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Story Notes:
My first real story...and it shows (there was another before it but we don't talk about that one.) I tried not to get carried away in fixing it, but it has been re-edited for punctuation, POV, and the like.

Written after devouring all the Duets, Way of the Warrior and Scattered Stars zines (and, of course, The Prize,) I came away with the notion that one was honor bound to write a pre-reform Vulcan story. This is mine.

Originally published in Starry Knights #1 by Merry Men Press (July 2003)



Once, just once, he wished the boy would follow his advise. Was that asking so very much? The powerful man strode forward, his eyes scanning ahead. From the day he had been given the responsiblity to teach and protect Lord Sarek's son, K'iron had attacked his duty with all the strength and knowledge he possessed. Much good it did, he thought. Spock could be so very...stubborn. As K'iron cleared an outcropping of rock, he saw his young charge and could not help but feel an overwhelming pride and great love. Boy? No, this was no boy, K'iron acknowledged. It had been many years since the young heir could be mistaken for that.

Resplendent in midnight black, tall and darkly handsome, Spock looked every inch the prince he was. Gods, he would have made the perfect warrior, K'iron mused. At times like these the price he paid to care for the young heir was worth the pain of separation from his bondmate. He had sought Spock all over the camp and now laughed wryly to himself for not thinking to check here first.

The young Vulcan sat astride his mount on a rise overlooking the valley below. Always he had sought the high ground, as if to be as near as he could to his beloved stars.

"Are they not compelling, K'iron?" Spock asked, having heard his guardian's approach though he continued to gaze upward. He had been a very small boy when they had first cast their spell on him. Vulcan was a sparcely populated planet so they shone bright and clear, unimpeded by city lights. They were almost enough to take his mind away from his uncertain future.

"Yes, my lord, but you should not be out in the night chill. You need to rest."

"Must I, K'iron? Surely a few more moments will not hurt." Spock didn't want to go back, didn't want to think about what was occurring within his body. "They seem so much closer out here, away from everything else."

"Your tent is ready, my lord. The stars will still be there tomorrow night, will they not?" K'iron's voice carried a tinge of sarcasm though his concern for Spock was, as always, evident to the young Vulcan.

Spock turned and smiled. Since his seventh year the large, gentle giant with the flowing mane of black hair had been his protector. As heir to the largest holding on Vulcan, Spock had found trust hard to find and difficult to give. He felt a pang of guilt. Surely he had caused enough grief for this man. "Very well. Is everyone else set for the night?"

"Yes, my lord. They have all been seen to and are now awaiting their evening repast. They are wondering if you plan on joining them—as I do."

"Is there a problem?"

"No, my lord."

With a sigh, he dismounted and led the animal back to the encampment, walking along side the taller man. "K'iron, when we are alone you only call me 'my lord' when you are angry." He looked up, easily seeing the concern his guardian was trying so hard to hide. "Will you not tell me what is wrong?"

"You are not well. You should not try to pretend that things are...as they normally are." K'iron's voice was filled with bitterness.

Spock knew The Burning had already left its mark on him. He was thinner and his hands had a slight tremor to them that made a lie of his normal self control.

"Would it be asking too much for you to at least pretend that you'll listen to my counsel?" K'iron asked. "I truly have better things to do than worry about you."

Spock felt a warm glow of appreciation for K'iron's words, no matter that he felt as if he were a small child being chastised. Once he was bonded and their journey complete, K'iron's service to him would end. He didn't want to think about how very difficult his life would be then. "I am well enough. We will meet the betrothal party with time to spare and my clansman has already arranged for T'Pring to be in our quarters at my arrival. Everything is going as planned. There is no need for worry. I have agreed to this arrangement. It would bring only dishonor to change my mind now." Spock felt the man slowly appraise him and reminded himself that there had never been much he could hide from him. "It is useless to argue this, K'iron. I understand that you do not agree with my father's choice of a consort but there is little to be gained by continuing to fight the inevitable. She is to be my wife, no matter that we do not love each other. We have both accepted this."

Love each other? he thought. T'Pring hated him but he had vowed that no one would ever know. He could take pity least of all.

"Have you, my Lord? Or is it that there is no one who calls to you and you are taking what is offered out of a sense of duty? Spock, your father wishes only your happiness. He would not force this on you if he knew how you truly felt."

K'iron had argued this since they had left the family's compound. That it was true only made Spock's course more difficult.

"There is no one else, K'iron. My time is upon me and there is little logic in refusing that which will spare my life. Once we arrive at my kinsman's, I will bond with T'Pring in my madness. If I had dreams of finding another, they were only that. Try to be happy for me, my friend."

K'iron sighed. "Sometimes I feel I can refuse you nothing."

The small, lonely boy Spock had been had crawled into K'iron's heart and taken up permanent residence. The pain and despair in his charge's face was enough for him to forego his argument. He would do what he could to make Spock's life easier for their time remaining but he knew that the young man was paying a high price for who he was. K'iron only hoped that somehow his charge would find something to make his life bearable. His love for the man he had served for over twenty-five years kept him from thinking that the hope was a futile one.


~~~~~



Hadus was a man of rich and, more ofter than not, flamboyant taste. His wealth had been lavished on his love of the sensuous and it showed. His thick body sprawled out on the divan as he picked at the food platter and pondered the news he had just received.

"So, it is done. Very good. My plan must succeed, Somat. I would be greatly distressed to hear that you had failed me in any way."

"Do not fear, my lord."

The servant tried unsuccessfully to hide his nervousness. He had good cause to be nervous, Hadus thought. What he had done could cost him his life if it were ever revealed.

"The Lady T'Pring's entourage has had an unfortunate delay. It will take at least two days to gather the mounts so mysteriously let loose into the surrounding desert and another two for the animals to be sufficiently rested to continue their journey. There is no way she will be here in time for Lord Spock."

"Excellent. Without his consort, Lord Spock will have to do with whatever is available. Knowing my kinsman as I do, the fool has probably waited until the last possible moment to begin his journey and will be in great need by the time he arrives. I need you to pick out a slave. Nothing fancy, a worker will do, one that will not be greatly missed by my overseer. Stanon would be most displeased with me if I were to lose a slave of any worth. Perhaps one of the malcontents he is always complaining about."

"You wish a male slave, my lord?"

"Oh, yes. Spock's disgrace would not be complete if he were only to end up with a human as a bondmate. His father, after all, has already done that. No, Spock will have the pleasure of going through life with twice the burden. Besides, the chances are less likely that a male will prove mentally compatible. If Spock were to kill the slave, well, Sarek will be unable to say that I did not at least try to save his son. And if by some chance he actually bonds with the man, it will ensure that he will not further comtaminate our planet with his offspring."

"When must the slave be ready, my lord? It will be difficult getting Stanon to release one of his workers."

"Spock should arrive within two day. That gives you three to come up with a 'suitable' candidate.' And then I will be that much closer to what should have been mine all along. The family will never accept an heir who is bonded to another male, especially a human. See to it, Somat."

"Yes, my lord." The servant bowed and retreated from the room. Hadus returned to his meal, sure that he had effectively dealt with the last obstacle to his goal. He would be heir and have the wealth and power he had always dreamed of. He smiled as he contemplated the glorious days ahead.


~~~~~


"Sam, try it again." Kirk stepped back from the machinery, a look of satisfaction on his face as the engine turned over and roared to life.

"OK, cut it." He wiped his hands off and walked over to the man sitting just inside the large vehicle. Though the two were similar in appearance, his brother was taller but not as well built, and his countenance was marked with a perpetual stain of anger. "One down, a few dozen more to go. Think we'll have time to start one more today?"

He looked up at his companion with a mixture of humor and affection. Being owned by the likes of Hadus made for a harder life than even most other slaves, but at least he still had his brother near. In a life such as theirs, it was much to be thankful for.

"I doubt it." Sam climbed out and jumped the few feet to the ground. "It's already getting hot and I don't want to take the chance of getting caught out here during the worst of it. Tonight will be soon enough. Right now all I want to do is get home and sleep for about ten hours."

Yeah, right. As if the overseer would allow that, Kirk thought. Stanon was all right as far as Vulcans went, but even he had to obey the rules set by Hadus. The slaves were allowed to rest during the hottest part of the day, but would be expected to work during the cool of the evening. More than once they had been forced to work through the night, one work day blending into another. A hot breeze blasted by, reminding the men of the coming heat. They began to pick up their tools, the hours ahead a welcome relief.

"Have you told Aurelen what I'm thinking of doing?" Kirk eyed his older brother. Sam was against his plans but he knew they were for the best. When the opportunity came to move to other quarters, he had jumped at the chance. He loved Sam, but over the last few years things had changed. Sam had changed.

"No, I didn't. You're not going anywhere, Jim. I know what you're doing and it won't work."

"Sam, you guys need your privacy, and to be perfectly honest, so do I. It really is awkward to bring home a woman with Aurelen and the kids right there."

He saw his brother flinch and instantly regretted his choice of words. Slaves could be sold whenever and to whoever their owner wished. If the slave was only sixteen and pleasing of face, his fate was sealed. The loss of Sam's oldest son two years before was still an open wound and ever since then his brother had become angry and withdrawn. Life at home was now one of quiet desperation, all of them afraid of saying or doing something to set his brother off.

"Besides, a chance like this doesn't come along very often. I'd still be near. Try to understand. I need a place of my own, a place where I can be with someone permanently. I know they're going to expect that, anyway. Why else would they have offered it to me?"

But no kids, he thought. Whatever it took, he wasn't about to have children on this god forsaken planet. After ten years, his dreams of returning to Earth had died. But that didn't mean he would ever get used to it, ever just give up and go along with what these bastards wanted.

"Maggie and I, well, we've talked about getting together. I really like her. Maybe it's not love, but maybe that's not something I should expect." Maggie had seemed to understand his position about kids and had been of the same mind. They were good together.

Sam continued to gather his tools, ignoring his brother's words. "No way am I going to let you go. I lost a son, could still lose the others, but I'm not going to lose you, too. You're staying where you are, little brother." He finally turned to Kirk. "Do you remember what I promised that day?"

Kirk didn't have to ask what day Sam was talking about. How could he forget? They had been sitting on the porch of their farmhouse. The whole family had been there, enjoying the cool spring weather. Captured with ridiculous ease, the two brothers and the rest of their family had found themselves in a slaver ship less than six hours later. Their parents had not survived the trip.

"I remember. But that was over ten years ago." It was hard to talk about what had almost happened, especially considering what had happened since. "I know what I almost ended up as and I know the only reason it didn't happen is because of what you did. But, Sam, can't you see that you don't have to protect me anymore? I'm not...Vulcans don't use full grown men as pleasure slaves."

It had been a very close call. At sixteen, the same age his nephew would be when taken from them, Kirk had enjoyed his good looks until they had almost landed him in a life of sexual bondage. After that he had built up his body, wanting to make sure that no male would look at him that way again. Even now he sometimes had nightmares of what might have been his fate, what had more than likely been that of his nephew's.

"No, you'd be no ones pleasure slave, but they can do other things, things you don't want to know about." Sam stared out into the desert. "I still remember every detail of what they did to me. Some Vulcans get their kicks out of pain." He turned and looked at his brother, love warring with the growing hate in his heart. "I've never regretted what I had to go through to make sure they didn't take you like that. Don't make me regret it now."

Jim stared at his brother, stunned. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? That if I don't do exactly what you say you'll turn against me? Is that how it is? Why are you being like this? You're my brother, Sam, and I love you, but you don't own me. I'm not trying to hurt you, I just want a life of my own."

Sam turned away, as if he hadn't said a word. He felt an overwhelming sadness for what their lives had become. Each day Sam grew more and more distant and he was afraid that he was losing his brother to the demons that now owned him. He turned back to his task, thinking to give his brother more time to deal with his decision when his attention was caught by the approaching Vulcan overseer. "Oh, great. Don't look now but it looks like our day isn't over yet."

Sam looked up at his brother's remark and saw Stanon with four hefty-looking workers coming their way. He immediately tensed, unconsiously going on the defensive. "What the hell now?"

Stanon and the slaves came up to them, the look on the overseer's face warning Kirk that his life was about to take a turn for the worst. The look on Sam's face said even more. They were in trouble, for what he didn't know, but he would bet Sam did. "What's going on, Stanon? Run out of slaves to torture, or just trying to ruin our day?" It was said in jest, a cover for the very real worry he now felt. He had to divert Stanon's attention from Sam. Maybe he could get them out of this mess if only his brother kept his mouth shut. He'd managed to humor their way out of trouble before but if Sam interfered, they were lost.

"Someone has sabotaged some of the transportation vehicles. Someone with access to tools." Stanon looked pointedly down at the tools in Sam's hands. "I am pretty sure who that someone was."

"You can't mean us. You know we'd never do anything like that. Come on Stanon, gives us a break. We've been working hard all day and the rest period's about to start."

Kirk threw his brother a pleading look. Please, don't do anything stupid. Don't be the one who did this. Sam just looked at him with that weird look that Kirk had come to dread. Then Sam did speak, and Kirk knew it was over.

"If something did happen to the machinery, well it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy." Sam sneered. "You expect us to care? Hell, I applaud whoever did it. Find your own answers, Stanon. that's what Hadus pays you for, isn't it?"

"Take them, take them both." The overseer hadn't bothered to respond to the taunt. He apparently had what he needed. Whether one or both were guilty obviously didn't matter.

"Wait, wait a minute." Jim struggled against the two slaves holding him, effectively caught by the two huge Vulcans. He had to think of something fast. "He didn't do anything. I did it. He didn't know anything about it."

Stanon turned and motioned the men to hold him fast. "Why should I believe you? Your brother is well known as a trouble maker. I would more believe that you are the innocent one."

"Think about it. He doesn't have the smarts to carry out anything like that. You've said it yourself. You've got me, okay? Just let him go. Why lose two workers?" Kirk stared up at the overseer, desperate to be believed. He knew he couldn't save both of them, not now. But Sam had a family, a family that needed him.

Stanon looked from one brother to the other. "This is true, and one human is as bad as the next. Maybe parted, you will be less trouble." He gave a nod to the two holding onto Sam and they released the angry human. "You should thank your brother, human. He has just saved your life."

"I don't need him to do anything for me." Sam stared at his brother and Kirk was stunned by the hate he saw on his face. With a final hard look, Sam picked up his tools and walked away.

"Such gratitude. One does not choose one's family, but I think you would have been better off if you had been able to choose yours." Stanon gave Kirk an almost sympathetic look.

"It doesn't matter. Let's just get on with it." Kirk felt like he had been kicked in the stomach. Why had Sam reacted that way, as if he meant nothing to him? He didn't know what was going to happen to him and he was afraid, but he would never show it to these men.

"Take him to the lockup." Stanon turned and Kirk was pulled along, still held by the two large Vulcans. He didn't fight but he knew he would never see his family again. No one had ever returned from the lockup. With a last look at his brother's retreating back, he turned to face his uncertain future.


~~~~~



The slave scurried up to the mounted man, taking the reins and trying to bow at the same time. "You are welcome to my master's home, Lord. He sends me to see to your needs and whatever you may desire."

Swaying slightly, the obviously ill rider slid from his mount, stumbling as he hit the ground.

"Please, Lord Spock, let me help you." K'iron rushed up, realizing that Spock was unable to support himself. "My Lord needs rest. I will see to his needs if you would just show us where we will be housed. After that you can see to the rest of his men."

"Of course. If you would follow me. You are to be housed in the far-most wing of the estate. My master did not wish Lord Spock disturbed."

K'iron followed the slave, holding Spock up while trying to direct his path toward the building. Spock had been barely conscious since that morning and K'iron prayed that his trial would soon be over. Practically carrying his charge, he failed to notice the lack of others around as they continued to their destination.

"These are to be my lord's rooms?" K'iron was shocked when the slave directed them through the double doors and into an almost barren suite. There was a bed but little else. Off to one side someone had placed a table, its purpose unknown.

"My master felt that under the circumstances, it would be unwise to put him where he could injure himself. Here, there is little to get in the way during his..." The slave colored, obviously aware of Spock's condition.

"Very well. Help me get him undressed and into bed."

Removing his clothes, they laid Spock out on the bed. He immediately curled into a fetal position. His organ was erect and painfully engorged. He is so pale, K'iron thought as he covered him with the blanket that had been provided, knowing it would be of little help in stopping the tremors that coursed through the young man's body. Why were things not already in place for Spock's time?

"Why is the Lady T'Pring not here?" K'iron was finding it hard to keep his anger in check.

"She has been slightly detained on her journey, but they expect her within two days. That is what I have been told."

"Delayed? No, that cannot be." His shout of fear frightened the already nervous slave who turned, ready to flee. K'iron grabbed the man's arm and then fought to bring his voice down, needing control if he was going to be of any help. "He does not have that much time. I must speak to Lord Hadus. Take me to to him immediately."

"He is not here. He was called away this morning to deal with a problem in the slave's quarters. If you wish to wait for him..."

K'iron knew he had little choice. Who was he to insist on seeing the lord of the manor? If Lord Hadus wished, he could ignore the entire problem and let things proceed to their tragic end. He knelt by the side of the bed. "Spock. Spock, listen to me. I need to know what you want done. Lady T'Pring is not here. Spock." He shook the almost unconscious man, trying to elicit a response.

Spock's eyes fluttered open, becoming aware of his surroundings for the first time. "K'iron? Where are we? Why am I here?" His voice was barely a whisper.

"We are at Lord Hadus's estate. The Lady T'Pring has been delayed and your kinsman is away. What do you wish me to do?"

"Help me up." With his guardian's help, Spock was pulled from the bed. He stood, wrapped himself in the blanket and surveyed the room. "My kinsman does not believe in nonessential amenities, it seems." He forced a smile. "Go and wait for Hadus to return. There is little that can be done and I can rest here as well as anywhere else."

K'iron could not keep the doubt from his face.

"Bow to the logic of the situation, my friend. There is nothing to do but wait. Please go. And, K'iron, have the doors locked behind you. I do not wished to be seen and I am not sure how much longer I can control."

K'iron studied Spock, worry and fear for him warring with his sense of duty. Finally he nodded his head in acquiescense. "As you wish, my lord." K'iron turned and pushed the slave ahead of him. "Take me to where I may wait for Lord Hadus." With a nod from Spock the slave led K'iron away, both men aware that time was fast running out.

When the doors had been closed and locked, Spock sank to the bed as the last of his strength gave way. He knew there was no love lost between his kinsman and himself but he hoped that the man would have enough compassion, or at least pity, to find someone to serve him during this time. He didn't want to die but he realized that it was a very real possibility. He suddenly doubled over as pain wracked his body, and rode out the agony that threatened to destroy him.

~~~~~


He was hot and thirsty and totally mystified. After two days, Kirk stilled wondered what exactly was going on. When they had pushed him into the lockup, he was sure that death was only hours away. The Vulcan sun was reaching its zenith and his cell was a metal box completely exposed to its deadly heat. Some time later he had been dragged out, only partially aware of his surroundings. Revived, he was taken to a cell somewhere underground. It had been his home for the last two days, furnished with only a cot shoved up against one wall and a hole in the corner for his bodily waste. He had been left alone except for meals passed through a slot in the cell door and the thought that he would be left here to rot had scared him more than anything else. When he heard footsteps he moved toward the door, trying to see through the small barred window set in its center.

"Who's there? Somebody, say something." Right now he didn't care who it was, as long as he could hear the sound of another's voice.

"Back away from the door, slave." A well dressed Vulcan stood on the other side with Stanon and two guards behind him. Kirk withdrew to the back of the cell, warily eying his visitor. He was pretty sure who this was and suddenly being alone didn't seem so bad.

"Stanon, unlock the door. I wish to see exactly what we're getting." When the door was pushed open, the Vulcan stepped inside, cautiously appraising him as Kirk stood against the wall, squinting as his eyes tried to adjust to the light pouring in. "Get him washed up. He stinks. And then take him to Somat. He'll know what to do."

"Yes, my lord. Is there anything else you wish done?"

"No, that will be all." He walked over and standing in front of Kirk, used the small cane he carried to lift the human's head up. "I think you will do admirably. " The Vulcan smiled. " Your life is about to get very interesting." On that cryptic note, he turned to leave. "Now, I must see to my guest. He is about to receive a most surprising gift."

Stanon looked at Kirk, his eyes unreadable. "Come, we have little time."

Followed by the two guards, he led Kirk out of the cell and down several corridors before finally taking a flight of stairs up. They eventually came to a large room where several slaves were busy working. It was some sort of office, with rows of desks on either side. Stanon approached the only Vulcan in the room, an older male with a worried countenance that looked permanent.

"Here is the slave Lord Hadus demanded. He told me to bring him to you and that you would know what to do. Well, Somat?"

Somat walked over to Kirk, wrinkling his noise when he got close enough to smell the odor wafting off him. "A bath would be called for first, I think. Come with me, human. " He abruptly turned and led Kirk out the door.

As they walked through the corridors, Kirk continually looked around, trying to take in his new surroundings. He had never been inside the manor and his curiosity temporarily overcame his fears. This part of the building didn't seem to have been used recently and dust and debris littered the floor. He was finally brought to a room with a small tub and towels inside.

"You will bathe yourself. Your new attire is hanging behind the door. When you are finished, I will be waiting in the room down the hall. There I will advise you on your new responsibilities. Be quick about it." Somat turned abruptly, leaving Kirk to his own devises.

When the door closed, Kirk began to strip. He did stink, and was more than willing to comply with the order. He slipped into the water, relaxing into its warmth. He hadn't had an honest to god bath in years. Worker slaves normally sponged themselves down, water too precious to be used in any amount on them, so he luxuriated in this unforseen gift. He tilted his head back to wet his hair and began to wash away the years of accumulated dirt and grime that covered his body.

When he eventually stepped out of the tub, the water was a cloudy brown. He dried himself off and then eyed the garment hanging from a hook on the door. This is what he was supposed to wear? It would hardly cover him. Putting it on he realized it was some sort of loincloth, the front no more than a pouch to hold his genitals and held in place by a string running up between the cheeks of his ass. the back was a short flap that allowed the bottom of his buttocks to show. What the hell was going on? For the first time since being pulled from his cell, real fear began to eat away at him. He had assumed he would be sold into hard labor, to the mines or for some other equally backbreaking work. But now he was being faced with the one thing he had refused to think about, blocking out all his past fears except in the nightmares that invaded his sleep.

A bed slave, they wanted him as a bed slave. God, is this what his nephew had gone through? He had to think of a way out but his mind refused to work. He opened the door and walked down the hallway, his trembling legs ready to give way. When he opened the door where Somat waited, the look that crossed over the Vulcan's face only intensified Kirk's fright.

"Are you ready to begin your new duties, human?"

He perused Kirk. "It is amazing the difference the bath has made. You are really quite beautiful." He gave Kirk an almost pitying look. "Here, take this tray of food down the hall on the right. There you will find a room with two guards at the door. Your new duties will be to see to the needs of Lord Spock while he is residing here. He is a guest and kinsman of Lord Hadus. He needs a slave to fetch his meals and perform other menial tasks. See that you do not displease him. If you do, Lord Hadus will make sure you never displease another."

The wave of relief that washed over Kirk made him dizzy. All he was being called on to do was wait on a pampered Vulcan nobleman. He drew a deep breath, fighting to calm his nerves. "I won't disappoint Lord Hadus, Somat. I'll go right now and see to Lord Spock's needs. I promise I won't be any trouble." He took the tray and proceeded from the room, his hands still shaking from the unexpected reprieve.

The two guards standing at Lord Spock's door eyed him with undisguised lust. It didn't matter. Maybe this Lord Spock was strange, wanting his slaves dressed up in this fashion. He could handle that. Holding the tray in one arm, Kirk tried to pull the flap down that barely covered him, his face ablaze as the guards unlocked the door and motioned him inside. When a hand grabbed and squeezed his ass as he passed, he almost dropped the tray but managed to steady himself, ignoring the lewd remarks directed his way. With a laugh, the guard closed the door and Kirk was too flustered to hear the distinctive sound of a bolt being thrown.

He looked around, puzzled by the barrenness of the room. He put the tray down on a table, noticing a collection of herbs and medicines there. "Lord Spock?" Where was the man?

He heard a soft moan coming from the other side of a bed shoved into a small alcove on the other side of the room.

"Lord Spock? Is that you?" He slowly walked to the bed, the whimpers he heard drawing him to the Vulcan. "Are you all right? Can I do something for you?" He approached the naked, hunched form kneeling on the floor. Whoever this was, he wasn't well. His whole body shook and the noises he made were obvious sounds of pain. Kirk's innate compassion drew him to the suffering Vulcan as he knelt at his side, trying to soothe him as best he could.

"Do you want some water? Here, why don't you let me get you to bed? You'll feel better lying down."

He gently pulled the Vulcan up, holding on to both arms. He felt a momentary disorientation and then what felt like an electrical charge pass between them. With a speed that took him completely unaware, the Vulcan in his grasp suddenly reversed their hold and shoved him on the bed, face down. A fevered hand on his back held him while his thighs were pushed apart by legs that insinuated themselves between his. The loincloth was ripped away and he felt two hot hands spread his ass cheeks. When the swollen member was rammed into him, he screamed, his mind swirling. As the Vulcan began to pound his cock deep into his body, Kirk felt consciousness slip away. His worst nightmare had just begun and his last thought was that he could have sworn he heard laughter coming from the other side of the door.


~~~~~



Things were going exactly as he had hoped and Hadus reveled in how well his plans seem to be working. Truly, he was the most cunning of men. It had been fairly easy to divert Spock's servant with an 'accident' to one of their other men and by the time he had returned Spock was already coupling with the slave. K'iron had been furious but could do nothing. He recalled the human's cries as Spock had taken him. It had been two days since then and by now the human was either dead or well on his way to being eternally bonded to Spock. Hadus smiled. It was all he could do to keep from laughing again as he remembered his own response to the sounds emanating from behind the locked doors. He had called straight away for his favorite bed slave. The female had been nearly unable to walk by the time he had finished with her. Too bad the human would be untouchable if he lived through his ordeal. Hadus had an occasional taste for males and the slave had been very attractive.

His thoughts were interrupted by the frantic gyrations of his servant, as Somat rushed into the room. "Lord Hadus, Lord Hadus, the Lady T'Pring's party has arrived. Her uncle, Lord Sedar is waiting in the entryway. He is very upset, Lord Hadus. They are already aware that something is taking place between Lord Spock and another and Lord Sedar is demanding an explanation for this disgrace to his niece."

Hadus had rarely seen Somat in such a state. The slave was practically wringing his hands and Hadus had an irresistable urge to hit him.

"Quiet, you fool. Show Lord Sedar in and then get out of my sight. And watch your tongue, Somat. You would find life very difficult without it."

Hadus stood up, masking his glee with a practiced look of concern. He waited for Lord Sedar to enter, again rehearsing the words he had composed for this meeting.

Sedar charged into the room. "Hadus, I demand to know what is going on. Where is Lord Spock? Lady T'Pring's link to him has been broken and, as you would well expect, she is very upset."

"I am so sorry for what had happened, Sedar. But I swear to you there was no other way. Lord Spock arrived two days ago, already deep in pon farr. When you did not arrive in time something had to be done. I was in the process of finding a suitable female for him when a human slave, new to the household, blundered into Spock's room. We tried to get him out but were as surprised as you when Lord Spock grabbed the man and proceeded to use him for his need." Hadus had to bite the inside of his mouth to keep from laughing. The look on Sedar's face when he realized that his precious niece had been replaced by a human male was priceless.

"A male? He is with a human male?" Sedar's face darkened with rage, his fists clenched at his side. "I see. I do not blame you for this, Hadus. I blame my sister for agreeing to this travesty. She always had a soft spot for her cousin and was easily swayed when he approached her about joining their children in marriage." He shook his head. "It was bad enough T'Pring having been betrothed to Sarek's mongrel, but to find that he had taken a male, a human male at that, is more than I can stomach. Unfortunately, we must stay here until my niece is fit to travel again. I would appreciate your hospitality, but hear me, I do not wish to see or hear anything of Lord Spock. "

"Oh, I sympathize completely, Sedar. My home is yours for as long as you need it. Lord Spock is housed in a distant wing and will not bother you or yours. I vow this." Leading his new guest out, Lord Hadus gave a sigh of satifaction. People where so easily fooled. He had taken another step closer to his goal.


~~~~~


He woke to the rhythm that had become a part of his every conscious moment. When it stopped, he felt his insides flooded with heat. Maybe he was dead and this was his own personal hell, the nightmares that had plagued his sleep his new reality. He lay there, stripped of everything and open to the Vulcan who had taken his pride and dignity. He didn't even know how long it had gone on. Even when awake, he was finding it harder and harder to concentrate, as if something was happening to his mind. The sudden stillness was soothing until a soft touch on his face startled him out of his stupor.

This was new. Until now his attacker had been content to only fuck him, no thoughts of tenderness entering into his continuous rape. It made him anxious. He didn't understand what was going on but when the Vulcan's touch firmed, he felt an inexplicable stirring in his mind and body that terrified him. His cock was filling and desire coursed through him.

"What are you doing to me?" His voice was a mere whisper. The screams ripped from his throat as he had been taken had left it raw. "What's happening to me?" The Vulcan's still hard cock began to pump into him again but this time he felt himself responding, his hips arching up to meet each thrust. Somewhere in the depths of his mind he was aware of something that hadn't been there before. A presense he could neither explain nor deny its power over him. His need grew and he began to moan his pleasure, each stroke of the Vulcan's cock bringing him closer to fulfillment.

"Please, I need...I need more." He pushed back, wanting it deeper, harder, his body demanding this new sensation. When a hand wrapped around his cock and began to milk him, he cried out, wanting this, wanting it to never end, needing the hot probe pounding up his ass to complete him.

They were in synch now. Each wanting what the other gave. "Harder, fuck me harder." Kirk was beyond reason, knowing only that he couldn't get enough. Somehow, he knew they were reaching toward something wonderful and he wanted it, right now. "Yes, yes, like that. Oh god, yes." He was on fire and the only relief was the Vulcan riding him, fucking him. He could hear Spock's whispered words but he didn't understand what they meant. It didn't matter. They were both lost in the maelstrom created by their joined bodies and minds. Spock gave a last hard push and came, his hot semen filling Kirk's ass, overflowing down his widespread thighs. A second later, Kirk felt his own orgasm hit and as his seed spilled out into Spock's hand, their souls locked together.

Still joined, they collapsed onto the bed, both falling almost immediately into a deep sleep. The madness was over.

~~~~~


The door to the shack stood half open, as if inviting him in. It was early evening and the workers would have to report back to their posts soon. Jim Kirk nervously ran a hand through his hair. He was afraid to go in, afraid of the scene that would undoubtedly follow. He walked up to the door and gently knocked. He half hoped his brother would already be gone but then saw him come forward out of the relative darkness inside.

"Jim, your back!" Sam's demeanor swiftly changed from concern to anger. "Where the hell have you been?" He opened the door wide and stared at his brother as he walked into the house, eying the clean and expensive clothes Kirk now wore. "That's a really nice outfit you got there. Mind telling me what you've been up to while we all worried ourselves sick?"

Kirk had known that Sam would be upset, but hadn't figured that the rage that had become a part of his brother would be aimed at him. "Something's happened, Sam. To me. It's so hard to explain." He rubbed his forehead, unable to bring himself to relive what had happened. Finally, he said the only thing he knew his brother would understand. "I've been sold. I'll be leaving here tomorrow morning."

"Sold? To who? Hadus has never made a habit of selling slaves that make money for him. How come he let you go?"

Unable to keep himself from continually glancing out the door, Kirk saw Sam's eyes narrow, clearly catching his nervousness.

"There's something you're not telling me, so give."

"Nothing. Nothing's going on. I don't know why he's letting me go, how could I?"

"Don't give me that. I can read you like a book and I know you're not telling me the whole truth. You might as well tell me. I'm going to get it out of you, one way or the other." He started toward his brother but stopped short as he noticed someone approaching the open door.

"Hey Sam, you about ready?" The doorway was filled with the large form of their neighbor, Ben. "Jim! Didn't think we'd be seeing you again. How's it going?" He strolled in, completely unaware of the tension in the room.

"Ol' Jim here's found himself a new owner, ain't that right, Jim?"

Sam's words were laced with sarcasm and Kirk realized that this had all been a big mistake. He felt trapped. He needed to get out. "Listen, I really have to go. I only came to say goodbye and to let you know I was all right. Lord Spock—he's my new owner—he was nice enough to let me come by but I don't want to push my luck. I'm sorry, I wish I could stay, but..."

He started backing up toward the door and hadn't noticed the second figure behind Ben. A hand settled on his shoulder and he jumped, only to turn and face the last person he wanted to see. His face darkened and what composure he still had left him. "Hi, Maggie." He couldn't get another word out. Not three weeks before he had lain with this woman, their shared passion sweet. Now he felt nothing. The ache he had carried for the last ten days intensified and the sorrow for his lost life threatening to drag him down.

She looked at him, her face betraying disappointment and shock. "Is it true? You're leaving us?"

Kirk had known she was desperately in love with him and had hoped to be his wife. He looked at her now with eyes haunted by pain she could never understand.

"Jim? Please, what is it? What's wrong?"

"I....nothing's wrong. I just need to go now. I'm so sorry things had to end this way, Maggie. I wish..." He couldn't say anymore. He didn't know what he wished but he knew that if he didn't get away he would break down, tell them all exactly what he was now. He knew if he did that his next step would be to slash his own throat. He stumbled away from her and then bolted out the door and didn't stop until he was back in his room, back to the only life he had left.

~~~~~


Kirk stuffed the clothes in the bag, trying to release the anger that had built in him since the scene at his brother's. It seemed that no matter which way he turned he was reminded of what had happened to him. He was bonded to a Vulcan male. Spock seemed to be a good person but that didn't really help all that much.

He remembered finally waking up that morning, Spock draped over him. They both had stunk, their bellies and thighs covered with semen. He had lifted his head to look straight into the eyes of K'iron, Spock's guardian. The Vulcan hadn't batted on eye, merely asking if he needed anything.

"A bath would be most welcome, K'iron." The deep voice coming from directly above startled him. Spock had rolled off him then, and merely smiling when Kirk's face had darkened with embarrassment. "There is little K'iron has not seen and little he has probably not done. Am I not right, K'iron?"

"So very true, my lord. I would wager to say the reverse is also true." K'iron's eyes danced and Kirk found himself inexplicably angered by their easy familiarity.

"I can bathe myself, thank you. Just show me where to go." Kirk started to rise from the bed but stopped with a harsh intake of breath when his body protested. He ached all over and his rectum felt raw.

"Perhaps you should call the healer in now, K'iron." Spock's words had been in the form of a request but the older man immediately turned and left. Kirk tensed when the Vulcan placed his hand on his back, urging him to lie back down.

"Do not move. I do not believe you are badly hurt but it would be foolhardy to take any chances." Spock stared at him for a moment, but Kirk felt his own eyes lower. He didn't look up as the bed moved and Spock sat next to him.

"We are bondmates now. I know you are not aware of what that implies, but I hope you will try to understand and forgive me for what has happened to you."

Kirk looked up at that, surprised that a Vulcan would deem to apologize for anything. "Why should you apologize? I'm your slave now. I thought that meant you could do whatever you wanted to me."

"No, you are wrong. You are not my slave. You are a free man, James Kirk."

He was surprised that the Vulcan knew his name, and let slip his own astonishment and disbelief. "Does that mean I can leave? Right now?"

"You need to listen carefully to what I say." Spock spoke softly but firmly. "What has happened between us..it is forever. We are tied beyond all untying now. You can no more leave me than I can leave you."

Spock had tried to explain to him all the ramifications of their bond. Kirk still didn't know everything but he understood that he was effectively trapped. The healer had arrived then and had taken care of Kirk's injuries. They hadn't been as bad as he had thought and for that he was grateful, though the examination and treatment he went through had shamed him.

Since then he had been treated with the utmost respect by Spock and his men. He moved among them as an equal, dressed as befitted the bondmate of a lord. Though they slept in the same bed, Spock kept his distance and he hadn't been touched since. Spock had tried to talk to him, trying to build some kind of foundation for them that they could both be comfortable with but Kirk found it hard to let go of his anger.

"Are you ready?" Spock entered the room, tentatively approaching his bondmate. This was so hard. He understood the reason for Kirk's anger but it was getting harder to control his own feelings of regret and pain. He too had lost much. Why couldn't Kirk see that? Why couldn't he understand that fighting the bond would only make things worse for both of them? He had never been with a male before this and had expected his bonding to be with a woman. He mourned for the children he would never have, knowing that his father's line would end with him.

Pushing these thoughts aside, he tried again to reach Kirk. "We need to be off within the hour. I would appreciate it if you would ride next to me during our journey. It will be expected. As distasteful as I know you find this all to be, it is our life now. Please, try to understand and accept what is." He extended his hand and after staring at him for a few moments, Kirk took it and allowed himself be led out the door.

~~~~~


Spock watched his bondmate out of the corner of his eye. They had been traveling for three days and he was surprised that Kirk had been able to keep up. The man's injuries from the pon farr had healed and he sat straight in the saddle, at ease with the smooth gait of the animal beneath him.

"You have ridden before?" He wanted to know more about Kirk. They were less ill at ease in each other's company and Spock felt that given time their relationship would be a good one. What little he had picked up during their bonding wasn't nearly enough. Besides, it was only logical that he learn more about the man who would forever be at his side.

"Not these animals, but they're enough like what we had on Earth. I always enjoyed riding on our farm." Kirk's voice was wistful. Looking at Spock, he seemed to come to a decision and his demeanor became more open. "I learned to ride when I was a very small boy. My dad used to take me and my brother, Sam, out all the time." He gave a small laugh. "Sam was never as good as I was and it used to really irritate him that his little brother could ride circles around him."

"Sam. That is your brother, the one you visited the day before we left, is it not?" Kirk's sudden silence spoke volumes and Spock realizes that he had inadvertantly crossed over the invisible line that Kirk had drawn between them. "I need to make sure there is no trouble along the caravan. I will be back soon." He wheeled off without a backward glance.

During his Time, it had been his men who had kept things going. After years of traveling in this fashion, they did their jobs with practiced ease. After checking with Se'dak, K'iron's son and leader of the caravan, Spock approached five of his guards, having decided to praise them for their efforts. His greeting froze on his lips as their conversation drifted toward him.

"He has become besotted with the human whore. He goes nowhere without him." The soldier's disgust was apparently shared with his conrades. "Yes, I saw them this morning, sharing their morning meal. It shames us all that Lord Spock has taken this man to his bed."

The second man sneered. "Perhaps he will pass the human on to us after he tires of him. A whore good enough to service a lord would have to be truly good at his 'craft'."

Their laughter blew over him as he sat there, waiting until they were our of hearing range before turning his mount and riding away. The anger and shame he felt over their betrayal ate at his heart. Is this the way they all saw him now? Did they really believe that Kirk was only a play thing he would lose interest in and discard? His belief in his place with them was shattered. He had worked so hard to earn their respect and affection and he realized how naive he had been in believing that his bond to Kirk would be accepted. No wonder Kirk had looked at him with distain when Spock had tried to explain their new life. His bondmate had already realized that their life was a joke to both their people. He headed back to him now, realizing that they were trapped together and that any solace to be found he would find only with Jim Kirk. His depression deepened when it occurred to him how little comfort he would receive there.

~~~~~


Kirk turned for what seemed the hundredth time, unable to get comfortable. Sleep was elusive and the presence of Spock so near to him was making things worse. The Vulcan was sleeping peacefully, totally unaware of his bondmate's discomfort. Kirk knew that part of it was his own guilty conscience keeping him awake. The bed supplied for them was luxurious, considering that they were camped in the middle of the desert. Spock had been very quiet since their conversation that morning and Kirk realized that was his doing. He had wanted to apologize for closing him out—again. But now Spock was closed off and Kirk was unsure how to go about rebuilding what little rapport they had had.

What made the situation infinitely worse was the way his body had started responding whenever Spock was around. He was hard more often than not and it was driving him crazy. He didn't want to want the Vulcan but it was clear that what he wanted no longer mattered. His body was hungry for what only Spock could give. He remembered the way his body had responded that last time and, god, he wanted it again. He wanted Spock's touch, his mouth, his cock buried deep inside of him. The warring between his mind and body was slowly breaking down his resistance.

Why had this happened to him? Spock was kind, considerate, the kind of person that Kirk would have been proud to call friend but for this nightmare. He turned to look at his bondmate and wished for the thousandth time that they had met under different circumstances. Studying the Vulcan in the dark, he realized that Spock truly was beautiful. Totally masculine, he gave off an aura of strength but with a gentleness that was alluring. Kirk's hand reached toward him, wanting the feel of that, oh, so hot skin against his. Inches away, he pulled it back, fighting the overpowering need building in him. With a muffled groan, he turned away, lying as far from Spock as he could. He would fight this. It would probably kill him, but he would fight this. His cock throbbed, as if chastising him for refusing its demands. Alone with his desires and fears, he prayed for sleep.


~~~~~


K'iron went about his duties, trying to be as quiet as he could. The young human still slept though K'iron noticed it wasn't a restful one. Even in sleep the man wasn't able to relax, seeming to fight as he tossed and turned on the cushioned surface. He approached the bed and studied his lord's bondmate. The man was undeniably handsome and the body that was only half covered finely made. He could almost envy Spock for what had fallen into his lap by chance, but he knew how unhappy they both were. Spock had left early, needing to keep up his duties as leader to his men, but his heart was no longer in it. It hadn't taken K'iron long to figure out what had happened. He had heard the men speak of it before and had tried to make Spock understand, but his lord had been blind to the ways of his people. If only these two would put aside their fears they might stand a chance. As he watched, the human's eyes slowly opened.

"Good morning, Lord James. I hope you slept well."

Kirk looked at him, his countenance for once open and friendly. "Not bad. I think I'm finally getting used to a regular bed again. Once I fell asleep, I slept the night through." He looked around. "Where's Spock?"

"He left early to see to the men. He should return soon for your morning repast." K'iron responded from the table across the tent. He returned with a cup of steaming liquid.

"Coffee! Where did you get this? I haven't had coffee since..." He chuckled. "I don't remember the last time."

"Lord Spock had me send one of the men back to his kinsman's compound for it. He had it transported there from his family's home. You must have said something to him that led him to believe you would enjoy it."

K'iron was setting up their breakfast, so Kirk got out of bed and, throwing on the robe that had been left for him, walked over and sat down at the dining table nearby.

"Yeah, I might have. We really haven't talked too much about ourselves, though. Sometimes, it's hard." He lowered his head in thought, gently blowing on the too hot cup of coffee, not sure why he was allowing this conversation.

"Perhaps you should. Surely when two people share a bond logic would dictate that they share themselves as well."

Kirk didn't look up, but taking his continued silence as permission to speak, K'iron decided that perhaps this was the opportunity he had been looking for to help them. "Lord Spock has been lonely for a long time. His status as heir combined with his dual heritage has made his life very difficult. I had hoped that in you he would find the companionship he so desperately needs."

"Dual heritage? What are you talking about?" Kirk looked up, curious.

"His mother is human. She was brought to Vulcan as a young girl, as a slave as you were. Did you not know this?"

"No, I didn't, but then I don't know all that much about Spock. We're not exactly on the best of terms. What little I do know just seems to filter in through the bond." Kirk hesitated. "If I wanted to know more about him....well, would you be willing to...."

"Answer your questions? There should be nothing unknown between bondmates. But why have you not asked Lord Spock? Or have you?" K'iron was beginning to think things were worse than he had feared.

"No, I haven't asked him anything, nothing personal, anyway. Sometimes, he's so hard to talk to. I know most of that's my fault. This whole mess has been hard to deal with. I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe if I knew more about Spock I'd be able to open up more with him. Maybe it would give us a chance to work something out. I don't like living like this, K'iron. I'm angry most of the time and I say things that I don't really mean."

He looked down on the human, trying to gage just how much this man would be willing to listen to. Taking a seat next to him, he gathered his thoughts before proceeding. "I have known Lord Spock since he was a very small child and in all that time he has never had a truly close friend. From the very beginning the facts of his birth have set him apart from his people. When his father bonded with a human most of the family turned against him. Spock has paid the price for their love. He hides it well, but there is a need in him, in all Vulcans, for the touch, the joining of his being to another. You are his bondmate and even more, despite all your difference and the difficulty of your situation, I think you are of a kind."

Kirk's looked up in surprise, bringing a small smile to K'iron's face. "You, too, hide behind your shield of lonliness. You are both good men, and I believe you could have a joyous life together if both of you are willing to let go of your preconceived notions of yourselves. There is no shame in loving another, in wanting another. I had truly hoped you would be t'hy'la."

"What is that? I think Spock might have mentioned it."

"To be t'hy'la is to be all to one another. Friend, brother, lover. It is a sharing of selves deeper and richer than any other." K'iron's voice grew pensive. "I imagine that when one knows such happiness you wish for all those you love to know the same joy. I love Lord Spock, as much or even more than my own sons. I wish him to be happy. Do you think you could find it within yourself to give him what he needs, what you both need?"

Kirk sat quietly, trying to take in all the Vulcan had said. Yes, he wanted Spock. Maybe it hadn't been his choice, but he had to deal with what and how he was now. "It sounds wonderful, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to be all that Spock needs, to be t'hy'la to him. I like Spock, I really do—a lot. And sometimes I feel things for him. And I guess I've gotten to the point where I'm tired of fighting myself—and him. I'll try K'iron, I really will."

"That is all anyone can ask. I think you will find that loving Spock will be easier than you would have imagined."

"Who would imagined?" Spock's deep voice startled Kirk as the subject of their conversation walked into the tent.

"What have you two been plotting this morning?" He gave both Kirk and K'iron a wary look, as if sensing that he had missed something.

"Oh nothing. K'iron was just telling me stories about you. Isn't that right, K'iron?" Kirk grinned at Spock as he took in the Vulcan's suspicious look.

"That is true, Lord Spock," he replied as he rose to set out breakfast. "But for now, your breakfast is ready. If I may, I wish to see to the matter of my son's latest escapade. I have heard he has outdone himself this time. If I am not needed, I will go to him."

"No, that should be all." Spock sat down at the table, still eying his bondmate, not sure he liked the grin on the man's face.

"I didn't know K'iron had a son." Kirk began his meal but his words spoke of an openness in him that had been missing until now.

"In fact, he has three. All are in my employ and are the finest fighting men one could wish for." Spock abruptly changed the subject. "What were the two of you really speaking about?"

"Nothing really." Kirk's voice had taken on a softness that Spock found inexplicably appealing. "Just that he's been with you a long time. Spock, why is he your servant? He doesn't appear to be the type of man who would serve someone else."

The question surprized Spock. Kirk had never asked anything remotely of a personal nature before. Maybe, at last, there could be a peace of sorts between them. "He is not precisely a servant. K'iron was not always a free man. His father belonged to my grandfather and when K'iron was born it was decided that he would be brought up with my father as his personal slave. When Sarek, my father, converted to the teachings of Surak, he freed all his slaves, keeping K'iron as his guard out of affection."

"Surak. I've heard of him. He preached the suppression of all emotion, or something like that, didn't he?"

Spock smiled. "In its most radical form, yes. But my father and I both believe that his doctrine concerning the use of logic and the controlling of violent emotions are more important in living one's life. It is that which we both have taken as our way."

"Logic, huh?" Kirk laughed softly. "Well my friend, you certainly have found yourself in a truly illogical situation. What do you think we should do about it?"

Friend. The warm glow that word created in him left him momentarily speechless. No one, outside of K'iron, had ever called him that. He looked at the human sitting across from him and thought that perhaps there could be even more between them then he had dared hope for, that they could be true bondmates. "Perhaps time will reveal what is best for us. If you are willing, I would be...pleased to learn with you what that might be."

Kirk appeared touched by Spock's words. "K'iron seems to almost approve of our bonding. I was really surprised."

Spock almost laughed at that. "He would. He himself is bonded to a another male."

"You're kidding? But he has sons. How could he be bonded to another man and have children at the same time? I didn't think that was possible."

"It is not, but K'iron was not bonded at the time of his sons' births. Before he was freed, he was forced to take a woman to have offspring. My grandfather was, and still is, very much a proponent of the slave system. Se'dak, K'iron's youngest son, was born two years before me. I was in my fifth year when Sarek freed them and two years later my father asked K'iron to become my guardian. He has been with me ever since. His bondmate, Sorak, is the leader of a band of warriors, all who prescribe to male bonding."

"Why isn't he with his bondmate? I thought that you were supposed to stay together." Kirk's eyes darted away nervously.

Spock sighed. Was there no getting away from the source of Kirk's unhappiness? "You are. It is very difficult for K'iron and Sorak to be apart, though they spend as much time as they can together. But K'iron decided long ago to fulfill his promise to my father."

"And what was that promise, exactly?"

"To stay and guide my path until I was bonded. He will be leaving soon to rejoin his bondmate. Though they see each other often, I know their choice would be to always be together. Now they can. I rejoice with him though I will miss him." He thought back on all their years together. "He took me to their camp once. I was barely ten years of age. I remember being in awe of the warrior bondmates." He smiled at the memory.

"Well that certainly explains it. And here I thought we were trailblazers, going where no man has gone before, or at least no Vulcan." Kirk said and then glanced out the tent's entrance. "I guess we should be on the move. It sounds like everyone else is packing up."

"Yes, the men are preparing for the last of our journey. We should reach my father's home in Shikahr today." Standing, he reached over and took Kirk's hand. "Come, there is much to do and I am anxious for you to be introduced to—."

Kirk rose and then looked questioningly as the Vulcan's voice came to a halt. He had forgotten that the robe he wore didn't tie or close in any way and it had opened when he stood, revealing his naked body. Neither moved as Spock's gaze roamed over the exposed flesh. Finally, he walked slowly over and brought his hand up to gently alight on Kirk's chest. His fingers skimmed lightly over his chest, stroking his nipples and then down to his abdomen, circling around his navel. Kirk's breathing quickened and when Spock's hand covered his hardening cock he closed his eyes, dropping his head back as a soft groan escaped his lips.

"Jim?" Kirk looked at him with eyes shuttered half way, fear and arousal battling for supremacy as Spock waited for his answer. As if under their own volition, his hips pushed slightly into Spock's hand, who closed his fist over the now erect organ, caressing and stroking it as Kirk's body gently rocked. Neither spoke as Kirk thrust himself into the Vulcan's grip while holding on to Spock's other hand as a life line.

"Lord Spock, my father thought—"

Spock froze and looked up as Se'dak walked through the opening of their tent. Kirk swiftly turned away, pulling his robe closed and hunching over as he tried to bring his body back under control.

Se'dak slowed as he entered the tent, painfully aware that he had interrupted something private—and important. "I am sorry, Lord Spock. I was asked when you and Lord James would be ready to leave. Yours is the only test left to bring down."

"We...we will be ready momentarily. Please, leave us." Se'dak excused himself and left, a contrite look on his face.

Spock turned and looked at Kirk. "Jim? Are you alright?"

A quick nod of the his head was Kirk's only response.

"Do...do you wish to be alone? I can wait for you outside."

Kirk again only nodded.

"Very well. I will wait outside." He gave Kirk a last look and then slowly walked from the tent.

He heard Spock walk out, heard him close and secure the flap of the tent. He stood silently for a moment and then, opening his robe, he dropped to his knees and brought himself to a violent climax.

~~~~~


Kirk shifted on his mount, watching Spock out of the corner of his eye. Thoughts of what had passed between them and what Spock's touch had done to him causing his arousal to return. He had cleaned himself up, dressed and walked out of the tent to find his bondmate waiting. Without a word, Spock had handed him the reins of the animal and they had mounted, beginning the last day of their journey. They had rode only a little way before they began to slowly ease together, neither aware of how they were automatically drawn to one another.

Spock looked up, catching him watching. Kirk gave him a weak smile and was rewarded with an elegantly raised eyebrow. Kirk laughed, releasing the tension between them. It would be all right.


~~~~~



Sarek sat in his study, deep in thought. Se'dak had reported to him this morning with the news that Spock and his new bondmate were but hours away. Something in the young Vulcan's demeanor had made Sarek suspicious. Something was not as it should be and as the hours had gone by, his sense of foreboding had grown.

"Father, may we enter?" Spock stood at the door, a human male at his side.

"My son, welcome home." Sarek rose and met his son half-way, clasping him close in joy at his return and successful bonding. "Where is T'Pring, Spock? I had hoped to welcome her to her new home. As head of this household, it is my duty and pleasure to welcome the one who has fulfilled my son."

Spock and the human exchanged glances and Sarek's feelings of anxiousness increased. "What is it, Spock? Has something gone wrong? Tell me."

Spock looked again at the human and then turned to Sarek. "I am not quite sure how to tell you this." He took a deep breath. "Father, I wish you to meet James Kirk....my bondmate."

Sarek was unable to hide his consternation, something which appeared to amuse the human at his son's side. He assumed that, to Kirk at least, it was funny. Sarek, the mighty ruler of the largest holding on Vulcan, saddled with a male ex-slave as his son-in-law.

A looked passed between his son and his new bondmate and Kirk sobered. That look told Sarek that the bond was true and that they were already beginning to be able to almost read each other's thoughts, so that words were not always necessary between them.

Kirk stepped forward. "Sir, I wish to thank you for your hospitality and hope my presence will not be too great a burden. I understand that I'm not exactly what you were expecting but I promise you, I'll try to be as a good a bondmate as I can to your son."

Sarek sighed. Why was it that whenever his son was involved things had a habit of going badly? "I welcome you to our household, James. There is much I would know regarding this unforeseen turn of events, but now is not the time. Your journey was a long one and tonight may prove to be a trial." He turned and addressed his son. "Spock, perhaps it would be best for you and your bondmate to rest until nightfall. You will also need to advise him on his duties regarding the Bonding feast. Your mother is resting now but wishes to be there when you and he are presented to the rest of the clan. Your room has been readied and I instructed Se'dak to have your things brought there."

Spock's reservations regarding their chances of success tonight showed in the tightening of his body. "Very well, Father. Tell Mother I will see her after we have settled in our room. Come along, James. There is much to do and little time in which to do it." With a stiff nod to his father, Spock turned and proceeded from the room.

Not knowing what else to do, Kirk bowed to Sarek and hurried after his bondmate. "Spock, wait up. What was that about a feast?" Spock didn't slow down and Kirk found he had to work to keep up. "Will you please stop? I think we need to talk about this."

"Our room is ahead. We will speak there." Spock continued walking, his reaction to the few words exchanged with his father beginning to worry Kirk.

They arrived at an ornately carved door and entered the room beyond. It may have been Spock's boyhood room before, but now it was furnished in what could only be describe as early bordello. What was expected to happen in this room was painfully obvious and Kirk blushed at the thought that Spock's parents knew exactly what had happened between him and their son. He turned and saw the same response flitting across Spock's face, along with something else that he couldn't quite fathom. "What's wrong? Does it have anything to do with this thing tonight?"

Spock sat heavily on the bed, his body telegraphing his distress. "Jim, please sit down. I am afraid you will find this most distressing."

Kirk sat down next to him. Spock looked at him a moment and then bowed his head and began to speak. "Our family is an old one, with many customs which you would no doubt find antiquated and without merit. But they are our customs and must be followed if the clan is to survive as a unit in the world we now inhabit. Surely you wondered why we traveled here in the manner we did. It is part of a ceremony that the heir and his bondmate have performed as far back as recorded history."

Kirk sat silently listening. He had wondered but had not pushed for an answer when Spock had seemed so reticent.

"The journey is only the first part of the ceremony. Once the bonded couple reach the heir's home, there is a celebration in their honor, culminating in a great feast at which they are obliged to serve all their guests."

"We have to serve them?" Kirk relaxed. This didn't sound so bad. "So, we feed your relatives, exchange some small talk and go on our way, right?" Kirk's relief was short lived.

"Fortunately, many of my kinsmen were unable to attend. I have never been so grateful for the place I hold in their esteem." Spock's voice was thick with sarcasm. "Nevertheless, there will most likely be at least fifty of them to serve and amuse." He turned and looked at Kirk, his eyes pleading. "Jim, you must understand. I have never been much loved by my family. Outside of my parents I am basically ignored, though I am heir. I fear they will use this opportunity to vent their hate and anger on you. If there was any way to keep you from this I would, but there is not."

The depression he felt from his bondmate almost broke Kirk's heart. Laying his arm across Spock's shoulders, he tried to comfort him, bewildered and angered that anyone could hate this gentle, loving man. "It'll be all right, Spock. Hey, I'm tougher than I look. What the hell can they do to me, anyway? Don't worry so much."

Spock almost smiled. "Perhaps you are right. I may be projecting my own fears unnecessarily on the situation."

The hope in Spock's voice was worth any indignities he might have to put up with and Kirk felt they had cleared another hurdle in their attempt to find a way to live with their situation. "We'll do whatever we need to do, and we'll show them we can take anything they can dish out."


~~~~~


Kirk's rage was making a mockery of his earlier words. He had thought to be immune to the looks and innuendoes thrown his way. At first they had been circumvent, making sure that Spock never quite saw what was happening, but even then they had been rude and condescending. The trouble had really begun only after Spock had been called away and had disappeared with his parents into his father's study.

"Human, over here. I need more wine." He had gone over and was refilling the Vulcan woman's glass when he had felt a hand settle on his buttocks and then quickly slide between his legs to fondle him. What he was wearing covered him completely but when she squeezed, he had yelped and tried to get away, spilling wine on himself and falling on the man sitting next to her.

"Watch what you are doing. It is bad enough we have to put up with you and your half-breed bondmate. " Kirk was propelled off his feet as the irate Vulcan pushed him and he landed hard against the next table. He stood and quickly walked away, telling himself that he could do this, that he would not let them get the best of him. But things had just gotten worse. Everywhere he turned he had been manhandled, either to grope or cause pain. Now he stood, enduring yet more humiliation.

"This is not what I wanted, you fool. Pay attention to what you are doing." The Vulcan male grabbed his arm, holding on so tight that pain lanced up its length and Kirk found he could not pull away. "It would be wise of you to make sure that I am not displeased." The grasp tightened and he cried out as he was pulled down to his knees. His chin was grabbed and his face forced within inches of the other man's. "Humans are so fragile, are they not? It would be a shame if the heir were to lose his bondmate in an accident. You should be very careful."

Kirk felt a wave of nausea overtake him. He finally managed to break away and fighting to keep from lashing out at his tormentors, he stumbled to the back of the room to lean against the wall, praying for the night to end. Many of the guests had finally finished and gone back to their rooms. His thoughts whirled as his resentment grew. Damn Spock. He had snuck off, leaving him to deal with this alone. He had been a fool to think that they could work things out. If this had proven anything, it was that Spock really didn't care enough for him to make sure something like this couldn't happen. Even while he was thinking it, he knew he was being unfair, that Spock had tried to warn him and prepare him for what could happen. Yet his anger continued to grow and by the time he saw Spock reenter the room and proceed toward him, the conflagration in his soul was just waiting for a spark to release it.

"Where the hell have you been? Why'd did you leave me alone so long?" Kirk hissed.

"I am sorry, Jim. I tried to get back as soon as I could but my parents needed to know what had transpired. It was very difficult to—"

"Difficult? You don't know what the hell difficult is. And unless you're about to tell me that we're leaving, I don't want to hear anything from you."

Spock stared in dismay. "Yes, we may leave now. Please, Jim—"

But Kirk was already moving away toward the safety of their room. He didn't care if Spock followed or not, as long as he could finally leave this place.


~~~~~


Their trip was a short one and when they entered the room Spock laid his hand on Kirk's shoulder, wanting to give comfort.

But Kirk pushed him away, turning on him in white hot anger. Pride shattered by the night, Kirk lashed out at the only one he could. "Get away from me. I don't ever want you to touch me again."

"Jim please, do not do this." Attempting to understand and console, Spocks own anger was building. "I know that in some manner they hurt you..."

"You don't know anything. How could you? It wasn't you they were fondling and treating like a god damn pet. But that's what I am, isn't it? Your pet, that you can do whatever you want with. Isn't it?" Unable to stop himself, Kirk lunged, grabbing Spock's tunic in both hands and pulling the surprised face down to his. "You son of a bitch, this is all your fault. Do you have the slightest idea of what they did to me? Do you?" He was shaking uncontrollably, but couldn't seem to stop the torrent of venomous words. "The things they did to me..the way they touched me...god, I wish I had died that day, I wish you had killed me and—"

All the hurt and resentment Spock thought gone flared to life as he brought his arm down and across Kirk's face, bringing the human to his knees. "Do you think I have not wished the same? You have made my life a continuous torment. If I could I would take your life and then my own. May the gods forgive me, I, too, wish we had both died that day. All I had worked for, all the dreams I had of finally being accepted into my family vanished and in their place I have been left with a bondmate who despises me, who is unwilling to accept what is. You blame me for what has happened, yet you do nothing to make our lives any better. I curse the day I ever met you." He stopped, horror crossing his face. What were they saying? He turned and fled the room. Not knowing where he would go, he nevertheless knew that if he stayed he could very well carry out Kirk's wish.

Kirk remained slumped on the floor, his mind in a daze. Sick with his own anger, he knew he'd meant none of what he had just said. With the last of his strength he pulled himself together and slowly rose. Throwing off his clothes, he crawled under the covers on the waiting bed.

~~~~~


Spock didn't stop his headlong flight until he had reached the outer courtyard of the compound. The only persons still up were the men posted to care for the animals that would still be needed for the last part of the ceremony. He crumbled against the outer wall, hanging his head between his updrawn knees. Why had he allowed himself to lose control? No matter what Kirk had said, Spock knew that his bondmate really didn't hate him. He had felt Kirk's anger through the bond as he sat with his parents but he had underestimated its depth. When Kirk had lashed out, he had allowed his own frustration free rein. He had struck his bondmate, the shame of that act almost more than he could bear. He needed to find a way to restore the balance they had just begun to find. Looking up, he found little solace in the stars that had always before brought comfort. As a small boy he had dreamt of going out to them, until the weight of responsibility had grounded him forever. He sat a long while, grappling with hurt and fear.

"What is it, Spock? What troubles you?"

K'iron. Always, there had been this man whenever he had needed him. Biting his lower lip as he struggled for control, he finally motioned his guardian over. The larger man lowered himself to the ground. Spock felt his control shatter as he was taken in a loving embrace. As K'iron held him close, his head pillowed against his chest, Spock finally gave in and let the tears come. Several minutes would pass before he was able to speak.

"It is all falling apart and I do not know how to stop it."

K'iron pulled slightly away in order to see his face. "You have fought."

"I think more than a 'fight'. He is so unhappy. I think he could love me, but his shame over what we are is destroying him."

"James is a fine man, Spock. Somehow, fate has seen fit to bring the two of you together. " He frowned. "How do I explain this to you? I see the two of you together and I think, no, I know that you were meant to be. There is a...an aura that surrounds you, that shouts to all who bother to look that you are one. Do not throw that away, Spock. Don't let James throw it away. This must be."

"I wish I could be as sure. We dance around each other, trying to find a balance, a center, but all we manage to do is hurt one another."

"Your path has never been an easy one. Now James has been forced to travel it with you while having to redefine who he is. A difficult task under the best of circumstances. Do not give up on him, Spock. He cares for you, perhaps more than he is willing to admit. Go to him. I think you will find that he wants you, that he wishes to be with you. Somehow, you must get him to recognize and accept his own needs and desires. To let go of his shame."

Spock wasn't so sure he would ever be able to do that but he stood and then helped the older man up. "I hope you are right, K'iron. I wish so much for us to be truly together." He looked back in the direction of his flight. "I should be getting back. I ran away from him and left him to deal with his torment alone."

"Go to him, then. Do not let your fear or his shame keep you apart any longer. You were meant to be together. Be together."


~~~~~


The lean body sliding in next to his brought him up from his troubled sleep. He turned to see Spock lying on his side, propped up on one elbow, gazing down on him.

"I didn't think you'd be back." Kirk looked down, unable to hold the Vulcan's gaze. "I'm sorry, Spock. I didn't mean what I said. Do you think you could ever forgive me? I...hate myself for hurting you the way I did and I'll understand if you don't what me." The two fingers against his lips stopped him from continuing and when he looked up the smile on Spock's face gave him hope that all was not lost.

"Do not speak. It is past time we forget all that we have said and all that we have done to hurt one another. " He brought his arms around Kirk as he took the mouth openly offered to him. He pulled their bodies together as Kirk returned his embrace.

Their passion ignited, both men gave in to the feelings that had grown between them. Kirk felt himself surrounded by the Vulcan, their minds flowing together in a sweetness that surpassed anything he had ever known. He was worshipped and he in turn adored the one above him, stroking and caressing the hard planes of Spock's body.

He was turned onto his stomach, his hips raised as Spock positioned them for completion. His buttock was caressed and he let out a low moan when he felt his ass cheeks parted and a tongue begin to rim his anus, licking at him and probing into his body. He rocked back, wanting more of the sensation, crying out when fingers replaced the hot, wet probe as he was gently finger fucked.

"Oh Spock, yes, like that, yes." His body was crying for more as he arched his back and pushed, taking the pleasuring fingers deeper inside himself.

"What do you want, Jim? Tell me. Tell me what you want, tell me what you need." Spock's voice was a husky whisper as he played Kirk's body, bringing him time and again to the brink of orgasm.

"You, I need you, inside of me. Now."

He whimpered as the pleasure giving fingers were pulled from his body. He felt the tip of Spock's organ placed against his opening and Spock's hands open him wide as with one long thrust he was entered. "Yes, oh god, yes." He screamed out as he was taken, the hot Vulcan cock claiming him. As he began to rock back on the organ possessing him, as he took the Vulcan's soul into his, a truce was called between his mind and body. The war was over. He now knew who and what he was. He was Spock's.


Hours later, Kirk woke to sunlight streaming through the deeply-set windows. His face ached. So did his backside. He smiled smugly. Spock's probably did, too. When they had made love for the first time since their bonding, Spock had taken him with all the love and tenderness the Vulcan possessed. He had been surprised when he had not been allowed to come, but rather, after he had been filled by the Vulcan's seed, Spock had turned and offered himself. The joy he felt as he possessed Spock was all he could ever have imagined and more. They had made love through the night, and Kirk had finally felt his side of the bond open completely as the last of his walls tumbled down. He was overwhelmed with happiness and he knew he wouldn't change what was between them even if he could. He turned and discovered his bondmate watching him with undisgusted love and desire. As he was pulled once again into Spock's arms he fell happily into the world they had created for themselves. No, he wouldn't change a thing.

~~~~~


Sarek watched his son closely. Only a blind man could miss the joy radiating from the younger Vulcan. He had been that way since the morning following the Bonding feast. When Spock had abruptly excused himself and hurried back to the dining hall, Sarek had known that something was terribly amiss between his son and his human bondmate. Yet the next morning, when both had appeared Spock was relaxed and more at ease with himself than Sarek had ever known him to be.

"You are looking well, my son. Am I to surmise that your bondmate has proven to be all you would wish him to be?"

Spock smiled. "Yes, Father, to a degree I had not thought possible. I never believed I would find someone who would complete me as he does. I look forward to my life in a way I never did before." He gazed out the window, as if seeing something other than the desert beyond. "I wish so much to give him the joy and contentment which has been his gift to me, but I sometimes fear that I have condemned him to a life of pain and rejection. This coming journey..."

The collecting of the tithe. Sarek remembered his own as being a tedious and humiliating experience, especially for Amanda. Part of the bonding ceremony, the heir and his mate were obliged to collect a tithe from all households of the clan, which was then deposited in the couple's own treasury. What could have been accomplished electronically in minutes, usually took the couple a season to complete. They were forced by tradition to travel in the manner of their ancient ancestors. It was a long and sometimes dangerous journey.

"You fear that James will bear the brunt of their displeasure as he did the night of the banquet."

"I do not know how to protect him from this. He is a proud man. I know he will resent my continuing efforts to shield him from all harm."

"Then perhaps it is best that you do not." Sarek held up his hands, seeing the objections surface in his son. " Spock, if Vulcans are ever to rid themselves of the barbaric use of slaves, they must first see those slaves as equal to themselves. What better example to show them than James? Let them see him as you do, as the truly brave and honorable man he is."

"So, Jim is to bear the weight of our battle? No, do not ask this. I will not allow him to pay for Vulcan's transgressions." Spock's anger flared. "Is this all you see him to be? An opportunity to prove a point?"

"You are being illogical. Better that they see James now, even if it means he must put up with their distain, if doing so means that someday he can walk among them as an equal."

Spock shook his head. "I will do all I can to further the cause for which we fight, but do not ask that my bondmate be sacrificed to it. That, I will not do." He rose and strode to the door.

"Spock." Sarek waited until his son had halted his flight before continuing. "It is his fight also. Do you not believe that he would demand a role in the freeing of his people, given the opportunity?"

Spock stared him, the war being waged within written in every line of his body. Finally, he turned and left. Sarek could only hope that his words had been taken to heart. If not, he feared for the future of their cause.


~~~~~


Kirk softly whistled as he strolled through the garden created by Spock's mother. It had surprised him to see the flowers of home he had never thought to see again. She was an amazing woman, his mother-in-law. He smiled to himself at the sound of that. It was both strange and wonderful.

He had been unable to keep the smile from his face as the days had progressed and he and Spock had come to fully appreciate the bond as it now existed between them. Their days had been filled with getting to really know each other, sharing memories and creating new ones. Their nights were filled with lovemaking as they flourished under the love and sense of belonging each found only with the other.

Kirk had also found his new family a pleasant surprise. Amanda especially dear to him. She had given him all the weight of her years of experience in being a human bonded to a Vulcan and he grew to admire the small woman who had created a place for herself on this harsh planet. Sarek too, in his own way, had helped him learn to deal with his unique situation. Both he and Amanda had accepted him as their son, acting as his shields against the rest of the family. He had stayed glued to Spock's side whenever they had to deal with any of that contentious lot. Now that they were gone, he found he enjoyed exploring Spock's home, going from room to room of the sprawling mansion, learning his way around his bondmate's boyhood home. Now their home. As night had fallen he had given off his rambling, following the bond that sang in his mind to find his bondmate meditating in a secluded corner of the garden. He stood, admiring Spock as the Vulcan slowly rose and approached him. He was enfolded in strong arms and pulled close.

"Come, there is something I wish to show you." Spock led him to a bench placed in a small clearing. They sat and Spock draped an arm over his shoulders so that they both faced forward. He extended his other arm out, pointing to slightly above the horizon. "Look, do you see it? The small star just above the three bright ones in a row?"

Kirk strained to see and was able to barely make out the dim star.

"That is your sun."

"Sol, we call it Sol." Kirk's voice caught. "I never knew where it was. I wasn't even sure you could see it from here. It's so small, you can barely make it out." He cleared his throat, overwhelmed by the gift he had been given.

"I have always known where it is. My mother had it pointed out to her when she first came to Vulcan. She wanted me to know something of her world and showed it to me when I was a small boy. I have often wished to go there and return to her all the things she has lost."

"Do you think we ever could?" Kirk was overwhelmed by homesickness. "I always wanted to travel in space. I had just been accepted to our space program when we were taken. Earth were just beginning to return to space and it seemed like every time we'd make any headway, something would happen and send us back to start anew. That's why I was accepted even at such a young age. I think they were getting desperate. I remember hearing rumors that at one time a type of warp drive had been invented, but no one knew for sure."

"It was taken from you."

Spock had spoken so quietly that Kirk had almost not heard. "Taken from us? What do you mean?"

Hesitantly, Spock related the whole story. "My father told me that years ago a man by the name of Cochrane, he did not know the rest of his name, had discovered a way for your people to travel faster than the speed of light. To your great misfortune, the first ship to reach your planet was Orion. As they approached and saw his ship coming toward them, they destroyed it and then set about making sure that his work could not be duplicated, so that you would remain forever bound to your planet. It is Vulcans' everlasting shame that nothing was done to help you. Indeed, they exaserbated the problem by so readily accepting Terrans as slaves."

Kirk lowered his head into his hands, stunned. They should have been free, should have been a space faring people in their own right. Instead, they were condemned to be forever at the mercy of their enslavers, a planet of cattle to be culled at will. Kirk's head shot up. "Wait a minute, back up. Are you telling me that the reason my family was taken was because I was going into the space program? That what happened to us was my fault?"

"No Jim, do not think that. The Orions have been taking tens of thousands of your people every year for a very long time. I do not believe them capable of such meticulous planning. It was only coincidence that you and your family ended up as their prisoners."

"Just plain bad luck in other words?" Kirk shook his head ruefully. "I guess I got what I wished for, didn't I? All I ever talked about was how I has going to fly a spaceship, take off and never look back. Now I would give anything to see Earth again." He smiled sadly. "I guess that's impossible, isn't it?"

"I wish I could tell you that you will see it again, but chances are that both of us will spend the remainder of our lives here. I too, wished to go to the stars but my place as heir makes that impossible."

"We can dream about it, can't we?" Kirk drew closer into Spock's embrace. He didn't want to think of what might have been and abruptly changed the conversation. "What time are we leaving in the morning?"

"Within an hour of sunrise. The men are already gathering what we will need for the journey." Spock grimaced. "The tithe collection is yet another of the odius traditions we are being forced to endure."

Kirk laughed, Spock's chagrin at their duty at odds with his usual reverence for all things pertaining to his family. "I won't say it can't be all that bad. I remember what happened the last time I said that." He covered Spock's mouth with a kiss before he could respond. "No, it's okay. We're over that, remember? Whatever happens, we're in it together. Nothing can tear us apart now. I love you, don't you know that?"

"I had hoped that was the case, for you have become very dear to me. My love for you has given new meaning to my life. I do not know what I would do if it was threatened in any way." He softly kissed the mouth presented to him. "Come, it is getting late and we must be about early. "

They rose and walked to their room. They would not waste their last night here in the place where they had finally become one.

~~~~~


They woke before dawn and by sunrise the caravan was set to leave.

"Please, be careful. I want both of you back safe and sound." Amanda fussed with Kirk's attire. "Now James, don't forget what I told you. Vulcans can be very intimidating but you're not a slave anymore. Don't let them treat you with anything less than the respect you deserve."

He smiled. "'Jim', Amanda, remember?" Kirk already felt close to his new 'mother'. He had been charmed by her and Sarek almost as much as they had by him. "It'll be okay. With Spock by a side, I could take on the whole planet."

"All right...Jim. She laughed. "I'll try to remember but I think you'll find it's sometimes hard to switch between Vulcan and Human ways. We'll teach each other, all right?"

They had indeed been doing just that. Kirk had regaled Amanda with his stories of Earth, creating vistas of imagination to replace her dim childhood memories. He had given her back her home planet and for that she would love him always. She in turn had done all she could to prepare him for his new life. She knew first hand how very hard it could be for a human, alone among those who wished you ill.

She returned his smile and, rising on her toes, kissed her new son. "Just be careful and take care of one another."

"We will, Amanda, I promise."

"It is time, Jim." Spock walked up to them, taking his mother in his arms. "Goodbye, Mother. We should be back by spring. Until then our thoughts will be of you and the home we long to return to."

When they departed, Sarek was left to comfort her. He had little success.


~~~~~


For many days their journey was uneventful. They had expected the thinly veiled contempt and were not disappointed. They found, however, that there were just as many who treated them with curtesy and accepted them as honored guests. At such times they could put down their burden and enjoy what life had given them. Spock had almost come to believe that they could complete their task without incident. Almost...

He surveyed the noisy mix of men and animals as he and K'iron made their inspection of the caravan. They would be leaving in the morning, none too soon for either man. This last stop had been the worst. They had arrived and discovered that they were not the only visitors to his cousin's home.

"It is good we leave in the morning. I don't think James cares to be locked away the way he has." K'iron gave Spock a reproachful look. It had been a bad idea, as far as he was concerned, for Lord Spock to try and protect his bondmate in this manner.

"I know, K'iron, but I could not let Stonn and the others humiliate him. Stonn especially would have tried to force him into a fight he could not win." Kirk had been hurt but had tried to understand why Spock had insisted he stay in their suite except when absolutely necessary. "The arrival of T'Pring had set my cousin on a course that bodes ill for all of us. I had never realized that he wished her for his own."

"He has certainly made his intentions clear of taking her as his wife now. His animosity to James is illogical. If not for him, T'Pring would most likely not be free." K'iron hesitated, unsure if his candor would be appreciated. " I have never understood your cousin, Spock. The woman is undeniably beautiful but has no other value. She comes from the less well placed part of the family and I hear she is not well learned. Also, she has no meat on her bones."

Spock smiled and shook his head. "Perhaps beauty is all my cousin insists on in a bondmate. In any event, she is now his. However illogical his animosity to my bondmate is, it nevertheless exists. I can only hope that we will be gone by—"

Spock stopped in mid-sentence,and K'iron turned to see the color drain from his lord's face. "What is it, Spock? Do you feel ill?"

Without answering, Spock turned and started quickly back to the house, his manner aggravated.

"Spock, where are you going?" Whatever was wrong, K'iron thought he had better make sure that Spock was not alone to deal with it. He hurriedly followed and within minutes caught up with him stopped at the entrance to the courtyard.

"So, my cousin's whore has finally decided to show his face. Did Spock decide that he wanted to show off his new toy?" Stonn stood about even in height to Kirk but seemed smaller as he released his pent up animosity at the human.

Kirk's face was pale, but his stance was relaxed and he seemed in control of the situation. "I don't want any trouble, Stonn, but if that's what you want, I'll be happy to oblige. " Kirk kept his arms at his side but K'iron could see that his body was posed, preparing for attack.

When Spock started forward, K'iron grabbed his arm, pulling him back. "Let us see what transpires first." He whispered. "I believe your bondmate has the situation well in hand."

"I don't think you know what you're getting yourself into. Just go along with your business and we'll forget the whole thing." Kirk never moved but his obvious confidence in his own ability had the desired effect. Stonn seemed suddenly unsure, as if the human's reactions had undermined his resolve.

"My cousin has brought disgrace to my family. He never should have brought you here to be paraded in front of us." His words now lacked conviction and Kirk pushed his advantage.

"Spock and I will go wherever it pleases us to go. Get used to it, Stonn. I'm going to be around for a very long time." He stepped toward the Vulcan.

K'iron knew Stonn wasn't a fighting man and that he lacked the basic skills needed to beat the human. Kirk was in fighting trim and even with Stonn's greater Vulcan strength, he had the advantage of years of preparing his body for just such a situation.

Stonn finally realized that the easy sport he had expected was not going to happen. The human suddenly looked dangerous and being basically a coward, Stonn started his retreat. "You are not worth dirtying myself on. Just stay away from me and mine. Not all of Spock's family is willing to role in the gutter with him and his whore." With as haughty a look as he could muster, he quickly strode off, clearly puzzled that the encounter had not gone as planned.

"Well done, James. You handled him most effectively." Kirk turned in surprise as his bondmate and K'iron approached.

"It wasn't difficult. He's all bark." Kirk laughed at the look of puzzlement on their faces. "Never mind. What are you two doing here, anyway? I thought you were checking out everything for tomorrow. We're still leaving then, aren't we?"

"Yes, we are but your bondmate suddenly took it in his mind to come looking for you. He was in quite a rush, were you not?" K'iron glanced from Spock to Kirk, wondering how the human would take Spock's protectiveness.

Spock blushed. "I felt your disquiet through the bond, Jim. I only wished to—"

"It's all right, Spock. But guys like Stonn always back down. You'll know when I really need your help. I'll make sure of that." He smiled at his bondmate affectionately. "He made me angry and I didn't even think about you picking up on it. Let's just forget about it."

The three of them began walking back to where preparations where being made for their departure. Kirk and Spock were discussing their next stop but K'iron's thoughts were elsewhere. James had shown that he possessed many of the traits of a warrior. He had courage and any fighting skills he lacked could be easily learned. He obviously did know how to fight and wasn't afraid of confrontation. Over the weeks K'iron had come to know and admire the human who had fallen into their lives. The seed of an idea began germinating in his mind. Perhaps there could be another way for these two.

~~~~~


He watched the lights of the fire play over Kirk's face. They sat quietly, each within their own thoughts, though each deeply aware of the other. It had been a long, hard day and it felt good to just relax and enjoy their time together. K'iron had disappeared soon after they made camp, leaving them to their own devises. They had set up their things in the tent and prepared a small meal, all within the silence of the comforting bond. Spock noticed that Kirk was looking for Sol again, something he had gotten into the habit of ever since it had been pointed out to him.

"It is there, off to your left, just above the horizon."

"I see it." Kirk turned and smiled. "I'm pretty obvious, aren't I? It's just that ever since we talked about it that night, I can't help wondering about Earth. What's going on there, if anyone really knows what's happening to them. The idea that we're being controlled like that and don't even know it...I wish there was something I could do, that's all."

"I understand. I, too, wish that we could somehow help your people but I do not see how. I had little power to begin with, and now..." Spock looked away. He didn't want to hurt his bondmate by bringing up how it was he had happened to lose that power.

"That's okay, Spock. I understand. I really do." Kirk rose and began tending the fire. "Say, is there any coffee left?" He turned and reached for the pot sitting on the small table they had set up for their meal.

"You really should not drink it so soon before bed. Your intake of the liquid is far more than is considered healthy. In any event, it will make it difficult for you to sleep." They had had this discussion before, but Spock understood that it was Kirk's way of changing the subject. He was grateful for his bondmate's thoughtfullness, though he had never won this particular argument and didn't count on winning now.

Kirk smiled. "It's never bothered me before. Besides, who said anything about sleep?" He laughed as he saw Spock's face flush with color.

"Jim, really. One would think that is all you thought about." Spock's soft smile belied his stern words.

"It is....now."

Spock felt his blush deepened.

"You're really cute when you—"

"Lord Spock, Lord James, if I may interrupt, there is someone who wishes to speak to you." K'iron had appeared suddenly, his tone serious as he presented their visitor."Lord Spock, this is my bondmate, Sorak. You met him once, if you recall."

The Vulcan came forward, warily eying them, as if unsure of his welcome. "It has been many years since I last saw you, Lord Spock. You visited the warrior camp as a young boy. I would not expect you to remember me."

Spock looked first at K'iron, somewhat confused. "I am sorry, Sorak. It was so very long ago. I do not remember much of my visit to the camp, but you are welcome here. Please, what it is you wish to discuss with us?" He motioned for the men to sit and then joined Kirk on the large flat rock he was using as a seat.

Kirk moved to one side making room for his bondmate, curiousity playing across his face.

K'iron was an imposing but this man put him to shame. He was very tall and extremely muscular, with thick, chocolate brown, curling hair that flowed down his back to his waist. The large blade tucked into his scabbard was obviously capable of taking out an enemy with little effort.

"This is K'iron's bondmate?" his voice barely a whisper.

Sorak seemed to hesitate but finally putting his reservations aside, began to speak. "K'iron has told me of your bonding and the insuing problems. As a leader of warriors, I understand what prejudices both of you have been subjected to. Long are gone the days when we were revered as fighters and women would vie for the honor of having children from those who would join us. Our numbers dwindle and we have lost both respect and a voice in our planet's future."

"What's this got to do with us?" Kirk looked to his bondmate.

"He wishes us to join them, is that not correct, Sorak?" Spock had known instantly what Sorak had wanted as soon as he had begun to speak.

"You have little else to chose from, Lord Spock. You must realize by now that your family will never allow you to inherit your father's role as clan leader. You have been trained in the art of war and K'iron informs me that your bondmate has proven to be a man of worth. it would be the most logical of decisions. We would take you in willingly and give you a place of honor within our ranks."

"Can I ask something?" Kirk asked. "Over the years I've heard stories about the warriors but there's still a lot I don't know. If we did join you, what exactly would our place be and what would be expected of us in return?"

Spock looked at him in surprise. It had never occurred to him that Kirk would be interested in joining this archaic society. "Jim, surely you are not thinking that we should join them?"

"That depends. And why not? It can't be any worse than what we have now." Kirk looked back to Somak."Well?"

"As nobility, Lord Spock would automatically be given a high rank and more than likely a seat on our high counsel. In time, he could become whatever he chooses, to lead or to remain only one voice in many. You as his bondmate would enjoy the same advantages."

"What about my being human? How big a problem would that be?"

"There would be no problem."

Kirk gave him a look of incredulousness.

"Ours is an ancient society with strict guidelines in regards to who we allow to join. My asking you does not automatically mean you would be accepted. There would be a trial you both would have to complete where your skills would be tested. But if you were accepted, you would be accepted. You would be our brothers, and no one could harm you without incurring our displeasure and retribution." He looked from one man to the other. "I understand this is a decision not to be made in haste. I ask only that you think on it seriously. K'iron can relay your answer to me."

They all stood, the conversation obviously over.

"I give you my word that we will discuss your offer but I can give you no guarantee that we will accept. No matter what others may desire, I am still heir. My future may already be set. Perhaps in a few days...we will let you know." Spock turned, gazing into the fire until he felt Kirk's hand settle on his arm.

"They're gone now." Kirk looked up at him questioningly. "are you all right?"

"Yes. It is just...I suppose I am just tired."

Kirk set down the cup in his hand and grabbed Spock's hand. "Let's go to bed."

~~~~~


Kirk sat at the foot of the bed, removing his boots as they prepared for sleep. "That certainly came out of left field, didn't it?" The puzzled and slightly exasperated look on Spock's face reminded him of his promise to quit using 'illogical Earth idioms' to confuse his bondmate. "Sorry, Spock. It was a surprise. How's that?"

"I believe there are other things I wish to concern myself with." Pulling the covers back, the now naked Vulcan crawled into bed.

A leer was Kirk's only answer as he finished undressing. "All right, Vulcan, make way." Sliding in next to Spock he lay on his stomach and pulled himself close so that their bodies were pressed against each other. Then, propping himself up on his elbows, he gazed down on his mate."So, you don't even want to talk about it? I think it's kind of interesting, myself."

"That is not exactly what I said." Spock pulled Kirk up so that the smaller man was positioned on top of him and held him there in a tight embrace. "I said there were other things I wished to concern myself with." He began running his hands over the body in his arms, stopping now and then to gently squeeze the lush buttocks.

"We're not going to get much talking done about anything if you keep that up and I wanted to tell you something." Kirk tried to concentrate on what he was saying but it was getting difficult. "You know what? Tonight's our one month anniversary."

Spock's hands stilled, resting comfortably on Kirk's ass. "Month? Ah yes, the Terran unit of time set by the orbital cycle of your natural satellite."

Kirk grinned. "Yeah, that's it."

"How do you know it has been a month?"

The look of disbelief Spock could not keep from his face made Kirk laugh.

"I know because I've kept track...you don't believe me."

"Jim, it would be impossible for you to have done so."

"No it wouldn't. Sam had on one of those watches that work off batteries when we were taken. It didn't seem to notice that we weren't on the planet anymore and just kept on going. It lasted about two years and by then I had figured out how to convert Vulcan time into Earth time. It kept Earth alive for me."

Spock's hands began moving again, distracting him before melancholy could overtake him.

"That's not fair, Spock." The hot Vulcan mouth was gently kissing and sucking his neck and his organ began filling in response. He rested his forehead on Spock's shoulder, enjoying the feel of his cock sliding against its mate. "I didn't want to talk anymore, anyway."

"Be quiet, Jim." Spock brought his hand up and pulling Kirk's mouth to his, took it in a prolonged kiss. His hands returned to fondling the rounded ass, rhythmically pulling their bodies together.

"I'm not...going to last...very long...this way." Kirk's breath was coming in short gasps as he pushed back against Spock, the heat building in him as they continued to rock together. In one swift movement, there positions were reversed and he found himself lying underneath the Vulcan's body and his mouth retaken and plundered. Their tongues dualed for a time, as hands explored and the fire within them grew. Spock threw his head back, breaking the kiss and thrust his hips harder into Kirk's groin.

"Yes, like that, yes." Kirk was so close now. He felt the bond open and suddenly he wanted more. "I want you to suck me."

Spock lifted up and kneeling between the spread legs, bent down and took the human's cock in his mouth.

"Oh god, Spock." Kirk lurched up and grabbed the Vulcan's head, holding on while his cock was swallowed time and again.

The human's taste intoxicated Spock, Kirk's cries setting him on fire. He felt hands of his hips as he was pulled and turned around, a mouth engulfing his cock, sucking it, tonguing between the dual ridges. They drove into each other, hips pistoning as cocks were taken by worshipping mouths. He felt the organ in his mouth swell as Kirk neared orgasm, while at the same time the human clutched at him, his hips pumping faster. Spock sucked harder, his hands on the quivering flank forcing the shaft deeper, and with a strangled moan the human came, filling his mouth with his seed. He gently suckled as Kirk's cock softened, until finally he released the now flaccid organ.

As the human's breathing returned to normal, his hands began to move over Spock, caressing his body. He felt his balls fondled, as the cool mouth once again began taking him in again and again, the tongue playing over his shaft. It felt so good, his cock in Jim's mouth, Jim's hands on his ass as his hips thrust faster. He lowered his head to Kirk's groin and with a deep cry, spilled his semen into the devouring haven. Shudders ran through him as his cock spasmed in release. Finally empty, he placed a kiss on Kirk's thigh and sated, his arms and legs trembling, crawled off his mate to drop heavily next to him.

Kirk's lazy smile greeted him as he pulled himself up and over to take the human in his arms. "I do not believe you will have trouble sleeping this night."

Leaning over to grab the covers that had been pushed to the foot of the bed, Kirk pulled them up, covering them both. "No, I don't think I will."

~~~~~


"We'll be there soon, won't we?" Kirk shaded his eyes, trying to make out the imposing structure in the distance. They had been traveling for weeks now and it was beginning to wear on all of them.

"Within the hour. You must be anxious to see your family again." Se'dak rode next to him.

"I guess," Kirk said with a grimace. "It's hard for me to even think about the way my life was...before. I'm not sure I even want to." He dreaded their return to Hadus's estate. As much as he loved his brother, he was afraid of facing him again. Sam would never understand his new life and even though he was no longer ashamed, Kirk wasn't sure if he would take the opportunity to see him. "I imagine we won't be there long, anyway."

"That is true. Lord Hadus is not one of Lord Spock's favorite kinsmen. My father says that Hadus is jealous and believes he should be heir."

He's welcome to it, Kirk thought, not for the first time. It would make things so much easier for both of them if Spock didn't have that hanging over his head. "He's not exactly first on my list, either. I guess I owe him one, though. If not for his pulling the trick he did, I wouldn't be with Spock."

"So my father has surmised. It is too bad you can prove nothing. That is one who would not be missed and there are many of the warriors who would like to test the sharpness of their blade on his neck." The young Vulcan turned as a rider pulled up on each side of them. "Lord Spock, Father."

"We wondered where Lord James had got to. I hope you have not included him in your latest goings on."

"No Father, I have not corrupted Lord James, though he has given me an idea or two." He winked at Kirk and then turned completely to face his parent.

Pulling up next to him, Spock playfully brushed the dust from Kirk's hair. "You will not make much of an impression in your current state, T'hy'la. Remember, my mother expects you to win over all to our cause."

He loved hearing Spock call him that. It had slipped into their lovemaking and then into quiet moments like this. "I doubt I'll win any beauty con....never mind. Hadus has seen me much worse than this. This is one stop I'm not even going to try to change anyone's mind." He tried to hide his nervousness, but the look Spock gave him let him know he wasn't succeeding. He lasped into silence for the rest of the journey, barely hearing the conversation going on around him.

~~~~~


When they entered the courtyard of the estate, Kirk's stomach felt like it would revolt at any second. He saw Hadus standing there waiting—the one who had tried to use him to destroy Spock, who would continue to do all in his power to steal Spock's rightful place. He had always hated Hadus, just for being his owner, but now he felt such overpowering animosity he was having difficulty hiding it. His skin crawled when the Vulcan turned his gaze on them, lies tripping over his tongue.

"We greet you, kinsman. You do your humble subject honor by once again accepting my hospitality. And this of course is your new bondmate, returned to his former home in glory." Hadus eyed the human, appearing to make special note of his rich dress and altered stance. He returned his gaze to Spock and his eyes narrowed.

"Surely you wish to rest from your long journey." He motioned a slave forward. "Somat will see to all your needs. I am needed in regards to a minor problem but I look forward to your presence at our table tonight. Until then." He turned and walked away.

Kirk had seen the looks Hadus had given him and Spock. As they were led to their suite he made sure that K'iron would be posting guards there. He wasn't taking any chances. Spock was sometimes too trusting, even of a snake like Hadus.

~~~~~


They lay in bed, bodies lanquid as Spock slowly drew his fingers along Kirk's body, stopping now and then to lightly pinch a nipple or fondle the cock lying quiescent against the muscular thigh. The dinner had been difficult and they had made their escape as soon as protocol allowed. No sooner had they reached their room then they had gone for each other, as if to reaffirm the rightness of their lives together. Their lovemaking had been fast and rough, each taking the other, claiming what was theirs.

Now, Kirk's head pillowed on his shoulder, Spock knew that his bondmate was anything but calm. Their conversation was fast devolving into an argument.

"I don't see what good it will do. He's not going to accept it, Spock, believe me. I know my brother—stop that, I can't concentrate on what I'm saying." He lightly slapped Spock's hand away. "He won't see any difference between what we have and my being a sex slave."

"You don't truly believe he would turn away from you? Surely, once he sees that you are happy he will relent." Spock reasoned, pulling Kirk closer into his arms. "If he were to see us together..."

"No!" Kirk shot up, pulling himself into a sitting position and turning to face his bondmate. "No way. Promise me that you won't go over there. Promise me!"

"Why? What are you afraid of? Jim, he cannot hurt me, he dare not, if for no other reason than the penalty is too great to risk. Come, lie back down." He pulled the resisting human to him until Kirk relented and sank back down into his embrace.

"I mean it, Spock. I don't want you over there. Maybe he can't hurt you physically but that doesn't mean he can't hurt you. If I have to go, I'm going alone." He turned and peered up at at Spock, love and concern openly expressed on his face. "I don't ever want anyone to hurt you again, and he could, deeply. I don't know what I would do if he did that. Please, Spock. Promise."

Spock sighed. "Very well, I promise, but on one condition."

"And what's that?"

"That you take K'iron with you when you go."

"I can't do that. That'd be almost as bad as you going. If they see me with any Vulcan they're automatically going to assume he's my owner. Sam would probably not even talk to me then. No, I go alone or not at all."

The stand-off lasted only a minute. Spock had found he could rarely stand up to his t'hy'la. "You can be very stubborn—but I will do as you wish."

"Thank you, love. I know you think I'm being illogical but this is something I have to do alone. Please try to understand." He turned his head and gently placed a kiss on Spock's lips. "I promise to be careful, okay?" He snuggled back down into Spock's arm, reclaiming his place for sleep.

Spock wasn't so sure about that but he let it pass. They would sleep now for the morning would come soon enough.

~~~~~


Kirk peered into the darkened hovel. Damn, but he didn't want to be here. There was no answer to his knock and the candle flickering through the window was the only sign that the place wasn't abandoned. Hesitantly, he swung open the door and entered though every nerve screamed for him to leave and never look back. After allowing time for his eyes to adjust to the darkened interior he began scanning the room, almost missing the figure sitting in the shadows.

"Sam, is that you?"

"Hiya, baby brother." The man who got up and swaggered toward him was barely recognizable. It was Sam, but not the brother he had once known. "So, you decided to come pay a visit. Mighty gracious of you....Lord James."

Kirk paled. It had never occurred to him that Sam might already know everything. "You know the...about me?"

"Yeah, we all know 'about you.'" Sam's gaze travelled over his brother's body, taking in the fine clothes and the subtle change in his bearing. "You've done quite well for yourself, haven't you? But I never thought you'd sell yourself so cheap. 'Course I don't really know how much whores go for these days."

"Don't, Sam. It's not that way."

"Oh really? Then tell me, Jim, what way is it? What's so good about it that you could forget all about your family just to stay with a Vulcan?"

"I know it looks like I just up and left without giving it a thought but that's not it at all. What happened...what happened to me is so good. It's brought me a life of such fulfillment, Spock is all I could ever want. He's loving and gentle. I wish I could make you understand." He ran a hand through his hair. What could he say to make his brother really see?

"Oh, I understand all right. You've changed. You're not even human anymore, are you? He's turned you into some kind of sex toy and you've bought it, hook, line and sinker. I've heard all about how they take your mind when they fuck you. You don't even know who you are anymore, he's got you so under his control."

"No, it's not like that at all. You've got to understand. I haven't changed. I'm still the same, the soul inside me is the same." And suddenly he understood just how true that was. Soul deep, he was the same man he had always been. All his mental and emotional gyrations had been needless, a childish tantrum over the supposed loss of his manhood. What he had with Spock would have happened no matter how they met. The bond had just precipitated matters.

"I love him," he said simply. "And he loves me. If you can't accept that—"

"I'll show you what I can't accept." Sam's hand shot out, grabbing a handful of hair and pulling the Kirk to him, holding on tight as he snarled out his rage. "How does it feel, Jim? How does it feel to have another man's cock up your ass?"

"Stop it, Sam." He struggled, trying to break his brother's hold. It felt like his hair was being pulled out by its roots. "Let me go."

"No, I don't think so. Besides, didn't you come to visit? What's the matter, aren't we good enough for 'Lord James'?" Suddenly he brought his other hand up, covering his Kirk's nose and mouth, the liquid soaked rag blocking any attempt to draw breath. Eyes widening, Kirk intensified his struggle but the other's strength seemed to be multiplied by the madness possessing him and his own body was starting to react sluggishly.

"You shouldn't have got me mad, Jim. I told you you weren't going anywhere, didn't I? You should have listened."

Falling to his knees, Kirk's fight to break free came to an abrupt end as blackness closed in.

~~~~~


Kirk thought the pain couldn't get any worse until he lifted his head and it quadrupled. He grit his teeth, riding it out until it settled down to a dull throb. The dirt he was lying on was hard and compacted. A groan escaped his throat as he slowly pulled himself to a sitting position. The clink of metal drew his attention down to his feet where a long chain was attached to his ankle and then to a stake driven into the ground. He gazed around in what appeared to be a cave filled with supplies. Blankets, food tins and what might be medical equipment were piled all around. He heard a slight moan and turned to discover his bondmate lying several feet from him.

"Spock, oh my god." He crawled over, the chain luckily being long enough, and pulled the unconscious Vulcan into his arms. "Spock, can you hear me? Spock!"

Blood slowly slid down over the dark bruises that covered the Vulcan's face. His clothes were dirty and torn. Kirk gently manuveured himself into a sitting position so that the Vulcan's head cradled against his shoulder. They sat that way for awhile, Kirk wondering how they had both come to be here and how in the hell they were going to get out.

"Jim."

He heard the soft call at the same time he felt warm fingers caress his face. He looked down into his bondmate's face. "How are you doing? No, don't try to get up." He kissed Spock's forehead. "You're hurt. We're not going anywhere so just lie still."

Spock looked around. "Where are our captors?"

"I don't know. When I came to we were alone—by the way, how in the hell did they manage to get you? You followed me, didn't you? After I told you not to."

Spock pulled himself up, radiating indignation. "I would never do that, T'hy'la. One of the human slaves came to me and said that you wished me to go with him. Since he specifically mentioned your brother, I believed him. When I entered your brother's home, I was felled by a blow from behind." He looked down at his torn and soiled garments. "Apparently, they continued their blows after knocking me unconscious."

"All right, Spock." He tried pulling the Vulcan back into his arms, but met with resistance. "Hey, I'm sorry, okay?"

After a moment Spock lowered himself back into Kirk's embrace. "Very well. I do not wish to be at odds at this—"

"So, how the lovebirds doing?" Kirk started at the sound of Sam's voice, automatically tightening his hold on his bondmate. His brother and several men had entered, each carrying a weapon, and surrounded the two prisoners.

"Didn't I tell you, Ben? Just like newlyweds. Isn't that right, Jim?" The words were said casually, creating a wave of derisive laughter, but were underscored with a venom Kirk had not believed his brother capable of.

"Why are you doing this?" He looked up at his brother, trying to hide the fear he felt, not so much for himself but for Spock. All these men were slaves and judging by what he'd seen, they were all runaways. They didn't dare let the Vulcan live. "What are you going to do with us?"

"You're our 'get out of jail free' card. Didn't know you were worth that much to anyone, did you?" Sam motioned to two of the largest men and they bent down and pulled Kirk to his feet, roughly shoving the Vulcan aside.

"Don't, can't you see he's hurt?" Kirk's arm was pulled up and back, an arm wrapped firmly around his neck by one man while the other undid the shackle on his ankle.

"It doesn't matter. We're taking you with us, but, him, I'm not so sure. That wasn't part of the deal."

"Let him go, Sam. You got what you wanted." Kirk looked to his bondmate. "Are you all right?"

"I am functional." As if to prove his words, Spock attempted to rise, and finally managed to stand without help.

"Now, ain't that sweet? God, you make me sick. Didn't take you long, did it? I bet you fit right in with the high and mighty Vulcan lord. Always thought you were better than anyone else. Well not anymore you're not."

Spock visibly tensed as Sam walked up to him.

"What do you think? You think you're worth all our lives?" He turned and eyed Kirk speculatively. "Might make things interesting. On the other hand..." He motioned to Ben who cocked the gun he had aimed at Spock. "These things are ancient but they work."

"No!" Kirk's wild lunge took the man holding him unaware and he was suddenly free. He threw himself in front of Spock just as the weapon discharged its deadly load.

~~~~~


Spock sat with his back against the wall of the cage. The enclosure was no larger than a small room, its walls built like fencing with even-spaced openings that let in the cold at night. It had been their prison for two days. He looked over at his bondmate, his worry and fear etched on his face. The wound was not healing and had begun to give off a rank odor. The echo through the bond when Kirk had been shot had almost incapacitated him but he had somehow managed to keep on his feet and had held Kirk up against him. The projectile had slammed into the human's shoulder, barely missing Spock as it had exited out the front of Kirk's body. There had been blood everywhere. He had been forced to carry him, Kirk's cries at any sudden movement making clear how bad his wound was. The humans had taunted them, jostling Spock to cause Kirk more pain. It had taken several hours to get to this new encampment and by the time they had reached it Kirk was unconscious, his blood matted between their bodies.

"How are you doing in there?" Sam Kirk had appeared suddenly, peering in at them through the slats.

"He will die without medical treatment. But that is what you wish, is it not?" Spock had never hated before but he thought he now knew what it felt like. He would have killed the man in front of him given the opportunity.

"No, I don't want him dead. Don't really care if he does, though. He decided what he wanted. He can accept the consequences now."

"You act as if he had a choice. He did not. What was done to him, what he is now, was out of his control. I beg you, for what you must have once felt for him, please help him." Spock didn't care if he had to beg. Fear was eating away at him. Fear for his bondmate. Fear that the bond was too new and that if Kirk died, he would not. He would be alone once more.

"You help him. He's your bed boy now, right?" Sam examined Kirk like he was an animal waiting for slaughter. "He doesn't look very good, does he? Doesn't matter. Even if I let him live he won't thank me. There's someone just waiting to get their hands on him, if you get my drift."

"You would condemn him to a life of servitude to one who would use him for sexual gratification."

"That's right. He'll be with some pervert. Just like you and him. No wonder Hadus wanted you out of the way."

"I wondered when you would get to this. I am to be killed. This I understand. What I do not understand is why you hate your brother so. He was done nothing to you."

"You don't know anything. He went and got everything he could ever want. He was free. But did he bother to do anything for his family? No, he stayed with you, didn't want anything to do with his own kind. He could have found my son, brought him back, but he didn't want to. He was getting what he wanted from you. Well, that's fine. He can stay with you. I found my own way to get my son back."

"You believe Hadus will return your son?" Spock shot back. "You are a bigger fool than I had imagined. He will never honor his side of whatever bargain you have made. Let us go free and we can help you. I do not know if we can ever find your son but we will try. Jim loves you, even now. He will do whatever he can for you."

"Shut up. I don't want to hear your lies, you Vulcan freak." Sam started backing up, moving away. "I'll get my son back and after you're dead Jim's going to spend the rest of his life servicing Hadus and anyone else that wants him. You'll see, I'm going to have my family and he's not going to have anything!

He stared at the obviously insane human and when Sam turned and fled, he went to Kirk's side, lifting his head to settle it on his lap. It didn't matter. Jim would die before him. Ironically, the humans would grant his final wish and send him on to join his bondmate. A soft moan drew his attention down and he saw Kirk's eyes flicker open. "Do not speak. You are injured and you need all your strength to heal."

"Spock." Kirk's voice was a hoarse whisper. "I'm not going to heal. You know that. I'm going to die...and there's so much I need to say to you."

"No, T'hy'la, there is not. I know what you feel for me and that is all I need to know. And you will not die. I will not allow it." He stroked the sweaty head, feeling the still soft hair slide through his fingers. "Please, Jim, you must rest. We have the rest of our lives to talk."

"That's right. And how long is that? A few hours, a day? Please, love, let me say this." He tried pulling himself up and finally with Spock's help was able to sit part way up, leaning against the Vulcan's chest. "I'm so sorry, Spock. I wish we had the years we should have had. There's so much we could have done, so many places we could have seen." He stopped, the pain making speech difficult. "Mostly though, I'm sorry for taking those days that we could have had together at the beginning. I was such a fool, throwing away the love I already felt for you. I need to know that you forgive me. That you'll be all right after I'm gone."

Spock bent down, covering Kirk's mouth with a breathy kiss. "There is nothing to forgive. I knew that you cared for me, even then. I will forever treasure what we have shared." Gently he pulled his bondmate closer, holding him against his body as if to guard him against all pain. "We will be together always. This I promis you." He looked down, but Kirk had lapsed into unconsciousness once again. He held the human close and let sleep take him.

~~~~~


"Hello...Jim's friend, can you hear me?"

He woke instantly. Outside their cage was a young woman. It was difficult for him to always gage a human's age but he believed her to be somewhat younger than Jim. "Yes, I can hear you. Why are you here?"

She crept closer, curiosity warring with fear. "Shh, they don't know I'm here." She knelt next to the bars, looking at Kirk in a way Spock could not define. "How is he?"

"He is dying. They will not tend to his wound and it is infected." Spock lightly touched his bondmate face, feeling the heat of fever.

"I brought some bandages and some wet cloths. Will you let me tend him?"

Spock was touched. He could easily see her fear, yet she was still willing to help Kirk.

"You are very kind. Please, whatever you can do." Spock shifted his burden so Kirk was more in a supine position, though he would not totally let go. The girl unlocked the cage and crept in. She unbuttoned Kirk's shirt and with Spock's help got it partially off. Kirk didn't move.

She began to methodically cleanse the wound while appearing to drink in the sight of him. "You're his...they called you his bondmate. Does that mean you're married?"

"As I understand the word, yes. We are together." He looked down, gently soothing his bondmate's brow. "He is the reason for my being."

She finished cleaning the wound and tried bandaging it as best she could. "Does he love you?"

"Yes." There was great pride spoken in that one word. In all the universe, he was the one loved by James Kirk.

I'm glad...really. I think Jim was always looking for...something. I don't know if he even knew what it was. He always seemed restless."

"You knew him."

"Hadus owned us both. Jim and his family were already there when I was bought and taken to Hadus's estate. I remember he was so kind to me, trying his best to make me feel better. He was that way, you know. Always trying to do what was best, what needed to be done. When we started seeing each other I hoped that it would turn into something more." She pulled the shirt closed, buttoning it and resting her hand on his chest.

"You love him." It wasn't a question. Loving Kirk was something he understood all too well. It had come to him that even without the bond he would have been drawn to him. Their coming together had been inevitable.

"Yes, yes I do." She answered wistfully. "But I know he never loved me. I kept telling myself that he would, given time. That all I had to do was wait. But I knew even then that it wasn't going to happen. Jim has always been a very special person. I think he needed someone who could...keep up with him, challenge him. Does that make sense to you?"

Spock looked at her, taking time to really look at the woman who had loved Kirk so unselfishly. "Your conclusions make perfect sense."

She was quiet for a time before finally speaking again. "If...if Jim...dies."

Spock flinched at her words.

"If he dies, I could get you out."

"No." Spock grabbed her arm and saw fear erupt in her eyes. He released her and fought to bring himself under control. "I am sorry. I should not have done that. Please, forgive me, but you must not attempt this. It will place you in danger—and I do not wish it."

"But why not? They're going to kill you eventually, you must know that. Hadus will demand it. The only reason they haven't yet is because they know you won't try to escape. They know that Jim can't travel and you won't leave him. Maybe they want you to watch him die, I don't know. But I do know that once he does dies, they'll kill you. I think Sam's insane. Even Aurelen is afraid of him now. And he hates Jim so much. I'm not really sure why. Maybe Sam doesn't even know. He hates you, too. And he knows that without Jim as a hostage they won't be able to hold you. Surely you don't want to die?"

"What is your name?"

The question was so unexpected that she responded without thinking. "Maggie...my name is Maggie ."

He gathered his thoughts. "Maggie, you must understand something. Something about me and Jim. When Vulcans bond the connection is more than physical. My mind and his are one, our souls are one. It has brought much joy to both our lives, something that was lacking in mine before Jim. I have no desire to return to that life. The bond is so new that I fear it will not...I fear I will not die when he does."

"And you know that they'll do it for you." The look in his eyes appeared to be all the answer she needed. "I don't know if I can really understand that, but I'll honor your wishes." She sighed heavily and rose to her feet. "I better go before someone sees me." She walked out of the cage and locked it carefully behind her. "Maybe he'll be okay. You never know."

But he did know. If nothing else, the bond was telling him that. But it served no purpose to tell her. "Perhaps." He called to her as she turned to leave. "Maggie, never believe that you are not special. You also, are a very special person."

The smile that lit her face stayed with him long after she had departed. He settled back, pulling his lover closer into his arms, preparing for the long night ahead. He gazed up at the stars, the stars that had called to both of them. Please, if there truly are gods, please allow me to die with him. Please make the bond strong enough to draw me after him.

It was a long night, yet, miraculously, Kirk was stll alive as dawn approached, but Spock held little hope that he would survive the day. What little Maggie had been able to do the night before had not stopped the spread of the infection. His bondmate's breathing was shallow, his complexion ashen. The golden hair matted on his forehead gave him a boyish look and Spock's heart broke as he gazed down at the human in his arms. But it was very quiet and Spock was very calm. He held Kirk closer.

"It is morning, T'hy'la, and our time will be over soon." He spoke in hushed whispers. This was for them alone. "But we will have forever, beloved. The bond is true. I know that now." It had revealed inself to him during the long night. Not quite asleep, he felt at last the first pull of the bond as it prepared their way towards death. It had been a moment of quiet joy. They would share eternity together.

The sun had just cleared the topmost peak of the mountains when he heard the first, wild cries of the warriors. Help had arrived.

~~~~~


They would not allow him in the healer's tent to see Kirk so he was forced to wait nearby, pacing furiously while glancing up at every movement from that direction. It had been hours and when K'iron appeared at his side Spock poured out his anger and frustation. "Why will they not allow me to see him? Surely by not they have done all that needs to be done. I will not wait much longer, K'iron. They fail to remember that he is my bondmate. I have the right—'"

K'iron grabbed him by the shoulders, his large hands holding him in a painful grip. "You will cease your unseemly behavior. You and he share a bond. Remember that. Have you not the sense to use it?"

Spock, stunned into silence, colored in embarrassment when he realized the implications of his words. He closed his eyes, concentrating on the bond, seeking along its length until he reached the quicksilver mind of his bondmate. Jim was asleep but well on his way to recovery. He smiled and opened his eyes to see K'iron watching him with undisguised affection. "Thank you, my friend. I believe there is much I need to learn as a bondmate. It is all so very new."

"He is well, then?" K'iron released him and they sat on the benches placed nearby.

"He will be. He sleeps. I now understand why they would not allow me near him. My inexperience in controlling the bond could have disrupted his healing. I will need to make amends to the healers." Spock turned and looked toward the enclosure that had housed him and Kirk. "What has happened to the humans?"

"Those not killed have all fled. Se'dek released the few we had managed to capture. They are of little consequence now." K'iron chuckled at Spock's look of surprise. "Much has been discussed since last we spoke, my lord, and much has been decided. When you and James went missing, your father turned to your clan for aid."

"They would not help him." Spock said it in a voice void of emotions. Nevertheless, he closed his eyes and fought to will away the pain of yet one more rejection.

K'iron laid his hand on Spock's shoulder. "It took much effort to control my anger when I was first told. But then I learned to my great satisfaction that Hadus had mysteriously turned up dead, the victim, so it is said, of a paid assassin. His head had been neatly severed from his body in one stroke. In any event, after your father was refused, Sarek came to me. He asked if the warriors would be willing to 'barter' their services."

"And what exactly was my father planning on 'bartering' with?"

"You...and James."

If he had been surprised before, he was stunned now. "And how exactly was this to be accomplished?"

"You and James would repay the debt by becoming warriors. How else?" K'iron grinned.

"That is not possible. As heir, I am forbidden to join. Warriors usually apprentice on one of our spacecrafts and, that too, is forbidden."

"That is true—but you are no longer heir."


~~~~~


It was a warm, lazy day. The water felt so good against his bare skin as Kirk floated along the edge of the pond. The harvest was in and he had all the time in the world. He finally got out of the water and began walking through the field that bordered their house. The fact that he was naked made no difference to him. But as he walked, a note of disquiet crept into his serenity. He was alone and that felt very wrong. Something was missing, something important. He began running, needing to find what he had lost. As he exploded into consciousness he cried out. "Spock!"

"I am here, T'hy'la, there is nothing to fear."

Kirk turned to find Spock sitting next to his bed, concern and love written deeply into the warm, brown eyes. He looked around and found himself in a large tent, an apparent stand-in for a hospital. With Spock's help he settled himself in a sitting position, propped up with several pillows. "What happened?"

Spock took his hand. "We are safe now, Jim. K'iron and the warriors found us. They raided the camp two days ago."

"Sam?" He shouldn't care what happened to his brother but was unable to forget the love he had once felt for him.

"I do not know." Spock looked down at their joined hands. "I attempted to find your brother and the young woman who aided us, but was unsuccessful. Many of the humans were killed but many more escaped into the desert. Perhaps when you are stronger.."

"No, that's okay. I'd rather not know." Kirk looked away. He was still very weak and it was playing havoc with his emotions. "I'm so sorry, Spock. If it hadn't been for my brother, this would never have happened."

Spock took his chin and gently forced him to look at him. "There is no need for apologies. Your brother was used by Hadus. If it had not been him it would have been another. All that matters is that we are safe—and together."

"It's just hard to forget what he did to me. We were so close as kids. I don't understand how he could come to hate me so much."

"He allowed misfortune to darken his soul. Ultimately, that darkness consumed his life. It was not your fault." Spock gently ran his hand along the side of Kirk's face, caressing cheek and brow. "It is over now."

"I suppose you're right. It is over now. So, now what? Do we continue our little journey?"

"No, we no longer need concern ourselves with that. We have a new journey to begin. One that leads us to the stars."

Kirk looked at him quizzically. "What are you talking about?"

"We are free. Sarek had abdicated as leader of our clan, so I am no longer heir. We can be whatever we wish to be, go wherever we wish to go."

Spock's happiness was so obvious that not believing him was out of the question. "You're serious. We can go into space?" He grabbed Spock by his shoulders. "Tell me, tell me what happened."

"The clan was unwilling to help find us so Sarek turned to the warriors. We were the payment demanded. We will join the warriors and we will travel into space. Nothing can hold us now. Perhaps someday, we may even see Earth. You would like that, would you not?"

To see Earth again. He had thought that dream impossible. He pulled his bondmate to him and held on tight. So much had happened to him. In less than half a year he had gone from slave to free man. He had been a lover of women but was now bonded to the gentlest, most loving man he had ever known. He had hated Vulcan and all it stood for but would stand with many of its people now. He tilted his head up and took Spock's mouth in a deep and passionate kiss. Their future awaited.


finis
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