Title: THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
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Note: Part of the Kirk/Spock Online Festival
Summary: The unexpected arrival of one of Kirk's 'old flames' puts a strain on his friendship with Spock.
Warning: contains angst, jealousy, anger, denial, lust and love ... and that's just from Spock. Oh, yeah ... this story is about m/m love ... there's no sex, per say, just a little foreplay ... tentative, first time kind of stuff.
Disclaimer: You know the drill ... Paramount/Viacom, owns all, etc., etc., etc.! This was written purely for the fun of it ...
and because I can not pass up a challenge >:-] ... no copyright infringement intended.
Our final orders have just arrived ... we are to meet up with the LEXINGTON,
and transfer over a group of scientists who are on their way home to Earth. We
are then to proceed home. Barring any unforseen incidents, we will reach Earth's
orbit in approximately 30 days, where the ENTERPRISE will go into dry-dock
for a complete refit. Our five year mission is at an end.
Although there is no news yet about future crew assignments, I have been told
that my requests and recommendations are being considered. I'm glad to hear
that, as this crew has performed admirably, and they deserve everything I have
recommended for them.
On a more personal note, I am having second thoughts about the request I made
for myself... I'm not sure if it would be a good thing for me to sit around Starfleet
Headquarters while I wait for the ENTERPRISE refit to be completed.
Suddenly, teaching does not seem as interesting as it did when I made the
suggestion to Komack.
Of course, another option would be requesting another command, which would
make me unavailable for the ENTERPRISE when she is done. This I will not do
... I want the ENTERPRISE back, and that's that! We've been through too much
together over the past five years ... both good and bad ... to walk away from it
now, just so I will not be bored.
Besides ... I *do* need a break. This has been a difficult five years, no matter
how rewarding they have also been. To constantly be responsible for the lives of
all who serve under your command ... the need to balance duty and obligation
with the desire for friendship and love ... all of these things are draining ... both
physically and emotionally.
So I guess my original request is the best option for me ... but what about Spock?
Will he be willing to do the same in order to be my First Officer once again? Or
will he decide to move on, accepting a command of his own? He does deserve it
... although I must admit, I will be lost without him at my side. Of course, if he
decides to move on, I will do nothing to hold him back ... that would be
completely unfair to him.
Damn ... I'm tired ... here I am, driving myself nuts ... trying to make a decision
about something that hasn't even been offered to me yet ... and may never be.
Besides, I have the strange feeling that the Brass have something else in mind for
me ... and if it's what I think it is, I will have a much larger problem to deal with
than the boredom of teaching.
Kirk and Spock were in the transporter room, awaiting the transfer from the
LEXINGTON. Spock could see that the Captain seemed troubled ... whether it
was about their current assignment, or something more, he did not know. He did,
however, know that the two of them needed to talk ... soon.
Knowing that there were only a few moments before the scientists beamed up,
Spock asked, "Captain ... will you join me for dinner this evening?"
"Wha...?" replied a slightly distracted Kirk, as if he had been unaware that Spock
was next to him. "Dinner? Of course." As Kirk focused on the conversation, his
mood visibly brightened, and he went on, "actually, there are a few things we
need to get straightened away before we dock, and now is as good a time as any.
The closer we get to Earth, the less time we'll have for 'personal time', I fear."
"My thoughts exactly."
Before Spock could say any more, the intercom chirped, "Uhura, to Captain
Uhura -- who was on the bridge, sharing ships logs, and making arrangements to
swap entertainment tapes, as was the custom whenever two ships of the line met
in space -- replied, "Captain, the scientists are ready to beam aboard. I've
transferred their coordinated to the transporter room."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
"Just doing my job, Cap'n ... Uhura, out."
Anxious to get underway once more, Kirk told the transporter operator to
energize. It would take several trips for the whole party to arrive, and even more
time for all their equipment to be transferred to the cargo bay. The sooner they
got started, the sooner they would be done ... then he could spend the evening in
quiet discussion with his First Officer.
As the first group arrived, however, all thought of spending the evening with
Spock left his mind. For there, at the head of the group, stood Dr. Carol Marcus
... and next to her, a young boy that had to be her ... correction, *their* son,
As the group stepped off of the platform, Kirk stood there, dumbstruck. Spock
immediately noticed the change in his demeanor, and turned to speak to him, but
noticed the look on his face. Spock had not seen such a look of astonishment and
pure joy on his Captain's face in a very long time.
Curious as to the cause of Jim's elation, he followed his gaze to the woman and
child who had just stepped off of the platform. The boy -- who was blond and
blue-eyed, and approximately ten Earth years old -- looked somewhat bored. The
woman, on the other hand, obviously knew Jim, and by the smile that lit her face
as she came toward him, she knew him well.
Suddenly, Spock looked to the boy again ... // could it be? // he thought, as he
looked to the mother, son, and his friend. // could Jim have a family that he never
told me about? // Spock frowned ever so slightly as Jim finally regained his
composure, and took the woman in his arms.
After a brief, but fierce hug, he stepped back, taking her by the shoulders, and
said, "long time ... and all that." looking her up and down, he smiled, and went
on, "you look great! Why didn't you contact me ... let me know you'd be coming
"Same old Jim ... you haven't changed at all." she said, as she, too, looked him
over. "And I didn't contact you because I had no idea what ship we were
transferring to ... had I known, I would have warned you ... although I must
admit," she added with a twinkle in her eye, "the look on your face when I
materialized was priceless ..."
At her words, Jim looked away, to the boy at her side. Although he had never met
David, there was no mistaking him ... the family resemblance was undeniable.
Seeing where his gaze fell, Carol stepped away from him, and called the boy to
her side. "David, I'd like to introduce you to an old friend of mine ... Captain
James Kirk. Jim, this is my son, David."
Spock could not help but notice the slight look Jim gave Dr. Marcus, and her
subtle shake of her head. // fascinating // he thought, as he took in the scene. Just
then, Kirk remembered that Spock was in the room, and looked over to where his
First Officer stood. Noting the slightly raised eyebrow, he realized that Spock
was adding things up, and knew an explanation was in order ... later. For now,
introductions would have to do.
"Carol, David ... I'd like to introduce you to my First Officer, Mr. Spock." Giving
Spock an embarrassed smile, he continued, "Spock ... Dr. Carol Marcus, and her
Raising his hand in the traditional Vulcan greeting, he said, "Live long and
prosper, Dr. Marcus," and he turned to address David with the same greeting.
Introductions completed, the group fell into an uneasy silence while the rest of
the science team materialized behind them, and quickly made their way out of the
In an effort to diffuse the situation, Kirk started to explain to Spock that he and
Dr. Marcus had been friends while he was at the Academy. At which point Carol
spoke up, saying, "well, Jim ... a little more than 'friends' ... after all, we lived
together for over three years."
Jim smiled, and added, "yes .. along with six other people ... four cats, and a
dog." They both started to laugh as memories of the over-crowded student
housing came back to them. As Jim got his laughter under control, he added for
Spock's benefit, "they were a very interesting three years."
"Indeed," he replied, with a raised brow, and then added, as he once again looked
from Jim to Carol and the boy, "you must enlighten me some time."
Jim frowned, and gave Spock a 'later' gesture, then turned to Carol saying, "let's
get you two settled ... then, perhaps, we could get caught up over dinner?"
"That would be very nice, Jim. We do have a lot of catching-up to do, don't we?"
by now, they had reached the guest quarters that had been assigned to Carol and
her son, and as they entered the room, she added, "let me get cleaned up and
settled in. I'll get dinner for David, then we'll have the rest of the evening to
At her words, Jim looked to Spock, suddenly remembering that he already had
plans for this evening. Silently, he pleaded with Spock to understand, and with a
nod, Spock said, "enjoy your evening, Captain." He was, however, unable to
resist the urge to let Dr. Marcus know that she had disrupted his plans, and
added, "... however, if it would not be too inconvenient, I would like you to join
me for breakfast. After all, you did say that there were several issues we needed
"Yes ... of course, Mr. Spock," he said with relief and gratitude. "0700 hours ...?"
"My quarters, I believe, would be best ... the mess hall is too crowded at that hour
of the morning for discussion."
"Very well ... see you in the morning, Spock."
"Captain ... Dr. Marcus." And with a nod, he took his leave of them, silently
Spock had experienced a wide range of emotions over the years, but had always
been able to control them ... and of course, he had also been able to hide them
from all around ... even himself, on occasion. Today was no exception .. to
anyone who saw the First Officer, as he made his way to his quarters, it was
'business as usual'. Little did they know that under that calm, controlled exterior
was a man on the verge of emotional collapse.
Spock was on autopilot ... his mind a thousand miles away, as he made his way
to his quarters. As the door closed behind him, he slumped against the wall,
collapsing to the floor as he lost his fight to control his emotions.
Spock had been in love with Jim for as long as he could remember, but
STARFLEET protocol made it virtually impossible for him to act on his feelings.
And of course, he did not know how Jim would have reacted, had he known.
Fearing rejection, he spent the last few years keeping his feelings to himself ... it
had been enough to just be there for Jim, in every way that he could be.
Lately, however, he had gotten the impression that his feelings might be
reciprocated ... and with the upcoming conclusion of their mission, this would be
the ideal time to broach the subject. If their feelings were mutual, they could
leave STARFLEET, and make a life together. If they were not, they could go
their separate ways ... no questions asked ... just a change of missions ... careers
heading in different directions ... no strings attached.
But that was not what Spock wanted. He wanted ... no, *NEEDED* ... Kirk to
be part of his life.
As he slowly regained his composure, he thought about what he had seen in the
transporter room. Obviously, Dr. Carol Marcus was more than just an 'old friend'.
Disregarding the fact that she has a son who looks so much like Jim, there is the
undeniable fact that they lived in the same house for three years! The Jim Kirk he
knows would never be able to resist that kind of temptation ... but then, why not
say 'old lover'? Where they trying to protect the boy? Does he not know that Jim
Kirk is his father ... something that Spock was 99.685% sure of?
And if Jim *is* in fact the boy's father, what will it mean to him to have his son
come into his life at this time? They will have 29.35 days to 'get to know one
another' ... and Jim and Carol will have the same amount of time to get
Will Jim regret not having them in his life for all these years? Will he see a
possible future with them that he feels he cannot find anywhere else? Or would
he be willing to give up the chance of a wife and son, to share his life with a
lowly Vulcan who has been too afraid to tell him how he feels?
// or am I being a fool? // Spock thinks ... realizing that this is all speculation ...
pointless and without facts to back it up.
Slowly, he disrobes, and donning his black meditation robe, kneels in front of his
fire pot. Perhaps his answers can be found in the solitude of meditation.
An hour after he had left them in their quarters, Jim returned ... showered and
changed into more casual attire. It was rare for Jim Kirk to be seen on his ship
out of uniform ... so rare that he couldn't help but notice the stares and double
takes he received as he made his way from crew quarters to guest quarters.
As he entered the rooms that were assigned to Carol and David, he noticed that
the boy was deeply engrossed in a game of some sort, and barely acknowledged
his presence. Carol was nowhere in sight, but called out from the other room, "I'll
just be a minute ... make yourself comfortable."
"Take your time," he replied, as he sat on the sofa, where he could see what
David was playing. He watched the boy play in silence ... torn between wanting
to talk to him, and not wanting to disturb his game. // there's plenty of time to
talk // he thought, as he realized they would have nearly a month together before
they got home. // I may not be able to be his father ... but I *can* be his friend //
As Carol came into the room, he shook himself mentally. There was no point in
actually thinking about *being* David's father, for although he *was*,
biologically, Carol had made it perfectly clear right from the beginning that he
had no obligation to her or David. As a matter of fact, she had no intention of
ever telling David that James T. Kirk *was*, in fact, his father.
"Carol ... you look beautiful," he said, as he stood ... allowing her presence to
distract him from his son.
"Why, thank you ... and may I add that you look rather dashing this evening,
Kirk bowed his head slightly as he accepted her compliment, then asked, "are
"Yes," she replied, as she went over to David, and kissed him on the top of the
head. "Don't stay up too late ... and remember, if you need anything, Tammy is
right next door."
"I know, mom," he murmured, "... have a good time," and with that, he returned
his full attention to the game.
Taking Carol by the hand, he led her out of the room, and to the Arboretum. The
journey there conducted in silence, as both appeared to be lost in thought.
When they arrived at their destination, Carol stopped short, and looked all
around. The room was full of exotic plants ... some with brilliant flowers, others
of odd-colors for plants ... at least from a human point of view. In the midst of
this profusion of leaves and blossoms sat a small table, set for two. Beside the
table was a bottle of champagne.
Seeing her reaction, Jim couldn't help but smile as he took her by the elbow and
directed her to a seat. He deftly opened the champagne bottle, and filled the two
glasses before he sat, himself. Raising his glass to Carol, he said, "to old friends."
"Old friends," she repeated, and they clicked their glasses and sipped the bubbly
wine. "It *is* good to see you, Jim. It's hard to believe that it has been nearly 10
"9 years, 7 months, 23 days ... and an odd number of minutes," he added with a
sly smile, "I could always call Spock here to calculate them for me."
She laughed, saying, "no ... that won't be necessary." As her laughter died down,
an awkward silence fell between them. In all the years since she decided to have
a child, she never once regretted the decision to raise him by herself ... but now,
with Jim sitting right across the table from her, she wondered if *he* ever
regretted not being part of David's life. // hell ... it's not like I even gave him the
choice // she thought, as she watched him closely.
It was obvious to Carol that Jim, too, had something on his mind. As she watched
him, he appeared to be looking back at her ... without actually seeing her. After
several minutes of silence, he appeared to shake himself slightly, before focusing
on his companion. They both began to speak at the same time, eliciting more
laughter from the couple.
Eventually, Jim said, "a credit for your thoughts?"
"Oh ... just a lot of silliness. You know, the kind of things one tends to think
about when their past catches up with them." She tried to shrug off her
melancholy, but Jim saw through her ruse. "What about you?"
"The same, I'm afraid." he sipped his champagne before continuing, "I've been
finding myself asking 'what if ...?' a lot lately. Our mission is coming to an end,
and new choices and decisions must be made ... I suppose that has a lot to do
Carol sat back and sipped her champagne, once again studying Jim closely. She
quickly came to a conclusion, and asked, "Jim ... are you happy? Was your
journey to the stars all you expected it to be?"
Jim didn't hesitate, "Yes ... I'm happy. To be in space ... the exploration ... the
discoveries ... all of it ... it more than matched my expectations." He paused,
thinking, then added, "of course, there were also some disappointments ... the
inevitable 'red-tape' ... unavoidable conflicts where people under my command
lost their life ... worlds and people we could not help because of the Prime
Directive ... but I wouldn't trade any of it."
"I am glad to hear that," she said, almost in a whisper. Once again she seemed to
compose herself, before continuing, "this one's a bit tougher ... have you had
He looked at her as if he had been expecting the question ... as if he knew where
she was going with this line of questioning, and was afraid of the outcome if he
answered. To mask his fear, he refilled their glasses, then set his down,
untouched. Leaning his elbows on the table, and resting his chin on his joined
fists, he finally said, "to be truthful ... I don't know."
She gave a hollow laugh before she replied, "well ... at least you're honest about
it." Seeing that he was going to speak, she raised her hand to stop him,
continuing, "no ... don't say anything. When you and I made our arrangement 10
years ago, I told you that you had no obligation to me or my child ... I have no
right to ask you to change that now. But I would like to know ... have you ever
thought about settling down, doing the 'family' thing?"
"Of course I have ... and I have a feeling that every person on the ship has at one
time or another. But you'd have to admit ... we would hardly have a 'typical'
family!" He stood, and paced in the small space around their table, then turned to
look at Carol once again. "May I ask you something?" at her nod, he continued,
"You know me ... you know my tastes and pleasures ...so tell me, if I were to
leave Starfleet ... be your 'husband' and David's father ... would you be happy
with that kind of marriage?"
It was Carol's turn to hesitate, but only for a heartbeat. When she looked him in
the eyes, she could see the fear there, and answered at once, "Yes, I could. I have
lived alone with my son for almost 10 years ... I could use a little companionship,
if you would be willing." She did not want to scare him off, so she quickly
amended, "there's no need to make the decision tonight ... or even before we
reach Earth. Take your time ... if you agree to this, I want you to be absolutely
sure that this is right for you."
With those words, Jim once again took his seat, and the conversation moved onto
safer subjects. The tension, however, remained in the background ... to Jim, it
reminded him of the night that Carol had approached him about wanting a child,
and what she needed from him ... no strings attached.
At that time, he had feared she would change her mind, and want more from him
than he was able to give her. To his amazement, she never did, she was
apparently perfectly content with her choice of single-parenthood. So, when he
saw her and her son for the first time today, he was surprised to realize that he
wished that she *would* ask more of him ... and now that she *had* ... he wasn't
so sure any more.
Distracting himself from his musing, he found other topics to discuss. She told
him what she could of her work in terra-forming, and the knew techniques they
were experimenting in ... he talked about some of the fascinating places he had
They ate as they talked, and soon, it was time for Carol to return to her rooms.
Jim escorted her through the ship once more, and left her at her door, saying, "I
will consider your proposal ... but I want you to think about something, as well."
"And what would that be?" she asked, not sure she wanted to hear the answer.
He took her by the shoulders, and looked into her eyes, saying "Consider letting
me know David, as his father, even if I do not agree to marry you."
She nodded, then said in a small voice, "I will think about it."
"That's all I'm asking," and he kissed her on the forehead, and gave her a hug.
She returned the hug with a strength that surprised him ... as if she was desperate
not to let him go. Her hug, however, was as brief as it was fierce ... she stepped
back, and activated the door mechanism. "Good night, Jim."
"Good night, Carol"
Jim arrived at precisely 0700 hours. He pressed the buzzer, and after a moment,
the door opened. When he entered Spock's quarters, he was surprised to note that
he looked tired ... as a matter of fact, his hair was slightly mussed, and he needed
a shave. Jim smiled, as he realized that he must have woken Spock up.
"Am I early?"
"No, Jim ... I was meditating," Spock replied, then continued somewhat
embarrassed, "I lost track of time."
Jim, unable to resist teasing his Vulcan friend, said, "you ... loose track of time ...
He expected to see that little half-smile Spock would give him when he knew he
was being teased, and realized there was something wrong when he didn't get it.
Assuming that Spock was upset about the change of plans the night before, Kirk
quickly said, "Spock ... I'm sorry about last night." He smiled, and chuckled
slightly as he went on, "but you know how it is ... hell ... I was so shocked to see
her after all these years, I didn't know what I was doing or saying."
"Understandable. There is no need for an apology." Spock led the way into his
small service area, where he had set up his small table for breakfast. He had
already programed banana pancakes for the two of them, with coffee for Jim, tea
for himself. In seconds, their breakfasts had arrived, and the two sat down to eat
Jim was the first to break the silence. "Spock ... as you know, there were some
things I wanted to discuss with you."
"Well ..." he paused, not knowing where to begin. Finally, he decided a direct
route was the best way. "Spock ... I wanted to discuss the future with you. I
wanted to see what you had planned to do once we get back to Earth ... whether
or not you intended to request a command of your own, or wait around, so that
you could be my First Officer, when I get the ENTERPRISE back."
Seeing that Spock was about to say something, he held up his hand to stop him,
"no, don't answer me yet ... there's more. I wanted to know this, so that I could
make up my mind about what *I* was going to do. But now, the situation has
been further complicated."
"How so, captain?" Spock asked, although he could already guess.
Jim finished his coffee, then stood and started to pace. He spoke softly, but knew
that Spock could hear every word, "until yesterday, I figured I had a couple of
options available to me once we get back to Earth. One ... I could accept another
command, head right back out here without skipping a beat ... but miss out on
commanding the ENTERPRISE when she's ready once again, or two ... request
a teaching position at Starfleet Academy, where I'll be Earthbound for the next 18
months, while the ENTERPRISE is going through her re-fit."
He stopped his pacing, facing Spock as he continued, "now, apparently, I have
another option ... one I never expected to come my way." He paused once again,
trying to read any reaction on Spock's face ... "Carol asked me to leave Starfleet
... and marry her ... to be a father for David."
Spock sat, as if made of stone. He had prepared himself for something like this ...
but it still hurt to hear Jim say it. When he knew that he could speak without
emotion in his voice, he looked into the eyes of the one he loved, and asked, "is
the boy your son?"
"Yes." Spock closed his eyes ever so briefly ... to most, the subtle change would
barely be noticed, but to Jim, it spoke volumes ... loss, betrayal, anger, grief ... all
these emotions, and more, were in that simple gesture . Kirk turned away, and
resumed his pacing ... he could not look into those eyes that could express so
When he spoke, his emotion was evident in his voice, his words sounded harsh
and full of anger ... he did not take notice of it. "Jim, I cannot presume to tell you
how to live your life. You must do as your heart tells you." He was about to say
more when Kirk stopped and faced him, a look of pure anguish on his face.
"But Spock ... my heart is torn! I want to know my son ... but is that knowing
worth the price of giving up everything I love?" Tired, worn out and dejected,
Kirk turned and sat on the sofa, elbows on his knees, and his head in his hands, "I
don't know what to do," he murmured.
Spock, seeing his Captain like this, wanted to reach out to him ... offer him
comfort ... but knew that his advances would be unwanted. Obviously, his friend
was torn between his love of exploration aboard the ENTERPRISE, and the
chance to have a family ... Spock did not see how his own desires could do
anything but further complicate the situation, so kept them to himself.
Finally, he offered the only words that he trusted himself to say, "Jim ... I wish I
could help you ... tell you what you should do ... but I cannot. You have to make
this decision by yourself."
Composing himself, Kirk stood, saying, "I know that, Spock ... and luckily, I
don't have to make this decision right away." He wanted to say more ... wanted to
tell Spock that it was *him* he would rather spend the rest of his life with, but
knew that Spock would not understand. Instead, he prepared to leave Spock's
quarters, saying, "It's getting late ... I'll leave so you can get ready for your shift.
See you on the bridge."
"Yes, Captain." And Spock watched him leave ... still wishing he could have held
him ... comforted him ... offered a solution they could both live with.
Spock spent the morning on the bridge avoiding the Captain's gaze ... yet could
not help but notice that every time he looked in his direction, Kirk was looking at
him. There was something about his gaze that made Spock wonder what was on
his mind ... it was not the look of dejection he had seen earlier ... more, a look of
fascination. Spock found himself becoming aroused, and quickly looked away.
By mid morning, he had some experiments to work on in the science lab, and
excused himself from the bridge. He would return after lunch. Usually, he would
ask Kirk to join him, but today, he did not ... he needed the time alone to
contemplate his own future, now that there was no possibility of Kirk being part
of the equation.
Finding a table set apart from the others, he ate his lunch in solitude. That is,
until McCoy entered, and seeing him sitting alone, brought his lunch over to join
him. "May I?" he asked, as he set his tray down on the table and sat across from
"If you must," Spock replied, without even looking up from his salad.
McCoy, who was nearly as perceptive as the Captain when it came to Spock's
moods, quickly surmised that something was troubling him. He also knew it was
not wise to press the Vulcan ... if he was going to talk, he would have to do it in
his own way. McCoy would offer himself as a sounding board, but then it would
be up to Spock.
Before McCoy was able to say anything, however, he saw Spock look up, and a
scowl cross his face. Turning to see what prompted such a strong emotional
reaction from the Vulcan, McCoy saw Jim enter with Carol and David Marcus.
Realization hit moments later ... Spock was jealous! He could see it in his eyes,
as he followed Jim's movement across the room.
As Spock started to stand, McCoy grabbed his hand, prompting him to sit once
more, saying, "Spock ... sit down and listen to me for a minute." He knew he
would only have one chance to say what needed to be said ... he just hoped Spock
"You have to tell him! Right now!" he said in an urgent whisper.
"I do not know what you are talking about," replied Spock, half-heartedly
attempting to rise once more. McCoy would not release his wrist, however, and
he was reluctant to make a scene. Taking another tack, he asked, "Doctor ... are
you aware that Carol Marcus has asked Jim to marry her?"
"No ... but I'm not surprised. She tried that once before ... but it would never
work. Jim knows that ... and deep down, she probably does, too." McCoy's hand
moved from Spock's wrist, to cover his hand where it rested on the table, as he
said, "Spock ... I know you have feelings for him." Spock tried to pull his hand
away, but McCoy still would not let go, but went on, "there's no denying it ... but,
god damn it ... if you don't want to loose him, you'll have to tell him."
McCoy could see that his words were ringing true for the Vulcan, so pressed his
point, while he had the advantage. "He's in a vulnerable state right now ... the
prospect of 'settling down' may look appealing at this moment, but in a few years,
he'll be restless. He'll want to get back to the stars ... he needs the adventure ... the
conflicts ... the excitement. He's not the sort to sit by, and watch the grass grow."
Spock considered McCoy's words, and knew they were true. He could not,
however, reconcile the fact that Jim was David's father ... whether or not he loved
Carol right now was not an issue ... he must have at one time, if they had had a
child together. Or at least, he must have thought he loved her. How could
anything he had to offer compare to that? He said as much to McCoy, who shook
his head, saying, "yes, Jim is the boy's father ... but it is not quite what you think.
Talk to him ... tell him how you feel ... and ask him about David. Otherwise, I'm
afraid he'll make the biggest mistake of his life ... and so will you."
Several days passed before Spock had an opportunity to speak to Kirk privately.
They were both getting off duty at the same time, and found themselves in the
turbolift, alone. Spock was on his way to his quarters, Kirk, to visit with McCoy
in sickbay. Not wanting to waste this infrequent opportunity, Spock said,
"Captain? Are you free this evening?"
"I've no definite plans ... what did you have in mind?" He smiled as he asked,
"dinner and a game of chess, perhaps? I've missed our games lately. Sorry I
haven't been around much, but you know how it is."
"Indeed ... dinner then, at 1900 hours ... my quarters."
As the lift came to a stop, Kirk stepped out, saying, "1900 ... in your quarters. See
Spock smiled slightly as he saw the look on Jim's face, as the turbolift door
closed. // perhaps it is not too late // he thought, knowing that Jim was looking
forward to their 'dinner date'.
Kirk was not sure why Bones had asked him to come by after shift today, but he
assumed it had something to do with Carol, and her proposal ... apparently,
rumors had already started about their relationship ... not to mention the
speculation about her son. Spock wasn't the only one to notice the resemblance.
Of course, McCoy knew all about Carol and how David came about ... so that
was not why he wanted to see him. // maybe he just wants to offer his advice //
Kirk thought, as his shift ended, and he left the bridge. As he stepped into the
turbolift, Spock joined him. He smiled, as he realized this was the first time in
days that they had been alone together ... he suddenly realized that he missed his
When Spock asked if he was free that evening, he automatically said yes ... the
tentative plans he had made with Carol could be put off for the night. He had
been spending far too much time with her since she arrived, and had neglected
Spock in the process. He was looking forward to spending a quiet evening with
his Vulcan friend.
As he entered sickbay, his mind was racing ... he suddenly realized that, if he
accepted Carol's proposal, he would most likely never see Spock again.
Surprisingly, that aspect of her conditions had not occurred to him before now ...
to not only give up Starfleet, but his best friend ... could he do that, and be at all
happy with his life?
McCoy was in his office, finishing up some paperwork, as Kirk slumped into the
only other chair in the room. Looking up and seeing Jim, McCoy swore, "damn!"
He rose, went to the cabinet across the room, and returned with a bottle and two
glasses. Pouring a generous amount into each, he handed one to Kirk and said,
"drink that ... it will make you feel better."
"Thanks, Bones ..." he said, after he downed the whole shot, "I'm not sure if it
helped, but I appreciate the sentiment." McCoy refilled his glass, and Jim sipped
the Saurian Brandy before he continued, "So Bones ... what did you want to see
"Look, Jim ... I don't want to pry ... and god only knows, I'm not the one to give
advice on your love life," with this, he smiled, and sipped his own brandy, then
went on, "but I understand you've got a major decision to make? And by the look
on your face when you came in here, I could tell it's wearing on you something
fierce." Once again, he paused for a sip, then changed his mind and finished the
brandy before going on, "Damn it, Jim ... I don't want to see you making a big
His words trailed off, as he contemplated what else to say, without saying too
much. At times, Jim could be as stubborn as his Vulcan First Officer ... but
unless the two of them talk to each other ... and get their feelings out in the open
... they were both going to regret the outcome.
"Look ... I just want to let you know that I'm here, if you need someone to talk to.
But better yet, talk to Spock ... tell him about Carol, and David ... if nothing else,
he deserves to know the truth about them. And you never know, he may be more
understanding that you could ever imagine."
"Actually, I'm having dinner with him tonight ... and you're right, he does deserve
to know the whole story." Jim set down his empty glass, and stood, saying, "you
never know, he may actually be able to come up with a 'logical' solution to my
dilemma ... something that neither you or I would dream of in a million years."
// Oh, I can almost guarantee it // McCoy thought, but only said, "you may be
right. That Vulcan logic of his has got to be good for something. Have a nice
evening ... and let me know how things turn out."
"I will, Bones ... and thanks for the Brandy."
McCoy sat back in his chair, and poured himself another shot ... he smiled to
himself, knowing that there could be only one possible outcome to tonight's
dinner ... unless they were both fools.
Kirk arrived at precisely 1900 hours. He had decided to bring a bottle of white
wine ... a very light and somewhat fruity vintage that he knew Spock liked. He
was already feeling slightly mellow from the Brandy he had with McCoy, and
wanted to stay that way ... the wine would help.
He had also decided to make this evening less formal by wearing civvies ... the
brown, wrap-style tunic and loose fitting slacks were far more comfortable than
his uniform. When Spock's door opened for him, he was pleased to note that he,
too, had resorted to civilian dress. The black silk-like material of his Vulcan
attire was extremely flattering ... accentuating his alien features and physique.
Once again, Kirk found himself aroused by his friends presence, and was happy he had chosen the clothing he had on over his uniform. The tight slacks of the uniform made it virtually impossible to hide his attraction to his Vulcan First Officer ... as a result, he spent a great deal of his time on the bridge with his legs crossed ...or when possible, with a padd, or clip board in his lap.
Spock had prepared vegetables, stir fried in a spicy sauce, with rice ... and much
to Jim's surprise, also had a bottle of the fruity white wine. It was a perfect
compliment for the spicy meal. They ate in virtual silence, as was traditional for
Vulcan families ... commenting on the food, or the quality of the wine, but
nothing more until they had finished their meal.
To Jim, it all seemed suddenly rather romantic ... what with the subdued lighting,
and slightly warmer temperature that Spock kept his quarters at. They had eaten
dinner like this before in the years they had known each other, but for some
reason, tonight seemed different.
Perhaps it was the way Spock kept looking at him, as he ate ... or the knowledge
that he was finally going to tell Spock the truth about himself and his relationship
with Carol. Whatever it was, he no longer felt the fear and apprehension about
his future. He could *feel*, deep down in his soul, that tonight, he and Spock
would come up with a solution that he could live with.
Their dinner done, they cleared the dishes in silence, working together as if one
... Jim felt a thrill of pleasure every time their hands would touch, and wondered
if Spock felt it too. He still had no idea how Spock would react to his revelations,
but trusted McCoy's advice ... // maybe by the end of this night, I'll know if my
touch affects him, as his does me // he thought, and smiled at the prospect.
Taking the second bottle of wine with him into the living space of Spock's
quarters, Jim poured another glass for each of them, as he sat on the sofa. Spock
took a seat in the chair, facing Jim. As one, they started to talk ... both stopping
after the first word. Jim chuckled, as Spock dipped his head, saying, "after you."
"As you know, I've been trying to make a major decision about my future. And as
you may or may not know, the longer I've been wrestling with this decision, the
more difficult it is becoming. I find myself torn in many different ... conflicting
directions." he paused to sip his wine, trying to choose his words carefully. He
had been rehearsing this, in his mind, since he left McCoy's office, but suddenly,
the words were not coming to him.
He shook himself, and continued, "as I said, I'm conflicted ... you told me to
follow my heart ... but first, I must know where it is leading me. Before I can do
that, however, I must tell you a little something about myself ... and the
relationship I had with Carol Marcus ten years ago."
He paused once again for just a heartbeat, then continued, "when I'm done with
my revelations, I'll need something from you in return."
Spock nodded his consent, then said, ever so quietly, "I am yours to command. If
it is within my ability, I will do it."
"We will see, when the time comes." Jim finished his glass of wine, then stood ...
he always found it easier to talk if he was pacing ... a trait that Spock was quite
familiar with. "So ... where to begin?"
"At the beginning is always the best." Spock interjected, and received a small
smile from his friend. He loved to see Jim smile, and was glad to see some of the
tension of the other morning had left his features.
"Yes ... the beginning. Well, as I told you, Carol and I lived together while we
were students. It was a rather large house, with far too many of us crammed into
it ... but it kept the rent down. I was attending Starfleet Academy, as were a few
others in the house. Carol was at a nearby University. We found that our class
schedules were similar, and soon found ourselves sharing transportation as well
as living quarters.
"We also discovered that, because neither of us were 'attached', our friends were
always trying to set us up with other people. We both hated these 'blind dates' ...
they always seemed to pick the absolutely 'wrong' people for us. So, in order to
stop the fix-ups, we decided to always be there for the other ... if there was a
formal occasion that one needed to attend for school or whatever, the other would
be their 'date' for the evening.
"It was a perfect solution ... leaving both of us free to pursue 'other interests',
without the complication of having to explain our 'preferences' to anyone."
"If I may ask a question?" Spock asked, slightly confused by Jim's choice of
words. At his friends nod, he asked, "why would you have to explain your
preference to anyone? I would think that if they were 'setting you up' with the
wrong type of person, all you would have to do is tell them your preference, and
the problem would be solved. Am I mistaken?"
Kirk chuckled, "yes ... you would think that. And had I been a bit more
sophisticated at the time, I probably would have done just that. But you see ... I
was a country boy. Where I came from, my 'preference' was frowned upon. Carol
was in a similar situation. So we did what was best for us ... pursued our interests
in private, and 'openly' dated each other."
"May I assume that your 'preference' was men?" Spock asked, realizing that he
had not been mistaken in his assessment of their relationship, after all.
"Yes. And Carol prefers the company of women." He looked at Spock, trying to
read his friend, and was somewhat surprised to see a slight smile on the
handsome features. "You look pleased," he said, smiling back at his friend.
"I am ... but please, continue your story. I must admit, I *am* curious about
"Ah, David ... yes, I'll get to that in a minute." He poured himself another glass of
wine, and offered some to Spock, who accepted it. Once again seated on the sofa,
he continued his tale, "as I said, Carol and I had an arrangement ... and it kept our
friends from hounding us about 'going out and finding someone'.
"By the time I was preparing for graduation, and looking forward to my first
assignment, things had changed for us. Carol liked the arrangement we had ...
and wanted to make it permanent. You see, all her friends were getting married
and having children. She liked the idea of a home and family ... and thought our
arrangement would be perfect. We even talked about 'how' we would have a
child, and decided that artificial insemination was the best route for us. We made
our plans ... it wouldn't hurt either of us to be 'settled down' ... being a 'family
man' looked good on a résumé, after all.
"We had set the date for our wedding, it would take place one week before I
graduated. Because she wanted to have a child right away, and the uncertainty of
where I would be assigned once I graduated, we met with a doctor before the
wedding, who collected sperm samples, so that he could impregnate her during
her next fertile cycle, whether or not I was here.
"Everything was going according to plan, until a week before the wedding.
Suddenly, Carol decided that she wanted me to request an Earthbound post ... or
at the very least, one on another planet or outpost. The idea of taking off for a
five-year mission on a starship terrified her. She wanted me to be somewhere
where we could be together.
"I was not willing to give up everything I had worked for to remain earthbound,
and told her as much. As you can imagine, we fought ... and could not come to an
agreement. The wedding was off ... I graduated, and was assigned to the
Farragut." He fell silent then, composing himself to tell Spock the rest of the
"Obviously, this is not the end of the story ... for it does not explain David."
Spock observed quietly.
"No, it isn't." He stopped to compose himself ... he had forgotten how much
Carol's actions had affected him until now. "I had been on the Farragut for less
than a month when I got a message from Carol. It was short, and very much to
the point. It said; 'I just wanted to inform you that I have been impregnated, as
we had planned. I do not expect you to take any responsibility for me, or my
child. As a matter of fact, I do not intend to tell my child who it's father is ...
ever. Good bye, and have a good life. Carol.'
"Eight months later, I got another message ... all it said was; 'It's a boy ... his
name is David James Marcus.' ... nothing more. The funny thing is, I did love
her, in my own way ... and I know she loved me. But it would have never worked
out between us ... not then ... and not now. I didn't realize until just now how
much I resented her for what she did ... never giving me a chance to know my
son, even part time."
"So ... you have made a decision?" Spock asked, knowing that his fear of losing
Kirk to Carol Marcus was no longer an issue.
"About Carol ... yes. I won't be marrying her ... and I hope she will tell David
about me, but I can't force her to do that. Maybe I can at least convince her to let
me get to know him, as a favorite Uncle."
"Perhaps. So now you are back to square one, as McCoy would say."
"Yes ... that's where you come in. I need to know what you plan to do. Are you
willing to stay earthbound with me, until the ENTERPRISE is ready? Or do you
plan to accept a command of your own?"
It was Spock's turn to hesitate. Seeing that the wine was gone, he stood, and
asked, "I am going to make some tea ... would you like some, or would you prefer
"Tea would be fine." was Jim's reply, smiling as he realized that Spock was
"Very well ... I will just be a minute," and he left the room to get the tea. Kirk
stood, and went to the window, looking out at the stars as they streamed past. It
was always disconcerting to see the stars through the unfiltered glass when they
were at warp-speed, but it was one of the many things he was glad to have seen
in his life.
Lost in thought, he was unaware of Spock's return until he saw his reflection in
the dark window and felt the warm hand on his shoulder. The touch, as always,
sent a shiver through his body. He leaned into the touch, and was pleased to feel
Spock's body press against his back. He closed his eyes ... lost in the pleasure he
had only imagined, but never thought to experience.
Spock's words, spoken so close to his ear, brought him back to the present. "As
you have opened your heart and soul to me this night, I shall do the same. Come
... let us sit, and I will give you my confession." he guided Jim back to the sofa,
and returned to the chair opposite him. The teapot was on the small table between
them, and Spock poured the aromatic tea into the cups.
After sipping his tea, he set the cup down, and sat back, contemplating Jim over
his steepled fingers. Quietly, he spoke. "You ask me what I plan to do with
myself after we return to Earth. You say that you wish to know my decision in
order to make your own."
He paused, considering his next words carefully, then proceeded, "Starfleet
protocol has limited my ability to be truthful with you. Since the moment I first
met you, I found myself attracted to you ... I found myself wanting to be near
you. Not knowing how you would react to my 'affection', and knowing that a
closer relationship would be out of the question if we wished to remain on the
same ship, I made myself be contented with what we could have.
"I had planned to tell you this the other night over dinner ... depending on your
reaction to my confession, I figured we could work things out ... together. But
when Carol and David arrived, and I realized that he had to be your son, I
*knew* I had read the situation wrong, and you would never share my feelings
for you. When you told me of her proposal, I was certain."
Spock fell silent ... Jim watched him, still in awe that his own feelings had been
reciprocated. Finally, Kirk broke the silence, saying, "What made you change
your mind, and invite me to dinner tonight?"
Spock looked up, and saw the love in Jim's eyes, surprised to know that it was
directed at him. "McCoy." he said simply, and saw Jim nod.
"I should have known," he said, smiling. Seeing the puzzled look Spock was
giving him, he elaborated, "he told me today that I should tell you the whole story
... that you would be very understanding of the situation. You see, he was there,
on the Farragut, and helped me deal with this when it happened. Obviously,
because of this, he also knows about my 'preferences' ... so, a couple of years ago,
when he realized I had feelings for you, I was not surprised." It was now Jim's
turn to be puzzled, however, as something else occurred to him. "Whatever
possessed you to tell McCoy about your feelings for me?"
"I did not ... he is obviously very observant."
"That he is." Jim sat back, feeling completely relaxed for the first time in months.
As he gazed across the room to where Spock was sitting, he noticed that he, too,
looked more relaxed than usual. Breaking the silence, Jim asked, "so ... what's
next? We still have to decide what the future holds for us."
Spock stood, saying, "We do not need to make that decision tonight." Crossing
the room, he joined Jim on the sofa, sitting sideways, so that they were facing
each other. "There have been enough words this evening," he said, as he lightly
traced a finger along Jim's temple, brushing a stray lock of hair off of his
forehead. He continued to trace along his cheek ... the contour of his rounded ear
... the outline of his firm lips. Leaning forward, his own lips followed the path of
his finger, kissing Jim's brow ... the corner of his eyes ... the tip of his ear ... and
ending in a tender kiss on the lips, as his hands continued their downward
It only took Jim a moment to join in on the exploration. As Spock's touch set his
soul on fire, he wondered once again if his own did the same to Spock ... but at
the moment, he was too busy to ask. He was quickly getting lost in the sensations
... his need and desire overwhelming him. As they made their way into Spock's
bedroom, his last coherent thought was that he would have to thank Bones for
forcing the issue ... in the morning, of course.
Challenge Scenario: Near the end of the five-year mission, when Kirk is really
beginning to feel the strain of command, Carol Marcus comes back into his life
with a ten-year-old David in tow, and suddenly, the once dismissed prospect of
home and hearth becomes a very real possibility to Kirk. How would Spock
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