Just a note before we begin. I did not write this. This fanfic is the property of Has_The_Conn on LJ. Unfortunately, she doesn't have an FF account, and her journal won't let her upload this correctly, so here we are. R she always loves the attention!

Edit: I've recieved a few complaints about this, so I'll say this now; THIS IS A SLASH FIC. I apologize for not posting this warning the first time; I was under the impression that the characters being J. Kirk and Spock, and the genre being Romance, and the rating being M to clue people in the what this fic might contain. Anyway, if you don't like it, don't read it, 'kay?

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It is a general concensus aboard the U.S.S Enterprise that their captain is a crafty bastard. Not that anyone would ever say so, of course; if they did, it might prove to be the metaphorical 'straw that broke the camel's back'; not only would they be down a captain, but a few very unlucky people would be stuck mopping up the remains of his combusted head. It was amazing he could still walk, really, as swollen as it was already.

Spock, of course, found the metaphor illogical, and failed to see how their captain's head was flawed in any way, though he refrained from expressing this observation, as Nyota had given him an odd look the first time.

Such things aside, however, Captain Kirk was, despite his public persona, actually an intelligent person, and Doctor Leonard 'Bones' McCoy was absolutely convinced that that was the only reason he hadn't gotten himself, or anyone else killed yet. Yet.

And to this, Jim would never fail to bring to the good doctor's attention the sheer amount of times he had saved their collective asses with that same deceptively big brain. In truth, it was really only five times, but that was impressive enough in and of itself, right?

1.

The first time, they were (surprise, surprise) being attacked by Klingons. The ship had taken massive damage, and the bridge was beginning to border on loosely-controlled chaos. Needless to say, things were going downhill, fast.

"Reroute power from all non-essential decks to shields and phasers!" Kirk barked, fully in 'crisis mode'. "Scotty, what the hell is happening down there?!" His momentum faltered just slightly when the Scotsman's response came in indistinguishable snippets, soon to be replaced by screeching static.

"Keptin! Nawigation systems are failing! We are not being able to scan for ze enemy ships's locations anymore!" Chekov informed him breathlessly, tapping buttons at warp-speed in an attempt to fix the problem.

"We're being scrambled." Uhura spoke up from her terminal, doing her best to keep her cool.

"Phasers and shields are both losing power, Captain." Sulu was having a little less luck, but he was trying to keep a strong face for Chekov.

"Damnit!" Jim shouted, falling back into his chair and letting his head fall into his hands. The was silence on the bridge for several heart-stopping seconds. Absolute, dead silence.

"Captain!" Someone shouted, but Jim wasn't paying attention in the slightest. His eyes had taken on a distant look, and he seemed to be mouthing something to himself.

"Captain, time is of the essence." Spock urged him, composed as ever if you weren't paying attention, though the tension around his eyes gave him away.

There was another second of silence, and it became clear that Jim was whispering to himself, over and over 'There are no no-win scenarios.'

It was in that moment that the proverbial lightbulb clicked on, and Jim lunged to his feet, turning his gaze onto Spock. The blazing intensity in those sharp blue eyes was almost enough to make the half-Vulcan's heart stutter. But that would have been illogical.

"Mr. Spock, can you figure out which console the scrambler is targeting directly?" It took a split second longer than it should have, but Spock responded, nodding sharply, his fingers flying over his console, and despite the situation Kirk couldn't help but notice that damn, did that Vulcan have nimble fingers.

"The scrambler's signal is metastatizing via..." Spock paused, realizing that it was his station from which the signal was originating, despite the fact that none of the Science Station's systems were malfuctioning. He was about to voice this, but Jim was already there, ripping off his gold over-shirt on the way.

"Move." He ordered tersely. It was not said in a rude way, but more to convey the urgency of the moment. The captain dropped to his knees, tearing off a few of the terminal's panels and tossing them haphazardly aside. He then proceeded to roll onto his back and thrust his head and upper torso inside, hands fiddling frantically with something within. There was a sharp hiss, and a rush of sparks whooshed out of the open panel, causing Jim to yelp in pain, but before anyone could react, two things happened.

First, the blacked-out lights overhead had kicked back into action, flaring a scalding red. Second, a very loud, roaring hum shook the ship. At first the bridge crew of the Enterprise feared they had been hit by some new weapon, but then-

"Sulu! Fire everything we've got at 'em!" Came the Captain's muffled shout, still within the console.

"But sir! Our weapons-!" Hikaru Sulu paused, eyes widening as he looked at his terminal in disbelief. Not only were their weapons in working order, but their shields had powered themselves up so high, they appeared to be corroding the dilithium crystals. "A-Aye sir!" A wild grin appeared on Sulu's face, and open fire he did.

-

It was approximately ten minutes later when the last Klingon ship was destroyed, and everyone on the bridge was just sort of sitting and/or standing/leaning there, staring into space (no pun intended) in a weird sort of shock-like coma. There stood James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the Federation flagship, the U.S.S Enterprise, in a sweat-soaked black wife-beater, oil and grime coating his face and arms, slightly burned, but otherwise unharmed, grinning like a loon. Spock was the first to break the silence.

"Captain, the probability of this outcome in light of our situation several minutes ago was so miniscule that I had not even deigned to concieve it. May I inquire as to how it was achieved?" Prim and proper as always, though his eyebrows didn't even seem to exist anymore. If it was possible, Jim's grin seemed to widen even further as he turned that million gigawatt smile onto his first officer, looking very smug. Spock's chest did that unidentifiable skipping thing again.

"A scrambler is a signal being actively transmitted from one ship to another, like a communications link." He crossed his arms over his chest, basking in his own moment of genius. "And like a communications link, it can go both ways. They were already essentially giving us power from their ship, I just had to specify what kind. I essentially turned the Enterprise into a giant tick."

Everyone just sort of blinked.

"Oh yeah. I just hacked real life."

2.

The second time, he didn't actually save anyone's life, but it was a general aggreement that saving Chekov's innocence was roughly equivalent.

They had been assigned a diplomatic misson on Regulus IV, to urge the natives to aggree to an alliance with the Federation. All had gone well, and everyone was generally enjoying themselves at the celebration the Regulans had prepared. Apparently, however, there was no required drinking age on Regulus, and so no one bothered to stop Chekov from downing those two or three shots that now had him just this side of pleasantly buzzed.

At the moment, Jim was actually aiding a worried, and maybe just a little bit protective Sulu in looking for the young Russian. He had turned eighteen a few months ago, and was technically an adult now, but as Sulu had pointed out, the kid was still the living definition of 'Jailbait'.

And it would appear that the helmsman had been right to worry, because when Jim finally did spot the Russian 'nawigator', he was being leaned on by a rather smarmy-looking Regulan with bright violet eyes, who was putting his disturbingly double-jointed fingers to work on Pavel's chest. Jim felt indignation bubble in his chest, and just about walked up to the guy himself, only stopping himself at the last second so that he could locate Sulu. It didn't take long.

"Hey Sulu, you see that Regulan over there?" He elbowed the Asian in the side, jerking his head towards the aforementioned man. Sulu's eyes darkened, and something remarkably close to a growl seemed to rumble in his chest.

"Yeah, I see him." He set aside the glass of whatever it was he'd been drinking, and was about to stalk forward when Kirk grabbed his arm. From Uhura's standpoint just out of earshot, she saw the captain lean over and whisper something in the helmsman's ear before letting him go. Hikaru nodded determinedly, then proceeded to approach the Regulan who was attempting to seduce their youngest crew-member.

Uhura's mouth fell open in shock as Sulu slid himself gracefully between the two, and proceeded to make what was supposedly an offensive hand gesture, snarling at the man in a tongue she clearly recognized as the native one. It sounded something like; '*pop* shcht *click* plock'. In english the whole thing translated to something more like; 'He is mine and if you do not mind yourself I will break your kneecaps'. Uhura doubted that Sulu knew that, though. She certainly didn't think he knew that he had just staked a permanent claim to Chekov in the eyes of the natives, or that he had declared the young Ensign his mate.

The Regulan's eyes widened and he stepped back, hands raised in a placating, apologetic gesture, whilst Chekov proceeded to just stand there, looking confused until Sulu flashed him an unmistakeably tender smile and led him outside to get some fresh air.

"How did you know to have him do that?" Uhura asked as she approached Kirk. The Captain smirked, casting her a sideways glance.

"I make a habit of hanging out with people with talented tongues." He plastered a shit-eating grin on his face and wiggled his eyebrows. Uhura may or may not have cracked the faintest of smiles.

3.

The third time was actually really hilarious. They'd been on another diplomatic mission, but this one hadn't gone quite so well. The landing party, which consisted of Jim, Spock, Scotty, Sulu and a green-eyed Ensign named Mark Walter had been accosted by the community's shaman, or witch doctor, or something. All Jim knew was that the guy had a bone through his nose, despite how advanced a culture the Magorians were, and he had a weird head-dress, and threw around the words 'fate', 'destiny' and 'in the cards' a lot.

At any rate, it went down something like this; a fight ensued, the shaman summoned sentient roots from the ground to entrap them, and Jim only managed to escape at the last second by exploding his phaser's powercore and making a mad dash for it.

When he was a safe distance away, he stopped to work some things out. He soon discovered that his communicator wasn't working, and since he was now without a phaser, and his comrades had all been taken captive, he was pretty much fucked.

Of course, it was in situations like these that Jim Kirk thrived. He then proceeded to plot.

-

It was several hours later when the landing party came to, to find themselves stripped to their undergarments, tied to metals poles surrounding and altar-like shrine, upon which the witch-doctor sat, sharpening a very long, very sharp-looking ceremonial knife. It was only when Scotty attempted to speak that it was discovered that they could not. There was an odd sort of porous gel suckered to the inside of their throats, leaving them able to breathe, but rendering speech impossible.

"Welcome back to the world of the waking, dear friends." Bone-nose spoke softly, testing the knife by running it gently over the olive skin of his forearm. It cut at only the slightest touch. "I apologize for any discomfort that you may be experiencing, but let me assure you that all pain will soon be gone. Just relax." Ensign Walter tried to shout something at Bone-nose, but no sound left his throat. Indeed, it seemed that the only thing they could do, was relax. Their bonds were so tight they were slicing their wrists, so there seemed to means of escape. That was, until-

"Hey, you!" All five heads turned to stare at the approaching figure. James Tiberius Kirk. Four pairs of eyes widened, and one pair narrowed to slits. "You just made a big mistake, you bone-faced son of a bitch. No one messes with my crew and gets away with it."

"Ah, Captain Kirk. I'm glad to see you have arrived. I am curious, of course, as to how you managed to bypass the guards, but it is a moot point. The essential thing is that you are here; the ceremony cannot be completed without five lives to give." Bone-nose smirked, then raised a spindly hand, signaling to someone unseen. "Seize him." Several much larger, much more burly Magorians emerged from the shadows and made their way towards Jim, surrounding him.

"Wait!" They paused, and Jim locked eyes with Bone-nose, narrowing them just slightly. "I challenge you to Maghar'de'tat." There was a collective gasp from everyone in the room still capable of sound, and those of the landing party that knew what it meant attempted the same. In the Magorian culture, Maghar'de'tat was a parley tradition, of sorts. It stated that, if they challenger could defeat the challenged in a battle of wits, they were to be granted three requests. Such a challenge could not be refused by any Magorian, or it would merit banishment for dishonor. Bone-nose scowled, crossing his hands in his lap from where he sat cross-legged on the altar.

"I am obliged to accept." He spoke bitterly after a long moment. "What...are the stakes?" Jim smirked.

"If I win, then I get three things, right? My first request will be the release of my companions, then I want any and all alterations to their person rectified. My final request is that all five of us be allowed to beam back to our ship and leave safely." Bone-nose pursed his lips in irritation, but nodded.

"Very well. But if you fail, you will willingly allow yourself to partake in our ritual." Kirk nodded, despite the warning look Spock flashed at him, and the determined shaking of the other mens's heads.

"Sounds like a plan. So, how is this going to work?" Bone-nose smirk devilishly.

"It is simple. In order to recieve that which you wish, you must answer me these questions three." Jim rolled his eyes, but nodded, gesturing for Bone-nose to go on.

"I have many feathers to help me fly. I have a body and head, but I'm not alive. It is your strength which determines how far I go. You can hold me in your hand, but I'm never thrown." The Magorian recited, eyes glittering maliciously. "What am I?" There was silence for a moment.

"An arrow." Jim grinned when the Magorian scowled, giving a 'bring it on' gesture. Bone-nose quickly hid his irritation, and spoke again.

"An old man wanted to leave all of his money to one of his three sons, but he didn't know which one he should give it to. He gave each of them a few coins and told them to buy something that would be able to fill their living room. The first man bought straw, but there was not enough to fill the room. The second bought some sticks, but they still did not fill the room. The third man bought two things that filled the room, so he obtained his father's fortune. What were the two things that the man bought?" Another pause, longer this time. The tension in the air could be cut with a knife as everyone in the room seemed to hold their breath. Finally, a lightbulb seemed to come on over Kirk's head, and he answered.

"A box of matches and firewood." He responded. "The smoke filled the room." The witch-doctor bit his lip in contained rage, clenching his fist around the ceremonial knife. There was a pregnant moment of silence, then the scowl suddenly morphed into a look that was positively evil.

"Very well. Answer me this; what-" he paused for dramatic effect. "-is the quickest way to a man's heart?" If the situation wasn't so serious, Jim might have burst out laughing at this. It was serious though, because he didn't know the answer.

From behind the shaman Scotty was wriggling around frantically, mouthing; 'His stomach, laddie, his stomach! Sandwiches!' But no, the answer was too predictable, too easy. It was then that Jim realized there wasn't supposed to be a correct answer. Bone-nose wanted to make sure he lost.

"Hmmm..." He stroked his chin in mock-thought, remaining silent for a painfully long period of time. Finally, he looked up and snapped his fingers, as if in realization.

"Yes?" Bone-nose asked, grinning in anticipation, leaning forward almost far enough to topple over the edge of the altar.

"Chuck Norris's fist."

He toppled over the edge of the altar.

In the split second made available to him Jim kicked one of the burly Magorians in the stomach, causing him to double over, and grabbed his phaser. He then whipped around an fired, once, twice, three times, and then four. Each shot hit its mark, melting through the chains binding the wrists of both Spock and Sulu, who fell to the floor, and regained their bearings with impressive speed. All Jim had time to see before the other Magorians knocked him out was Spock nerve-pinching the raging shaman, and Sulu snatching up the ceremonial knife, taking on a fencing stance.

-

About half an hour later, they were beamed back onto the Enterprise, and Bones quickly found out how to remove the gel from their throats. When Jim came to in sickbay, there was only one question on the minds of his crew. Scotty was the one to voice it.

"Chuck Norris's fist?"

4.

The fourth time was several months later, was admittedly less humorous, and didn't require so much smart-thinking as quick reflexes. Kirk still insisted it counted, however. They were exploring a new planet on the outskirts of an unnamed sector, which was proven to be devoid of sentient life, but rich in flora and fauna. It was for this reason that Kirk had managed to talk his way into the landing party, despite the fact that it was against regulation for both the Captain and First Officer to leave the ship. ("Come on, what could happen? We both get mauled by a tribble? Don't sweat it, Spock. It'll be fine.")

At the moment the two were studying the strange array of plant life, or, Spock was, and Kirk was following him around, making idle conversation.

"So, we still on for chess later tonight?" the Captain asked as his First examined a web-leafed plant with several large, tube-like stems which he surmised were used to capture rainwater. Spock could not help the slight twitch of his mouth, quirking upward in his very-subdued version of a smile. In the past months it had become something of a tradition for the two of them to play chess after their shift, and the Vulcan had been pleasantly surprised to discover that Kirk made a worthier adversary than any other human he had played. The man had even managed to beat him several times.

"If my findings do not prove to require excessive attention I would not be adverse to such an activity." He responded, inclining his head just so in that very Spock-ish way. Jim found it to be pretty damn endearing, and at this point he wasn't ashamed to admit it to himself. He'd never say it out loud, though.

"Great." Jim flashed that blinding smile of his, and this time Spock's heart really did stutter. In fact, it actually did a bit of a flip. If Vulcans experienced such emotional things as 'liking', he would be able to say that he liked the Captain's smile. But they didn't. So he didn't. He also didn't like the color of Jim's eyes, or the way they seemed to shimmer when he was pleased. Not at all.

"So what is this thing?" Jim asked after a few moments, kneeling down beside Spock to examine the odd plant.

"I am not entirely sure, Captain. It would be wisest to consult with Mr. Sulu before making any conclusive opinions." Spock definitely didn't like the way his Captain's shoulder brushed against his for the briefest of moments. He also didn't have to contain a slight shudder at the buzz he felt across his skin, even through his shirt.

"Please, Spock; call me Jim." He insisted for what was perhaps the fiftieth time. Spock certainly would not call the Captain Jim, but only because he actually really wanted to call him Jim, and doing so would be an acknowledgement of that fact. Which wasn't a fact. No, it was not. He was about to comment on the illogic of this request, reaching out to take a scraping of the plant's leaf matter with a scalpel when a sharp cry of warning was heard from behind them.

"Commander! Don't-!" But Sulu's warning came too late, as the scalpel had already made contact with the leaf. The plant shuddered, and Kirk lunged, shoving Spock bodily out of the way just before a long, thick black thorn shot out of the tube-like stem, puncturing his chest.

There was a moment of stillness, as time itself seemed to freeze in shock, but then the thorn slowly retracted back into the stem, causing Jim to let out a wet cough, splattering blood down his chin. He fell over onto his side, chest heaving.

"Jim!" Spock shouted, feeling something clench tightly within his chest. He was on his feet in a moment, and at his Captain's side in another. "Mr. Sulu! Contact Mr. Scott and request that he beam us up immediately. Inform him of our situation and have Dr. McCoy make the required preparations to recieve the Captain in sickbay." Sulu nodded, wide-eyed, and pulled out his communicator, speaking frantically into it. Spock was certain he heard the word 'toxin' in there somewhere, but he couldn't be bothered to pay attention. Right now his universe consisted of only Jim, whose head he had elevated into his lap, whose face he was now looking down on.

"Jim? Jim, can you hear me?" His voice was just as expressionless as ever to the untrained ear, but it held a slightly panicked undertone which he couldn't spare the attention to repress. His Captain was pale, and his skin was beginning to turn yellow, presumably from the toxins spreading in his system. He was also losing a fair amount of blood. "Jim, what is your assessment of your condition?" The Vulcan had subconciously begun brushing his fingers through Kirk's hair, his brows creased in worry. Jim seemed to be struggling to focus on him, narrowing his eyes.

"Spock..." his voice was noticably slurred. "-are...you're okay, right?" He felt that clenching sensation in his chest again.

"I am unharmed, Jim. My concern lies with your own health." His Captain seemed unfocused for a second, then a drowsy smile spread across his face, and it was so sincerely happy that the Vulcan's breath caught in his throat.

"Hey...you're...you're calling me Jim..." He said softly, his eyes dancing in that way that Spock really, really did like.

"I-I apologize, Capta-"

"No, I like it...s'nice..." Jim closed his eyes, sighing softly as he nuzzled into Spock's abdomen. A mixed sensation settled into the half-Vulcan's chest, simultaneously giddily warm and bitterly cold. The warmth he could not explain, but the cold, he could. He must keep Jim concious.

"Ca-Jim. Jim, it is imperative that you remain fully cognitive until Doctor McCoy can administer medical aid." He spoke urgently, shaking Kirk just slightly.

"Mmh...keep talkin'..." His Captain's pallor was now quite sickly, and a feeling of dread was writhing in Spock's stomach. But talk he did, allowing his mouth to go on autopilot for the next one point three minutes, explaining various scientific theories that had no relevance to the situation at hand. Jim did appear to be trying to keep his eyes open, but by the time the blinding white light of the transporter beam engulfed them, his breathing was barely noticable, and his eyes had rolled back into his head.

"Jim! Jim!" Spock felt a strange stinging behind his eyes that he could not explain as they materialised back on the Enterprise, and the raw fear in his heart was insuppresible. Jim could not die!

"Move!" A harsh shout came from beside him, and he almost growled as his Captain was taken from his arms. McCoy was there, scanning Kirk as quickly as he could, muttering an array of 'damnit, Jim's under his breath. He swiftly injected him with a hypo-spray, then turned to Spock. "Help me get him to sickbay! I've neutralized the poison, but he's lost a lot of blood." Spock nodded, lifting the Captain, his Captain, into his arms as easily as if he were a kitten, carrying him bridal-style as they rushed the prone man to sickbay. It was all Spock could do not to continue his absent murmuring from moments before, more to comfort himself than anything. Kirk was unconcious, he could not hear him, and to do so would be illogical and un-Vulcan.

But at the moment the only thought he could comprehend was that he did not want his Captain to die.

-

It was several hours later, and Spock was back on the bridge, resisting the urge to pace as he waited for news on Jim's condition. It was illogical to feel guilty; he could not have controlled the Captain's actions. He could not have kept him from pushing him out of the way without prior knowledge of the man's intentions, which he had not had. But...if he had known what the plant was, or if he had consulted Sulu before making physical contact with it, if he had been more logical in the first place...

The half-Vulcan closed his eyes, exhaling slowly through his nose. Blaming himself would not do him, or the Captain any good.

"McCoy to the Bridge." Spock answered the communication perhaps a split second quicker than he normally might.

"This is the Bridge. What is the Captain's status?" There was a crackle of static as McCoy sighed.

"He's stable. The poison was a fast-acting paralytic; not as bad as I'd thought, and he didn't damage any vital organs. He'll be fine." A collective sigh washed over the Bridge as its occupants untensed, some of them smiling shakily in relief. Spock sank slowly back into his seat, resisting the urge to join them.

"Thank you, Doctor. Bridge, out." He sat back, though his posture remained impeccable, and cast his gaze to the cieling, torn between his duty to stay on the Bridge and the illogical desire to ascertain the Captain's condition for himself. He should be satisfied to just take the good doctor's word on the matter, but he felt the need to be at Jim's side, to see him breathing with his own eyes.

He glanced over his shoulder as a slender hand came to rest on it, and looked up into the chocolate-brown eyes of Nyota, who was smiling faintly.

"Go. We can handle things up here for now." She said with an understanding look Spock could not quite comprehend. Regardless, he nodded, thanking her quietly as he rose to his feet, making his way to the turbolift.

"Mr. Sulu, you have the conn."

-

Spock sat by the Captain's bed in sickbay for a full hour before the man awoke, simply watching his chest rise and fall, undeniably relieved to see that its movement was deep and even. When Jim stirred he leaned forward slightly, feeling something jump inside him. He could only assume that these sensations indicated that he was ill; perhaps he would have Dr. McCoy scan him at a later date.

"Jim?" He asked. Blue eyes slid open, blinking blearily for a few seconds before settling on the Vulcan. Jim smiled.

"Hey." He said raspily.

"Jim..." He almost-sighed, relief dancing in his eyes even as his face remained dead-pan. Jim chuckled raggedly.

"What, did you think I'd let myself get killed by some lousy plant?" His smile turned into a grin. "James Kirk, savior of Earth, meets his match in a clover." Spock's lips quirked up just slightly, and his eyebrow raised in amusement, though it lasted only for a moment. The Vulcan looked down at his boots, feeling the full weight of guilt settle back on him.

"Hey." Jim's voice was stern now. "Hey, look at me." He reached out and squeezed his First Officer's hand, causing the man to gasp and look up, ears flushing green. "If you try to blame yourself for this I'll kick you in the spleen." His tone was deadly serious, but the effect was ruined by the humor dancing in his eyes. "You got that?" Slowly, Spock nodded, trying to ignore the crackling sensations that were buzzing up him arm.

"Good." Jim nodded once, then let his eyes slide shut again, falling into a much more peaceful state of rest, more sleep than unconciousness. Spock hesitated for a moment, then removed his hand from Kirk's, puzzled by his reluctance to do so.

Perhaps he would not inform the Captain of the sensitivty of Vulcan hands. After all, it would be illogical to give the mischevious man any information that could be used against him at a later date, wouldn't it? It certainly wasn't because he had enjoyed Jim holding his hand.

5.

The particulars of the fifth time are a little sketchy to the crew of the Enterprise, but Spock remembers it in vivd clarity. To this day he looks back on the memory, and almost-smiles in that way that he does.

Another plant-related mishap had led to the half-Vulcan becoming infected with brain-spores. The spores were harmless to human physiology, but their effect on the Vulcan in him might have proved deadly, had it not been for Jim. The spores caused his brain to release a high excess of negative endorphins, enough to shut his cranial activity off completely if given the proper amount of time to metastatize. As it was, however, it had left him in an extremely volatile state, and he had been forcibly confined to his quarters to prevent him harming any other member of the crew until a solution could be found.

Hikaru Sulu, being the botanical genius that he was, was able to inform both Jim and Bones that there was only one way to kill the spores; to counter-act them with positive endorphins. Which of course was a problem, as Spock constantly maintained that Vulcans did not feel such human things as happiness or pleasure. Things didn't look too good.

"I'll talk to him." Jim said after a few moments of silence. The doctor looked at him as if he were insane.

"Are you off your nut?! Damnit, Jim; he's three times stronger than you are! He'll tear you to pieces!"

"Bones, think about it. I'm the only one who's ever been able to provoke him before."

"Yeah, and the green-blooded hobgoblin nearly killed you then." McCoy snarked, crossing his arms over his chest. Jim rubbed the back of his neck absently.

"But if I can do that, it just stands to reason I can do the opposite too, right? I'll think of something." Bones shook his head resolutely, his trademark scowl firmly in place.

"No way am I letting you in a room with him. Not on your life." Jim sighed, looking at his best friend imploringly.

"Do we have any other options?" He asked. When the doctor didn't respond he turned on his heel, already making his way towards Spock's quarters.

"Damnit, Jim, get back here!" But the turbolift was already closing behind him. The good doctor slammed his head against its closed door, growling under his breath.

-

"Spock?" Jim slid into his First Officer's quarters cautiously. The lights had been dimmed to the lowest possible setting, and the environmental systems were jacked up so high he was already sweating. "Hey Spock, its Jim." He barely had time to finish the sentence before a PADD came sailing towards him at an alarming speed. It missed by a hair's-bredth, shattering against the wall.

"Captain." The voice was cold, clipped, and contained more murderous vibes than a roaring Klingon; and the worst part was that it came from his first officer, who at the moment didn't look a lot like his first officer. His normally impeccable hair was sticking out in odd directions, and, yes, those were bits of glass sprinkled across the shoulders of his rumpled uniform. His slender hands were clenched into tight fists, knuckles bone-white, and the sheer hatred in those dark brown eyes was absolutely unsettling. "I must request that you depart immediately." Jim blinked in shock, once, twice, then steeled himself and shook his head.

"I'm sorry, Spock, but I can't do that." He said firmly, taking a determined step forward. "Spock, if those spores are allowed to mess with your head any longer-"

"Oh, so that is what this is about, is it?" If the sheer ice in his First's voice hadn't been enough to shut down his train of thought, the look of pain that had suddenly flickered across his eyes, leaving them bleak in its wake sure as hell was.

"Spock, what do you-?" He was cut off again when the Vulcan growled, clenching his fists tightly.

"I think that you are aware of my meaning." He said coldly, an angry arch to his elegant brows. "You seem to be under the impression that I am incapable of experiencing negative feelings without outside stimuli." Jim opened his mouth, but shut it again as Spock lurched forward, his voice quickly rising to a shout, startling the Captain into stepping back. "Am I not permitted to simply be upset?!" He barked, his eyes looking slightly wet. "The logical Vulcan couldn't possibly just be experiencing a 'bad day', the only possible explanation is mind-altering paraphenalia!" He took another step forward.

"Spock-"

"No!" Jim's back was up against the wall now, and Spock was closing in gradually. "Does this make you happy?!" He demanded, grabbing his Captain's shoulders and shoving him further into the wall, snarling through what were now obviously unshed tears. "Does it please you to know that I feel?! My emotions are of no concern to you! You know nothing about what I feel, about what I have been forced to endure! You know nothing about me..." He trailed off on a deadly tone, his hands threatening to wander to Jim's throat. There was a long moment of pregnant silence.

"I..." Jim paused, looking deep into his First Officer's eyes, seeing a deep-seated agony there. Whether it was influenced by the spores or not, that emotion was real. It was very real. "I know-"

"What do you know, Jim? Enlighten me." Another pause.

"I know that your favorite color is blue; not science blue, robin's egg blue. I know that you like it because your mother used to paint her nails that color. I know that you like to read Terran poetry in your spare time, and that you have an ear for music. I know that Mozart helps you fall asleep when you can't stop thinking, and that you love the smell of cinnamon. I know that you specifically buy vanilla-scented candles for your meditation because it reminds you of home. I know-" He swallowed, trying in vain to wet his desperately dry throat. "I know that you're secretly a romantic at heart. Everyone thinks you take relationships really seriously, but the truth is that...that you're just waiting for the right person. You don't build up walls to keep people out; you build them to see if anyone will be brave enough to break them down. I know that you need someone who really understands you, who knows why you do the things you do, and accepts you, every part of you. Not someone who's the same as you; someone who can fill in the places that you lack, someone that you can do the same for, that you can balance. I know that you need someone who...who will love you unconditionally, in sickness and in health, in living and dying, and beyond. And I know..." He swallowed again, watching in awe as Spock's eyes widened with every word, how tears began to roll down his face unrestrained.

"I know that I need you." He smiled sadly, placing a comforting hand on his First Officer's shoulder. Spock didn't seem to know how to respond to this, remaining unmoving, save the tears still trickling down to drip from the sharp tip of his nose and the tapered point of his chin. Five minutes passed in silence before Jim broke, pulling Spock towards him into a tight embrace. The Vulcan stiffened in surprise, but quickly relaxed, fisting his hands in his Captain's shirt, burying his face in Jim's neck. They sank to the floor and just sat there for a long time, the 'emotionless' Vulcan crying softly into the brash human's shoulder, who just held him, rocking slightly back and forth as his mother had done for him when he was little, but when their eyes finally met again, Jim could see something else in the depths of those endless pools of black; it was fleeting, but he was sure that for just a moment, he had seen genuine happiness there.

+1

Then, there is the sixth time, but there are only two people who know about that one, and that's how they plan on keeping it, because some things are just meant to be kept a secret.

-

Spock sighed. Just once. Had he been anywhere but his own quarters he would not have done so, but as there was no one around to bear witness to this small show of emotions, he indulged himself. It seemed he was doing that more and more since he had met...well, to be frank, the most illogical, intriguing, and absolutely amazing man he had ever had the pleasure of knowing. The Vulcan closed his eyes for a moment, reopening them to the pages of the book he was reading; an actual book, he was content to note. If there was one thing he honestly 'liked', it was the feel of actual pages beneath his fingertips.

How happy some o'er other some can be! Through Athens I am thought as fair as she. But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so; He will not know what all but he do know: And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes, So I, admiring of his qualities...

He didn't sigh this time, but he almost groaned, closing his eyes again. Though he did have a penchant for Shakespeare's works, perhaps, given his current predicament, it was not wise to be reading a love story. Love. Yes, there was no other word for the feeling, the honest-to-Surak feeling that welled up in his chest in his Captain's presence. An all-consuming warmth that made him feel as if he was floating in zero-gravity, like soaring on the wings of a bird. His illogical behavior was increasing exponentially with his exposure to Jim, it seemed.

Jim... He even loved just saying his name. Every touch, 'accidental' or otherwise was precious, and every look was to be cherished. He found he had to suppress a smile at the worst of his jokes, had to keep himself from jumping at every chance to be around him. Even now he would much rather be taking his evening meal with Jim, but he had not been invited, and so here he was, reading and sulking. Yes, really sulking.

His ears pricked up slightly when his sharp Vulcan hearing picked out footsteps approaching his door. He might have ignored it and gone back to his reading, had his attention not been riveted to the tempo of the sound. He recognized the pace of those steps! Spock leapt to his feet with a cat-like grace, though slightly rushed, and was at the door seconds before the chime was rung. He reached for the panel to open it, then paused, heart hammering in his chest. He looked down at himself, clad in the ratty sweater his mother had made him, barefoot. He was sure his hair must be out of its usual order too, and his slacks were far less immaculate than usual. He exhaled sharply, looking into the open bathroom and fussing with his clothing, feeling inexplicably anxious, his nerves thrumming beneath his skin. He pulled the sweater over his head and quickly folded it, placing it reverently somewhere out of the way, pulling on the hem of his Starfleet-issue undershirt to ensure that it was free of wrinkles. He looked at himself in the mirror again, then stopped, scolding himself for his illogical behavior. Just answer the door!

He checked his hair one last time before pressing the button.

"Hey Spock." The Vulcan felt his knees go weak at that blinding smile, the one he loved so much. To attempt to deny it to himself would have been illogical.

"Hello." His voice almost cracked, and his had to repress a rampant blush as soon as the word was out of his mouth. His IQ was off the charts, and that was all he could think to say? 'Hello'?

"I didn't mean to interupt anything." He almost missed what Jim was saying, finding himself very distracted by the hand he was now running through his hair. Spock wondered for exactly the twenty-second time what it would feel like to run his own hand through those silky sand-blonde locks. He imagined the sensation would be quite wonderful.

"Do not concern yourself, Jim." He said just in time to sound natural. By Surak did he love to say that name. "I was reading. Would you-" he paused for just a split second, his heart leaping into his throat. "-like to come in?" Jim grinned, and this time his legs nearly buckled as the Captain nodded, moving into Spock's quarters. He was sure his ears were green by now, the traitorous fiends. How was it that this man-this simply extraordinary man-could cause him to react so illogically to the most mundane of gestures?

"Jim, I was under the impression that you would be dining with Doctor McCoy this evening." Jim was looking around as if this was his first time visiting the Vulcan's quarters, a hint of a smile still on his lips. He shrugged, plopping down on one of his First's chairs as if he belonged there, looking quite comfortable. Spock felt strangely warm at this.

"Bones got called back to sickbay to deal with an Ensign who collapsed in Engineering; I'm not really hungry anyway, so I figure I'd hang out with you. I hope you don't mind." Spock had by now sat down in the chair he had previously occupied, placing the book back on the low table between the two.

"I am not averse to your company at this time." He answered neutrally. Inside, however, his heart was leaping, and he was trying to quash it back into its proper place in his abdomen.

"Glad to hear it." Jim replied, looking around the room again. Eventually his eyes landed on the book. "Holy shit, an honest to God book? Whatcha been reading?" He leaned forward, picking up the aged tome and running his fingers along the spine delicately.

"It is 'A Collection of Shakespeare'." The half-Vulcan answered, watching his Captain handle the book so reverently, almost as if it were something alive. It was enchanting, really, as so many things with this man were.

"Cool. My mom used to read a lot of him when I was young." Jim looked up at the cieling in thought. "'Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind'. Sound about right?" Spock nodded, eyebrow raised. "Don't do the eyebrow thing; its 'perfectly logical' that I'd know a few lines from a well-known play." He smirked playfully, putting the book down and rising to his feet, doing his best to look dramatic and worldly.

"O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence! Love takes the meaning in love's conference." He quoted, with perfect inflection. Spock found his mouth falling open just slightly. "I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit," The sincerity with which this particular line was delivered took Spock's breath away, and he found himself wishing, hoping that just maybe... "So that but one heart we can make of it;" The Vulcan was on his feet too by now, feeling distinctly aroused.

"Two bosoms interchained with an oath;" He said softly, and there was a definite gleam in his Captain's eyes now.

"So then two bosoms and a single troth." Jim continued, taking a single step forward, which Spock returned in kind. He was definitely aroused now.

"Then by your side no bed-room me deny;" Spock's voice was hoarse now, and he could feel Jim's breath on his face.

"For lying so, Hermia, I do not lie..." The Captain finished, and when the human's hand brushed his cheek, the sheer wave of affection the he detected through the touch was enough to send him over the edge. Their lips met in a searing burst of contact, and the Vulcan's joy when his actions were reciprocated was utterly insupressible. Tongues battled and fingers intertwined, and soon they were laying across the low mahogany table, every movement fervent and passionate, though with an undercurrent of something much deeper than lust. And it was plain to see that it went both ways.

Clothes were torn at and removed, tossed aside haphazardly, and in moments Jim was deep inside him, thrusting hard, but undeniably tender and loving, whispering nonsense in the Vulcan's pointed ear, licking and biting, but never quite breaking the skin.

And when the words 'I love you' passed Jim, his Jim's lips at the moment of climax, he couldn't have been happier if he tried.