He cannot possibly know how much he hurts me with his flippant behavior towards women. How could he? I have spent a lifetime learning to hide my feelings, and have worked very hard at making sure that no one, not even Jim, could see them. Of course, as any Vulcan will admit, I do, in fact, have feelings. I simply choose to bottle them up and tuck them away. I alone get to know what I am feeling.

This is why it is unreasonable of me to expect Jim to understand that his multiple female lovers cause me great pain. It is illogical, and I judge myself harshly for feeling this way.

As a child, I never thought that I would know what love felt like. Just seeing Jim has shown me that love, in all its pain and sadness, is worth feeling for. I am grateful for being half-human, because I can experience love to a more full potential than my full-Vulcan counterparts.

….however, love is a burden.

~*~

"Spock, may I speak with you privately?" Dr. McCoy asked the first officer. Spock stopped staring in the direction of the captain and nodded.

"Certainly, doctor," he said, following McCoy to the sickbay. "May I inquire as to the nature of this private audience?"

"Something's bothering you," McCoy said, "something about Jim."

"Doctor, I am I certain I do not know what-"

"Don't play games with me, Spock," McCoy said. "What has Jim done to you?"

"Jim has done nothing to me," Spock said, but he'd been finding it harder to hide his emotions lately, and a look of sadness crossed his face for a brief moment.

"What did he do?" Mc Coy demanded, "I know he's done something to upset you. I can tell. The two of you don't touch each other and gaze at each other anymore. Now you look truly emotionless in his presence, when you used to look somewhat happy. What did he do?"

"I am certain Jim has never gazed at me, McCoy," Spock said.

"Is that what hurts you?" McCoy asked, "That Jim doesn't share you affections?"

"I am not certain as to which affections you are referring to," Spock said, he sounded mildly irritated, "Jim is my friend-"

"In a pig's eye," Mc Coy laughed. "You love him. It's the most obvious thing in the world. I'm just an old country doctor, but I can tell when two people love each other."

"Each other, Doctor?" Spock asked. "Jim does not love me."

"So you admit that you love him?" McCoy asked.

"You leave me with no logical alternative," Spock said. "You are my friend and I do not intend to lie to you."

"You should tell Jim," McCoy said, "he seems interested in you."

Spock closed his eyes and shook his head. "I can assure you, Doctor, he is not."

"How can you be so sure?" McCoy pressed, "he looks at you and touches you and smiles at you and laughs with you and-"

"Please stop," Spock said, McCoy noticed that same brief flash of sadness in Spock's face. "Jim has enough women to fill up his life and his heart. There is no room left for me."

"This is about the women?" McCoy laughed. "They mean NOTHING to Jim. He's with them because he's lonely and anyone is better than no one."

"Perhaps if he focused his attention elsewhere-" Spock seemed angry, but McCoy cut him off.

"He would see a first officer and a friend, that could be everything he ever needed and wanted," McCoy said, smiling and clapping a hand on Spock's shoulder. "I will do everything I can to help the two of you get together. You need each other like a fish needs water."

"The notion that Jim is in love with me is absurd, Doctor," Spock said. "However I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your friendly quest… and thank you."

"Of course, you pointy-eared hobgoblin," McCoy laughed. "You're my friend."

****

"Sir?" Montgomery Scott asked, seeing the Captain brooding in his chair. It was the night watch and only Captain Kirk, Mr. Scott, and Lt. Uhura were on the bridge. "Is something wrong, sir?"

"No, Mr. Scott I… I'm perfectly… fine." Even Jim knew how pained that sounded.

"Captain, does this have to do with Mr. Spock?" Uhura asked, swiveling in her chair to face the two men.

"You two haven't been sharing those tender moments in while, sir," Scotty added, "have you broken up?"

"Broken up, Mr. Scott?" Jim asked, taken aback, "Mr. Spock and I are not in a relationship."

"Sorry, Sir, I just-" Scott started, but was interrupted.

"If you're not, Sir, than you should be," Uhura said. "Scotty and I have seen the way you look at each other. We just assumed you were together."

"Mr. Spock doesn't look at me any special way," Jim said.

"But you do, sir?" Scotty asked.

"Of course I do, he's-" Jim froze, did he dare reveal his innermost secret? "…beautiful and unique and… so… perfect."

Uhura and Scotty shared pleased glances. "Well he seems to like you, too, Captain," Uhura said.

Jim laughed. "In my dreams maybe…. Besides, even if he did, he doesn't anymore. He glares at me all day and hardly speaks to me… and shies away from my touch. He's not interested in me."

"Maybe he shies away because he is interested, sir," Scotty said. "Maybe he's afraid of what loving you would mean for him."

"Well," Jim said, "even if that were the case, which it's not, he still wouldn't want me."

"You drive a hard bargain, sir," Scotty said.

"You're awfully down on yourself," Uhura added. "Maybe you and Mr. Spock need to talk."

"All that would accomplish is freaking him out," Jim said.

"Or showing him that he can have all he ever wanted, sir," Scotty said.

"I appreciate what you guys are trying to do," Jim said, "but it's no use. Please don't tell anyone else."

"Your secret is safe with me, sir!" Scotty said, smiling.

"Chekov also knows," Uhura said, "he pointed it out to me, and I pointed it out to Scotty. I won't tell anyone else, and I will tell Chekov to hush up about it also."

"Thank you," Jim said. "You two are excused. Go get some sleep. I will man the bridge by myself and Spock will be along in a few hours."

"Yes, sir," they said, leaving the bridge and leaving Jim to his thoughts. He slumped into his chair and buried his fingers in his hair, sighing.

"Spock would never be interested in me," he breathed into the night.

****

"Did you sleep well, Mr. Spock?" Jim asked as Spock entered the bridge for the morning shift.

"No, sir," Spock replied. Both men felt awkward in each other's presences due to the conversations they had had previously.

Spock sat in a chair far from the captain and had to work hard to stop himself from sighing.

"Are you ill?" Jim asked. He had never known Spock to have trouble sleeping.

"No, sir," Spock said, "I simply had a great deal of thoughts to consider last night."

"Such thoughts being…?" Jim asked, trying to be friendly to Spock, trying desperately for a half smile or a cheeky eyebrow raise.

"It is unimportant," Spock replied numbly.

"So… I-"

"What time does Mr. Chekov come to join us on the bridge?" Spock interrupted.

"An hour," Jim answered. "Are you eager not to be alone with me?" He was half kidding, but there was seriousness there.

"Merely inquiring, sir," Spock said. "I…" Spock trailed off and didn't speak.

"You what, Mr. Spock?" Jim asked.

"Nothing, sir," Spock replied. "It was irrelevant."

"Oh… okay…." Jim said. They sat awkwardly in silence for the rest of their time alone.

****

When Pavel Chekov entered the bridge, he must have been visibly taken aback by the sight of Jim and Spock as far away from each other as possible; working quietly and awkwardly, because Spock raised an eyebrow and Jim looked surprised.

"Something wrong, Ensign?" Jim asked.

"…no, sir…" Chekov whimpered, heading to take his place at the helm.

After a few moments, Chekov had gained enough courage to ask what was on his mind.

"Are you two mad at each other?" he asked.

"No!" Jim said quickly, a little quicker than he would have liked. Spock said nothing.

"Mr. Spock?" Chekov asked.

"Anger is an emotion, Mr. Chekov," Spock said simply.

"You're evading the question," Jim said, needing to know the answer. "Are you mad at me? You certainly have seemed that way lately."

"This is inappropriate conversation to have on the bridge," Spock replied.

"Pavel, take the com," Jim said. "Spock. Hallway."

Spock followed Jim wordlessly.

"Now we're not on the bridge, so answer me," Jim said. "It's been bothering me. You seem angry with me."

"This is an unimportant-"

"Answer me. Yes or no. Are you angry with me?" Jim demanded.

"…yes." Spock said, he sounded a bit weak and refused to make eye contact with Jim. Admitting to emotion was never easy for the half-Vulcan.

"Why?" Jim asked.

"It is of a personal nature, sir," Spock said. "It is my desire that we discuss this no further."

"…fine," Jim said, "whatever I did, I'm sorry."

"Of that, I am certain, you are not," Spock said, heading back through the sliding doors onto the bridge.

****

After an awkward shift on the bridge together, Jim left Spock in charge and went to get some breakfast.

"Mr. Spock, sir?" Chekov asked, looking up at the half-Vulcan nervously.

"Yes, Pavel?" Spock replied.

"Are you and the Captain fighting?" Chekov looked concerned.

"No, Mr. Chekov, we are not," Spock said.

"So you haven't broken up?" Chekov asked.

"Broken up? I am not certain I understand, Mr. Chekov."

"I mean, are you two still… together?" Chekov asked.

"Jim- the Captain and I were, at no point, in a relationship, if that is what you are inferring," Spock said. "Perhaps the data that lead you to this conclusion was insufficient."

"Perhaps it was," Chekov said sadly. "Unless I have just figured this out before you, sir."

"Figured what out, Mr. Chekov?" Spock asked, he seemed a touch irritated.

"You and Jim love each other," Chekov said.

"This is an inappropriate discussion," Spock said, a bit too abruptly for Chekov's taste.

"Sorry, sir," Chekov said, wishing he was of higher rank so he could press the first officer further.

****

"Spock is angry with me," Jim said. When he'd gotten his breakfast, Scotty was also in the cafeteria, and he sat down with Jim to talk.

"Why?" Scotty asked, biting down on a sandwich bulging with meats.

"I don't know. I asked him if he was mad at me and he said yes. He didn't want to say why."

"You shoulda pried it outta him, sir," Scotty said.

"What good would that do?" Jim asked. "He'd probably still be angry with me for whatever I did, and he'd think that I had no respect for his personal boundaries. I respect him, Scotty… if he doesn't want to talk about it… I'm not going to make him."

"That's very noble of you, Captain," Scotty said. "But sometimes noble men end up alone, sir."

"I'd rather just try to get back on his good side without pushing his personal boundaries," Jim said. "He's a Vulcan, who knows what cultural norm for him I might have broken. I know many Vulcan's are averse to touch, but I-"

"He never seemed to mind that before, sir," Scotty said. "Everyone knows you're just a very handsy person."

"Is it possible that I was a little too handsy with him?" Jim asked. "I didn't mean to be…. I just- Can't help it."

"It's possible, sir," Scotty said, "but not likely the case. Pavel, Nyota, and I haven't noticed an increase in your physical moments… and Spock touches you plenty too, sir!"

"Yes, I… know," Jim sighed. "What could I possibly have done?"

"Have you made references to him being half-human lately?" Scotty asked. "I know that that bothers him."

"I treat Spock's mixed heritage with the utmost respect, any time I have insulted him was necessary for his survival, and he knows this," Jim said, "I never speak poorly of his background. How could I, when I know it hurts his feelings?"

"Maybe he doesn't like it that you think he has feelings, sir," Scotty said.

"I know he has feelings, Mr. Scott," Jim said, frowning, "he just doesn't show them to us. They're there… tucked away- safe from prying eyes."

"Maybe he wishes you didn't know that, sir," Scotty said.

"Maybe, but I don't think so," Jim replied. "Again, I treat his feelings with respect."

"This is a doozey, sir," Scotty said, frowning. "Maybe you should ask Miss Uhura about it. Her feminine insight could help you, sir."

"Yes… it could," Jim said. "Thank you, Scotty."

****

"How'd the morning shift with the captain go?" McCoy asked, catching Spock in the hallway after he was relieved for some rest that night.

"All of my work was completed on schedule as per the captain's instruction," Spock said. "I suppose that this means the morning shift went well."

"I mean how was it seeing Jim," McCoy clarified, "after our talk?"

"Seeing Jim was the same as it has always been," Spock replied, "a conversation with you would not change the way I perceive him."

"You just like to be difficult, don't you?" McCoy laughed.

"I do have a talent for it, Doctor," Spock said, raising his eyebrows with a slight smile on his lips.

"Did you and Jim talk about anything that isn't work-related?" McCoy asked.

"He asked me if I was angry with him and demanded I answer yes or no," Spock said. "Not wishing to lie to him, I said yes."

"You're angry with him?" McCoy asked, "Is it still the women? I could tell you were saddened by that, but I didn't know you were angry."

"I have very sound reasoning for being angry, Doctor," Spock said, "however being angry is having an emotion, and it is my desire that you keep this between us."

"Of course, Spock," McCoy said. "What are your reasons for being angry?"

"Jim uses those women for some personal gain and discards them as if they are mere objects once he has gained whatever he needed from them," Spock said, "it is repulsive to me, how little concern he has for their emotional hurt towards his behavior."

McCoy nodded. "I see what you mean-"

"Also," Spock continued, "his behavior with these women has caused me emotional hurt, and I do not like it. And finally, this treatment of partners has made me apprehensive to even attempt to become involved with Jim. It is my fear that once he received from me whatever he needed, he would discard me- like the women before me."

"Jim wouldn't do that," McCoy said.

"It is in his nature," Spock replied. "Even if he gave me his word- he has given his word to many women that he would love them forever, and then discarded them- I could not trust him to keep it."

"Jim doesn't look at those women like he looks at you," McCoy said, "he doesn't laugh with them. He doesn't care about them, like he cares for you."

"There is no evidential proof that Jim cares for me," Spock said.

"When you were in great pain because of that parasite that controlled people by exerting pain in them, I've never seen Jim so worried. And when you were blinded and we thought it was permanent, Jim seemed like he would never forgive himself, though it wasn't his fault. How about when we went down to that Eden-like planet and you dove in front of the poisonous seed pods to save Jim? While you were unconscious, Jim was so worried, and scared, and touched that you cared about him enough to save him. Or your pon farr? Jim disobeyed direct Starfleet orders for your needs… How about when your father needed blood and Jim pretended to be well, risking great injury, so you would relinquish command and donate the blood your father needed? Is that evidential enough for you?" McCoy seemed irritated.

"I suppose that is sufficient to suggest that Jim is my friend," Spock said, "but it in no way indicates whether or not he would be a trustworthy partner."

"The only way to know that is to take a chance on him and find out," McCoy said.

"Quite right, Doctor," Spock said, "I must take some time to consider it."

****

"Nyota, can I speak with you?" Jim asked, knocking on the door to Lt. Uhura's quarters.

"Come in, Captain," she said.

"Spock's mad at me," Jim said, sitting at Uhura's desk, across from her.

"Why?" She asked.

"I was hoping you might be able to help me figure that out," Jim said. "I asked him why, but he said he didn't want to talk about it…"

"Hmm," Uhura said, closing her eyes in thought. "Have you done anything different lately?"

"I don't know… I don't… think so," Jim said, sighing.

"What was our last mission before he got angry with you?" Uhura asked.

"We stopped down on a colony to check everything out, it was all fine," Jim said.

"What did you do on the planet?" Uhura asked.

"I wanted to talk to the head of the colony, but they wouldn't let me, there was trickery and foul play," Kirk said, "I ended up seducing his daughter in order to be able to speak with him and set everything straight. Nothing out of the ordinary."

"You used another girl?" Uhura asked.

"I had to," Jim replied.

"If Spock loves you, that must have hurt him," Uhura said. "Perhaps he is mad at you for using women as you do."

"Spock doesn't love me," Jim said. "That can't be it."

"It's the only thing I can think of," Uhura said, "but I will let you know if I figure something else out."

"Thank you, Nyota," Jim said, exiting Uhura's room.

****

"I was unable to get any information from Mr. Spock," Chekov said, he was sitting with Uhura and Scotty.

"And now that Jim's asked us to keep this a secret, we can't ask McCoy for help," Scotty said.

"He's friends with both of them, he'd be the most able to get anything out of Spock," Uhura said, sighing. "I just want them to find their happiness in each other."

"We'll have to keep trying," Scotty said.

"Aye aye!" Chekov said, "Our secret mission!"

****

"Spock, can I talk to you?" Uhura asked, cornering the first officer in the hallway.

"Certainly, Lieutenant, what is it?" Spock replied.

"In private?" she asked.

"Certainly," Spock said, following her into an empty room.

"I'm in love," Uhura lied, trying to see what Spock would say.

"A complex human emotion, I am told," Spock said. No one needed to know just how well he understood love's complexities. No one needed to know anything about Spock's love.

"What should I do?" she asked, "I don't think he loves me back."

"I fail to understand why you have selected me, of all people, to help you with this problem," Spock said.

"I love Jim," she lied, there was a flicker of something in Spock's face, but Uhura couldn't read it. "You're closest to him… I need your help."

Spock remained silent. What was he supposed to say? Of course, he wanted her to back off and leave Jim alone, but he didn't want to be too cruel to her. He also didn't want to reveal himself as the lovesick half-human he truly was.

"Please," she pressed, "what should I do?"

"I do not have the slightest idea of how to gain affections from Jim," Spock said, completely honestly, "I am sorry."

"Do you think he likes me?" Uhura said, she knew this was a mean game, but she needed to find out if Spock loved Jim.

"No," Spock said rather quickly, and then added: "He would have seduced you without a moment's hesitation if he did."

"You're right," Uhura said. "Thanks for talking with me."

"Of course, Miss Uhura, though I do not think I was particularly helpful," Spock said.

****

"Captain," Uhura said, knocking on the door to Jim's quarters.

"Yes, Uhura, what is it?" Jim replied, opening the door.

"Spock is definitely mad at you about your use of women," she said.

"How… how can you be sure?" Jim replied.

Uhura explained her use of female manipulation to get an emotional response out of Spock. She explained what she said and his slightly bitter response about how Jim would have used her in a heartbeat.

"He seems angry with you, but, on the plus side, I'm almost 100% certain he likes you," Uhura replied.

"Yes… it does seem that way," Jim said. "Maybe I should talk to him. Try and set this right… try and… prove my worth to him."

Uhura nodded and understood when Jim left her abruptly.

****

"Mr. Spock?" Jim asked, knocking on the door to Spock's quarters. "A word?"

"Come in, Captain," Spock replied.

"I hoped I could talk to you about something that's bothering me immensely," Jim said, "so much so that I can't sleep… or think straight."

Spock seemed mildly worried for just a moment. "What is it, Jim?" he asked.

"I can't stand that you're mad at me," Jim replied.

"I apologize if my emotional outburst caused you to suffer, sir," Spock said, "it was not my intent."

"I figured out what it is," Jim said. "I know why you're mad. I had a stunning burst of clarity and it all clicked."

"Did it, Captain?" Spock asked, there was a mild tone of apprehension in his voice.

"I use ladies for my own personal gain," Jim said, "that's it… isn't it?"

Spock nodded and said nothing.

"You know, Mr. Spock," Jim said, stepping closer to Spock, Spock looked nervous but remained standing mere inches from Jim, "I would never do that to you."

"Captain, I-" Spock began to breathe, but Jim silenced him with a finger on his lips. Spock's hidden emotions seemed far less hidden as his eyes widened with fear.

"I'd never do that to you," Jim said again, sliding his hand down to Spock's chin and forcing Spock's eyes to meet his own.

"Jim, please, I-"

"I know what you're afraid of…" Jim whispered, kissing Spock tentatively. The kiss only lasted a few seconds before Jim was knocked forcefully and painfully against the wall. When he staggered to his feet, he saw Spock standing by the door, looking horrified.

"If you truly knew what I was afraid of, you would not have done that," Spock said, his voice full of emotion, and then turned and left the room.

****

Dr. McCoy nearly ran into Spock as he fled down the hall.

"Spock!" he called out. Spock ignored him and headed into an empty room.

McCoy followed to discover Spock sitting in a chair at a conference table, eyes closed, hands balled into fists, looking pained.

"Spock what's wrong?" McCoy asked, sitting beside his distraught friend.

Spock was shaking. He said nothing.

"Did Jim deny you?" McCoy asked gently.

"On the contrary," Spock replied, his voice barely above a whisper, as if he was trying to keep something in. "Jim made an advancement upon me against my wishes."

"You don't want to be with him?" McCoy asked, slightly taken aback. It didn't sound like Jim.

"Of course I do, doctor, but I am full of apprehension, and Jim ignored my attempts to discuss my apprehension, and he- he kissed me."

"He kissed you?" McCoy asked. "Isn't that good? You can talk afterwards."

"May I remind you that physical contact is a much greater deal on my home planet than yours," Spock said.

"Kissing on earth is just a way to say you like someone," McCoy said. "That's all Jim meant by it."

"Kissing, as well as anything more physically romantic would be a direct display of the deepest and most sincere affections," Spock said. "Commitment is important to my people. I would be ready for a commitment. I love Jim very deeply. However, I do not believe that he is ready for this kind of commitment…"

"Why don't you talk to him?" McCoy said.

"I do not think I would be able to keep my composure," Spock said. "It has been nearly impossible to resist emotional display in front of you, Doctor, and I am not in love with you."

"Jim won't think less of you for it," McCoy said, "and for the record, I don't think less of you for having emotions either."

"Thank you," Spock said, "however I desire to be alone. I will be in my quarters."

"Okay," McCoy said, smiling comfortingly at Spock as he left the room.

****

"Jim, you have to talk to Spock," McCoy said, after hunting Jim down and finding him in his quarters, laying back on his bed massaging his temples.

"I take it he talked to you?" Jim asked, sighing. "Bones, I'm a fool. I misread all of his signals… I… I was wrong."

"You just scared him, Jim," McCoy said.

"I know," Jim replied. "I love him. I thought he loved me. I kissed him and he freaked out. I must've been wrong."

"Spock loves you, Jim," McCoy said.

"No he doesn't," Jim said.

"He told me so himself," McCoy replied. "He loves you, he's just scared. He wanted to talk to you before jumping into anything because he was afraid. He's hurt that you didn't talk to him, but he still loves you."

"We could have talked afterward," Jim said, "I just kissed him."

"A very deep and committed expression of intimacy among Vulcans," McCoy said.

"I didn't mean to freak him out," Jim said. "I just- I love him. I couldn't help myself."

"Go talk to him, he's in his quarters," McCoy said.

****

"Spock, may I come in?" Jim asked, knocking gently in Spock's door.

"It is well within your right as Captain to enter the quarters of any officer you so choose," Spock replied.

"I'm not asking as your Captain," Jim said, "I'm asking, as a friend, if I may come in."

"You may," Spock said, though he seemed hesitant.

When Jim walked into the room, Spock was sitting on his bed, fingers steepled, head down.

"Look, I-"

"I've been abandoned before, Jim," Spock interrupted.

"I would never do that to you," Jim said, sitting beside Spock on the bed. He pretended not to notice Spock shift away from him.

"As you said earlier," Spock replied. "However, it was my intent to discuss this with you before engaging in-"

"Spock," Jim said, cutting him off, "I know. Kissing you freaked you out, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you-"

"Being upset is a human emotion-"

"Spock, save it. Let me finish," Jim said. "I didn't mean to upset you. I'd be happy to talk about your concerns. I really would, I just kissed you to show you how I felt. It's what we do on Earth. I didn't mean to offend you, or to suggest-"

"I understand, Jim," Spock said. "I am concerned about what is in your nature."

"My nature?" Jim asked.

"Your, to put it in Earth terms, 'love them and leave them' lifestyle," Spock replied.

"Spock," Jim said, chuckling, but then getting serious, "I leave them, because I love you. I only want to end up with one person, and that's you. The moment a woman reveals herself as in any way less perfect than you, I abandon them and run. I'm not proud of the fact that I sometimes use them, either… but it has to be done."

"How can I be certain that this is true?" Spock asked apprehensively.

"Mind meld?" Jim asked.

"Are you certain you would want to-"

"Yes," Jim interjected. "Yes. If it's how I can be with you, then yes."

"I must warn you, my inner emotions will regrettably be transferred to you," Spock said.

"I'm ready," Jim said, as Spock began placing his fingers on Jim's face.

"Jim, our minds… one and together," Spock said, and then sharply took a breath. His eyes closed and he began to whisper Jim's thoughts aloud, as was common in melding. "my duty… to the ship… can't be with… but… Spock. Spock… interesting, beautiful, perfect Spock. Never… never love another. Only Spock. Enterprise… the crew… but Spock… I love Spock… forever…"

Spock released himself from Jim and said nothing as Jim gasped and wiped tears caused by Spock's hidden emotions from his eyes.

"I'm so sorry I hurt you so badly…" Jim breathed, wiping his empathetical tears from his eyes, and continuing to breathe heavily. Once Jim had regained his composure, he spoke. "What do you have to say about my thoughts…?" he sounded so apprehensive and scared.

Spock regarded Jim for only a moment before throwing his arms around Jim's neck and kissing him deeply. After a short while, Spock ended the kiss, but remained in the embrace with Jim, faces mere fractions of an inch from eachother.

"I think that the only logical response to this mind meld," Spock breathed, nearly smiling, "is for us to become romantically involved until the end of our days."

"Agreed," Jim said. "Now, if you please, Spock, kiss me again."

"As you wish, Captain."

END