James Kirk has always prided himself on being practically fearless. But now, after Delta Vega, any time Spock's hands get anywhere near his face his heart lurches in fear. He's got no problems with Spock's hands around his throat, sometimes he even asks for it, but any time either of his hands start to edge towards Jim's face he has to shift away.

The very thought of Spock touching his mind fills him with terror. He knows the older Spock didn't mean it, that he'd had no idea that he was causing Jim pain with the meld. After all, from the memories that slipped through it had never bothered the other Kirk. But between his grief and guilt and rage over the fate of Vulcan and the older grief for his Kirk, Spock's emotions had burned, hot and dry and overwhelming.

But what had hurt the worst had been the feeling of violation, the sense of something being inside him without his consent. Necessary or not, whether the other Kirk would have welcomed it or not, the sensation had left Jim feeling hot and shaky and vaguely nauseous.

And he can't bear the thought that his Spock, who he's rapidly coming to care for, maybe even love, might make him feel the same way.

Then one night he doesn't manage to shy away. He's on his back on the bed, Spock stretched out on top of him, and he doesn't even notice Spock moving until warm fingers are brushing against his face. And then he feels Spock's mind, and he panics.

When he finally calms down enough to pay any attention to his surroundings again he realizes that he's wedged himself into the far corner of the room, knees pulled up as if to hide him from the rest of the room. And Spock is still on the bed, one hand holding his bleeding nose and staring at Jim with a mix of confusion and what looks suspiciously like hurt on his face.

Jim is hot, his hands are shaking with leftover adrenaline, his heart is pounding and it's taking entirely too much effort to keep his dinner in his stomach where it belongs. And Spock is looking at him like he just kicked his puppy.

He's tempted to just say fuck it, pull on his clothes and leave, but he's not sure that he's physically capable of walking right now and falling on his face would be really uncaptainly. So he sits there on the floor refusing to meet Spock's eyes, arms wrapped around his bare knees, and tries to breathe through the terror.