Spock was, for lack of a better word, concerned.

The Enterprise had been assigned a diplomatic mission to Regula III, which happened to be inhabited by an infamously hostile species, but this was not his primary concern.

He, the captain, and Dr. McCoy had beamed down to the planet and, much to their surprise (even Spock's, though he didn't show it), they were greeted quite kindly by servants and taken to the Regulan king, who, with a graciousness that was in direct opposition with his species' reputation, had proceeded to throw a banquet for them. He proclaimed that he wished to establish peace with the Federation by changing the hostile nature of his people to outsiders, and it was this, above all else, that concerned Spock. No one could change that easily.

Spock surveyed the room around him. He had engaged in several conversations with some of the planet's dignitaries, but he really much preferred to remain alone. Regulans were not nearly as telepathically inept as humans, but he still had no desire to inadvertently pick up on any of their thoughts.

His eyes wandered to center of the room, where Jim was talking with the newly-appointed Regulan ambassador, and not for the first time that night, felt anger well up within him. The man's advances on Jim were clearly unwanted, yet he continued to persist. Spock did not understand why—Jim's body language clearly indicated that the attention was entirely undesired.

After watching their interaction for several minutes, Spock finally decided to intervene. He quickly walked over to the pair and stood next to the captain, who looked up at him and smiled. Spock simply raised one eyebrow before turning to the ambassador.

"Kusimko, das nuvey. Cra shno sav'akh," he said, as politely as he could manage. Ambassador, I must ask that you desist. He does not want you. The ambassador smiled derisively.

"Korvo nucren rey sav'akh, vulclano?" he asked in an almost mocking tone. How do you know what he wants, Vulcan?

Jim frowned. He didn't speak a word of Regulan, but even he could tell that a derogatory comment had just been made. He glanced at his First Officer, but Spock was staring at the ambassador, his face like stone, and when he spoke, his voice was pure ice.

"Davime, kusimko, cravinde doe schni ka makre porti. De vash nuvey." Trust me, Ambassador, the captain has no desire for you. It would be wise of you to desist.

The ambassador scowled. Turning away from Spock and Jim, he called, "Nevilus! Put this one in the brig!" He pointed to Spock.

Jim jumped back slightly, surprised. "Whoa, whoa, whoa," he said quickly. "Ambassador, may I ask on what grounds you are planning on imprisoning my first officer?"

The ambassador shrugged. "He said you did not want me."

Jim blinked in surprise, and it took him a moment to answer. "Well, excuse me for saying so, sir, but I don't really think he should be incarcerated for stating the obvious. I don't want you."

Spock closed his eyes momentarily, trying not to groan, and somehow managed to resist hitting Jim, hard. Any words from him would only serve to make their situation worse—how could he not see that?

The ambassador simply stared at Jim for a moment, his mouth open, and finally turned to the guard he had summoned. "Very well, then," he said coldly, clearly insulted. "Take them both to the brig, Nevilus."

"Well," Jim said. "That went well."

Spock gave him an incredulous look, and he sighed. "Well, it was going fine until you killed the ambassador's ego, anyway."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "It was only logical to intervene," he said. "His advances toward you were clearly unwanted, although he apparently did not notice. He obviously has little experience in reading body language."

Jim snorted. "Uh, yeah, obviously, but it seemed necessary to appease him to get what we wanted. Doesn't look like that's gonna happen now."

Spock turned back to him, a small frown creasing his brow ever so slightly. "Due in no small part to your own actions," he said. Jim stared at him for a moment before answering.

"My actions?" he said indignantly. "I'm not the one who insulted the guy in his own tongue in front of about a hundred of his countrymen." Jim glared at him.

"True," Spock replied coolly, "but had you not spoken and simply let me be escorted to the brig, you would have been able to continue your conversation with the ambassador and likely would have reached an agreement. Now the only diplomat we have left is Dr. McCoy."

The captain winced a little at that, but responded just as fiercely as before. "Yeah, well, did you really think I was gonna let them put you in here alone? I'm not a total ass, Spock."

Spock's eyebrow rose once more. "I am well aware of that, Captain," he said. "In fact, I often find myself marveling at your social skills these days."

Jim's eyes widened, and he grinned. "Was that a compliment, Mr. Spock?" he asked in a teasing tone. "Are you trying to say that you actually like me now?"

The tips of Spock's ears flushed green, but fortunately the captain did not seem to notice. "The term 'like' has varying definitions, Captain," he replied dryly.

"Jim," the captain corrected immediately, watching his First closely. "Which definition would say applies to how you feel about me, Mr. Spock?"

Spock's heart beat somewhat faster, and he felt inexplicably nervous all of a sudden. He looked down. "I believe it would be sufficient to say that I consider you to be my friend, Cap-Jim," he said quietly. He glanced up and suddenly found his eyes locked with Jim's, and there was a glint in his friend's eyes that made him wary.

"Is that all, Spock?" Jim asked, all traces of humor gone. "You just like me as a friend—nothing more?"

Spock tried to look away from Jim's eyes, in order to keep his secret to himself, but he found that he could not. Finally he spoke. "Indeed, Captain."

The captain got up and walked over to him, and Spock's eyes followed him from where he sat on the ground. Jim once again caught Spock's gaze and held it, refusing to let go. "You know what?" he said, his voice hard. "I think you're lying."

Spock's breath very nearly caught in his throat, but he managed to suppress the reaction immediately. He stood, still staring into Jim's eyes. "Vulcans do not lie, Captain."

Jim shook his head. "No," he replied evenly. "But you're half human." He stepped closer to Spock and, rather tentatively, reached out and traced the shell of Spock's ear with his finger.

Spock closed his eyes for a moment, unable to stop the shudder that ran through him at the captain's touch. "Sure you don't want to revise that answer, Spock?" Jim asked, and Spock's eyes snapped open to see him standing considerably closer, so close they were nearly breathing the same air, a mischievous grin on his face.

For a moment, Spock struggled to speak; Jim's hand on his ear, coupled with how close they were standing, was making it nearly impossible to think straight. "I-I do not know, Captain," he replied after a moment, untruthfully. However much he did want to change his answer, he most certainly was not going to say that. Admitting to such feelings for his captain would be unacceptable.

The captain smiled again, softly this time. "It's Jim, Spock," he said gently, and then leaned forward to kiss him.

Spock was not entirely sure that his heart hadn't stopped beating completely, and at the same time he couldn't quite bring himself to care. Jim's lips were, for the most part, very soft under his, only chapped in a few places, and rather refreshing in their coolness. He felt Jim's tongue nudging at his lips and opened his mouth slightly, then more, moaning softly as he dragged his tongue over the roof of Spock's mouth. The sound, however, was enough to clear Spock's head somewhat, and he pulled quickly away.

He tried to back away from the captain, but Jim wouldn't let him, his hands—which, Spock had not realized before now, were placed lightly on either side of his face—refusing to let him go, even pulling him a little closer. Spock almost automatically reached up and put his hands on Jim's wrists, intending to move the captain's hands, but something made him stop.

Jim stared up at him, the intensity in his blue eyes almost intoxicating. He stroked Spock's cheek lightly, and Spock leaned into his touch, eyes closing for a few seconds. They reopened when he heard Jim's voice. "Don't fight this," Jim whispered, his voice simultaneously gentle and somehow pleading. "This is how we're supposed to be."

Something inside Spock clenched at that, and for a long moment the two of them simply stared at each other. "Jim," Spock said finally, but even as the name left his lips, he knew it was no good to argue. At this point, it was more of a reflex when talking with the captain. They always seemed to end up arguing anyway, although admittedly it had been happening less and less recently.

Jim cut across him. "Don't," he said quickly. "You can't deny it. I've watched you; I can tell it's the same way for you as it is for me."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I do not understand your meaning."

Jim laughed. "What I mean is," he said, and then stopped, like he didn't know what to say. He started over. "On the days when I'm on the bridge before you, I can feel when you walk on the bridge—feel you with a sense I didn't know I had. My heart gets weirdly jumpy whenever I hear your name or I get too close to you, and I hardly ever actually mean it when I argue with you now—it's just kind of a habit." Spock's lips quirked up a tiny bit at that, and Jim grinned. "So," he said, "look me straight in the eye and tell me it's not like that for you, and I'll let you go." He paused. "That's probably the only way I'll let you go though, short of some kind of explosion."

Spock looked down for a moment, suddenly embarrassed for some reason. Jim tilted his head slightly to look at him, and he automatically, if a tiny bit reluctantly, looked back into his eyes. After a moment, he replied, "I would be lying if I did not admit to being in a similar situation as you as of late."

Jim rolled his eyes. "Sure, now you don't want to lie," he said sarcastically, but Spock could tell he was teasing. "If you'd just told the truth in the first place—"

Spock interrupted, impatient. "You are talking entirely too much," he said. The captain laughed. "You're right," he replied. "I can think of a much better use for my lips." He leaned forward and kissed Spock again, softly at first but deepening quickly. Spock closed his eyes and let his brain stop, his mouth moving almost of its own accord in sync with Jim's.

Quite suddenly, his acute Vulcan hearing picked up footsteps on the stairs, and he pulled away from the captain like lightning, practically jumping backwards to the wall he had been sitting against before. Jim frowned at his movement for a moment before he heard the footsteps as well. "Damn," he muttered, going to his original spot just as Dr. McCoy came around the corner, somehow managing to look angry and concerned at the same time. He looked at the two of them in the cell for a moment, and then shook his head. "I can't believe you two."

Spock and Jim exchanged a quick, slightly worried glance while the doctor continued. "I mean, how in the hell do you manage to get imprisoned on a diplomatic mission, for God's sake? I knew your social skills were bad, Jim, but I thought they'd improved more than that." Jim looked on the verge of laughter. Shaking his head, Dr. McCoy turned to Spock. "And you," he said irritably. "I don't know in what universe it might be considered smart to insult a guy twice your size, but I can tell you it sure as hell isn't this one. I'm scanning your brain when we get outta here."

"Tell me that's going to be soon," Jim interrupted. "This floor is so not comfortable."

Dr. McCoy rolled his eyes. "Actually, yeah, I think—" Before he could finish, the burly guard who had brought Jim and Spock down before came storming down the stairs. "Move," he instructed roughly to the doctor, pushing him away and coming up to the cell himself. Jim stood, and Spock came up to stand beside him. He heard Jim's heart rate increase slightly, but Jim managed to maintain his control.

"My king and ambassador have instructed me to tell that they will accept your proposition to join the Federation on one condition," he said, looking upon the two of them with pure disdain.

"Yeah, what's that?" Jim asked, his voice hard.

"That you three never return to our planet."

Jim smirked. "I think we can manage that."

Several minutes later, the three of them were finally leaving, Jim and Spock determinedly avoiding each other's gazes. Spock, for one, knew that he would not be able to resist Jim for long if he looked into his eyes or stood close to him for any length of time. Bones looked between the two of them, and then at Jim. "What in the hell kinda trouble did you two get into down there?" he growled at him, immediately suspicious. Jim grinned.

"None," he replied. He paused for a second. "Well, at least none of the kind that you're thinking of."

The doctor stared at him. "You're joking," he said in disbelief. Jim raised an eyebrow in perfect imitation of Spock. "Good God, man!" Bones exclaimed. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Jim opened his mouth to argue, annoyed at his friend for insulting Spock, but before he could a get a word out, his first officer spoke up. "I do not know," he answered, his tone sarcastic, and Jim turned and gaped at him. He merely raised one eyebrow in response. There really was nothing more he could say, at least nothing that Dr. McCoy would not be utterly annoyed to hear.

When Jim woke up the next morning, he couldn't remember where he was. All he knew was that was comfortable and really warm. And last night…

His eyes snapped open, and he immediately twisted slightly to see the face of the person holding him.

Spock was already awake and watching him. "Good morning," Jim said, smiling. Spock raised one eyebrow.

"Indeed," he replied, his eyes shining in amusement. "However, I do not think that 'good' is an adequate description of my emotional state at the moment."

Jim laughed. "Yeah, me neither, but I thought it'd be weird if I said 'fucking amazing morning'", he said, his eyes wandering almost unconsciously to Spock's lips.

Spock gave Jim a tiny smile and leaned forward to kiss him. It started out soft and light, innocent, but quickly became heated, their hands running quickly over each other's bodies.

After several minutes, Jim pulled away with a gasp, making Spock give him 'what the hell' look that almost made him laugh again. "As much as I would absolutely love to continue this," he said, still rather breathless, "we have a shift in an hour that we have to get ready for, and if we start this now, we're gonna be late." He paused. That was a bit of an understatement. "To say the least."

Spock nodded reluctantly. "You are right, of course," he said. He leaned over and kissed Jim again, managing, with difficulty, to keep it light. Jim must have sensed his trouble, because he said, "I think I'm going to get ready in my quarters so we don't distract each other." He smiled almost apologetically. "I do love you, though," he added, reaching out to trace Spock's jaw with his finger.

"As I love you, t'hy'la," Spock replied, and Jim's heart nearly stopped. He wasn't a linguist, but he knew what that meant. Unable to resist, he leaned over and kissed Spock fiercely, giving no hint that the kiss would be dying down any time soon.

This time it was Spock who pulled away. "Jim," he said. "Alpha shift starts in fifty-seven minutes. We must get ready."

Jim rolled his eyes. "Fuck shift," he muttered just before he leaned down to capture Spock's lips again.

And that time, Spock didn't stop him…making them very, very late.