The first time he dreamed of Spock and him, tangled in a heady, romantic embrace, he passed it off as the result of extra shifts, the muddy water that the replicator dared to call coffee, his mind's rather romantic subconscious (much to the chagrin of his waking consciousness) and the lingering aftermath of that term paper he did on Sigmund Freud back in high school.

In other words, no big deal. Bound to happen. He and Spock had been practically in each other's pockets since their mission started six months prior. The job required it. For his mind to have sexualized their burgeoning friendship and the working relationship that was really starting to hit a steady, smooth groove wasn't itself all that shocking.

Hell, it was probably entirely normal. Bones would tell him the same thing. Were he to talk to Bones about it. Which he wouldn't. Not even under threat of death (or forced ingestion of replicated mud-coffee).

The thing was, he was beginning to understand Spock, Spock was beginning to understand him, and despite their rather blatantly obvious differences in personality, their command styles complemented each other well. He and Spock had a natural… rapport between them. Call it combining ingenuity to pull off the impossible. Attribute it to cheating death together on the Narada. Whatever it was and wherever it came from, it was there, no questioning that.

And it wasn't as if Spock was hard on the eyes, exactly. If Jim were completely honest, he supposed Spock could be called attractive. If one were into men. Which of course he wasn't.

But yes, Spock had that whole 'repressed yet super strong, infinitely orderly, while harboring hidden wells of passion' thing going for him. Jim wasn't blind nor was he prone to acts of futile denial. Spock was what Carol would have called 'a catch'.

Tall, dark, educated, highly intelligent and exotic. A stimulating mixture. Always had been, always would be. Not even James 'Tomcat' Kirk could be immune, life-long member of the straight club or no.

But the second time his dreams featured he and Spock tangled together, their bodies writhing, flushed with passion, skin shining with sweat, it became a bit more of an issue for him. And when Spock started to be the main feature in all of his fantasies, Jim figured the term 'issue' didn't even begin to cover it.

'Fool me once', Jim recited to himself, 'shame on you, fool me twice, thrice and so on, shame on me.'

Apparently he wasn't as straight as he had previously thought.

Sometimes, just sometimes, Jim wished that he was prone to acts of knee-jerk denial. Life would be so much easier.

So he dream-lusted after Spock. So what? Stranger things had happened.

He had no problem with bisexuality in general. In fact, he liked to think of himself as a pretty open guy. An explorer. An embracer of change. He wouldn't have signed up for the job he had if he wasn't. Differences, whether existing out in the universe around him or within himself, were welcome, exciting. Bring any new knowledge on. Yes, poor attitudes and intolerance for same-sex oriented individuals had existed in the past but humanity, as a whole, had long since worked past all of that. Roughly the same time they realized that prejudicial intolerance could be the downfall of man.

In fact, it nearly was.

The Eugenics Wars had been an entirely ugly bit of Earth history - a time when bigotry, prejudice and irrational hatred had run rampant, and just look where that line of thinking had gotten mankind. Almost obliterated. Nearly destroyed by their attitudes and weapons of their own making.

Luckily those remaining, once the dust had settled, had been foresighted enough to modify their behavior. These days it was just not on, not on at all, to show any remnant of irrational and destructive ways of thinking.

Jim loved history, read historical texts for fun, even, and was a firm believer in the old adage that those who failed to learn from history were condemned to repeat it.

So no, Jim didn't object to the discovery that he was/could be attracted to men. That was absolutely okay in his book. In fact, he commended himself on his good taste in men. What he objected to was the surprise of it all. So what, twenty-five years of lusting after women and his hormones just now decide to spring this on him? Did he know himself at all? What the fuck, brain?

His first wet dream had starred his seventh grade science teacher, he remembered it clearly. And she was hot, man. Hot.

He'd lost his virginity to a woman. Hell, he'd hacked his way past the Child Monitoring For Adult Content code his mother had installed on the Kirk family computer system at 14 and had been beating off to heterosexual porn ever since.

So seriously, what the fuck, brain?

And could his subconscious have picked a less attainable focus for his burgeoning bisexual awakening? Prim and proper Spock, who probably had never had an erotic dream or thought his entire life, let alone one about another male?

The Vulcan would probably laugh his ass off if his 'highly emotional and thoroughly illogical' captain solicited a date from him… If Spock even knew how to laugh, which was an ongoing subject of debate between Jim and Bones. The doctor was convinced the Vulcan couldn't crack a smile if his life depended on it, but Jim had a sneaky suspicion that Spock did have a sense of humor, only sly and subtle and not easily spotted. You needed a sense of humor in their line of work, otherwise the pressures of the job would really do a number on you.

Anyway, the only person Jim had ever seen Spock interested in was Uhura, and even if his first officer and communications officer were no longer an item, romantically, having parted amicably before the mission began, Spock's preferences were rather clear.

Of course, if it was usual to guess people's sexual preferences based on their previous romantic entanglements, then everyone probably thought the same of him

But that was neither here nor there. Because Spock was not, absolutely not, going to find out about Jim's attraction to him. He had worked too hard, for too long, to get where he was today: Captain of the flagship Enterprise, exploring the stars he loved.

He had the best ship in the fleet, the best crew in the fleet, and the best First Officer in the fleet. Contrary to what his short list of ex-lovers thought they knew, Jim's priorities were very clear in his mind. He wouldn't do anything to screw up his captaincy. Too many people were already expecting him to fail, and being the youngest person ever to make Captain, and certainly the only one promoted from Cadet to Captain in Starfleet history, came with enough problems as it was. He wasn't about to add sex into the mix, at least not amongst those he worked with.

So maybe he wasn't prone to self-denial naturally, but he was sure as hell certain he could learn it with time.

Many things about Spock were absolutely infuriating, Jim thought a month later, while trying not to make it look obvious that his gaze kept wandering over to a certain Vulcan from his position centre-stage on the bridge.

Of course, there were many things that were admirable about him, too. A lot of things. More things than Jim ever thought he would find back in the early days when he was convinced that Spock was the single most uptight individual he had ever met, or ever would meet, in his life.

He almost wished he could go back to that line of thinking, instead of his timely realization that, all things considered, Spock was actually quite awesome. Unfortunately.

But the thing that annoyed Jim the most about Spock was how noticeable the guy was all of the time. Really, would it kill Spock to be less noteworthy? Just a tad? Turn down that… umph, he had, just a bit?

Because here Jim was, innocently trying to repress the hell out of those god-damned dreams, and then Spock would go and bend over the science console on the bridge, in the middle of a shift, which, in the spirit of honesty, highlighted how delectable the Vulcan's ass really was.

And the worst of Spock's sins by far (as if having the starring role in his dreams wasn't enough nor the utter gall he had of being attractive to begin with) was that this bending over of his and Jim's subsequent staring made Jim feel warm, in fact, he was certain his cheeks turned bright red whenever he caught a glimpse of Vulcan buttocks..

Good Lord almighty he was giving off tells.

That Spock was science officer and thus required to do such bending (thank you Starfleet architects for designing a console which absolutely necessitated the bending and gave Captains like himself such pretty things to look at; how very ergonomic of you) was neither here nor there. No. The issue with this frequent turn of events was that Jim fucking noticed. Each and every time. He couldn't stop noticing. It was like Spock's ass was one big ol' magnet and Jim's gaze contained metal. Or something.

But, all over-the-top similes aside, the whole noticing Spock's ass thing was really quite distressing.

Now, Spock might be THE Mr. Science Guy onboard the Enterprise but Jim himself wasn't a slouch when it came to garnering ideas based on cumulative evidence. He could put two and two together. Which led him to some rather distressing conclusions: his attraction to Spock was not confined to dreams. Denial was not working as well as it should, thank you god-damned fucking Freud (who'd also made the subject of denial his life's work). The attraction he felt towards Spock only seemed to grow with time and exposure. And his physiological responses were no longer operating under the impression that he preferred only women.

His attraction was happening, he'd tried to ignore it, that didn't work, so, fine… he was capable of being attracted to men…. Or maybe it was just Spock? Perhaps Spock was the only guy who could manage to do it for him. It could be that there was something about Spock that transcended sexual preference. Not so hard to believe, really, Spock was a one of a kind type of guy. Both literally and figuratively.

Jim wasn't quite sure if that would make his situation better or worse, but well, it was better to find out and at the earliest opportunity; patience wasn't a particularly strong virtue of his. Which meant shore leave, because, confused over his sexual identity or not, he was not about to solicit any member of his crew in the pursuit of better understanding himself. No way. No how. Captaincy and ship hella first. Sexual awakening second.

Luckily he didn't have to wait long, as he had a brief visit to a mining colony scheduled for the following Tuesday.

Since he'd never gone trawling for a man before, he wasn't exactly sure how to go about it. Surely the ritual couldn't be too dissimilar? So, deciding to wing it, he went about his pre-shore leave procedure the same way he did when he wanted to pick up some fleeting company of the female variety: he put on his favorite blue shirt, found a bar (ditching Bones so the doctor wouldn't cotton on to what he was doing nor the reasoning behind it), ordered an ale, and smiled a lot. Only this time, instead of smiling at the women who passed by, he smiled at the men.

Surprisingly, it didn't take long for a fellow human male (as far as it was possible to judge by appearances), to take the bait and sit slowly, deliberately, next to him.

"How about I buy your next drink?" the dark haired, dark eyed man offered, his voice rich and smooth as molasses.

"How about I let you?" Jim replied, hoping against hope that his nervousness, his sweaty palms, and the fact that his heart was racing impossibly fast didn't give him away as a first time charter.

If he were really bisexual, would he be this nervous?

But then he remembered his first time with a girl, how his hands shook, and how he'd wished fervently that he wouldn't explode too soon and become an adolescent cliché like his high school pal who became known to one and all, and through all eternity, as "Ernie-cum-too-soon".

Apparently age didn't cool the impact of first time jitters. Good to know. It was just one of those annoying facts of life like getting an itch on the nose during an important interview or having to pass gas in a full but dead silent auditorium. Meant to be endured and go down in history as mortifying. There was nothing to do but grin, bear it, tighten your butt cheeks, ignore the nose, hold on to the hope that this too will get easier with time.

Or would it?

The man leaned forward, into Jim's personal space, and his already rapid pulse increased exponentially. And Jim couldn't help it, did it entirely subconsciously, but he began to lean away from the man, attempting to gain his personal space back. Which, under normal circumstances, would answer his question. He didn't want this, his body didn't want this and it was acting of its own accord… except an image of Spock flashed before his mind and he became a little light-headed.

His would-be companion gave a disappointed frown, and then shook his head, stating, "You are taken."

"No," Jim responded, instantly and fervently. "I'm not."

"Ah, but you are. I'm Betazoid, my friend. I can see your thoughts. They speak of another you would much rather were sitting next to you now."

Betazoid. That certainly explained the man's insight. Figured. Of all the people he'd attempted to experiment with, he ended up with a telepath. Ironic, really. Or a stroke of luck. If Jim didn't know his own mind, maybe this guy could read his mind and decipher it for him? Perhaps finding a Betazoid was the equivalent of finding a Rosetta Stone for the sexually confused.

"Inconsequential, I can't have him. And I need to know… I need to know if he is an exception."

"Does it matter?" the Betazoid asked gently, staring at Jim with amusement shining through his eyes. "You want who you want, yes? Why do you concern yourself with the how and the why of your desire for this person? You have to define it to what? To condone it within yourself? Do you think that knowing you can be attracted to men as well as women will somehow invalidate your attraction to this… Spock?"

Jim sighed. God-damned telepaths. They weren't Rosetta Stones, translating the indecipherable into something readily understood, they were god-damned Confucius wannabes. 'Betazoid say man who ponders over love too much winds up with none at all.'

"Not invalidate it, no," Jim corrected, "but perhaps make it less… important to my peace of mind."

At that the man laughed, loud, clear and impetuous.

"Good luck, my fine friend," the Betazoid said, getting up to probably find someone more likely to put out. Jerk. "You'll need it."

Jim wasn't quite sure how to take all of that, other than to be thoroughly annoyed.

Data inconclusive. The evening had been a total wash.

"The concept of destiny is utter bullshit, don't you think?" Jim asked Bones as he casually sat down to join him for breakfast next day.

The doctor sighed. Then rolled his eyes, finishing a mouthful of porridge with exaggerated gusto.

"For fuck's sake Jim, how many times have I told you that it's rude to start philosophical discussions before oh-nine hundred? Especially when this tin can of yours fails to provide any decent source of caffeine?"

Jim waited a beat, took a sip of his mud-coffee…

Finally the doctor actually responded through his grumbling, "Too right it's bullshit. Too many people use it to explain their own selfish damn choices. My ex-wife did it."

Bones's voice then adopted an exaggerated falsetto in imitation of the much-hated ex, and Jim had to squelch the urge to laugh outright. "'Oh, Treadway's my destiny, Leonard, surely you can understand?' In my estimation a man makes his own destiny. Why bring it up, kid?"

Suddenly the contents of his mug were utterly fascinating and required his rapt attention as he struggled to hide a grin. If Mister Betazoid-Buddha of night yonder was right and the nature of attraction wasn't as important as the existence of the attraction itself, there were other bits about this whole 'gotta have Spock' thing Jim took exception to and, unlike infuriating telepathic philosophers, Bones was man enough to call a spade a spade. A conversation with him was just what the doctor ordered, pun intended. It would be all clear like. Precise. As conversation between rational people should go.

Dear blunt, honest, free-will loving Bones, just the person to assist Jim in the clearing of his head, help him put all of these mad thoughts behind him. Attraction was one thing, lots of people felt a lot of attraction daily, but not all attraction could or should be followed through to a sexy conclusion. There were other points besides attraction to be considered. Common sense, for one.

"Oh, no reason. I got to thinking about parallel universes and how destructive it is to try and compare them. Like if you're told something is going to happen, and it doesn't, and you end up feeling a very real disappointment, or if something not to your liking happens and you spend time wondering how it was or could have been somewhere else, none of which is very productive, in my opinion."

Mention of parallel universe Spock specifically wasn't voiced out loud, but definitely inferred, since Jim had told Bones about the older Vulcan months ago and he knew that the doctor would get what he was really trying to ask.

Okay Bones, that's your bait. Go, Bones, go.

"Translation from Kirk-speak into Standard: I have just realized my attraction to my First Officer. This has led to a grade A Kirk freak-out, because Jim Kirk can't do anything, even freak-out, halfway."

Jim opened his mouth to speak but Bones was just getting going and steamrolled right over him.

"Instead of manning up to said attraction, like a sane person, you've decided to disparage every variable, even old Spock's insight into you and Spock being lifetime bosom buddies in his reality. Obviously you've wondered if that somehow translates into them really being lovers, thus you've found a possible, albeit far-out explanation, like 'destiny' of all things, for your attraction to our Spock in this one. And now you're using me to validate, or rather invalidate, this certifiable train of thought. How close am I?"

Right, so not exactly the response Jim was looking for. Clearly Bones was part Betazoid. How the fuck did he know…

"How did you know about the attraction thing? What, am I giving off 'I want Spock' vibes? The hell, man?"

At this Bones sighed, apparently giving up all hope of getting to eat his breakfast while it was hot. Jim would feel guilty, but he was on the verge of an existential crisis here, thus his guilt was rather minimal.

"Jim, give me some credit here. I know you, kid. I watched you strut around Ruth at the academy and I watched as you strutted around Janice, then Carol. And now I'm watching as you strut around Spock. You see Jim, you've got this mating dance you do. With anyone else you meet for the first time, someone who doesn't matter, you pull out the 'I'm so charming, I can succeed in life by my charisma alone' card. With people you're actually interested in wooing, you call on that big brain of yours, discuss abstract theories and/or Plato, quote Shakespeare and/or the Beatles, and try to wow them that way, all but daring them to take on the challenge that is managing you. And I gotta say, as a spectator, it never does get old."

"So thrilled to be so entertaining," Jim announced through clenched teeth, uncertain if he was more annoyed or frightened by Bones's revelations. Did he really do that? Was he honestly so obvious?

More importantly, did the rest of the crew know… did Spock?

"Relax, Jimbo, it's only obvious to those of us who really know you," Bones announced, a smirk dancing across his face.

Well, that was a relief, kind of, but it still didn't solve the initial issue.

"So destiny…"

"…is a vague and blanket term to explain why things happen instead of embracing self-accountability. Obviously we both know this," the doctor replied before he took a sip of his own mud-coffee and grimaced appropriately. And just when Jim was starting to relax, thinking the conversation was finally going the way he had intended it to go, Bones opened his mouth to say more. "However…"

'However', Jim decided, really was the worst word in Standard.

"There is such a thing as a type…" the doctor finished, and grinned evilly. "Did it not occur to you that the other Jim fell for his Spock for the same reason you're falling for yours? Perhaps all Spocks of the space-time continuum simply just do it for ya. There have been interesting studies with identical twins, separated at birth, experiencing completely different childhoods, but following similar career patterns and finding similar types of people for partners."

"Sure, because, clearly, Ruth, Carol, Janice, and Spock share oh so much in common. I have a type, all right, yes sir… Come on, Bones, they're not even the same gender, let alone species!"

"Has it not occurred to you that they were all scientists? Ruth, Carol, Janice and now Spock - all different as night and day, personality-wise and yes, in gender, yet all members of the scientific profession, meaning their minds are naturally geared towards exploration, towards discovery, just like yours? AND they were all of above average intelligence. In fact, they would all qualify for membership to Mensa, just like you. Anything less would bore you, I think. And there is one more commonality between them… none of them were particularly impressed by you during the first meeting. You always have liked a challenge."

True, that. Jim couldn't help but smile when he thought of how hard he had to work to get each of them even to give him the time of day. So apparently he was a masochist, who knew?

But Bones wasn't done yet. But then again, he seldom was done, not when he considered himself on a roll.

"What really bothers you here, Jim? That Spock is male? Yeah, I'll admit that's new for you. But is it just that, or is it that he gets under your skin, makes you crazy in a way not even Ruth or Carol or Janice ever managed? You don't feel in control in your dealings with Spock, you don't feel in control of your attraction to him, and that, my friend, is driving you nuts. You don't WANT to be attracted to him, you don't like how he effects you, puts dents in that nonchalant armor of yours, and how much power that effect gives him in any situation. So you're repelled."

Which made no sense at all, and Jim was about to refute every word of it, except that Bones resumed speaking before he had the chance to open his mouth.

"He meets you head on, he's equally tactically minded, he shows just as much courage as he follows you into your harebrained schemes, and neither one of you know how to take fucking 'that's impossible' for an answer. Ruth, Carol, and Janice didn't work out because they didn't mesh with your career goals, goals that would ultimately take you away from them and into the black for long stretches of time. With Spock that's not an issue as your career goals are pretty much one and the same."

Again Jim opened his mouth to get a word in edgewise, again Bones beat him to it.

"He wants what you want, to discover new life and new civilizations. Thus he provides the first real hurdle for you to overcome emotionally… it could actually be something, something important. Oh my god, what a concept for you!"

Well then. That was hurtful. Was the sarcasm really necessary? Jim wanted to tell Bones to knock it off, that it wasn't like Jim was a relationship-phobe or anything. He liked relationships just fine, thus Ruth, Carol and Janice…. he just had problems with the maintaining part of it. So not the same thing.

However, the doctor seemed determined to not let him defend himself. At all. As he just kept talking.

"A relationship that doesn't have the convenient out of being secondary to your desire to embrace a nomadic lifestyle. You won't have to leave him behind as you fly port to port. You and he could very well end up exploring the stars together until your dying day. Really, Jim, for all that the hobgoblin has exactly two facial expressions, 'eyebrow raised' and 'that doesn't even merit a raised eyebrow', the two of you are cut from the same fucking cloth and subconsciously, you realize it."

The doctor paused, giving Jim only a brief moment to digest this, before adding…

"Besides Jim, if it helps, I think Spock is equally smitten with you. When he looks at you, his eyebrow is always raised."

It took Jim a minute for that last bit to catch up with him, his mind still churning over the doctor's stunning insights - and although he'd never admit it in a million years, Bones's words made his heart feel tight, like it had just been squeezed - but when it did he snorted, and shook his head.

"Asshole," he stated, voice laden with affection. "You're not helping at all."

Bones just grinned.

So he'd tried dealing with the whole attraction thing by not dealing with it, he really had. And when that had failed to work for him he'd tried to seduce infuriatingly insightful telepaths, and even gone as far as consulting Bones for a light-natured heart to heart which, as he should have predicted, turned out to be anything but… were these not the actions of someone at the end of their tether? How much more desperate could he get?

And still this thing just couldn't be beat. His attraction to Spock had a lot in common with fine wine, it only got richer and more potent with age.

Jim was tired.

He didn't believe in giving up, this was as true today as it ever was, but sometimes the battles just didn't seem worth it. Pick and choose your battles, pick and choose, didn't every wise person ever say that? Apparently repression wasn't his particular forte. He could embrace that… eventually.

The proximity to Spock thing, though? That was painful.

Here he was, sitting across from Spock, pretending to be engrossed in their bi-weekly chess game, all the while preoccupied with the fact that Spock's hair was shiny and Jim really wanted to touch it. Like 'five-year-old on a field trip to a museum in front of an awesome dinosaur fossil' touch it.

Bones was right about one thing, Spock was driving him nuts.

It was a test of strength, that was it. The universe, for whatever reason, was trying to teach him restraint…

"Jim," Spock called, in that breathy voice of his, and if voices were tangible, Jim would want to touch that, too. It took him months to get Spock comfortable with using his given name, and now that he was, it gave Jim chills every fucking time he used it. "You appear to be distracted. Is there anything you would like to discuss?"

Oh boy was there. And the obvious concern Spock was showing for his well being certainly wasn't helping Jim's underlying want.

So he'd tried dealing, letting time wash it out of his system, and that hadn't worked. He'd tried being gay elsewhere and was utter crap at it. He'd even tried goading Bones's blunt tongue. The only thing left, the only means available to him, was honesty. Tell Spock of his attraction so that Spock himself would keep Jim in check by politely, yet bluntly, informing Jim that his attraction was neither reciprocated nor appreciated. Things would be awkward for a while, sure, but well, necessary evils and all that rot. Jim had already established that he was a bit of a masochist, why not be true to form?

And all of this had the added benefit of giving him a bit of that much vaunted control back. His fate was entirely in his own hands. He was choosing this fate, picking the time and the place and the words. Destiny was in his hands.

Although he sort of felt like he was jumping off a drill platform again, Jim bolstered his courage and opened his mouth before he could change his mind.

"Yeah, Spock, there is something I'd like to discuss. You see, I'm attracted to you. In fact, I want you, here and now on this very table. Or against the wall. Or hey, we can go for tradition and try it on a bed. But it's not just about the sex, although I'd never turn that down. Ever, just to be clear. But I'd also like to pick your brain."

Jim felt the words rushing out of his mouth and didn't bother to try and stop and censor himself. It felt like if he couldn't get it all out, every single detail, just then, he never would. And he had to be clear. Felt the urge to be completely understood. Spock had to know the extent of this, had to know just how crazy all of this had made him.

Thus, he couldn't stop and he couldn't let Spock interrupt him. This urgency lit a fire under every instinct he possessed.

"On every subject, too. I want to hear your thoughts on transwarp beaming, pre-Surak literature vs. the works of Hemmingway, and Tellarite cuisine - which I found surprisingly palatable, just not the canine dishes, I could never bring myself to eat Rover - to name a few."

Which yes, sounded lame to his own ears, but it was how he felt, damnit, at least an approximation of it, so he stood the fuck by it.

"Not just on the bridge and twice a week during chess. Way more often than that, like whenever our schedules would allow, and maybe even more than that. To be entirely honest, I think I may be in love with you."

'Don't think Jim. Don't stop. Just go, go, go.'

"But I want you to know that I'm doing my very best not to let it affect our working relationship. I don't expect you to reciprocate or do anything at all, really. I'm trying to work through this, trust me, I am. And though I know things are bound to be weird between us for a while following this revelation, I really hope we can both hang in there and find our normal again."

Whew, he'd said it. Yet contrary to popular misconceptions about truth setting people free, he didn't feel better for it. No weight had been lifted from his shoulders. If anything he felt dizzy. And nauseous. Really, really nauseous. In fact, he was probably going to faint. And, Lord, if his heart beat any faster it would drum itself right out of his chest.

And he couldn't look up and meet Spock's gaze if he tried.

He really needed this masochistic thing checked out. He'd even willingly go see someone about it. Bones had a psych degree, one of many, maybe he'd do the honors…

Then a set of fingers gently touched underneath his chin and lifted it up. It was a testament to how emotionally distraught Jim was that he hadn't even noticed Spock move from his chair and kneel down beside him. The fact that he had made Jim's insides melt, just a little.

"Jim," Spock said again, his brown eyes soft. "I do not wish you to work through your attraction, I would rather you allow it to remain. In fact, I think it pertinent to inform you that your attraction is, in fact, reciprocated. I am honored by your declaration and awed by your courage. I have been searching for the same courage within myself, wanting to express similar sentiments to you, but had not yet found it…'

"You would have, Spock, I know you would have," Jim announced, truly feeling the smile that was currently splitting his face. He was still dizzy and his heart still beat faster than was probably healthy, but the difference between sick with nerves and sick with love was startling. For the first time in a long time his mind was clear, no confusion nor over-analyzing present, thank you kindly. The cloud of doubt and denial was lifted and his body, he couldn't help but notice, was leaning naturally into Spock's personal space, wanting to feel Spock's heat, wanting to feel Spock's everything. He felt free in that desire.

It was glorious.

"How can you be so certain?" his First Officer asked, eyebrow raised and the corners of his mouth twitching in the Vulcan approximation of a grin.

"Because you and I? We're cut from the same cloth."

And before Spock had time to ponder the utter illogic of that statement, Jim leaned forward and stole their first kiss.

The End!