a little bit rough anyway, with a bit of an edge to it. Jim’s thoughts strayed to the first time, after a travesty of an away mission on some godforsaken planet whose name he didn’t want to remember. But he’d never forget the electricity that hung in the air when he let Spock into his quarters after they’d both been cleared from sickbay, the look in Spock’s eyes that was basically mutinous, the clearest fuck-you to death and destruction Jim had ever seen, and Jim Kirk knew from bad ideas conceived in the name of feeling alive.

And that could have been it, right? Just the once, just because they were there and they were breathing and thank God for that. But it hadn’t been, and the second time Spock came to Jim at ship’s night it was softer and quieter and tugged at Jim’s heart all the harder for it. And now here they were, almost five years on, Jim guiding himself into Spock, pressing their foreheads together and looking into wide eyes. Sometimes it still felt like the first time. His breath hitched. It was so fucking hot, he’d never get used to that. Beneath him Spock was biting his lip, eyes looking everywhere but at Jim now, the moment laid too bare.

“Hey,” Jim said. He ran his fingers through Spock’s hair and bit at his neck again. “C’mere, come back to me.”

Spock turned to look back at him, lips quirking upwards just slightly at the corners. Jim worked his hips lazily, pulling out and thrusting back in slowly, deep and hard enough to shove Spock’s body up the bed but not enough to be enough, to make Spock lose it.

“You feel so good,” Jim said, breath hot at the pinna of Spock’s right ear. Spock trembled, a hand scratching its way down Jim’s back to splay across his ass. “You’re so fucking hot for me. You always are. I could stay in here forever.” Spock let out an appreciative whine. Jim pressed their bodies flush, trapping Spock’s cock between two planes of slick skin. They were sweating already, Spock leaking precome all over both of them. Jim had made Spock come just like this before, from the slippery desperation of their bodies rubbing together and a barrage of well-placed thrusts just like...

“Ah!” Spock cried out, throwing his head back as Jim hit his angle just right and grinned at the heady sense of victory the reaction filled him with. He thrust again, and Spock scrabbled at Jim’s back helplessly.

“Jim,” he said, pleadingly.

“What is it?” Jim asked, trying to keep his voice level. He continued to fuck into Spock, pretending to ignore all the little tells, the hitches in his breathing and the way he worried his lower lip with sharp white teeth. He reached between their bodies, flicking his thumb over the head of Spock’s cock and smearing the fluid around. “Yeah, you’re close, aren’t you? You’re so hard for me, have been since I put that jacket on. That’s why you bought it, didn’t you? ‘Altruistic motives’ my ass, Spock. This was all about you.”

Spock looked up at him then, and for a second there was something like uncertainty in his expression. Jim leaned down and kissed him, finding Spock’s hand and mirroring the gesture with messy fingers. “It’s okay, baby,” he murmured in Spock’s ear. “We’re all a little selfish sometimes.” And with that, Jim braced himself on his arms and quickened his pace, pulling out of Spock almost all the way and then slamming back in deep enough that he was completely surrounded, completely engulfed in Spock as surely as if they’d joined minds as well as bodies. Jim could hear himself talking, running his mouth as usual. He barely knew what he was saying, whether he was still pretending to hassle Spock about the jacket or if he was babbling endearments now, muttering into the humid air the things that were always easier to say with his eyes closed, watching the colors flare as the pleasure built and built and spilled over. Spock had insinuated a hand between them, and his mouth was hot on Jim’s shoulder as he came. Jim stuttered through the remnants of his orgasm, slowing, enjoying the way the taut line of their bodies resolved into slack softness until they were a pile of sweaty limbs on the thoroughly christened bed.

They lay there letting their breathing slow, and as the sweat cooled Jim tried with more difficulty than he should have to kick loose one of Spock’s hospital corners. Spock made a sound that could pass for a laugh and sat up, jerking the comforter up from beneath the mattress and dragging it over them both as he collapsed back down beside Jim.

When Jim spoke again, the words felt unhewn somehow. “It’s just...”

Behind him, Spock was pressed so close that Jim could feel him swallow. “Yes?” he said.

“It’s just. I’m...I’m never as good down here,” Jim said. “And what if--”

Spock kissed his shoulder. “We will go back,” he said. “To space,” he added, as if Jim needed clarification.

“But like it here,” Jim said, and he probably sounded like a needy kid, but fuck it. “You like the Academy, teaching, all of it.”

Spock scooted up the bed, so that his mouth was no longer at Jim’s shoulder but against his ear. His breath sent a strange warm frisson from the top of Jim’s head to his toes in that weird way that proximity sometimes does.

“A wild call and a clear call, which may not be denied,” said Spock, and Jim smiled.