Title: After the Kironide, before the night's Entertainment (an interlude)
Author: Jack Hawksmoor - jhawksmoor @ yahoo.com
Rating: PG (hints of non-con, nothing bad)
Spock looked up at the doorway with a swell of poorly managed relief, hearing him before he saw him. Kirk paused at the threshold, framed in light from the room beyond. He leaned on the doorframe for a moment as if he couldn't bear one more step. A dark silhouette, Spock could only see his outline, but the weariness was there, the ill-disguised pain. In the line of his shoulders, the exhausted lean of his weight on the right arm...as if he couldn't go on...
The thought was surprisingly painful. Spock wouldn't have thought it possible to feel any more pain that night.
Then Kirk straightened with a wince Spock could see in the bunching of the muscles at his shoulders. Took a breath. Stepped inside. It was much darker in the room, and Spock realized with a jolt that Kirk had not seen him sitting there. He saw Kirk's eyes flinch and regretted not greeting him earlier, announcing his presence. It was dark where he was, light in the hall...of course Kirk's eyes would need to adjust. Spock could not imagine why he had forgotten that...
Just one more failure, he almost succeeded in not thinking. Just one more.
Kirk glanced around the enclosed space, his eyes touching on the low couch Spock was sitting on. It was piled high with cushions and ran around the entire perimeter of the room. Some kind of hammered dulcimer-type instrument was tossed rather carelessly in one corner. Spock had just enough time to wonder at his seeming reluctance to initiate eye contact when Kirk straightened further, just a fraction, brought his head up, and looked him in the eye.
With a sick twisting in his abdomen, Spock saw his friend's face and knew. In an instant, he added up all the information before him and stopped breathing.
Dr. McCoy would be so pleased, he thought. Intuition. He heard an odd squeaking sound, and glanced down to see his own hands bending fingergrooves into the metal frame of the couch.
"Are you all right?" Jim asked softly, his voice exactly the same as it always had been, in countless other situations. Gentle. Concerned. About him.
"Am I?" Spock said without thinking, looking up at him.
He laughed then. His eyes gentled and his mouth curled up and he LAUGHED.
Spock was certain, in that moment, that he did not understand humans and never would.
"Yes, Spock, you." Kirk said as if they were in his quarters and not held hostage on a planet of sadist Grecian telekinetics. "Bones said you were a little upset when I was summoned after the ladies."
He had tried to go after him, and was thrown to the ground for the effort. McCoy had watched him, commenting that he was pacing the floor like a 'caged animal' before threatening him with sedation and sending him to this small side room to rest for, as the doctor called it, 'sanity's sake'.
"I was merely..." He began, meaning to call it concern. But Kirk moved to sit beside him, putting out a hand to brace himself and he broke off, half-rose to help him. Kirk waved him off firmly. His captain sat with care, and Spock felt murder knot in his back.
"Sit down, Spock." Kirk told him, shifting his weight with a wince. Spock sat, jarring his teeth.
"Captain, what happened?" He asked, his mouth oddly dry. Kirk glanced up at him, his face somehow...dark. Then he looked away.
"Nothing of consequence, Mr. Spock."
He was not being truthful, and Spock shut his eyes, feeling the blood leave his face. Grappling with a sharp, enigmatic stab of guilt.
Unbearable. He had not, could not, find his center. He could not...
He had seen into Parmen's mind. Alexander had slid to the floor from the Captain's back, exhausted, and Parmen had approached them, making an appeal to the Doctor. Lifting Spock's head with a hand under his chin. He had seen his mind...and had left Kirk alone with him...forced out, and left his Captain behind...it had been only three point two minutes, but he had sent for Kirk again. Alone. Twenty-one point seven minutes...twenty-one point seven...
Jim touched him. Spock looked up, startled, as Jim ran his hands up Spock's arms to the shoulders. Up...and then back down. The silent brush of his thoughts, humming just under the surface...rubbing out the memory of the others touch. Washing away the echo of his savage pleasure-in-pain. Like a stream of cold water down Spock's spine, easing his frayed senses. The relief was heavy, visceral like the twist of a knife.
"Shh." His captain said firmly, smoothing his hands down from Spock's shoulders like he was soothing a ruffled cat. He had been so careful, at the height of Spock's distress, to avoid touching him.
How had he known? Spock wondered. How had he known what to do and when to do it? Spock looked down at Kirk's hands on his wrists, sliding down to cover the backs of his hands.
Kirk was watching him with a weary smile on his face. A spark of some knowledge in his eye-the only thing he could feel from the man was affection and concern. Spock knew he had to be in pain but...he couldn't feel it.
"I am...grateful, Captain." He said then, very softly, and Kirk's hands tightened briefly over his.
"Get some sleep, Spock. Something tells me we're going to need it." Kirk replied, letting his fingers slide away.
It wasn't a rejection.
"And you, sir?" Spock asked with a delicate tilt of his head. Kirk sighed.
"You too, hmm? I just got that from McCoy."
"Then I have kept you from your rest." Spock realized, stiffening. Kirk's hand came up quickly, waving his words off.
"At ease, Mr. Spock." That smile again. "It was no trouble."
Kirk turned, moving like a much older man. He crawled onto the low couch, looking like he was favoring nearly every muscle in his body. He moved back up against the wall, lowered himself gingerly onto a pile of pillows. His captain sighed then, as if it had been a good deal more difficult for him to move than it looked.
Spock caught himself before he reached out, checked the impulse quickly. He barely made a motion in Kirk's direction. He glanced up and saw that Kirk had not stirred, his eyes remaining closed in exhaustion. Spock got very still, looking at his Captain's face. It seemed as though the air was abruptly thick with possibility, fraught with danger. He watched until Kirk's hands loosened, until his muscles went limp in relaxation.
Spock took a breath, saw his Captain breathe at the same moment. They exhaled together.
Slowly, Spock climbed onto the broad couch. He kept his breathing steady, and his Captain continued to breathe in time with him.
Spock paused, settling himself on a cushion, propped up so he could see. Jim's face was slack, almost childlike in relaxation. He curled up nearby, close but not touching, turned on his side so he could watch his Captain sleep. Watch him breathe.
"I'm not going to break, Spock." Jim said, startling him badly.
Spock moved to sit up, found a hand on his arm holding him back. He could have easily brushed it aside, if he'd wanted to. Instead, obedient, he laid back. Kirk patted his arm before letting go.
"If..." Spock paused to clear his throat."If you are having some difficulty sleeping, perhaps I can get something from the Doctor."
"No." Sharply. "Thank you, Spock." Much more gently. "I'm fine."
"You are in some discomfort." Spock replied.
"Some discomfort. Maybe. I'll live." His expression was somehow unpleasant on his face. It was disturbing. Spock must have made some noise, some motion, because Kirk caught him, held tight.
"Spock," He sounded so tired."I want you to do something for me."
Spock ignored the lightening sensation in his chest.
"Yes, Jim." He said quietly. The look on Kirk's face got more knowing, warmer somehow.
Kirk took Spock's hand, pulled it over, and put it on his chest. Spock tried to draw back but Kirk squeezed once, hard, to show he meant it. Spock settled, puzzled.
"I want you to keep your hand right there, Spock, and go to sleep." Spock could feel the words rumble in the ribcage under his fingers. He hesitated.
"I...fail to see..."
"You don't have to see. That's my order." Kirk said gently. Amused? It was difficult to say. He suddenly seemed very close. Spock could feel Kirk's breath on his face.
"Aye sir." Spock replied, mystified by the strange request. Kirk nodded against the pillow, satisfied, and shut his eyes, a faint smile on his lips. Spock looked down at his fingers laid against the gold fabric. He shifted his position a little so he would not lose blood flow to his outstretched hand.
It was a few moments before Spock noted the pulse of sound under his palm. Bemused, he listened as the beats decelerated, evened out.
The cadence was pleasant, organic, slower than seemed natural, but within normal human variation. Now that he was listening, Kirk's heart was startlingly loud. Each beat resounded strongly, reverberating through his entire chest cavity, sending a pulse of sound and blood throughout his body. Spock could feel it move out from under his hand, down his captain's left arm, out to the fingers not quite touching Spock's leg.
His captain was not a large human being. He was shorter than the average human male, his hands and feet small. Spock could only assume that his heart was of similar proportion, and he wondered at the strength of it. It did not sound small. The force of it beating was vibrating through every inch of him, even moving the hand Spock was resting on his chest.
Oddly reassuring. It was not logical, but as he listened to his captain's heart drum, he wondered at the ease of tension in his own back and shoulders. Perhaps it had to do with the tonalities of the human heartbeat. It was most...
Almost idly, Spock fell asleep.