Blame it on Midnight

 T'Thrill < TThrill1612 @ aol.com >

 

        

First Place TOS Slash Short Story, First Place TOS Short Story (two-way tie), First Place TOS Kirk/McCoy-Fest, Second Place Kirk/McCoy, Third Place Kirk/Spock Short Story (two-way tie)

 

Romance Codes: K/Mc, K/S (implied)

Rating: R - m/m

Summary:  Written for the 2003-2004 KirkMcCoyfest . My assigned scenario was, 'Kirk has split with Spock. McCoy helps him.'  That pretty much says it all.

This, like all my stories, can be found on my webpage  T'Thrill's Den of Trek Delights:  (Once I am free to do so per fest rules)
http://www.geocities.com/tthrill1612/

Warning:  This story contains m/m sexual situations.  If you are not interested in and/or are offended by such things, you will find reading this a complete waste of your time, so please move on.  If you are under 18 years of age, please move on, as well.

Disclaimer: Copyright 2004 by T'Thrill. This is an original work of amateur fiction based on Star Trek. This work makes "fair use" of Star Trek copyrighted material; it is not intended to infringe on the intellectual property rights of Paramount, Viacom or other owners of copyright in Star Trek or any of their assignees or licensees. The author's copyright extends only to the original material in this work.

Archive:  Okay to archive in KirkMcCoyfest, ASCEM, BLTS, and COCO-SSD, provided that header, disclaimers, my name, and email address are all attached. All others please ask. My email address is TThrill1612@aol.com

Acknowledgments:  Once again, Selek has been so very kind to beta a story for me.  Without his guidance, I would post little more than nonsense.  Thank you, my friend.



 

Until you've been beside a man
You don't know what he wants
You don't know if he cries at night
You don't know if he don't
When nothin' comes easy
Old nightmares are real
Until you've been beside a man
You don't know how he feels

Bob Seger - Shame on the Moon




Chapter 1/2


Leonard McCoy was hunched over the latest quarterly fitness reports, readying them to be forward on to the captain, when he heard the doors to sickbay slide open and shut.  Almost 2200 hours, ship's time.  He didn't need to look up.  He had no doubt that it was Jim.  Their esteemed captain had been badgering him for these very reports for over a week. Leonard knew that Jim needed to review them before handing them over to Starfleet Command, and that like everything else, his commander liked things done in a neat, timely manner, but time to do anything as mundane as reports had been a real premium lately.

Little would it matter that he'd spent the last twenty-six hours in surgery patching up the latest landing party, or that with trying to get the last of the reports finished, sleep was nothing more than a distant, elusive memory.  "Hold your horses!  I said I'd have 'em to you in the hour, and I meant it!  I'm just looking over the last of 'em now," he grumbled.  Everyone onboard was on edge, including him.

He expected Jim to step closer, perch himself on the edge of the desk, cross his arms, and offer a redundant comment that stemmed more from frustration than anything else.  With the mission coming to an end, it'd been that kind of a week.  Not only was every department under the gun to get all the final checks done, but to top it off they'd run into a nasty situation on Theolis 7 that had damned near cost them the away team. It had been Jim's resourcefulness, as usual, that had saved the day.  Still, there had been a few injuries, two that had been serious, but this time, thankfully, no casualties to report. It was the continued, unexpected stillness and silence that finally forced McCoy's eyes away from the display on the screen and toward the office door.  What he saw was a man devoid of all color, looking like he was about to collapse. "My God, Jim!  What the hell's wrong?" McCoy gasped, rising quickly from his chair.

"Have you seen him?  Did he tell you?" Jim asked.

"Who?  Tell me what?  Jim, what's happened?" McCoy demanded, reaching his commander, and more importantly his friend, and grasping him by the biceps.

"Spock.  Have you talked to him?  Do you know?"

"Jim, I haven't seen Spock in four days.  Hell, I haven't so much as stepped a foot outta sickbay in that long."  He led Jim to the chair he just vacated.  After Jim had fallen into the seat, Leonard reached in his top drawer and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.  He didn't know what had happened, but he could still tell when a man was in desperate need of a drink. He retrieved a glass from the file drawer and poured a hefty shot.  He knew that Jim wasn't scheduled to report to the bridge for another two shifts, so offering him alcohol now wouldn't even be breaking any regulations.  "Here, drink this," he ordered, as he set the glass down on the desk.

Wrapping his hand tightly around the glass, for a second Leonard thought Jim just might fling it across the office.  If that's what it took, so be it.  There was more where that came from.  Instead, Jim tilted it toward his lips, threw his head back, and downed the liquor in one large gulp.  Setting the glass back down, he breathed through the heat, "So, you don't know.  You haven't heard."

Feeling a sympathetic stab in his gut, Leonard realized that the pain radiating from his friend's eyes was more contagious than any microbe he'd ever run across.  "No, I haven't heard a thing.  Take a minute, then tell me what's goin' on," Leonard soothed, settling himself in Jim's normal spot on the desktop.

Jim nodded, and then seemed to take a deep breath before he continued.  "Spock's leaving the service.  He's already prepared his resignation.  As soon as the debriefings are finished, he's gone.  He's going back to Vulcan...to.to be bonded!"

Of all the scenarios that had run through Leonard's mind in the last few seconds, he hadn't even considered this as a possibility.  "Bonded?  Who?  Surely not T'Pring!"

Jim held out the glass.  Leonard refilled it.  "No, not T'Pring. To a woman whose bondmate was the captain on the Intrepid.  Seems she's been without a bondmate since that ship was destroyed, and Spock's all too willing to apply for the job," he said, bitterly.

"But I thought the two of you...I mean, y'all have been together for over two years.  I just assumed that.someday.it would be *you* and Spock taking that step together," Leonard stammered.

"So did I, although we never really talked about it.  We were together, and that's all that mattered.  At least, that's what I thought.  We agreed that we'd wait until the end of the mission to make any decisions.  Well, the mission is ending, so tonight I made it official.  I asked him to marry me."

Leonard retrieved another glass.  After pouring himself a shot, and refilling Jim's, again, he managed, "I have to assume
the answer was 'No'."

"No?" Jim clucked humorlessly.  "No, I could've handled.  At least I could have debated that.  'Impossible' is more like it. 
Oh, and 'illogical', of course!"

"Jim, there's gotta be some mistake.  I've never seen Spock.well, as blissful as he's been in these last years.  My God!  The man actually lights up in your presence.  Always has."

Jim shook his head.  "No mistake, Bones.  I've spent the last two hours going over and over it, and I know what was said."

Leonard absentmindedly stared at his glass as he turned it around in his hand.  It was as if he was looking for answers in the hypnotic, amber-colored sparkle caused by the reflection of the overhead light.  When no answer came, he downed the liquid.  "Spock leavin' you for a woman, or anyone else for that matter, just doesn't make sense.  Oh, sure, he's had a couple'a brief dalliances, but even those can be explained away due to the circumstances.  The fact that he's made this choice really surprises me.  After the mess with T'Pring, I never thought Spock would consider bonding with woman. Hell, after you two got together, I never though he would consider bonding with *anyone* else."

"Neither did I," Jim answered, the depths of the defeat he was feeling coming through loud and clear.

Leonard was sure that something serious had happened to cause Spock to make this decision.  As much as he hated himself for thinking it, only one possibility came to mind.  "Jim, don't get me wrong, but you haven't...?  What I mean is, we both know that you've had your share of...let's just say, extracurricular activities.  Did you...?"

Jim shook his head emphatically.  "No!  No one.  Not since Miramanee.  That's when Spock and I made the commitment to each other, and there hasn't been anyone since."

It had been two years, eight months, and an odd amount of days since the Enterprise had been forced to abandon Jim in an attempt to chase down and divert the asteroid bearing down on the Preserver planet.  Spock had been commanding the ship when the attempt had failed, frying the warp engines in the process.  It was during the two months they spent crawling back to the planet on nothing more than impulse engines, during which time he and Spock were constantly at each other's throats, that he had first begun to uspect the true nature of Spock's feelings for Jim.

Although they knew Jim must still be on the planet, they didn't know for sure if he was still alive, or if they could reach him in time.  During those weeks of failure and uncertainty, Spock had repeatedly refused food, rest, and had frequently handed command over to either Scotty or Sulu in deference to his obsession with the symbols that had been found on the obelisk.  It wasn't long before eonard realized it was an obsession born out of guilt for leaving Jim on the planet, and a nearly overwhelming fear that his actions had cost him any future with the one person he'd ever dared to love.  With those factors combined, they had driven Spock closer to insanity than Leonard had ever imagined possible, or ever wanted to see again.  It was Spock's willingness to sacrifice everything--himself, the crew, and the ship--on the slim chance that Jim could be rescued that made this newest development seem so unbelievable.

After his return to the ship, Jim had run headlong into his own demons, specifically the tragic and senseless death of Mirimanee and her unborn child--his child.  It was during the dark days that followed that Jim and Spock had finally been forced to face up to what they had both tried so hard to deny: their feelings for each other. As far as Leonard knew, neither man had been involved with anyone since, but with Jim's history, it had been a logical conclusion.  "Sorry.  I had to ask," he sighed.  "Jim, from what I've observed, I'd bet money on the fact that Spock really loves you.  That's saying a hellava lot for a Vulcan.  There has to be a *reason* for his
decision!"

Jim propped his elbows on the desktop and swirled the liquid around in his glass.  "There is.  I'm neither Vulcan, nor female.  Therein lies the problem."

"You wanna explain that?  It hasn't been a problem up until now, has it?"

Jim shut his eyes and slowly rubbed the glass across his forehead.  The depth of the pain radiating from Jim's face was like a knife twisting in Leonard's gut.  "Didn't seem to be.  According to him, the fact that I'm a male actually served to make me more appealing."

"And the fact that you're human?"

"It was never an issue...until now.  Recently he's been delving deeper into the Vulcan disciplines, and his intervals of meditation have become longer and more intense.  When I saw some information on his terminal regarding Vulcan mating rituals, I asked him if was entering into pon farr, but he assured me he wasn't.  I just assumed he was planning for the time when we could be bonded.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  According to Spock, Vulcans choose their mates for two reasons: the first is to survive the madness of the bloodfever, and second is to procreate.

"Considering Spock's family tree, reproducing seems to be a major consideration.  A Vulcan is preferable, and a female bondmate makes things a lot easier in the baby-making department.  That makes me unacceptable all the way around. I tried to tell him that with the medical advances available today, it was certainly possible for us to have a child, but even that didn't help.  It seems that although Vulcans allow for homosexual bondmates, it's a choice that's considered to be based on emotion instead of logic, which is another issue that Spock isn't willing to deal with.  Logic!  Imagine that!  God forbid that we should have a marriage based on the fact that we love one another!"  Jim tossed the third shot down his throat, and held out the glass once more.  This time, Leonard took it away.

"Getting drunk isn't the answer, Jim," Leonard said, gripping both empty glasses.

"Maybe not, but it's the best one I can come up with for now," Jim spat, folding his arms on top of the desk.

"I take it that Spock didn't just decide on this bond tonight?" Leonard asked, steering Jim's thoughts away from more alcohol.

"No, he didn't.  He's been arranging this for the last ten weeks!  Over two months, and not a word to me!"  The bitter tone in Jim's voice was growing more and more venomous, and Leonard hoped the calming effects of the whisky would kick in soon.  "Of course, that didn't keep him from fucking me on a regular basis!" Jim continued.  "When I asked him about that, he said it would have been illogical to end a mutually satisfying relationship just because this bond was being negotiated!  God dammit!"

Leonard refrained from mentioning the fact that, according to the physical exams he'd performed on both of them, the fucking seemed to be fairly mutual.  The slightly decreased muscular tension in Spock's anus was a pretty good indicator that he wasn't *always* on the giving end.  There are just some things you can't hide from your old country doctor!  Not only that, Leonard knew Spock could act as cold as anyone he'd ever met, but for the most part that was a facade, and not a very good one. Certainly this degree of calculation didn't sound like the Vulcan he'd come to know and, in truth, respect.  Leonard suspected that this version of the story was somewhat lop-sided, and that once Jim calmed down he'd hear the rest of it.  But that wasn't what was important right now.  Jim was hurting.  That's all that mattered.  It was his job to help his friend hold the pieces together.

Leonard sat the glasses off to the side, then reached over and laid a hand on his friend's shoulder.  "Damn, Jim, I'm really sorry.  I know I've had my doubts, maybe even expressed them more than I should've, but I'd really begun to believe that things were gonna work out for the two of you, even against all the odds."

Jim looked up.  "Thanks, Bones, so did I, but it seems you were right all along.  I don't know how.  You sure must have seen something that I missed."

Leonard shook his head.  "Jim, I'm no fortune teller.  I never for a second thought something like this would happen.  My concerns stemmed from the exact reasons I told you at the time I found out that you and he were lovers.  With Spock being your second-in-command, I thought it'd be the pressures of the job that would get in the way.  I was afraid that the two of you bein' together would pose serious problems to the mission, even to the point of puttin' this ship and crew at risk.  I don't know how you did it, but y'all managed to prove me wrong.  Somehow the two of you never allowed your personal relationship to carry over onto the bridge."

Jim looked away, wistfulness replacing the anger that had shown from that face just moments before.  "It was hard, especially on those occasions when I had to knowingly place him in danger.  But on that first night together, the night when we finally admitted what had been in our hearts all along, we agreed that the only way it could work was to keep our personal and professional lives separate.  Now I find out that there was a lot more separating us than just the job."

Jim drew a deep breath, then let it out slowly, as he put his head down on his folded arms, and sighed, "My God, Bones!  What the hell am I supposed to do without him?"

Leonard laid his hand on Jim's head and began gently stroking it.  "I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you'll go on," he soothed.  There were few people in the galaxy who had ever been allowed to witness Jim Kirk with his guard completely down, and Leonard was one of them, but even he'd never seen his friend this shattered.  In truth, Spock wasn't the only one on board who was good at hiding behind a facade.  It was perhaps the one area in which his two friends were perfectly matched.

With Leonard, Jim had the freedom to release the emotions that he couldn't allow anyone else--even to some extent, Spock--to see.  The crew trusted Jim to lead them, guide them, and even insure their very survival, and it was difficult for them to realize that even heroes have their breaking point.  And in their eyes, that's exactly what Jim Kirk was.  Although Leonard had respected, maybe even loved, the man from the beginning, there was never an element of hero-worship that stood between them.  Because of that, a deep sense of trust had formed between them from almost the first day.  Over these five years, there had been countless times when they had served as the emotional support for one another.  Leonard knew that's exactly what Jim needed from him now, and no matter what it took, he was determined not to let him down.

Whatever Spock's reasoning--whether it was good, bad, or as Leonard suspected, somewhere in the middle--the mere fact that the Vulcan was causing Jim this amount of anguish pissed him off.  Jim had to carry the weight of this ship on his shoulders.  He certainly didn't need to be dealing with this kind of bullshit!  Leonard began to comb his fingers lightly through Jim's hair.  Now that Jim had finally given up fighting the natural curl, it had darkened a bit.  Leonard found that running his fingers through the soft, bronze tangle was admittedly pleasurable and threatened to raise the head of feelings that had long ago been put to rest.

Once, very early in their friendship, just after Leonard had been forced to kill the shape-shifting creature that had disguised itself as his old flame, Nancy Crater, he could've become Jim's lover.  In the days that followed, he experienced a profound need for an emotional connection to another person, and Jim had made it clear that his door was open.  Perhaps it was because of their new, but solid, friendship that Jim offered, or maybe he really had believed there could be more between them.  Leonard was never sure, and it was never discussed.

Not that he hadn't been tempted, even to the point of standing in front of Jim's cabin late one evening with his finger hovering just above the button that would've signal his presence.  But even then, although he was craving the touch of another, Leonard knew he could either be the CMO Jim needed, or his lover, but not both.  As Spock was so fond of pointing out, he was a man who could easily be led by his emotions, and Leonard knew he'd be unable to draw the line, no matter how pleasant it may be.  So, he had chosen the former of the two options, to be the best CMO possible for Jim, and had never stepped through that door.  It was just as well, since it wasn't long before he noticed a definite gleam in those hazel-gold eyes whenever they looked toward a certain first officer, a glimmer of nothing less than endless desire that had never been there for anyone else, including him.  But now, seeing Jim so torn up, he wondered if he'd made the right decision all those years ago.  God knows if he'd ever allowed himself to give his heart over to Jim, he'd never hurt him, not like this.

"Umm...that feels good," Jim breathed, as Leonard continued stroking his fingers through the soft hair.

Leonard thought that Jim had fallen asleep.  He sure needed the rest.  He'd been going non-stop for a week, and then having to face this kind of disappointment was taking its toll.  Leaning over, placing his mouth close to Jim's ear, he whispered, "Jim, when was the last time you slept?"

Jim shrugged his shoulders, slightly.  "I dunno.  A few days ago, I guess.  Too much going on...and still too much to do."

Leonard slid off the desk, and placed his hands on Jim's upper arms.  "Not for the next eight hours.  C'mon.  I'm takin' you to
your cabin and puttin' you to bed."

Obediently, Jim rose up.  Some of the color was back in his face, and it was obvious that the whisky had finally reached his bloodstream and was helping him to relax.  "Is that a proposal or a proposition, Doctor?" Jim grinned that killer half-grin of his.

"It'll be an order if you don't comply," Leonard smiled back, although he sincerely meant every word.


 

Chapter 2/2


 Before the two of them had left the privacy of his office, Leonard's hands had dropped to his side.  He knew better than to embarrass Jim by letting anyone see the captain being helped to his quarters.  True, this mission was ending, but whether it was the Enterprise, or another ship they were assigned to--he hoped it was *they* since he couldn't stand the idea of serving under anyone else--Jim had a reputation to uphold.  Heroes aren't supposed to be fallible, especially publicly.  It was a point Leonard understood well, and one of the reasons Jim trusted him.

However, once the two of them were alone in the turbolift, Jim seemed to sway and Leonard reached over and placed a steadying arm protectively around his friend's shoulders.  Instead of pulling away, he felt Jim lean into the contact. Even when the doors opened on the level where the officer's quarters were located, Jim allowed Leonard to support him.  Luckily, at this late hour, the corridor was deserted, and Jim's cabin was just steps away.

When they reached the door, Leonard reached up and keyed in his override code, saving Jim the effort.  The door slid open and the lights fully illuminated the cabin.  Too damned bright!  "Lights to one-quarter," he ordered.  Leonard guided Jim to the sleeping area behind the semi-transparent mesh divider and eased him on down on the edge of the bunk.

Jim attempted to toe off one boot, but after several tries he gave up.  This not being the first occasion of sharing a few shots of whiskey with Jim--far from it--Leonard knew this was more than just the relaxing effects derived from a moderate amount of alcohol.  This was a man who was not only physically, but also emotionally, depleted.

Leonard squatted down and pulled off Jim's boots and socks.  Then, standing up, he tugged at the edge of Jim's gold command shirt, getting him to raise his arms long enough to slide it over his head.  Tossing it onto the dressing stand, he reached for the top of the cover and pulled back the sheet and lightweight blanket.  "Here, Jim, lay down," he instructed.

Yawning, Jim leaned over until the side of his head hit the pillow, and then he rolled onto his back.  He unclasped the closure of his trousers and pushed them out from under his hips, but he didn't seem to have the strength to get them any further.  Leonard reached down, grabbed the hem at each ankle, and pulled them the rest of the way off.  He then pulled the cover up to Jim's chest.  Jim's eyes were already closed.  "Get some sleep.  I'll be back later to check on you," he whispered through a yawn of his own.

With that, Jim's eyes opened.  "Don't leave, Bones.  Not yet.  Call me crazy, but I don't want to be left alone...not right now."

Leonard nodded, stifling another yawn, and pulled up a small chair that was sitting just inside the divider.  "Sure, Jim.  I'll hang around until you fall asleep," he assured him.  'Crazy?' he thought.  Maybe.  Love has a tendency to do that.  Over the next hour, Leonard sat and watched, keeping a close vigil on his friend.  Twice Jim had fallen into a deep sleep, only to bolt straight up in the bed, sheer panic suffusing the normally self-confident persona.  A few words of reassurance, and Jim would lie back down and close his eyes.  Frequently, just when Leonard would hope that Jim had found the ability to rest, he would watch Jim's eyes crack open ever so slightly.  Once seemingly assured that Leonard was still there, the eyes would close again.

Ten minutes, or so, past without further incident, and Leonard began to relax, too much, perhaps.  Even sitting in the small,
decidedly uncomfortable chair, there were several times when Leonard would catch himself nodding off as sleep tried to claim him.  He would straighten himself quickly, much to the distain of his aching neck, and attempt to shake himself awake.

"Bones," Leonard heard, rousing him as he all but tumbled from the chair, his neck jerking so hard that he was surprised when his head didn't end up sailing across the cabin.  He forced open his eyes to see Jim staring at him.  "Bones, I'm fine.  You don't have to stay.  Go get some sleep."

Leonard shook his head.  Had he observed Jim resting soundly for any decent amount of time, he would've complied, but that was far from being the case.  "That's okay," Leonard mumbled.  "I'll hang around a little longer."

"Not if you're going to try to sit there, you're not.  You're going to break your neck."  Jim scooted to the far side of the bunk and held up one edge of the cover.  "Here.  Get in."

Leonard watched in near amazement as Jim situated himself, leaving room for him to lie down.  'Not smart!  Not smart...not smart...not smart!  He's vulnerable and, considering the circumstances and the late hour, you're both beyond thinking straight!'   It was the reasonable side of his brain that was screaming at him.  'Bid him good-night, and leave.'  The mental message was as clear and bright as a summer's day.

Then there was the other side of his brain, the one that always seemed to get him into trouble.  'You've shared bunks with him before,' it was telling him.  'Sure, it's usually in some jail cell you've managed to get yourselves tossed into, and certainly never onboard the ship, but it's not like you've never stretched out next to him before.  What could be the harm?  He's hurting, you're both beat...why shouldn't both of you get some needed rest?'  Why he ever listened to this side of his brain, why he didn't just check himself into the Elba II Neurological Clinic and have that part of his mind excised completely, he'd never know.

"Jim, you're not gonna be able to rest.  Not with me laying there, too," he replied, the reasonable side of his brain mustering a weak, half-hearted protest.

"Bones, I'm not going to rest at all if I wake up to an empty cabin, and I'm sure not going to be responsible for you cracking your skull open on the floor.  Come on."

He had to face it; neither the reasonable side nor the troublesome side of his brain could deny the look in those eyes.  "All right," he nodded, toeing off his boots.  He pulled off his socks and started to lay down in his medical tunic and trousers, but then decided to free himself from the confines of the tunic.  He pulled it off, tossed it onto the chair he'd just vacated, and crawled bare-chested into the bunk.  He rolled onto his side, crossed his arms tightly over his chest, and facing toward Jim, laid his head on the edge of the pillow.

Even though trying to keep some distance between them, the narrow, at least for two people, bunk didn't allow for much space.  Jim offered him a small, grateful smile, and then closed his eyes again.  It did seem that his presence was having a calming effect on his friend.  The tension in Jim's face seemed to be relaxing a bit.  Unfortunately, Leonard found that lying next to Jim had the opposite effect on him.  Suddenly, he was as wide-awake as he'd ever been, and wishing the bunk was a bit wider--about two feet wider would be just about right!  Wide enough so he couldn't feel Jim's body heat, or feel the warm puffs of moist air brushing against his flesh every time Jim exhaled.

He found it surprising that as long as Jim and Spock had been sharing a bed, they hadn't requisitioned a larger one.  Then again, he reminded himself, if two people *wanted* to be together, it was probably just the right size.  The cabin lights were still turned low, but not so low that he couldn't see the fringe of eyelashes as they lay softly against the gold-toned cheeks.  There had never, in the history of the universe, been an artist who had the ability to capture this kind of beauty, Leonard decided.  The mattress beneath him seemed to warm as he began to wonder how many times Spock and Jim had laid here, pressed together, relishing the feel of each other's bodies.

'Stop it!' his mind screamed.  He had no idea which side of his brain screamed that, but most likely it was both.  Neither side wanted to think about Spock making love to Jim, or vice versa, for that matter.  What were the mental techniques he used when doing their quarterlies?  What were the mental tricks he used to keep his mind off the reason Spock's anus was not as rigid as it used to be?  What had he done the time he noticed small, discolored areas trailing from the back of Jim's neck, down his spine, and across his buttocks, only to realize it was where someone had sucked a path to the treasures that lay below?  Hell, he remembered exactly what he'd done that time, and the many others besides.  He'd finished the exam as quickly as possible, locked himself in his office and done the only thing guaranteed to rid himself of a raging erection.  Just like the one he was getting now.  'Damn!'

Why hadn't he just listened to reason?  If he had, he wouldn't be in this predicament.  Well, he would just have to lie here and let Jim sleep.  Later, when he could quietly escape, he'd make his way to his own cabin and take care of the problem the same way he'd always done before.  How long had he been laying here?  Was it safe for him to leave, yet?  Jim's breathing seemed to be steady.  Could he ease himself out of the bed and make a get-away with Jim never being the wiser?

"Bones?" Jim whispered, his eyes still closed.

Leonard felt a shiver run through his body.  "Yeah?"

"Thanks...you know...for staying.  I know you think I'm being silly, maybe even childish.  I guess I think so, too.  Being someone who can command this ship, you'd think I'd be better prepared to handle a situation like this."

There it was, the vulnerability that few others ever had the privilege of witnessing.  Jim Kirk was as strong, as brave, and as fearless as any man in the universe, but even inside of him resided a tender soul with the ability to feel love and pain so deeply that, at least for tonight, he couldn't stand the idea of being left alone.  Even this side, maybe especially this side, Leonard found appealing.  "I don't think that, Jim.  Even the captain of a starship deserves to be human from time to time."

Whether it was his reply, or the obvious roughness that had seeped into his voice, Leonard didn't know, but the eyes opened and seemed to study him carefully.  Leonard felt self-conscious under the gaze, knowing that Jim had the ability to read him as no one else had ever been able to.  When he saw the eyes soften into understanding, he knew that Jim knew.  It was only a matter of whether they would ignore the obvious.  He had his answer when Jim sighed, "Oh...Bones.  I'm sorry.  I wasn't thinking when I asked you to stay.  You made it pretty obvious years ago that you weren't interested...so I didn't even consider..."

Leonard felt the heat as he flushed from head to toe.  "Jim...it's all right.  It'll pass.  Besides, to set the record straight, it was never a case of not bein' interested.  The fact is, I knew from the start that I couldn't be the person you needed as your CMO, and your lover, too.  Unlike Spock, I don't have the ability to separate the two.  In that way, he really was perfect for you, able to satisfy all aspects of your complex nature."

"Me?  Complex?" Jim grinned up at him, slightly.  "I'm not all that complex, Bones."

Leonard couldn't help but return the smile.  Perhaps it wasn't Jim's pain, but his smile that was the most contagious entity ever encountered.  "Jim, there never existed a man more complex than you are.  Hell, look what you've accomplished in just these last five years.  You've been a leader, a warrior, a diplomat, and on top of all that, you even managed to fall in love."

The grin faded, and Jim swallowed hard.  The brow creased when Jim said, "And look where it got me.  Afraid of being alone in my own cabin."

"Don't kid yourself, my friend.  It's not fear you're feeling.  It's grief.  Someone you love has rejected you, and you need time to deal with that.  Time to mourn a very real loss.  Time that you don't have.  You're not like the rest of us, Jim.  You can't allow yourself the liberty of bearing your soul for all to see."

"Except with you.  I've always been able to come to you, haven't I?  Why is that?  Why do I feel a freedom in your presence that I've never felt with another soul?  I don't think I would've made it through these years without you, Bones."

Leonard raised his hand and stroked the back of his fingers against Jim's brow, wanting to ease the tension he saw there."That works both ways, ya know."

"I'd like to think so.  I'd like to believe I've been there for you, too, but we both know that I've taken from you a lot more than I've ever given back."

"That's not possible.  My God, Jim.  You've given me the universe and someone I care for to explore it with.  What else is there?"

Leonard felt Jim's arm slip around his waist, pulling them together.  If there had been any secrets left between them, there weren't anymore, as Leonard felt his arousal press against the softness of Jim's groin.  He was aroused; Jim was not.  "There's love," Jim sighed.  "There's the love I've always felt for you, right from the beginning.  The love you wouldn't allow me to show you early on."

Leonard slid one arm under Jim's head, the other he slid around Jim's chest, his hand resting on Jim's back.  "And it's not the same as what you felt...and still feel.for Spock."

"No, not the same," Jim shook his head in that juncture between Leonard's neck and shoulder.   Leonard swore he felt a drop of wetness, and then another, slide down his shoulder and spill onto the bed underneath him.  "I wanted to give him everything.  I wanted to become a part of him."  Jim took a deep breath, perhaps it was a sniff, but if so, it was so soft that Leonard couldn't be certain.  Then Jim pulled his head back and looked up at him.  "With you, I've always wanted to share everything.  It's the reason I always find myself coming to you, in good times, and in bad."  Jim stretched up and placed his lips very close to Leonard's.  "Let me share tonight with you.  Hold me, Bones.  For tonight, let's hold each other."  He felt a stirring below as Jim responded to his presence.

Leonard looked into those eyes, still glistening from the tears secretly spilled for another.  In those few breaths of time, he waited for guidance from his mind, but there was nothing but silence.  He was on his own.  Moving his head toward Jim's ever so slightly, he captured the soft, warm mouth.  Tonight they would make love.  It would be out of need, and pain, and longing, and even love, and it may be the last time, or the first of many.  But for now, it didn't matter.  The chronometer on the desk clicked softly.  It was the beginning of a new day.


*******************


Spock sat at his computer screen.  After several hours of meditation, and repeated attempts to dismiss the offer presented to him by Jim earlier in the evening, he was composing his second communiqué that evening.  It was a message to Sarek.

'Father,

I understand, and appreciate, the contacts you have established between T'sai T'Vica and myself in these last months.  Discussions and negotiations regarding the formation of a bond between us have taken place.  Although I believed myself to be prepared for such a union, even to the point of resigning my commission--one of her requirements--and making preparations to travel to Vulcan to join with her, I have come to realize that these stipulations, specifically my resignation from Starfleet, is not a requirement with which I am able to comply.  This evening, I have forwarded to her a message stating that a union between us will not be possible.

However, Father, there is one with whom I do wish to bond.  It is Captain James Kirk, the commander of the Enterprise.  Until recently, I was unaware that he, too, would be receptive to such a union.  I have explained to him, in detail, that ours would be considered an illogical union, and that we would certainly face adversity among my people if we were to proceed.  I have elucidated to him, in depth, that the purpose of a bonding is two-fold: to quench the fires of the bloodfever, and to procreate.  I know him to be capable of achieving the first of these objectives, and although the second cannot be achieved naturally, there are other possibilities.

After careful consideration, I have come to realize that whatever adversity we may face will be small compared to the torment that would certainly be experienced if this unrequited need to be as one is left unfulfilled.  Therefore, it is my sincerest hope that my parents, and you specifically, will be accepting of my decision.  However, if you choose not to accept this bonding, if you refuse to accept the one of my choosing into our family, your decision will not in any way deter my resolution in this matter.

I anticipate your reply.

In most high regard,

Your son, Spock.'


Spock started to key the 'send' button, but then decided that it was only fair that he should inform Jim of his decision before taking it upon himself to notify his father.  Rising from his desk, he accessed the panel that connected the internal sections of their cabins and slipped through the adjoining passage.  Immediately, his senses told him that Jim was not alone.  There was a distinctive aura of foreign, yet familiar, human maleness that seemed to permeate the cabin.  However, it was three point six two seconds before he was able to identify the other person behind the mesh screen.

"Why do I feel a freedom in your presence that I've never felt with another soul?  I don't think I would've made it through these years without you, Bones."

"That works both ways, ya know."

"I'd like to think so.  I'd like to believe I've been there for you, too, but we both know that I've taken from you a lot more than I've ever given back."

"That's not possible.  My God, Jim.  You've given me the universe and someone I care for to explore it with.  What else is there?"

"There's love.  There's the love I've always felt for you, right from the beginning."

There was more, but as Spock slipped quietly back through the passage, his ears thrumming soundly with every beat of his heart, he did not hear it.  He quickly palmed the passage door shut.  Leonard McCoy and Jim--his Jim--were lovers?  How could he not have realized this?  Love.  It was a word that Humans used with such ease.

Stepping quickly to his desk, he pulled up the message and deleted the contents.  He then began again.

'Father,

I understand, and appreciate, the contacts you have established between T'sai T'Vica and myself in these last months.  Discussions and negotiations regarding the formation of a bond between us have taken place.  Although I believed myself to be prepared for such a union, even to the point of resigning my commission--one of her requirements--and making preparations to travel to Vulcan to join with her, I have come to realize that I am unable to comply with her stipulations.  I have forwarded to her a message stating that a union between us will not be possible.

My resignation from Starfleet, however, will not be rescinded.  Following the completion of this mission, I will be traveling to Vulcan, but not for the purpose of seeking a bondmate.  It is my decision to join the Order of the Kolinahru.  It is my sincerest hope that you will be accepting of my decision.  However, even if you choose not to accept this decision, it will not deter my resolution in this matter.

In most high regard,

Your son, Spock.'

He hit the 'send' key.  At that moment, the chronometer on the computer clicked over to 0000.  It was the beginning of a new day.



<finis>

Challenge: 136.   Kirk has split with Spock. McCoy helps him