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Inspired by All of me - John Legend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450p7goxZqg and Technoranma’s stunning art: http://technoranma.deviantart.com/art/Kirk-x-Spock-Through-Glass-341821398 Posted with the permission of the original author.

***

Spock stood at the window, looking out at the deck and beyond it to the pool where a creature was frolicking in the fragrant Risan water. The sun was just about to set, its last rays catching the hills on the other side of the lake and illuminating the small details of stately trees in gold tracery. Cranes were calling to one another as they flew high overhead in a flock to find their resting place, the undersides of their wings shining brightly in the dying light.

The water-creature splashed joyously, throwing himself back into the depths from the side of the pool and disappearing beneath the surface. Spock's katra smiled fondly, the figure of his golden bondmate smiting him in the side once again with sweet endearment.

Why don't you come and join me, Spock? he was shouting. Spock pretended not to hear. Had he been human, most likely he wouldn't have heard his mate's whimsical invitation through the clear aluminium panel. But he was Vulcan, heard the plea – and remained fixed where he was. He almost moved to step outside to at least settle himself on the sunbed by the pool. But he knew from experience that that way lay danger and a great likelihood of being deliberately splashed, and Spock had no desire to launder the clothes he was wearing. While there were times he was happy to indulge his mate in spite of his own intense dislike of bodies of water, today... today his mind was preoccupied.

And that preoccupation focused on the stark reality of Jim's death. The truth was, Spock reminded himself, that that vibrant, bright creature who brought the strength of the Terran midday sun to Spock's life, would die. There would come a day, whether sooner thanks to the danger of their career, or later when they were old and hoary, when Spock would hold that precious body in his arms and know he cradled only the cracked vessel of the one he loved.

He frowned, overwhelmed again by the memory of what had happened just over two years ago. He'd lost his Captain and friend once, had known the tattered and barely mended fringes of his heart torn, wrenched, like the fragile link in his mind had been, the moment the life left those sky-blue eyes he so treasured. For Spock had held the lifeless body of the bright creature in the deck pool, had stared emptily until McCoy had slapped his face and reminded him about the bastard who did this to Jim.

He remembered the surge of wrath, the adrenaline which had pumped through him as he made gravity-defying leaps between airborne transports in pursuit of Khan. He remembered the intense satisfaction of finally smashing consciousness viciously from the narrow face, the primal curling of pride at having defended – or at least, avenged – his t'hy'la.

But beyond all of that, nothing could ever expunge or recast the vision of watching his friend die behind the reinforced aluminium barrier of the warp core, unable to touch, unable to hold, unable to soothe his fears, unable to take to himself the shimmering lively spirit as he expired...

Spock shook his head to clear it. For a moment it was as if he were seeing that scene again, and his heart was racing as though he were living a nightmare, or lucidly dreaming.

He saw his Captain dragging himself through the inner door of the warp core and over to the barrier, weakly reaching a radiation-damaged hand up to hit the button to close the door and decontaminate the chamber. He watched him heaving with the effort to breathe, his hand dropping, the sigh of pain as it fell to the ground. He took in the determination of the man, manoeuvring his head so that he could look up at Spock through the pane. He heard the whispered, slurred words, How's our ship? and mimed his own response, Out of danger. Clear in his mind the murmured conversation, the approval, the acknowledgment: This is what you would've done. It was only logical.

And then the shift, the raw fear in the crystalline eyes as the darkness of death loomed closer, closing in; the admission: I'm scared, Spock. Help me not be.

He was cast back again into that profound helplessness. And the question: How do you choose not to feel? And the raw reality that lack of feeling – in this situation – was a lie... In his katra he wept even as the tears had fallen then...

... why I went back for you.

The truth, too little, too late, and only to know the dawning of realisation in the sun's setting: Because you are my friend.

His heart stuttered in his side with the poignancy of painful eidetic memory. The gesture – gods of his fathers! – the burned hand on the glass, his own raising the ta'al in a parody of what it symbolised, connected in spite of the solid aluminium. Never and always touching and touched – if only for a moment, his mind sought through the barrier, finding purchase in brightness at the instant the light dimmed and died in his eyes.

Unseen by Spock, Jim had pulled himself up out of the water and was pacing towards the window where Spock stood, his body streaming. Noticing him now, Spock held his breath, stealing himself as his mate reached a hand towards the window. It was as though he was moving in slow motion, everything at one quarter speed of real time. Spock feared the hand on the glass, feared his own impotence, feared having to face the gaping, bleeding mental wound and the sting of death's separation again – and then things resumed their flow, Jim's hand meeting the doorhandle to pull the sliding door between them open.

"Spock? Can you chuck me the towel from over there?" Jim pointed to a seat not far away where he'd carelessly thrown the towel on his way out the door, in his eagerness to get to the water.

Spock stared at his mate blankly, the fact of his vibrant life, and the sunlight of his mind in Spock's irrefutable, ineluctably real, a sudden shock.

"Spock?" Jim was concerned now, frowning at him.

And then Spock abruptly surged into action, instinct taking over.

He swept his bondmate into his arms, joining their mouths at the same time as he joined their minds with a sudden burst of unseen light. Over their bond he dumped the surging memories and emotions – the loss, the fear, desolation, anguish. Without analysing it, the human took and held the emotional confusion. Spock somehow divested himself of clothing, tearing off Jim's swimsuit, and carrying him back into the water of the pool. Need drove him, primal urgency permeating the bondspace until he claimed and was claimed, and they came swiftly in a desperate, life-affirming coupling.

Before he slipped out of Jim's body, he wrapped the human in his arms tightly, and gave into his grief, allowing the tears to flow, burying his head in the crook of Jim's neck.

Jim held him back as he wept, one hand on the back of Spock’s head, the other rubbing circles on his shoulder blade.

"Shhh," the human urged, "It's alright, Spock. It will be alright. Shhhh."

Eventually Spock stilled.

"You know," Jim said, humour in his voice, "the Elder sent us here to relax and enjoy, and to be happy together. Want to tell me what's wrong?"

They parted, still holding hands and floating together.

"I was... remembering," Spock said with difficulty.

"You were thinking about my death, weren't you." Spock said nothing. Taking it as confirmation, Jim continued, his gaze tender. "I’m here, Spock, and I’m very much alive and not planning to go anywhere.”

Spock was silent, a myriad of objections rising in his mind and competing for the opportunity to be spoken. “Indeed. But one day…”

“Listen to me, Spock,” Jim commanded, taking Spock’s face between his palms, “one day we’re all going to die, because we’re mortal. There’s no point obsessing over what’s going to happen. We can’t add a minute to our lives by worrying. Carpe diem, seize the day.” He pushed forward and kissed the Vulcan gently. “Ok?”

Spock wrapped his arms around Jim again. “I was so close to – ”

“But you didn’t lose me. Whatever happened then, I’m here now; feel me.”

The Vulcan sighed as their bond unfurled fully, whisking comfort like gentle feathers around their minds.

James Kirk,” Spock murmured both within their mindscape and into his mate’s ear, “I am infinitely poorer without you, and rich beyond wildest hope to know that you are mine.”

*****



In the days that followed, the trouble of that afternoon disappeared in the face of seemingly endless dreamy days filled with sand and water, long walks through lush rainforest, and languid hours in bed together (which sometimes featured command performances involving the blue sequined jock strap). Not until their final dinner on the planet did it resurface – which Spock realised in retrospect was to be expected, given their return to their ship the following day, and with it the weight of responsibility.

Spock looked down at his vegetable casserole and moved the pieces of zucchini around with his fork. It was rich and flavoursome, but Spock didn’t feel hungry.

“You worried about going back tomorrow?” Jim asked.

“Vulcans do not worry.”

Jim snorted. “Come on, mister. I know better than that.” Spock didn’t say anything further, so he continued. “Well, while I could happily shack up here and watch the lovely ladies sway their hips while I’m sipping pina colada beneath a pagoda, I’m looking forward to it. I miss the hum of the warp core.” He shovelled another forkful of his own meal into his mouth, his attention on his food.

Spock watched him, the same bitter mix of unidentifiable emotion rising to the surface and blipping outward before he clamped his controls in place. Not soon enough: Jim raised his head.

“Spock, you’re looking at me like that again.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. Like… Well, really sad, as though you think I’m going to disappear.” He thought for a moment, his face shifting as an hypothesis formed. Spock castigated himself; he should have known Jim’s intuition would clue him in to what was going on in Spock’s mind, quite aside from the muted awareness they each had of the other through the bond. “You’re thinking about the warp core again, aren’t you?”

Spock froze and then, giving in to the inevitable, nodded dumbly, keeping his eyes on his broccoli. He looked up again when he heard the clatter of utensils being laid on crockery.

Jim leaned forward. “What can we, what can I do to help you, Spock? What do you need? The reality is that we work in a dangerous line of business. Either of us could get killed in the line of duty at any time. We have to take the time we’re given. And that means living right here in the moment, in each and every moment. Not in the past, and not in the future. Right now. So what’s going to help you do that?”

“I am unsure,” Spock replied after a short silence. “The difficulty appears to be the eidetic character of my memory.”

“You mean, you don’t just remember the whole thing, but recall and relive it in detail?”

“Affirmative, more or less. At times one moment is at the fore; at others the sequence jumps between the moments which were most… emotive… for me.”

Understanding dawned in Jim’s eyes. “No wonder you’ve been struggling with this.” He thoughtfully picked up his fork again to eat, and hadn’t eaten more than two bites before something occurred to him. “Spock,” he said, waving his fork around, “when was the last time you were down in the engineering core control area?”

“I have consulted with Mr Scott in the engineering section frequently.”

“Yeah. But when did you last inspect the warp core?” Jim looked at him intently, reading the truth. “Spock, you’re the First Officer, and you’re telling me that you haven’t inspected the warp core in the last year and a half?” The Captain looked aghast. “So all those reports…”

“The quality of Mr Scott’s work cannot be denied. Given his expertise – ”

“That’s no excuse, and you know it. It’s your job, Spock.”

“I have inspected minutely every other area of the engineering section,” Spock offered.

“Except the warp core itself.” Jim shook his head. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”

Spock wanted, in that moment, to disintegrate into thin air. “It was not… logical.”

“No kidding,” his mate scoffed.

“I should be able better to control those negative emotions associated with the warp core,” Spock reproached himself, self-recrimination curling in his gut.

Jim was silent for a beat. “Look, Spock. If you’re having such a strong reaction, and if the memories are replaying so vividly – yes, I know it’s a Vulcan trait, but still – then doesn’t that tell you that it needs to be dealt with?”

“Jim, I have spent hours in meditation ‘dealing with it’. Each time I believe I am successful.”

“If that’s the case, then how come you’ve still never been able to face going down to the engineering core?”

There was no reply for such irrefutable logic.

“Spock,” Jim said, reaching a hand across the table to touch Spock’s hand, “clearly this is something that is screaming for attention. I could make it an order as your Captain – and probably should write it up. As your lover, I’m asking you again, what can we do about this?”

“I do not know.”

Jim withdrew his hand, and again attempted to eat some of his food. “Did you see a Healer or a psych after the whole Khan affair?”

“I was debriefed and medically examined, yes.”

“Ok, but did anyone do a mental scan, or run you through the standard psych questions?”

“They did.”

“And they didn’t pick this up?” Jim raised an eyebrow.

“I believe they were human standard tests.”

Spock’s mate rolled his eyes. “And you didn’t think to inform them that the Vulcan mind works differently and therefore – ”

“Negative.” Spock stiffened, putting at bay the feeling that he was being judged and found wanting, all too familiar from childhood.

“Right. When we get back to the ship, the first thing you’re going to do is to report to sickbay, and I’m going to order Bones to run the full spectrum of Vulcan-normalised psych tests on you. And then we’re going to come up with some way of getting you through this. I can’t have my XO or my significant other spinning out and therefore unable to function fully.” He softened. “And that’s quite aside from the fact that I love you and what hurts you hurts me. You’re my end and my beginning, Spock; so many times you’ve picked up my pieces and put me back together again, so that even when I lose I’m winning because I’ve got you – or you’ve got me. I really want to see you whole and not plagued by this anymore. Well, not as badly, anyway.”

Jim, the Captain (always, his Captain), allowed him no other choice; Spock relaxed and accepted his ruling. “Very well,” he said.

Jim looked up, his eyes loving, and again reached his hand to intertwine their fingers. Spock squeezed back, his katra full of warmth for this one who could read him like a book.

“I will do it for your sake, Jim.”

“I won’t say ‘don’t do that’, because it’s fair enough. But I hope you’ll go see Doctor McCoy for your own sake, because you deserve for things to be better than they are. You shouldn’t have to live and relive my death, and certainly not with all the horrible intense feelings attached. Maybe he’ll be able to help you compartmentalise it or something.”

“Perhaps.” Spock kept his eyes trained on Jim’s. In this moment he experienced a sense of resolution; it was a relief that Jim now knew his secret abhorrence for the warp core, even if it did cause Spock embarrassment.

“And maybe we’ll find a way to help you get over your phobia.” There was a playful twitch about Jim’s eyes.

“Phobia, Captain?” he asked with equal facetiousness.

“You know what I mean, Vulcan,” he said, smiling. “At least I know you’re not afraid of the blue sequined you-know-what.”

Spock decided he rather desired another outing of that particular scrap of covering (it didn’t deserve to be called clothing), and so moved the meal on expeditiously so that they could get back to the luxurious bed for their last night on Risa.

*****



“I’m afraid, sir, that the wee bairns are goin’ ta hafta be switched off and cooled down completely before we can get in thair ta fix the microfractures.” Scotty shook his head.

“How long will the process take?” the Captain asked, scuffing the toe of one boot on the deckplating, hands on his hips. He didn’t like the unsettling feeling of being without warp power; the ship was eerily silent with the warp core cold.

“Aboot 2-3 days. 1 day to cool; 1 ½ days to fix things, and a good half day to get ‘er up an’ running again. Depending.”

It was interesting. Kirk thought back to his conversation with Spock on Risa about his memories from two years ago. He gazed at the warp chamber now, noting that he had absolutely no feelings about it at all. It was other things from that day which haunted him – like the screeching of metal on metal as the great hulk of a starship twisted and turned, inexorably plummeting towards the Earth. He shook his head.

“How soon do you want to do this?”

“As soon as possible, if y’ don’t mind, sir. We canna risk taking her into even a class 3 ion storm with the conduits in this condition.”

“It’s probably best if we’re close to a friendly star system just in case things go pear-shaped.” Kirk went to a monitor and drew up the information he needed. “Will six hours at warp 4 be alright? That’ll get us to the Rehelba system, 3 light years away.”

“Aye, that should work pairfectly.”

“Right.” Kirk flipped the toggle on the computer. “Kirk to bridge.”

Chekov responded. “Bridge here, Keptin.”

“Set a course for the Rehelba system, and engage.”

“Aye, sir.”

Kirk cut the intercom. As he hit the button with a bunched fist, an idea began to take shape.

“Scotty, with the warp core offline, there won’t be any problems with radiation, will there?”

“Y’d hafta hope not! My men’ve got ta get oop in thair and check every single conduit.”

“Do you think you could spare an hour or so from the repair schedule before you restart the core for Spock and me to spend some time down here?”

For a moment the chief engineer looked confused. Kirk could almost see the cogs turning in his brain until he joined certain dots, his eyes widening in realisation. “Aye, sir. That I believe we can do.”

“Alright. Let me know when.” He returned to the bridge feeling a level of satisfaction and hope that what he had planned would help his bondmate.

*****



The Enterprise was stationary on the far edge of the Rehelba system. Spock sat in the Captain’s chair, “minding the store” as Jim would have said. The Captain was in the bowels of engineering for this shift giving Mr Scott his assistance, and in the absence of any important work, Spock was catching up on some scientific journals. According to his calculations, there would be a further 6.39 hours before the warp core could be restarted. Recently reports from the engineering section indicated that all the microfractures in the conduits running away from the core had been corrected; the last work to be carried out was in the core itself.

The intercom on the chair whistled. “Engineering to bridge. Mr Spock.”

“Mr Scott,” Spock responded, expecting an update on the repairs.

“Sair. You’d better get doon here. Better hurry.”

At the tone in the chief engineer’s voice and words which echoed all too closely his worst memories, all of Spock’s fears came home to roost. His heart began to pound in his side. As he had two years ago he leapt up out of the chair and tore through the ship. His mind raced, fearful of what he’d find when he arrived in main engineering: a worried Mr Scott with tears in his eyes, shaking his head? A door which couldn’t be opened for fear of radiation? His bondmate… his bondmate… Jim!

It was as he’d feared: Scotty bit his lip and shook his head, and the bottom sank out of Spock’s world. He began to move towards the door of the chamber where his t’hy’la had lost his life – but his passage was halted by a figure in gold who stepped out from behind a strut.

Spock stopped abruptly, staring in disbelief before grasping his mate by both arms and twirling him around. “Jim!” Spock grinned openly, and then clasped the dear body to his own. “You’re alive.”

“Yep.” The Captain’s response was muffled in the front of Spock’s shirt. He freed himself. “Sorry to do that to you. It was necessary though, because I figured that the old memories will only be erased by really dramatic good new ones.”

“Jim!” Spock clamoured again, the joy and relief of not having to relive his nightmare overwhelming him and rendering him speechless.

Jim disentangled himself, pushing free. “Spock, I want to do something. I want to recreate what happened.”

“No. No, no,” Spock said emphatically.

“Yes,” Jim prevented him from turning away. “Now that you’re here – for the first time in two years – and with the warp core offline, I think it would help for us to do this. And maybe we can even change the outcome, so that you remember not just the first time, but this as well.”

“No,” Spock denied, although he felt his resolve weakening. What Jim was proposing was logical, supremely so.

“Spock,” Jim said gently, “Come on. Do it for me. Maybe we can find a way out of our nightmares together.”

Spock allowed himself to be led to the door of the chamber, his heart sinking, battering in his side as he watched Jim go inside. He swallowed when Jim closed the door, though he knew it wasn’t locked, and that there was no real danger. Jim settled himself on the floor, more or less in the position – gods of his fathers! – the position in which he’d died, propped up against the lintel, close to the intercom. Spock knelt as he had then… and then stopped, his whole world frozen.

“Hey. Spock? Are you ready?” Jim asked, peering around to look at Spock. Spock nodded.

They each spoke their part, though Spock had to be prompted.

“What did I say, Spock?”

“You said, How’s…” he stopped. “How’s our ship?”

“And you said, Out of danger. Then I said, This is what you would’ve done. It was only logical.”

Spock fell dumb.

“Do you remember what I said next?”

“You said you were scared. You asked… Jim, I can’t do this.” Spock shook his head and shifted as if to rise.

“Yes, you can, Spock. Come on. I said, Help me not be.”

“I could not help you then; what makes you believe I could ever help you not to fear death?” Spock cried. “It was a lie! A lie, that Vulcans do not feel. I cannot choose not to feel. All my years striving to exorcise human feeling and emotion…”

Jim sat up, putting his hand on the glass, looking at Spock with compassion.

“When it comes to you, James Kirk, I am powerless to prevent feeling.”

Jim smiled softly. “And that’s alright, Spock, truly it is. You’re safe with me.” He paused before going on. “I remember saying, Do you know why I went back for you?”

“Because…” Spock took a moment to control his breathing, his mind whirring. “Because… because…” He leaned forward and raised his own hand on the glass mirroring Jim’s. “Because you have always loved me; you are my friend, more than a friend. Because you are my friend, my t’hy’la.” As he spoke the tumultuous words, it was as though thunderclouds were dissipating. Fear lost its bitterness and potency.

“And I’m here now,” Jim said with great kindness, “because you are my best everything, Spock. Had you not chased Khan…”

They shifted so that they could gaze through the glass deep into each other’s eyes, their hands connected through the glass, nose to nose but for its cool surface. Spock held his breath: here, on the other side of the terrible glass, the bright irises of his mate looked back gravely at him, conveying love, passion, the solemnity of the moment, but above all vibrant, sparking life.

No sliding of radiation damaged hands on the glass, or vacant staring of eyes after the life and breath had departed – this time. No anguish tearing at his katra as he watched a life extinguished. All sorrow was swallowed up in joy, all weeping turned to celebration: this one he thought he’d lost, had lost a thousand times in memory, was alive, was his…

Spock hit the button to open the door, and allowed their hands to meet this time, but maintaining their position of staring into the depths of the other’s soul. For endless minutes (or so it seemed) they knelt this way, until Spock couldn’t stand it anymore, and leaned in to take his mate’s lips, pressing him back.

Right there, right then, they must… they must… Spock wrapped one arm around his bondmate, half lying on him, and with his other hand stroked with infinite tenderness the dear cheek, traced his zygomatic bone, his forehead, eyebrows, the little round human ear.

“Let me… let me love you, Jim.”

Jim pushed and rolled them over so that he was on top. “No. Today, let me love you, Spock, so that you can remember that here where death was, we have danced life.”

Spock nodded, and Jim began his sweet torture. Because of the public location, in spite of the fact Mr Scott and his minions appeared to have conveniently disappeared, Jim made no move to remove their clothing. Instead, he kissed and nibbled his way across Spock’s face, reaching both hands beneath Spock’s shirts to massage his pectoral muscles, playing his pleasure points like the pro he was. Jim undid his belt and reached into Spock’s underwear with reverence to take his penis in his mouth – ah! Glorious warmth! Delicious slick silk! And with only a few thrusts, the fact of Jim’s life, his liveliness, and his own surging instinct had Spock trembling in the throes of his climax. Jim gently let the organ fall from his mouth, tucked it back into Spock’s pants, and then settled himself over the Vulcan.

Spock held the human close. “You have not found release. Jim, I wish to have you.”

“Sure.” Jim began to shift to remove his pants.

“No, no. I wish you to… take me.” It wasn’t something Spock requested often; this time he was motivated by the thought that the possession of a sore and bruised anal ring would be an appropriate reminder and trophy of this life-fest in the face of death and despair.

“But I didn’t bring any lube. I’ll tell you what,” Jim suggested as he settled back into the hollow of Spock’s arm, his voice growling with sex, “when we get back to our quarters, I will make love to you in a way that’s unforgettable.”

Spock’s member twitched in hope. “I shall hold you to that.”

They lay there on the floor of the decontamination chamber for long minutes in silence.

“So, what do you reckon?” Jim eventually said. “Has it helped?”

“It is perhaps too early to tell. However,” Spock paused, mentally filing the memory of the last minutes right next to the originals, “I believe progress towards my assimilation of the memories has been made.”

“I’m not quite sure what that means, but I guess that’s a beginning.”

Spock pushed himself up onto one elbow and looked at his bondmate. “James Kirk, you are my greatest treasure. I am infinitely wealthy, for the universe has blessed me with thee. Talukh nash-veh. Talukh nash-veh.”

“Come on,” Jim said. “I don’t know about you, but this floor’s pretty hard and doing nothing for my hips. I’d happily trade it for a bed.”

Spock rose and held out a hand to help Jim to his feet. Together they left the engineering section. As they did, Spock looked back thoughtfully. Whether or not Jim’s experiment would aid his problem, he didn’t know. He did know that the warp core was now no longer the scarecrow of death, but just another part of the ship. And above all, he was grateful for the endless treasure of his mate and Captain.


FIN

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