Continuing with my “theme” of earlier.

I’m on the fence about these ones.

Truth or Consequences (check it out below)

Published at: 2017-03-03
Revised at: 2017-04-05 13:49:40 -0400

Chapter 1: A Moonlit Stroll

“So I guess this is supposed to simulate moonlight,” Jim commented as he and Spock walked along a path on Yorktown.

“For what purpose?” Spock inquired, hands linked behind his back.

“To appear romantic I guess.” He shot a quick glance at Spock. “Not that we’re trying to be romantic or anything.”

Spock appeared to dismiss that bit of silliness without further thought. “As this is a space station, there would be no moonlight, so to produce artificial moonlight for aesthetic purposes is highly illogical.”

“Okay, Spock.”

“Furthermore I have never quite understood Terran fascination for moonlight. It is merely the reflection of light from the sun and there are no magical properties.”

Jim nodded wearily. “Okay, Spock.”

“Are you all right, Captain? You seem particularly out of sorts.”

“Just tired I guess. You can go back to doing whatever it was you were doing. Mission reports. Or-or, you know, socializing with Uhura.”

“Since you have just barely recovered from your recent engagement with Krall, I suspect you would benefit from additional respite.”

Jim sighed and stopped to lean against a pillar, gazing up at the artificial moonlight. “It’s just the last few hours of my birthday, I wanted a little walk. But I guess you’re right. Walking on Yorktown isn’t quite what it would be on Earth or some other similar planet.”

“What has happened to the doctor?”

And Jim tried not to think that Spock was attempting to push his pathetic captain off on Bones, but really, it did seem like that.

“Called away on a medical emergency. Really, Spock. It’s fine. You can go.”

Spock took half a step closer. “Does it hurt?”

Jim knew by the slight shift of Spock’s shoulders toward his eye that he meant his black eye. “Just a little. I’ve had worse. How about you? How do you feel?”

“I am fully recovered.”

“I doubt that.”

“I assure you, Captain, I am functioning at optimal levels.”

He smiled a little. “That’s good to know.” He paused. “I think…I’m procrastinating, of course.”

“Procrastinating?”

“I need to call my mother. Today isn’t only my birthday.”

“I understand,” Spock said with a sharp nod. “Unfortunately, it is not something I can assist you with, Captain.”

“Yeah, I know.” He moistened his lips. “She cries. Even after all this time.”

Spock said nothing to that, he just looked vaguely uncomfortable. And who could blame him? So was Jim.

“I will leave you to it.”

Jim nodded and watched as Spock, shoulders stiff, began to walk away, away from the fake moonlit path. “Spock?”

He stopped. Turned. “Yes, Captain?”

“We’re-we’re friends, right?”

“Indeed.”

“Because lately, I don’t know, we seem to have drifted away from that a little.”

“Perhaps,” Spock acknowledged. “I apologize for my part in distancing us.”

“No, it’s all right.” He straightened from the pillar. “Just…I really don’t want to be alone right now, so, do you think, even though it’s fake and all, you might just walk a little further with me?”

For a moment, Jim was sure Spock would refuse his pathetic, whiny request. But then he returned to Jim’s side.

Spock gestured to the path. “Shall we?”

Jim smiled and fell into place next to his first officer.

****

“Spock, have you seen Jim?” Dr. McCoy approached as Spock headed into a lift to go back toward where the captain’s party had been held.

“Yes, doctor, he just went to contact his mother,” Spock said.

McCoy frowned. “Oh. Well. I guess he’s going to want to be alone for that.” He stepped into the lift with Spock.

“The captain said you had a medical emergency?”

McCoy gave a dismissive snort. “Nah, it was nothing. Minor thing. Where you off to now? Back to the party? I think it’s still going on. Uhura’s there.”

Spock nodded. “Most likely that is where I will go.”

The lift opened and they got off.

“So, you two are back together then?”

“I am not quite certain,” Spock said honestly. “We have not had any meaningful discussion.”

“And what about New Vulcan? Changed your mind?”

“I have decided to stay with Starfleet.”

The doctor nodded. “Ever mention it to Jim?”

“I have not. Considering I have decided not to leave after all a discussion of that nature seemed moot.”

He smirked. “You were chicken.”

Spock raised a brow. “Doctor?”

“You were afraid of how he would react so you decided to avoid telling him.”

“I am hardly afraid of the captain.”

McCoy rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean. Anyway, I guess I’ll go back to the party too. Think Jim’ll be back?”

Spock considered their captain’s mood and shook his head. “Doubtful.”

“That’s too bad.” They turned toward the entrance of the party and entered the room.

****

Jim disconnected from his mother and held his head in his hands. No worse than usual, he guessed. Except that she had heard about his battle with Krall and spent a good deal of their time lecturing him on continuously endangering his life. Like he’d had a choice anyway.

He lowered his hands and glanced around his temporary quarters. They were pretty nice, really. Nicer than what he’d had on the Enterprise. They reminded him of a room he’d had on Risa a year or so ago when he’d been on shore leave. Except in that room there was a giant hot tub Jim had enjoyed very much with two Risian females and one Risian male. Was it a year ago or more? He couldn’t quite recall.

Jim stood up and his stomach roiled. “Fuck,” he groaned out loud. The room swam before his eyes. He’d obviously had more to drink than he realized. Usually it didn’t affect him this way. He took a couple of deep breaths, willing the weird pain in his stomach to go away and also the dizziness.

He took a step forward and landed on his knees. Sharply. Alcohol rose up, burning his esophagus. In the distance he heard the door to his room open.

“Bones?”

As far as he knew Bones was the only one who had access to his room here on Yorktown. And his best friend always had a sort of sixth sense when something was wrong with him.

“In here. I don’t feel so good.”

Someone appeared directly in front of him but with long, shapely feminine legs. Jim leaned back to look up at her but she was a blur. Her uniform was red.

“Who are you?” he managed to gasp out, around the burn in his throat. He was feeling worse and he was pretty sure he was about to vomit. ‘

She said something but it sounded all distorted and worbally.

“Help-help me.”

****

When next Jim woke, Yorktown’s day appeared to have started judging by the artificial light beaming into his room. He was in his bed, which was really odd, since he couldn’t recall how he got there. He stared up at the ceiling. His stomach no longer hurt but he still felt a little off.

He sat up, noticing for the first time he was not alone in the bed. A woman lay next to him, her blonde hair spread out all over the pillow like a fan. The sheet was pulled up to her bare shoulder. There was something familiar about her too.

What the fuck? He didn’t remember bringing anyone back to his room. But he also realized he had no clothes on, not even his boxer briefs, which he usually slept in. Jim had never blacked out after alcohol in his life.

“Um, Good morning?”

He put his hand on her shoulder and frowned when she felt ice cold. He shook her a little but nothing. No reaction. And his stomach suddenly felt sick again, this time with dread.

He lowered the sheet as he attempted to turn her over and that’s when he saw the dagger sticking through her chest, her green eyes staring straight ahead. Blood pooled under her where she’d lay.

“Christ!” Jim scrambled out of bed.

He did recognize her, too. Ensign Rogers from the enterprise. He thought her first name was Anel.

The door to his room chimed.

Before he had time to react, it chimed again and then again in quick succession. He heard voices outside the door and then it burst open. Jim grabbed a pillow to hold over his crotch.

Four Yorktown security guards burst inside, followed by the manager of the temporary quarters.

They all stared at Ensign Rogers lying dead in the bed.

“Captain Kirk?” one of them demanded.

“Yeah.”

“You’re going to have to come with us, sir.”

“Uh.”

“Get dressed, Captain. Now.”

Chapter 2: Familiarity

“Look, can I get dressed in the bathroom?” Jim asked as he continued to clutch the pillow in front of him. Normally he wasn’t particularly shy about his naked body, but under the circumstances—

One of the guards walked over to the bathroom and stepped inside, presumably to search it. For what? Weapons? A secret escape route? Jim was not stupid. He knew how this looked and he knew why they were staring at him with baleful glares.

“Looks like it’s clear,” the guard announced coming back out.

Jim nodded and did a quick search for his clothes. He saw the clothes the shirt he’d worn to the party but it was ripped to shreds.

A guard nearby took it from him. “Evidence. The pants too. Find something new to wear…sir.”

The derision in his tone was clear enough. Jim managed to slink over to the closet without exposing too much of himself.

“What-what brought you here anyway?”

“We got word of a disturbance in this room. A woman screaming during the night.” A guard turned to the manager. “When the crime scene people get in, let them in straight away.”

Jim chose his clothes and then scooped up his communicator.

“You can leave that here,” the guard who searched the bathroom stated flatly.

“I’m allowed to call someone, right? I’m going to notify my first officer.”

“No funny business, Captain.”

“I’m clearly unarmed,” Jim said with extreme patience. He was on the verge of a panic attack but he was holding it together. So far.

He went into the bathroom and left the door ajar, figuring it was the best thing to do with these guys. He’d chosen to wear his uniform and he dressed in it quickly.

Then he flipped open his communicator.

“Kirk to Spock.”

He loved how reliable Spock was.

“Spock here.”

“Spock, I’m in trouble.”

A slight pause.

“Jim?”

“There are guards here in my quarters and they’re-I think they’re arresting me. Ensign Rogers is dead. Found dead in my room.” Jim glanced at the door. “Stabbed.”

“Say nothing until I am there, Captain.”

“Spock—”

“Nothing. I am on my way. I will meet you there.”

****

“I suppose they’ve read you your rights.”

Jim stiffened at the familiar voice. His whole body suddenly chilled and he had to fight the urge to shake. He turned from the window he had been gazing out in the locked room they’d left him in at Yorktown HQ. Just before he’d been placed in there, he spotted Commodore Paris. Her look had been sympathetic.

He made himself speak calmly. “Gary.”

Gary Mitchell, rank of Commander, smiled at Jim, but it was not a pleasant smile even on his handsome face. “Hello, Jim. Long time no see.”

Well, that was certainly true. He had been spared Gary since his academy days.

“What are you doing here?”

“Oh, I’m in charge of the investigation into the murder of Ensign Rogers.”

“You’re stationed on Yorktown?”

“A recent event, but yes.” Gary crossed his arms and leaned against the nearest wall. “I have to say, Jim, I never expected you to be so sloppy. The evidence against you is overwhelming.”

“I didn’t kill her.”

“Oh, is that what you’re going with? I half expected you to go with you murdered her during a psychotic fugue.”

“Commander Mitchell.” Spock appeared in the doorway right behind Gary.

He turned with a thin smile. “I would have expected you to contact your lapdog.”

“Captain Kirk has been released into my custody,” Spock said coolly.

Gary straightened from the wall, his face turning red with anger. “Who the hell authorized that? I’m in charge of this investigation.”

“Commodore Paris, actually.”

Gary glanced toward Jim. “Your heroism in saving Yorktown won’t help you to get away with the rape and murder of an innocent young woman, Kirk.”

Jim barely refrained from blanching at the accusation of rape.

“Come, Captain,” Spock said.

“I still need to question him,” Gary said quickly.

“Which you will do when his attorney arrives,” Spock replied.

“You’ve already gotten him an attorney? Oh, you are good, Mister Spock.” Gary watched Jim walk past him to join Spock. “Who is his attorney?”

“Sarek.”

“Your father? The ambassador?” Gary asked incredulously. “He hasn’t practiced Federation law in decades.”

“Nevertheless he has kept his knowledge current.” Spock grabbed Jim’s arm and Jim was aware he was moving in a bit of a fog.  

Spock led him to the nearest lift and when Jim opened his mouth to speak, Spock shook his head. They reached the bottom floor and Spock, his hand still on Jim’s arm, led him out of the building and to the nearest transport.

Jim didn’t even try to speak on the way to the building that housed temporarily held the Enterprise. Once they got off the transport, Spock bypassed Jim’s room and took him instead to his own quarters.

Without a word, Jim went into the bathroom and threw up. When he had nothing left to get rid of, he sat on the floor of the bathroom, leaning against the shower.

When Spock appeared, Jim looked up at him. “I didn’t kill Anel Rogers.”

“Of course you did not.” Spock leaned down and handed Jim a cup of green tea. “Please drink.”

He took it automatically, and rather clung to it. “You believe me?”

Spock’s lips quirked slightly. “I did not need your denial to know you did not kill her. I am well aware you are not capable of such a thing.”

His throat closed up and he closed his eyes. “Thank you.” That Spock believed him. That he knew Jim was innocent—

“Your thanks are not necessary,” Spock said quietly. “I would like to coax you from the floor of the bathroom if I may.”

Jim nodded and handed him the tea and then allowed Spock to reach down to help him to stand. Without even thinking about it, he found himself leaning against Spock. And Spock did not move away.

“You will get through this, Captain.”

Jim shook his head. “You’re acting captain now, Spock. I’m definitely emotionally compromised.” He paused and desperately blinked any moisture away. “Not to mention, when they officially charge me…” 

He nearly lost it altogether when Spock’s arm came up around his back to hold him in place.    

“I don’t know where to go from here, Spock,” Jim admitted, selfishly leaning more into Spock’s embrace.

“When you are ready, you can tell me what you recall about last night.”

“Yeah. I guess that would be the next logical step.” He mumbled against Spock’s neck. “Is your dad really coming?”

“Indeed. He has already left New Vulcan.”

“Gary Fucking Mitchell. This is a nightmare.”

And when Spock’s hold on him tightened, Jim couldn’t stop a tear from leaking out of his eye. God, he really hadn’t known how badly he meant that he didn’t know what he would do without Spock.  

Chapter 3: Desperation

Jim was sure his Starfleet career was over. Hell, probably his entire life. Or his actual life. Perhaps he would be convicted and executed. Not that the Federation conducted executions, but he suspected anything was possible with Gary Mitchell in charge of the case against him.

He was seated across from Spock on a sofa in Spock’s temporary quarters. His hands were wrapped around the teacup Spock had given him, but he had yet to take a single sip. He wasn’t sure he could keep anything down.

“Did you go to a drinking establishment after we parted ways?” Spock asked.

“No. I just had the drinks at the birthday party.” Birthday. If Jim had hated that day before, he doubly hated it now. “When I got back here, I had a glass of water as I spoke with my mother.”

“There was no water glass in your quarters.”

“I’m not lying about that,” Jim said defensively.

Spock’s expression remained blank. “I am aware. I suspect those who have set you up had the water glass removed.”

Jim bit his lip and looked away. “Sorry,” he muttered.

“You owe no apology. It is likely the water was drugged. Tests upon your person will need to be done, however, with your recent expelling of the contents of your stomach, whatever illicit means they used may already be undetectable. And there is also the chance they used some method difficult to detect in the first place.”

“They’ve gone to a lot of trouble, haven’t they?”

Spock hesitated a brief second. “Yes.”

Jim buried his face in his hands. “I’m really screwed.”

“The situation is dire, however, you are not, in fact, screwed. You will be found innocent and your command will be restored.”

Jim pulled his face out of his hands and blew out a breath. “I contacted my mom, we spoke for maybe, twenty minutes or so, and then I went to stand up. My stomach felt queasy and I was dizzy as hell. I sort of recall thinking that I didn’t think I’d had that much to drink and then it started to hurt. Pretty bad. I kind of fell down and was on my knees. And I remember hearing someone accessing the door of my quarters. I thought maybe it was Bones come to check on me.”

“But it was not.”

“Yeah, it was…a woman. She wore a red Starfleet uniform dress.”

“Was it Ensign Rogers?”

“I don’t know,” Jim admitted. “I don’t think so, but I can’t say for sure.”

“What makes you think it was not her?”

“She had long legs like she was pretty tall. Anel Rogers was on the petite side. And Rogers had long blonde hair. This one, I think her hair was cut to lay just under her chin.” Jim shook his head. “But her features were blurry. I can’t be sure if I’d ever seen her before.”

“That is definitely important information. What else?”

“Not much,” Jim said. “I think I blacked out at that point and when I woke up I was in bed, naked, next to Rogers.”

“And she was deceased?”

“Yeah.” Jim swallowed. “Blood everywhere. Seemed like she’d been dead for a while because it was pooling under her and coagulating, drying even around the edges.”

Spock nodded.

“I barely had time to react because then they were coming in.”

“And they claimed they had reports of a woman screaming during the night?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Yet they did not appear at the alleged time of her screams but waited until morning. “

Jim frowned. “Is that significant?”

“It might be.” Spock reached over and took the teacup out of Jim’s hands and set it on the table next to the couch. “And there is nothing else?”

“No.”

“Do you recall when you last saw Ensign Rogers?”

“Honestly, no. She wasn’t at the party that I recall. I think I noticed her when we were doing the beam ups from Altamid, but only briefly.”

“Has there ever been a time when you engaged in sexual relations with her?” Spock asked quietly.

“No, never.”

“Very well. I think right now you should try to get some sleep until my father arrives. I am in contact with Doctor McCoy and he will likely arrive to do testing.”

Jim stood up and then and walked over to the window that looked out over one of the subway transports on Yorktown. “Sleep? I don’t know that I can.”

“The sleep you had was likely drug induced and therefore would not truly be restful. You are going to need your strength, Captain.”

It was funny how perfect timing can be. Spock’s PADD, which he had left on the dining room table, pinged. Jim didn’t even know where his was. Probably the guards who had taken him away had confiscated it.

Spock went over to his PADD and read the message. He frowned, which Jim knew wasn’t good.

“Bad news, huh?”

Spock set the PADD down. “You have been relieved of command of the Enterprise pending the outcome.”

Jim’s lips twisted into a grimace. “That’s not too surprising. But there’s more, isn’t there?”

Spock looked reluctant to respond but after a moment, he nodded. “I have been told to report as Captain of the Enterprise and to distance myself from the investigation.”

Jim looked away. “I see.”

“I am refusing, Captain.”

“Jim,” he said softly. “And you should do what they say, Spock. This is your career on the line.”

“There are some things that are worth more than careers.” Spock stepped over to the window where Jim stood. “I cannot distance myself from this.”

“Spock, they can make you.”

“Then I will resign.”

So this situation was not only going to ruin Jim but Spock as well. Not to mention whoever was out to get him had taken the life of an innocent woman. Someone hated him badly. He’d made enemies. He understood that.

“I-I have contacts that could make me disappear.”

Spock’s eyes widened. “Jim—”

He held up his hand. “I’d go away from Yorktown and never be heard from again. They’d absorb me into their organization. And no one would be able to find me.”

“How is it you know such people?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I do not want to lose you in this manner.”

“I can’t…if this all plays out like I think it will, I’ll be going to prison for whatever is left of my life. It won’t be pleasant. Someone like me, probably with what fame I have, I’d likely be facing solitary confinement.” He resisted a shudder. “At best. Ceasing to be James Kirk and disappearing into the network is preferable to that.”

Spock moved fractionally closer. “Please allow me the opportunity to clear your name and have you reinstated to your rightful command before you consider such a means of escape.”

“Spock, I—”

“Please. I do not ask lightly.”

Jim closed his eyes briefly and when he opened his eyes his breath caught at the intensity of Spock’s gaze. “Okay.”

And he wasn’t even sure what made him do what he did next. Maybe it was the way Spock was looking at him, maybe it was just the utter desperation and desolation he felt, and the thought that either scenario he’d thought of, he would never see Spock again. But he stepped very close to Spock, fisted Spock’s dress uniform and sealed his lips over the clearly startled Vulcan.  

The Life You’re Given (see below) I was ELEVEN Chapters into this one! OMG

Published at: 2016-04-08
Revised at: 2016-09-07 08:00:00 -0400

Chapter 1: The Morning After

Jim covered his eyes with his arm across them, his chest still heaving from the effort to breathe. He was slick with sweat and needed a shower badly. Preferably a cool one for his skin felt prickly and overheated.

Next to him, Spock sat up, stiff and rigid like stone. “That cannot happen again.”

“No shit,” Jim muttered.

And then the Vulcan was gone.

Jim blew out a breath and struggled to sit up in the bed. He wiped his hand over his face. He couldn’t believe what had happened. It was nuts. Clearly Spock thought so. And so did Jim. He did.

The mission the day before had been difficult. They’d lost a lot of the landing party. Jim had put himself in front of Spock to prevent his first officer from being one of those they’d lost. He’d gotten a minor wound in his side, but it wouldn’t have been mild had it hit Spock.

But Spock had been furious. After Jim had been released from the medbay, Spock showed up at his quarters looking as murderous as the day he had tried to choke Jim to death.  Before Spock could say a word, or worse, choke Jim again, Jim had kissed him.  And kissed him. Spock’s hands had gone around Jim’s throat and he was sure he’d finally pushed Spock too far. But instead, Spock had turned almost feral and fucked Jim to within an inch of his life.

Jim rose from the bed and went to his bathroom, getting in the shower after relieving himself.  After, he pulled on his uniform.

His door chimed.

“Come.”

Bones walked in, eyed him. “I told you you’re off twenty-four hours. Sit.”

Jim sat and Bones scanned him with his tricorder. “Can I do reports?”

“Maybe.” Bones stared at his neck. “I don’t remember those bruises from yesterday.”

“Yeah.” Jim’s gaze slid away from Bones’.

“Yeah? What’s that mean? Where’d you get those?”

Jim sighed. “Spock.”

“Spock? He did those?” Bones frowned. “Why? You saved his life.”

“I don’t think he was very happy about that.”

“Jim—”

“Bones, we-we had…you know.” Jim licked his lips.

“He forced himself on you?”

“No! If anything I forced myself on him.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m talking about. We-we spent the night together.”

“Jesus, Jim. Spock is-he just broke up with-with—”

I know. I know that, Bones.  I didn’t set out to seduce Spock.”

“You seduced him?”

Yes.”

Bones shook his head. “Jim, you can’t just walk all over people just because you want to have sex.”

“That’s-that’s not what this was about.”

“No?”

“Not everything, anyway. I’ve-I’ve had these unresolved feelings for Spock and yesterday…I just lost my mind.”

“And now?”

“It’s over. We’ve both agreed it won’t happen again. As far as I’m concerned, no one has to know, and we’re done. We won’t talk about it again.”

Bones raised his eyebrows. “Just like that?”

“Just like that. I don’t know what else to do, Bones.”

“You’re just going to shut down your feelings.”

Jim rose and walked over to the replicators to get himself coffee. “What else can I do? I fucked up. I’ve been hiding this forever. I can go back to that. I can shut them down again. I’ve spent my life shutting down how I feel. This doesn’t have to be any different.”

“That’s not healthy.”

“I never said I was healthy, Bones.”

“I don’t approve of this, Jim,” Bones said. “You can’t just pretend you and Spock didn’t sleep together.”

“Watch me.” Jim crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Can I do reports?”

A muscle in Bones’ jaw jumped. “Yeah. But this isn’t over, Jim. Not by a long shot.”

“It’s over,” Jim insisted. “Don’t you have patients to see?”

Bones glared at him, but agreed he did, and left.

For several minutes, Jim stood in the middle of his quarters wondering how he was going to pretend he didn’t know exactly how Spock tasted. He was good at pretending though. This would be no different.

Chapter 2: Loneliness

Jim didn’t know what possessed him to decide to eat his breakfast in the mess. Some weird desire to not be alone. It was a mistake though.

Normally he ate with Spock, and Spock was there, but that was not an option. Might not ever be an option again if Jim couldn’t get it together. He scanned the mess for someplace to sit. Spock was seated with two members of his science department and Sulu. He didn’t look particularly comfortable and he was steadfastly avoiding looking in Jim’s direction.

Uhura was sitting with Chapel and they sort of looked at him and even kind of smiled, but the breakup with Spock was likely still raw and considering his activities the night before he didn’t think it was a good idea.

There was a table in the corner where no one sat and Jim headed there, in spite of his idea he’d come there for company. He sat by himself with his back to the wall and tried not to look in anyone’s direction. He concentrated on his oatmeal, which wasn’t easy. It was bland and boring and he felt like an animal in a zoological cage even though he had no real idea if anyone was looking at him.

Someone slipped into the chair across from him and he looked up to meet the gaze of Uhura. “Oh. Hey.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Fine. Bones is a miracle worker. I’m healing well. Physically anyway.”

“You did all you could down there. No one blames you.”

“I do. I blame me.”

Uhura shook her head. “You’re fond of saying everyone knows what they’re getting into when they sign up. Are you all right?”

“You asked me that.”

“You’re sitting by yourself,” Uhura said softly. “It’s been my experience after something like what happened yesterday you surround yourself with as many people as possible to avoid being inside your own head.”

Jim smiled, looked down at his oatmeal. “I’m pretty transparent.”

“To those who know you. Who care about you.”

“How are you?”

“Deflection.” She shook her head.

“It’s been only a couple days. He could have been killed yesterday. I know you have to be hurting,” Jim said gently.

“Some, yeah,” Uhura admitted. “But I…we’d…been drifting for a while.”

Jim nodded. “Still, I’m sorry. Relationships are tough in any situation. On a ship where you have to work together? Worse still. Maybe impossible.”

“Well, you’re hardly an optimist when it comes to relationships,” Uhura said with a shake of her head. “Anyway, it’s time for my shift. Leonard have you off?”

“Yeah another day.”

She nodded and got up, squeezing his shoulder. “Take care of yourself, Captain.”

Jim watched her leave and noticed the table Spock had been at was empty now. He pushed away his half-eaten oatmeal. Got up himself and returned to his quarters.

****

“Checkmate,” the computer declared.

“Fuck you.”

“Clarify.”

“Fuck. You.”

“I do not understand.”

Jim slapped the off button. Bit his lip. Hit his intercom. “Bones?”

“Yeah, Jim?”

“You busy?”

“Afraid so. Accident in engineering.”

“Why didn’t I hear about it?”

“Nothing serious. Spock took the information. But I’m patching up some crew. Might have some time later. I’ll let you know.”

“It’s all right,” Jim said. “Kirk out.”

He must really be pathetic if he was thinking about calling his mom, but ten minutes later that’s just what he did. When her tired, haggard face appeared from her quarters on the Reliant appeared, Jim regretted disturbing her.

“Sorry, were you trying to sleep?”

“Yeah, but it’s okay. You never call.” She smiled. “It’s so good to see you.”

And now he felt guilty. “Uh. Sorry. Yeah.”

“You look good though. Very handsome.” She paused, narrowed her eyes. “You’ve been hurt.”

Jim grimaced. “There was a mission, but…it’s nothing.”

“Nothing,” she repeated sadly.

He cleared his throat. “So. I know it’s been a while.”

“It has. Have you talked to your brother lately?”

“No. I mean months ago.” Jim shrugged. “He seemed okay.”

“I talked to him a week or so ago. I don’t know. Something didn’t seem right. I couldn’t put my finger on it.” She sighed. “Maybe it’s nothing.”

“Probably is. What could happen on Deneva?”

“True. Peter just turned thirteen, you know.”

Jim thought of himself at thirteen and on the planet, Tarsus IV. “Did he?”

“You haven’t seen him since he was small, have you?”

Jim couldn’t meet her gaze. “No.”

She sighed. “Jimmy.”

“Sam and them don’t really want to hear from me anyway.”

“If you made an effort—”

“Yeah,” he said softly. “I know. Listen, Mom, you need sleep, so I’ll let you go.”

“All right. Talk soon?” she asked hopefully.

“Sure, yeah. Soon.”

Jim disconnected and looked toward his bed thinking to take a nap. But he suddenly got an image of Spock pressing into him, thrusting deep. Jim closed his eyes and turned away. 

Chapter 3: Regrets

Spock could not deny he had not dealt with Jim’s reckless behavior on their last mission well. The landing party had beamed down into a disaster almost immediately. Bodies of the crew had gone flying. Ensign Rowe’s arm had flown right past Spock’s field of vision.

It had been Spock’s intention to get Jim beamed back aboard the Enterprise as soon as possible. As he’d moved toward his captain, he’d seen the weapon coming in his own direction and was about to get out of the way when Jim had stepped directly into the path.

Spock could not deny he was not at all pleased. He had an injured captain to deal with now as well as the rest of the mess that was the landing party. Somehow he’d gotten his bleeding captain as well as the remaining crew back to the Enterprise.

When he’d heard Jim make light of his injury to Dr. McCoy, Spock had been livid and went to Jim’s quarters to confront him. Then he’d lost control of the situation when Jim had kissed him. It was the first indication to Spock that Jim felt anything for him other than friendship.

But reality had set in when he’d awakened naked next to his captain. Jim didn’t do relationships, Spock had no intention of being someone’s friend with benefit, and Spock had only recently ended an unsatisfactory romantic entanglement with Nyota. And Jim was his superior officer.

Now as Jim sat in the captain’s chair quite deliberately not looking at Spock, Spock had to admit he might not have handled the situation properly. He could not talk to Nyota given the end of their relationship. Nor could he talk to Dr. McCoy for the doctor would likely react badly to the situation. He favored Jim and did not particularly like Spock. But talking to Jim—

Jim winced and sucked in a breath.

Spock stood immediately and walked over to the captain’s chair.

Jim glanced at him.

“You are in pain.”

“No, I’m…” Jim gasped.

“You returned to duty too soon,” Spock said. “You are going to the medbay.”

“Return to your station, Commander.”

Spock drew himself up. “You would prefer I carry you?”

Jim’s mouth thinned. “Fine.”

He stood up and stumbled. Spock caught his arm before he pitched forward. Chekov and Sulu had both turned to look at their captain.

“Keptin?”

“I’m fine, Chekov,” Jim assured him. He looked to Spock. “Okay, I’ll go.”

Spock nodded. “I will accompany you.”

“That’s really not necessary.” Jim took a step forward, toward the turbolift and grimaced, holding his side.

Spock didn’t bother to argue, instead he grabbed Jim’s arm and practically hauled him into the turbolift.

“I can stand on my own,” Jim insisted.

“It does not seem so. You likely have an infection. You were released from the medbay too soon by Dr. McCoy because he does not know when to tell you no.”

“It wasn’t even a bad wound.”

“Apparently it was worse than you let on,” Spock said, his tone clipped. Spock stopped the turbolift. He ignored Jim’s look of surprise. “If my behavior in any way exacerbated your injury—”

“It didn’t. And anyway, that was me, not you.” Jim restarted the turbolift and a moment later it stopped on the deck with the medbay.

He tried to step out on his own but it was apparent he was in a weakened state, so Spock put his arm around Jim’s waist, ignoring his glare.

“Oh.” Nurse Chapel smiled her greeting at Spock. “What brings you—oh, Captain!”

“The captain is unwell. Where is Dr. McCoy?’

“I’ll get him.” Nurse Chapel hurried away as Spock helped Jim over to a biobed.

“Okay, you brought me. You can go now.”

“Captain—”

“Let’s not. Okay? I’m not in the mood to rehash the past,” Jim told him. “Even the recent past. Unless you intend to file a report.”

Spock’s brows furrowed. “A report? Certainly not.”

Jim nodded. “Okay, then. You have my word it’ll never be repeated. Let’s move on.”

Spock did not know whether to feel relieved or appalled at Jim’s declaration.

“Jim?” McCoy appeared, pushing Spock aside as though he were not even there. “What’s going on?’ He lifted Jim’s shirts to expose his side and Spock barely managed to withhold his own gasp at the ugly redness spreading there. “Son of a bitch. Let’s get you admitted.”

“Admitted?” Jim protested. “Can’t I just go rest in my quarters?”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me? Nurse, sedate the captain.”

“Sedate?”

“Now, now, Captain,” Nurse Chapel said, coming forward with a smile. “It’ll be all right.”

“Listen—” She pushed a hypo into Jim’s neck and he fell flat onto the biobed.

“Will he be all right?” Spock asked McCoy.

McCoy eyed him. “If we can get the infection down, the fever, probably. He’s burning up.”

“Perhaps you released him too soon.”

“Perhaps you should have kept your hands off him.”

Spock stared at the doctor.

“Yeah, I know about that. Saw the bruises. Get out of here, Spock. I don’t need you hovering while I’m trying to treat my patient. I’ll let you know how he is later.”

“Very well,” Spock replied after a short hesitation. He left the medbay and returned to the turbolift. He tensed when he realized it already had a single occupant, Nyota.

She stared straight ahead, not acknowledging him.

“Lieutenant,” Spock said after a moment.

Her gaze flickered to his. “Did you just come from the medbay?”

“Yes.”

She nodded. “I heard the captain wasn’t well. Will he be all right?”

“McCoy is treating him. He has an infection.”

Nyota sighed. “He never takes care of himself.”

“No, he does not,” Spock agreed.

The turbolift opened onto the bridge and Nyota went to her station without further comment. He did not find the awkwardness between them pleasant. And he was also well aware the crew blamed him for their discord. He’d seen many unpleasant looks his way. Another reason relationships between Starfleet officers should be avoided.

Spock stepped down and took the captain’s seat. It smelled of Jim. It always did. Usually Spock found some small comfort in that. But not then. He found no comfort in anything.

Chapter 4: Can’t Stay Away

Jim woke to the sound of medical equipment. Something he had done far too often. He lay flat on his back on a biobed staring at the ceiling.

Fingers touched his face.

“Hey.”

Bones smiled. “Hey, yourself. Glad to see you’re still with us.”

“Was there any doubt?”

“Some. That wound you got became infected. You had a hell of a fever. Hold on.” Bones adjusted his bed so Jim was sitting up. He had his medical tricorder out scanning.

“Fever gone?”

“Yes. Vitals are returning to normal too.”

Jim nodded, licked his lips. “My neck hurts where you stabbed me.”

“It was Chapel who stabbed you,” Bones said with a smirk.

“She’s your proxy.”

Bones reached for something off a tray, then swabbed at Jim’s neck. “Is that better?”

“Yeah. How’s the ship?”

“Fine. The hobgoblin’s not going to let anything happen to it.”

Jim winced.

“You still haven’t talked to him, have you?”

“We talked. I assured him my actions wouldn’t be repeated.”

Bones shook his head. “And that’s that, huh?”

“Of course it is. I can’t risk Spock bailing on me.”

“Bailing?”

“A transfer. He has no real reason to stay here, Bones. He and Uhura broke up; I forced my feelings on him. I’m surprised I haven’t already received his request.”

“I’m not surprised you see it that way even though I don’t agree.”

Jim sort of smiled. “How long have I been here?”

“Three days. I kept you out of it so you could get some much needed rest. Now, I’m releasing you to your quarters but with some conditions.”

“What are they?”

“No duty for twenty-four hours.” Bones held up his hand. “Reports are fine. But no bridge, no engineering, no wandering around the ship looking for trouble to get yourself in to.”

“Anything else?”

“I want you to eat three square meals. And I want no arguments. I’m going to have them programmed into your synthesizer so all you have to do is choose the ones marked ‘doctor’s orders’.”

Bones seemed ridiculously proud of himself for that.

“Why do I get the feeling a hamburger isn’t on the menu?’

“Because you know me well, Jimmy.” Bones squeezed his shoulder and helped him stand. “No uniform either.”

Jim frowned. “Why not?”

“Because that’ll give you ideas you shouldn’t have and will also make the crew think you’re on duty and they’ll bother you.”

“All right.”

“And try to avoid Spock if you can.”

“Why is that?”

“Because heartache causes stress and you don’t need that right now. You’re already eating yourself up with self-recrimination. As I told you before, it’s not healthy.”

“He’s my first officer, Bones. I’m not sure how much I can avoid him.”

“Well, just try. Some. Don’t get to your quarters and comm him to come over and play.”

“I wouldn’t. But yeah, I got it.”

“Good. You need me to have a nurse escort you?”

Jim rolled his eyes. “No, doc.”

“Comm when you reach your quarters then.”

“Worry wart.”

“Sue me.”

Jim smiled. “See you.”

He made a quick exit from the medbay before Bones changed his damn mind. He’d been known to do it just out of spite.

He made it to the turbolift unscathed and then down the corridor to his quarters.

He let Dr. Worry Wart know he made it okay, then after a quick shower, he dressed in loose sweats and a tank top. Then he got himself coffee, surprised Bones allowed it, and then got the meal Bones had prescribed for him marked ‘lunch’. Bones worked fast.

It consisted of about a cup of pasta covered lightly with marinara sauce, steamed vegetables, a banana, and a mini-banana nut muffin. Jim rolled his eyes but he took it to his desk and sat down to eat.

Jim noticed he had a message and then saw it was from his brother, Sam. After about a minute’s hesitation, he pressed the button to receive the video message.

The first thing he noticed was the dark circles under Sam’s eyes. He looked very haggard. And like he might not have showered in a few days too. He looked a lot like their dad had looked, Jim had seen the old picture of George Kirk, but Sam had a pencil thin mustache.

“Hey, little brother. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been in contact. I have no real excuse, I guess. Life gets in the way and you think you’re going to stay in contact and then you never really do.”

Jim grimaced, for he’d done the same thing.

“I know you’re doing well because I always hear about the adventures of Captain Kirk. Even if I didn’t hear it directly, Peter tells me. He keeps track of you, my son.

Anyway, so you’re probably wondering why I’m contacting you now. It’s just…there’s some pretty weird stuff going on right now on Deneva and I’m not sure what to make of it. It started when we got a ship here from Ingraham B. May have been a coincidence I’m really not sure. I don’t know what’s going on, obviously, and you probably are sitting there thinking I’m a lunatic for contacting you with some vague whisperings of weird stuff.

I guess…I don’t know. I’ve talked to Aurelan and I think she thinks I’m crazy. She doesn’t see the signs I’ve seen. Some of those people from Ingraham B? They were insane, Jim. I’ve never seen anything like it. Is it possible they brought some disease with them? I’m worried for Aurelan and Peter. I don’t have any real reason to be, but a feeling. Maybe we can talk about it? I know how busy you must be. I should go. Talk soon? Sam out.”

Jim blew out a breath and watched the transmission a second time as he finished his lunch. He did a little research after the second time and there were no reports of anything concerning either Deneva or Ingraham B. He drummed his fingers on the desk.

His door chimed.

“Computer, identify visitor.”

“Commander Spock.”

His stomach dropped and his heart beat hard in his chest. But he rose from behind his desk and came to the door, manually pressing the release.

Sure enough Spock stood there.

Jim licked his lips. “Come in.”

Spock stepped in and the door shut behind him. “I have learned you were released.”

“Yes.”

“Do you think that was wise?”

“Bones…Bones seemed to think so.” Jim was aware he was staring at Spock like he could eat himself a Spock sandwich, but God, suddenly all his feelings were rushing at him like a powerful storm against the rocks. He took a step closer to Spock. Knew he shouldn’t.

Spock’s eyes suddenly got darker as he lowered his gaze to Jim’s lips.

And maybe that wasn’t supposed to be an invitation. But God, Jim wanted it to be. He lunged at Spock then, kissing him frantically, clutching the collar of his science blue uniform, fusing their lips together like he was a desperate, thirsty man wanting the last drink of water.

He half-expected Spock to fling him aside, demanding Jim stop assaulting him. He braced himself for just that reaction. What he got was Spock growling low and hoisting Jim up off the floor, feet dangling, mouths still slanting over each other as Spock carried him toward the bed.

Chapter 5: The Morning After Redux

Still trying to catch his breath, Spock gasped out, “That should not have happened.”

Jim shifted on the bed next to him, sitting up. “Deja vu.”

“What?’

“We’ve done this before.” Jim started hanging over the bed, reaching for his clothes.

“You misunderstand me.”

Jim straightened, clutched his shirt to him, and turned in the bed to face Spock. “How so?”

“I meant that you were only just released from the medbay. I am quite certain Dr. McCoy would not approve of our activity.”

“He doesn’t get to.”

“Since you are his patient, he would disagree.”

Jim still sat up in the bed, looking ready to bolt at the first chance. “Don’t I look fine?”

“You are sweating.”

“Humans sweat when they exert themselves, Spock. And that? What we just did? That counts.”

“I am aware.” Spock closed his eyes briefly, then opened them. He slipped out of bed and began searching for his own clothes. He was aware Jim watched his every move. “I am not imminently departing.”

“No?” Jim asked cautiously.

“Negative. I thought perhaps it would be preferable to have this conversation fully clothed.”

Jim got out of bed and pulled on his shirt, then reached for his loose fitting sweats. “What conversation would that be? You know if we keep doing this I don’t think it can be called a one-night stand anymore.”

“That is correct.” Spock straightened the blue tunic he had just pulled over his head. “You and I are…complicated.”

“No shit.” Jim crossed his arms over his chest.

“We are the command team. You are human, I am Vulcan.”

“Right, you had that with Uhura too. And you were her superior in that case.”

“That is true.”

“Then what is it, Spock? Something is holding you back. You’re clearly physically attracted to me. I don’t think you can fake that.”

“No.” Spock looked down at Jim’s empty cup. “Would you care for an additional beverage?”

“You’re stalling, but sure, I’ll take more coffee. Just cream.”

“I know how you like it.” Spock went to the synthesizer, aware he was doing just what Jim accused him of.

“Is it because I’m a guy?”

“Certainly not.”

“I know Vulcans don’t do casual sex, so—”

“We do not,” Spock agreed, bringing the cup to Jim.

Jim nodded, his blue eyes assessing. “I see.”

“What do you see?”

“You have no feelings for me beyond friendship so complicating that with casual sex when Vulcans don’t get into that is something you’re against. I did push my feelings on you. So, I’m right.”

“You are wrong.”

“You aren’t against it?”

“Allow me to finish,” Spock said. “I have…amorous feelings toward you.”

When Jim did not respond immediately to Spock’s declaration, Spock felt his stomach sour. It was illogical to wish to take words back, and yet—

“Why haven’t you said anything before?” Jim asked softly.

“As I said…we are complicated.”

“When you say amorous, what exactly does that mean?”

“What do you imagine it to mean?”

Spock.” Jim grimaced. “I don’t imagine it to mean anything. But obviously it means, at least to a certain extent, you want to…what? Date me?”

“Dating implies that I wish to experiment with you to see if we can get along amicably.”

“And that’s not it?”

“No,” Spock admitted. “I need no experimentation. I have already made up my mind.”

Jim’s blue eyes felt like they were looking right through him. “So when you say amorous—”

Spock nodded. “I am in love with you. At least, as I understand the emotion.”

Jim exhaled slowly. “You’re right.”

“About?”

“It is complicated.”

“I was under the impression that you returned my feelings,” Spock said slowly, concerned he might have gotten it all wrong.

Jim smiled a little. “I do.”

Spock swallowed. “I am relieved.”

“I’ve never…” Jim sighed, stood up and began to pace the room. “I don’t do relationships. I don’t even think I want one.”

Spock blinked, his heart hammering in his side. He was not certain what to do with that.

“But I love you. And you love me.” Jim bit his lip and paused in his pacing. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Give it a shot?”

Jim looked startled for a moment, then laughed. “Sometimes you really surprise me.”

“I find you an endless source of uncertainty as well.”

“I don’t want to disappoint you. I might not be good at it.”

“I am aware.”

“I’ve never…you want…like everything?”

“Vulcans do not share,” Spock said quietly.

Jim licked his lips. “Okay.”

Spock said very carefully, “Okay?”

Jim nodded. “Let’s…give it a shot.” He laughed then and went over to where Spock stood. He put his hands on Spock’s biceps. Humans were too touchy feely for Spock’s comfort, but he found with Jim, he didn’t particularly mind. Jim leaned in for a kiss and Spock was more than willing to acquiesce.  

Chapter 6: Peter Kirk: Deneva

“Hey, Peter!”

Peter licked his lips and dragged his gaze away from the man he’d been watching to look at his friend, Matt. “Huh?”

“What the hell’s up with you? I’ve been talking to you for like five minutes,” Matt whined. They were on their way back from school. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Above them birds native to Deneva flew overhead.

Peter had been watching a man several hundred feet from them looking into a garbage dumpster and yelling profanities. He’d seen the man before and the behavior he was exhibiting today was not at all normal for him.

“Sorry,” Peter muttered. “Thinking about that test Mrs. Hatcher gave.”

Matt snorted. “I don’t know why. You aced it, I’m sure.”

Of course, Peter hadn’t been thinking about it at all, but now that Matt made his remark, he was. “Yeah? You think?”

“I know. God, Pete, don’t you know how absolutely fucking brilliant you are?” Matt sighed. “Gorgeous and a brainiac.”

Peter felt himself blush. “No way.”

“Yes way. You’ve got your family’s looks and brilliance. I’m horribly jealous.”

Peter pushed his best friend playfully. “Go on.”

The man by the garbage dumpster made a noise that drew Matt’s attention. His friend frowned. “Isn’t that Mr. Riley who runs the market?”

He bit his lip and nodded. “Yeah.”

“What’s with him?”

“Not sure.” Peter had noticed him acting a little differently the day before but it was much worse today. And Peter could see from where he stood that Mr. Riley was drenched in sweat. He kept flinching and gasping too.

“Weirdo,” Matt declared. He put his hand on Peter’s shoulder and squeezed. “I gotta go. I’m supposed to help Mom with something. Should stop at the market, too. I think we’re low on diapers for my little brother.”

“Don’t go to the market today, Matt,” Peter said, his stomach turning over, making him queasy.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know. Just got a weird feeling.”

Matt shrugged. “I guess it can wait. All right see you tomorrow, Pete.”

Matt ran ahead down the street that would take him to where his home was.

Peter exhaled and glanced toward Mr. Riley again. The man had sunk to his knees now and had his hands on his head, moaning in pain. Peter took a couple of steps toward him, wondering if he should help the man, get someone for him.

“Mr. Riley?”

He didn’t answer, so Peter walked over to where he was on his knees.

“Mr. Riley? Do you need help?”

Riley looked at him, his eyes bloodshot. “Get out of here, kid. Get out of here and never come back. While you still can.”

“But if you need help—”

“Go!” Mr. Riley shouted, then cried out in agony.

Peter backed up in a hurry, running into the dumpster. There was a weird screeching noise from within, so he turned abruptly to peer inside. In the dumpster were these flat, rubbery things that were pulsating. Peter had no idea what they were but he was horrified. He scrambled away.

Part of him knew he should still try to help Mr. Riley, but he ran home anyway, afraid of what he’d seen. He didn’t even know what they were. Or if they had anything to do with Mr. Riley.

His mom used to talk about how sometimes men drank too much and Peter had thought maybe that was what was wrong with Mr. Riley. But he didn’t know. And those things—

Peter opened his front door and heard his mom in the kitchen.

“Mom?”

“Yes, dear?”

Peter went to the kitchen. She was cooking something on the stove. “Everything okay?”

She smiled. “Of course. How was school?”

“All right. We had a test.”

“You have homework?”

“Uh-huh. Where’s Dad?”

“In his office. You should do your homework, Peter. I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”

Peter nodded, licked his lips. “Say, Mom?’

“Yes?”

“You know how Dad’s said everyone’s been acting weird?”

Mom frowned. “How’d you know that? Peter, have you been listening in?”

Peter blushed. “Well. Maybe.”

“Don’t worry about your dad’s paranoid theories. Everything’s fine.”

“But maybe—”

“Homework, Peter. Now.”

He nodded and began to turn away. Then he saw the grocery bags on the counter. “Did you go to the market today, Mom?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Did you-did you see Mr. Riley?”

“The grocer? Not today. Why?”

“I think maybe he’s been drinking or something.”

Mom nodded. “Wouldn’t be surprised. You know he’s going through a nasty divorce. Wife went back to Earth and took his kids with her.”

“Dad go with you?”

“Hmm?”

“To the market.”

“No. He unloaded the bags though. Homework, Peter.”

Peter sighed, turned and walked out of the bathroom to go down toward his room. He peeked into his Dad’s office on the way by, but his dad was hunched over his desk, sleeping.

Biting his lip, Peter continued onto his own bedroom. He sat at his desk and pulled up his Uncle’s file on his terminal. He’d read Captain James T. Kirk’s file, which he’d compiled himself, dozens of times. How he saved Earth from the Romulan’s attack, and Khan’s too. A civilization from a Volcanic disaster too! Once he’d heard his parents talking when they thought Peter wasn’t listening about a warp core accident Uncle Jim had. Peter had tried to find information about it, but it had been classified. So he hacked into Starfleet’s site and found out that Uncle Jim had died fixing the warp core. Yet he was alive. Thanks to Uncle Jim’s friend, Dr. McCoy who used Khan’s blood.

Peter was pretty sure there wasn’t anything Uncle Jim couldn’t do. And someday Peter intended to be a starship captain just like him. He wanted to contact Uncle Jim and tell him about the things he’d seen in the market’s dumpster. Maybe Uncle Jim would even know what they were if he’d described them well enough.

He leaned in close to begin to create a note. And then he heard a sort of whooshing noise just before something landed on his back with enough force to push him forward in his chair.

“What the?” Peter twisted around to look at what hit him and saw the rubbery pulsating thing he’d seen in the dumpster attached to his back. Peter started screaming. “Get if off! Get it off!”

“Peter? What on Earth?” He heard his mother running for his bedroom just as his whole body became wracked with the most excruciating pain he had ever felt in his life.

Mom appeared in the doorway. She screamed when she saw the thing on Peter’s back.

He slid out of the chair and onto the floor as he writhed in pain. “Mom! Mom! It hurts. Oh, God it hurts! Please!”

Then he watched as another of the creatures came off his bedroom wall and headed toward his mom, who kept screaming.

Chapter 7: Interlude

Jim sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. This report was hell. It was giving him a severe headache and his shoulders were killing him. He’d been at it for close to two hours and it still wasn’t done. And since the content was about a disastrous mission that claimed the lives of ten crew members it was depressing beyond belief. He’d already had to write to the families of those crew members.

Long, elegant fingers gripped his shoulders and began to massage. Jim opened his eyes.

“Didn’t hear you come in.”

“I did not intend to startle you,” Spock said softly, continuing the magic with his fingers.

“You didn’t. I’m more annoyed that you‘re so damn quiet. I’m jealous. I come in like a bull in a China shop.”

“Subtlety is not one of your attributes.”

Jim snorted. “You’re definitely hard on the ego.”

“You have many other attributes that more than make up for it,” Spock assured him. His fingers moved up to Jim’s neck.

“Oh my God. You’re amazing. I should have agreed to be your boyfriend just because of this.”

“You could have a masseuse attend to your needs there. The ship offers the service.”

“Not from a sexy as sin Vulcan.”

“You are preoccupied by sex.”

“Do you know me?”

Spock’s fingers moved to Jim’s scalp. “We participated in coitus this morning before your shift. Was that not sufficient?’

Jim shook his head. Then he leaned back to look at Spock, whose gaze was now on Jim’s terminal.

“Do you require assistance?”

He sighed. “I don’t know. I keep typing the same shit over and over.”

“What is the cause of your distress?”

“I don’t want it to go on Chief Marston’s record that it could have been avoided if he’d pulled the lever on time.”

“That is factually accurate.”

“Marston was a good man and a good crew member. A mistake that cost his own life as well shouldn’t define him.”

“You cannot falsify the report, Captain.”

Jim pushed away from Spock then and stood, walking away from his desk. “I’m not attempting to falsify anything, Mr. Spock.”

“I have made you angry.”

“No,” Jim denied. “It’s just…I wish sometimes you wouldn’t come at everything so…logically.”

Spock leaned against the wall behind Jim’s desk, hands folded in front of him. “I am Vulcan.”

“I’ve figured that out.”

“I cannot become comfortable expressing emotions simply because you prefer it,” Spock said coolly.

“I know that too.” Jim shook his head and went to the replicator for some more coffee. “Expressing regret for what might be reflected on a deceased crew member’s official record doesn’t mean I am going to violate regulations and falsify the report.”

“I am aware. However, in the past—”

“Are we going to bring up Nibiru again? Because really? Don’t.”

“You are angry.”

“Not angry,” Jim said quietly. “Just frustrated that you take every opportunity to think the worst of me.”

Spock blinked rapidly. “That is false.”

“Is it?”

“Yes.” Spock came away from the wall and walked to where Jim stood hugging himself defensively. “I admire you greatly. I do not think badly of you, Jim.”

Jim didn’t respond. Just stared at Spock, who stared back.

“I was merely trying to offer you assurances with regard to the report and I see that I was unsuccessful. Chief Marston had an adequate career, though this one incidence does mar it, I am certain Starfleet has no intention of besmirching his name.”

“You have more faith in them than I do,” Jim muttered. He took a sip of his coffee. He winced at the sharp pain in his head.

Spock put his hands on Jim’s head, once more massaging gently. “If you would prefer I can complete the report while you rest.”

“It’s my responsibility.”

“And I am your first officer,” Spock reminded him. “It is my duty to assist you with the command of the Enterprise, including assisting with tasks you find onerous.”

Jim smiled. “That feels really good. And I’m sorry I snapped at you.”

“I do not require an apology. I always ask that you speak freely when it concerns us.”

“Can you kiss me?”

“I am fully capable—”

Will you? Kiss me.” Jim rolled his eyes at the amused glint in Spock’s eyes.

Spock leaned in and covered Jim’s lips with his. Jim moaned and pushed himself closer. Spock opened his mouth under Jim’s, allowing the invasion of Jim’s tongue. He pushed Spock against the bulkhead and despite Spock’s superior strength, Spock let him.

“I really want to fuck,” Jim whispered across Spock’s lips.

“Your head.”

“Won’t fall off.”

Spock’s hand wrapped around the back of Jim’s neck and just like a flash he found their positions changed and himself against the bulkhead and Spock pressing into him. Jim licked his lips.

“You have no idea how hot that is,” Jim said breathlessly.

“You enjoy being handled.”

“By you…yes.”

Spock’s nostrils flared. “There will be no other.”

Jim put his lips next to Spock’s ear. “Prove it.”

Spock growled low and picked Jim up, carrying him over to the bed. He was thrown down with no finesse but Jim didn’t care. He tore Jim’s boots off so fast Jim wondered if his feet went with them. The pain in his head was forgotten, replaced by the delicious ache in his cock, demanding to be freed from the confines of his clothing.

Spock removed his clothes with both amazing speed and without ripping them. Jim was begrudgingly impressed. And now he lay naked and vulnerable on the bed while Spock was still fully clothed. And somehow that was unbearably hot too.

“You are magnificent in your physical beauty,” Spock said almost reverently.

“Why don’t you get naked and get physically beautiful with me?”

His Vulcan arched a brow, but then knelt on the bed, undoing the fastenings of his pants.

“What about the rest?”

“Be silent,” Spock ordered as he lowered his trousers and briefs to his knees. He leaned over Jim to fuse their lips together. As he did so his swollen cock rubbed against Jim. His breath hitched, feeling the slickness of Spock’s self-lubricant. Vulcans were truly wondrous creatures.

Spock lifted Jim’s leg, angling him for entry. “Do you desire more lubricant?”

Jim shook his head, licked his lips in anticipation. “No, just fuck me. Now.”

“As you wish, Captain.”

Spock’s double-ridged cock pushed inside, breaching his entrance. He exhaled with relief when Spock fully sheathed himself inside Jim.

“Your head?” Spock asked softly, fingers going to Jim’s face.

“Shh, it’s fine. Just…you know…move.”

And boy did Spock move. Hard, fast, plunges inside him, his thick cock hitting Jim’s prostate again and again. Jim clawed at the sheets, arching up to meet Spock’s thrusts, even as he gripped his own dick, roughly jerking it. The bed creaked under them, the top hitting the bulkhead over and over as Spock slammed into him with an increasing fierceness.

Spock spoke low Vulcan words Jim could not decipher and he hooked Jim’s leg up higher to go deeper, faster, more intensely.

“Spock, God.”

“Yessss.”

He felt the low buzz, the fluttering deep down in his gut as his balls drew tight. Cum splattered his hand, his stomach as he let out a mewling cry he could not contain. Spock rose high above him, pistoning into him, going so deep Jim hadn’t been sure it was possible. And then Spock came, saying more Vulcan words, hoarsely, as he filled Jim’s channel.

When he woke later, he realized he’d fallen asleep, and he vaguely recalled Spock washing him off with a warm, damp cloth. Spock was up and dressed and sitting at Jim’s terminal. Jim rubbed his eyes and sat up.

“How long have you been awake?”

“An hour or so. I am attending to your report.” Spock paused. “I did try to be delicate about Marston’s errors.”

Jim smiled. “Thanks.” Jim swung his legs out of bed and reached for his uniform which Spock has set nearby. He also noticed a cup of coffee set beside the bed just the way he liked it. He picked it up and took a big drink. He could maybe get used to this relationship thing.

He had just finished pulling on his clothes when the wail of the red alert sounded loud in his mostly quiet quarters. He exchanged a look with Spock, who was already rising from the chair.

“Kirk here.”

“Captain,” Uhura said. “A distress signal, sir. It’s urgent.”

“From?”

“Deneva, Captain. Starfleet’s orders are for us to go and offer whatever assistance is needed.”

Jim clenched his fist. “I’m on my way. Get us there as quickly as we can, Lieutenant. Kirk out.”

Spock waited for him at the door of his quarters. “Deneva?”

Jim nodded, feeling sick. His headache had returned full force. “My-my brother and his family are there.”

Chapter 8: Homecoming
Notes:

I’ve taken some lines from the original episode, Operation Annihilate.

Jim went straight to Nyota’s station the moment they stepped off the bridge. “Let me hear it.”

“I’ve lost contact with them, sir. I’ve tried every major transmitting station on Deneva. None of them have acknowledged my contact signal.”

Jim frowned. “Try GSK-783, Sub-space frequency 3.”

Nyota looked startled. “But sir, that’s a call sign for a private transmitter.”

“I’m very well aware of that, Lieutenant. Try it.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Jim turned toward Spock. “Spock—”

Sulu interrupted with an abrupt exclamation. “Captain?”

“Yes, Mr. Sulu?”

“We’re picking up a ship on our sensors, heading directly into the Denevan sun.” 

“Plot an intercept course, Lieutenant. Warp factor eight.” Jim turned back toward Nyota. “Try to contact that ship.”

“Aye, sir.”

Spock stepped over to stand beside Jim. “The ship is a one-man vessel of Denevan configuration, Captain.  He appears to be deliberately heading for the sun.”

Jim hit a console on his chair. “Scotty, can we get a tractor beam?”

“Ship’s out of range, Captain.”

Nyota turned in her chair. “Making contact.”

“This is the USS Enterprise. Reverse your course. Acknowledge.”

“Captain, we will get too close to the sun,” Spock told him from his station. “Outer hull temperature now four hundred eighty degrees and rising.”

“Denevan ship, reverse your course. Acknowledge.”

Sulu looked at Jim anxiously. “He’s too close to the sun, sir.”

“So are we,” Spock spoke up.

“I did it! I did it!” the pilot of the ship shouted over the com. “I’m free.”

Just as he spoke the ship disintegrated before their eyes. Jim winced at the flash of light.

“He burned up, Keptin,” Chekov said in a mournful voice.

Jim’s jaw jumped. “Reverse course. One hundred eighty degrees.”

Spock looked up and over from his station. “All clear, Captain. Hull temperature declining.”

Jim nodded. “Take us to Deneva. Lieutenant Uhura. Anything?”

“Just now, Captain.”

“Put it on audio.”

“Please hurry. Help us. I don’t have much time. They’ll know. Please! Please help us.” A woman’s voice. 

“Aurelan. This is Jim. On the Enterprise. Can you repeat your message?”

“Contact broken, sir,” Nyota said.

“Reestablish.”

“They stopped transmitting, Captain.”

Jim looked very unhappy as he turned away. “Keep trying and get us to that planet.”

“Captain?” Spock asked, once more approaching Jim’s chair.

Jim unexpectedly looked down at his hands. “That was my brother’s wife.”

****

The moment they entered the home of George Samuel Kirk, Spock knew something was very wrong. It was quiet in a way that was not normal. Not for a thriving household of humans. Jim sensed it too and he was trying very hard to keep his face from showing any emotion but for Spock, at least, Jim was failing.

“Sam?” Jim called out. “Aurelan?”

There was no answering call and Spock began to use his tricorder.

Jim paused at the kitchen. There were groceries still sitting out on the counter, as though they had been in the middle of unpacking them when something interrupted. The lines around Jim’s mouth were grim. His blue eyes piercing in their intense scrutiny.

Jim turned from the kitchen and went down the hall with Spock right behind him. Jim turned into the first room. He made a sort of soft exclamation that caused Spock pain even as he watched his captain drop to his knees next to a man.

“Sam! Sam.”

Blue eyes much too much like Jim’s stared unfocused at Jim. He looked like Spock’s captain save for a small, thin mustache and perhaps a few more gray hairs. “Jim?”

“Yes. Hang on, Sam. Hang on.”

“You came.”

“Yes. I’m going to get you help,” Jim promised. “Everything’s going to be all right.” Jim lifted Sam’s back up off the floor holding him.

Sam gasped out. “It-it hurts. Such pain.”

“I-I know. But just hang on, okay? McCoy?”

Sam tried and failed to grasp Jim’s hand. “Take care of Aurelan and my boy, Jim.”

“No, Sam. You’re going to—”

“Please?” Sam whispered. His face contorted with pain. “Please, Jimmy. Please.”

Jim was shaking and Spock didn’t know what to do. “Okay, Sam. I will. I will.”

Sam groaned. “Jesus, it hurts.”

“Sam—”

And then Jim’s brother was staring straight ahead. Clearly in no more pain. Jim bowed his head. Spock stepped forward, crouched down beside him and lowered Sam’s eyelids.

“I grieve with thee,” he said softly.

“Jim?” the doctor called from the doorway.

Jim stiffened but he turned toward McCoy.

“Your sister-in-law and nephew. Found them in another room. They’re still alive. I’m going to get them up to the ship.”

Spock helped Jim stand.

“I want answers.”

The doctor nodded and Spock helped Jim out of the room while security officers stepped inside to care of Jim’s brother.

Jim stopped by the kitchen again, staring into it. “This is all my fault.”

“Jim—”

“It is, Spock. He’d been contacting me for weeks and I just…I ignored it.”

“You could not have known.”

“Bullshit. He told me he was concerned. There was something going on. And I-what the fuck is wrong with me?”

“Jim?” McCoy again. “We’re ready to beam up with them.”

Jim nodded. “All right. Leave a team down here, Mister Spock. We’ll come back down as needed.”

“Yes, Captain.” Jim turned away to order the beam up, but his eyes were haunted and Spock did not know what to do to help him.

Chapter 9: Aurelan

Jim was aware of Spock’s gaze on him as they rode the turbolift up to the deck where the medbay was.

“I’m okay,” he said softly.

“You expressed belief that you were at fault for the death of your brother.”

“Obviously not direct fault. But I bear responsibility.”

“You cannot claim responsibility for all that befalls those around you.”

Jim shook his head. “That’s not what I’m doing.”

“Is it not?”

He exhaled slowly and stopped the turbolift, turning to look at his first officer. “Sam tried to get me to help him before it got to this point but because I’m all up in my head about my family, I ignored him. Or is that up my ass? I don’t know. All I know is that if I went straight to Deneva when he first commed me, maybe it would have been different. Maybe he wouldn’t be dead, his wife and son dying.”

“Hindsight is a powerful way to feel guilt. Your brother’s messages were non-specific. And you cannot just go anywhere you will it without orders from Starfleet. The vagueness of your brother’s complaints would likely not have persuaded command to deviate from our course.”

Jim licked his dry lips, staring into the kind eyes of Spock. “But I could have at least asked.”

“Perhaps,” Spock allowed. “But it is unlikely it would have changed the outcome.” Spock stepped close, his arms ensnaring Jim around the waist. “You bear no blame in the death of your brother, ashaya.”

Jim closed his eyes and leaned into Spock. His throat felt painful and raw. His chest hurt. “Will they blame me? If they live that is.”

“I cannot predict the emotional response of humans,” Spock said softly. “But logic is on your side.”

Jim had to laugh at that, though there was hardly anything humorous about anything right now. He buried his face in Spock’s tunic. It smelled like him. And that was weird he found comfort in that, Jim was sure. He’d never cared to notice anyone else’s scent before.

“Thank you,” Jim told Spock’s chest. “I don’t know how I’d get through this if you weren’t with me.”

“You are stronger than you know.” Spock caressed the crown of Jim’s head. Then, “Dr. McCoy is waiting.”

Jim sighed and pulled back. “Yeah.” He restarted the turbolift as Spock’s fingers slid against his.

They walked into the medbay together and the first thing they saw was Aurelan seizing and crying out in pain. Bones was trying to hold her down with the help of Nurse Chapel.

“They’re here! They’re here!” Aurelan kept screaming.

Jim watched as Bones pushed a hypospray into her and her seizing stopped, though she still lay there gasping.

Bones glanced at Jim and Spock and stepped over.

“I won’t be able to give you any answers, Jim, until I get the reports back from the lab. I can tell you they’d both in extreme pain. I’ve sedated them both heavily and your nephew is unconscious but your sister-in-law is fighting it.”

“Can she talk?”

Bones hesitated. “Yes.”

Jim nodded and squeezed Bones’ shoulder before making his way to Aurelan’s biobed, Spock right behind him. “Aurelan? It’s Jim.”

“Jim? Sam, is he—”

“He didn’t make it. But Peter is still alive. You’ve got to help us.”

She stared at him. “You are here. It is you. You came.”

Jim swallowed. “Yes, I’m here. Aurelan, what happened? You need to tell me.”

“They came,” she said with a groan. “These horrible things.”

“What things?”

“Visitors brought them in a vessel from Ingraham B.” She gasped. “It wasn’t the crew’s fault. The things made them bring them.”

“Aurelan.” Jim touched her, leaning over her. “You must tell me. What things?”

“Not their fault,” she wailed. Then she started screaming and weeping.

Bones exchanged a look with Jim and gave her another shot. “Whenever she answers questions, any questions, it’s like she’s fighting something. As if something is exerting pain to stop her.”

“They use it to control us,” Aurelan said. “They’re forcing us to build things, ships for them. To be their arms and legs. Don’t let them, Jim. Please. Don’t let them.”

She cried out and began to seize again. Jim backed away as Bones and Nurse Chapel once more stepped over to the bed, but as Jim watched, the reading above the bed plummeted to zero and she stopped moving.

“Bones?” Jim whispered.

“I’m sorry, Jim,” Bones said grimly. “The pain was too much for her.”

Jim just nodded and turned away, looking at the pale teenager in the biobed nearest to her. “My brother’s son. He looks like me. At that age. It’s-it’s kind of strange.”

“There is a strong family resemblance,” Spock said softly.

Bones went over to Peter and checked his readings, giving him another shot. “I’ll do what I can to save him, Jim.”

Jim turned away and walked out of the medbay, Spock following close behind. “Things, she said, Spock.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“I want answers.” He decided to check in with the security team he’d left behind. He went to the comm on the wall. “Kirk to the landing party.”   

“Griswold here, Captain.”

“Report.”

“It’s pretty quiet, sir. Streets are empty. We’ve seen no other Denevans.”

“Have you seen any kind of creature? Alien forms?”

“None, sir. But we just heard a peculiar buzzing sound and were about to investigate it.”

“Standby.” Jim glanced at Spock. “We’re beaming down.”

“Aye, Captain.”

“If you would prefer to stay on board with your nephew, Captain, I will go to the surface,” Spock offered.

Jim shook his head. “No. I’m a man of action, Spock. Sitting around waiting has never been my thing.”

Spock nodded. “Very well.”

Jim gave him a strained smile. “We’re really going to need to spend some time together when this is all over.”

“Agreed.”

Jim leaned against the bulkhead. “My mother.”

“Perhaps it will be best to wait until you have some news about Peter as well?” Spock suggested.

“Yeah. God, this is going to kill her. Sam-Sam is-was her favorite.”

“Having a preferred child is alien to me,” Spock admitted.

“Well. He wasn’t born on the day her husband died.” Jim shrugged. Closed eyes briefly. Then he opened them, straightened, and turned to go down the corridor for the turbolift. “Let’s go.”

Chapter 10: The Creatures of Deneva
Notes:

I used text from the original series throughout this chapter, I do not own these lines.
I changed around a few things, and left one major thing out, as you will see. But now I can get to the main point of the story, Jim dealing with his nephew.

Spock sensed Jim was not at all well. He was hiding the pain of the loss of his brother and sister-in-law and the potential loss of his nephew, Peter. And he was not doing a good job of it. He was keeping his expression firmly blank but there was a strange energy coming from him that Spock knew he was probably the only one who could feel it.

They were not bonded, not yet at this point, though Spock hoped to be in the future, but his telepathy was strong enough to feel Jim’s barely hidden distress.

Griswold and another guard hurried to them when they reappeared on the planet surface of Deneva. “The buzzing is coming from that building, Captain, and just got significantly louder while we waited for you to arrive.”

Jim looked toward the building and pulled out his phaser. “Phasers on setting three. Let’s go.”

As they approached the building the buzzing became almost uncomfortably loud and Spock has an uneasy feeling about it, however illogical. He was about to urge caution to Jim when Jim pushed open the door without pause and stepped inside.

It was a lobby for an office building, with high shadowed ceilings. There were exotic plants everywhere, though most looked rather neglected and wilting. Framed art too.

“Captain, there,” Griswold yelled, pointed up at the ceiling.

Clinging to a middle ceiling panel were several flat, pulsating flesh-colored creatures. It was clear the buzzing was coming from them.

Jim frowned.

Before he could provide any instructions, Griswold fired up at one, and it dropped to the floor right next to them.

Jim grimaced but turned to Spock. “What do you make of that thing?”

Spock crouched down. “Incredible. Not only should it have been destroyed by our phasers, it does not even register on my tricorder.”

“It doesn’t even look real,” Griswold said.

“It is not life as we know or understand, but it is alive.”

“And it can bear up under full phaser power,” Jim said grimly.

“Perhaps we should take a specimen with us, Captain, for closer analyses.”

Jim shook his head. “It’s too closed in here. It may be a trap. Let’s get out of here.”

Spock gave a reluctant nod and began to follow Jim out of the building. He heard a gurgling sound and turned back around in time to see the creature that had previously been lying on the floor fly up and land on Jim’s back.

“Jim!”

Jim gasped, his face twisted in agony as he collapsed to the ground. Spock frantically reached for him, tearing the creature from his back.

“Jim, it is gone. Are you all right? Jim!”

Jim let out an agonized cry and then his eyes rolled back in his head.

Spock picked him up in his arms and hurried out of the building to order beam back to the ship.

****

“Well, he’s stable anyway,” McCoy said softly. They both stared down at their unconscious captain. “To be very frank, Spock, I don’t know if there’s anything I can do for Jim or his nephew.” He showed Spock a jar. “They’re pieces of some sort of living tissue. I removed one from Jim’s spinal cord, the other from Aurelan Kirk. They’re both the same. Peter’s too weak to touch and anyway removing these doesn’t seem to help with the pain.”

Spock nodded his understanding. “Were you able to operate on the captain in time?”

“No.” McCoy frowned. “I just removed this during my examination. His body is full of these things, entwining around his nervous system. The same with Jim’s nephew. Evidently, when the creature attacks, it leaves a stinger, like a bee, leaving one of these things in the body. It takes over the body very rapidly and it’s too entwined for conventional surgery.”

“Recommendations?”

“I’m sorry, Spock. The labs, medical staff, we’re all stumped.”

“That is not good enough, doctor.”

McCoy sighed. “Don’t you think I know that, Spock?” He shook his head. “At least whatever you did with your Vulcan voodoo, his pain seems to be manageable at this point.”

“Keep him sedated. I do not wish for him to suffer.”

“Spock, if we can’t—”

“I will not take failure as an option, doctor.”

“There are a million people down there, Spock. We can’t let this spread to other planets, other ships.”

“I know my responsibilities,” Spock replied. “We need a specimen. I will go back down to the planet surface and obtain one.”

“You? Spock, what if one attacks you?”

“I will be careful.”

“Right now you’re the only captain we have. You can’t put yourself at risk like that. More lives than Jim’s are at stake here, Spock.”

“Spock?” A hoarse whisper.

They both turned toward Jim who was staring at them with pain-filled eyes.

“Status report?”

Spock went to him, gripping his arm. “You were attacked by one of the creatures who has taken over your nervous system. It is my intention to go back to Deneva for a specimen so we can determine how to kill the creatures.”

Jim blew out a shuddery breath. “God, it fucking hurts.”

Spock swallowed heavily. “I know. I am unable to block all of it for you.”

Jim gave him a ghost of a smile. “This is blocked?”

“Jim, I’m going to keep you sedated,” McCoy said, going toward the captain with a hypospray. “The pain’s too much.”

“Wait.” Jim held up a hand. “I’ll-I’ll go get the creature.”

“Jim—”

“Spock, you can-you can block the pain and maybe some of the creature’s mind control long enough, right? For me to go down there.”

“Captain, I must agree with Dr. McCoy, you are in no condition to go down to Deneva.”

“I’m not-I’m not letting anyone else go down there and get attacked.” Jim thrashed on the bed. “I can do this.”

“Very well,” Spock replied, his fingers going toward Jim’s face.

“Very well? Spock, we can’t do this. Jim’s sick.”

“Doctor, he is the logical one for the job and we both know it. With my help, he will succeed.” He spread his fingers on Jim’s face. “My mind to your mind.”

****

“A one-celled creature resembling, more than anything else, a huge, individual brain cell.”

McCoy nodded, looking at the creature through a telescope. “This may be one cell in a larger organism. An incredibly huge organism, in fact.”

“And although it is not physically connected to the other cells, it is nevertheless part of the whole creature, guided by the whole, drawing strength from the whole, which probably accounts for its unusual resistance to our phaser weapons. Existing so differently from any living matter or energy as we know it, that it may have come here, planet by planet, from an entirely different galaxy.”

“From a place where our physical laws do not apply,” McCoy agreed. “We may find it difficult to kill, Mr. Spock.”

“But not impossible, doctor. The Denevan who flew into the sun mentioned that he was free, that he had won. That is the angle to work on.”

McCoy nodded. “I’ll try heat, radiation. I’ll get back to you.”

“Soon, doctor. There is not much time. I will be with the captain.”

Spock went to the medbay. Jim was once more sedated after his ordeal of retrieving the creature.” He grasped Jim’s hand.

“Will be all right?” Nyota asked from the foot of Jim’s bed.

“Uncertain,” Spock hesitantly replied.

“He’s very strong, Spock. If anyone can survive this it’s him.”

“I would rather it had been me,” Spock admitted.

“I never thought I’d see it, but you really…you love him, don’t you?”

Spock nodded.

“You have for a long time. Even before you two got together. I know that. I just…it’s stronger than I thought it would be.” Nyota sighed and walked over to put her hand on Spock. “I love you, Spock. You know that. And I always will. But I’m very happy for you that you found what you have with Kirk.”

“As long as I am still able to have it,” Spock replied quietly.

“You will.” She squeezed his shoulder and left.

Less than an hour McCoy came over looking dejected. “I’m sorry, Spock. I’ve tried everything I can. Variant radiation, intense heat, even as great as nine thousand degrees. The thing won’t die, even at degrees that would burn Jim and his nephew to ashes.”

“Bones?” Jim blinked his eyes open.

“I’m here, Jim.”

“Status?”

“Never mind that, Jim. Just rest.”

Jim shook his head. “I can’t rest. My whole-my whole body is on fire. I can feel these things inside me. What’s going on?”

McCoy exchanged a look with Spock. “We’ve tried every kind of heat and radiation we can to think of to kill these creatures and it’s not working. They’re not dying, Jim.”

Jim closed his eyes briefly, licked his lips. “That’s it then.”

“What is it?” Spock asked, warily.

“You need to beam Peter and myself down to the planet and then destroy it.”

“Jim, that’s a million people.”

“We can’t-we can’t led them spread, Bones.”

Spock sucked in a breath. “I do not accept that.”

“Spock…wait. Have you tried light?”

McCoy frowned. “Light?”

“Yes.” Jim suddenly squeezed Spock’s hand very tight, his eyes glazing over with the pain.

“Jim—”

“The sun also has light, besides heat.”

“It is a possibility. For the planet we would have to rig a string of satellites around the planet with tri-magnesite and trevium.”

McCoy grimaced. “Well, I can get a test cubicle in the bio-lab and put our specimen in it. Try it out.”

“Do it.” Jim screamed in pain and McCoy pressed a hypospray into Jim’s neck.

****

The creature was dead. The light had killed it. There was only one thing left to do.

“I will put the captain in the chamber.”

“Do you have any ideas of the risks?”

“Before we can try and remove the creatures from the planet, we will need to see if it can kill the creatures within the captain. He is the logical choice over his nephew who is only a teenager and who has been exposed to the creatures for a longer period.”

Spock picked Jim up from his biobed and followed McCoy to the chamber they’d created for the experiment. He laid Jim down and then exited and locked the chamber.

“I’m going to use the lowest light I can on Jim,” McCoy said. “Based on my experiments it should be enough to kill them.”

“Carry on, doctor,” Spock said.

McCoy flipped the switch and then after several seconds, flipped it off.

Spock opened the door of the chamber and they went to Jim.

He was coming around. “Spock? Bones?”

McCoy was already running a tri-corder on him. “How do you feel, Jim?”

Jim smiled. “The pain…it’s gone.”

“And the creatures too,” McCoy announced. “It worked. Now we’ll do Peter and the planet.”

McCoy rose and left Spock alone in the chamber with Spock.

“Thank you,” Jim said, stroking his fingers along Spock’s. “For everything.”

“I require no thanks,” Spock assured him. “Your recovery is all that I need.”

****

“How’s he doing?” Jim asked the doctor some time later as they stood in the medbay some distance away from the captain’s nephew’s bed. The creatures on Deneva were gone and the planet attempting to return to normalcy. 

“He’s still recovering, but the creatures are dead,” McCoy said. “I’m going to keep him here for a few days. Keep him under observation. Get him some food. He needs to get his strength back.”

Jim crossed his arms in front of his chest and tapped his fingers on his forearm. “Does he know?”

“Not yet. I think it should come from you, Jim.”

Jim’s eyes widened at McCoy. “Me?”

McCoy nodded. “You’re among the only family he has left, Jim. And definitely the only one on this ship.”

“I hardly even know him.”

“I guess that’s about to change. Isn’t it, Jim?” McCoy moved away from them.

Jim glanced at Spock.

“You are uniquely qualified to know the experiences of losing your family, Jim. I believe Peter will appreciate it.”

“I’m not so sure.” But Jim nodded. From where they stood they could see that the boy was awake and sitting up. He appeared to be sipping from a cup and looked more than a little pale and dazed.

“Do you want me to accompany you?” Spock asked gently.

“No. I’ll do this myself.” Jim rubbed Spock’s arms. “See you later?”

Spock nodded. “I will be on the bridge, Captain.”

Jim smiled, nodded, and headed for his nephew’s biobed.

Chapter 11: How Do I Live

Peter was not stupid. Never that. Perhaps the adults here in—what was it called? Medbay—thought he was because he was only a teen, but he was not. He’d gotten the Kirk brains.

There was absolutely no sign of his mom or dad in the medbay. And the doctor and nurses kept giving him ‘puppy dog’ eyes while pretending they weren’t.

Peter knew what death looked like. Once when he was about ten they’d gone to Earth to visit his mom’s mom because her health had been failing and he’d actually been in her bedroom when she breathed her last breath. And before those things had got him, Peter knew they’d gotten others. His mom and dad included.

More than anything, Peter wondered why he had survived. When he was attacked he was certain he could never survive so much pain.

He dug his spoon into what the nurse claimed passed for strawberry ice cream on the ship and tried not to watch the captain approach his bed like he was being led to the gallows. Yeah, Peter knew history too.

Captain James T. Kirk. A legend really. And Peter’s uncle. His dad had talked often about Uncle Jim. Peter knew they didn’t really get along because of something his dad had done, but he also knew his dad loved and respected his little brother. Uncle Jim had done a lot of amazing things.

Peter finally looked up as Uncle Jim stopped right beside his biobed. He couldn’t pretend this wasn’t happening anymore. Either of them.

“Hi,” Peter said. He reached over and put his half-finished bowl of strawberry ice cream on the little table next to his bed.

“Hello, Peter. Do you remember me?”

He’d only met Uncle Jim twice. And both times had been years ago. There were times Peter had written to him and even a couple of times when Uncle Jim had written back. Dad used to say his brother didn’t really like children. It all had something to do with a place called Tarsus IV that even Dad hadn’t wanted to talk about. Peter had tried to research it but every time, he had run into the very firm classification of “Confidential” and “Highly Secure: Classified”. He hadn’t even been able to hack into the files.

Uncle Jim stood ramrod straight beside him, as though he was at attention. His hands were clasped behind his back and his jawline was as rigid as any Peter had ever seen. That whatever he had to say to Peter was difficult for him was plain. And Peter knew what it was, really. Even if he might force his uncle to say the words out loud just so they could both know it was real.

“I remember. You’re my Uncle Jim.”

“Yes,” he replied. “And this is my ship, the Enterprise. We came here when we received the distress signals.”

Peter nodded. Waited.

“Listen.”

Peter was doing nothing but listening but he didn’t point that out.

“Your mom and dad…they-they didn’t make it. Your dad passed away on Deneva when we first got there. And your mom—well, Dr. McCoy really tried to save her, but she was too far gone already.”

Peter nodded again. It seemed to be the only thing he could do. Was stare and nod, like some old-fashioned bobblehead doll.

“Okay.”

Uncle Jim seemed startled and for the first time his hands came out from behind him and he clutched the railing of the biobed. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“My mom and dad are dead and I have no family,” Peter said woodenly.

“Well.” Uncle Jim blinked rapidly. “That’s not entirely true. You have me.”

Peter didn’t know how to respond to that. He was a swirl of emotions and doubts. Having a famous uncle you hardly knew was not the same as having your parents. And anyway his uncle had said it in a way that told Peter he would rather have not said it at all. Then Peter wondered really how long he would have Uncle Jim. He’d probably end up back on Earth under foster care and turn into some juvenile delinquent.

Funny thing was Peter couldn’t cry. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to. He knew what losing his mom and dad meant. He had loved them and they loved him. But right now, staring at his uncle, Peter couldn’t cry. And he guessed that probably surprised Captain Kirk because he was looking more and more uncertain.

“We have the same eyes,” Peter whispered.

“Excuse me?”

“My eyes…same color as yours.”

“Oh.”

“Dad had them too.”

“Yes,” Uncle Jim said with a nod. “Both of our parents had blue eyes.”

“Mom has—had—green.”

“Yeah, she did. Peter, is there anything you need? Can I get anything for you?”

Peter bit his lip. “Are there-are there other people dead on Deneva? Besides my parents?”

For a moment he didn’t think Uncle Jim was going to answer, but finally he nodded. “A few, yeah. Most are okay though.”

“I-I have a friend. His name is Matt. Could you maybe check on him?”

“Sure. Matt what?”

“Conroy. It’s his mom and his baby brother. His dad went off planet and-and he didn’t come back. Can you check on them? Please?”

Peter didn’t know what he would do if Matt wasn’t okay. He couldn’t think about that. Because-because Matt-Matt was everything.

“Yes, all right. I’d be glad to check. And I’ll bet he’s fine.”

Peter nodded. “Captain—”

“You can call me Jim. If you want.”

“Did they-did Mom suffer a lot?”

Uncle Jim shook his head. “No, Peter. She didn’t.” He patted Peter’s leg. “Get some rest. I’ll come back later.”

“Yes, sir.”

Uncle Jim walked away and a few minutes later the nurse came over. He thought she’d told him her name was Christine. She smiled warmly at him as she picked up the bowl that had his melting ice cream.

“Is there something else you’d like, Peter?”

“No, ma’am.”

She tucked the covers around him and lowered his bed flat. He wasn’t really that tired but he closed his eyes and tried to sleep because then at least he wouldn’t think about being an orphan.

“Peter?”

He was softly shaken awake.

“Peter?”

He stared blearily at his Uncle Jim. “Hi.”

Uncle Jim smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Sorry to wake you. Bones says you need to take this medicine.”

“Bones?”

“Dr. McCoy.” Uncle Jim pushed the lever that raised Peter’s bed and then handed him a pill with a glass of water.

“What is it?” Peter asked, eyeing the pill.

“Something to help get your strength back I guess. The creatures that were in you did some damage to your kidneys and this will help repair it. Or so Bones said.”

“Okay.” Peter put the pill in his mouth and swallowed it with some water.

“Are you hungry or anything?”

“No.” Peter looked past his uncle to notice a tall Vulcan standing just slightly behind. “Hello.”

“Hello, Peter.”

“This is Spock, my first officer. And my science officer.”

Peter smiled very slightly.

“And, um, well.” Uncle Jim rubbed the back of his red neck. “My boyfriend, too.”

“Oh.” Peter nodded rapidly. “Dad never mentioned that.”

“It was recent,” Spock said.

Uncle Jim glanced at Spock. “I brought him along because—”

“Peter, there is no easy way to say this and I believe it is best to just come right out and tell you,” Spock said, with a shared glance with Uncle Jim. “Your friend, Matt Conroy, and his family, they did not survive.”

Peter sucked in a breath. “What?”

“I’m-I’m sorry, Peter,” Uncle Jim said. He patted Peter’s leg again as he had before.

Peter felt the sting of tears just before they flowed down his cheeks like someone had turned on a faucet.

Matt.

Now he had no one. He really was alone.

Chapter 12: Bonding: the Formation of a Close Relationship Especially Through Frequent or Constant Association

“How did it go?” Spock looked up from his perusal of Jim’s terminal at Jim’s desk.

Part of him loved seeing Spock being comfortable being in his quarters without him there. But also part of him thought it was still something to get used to. Jim didn’t dig sharing his personal space. Even in the academy he had not shared dorm rooms.

Jim went around to the other side of the desk to be close to Spock, who slid his hands under Jim’s shirt. Jim’s bare skin reacted like it had been branded and he was instantly filled with an aching lust he tried to tamp down.

Jim had just come from seeing Peter again. The boy had been released from the medbay and given his own room on the deck below Jim’s. Bones had tried to talk him into letting Peter stay with him.

“Bad. He looked pretty lost.” Jim sighed. “I hate kids.”

Spock quirked an eyebrow.

“God, I know how that sounds. I’m a giant prick. I know it. And I don’t even mean it. I just…I have no idea how to deal with them.”

“You were a kid once yourself, ashayam.”

Jim shook his head. “I was always different. I don’t relate to them. And now I have to figure out what to do with him.”

“Meaning?”

“He can’t stay here, Spock. He should be returned to Earth or something where someone can take care of him. This is a starship for God’s sake. We don’t have kids here.”

“Who will care for him there, Jim? Your mother?”

Jim winced. “She’s improved.” He hoped so anyway. She wasn’t the worst mother or anything.

Spock pulled him down to sit on Spock’s lap. Jim let him, though he was pretty sure he wouldn’t have let anyone else do that. Always Spock was different.

“Right now we’re not even close to Earth. I checked with Starfleet. We can either keep him on board until we’re able to make it back there or we can drop him off at the nearest space station and they can get him transport there.”

Spock gazed into Jim’s eyes, his thumbs now rubbing circles on Jim’s abdomen. “You prefer to drop him off?”

“I really am a shit.”

“Jim—”

“There’s something wrong with me, Spock. Really. I should be trying to bond with him. Bones thinks so. He wanted me to have Peter stay in the room with me.”

“You are grieving too. You are not comfortable with children, so you are logically not prepared for Peter’s presence.”

“You are good to me.” Jim leaned down and kissed him. “You actually try to make excuses for what a dick I am.”

“I am not entirely comfortable with children either, Jim. I recommend we keep Peter on the ship for the time being to allow him to acclimate to his situation. Whether by choice or not, you and your mother are Peter’s remaining family as your sister-in-law’s parents have passed.”

“And I’m still acclimating myself to this.” Jim gestured to the two of them.

“As am I,” Spock admitted. “This is unexpected for me too, Jim. But this is the life we have been given.”

Jim’s door chimed.

He frowned. “Come,” he called out, not bothering to move himself from Spock’s lap.

Peter stepped in. His eyes widened, then he bit his lip.  He hovered by the door. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-to interrupt anything.”

Jim smiled. “You didn’t. We’re just talking. Come in, Peter. It’s okay.”

Peter walked further into Jim’s quarters. “Um. Dad-Dad said you-you used to play chess when you were kids and I wondered…”

“You want to play?” Jim asked.

“If it’s not too much trouble.” Peter was blushing. Poor kid.

“I have a set, Peter,” Spock spoke up. He gently patted Jim’s leg so Jim would get up. Spock stood. “I will get it from my quarters and bring it in here.”

“Oh. You don’t share quarters? I thought, well, that you would.”

Jim smiled. “Spock has his own assigned quarters.” He glanced at Spock. “But he does spend most of his time with me.”

Spock inclined his head. “I will be right back.”

Peter watched Spock disappear through the bathroom. “It’s nice that you-you have him.”

“Yes, it is.”

“I wanted—”

“What?” Jim encouraged when Peter stopped, glancing away.

“Matt. I wanted…that is I liked him. Like that. But-but we never got to that point or anything. I thought—” Peter’s gaze dropped to the floor.

“You had time?” Jim asked softly.

Peter nodded, swallowing heavily.

“I’m sorry, Peter.”

Peter looked up, his too familiar blue eyes blazing into Jim’s. “Please don’t tell me that I have plenty of time to find another boyfriend or anything like that. I hate when adults do that.”

“I do too. So I get it. And I won’t do that to you.”

Peter looked down at the floor again. “Okay.”

Spock returned with the chess set and Jim was grateful for the timing.

“Would you like anything to eat or drink, Peter?” Jim asked as Spock set up the chess game for them on a table.

“Water?”

Jim smiled. “Coming right up.” He went to the replicator. He looked to Spock. “You’re staying, right?”

Spock nodded. “I will continue to work on your terminal.”

“I’m not very good,” Peter admitted as Jim brought him water. “Dad—”

“Dad?” Jim prompted.

“Used to kick my ass.” Peter turned bright red again.

“Well, let’s see if we can improve how you play then.”

“You think you can?” Peter asked doubtfully.

Jim nodded and gestured for Peter to begin. “I used to kick your dad’s ass.”