A/N I have, once again, been inspired by NCIS to do a Star Trek fic. Can you guess?

Here's a hint – DIE ARI DIE!

Admiral Kirk sat in his quarters, silently staring at his copy of The Tale of two Cities. He'd been like that for quite some time; he could've been watching as the Genesis planet was born from a nebula, as new life was born from nothing.

But the Genesis Effect could've been a vinegar and baking soda volcano for all he cared. Because the only thing he felt worth caring for in his misery was gone; dead, like Jim himself was.

The book in front of him lay open. He couldn't read the words without his glasses; and he couldn't be bothered to take them out now. Nothing seemed to have any worth anymore; everything seemed pointless.

Nothing had worth without him.

Spock, Jim thought, fighting his tears. Spock had said not to grieve, that it was logical. So Jim held his tears... for his beloved companion.

"'Beloved', am I?" came a shockingly familiar voice.

Jim was frozen to his chair. It couldn't be – he'd seen the lifeless body, felt the stillness of his pulse – there was no way...

Slowly, Jim looked up to see an tall, male figure in a red Captain's uniform. His arms were crossed over his chest, giving him a look of power and intimidation.

"Spock?" Jim asked, blinking furiously. This had to be a dream, it just wasn't possible...

"Jim." He was regarded coldly.

The Admiral snapped out of his grieving and was facing his comrade in a matter of seconds. "Spock, I can't believe it! Oh, I knew you'd pull through, I-"

A flesh-colored object swung over and hit Jim in the face, leaving a raw, stinging area on his cheek.

Staring at Spock, Jim realized, with incredulity, that Spock had slapped him.

Spockhad slapped him.

Spock had slapped him.

It was several seconds before Jim could find his voice. "Spock, what was that for? What did I do?"

Spock's mouth twisted into scowl. "What did you do?" He repeated. "Nothing. You simply stood idly by, while I, once again, took the hit for you." He raised an eyebrow questioningly. "Are you satisfied now, Jim?"

Jim felt an icy grip take hold of his insides. "What... What do you mean?"

Spock took a step closer to Jim. "Gamma Trianguli, our first five year mission. While you and the doctor were wrapped up in your own pointless little discussion-" He sneered as he spoke. "-I took a chestful of poison that would've killed you instantly."

Spock knew every single one of Jim's weak points – an fallback if someone tried to take advantage of these weaknesses.

And now was Spock was using them for himself. He was hurting Jim in pure cruelty, something he'd sworn up and down he would ever do.

"Spock, I felt terrible for weeks on end after that, how could you think I-"

"And our second five year mission," Spock cut him off. "We were confronted by Klingons on Ceti Alpha III. It dissolved into a firefight – and who was it, that disobeyed orders and jumped in front of you when you were unprotected, and took a shot in the chest that would have killed another Human instantly?"

Spock grabbed at his collar and pulled down.

Jim almost screamed in horror; on Spock's chest was an open, fresh wound, dripping with copper blood.

"I did." Spock answered his own question. "I disobeyed your orders, I put my own life on the line, I took the hit for you again." He pulled his collar back up. "So tell me, Jim," He asked venomously. "Why did I put my life on the line for you? Why did I allow you to dodge three bullets, and take them myself?" Spock paused in his speech to give Jim a cold, hateful glare. "Wasn't two times enough? If you are as self-sacrificing as the other Admirals claim you to be, why wasn't it you that went down in engineering?"

Jim's heart was breaking; he was coming apart at the seams. "I-I d-d-don't know." He half-sobbed.

"Really? You don't know?" Spock snarled. "What does your famous gut tell you, Jim?" He jabbed his finger into Jim's stomach; the Admiral whimpered. "Why did I have to die instead of you?"

And just as quickly as he'd appeared, Spock vanished. Not a puff of smoke, not a flash of light, just... gone.

Gone. Because he was a stupid, nearsighted idiot. Gone because, while Jim stood uselessly on the bridge, Spock had chosen to pay his life as the price for the safety of his and the crew's.

Gone because Jim had never once thought of returning the favor and had let Spock die.

Jim couldn't take it anymore. He collapsed on the spot, sobbing hard enough to give himself pain. Pain that he deserved. He deserved much worse, because he'd become something he never wanted be.

A coward. For all his medals, awards and commendations, he didn't even have enough courage to make the ultimate sacrifice. He'd let Spock take the hit for him, just like on Gamma Trianguli and Ceti Alpha III.

Jim remained on his knees, the tears he'd held in for Spock spilling over and drenching his cheeks. What kind of friend was he? He couldn't even honor Spock's last wishes; his grief rolled down his face, grief he refused to wipe away. He could never brush this aside, even if he wanted too. Never again could he let someone die because he was too afraid of doing it himself.

Jim pulled himself to his bed. Sobbing into the pillow, he lay on his side, not thinking, reading, or sleeping. Simply laying as if dead, minus the wracking sobs. The physical pain had gone away, but he knew the emotional trauma would never leave him. Even if Spock hated him, he would never forget him.

Even if Spock tortured him in spirit.