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Beta: Lyrastar - without her, this story would‛ve been much less



*********



Pon farr was always difficult, and in all their years since the first one, it hadn‛t become any easier. The years between always erased the harshness, and then one day, Spock would temple his hands and say, "It is time."



Kirk hated those words.



"I am sorry."



"I know," Kirk whispered, unable to yell and scream because he loved too much, too deeply. "It will pass."



Spock made a soft noise that meant many things that Kirk understood. "Has the price become too high?"



"Never." Kirk knew that. It never could be too high. No matter what happened, but he was glad he was already sitting down. "Don‛t ask me that again."



"I ask you that each time." Spock‛s hands hadn‛t moved. His words were flat, emotionless, but they both knew the passion behind them.



With a deep breath, Kirk forced himself to think, not panic. "Don‛t ask again. It‛s hard enough knowing you think that without the words." He struggled to pull air into his lungs. Focus on what he could do, not what he couldn‛t. "We have to rearrange our schedule."



"I have begun the process." Spock swiveled his chair so he was facing his computer terminal. "I have informed Dr. McCoy."



It was easier that way, and harder. McCoy said he had no sympathy for either of them, claiming that they‛d made their bed, now they could lie it. Despite what he said, he‛d be there until the end. He‛d help pick up the pieces. That was the hard part. Seeing the sympathy that McCoy tried to hide, claimed he didn‛t feel.



Pity was the one thing that Kirk never wanted, not from anyone. He‛d chosen this, and he‛d known, and he wouldn‛t trade it away for anything. They didn‛t understand. They couldn‛t, and he wasn‛t going to try to educate them.



"Jim?"



"I‛m taking a deep breath." Kirk forced himself to smile. "Good thing we‛re already in dry dock. Do you feel more comfortable remaining here or going Earthside?"



Spock didn‛t answer immediately. He pushed several more buttons. When he did turn, his dark eyes were bright. "The Enterprise is our home, but there is a scheduled loss of gravity in two days to facilitate implementing new systems."



Kirk didn‛t state the obvious. Pon farr was hard enough without doing it in zero gravity. "Earth, then. My cabin is too primitive. And cold." He preferred clothes in the winter. "Ideas? I know how important it is for you to feel safe."



The door beeped, and Kirk toggled it open, knowing who it was. McCoy stared for longer than was comfortable and then drawled, "Well, neither of you are naked yet. It‛s something."



"Not funny, Bones." Kirk had expected some wisecrack. "We were discussing where to go." He couldn‛t bring himself to call it a ‛vacation.‛



"How about my place?" McCoy didn‛t look as if he were joking. "That way, I‛ll know where to find you when I check in."



It wasn‛t that bad of an idea. McCoy had a place outside Atlanta, rural but not isolated, and Kirk had personally made sure it had all the amenities last time he‛d visited. He raised his eyebrows at Spock and waited.



"It will be adequate." Spock had been there a time or two also. "I will allow one medical visit."



"Big of you." McCoy would do what he wanted. Kirk was sure of that. He was also sure that McCoy was the only man in the galaxy that could handle Spock when he was in pon farr. McCoy opened his medikit. "Let me get some initial readings. It worries me that it hasn‛t even been four years, much less seven."



Kirk knew Spock wouldn‛t discuss that. "Maybe since his first one was so late, he‛s making up for lost time."



"Do you need a bag to breathe into, Jim? You look like you‛re going to hyperventilate."



"No!" Kirk got to his feet quickly, fighting a blush. He didn‛t miss Spock‛s elevated eyebrow. "I‛m fine." He hoped they let him lie about that. What he wanted was to run out the door straight to his bridge, his chair, but he wouldn‛t. They had to work out all the details because most likely his leave would start immediately.



"Jim?"



Turning away from the door, he searched for words. "I‛m sorry," he said, knowing his eyes were blown wide. He could see the distress on Spock‛s face, not that anyone else could. It was time to reassure him. Show him that everything was going to be fine. After all, this would be no worse than the others, and he‛d lived through them, damn it.



"This‛ll help," McCoy said at the same time the hypospray hissed into Kirk‛s arm.



Spock moved fast and put his hand gently on Kirk‛s shoulder. "Jim, sit down. Breathe."



"Spock, you know-." Unable to finish his thought, shame at his weakness made him duck his head.



"I know." Spock put his hands behind his back. Kirk took a deep breath as a concession and decided not to yell at McCoy. Spock watched him calmly. "You are strong. We will do this together."



"As always." Kirk felt the drug ease away his panic. He would do this. There had never been any doubt about it. "I‛ll need your help," he whispered. Did he always say that? He wasn‛t sure. It had been years, and his memory wasn‛t perfect. Spock said something else, but Kirk didn‛t hear him, lost in worry and the knowledge that this couldn‛t be avoided. "Soon?"



"I would estimate three hours." Spock‛s voice seemed far away, and Kirk shut his eyes. He had time to remember, time to put away the trappings that made it more difficult, but it wouldn‛t come easy. Most things in his life had, until Spock. Kirk had struggled to even admit his feelings, fought half the Brass in Starfleet to stay with him, and then the first pon farr had forced him to admit a host of things about himself that he hated. If pon farr had come once a year, Kirk would‛ve lost his ability to compartmentalize his life. He‛d have had to quit his command, and he wouldn‛t have counted the cost, except late at night when Spock was asleep.



Luckily, for him, pon farr stayed away for years at a time, letting him be, letting him live in denial, of sorts. Spock and McCoy knew, of course, but they respected his desire not to discuss it - ever. And Spock was accustomed to the pon farr being outside the normal experience of their lives. They had their ship, their life, and then they had pon farr, all nicely separated.



Kirk ducked his head into his hands. He could almost feel Spock‛s ... lust, thick in the air, and he had to choose between being Captain Kirk or Spock‛s mate. There had to be a conscious decision made, giving himself permission, or he couldn‛t slide across the boundary and be what Spock needed. When it was over, he‛d return to his life and so would Spock, and that thought grounded his decision.



The choice was an easy one. It always was, but it never grew easier each time. His hands were steady enough as he began to remove his jacket. He crossed to his closet and removed command from his body and his mind one piece of clothing at a time.



Spock steadied him, guiding him to the black shirt and casual pants that he rarely wore. Light as a feather, Spock ghosted his fingers across Kirk‛s temple. "As you will be, you are, and there is great comfort in that."



"Vulcan mumbo-jumbo," McCoy muttered.



The first touch, hinting at Spock‛s fever, threw him to a place where it was difficult to think, to plan, to be Jim Kirk. He bit his lower lip and met Spock‛s eyes. "For you. For us."



"Spock! Not here!" McCoy‛s words rang through them both, and Spock actually flinched. Kirk stiffened his knees and made himself think about shoes. McCoy snapped, "Get packed. Now!"



"There is no need to shout, Doctor. I am in control."



Putting on his shoes, Kirk sat on the edge of the bed and didn‛t look right at him again. There was no need to test Spock‛s control.



"Jim, you still look pale. Sure you can do this?"



"Don‛t be an idiot, Bones. We‛re bondmates under Vulcan law. I was found to be worthy." Kirk could almost feel Spock‛s heartbeat speed up. "This is what we do."



"Crazy Vulcans." McCoy glared at them both. "Spock, are you dragging your feet? Throw in the extra lube and get a move on!"



"The sound of your voice makes my ears ache." Spock handed Kirk a bag. "We are ready. Technically, we are remaining in command, but Starfleet has been made aware that all queries should be routed through Commander Scott and then Doctor McCoy."



"Call if something happens, Bones." Kirk caught him by the forearm. "Spock will be able to handle it."



"But you won‛t." McCoy looked him right in the eye. "Jim, his levels are higher than last time. This one could be-"



"Stop right there," Kirk interrupted. He didn‛t want to know. "We‛re mates. Good and bad. Remember? You were our best man."



Spock made a soft sound like a growl. "Release him, Jim. We must go."



Kirk let go instantly. He shouldered the bag and fell into step at Spock‛s left shoulder, slightly behind, but close enough to protect. McCoy hurried after them.



"I‛ll be in touch!"



It was no surprise to see Scotty behind the transporter. "I‛ll take good care of her, sir."



"I never doubted that," Kirk said easily, taking his position on the platform. He swallowed hard and gave his last command until Spock‛s fires burned out. "Scotty, you have the con."



"Aye."



"Energize," Spock said.



********





Years earlier

******



Vulcan was never what Kirk expected it to be. The rituals, the depth of the society, even the weather, combined to confound him time and again. There was no understanding to be gained by standing against the sandstorm. That was one lesson he‛d learned well over the years, and right now, in this moment, he wanted to take cover, deep cover.



"Life bondings among men are rare but not unknown."



Kirk had a difficult time meeting Sarek‛s eyes. He wasn‛t ashamed, but the subject matter was delicate on several levels. "Perhaps we should wait for Spock to join us."



Sarek paced to the other end of the balcony, looking out upon the desert. "He will not. If you are to be his mate, there are things you and I must discuss."



"Damn," Kirk whispered, uncaring that those sharp Vulcan ears would hear him. They had beamed down to Spock‛s home yesterday, and Spock‛s parents had been both cordial and united in their belief that this was a poor decision.



"There are rituals to pon farr that must be observed. They are in Spock‛s blood, mind, and heart, and your relationship to date will make no difference when the fever takes him."



Talking about the birds and the bees with Sarek was something Kirk never wanted to do. Kirk ran his hand through his hair and eased into a shadow for the coolness. "I can learn."



"Perhaps. Perhaps not." Sarek put his back to the desert. "You are his captain, his leader, but those roles will mean nothing during pon farr. You will be his, and you will not possess the strength to stop him."



"He‛s not going to hurt me," Kirk said in a rush. He shifted on his feet, wanting to escape. If McCoy had come with them, this might have been avoided.



"My wife and I have been through the pon farr five times in our life together." Sarek‛s face betrayed nothing, no emotion, no passion. "The bond between a Human and a Vulcan is not strong enough to quell the strength of the pon farr."



Protesting that Spock was only half Vulcan seemed like a terrible idea. Kirk didn‛t want to continue this lesson. It was too invasive of their privacy. He and Spock would work it out. They were adults, and they were strong together.



"Captain Kirk, understand me." Sarek paused and straightened to his full height. "I know my son, and this bonding will injure you in ways that you can not foresee."



A flick of cold raced up his spine, winning out against the desert heat, but he shook it off. He‛d be fine. "I lived through Spock‛s first pon farr."



"Will Dr. McCoy be there to save you during the second one?"



The harsh words made Kirk flinch. "We‛re finished discussing this. I‛m not a fragile flower, and he‛s not some spear-wielding proto-Vulcan."



"You have no idea what you are, or what he is, but you will, and I hope the knowledge doesn‛t destroy you and your command." Sarek strode passed him without a glance and disappeared into the coolness of the house. Kirk wiped his brow and followed, hating the doubt that Sarek had sown.




********



It was a short walk from the transporter platform to McCoy‛s loft. The smell of pine was thick in the air, but neither of them slowed to enjoy the trees or sky. Kirk watched Spock‛s back, seeing the tension there. Spock opened the door, and Kirk was very careful not to bump him.



The place looked the same: big windows, open floor design around a fire pit, kitchen at the far end, and a big bedroom upstairs. It was nice. McCoy had taste, and Kirk had helped pick out the furniture.



"Maybe we should get a hotel," Kirk said softly. He didn‛t want memories of this place - McCoy‛s house - all wound together with pon farr.



Spock stroked his hand down Kirk‛s arm. "There is little time left. Accept this gift from him."



There was a hint of what was to come in Spock‛s tone, and Kirk managed a nod. He had to get ready. He had to make his mind do this.



"I‛ll go take a shower," Kirk said, looking at Spock‛s hand coiled around his wrist.



"I agree. I will make this place ready for us."



Setting the bag down, Kirk waited until Spock had released him. There was a short hallway off the kitchen which led to a guest bedroom with a bathroom. Kirk went there. If it was up to him, they‛d stay away from the upstairs. That was asking too much of McCoy‛s hospitality.



Clean, he had to get clean, and wash away the smell of the Enterprise, his command. Pushing his responsibilities aside was easier when they were on Vulcan - like the last pon farr. This time, he would have to work harder to be nothing but Spock‛s.



The first drops of water struck him, and he shuddered out a breath of frustration and fear. There was always the risk that this time he wouldn‛t resurface. That he wouldn‛t be Captain James T. Kirk when it was over. The worst of it was that he wouldn‛t care.



The fact that he knew these fears were irrational didn‛t make them any easier. Giving himself a shake, he cleaned himself very thoroughly. That done, he shaved his entire body, balls, crotch, even his arms. It was part of the ritual, and he made sure nothing remained but his hair and eyebrows. Satisfied with the job, he shut off the water and turned on the sonic. It would get rid of anything that he‛d missed.



Stepping out, he used the wall dryer instead of towels. Checking in the mirror, he made sure he hadn‛t missed a spot. "Good enough," he said. He brushed his teeth, aware that he was stalling but allowing himself two extra minutes.



One last look in the mirror, avoiding his own eyes, and he was ready. Careful not to touch his hands to his body, he went back to the living room. Spock had been busy. The windows were tinted, the fire pit was going, and the furniture had been rearranged. There was the smell of incense in the air, the lights were off, and there were throw pillows, silks, and satins that Kirk was sure McCoy didn‛t own.



The place looked nothing like McCoy‛s now, and he had to stop staring. Spock wore a red robe, sitting near the fire on an oversized chair. His eyes were shut, and his fingers were templed into his meditation position.



Bare feet made little noise as Kirk went to him.



**********



Before their first

*********



A request by T‛Pau was impossible to ignore, especially since it was only a few light-years out of their way. Kirk made sure not to grumble about it where anyone could hear him, but he knew Spock sensed it.



Once they entered orbit, a message came from the surface. It was short and to the point, and everyone on the bridge turned to look at him. He made sure his face showed nothing but faint amusement.



"Mr. Spock, you have the bridge," Kirk said, rising to his feet. "I‛m sure I won‛t be long." He caught Spock‛s look - that was the one that told him to be cautious. It wasn‛t needed. Kirk knew he was walking into the lion‛s den.



McCoy ambushed him near the transporter. "I should come along, just in case."



"Just in case someone tries to kill me?" Kirk stopped before the door opened. "Thanks, but no, Bones."



"Spock‛s on the bridge, but seriously, I should go. I‛m your doctor."



Kirk had the feeling that McCoy had a card up his sleeve. "What‛s going on?"



"Nothing, but I should go." McCoy walked to the door, and it opened.



"You weren‛t invited, and I‛m not taking a chance that T‛Pau will be insulted." Kirk went directly to the platform. "Lieutenant, energize."



One hour later, eyes wide, mouth still twitching, he heartily regretted that decision. He went directly to the comm on the wall after he was beamed up. "Spock, proceed to Starbase 7. I‛ll be in my quarters."



"Yes, Captain."



Kirk didn‛t take a breath until he was behind his door. Leaning against the wall, he tossed the package he‛d been given on his bunk and let his hands shake. Where Sarek had been polished subtlety, T‛Pau was a woman with no time for fools, and she considered him one.



Her words rang in his head. "When you are dead, Spock will find a mate who will honor him."



And that had been the least of it. He eyed the package like it was a photon torpedo, not wanting to open it. Instead, he went to his desk and dug out the Saurian brandy. By the time it hit his stomach, his hands were steady. Sinking down into his chair, he forced it all from his mind. She knew nothing of them, or what they did in the privacy of their bed. Well, it was Spock‛s bed usually. He took another drink, pretending the package wasn‛t there.



The door chimed, and he toggled it open before considering that it couldn‛t be Spock. McCoy strode inside and glared at him.



"I should‛ve gone!"



"I agree." Kirk sipped his brandy again. "How much time do we have?"



"Not much." McCoy went over to stare down at the package. "Have you made plans? Told Star Fleet that you‛re going to need a week or so off?"



"No!" Kirk hadn‛t done a damn thing except avoid the subject. "It‛s just sex!"



"No, it‛s not, you fool! It‛s ritual, sacrifice, and a host of other things that could kill you if you aren‛t careful!"



Kirk drained his brandy. "You don‛t understand!"



"You aren‛t even trying to get it! It‛s pon farr! He nearly killed you last time, and he'll succeed this time if you don‛t handle it right!" McCoy marched over to him, poured another brandy, and downed it. "Get your head out of the Vulcan sand!"



"There‛s not going to be any combat!" Kirk slammed his hand down on the console. He‛d had enough of this. They were all crazy and needed to butt out of his personal life.



McCoy capped the brandy and tucked it under his arm. "How do you know? Have you even spoken to him about it? Pretending it isn‛t going to happen won‛t make it go away!"



"Doctor, you‛re dismissed." Kirk opened the door. He knew McCoy wouldn‛t let this drop, but for now, they were done. "Out."



"Jim, you-"



"Bones, get out," Kirk interrupted. He turned completely away and soon enough the door shut. McCoy had no idea what he was talking about. Kirk was willing to admit he‛d been in denial, but T‛Pau had ruined that an hour ago. She‛d been brutal, honest, to the point in a way that Vulcans rarely were. They were family, she‛d said. As if that were an excuse.



Going to his bunk, he sat down by the package and pushed off his boots. He was tempted to shove the package in the back of his closet, but McCoy would yell at him. Stalling, he took off his shirt and threw it towards the laundry. He stared, thinking furiously, knowing he would do this but unsure how he could. One thing for sure, he couldn‛t face this dressed as a Star Fleet captain.



The package smelled like Vulcan, wrapped in red, tied with a red cord, and looked completely out of place in his spartan quarters. Leaving his shirt and boots off, he grabbed it up and went through the bathroom to Spock‛s side.



A big breath, and he slid down to sit on a dark green pillow. There was a hint of incense in the air, and he pulled himself into a meditation position. He didn‛t do this often, but he paid attention when Spock talked about it. Deep breaths, and he cleared his mind of command issues. When he was calm, no longer wanting to grab a shuttle and flee for parts unknown, he opened his eyes and dealt with the package.



There wasn‛t much, but T‛Pau had said they were necessary, right before she had assaulted him with information. There was no worry that he‛d ever forget any of it. Fear would make it impossible.



Gripping the items loosely, he shut his eyes again and breathed. McCoy was right. They‛d need vacation time, and he‛d have to find a way to put away being the captain for a few days. He would find a way to get through this. Sarek was wrong. T‛Pau was wrong.



"I‛m strong enough to have him," he whispered. "I can find a way to do this."




********



Relaxing into a stance a little wider than parade rest, he spread his fingers, pointed his palms towards Spock, and kept his hands far from his body. Sure of his balance, he tilted his head back and waited. The fire kept his backside warm, but he wasn‛t ready yet.



Spock would know that, and he wouldn‛t move until Kirk - he stopped that line of thought. Not Kirk. Not Kirk. He wasn‛t. There was no captain here. No responsibilities. Nothing but a mate. Spock‛s mate. And that would be more than enough. He struggled motionlessly, forcing his mind away from his ship, his crew, again and again until he swirled around one concept, one emotion, one man - Spock. Only Spock mattered right now, in this place, until it was over.



His breath began to even out, and slowly he became aware on a visceral level of Spock sitting in front of him. The muscles in his stomach trembled, and he fought for the control needed to give it all away.



*********



after their first

*********



"Don‛t touch me."



"Jim, I‛m not releasing you to your quarters yet."



Kirk rolled off the bed on the side away from McCoy. "Just, don‛t touch me. I‛m fine."



McCoy made an abortive move to get in front of him, but then slowly backed away with his hands up. "You‛re still dehydrated. Stay another day. No one will touch you."



With a brittle laugh, Kirk shook his head. "No." He didn‛t bother to look for his uniform. The hallways were empty of people, but he didn‛t slow down to wait for anyone to show up. His quarters were exactly as he‛d left them, and he stripped off the scrubs impatiently. One quick sonic shower, and he dressed in his uniform. Pushing his feet into his boots, he straightened and tugged his tunic down.



"You are not scheduled for duty," Spock said, standing just inside the connecting door.



"I‛ll be on the bridge." Kirk turned on his heel and didn‛t stop moving until he was in his chair on his bridge. The Enterprise hummed around him, and by increments, he relaxed and pulled it close. He was the captain. This was his ship, and he was in command.




*********



Mat - possession

Mak - joy



When warm hands touched him, he didn‛t flinch. In his mind‛s eye, he saw Spock wrapping the wide red material around his ankle. There were five of them, red, made of something that wasn‛t cotton. His wrists were next, and then his neck. They didn‛t chafe, and he wouldn‛t remove them. T‛Pau had sent them, years ago, and he‛d worn them faithfully. Ritual and sacrifice wrapped through and around him. Spock‛s fingers were deft, smoothing the material until it locked together.



The ribbons would stay on him until Spock took them off. They would pull away with a scratching noise, but that time wasn‛t now. When his legs were done, he held perfectly still, knowing Spock would linger over the next part of the ritual. Spock caressed him on the hands and wrists, stroking and whispering Vulcan words that were rich with guttural tones.



Keeping his head back was very difficult. Staying on his feet was easy by comparison. Spock‛s hands were gentle on him, and the language of pon farr wrapped around him. He tried to relax all his muscles but it wasn‛t possible when Spock‛s tongue flicked over the palm of his hand.



"J‛Mat," Spock murmured.



He‛d never asked what it meant, but it was his name for now, until later. Sometimes, Spock slurred the word to J‛Mak, but it was him. Hearing it again helped him focus, and he pulled the name close, slipping it under his skin. He needed it to define, even mold him, and he would wear it until Spock took the ribbons off. Somehow, the name and the ribbons went together, and he didn‛t question it any longer, if he ever had.



Spock licked into the hollow of J‛Mat‛s neck, pressing his fingers into the spots they both knew so well. J‛Mat arched his back, fighting to stay on his feet. "Do it now!" he yelled, unsure if he spoke in English or Vulcan or a mash of the two. Spock skimmed his hand over J‛Mat‛s throat, effectively silencing him.



Sweat ran down his spine, every muscle jumped and twisted, and he panted, wanting to fall down. A soft whine came out of his throat, but he wouldn‛t speak again. When Spock smoothed the thick, red material around J‛Mat‛s neck, it was more than claiming, and J‛Mat shut his eyes, feeling the soft pressure of the wide fabric. For a few moments, he blocked out his body‛s complaints, desires.



Incredibly strong fingers slid down his face, followed the contours of his neck, and pressed into his collarbones. He crumpled down to his knees, gasping for air. Opening his eyes, he saw him, saw him with the fire burning brightly in dark eyes.



*********



Before their second

********



"It‛s too early!" Kirk caught McCoy by the arm and whipped him around, not caring that every nurse in the infirmary was staring openly.



McCoy brushed him off, glaring. "He‛s not full Vulcan! You‛re not going to be able to set your timer!"



Kirk clenched his fists, knowing he didn‛t have time left to panic. It was here, and he‛d deal with it, and yelling at McCoy accomplished nothing. It wasn‛t as if he were scared now that he knew what would happen. "I-" He stopped and then tried again. "I‛ll be okay."



They exchanged a look and then shrugged at the same time. There was nothing left to say. "Keep an eye on Sulu. He‛s young."



"He‛ll be fine." McCoy huffed. He darted to a cabinet and came back with a hypospray. "One for the road."



"That‛s not-" Kirk stopped arguing since it had already hissed against his arm.



"I already gave Spock a few things if the atmosphere gets to you." McCoy put his hand on Kirk‛s arm. "You‛ve done this before."



That was more than enough. Kirk strode for the door and didn‛t look back. Spock‛s nostrils flared when Kirk entered his quarters, and he tried to avoid looking at the packed bags. "Is there a place on Vulcan for us?"



"I have made arrangements." Spock reached and then tucked his hands behind his back. Kirk knew they didn‛t have time to stand around. He picked up the bags, feeling a small sense of calm come over him. McCoy had dosed him with something. It stopped his brain from skittering in ten directions at once, and he would thank him later. He had to breathe, concentrate, immerse himself.



"Has the price become too high?"



Kirk opened the door and went out to stand in the hallway. "No," he croaked, hating that Spock would even ask such a question. They were a bonded pair, and he‛d hold up his end of the bargain. "I‛m ready."




*********



It was impossible to look away from him. He shined, glowed, strength in every movement, captivating. J‛Mat sucked him deep, licking and humming. Spock moved his hips, holding him still. J‛Mat swallowed, slurping for every taste of him.



"Here." Spock pulled, and J‛Mat eagerly followed him. He wanted everything Spock would give him.



*********



after their second

*********



"Are you trying to kill him?" McCoy raged.



"Yelling at me does not help the situation."



He woke up enough to realize that he could breathe. "Spock," he whispered. "Don‛t let him touch me."



Spock crouched over him. "He must. I‛m certain he will not do so unnecessarily."



"I‛m yours. Not his." He struggled to get up, but he was tired, so tired. "Yours."



"Always," Spock said softly. "It is as it was." He laid his palm upon his mate‛s forehead. "Forget that you were J‛Mat. Our life is here."



"My ship." Kirk, he was James T. Kirk. "Spock." He couldn‛t keep his eyes open any longer. "Don‛t let him touch me."



"Stay close," McCoy said. "He might panic."



"He will not. He will rest." Spock wrapped his hand around Kirk‛s wrist.



"If he weren‛t so damn stubborn, he would-"



"Doctor, he is Captain Kirk, and we do what we must to keep him whole."



Kirk didn‛t try to stay awake any longer. When he woke up, he had his ship to look after, and Spock would be there.




*********



It was becoming a blur, moments stretching out or snapping around him, and all of it focused around Spock. They spoke in Vulcan now, when they bothered. Usually, J‛Mat knew what was needed, required, and did it without question. He slept only when Spock did, rarely, and they ate when Spock was hungry, almost never.



Sensations ran together, making him pant, sob, and cry out for more. Spock gave him everything he needed, craved.



A electronic whistle made him flinch, and he whimpered softly as Spock left him to cross to the kitchen area.



"Spock, I‛m beaming down."



Spock gave a small growl, and J‛Mat knelt close enough to put his face on Spock‛s thigh.



"I‛ll take that as an invitation."



J‛Mat didn‛t like the sound of that, and Spock stepped in front of him as beams of light put McCoy near the center of the room.



"I had Scotty beam me here because I knew you wouldn‛t open the door for me." McCoy glanced around the room. "Cave ambiance. I like it. Okay, where is he?"



"I don‛t want him touching me."



"You will do it for me."



"He‛s not you." J‛Mat shook his head, staying behind his mate. "No."



"Could you guys stop speaking Vulcan?" McCoy sounded irritated, but that was normal.



"J‛Mat, you will. Stand. Be still."



J‛Mat wasn‛t proud that he obeyed immediately, but it was Spock giving the order.



"Jim, you doing okay?"



Spock moved away, and J‛Mat met McCoy‛s eyes in the dim light. McCoy dug in his medikit and came up with his scanner. "Jim?"



Words piled up in J‛Mat‛s throat, and he had to look away from McCoy. Spock moved back to the fire, making the distance too much. J‛Mat whined softly, hating the command that kept him still. "Th‛y‛la."



A sharp gesture rooted him to the floor, and the only sounds were the whirring of McCoy‛s scanner and the crackle of the fire. He shifted back and forth, but he wouldn‛t take a step. Pressing his lips together, he glared at McCoy, willing him to leave.



McCoy stepped very close, blocking out the view of Spock. "A few words - in English - would go a long way towards reassuring me that you guys are fine.



"Spock?"



"You should leave."



"I will as soon as I get some fluids in the captain." McCoy slowly extended his hand, and he held a hypospray. "First a few of these."



He shifted enough that the hypospray missed, and he nearly struck McCoy down. This was more than he could bear.



"Jim, you really don‛t want to punch your doctor."



Fists clenched, breathing hard, he growled, trying to force him away with nothing but bravado. A burst of angry Vulcan from Spock made him cringe and run to him. Apologizing with his body, he knelt and extended the palms of his hands. He gasped with relief when Spock grabbed him around the neck.



"I have given my word. You will honor it."



J‛Mat - he wasn‛t anyone else in this time and place - cried out wordlessly, expressing his fear of being touched. He trembled, pulling himself even closer to the physical comfort of his mate.



"Spock?"



"Do not touch him with your bare hands." Spock sat down in his chair but didn‛t turn him loose, and J‛Mat laid his face along Spock‛s thigh. It was safe there, and he wouldn‛t have to watch. The hiss of the hypospray was familiar on his arm, and again, and again. Spock brushed his hand down J‛Mat‛s spine, helping push the worry away.



"Is it always like this?" McCoy asked softly.



Spock spread his hand on J‛Mat‛s shoulder. "He is always mine."



"Well, he‛s lost weight and is well on his way to being dehydrated. Again. He‛s Human, and he has to eat and drink regularly!"



"Do what you must and then leave us," Spock snapped. J‛Mat shivered, hating the anger in his mate‛s voice. He stroked Spock‛s legs, needing to calm him.



"Let me beam him up for an hour."



Looking over his shoulder, J‛Mat found his voice. "I will not go from him. McCoy, you must leave us alone."



McCoy crossed his arms. "For God‛s sake, Jim, eat and drink occasionally!"



"I will drink more. Go." J‛Mat lifted his hands to Spock and groaned at the touches. Spock brought J‛Mat‛s hand to his face and licked. Spreading the robe with his teeth, J‛Mat nuzzled at hot skin.



"Jim, wait until I‛m gone, please." McCoy pressed another hypospray into J‛Mat‛s shoulder. "Never mind. I can see you‛re not listening."



J‛Mat sucked at the root of Spock‛s cock, losing any sense of time and place. All that mattered was Spock and pleasing him. Their shift to the floor made him grin, and he latched his teeth into Spock‛s neck while spreading his legs. Spock pushed inside him. Grinding up, J‛Mat heard the whirr of the transporter, but it meant less than nothing.



Pleasure enveloped him - Spock whispering - and he tugged on the robe so it draped around him. Warm, safe, he slipped his fingers in Spock‛s mouth and rocked with him.



When he woke up, hours or minutes later, he crawled to where Spock meditated in his chair. "Spock."



"He drugged you." The words were even harsher in Vulcan. "Drink. Rest."



J‛Mat rubbed his face against Spock‛s knee before drinking the liquid. He felt blurry, limbs heavy and uncoordinated, and he scrubbed at his eyes to get the sand out. Spock flicked the red robe around him. The warmth settled inside him, and he yawned so hard his jaw cracked. Leaning, he curled up and let himself be dragged back to sleep.



Spock‛s warm mouth on his neck woke him the second time, and he stretched, pushing up into the heat. "I need you," he whispered, wanting more. Spock picked him up off the floor, and they nestled together in the over-sized chair. Hot skin felt good against him, and J‛Mat made sure the ribbons on his wrists and legs were rubbing against Spock.



Spock rested his hand on J‛Mat‛s collar. "Food and drink first."



Sensing his mate‛s hunger, he nodded, kissing him. Spock slid his thumbs around the ribbon from back to front, making him groan and writhe. Breathless, he wiggled lower until he was kneeling again. Permission was granted from dark eyes, and he licked the entire length before sucking him deep. Spock reached and captured him by the wrists. J‛Mat was careful not to take his mouth off, moaning when his fingers were sucked.



Fluid flooded his mouth, and he swallowed eagerly, lapping up what he missed. Spock released him and nudged him towards the kitchen area. He went, but he protested, knowing that his mate wouldn‛t care.



They ate together, but afterwards, he turned to find Spock staring out the darkened front window. J‛Mat padded over to him and stood at Spock‛s shoulder. Time slipped away, and he glided from moment to moment, concentrating only on Spock.



It might have been years later when Spock eased him into the chair and knelt in front of him. "It is finished."



J‛Mat whimpered, hearing the scratching noise of the ribbons being removed from his legs. His wrists were next, and he cried, "No! No!"



"J‛Mak," Spock said softly, and he reached for the last ribbon. J‛Mat gripped him tightly while it was being removed, and its absence made him ache.



"No. Please." J‛Mat wanted them back. "Spock."



Spock scooped him up and carried him to the shower. When they were clean, Spock wrapped him in a bathrobe and kissed him. J‛Mat shuddered, trying not to scream his anger. Once again, he was carried, and Spock took him to the kitchen.



"Dr. McCoy, we are ready to beam up," Spock said.



J‛Mat shut his eyes, and Spock put him down on a bed.



"Damn it, Spock!"



"I am aware of my flaws, Doctor."



Holding on to Spock‛s arms, J‛Mat tried to make him return them. "Take us back. Please. Please."



Spock knelt and put his hand on J‛Mat‛s forehead. "Forget that you were J‛Mat. Our life is here."



Confusion, exhaustion, and hunger piled on top of him. He struggled to remember what language he spoke and who he was. "Spock? We‛re home?"



"We are." Spock eased back. "You will rest while Dr. McCoy yells at me."



"I‛m Jim Kirk," he whispered, knowing it was true and holding on tight to the knowledge. He was back. It was over, and he could be a captain again. "This is my ship. My ship."



"You are Captain Kirk, and we‛re aboard the Enterprise." Spock caressed Kirk‛s hand. "Rest."



Kirk grabbed him by the wrist. "Don‛t let him touch me." He didn‛t want anyone but Spock touching him, not yet.



"Every damn time," McCoy growled. "Jim, I have to put you on fluids, but I promise to be quick about it."



Spock slid his hand down and encircled Kirk‛s ankle. "I will stay with you until you are sleeping."



"And then?" Kirk wanted to know. He had to know exactly where Spock would be.



"I will return to the surface and retrieve our belongings."



"Clean up the place, will ya?"



Taking a deep breath, Kirk looked from McCoy to Spock. "I‛m damn tired." He could feel the ghost of something around his neck, but it would fade soon. "I was never worried."



"And I‛m a monkey‛s uncle."



"Why would simians be in your family tree?"



"Because we threw them out of the house."



Kirk groaned loudly before laughing softly at their well-worn routine for his benefit. McCoy was trying, in his own way, to bring Kirk home. "What‛s it take to get some sleep around here?" He shut his eyes, enduring McCoy‛s gentle touch and letting his life spring up around him again. It was over, until next time. "Love you, Spock."



"Didn‛t need to hear that," McCoy grouched.



Spock‛s hand tightened briefly around Kirk‛s ankle. "We have returned to what is, and there is a great comfort in that."



That was true, but Spock was usually right, and Kirk listened to his ship. His ship. This was his life with Spock, and Kirk wouldn‛t have to deal with pon farr again for years to come. This - his ship - his command - was the path for him. Spock joined him, and that was how it should be. The things he did, became, during pon farr could be set aside, shoved away, forgotten. He‛d survived again.



"Good to be home," he whispered. Not long after, he began to doze, barely aware.



"Stubborn fool."



"He is stronger than most."



"He could be devoted to you and the Enterprise if he‛d try a little harder. His fears are unreasonable."



Spock‛s voice came from a great distance. "He fears that he will be unable to return to command after what pon farr demands of him. He is Human, more so than I am Vulcan." There was a pause. "We shall not speak of this again. Tend to him. I will return soon."



"I know, no touching unless necessary."



Kirk roused a little. He didn‛t care if they talked about him, but they should do it somewhere else. "Some quiet would be good," he grumbled, turning away from them both. The Enterprise hummed around him and rocked him to sleep.



It was never easy convincing McCoy to let him go, but he managed it after three long, miserable days of lying on his back. Kirk made his way to his quarters, some part of him relieved to find everything in order. He hit the shower first, glad to get the smell of sickbay off his skin.



Slipping into his jacket, he didn‛t hook the flap. Boots to finish, and he straightened his spine.



"You are not due on the bridge," Spock said from the connecting doorway.



"I want to look over the specs on the refit." Kirk tugged his sleeves down. He was ready to take up his life. Spock quirked his eyebrow, and he hurried to his bridge, his chair. His ship. She needed him. Settling into his chair, he crossed his legs and smiled.



*********

the end
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