Master and Commander

Captain James T. Kirk.

Captain extraordinaire.

In the mirror, he was perfect. Just returned from the gym, where he had laid his First Officer onto the ground three times during their judo practice. His chest was still heaving a little from the exercise, flushed pink with vital blood, and bronzed with healthy tan from his last shoreleave. The red uniform gym pants clung to the muscles of his calves and thighs, moistened with sweat. Turning a little, he could see how they clung tightly to his buttocks. They formed seamlessly over the musculature of his lower belly, formed seamlessly over that bulge below. No wonder he had felt eyes on him as he walked the corridors back from the gym, clad only in those tight red pants and a gold towel flung carelessly about his shoulders.

The door buzzer sounded, and Kirk quickly turned from the mirror, lifting the towel to begin rubbing it through his hair as he called, 'Come.'

The door slid open soundlessly, and his First Officer stepped through, still clad in his own red gym outfit, but, unlike Jim, perfectly composed, free of sweat, his hair perfectly neat, and his body shrouded in a dark blue towelling gown. Kirk couldn't help but smile at the sight. Spock always looked – odd – in his gym clothes – or in anything but his sleek blue science uniform.

He took a moment to read the expression on Spock's face. He was, as always, almost expressionless, but he had known him long enough to recognise the slight look of annoyance.

'Come to ask for a rematch?' he grinned, towelling the sweat from his chest.

Was it his imagination, or did Spock's eyes linger momentarily on the path of the towel as it moved across his muscles?

Spock raised an eyebrow, his eyes focussed wholly on Kirk's face. Perhaps it *had* been his imagination.

'I assumed we will meet at our next scheduled exercise session.'

'It was a joke, Spock,' Kirk said softly. 'I thought you might be nettled at my beating you.'

'Ahh,' Spock nodded. He did not attempt to either agree with or deny Kirk's supposition.

'Seriously, Spock – did you need something?'

'Oh,' Spock said. It seemed suddenly that a slight flush had reached his cheeks. 'I encountered Mr Scott en route from the gymnasium. It seems that there is a blockage in one of the utility pipes for this deck. I wished to let you know that there will only be enough hot water in each bathroom's system for one shower, or one half bath. I presumed you would wish to shower, and since we share a bathroom, that would mean…'

'Oh – well – ' Kirk looked down at himself, suddenly feeling very sticky and sweaty now that he knew that the water was in short supply. 'You're on duty in an hour, aren't you, Spock? I'm not back on until tomorrow morning. You take the shower.'

'Captain, humans are – er – affected much more severely by intense exercise than are Vulcans,' Spock said, stepping back slightly.

'Are you saying I smell, Spock?' Kirk asked, feigning annoyance.

'Not at all, Captain,' Spock protested. 'I merely – '

'How about this, Spock?' Kirk cut across him. 'You've got a much lower tolerance for cold. You take a quick shower, then I'll jump in and get what's left, and it won't matter so much if the temperature suddenly takes a nosedive.'

'Captain – '

Spock hesitated again. Kirk looked at him curiously. For some reason, Spock seemed to becoming more and more embarrassed. There was a distinct green flush in his cheeks.

'Captain, logic compels me to make a suggestion,' Spock said, his eyes cast down towards the floor.

'Go on,' Kirk said curiously.

'The – ah – the shower cubicle in our bathroom is not small, Captain. With a degree of care, it would be – er – it would be possible, perhaps, to share…'

He trailed off, staring intently at what seemed to be a fascinating patch on the carpet. Or was he staring at Kirk's bare toes?

'To – er- share?' Kirk repeated. He stared at the Vulcan's crown, which was all he could see since Spock did not seem able to tear his eyes from the floor. It seemed – that the very tips of the Vulcan's ears were becoming green.

He glanced sideways at the mirror – that way, he could see Spock's face. Could it be… He could see his own figure in the mirror – the muscular contours of his arms and chest, his nipples standing out proud as the evaporation of sweat gradually did its job and chilled his skin. He was, by anyone's estimation, attractive. And Spock… The slight flush in his cheeks made him seem somehow more alive. He was obviously beginning to chill too, despite his robe. At the V at his neck where the two sides of the gown came together, Kirk could see his chest hair standing up from his skin, trying to warm him where he was exposed to the air. The Vulcan's eyes were still fixed on the floor, but Kirk could see a look in them in the mirror. Almost – a hopefulness.

He had watched the Vulcan for months now, gaining a strange tingling excitement in the pit of his belly at the sight of him that seemed to transcend friendship. It was a feeling he usually reserved for beautiful women. He had never before had it strike him when he looked at a man – but now, whenever he caught a glimpse of Spock, when he saw those high, angled cheeks, or the dark slants of his eyebrows, or the delicate tips of his ears, some inexplicable enervation seemed to come over him, and he found himself incapable of rational thought. He had never seen anything from Spock beyond a deep respect and consideration for his friend, all veneered, of course, by staunch, ingrained logic. But now – was it his imagination, or was Spock showing the same strange, uncontrolled response to the sight of his captain as he was to Spock?

He cleared his throat, tugging at the towel about his neck awkwardly with his hands.

'Er – yes, Mr Spock,' he said finally. 'Sharing is – quite logical.'

'Then – ' The Vulcan finally looked up, to cast a glance at the chronometer on Kirk's desk. 'Since the supplies are limited – '

'Yes,' Kirk said quickly. 'We should – er – get to it … I mean – '

Spock paused, and then abruptly fixed his captain with an unwavering gaze that held nothing but curiosity.

'Captain, if you would find it too embarrassing…'

Kirk met Spock's eyes, momentarily puzzled. *Had* he been imagining things? There was no sign of that latent attraction that he had glimpsed a moment ago. Spock's statement had almost sounded like – a challenge.

His eyes narrowed.

'Why would I be embarrassed, Mr Spock?' he asked coolly. 'We're both healthy adult males. We've both seen it all before.'

Spock glanced down at himself briefly, as if to ask, *Have you seen *this*, precisely, before?*

Kirk turned quickly to the bathroom, gathering up towels as he passed through the door, and laying them out on the counter by the basin.

'Two for you, Commander?' he asked breezily, as he put the towels down.

'One would normally suffice,' Spock said – and then, faintly, the tips of his ears caught a hint of green again.

Kirk turned away from the Vulcan, pulling the gym towel from about his neck and flinging it carelessly into the laundry chute. He thrust his thumbs into the waistband of his skin-tight gym pants, and began to peel them down his legs. He was facing the mirror, and as he bent he allowed himself to take a surreptitious glance at the Vulcan's reflection. Spock was standing behind him, toying almost nervously at the opening of his robe. His eyes looked unfocussed. But then, as Kirk reached to pull his underpants down too, Spock's dark gaze sharpened as if he had been slapped. Jim bent again, tensing his muscles deliberately as he stood first on one leg, and then on the other, to slip the damp gym pants and his underwear off over his feet. Spock's gaze was unremitting. He could practically feel it moving over the tight muscles of his buttocks and thighs. It was a gaze that the Vulcan usually reserved for the thorniest or most fascinating of scientific problems.

Jim straightened abruptly, but he only half turned to the Vulcan. He was half afraid that Spock would turn and run if he presented him with full frontal nudity at this point.

'Spock, you'll need to take that off if you plan on getting wet,' he said, nodding at the dark blue robe.

Spock seemed uncharacteristically nonplussed. He shook himself, then turned toward the climate controls near the bathroom door, saying, 'Oh, I – er – I will turn up the heating, if you don't mind, Captain. It is – cold in here.'

Kirk regarded him steadily. Spock looked anything but cold, but he could believe that a bathroom temperature suitable for a human would be a few degrees too chilly for a Vulcan.

'You go ahead, Spock,' he said.

As Spock moved over to the control dial Kirk slipped quickly into the shower, and turned on the water. The spray drenched him instantly, careening over his body and splashing against the shower screen with a noise like rain on a flat roof. He didn't hear Spock opening the door to join him, but he was suddenly aware of the Vulcan's body very near to him. Spock had to press close to share the benefit of the water, but he was managing admirably to always keep a few millimetres of distance between their skin.

Jim resolutely ignored the Vulcan, afraid of any movement that might magnify the awkwardness to unbearable levels. He reached out to the shelf, grabbing a cloth and his bottle of shower gel and beginning to lather his body with rhythmical circles of his hands.

Then – for a moment he thought that something had gone wrong, and somehow a electric shock had passed through the shower head and into his body. The tingle started at his shoulder, and passed through him like a bolt of lightning, tracking curiously through the pit of his belly and his pelvis with almost painful swiftness.

All Spock had done was to reach across Kirk's shoulder for his own shower gel and cloth, and his lower arm had momentarily brushed Kirk's skin. In that touch, for a split second, Jim became aware of a mind consumed with a fiercely controlled, blazing, white-hot desire – something that seethed and twisted through mental pathways more used to equations and chemical reactions and problems that had inevitable, logical, elegant solutions. The solution to *this* problem was less obvious, less clear cut. It seemed to involve a terrifying loss of control, confusion, the physicality of sweat and blood and saliva and…

Spock removed his arm, a look of contrite apology on his face as Kirk turned to him in shock. Kirk sucked in breath, suddenly hit by the vision of his First Officer standing there, drenched, totally naked, the dark hair on his body contoured into ripples by the running water. Every lean, powerful muscle on his body was highlighted by the tracks of the water.

And – Spock seemed to be caught by the same vision – the blonde hair on Kirk's arms and thighs swirled with soap suds and darkened by water. The clear liquid running in rivulets down his face, dripping from his nose and chin, pouring down his chest and the subtle curves of his stomach, catching in the darker hair below his navel and twisting in one continuous stream from the end of his astonishingly dusky-pink penis.

Spock seemed unable to breathe. His eyes had helplessly followed the trail of that water to its inevitable conclusion, and he was captivated by the sight of that undeniably exotic, human, red-blood-tinted length of flesh. The pulsing of the blood – the dark, bruised blue-purple of blood too long away from the lungs – was clearly visible. It was hypnotic. For a moment Spock seemed about to fall to his knees in some startlingly carnal version of worship.

Kirk said, in a surprisingly deep, rough voice, '*Spock*…'

And then, before thought could interfere with impulse, Spock's lips were against those soft human ones, taking solace in the very coolness of them, water that had drenched through Jim's hair forcing its way into his mouth every time his lips parted. The scientific, predetermined temperatures of cool human and hot Vulcan blood were equalising where their lips touched.

It was impossible to say who had initiated the action. It didn't matter. There was no drawing back, no awkward, fearful moment of apology. He had melted into forgetfulness, oblivion. He … they … he – had become one.

Tastes… Tastes of alien saliva, the taste of an alien tongue, lips, the insides of cheeks. The perfect smoothness of clean teeth like kernels of corn, countable under the trace of a searching tongue. The feeling of lips against lips, soft and pillowing, always moving in an attempt to grasp more than was possible, to consume what could not be consumed, for one to devour the other.

Illogical…

Whose thought that was, whose lips were feeling what, which teeth were being counted like a rosary under the tip of a tongue – it was all impossible to tell. There was only one mind, one body trying to consume itself, trying to grow closer to itself as if that was the only way to close out light, cold, death, reality… The only outside presence was the water, that kept slipping and running and trickling down, bringing tastes of diluted sweat and shower gel through parted lips.

As Jim came back to himself he found himself pressed hard against the wall of the shower, with a lean, hot body pressed full length against his. Hands were moving over him, exploring his hair, the angle of his jaw, his collarbones and hard nipples and the point where ribcage gave way to soft, unprotected belly. The force and determination of the Vulcan's desire was astonishing. He seemed to be taking an anatomy lesson solely by touch, discovering hipbones, navel, shoulderblades, determining the precise length of the femur, the number of ribs in a human male, the siting of the Adam's apple, each vertebra in turn from the base of the skull to the top of the back. Where before Jim had possessed a rigid spine sited above solid trinities of femur, tibia and fibula, he now seemed to have nothing but a molten inability to support his own weight. He was being held up by no more than the wall behind him and the strong Vulcan hands that seemed to be everywhere on his body at once. Only one part of his body had any rigidity any more.

Then Spock's hands clenched about his wrists as firmly as iron cuffs, taking each one and pinning it to the wall with unshakeable, gentle force. And the Vulcan was kneeling and – oh, mercy – that hot-blooded mouth was sinking now over the one remaining point of stiffness in Jim's whole body, deeper than it seemed possible, enclosing the entire length in the alien warmth of his throat as his tongue sought out each exquisitely sensitive inch, tasting, experiencing the textures and sensations of the human-cool pulsing of blood and desire. Jim moaned softly, and for a moment Spock's grip tightened on his wrists. He tilted his head backwards against the wall, and the hot water from the shower that he had almost forgotten gushed down over his face and chest. That mouth – that hot, wet mouth – kept moving, relentlessly, setting up a rhythm of withdrawing and then plunging back again. Jim clenched his own fists, trying desperately to control the need for release that he could feel building in him. This could not be real. Surely it could not be real? He looked down on the dark head that was moving so intently, at the strong, long fingers that were curled around his wrists, at the slightly curved back that was constantly washed with waves of water, the calves and the clean soles of the Vulcan's feet, upturned and splashed with clear droplets from the shower above. Oh dear God, if this was a dream, it was the most exquisite dream he had ever had…

Thought was crowded out of his mind by a blissful oblivion that had nothing in it but the feeling of that hot mouth and tongue, sucking, pummelling, firmly easing him closer and closer to the edge. The urge to thrust into that soft space was overwhelming, but Spock had moved his hands, holding Jim's own hands over his hips, preventing him utterly from moving… It was almost unbearable… It was…

And then he was crying out in inarticulate ecstasy, the shower water falling into his open mouth as he arched his head back against the wall, feeling the pulsing release into the mouth of – his First Officer, his best friend, his…

'Spock,' he murmured.

Spock's dark head stayed quite still, his forehead resting neatly against the cushion of Jim's lower belly, his nose buried in the curls of hair there as he swallowed over and over again. He stayed like that until the stiffness waned, and then finally he stood up, always keeping Jim's wrists in that iron grip.

He looked up, and his dark eyes met his captain's unwaveringly. Jim felt as if he was looking into a place he had never seen before. The Vulcan seemed to be controlled with a ruthless force, but there were untold depths of primal desire in his eyes. Spock let go of one of Jim's wrists briefly to reach behind him and turn off the shower, and then he gripped it again, and began to step backwards out of the cubicle. Jim followed him as if he was in a dream, magnetised to those dark, intense eyes.

'Come,' Spock said firmly, turning towards the door into his own room.

'Spock, we're – er – ' Kirk began, looking down at the threads and rivulets of water that were running off both their naked bodies. The water was tracked over the bathroom floor in indistinct footprints, pooling about their feet. Jim turned almost casually toward the towels. It took him a moment to realise that although his torso had twisted, his wrists, caught in Spock's fingers, had not moved a millimetre.

'Spock!' he said in a sharper tone. 'Come on – let me dry off.'

Spock's black gaze did not even flicker.

'No,' he said very softly. 'You are not in command here.'

'I'm not – ' Jim began hotly – but then, as the Vulcan's eyes caught his again, something seemed to switch in him. There had been a rising flame of indignation starting in his belly – but suddenly, as he looked into the Vulcan's calm, expressionless face he realised the beautiful, perfect release of for once *not* being in command – of not even being in the slightest degree of control. He spent every minute of every single day being in absolute command of a vessel and all of its parts and all of its living compliment of crew and passengers. Suddenly, nothing existed but the room in which he and this hot, intense, powerful man stood.

Spock began to move again, stepping backwards with perfect control towards the door to his room, keeping all of his concentration fixed on his captain's – his cap*tive*'s – face. The door opened smoothly behind him, and he stepped through it without even touching the doorframe. Kirk marvelled at that incredible focus that allowed Spock to navigate so smoothly whilst seemingly his entire attention was focussed on the human that he was steering relentlessly across the floor.

He realised Spock's perfect, effortless logic as they stepped into his cabin. The heat in there was such that the water on their bodies was beginning its slow evaporation even as they stepped over the threshold. There had been no need for the distraction and delay of towels. By the time they –

Jim's mind reeled. By the time they – what? Was he - *could* he – be prepared for what must be about to happen? Was Spock as innocent in these matters as he? He could not believe that Spock had been with another man before any more than he himself had. But he was not *with another man*. He was with *Spock*. The two seemed completely unrelated in his mind. Spock was not another man, sweat-scented and rough and animalistic. He was not a man, he was not a woman. As Spock had said once before, so long ago it seemed, when he was consumed with a similar, feverish desire for carnal release, *nor am I a man. I'm a Vulcan*.

'Does it matter what I am, or what you are?' Spock asked in a low, velvet voice. 'I am myself, and you are you – two unique individuals. What more is there?'

Jim snapped out of his reverie as if he had been slapped.

'Spock, are you – are you *listening* to my thoughts?' he asked incredulously.

He could not fathom where his deferential, polite, unimposing First Officer had gone, to be replaced by this dark, sleek being who seemed to have no qualms about reaching into his mind for his thoughts in the full knowledge that the act could not be reciprocated.

'Does the fact disturb you?' Spock asked, with just the edge of a challenge in his voice.

'N-no,' Kirk faltered.

Surely Spock's telepathic ability could not reach any deeper into his soul than that dark gaze already did? The way Spock was acting at the moment, he was not sure that he would cease even if he demanded it – but of course, he knew that if he demanded it he would not entirely be asking for what he desired, and Spock would know that. Indeed, Spock *did* know that.

'Come – you're almost dry,' Spock said, releasing one of Jim's wrists so that he could trail his fingertips down his smooth chest. As his finger brushed over one of his nipples, he gasped.

'Spock, you're – er – you're on duty in – ' he began, suddenly, unaccountably, fearful of what was about to happen.

'Precisely thirty-four point oh seven two minutes,' Spock said smoothly. 'I am, however, quite able to prevaricate when necessary.'

He moved over to the intercom at his bed head, taking Jim with him by dint of that strong grip around his wrist. He pressed the button, and said in a perfectly composed voice, 'Bridge.'

'Bridge, Lieutenant Uhura here,' the smooth voice of the ship's communications officer answered.

Jim started at that voice, suddenly made fully aware of his situation. For the last twenty minutes or so it had been as if the world outside his and Spock's quarters had never existed. Now, here he was, standing damp and entirely naked in his First Officer's bedroom, held captive by a man just as damp and naked as him, who was calmly speaking to the bridge as if he was in full uniform and doing nothing more scandalous than sitting reading Sartre.

'Lieutenant, I will be unable to make my shift,' Spock said in a level tone, his eyes focussed on the opposite wall. 'The captain requires my presence. Please arrange a replacement.'

'Of course, Mr Spock,' Uhura replied. There was not even a hint of intrigue in her voice. 'Is that all, sir?'

'That is all,' Spock said. 'Spock out.'

And as he flicked the intercom off, the veil seemed to descend again, making all of the world outside the room they were in fade into insignificance.

'Now,' he said, the iron tone of command entering his voice again as his eyes locked with Jim's.

As he spoke, he pulled his captain closer again, until their bodies were pressed together from knee to collarbone. His hands released Jim's wrists, reached around him, roamed up and down his naked back, tracking the length of his spine, before his fingers began to delicately trace the cleft of his buttocks, travelling from the very last vertebra around to the centre of the cross where his thighs met his body. Jim shivered involuntarily. He felt as if he was going to melt again as a single digit pried into that closed space, reaching forward towards the flat, exquisitely sensitive tract behind his scrotum.

His knees parted almost with a will of their own, and he found himself falling backwards. A fire seemed to light in the Vulcan's eyes as he caught the human, not stopping him travelling backwards, but just controlling his descent onto the mattress behind him.

'Now,' Spock said again, this time with the beginnings of an animalistic growl in his throat.

'Spock – ' he faltered, suddenly half-afraid again as he felt the soft coverings of Spock's bed against his bare skin. This was real. Oh God, it was real…

'I shall not give you the liberty of refusing me,' Spock said in a low voice. 'I am fully aware that your desire matches mine.'

And he took Jim's wrists in his again, lifting his arms up, backwards, pressing them against the pillow. He sank over him, pressing his hot lips to Kirk's skin, at first gently and slowly, but then in a growing frenzy, catching at his skin with his teeth, kissing, nipping, taking in every inch of his chest and his arms with his searching mouth. His hips were level with Jim's own, his thighs spread to either side as he lay over him, his hot skin accentuating the hot flush of blood that was rising to the surface of Jim's body. Finally - *finally* - there was a hardness there, matching Jim's own, and Jim raised his head, trying with a suddenly urgent compulsion to actually *see* that alien organ in all of its green-blood hardened glory. Surely it would be an amazing sight?

'Is it this you want to see?' Spock asked softly.

He gave Jim's wrists a soft push with his hands, indicating that they should stay where they were, as he let go of them and sat back, his weight settling on Jim's thighs. And there it was – a long, exquisitely sculptured, exquisitely firm length, marbled with the dark, moss green of his alien blood. The skin was taut under the pressure of it, almost shimmering with the heat of the core of the Vulcan's body.

And then he abruptly swung off his seat over his captain's hips, turning to pick up a slim bottle of oil from his bedside. It was a preparation normally used in conjunction with his meditation statue, to scent the smoke with delicate fragrances of Vulcan plants, to conjure a deeper sense of home and safety. There was no reason, however, why the pressed *bayali* oil, and the essences of *jansa*, *t'uli* and *pinuk* could not be applied to the skin. It was a recognised liniment for massage.

The Vulcan removed the stopper, and began to stroke the oil into the length of his erection, hand over hand, his eyes fixed on Jim's and never wavering. The skin there began to take on a dark, olive tinge, glistening in the dim light in his cabin.

'Jim, turn over,' he said finally, and for the first time his voice was softened with something more hesitant than command.

Still, even with that hesitation, Jim could not conceive of disobeying the dark, urgent need in the Vulcan. He rolled onto his side, then rose onto his knees, taking one of the pillows that smelt of Spock's hair and skin and hugging it to him, pressing it against his face with both hands. He felt, instinctively, that he would need something to cling to.

And then a hand, the fingers lightly slippery with oil, touched the taut muscle of his buttock. Two hands, one on either side, gently parting the firm curves so that the Vulcan could survey what lay within. And then –

He could not repress a gasp as oil, surprisingly cold to his flushed skin, trickled from the base of his spine, finding its own way into the tight pucker that Spock had exposed, seeping inwards as if driven by the Vulcan's own desire. He closed his eyes as Spock's hands, firm and warm, grasped hold of the angular bones of his hips, and something – oh, so hot, and soft-hard, touched, and then pushed at that oil-slicked opening.

There came a warm mental wave from the Vulcan – a kind of telepathic massage, relaxing every inch of Jim's body, particularly relaxing that tight muscle that was denying Spock the entry he craved. And then the hardness slipped through, gliding into that tight, moist space. Jim almost collapsed forward, his mind dizzied with the sudden, inexpressible pleasure that shimmered through his body as Spock withdrew, pushed again, withdrew. Each time he left Jim could not help but push back, almost whimpering with the need to be joined again, to feel that exquisite pleasure as that hot length of flesh slipped into him. He could feel something building in the Vulcan like a gathering storm, crowding the last remnants of discipline from his mind and replacing it with a whirling, uncontrollable desire for satiation. It was like sensing a mind that had caught fire, and knowing that no relief would be found until the flames had licked through every part and left it both exhausted and renewed.

Spock's hips were slamming against his buttocks now, his hands were clenching so tightly at Jim's own hips that they were sure to leave bruises. He had been occasionally letting go, to play his fingers along Jim's spine, or to reach around him and tease at the tight bag at the base of his erect shaft. But now all thought of that had been driven from him, by the one, primal urge to thrust and keep thrusting until he gained relief. The Vulcan's single-minded desire was matched only by Jim's own imperative to share in that relief, so much so that the human barely noticed the clenching of the impossibly strong Vulcan fingers, or the violence of each impact of slim Vulcan hips against human muscle.

And then, finally, Spock froze in a pinnacle of ecstasy, the only movement being a soft jerking inside Jim's body, the only noise being a low moan of complete gratification deep in his throat.

Time stretched out into aeons. There was warmth, and contentment, and Spock's hot torso lay exhausted over Jim's own, the thud of the Vulcan heart resonating through the human's chest, the heat of his blood heating Jim's blood, his breath coming in gasps, and spreading out hotly over Jim's neck, mingling with the human's own panted breaths. It was so warm in here, the mattress was so exquisitely comfortable, Spock's strong, lean body was such a perfect shield against any reality that might dare to reach him…

******

Jim rolled over in bed, eyes still closed, clutching the Starfleet issue blanket to his chin. What a dream he had had. What a bizarre, unwarranted excursion into some fantasy he had never realised he had cherished until his unconscious mind had drawn it out in sleep.

*Spock*. What would Spock say if Jim confided his sleeping brain's erotic flights of imagination to him?

He opened his eyes slowly, wondering what time it was, how long he had before his shift would start. He realised his arm was outside the blanket, but still curiously warm despite being uncovered. The light in here was oddly dim, and – shaded with red, not muted grey. His eyes focussed first on an alien, bear-like sculpture, its arms cradling a pulsing light from which scented smoke rose. Then the red drapes from ceiling to floor. The vicious, glistening blades of alien weapons attached to the wall. The –

The hot arm that was lying, perfectly relaxed, across the hollow of his flank, between ribcage and hip. The scent of alien sweat. The aroma of the same essences that were rising in smoke from the meditation statue, but that were also lightly scenting his skin. He turned in bed, suddenly conscious of the long, warm body that was pressed against his, and his eyes met Spock's, and there was no self-consciousness or hesitation left between them.

'Next time,' Jim said softly, 'it's my turn.'

Spock raised one angled eyebrow, and humour sparkled in his eyes. 'Of course,' he said. 'You are, after all, my commanding officer.'