Substitute by Djinn

Kirk reaches out, hand falling on soft skin, his touch rousing a sigh from his companion. Chapel is warm and giving, and, even though he has never wanted her before, he wants her now, for the memories she holds of Spock.

Kirk pulls her close, murmurs her name--he hopes. But she doesn't seem to mind whatever he has called her. Or at least the tears she's been crying for Spock don't intensify, so maybe he's called her by her own name.

She moves under him, face wet as he kisses those tears away, and then she cries out a name. It's not his.

This is why he's here: to lose himself in someone who remembers Spock. In someone who loved Spock.

He can't stop his mind from going back. Raspy voice, burned skin, and pure love when Spock said, "I have been, and always shall be, your friend."

His friend.

His love.

Never his lover. Why never his lover?

"Sir?" Chapel says, and he realizes he's stopped moving, that his body has died inside her.

He should tell her to call him Jim. But he doesn't.

She holds him, anyway. Hugs him close and sheds more of the tears he can't cry. Her love is dead. Did Spock love her? Kirk has never understood their relationship.

Now, he never will. Now, there is no relationship to understand.


Spock feels confusion as he stares down from the cliff to where a lone human stands looking up. A spark of anger starts--anger from frustration that this Jim should cause such turmoil in him.

He turns away, shuts down what he suspects is desire, and goes back to the tests. He can sense his mother's presence. "Why does he stare up? Why does he not go away?"

"Because you are here."

"I am that important to him?"

"He sacrificed everything he had for you."

She says it in a way he knows gives it utter importance. But he feels nothing. Or what he feels confuses him too much, and he pushes it away like spoiled food.

Jim. The man's name is Jim. Why does the name evoke memories of golden eyes gone soft with desire, of strong arms locked around him when Spock knows they were not mated? He knows they were never lovers.

He is afraid that the memories are what he has discovered are called fantasies.

"How do you feel?" the computer asks. It has asked this before.

He feels nothing--and everything.

He wants too much. He would give everything--did give everything.

"I have been, and always shall be, your friend."

A friend. He does not understand how that goes with fantasies of golden eyes and strong arms.


Kirk is alone in bed. In their bed. His and Spock's. A lovely, old four-poster. Their bed.

He's waited a lifetime to share this bed with Spock, and now Spock is sharing another's bed. Kirk tosses and turns, wishing he were enough.

"I love you," Spock said, just before his biological urges drove him to Chapel's bed.

The Vulcan mating urge is, as it turns out, an urge to procreate. Kirk will not do. Kirk cannot answer Spock's need to send his seed into a body naturally fertile. A body that, it also turns out, Spock has used before for past Pon Farrs. Chapel is his landing pad of choice when the blood fever calls.

Kirk prays that Chapel is up to date on her contraception.

He imagines Spock planting himself in her soft, forgiving flesh. Her body will welcome him, even more than it welcomed Kirk.

Kirk gets up, does push-ups, then sit-ups, lifts weights for a while. Anything to drive the image of Spock thrusting into Chapel away. Finally, he goes for a run.

He runs much farther than normal.

He runs to where they are, and stands outside her building, imagining the sounds Spock is making as he takes her. Over and over and over.

Spock won't be making love to her. He can't be. Kirk is glad it won't be making love. He will get Spock back. Tired and sated, but back.

Kirk walks home to their bed. And lies awake the rest of the night.


Chapel bucks beneath Spock's hand. He is not with her because he loves her. He is not even with her because it is the burning, because his body demands her and no other. He is having sex with her in his charmingly old-fashioned four-poster because he is lonely.

For someone else.

His love is gone. His love is probably dead. He searched for his love long after the others called it quits.

And then he came home, and eventually, he called her to him. And he took her, just this way. The sex is exquisite. It is also empty. Emptier than when Kirk used her. Emptier than when the fever made Spock use her.

She always assumed if Kirk was out of the picture, she'd finally get Spock. And she is getting him--one part of him and only for a short time, and not until the loneliness becomes too much for him to bear.

He moans Kirk's name as he finds release. She remembers when Kirk murmured Spock's name into her ear. She called for Spock, too. Back then, it didn't bother her.

Spock lies still, his eyes closed. "I have an early meeting."

He always does.

"So do I." It is a handy excuse to leave with no humiliation--no apparent humiliation.

She touches his cheek, and she imagines he thinks it is to let him know that this is all right with her. That he can come to her and use her and think of someone else, and it will not bother her any more than it ever has.

He thinks wrong.

She leans down, kisses him gently, in the way she's always wanted to. He allows it, but he does not return it.

She gets up and dresses, knows his eyes do not linger on her as she pulls her clothes on. She leaves him, in his old four-poster, dreaming of a man who will never come back to him.

She sees a hooded figure coming down the street. He pauses, turns to look into a window. From far away he looks Vulcan, but when she draws near and turns to look into the same window, he pushes the hood back slightly. She makes out Romulan features in the reflection.

"Have you considered what we talked about?" Pardek's voice is smooth: Romulan silk caressing her in a way Spock's voice never has, even during his greatest need.

"I have."

"And...?" His voice is gentle, as if he is not asking her to destroy the man she loves.

"I am tired of being used." She glances at him, lets her eyes go hard so that he understands she is not a fool. "Let me rephrase that. I am tired of being used by men I care for."

"Understood." He seems to breathe a sigh of satisfaction. "You will be a great patriot on our planet."

She laughs. Many of her friends were great patriots; they worked with Romulus, too. Until it all fell apart at Khitomer. The Conspiracy, they are called now, this collection of officers who would have died--some of them did--to save the Federation. "I care nothing for patriotism."

"I know. This is about revenge." Pardek's voice has changed, and she glances over at him. Sees lust. True lust. Lust for her.

"You want me?" It has been so long since someone wanted her for herself.

There is no hesitation. "I do."

"I am human."

"Yes. And I have a taste for human females."

"Spock never has."

"To my great good fortune." He pulls the hood up to cover his face. "Both professionally and personally." He indicates she should walk next to him. "I know a place we can go."

She believes it excites him to think of being with her just after Spock has taken her. "Does it have old-fashioned beds?"

"It does not have any beds." He laughs, the sound deep and throaty, and she feels as if the future lies in that laugh.

It is not a future she wanted. A part of her even feels bad at what she is setting out to do. But that part of her is the small, soft part. The part that gets hurt when names that aren't hers pass by the lips of men who are inside her.

"You plan to destroy Spock?" she asks.

"Not in your lifetime, my dear. But yes, someday, I plan to destroy Spock."

And in the meantime, she will not be a substitute, anymore. At least when she is with Pardek.

It is not love. It is not anything she has ever dreamed about. But it will do.