Rated M for language and some... mention of explicit scenes.

Dedicated to Banbi-V, who asked (i.e. threatened) me to do this.

This isn't the kind of comfort he normally seeks out when his mind lands onto an unpleasant thought, one he can't seem to stop dwelling on. It monopolizes his brain until he feels himself go crazy. Until it causes physical pain, a tight coil in his stomach. Until he needs to find something to fully distract his mind and release the pent up energy that built from his arcane fight-or-flight instincts.

He'd more often than not go to a bar. He'd order a few drinks to loosen his muscles and his lips until he finally says something that causes someone to aim a punch at his jaw. Or he would order more drinks if he wanted to brighten his mood and his smile, until his drunken swagger looks more like a sexy strut, then find a body to exert on.

Later, it was just this body he would seek out and he wouldn't have to drink or go to a bar to find it. Now…

They're both fully clothed. He thinks that's what surprises him the most. He normally seeks out comfort through skin contact, friction. Spock's shirt is bunched up to reveal a strip of pale, smooth skin between his pants and the shirt's hem, but it wasn't even intentional. Jim had merely wormed his way up to nuzzle the junction of Spock's neck and shoulder. He stares at the skin but feels no urge to touch it. Doesn't want to brush his fingers over the flesh. Doesn't want to sneak his hand up the shirt to feel lean muscle or to tweak a nipple.

He doesn't need to make Spock gasp or mew with his well-traveled hands. To see his skin flush a noticeable green hue. To purposefully ruffle his sleek black hair. To nibble on his ears. To leave bruising marks that say that he's his on his shoulder or neck. To feel him hot and tight around him. To hear his name spoken breathlessly at climax like music to his ears.

All those images flit through his mind, but he doesn't feel any true physical arousal. His body is more than content to just lay here in a relaxed sprawl on his lover's firm but giving body in bed. A protective arm is on his back. The smell of the incense (he never could place the smells) the Vulcan burns periodically for meditation seems to drift lightly from his pores. He could just barely feel the beat of the Vulcan's heart, which was insanely quick but with an even tempo, against his stomach.

And heat. Heat was what he noticed the most. The kind of heat that seeps into his muscles and gently nudges them to relax. The kind of heat that makes the tension between his shoulder blades magic away. The kind of heat that just… fuck, just melts any anxiety he may have.

Spock spoke. "Are you alright?"

Jim had wanted to hear the Vulcan's voice, but this wasn't exactly the subject matter he wanted him to discuss. He kind of wanted him to go into overly-long-lecture-mode about some topic that was so intellectual and complicated (and boring) that it even went over his head so he could zone out the words and only concentrate on his tones and the rumbling of his chest. He had been content to forget the event that had lead to him laying here. The coil in his stomach is starting to tighten once again.


He squeezes the warm body. Spock's shirt rides up more. The ache in his gut causes him to move a hand down to trace the skin with his thumb, the need for skin contact coming back. On the edge of his mind, he could feel discomfort that was not his.

"Yeah, don't worry about it. I'm good," he promises.

He sees a strong, nimble hand come up and feels fingers brush against his forehead. He stiffens, suddenly expecting him to initiate a mind meld. He soon realizes he is just moving hair out of his face and relaxes.

He feels Spock's uneasiness growing through his thumb's contact. He knows the Vulcan wouldn't meld without his consent. It was fucking stupid for him to even think that, whether it was just a reaction or not. He wills Spock to feel his embarrassment for being a moron.

"This is probably the longest I've seen you not doing work," Jim says suddenly, trying to move passed his idiotic fumble. His voice is more cracked than he would have liked.

Spock's other hand trails down his spine, leaving a heated path. His voice is low and even. "I believe this is the longest I have ever seen you stay in one place without being sedated."

He smiles. "Touché," he mutters. "So. What are the odds that we'll be interrupted any time soon?"

He can almost hear the cogs turning in Spock's head. Or it would probably be more accurate to compare his mind with a warp engine. He probably should compare it to a computer since he's calculating and not causing motion. He'd amend his metaphor to a high-powered multitronic computer powered by a warp engine–

His thought process was interrupted by Spock's answer. "If 'any time soon' is interpreted as within 30 minutes, there is a 88.7% chance we will be interrupted by either an emergency or a crew member with an inquiry or request."

"Huh, that's actually lower than I expected."

"Oh? What figure were you anticipating?" He can't see his face but he can hear the twinge of humor in the Vulcan's voice. Emotions only shown to Jim. Or he doesn't realize it because he's distracted. Or he does realize he accidentally does it but doesn't care. Any options works for Jim.

"Somewhere around 93.45%."

"I would ask how you calculated it, but–"

"But you know I'm just making shit up."

Spock shifts under him. "Humans do have idioms with the worst mental images."

The image that suddenly pops into his mind wasn't exactly pleasant. "Fuck. That's gross, Spock," Jim groans.

"I am not the one who said it."

"Yeah, but humans don't think about it like that," he retorts. "We just derive the meaning and that's it. It's like saying something is bullshit; we don't think about it or mean it in the literal sense."

"It is very illogical; however, we are on the subject of humans so I should not be surprised."

Jim nuzzled deeper against his neck. "Exactly. It's logical that we're illogical."

"Indeed," Spock conceded.

"I could have saved them," Jim suddenly blurted out.

It was very quiet and still for a while. It took a heartbeat before Jim realized he actually said it. He could feel himself stiffen like a board. His stomach was about to implode. Four crewmen had died yesterday. They weren't the first and, while he desperately prayed that they would be, he knew they wouldn't be the last.

He felt Spock's other arm wrap around him.

"I should've beamed us all up at the first sign of trouble," he rambled in a tone that would have made any Vulcan proud. "Should have left after the first one. Made it up before the transporters stopped working. I was distracted by pretty flowers. Fucking flowers with poison darts. Smelling pretty flowers and four men are dead. Fuck, you nearly died five times. Just wrote up four letters giving empty bullshit apologies and they'll never see their families again. Families will never see them again. Because of flowers." His hand drifted up Spock's shirt. The lean muscle under his fingertips was tense. "I shouldn't be moping like this. Fucking captain of a starship. I've got responsibilities. I can't seem weak. I have to take care of everyone. They were my men. It's my job to keep them safe and I let them die. Sniffed flowers instead. Everyone trusts me and I was smelling the fucking flowers."

"Jim," Spock whispered against his forehead. A slender hand grabbed his own from under the shirt and took it out. He watched as their fingers were intertwined.

He could hear little murmurs just beyond his consciousness. K'diwa. Some phrases resounding clearer than the others. Shom-tor. It wasn't a meld; Spock didn't have access to his thoughts, but it was strong suggestions. It was almost pleading. Shom-tor, k'diwa. Yukup'es. Shom-tor heh yuk-tor.

Jim could barely think that he should learn Vulcan before his mind grew hazy and mellow. He suddenly felt extremely tired. "But the," he tried to say, "the f-flowers." His eyelids closed over his eyes and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't open them. Sleep quickly washed over him and he was soon dead to the world.

Only a few minutes later, the room's comm. whistled. Careful not to wake up the man sleeping in his arms, Spock reached over and depressed the switch. "Is this of grave importance?"

There was a long pause on the other end of the line before Uhura's uncertain voice came through. "No?"

Spock released the switch.

Yen-tor svai. Forget the flowers.

Author's Note: Oh no, angst! And Kirk!POV! I haven't written through Kirk in so long! I had no idea how much easier Spock actually is for me until I wrote this. Let me know if he sounds right. This was meant to be about Tarsus IV, but I felt the events of The Apple just fit better. Maybe I'll do a Tarsus IV fic later. This was also not meant to be as angsty as it turned out to be. Oh well. Happy, Banbi-V?

Thanks for reading! Please review!


P.S. No, I didn't just BS the Vulcan.