Title: The Only Truth
Summary: Kirk is loyal. Spock… is not. Betrayal is the only truth that sticks (Arthur Miller).
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, and I do not make any money from these fictions.

"Mm…Spock, we can continue this later," Jim moaned, gasping as his Vulcan lover nipped at a particularly sensitive place on his neck. "I've…I've gotta get to the bridge. S-Spock…"

"I am sure the captain will excuse you if you are slightly late to your shift," the dark-haired goddamn vampire sucking on Jim's neck responded. Jim closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and gently but firmly pushed the temptation that was Spock away.

"I'm the captain, Spock – I have to set a good example. Now please stop being all illogical – you have a shift in the biolab soon yourself," Jim reminded him – and then ruined his strict image by pressing a slight kiss to Spock's lips.

"Yes, Jim," his Vulcan lover sighed.

Jim ignored the bright green cock standing at attention for its captain, and jumped into the sonic to get ready for his shift. He would make it up to Spock later… Maybe he would surprise his lover with a visit to the labs.

Spock sighed, watching his Jim's aesthetically pleasing gluteus muscles disappear from view behind the door to the bathroom. His libido was unusually active this morning – as evidenced by the straining erection tenting the sheet. He used his Vulcan control to quickly will the blood out of the vicinity of his groin – all the while trying not to think about the beautiful human just a door away.

Jim was right – Spock also had shift in a short while…

She caught his eye immediately, this new ensign. Blond hair and blue eyes and a cocky smile…almost like a female version of Jim. He wondered if her mind would be as pleasurable…

And when she sent him a lascivious smile, Spock needed to exert his Vulcan control over his libido once more. But at the brush of her fingers against Spock's hand… His control snapped. Jim would not know – Spock would be careful, and it would be just the once.

Jim would not know…

Jim stopped dead in the doorway to the nearly-empty biolab, his stomach somewhere in the vicinity of the floor and his heart shattered into a million pieces.

The first person that he ever attempted to have a monogamous relationship with - and this was what happened?

His lover was pumping in and out of some pretty blonde ensign (Ensign Ellie Brown, his mind noted distantly, remembering her file and how he had approved her request to transfer onto the Enterprise because she was such an exceptional biologist, because he knew Spock would want her on his team, and Jim always wanted Spock to get what he wanted, to be happy), her nails scraping up and down his back with each thrust as she squirmed on one of the lab tables. Jim had been so good, and tried so hard, and opened up so far - he had made himself vulnerable, trusting all of himself to this relationship - and this was what happened?

The girl let out a high-pitched screech, and Jim wondered how he could still be standing here. Why hadn't he run away or made a noise or torn them apart? He refused to let himself cry, even as his lover stilled and stiffened, pumping his seed into the blond woman who stole him away. Jim would not cry – he was strong, and independent, and so what if he loved Spock with all his heart? So what?

Jim had not given into temptation in all their seven months together - honestly, he had rarely even been tempted, because he found love was so much more satisfying than any meaningless sexual gratification. He had always trusted that Spock, of all people, would believe the same.

Spock spilled his release into Ensign Brown, quickly pulling out afterward and intent on shuffling her to the door. Now that the lust was cleared from his mind, he realized that the captain could visit the biolabs at any time – as he often liked to do when Spock had a shift there.

Spock turned around and met blue, blue eyes.

He had never seen them so dead. Jim had always been lively and boisterous and excitable, except when lives were on the line and he assumed his professional guise of Captain.

Ensign Brown squeaked at the sight of her captain, standing just inside the doorway with a blank expression on his face. She quickly pulled on her uniform, dashing out the door when Jim moved aside enough to let her pass.

Spock did not say anything - there was nothing to say. He had made a stupid and ill-advised and illogical mistake. He had given into temptation, and there was no excuse for his actions. Jim had been loyal. He had not been - and Jim had to suffer the emotional consequences of that.

So Spock silently followed Jim as his captain turned on his heel, exiting the biolabs and heading for their quarters. A seemingly endless 6.4 minutes later, Jim entered their quarters – Spock still on his heels. Jim still did not acknowledge him, even as the door closed behind Spock and the chances of a crew member overhearing any argument decreased to negligible. His lover simply headed for the closet, pulling out the few changes of uniforms he had left in there, just in case. The captain then went for the drawers, removing socks and underwear and anything else he may have left behind during their seven-month relationship.

Jim stopped at the picture of the two of them together on the nightstand. Jim was laughing, and Spock's eyes betrayed his amusement. It had been taken a month ago, by Ensign Chekov, during their six-month anniversary. Jim had been so happy that they had lasted so long - so much longer than any other relationship he had ever had.

He had thought it would last forever.

Spock watched as Jim calmly removed the picture from its frame, ripping it down the middle and leaving Spock the half with his own composed face. Jim threw his half in the incinerator before gathering his things and leaving.

Spock looked around the room, eyes irrationally avoiding the torn picture. Jim had taken so very little, but the utter lack of his presence made the room feel emptier than it had ever been.

Not much changed after Jim left Spock because of the other man's cheating.

Not much - but everything important.

They still had a professional working relationship on the bridge - Jim would never let his personal life compromise the Enterprise - but that unconditional trust they worked so hard to build had faded into simple professional respect and accord. The friendship that was supposed to be the stuff of legends had just… disappeared, destroyed along with their romantic relationship. Jim hoped they would get back to being friends, at least – one day, when the pain of betrayal was not quite so raw.

The others tip-toed around them both, unsure why their relationship had ended. Jim did not tell them - not even Bones - but he had the distinct impression that Spock had informed Uhura. She looked at him with far too much pity in her eyes.

What did she know, anyway? Spock had never cheated on her, to Jim's knowledge. His first officer and communications officer had been apart for over a year before Jim and Spock's relationship began. Spock had not betrayed her trust – had not betrayed her love. No, the half-Vulcan had saved that for Jim.

Jim never again saw Spock with Ensign Brown - and at the next docking station he had approved her request for a transfer. Perhaps she believed that she would not get a promotion after breaking apart the captain and first officer's romantic relationship. But it was no matter - Jim was on his own again, as he was used to being - and that only meant that he had more time for his friends and his ship.

He visited Bones more often in sickbay, keeping his eyes and smile and hands away from the nurses as he and Bones talked and joked and bickered. He learned fencing from Sulu, and he played 3-D chess with Chekov whenever the young ensign asked. He and Scotty had fun playing in the engineering room, and Jim learned a lot more about the man's love for machines and sandwiches than he ever really wanted to know.

During his relationship with Spock, Uhura had been helping him with learning Vulcan - as a surprise for his lover. Jim had wanted to be fluent before they bonded – but that would never happen now, and he no longer had any stomach for the language. Besides, Jim did not spend nearly as much time with Uhura these days, as he could not stand her pitying eyes. But in the little time they did spend together they worked on Orion and Romulan and whatever other languages Jim asked about – anything but Vulcan.

And if he was still a bit lonely - well, that just meant he still had too much time on his hands, and he began reading books on Starfleet history and regulations and anything else he could get his hands on that would make him a better captain. Because the Enterprise was his only love now, and he would give anything and everything he had to protect her and her crew. His ship would never betray him.

Spock watched as Jim threw himself into his duties as captain and his friendships with his crew. He did not allow himself to breathe a sigh of relief with each crewmember and diplomat and alien his t'hy'la turned down.

For that was what Jim was to him - his t'hy'la.

His friend, his brother, his lover.

And though Spock was not quite sure how to mend their relationship yet - and he knew that he did not deserve it - each person Jim turned down raised Spock's hope that Jim's feelings for him remained, and perhaps there was still a chance.

So Spock remained Jim's quiet, steady shadow. He made sure that he was always available if his captain wanted to talk - though Jim had not taken him up on it yet. He watched and observed quietly as his captain went about his day, and he found himself so much further in love with Jim than he had thought possible before their break.

And Spock did not touch Ensign Brown - or anyone else - again. He had been perhaps a bit cruel in turning her down, but he could not help his anger. Her temptation had led to the situation with Jim being as it is now – never mind that Spock gave in, she had helped to create the situation as well, and thus she shouldered part of the blame.

So he would wait as long as he needed to, but he was certain that the break would not be permanent.

It could not be, because Spock missed Jim's unconditional trust and love and support almost as much as he missed his mother and all of Vulcan. He needed to reach his hand forward and touch that warm, golden, welcoming mind - full of affection and complete acceptance of Spock and everything that he was and ever could be. He could not live the rest of his life knowing that a single illogical, inexcusable action had taken Jim away from him forever - even if Jim was physically right there.

They stopped on some little backwater planet for shore leave, and Jim was just itching to get out and go. He didn't want a fight, and he didn't want a fuck - he just wanted to mope alone at some bar and get piss-drunk so he could forget everything that was wrong with his life.

So Jim sat at the bar, nursing Romulan ale and wondering how the fuck he had come to this. He had sworn to himself that he would never be so pathetic over anyone - his mother had fallen to pieces after his father's death, and he wanted to be stronger than that. (He really wasn't.)

So Jim spent a few hours nursing his ale and scowling into his glass and shooting down offers from interested aliens.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" a silky voice asked from over his shoulder.

Jim turned to tell the man that it was a free planet, when his voice got stuck in his throat. This man...this Vulcan looked almost exactly like Spock, except for the genuine emotion in his eyes and on his face.

"Go ahead," Jim said with a smile, after recovering himself.

"You're almost done with that," the Vulcan pointed out. "Mind if I buy you another?"

Jim was taken aback for a second, and then he nodded. Why not? It was only a drink after all – and it was not like he had anyone to betray.

"Jim," he introduced himself with a smile.

He was shocked when the Vulcan reached his hand forward for a shake. The tingles that shot up Jim's arm at the contact were electrifying.

"Sybok," the Vulcan replied with a sultry smile.

And even though Jim had not gone to the bar looking for a fuck - he had the feeling he was going to get one.

Jim lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, as Sybok pulled out of him with an audible squelch. The Vulcan braced himself on one arm, staring down at him with dark, intense eyes. His other hand teasingly caressed Jim's thighs and stomach and chest, finally coming to rest on his left nipple.

Sybok's lips curled into a smirk as Jim shivered at the pleasant sensation of warm fingers rubbing his sensitive nub. If he had not already come two times that night, he might have gotten hard again. But as it was, Jim just sighed and leaned into the warm touch, needing that physical connection to someone that he had been missing since he had left Spock - since Spock had made him leave with his cheating.

"You are very beautiful," Sybok told him seriously, as if he had just discovered the secret to the universe.

Jim smiled at him dreamily, dozing in post-coital bliss. He appreciated the stroke to his ego, which had suffered a beating at Spock's actions...

Spock. Spock. Spock.

Why couldn't he just stop thinking about that goddamned cheater?

"My half-brother did not deserve you," Sybok informed him quietly, his hand trailing up from Jim's nipple to fix on his meld points. "I can make you forget the pain."

Jim opened his mouth - to protest or to plead, even he did not know - but Sybok did not wait for his answer. The Vulcan slipped easily into his mind, exploring its depth and curves and content, and finding his half-brother threaded deeply into Jim's every thought. Sybok carefully unwound and severed some of Spock's connections to Jim's mind - the captain would not think of him nearly so often.

He left the friendship towards Spock alone - that's not what he wanted to change.

He wanted to punish his brother - and that meant that Spock would suffer the loss of his t'hy'la while Jim sat beside him. He had not expected Spock to do half his work for him - their relationship was already broken - but Sybok knew just how much it would hurt his half-brother to discover Jim had moved on from their love. So Sybok carefully removed what romantic love he could and suppressed what he couldn't - not wanting to damage Jim's mind.

Then he suppressed Jim's memory of the past few hours. The captain would wake up with a headache and a few hours memory loss - Jim would not suspect anything but a hangover and a one-night stand – and he would no longer feel any love for Spock.

It was no less than what his wretched half-brother deserved, for stealing their father's regard when Sybok himself had been exiled.

Jim woke up with a hangover and no memory of the night before... And a sore ass.

He couldn't help but turn over and retch into the cheap motel sheets, the bile stinging his throat and making his eyes cloud with tears. Fuck, the situations he got himself into. He was supposed to be all responsible and shit now - that means not getting trashed and taken advantage of in some seedy backwater bar.

Well, Jim supposed, better this than being recognized, kidnapped, and held for ransom or some shit like that...

He dragged himself out of the filthy bed, looking down at his naked, bruised body. The bathroom was a few stumbles away, and then he wrapped himself into one of the thin motel towels while he looked for his clothes. His shirt was torn a bit, but still functional - it was caught on the door knob. His pants were thrown over the chair, the button on them broken. He couldn't find his socks, but one of his boots was underneath the bed. He found the other behind the desk, along with his underwear - which were shredded and unwearable.

Jim put on his clothes, sans underwear, and was relieved to find his communicator intact on the desk. He looked a mess, but he was clothed, at least - and maybe if he got the transporter to beam him up now (a quick look at the clock showed it was 0500) he could miss the mad rush of those returning from shore leave.

Jim stood stiffly, a faint pain radiating up his spine. He really didn't want to see Bones for this... But it would be worse to be squirming on the captain's chair in the bridge during his shift...

Jim managed to get onto the Enterprise and into sickbay without encountering anyone but the transporter technician – he was relieved that the crew was mostly spared the sight of him as everything but professional.

"Captain," Nurse Chapel greeted as he walked through the doors. "Are you injured?"

Jim flashed her his most charming smile, looking around for his best friend.

"I'm just looking for Bones," he replied, evading her question. "Is he around?"

"In his office, sir," the woman answered, and Jim nodded.

"Bones?" he called as he walked into his best friend's office to see the doctor's head bent over some paperwork.

"Jim," Bones replied, raising hazel eyes to take in his best friend's rumpled appearance. "You didn't come back last night – I was getting a bit worried. But Scotty said your communicator was in a motel room near the bar you beamed down to, so I figured you just crashed down there for the night."

Jim swallowed, averting his eyes.

"Yeah…about that…" he murmured softly. "I don't really remember much about last night. Beaming down, having a few drinks at the bar, turning down offers of sex and debauchery…and then nothing. Bones…I didn't drink enough to black out – I know that much."

His friend stood up, pulling him into a strong embrace, letting Jim drop a few silent tears onto his broad shoulder.

"Let me get my tricorder," the doctor said, pulling back a bit.

Jim just stood there as Bones ran the tricorder over his body.

"Do you have a headache?" the dark-haired man questioned.

"Not too bad," the captain answered.

Bones nodded, frowning at the readings.

"You were penetrated last night," Bones told him.

"Tell me something I don't know," Jim replied sarcastically. "I know what a morning after feels like, Bones."

"There's no signs of any drugs in your system, Jim – just alcohol. And you're right – not enough to make you black out. But…" Bones trailed off, as if he was afraid to tell Jim something.

The captain turned his "resolve face" towards his best friend, and Bones sighed.

"The semen residue is Vulcan," he informed him. "Goddamn fucking Vulcan mind voodoo!"

Jim blinked at him, shocked.

"You think some Vulcan messed with my mind in order to have sex with me?" Jim asked incredulously. "That's…Bones, that's not logical."

"Well, the semen is definitely Vulcan, and there really isn't any other explanation for your memory loss. You weren't drugged, you didn't have enough alcohol to black out, and there are no signs of head trauma."

Jim swallowed, closing his eyes.

"You think I should ask Spock to meld with me?" he asked softly. "See if there's something wrong?"

"If you're comfortable letting that hobgoblin mess around in your head," Bones told him.

Jim shot him a look.

"Bones, Spock wouldn't mess with my mind," he said in an exasperated tone of voice. "I know you don't like mind melds, but I'm sure Spock would be careful."

"I know, but you guys haven't been as close since your relationship ended," Bones said. "And you won't talk about it with anyone, either."

"I walked in on Spock with an ensign," Jim told him. "So we broke up. It was for the best, I think. Spock and I were good as just friends, and it's time to get back to that."

"He cheated on you?" Bones asked, anger in his voice. "Why the fuck didn't you tell me? I would have hypo'd him with every nasty vaccine I could think of…"

Jim laughed.

"And that's exactly why I didn't tell you. Spock and I remained at a professional distance to give me time to get over it, and I think it's been long enough. I'm going to tell him that I forgive him and ask him to see who's been mucking around in my mind," Jim said firmly.

Bones frowned, concerned for his friend.

"If you're sure…" he muttered, putting away his tricorder.

"I'm sure," Jim said, resolute.

Jim pressed the chime for Spock's door, and the Vulcan quickly let him in.

"Spock," Jim greeted with a smile, walking into the room and letting the door automatically close behind him.

"Captain," Spock replied, rising from his meditation pose.

"We're off-duty, Spock," the blonde reminded him. "I hope you haven't forgotten my first name so soon. I'm sorry that I've been avoiding you lately. It wasn't very mature of me."

Spock attempted to control the hope that he felt at those words.

"I apologize for my behavior as well, Jim. I should not have engaged in sexual relations with another," the Vulcan stated, walking closer to his t'hy'la.

"I understand, Spock," Jim replied.

Spock blinked.

"You do?" he asked, keeping the disbelief from his voice.

Had Jim forgiven him so quickly?

"Yeah. Ensign Brown was gorgeous and intelligent," Jim said. "I understand how you couldn't resist her. And besides, it's for the best, really. She showed us that we just aren't meant to be together – at least, not like that. You're one of my best friends, Spock, and I shouldn't have let sex get in the way of that."

Jim had forgiven him. For the sake of their friendship - not for love.

"Of course, Jim," Spock replied, voice even and blank.

The captain did not need to see his regret and loneliness. It was Spock's fault that they were no longer together – he had betrayed their monogamous relationship and allowed Jim to doubt his place in Spock's life. The Vulcan had no right to impose on the captain after Jim had moved passed him, emotionally.

He should be appreciative of Jim's forgiveness, as it would allow their friendship to continue, if nothing else.

"I'm glad we talked about this, Spock," Jim told him after a few moments of silence. "I want it to be like it was before everything got messed up."

Spock nodded.

"And I kind of wanted to ask if you would meld with me," Jim continued, now shifting his weight from foot to foot nervously. "I…I was a bit stupid last night."

"How so?" the Vulcan questioned.

Jim swallowed heavily, turning away from Spock to face the opposite wall. He did not want to look in his friend's eyes as he told him…

"I went to the bar alone, and I woke up alone in a motel room. I…I don't remember much of what happened after I arrived at the bar. But I didn't drink enough to black out – I wouldn't be that irresponsible, Spock. And Bones said that he didn't find any evidence of drugs or head trauma or anything like that," Jim informed him.

"You wish for me to find your lost memories," Spock deduced aloud.

"Yeah. I…I woke up sore, Spock. You know – down there," the blonde admitted. "Bones found semen residue."

Spock stared at his t'hy'la's back, anger rising up at the thought of someone taking advantage of his Jim. Even if Jim was no longer his…

"Spock?" Jim said uncertainly.

"Yes, Jim?" the Vulcan replied.

"The semen was Vulcan," the blonde told him. "Could…could a Vulcan mess with my mind, if he wanted? Remove or alter memories?"

"It is against the teachings of Surak and considered a high crime of our people, but it is possible," Spock admitted, hiding his hands behind his back and curling them into tight fists.

The thought of one of his people violating his captain so, in both body and mind…

"Would you be able to tell, if you performed a meld?" Jim asked, turning to face his friend and former lover.

Spock nodded once, sharply.

"Will you?" the blonde asked uncertainly.

"Of course," the Vulcan replied, approaching the human. He raised his hand in the traditional position, and pressed it gently to Jim's temple.

"Our minds, one and together…" he whispered, as he softly sank into that beautiful mind…

And it was still warm and welcoming, and Spock felt Jim's friendship and trust for him as surely as ever, as well as the acceptance of all of his being – but the love

The romantic love was gone.

Spock did not allow himself to dwell on his emotions – Jim needed him. He quickly ascertained that Jim's mind had in fact been manipulated – a few hours of memory were repressed. Spock examined the block, wondering if he could move it without damaging Jim's mind – and determining that he could.

With Jim's permission, of course.

'Do you wish to know, Jim?' Spock directed through the meld.

A wave of positive acknowledgment was his response, so Spock did as his captain bid, and removed the block. Flashes of formerly suppressed memory assaulted him immediately…

'Mind if I buy you another?'

'So tight, Jim. And so beautiful…'

'So beautiful…my half-brother did not deserve you.'

'I can make you forget.'

'Forget…'

Sybok!

Jim stepped back, breaking the meld and gasping in shock at the rush of released memories and thoughts and emotions and sensations.

"Jim…" Spock began, knowing that Sybok had done more than just make his captain forget a few hours of sex – his fully Vulcan brother had made Jim forget his romantic feelings for Spock. "Sybok tampered with more than your memories – he manipulated your emotions, as well."

"My emotions…for you," Jim responded, after he had regained his breath. "He…he made me not hurt anymore. He took the pain away, so we can be friends again."

"No!" Spock could not help the emotion that entered his voice – no more than he could help the shout. "He did not act out of intentions so noble as that. He wished to cause me pain through you."

"Spock…" the blonde sighed. "I remember loving you, intellectually. And I remember the pain, after…well, after. But I don't feel it anymore. And perhaps it is for the best – because now we can be best friends again. He did us a favor, Spock. We can go back to the way things were before lust messed it all up."

Spock did not know how to respond to that. He wanted Jim to want his feeling back. He wanted Jim to love him again… But what Spock wanted was not relevant – not anymore. Though Sybok's intentions were only to hurt Spock, he had in fact taken Jim's pain away. And Spock…Spock could not purposefully return it, not without Jim's full consent.

"I…understand," he replied, reluctantly.

"Thanks, Spock," and oh, there was that beautiful smile – the one that Jim had not bestowed on him in far too long. "I knew you would. You've moved on, and Sybok's actions let me do the same. Things will be better now, you'll see."

"Better…" Spock echoed, though he did not agree.

How could anything be better, when he felt as though his heart was being pulled from his side? If this was half what Jim had felt when he walked into Spock with that ensign…

He deserved it.

"Great! So, to cement our renewed friendship, I think we should play a game of chess!" Jim stated, bouncing over to the board that had not seen any play for far too many weeks.

And Spock thought of playing chess with Jim – he thought of the human's flirtatious smiles, and the way his brow would furrow in thought, and the way he stuck his tongue out when Spock made a particularly clever move, and the way he would roll the pieces between his beautiful fingers…

It would be torture, to be so close to Jim again without being as close as he wished.

But Spock could not wipe the smile from his t'hy'la's face, so he simply sat across from his captain, and waited for him to make the first move. Again, it was no less than he deserved…