The apartment complex’s doors could barely whoosh open fast enough to allow Jim Kirk entry to its lobby. He flew across the tiled floor to the elevators, where he repeatedly punched the controls for the lift. When it failed to arrive within eight seconds he took to the stairs, not caring that it was a ten flight jog to Spock’s apartment. By the time he reached Spock’s floor he was panting in exertion, but he didn’t pause to catch his breath. He strode down the hallway, blowing past Spock’s neighbor, Mrs. Mcgillicutty, without bothering to stop and chat like he normally would.
When he reached Spock’s apartment he bypassed the door chime in favor of punching in the security code and scanning his prints. A large waft of hot air rushed into the hallway when the door opened, slamming into him like a physical wall. He stepped into the apartment and reset the door lock with a terse command before stripping off his jacket. He threw it carelessly over the bench inside the door, then marched farther into the living room.
Spock sat facing the sunset, clearly deep in the middle of a meditation session, but Jim did not take care to keep from disturbing the Vulcan. Instead, he squatted down on his heels directly in front of his friend, and reached out to grasp his face in both hands.
“Spock,” he said firmly. “Spock, fan-tor. Ki'sarlah nash-veh na'lof pra’la k’du.”
Jim scrutinized Spock’s face for a few long moments, occasionally murmuring another commanding “fan-tor.” Eventually, he allowed his hands to fall away from Spock’s face, though he did not move away from the Vulcan.
An immeasurable time later, Spock opened his eyes, the question in them easy to read.
“When were you going to tell me?” Jim demanded, anger written plainly in his expression.
Spock pursed his lips in resignation. “I was waiting for an appropriate occasion to reveal the information to you.”
“You honestly think there’s an ‘appropriate’ time to tell me something like that?” Jim huffed, shaking his head incredulously. He stood abruptly and began to stalk back and forth, the action bearing a striking resemblance to a tiger pacing its cage.
“Yes. Some are more appropriate than others.” Spock hesitated, “How did you–”
“I ran into Donaldson at the recruiting fair. He told me how sorry he was that I had to lose such a dedicated XO. Wondered how long I thought it would take me to break in a new one.” Jim laughed without a trace of humor. “Boy, was his face red.”
Spock’s gaze briefly flickered down to the floor. “I regret that this was revealed to you in such a manner.”
“You – Goddamnit, Spock! Why didn’t you tell me?” Jim whirled to a stop and glared down at his former first officer, violent intent in his eyes. “You’ve known for a week!”
“5.32 solar days. I had thought it would be beneficial to wait until we both had an evening free so that I might fully explain the situation.”
“‘Explain the situation’?” Jim repeated in outrage.
“No, don’t you dare do that, Spock. Don’t–”
“Jim, I understand that this is difficult for you.”
“Right. It’s difficult for me. Like you don’t have a single thought about the matter.”
“I admit to feeling great consternation–”
“‘Consternation?’ Jesus Christ, Spock!” Jim strode to the nearest wall and punched, managing to put his fist through the drywall. He hissed and pulled his hand back, cradling the bleeding appendage.
Spock stood quickly and moved to grab his friend’s shoulders, a concerned moue twisting his lips. “Please attempt to calm yourself.”
Jim’s violent energy left him in a rush at the plea, his head dropping as his throat began to close. Spock slid his hand across the human’s shoulder and up to his jaw, where he encouraged Jim with a soft touch to meet his eyes once more. Jim shook his head, and surged forward to wrap Spock in a fierce hug, burying his face in the other man’s neck. Spock gently returned the embrace, turning to press a comforting kiss into Jim’s hair. Jim trembled a little at the contact, and pulled Spock even closer.
“We knew this was a possibility,” Spock said softly, rubbing soothing circles into his friend’s back.
Jim shook his head in denial. “I never really thought it would happen.”
Spock paused his ministrations briefly, murmuring, “Nor did I.”
Jim laughed dryly, dropping his forehead to Spock’s shoulder as he loosened his tight grip on the man.
“Not very logical of us, was it?”
“I had not considered that the situation warranted the separation of such a cohesive and effective command team.”
They were silent for a long moment, each taking comfort in their embrace.
“Perhaps after the conflict has ended--”
“It’s war, Spock. War. Not a conflict. I don’t care that the Council hasn’t come back with a formal declaration yet. And there’s no way, even if we do survive, that they’ll allow you to step down in rank to serve as XO again.”
Jim pulled away from his friend and ran his undamaged hand through his hair.
“This is total bullshit. Like you said, we’re the best team in the fleet. I can’t believe they would split us up.”
Spock carefully took hold of Jim’s injured hand and inspected the damage.
“Flex your fingers,” he instructed. Jim obeyed and grimaced.
“It doesn’t feel like anything’s broken.”
“You are certain?”
Spock brushed some flecks of drywall from his bloodied knuckles.
“Yeah. I know how to punch a wall.”
“I was not aware that there was a proper technique for such an action,” Spock said, taking hold of Jim’s forearm and pulling him into the kitchen.
Jim washed his hand and hopped onto the counter while Spock went to retrieve the first aid kit from the bathroom. The Vulcan’s lips thinned in disapproval when he returned to find Jim’s seating arrangement, but he did not comment. Jim spread his legs and pulled Spock to stand between them, his uninjured hand moving to cup Spock’s neck. The Vulcan carefully disinfected and sealed Jim’s hand with the dermal regenerator.
When he was finished Spock attempted to draw away, but Jim stopped him with his grip on his neck and by squeezing his knees around Spock’s hips. He pulled Spock forward and into a chaste kiss, his other arm coming up to circle his waist. Spock relented, and slid a hand into the human’s hair, returning the kiss apologetically.
Jim drew back without opening his eyes and rested his forehead against Spock’s.
“Promise you won’t die.”
“Jim, I cannot promise--”
“Just promise me,” Jim insisted.
Spock hesitated for a moment.
“I swear to thee, T’hy’la, that I will do everything in my power to return to thee.”
“I promise too,” Jim offered. “Not that it means much—or anything, really—to you, but I promise not to get myself killed.”
Jim sat back, and met Spock’s dark eyes with a wistful smile.
“Captain Spock,” he sighed, but with an undercurrent of pride. He darted forward again for a firm kiss.
“It’s the end of an era.”
Spock lifted Jim off the counter and led him to the low couch in the living room. Reclining across the length of the cushions, he pulled the human to sit beside him. Jim rested his cheek on Spock’s shoulder and threw a possessive arm across his waist.
“Jim,” Spock lifted his hand, then tucked his pinky and ring fingers into his palm. “What do you know of Vulcan bondings?”