I do not own or profit from Star Trek or my use of its characters.


The two sat in a pensive silence much like the one just before Spock had broken, had finally told Jim what was troubling him and why he had to go to Vulcan. The silence was loud. It hurt Jim's ears. It was uncomfortable and its tension was almost tangible. There in Jim's quarters, the two sat wordless.

It had come as a surprise when Jim admitted entrance to his quarters to find that Spock had come calling. Surely it bothered the Vulcan more than himself. Jim had avoided approaching the subject not simply out of respect for Spock's privacy, though that was part of it, but largely because he did not know how.

And now this. Now Spock had approached it. He had marched himself up to the captain's quarters, requested admittance, and proceeded to plunge them both into silent contemplation of something they both wished had never taken place. Only for a moment had they made eye contact, as the door slid open and the Vulcan stepped in. It didn't linger, Spock made sure. He looked briefly back over his shoulder to watch the door slide back into place.

Jim wished it were like that with all things. Their friendship, McCoy's fond bantering… They could be temporarily disturbed by the interference of somebody from the outside, somebody who was not a part of them, did not understand the friendship they had; but as soon as it had passed, it would slide back softly into place without so much as a prompt or push.

No. This was a manual door, Jim now understood, and if it were to be taken care of he would have to make effort. Even Spock had seen that.

But to let Spock know… To confide in him the sense of betrayal… After he, James Tiberius Kirk, had promised to support Spock. Why, he'd pretended to be understanding! He could not now retract such a vow. And so he sat in silence.

Spock stood motionless in front of the door. He longed deeply to turn and leave, but he longed far more deeply to reconcile this breech of loyalty with his friend and captain. Still his eyes remained downcast, not daring to search for the pain that must hide in the eyes of his captain.

"Jim." It passed quite unbidden from his lips. He felt Jim's eyes rest on his own though he did not look back. He struggled with what to say next. "Jim."

"Spock," the captain said with a trace of irony.

"I…" Spock cleared his throat. Control was irrelevant. Jim had seen him at his worst and nothing he could do or say would return him to that position of esteem with which Human had once held Vulcan. "Jim, I am sorry."

Hollow. The words were hollow. There was no echo, no response. He might have not said it. It meant nothing.

"Jim," he said again, this time forcing the word out like something he had found in his meal only too late. "Forgive me."

"I'm hurt, Spock."

"I know."

"You hurt me."

Spock bit his lip, unsure why. His father had broken him of this habit long before he could understand the underlying feeling that prompted it. This time, however, he did not stop. He let his teeth cut until he tasted the hot green blood inside his mouth. He knew it was hotter than it should have been; hot with embarrassment, hot with frustration. His cheeks were doubtless flushed with it.

"Control," he said mechanically, "Left me. I was… I was not…"

"Sane," Jim finished.

Spock nodded, not in agreement but in surrender. He had been sane. He had known exactly what he was doing and done it anyway, despite the rending of his soul crying out in protest.

"Spock, I don't pretend to understand. Looking back, I'm not sure I want to," Jim said softly as if it were an effort to speak at all. It probably was. "I just want to know that you trust me."

Trust? Spock trust Jim? That was not the issue. Spock could only hope Jim trusted him after what had taken place.

"You could have told me what would happen. I would have taken care of you without… Danger could have been avoided."

Their eyes met and locked.

"How was I to know?" Spock said icily. "How should I have known that my wife would divorce me and command me to kill my…" Kill his friend? " My captain."

"You could have told me something"

"I told you as much as I knew." This was not why he had come. He did not want to defend his actions but to repent of them. It was all wrong. "Captain."

"Spock…"

"I…" The taste of blood lingered in his mouth and he felt another hot liquid flow into his eyes. It was not blood. He gasped inaudibly, wanting to stop the tear before it slid past his barriers, into what was forbidden. He could not.

Jim gaped as the bead of salt water trickled over the brim of Spock's eyelid and was followed by another.

"I hate what I have done," Spock said bitterly. "I hate what I have caused. We might have been spared this. I might have held my tongue and died to spare you this grief."

"Spock," Jim said with more feeling. "What is it? Surely not…"

"I betrayed you. I held your life in my hands and I killed you."

"Spock, I'm alive."

"You didn't die, but I killed you. Jim…"

"I am not hurt, physically." That was only half true. Jim's neck still ached from the Vulcan's terrible clutch. "But do you trust me?"

"Trust?" Spock almost laughed. "I trust you. You, and you alone, hold my trust. I had hoped…"

"What." It was not a question.

"I cannot hope that you trust me. It is not you who has hurt me, but rather the opposite. I… Forgive me, Jim," he said again. "I do not ask that you treat me as a brother, or even a friend. Simply… let it pass…"

"Spock," Jim whispered. That was it then. He didn't have to tell Spock what was wrong; Spock knew. He knew and it tore him up inside far worse than it stung Kirk. It was agony for Spock who could not be satisfied with Jim's avoidance of him, but had to punish himself.

He had never seen the Vulcan weep; not on his own, without the influence of some drug or virus that had penetrated and manipulated his will.

Jim stood and strode boldly toward the Vulcan who was now wiping a drop of blood from his lip and hoping it went unnoticed. Jim pretended not to notice and he placed a hand on Spock's temple.

Spock stiffened momentarily before Kirk's words.

"My mind to your mind…"

He relaxed somewhat. "And mine to yours."

#

We are one. We feel the same hurt, we share one remorse. We are angry and tearful and we feel destroyed; but there amidst the hurt and the sense of loss lies trust, friendship… loyalty. Even in the darkest hour of our strife, one word clouds our shared mind and pushes all others away.

Brother.