Kirk's heartbeat is soothing, Spock thinks. Slow and steady, so unlike his own.
Part of him still finds it difficult to believe he is here, in bed with Kirk, recovering after a night of pleasure that surpassed even his wildest imaginings. Kirk's fingers stroke through his hair, causing pleasant tingles whenever they touch.
"I've been thinking," Kirk says suddenly, his chest rumbling with the words.
Spock raises his head, turning to meet his eyes. "A not uncommon occurrence, I should hope?"
"Shut up." Kirk smiles, pushing at his shoulder. "You know what I mean."
"I do," Spock allows, shifting so that they are lying face to face. "I assume you wish to discuss these thoughts?"
Kirk nods, reaching out to trace Spock's features before cupping his cheek. "I love you, you know that, right?"
Warmth flows through Spock, and he covers Kirk's hand with his own, thumb brushing gently across the knuckles. "I know."
"And I don't regret what we did last night. Not one second of it. I just... I have some questions."
Spock waits, but Kirk doesn't continue. "Such as?" he prods after a few moments of silence.
"Well." Kirk's cheeks redden, but he forges onwards bravely. "To start with, I was wondering what happens at your next pon farr."
"I see." The discomfort of the topic makes Spock go tense, but it is a logical question. If he and Kirk are to be mated, he will need to know such things.
He clears his throat and begins, "If we were to bond, I would naturally be drawn to you at that time. We would need to go into seclusion for at least three days, until the fever burns itself out and I return to normal functioning."
"So you'd be going through it with me?"
Spock stares at him, concerned. "You would prefer I mated with another?"
Kirk shakes his head. "No, of course not. I just thought, well, isn't the point of pon farr to produce children? Doesn't it matter that I'm male?"
"The point of pon farr is survival," Spock tells him. "The production of offspring is secondary. And as I am incapable of fathering them in any case, it would seem to be irrelevant."
"So there are other same-sex Vulcan couples out there?"
Spock nods. "Fewer than among humans, but yes, there are many such couples. In addition to the rare bonds caused by circumstance, approximately three point one percent of the Vulcan population is exclusively homosexual, and it would be illogical to expect them to take a partner they were incapable of being attracted to."
Kirk looks curious. "And how does that work with Vulcans being betrothed as children? Is it obvious that early?"
"In most cases, yes. The elders meld with all children prior to betrothal to ensure successful matches. Any obvious preference in regards to gender would be noted at this point."
"What about you?" Kirk takes his hand, lacing their fingers together. "I have some pretty inarguable evidence about your 'preferences', but they still matched you up with T'Pring."
Spock nods slowly. "You have a point," he allows. "As I mentioned, the meld exposes strong preferences in most cases. Vulcans, like humans, are not a monolith, and some only become aware of their preferences later on." He glances away as he adds, "My human genetics may also have contributed to the confusion."
"And once you were betrothed, that was it? No way out except a fight to the death? That doesn't seem fair."
"It would not be." Spock takes a breath, the conversation straying into areas he is not proud of. "And it is not the case. It is true that once pon farr has begun, the only way out is through the kal-if-fee, but it is possible that the betrothal could have been broken earlier, had I thought to attempt it. Unfortunately, by the time I became aware of my inclinations I had been away from Vulcan for so long that it was... difficult to return. And in any case, it did not seem to matter. Were I to break my bond with T'Pring I would need to replace it with another, and there was no one I... wanted... enough for that."
"Until me," Kirk puts in, smiling.
"Indeed," Spock agrees. The familiar guilt wells, and he adds, "Jim, I wish you to know I deeply regret my decision. Had I known you would become caught in the middle-"
"Shh," Kirk interrupts, cutting him off. "I know. You've already apologised a dozen times, and I accepted it. I don't blame you."
Spock stares at him, the answering rush of love briefly rendering him speechless. "I do not deserve you," he says.
Kirk laughs. "That, my friend, is arguable." He presses a quick kiss to Spock's lips before adding, "So what you're saying is, no one's going to care that you bonded with a man."
"That is correct," Spock replies. "Although they will likely care that I bonded with a human."
"They'll probably think it runs in the family," Kirk teases. "Speaking of which, how do you think your parents will react?"
"My mother will likely be happy for us," Spock replies. "I cannot be certain about my father, but it does not matter. I would bond with you regardless of his wishes."
The smile Kirk gives him in response is blinding. "I guess I'd better start drafting those forms to Starfleet," he says.
"That would seem prudent," Spock agrees. "You spoke of other questions?"
Kirk flushes, his smile becoming self-conscious. "Oh. Just, how soon can we bond?"
Spock considers it. Part of him wants to do so as soon as possible, but... "The process can be somewhat intense. It would be best to wait for a shore leave, when we will have sufficient time alone."
"Like a honeymoon," Kirk suggests.
Spock feels the edges of his mouth lift. "If you wish."
"Mmm," Kirk says, cuddling closer. "I can't wait."
Spock wraps his arms around him more firmly, breathing in the smell of his hair and wondering how he could have gotten so lucky. "Neither can I."
Written for arka_r in the Space Swap exchange.
I've always been curious about how Vulcans view same-sex relationships, so this is one take on it.