A Message from Destiny by Tlema
Summary:

Based on the redacted, but never filmed scene written for William Shatner in the new movie. I wish they had put it in, but maybe I wouldn't have been able to change it up so freely if they had.

Spock is given a message from his counterpart; it's a hologram of the other Jim sent on Spock's birthday. Will it convince Spock to stay in Starfleet?


Categories: Fiction Characters: None
Crossover Fandom: None
Genres: Kirk-Spock Friendship, Kirk/Spock Pre-Slash, Kirk/Spock Slash
Other Languages: None
Specific movie: None
Story Type: First Time, Romance
Trope (OPTIONAL): None
Universe: Abrams Universe
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 13509 Read: 147689 Published: 05/31/2011 Updated: 06/10/2011
Story Notes:

I decided to continue it. It will be about seven chapters long, maybe eight if I decide to cut one in two. It's almost finished, so it should be up relatively quickly, since this story is much shorter than my usual chapter stories.

1. The Message by Tlema

2. The Decision by Tlema

3. Aftermath by Tlema

4. Just Chess by Tlema

5. Misinterpretations by Tlema

6. Dilemma by Tlema

7. Destiny by Tlema

The Message by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Yes, I changed the message A LOT. But I like it better this way. XD

Spock looked at his older counterpart and could scarcely believe what he was hearing. Certainly he did not hate Kirk, but he could not see such a friendship between them as his counterpart was describing.

"I do not understand why you would believe this timeline should be the same as your own," Spock said haughtily, allowing some irritation into his voice.

"Spock, I was once as you are, young and proud," the old Vulcan smiled easily. "I embraced the ways of Vulcans and eschewed emotional displays. But then, someone taught me the beauty of embracing my Human side." He pulled a pendant strung on a cord from around his neck. "I have kept this with me for a long time. Perhaps it is time for someone to realize the dream we never could." He put the chip in Spock's hand, closing it into a fist with both his own. "I have every faith that you will make the correct decision. Do not make the mistakes I did, Spock." He squeezed the hand in both of his before stepping back. "I was once taught by a great man that nothing is permanent, nor is it ‘set in stone'. The rules and laws of the universe are only laws if you allow them to be. There may be difficulties and dire consequences to changing the past," he smiled wryly. "But the future is yours to shape. Do not take the path you are told to take, take the path you feel you must take."

"How do I know which is correct?" Spock asked as the old man turned away.

"You will know," he assured him, not turning around. "It will all become clear to you."

Spock watched his counterpart go before looking at the pendant in his hand. He realized it was a holo-emittor. Spock pushed the button and an image materialized in from of him, accompanied by the singing of the song ‘Happy Birthday'. He recognized both the face and the voice, although they were both marked with age.

The older Kirk finished his song and looked sheepish. "I know you'll say it's illogical to celebrate your birth because you had nothing to do with it, but I don't care. It's your birthday, and I‘ll sing you a song if I want to." He looked sheepish for a moment longer before continuing. "I wanted to congratulate you on making Ambassador, Lord knows you're the most diplomatic person in the world; you put up with Bones all this time." The holo-Kirk grinned. "I wanted to congratulate you and say... I miss you, old friend. I miss you more than I can say..."

Spock saw the man heave a sigh, and noticed a small tear growing in the corner of Kirk's eye. Spock was not sure why, but he had a sudden urge to cry as well. The obvious sorrow on the man's face was contagious; Spock felt himself grieving for the man who so obviously missed his friend.

"I guess I always thought we'd retire and grow old together," the hologram continued with a dry laugh. "I should have known you'd never do something so ‘illogical'. You'd want to make yourself useful to your dying day. I just... I miss having you by my side, Spock. I can't help but feeling like this can't be the end; you once told me that to travel the stars was my best destiny, and that to do anything else would be a waste. Well, do you remember when Edith Keeler told you that you belonged at my side always? I think she was right, Spock. It feels so empty without you here."

Spock watched the tear roll down Kirk's face.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is, I can't believe it's over, I want another go," the hologram continued. "I sit here watching cadets graduate, and they get to go off on these wild adventures while I sit here on the ground. I know you'll probably say it's their turn now, we've had ours but, I don't want it to be. I want my turn back. I want to venture back out there. I feel like it's my duty. They say only 20% of space has been explored by the federation, and I think that's a crime. I want nothing more than for you to come with me so we can explore the stars together, even though I know it'll never happen. I have to face it, I'm an old man now, it's time to sit back and let the young ones go ahead."

Spock felt a tear well up in his own eye and he touched the wetness in confusion.

"Spock, I don't know how to tell you how much you mean to me," Kirk continued. "Even when you aren't with me, I feel like you are the only stable, reassuring thing in my life. I'm lost without you with me to keep me in line," the hologram gave a watery chuckle. "I guess the basic gist of the message is I miss you, Spock and I wish you were here with me. But there is one more thing I wanted to say..."

Spock felt himself taking a deep breath with the hologram, as though his whole future resided on the hologram's next words.

"I love you Spock. I love you like I've never been able to love anyone else," Kirk looked thoughtful for a moment. "That old word you used once, T'hy'la. I figured out what it means. I know that's what we are... why didn't we see it when it mattered? It feels like we wasted a lifetime."

"I'm going on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise B in a few days. I thought it might be nice to see her off, Chekov and Scotty are coming with me. After that, I'm boarding the first shuttle to Vulcan. I have to see you again; I know it's not too late for us. I've got some time left, and I want to spend it with you."

The holo-Kirk paused for a moment and smiled. "I hope to see you soon, but until then, remember..."

Spock held his breath as the hologram's last words entered his sensitive ears and he broke down completely. The four words outline everything his counterpart had lost and Spock could scarcely believe he survived it. Spock had thought such  strong bond as the fabled T'hy'la Bond was a myth, but he could now see it was not. With those four final words, the tears and all, the hologram Kirk was able to convince Spock it was real. He knew what he had to do. He was not going to make the same mistakes as his counterpart.

He closed his hand aroung the emitter and the words replayed themselves in his mind.

"I love you, T'hy'la."

End Notes:

Part Two is very short (like I said) But I might expand on it, we shall see.

The Decision by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Still short, but I added to it in preparation for the rest of the story. I am continuing it. ^-^

Spock was uncertain about how he would be received upon returning to the Enterprise. He knew Kirk had not yet filled the positions of Chief Science Officer nor had he filled the First Officer position. Spock could not fathom why that was.

A small part of him hoped (illogically) that it was because Kirk had been hoping Spock would change his mind about leaving and stay on the Enterprise. Somehow, Spock couldn't believe it, no matter how much his subconscious tried to convince himself of it.

Nevertheless, he made his way to the Enterprise and rode the turbolift to the bridge impatiently. When the lift doors opened, he stepped out carefully, looking only for Jim's reaction.

Uhura smiled and said something to him, but it fell on deaf ears, Sulu and Chekov turned around beaming, but Spock's eyes were glued to Kirk.

The smile on the Human's face told Spock everything he needed to know; he had made the correct choice.

 

Jim smiled at Spock; he was so... happy, ecstatic, elated, Jim couldn't pick a descriptor for how unbelievably glad he was to see Spock walking onto the bridge. He couldn't explain the feelings of elation, but he felt as though everything was right in the universe for the first time in his life.

Jim looked at Spock, who was not-smiling back; Jim thought for a minute. Was he the only one who noticed that Spock did smile? He just did it with his eyes and not his mouth. That mouth that sometimes Jim wasn't sure he wanted to punch or kiss more.

Jim's smile widened. He could definitely see the potential for their supposedly life-altering relationship in this moment. He saw Spock's eyes soften and he wondered just what had convinced him to stay in Starfleet.

He winked. It didn't matter why he came back. All that mattered to Jim was that he did.

 

Nyota Uhura could not believe her eyes. Less than forty-eight hours earlier Spock had told her that he was ‘terminating their romantic liaison' and moving to New Vulcan with his father to help rebuild the Vulcan race. She had accepted that and resigned herself to spending her first missions without anyone, not even a friend with her.

Now, Spock was walking onto the bridge as though that had been his plan all along and she couldn't help but feel a little peeved that whatever he did decide to come back for, it probably wasn't her. Nevertheless, she smiled at him and opened her mouth to welcome him back, but he walked right past her without even looking in her direction. She bristled; he definitely wasn't back for her.

He walked straight to the center seat, straight to the Captain. Uhura glared. Spock wouldn't come back for his girlfriend but he would come back for a guy he didn't even like? She did a double-take; maybe the captain wasn't someone Spock hated. She saw them exchange a look and Jim smiled; she faltered in her anger. When did they become friends?

The two men spoke for a moment, she was too busy reeling to pay attention to what they were saying, but next thing she knew, Spock was settling into the science station, right next to her communications one. She smiled; she was glad he was back.

"Welcome back, Spock," she said and reached out to touch his arm.

He moved his arm out of her reach as fast as if she were a ferocious le-matya. She pulled her hand back, hurt.

He nodded at her politely and then proceeded to scan the space around them, even though they were still in space dock, as though it was the most interesting thing in the universe.

Uhura bristled again. Spock was not back for her. It looked like he wanted nothing at all to do with her. It looked like she would still be spending her first mission alone.

 

Jim watched Spock go over to the Science station, still unable to explain why he was just so happy to see him there. Jim shrugged to himself; it was probably something he would never be able to explain.

He watched Uhura reach towards Spock and felt a stab of... irritation, Jim was sure it was irritation, although he couldn't quite explain why; it wa most likely because he wanted his crew professional. That had to be it.

The irritation was put to rest, however, when Spock wrenched his arm away from her before she even had the chance to touch him. He couldn't explain the happy swelling in his chest at the sight, and right now Jim was getting tired of trying to understand what was going on. He decided to just give up understanding it and just go with it.

He smiled once more at Spock before turning to face the viewscreen. "Mr. Sulu, take us out of space dock, please."

"Aye, Captain," Sulu grinned and did as he was told. It was going to be an interesting mission, that was for sure.

Aftermath by Tlema
Author's Notes:

And I continue on. Hopefully I'll be able to update this one more quickly than the last, but I'm sort of stuck picking up the slack from other coworkers either leaving or that are new. But we'll see.

 

"Spock," Uhura called for Spock's attention as he made his way out of the turbolift after their first shift of the mission was over.

"Nyota," Spock greeted, sounding rather pleasant considering he'd avoided her touch like she was poisonous all shift.

"What the hell was that about?" she asked angrily, not caring if there were people in the hall around them.

"I am afraid I do not understand what you are asking," Spock replied quietly, walking in a direction where there were less people milling through the halls.

"Don't understand it my ass," Uhura said venomously. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. On the bridge, you ripped your arm away from me like I was trying to bite it off."

"Our romantic relationship has been terminated, and I do not see the logic in continuing it," Spock said, no emotion whatsoever in his voice. "And it is inappropriate for an officer to touch another intimately, regardless of personal relationship status, while on duty."

"You ‘do not see the logic in continuing it'?" Uhura asked angrily. "Then why did you let it start in the first place?"

Spock took a breath and Uhura noticed that it was slightly unsteady. She instantly regretted getting angry like she had; Spock had enough to deal with without her dumping all her anger on him too.

"I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I'm just confused, that's all."

"That is not all," Spock said just as quietly. "You are hurting, I have hurt you. I am... sorry for this," he looked at her and for the first time, Uhura though she could see some emotion in his eyes, a small sadness there. "I will admit that logic failed me in that moment and I apologize for the pain my inability to understand what I was doing has hurt you."

Uhura nodded and then smiled. "Spock, whatever you say about our personal relationship, I'm here for you. No matter what, I'm still your friend, and if you need me, I am here."

Spock nodded. "I thank you for your friendship, Nyota."  He turned away from her then and made his way back down the corridor towards his quarters. She watched him go with a mixture of sadness and confusion. She didn't think she'd ever fully understand the man that was Spock. Something in the back of her mind told her that she was never meant to.

 

"Hi Spock," Jim greeted, seeing Spock coming down the hall as he exited the turbolift. He noted the look in Spock's eyes, a look of deep sadness and possibly anger and he stopped. "Spock, what's wrong?"

Spock looked up at him, obviously startled out of some form of personal contemplation. "Captain, I apologize, I did not see you there, my thoughts were elsewhere..."

"We're off-duty, it's ‘Jim' now," Jim said automatically before turning his attention to the turmoil he still saw in those chocolate brown eyes. "So, what's got that big ol' brain of yours working so hard you don't even notice my handsome self talking to you?"

Spock's eyebrow threatened to breach his hairline at that question. He wasn't sure what it was about this man, but he couldn't help but be truthful with him. "I was contemplating my decision to return. I find that I still cannot be certain that the decision was the correct one."

Jim's eyes softened and it looked to Spock like he was attempting to convey that he understood exactly what Spock was trying to say. "I saw the thing with Uhura... is everything okay there?" Jim began walking again, smiling when Spock followed.

"Everything is indeed... ‘okay' as you put it," Spock answered after a moment of silence. "However, I have caused her undue pain; I can only hope to rectify that."

"Spock, from my experience, Humans get over most pain pretty easily after they've had time to stew or they talk it out," Jim said amiably. "If you talked about it, which I think you did, judging by the look on your face, I think you'll both be okay. Besides, it looks like she's happy you came back."

"Indeed," Spock said softly, and Jim saw more turmoil enter those eyes.

"Hey," Jim reached out and put an arm around his newly-reinstated First's shoulders, more than half expecting it to be shrugged off immediately, especially considering what he had witnessed with Uhura that morning. He was understandably shocked when his touch was allowed, so shocked in fact, that it took him a full minute to remember what he had been about to say. "A little bird told me you like chess, would you care to join me in a game?"

"I would be amenable to that," Spock said quietly. "However, I feel it important to point out that I have never encountered a species of ‘little bird' capable of communicating with humanoid species."

Jim looked at Spock's expression and realized that the Vulcan was... teasing him, there was no other thing it could be. Jim laughed. "No, I guess it would be illogical to say that's what happened, huh Spock?"

"Indeed," Spock replied. "However, that is one idiom that I do not find very displeasing. In any case, I believe I find it... pleasingly whimsical."

"Pleasingly whimsical?" Jim repeated, dumbfounded by the generally ultra-Vulcan's use of the word ‘whimsical'. Of course, Jim corrected himself in his mind; Spock could have appeared ulta-Vulcan solely because Jim had paid so little attention to any other aspect of his First.

"Indeed," Spock said as they rounded the corner to the corridor housing their respective cabins. Spock looked thoughtful for a moment. "I believe the Human phrase is ‘your place or mine'?"

Jim choked out a nervous laugh, suddenly caught by the image of him and Spock getting up to much naughtier things than chess in one of their cabins. That little saying had obviously broke into Jim's pent-up sexual frustration. "That is a Human saying, but I'm not sure it'll... never mind. I have my chess board out, actually, so that might make it easier."

"That is acceptable," Spock, eyebrow raised at the laugh from his captain, followed Jim to the door to his cabin and followed him in politely. He looked around curiously; the room was sparse, just about as sparse as his own. His eyes snapped to the small shelf in the corner, holding several paper books; priceless antiques.

Jim followed his gaze and smiled lovingly at the shelf. "They were my dad's. He had a whole bunch of books. I couldn't bring them all with me, so I put the rest in storage. I just brought my favourites."

Spock read through the titles interestedly and several familiar ones leapt out at him, including the almost-complete works of William Shakespeare. "I had no idea you were so well-versed in ancient Terran literature, Cap-Jim."

"Always the tone of surprise," Jim said in mock irritation. "Just because I grew up milking cows on a farm doesn't mean I have to be stupid."

"I did not mean to imply..." Spock began but Jim's chuckle cut him off.

"I was kidding Spock," Jim rolled his eyes. "I'm used to people being surprised I'm a whole lot smarter than the corn growing in the fields behind my house."

"I am in no way surprised by your levels of intelligence," Spock said softly. "Need I remind you that it would take a great deal to change the parameters of my simulation. I would know, I developed it." Thos dark eyes twinkled in a way that told Jim he was laughing at him.

"Yeah," Jim chuckled. "Sorry about ruining your precious Kobayashi Maru. But I still don't believe in no-win scenarios."

Spock looked at him, his face slightly twisted into a wry expression. "Upon seeing your more... unorthodox methods, I am forced to admit that I no longer believe in them either."

Jim grinned easily. "Aha! I've converted you! That's so awesome."

"Awesome indeed," Spock said quietly. He sat down in the chair opposite Jim and regarded the chess board in between them.

"Black or white?" Jim asked.

"I believe I shall take black this evening," Spock answered, having sat on the black side of the board. It also seemed logical to him to allow Jim to go first to witness his strategy to better counter it. And, Spock thought as an afterthought, it was good manners.

"You got it," Jim smiled and, completely ignoring his pawns, moved his knight out straight away.

"I admit that choice is not what I was expecting," Spock said softly, mirroring Jim's move.

"Well Spock, since you think logically and I've never been known to fit into the category of things that are logical, I guess that goes without saying," Jim laughed and made his next move.

"And I believe you will continue to demonstrate this," Spock said quietly, doing his best to counteract Jim's peculiar non-strategy. He seemed to be doing this a lot with the Human; Spock found himself... looking forward to doing so for a long time.

 

Their game lasted one hour and four minutes, ending in a scraped victory for Spock. Jim smiled at him as he rose to his feet.

"That was the best game I've had my whole life, Spock," Jim said truthfully. "I hope you'll treat me to another sometime soon."

"I shall endeavour to do so whenever possible, Jim," Spock said with his own, Vulcan version of a smile. He too had greatly enjoyed the game, regardless of Jim's unorthodox playing method, in fact, Spock found that it was because of this unusual strategy that game had been so successful. He nodded at Jim and turned to leave.

"Oh, and Spock?" Jim called after him. Spock stopped walking but did not turn around. "I'm happy you came back, if that means anything to you."

Spock left Jim's cabin and reflected on what he'd said. Perhaps the Human believed it meant nothing to him, but Spock could not deny it. The fact that Jim was pleased by his return meant a great deal to him. A very great deal.

Just Chess by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Poor Jim is in denial and grossly misinformed.

Chess games became a regular affair for them both as they settled into their mission in the following weeks, which began to leak into months. Time passed quickly on the Enterprise so that three months into their mission, it felt, to Jim at least, like it had only been last week that they'd departed from Earth's space dock.

They were in the middle of one of their weekly-turned-nightly chess games when Jim said just that. "I mean seriously, I can't believe it's been three months."

"Nor can I, Cap-Jim," Spock was really making the effort to leave out the formalities in the interest of friendship and Jim was proud. "However to me, it seems as though it has been significantly longer. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that you have spent a considerable amount of time unconscious in sickbay while I have not."

Jim did not recognize Spock's tone of voice, as he hardly ever heard this one being used, and every time he did, he was generally too drugged up in sickbay to really dwell on it. It wasn't reproachful, exactly, but Jim could detect a harshness in the deep tones as well as something like... concern?

"Spock, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you worried about me all those times I was stuck in sickbay," he teased quietly.

"You obviously do not ‘know better' then," Spock murmured, almost too quiet for Jim to hear.

Jim was taken aback. "Spock, you actually were worried?" he asked, almost refusing to believe it.

"You are my captain and my friend," Spock said softly. "As First Officer, it is my duty to concern myself with the health of my captain; as your friend, I was concerned as well."

Jim felt mortifying wetness in the corners of his eyes at the words that could only display why the Vulcan had come to mean so much to him. He showed Jim the utmost respect and went about his duties with a strong sense of... devotion, of course, but what really got Jim was the way he looked at him, as though he were conveying unconditional acceptance through those delightful chocolaty eyes. Jim couldn't understand it; during the incident with Nero, it seemed like Spock couldn't stand Jim, and yet now he looked at him with compassion, affection and even some level of devotion in his eyes. He found himself wondering, not for the first time, what had brought about this change.

"Spock I... I don't know what to say," Jim said truthfully. "I worry like crazy about you too, you know, that's how I get into half these crazy ass situations."

"I am aware of that, Jim," Spock said in a hard voice, his eyes looking pained. "Regardless of how many times I have asked you not to do anything to save me that would risk your own life. You are the most important person on this ship, a First Officer is easily replaceable, a Captain however, given the current condition of Starfleet, is much more difficult to replace. And you... You are irreplaceable," he finished in almost a whisper and Jim had to lean forward over the table to hear.

"Spock," Jim said sharply. "Don't talk like that. If either of us is irreplaceable it's you. You're completely unique. There are all sorts of hicks like me they could train up and give a ship to. There is only one Spock, and there will only ever be one Spock. Well, actually, never mind," Jim had to mentally kick himself; he'd almost given away the existence of the other Spock.

"There are two," Spock said quietly, as though he knew exactly what Jim had been about to say. "You have just illustrated my point. There are two Spocks, but there will only ever be one James Kirk."

"Spock I..." Jim paused and what Spock had said really clicked in his brain. "Wait, what? You know about him? And the universe didn't implode or anything? He's a big liar, and here I am kicking myself every time I almost mention him! The asshole!"

Spock smiled at him, just a quirk of his lips, but Jim took it as the big grin it really was. "I certainly hope that I never become the being you are so intent on calling an ‘asshole'," he said with amusement.

Jim laughed. "I don't see you lying about impending doom of the universes to me, so I doubt it." He laughed for a minute more before becoming serious. "But seriously, he lied to me! I thought Vulcans couldn't lie."

"If I recall correctly, he corrected my assumption, which was remarkably similar to your own, and stated that he merely implied that fact," Spock told him.

"Of course you recall correctly, you've got perfect memory," Jim rolled his eyes.

Spock felt the tips of his ears go green; he did not fully understand why it was only compliments from Jim that caused this sort of physiological reaction. He supposed it was merely because he somehow knew Jim was being perfectly sincere. "Indeed."

Jim smiled, admiring the way he could always make those gorgeous ears turn emerald green. He found himself wondering if he could make some other part of Spock's anatomy green too. Jim quickly backed off that though; it was a dangerous place to be, especially while Spock was in the room. The next thing he said, he only said to distract himself from the distinctly inappropriate way his thoughts were headed.

"I still can't believe he's you, different version or not," Jim said. "Somehow I don't see you ever lying, or implying anything to me like that. I don't know what it is. As much as I trusted him on Delta Vega, I know that sounds stupid I mean, we'd only just met, but somehow I did. Anyways, I trust you so much more than the other you."

Spock raised an eyebrow. Jim was babbling and it was unlike him. Spock watched him more closely. He got the distinct impression that Jim was uncomfortable. Perhaps he felt that such a statement would make Spock uncomfortable? He decided to rectify that. "I find that I trust you implicitly as well."

Jim's cheeks went red. "Well, that's good to hear," he mumbled, embarrassed by the intense feeling that was brought on by that admission. He didn't understand why Spock's opinion of him meant so much to him, well, actually he was lying to himself there. He knew exactly why Spock's opinion meant so much to him; it was because the Vulcan himself meant so much to Jim.  Jim didn't love him; no, James Kirk did not do the big L word, everything just went wrong with love. But he did... what was that word Vulcans used all the time? Oh yeah, Jim cherished Spock. A lot. But he didn't love him; Jim didn't think he was capable love.

Besides, Jim thought bitterly to himself, moving a knight without really thinking about it. Even if you could love him, he's got Uhura. There's nothing you can do about that. He tried very hard not to feel irritated by the way that his First Officer and Chief Communications officer spent so many lunches together, probably talking about how much they loved each other and how many kids they were going to have. Jim sighed audibly; yes, he was lucky he didn't know how to love anyone, or else he'd be pretty unhappy indeed.

"Cap-Jim?" Spock's voice broke through Jim's thoughts. "Is everything alright?"

"Hmm?" Jim looked up and shook his head slightly to clear it. "Yeah, everything's fine. And don't you dare lecture me on how bad you think the word ‘fine' is," he added quickly when Spock opened his mouth to reply.

"I merely ask because you seem to have forgotten which colour you are playing this evening," Spock indicated the black knight he had just moved. "As you have just put my knight in the perfect position to put your king," Spock indicated the white one in front of Jim. "In check."

"Oh," Jim looked down and realized that he had indeed moved the wrong piece. "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention."

"I surmised as much," Spock put his knight back into the position it was before Jim had moved it. "Which is why I inquired into your well-being. It appears that you have unpleasant thoughts in your mind."

"Oh, Uh," Jim didn't know what say. He couldn't very well tell Spock that he was pissed off that he was spending time with his gorgeous girlfriend, could he? She had been there first. "No, no unpleasant thoughts. I think I might just be tired, that's all."

"Perhaps it would be prudent to continue this game another time then," Spock said and e made to get up.

"No," Jim said quickly. He didn't want Spock to leave yet. He was pretty sure that Spock would leave this cabin and eture over to Uhura's. She was probably waiting for him. Jim tried very hard to ignore the sort of vindictive pleasure he felt at keeping Spock to himself so often. He also tried to ignore the relief he felt that he never had to witness any intimate interactions between them. He'd only seen them kiss on the transporter pad, and even then Jim had experienced a strange sensation of jealousy and irritation. He didn't think he had the emotional strength to handle another public display like that. Not that he was in love with Spock or anything, but he didn't have to like the fact that he was dating someone else, did he?

"Jim, you are obviously fatigued and not paying close enough attention to the game to consider this a useful way to spend the evening," Spock said softly. "The logical thing would be for you to retire early and obtain a sufficient amount of sleep."

"The reason I don't get enough sleep is that I can't sleep," Jim complained, mostly to prolong the conversation and keep Spock there. "I don't see the point in lying in bed and staring at the ceiling for hours on end." Thinking about how I can't have you, but she can, he added mentally.

"Have you discussed this with Doctor McCoy?" Spock asked, concern lacing his voice. "Perhaps he can offer a sedative?"

"I've already tried the sedatives, and Bones thinks I'm an idiot," Jim rolled his eyes. "My brain just won't shut up long enough for me to get a decent night's sleep." That much was true; his brain seemed to think that the best time for thinking was at 0100 in the morning. Most times it was about Spock, but whenever they went on an away mission that ended horribly... the security or science officers became the center of his mind's focus that night. It was actually starting to get a little old.

"Nevertheless, I feel it is important that you at least make an attempt to rest," Spock said gently. He reached out and plucked Jim's hand from the chess piece it was pretty much fondling at this point, and, touching only his wrist lightly, set it down gently on the table. "We may continue this game tomorrow afternoon upon the completion of our shifts."

"I believe we have a date, Spock," Jim said, smiling sleepily. He bade goodnight to Spock and made his way to his bed, suddenly exhausted. He fell asleep begrudging the fact that it was not an actual date, just chess.

 

Jim woke up to the sound of his chronometer beeping, telling him it was time to get up to get ready for shift. He couldn't believe how well he'd slept that night, especially considering how miserable he had felt the evening before.

In fact, he was so well rested that he got ready at top speed, meaning he was ridiculously early for shift. Jim shrugged to himself. He knew that Spock showed up to the bridge early every morning, and as captain, it couldn't hurt to appear eager and on top of things every once in a while. So, he straightened his uniform tunic and exited his quarters at exactly the same time Spock was exiting his.

"Good morning, Captain," Spock greeted, his eyes glued to the PADD in his hand. "I trust you slept well last night?"

"Yeah, actually," Jim said, cheered by the fact that it appeared that Spock had slept in his own quarters last night, and Uhura was definitely not in Spock's cabin. "It was a pretty good night. How was yours?"

"Uneventful," Spock replied, the tips of his ears turning green. Upon waking, he realized that the majority of his slumber had been plagued by dreams, uncommon for a Vulcan, about his captain in less than appropriate situations.

Jim caught the blush and immediately misinterpreted it. "Oh, you must have gone to see Uhura, right?"

Spock looked up from his PADD at him, with confusion etched onto his face. "I did not, nor do I see why you would assume I would have. I have not seen Lieutenant Uhura outside of our bridge shifts together since lunch two point four days ago."

"Huh," was all Jim said as they stepped into the turbolift. Trouble in paradise? Jim asked himself. He stopped himself from feeling hopeful about that. It was wrong for to want his friend to break up with his girlfriend.

"You are early for your shift this morning," Spock remarked as the ‘lift ascended.

"Yeah, first good night's sleep in a long time, I had an abundance of energy getting ready this morning," Jim shrugged. "I figure the captain should put the effort into being early for shift at least once in a while."

Spock nodded and they rode the rest of the way in amicable silence. Jim noted how comfortable he always felt in Spock's presence, whether or not they were speaking and filed that away for contemplation the next time his thoughts stopped him from sleeping. It was nice to have proof that their supposedly ‘life-altering friendship' did have the grounds to happen. Even if he couldn't have more from Spock (not that I want more, Jim told himself firmly), he would certainly have that.

"Are you doing anything for lunch today?" Jim asked suddenly.

"I am not," Spock answered. "Would you care to join me in the mess upon that hour, Captain?"

Jim smiled. "Then I believe we have a lunch date as well, Mr. Spock."

Misinterpretations by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Oh, these poor guys just keep reading into things that aren't there.

Lunch rolled around rather quickly for Jim, who had spent the entire morning gloating about what he thought was most likely a signal of the end of Spock and Uhura's relationship. As many times as he told himself he was being a bit of a selfish jerk for feeling happy about it, he couldn't help himself. He just didn't think they meshed well as a couple. As friends maybe, but definitely not a couple. Jim continued to tell himself that was the only reason he wanted this relationship to end.

He handed the con over to Sulu around noon and proceeded to the turbolift to find Spock standing there, waiting for him.

"Hey Spock, how was your morning?" he asked brightly as they stepped into the ‘lift together.

Spock looked at him with that look that told Jim he was about to get teased. "I experienced the same morning you did, Captain."

"Of course, Spock, how silly of me to ask," Jim chuckled.

They made their way to the mess and selected an empty table once they had retrieved their food from the replicator. They were quickly joined by Doctor Leonard McCoy, Jim's other best friend, who looked as grumpy as ever.

"Hey Bones, what's up with you?" Jim asked cheerfully, nudging the sullen man playfully, if only to get a bark in response. "Someone throw up on you again?"

"You don't know the half of it," Bones rolled his eyes. "It's time for physicals and it's like herding sheep getting everyone in. By the way, you need to come in for yours too sometime, maybe this afternoon?"

Jim groaned. "Do I have to? You know I'm healthy."

"If healthy is the new word to describe batshit insane," Bones rolled his eyes.

"It is important to ensure you remain in optimum health, Captain," Spock said quietly, looking at vegetable stir-fry he was eating.

"Same with you Spock, I'll want to see you in too," Bones said dangerously. "And no one is allowed to skip out or pretend they already did their physical with one of the nurses or whatever. I'll know."

Jim shuddered at the tone of voice. "Yes sir, I'll go see you when I have the time."

"Oh sure, make sure it's great in your schedule, who cares about mine?" McCoy picked up the remaining half of his sandwich and stood up. "I'll leave you two lovebirds to your lunch; I've got actual work to do."

Jim gaped after his friend and doctor. The storming away was normal for Bones, but just who did he think he was calling him and Spock lovebirds?

"I must admit to being perplexed by his statement," Spock said quietly after a beat of silence. "We are not involved in a romantic relationship, nor are we anywhere near being a part of an avian species."

Jim snorted in spite of his shock. "No, no we're not. I think Bones is just being his usual charming self."

"Indeed," Spock agreed solemnly and Jim laughed again.

It was then that Uhura walked into the mess and Jim tensed slightly, wondering if she would join them at their table. He needn't have worried; she didn't even notice them. She merely went to the replicator, got her food and went over to sit at another table with the Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, known to most as Scotty.

"She seems to be spending a lot of time with Scotty," Jim remarked, hardly realizing that he had said that out loud.

"Indeed," Spock followed his gaze for a moment before turning his attention back to Jim. "She has expressed interest in gaining his assistance with the reprogramming of the universal translators."

"Oh, awesome," Jim nodded to himself. Or she could be cheating on you, Jim refused to believe that part of him was hoping she was. He quashed those feelings immediately. He didn't want to see the relationship end in a way that hurt Spock.

"Indeed," Spock said again, watching him closely. "They are both highly intelligent and will no doubt make an excellent team."

"Huh, yeah, probably," Jim nodded and finally looked back at Spock to find him watching him closely. "What?" he asked when the gaze did not move from his face.

"Are you romantically interested in Lieutenant Uhura?" Spock asked suddenly. He had seen the way Jim was looking at her and thought perhaps he was interested in her. It would be dishonest if he were to deny that the possibility hurt him.

"What?" Jim was taken aback. "No! Not at all," he was slightly hurt that Spock was apparently feeling territorial about his girlfriend. He guessed that meant that a breakup wasn't so imminent.

Spock looked slightly cheered by his answer and Jim felt a knot forming in the pit of his stomach. Why was he feeling this way? He was James Kirk, and James Kirk did not do love; and even if he did, he wouldn't be stupid enough to fall for his best friend who was obviously in no way interested in him.

"I apologize for misinterpreting your interest in her activities," Spock said.

"Oh Spock, it's really no big deal. I mean, if I were interested in anyone on this ship it would be-" Jim broke off with a blush. Why did his mouth always seem to bypass his brain when he was talking to Spock? It was starting to become more than a minor inconvenience.

Spock looked decidedly less cheerful all of a sudden. "I see," he stood up. "I must oversee some work in the labs. I shall see you this evening when we continue our chess game."

Jim, completely startled by this abrupt departure, could only nod to convey his understanding.

 

Spock gripped his PADD much harder than necessary, trying his best to quell the sudden and intense feelings of anger and jealousy. He had no idea who it was that Jim was interested in, but Spock figured that was probably for the best; he wasn't certain he could trust himself not to ‘take out' his irritation on the object of Jim's affections.

Looking around the lab to ensure that he was, in fact, alone, he heaved an unVulcan sigh and set the PADD down, lest he break it in his grip.

He had been uncertain that any sort of romantic relationship could have been at all possible between Jim and himself, even though he knew his counterpart had had one with his own captain. That uncertainty had disappeared with every touch and every shared glance and smile between them since Spock's return to the Enterprise. He had been certain that their relationship was moving steadily in the romantic direction.

Now, the uncertainty was back full force. Jim was romantically interested in someone. That left little room for a relationship with Spock. The more he thought about it, more possible difficulties came to mind. What if this James Kirk was heterosexual? Simply because one Jim had been involved with one Spock did not necessarily mean it would be so with another.

Spock sighed again. Terran literature made romance seem so simple, yet to Spock, it was the most complicated thing in the universe.

 

"Well Jim, you're looking a lot less tired than last time I saw you in here," McCoy remarked when Jim actually made it down to sickbay for his physical with minimum persuasion.

"Yeah, I actually got a decent night's sleep last night," Jim shrugged. "I guess I was just so exhausted that my brain finally decided to take pity on me."

"Thank god, I thought I was gonna have to hypo you into a goddamn coma for a week at the rate you were going," Bones ran the tricorder over Jim. "You actually look healthy for once. You're taking care of yourself."

"Well, sort of," Jim blushed. Spock had been watching his meals and quietly suggesting alternatives that Jim really did enjoy, and their games of chess worked wonders on his stress levels. On top of everything, Spock was also helping him keep his paperwork under control.

"I know Spock's been lookin' out for ya," McCoy said. "And as much as I don't like the hobgoblin, he's been doing a mighty fine job of it."

"Spock does a good job at everything he does," Jim shrugged. "Including keeping my sorry ass safe and healthy."

"I'll give him that, he's been making my job easier," Bones rolled his eyes. "I haven't had to patch you up quite as much as normal lately, but you're still in here more than I'd like you to be."

"Aw, don't you like my company?" Jim asked in mock hurt. "That's a mean thing to say to a guy."

"Shut up, you still love me," McCoy said gruffly.

"Yeah, I do," Jim laughed and, throwing any captainly decorum he may have possessed aside, threw his arms around his friend's neck and hugged him. "You're the greatest friend ever, and I love you for it. Well you know, not love love, but you get what I mean."

"Oh shut up, you idiot," McCoy semi-reluctantly put his own arms around his friend.

It was unfortunate for Spock that he chose that moment to walk into sickbay for his own physical. He froze in the doorway upon witnessing that scene.

"Oh, Spock, you're here for your checkup too then," Bones let go of Jim and his friend followed suit, albeit reluctantly. McCoy rolled his eyes; he wondered what was upsetting Jim so much that he felt the need to be all touchy with him. McCoy new his friend gained comfort from close physical contact and McCoy was nothing if not a good friend. He'd give Jim what he needed. "You," he pointed at Jim. "Outta my sickbay. Come back later if you want to talk."

"You got it, Bones," Jim grinned at him and pressed a sloppy kiss to his cheek.

"That's it, you're never allowed in my sickbay again, get out!" McCoy said gruffly. He turned to Spock. "Now, you. Your physical. Right. Numbnuts just has his, let's see if you've been taking as good care of yourself as you have been that dumbass."

 

"Hey Spock," Jim greeted brightly as they convened to Jim's cabin for their chess game. "How was Bones' torture time?"

"There was nothing unusual," Spock replied. He had in fact, been unusually cold, even for himself, towards the doctor after having witnessed what he had between the doctor and Jim.

"Great," Jim smiled. "You ready to finish this game? I think I might stand a chance of winning now."

"Indeed," Spock raised an eyebrow.

"Game on, my friend," Jim chuckled. "Game on."

 

The game had ended quickly enough and Spock had been unusually silent and contemplative. Jim wondered if it had anything to do with Uhura and what had happened during lunch. Jim sighed; it was time to face facts. He might have thought himself incapable of loving someone, but it turned out he wasn't. He was in love with Spock, plain and simple.

Except it wasn't that simple. Spock obviously didn't love him back, he was in love with Uhura. Jim didn't see how that would be changing anytime soon.

He walked through the halls of his Silver Lady and somehow found himself where he always ended up when he got lonely: the Chief Medical Officer's office.

"Back, are we?" Bones rolled his eyes. "You forget a hypo you need?"

Jim shuddered. "No I... Can I sleep here tonight?" he asked in a rush. "I just, I don't feel like sleeping alone tonight." He really felt as though the loneliness he was feeling would crush him at any given moment if he was alone for too long.

McCoy sighed. "Whatever Jim, it'll be like old times in the Academy. Except the bunk might be a little bigger this time."

Jim smiled tiredly. "Thanks Bones, you're awesome."

Later, long after Jim had fallen into what McCoy could only call an uneasy sleep, he wondered again what possibly could have upset his friend this much.

Dilemma by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Poor Jim. Hopefully he'll open his eyes soon enough. XD

Jim woke up and for a moment following his rather fascinating Spock dream, thought that it was Spock in the bunk with him. He snuggled closer, hoping to get back to sleep for at least a little while, and very reluctant to move away from Spock. He grinned sleepily.

"Goddamnit Jim," McCoy said loudly. "I'm a doctor, not some glorified teddy bear, get off me!"

That outburst effectively jarred Jim out of his sleepy euphoria. "Oh, sorry, Bones. I'll get out of your hair."

"Damn right you will," McCoy grumbled. "But not so fast, we need to talk first."

"No we don't," Jim replied, grabbing his somewhat-crumpled uniform tunic from the desk and pulling it on over his undershirt. He did his best to straighten out his pants and began pulling on his boots.

"Yes we do," McCoy patted the bed next to him, and Jim, knowing better than to disobey that tone, obediently sat. "Good boy, now," he looked at Jim intently, as though expecting answers to write themselves on his face. "What's been making you so miserable lately, Jim?"

"I haven't been miserable," Jim replied a little too quickly.

"Yeah, don't try to bullshit me, I know you," Bones rolled his eyes. "You've been so miserable it's been affecting your sleep. That's a medical issue, and it's my job to fix it."

"Yeah well, there's nothing you can do," Jim said glumly.

Bones opened his mouth to respond but his door chose that moment to chime. "Oh goddamnit someone wants me to kill them... Come in," he called out loud enough for the person outside the door to hear.

"You're not worried about looking unprofessional?" Jim asked.

"There's only one person insane enough to be up this early," McCoy said as Spock entered and then froze in the doorway. "Morning Spock, what can do for your crazy self this morning?"

"I can assure you that I am not ‘crazy', Doctor," Spock said stiffly.

"Maybe not, but you're sure driving me there," Bones rolled his eyes. "What can I do for you?" he repeated.

"The captain wished to be informed as soon as we were in orbit around planet Ifesti, which we arrived to approximately eight point seven minutes ago," Spock said, his eyes glued to Jim, who was still struggling to pull on his second boot. "He was not in his quarters and the ship's computer informed me that he was here. I became concerned that he was ill."

"You were concerned huh?" McCoy teased with a vicious grin. "Well isn't that new?"

"It is my duty to ensure the continued health of the captain," Spock said, back ramrod straight.

"Of course Spock," McCoy sighed. "Okay you," he clapped Jim on the back. "Party time's over, but we're continuing this discussion later, you mark my words, mister captain."

"Yes Bones," Jim rolled his eyes, and after finally successfully pulling on his boot, stood up. "Well Spock, look likes it's time to welcome some Ifestians, god that is an awful name, aboard."

"Indeed," Spock saved one last icy look for McCoy and followed is captain out of sickbay.

Bones watched them go and he thought he was beginning to see what was going on between his two... friends. McCoy used the word loosely when it came to Spock. Regardless of his relationship with either of them, it was pretty plain to see; Spock was completely in love with Jim, and Jim was completely in love with Spock. And both were completely in denial. McCoy rolled his eyes; he wondered what it would take to shake them out of it.

 

"So what exactly is the diplomatic necessity this time again?" Jim asked Spock as they made their way to the bridge together.

"The Ifestians put much store in festivities," Spock reminded him. "That is the reason for the party Lieutenant Uhura and Nurse Chapel have been planning this week."

"Right, I forgot about that stupid party," Jim sighed. "I guess I'd better pull out the old straight jacket, then." He hated his restrictive dress uniform.

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I was under the impression that you were fond of all forms of merriment, Captain."

"Not when I feel like I've been hog-tied into a jacket," Jim grumbled. "But I guess it's not so bad since I don't have to suffer through it alone. What are your feelings on your dress uniform, Mr. Spock?"

"I am Vulcan, I do not possess ‘feelings' such as the ones you speak," Spock informed him. "I also feel it is my duty to inform you that it is illogical to have any feelings attached to an inanimate object."

Jim snorted. "Yeah, of course you do, Spock. Something tells me you hate your dress uniform too."

"I am Vulcan, I do not ‘hate' anything," Spock lied. If Spock did hate anything, it was Doctor McCoy for being able to have Jim while he could not. His worries about Jim being heterosexual were put to rest, but now Spock had to deal with the intense feelings of sadness and anger accompanying Jim's obvious relationship with the doctor.

"Whatever you say Spock," Jim sighed exasperatedly. "Well, let's go greet some dignitaries."

 

Uhura and Chapel had done a fantastic job with the party planning and when Jim had finished showing the Ifestians around the ship and other general diplomacies and brought them to rec room 3 that evening, even he was shocked by the beauty and elegance of the decorations and music.

The Ifestians got into the party pretty quickly, leaving Jim to stand on the sidelines, tugging at the irritating collar of his dress uniform and wait for Bones to show up so he'd had someone to antagonize for the evening.

"You do not seem to be enjoying yourself," Spock's voice from behind him made Jim jump. "In all technicalities, this is your party."

"Yeah, I'm not in the party mood, really," Jim shrugged. He smiled at Spock. "Wanna get some food and sit down?"

"I am amenable to that idea," Spock replied, leading the way to the food and drinks.

For Spock ‘food' consisted of a piece of chocolate cake, which Jim eyed with an evil grin.

"Planning on getting wasted this evening?" Jim chuckled.

"It is not different from your refreshment choice," Spock eyed Jim's idea of ‘food', a double scotch, which was already half empty.

"I can party up a little, can't I?" Jim shrugged. "Besides, alcohol is important to Ifestian culture. It'd be an insult if I didn't at least drink one glass."

Spock nodded. "However I would advise you to drink as little as possible. You will be needed on your shift tomorrow."

"Guess so, huh Spock," Jim smiled. "Cheers," he raised his glass and drank the rest.

"Am I to assume you are going to completely ignore my advice this evening?" Spock asked, a slight hint of irritation in his voice.

"I would never completely ignore your advice," Jim told him seriously. "Your advice has saved my ass too many times to count."

Spock felt his lips twitch, caught between a smile and a frown. "Indeed," was he said in response.

"Captain, Commander," Uhura greeted happily, sitting down in the chair next to Spock, which cause Jim to twitch in irritation. "How are you liking our party?"

"You and Nurse Chapel have done an excellent job," Jim said, trying to keep the bitterness our of his voice. "The Ifestians really seem to be enjoying themselves."

"Great," Uhura smiled. "Hey Spock, would you like to dance?"

"No, I would not," Spock said, eyes slightly wide at the prospect of being on a dance floor surround by so many other people, all of which could accidentally come in contact with him. "Perhaps Mr. Scott would be amenable?"

Uhura rolled her eyes. "Scotty's out getting more booze from the still no one's supposed to know about."

Jim was confused. Had he really just witnessed Spock pushing his girlfriend towards another man? He shook himself from the large amount of hope bubbling in his chest at the thought. "And let's keep it that way?" he said for the sake of not appearing hostile towards his officer.

"I wouldn't dream of letting that slip," Uhura replied with a grin. "Scotty'd be miserable. Well, since you two are bad partiers, I'll go see if Christine wants to dance, see you later." She stood up and walked off.

"You didn't want to dance with her?" Jim asked.

"No," Spock said, finishing his cake.

"And she puts up with you?" Jim laughed.

Spock was saved the trouble of answering by the arrival of McCoy, who handed Jim another double scotch.

"Hey kiddo, saw you were empty," McCoy said, looking happier than Jim had seen him in a while, mostly due to the whiskey in his hand.

"Thanks Bones," Jim smiled. They clinked glasses and drank.

"No problem kid, just don't come crying to me with a hangover tomorrow," Bones told him. "I see enough of your sorry ass in sickbay without that. Guaranteed I am not helping you out if you do, either."

"Jerk," Jim rolled his eyes and down the rest of his glass.

"So what are you two lovebirds doing here all alone, anyways?" McCoy asked evilly. "You making out?"

Spock was very confused by that statement. If Jim and McCoy were in a relationship, why would the doctor be making such comments? Spock put it down to the doctor's normal personality.

"Go away, Bones," Jim sighed tiredly. "And when is this stupid party going to be over?"

"Jim Kirk sayin' no to a party?" Bones said in mock shock. "You feelin' sick?"

"No, just tired again," Jim shrugged. "I think I'll go for a little walk or something, wake up a bit."

"Okie dokie, kiddo," Bones waved goodbye to his friend and turned to Spock. "So Spock, why so icy towards me lately?"

"I am afraid I do not know what it is you are talking about, Doctor," Spock said stiffly.

"And there you go again, you've been like this ever since you showed up for your physical, after I threw the idiot outta my sickbay," McCoy watched him closely and grinned when he saw Spock's eyes narrow slightly at the mention of Jim. "So, is it about Jimboy?"

Spock's eyes widened. "What would lead you to that illogical conclusion?"

"Well Spock, first off, I've never seen anyone, Vulcan or not, so worried about someone when they're in my sickbay," McCoy said seriously. "You fret over Jim and nothing any of us can say ever stops you. Secondly, I've seen the way you look at him, you're completely enamoured."

"Doctor McCoy, I can assure you..."

"Let me finish, Spock," McCoy rolled his eyes. "The worst part is you're not doing anything about it. Maybe you're afraid of rejection or something, I don't know, but you don't have to be. I know Jim's totally in love with you. You need to talk about this, it's making both of you miserable and you're both getting on my nerves."

Spock was truly taken aback. "You would sacrifice your own relationship with Jim?"

McCoy choked on his drink. "What?" he spluttered. "Oh my god that's why you've been acting like you hated me. You thought me and him were... Oh Jesus, Spock. No."

"The evidence presented led me to the logical conclusion," Spock said defensively.

"Come on, Spock, you know how Jim is, he's a tactile guy," McCoy shrugged. "He gains comfort from physical closeness. He's been miserable lately and that's why I've been letting him use me as a goddamn teddy bear."

"You are not... You have never..."

"No, Spock," McCoy said exasperatedly. "What's it gonna take to ram it into that thick skull of yours, an ice pick?"

"I do not believe that will be necessary, Doctor," Spock said, his tone much warmer than the one he had been using with the doctor since that scene in sickbay.

"Good. Now you have to go find that idiot and I don't want to hear about anything you get up to. Got it?"

Spock's lips twitched. "Understood."

 

Jim was wandering through the halls when he had the idea to stop by at the observation deck. It always cleared his head when he went and stared out at the stars for a bit.

He made his way to his favourite room off the main deck, and thinking everyone was at the party, opened the door without checking to see if it was occupied. What he walked in on certainly made organizing his thoughts a lot more complicated.

"Captain!" Uhura said, red-faced. She hurried to fix her dress so it wasn't as lopsided. "I, umm..." she broke off awkwardly.

"Cap'n," Scotty greeted, not looking at him. "Looks like Ah forgot tae lock the door."

"Right, uh," Jim backed out of the room quickly, mind racing. Uhura was cheating on Spock. He felt a flash of anger; she didn't know what she was losing when Spock found out. Jim froze. How would Spock react when he did find out?

Oh god, Jim thought frantically, walking off the deck as fast as he could. Do I tell him? Is that the right thing to do?

Jim was caught in a new dilemma and he had no idea what to do.

Destiny by Tlema
Author's Notes:

Blatant romance ahead. I was feeling fluffy today and something in me says that Spock is totally capable of it. Enjoy the last chapter. :D

Spock attempted to broach the subject of moving their relationship into something less platonic, but whenever he found the captain, there was always someone else present. He was growing concerned; why did the captain not wish to be alone with him?

"He's just being an idiot," McCoy rolled his eyes when Spock went to him after a week of this treatment. "I think he might be worried about delivering the supplies to New Vulcan. I think he's afraid you'll want to stay with your dad and help with all the Vulcan stuff."

"Why would that be cause for avoidance?" Spock asked, confused.

"I think he just doesn't want to give you enough time to file a leave request or a resignation form," McCoy chuckled. "Don't worry; he'll be normal again after all this Vulcan stuff is over."

Spock hoped the doctor was right.

 

After a week and a half of unsuccessful and highly stressful deliberation, Jim finally decided that he needed some help with his dilemma.

The only person on the ship Jim trusted to keep this to himself was Bones, so Jim went down to his office on the afternoon they fell into orbit around New Vulcan. Spock was planet-side, visiting his father, so Jim was confident that he would not overhear the conversation he was about to have.

"Jim, what brings you to my sickbay this time?" McCoy asked irritably. "And by the way, your hobgoblin thinks you're mad at him."

"He's not mine," Jim huffed. Unfortunately. "And why does he think I'm mad at him?"

"He could be yours if you got your head outta your ass," Bones rolled his eyes. "And he thinks you're mad at him because you've been avoiding him. And don't you dare deny it; I've seen you doing it."

"I wasn't going to deny it," Jim sighed. "I don't trust my mouth to not run away with me if I catch him alone. I... kind of have a dilemma."

"Oh Jesus," Bones sat down at his desk. "Something tells me this is going to give me a headache. Okay, let's hear it."

"Well, at the party... I walked in on Uhura and Scotty..." Jim said uncomfortably. "She's cheating on Spock, and I don't know if I should tell him or not."

McCoy blinked before bursting into laughter. "Oh my god you're an idiot."

"I don't see how this is funny," Jim bristled. "I don't know what to do."

"What you need to do is wake the hell up," Bones rolled his eye. "She's not cheating on Spock. She and Spock aren't together; I don't think they ever really were. How did you think they were together?"

"Wait, they're not together?" Jim asked, completely thrown for a loop. "But they eat lunch together all the time and... and... the transporter pad."

Bones sighed. "You have got a shitload of issues, kiddo. Both of you do, it's like you're determined to not get together." He paused for a minute. "He and Uhura eat lunch together a lot because they're friends, you know, like you and I eat lunch together. He's the one who encouraged her to date Scotty. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't do that if they were together. And the transporter pad well... everyone's entitled to a lapse in judgement every now and again, right?"

Jim was reeling. Spock wasn't with Uhura. Uhura hadn't been cheating on him. He had no idea what to do now. "I don't... know what to do now."

"What you need to do now is stop pinin' for him and just go get him already," McCoy grumbled. "As soon as he beams back up to the ship, you and him need to have a serious heart to heart."

Jim's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"Oh stop being an idiot," Bones said, frustrated. "It's obvious you're completely in love with him. And he's definitely smitten with you. So both of you need to stop playing stupid and just go for it already."

Jim sighed. "Is it that obvious?"

"That you're in love with him?" McCoy glared. "Yes. And if you don't do something about it, I'm locking you both in a storage closet until you do."

Jim smiled. "You really think he loves me?"

"I know he does," Bones rolled his eyes again. "He pretty much admitted it at the party."

Jim's eyes got wider. "He did?"

"Yes he did," Bones stood up to slap his friend on the back. "And take it from me; you've got one lovesick hobgoblin on your hands. Now go do something about it."

Jim beamed. "You bet I will."

 

Spock sat, staring at himself, more correctly, an older version of himself. A version of himself that was smiling at him.

"May I ask what you are smiling about?" Spock asked uncomfortably.

"Your obvious frustrations concerning James," his older self replied serenely. "It is endearing to see that Nero was not able to completely ruin this timeline."

"Jim and I have not entered a romantic relationship yet," Spock felt the need to point out.

"The key word in your statement is ‘yet', young one," his older self smiled again. "It will happen in due time."

"He has been avoiding me," Spock tried very hard to not sound like he was whining.

His counterpart looked amused. "If there is one thing I know about James Kirk, it is that when he avoids something, it is because he is absolutely terrified."

"You are saying he is frightened of me?" Spock asked, hurt.

"I am saying no such thing," his counterpart corrected. "But I do know that this James has an intense fear of rejection. Perhaps he fears that you would not accept him."

Spock was taken aback by this answer. "He fears rejection?"

"Indeed," the older Vulcan replied. "I have seen his mind," he reminded his younger self, who scowled at the idea that someone else had been given access to Jim's mind. "He fears rejection from those he loves the most."

Spock was lost for words.

"Spock," his counterpart said seriously, feeling it was time for a little more encouragement. "You recall the message a gave you? I never saw my T'hy'la again after receiving that."

"You did not? But the message stated..."

"There was an accident and my Jim... never returned. I was informed nearly eighty years later by another captain that he had died."

Spock felt his heart go out to... himself. It was strange for him to feel sympathy for himself, but Spock couldn't help but feel for the Vulcan who had suspiciously moist eyes at that very moment. Spock decided that there was one thing he could do for... himself.

"I find that I wish to return that message to you, your one piece of your T'hy'la," Spock murmured. "It is aboard the Enterprise, if you wish to accompany me..."

His older counterpart smiled.  "That is something I wish very much."

 

Jim had toyed around with various ideas for catching Spock on his way back from the transporter room and had eventually decided to just wait for Spock in his quarters. They had come to an agreement about a month into their friendship that they could enter each other's cabins to wait for another if they had a standing appointment or if they needed to talk without being overheard. Jim was pretty certain this was one of those times.

He did his best to relax and calm his nerves, but it wasn't going well. Jim soon found himself pacing in front of Spock's desk, telling himself to just calm down already.

He reached a pace that could rival jogging a mere ten minutes after he entered. Every few seconds he would look back at the door to see if Spock was back. It was during one of those anxious glances that he tripped over his own feet. He reached out and grabbed the desk to stop himself falling, accidentally knocking a holo-emitter that was lying there.

He was understandably shocked to see himself, well another version of himself, materialize and start speaking to someone who could only be Spock.

 

"I must admit, it is gratifying to walk these halls once more," old Spock said wistfully. "I envy you the adventures you will have with your James."

Spock smiled to himself. He could hardly wait to go find Jim so they could have a serious discussion. As soon as he returned the holo-emitter, he would bid farewell to... himself, and he would corner Jim. Spock was to the point where he would enlist the help of Doctor McCoy if he had to.

When they reached Spock's cabin, it became apparent that it would not be necessary to enlist the help of the doctor, as Jim was already there, a stunned look on his face and, Spock felt a lump form in his throat, listening to the holo-Kirk's last words to his T'hy'la.

Jim whirled around when he heard them come in.

"Is this why you came back?" he asked quietly. "He," he pointed to the ambassador. "Gave this to you and you came back?"

"Yes," it was the ambassador version of Spock who answered.

Jim stared at them for a moment, nothing but pain visible in his eyes, before turning on his heel and bolting from the room.

Spock stared after him for a moment before rounding on his counterpart. "Why did you ever give me that message? Look at what it's done."

"I gave you the message to convince you to return to the Enterprise, although I am quite certain you would have done so eventually," the ambassador shrugged, a very human gesture, Spock stared. "However, I felt it might be best to ‘give you a little push in the right direction', as Humans say. "And be honest Spock, not only with me, but with yourself as well; would you have made as much effort to get to know your James had you not known?"

Spock froze. He knew he would have eventually reached this point; his katra was so drawn to Jim's, but he was also quite certain that it would not have happened so quickly if he had not known the potential that was there.

"Spock," his counterpart said quietly. "I did not want you to waste any time with your T'hy'la. Do not do as we did; you will regret it for the rest of your life. Go to him. And Spock, never let him go. Regardless of what you think is the right thing to do, if it involves you turning away from your James, do not do it. It will only waste more precious time."

To Spock, it sounded like he was a man speaking from painful experience. He nodded. He would not loose Jim. He believed in learning from his own mistakes, and in a way, he was doing that right now.

 

Jim sat in his favourite little room on the observation deck, his head spinning. He couldn't quite explain to himself why he had gotten so upset when he'd found the message. He had been so ecstatic when Bones had told him that Spock felt the same way... Now he just felt a cold lump in his stomach; Spock only paid him attention because his older self told him to.

Jim had fallen completely in love with Spock, so completely that he could barely stay angry at the fact that Spock was only around because his counterpart wanted him to be. He sighed; it was time to face facts. He was in love with Spock, irrevocably it seemed. Now all he had to do was wait until Spock actually felt the same.

 

Spock searched frantically for his captain. He was uncertain why Jim had fled, but that didn't matter to Spock at the moment. All that mattered to him was finding him and fixing whatever mistake he had made.

He eventually found him on the observation deck, sitting quietly and staring out at the stars in the room in the far corner of the deck.

Spock let himself in quietly and sank down on the bench next to Jim.

"Hi Spock," Jim said glumly. "I'm sorry about that... I should have just shut it off after I knocked it and it came on... I guess I wasn't supposed to hear that, huh?" He gave a weak, miserable smile that broke Spock's heart.

"You need not apologize, I should not have left it there," Spock murmured quietly. "However I am admittedly perplexed by your abrupt departure... What has caused you such pain? What can I do to rectify it?"

Jim turned to look at Spock and knew he must imagining the affection and concern in that voice. "You don't need to do anything, Spock; I get it. You came back because and older version of you told you to. You only hung out with me because you felt like you had to just to satisfy some feeling of destiny the other you gave to you. Don't worry, you don't have to do that anymore, I understand."

Spock blinked and finally understood what was wrong. Jim believed Spock only cared because of a message making him feel like he must. He let out a barely audible sigh.

"Jim," Spock said seriously. "I will admit that my counterpart played a large part in my returning to the Enterprise and I will no deny that the message he showed me is a large part of the reasons I spent so much time to you in the beginning. But only in the beginning."

Jim stared; Spock appeared agitated. That was something he had never seen before.

"I came to know you," Spock continued. "I came to know the real James Kirk, the one hidden under bluster and over-confidence. Jim, I fell in love with that man, not because I felt I needed to, but because you are the one person I could love as I love you." His cheeks had turned an interestingly deep shade of emerald as he spoke of his feelings, feeling uncomfortable but trudging on; it was important that Jim understand.

Jim gaped. Spock was talking about feelings and emotions; Spock didn't do that without a great deal of discomfort on his part. "Spock... I... I don't understand," he admitted finally.

"I had been uncertain when I returned to the Enterprise," Spock explained quietly. "I did not know if a romantic relationship between us could ever have hope of occurring in this timeline, however I was not averse to attempting to cultivate one. I cherish the friendship we have and I cherish you. Jim, I love you. Not because my counterpart told me I do, not because his message made me think I do, but because I know I do. You are a completely unique individual: a selfless man who puts the well-being of his entire crew before his own, a man who would gladly sacrifice himself for the life of another, a man who has captured my heart and from whom I will never get it back."

"Spock... I never knew you could... talk like this," Jim said, eyes watering to an embarrassing degree.

"You have inspired this, Jim," Spock reached out for Jim's hand and took it with both of his own. "I can speak of my emotions with no other. You are the one to bring them out of my ‘Vulcan shell', as you once put it."

Jim looked at his hand, trapped between both of Spock's and smiled. It was a small smile, but it grew when he looked back up to Spock's face. He saw those eyes, those dark chocolate eyes and he could see the love in them. "You really mean what you're saying," he whispered.

"I do," Spock replied quietly.

"Oh Spock," Jim, using the hand that was firmly clasped by Spock's, pulled his closer so he could kiss him. It was a light, teasing brush of the lips. The first kiss of what both hoped would be many, many to come. "I love you, Spock. I didn't think I could love anyone... but I love you."

Spock released Jim's hand to wrap his arms around Jim, the better to pull him closer. "As I love you my Jim, my T'hy'la." He pressed their lips back together, not as lightly as the first time and sighed happily when Jim relaxed in his arms, the Human's arms coming up and around him as well.

Jim felt a set of teeth gently nibbling at his lower lip and he moaned into the kiss, pressing himself closer. All of his previous misery left him, like a waterfall or misunderstandings and hurt out of every pore of his body, to be replaced by a stream of uncensored joy and love. He grinned against Spock's lips and gently coaxed the other into a deeper kiss.

Apparently Spock did not need much coaxing and Jim soon found himself pressed down onto the bench they were sitting on with one very hot and very enthusiastic Vulcan on top of him. He vaguely thought that it might not be the best idea to do this here, a semi-public place, but the much larger part of his brain revelling in the fact that Spock was finally kissing him told those thoughts to shut up.

He was so concentrated on Spock that he didn't even hear the sound of the door opening or the embarrassed chuckled from the doorway. He only noticed something was wrong when Spock pulled away quickly and turned towards the door.

"Oh, don't let us interrupt," Uhura said with a grin. "Looks like we're even, Captain."

"Aye," Scotty agreed sagely. "Maybe Ah should put bettah locks on these doors."

"Ones that remind people to lock them," Jim nodded embarrassedly, sitting up.

"Aye," Scotty chuckled. "Well, we'll leave yeh to it, then." Chuckling, he put his arm around Uhura and led her away, the door closed behind them.

"Damn, why did I forget to lock the damn door?" Jim berated himself.

"Perhaps it would be prudent to move this discussion to another locale more suitable for such... activities," Spock suggested.

Jim grinned and pulled Spock to his quarters at full warp.

 

"Hey Spock," Jim said lazily, lounging across Spock after hours of ‘activities'.

"Yes Jim?" Spock replied quietly.

"You do realize that everyone is going to know about this, right?" Jim asked gently. "Scotty can't keep his mouth shut."

"Jim," Spock said firmly. "I do not care who knows, in fact, I would rather the whole galaxy know that James Kirk is mine. Perhaps people would cease propositioning my T'hy'la."

Jim grinned and twisted to kiss his new lover. "You're possessive Vulcan, huh? I think I can live with that."

"I am quite certain you will," Spock replied before allowing the kiss to continue.

He now knew for certain that he had made the right decision in returning to the Enterprise instead of moving to the new Vulcan colony with his father. His counterpart had been correct; Jim was far too precious to leave behind and their time together too dear to waste away. Spock was eternally grateful to his counterpart for providing him with the information that led Spock down this path.

It had been like a message from destiny.

End Notes:

This would have been up a whole lot faster, but my desk is a complete mess and instead of doing the smart thing and cleaning it, I just stared at it hoping it would walk away. As a result, I had a worse mess to clean. Word to the wise, do not do this, your fanfiction time will suffer. :o

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