Kirk's voice has a breathiness that indicates high emotion, enough to restrict the diaphragm. His knees come down hard on the ground beside Spock. Hands take hold of Spock's arms with no consideration for Vulcan sensibilities.

"Spock." Even quieter. Even more poignant. Then with face turned away, "Bones!"

Spock's consciousness rises up within his shattered body, manages to crack eyes open. He feels acutely responsible for Kirk's distress, which is illogical. Kirk's emotions are solely his own responsibility. But Spock's own response overwhelms logic in this, as does the vision of Kirk above him, posture captured mid-action.

Kirk bends over, searches Spock's eyes and his face swells into a pained smile, eyes glowing with inner joy. "Hey." Warmth floods from Kirk's hands into Spock's limbs, emotional warmth that is difficult to distinguish from thermal warmth. His shattered body becomes distant. A mix of relief, sympathetic pain, and hope wash through him, pushing mortal limitations aside.

Spock turns away from Kirk's gaze of raw affection to recover his own mind. He wavers. His control has been weakened by emotion and he can no longer block the pain hammering within. He makes a noise he at first refuses to acknowledge, a moan of distress.

Kirk's hands tighten, release. "Sorry, Spock."

He has let Spock go, let him be himself again. Kirk's body turns, knees grind on the dry soil. "Bones! Over here."

A figure descends on the other side, equipment whirls over Spock's chest, his abdomen.

"Bones?" Kirk, pained and impatient.

Again Spock's emotions try to rise to meet Kirk's even though they are not touching. Spock knows the inner shape of Kirk's pain just from his voice. His voice is a sculpture of what's within.

"He's bleeding internally." McCoy slides equipment straps off his shoulders, begins unpacking in a meticulous hurry. He calls over an ensign, makes him give up his field coat. McCoy rolls this and puts it under Spock's feet.

McCoy parts Spock's uniform shirt with a laser and tosses the bloodied halves of it to the sides.

"Oh, Spock," Kirk whispers.

Spock can't lift his head to see himself. He can smell the stress of his body. He senses the pooling liquids that once seeped into his shirt and now bubble into the open air.

"I just have to seal off a few bleeders so we can get him back to the shuttle. Hold this."

Kirk takes the instruments he is handed. A portable sterile light flicks on, is repositioned. It turns the Vulcan blood a brownish purple color, the torn tissue a faint blue.

McCoy's protoplaser sizzles.

"Is he going to be all right?"

Kirk's question is ignored. The equipment hums and whirls. Kirk hands over the laser scalpel when requested.

"Bones?" Kirk sounds like a man lost for weeks on a deserted world.

Spock fumbles over the ground with his fingers and find's Kirk's knee beside his hip, rests his hand on it.

"Rest Spock. Please," Kirk says. Then a long pause. "But thanks."

McCoy glances up at Kirk, fixes him with Southern doctor scrutiny, returns to cutting and sealing.

McCoy finishes up, covers the open wounds with dermaskin. "Pain must be making him too weak to be Vulcan," he mutters as he puts things away. "Can you carry him? He seems to tolerate your touch, even hurt. He can't handle much strain."

Spock still listens even though he cannot hold his eyes open. He anticipates Kirk's touch with a strange thrill that is wholly, shamefully illogical. Kirk's hands slide behind his neck, down his back, under his knees, cradling in the point eight g gravity rather than hefting. They rise together. Spock's feet dangle.

"I'm sorry, Spock."

Spock wonders what the apology is for. He is periodically losing touch with his surroundings. Perhaps he moaned again and does not realize it. He deeply regrets if he did. He wants to reach out again, assuage Kirk's pain, but cannot move his arms.

Spock's head lolls onto Kirk's chest, high on his breast, temple at his shoulder. Kirk is muscularly padded in a manner solely human. Spock finds this deeply intriguing in a way that does not conform with biological study. He feels Kirk everywhere around him, physically and psychically. He is pulled closer, cradled.

Spock's will to stand apart slips away. His body no longer obeys him, and his mind seems intent upon joining. He settles into Kirk's care, helplessly senses Kirk's sympathetic pain balming old wounds and loneliness. Standing apart. Following his own path. Belonging. It has become hopelessly confused.

"We're going to take care of you, Spock." Kirk's voice is soft, caressing.

Spock believes him utterly, gives himself over to his captain, and to unconsciousness.