--------------

I should not have been surprised when Y'Eros occurred right after my bonding ceremony with Jim. The evidence was clearly there before me. The only explanation for my ignorance was that the emotions I had concerning my captain and his best friend clouded my logic. If I had not given in to my human side, perhaps Jim would not have had to suffer as he did.

I had observed the closeness between the captain and the doctor since McCoy brought him aboard the Enterprise. Jim believed in his friend implicitly, even while he suffered through the vaccine that the doctor had given him. That was only the first of many events I witnessed that highlighted the trust between them. To my embarrassment, I quickly found myself envious of the strongest human friendship I had ever seen.

Over the past year of serving together, I have watched as our captain turned to his friend for advice nearly as often as he turned to me, the one put in place as advisor. Of course, he went to McCoy when he was ill. But I did not expect him to turn to McCoy first when trying to deal with a leader or trying to decide how to explain a situation to the crew.

This was disconcerting. Without realizing it, the captain was undermining my authority and making my job more difficult. This was not the most perinent issue, however. I found myself wanting Jim's attention simply because he liked my company. But his focus was on McCoy.

When I first realized I was jealous of the doctor, I was still in a relationship with Nyota Uhura. So it was quite unnerving to find myself jealous of someone not focusing their attention on her.

To her credit, my significant other soon realized that our relationship was no longer one of my priorities. I was quite impressed with her logic as she simply made changes in how we would approach one another.

Nyota approached me in the mess hall as I sat eating my dinner and reading crew reports. "I should be mad at you." She said as she walked over to my table and looked at me hostily.

"May I inquire why?" I asked neutrally, not understanding her emotionality, but knowing I should not provoke her further.

"You're not a very good boyfriend."

"What do you mean?" I asked as I invited her to sit down. From previous experience, I knew the best way to dissapate her anger was to confront its cause directly. Once she knew I was hearing her complaint, she would calm down considerably.

"You haven't come to see me in days. You haven't talked to me on the bridge. You haven't even sat down to eat with me in here!" Nyota's expression suddenly became angrier and her voice was sharper. "Who is she?!"

"Who?" I asked, puzzled.

"The woman who is replacing me!" Her hand slammed onto the table so unexpectedly that I quickly had to stifle my body's need to jump.

Suddenly, I understood. I had not been attentive enough to her as I struggled with my emotions concerning the captain.

I initially intended to tell her that no woman was replacing her, as it was the truth. But observing our captain's romantic escapades taught me that technical correctness is undesirable if the intention of the request is not met. She was indeed being replaced, and as such, was entitled to ask about the person who now tok much of my time.

But I did not think it prudent to reveal his identity to Nyota, as she and the captain had only begun to relate amicably.

"I cannot tell you." I bowed my head, intending to show my remorse for causing her pain. But instead of the anger or tears that I expected, she simply sighed.

I looked up to find her shaking her head in a way that suggested that she too had something to apologize for.

"I held on for too long, didn't I?" She asked quietly. "I could see you starting to pull away from me about two months ago."

That is when I had been stung by an insect on Travain, an event the captain had blamed himself for because he had fallen asleep while guarding me from the creatures.

Afterward, I had noticed that Jim began to invite me to more after-hours activities than just our chess game after the evening meal. At first, I believed it was due to guilt. But when these activities continued for longer than I expected, I found myself pleased. His attention was welcome, as I found in him an empathy that was quite surprising.

His difficult childhood allowed him to understand my desire to avoid some of my compatriots, although I would not turn my back on them during this time of need. He too had been taunted by peers ignorant of his state of affairs. This gave us a sense of similarity, a belief that was much needed as we tried to understand one another's differences.

As I gazed at Nyota, I realized how much my camaraderie had affected my relationship with her. In fact, the affection I had felt for her had faded to friendship without my knowledge.

She had been much more aware of this than I. I considered myself fortunate that her logical nature allowed her to accept that she was not to blame for this change. In fact, she seemed to consider it a product of fate.

I was relieved when instead of continuing in anger, she simply said, "Just make sure whoever caught your eye treats you well, ok? I always knew I wasn't going to be enough for you. I hope she is."

She bent over the table to kiss my cheek when I found myself unable to speak. "All you need to do is call if you need me for something, okay? This is a change in our relationship, not a complete break-up. I'm still here for you."

I nodded sadly. I had not wanted to leave her without a companion, but now it seemed inevitable. "My hope is that you, too, find someone more suited to you."

"I will. After I recover from all this." Nyota's voice was soft, and unfocused, as if distracted by some internal thought. "Just make sure whomever it is knows how lucky they are."

I vowed then to trust in her confidence in me and pursue a relationship with my captain, despite the fact that I could see McCoy partially obstructing my path. If Jim found me as desirable as I found him, the doctor would not be a problem.

At first, he was actually an aid to me.

McCoy was the one who pointed out to Jim that I was interested in seeking a more complete relationship with him. I did not know of their exchange of information until I joined them in a bar after being reprimanded for inadequate research during a mission. But when I realized, I took full advantage of the situation.

While the two humans were bonding with me over shared mistakes, I found the courage to hint at my interest. Because of McCoy's information, the captain was quite ready to respond to that hint. He surprised me with his calm and understanding reply that left me in no doubt of his interest.

So once we left McCoy, I joined him in his quarters for something other than chess. For that night, I pushed the teachings of Surak aside and let the primitive Vulcan in me have control.

The method was quite effective in informing him that I was interested in engaging with him sexually. We both left that encounter quite physically satisfied.

The second night, however, my confidence wavered. I did not expect nervousness after such a productive initial encounter. But as my mother once taught me, first dates are full of magical wonder. Second dates, however, are when reality begins to intrude.

After being with Nyota, who was quite loyal in her affiliations, I found myself uneasy about expressing my need for a long-term relationship to a man as promiscuous as our captain. My possessiveness of the night before was beginning to be pushed aside by the very real possibility of being unable to keep the interest of this intriguing man.

I was able to control my emotions until we stopped at his door, when I found myself frozen in apprehension. My main concern was not for myself. Trained as I was in the ways of Surak, I could hide any discomfort his lack of loyalty might cause. But if the crew found out about our liasion and approved of it, and then saw him 'cheating' on me, they might be inclined to undermine his authority.

Although I did not know how to broach the topic, Jim must have been expecting this difficulty. "I know my history proceeds me, Spock. I think you need to know that some of it's a lie. I have slept around quite a bit, I admit. But I prefer to concentrate on one person at a time. I can't promise you forever, but as long as we both agree we want..." He waved his hand vaguely. "this, well, you'll be the only one I'm seeing."

With that, my choice was made. I stepped further into the room and we proceeded to show each other how much we had come to appreciate our friendship. I was astonished to find Jim was a patient lover when I allowed him to control our mating. He was quiet, attentive, and quite adept at getting me to respond. I did not expect this. I was anticipating that I would have to teach him patience, as Nyota had told me the captain was a 'teenager' when it came to physical affection.

When I questioned him on this later that night, he laughed. "She saw me with Gailia! *Gailia* was the one in a rush." Then he told me something that gave me much hope for the future of this endeavor. "When I'm with you, I want to do this right. So, I need to be patient."

He continued to be patient with me, and I with him, as proceeded to expand our relationship. Soon, I felt a bond begin to grow between our minds.

I was both awed and excited by this occurrance. Spontaneous bonds were rare in Vulcans. They were a sign of a deep connection that, as some elders put it, 'cannot be stopped, even by logic'.

So it was seemed to be a reasonable conclusion that, when the bond started demanding more of my katra, I should request a commitment from Jim.

I was not worried when he hesitated. This was his first long-term relationship, and his apprehension was expected. I was, however, surprised when within a week he came back to me and told me he wanted to proceed.

"How did you come to decision so swiftly?" I asked, concerned that he had not considered all implications before he decided on a course. The captain was known for impulsive decisions. Most often they helped the situation, but on occasion, they caused us further problems.

So I was relieved when he told me, "I spent the whole week talking with Bones about it. Why do you think I haven't been able to meet you for dinner?"

Jim wrapped an arm around my shoulder as we sat down. "He helped me see that we need each other. You have been the constant in my life aboard this ship. The one I really want. I won't want another."

I thought of McCoy at this point, as he had been more of a constant in the captain's life than I. But then the bond flared with the arousal Jim was feeling at the moment and I found myself pushing the concern away. My bondmate needed to feel me against him, and that became my primary obligation.

I let Jim's preoccupation fool me into believing McCoy's presence was not an issue in our relationship until the bonding ceremony. That is when I felt Y'Eros begin.

As I saw Jim gaze at McCoy after we had pledged our loyalty to one another, my bondmate's eyes began to tear. Everyone around us took it as happiness for our new state of affairs. But as I watched him, I began to realize he believed that by bonding with me, he would lose McCoy.

I closed my eyes to give Jim a moment to compose himself without me as a witness to his emotionality. But as I did, I felt something tugging on Jim's side of the bond. Looking within, I saw the bond forming a new connection point. Y'Eros had begun.

How did this happen? As I searched for an answer, I saw the new piece of the bond lean toward a thin blue thread connected to Jim's mind. The bond appeared to be protecting it from whatever force was trying to it out.

Taking a deep breath, I accepted the facts presented before me. I did not need to open my eyes to know McCoy was frowning at Jim, and that a part of him was straining to remove the link, in deference to Jim's new status. The thread echoed faintly with his presence, a warm yet gruff aura. I imagined even as weak as it was, it was a comfort to my bondmate, like a good memory of a time barely remembered.

But its removal was not warranted nor desired. I could see rips were starting to appear in the fabric of Jim's mind from McCoy's attempts to remove the link. As this would hurt Jim, and it was also straining the bond slightly, I tugged on the link in an attempt to get McCoy to abandon its removal.

As the doctor's psy abilities were weaker than even my gentle pull, his unconscious mind quickly abandoned its pursuit. I sighed in relief, knowing that Jim would be bereft without McCoy's presence.

So I tried informing Jim of the change in the bond. But I must have erred because he misunderstood me. He thought I was betraying him, that I wanted McCoy. But I patiently and logically presented my reasoning for the opposite. Within a few days, he began to realize the truth.

So I suggested that he needed to convince the doctor to join us. Although I did not care for McCoy as deeply as Jim did, for the good of our relationship, I was willing to share my captain with the gruff doctor.

Something went wrong when Jim went to see McCoy. Although Jim is an expert at seduction, he was unable to to use his skills on his friend. I did not realize their closeness would undermine such an endeavor.

As the bond began to fail, we realized that McCoy must be convinced. Although he knew it would be difficult, given the doctor's convictions, Jim was determined to get his friend to listen.

His desperation was his downfall. Because it caused the bond to temporarily recede.

The bond's reaction to the stress of the situation panicked my bondmate. He did not realize that it would return. It was not yet so weak that it would recede permanently.

When humans panic, they often do foolish things. Jim was not an exception to this. As the bond reconnected, I could hear him yelling at the doctor. Even I flinched as he accused McCoy of being a false friend.

We all knew McCoy's influence had helped shape Jim into the man he was. Even though he tries to hide it behind his gruff manner, I haven't seen such a self-sacrificing human in my life, expect, perhaps, for the captain himself.

But both of them were now in such pain that they were reacting in self-defense. I saw McCoy's reaction come across my duty PADD minutes before Jim arrived at our door.

It was the first thing he saw when he returned. I knew the doctor's transfer would cause Jim even more anguish, but I believed it would be a succinct way of showing him that his methods did not succeed.

I shuddered as the bond finally broke as Jim clutched me in sorrow. The stress of their fight had taken their link, and our bond with it.

I held him tightly as he moaned in pain. But even as I rocked him, I knew that I could not waste time simply comforting him. This situation was unacceptable. Instead of Y'Eros, we had dahsaya. Division.

My captain had lost two things most important to him, his friend and our bond. And I was responsible. I told Jim to seduce his friend.

I needed to fix this.

But how does one explain to a human the logic of what he sees as an illogical request? How do I convince the doctor to satisfy a need that he does not know he has?

----------

end part 1

----------