He looked at me blankly again. Not like he used to… not like before. Spock had a façade, sure, but I always knew what he was feeling. I could always see his inner self, because he let me. Because I loved him, and he used to love me too. Recently, he'd been truly emotionless. I didn't know if it was something I had done, or something he had done… but I hated it.

"Can we talk?" I asked, gently. We were in my quarters, playing chess like usual, but there was no glimmer of playfulness in his eyes, no love… nothing.

"Indeed," he replied monotonously… more and more like a machine and less like my love every day.

"I've been feeling really weird lately," I said, trying to open up to him. Maybe if I opened up, he'd open up too.

"I have not noticed," Spock said, coldly. "You have smiled rather often as of late."

I thought that if I smiled at him enough, he'd smile too… I knew it was stupid, but I couldn't bear to have him look at me like that any longer. I needed him to express something, anything, to me. Even if he was angry with me, I just wanted to see it. If he had cared about me as he professed to, he would have seen my face fall after my forced, fake, smiles.

"Oh," I said. Not knowing what to say. I let the words hang.

"You wanted to speak about these weird feelings?" Spock asked, as if I was so fucking illogical to just leave him hanging. He'd been treating me like we'd just met!

"Never mind," I said, "it was all in my head."

"I see," Spock replied coolly, continuing to play chess without another word.

"I…" I tried again, but I couldn't do it. What if he rejected me? I couldn't live without him. I needed him so badly, but not like that… god I missed my Spock… not this new mean one.

"Captain?" Spock asked, again questioning my trailing off.

"It's fucking Jim, okay!? Not Captain!" I hissed. I couldn't stop myself. I was hurt by his coldness. I didn't understand. What happened? Without another word, I got up and stormed from the room. I couldn't stand being there with him. Where was my Spock? Why had he left me alone? I needed him so much!

Spock found me on the observation deck. An empty room with windows on one side to view the stars and benches on the opposite wall. It was always where I went when I was upset. At least he still seemed to know that much about me.

"Jim…" he said, standing in the doorway. I don't think he expected to see me sitting on the bench, face in my hands, crying. But I hadn't expected him to follow me.

"Go away!" I cried. "Get out of here you emotionless bastard! Leave me alone…"

"Jim," he said again, his voice sounded more firm. I looked up to see that he had moved closer to me. Was there apprehension there? I couldn't tell anymore. I couldn't read him anymore.

"…please go…" I cried again, "…I can't handle this anymore… I- I've lost you."

"No, Jim," Spock said, firm once again. I could completely tell now that he seemed scared. "I… have been somewhat cold."

"Somewhat!?" I snapped, tears still on my face. "You've been acting like a fucking machine! Where's my Spock? Where's my fucking t'hy'la!?"

Spock looked taken aback.

"Where did you learn of this word?" he asked.

"I was reading up on Vulcans because I love you," I whimpered. "I was-"

"…I am your… t'hy'la…?" Spock asked, his rawness was back. I could see his emotions laid out before me. He was scared and nervous.

"You were," I corrected, averting his searching gaze.

"…Jim…" Spock said, "I… I am sorry. I have hurt you."

"Yeah, no shit," I said.

"You have always been my t'hy'la…" Spock said, closing his eyes. "…but now I have lost you…"

"Yes," I snapped, I was hurt, even though he was acting as he used to, it was too little too late. I was too unhappy with him to just forgive him. "You have."

"I- I will… I will leave you then…" Spock said, he was shaking, his voice cracked. He turned and began to walk from the room, but he stopped.

I had never expected as much emotion from him as I was about to get. He turned back to look at me and there were tears in his eyes. Real tears! Not just sad eyes, but TEARS… He looked like he was using all his energy to keep his composure, but he was failing.

"I love you, Jim," he breathed, closing his eyes to stop his tears. It failed and they slid down his cheeks. "I am… I am so- so sorry…"

"Spock…" I said. He was crying! My Spock was in there! "What happened? Why did you close up around me?"

"You wish for me to stay here… and explain myself?" Spock asked, he seemed hopeful.

I nodded and he sat on a far bench, averting my gaze as he tried to stop his quiet crystal tears.

"I was…" Spock began slowly, his tears had subsided and his façade was rocketing back into place, "I was… afraid."

"Of what?" I asked. I wanted desperately for him to look at me, but his eyes remained planted down at his feet.

"That you would leave me," Spock said, Jim wasn't even sure he'd heard Spock, it was so quiet.

"You treated me liked shit because you didn't want me to leave!?" I snapped. It was my turn to be cruel. Spock was baring his soul for me, and I was being a jerk. I couldn't help it, I was hurt.

"Jim… I-"

"That's so illogical! How could you possibly think that you could keep me, by-" I couldn't finish because his eyes met mine, once again full of tears, and he interrupted me. He was loud but he was shaking.

"I do not know how to express my concerns…" he said. The look in his eyes was pleading with me. Dear God, Jim, take me back… please…

"Clearly," I said, there was still anger in my voice, but it was halfhearted.

"…I wanted to bond with you…" Spock whispered.

"I wanted that, too," I said, calm and gentle.

"I know this now…" Spock said, voice still hardly above a whisper, "you called me t'hy'la…"

"Why didn't you just ask me?" I said.

"Because I could not think of a single reason for you to say yes," Spock replied, looking away from me again. "I am not… you could not possibly-" it suddenly made sense to me and I interrupted him.

"I love you," I said, standing and going over to him. He had grown cold because he was afraid of rejection. He was preparing himself for my inevitable realization that he wasn't good enough for me. At least, that's what he thought. I had always kind of felt I wasn't good enough for him, but regardless, he loved me… he was just convinced that he was useless and I would leave. I needed to convince him that I never intended or wanted to do that. Even when I asked him to go it was killing me to watch him walk away.

"You still do?" Spock asked, he looked so hopeful and innocent. To the outside observer, he would have seemed emotionless once again, but I knew him and he wasn't hiding from me anymore.

"Of course," I said, sitting beside him, "you are my t'hy'la." Spock wrapped his arms around me and hid his face in my neck.

"T'hy'la…" he breathed.

"Can we- I don't know if its culturally acceptable for me to just ask this, but-"

"You still want to bond?" Spock asked, pulling back and looking straight at me, surprise evident on his features. He took my hands in his hesitantly.

"Yeah," I said. "Why wouldn't I?"

Because I am worthless, Spock's voice whispered inside my head as a rush of his emotions bombarded me. I thought how wrong he was for thinking he was worthless and how much I loved him and needed him, and he responded, once again in my head. I love you! T'hy'la! I am sorry. I have been an idiot… you are perfect. You are my friend, brother, and lover. I shall always need you. I have been and always shall be yours.

"The bond is somewhat difficult to adjust to," Spock said, emotionless façade back on his face… but now I knew. I could feel his love, his bliss at me taking him back, his regret for hurting me. He loved me through all of it, and it had killed him to watch my hurt expressions in response to his coldness. It was overwhelming and it physically hurt, but he was sensitive to that, promising to hold back his emotions a bit because I was overwhelmed.

But, t'hy'la, you will adjust, he continued, and you shall know how I feel always. You are my bondmate. Parted from me, and never parted. Never and always touching and touched… Jim… I have never felt more at home.

Me neither, I replied, trying out the bond once more. I could feel Spock's inward grin and it made my heart thump wildly in my chest. This was what I had been waiting for my whole life… and, because of the bond; I knew that it was what Spock had been waiting for too.