Title: Vulcan Catnip 1/4
Pairing: Kirk/Spock (first time)
Summary: Jim's mind is most dynamic – and as the Vulcan debate team finds out, it is most pleasurable to meld with him. Too bad for them, Spock is not anywhere near willing to share (Jim is his, even if the human does not know it yet).
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, and I do not make money from these fictions.
A/N: This fic is complete, but it may take a couple days to post the entire thing. I'm working on editing the other three parts.
Jim silently runs through the calculations for the new Millennium Problem as he walks the halls of the new Vulcan Science Academy, looking for the older version of his first officer. Jim and Chekov and Scotty are engaging in a playful competition amongst themselves over who can correctly solve the problem first. They don't really do it for the credits (or the recognition of the mathematical and/or scientific communities). No – the most important prize is the bragging rights. And Jim finished the last one first, and he really does not want to give up his title...
"Mmph!" Jim feels the breath knocked out of him as he walks into something tall, and warm, and completely immovable, and he would have fallen on his ass if not for the hot bands of steel that wrap around his biceps to catch him.
"Are you injured, Captain?" an emotionless voice inquires, as Jim stares forward at a broad chest. He looks up to see a handsome young Vulcan - younger than Spock, certainly. Perhaps 23 or 24 - it is difficult to tell.
Jim lets the last of the numbers run through his mind in an effort to suppress his blush over his clumsiness, even as he gathers his thoughts to reply.
"I'm not hurt," Jim replies. "Sorry for not paying attention to where I was going. It was *illogical* of me."
The Vulcan raises an eyebrow at him, probably in response to the tease in his voice - and do they teach a class on that here, because no matter how hard Jim tries, he can never quite master that? But Bones can do it, so maybe it is just Jim - or maybe Bones is part-Vulcan?
Jim tries to suppress the amusement he feels at that thought (and also the thought of how his best friend would respond if he ever let that slip in front of him – not even Spock could protect him from the hyposprays of vengeance), even as he realizes that the Vulcan still has not removed his hands from Jim's arms.
"Your mind is most dynamic, Captain," the Vulcan comments. "It is quite...fascinating."
Oh, well, there goes the embarrassment again. No one has ever called his mind "dynamic" or "fascinating" before...
"Most dynamic," and now the Vulcan is lightly caressing Jim's arms, as if that will increase his exposure to Jim's mind - and who knows? Maybe it will. The human really has no idea how touch telepathy works with Vulcans. But if he is going to be felt up, he feels that he at least deserves a name.
"Um...well, thank you, I suppose," Jim replies.
"Thanks are illogical, Captain," and he cannot suppress his amusement at that phrase - it is exactly what Spock would say in this situation (not that Spock would ever call his mind "dynamic" or "fascinating" or anything like that – even though they are friends, his first officer is much more likely to call Jim "troubling" than anything complimentary).
"Sure," he sighs. "So, do I at least get a name? Because when I tell my crew the story about how I nearly ran over a Vulcan at the Science Academy they aren't going to believe me unless I give them a name - and I am really not very good at making them up. You can ask my communications officer if you don't believe me. Or Cupcake."
"I am called Stekev, Captain," the Vulcan replies, ignoring Jim's other statements.
"Stekev..." Jim tries the name out on his tongue, and decides that he likes it. "Well, Stekev, please call me Jim. Now, I am looking for Elder Solok – I can't seem to find him in this maze. Do you happen to know where his research laboratory is?"
"Affirmative, Jim," Stekev responds, and the human blinks in shock.
No matter how many times he has told Spock to call him Jim (and no matter how many near-death situations they have survived together), his first officer has never obliged. Jim thought it was just a Vulcan thing, but apparently not... Not if this Vulcan concedes to calling him by his given name just moments after they meet.
"I will lead you," the Vulcan informs him, releasing one of Jim's arms and letting his other hand trail down to grasp Jim's wrist, pulling him along.
Well, his mind must be *really* dynamic, because he's pretty sure that Vulcans do not usually touch just anyone like this...Spock always stands so stiff, and he *never* lets anyone touch him casually – forget about his first officer actually *initiating* contact.
And then Stekev actually deigns to make *small talk* with him as they walk through the corridors, and Jim is finding this entire experience sort of surreal. They talk about the Enterprise, and how New Vulcan is progressing, and Stekev's current research.
His Vulcan guide (who, by the way, lets his hand slip even further down so they are now *holding hands*!) stops at a large metal door and knocks. The door opens to receive the cool, older Spock - and Jim cannot help himself, he has not seen the old man in person in *forever*, so he pulls away from Stekev and launches himself forward for a hug.
"Sorry..." he snuffles a bit into Sp...Solok's neck (he really should think of him as Solok in his head, otherwise he is going to get confused and call him Spock out loud, and that really would not do...Jim does not want to be the reason the universe ends).
"Do not concern yourself, Jim. I am...pleased to see you, as well," the Elder replies, running a warm hand through Jim's hair as his other arm goes around the human's waist.
"He has a most...dynamic mind," Stekev informs Solok, and Jim hides his blush in his friend's shoulder.
"Indeed," the Vulcan holding him replies, and Jim can *hear* the raised eyebrow in his tone.
"Well, thank you for showing me around, Stekev, and for the pleasant conversation. I really appreciate it," Jim says when he feels like the Vulcan staring contest going on over his head has lasted more than long enough.
"It was satisfying for me as well, Jim," Stekev responds. "Further interaction between us would not be unwelcome. Tonight at 1900 hours the debate team is meeting for a discussion of the Prime Directive. I would be most gratified if you would accompany me."
Jim blinks in shock at the invitation, before nodding his head in the affirmative. He raises his hand to perform the ta'al, but Stekev shocks him once more when he reaches forward for a handshake.
"Arrive at the Debate Room in Hall 3 at 1830 for introductions," Stekev informs him, before turning on his heel and striding down the corridor.
"Oh, Jim..." Solok murmurs with something like amusement coloring his voice.
"What?" he asks. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing is 'wrong'," the Vulcan replies with a shake of his head, and then changes the subject to the Enterprise.
Damn Vulcan knows all of his weaknesses - Jim just cannot resist talking about his girl...
A few hours later…
Jim blushes when his stomach interrupts his conversation with Solok.
"Sorry," he mutters, glaring down at himself. Stupid stomach…
"It is I who should apologize, Jim," Solok states softly, looking at him with fond eyes. "It has been so long that I have forgotten that humans have different needs than Vulcans. I have a replicator in my personal quarters, if you are in need of sustenance at this time."
Jim's stomach rumbles an affirmative, and so the blond just nods his head and follows the Vulcan back to a door at the back of the lab. He thinks it is kind of cool that the Vulcan Science Academy gives certain professors and researchers adjoining personal quarters to their laboratories – probably to "logically" increase efficiency, or something. But it really is convenient…
Solok allows him to order a meal from the replicator (a nice vegetarian salad, just to be polite), and then the Vulcan orders them some tea and leads them to a small table in the corner.
"I am given to understand that you are attending the diplomatic dinner tomorrow night. Will your first officer be in attendance?" Solok questions.
Jim looks up from his salad – and then he again remembers Solok's warning during the Narada crisis, and wonders how he will possibly convince Spock to stay away from the dinner. Or maybe Solok will not go if he knows Spock will be there?
"I think he was planning on it," Jim affirms. "Spock doesn't usually like to let me mingle with alien species without his supervision. I think that he thinks they all want to steal me or something."
"That is logical," the Vulcan responds, and Jim has a feeling that he is being silently laughed at. "You do have a quite troubling propensity for being kidnapped."
"Hey!" the blond objects with a little smile. "It's not my fault that I'm so pretty all the aliens want to keep me as a pet!"
"So if Spock comes, does that mean that you won't? I wouldn't want the universe to end, or anything," Jim says, half-seriously. He trusts Solok enough to believe he would never let that happen.
"That is what I truly wished to speak to you about, Jim," Solok informs him. "When you inferred that universe-ending paradoxes would ensue if Spock and I met, you were incorrect."
"But you said…" the human protests.
Solok raises an eyebrow at him, and the resemblance between the two Spocks, over a hundred years apart, is just too eerie when he makes that expression.
"I implied," the elder Spock admits. "I did not wish to interfere in the beginning of your relationship. "
"Sneaky Vulcan," Jim mutters.
Solok's eyes crinkle a little bit in a Vulcan smile, and the blond just sort of basks in his presence.
"So I don't have to worry about tomorrow night?" he asks.
"You need not concern yourself with the universe ending, no," the Vulcan confirms.
Well, that is a relief.
"Are you anticipating the meeting with the debate club?" Solok questions him, changing the subject. "Stekev seemed quite enamored with you."
"Yeah," Jim replies, and goddamn his fair complexion, because he is blushing yet again. "He said that my mind was 'dynamic'."
"So I heard," Solok says with mysterious look.
Hmm…what is that supposed to mean?
Jim gets to the Debate Room at 1829 - and he's pretty damn proud of himself for not getting lost, because these corridors are like a fucking *maze*. Wouldn't it be logical to have a...oh, *logical* layout for the building?
"Greetings, Jim," Stekev says when he enters the room.
"Greetings," he replies, catching sight of three other Vulcan males and two females in the room. He once again lifts his hand for the ta'al - and once again Stekev reaches forward for a handshake.
"I am attempting to engage in human rituals as part of a research project," Stekev informs his peers when they look at him in shock. Jim does not really get what the big deal is - he thinks it is pretty cool that a Vulcan is trying to understand humans better. "It is my suggestion that you also participate in this human greeting ritual known as a 'handshake'. Research indicates that a firm grip and three pumping motions are best."
Jim kind of wants to mutter 'That's what she said', but he manfully refrains. See? He has self control – now if only Spock or Bones was here to see it.
One of the Vulcan females - T'Mir, he will later find out - looks scandalized and leaves the room. The other Vulcans just look intrigued, and proceed to introduce themselves.
"Sardix," and the Vulcan reaches his hand forward in greeting, giving Jim a limp handshake. Jim gives him a smile, returning the shake - but when he tries to pull his hand back, the Vulcan does not seem to want to let go.
"Most dynamic," Sardix informs the others, and Jim blushes - he guesses Stekev told them all about this afternoon.
"I am called T'Pang, Captain," the female tells him as she too reaches forward for a handshake. Her grip is firm - almost too firm - as she vigorously pumps her arm *precisely* three times. Vulcans are always so literal…
"Please call me Jim, T'Pang," he replies with his *best* smile - she is very pretty, with intelligent light brown eyes.
He really likes her eyes, which is probably why he does not realize that they are just standing there holding hands for a few seconds.
T'Pang steps back without comment, and a short male Vulcan steps forwards.
"You may call me Kov," he informs Jim, tentatively brushing Jim's hand with his pointer and middle fingers before grasping it for a handshake.
Kov is quickly muscled to the side, before two of his three pumps are even finished, and the biggest Vulcan Jim has ever seen steps forward.
"Xon," and wow, his hands are really, really big - Jim feels like he could be squashed without an effort.
"Now that introductions are through," Stekev interrupts. "Perhaps we should begin our debate?"
Jim looks at the chronometer - it is only 1842, but he supposes there is no harm in starting early if they are all there.
"Okay, so the Prime Directive..." Jim begins. "What is the question we're debating, exactly?"
And thus begins one of the most mentally grueling discussions of Jim's life - and he enjoys every second...
"There is a big difference between theory and reality. I know that Starfleet holds the Prime Directive absolute, but when breaking it could potentially save millions of lives...well, out in space, when it's all your decision? It is a pretty difficult choice to make," Jim tries to explain to the Vulcans, but he can see that they do not quite understand. Rules are rules to them, meant to be followed.
He huffs, trying to think of a way to convey the reality of the situation - to make it more than just words. And then he remembers the older Spock on Delta Vega...
"Hey, can any of you perform a mind meld to see what I'm talking about?" Jim questions, unsure if all Vulcans have the skill, or if Spock is just special.
"I would..." "I can..." Stekev and Xon say at the same time, and then they basically turn toward each other and *glare*. Vulcan glares are scary…
"Okay, okay, guys," Jim interrupts with a little nervous laugh. "Stekev and I can meld first, and then when we're done I will meld with Xon. Not a big deal."
The Vulcans blink at him, and then Sardix interjects: "It would be fascinating to meld with a human mind, in order to further explore the differences between species. I would also be willing to participate in such an experience."
"Anything for a Vulcan," the sole human responds with a smile. "I would be willing to meld with whoever wanted to do so."
T'Pang and Kov look at each other, and then quickly turn to Jim.
"Kov and I would also appreciate such an experience, Jim," she informs him primly, and she really is a knock-out...
Jim focuses on the matter at hand, turning to Stekev.
"So, should I sit down or something?" he asks.
"Assume whichever position will make you most comfortable," the Vulcan tells him, so Jim sits down on one of their hard-back chairs. Probably as comfortable as he is going to get (that is, not at all) but he remembers that when he melded with the older Spock it nearly knocked him on his ass. Wait...
"You will only see what I direct you to see, right? Because there is some pretty confidential information in there, and we probably should not meld if..."
The Vulcans in the room all immediately interrupt to reassure him that they will respect his mental boundaries, and only explore where they have permission. Jim is kind of shocked - they all seem pretty enthusiastic about this...
And then Stekev steps forward, raising his hand in the traditional positions and placing it on Jim's face.
"My mind to your mind." 'My thoughts to your thoughts.'
Stekev's mind is like water, cool and slick as it slips into Jim's mind. He shows the Vulcan his memories of several First Contacts - situations in which the value of the Prime Directive were called into question. Stekev seems to wrap around the memories, absorbing them and analyzing them from several different views.
And then the Vulcan's mind slips away from those memories, and he seems to be waiting for another memory from Jim. And the human, figuring that his new Vulcan friend wants to learn something new about Earth culture, decides to show him San Francisco and Starfleet Academy and somehow his mind goes to the Kobayashi Maru...
Stekev *really* seems to like these memories and thoughts, and he spends a long time just exploring where Jim will let him. But then Jim remembers the others, and he does not want to be rude and keep them waiting, so he attempts to project this to Stekev.
The Vulcan assents, something like reluctance seeming to color his thoughts, before he gently withdraws from Jim's mind.
"Woah..." the human whispers, feeling slightly dizzy but also...good. "That was...intense."
"Indeed," Stekev replies, and his voice seems to be lower than before. "I...am in need of the facilities. I shall return shortly."
And Jim just blinks as the Vulcan turns and leaves the room with an uneven stride. Hmm...That was kind of strange. Maybe melds make Vulcans need to go to the bathroom? But he doesn't remember Solok needing to go to the bathroom? He will ask – later, when he doesn't feel quite so…floaty.
"I believe it is my turn, Jim," Xon informs him, breaking Jim from his thoughts.
"Yes...just, give me a sec," he requests, shifting to find a more comfortable position on the hard chair.
"You may sit in my lap, if that would be more comfortable," the large Vulcan offers, and Jim just sputters a bit before politely refusing.
"Ahh, no. I'm...I'm good to go," Jim smiles, tilting his neck to offer his temple to the Vulcan's hand.
Xon quickly takes his offer, placing his fingers on the human's face and gently entering his mind...
This time Jim accidentally thinks of the Millennium Problem instead of the Prime Directive, but Xon seems to like the direction his thoughts are taking. This Vulcan's mind is more like sand than water, sticking and chafing in certain places. It is sort of uncomfortable, and the human does not like it at all.
Jim project this thought to Xon, and the Vulcan absorbs it, sending a pulse of apology back to him. And then the sand becomes much finer, and there is no longer even any hint of discomfort for Jim. It is almost a ticklish sensation, in fact. So he shows Xon the problem he is working on, going through possible solutions and playing with the numbers. And then he shows him the problem he solved (perhaps a little too proudly) but the Vulcan's mind just seems *impressed*.
Jim loves these Vulcans, he really, really does. Why is Spock never impressed with anything he does?
Xon seems to catch this thought, examining it and turning it every which way. Jim feels a bit embarrassed, but...whatever.
Then the Vulcan slowly, slowly pulls out with a taste of emotion that can only be classified as *smug*, and Jim breaths harshly as his mind is once again his own.
"Fascinating," Xon murmurs. "Most fascinating."
And there is a dusting of green along his cheeks and at the tips of his pointed ears as he, too, turns to leave the room - without so much as an explanation. Maybe melds do make Vulcans need to go to the bathroom? How unusual…
And why hasn't Stekev returned yet? How long do Vulcans take to go to the bathroom? Spock never goes to the "facilities" during shift, so Jim really does not know.
But before Jim can think further on this, Sardix steps forward.
"Are you prepared for penetration, Jim?" the Vulcan questions, and Jim nearly chokes on his tongue because it sounds like Sardix is asking...
Well, of course he isn't! Just some good old cultural miscommunication, and Jim's horny mind turning everything into a sexual innuendo. It has been entirely too long since he's been laid – he really needs to get on that. His own hands have been the only things to touch his cock in entirely too long.
"Yeah, I'm ready," he states after catching his breath (and trying without much success to tear his mind away from thoughts of sex).
And without warning, Sardix's hand is on his face and his mind is inside...
Sardix's mind slides into his, and Jim does not have anything to compare it to. It is just *there*, surrounding the thoughts he puts forward. But Sardix seems to reject all those thoughts - he is looking for something in particular...
And, oh...Jim realizes that the Vulcan is curious about "human mating rituals". He is a little embarrassed, but thinks of Julie and Sarah and Zach and John at the academy, and Sardix seems *fascinated*. He pulls on the memories, demanding more, and it is starting to get really personal, and not only is Jim *showing* these memories, but it is like he is *experiencing* them all over again, and really, he is corrupting an innocent Vulcan mind...Spock will *strangle* him.
Jim pushes Sardix out, perhaps a bit too forcefully. He is panting desperately, trying to get enough air, even as his cock presses uncomfortably against the restriction of his regulation briefs. Fuck…
"I...apologize," the Vulcan states, after picking himself up off the floor. "I did not realize the intimacy associated with such memories."
"It's...it's okay," Jim says, although maybe it really isn't, because he's so hard he could hump the air right now, and his skin feels so hypersensitive, and he thinks he might be a little high...and oh, there Sardix goes. Maybe he needs to use the bathroom too? Vulcans are so weird – they are like girls, all going to the bathroom together…
"I will take my turn now, Jim," T'Pang informs him - and oh, hi there, other Vulcan mind...Jim goes to welcome her inside, but the meld is broken forcefully a second later, before she achieves any real penetration. Jim just blinks as he hears a low growl and sharp, chiding words.
"He does not understand our culture, and you have taken advantage of this lack of understanding!" and oh, that's Spock - his Spock, First Officer Spock, Science Officer Spock, *Cute* Spock... "This situation demonstrates your loss of emotional control. Why have none of you sought mind healers? Why have you instead targeted a helpless non-telepath to relieve your mental distress?"
Wow, can Vulcan mind melds make a human high? Because Spock sounds *angry*, and Spock does not get *angry*. Well, not unless Jim is insubordinate and cocky and talks smack about Spock's mom. And also, Jim kind of wants to hump Spock (and maybe he should replace "kind of" with "really, really, really, really…" – well, anyway). So maybe mind melds can make a human high? But Elder Spock didn't make Jim high. Hmm…He should really ask Spock (his Spock)...Spock always knows everything, because he is so, so smart...
"His mind is most dynamic," T'Pang replies, and why do the Vulcans keep repeating that? Is there some meaning in that phrase that he does not understand or something? Maybe he should ask Spock...It is really hot when his first officer goes into "professor mode", as Jim likes to call it – his posture gets even more rigid than usual, and his *voice*…
Maybe he should meld with Spock...Melding with the older Spock was awesome, how much more awesome would melding with the young Spock be? It would be the awesomest!
"Leave!" and oh, did Spock just *growl*? He should do that more often, it makes Jim feel all tingly. Maybe he should tell Spock that...Spock deserves to know.
"Sp-Spock..." he whispers softly, because if he's quiet maybe the others won't hear him. "Your growly voice makes me feel all *tingly*."
And then Jim giggles. Why is he giggling? He does not think there is anything funny to giggle at. Hmm...
"Please remain silent, Jim," Spock practically orders him. But *Jim* is the captain, not Spock, so Jim gives the orders.
"You're not the boss of me!" he informs his Vulcan - and no, he is not petulant. No matter what Bones says...Because Spock is not the boss, and Jim needs to remind him of that!
"Me boss, you Vulcan!" Jim says, just to reaffirm the lesson for his first officer. "Also...did you call me Jim? Why did you call me Jim? You *never* call me Jim. Even though I've asked you, like, a bazillion and one times. You're always 'Captain, this' and 'Captain, that'. "
Oh, and there's another growl. Spock is being particularly growly tonight...
"And furthermore!" is Jim shouting, he thinks he might be shouting? Also, he is pointing his finger - maybe not at Spock though. Is that the ceiling? Hmm...Oh wait, what was he going to say? "Furthermore! You interrupted T'Pang's turn. That isn't very nice! Stekev and Xon and Sardix all got much longer - they would tell you, but they had to use the fic...fec...the bathroom. Do melds make Vulcans need to go to the bathroom? That is kind of weird. Also! Also, Kov still hasn't explored human culture yet. You just have to wait your turn, Spock!"
"There will be no more turns," his first officer states firmly, shooting death lasers of doooooooom at the other two Vulcans in the room. Dooooooom...
"Jim, is there are reason you are whispering 'doom' to yourself?" Kov questions him, ignoring the glare of doooooom from Jim's first officer.
"I just like the way it sounds," the human informs him. "Dooooooooom. Also, do you want to meld with me? It feels really good. Especially the way Sardix did it. He wanted to learn about human mating rituals, and made me think about all the sex I used to have at the academy, before I became captain and had to become all responsible and boring and shit. So I thought about sex, but in the meld, it was like I was actually *having* sex again. Which, let me tell you, it has been *waaaaay* too long. I really miss sex. Do Vulcans like sex?"
And then Kov - and his hand, which had been reaching for Jim's temple - is gone.
And Spock is there instead.
"Jim, cease speaking immediately," his Vulcan first orders him, and now Spock is glaring at *him*. Well, Jim will not take that! *He* is the captain here.
He opens his mouth to tell Spock this, but all of a sudden there is a very warm hand stopping him from speaking.
Oh, and Spock is once again 'not yelling' at the other Vulcans. Poor T'Pang and Kov. Good thing Stekev and Xon and Sardix all went to the bathroom. How long does it take a Vulcan to go to the bathroom? Shouldn't they be back by now? They all said that they were going to come back? Maybe they got distracted...
Nah, that's silly - Vulcan's do not get distracted, as Spock would say.
"If you do not leave within the next 2.5 seconds, I will report each one of you to the Council of Elders for misuse of the mind meld with a psi-null being," Spock threatens T'Pang and Kov - and oh, he sounds really, really dangerous. Like a wolf about to pounce on an unsuspecting bunny rabbit.
Jim squirms in response, but Spock's voice makes him want to be *naughty*, that way his first officer will keep talking like that...He is totally up for being Spock's bunny rabbit – especially if "pounce on" actually means "fuck the brains out of".
And Spock's growly voice also makes Jim want to lick him - so he does, right along the palm that is covering his mouth and making it impossible to speak clearly. Hmm...Spock's skin tastes more tangy than salty. Jim wonders if Spock's cock will taste different than a human too.
Hm...Spock's cock. Cock of Spock. Spooooock. Cooooooock.
Spock does not pull his hand away, but he does turn dark eyes to look at Jim.
"Leave," he growls - and oh, that is directed at the other Vulcans, not Jim.
Jim isn't going anywhere – not even if he wants to. Spock's other hand is now on the back of his neck, holding him still. Jim doesn't think he likes Spock's hand so close to his neck - he might do that sneaky Vulcan neck pinch thingy...
The human blinks, and suddenly realizes that the other Vulcans are gone. Where did they go? Also, Spock is getting really close right now...Why is he so close?
"I refuse to take advantage of you when you are intoxicated, Jim," Spock says, but Jim thinks maybe he is talking to himself, because his eyes are closed and the hand that was on his neck is now at Spock's side and curled into a tight fist.
Jim doesn't like that Spock isn't paying attention to him anymore - so he licks him again. (And well, maybe he nibbles a little bit. But just a little!)
Spock stiffens, and lets out something that would sound suspiciously like a moan. Except, well, this is his proper, prim first officer, and Spock does not do anything as undignified and emotional as moaning. While Jim is contemplating such thoughts, Spock pulls his hand away, reaching for his communicator and flipping it over.
"Spock to Enterprise," he states calmly, dark eyes locked on Jim the entire time. "Two to beam up."
Before Jim can protest - he doesn't want to go anywhere, the Vulcans might come back from the bathroom at any time and want to meld again! - Spock's hand is reaching for him.
Ooooh, maybe Spock wants to meld?
That is Jim's last thought before everything goes black - he doesn't even have time to curse those damn Vulcan neck pinches...