A/N: Okay, here we go! Thank you x1000 to all my readers from First Contact for encouraging the sequel, I hope you all like it. :)
James Kirk felt a pang of uncertainty.
The Enterprise-A had been cleared to leave on its maiden voyage today. He sat on a transport shuttle, strapped in between Sulu and McCoy, facing Chekov and Scotty. Uhura had settled in next to McCoy. His senior officers all occupied the seats surrounding him—all but one Vulcan science officer.
Where the hell is he? Kirk thought. Spock had promised that he would remain in Starfleet, that he was only going to help with the building of the colony— what if he found someone else? Despair sunk into the pit of his stomach. He found a Vulcan woman and decided to stay with her to help repopulate. Logic: 1, Jim: 0. Suddenly he felt a great urge to punch something.
"You okay, Jim?" McCoy shot him a sideways glance.
"You look kind of sick. I have—"
"Bones," Kirk said levelly, "the last thing I need right now is a remedy from you. I'd like to be able to see when I board the ship this time."
McCoy smiled and settled back into his seat, turning to talk to Uhura.
"Beautiful, isn't she?" Sulu stared out at the imposing figure of the Enterprise-A resting at space dock, built to the exact specifications of the starship the crew had lost over five months ago.
Kirk managed a smile. "Yeah."
Sulu clapped him on the shoulder. "Hopefully," he said, "you can hang on to this one longer than a week."
"Glad to be back?" asked the helmsman.
Kirk nodded. "Definitely."
Which was the absolute truth, though probably not for all the reasons Sulu thought. Sure, he was eager to serve his first mission as official captain. He'd missed space and, since he'd spent most of his time helping his mother rebuild the house after a tornado cut through his hometown, he was damn glad to be out of Iowa. Most of all, though, he was looking forward to seeing Spock again. Who, thought Kirk angrily, is not here.
They boarded the ship and Kirk went straight for Spock's quarters which, conveniently, were right next to his own. No bag sitting on the bed. God damn it.
Though he felt like being a petulant ass and refusing to take off until someone told him just where the hell Spock was and why he wasn't on the ship, he marched off to the bridge, holding his head high and promising himself to act like his usual flippant self.
"Bones! Buckle up," Kirk cracked as he walked past McCoy, who simply shook his head and rolled his eyes. As he was about to settle into his chair, the lift door opened, and the outline of pointed Vulcan ears stood out against the light. Relief washed over the Captain. He felt suddenly self-conscious, as if the rest of the crew could sense the sudden spike in his heart rate.
"Permission to come aboard, Captain?"
Kirk wanted to slap him and hug him simultaneously. "Yes."
"As you have not selected a first officer," Spock announced, approaching Kirk, "I would like to submit my candidacy."
Kirk regarded him with fond amusement. "I thought that went without saying, Spock. I'd be honored."
Spock's lips twitched, the Vulcan equivalent of a grin. "Thank you, sir."
Kirk couldn't help the wide smile that spread across his face. "Alright. How are we doing?"
"Maneuvering thrusters and impulse engines on your command, sir," Sulu responded.
Chekov turned. "Weapons systems and shields on standby."
"Dock control reports ready, Captain," Uhura said emphatically, and Kirk smiled back at her.
"Ensign Chekov." Kirk turned to the Russian. "If you would."
"Aye, sir." He flicked a switch and his voice filled the ship. "Starfleet has assigned the Enterprise to respond to a distress call issued this morning from the planet Chenar. Their atmospheric scans detect an anomalous mass moving across the planet. Their starships have been destroyed by an unidentified fleet, and they are left with no way to escape. Our mission is to go to the planet, rescue the surviving Chenari, and collect atmospheric data if possible."
"Chenar is a hell of a long way across the universe," McCoy noted.
"It'll take us a few days," Kirk said. "Set a course, Sulu. Maximum warp."
Later that night, Kirk caught Spock in the hallway. "Hey," he greeted. "Where the hell were you earlier?"
"Are you referring to my absence from the transport?"
"Yeah. I thought you'd skipped out on me."
"I was not punctual in my arrival at Starfleet," Spock replied. "My ship experienced problems during take-off. I apologize for causing you emotional distress."
"I didn't say I was going through any—emotional distress."
"I observed your reaction when I arrived." The corners of Spock's mouth lifted. "Jim, I have— missed you."
Kirk motioned for his first officer to follow, and the two of them went into the Captain's quarters. He kicked off his boots and sat on the edge of the bed. Spock joined him.
"So how's the colony coming?"
"As well as can be expected. We have constructed homes for all Vulcans; learning pods are in the process of completion; and most of the women have already become pregnant."
"That was fast."
"All males underwent injections designed to give them the neurochemical imbalance which initiates pon farr," Spock told him. "Unfortunately, our rituals have been abandoned out of necessity. Much confusion has ensued."
is there confusion?"
"Vulcans," Spock explained, "are telepathically bonded at a young age. However, with the loss of our planet, several pre-determined couples have been parted. This has led to the necessity for many adult Vulcans to choose mates for themselves."
The question tumbled from Kirk's lips before he could stop it. "What about—what about your mate?"
"T'Pring survived," Spock said to him. "She informed me that she had chosen another mate. Since I was not interested in entering into a marriage with her, no kal-if-fee was required." He paused. "A kal-if-fee is a Vulcan ritual. It is a fight in which two males fight to the death for the right to mate with a female."
"So what if T'Pring hadn't chosen another mate? Would I be fighting her for the right to you?" A grin lit his face.
Spock's lips twitched. "Perhaps. That specific eventuality has not yet been faced by a Vulcan female."
Slowly, Kirk reached across and covered Spock's hand with his. "It's been almost a half a year," he began quietly.
Spock was well aware of Kirk's reputation for promiscuous behavior and assumed he would take a few lovers during the time they were apart but, judging from the look in Kirk's eyes, he'd stayed in his own bed the whole time. The thought warmed him. "You haven't—" He couldn't think of a decorous way to finish the question.
"Slept with a bunch of random women?" Kirk gave a soft little snort of laughter. "No. Not one. I didn't—I didn't want to. They weren't you."
"Am I to understand that I have tamed the infamous and unquenchable libido of James Kirk?" The corner of his mouth quirked upward.
"Not by a long shot," Kirk replied with a wicked grin. "As a matter of fact, I have half a year's worth built up inside of me."
Spock resisted the impulse to explain to his Captain that sex drive wasn't something that could be built up and stored. Instead, he allowed himself to concentrate on the delicious feeling of the air rushing over his warm skin as Kirk released him from his uniform.
After it was over, Kirk fell onto the bed with a satiated sigh. "God," he said, glancing at the clock on the wall. "It's so late." He smiled fondly at his first officer. "Time flies, huh?"
"You will not be able to get the amount of sleep required for human well-being," Spock said, a hint of worry in his voice.
"I'll be fine." Kirk yawned.
Spock suddenly noticed how comfortable he was in the room. "Jim," he said quietly, "you have adjusted the temperature and humidity of your quarters."
The Captain gave a sleepy smile. "Yeah, I did."
"For my comfort?"
"Yeah. Well, I figured—I wanted to make you feel at home."
Spock softened. "Thank you."
As Kirk drifted off, Spock settled in next to him. The logical thing to do would be to go back to his quarters. But he had no intention of leaving.
He felt—as Kirk had put it—at home.