“We cannae beam you up at this moment, Commander.”

Spock closed his eyes briefly, then opened them and tried to focus. “The captain is severely injured, Mr. Scott. Without emergency treatment, he will likely not survive.”


The hoarse, pained whisper had him flinching, but he did not look in the captain’s direction.

“Mr. Spock, if I even attempted it, your particles would break up in space. We’re working on it as fast as we can,” Scott replied, sounding as though he might cry.

“Understood. Contact me as soon as you have news. Spock out.”

He closed his communicator and glanced toward Jim, who lay bleeding against the wall of the cave Spock had carried his injured body to earlier. Outside, snow fell on this particular nightmare of a planet. He’d bundled the captain up as best he could, but he could see Jim shaking and his teeth chattering.

“Spock, just take these blankets and wrap yourself up in them so when you’re rescued, you’ll be okay,” Jim said, his voice a weak whisper.

“You need them, Captain. You are freezing.”

“I’m gonna die, Spock.”

“No.” He spoke too sharply. He knew that. When they were back on the Enterprise and Jim was all right, then he could reprimand Spock. “You will not die.”

“You heard Scotty. He can’t get me on the ship.”

“They will get you on the ship and Dr. McCoy will give you the necessary treatment and you will be all right,” Spock insisted.

Spock knelt down next to Jim, who visibly shivered. His eyes were dim and pain-filled.

“Spock, please, just take the blankets and stuff and stay warm.”


“That’s an order.”

“Court-martial me when we return to the Enterprise.”

Jim closed his eyes.


He shook his head slightly. “I’m here. I haven’t left yet.”

“And you will not.” Spock reached for Jim’s hand, it was so cold, it was like he was holding a hand made from ice. Spock began to feel despondent. This could not be how it ended. No. “I will add my body heat to yours.”

Jim just looked at him now and didn’t even protest which worried him even more. He placed himself next to Jim on the cave floor, gathered him close and then wrapped the emergency blankets around the two of them.

“I think I should tell you something,” Spock said then.

Jim did not respond, he just sagged against Spock. Breathing, though barely. Spock was beginning to panic.

“I intended to discuss this with you at a more convenient time, but—”

“There may not be any more time,” Jim rasped out.

Spock would not say that. Could not. And he refused to even think that. “I have felt this way for many months. Perhaps longer. When we first began our romantic relationship, I should have told you then, but I held back for fear…it does not matter. I love you, Jim. And I want you as my bondmate.”

Jim looked at his through pain-filled eyes. “Bondmate?”

“Yes. In fact, I would bond with you right now.”


Spock knew he was taking a big risk, but he was desperate. He could not, would not lose Jim.

He put his hand on Jim’s cold face. So cold. Too cold. He spread his fingers out.

“My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts. Parted and never parted. Together and always.”

He was in Jim’s mind. Even as he entered, he felt the dimness, the weakening. Jim was fading. Everything that was Jim was dying. Going. Spock was nearly too late.

Jim. Come to me.


T’hy’la, come.

Again nothing. Jim’s consciousness faded more. Spock focused.

James. Reach for my hand.

In Spock’s mind he created an image of himself and an image of Jim. They both wore their uniforms, though Jim’s shirt was ripped and torn, covered in way too much blood. He held his hand out toward Jim.

Jim’s gaze flicked to Spock’s face and then down to his hand.

Yes, ashayam. Take it. Bond with me.

Jim took a step forward, then looked down at the blood on his shirt then back up at Spock. He extended his hand again toward Jim.

Choose me.

Jim stumbled forward, his hand reaching out and Spock took a step closer to him, seizing hold of his hand, closing his fingers into Jim’s, and tugging him close. In his mind, Spock put his hand on Jim’s face, as he was doing in the cave.

“We are one, always. This is the Vulcan heart, this is the Vulcan soul.”

Jim’s eyes widened slightly.

“Heal, my Jim.”

Jim sagged against him and collapsed in Spock’s arms.


“How did you get him into the healing trance?” McCoy asked Spock much later as Jim lay on the biobed in the medbay. Jim was still much paler than Spock would have liked, but the doctor assured Spock Jim would be all right.

Spock hesitated. “It is something that Vulcans and their mates can do.”

McCoy looked at Spock. Frowned. “Mates? What sort of mates?”


“What? When? Spock—”

“Hey, no yelling.”

Spock immediately turned to Jim, whose eyes were open staring openly at him and the doctor. “Jim!”

McCoy immediately began to scan their captain.

Jim looked past the doctor to Spock. He smiled. “Hey you.”

Spock could not speak, he just looked into Jim’s beautiful blue eyes, full of life.

McCoy frowned. “How do you feel?”

“Good. Thanks to you, Bones. And to Spock.”

“Yeah, listen, Spock said something about mates and I—

“Yeah.” Jim smiled. “Spock’s my husband now. You’d better be nice.” Then he laughed softly.

McCoy rolled his eyes. “I’ll be right back. Married, God help me.”

Spock scooted closer and grabbed Jim’s hand. His warm hand. So warm. “Ashayam.”

“Spock, I love you. And I’m pretty sure you knew that long before I told you, but are you sure about this?”


“Yeah? Because, aren’t you stuck with me now?” He smiled, but it was a little hesitant.


“You’re not?”

Spock squeezed his hand. “I am afraid you are stuck with me.”