As he drank his tea, Spock noted that Kirk and McCoy had failed to make their beds. Odd. Perhaps they had been distracted. He shook out McCoy's bag and rolled it up neatly. He moved over to the captain's and seized it by the foot.
He gave it a hard snap and a square object flew out. It was a pillow from home, from Vulcan, filled with q'in-hulls. The gentle rustling sound was unmistakable. McCoy had found the hull-pillows did wonders for human neck alignment, and apparently he'd persuaded Captain Kirk to employ one.
He fingered it and inhaled the mild lemon-like scent. Images of home drifted into his mind--Amanda, hands folded in her lap, Sarek backlit by a window. Amanda had sent such a pillow along when he left for the Academy, and he had struggled with himself over accepting it. Was he honoring his parent's gift? or giving in to the emotion of home-sickness? Not the first such conflict, or the last.
He put the pillow down and shook Kirk's sleeping bag again, then knelt to roll it. As he knelt, an aura surrounded him. An aura of pheromones, then direct scent. An overwhelming sense of human, male human. And ... sex. The awareness smote him sharply.
He curled over with his hands on his head, trying to banish the unwelcome images flooding his mind. James Kirk, pulling his shirt from his waistband. Kirk kneeling, beginning to speak ... No, this was not *logical.*
Logic and rational thought. They were the goals. He concentrated, palms pressed to his head, then against each other. He ... would ... control ... himself.
// logic, logic. logic is the goal. //
After a short time he could breathe easily again. He puzzled things out a little. Kirk, sex, here? He found himself trembling. No doubt the un-Vulcan temperature of the air. Surely it was unlike the captain to pleasure himself ... ? Spock breathed deeply as another image flared into view.
His captain crouched before him, nude, buried hip-high in dark green silk. Silk with letters. Human fingers, warmer than usual, sliding across the glittering fabric. Kirk smiling up at him. Then, seeing himself react, feeling his body hum with--happiness,--seeing himself smile in return.
Hideously undignified, yet oh how he yearned for that moment again. To feel that way, to see those visions ...
But more to come... and worse ...
Kirk drifted in the pool, the dome of stars glittering cheerfully overhead. He swam a stroke or two and gestured at Spock, who was perched at the edge of the pool like a heron, but less comfortably. Kirk turned on his back and let the pond carry him.
Spock made a shallow dive and swam toward Kirk. The human ran his fingers languidly through the water, back and forth, back and forth. As the Vulcan surfaced, Kirk let him see how his fingers slid up his sides and across his chest, then down ... down ... His fingers worked to prompt the need and then meet it. The sureness of his gestures suggested he knew his audience well.
In his mind's eye Spock could see himself startling his commanding officer by swimming up underneath him. Spock saw himself gauge the distance so that his head came up between Kirk's legs. Spock knew that at the time his eyes had widened with satisfaction at the look on his lover's face, yet he now cringed to know his lover was Kirk. He was so ... *human.* He flinched as his other self wrapped long arms around Kirk, kissed him very hard, and caused them both to plunge downward in an intense tangle of arms, legs, lips, fingers. A maelstrom of physical sensation took him, swirled him in the arms of his lover, his all-too-human lover.
Sharp memories gushed open in a flood, washed away his resistance, poured inescapably into his awareness. He ground the heels of his hands against his eyes and rocked on his knees for a moment, while he tried, and failed, to regain control. An agonized howl rose from his throat.
The film continued to play.
Down, down they drifted, alone in the universe the dark water made around them. Hands sliding, groping, legs twined around legs ... Kirk's hair floated against Spock's cheek, his lips against his throat. Kirk clung to the warmer Vulcan--he absorbed heat from his lean body, and also excitement. Deep, bone-wrenching excitement. So rarely could they be really alone. Free to enjoy--whatever they felt like.
Spock clamped a hand to his lover's head and felt the satisfaction and anticipation burn beneath. Familiar Terran memories welcomed him, gave him strength and comfort. He knew Kirk's arms were holding them together very tightly, and so he slid his free hand steadily toward Kirk's center. He'd seen James Kirk writhe under this treatment often enough, and yet he never tired of watching. Closer, closer floated the long fingers, found their mark, their home ...
// aieeee, aieeee, talas talaina, not this ... // Spock struggled to think in workaday Standard. // no ... not ... *this* //
The Vulcan's fingers dragged at the grass he huddled on. They dug into the dirt.
//jim. jim, t'hy'la. so blind, so blind. koon-ut-kalifee ... jim at my side ... veejur ... the Promenade ... the wedding ... my bondmate ... //
Kirk, who had passed through a Vulcan wedding for him. Who had offered whatever he had. Who had taught him how to use his body, and to enjoy it. The one who had helped him see emotions were acceptable. Kirk, who had shown him the quality and strength of character that Amanda possessed, to thrive in a culture that implicitly reproached her heritage and personality.
*These* were the memories he had lost. James Kirk as his bondmate. The man who accepted him as he was, who in turn helped him accept his human side. His commanding officer for years, his lover and mate nearly as long. So close they had been, so well matched. Now he understood why Kirk had fought for him, had tried to make him remember their bond by any means possible.
So, so. He crowded the bag into his arms, dropped his head on the smooth cloth. He breathed deeply. Again. And again. He felt the pheromones pour into his lungs, his brain. They screamed for attention, they screamed Need, Need. Kirk's pheromones, but--another human too. Kirk and ... McCoy? McCoy?
// never and always, touching and touched ... // A bond to be broken only in death. And it had been.
He bowed his head and surrendered to the riptide of emotions and memories. Here was the loss of control he feared, the human side returning full-bore.
So. He staggered to his feet. Shattered, he looked blindly around at the lovely glade.
All now lay before him, all his memories glittering and interlinked in a starfield. All that he had had, and had thrown away to save the Enterprise, to save his t'hy'la. Who had now turned to--McCoy. Kirk and McCoy.
// must put this aside. we have made our choices. must conceal ... //
He struggled down the valley path toward the foot of El Capitan. At each step he stood a little straighter, a little more rigid.
// I can do this ... I *can* do this ... I am a Vulcan. //
Peacefully climbing the cliff face, Kirk was shaken out of his concentration by the apparition in jet-boots at his elbow.
$S Greetings, Captain.
$K Spock! What are you doing in *this* neck of the woods?
The Vulcan bobbed gently up and down, hands behind his back, apparently the picture of relaxation.
"Spock, could we do this later? This is fairly tricky stuff. Can't you go talk to Bones for a while?"
"That did not seem wise."
Kirk looked at Spock with some irritation. "Aha. Well, look. I'm really not free right now. Why don't you ..."
As he spoke his hand slipped, and he plummeted from the cliff face.
Even upside down, held by Spock's brutal grip, Kirk could see McCoy pelting toward them and shouting as he ran. "Goddammit, Jim, god*dam*mit. Spock, you ok? Jim? Everything still attached?
"Relax, Bones, we're in one piece." From Kirk's left a clipped voice continued, "Two pieces, actually."
"This is a goddamn silly hobby. Jesus H. Christ on a crutch. Of all the lame- brained, self-destructive, utterly useless goddamn ... "
Showing his irritation, Kirk interrupted, "You about done, Bones? We *are* ok, after all."
Slightly above him, a voice murmured, "Perhaps this method of climbing was not the wisest choice."
McCoy looked his colleague up and down, as he floated on the boots' thrusters. "You could say that, Spock. Why on earth d'you tell me this is gonna be relaxing ..."
Kirk finally lost his temper. "OK, Bones, you're on to me. I was planning to *kill* myself in the most *spectacular* way I could think of, by leaping off a famous cliff with two good friends watching. But my bad luck, Spock caught me. There. Is *that* better? Is that what you want me to say?"
McCoy had been pulling out instruments, preparing for an on-the-spot physical. "Of course not. Don't be a damned fool. I would like you to admit that this is just *possibly* not the *absolute* *best* use for one or more highly talented Starfleet officers. One of whom is *not* firing on all thrusters, and I'll *let* you guess *which* *one*."
"Gentlemen, if I may ... " McCoy rode right over Spock's interruption. "I am *not* gonna sit around and watch you die, Jim. You can't make me. I've been down that road already with Spock, and that was bad enough. You cannot do that to me too." He ran a practiced eye over the scanner results, blessed the antigrav liners both were wearing, and stowed his equipment. Spock silently studied him for a moment, and then both climbers watched their friend stalk off.
"Dr. McCoy appears upset." The Vulcan shot a tentative look at his companion.
"Nothing out of the ordinary. Look, how about we get down from here? Do those boots have an Off switch?"
Regretting the speed with which Spock had responded, Kirk stood and rubbed the spots that had abruptly hit the rocky ground. "Thanks, I think. Look, McCoy is just--well, he's got his mind on other things today. He'll get over it. C'mon, I think we should head back to camp. You can tell me how your studies are coming, and the memory tests."
// my studies. I deserve that. I pushed him away. // The need to fiddle with his jet boots also concealed his face. In a moment Spock was able to stand and face Kirk, and answer the prosaic question. He reflected darkly that he had forgotten all sorts of things about his friend--such as how well Kirk could hide what he was feeling. The man had just fallen off a mountain, and yet he was surprisingly composed. Well, Vulcans had learned how to hide what they were feeling, too.
Kirk gestured expansively. "Quite some day, eh? Time to think about taking it easy." The two men began to climb along the path in their friend's wake. If Kirk was aware of Spock's eyes hard on his back, he did not show it. Nor had he noticed Spock nab a sharp rock and then turn its point hard into his palm. They headed for camp.