Someday (A Star Trek TOS oneshot)
Summary: Jim and Spock have a somewhat dysfunctional relationship, and yet it's completely perfect. Slash.
A/N: Sorry if it sucks.
Posted 14 January 2012
I walk onto the bridge with my head held high, and my eyes even higher in an attempt to avoid contact with anyone who might be looking my way. I know everyone is staring at me, trying to figure out what to say.
I know what they're thinking, too. They see me come back on the ship after losing six men on a mission and they wonder what my breaking point will be. They make silent bets about how long it will take for me to finally crack. Oh, I know they respect me and see me as a strong Captain. But the fact remains that my job is taxing. It's difficult, being responsible for the lives of four or five hundred men, depending on the day. And knowing that the death of any one of them is my fault. Yes, they all know the dangers of being a member of any crew in Starfleet, but still.
So I don't dare look at any of them, because it's my job to be strong for them. To let them know that everything is okay, even when it's not. To make things okay for them. So that they're safe, or that they feel safe in my care at least.
The only person I allow my eyes to seek out is my First Officer, Mr. Spock. He's looking right at me, and to anyone else it's just his usual cold stare, but I see something else. His expression is one of sympathy, because he knows that despite my cool demeanor, I don't know how much more of this I can take.
"Mr. Spock," I say, as I would any other time I take my seat in the Captain's chair.
Still bent over his station, he turns slightly to face me. "Yes, Captain?"
I look away from him, giving orders to a member of my crew instead of asking a favor of a dear friend. I try to make it look that way, anyway, but we both know the truth. "Report to my quarters after our shift. I saw something down there that I'd like to discuss with you."
"Yes, sir." He nods once before returning to his duties.
"How're you holding up, Jim?" Bones asks me quietly as he approaches my chair.
"Fine, fine," I say quietly, not quite meeting his gaze.
"I noticed you didn't report to me after you beamed back up." he gave me a concerned look. Protocol would list this as a doctor simply doing his job and tending to the health of of his patients, but of course I know these are the words of one friend just checking up on another.
"I'm fine, really." I tell him, and I'm sure he knows it's a lie, because this is the routine.
"Alright," he sighs, knowing he's not going to get anywhere with me right now, "but if you start feeling under the weather, you know where I am." And that's code for 'if this really starts to bug you, you know I'm here for you.'
I finally give up my resolve and look at him, giving a small, tired smile as I thank him and send him on his way. My whole life is like this, my close friends and I speaking to each other in our own languages so that everything runs smoothly and no one is wise to my weaknesses.
The next few hours are almost a blur as I do my best to focus on getting started on our next mission instead of dwelling on the men I let die today. I can barely keep my footing as I march confidently around the bridge and give orders to my crew. This is how it's supposed to be, how I'm supposed to be, so this is how it is. I'm a strong man, there's no denying that. And my own death is something I rarely consider, but the death of other people is something I can, and probably will, spend a lifetime thinking about.
When the time finally comes for us to leave the bridge, I wait until the crew for the next shift has already relieved everyone else. I look over to Spock and he takes this as his cue to leave with me. I follow him into the turbolift and stand in front of him, facing away as he gets it to move.
The doors close as we start to move. Finally, we're alone. It's fleeting, because soon we'll have to venture out to get back to my cabin but I dare anyone and everyone to try and stop me from enjoying this time with him. This silence, this comfort I feel in his presence.
Spock is half Vulcan, yet it doesn't surprise me when I feel his arms around my waist, pulling me so my back is against his chest. He holds me gently, resting his chin on my shoulder as I willingly melt into his warm touch. Usually he'd wait until we were safely hidden away in my quarters, but he must be able to sense the tension and the horror I feel and he knows I can't wait that long. But this will hold me over until we get there.
He lets go of me, back to his stiff posture just as the doors open. And even though his arms are no longer around me, I feel safe as we walk together through the hall, because I know he's here and that it would take more strength than anyone could possibly muster to change that.
We finally make it to my room and I'm in his arms again, his strong hold finally giving me something to keep my balance with. I breathe against him, feeling his hands on my back. Although I know I could if I had to, I don't cry. I'm not that far gone yet. But I know that I might be someday, and the only thing keeping me sane is knowing that Spock will be right there with me.
"I will, Jim." He promised me lowly. I am here to offer you comfort. And there will never come a time when I am not.
And suddenly I remember the bond, wondering if I'll ever get used to having him in my head. We can hear each other and feel each other all the time, but it still startles me sometimes when he answers my thoughts, or when I answer his. It's so hard to tell the difference between his thoughts and actual speech, but I like it. I'll never get used to it, because it'll never stop being exciting to me. I breathe out a small, "Thank you," as I loosen my grip around him, but I don't let go.
If somebody had told me I'd end up falling in love with my First Officer, I would have laughed at them. If they'd told me he was a Vulcan, I would have declared them mad as a hatter. But here I was, technically married to him. And I wouldn't change it for anything.
Well, that's a lie. I would change one thing. I'd change all the pain I know I cause him. He doesn't say it, but it's there. I could tell before we were bonded, but now that we are I can feel it too. I hurt him when I risk my life on a mission. I hurt him when I whisk pretty girls away to help with our diplomatic endeavors. And I hurt him when I think about how awful I really am.
He hurts me too, though. It's not revenge, and it's not why I hurt him. The pain we cause each other isn't intentional. It just... happens. He's a Vulcan, so I don't expect him to wave and smile every time I see him. In fact, I'm rather glad he likes to be so private. It's a luxury I seldom had the chance to experience before him.
No, his personality isn't what hurts me. It's his inner struggle that causes me grief. A constant duel between his Human and Vulcan blood. He's so afraid that his Human side will win one of these days. Not because he's ashamed of it, but because if that happens, he could become dangerous. I do my best to convince him that he'd never hurt me, but he refuses to believe that.
I'm grateful for that too, that he worries about me nonstop. His concern is always there, in the back of my mind, comforting me when I get myself caught up in another seemingly hopeless situation.
A lot of times I catch myself thinking about how we're compatible. It amuses him, and that amuses me. But sometimes it gets serious. Depressing. Why do I deserve him?
I know for a fact that I am as emotionally stunted as he is. I wasn't always that way, but after years of being exploited in relationships, laying my heart out bare and having it ripped to pieces, I don't know how anyone expects me to feel like a normal person. I think that's why we're good for each other, because I let him express his emotions, and he helps me define and rationalize mine. That, and I'm almost able to hold my own against him in combat. A worthy opponent is a rare quality in a partner.
We don't get to spend a lot of time together. Romantically, anyway. Not that he'd be jumping me at all opportunities, and I honestly prefer it that way. The slow sensuality of it all when he does decide to take me to bed and remind me that no matter the why's or the how's, he is as much mine as I am his. But still, we're forced to appear professional at all times, and that's a strain. On both of us, surprisingly.
And yet, despite our struggle as a couple, it's perfect. He's holding me now and that's all I care to think about. Through the pain and the separation, there is a lot of love, flowing both ways, and we couldn't deny that if we tried.
I look up to see him staring down at me, gauging my mental stability at the moment. Trying to see how much of him I need tonight. And finally his lips are on mine, making the taste of everyone before him disappear all over again. If I didn't love everything about him, I'd at least love that.
He guides me to my bed and I know right away what his intentions are. A slow kiss and wandering hands make me feel more at home than I've ever felt anywhere else. I'm dedicated to my ship and my crew and my friends and my family, but who's dedicated to me? Spock.
"And I always will be." he tells me as our clothes come off.
"Someday," I promise him, "someday, Spock. It'll just be you and me." I don't know if it's an empty promise or not. There's no way to tell if we'll ever be able to be together like a real couple. If we'll ever even be ready. I won't lie and say I don't wish things could be like that, and Spock can't hide his similar desires from me either, but we're okay with things the way they are. It works. And that's good enough for us.