New2U "Another Paradise", K&S,h/c, G

Hier nun meine Story, nur eine kurze, hoffe, sie gefällt euch.

Title: Another Paradise
Author: paxstartrek
Type: Short story
Codes: K&S,h/c
Rating: G
Summary: A short sequel to "This Side of Paradise"
Disclaimer: Star Trek, Kirk and Spock belong to Paramount, I just borrowed them.
Beta: Thanks to Gamin Davis.

Spock sat at the table lost in thoughts, staring into nothing when Kirk found him. He hesitated to reach out to him, not knowing what to say. The spores were gone, but the pain remained like a burning flame inside every cell of the Vulcan. Kirk hadn't dared to say a word to him for days.

The Human felt a slight distress because the lonesome hours in the evening had left their mark. But what was he supposed to do? Though Spock had assured him that his place was at his side, Kirk couldn't ignore the sadness in his friend's eyes. Still he looked at the Vulcan with concern. Should he offer a talk, right now?

Then Spock turned around looking straight in Jim's eyes. "Is there anything I can do for you, Captain?" his left eyebrow was uplifted.

/He must have sensed my feelings/, Kirk thought.
"I was wondering if you might be the one who needs help," he said cautiously, coming closer to the Vulcan.

Spock turned away, raising his mental shields more than he usually did. "I...think, I will inform you if help is necessary, Captain." he announced coolly, knowing that Kirk would be hurt by his words, but he didn't want to discuss anything with him. Still he was embarrassed about his behavior, and on top of that, he was totally unsure about his feelings toward Leila and why he felt so uneasy with the thought of sharing them with Jim.

Kirk tried to hide his disappointment and went back to his cabin. His shift was over and nothing spectacular was about to happen. Would it be one more lonely evening with station reports or ball games from the data base? He sighed and entered his quarters, unsure how long he could endure this terrible silence between him and his First Officer.

Jim remembered the solitude on board so vividly, when all crew had left the ship to join the colonists. He had sat in his chair on the Bridge, being scared by the quietness and the desperate question: what could he have offered against paradise? Jim still sensed the anxiety creeping up his body.

What would he give for a talk to ease the nagging doubts?

+++

Spock stayed in his quarters, meditating but he couldn't concentrate. Yesterday he had said "Goodbye" to Leila when they arrived at Starbase  27. All feelings had been purged inside him, though her cheeks were wet and her last gaze was branded into his mind like a terrible dream one seemed never able to wake up from.

Emotions ebbing and flowing tortured his wounded soul, but he couldn't find a way to control them. This woman...oh, she was so sweet and warm, so sensitive and beautiful that Spock had felt like he was walking inside a never ending dream of happiness.

He belonged.

And now he felt thrown outside again, alone, misunderstood and only defined by functional reason. Though the spores had gone, he was experiencing an aftertaste of those feelings as if he still remembered the smell of her hair and the moisture on her lips.

/Leila/, His mind echoed, painfully and longingly.

How long was he supposed to endure this? Should he surrender to the power of loss and grief or should he fight against it? He had experienced emotions before, but nothing so overwhelming and devastating. Spock still sat on his meditation pillow, his head lowered in agony, when the doorbell rang. After a pause, he responded. "Come."

The door opened and Jim Kirk stood on the threshold, waiting. "Spock, do you mind me coming in?" The Vulcan made an inviting gesture, not looking into his friend's eyes. Reluctantly, Kirk entered the room.

Spock didn't move.

The Human felt apprehensive, not knowing how to begin. "I...I wanted to apologize for my words in the transporter room.", Kirk said.

The Vulcan didn't look up.

"You've been so silent lately, Spock...I can't stand this much longer, please talk to me." The Vulcan shields were raised like walls, invincible and cold. "You think I'm responsible for the loss of Leila, don't you?" Kirk desperately tried to break the silence. Spock must have been hurt so deeply, Kirk was afraid his friend would never forgive him. Jim moved to the deep red pillow where Spock knelt in a heartbreaking posture. He sat beside him.

"I'm sorry for what happened to you and Leila." he paused, then continued, "I didn't know you never experienced happiness before, not even...with me." Jim hesitated, "I WAS...AM happy...always, Spock...when you are around me." He lowered his head. "I didn't mean to hurt you..."

"It's okay if you are angry with me...I can understand that." he continued, "but please, talk to me, yell at me, just *say* something." The strains of the last days had taken their toll. Kirk remained exhausted beside his First Officer, not knowing what else to say.

A weak Vulcan hand touched his right arm, slowly but determined. Jim looked up and finally, their eyes met.He saw tears on the Vulcan's face. Kirk was deeply touched by this gesture of trust.

"I won't leave you, Spock, until I know you forgive me." Kirk whispered, barely audibly.

For minutes, which seemed to be endless, the Vulcan didn't move. He just held Jim's hand and cried faintly, letting go of the pressure, slowly feeling an ascending relief. Still he couldn't speak because emotions whirled inside him, tossing him to and fro through chaotic spheres of pain.

Kirk didn't let go of Spock's hand, sensing the inner turmoil of his friend. The mental shields were barely holding. Spock was afraid to hurt Jim but step by step he managed to gain control again. Slowly, he could see that there was no anger towards his Captain and soon he sent him unspoken words of assurance and understanding. As time passed, Spock relaxed more and more.

"I did not want to realize that my life with Leila on Omicron III would have been a lie." Spock finally said, "it seemed so easy to feel and just to express the feelings." He took a deep breath, "I did not really love her, Jim, I think, I just wanted to belong, to be at peace, no duty, no struggle, only pure relief of pain. That seemed so ...out of reach in my real life." Sadness flooded his eyes with tears again.

"Paradise..." the Human concluded.

"My own little paradise, Jim...yes. I did love her for giving that to me even if it turned out to be an illusion." he responded.

The Vulcan rose.

"I apologize for discarding you and thank you for staying with me." the Vulcan announced softly, still exhausted and a bit embarrassed. "I..." his voice faded.

Cautiously Kirk put his arm around the friend's shoulder. He moved closer, sensing the trembling of Spock's body and held him for a long time. "I wish you could see that there is another paradise here on board." Kirk whispered, "Maybe less perfect but still desirable."

Spock had known that all the time. For the first time, he lowered his shields completely and allowed Kirk to understand why he didn't return to Leila when she was imploring him to stay. He fell into Kirk's embrace and knew that all he ever needed was here, in these arms.