Intreat Me Not to Leave Thee
by C.M. Decarnin
Part 3: A Positive Engagement
Consciousness was suddenly pulled into ...
... something. A place of peace, of pellucid calm. In caves of silk... He was guided among intimations of great peaceful spaces, he felt Spock's thoughts as feathery contacts that shimmered with intimacy but communicated no clear knowledge until he was stopped, and permeated with awareness of intention as known, as certain, as though it had been his own. Spock meant to live, carry on his work, in concert with -- he saw another, someone he almost recognized, before understanding was gently withdrawn.
"You see, Jim."
Yes, he had seen. Touched. Known this place of beauty and wonder that would be his. Only a moment, and yet he had seen a universe spread for his exploration, every discovery delight, every dormancy wakening to him, blossoming at his touch, each moment new, a paradise as though created in the image of his own desire. Yet other... genuinely other and ...unknown. A place to revel in, to rest in, to know fulfillment.
Spock had settled on the bed before him. Emerging from his bedazzlement he felt Spock taking his hand again, moving it this time down. He opened his eyes just as his fingers were pressed over Spock's groin. Under his flinching touch lay the outlines of a quiescent cock so big he would not have been able to close his hand around it. He could not look up. Spock had reminded him that this was the only key with which he could enter that wondrous kingdom. A key he knew, now, he could not use.
How could Spock not understand? The film. The film that must have used some trick -- but no fiction could make Spock so ignore plain facts of anatomy!
Then there had to be some way --
But there was no longer a necessity. Spock would live, with him or without him. There was no reason to be kneeling here, with his hand on Spock's sex.
No reason but years of unselfish love.
No reason but the way he felt when Spock touched him, or he touched Spock.
No reason but the misery of walking away forever from his Vulcan; the jealousy of whoever might, someday, bring him happiness; the pain of a future alone.
Spock's hands on his face were so gentle they made him shiver. The meld points were touched. Gradually impinging on his own consciousness he became aware of a haunting aloneness; a distress so held under control at first the pain was negligible. But it came nearer, revealed for him, aching, ceaseless loneliness, increasing almost to agony. The yearning for intimacy wracked him. Nothing could ever heal this pain, nothing but what could never be. Please -- The anguish was gone, the meld-touch fell to a caress.
He looked up into the compassionate dark eyes. "Spock... how can you stand that? Day after day..."
"I could not. My Jim, the pain I showed you was your own."
Panic swept him. That? Inside me? I don't want it --!
"You have repressed the need and its pain for most of your life, Jim. But my investigations led me to believe they cannot be repressed much longer."
So you are there for me -- again. For an instant he almost saw some complete pattern, before movement under his hand shattered concentration. The phallus had begun to expand. Its movement was so strong it was lifting Kirk's hand from Spock's lap. He shuddered -- with something that was not revulsion.
He still had not seen it.
He brought his hands to Spock's thighs. His fingers slid under the skirt of the tunic, and lifted it back out of the way.
The cock stood up more rapidly at his action, and was revealed to his eyes erect.
It was big. It was green-hued, in shades that deepened as he looked. It stood against the folds of the silvery-black tunic like an artwork, mysteriously wrought to a beautiful shape by alien craft. Yet it was flesh, with all the heat, the mutability, the defenselessness of living things. Kirk reached and gently touched the vulnerable column, and was startled when the outer layer seemed to ripple. He touched it again, and the rippling quivered from the top of the shaft to the bottom. The movement was beautiful, it spoke of desire, pleasure, fecundity, every plenitude the flesh supplied. Entranced, he ran his forefinger down the side of the shaft, and watched the rippling multiply exquisitely until the motion seemed to harden, and it ceased. The phallus had reached some further stage of engorgedness. The double-rimmed cap, the veining... the testicles lay partially visible, pale jade eggs in Spock's profuse curled fur. Kirk felt a hurt, embarrassment at the thought of his own plain, ordinary organ being all he had to offer. He'd not thought much of how it looked, before, but only how it felt.
Spock's hands closed round his wrists.
"You have no manners, James." Kirk looked up, startled. "You have not yet thanked me for the privilege of inciting my desire."
Time to leave -- But holding the wrists, Spock pressed Kirk's arms slowly down, then behind his back, and pulled him close. He could hardly get his breath. Spock's mouth touched his, softly as lips could touch. The tongue entered him, and the details of abstract thought left him. Spock had captured him, he was Spock's, dark to all other knowledge. Against his mouth Spock murmured, "Say 'thank you' , James."
"Thank you," welled from erotic gratitude, untouched by will.
"You will rise."
Deep inside a sparkle of amusement: I already did. But with awkward balancing he managed to get to his feet without using his hands. Spock once more brought him closer, and then to his amazement he felt warm lips at the side of his half-hard cock. Then he felt teeth. They closed in a small hard bite that shot fireworks of mixed pain and pleasure out all over him. He tried to move but was tightly held. The tiny nips burned along the side of his cock, which rose and got harder and harder. His eyes closed. His breath got ragged. Spock shifted and started biting up the other side. With a small moan Kirk slowly began to fold. He never had been able to fuck standing up.
He felt his wrists released as Spock moved away from him. Dazed, he looked and saw the Vulcan lying, propped on an elbow, on the bed. He was surveyed coolly. "Bring me something to drink, James."
Spock wouldn't have sex with him.
He looked around distractedly. Against the far wall, on the other side of the bed, goblets and a pitcher stood on a little Vulcan table. He went and poured juice into a cup. Spock was right, of course, because if he had sex with him he might be tied to him forever, and that couldn't be.
Except I want him. I want him.
I want him to have me, make me come, and be my lover.
His hands were shaking when he set down the pitcher. Between one moment and the next he had left his old reality, a shell too small.
I want him. And I want him now.
The Vulcan had turned to watch him. He carried the cup back to the bed. Disinterestedly Spock sipped from it. There was to be no sex.
If he could seduce an android, a gladiator, a woman moving at Mach 10, and a tiny pipecleaner being from another galaxy, he could by heaven seduce a Vulcan who already had a hard-on.
What difference could three more days make? Spock said they were matched; McCoy as good as confirmed it. His own cock's corroboration was unequivocal.
He wasn't accustomed to having to wait between making a decision and implementing it, and... far underneath, after the past week's rollercoaster emotions, was the pinprick of a fear that he might lose his nerve. Spock didn't want him to think with his dick, but that might be the only part of him that had the courage for this. Even now reason told him it had to be madness to choose, over Starfleet and captaincy, a lover whose needs must split him open. Only irrational stubbornness was on his gonads' side: There must be a way. His lifelong flinging of the gauntlet at the feet of reality. His faith in Spock: There has to be a way. Spock would not bring him this far to face injury and despair. Irrepressible optimism: There will be a way. Somewhere out there, if you just went far enough, was an answer for everything.
Spock had at least part of this answer right now.
He thought of something that had faded from his repertoire since he'd reached the years of dignity. His cock wasn't so hard now that Spock would rebuff him instantly.
Meeting Spock's eyes, he sat down on the edge of the bed. He reached up and took the goblet, and brought it to his lips. Praia. A sweet fruit nectar Vulcans imported from the Orion system. It would work better than the thin tart native Vulcan juices. Slowly he leaned in and touched Spock's mouth with his sweetened lips and tongue. He pressed Spock down to the bed. He began to open the embroidered fastenings down the front of the S'kanderai tunic. When three or four were undone, he moved his kiss to Spock's throat, and then, pulling back a little, tipped a few drops from the goblet onto the exposed skin. Licking the spill as slowly as he knew how, he felt for more of the innumerable little fastenings. Vulcans had a zeal for being securely covered.
He spilled more nectar as he shifted his legs surreptitiously onto the bed. This time his tongue found thickly sprinkled chest hairs, not coarse, more the texture of fur, and he was a bit taken aback. The goblet was lifted from his hand, and he heard it set on the shelf behind the bed. No more playing with his food. He'd better get on with it before Spock stopped him. He pressed kisses through the silk. The tunic was, yes, still hiked up leaving his objective clear. Please. Please let me. Please. Seduction crumbled to hurt when he felt Spock move, but the long body only rolled onto its side, toward him. His own cock responded to the slight peremptoriness of the action. A quarter-turn would put Spock over him, roused and dominant. The hard Vulcan muscles he could feel against him were to be the limits on his freedom, now, to choose. Gateway to his freedom... not to choose. Desire soaked him through, a relaxation conquering, profound. Safe. Safe. Safe to be worked, pushed, touched too deep, convulsed. A vast massage of everything he was. Bliss so unswervingly imposed it was safe even to refuse, love it was safe to fight against, as he needed, yearningly, to fight it, be defeated in a fight against release. The feelings came familiarly, yet it was new, so new -- he'd never had this sense of every cell of him at one, of every nerve-end glued to the acts and pulses of another. Spock gave him this, his miracle, this sinewy Vulcan that he... loved. He loved. The body that inculcated, with every move, beginner's lessons in the art he'd thought he knew. The mind, to open on exhaustless treasures for him, playground, temple, home -- Eden, in his lover's soul. What roseate dimensions of his life he'd never known...
To get to them there was one last thing he had to do. Give Spock such pleasure it would spill out over him, sweep them both away to that new world.
To give Spock sexual pleasure. The thought shook him with excitement. Careful... careful...
He inched down further and further until at last his lips encountered cock. Without touching his hands to it, he delicately as a snake explored the shape of the cock-tip with touches of his tongue. He felt the body against him shake, and put one hand up the back of Spock's thigh, and palmed the muscles' tremors. Under his tongue the flared rim arched, searching for more contact. He slowly covered the whole cap with one lick, starting to understand the subtle convexity. He let the underside of his tongue slide over the edge, to the second rim. As he explored the crevice between he could feel both edgings quivering. He slid his hand a little so that his fingers nudged the space between Spock's thighs. Delicate curled hair brushed his forefinger. The big muscles tautened.
Kirk took a last taste of the front of the glans, where the two rims swept up into one another in a wondrous tented vault, and started his tongue down onto the shaft. On the smooth length, the underside's arabesque of veining made a pattern too complex to learn at once, like the face of ancient money, moidore, doubloon, rial, sovereign, and amid this fortune, against his lingual kiss, pulsed Spock's double heart. The quick feathery beating called his lips irresistibly down to the warm organ, and he rested there a moment, impressing his love on the throbbing treasury. Then his tongue went on, excursioning around each side, in his first testing of dimensions he must soon come to know so intimately -- his whole body went into shudders of excitement at the thought, and he felt Spock respond, pressing in on him with anguished slowness, and then easing away. Am I playing with fire? he wondered. He knew he wasn't ready for -- well, for -- Hot chills ran all the way down to his toes. Maybe he was readier than he thought.
He arrived at the base of Spock's phallus and put his tongue down cautiously into the hair there. The skin of the balls was a fascinating texture, but they were clenched and hard. He would have to catch them loose sometime, get them in his mouth ... he slid his tongue between them and back up, and noticed how the fur came up and stuck along the shaft. He went back and licked up again, a little to one side, aligning the neighboring hairs. Slowly he groomed his way around the root of the cock, arranging the disorder into a pointed crown, a setting for the phallus. He had almost got it perfect when he felt Spock's hand on his shoulder. A low, wrenched vocalization started, a sound that struck deep in him, like steel and flint to tinder. The whole fork of his thighs ignited with the sound, that rose and cut off in a tortured gasp.
It was Spock, his Vulcan, moaning with desire for him.
His tongue washed out around each side of the cock in turn, rising, wetting, making that sound return, that resonating moan that this time turned him all to senseless flame. He moved up to take the cock-head in his mouth -- and recoiled.
The cap dripped with thick, viscous fluid.
A scent filled his nostrils, alien, pungent, like nothing he had ever smelled before, yet calling up memories of sandalwood dust, of forest floor, and ocean. Other things -- He drew back to look, and met Spock's hand pressing his head down, his hips pushing, urgent, forward, to trap Kirk's mouth again against his penis. Instinctively, Kirk resisted, body locked against force. He was instantly released.
Oh no. He could feel the hurt seeping through Spock's heart. No. No.
My Spock. He clasped Spock to him. He forced his mouth down onto the welling substance, and opened wide enough to take -- barely -- the swollen tip. It was too big to do much after that. He moved his tongue under it, tightened his lips gingerly, not sure how much pressure was safe -- then there were teeth to look out for, and the penis end gushed. The heavy flavor and viscosity made him gag, against his best intentions. Suddenly he felt hands grip under his armpits and Spock dragged him up the length of the bed.
"I didn't mean -- it's not that I don't like it, I just --" His swift plea was cut off by Spock's hand covering his mouth. He lay on his back and stared wide-eyed up into the Vulcan's face. All at once he felt short of breath.
Leaning over him Spock said in a low, velvet tone, "You do not have to like it, my little virgin slave." Still clamping Kirk's mouth, he eased his weight down onto that elbow and stroked the other hand onto Kirk's smooth chest. His fingertips played lightly across one nipple, then trailed all down Kirk's naked flank. His voice became a heavy purr. "So responsive. So vulnerable. So helpless. And still untouched by any man. I will take you bound, to have you more helplessly open to me, my hands free to -- govern you." At the words Spock pinched up tender flesh above Kirk's hipbone, and began rolling the pinching with painful force up the sensitive skin of his side. The pain was sharp, and any movement only increased it. He ended back at the nipple, crushing it so fiercely that Kirk writhed and cried out. Pain doubled. He tried to keep still, but Spock did not relent. The pain tore movement from him -- and increased. "You thought you would bring me to completion with that pretty mouth. Little slave, I shall have your virginity and all the exquisite pain of your violation. Not all your revulsion, or your tricks, or your struggles can prevent me.
"Thus." His thigh slid naked over Kirk's, touched the base of Kirk's cock. Lakes of hot lust took his squirming hips, and a cable of electrical communication ran under his guts to the tortured nipple Spock still rolled and pulled. The changing angles of pain beat directly in his cock. He stretched and tried to get Spock's leg to cover him. The thigh pressed down to fasten him to the bed, but gave no more contact to his agonized sex.
He began to struggle, the pain and his need solidified in blind movement. Spock held him effortlessly.
Sounds in his throat were muffled by Spock's tight hand. One arm was trapped under Spock's body. With the other he reached, but before he could touch his penis Spock's hand whipped down, caught his wrist, and dragged it up over his head. His nipple flamed as blood rushed back into its abused tissue. Then his mouth was freed as Spock clamped his captured wrist to the bed. Leisurely Spock's again mobile right hand descended to the throb of the nipple.
He tried to shrink away. "No!" -- then groaned and fought as the oversensitized tip was squeezed.
"There are some things you must learn, James. First you will never say 'No' to me -- unless you want to be punished." He wrenched at the flesh, leaving Kirk in a breathless canyon of pain and erotic blankness -- tabula rasa for Spock's writing. "Second, you will never touch yourself to give yourself pleasure." Again the nipple was released, to sear. He felt Spock's palm brush up the length of the swollenness of his cock, and arched for it. "This," Spock said, caressing again, "is mine."
"Please --" There was no Kirk -- only the caress, pain, imprisonment, surrender to the most melting sexual sensations he had ever experienced -- the gathering at his loins -- his cock trembling --
Spock pulled away, gripped his arms and dragged him out of the bed.
"Get dressed," he said.
Confounded and gasping, Kirk cried, "No, you can't --!" Spock slapped him so hard he stumbled and fell.
"Get dressed and get out."
He dragged himself up to lean on his hands. His groin was so tight he knew he could not stand. He felt Spock's eyes on him. Humiliation washed over him, cleansing him of pride. Head hanging, he whispered, "Please..." and added, almost-silently, "Commander."
Spock was very still. Then he said coldly, "I have amused myself as much as I wish. Leave me."
I can't! He huddled unable to speak, unable to move. This couldn't be happening. He was James Kirk, Captain of this U.S.S. Enterprise carrying him into unknown space faster than thought could comprehend. His will was law, his lightest word -- Through the layered carpettings he seemed to feel the flash of vacuum past the hull. There the sucking cold. Above him the source of such white heat he could not look at it. Himself defenseless against the pull of that sun. Held. I can't. His will as liquid as desire. His cock wanting, he wanted the same, an oceanic power he could not oppose, a power he...
Decision integral, not a thing he made, but that which, possessing him, made unity of sun and vacuum, of desire and act. One, and whole, with drugged slowness, he lifted his face to his -- his -- love. Spock, in dark tunic and gold sash, indomitable in every beauty --
the one and absolute chess move,
a weapon, a retiarius's net there to his hand...
He saw the net flinging free and open and turning; saw it settle like the invisible strands of phantom nebulae upon his lover; saw how it clung and held him... there for his slave's pleasure, a prisoner of stars.
His hair falling in his face, his breath almost failing him, Kirk looked up more deeply into the dark eyes than he had ever done. We are one. I claim my right. He gathered what breath he could summon. Your game, your rules -- He said,
He saw Spock breathe in, his lips part, his eyes lock with Kirk's. Your rules, but ah, my game! The game he knew so well, that Spock could not.
Check, my love. Mate in two moves. He saw Spock lean ever so slightly, involuntarily, toward him, saw the long hands move upward with perilous grace. Then he saw all that had been beautiful incandesce.
Spock was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
And the most erotically alive. Swift and dangerous, deliberate and voluptuous, brutal, infinitesimally exacting -- Spock now was all of these, as none had ever seen him, as no other ever would. How few could ever know of this, the great and ultimate secret of the Vulcans! A sexual transformation so complete, so primeval at its source, it made a new being saturated with its own deep biological clarity of purpose. This, this that he had awakened, was no Spock he had ever known.
Naked, trembling, sexually ready, yet he was afraid. He was responding so powerfully that he knew if Spock so much as pressed him down to the carpets he would convulse helplessly in orgasm. And Spock... what had been Spock... would there take him, without mercy or excuses, take him as either of them would take breath after running, as the power that commanded him decreed. There would be no detours of hand or mouth or thighs, only the true cruel thrust into the flesh. Spock's organ had stretched his mouth. He could not -- The Vulcans -- in pon farr they fucked for days -- "I have already waited longer than is entirely safe" -- by the time anyone found him --
But the thought of Spock's hot flesh against him, around him, holding him, the thought of Spock's fistlike phallus brutally forcing down between his pressed thighs, of Spock's hands parting his thighs wide -- he brimmed with lusting, his body stretching, trembling, in invitation.
Spock took a step toward him.
He shrank back. Yet at the same moment his body was wracked with a rippling shudder of want.
He saw Spock waver like a flame.
The Vulcan whispered, "You have defied me."
He stepped forward, in movement flamelike.
Kirk felt a cry rising in his throat.
"Yes." Spock let out a sound of hissing breath. "You may well fear. For you see that of which your kind continually boast, and never really know. The passion you have so foolishly touched in your defiance. In all Vulcan history the punishment of a rebellious bed-slave took but one form. The blood-passion of the master's mind was imposed throughout. No slave rebelled a second time.
"You writhe with desire for me, knowing I could make you try to scream with pain, unable to utter a sound. I feel your desire. It cries to me. You see what I am. You know what I will do to you. And still your lust inflames the link. Slave indeed ... slave of your desires.
"This that you see we call the passion. It does not blind, but impregnates the mind with intuitive perception." Spock came near and sank to one knee. "I see you now as I have never seen you...'your lust as plumbless as the soul, in your heat the forge of our slave-bands of iron.' The poets of ancient Vulcan spoke of such as you." Spock's gaze entered him deeply, absorbing all that he was. "You wish that I shall violate you."
Speaking as if from a great distance, yet nearer to himself than he had ever been, Kirk said, "I want your hands on me."
"You know what must follow."
"Anything... anything." Kirk's voice was only a breath. His eyes had closed. " ... only touch me." His loins trembled forward in an offering movement. "I am... for you. Take... pleasure... of me..." His body was sinking back, naked onto the rough Vulcan wool. Press me into this harshness, cover me with your strength, open me, hurt me, deep --
Drugged with desire's power, Kirk turned again the magical key that must bring him all he wanted: "No."
Through half-parted lids he looked up at the presence of fiery beauty bending over him, near to engulfing him. Knowing Spock was naked under the tunic, his sex bared and hardened, dripping, prepared, so near its purpose, he felt his inwards quivering with little chills of dread. And yet his lips whispered, "Punish..." His shoulders touched the carpet. He dragged his palms on its rough surface. His hips moved, and lifted. His lips pulled back with need. "Spock --" He could hear Spock's hard breathing. He rolled up on one arm and blindly reached to uncover the hidden cock.
And at that Spock's hands were on him, but instead of bearing him to the floor Spock had him on his feet in one surge of strength, and stumbling, thrown and brought up short then thrown against a wall, released for an instant to catch one glimpse of an inset dial flashing to full right, before, wrists held in grasps of iron, he was struck by a second wall of -- icewater! With a cry he tried to escape, but was faced full into the freezing blast. His head was ducked, he gasped and twisted as the icy sheets cascaded his back. Then he was held again front on to the frigid spray. His lust and his erection wilted desperately, he fought as the chill seemed to freeze the breath in his lungs. The 'freeze' setting was always included for crew whose culture-sets demanded winter plunge baths, steam tents and the like, but it was many, many years since its practical-joke potential had been a fact of Kirk's life, and never had he been forced under its numbing jets for more than a few lively seconds. "Stop! Spock --!" His mouth filled. Each time he tried to speak his face was pushed into the thick of the cataract, until he kept silent; his muscles he forced to quiescence under the glacial drenching. Submission -- it must be what Spock wanted. Yet he was not freed. His body began to shake with deep cold, the sleety water dashing against him in sprays of bitter fire. Didn't Spock know about hypothermia? In real pain how, Kirk tried again to wrench his naked body out of the shower's path, but Spock jerked him back and pulled him to his knees in the spray. He knelt gasping, shaking. Suddenly Spock bent near, shielding him from the freezing lash of the water with his body.
"James. Look up."
Shivering uncontrollably, Kirk obeyed.
"You are untamed and untrained. You must learn one thing. I alone am owner of your lust. I call it forth at my pleasure. I dismiss it at my will. You do not know the danger you have courted with your willfulness. You will never again trifle with my complete control of your sexual being. Submit to this."
Kirk, his skin as cold as marble in the warm manacles of Spock's grip, lowered his head. Spock... Spock... Frozen and stripped of all he had had, even the protective garment of arousal, there was but one thing he wanted: that warmth, that heat, that one bed of ember that was Spock, as lover inferno, hot mate of his soul, as the beauty of the flame to his senses, as unfailing hearth to his homecoming.
He lifted his face.
Amid the roar of the water was a silence.
"You have rebelled. You are to be punished when next I desire you. For now, however... it is probable that your body can undergo a further two point four minutes of icewater without entering an injurious state." Spock released his wrists. "You will endure it."
He took Kirk's face in his hands. Incredulously Kirk felt a kernel of heat in the tip of his own frozen penis.
"Part your legs." Shudderingly Kirk worked his knees apart. "Put your hands on your ankles." He obeyed. "I will leave the room. You will make no sound, and you will not move."
The warm hands leaving his face stabbed him with sorrow. Then, as Spock moved, the refrigerated water inundated him again. He stifled a huge gasp. The agony of cold spread through him quickly and deeply. It could not -- could not be this cold! People did this voluntarily. --Spock.-- And then he could think of nothing but the cold, that penetrated down to his very bones, the stinging force of the jets seeming to drive icicles against his flesh. It went on unendurably. His larger muscles began a spasmodic shuddering. His testicles felt coated with ice, his thighs and biceps marble-cold, his belly frozen through to the gut. His nipples shriveled painfully. The time must be up. He slitted his eyes through the water. Spock wasn't there. He must come -- now -- he must come -- now -- The seconds themselves moved stiff with cold. Spock wasn't coming! It was a sardonic trick, to see how long he would endure before he disobeyed! He would move, he would move, now, in another moment if Spock didn't come, he would count to ten -- he would count another ten, no more. This was completely crazy, he must be out of his head to be doing this. A wave of appalling embarrassment held him there. To get up would be to face Spock after -- what he had said and done -- Cold killed the shame. Cold was awareness. Cold was a world. Would Spock really not come for him?
He opened his eyes again and Spock was there, standing in Vulcan robes. He stared in at Kirk impassively. He calmly pushed up the sleeve of his overgown. Then, awaiting the sign of his own internal time sense, the Vulcan ran his eyes over Kirk, pausing lengthily on the shriveled genitals, the opened thighs, and lingering on Kirk's pleading face. At last, deliberately, he reached and shut the water off.
Kirk, obeying some dark molten instinct, neither spoke nor moved from his position, but only looked up at Spock through the drops of water on his eyelashes. "Indeed." The deep purr caught at Spock's voice. "My James... such teachability. You will make a most delectable slave." He stepped back. "For now, you are dismissed. When I send for you next, be prepared to be whipped. Drastic, but necessary, James. You were entirely out of control. Had I acceded to the demands of your undisciplined libido, your amusement value to me might have been irreparably destroyed. Your lips are turning blue, James. Dry yourself -- and remove yourself. I suggest an evening of quiet reflection on the potential results of lascivious folly. Go."
Clumsily Kirk got himself to his feet. His muscles were shuddering so heavily that he staggered against the shower entrance. He reached out, but his wet hand merely slid down the slick tiles. Spock caught and lifted him with both arms before he could fall.
Finding himself between the great sleeves of the ceremonial robe he simply leaned into the warmth of Spock's body. To his bliss, he felt the sleeves fold in around him, and Spock's strong arms holding him close. He settled his head against Spock's shoulder. His heart leapt in his shaking chest when he felt Spock's breath on his mouth, and then warm lips. His teeth were chattering so hard he had to slacken them wide to admit Spock's tongue and couldn't even close his shivering lips on it. Open and trembling he abandoned the cold column of his body to enveloping Vulcan warmth and his mouth to the soft roughness that entered him. The passivity to that loving invasion, and the helplessness of his uncontrollable tremors, made the kiss the most erotic he had ever experienced. Slowly his cock began to unfurl.
Spock gently pushed him away from his shoulder and looked into his eyes. "James, you are quite incorrigible."
Kirk smiled with brilliant happiness and chattering teeth. "W-why do we have to w-wait three days, S-Spock?" He pushed close again purely for Vulcan warmth.
"Perhaps it is not necessary. But I still will not accept a decision from you while you are aroused." Kirk smiled sinfully into Spock's robe and thought, Good luck, then. "I sensed that in one respect your behavior was entirely irrational." Spock's hand found his, and guided it between them. It fixed Kirk's fingers around the Vulcan's organ, and pressed gently.
The phallus crushed in his hand. Horrified, Kirk started back, but was held in firmly by Spock's circling arm. His hand was kept immovable around the now much leaner circumference of cock.
"You were not aware of a significant difference in Vulcan anatomy. The outer tissues of the penis are collapsible. The true erectile tissue lies beneath the compressible layers."
Light was beginning to dawn. Still instinct recoiled. "Does it -- hurt?"
"On the contrary. The sensation is -- agreeable." Oh? Kirk squeezed a little harder and had the satisfaction of feeling Spock's fingers quickly disengaging him. "Perhaps it is just as well you were not aware of that earlier."
"You must warm yourself, Jim. I have a hot drink and warm blankets ready for you." Kirk thought of something to say -- it seemed his mind had got onto a single track -- but refrained. In the bedroom, with a steaming mug in his hands and toasty blankets lapped around him, he sat cross-legged on the bed and wondered when he had last felt this happy. Miramanee... The memory stabbed its familiar pain, like a badly healed wound. Close against it were other memories he did not want to think of. But they were all far in the past. He hadn't involved himself with any woman for years now. He'd gotten in the habit of taking his extended shore leaves with Spock. How long have I been in love with him? He thought back over the sunsets, the oceans, the forests they had seen together, the sand, the leaves, the grass they'd slept on, campfires and long conversations. It hadn't been easy to arrange those times when they could both be spared. But in all that time he'd never wanted more than their companionship. Spock had been sanctuary. Friendship concentrating year by year among Enterprise crew he saw daily was only natural; a lover from the crew he commanded so patently unwise that he'd found his first inner query about any woman was 'crew/not crew?' -- like a member of some exogamous tribe, he'd classified them instantly by the answer as potential lovers or taboo. Since he spent so little time off his ship, the result had been predictable: whirlwind romance or casual liaison or -- more and more -- paid sex. He let his eyes rove over Spock's elegant form, concealed by its black and scarlet robe. All those chaste nights! He hardly knew that body, though he could pick it instantly from any crowd. Those eyes -- the lambency of expression -- subtle long curves of the mouth.
"You're beautiful," he said.
Spock suddenly didn't seem to know where to look.
Irresistible. "What a fool T'Pring was."
"Hardly." Spock had composed himself. "She was without respect for human -- or half-human -- life, and so, in our clan, without morality; nevertheless, a perceptive and capable individual."
"Jim, I listened to Dr. McCoy's recording of the koon-ut-kal-if-fee in which you participated." Spock's shadow smile came and went. "From which you rescued me. He had removed the recording element in order to continue scanning the entire event while examining you, and I retrieved it after he transported you back to the ship. The universal translator is a remarkable tool, but not flawless, particularly when programmed with human erraticness. The use of the nineteenth century Quaker defective familiar to indicate Vulcan pacifism, for instance, is quite whimsical. The word the translator rendered as 'legend', in T'Pring's address to me -- saying that I had become a legend, and that she did not wish to marry a legend -- is derived from a word of the same era as the term 't'hy'la'. Brother, friend, defender, warrior-companion, mate, lover -- t'hy'la has many meanings because the t'hy'la was once many things -- the male lover and sworn warrior-companion of a male warrior. The entire Vulcan tradition of romance -- as humans would call it -- arose in this milieu -- lovers who fought and died together -- and sometimes became what we call 'legends' -- legendary figures of our history before the Reform who were virtually all warriors, virtually all so mated. So, while the translator's rendition of 'legend' was literally accurate, T'Pring intended me to understand her as using the more colloquial, euphemistic sense of the word. She in fact told me that I had become a homosexual, and that she did not wish to marry a homosexual." Spock looked to where Kirk sat, jaw dropped in astonishment. "As I said at the time," he added, "an eminently logical woman."
"But -- T'Pau -- everyone -- understood her?"
"As did I. Jim -- it was the first glimmering of such an idea that had ever come to me."
"How could she know when you didn't know yourself?"
Spock regarded him gravely. "It can occur." Kirk blushed. "Through the link, one may sense feelings or attitudes without the denial that might cover one's own emotion."
"Do you think they believed her?"
"She was known to have been linked with me."
"Then... your relatives... won't be surprised if you and I..."
Spock's underlying expression became less happy. "There would be a considerable distinction between my being attracted to other males and my being attracted to a human male, Jim."
"Oh." He was silent a moment. "Well, at least you come by it honestly." Spock tilted his head a little in inquiry. "It's an old expression referring to promiscuity taboos. A joke, implying that some trait was inherited from a person's biological parent, who might be notorious for doing the same --" Too late he caught himself. It was the very insult Spock had dreaded from him: that his sexuality was genetically determined. Only not from his human side, but from the Vulcan.
Spock looked as if he had been shocked into silence. He stared at Kirk, lips parted. Surely he would remember that the humor in most human jokes was their preposterousness?
Spock stood up and turned his back.
Kirk put down his cup. "It was a joke, Spock. Part of the reason it's funny is that of course some things can't be inherited. I --"
Spock turned. "Jim." The expression in his eyes was very peculiar. "This -- may strike you as incredible -- but I had never thought of myself before as doing... the same thing Sarek did." Each stared at the other with dawning comprehension. "In my clan, Sarek's marriage was continually referred to as a diplomatic experiment. It never occurred to me..." His eyes unfocussed, and Kirk could almost hear the long-ago memories clicking into place. "I thought of him as sacrificing himself to interplanetary relations."
One side of Kirk's mouth compressed into a smile. "Unlike his son the pervert."
Spock's look of dumbfounded surmise began to fade. "It does seem remarkably obvious, once it is pointed out."
"Didn't those kids at school ever come up with the idea?"
"Er, no." Kirk's eyebrow raised. "They stated that I had had to be genetically engineered because my father was incapable, with such an ugly mate. Or that he married a human because he was too ugly to attract a Vulcan, as was I."
"You? You are incredibly beautiful."
"Captain, I --"
"Jim. It is an -- embarrassing subject."
"That you are beautiful?" Kirk smiled in anticipation.
"That -- there is a physiological effect -- not entirely dissimilar to the sex flush in humans -- which, in Vulcans, apparently assisted in overcoming the combative instincts -- by -- rendering the partner -- attractive. It -- The combative urge was extremely powerful, and --"
Kirk was laughing. "And so you had to be very attractive!"
"It is entirely involuntary."
Kirk fell back on the bed and laughed till he stopped from sheer weakness. Spock was looking stoically away. So fearless, and yet, so abruptly shy. Mine. To love, hold, tease, explore, protect. Kirk got up from the bed, blankets draped from his shoulders. He went to the chair where Spock had placed himself safely out of reach. He took the cup from Spock's hand and walked over and set it on the table. Then he went back, and took possession of his Vulcan. One position would let him reach all he wanted. He sat in Spock's lap, wound his arms around Spock's neck and softly claimed his mouth. The blankets fell down unnoticed.
The one most warm and blissful kiss of his whole life, as if he kissed the source of all content. The hand that lifted almost helplessly to touch his face. Reverential thoughts among his own.
Telling him to go. He'd got into his clothes again and gone, but had been drawn, between each garment, back to taste his personal intoxicant. If his feet had touched the deck on the way to his quarters, he hadn't been aware of it.
Later in the night he'd woken, rigid with fear, from a nightmare he couldn't remember.
"Jimmy ... wake up ...
"Jim. Wake up."
Kirk opened his eyes. It seemed to him he had just lain down on the diagnostic bed, after McCoy had explained he intended to finish Lindgren's sessions this morning.
"I'm ready to integrate this material now, Jim. How are you feeling?"
"Fine." Apprehension almost overrode his urge to know, but he couldn't let Bones see that.
"You're going to be remembering some things that happened when you were eight years old. You had a friend, Jim. I want you to remember meeting Gavin Holte."
He did remember -- Gavin had been a friend of Sam's really. Red-gold hair, green-blue eyes, slender nakedness widened coltishly at elbows, knees -- they'd been swimming and Gavin had fallen asleep in the grass. He'd opened his eyes and smiled at Sam's kid brother -- a dreamy, summery smile that included Jimmy Kirk in a way he had never felt included before. The two of them, in its perimeters, and no one else. It made him, all that day, look differently at Gavin Holte.
McCoy's voice startled him. "I want you to remember getting to know Gavin over the next four months."
Gavin had come home from school with Sam now and then, and they'd sometimes rounded up others, including Jimmy. Early fall became late winter -- snow-forts and playing down cellar. Some games got elaborated into long-running serials, one he particularly remembered because he got to be a visiting Tiberius in the forests of Roman Germany, a central role when he was captured and had to be rescued. Over that time he'd come to feel happiness and excitement in Gav's presence, pride in his attention, jealousy of his other friendships sometimes -- he'd felt drawn before to boys he knew, but only mildly. In school his pace had accelerated so much that he was doing work almost on Sam's level; in part from his desire to do everything Gav did. They'd said something about moving him to Academy preparatory school a year early.
"And remember the games you started to play alone with Gavin."
He remembered the first time they had gone on playing Romans after the other kids had left -- the cautious way Gav had touched him -- and the cataclysmic ecstasy of his first, his very first orgasm. It was as if it had just happened. He covered his eyes with the crook of his arm, tumultuously moved by the emotions gushing into him. How could he have forgotten! Forgotten Gav! Gav had been -- everything. The memories came on and on: Gav everywhere, the fun of ordinary play, the sweet secrecy of private games, the guilt sometimes over the deeply overwhelming feelings instinct told him he must keep hidden. He remembered their final game.
Gav had lain over him, both of them near orgasm, the Space Captain crying out softly against the Romulan's incursion, straining at the bonds that held him helpless in the shadow of the big harvester. Without warning he had felt Gav lifted off him, and opened his eyes to the shock of his father, an expression of rage on his face, hurling Gav against the wall. He had screamed out a wordless protest. His father turned to him -- he shrank back. Never had he seen an adult face so twisted in anger. It was what he had known would happen, if grownups found out about him and Gav, only worse. When his father reached down, he shut his eyes.
It was then he heard Gav's voice, shaken but surprisingly calm, saying, "You're scaring him." For a second he didn't realize Gav was speaking to his father. "We were only playing." He looked and to his amazement saw Gav getting up and coming toward them, back within reach of his father's fury.
"Don't hurt him, Daddy! Please!" And not knowing what words to use to explain all that Gav and he were together, could only echo, "We were just playing!"
The look his father gave him then scared him almost more than he had been scared already, it changed so rapidly between expressions he didn't understand. Gav stepped up and untied him, from the special knots that took only one tug to undo. The boldness of the intervention appalled him, but it was a relief to be less helplessly proffered to whatever might fall. Looking anxiously at his father, he got to his feet and pulled up his jeans.
In that voice of controlled temper that meant he was in the worst possible trouble, his father said, "You get down to the house, Jimmy." And he looked at Gav. Jimmy looked too, and saw that Gav, who wasn't afraid of anything, was keeping his mouth very straight, and was shaking a little. Jimmy burst into tears.
He felt Gav's arms come around him. He sobbed with terror into Gav's warm shirt, held only by the strong loving arms from sliding over a horrible edge to a place of no control. Gav's voice, that loved him all the way through, said, "It's all right, Jimmy. There's nothing to be afraid of. You go ahead."
He remembered stumbling down the hill and crossing the long, long yard. He remembered crying in his mother's lap while Sam looked on, and his mother saying, "Oh, Jimmy, Daddy wouldn't hurt Gav." He remembered his father's unintelligibly helpless look at him, later, and being put to bed. But he remembered nothing else about Gav, or even thinking about Gav, after that.
He realized tears were running down from the outer corners of his eyes. He heard McCoy say quietly, "Now I want you to remember all the things that happened in Dr. Lindgren's office."
He remembered. He remembered being taken there, being lulled into telling on Gav, being made to feel wrong, ashamed and scared, and to forget games or any desire to play them, avoid even thinking of the way they made him feel. Made to forget he had ever known a boy named Gav, who had held him in his arms and told him there was nothing to be afraid of. They had taken that away from him! The soul-shaking impact of his first orgasms -- gone as if it had never been. Never again, through all his years as the Tomcat, had he experienced that achingly beautiful opening of the soul by its physical key. He had not known it existed. They had taken that too.
His protest at first was purely pain. Gav... The memories, stored whole, were fresh as yesterday's. Rage surfaced at the unchangeability of what had happened. He had been stripped of the possessions of his innermost being, as if they were only dangerous toys to be broken and burned. It was hard to direct his anger. There had been no arguments, no one had told him what was being done, it was over before he ever understood that he would never see Gav again. He remembered only that one night's relief that his father's fury seemed past. Less than a year afterward, his father was killed.
He remembered McCoy waiting.
With effort he shut down on the eruptions of feeling.
He rubbed tears away and sat up.
He slid off the bed.
"I'm on duty, Bones." Meeting the doctor's eyes was the hardest thing he had done in months.
"You're in no shape, Jim. This is going to hit like a ton of bricks for a while. Go with it. Let it come out."
"I have a ship to run."
"The Enterprise might as well be in dry-dock for all the more she needs you now." McCoy sighed, seeing his words' negligible effect. Kirk turned at the door.
He walked through corridors. The habit of a lifetime turned him away from pain, toward duty. Away from what was within, what was sheerly his own, toward a demanding world, that interlocked with him, made him a crucial part of itself. It had been the only way he knew.
But on the Bridge he found he could not control the feelings that kept rushing over him. The memories were gaining in detail and number. Almost too late he realized he must get to his own room or break down in public. With all the steadiness he could summon he left Spock the con and walked out.
Lost. In his room he put his face in his hands. His grief burst from him. He was eight. He was adult. Gav was his dear lost friend. Gav was a stranger he had not seen in over thirty years. His father, so angry. His father, lost, long dead. His brother, running with him and Gav into the lake. His brother, killed on Deneva. His mother -- she wasn't shoving cows aside in the barn, she was selling farm machinery and living in town now, according to her letters; lost to him in galactic distances and duty. Had he left them so far behind because of what they had done to him? Even Sam must have known something. Their friends -- Lindgren had enjoined him to quickly forget every mention of Gav by other kids, but there hadn't been many. In their interest in each other, they hadn't played much lately with anyone else. He'd been kept in as though he were sick, and switched to another school to prepare for the Academy. It was as if in vanishing from his mind Gav had vanished from the face of the earth. As if his first lover had been only a figment of his imagination.
Lips on his... tenderness and wonder informing the gentleness of Gav's hands, until electrical unreason wove its universe between them, space/time so magically new old rules dissolved or were transformed; a slap that slotted him into lust like a slide with the light suddenly blazing through it; a tongued kiss shocking as a blow; treasure of sex bestowed on him, fantastical as any gift of leprechauns or kings, in form acute defiance of all he had been taught to do, in content sensuous surrender into all he was. Gav had been the maker of his pleasure. Gav had been the realest thing in his world.
It kept shocking back into his mind. The memories were new. They had never had a chance to develop the gentle wear of time. A child's emotions, untempered. It was a separate reminder, of things he'd lost just by growing up. And there was an anxiety he couldn't explain, as if something terrible were to come.
He folded down onto the bed. How would it affect McCoy's little numbers if he were forced to take a day off, from sheer emotional bombardment? He lay down.
The door opened to Spock's command. The Vulcan sat by him, reached, without asking, for the meld. Kirk evaded.
Shamed, Kirk wiped at the tears on his face. Spock would be so mortified at the sight of blatant sorrow.
"Jim, I know you are in pain. Allow me to help you."
"How could you know?" McCoy --?
"Through the link, Jim. Such disturbance could not pass unnoticed. I do not know the cause," he added, "and I need not know it, to ease your suffering."
I need time. But there isn't any. My command...
"You won't -- take anything away?"
"No, Jim." The fingers of Spock's left hand gently caged the side of his face. The threads and bursts of pain in his mind seemed to be gathered, shepherded inward to a center, like shreds of cloud compacted without pressure. A shell formed. He found he could move his awareness into the shell, to be with memory of Gav, but the memories could not get out to follow him. The egg of pain was moved far to the back of his consciousness; in the foreground, Gav was an abstract concept, unconnected to emotion. It took effort to find the shell.
Once more he had let Gav be erased from existence. Guilt brought with it a wave of fear. Spock's fingers repositioned themselves slightly. In the dark eyes he saw a look of perturbation. He started to speak, when suddenly the dread soaked through to his heart. There was something. Not caught up in the sweeping back of his knowledge of Gav. Something. It was -- No. Gav -- He had to find Gav -- Gav's arms around him. "There isn't anything to be afraid of." But there was. Always had been. And now it was coming for him.
It was there.
He had come home after a session with Lindgren, gone into the den and fallen asleep. When he woke no one seemed to be around. He remembered walking into the equipment hangar, and there, waiting tensely for him, was Gav. They had spoken something, and kissed, collapsing to the ground. Gav had been rough from the start, and Jimmy's body responded galvanically. Then with an inward convulsion of terror he saw his father, past Gav's shoulder. He tried to shout a warning but it came out soundless breath. His father reached down. His hands wrapped hugely around Gav's arms. He lifted, threw him, and Gav came down in the exposed blades of the harvester. The curved steel turned, wrapped over his squirming body, and penetrated its points completely through him. One hand reached horribly. Jimmy screamed with no sound; his father turned toward him from the controls of the machine. His father had activated the mechanism.
Kirk writhed on the tines of the memory, unable to endure it, unable to escape. He felt Spock trying to drag loose from the sudden snap of the traplike emotion, then felt him abandon the attempt and spread his torn mental shields over Kirk.
Kirk gasped his way back to the reality of the present. Enterprise --
His father had murdered his beautiful, tender, adored lover.
The Enterprise was his ship. He must --
He staggered to his feet and walked till he came to a wall.
This wasn't right --
The blood had come out of Gav like stop-motion film of roses opening. Like blood he had seen on a rabbit Sam had shot inaccurately.
He looked back. Spock sprawled on the bed. He must be very tired.
He should get to the Bridge, but the door was in the wrong place. If he went through the wrong door, he'd never get there.
He went back and sat down and put out his hand to Spock's shoulder. Spock looked up at him.
"I can't get out," he explained humbly. Here for the first time he understood the greater purpose of the mission Starfleet Command had given him and he could not get to his Bridge.
Spock reached for him but he darted back. If Spock touched him he might forget -- something. Better to be safe than sorry, although it would be terrible, terrible, to hurt Spock's feelings. Tears wet his eyes. In the back of his mind where he wasn't looking was some terrible picture, as if projected on a screen behind him.
It was actually vital that he not leave this room. That was probably why Starfleet had locked the doors. The secret of the Cloaking Device must be kept at all costs. Spock had given him the Device.
He was not going to give it back.
"Spock, what the --"
McCoy halted two steps inside the door.
Jim Kirk was looking at him in a way that sent chills down his spine.
Spock had summoned him with a code McCoy had never heard used in his long years of service: Code Gold -- medical emergency to the commanding officer of a ship. Leave it to Spock to remember officialese at a time like that.
"Report," he said quietly.
"I believe him to be in some form of fugue state -- caused by a returning memory of a most violent nature. It appeared to involve his father and a much younger individual." Spock seemed hesitating over some detail. McCoy cut him off.
"Jim. What's going on."
Jim stood close to the wall, looking at him leerily. Under the distrust was an expression of pain.
"Jim, have you been thinking about Gavin?"
"No." He said it quickly. "No. I never think about Gavin." Kirk glanced at Spock. He said with pathetic pride, "I have a ship to think about."
"Yes, Jimmy, you do."
Kirk covered his face with his hands. "No --"
"Jimmy -- Jim -- go to sleep." McCoy gave thanks that he hadn't yet neutralized that command. It visibly took hold. "Now relax, Jim. You're relaxed -- you're completely calm." He got him onto the bed. "Spock, would you mind waiting in the other room? This is confidential material."
The Vulcan looked at him a moment, then inclined his head and went out.
"Jim I want you to stay completely calm, and tell me what you've just remembered about Gav." Kirk's face crumpled with fear and anguish. "Calm, Jim. You're here now on the Enterprise, thirty years have gone by. Tell me what happened thirty years ago."
Sweat had started on Kirk's face. "Jim. I'm here with you. No one can hurt you. Tell me what happened."
"My father." It was almost a moan. "He killed Gav. He threw him in the harvester and turned it on."
"Jim!" McCoy regained control. George Kirk -- murdering a child? Was Jim hallucinating? "Jim, that's impossible."
"I saw him. I saw him." The utter despair, the horror coming through in his voice made McCoy gentle.
"Jim, I want you to go back. Remember everything that happened on that day. Tell me everything from the time you woke up in the morning." If there were no surrounding memories...
But Kirk outlined a farm day, in summer with no school. Then he came to the Lindgren appointment and McCoy could suddenly place the day within the events he'd been studying. It was Jimmy's second-to-last visit with the hypnotherapist. Then Jimmy went home and fell asleep in the parlor, and McCoy began to get a glimmering of the truth. He helped Jim through the horrible memory of Gav's death, looking for clues.
"Jim, after Gav was dead, what happened?"
"I --" He closed his eyes. "I must have passed out. I only remember my mother looking down at me. It -- I don't --" The tormented look took on confusion. "She was talking to me about supper and I -- didn't remember anything about Gav. Nothing. I just -- got up and went and had supper."
"Where were you, Jim, when your mother was talking to you?"
"In the parlor. I must have -- blanked out everything."
McCoy sighed, satisfied.
"Jim, I want you to wake up when I tell you to. You'll stay calm and you'll remember everything we've been saying. All right Jim -- wake up now."
Kirk seemed to really see him for the first time. "Jim," he said quickly, "it wasn't real. You dreamed your father killed Gav. It didn't really happen."
"No, it was real. I was there." Kirk looked sick.
"Listen to me." McCoy took hold of him. "Listen to me, Jim. I think that somehow after that visit to Lindgren, you went home still in trance. You dreamed this and it seemed real because you were still hypnotized, Jim. Then your mother woke you and it brought you out of the trance. You forgot the nightmare, just as you did everything else that happened under hypnosis -- because Lindgren had told you to."
"Blood -- I saw it happen."
"You father was a Starfleet officer! A man capable of an act like that would never have got into the Academy, let alone on a ship. I've called up all the records I could on your family. I've seen his psych profile, Jim. There's no way he could have done it."
"You didn't see him the first time. The way he looked, when he picked Gav up --"
"He thought Gav was hurting you, Jim, of course he was angry."
Kirk looked at him with haunted eyes. "I never saw Gav again. He would have come to me. I know he would."
"Your parents were keeping you away from him. Maybe his parents too."
"They couldn't have stopped him!"
"Jim, listen to me! This was a dream. If there had been a death of a child by accident or violence, or even a disappearance, there would be a record. Go back and search for that record: you're not going to find it.
"Jim, all kids are scared of their parents on some level. You'd had a terrific shock from your father. Then they'd robbed you of Gav -- they were literally trying to kill a part of you, Jim. The kind of dream you had was almost inevitable. I'm just surprised you haven't had nightmares all your life."
Kirk looked startled. "I..." His eyes seemed focused inward. "I have... nightmares."
"What are they about?"
"I... don't know. I hear screaming, and I know it's because of something I've done wrong. It's all I remember when I wake up. Horrible... screaming. Like Klingons."
"I -- burned them." His eyes were closed tightly. "I had to. They were killing us."
"Real Klingons, Jim?"
"On the Farragut. I can hear it -- as if it were yesterday." Kirk wrenched himself back to the present. He looked haggard. "I never told anybody."
McCoy studied him silently. He had never seen the captain of the Enterprise so deeply shaken and uncertain. But it was the lancing of an abcess; now the wound would heal. As if in fulfillment of the prophecy, Kirk slowly sat up. He covered his face with his hands.
"Bones... aren't dreams supposed to be a sort of wish fulfillment? If I loved Gav... why would I dream he was being killed?"
"Because he was, Jim. Dreams aren't as simple as that. The nightmare was like a last struggle to keep Gavin, but all the fear of your father and the grief and guilt of letting Gav be 'killed' in your memory erupted. It's ironic. Your attachment was so strong it produced this dream in spite of Lindgren -- yet if it hadn't been for the dream, and the horror of it, you probably would have broken Lindgren's conditioning long ago -- maybe within a few years. The dream just scared you so much you couldn't get back through it to the memory of Gavin. It was standing there like a dragon at the gates.
"I was surprised it had all stayed suppressed so long. Now I'm only surprised you ever started to break through to it at all." He studied Kirk. "I wonder what set it off..."
He suddenly saw red creeping into Kirk's face, between the concealing fingers, but Jim only said, "It still doesn't feel like a dream."
"We may have to do some more work on it, Jim. But you've broken through all the major barriers. It hurts. But I'm betting your readings will already be starting to stabilize. I think you've won, Jim."
Kirk let his hands fall, and sat up a little straighter. "It feels like I've gone ten losing rounds with a mugatu."
McCoy hmmmed critically. The Jim Kirk he knew was resurfacing, assuming command over emotion. "I'm ordering you forty-eight hours' rest starting now. Notice I said ordering, Jim. I'm entering it in the Medical Log." Along with two weeks' mandatory R&R when we refit at Gareytown, he added to himself.
"Bones, I can't --"
"No Bridge duty, no paper-work, no backtalk." McCoy stood up.
"Bones, that's --"
"Jim." McCoy put his hand gently on Kirk's shoulder. "Listen to yourself. We're practically in dry-dock, in orbit around a beautiful, harmless planet. Yet you're still driving yourself harder and harder, every little thing getting to you -- it's got to stop."
"The Enterprise needs a captain, Bones."
"That's my point, Jim. She needs a captain in top shape, not one so stressed and exhausted he can't see straight. It's making you lose your sense of proportion. You wouldn't let any other vital part of this ship get as worn down as you are. Look at yourself. How many in this crew would you expect -- how many would you allow to go on duty if they'd been through what you just have?"
Kirk turned his head away. After a moment he said, "I'm not used to letting anything beat me." Suddenly he blushed, turned even further away, and busied himself straightening his tunic. "Is Spock still here? I'll have to talk to him if I'm turning over command for two days."
"No ifs. I'll send him in. Jim... give yourself a chance. All right?"
A dozen expressions seemed warring in Kirk's face. "All right."
When Spock entered, the relief in his eyes was plain. He came immediately to the bed. "It was -- difficult for me to leave you. I reminded myself that despite his logical disabilities the doctor has some innate talent -- perhaps similar to an idiot savant ingenuity --"
"Spock." Kirk looked up, faintly amazed. "You're -- blithering."
Spock sat down facing him. "I felt -- fear for you," he admitted. "I felt your mind -- begin to attempt to destroy itself. I could not discern the exact source of your emotion. You have a natural ability to shield conscious images from mental contact, in -- a rather violent manner." Kirk remembered how he had seen Spock sprawled on the bed. The dark eyes were full of concern and he felt ashamed. Spock's hand lay on his. "You are distressed," the Vulcan said gently. "I would like to try once more to help you."
Gav -- the sickening horror coursed through him. "McCoy said it was a dream." But it had the desolation of reality. "It -- doesn't fade... doesn't feel like a nightmare."
Fingers touched his face with intense tenderness. "Allow it, Jim."
He felt the first searching shiver through his mind. Sensations of presence closed on the spot he had rather not see. The mind joined with his in sudden tough, unshakable support. With an incredible delicacy, the memory was touched, opened, its essences sensed. The darkness of the hangar; yet the clearness of faces, and Gav's -- blood; ongoing alterations he hadn't noticed, in the scene; the lack of sound, until the terrifying clank of the turned blades -- one by one dreamlike aspects were raised, brought forward, subtly emphasized. He knew, as his father smiled, the impossibility. Spock left him, and certainty wavered. The fingertips imperceptibly broke their contact. "He was right, Jim." The voice was barely a breath of sound. "It was a dream." The eyes fixed lovingly upon him turned away. "Your lover is alive."
Without a further word, Spock rose quietly and left the room. Kirk heard the outer door hiss open and closed.
Thirty years --
Anything could have happened, but --
Barring accident Gav would still be living. His Gav -
No. Another Gav entirely. It hurt him to think what he had missed, how, unknown to him, the Gav he had loved had vanished, year by year, as surely as if real blades --
The thought was painful, too real, despite Spock's intervention. This dream, so old, would not fade in an hour.
Spock, this time, had known the content, not just the tenor, of his memory. "Your lover..." Had Spock seen Gav? Did he now know the reckless beauty of him, know, alone among all others, what Gav had been, and had been to Jimmy Kirk?
It would be good to have someone who knew... so lonely, to have no one even to remember with.
Only yesterday he himself had not remembered.
Yesterday, when he had made love to Spock and shivered under the touch of his mind.
"Your lover is alive."
It hit him like a thunderclap.
In the Vulcan view, James Kirk was already mated.
When the computer informed him, that evening, that Spock had finally retired to his quarters, Kirk turned to regard himself in the small ornately-framed mirror that had accompanied him since Epsilon Eridani IV. He still liked its shape, though he had outgrown cadet awe of its hand crafting. His face in the glass had changed so much; he was the same person and -- he was not.
At Spock's door he didn't bother to announce himself. He found the Vulcan, as he had known he would find him, in deep meditation.
"Spock -- it's Jim," he said quietly. He sat down to the computer screen and activated the file he had spent the afternoon compiling.
"Jim." The voice was very soft. "It is painful for me to be so near you."
Kirk looked up mildly. "I'm sorry to hear that, Spock. It's likely to make our married life pretty awkward."
He actually saw color leave the Vulcan's face.
"Come and sit here, Commander. I have something to show you." Mechanically, Spock obeyed the faint undertone of Kirk's captaincy.
"In spite of your efforts and McCoy's, there was a part of my mind I couldn't convince. It saw Gav murdered. I realized there was something I could do about it. Look."
On the screen, an old-fashioned looking document displayed. "The date is from that fall -- when I didn't see Gav any more. It's a transfer of school records -- to Gagaringrad. Gav's mother was a cultural historian." He called up another document, in Cyrillic print. "She'd been granted privileges at the Ukrainian Institute of Comparative Research."
Another document appeared, in Chinese characters. "Five years later this led to a prestigious invitation from the University of Gwangzhou." He glanced at Spock. "In those days, you had to have an adult credit number to place intercontinental calls. I'm certain Gav tried it anyway -- but my parents could have set the unit to refuse any calls from his area." Spock said nothing, but Kirk knew what he must be thinking. Such interference in the chosen life pattern of another would be unconscionable to a Vulcan. "By that time, of course, I was entered at the Academy."
An image appeared -- a handsome face framed in the flared collar, and elaborate pleats and shoulder-drapes, then de rigueur in fashion-conscious China. "His college entrance photo." A document. "His acceptance for advanced study at the Sorbonne." Kirk tried to keep the gratification and pride out of his voice, but from the glance Spock gave him was pretty sure he hadn't succeeded. "His marriage certificate." Spock's body jerked. "A photo of the internationally known cultural interpreter Gavin Holte-M'sebbar and spouse at a charity function in San Francisco." Two men in strongly stated leather and denim had obviously just turned from the crowd to smile for the photographer.
"Jim --" Spock's voice held traces of scandalized pity. "He was unfaithful to you!"
Kirk smiled. "After fifteen years I should hope so."
"But -- your love for him --"
"Feels new," Kirk conceded. "But it's the love of a child for a child, Spock. This man --" He gestured at the screen. "-- was never my lover." He turned to look directly into Spock's eyes. "You are."
Stages of assimilation showed plain in the Vulcan features. Tones of love perfused each word when he softly asked, "Can you be so sure, my Jim?" Tears wet Kirk's eyes even as he smiled.
"I have one more document to show you."
In modern print, it was headed "Request for Spousal Assignment". Spock scanned three lines.
"Jim, you can't send this." Then his eyes fixed on the date and time over the heading and he fell absolutely still.
"It went out six hours ago on my security channel."
Spock's eyes were fathoms deep in darkness. "T'hy'la." It was at once caress, protest, submission to irrevocable fact.
"Of course you'll have to send in your own request. An answer should come quickly. Starbase 30 has one of the new transmitters, and I don't think Starfleet will sit on this." Spock's somewhat grim compression of the lips conceded that. "Neither of us wants to live a lie, but even if we did, it couldn't last beyond reassignment. This is the only way we can be together."
"Jim... no such request from two males of our rank has ever been granted."
"'Where no man has gone before', Spock. After all, it is our mission." A teasing smile flickered in his eyes. "Maybe no one else ever asked."
"Some fifty-eight couples and one triad."
"'Some' fifty-eight couples?"
"There may have been cases classified above the level of my security clearance."
"I see. It seems Command needs a refresher course in Federation law. I assume you've researched the whole subject. What comes next?"
"There are several official avenues of appeal." The Vulcan did not look as if he had great hopes for any of them. "Of course, none can be initiated until the request is actually denied. For the present we can only await Starfleet's response."
"Very well." Kirk's eyes became fixed on some invisible distance. He unconsciously used the tone that came into his voice before any battle.
End of Part Three, Intreat Me Not to Leave Thee
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