I declare under penalty of perjury the forgoing is true and correct: Paramount owns everything about the Star Trek franchise, including any of my weak forays into fan fiction. I get nothing other than personal satisfaction out of this.

Based on the TOS episode Operation Annihilate. If you have not seen it, Spock is blinded as a result of an experiment designed to drive out parasites which had taken over the planet Deneva. The parasites controlled and drove their hosts mad with pain in an attempt to move on and colonize other worlds. The dialogue is taken directly from the episode, I certainly couldn't have written it.

Out of Sight

Spock felt the heat from the light before he saw it. It was warm against his uniform. The light washed over him. He saw a brief flash then nothing. When he closed his eyes, he felt a bright stabbing pain.

In an instant, the heat was gone and he could hear the machinery wind down. Keeping his eyes tightly closed, he could hear movement outside the chamber.

He opened his eyes, focusing straight ahead and saw nothing. His mind tried to make sense of the endless blackness, but couldn't make shapes or colors. Intellectually, he understood he was blind.

"Spock, are you all right?" This was Jim's voice, tight with worry.

"The creature within me is gone. I am free of it, and the pain."

His eyes didn't stop trying to see, disorienting him, causing him to stumble as he walked into the table in Sickbay.

"I am also quite blind. An equitable trade Doctor. Thank you. "

No more pain curling around him, pressing him harder and harder while the voices demanded action and escape. No more pitying glances from the Doctor trying to assess the degree of pain. No more watching his friend and Captain observe him with ill contained grief and calculation as to when the pain would break him. This and the memory of pain made him curiously grateful for the blindness.

He felt a strong hands wrap around his arms steadying him and helping him into a chair that spun slightly when he sat. He couldn't see the Doctor pull the Captain away.

"Doctor, the results of the first creature's remains. . ." Another voice, Nurse Chapel with the creature's necropsy.

Doctor McCoy breathed, "Oh no."

"What is it?" Jim asked, fear banked in his voice.

"I threw the entire spectrum of light at the creature, it wasn't necessary.I didn't stop and think only one kind of light would kill it." He could hear the guilt and frustration in McCoy's voice.

A pause and Spock's ability to analyze came on line. "Interesting, just as dogs are sensitive to certain kinds of sounds that humans can not hear, these creatures are sensitive to light we can not see."

"You are telling me that Spock need not have been blinded?"

"I didn't need to throw the blinding white light at all Jim. Spock I . . ."

Reasonably, Spock tried to qualify McCoy's admission. "Doctor, it was my selection as well. It is done."

He heard the regret and grief in those voices as they flowed over him.

"Bones. Take care of him," The Captain spoke quietly and furiously.

Eventually they released him, a silent Dr. McCoy walking him to his quarters. Alone finally, to meditate. No one would watch him with unreadable expressions.

It was early evening. The corridors were quiet. Spock knew from long experience that Alpha Shift was over and most crewmembers, including Captain Kirk, were probably in the Mess.

Spock's room failed to comfort him, just barely granting him relief from the cold dry air of the Enterprise's common areas. He did not need to see to know where objects were. He reflexively moved toward his fire pot before he realized the flame would be indiscernible to him. He wondered briefly if the heat would hold his focus instead of the light. He knelt on the low cushioned platform and began taking himself through levels of consciousness he had learned as a child.

After much time, he reached several conclusions.

It is illogical to remain when one has no utility.

It is illogical to regret a solution that is fundamentally better than the problem.

It is illogical to grieve for what could have been.

He had always thought he would have more time. Now of course, he had no options, no time. He would return to Vulcan and find a way to live, no, exist.

Hopelessness could not be kept at bay. There could be no real life without Jim and the Enterprise.

He felt despair and fought it with little success. Every thought and memory led to a dead end. There was nothing left here. Truly, he asked himself, what was left to him even on Vulcan?

Disgraceful, what he was thinking. If the roles were reversed, he would give up his commission and give Jim a life and a purpose. He knew, of course, that Jim could never do the same. His ties to his life and career were too strong to give them up for his First Officer, his friend. They were that and nothing more. Friendship to a human was a strong tether but not as strong as it would be for a Vulcan.

In the darkness, Spock examined his own emotions for the first time since the mission began. There was no logic in denying them in this room, surrounded by the tatters of his career. Friendship was the right word but the emotion attached to it was so much stronger than what he suspected his captain would experience. Jim was part of him. Jim's every movement and word was calculated and reflected back into feelings so complex and foreign that Spock could barely categorize them.

He was done. He had no reserves left. The days of pain had worn him down. When faced with a life that no longer was a life, Vulcan's had options. Deeper and deeper into his consciousness was the ability to shut down his autonomic systems, to cease to breathe, to stop his heart, release his mind. His exhaustion was almost too great to reach this level. Somewhere in the back of his mind was a flicker of thought that this decision should be made when he was fully capable, not worn down with exhaustion and despair. Angrily, he burned that thought to ashes. He had lost enough. He could take control of this one thing left to him.

Deeper and deeper into his own mind. The blackness was no longer in front of his eyes but on the edges of his mind. It was like losing consciousness slowly. He felt his heart begin to slow and his breath became shallow. There was almost peacefulness side by side with the hollow feeling of anger.

As his mind assessed both emotions, he heard the swish of his door. Too late, there would be no rescue, he thought furiously, even as his mind stopped its descent and began to rise.

Strong hands gripped his shoulders as they had earlier in sickbay. They shook him gently and then more roughly. Finally, he began to register a voice.

"Spock! Spock! Where the hell are you?" Jim's voice was desperate.

He felt himself pulled off of his knees and pushed backward until he was sitting on the edge of his bunk. The whole time Jim was shaking him and calling his name.

He finally opened his eyes and of course couldn't see. Instead, he imagined Jim's face tight with fear, hazel eyes soft with concern. Foolish mind to play such tricks. Still, why was Jim here? How did he know?

Faced with Spock's silence and wholly unguarded expression, Jim spoke to him gently.

"I felt you slipping away. I was sitting at my desk and I felt it! Don't lie to me Mister, what the hell were you doing?"

A million explanations rushed through his mind and he rejected all of them. There were no words to explain what Spock had lost or how he felt about the situation. So he did the one thing he knew Jim, the expert in emotion, would understand.

He knew Jim was kneeling before him as he sat on the bed. He brought up his right hand and followed Jim's arm from his hand that rested on his shoulder. He could feel the nap of the uniform sleeve, and the broad strong muscles first in Jim's arm and then shoulder. His fingers sought Jim's face, smooth and moist from the heat in his room. His fingers touched his ear briefly and traveled the hairline to his temple. Then he waited for permission to proceed.

All he heard was Jim's voice, cracked with emotion, "Okay. Spock. Okay."

Just the first two fingers of his hand brushed Jim's temple, then pressed gently. There were no words. Just, memories and impressions, moments in time, where Jim could see expressions sweeping across his own face, one minute closed, another open with tenderness, pride, gleeful astonishment, joy, grief.

Spock could read Jim's surprise at how carefully he had been categorized. He felt Jim's wonder and pleasure at the emotions he didn't know Spock possessed that attached to these impressions.

Then Spock paused and slowly unfurled his emotions. Jim felt tendrils of sadness, despair and overwhelming hopelessness flowing over and around him. It was devastating. At the center of it was not Spock's loss of sight, but his perceived loss of Jim and the life Spock had believed he had built.

It was too much. Jim pulled back away from Spock's hand. He still felt Spock's emotions slightly, like an echo and could feel his hurt and pain at Jim's rejection. Jim suddenly realized that Spock's controls were all but gone.

And why wouldn't they be after all he had been through? Jim looked at his friend, cataloging the planes of his face, his mouth pressed tightly in a line, his jaw tense and his eyes, filled with regret.

Jim considered the action that he knew would have far reaching consequences for both of them. He could accept what his friend was implicitly offering or reject his powerful emotions that threatened to swamp both of them.

No one ever said James T. Kirk lacked courage or hubris. It took both to take Spock's face in both of his hands and bring their foreheads together. He suspected Spock didn't truly understand the gesture but took the chance anyway. After a moment, when he felt Spock relax slightly, he moved his head and brushed his cheek with his. He turned his head and let his lips brush Spock's forehead, his cheek and then the corner of his mouth.

Jim moved his hands down to Spock's shoulders and carefully pushed him onto the bed. It took but a moment to remove Spock's boots, find the blanket at the bottom of the bed and pull it over his friend.

"Rest. I'm here. I won't leave. Rest and we'll work this out after you have had some sleep."

Somewhere in Spock's mind, he could see Jim looking at him tenderly. A peaceful lassitude crept over him. He couldn't fight his exhaustion one minute more. This time, the darkness that swept over his mind, sent him to sleep. His last thought was that Jim would be there when he awoke. He didn't have the energy to analyze it, just to accept that perhaps things between them were different now.

Some time later, McCoy found Spock in his unlocked room, lying motionless on his side facing the door of the bathroom he shared with his Captain. In the half light, sitting in a chair beside his bed was Jim, his friend, legs spread in front of him, elbows on the arm rests of the chair, head thrown back in sleep.

McCoy's heart almost stopped.

Then the figure on the bed moved, coming up onto his elbow and looked straight at McCoy. Worried dark eyes blinked at the low light. An eyebrow lifted and recognition dawned. Spock couldn't see the Doctor clearly but he could see something. It seemed his vision had been restored by a little known quirk of Vulcan biology.

McCoy would never speak of his suspicion of what Spock would have done had Jim not found him that evening. He had heard stories of Vulcan's willing themselves into death and could easily imagine the logic of such an act to one who had always put so little value on his own life. If later, he noticed that Spock was less reserved with Jim and Jim reached out to Spock more and more, he drew no hard conclusions.

Doctor McCoy proudly stood with them at their bonding ceremony eight years later under blazing sunlight and dry winds, robes whispering and the sound of delicate bells as background music. He never knew exactly what had caused them to really see each other for the first time; he knew only that Spock's temporary blindness had been a catalyst.