Jim looked through the long ferns that bent over his face, up at the high ceiling where tiny lights cast a faint glow down over the botanical garden. Like stars, he thought. Almost like stars.
He was fully conscious of the ridiculousness of his current position. Well—maybe not fully conscious. Full consciousness would have required the consumption of a few fewer glasses of brandy than he’d had at the ship’s midsummer celebration that evening. But he knew it was ridiculous, a grown man and starship captain lying in the ferns feeling sorry for himself.
It had really been a fine party. He should have enjoyed it more than he did. That lack of enjoyment was directly related to his current position. It was the same feeling of something under his skin, restlessness mixed with an obscure sort of self-pity, that had haunted him throughout the party and had led him to come to the botanical garden instead of going back to his cabin.
No, Jim, he thought, dragging a hand across his forehead, if you’re going to indulge in self-pity, at least do it honestly. It wasn’t going back to his cabin that he feared. It was going back to his cabin alone.
The lot of a starship captain: to stand at the edge of a party looking magnanimous while other crewmen flirted with the women he wasn’t allowed to approach. Hell, didn’t want to approach, for both their sakes. No good could come of a starship captain propositioning an inferior officer (and hadn’t he learned that one the hard way). But that didn’t make it easy, and for some reason it had been grating on him more than usual lately. He’d let the solitude get under his skin, maybe: Bones, Sulu, hell, even Spock could find people outside their chain of command to flirt with, if they really wanted to. Not that Spock would ever want to. But Jim was the only one who didn’t have that choice.
It was the price he paid, and Lord knows he would never say it wasn’t worth it. It just had been on his mind lately, for who knew what reason. He had left the party early, as usual, but this time it wasn’t just to give the crew time to cut loose without him. If he had to watch another couple cozying up to each other on the dance floor…well, he was seriously considering putting down some names for maintenance duty during the next outbreak of stomach flu.
That was the mood that had led him to the botanical garden. His current position amid the ferns—well, that was a lot more related to the number of drinks he’d had than his melancholy, thought it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to connect the two conditions.
Maybe it was just because it reminded him of the woods back home. He had used to love this: finding a quiet clearing at night and lying down, feeling the low-hanging leaves tickle his skin, watching the stars through the latticework of treetops. Used to scare his mother half to death, when he’d trail back in from the woods long after dark, but he couldn’t resist.
These weren’t stars, of course: just emergency lighting. But he knew the real things were there: so close, so much closer than they’d ever been when he’d been a boy in Iowa, when captaining a starship had been only a dream. This was what he’d chosen, and he’d say it a thousand times: no one would ever catch him claiming it wasn’t worth it, no matter how melancholy he got on occasion.
The swoosh of the door interrupted his reverie and made him stiffen. He cursed himself and his alcohol-addled brain for not thinking to lock it with the captain’s code: of course there would be people coming in and out of the botanical garden at night, especially on the night of a party. Well, it was dark, and the botanical garden was large; he would lie quietly and hope whoever it was didn’t come across him.
The sound of footsteps told him it was more like two people. And coming closer—damn. Jim took a quick glance down at himself to make sure he was well hidden in the shadows of the ferns. He would never hear the end of this one if they found him like this.
The newcomers came into view, in a clearing in the trees near Jim’s hiding place. Jim raised his eyebrows in surprise. One of them was Commander Spock.
Well, no reason Spock shouldn’t be in the botanical garden at night. He was as much entitled to private conversations as the rest of the crew. Still, it didn’t seem…well, it didn’t seem a Spock-like way to do things, that was all. But there was no mistaking him, even in the dim lighting.
With him was a lieutenant from engineering. Lieutenant Growdon, Kirk thought his name was. That seemed particularly odd. Kirk didn’t know of any business Spock would have had with the man at this hour of ship’s night, when the ship wasn’t on alert. Unless it was something personal?
He was just wondering this when Spock leaned in to kiss Growdon on the mouth.
Kirk went rigid with surprise. His first reaction was pure shock: Spock was kissing a man. Spock. Kissing a man. Of everything he might have seen in the botanical garden late at night, that was the last thing he would have expected. His third reaction was the faint worry that this was violating the protocols of command—he couldn’t remember the organizational chart at the moment, to know if this was okay.
But his second reaction, and the one that swiftly swamped the other two, was arousal.
He tried to deny it to himself at first. Yeah, fine, he was a little horny; it had been far too long, and he’d spent the evening looking at beautiful women he couldn’t have. It certainly wasn’t this sight that did anything for him. He felt nothing; certainly no heat in his groin or suspicious tightness in his pants. He had never been interested in men, in point of fact. That was why he didn’t care about the way Spock was holding Growdon close, running his hands over his back, slipping a hand into his hair. Why he didn’t care about the way their mouths were joined, or the faint wet sounds that came from their tongues and lips sucking on each other. Didn’t even notice the hungry press of their bodies from chest to groin. He certainly wasn’t caught on the rhythm of their kisses, his own pulse rising and falling—mostly rising—with the motion of their bodies against each other…
Spock gave a moan of pleasure. His deep voice caught Kirk off guard and sent a swooping heat through his stomach. He felt his cock give an answering throb that made him grit his teeth and try not to pay attention. He was not interested in men that way—not interested in Spock that way, above all. Hell, he was a Vulcan—barely even connected with sexuality. Except that what Jim was seeing right now couldn’t be mistaken for anything else.
But the point was that it didn’t matter who Jim was seeing. He had had too much brandy, and it had been too long since he’d gotten any. He could have been seeing anyone making out like that: two…two Gorns, or two Klingons, for Lord’s sake, and it would have done the same to him. He was just drunk, just horny…
Growdon’s hands moved down to Spock’s ass and gave a squeeze. Kirk bit his lip to stifle an exclamation. His own hands gripped the fronds of fern beside him as he tried to keep from imagining the feel of those buttocks under his own fingers.
Their kisses were getting hungrier: he could hear their ragged breath, and it was all he could do not to let his breathing match theirs. All he could do not to imagine what it would be like to be one of the participants in that kiss, and to ignore the pounding in his cock at the thought…
Spock stripped the lieutenant of his shirt in one quick motion. That was the first time Kirk had the clear thought that he should look away, that he shouldn’t be watching this. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to avert his eyes as Growdon tore Spock’s shirt off in turn to reveal Spock’s chest: smooth, strongly muscled, with faint dark hair. His nipples stood out as two erect nubs. Growdon lowered his mouth to one of them, and Spock tilted his head back. “Yessss,” he hissed through his teeth.
Then they were kissing again, strong torsos pressing together, hands grasping fiercely at bare flesh. Growdon’s hands went to Spock’s fly.
Kirk felt as if he could hardly move. Now. Now was the time when he should look away, but he was frozen by…what? Curiosity? Not arousal, definitely not arousal. He had seen Spock naked before, he was sure he must have, there was nothing he could gain by…
Growdon pulled Spock’s underwear down to reveal a glistening cock, hard and long and full and faintly green. Jim felt a flush of heat travel through his body at the sight of it. Spock was panting as Growdon ran his hand lightly along it. Then Spock’s hands were tearing at Growdon’s fly, pulled down his pants until both cocks were free to rub against each other. The two hard columns glinted in the low light, as their mouths joined again and their lower bodies thrust together.
Two cocks sliding against each other. Not a sight Jim would ever have said he wanted to see, but now he was going crazy at the sight of it. He balled his hands into fists at his sides and tried to pretend his own cock wasn’t throbbing. Deep breaths…deep, calming breaths and try to ignore the burning fire in his belly…
Suddenly Spock spun Growdon around so that his front was to one of the trees, and Kirk saw him slip a finger into the space between his buttocks. Growdon gave a cry, but not, Kirk thought, of pain: it was pleasure, unbridled, unleashed. Spock pressed his body against Growdon’s and slipped another finger inside.
Growdon was moaning and writhing. Spock’s naked back and buttocks were glinting in the low lights. Kirk had never been more turned on his life.
A third finger, twisting and thrusting into Growdon’s opening. Then the whole hand removed. A voice in Growdon’s ear, low and sending shivers along Kirk’s skin: “Do you want it?”
Say yes, Kirk thought, despite himself. He felt a surge of anticipation, of desperate hunger, of wanting to see this complete. More than anything, he wanted to see Spock enter that man. His own cock was aching for it.
“Yessss,” Growdon moaned. “Please.”
That thick green column, shiny now from lube, visible for a moment more. Then Spock thrust up, plunged himself into Growdon’s body, sheathed his cock and pierced the other man through.
“Yes!” Growdon cried, sounding almost as if he were sobbing. “Yes, Spock, yes, take me…”
The motion was fast and frantic. Kirk could barely breathe. Spock plunging against and again into Growdon’s cavity, both of them gasping for air, Spock’s chest pressed to his back. Spock’s other hand coming around, stroking Growdon’s erection and making the man moan. Both of them crying out now. Spock speeding up, cock appearing and disappearing…
Jim had to wrap a hand tightly around his erection through his pants. If he hadn’t, he thought he might have come from the sight alone. There was nothing he had ever seen that was so erotic, so hot, so utterly debauched as that naked back and buttocks, rocking against another man, or that cock sliding in and out of the opening. Every nerve in his body was aflame, and the fire was hottest low in his belly, sending out burning tendrils along his cock. The throbbing in his organ had reached the level of pain. He wanted…he wanted…
Spock gave a cry and shuddered with orgasm. A second later, Growdon was coming, shooting cum all over the oak tree in front of him. They stood still for a moment, before Spock slid out of him and turned him around. Jim could see the languidness in their movements. Spock put a hand to Growdon’s cheek, kissed him lightly on the mouth.
For some reason, that had a jarring effect on Kirk. He could not have said why, but that kiss bothered him when the others hadn’t. He felt a pang that wasn’t entirely obscured by the ache of unsatisfied arousal still burning in his veins.
“This was perhaps not the wisest choice of locations,” Spock said in a low voice.
“We’ll be more careful next time,” Growdon whispered back, carding his hands through Spock’s hair.
They stole occasional kisses as they gathered up their clothing. Spock dressed quickly, his nakedness disappearing into the still-tidy uniform. He wiped down the tree bark while Growdoin finished dressing. Then they were gone through the trees, trailing caresses.
Jim, meanwhile, was still lying in the dark. He waited about two minutes after their departure, then got up and stumbled toward the exit and out into the corridor.
It was late enough that he wasn’t too concerned about who he would meet in the halls. Which was a good thing, given his current state. He could have waited for things to…subside, but he had a feeling that was a hopeless proposition.
What the hell had just happened? That was the foremost question in his mind as he hurried through the corridors. He had never in his life been aroused by the sight of a man—of men—
The thought made his cock twitch again. He ignored it.
Jim reached his cabin and threw himself down on the bed almost before the doors had slid shut. It was the work of a moment to free his aching cock from his uniform pants. Lord, but his hand felt good around it. It really had been too long, even since he’d last done this. That was the real problem: not what he had seen, but the state he had been in when he had seen it. He would give himself a really good fantasy. He would think of Ruth: think of soft, pliable breasts and the curve of her hips, and the warmth of the cavity he was sinking into…
His hand sped up on his cock. Yes, that was right. A warm mouth against his own as well. Bare skin…a smooth back above him, under his stroking hands…firm buttocks for him to squeeze. He was gasping now and thrusting into his hand. He could feel the other tongue in his mouth, the slide of skin on skin. The fingers that reached down and opened him up. And then a cock…a big hard cock that lined up against his opening and then slid in, to fill him up…taking him again and again and filling him and fucking him and making him light up like a Christmas tree and making his own cock throb and jerk in his hands and his balls tighten until…
He came in a riptide of pleasure. It pulled him under and held him for long moments. Long enough for the imaginary cock inside him to finish thrusting, for him to start to be horrified, to be ashamed, to be shocked. Shocked that one of the most powerful orgasms of his life had come from imagining himself being fucked by a man.
He opened his eyes into the darkness. “Well, shit,” he said aloud.