5 times Jim and Spock slept next to each other out of 5 different reasons …
… and 1 time out of love.
The first time…
… was due to an accident.
"I don't understand how you always get yourselves into this kind of trouble but obviously you got some talent in that."
Jim rolled his eyes while sitting next to Spock on top of a biobed in sick bay, extending his wrist just as Spock so that Bones could examine the damage. At the same time he couldn't help himself but leer at his wrist and secretly agree with Bones that the current scenario might be one of the weirdest he could imagine. Even if he would never say it out loud.
He watched Bones shake his head for the probably 1000th time during the last five minutes.
"Whatever this thing is – it definitely has a firm lock on you both."
"Obviously this 'thing' as you like to refer to is a parasitic plant, Dr. McCoy, which had sought for another host after it had been cut from his bole. And just as obviously it had found a new host in the Captain and myself."
Spock's controlled and emotionless lecture didn't seem to improve Bones' mood a bit.
"You don't say! Really? I would never have discovered this by myself."
"Therefore I found it logical to let you participate in my conclusions."
He had to smile while he watched Bones bending forward again, examining their wrists and mumbling 'damn hobgoblin'.
But then he leered at his wrist again which was entwined by a green climber. The same plant entwined around Spock's wrist and connected their wrists inseparably to one another. He had visited Spock in the science labs to check on the latest advancements. Spock had analyzed some plants' samples they had collected during their last mission on Helcos IV. He had looked over Spock's shoulder in interest and Spock had explained to him what he hoped to find in those samples when he had suddenly felt something touching his hand. Instinctively he had looked down the moment a green extension of a big, foreign climber had entwined around his right wrist. Spock's fine hearing obviously had heard the plant's rustling because the Half-Vulcan had turned around immediately, analyzed the situation and reacted at lightning speed. With his Vulcan strength he had grabbed the extension of the plant which had entwined around his wrist and separated it from the plant. But instead of destroying the extension the extension's rugged end had wrapped itself around Spock's left wrist, connecting their wrists together. Spock had tried once again to break away the extension from their wrists but like a parasite the extension had bored itself into their skins with little barbs and suckers. In addition Spock's attempt to free their wrists from the plant by force had caused them some serious pain. Therefore they finally had agreed to contact Bones.
"Why don't you store plants like this one locked in a cupboard or whatever, Commander? And why did you allow Jim to come near this plant in the first place? You know perfectly well that Jim's a trouble magnet."
His interjection was ignored by both, Bones and Spock, who measured each other with those odd looks, obviously ready to continue their previous encounter.
"The plant has not shown any peculiarities so far, Doctor. A development like the one at hand could not have been foreseen."
"That's no excuse. In Jim's company you have to count on the unforeseeable as you should know by now."
"I'm still here in this room and I'm perfectly able to hear you."
But once again his injection was ignored. Instead he saw Spock raise his right eyebrow while watching Bones.
"I would appreciate it, Doctor, if you would stop your illogical and irrational accusations and elaborate on the best therapy and your plans of action."
He watched Bones finding his CMO-attitude again with Spock's words. From 'Let's-treat-Jim-like-a-child-'cause-really-how-he-arrived-adultship-is-beyond-me' to 'Damn-right-I'm-the-CMO-here-so-don't-mess-with-me' in one second.
"Obviously the plant attached itself with barbs and synapses to your skin, nerve system and blood circulation. We need surgery to get the plant off of you. Unfortunately my knowledge in Vulcan neurology is limited. Therefore I can't rate the effects the plant or its removal will have on your telepathic abilities, Commander. I will contact an old friend of mine, Dr. M'Benga, who'd lived and practiced on Vulcan for many years and who has great knowledge of Vulcan physiology and neurology. After I have spoken to Dr. M'Benga I will perform surgery. That will be tomorrow morning. Fortunately the plant's no serious threat to your health yet so I'm sure you'll survive.
Totally aghast he starred at Bones.
"Tomorrow morning? And what are Spock and I supposed to do until then? With this … thing around our wrists?"
Unimpressed by his words Bones simply shrugged.
"What about sleeping? Guess that's all you can do now anyway because – just in case I forgot to mention it earlier – you both will stay at sick bay so I can have a regular look at your vital functions while I speak with Doctor M'benga. Just in case."
And with these words Bones left Spock and him alone without allowing another discussion. For a moment they both stayed silent. But then he met Spock's calm and stoic gaze.
He watched Spock raising his eyebrow just a bit.
"Although I am reluctant to admit it Dr. McCoy may be right in this special point. It would be a logical decision to stay at sick bay this night as long as we are not provided with trusted knowledge about the effects the plant may have upon our respective organisms."
"I suspected you would say that."
Spock's only response was his eyebrow which shot even higher.
Jim broke the silence again.
"So – are you tired?"
"Vulcans require about 42.68 % less sleep than humans as you should know."
But then Spock's eyebrow slipped back into place.
"Nevertheless we should consider to use the remaining night time for sleep as it would be the most logical and effective option until the surgery in the morning. The plant around our wrists limits our possibilities to use our time in a more efficient way."
"I take this as a YES."
And without waiting for another reaction he fell back on the biobed and pulled the obviously surprised Half-Vulcan with him. He tossed and turned a bit until he found an almost comfortable position on this back. Then he turned his head to meet Spock's gaze again who had also laid himself next to him in the meantime. Their hands, connected through the plant, laid between their bodies. The plant gave their hands just enough space to avoid direct skin contact and he bet that Spock was very grateful for that. Especially since Spock had laid himself at the very end of the bed, obviously anxious to put as much space between them as possible.
For a moment he let sink in this weird, somehow surreal situation. He had never been short of fantasy. He could imagine a lot of things. He could imagine discussing for hours with his stoic First Officer and kind of friend. Or playing chess with him the whole night. He could imagine beaming with Spock to foreign planets, discovering new worlds, making peace or kicking some rebellious aliens' asses. He couldn't imagine a better First Officer and kind of friend to experience the best adventures. But he had never imagined ending with Spock in one bed.
But before the situation could become uncomfortable at last he broke the silence again.
"So – good night, Spock."
Spock turned his head to face him and for a surreal moment which matched the surreal situation in an absurd kind of way he found himself caught in those dark eyes – the most human part in Spock's otherwise so emotionless, Vulcan face.
"Good night as well, Captain."
Spocks clinical words got him out of this moment and suddenly he was grateful for that. Instead he shook his head amused and exasperated at the same time.
"Captain? Seriously, Spock? Come on, we're sharing the same bed at the moment so call me by my given name for once, will you?"
And in this moment he was sure to see an amused glint in Spock's human eyes.
"As you wish, Jim."
Then he turned away his head, closed his eyes and murmured:
"Computer, lights to 0 %."
And in the darkness he fell asleep soon in spite of the foreign, warm body next to him.
The second time…
… was out of shortage of space.
"You can't be serious, Scotty."
"Sorry, Captain, but that's all I can say."
"… Guess it's not your fault anyway. Just do what you have to do and keep me up to date. Kirk out."
Hands clasped behind his back Spock watched his captain deactivating his communicator, running his fingers through his blond hair in frustration and finally turning around.
"Did you hear that, Spock?"
He refused to answer the captain's question and lifted his right eyebrow instead – a movement which – as he had silently calculated – brought a smile to the captain's face in spite of his still visible frustration.
"That was a rhetorical question, Spock."
"I have never understood the human concept of rhetorical questions, Captain. Rhetorical question are aimless and therefore highly ineffective."
The captain's smile grew wider with his words and once again he was illogically content with this reaction. He could not specify the exact point in time when he had begun to choose his words and actions in a way to evoke amused-emotional reactions of the captain. Most likely an accurate point of time could simply not be specified. In fact this development seemed to be a fluent process parallel to the development of their professional relationship. Even if he kept denying it in front of his captain his human half matter-of-factly possessed a sense of humor – subliminal and hard to detect for most humans who only noticed his Vulcan appearance and behavior. Only the captain had been able to detect and understand this humorous part of him right from the beginning and had tried once and again to challenge this side. He himself had developed a fascination of accepting these challenges and eliciting similar reaction of the captain – a fascination which was as illogical as hard to suppress.
"We humans are an illogical species."
He allowed his eyebrow to rise even more.
Again he watched his captain laugh with a certain kind of contentment. Then the captain's face became serious again.
"If Scotty wasn't fond of that little green thorny something for some reason I do not understand, I would have left Keenser behind at some space station long ago."
"Perhaps it would be advisable to find an activity for Mr. Keenser outside the engine room."
"You mean an activity where he couldn't blow up half the ship?"
His eyebrow got back into place.
Once more he saw a humorous glint in the captain's eyes for 1.34 seconds before he became serious again. With his back to the turbolift's wall the captain slid down in a sitting position, his hands laid upon his bent knees. Then he looked up at him again and gestured to the ground next to his left side.
"Come on, Spock. After what Scotty said, we will be trapped here in the lift for the next hours. I don't wanna look up at you all the time. This will cause me only neck pain and Bones' gonna annoy me with his hypos."
He hardly hesitated before he followed the captain's suggestion, nevertheless anxious to avoid all physical contact within the narrow lift. After he had sat down the captain continued:
"However I have to have a serious word with Scotty after he repaired the ship's power supply and got us out of this lift. Keenser's doing no good at the moment. This is the third incident during the last four months. I mean it's pretty awesome that the boys and girls and … whatever Keenser is try to find new possibilities to make the Enterprise even faster, better and more efficient down there in the engine room. But I'm definitely against any actions which leave me and my First Officer stuck in a turbolift and my ship floating along in space without proper energy."
"Momentarily we are located in a very thinly populated part of the alpha quadrant. A hostile assault against the Enterprise is very unlikely. In addition the ship's crew is more than capable to compensate the temporarily absence of both, captain and first officer, especially since the communication is obviously working."
"Did you just compliment the crew, Spock?"
He turned his head to the captain's direction, eyebrow raised.
"I just state the facts."
He heard the captain laugh lightly again. And once again he recognized that illogical moment of contentment.
There was silence afterwards until the captain broke the silence once again.
"And what do we do while sitting here and waiting for Scotty to get us outta here during the next few hours?"
"Lack to other more effective possibilities I suggest waiting."
"That's your best suggestion, Spock?"
Again he registered that humorous glint in the captain's eyes.
"I am not opposed to your counterproposals."
"Don't have any."
He raised his eyebrow again.
"In this case your former comment can be seen as illogical and needless."
The captain's smile grew warmer.
"You're right, Spock. Let's just wait.
He watched his captain shifting around, obviously searching for a more comfortable position and finally resting his head against the wall in his back. He himself averted his eyes, also rested his head against the rearward wall, fixed the lift's wall opposite to his position and listened to the silence which he had to admit was not uncomfortable.
"What time is it, what do you think, Spock?"
"It is approximately 2356 and 12 seconds."
"That you call 'approximately'?"
"I did not consider it necessary to inform you about the exact millisecond for based on my experience humans seem to be content with an approximated value, especially while asking the time."
He felt a light air flow at his right ear which told him that the captain had receipted his last words with a shake of his head.
"And what time is it now, Spock? I'm ok with hours and minutes."
"It is approximately 0103, Captain."
"Will you ever call me by my given name?"
"I am not qualified to look into the future."
Once again he could feel the air flow caused by the captain's shake of head.
"Damn, Scotty, Spock said it's 0243. How long until you get us outta here?"
"There are some complications, Captain. I think it will take us about another 5 or 6 hours until we restored the energy supply and can get you and the Commander out of the turbo lift."
"You got 4 hours at most. Kirk out."
He watched the captain deactivating his communicator and facing him once again.
"You know what, Spock? Since we are stuck here in the middle of the night for the next few hours with nothing to do, I will spend my time sleeping. And you should do that, too."
With these words the captain took a horizontal position on the floor. Since he did not join the captain immediately, the captain knocked his hand at the floor impatiently.
"Come on, Spock. Lay down and get some sleep. The turbolift's just big enough for the two of us."
In fact he had analyzed the lift's extents only 3.84 hours ago and noticed that the turbolift offered just enough space for the captain and himself to avoid any physical contact. Nevertheless he still hesitated to lay down which the captain seemed to notice.
"No reason to be shy. We shared a bed together, remember? So the turbolift shouldn't be such a big deal."
He had to admit that the captain's argumentation did not lack any logic. And so he finally placed himself in a laying position next to the captain without touching him. Then he turned to face the captain again who smiled at him.
"See, Spock, no problem at all."
He raised his eyebrow once again.
"I never doubted the general operability of your suggestion."
The captain's smile grew even wider.
"Good night, Spock."
And before he could have answered the captain turned away, his head bedded on his right arm. Only 6.14 minutes later the captain was asleep. He listened to the captain's regular breathing for another 17.89 minutes before he also closed his eyes and followed the captain's example.
The third time…
… happened to survive.
"I suggest leading the remaining energy over to the oxygen supply and the communication panel and deactivating the shuttle's other systems."
"You're right, Spock."
Sitting in the pilot's chair of their small shuttle he watched Spock accomplish the tasks he had mentioned with some few, fast hand movements. Only seconds later the lights of the shuttle went out. Only the communication panel's shallow lights and the emergency signal's quiet beep-beep broke through the darkness and the sudden silence.
Everything was quiet for a while in the now nearly dark shuttle – time for a short review on their situation.
Spock and he were trapped all alone in a shuttle on top of an icy planet – check.
Their energy supplies barely sufficed…
"Hey, Spock? How long until we run out of oxygen and energy for the emergency signal?"
"Due to my estimation our energy supplies will suffice approximately 13.8562 hours, Captian."
… 13.8562 hours for oxygen and emergency signal – check.
Only if they could avoid freezing to death before, of course – check.
So all in all – things could surely be worse.
Even if he couldn't imagine how at the moment.
The worst thing, he pondered, might be the fact that he felt power- and needless all at once. He was used to take matters into his own hands. He was used to handle difficulties all on his own. He definitely was NOT used to sit in a goddamn shuttle on a goddamn icy planet and wait for someone to rescue him. Even if he knew that he wouldn't have a choice in this matter. Cause no matter how long or intense he thought about it – there was no alternative to staying put in the shuttle and waiting for his crew to find and rescue Spock and him. At least he could be sure that his crew would not rest until they found them. Surely they would find a way to extract and follow their shuttle's plasma signature. His crew consisted of geniuses after all. And there would be Bones, too, staying on the bridge right now with his most baleful face and a hypo, ready to attack each and everyone who wouldn't concentrate 1000% on their rescue.
However, he found himself wondering once again what he could possibly have done wrong in his former lives to end in situations like the one at hand again and again. Spock and he had just planned to explore a space anomaly and to do some scans. Means that Spock had planned to explore the anomaly and he had just decided to accompany him – out of curiosity and because he had been bored to death with staying behind at the Enterprise. He'd won through a long and nerve-racking discussion with Spock who naturally had tried to get in his way. He'd finally convinced Spock with his own arguments – that the anomaly would most likely be a harmless curl of matter and that they wouldn't be far away from the Enterprise with their shuttle, always in visibility range. Therefore the risk had seemed very limited at this time.
Probably he and Spock had had to know by now that there was no limited risk to missions he himself – James Tiberius Kirk – participated in.
They had hardly reached the curl with their small shuttle when they discovered the curl to be more treacherous than they had expected. Within seconds strong interferences had disturbed their communication with the Enterprise. They'd lost control over navigation and therefore hadn't been able to countersteer when the curl had finally caught them and carried them along. Within the curl they'd been tossed around and only Spock's brilliant brain and a controlled explosion had finally gotten them out of the curl and onto the next planet's surface. Nevertheless they'd lost their shuttle's engines in the progress without a chance of getting them repaired by themselves.
And now they were stuck here.
On a hostile, icy planet, far worse than Delta Vega, a deadly atmosphere all around, their shuttle damaged and with no possibility to repair it on their own. Their efforts to contact the Enterprise had failed so far and due to Spock's estimation they most likely were too far away for the Enterprise to hear them.
All in all they could only send out their emergency signal, spare as much oxygen as they could and wait for the Enterprise to find and rescue them.
"What are the odds that the Enterprise will find us on time, Spock?"
He looked into the darkness where he believed Spock to be. For a moment there was silence before he heard his First Officer's stoic voice.
"I do not doubt Mr. Chekov's abilities to reconstruct the anomaly's approximate flight path with the Enterprise's long range scanners' help and to extract the shuttle's plasma beam which had been generated by the explosion. Therefore your question is phrased inaccurately, Captain. The question is not if the Enterprise will find us but rather when this will be the case."
"You mean the Enterprise could be too late?"
"Due to our limited oxygen resources we should at least take that possibility into consideration."
"What can we do to get more time?"
He was sure that Spock's eyes were set on him in spite of the darkness.
"First of all it would be advisable to reduce our conversations to the bare minimum needed, Captain. Every communication requires 1.362 times more oxygen than silence. Moreover I suggest sleeping."
"Sleeping? Now? In this situation?"
"During sleep, human physiology requires 13.21% and Vulcan physiology 17.17% less oxygen than while awake. Therefore it would be only logical to take advantage of these facts. Especially since there are no other options for action left."
He thought about Spock's words and had finally to admit that he was right. Even if he still hated the idea of sleeping and waiting while they were in such grave danger. But like Spock had said – they had no alternatives. There was nothing left to do. All they really could do was to hang in there until the Enterprise rescued them.
"Ok, Spock. Let's get some sleep then."
He leaned back in his seat, searching for a more comfortable position and closed his eyes. He forced himself to control his breathing, to make it as even and shallow as he could bear. Involuntarily he tried to listen to Spock's breathing but could hear nothing.
Eventually he must have been fallen asleep for a while. Because when he woke up again he couldn't help but realize how cold it had become in the shuttle in the meantime. With all of their energy running their oxygen supplies and the emergency signal there was no energy left for the remaining life support system, especially the temperature regulation. So the planet's icy temperature had cooled the shuttle severely.
He felt himself shiver.
And then – he suddenly was wide awake.
Because if he himself shivered from the cold – how would Spock feel about it?
At least he had grown up on Earth. He was accustomed to ice and snow. He even liked it. But Spock grew up on a desert planet. He was used to warmth and the sun. Even the temperature in Spock's quarter was above ship's average.
He stood up from his seat as fast as possible and leaned down to where he guessed Spock would be.
There was no answer. And this fact made the adrenalin pump through his veins at once.
He hesitated only one more moment before he sent all doubts about Vulcans and touch telepathy packing, stretched out his hand searchingly and finally found Spock's shoulder. And knew in an instant that his worries had been reasonable. There was nothing left of Spock's usual body heat. Instead his body felt unnaturally cold. Through the thin Starfleet's standard shirt he could feel Spock shivering. A fact, which scared him like hell. Because a Spock who couldn't control his body's reactions anymore had to be a seriously ill Spock.
"Damn it, Spock you are cold like a block of ice. Say something to let me know you are at least conscious."
Once again there was no immediate answer and for one short moment he nearly panicked – even since he would refuse it later. But finally he noticed a movement beyond his hand and heard Spock's quiet voice.
"I am conscious, Captain, even though in less than optimal physical condition."
The tremble in Spock's voice emphasized his last words and also increased his worries for his First Officer and friend.
Feverishly he weighted their options.
He knew that Spock was strongly affected by the cold. He didn't have to be a doctor to guess that Spock would not last long on these terms. Of course it would be possible to deduct energy from the oxygen supply and to induce this energy into the temperature regulation. But that would shorten their oxygen supplies and therefore their hope to be found by the Enterprise on time dramatically. There had to be another way to warm Spock without attacking their oxygen supplies. He wouldn't allow Spock to die before the Enterprise had found them. Not Spock. Not now. Not here. And if he had to cheat death – he would do it. Death would not take Spock away from him.
And all of a sudden he had an idea.
He stood up and felt his way to the shuttle's back where he finally found what he had been searching for. Quickly he opened the emergency box which he knew was fixed in the shuttle's rear end, dug into the box with his fingers until he finally found what he had been looking for. Three insulating blankets which laid neatly folded at the box' bottom. He pulled the blankets out of the box and made his way back to Spock, reaching out his right hand searchingly for the other's body. He found Spock's forearm this time and began to shake it lightly.
"Spock, come on. I think I know how we can keep us warm without deducing the energy from our oxygen supply."
The fact that Spock had stopped speaking in whole sentences worried him even more. But he tried to mask it.
"I found three insulating blankets in the emergency box. If we take off our clothes to the underwear, put a blanket and our clothes to the ground, lay there warming each other and cover ourselves with the two remaining blankets we should stay warm enough to avoid freezing to death. I know you're a touch telepath so it will be hard for you but I don't see another possibility at the moment."
One of the advantages to share those unlucky situations with Spock – there were no discussions. They just did what they had to do.
He removed his own golden shirt, his boots and the black standard trousers first. Then he turned around in the darkness to Spock, indecisive if his First would need his help. He hoped not because the thought of opening Spock's trousers in the dark suddenly felt very odd. And so he was relieved when he suddenly felt another shirt and trousers in his hands. Without further hesitation he made his way back to the shuttle's rear end where he put the clothes and one blanket on the ground. Then he stood up again.
"I am here, Jim."
Spock's voice was closer than he would have guessed.
"Okay - that's how it goes. I lay down on the ground, you join me and I cover us with the blankets. And then – it's cuddle time."
His last comment had meant to be a joke to lighten up the mood. But as soon as he had finished his sentence he silently had to admit that in the darkness and their current situation his 'joke' ran much more intimate than he had intended. He was glad that Spock couldn't see his face in the darkness which seemed to be burning red in spite of the cold around them.
There was another moment of silence before Spock answered:
"I feel it my duty to advert you of the fact, Jim, that my physical state may not allow me to shield myself mentally against the transfer of your emotions through the direct skin contact in my usual, effective way. I would advise you to suppress all emotions you do not want me to share with you."
The fact that Spock – freezing and miserable as he surely was – took his time to warn him and to give him a possibility to reconsider his decision brought a warm smile to his face in spite of the situation.
"It's ok, Spock. There's nothin' I have to hide. At least I do not have sexual fantasies about you or something like that."
Once again he had hardly finished his sentence when he felt the burning red returning to his face and for the second time during the last three minutes he was glad that Spock couldn't see him in the dark. But even so he could nearly feel Spock's eyebrow creeping up his forehead despite the cold.
"It had not been my intention to indicate such line of thoughts."
His face still burning he tried to end the discussion quickly.
"I know, Spock. Just stop worrying and lay down. The longer you stay there the colder you get."
When Spock finally laid down next to him and they touched for the first time he couldn't suppress a gasp. Because Spock was really cold. There was nothing left of that inhuman warmth which normally kept radiating off the Half-Vulcan's body. Quickly he reached for the remaining two blankets, covered Spock and himself and slipped even closer to the other's body. Then he wrapped his arms and legs around Spock's lean figure and pressed his own body to Spock's.
"That's ok for you, Spock?"
There was another moment until Spock answered.
"In consideration of our current situation our position seems – acceptable."
And he had to admit that he had to agree with Spock. Their position was far from inacceptable. In fact, it was surprisingly comfortable. Spock smelled good – something exotic, something like incense. Spock's skin was very soft. In contrast his muscles were hard and strong. All in all – very comfortable…
"I suggest trying to sleep now, Jim."
And for the third time within minutes he felt his face getting hot.
Touch telepathy – right.
"Maybe you're right, Spock. Let's get some more sleep, then."
He closed his eyes, trying not to think about how comfortable Spock felt next to him and under him. Instead he forced himself to bleach his brain from all thoughts of that kind and concentrated on the warmth which started to grow underneath their insulating blankets and Spock's quiet, regular breathing and felt himself calm down with the comforting rise and fall of Spock's chest until he really felt sleepy.
But just before he finally fell asleep the thought about what the crew might say after beaming their half naked, intertwined captain and first officer onboard the Enterprise crossed his mind. But then he just smiled lazily and shrugged. For all he cared right now they could think whatever they wanted to. After all Spock and he had a perfectly logical explanation.
The fourth time…
… was out of solidarity.
He found Spock on a rarely used observation deck, located at an isolated part of the ship. And even without his genius intellect he would have had no problem at all to figure out why Spock had chosen this place and moreover had locked the door with his personal security code. It was pretty obvious that Spock wanted to be alone.
But he wouldn't have been James T. Kirk if this had stopped him.
He overrode Spock's security code with his own – being captain of the ship came along with one or two benefits after all – and entered the small, nearly dark room. Only the stars outside helped to lighten up the room at least a bit.
"Computer, lights up to 10%."
Instantly it became brighter. Anyway he waited another couple of seconds until his eyes adjusted to the now ruling semidarkness.
Spock sat in front of a large window, his posture flawless as ever. He couldn't see the Half-Vulcan's face but would bet that he would only see Spock's usual stoic expression there. Spock didn't turn around and gave no clue that he had registered his presence at all. Nevertheless he approached Spock without hesitation and sat down next to him, close enough to feel Spock's body heat but not close enough to touch him. He turned around to watch Spock's face, examining his pointed ears, his eyebrows, his straight nose and his full lips while Spock still stared at the universe which flashed by at warp speed outside the window.
"You are not alone, Spock."
He'd spoken quietly to not disturb the silence with loud words and because he knew that Spock's fine, Vulcan ears would hear him without a problem.
He continued watching Spock, waiting and hoping for a reaction. And finally – after what seemed to be an eternity – Spock faced him. And he had to admit that he had been all wrong. Spock's face was far from stoic. His so human eyes made the difference. In spite of the half-light he could see the look of pain and the sadness in those eyes which entered his guts like a sting. He could hardly stop himself from embracing Spock firmly. Instead he put a hand on Spock's shoulder.
Spock spoke quietly as well when he answered:
"I did not expect that this date today would affect me in such a manner, Jim. It is highly illogical. The day does not differ from the former 364 days and nothing could be done to unmake what has already happened. But still I found myself nearly as emotionally compromised as one year ago."
Spock's words ripped into his heart and suddenly he knew that he would do anything to alleviate Spock's pain. Spock had not only become the best First Officer he could have ever asked for during the last 12 months, a First Officer he had learned to trust and rely on. Spock had become his friend. Every promise of an epic friendship which had been made in that cave down on Delta Vega had come true. Somehow Spock had really rewarded him with his unconditional and loyal friendship and he would never ever do without this friendship again. And today it was his turn to stand by Spock's side. And he would not leave him alone this evening.
"It's one year since the destruction of Vulcan and your mother's death, Spock. Your reaction isn't illogical. It's quite simply human."
He watched Spock decline his head to the right in a thoughtful gesture.
"Probably you are right, Jim."
Then Spock turned away once again and looked out of the window. And once again Spock seemed to be so lost he could barely stand the sight. So he intensified the pressure on Spock's shoulder.
"You are not alone, Spock. I'll stay the whole night here with you."
He wasn't surprised that Spock didn't react to his words. He hadn't expected an answer. And so he only ordered the computer to switch off the lights entirely and remained seated next to Spock, his hand still clutching the Half-Vulcan's shoulder.
They sat next to each other silently in the near-darkness of the room for the rest of the night. And even if Spock didn't say another word, Jim was quite sure that Spock appreciated his company this night.
Sometime near morning they must have been fallen asleep because after waking up again he found himself laying on the floor and feeling Spock's warm body next to his. He couldn't help but smile while slipping even nearer to the Half-Vulcan whose regular, warm breath kept blowing gently in his face. He enjoyed Spock's closeness and warmth which seemed to spread through his veins and felt as comfortable in this moment as perhaps never before in his life.
Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep once again.
The fifth time…
… was out of friendship.
It was exactly 0347 when a noise abruptly pulled him out of his meditation.
Attentively he listened, waiting for the noise to repeat so he could locate its origin. And he did not have to wait long until his sensitive Vulcan ears heard it again.
Without hesitation he stood up from his meditative position on the floor, left his quarters to the bathroom he shared with Jim, walked swiftly across until he reached the door to Jim's quarters. In deference to Jim's privacy he used the door chime first, waited 6.47 seconds to no avail and finally used his override code to force his way into Jim's rooms.
"Computer, lights to 25%."
Immediately he caught sight of Jim's bed where he could spot his captain. A first moment of illogical relief due to Jim's apparently physical well-being was quickly followed by a not so illogical emotion of worry. Jim tossed and turned around in his bed while groaning, sobbing and muttering incomprehensible words. His body, dressed in pajama trousers and the Starfleet's black standard undershirt was covered in sweat, as well as his face.
With few swift steps he reached Jim's bed, knelt down next to it and touched Jim's shoulder, shaking it lightly after carefully shielding himself against the direct skin contact.
"Jim. You have to wake up."
It took another 19.87 seconds before Jim woke up, taking a sitting position in his bed with a jar and looking around in confusion before he finally focused on him.
"Obviously you had a nightmare, Jim."
Jim's eyes grew even wider with shock.
"How do you know?"
He bowed his head slightly to the right.
"As you know our rooms are adjoined. Meanwhile you should be well aware of my superior sense of hearing due to my Vulcan heritage. It was inevitable to hear you shouting und speaking in your sleep."
"What did I say?"
"Your words had been incoherent and inarticulate. It was not possible to ascribe any sense to them."
Again Jim's facial expression changed and this time he believed to recognize the emotion of relief.
For a moment there was silence. Then Jim ran his hand through his still sweaty hair.
"So…uh… thanks…for waking me up."
"I thought it to be the logical course of action."
He knew that this would have been the perfect moment for him to leave Jim's quarters. Nevertheless he hesitated. The fact that his otherwise so fearless, sometimes reckless captain and friend was sitting in his bed, apparently still confused, nearly frightened and clenching his bed-sheet with his hands, irritated him more than he was willing to admit. He guessed that there had to be another reason for Jim's unusual behavior, aside from the nightmare. And as the ship's First Officer and especially as Jim's friend he saw it his duty to offer Jim his assistance.
"Due to my hitherto existing experience, the human concept of friendship is about standing at a friend's side in difficult situations and offering said friend one's help and comfort. Therefore if you would like to talk about your dream, I will listen to you."
He watched Jim smile with his words – the first smile since he had woken him up. And with irritation he noticed a peculiar, illogical emotion of contentment with Jim's reaction. An emotion he suppressed at once.
But only seconds later the smile disappeared once again. Instead Jim turned away, starring into nothingness – another reaction he had never seen on his captain before. And more than ever he was committed that he had done the right thing to offer Jim his help instead of leaving him alone. So he waited patiently for Jim's next step. And finally his patience was rewarded with Jim's blue eyes focusing on him again determinedly.
"The nightmare I had – it's not an ordinary nightmare, Spock. I dreamt the same nightmare many other nights before. During the last years my dreaming became less regular, at last it became even sporadic. That was until now."
He said nothing but sat still and listened carefully to Jim's words.
"I'm sure you are aware of the 10th anniversary of a … special incidence, aren't you, Spock?"
He did not have to think twice.
"It is the 10th anniversary of the genocide of Tarsus IV to come."
"I was there, Spock."
Once again Jim's voice betrayed his natural self-confidence he had learned to respect deeply during the last months.
"As a child and later as a teenager I often spent my holidays with my aunt and her two sons at Tarsus IV. I loved staying with Auntie, Jake and Phil. I was there when the famine broke out and Kodos ordered the death of half of the population. My aunt and my cousins were at the death list. When the soldiers came we tried to flee and save us. Auntie and Phil didn't make it. The soldiers got them and murdered them. Jake and I made it into the woods. For days we hid from Kodos' soldiers. We had nothing to eat and became weaker every day until we couldn't walk any more. Jake died shortly before the Federation reached Tarsus IV. I was rescued just in time as if by a miracle."
There was silence once again but then Jim continued.
"It took me a long time not to wake up every night soaked in sweat. Most of the time I'm okay. But now and then – especially at anniversaries – the memories of my relatives' death, the unbearable hunger and the constant fear of getting discovered and murdered keep coming back. I don't talk about it often. My family knows, of course. And Bones. And now – you."
This time he could not control the emotions he had experienced during Jim's report. He felt overwhelming fury at Kodos and his soldiers. He felt horror at the things Jim had had to experience in this young age. He felt deep respect for the young man in front of him who had been able to handle these experiences. And most intensively and illogically he felt a surge of affection for Jim which he could not control. And with these uncontrollable emotions, bubbling just underneath his Vulcan surface, he was more than ever committed to offer Jim his help.
"If I can be of any assistance, Jim, I will do what I can."
For a moment he was sure that he had seen surprise in Jim's features and a thankful flash in his blue eyes.
"Thanks, Spock. But I'm alright. Nothing can undo Tarsus IV and I learnt to get along with it. It's 10 years. I'm no child anymore. Everything's okay."
But then Jim dropped his gaze.
"It's only sometimes that the memories catch me off guard, especially in the nights. That's when I wish there was someone with me."
It took him 0.021 seconds to make up his mind.
"If that is your wish I will stay tonight."
He watched Jim looking up at him again, incredulity and astonishment within his gaze.
"Due to my own experience I came to the conclusion recently that the presence of another person might bring reassurance and comfort in a difficult situation."
He remembered the anniversary of Vulcan's destruction and his mother's death in detail when Jim had stayed with him at the observation deck for the whole night. Against all logic he had felt comforted in Jim's company. Afterwards he had meditated about this night and had in the meantime come to the result that only Jim's presence had helped him to gain back his inner stability and to fall asleep. Now he had the opportunity to help Jim in a similar way.
"Are you serious, Spock?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"I am always serious, Jim."
"But the bed is so small we will most likely touch."
"I am perfectly rested, Jim. My shields are intact."
He watched Jim pondering his offer. Then he suddenly smiled. And it was the first genuine smile since he had woken Jim up.
He watched Jim slipping to one end of the bed, removing the sheets and looking up at him in a mixture of invitation and embarrassment. He did not hesitate to follow Jim's silent invitation.
"Computer, lights off."
And when Jim fell asleep shortly afterwards he could hardly suppress the content smile tucking at the corners of his mouth. He listened to Jim's regular breathing in his obviously dreamless sleep. And suddenly he felt it again – this surge of affection for Jim. With some effort he restrained from taking Jim into his arms in a possessive manner. Instead he was content with drawing nearer to the sleeping body next to him. He knew that his emotions and actions lacked any logic. But he could see no harm in waiting for his meditative analysis until the next day.
And so he closed his eyes. And shortly afterwards he fell asleep, too.
And the one time…
… it was love
He knew that something had changed even before he was fully awake and still dozing he frowned.
It was something good, that much he was absolutely sure. And it had something to do with the warmth in his back which gave him a feeling of security and contentment even if he didn't understand the reason why. His heartbeat seemed calmer than normal, as if his heart was in line with the world around him and not beating frantically against everyone and everything. As if he finally arrived home after a long journey.
But where was home?
What was home?
Or – who?
And all of a sudden he was wide awake. He turned around, opening his eyes, immediately starring into two brown ones which returned his gaze anything but stoic.
And then – he finally remembered.
Once again he inwardly sighed in frustration. Because once again he couldn't concentrate on their chess game no matter how hard he tried. And that was because once again he was distracted. A phenomenon which kept him awake in the nights since weeks. Since the night Spock had stayed after waking him up from his Tarsus-nightmare everything had changed.
Since that night his heart regularly skipped a beat whenever Spock's name was mentioned. Since this night he could hardly think at all in Spock's presence, remembering the whole time the warmth of Spock's body next to his which had cocooned him securely. And since that night he wished to be that close to Spock once again.
Of course he had tried to ignore his weird feelings, treating them like a short-living confusion. After all he had been in exceptional circumstances that night. Therefore he should have expected that the night would somehow take its effects on him.
But still it was for sure that James T. Kirk didn't fall in love.
James T. Kirk just didn't do love.
That wasn't how things worked for him.
Changing partners – that worked for him.
Quick, non-binding and therefore great sex – that definitely worked for him.
But he didn't fall in love.
But nevertheless after some more weeks he finally had to accept that his feelings for Spock hadn't vanished. That instead they had kept growing day by day.
He caught himself starring at Spock, who would usually stand with his back at his science station, over and over again during their shifts without knowing for how long he'd actually starred before realizing. He kept waking up in the morning, his pajama trousers and his sheets sticky, remembering dreams about pointy ears, greenish skin and dark brown eyes. He found himself constantly searching for excuses to touch Spock. Their nearly daily chess games became his day's highlight and his day's greatest challenge at once. Because he regularly had to restrain himself from getting around the table, which separated them during their games, and jumping his First Officer. The fact that he just couldn't let Spock die or get hurt had more often than not brought him into sickbay after their missions where he regularly had to endure Bones' hypos and lamentations and Spock's lectures ,his anger barely hidden. Which didn't stop him from risking his life all over again whenever he thought that Spock's life might be at stake.
And meanwhile he had stopped telling himself that his feelings for Spock were only a temporary confusion which would pass soon. He may have a lot of weaknesses but he wasn't one to lie at himself.
That was no confusion.
And it was not temporary.
And so he had had to accept that it may work for James T. Kirk after all to fall in love. At least when finding the right person. And perhaps his adventures and escapades had been that – his search for the right person. Or in his case the right alien.
In many ways Spock was his matching piece who complimented himself perfectly. Whenever he seemed to take off, Spock' logic would ground him. Whenever he felt helpless, Spock would support him. Whenever he was at a loss, Spock would come up with something to save them.
They were two sides of a coin and somewhere deep within himself he knew that he really had searched for someone like this for all his life.
If he only knew what Spock thought about the whole mess.
Of course Spock's behavior wouldn't answer this question. As a Half-Vulcan Spock didn't exactly wear his heart on his sleeve. He still had the privilege to get a glimpse of Spock's human side every now and then which showed him again and again that Spock trusted him more than any other person onboard the ship, especially since Spock and Uhura had broken up not long after they took off onboard the Enterprise. But Spock's special trust wasn't enough to let him jump to overhasty conclusions. He also was Spock's friend after all. And there were no significant signs that Spock would see more in him than that.
On the other hand there had been moments which had left him brooding and therefore sleepless all over again. Moments, when Spock hadn't only endured his touches but had touched him as well. Moments, when they had understood each other without words. Moments, when Spock had risked his life to save him. Moments, when Spock had smiled at him his non-smile everyone else on the ship would miss. Moments, when they had spent time together in silence, playing chess and the silence had been more intimate than every conversation.
Inwardly he sighed again while moving his bishop without thinking. Too late he realized that this move had been a mistake which would put Spock into the lead.
"You seem to be lacking in concentration, Jim."
You looked up, meeting Spock's brown eyes, which had left him sleepless for so many nights now.
"It's nothing, Spock."
He watched the chess board again, halfheartedly trying to decide which move to take next.
"Your statement is contradictory to my observations and therefore not correct."
Without making his move he looked up again – starring again in Spock's eyes which seemed to examine him in an even more intense way than usual, causing shivers down his spine. Nevertheless he tried to stay cool, leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of him.
Spock's eyebrow rose just a bit.
"As mentioned you seem to be lacking in concentration during our games of chess, not only today but throughout the last weeks. You show the same behavior during our shifts at the bridge. Your decisions during our missions regularly lack any logic. Moreover I assume that you suffer from insomnia once and again if the amount of caffeine you used to consume during breakfast lately is an indication."
He should know better by now than being surprised. He really should know by now that Spock was a very attentive person in spite of the stoic mask he used to wear. But before you could relish in Spock's attention much longer, Spock continued.
"I also proposed the thesis that your illogical behavior is connected to my person as far as it is verifiable."
His arms which were still crossed in front of him slid down without him even noticing.
To admit he was shocked would have been an understatement. His heart raced, his brain started spinning around without leaving one single reasonable thought in his mind while his temples throbbed violently.
"Is my thesis correct, Jim?"
Frenetically he searched for a way out of the current situation, only coming up with two possible solutions – denying or finally telling the truth.
For some seconds he considered denying everything. It would be so easy. He could make up something to convince Spock that he got it all wrong. He could even give Spock his word to go to Bones for a hypo against his insomnia. And just ending the discussion by making his next move at their game.
He was already on the verge of smiling at Spock and telling him he that he was fine when he finally realized that this would be the easy but definitely cowardly way. And this realization made him stop before he could have said anything. Spock and he were grown-ups after all. And in the medium term it could be a good thing if Spock knew about his feelings and he would have to face reality to finally overcome his feelings and fantasies.
Perhaps he possessed some questionable character traits but he was no coward.
He was James T. Kirk.
He'd never taken the easy way.
And he wouldn't start now.
So he straightened himself and looked Spock straight into the eyes.
"Your thesis is correct, Spock."
And before Spock could have said anything in response he continued.
"I don't know exactly when it started, Spock. But somehow my feelings for you have ...changed…have grown stronger, far beyond friendship. There was nothing I could have done. I never told you to not overburden you with my feelings for you. I know you don't feel the same for me. But nothing has to change. Everything's under control. I will not burden you with my emotions. I…"
To his surprise Spock rose from his chair and circled the table. Then he knelt right in front of him, watching him intently.
"How could you burden me with your emotions when they match my own emotions I harbor for you."
The words seemed to move in slow-motion through his brain, which desperately tried to understand what Spock had just said. He registered his mouth hanging slightly open and forced it shut. And then Spock's hand reached for his face.
"With your permission I would like to show you, Jim."
He didn't hesitate to nod his approval. The next second he felt Spock's fingers at his psi-points.
And then – Spock was in his mind.
And with his presence he could feel Spock's emotions like a whirlwind.
He'd always known that Vulcans hid strong emotions under their stoic surface which they only suppressed. But the intensity of Spock's feelings surprised him nevertheless and took his breath away for some long moments. And it took him even longer to make sense of these emotions.
And – love.
Deep-rooted love which seemed to flow into every fiber of his body, which seemed to fill his every thought, which seemed to soothe his soul. Far away he felt his body tremble. And still – he could hardly believe it.
He didn't know if he'd said Spock's name out loud or if he'd just thought it but obviously Spock had understood him.
And suddenly – he could see images, episodes of the last 18 months.
Spock and himself, laying next to each other on the biobed in sickbay, the climber circling their wrists. He could feel Spock's appreciation that he had tried to avoid skin contact in spite of their closeness. But he could also sense Spock's surprise that he didn't mind this closeness as much as he had expected.
He watched Spock and himself laying next to each other in the darkness of the shuttle. He could sense Spock's gratitude along with Spock's irritation. He could hear his own thoughts, could feel the distant echo his thoughts found in Spock's inner self. And once again he could sense Spock's growing surprise and irritation that he hadn't felt uncomfortable in spite if their direct skin to skin contact and his need to meditate about it.
He became aware of Spock's gratitude for his presence at the anniversary of Vulcan's destruction and his mother's death, how much Spock had trusted him to allow him to stay during these hours when he couldn't control his emotions properly.
He felt Spock's shock about his experiences at Tarsus IV, his worry, his genuine sympathy, his friendship and his loyalty which had made him offer his assistance and company for the night. He sensed that Spock hadn't been uncomfortable at all, laying beside him, his content surprise to be able to even fall asleep.
He could feel Spocks worry and his anger whenever he had risked his life to save Spock's – quite contrary to Spock's own need to save his life whenever he had thought it in danger. He sensed his own glances at Spock's back during their shifts, could feel their touched which seemed to emit sparks every time Spock had felt them, the need to intensify these touches and Spock's confusion about these needs. He watched Spock meditating for days about his emotions, his struggle to analyze them. And finally finding the solution.
He was in love with Jim.
And suddenly he knew that this was no dream. That everything was real. That Spock reciprocated his feelings – with an intensity he would never have guessed possible. That Spock's feelings had grown like his own over the past months.
Somewhere far away his heart kept racing in his chest.
But here in their mind-sharing enclave all that matters were Spock and him and there was nothing to hide from each other.
And then – it ended.
All of a sudden he was alone again in his mind, opening his eyes with a groan, not yet accustomed to the anew loneliness and silence in his head. But the next second he was caught again by Spock's brown eyes which gazed at him with so much open warmth, open humanity, that he couldn't help but smile.
He leaned forward until his forehead touched Spock's .
There was no need for words.
All had been said.
Lightly he traced the line of Spock's jaw with his left hand's fingertips.
And the moment their lips touched for the first time, his right hand's index- and middle-finger touched Spock's matching fingers in a Vulcan kiss.
Both touches took his breath away.
It was nearly morning when they finally fell asleep nestled against each other in his bed.
"Good morning, ashayam."
He saw the smile in Spock's eyes and couldn't help but smile himself.
"So it wasn't a dream again?"
Spock's eyebrow raised in an – as Jim knew – amused gesture.
"Given the fact I am real and – as to add – still laying unclothed in your bed, I think it acceptable to resume that you are currently indeed not dreaming."
He had to laugh – a happy laugh he had to admit.
Then reached for Spock's neck, pulling him closer and kissed him.
When they broke apart, he could see again the warmth shining in Spock's brown eyes, something he hoped to see every day from now on until the end of his time.
„Taluhk nash-veh k'dular."
Spock's whispered words sent shivers down his spine and made his heart race again.
"I love you, too, Spock."
Then he got even closer, felt Spock's warmth and shut his eyes, not ready yet to return to their duty after this night.
But still he knew that from now on there would be more nights at Spock's side.
Hopefully every coming night of his life.