Pairings: Kirk/Spock, mentions of Spock/Uhura
Warnings: Maybe a little angst, Slash
Notes: Written for the livejournal st_xi_kink prompt: Kirk was trying to be mature and polite about his affection for Spock, what with Kirk thinking Spock and Uhara are still together and all. He tried hard not to be obvious (everyone knows anyway), but when Spock got seriously injured during a mission, Kirk went nuts.
Thanks to my beta l_vera01
Jim thinks, all in all, he's kept things pretty well under wraps. It had been easier, at first, when it had just been snatches of memories of another life. That was a different Jim Kirk, after all, and a different Spock. The memories were distracting, but then so was the crushing weight of the elder Spock's pain at the loss of his homeworld.
Early on, during their first mission, Jim tries to tell Spock that he understands, that he feels that loss as keenly as Spock himself does. Somewhere along the way he botches the delivery, however, and it ends up in a huge argument that leaves Spock tense and certain he's been insulted for his human weakness, and Jim desperately wishing he could just kiss that smug, Vulcan superiority right off his First Officer's face.
Eventually, after a few hair-raising missions and a brush or two with death, he and Spock form a tentative sort of friendship, based mostly off of a shared love of chess and Spock being as insubordinately subordinate as possible. Brief snatches of memory have developed into full blown fantasies, but they are sort of friends now and, if what Jim caught them doing on the observation deck was any indication, Spock and Uhura are still going hot and heavy. It's not the first time he's lusted after someone totally inappropriate so he bottles it down and clamps a lid on it and makes very, very sure not to accidentally touch Spock. He knows all about that Vulcan touch telepathy thing, thank you very much.
All he has to do is not touch Spock.
He's been not touching Spock for most of his life, so really it shouldn't be that hard to continue the trend. He does manage to keep his hands to himself reasonably well, although there are a couple of times he has to come up with creative excuses. Spock seems to pass these off as typical human insanity and the few times Jim forgets himself he's reasonably certain he doesn't let anything leak through. The only time he thinks Spock might have had a suspicion was during lunch one day on the mess deck. He'd been tired and forgotten himself and asked Spock what the word T'hy'la actually meant. Judging from the piercing look Spock had given him it wasn't the sort of thing a non Vulcan buddy would ask. Thank God for Chekov and his amazingly convenient timing, that's all Jim has to say.
He gets by reasonably well. He still flirts shamelessly with Uhura, Nurse Chapel, and pretty much anyone else that might return the interest. He is Jim Kirk, after all, that's what he does. And if he doesn't actually go out and sleep with anyone that returns the interest, well, he's a Starship Captain now. He has duties, responsibilities, and stress, not to mention a hellish ton of paperwork. Who has time to date?
Spock and Uhura have time to date, apparently.
Uhura is something of an exhibitionist and Jim figures it must be love if Spock is willing to put up with all that kissing and groping in public. It must be true love if Spock is willing to put up with it in the middle of a bar on shore leave. After a minute or two of cat calls and whistles from the rest of the patrons Jim decides one shot of tequila just isn't enough and drinks the whole damn bottle, worm and all. It's not one of his finer moments. He wakes up in sickbay to Bones' worried face and protestations of 'Damn it, Jim, this isn't healthy!' That's pretty much the end of his drinking binges. The last thing he wants is to have the Enterprise taken away from him.
Things quiet down after that. Uhura seems to have gotten over the urge to jump Spock in every semi-private part of the ship, which helps a lot. There are still a few casual touches but Jim can mostly ignore those. He and Spock still argue, but there is none of the buried animosity there used to be. Chess has become an almost nightly event and Spock has even unbent so far as to ask him about one or two human behaviors he finds curious. They spend time together, eat lunch together, and they settle into a command team that really works.
Every once in a while Jim sees an echo of what they might have been in what they are and that's good enough for him. He keeps things strictly friendly and platonic. He is always careful not to intrude too much on Spock's free time and he looks the other way in regards to the regs (because he'd be the worst kind of hypocrite if he actually enforced that 'no fraternizing in the chain of command' thing). He even goes so far as to offer his ear should Spock ever need to talk about guy stuff. Not that Spock ever will, of course, but he offers because they are friends and that's what friends do.
Things go on like that for a while and then Rigel 7 happens and everything goes straight to hell.
There hadn't been any indications of hostile, telepathic tentacle aliens when they beamed down to the surface of the planet but that's certainly what turns up. It kills two men before he and Spock can even get their phasers out and then Spock is on the ground, screaming and clutching his head, and there are rivers of emerald blood coming out of his ears and nose. There can't be more than twenty feet between them but it seems like miles to Jim. The last thing he remembers seeing is a huge tentacle coming out of nowhere and slamming his First Officer into a near by cliff face with a resounding crunch. Jim sees red and everything is a haze of anger and pain. The next thing he remembers is huddling over Spock and screaming into his communicator for Bones and a medical team.
Sulu tells him later, with a look of awe on his face, that that was one dead tentacle monster by the time the rescue team arrived.
Things are a blur after that. They are in Sickbay. Bones is there barking out orders and Nurse Chapel is running around in the background doing . . .whatever it is she does.
Then Jim is being shaken.
"By God man, let go of his hand!"
He looks down and sure enough Spock's hand is in his, palm to palm, fingers interlaced. He's not quite sure how that happened but he thinks . . .no he knows that letting go would be dangerous. They know that letting go would be dangerous, because somehow suddenly Spock is here with him, in him, through him. That alien did something and now Spock's telepathy is going haywire. He can feel everything, everyone, and he and Jim are so enmeshed right now they can barely distinguish one another. Their link is the only thing keeping them anchored. Somehow Jim manages to communicate this to Bones and so Spock is prepped for surgery right there, with Jim holding his hand.
It takes Jim a moment to realize what's happening, but once he does he tries desperately to shove the hopeless, yearning love he's been nurturing into a small corner of his mind where Spock won't notice it. It doesn't work ,of course, Spock is there, in that corner of his brain, every bit as much as he is everywhere else. He can feel the moment Spock recognizes the emotion for what it is, but everything is so chaotic and jumbled he can't read anything else from the Vulcan.
Time passes and it takes almost all of Jim's strength to retain himself within the link. This is necessary, Spock says, or they won't be able to recover at all. After a time he notices that other people are there. He hears Uhura crying softly in the background. At some point someone tries to get his attention but Bones is there, running interference.
More time passes. At some point Jim is pretty sure that someone sticks him with a hypospray but he is so lost in his own head (their own head?) that he barely notices a difference. Eventually, Spock manages to gather together the ragged edges of his control and unceremoniously boots Jim out of his mind.
He wakes up an indeterminate time later to a worried Chief Medical Officer, an 'understandably concerned' Starfleet Admiralty, and a list of urgent business a mile long. Spock is still unconscious, although according to Bones he's in a healing trance and would Jim, for God's sake, leave him to it and stop mucking around in his First Officer's head.
Jim gets on with the business of running the ship and tries desperately not to think about how lonely it is in his head now that Spock's not in it anymore. It's not hard to distract himself, he's doing the work of both the Captain and First Officer while Spock recovers ( and personally Jim thinks it's a miracle Spock hasn't collapsed before this, since he's been doing the work of both a First Officer and Science Officer). He has twice as much paperwork, a herd of department heads asking him to sign off on everything from toilet paper to cargo capacity, and Scotty, who is mucking around with the starboard nacel in an attempt to improve impulse efficiency.
"It's not that I don't understand what you're doing, Mr. Scott, it's just that I wish you'd asked first before taking the engine apart." He says, fighting off a headache. Really, this is just too much to handle at 0400. He assigns Chekov to assist Scotty with the upgrade figuring that that much genius in one place will either make the job happen twice as fast or, at least, keep them occupied and out of his hair for a while.
He's in the middle of trying to explain to Starfleet Command why they won't have warp capability for the next two days when a message arrives from Bones that Spock has regained consciousness. He spends the next ten minutes dithering around his cabin wondering if he should go down there or not. Finally, he kicks himself out of his funk and heads to sickbay before he can talk himself out of it. Never let it be said that Jim Kirk is a coward. Besides, it's not like Spock doesn't know everything now anyway.
He isn't surprised to find Uhura already in sickbay, although he is kind of surprised that she's not plastered all over his first officer. On the contrary, she's sitting at Spock's side, a picture of regal professionalism, while she and Spock pour over something on her datapad. He quashes the idle image that flies through his head of Spock and Uhura in bed together, discussing warp core mechanics while having sex. He also stamps down the wholly ridiculous urge to take his first officer in his arms and make him swear to never, ever go on another away mission ever again.
They look up at the same time and Uhura rises to her feet while Spock twitches as if he would come to attention himself if Bones hadn't all but strapped him to the bed. Uhura glances between them for a moment before slowly setting her datapad down and leaving the room. Jim knows he should probably ask her to stay, but frankly, he doesn't think he's up to having this conversation in front of Uhura, whatever conversation it is they are going to have.
"Captain." Spock says with that typical lack of anything resembling an expression on his face.
"Spock," Jim says, falters, and then clears his throat and tries again. "How are you feeling?" Something that might have been a frown flashes across Spock's face, but it is gone too quickly for Jim to get any sort of read on what his first officer might be thinking.
"Please inform Doctor McCoy that I am fully recovered and quite capable of returning to duty."
"Don't even think about it, Mister!" Bones yells from his office before Jim has a chance to say anything. "No one leaves this sickbay until I say so!"
Jim shrugs, when it comes to medical issues Bones is the boss around here and everyone knows it. Spock is obviously annoyed by this, although how Jim can tell Spock is annoyed is a bit of a mystery since that Vulcan facade hasn't changed a bit.
"Captain," Spock says eventually, "I must apologize for inadvertently linking us together on the planets surface. Please understand that, at the time, I felt it was the only way to maintain my own mental integrity."
"It's fine, Spock." Jim waves the apology aside, "I'm hardly going to get upset over something that saved your life."
"Nevertheless, under normal circumstances I would never have committed such a . . . gross invasion of your privacy."
"Don't sweat it, Spock," Jim interrupts. Please God, let this not be the prelude to the Vulcan equivalent of the 'it's not you, it's me' brush off. "It's not like it's the first time you've gone poking around in my head." He grins, inviting Spock to share in the joke. After a moment what he actually said manages to make it's way to his brain and he snaps his mouth closed so fast he nearly bites his tongue off.
Oh crap, the one thing he was not supposed to tell Spock and he goes around blabbing it like a love struck idiot.
Nothing happens. At least, nothing like the universe imploding or any other sort of temporal catastrophes. As for Spock, he merely raises an eyebrow and looks at Jim with that piercing gaze that seems to go right through him.
Before either of them have a chance to say anything else Sulu and Chekov walk into sickbay. Spock is, Jim can tell, rather surprised at the fact that his shipmates care enough about him to want to check up on him. Jim is too busy thanking God once again for Chekov's incredible timing to really appreciate his first officer's flustered attempts at responding to his shipmates 'overly emotional behavior'.
Bones and Nurse Chapel decide to get on the action and Jim takes the opportunity to duck out before anyone has the chance to notice he's gone.
He breathes a deep, cleansing breath as he heads to the bridge to relieve the officer on duty. It had gone better than he'd hoped, all things considered; awkward but doable. He would continue to be his normal self, James T. Kirk, riding roughshod all over the universe and Spock would continue to be his inscrutable, Vulcan second in command, keeping him from screwing up too badly while he did it. They both would just pretend that Jim wasn't nursing an unrequited . . thing for his First Officer. Everything would work out fine.
A few more weeks go by, and they get a few more missions under their belt. Jim has discovered that, while it's simple enough to pretend he doesn't have feelings for his first officer when he's the only one who knows, it's a whole different ball game when, somehow, everyone else seems to know too.
Jim doesn't catch onto it at first. There is always some sort of gossip floating around a starship. It isn't until the glances and whispers become impossible for even him to ignore that he finally corners Sulu one day on the mess deck and gets the whole story out of him. He has to swear on every deity he can think of that the whole conversation is off the record and will be promptly forgotten as soon as it's over, for Sulu to finally break down and admit to the fact that pretty much the whole ship knows Jim has a thing for his First Officer. Sulu also, rather slyly, asks him how willing he might be to get into a cat fight with Uhura on the bridge. Apparently, there is a really good bottle of Romulan Ale riding on this.
Uhura has taken to either glaring at him as if she wants to kill him, or looking at him like he's a 6 dimensional calculus problem she wants to solve. Chekov and Scotty have been totally normal, as far as he can tell, but if there is betting going on Jim just knows that one of them is running the books.
It's not only the senior officers, either. One day, during a particularly delicate diplomatic mission, he overhears a transporter room ensign jokingly remark to her counterpart on the ground that they better hope Commander Spock comes back from this away mission without a scratch because they have a half-cocked Captain Kirk up here and he's wielding a loaded Enterprise.
Later on Jim admits to himself that he might have overreacted a bit by publicly dressing down the ensign the way he did, but it's one thing to gossip and a totally different thing to make comments on his fitness to command.
Bones, God love him, is the only one with the balls to actually try to talk to him about the whole mess. He corners Jim one night when there isn't much going on. He even gives Jim a temporary reprieve from the 'no more alcohol for Jim' rule, because they both know they need to be drunk to actually have this conversation. Finally, once Bones has drunk enough to say "So, you're in love with Spock." with a straight face, Jim tells him the whole pathetic story. Technically, the parts with future Spock are classified, but the way Jim sees it, Bones is his Chief Medical Officer, and if anyone has the right to know that a future version of Spock has been mucking about in Jim's brain, it's him. It's a relief to finally talk about it. So much so that Jim hadn't quite realized how much the whole situation had had him tied up in knots until he does.
"-but it hasn't affected my command, and it won't," Jim finally says, "I won't let it."
"Have you thought about talking to Spock about any of this?" Bones asks.
"What would be the point?" Jim responds, "He already knows how I feel. Trust me, Bones, he knows exactly how I feel."
"Maybe, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has any idea what to do about it. He has a hard enough time dealing with his own emotions, Jim, you can bet he doesn't have the first clue how to deal with anyone else's."
"Which is the perfect reason not to force him to deal with it at all! Besides, he and Uhura are . . .well, you know . . .it would only make things awkward for everyone involved."
"Well, I have a number of opinions on that particular relationship, but that's not the conversation we're having."
"How about we drop the conversation that we're having?"
"Fine." Bones mutters, proving once again what a great friend he is. "Christ, Jim, you never do things the easy way, do you? Of all the people to fall in love with."
Jim shrugs and pours himself another shot.
"The heart wants what the heart wants."
Jim reflects later, while he's nursing the hangover, that he hasn't been entirely truthful with Bones. He had considered talking to Spock, but ever since that conversation in sickbay Spock has retreated behind an icy curtain of Vulcan courtesy and correctness. They no longer bicker and fight, and Spock has taken to shutting himself in the science labs whenever he is off shift. Needless to say their nightly chess games have stopped, too. Not even Uhura can get through to him, if the concerned looks she is throwing in his direction are any indication.
JIm is almost to the point of actually storming the science lab with a security team when Spock does an about face and shows up at his door one night, completely without warning.
"Captain, if I might have a word with you for a moment." His first officer says, pushing his way into Jim's cabin before he has a chance to respond.
"Ok." Jim says, trying not to be too conscious of the fact that all he's wearing are a loose fitting pair of flannel pajama pants. He toys briefly with the idea of rummaging around for a shirt to wear and then decides against it. If Spock is uncomfortable with the fact that he's standing here half naked, well, he's the one that barged in unannounced.
Spock, damn him, doesn't look the least bit uncomfortable at all.
"So, what did you want to see me about?"
"I have been . . . at a loss as to how to broach this topic with you." Spock says, looking for all the world as close to uncertain as Jim has ever seen him get.
Jim shifts uncomfortably having a pretty good idea where this is going.
"Look, Spock, if this is about-"
"In regards to the link we established-" They both stutter to a stop but Jim plows on before Spock has a chance to say anything else.
"It's not a problem. I mean, it's not going to be a problem."
"It's true that I've had . . .those . . .feelings for a while . . ." Jim trails off, not quite sure how to deal with this. He's never been any good at talking about his feelings. He is a guy, after all, and Spock, well, Spock's a Vulcan so Jim has the sinking feeling this conversation is doomed from the beginning.
"While your feelings, as you call them, are not unrelated to the topic I wished to discuss-"
"I'm saying it's not going to become a problem." Jim interrupts because he knows that he'd better get it out now while he has the courage to do it, not to mention Spock's undivided attention. "I mean, it kind of sucks that the whole crew knows, but I'm not going to let it interfere in our working relationship . . . or our friendship. You can tell Uhura that, too"
"Yeah, I mean, she's been looking at me lately like she wants to rip my balls off. I just don't want her to think I'm going to be jumping you in the corridors or anything."
"Ah, I see." Spock says, looking at him as if he has just solved a particularly puzzling riddle. "You are laboring under the misapprehension that Lieutenant Uhura and I are still engaged in a sexual relationship. This is no longer the case."
Jim's brain seems to have stalled at the word misapprehension because it takes a few moments for the meaning of the words to register.
"I- wh-you aren't?" When had this happened? And how the hell had Jim not known about it!?
"Oh," It would probably be totally inappropriate to look happy about this, wouldn't it? "I'm, um, sorry to hear that. What happened?"
Spock looks at him for a long moment before replying.
"Among Vulcans, mental compatibility is considered far more important in a romantic relationship than physical or social compatibility. My few attempts to link to Lieutenant Uhura were . . .brief and unsatisfying."
"Huh," Jim has been rehearsing this conversation in his head for days and with a few words Spock has completely derailed it, "So you weren't avoiding me to keep Uhura from finding out that I . . .well, you know?"
"Captain," Spock says after a long moment of silence, "Lieutenant Uhura is already aware of the nature of our feelings for each other, as is the rest of the crew. In fact, I have been the recipient of a number of emphatic retellings of your heroic rescue efforts on my behalf. I have been avoiding you, as you call it, because I have been attempting to discover a way to sever our connection."
"Wait a minute, Spock, are you trying to tell me the link you made on the planet is still there? . . . Wait a minute! Feelings for each other?!"
"To answer your questions in order, yes, the link I inadvertently established when I anchored my psyche to yours is still in place-"
"I haven't felt anything."
"I have been consciously blocking it from you. It is most tiring. To answer your other question, it is the very fact that I harbor some . . .regard . . .for you which, in combination with our unusual mental compatibility, made the link possible to begin with."
Jim's . . .not really sure what to do with this. The absolute last thing he'd been expecting this evening was a confession from Spock.
Was this a confession from Spock?
Was Jim even awake, right now?
Spock loves me, he thinks, trying to wrap his mind around the idea.
Not that he said that, exactly, but this was Spock they were talking about.
Spock loves me back.
Jim has been suppressing his feelings for Spock for so long that it is almost a physical sensation when they begin to unspool within him. For the first time tonight he really looks at Spock, seeing the pallor and the tension underneath the infuriatingly placid Vulcan facade. Spock is exhausted, and looking like he's just barely holding himself together.
Jim steps closer, wanting to reach out and hold him, or kiss him, or something, but too afraid that his touch might be unwelcome. Spock has a thing about being touched and if Jim is reading this whole thing wrong then jumping him might not be a very good idea.
"Why have you been trying to sever the connection?" Jim asks, finally. Maybe just a hand on his shoulder, that wouldn't be too intrusive, would it?
"I established it without your consent, and in such a way that removing it may damage both of us. My only defense is that I was not myself-"
Oh, what the hell, Jim decides, and throws caution to the winds and just does it. He is a starship Captain, after all, swift action is what he does.
It's awkward as first kisses go, since Jim's not used to kissing someone a head taller than he is, but at the first touch of their lips the link slams back to life and Jim is lost in a torrent of feeling.
It's strong, but not as chaotic as that time in sickbay. Now Jim can see Spock's feelings as clearly as his own, laid out before him; passion, anger, fascination, warmth, arousal, friendship, a hundred different emotions Spock would never admit to, all tightly chained with logic and Vulcan control.
It's just me here, he thinks, just us. You don't have to hide this from me
Jim, Spock thinks, and they are lost.
The sex isn't storybook perfect. It's awkward, and at times too hesitant or to fierce. It is, however, the hottest sex Jim has ever had, and that's saying something.
Things are different, after that.
For one, Jim Kirk the playboy is now officially off the market, because, for all of Jim's commitment phobia and Spock's unwillingness to rush too quickly into anything, they both know this is for life. It doesn't take long for the crew of the Enterprise to figure out what's up, and for the first few weeks Jim has to look the other way as a number of items that are definitely considered contraband change hands. He finally has to break down and tell Bones that, while he can understand the other man is smug about winning the pot, he can only pretend for so long that his Chief Medical Officer isn't displaying a case full of exotic, and illegal, recreational substances right there in his office.
If Jim is off the market then Uhura is most definitely back on, and has already been leaving a string of despondent men in her wake. JIm is dreading the day she stomps all over the heart of some poor schmuck with actual diplomatic influence with those big black boots of hers. They've already had to deal with one guy who followed them all the way to Earth from Sigma Six before Jim managed to beat into his head that Uhura was just not interested and could he please stop stalking the Enterprise.
Things are different, but they're good, and, as far as Jim's concerned, they are only going to get better.