Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek. I just like to write plots for the characters.
Warnings: contains slash, mentions of child abuse, some bad language. If you don't like, don't read.
AN: This story evolved out of listening to the song "Gravity" by Vienna Teng. The lyrics suit Kirk and Spock. Dedicated to Lanaea, who introduced me to slash, and to sethnakht, who first inspired me to write.
This is a nuTrek version of what happens after the events of the TOS episode "Operation-Annihilate!" The planet Deneva gets attacked by neural parasites. Kirk's brother dies, Spock gets attacked by one of the things. In trying out possible cures, Spock gets blinded temporarily, but his sight is restored at the end of the episode. The decision to try the cure rests with Kirk, who then feels very guilty for injuring his friend. This story begins just after.
I am a constant satellite
Of your blazing sun
I'll obey your law of gravity
This is the fate you've carved on me
The law of gravity
This is the fate you've carved on me.
Spock found him on the observation deck. Kirk was staring at the stars, as Spock had known he would be. The first officer always found the captain here after a call that involved his family. Spock hypothesized that Jim ended up depressed after nearly 92 percent of his calls to his mother. And after this call- Spock calculated there was no way that it could have gone well.
Kirk had been crushed by the death of his brother, so devastated a blind man would have seen it. The captain had been completely unapproachable after it had happened, allowing no one to console him. Spock could not imagine the agony of having to inform a mother that one of her sons was dead. Winona Kirk had already lost a husband to Starfleet. Now she'd lost a son, and it had been up to the captain to inform his mother that his brother was dead. It was loss that Spock knew Jim felt intimately and for which he also knew that the captain blamed himself.
Spock hesitated on the threshold of the room, uncertain as to whether the captain would appreciate any interruption of his self-imposed solitude. A year ago, Spock would have allowed Jim Kirk to brood alone, but now…he found he did not wish to. He had, against all odds, come to regard the captain as a friend. The ease with which Jim Kirk had penetrated his defenses was unfathomable. It had begun with their collaboration to defeat Nero, and it had continued when Spock had accepted Jim's offer to become the Enterprise's first officer. Shortly thereafter they had discovered a mutual love of chess, and found they had a large number of other things in common. Their minds worked in completely different ways, but they often agreed on their conclusions.
Spock found Jim fascinating. The captain was completely… illogical, but somehow compelling. Against all odds, Spock wanted to spend time in his presence, was drawn to the captain inexorably. Spock had recently had reason to compare himself to a small moon, orbiting the sun that was the captain. Spock found the metaphor apt, as the captain had always reminded the Vulcan of sunlight, what with his golden shirt, his golden hair, and his bronzed skin. Lately the Vulcan had noticed his fascination with Jim was becoming an obsession. He supposed it was a logical progression, but the way that he was starting to feel about his captain had nothing to do with logic.
Spock knew himself to be attracted to Jim, and that, in and of itself, was not illogical. The captain was an attractive man, an exquisite physical specimen. Spock had also found the captain's mind to be of superior quality for a human. Their minds were of a kind, suited. Therefore, Spock found his attraction to the captain a logical result of their increased proximity. Spock also wished to protect the captain from all harm. It was his duty as a Starfleet officer. However, were Spock being honest with himself, he could concede that there was as much truth in his argument as there had been in his father's, when Sarek had explained to a younger, eleven year old Spock why he married Amanda in answer to a query The information and reasons given were not false, they were merely…incomplete. In truth, Spock knew his devotion to Kirk was boundless.
Even as Spock watched him, the captain changed position, and lowered himself to the deck with his head in his hands. Spock approached him cautiously, not wanting to disturb, but unwilling to leave Jim alone to his grief.
"What is it, Spock?" The captain had not raised his head. Jim often seemed to know when Spock was near without looking.
"I merely wished to see if you required anything, captain."
"I'm fine, Spock. You should get some rest."
Spock settled himself on the floor, content to wait. He did not require rest. It might ease the captain's pain to not sit vigil alone. Spock waited, because if there was one emotion the Vulcan did not feel, it was impatience. He knew that when Jim was ready, Jim would speak. Or he would not. Silence or soliloquy. Either way, solitude was not what the captain needed.
The captain raised his head, and Spock was surprised at the condition of his commanding officer. There were deep shadows under his eyes, lines at his mouth and brow. His face looked thinner, as though he had lost a good deal of weight in a very short amount of time. Jim's hair was unkempt, as though he'd been sweeping his hand through it. It was a gesture the captain commonly used when he was stressed or exhausted. Spock wondered when the captain had last eaten. For that matter, he wondered when the captain had last slept.
After several minutes, the captain spoke, and Spock could tell that the captain had imbibed alcohol. He was not drunk, but his normal reserve was loosened. "When we were little, Sam used to try to protect me. He was older. I was his baby brother. And I was always perfect. I went out of my way to be the perfect child."
Spock raised an eyebrow at this. Picturing the captain acting the part of a perfect child was not possible.
"I know, right?" Kirk said. It seemed the captain was adept at reading his thoughts, or at least his expressions.
"Its like I was trying to make it up to her, you know?" Spock comprehended. George Kirk had died that James Kirk might live. He had not known the captain felt guilty about that, and did not truly understand why. It was illogical to feel guilt for circumstances that had occurred before one was born…as one was born. The Vulcan told himself that he should have expected such a thing; the captain experienced feelings of guilt over every loss under his command, whether his fault or not.
The captain did not notice his second raised eyebrow, or if he did, he did not comment on it. Jim merely continued his story, lost in the past. "Mom could never stand to look at me. I look too much like him. Everyone comments on it. Even Pike mentioned it when we met. I have his eyes. She was never mean to me. Just kinda sad. And she couldn't look me in the face. As soon as she remarried, she was off-planet all the time. Which kinda sucked, 'cause she married a huge son of a bitch. Frank…well, Frank wasn't so nice a guy."
Spock nodded. He was familiar with this issue. There had been whispers for several months among the crew about the captain's upbringing: that his step-father had mistreated him. Spock believed that the rumors had been started by McCoy on a night when the doctor had had too much to drink. They had made sense. James Kirk's nightmares were legend. Spock had seen the signs himself. The captain always slept fully clothed, never slept on his back, and rarely spent the whole night asleep. Instead Kirk wandered the ship with a kind of perpetual insomnia, frequently arriving here to gaze at the stars.
"Well, Sam-he always protected me. He was the rebel. He was the rebel so often that I was never in trouble. I guess Sam figured that if he was getting hit, well, then I wasn't. All that changed when I was nine. Frank succeeded in driving Sam off and I was left alone with the bastard. I guess Sam thought I'd be ok, since I was so perfect, but after Sam left I decided not to be so perfect anymore. I didn't want the kind of protection where Sam had to leave. I figured if I was bad enough, maybe Frank would leave, and mom would come home. I drove a priceless car off a cliff that day, and Frank beat me near to death because of it, but she didn't come home."
Spock had nothing to say. How did one begin to respond to such a statement? Spock had been given the luxury of knowing his mother would have done anything for him. It had never occurred to him that Jim had not. The idea of anyone beating a child was so repugnant that Spock could not find words for it, but the idea of anyone beating Jim…. Emotions he had not felt since that day on the bridge boiled to the surface, only this time the anger was not directed at Jim, but at those who had hurt him. Spock could feel his fingers curling involuntarily, but he remained silent, not wanting to break Jim's reverie, grateful for the trust his friend was showing.
"So yeah, after that I never really cared what happened to me. I could be perfect; I could be an asshole; I could be dying. She either didn't care, or she didn't notice."
So many things about James Kirk were beginning to make sense to Spock. The endless parade of women. The aversion toward forming long attachments. The reckless heroism in particular. Jim acted as though his life had no meaning, because he had never thought it had any. He had grown up thinking his father's sacrifice was too expensive a price for his birth, and no one had ever told him differently.
"Frank was always quick to remind me that she didn't care about me, and God knows, Frank didn't either. Frank hated me. All my life it was like Sam was the only person who cared if I lived or died. And now he's gone." Jim picked up the PADD sitting next to him and hurled it at the opposite wall, where it hit with a heavy crash. Spock observed the man beside him, concerned. He reached out a hand to his friend's trembling shoulder. The touch seemed to calm the human. It stilled him, and slowed his labored breathing.
"Jim, there are many who care whether you live or die." A half smile transformed the agony of Jim's face, but it did not reach his eyes.
"Yeah, yeah. There are millions of Federation citizens who care if Captain James T. Kirk dies, and frankly, Spock, it's getting to be a bit much."
"See, Spock, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes I just want to be Jim." Spock understood. His friend right now did not want to be cared about because he was the Captain of the Enterprise. He wanted to be cared about just because he was. Just Jim.
Spock tried again. "Jim."
The too-blue eyes looked up at him, wet. Through the hand the captain's shoulder, Spock could sense the hurricane of emotions swirling in his friend. There was overwhelming, crushing grief. Guilt. Hopelessness. Uncertainty. "We should have gotten here sooner."
"Jim, you could not have prevented your brother's death. It was not a situation of your making."
Jim responded with a statement that brooked no argument.
"Your blindness was."
"I am well now, Captain. There is no logic in focusing on what has already transpired." Spock replied. Spock did not wish to add to the captain's burdens. He was well. His eyesight had restored itself to optimal levels.
But the captain did not seem uplifted by Spock's confession. If anything, he seemed more despondent than he had been a few moments before. "God, I don't know what I'm playing at. I could have maimed you for life or killed you. And I can't live with that." The emotions that boiled beneath Spock's hand changed. He sensed despair, overridden by a sense of worthlessness.
The Vulcan shifted his position to kneel in front of the captain. He grasped the other man with both arms. "Jim, do not do this to yourself. Do not indulge the past by yielding to its poison. You have great worth, as a captain, as a friend, and as a man."
Jim's eyes were dripping tears; he attempted to turn away. "How can you say that, Spock? I fuck up all the time." But under the misery a new emotion started to surface…hope.
"Jim. You are the most extraordinary human I have ever encountered. Your friendship has honored me. You have taken a lonely, outcast Vulcan and shown him the meaning of true, unconditional acceptance. Please understand that when I say there are those that care about you greatly, I mean it…personally."
Jim's eyes flitted back and forth as they searched Spock's in some attempt to establish the veracity of that statement. Then he reached his hands to Spock's shoulders and pulled him into a tight embrace. Kirk's composure dissolved into sobs. Spock held him wordlessly. He knew what it meant to lose a champion. He had lost his own a year ago. But he was beginning to think that he had found another. After a few minutes, the captain stilled, but he did not relinquish his hold on the Vulcan.
Spock allowed his eyes to close, reveling in the nearness of the man. Kirk smelled of spearmint, and against all logic, fresh cut grass. How could he smell like grass on a starship, Spock wondered. Through their skin, Spock sensed that something in the captain had resolved itself, and though Jim's emotions were no less turmoiled, they were also no longer dominated by despair and desolation. The hope and reassurance Spock had offered the captain were clearly present, as was a growing sense of gratitude. Another, stronger, emotion began to rise as well. Love.
Spock stepped back in shock. It was not an emotion Spock had thought the captain had felt for him. He had been sure his feelings were unrequited. Jim had given no sign, no indication that what he felt for his first officer was anything other than friendship.
Spock did not know how to continue. He was desperate to discuss this, but Jim was compromised. The captain had lost too much in too little time. The Vulcan knew he should not be thinking of this, of a possible relationship between them. Not now. But he loved Jim also, had known he did for some months.
"Spock, I didn't mean-Shit. I know you don't like to be touched. Shit. I'm sorry." Kirk's tone was panicked and contrite.
"On the contrary, Jim, I did not mind it." No, he had not minded it. He had gloried in it.
"But you-you pulled away like you were disgusted with me."
"Jim. I am not disgusted with you. I could not be." Spock heard his own voice break as he spoke. Kirk's eyes went wide, as he finally understood everything the Vulcan had been trying to tell him. The captain held unnaturally still, just staring at Spock. And then a smile like a breaking sunrise broke over the previously stormy features of the captain's face.
Spock lost his ability to breathe. That smile was for him alone.
As though they had choreographed it, each man took two steps forward, and their lips met in the middle, as they wrapped their arms about each other. The kiss was tentative, uncertain, gentle. The embrace was everything the kiss was not. Kirk had grabbed at Spock like he was a life preserver and Jim a drowning man. He fisted his hands in the back of Spock's uniform tunic; he held on as though his life and sanity depended on it. Yet his lips were tender and hesitant on Spock's, as though he was uncertain that this was what Spock wanted. Spock, for his part, was concerned that this could be…unwise. Would Jim regret these actions tomorrow? Seeming to sense his hesitancy, the captain pulled back just far enough to look Spock in the eyes. He did not release his grip.
Blue eyes met brown as Jim leveled an even gaze at him. "God, Spock, do you know how long I've loved you?"
Spock did not know. Had not known. He had not suspected it. He said as much.
For the first time since they had arrived at Deneva, Jim Kirk laughed-to Spock, it sounded like music. "You know, for such a smart guy, you can be really stupid."
Spock heard the tender affection in the captain's voice. He allowed his lips to quirk slightly upward, as he asked, "What does that say about you, Jim?"
Kirk laughed again. "Fair enough," he said. And he kissed Spock again. This kiss was firmer, less hesitant, but still extremely gentle.
Kirk's mind through their touch was calm now, radiating a love so tangible Spock could almost perceive it as visible light. Spock was awed by the immensity of it. He was overwhelmed by it. Jim's eyes were luminous even in the dim light. And for the second time that night, Spock's breath caught in his throat.
As Spock studied his beloved, he noticed that despite Jim's obvious current happiness, the trauma of the last several days was still written on the captain's face. The human's exhaustion plainly showed. It was as though the emotional outburst had drained the last of the captain's strength. Though the obvious grief had eased a bit, the captain still looked unwell. He needed rest.
"Jim, as welcome as this development has been, it has been a harrowing few days. I believe you require rest. We could continue this…discussion, tomorrow?" Spock allowed a hint of suggestion to fall into the word discussion. He wanted very badly to continue this discussion now, but he knew they could not. The captain was compromised emotionally, overly fatigued and slightly inebriated. It would be inappropriate to allow any further sort of physical intimacy to pass between them. "Allow me to see you to your quarters."
Jim's gratitude was evident in his eyes. He nodded. They walked the halls toward the turbolift in silence. Once inside, Jim leaned his head up against Spock's chest. "I like this, feels nice," he said. The captain's weariness showed plainly in the slight slurring of his vowels as he nuzzled the Vulcan's pectorals.
Spock allowed himself a small gesture of affection. He smiled slightly down at Kirk. "Yes, Jim, it does." Spock raised a hand and stroked it down the side of the captain's face. Kirk raised his own hand to catch Spock's. Spock permitted their fingers to tangle together. He caressed the first two fingers of his hand against Jim's. "This is how Vulcan's kiss."
Kirk caressed his fingers back. "'em's nice," he slurred again. Out of nowhere, the Vulcan was hit with a surge of protectiveness. No one would ever be allowed to hurt this man again.
When the turbolift doors opened on Deck 5, Jim was all but asleep against him. Spock was astonished by the trust. Kirk never slept in the presence of other people.
Spock walked the captain the rest of the way to his cabin, their fingers joined. He lingered at the door, uncertain. He did not wish to overstay his leave, but wished also to make certain Jim would be fine by himself for the night.
"Stay with me?" Kirk's eyes were bright as he asked the question. Spock wondered if Jim was fearful of being rejected. Spock nodded, and allowed Jim to pull him into the room.
The captain stumbled to his bed, and fumbled with his boots. Spock crossed over to him and removed them for Jim. He guided the captain to lean back, head on the pillow. He removed his own boots and slid in behind Jim. He pulled the human tight to him, crossing his arms over the other man's chest. He felt that Jim was nearly asleep, but Kirk mumbled, "Thanks for staying w' me, Spock."
Spock smiled into the other man's hair. "I could no sooner leave you, Jim, than a planet could pull out of the gravity field of a sun, t'hy'la."
But Kirk was already asleep, if the gentle rise and fall of his chest was any indication to judge by. Spock decided it was long past time he joined his beloved there.
So, wrote this in the hospital out of my mind on morphine. I hope it makes sense.