Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott was a happy man. His engines were in perfect working order at last, the Captain was back on the ship and in his right mind and McCoy thought there shouldn't be any lasting trauma, and the First Officer had shed these past weeks' hard exterior – and, Scotty thought as he stacked PADDS on his desks in a somewhat less Pisa-like tower, a tense, overworked, withdrawn Vulcan was not someone to mess with - even to talk to, at times. Ah, well, it was all over now – thankfully.
The CMO had been nagging him to get some exercise and predicting him a ghastly, enormous, lass-repelling pot-belly should he fail to comply, and the Scot decided that instead of using the turbolift to get back to his cabin he would crawl through some Jefferies tubes and climb some ladders, which would also provide him with the opportunity to check them. Since they were hardly ever used, and then mostly in dire emergencies, he found it was not as much a waste of his time as spending time on those puny, poorly-conceived machines of the gym. Recent hardships had strained the Enterprise.
As he was considering the necessity of replacing some slightly deformed deck plates – which was really Maintenance job, but then again Engineers were maintenance crew, even if of the most technical stuff on the ship – he heard voices coming from below him. One voice was unmistakable: Mr Spock. The other – yes, it was the Captain. Well, he wasn't about to eavesdrop on anyone, for sure! He began to move forward, but it seemed most of the deck plates were deformed in this section, which meant they would probably grate loudly against one another at one point. Besides, the misalignment between some plates could betray him as it left some space where his light could shine through. He would just signal his presence first, and then leave. That was when he noticed the strange wistful tone in the Vulcan's voice. Curious, Scotty peered in a slot left by a displaced plate.
'No. Your father said it wasn't to be used lightly, and I trust him on this.' The Captain seemed snappish.
'But I did it on the planet.'
'Yes, you did. I did not realise what was happening then, and anyway it was in the line of duty. I had been amnesiac for two months and I needed my memories back. There was no choice. Now there is.'
'There is, for you. You know there is not, for me.' His hand half-raised to the Captain's head, the Vulcan sounded weary, as if it wasn't a new conversation for them.
'Why should I grant you unlimited access to my mind, Spock? Especially when someone more qualified than I said it wasn't a wise thing to do? Do I have everything I want from you? No. Is there any danger for you if you indulge me in what I want? No.'
Scotty felt more and more out of place, and out of bounds. It sounded like a private disagreement, nothing to do with the ship – but it didn't seem like a good time to interrupt and jump down from the ceiling. And maybe, just a little, he was curious...
Jim Kirk was gathering steam as he paced and circled his taut officer.
'She gave it to me, you know. What you can't – or won't, more like. Because you can – Bones said you were perfectly able to, that there was no post-op difficulty. You won't even let me say it, you just refuse to talk about it, Spock; but here – no, stay here, and listen to me! I want to fuck you. Do you hear me? I want you to - '
'Jim, don't. Please'. The First Officer looked ill.
'Please? What about “make love to me, please”? But no, it's always,' and this Kirk said in a stilted, deliberate voice, ' “allow me to meld with you”! Do you know, Spock, she didn't refuse herself to me. She was my wife. She was pregnant, Spock! What do you say? You just can't compete with that. I loved her. I loved her!'
The Chief Engineer was getting a much more complete report of the latest events than he'd had access to or even wanted access to, and also of things he had never even begun to suspect. And he reckoned it wasn't just his preference for the company of machines that had kept him out of of the loop, either. Engineers did gossip, too.
So, the Captain and the First Officer. The Captain had been known to have the odd affair, but they were with women. And Spock – well, Spock was Spock. Scott himself leaned towards more comely figures than lean, male Vulcans. Male... Weren't homosexual relationships deemed, well, illogical on Vulcan? But then again, they had their IDIC philosophy – though they did not always strike him as tolerant as they pretended to be.
Anyway, it wasn't any of his business – maybe Starfleet wouldn't make a fuss about it, either, but he understood why it had been kept a secret from the crew, even if it miffed him a little. And anyway, it seemed all was not perfect at the moment. He was, in fact, learning more than he ever wanted to know about his superior officers right now.
And what was that stuff the Captain said about surgery on Mr Spock? And what kind of surgery could lead to this sort of conversation? No, this wasn't any of his business. He should leave. But he couldn't say anything, now, and he couldn't move without revealing someone had heard what transpired. Well... He returned his attention to his commanding officers.
'Jim, I know.' The Vulcan was apparently attempting to calm the Captain. 'But I will not betray - '
'Don't say anything about your “Vulcan heritage”, Spock. Do you know I talked to your mother?'
Spock went very green, very quickly. Scott empathized.
'Yes, well, she told me Vulcans are perfectly able to have sex whenever they want, given a little coaxing. Maybe more than a Human would require – but then again, you're half-Human. And Bones wrote on the report he wrote after the surgery, I quote, “Mr Spock should from now on experience no difficulty with physical relationships. Any problems that might arise would originate in mental blocks of a psychological nature, and should be dealt with as soon as possible”. You refused, Spock. I asked, and you refused to do anything about it. And Miramanee – she gave it all to me, Spock.'
Jim Kirk sighed and turned his back on Spock.
'Jim. I cannot be what I am not. I grieve with thee for what you lost, but do not make comparisons where none should be made. If you wish to cease what was between us, you need only say so. I am Vulcan. It is illogical to pursue a relationship which is not satisfactory to both sides. I would not resent you. But Jim...'
As Spock walked closer to him, his voice softened. The Human slipped one arm behind Spock's neck and another around his chest, and he leaned against the wall, so slowly, looking up at the Vulcan's face Scotty could not see from his vantage point. He tried to look away, but curiosity was too strong – and yet, how would he be able to keep this to himself? Maybe McCoy knew...
Seeing them like this, he wondered why it both seemed so strange and so inevitable. They were each the alien to the other, their personalities were so different – and yet it was not conceivable to have one without the other. Since Jim Kirk had become the Captain of the Enterprise, they had been fast friends – but maybe, what made them complementary to each other also was what drew them apart.
They were kissing lightly, small, butterfly kisses, and sighed soft sighs from time to time, but Scott could also see Spock's right hand twitching, raising slowly and then abruptly clenched and brought back to the Captain's waist, the fingers splaying and gliding up an arm, a shoulder, cupping the nape and still moving up, up – and then Jim cried out, 'No! Spock, no.' He tried to grab the Vulcan's hand, but he was not strong enough to resist. He was pinned against the wall by his Science Officer, and found his wrists suddenly enclosed in long fingers.
'Jim, I cannot...' the long fingers hovered for a moment over a wide-eyed face, and then Spock jerked away and rammed his fist just beside Jim's head.
Scott jumped at that. So far he'd been too stunned by what was revealed, but the loud crash jerked him back to his situation. His heart beat faster for a moment when he contemplated the deck plate which had moved at his sudden movement and must have made some noise, but neither the Captain nor the First Officer raised their voices. In fact, as Scotty cautiously bent back to observe better, they were suspiciously silent.
What he saw nearly broke his composure. The Vulcan, the usually unflappable Mr Spock who embodied Vulcan's cool self-control in the eyes of the entire crew, was shivering, kneeling on the floor and his head nestled on Kirk's shoulder, while the Human cautiously stroked him. He touched his hair, his back, his arms, and he seemed to pay special attention to the hands, massaging the palms and keeping them secure in his lap – maybe, the Engineer thought, he's afraid of Spock attempting another meld.
'I'm sorry, Spock, I shouldn't have said what I said. You know I need you. It's all right, Spock, I have no right to expect you to behave as I want you to. I'm sorry...'
But the litany of small, quiet words meant to comfort did not seem to appease the Vulcan.
He kept slowly shaking his head and whispering, 'I cannot, Jim, I cannot go on, I cannot do this to you. I am not Vulcan, I should control these impulses, but Jim...' He stayed unmoving for a while, his breathing loud enough that Scott could hear the tremors in it.
Spock straightened at last and held out a hand to the Captain to help him stand up.
'I shall now retire to my quarters to meditate, Captain. I apologize for any inconvenience I caused.' He looked into the Captain's eyes. 'Please – please forgive me, Jim.' With that, he strolled out and didn't look back.
'Oh, Spock... I'm sorry, too.'
After a while, Jim Kirk resolutely rubbed his face with his hands and re-adjusted his somewhat rumpled shirt before leaving the room.
Dumbstruck, Scotty did not move for several minutes. He wondered whether you could blame a fellow for something in his nature he couldn't help, but then again there was a reason for his enlisting in Starfleet and preferring tending to his engines rather than leading a grounded life in a small village with a wife and kids: he was no psychologist. He was no philosopher. He was not a moralist. He was a hands-on lad, and when something malfunctioned, he took it apart instead of looking around. But this... they were already doing a fine job of taking themselves apart, and that was certainly not good for the ship.
Maybe he should have that drink with McCoy sooner than he had planned, and talk a wee bit. But probably about something else – what he'd seen, he'd had no right to see. Better try and forget it. If he could...