‘Shall we dance? Shall we dance? Shall we dance? …’
“Damn it! Computer, halt music.” For the umpteenth time Kirk had missed a step, causing both he and his bondmate to stumble, pulling out of his grasp for a moment to run a frustrated hand through his hair he turned to look at his beloved. “I think you should consider finding a new dance partner.”
“As a Starship captain, you are one of the best; as a dancer, you are not. With a little more practice I think you could--”
“We’ve been practicing for more than four weeks now,” Kirk sighed, “and I haven’t made much progress.”
“But you have made noticable progress and that is what counts.”
“Not enough for the grand ball reception on Altar VI,” Jim grumbled, moving away from Spock. “I think you and Diane would be a more appealing couple.”
“If I had wanted yeomen Baker I would have asked her to begin with.”
For a moment Jim turned his back and was silent. Through the strong bond they shared, Spock knew Jim's was not angry with him, but at himself. Spock could sense that Jim felt that he was letting Spock down, and was taking all the blame upon himself. Without a word, he moved to Jim’s side, wrapped his arms around his muscular frame and drew him close. He took a deep breath, luxuriating in the comforting musk that filled his nostrils, and planted a loving kiss in the crook of his captain’s neck.
With a sigh, Kirk nodded. He would try again… for Spock. “Computer, resume music,” he said softly.
The beginning was perfect, each matching the elegant dance with perfection. Both bodies moved as one, together. Jim looked up and swam into the dark brown comfort of Spock’s eyes. He got lost within their depths, loving the feel of Spock so close… Then, as before, Jim turned left when he should have turned right, and they both stumbled, tangled in each others’ limbs. They fell back into the room partition: Jim cursing, Spock flailing.
“At least,” Spock said, after a beat, “we have both remained upright this time.”
“That’s it!” Kirk exploded. “I’m done!” He pulled away and made a beeline for the door.
Kirk whirled around, his face flaring. “No, Spock, I’m not going to go out there and make a fool out of you. You need someone who can keep up with you and it just isn’t me.”
Before Spock could utter a word of protest, Jim flew out into the corridor. Spock stood there for a long moment, staring at the closed doors, listening to Jim storm noisily away. Spock closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Even though his patience had been tested on more then one occasion by this beautiful--and occasionally volatile--being, Spock reminded himself: he still held complete faith in him. Spock only wished that Jim could have the same faith in himself.
He sighed and reached for the com channel.
“Yeoman Baker?” he said gravelly.
“Yes, Mr. Spock?”
“Yeomen, will you please join me in my quarters?”
“I’ll be right there,” she chirped, not trying to hide her eagerness. “Baker out.”
Spock switched off the channel and sat down, suddenly weary. He didn’t feel much like dancing anymore.
The Grand Ball on Altar VI lived up to its name, with captains, admirals, all sorts of big brass turning out for the occasion. The highlight of the evening, of course, would be the dance in which Captain Kirk would most decidedly not be participating. Standing in the corner, he tried not to scowl at the room full of dress uniforms. He was on his best Captain behavior: listening to all sorts of jokes that he didn’t find much humor in told by people he didn’t like very much, he still managed to laugh on cue, hiding his pained expression behind a glass of Romulan ale. This, Jim thought glumly, is going to be a very long night.
For almost a week, Spock and Diane had been practicing the dance they would be performing before the large crowd, and, even now, Kirk couldn’t help but feel the sting of jealousy. Kirk knew Spock would never do anything along the lines of infidelity but with him coming into is quarters smelling like the woman he had been dancing with--even after a sonic shower--had still ruffled Kirk’s feathers. Not to mention, he thought, staring into his drink, all the time Spock had been spending with her, time that they usually set aside either to just to lay in one another’s arms after lovemaking, or talking, or even a game of chess. For the last week, it had been such a late hour by the time the two finished practicing that Spock had been spending the night in his own quarters. So that he wouldn’t wake me, Jim thought darkly. Right. Finishing his glass, he placed it on a passing tray and grabbed another. As the ale buzzed within him, he payed less and less attention to the war stories around him, and sank deeper and deeper into his own thoughts. Suddenly, a voice on the over head speakers snapped him out of his daze.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” the voice boomed, “if you will please make your way over to the ballroom for the final part of the evening.”
The crowd started to shift, and Jim found himself dragging his feet, knowing what he would see and knowing how he felt at the moment would only make matters worse. But not being there for Spock would make him feel even worse when it was all said and done. He followed the crowd into the next room, his cheerful features masking his growing sense of failure. He sat down next to Admiral Berks who was chatting his ear off by the time he was able to take a seat and get settled only to finally shut up when the over head lights dimmed only reviling the large hardwood floor. It took a moment and the room was hushed as the announcer introduced each couple one by one. Jim had ignored all of them until he heard a familiar name.
“Introducing couple NCC-1701, Commander Spock and Yeoman Diane Baker.”
Kirk’s green eyes never left the couple at they stood together creating a picture perfect scene, flashbacks of him and Spock together in his quarters at the same starting point. He watched them wind their arms around one another, and he glowered inwardly, furious because it should have been him up there with his bondmate--not sitting in the stands like some spectator. Suddenly, Spock turned and looked right at him: there must have been a spike in their bond, Kirk thought dimly. Shoving the feelings back down, he smiled and gave Spock a reassuring nod that he knew Spock didn’t need before the music began to play and the five couples started. Following the flow of music as each one made it look so effortless, as if walking on air the only kind of perfect Spock could ever pull off. It was beautiful, twirling around and around, grace and masculinity combined as both bodies moved as one to the rhythm that filled the room. Jim had never seen anything like it and so proud of being the lover to the man out there making it all look so easy. When the dancers struck their final pose Kirk was the first to stand, clapping wildly and with a new ambition on his mind.
A few weeks later the Enterprise had been back to running to its full efficiency, Spock manned his station as Kirk took his place in the captain’s chair as always but Spock had noticed a difference in him. It did not interfere with his abilities but it was something that Spock felt and when he asked his ashaya what was on his mind Jim would simply respond ’Nothing’. This only made Spock more curious to what exactly he was up to. On days he would he heading to the recreational room he would enter only to see Jim and yeomen Baker sitting closely in a hushed conversation which would stop when Spock drew near. Or in the corridors he would find them together only when they saw Spock they would casually part ways. What was worse Spock would catch Jim sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night and when he questioned Jim about it the human would make up an excuse such as not being able to sleep, just went for a walk to check the bridge, or went to catch up on duty logs but the results were always the same with Jim coming home late and smelling the female perfume, yeomen Baker’s to be specific. Finally, Spock’s curiosity got the best of him: he decided that following Kirk on one of his evening expeditions was the only logical way to ease his growing torment.
Kirk waited until he was sure Spock was asleep. The trouble living with the Vulcan, he mused, easing carefully out of bed, was there was no time during the “day” where he could slip away without his lover only being a few minutes behind him--making it even harder to keep the secret that he had been harboring ever since the Grand Ball. Spock had already been in bed, presumably sleeping, when Jim had gone off his shift; over the last hour, the Vulcan hadn’t moved, and Kirk saw his chance. Now, he pulled on his pants, threw on a shirt, and picked up his boots, carrying them with him into the hall. As he heard the soft hiss of the doors behind him, Kirk was sure that he’d gotten away with it. Walking down the corridor, however, he found himself turning back; he couldn’t help but feel that Spock would show up unexpectedly behind him. It’s only human paranoia setting in, he told himself, feeling his nerves jangle with a rush of excitement through it all.
As the doors closed, Spock threw off the covers and slid out of bed fully dressed. Through their bond, he could tell he was still outside of the quarters. For weeks now, Spock had tried to feel out his bondmate, to discover the reason for such secrecy--but he could detect nothing. nothing could be detected. Tonight, he told himself, moving out into the corridor, he would find out. Making his way staying at least twenty paces behind him He could feel the echo of Kirk’s emotions in his mind--suspicion, adrenaline, excitement-- and they made his heart hammer in his side despite his best efforts to calm it. He knew the feelings were not his own, but in the back of his mind he questioned himself. Did he truly wish to know what was going on? What if it was nothing and he was overreacting? Or what if Jim had found another to keep company with? Due to his long history and reputation, what if he had grown bored of him and went back to his old ways?
The questions were enough to drive Spock mad, pounding in his head as he moved silently through the ship, his doubts driving him, pushing him to follow his bondmate now. He turned the corner and stopped dead in his tracks: Jim was standing outside Yeomen Baker’s quarters, and, as Spock watched, the door opened and Diane, wearing a very suggestive dress, ushered his ashaya in. It was illogical to jump to such a conclusion with so little data to support his accusation but he couldn’t help the hurt that he felt. Turning on his heel he stormed down the corridor back to Jim’s quarters. He yanked off his clothes and got into bed, seething, replaying the images he had seen only minutes before. Why had Jim done this? He gritted his teeth, staring into the dark; no meditation, he knew, could soothe him now.
“5, 6, 7, 8... no, no, no--right foot back, left foot forward. Let’s try that again, Captain.”
Jim sighed, biting his damn tongue and trying again. You’re doing this for Spock, he told himself, so do it again.
“Ok, let’s try this again,” the yeoman said calmly, catching the captain’s eyes. “This time, watch me, and then you and I will start again.” The music began--again--and Diane moved through the steps once more, slowly, gracefully, making it look too damn easy. “Now,” she said brightly, “why don’t we try it together? They moved into one another’s arms and they tried it--again. Jim tried to keep an image of her feet in mind, to follow one step right after another, and another--and suddenly, as the music ended yet again, he realized that he had managed not to stop, look down at his feet. They stopped, and she grinned up at him.
“Captain!” she said, clapping her hands, “you did it!”
Jim staggered back and sat down heavily, dabbing the sweat off his brow.
“Not as easy as it looks,” he managed, reaching for a glass of water. “Yeomen,” he said, feeling his face slip into a grin,“I will take captaining a starship over ballroom dancing any day.”
“I have to say I was very surprised when you showed up here after Altar to ask for lessons, I would have thought Mr. Spock would have been more then happy to teach you.”
Jim grew silent, noting the confused look on her face before sighing. “I was planning to surprise him.”
“Well, I think you have come along way. Remember our first lesson?” she laughed, sweeping her bangs from her face, “you managed to knock over my vase, step on my toe, and run us into a wall all at the same time.”
Jim winced at the memory.. “I do apologize for that, Yeoman, but, in all fairness: I did warn you.”
“And that you did, but to tell the truth I think your ready, for the past few days you have hardly needed my help. All you have to remember is don’t look at your feet, they are fine on their own.”
He gave her a famous Kirk grin. “I will keep that in mind,” he said.
“Are you up for one more go-round?”
He stood and gallantly offered her his hand. “I think,” he said, drawing her close, “I think I can handle that.”
The corridors were empty as Jim danced all the way back to his quarters, feeling inordinately proud of himself, his body humming with excitement over the surprise he had planned for Spock. He slipped back in, eying the sleeping form on the bed. He undressed as quietly as he could, maneuvering carefully in the darkness. Gently, he slipped back into bed, easing in next to Spock. He laid his head on the pillow and closed his eyes, grinning to himself.
“Where were you?” he heard in his ear.
Jim’s eyes flew open, and he felt a rush of panic: how long had Spock been awake? “I...I just went to the mess to grab a midnight snack,” he managed.
“You were gone for 2.6 hours,” the voice said darkly.
Kirk went for Plan B. “I thought I would catch up on tomorrow’s duty roster,” he said smoothly.
There was a long pause. Spock stared out into the darkness, eyes burning. More lies, he thought, grateful that he was facing away from Jim. At the moment, he didn’t think he could dare to look into those green eyes only to see deceit. His nostrils flared: he could smell the Yeomen’s perfume; it hung over the bed like a cloud.
“Spock?” Kirk turned over and reached over to lay a hand on his t’hy’la’s arm. He felt the Vulcan tense sharply under his touch, and he sat up, alarmed. “Lights ten percent,” he said. The room was illuminated with a soft glow. “Spock what’s wrong?” Jim’s voice was filled with concern and a slight demand to know.
Spock sat up and before he could stop himself the words tumbled out in a rush: “How could you?” he snarled, cringing at bitterness in his own voice.
“How could I what?” Kirk said.
“I saw you go into Yeomen Baker’s quarters, you spent 2.6 hours with her and when I question you about your whereabouts all I get is lies.” Spock sprang out of bed, grabbing for his clothes. Kirk stared dumbfounded at the Vulcan’s back.
“How did you… did you follow me?!”
Spock spun on him. “Do you deny it?”
“No! But, Jesus, Spock--it’s not what you think!”
“And what is it I am supposed to think, Jim?”
Kirk rocked back, stunned beyond words. Spock had gone as far as to follow him and now had landed them in a argument of infidelity. Getting out of bed he started for Spock only for the look he gave to stop Jim in his tracks.
Spock let loose, seeing a side of him that even Jim had never known was there. “I can smell her on you,” he growled, advancing on Kirk. “Do think so little of me that you would sneak off not just tonight but for weeks now and think that I would not notice? That I am another one of the hundreds you have bedded and left when something new came along?”
“Spock, I was doing this for you, I was going to surprise you! She was teaching me -”
“Indeed it was a surprise…Captain,” Spock sneered, his voice cold. He turned on his heel and stalked out without glancing back.
Two days Spock had been perfect, everything on his station was running to perfection, when Kirk would walk into the mess hall Spock would find an excuse to leave, or at night when Spock retired to his own quarters, he would never be in the same room alone and Kirk was getting tired of not being able to explain himself. He always had a notion in the back of his mind that one of these days his past would come back to bite him in the ass and it seemed it was at the worse possible time. This time Spock called a meeting in the conference room except the only one who was called was Spock.
On time as usual Spock entered the conference room on the dot only to still when he didn’t see any one in the room, he was quite sure he had gotten the location right but a voice from behind him nearly made his Vulcan heart do a flip.
“Computer initiate lockdown alpha one, no override.”
“Lockdown complete.,” the computer chimed back. Spock turned to Kirk, his face dark.
“Damn it, you are going to listen to me, Spock,” Kirk said, glaring right back, “whether you like it or not. You’ve been avoiding me for the past two days. This stops today.”
“You are the captain, it is hard for us not to--”
“You know what I am talking about. Ever since you followed me to yeomen Bakers quarters, have you ever thought that you have insufficient data?”
“I have not.”
“Spock please, have I ever done anything to dilute your trust in me before?”
“Then why is it so hard to believe me now when I tell you there is nothing going on between me and that woman? Cant you feel it Spock?”
Spock took a step forward and looked deep into the untamed green eyes. Suddenly, he felt foolish; Vulcans are protective and passionate lovers but sometimes the mind plays tricks on its own, bringing one’s worst fear to the surface when it is indeed not there. For the days he was away from Jim he had felt nothing but loneliness and a empty place next to him only taking comfort in the bond that still held strong between them. Threw the moment of silence as both looked into one another’s eyes all truths seemed to be realized.
“Then why, t’hy’la, were you spending so much time with her?” Spock’s voice had lost its accusing tone, now only asking why.
Now it was Jim’s turn to be slightly uncomfortable as he sighed now, he thought, it’s all or nothing. “She was teaching me to dance,” he said sheepishly.
Spock’s eyebrow shot up to meet his perfect hairline. “I thought I had made that offer to you once before.”
“I could never get it right when I was around you. Spock, you drive me to the point of distraction and I can’t concentrate-- and when I saw you out there the only thing I wished more then anything else is that it would have been me.”
Spock reached out his hand and caressed Kirk’s broad shoulder. He smiled and stepped closer, running his other hand up Jim’s chest. He pulled Kirk close, nuzzling his hair. “Now I understand…” he murmured.
Jim looked up with one of his trade mark smiles. “You are the only one who can.” Jim pulled away slightly, taking Spock’s hand in his. He slid the other over his heart and covered the hot hand with his own. “Shall we dance, Mr. Spock?"
Spock bent down and kissed the human’s cool lips. Kirk felt an electric current pulse through his body as Spock brought him closer. Slowly, carefully, the Vulcan began to lead them in a slow rhythm around the room. They gazed into one another’s eyes, aware only of each other, of the love they would hold now and forever.