Jim reclined against a rock and shifted against its hot surface until the burn receded enough to begin feeling pleasant against his tired, sore muscles. It had been a hectic day, full of meetings and tours and directing the off-loading of the last of the supplies Vulcan would need from the Federation. Now that his duties were all seen to and the sun was beginning its descent, Jim was left with no distractions to keep his mind off his worries.
The Enterprise would leave in the morning for Earth and the official end of their five-year mission. They all had 18 months to visit family and fulfill their teaching requirements, all the while waiting for news of their next assignment…everyone except Spock, who would not be leaving with them. Spock, who was deferring his requirements to take a leave of absence to aid his people now that he had the opportunity to do so without it affecting his service aboard the Enterprise.
Spock who also had a baby sister to bond with and a step-mother to grow accustomed to. And hadn't that been a surprise. Jim could still recall the shell-shocked look Spock had worn when he'd heard the news of his father's marriage. Not that it had been unexpected, not with their race on the verge of extinction. But the fact that Sarek had married an Orion aid worker had been. Jim absolutely loved Ma'halia. She reminded him a lot of Gaila, only much, much calmer. Spock had reeled from the news for days.
There had been a slew of interspecies marriages in the last two years after the then-ruling council had been overthrown. The surprise for Jim was the number of human spouses now found among the Orions and Deltans. Seven out of ten interspecies spouses were of Terran descent.
Jim found it hilarious that this made Sarek and Spock unwitting family counselors. Jim couldn’t count the number of messages Spock received a week from new parents wanting Spock's advice on how to raise their kids. Sarek, ever the pragmatist, had saved himself a load of time by writing a book; it was a best seller on many Federation planets.
And it was absolutely wonderful that Spock was now accepted by his peers and could actually feel at home among his race, but he'd be gone for a year. Jim didn't know if he'd survive his absence with their future still so uncertain. He knew he was getting another five-year mission on the Enterprise and everyone who requested to stay had Jim's seal of approval, but the final decision was out of his hands.
The 'Fleet had already tried to promote Spock to captain on three separate occasions. Sulu was qualified and deserving of a captaincy as well, and Jim knew Chekov would go wherever Sulu went. A new medical outpost had been wooing Bones for the last year and Uhura could have her pick of postings. The only person Jim knew he'd be able to keep was Scotty, and that was only because he scared the ever-loving fuck out of everyone else.
Jim didn't want to lose his crew. In the five years they’d spent crammed together in the black of space, they’d somehow become a hodgepodge family. They were his home, more than the ship, even. But Spock, he couldn’t lose Spock.
The crunch of gravel snapped Jim out of his musings to see the object of his thoughts approaching in flowing Vulcan robes. The sight was another reminder that Spock would not be departing with them tomorrow, would potentially never serve with them again. Jim hated that robe, despite how good it looked on Spock.
"My apologies for my tardiness, Captain. I was delayed by familial obligations."
"Ma’halia talk your ear off again?” Jim watched Spock adjust his robes as he sat pressed close to Jim on the small rock.
“She is very talkative, yes. She has pressed upon me the duty to invite you to breakfast before your departure. I fear she has become unaccountably fond of you.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing. Or that she had any say in the matter. I’ll have you know that I’m very charming, Spock. She didn’t stand a chance, not really.”
“Of that, I am very aware. However, my father has expressed concerns that your friendship with his wife will cause him much strife in the future.”
At that, Jim threw his head back and let out a loud laugh.
“Your father should be very afraid, Spock, but not because of me. It wasn’t my idea to learn Orion dance. That was all Ma’halia. She’s a feisty one.”
Spock shot him a look that Jim couldn’t decipher before he responded.
Silence settled comfortably between them and Jim sighed into the dying light and fought the urge to rest his head on Spock’s shoulder.
"I'm happy for you, Spock.” Jim looked into brown eyes and saw a hint of sadness and lowered his voice for his next question. “How are you handling all of this?"
"I must admit to some discomfort. I have no experience with children, however Ma'halia has assured me that the child will feel affection for me.” Spock looked away and Jim knew enough to keep his silence. He’d learned to read Spock long ago and knew he was about to speak of emotions Spock still wasn’t all together comfortable with. Jim waited patiently and was rewarded with Spock’s quiet words. “I cannot regret T'Allia's birth, Jim, but I also cannot separate her life from the reason behind it."
"You're missing your mom."
Jim’s equally quiet statement brought brown eyes back to his own.
"Yes.” The word escaped Spock in a rush of air as if he’d been storing that revelation up until just now. “She was not able to conceive again after my birth but I was aware that she had always wanted more children. She was the youngest of six and held affinity for what she called 'a big family'."
"But she had you, Spock.” Jim closed a hand over Spock‘s covered wrist and squeezed in reassurance. “You were more than enough to make her happy."
"She had stated as much on several occasions."
"What about Ma'halia? How are you two getting along?"
Spock dropped his gaze to Jim’s hand and blinked once, slowly, before meeting Jim’s gaze and shifting toward him until their thighs pressed warmly against each other.
"I find that though I was initially wary of my father’s choice, Ma'halia is quite a match for him. I have no difficulties with her. In fact, she reminds me of you."
Jim felt a warm hand curl over his and lost his ability to breathe. Spock’s words echoed around his head as a faint buzz, quiet static, and Jim found himself leaning in to try to pay attention to what Spock was saying.
"She challenges my father, forces him to view things from another perspective. She accepts him for all that he is, not just that he is Vulcan. She crossed his self-made boundaries and allows him the freedom to be more than he believed he was. She is his match for the new world he finds himself living in."
Jim can't speak past the lump in his throat, and he stares at their clasped hands, their entwined fingers while the sun slinks closer toward the ground bathing everything in a rich salmon hue.
"Jim, you are leaving tomorrow." Spock has lowered his voice into a raspy timbre and Jim has to tense his body to suppress the shiver that wants to work its way through him at that quiet rumble. "And I will be staying here."
Jim can only nod, not able to speak past the lump filling his throat.
"We do not know what the future holds for us."
Jim can’t help squeezing the hand holding his as if he could, through that gesture alone, hold Spock to him forever.
"No, we don't."
"Then I believe that if it is your desire to kiss me, the time is now."
"What?" Jim whipped his head up to find Spock startling close. His proximity paired with those daring words were enough to stutter Jim’s brain to a complete halt.
"Jim, I am open to initiating an intimate relationship with you. I have waited seventeen months, twenty-three days and seven hours for you to make an advance toward me but I find I can wait no longer.” Spock leans into Jim’s space, his breath ghosting over Jim’s face as he reaches to trace a path down Jim’s cheek. “Jim, please kiss me."
It was no secret that Jim couldn’t refuse Spock anything, so it was with shock-widened eyes and a thundering heart that Jim closed the minuscule gap and solidified one very important aspect of his future.
-Romulan Neutral Zone
The smoke had hardly cleared before the lift doors opened to admit one pissed off doctor onto the bridge.
"God damn it, Jim! When will you learn that a gaping wound means a trip to sickbay, not a double-shift?"
Jim swiped at his blood-covered forehead and swatted at Bones' scanner while trying to aim a glare at his tired and still-fearful crew.
"All right, who told? Who among you has betrayed me? Was it you, Sulu?" Jim stared at his helmsman and watched as his lips twitched at Jim’s dramatics.
"Chekov?" The twenty-five year old swiveled around to raise an eyebrow at Jim and Jim made a mental note to cut down the time Chekov and Spock could spend together. It clearly was having an adverse effect on his navigator.
Although the smirk made Jim suspicious, he whipped around to glare at Uhura, who only glared back before he could even make the accusation. Then he spotted Spock. Spock, who was focusing way too intently on his screens.
"Traitor!" Jim pointed theatrically and glared daggers into the back of the Vulcan's head. "Spock, I can't believe you."
Spock slowly turned to face Jim before raising an eyebrow that was supposed to convey innocence, only it failed spectacularly since Jim could read the smug satisfaction hidden in its hairy depths.
"You are bleeding copiously from your temple, Captain. It was only logical."
"Oh stuff it. Ow!" Jim flinched away from Bones' ‘hypospray of doom' and continued with his theatrics. "You just want me laid up in sickbay so you can be in charge. You want my ship, admit it!"
Jim didn’t miss the snickers that broke through the smoke-thick air of the bridge. There were still sparks popping from consoles and reports from all over the ship beeping for acknowledgment from the padd Spock studied as he stood and stepped toward the command chair. The chair that Jim was clinging to in order to remain standing.
It had been close, really fucking close, and it was a miracle that they hadn’t lost anyone while being tossed around during the attack. The fact that his dramatic show was relieving the terror they’d all felt as the shields had dropped below thirty percent and console after console began exploding from the power surge they’d created trying to stay alive helped keep him on his feet when all Jim wanted was to slink away with Bones and ‘suffer’ a stick with a sedative until the world stopped spinning so nauseatingly.
"Yes, Jim. In fact, I planned this entire surprise attack to usurp your command."
"I don't doubt it. This is payback for Christmas, isn't it? Totally overboard, Spock. You don't steal a man’s ship because he made you wear an ugly sweater."
"It had glitter on it, Jim." Spock stopped before the center seat and it was only then that Jim was able to see the concern hidden behind the facade Spock adopted as part of Jim’s charade. Jim spared him a wink while the crew laughed at them and at Bones’ attempts to physically drag Jim away.
"It was cute!"
Jim smiled brightly and mouthed a ‘thanks’ at Spock because he could see what it was costing the man to just stand there and banter instead of scooping Jim up and physically relocating him to sickbay.
Jim’s vision began to swim and it sent waves of nausea crashing through him. His fingers dug into the arm of his chair while he swallowed down the sudden taste of bile. Jim could see Spock’s fingers twitch and clench through his glazed eyes and knew that his time was up.
"Okay, fine. You win. Hey,” Jim swayed a moment and felt Bones’ hands grab his shoulders to steady him. “Hey, you wanna get married?"
"Okay then. Set it up." Jim ghosted his fingers over Spock’s before he was tugged into the turbolift by a cursing McCoy, where he gratefully collapsed as soon as the door slid shut.
Jim scowled under the heavy hood that drooped over his face toward his chin and allowed him to see his fur-wrapped legs trudging through ice encrusted snow and not much of anything else. His limbs ached from the cold that seeped through his stolen layers after two hours of climbing, slipping, and stumbling over the frozen, uneven terrain of hell. The fact that he was allergic to whatever beast made up his coat and had an unreachable itch between his throat and ear and that said coat now smelled like a wet, mangy dog did nothing to brighten his miserable mood.
Jim sighed and yelled to be heard over the howling wind that was trying to force him back the way he’d come.
"I can't help but notice that this isn't Vulcan."
"No, Jim. It is not."
A gloved fist suddenly clutched the front of his coat and Jim was maneuvered between an outcropping of rocks that blocked the wind. He took a moment to rest against a boulder and raised his hood enough to see Spock staring down at him in obvious amusement despite their current circumstances.
"And I also noticed that there's no dancing or speeches or cake."
"You are very observant today, Jim."
"You know what else?"
"There's no sex. Where's the sex? Is this or is this not our wedding day?"
"It is indeed."
"I'm cold, Spock. I'm cold and tired and extremely disappointed." Jim watched as Spock’s alert gaze swept the rocky cliffs surrounding them. They couldn’t afford to stay still too long, no doubt their absence was noted by now. The search party could be close behind and if found, they would be in a world of trouble.
"We have cleared the shielded area, Jim. Enterprise should find us shortly."
"Before my cock freezes off?"
"I should hope so." Spock stepped forward into Jim’s space, pressing his body firmly against Jim’s as if he were truly afraid Jim was in danger of losing important appendages to frostbite. Jim snuggled into the horrible smelling fur in front of him until he wriggled his face under Spock’s hood and sought out the warm flesh along Spock’s jaw, sighing when he felt Spock’s arms wrap around him to rub briskly at his back.
“I really wanted to get married today."
"As did I, ashayam."
"Really, really wanted it." Jim rubbed his cold nose into the hollow behind Spock’s ear, the small patch of skin that always sent shivers through Spock when Jim nipped at it as he did now.
"I know. Perhaps-” Spock sucked in a hiss and rubbed his cheek against Jim’s bristled jaw before speaking with low, fervent words. “Perhaps we do not require the ceremony."
Jim drew back enough to see dilated pupils and green-dusted cheeks that could be a result of the cold but Jim doubted it.
"Spock, have you been holding out on me?" Jim watched two eyebrows rise slowly and laughed because he hadn’t been fooled by that look in years. "You have! You suck. Do it now before I pout."
"You have been pouting for exactly fifty-nine point two four minutes."
"So it's time you did something about it."
"Indeed." Spock removed one of the thick, cumbersome mittens from his hand and brushed his knuckles across Jim’s three-day beard. Long, elegant fingers swept up to card through his hair and Jim sighed at the sensation as his scalp began to tingle. A soft press of lips caressed his forehead and for a moment, Jim was completely content with life despite not being able to feel his toes.
“This is not the ideal time to undertake such an endeavor.”
Jim clawed at Spock’s hips, his hands clumsy under the layers of fur protecting his digits but he managed to pull Spock tighter against him.
“Don’t care. Do it now. Please, Spock.”
Spock’s low hum of agreement rumbled through Jim before he felt slightly calloused fingers ghost over his face, leaving a trail of sparks along his skin until he felt the sizzling pop of them sliding into position and his mind began to warm with the heat of desire and love that coursed through the connection.
"Did you think you could escape?"
Spock jerked at the intrusive voice and Jim snapped his eyes open long enough to see Koth and several Klingon guards standing above them with numerous weapons drawn.
"Ignore them, Spock."
"You've given us a reason to kill you. For that I should thank you, Kirk." Jim could hear victory in Koth’s voice even as a familiar tickle began to sweep through his limbs. He tightened his hold on Spock and leaned forward to breathe his words against green-tinged lips.
"Seriously, ignore them, Spock."
"If you wish."
"I do." Jim closed the distance between their lips and heard a whisper of ‘parted and never parted’ trickle through his being. From afar, Jim heard a Klingon curse and weapons shift into firing position as the warmth of a transporter beam enveloped them and carried them home.
Beta'd by notboldly50295
Inspired by Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not by Thompson Square.
Prompted by my mom. <3