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Jim laughed as the water balloons sailed past his shoulder and broke against the wall behind him.  The carnival fundraiser that Uhura and Scotty dreamed up was proving to be much more entertaining and relaxing than he’d expected.  The location was ideal.  Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet always encouraged tourists to engage in frolics of every kind, and the proprietors hadn’t even required a portion of the gate fees when they learned it would be a charitable event.

His first thought had been to talk someone else into being the ‘target’ – or insist Uhura eliminate the ‘modified dunking booth’ altogether.  However, he’d allowed her to persuade him.  He’d felt a little obligated since she’d taken his refusal to man the ‘kissing booth’ so well.

Now reminded of that, Jim turned his head and shouted over the laughter and yells of the surrounding crowd, “So, Uhura, who’d you get for the kissing booth?”

“Do you know – I’m actually glad you turned it down?  I think it worked out even better than I planned.”

“Really?”  Jim tried to think of who would provide the biggest draw. “So, who did you get?”

“I talked Spock into it.”

“What?!”  Jim turned his upper torso sharply in Uhura’s direction and then winced as a balloon smacked him sharply at the juncture of collarbone and shoulder.  Liquid cascaded down his chest and drained into his shorts.

“How the hell did you manage that?”  Even as he asked, Jim was rapidly considering the various ways he might get away to go sneak a look. He’d pay big just to watch Spock kiss someone…

“It was really pretty easy – once he realized that he’d be collecting a ton of data in a relatively short period of time.”

“Data? What kind of data?”

“Well – I asked him that, but I still don’t know.  Sometimes he gets going in that scientist mode and just loses me.”

“I just can’t see what kind of data would induce him to relax his no touching policy.”

“Well – I did point out what a good cause this is.  Families of Victims of Orion Slavers do provide a wealth of grief counseling…

“And FOVOS also pours a lot of money into lobbying Starfleet for more and better ships,” Jim added, perhaps a bit cynically.

“Anyway, somewhere along the line I mentioned that he would be a great draw because a lot of people are really curious about whether or not Vulcans kiss the same or differently than humans.  And then he said something about how it could be useful data for improving techniques.”

“Improving techniques,” Jim repeated.  “Kissing techniques?”

Uhura shrugged.  “I suppose.”

Jim frowned.  He didn’t know Spock had a kissing technique.  Of course, if he’d thought about it at all, he would have realized that Spock was thorough in everything he did, and if he did decide to kiss someone...

A second water balloon smacked him on the nose and chin and he somewhat disgustedly peeled a bit of balloon off of his cheek.

“Say Uhura…”

“You know Jim, you’re probably due for a break about now.  Why don’t you dry off a bit and take ten.”

Jim grinned.  “Don’t need to ask me twice – thanks – you’re a sweetheart!”

Uhura laughed lightly and shook her head.  Yes, the carnival was definitely helping everyone relax.

 

Jim climbed out of his elevated perch and shivered a bit as water that had been trapped in the crotch of his shorts ran down his legs and pooled in his shoes.  He could take time to change… but then he’d miss more of the Spock-kissing show.

 

Spock regarded the line that now angled away from the front of his booth, past the adjacent fortune-telling booth, and the tribble-counting booth, and was halfway to the lasso-pistol booth.  It was unnecessary to estimate; there were exactly eighteen crewmembers waiting their turn.

Spock nodded his head at Ensign Slama who grinned, collected another twelve credits and waved the latest of Spock’s experimental subjects forward.

This one was thankfully not giggling.  However, the lime-green and turquoise-striped pants that hugged an only somewhat pudgy frame, were easily as offensive.  The lemon-yellow muscle-shirt that topped the pants really did not help matters.  Reluctantly, Spock raised his gaze to take in the face of his subject.

“Hi, darlin!” his subject offered sunnily, “I’m Ralph.  Ralph Benning; astrophysics lab.  I gotta’ say… I’ve been looking forward to this all mornin’.” 

Spock eyed the hand that was held out to him.

“Now, sweetie… you’ll take your time, won’t you?  Let’s not rush through this,” Ralph said and grinned.

Spock raised a brow, then reached out to take the offered hand in his own, raised it to his mouth and pressed a dry kiss upon the surface of the nearest knuckle.  He released it immediately and looked in Slama’s direction and nodded.

“Hey – are you kidding me?” Ralph protested, “C’mon – I want a real kiss!”

Spock tilted his head and raised a brow. “You presented your hand for a kiss,” he pointed out.  “I kissed it.  If you did not wish your hand kissed, you should not have presented it.”

On the outskirts of the crowd, where lots of laughing and nudging was going on, Jim Kirk grinned and rested his hands on the hips of his still-dripping shorts.  Hand-kissing.  Well, that he could believe.  Uhura was one clever girl.  A kiss was a kiss after all.  And apparently there were plenty of people willing to line up even for a passionless kiss on the hand.  Gotta hand it to Spock too, he was treating it as routinely as a survey of the next planetary system.

Jim pretended he didn’t see the small exchanges of credits among the crowd as Ralph grumpily left the booth and slumped off.  The betting was unlikely to do much harm.  He did wonder exactly what was being bet on.

A pretty blond ensign stepped up next.  She smiled shyly, a pair of pert dimples appeared in her cheeks, and then she carefully placed both hands behind her back and leaned forward, tilting her chin up.  The crowd snickered and giggled and then quieted in anticipation.

Spock looked into her eyes for a moment.  Then two.  A faint blush started to form on her cheeks at the continuously direct gaze.  You just see her getting nervous, Jim thought and grinned even more.  That Spock!  Of course he could put someone out of countenance with just a look.  Clever devil!  In just another moment, she’d give up and put out her hand.  Jim crossed his hands across his chest and shifted his hips; prepared to wait.

Sure enough, after turning even pinker, after only twelve seconds or so the poor ensign finally ducked her head, bit her lip and then lifted it back up, shrugged, and presented a small hand.

Spock lowered his eyes to the hand, leaned and kissed it, then turned and nodded at Slama.

The crowd roared with laughter, and Jim’s chest shook.  No nerve, he thought gleefully.  I’d never let him psych me out like that.

Once more, he pretended not to see the small bets changing hands.

I should probably go check out some of the other booths, Jim thought.  He knew that even at a relaxed event like this where everyone was presumably just having a good time, gazes would follow the off-duty Captain to see what he found interesting, who he talked to, and what he enjoyed most.  It shouldn’t matter if the Captain favored one booth over another, but if he ignored all but one, it would certainly get talked about, and he had no intention of being so thoughtless as to ignore the hard work and creativity the crew put into all of the carnival events.

As Spock waited patiently for Slama to make change for the swarthy lieutenant next in line, he calmly surveyed the crowd.  He was pleased that he was apparently providing the ‘draw’ Uhura said she needed, but it still seemed quite odd that…

Spock’s thoughts ground to a halt as he spotted his captain in the crowd.  He was glistening from head to toe as water drops fell with random abandon from the wet curlicues of hair along his brow and neckline onto the thin black t-shirt that was plastered to the broad chest.  He was standing perpendicular to the late afternoon sunlight and it highlighted every dent and bulge of muscle in that strong chest and along the sturdy arms.  Spock was only faintly aware that he’d stopped breathing.  His crossed arms hid Jim’s stomach muscles, but the shorts beneath hid nothing at all.  They were soaked, and the fabric clung to his broad thighs, and clung equally well to the lengthy column of his sexual organ, clearly outlined along one leg.

Spock was shaken by the effort it took to try to force his gaze away.  Even as he began a mantra to focus, that column of flesh beneath Jim’s shorts shifted and moved.  Spock wrenched his gaze away only to find Jim’s eyes intent on his.  His expression – what was that?

Jim saw the instant his first officer noticed him in the crowd and waited with a grin for the characteristic raised eyebrow.  But the Vulcan didn’t meet his eyes.  Instead, his gaze traveled the length of Jim’s body and then paused and focused on… Jim stilled in disbelief.  Spock was looking him over as if, as if… Jim flushed as his treacherous body responded with pleasure as it always did when he thought someone might be interested.  But this was Spock!

As his body responded, he saw Spock’s eyes widen – and then flick to meet his.  There was a question in the chestnut eyes.  Jim searched Spock’s eyes, wondering what the question was.  Please, please, don’t let him be offended, Jim thought worriedly.

He is embarrassed, Spock thought, taking in the captain’s flushed cheeks.  Courteously, Spock averted his gaze, and forced it back to the booth where the lieutenant was shoving his remaining credits into a side pocket.

“Jack Stout,” the Lieutenant said, and stepped in closer.  A faint alarm rang in Spock’s mind as he recognized a determined look in the set of the firm chin.  But Jack Stout gave him no time to react, just took one more step, locked his arms around the Vulcan and pressed a firm kiss against unresponsive lips.  Then almost immediately he removed his arms, stepped back and waited, his eyes on Spock.  The crowd had roared once as the Lieutenant kissed him, and then quieted almost immediately.

Spock’s mouth was parted and his chest heaved once and then he firmly brought his body back under his control.  There had been a strong surge of lust from the Lieutenant as he’d grasped Spock and wrapped his arms around him.  And the kiss, was firm and cool and… Spock looked at the waiting Lieutenant. There was a definite invitation and a question waiting in the man’s eyes.  Deliberately Spock raised a canted eyebrow, tilted his body forward in the barest hint of a bow, and then turned his head and nodded to Slama.

A sigh of relief seemed to pass through the crowd, and Lieutenant Jack Stout regretfully left the small stage. 

What did they think I would do, Spock wondered, as he observed the obvious relief showing on many faces in the crowd.

Jim stood like a statue.  His eyes followed Jack Stout and the fury filling him battled with his resolve not to be an idiot.  He hoped no one had seen the two furious steps he’d taken toward the podium when he’d seen Jack grasp Spock and kiss him.  Ironically it had been his shock at the intensity of his own reaction that stopped him from running up there and making a scene.

He stayed still, waiting for his breathing and heart rate to settle back into something approaching normal.  Eventually it did and almost unwillingly Jim looked back at the booth.  Spock seemed to be unaffected, but Jim had seen that moment when his body conveyed a reaction – perhaps nothing more than a caught breath or a tensed frame; but he had been moved, Jim was certain.

Had he found that kiss arousing?  What had he intended to convey with that raised brow and slight bow?  Would he seek out Jack later?

Suddenly Jim knew he had to prevent that.  The Jim Kirk that was reckless, fearless and sometimes thoughtless was suddenly striding to the booth, his gaze riveted to the Vulcan.  The crowd parted in front of him, but he was oblivious.  The faint murmur that was rising went unheard by the captain as well.

Spock heard the murmur of the crowd and released the just-kissed hand of another hopeful ensign – male this time, and looked over the crowd for the source.

James Tiberius Kirk was striding to the booth.  Spock could not help but hold his breath at the sight.  His captain was always fervent, always passionate and determined.  Even when dressed immaculately in his Captain’s uniform, there was still wildness about him.  His civility was always just a thin mask over his resolve.  But now, unkempt, his clothes dripping wet; he parted the crowd with nothing but the power of his intent.  His fiery eyes met Spock’s – and all the Vulcan could think was, Glorious!

Jim Kirk ignored the waiting line and the quietening of the crowd, slapped credits into Slama’s outstretched hand as he passed him, and stepped up on the podium to stop with only a hand’s width separating him from his first officer. 

For a split-second his eyes drilled Spock’s.  Then after that brief moment of silent communication, the fierce human straightened his shoulders, put his hands behind his back, and relaxed the posture of his entire body.  His eyes were soft now on Spock’s and the very slight smile on his face was the same one he used to face Spock over a chessboard that had been carefully laden with a human’s treacherous traps.

Spock looked into his captain, no – no, these were not his captain’s eyes – these were Jim’s eyes. Soft.  Patient. 

Spock lifted his chin and took in a slow breath.  Patient.  Spock looked at Jim.  Jim looked back.  Calmly.  He was serene.  Patient.

Spock felt a tiny spiral of tension form in his stomach and begin to grow and curl upward into his chest.  He inhaled slightly through his nostrils.  Jim’s gaze was steady.  Calm. Patient.

Spock widened his eyes slightly as the tension and the anticipation began to fill him.  His muscles began to tense.  Jim was still steadily watching him.  Relaxed.  The faint smile resting on his lips was saying so much, and yet so little.  He stood there easily.  Patient.

Spock lips parted slightly and he pulled another breath into lungs that were suddenly not large enough.  His chest rose, and fell.

A twinkle began to form in Jim’s eyes.  Those eyes were mischievous, knowing – patient.

Quite suddenly Spock felt patience leave him in a rush.  He huffed a tiny breath past lips that had grown oddly hot.  He dropped his head just the slightest bit – point two millimeters.  Nobody could possibly notice.

Jim noticed.  His eyes were quite simply grinning now.  Cocky, amused, and… still waiting.

Spock stiffly, awkwardly, moved a hand forward – one centimeter – toward Jim’s waist.

Jim’s mouth quirked on one side.  What might have been a silent laugh sent a ripple across his chest.  The knowing eyes were patient, but filled with amusement.

Spock’s nostrils flared.  Impatient and frustrated, Spock’s previously hesitant hand shot out and locked onto Jim’s waist.  He yanked, and Jim’s eyes flew open in surprise, while at the same time the Vulcan’s other hand gripped the back of Jim’s head and pulled him forcefully into a kiss.

The crowd around them went perfectly silent as the Vulcan wrapped his body around the wet human and kissed him – passionately.  The sleek black head bobbed and the human’s hands came up from beneath Vulcan ribs and then up and over to press against Spock’s shoulders, pulling the Vulcan into an even tighter embrace.

Jim exulted as Spock first took his lips in a demanding kiss and then thrust his tongue excitedly into Jim’s mouth. A wet heated tongue and wet cool tongue met in the cavern of Jim’s mouth and defined a new normal.  Normal was warm, comforting; home.

A sudden shudder in the lanky Vulcan frame warned Jim to loosen his hold.  He gentled his hands that had been pressing Spock urgently to him, and let them trail down to rest lightly on the Vulcan’s waist.

Spock pulled his head away from Jim’s and stared, just stared, at him.  Jim smiled back.  Not cocky, not mischievous, not knowingly.  Lovingly.  Affectionately.

Spock blinked.  He allowed himself two calming breaths and then said quietly, “There is no protocol for this.”

Jim grinned and replied easily, “That’s okay, we’ll just make something up.”  And then he wrapped cool fingers around hot ones, and led his Vulcan off the podium.  “We’re taking a little break,” Kirk said casually to Slama as they passed by. 

The crowd erupted into a roar. 

In the discrete shadow of a tent, Uhura smiled with satisfaction, and accepted the credits a disgruntled Mr. Scott poured into her hand.

Chapter End Notes:

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