AUTHOR: Lady Ra
E-MAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
DISCLAIMER: It all belongs to Paramount, and many other people who make much more money than I ever will. So, please, look the other way. Says in a low voice with a small hand gesture: These aren't the droids you're looking for, move along.
SUMMARY: Kirk goes to Amanda for some advice, trying to understand what's gone wrong between him and Spock.
FORMAT: Available in ebook formats pdf, epub and mobi.
THANKS: To everyone who helped out on this one: Gileswench, Deb, Morwen, and Dword
Amanda had lived among Vulcans for far too long to actually weep, but she couldn't stop the pain in her chest and the sting of tears. She longed to wrap her arms around her son, hold him close to her breast and tell him she loved him. But she would not do any of those things; he would not allow her to, despite the fact that she suspected that a part of him might welcome it right now.
The communiqué from her son drew to a close and she turned off the viewer, her hand pressed tightly over her heart, as if to crush the sadness there. Spock, as well, had been trying to hide the pain, trying to make his oh-so-logical request without revealing his inner turmoil. But, to a mother's eyes, his anguish had been all too clear.
"Oh, my son, my son." Amanda's hand moved up to her lips, forcing the sob back. Her beautiful, gifted, one of a kind in the universe son. A man anyone should be proud to know, to claim in any way. And yet, every word he spoke communicated so clearly his own immutable belief in his unworthiness.
A sob escaped and Amanda fought for control. What had she done to him? What had they all done to him? And what had happened specifically to give rise to this message, these actions? She could imagine only one person who could affect Spock enough to precipitate such life changes. But what could have happened to bring them to this pass?
A chime rang throughout the house, signaling the unexpected presence of someone at the door. With an intuitive leap, Amanda knew who waited on the other side and, for a moment, she resisted answering. She wasn't sure she wanted to see him, almost afraid to hear what he had to say. Her heart was raw enough already and she felt unprepared to hurt more on her son's behalf. But, when the chime rang again, she blew out a breath, squared her shoulders and moved to open the door.
Captain James T. Kirk smiled at her charmingly. "Lady Amanda. I apologize for the uninvited appearance."
Amanda stepped away from the opening, gesturing for him to come inside. "Please, no apologies are necessary. I am pleased I was here to welcome you."
Kirk stepped in, determined to achieve what he had come here for. "I wasn't sure you would be. I know you're often away." A part of him had been contradictorily hoping that she would be.
"Is Spock joining you?" She knew he wasn't, that he wouldn't be, but it was necessary to ask, necessary to play the part.
"No. I took a few days off. He's still on the ship." He glanced around, the room reminding him sharply of Spock. "He doesn't know I'm here," he added.
She nodded and simply gestured again toward the kitchen. "May I offer you some refreshment?" It was a typically hot Vulcan day.
"Thank you." He smiled ruefully as her eyes took in the sweat on his face. "I could use something cool to drink."
Kirk sat at the kitchen table, and glanced around the room. He imagined Spock as a child here, eating at this table, his legs too short to reach the floor. The image was so startling, he found himself grinning.
Amanda set a glass of ice tea in front of him and sat in the chair across the table. She gave him a quizzical glance. "You find something amusing?"
He let out a soft embarrassed laugh. "Just thinking about Spock as a child." He took a long swallow of his drink. "You sounded just like him when you asked that question."
Amanda felt absurdly pleased by that, as if it connected her with her son. It was followed by a sweep of sadness at the thought that she needed to look for things like that to feel connected with Spock. Sighing she took a sip of her own drink. "So, Captain, what brings you to Vulcan?"
"All right. Jim. What brings you to Vulcan?" An unvoiced question ran through her mind. What have you done to my son?
Kirk leaned back in his chair. It had made such sense on the ship, but now that he was here, the audacity of his quest suddenly overwhelmed him. He shook his head, wondering if he could just make something up. But then he remembered the look on Spock's face and it made him speak. "I came to ask you something but…"
"It's very personal, and I have no right to ask."
Amanda put her hand on his. "Ask what you need to ask. I will not be offended now that you have warned me." She smiled softly at him. "However, I do maintain the right to choose not to answer."
Kirk sat back on his chair and took a sip of his tea in hopes it might loosen his tongue. "That seems only fair." His fingers ran through the ring of moisture his glass had left on the table.
She sensed his hesitation. Sensed that if she let him wait too long he might not speak at all. "Is this about Spock?"
Kirk nodded. "And me. And Vulcans." He glanced up at her and then looked away. "And sex."
Amanda tried to piece those clues together to form a picture. She shook her head; there was too little information as yet. "What do you need to know?"
Kirk blew out a long breath, and then nodded, committing himself. "How important is a mind meld to Vulcans when they have sex? How essential?" He glanced at her again to see her reaction to this unforgivable breach of Vulcan privacy. When no answer was forthcoming he closed his eyes and his lips tightened. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come, and I certainly shouldn't have asked you that question."
The question had flummoxed Amanda, but she was an ambassador's wife and had certainly found herself in more awkward situations than this. Besides, she knew this had to do with Spock, and that the Captain wasn't asking simply to satisfy a prurient curiosity. "No, no, it's all right. I admit your question threw me a bit." She sent Kirk a kind smile. "But I can only answer it if you allow me to be equally blunt."
"It's the least I deserve."
Amanda touched his arm gently to let him know that he truly hadn't offended her. At the quiet misery on his face she started to put two and two together. She wasn't really surprised except that, obviously, things had gone noticeably wrong. "You care for my son?"
Kirk nodded. "Very much."
She decided she had the right to ask what she wanted in light of this very personal conversation, set in motion by the man sitting across from her. "You wish to be…intimate with him?"
Kirk reddened, something he hadn't done in years. "No, I mean yes." He covered his face with one of his hands, acutely uncomfortable. He mumbled. "We have…already."
"Then I do not understand your question. If you have--," Amanda hesitated and then plowed on, "had sex with my son, you understand the importance of the mind meld."
The Captain shook his head. "No, he hasn't--." Kirk cut himself off mid-sentence and tried again. "He won't."
Amanda's eyes opened wide. She couldn't imagine the circumstances. "Why? I know he cares for you. If you care for him…?" She let the question trail off, open-ended.
"He was afraid it would bond us."
"Ah. And you do not wish to be bonded to my son?" Amanda knew a Vulcan would rarely choose to have sex except with their intended. The situation gave her some insight into her son's plight.
Kirk shook his head. "I can't, Lady Amanda. I can't promise him forever."
From habit, rather than any warm feelings she had for him at this particular time, she said, "Please call me Amanda." She glanced at him, trying not to be angry with him on Spock's behalf. How little humans understood Vulcans. Even this one, who had spent years with one at his side. Amanda stood and moved to the counter by the sink, looking out the window into the garden beyond.
Kirk felt the unspoken censure and tried to defend himself. "He knows that. He knows my nature. I never misled him." Watching the stiffness of Amanda's back, he tried again. "I do love him."
Amanda sighed and turned to face him. She could see it on his face; he did love Spock. "But not enough."
Something inside of Kirk felt anger at those words, anger that someone might tell him he didn't love Spock enough. He didn't think he had ever loved anyone more. But he reined in it. He supposed that Amanda was right. And then that thought saddened him more than anything ever had. "I don't want to hurt him."
"So you hurt him now, to avoid hurting him later?" She shook her head. "That is not very logical."
Kirk couldn't sit any more. He bolted from his chair and moved across the kitchen, as far away from Amanda as he could get. "He--I know he wants to bond with me. He asked me to. But, a bonding on Vulcan is immutable." He shook his head. "I'm not ready for that."
Amanda stayed silent, wanting to see what else the Captain might reveal.
Kirk moved back to the table for his tea and took a longer swallow. Then he retreated again, glass in hand. At her continued silence, his defensiveness rose. "He could have said no. He wanted it too."
Amanda sighed. "No, Jim. It is not what he wanted." Then she corrected herself. "That's not quite true. It is not what he would ever choose for himself. No Vulcan would. But I imagine, for Spock, that he would choose to give you what you want, even if it took precedence over his own needs."
Kirk closed his eyes against a surge of shame. He knew this was true; it had always been true. "What did I ask him to do? Or do without?" Spock had, not unexpectedly, been reticent on the subject.
Amanda picked up her own glass and ran her other hand up and down its sides, enjoying the cool wetness of the glass. She placed her moistened hand on her forehead. The heat still bothered her sometimes, even after all this time. Nodding briefly, she finally spoke. "Jim, asking a Vulcan to have sex without a meld would be like asking a human, you, to have sex without an orgasm."
Kirk's eyes widened at her answer. "What?"
"It is the culmination of the sex act. It completes it, allows for total union with one's partner physically and emotionally. And it is pure instinct for a Vulcan to reach for that union. Imagine what it would be like to make love with someone you love and, yet, have to guard every minute against finding your release, making sure you never went too far, never allowing yourself that which your entire being craves for. That is what you asked Spock to do." She took a breath, her run of words completed, and then asked a question. "How long?"
Kirk wished with all his heart he could say it only happened once. "Two months."
Amanda's jaw dropped. "He's been doing this for two months?" Her heart broke a little more. "Two months?" How had he stood it? There was only one answer. "He must love you so very much."
Kirk stayed silent, his gaze on the floor.
She stared at him, and then strode across the kitchen. "How could you not have known? How could you have been so blind? Couldn't you see what you were doing to him?"
Now, in retrospect, Kirk could see. But he'd had to be hit in the head with a brick to have it brought to his attention. And that brick had come flying out of what seemed to be nowhere the last time they'd made love.
Kirk had loved making love to Spock. He loved his body, his strength, everything about him. That night, his hand had swept down over the Vulcan's chest, his abdomen, only to find a flaccid penis. Surprised he had looked up at Spock's face, and seen a look of pain there.
Haltingly, every word wrenched from him, Spock had informed Kirk that he couldn't engage in a sexual relationship, that he was no longer able to meet Kirk's needs this way.
He'd gotten up to leave, but Kirk had grabbed his arm, determined not to let his friend and lover leave without further discussion. It had taken a while but Kirk had finally pieced together that it was the missing meld that was the problem.
When Kirk had originally suggested that they take their relationship to the next level by having sex, Spock had asked Kirk to bond with him. Kirk had gently turned him down, but then had seduced his Vulcan best friend into bed. Once there, even though Kirk requested it, Spock refused to meld them, afraid his desire to make Kirk his bondmate would make it difficult to control the melding process and cause a bond to form. Kirk had accepted that and moved on, losing himself in the sensation of Spock's body and the fulfillment of months and months of mouth watering and cock hardening fantasies.
Spock had never mentioned it again until that last night. Kirk had argued the point, not wanting to lose Spock's very desirable company in bed, but Spock stood firm. Then the Vulcan had gotten dressed and returned to his quarters and spent the next few days doing his best to avoid him.
Kirk refused to give him up that easily, but after several painfully unfruitful conversations, and the realization that he had no idea how to keep Spock from retreating further and further behind his Vulcan shell, Kirk had come up with the brainstorm of talking to Amanda. They were on their way to Starbase 23 for an engine refitting and a long layover. As they were safely within Federation space, he'd taken a few days off and hopped on the next transport to Vulcan. And that left him here, with an understandably irate mother on his hands, and a growing ache in his heart.
"I should have," he admitted. "I should have seen it. I saw it the last time we were together and that's why I'm here." He looked at Amanda, pain etched on his face. "Why did he let it go on so long? Why didn't I see it before then? Why would he want to bond with someone like me? What does he see in me?"
The anguish on his face helped drain her anger away and his words intrigued her. "Jim. When you say that you're not ready for a Vulcan bonding, is it the thought of you loving someone for that long that puts you off, or the fact that you can't conceive of anyone loving you that long?" The thought crossed her mind that these two could do much to heal each other.
Kirk gave the question the consideration it was due and he found an unexpected answer. The self-doubts poured from his lips. "How could anyone think a lifetime with me is a good idea? I may be a famous starship captain, but I don't think I'm much of a prize when it comes to being a partner. Present case included."
"Spock would argue the point, I think."
"He sees what he wants to see. He doesn't know how selfish I can be, how I'll do almost anything to get my way."
Amanda smiled. "I imagine Spock does know those things about you, probably better than anyone, and still loves you enough to want choose you as his mate."
"I've slept my way through the galaxy, Amanda," Kirk argued. "I've never had a successful long-term relationship. Ever."
"We rarely do until the right one comes along."
"Spock is the most amazing, wonderful, smartest, bravest being I've ever known." Kirk gave voice to his deepest fear, one he hadn't even realized he'd been harboring. "I just can't believe that he won't get bored, that he won't regret it, that he won't at some time in the future, wish he'd made a different choice."
"So you find it easier to hurt Spock now, than to take the chance of you being hurt later?" She took his silence for agreement. "That is still not logical."
Kirk shrugged unhappily. "A Vulcan I'm not."
Amanda couldn't resist a grin. Suddenly she was very glad that Kirk had come to see her. Perhaps she could actually help her son attain that which he so clearly desired. Her eyes lit with compassion as she took in the woebegone man standing before her. "Jim, it will be all right."
"How? How can it be okay? Look what I did to him. This just proves my point."
She took his hand, led him back to the table, and pushed him into a seat. "Listen to me."
Kirk took a deep breath and reluctantly nodded.
"First of all, if Spock were here he would be defending you vociferously. He sees you as a man of tremendous worth and I trust his judgment. I know he would not allow you to speak so poorly of yourself. Secondly, he would debate your description of him. I'm sure he sees himself as none of those things; well, I know he knows he's intelligent, but he sees little else that is worthy."
Kirk's eyes darkened at just the thought, ready to defend his friend.
Amanda put up her hand to forestall the torrent of words. "You needn't defend him to me. I also think he's wonderful."
Kirk smiled wryly. "Sorry."
"I'm delighted that he has such a staunch advocate." She tried to find the right words. "We both were fed the party line that Vulcans don't have emotions. But, you and I have had the unique privilege of knowing a Vulcan well and we both know that they do indeed have emotions. Yet there is a truth behind the cliché. Vulcans practice strict control over their emotions and work hard at not being ruled by them. They must be controlled because those emotions are strong, passionate, run deep and are lasting."
Amanda reached out and laid her hand on Kirk's. "If Spock truly loves you, he will love you forever, and it will not be a blind love. He will know all your faults, and will love you despite them, and possibly because of them. Just as he loves your virtues."
Kirk was captivated by her words. He sat forward on his seat, not wanting to miss anything, knowing he was being granted a rare look into the soul of Vulcan.
"I know I'm not explaining it well. It's difficult to understand if you haven't experienced it. But, with Sarek, before we bonded, I knew he loved me. But afterwards, I understood that it was the just the tip of the iceberg. I never dreamed I could be loved so deeply. And before you say that that was just the love between Sarek and I, it's not. I mean part of it is, but most of it is just the way Vulcans love. And despite our fights, and angry disagreements, and there have been some doozies, believe me, it's always there. I trust it more than anything. I know he will always love me. Just as Spock would love you, does love you."
"But suppose it doesn't work out in the long run?"
"It would. It would because he loves you." She let her head fall back, considering the ceiling, looking for inspiration. After a minute she tried again. "It's a different kind of love than what humans normally experience. It's rich, thick, like molasses. And Vulcans commit. When they bond, they expect it to last; they expect it to last forever. It's just taken for granted, it's a given, as you said, it's a deep immutable truth. Changing their mind about their chosen bondmate would never even enter their minds, not unless they were forced into it."
"What happens if I can't love him enough? What happens if I change my mind?"
"Jim, I can't tell you that Spock is the one for you. Only you can answer that. And the fact that you can even ask me that question tells me that either he isn't the one for you, or that your fear, not your heart, is speaking. But I can tell you this. If you love him, and if you bond with him, you will always love him, because one of the gifts you receive when you bond with a Vulcan is the ability to love the way they love. The bond connects you, truly makes you one and once you feel that, you'll never not want it. You just won't."
She grinned impishly. "And sex with a meld? You'll never want that again without it. Any sex you've ever had before will feel like foreplay." Amanda laughed as Kirk's eyes widened. "You gave me permission to be blunt, remember?"
Kirk grinned in return. "Spock would have a stroke if he knew what we were talking about." The grin grew broader. "Or at least he'd be raising an eyebrow."
Amanda smiled back, but then thought of the communiqué she had gotten from her son. She wondered if she should share it with Jim but decided it was too soon. Jim needed to make up his own mind, without the impetus of guilt or fear prodding him. If he chose Spock, she'd show it to him, so Jim could do what he needed to keep from losing him. "Will you stay for dinner? You are welcome to stay overnight or as long as you need."
Kirk looked at her gratefully. "I am sort of stranded here for a few days. I was just going to arrange for housing at the base."
"Oh, I won't hear of it. Please, stay here. I would welcome the company." She gave him a sad smile. "The news Spock sends is filled with stories about you and the crew, and what information he is at liberty to discuss about your missions, but he seldom tells me anything about himself. Maybe you can fill in some of the gaps."
"You mean talk about Spock?" He cocked his head to one side and then to the other as if deliberating. "All right, you twisted my arm." He smiled, and Amanda could see why he had the reputation he had. Kirk could sweep anyone off their feet with that smile.
Amanda looked at the time. "I have a student coming soon and I must prepare. Let me show you to your room, and we can talk again at dinner."
Kirk stood when she did and waited for her to lead the way, going back to the entryway to pick up his small carryall. Amanda left Kirk in one of the spare guest rooms with the invitation to wander at will, then made her way to her office. Trying not to be too optimistic, she found the hope in her heart for her son too irresistible to deny.
After Amanda's student had gone, she went looking for Kirk. Finding his room empty, she moved without hesitation to his most likely location, Spock's room. She found him there, fast asleep on Spock's bed, one of her son's pillows clutched tightly to his chest. She gently called his name. "Jim?"
Kirk's dreams had been murky. As he rose to consciousness he felt the warmth of something in his arms. He started to smile as he thought, with a pang of acute relief, that it was Spock. That Spock was in his bed. That it had all been a bad dream.
Then the reality of the non-human shape clutched against him began to seep through his mental processes and he heard a woman's voice. Another pang shot through him, this one painful, as he realized he was with a woman, another woman, another in a long line of faceless sex partners who meant nothing to him. The loneliness of that life pierced him sharply and he could hardly stand the thought of facing her, saying the rote goodbyes, don't call me, I'll call you.
As he slowly awakened, Kirk wondered where Spock was. Why wasn't he here? Had it all been a dream? Spock telling him that he loved him; that he wanted to bond with him? Kirk didn't think he could bear it if it had only been a dream.
Finally, he awoke fully, remembering what he had done. What, in his ignorance, he had asked of his dearest friend, so sure he was pleasing them both, so damn sure that all Spock needed was the chance to let go of his Vulcan inhibitions. He covered his face with his hands and let out a groan.
Amanda tried again. "Jim? I'm sorry. Perhaps I should have let you sleep."
His face still covered, Kirk shook his head. The merry-go-round of emotions he'd just put himself through was slowly settling. Except the last ones. Those emotions were still mercilessly crystal clear, as were the accompanying conclusions. He sat up, dropping his hands from his face, gazing sadly at Amanda. "I'm going to lose him, aren't I?"
She sat on the end of Spock's bed. "If you still choose not to bond with him, then yes, I think you will."
"I don't know what I was thinking. God, I'm a piece of work." He vehemently hated himself for a moment. He pulled his legs up to his chest, and rested his head on his knees. He tried to imagine his life without Spock. Not just in his bed, but not in his life at all. Because he knew, without a doubt, that that was what was going to happen. The lesson from his dear captain about letting go had come to fruition. Spock was going to let go of him. Completely. He lifted his head again, his eyes filled with that loss. "Amanda," he said again, needing her counsel.
Amanda knew what she wanted, and it seemed the obvious solution to the pain in Kirk's eyes. But she couldn't lead him in this. He needed to find his own way to whatever decision he reached. She just asked a simple question. "Jim. What do you want?"
"Spock. I want Spock." He rested his head on his knees again. "Now that it might be too late, I don't think I can live without him."
Amanda moved to sit closer to him and, again, debated what to say. Jim might want Spock, but was he willing to do what was needed to actually keep him? Her heart begged Jim to say the words. She reminded him of their earlier conversation. "Do you want him enough?"
Kirk let the question work its way through his unhappiness and fear. And, after what seemed like an interminable amount of time, he found the answer, just sitting there, calmly waiting to be found, like a missed present under the Christmas tree. He let out a sharp laugh of relief. "Of course I do." He glanced at Amanda, sharing this moment of amazed comprehension with the mother of his beloved. "Of course I do."
The anguish Amanda had been carrying since seeing the message from her son began to fade. "Are you sure? You must be sure."
A bolt of energy shot through Kirk and he jumped out of the bed. The miasma of uncertainty and depression that had been binding him for days was gone. He gave Amanda a dazzling grin. "Very sure." He shook his head, another laugh escaping. "God, it feels so good to admit this." Kirk tried, but he couldn't even summon a trace of the doubt that had so consumed him.
Amanda smiled at him, enjoying happiness radiating off of the captain.
Kirk suddenly came to a stop. "That's if he'll still have me." He moved to sit next to Amanda. "Will he forgive me?"
She touched his cheek. "Yes, Jim. I believe he will. But you must tell him."
Kirk's eyes glinted with determination. "As soon as I get back to the ship, trust me, it will be the first thing I do. The second will be to--" He put his fingers against his temple and cheek, simulating a meld, a rakish smile taking over. He caught the responding grin on Amanda's face and looked a little shamefaced. "Sorry. I don't suppose you want to know that."
Amanda let out a delighted laugh. "What? That you want to touch my son, and be touched by him? That you want to join with him, rejoicing in all that he is? You could not tell me anything that would give me more joy."
Kirk took hold of her hands. "Thank you, Amanda. Thank you for receiving me, and letting me ask my questions." He frowned, adding, "I'm not familiar enough with Vulcan protocol. Do I need to ask your permission? Or speak to Sarek? Is there something I must do?"
Another laugh. "There is only one thing you must do."
He looked at her so sincerely. "What? Tell me."
He grinned at her. "As soon as I get back to the ship," he stated again.
She thought of her son's message. "Perhaps you should contact him now."
Kirk shook his head. "I want to do this face to face."
"I think you should call him now," she gently contradicted him.
The tone of her voice alerted Kirk and he scrutinized her. "Why? What aren't you telling me?"
Amanda sincerely hoped that the end result of all of this would allow Spock to forgive her for betraying a confidence. "I received a message from Spock. In fact, I had just finished listening to it when you arrived."
A tendril of dread worked its way down Kirk's spine. "What did it say?"
"I think, perhaps, you should watch it."
Kirk felt a sense of urgency and he stood. "Show me, then."
"First I need to tell you something."
He reluctantly sat back down. "Go ahead."
She stood, and began to slowly pace around the room. "I think most parents wish they'd done better by their children. I often think about what I might have done differently to make Spock's childhood easier. Sarek and I have had this conversation many times. We truly thought at the time that we were doing right by him."
Kirk wasn't sure what this had to do with the matter at hand, but anything about Spock intrigued him, so he patiently waited for Amanda to continue.
"The world is a cruel place to those who are different. Vulcan was cruel to Spock when he was a child. I would like to think that if I had chosen to raise him on Earth that things would have been better for him, but I suspect he'd have been treated as badly there."
She sighed. "But we chose to raise him here. And I agreed to raise him as a Vulcan child would be raised." Her lips tightened for a moment. "Vulcan children have been raised thusly for centuries and they are, for the most part, a contented people. Brilliant, determined, loyal, curious." She smiled softly at Kirk. "They are a good people. But you know this, or at least you know it of Spock."
Kirk nodded. He did know it.
"So, I thought, Spock will be fine. Spock will be raised as his peers are raised, and he, too, will prosper." The smile was sadder now. "But he didn't. Or, not completely, at any rate." She crossed the room. "He hid it well. Vulcans are also stubborn and proud, and hate to admit to weaknesses of any kind."
"Is that why Sarek hid his heart attack from you?" The question had suddenly popped into Kirk's mind.
Amanda frowned, her eyes flashing. It still made her angry. "Yes. Stupid Vulcan." She flashed Kirk an apologetic smile for her outburst. Kirk waved a hand at her, dismissing her concern. She continued. "Normally the bond would have revealed his illness to me. But we were separated by great distance, and he can shield very strongly when he wishes to keep something from me. The fact that his shields were up for so long should have alerted me that something was wrong, but I was busy with other things." She shook her head gesturing at herself. "Stupid human."
Kirk gave her a wry grin. "I'm guessing he doesn't do that any more."
Amanda laughed. "No, he doesn't. When his shields go up, I start pestering him. As he finds my nagging annoying, he has simply, in his infinite Vulcan wisdom, decided it is illogical to engage in behavior that solicits it. So, he rarely bothers with his shields anymore."
Kirk laughed with her. Then, he gently redirected her. "I got you off track. You were talking about Spock."
She nodded. "I didn't know what to do when I saw how unhappy Spock was. I knew he wouldn't want me to acknowledge it. He saw how the parents of his peers acted toward them, and he wanted nothing more or less than that from us. He'd have been mortified if I'd hugged him, or tried to comfort him in any way. I think his Human heritage would have welcomed it, but he saw it as a weakness and was determined to overcome it. Too Vulcan to be Human, too Human to be truly Vulcan."
Her lips tightened. "He felt he was always disappointing us, disappointing everyone. He wasn't. He was a gifted child, even by Vulcan's standards. But we didn't know how to convince him of that; the words alone were insufficient. And he would accept nothing that hinted at emotions, let alone the hugs I wanted to give him."
She moved to the window. "Do you know that Human children, if they are raised in a loveless and touchless environment, often fail to thrive?"
"So it was with Spock. A part of him thrived, and a part of him didn't." Amanda let out a long exhalation. "Don't misunderstand me. Spock is strong. He knows he has skills. He knows he is in demand. If he let it be known that he was available, he'd have more job offers than he'd know what to do with. Even Vulcan is rightly proud of its hybrid son and they would welcome him into the Vulcan Science Academy, in any capacity, with open arms."
Kirk looked up at the bitterness in her voice.
She smiled tightly. "Do you know just how bright Spock is, Jim?"
"I think so. He's saved me and the ship so many times with his intelligence and skills I can't even remember them all."
Amanda nodded. "All Vulcan teenagers are tested to aid in determining career choice and placement. Spock's scores have yet to be beaten. He could have done anything he wanted. He chose the Science Academy and they could hardly deny him, not with those scores."
Kirk frowned. "I thought he didn't want to go to the Science Academy. I thought he wanted to join Starfleet."
"I have no doubt, now, that Spock silently wished to escape Vulcan, but he had every intention of going to the VSA. It was what Sarek wanted, it was what was expected of Spock, and it was not in Spock to defy those expectations."
She held out her hand to Kirk. "Let's go downstairs. I need a drink."
Kirk's eyebrows rose but he stood, and tucking Amanda's hand in the crook of his arm, he escorted her downstairs. He even did the honors and poured them both a brandy. "Tell me, what happened?"
"I meant what I said. The Vulcan people as a whole are good. The same could be said for Humans. I suppose for most sentient Federation races. But there are always a few who shame us all. The President of the VSA, a Vulcan named Saveren, was one of those few. I never did understand how he rose to hold such a position."
She took a healthy swallow of her brandy, grimacing a bit as it burned down her throat. "He came to the house one day, thinking Sarek and I were gone. I had just come home and hadn't alerted Spock to my presence. He and Savaren were talking out in the garden. Savaren was laying out all the logical reasons why Spock, as a half-breed, shouldn't contaminate the august halls of the VSA with his presence, and requested that Spock choose another path, preferably off-planet."
Kirk's jaw clenched. "Bastard."
Amanda nodded. "At the very least. I stormed out into the garden and lit into Savaren. Spock was afraid I might do him some bodily harm and wasted no time in escorting Savaren out the door and off the property. I was still livid when Sarek got home, and so was Sarek when I informed him of what that man had said to Spock."
Kirk sat there, his drink in his hand, his thoughts whirring through his head, as he realized, ironically, that he was in debt to this Savaren. That without his interference, Spock and he might never have met. But his heart still ached on behalf of his friend. "What did you do?"
"Sarek wanted Spock to disregard what Savaren had said. Spock had been accepted to the Academy; he should just carry on. After all, it was illogical to give up one's dreams based on the bigoted raving of one Vulcan. But it was more than Spock could bear. He had thought he had found his home, a place where his skills were appreciated, his intelligence sought after, but after that, well, it became one more part of Vulcan that was ashamed of him."
"So he decided to join Starfleet."
"Yes, that very night. It made Sarek crazy. He thought Spock was running away, that he was being a coward. He wanted Spock to fight for his future. Sarek couldn't understand that all Spock wanted was to be wanted, couldn't understand that the rejection of its President had tainted the formal acceptance of the VSA. For probably the first time, Spock reacted to his situation as a Human, and Sarek chose to find his reaction illogical."
She took another sip of her drink. "Spock was gone within a week. He and Sarek parted on angry words and did not speak to each other for years, not until we were on your ship." She grinned ruefully. "Vulcans can be very, very stubborn."
Kirk spoke hesitantly. "It seems as if it was a good choice for him."
Amanda nodded. "Yes, I think it was. Because it brought him to you."
"Thank God." Kirk again faced what his life might be like without the Vulcan and it left him feeling cold and empty.
She nodded again. "From the minute he met you I could tell you were special to him. His communiqués, while infrequent, were peppered with stories about you. I thought he'd found his place, found someone who wanted him."
"He did," Kirk said firmly.
"But Vulcan hadn't finished with him."
Kirk's eyes darkened. "T'Pring." He still hated her.
"Yes, T'Pring. Yet another painful rejection for Spock. When I found out what had happened I wanted to wring her scrawny neck."
"I always wondered why you weren't there." He gave Amanda a crooked smile. "Needless to say, Spock doesn't like to talk about it."
She let out a pained laugh. "I can imagine." She sighed. "We were on Earth at the time and didn't even hear of it until afterwards." She grinned wickedly at Kirk. "T'Pau was scandalized."
Kirk grinned back. "Good." He drained his glass. "What ever happened to T'Pring? Do you know?"
"No. Vulcans rarely engage in gossip." She let out an exaggerated breath. "It can be quite frustrating at times."
Kirk barked out a laugh. "I hope she's miserable, wherever she is."
Amanda saluted him with her drink. "Hear, hear." She replenished both of their glasses and moved to sit by him, laying her hand on his arm. "When I think that she might have succeeded in having Spock kill you, it gives me nightmares. I don't believe he would have survived."
"He smiled at me."
"What?" She shook her head, not understanding what he was saying.
"He came back to the ship, sure that he'd killed me. He came to sickbay, I guess, to see my body. When he saw I was alive he smiled at me. A real smile, teeth and everything." Kirk shared his joy in that with Amanda. "I can't tell you how it made me feel. I'd never seen him smile. He was so happy to see me. I felt like--it was as if someone had just handed me a king's ransom."
Amanda's eyes were bright with a sheen of tears. "Thank you for telling me that."
"I think that's when I fell for him. Like a ton of bricks. That smile." Once again he remembered that this conversation had been started for a purpose. "Why do you think I should call him? Why don't you want me to wait? What did he tell you?"
"We're almost there, Jim," she reassured him. "After the debacle with T'Pring, I realized that for all those years, since he was seven, he shared a bond with someone who hated him, someone who thought him less than whole. She must have felt that way, to do what she did to him. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to feel that hostile presence for so many years."
Kirk couldn't imagine it either. He wished she were there so he could smack her. He wished they were all there so he could smack them all, T'Pring, Savaren, Spock's schoolmates, everyone who had ever made Spock feel worthless. Then he paused as he experienced a painful moment of revelation. He closed his eyes. "And then there was me."
Amanda gave him a compassionate nod. "And then there was you." She leaned against the back of the couch. "All the people he loved the most, trusted the most, had the right to expect the most from, intentionally or not, we all wronged him, one way or another."
Kirk suddenly needed to know the worst. "Let me see his message."
"I'll show it to you now. And though you may have to pull some strings, I have no doubt that the infamous Captain James T. Kirk can manage to settle this to his satisfaction." Amanda said it like a challenge.
Kirk nodded his acceptance, seeing the relief in his eyes. He followed her into the study, and watched as she popped the small message disk in. Spock's face appeared on the screen.
The first thing Kirk noticed was how tired Spock looked. And sad. And vulnerable. It made his chest hurt.
Spock uncharacteristically cleared his throat. "I send thee greetings, Mother. I trust thee are well." Another pause. "I--I must--I am calling to ask for your assistance."
Kirk's eyes widened as Spock actually picked up a disk to run through his fingers as he spoke. That alone indicated how nervous he was. Well that, and all the pauses, and the stumbling over his words. Kirk wished he could go back in time and hold him.
Spock had started speaking again. "This is an uncomfortable request for me to make, but I do not think I will be able to meet this objective on my own, and I--I must confess I-- feel some urgency." Spock cleared his throat again. "I require a bondmate. Do not be concerned, it is not yet my time." Spock looked away from the computer at that, and swallowed. "But circumstances--I believe I must not delay any longer."
Kirk sat, his legs no longer able to support him, as he watched Spock play with the disk, turning the hard shape in his hands, running his fingers along its edges.
"I realize, Mother, that I am not asking an easy thing of you. I know that finding me a bondmate will not be easy. There are few who would choose to--" Spock shook his head, a short sharp movement, and continued. "I am, however, confidant that one exists who would find it useful to have access to the Sarek clan and its power and resources. You may assure my prospective mate that I will not ask for more than what nature requires. I do not even need to live on Vulcan if my presence offends." Spock shrugged, just a little.
This part of the message, combined with that small shrug, had been what had almost shattered Amanda's control and threatened to do so again. She glanced at Kirk. He looked angry. When he saw that Amanda was looking at him he gestured toward the screen. "How can he think that no one would want him?" Then, he lowered his head and groaned. Why would Spock think anyone would want him, when he had already made it so clear to Spock that even he didn't want him?
Kirk desperately wished he could rewind time. He wished he could respond with a resounding yes to Spock's initial request to bond with him, and reward that extraordinary act of courage with love and dedication, instead of turning it into an opportunity to get laid without paying so steep a price.
Spock's voice snapped him out of his misery. "I have tendered my resignation."
Kirk stood up. "What?"
"Jim--Captain Kirk will no doubt call me a coward, but I cannot stay on this ship." Again, Spock turned his head away. Amanda and Kirk both watched as he clenched his jaw, fighting for control.
Finally he turned back. "He has taken leave. He chose not to--he did not inform me of his destination. We are on our way to Starbase 23 for an engine refit. The Enterprise will be held over for a minimum of 21.6 days."
Spock put the disk down and rested his hands in his lap, his fingers tightly laced. "In his absence, I forwarded my resignation to Starfleet. I do not anticipate their refusal. I plan to take leave of my own and disembark at Starbase 23. The captain will be returning to the Enterprise before the refitting is complete, and Mr. Scott is more than capable of assuming command until that time. I do not expect Jim--the captain, to forgive me for leaving this way, but it is necessary."
Spock wasn't quite done. "I must ask your forgiveness, Mother, if I appear--emotional. I find my control is less than optimal at this time. I considered retaping this message but I do not believe that I would be any more successful were I to attempt to record this again. So, I ask for your forbearance. I will be on the Enterprise for three more days. If you are able to negotiate a possible bondmate on my behalf I should be able to come to Vulcan at that time. If I have not heard from you by then, I will contact you on how to reach me."
He held out his hand in the Vulcan salute. "Live long and prosper, my mother. Please give father my greetings." He leaned forward and flicked a switch. The screen went blank.
Kirk felt like he'd been punched. He turned to Amanda. "I can't believe you let me in the house after that."
"I almost didn't." She walked over to him. "How are you feeling?"
"Angry. Sick to my stomach. I hate myself for what I did to him. I'm furious with him that he was just planning to run away. Terrified to think that he would have been gone when I got back to the ship." He sat again. "Just gone. Just like that."
"But now he won't be."
He jumped to his feet again. "No he won't," Kirk said sternly. He looked at the large grandfather clock in the corner and did some mental calculations. "Damn, someone could have already seen it." He tapped his fingers on the desk, and then looked at Amanda. "I don't suppose Sarek is in San Francisco, is he?"
Amanda nodded and started to grin. "He is."
Kirk grinned back. "Think he'd be up to a little retrieval work and maybe some extemporaneous doubletalk?"
"He is an ambassador. He thrives on doubletalk." She was already dialing his private comm number.
"Then you'll need to call Spock," Kirk further instructed.
Amanda sent him a puzzled glance. "Why am I calling him? Shouldn't you call him?"
Kirk shook his head. "No. You need to call him and tell him you found him a bondmate. Have him come home." He pulled up a chair next to her. "If all goes well, my dear future mother-in-law, you might just get to see your son smile."
Amanda couldn't contain the happiness that shot through her and she let down all her shields, allowing it to zing along her bond to her husband, on Earth. He was too far away for them to communicate any more definitively but at least he would not worry when he was advised of her call.
While they waited for the call to be connected, she and Kirk discussed persuasive reasons she could give Sarek to convince him to comply with their scheme. Then she turned to Kirk and made a shooing gesture. "Go away now. This will go better if I talk to Sarek alone."
Kirk felt a moment's apprehension. "Will he approve of this?" The thought of Sarek as a disapproving father-in-law was sobering.
She winked. "He'll approve. And he'll get that resignation request. And unless I miss my guess, he'll be on the first transport back to Vulcan. He won't want to miss this." She touched Kirk's sleeve. "He would choose for Spock to be happy, despite how cold and austere he comes across."
"Then I will leave it in your very capable hands." Kirk said the words but he didn't leave the room, finding it difficult to actually leave it in her hands.
Amanda saw she was about to be connected and made another shooing gesture, grinning as Kirk reluctantly left the room.
Fifteen minutes later she watched in amusement as Sarek simply stared at her. As his eyebrows rose again for the third time, still without any spoken words, she laughed. "Have I completely flummoxed you, dear?"
She had, but Sarek would never admit it. He finally spoke. "Captain James T. Kirk?"
She laughed again. "Yes, dear. Captain James T. Kirk."
"And he is at our home right now?"
"And he wishes to bond with Spock?"
Another nod. She had explained all of this to him, quite thoroughly, leaving nothing out, but she knew this was just his way of processing, making sure he had caught all the salient points.
"And you wish me to confiscate a communiqué from Spock to Starfleet Command?"
A nod and a grin. "Would you mind? I can't imagine anyone who would be able to do it better than you. You're so good at intimidating people."
"Would it not be more logical for Spock to simply call and request its removal?"
"Yes it would, except we want it to be a surprise."
Another eyebrow. "Vulcans do not particularly care to be surprised."
"I know that. But this will be a good one. And there have been one or two surprises in your life that I don't recall you complaining about."
Sarek paused to consider. His eyes sparkled as he looked at his wife. There had been any number of memorable surprises in his life since this particular Human became a part of it. "You feel this is truly necessary?"
"Sarek, I want our son to be happy. I want him to have what we have. Jim says if his resignation gets accepted it could be weeks before the paper snarl works itself out and Spock might not be able to ship out with the Enterprise."
"Please, Sarek. For Spock."
Sarek finally acceded to her request. "I will make the attempt." He glanced at the chronometer on his desk. "It is necessary that I leave now."
Amanda nodded. "Oh, Sarek?"
An eyebrow rose, waiting for her to finish.
"Thank you. I promise to make this worth your while."
That was an intriguing thought. He clasped his hands in front of him. "I am curious as to how you intend to fulfill that promise."
Amanda flashed him a devilish grin. "I could pretend to be an Orion slave girl. You seem to like that one."
Sarek could feel his body respond to her words. "I would find that most acceptable. I will be certain not to fail."
Amanda's eyes shined. "I do so love thee, my husband."
"As I do thee, my wife."
"Will you be home soon?"
"I had planned to contact you later this evening and tell you of my plans to leave here tomorrow." He thought for a moment. "I shall make arrangements for faster transport."
"I shall await thee. And together, we shall give our son that which he most desires."
"I would find that quite satisfactory."
She touched the screen, wishing he were with her. She was determined to go with him on his next assignment. The absences were growing harder to bear. She was moved when he too touched the screen, the illusion of their hands caressing somehow consoling. With a final nod, Sarek cut the connection.
Amanda sighed with satisfaction, her faith in her husband's capabilities absolute. As she got up to go find Kirk she started wondering where she had left that outfit and the green body paint.
Admiral Nogura frowned at the screen. This was most irregular. And disconcerting. The last thing he wanted to do was break up the best team in Starfleet. Most disconcerting. Why had Spock submitted his resignation while Kirk was on leave? What was Kirk's part in all of this? Did he even know what Spock was doing? The Admiral was in no position to refuse the request, not the way it was worded. He leaned back in his chair, wishing to postpone his approval, wanting more information. He hated Vulcan privacy laws.
Nogura glanced up, momentarily stunned by the stern visage of Ambassador Sarek in his doorway. "Ambassador?" The Admiral stood, making a welcoming gesture. "I was not expecting you."
Sarek spoke in his most formal tones. "Please, forgive the intrusion."
Nogura's eyes narrowed speculatively. "May I be of assistance?"
"I am here on behalf of my son. I understand he has sent a communiqué."
"Ah." The Admiral eyed the screen. "I just read it." He frowned. "I'm not happy about it."
Sarek winced internally. He had hoped to arrive before the message had been viewed. Time for damage control, then. "Let me put your mind to rest. The circumstances have changed. The request he made is no longer necessary."
Nogura frowned again. This was even more irregular. "I do not understand."
Sarek searched his mind for some explanation that would not require an out and out lie. "My son was attempting to fulfill a family obligation, Admiral. He was under the impression that it required he leave Starfleet. It does not."
Nogura was determined to garner additional information, so he held out. "Perhaps I should contact Commander Spock personally."
Time to go for intimidating. Sarek's face grew even sterner. "That will not be necessary. All he requires is a brief leave. I will be seeing my son on Vulcan in a few days and will have him contact you at that time." He held out his hand, demanding, not asking.
Nogura liked to think of himself as a man not easily intimidated but Ambassador Sarek was in a class all to himself. He didn't particularly want to cross him, especially when the demand being made would give the Admiral exactly what he wanted, continued access to the best command team there was. He ejected the disk and placed it in the open palm.
Sarek's fingers closed over it, and he slipped it into a pocket of his robe. "I would ask for your silence on this matter."
Raised eyebrows. "Of course."
Sarek gave the Admiral a small bow and walked out of his office.
Nogura pursed his lips, and leaned back in his chair, his curiosity fully engaged. He was looking forward to speaking with Spock. Not that he expected to get much information out of that Vulcan either. Like father, like son, for inscrutability. Maybe he'd get some information out of Kirk. Pushing the matter out of his mind for the time being, he cast his eyes to the dozens of other missives waiting for his attention.
Kirk was having second thoughts. "Maybe I should just call him."
Amanda sighed and put the disk back down on the table. They had spent almost three hours writing the message they were planning to send to Spock. Amanda didn't think she was a good enough actress to talk to him via visual comm-link without giving something away. "I thought we decided to have it be a surprise."
Kirk nodded. "I know. I just don't want him to be sad any longer than he has to be." He gestured toward the tape. "I don't want your message to make him unhappy."
They had tried to keep the missive brief. The hope was that Spock would be curious about the mysterious potential bondmate that was conveniently on hand waiting for his arrival. Curious enough to obey the summons to come home as soon as possible, if not sooner. "Perhaps that's best," she responded. "Maybe you should call him."
Kirk reached out for the keypad but then withdrew his hand. "No, no I'm not going to call him."
Amanda sighed again. This was not the first time since the message had been completed that she had had this conversation with the Captain. "Jim."
He stood. "No, I mean it this time. And you know why?"
Kirk frowned at her. "On what?"
"On whether it's one of the same reasons you've already given me."
'No, it's a new one," he said, frowning at her.
She just grinned at him. "Well, then, no, I don't know why."
"Then I'll tell you. I'll tell you exactly what would happen if I call him." He looked at her through narrowed eyes. "He'd start to think."
Amanda nodded, her lips pursed. "And it's a bad idea to let a Vulcan think too much about personal matters."
"Yes, it is. He'd start to think, and then he'd decide that you contacted me about the message he sent and that I felt sorry for him. And now, I'm asking him to bond with me out of pity, or some misguided notion of friendship and obligation."
Amanda made a tsk tsk noise. "Vulcans hate anything that even hints at pity."
Kirk gave her a look. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
She laughed. "You don't know how nice it is to have someone to malign Vulcans with. Knowing you love one as much as I do makes it all right, somehow."
"But, I'm right, aren't I?"
"Yes, I'm afraid you are."
"And somehow, between the time I called him, and the time he was due to arrive here, he'd have found a perfectly logical reason for not accepting me as his bondmate, so as to rescue me from my selfless noble act."
"You better not call him."
"No. I better not." Kirk leaned back in his chair, the toes of his feet keeping the chair balanced on its back two legs. "Better to wait until he's here and I can convince him in person."
The chair thumped down. "But I really don't want him to be unhappy in the meantime."
Amanda let out a frustrated noise and slammed the disk in, hitting a few numbers. Then she hit the send button. "There. It's on its way."
Kirk's eyes grew wide for a moment and then he nodded, relieved the decision had been made. "Okay. Okay." He looked at the clock. "When do you think he'll get here?"
Amanda touched his cheek gently, amused at his nervousness. For all that he was a grown man, with impressive responsibilities and a reputation to match, right at the moment he seemed so impossibly young to her. "All I know is that based on that last communiqué, he should arrive at Starbase 23 two days from now."
Kirk thought about it for a moment. "If he arranges immediate transport he could get here just a few hours after that. After he gets the ship settled. Assuming he arranges immediate transport, and he doesn't want to delay his arrival."
She stood and leaned down to place a kiss on his forehead. "I'm sure he'll let me know. And as soon as I know, you'll know."
Suddenly it seemed as if there were so many things that could go wrong. "Maybe I should call him."
Amanda rolled her eyes. "I'm going to bed. Goodnight, Jim."
Kirk scowled apprehensively. "Goodnight."
With another tender touch to his cheek, she smiled softly and left the room.
Sarek peered out the window. "It is Spock." He let the curtain fall.
The thrill that shot down Kirk's body and centered in his gut almost doubled him over. He threw a panicked look at Amanda. She gave him a reassuring smile and shooed him into the other room. Then she moved to stand next to her husband.
Spock hesitated at the door. A part of him wanted to simply turn and walk away. He fought the impulse, arguing with himself over and over that he had no choice but to be here, that this was the only logical path open to him. His heart cried out for Kirk as he rang the door chime.
Sadness swamped Amanda at Spock's need to request permission to enter his own home. She moved to the door and opened it. "Spock, welcome home." She punctuated the words with a loving smile.
He nodded briefly. "Mother."
She moved back to invite him in.
Sarek then spoke, acknowledging his son. "Spock."
Spock's eyebrow lifted. "Father. I did not expect to find you here."
"I found it only logical to meet the one who is to be your bondmate."
A pause and then another brief nod. "Quite logical." Spock fought the urge to flee again.
Sarek approved of his son's control. Once home, Sarek had watched the communiqué from Spock. It had disturbed him and he had found himself unexpectedly grieving for his son. Not only for what Spock was sure he had lost, but also for the multitude of hurts, both small and large, that had been inflicted on his son since birth.
The older Vulcan was pleased that, at this time, Spock seemed to be able to maintain control while facing so many challenges to his equanimity. Sarek anticipated a breach of control once Spock was face-to-face with the captain but that would be acceptable. Sarek recalled his own emotional state on the day he asked Amanda to be his bondmate. His control had been tenuous at best.
Now that the greetings had been exchanged, there was a moment's awkwardness.
Spock bit his bottom lip but then catching sight of his father he stopped. He just managed to suppress a sigh.
Amanda couldn't stand it anymore. Now that the time had arrived she realized that she and Jim hadn't really come to a decision about what they would do at this particular moment. Should she call for Jim to come out? Send Spock in?
Kirk took the decision out of her hands as the door to the study opened and he walked out.
Spock's eyes opened wide. "Jim--Captain."
Kirk couldn't take his eyes off the Vulcan. It seemed as if it had been years since he'd seen him. "Spock."
Spock was appalled. The universe couldn't be this unkind. How was he to meet a stranger who was to be his bondmate with this man looking on? He couldn't bear it. He could only hope that his mother hadn't made arrangements for his prospective mate to appear this evening. It would give Spock some time to figure out how to get Kirk to leave. His eyes closed in a moment of despair.
Amanda and Kirk both saw the look. They each began to speak, not willing for that look to stay on Spock's face for another second. Kirk deferred to Amanda, and resisted the urge to wrap his arms around his soon-to-be-mate and tell him much he adored him.
She wasted no times on preliminaries. "Spock. As was your right, you made a request of me."
Spock shook his head, his hand rising slightly as if to stop her from talking. "May I request that we continue this conversation privately?"
"He is here."
The masculine pronoun caught Spock's attention. "He? He is here?"
She nodded and gestured toward Kirk. "Yes. You may greet him."
Spock's eyes moved past Kirk's and focused on the door to the study. "He is in the study?" His mind was still riveted on the fact that his mother had found him a male bondmate. Why would she do that?
Kirk moved to Spock and lightly touched his arm. "It's me, Spock."
Spock looked at his captain as if he'd temporarily lost his mind. Then he wondered if perhaps he was the one who had lost his mind. He looked back at his mother. "I do not understand."
Amanda gestured at Kirk again. "Your father and I have selected Jim for you." She corrected herself. "Actually he selected himself for you; Sarek and I have agreed to the arrangement."
Spock held her eyes for a moment. He knew she would never deceive him about something like this, but he looked for the lie in her eyes anyway. Then slowly his eyes moved back to Kirk. "You wish this? You wish to be my bondmate?"
"Why? You told me you did not wish it."
Kirk waved off the concern. "Brief moment of insanity."
"For two months?"
"Okay, a long moment of insanity."
Spock refused to believe this was happening. He didn't think he'd survive if the possibility of having his deepest desire granted was dangled in front of him, only to vanish in the light of day. His tones were deeply cautious. "I still do not understand."
"It's simple, Spock. It just took me a while to figure out what I wanted. And that's you." Kirk watched as the control flickered in the dark eyes, as the doubt was replaced with something that looked like wonder. Then, just as quickly, the wonder was replaced with consternation. Kirk didn't like that look. "What is it?"
"Jim, I--I must tell you something. I tendered my resignation to Starfleet--" He was interrupted by a discreet cough behind him.
"I'm afraid that it was not accepted," Sarek informed his son.
Spock turned to his father, clearly confused.
Sarek pulled out a familiar looking disk and held it out. "I retrieved it. Admiral Nogura has reviewed it but he now understands that it is not something you require."
Spock's eyes opened wide and then he strove for control. "How--?" He looked at his mother. She shrugged. He frowned. He looked back at his father and then at the disk. "I'm curious as to your explanation to the Admiral."
A flash of discomfort crossed Sarek's face so quickly that Spock kindly assumed he'd imagined it. "I simply told him that you had been under the mistaken impression that your resignation was required to fulfill a family obligation."
A single eyebrow shot up. Apparently he hadn't imagined it. "You lied to the Admiral?"
Sarek drew himself up, looking affronted. "I simply stretched the truth. Your search for a bondmate is a family matter."
Kirk almost laughed at the truly dumbstruck look on Spock's face. He held the laughter in, knowing Spock would not understand it. Instead, he just watched the face that mattered more to him than any other as Spock tried to come to terms with the current situation.
Like a windmill, Spock's thoughts revolved through his mind, following the same tracks. Jim wants to be my bondmate. My father lied for me. Jim has chosen me. My parents support me in this. I will bond with he whom I love. My father interceded with Starfleet on my behalf. Over and over until he thought he might grow lightheaded. Finally he turned back to Kirk, a look of apology on his face. "I--I find that I--I do not know quite what to say."
Kirk gave Spock his best lopsided smile. "How about: Thanks Mom and Dad, this one will do."
Then it happened. Spock smiled. Not the full smile he'd given his captain upon his unexpected resurrection, but a real smile nonetheless. First one corner, then both corners of his lips turned up, his eyes crinkled, and there was a decided twinkle in his eye. Kirk thought he might melt on the spot.
Amanda's heart soared as she saw that smile. She moved closer to Sarek and surreptitiously reached back for his hand. Sarek found himself grateful for her touch. He was surprisingly moved by the happiness he saw on his son's face.
Spock reached for Kirk's hand and pulled him to his side. Turning to his parents, his face still alight he spoke as he'd been prodded, albeit a bit more formally. "Thank you. I find this one to be most acceptable." A trace of the grin was still on his face. It dropped off when he caught his father's eye. "Forgive me, Father. My control--"
Sarek interrupted him. "No apologies are necessary, my son. The cause is quite sufficient."
Amanda gave her husband a loving glance and then grinned at Spock and Kirk. "What he means is that he did some grinning of his own when I accepted his proposal."
Sarek gave her a look.
She laughed at him, completely unaffected. Then she grew very bold, and did something she'd wanted to do for years. She moved to her son and embraced him.
Spock hesitated for a moment and then he embraced her in return, squeezing her tightly. It only lasted for a second but it was enough. She stepped away and looked at him, a lifetime of sorrow dropping away at the look of gratitude and love in his eyes. Then she found herself being thoroughly hugged by Kirk.
He whispered in her ear. "How can I ever thank you?"
She whispered back. "Just love him."
Kirk nodded and let her go. Without another word she moved to her husband's side.
Sarek looked gravely at Spock and Kirk. "I invite my sons to join my wife and me for dinner tomorrow evening in celebration."
Spock inclined his head graciously. "We would be honored."
Sarek nodded in return. He held his index and middle fingers out to his wife and waited until she returned the gesture. Needing to feel more of his wife's touch, he sent a subtle yet heartfelt invitation along their bond. He felt her pleasured response and without another word he gently directed her toward their sleeping quarters.
The two men watched them go and then Kirk, with a moan of pleasure, wrapped his arms around Spock. "God, I missed you."
Spock was willing to postpone the interrogation for a few minutes. Never having thought to hold Kirk again, he didn't have it within himself to refuse this touch. He carded his fingers through Kirk's hair. Then, Spock lowered his head and captured his captain's lips with his own. The kiss escalated quickly, tongues mating, lips thoroughly exploring each other in a frenzied haste to claim one another again.
Kirk was the one who found the strength to pull away, but only because he had bigger things in mind, and he didn't think that the middle of the living room floor was quite the place. He and Amanda had fixed up the guesthouse so they could have some privacy. He took Spock's hand. "Come on."
Spock allowed himself to be pulled. "Where are we going?"
Kirk grabbed Spock's bag with his other hand. "Guesthouse."
Spock's eyebrow rose but he said nothing. Between the revelations of the last few minutes and Kirk's kisses, he was still in a bit of a daze. As the door to the guesthouse was pushed open, Spock cast his eyes around the room.
Kirk grinned as he dropped Spock's bag and then he picked up a lit taper and moved through the room lighting candles, completing the atmosphere.
Goblets were on the low table, wine breathing in a decanter. Next to the wine was a platter, with finger foods, fruit, cheese, and other delicacies easily nibbled from a lover's fingers. Then Spock noticed the bed. It was made up with the finest Shikhar linen, softer than silk. The Vulcan remembered their last night together, the painful way it had ended, and he turned to Kirk, his eyes hinting at that remembered pain.
Kirk moved him to the couch and sat him down. He poured them both a glass of wine, sitting down next to him. "I'll start, shall I?"
"Please. I must admit that I am still confused as to how this has come to pass."
Kirk leaned forward and pressed a quick kiss on Spock's lips. He closed his eyes and happily sighed. "It seems as if it's been years since I've kissed you.
Spock agreed with the assessment. "I thought never to touch you again." He swallowed and looked away. "Never to see you again."
Kirk's eyes darkened. "We'll get to that." He changed his mind. He needed to deal with that now. The idea that he might have returned to the Enterprise and found the Vulcan gone for good was devastating. "You were just leaving me? Just planning to walk away without even talking to me?"
"I believed we had said what was necessary. I asked you to be my bondmate, you refused. I was unable to meet your needs for a sexual partner. I saw no future for us."
"Spock, you were my friend before any of this happened. I would never want to lose that. Ever. I'd want you in my life no matter what."
"I am a Vulcan. I must have a bondmate. It is not a matter of choice for me. If I had stayed on board I would have delayed, because my choice would always be you, and I would illogically hope that you might change your mind. And I know you well. You would have done everything you could to interfere with me bonding with someone else, because you would continue to believe me to be yours, regardless of the nature of our relationship. I was afraid we would wait too long. If my time came again I would be drawn to you and you would lose the right to choose."
"But I did change my mind, Spock. And if you had left, you never would have known it. You would have ended up bonding with someone you didn't love, and that didn't love you. Why not stay and see? Why leave so fast?"
"Because I didn't want you to change your mind out of guilt or because it was the only way to keep me at your side."
Kirk shook his head in amazement. "Oh, Spock. I must have been out of my mind to turn you down. How could I possibly have turned my back on you?"
"I am certain I do not know." The wry humor tried unsuccessfully to belie the pain the Human's refusal had cost him.
Kirk took both of the Vulcan's hands in his own. "I'm sorry. More sorry than I can tell. Sorry that I led you to think for even a moment that I don't love you. Because I do. I love you more than anything, or anyone." He shook his head. "And I'm sorry that I just bulldozed you into having sex with me. That was unforgivable of me."
"I am an adult, Jim. I was more than capable of saying no."
"Maybe. But I think if something was within your power to give me, that you'd do it. Even if it harmed you." He smiled sadly. "And it did."
"I am unharmed." A small frown crossed his face. "And I am still confused."
Kirk tried to marshal his thoughts. "After that night--that night you said that you couldn't--" He paused, the memory painful.
Spock nodded, his eyes bleak.
Kirk squeezed the Vulcan's hands, correctly interpreting the bleak look as self-reproach. "No, don't feel bad. I was the one in the wrong. I should have noticed how uncomfortable it was for you. I'm mortified that I didn't. Your mother--" He bit off the words but it was too late.
Spock went very still. "My mother? You spoke of this to my mother?"
Kirk grimaced. "Yes. Please don't kill me. I was confused about what had happened. I didn't know who else to talk to. You were avoiding me like the plague and there aren't exactly books written on the subject of sex and Vulcans."
Spock pulled his hands away and stood. "My mother showed you my message." Things were becoming all too clear.
Kirk stood, too, and grabbed Spock's hands again. "No. Don't even go there. Yes, she showed me the message but not until afterwards."
"After you discussed our relationship?" Spock was distressed on too many levels to even begin to process.
"No. Spock, listen to me." Kirk forced the Vulcan to look at him. "I should have said this right off. I knew you'd leap to the wrong conclusion. I came to talk to your mother because I couldn't leave things the way they were. I was desperate. I didn't want to lose you."
"It was not necessary to go this far. I can stay on the Enterprise. We can go back to the way things were."
"No, we can't. Just the fact that you were planning on leaving me tells me that we can't. And you're right. I would do everything in my power to keep you from bonding with anyone else. We belong together, Spock. It just took you saying no to me to force me to see that." His hands moved up the Vulcan's arms, to his shoulders, up the sides of his face to run through the jet-black hair.
Spock longed to surrender to the caress, to return it, but he refused to allow this to go too far, not if Kirk was choosing this for the wrong reasons.
Kirk felt how stiff the Vulcan still was. He sighed. He'd known this wouldn't be easy to convince Spock that he meant what he was saying. "Listen to me. I didn't see the message until after I'd told her I wanted you as my bondmate. After. Then she only showed it to me because I needed to know the facts, to keep you from disappearing." Kirk started pressing kisses on Spock's face. "After, Spock. I swear. It had nothing to do with me knowing that I want you forever."
Spock wanted so desperately to believe. "What made you change your mind? You seemed quite certain it was not what you wanted."
Kirk smiled ruefully. "It took me a while, but I finally figured out that I had it all backwards. And once I did, everything fell into place."
"What did you have backwards?"
"I thought that it was beyond me to love someone forever, that it wasn't something I was capable of. But after talking to your mom, I realized that the problem was that I couldn't believe that anyone, especially you, could actually love me forever."
Spock found that inconceivable. "How could anyone not love you?"
Kirk exhaled a shaky laugh. "Spoken like a man in love."
"I only speak the truth. You are--" Spock paused, his eyes roaming over the Human's body.
The glance heated Kirk's blood. He pressed against the Vulcan. "I'm what, Spock?" He needed to know.
Spock hesitated. Words like this were foreign to him. He saw the need in Kirk's eyes and he made the attempt. "You are--" He stopped, momentarily stymied. Then suddenly the words were there. "You are power and grace; forceful when there is need, yet able to be gentle. You are open-minded and tolerant to a fault, intelligent, and intuitive. You gave me your friendship when everything, including my behavior, dictated that you keep your distance. You crept inside my control and my Vulcan reserve and found a place inside my heart. You are like golden sunlight to me."
Kirk's eyes were bright with tears at this extraordinary speech. "God, Spock. It terrifies me to think that I could have thrown that away." He pulled the Vulcan into his arms and held on tightly. "I almost lost you." He let out a groan at the thought and clutched even tighter. "Please, don't ever stop loving me."
"That would be impossible."
"Make love to me, Spock. Make love to me and meld with me."
A flash of molten lava shot through Spock's body. "If we meld, I am sure it will bond us."
Kirk's hands were on Spock's ass, pushing their groins together. "It better. I'm not leaving this room until we're bonded."
Spock was almost convinced. "You truly desire this?"
Kirk pulled back and considered his soon-to-be-mate. He knew Spock would know the truth of his feelings as soon as they were melded but he wanted Spock to believe in him, believe in them, before that. "Spock. You say I am golden sunlight to you. Well, you are like the oxygen in the air I breathe. When you're with me, I think better, I move better, I feel fully alive, and equal to the challenge of whatever life throws at me. But when you're gone it's as if I can't breathe. I feel like I'm gasping for air."
Kirk smiled softly, and gently traced the point of one of Spock's ears. "You are indispensable to me, Spock. I can't live without you; I don't want to ever try. This week without you has been hell enough." Kirk pushed Spock down on the couch and crawled up his body until he was lying on top of him. "Don't make me do it anymore." He nibbled at the Vulcan's lips. "Make love to me."
Spock complied. He didn't think he possessed the willpower to refuse even if he wanted to, which he didn't. Not anymore. Flipping them over, he began a systematic assault on Kirk's body.
During the two months of their sexual liaison, despite how difficult it had been for him at times, Spock had learned two things. The first was that he loved to touch Kirk. He loved the softness of his skin and the firmness of his muscles. He loved how responsive the human was to the slightest of touches and how he held nothing back. Being able to touch him now, knowing he'd always have the right, was intoxicating.
Without lifting his lips, which were currently plundering every millimeter of Kirk's mouth, Spock efficiently removed his lover's clothing as he continued to dictatorially take possession of the body beneath him.
The second thing that Spock had learned was that Kirk liked being possessed. Most of his fantasies about Spock had revolved around the Vulcan's superior strength, about being taken, pushed around, all while knowing that he couldn't be in safer hands. Kirk liked his sex a little rough. Spock, while not being comfortable with the thought of hurting anyone, least of all the love of his life, nonetheless found the situation somewhat amusing.
He was a Vulcan, after all, and it was his nature to be a bit dominant. He was also much stronger than the human and Kirk's proclivities freed him from the worry of holding back his strength. The thought had frequently crossed Spock's mind that Kirk liking sex a bit rough and tumble would have suited them both when Pon Farr struck again.
Spock had tried to push that alluring thought out of his head after Kirk had turned down his offer to bond, but musing on the extraordinary thought that he might even enjoy his next time of mating had been an insidious temptation and difficult to subdue. Now, as he looked down at Kirk's body, he no longer had to deny any of his passionate thoughts. Mine, he thought with a sense of fierce victory, all mine.
Kirk could feel the difference in the Vulcan's touch. He had believed that Spock had been fully engaged in their sexual activities over the last two months, but now he could tell how much he had been withholding. It was a sobering, saddening thought for a few seconds until the onslaught of what he was currently experiencing swept it away. Regardless of the past, Spock was fully participating now. He had taken complete charge and Kirk felt as if he were being ravished from head to toe.
The realization that surrendering in bed was such a turn on had been a surprise to Kirk. He'd fantasized about it for a long time, with Spock taking the leading role, but the reality was so much more thrilling than the fantasy, especially because he knew Spock would let him take the dominant role anytime he wanted. He pulled Spock back up his body to kiss him. "You are so perfect for me. Perfect."
The dark eyes showed Spock's pleasure as another small smile graced his lips, and Kirk's heart sung. The Vulcan raked his eyes down Kirk's body. "It is you who are perfect." Spock pulled away from Kirk's hold so he could get back to what he'd been doing, working his way down to that perfect rosy cock, nestled in its bed of curls.
Kirk almost lunged off the couch when Spock's hot mouth engulfed him. The heat of the Vulcan's body was another amazing turn on. Every touch was like a brand, but one of comfort as well. And his mouth. Good God, his mouth. Kirk groaned and thrust his hips, wanting more.
Spock had every intention of giving him more, but not yet. He held Kirk's hips down, prohibiting him from thrusting. From the fevered protestations and moans the human was voicing, he could tell it was having the desired effect. Through his touch, the desire doubled back on Spock.
The knowledge that tonight he would find true completion was mesmerizing. That he could have sex using the meld with Kirk was reason enough for joy. That it would no doubt result in a bond, and that this was what Kirk wanted, was a gift beyond measure. Spock realized that Kirk was talking to him.
"Take your clothes off, Spock. I want to feel you against me." His hands were tugging ineffectually at Spock's shirt. Spock was an immovable object when he chose to be. "Come on," Kirk ordered. He let out a loud groan when Spock moved his oral ministrations from Kirk's cock to the sacs underneath. He gently suckled on them, rolling them in his mouth. His hands swept under Kirk's body to caress the firm buttocks, the tips of his fingers running tantalizingly down the cleft.
Kirk used the Vulcan's strength to his advantage. With Spock already holding him down, he pushed down onto those talented fingers, hoping Spock would get the hint and turn that teasing caress into a more intrusive activity.
Spock got the hint but he wanted to prolong this moment. He moved back up Kirk's body until he was covering him. He supported most of his weight on his arms. "You demand much tonight."
Kirk saw that the small smile was still present. And the fact that he was still the only one even partially unclothed didn't escape his notice. It made him feel wanton. His whole body undulated against the Vulcan's. "It's you. You make me want so much." He lifted his head, capturing Spock's lips, his fingers spread over his jaw and cheeks in an effort to keep him from escaping.
Spock allowed the tender imprisonment. He had no desire to escape. "What do you want? What do you wish for me to do to you?" He wanted to hear Kirk's rough sex talk; Spock found it surprisingly arousing.
Kirk's hands left Spock's face and wandered down his back, his fingers inching underneath Spock's shirt, gaining access to that suede-like skin. He spoke between kisses. "Get naked. Fuck me." Then as an added thought, "Hard."
Kirk's eyes opened and he took in the look on Spock's face. It was as if he'd never seen the Vulcan before. Desire, love, passion, mischief, all there for his viewing pleasure. Nothing hidden, no restraint. Kirk was lost for a moment in his love for Spock.
Then the pressure of Spock's hardened penis against his brought him back to the passion of the moment. "As hard as you can. I want you to make me bleed." At the nervous look on Spock's face he hastened to reassure his lover. "Not really, I don't really mean that. It's just an expression."
Spock nominally relaxed. "I am relieved to hear you say that."
Kirk laughed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you nervous." He ran his hands consolingly up and down Spock's back as he spoke in a soft husky voice. "I just love it when you fuck me hard. I love the feel of you driving into me, like you can't get deep enough. I love to feel how strong you are." He felt a moment's exultation when Spock groaned and thrust his hips in response. Kirk started to drag up Spock's shirt. "Don't make me wait anymore. Fuck me and show me what I've been missing."
Spock knew a challenge when he heard one. He sat up, his legs straddling Kirk's body and pulled his shirt off. To be honest, even he wasn't sure what he'd been missing, just that something had been missing; that the sex, regardless of how physically pleasing it had been to touch and be touched, or how emotionally pleasing it had been to be touching the one that he loved, it hadn't ever felt complete. He looked down at Kirk, taking in his flushed face and dilated pupils, the gaze almost unfocused with desire. He had never seen anything more beautiful. He had to force himself to focus on the practical. "I assume you've laid in a supply of lubrication."
Kirk nodded and flung an arm over his head, his finger pointing. "By the bed."
"Then I suggest we move our activities to that location."
Kirk made as if to move but Spock laid his hand on the human's chest and pressed down, prohibiting his movement. He slowly stood, his hand and expression making it clear he wanted Kirk to stay put. Kirk slowly nodded his acquiescence. Spock shook off his boots and removed his socks. Then he began to unfasten his pants.
Riveted, Kirk could only lie there and watch as Spock revealed himself. Kirk had seen the Vulcan naked dozens of times, had explored every inch of him with his fingers and tongue and lips, but he was breathless with anticipation as Spock slowly pushed his pants and briefs down, revealing the turgid olive-tinged cock. Kirk let out a sigh and reached out a hand to touch.
Having the human lying there, completely vulnerable and his for the taking challenged Spock's control. He moved his body back, not allowing the touch. After watching Kirk's hand fall back to his side he approached the couch. Bending down he carefully ran his hands under Kirk's body and lifted him, holding him closely as he turned with his burden to the bed.
It was this dichotomy that was the crux of what Kirk found so attractive. The gentleness coupled with the phenomenal strength, the seemingly austere being with the passionate emotions beneath the surface, the lean body with the whipcord muscles, and the dominance that was, in actuality, in total service to him. It was humbling, and exciting, and the thought that he might have so easily lost it all forced a moan from him.
Spock held him more tightly. "Jim, what is it?"
Kirk shook his head and just held on to Spock, the bittersweetness of the moment creating a lump in his throat he had difficulty swallowing past, let alone finding his voice.
Spock's shields were down and he could feel the conflicting emotions and he saw that Kirk had felt his loss as keenly as he had felt Kirk's. He lay his love down carefully on the bed. "I am here, Jim, we are together. We will always be together. Parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched."
Kirk didn't want to wait another second. He grappled with the bedside table, his fingers blindly searching. When they found what he was looking for, he pushed the tube into Spock's hand. "Do it. Do it now. Make me yours, and make it so you're mine."
The Vulcan's fingers tightened around the tube. "It is not necessary--"
Kirk interrupted him. "That's how I want it. I want you inside of me when it happens."
Spock's eyes considered his lover, his brain working out the parameters for best penetration, ease of access to Kirk's cock, and the ability to touch for a meld.
Kirk almost laughed at the look of concentration on Spock's face. Another surge of love cascaded through him and he risked interrupting whatever Spock was cogitating on to bring him down for a kiss. Spock allowed part of him to be distracted while another part was still weighing the pros and cons of each possible position.
After a few moments, Spock decided that at least for right now, it was imperative that these kisses not stop. Lying down next to his captain he worked the lid off the tube as his other hand swept down the body that was perfection in his eyes. As his hand lowered, he watched as Kirk opened his thighs, splaying his legs, making himself available to those fingers, however they wanted to touch him.
Spock took full advantage, running his fingers up and down the shaft, his fingers teasing through the golden curls, cradling the balls, dipping lower. He ran his hand down the opposite thigh and encouraged Kirk to bend his knee, opening him up even further. The kisses continued, tongues entwined, swallowing each other's breath.
The hand stopped its exploration long enough to retrieve the tube and squeeze some gel onto his fingers. He warmed the gel and then the exploration began anew. This time he started low with unerring accuracy, as the entrance to Kirk's body was lightly massaged.
Kirk wiggled against the fingers, his body on fire. But there were no words spoken as his lips were still fully and blissfully engaged. He poured his desire into those kisses.
Spock felt it, every spark of it. The foray continued. A finger pushed through the first barrier, the lubrication easing its passage. Kirk groaned into Spock's mouth. The Vulcan pushed further into the heat, his own needs growing. This time they both groaned. It just made the kissing more frenzied.
Spock doubled his assault as a second finger joined the first. He searched for the tissue inside of Kirk, that sensitive gland that made his captain writhe in his arms when stimulated. The Vulcan relished the cries and the push onto his fingers that gave proof that he had achieved his goal. Spock began to stretch his fingers apart, preparing the way for his entrance, softening the muscles.
Letting the unabated desperate need for those kisses dictate the final position, Spock withdrew his fingers and moved over Kirk, lifting his thighs and buttocks until they were resting on top of his own thighs. The tube was pressed again to release another gush of gel. Spock reached between their bodies and lubricated his cock. Then, by feel, he placed himself in position and he began to slowly push.
Kirk pushed up, his impatience overriding Spock's caution. The pleasure far outweighed the pain. His hands ran down Spock's back until he found the globes of the Vulcan's ass and he pulled him close while he pushed up again. Spock slid all the way in. Ecstasy and fire deluged them both and their attention became wholly focused on the intimate connection between their bodies.
Spock pulled most of the way out and then thrust back in. Kirk's moans inflamed him. He thrust again. Then for the first time, he gave into his instinctive Vulcan yearning. His hand lifted and his fingers found their way to the meld points. Spock could feel Kirk's consent and he projected his mind into the human's.
Neither of them was prepared for the tidal wave. Every sensation suddenly doubled, tripled, their awareness of each other magnified a hundred fold. If it hadn't been so magnificent, it might have been painful. But it was magnificent. The love, the desire, the glorying in each other's touch, the awareness of what they meant to one another. It built between them, the layers of longing, and passion, the loyalty, and devotion, all while their bodies continued to move in their own divine play.
The layers continued to build, one on top of another, like silken threads, binding them together, connecting them as their bodies were connected. And Kirk felt the entirety of the love of a Vulcan, felt the richness of it, the eternity of it, felt embraced and buoyed by it. It oozed into his cells, into his heart, into his soul until he was singing with it.
Almost unable to feel his body anymore as something separate, Kirk reached inside the deepest part of who he was and returned that love. And as the silken threads merged into a glowing bond, almost too bright to look at in their minds, both men found their release, the force of it ricocheting through both of them, through their bodies and minds and hearts.
Spock collapsed, having just enough awareness to make sure he fell to Kirk's side. They both lay there, gasping for breath, consciousness fading in and out. Finally Kirk turned his head to Spock. "Oh, my God." He blinked. "Oh, my God." Then his hand rose and touched the side of his head, at his temple. "I still feel you." He smiled. "You're still here."
Spock found the strength to nod. "It is the bond. We are bonded now."
Kirk closed his eyes and smiled even more. "It's incredible." He opened them and sent a look of love toward the Vulcan. "You're incredible."
Spock ran a hand tenderly down Kirk's face. No words were necessary. They could both sense what the other was feeling.
Kirk rolled onto his side facing the Vulcan. "Forgive me?"
"For depriving you of that." He grinned. "For depriving me of that." His hand ran down Spock's chest, his fingers playing with the dark hair adorning the lean body. "Will it always be that intense?"
"I do not believe so. I believe part of what we experienced was the bond being created."
"You believe? That's a pretty inexact answer for you."
"You must remember that this is as new for me as it is for you."
"But somehow you knew that you were missing something." Kirk shook his head. "All those times we made love." He rested his head on Spock's chest. "You sacrifice too much for me."
"I would sacrifice everything for you if I could. I only stopped because I did not believe I could control myself anymore, and I did not want to force a bond on you."
Kirk felt undeserving of such a love, but through the bond he knew that Spock found him infinitely deserving, and that nothing would shake the Vulcan's belief in that. Kirk found it humbling and extraordinarily reassuring. "Can you feel it too?"
Spock's eyebrow rose, indication of the need for more information.
"Can you feel how much I love you? The way I can feel you loving me?"
Spock smiled. "Yes. It is--" He closed his eyes and felt it embrace him. "It is remarkable."
"Indeed." As Spock's eyebrow rose again, Kirk grinned. "Just thought I'd try my hand at speaking Vulcan."
Spock snorted. Kirk burst out laughing at the sound. He reached out and pulled the Vulcan in close. "Say that thing again about parted and never parted."
"Parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched."
Kirk softly repeated it. Then he let out a long satisfied sigh. "Perfect." At the questioning look on Spock's face he clarified. "You, me, us. Perfect."
Spock nodded, his eyes mischievous. "Indeed."
Kirk surrendered. "All right. You do it better than me."
"I am a Vulcan. It only stands to reason I would speak as a Vulcan more capably than you."
"Yeah, well, I can do Human better than you."
"Of that I have no doubt. Nor would I wish it otherwise."
"Like I said. Perfect."
There was no point in arguing. When Captain James T. Kirk was right, he was right. Spock simply gave himself up to the embrace, and hugged his bondmate tightly.
November 2, 2003
Revised March 1, 2005
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