Natural Progression

(Or Five times Spock slept with Kirk)

Summary: Some things are just fated to happen eventually, not matter how long they take.

Pairings: Spock/Kirk , Chekov/Sulu

AN: Despite the title, this is not as smutty as it sounds. I promise. I've never written this pairing before- I'm usually more of a Spock/Nyota girl- so if it's bad, please tell me.

I.

It was, Spock realised in hindsight, a bad idea to travel to Korvan Delta by shuttlecraft. The planet's magnetic field was erratic to say the least, and prevented anyone from beaming down. Scotty would probably been able to track the level of magnetism, and find the away team a window of transport, but it was a hit-and-miss idea, given the planets unpredictability- and even if the engineer did manage it, by the time he had the natural phenomena of the simultaneous eruption of the planets five major volcanoes, which the Enterprise was meant to be analysing for further research, would have passed -leaving scientists waiting another twenty-five earth years for it to happen again.

All these things considered, Kirk had suggested they take the shuttlecraft Copernicus, which would take longer then beaming, but would still allow enough time for research. With that thought in mind, Spock had accompanied the captain, and all had been going according to plan. That was until the plasma conduits had suddenly overloaded, causing them to lose navigational control of the shuttle, and crash down on Korvan Vega, one of Korvan Delta's outer moons. Spock considered that they were actually quite lucky- if there was such as thing as luck, which Spock doubted- surviving the crash with only minor injuries and managing to land on an M class planet, with suitable oxygen levels- the atmospheric content being similar to that of Earth.

But that was where the similarities had ended, and as the two searched for shelter against the ferocious winds and freezing sub-zero conditions, Spock began to feel considerably less fortunate.

Ice was beginning to form on Spock's eyelashes as they found what looked to be a cave up in the distance, although with the snow swirling around them buffeted by the wind, it was near impossible to tell the distance they were away from it. It looked quite small, but there was no time to be picky about it; the weather seemed to be worsening, and Spock was quite concerned that Jim hadn't made a sound for the last eleven minutes (and twenty seven seconds), not even to complain at their current predicament or to tell Spock that the last time he'd been on a planet this inhospitable, it had been when Spock had marooned him there for mutiny.

Spock pointed towards the cave, unable to speak over the sound of the rising wind. He saw Jim stumble and moved to grab him, pulling him upwards and dragging him into the cave, the two of them collapsing on the ground.

It was Spock who sat up first, looking around at their surroundings. The walls of the cave where made of a hard rock-like material and further back at the end of the cave vicious stalactites hung from ceiling reaching down to almost touch the floor. It was still cold in here, but at least they were no longer buffeted by the winds, the sides of the cave protecting them against the worst of the wind and snow.

"I believe this is the best place to rest, captain" Spock said, and although the captain was clearly exhausted, Spock saw Jim give a small smile.

"Spock, I don't think rank is really necessary given the circumstances."

"…Jim," Spock said, laying his back against one of the cave walls. "I feel it would be beneficial to conserve our energies until the weather improves enough for the Enterprise to locate us"

Jim lay his back against the opposite wall, closing his eyes "Why, I think that's the best idea you've had all day, Mr Spock"

Spock closed his eyes for a few moments, not sleeping but meditating on their current predicament. The Vulcan opened his eyes again when he heard Jim cough quietly; his commanding officer looking considerably pale and shivering uncontrollably on account of the cold. Spock had to admit, it was uncomfortable, even being several degrees warmer due to his Vulcan physiology, but whatever cold he was feeling, his fingers becoming numb through the material of gloves and his breathe coming out in puffs of white, it would have been far worse for Kirk.

"Capt…. Jim" Spock said, concern tingeing his voice "I feel that you are unable to handle this low a temperature for too long without your health being seriously affected."

"No shit Spock." A smile formed on Kirks face, his eyes opening slightly to look at Spock "Don't worry about me; I'm invincible remember?" a trademark grin lit up on the captains face before he coughed again, the shivers seeming to worsen.

Spock made a split-second decision, moving over to Jim's side of the cave and positioning himself close to the captain. He had enough knowledge of the human body to know that if Jim's temperature reached a certain point, he would become hypothermic and if the Enterprise didn't find them soon, Spock knew there was a high probability of Jim not returning.

Jim opened one eye, looking at Spock and his sudden proximity "Now is not the best time to make a move on me, Spock" It was meant as a joke, but Spock ignored him, wrapping one of the outer layer coats he was wearing around the captain.

"You need to stay warm" Spock said, and there was a tone in his voice that might have been interpreted as tenderness "I had forgotten that humans have different levels of intolerance when it comes to the cold" I should be able to provide you with the necessary heat, due to my elevated inner body heat"

"Aw, Spock. I didn't know you cared" Kirk smiled, but none the less rested his head tiredly against Spock's shoulder

"I believe you should get some rest Captain" Spock said quietly "We will need all our energy tomorrow if the Enterprise has not found us by then"

"That's exactly what I intend to do, Mr Spock" Kirk mumbled, and despite the howling wind outside, Spock heard his breathing get slower and deeper until he was sleeping softly against Spock.

"Goodnight…Jim" Spock said quietly before closing his eyes and allowing himself to drift off, the sound of Jim's breathing lulling him into a deep sleep.

II

Jim Kirk as a child, Spock decided, was as trying if not more then he had been when he was an adult. Due to a contact with abnormal energy wave, the captain had been reduced to toddler about four-five years old; one minute standing as a man, the next looking around, an awful lot smaller, his previous fitting shirt now worn as a floor-length dress. Dr McCoy had assured Spock that the state would not be permanent, and to be honest, Spock had been relieved. It wasn't that he didn't like little Jim, but the Vulcan had never been good with children; and as kids went, Jim was a bit of an enigma. He seemed to possess an abundance of energy, which he chose to flaunt at every opportunity- running off constantly whenever Bones tried to perform one of his many scans. He had the look of a lost puppy about him, deciding to cling to the first person he saw like a limpet, which unfortunately, had been Spock.

Jim had followed him around everywhere, watching him with serious eyes when he was sat in the captain's chair (Spock was sure that there must have been a bit of elder Jim lingering in the younger somewhere), asking constant questions, and trying to persuade an amused Sulu to let him drive the ship.

"You appear to be tired" Spock said as he watched Jim try to cover up a yawn "I believe that it is best you retire until tomorrow"

"I'm not tired" Jim said stubbornly, folding his arms and pouting in a very Kirk-like manner.

"I would have to disagree" Spock replied, the corners of his mouth twitching in what could be construed as a small smile as Jim yawned again, his hazel eyes scrunching up involuntarily. The young boy frowned but allowed himself to be picked up by Spock, curling himself up into the Vulcan's shoulder, wrapping his arms around his neck.

"We will go back to Dr McCoy's office" Spock said, but he found that Jim had already fallen asleep in his arms, breathing softly onto Spock's neck. Even Spock didn't have the heart to wake him, carrying the sleeping boy back to his elder self's quarters and unclasping his fingers from around his neck so Spock could put him to bed. The Vulcan was about to leave when he found that Jim had grabbed hold of one of his sleeves, holding his arm in close and attempting to use it as a pillow. Resigning himself, Spock moved very carefully to the other side of the bed, lying down next to Jim, so that the young boy wouldn't have to wake up alone, and allowing the child to unconsciously snuggle up next to him. As Spock fell asleep too, he realised that Jim as a child wasn't really that bad after all.

III

"I don't believe this!" Jim fumed, banging the bars of their prison with his fists, hearing the dim clanging noise of his knuckles hit the immovable metal. Spock stood calmly next to him, hands held behind his back , examining their new environment with his trademark look of detached interested

"Believe it or not, captain, we are imprisoned here"

"I know that, Spock!" Jim snapped loudly, banging at the bars again before sighing, moving way from the locked doorway. "I'm sorry, Spock. I didn't mean to snap"

"No offence taken, captain" Spock replied

"No way out?" Kirk asked hopefully knowing the answer to come.

"None that I can see Captain" Spock said, turning to face Jim "I believe we are well and truly trapped here, at the mercy of our captors"

Jim sighed, looking around at the small cell, compromised of little more then a bed "Guess we just have to wait and see what'll happen tomorrow. Nothing's going to happen till then"

"Captain" Spock said, motioning to the bed "If we are to rest until then, I must point out that there is only one bed. If you think it is prudent, I can stay awake as guard, or sleep on the floor…."

"You won't do that"

Spock looked at Kirk, confused at the captains' forcefulness "I assure you, sir, I will be sufficiently comfortable"

"Bull" Kirk replied, fixing the Vulcan with a look "Look, Spock, you need rest as much as I do, despite how much you proclaim your superior ability to stay awake for days on end. If Bones was here I know he'd say the same thing. We can both fit in the bed , it'll just be a tight squeeze"

Spock eyed the bed with obvious distaste but none the less lay down next to Jim, the Vulcan holding the human close so he didn't fall out of the bed. Jim had been right; it was a tight squeeze.

"What do you think is going to happen to us?" Spock heard Jim whisper, his back turned, and Spock thought he heard uncertainty in his voice. Spock didn't blame him; the aliens that had captured them certainly were not renowned as being overly friendly.

"I do not know, Jim" Spock replied as he closed his eyes, resting his head against Jim's shoulder "I do not know"

IV

It had gone midnight, when Jim was jolted awake by a shout. He stumbled quickly out of bed, his bare feet hitting the floor hard as he staggered out of his room. The shouting continued for a moment before stopping and Jim's mind went into warp drive as he suddenly realise that the noise was coming from Spock's quarters, which were situated only a few doors down from his own.

Jim ran to the Vulcan's room, keying in the security override code on the access panel (he didn't feel it was the right moment to respect his first officer's privacy), the door unlocking and allowing Jim entry.

The first thing he noticed as he hurriedly ran in was Spock. The Vulcan was on the bed, bathed in the low light from the outside corridor, his entire body shaking and the Starfleet issue blanket lying discarded on the floor from where Spock had kicked it off. The Vulcan's cries had stopped, but that did little to comfort Kirk as he rushed to his friends side, shaking Spock's shoulders roughly, taking in the look of desperate agony on his face and the panicked tears trailing themselves down the Vulcan's pale skin.

"Spock!" Jim said, willing him to awake from whatever nightmare he was in "Spock, godammit, wake up!" It was at that point the Vulcan opened his eyes, sitting up with a gasp, his slender fingers gasping Jim's arms tightly in an effort to steady himself.

"Captain?" he said, momentarily disorientated "Captain, what—."

"It's OK, Spock, it was just a nightmare" Jim tried to calm his co-worker, but the usually stoic Vulcan was having none of it.

"I saw my mother" Spock said, and it was almost a whimper "She was falling, and I couldn't catch her! I wasn't fast enough, I should have been fast enough…." He gasped again, his voice raising in pitch and desperation, his grip on Kirk's arm tightening "It's all gone, Jim… my home, my mother, it's all gone"

"Shhh" Jim whispered, holding Spock closer, as the Vulcan just sat, staring and trembling "It was a nightmare, you're fine, I'm here"

The two stayed like that for a few moments, before Spock suddenly straightened, taking a deep breathe, fixing Kirk with a look as though trying to regain some lost dignity

"I am fine now, Captain. You do not have to concern yourself about my well-being"

"Don't give me that, Spock" Jim said, looking at his first officer seriously. "You aren't OK, not even close"

"I am fine, Captain" Spock repeated quietly, looking down at the floor. Jim was going to say more, but decided against it. Nothing that he said could help Spock, and this was obviously something the Vulcan wanted to deal with in his own way, on his own.

"OK, Spock" He said, turning and beginning to walk away back to his own room.

"Stay." It was almost a plea, a whisper so quiet that Jim nearly didn't hear it. It turned back to look at Spock, who was looking at him, almost embarrassed, his cheeks flushed slightly with green and his eyes downcast not meeting Jim's. "Please"

Jim nodded, moving back towards Spock, picking up the duvet and draping over the Spock, getting under the covers as Spock moved over to accommodate him, sitting up next to the wide-awake Vulcan.

"Anytime, Spock" Jim whispered and Spock nodded, closing his eyes and leaning his head against Kirk's shoulder. It seemed that Vulcan dignity was on hold for the night and Kirk wondered, not for the first time, just how much of a human side Spock actually had.

"Thank you Jim" Spock said and Jim smiled as he watched Spock fall back asleep, looking so much younger and vulnerable then he usually did. It hit Jim then how much Spock trusted him to allow Jim to see him like this, and he smiled, not leaving Spock's quarters but staying with him, watching him sleep softly until he too fell into the waiting arms of Morpheus.

V

The day had started off so well; no peculiar readings, not distress calls, no accidents or random aliens promising death to them and the Federation. It had been as normal as life could get aboard the USS Enterprise, and by lunchtime, Kirk had been in a good mood, going to Ten-forward with Bones for lunch and evening inviting Spock along. The Vulcan had seemed preoccupied of late and had seemingly been trying to avoid Jim's company, but at the captains request he had joined the two officers for their meal.

Ten Forward was filled with the majority of the bridge crew; all engaged in their own lives and conversations. Chekov and Sulu were sat in one corner, the Russian talking avidly about where they should next visit when they had shore-leave, the helmsman just smiling and drinking his tea, looking- in Kirk's opinion- as though he wanted to snog the young man right there in the middle of the room. Uhura and Scotty were discussing the recent changes they'd made to the nacelles; it seemed the two had become unlikely friends after Uhura had expressed a desire to learn more about the workings of the ship, and Scotty had been a more then obliging mentor.

What had surprised Kirk the most however was that even Bones and Spock hadn't started any major arguments; the medic just sticking to teasing the Vulcan about his choice of food – being strictly vegetarian Spock had opted for a simple meal of J'lah berries and a soup, whose name Kirk hadn't even bothered to attempt to pronounce, which contrasted greatly with Bone's steak and chips. The Vulcan as ever had taken all the doctor's comments in his stride, answering in his usual logic-bound way, and even when Bones replied with a 'green-blooded hobgoblin' both parties knew that the comment was meant in jest.

It had all been fine until the three had finished, getting back into the turbo lift to return to their posts. McCoy had gotten off first, waving goodbye to the two remaining passengers as he made his way along the corridors of deck seven to the medical bay, leaving Jim and Spock to take the remainder of the journey back to the bridge with only each other for company.

An unusual silence settled over the lift, and Spock's demeanour-, which had been fairly easy-going (as easy going as a Vulcan could get)- suddenly became slightly cold towards Jim, almost as though he was uncomfortable with the captains presence.

Jim found his mind wandering without any conversation to distract him from his thoughts. He looked at the Vulcan, whose eyes were fixed to the floor, taking in his dark hair, his prominent cheekbones and the faint green tinge to the tips of his pointed ears. A sudden thought entered Jim's head, seemingly cropping up out of nowhere as he looked at Spock.

'I wonder what I'd be like to kiss him' the strength of the thought shocked Jim, and he shook his head, angry and confused with himself. He didn't find Spock attractive. This was his first officer, his friend. This was Spock for Christ's sake, he didn't fancy him. He couldn't. Jim reigned in his thoughts, breathing in deeply. It's this damn silence; he thought defensively, it's making my brain go funny.

He was about to say to break the lack of sound when suddenly the lift lurched, sending Jim backwards against the wall, Spock stumbling into him immediately after. The lights flickered out and the lift suddenly stopped.

"What was that?" Jim whispered, but his mind wasn't quite on the immediate lift issue. E was more focused on how close he was to Spock, the Vulcan pressed right up against him, their faces barely inches apart. The lift had stopped moving about, but Spock had made no effort to separate himself from the captain, his eyes also taking in their sudden proximity. Suddenly, his lips closed the bare inches between them, pushing up against Kirk in a display of raw emotion that Jim had not expected. He'd known that Vulcan emotions were much more powerful then human ones, but he'd never properly understood that until now, the Vulcan's lips crushing his own with a need and intensity that mirror Kirk's own feelings. Jim leaned into the kiss, pushing back equally as hard in the sudden battle for dominance, running his hands up to card through Spock's hair.

And suddenly as soon as it began, it stopped. The two men broke apart, panting for breath as the lift started moving again, a voice sounding through the internal comms system.

"I'm sorry 'bout tha', Captain" came Scotty's voice, "Some stupid eejit decided to overload the plasma circuits which fed power to the lift. Everythin's OK now though"

"Thank you …Mr Scott" Kirk replied breathlessly, his eyes focused on Spock who seemed to have regained some emotional control.

"I… I am sorry Captain" Spock said, his breathing ragged and his eyes not meeting Kirk's "I can only apologise for my lack of judgement and control. My actions were completely inappropriate and I ask that I be allowed to return to my quarters until my next shift to compose myself." Still not looking at Jim, the Vulcan pressed a button to let himself off at the next deck.

Jim's mind was a whirl of thoughts and images and in truth, he felt hurt by Spock's apparent rejection. There was a feeling in his heart that Kirk couldn't quite put into words and he touched the place on his lips where the feeling of Spock's lips still lingered. "Spock…"

The one word he said spoke volumes as he tried to marshal his thoughts into actual words, but before he could say more, the turbo-lift doors opened and Spock practically ran out, the doors closing behind him, leaving Jim alone with his thoughts and the feeling of having just lost something irreplaceable.

---

Jim had been unusually subdued throughout the entire delta shift and the entire bridge crew had noticed it. The captain wasn't his usual self, hadn't joked and teased Uhura from her position at the comms, hadn't even talked until he was required to. He'd seemed disinterested when Uhura had informed him of Starfleet's recent request for them to make their way to Denbula VI for scientific research. When Chekov had commented on the band of stars near Denbula VI to Sulu, which resembled the Sol systems Milky Way but with a million more colours, stars being born within swirling gaseous clouds, a truly amazing sight even to the space-wise bridge crew, Kirk had just snapped.

"Jesus, kid, they're just stars. You need to grow up a bit if you want to be a bloody officer, not just some juvenile child who shouldn't even be on a starship in the first place!"

The whole bridge crew seemed to stop. Uhura paused from her transmissions to stare at him, dumfounded. Chekov had gone white, blue eyes cast down to the floor, muttering a 'sorry, Keptin' in a small voice that Kirk could barely hear. He knew his comments had hurt Chekov, who was always trying so hard to prove himself to the other officers, to prove his worth as the youngest serving aboard the enterprise. The kid's self esteem had been gradually getting better as he got to know his place among the crew, and now it seemed Jim had kicked him back to square one. Sulu was glaring at Kirk openly, his eyes barely betraying his anger at Kirk hurting Chekov like he had, making him feel worthless. It looked as though he was trying hard not to get up and hit him.

"I'm sorry" Kirk whispered, before getting up from the chair. His mind was numb, and all he knew was that he couldn't stay here a moment longer, not with the damage he'd just caused. "Mr Sulu, you have the bridge" and without another glance, he walked away, leaving a stunned and confused crew staring after him.

---

Jim was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling when the door comms beeped loudly. He didn't answer, merely ignored it in the hope that whoever it was would go away. It appeared that it was not to be the case as he heard the swish of the door sliding open, and looked up to see Spock entering his room, the door closing behind him.

"I am sorry to disturb you captain," The Vulcan said, his eyes not meeting Kirk's "If you are busy I can go"

"No, Spock" Jim said quickly "No you…you can stay" he got up off the bed, standing up and looking at the Vulcan

"I hope you are recovered after your recent emotional outburst" Spock said, his voice seeming to continue on autopilot.

"You heard about that huh?" Jim replied, desperately wanting Spock to meet his eyes, to acknowledge his existence.

"The majority of the crew are aware of it" Spock said "Dr McCoy was going to come up to see if you were recovered and then to berate you on the hurt you have inflicted on ensign Chekov, but I said I would come instead" Jim flinched, remembering the look on the Russians face.

"Is he OK?"

"I believe he has become slightly upset over what you said, but Lieutenant Sulu is with him now trying to rectify that. I believe an apology will eventually be in order"

"God, Spock, I didn't mean it." Jim said, hating himself "I was angry, confused"

Spock nodded, then paused "I am sorry for the duress I have out you under Captain"

"What?" Jim said, his eyebrows frowning in confusion "Why? I'm the one who said those horrible things"

"I believe that your outburst is the result of my illogical actions earlier" Spock continued "I feel I have caused you unnecessary emotional stress and…"

"Spock" Jim said, moving towards the Vulcan "Spock, look at me please"

Slowly, Spock raised his head, his eyes catching Jim with their intensity and worry

"You have nothing to feel sorry for" Jim said sternly "Nothing"

Spock nodded silently and moved his lips towards Kirk's. Jim caught his mood, and closed the distance between them. Their second kiss was a lot different then their first. It was slower, more passionate, yet still filled with the same urge and need, but it was controlled, slower as their lips moved in sync, Spock's fingers moving to rub against his own, the sensual motion containing a meaning that even Jim understood as he moved them closer to the bed, Neither of them said anything, because neither of them needed to. They both had made their feelings perfectly clear and it occurred to Jim as he lay down next to Spock, that this was exactly where he felt he belonged.