James Kirk had not realised before that he had spent his life cut in half. Perhaps he had not even comprehended it when he first laid eyes on that alien beauty as he asked for permission to come aboard his new ship. The realisation had grown slowly between them, but it was not until now, eight years later, after adventures and separation and reunion, that he knew it fully to be true. Also, he recognised that it was a state that had ended that night, as those delicate but strangely powerful fingers had sought his face in the midst of love-making. Had his lover been human, he would have had a gold ring to savour. As his lover was Vulcan, instead he had the bond, which tied their minds together, making the boundary between their individual thoughts at times almost indistinguishable. He could feel every shift in Spock’s thoughts, even if he could not always discern what they were about over the roar of sensations. They lay curled up, and despite the warmth and tiredness that had settled on him, it seemed impossible to fall asleep, when he was so agog at what he sensed between them. Sometimes, he felt he could barely speak for the rapture of this new experience. Touching and touched, indeed, he thought, and he felt Spock reciprocate the thought, offering how he himself had perceived the marriage ritual a few days ago, even if it seemed to lie eons in the past. The colours – sharper. The bells’ chime cutting through the heavy air. Still all he sees is Kirk, the epicentre of what he felt, the target of all he wished to do. All energy – emotional, mental, sexual, none of them rational things, only feral, basic, undeniable urges – seems to emanate from him and then pour back into him. The longing to form that bond…
‘It’s done now,’ Kirk whispered, spreading his hand on his chest. He was drawn out of the memory, into the sea of thoughts they both seemed plunged into. There they were, the two of them, and still not two… Kirk half-sat and looked at the man beside him. Speaking was in fact superfluous, but he felt more comfortable putting things into words, and Spock had the decency not to pry into what he would say, like someone looking at the text in advance when being read to. ‘Spock, how well do you know Plato?’
‘I am familiar with his theory of forms and his ideal state as portrayed in the Republic, as well as his use of elenchus in his early dialogues. What relevance does this have, Jim?’ he asked good-naturedly. Kirk lay down on his stomach and supported his chin in his hand so that he would be able to still look at him. Talking muffled the sounds of their thoughts slightly.
‘So you don’t know his Symposium?’ he wondered.
‘No, although I would hazard to assume that it is a dialogue set at a drinking party,’ Spock answered. He spoke almost in the same tone of voice he would on the bridge, but his gaze was different, as was the slight smile playing on his lips as he reached up and touched Kirk’s chest.
‘Yes, you’re right, that’s basically what it is.’
‘What is the subject of the dialogue?’ Kirk smiled widely and answered:
‘Love.’ Spock seemed to consider this.
‘Not one of his usual topics, from what I have gathered.’
‘Well, it’s not a usual dialogue,’ Kirk explained and stroked his hair. ‘It’s about a drinking party – loads of Socrates’ friends of different professions present – but they’re all pretty hung over after last night, so they decide to talk rather than drink.’ He laughed at this point, even if he knew Spock probably did not approve of that detail. Then he continued retelling the dialogue. ‘They decide that they should all make a speech to Love. Some do it to the god, some to the concept.’ He paused and brushed a bang out of Spock’s eye, smiling at him. ‘I just came to think of one of those speeches, the one by Aristophanes.’
‘The comedian?’ The human nodded, and the other man stretched and, stroking two fingers against his hand, said: ‘Tell me.’
‘All right.’ Kirk collected his thoughts and started speaking. ‘Aristophanes’ speech is a story – a myth. It starts that in the beginning of time, men were different from how we are now. They had four legs, four arms and two heads and were spherical – they didn’t walk, but somersaulted on both hands and feet. Instead of two sexes there were three; some were all male, other all females, and some hermaphrodites.
‘However, they were proud and threatened the gods, but Zeus did not want to kill them. Instead, he sent Apollo to cut them in half and draw the skin over the wound so that there was just one small scar.’ Spock raised an eyebrow, and Kirk let his hand wander downwards, stopping just over his navel, positioned where a human’s would be, rather than a Vulcan’s. ‘Since that day, we have sought our other half, wishing to be reunited.’ At that, he lay down on his back again and watched Spock, who was still smiling slightly.
‘It is a remarkable fairy-tale,’ he said, ‘but as all fairy-tales, its illogic is striking.’
‘It’s not about logic or illogic, Spock,’ Kirk pointed out and once again reached out to touch him, pressing himself closer. ‘Besides, the speech doesn’t end there. One of the things he goes on to speak about is how it would be when you find your other half. You would feel fulfilled – the love and the desire would be beyond comprehension. And if Hephaistos would come to those lovers when they lay in each other’s embrace, and he would offer to fuse them together, if they really wanted to be together day and night, and live and die together -“and there would be one rather than two there in Hades”, I think it goes – no one would ever find they wanted anything else.’ He looked at him. ‘Do you see what I mean?’
Spock watched him, as if he were considering it, then said:
‘To be forged together… to be one.’ He put his hand to his cheek, letting his fingertips caress the meld-points. Once again Kirk felt all his mental concentration drawn to the bond, and for a moment all he could perceive was Spock intermingled with himself. He simply nodded, and let Spock see his thoughts. Through the haze of concentration, he saw the Vulcan look almost pleased at what he found. To Kirk’s surprise, he spoke. ‘You have felt… as if you were just one half… as if you had been cut from someone else.’ Another nod. ‘And now…?’ The invitation to speak loosened his tongue, although he had thought he would never actually speak of this.
‘I’ve found my other half.’ He chuckled slightly, shifting as if it would make him less self-conscious. ‘I guess you’ll say there’s no logical way we could ever have been one whole, but all the same, we were two halves that were looking for one another.’
‘Yes,’ Spock whispered, his quiet tone making Kirk feel the potency of the man’s feelings. He sat up again and the Vulcan followed. He could not tell who extended his hand to whom, but suddenly they were locked tightly.
‘D’you know, Spock, I can’t help thinking it’s funny,’ he explained, ‘because those lovers in Aristophanes’ speech would never be asked by Hephaistos if they wanted him to forge them together. But he did ask us. That’s what this is.’ He touched the bond with his mind, knowing Spock would feel the pressure as surely as he felt that of his hand. ‘It makes us one – heals that wound between us. You see, don’t you? Hephaistos…’
‘…Is Vulcan,’ Spock finished. ‘His Roman name is Vulcan.’ Kirk nodded and thought he blushed, afraid that he would find the simile silly. But his mind reached out and so did his hands, pulling his face close in a kiss. He surrendered to its tastes and sensations, savouring both his and Spock’s through the bond.
'Yes, we are one,’ Spock whispered when he released his lips. ‘We are forever forged together.’ Once again they acted without it being able to tell who took initiative; at the same moment, they embraced, their bodies pressing to close together they might easily become one mass. Still, the uniting of their minds was greater still, and made them into a more perfect whole. Kirk lost himself in his other half, as Spock did in his, both of them relishing that never-ending closeness, and the knowledge that the days of being cut in half were over.