Title: The Concept of Love and T’hy’la
Summary. Kirk and Spock talks about life’s important things.
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belongs to Viacom. No infringement on copyright is intended and no money is
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THE CONCEPT OF LOVE AND T’HY’LA
Curiosity dripped from Kirk's voice. He had never been comfortable enough to broach the subject, but he felt so at ease in Spock's company tonight. Perhaps it was the warmth in the Vulcan’s quarters, perhaps the successful diplomatic mission they had just concluded, or perhaps it was the glass of brandy they had shared. Spock seldom drank alcohol, but from time to time he would taste this amber liquid, voicing a preference for its burning taste. Tonight was one of those rare occasions. Spock sat in front of him, wearing a loose, black, tunic and matching trousers. In the background a soft, haunting melody played that Spock had described as Vulcan classical music. It was beautiful, and vaguely familiar to Kirk. Although, right now his attention was elsewhere.
"You have to admit that no being can live totally without emotion, without love," Kirk insisted. “Not even Vulcans.”
"Essentially, you are correct, Jim. No being can live without closeness and contact with other beings, but the concept of love is what I am questioning." Spock's eyebrow climbed high on his forehead in a minute challenge. Kirk wasn't sure if Spock was truly serious or simply baiting him.
A sudden thought occurred to him and he nearly swallowed his brandy wrong. If Spock was baiting him – was he also flirting? Kirk's stomach suddenly filled with butterflies, a sensation he hadn't felt in many years. He met his friend’s eyes and the challenge was still shining from the soft, brown eyes.
He cleared his throat and continued: "But you can't tell me that love isn't an integral part even in a Vulcan's life?"
"You are judging my people from human norms, Jim," Spock said gently as he moved the queen. He would put the captain in checkmate within four moves, unless Kirk did one of his very unpredictable, reckless moves.
* * *
Kirk sighed, and Spock appreciated the color that rose on his friend's cheeks. Perhaps it was unkind of him to tease like this, but for some peculiar reason he could not resist, and perhaps this was the opportunity he had waited for to explain some difficult matters, matters that he had wanted to discuss for a very long time now
"I am, aren't I? I guess it's really difficult for me to understand how anyone can live without any sense of love in their lives."
"Perhaps Vulcans do not live without what you call love, Jim. It is simply that I may not understand the concept of love, as you know it. My mother claims to love me, and she claims to love Sarek, and while I appreciate her sentiment, I cannot completely understand it. On Vulcan we do not speak of love the way humans do."
"That's kind of sad, Spock," Kirk said and moved his tower distractedly.
Spock lifted an eyebrow. He had been correct. Jim had done something completely unpredictable and Spock now had to concentrate on revising his strategy or his king would be lost within the next three moves.
As he moved to sacrifice his horse in order to save his king, Spock continued speaking, lifting his gaze to meet his captain's.
"If you are correct, it may be sad, Jim, but do not despair. Perhaps you and I are speaking of the same thing, even though we do not know it. For a Vulcan, the word love has little meaning. For a Vulcan, mental links with parents and friends are what sustain us and nurture us, and I'm told that a bondmate is the most important companion in life."
"But you lost T'Pring." Kirk's voice was cautious, as if reluctant to even mention the woman that had caused them both so much pain.
"Indeed, I lost her, for which I am grateful. She did not wish to join with me. The link we shared was weak from negligence, and her bond to Stonn had already begun to form. Had I won, I do not believe she would have become an adequate bondmate to me, let alone t'hy'la. She and I were too different."
"Yes. T'hy'la is perhaps the word most equal to the human word love in Vulcan, but t'hy'la only refers to the relationship shared between two adults, and it is more than simply love."
"I have never heard that word before. What does it mean?"
Spock grew silent for a while, as though contemplating how to respond to that question.
"I have never before thought of how to translate t'hy'la into Standard, Jim. It is quite challenging."
"Very well. I believe that I will need many words to explain this to you. It is not easily translated, and there is no exact correlation in Standard." Spock grew silent again, as Kirk waited patiently, their chess game forgotten.
* * *
When Spock finally spoke again, his voice was soft and rich, in a way Kirk had never heard it before. It sent shivers through his body and he knew instantly, that this conversation would not take place between Spock and any other person in the universe.
"T'hy'la means brother, but not typically a brother of the flesh. It means a brother in the way of the spirit and the mind. Someone who is compatible – a kindred spirit if you will."
"Sounds loving enough," Kirk said and smiled.
"It also means friend, as in someone to be trusted in all things that matter. An equal, or perhaps even more someone who completes you, someone who would enter characteristics into a relationship that you, yourself, lack."
"I would say that the word love encompasses that as well," Kirk agreed.
"T'hy'la would also mean lover, in the physical sense, the same way it does in Standard. It means that the person who is t'hy'la would freely give of his body in the Time of need." Spock blushed and turned his gaze away. "It is an imperative part of the concept t'hy'la."
"I think I understand," Kirk said. "T'hy'la is bondmate."
"Essentially, yes, but not all Vulcans are so fortunate to find a bondmate that fulfill all these requirements. T'hy'la is fairly uncommon on Vulcan, and something to be cherished. T'hy'la is highly respected on our home world, Jim. It is not to be taken lightly."
"It does sound to me as though we are simply speaking different languages, Spock," Kirk said. "As though t'hy'la and love are essentially the same thing."
"I do not agree completely, Jim, for there is another part of t'hy'la that you are not aware of."
"Oh, then tell me, Spock."
"Bonding is an integral part of every Vulcan's life, Jim. Each adult relationship on Vulcan involves the mental joining, a link between minds that is always there, like an almost tangible chord between bondmates."
"Yes," Kirk heard his own voice, so breathless, and he wondered what was truly going on between them.
Spock's eyes had locked with Kirk's and the atmosphere suddenly changed. Kirk swallowed, feeling as though something new entered between them, something challenging but something that had always been there, unspoken.
"But t'hy'la are the only ones who can enter into the life-bond, Jim. My mother and father share the common bond, a bond that all Vulcans share with the mate they have chosen in life, but few, very few of my people find their t'hy'la, someone who fulfills all the requirements..."
"...someone who knows you inside out, and accepts you without question, someone who is so compatible that you don't have to voice what you need."
Images from the bridge flashed through Kirk's memory, how Spock would always know, even before he had given his orders, what he needed. Spock, who was always one step ahead of any of the other crewmembers…
"...someone who you would trust with your life ..."
"...someone whose life you cherish more than your own."
A tendril of something traveled up Kirk's spine, and he realized, maybe not for the first time, but for the first time consciously, what Spock was trying to tell him. "Someone who wants you..." he whispered.
"Someone who will be there when the Time comes;" Spock finished, breathlessly, so quietly that Kirk wasn't sure he had heard it right.
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