Disclaimer: Not mine. I don't own it.
A Gilded Hook
"Wer geteilt, ist, hat, nicht, mitzuteilen"- Bargeld
There wasn't a particular beginning that I can pinpoint, other than The Beginning, but I hadn't really appreciated its full impact at the time. It was a necessary thing in light of my circumstances, but it seemed like punctuation in the story of James T. Kirk, not a fulcrum that could turn my life upside down. A definitive moment, yes. Just not an obvious one.
It came on slowly, the dreams. At first just shades that were barely remembered when I woke, but they gained substance and flesh over weeks and months until I couldn't sleep. And nothing, not medicine, not food, physical exhaustion or even fucking until depleted, could stop the nightly assault.
So, no. To answer your question, I had no real warning that things were about to go tits up.
Heat sweat hands like fire and want and love and need you so much my- Jim's eyes flew open, body shuddering as if he had fallen in his dreams, sweaty, slick and tensed in reaction. Alone. He blinked at the ceiling, wide-eyed and wary as his heart rate slowed and that slip of terrifying freefall wilted his erection. The tension unwound in small increments, and he dropped his head onto the pillow with a groan.
He waited a few more beats, breathing deep to calm himself, before groping at his bedside for a tissue. He mopped half-heartedly at the unpleasant residue of pre-ejaculate that had collected on his stomach.
Moments stretched as he lay there, knowing that sleep was out of reach, but unwilling to acknowledge it. His mind kept skittering towards the amorphous shape of that dream, worrying the edge of it as if it would fray and spill its half-formed secrets. He finally sighed and rolled, throwing his legs over the edge of the bed, untangling the humid sheet.
"Computer. Time." He ran a hand over his face, checking stubble and wiping away too little sleep.
"Shit." Four hours till his next shift. He needed sleep, but it had become a rare commodity, and nothing he did, magnesium supplements or rigorous exercise, had any effect. They put him down but couldn't keep him out.
Legs kicked out as he sat up, sluggish and drunk with exhaustion, before he rose to find his unsteady way into the shower. The sonic blast wasn't a patch on a real water shower, but it was better than nothing, and did serve to perk him up a bit, though he frowned at the return of his erection.
It seemed wrong somehow. Inextricably linked to his dream self and that mysterious dream other. Touching himself right now would feel dirty, and not in that down and dirty fuck yes sort of way that meant disgusting sheets and sticky mornings. So instead of coaxing it into a satisfying orgasm, he meditated on unsexy things, like their last first-contact, and when that only partially worked, Keenser.
Willing it down to a half-hearted plumpness, he padded into his room naked and grabbed a robe. "Replicator. Coffee, hot, two sugars. None of that dishwater you were serving up last week."
He straddled the small chair that was tucked next to his even smaller table and placed his chin on the back so he could look at the stars in warp while he sipped his drink.
"Computer. Personal Log. Stardate 2258.9. 0400 and I'm wide awake, even though I have alpha shift. Another of those dreams. If I don't get some REM sleep soon I might have to ask Bones for something, though I know he'll complain about it and hit me with something nasty in the neck." He took another sip and held the mug to his forehead as he closed his eyes. "I'll knock out some paperwork and submit it before my turn at the bridge. We rendezvous with that Tellarite ship today. I wanted to be well rested for the ambassador, but it doesn't look like it's in the cards. I'll see if Spock can handle it. No way can I win an argument with a Tellarite right now."
The place he found himself, so hot so ready, oscillated around him. Dark rainbows, hands frantic and limned in starlight, pulling at him, panting moist heat into the nape of his neck, muscle felt long and lean against the flex of his spine. His name, Jim, called out, not sweet, but fierce and ragged and-
He kept waking up, brain spun, hips working in the air as he thought of black explosions behind his eyelids, fevered flesh and dry limbs stroking him, lips at his ear whispering things, horrible things, gorgeous things like desire and love, and how beautiful James was. How he was needed. Required, like nourishment for a soul withered for want of Jim.
There had been a room; a pavilion, a field, and doorways mostly closed and an eager few opened into vast nothings as he ran from his pursuer, not in fear, but coy, like a girl in flowers. He felt sick and laughed at himself even though it was the sickness of need instead of the sickness of embarrassment. Embarrassment that he tried to manufacture as he woke with a blush and answering flush of red tumescent cock.
He rolled over as he caught his stuttering breath. "What the fuck is wrong with me? Computer. Time."
A groan was the only answer.
I knew something was wrong. Maybe exhaustion, maybe some shipboard psychosis. The dreams were too real, too vivid, despite the fact that I could not see my partner. It was more like memory worn thin by time, the fragile thread of it painful to look at too closely. I sometimes thought I could see something, other than a landscape of doors and choices and buried treasure. A flash of black. Pale skin. Intensity.
Later, on the bridge, he found himself struggling to stay awake as he read the new mission brief and made notes. Uhura had provided him information on customs that might need to be addressed, and Spock had included a PADD that detailed Bolerian physiology. It didn't help his plight that they seemed to be the most boring species he had yet encountered on their mission.
"Mr. Spock. Am I reading this right? A marsupial pouch?" he frowned down at the PADD.
Spock stood up from his station and crossed over to the captain's chair, leaning in to look at the pad. "That is correct, captain. " He reached out with his hand to indicate part of the anatomy. "The available drawings are of poor quality, and do not indicate proper placement." He tapped the pad. "Here. And here. Both male and female of the species have pouches, but the muscle connections and pouch openings have different placement depending on gender. I have requested more information from a researcher at Deep Space J-2, but have not yet received an answer." Spock made two more taps to the PADD and pulled away, accidentally brushing Jim's fingers in the process.
Turgid skin and wet and lit like fires so much not enough so sweet I need- Jim bolted upright with a gasp, eyes huge as he looked at a startled Spock. He was out of his chair like a shot, backing away from Spock then hurrying towards the lift.
", you have the conn."
But Jim was already in the turbolift. He turned as the doors began to shut, meeting the eyes of his first officer briefly before they closed.
As the lift whisked him away he shut his eyes as his heart tried to fight its way out of his chest.
He was not running away.
He was not.
A green field, another door open to him. A forest of trunks neatly labeled in something like cuneiform. Not something taught to casual linguistic students, but old and dusty in its precise aesthetic, neatly regimented. He is running from, not to, and the figure behind is gaining and this is breathless glory as he dodges around the stacks. He can win this impromptu game, slip his follower, and his skin, and become lost like nothing else in this place seemed lost. Spinning in place, head craned for listening, he jumped when a hand reached out for him, slender fingers circling his wrist. Pale hand. Hot hand. Green.
And so right please so close too close to bear and not take so much- He woke on his side this time, stomach cramped from the empty void that seemed to suddenly engulf it. It felt like the flu and heartbreak all at once. His right hand was clutching his cheek, fingers trembling as if suffering muscle exhaustion. He drew them away from his face, unable to pinpoint the feeling coursing through his body until he opened his eyes.
His hand. His fingers. Thumb canted and fingers split in a vee. Pressure applied to the face. My mind to your-
He knew that feeling after all.
Perhaps even feared it.
Humans called it dread.
"Dammit, Jim! Do you know what time it is? I'm on alpha." Bones backed away from the door and opened it so Jim could slip inside. "I know you know that because you sign off on my schedules every week."
"Bones. I can't sleep."
"Me neither. Wonder why."
Leonard looked at him, really looked at him. "Christ. What happened?" There was a tricorder on the small bureau next to the bed that he grabbed. After a few adjustments Jim was being scanned for any health abnormalities. "You look like death warmed over."
"I can't sleep. Not for weeks, and it's getting worse. Can I just get a hypo of something?"
"I'm the doc here. Let me have a look first."
"I'm fine. It's just dreams."
"If it was just dreams you wouldn't be here." McCoy hummed over his readings. "But I'm not seeing anything. Bad dreams?"
"Join the club and talk to the councilor. That's why he's here. We're all in the same boat. Course, you got the brunt of it."
"Except for Spock."
"Spock." Jim looked away.
"Yeah. Pointy-eared guy. Yea tall? Lost his planet and his mother."
"Can I have a shot or not?" He was not getting belligerent.
Leonard sighed and sat the tricorder down. It was the call-your-bullshit sigh, and Jim loathed it. "Never thought I'd hear you ask for a hypo. But yeah, I'll give you one. Let me go to sickbay and I'll bring it to your quarters. Give me twenty minutes."
Jim went limp in relief. "Thanks."
"No problem." Bones managed to half-smile, half-scowl. "Now get out of here and I'll bring it to you. Don't need you loitering in the hall where anyone can see. I don't need everyone on the damn ship thinking we're sleeping together."
"Trying to get into Chapel's pants?"
"You have no idea."
The hypo worked, partially. He got in four hours of sleep that night. He still woke in an almost panic, but could not quite recall- sliding melting from the heat being fucked raw- anything tangible.
"Captain, we have not played chess in some time. If you are amenable, I will be in my quarters at 1900 hours this evening."
He felt so cheerful, he would have accepted an invitation to listen to Vulcan poetry.
"Sure. I'll bring dinner. And no crying about it when I kick your ass."
"Captain, it would be illogical to assume that I would weep, given the fact that I have neither tear ducts, nor the emotional investment that would necessitate tears. There is also-"
"Spock. I get it. 1900, I'm there."
"Very well, Captain."
"Very well, Jim."
"What do you mean, I can't have it!"
"Just what I said. You can have it every other night for a period of three weeks, cutting the dose each use. Then we wean you off of it all together."
"But I need this. Another one tonight? Just this once? C'mon."
"Jim, I'm not your friend right now. I'm your CMO. And I said no."
"Fuck. You don't know what it's like."
Leonard raised an eyebrow in irritation. "Don't know what it's like? I spent six months on a Victorian sofa before my divorce. One of those titchy little things with the buttons and woodwork? I know about getting no goddamn rest."
"I need sleep."
"You need real sleep. This is just to help you get there." Leonard locked a cabinet in preparation for leaving sickbay. "Have you seen Carrolton? He's a good councilor. You need that as much as a shot."
"No," Jim mumbled.
"See? I'm not gonna give you another shot when you aren't taking advantage of everything at your disposal. This isn't a cure. Make an appointment."
McCoy's answering smirk annoyed the shit out of him. "That might help you sleep too."
Jim sat down in front of Spock, taking his food off the tray before placing it to the side. Spock angled his head in question as he sat his spoon back down.
"Tell me about mind melds. I saw you do one. On the Narada."
"What do you wish to know?"
"Are they safe? Are there symptoms that I should know about? I mean, you can't be the only touch telepath we encounter." If Jim looked nervous, Spock was polite enough not to comment.
"There are- repercussions, for Vulcans involved in a meld. They should not be taken lightly."
"Insufficient data. There are reports of difficulty leaving the meld, as well as anecdotal evidence supporting the inadvisability of melding with a human."
Spock raised an eyebrow. "Very perceptive, Captain."
Kirk's answering smile was tainted with exhaustion. "Perceptive, that's me. Tell me more." He leaned forward, uncomfortably close to Spock's Plomeek soup and plate of tube roots. "Tell me everything."
So Spock told him. Was remarkably forthcoming, actually, which Jim liked to attribute to his charm, and not the almost desperate, hungry look creasing his eyes. Pa'nar Syndrome, Syrrannites. Pressure changes. The destruction of memories and the replacement of others when a Vulcan was truly gifted and equally amoral. He assured Jim that this sort of behavior was anathema to Vulcans, and melds were either purely familial, or a last resort.
"Pa'nar Syndrome affects only Vulcans, and is virtually unheard of in today's society."
"A drug to help mitigate the effects of a particularly invasive meld; one that has caused severe mental trauma."
"Huh. Trauma." Jim picked up his jello cup, fiddling with the thin plastic cover.
"It is common in the treatment of psychological problems, not just those that stem from a meld."
"Have you ever?" Jim spread his hand in the Vulcan salute. "You know? With a human."
Spock gave him that look, the one that was stoic and said he was an idiot all at once. It also held a fond exasperation that Jim wasn't quite comfortable with. "No, I have not. Nor have I contemplated it." He picked up his spoon and dipped it into his soup, perfectly tilting it forward to take on broth then bringing it to his lips with nary a slurp.
Jim watched him for a moment, watched his hands, very familiar hands. Of course they were familiar, they belonged to Spock and he saw them almost every day. But now he really observed them. Large and lean, pale and deft, slightly green if you squinted.
He shook his head, not liking the direction his thoughts were headed. Instead, he picked up his sandwich and chewed thoughtfully before setting it down and wiping his fingers of crumbs.
"Hey, Spock. Another question." This one had been bugging him too. "What's T'hy'la?"
Spock's spoon hit the bowl with a clatter, sending droplets of orange scattering through the air to pepper both of their faces and uniforms.
The ache started in his balls, snug up tight to his body, radiating outward, touching perineum and cock, thrumming through the rest of him like electrical current, and that feeling of cock, deep in his gut and in his head as it rode him hard, felt it deep, world spinning and tilting on its axis and then he was running, running, down that stretch of grass and the doors, they opened as he went by. One more, then another, opening to him, letting him enter.
A box. Memories- this time opened. He jumped in and was bombarded by alien sightsmellsoundtouch, a child, he was small, lonely. There was something in his arms, that tremble-purr like a cat, but not ordinary. Thinner, pointier, the tail prehensile, and slick.
He shook as he withdrew from the box, pulled by that hand that had just been upon and within his body. A hand that knew him and shaped his curves and planes with fine digits.
Familiar hand. Clever hand.
Another kiss which rocked him, and a pull in his chest and his mind. Irrational, irresistible. Why why can't I see you can't live without burrowing into you make you my home can't see without-
I thought I had some inkling. I'm not stupid, or ignorant, whatever some of my detractors might say. Ask anyone who really knows me. My bridge crew would tell you.
I knew it had something to do with Spock. I thought emotional transference, that the older Spock had a thing for his Captain and that feeling transferred to me. Or maybe I was reliving his memories; older Spock seemed to have gotten it on with the older me. And hey, if that were true, that's cool. Maybe it was fate or something?
But even if there was some fate at work, or just an older Spock as deus ex machina, I wanted it to happen on my terms. Not just because some crazy ass Vulcan decided to touch my face.
Maybe I was a bit stupid after all.
"Do you know what time it is?"
Yes. And he didn't care. "Lexorin."
"Come again?" Bones looked over his shoulder at something in the room, and Jim heard a movement inside. "I'm kind of busy here."
"Can I get some Lexorin?"
"What?" The scowl was fierce, but at least Jim knew he had Bones' full attention.
"Lexorin. I need some."
Bones closed his eyes and sighed. "You goddamn cock block. Fine. Meet me in medical. Ten minutes. We need to discuss this."
"Okay. I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you with the schedule or something."
"Just- leave." Bones shut the door in his face, but Jim couldn't help his grin as he turned and practically skipped to the turbolift. He was finally going to get some relief.
He was not going to get some relief.
"No. I'm not giving you a psych med just because you got a wild hair on your ass that told you to."
"But Bones," Jim wheedled, "I'm having Problems. Big Fucking Problems."
"If they're big enough for Lexorin you shouldn't even be captaining the ship. I'm CMO. You need to talk to Carrolton. I have a psych degree, but I'm not your mental health caregiver. He's the only one that can proscribe for your damn fool head." Bones wasn't even looking at him now, as he opened a cabinet to fiddle with its contents.
"It was the meld."
Bones turned towards him, slow, and a small frown gathered between his brows. "Meld?"
"Older Spock. He didn't just tell me what I needed to know. He- you know."
"And you didn't think to tell me this? " He grabbed a tricorder and started a series of scans.
"I talked to our Spock."
"He ain't mine."
"He said that it could be emotional transference. Or something similar."
"And just where did Spock get his degree in psychology? I'll have his ass for this."
"Uh. He didn't actually know about the meld. Thing. I might have phrased it theoretically."
"Sit." Bones indicated a bed before pulling over a piece of equipment. "Stay. This might be a while."
"That hypo you've been giving me just isn't working. These dreams. They're intense. I just need a little sleep. I'd kiss a Klingon for a good nap."
"I'm not giving you a powerful anti-psychotic just to relieve your nightmares."
"Not nightmares." And he didn't blush.
"Not?" Bones recoiled a bit and frowned. "Oh, hell no. Don't tell me anymore about 'em. I don't need to know."
"I can't even really see him well. That part is kind of vague. But everything else is-"
"Jim. Shut up."
"There are these doors. And I'm kind of in his head. Some of them are closed, but every dream opens more of them and I'm living his life, but there's also me, with him, and it's kind of horrible and kind of amazing."
"I'm making an appointment with Carrolton for you. Tomorrow."
"And if this is just about sex, I'm gonna be pissed. Don't tell me you don't have a former booty call somewhere on this damn ship. You don't need a psych drug for that!"
"It isn't a sex thing. Mental thing, mostly."
"When this is finished with its scan, I'm going to go back to my room, and you better hope like hell she's still there, so I can have fantastic sex and pretend that there is no such person as James Kirk."
"Okay. Fine! Let's just get this over with."
The night is mostly a repeat of what he's seen before. Rusted memories pieced together like quilts stored in an attic. Some are tattered and softened, while others are in vibrant relief, like a holovid still.
The next day he doesn't go to see Carrolton. Instead, he finds himself meditating on his science officer, surreptitiously scrutinizing him. As always, drawn to the hands first. Yes, he imagines them shaping the contours of his face and jacking him in to that luminescent presence that is Spock's mind. But now he also looks for the signs and tracks that a twelve year old Spock might have left, the one that beat the ever living fuck out of some other Vulcan kid. He can't see it now, but it was there, memory as livid as a healing bruise.
He had a dose of that Spock on the bridge after Delta Vega.
Oddly enough, the memory no longer stings with anything like hurt.
Funny how much those hands can hypnotize. Strong, sure strokes. Firm kneading of muscle, light skirting of bone. How beautiful, how lovely as they move in a carefully orchestrated ballet. Bringing him up and back again on a steady sigh, hitching breaths, light moans lending to the musical quality of it all. The spread of fingers holding him enraptured, unable to avert his eyes even as they approach, coming closer- closer, touching, touched, a sudden profundity of thought that swallows him whole like a welcoming sun.
And usually he is chased, pursuer and pursued, but this time they navigate those semi-corridors merged together as one, and what is discovery for one is reminiscence for the other. Darker doors now, this far in. In ill use and ill fitting. Dusty little-visited nooks and crannies that take his palm and leave a print in his- their- wake. Sadness here. Everything small and stunted and sad. Sad like an estate sale tended by a widower, prices put on far gone memories, shoulders hunched with decay and desperation.
Sad, these rooms, but all the more compelling for it. He finds himself here, in small wisps and whispers. Almost gone even as he appears.
A tremble. A touch. A locked door.
My beautiful, beautiful-
Jim thinks about it all the next day. His eyes are pits smudged purple with watercolored thumbs as he watches hands, fine hands, green hands, moving in their daily tasks. He doesn't go to see Carrolton. He barely commands the ship.
Never really paid attention to the palms, but they are half human, rounded in a few areas where Vulcans are uniformly lean; the mound of Venus fully formed and he has to wonder, briefly, how that web of flesh would feel, pliable against his teeth. He thinks he can remember, just a bit, like something barely in his peripheral vision. Tongue tracing the lifeline. No sweat glands, so not salty. Was he sweet? Sensitive digits like spun sugar or tart like a Betazed honey beet as he sucked them down to the knuckle?
"Hmm." Maybe not sweet, but spicy and rich like cinnabar. He couldn't quite grasp it, as it dangled just out of reach. Memory but not memory. His touch, but also another's. And he hates that, that other him, infringing on his territory, till not even his own mind is sacred.
"Are you," There is a pause, which startles Jim into awareness, since Spock rarely has to search for words. "Well?"
And fuck him if that isn't the question of the decade.
As epiphanies go, this one is complete shit. His eyes widen as his mouth stops, half open on an automatic denial. The oh sinks into a grimace as he embraces the truth.
He knows Spock is raising an eyebrow, but he doesn't need to look. Doesn't want to look, because looking at Spock is a monumentally bad idea. Instead, he stands, making sure to keep his head down.
"No. I'm not."
But Jim isn't listening as he stumbles to the lift. Spock is saying something. Then so is Uhura and maybe someone else, and the words are stereo except that everything has become white noise in his ears and a numbness is spreading to his extremities like some of those creepy crawlies Bones is always on about.
He leans his weight into the wall of the lift as it swallows him, and tries to shut his eyes, but they are so dry. Cakey and rough. And he forgot. Forgot! To give Spock the conn, but he's so tired, too tired, and his communicator feels so far away and even if it wasn't he feels like he's been tonguing glass.
The door slides open at his deck, and somehow he walks-stumbles to his room and seals it. He is able to override anyone else's override, and fuck what Starfleet thinks of it, and fuck Bones too for not giving him the goddamn stuff he needs to survive like a normal human being instead of this shambling zombie thing he has become.
He hits the bed and curls up on his side.
Soon, there is a query on the com. Then another.
After some indefinable time, there is knocking. Then pounding, but it is all very far away. He thinks it lasts for a long time.
He just lays there. Not quite asleep, but not quite awake.
Even so, he still dreams.
I was not in my right mind, but we realized it a bit too late. I had been too flippant or too something and should have gotten real help. Bones had been too inured to my bullshit and thought that this was more of it. Until it wasn't.
He doesn't understand the eccentricities of human emotion enough to recognize when things are really going to shit.
I don't really know who's to blame here. Wish I did.
I think we all fucked up.
God, did we fuck up.
He was floating in limbo. It was almost like being in a sense deprivation chamber, except that it didn't take away all sense, just muted it into a formfitting marshmallow prison.
Everything was pale. Pastel and cool. Winter palettes and subtle shifts in light. A hum low in his belly that matched the hum of the ship and kind of like the one at the base of his skull that he could feel tickling at his brain, keeping time like a metronome.
There were visions of hands touching his body. Rushing towards that tantalizing locked doorway, pulling at him, pulling him down just shy of it, turning him round to meet another body, another way of breathing. Both familiar and disconcertingly not real.
Until it was real again. A susurration. Lights brighter. Noise.
He turned into the sound and ended up turning into a hand, an electric hand that vibrated against him and he longed for it like nothing else, ever. Not like his mother's love. Not like food in a starving colony. Not like his own starship, because this hand was his, his, and it was real and his, like life, like starships.
He heard the gasp that touch produced, and blood surged into veins that he thought were dying.
Spock was there, too-human eyes full and shocked as Jim grabbed his wrist and pulled him over. Spock must have allowed himself to be pulled because it was all too easy, pulling him over and down and then in. Into a kiss that fired every synapse he possessed, excitement rocketing around him like a crazy thing.
Want resonated between them, starting in his chest, a low tuning fork that vibrated through the rest of his body, communicating itself through fingers and tongue until it crawled into Spock, burrowed a home there and unfurled tendrils of sound in concert.
There. As clothes were furiously discarded, swallowed up in the intense heat, colors so bright behind his eyelids that there were trailers in his vision as he opened his eyes. Spock's eyes were closed, brows furrowed, and his mouth opened on fevered pants of breath as they slid together, skin to skin. And the heat of Spock's skin consumed him, was better than he remembered, was more precise and immediate for being real. And true. And good.
This was what he had been missing. What he needed. Not just sex but this deep connection, souls in harmony, intertwined.
And the want and heat mixed with corridors, doors opening one by one to treasured memories, standing at attention like sentinels as they flung open, one by one, each getting harder to prise until finally they stopped giving and started taking, looming over him. Taunting him.
He knew there should be more than this animal rutting, more for Spock, for them, but they were pumping fiercely now, unable to stop driving into their fuck like it was the only thing that mattered. No soft words or sighs or finesse, just animal drive that was so close to the horizon.
But this was not what Jim needed, oh no. Not like he needed love or food or the Enterprise. Bestial coupling was not what brought him to this point, and he needed. Needed…
That hand. Like a ballet, a constellation in fast forward, moving over him, a flank, his side, over his shoulder trailing liquid fire. Fingers licking at his neck and up and the thrusts became more erratic and fingers split and he was going to die as smooth finger pads locked into place, one, then another, then another.
My mind to your mind. Your thoughts to my-
His scream lit the room, ruined his throat.
Agony. Agony clawing at his mind, pure physical pain as he clawed in turn, pushing Spock away as it ate away at his head. So blinding white and oh god, the pain. A sharp spear behind his eyes and hooking his flesh, pulling and rending until he screamed.
And there was noise. More noise. Other people as he curled into a naked ball and cradled his head in his arms and begged for it to go away.
Bones. A nurse. Soft hands that hurt.
But not his Spock.
Something was being said. Telepathy. Emotional transference.
Melds. Oh my god, how could you.
Mind healers. New Vulcan. Spock.
They had refused to accept his resignation.
Mind healers, they said. New Vulcan will give you a new perspective, they said.
Jim, we love you. Get better. We'll miss you.
So sorry, they said.
But he knew he wasn't going back. He wasn't on this shuttle or ten similar transfers to see a fucking mind healer. No fucking way, no matter what they fooled themselves into believing.
Because he was going home.
He was going to Spock.
New Vulcan was ablaze with heat as he stepped off the shuttle. It had been a week, but it felt like months, and now he was here, and it was so bright and alien, and very Vulcan, but with a bit more moisture. He didn't care about that, except that he did, because Spock cared about that and he cared where Spock cared.
It was hard to see through the waves of heat rising from the ground, fuzzing everything into an impressionist mess as he slung his bag over his shoulder. They had packed it for him. Forced him to eat. Made him speak. Threatened him until he could function enough to make them happy. Tried to take him away, think other thoughts, thoughts that had nothing to do with Spock.
They wouldn't let him contact Spock through subspace transmission, though he knew they had spoken to him. He didn't know what was said, but he was sure that it was meant to keep them apart. For his own benefit. He would understand in time.
He understood quite well, though. Spock would be here.
I wish I could remember more from that time period, but it was like I had tunnel vision, and could see, eat, hear, taste and touch nothing but Spock.
I honestly wonder how much I missed. If I had been less far gone, would I have seen signs and portents? All I have are impressions. Silent films on celluloid. Everything I did was to get to him, or habits gained from a lifetime, like bathing or dressing. There was no longer a Jim Kirk. There was only him.
God, how I fucking loved him.
The crowd was thinning now, orderly and quiet and very Vulcan with their logical dispersal, so unlike any other shuttle interchange he had experienced. It was refreshing, but oddly more difficult, as he looked and looked and saw the same build, same posture, haircut, clothing, on so many people.
Fewer now. Even fewer, but he was starting to think that maybe he wouldn't come, that maybe-
He turned, and stared. Ached.
Spock was approaching him, shoulders straight, robes falling around him in a regal way. So completely solid. So there.
Jim dropped his bag and ran to him, raising a few eyebrows in silent sarcastic comment, but he didn't care, oh no.
Because he was embracing Spock, slotting his head underneath Spock's chin and against his collarbone, wrapping arms around him like a vice and reveling in the arms that embraced him in turn, squeezed him to a thin chest as if they would never let him leave.
"Jim." His name, brilliant, sighed against his ear.
And for a brief moment, everything in Jim Kirk's world was simply perfection.
It's easy, almost too easy, to insinuate himself into Spock's life. It's like he has always been there. Spock says it's like he never left.
There is a house. White, because it is energy efficient, not just because it looks stunning against the red rock of his new home. The doors and windows are rounded, as well as the walls, and Jim calls him on that because no way is it easier to build something organically shaped instead of the boxy rectangles that go up like card houses.
Spock says it has to do with wind resistance. Jim believes him.
They have a room together. No pretending that Jim should stay in a guest room, no placing his clothes in one drawer while sneaking into another room in the dead of night, pretending he can't sleep.
Spock wants to show him his new home, but Jim just smiles, and grabs his hand, walking backwards as he pulls Spock into the bedroom with a leer. Pulling him close, front to front, and tongue to tongue, and Spock goes willingly, and sweetly, and oh, god, so right, right into his arms.
This isn't frantic, but familiar and welcoming as they strip each other of clothes and modesty and airs.
The regulated air is cool against them as they hit the sheets, laughing and smiling, Spock's laughter and smile in his eyes and maybe in the very corner of his lips.
Lips that beg at his neck and trail over chest and nipple. Fingers, those hands. Hot hands. Right hands, moving over Jim's body like a lyre. Slicked up from somewhere and penetrating his body as he spreads himself open as much as he can, so that Spock can get inside and be there, just right.
The penetration is slow, a hitch of breathing, a stutter of a heart, hearts in chest, in abdomen.
And Jim extends fingers to fingers, rubbing there and also inviting, and they bring their hands up together. Slotting fingers into place. One, by one, by one. Because this is what he needed, which has very little to do with cock, or nipple, or tongues, no matter what his body might have to say about the matter.
And he is flying free. Connection made, glorying in the presence resting gently in his consciousness. Not deep, but there, a lighthouse. A north star.
He doesn't even really register the feeling of himself coming, coming hard, bucking and shaking limbs, drawn out moans of completion, because the orgasm is so much less than the satisfaction of mind penetrating mind.
It is not deep, not like in the dreams. But it is enough.
Spock is important here. He already knew that, but that fact is brought home to him in a multitude of ways.
Several of the council were lost, and there are few elders left that have his breadth of knowledge or ambassadorial experience. His name is different, but his identity seems to be an open secret that people skirt around, as if mentioning his temporal double would be bad table manners.
Jim knows he should find something else to do, something to do with himself, but for right now he is content just staying in. Spock is busy during the day, coming and going and having meetings and overseeing the establishment of the fledgling colony, so that is when he chooses to sleep.
The dreams haven't gone away, but they have altered.
The field, the purple red landscape of New Vulcan. Doors like monoliths that open with a hot burst of air. Memories, some past, some odd and of the future, a future that will never happen because Spock is here and Jim is here and they are together and they don't need starships for that. There will be a different future, and Jim idly wonders if there are enough doors, enough vessels to store the new ones they make.
Already there is a new trunk, with shiny bound edges that gleam as he opens it and hugs himself to himself. Admiring himself in the mirror of Spock's brilliantly faceted mind.
There are some doors that are closed to him. Older doors with rusted hinges and complicated locks of alien design that might be from the original Vulcan. He leaves them alone, bowing to Spock's privacy, knowing that it must be hard to lose so much, even his past. He won't root it out.
There is a door.
He saw it before, on the ship, in that other life. It wouldn't open for him then, and it won't open for him now.
This one is different because this one is brand spanking new, but of the same design, and gleaming like his new trunk, and it makes him wonder if he is there as well. Sexual fantasy, maybe? Dirty things, raunchy things that maybe Spock is too upright to ask for.
He likes that idea, even though he is quite sure that isn't it.
He touched the door once, and there was a flash of crimson and gold.
It calls to him, sometimes, though he is mostly content.
They are lounging in the bedroom.
Spock is wrapped in a rust colored robe, sitting at the desk as he looks over data for tomorrow's morning meeting. Jim is stretched out on the bed, bottom half covered in the sheet, propped up on his elbows and one leg hanging off the edge, jiggling.
He had been looking at some data on a PADD when he received another message alert, letting him know about an incoming subspace transmission. He stopped reading, deleting the alert and tossing the PADD aside; lazed back, indolent and relaxed and pleasantly exercised.
"Why won't you meld with me?"
"I do not understand."
"I know we meld. I know. But it's not the way…" Damn it. He couldn't describe it.
"The meld is not deep enough, is that correct?"
"Yes! Kind of. It's great, but there isn't the immersion I thought there would be. It isn't like the dreams. I'm you. Craziness."
Spock put the PADD to the side and crossed his hands in his lap. "No. It is not. I thought it would be preferable to start with a light touch before delving futher, since our first meld was so difficult."
"Mental foreplay? I can dig that. Not exactly Mr. Patient though."
Spock's eyes lit with something that sent a shiver up Jim's neck. "If you would like to term it as such."
Spock stood in that flowing way he had, robe falling from his shoulders just so, fabric moving over him like water. He moved towards Jim on silent feet, extending a hand, two fingers together to meet Jim's. "Come. Let us find our repose."
Jim snorted, but smiled. "We really need to work on your euphemisms."
"If you prefer."
"No, I don't prefer."
He was actually getting sick of the doors.
They stood too tall, brooded and kept their secrets. That wouldn't be so bad if they didn't taunt him about it.
They met in their mind as they met in body. A quick thrust of hip, a piercing of thought and Spock was in and around, skimming the surface like one of those silent white gliders Jim had seen on several temperate planets. Jim ran, more often than not, because the chase was part of the fun and Spock was quietly amused and indulgent.
Spock slid over him and in him and they were the same being as he moved towards them, touching their frames as he went, one by one.
Bodies movies in synch as they climbed, as the hallways of his mind narrowed and focused towards that crisp dry place again.
He had to. Just had to.
But his limbs got heavier the closer he came to the doors, that door, until finally he could feel Spock becoming heavier, weightier in his presence, and moving against him was like trying to walk against the flow of a river.
The orgasm was a sudden cessation of thought as explosion overwhelmed them both, but when they drifted back, senses rebooting and coming online again, Jim still felt the lingering effects of disappointment.
It didn't bother him too much. Spock was just being solicitous of his health.
Spock deserved privacy, and there were some things that Jim just didn't need to know. Like the encryption on certain computer files he couldn't, wouldn't access.
Spock was an ambassador, and there were certain things that weren't ethical for Jim to access.
He knew that.
What would you have done? In my place? When you were so entangled in each other you could barely differentiate where you ended and he began.
Do I regret what happened? Yes. God, yes. You have no idea about regret. None.
I don't care if you lost ten planets.
Would I change it, if I could? Stop this thing that changed me, crawled inside me and wore me as a skin? Stop the bond that I formed with Spock in that Delta Vega cave?
It almost seems like a lifetime ago.
Was a lifetime ago.
I would change nothing.
Jim met Spock at the door, wearing a loose pair of gym pants that hung low from his hips, riding just under the jut of bones he knew Spock found endlessly fascinating. He didn't say a word, just placed a finger to Spock's mouth before turning, and letting his ass do the beckoning for him.
He made it to the sitting area before he felt a touch to his shoulder, holding him in place. He backed into Spock, feeling his warmth along the length of his spine, and the scratch of the woolen type material Vulcans seemed inordinately fond of. It was as comforting as the smell of him. Some sort of essential oil that was earthy and a bit like bay rum.
He spun, inhaled, took that scent deep as his fingers felt for the fastenings that held the robe closed. His tongue ran the length of Spock's neck, up to an ear that he worried with teeth. The robe was swept to the side, followed by the thin under robe, and still he worked that ear, breathing hot things, vulgar things into it, making Spock give up some of that control as he moaned in pleasure.
Chest revealed, Jim worked his way down to tackle one nipple, pebbled and flushed green, then wet as he moved to the other and bit.
"Jim." Hands came up, cradling his head, fingers running through his hair, not trying to guide, but feeling and mapping the geometry of his skull. Where thumb met temple there was a spark of mental awareness, quick and intense, but not a meld.
Saliva soaked his own fingers, only to trail down Spock's abdomen, followed by his mouth, feeling the flutter of a quickening heart against the pulse in his tongue.
On his knees now, lipping at drawstring until the yoga style pants pooled at his feet. Spock's dick, so similar to his own, but pale green instead of pink, hot and hard against the roof of his mouth as he looks up, connecting blue eyes to black in silent plea.
He pulls off with a deliberate slurp, grabbing one of those hands to pull it into place.
Spock went to complete the meld, but Jim stilled his hand.
"Please. Deep. Please." He lets go of Spock's wrist and closes his eyes, head tilted back, throat working.
"Please. I need it." Tears forming at the creases of his eyes, liquid hurt because he needs this so much, because he thought he was better but he is not.
He is not, and he needs this. Want is clawing at his insides like a black hole, swallowing everything but neediness. He can see himself acting like this, and a part of him, the part of him still loosely tied to the old him, is horrified. But there is another part, a greater part, that is applauding, because this might mean connection. An end to the pain, and the uncertainty, and the lack of something he can't even name, except that it is a hole inside of him shaped like Spock.
"I said no. Not now. You cannot handle-"
"Don't tell me what I can't handle!" Jim surged to his feet, naked and furious.
"You are being irrational."
"If you want rational you shouldn't fuck a human!" He really was crying now, even though he hadn't cried since his mom went off world for the second time.
He grabbed Spock's hand in one of his own, placing his fingers together to rub against Spock's own, palm to palm, and gave Spock's shoulder a small shove with his other.
Their clasped hands came up between them as Jim held them there like an exhibit. "This. I need this. Don't tell me I can't handle it. You gave me the destruction of Vulcan as soon as we met. I can handle this."
Spock searched his eyes until Jim couldn't take the scrutiny. A meld was easier, because it was reciprocal, and he knew where he stood within it, but Spock's eyes gave away little, and it felt like he was being judged and he knew he was wanting. So he dropped the hands between them and looked away, wrapping himself up in his own arms as he waited for the verdict.
"How deeply are you tied to me Jim?"
"I gave up my entire life for you. Isn't that enough?"
"You could go back to it. No one would question it."
"I get a message from them every day. And two from Starfleet. I don't even listen to them before I erase them. That isn't me. Not anymore. I don't even think about it."
"Then who are you?"
Jim looked up, eyes blown and red and swollen. "The man that loves you."
Spock seemed equally pleased and disturbed. "But the question now is, how much?"
"As much as it takes." Wary eyes tried not to hope.
"There are certain things I never wanted to show you. I did not expect the meld to tie us so completely. I love you, have loved you, for most of my life, but I never intended for you to give up everything for me."
"There wasn't even a choice. I had to come to you."
"I know. And that is why I hesitate." Spock closed his eyes, centering himself in a meditational way that was familiar to Jim. "I am an old man, Jim. My past is not a pretty one."
"I don't care!"
"Do you not? I will not treat this lightly. How much can you forgive? Can you love a monster?"
Jim grabbed Spock's face in his own palms and pressed their lips together, tasting Spock and his own salty tears. "Never a monster. Never." He pulled back a bit, but only enough to search Spock's eyes. "I'll love you, no matter what you've done. You are inside me already, and I need you there now."
Spock performed his own examination, and seemed to find what he was looking for. Tears were wiped away by careful thumbs, hair smoothed, eyelids kissed. "Then forgive me, because I cannot deny you something you require."
It took Jim a moment to parse what he meant before his eyes lit up like diodes.
"But we will do this properly."
"A ritual?" He hated Vulcan rituals.
Spock actually smiled a bit. "No. Bed."
"Ah." And then they were off, still nude, and easy as they rolled onto the mattress, mouths meeting, legs wrapping around slender hips and coming together in the small of a back, pushing, pulling, breathless laughter all wrapped up in a veneer of anticipation that crackled with energy.
Spock worshipped his body, laving it and loving it with hands and tongue and quiet murmurs of Vulcan that penetrated even deeper than the sex that stabbed at him.
Jim was filled, filled with so much, but there would be more and it would be right, and yes, there, hand cupping his face.
"My mind to your mind."
And this. A walk of truth as they merged. The legs that moved along the corridor were their legs. The arms that reached were their arms. Hands touching belonged to them both, doors flung open on scarlet and gold, blown back by the combination of us, and oh, it felt so good.
And the final approach, heavy locks crumbling with a look, closed panels splintered and crumbling like cobwebs in a breeze.
His heart felt light, giddy, because here. Spock was here, and he would finally see…
That final door. A rift that started at the top, slowly splitting down the middle, and through the seal that was there, a sword driven through the western hemisphere of Earth. A crack in the air as two halves fell away.
And Spock. Who he was, suddenly everywhere, all around him and inside him, even in his DNA, so deep he could never be parted.
Spock as a younger man. A younger Kirk, though older than he was now. The Enterprise, though not the Enterprise, something different.
Starfleet, but not Starfleet. An Empire. An iron fist. Jim assassinating Christopher Pike, committing genocide at Vega IX.
"Terror must be maintained, or the Empire is doomed. It is the logic of history."
Jim, dead. Too young and dead, by his first officer's hand. Blood. So much blood.
Captain. Admiral. Emperor.
But there is a threat to his power. Romulus. And it is so easy, too easy.
A little red matter…
Jim lurches away, breaking the bond painfully as he throws himself off the bed and across the room, panting. He hits the wall with a thud, naked and sweating, eyes wide and filled with horror.
"You killed him."
Spock straightened from his prone position, "I told you there were things in my past. A wise man once told me that in every revolution, there's one man with a vision." Eyes narrowed, zeroed in on Jim. "I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. I had to have that power."
"You loved him, and you killed him."
"Yes. There was no other choice, The Empire would not survive. His captaincy was an impediment to my rise up the chain of command." He stood, and moved towards Jim, but halted as Jim backed away, almost crab walking on hands and feet from his awkward stance. "It was- regrettable."
Jim went into a crouch near the door. "And Romulus?"
"I had instituted reforms. They wanted to take advantage."
"Nero. Nero was right. You killed them. My father. Vulcan. Dead because of you. You killed them all."
"Now, Jim." Spock began to move towards him again, hands out in supplication, but Jim was a fighter, he knew how quickly those hands could become fists or reach out to strangle.
Jim scrambled away, thankful that his youth probably cancelled out the advantage the Vulcan's superior strength leant him. He needed a weapon.
"Jim. You must understand."
He flew down the hall, acutely conscious of his nudity- so vulnerable. There were weapons in the study, but they were Vulcan, ritualistic and hard for a human to wield. No good.
Think, Kirk. Think! There was no such thing as a no-win scenario.
His bag. Forcibly packed before they frog-marched him to the shuttle. We love you. Get well soon. Discarded to the side on his arrival because he didn't want to remember. Actively tried to forget.
A phaser in the front pocket. Bones had said: Be safe.
But where was it?
He flung open a door to a bedroom and dived into another hall before Spock came around the corner. The foyer. A closet there.
He padded across the tile, trying to be quiet, opening the door with shaking hands, hoping to God it was there.
Yes. Black messenger bag. The most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
"Jim. Let us speak of this."
Shit. Too close. No time. He grabbed the bag and was out the front door in an instant, strap slung across his chest as his feet flew over the pebbled yard and over the drive, the heat of the ground burning the soles of his feet, probably blistering, but he couldn't care as he dodged behind the flitter and well house.
He found the small rise that had a carefully tended herbaceous plot and ducked behind it, planting his ass on green plants that were the only buffer between nudity and blistering heat. Searching frantically in the bag for the phaser. There. He had it. In his hand, shaking like he was palsied, but he had it.
There was nowhere to go, the house too remote. He wasn't sure if Spock knew he had the phaser, needed a place where his back was to a wall and there was only one approach. There was a storage facility about 20 meters to his right. It would fuck him up, but he could crawl there. He had to.
It didn't hurt as much as he had thought, not when he was hurting in so many other ways, but the journey seemed interminable, and every small sound made him stop in terror that he had been found.
He had left the door unlocked, not worried about theft with such a small population. The door eased open, and the litecrete floor felt deliciously cool against his nerve bared flesh. There was a workbench in the corner, side blocked by a series of crates that contained scientific equipment that had yet to be set up. He was able to curl himself up and slot himself there, made small and wretched and wrecked.
He couldn't say how long he stayed there, how long the wait to his reckoning, but he didn't relax for a moment of it. The phaser was cradled in palms that were stripped of skin and bubbled up with fluid filled sacks.
A noise. Gravel.
Door's barely discernable slide.
"I know you are here."
Yes. He would.
"Why?" Voice a croak. Choking down tears he would not shed.
"Because I wanted you. I always regretted-"
He could see Spock now. No light, but his eyes had adjusted to the lack of light. He was cloaked in a dark robe. Eyes black pits in a ghost's face.
"Because I could not resist. Just as you could not."
The phaser shook in his hands, and he almost brought it down- wanted to fling himself at Spock and tell him it didn't matter, he loved him, that nothing mattered but him.
Wanted to so much, the phaser tip dipped, wavered.
But then he saw a swath of silver in the almost non-existent light, a crescent against the black, an extension of his own hand. An old friend. His Ka-Bar, unsheathed. He thought it had been lost.
He knew, then. Knew what was required of him.
"You were creating it here. Another Empire. Sowing the seeds."
"It was for you, Jim. Everything you deserve, and more. I want to give you the galaxy." Spock went to his knees in front of him, as if he were coaxing a feral cat. "I love you."
He reached out one hand. Pale hand. Deft hand. Palm up, sweetly.
Jim thought there were no more tears, but one surprised him by making its way down his rough cheek, flooding his mouth with salt and despair.
"I love you too."
He pulled the trigger.
I don't know what else to tell you. Not that I haven't told you a dozen times before.
I don't know what to do- feel so lost.
Still there, this Spock shaped hole inside me. My gut isn't my own.
I just- don't know what to do.
I meant what I said, then. I mean it still.
poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.
- Sir Walter Raleigh, from Farewell To A False Love