It took Jim a minute to focus, lost as he was to his blissful daze, the low lighting of his quarters adding an eerie atmosphere versus the romantic one he had originally been going for.

Four fingers reached for his head in a pattern that brought memories of Delta Vega to his mind: full of icy snow, man-eating beasts and the sudden presence of a kindred spirit who had put Jim quickly at ease.

Now though, the thought of this Spock, this younger, beautiful, and distinctly angrier Spock? The Spock who had once, not too long ago, detested the very sight of him, seeing inside his mind? It struck instant fear inside Jim's heart.

"No Spock, not that. I'm game for anything, but not that," he gasped, his hips rolling to meet Spock's, skin slick like silk with the sweat built from their amorous activities thus far, mind half dazed with passion, and half verging on a panic attack. He'd finally gotten Spock into his bed, no way was he about to scare him out of it.

"If that is your preference," Spock replied, and even though the Vulcan's eyes were dilated with passion, and even though Jim could feel Spock's want thrumming above him and beneath his fingertips like a living, vibrating entity all its own, he also felt the hurt, too, and felt powerless against it.

Not too long ago, as Nero rampaged the Federation, and neither Jim nor Spock were overly concerned with first impressions, his now first officer had made no secret of the animosity he felt towards him. Those days were painful to think of now and Jim had no desire to test their newly romantic relationship, still in its infantile stage. Didn't want to see how quickly Spock could be persuaded to go back to the place they were rivals instead of the best command team in Starfleet, no humble opinion required.

So instead he wrapped his arms tight around the Vulcan above him, so tight that if Spock were human he might have protested the strength of Jim's grip, closed his eyes tight, and sent his love, his desire, his joy and his passion for Spock through the places their skin touched, and hoped that it would be enough.

And when Spock rutted forcefully against him, his cock brushing against Jim's with delicious, spine-tingling friction, Jim knew that it was… for now.

Falling for his first officer was the easiest thing he'd ever done. A no-brainer, really.

Spock was smart... actually, more like brilliant. And if Jim had a secret kink, that would be it.

The thing about having a genius level IQ? One longed, just as much as the next person, for an interesting, engaging, and knowledgeable conversationalist and companion; it was just increasingly harder to find one who could match you wit for wit.

But Spock? He challenged Jim in a way that sent thrills up his spine: intellectually, spiritually, and physically.

Spock was strong. Spock was strong-willed. Spock had a killer sense of humor that was subtle and delightful, once unveiled, and a code of ethics that was admirable. He was of those rare breeds who actually practiced what they preached, and Jim had known precious few of those in his life.

In other words, if someone had asked Jim what his ideal partner would be like, Spock would be a living, breathing manifestation of his description.

Never in a million years would Jim have guessed that he'd be able to draw the Vulcan's interest, romantically. Especially considering Jim's track record with romantic couplings. Which, to be fair, was only partially his fault. It was hard to take people seriously when they could not keep up with you.

The thing was he really wanted this to work. He was invested in it. And that in itself was new, and startling, and yes, frightening as all hell.

If Spock saw his past, saw his anger, saw the lowest place Jim had ever sunk- that place where he hated his father for dying, hated his mother for her distance, physically and emotionally, hated his Uncle Frank for his harsh words and harsher demeanor and his brother for leaving him, cursing the fact that no matter where he went, or who he was with in attempt to try to chase the ghosts away, he always felt separate and alone- he doubted his luck in attracting Spock in the first place would last.

Jim could hate. Oh, he could hate. It was so damn easy. And as a result he could do self-destruction like no one's business and be entirely aware he was doing it. Cognitive dissonance and all that. He had insight into his behavior, of course he did. Another downfall of above average intelligence, at least his version of it… acute self-awareness and an inborn knowledge of basic psychology and behavioral abnormalities. A 'people' sense, his mom had called it… Like that had stopped him.

Doing something unhealthy for you was the attraction of self-destructive behavior.

Not exactly a redeemable feature, that. He doubted Spock would appreciate that aspect of him very much.

For all that his Vulcan First had dealt with a lifetime of bigoted attitudes, a stark raving mad psychopath and his revenge scheme of doom, watching his mother die and his planet explode, Spock remained untouched by darkness. Sure, he'd had his moments. He couldn't not. Vulcans felt deeply, Jim knew this as fact. And Spock angry was truly a sight to behold and not one easily forgotten. Spock in a rage had the impact of a natural disaster: sudden, powerful and devastating. But the Vulcan was able to recover from it, regain a sense of dignity about the whole affair, and still somehow manage to come off centered in the universe-quaking aftermath.

Jim was his anti-thesis, no matter how much he tried to curtail his more destructive and angry side now that he was responsible for so many lives and had his lady, the Enterprise, to nurture.

He didn't want to be, he'd rather be for Spock what Spock was for him: an example, a pillar, an all-around admirable guy, but there it was.

The fastest way, he figured, to send Spock running for the hills was to show Spock his mind.

He'd really rather not.

Getting shot was painful as fuck.

Bit of an understatement that, but really Jim's thoughts couldn't be more eloquent through the steady stream of ow, ouchie, pain, owie, hurts-like-a-mother-fucker, goddamned-backwater-planet-and-their-goddamned-projectiles, OUCH… second verse, same as the first.

He didn't want to look over at the Ensign lying in the dirt and bleeding to his left nor the Lieutenant with his arm laying in an unnatural placement to his right, because even more painful than physical pain was the thought of anyone under his command, hell, under his personal responsibility and protection, so help him God, getting hurt, maimed or killed.

Guilt was the greatest pain of all, and unfortunately, Jim thought savagely, he was a fucking master at it.

Times like this he wished with everything in him that he were Vulcan. Suppress, suppress, suppress. Know it, absorb it, but don't let it kill you.

If he made it out of this alive, he'd admit to Spock that there was definitely an appeal to that kind of philosophy. Spock would probably get amusement out of picturing Jim trying to be Vulcan, and well, anything that amused Spock was something worth being relayed.

He could hang on a little longer, trying desperately to not think of his crew dying beside him, and the pain eating at his senses, with that goal in mind.

Get back to the ship, amuse Spock with his thoughts, live to see another day, pray the crewman by his side could do the same; this was the mantra of the hour.

Through it all one thing was certain: when away missions went well, it was the most awesome feeling around, short of sharing quiet moments, in the aftermath of lovemaking, with deep affection and abiding fondness in the air like a potent elixir, with Spock, but when away missions went wrong, they were the very definition of hell.

Why must his life consist of so many extremes? Didn't normal people manage to find middle ground somewhere? Just why was he so incapable of that?

He sometimes wondered if he had been put on this plane of existence for the sheer purpose of bringing death and destruction. Some kind unwilling and completely inadvertent Grimm Reaper.

Spock probably wouldn't get so much amusement from that, his First hated the self-pity bullshit. And yeah, Jim could admit that it grated on him, too, when people other than him did it. It just wasn't productive.

Best to change that line of thought, get out of this negative place, get into an optimistic one, just in case he did live to see Spock again. He'd couldn't allow Spock to see the occasional self pity he indulged in, no way, no how.

But when the lights and whirring sound of the transporter came, he wondered if he'd have the strength to resist it, and knew for a fact that he didn't when he materialized on the transporter and the first thing he saw was the extremely worried face of his lover.

Vulcans felt things deeply. This was to their detriment. Jim couldn't help but wonder if Spock ever got upset that Jim pulled those deep feelings out of him more often than anybody else knew how.

He wanted to tell Spock he was okay, and opened his mouth to do that, but found that he couldn't find his voice, nor could he find the strength needed to lie like that.

It wasn't until Spock knelt beside him, the word Jim formed on his lips like a whisper of breath, and four fingers took form and headed for his face that he found enough will to say, "No, not that."

This time Spock didn't even bother to hide his flinch and that was more painful, somehow, then the wound leaking his blood on the transporter floor.

"You won't like what you see there," he croaked.

His last sight before darkness took him was a flash of understanding dawn in beautiful brown eyes.

Spock sought him out as soon as Bones released him, as Jim had known he would.

You didn't fall so desperately in love with someone, the way he was with Spock, without becoming a bit of an adept at understanding their behavior. He knew what each of Spock's expressions meant, knew the difference between a fully raised eyebrow and one stuck at half-mast. Knew that the former meant 'fascinating', the latter meant 'interesting' and yes, there was a difference. Knew the difference between the onslaught of a tender moment versus the onslaught of a passionate one by the type of light shining out of Spock's eyes.

Spock could be downright feral when just the right mood hit. Jim absolutely loved looking for those tells.

Right now Spock look determined… it was the way his shoulders were set: tense, strong, and prepared for battle.

Jim felt himself flinch, this time, just a little, and braced himself for a rash of 'you illogical human! What the hell is wrong with you and melding? Do you have some kind of complex? Don't you know I'm a telepath, goddamnit? Vulcan bonds thrive on this type of shit. Give me one good reason…' only less colorfully and more verbosely said.

Instead he got…

"I know you."

Jim was pretty sure his expression reflected his mindset of 'what the fuck' because Spock continued without prompting.

"Your mind is among the most vibrant I have ever encountered. It thrums with complexity and vigor, it seeps out of your pores. I feel against my skin, and against my own mind, no matter how far we are from one another."

Jim was not Bones, he knew nothing of xenobiology other than that Spock's penis was green-tinted and double rigged and secreted lubricant like a porn star's wet dream, or like it was made to be inserted into Jim's ass, all natural-like, long so it could hit Jim's prostate, every time… Jim was very fond of all of these things. Spock's differences had always made him even more exciting. But he was pretty sure Vulcan telepathy only worked by touching… didn't it?

Spock didn't give him the opportunity to ask.

"You and I? There is a level of compatibility between us that is unprecedented. Rare. Even among those fully Vulcan. There is a telepathic bond between us already. Do not delude yourself. You know this, you have felt it. I do not need a meld, though it would make things easier. Jim, I know you."

Jim felt his eyes prickle, just a bit. Embarrassing, that. He was a fully grown man, damnit. Not only a man, but a man who had been to hell and back on a number of occasions. He didn't cry. Babies and defeatist cried. He was neither.

But yes, inexplicably, his eyes stung with tears he would not shed, not ever. He both resented and loved Spock for that, for eliciting this kind of physiological reaction within him, when Nero, Frank, his parents and Sam could not.

"Oh yeah?" he asked, his voice laced with the bitterness he could no longer hide. "Then why are you here?"

"Because I know you," Spock said simply, and his eyes shone brightly with a light that Jim would admit that yes, he wasn't too familiar. This was new.

But it warmed him. It touched places in his soul that were hurting and somehow started to heal them.

"Is Sarek aware of these masochistic tendencies of yours?" he asked, trying to come to grips with the fact that he was choked up, and torn between falling into Spock's arms like a fucking cliché, or initiating wild, feral, pre-Vulcan reformist sex (he'd read about it – it was an interesting subject, he loved looking for glimpses of it in the refined Spock he knew, barely hinted at beneath the surface), or both.

"My father is aware that we are T'hy'la. A mutual acquaintance of ours had informed him of the feasibility before I was even aware of it, myself. Before I discovered why it was that whenever you entered a room, you were all I could see." Spock paused a moment, as if choosing his next words carefully so as not to startle Jim, scare him away. The tenderness and care with which he was being treated made a lump form in his throat.

Scare him? Right. Terrify him was more like it. As if Jim's heart wasn't already racing a mile a minute. As if he didn't already feel like this was the most important discussion he'd ever have in his life, even surpassing the one that went something to the tune of 'Look, so your Dad died. You can settle for a less than ordinary life. Or do you feel like you were meant for something better? Something special? Enlist in Starfleet.'

"And while I do not believe in destiny, or fate, or what you humans term 'luck', as the Ambassador would have me believe the direction our relationship lies, I do know that I know you, thus I want you."

He paused again, his eyes on Jim's, deep, dark and all-consuming, like a black hole. Endless. Vast. A place wherein he'd gladly drown.

"How could I not?" Spock asked, finally, helplessly.

The amazing thing? He was utterly sincere in that question. Jim could read that as clear as day. It was so weird.

Jim took one healing breath. Then another. Allowed himself to marvel, just for a bit, at how amazing he felt, just then, how emotional, how human and how he'd never experienced anything like it before, and then told Spock…

"You can have me. I'm yours."

And when four fingers formed and moved towards his face, he was at peace.

The End!