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Tea and Touches.

Chapter Text

Kirk chewed his fingernails while fidgeting, an unfortunate habit he seemed to have picked up from somewhere two years into his five-year mission. His leg bumped up and down anxiously as he stared at the view screen and then down to his chairs’ communication panel. He suddenly reached for the button but stopped himself. What if Spock was still in surgery? He couldn’t interrupt Dr. McCoy, just to calm his nerves.

Nerves.

Oh god, what if Spock had nerve damage?

His stomach clenched and he broke out in a cold sweat.

How could this have occurred on his own ship?

Casualties happened, he begrudgingly reminded himself. It was a sad factor of the job. They were constantly attacked or knocked about by the dangers of space.

Yes, he had lost several good men, but this was Spock.

They had faced so much worse together and for this to be the thing that could but him the grave would be destroying to Kirk.

As Captain, he had tried to never show favoritism, but it was different with Spock...

He rubbed his temples.

Spock was... his feelings for the man were... complicated.

Friends. They were just really good friends. Brothers even. He had never felt so close to anybody in his life. Sure McCoy was a close friend as well, but Spock was...more.

Or at least Kirk wanted him to be more.

He sighed in frustration as he reviewed what had happened in his mind for what must’ve been the millionth time.

It had all happened so quickly. He and Spock had been down in the cargo bay checking on their newest shipment from Starbase Orin, when one moment Spock had been reciting cargo information to him, and the next, he had been roughly shoved out of the way as a metal band snapped on one of the shelving units and a heavy container fell in the place where he had been standing.

He had been saved but Spock had not been so lucky. The container had come down right on Spock’s entire arm crushing everything from his shoulder down to his hand.

Kirk visibility winced at the memory.

Spock had let out a horrific cry, one he could hear play over and over again in his mind.

Kirk had been at his side in an instant desperately trying to remove the container by himself but it took the combined strength of four other men to even slightly lift the weight off of him. Spock had not made another sound after his initial cry but soon passed out from the pain, he was rushed to the med bay and Kirk had even tried to follow him into surgery, not wanting to leave his side for even a moment.

He, of course, had been stopped at the door by Dr. McCoy and had to watch a sickly pale yellow Spock, with tear stained cheeks, disappear into the surgical suite.

All while he stood there without a scratch on him.

He tensed as he suddenly felt a gentle hand on his shoulder pulling him back to the bridge. “Captain Kirk,” he looked up to find Uhura standing next to his command chair. Her delicate eyebrows were pulled together over her expressive dark eyes shining down on him with concern. “It will be alright. Mr. Spock is stronger than you are giving him credit for.”

Kirk’s lips hardened into a line. Just how transparent was he? He looked towards the rest of his crew on the bridge, but only caught heads quickly turning away. They couldn’t have known his feelings right?

He hoped that they all just assumed that it was a Captains concern for his CO, and nothing more.

“That will be all Lieutenant Uhura.” He said in a dismissive tone, but he gently squeezed her hand on his shoulder before she left to return to her station.

Hours went by and Jim had not heard anything. He practically ran for the turbo lift when his alpha shift was over and he found himself down in sickbay faster than he remembered getting there. Once through the door, he was immediately stopped by Nurse Chapel.

“Captain Kirk-“ she said throwing up her hands to stop his progress into the surgical suite. “You can’t go in there, not yet.”

“How is he? Is he alright?”

“Dr. McCoy is just finishing up. There was extensive damage but it looks like he managed to save his arm.”

Kirk swallowed but he felt no less anxious. He needed to see for himself that Spock was alright.

The doors to the surgical suite swished opened and McCoy, looking a bit tired came out.

“Bones, how is he?”

McCoy glanced at him, seemingly unsurprised to see him standing there. He folded his arms and leaned against the wall. A haggard sigh came from him as he gathered his thoughts.

“Nurse, he said turning to Chapel, could you please help M’Benga put the equipment away.”

“Of course Doctor.” She said obediently. Though she looked just as anxious as Jim to hear anything about Spock’s well being. He watched as she left through the door McCoy had just entered through.

“Well Jim, he’ll live but his arm...well it’s too soon to tell. Dr. M’Benga and I fixed what we could by using a bone knitter, but it was a lengthy process. If he had been completely human we would have had to remove his arm altogether, but thankfully his bones were just dense enough to retain some sort of structure. If they hadn’t been, we would be having a very different conversation. We reconnected most of his nerves and tissue, but Vulcans are tricky. Their hands are highly sensitive and extremely important to their species so it’s too soon to tell if there will be any complications or lasting damage.”

“Can I see him?” Kirk asked knotting his fingers together.

“Not right now. He is in a Vulcan healing trance.”

Kirk looked at the surgical door, his tense shoulders bunched up even further and his eyes shone with unshed tears.

“It should have been me Bones. I should be in that bed, not Spock.”

“ Yes, I heard what happened from officer Jones. Jim, if it had been you, you would have lost your arm. You might not even have survived the surgery. Just be grateful that Spock was able to react fast enough to push you out of the way.”

“He’s always saving me Bones. I don’t deserve a friend like him.” He whispered.

McCoy patted his back. “Yes, you do Jim. Yes, you do.”

McCoy had never outright asked him if he had feelings for his first officer and Kirk had always been grateful for that. But the doctor wasn’t a fool, he was trained to see the differences in behavior and body language. He probably never said anything to avoid uneasy conversation, Kirk guessed he didn't want another reason to drink added to his list.

“Go get some sleep, Jim. I’ll call you if anything changes.”

Kirk nodded, but the action felt hollow. He allowed himself to be led out the door, but all he wanted to do was turn around and remain by Spock's side.

Spock remained unconscious for the next three days and If there was a Hell, it was waiting for him to wake up.

Everyone around him seemed to be on edge, though Kirk didn’t know if it was because they felt worried about their only Vulcan Officer or if he himself was making everyone nervous. He hadn't exactly smiled at anyone since the incident. No jokes. No small talk. He wasn’t really in the mood to try and fake his emotions with the crew, and unfortunately, that also meant the brass.

“Captain Kirk, are you listening?”

Kirk’s frown grew deeper. He looked up to the small screen on the table in his ready room. Admiral Chu, a withered old man, crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in his seat. His neck scrunched together as he went, pushing his uniform up to his chin giving him the appearance of a grumpy turtle.

“Yes Sir, forgive me I have a few things on my mind right now. My CO was hurt this past week and it’s been...taxing on myself and the crew.”

“Ah yes, the Vulcan. Speck correct? I believe I read that somewhere in your report. How is he doing?” The Admiral asked with a wave of his hand.

Like you really care, Kirk thought bitterly.

He knew Admiral Chu had a particular dislike of Spock ever since he had questioned the Admirals logic at a Federation conference in front of the other Admirals in Starfleet. Of course, Spock had been in the right. Everybody knew Vulcans spoke their minds when it came to logic, so Kirk wasn't quite sure why he had taken it personally. He seemed to hold an unfounded grudge against his first mate and often showed it when he gave out assignments. He had once assigned Spock to do fecal matter testing on a passing barge and cataloged it in the Starfleet records as "scientific inquiry". Kirk had caught the order before it reached Spock and deleted its existence from the database.

“It's Spock Sir, and he’s stable. Dr. McCoy and Dr. M’Benga have been monitoring his progress closely.”

“That’s good to hear." he didn't even sound sincere. "Although I’m sure his replacement can handle everything just fine. Speaking of Doctors I have approved Dr. M’Benga’s paperwork for his holiday leave on Omicron Delta. Make sure he goes this time, he hasn’t been using his shore leave and we are open to liability if he continues to avoid it. And I hate to add on to your current mission for delivering those cargo containers, but we have received an urgent request from the mining colony on Janus VI. They have recently had an outbreak of thropien measles and since you are the closest in the area you are to divert the Enterprise there for relief. Have Dr. McCoy create a batch of at least 12 dozen vaccinations.”

Kirk nodded. “I’ll see to it that Dr. McCoy starts right away.”

This would mean that delivering the cargo units would have to be moved to their last task since Omicron Delta was the closest planet in the system at the moment.

Though he wasn’t too thrilled about the information of their only Vulcan experienced doctor having been granted holiday leave, but Dr. M’Benga was desperately due for a little relaxing and he could not ask him to say because of Spock. McCoy would have to take over his primary care between making the vaccines. It wasn’t an Ideal situation but they would have to make do.

So they would drop off Dr. M’Benga and anyone else who requested shore leave on Omicron Delta, next deliver the vaccines, and then the cargo units.

“Are you able to handle this?” Admiral Chu asked a bit skeptically.

Kirk was insulted, they had done busier schedules than this. This was only three tasks.

“I’m sure the Enterprise can handle it.” He said giving a fake smile. He dreaded the day when they tried to boot him to Admiral. They may have been honored veterans but sometimes they didn’t know anything about the way things worked anymore. It was different supervising from the earth rather than from a captains chair.

“Good to hear it. If you need me to send another ship it won’t be there for a few more days. There’s also new protocols concerning the filing system so expect to see new forms in the next few days. I’m sure a bright young Captain like yourself can figure everything out. Even if you’re down a Vulcan.” He said chuckling at his own joke.

Kirk ground his teeth but never lost his bright facial expression.

“Well, that’s all for now. Give my best to Speck. Chu out.”

The monitor went blank and Kirk leaned back in his chair rolling his head to work out the kinks in his neck.

He blew a breath out of his mouth. “Can you believe that Spo-” he stopped himself.

Spock was in sickbay.

Admiral Chu had just told him to give Spock his best. God, did he really miss Spock that much? It had only been three days! He should know better.

No, he told himself, his mistake was understandable. After all, every time the brass annoyed him he always turned to Spock to complain, and he had just done so out of habit.

He looked at the chair Spock usually occupied when they used his ready room together. He was so used to Spock being next to him, listening quietly as he complained out Starfleet...what if he never sat there again? What if the damage done to his arm was so extensive that he had to retire from Starfleet?

Kirk rubbed his eyes and let his thoughts spiral out of control. His stomach twisted into knots. How could he care so much? It made no sense! His very soul hurt just thinking about Spock injured and unconscious in sickbay, and yet he had only known the man for a few short years. Now, he couldn’t possibly imagine his life continuing on without him by his side. He had come to rely so much on his wit, intellect, and strength of character. Together they made a great team and he somehow felt whole when Spock was around. It was a weird sensation because all his life he thought the only thing that would help fill the emptiness inside of him was the thrill of adventure in the great unknown. Space the final frontier waiting to be explored...and yet when he had met Spock he felt that emptiness leave him as if he had found the very thing his soul had been searching for.

It wasn’t among the vast scattering of stars like he had thought, but only a few feet away at the science station looking through a viewfinder.

“I’m such an idiot.” He mumbled to himself. How had he fallen so hard for this Vulcan?

“I swear Spock, you had better be okay… Just wake up soon.” He whispered.

As if some merciful being had been peeking in and spying on him, he heard the boatswain whistle.

He sat up straight and answered quickly. “Kirk here.”

“Jim, Spock’s awake if you’d like to see him.” Came Bones calm voice.

He heaved a sigh of an uneasy breath. Not quite relief but, a little less than stressed. He didn’t need any more coaxing than that.

“I’ll be down in a moment. Kirk out.”

It was as if he had transported to sickbay because he certainly didn’t remember his trip. He walked in as if gravity itself had pulled him there.

Spock was sitting in a biobed propped up against several pillows that he'd presumably been given by Chapel. His eyes were dark and weary, and his skin was waxy and pale, making him look sufficiently zombie-like for the severity of the situation. Despite his sickly pallor, Spock turned his head slightly to watch Jim come in the room and Jim had never been so relieved to see those piercing brown eyes open.

Even in sickbay, with his disheveled appearance, Spock seemed to take his breath away.

He stayed silent, carefully watching Kirk approach, making him feel as if Spock's eyes were staring into his very soul.

“Spock,” he said softly as he came to the edge of the bed.

He hadn’t really thought of what to say to the man when he woke up, he had been more concerned with whether or not if Spock would wake up at all.

“Captain.” Spock greeted in a deep scratchy voice, probably due to the fact that he hadn’t used it for a few days. It made Kirk’s stomach flip nonetheless.

Kirk reached out to touch him, to confirm that he was still alright, but he stopped himself before he made contact.

He didn’t want to stress Spock out, especially since he was a touch telepath, nor did he want to cause him pain of any kind if his body still hurt from the accident. He curled his hands back to his side before deciding to lock them behind his back altogether so he wouldn’t be tempted to reach out again.

“I’m glad you’re awake Spock the crew has been worried about you.”

“That seems highly illogical. Their worry does not change the outcome of my recovery.”

“Yes, well humans worry. It’s what we’re best at. I myself have particularly missed you on the bridge.”

Spock raised a brow. “As I recall Lieutenant Gardner is to take over my duties if I am unable. Has he been lax in his assignment as my temporary replacement?”

“No, no, I just prefer you doing them. Call it a personal preference if you will.” Jim said smiling softly down at him.

Spock turned his head upward in response and his eyes held the barest hint of a smile, the kind only Spock could convey.

It was moments like these that caused Kirk’s chest to squeeze the most. If he could just look at Spock and have him somehow magically understand everything he wanted to say to him perhaps they…

but no Spock could never feel this way about him.

“Then I shall endeavor to return to my duties at once.” he began to move as if he was going to leave his bed.

“Like hell, you will.” Bones snapped as he stepped into the room with Dr. M’Benga and Nurse Chapel following close behind. “Lay back down or I will strap you in.”

All three stopped at Spock's bed and suddenly the room seemed very crowded.

“You’re not going anywhere. You’re gonna have to rest for a few weeks before I can even think of clearing you for light duty. It’s a miracle you didn’t lose that arm of yours. If you had been completely human you would have been looking at a different outcome.”

“Dr. McCoy may I remind you I am a Vulcan, I will heal faster than you expect, there will be no need for me to take a few weeks for recovery.”

“Ah, but you are not fully Vulcan,” Dr. M’Benga interjected. “Dr. McCoy is correct, it may take you a little longer than you are anticipating to heal. Your bones were crushed and it was only thanks to Dr. McCoy’s ingenious techniques and medical knowledge that you are able to continue using it. Your Psi-points are another matter that must also be treated with care. Those also were also badly damaged and you will have to work hard to regain their full usage.”

“Yeah so don’t go putting all my hard work to waste by jumping back into your duties just to defend your Vulcan sensibilities. You need rest and time for recovery.” McCoy quipped with a glare as if he could sense Spock's mind trying to form a rebuttal.

Instead, Spock tried to straighten himself to appear proper. The action caused Kirk to press his lips in a firm line, hiding the smile that was now threatening to break over his face. The action was only something Spock ever did when he was uncomfortable or confronted about something he may not know enough about. It was a cute quirk that he rarely got to see because Spock was so knowledgeable about everything.

“I will adhere to your advice in best how to treat me.” He stated flatly.

“Good.” McCoy turned to nurse Chapel and she handed him a medical PADD. “Now I know you desperately want to go back to work but you will need to regain strength back in your entire arm and upper body since your shoulder was affected too.”

They all looked at Spock's arm that lay rested at his side, still wrapped in a compression bandage.

“Now modern science has helped you quite a bit. I was able to advance your healing process by practically years down to maybe two months. Knitting your bones and helping you regrow your flesh was the easiest part but now you will still need to go through physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and to avoid the build-up of possible scar tissue. Your muscles having been destroyed and then reconstructed and you will be at a higher risk for the fibrous tissue build up. So I have created a schedule that should help you on your path to a quick and healthy recovery and by God’s mercy, you won’t suffer any life long afflictions like numbness or tingling. It will be hard work but I have no doubt that you will do it, so long as you stick to my schedule.”

McCoy handed the PADD back to nurse Chapel and folded his arms in a bracing manner as if expecting a fight against his medical advice. Kirk wasn’t surprised, Spock liked to “debate” McCoy on a lot of things but this time Spock remained quiet.

McCoy actually gave a small smile, it was a rare thing indeed to not have Spock retort something back to the doctor. “Phase one is to control pain and inflammation. At this stage, I recommend the R.I.C.E. protocol, which is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Simple enough. I have some pain medication I mixed specifically for your body chemistry that should help you relax. Then we will move on to phase two, which we will start in a week. I would like you to come in and work on physical therapy with me on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. Dr. M’Benga will help you with your delicate Psi-points.”

Kirk bit his lip he needed to tell Bones and M’Benga of their new assignments. “Actually Bones I don’t think that schedule will work. I just got new assignments for you and M’Benga from Starfleet.”

McCoy raised a brow. “Well, if That’s the case, Nurse Chapel is also qualified to help you.” His face became softer as he looked over the Vulcan. "For now Spock, I would just like you to rest and I would like to keep you here overnight. You can return to your room tomorrow. Do you have any questions?"

"None that you have not already answered. However, I will not need your pain medication, as Vulcans have a high tolerance for pain."

McCoy's face that had softened through the conversation suddenly became hard again. "Spock don't be mad," He barked out. "You may feel like you have some control over your pain right now, but once you start the physical therapy your really gonna start to hurt. There's no shame in taking medication to help with the pain."

"I decline," he said a bit weak as he was beginning to get tired. Everyone in the room looked at each other.

"Perhaps we should talk about this later." Dr. M’Benga pronounced to the room. "For now, let's let the man rest and clear the room." He began gently pushing everyone towards the doors.

Kirk turned around to protest, he didn't want to leave yet, but he caught the half-lidded look on his friend's face and realized that Spock did indeed need some rest. He bit his lip and allowed himself to once again be shown out of the med bay.

Chapter Text

The next few days kept Kirk annoyingly busy running around his ship and trying to keep everyone on schedule. This was normal for him but with his first officer in incapacitated and the Brass assigning more busybody work to him and his crew, Kirk was beginning to feel a bit frayed. True, they only had three stops to make but with all of the changes in the new filing system, Kirk found himself flooded with paperwork. In order to keep up with it all, he found himself having to put in some overtime and doing double shifts.

All he just wanted to do was visit Spock but every chance he got was always interrupted by someone or something that needed his attention.

The few times he could have gone and visited were extremely late in the evening and Kirk thought it would be extremely selfish of him to just barge in on someone who needed rest to recover, no matter how much he missed him.

He looked over his schedule for the day and finally saw a break around 2100 hours. He could possibly drop by around then. Would Spock even feel up to seeing a visitor? He could always make the excuse that it was a captain’s duty to oversee the wellness of the crew, and If he visited that late then it would give him just enough time to get a good night's rest before overseeing the departures for tomorrow.

What time was that again?

He scanned the small PADD in his hands again. “We will be arriving at Omicron Delta, in 24 hours,” Kirk mumbled to himself. He rubbed his chin in thought as he looked out the viewfinder in space.

“Sorry, Sir did you say something?” Yeoman Rand asked as she stepped up to his Captains chair handing him another PADD to sign.

“No, no, just talking to myself. I was going over it today’s schedule and looks like we’re going to be within orbit of Omicron Delta in about 24 hours.”

He signed to forms and handed them back to her.

Rand nodded excitedly. “I’m part of the group that got approval to go last minute.” She sighed happily. “I can’t believe I get two weeks off. I’m definitely gonna get a nice tan before coming back on board.” She said as she winked and departed.

Kirk huffed. That meant two weeks without M’Benga who was also on the approval list. He hoped that Spock's recovery wasn’t too heavily reliant on his medical expertise. The Enterprise would drop off their vacationers and then head to the mining colony with the vaccines if something happened while he was on shore leave it would be up to Bones to fix it.

Worrying about Spock seemed to press on his mind more than their scheduling.
Perhaps Spock would be up for a game of chess this evening. Kirk frowned, no his arm, he reminded himself. Spock could try to play with his other hand but he did not want the Vulcan to feel less dignified in any way.

He scratched his cheek in thought. He wanted to do something nice for Spock, but what? What did you do to cheer a Vulcan up? Well, what did you do when you cheered a normal human being up? Bring them flowers? Kirk shook his head. No, he would not bring Spock flowers, he would probably prefer bacteria in a petri dish, then flowers from the arboretum…

But the arboretum had other things. He suddenly had another idea.

He slowly got up under the preamble of taking a stroll around the bridge, he nodded a few times to the people who looked up from there stations. Yes, yes, good job everyone, excellent work.

Then he stopped next to his target.

"Mr. Sulu."

Sulu glanced up in surprise. "Yes, captain?"

"I overheard you last week talking to Some of the crew about some new tea leaves you were growing in the arboretum. I'm very interested in that, could you tell me more?"

Sulu's brows rose and a smile spread across his face. "Oh of course captain, I didn't know you liked tea."

"Yes, I'm always interested in finding new flavors." He smoothly lied. In truth, Kirk preferred a dark roast coffee to tea, but Sulu didn't need to know that.

"Well, I have grown three new plants, one of which I crossbred from a lavender plant of earth and a plant from one of titans moons called a Kittsfop. The taste is quite wild but can be tamed with a little peppermint sugar. The other two come from the red and blue vines of Galapagos planets.

"Well done Mr. Sulu would you mind if I had some to try?" Kirk asked actually interested. Tea from vines. What an interesting concept.

"Not at all, sir. Which one would you like to give a go?"

"Perhaps the red one from the Galapagos planet. Would it be alright if I picked up some later this evening after dinner?

"I'll have it ready for you sir," Sulu said happily. "You'll have to let me know what you think, I'm thinking of crossbreeding that one with some seaweed for a new flavor."

Kirks eyebrows rose, "Well that will certainly be interesting."

"Oh, I'm counting on it, sir."

After his shift and some more paperwork with a small dinner on the go, Kirk found himself excitedly walking towards Spock’s quarters with a small pouch of red tea, straight from Sulu's own personal garden.

He was almost there when he heard his name being called from up the hallway.

“Jim! I’m glad I caught ya I need to speak with you.”

Bones was walking down the hall heading straight towards him.

“Can’t it wait Bones? I’m on my way to see Spock right now.”

“It’s Spock I want to talk about.”

Kirk stopped.

“Why? What’s wrong?” He hated how easily his voice betrayed his emotions. He definitely cared about Spock more than what was professional.

“I’ve just come from his room doing a routine check-up, and he’s in pain Jim. A tremendous amount of pain, but he still refuses to take the medication I made for him.”

“He told you he was in pain?”

Bones snorted. “He told me squat. But my medical scans don’t lie. His readings are usually strange but there’s no doubt about it, the man is in tremendous pain. He’s sweating and leaning on things for help, although he’s trying to hide it. I'm really worried. He starts physical therapy with nurse Chapel tomorrow and it’s only going to get worse from there.”

“I see.” He said with a frown. “But if Spock says he can handle the pain, I don’t see why we shouldn’t believe him.”

“No!” Bones cried thumping Kirk’s chest.“You have got to talk some sense into the thick skull of his. Prolonged stress on his body will only make his healing process slower. He even might cause himself more damage.”

He frowned. “I’ll see what I can do.” Kirk’s nails dug into his palms uncomfortably and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach.

Bones let out an exasperated sigh but seemed satisfied with his answer. “I’m gonna go get back to work on those vaccines. Call me if you actually convince Spock to take the medication. I will send nurse Chapel down with a hypo.”

Kirk padded his shoulder. “Will do Bones.”

The doctor nodded and continued down the hall mumbling to himself about stubborn patients and their unwillingness to get better.

Kirk continued to walk towards the living quarter's corridor wondering what he would say to Spock. How did one convince a stubborn Vulcan to take his medicine? He stopped in front of the door the rang the bell.

“Come in Captain.”

Kirk smiled as he walked in. “How did you know it was me?”

“The probability of it being someone else was less than 10.3% since Dr. McCoy has just left.”

Spock was sitting at his small table wrapped in a long black robe. His hair was slightly disheveled and his face seemed a bit sunken in, but he held himself up straight and dignified as if this were any other visit.

“I hope I’m not bothering you, but I brought some tea for us to try out, a Sulu original from a Galapagos planet that is if you’re feeling well enough for my company.”

Spock tilted his head. “An interesting proposal. Your company is never unwanted.” He held out his good hand for the bag of tea.

“Oh no, don’t get up. I’ll brew it.”

Spock nodded and sat back in his seat while Kirk went to use the small kitchenette that every room had. He had spent enough time with Spock on many occasions to know exactly where everything was and how he preferred it brewed. He detested replicated hot water.

The room was quiet as he worked and the aroma of the boiled leaves began to fill the room.

He liked moments like this. Quiet, with just Spock for company. When he was around him, Kirk felt himself relax like he was in his own quarters. He didn’t feel the need to fill the empty air with hollow small talk. He was comfortable.

As soon as the tea was done he brought two cups, and the small teapot to the little table where Spock sat waiting.

Kirk sat down from across Spock and gently handed him his cup. The smell of something floral wafted up from the steam and the scent was extremely calming.

Kirk sat down across from Spock and took a sip of tea. He immediately regretted it. He wasn’t the best person to like tea, but this new flavor tasted nothing as it smelled. It was hard to describe but since he was a farm boy the closest description he could come to was musty hay with a hint of the floral notes that were in the air. He must have made a disgusted face, because he noticed the small crinkle of Spock’s eyes, betraying a bit of a smile while he took a sip from his own drink.

“How are you finding the flavor Captain?”

“Lackluster.” He said with a grimace. “What about you? What do you think?”

Spock took another small sip. “I find it to be lacking something, but it is not entirely unpalatable. I find the flavor quite refreshing.”

Kirk gave a shake of his head. “Well, I’m glad you are enjoying it. Sulu had mentioned to me that he was thinking of adding earth seaweed to the flavor.” Kirk licked his lips trying not to think about that combination.

Spock’s eyes followed his tongues movement as he tried to clear the taste from his lips. He hoped he didn’t have anything on his face.

“An intriguing theory.” Spock continued, looking away. “Perhaps he wishes to bring balance to the sweetness.”

“Sweetness? Kirk looked at his cup doubtfully. “Is that what you’re tasting?” He set the cup carefully down and pushed it away from him. “What possible reason could he think that adding salt to something sweet would work?”

“Did you not once tell me about something called salted caramel?”

Kirk smiled “Fair enough, salted caramels are delicious.”

Spock held a glint in his eye as he nodded at Kirk’s acknowledgment. “What type of Terran seaweed is he proposing to add?” He asked looking into his own cup of tea.

“Uncertain. I’ll ask him next time I see him. He has offered me a few other flavors to try and so I thought I might try them with you.”

Spock quirked a brow. “Indeed? I have never seen you partake in tea before. As I recall you prefer dark roasted coffee.”

“Well, you got me there. But I know you like tea and I thought it would bring you a bit of cheer, seeing as you’re trapped in your quarter's healing.”

“That is ...kind of you, but you need not worry about my recovery Captain. As a Vulcan, I do not need ‘cheer.’”

“Of course Mr. Spock, of course.” He chuckled shaking his head. “But that’s not the only reason I came. While I do care deeply about your health and happiness, I also came here because damn do I need to complain to someone about the Brass.” He said in jest.

“Very well.” Spock nodded with another sip of tea. “You may proceed.”

Kirk recounted the past few day’s events to him and how the bridge was a very boring place without him there. Then he moved on to Admiral Chu, and how he was a no good washed up old fool who didn’t have any faith in the enterprise or his crews abilities to get things done, noting all of the unnecessary paperwork that had been dumped on his desk thanks to a new computer filing system that Starfleet wants to start implementing. He talked for some time giving Spock his full opinions on washed up politics and new changes being made as a way for the Enterprise to be micromanaged. Recounting the menial tasks being added onto their schedule instead of going out and exploring new systems.

“We are basically errand boys when we should be out exploring!” Kirk sat back in his chair a sighed. “I don’t know Spock, I knew this would be part of the job but these past few weeks have felt… I don’t know-“ he struggled for words. How could he describe how he felt?

“Stagnant?” Spock supplied.

“Yes!” Kirk exclaimed. “See you get it. I knew you would. Did you know the USS Exeter, saw a double blue star go supernova?! A double blue star! That should be our supernova. We would have been in that system in it wasn’t for all these deliveries.”

Spock sat up a bit straighter. “Fascinating. What were the results of the gamma radiation emissions?”

“Oh, that’s the best part. Those information hogs aren’t sharing anything. I think their science officer Dr. Melton is going to write a paper on the phenomenon.”

Spock’s lips tipped into a slight frown, clearly disappointed as Kirk was when he requested the information and got denied.

Spock cupped his tea in thought, and Kirk almost felt bad for mentioning it.

“Our current missions may not be as pleasurable as of those concerning the USS Exeter but from my understanding, we are providing medical relief and supplies to other colonies that need them.”

“Yeah, I guess so, although if we hadn’t been carrying that cargo you might not have gotten hurt.” He said looking at Spock’s bandaged arm.

“What has happened, has happened. Wondering about what could have been, is a waste of time.”

Kirk huffed. “Do you always have to be so logical?”

“Yes.”

Kirk gave a laugh. “Well good. I guess in a world of unpredictability, I can always count on you to be logical.”

He continued to let his eyes linger on Spock’s arm. He guessed now was a good time as any to bring up his injuries.

“So how is your arm?”

“It is functioning at 30.7%.”

Kirk studied his face. There was a light sheen of sweat across his forehead and strands of black hair seemed to paste themselves to his skin.

“Are you in lots of pain?”

“The pain is manageable through meditative techniques.”

He seemed out of breath and Kirk now noticed he was leaning slightly forward on the table as if he were using it to hold himself up. Bones had been right, Spock was in pain.

“But there is pain.”

Spock’s lashes lowered as he looked at his lap.

“Affirmative.”

“What does Bones say?” He asked knowing full well Bones opinion on the matter.

Spock’s brows pulled down over his eyes. “Dr. McCoy has had a lot of things to say, yet none of it is pertinent to a Vulcans healing process.”

Kirk tilted his head forward, “Spock you need to listen to the doctor's orders, even if the advice doesn’t seem pertinent to you.” He gently chastised.

“Just like you listened to him when you caught that cold and refused rest?”

Kirk narrowed his eyes. “Shameless today aren’t we? Well, that’s the best thing about being the Captain, I don’t have to listen to anybody on my ship. Those admirals may try and control me from afar but out here I’m king.”

“May I remind you, Captain, that the Commanding medical officer may remove a Captain if they deem it necessary.”

“Yeah but Bones won’t pull rank. He knows whatever I do, it’s for the sake of the crew and this ship. Just because I suffered a stuffy nose for a bit doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to act in my role as Captain.”

“Then by your logic, I too can ‘suffer a bit’ And still fulfill my duties as your first officer.”

Kirk pinched his lips shut. That hadn’t gone the way he had hoped. He leaned forward further and studied the Vulcan.
“You know verbal chess is always very fun with you, however just like in our real games you forget I always have one trick up my sleeve. Follow the doctor's orders, that’s an order.”

Spock took a deep breath in an almost sigh like fashion.

“If our verbal sparring has turned to chessboard tactically then you should know I too, have logical solutions to the tricks hidden in your sleeves. Starfleet regulation 556.42 says if a patient refuses medical treatment, they are given that right as long as they are sound of mind to do so. So even as the Captain you cannot enforce your order.”

“You’re right Spock. I can’t force you.”

Kirk began to reach across the table to touch Spock’s good arm but stayed his hand. He couldn’t be grabbing an injured person. Even if he touched an unaffected area, it still might be troublesome to Spock if he was in as much pain as Bones had said. Instead, he placed his hand awkwardly between them on the table.

Spock watched his indecisive movements quietly choosing not to comment, making Kirk feel even more awkward.

“ All I can do is hope you at least consider my plea to take the pain medication. I make this request, not as your captain, but as your friend. I don’t want you in pain.” He said earnestly gazing at Spock.

Spock, in turn, searched his face and the edges of his eyes softened.

“I will… consider it.” He finally said relenting.

Kirk beamed at him, and Spock looked away. It wasn’t an exact promise but it was something.

“You know I never got to thank you, for saving me that is.” He said quietly.

“Of course Captain,” Spock answered in the same hushed tone.

“I know you have physical therapy with nurse Chapel tomorrow, would you mind if I came along to keep you company?”

“You may come if you wish, my appointment is at 1300 hours.”

“Great.” He was suddenly caught up in a yawn. Looking at the chronometer on the table he realized he had been there for almost 2 hours. ”I’m gonna put these dishes away and head out. You should get some rest.”

“Affirmative.”

Kirk got up and did as he said washing the dishes and quietly put them away. Spock had gotten up while he was busy and laid down in his bed.

“Night Spock.” He said quietly as he left.

“Good night, Jim.” He heard before the doors slid closed.

The next day the Enterprise found themselves orbiting around the deep blue and green planet Omicron Delta, and Kirk found himself pushing everybody a bit harder to get the shore leave rotation out of the way. If he was going to make Spock doctors appointment then he would have to rush a few things and delegate others.

It had been a struggle all morning.

Finally finding time to leave Scotty in charge of the bridge he ran to Sickbay, just barely making it on time. He walked in and saw Spock was already sitting on one of the biobeds with nurse Chapel and Bones talking to him.

Bones eyed him up and down, “I see you’ve invited yourself along.”

“I’m just here for support,” Kirk said as he came up the side of the bed. Spock glanced at him but said nothing more.

Bones smirked. “Spock doesn’t need any support he’s a grown Vulcan.”

“Fine. It’s for my own emotional security.” He said with a wink. “Besides aren’t you supposed to be working on those vaccinations?”

“Just waiting for this batch to finish up, but I thought I would come to see how Spock is before I left him in nurse Chapels capable hands.”

He picked up a PADD and nodded to her.

“Nurse, why don’t you get started and grab the supplies from the other room, and Spock remove your robe so your movements won’t be so restricted.”

Kirk looked at Spock a realized he was in a slender black robe that was tied in front. Spock carefully extracted himself from his clothes and Kirk couldn’t help but notice a twinge of pain escape his eyes. He looked to Bones to see if he noticed the twinge of pain too, he had, he chose not to comment.

The pair sat in silence in as nurse Chapel went to get the supplies. As she exited through the swishing doors Someone else walked in.

“Looks like there’s a party going on in here.”

Kirk turned to see M’Benga entertaining dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and some shorts with sandals.

“What are doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be on the next transport down to the planet surface?”

“Oh, I am. Trust me. I’ve got a date with a good book and some sunshine. I just wanted to come and check on my patient one last time before I left him for two weeks.”
He said coming over to them. The room was just as crowded as when Spock woke up.

“Actually is a good thing you’re here. One of the centrifuge machines broke down and I can’t find the replacement drum, I need to fix it otherwise I won’t have enough vaccines before we make it to Rigel XII.”

M’Benga and Bones began to talk to one another about spare parts and Kirk focused his attention back to Spock.

He hadn’t said a word since Kirk had entered and he wondered if Spock was in too much pain to say anything. Instead, he just sat there, eyes now closed with his hands at his side. There was as a slight shake to his body and Kirk wanted to lean forward and place a comforting hand on his back. Be he refrained. He probably didn’t want to be touched right now, especially if he was going to be touched continually for the next hour.

Kirk could almost feel the stress emanating off of his form like it was ghosting over him in invisible waves.

What could he say to ease his stress?

"Spock-"

The sound of the boatswain whistle interrupted him. He glanced at Spock, who was now looking at him expectantly, then to the nearest answering station, which was in the other room.

Uhura's soft voice came through the air. "Captain Kirk to the bridge, Captain Kirk to the bridge."

"I'll be right back." He walked into the next room and answered the call. "Kirk here."

"Captain, there's a message waiting for you, it's from Admiral Chu and its marked urgent."

"Thank you, Uhura I will get to it immediately."

"Starfleet has also sent us new coordinates and is demanding we set the course right away. Shall I have Scotty set the course?"

“Not until the crew rotations are complete. What are the new coordinates?”

He listened to the new coordinates carefully as he watched nurse Chapel walk passed him carrying supplies back into the room where Spock was waiting. He hoped she didn’t start without him there.

“Captain Kirk?”

He re-focused his attention back to the task at hand.

Those coordinates would delay their current mission to get to the mining colony on Rigel XII, but whatever their new mission was it sounded important. Kirk was going over the schedule in his head when he heard Spock let out a scream.

His heart stopped beating for a split second before slamming against his chest, he abandoned the call and practically broke down the door to the exam room in his haste to get inside.

Spock was bent over and had his head cradled in his hands and nurse Chapel stood far away as if she had jumped back at Spock's reaction.

"What happened?!" Kirk demanded, rushing over to Spock.

Forgoing his resolve not to touch him, he gently cupped Spock's body in a protective manner and the Vulcan actually leaned into him for support, or perhaps, even comfort. His bare warm skin was pressed against him and Kirk suddenly felt fiercely protective.

"I-I don't know! I just touched him and he screamed!" Chapel said in a bit of panic.

"I don't want excuses I want an answer, what happened?!" He demanded.

Bones stepped in front of her in a protective manner. "Jim, it wasn't her fault, she really did just touch him."

Kirk forced himself to calm down as he looked at the two medical professionals and then down to Spock who was slightly shaking, but unharmed. "I apologize Miss Chapel." He said looking up at her. "My behavior was uncalled for," he cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I hope you can forgive me.”

“It’s quite alright captain, I can understand your concern. His cry startled me as well.”

They all looked to Spock who was now very pale and staring at his hands.

"Spock are you alright? What happened?" Bones asked gently stepping forward and running a scanner down his body.

Spock opened his mouth but the words seemed to delay themselves before coming out. "It seems that I have no control over my psi-points in my hand, as soon as nurse Chapel removed the bandage from me and made skin to skin contact, my mental shields failed and I could not protect myself from the onslaught of her emotions, thoughts, and memories. It was too overwhelming."

She nodded, still a little shaken and stepped forward to explain. "Dr. McCoy asked that I remove his pressure bandages."

Bones looked to M’Benga “Could this mean no one can touch him?"

"Captain Kirk is still touching him." Nurse Chapel observed.

They all blinked and Kirk quickly let go of Spock.

"Perhaps Kirk can touch him because they have shared a meld before,” M’Benga suggested. “Therefore Spock's mind already knows how to organize the joining of their mental space and filter any unwanted intrusion."

"Well, that's one theory." Bones said folding his arms studying the pair.

"It seems to be more than a theory since Spock gave almost no indication to Kirks touch. Captain try and touch Spock's hands." M’benga encouraged.

Kirk pulled his hands slightly behind his back, "What if I cause him pain like Nurse Chapel did? I was only holding his sides but she actually touched his hands."

"Then at least we’ll know and we can move onto trying to find the next solution," M’Benga said simply.

Kirk swallowed a he looked down at the still shaking Vulcan. Carefully he reached out and put his hand in Spocks, but didn’t thread their fingers together. Instead, he gently pressed his fingers to the palm. He saw a visible shiver go through Spock’s body but gave no other reaction, other than his initial shaking beginning to calm down.

“Yeah, the only problem is Kirk’s not a Doctor. He needs to treated by a proper medical professional.” Bones walked up to Spock. “I could try and find some time between the vaccine batches and treating Spock if he can handle my touch. Hold out your hand Spock and I’ll be as gentle as I can.”

Spock hesitantly, but obediently held out his hand. It was still deeply bruised with different kinds of greens and purples and shook slightly in the air. Kirk bit his lip. Was it unethical if he didn’t want the Bones to touch him?

Very lightly Bones touched the top of Spock’s thumb he jerked back as if he had been severely burnt.

“Perhaps you had better try M’Benga.”

Kirk stepped forward not wanting to see Spock react like that again. “It wouldn’t matter anyway Bones, even if M’Benga could touch him, he has to go on shore leave, otherwise the Federation is open to liability if he doesn’t take his vacation days.”

“How do you treat a patient who is untouchable?” Bones mused. He turned to M’Benga. “Didn’t Spock once meld with ensign Kimber on an away mission? I think he has medical train-“

Kirk didn’t want anyone else to touch Spock, so he spoke up before Bones could come up with another plan.“If it would help. I would be willing to do the work.”

Bones lifted an eyebrow. “You Jim?”

“I was- erm,” He was suddenly nervous, and Kirk cursed himself inwardly, “I was offering my services,” He paused, frowning at the choice of his words, “I could help Spock with his physical therapy and massage treatment. After all,” He said turning to Spock, “You have melded with me before. And you can stand my touch, perhaps that would be easier for your Psi-points in the long run.” He finished somewhat lamely. Spock looked up into his eyes almost in a searching manner, as if thinking over his argument.

Bones looked at him skeptically.

“If you’re worried about the training, all Captains are required to take medical courses, and I aced all of mine.” Kirk shrugged if it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Bones opened his mouth to speak, but Spock gave a soft sigh and nodded. “I do prefer that option. I admit that I find your offer more agreeable than having nurse Chapel treat me again."

Kirk winced at his choice of words, even if he himself had been just as harsh with her, she really wasn't at fault. Nurse Chapel, however, looked downright mortified at Spock's statement.

Bones placed a hand on her shoulder in a comforting manner. "Don't worry about it, my dear. You did nothing wrong. It just seems we will have to treat Spock in a different way."

Her face smoothed over in a professional manner and she nodded. "Yes, of course, Doctor."

“Rotation G, please report to transporter room one, Rotation G.”

“That’s me.” M’Benga pronounced. He pulled a small folded hat from his pocket and shook it loose before putting it on his head. “I’m off. But message me if you have any problems.”

As soon as he walked out the doors Kirk heard a loud buzzer going off in the other room. “Looks like my vaccines are done, I better get started on the next batch. Nurse, give Kirk the information for Spock’s treatment and answer any questions he might have. I’ll see you later. If you have any questions about the treatment feel free to call me.” Bones hurried from the room to shut the buzzer off.

“Will do Doctor.” She said politely as she reached for a PADD sitting on the desk and handed it to Kirk. Here’s the treatment regimen Dr. McCoy has created for Spock. He may be able to do the first few on his own but he will get tired because of the physical state he is in. He might need help with these last 3 or 4. Now the massage treatment is extremely important. Use some lotion or massage oil and begin to work your way from his shoulder blade down to his arm. Since his Psi-points in his fingers were the most affected spend a little longer on his fingers to break up any scar tissue.”

Kirk nodded as he looked through the instructions on the PADD. He knew Vulcan hands were extremely sensitive so he had a few reservations about massaging them.

Nurse Chapel took his arm and guided him away from Spock. “Captain,” she said in a low whisper. “Spock has been ignoring Doctor McCoy's advice and is refusing to take pain medication. See if you can’t change his mind. He will listen to you.”

“Bones has already asked me to try but he still refuses.”

She frowned. “Try again. These exercises are going to be painful.” She glanced back at Spock who was sitting in the bed quietly. “Hopefully the massage will help him relax.”

Kirk nodded.

“I am sorry for causing you stress Mr. Spock. But I’m sure the Captain will take care of you.” She said as she smiled at him.

Spock nodded.

“You okay? You haven’t been very vocal.”

Kirk asked when nurse Chapel left the room.

“I suffered a shock to my system. Silence is what I prefer right now.”

Kirk let himself reach out and lay a comforting hand on Spock’s shoulder. Now that he knew he was the only one that could touch him, he wanted to reassure him everything would be okay.

“I understand. You look like you could use some rest. How about we do this in a few hours, and we could do it in your cabin if that would be more comfortable for you.”

“That would be agreeable.”

“Okay. I’m gonna go deal with whatever's going on the bridge. I kind of hung up on Uhura, and I will drop by your quarters around 1800 hours. Sound good?”

Spock nodded but said nothing more, and Kirk had to force himself to let go of his direct contact. He looked Spock over one last time before he turned and left to go deal with whatever was added to their new schedule.

Chapter Text

Kirk was a bit angry. His urgent message from Admiral Chu had ordered his ship to go straight to the mining colony on Janus VI.

Apparently, the miners there were threatening to withhold Lithium supplies from the Federation if they didn’t get the cargo units to them immediately. That meant the outbreak on Rigel XII would have to go at least three more days without the vaccines. The colony had already suffered the loss of 4 men and If they waited any longer for the vaccines they were definitely going to have more casualties. He did not agree with this order and he felt like Admiral Chu was placing greater value on Lithium supplies, then on human lives. And more lives would be lost unless the vaccines got to them soon.

Unless Kirk cut across Klingon space.

He pursed his lips. That would be his last resort if any problems arose, but for now, if he pushed his crew and pulled multiple double shifts on the bridge to try and make sure everything ran smoothly they had a chance to get the vaccines to Rigel XII in two days instead of three. It wasn't much but if it meant at least one life would be spared, it was worth it.

He had to start tonight once he was done helping Spock he would just have to replicate a pot of coffee and suck it up.

He shifted the contents of the bag on his arm as he walked down the living quarter's corridor. It contained the replicated materials that would help Spock with the physical therapy treatment and a PADD full of instructions that nurse Chapel had given him.

He had reviewed the plan over lunch and it seemed simple enough, but just to be safe he had brushed up on the Vulcan physiology chart in the database.

Vulcans bodies were a lot more sensitive than he had thought and for a race that had descended from warriors, they sure were fragile. He, of course, had seen Spock endure some pretty horrible things over the years and somehow that had built Spock up in his mind to be pretty indestructible. It was hard to believe that anymore.

Lost in his thoughts he almost collided with Sulu in the corridor.

“There you are, Sir.” His helmsman greeted.

“Sorry Sulu, I didn’t see you standing there.” He said glancing at the bag and making sure he hadn’t dropped anything.

“It’s quite alright, I was actually looking for you anyway. Here’s a box of some assorted teas. I figured I would just give you a variety all at once and you can try them at your leisure. I’ve labeled them so you can see what they’re mixed with and I added my recommendations on whether or not to add cream or sugar.”

“Why thank you, Mr. Sulu, that’s very considerate of you.” He said a bit surprised as he took the small box.

“So how did you like the last one I gave you?”

“I found it really wasn’t my flavor, but I did share some with Commander Spock and he seemed to enjoy it. Although he was quite curious when I mentioned you had thought about adding seaweed to the mix, he was wondering what kind.”

“I was thinking of using a red seaweed called Dulse. It comes from Northern Ireland and the locals actually use it in beer. But I think the extract would bring a little something to the flavor, but unfortunately, I will have to wait to get some until we get back to earth.”

“Wow. I’ll let Spock know. Thank you for letting me try these. I’m sure I’ll need something to keep my spirits up while we are dealing with this hectic schedule.”

“Sure thing sir. And if you have any suggestions on what could be added let me know. I’m always up for experimenting.”

Kirk smiled, his mood had lifted a little. “I will.”

Sulu nodded and continued on his way down the corridor. He would have to show these to Spock.

Delighted at the prospect of bringing his Vulcan some cheer he continued on his way to Spock’s cabin.

When he reached his room he rang the bell and he heard Spock invite him in. “Whew, It’s hot in here.” Kirk stopped when he walked in he found Spock shirtless sitting up on his bed waiting for him.

“I see you’re already to go. Shirt off and everything.” Kirk chuckled trying to hide just how much Spock’s bare chest bothered him.

“I could not put my robe back on when we departed in sickbay due to my arm, so when I returned to my quarters the temperature was not adequate enough without clothing so I raised it to something more acceptable.”

"So you just walked back to your quarters without a shirt on?” God, he would have loved to have seen that.

"Affirmative. If the temperature bothers you I will lower it."

"No, Spock, I'm fine. You're the one who supposed to be as comfortable as possible. Also, look what Sulu gave me on my way here.” Kirk went to sit next to Spock on his bed and placed the box in between them. “Do you want to try one before we start? Maybe it will relax you.” He opened it up and showed off the little parcels of dried leaves.

Spock looked over the contents of the box carefully, his eyes lingering on a little blue pouch. “I do not need supplement at this time, perhaps at a later date. We should commence with the treatment.”

Kirk smiled softly as he closed the lid, sealing off the aroma that had escaped while it had been open.

“Alright, Spock let's get started.”

The first few exercises were quite easy and Spock could do them on his own but by the fourth one, he had begun to slow down ever so slightly.

Kirk carefully monitored his progress on a tricorder and watched him as he continued to stretch using a medical band. He noticed that Spock’s movements were kind of jerky and the problem seemed to be coming from his rotator cuff. He made a note in the PADD. That was an area he would focus on a bit more when it came to the massage part.

A droplet of his sweat dripped from his forehead onto the PADD and he wiped it off with his sleeve. The temperature in the room was starting to get to him but he could handle it. He just hoped he didn’t smell. He hadn’t had a proper sonic shower in a few days. That was the last thing Spock needed, a sweaty human smell lingering in the air of his room.

Other than the soft sounds of Spock’s labored breathing It was quiet in the room. Kirk continued to monitor Spock, but he found his imagination about his patient's body beginning to wander. Not exactly professional, but he was a Captain, not a Doctor.

The Starfleet uniform never showed off how muscular Spock really was. Sweat glistened on his body as his muscles flexed themselves when he moved. The trousers that he wore hung low on his hips and they would tease Kirk from time to time with the slightest glimpse of a dip, just below his lower back, but not quite far enough to see his muscular behind.

That just wasn’t fair.

Often times his mind would jump from his infatuated feelings to straight up lust and he had no control over it.

This was one of those times. He had been able to keep his thoughts in check until Spock began shoulder and neck stretches.

Rolling his head back and forth so that his neck was stretched taut. His creamy pale skin was openly exposed and looked down right delectable, ripe for the taking. He wanted to bite the skin and suck on it until it bore a deep green mark. It would hurt but he would lick it better.

Spock swallowed and Kirks mouth went dry as he watched his Adam's apple bob slowly up and down. A jolt of desire shot directly through Kirk into the knot forming in his belly.

He could picture Spock’s head thrown back just like that in passion, his mouth possibly open due to a cry or pleasure. Would Spock make noise if being made love to?

No. This was so wrong. He shouldn’t be having these thoughts. It was perverse. Spock was injured, and there was nothing sexy about an injured man stretching.

He wished he could believe himself.

Sweat dripped down the Vulcans jugular and Kirk’s eyes followed the droplet as it found its way to Spock’s collar bone. From there it traveled down onto his chest, which was heaving up and down with effort from the continual exercise.

What would it be like to have such a heaving chest under him? Or for that matter, over him.

“Jim?”

Kirk’s eyes snapped up to Spock’s like a deer caught in headlights.

“Yes?” he tried to go for nonchalance, but his voice seemed a bit strained.

“I will require assistance with the next set of stretches.”

“Oh of course.” Kirk recentered his thoughts

Letting out a deep breath, he looked back to the instructions on the screen, nothing but a jumble of letters and no real sentences. Focus Kirk. The next stretch exercise was crisscrossing the chest and pulling arms out to the side.

He came to stand in front of Spock and gently took his injured arm and stretched it across his chest. His hand cupped his bicep carefully, but Kirk was still amazed at how the steal like muscles felt contracting under his hand. He was used to grabbing Spock’s upper arms when he felt the need to reach out for comfort or stability, and could even recall how his first officer's arms felt when they choose to spar in the gym together.

But somehow this felt more intimate.

His slick chest was just a few glorious inches away and Kirk’s eyes roamed downward. All he had to do was reach forward and pull back the waistband of Spock’s trousers...

A set of deeply erotic images flashed across his mind but were gone just as quickly.

Where had those come from?

While his previous imaginings of Spock and him had been slow, sensual couplings, the images he had just seen were aggressive and almost possessive in nature. He hadn’t really pictured them like that before. They were Intense... but still somehow achingly sweet. One other detail Kirk had noticed was that they had changed positions. Normally Kirk was the one holding Spock in his imaginings, instead, Spock had him in his arms.

Which wasn’t a problem for Kirk in the slightest.

Actually, yes it was. He shouldn’t be having these thoughts at all. What if Spock could sense his arousal? He was a touch telepath after all and Kirk was still holding onto his arm for heaven's sake!

He tried to focus on clearing his thoughts as he looked into Spock’s face for any evidence that he might have given himself away. Thankfully Spock’s expression hadn’t changed and he was focusing on the stretching pose itself.

Perhaps Kirk was safe due to the fact that Spock’s psi-points were injured.

He pulled his arm back and Kirk readjusted his grip, sliding his hand down to cup his elbow. He used his other hand to lightly grip Spock’s wrist so that he could carefully help him stretch his arm backward.

Images once again flashed across his mind briefly before fading and like the ones before, they too, were quite graphic. This time his imagination had actually conjured a sound to accompany the visuals.

He guessed he had made up his mind on whether or not Spock was a screamer. He was.

Kirk was shocked at himself. He didn’t realize he had such a filthy mind or at least he thought he had outgrown such things from when he was a teenager. Perhaps it was time for him to schedule a psych eval. He quickly helped Spock finish his last exercise before stepping away as casually as possible.

How was he ever going to keep himself in check when he had to massage him?

Spock slightly slumped in front of him.

“How about we take a break?” Kirk asked as he took the medical band from Spock’s hand.

“Negative. I wish to continue and get this over with.”

“Spock you’re panting pretty hard. Let me get you some water or maybe some of that blue tea I saw you eyeing. The next portion of the regiment is the massage. Taking a break now will give you some time to relax and cool off. Come sit down I’ll brew it.” He placed his hand to the small of Spock’s back and guided him to the table.

Spock gave pause and assessed himself before finally nodding in agreement. “I am not panting, but perhaps you are correct. The blue tea will be acceptable at this time.”

Kirk placed his hand to the small of Spock’s back and guided him to the table and he sat down carefully looking away.

Kirk smiled down at him. He just couldn’t help it. That was probably hard for him to admit that he needed the break. Stubborn Vulcan. Before he decided to change his mind, Kirk grabbed the small blue pouch from the box and began to brew it.

“You know, I saw you having a bit of trouble with your rotator cuff, is that the source of most of the pain?” He said casually as he poured the herbs into a strainer and placed the pot to boil.

Spock didn’t answer.

“Spock?” Kirk turned around from the small pot of boiling water.

“I do not…” he paused, seeming to think carefully over the next words he would allow out of his mouth. “Yes, it is.” He admitted as he kept his eyes forward on the table.

“Hmmm. Have you considered what I said about the pain medication? It could help make these exercises easier.

“I have no wish to use pain medication. Pain can be regulated through meditation.”

Kirk sighed he turned back around to prepare the cups. He grabbed two white porcelain cups at the back of Spock’s cupboard. He thought the blue would look pretty against the white. When he poured the tea, the blue against the white colors almost matched the Federation flag.

Steam rose into the air adding to the already hot atmosphere. He didn’t know if he could actually drink this with the room being so hot.

He placed everything on a tray and walked to the small table where Spock was waiting.

He placed a cup next to Spock and sat down.

“Drink up.” Spock looked tired, but he reached for the cup anyway. His arm was shaking again and He glanced up to see if Kirk had been watching. Thankfully he had been just quick enough to look away as if he hadn’t seen it.

Spock always claimed that Vulcans didn’t feel pride, but he didn’t believe that for a second.

Trying to act normal Kirk picked up his drink and took a sip.

Hmmm. He tilted his head to the side. Interesting.

It was really good but it was missing something. Having brought the little tea bag on the tray, Kirk looked at the little tag attached.

Recommendations:
-Creamer.
-Also good iced.

He got up and replicated himself a cup of cream and then returned to sit down at the table.

Pouring a bit of cream into his cup, and the color turned from deep indigo to almost a sky like blue. He took another sip.

Kirk smacked his lips slightly. “Oh. I actually think Sulu is onto something with this one. Do you know what this reminds me of? Lunar ice cream. Oh my God, you know what? I’m going to replicate some whipping cream.”

This probably would be good iced.

He got up again and went to the replicator. “Do you want something Spock? Sugar or whipping cream like me?”

Spock softy smirked. “Negative I prefer it as the way it is.”

Kirk looked over his shoulder and was glad to see more relaxation to the lines on Spock’s forehead. He quickly sat back down and gave the cup of tea three rings of cream. He took another sip and moaned licking the cream off his lips.

“I’m glad you are enjoying yourself.” Spock watched him carefully and for some reason, Kirk thought he saw something lustful enter Spock’s eyes, but it was gone a moment later. Spock looked away and began to drink his tea in a reserved fashion.

Kirk had to have imagined it. The heat of the room and the tea must be getting to him. He focused on the cup in front of him and allowed the heat from the porcelain sides to center him. He pressed his hands harder against the cup and he could feel it start to burn.

They drank in silence for a bit as something strange was building in the atmosphere. He could feel Spock's eyes on him, but every time he looked up he couldn’t catch him in the act. After they finished their tea, Kirk gathered up the cups and pot and moved them back to the kitchenette.

“Alright, you ready?”

The stress lines that had smoothed out while they had taken their break was back on Spock’s forehead. He nodded and stood up.

"How do you wish to proceed?" He said evenly.

"Well,” Kirk grabbed the PADD even though he knew what was next. “Lying down on your back would be the most comfortable position for this first technique. Would you prefer to be on your bed?"

“That would be agreeable.”

“I brought some baby oil it’s much nicer than lotion. Trust me, I usually massage my own muscles after particularly strenuous workouts sometimes.”

"I will bow to your greater knowledge in such matters.” Spock’s utterance somehow managed to blend mild disdain and amused archness, but Kirk suspected it was an attempt to cover some of his discomfort at the situation. A Vulcan agreeing to something so ... physical. It would definitely be hard to accept such help. Kirk pulled out the little bottle from his pocket and fetched a bath towel to lay Spock's arm on, which he proceeded to lay down on the little ledge above the bed. He watched as Spock looked at his bed in a speculative and slightly unsure manner.

Kirk pulled up a chair to sit next to the bed so that he could work on Spock’s entire arm. Rolling up his sleeves he rubbed some oil into his hands to warm it up.

"Come lay down."

Spock did as he was bid and laid down on the bed.

Kirk started on the shoulder, gently at first but firmly. At his initial touch, Spock had instinctively tensed, but Kirk continued to massage the muscles from his neck down to his shoulder in a delicate manner, just getting him used to the feeling of someone touching him, and soothing him with a steady rhythmic movement. The Vulcan's skin was warm, almost like the porcelain cup filled with tea. He was also surprisingly soft and the baby oil made Kirk’s hand slide deliciously across the supple surface of his skin.

Kirk worked on his shoulder, running his thumb down the muscles of his upper arm that ran alongside his rotator cuff.

He did that for a while before he began to press a bit harder to reach the muscles further down, but this caused Spock to begin to sweat again.

Pain began to bloom in his eyes and Kirk decided that he needed to move down the arm a bit more.

He worked Spock’s arm slowly and carefully, but Spock’s breathing became heavier and heavier.

Finally, Kirk reached his wrist and Spock very hesitantly turned his hand over, giving Kirk access to one of the most sensitive parts of his body.

“It’s okay Spock.” Kirk murmured. “Trust me.”

Far too narrow, Spock's wrists were almost delicate in nature. He followed the way the lines of his deep green veins flowed up into his hands, and into his clever fingers.

His hand was still quite bruised due to the fact that Bones believed his body should heal them the long way if they had any chance of Spock’s body naturally healing his Psi-points.

Kirk’s thumb skimmed over Spock's knuckles without any forethought and his hand shook in response.

His fingers were the most sensitive part of this whole situation and Kirk was determined to handle them with care.

Per McCoy's instructions, each finger would need to be rubbed, gently worked and then stretched. He started with Spock’s thumb.

With the very first stroke of pressure, he could see Spock fighting to keep his fingers outstretched, unable to restrain a tremor that only grew with the next touch of Kirk’s hands.

Kirk felt slightly horrified that he was in so much pain, but there was no help for it; the contact Kirk had been trying to keep to a minimum was now necessary.

He moved on to the index finger, slowly rubbing the knuckle and stroked upward towards the tip and Spock’s entire body jumped. Kirk watched as another tremor spread up his arm and he quivered.

Spock’s hand immediately closed cutting off his access.

“Perhaps it is best if we stopped for the night.” He panted sounding out of breath.

Kirk’s hands hung in the air. “Oh, um okay, I hope I haven’t done anything wrong or caused you to too much pain.”

“No. It seems my body nor my mental shields are ready to handle this type of… exercise yet.” Kirk looked into Spock's face to read if he had crossed a line of some sort. His pupils were blown wide and his once warm chocolate eyes were now two intense black holes.

A little thrill went through Kirks stomach but he quickly tampered it down. Spock seemed to have a light glow of sweat across his brow and his breathing that had become heavy was almost erratic and uneven. If Kirk didn’t know any better he could have sworn that Spock was aroused, and almost ready to pounce. But no, that couldn’t be right. He must be in severe pain. So much pain that the only pouncing he would be doing was straight out the door and away from him. He made a poor Doctor.

" Are you in that much pain? You look flushed should I call Bones?" Kirk had known these exercises would hurt, but he had been hoping that the massage aspect would relieve him of some of his pain and tension. But he looked worse than before.

"Unnecessary. You do not need to call the Doctor."

Kirk wasn't so certain.

“Spock there’s no shame in taking pain medication. If you want I can go and get the hypo from Bones and come back to finish massaging you.”

“Unnecessary,” Spock repeated sternly, his voice raising just an octave or two.

Kirk fell quiet. As a Captain he was used to making difficult decisions, but how did one help a stubborn Vulcan? He had barely made it to a second finger before he had been stopped. He needed pain medication.

"I'll um, take my leave then if you want to go to bed. We can try again on Wednesday. Unless you need something else? I can tuck you in if you want." He said trying for a joke to relieve the tension that had slowly built in the room.

Spock shook his head and said nothing more.

"Alright, I will leave the baby oil here just so I don't forget it next time. I will see you on Wednesday, ok?" He gathered up the tea box and placed it under his arm so it wouldn’t take up space in his quarters.

Spock said nothing and Kirk left.

Well...that had been awkward.

He needed to figure out a way to get Spock to take his pain medication, whether he liked it or not.

Chapter Text

Paperwork. He hated paperwork.

He was going to ignore the paperwork.

Kirk yawned into his cup of coffee and stared out the view screen at stars as they raced by. He had very little sleep over the last 24 hours.

His mind could think of nothing but Spock in pain.

They had another appointment tonight and he couldn’t help but wonder how he was going to convince Spock to take the medication he desperately needed.

He looked terrible when Kirk had left his cabin Monday night.

At first he considered the possibility of bribing Spock into taking the pain medication, but he soon realized he didn’t have much to offer. Could You even bribe a Vulcan? His thoughts moved on to maybe threatening him, but again what could he possibly threaten him with? A demotion? That would be illegal. He had already tried ordering him and Spock had quickly shut him up with that stupid Starfleet regulation. If a patient refuses medical treatment, they are given that right as long as they are sound of mind to do so. So even as the Captain, he couldn’t enforce the order.

He took another drink of coffee. He had been doing a bit more research about Psi-points and Vulcan fingers, but the database hardly had anything. After scanning a few medical journals he had come across something that had made his chest clench in fear. There was a record of young Vulcan engineer, who had caught her hand in a machine and it had permanently damaged her psi-points. She could not hold a mind meld anymore and subsequently went insane.

Kirk rubbed his eyes, and pictured a Spock a few years from now, medically retired from Starfleet and in a care home because his Psi-points had not healed properly and he had gone insane.

He shuttered. Thankfully Bones and M’Benga still believed Spock had a chance to heal, and his chances greatly improved if he could just get the Vulcan to take his damn medicine.

That left something Kirk really didn’t want to do.

There was always the possibility of drugging him secretly.

He pushed that thought from his mind. No, he couldn’t do that. That was entirely unethical.

He would just have to be persuasive. Somehow.

Kirk stood up and stretched, feeling his back pop in three places. “Sulu would you take the con, I’m gonna take a walk.”

Sulu nodded and took his place.

As Kirk headed towards the turbo lift he heard Chekov turn in his chair and address Sulu.

“Vi do you get the chair?”

“Because I have more experience than you,” Sulu smirked.

“Please, the real pioneers of space exploration vere the Soviet cosmonauts. The Russians invented Space flight.” Chekov said indigent.

Kirk rolled his eyes as the turbo doors shut and grabbed the handle to start the lift. His legs were a bit sore and began to itch as the blood flowed back into them. He made the right decision getting up and going for a walk. Normally his chair was quite comfortable, but after sitting it for too long he was beginning to feel the effects on his body.

The turbo lift doors swished open and he walked to sickbay.

Bones was at his desk furiously typing on his computer. He glanced up at Kirk’s approach but continued typing.

"What brings you to here Jim?" He asked not taking his eyes from the computer.

“Oh just checking on those vaccines.”

Bones harrumphed. “You sure that’s the only reason you’re here? You could have just called down and asked.”

"Well, I admit I’m here for something else."

“Oh yeah, what would that be?”

“Besides your winning personality?” Kirk leaned against his desk.

Bones raised a brow and have a bit of a smile.

“I’ve come to see if I could pick up some of those pain medication hypos for Spock.”

Bones stopped typing and leaned back in his chair. “So you finally got him to agree?”

“Not exactly, but I want them on hand for his next physical therapy session.”

“So he struggled with his last session I’m assuming?”

“It was awful Bones. I couldn’t even make it through the massage portion. But I think if I have the medication on me while doing it this time, Spock might agree since I already have some ready to go.”

Bones sighed into hands. Alright, Jim, nurse Chapel will be happy to get you some. She’s in the other room just go ask her.”

They both fell quiet and Kirk studied the dark circles under his eyes. “Are you as tired as me?”

Bones smiled again. “I’ll be fine. Though I am upset about the switch in the schedule. Those vaccines should have been Starfleet's first priority, not cargo units.”

“Believe me, I wasn’t happy about it either. I’m doing everything in my power to get the Vaccines there in the shortest amount of time. “

“I know Jim, I heard you’ve been taking double shifts.” Bones yawned.

“We can sleep when this is all over.”

“Well, the thing that’s keeping me up are these new forms that I have to fill out for each batch.”

Kirk winced. “You have new forms as well?”

“Yes. They are meticulous and it’s all basic nonsense. I have to fill out a section for each of the vials ingredients and the computer won’t let me copy and paste. I have to write the list of ingredients 144 times. I bet Someone back at Starfleet probably got a promotion for this idea, when in reality, it’s slowing us down.”

Kirk frowned. “I will make a note of that in my next report.”

“See that you do. I’m gonna get back to work.”

Kirk left Bones and went in search for Nurse Chapel. When he found her she was dealing with ensign Davis who was hurling into a container on his lap.

“Is Mr. Davis alright?” He asked coming up to both of them.

“He accidentally ate something he was allergic to in one of the replicated dishes. Unfortunately, he’s also allergic to the anti-nausea medication we have onboard so he’s just gonna have to tough this one out. Is there something I can do for you Captain?”

“I was wondering if I could get that pain medication for Mr. Spock.”

Her face lit up, “So you convinced him? That’s wonderful!”

Before he could answer ensign Davis moaned as he violently threw up again. Nurse Chapel frowned in concern and rubbed his back.

“I can’t leave Mr. Davis right now, if I give you the code, do you think you could synthesize it yourself?”

Kirk nodded. “Of course.”

“You can synthesize Spock's hypos under the code 11-70-550sp. The replicator is in that room.”

Kirk nodded and went to the medical computer. He typed in the code and menu screen popped up with a list of ways to take the medication.

Oral route.
Hypo Injection route
Sublingual and buccal route
Rectal route
Vaginal route
Ocular route
Otic route
Nasal route

He typed in hypo injection route and a hypo loaded with three injections appeared in the slot.

He grabbed the hypo but didn’t move to leave.

He stood there quietly as he heard ensign Davis throwing up again and nurse Chapel cooing over him.

He wasn’t sure why he did it, but he retyped in the code and this time choosing the oral route. A packet of pills synthesized in front of him and he grabbed them putting them in his pocket.

Just Incase he told himself. This was just Incase.

He walked out and waved to nurse Chapel as he left sickbay. No one was the wiser.

When it came time for Kirk to visit Spock, he turned the con over from Sulu to Scotty, so that he could head down to Spock's quarters without visiting the bridge first.

And as for their therapy session, he had fully convinced himself there was no need to use the tablets.

But they still remained in his pocket.

He rang the button at Spock’s door and waited patiently in the hallway with the tea box and his bag of therapy equipment.

No answer.

Perhaps he had fallen asleep. “Spock?” He rang the button again.

No answer. Panic began to fill Kirk’s chest. “Computer open Spock’s door, command Captain Kirk pi-alpha.”

The door beeped and opened as he gained access. The room was dark, the only light was coming from a beam cast from the bathroom door that was slightly ajar “Spock?” He asked as he quickly placed the items on the table.

He got closer to the door and heard the sink running.

“Spock?” He knocked on the door, “You alright?”

There was no answer, so Kirk pushed open the door.

“Spock!” He cried in alarm as his eyes landed on a crumpled figure on the floor.

He flung himself to the ground to gather Spock in his arms.

“Spock! Spock! Are you alright?!” He pulled out his communicator, “Kirk to transporter room, medical emergency I need you to beam me and Spock to sick-“

Spock’s uninjured hand shot out and grabbed his own that was holding the communicator.

“No,” Spock said weakly.

“What?! Spock you need medical attention?!”

“Please Jim. No. I am alright. I promise.”

“Sir?” He heard at the end of the other line. “Captain are you still there?”

Kirk looked into Spock’s eyes and was shocked by how much emotion they held. It was beyond what you would see in someone who was begging for something.

Against his better judgment, Kirk found himself saying
“Uh, never mind ensign. Kirk out.” He closed the commutator.

Spock said nothing as he leaned into Kirk’s chest. He was shaking and Kirk pulled him closer.

“Spock, what happened? How did you end up on the floor?”

Still, Spock said nothing as he laid against him and shook.

“Spock tell me, or I’m calling Bones.”

Spock looked at him carefully, probably assessing how real his threat was.

“I would like to lay on my bed.” He said in response.

Kirk frowned but carefully hoisted Spock up into a standing position and placed himself under his arm. Slowly they made their way out of the bathroom and into his bed.

“Are you alright?” Kirk said as he walked over to the bag he had placed on the table. He pulled out the hypo and walked back to Spock. “Thank God I brought this,” he said and he reached out to place they hypo against Spock’s neck.

Spock leaned away. “I do not want the medication.”

Rage bloomed in Kirk’s chest. “Why the hell not, I just found you on the bathroom floor!”

Spock’s face had gone impassive, not even a trace of any of the emotion Kirk had witnessed in the bathroom was left on his face.

“Thank you for helping me to my bed. If it would be alright with you I would like to move our therapy session to tomorrow.”

“Spock!” Kirk fumed.

Spock refused to look at him.

He took a step back and took a deep breath. No wonder he wasn’t a doctor. He had no bedside manner. The rage he felt in his heart began to die down, but it didn’t completely leave his body. He folded his arms and studied Spock.

Why. Why. Why was he doing this to himself?

Spock's dark brown eyes sunken in deep green circles flicked to him. There was no answer there. His skin was waxy looking and pale and he was holding his arm at an odd angle. Kirk recognized it immediately. He had read up on this, it was something called muscle Spasticity. Spasticity occurred when the nerve impulses that control muscle movement are interrupted or damaged. If it wasn’t properly managed, it could result in frozen joints.

Spock held his arm close to his body, his hand closed in a claw-like fashion. This was seriously dangerous, if Spock didn’t relax his muscles, he would begin to form blood clots.

Kirk knew in that moment exactly what to do.

“Alright, Spock,” he said evenly pulling out his negotiation voice. “Here’s the deal. I won’t use this on you” he held up the hypo to display what he meant, nor will I call bones and tell him you’re displaying the symptoms of Spasticity, don’t try and hide your arm I can already see it, instead you let me make you a nice cup of tea and then treat you with the massage portion of the regiment. Deal?”

Spock glanced at him but looked away again.

“It seems I do not have much of a choice.” He said tightly.

“Oh, you have a choice. Massage or Bones. Take your pick.”

“Do not bother Dr. McCoy.”

“Good choice.”

Still angry, Kirk snagged a random tea packet from the box and began to brew it.

There was tension in the room and neither one of them said anything.

Quietly Kirk punched a hole in the pill packet in his pocket and extracted the tablet.

He placed the tablet into Spock’s cup and watched it dissolve as he poured the steaming confection.

Then he poured himself his own cup.

He brought the cups over and Kirk pulled up a chair to sit next to the bed.

“Here, are you able to hold it,” Kirk asked handing out the teacup to Spock.

Spock used his good arm to take the tea.

“Look I’m sorry I yelled at you.”

Spock nodded in acknowledgment but said nothing more.

“I was scared. You scared me, Spock. I didn’t like finding you on the ground.”

He saw Spock wince.

He took a sip of the tea, but he could have cared less about the taste. It was very herbal so Spock probably wouldn’t be able to detect the tablet.

There was silence between them, and Kirk hated it. Normally if they sat in silence it was comfortable. An understanding between the two men, one that spoke of just enjoyed each other’s company. This silence was different.

Remorse was beginning to fill his chest replacing his anger. He had told the truth to Spock when he said he had been scared. Seeing him crumpled up on the floor, was more than enough to make his heart leap into his throat, but he couldn’t take this silence between them anymore.

“Dulse seaweed”, he suddenly said.

Spock looked at him in a questioning manner.

“I forgot to tell you what seaweed Sulu wants to put in the tea we tried. It’s a red seaweed called Dulse. It comes from Northern Ireland and I guess the locals use it in beer or something. He thinks the extract would bring something out in the flavor.” Kirk sounded like a lunatic, why was that the thing he had chosen to say.

He bit his lip and looked at Spock’s cup. It was empty. “If you’re done, I’ll take that for you.”

Spock handed Kirk his cup and their fingers brushed against one another.

Kirk swallowed and turned away.

“I have never heard of Dulse seaweed before,” Spock said.

The sudden sound of his voice startled Kirk.

“I would have put a spice called T’tuun in that tea.”

“T’tuun?” Kirk let out a careful breath. Apparently, one he had been holding in. “Why does that sound familiar?”

“Do you recall that dish of vegetables you ate off my plate at the Vulcan banquet in Sha’kar?”

Kirk’s mouth began to pucker and water unpleasantly at the memory. Almost as if he was remembering licking a lemon.

“Ugh yes. Why would you put that in a tea?”

“I believe it would bring out the floral taste, rather than a salty one.”

An almost relaxed air had returned to their conversation and Kirk was glad, though he wasn’t sure how long it would last when he began to massage Spock. He cleaned up the kitchenette and put the cups away.

“Well I’ll let Sulu know. Perhaps he’ll like the suggestion.“ He rubbed his hands together.

“Alright Spock, he said turning around. You will need to take off your robe, and lay down.”

Spock looked down at his lap. “I will require your assistance in removing my robe.”

“That’s right, how did you get this one on?”
He asked stepping forward to help him remove the piece of cloth.

“Very carefully.”

Kirk, paused before he barked out a laugh. He wasn’t sure why. He shouldn’t be laughing. Whether it was due to his stress from work or stress from the Vulcan in front of him he didn’t know, but it somehow it had made him feel centered.

Sassy Vulcan.

He helped Spock disrobe and bit his tongue in horror when he saw Spock’s arm. Swollen and bruised, his arm was frozen in a right angle. The muscles stood out under his skin and they looked painfully pulled tighter then Kirk had ever seen.

He said nothing and placed Spock’s robe to the side. He turned away before tears could spring to his eyes. The way he felt could not be described to anyone who had never been in love. Truly and deeply in love. If he could somehow trade places with Spock, take all of his pain himself, he would in a heartbeat.

You had to do it, Kirk, he told himself, you had to do it or Spock could develop a blood clot and die before Bones ever got to him.

Spock laid down on his bed and Kirk got up to fetch a towel to place beneath his arm.

When he returned to the chair, he saw that Spock was staring at the ceiling, his brows pinched together in worry. Kirk wondered what could possibly be going through his head right now. Perhaps he probably still held reservations about allowing Kirk to do this again but that soon wouldn’t matter once the drugs kicked in.

He grabbed the bottle of baby oil off the shelf where he had left it last time and poured a generous amount into his hands.

He carefully positioned Spock’s frozen arm in place and began working on his shoulder and neck. He could feel the muscles beginning to relaxing under his hands.

Patiently Kirk worked down his arm and when he got the elbow he slowly stretched his arm straight. It took a bit of time but Kirk didn’t think he had ever done anything more delicately in his life.

Spock had made a whimpering noise in the back of his throat and shut his eyes closed, but said nothing.

Once his arm was stretched straight Kirk began to work on his forearm and soon he found himself at Spock’s wrist.

He paused before continuing.

“Spock?”

Spock opened his eyes and looked at him.

“Spock it's okay, I promise to be careful. If you feel uncomfortable or I start to cause you really bad unnecessary pain I'll stop the minute you say, okay?"

Spock nodded minutely.

Kirk began by massaging little circles into the underside of Spock's wrist, exploring all the little veins that crisscrossed under his green and yellow tinted skin. He continued his slight ministrations for a few minutes before he moved on to massaging his palms. There was a soft intake of breath almost akin to a gasp and he stopped immediately. “Are you alright? Did I hurt you?”

Spock took a moment before he shook his head slightly, not looking at Kirk, too embarrassed perhaps to express discomfort. He closed his eyes once more and Kirk took that as an insight to carry on.

The last thing Kirk wanted to do was hurt Spock anymore than he had too so he moved his administration's back up his arm and away from his hand.

It stayed that way for a few minutes before Kirk started to recognize Spock’s breathing beginning to even out and become steadier. Slower.

"How do you feel?" He asked nonchalantly.

“It is… pleasant," came Spock’s voice slowly and somewhat slurred.

He could tell by the openness of his response that the drugs were beginning to take full effect and soon Spock wasn’t responding at all.

Kirk triple checked to make sure Spock was completely gone to the realm of sleep before he moved back to Spock’s hand and fingers hoping that the drugs would prevent any pain from waking him back up. They needed to be stretched open and worked on just like his arm. The muscles had relaxed themselves thanks to the drugs so that the fingers were almost limp in his hand. This gave Kirk the freedom to massage them properly, the way they need to be massaged in the first place. Finally, he placed Spock’s arm back on the bed and removed the towel.

Cleaning up Kirk heard his communicator go off, carefully checking that it hadn’t woken Spock he answered.

“Kirk here,” he said quietly.

“We’re here Sir, at Janus VI. The leader of the mining colony wants to speak with you.”

Kirk listened as he turned to watch Spock’s chest Slowly rise and fall. He was suddenly feeling his exhaustion flow back into him all at once. What he wouldn’t give to crawl up next to Spock and fall asleep himself.

“Alright, I’ll be up in a minute.” He sighed. “Kirk out.”

Chapter Text

hands

Kirk stood among several men in a very large cavern beneath the surface of the planet. It room was large enough to house two Enterprises if stacked on top of one another. Large crystals the size of buildings jetted from the walls, wrapped with machine equipment built for mining extraction. Men were quickly dashing around trying to get everything in place as the cargo units beamed down from his ship onto a large pad.

The atmosphere was tense. It had been that way since he had beamed down. The leader of this sector, a tall balding man with salt and pepper hair named Sard, had greeted him gruffly and gave him the coordinates to transfer the shipment into their central area. He hadn't spoken a word to Kirk since.

He fixed his face into more of a friendly one.

"Looks like we're almost done with the delivery," he said trying to make small talk.

"Good, the faster you leave the faster everyone here will be happy." Sard snapped.

Kirk frowned. "Look I know you are unhappy about the lateness of the delivery, but let's try to part company on the best of terms."

"Or what you'll try to charge us for unpleasantness too?" The man ground his teeth. "Look we know what you are up too!" He raised his voice stepping forward. "Just because some of us didn't go to an elite Starfleet finishing school doesn't mean we can be duped."

Kirk blinked a few times confused. "Charge you? What are you talking about?"

"Don't play stupid with us," a second miner stepped forward. "I found the clauses in the new paperwork Starfleet sent us. You're lucky we are still even doing business with you!"

"Gentlemen, please. I have no idea what you are talking about. The federation doesn't charge anyone, we only deal with trade offers and exchange of services. We did everything to properly uphold our end of the bargain. We even had to reroute from Rigel XII to come here because of your ultimatum to deliver the cargo immediately or you would withhold Lithium supplies. People are dying right now because of an outbreak and my ship is the only one with the vaccines."

"We were the ones threatened by you! And I can prove it!" A third man stepped forward and threw a PADD thicker than what he was used to in his hands. "Paragraph 506, subsection N," the man pounded his gloved hand on the PADDs surface. "It reroutes you to this, section Y Paragraph 43."

Kirk stepped away from the man and scanned the paperwork. He had never seen such a large file before. Carefully reading the paragraph he discovered that the miners were correct. According to these documents, if the cargo units weren't delivered in time, the mine itself would be charged, even if it was the courier's fault. If not, a holding fee and a relocation fee would be applied.

Kirk frowned, he scrolled down the page and saw the digital signature of Starfleet stamped at the bottom. These were indeed from Starfleet but Kirk was having a hard time believing it.

“Sard,” he said turning to the leader, “Gentlemen,” He said addressing everyone else. “I assure you I had no idea this existed. I would like to review these documents myself would you mind giving me a copy. In all my years of service have never heard of any of this.”

Sards eyes narrowed and he studied him “You seem to be telling the truth.”

“I am.”

There was a beat of a pause before he crossed his arms and sighed. “Then I apologize for my behavior.” He looked to his men and their wary eyes stared back. “We know about the situation on Rigel XII. Douglas has a cousin over there, don’t ya Douglas?”

An older man with a hunched back stepped forward, “ Yes Sir, Just talked with him this morning, he says they’ve lost 5 more men.”

Kirk could feel the blood drain from his face. In total that was 9 lives lost.

And it was all because of the paperwork.

He felt sick to his Stomach.

“Sard, I’m going to go over these with a fine tooth comb. Something's not sitting right, and I’m gonna get to the bottom of it, you have my word.”

Sard reached out a took his hand. “I’m counting on it.”

With the delivery complete, they left orbit at warp 10 to backtrack to Rigel XII.

He ordered Sulu to skirt along the neutral zone until they reached coordinates 5071 -1744.

“Sir, that’s the edge of Klingon space,” Sulu said in a questioning manner.

“You have your orders helmsman.”

Sulus face fell and he nodded in understanding at Kirk’s serious tone.

“Aye, Sir.”

He glanced at the chronometer in the wall of the bridge. 1800 hours. He sighed. It was still early but he was going to bed. This day had been grueling, but not before he had a chance to look over this paperwork.

Hours passed and Kirk didn’t remember falling asleep, but he had and he was having a nightmare.

People stood all around him but their faces, changed and twisted from familiar loved ones to dead people he had once known on a colony far away. They reached to grab him but he scrambled back out of their grasp. It was dark all around him and a heavy blanket of fog covered the unfamiliar terrain. He didn’t know where to go, where did one hide from the dead? He tripped over something and someone grabbed his leg. He turned to see a colony member, Carly he remembered, a small woman that had said she liked his shirt once. She scratched at his leg until her face morbidly morphed into an unknown miner. “Vaccine!” the man gasped out, “you were supposed to bring me my vaccine!”

Kirk kicked him in the jaw and broke free. He ran and ran as the ground under his feet felt like it was growing soft as he pumped his legs.

A flicker of light appeared to his right, and he switched directions and headed straight for it. It glowed softly and stood still as if waiting for him. It wasn’t necessarily a distinctive shape but Kirk felt the warmth as he got closer.

He was suddenly lifted from the ground a few feet and the fog and darkness melted away.

Hovering he felt someone pull him into their arms.

“I’m glad you came.” He didn’t know who he was speaking to and he didn’t care. All he knew was that he was safe. “ I didn’t know where to go.” He said as the invisible figure held him close.

You can always come to me. I will always remain. We are connected.

It didn’t sound like a voice was speaking to him, but the impressions of feelings.

“Stay.” He asked.

I will always remain. We are connected my t’hy’la.

He closed his eyes and a peacefulness settled over him and slowly he drifted deeper into his dream and knew nothing more.

Kirk was jerked awake by his door buzzer. He sat up quickly,

“Come in,” he said, his voice feeling dry.

His door swished open and Spock calmly entered.

Kirk jumped up to greet him but as soon as he moved a bunch of PADDS and physical paperwork fell to the ground.

“Oh Spock I’m sorry, what time is it? Did you need something?” He glanced at the chronometers. 1800 hours.

Either he had not slept or he had slept an entire day.

He got up a little disoriented, why had no one called him to wake him up? “Pardon me, Spock," he said going over to his desk monitor. “Kirk to bridge,”

Scotty answered, “Aye Captain?”

He glanced at Spock. “Status report.”

“We have about 6 hours before reaching your Coordinates.”

That would align perfectly with his beta shift.

“Are you feelin' alright Sir? We called down to sickbay lookin' for ya, but Dr. McCoy said you might be sleein' and ta leave ya alone.”

“I’m fine, thank you Scotty, Kirk out.”

He turned to Spock. “I’m sorry. Did you need something Spock?”

“We had a therapy session today but you did not show up,” Spock said carefully.

“I’m late for our session? Yes, Sorry” he blinked rapidly to try and clear his brain. Would you mind if I grabbed a quick shower before I came over?”

Spock stepped up next to him, invading his personal space. His eyes scanned down his face and Kirk knew he must have had circles under his eyes. “Jim, you are obviously in need of some rest. We can reschedule.”

Kirk smiled trying to go for a light mood. “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m fine. You’re the one who needs attention.”

“I can do most of the exercises on my own, your presence is not required.”

“My presence is not required?” He placed a hand over his chest in a fake hurt gesture “Why Spock you’re breaking my heart,” he joked, “I’ll be over in a bit. Just give me a few minutes to shower.” His tone was light but brooked no room for argument.

Spock didn’t move, remaining quiet. He seemed to be thinking something over. His eyes traveled from him to the messy bed that was scattered with PADDS.

Kirk tilted his head to the side and raised a brow. “Something wrong?”

He straightened himself up. “Negative. I shall wait for you in my quarters.”

Kirk softly smiled at him. “Okay all bring the tea.”

Spock departed and Kirk stripped down into the shower. He had had a nightmare last night but he couldn’t remember what it was. He just remembered being held. When was the last time that had happened?

Instead of feeling sorry for himself and trying to remember an insignificant dream he focused his thoughts on a todo list. Massage Spock A jaunt across Klingon Space Vaccines to Rigel XII ...Paperwork Well, that was quickly over. He jumped out of the shower.

Dressing in his uniform, because he had a beta shift after Spock’s therapy session, Kirk grabbed the bag of equipment, a packet of tea, and a tablet which he slipped into his pocket.

His stomach rumbled as he walked into Spock’s Quarters.

He guessed he would have to replicate something to eat.

His eyes scanned the dimly lit room and noticed the heat was on. Spock sat quietly on his bed, shirtless and waiting for Kirk. “There you are.” He said cheerfully. “Are you ready for your therapy session?”

“I was prepared an hour ago.”

Kirk’s smile grew wider. “Any severe pain I should know about before we continue?” His eyes scanned Spock’s arm and shoulder as he approached.

“My pain is less significant than the last time you treated me. My meditation practice has greatly helped.”

“Can you hold out your arm so I can see?”

Spock obediently held his arm out for inspection. His motion was unhampered and fluid and Kirk knew it was because of the help from the drugs and massage. His arm looked so much better than it had before. It was no longer swollen and his skin seemed much more healthy and less waxy then when he had been here last. Even his bruises were lighter and fading.

Kirk wanted to let out a huge breath of relief, be he held it in as to not give anything away. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to drug him today. That thought brightened his mood significantly.

“It’s looking a lot better.”

Spock nodded as he lowered his arm. “I was going to ask Dr.McCoy to clear me for light duty. It seems like there has been a lot going on that I am unaware of. You seemed to be physically buried under paperwork when I woke you up. If you find yourself in need of help I would be more than willing to assist you in any way I can.”

Kirk waved him off. “Don’t worry about anything Spock. You wanna help me? Focus on getting better. I need a fully functioning first officer.”

“Paperwork will not be a strain. I can work on it from my quarters.”

“Maybe,” Kirk said noncommittally. “We’ll see if Bones agrees, but in order to get his approval we had best get you in better shape.”

Kirks stomach rumbled again. “Start on the first exercise and I’m gonna replicate myself some-“ A miner's sickly face appeared in his head and he stopped. How could he eat when others were suffering right now. “Uh, never mind, just start on the exercise.”

Spock didn’t move. His eyes sharpened like points of steal but his face remained impassive.

“I will begin when I see you obtain substance,” Spock said simply.

Kirk went to go lean against the table. “Nah, I’m not really hungry.” His stomach growled in protest and Spock’s eyes flew to his tummy. Kirk turned away in embarrassment and folded his arms to try and hide the sound. “Start working on that first exercise or I’ll call Bones and tell him not to clear you for work.” He said trying to go for a playful mood.

Spock didn’t seem interested in playing. “Negative, you consume nutrients or I will call Dr. McCoy and tell him to relieve you of your duty.”

Kirk narrowed his eyes, he was irritated but couldn’t help but smile. “Look we both can’t threaten each other with this Ships MO.”

Spock simply turned his head innocently and blinked.

“Fine!” Kirk threw his hands in the air. “For the sake of the argument, I will replicate some crackers or something.” He got up from leaning against the table and walked over the replicator.

“A sandwich or you can leave my cabin.”

“Are you serious?” Kirk asked incredulously turning his head around to look at the Vulcan on the bed.

“Vulcans are always serious.”

“Understatement…” Kirk mumbled to himself as he typed in a BLT.

The food replicated on a plate and Kirk grabbed it turning around and took a large bite. With a mouth full of food, he motioned Spock to start is exercise.

Spock nodded and stood up.

Kirk munched on his sandwich and his stomach jumped for joy. He had almost forgotten why he hadn’t wanted to eat in the first place thanks to Spock’s threats. Almost.

He pushed those thoughts from his mind and focused on watching Spock run through his exercises. He started off strong but as Kirk finished his sandwich, he had begun to perspire heavily. The color drained from his cheeks and his movements started to once again become jerky and tight.

By the time he was done, Spock was beginning to hold his arm at an odd angle and Kirk knew it was happening again.

He would need the pain medication to continue on it was unavoidable.

“Sit down and take a rest Spock, I’ll make us some tea.”

Spock didn’t say a word as he carefully sat himself down at the table leaning heavily against the chair.

Kirk was lost deep in thought as he began to boil the tea. He hated doing this. Hated it. He carefully added the tablet before pouring the tea in making it dissolve.

He placed the tea bag to the side and noticed the tags recommendation was thin wafer cookies. Did they even have those in the database? He typed the code in and it popped up under custom. He replicated a small plate and brought the tray to the table.

“Tonight’s flavor is purple.” He said setting it down.

“Purple is not a flavor, it is a color,” Spock said quietly. Kirk looked him up and down, he seemed exhausted.

“Sulus recommendations call for wafer cookies. They are there if you want some.”

Spock nodded but said nothing more. Kirk got the feeling that Spock was somehow disappointed in himself. Could it be he thought he was more healed than he actually was? He had been talking about requesting light duty but as he raised his cup to his lips his tea vibrated in his hand as he shook. Kirk averted his eyes so Spock wouldn’t catch him staring.

They drank their tea in silence

Kirk thought the tea tasted like a root of some kind. It wasn’t necessarily bad but he had been hoping for another ice cream flavor. He took a wafer cookie and munched on it after a sip. They seemed to go together in an interesting way. Just drinking the tea by itself left a small bite of a bitter aftertaste, but If you followed it with a wafer cookie you avoided the bitterness. He placed his tea half finished down and stole a glance into Spock’s cup. It was empty and he seemed lost in thought.

“Did you want to move onto the massage?” Kirk asked.

Spock looked at him. “That would be agreeable.”

Spock went to go lay on his bed and Kirk fetched a small towel and the oil.

“Jim, I must apologize for falling asleep last evening.” He said as he stared at the ceiling.

“Not at all Spock I consider it a compliment to my massage skills.” He said as he laughed hoping Spock didn’t think too much about it.

Spock nodded and closed his eyes. “I will endeavor to stay awake this time.”

“Don’t worry about it. If you fall asleep, you fall asleep. It’s not the end of the world.” Kirk pulled his sleeves up and began to work on his shoulder. He rubbed with practiced motions and worked his way down Spock’s arm.

He could feel the muscles under his fingers had re-tightened like they had been last time so he slowly repeated his process of straightening The bent arm and worked on the knots once again.

Sooner than Kirk expected Spock’s breathing had gone even and he was in the realm of sleep. He hadn’t even made it down to his wrist yet.

He had been in such a hurry to finish the Massage before Spock woke up that he hadn’t gotten a good look at Spock’s face last time.

He, of course, knew what Spock looked like, he worked with him on a daily basis but the face he was so used to was now at rest and he looked so different. Kirk studied his profile thoughtfully. His normally sharp features had softened considerably and the low lights from his cabin caused his thick lashes to cast shadows over his beautiful cheeks. His lips were slightly parted and they looked so soft.

His eyes trailed down the angular lines of Spock’s face, thinking about how much he yearned for it to be the first thing he’d see every morning and the last every night.

What would it be like to wake up next to that face every day?

To wake up in each other’s arms. To feel the warmth of the person you loved the most pressed up against you.

Paradise.

They would rise together and make the bed, getting ready for their alpha shift. He would complain as he stretched into his uniform about his aging body, even though he wasn’t that old, and Spock would come up behind him and tell him he was adequate.

Morning kisses over toast.

Morning kisses over paperwork.

Morning kisses that lead to them both being late for their shifts.

Yes, Kirk could see it perfectly.

Domestic life with a Vulcan. He laughed at himself.

In the past, Kirk had always enjoyed a certain type of partner, mostly female, who never miss took lust for love and took no offense when he chose not to linger. Those were the partners he still needed to seek out, not pine over his first officer like a fool.

He had tried to convince himself of this over and over again, but it wasn’t true, all he wanted was love. He really did.

Wanted it more than he could hope, but he had chosen a life as a Starship Captain. The youngest ever, and he had only made it by his decision not to seek out a domestic life. He had made sacrifices in his personal and professional life in order to keep his Captaincy, but somehow... someway... Spock had found his way into his heart and Kirk couldn’t shake him.

He wanted Spock.

When he had finally admitted this to himself one night after a particularly bad mission, he was surprised that he hadn’t experienced regret, panic or any of the other unpleasant emotions he had mentally prepared himself to confront. In the past, he knew he became infatuated much too quickly with potential partners but his feelings faded once he began to realize what the relationship would mean for his way of life.

He had thought the same thing would happen with his feelings for Spock. He would pine for a bit, but eventually, his feelings would fade and he would resume life until the next pretty thing crossed his path.

He was wrong. Boy was he ever wrong. He felt like there was an invisible anchor that tied the two of them together. A compass to a magnet, a bolt of lightning to a rod, a dying man to water. Something always pulled him towards Spock. It was unnatural and he didn’t care.

Every away mission, every day on the bridge, every private moment they had together. His feelings increased and he found himself confronted by the fact that he wanted no one else. Could never think of wanting anyone else. It was scary how consuming his feelings were for Spock. His attraction to the man seemed to begin to haunt his every waking moment… Spock was extremely attractive to Kirk and he often found himself fantasizing about them being together on the bridge when the shifts dragged on and he was free to let his thoughts roam.

And when he wasn’t awake to daydream to ogle at his first officer, his dreams at night filled in the gaps.

He felt like a ditzy, love-stricken, horny, teenager and his mind didn’t help much as he would come up with all kinds of scenarios for the two of them.

Some nights, when the loneliness was particularly bad he would lay awake for a long time staring sightlessly at the bulkhead above him, restless and plagued by thoughts of creamy skin flushed green. Sweet lips that probably tasted of tea, ripe for the tasting. Long legs tangled with his and soft brown eyes warm as melted chocolate.

An honorable man would put all of these ideas from his mind. They. Were. Friends. Not to mention he was Spock's superior officer. It was unfair to place Spock in such a predicament.

But... he couldn’t escape his feelings. Vulcans were lucky, they could suppress their emotions, while humans were tortured by theirs.

Kirk bit his lips as he continued to massage Spock’s fingers.

His long delicate fingers.

Fingers that had no right to be as sexy as they were.

Fingers that he could imagine feeling roam possessively down his unclothed body, stroking his ribs.

See? Horny teenager.

He gave himself a mental shake.

As he gently worked on Spock’s pinky, he suddenly recalled falling off of his bike when he had been maybe 5 or 6 years old. He landed right on his hand and his tender little palms had been all scraped up. He ran crying to his mother who gently cooed him to be still and kissed his hand. She had told him kisses make everything better.

If he could, he would kiss every one of Spock’s fingers better.

He paused his administration to study Spock’s hand in his.

Something soft began to fill his chest and Kirk briefly thought about the person who had held him in his dream.

He wanted to hold Spock’s hands in the same manner. Comforting, with the secure knowledge that he was safe. That he was loved.

His hands were beautiful, Kirk marveled, he was abruptly overwhelmed with the fact that his hand was actually touching Spock’s.

Bruised and pale, Kirk cupped his hand delicately like a frail baby bird. Their hands were so drastically different, but they seemed to go together quite nicely.

He was affected by the breathtaking scene.

Would their bodies pressed together look the same way? Cream against tan, black against gold?

There he went again.

The things in his mind were completely inappropriate. Spock trusted him and here he was, thinking about his body and fingers, with less than pure thoughts. He needed to refocus.

Finishing up the massage as quickly as possible. Kirk placed Spock’s arm carefully back on the bed. Before covering him with an extra blanket he found in the bottom drawers of his wardrobe since he was asleep on top of his sheets.

He looked down at Spock, he was so resplendent that he was almost painful to behold. What would his life be without him? No one understood him like he did. No one. He had even threatened to call Bones if he didn't eat that sandwich this evening. He was always there. Always. Not even knowing why a strong sense of protectiveness swelled within his chest and he was overcome with the need to lean down and kiss his forehead. The feeling wasn’t out if lust, but out of overwhelming love he had for the Vulcan. Tears sprang to his eyes accompanied by a catch in his throat. His heart was feeling so full with adoration he feared it might begin to physically glow from the center of his chest. Did he even dare? If he did, this might be the only chance he would ever have to kiss Spock in any capacity.

He brushed back Spock’s black bangs and softly pressed a very light kiss to his forehead.

He closed his eyes. This would make him better. Kisses always made things better. His mom had said so.

Heal Spock, please.

His skin was warm under his lips and he wasn’t perspiring at all. The drugs had kept him in blissful slumber as he healed. He took a deep breath committing everything he was feeling to memory as his lips parted from Spock’s skin.

That kiss meant everything to him and Spock would never know.

He sighed looking down at Spock. Indeed those who taste the forbidden fruit are doomed to suffer with the knowledge.

Kirk had made the right call. Spock needed this. He needed the drugs to help him heal. And in a way, Kirk needed this as well. Maybe now he could move past his feelings, it seemed unlikely, but maybe.

He ordered the computer to lower the lights and left Spock’s room.

What he wasn’t aware of was that Spock slowly opened his eyes to stare after him.



Chapter Text

Kirk sat on the edge of his seat, he could actually feel his face beginning to hurt from all of the scowling he had been doing for the past few hours.

“Are we clear Su- I, uh, mean Mr. Farrell?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Helmsman Farrell didn’t turn around so Kirk had no idea if his little slip up had affected him.

Kirk winced. Beta shift always threw him off, and he hated getting names wrong. He would have to apologize to the helmsman later, but for now, he needed to concentrate. He had just driven the Enterprise and her bridge crew at maximum warp across Klingon space just to reach their destination as quickly as possible.

He pressed the panel on his chair. “This is the Captain to engineering, Power down, Mr. Scott, we will continue on thrusters to give our engines a rest.”

“Aye Captain,”

There was a whine from engines’ cooling down in the ship’s hull, and the Enterprise gave a slight jolt. That didn’t feel too good. By some miracle, they hadn’t been detected crossing Klingon territory but they were finally here. Rigel XII.

“Status report Scotty, can we take her into orbit?”

“Well, she might be limpin’ a bit, but she’ll get ya there.”

Helmsman Farrell turned around in his seat for instruction.

Kirk nodded to him. “Take us in.”

He pressed his chairs panel again, “Scotty head on up here to take the bridge when you’re done down there. I’m going to be heading with the medical team down to the planet’s surface.”

“Aye Sir.”

He turned to the Communications officer, who was at Uhura's station.

“Try hailing them.”

The crewman did as he was told but shook his head. “I tried all frequencies, Sir, no answer.”

“They might be too sick to answer.” Kirk guessed worrying his hands.

He leaned back over the panel and called down to Bones quarters.

A groggy voice answered. “Yes?”

Sorry to wake you Bones but we have arrived at Rigel XII. Wake your medical staff, and meet me down in transporter room 1. I’m not getting an answer from anyone down on the surface, so we’ll go down together.”

He heard a snuffing noise and the ruffling of sheets. “Alright, I’ll be there in a jif.”

Kirk headed for the turbo lift and was surprised to find Scotty already stepping out when the doors opened. He looked just as exhausted as Kirk felt. He too had been pushing double shifts to keep up with Kirk’s demanding schedule, but they both knew that a few hours of lost sleep was worth a man's life.

Down in the planet’s surface conditions were harsh, and Human habitation was only possible in sealed pressure domes. Although the atmosphere was capable of supporting humanoid life, grit and dust flew everywhere, and severe sandstorms were a frequent occurrence. That being said, over the past two years this mining site had begun to show great productivity yield of both lithium crystals and deuterium. What once was a lowly mining operation, with possibly only a few men had grown to something close to a factory size industry.

Kirk having beamed down with the medical team was currently moving a wrapped body. He had been right about the hails. Most of the men had been to sick to move to answer the Enterprise and the ones that remained healthy stayed away from the infected and didn’t know they were being hailed.

When they saw them beam down Kirk and his team were greeted like heroes. Kirk didn’t feel like a hero. Not when he was moving a body.

Having gotten a vaccine with the others before beaming down he was now immune from the sickness. That meant he was on body removal. Together he and another ensign worked on clearing out the dead, making sure that Bones and the other medical staff had room to work.

The bodies of the first deceased had been moved to a sealed dome where the virus could be contained, but after the miners became too weak they just tried to stay clear of the dead until help arrived.

Kirk panted as they carefully hefted their 4th body into the designated dome. The smell was atrocious and the ensign had to ask for a break before they continued. Kirk knew the smell of death all too well, but apparently, this ensign had never had that pleasure of that experience until now.

He was left alone in the dome while the ensign took a breather away from the dead. Kirk looked over the bodies. some were concealed, others out in the open. He closed his eyes in what could only be described as despair. How many of these men would be alive if he hadn’t been stalled by paperwork?

He placed his head in his hands. He did not like the feeling growing deep inside him. His chest tightened and felt like his soul was falling. He had done everything in his power to make it here and yet it hadn’t been enough. He shut his eyes tightly and tried to calm himself down. He was beginning to panic and that did no one any good.

He leaned against the wall and rubbed his arms nervously. He needed something… he needed-

I am here.

Kirk froze in his actions. He thought he had heard a voice.

I will not leave you. I am here.

Was it a voice? No. In was more like the impression of a voice. Kirk blinked rapidly as his nerves began to calm themselves amongst gentle, soothing waves. It was almost like a cooling salve to a burn. He suddenly felt… peaceful. Centered. This feeling was familiar to him… he had felt this before but where? In a dream perhaps?

Before he could try and analyze the way he was feeling any further, the ensign who had been helping him appeared at the door.

“Captain, Dr. McCoy wants to see you.”

He nodded and followed the ensign out of the dome, the feeling reminded with him. His steps were firm and his resolve somehow strengthened. He could feel his face was stern, almost too hard, but the calmness inside of him made him feel like he could handle anything. He felt empowered.

Bones was in a small room that branches off a large main dome that Kirk assumed was the main mess hall.
He was carefully giving the vaccinations to miners that were lined up around the walls. He glanced up at Kirk as he came in.

“Jim.” He greeted as he pushed a hypo into a small man’s arm.

Kirk nodded in greeting, “You wanted to see me?”

The small man rubbed his shoulder and got up to make room for the next person in line.

“I’m almost done here, I have about 53 more vaccines to go.”

Kirk nodded. “Have you found the head miner?”

“Dead. A few people here said that his uncle will be coming down in a few weeks to pick up where he left off. I plan on leaving more vaccines for replacement workers when they get here. Until then, all we can do is offer medical supplies and if possible stay in orbit for three more days, just to keep an eye on things. That’s my recommendation.”

“Understood. Since there’s nothing more on our to-do list from Starfleet I think I can arrange that.”

Bones nodded as another person stepped up from the line and sat down in front of him, he prepped the hypo and pressed it into the man’s arm.

“Do you know what they want to do with the bodies?” Kirk asked quietly.

“They wanted to return them to their families, but I’m afraid cremation is the only option. We don’t want anything spreading to other planets. I’ve advised them to do it in one of the domes, probably the one you have been moving the bodies too.”

Kirk nodded. “I understand.”

The man that Bones had just treated was replaced by another and, he once again prepped a hypo.

“Hand me that box right there.” He pointed to a small medical box on a table a few feet away. Kirk grabbed it and brought it back to him.

“So how’s Spock doing?” He asked not looking up.

He almost dropped the vaccine box.

“Spock?” Kirk looked up innocently, as he set the box next to him.

Bones gave him an odd look. “Yeah, I'm assuming you convinced him to take his medicine since I haven’t heard anything from both of you in a few days.”

Kirk shrugged. “He’s doing fine I suppose.” He didn’t explicitly lie about drugging Spock he would just avoid the question altogether.

“Well, that’s good to hear. After a mess like this, it’s a relief of sorts to know that someone, even the hobgoblin, is doing better.”

Kirk rolled his eyes.

Bones looked him up and down but didn’t say anything else about Spock. “I’m gonna go around and check on my medical staff once I’m done with this lineup here. You can beam back to the Enterprise if you want, there’s not much you can do. I’ll have Johnson's team move any more bodies to the dome.”

Kirk looked down at himself. “Do I look that beat?”

“Yes. Go rest up. I can handle things from here.”

Kirk pressed his lips together but relented and turned to leave. He abruptly stopped when he got to the door, he couldn’t rest until he got one more thing done. “Hey bones, that paperwork you had to fill out for each vial of the vaccines, do you think I could get those copies?”

Surprised Bones looked up. “Uh, Sure, they’re filed under my report back to Starfleet, I haven’t sent them yet because I need to record what happened today and the supplies I used. Did you want to wait until I finished my report?”

"No. I’m more interested in the forms themselves." He said as he walked out. He knew something was wrong and he intended to find out just what exactly what it was.

 

Kirk’s quarters were a mess. The last time he had seen this much physical paperwork scattered about his room was back at the academy before his last batch of finals. Normally all files were digital because there was no need for synthesized paper anymore, but Kirk found that he was better at catching flaws when things were spread out instead of jumping from screen to screen on a PADD. That, of course, didn't mean he also didn't have PADDS also strewn about the room.

He was missing something. He felt like it was obvious but he was somehow still missing the big picture. Every time he felt like he was about to discover something important involving extra fees, a subsection would appear leading him to a dead end or complicated legal jargon that made no sense.

He sighed to himself. He needed some major organization. The only person he could think of asking would be Spock, but he was still on medical leave.

Wait what time was it? Kirk shoved some papers aside looking for the chronometer on his desk.
He had 15 minutes to get ready to meet Spock for their next therapy session. He groaned out loud. He hadn't gotten any sleep.

He couldn't cancel on Spock he needed his therapy sessions to get better. Sluggish, Kirk washed his face with some cold water hoping it would wake him up a bit and grabbed a bag of tea, his bag of physical equipment, with of course the drugs.

He headed on over to Spock's room.

“Knock, knock.” He said going for a different approach rather than ringing the doorbell.

"You may enter." He heard on the other side of the door.

The doors swished open and Kirk stepped into the room. Spock was sitting at his table in a waiting position. Leaning back with his arms and legs crossed Kirk was suddenly reminded of all the times he had to confront his father like that when he tried sneaking into his house in the early hours of the morning because he had missed curfew.

"Hey Spock, you ready?" The room felt different somehow and Spock seemed upset.

"Are you okay?"

Spock nodded and stood up. He carefully disrobed and Kirk looked over his hand and shoulder. The bruising was lighter, but it was still looking a bit stiff. He began his basic stretches and Kirk found a seat at the table where Spock had been. He was too tired to actually stand. His mind was a bit hazy with sleepiness and he couldn't stop thinking about the paperwork that remained in his room.

He ran over the facts in his head. What did he know?

The Starfleet paperwork had hidden fees. He had never seen anything like it before.
Those fees had scared the miners on Janus VI, causing them to demand that the Enterprise re-route and bring them their cargo, so they wouldn't be fined.
Because of the re-route, more men died on Rigel XII.
You couldn't change the paperwork digitally, like copy and paste, as indicated by the medical paperwork done by Bones. And the paperwork had an official digital signature on it indicating that at least someone amongst the Brass had known about the hidden fees. But why would Starfleet need to add fines and fees? They didn't really use a currency besides the occasional credits.

"Jim."

Kirk glanced up pulled from his thoughts. "Yes?"

"I have completed my exercises."

"Really? All of them? You didn't need help on the last few like last time?" Kirk scanned Spock up and down. He was covered in sweat but didn't seem to be panting. He really was improving.

"How about a break then?" He gave a weak smile and stood up. "Let me fix you some tea while you rest."

Kirk got up and made his way over to the kitchenette. As he passed Spock he felt something stir in the air. He couldn't place the feeling, trepidation maybe?

Why would Spock be feeling uneasy?

Or maybe it was nothing and he just needed some sleep.

He shook his head and placed the tea bag in the strainer and began to boil the water.

Steam rose into the air with subtle notes of something he couldn't place. It was cleaner and fresher than any of the other teas he had brewed so far. It kind of reminded him of a cozy cabin while camping. He placed the tablet in Spock’s cup and then poured the tea. It melted completely as before under a beautiful light amber color.

He placed everything on a tray and joined Spock at the table. He was being really quiet tonight, but that may have been due to his own appearance. He probably looked worse than he thought.

“Jim,” Spock's voice interrupted his thoughts “will you get me my blanket? It is the one folded on the bed.”

Kirk’s brows rose in surprise. “Oh, yes. Of course.”

He walked over to the bed where the blanket rested at the end and picked it up. It was the very same one he had pulled from Spock’s bottom drawers and covered him with it last time. It was in a tight, but neat square and Kirk couldn’t help but smile. His arm must have made further motor improvements if he had folded it so neatly.

He shook the blanket out and brought it back to the table where Spock sat. He carefully placed the blanket over the Vulcans chest and knees.

Spock nodded in acknowledgment at Kirks actions but didn’t say anything else.

“Everything alright?” Kirk looked into Spock’s face. “You’re awfully quiet tonight.”

Spock studied him in return.

Kirk raised a playful brow, trying to provoke a response. Spock seemed indifferent this evening. He couldn’t pinpoint why, but something was off.

“We often share quiet evenings together. I see no difference tonight.” Spock finally said.

Kirk frowned. “Yeah but you seem...more withdrawn.”

Spock carefully blinked. “Vulcans, as you know, are more reserved than humans.”

“Yeah but that’s Vulcans, you’re Spock.”

Spock didn’t even lift a brow at that. His face was a perfect mask. “I find that remark incredibly insulting. Perhaps you are mistaken, you yourself seem rather tired.”

Kirk yawned at the mention of his sleepiness. “I’ll be fine Spock. Nothing a starship captain can’t handle.” He said giving a small smile.

There was a little pause, and Kirk could see Spock’s eyes flicker as if, quickly thinking.

“Have you been getting enough sleep?” Spock abruptly asked.

“Sure, sure,” he said waving him off.

Just a few double shifts and a mountain of paperwork he was trying to go through. Nothing he couldn’t handle.

“Perhaps we should forgo my massage treatment this evening.”

“Spock I’m fine I promise. You need your massage.” Kirk went to his seat and carefully picked up his warm cup. Spock’s eyes followed him meticulously and Kirk felt a bit unnerved. What was wrong with him? Did he perhaps think he could silently intimidate him in order to get out of the massage treatment?

Dark eyes remained carefully on his face.

“Drink your tea, Spock.” Kirk encouraged trying to get Spock to act a bit normally. As if to show him a good example he took a sip. The tea was light, almost thin tasting. He had nothing to compare the alien taste to. Perhaps the closest thing he could think of was a woodsy peach? And that didn’t even seem right. He took another drink, the taste was odd for sure, but not altogether unpleasant.

He looked over to Spock who had yet to reach for his cup.

“Well?”

Spock seemed to break free from some kind of thought. He followed suit and picked up his cup and began to drink the drugged tea.

He needed this. Kirk reminded himself.

A few minutes of silence passed and Spock still seemed to remain on edge.

Kirk leaned back in his chair and sighed he was beginning to feel the real weight of sleepiness settle over him. Maybe his double shift was starting to take effect. His eyes began to droop and his limbs began to feel heavy. His brain felt like it was filling with a pleasant fog. Kirks' head bobbed a bit and he straightened himself in the chair. He couldn’t fall asleep now. He should have had made himself some coffee rather than this new tea.

Wait a minute...the tea. Had he drank from the wrong-

His world began to smear around him and he could no longer keep his eyes open. He felt himself tip forward and heard something break on the floor. Suddenly he was being caught by some very warm hands before he knew nothing more.

When Kirk came to, he slowly opened his eyes. At first, he couldn’t register where he was. When had he gone to bed? He took a deep breath in. He felt amazing. It was as if he was floating on a cloud. Warm and safe, surrounded by the most delicious smell engulfing his body, no doubt rising from the soft sheets below him. He wanted to turn into that scent and rub his nose in it.

It smelled familiar somehow. His eyes closed again trying to go back to sleep, his head rolling to the side.

Why was this smell so familiar?

It made his stomach flutter.

He opened his eyes again and stared at the wall. Wait a minute. His brain started to assemble his surroundings like scattered puzzle pieces being put back together. This wasn’t his bed these walls were Spo-

“You drugged me.”

Kirks' head snapped to the other side where Spock was sitting next to the bed in a familiar position, resting his elbows on his knees, fingers steepled in front of his downturned mouth. It was one of the many poses he made when he had been considering something unpleasant.

Still a bit groggy Kirk sat up. He blinked several times trying to clear his head.

Spock had caught him, there was no denying it. He must have drunk the wrong cup of tea. How had he done that? He had been so careful.

As if to answer his unspoken question Spock lowered his hands from his mouth and placed them in his lap.

“I switched our cups while you got me a blanket. I had my suspicions but it wasn’t until you completely passed out that I could confirm my theory. Do you deny it?”

There was a beat, a little more than half a second, where Kirk briefly considered lying. But he knew better.

“No.” He said resolutely. “I did drug you.”

Spock nodded, and Kirk saw a flash of hurt cross his features before his expression was left blank.

Kirk swallowed and quickly began to explain, “It was only because I knew that you were in so much pain Spock. You couldn’t even handle my touch, and I’m the only one that could actually touch you. You needed the massage therapy or you’d risk the buildup of scar tissue. I just couldn’t stand by and watch you forgo treatment while I was the reason for your injuries in the first place. I did it for your own good!”

“So you drugged me to appease your conscience?”

“No! You misunderstand, Your Vulcan meditation wasn’t working and it was clear to me that you were struggling without the pain medications help-“

Spock turned away abruptly, so abruptly that anyone who had seen it might have called it an emotional reaction. He got up from the chair and walked away a few feet. He stood at attention and placed his hands behind his back. When he spoke again, it was so cold and detached Kirk couldn’t believe such a voice could ever leave Spock’s throat. “I protected you fulfilling my duties as the first officer, to make sure no harm comes to the Captain. Your disbelief in my abilities to self-heal using my techniques clearly states that you do not believe me to be an accomplished Vulcan. As for your blatant disregard for my preference in medical treatment, you have violated my trust. As my Captain,” he straightened up even further and Kirk could see his hands tightening themselves behind his back. “And as my friend.”

That comment lashed across Kirk’s heart.

He got up from Spock’s bed.

“Spock I didn’t mean-“

“It would be best if you left,” Spock said curtly, cutting him off.

Kirk was shocked. Spock had never dismissed him like that before.

He began to walk forward. “If you could just let me explain I-“

“I am not interested in your explanations. Please leave.”

Kirk stopped in his tracks.

His stomach twisted painfully in horror and he felt the blood drain from his face. What had he done? His hands were cold as dread began to overtake him. Had he just permanently damaged their friendship? He hadn’t wanted to violate his trust, or suggest that he wasn’t Vulcan enough! He loved him. He had just wanted to see him well again.

“If you would just let me explain-“ he tried again

“I know what has taken place. There is not much to say furthermore on the matter.”

Kirk took a few steps back and his face hardened into quiet acceptance. Spock clearly did not want to hear what he had to say, and he would not make his argument worse. He looked at the carpet of the cabin. He didn’t want to move but he forced himself, slowly turning, making his way to the door.

It swished opened for him but he stopped just before exiting.

“I’m sorry Spock, I really am. I was just trying to help you get better.” He wanted to scream, wanted to yell at Spock, force himself to be heard, but all that came out was a whisper, and he hated how much it sounded like he was on the verge of tears.

He cleared his throat and left with his head held high.

Chapter Text

Three days.

Spock had refused to see him for three days.

Kirk was beside himself. He felt hollow as he worked through his shifts. He couldn’t believe what he had done. He was despicable. In every definition of the word.

But if given the chance to do it all over again. He still would have drugged Spock. Even if the Vulcan hated him for the rest of his life, he would always know that his health had improved under his methods.

His arm had begun to heal and that was the most important part.

Kirk sat in his room amongst the paperwork

In his spare time, instead of relaxing or eating, or sleeping or anything so inconsequential, he had spent every waking moment pouring over documents. He had found countless more charges and hidden fees added to other regular paperwork files for different things. Most of the fines were directed towards outside partners and companies that worked with Starfleet rather than anything inside Starfleet itself. The indiscretions seemed to be added like afterthoughts, like someone had slipped them in last minute. It was done so slyly that one fee could be hidden amongst a large packet or in a tiny footnote at the bottom of some random pages. It was clear to Kirk that whoever was doing this knew that people wouldn’t go through and read the paperwork thoroughly.

Kirk ran his hands through his hair and hefted a hard sigh.

He didn’t seem to be getting any closer to an answer.

He hadn’t even gotten to his normal, everyday paperwork.

He leaned back in his chair. He supposed now was a good time as any to try and catch up on his Captain's reports and filings.

Kirk pushed aside the papers and PADDS in front of his desk monitor and opened his official files.

It was blank.

Confused Kirk scrolled through the page. There was nothing there. He checked his inbox where files came in for him to fill or approve. Empty.

That was impossible, he hadn’t done any of the paperwork for a few days. There should at least be two or three inboxes full of files waiting for him.

Nothing.

He pressed the button on the panel.

“Computer where’s my files?”

“All completed files have been sent to Starfleet headquarters.” The computer answered.

“Completed? I didn’t complete any files.” He mumbled to himself puzzled. He pulled up his outbox and found the missing files. They seemed to be all their and completely filled out.

“Computer who sent those files?”

“Digital signature states, yeoman Janice Rand.”

Well, that was impossible. Yeoman Rand wasn’t aboard.

“And when where these files sent?”

“All completed files were sent at 0500 hours this morning.” Kirk got up and grabbed his travel PADD there was only one person who could have done this.

Kirk stood before the light blue metal door that lead to Spock’s quarters. He had been here countless times over the last few days but had only rung the buzzer a handful of times. They all had the same result. No answer.

If it wasn’t for the occasional food being left and taken in front of his door by Nurse Chapel, he would have worried whether or not Spock had died.

He rang the buzzer.

“May I come in?” He called through the door.

There was a long, heavy pause, but Kirk waited.

Just when he was about to leave he heard “Affirmative.” finally from the other side of the door.

Kirk took a steady breath in as the doors swished open.

He walked in.

He stood uncomfortably in the doorway, glancing around at Spock’s quarters as the doors closed behind him.

His eyes sought Spock immediately and found him a darker part of the room with the lights lowered.

The Vulcan had his fingers steepled under his chin as he sat in a chair pulled from the table, elbows on knees, his eyes fixed on the wall in front of him. He didn’t acknowledge Kirk at all.

“Captain.” He said dryly in greeting. “Do you require something?”

Something shattered in Kirk’s chest. The use of his formal title hurt. It had taken almost two years for Spock to call him Jim when they were off duty. This is so much worse than he could have ever imagined.

He stood resolutely, unmoving.

“No. I came to say thank you.”

There was a pregnant pause before Spock answered him.

“I do not know what you are referring to.”

“For the paperwork Spock. Thank you for helping me when I didn’t deserve it.”

“I have not done any paperwork.”

Kirk pressed his lips into a hard line. “Oh really? Then what’s this?” He walked forward and held out the PADD to Spock.

Spock took the PADD without looking at him and briefly glanced it over before handing it back. “That paperwork has Yeoman Rand's digital signature on it. She is the one you should thank. Not I.”

“Spock, yeoman Rand got last-minute approval to go on shore leave. She hasn’t been aboard in a few days.”

Spock turned his head further away. “Indeed?” He said softly, “I did not know.”

Kirk pressed his lips together. He didn’t know how to proceed. He stared at Spock, who remained completely still, almost statuesque, looking anywhere but at him.

Kirk felt like he was walking a fine line, desperately wanting to beg for forgiveness or accept this is how it would be from now on.

He could not handle Spock treating him like a stranger. Not after everything they had been through. Imagining a life without Spock as his friend was simply unimaginable. Surely the Vulcan still cared for him in some capacity if he had gone through all that paperwork for him.

Kirk came and knelt before Spock’s chair. He was going to try and salvage what little bit of his friendship remained.

“Thank you, Spock.”

Spock still refused to look at him.

“I also came here to apologize. I know you may not want to hear it, but I’m gonna apologize anyway. I made the call to drug you, and at the time I believed that what I was doing the right thing for your recovery. Your arm was beginning to seize up and I was just so scared. I didn’t understand why-”

“You were correct in doing so,” Spock said interrupting him

Kirk blinked confused. “Excuse me?”

“You were correct in drugging me. Since you’re treatment, I have regained 20% more mobility in my movements.” Spock finally looked at him, his eyes were soft and his face was calm. It was nothing like their last interaction. Kirk almost felt like he was going to be forgiven. Almost.

He looked up at Spock with the most sincere expression he could give. “No, I was in the wrong.” He needed Spock to believe him, “Do not forgive me. I do not deserve it.”

Spock gave the barest hint of a smile. “You came to apologize but you do not wish for forgiveness. You, humans, are a constant contradiction. But both you and the Doctors were correct, I needed the pain medication.”

“Then why didn’t you take it?” Kirk asked softly. “If you knew your meditation techniques were not working, why did make yourself suffer? Where’s the logic in that?”

Spock lowered his eyes to his lap, almost as if he were ashamed at what he was about to say next.

“I did not wish to appear weak in your eyes.”

Kirk tilted his head to the side, now he really was confused. “What are you even talking about. You could never appear weak in my eyes, besides why would that matter? Vulcans are physically stronger than humans. We all know that.”

With his head still turned down, Spock looked up through his eyelashes at Kirk. “You misunderstand. I did not want you to think of me personally as weak.” He gave a pause before continuing in a softer voice. “That is not something attractive to a potential mate.”

The world seemed to stop. The air vents quieted. The hum of people in the hall stopped. Dust motes hung in the air as If they were frozen in place.

What had he just said?

“Potential mate?” Kirk’s words came out weak as all of the air left his lungs. “Are you saying…” his voice quivered. He swallowed and tried again, “are you saying that you view me as a potential candidate?”

Spock brought his head up and looked fully into Kirk’s eyes.

His heart skipped a beat.

Spock's sharp expression was distinctly predatory, his eyes emoting a burning heat that boiled with desire in their depths. Kirk’s body responded as if Spock had reached out and grabbed him. The muscles in his stomach quivered, and he could feel himself getting hard. His heart pounded in his chest like a wild bird trying to break free of a cage. He prayed Spock wouldn’t notice. The Vulcans gaze boldly slid across his face and then down his body that was in a crouching position in front of his chair. His chin was a few inches from Spock’s knees and Kirks brain suddenly realized they were in a really compromising position. They were close. Too close. Why had Kirk knelt here? He shifted his hips and straightened his back in an attempt to hide his sudden arousal. The action only served to draw Spock’s attention to the very area he had been trying to hide.

His body was a traitor.

Kirk felt light headed and he couldn’t even pin down a particular thought. Conflicted by the opposing forces of despondency and arousal, he was still at a loss for what to do.

“Spock,” he whispered back after taking a long beat to compose himself. He tried in vain to think of any more words as he let those dark, fathomless eyes pierce into him.

For a few moments, Kirk thought every neuron in his brain had been completely fried by his incomprehensibly.

“Are you saying you risked your health to appear more attractive to me? Are you a dumbass!?”

Kirk forced down the extreme emotional outburst that was attempting to detonate from within his very soul. He blinked heavily to combat his tear ducts, swallowing hard to unclog his throat. He took a deep but trembling breath to calm the swelling in his chest where he thought his heart may just decide to explode at any moment.

He was feeling so many things at once he thought he was going to have a stroke.

“That is the most illogical thing I ever heard in my life!” He barked out.

Anger. Apparently, anger was the emotion he had settled on. He was pissed. He felt his face growing red and heat running down his neck.

Spock slowly blinked at his reaction, obviously, it was not the one he had been expecting. “It is not illogical.” He stated calmly “As a Vulcan, I should be able to heal myself properly. I would not need any medication if I was fully Vulcan. If I had been more valiant in my meditative techniques, perhaps then you would have seen how worthy I would be as a mate.”

“Spock are you absolutely insane! You could have injured yourself even further!”

“I knew the risks, but Vulcans who have to option of attracting a mate, strive to appear the most logical and obvious of choices. It falls back to a biological need to appear stronger in a courtship display."

Kirks jaw dropped, but Spock continued his declaration of intentions.

“I was...uncertain if you truly desired me, as I desired you. That was until I saw your thoughts.”

It was as if someone had dumped a bucket of ice water on his head. His anger quickly morphed into some new emotion he couldn’t identify yet.

“What? What are you even talking about? Saw my thoughts? Like in a meld? We haven’t melded recently.” Kirk said faintly.

“No, you are correct. We did not share a traditional meld, but we had something similar.”

Kirk couldn’t force any more words past his lips, he couldn’t breathe. What was happening right now?

He blinked several times. “How did...I mean…”

“When you massaged my fingers you were also feeding images into my Psi-points while I slept.”

Kirk was going to choke, this was not happening. “What did you see?” he asked quietly fearing he already knew the answer.

“Us.”

This was it. The ultimate embarrassment. He hoped their shields failed and an asteroid hit them dead on.

“Although you should know, I too, accidentally fed you images the first night you came to help treat me.”

Kirks' brain spun “Images? What-” He suddenly remembered the explicit images that had flashed in his mind. “Those were yours?” He tried to swallow, but his throat had gone dry.

Spock’s eyebrows furrowed together in a self-deprecating frown. “ Indeed. I had no control over my Psi-points, and my mental shields were weakened. I did not know if you had seen them or not. You gave no reaction other than stepping back which could be interpreted two ways. You were either giving me space or you had seen the images and wanted to leave. Since you did not go, I assumed the first.”

Kirk had a million things trying to run through his head. “Why would you be thinking about that kind of thing while exercising?” He blurted out.

Spock’s lips pressed together, almost like he was unwilling to answer. “The cabin was hot, and you smelled quite ...alluring.”

Kirk couldn’t help the smile that broke over his face. Could this be happening? Could this actually be real? He had wanted this for so long it was almost unbelievable that it was occurring right here, and right now.

“You want the truth, Spock? I found you alluring too.”

Spock looked away. He seemed to become uneasy. Something was still holding him back. Even though he had risked his health just appear more attractive to Kirk, something else was going on.

“Jim, I must confess. That even though we want each other on a physical level becoming a Vulcans mate is hard work. After recent events I find myself wondering if this is a logical pursuit. I was blinded by my desire to gain your favor and appear as a potential mate, almost damaging myself further. After some reflection, I am understandably wary. What if this pursuit is unsustainable? What if I continue to make grave errors, on both of our halves, because I find myself wanting you?”

“Love is not logical Spock. It never was. That’s why, even if you hated me for it, I drugged you. I couldn’t just stand by and watch you endanger your health.”

Spock searched his face with unasked questions. His eyes were becoming shuttered, retreating into themselves. Kirk couldn’t have that, not when what he wanted was so close.

“Spock, I find myself wanting you as well. I honestly think my crush began as soon as I transported aboard the Enterprise. But what started as a simple crush began to grow into something more and more until one day I realized that I wanted you entirely. I’ve known it for more than a year, but I didn’t dare let you know because I didn’t think it was reciprocated, and I never wanted you to feel uncomfortable around me, or worse, drive you away to another ship. You’re my best friend Spock I couldn’t stand it if you transferred. You say that becoming a Vulcan mate is hard work, but I’ve never shied away from a challenge. That’s how I feel. How do you feel?”

Spock was quiet for a long time, but Kirk refused to do anything that might interrupt his answer.

“I have known of my attraction to you for some time. However, I was unaware of the depth of my feelings for you until you laid limp underneath me at my koon-ut-kal-if-fee ceremony.”

Kirk licked his lips. “That was a year ago.”

Excitement began to fill Kirk’s chest. It didn’t seem possible; there had been no signs that he might have returned any romantic feelings towards him, but this was it, he would beg if he had too.

He stood up and stepped forward, holding out his hands, in a silent question.

Spock slowly put his hands from his lap into Kirk’s awaiting ones and gently guided him to stand as well.

Never breaking eye contact he gathered Spock’s hands together and brought them both to his lips, softly kissing them.

“Spock.” He whispered into them reverently, closing his eyes tight in a pleading manner. “I know I have made some mistakes, and I’m sure I’m not done making them when it comes to you, but know that if you choose to continue for us to be together, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you. I’m not perfect, I never will be but I would be honored if you picked me as your mate. You never had to prove yourself, or try and appear as a logical choice.” He focused his attention on the deeply bruised hand and kissed the knuckles. “You were always my logical choice, please, let's try and make this work.”

Kirk kept his eyes closed hoping beyond hope that Spock would feel the truth behind his words.

Spock gently tugged his hands-free and Kirks heart fell for half a second before he realized he was being delicately moved back into the wall by Spock’s body.

“Jim,” he heard his name vibrate through Spock’s chest as he pressed against him. His voice had lowered to a spine-tingling, erotic baritone. He had never heard his name said in such a delicious way.

He reached up and cupped his cheek. Kirk swallowed and quickly grasped onto Spock’s sides, careful to avoid his still healing arm. His movements were quick, desperate but he did not want Spock to move away.

“What is it, Spock?” He tilted his head upward so that his nose brushed Spock’s lips. They were so close Kirk was having a hard time controlling himself. It was instinct really, as a captain he wanted to take command. Wanted to latch on and consume Spock, kissing him within an inch of his life, showing him his very real and complete desire. But Spock had to make the first move. This would be his decision.

“If we choose to pursue this course, know I may not be able to show you the conventional human love that you would be used to. Shon-ha'lock, love, is the most dangerous emotion of all. Especially for Vulcans. It produces many other emotions. Jealousy, shame, rage, grief. I have suppressed them all, dictating them with logic otherwise, they would consume me when you are near. Even now I can sense these emotions building up inside me like a gathering storm. I may not be able to stop them. But know I will cherish thee beyond anything you could ever imagine. By creating a bond with you I will want to merge with you, body and soul. My mind will be yours and yours shall be mine. I will want to possess your body entirely so that no one else may know you as I do. Your happiness will be something I put before all else. We will be of one mind, and of one heart. Do you think you can handle such love? Do you think you can handle being my mate?”

As Spock spoke his lips brushed over Kirk’s in a sinfully teasing manner and Kirk shivered under the intense administration. His heart was pounding in his chest and he felt himself growing harder, his blood warmed at the declaration.

They each had a growing, visceral awareness of the other as if an invisible cord was stretching between them. Strengthening them. Encouraging them.

“On one condition,” Kirk said against his lips. “You let me love you in the same manner.” He raised his leg slightly so Spock could feel exactly what he was doing to him and to Kirks surprise he could feel Spock's answering hardness.

Spock lifted one of Kirk’s hands up and began a deliberate drag of his fingers down the back of his hand, careful, but far from hesitant. Spock’s eyes were trained on his face, trying to gather if Kirk understood the gesture the way Spock wanted him to understand it.

Kirk is so very still, his eyes wide for a split second, then closing, as if to savor the sensation, his breath leaving him in an almost inaudible sigh. He didn’t know exactly what Spock was doing but it was turning him into a melting puddle. There was almost a connection happening. A spark of some sort. He could feel something, not with his hands, but oddly in his mind's eye. It was familiar somehow.

When his eyes opened again, they zeroed in on Spock, who seemed to be asking a silent question. Kirk lifted his hand out from under Spock’s fingers and dragged his own fingers, very slowly, over Spock’s in the same manner.

Spock visibly shivered. “Do you understand your actions?” He said in a low voice, his breath brushing over their connected hands.

“Not entirely,” Kirk admitted. “But does that really matter? It seems to be affecting you in a good way.”

“This is ozh’esta. A finger embrace, a touching between bondmates. It is equivalent to what you humans call a kiss.”

Kirk took his other hand and stroked Spock’s bruised knuckles. Spock slightly jumped.

“Is this like kissing with a bruised lip? Does this hurt you?”

“No. You bring me no pain, only intense pleasure.”

Spock’s eyelids fluttered at his touch and Kirk couldn’t look away. His face was less controlled and more open and honest than Kirk had ever seen.

He wanted to look at Spock like this forever.

There was a tense moment before their lips met and Kirk wasn’t exactly sure who moved first, but when their mouths found each other Kirk was lost in bliss.

Everything else became irrelevant, inconsequential. Despite their heady interaction, their first kiss together was a firm, long one, and he felt the need to pull Spock closer if that was even possible. He wanted this kiss to say so many things, but the most important one was of his need to connect with Spock. Kirk slowly began to move his lips hinting at Spock to open his mouth, and when he did Kirk delighted in capturing Spock’s bottom lip and sucking it. The action sent an arrow of pleasure straight through his heart and down to his groin as if there was a single nerve directly connecting the two. Spock mirrored the technique, capturing Kirk’s lower lip with his own and eliciting a satisfying moan in the process. The noise of their intimacy echoed throughout the room and was only accompanied but the soft humming of the engines that could always be heard among the ship.

Kirk would commit this moment to memory. Everything about it. The noises, the sights, the smells. The heavenly feeling of Spock’s body pressed against his own would fuel him for the next few days. Years even. He sighed as his hands ran down Spock’s, thin but muscular back. Kirk’s lips slanted against his, causing the kiss to transform, sending the most wonderful sensations through every part of his body. He arched his back, pressing closer. He couldn’t help it as a rough low moan escape his throat. He had craved this for so long, and now he was having his deepest desire granted. He was molded to Spock’s lean, slender hips, acutely aware of his hard thighs and solid torso rubbing deliciously against his own.

Kirk broke away wanting to see what their first kiss had done to Spock.

He was breathing hard, panting against his lips, as he looked back at Kirk with a dark intensity that sent the sharpest thrill he had ever felt through his body. Spock's lips were worried green and a deep blush had settled across his face up into his pointed ears. He looked wrecked and Kirk couldn’t wait to see what would happen when they ended up in bed together.

He probably appeared stupidly happy. He was stupidly happy. His heart felt like a bright star shining like a beacon of light in his chest. He was surprised he wasn’t somehow physically glowing.

It was definitely Spock this time who crushed them back together, and their hands suddenly found themselves under each other’s clothes. Kirk dragged his hand down Spock’s warm abdomen and breached the top of his waistband, the tips of his fingers brushed against black curls.

The boatswain whistle sounded and Uhura's soft voice floated through the heavy air. “Captain Kirk to the bridge, Captain Kirk to the Bridge.”

Kirk and Spock froze.

They slightly parted. “Maybe if we don’t say anything she’ll go away.” He whispered into Spock’s mouth with a mischievous grin.

Spock looked somewhat lost, torn between listening to Kirk or listening to his common sense.

Logic won out and he pulled away, causing Kirk to whine at his sudden absence.

Of course, Spock was right. He was the Captain, and his job came first. He adjusted himself the best he could before going over to Spock’s panel on his desk. “Kirk here,” he said answering the hail.

“There’s an urgent message from Starfleet command, they would like to speak to you and Commander Spock immediately.”

Kirk looked back at Spock who seemed to have collected himself better than him and had gone and to sit down in his chair.

“Commander Spock is still on sick leave.”

“I tried to explain that, but they are insistent.”

“Look you can tell Admiral Chu that-“

“No Sir, it’s Fleet Admiral Hadar,” Uhura said quickly.

Kirk fell silent.

That was one of the head persons in charge at Starfleet. He was everybody’s boss. Kirk had only met the man a handful of times at Starfleet functions.

They couldn’t ignore the summons.

“Direct his call to conference room C, we’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

Chapter Text

Kirk tried not to fuss over Spock as he settled into the conference room chair. Once again he seemed to be holding his arm close too close to his body as if he was in pain.

Kirk was extremely irritated. What could the Brass possibly want with him and Spock? Him he understood, but Spock needed rest! He had not had his Physical therapy, nor his massage, plus Kirk had probably grabbed him too hard when they had clung together in their...er...heated moment.

He didn’t want to talk to the Brass. He wanted to continue this newfound thing between him and his first officer.

Spock, of course, said nothing. He sat there looking as dignified as always, even though he was in a robe and had just come from a make-out session.

He really envied Spock's ability to look calm and collected, while his body was taunt with unused tension. Kirk didn’t even want to think about how he looked. He felt hot and tingly all over.

Having made sure Spock was settled in, let his hand linger on the Vulcans shoulder before he sat down in a chair next to him.

He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to back in Spock’s cabin warming up his bed.

He glanced at Spock’s lips.

He had actually tasted them. They were so soft, so wonderful, so yielding to his own. He wanted more of them, all over his body.

Kirk felt his stomach flutter at the notion and gave himself a mental shake.

Regrettably, he needed to be in Captain mode right now, not a love-struck fool. Because that’s what he was, a love-struck fool.

The screen in front of him held the Starfleet logo, and the three lit dots on the panel indicated there was a call waiting.

He pinched his lips together and pressed the receiver button.

The screen flashed and Fleet Admiral Hadar sat in the center. His advanced age was evident but his eyes were sharper than many of Kirk’s colleagues his own age.

“Captain Kirk,” he greeted. “Mr. Spock,” he nodded towards Kirks right. “ I’m contacting you on behalf of the report I received this morning concerning embezzlement hidden with in our contract paperwork. I want you to know I have taken your accusation against admiral Chu very seriously.”

Kirk was known for his poker face. He could hide even the smallest hint of doubt from anyone, including the man in front of him. But what was Hadar talking about? Admiral Chu? He had filed no such report against him.

It was me. He heard in his mind.

Kirk flinched, and he turned to look at Spock who hadn’t said a word. That voice...

“I trust you found my evidential proof enough for a hearing,” Spock said as he spoke up, addressing the Admiral.

Hadar nodded. “Yes. Admiral Chu has requested a lawyer, but suffice it to say, I don’t believe it will do him much good. Not with the files you sent us.”

Kirk quickly filled in the blanks. When Spock had done his backlogged paperwork he must have seen the same inconsistencies in the Starfleet contracts just like he had. He must have pieced everything together and sent a report to Starfleet.

Kirk suppressed the smile that was starting to break out over his face.

A swelling of pride rose in his chest. Of course, Spock had figured it out. He shouldn’t be surprised. That paperwork had been a complete maze of information, that threw him through several loops, yet Spock had taken one look at it and resolved it quickly and efficiently. To the point that he had even sent a report to Starfleet along with his other work.

Love bloomed in his chest. Spock had done all of that work, even when he had been mad at him for the drugging.

To say that Kirk was touched was an understatement.

“We are glad to see you handling this personally Sir,” Kirk said trying to keep up the appearance that he had known everything all along. He forced himself to look at the screen, otherwise, he was tempted to tackle Spock to the ground right in front of the Fleet Admiral.

Hadar gave a grave nod. “Admiral Chu’s embezzlement almost ruined our network of suppliers. A network that has taken years to build. His trial will be held in three months. Starfleet is in your debt once again Kirk, if this mistake hadn’t been caught, our reputation would have been ruined throughout the galaxy. If there’s anything I could do for you let me know. You’ve earned a personal favor from me.

Kirk gave a sly smile, “Actually there are two things in which I would like to ask for.”

Hadar raised a brow.” So soon? Alright, let’s hear them.”

“First I want murder charges added to Admiral Chu’s criminal charges.”

“Murder?”

“Yes, Admiral Chu had ordered us to go straight to the mining colony on Janus VI. While dealing with the problem of disgruntled contractors from the mining colony on Janus VI, we were delayed in getting to Rigel XII. Which led to the death of several men. Men that would still be alive today if they had received a simple vaccination.”

Hadar frowned. “I see.”

“If it hadn’t been for his paperwork, my crew and I would have made into Rigel XII.”

There was a hesitant pause on Hadar’s end. “I will add involuntary manslaughter to his charges, but we’ll see if it sticks.” He noted skeptically. “Things like that are tricky to prove to a judge.”

Kirk nodded. It wasn’t exactly justice but it would be enough.

“The second request I have is for my Starfleet file to be changed. From single to married.”

A bewildered expression crossed Hadar’s face. “Married? When did you get married?”

“I’m not married yet but I will be soon.”

Hadar flashed him a quick smile. “I think that can be arranged. Right, well let me make a note of it.” He turned to his left and picked up a PADD just off screen “What’s the young lady’s name?” He asked politely not looking up from his small device.

“S'chn T'gai Spock,” Spock answered himself, glancing sideways at Kirk.

Kirk glanced sideways to Spock and could see laughter hidden in his sharp eyes. He seemed just as delighted to make the file changes as well.

To the Fleet Admirals credit, he only remained frozen for a few moments, before looking up at the two of them.

“You two? You two???” He asked twice incredulous.

Kirk only nodded, trying to appear serious and not like he was about to start floating in the air.

Hadar’s mouth opened and closed a few times like a gasping fish, he looked as if he was trying to start several statements at once.

He settled on grunting as he straightened himself. “Captain Kirk, as a Captain you are not allowed to fraternize with your subordinates…” his voice trailed off uncertainty. He looked between the two of them in thought.

Kirk shrugged. “Then let’s make this a third favor.”

Surprised, Hadar barked out a laugh at his cheeky response. He shook his head in disbelief “I suppose I’ll have to make those changes to Mr.Spock's file as well?”

“That is preferable,” Spock said simply.

Hadar’s smile touched his eyes as he shook his head. “Alright consider it done. Congratulations to the both of you.”

Kirk beamed in his seat, and Spock nodded in acknowledgment.

“As for your upcoming schedule, it looks like you’ll be on hold for a week or so, we’ll need to find someone to replace Mr. Chu. Perhaps Admiral Morgenson, until then hang tight.”

Kirk nodded and felt a bit of relief. He liked having his schedule busy, but he could stand to have a few days of calmness to relax and explore his new connection between him and his Vulcan.

Fleet Admiral Hadar nodded and said farewell, leaving Kirk with a blank screen.

Kirk looked over to Spock.

“How did you know it was Chu?”

“While the contracts stated Starfleet as the recipient of the fees and charges in the paperwork, the funds were being sent to a hidden shell Corp, in the mailing office. It would have been nearly impossible to track down if it wasn’t for the fact that the Shell Corp was drawn up in Admiral Chu’s name.”

Kirk’s brows rose. “How did you know what to look for?”

“There were many signs pointing to embezzlement when I reviewed the paperwork. Most importantly, you could not copy and paste information. That meant the documents had been altered to have superimposed information placed over the original. It also gave specific access to a single party. If something was changed they would be notified.”

“And you just happened to suspect Chu?”

“Not until I discovered the shell corp in his name.”

“How did you even know the shell corp existed?”

“I discovered it a few months back. I have an understanding that Admiral Chu does not like me. He has sent me several assignments that were purposely meant to waste time or humiliate me. His efforts were wasted for Vulcans do not feel humiliated, nor do I care for his opinions on me. When certain assignments started disappearing right after I received them, I began to investigate to see if he was trying to frame me for uncomplicated work.”

Kirk bit his lip. He had been the one deleting those horrible tasks. He had hoped Spock hadn’t noticed.

“It was through these previous investigations I discovered the hidden shell, Corp. I did not think much of it until I saw the name on the documents. I simply, as you would say, ‘Put two and two together’.”

Spock looked at him carefully. “You were the one deleting my tasks.” He stated.

Kirk shrugged unapologetically, “Only because they were a waste of your talents and Chu was a vindictive rat.”

Spock continued to look him deep in the eyes, after a brief pause he straightened. “Thank you.”

“You know you weren’t supposed to be working,” Kirk said changing the subject, “you were supposed to be healing.” He looked down at Spock’s arm that was cradled next to his ribs.

“Are you not glad I discovered the intentions of Admiral Chu?” Spock asked raising a curious brow.

“Oh I’m very glad, but…” he trailed off as he leaned closer to Spock, “the way you're holding your arm suggests you prioritized the wrong thing.”

“Taking care of you will always be my top priority. That includes your paperwork, if I just so happened to uncover a crime, there is nothing to be done.”

There was an odd stare down happening between the two. The air was full of electricity, and the room was heavy with unspoken intentions. They were both breathing a little too hard for normal conversation. Kirk leaned closer and whispered in Spock’s ear.

“Spock,” he said as kissed the shell teasingly, “Let’s go take care of your arm. That’s my top priority.”

Spock turned his head to stare at him before nodding. They stood up and walked back to Spock's quarters.

When they arrived they were greeted by the Ships MO. His arms were crossed over his chest and the frown lines on his face seemed deeper than normal.

“Bones? Everything okay?” Kirk asked as they approached.

“Well, I was on my way down here to check on Spock, when I got an alert to a change being made to your medical file.”

“An alert?” Kirk asked confused. “You have an alert on my file.”

Bones nodded. “As your Primary physician, I make sure I’m up to date on all of your files just in case another doctor treats you and puts in his own notes.”

Kirk’s brows raised. “And?”

“Well now, either Starfleet medical has been hacked or you really just got married.”

Kirk looked to Spock. “Admiral Hadar works fast.” He commented.

“Jim.” Bones prompted clearly in a state between disbelief and irritation.

Kirk became a bit bashful. Spock and him hadn’t even talked everything through. They knew they wanted to be together. Mates for life according to Spock, but they hadn’t talked about how they were going to tell people.

“Uh-“

“The Captain and I will be mated,” Spock answered for him. “We have asked for the file change.”

Bones eyes widened almost comically, his jaw dropped and he stared. His eyes quickly darted between the two of them and Kirk could tell he was thinking very quickly. After a few more seconds Bones snapped his jaw shut. He grunted.

Kirk had expected yelling.

Now it was Bones turn to look awkward. He had to have known about Kirk’s feelings for Spock from the start.

“Jim,” he asked quietly, “are you sure this is what you want?”

“It’s what we both want. It may seem sudden but I don’t think I will ever change my mind about how I feel.” Kirk said resolutely.

Bones pursed his lips and Kirk couldn’t tell how he was feeling.

There was a long dragged out silence between the three of them.

Bones face suddenly changed, looking as if he had come to a decision and he sighed.

“I don’t understand it. I don’t want to understand it. Jim, I care about you and your happiness and Spock, if held at phaser point I would admit the same thing about you. If this is the path you both wanna travel down there’s not a lick I can do about it. And that’s all I’ve got to say.”

Kirk blinked, “Bones I gotta say you’re lack of passion is surprising.”

Bones walked up to Spock, “Shut up Jim. Spock let’s see that arm.”

Spock obediently held his arm up for inspection.

Bones did not touch him but he carefully pulled out his scanner and ran a diagnostic.

“Hmm, your muscles are reforming and healing nicely there’s still a bit of scar tissue building up but it’s not as bad as it could have been. Thanks to that pain medication you’ve been taking, it looks like your muscles are on a good road to recovery. The bruising is almost gone. Have you had any problems with your meld points?”

“I have slowly felt myself regaining control, but I believe their healing process will be lengthier than I first anticipated.”

Bones nodded. “That’s understandable, especially since Kirk is the only one who’s been able to treat you. He’s an excellent captain but I am wary of his medical skills.”

Kirk acted mock hurt. “Ouch, ye of little faith.”

Spock seemed to become irritated at this statement. “The Captain has been a great help in my recovery.”

Kirk pursed his lips in guilt. He had drugged Spock and he still defended him.

“Uh-huh.” Bones said absentmindedly as he looked down at the tricorder in his hands.

“You’ll still need at least another full week of therapy before I’ll be ready to clear you for light duty.”

Bones looked to Kirk, “What’s our next assignment?”

“Actually we don’t have one at the moment. At least for a week.”

Bones raised a brow. “Is that right? Why?”

“I’m going to be sending out a ship-wide memo tomorrow, it’s better if you wait till then.”

Bones grunted. “Well, whatever the case I say we schedule for shore leave when we go back for the other crew members on Omicron Delta.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Kirk said with a smile. “Right now we are heading to do Spock's therapy, did you want to sit in?”

“And be a third wheel on that date? Nah. I still have a lot to do before dinner. There’s really no need. I’ll check up on you tomorrow.” He said looking at Spock. “Take it easy and eat something, you’re looking a little pale.”

Bones waved them off as he walked down the corridor back towards medbay.

Spock and Kirk looked at each other. “That went down easier than expected.”

Spock nodded. “I doubt Dr. McCoy is truly done speaking on the matter of our mating.”

Kirk laughed. “He’ll get used to it.”

They turned and walked into Spock’s room together. The lights were dim and the room was warm, it was exactly how they had left it an hour or so ago.

It was...odd coming back to the place they had practically jumped each other like rabbits in heat. Kirk suddenly rubbed his hands together awkwardly. He could feel a blush creeping up his neck. “So uh… how about we start your physical therapy?”

Spock nodded. “That would be satisfactory.”

Kirk didn’t move. “Um Spock, would you perhaps like to try the drugs before your exercises? They can only help.”

“Negative. I believe they would cloud my concentration.” Spock began to remove his robe.

“Are you still willing to take them when we take a break for tea?” Kirk asked hesitantly.

Spock nodded. “I am.”

“Hypo or... tablet?” Kirk was still extremely embarrassed. He did not completely forgive himself for deceiving Spock in the first place.

“However you prepared it before was acceptable.”

Kirk gave a small smile. “I believe I left the equipment here last time, along with the tea box. Why don’t you get started and I will pick out a new tea.”

“I would prefer my own blend today. I have enjoyed experimenting with the new tea, however, I would like something familiar.”

Kirk nodded. “I believe I can make that happen. Would you like something to eat? Bones said you were looking a bit pale and I have to agree.”

“I will eat whatever you prepare, but I would prefer something light..”

Kirk walked to the small kitchenette and pulled Spock’s regular blend down from his cabinet. He pushed Sulus box out of the way and began to prepare the boiling water. Kirk didn’t know how many more flavors were in the box, but if Spock wanted his regular blend he was more than happy to brew it.

Having decided on wafer cookies to have with the tea. Kirk placed everything on a tray and turned to find Spock waiting for him at the table already done with his exercises.

He was getting faster, no doubt as a result of him getting stronger.

He brought the tray over and placed empty cups in front of them. He pulled a pill packet from his pocket and dropped a pill in Spock’s cup.

He wasn’t sure why he was doing so in front of Spock, perhaps it made him feel a bit more honest.

He poured the tea and the aroma that Spock normally smelled of, wafted into the air.

They sat his silence and drank their tea together. Kirk watched Spock partake in some of the wafer cookies but he didn’t eat very much. Something seemed to be on his mind and Kirk wondered if it was the same thing as his.

The massage.

After a bit having finished their cups, Kirk broke the silence.

“You ready?”

Kirk was nervous. He had no reason to be, but he still was.

He had massaged Spock several times before, but somehow this felt like a precursor to something else.

Spock nodded and got up to move to the bed.

Kirk grabbed a small towel and the baby oil he had left on the shelf.

He began his administrations like he always had, rubbing the oil into the soft receptive skin of Spock’s shoulder, and worked his normal routine down Spock’s arm carefully stretching and working the stiffness lose.

There was something very intense in the air, they could both feel it but Kirk tried to ignore it.

His oiled arm was gloriously warm and soft and Kirk’s fingers skimmed along the planes of muscle and watched as they began to relax under his touch.

Heat was rising in Kirk’s cheeks as he drew closer to the area that was the most sensitive.

Spock’s hand.

He glanced up at Spock who was still awake. Should he wait until Spock was asleep again? Maybe work his way back up the arm?

His hesitation caught Spock’s attention. “You will not hurt me.” He said with confidence.

Kirk licked his lips nervously but didn’t move his hands down.

“Jim,” Spock said softly as if speaking to a frightened child, “you will not hurt me.”

Kirk nodded and moved on to Spock’s hand.

Gently massaging the pads, by pushing his own digits in between the spaces of tendons, Spock violently shivered in response and Kirk stopped.

“I could wait until you fall asleep,” Kirk suggested hoping Spock would agree.

Spock’s brows lower over his eyes, “Negative I will remain awake.”

Kirk smiled, “That what you said last time. But these drugs are strong. They are meant to put you out.”

“I will remain awake,” he said resolutely.

“But the pain-“

“James I can assure you it is not pain that I feel.”

Kirk blinked, feeling a thrill chase through him.

He took up the massage again, trying to be as careful as possible.

Spock’s fingers had improved the most. They could now stretch out without automatically trying to curl back up.

He tugged them with firmness and watched in beginning fascination as Spock’s breathing stuttered and then evened out again.

That hadn’t happened when Spock was asleep.

Using his thumb to move in circles, he worked his way up from the palm to the tips again, lingering near his points

Spock being bare-chested, allowed Kirk to see his abdomen twitch in response, along with further evidence of Spock’s arousal.

Kirk could feel his own stomach twitching in response as well. Low heat coiled in his belly and he suddenly got very brave.

Bringing Spock’s fingers to his mouth, he gave them a suck, first at the tips and then taking them completely into his mouth, knowing that this is something he had wanted to do for a long, long time.

He heard what could almost be described as a moan, quickly cut off but definitely there. He looked up just in time to see Spock turn away.

“Jim,” Spock said a bit sternly, but it wasn’t much of a reprimand.

Kirk smiled around the fingers in his mouth and gave one last lick with his tongue before he and pulled back, contemplative. “This has possibilities.” He said kissing the knuckles unapologetic.

Spock almost looked exasperated.

Almost.

Spock’s eyes were beginning to cloud and become heavy. The drugs must be kicking in.

Kirk got up, with Spocks and still in his and maneuvered himself to lay down next to him in the bed. Spock said nothing as he scooted over and made room. The single bed was small but they made it work. He placed his arm under Spock’s head and they fit together perfectly.

It was peaceful, and quiet, and comfortable. Something Kirk knew he could feel only in the presence of Spock.

With Spock’s hand still in his, he couldn’t believe the way their threaded fingers felt. Intense waves of protectiveness, of safety, of home he had felt earlier down on the planet’s surface, washed over him.

“It was you,” Kirk said. “You were in my dreams…you were down with me on the planet. You brought me comfort.” Tears sprang to his eyes. “Have you been with me this entire time?”

Spock didn’t necessarily answer, instead he squeezed his hand back in reassurance.

Kirk’s heart sang.

Was it possible to be this happy?

He rolled to his side and leaned over gently pressing his lips to Spock’s.

He kissed his thanks into him. Hoping that Spock could feel his gratitude pouring into him. He hummed at the pleasant kiss, the vibration sending chills between them.

Their lips moved in sync, causing the simmering spark he had been holding at bay to set off in Kirk. He felt Spock boldly bite his lip meaning he wanted access, which Kirk happily granted. Tongues rubbed against each other and moans started to emit from both. They tasted like tea.

Kirk moved a free hand down Spock’s body as they kissed and carefully slid it over his exposed skin. The warmth he found there gave him comfort, as he felt the muscles continue to twitch beneath his touch.

Their lips danced and Kirk began to lose control of himself bit by bit. Everything around them seemed to fade away as if they were the only ones in existence. Kirk entangled his fingers Spock’s black hair and pulled him closer to hold him tightly against his chest. It was wonderful.

Before he lost complete control of his morality he broke the kiss to look into Spock’s eyes.

“Do you, um…” He panted. He didn’t know how to ask this; he was too emotional and aroused to say anything yet he somehow found his voice. “Do you want to wait?”

Spock looked befuddled. “Wait? As in, having intercourse?”

He gazed into Kirk’s hazel irises. The look in them was lustful yet considerate like he wanted Kirk to decide what would happen with them next, not him. The Vulcan had no experience, yet he had an idea where things could lead.

Kirk inwardly cringed, but he had to say it, “I don’t think you are in any condition to be having it.” Even though Kirk himself desperately wanted it.

Spock seemed to think it over. “State your reasoning,” he said.

Kirk placed a gentle hand on his cheek. “Well for one, you’re drugged and two, I don’t want to hurt your arm.”

Spock slowly blinked as he mulled it over, his face more relaxed because of the drugs. He nodded, “I accept your reasoning, it is very logical. We will wait until I am in optimal condition. However, we can do something else.”

“What?”

“There’s something that I have wished to reveal to you since the moment I discovered it.”

Kirk tilted his head confused, “And what’s that?”

Spock raised his uninjured hand in a question. “Meld with me?”

“Are you able?”

“I believe I have control.”

Kirk smiled, “Then have you ever needed permission?” He said sliding his hand alongside Spocks, bringing the fingers close to his face. He kissed the tips of each one before pressing them against his head.

Spock’s eyes already softened by the drugs, turned into something more intimate, his expression somehow more meaningful.

“My mind, to your mind,” he murmured between them, “your thoughts to my thoughts, our minds are merging, our minds are one...”

Kirk had shared a meld with Spock before but this was deeper somehow. Normally he could feel Spock enter into his mind, but this was different.

It was like a shared plane of existence just for the two of them.

He felt like he was in two places at once. He could still feel his body lying next to Spock on the bed, but he also had a physical form standing upright in some form of an illusion.

He floundered between the real and mental world for a moment, but with some light prompting from Spock’s mind, he settled into the mental space. He could feel Spock's consciousness solidify next to him and suddenly he was standing there beside him.

Stars stretched into eternity around them and warm golden sand stretched out for miles beneath their feet.

“Spock?”

“I am here.”

“Where are we?”

“It is a physical manifestation of two shared conscious minds. I have created this space so that your mind can make sense of what it is seeing.”

Kirk stared in wonder as shooting stars raced above them and the twinkling of a massive nebula cradled thousands of reflective colors, some of which he had never seen before.

The atmosphere around them swirled with their combined awareness of each other and deep love and adoration echoed throughout the space.

Spock’s gaze wandered around, taking as much of it in as Kirk.

Kirk smiled, Spock was beautiful. He reached out and touched his shoulder, causing Spock to turn back and look at him again.

“Is this what you were talking about? What you wanted to show me? It’s amazing.”

“Negative, while this place is… aesthetically pleasing I wished to show you our bond.”

“Our bond?”

“A rush of lights shot down from the heavens like stars on fire and formed a slipstream that exploded into a golden shimmering river before them.

No, something like a river. It was not made of water.

It would be hard to describe exactly what he was seeing to an outsider, but whatever it was. It was strong and flowed freely unhindered.

“T’hy’la,” Spock said. “It is the strongest bond known to a Vulcan. It is extremely rare. Most believe it does not exist.”

As soon as Spock had said it, Kirk somehow recognized it immediately. Almost as one might recognize their own reflection in a mirror.

It was them. Their connection to each other.

“T’hy’la,” Kirk echoed. “Well, I guess we proved the naysayers wrong. I always knew you were incredible.”

Spock stepped forward and the atmosphere around them changed. “This is not just me,” He said stepping into Kirks space, “The T’hy’la bond pulls us together.”

Kirk took this opportunity to match what they were doing in the physical world and wrapped his arms around his first officer.

“It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Spock’s mind cocooned him in warmth, and soft sensations began to tease and tingle his thoughts. He could feel Spock was immensely pleased with his response to their shared bond.

Kirk knew Vulcans had deep emotions, and sometimes he got peeks here and there with Spock out in the physical world, but now he could outright feel them as if they were his very own.

His consciousness squirmed in delight as powerful emotions began to wrap up around him, almost like his massage technique. Spock somehow began to stroke the length of his entire soul, worshiping him with praise. The sensations were amazing and quickly began to turn from a loving warmth to a barely contained heat. Concentrating near the very center of him the heat slowly worked its way up along his entire being and he began shivering intensely in pleasure. What was happening? It was like he was being touched in an area that Kirk didn’t know existed. It seemed to be the most sensitive area on his person. He gasped in somewhat disbelief and delight.

As the delicious motions continued, Spock began showing him a series of images that flashed before his eyes like a synopsis of a movie.

It was him. Him on the bridge, him on landing parties, him playing chess. The images were tinged in adoration and the memories were treated with care. He was everything to Spock. He knew this now.

Kirk’s mind, in turn, began to soak everything in. He wanted more, as the hot sensations became more rapid, growing faster in their administrations. Spock also began to attack every nerve ending that was already shivering in passion and Kirk heard himself physically gasp in the real world from the added sensations.

He reached out with his own mind trying to show Spock, exactly how much of his devotion was returned. It was a bit harder for Kirk to concentrate but he brought up images of Spock looking through the viewfinder, Spock correcting his information with the lift of a brow, Spock as his eyes lit up at new discoveries.

They loved each other. God they loved each other. And that information was echoing back and forth between them.

Kirk incoherently thinks he could do this forever.

The brightly golden strands of their minds whipped out and entwined, pulling them together like a stitch, becoming one with an ease that was like breathing. The “river” glimmering with the essence of both of them, flared and began to rise, engulfing everything around them. They journeyed through memories together, exchanging the things they loved best about each other, and soon Kirk wasn't sure where he ended and Spock began. They where one entity. The same soul. The images shared began to become muddled and Kirk’s spirit began to burn with a desire like nothing he had ever experienced before. His mind burst with light and Spock somehow held him there, on the threshold between euphoria and awaiting blackness that was ready to catch him when he fell.

Spock unforgivably stroked and stirred every fiber of his being until Kirk became so desperate for some sort of release his very soul began to cry out between them. Their minds erupted together in pleasure like a supernova made up of a thousand shades of gold and silver.

“Sp-ock” Kirk's mind choked in a quivering squeak. It was all he could think of in the all-consuming wave of white-hot pleasure. The euphoric feeling continued to break over them unrelentingly, and with the tide, went Kirks consciousness.

Kirk’s eyes eventually drifted open to the physical world. His entire body felt like melted butter. If he died right now, he would have died the happiest he has ever been.

His eyes sought Spocks and he met a gaze that was uncertain and bashful. It made Kirk want to kiss him, but instead, he gave the hand in his a squeeze.

“Jim are you well?” Spock whispered, slight concern in his voice.

Kirk nodded in response, unable to communicate through words. He had no idea how amazing it felt to have someone else complete him that way. It was like repairing something you didn’t even know was broken.

His mind felt raw but in a good way, almost fresher somehow. Like a newborn calf seeing the world for the first time. He could feel Spock with him, in the forefront of his mind, giving him space but never going too far.

They just stared at each other for a moment. He didn’t know what had happened but it had left him feeling amazing. He wanted to do it again.

“That was intense, what...what was- ” he began, but the right words seemed to elude him. His voice seemed loud and ugly in comparison to what they had just shared.

His mind couldn’t stop reeling.

“How long have we…” he panted, he felt out of breath “How long have we had this bond?”

He wanted to shut up. He wanted to stop talking and just enjoy lying next to Spock. But the sudden desperate need to know overtook him. Whatever they had shared was beyond anything he had imagined. He wanted to know everything about it.

Spock blinked up at him, his hooded eyes seemed more relaxed than Kirk had ever seen him. In fact, he could swear Spock was practically smiling at him. “I noticed something had bloomed when I first melded with you. It was a strange sensation. When I broke from our first meld it was as if you had left a seed to grow. From there, slowly over time, it strengthened until it began to cry out for more. It wanted to be with you...I wanted to be with you. When my engagement was broken off with T’pring, your bond seemed to take president in my mind, and I knew there would be no other.”

Kirk smiled like an idiot. To have actually witnessed proof of their bond, he knew they would be together forever.

“Will it be like that every time? I don’t remember our previous melds being anything close to that.” Kirk’s heart was slowing down but he could still feel the blood hum through his veins. His body was entirely contented.

“Melds of that nature are performed exclusively between Bondmates,” Spock said quietly as his eyes closed.

Kirk actually felt the exhaustion fall over him from Spock’s side of the bond. He hugged Spock to his chest and buried his face in his hair, inhaling his of tea and incense.

He kissed Spock on the top of his head as he dozed off.

This bond between them was extraordinary.

The universe was full of things that he would never understand. Magnificent discoveries he would never get to see.

He used to feel lament at those type of thoughts, but now he was glad.

He was glad that he was born to live in this moment right here. Right now. Laying next to his soulmate.

He was glad humankind had reached for the stars so that they would eventually find each other.

But most of all he was glad he got to continue exploring the universe with Spock by his side.

It was truly the most extraordinary thing of all.