Wrote this a little over a year ago. Since I'm posting some older fics, figured it belongs here, too. There's two chapters, but I'm just going to post both at once instead of waiting in between.

Title: Hope (Wishful Thinking)
Chapter 1
Rated: R
Warnings: Profanity, violence/torture, sexuality, hurt/comfort
Pairing: Spock/Kirk
Summary: TOS. The Enterprise intercepts a distress signal from a rather religious and private planet known as Suspicia asking for medicine to help cure a new disease. When an away team responds and comes to the planet to provide help, Kirk and Spock are captured by a hostile Suspician priest named Na'hri, who accuses them of being demons sent to destroy Suspicia. And he is hellbent on making them suffer until they confess. Kirk and Spock must rely on their bond to keep themselves sane and alive.
Notes: This fic is one of two written for the winner of my help_chile auction offer, xlcatloveress.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except maybe a few ensigns, Suspicia and its residents.


Suspicia was an m-class planet rated on the Starfleet Federation scale.

The atmosphere, wild and plantlife differed very little from Earth's own. There were humanoid inhabitants said to be scattered about the planet. However, human contact had been very rare, far and few in between. Outsiders were a very superstitious bunch, and relied on old legends and deities to formulate their opinions, laws and methods of worship. It was an extensively detailed religion that they were not willing to share with those beyond their homeworld, and socialized very rarely with the explorers who came to study their culture. Not much else was known besides the basics; tricorders revealed they had very much the same structure and internal workings of humans, save for a few, minor adjustments. Physically, they only stood out by a slightly elongated cranial structure. Base creatures with basic needs, they lived their lives in tribes, reminiscent of days when man still survived in huts, wore fur and hunted to survive.

It was obvious they wanted nothing to do with joining the Starfleet Federation. They meant no disrespect, or offense; they simply believed it would upset their native gods. When asked to reconsider, and the answer was still no, the Starfleet officers understood and took their leave.

That was nearly thirty years ago. There had been no further communication with Suspicia, who had politely asked the Federation to leave them to their privacy.

It was a surprise, however, when the USS Enterprise, while cruising the sector Suspicia was located in, received a frantic distress signal from the planet. Uhura had intercepted it, and while some had believed it false at first (Suspicia considered help from outsiders also disrespectful to the gods who provided them with what they needed), before the signal was sent in for translation. The results proved their gods apparently weren't providing them with one vital necessity.

"Medicine."

Kirk had gathered Spock, McCoy and the two translators who transcribed the message for debriefing. Ensign Luanna Johnson, a pretty young woman no older than twenty-five, explained, "The Suspicians seem to have fallen to an illness that has been unknown on their planet until recently. It appears this illness has killed off three local tribes, nearly fifty men, women and children."

"Did they describe the illness at all?" McCoy inquired.

"They did," the second translator, Ensign Marcus Johnson, replied. He handed the doctor a small PADD. "I wrote down each symptom they provided."

The doctor took the PADD, reading over it. Kirk sat forward in his chair, hands bridging. "Was there anything else they mentioned in their message?" he asked.

Luanna shook her head. "What they want is medicine to cure the disease," she said. "However, I noticed they were very disappointed by way of their tone. As if sending this transmission caused them some sort of emotional pain."

"The Suspicians are a very private, if somewhat xenophobic race," Spock explained, "and they have been known to deny outside influence in fear of upsetting their gods. It could be they feel they are disrespecting their religion by going against what they have been taught and teach by seeking outside help."

McCoy scoffed. "Had they not been blinded by their gods and made a call sooner," he grumbled, "fifty people might have survived." He tossed the PADD forward. "Influenza - the flu. Easily cured by today's standards within a day."

"We have yet to know exactly how long this illness has been flourishing, and if they have been beaming the distress signal recently or for a longer length of time," Spock said, "beyond that, I do not see the disrespect for a civilization to keep their privacy from outsiders."

"There's a fine line between keeping traditions and just being plain old ignorant, Mister Spock," McCoy growled. He jabbed the PADD with a finger. "And this is complete ignorance. Not to mention unnecessary arrogance. I'm sure you know all about that."

Kirk rose his hands before an argument could break out. "Gentlemen, it is clear what we must do," he stated. "We will set a course for Suspicia and deliver them the proper medication." He nodded to McCoy. "I leave it to you and Nurse Chapel to gather the supplies."

"Right away, Jim," McCoy replied. He stood, looking amongst the group. "Before we take leave, I must insist each member of the away team be prepped for a flu shot as a precautionary measure." He glowered lightly to the first officer. "That means you, too, Mister Spock."

Spock cocked a brow. "Doctor, Vulcans are not as easily susceptible to primitive Terran illnesses," he informed.

McCoy was about ready to rip those eyebrows off. "Tell that to your human genetics," he growled. "I expect to see you and Jim in my medbay shortly." With that, he left quickly, hoping to avoid anymore of that damn Vulcan's protests.

Kirk turned to his translators. "I'll need the assistance of one of you to help translate."

"I'll go, captain," Luanna agreed. She smiled sheepishly. "I don't mean to brag, but I've more experience with the Suspician language than Ensign Marcus."

Marcus laughed. "Ever modest you are, sis."

Kirk smiled. "Very well, Miss Johnson," he agreed. He stood then, his officers following in suit. "I believe you, Mister Spock and I have an appointment with the good doctor."


III


Marcus had been sent to work in returning the distress signal with a response, informing the Suspicians medical help was on their way. An hour after their shots had been administrate, Kirk and his away team appeared in the transporting room. A security guard had been assigned to the group, along with Spock, McCoy and Luanna. McCoy carried a silver medical kit, containing vials of the much needed vaccine. Kirk took his place last on the platform, looking to Scotty. "We'll contact you when we're ready to beam up," he said.

Scotty gave an a-okay gesture. "Aye, sir. And best of luck to ye. I hear they're a rather loony and uptight bunch."

Kirk grinned. "I just hope those shots don't fail on us," he chuckled. With a wave of his hand, Scotty nodded and the group disappeared in soft flashes of light.


III


The five officers found themselves transported on the outskirts of a giant forest. Spock turned to his tricorder, moving about the area. "There are lifeform readings just fifty yards ahead, captain," he noted, looking up.

"According to Suspicia records, there should be a small village in that location," Kirk agreed. He nodded to the three behind him, heading onward as they followed.

However, the closer they got, the more they realized there was very little in way of a civilization. "Funny," Kirk mumbled, noting the bare area, "previous Starfleet offers were very precise in mapping each village's location. Might have been relocated?"

Spock waved the tricorder forward. "Tricorder readings remain the same, captain," he explained, and then his eyebrow went up. "Fascinating."

McCoy looked to the Vulcan. "I never know if it's a good or bad thing when you say it."

"According to the readings, this very location, bare of any signs of a previous known village," Spock said, "there is over a total of eighty-three lifeforms. All Suspician related."

"Impossible," McCoy grunted. He waved a hand before them. "There's nothing here but dead grass and trees within miles. Now unless your tricorder is broken or detecting ghosts - "

"I can assure you, doctor," Spock interjected, much to McCoy's dismay, "all my equipment is functioning normally and not effected by Terran superstition."

Kirk tilted his head. He was truly stumped. "Then what exactly is going on - "

Suddenly, before the group appeared six flashes of pink light. In a matter of seconds, six Suspician men in armor, hefting peculiar guns in hands, were on them. "Remain calm," Kirk whispered to his team, and rose his hands in show of harmlessness. He carefully moved forward, the men glaring and training their weapons on him. "Relax. I am Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. I am here with my first officer, Mister Spock, my chief medical officer, Doctor McCoy and-"

One man cursed at the other, who growled in return. Their eyes were wild, glazed, and it was easy to see they were sick and even scared. "We... intercepted your distress call. We've come with medical supplies to help you," Kirk said slowly, softly. "We mean you no harm."

"H'nok!" one of the men cried, and that earned shrieks and shouts from the others. They stormed forward, forcing the group to move back.

"Phasers to stun," Kirk murmured, hand moving to his belt. The instant the men rushed at them, he whipped out his phaser, quickly aiming and striking one of the men in the chest. He fell over with a grunt, unconscious but alive.

"Doctor, ensigns, get back," Spock ordered, shooting but barely missing another man.

The security ensign moved to shove the doctor and Luanna away. The moment he turned his back, however, he gave a clear shot to one of the Suspicians. A single blast of his gun sent the ensign quietly to the ground. Kirk had found himself now fighting hand to hand combat with one of the soldiers, Spock firing at those who got too close to the rest of the party and his struggling captain.

"Bones!" Kirk snarled back over his shoulder, holding the Suspician in a headlock. "Get yourself and Johnson out of here!"

"We're not leaving you and Spock behind, Jim!" McCoy snarled. Luanna pushed him away, the two ducking behind a tree as a blast from an alien gun bounced off its bark. McCoy looked back to the two, and found Kirk was now fighting off two Suspicians. Spock had preformed a Vulcan pinch on the man he disarmed, jumping aside to miss a shot. "Spock!" McCoy barked. "Help Jim!"

"I'll call for backup!" Luanna breathed, whipping open her communicator.

"Forget backup, have Scotty transport us back to the ship!" the doctor snapped. He removed his phaser, waiting for the right moment before stunning one of the Suspicians attempting to pounce the Vulcan. That left four of them now, two fighting Kirk and two holding Spock back from his captain. Kirk was a fighter, a damn good one, but these men were stronger, taller, armored and there were two of them. He was weakening, as his blows became slower, his breathing heavier.

Luanna cursed and shut her communicator. "Something is jamming our signal!" she exclaimed. "It's this area! Before it was just fine!"

"Oh, just perfect!" McCoy spat. The Suspicians were too close to Kirk and Spock for him to get a good shot.

The ensign tugged roughly on his sleeve. "Doctor, we need to get out of here, out of this area," she insisted, "we can't contact the ship from here!"

McCoy glared back at her. "We can't just - " There came a loud gasp and McCoy's head whipped around. Kirk had managed to knock one of the Suspicians back with a right hook to the chin. However, the second soldier had taken that split second while the captain's back was turned to bash his elbow against his head. The force was hard enough to send Kirk reeling clumsily forward before face first on the ground.

"Jim!" McCoy shouted. He would have run to his friend's side had Luanna not pulled him back.

"We have to get help!" she insisted, yanking him forcefully along.

"Ensign, I can't leave the-!"

While his two comrades confronted Spock, the remaining Suspician turned his gun on the fleeing two. Spock looked up, finding himself suddenly shoved hard to the ground. "Go!" he ordered, feeling the barrel of a gun press hard into his skull.

McCoy cursed angrily. "Don't either of you die on me!" he snarled and ran for safety. The Suspician holding Spock down barked something to the man on his right, who nodded and chased after the two.

Spock remembered seeing the Suspician disappear in the trees before a sharp pain struck his head and everything went black.


III


"Captain."

Kirk gave a low, husky groan as consciousness finally swept back through him. When he opened his eyes, he found himself staring at thick steel bars. Slowly, Kirk hefted himself onto his knees, feeling dirt and hay beneath his hands. His mind spun and he found himself swaying before catching his balance, brain swimming to a halt. The back of his head throbbed with a dull ache and upon inspection, he felt the soft swell of a bruise forming.

"Captain."

Ah, yes, that voice. It was what shook him awake. Kirk finally managed to stand, stumbling to the bars. It didn't take long for him to assess he was in a jail cell of some sort. Adjacent of him, across the room, Spock was in another cell. And much to his surprise, the cell beside him was occupied by the security officer. By the way he stirred on the floor, it was apparent he was still alive. Kirk was thankful for that.

For now.

"Captain," Spock said for a third time. "Are you all right?"

"A little disoriented, but I'm fine," Kirk replied and rubbed his head again. "As for you, Mister Spock?"

"I am functioning."

Kirk nodded and looked to the next cell. "Ensign Thomas?" he asked.

"Thomas has been in the same state upon my awakening," Spock answered. His voice was solemn, low. "He appears to be in a great deal of pain."

Kirk gave the brig another look over. "Bones? Johnson? Were they here when you woke?"

"No, captain," Spock replied, shaking his head.

Kirk breathed a sigh of relief. "Hopefully they escaped. Good, that's good," he said, "how long was I out for?"

"I do not know how long time has passed since we were brought to these cells, as I was knocked unconscious as well," Spock explained, "but since my time of waking, you have been out for fifteen point three minutes."

"Figure a way out?" Kirk inquired. He grunted as he gave the bars a firm shake.

"Negative, captain. Unfortunately, I have found no means of escape yet," Spock answered and squeezed a bar. "Even my superior strength is outmatched by the properties used in these bars."

The captain cursed. "They've taken everything save our clothes," he grumbled. A soft whimper came from the cell beside him. Kirk frowned, sudden dread running down his spine. He had to keep calm, for both of his men. "We need to get out of here. Thomas needs medical attention immediately."

"No one has visited the dungeon thus far," Spock noted.

On that very note, the brig doors creaked as they were unlocked. The two looked to the door, pensive, stiff. It swung open and three men entered, two wearing armor, the elder in the middle fine, dark robes. He glared from each man, back and forth, before finally speaking in his native tongue to the soldiers. They bowed and stepped back outside, watching carefully from a small slit in the door.

The robed man walked further into the room, hands bridged together and adorned with jewels. Kirk followed his steps. "Who are you?" he demanded. "Why have you brought us here? I told your men my people came to help-"

"Silence, h'nok," the Suspician hissed. Kirk glared bitterly. "My name is Na'hri, the Grand Priest of Ya'tu and Keeper of Ty'lon." His hands spread, gesturing around him. "All you see here belongs to me under the blessing of Ya'tu and His kin."

"Na'hri," Kirk pressed, "why have you brought us here?"

Na'hri studied Kirk, moved closer to his cell. Kirk refused to unlock eyes with the older man. They stared for a moment before Na'hri smirked. "Do not play games with me, h'nok. Ya'tu has given me powers that make me immune to your manipulation. You cannot bend me to your will as you have to my people in the past."

"I do not know what a 'h'nok' is, Na'hri," Kirk stated, attempting to keep his cool, "but you seem to have us mistaken. I am Captain James T. Kirk of the Starfleet Federation USS Enterprise. My men answered a distress signal from your planet asking for - "

"H'nok, you have insulted me once, and a second time will do you no good!" Na'hri snarled and smacked the bars. Kirk took a small step back. There was a darkness burning in the old man's coal black eyes. "I know very well what you truly are. You are h'nok, the slave children of the accursed H'erit Beast. She who cannot love, she who cannot feel, she who makes mockeries of Ya'tu's people known as h'nok. Those who walk and look like thus but speak in strange tongues with minds as small as their heads." He stormed up to the cell, squeezing the bars. "She has sent you here as the prophecy dictated to spread d'sra through the land!"

Kirk was quick to move forward, finding himself face to face with the priest. "My people are not h'nok or related to this H'erit Beast! We have come here bearing medicine! Your people sent a transmission asking for help! Now let us go and we will show you we mean to help, not harm or hinder!" he shouted.

"The words of a h'nok cannot be trusted," Na'hri scowled and moved away. He slowly turned, looking upon Spock with a curious stare. "However, this h'nok is very different from the ones told in legends."

Spock was absolutely calm, hands behind his back. "I am a Vulcan, though half of my lineage is human," he explained, matter-of-factly. "I can assure you that my captain speaks the truth. The Suspicians released a distress signal requiring medical aide. We have only come upon your calling."

Na'hri glared suspiciously. "No such call was made," he hissed. "You lie as much as the h'nok. You may claim you are not of them, but you abide and serve them." His eyes darkened again, voice lowering as he growled, "You are a ser't, those who belong to h'nok as pets."

"Spock is no pet, as I am no h'nok," Kirk snapped.

Na'hri shook his head. "You take me for a fool. Your words are slander, and they will not change who and what you really are," he said. He looked between both men. "No matter. You cannot escape, not when my kingdom is marked by the Holy Writ."

Kirk blinked. "Kingdom?" He saw no such indication of such outside.

"You will tell me the location of the d'sra," Na'hri ordered. "I will find it and use it against your Mistress, the H'erit Beast. She who is the source of the plague."

"We do not know what this d'sra you speak of is," Kirk explained, slowly slipping into resignation. "You are making a grave mistake, Na'hri. We - "

"Your tales are becoming less amusing now, h'nok!" Na'phri spat. He pointed a clawed finger at the captain. "Once you have confessed the location of the d'sra, I will let you and your pets free to return to H'erti for final farewells." A cruel grin crossed his bearded face.

Kirk glared, met his gaze again. "... You're lying," he said firmly, "you intend to kill us. I'll have you know, you can do whatever you want, but you will not find the answer to which you seek. Because we are not your enemies." Voice rising again, he grabbed the bars and wrenched. "We are your allies! Stop this madness before it gets out of hand!"

"I intend to, h'nok, I intend to," Na'hri smirked. "The question is: do you intend to cooperate easily?"

"For the last time, Na'hri, we do not know what the d'sra is!" Kirk yelled. "We do not even know what you speak of alone!"

Na'hri did not speak for a few seconds. He merely strolled past and around the dungeon. It wasn't until Thomas started coming to did Na'hri step back and to his cell. He eyed the injured man who was attempting to sit up, coughing as he did. "He is h'nok too, though much younger," the priest purred, head tilting, "and those of youth have uncontrolled tongues..."

Kirk did not like the grin forming on the Suspician's face. "Na'hri, whatever it is you plan on doing, don't," he begged, that sense of dread returning. He moved towards the other end of the cell, as close to the priest as possible. "He is injured and ill. He's done nothing wrong."

"He will do fine," Na'hri chuckled. He snapped something at the door before the two guards came rushing in. He spoke to them, words Kirk could not decipher.

"C-Captain?"

Kirk smiled weakly at his ensign. "Thomas," he breathed, "relax. Don't exert yourself."

Thomas rolled onto his side. "I-I can't sit up," he whispered, "my back is-" He then noticed the Suspicians talking before his cell, forcing his eyes to take in his surroundings for the first time. "Captain, where are we? What's going on?" Pleading brown eyes turned on Kirk, full of fear.

"Stay calm, ensign," Kirk said, voice soothing, "this is all a misunderstanding. We're going to be-" He paused when the guards unlocked Thomas's cell, swinging open the door. "What are you doing?" he demanded.

Thomas looked between the guards. "Who are you?" he gulped. They remained wordless as they roughly grabbed his arms, yanking him to his feet. Thomas screamed as pain shot through his spine, leaving him weak and helpless in the Suspician's grasps.

"Stop!" Kirk ordered as the ensign was dragged from his cell. "Where are you taking him!"

"Interrogation, of course," Na'hri purred. He let the guards lead.

Thomas shot a panicked look at Kirk. "Captain!"

"He's innocent! He knows nothing! Stop!" Kirk exclaimed and shook the bars. However, it appeared his words were falling on deaf ears. Just before Na'hri was to leave, he let out a sigh and shouted, "Fine! I will tell you where the d'sra is!"

Na'hri halted and slowly moved back into the dungeon. Spock rose a brow. "Captain - " But Kirk's quick glare silenced him.

"Oh?" the priest chuckled. He was intrigued. Na'hri approached Kirk's cell, eying him. "Will you now?"

Kirk hung his head. "Yes. I'll tell you everything you need to know," he sighed, defeated. "Just please let Thomas go. He's not here by his own accord. H'erit... manipulated him. He can be helped, saved." His eyes looked pleadingly into Na'hri's. "So, please, let him go. I'm the man you need to talk to."

Na'hri considered his words a moment. He looked to the Vulcan, whose face remained blank. He turned back to Kirk, searched those wide, determined eyes. "You know, h'nok," the priest said quietly a minute later. He smiled tenderly. "You are not the only one who can see through lies." With that, he stepped back, gave a mocking bow and left.

"Na'hri! Na'hri!" Kirk screamed, thrashing at the bars. "He's innocent! Na'hri, stop!"

The door slammed loudly, followed by the pounding of locks. Kirk stood there, wide eyed and filled with rage and fear as he breathed heavily. Spock gently rose his hands to the bars and leaned forward. "Captain," he whispered. There was no response, and Kirk's eyes remained transfixed in his horror on the door. "Captain, you must calm yourself. Right now, we must take this as an opportunity to continue a search for escape."

Kirk said nothing, not for a good minute or two. His eyes shut tightly, and he took in a deep breath. "You're right, Spock," he agreed and marched to the back of his cell. He began feeling the wall for any weak spots, eyes wandering fast. "We need to get out and rescue Thomas before-"

There came a violent scream from above, distant but loud enough for Kirk and Spock to suddenly be frozen in place. The cry continued, growing louder, more painful by the second. Kirk looked to his second, who met his gaze; though there was no apparent distress on his face, Kirk knew Spock enough that he was frightened, too.


III


An hour had passed since Na'hri had taken Thomas away.

They had been forced to listen to his cries, helpless to do anything. Nonetheless, every time Kirk faltered, began to lose sight to those screams, Spock was there to quickly guide him back to work. They continued checking their cells, attempting to find any crack or hole they could use to their advantage. But it proved futile, with everything in stable condition.

Kirk and Spock found themselves sitting in their cells, facing each other. Kirk looked worn out, frustrated as the shrieking continued. Spock, however, had to keep calm, if not for himself but his captain. "Captain," he spoke, after nearly a half hour of silence.

"Yes, Spock?"

"Going by Federation protocol, if a crew member or away team does not respond or return communication in half hour intervals, unless noted otherwise, a search party is then dispatched to the planet's surface. Doctor McCoy and Johnson escaped, if they are not here. Na'hri would have used their capture against us if they were," Spock explained. It was all obvious information, but Kirk knew it was his way of reassuring him. "Logically, if they have returned to the ship, they would inform the crew of our capture - "

"If?" Kirk was stuck on that word.

"It is only logical to assume they might have been killed. Na'hri would not use their deaths against us unless he felt threatened." And Spock realized this pretty much destroyed that little hope he had previously planted. The Vulcan bridged his hands and continued, "However, the doctor, despite his self-proclaimed defensive profession, is skilled in combat, thus leaving a 50 percent chance of their survival and return to the ship."

Kirk rubbed his face hard. The screaming was beginning to take its toll. "I only hope for the best, Mister Spock," he exhaled. Not a second later did it suddenly go quiet. Kirk rose his head, eyes widening. "The screaming-it stopped," he murmured.

Spock looked to the door a moment later. "They are coming."

A minute later, Kirk could hear footsteps too. Both men looked to one another before gathering to their feet. The door unlocked and opened loudly before Na'hri stepped in. He looked dismayed, frown tight. Kirk moved up to the bars. "Where's Thomas? Is he all right?" he demanded.

Na'hri glared furiously at him. He then waved a hand, and one of the guards marched inside. The man barked something at Kirk as he unlocked his door. The gun in his hand kept the human from attacking as the Suspician stepped in, holding the door open with one hand. A moment later, the second guard joined them.

The blood was flushed from Kirk's face. The second guard was carrying the mangled, charred and battered corpse of ensign Thomas. Roughly and carelessly throwing the body into Kirk's cell, both guards exited quickly and locked the door. Na'hri muttered something to them and they left with a bow, leaving the priest to watch the Starfleet officer's reaction.

Shock had fallen over the captain, leaving him immobile for a moment. Finally, he staggered to the corpse's side, falling to his knees. He turned Thomas on his back, wincing as a hand quickly covered his mouth from vomiting. The boy's face was gashed in several places, but his brown eyes were wide open, glazed; his expression, or what was left of his face that could make one, frozen in horror.

Kirk swallowed the bile back down. With a shaky hand, he slowly closed Thomas's eyes. Na'hri wrinkled his nose and glared to Spock. The Vulcan appeared unaffected, but strangely enough just looking upon him made the air seem... colder, more foreboding. Na'hri had to turn away, waltzing up to Kirk's cell as he took the ensign's hand in his own, squeezing it.

"You'll be happy to hear, h'nok," Na'hri scowled, "he did not betray your secrets. He bit his tongue quite well." But soon that disappointed frown was replaced with a quirky smirk. "However, he died calling out for you. And his mother, whom I can assume was H'erit."

Kirk gently laid both of the ensign's hands on his chest. Slowly then, he looked over his shoulder at the priest, and the glare he wore penetrated Na'hri so deeply, it knocked the wind out of him. Na'hri stumbled back a foot before clearing his throat, attempting to remain unfazed.

"You will regret this," Kirk said, and his voice was so clear and vindictive, if Na'hri didn't know better, he might have believed him.

"Nonetheless, I give you another hour to decide if you wish to follow his demise or reveal to me the location of the d'sra," Na'hri insisted, hands clenching the edges of his robe. He looked to Spock, but found he was powerless to meet those firm eyes. With that, he left.


III


The hour felt like forever.

The smell of charred flesh polluted the damp air in the dungeon. Spock was astonished Kirk had not fallen ill, or made distance from the corpse. Instead, he remained at the body's side, watching over it, all most as if protecting it. And Spock could feel Kirk's mourning, so intense and furious, run through their bond. It made his own stomach somersault, but he remained cool and collected.

"It's been said in the records Suspicians are extremely stubborn in their ways. Especially when it comes to matters of their faith."

Spock rose his head. Kirk finally turned from the corpse, looking to the dark ceiling above. "One crewman who met the Suspicians thirty years ago during first contact mentioned a woman and her dying six year old child," he explained.

"I recall that submission," the Vulcan replied, nodding his head. His eyes squinted. "As it went, the child died from an infection. The medical staff offered to save the child with modern medicine, but she refused."

Kirk chuckled bitterly. "You know why?" he snorted. "Because she believed it would upset Ya'nasha, the goddess of life and death. She believed her six year old son who got the infection from an unattended wound while playing- She believed it was his time to go and that Ya'nasha would be offended if they attempted to save him and fight off her 'touch.'"

"It would not be the first case reported of religion intervening with the health and lives of its practitioners," Spock explained.

"It stops being religion and turns to neglect at that point," Kirk scowled. He looked to Spock, and their bond flared with such sadness it nearly made the Vulcan lose his breath. "It doesn't matter what we'll say, they're convinced we're evil demons. And so when the time comes, when Na'hri returns, I will offer myself for the next interrogation."

"Illogical," Spock insisted firmly, "your demise would be a greater loss than-"

"The captain makes the orders, Spock," Kirk chuckled lightly. It hurt Spock in a way. "I'll make sure it lasts long enough for you to find some way out. I'm sure if you put your mind to it, you can bend those bars like cheese. And if not, surely a search party should stumble upon something."

Spock frowned. "Captain, you are stating wishful thinking, not facts."

Kirk smiled, as forced as it was. "Sometimes it's about the only thing humans can do in situations like these," he said and looked to Thomas. There came that painful pang in his heart. "Hope."

Time returned in a sudden flow, and the door once again opened. Kirk looked from Spock to Na'hri and the guards as they entered. The priest scrunched his nose and waved a hand beneath it, indicating the terrible smell as an insult. "Well, you've had your hour," he said, and rocked back on his heels, "so, what shall it be?"

Kirk sucked in air and was on his feet in a flash. "If you want to talk," he said and strode up to the bars, "then let's talk."

Na'hri chuckled. "Perhaps your ser't will be more talkative?" he suggested, ordering the guards to Spock's cell.

Instead of the pleading and shrieking Na'hri expected, Kirk just threw back his head with a laugh. "A ser't is nothing but a pet, hired muscle. He was ordered as my bodyguard, not my confidant." The corners of his grin curled. "He knows about just as much as you do, priest."

This managed to ruffle Na'hri's feathers, as much as that confident little smile. "Fine then, h'nok," he spat and clapped his hands. The guards quickly left Spock's doors and went about unlocking Kirk's. Once inside, they reached for him, but he rose his hands, appearing innocent.

"I'll come quietly," Kirk assured. The guards spoke something to Na'hri, who spat a command. Hands closed around Kirk's forearms and he was guided out of the cell. Kirk made no effort to fight, and the guards kept their grips relaxed.

It wasn't until Kirk found himself standing before Na'hri did he take advantage of their ease and rip one arm free, backhanding the guard across the face. Na'hri screamed, shielding himself; the captain then snatched a small dagger quickly from the armored Suspician's hip. He rushed to Spock's cell as the guards chased after him. Not saying a word, he quickly shoved the dagger in Spock's hand (Protect yourself!), whirled around and lunged a fist in one of the guard's faces.

Spock quickly hid the knife while they scuffled. It wasn't long before Kirk was overpowered, one strong arm wrapped around his throat as the barrel of a gun stabbed against the small of his back. He immediately froze, breathing heavily. Na'hri marched forward, took a fistful of the man's hair and yanked his head down, until they were face to face. "You're a rather stupid h'nok," he spat, spittle hitting Kirk's face.

The human grinned. "Thank you."

Na'hri shoved his head roughly back before stepping aside, yelling at the guards. The men dragged Kirk out the door. The captain looked quickly back to his second officer, words flashing across their bond.

Keep trying. It'll be okay. Just have hope.

TBC

There is chapter one. I hope you liked it! It feels a little stale? from my usual writing, but it wasn't intentional. I hope it's good though! %D Also, I like keeping established relationships a subtle thing until the time is right, so it's not like I'm intentionally avoiding writing K/S moments. That comes all next chapter.