"Spock," Jim whispered into the gracefully structured ear of his new bondmate. "Are you awake, love?"

"I am now. Are you well, t'hy'la?" Spock asked, rolling onto his back to gaze up at his love's face. The sunlight was not yet peeking into the windows, the birds not yet abandoning their slumber.

"I'm great. But I need to go to the bathroom."

"And this necessitates waking me?" Spock asked, trying unsuccessfully to sound annoyed.

"You are laying on my leg," Jim laughed.

"Ahh…" Spock said in realization. "My apologies."

"It's not like I mind. But I may have had a little too much to drink at the wedding."

"And now you must rid yourself of it," Spock said.

"Exactly." Jim left the bed to cross over to their spacious bathroom, taking care of his bodily functions. "Oh good," he said when he emerged. "You didn't get up."

"I was awaiting your return," Spock agreed. "As I see no compelling reason for either of us to leave our bed."

"I concur," Jim said, returning to bed and crawling gratefully into the warmth provided by his bondmate and the quilt that covered them both. Once he was settled, he kissed Spock soundly. "I didn't keep you awake last night, did I?"

"Not at all."

"Good," Jim said with a warming smile. "And I had no bad dreams."

"A good sign," Spock said, reaching up to stroke Jim's unruly hair.

"What time is it?" Jim asked, gazing in admiration at his Vulcan, considering once again how lucky they were to be able to share their hearts and their bodies.

"06:21 local time. Far too early to be awake on shore leave," Spock said.

"Mmm…unless you're already awake and are planning to stay right where you are."

"True," Spock agreed.

"Now that we've decided that, perhaps we could do more than talk," Jim suggested innocently, looking at him from beneath his eyelashes.

"Affirmative," Spock said, rolling on top of Jim as he laughed at Spock. "Shall I begin those other activities right here?" he asked, kissing his bondmate's forehead.

"Of course," Jim agreed with a contented sigh. "Why don't I hear your thoughts?"

"You are keeping me out, t'hy'la. The newness of our bond means it is not fully integrated."

"I'm keeping you out?" Jim repeated breathlessly as Spock continued his trail of kisses.

"Not intentionally. Your mind must become accustom to the links we formed. Find the bond and allow it to envelope you," Spock directed.

"I can't. Not while you are…uhm…"

"Yes, I understand your difficulty." His right hand reached up for the meld points, his essence infusing Jim with warmth and love as their tapestry unfurled to wrap them both.

//Mmm…better,// Jim sighed in satisfaction.

//Much more better,// Spock teased. //And as it should be.//

//Absolutely.// Jim gasped as Spock continued to kiss and nuzzle his receptive body, the need growing more intense and almost urgent. //Will you enter me?//

//If you are ready, love. As long as you do not ask out of…//

//Desire. That's the only reason I want you// Jim assured him, transmitting his wanting over the bond.

"Yes," Spock said, laying over him to cover the cooler, welcoming mouth. "Do you have a preference for the position we will use?"

"As long as I'm not standing up, I don't care," Jim said, only half joking.

"Perhaps one day. This is not that day," Spock said, kissing him again and moaning. Or perhaps it was his Human who moaned. He could not be certain. "We had success with the position we used last night."

"Yes. Gives me control," Jim agreed. "Have you ever made love with a man before me?" he asked with barely enough breath to form the question.

"I have not. It is even more pleasurable than I had allowed myself to believe possible," Spock said.

"It is…a wonderful experience – more so than I thought. Especially after the way those…women treated me."

"Do you have reservations still?" Spock asked in some concern.

"No. None. I want you so much I can barely wait one more second," Jim said, his loving hands seemingly everywhere at once.

"Yes," Spock said before turning them over so that Spock lay on his back.

Jim knelt over him, his knees by his love's hips. He accepted the tube of lubricant, his cooler hands coating the inhumanly warm and hard desire waiting for him.

"Do I need to enter you with my fingers? To prepare you and ease the way?" Spock asked in some trepidation.

"No. I'm pretty sure what they did will make my body receptive to you. If it doesn't, you can use your fingers first."

"You are certain?" Spock asked, still concerned that he may hurt his love, or worse, overwhelm him.

"There's one way to find out," Jim said, kissing Spock's flat stomach, caressing him, stroking him. "Are you ready?"

"That hardly describes it," Spock whispered.

Jim smiled and knelt over Spock. He took a deep breath, slowly descending so that Spock entered his willing body. Jim kept all unpleasant thoughts at bay, concentrating only on the love and affirmation he was receiving from his bondmate. The entry was fairly easy, causing some pain but it was only momentary and not unwelcome. When Spock was fully encased in his body, Jim smiled and relaxed, savoring the sensations as they made slow, delicious love with their minds, their bodies, and their hearts.

"Mmm…" Jim sighed in utter contentment as he lay snug up against Spock's body. It was radiating even more heat than normal, the afterglow soothing and comfortable.

"I am sorry for the pain," Spock said, kissing his love's head.

"I don't mind. You don't need to worry."

"You are still feeling it."

"Yes. And I'm sure it's normal. It's very different from the way it felt on the planet."

"That's reassuring. And you are not concerned."

"Not in the least," Jim agreed, raising up on one elbow, a small frown on his face. "What's that noise?"

"It is raining," Spock said in amusement.

"Oh. Of course," Jim said, putting his head on Spock's shoulder as Spock wrapped warm arms around him. "I wonder if it's going to rain all day."

"The resort said it should stop by noon."

"How do you know that?" Jim asked.

"It woke me in the night. I checked the resort computer portal and it reported that the rain should end by mid-day."

"I didn't know you got up," Jim said.

"I was gone only a few minutes, t'hy'la. You turned over when I left but did not wake."

"We can go swimming in the rain."

"You can swim in the rain. I will watch from the relative warmth of the dry porch," Spock informed him.

Jim laughed, shaking his head. "No. I don't have plans to leave this bed except maybe to eat."

"A delightful itinerary," Spock agreed, kissing his Human's head.

"Yes it is," Jim said with a contented sigh. "The wedding was very successful. I've never seen the Michaels so happy."

"They were most pleased. Uhura did an excellent job with all the arrangements."

"She always does. And we'll let her know we want to get married on board ship," Jim said.

"Certainly. The Observation lounge can be configured to hold 175. Our ceremony can also be broadcast ship-wide for those not in attendance."

"Oh," Jim said thoughtfully. "175. How will we decide who attends in person?"

"The command crew will certainly be in attendance. We can draw lots for the other places," Spock suggested.

"A lottery."

"Chance is the only equitable means of distributing the seats," Spock confirmed.

"True. We could have the ceremony on Starbase Tycho. They have an auditorium that holds 525."

"I prefer the ceremony be on the ship, t'hy'la."

"So do I," Jim had to agree. "The reception will be in General Mess. The crew can come and go as their schedules permit."

"Yes. Do you wish to sleep aboard the first night or on the Starbase?" Spock asked as he caressed his bondmate's strong chest.

"On board, definitely. We won't be disturbed, which I know will be rare. And we'll be under our quilt," Jim said with a smile, shifting so more of his body was pressed up against Spock's.

"We need to ask Uhura to incorporate our quilt into the ceremony," Spock suggested with a kiss.

"An excellent idea."

"Who will preside?" Spock asked.

"Lt. Matherson can do it. We'll fill out the forms today and submit them to Starfleet."

"Or tomorrow," Spock said, kissing Jim's head and caressing his cheek.

"Mmm…" Jim sighed, raising up enough to gaze down at his love. Unable to resist the temptation of his Vulcan's beauty, he kissed Spock, their tongues saying all that needed to be said. The kiss became much more, their bodies uniting as their bond unfurled to shelter them both.

"Oh my," Jim sighed from where he lay stretched out on top of his relaxed, contented Vulcan.

"Indeed," Spock agreed, raising his head to kiss him gently.

"We need to take a bath," Jim laughed. "We're smelling a little ripe."

"A bath would be most agreeable," Spock said.

"Then I need breakfast. You're wearing me out."

"And you need coffee," Spock teased him, making Jim laugh.

"That's a given. You wait here. I'll come get you when the tub is full," Jim said, squirming off Spock and out of their warm bed.

"You will return as quickly as possible?" Spock requested, devouring his Human with his eyes.

"If you don't stop looking at me like that, we'll never leave this room," Jim warned lightly.

"Is that so terrible a fate?" Spock asked.

"No. It would be my preference. But I'm hungry," Jim laughed.

"Very well," Spock said, his inner amusement warming Jim. He closed his eyes, his mental images more tantalizing than his physical touch.

"Cut it out," Jim laughed.

"I cannot help myself, t'hy'la. You have opened my eyes and my heart to an entirely new universe. One I wish to never leave."

Jim smiled, happiness gleaming in his eyes. "That is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard."

"You are the most beautiful being I have ever known. You inspire me," Spock said warmly.

"Thank you," Jim said, quickly kissing him before straightening and taking a step back. "I'll come get you."

"Yes," Spock agreed. Jim went into the bathroom, Spock leaving the bed to go into the small kitchen. When he had the coffee on to brew, he went to the door of the bathroom, watching Jim as Jim watched the tub fill.

"You aren't in bed," Jim laughed, not looking over at Spock.

"I felt your absence too keenly to remain," Spock said, entering and kissing the side of Jim's head. He took the time to brush his teeth as the water continued to pour into the tub.

"Don't you need to pee?" Jim asked in curiosity.

"Vulcans retain more fluids than do humans. It is a survival characteristic for the desert."

"Like a camel."

"Yes," Spock said. "However, Vulcans rarely spit."

"That's reassuring," Jim laughed. "Did you order breakfast?"

"Not yet. I did not wish for it to arrive while we were bathing."

"Makes sense," Jim said. "Would you mind some bubbles?"

"That depends on the fragrance," Spock said, accepting the bottle to smell it. "Most pleasing."

"It smells like home to me," Jim said, pouring a capful into the water.

"It is quite reminiscent of Earth," Spock agreed.

"Uh huh," Jim said, stepping into the tub and waiting as Spock joined him. When they were both submerged, Jim smiled over at Spock.

"You look exceedingly happy," Spock decided, one warm hand on the side of Jim's face.

"Because I am. Are you?"

"More so than I thought possible. And for that I am indebted to you," Spock said.

"You don't owe me a thing," Jim assured him, smiling at him.

"You are wrong about that, t'hy'la," Spock said, closing his eyes to enjoy the hot jets of water. Jim also relaxed in the soothing water, blanking his mind to enjoy the luxury and the company.

"Can you tell if the Michaels are up?" Jim asked casually.

Spock listened for a moment, his head tilted. "They are awake. They are not yet out of bed."

"I'm sorry," Jim laughed.

"They are talking. Your apology is unnecessary."

"Oh, good. What are they talking about? Can you tell?"

"I do not believe I am at liberty to say," Spock decided.

"Hmm…must mean they are talking about me. Or you," Jim said, amused.

"Possibly," Spock said in evasion.

Jim laughed again, studying Spock's completely relaxed face. "I always heard that Vulcans are like cats where water is concerned. But you aren't."

"Mother loves water – swimming, bathing. She instilled her enjoyment in me. We would swim any time we were visiting Earth."

"That makes sense," Jim said. "Sometime soon you're going to need to teach me the finer points of being bonded."

"Yes," Spock agreed. "Are there specific concerns that you have?"

"Mostly keeping confidential information to myself. There aren't many things I can't tell you but Starfleet will take a dim view of our bond if I can't assure them I can keep you out when I'm required to."

"I will teach you shielding techniques. Shore leave is an excellent time to practice."

"That's true," Jim said. "We also need to discuss the impact our bond will have on the command structure."

"Does it concern you?"

"Not at all. But we need to have our answers prepared when they ask. Because they will ask."

"Yes," Spock agreed. "We are not the only command team who is married."

"We're the only Human Vulcan couple who are bonded, love. Humans aren't telepathic."

"You show remarkable talent in that area," Spock said.

"Only because I know you so well. Your mind is familiar to me," Jim said with great warmth.

"We are two halves of the whole," Spock agreed.

"Yes we are. And now we've come together," Jim said happily. "Is there a Vulcan ceremony like our Human wedding?"

"No formal ceremony. Bonding is the most important factor in our joining. Eventually we will travel to Vulcan so that you may be introduced as my bondmate."

"Good. I sure hope Sarek doesn't object," Jim said.

"How could he object when he chose a Human for himself?" Spock asked with barely suppressed amusement.

"Doing it yourself is one thing. Having your only child make the same decision is something else entirely," Jim explained.

"Mother will be pleased," Spock assured him. "She loves you as a son already."

"That's nice to know," Jim said with a delighted smile. "Maybe one day, Mom can meet Amanda and Sarek."

"The next time they are on Earth, we will arrange it," Spock said.

"Good. I think I'm ready to get out," Jim decided.

"Because you are hungry," Spock teased.

"Yes. And I want to check in with Scotty," he said, standing in the tub. "Are you staying?"

"For a few minutes more. It is very warm here. Your coffee will be ready," Spock said.

"Thanks," Jim said with a laugh, leaving the warm water. "What do you want to eat?"

"Native fruits and a muffin."

"Alright," Jim said as he left, a towel around his waist. When he was dressed in jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt, he went into the kitchen for his coffee and placed their order for breakfast. That done, he contacted his ship, Scotty assuring him that everything was in perfect order. "Thank you, Scotty. Contact me if you need me," Jim reminded him.

"Aye sir. Scott out."

Taking his coffee with him, Jim sat in the cozy loveseat in front of one of the windows, watching the rain splatter on the glass. He wasn't at all disappointed that it as raining on their vacation. He could think of plenty of indoor activities to keep him and Spock occupied.

"What indoor activities?" Spock asked as he emerged from his bedroom wearing soft black trousers and a deep purple shirt that shimmered like velvet.

"Huh?" Jim asked, mesmerized by Spock's appearance. He looked more beautiful than usual, the color of the shirt deepening the patina of his complexion.

"What sort of indoor activities might keep us occupied during the rain?" Spock asked, not entirely suppressing his amusement as it transmitted across their bond.

"Mmm…you can guess," Jim assured him with a bright smile. "I like that shirt. I don't think I've ever seen you in purple before."

"I do not think so," Spock agreed as he draped Jim with their quilt. When he was sure his Human was warm and content, he made himself a cup of tea. "Ship's status?" Spock asked in amusement.

"All systems report normal," Jim was glad to report. He sipped his coffee, watching Spock and never tiring of seeing his graceful, effortless movements. "Do you need to turn on the heat?"

"That isn't necessary," Spock said, bringing his tea to sit on the loveseat next to Jim. They arranged their quilt so that it covered them both, their sides pressed together, adding to their warmth. "I am not chilled."

"Okay. Let's take one of the wicker loveseats to the porch and watch the rain," Jim suggested.

"Once the sun is fully up."

"It is fully up, love," Jim laughed. "We just can't see it."

"Ahh…" Spock said. "I was distracted."

"I see," Jim laughed again. "Is this that tea from the planet?"

"It is. I found it in the cabinet. Would you like a taste?" Spock asked.

"Not right now," Jim decided. "When the Michaels leave, let's keep the wall between the bungalows open. So we'll have lots of room."

"Of course. Unless you intend to invite other members of your crew to sleep there," Spock teased.

"Nope," Jim assured him with a smile. He could not stop a sigh when his communicator beeped its need for attention.

"Should I respond?" Spock offered.

"No," Jim said in resignation. "It would only delay the inevitable." He opened it to acknowledge.

"Admiral Hershfield is demanding to speak to you, sir," Uhura said in apology.

"Very well, Lieutenant. Do I need to contact him over visual?"

"Yes sir. And he told me that if you fail to contact him within the next fifteen minutes that…well…." She stopped.

"I understand, Lieutenant. I'll contact you in 13 minutes so you can establish communication," Kirk said.

"Yes sir. Uhura out."

Jim sighed again, closing the communicator.

"What will you say, t'hy'la?"

"I'll tell him the truth, the truth he already has," Jim said in exasperation. He opened his communicator to contact Dr. McCoy.

"You okay, Jim?" the doctor asked.

"Yes. You know about Hershfield?"

"What a blowhard. Has he ever even left Earth?" McCoy asked.

"I have no idea. Transmit your records of my injuries to him."

"I have them encoded and ready. Do you want me to send them to 'Fleet Medical?"

"You sent them to Medical already, right?"

"Yeah. But I want to make sure someone who understands them has them too."

"Just send the records to him," Jim decided.

"Fat lot of good it will do him. He can barely read, much less understand basic medical terminology," Bones complained.

"I know. Wait 8 minutes then send them.

"You got it. Please contact me after you talk to him. I'd be interested in knowing what he thinks you ought to have done," McCoy said.

"I will. Kirk out," he said, closing his communicator once more and looking at the love and concern reflected in Spock's eyes. "I'm sorry."

"You have no reason to be."

"I know but…" Jim took a deep breath, trying to smile in reassurance. "Breakfast should be here soon."

"No doubt it will arrive as you contact the Admiral," Spock said.

"No doubt," Jim agreed with a shrug.

"Do you wish for me to speak to him?"

"Yes. But you can't. Surely he can't believe…" Jim stopped, staring into his cup.

"What he believes or does not believe is irrelevant, love," Spock said.

"Not so irrelevant since we report to him."

"The medical evidence cannot be interrupted in anyway other than verifying the truth of what happened to you on the planet."

"Yes. I guess I should get it over with," he decided, crossing the bungalow to the computer, Spock sitting next to him as Jim contacted Uhura.

"Yes sir," she confirmed, reaching the Admiral's office.

"Captain Kirk," an overly perky woman said when Uhura had faded. She looked vaguely familiar to the Captain but he couldn't think why. Surely he hadn't slept with her?

//No, t'hy'la,// Spock said in amusement. //She was at the banquet we attended on Querata Beta.//

//Oh good// Jim returned in relief. "Admiral Hershfield is expecting my communication," he told her.

"Yes, of course, sir. The Admiral is currently unavailable and has asked that you remain in contact until he is free to talk to you."

"I see," Jim said. "Do you know how long the Admiral will remain unavailable?"

"A few minutes, Captain," the perky woman told him far too happily.

"I see," he repeated. "I believe I will terminate this communication and reestablish at time more mutually convenient."

"Oh, just a moment, Captain," she said, turning her attention to a separate conversation. "The Admiral has just become available."

"Thank you," Jim said, his voice very nearly dripping with sarcasm.

"Here's Admiral Hershfield, sir," she said, fading off the screen. Her happy face was replaced by a Human in his late 50s who clearly enjoyed a good meal with frequency. His round, fleshy face was topped with grey hair over which he had spent far too much time. His small dull eyes looked at Kirk over the distance, not entirely hiding his animosity.

"Captain Kirk," he said in a voice pitched too high for all his bulk.

"Admiral Hershfield. I was ordered to contact you," Jim said unnecessarily. He did not bother to hide all of his animosity either.

"You aren't aboard Enterprise," the Admiral said, well known for stating the obvious on those rare occasions when it was clear to him.

"We are on shore leave, sir," Jim replied.

"Even though you were off-ship very recently."

"Off-ship?" Jim repeated, trying to suppress some of the anger he felt swelling at the man's words and tone with which he said them. He felt Spock's soothing love over the bond and let it take away some of his indignation.

"Yes, Captain. You were on Leferson for 7 solar days."

"By force, sir."

"I read your report concerning your absence," the Admiral said.

"Yes sir," Jim said, waiting for him to continue. He could tell there was something unpleasant about to come from the way those beady eyes were squinting in concentration, as though it hurt the Admiral to think.

"It is my considered opinion that your actions on that planet constitute a violation of the Prime Directive."

Jim almost gasped as though he had been hit square between the eyes. Only Spock's calming influence prevented him from standing up and terminating the discussion in a most unpleasant manner. "A violation of the Prime Directive," Jim repeated in disbelief.

"Your first contact followed none of the protocols outlined by the Federation," the Admiral told him with far too much satisfaction.

"I must respectfully disagree, sir. I was abducted, held prisoner, and sexually assaulted. There were no violations in my actions," Jim said.

"I have seen your report, Kirk. I see nothing to convince me that your actions did not violate the Prime Directive."

"It wasn't a first contact, Admiral," Kirk protested. "We were invited under false pretense. I was abducted from Enterprise and held against my will."

"Along with violating the Prime Directive, you have contaminated an indigenous population with human contact."

"I was imprisoned, and sexually assaulted. How could that possibly constitute contamination on my part?" Kirk demanded

"I don't care for your tone," the Admiral said as if that would terminate the Captain's protestations.

"I don't care for being accused of violating the Prime Directive when I was the only one violated," Kirk responded in the exact same tone the Admiral had used.

"Be that as it may, Kirk, I intend to hold an inquiry concerning your behavior on Leferson," the Admiral informed him.

"That is your prerogative," Jim agreed in a hard tone.

"You will report to Starbase Tycho in six solar days," the Admiral ordered.

"With all due respect, Admiral, my crew deserves the remainder of their shore leave. They have done nothing to deserve it being shortened by nine days," Jim said in a somewhat more conciliatory tone, which he did not like using. But if it convinced the old blowhard to let them finish leave, all the better.

The Admiral considered his request, turning it slowly over in his mind. "Your crew is blameless," he had to agree. "Very well, Captain. You will report to Starbase in fourteen solar days from today."

"Yes sir," Kirk acknowledged. "Will I need to engage legal counsel?" he asked, not willing to leave anything to chance where this man was concerned.

"That is not necessary. This inquiry is purely fact-finding. No formal charges are pending as of yet."

"Yet?" the Captain repeated.

"That is the purpose of the inquiry, Kirk. To determine the extent of the violations resulting from your visit to Leferson."

"I must reiterate, Admiral, I was abducted. I was not on the planet voluntarily."

"Then you have no reason to be concerned about the inquiry. Hershfield out." And with that, the connection was closed.

"Of all the arrogant, pig-headed, ignorant…bastards," Jim said in anger.

"Listening is not one of his specialties," Spock said unnecessarily.

"How dare he? Who the hell does he think he is? 'No formal charges yet.' Since when has being abducted and sexually assaulted constitute a violation of the Prime Directive? Has he lost all reason?" Jim railed.

"It would appear so," Spock said, going to the front door to allow the service robot to enter.

"What the hell," Jim said, pacing to dissipate the anger he was feeling at the ridiculousness of the conversation he had just finished.

"They will recognize the truth, Jim. He cannot conduct the hearing by himself. Two other Admirals must be present."

"I can't believe any of the other admirals would allow him to do this," Jim said. He went back to the computer when it beeped for his attention. "Kirk here," he said with far more calm than he felt.

"Captain," Uhura said with a faint smile, glad to be providing good news instead of more gloom. "Kala Korena is requesting to speak with you."

"The Kala?" Jim repeated.

"Yes sir."

"Very well, Lt," Kirk agreed, waiting as Uhura faded to be replaced by the Kala.

"Captain," the elegant woman with multiple braids said, smiling at him over the distance.

"Kala Korena," the Captain returned, feeling Spock stand behind him.

"You are well, drendla?" she asked.

"I am recovered, Kala," the Captain told her.

"This is reassuring. We are aware of the words of the Admiral who just spoke with you."

"I see," Jim said, not quite sure what else he could say. Although he did think several thoughts he did not articulate.

"One of our citizens works in Federation Headquarters, Captain. A most convenient arrangement," the Kala said

"I had no idea."

"Few Humans know. We do not make it a secret. Nor do we publicize the fact of her presence."

"That explains several things I couldn't understand," the Captain said.

"Yes, drendla. We will not see you punished for providing your unwilling assistance," the Kala told him kindly.

"I'm not sure how you can prevent it, Kala."

"By providing testimony on your behalf."

"You're willing to send a representative to testify at the inquiry?" Jim asked, certain he had misunderstood her intentions.

"We are. The scientist you called 'first one' is most willing to assist you in this matter."

"I see," Jim said, considering this offer. "As long as she doesn't try to order me around, I accept," he said. He had to smile when the Kala laughed at his words.

"Kyka has assured me that she has no such intentions, drendla. As you know, we do not yet have the capability of interstellar travel. Can Enterprise come pick up Kyka and her lifemate before going to the Starbase?" the Kala asked.

"Yes. Leferson is close enough to Starbase Tycho that we can divert there and still arrive on time," he confirmed.

"Good. When will you come here?"

"We'll get there in 12 of our days, Kala," Jim said.

"Very good. You will contact us at that time?"

"Providing you are willing to accept our communications," he said lightly.

"Of course, Captain. We will await your arrival," she agreed.

"Thank you, Kala," he said.

"Thank you, drendla," she responded before disappearing.

"Well," Jim said, unable to think of anything else to say.

"This is quite a …surprising turn of events," Spock said.

"It sure is," Jim agreed.

"What does drendla mean, t'hy'la?"

"Bellarosa told me it means small beloved child," Jim said with a shrug.

"There must be other meanings as well," Spock suggested.

"Probably. We can ask Kyka when she's on board."

"It is pleasing to me that they are providing you with their assistance," Spock said, refilling Jim's coffee cup.

"Me too. Surely the Admiralty can't discount Kyka's testimony," Jim said, sipping his coffee.

"To do so would be most…"

"Illogical," Jim laughed.

"Ridiculous," Spock corrected, his laughter coming across the bond but not reflected on his face.

"Both," Jim decided. "What do you say we eat breakfast before it's time for lunch?"

Spock nodded in agreement, sitting at the table with Jim as they both began to eat. Spock sipped his tea all the while watching his Human.

"I'm not going anywhere, love," Jim assured him.

"I know this. I never tire of admiring your beauty," Spock said softly.

Jim looked away from him, eating some of his waffle.

"I have embarrassed you," Spock said.

"Not at all. Warmed me. Infused me with love."

"As is my intention," Spock confirmed.

"Thank you," Jim said sipping his coffee. "I wonder if they will allow me to talk to Bellarosa while we're in orbit."

"I would think they would allow it. As they are so clearly concerned about you."

"I'll ask when we arrive."

"Have you eaten all of the waffle you want?" Spock asked, surveying the large portion still remaining uneaten on Jim's plate.

"Yes," he sighed. "I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought."

"Perhaps the Admiral took away your appetite," Spock suggested.

"Probably. The arrogant blowhard."

"He has always been quite enamored with himself," Spock observed.

"Always. How do you become a Starfleet Admiral without serving on a starship?"

"One knows the right individuals in positions of power."

"That can be the only way he made it. Too bad those in authority don't ask us lowly Captains what we think of his command style," Jim said, not for the first time.

"Most unfortunate."

Jim studied his plate silently, wanting to put aside the negative emotions the Admiral had brought to the surface. He did not want to cede any power to that man or allow him to ruin the rest of their shore leave.

//He will not interfere, t'hy'la,// Spock's warming thoughts assured him.

//I'm sorry. I don't mean to inflict my turmoil on you.//

//You are not. I am aware of your concern. It is not causing turmoil for me,// Spock assured him.

"Good," Jim said with a faint smile. "I'm going to the porch and watch the rain."

"I will join you. First I will go for one of the loveseats."

"You'll need a sweater," Jim said. "I'm sure it's still cool outside."

"I will add an extra layer," Spock agreed.

"Good," Jim said, retrieving the quilt before going out to the porch. He stopped the overhead fans, their efforts bringing additional coolness they did not need. He simply stood and watched the rain, absorbing the tranquility of the scene before him. The drops splashed on the sand, making tiny craters, the shape and uniformity amazing to him. The rain on the ocean was also very soothing, the waves not disrupted by its presence. He turned and smiled at Spock as he emerged from the bungalow in a warm black cardigan, carrying one of the wicker loveseats. When he had it placed against the wall between the two doors, he gently took the quilt from Jim and placed it over the seat. He sat and held an inviting hand out to Jim, who gladly accepted and sat snug against him. His feeling of security was increased when Spock wrapped them both in the quilt, their cocoon of love complete.

"Mmm…" Jim sighed, leaning against the warmer body, his bare feet up on the loveseat.

"The rain is beautiful," Spock said softly as though afraid to disturb the peace that was descending with the drops.

"It is. Does it ever rain on Vulcan?"

"Once a year. For two to three days. It is a holiday. Schools are let out. Businesses close. We rejoice in it."

"On Vulcan?" Jim laughed.

"Not in the way Humans would rejoice," Spock admitted. "We stand in it, allowing it to fall on us."

"Everybody does this?"

"Not the very old or the very young. And not for the entire time. It is said that those who choose not to appreciate the rains when they come will be sterile themselves. The celebration is called Itar-bosh Sov-mashau which means Thanksgiving of the Rain."

"I would imagine it's quite an interesting time to be on Vulcan," Jim suggested.

"It is. We wait with anticipation for the rains to come each year. On the years when it rains for three days, we count ourselves truly enriched."

"Does it remain or does it evaporate as soon as it falls?" Jim asked.

"Generally it lasts throughout the rainfall. When the clouds dissipate so does the moisture."

"And then life goes back to normal?"

"Yes. And we begin waiting again," Spock said.

"No wonder you are so patient. If you wait an entire year for two or three days of rain."

"Many Humans wait an entire year for the arrival of Christmas," Spock pointed out, kissing his Human's head.

"I'm one of those," Jim admitted. "I always have been."

"Yes. This year, perhaps we should celebrate Christmas on Earth."

"It depends on where we are," Jim said. "But if we can, I'd like that."

"As would I," Spock agreed. They both looked over as the Michaels emerged from their side of the bungalow, dressed in their uniforms, twin smiles on their faces.

"Captain, Commander," Michael Grey said, Michael Forrester nodded his greetings.

"Hello," Kirk responded with a smile. "You going back to Enterprise?"

"Yes sir. We wanted to thank you again for everything," Michael Forester said.

"You are very welcome. The crew enjoyed the festivities and are grateful to you for giving them an excuse to party," the Captain laughed.

"We were happy to oblige," Michael Grey said. He brought a box out from behind his back to present to the Captain who had to untangle his hand from the quilt to accept it.

"What's this?" he asked, looking up at the two beaming men.

"A thank you gift, sir. We wanted to share our happiness with you. And our appreciation," Michael Forester explained.

"That's entirely unnecessary," the Captain protested.

"We know, sir. We hope you will accept it anyway," Michael Forester said.

"Certainly," the Captain had to agree straightening slightly to place the box on his lap. He carefully lifted off the lid, handing it to Spock. He removed the gift from the box, finding a carving of two entwined hands, one a soft cream, the other a very light green. "This is beautiful," he said in admiration of the sculpture.

"Lt. Uhura helped us pick it out, sir. She said she thought you would like it," Michael Forester said with a smile.

"I do. Very much," he said warmly, handing it to Spock to admire. "Did you find it at the market?"

"Yes sir. It's handmade by one of the artisans here," Michael Grey said.

"It is quite beautiful," Spock said, pleasing the Michaels with his words.

"Thank you, Commander. We hope that if you need any assistance with your wedding, you won't hesitate to ask us," Michael Grey said.

"Lt. Uhura told you?" the Captain laughed.

"Yes sir. I think she confided it to us so I wouldn't be quite so nervous," Michael Forester admitted.

"You weren't as nervous as I was," Michael Grey laughed.

"Doesn't matter," Michael Forester said with a smile.

"We'll take care of your 'legal' marriage when I'm back aboard," the Captain reminded them.

"Yes sir. We'll talk to Lt. Uhura. It won't be elaborate, but some of our friends do want to be there," Michael Grey said.

"Of course," the Captain agreed.

"Thank you, sir," Michael Forester said. "We've taken enough of your time, sirs. We'll be going now."

"Thank you for the gift," the Captain said again, smiling up at them. Ordinarily he would have stood to say his final farewells but as Spock had managed to unzip his jeans while the Michaels were standing there, getting out from under the quilt was entirely impossible.

"Thank you, Captain, Commander," they said before requesting transport.

"What are you doing?" Jim asked with a laugh when he twisted enough to look up at Spock.

"I had thought you would know," Spock said, kissing his smiling mouth.

"You decided to get fresh while they were standing right there?"

"You were in no position to stop me. Most advantageous," Spock said calmly.

"You are incorrigible," Jim said. "The caterers are coming to tidy up. And the housekeepers will be here any minute."

"Yes," Spock agreed, his hand entering Jim's jeans to warm his Human even more.

"We can't make love right here. You have to stop."

"We can make love right here. No one on this planet will be surprised to find us in the midst of lovemaking," Spock said, kissing Jim's neck.

"Stop," Jim laughed. "If you are that determined to make love, let's go back to bed."

"I am most content where we are," Spock said, his hand becoming more and more intimate.

"What happened to your vaunted Vulcan reserve?"

"You have stripped it from me. I cannot be near you without wanting to possess all of you."

"You can't possess me on the porch, love," Jim protested with a laugh.

Spock sighed, slowly removing his hand. "Very well," he said, standing and lifting his Human with him. Still wrapped in their quilt, Spock carried Jim into the bedroom, carefully placing him on the bed before returning to close the door, the "please do not disturb" sign in place.

"Thank you," Jim said, laying on top of the quilt and watching Spock. "Now you can possess me."

"I have every intention of it, t'hy'la. Just as you possess me," Spock said, kissing him thoroughly and soundly.

"It's the rain, isn't it?" Jim laughed. "You've decided to have your own celebration of thankfulness."

"Indeed. Should I list those things for which I am most grateful?" Spock asked.

"That would be delightful," Jim agreed, stretching his arms over his head. Spock accepted the silent invitation, pulling the tee shirt free from the open jeans.

"I am grateful that you were returned to me and finally spoke those truths we both already knew."

"Me too. How much more time would I have wasted if I hadn't been abducted?" Jim asked lazily as Spock continued to kiss him.

"Neither of us were ready, t'hy'la. We cannot regret what we did not have."

"Yes," Jim agreed, smiling as Spock tugged his jeans down and off his feet.

"I am grateful that you chose not to put on briefs beneath your jeans," Spock said, kissing the flat belly down to the line of golden curls.

"I figured it they would just slow things down," Jim agreed with a smile.

"You anticipated my seduction?"

"Not necessarily. But I did know it wouldn't be long before we were both naked again."

"Most perceptive," Spock said. "I am grateful for your intelligence which so often keeps us all out of trouble."

"This isn't one of those times. I want us to get into as much trouble as we can," Jim laughed.

"It is not trouble when those involved are in love."

"True. Are you planning to disrobe soon?"

"Soon," Spock said, kissing the tan thighs and nuzzling them apart. "Do you have experience with oral sex?"

"Receiving," Jim said with a soft blush. "I've never done it. Well, uhm…"

"Not with a man," Spock finished for him.

"Yes. I mean no. Not with a man. Since you are the first man I've slept with. No – I've slept with other men," Jim laughed. "Out of necessity."

"But not engaged in sexual activity."

"Only you," Jim confirmed. "Are you interested in learning?"

"About those men with whom you have shared a bed?" Spock teased.

"I'm pretty sure you know about those times," Jim laughed. "Oral sex."

"I am curious," Spock said. "I have never experienced it. Nor given it."

"It's…uhm…done right, it's very satisfying."

"One can do it wrong?"

"Yes. Well, not wrong so much as bad technique. It's really important to avoid contact with your teeth, for instance," Jim explained.

"I can see how that would be disruptive to the experience."

"The women who have…uhm…do you want to hear this?" Jim asked, not sure how much information Spock really wanted on any of his previous sexual encounters.

"I am curious as to what their experience entailed," Spock agreed.

"You know, for all my reputation, I haven't had that many sexual partners. Not that I've kept track exactly. But there haven't been nearly as many as people seem to think there have."

"I know this, t'hy'la. I believe it is wishful thinking on the part of the women you encounter. They would like to be your next conquest."

"I guess that's it. Captains tend to gain that reputation at any rate. I heard Captain Pike slept with anyone who showed the slightest interest. But once I met him, I knew it wasn't true," Jim said.

"It was not. Nor is it true that he and I were sexually involved," Spock said, kissing back up his thighs to leave a trail across his stomach.

"I never believed it. I know there are a lot of people who think you and I have been together for a couple of years," Jim said with a contented sigh.

"Now they are correct," Spock said before covering Jim's mouth with his own. "Explain about oral stimulation."

"Well," Jim said, trying to concentrate but finding it difficult as Spock continued to kiss his exposed skin. "I don't think I can explain while you're kissing me."

"Very well," Spock said, pulling Jim's tee shirt off his up-stretched arms. That done, Spock stood beside the bed and slowly and seductively disrobed, Jim's eyes caressing him the entire time. "There will be time for talking afterward."

"Absolutely," Jim agreed, opening his arms to accept Spock on top of him. What happened next was only possible through their physical and mental union, a blossoming and fusion of their love.

"Mmm…" Jim sighed, utterly content in their cozy love-nest. "Has the rain stopped?"

"Yes. It is nearly noon," Spock said.

"Oh my. We have been lazy. Do you want to go to the square for lunch?"

"That would be most pleasant. It will necessitate a shower."

"Definitely. I want to see if I can find a little something for Uhura."

"In appreciation for her assistance," Spock confirmed.

"Yes. She's very good at her job. And those things which aren't really her job," Jim commented.

"As is the vast majority of your crew," Spock said.

"Especially you," Jim said, kissing him.

"Thank you, Captain. Your appreciation of my work is duly noted."

"Good," Jim laughed. "When we get back from the square, you can begin teaching me the shielding techniques."

"Most certainly. Providing you do not use them except in the line of duty," Spock said with a twinkle.

"I'll have to use them when we're on the bridge. Otherwise we'll be guilty of dereliction of duty," Jim warned lightly.

"True. I will remain in the science labs when we are first back on board."

"Yes. That's probably for the best," Jim sighed. "And I'm sure they will need frequent inspections."

"Without a doubt."

"Unless Hershfield finally gets his wish and has me removed from duty."

"That will never happen, t'hy'la. You are far too valuable a Captain for his personal vendetta to disrupt your service."

"I know. He's just such an idiot. And a bully." Jim shrugged and slowly sat up. "Oh well. Let's go take a shower so we can go to the square."

Spock agreed, going with his Human to the bathroom, showering and dressing. When they were ready, they went into town, the walk pleasant and only a little wet. All of the flowers and shrubs held onto the water from the rain, adding a sparkle to the surfaces, cooling the air in a most refreshing manner. Spock had put his sweater back on, the added layer just enough to keep out the dampness.

They found Sulu and Chekov in the square, joining them for lunch. Sulu told the other two all that had occurred on the ship in their absence, none of it particularly important. Or interesting. But Jim and Spock did not mind his enthusiastic appraisal of life aboard Enterprise.

"Why is Admiral Hershfield so angry at you, Keptain?" Chekov asked over a rich dessert of fruits and cake, which he naturally claimed was invented in Mother Russia.

"He always is," the Captain said with a shrug. "We've never seen eye-to-eye, about anything. I guess he knows that I don't think he has any business telling Captains how to command their starships when he's never served on one."

"It's strange, Captain," Sulu agreed. "We couldn't believe it when he contacted the ship, demanding to speak to you. And then implied you were…you had…well."

"It's hard to fathom," Jim said. "It will help that Kyka is willing to testify."

"Is she one of the women who…uhm…was with you on the planet, sir?" Sulu asked.

"Yes," Jim agreed. "She was never unkind. Stern. Bossy," he laughed. "Kala Korena promised me that Kyka won't order me around when she's with us."

"You can be sure of that," Sulu promised.

"Thank you, Lt. I'll let you know if she's getting out of hand," Jim said.

"Good. Uhura told us that you are getting married, sirs," Sulu said with a warm smile.

"When we reach Starbase," Jim confirmed. "Command crew will be in attendance. We'll draw lots for the other seats in the Observation lounge."

"I'm very glad for you both," Chekov said brightly.

"As are we," Spock said with a nod.

"What can we do to help, sir?" Sulu asked.

"We'll keep you posted. The ceremony will be after Hershfield's inquiry. So we'll have some time to plan," Jim said.

"Can we testify, Keptain?" Chekov requested.

"You weren't there, Pavel. I don't think they'll allow it," Jim said.

"We know what it was like when you returned to us, sir," Sulu said. "If what he thought was true, that you were making First Contact, you wouldn't have…well…."

"I understand," Jim assured him. "And I appreciate it. Are you two having fun on leave?" he asked, more than ready to change the subject.

"Yes sir," Sulu agreed. "We're going horseback riding tomorrow. Do you want to come?"

"I'd like that," Jim agreed, looking over at Spock.

"I will find other activities for that time," Spock said.

"We're meeting at the stables at 09:00, Keptain. The ones next to the registration building," Chekov said.

"Good," Jim said.

"It's a trail ride. They said it will last about 3 hours. Is that okay, sir?" Sulu asked.

"Certainly. Do I need to let them know I'll be coming with you?"

"No sir. We'll take care of it," Sulu assured him.

"Thank you," Jim said, standing. "Thank you both for the company and the delicious food. I'll see you tomorrow morning." Spock was also standing, waiting as the Captain gave his final farewells.

"I am pleased you feel like going with them," Spock said as they walked away.

"Me too. It's not supposed rain tomorrow, is it?"

"It is not. The clouds will completely dissipate by 15:00 this afternoon," Spock said, stopping with him at the tent filled with artistic glass.

"Good," Jim said, smiling at the man inside the tent. "Hello."

"Greetings, gentle beings. How does this fine day find you both?" the serene looking man asked.

"We are wonderful. Thank you," Jim said with a bright smile. "I am looking for a small gift. For someone who is gracious and generous with her time."

"Certainly, Captain. I have this lovely mirror," he suggested, handing the Captain a small gracefully sculpted looking glass.

"Mmm…no. That's not exactly what I have in mind," Jim decided, returning it carefully. "It is very lovely."

"Thank you," the man said, waiting patiently.

"Perhaps a necklace, Captain," Spock suggested, looking at the ones on display on the counter.

"These are exquisite," the Captain agreed, looking at the small, elegant works of art strung from delicate silver chains. "I don't remember seeing these before."

"I have just finished them, Captain. Today is the first day I have had them on display."

"So Uhura wouldn't have bought one for herself," the Captain confirmed. "This red one looks like something she would wear," he decided, looking at the intricate red glass woven around itself.

"I have earrings which complement," the proprietor said, pointing them out, a perfect match to the necklace.

"Yes, of course," the Captain agreed. "I'll take the necklace and the earrings."

"Most certainly," the man agreed, accepting them.

"That's beautiful," Jim said when he saw Spock admiring a blue set, a different design and feel to it.

"I believe that Mother would appreciate the artistry of this work," Spock said with a nod.

"Thank you, Commander. Would you like the earrings as well?"

"That will not be necessary. However, do you have a matching bracelet?" Spock asked.

"I don't right now. But I can certainly make you one," the artist said with a bright laugh.

"Of course. That would be most appreciated," Spock said.

"It will take me four days. Is that a problem?"

"Not at all. We are here for nine additional days," Spock assured him.

"Very well. I will have it delivered to your bungalow when it is finished. If it is pleasing to you, you can contact me and we will arrange payment."

"How will I contact you?" Spock asked.

"Kauhau will put you in touch," the man said.

Spock nodded at that, handing over his credit chip.

"Shall I arrange delivery of your items?" he asked as he finished their purchases.

"That would be helpful," Jim agreed, accepting the return of his chip. When their business was completed, they strolled away, chatting with other members of the crew who were in the square.

"Do you want ice cream, t'hy'la?" Spock asked as they approached the stand that sold it.

"Yes. I know I shouldn't," Jim said with a shrug.

"We will not tell the good doctor," Spock promised.

"Captain," the apple cheeked proprietor said in greeting. "Commander."

"How are you today?" Jim asked with a smile.

"I am in excellent spirits. The rains brought their blessings. The sun is returning to us. Many gentle beings are in the square. It is a fine fine day."

"It sure is," Jim agreed.

"May I prepare you a milkshake?" she asked.

"I would like that," Jim said. "Coffee like last time."

"With pleasure, Captain," she agreed, turning to make him one. "I have ices which contain no dairy, Commander."

"What flavors do you offer?" he asked politely.

"Neverster. Pomeron. The fruit we call whytle. Some gentle beings have said it tastes to them like a lime of Earth. Tart. Sweet. Most delicious," she explained.

"I would try the whytle," he agreed, waiting as she gave Jim his milkshake.

"Taste," she offered Spock, giving him a sample on a tiny spoon.

He sampled it, nodding. "Most pleasing. I will have a serving."

"Certainly, Commander," she agreed, scooping him out a bowlful.

"Thank you," Jim said, handing her his credit chip. She accepted payment for both treats, wishing them a most pleasant day. "Is it good?" he asked Spock as he ate the ice.

"It is most pleasant," Spock agreed. "It would be more so if the ambient temperature was several degrees higher."

"I'm sorry," Jim laughed. "We really can turn on the heat in the bungalow."

"That will not be necessary. The sun is breaking through. We will be warm before long."

"Okay," Jim agreed, strolling with him back to the bungalow. "What are you going to do tomorrow while I'm horseback riding?" Jim asked casually as they sat on the wicker loveseat, wrapping themselves in their quilt when Jim had gotten it from their bed.

"I have not yet decided. I may return to the ship for a time."

"Are you working?" Jim asked with a small frown.

"I wish to oversee some of the redesigns of the labs. It will not take longer than an hour."

"Okay. Don't stay too long. And don't get sucked into ship's business."

"I will avoid being sucked in," Spock promised in amusement.

"Speaking of sucking," Jim laughed. He proceeded to explain, as clinically and clearly as possible, the finer points of oral sex. Spock listened intently and Jim wondered if it aroused his Vulcan as it did him. When Spock once more unzipped his jeans under the quilt, he had his answer.

"I believe that experimentation is in order," Spock decided.

"Not on the porch," Jim laughed.

"Your protests are disruptive to me," Spock complained mildly, stroking his human's arousal under the protection of the quilt.

"I know," Jim assured him. "But anyone could come by. Do you really want to learn to perform fellatio out here where we could be observed?"

"You make an excellent point, Captain," Spock had to agree, picking him up.

"I can walk," Jim laughed.

"You may walk in the wrong direction. I must make certain you are where I can disrobe you completely."

"You can be sure I have no plans to go anywhere but our bed," Jim said as Spock carefully deposited him on it.

"As it should be. May I use a cloth on you prior to attempting to utilize my new found understanding?"

"Of course. Bring two. So I can show my appreciation," Jim said in a seductive voice.

"Even if I do it wrong?"

"Trust me. Unless you bite me, you can't possibly do it wrong," Jim assured him.

"I will not involve my teeth in the process," Spock promised.

"Okay," Jim laughed. "It sure sounds sexy when you say that."

"It most certainly does not. I will, however, endeavor to practice talking in more seductive terms."

"You don't need to. Just being near you is more than enough to seduce me."

"As is true for me, t'hy'la," Spock said, leaning down to kiss his Human before going to the bathroom for two wet clothes. "There is an arrangement of flowers in the bathroom."

"Why?" Jim asked as he watched Spock remove his clothes, further seducing him.

"It is from Kauhau. It does not say why he sent them. Nor why they are in the bathroom."

"We'll ask later. Or tomorrow," Jim decided as Spock climbed onto the bed next to him. "Are you going to undress me now?"

"Is that an order, Captain?" Spock asked, delaying the answer with a stirring kiss.

"Most definitely, Commander. One to be implemented with all deliberate haste," the Captain said, unable to sound stern for all the excitement being created by Spock's attention to detail.

Once the Captain was fully disrobed, Spock used the warm cloth to thoroughly cleanse his Captain, studying his erection with great interest.

"It's just a penis, Spock," Jim laughed, raising his head to watch Spock.

"I have never had the opportunity to see one this closely."

"Could you finish categorizing it when we're done?" Jim requested breathlessly.

"Then you will no longer be erect."

"I won't be erect much longer if you just look at me," Jim complained.

"That has not been my experience," Spock corrected.

"Okay. Please let me enter you. Or you enter me. Whichever. I just need you," Jim protested.

"I know what you need, t'hy'la. And I have every intention of fulfilling that need," Spock promised, leaning down to kiss his Human's beautiful erection.

"Good. Otherwise I'm going to take matters into my own hands."

"That will not be necessary," Spock said, licking him lightly.

"Oh…" Jim moaned. He gasped when Spock licked across the tip, collecting some of his fluid on the hot Vulcan tongue. "What do you think?"

"Most pleasant," Spock decided. "It is reminiscent of your scent."

"Please," Jim begged, lifting his hips in raw need.

"Yes," Spock conceded, carefully taking the tip into his mouth. Jim was overwhelmed with the sensation, almost exploding from the first touch. When Spock took in more of him, Jim wasn't sure how long he could last. For a first time effort, Spock was showing incredible mastery.

"You sure you've never done this before?" Jim gasped, moaning in pleasure. Spock was in no position to answer except to transmit his humor over their bond.

//Have I ever lied to you before?// he asked.

//No. Of course not. You're very good at this,// Jim said in admiration.

//You inspire me. May I take more of you?//

//Just be careful not to gag,// Jim instructed, barely able to think through the haze.

//Mmm…you are most delicious.//

//I'm about to come, love. Do you want to experience that?// Jim asked in warning.

//Is that not part of this?//

//For some. Others don't want it in their mouths,// Jim explained, trying to forestall the coming explosion.

//I wish to know all of you, t'hy'la. Even this,// Spock said in encouragement.

That was all the permission Jim needed, releasing his offering into Spock's welcoming mouth, twin moans of pleasure coming from them both.

//Well?// Jim finally asked as Spock lay next to him practically purring, one very warm arm over his belly.

"It is most pleasant," Spock confirmed. "Having you in my mouth feels intensely intimate."

"It is. As soon as I catch my breath, I'll show you how pleasant it really is."

"I look forward to the experience," Spock agreed.

"You must be ready to come yourself."

"I am highly aroused. I will await your recovery."

"Mmm…" Jim sighed, scooting down the bed, kissing Spock on the way. "You are truly beautiful. All over."

"Thank you. Perhaps while we are here, we could find a time to tan all of us equally," Spock suggested, his finger lightly tracing the tan line on his Human's back.

Jim laughed at that suggestion, reaching over for the second cloth. "You are usually so reserved. Is this another effect of being in love?"

"Definitely."

"I'm sorry if this is too cool," Jim said, carefully cleansing him.

"I do not mind. I know that you will very soon warm me all over," Spock said.

"That's my plan," Jim agreed, depositing the cloth on the floor by the bed. He utilized the instructions he had given Spock, doing what he had always found most pleasurable. It didn't take long to discover that the pleasure was not created only for him. Spock lost as much of his control as Jim had ever seen, moaning in ecstasy, his head thrashing, his hands with a death grip on the covers. When he came, it nearly scorched Jim's mouth, hotter than coffee. And salty. More salty than he expected. And pleasant in its own alien, intoxicating way.

"T'hy'la," Spock breathed when he could.

"Yes. Exactly," Jim agreed, laying pressed next to him.

"I know now why men would pay a stranger for this."

"I never have but I understand why they would," Jim agreed. "Should we take another shower?" Jim laughed, licking sweat off Spock's chest.

"If it is warm enough, I'd like to swim," Spock said, petting Jim's head.

"Me too," Jim decided. "I need to get something to drink. You are very salty."

"I too am thirsty," Spock decided. "Are you returning?" he asked as Jim left the bed.

"I will as soon as I have some water. Do you want water or juice?"

"Juice. Whatever flavor remains in the refrigerator."

"Okay. No one is in the bungalow, right?" he asked with a laugh as he stood by the door.

"No. Maintenance has already come and gone," Spock said, rolling on his side to watch his Human leave the bedroom. It didn't take long for him to return with a glass of ice water and a tall glass of juice.

"I'll be right back," he said, handing both glasses to Spock before going into the bathroom. He soon returned, climbing back into bed.

"You brushed your teeth," Spock commented, kissing his head.

"I don't mind your taste," Jim assured him. "It's just very salty."

"Yes."

"Yes, you know? Or yes I do too?" Jim laughed.

"Does it matter?"

Jim considered the question briefly before laughing again. "Not in the least."

"It does not," Spock agreed, sipping his juice. "Would you like a sip of this juice?"

"No thanks," Jim said, studying Spock's calm, tranquil face.

//I am very happy, t'hy'la. I simply do not show it,// Spock said warmly.

//I know. I didn't mean for it to sound like a criticism.//

//It did not.//

//Show me how to partition my thoughts. I know there are things you aren't sharing with me,// Jim said.

//Does that concern you?//

//Not at all. I need to learn how,// Jim said in request.

//Picture a closet with a door, t'hy'la. Allow our bond to reach the door but not open it or enter the closet,// Spock instructed.

//Okay. I have a closet. I put my thoughts in there?//

//Precisely. Do you have some you wish to store away from me?//

//Not at this moment. I can use the closet to store away what those women did,// Jim suggested.

//See those thoughts as tangible objects. Blocks or balls. Place them in the closet and close the door.//

Jim closed his eyes, trying to do as instructed. "Like that?"`

"Primarily. It will become easier and more natural the more often you do it."

"Is that how you do it? Put your thoughts in a closet?"

"Not precisely. I am accustom to partitioning my thoughts. I do not need to consider it. And the times we have melded, I have not had complete access to all of your thoughts," Spock said. "You are capable to keeping some parts of yourself inaccessible to me."

"I didn't know that," Jim said. "I thought I was an open book to you."

"You retain some chapters to yourself," Spock said. "You could also view your thoughts as pages in a book. You would not allow me to open that book or turn to that section."

"And the bond would still be laid over top even though you couldn't open that book," Jim said in appreciation of the idea.

"Yes. Do you wish to try that technique?"

Jim nodded, again closing his eyes. He pictured his favorite volumes, opening one of them and writing the thoughts on the pages before gently closing it again.

"Excellent. That is more effective for you than the closet," Spock said in approval.

"It feels more natural," Jim agreed. "If something happened, say I was injured, would you be able to access those thoughts?"

"With enough concentration I could. Once you have practiced, it will be difficult for me to open those books which you have sealed against me."

"Okay. How does Amanda do it?"

"We have never discussed it. These are things shared only between bondmates."

"I see. I'm going to have to tell Starfleet that you won't have access to confidential information."

"Assuring them that I can be kept out and explaining how you accomplish it are not equivalent," Spock pointed out.

"That's true. Good. Would you mind terribly if I took a nap?" Jim asked, with a yawn.

"Of course not. It is a very lazy day. I will wait for you to wake before swimming."

"Okay. I'll go with you once I wake up."

"Certainly. I am going into the living area to the computer," Spock said, leaving the bed and wrapping his love with the quilt. "Sleep well."

"I will. Are you putting on your clothes?" Jim asked, his eyes nearly closed already.

"Yes." With a last kiss, Spock quietly left the bedroom, taking his discarded clothes with him.

Jim woke slowly to find the sun streaming brightly in the windows, warming the room and his soul. He could hear the vague sound of Spock on the computer, the familiar noises making him smile. After tending to the needs of his body, he went into the living room, wrapping his arms around Spock's shoulders and kissing his head. "What are you doing?" he asked softly.

"Research," Spock said, turning his head enough to kiss Jim's smiling mouth and caress his bare body with his hands and his eyes.

Jim focused on the computer screen, laughing at what he saw. "The Kama Sutra?"

"It is often listed as an authoritative reference," Spock explained.

"It has been for centuries. Why are you reading it?"

"Curiosity. A desire to please you. Because my experience is so limited."

"It's not like it matters, love. And again, you can't really do it wrong. Any of it," Jim pointed out.

"Yes, I am aware. However, it is helpful to be armed with as much knowledge as possible in areas one wishes to accomplish mastery."

"More sexy talk," Jim laughed. "Let's go swimming. I can show you the finer points of making love in the ocean."

"A topic on which there is no available research."

"You checked?"

"No," Spock admitted. "I was teasing you."

"Okay," Jim laughed.

"How it is you know of the content of the Kama Sutra?" Spock asked as they went into the bedroom to put on their swim trunks.

"Sneaking a copy out of the library is an age old Human tradition. Every boy wanted to read it. Or steal it. We thought it made us worldly," Jim said.

"What did you think when you had read it?"

"We didn't understand most of it. But we did think we were all that for reading it."

"All that?" Spock asked.

"It's a silly Earth expression. One we used as boys. It means we thought we were something special."

"I see. In that case, I can confirm that you are indeed all that," Spock said, kissing him on the head.

"Thank you," Jim laughed, going to his closet for several over-sized towels. "You ready?"

"Yes. Do you have the sunscreen?"

"It's in…oh…well, I don't know where it is," Jim said, looking in the closet. "Do you know where I left it?"

"The bathroom perhaps?" Spock suggested, going in to find it.

"Thanks. I want to get some more water and I'll be ready," Jim said, going out to the kitchen to fill a container which had a lid to keep out the sand.

"You are still thirsty?"

"I will be when we're on the beach. Are there any apples?"

"Yes," Spock said, taking two out of the refrigerator.

Jim nodded, going out and across the sand, Spock by his side. "Once the sun came out, it really warmed up," Jim commented, spreading his towel on the sand as Spock put up one of the umbrellas.

"One of the characteristics of this planet. Pleasant yet changeable weather."

"Definitely pleasant," Jim agreed, putting the items on the towel. "You coming?"

"I most certainly am. Do you want one of the loungers?"

"Yes. No. I'm going to swim first," Jim said, shaking his head. "I'm sorry I'm being such high maintenance."

"What makes you believe that you are, t'hy'la?" Spock asked, going with him to the water's edge.

"I don't seem to know what I want. And I can't keep up with something as simple as sunscreen."

"That does not make you high maintenance. It makes you Human."

"There's no need to be insulting, Commander," Jim laughed.

"On the contrary, Captain. I am in love with you precisely because you are so very Human," Spock assured him warmly.

"Really? You aren't just saying that to make me feel better about myself?"

"I am not. And I have never known you to harbor self-doubt. Did you have a disturbing dream?"

"No. I don't think so. I have no idea why I'm being so…uhm…Human."

"Perhaps because you know that it is acceptable for you to let down your guard when it is just me and you?" Spock suggested.

"Probably," Jim agreed, looking up at Spock with a smile curving his lips. "Thank you."

"It is I who must thank you," Spock corrected, quickly kissing his tempting mouth.

"Okay," Jim laughed. "Let's go swimming."

Spock nodded, racing with him into the water to dive under the wave that came up to greet them. They swam away from shore before turning to swim back, the exercise energizing them. It was also extremely pleasant to float on the loungers, gazing up at the immense stretch of blue sky smiling down on them.

"Do you want to try making love in the ocean?" Jim asked, squinting over at Spock. Their loungers were held together with convenient hooks, their heads at opposite ends in order to see one another.

"Not at this moment. I am very content lying here basking in the sun."

"You look content," Jim agreed, his hand creeping over Spock's sun warmed skin and into the top of his swim trunks.

"What are you doing?" Spock asked raising his head to look at Jim's hand.

"Payback" Jim said with a wicked smile.

"That I do not wish to make love is of no consequence to you?" Spock asked, trying to sound disapproving.

"Of no consequence what-so-ever," Jim confirmed. "And I feel sure that I will be able to change your mind. There's no one here but us. And as you pointed out, if anyone sees us, they won't be surprised."

"All true," Spock agreed. "If you are determined to continue, may we leave the loungers for the relative anonymity of the water?"

"Sure," Jim agreed, rolling off of his and waiting for Spock to join him in the water. When Spock was off his lounger, Jim put one on top of the other and put his trunks in between. Spock followed his example, his trunks also safely stored away. "Wonderful," Jim said, wrapping arms and legs around Spock, their erections in delicious contact.

"Most delightful," Spock had to admit, reaching between their bodies to stroke them both.

"Mmm…" Jim sighed in contentment and growing arousal.

"Is penetration possible?" Spock asked after kissing him.

"Not right now. I'm too close."

Spock kissed him again, demonstrating that his research during the afternoon was not solely for his pleasure. The technique he used was most satisfactory for them both.

"You are a fast learner," Jim said in sated approval as Spock continued to hold him close.

"Thank you. I hope to do well on the final exam," Spock teased.

"You've already earned sufficient extra credit. You may not have to take the final," Jim said, licking Spock's shoulder.

"Because I am the teacher's pet?"

"Definitely. I guess we better put our trunks back on before we return to the loungers."

"Who is there to see us if we remain bare, t'hy'la?" Spock asked, unstacking them.

"No one, I guess. Except I didn't put sunscreen everywhere. I sure don't want to burn certain parts," he laughed.

"Nor would I want you to risk it," Spock agreed, handing Jim his trunks. They both put them back on before returning to the loungers to rest and recover.

When Jim's stomach eventually began to growl, they decided to return to the bungalow for a leisurely shower followed by a delicious dinner from the resort, enjoyed out on the porch beneath the freshly washed stars.

"I think I'm ready for bed," Jim decided when it became harder and harder to keep his eyes open.

"I will remain here for a while longer if my absence will not be disturbing to you."

"I'll miss you but I'll make do," Jim assured him, standing up to stretch. After kissing Spock on the head, he made his way inside, removing his clothes before crawling into bed, still smiling. He barely moved when Spock joined him, back asleep instantly.