A/N I can safely say that this is a first for me.

I recently read a fic called "Clouded Eyes" and the story was so good and so sad. My heartstrings weren't just tugged, they were ripped to shreds and my bleeding heart made a mess. The hopeless romantic in me was suffering, and so I came up with a way to end the story on a good note. Or somewhat good, depending on your point of view.

While the author, mjHOPE94 denied my request (politely, of course) to write the official end of her story, she IS letting me write my own ending and has told me that she would like to see it.

Now, while I normally shy away from stuff like rape and this bad a misunderstanding, mjHOPE94 wasn't afraid to take such risks, and look where she's gotten as a writer. You, girl, are amazing.

But enough drooling, I cannot stress enough the importance of this – if you do not go and read "Clouded Eyes" RIGHT now, or at least before you read this, this story will not make ANY sense at all. This is not a standalone fic, I repeat, this is NOT a standalone fic. It depends on the three current chapters of "Clouded Eyes."

Well, here we go...

EDIT: I just remembered that, in "Clouded Eyes", it's implied that Gavin used a knife on Jim when raping him. I just remembered that this morning. Have you ever felt a wave of nausea, horror, and disgust crash down on your heart and stomach like a tidal wave? Yeah, that's kind of how I felt. Kudos to mjHOPE94's writing style.

Bones was furious.

Not because Chekov had woken him up. Not because Jim had been injured again. But how Jim had been injured; that's why he was furious.

The EEG was conclusive, and even though he'd seen the altered and broken brainwaves only in medical school, he knew what to look for, and what the cause was.

A broken mental bond.

More specifically, a badly severed, Vulcan mating bond.

And there was only one Vulcan that Jim had ever been bonded with.

He'd called the green-blooded son-of-a-bitch five minutes ago, trying his best to keep calm. He'd been watching the doors, standing by his friend's bed, trying not to dwell on Jim's clouded gray eyes or the minute trace of a tear having rolled down his face.

Finally, the doors opened, and Spock stepped in, looking as though he hadn't just almost killed the man who loved him.

Spock calmly went up to the doctor, his face betraying none of the hurt or anger he felt towards the man he thought he could call his t'hy'la. "You called, doctor?"

"Yes." He began stepping closer to his superior officer. "I figured you might have some idea as to why Chekov found your bondmate on the floor with most of his mind destroyed."

"Former bondmate, doctor." He snapped coldly. "I made my decision to destroy our bond when I caught images of Jim with another man over it. He has betrayed my trust, so I annulled our marriage."

Bones narrowed his eyes. He refused to believe that, after all of Jim's skipped meals and sleepless nights before he came to Bones and admitted he couldn't get Spock out of his head, he would just turn on him so quickly. "And do you have any proof? Like a name or something?"

"As a matter of fact, yes. I even saw a clear picture of the man's face."

Bones raised an eyebrow. "And this bastard's name would be...?"


The accusatory look on Bones' face was wiped off, to replaced with one of shock and horror. "Gavin?"

"Yes. I heard it very clearly."

Bones blinked and stared at Spock for a few seconds, then said "Spock, come with me."

"Why, doctor?" Spock questioned.

"I think there's something you need to see."

Spock raised an eyebrow, but didn't question further. He followed the doctor into the forensics lab, where he wasted no time in bringing up a grid view of nine men.

Bones turned to him. "That man you saw over your bond – is he in this lineup?"

Spock wasted no time in identifying the man. "I would not forget the face of the man whom my former bondmate cheated upon me with."

Bones brought up the man's biography, and wasted no time in reciting it.

"Gavin Murriarty – thirty-two-year-old Caucasian male. Grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, before moving to Riverside, Iowa, Jim's hometown.

"Has a hefty criminal record of theft, destruction of private and public property, possession of illegal aphrodisiacs and rape drugs, possession of illegal weapons; namely knifes, at least fourteen violations of the Ban on Creation of Recreational and Rape Drugs, and – if this wasn't evidence enough – thirty-nine recorded – possibly more unreported – cases of rape. Known for causing psychological damage and eventual complete mental destruction by methods of manipulation, combined with visiting the same victim years later, or just as they had recovered. Several cold cases show that he forced them to claim during the rape that they belonged to him, while physically scarring them with a knife. They went insane from the psychological trauma and died in asylums.

"During the incident, did Jim say anything to the effect of 'I belong to you'?"

Spock nodded slowly, staring at the monitor, re-reading everything the doctor had just told him. Some part of his mind was starting to form a theory as to just what the doctor was getting at, while the rest outright refused to believe it. There was not any direct link, just circumstances.

Except Spock had just identified the man Jim was with as a serial rapist.

Bones, oblivious to Spock's musings, interrupted them to continue. "He was brought up on charges many times, but he's always gotten out either on bail or by bribing the judge and the jury. And you know something else?"

"What?" Spock whispered, trying as hard as he could not to break from his horror of what the doctor was implying.

"He's been married to Winona Kirk since her son, Jim Kirk, was ten."

Spock was hyperventilating now, not from anxiety, but from the need to focus on something other than a certain organ in his right side slowly cracking.

"And do you know what I found when I examined Jim's body?"

"Wh-what?" Spock stuttered.

Bones pulled a small vial filled with white fluid from his medical satchel, which he had been carrying despite the lack of use for it in sickbay. He was getting paranoid about the situation, hence why he had been carrying it. It was his only potential direct link. He placed it in a small chamber used to get the most accurate DNA matches, then applied a variation of negative pressure.

The doctor turned back to Spock. "I'll address that in a moment.

"When I examined Jim, I found severe tissue damage and skin tearing both in and around the anus. And I found tons ofscar tissue in those exact same places, enough to tell me that this has happened since Jim was ten – the same time his mother unknowingly married a serial rapist."

Spock began backing away, shaking his head. "N-no... "

The doctor suddenly got a darkly humorous look on his face. "Now, I could always be wrong. This could all just be a coincidence, and Jim really cheated on you. After all, the only evidence I have is circumstantial. However... "

He turned back to the specially pressurized container, slipping his hands in the arm sockets. "This fluid is what I found in Jim's anus. If this matches that bastard Gavin's DNA, this is outright evidence Jim was raped, and you were wrong. If not... " The grin fell off of his face, to be replaced with a dark, loathing look. "You're going to be court-martialed on the grounds of aggravated assault, physical assault of a fellow officer, and aggravated and physical assault of a certified Starfleet captain."

Spock watched in silence as the doctor unscrewed the vial, and poured the fluid onto a DNA-reading data chip. He put the top half on, then pressed into a small slot connected to the computer.

The computer announced the progress to them. "Loading DNA sample... Scanning DNA sample... Match found. Results on standby; will commence when desired."

Bones pulled his hands out and de-pressurized the containment unit. "Please, computer, give us the results."

"Order successfully processed. Scans show one-hundred percent match to free-roaming criminal Gavin Murriarty."

"And what's the verdict on the case file I entered?" He asked, knowing that the logically-thinking computer (so to speak) would seal the deal with Spock.

"Direct DNA match, combined with circumstantial evidence, confirms that Gavin Murriarty is guilty of sexual assault of Starfleet Captain James Tiberius Kirk."

"Thank you, computer." He said triumphantly. "Store case, details and all evidence under strongest security measures possible. Put every level of security into protecting this case, and kill every computer that tries to hack into it; traceable connection or untraceable connection, I don't care. I don't want anyone tampering with this file. And make it so that even experimental Starfleet computers and computers sold on the black market can't get in. Or computers from any species, even ones you don't recognize. Under absolutely no circumstances is anyone but me allowed to access that case file, I repeat, under absolutely no circumstances is anyone but me allowed to access that case file."

"Request processed and finished. No computer in the galaxy will be able to tamper with this case file."

Bones sighed in relief. "Thank you, computer."

He then rounded on Spock. "Well there you have it." He said quietly. "Jim was faithful to you all along."

Spock, who was shaking all over, trying to numb out everything, couldn't think of what to say to that.

Bones wasn't finished. "Did you confront Jim about it, or did he come to you?"

Spock clenched his teeth, fighting to keep his voice level and unbroken. "He came to me, but my demeanor towards him was cold. I requested to speak to him in private."

Bones' voice dropped lower. "Did he try to explain?"

Spock's voice was starting to leave him. "Yes." He chocked out.

The doctor's voice went even lower, and took on a threatening tone. "Did you let him?"

His voice gone, it was all Spock could do to shake his head.

It happened instantaneously – Leonard stormed towards him; then a stinging slap collided with his face. Spock whimpered pathetically, but the doctor ignored him. He was yelling at him.

"You stupid, cold, pointy-eared bastard!" He yelled at Spock. "You know something? While we we still in the academy, Jim woke up screaming from a nightmare one night. We were sharing a dorm, and I was the only one there. And do you know what the nightmare was of?" Without waiting for a response, he snapped "He had a dream that Gavin was there, raping him! He told me all about how Gavin had bullied him into being his sex slave, claiming Jim belonged to him and threatening to kill his mother and beat Jim half to death if he ever told! Gavin used knives on him, man, knives!"

Spock was slowly inching away, cowering from Leonard's outburst. Behind him was the two-way mirror connecting the forensics lab to the interrogation room.

"And do you know what I think?" He didn't hesitate for a guess. "I think that, because he didn't come to me for any sort of comfort, he was planning to tell you about his past with Gavin!"

Spock's back pressed against the window of the interrogation room, feeling tears of guilt and shame run down his face.

If Leonard saw this, he didn't seem to care. "Do you realize what you've done! The man who loves you went to you to pour his heart out to you, he wanted comfort from you, but no! You refused to listen to anything he had to say and nearly killed him!"

Spock was shaking violently now, waves of horror crashing down on him.

"You heartless bastard!" Leonard continued, spittle flying from his mouth.

Spock raised his arm defensively as if to touch his right bicep.

What Leonard said next, he would regret for the rest of his life; and the repercussions would haunt him for a long time.

"You're no better than that Gavin!"

Spock slammed his arm into the glass, pieces of mirror embedding themselves in his skin and not stopping there, while the deadly shrapnel rained down on the floor around him as his near-hemorrhaging arm pierced through the adjacent panel of glass.

Bones snapped out of his rant and yelled for his medical staff, but Spock barely heard him. The half-Vulcan fell to his knees on the broken glass and spewed the contents of his stomach on the floor, his brain attempting to empty itself of his combination of self hatred, sadness, guilt, horror and shame by forcing him to regurgitate them with his breakfast and lunch.

He felt his stomach prepare to empty itself again as he was pulled away and into a cold, white room; the infirmary's bathroom. He was aware of leaning over a toilet bowl as he threw up again, having barely been able to catch his breath after the first. He vomited again and again as the medical staff attended to his arm, the pain of glass being pulled out of skin and sensitive tissue getting lost on the way to his brain. He heard the doctor yelling something about his dermal regenerator, but was unable to make out what he was saying before he threw up yet again.

Eventually, his stomach was completely empty, but the whirlwind of emotions had not faded in the least; his brain, still attempting to divest itself of them, had not realized there was nothing left to regurgitate anymore; all that he was coughing up now was phlegm and droplets of blood.

Finally, after a sharp pain in his arm, the dry heaves stopped. Spock breathed hard, his other senses coming back. He felt the weight and tightness of bandages on his arm, and could smell and taste his own vomit. He felt empty and cold, and the pain in his arm was only numbed slightly by the morphine. He didn't have the strength or the will to suppress the rest of it.

Spock turned to see Leonard sitting beside him, clutching an empty hypospray. Contrary to his previous look of loathing, the doctor looked almost sorry.

Bones sighed. "Spock, are you alright?"

As everything came flooding back to him, Spock's mouth twisted into a grim, sarcastic smile. "Yes, doctor; I almost killed my t'hy'la because a free-roaming criminal raped him, I was compared to his rapist by my only other friend, I just attempted to kill myself by nearly destroying my left arm and regurgitated everything I consumed today and everything is just perfect."

Bones frowned, but not in his usual unpleasant way. "Look, I shouldn't've said that. I was mad at you. I'll deny it if you quote me, but I take that back. I had no right to say that."

"I appreciate the comfort, doctor," Spock said, his voice cracking. "But everything you said was true. I am heartless, aren't I?"

"Spock, you know I was angry!" Bones snapped. "Look, now that we know what happened, that's done. You were wrong, you made a mistake. You're not God, Spock. You're not perfect."

Spock's breath came in shudders as the tears returned. "So what do you suggest we do? Wrong or not, Jim is still in a coma because of my asininity."

Bones sighed and threw the empty hypo in the bio hazard box. "I was hoping you had an idea; I'm stumped. Granted, this is my first time treating a broken bond, but you fucked some shit up pretty badly; I've never heard of a case this-"

Something like a sob issued from Spock.

"-... Anyway, if you get any ideas, let me know. They don't teach this stuff in medical school."

Spock breathed in hard, shuddering under the weight of his heavy heart. "I... I believe I may have a solution."

Bones turned to face his friend, a small shred of hope rising in him. "What?"

Spock sighed and bit his lip. "I do not know if I should carry this plan out, for while I would not mind, Jim likely would, as I have done him very wrong... "

"Well, what is it? C'mon, give me some details!" Bones suddenly understood the term "like pulling teeth". And not just because he'd tried that ancient doorknob-and-string trick when he was five (and never did it again. One word: OW).

"When I broke our bond, I did it without the necessary restraints that Vulcans are taught to adhere to strictly. When these are removed, many areas of the mind are at risk to be shut down almost permanently. With a second, restrained mind meld, these parts can be turned back on. However, because of the circumstances, I believe that I must renew our bond as well."

"If that's all it takes, then lets get on with it!" Bones exclaimed. He got up, but went only a few steps to the door before realizing that Spock was still sitting in front of the toilet. "C'mon, Spock! If we can save Jim this way, lets do it!"

Spock sighed and slowly got to his feet. "It is not the method I doubt, doctor." He sighed dejectedly. "It is Jim's willingness to be bonded once more. Considering the situation, I would not be surprised if, once he recovered, he demanded that I remove the bond as soon as possible."

Bones slapped his superior officer on the back of the head. "Do you always think so little of yourself? Seriously, just add some black clothes and a little Linken Park; you could be an emo." Bones gave Spock a quick once-over. "Actually, you've got the wardrobe covered. Ever listen to 'Minutes to Midnight'?"

Spock raised an eyebrow at the doctor's logic, but only questioned one thing. "Why did you not hit me in the face again? I still deserve it."

"A slap to the face is humiliating," Bones explained. "The back of the head is a wake-up call!"

Seconds later, Spock had his fingers poised over Jim's neural points. He hesitated, trying to banish both thoughts of this is not going to work and Jim will not want this. His shaking hands did nothing to help.

Bones watched Spock with a mixture of feelings – pity for the half-Vulcan, sympathy for Jim, several rather negative – and extremely violent – feelings towards Gavin, and some rampant paranoia. He'd been updating security measures around his case file obsessive-compulsively every hour, on the hour. He'd even been praying, despite the lack of religion on United Earth in this day and age. The computer had already detected two attempted intrusions, both from would-be untraceable connections, and had fried them to technology heaven. At least untraceable connections were getting more traceable.

Finally, he sighed. "Spock, you don't have to do this right now. He's stable for now, we could try later or-"

"No." Spock said firmly. "I will do this now."

Without waiting for the doctor's retort, Spock swallowed his fear and plunged into his t'hy'la's mind.

Spock's heart was heavy as he navigated through Jim's mind – or what was left of it. Instead of the warm, golden essence that was Jim, there was just black riddled with gray. In these areas, Spock saw memories – horrible, heartbreaking memories. The day Winona married Gavin, the first time Gavin had raped Jim, being cut repeatedly with a knife and whimpering in pain while Gavin laughed, having orgasms in shame, Gavin saying that, because Jim had enjoyed it so much, he would do it even more, having horrible drugs like ecstasy and Klingon aphrodisiacs shoved down his throat, the first time Gavin said Jim was his – Spock's Vulcan half felt a murderous rage towards the awful monster – and finally, the aftermath of the most recent rape, which was mostly feelings and thoughts – anger, shame, pain, hatred, the feeling of never being clean no matter how hard you washed away the evidence, self-blame, and one even Spock had no words for. When he saw the small fragment of thought attached to it, Spock only hated Gavin all the more.

Finally, he reached the center of Jim's mind, where just a small, orange flame was all that was left of Jim's essence. Spock, stopped, took a deep, involuntary breath and reached out with his own essence, a bluish-black - like a night sky, Jim had once said. Very, very carefully, he mixed it with the small flame.

Th effect was not immediate. Slowly, very slowly, parts of Jim's mind healed and awoke, while the small flame grew until it was fully integrated into every system of Jim's mind.

When he was sure Jim's mind had healed and their bond was perfectly fine, Spock pulled out.

Once again he sat next to Jim's bed, his left arm still stinging and heavy. He watched as Jim's eyes went from a cold gray to the bright, icy blue that Spock loved to the point of ludicrous obsession.

Then he heard a soft hiss and Jim's eyes closed.

He looked up, ready to physically hurt whoever had knocked his t'hy'la unconscious just as he was recovering, but only saw the doctor clutching an empty hypospray.

"Sedative." Bones explained hurriedly. Spock looked ready to kill him, and he wasn't fond of getting a crash course in Vulcan martial arts. Or dying. Whichever happened first. "It's so his body can put all its energy into healing. You know that."

Spock sighed for the third or fourth time. "I know, doctor." Then the bit of information that had stuck with him as he ended the meld came to mind.

Spock gagged.

Bones' "worry" switch had been flipped back on. "Are you gonna throw up again?"

Instead of looking sick, Spock actually had a dark, grim, and – unexpectedly – disgusted look on his face. "His father's desk." He whispered.

Bone raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What about a desk? Who's father?"

Spock was shaking again, this time from pure, unadulterated rage. "Gavin raped Jim on his father's desk."

Bones opened his mouth, then shut it. If it were possible, he held an even worse grudge against Jim's stepfather. If he had trouble thinking of Gavin as a person before, it was now outright impossible to think of him as even human. What kind of sicko would rape an innocent person on their dead father's desk? Gavin was officially insane. This showed that he had a taste for causing as much emotional and psychological pain as possible. It could even be assumed that he only married Winona because it would give him one constant prey – an innocent ten-year-old boy.

Bones was snapped out of his furious deductions by a sob. He felt the enthusiasm for anger fade, leaving just the depression.

After checking to make sure the case file was still secure (it was, thank God) Bones went and sat down next to Spock, trying to find some words of comfort. Before he could, though, Spock spoke up.

"Doctor, what about Gavin? Jim may be alright, but what are we to do about that awful man? He is still roaming free."

Bones sighed. That was something he hadn't wanted to talk about. "I don't know, Spock. We've got the facts to put him behind bars, but we haven't got the man. Not to mention he's escaped law enforcement before; it's gonna be tough to get ahold of him."

At Spock's listlessness, Bones clicked his tongue in agitation. "Look, Jim's fine right now. Between the ninety others on this thing and actually getting to the ship in the first place, no one can get to him. You've had a hell of day, you should get some rest."

Normally, Spock would've put up a fight and insisted that he stay, but after everything that had occurred in the past twelve hours, he had no fight left. He nodded to the doctor and gently brushed two fingers over Jim's arm before leaving without a word.

Back in his quarters, Spock finally ran out of resistance to his tears and let them fall, wave after wave of salt water. He'd felt the urge to cry before, when his mother had died, when he thought Jim had cheated on him, but somehow, the tears wouldn't come then. Just as well, he'd known that crying would not change things. Even with that information, Spock still let out his whirlwind of emotion through a flood of tears.

But the thing about crying is that it's one of those things where you're only physically occupied. Spock's mind, meanwhile, was going over exactly why he'd assumed that Jim had been unfaithful. There was an obvious reason, but Jim had matured in the span of time before they had started their relationship. But now, his mind was bringing up subjects he never wanted to face, and the realizations decreased his feeling of self-worth and broke him apart even more.

As he reached for his (replicated) box of tissues, he accidentally knocked something heavy on the floor. Wiping his eyes on his sleeve, he removed himself from mourning his love for Jim and picked it up.

It was his tricorder that had fallen. Instead of putting it back where it belonged, Spock stared pointlessly at the standard issue piece of technology, wondering what it would be like to live such a mundane existence as a hunk of plastic and metal. To be mindless, having no sense of self, useful as only a tool and discarded when needed no longer.

Spock was torn between the desire to crush the tricorder in his hand and throw it against the wall. He needed some sort of guidance, someone to help him. Normally, the first person to mind would be his mother, but that was no longer an option to Spock, and his father would likely not be understanding; despite having admitted to Spock that he had truly loved Amanda, Sarek was a logical man, never having to deal with the pains of human emotion, or having caused the worst memory of his life by his own hand; even the destruction of Vulcan could not compare to having nearly killed your own lover when he needed you the most.

Spock dropped the tricorder back on the table and collapsed on his bed. Squeezing his eyes shut until he gave himself a headache, he sifted through every bit of advice his mother had ever given him, seeking her guidance postmortem.

A few minutes later, his mind settled on a particular incident a few years ago, when he went to her for advice about his homework, which, embarrassingly, he was rather stuck on (there were certain specifics of mathematics that he had not been able to fully comprehend in his younger years).

She'd looked at the theorems for several minutes, before sighing and pushing the PADD back towards him. "I'm sorry, honey," She said in her sweet voice. "I can't help you. I wish I knew someone who could."

At remembering those words, buried deep in his long-term memory for years, Spock's eyes snapped open, his headache forgotten. A light bulb went on in his head, not instantly lighting, but gradually growing brighter as he considered it more.

Finally, an idea came to him. Such a simple one, he felt so utterly stupid for not thinking of it sooner. How could he have missed this?

If one thinks back, they can possibly recall times where they felt that no one understood the severity of the situation but you; and they had no one to turn to, because no one seemed to get why it was so important. And the only one you had was yourself.

Spock was having one of those moments right now. He smiled to the darkness, an excited, triumphant feeling coursing through him.

Spock had to help Jim... And himself.

But how? Part of his mind thought, raining on Spock's parade. The smile dropping off of his face, Spock sprang up off his bed and began pacing. He ran over many ideas in his head, none of them possible in practice or possible to do without getting a criminal mark on his record.

He stopped at the table and picked up his tricorder once more, turning it over in his hands. He wished that it served some other purpose besides simply being used to track dilithium deposits on-

It was as though a second light bulb went on over Spock's head.

Spock flipped his tricorder over, running his fingers over the back cover, and experimentally pulled at it. It came off easily with no resistance.

An idea was forming in Spock's head, and as he went over every little detail mentally, mapping out every move, his confidence in his plan only increased.

He wasted no time. Throwing open his desk drawer, he pulled out a small box of tools and went to work immediately, stripping wires and rewiring the entire device from his own knowledge of it. He was glad he had taken classes in forensics and engineering before becoming an instructor at the academy.

It took him several hours to isolate the tracking modules and to remove the internal dampeners (if you count bathroom breaks). After that task was finished, Spock finally had to eat something or the hunger would distract him (as it was already beginning to); he blew through his dinner without really tasting it, then sprung back into action. After modifying just a few more elements of the tricorder, he snapped the back cover back on and did a small test run.

It was only Spock's Vulcan half that kept him from cheering when he found it was working perfectly. But even his Vulcan control couldn't wipe the grin off of his face.

The next step was to get a very important component from the forensics lab. For that, Spock had to wait for several hours, until delta shift, when the doctor had gone to bed.

Finally, Spock was able to sneak in without the notice of the small medical staff, who, luckily, would be spending the night in Dr. McCoy's office, reorganizing medical records.

Spock quietly closed the door to forensics behind him, grateful for the lack of personnel this late. He booted up the computer, then moved on to the case file the doctor had so bluntly named. Spock established a link between his modified tricorder – if it could even be called a tricorder anymore – and the large, highly advanced computer.

"Computer," Spock whispered. "Access case file "Jim Rape-" He unsuccessfully suppressed a shudder. "-and download DNA signature of Gavin Murriarty to tricorder."

"Access denied." The computer said in its prim female voice. "Under no circumstances is anyone but Chief Medical Officer Doctor Leonard David McCoy allowed to access any component of this case file."

Spock repressed the urge to slam his head into the terminal. "Computer, remove safety measures for fifteen seconds; it is all I will need."

"Request denied. Security measures can only be removed by whomever has put them in place."

Spock really did slam his head into the terminal this time. Vulcan or not, he was growing irritated. He would not allow his plan to be abruptly halted before it could really begin. But without that monster's DNA, it would not get off the ground.

As he raised his head, Spock's gaze settled on the pressure chamber Dr. McCoy had used just yesterday.

The one the doctor had used to link Gavin to the rape of his t'hy'la.

Spock sprung up from his seat, flipping the pressure switch. It was a slim chance, a very small hope-

But Fate appeared to be on his side that night. The chip with Gavin's DNA was still there, the cleaning crew having not gotten to it yet.

Not wanting any contamination, Spock stuck his tricorder in the disinfection chamber and flipped the switch, before sticking his hands in the attached gloves to insert the chip in the device. He didn't bother wiping away any traces of fingerprints; the cleaning crew routinely went over every piece of equipment with laser sanitizers; he had no reason to worry.

Now, there was only one aspect of the plan left.

Back in his quarters, Spock began dissecting his personal replicator, removing multiple limiters and disabling the "dangerous items" alert.

When that was finished, Spock went to his computer and entered through a private connection untraceable to even the most powerful black market scanners. He then entered a database he'd never had any use for – until now.


The page it started on was a small infobox where one would enter as many specifics detailing a weapon they needed information on. Spock only entered two things.

Easiest to conceal inconspicuously

Highest possible lethality

There was only one result – a Filipino knife that used to be carried around for protection.

Minutes later, Spock held an exact reproduction of a Balisong in his hand. It was light and easy to hide in a small pouch strapped to his arm.

Holding the knife in his hand, he experimentally brushed the sharp edge against his finger. When he saw drops of green blood run down his hand, he knew he had made the right choice.

As he reached for a modified laser beacon made to be worn on the wrist, he glanced his own reflection in the mirror.

His face was drawn and pale. There was a small spot of dried blood on his neck, likely from having smashed his arm into all of that glass. But what struck him the most was the shining streaks down his face – the final remnants of the first time he had cried.

Unbeknownst to many, including non-Vulcan experts of the pre-Surakian era, there was once a ritual performed by those who felt they had done a horrible, shameful deed. It was a simple task, but one with permanent results. It was often chosen by those who felt they had something to live for, as an alternative to suicide.

Spock raised the knife to his face. Slicing into his tear ducts and a major artery, his clear tears became tinged with vibrant, oxygenated copper blood, as they would be forever.

When he was done wiping away all traces of them, he strapped the laser beacon to his wrist and tucked the knife in his pouch. Sneaking carefully and unseen through the ship, he made it to the transporter room.

As he entered the coordinates in the transporter computer, something inside Spock swelled with triumph. Everything was going according to plan, there was nothing going wrong – no one to stop him.

But, as chief engineer Montgomery Scott once said, Fate was a fickle lady. Spock was about to learn that particular lesson the hard way.

Someone's hand shot out of nowhere and tightened like a vise around his wrist. Spock jumped and prepared to attack...

Until he saw a familiar, grumpy face glaring back at him.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Leonard snapped at him.

Spock freed his hand from the doctor's grip. "What does it appear I am doing, doctor?"

"Huh, well, let's see – Christine told me she saw someone sneaking into forensics, the card with Gavin's DNA is gone, we found your fingerprints and a forehead print in the lab, you weren't in your quarters, we found a bunch of machine parts on your desk and your replicator gutted all over the floor," He counted them off on his fingers as he went. "Oh, did I mention that, according to your computer history, you were searching for concealable weapons?"

Spock groaned inwardly. How could he have been so careless? Scattered his trail might have been, but it was apparently still enough to rouse suspicion.

"So tell me, commander," Bones snapped. "What are you doing? Cause I'm really, really lost here."

Spock sighed and told Leonard everything, making a conscious effort not to touch the place his weapon was hidden in. He could not draw any attention to it, for he knew he could not replicate another if his current one was stolen.

Bones stared at Spock, speechless (for once). Anything he might have to say on the matter died in his throat. This was not a side of Spock he knew.

"Damn it, man, are you insane!" he snapped when he finally regained his voice. "Spock, this is completely unnecessary! We have the evidence, we have a witness, you can't just go gallivanting off on your own on some wild goose chase!"

"On the contrary, doctor, I will not be "gallivanting" off in pursuit of an avian waterfowl." He held up the heavily modified tricorder to Bones. "It took several hours of difficult labor, but I was able to remove the internal dampeners and reroute the wiring to allow to track human DNA, rather than mineral deposits. I will be able to track that monster no matter where he is on Earth. I was about to beam myself to his exact position."

Bones was impressed by Spock's thoroughness, but still found flaws in the plan. "Yeah, but then what? You know how advanced forensics tech is these days, they'll find a way to link you to the crime and you'll be ruined!"

Spock raised an eyebrow at his frantic friend. "As a matter of fact, doctor, I do know how advanced that particular line of technology is in this day and age. In my three years at the academy, half of them were spent learning he finer points of forensics. I am one of few people in the galaxy who could commit a large bank heist or kill several members of the Federation council and leave no trace that I had ever been there. No one will ever link me to the incident."

Even though Bones knew he was losing, he tried another tack. "But aren't you forgetting something? Even if no one sees you, what about when you finish? What, are you just gonna walk away and leave the-"

Spock reached up his left sleeve with his right hand and pulled out a small but deadly knife that had long been outlawed on United Earth. He could never bring himself to kill the doctor, of course, but he had only a small window of opportunity that he needed to get to.

"Doctor, we could continue this conversation for hours," He began as he punched the coordinates into the transporter module. "But you are wasting my time and I must be going. I promise you, I have thought out my plan well; I shall leave no forensic evidence." He stepped up to the transporter pad and turned to face the CMO. "Just as well, even if Gavin is caught, who is to say he will not simply bribe the court, as he has done so before? Those men he corrupted were weak, spineless fools." Spock's eyes narrowed threateningly. "I will not be tempted by riches or threats. I have been wronged on a personal level; a Vulcan way that no one will ever understand. I will not stop until that man has been finished."

Bones, who was less worried that Spock had the nerve to stick a weapon in his face than he was worried about the pointy-eared bastard himself – even though he'd never admit it – simply replied with the obvious. "I can't change your mind, can I?"

Spock shook his head before disappearing in the transporter's light.

Bones stared at the spot for several seconds, before turning and leaving the transporter room. He was only vaguely aware of half-dragging himself to his quarters. Once there, he stripped down to just his boxers. Before crawling in bed, he grabbed a small bottle of white pills and popped two of them in his mouth. He knew there was no way he'd be able to get any sleep tonight without any medicine.

As he lay in bed, he thought of something one of his classmates had told him in reference to Spock, although he hadn't known it at the time.

"Don't mess with that Uhura girl. Her boyfriend's a Vulcan teacher; he'll rip you to shreds."

He couldn't remember exactly what he'd said, or even the kid's name, but it was something to that effect. Basically, he'd told him that Vulcans were possessive. Bones hadn't believed a word of it at the time. But the look in Spock's eyes when Gavin's name was mentioned... Bones thanked his lucky stars that he wasn't Gavin. For many reasons.

"Good luck, Spock." he whispered to himself before the sleep medicine finally kicked in.

Gavin guffawed with his drunken buddies. This bar was crawling with whores and jailbait; he'd already set his leering gaze on a slutty blonde cadet; she looked stupid, but then again, all female beings looked stupid to Gavin. He was sure it'd be easy to seduce the bitch, or at least slip some of his trademark drugs in her drink. They'd worked pretty well on that wimpy Jimmy boy.

She got up to leave, putting an unpleasant scowl on Gavin's face. Who was she to think that she had any right to just go home before he had his fun?

He waited until she'd left so as not to rouse suspicion. He waited three seconds and then left his stumbling, laughing drinking buddies and followed her.

Outside, he had only just found his prey's retreating figure when something else caught his eye.

A soft, lean figure was leaning against a burned-out lamppost. In what little light managed to reach the mystery figure, Gavin saw a smooth, jet-black shock of hair and matching clothes.

Gavin smiled, forgetting all about the dumb blonde. He ambled drunkenly towards the shadowed figure. "Hey, you little bitch," He called out. "Wanna have some fun?"

The figure snapped its head in Gavin's direction, then ran the opposite way.

The drunken man followed. "Oh c'mon, don't be that way. Boyfriend dump you? I'll make you feel all better!"

He chased the mystery person into an old, abandoned barn. Gavin followed without hesitation.

The barn was musty and dark, illuminated only by small, kerosene lamps scattered throughout the old, dry woodwork. He remembered that blonde bitch he'd married, what was her name? Wanda. Wanda'd said something about it being tradition. He sneered visibly at the word; who cared about doing things people did in the past when you could be doing bitches and jailbait?

"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" He called. "I'll even hunt down your boyfriend; I'll show him. Who would dump such a whore as you? I'll do him in and then I'll do you!" He laughed stupidly at his own rhyming (not really) joke.

Crash. The sound of glass breaking came somewhere from his left. Gavin turned and stalked over in that direction. "There you are. I'll have you now; I'll take you right here, you little bitch... "

Gavin rounded the corner, a leering, predatory grin on his face...

And froze.

Instead of the curvy, short-haired bitch he was expecting, he was face-to-face with a feminine-looking, short haired man.

A man who was grinning evily from ear to pointy ear.

Before Gavin's alcohol-drugged brain had time to process this new information, he was hit in the arms and legs, each strike leaving more pain than it should've in its wake; the man had broken his limbs.

As Gavin hit the ground, the man grabbed his dick. Gavin smiled. So the dude had a violence kink, huh? Well, he wasn't gonna be nobody's bitch.

However, just as he was about to announce his dominance, the man reached up his left sleeve and pulled out something metal and shiny. Gavin's troll-like brain had no time to realize what it was before he felt burning pain in his nether regions. He looked up just in time to see the man throw something off to the side; he'd been castrated.

Before Gavin could begin to violently and loudly protest, the man jammed the shiny object – which his fried brain finally realized was a knife – into the side of his throat. He yanked the blade out of the flesh roughly, then got in Gavin's face, one knees braced against his chest.

"If you try to scream, you will find that no sound shall come out. Any novice to human anatomy, if I can even consider you human, would have aimed wrong, missing your major vocal chords and killing you instantly with relatively no pain." The mystery man raised the knife and scraped it deeply into the flesh of Gavin's broken arm. Gavin howled in pain, or at least, he tried; his attacker was right, no sound came out. "Sadly, that is not my plan at all. I plan to make your final moments a living Hell."

Gavin's fried brain struggled to respond to that. "You – your a Vulcan, what business you got with me, freak?"

The man frowned visibly. So not only was this monster domineering, possessive misogynistic and sexist; he was xenophobic as well. "I have no formal issues with you, if that is what you are referring to." He ripped a long strip of flesh from Gavin's arm and threw it aside, blood splattering his sleeve and the monster's face.

Gavin sneered at his attacker. "You use some big fancy talk, freak. But what bone you got to pick with me? Tryin' to be a hero?"

The Vulcan ran his knife over Gavin's chest, leaving a bloody trail in its wake. "I am not attempting t be a vigilante." He leaned into Gavin's face and bared his teeth. "This is personal." He snarled.

Gavin tried to spit in the man's face, but only managed to cough up blood on his chin. "Who are you, you freak of nature?"

He leaned back, knife held aloft; his eyes narrowing in contempt and hate. "I am Spock." He jammed his blade into the monster's shoulder; destroying flesh and muscle. "Just over seventy-two hours ago – or three days, if your trashed, drugged, brain can't understand time – you raped the man I love." Spock twisted the knife, cutting through tendons and ligaments. "Ready yourself to perish.(1)"

Gavin stared at the man in confusion, then smiled evily. "You mean that wimpy little Jimmy boy? It was too easy, elf-boy. He came looking for his mommy, but all he got was me. And let me tell you something, bub; you're gonna regret the day you two idiots met. You know why?" His sneer grew in his sick glee. "He belongs to me. He admitted it."

Gavin had said his version of the truth in hopes that Spock would hesitate, giving him time to – well, Gavin didn't really know what he could do. He couldn't move anything but his face, and the only threat he'd ever really had had been removed and thrown to the other side of the barn. He hadn't quite thought it through.

Plan or no, it didn't work. Instead of stopping, Spock's fist slammed into Gavin's face, followed by his boot. Gavin felt his skull being smashed, and his jaw was in pieces. Spock roughly grabbed the monster by his hair and slammed his head into the floor.

"And just what," Spock snarled in Gavin's scared, mousy face. "Makes Jim yours?"

Despite his destroyed face, Gavin's sneer came back, worse than ever before. "I took his virginity. I was the first one to fuck that useless boy. Jailbait, that's all that little shit was ever good for. Fucked him more times that his bitch of a mommy."

Spock, growling in rage, raised the knife to Gavin's face and stabbed his left eye. He jammed the knife sideways, pulling the eye out of its socket. Gavin screamed soundlessly in pain, before Spock moved on and ripped the man's nose off.

Through Gavin's remaining eye, he saw the look of pure rage on the man's face. "So that is your claim to him, is it? Taking his virtue, ruining his childhood, scarring him into his adult years? That is why you claim to be his owner, you sick monster?"

Spock redoubled his grip on Gavin's hair, ripping much of it out by the roots. Gavin whimpered pathetically. "I hope you are listening to me, you bastard, for you will not be around long enough to hear it again." He snarled. "Jim Kirk never was, and never will be, yours. He is mine, and mine alone. He was mine when we realized we could never leave each others' side. He was mine when he came to me that one night and poured his heart out to me." He ripped into Gavin's other arm violently, tearing it completely away from Gavin's ruined and bloody body. "He was mine when he begged me to marry us, to bind us together for eternity." Spock gulped, fully realizing for the first time just how wrong he was when he had assumed Jim had betrayed him. "But do you know how else our claims to Jim differ?" Without waiting for a response, Spock continued on. "He is not just mine. I am his. I am not Jim's master; we belong to each other. You cannot stand the thought of not being the master, of your victims not being your slaves. But I am not you; I belong to Jim."

Spock finally succeeded in destroying the connections between Gavin's remaining arm and his body. The Vulcan stood up, wiping his knife off on Gavin's alcohol-smelling, cigarette stained clothes. He approached one of the kerosene lamps and knocked it over, setting the dry wood and hay on fire.

Gavin's eyes – or rather, lone eye and empty, bloody socket – widened in horror. He tried to get up, but just the slightest twitch caused him pain. He couldn't move his legs, and his arms were gone. Once the fire spread to him, he was doomed.

Spock headed for the exit, but before he left the burning barn, he turned back to Gavin, hate, loathing and satisfaction burning in his eyes. Combined with the flames reflecting off of them, he had a truly frightening expression.

"Goodbye, Gavin." He whispered in a cold, mocking tone. "I hope that what I have put you through tonight is multiplied by several billion on the other side." He smiled evily once more, and even though the fire was burning evermore intensely, what little blood Gavin had left in his system ran cold.

Spock pulled out a small, white device the size of his palm. It was a Fire Generator, used when surveying pre-warp civilizations on planet. They were to be used under special circumstances, if an incident had occurred and there was no way to cover it up from the native species living on the planet. The devices burned realistically (as in they burned at the same rate a normal house fire would, rather than a big whoosh of flame) and left no traces to even the most advanced forensics technology.

Spock threw the Fire Generator, which landed just a few inches away from Gavin's face. It ignited immediately, activating from shock force as they all did. The fear in Gavin's gut was multiplied a hundredfold as he realized he was doomed to burn slowly alive.

Spock turned to his laser beacon, activating the personal cloaking device. Silently thanking modern technology for making his task easy, he turned and walked away, never looking back.

When he was deep in the surrounding woods, he activated the beacon and began to transport back to the Enterprise.

As the transporter's light obscured him, the barn was overcome with fire.

The transporter room was empty. Spock was grateful for this, as his left sleeve was stained with dried blood, and he would not have been able to explain how I had become that way. The halls of the Enterprise were empty as well, her occupants sleeping soundly.

Spock reached his quarters with no incident. He planned to shower for an hour or so, then go to bed. He was exhausted, not from physical exertion, but because this had been the longest day of his life.

Under the warm spray of the water, Spock watched as the blood – both Gavin's and an extremely small fraction of his – swirled down the drain. The painkillers in his arm had worn off, but so had the pain. The only acknowledgment he gave his injured limb was a passing thanks for waterproof bandages.

Still, Spock was satisfied. His plan had been successful. Gavin was dead, and no one would ever link him to the monster's death. His bloody clothes were being recycled, and all traces of Sanguine stains being destroyed and never to be seen again. His knife was still strapped to his arm, only as a precaution. He would destroy it as soon as he could; there was little chance he would ever need the murder weapon again.

The murder weapon.


Oh God.

Spock fell back against the white wall of the shower, sliding down to the floor in shock. Despite the heat of the water, scalding to any other being, Spock's body became numb all over as the reality of the situation crashed down on him.

He'd killed someone. Someone was dead by his hand.

But he will not be missed. The logical Human part of him thought. He is a criminal who would not have been apprehended otherwise. He is not an innocent man; he has done both you and Jim wrong. This was the only way to end that man's criminal career.

Spock took a deep, shaky breath. That reassured him much; he had a justified reason for killing Gavin. He knew he could not leave the monster in someone else's hands; hands that would soon be corrupted. No one could blame him.

Spock suddenly felt vulnerable sitting naked at the bottom of his shower. He got up but stood unmoving under the hot water, forcing his muscles to unwind. He didn't move an inch, just standing under the scalding spray until the hot water began running out.

Turning the water off, Spock tried his very hardest not to think. There was something he still had to face. Just as he had never willingly acknowledged the reasons Jim shouldn't love him, this was something Spock had been shoving aside since Jim had been healed.

Willing to put it off as long as possible, Spock slowly dried his short, jet-black hair with a towel. When that was finished, he took a sonic blow dryer to remove excess. He put it on the hottest setting, not caring what damage was being done to his hair.

Sadly, that activity was over much too soon. He soon moved on to drying the rest of him, but in the time it took him to remove the water from his hair, his body had dried normally. There was not much for him to do with the towel in his hands.

He took his time brushing his teeth, taking his time removing every bit of his dinner, and – this disgusted him greatly – occasional droplets of blood on his front outer teeth, which, with its red color, could only be Gavin's. It must have splattered on his teeth when he had been mutilating that monster's body.

This caused his gag reflex to eventually kick in, and he threw up for the... he didn't even know how many times he'd puked in the span of this afternoon. He had stopped counting after six or seven.

He was not annoyed or angry with this, though. It gave him an excuse to waste more time. He cleaned his mouth off and wiped up the small droplets of vomit from the floor and the toilet seat, before flushing the toilet and washing his hands as slowly as Humanly – and Vulcanly – possible. He brushed his teeth again, taking as long – if not longer – than he had the first time.

When that was done, Spock took a comb to his hair, slowly pulling it out of its matted, tangled mess that the dryer and towel had made it into. He had many knots in his hair, and he broke two combs. Undeterred, he simply replicated new ones, and sadly, his task was done too quickly.

Finally leaving the bathroom, he diligently pulled on a pair of loose-fitting sweatpants and began doing what he could to make his quarters neater. He attempted to put the parts back in his replicator, but in his eagerness and determination on his then-task at hand, he'd damaged them too badly for reuse. He set them aside in a box to recycle tomorrow – which was not too far away.

He then turned to fixing his tricorder, but found the parts to be in a similar state to his replicator's. He tossed them in the same box as the replicator's remains and slipped it under his desk.

Spock then went and rummaged through drawers and his closet, looking for things to be put in order or its proper place. Aside from the drawer he had carelessly tossed his tricorder in, there was none of that.

After removing the tricorder from his desk drawers to put it with it's and the replicator remains, he finally decided to just send it all to the recycling room, along with his knife.

He tossed the knife and the pouch he'd strapped to his arm in the box before carrying it to the farthest garbage shoot from his quarters that he knew of. He recycled it, box and all, and waited out the fifteen minutes for the materials to be processed.

When that was done not much later, Spock finally returned to his quarters. He paced the room, looking over every inch of it for something to put off his task longer. He settled on making his bed, something he never did.

When he finally realized he could avoid it no longer, Spock lay back over his smooth covers and teared up, green salt water staining his face. He hated the subject with a passion – his relationship with Jim.

That wasn't to say he didn't want or enjoy being bonded to his t'hy'la. He loved it. Their relationship before Gavin had stepped in and screwed everything up had been the happiest months of his insignificant life. He knew in every fiber of his being that he would never love anyone as he loved Jim.

But that was only Spock. Jim had been hurt by his hand, because Spock hadn't had enough faith in Jim's commitment to their marriage. Any shred of hope that Jim would accept him again and continue their relationship was gone. He knew Jim would not want him anymore.

And then there was the matter of their bond. Spock knew that, once he was coherent, Jim would want it removed. Spock didn't know if he would be strong enough emotionally to remove it again. It had been easy the first time, in his unjust anger at his t'hy'la, to simply tear away his reason for living without allowing Jim a word of explanation in his own defense. What was more, he was not even sure if it was safe to remove their bond. When he'd removed it the first time, he had shut down almost ninety percent of Jim's mind. Because they had only been fixed by bonding once more, there was a good chance that those functions of his t'hy'la's mind were now dependent upon their bond. Spock was afraid of sharing that information with Jim; he could only imagine the fury on his beloved's face when he learned of his predicament; his beautiful face twisted in anger; he could almost hear Jim blaming him for the whole situation, that if he had actually taken the time to listen to him, to not have jumped to a conclusion so quickly because of his lack of faith in him, then maybe he would not have destroyed everything they had built together.

Spock continued to spiral downward in misery. Any feeling of worth, all measures of self-esteem were gone. Spock had never felt worse in his life; not when his mother had died; not the destruction of Vulcan; nothing.

Spock cried softly, his energy fading. He was drifting off to sleep, hoping that his dream, a least, would take him away from his suffering.

Then a chime pulled him roughly from his void of sorrow, signaling that someone wished to enter his quarters.

Spock sat up in shock, the spasms in his chest acting like a shove back into reality. Wiping his tell-tale tears away, he stumbled over to the door and opened it.

Looking back, one will find that, in the span of time since Spock found out the truth and when he answered the door, he had four Vulcan versions of a panic attack.

The first was a prolonged one, when he'd realized that Jim had been faithful and he had attacked him unrightfully.

The second was in the shower, when the reality of the situation had come crashing down on him.

The third was caused by his door chime, when the shock of something so familiar-sounding after a day of ups and downs had pulled him abruptly out of his black hole.

And the fourth?

Spock was fairly sure at this point that, if panic attacks could eventually lead to a heart attack, then he was certainly due. For he simply could not believe who was at his door.

His face was pale and drawn, with distinct traces of tears. He was still wearing the same command gold from the awful incident, and his blue eyes showed no trace of ever having been clouded over.

It was Jim.

He stood in the doorway, eyes locked with Spock's chocolate brown. Niether of them moved.

Spock searched Jim's eyes for the emotions he had been expecting – hate, disdain, disgust – but found no trace of it. In fact, all he could see was careful control.

The two continued their staring contest (for lack of a better word) until Jim's sweet voice broke the quiet.

"Can I... can I come in?"

Spock nodded and stood aside, watching Jim carefully. He was not sure how Jim would react now that they were alone in a room and not standing on opposite sides of the doorway.

Jim turned to face him. Instead of control, Spock saw almost... a warmth?

Spock sighed and was about to begin his speech. As he was searching for the right words, though, Jim smacked his hand over Spock's mouth. It didn't hurt, but it shocked him.

"Before you say anything," Jim began calmly. "Before you do anything stupid... I need to tell you something."

Spock nodded and Jim's hand fell away. Without a word, the two sat across from each other, Spock on his bed and Jim on his desk chair.

Jim sighed again and looked Spock in the eye. "Spock... when you were in my mind, after you broke our bond, what was it like?"

Spock gulped and held back his tears. "Your mind was very near gone. Your essence had all but disappeared. It was a mess of gray and black." He took a deep, shuddering breath. "All that I could see were memories related to that monster." He spat out the last word like a bad taste in his mouth.

Jim's eyes flickered, a shine rising in them – but not the good kind of shine.

"I don't remember much after you broke it off. I've got these little flashes of feeling cold, but not much else." The corners of his mouth suddenly twitched. "I remember you coming back, though." He whispered. "I could feel you in my mind.

"I remember seeing you, after that – out of the corner of my eye, you were watching me. I realized I was in sickbay when Bones stuck me with that hypo."

"And you have been sedated up until now." Spock finished.

Jim bit his lip. "Well... yes and no."

Spock stared blankly at his bondmate.

"What I mean is... this is what I wanted to tell you.

"You remember touching my arm before you left, right?"

Spock nodded, unsure of where this was going.

Then I occurred to him that Jim had been asleep when he'd brushed his hand over his arm. How did he know of that?

Jim looked at Spock worriedly, as if dreading something. "I don't know what you did, but you sort of woke me up. I couldn't move or anything, but my mind was awake. Our bond was my only connection to the outside world... So I followed you. In your mind, I mean."

It was silent in Spock's quarters for a good long while. Spock was sure his mouth was hanging wide open, he would not be surprised if it was. It had not occurred to him, not once, that Jim might have been awake and and using the bond. He would have been surprised at how fast Jim had learned to manipulate their bond if he did not feel as if he was going to faint.

Jim looked at his bondmate in silence, the loud quiet piercing his eardrums. He breathed in deeply, mustering what little nerve he had left.

Finally, he slowly got up from his chair and approached Spock. Carefully reaching out, he wiped away the green tears from his t'hy'la's face.

"How long?"

Jim barely caught the words. "What?"

Spock looked up at him with green-tinged eyes. "I do not care that you were in my mind. I simply wish to know how long you were there."

Jim bit his lip again. "Until you answered the door."

Spock looked at Jim dejectedly. He could see it in Jim's eyes – he knew everything.

"Spock... "

Spock let out something like a sob. "Jim... " He looked his beloved in the eye, salty water flowing free down his face. "I wish to be alone right now."

Jim's face became hard. Not in a cold way, but determined. "Too bad."

Before Spock could react, a pair of cool lips pressed against his in a chaste, yet passionate kiss. Jim's lips weren't forceful, but comforting and familiar after the Hellish day they had both endured.

Spock found himself kissing back, despite the constant stream of I do not deserve you coming from his thoughts.

Jim broke away, too soon. His ice blue locked with Spock's chocolate brown. The shine, Spock noticed, had spilled over and several tears were now streaming down his face.

"Spock, " He murmured, moving his hand so that it was caressing the side of Spock's face. "Does it really not make sense to you that I love you? Can you really not comprehend why I love you; what I see in you?"

His voice caught in his throat, all Spock could do was nod lamely. "I have gone over everything I know about us, and it simply does not add up to me."

Jim leaned in and gently pressed a kiss to Spock's cheekbone. "Explain how, please."

Spock took several deep breaths before beginning. "Although I must admit that, when they say you are 'rough around the edges' they are right, but you are also the kindest person I have ever met. Just as well, you are smart, selfless, and know when to be serious." The half-Vulcan looked up at Jim with liquid eyes. "Even your flaws; the way you embrace them; in a roundabout way, it makes you... perfect."

Jim's mouth fell open in genuine shock. Never, not once in his life, had anyone complimented him like that.

Spock didn't seem to notice. "I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite. I do not know when to stop relying on logic-" He scowled at the word. "-and I am emotionally unstable; too quick to judge someone when I see something I do not care for." Spock let out several shaky breaths. "And that would be why I do not feel we match up, if you know what I mean."

Jim stared at his t'hy'la for a long moment So this is what was bouncing around Spock's head these past few months. Did he honestly believe that he was the lesser here?

"Spock... " Jim carefully took his lover's face in his hands. "Listen to me: you are smarter than most people I've ever known. You can name every element on the periodic table and how many versions of the periodic table there've been." He stroked his fingers over Spock's cheekbones, a tender gesture that almost broke him. "You're the most beautiful person I know. And your the only one I know who can both fix a warp drive," Jim paused. Was it right to bring it up? "And could kill someone, right now, and leave no forensic evidence."

It took a few seconds for Spock to put two and two together.

The Half-Vulcan gasped.

"Spock? Spock? Spock!"

Spock's eyes snapped open at the frantic sound of Jim's voice. He felt the rough fabric under his cheek and realized he'd collapsed. His t'hy'la had a look of panic on his face.

"Good God, Spock, are you alright? What did I say?"

Spock looked into his beloved's eyes, sorrow swirling in the dark brown depths. "Forgive me, please. It did not occur to me that you were present when I killed your stepfather."

An unreadable expression passed over Jim's face. Without warning, he threw his arms around the half-Vulcan's torso, lifting him off the ground and into Jim's arms.

Spock tightened his own grip around Jim and buried his face in the Human's shoulder. Tears of blood poured out of his eyes, staining Jim's gold shirt the most unattractive shade of green. Jim squeezed Spock tighter, trying as hard as he could to communicate I love you I forgive you You had to do this No other way over and over through their bond. Spock returned the gesture, sending Jim all the gratitude and love and support he could over their once-more strong bond. He promised both himself and Jim that if something like this ever happened again, he would hear Jim out, rather than let his anger get the best of him.

The two held each other closer than ever before, eventually migrating to Spock's bed, Jim resting on the half-Human's chest. They fell asleep in this position, having both quietly cried themselves to sleep.

There were few times in the life of Dr. Leonard David McCoy that he'd ever been so damn frustrated. He should've given Jim a stronger sedative; the last thing he needed was to go gallivanting off while he was still recovering. The main problem? Jim wasn't in his quarters. Which left Spock's as the next obvious place. While the doctor could only hope and pray that he wasn't walking into a murder scene, part of him wasn't in the mood to stab his eyes out in a futile attempt to unsee something he shouldn't've walked in on.

He stormed through the door, ready to begin a good cuss fit-

And saw Jim and Spock, laying clothed, but closely entwined in what could only be a comforting and passionate embrace. Besides the vestigial dampness of their faces – most prominent on Spock – they were the poster children for happy couples.

Bones felt all tension, anger, and stress drain from him. Part of his mind mused that it seemed unfair that, while his marriage had failed, Spock and Jim's was definitely gonna be one for the history books.

With a small smile on his face, Bones turned and exited, leaving the happy couple to their blissful, conjoined sleep.

A/N (1) What? No, this dialogue is in no way related to any popular phrases in pop culture. Pfft, keep dreaming.

Holy fucking shit, 24 full pages? This wasn't supposed to be a novella! Well, okay, it's not, but still, wtf? How!

*Ahem* But I'm also very happy right now. It was my goal to get this finished before the fourth chapter of "Clouded Eyes" came out. Why? Because, if some new details were thrown into the mix, I'd have to change EVERYTHING and get swamped with even more plot tribbles. After two weeks, I can rest easy.

Now, onto the great plot tribble hunt!