Thanks to my wonderful betas Greywolf,
Mary A. Shukes, and T'Aaneli. If there are any mistakes left they are all
Spock stood over his Captain's sleeping form. He rarely had this opportunity, this chance to observe his friend so closely without interruption. He looks so much younger, so vulnerable. His hair was tousled. He noticed that Kirk liked to sleep on his back with one hand resting on his chest while the other lay over his head. It doesn't look very comfortable.
In this position, he had a clear view of Kirk's face, and was pleased to see the lines of worry normally there smoothed out in sleep. A hint of bare skin and Starfleet regulation white peeked through the blankets, and Spock realized that Kirk had removed all of his clothing save his underwear. Spock steered his thoughts away from that. It was indecent to think of your Captain in his underwear. He had no right to such thoughts.
Spock did not understand. Why now, here, of all places, was he beginning to act so irrationally.
To lie was illogical. To lie to one's own self was even more of a crime, and Spock was nothing if not logical, at least normally. He knew that this man, his Captain, stirred emotions in him, feelings that were ordinarily suppressed. To deny that would be illogical. But they were usually rigidly controlled, so fully and deeply repressed that most times, he was barely aware of them. Why suddenly was his control faltering?
Kirk turned onto his side. The movement moved the blanket slightly lower so more pale golden skin shone through.
Control, he must regain his control. Perhaps breathing would help, he thought wryly to himself as he realized he was holding his breath. Standing there watching Kirk, he suddenly had this desire to stroke that golden hair. What does gold feel like?
He knew he needed to meditate, to regain his center. But he had no time in which to so. For now, he had to make due.
He reached with his hand and felt his Captain's warmth rising from the sleeping form. For just one moment, Spock let himself revel in that warmth. Then he lightly touched the other man's shoulder.
"What is it Spock?"
Spock jumped a full foot backwards. "Captain."
Jim Kirk opened his eyes and smiled at his first officer. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I was awake already."
The captain of the enterprise slowly sat up and began to shake the sleep from his body. He looked over at Spock and saw the faint green flush that showed on his cheeks. Embarrassed? Now that was interesting, he thought. He eyed Spock closely as he yawned.
"It's all right Spock."
"What is, Sir?"
"Whatever it is that you're embarrassed about."
Spock forced himself to look at his captain. He saw amusement there on that handsome face. He was reminded that very little escaped this man. Once again, he forced himself to breathe.
"Would it help ease your discomfort if I told you that I've done the same thing."
"Done what, sir?"
"Watch you sleep."
Spock tried to stop the feeling of panic that was rising slowly in his stomach. He lowered his face and tightly gripped the back of the chair in front of him. He didn't dare look at his Captain.
Kirk eyed the tension spreading through the Vulcan's body. He watched the knuckles on Spock's hands turn a pale white/green. He knew that Spock was exceedingly jumpy of late, but he hadn't realized exactly how jumpy. Of course, this was by no means an easy mission he reminded himself. And he's been cooped up in this tiny room every possible moment, working with stone knives and bearskins. Must be a very frustrating experience for him. Lord knows if I had to sit here and tweak small copper wires together for hours on end I'd go stark raving mad.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, natural curiosity. I walked in here one day and found you sleeping and suddenly realized that I'd never seen you sleep before. A person looks completely different in sleep, did you ever notice that?"
Kirk tried using his most calming qualities as he spoke, letting a small smile reach his eyes. Spock was looking at him now. The white/green was slowly turning back to a more normal color as he listened to Kirk's quiet reason.
"They often look younger, all of their muscles in a relaxed state. It's a very vulnerable position actually, revealing so much about a person. Take yourself for example, I bet you have no idea that you hug your pillow in your sleep."
"Captain!" It was almost a shout. "I don't see the relevance of that statement to our current situation." Spock's voice lowered somewhat. "If you recall, you requested that I wake you as soon as another attempt to retrieve the pertinent information from the tricorder was possible. Well, I am now prepared to do just that. I believe that I have corrected the malfunction that resulted in my previous failure and have now stabilized the necessary connections. Would you care to continue now, or would later be more appropriate?"
Whoops. Went too far there. Kirk saw the Vulcan facade drop into place, and sighed. He could see he wasn't going to get much farther with his friend today, and let it go.
"All right, let me get dressed and I'll be right there."
Spock busied himself fidgeting over the various conduits and circuits, turning his back to Jim, as much to give him privacy as to hide his own face and body. He felt like everything was spinning totally out of control. How did this happen? He couldn't remember when this downward spiral began. Like a drowning man, he searched for anything to grab hold of. Logic dictated that his close proximity to the captain, having to share a room, the stress of their mission, all these factors would be very taxing on anyone, more then enough reason for his current condition. But that didn't solve his problem. He could not find the answers he needed within the logic of the situation. This time logic failed him.
Spock took three deep, slow breaths to calm him. It gained him some semblance of control, at least outwardly if not inwardly. He prepped the tricorder to start playback at the proper sequence, timing it perfectly so he was ready to begin just as he felt the captain come close and lean over his shoulder.
"This is the obituary that I spoke of before."
Kirk's hazel eyes darkened as he read, " 'Social Worker Killed'. Are you sure this is the real history?"
"Positive Captain. This is how history went after McCoy changed it." Spock brought his mental shields in close around him, trying to stem the flow emanating from Kirk's immediacy.
"Here, in the late 1930's a growing pacifist movement, whose influence delayed the United States entry into the Second World War while peace negotiations dragged on, Germany had time to complete their heavy water experiments."
"Germany, facisim, Hitler won the Second World War."
Newsreels of the events passed before their eyes.
"Because all this let's them develop the A-bomb first. There's no mistake Captain, let me run it again."
Spock adjusted the tricorder to replay the last sequence. He dared not look at Kirk. He knew what he would see if he did. Pain. He admitted to himself that he was afraid to see that pain. He was helpless to prevent it. "Edith Keeler, Founder of the peace movement."
"But she was right. Peace was the way."
"She was right, but at the wrong time. With the A-bomb and with their b-2 rockets to carry them, Germany captured the world."
"No." Kirk felt like he was struggling upwards from under a large weight.
"And all this because McCoy came
back and somehow kept her from dying in a street accident as she was meant
to. We must stop him Jim." As he spoke, Spock managed a sideways glance
at Kirk. He could see the emotions playing across the others face. He could
feel them emanating from his captain. His shields were in a sorry state.
Mercifully, Kirk stepped away and walked in front of Spock.
"We can estimate general happenings from these images, but I can't trace down precise actions at exact moments Captain. I'm sorry." Spock stared at Kirk's back, tying to estimate what the other man was thinking.
"Spock, I believe," Kirk paused, collecting his thoughts. "I'm in love with Edith Keeler."
Spock felt a small pain fill the bottom of his stomach. He couldn't discern where the pain was coming from. He had never felt this particular sensation before. "Jim, Edith Keeler must die."
The Captain turned and fixed an accusing stare at the Vulcan. "Just like that" he said quietly. "Edith Keeler must die. Well it's not that easy." He started to pace. "At least not for me, it isn't. Even if I didn't love her, she's an amazing woman. She has so much to offer. What right do I have to take her life from her?"
"Captain, her life was never meant to be." Spock spoke quietly, in an attempt to ease the pain he must inflict on his friend.
Kirk crossed to the bed and sat down, lowering his head onto his hands.
"God give me strength." The sadness in that soft voice was like ice on Vulcan fire.
Spock didn't know what to do. Didn't know how to help his Captain. He was helpless; all he could do was stare. Not for the first time he wished for McCoy. As illogical as that would be, at least he would have help in easing this burden from the captain's shoulders.
Spock slowly got up and crossed to the bed, sitting next to his Captain. He took a long slow breath, preparing for what he was about to do. Before he could stop himself, he placed his hand on his friends thigh, resting it there. He would have placed it on Kirk's arm, but those were currently holding up the younger man's head, so, the thigh it was. Spock suppressed his shame at such a personal act. He knew that his friend needed comfort, he only hoped that Kirk would see this invasion as such and not throw him out of the room for being too familiar.
Slowly, Kirk lifted his head from his hands. Spock forced himself to look into the other's eyes. They glowed softly with unshed tears, too beautiful to describe. The Vulcan realized that he was holding his breath again and slowly let it out.
"Captain, I realize that I am not well versed in providing comfort. Indeed, not adequate for that task at all. But, all that I can give is yours."
Kirk held the Vulcan's eyes as he lowered his hand onto the one on his thigh. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that this must be near unbearable for the Vulcan, but the thought would not come forward. Before he knew what he was doing, he had turned Spock's palm over, wanting to hold it in his hands, to show his gratitude for this gift. Spock stiffened and Kirk was suddenly afraid he would run away, but he didn't, so he continued. He never knew how soft those hands were. They didn't look especially soft. His own felt coarse and rough in comparison.
Not realizing the significance of the gesture, the human's first two fingers slowly made contact with the Vulcan's.
The next thing he knew, his arm was on fire. With that final contact came an electrical charge like nothing he had ever felt before, channeling through his arm to the rest of his body. Heat spread to every pore as he was infused with the power of that touch.
The pleasure was almost too much to bear, too intense, almost painful. And that wasn't all, continued jolts kept coming through, making it impossible to withdraw his hand.
He felt himself become hard. To hard, he thought, laboring to breathe.
"Spock." He looked at the Vulcan.
What he saw in those brown eyes almost made him come in his pants. Need. Lust. Want. Those had never been there before.
He became aware that he could feel everything the Vulcan was feeling. Spock's confusion over his conflicting emotions, his feeling of failure at not being able to ease his Captain's pain, the attraction he didn't know what to do with. All of it came rushing through. He wondered what the Vulcan must be receiving from him. Hopelessness, despair, fear and loneliness. But he didn't feel so alone right know, not with the Vulcan sun burning in his veins.
Kirk wanted to lean in and kiss that mouth. Wanted to take him entirely into himself. Hell, he wanted to devour Spock whole. He could see his desire flow through the link to the Vulcan. Spock froze in anticipation and hunger. That almost made Kirk lose control.
If James T. Kirk was one thing in this world, he was a Starfleet Captain. Through the fog of desire and sexual heat, back in the recesses of his mind, he knew that he could not let this happen. This was neither the time nor the place. Things were complicated enough as it was, to add this other level would be madness.
He watched the Vulcan close his eyes in knowledge of what was to come.
In the singular most difficult physical act of his entire life, James Kirk withdrew his hand and broke the link. As if waking up from a coma, the real world began to filter back through to his consciousness. Suddenly, he could hear the street noise through the window, early morning birdsong, and the white noise of electrical currents. Had those been there the whole time?
Spock hadn't moved. His eyes were still closed. He just sat there, absolutely still.
Kirk didn't dare look at Spock. He feared he would lose whatever strength he had left. He couldn't make his mind work, couldn't figure out what the hell just happened. Things like this don't spring out of thin air. You don't suddenly want to ravish your first officer. Besides, he loved Edith, didn't he? He'd never wanted Spock before. Or had he? That thought stopped his heart.
"Dear God what have I done?" The feeling of despair was rising quickly.
Those words pierced Spock's heart. It was not you, my friend, who erred, Spock thought. It was I. I who betrayed your trust in me. My Captain, my friend. But Spock couldn't make the words come out, couldn't open his mouth to speak.
Kirk had to get out. His body was still highly aroused and he couldn't seem to get enough air. A walk. He needed to go for a walk. The need for fresh air overrode any other directive and he got up, grabbed his coat and walked out of the room.
Spock began to breathe again. All adrenaline left his body and he was overcome by bone deep weariness. Sleep. Sleep was a good idea. He hadn't slept in what felt like years. In sleep he would forget this ache in his heart.
So as the sun rose, Spock rolled himself into the bed, turned his head into the pillow and buried himself in his Captain's scent.