Spock's hands rested on Jim Kirk's middle with a combination of tenderness and trepidation. He had never before ridden on horseback, and he doubted that he ever would have, if not for the cheerful urging of his dearest friend. However, Spock was utterly besotted, to the point where he would have accepted a ride to the bottom of the sea on the back of a giant squid, if Jim had been the one inviting him along.
Thankfully, the horse was a more familiar animal than the giant squid, and the valley through which they rode, though alien, provided more beautiful scenery than the depths of the sea. The sun was dribbling bits of golden warmth upon the brisk morning air, and the air smelled of trees and fertile dirt.
Spock could scarcely believe that less than two weeks ago, he'd been practically prepared to commit his entire life to his desert homeworld's most ascetic monastery. At the moment, he was more full of sensuality and emotion than he had ever thought possible. Of course, it was still tempered by logic and good sense; there was no reason to bend over backwards the other way until one toppled over.
Spending the morning on horseback had been a completely unpremeditated boon. After the conclusion of the Enterprise's encounter with V'ger, the ship had zoomed off into space on a shakedown cruise to test the workability of the refit additions. Not long afterwards, they'd received a call from Starfleet asking them to please send Admiral Kirk to visit the planet of Cashmerino in order to negotiate with their officials for Federation trading rights.
Kirk and Spock had arrived on the planet near dawn, and been treated to a sumptuous morning meal that included toast, spherical sausages in the native tradition, and breakfast quesadillas with real Earth-grown jalapeños inside. Clearly, the planetary natives spared no luxury for their distinguished guests. Kirk took seconds. Spock, having a distaste for meat and no great love for spicy food, ate mostly toast.
When breakfast was over, a clerk told them regretfully that the officials with whom they were to speak had been delayed in transit, and that there would be a four hour delay before the meeting could take place. They were welcome to take advantage any of the recreational activities at the civic center.
Once Kirk heard that there were horses available, his face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Spock! Let me take you riding," he pleaded.
During their first five-year mission together, Spock would probably have begged out and simply returned to the ship to contemplate petri dishes and equations during the interim, in an effort to avoid the simple act of enjoying something. But Spock had been transformed during his mind-meld with V'ger; he now truly understood that a life without joy and love was barren and mechanical, never desirable. He embraced his human half--and his Human. "I will ride with you," he consented, "but I will warn you that I have never before attempted this."
"You can ride behind me," Kirk reassured him. He turned to the groom. "Are your horses strong enough to carry two?"
And that was how Spock wound up seated behind Kirk on a large horse, galloping through a flowered meadow. He clung to him as tightly as his own nerve allowed; though he was in love, he hadn't yet touched him intimately. His feelings brought him no more fear, but he was still slowly warming up to the reality that someday, soon, he would spend his nights in Jim Kirk's arms.
Jim was content to wait. He understood. Spock leaned his head closer and almost rested it upon Kirk's shoulder--careful not to bump into him, of course, because the horse's movements made any such gesture risk crashing heads.
Riding with him was exhilarating. Being absolutely still with him was exhilarating, too, of course...
Then Spock's nerdy scientific mind kicked in and he began to use part of his brain to notate the interesting vegetation they were flying past with every hoofbeat.
Kirk stopped the horse at a small pond and let it drink. The sun had risen higher now, and both men were starting to sweat. "Whew!" Kirk exclaimed, wiping his forehead with his hand, and not for the first time.
"Thank you for the ride," Spock commented. "I am enjoying myself."
Kirk's face broke into an enormous smile. "I'm so glad, Spock. I've loved this since I was a little boy, and it means a lot to me to be able to share it with you." Then, suddenly and inexplicably, his face tightened into a grimace of pain. "Ah!"
"Jim?" Spock inquired with concern.
Kirk tried to shake it off with irritation. "Nothing--my--face is burning. Doesn't feel like a sunburn....?" Now he looked confused. "My hands are burning, too."
"I believe you were overzealous with the jalapeño peppers this morning," Spock hypothesized. "Once you touched them with your fingers, your hands became contaminated with capsaicin."
"And it spread to my face because I keep wiping the sweat from my eyes," Kirk grumbled. He sighed. "I was having such a perfect day until now... the horse, the weather, you being here with me...."
"The burning will decrease in time," Spock told him, regretting how unhelpful that statement was at the moment.
"I want it to decrease now," Kirk demanded. "You think this stuff would come off in the shower?"
"It is likely," Spock answered. "If we return the horse to the stable now, there is enough time to return to the Enterprise and shower before our meeting with the Cashmerine representatives at thirteen-thirty hours."
Kirk nodded, and tugged on the reins slightly to tell the horse to pick its head up from the pond. Then he kicked it gently in the sides and their ride started once again.
They stabled the horse and thanked the groom, then quickly beamed back up to the ship. As Kirk reformed on the transporter pad, a thought occurred to him. "Spock," he asked, leading his friend out into the hallway, "how am I going to wash myself? All that's going to do is spread the--what did you call it?"
"Capsaicin," Spock repeated. "(E)-N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)-8-methylnon-6-enamide, to be more accurate. It is the pepper plant's defense against herbivory. If you permit me to enter the shower with you, I will be able to clean you safely with no danger of contamination."
They were alone in the hallway. "Permit?" Kirk raised his eyebrows and smirked delicately.
Spock cast his long eyelashes downwards at the floor.
But Kirk allowed him the elegance of his slow approach. "Yes, Mr. Spock, I would be very grateful if you'd assist me in the shower."
Both of them smiled all the way back to Kirk's cabin. Spock felt deliciously naughty to smile for so long and in a public place--even though they were alone.
"My goodness, this hurts!" Kirk bitched as he peeled off his sweaty uniform. "My whole face is burning."
"I hope the taste of the peppers provided at least partial compensation for the misery they are causing you," said Spock, removing his own clothing.
"Oh, they were tasty, all right," Kirk said sadly. "By the end of breakfast I was starting to think about asking Sulu to grow some in that little conservatory of his."
"That may still yet be possible," said Spock, eyeing Kirk's nude body as he watched him program the water temperature into the tap. "As long as you are careful not to touch the inside of the peppers with your bare hands--"
"It's not worth the risk." Kirk stepped inside the shower stall. "I know I'll forget and eat with my fingers again. Bad habit. Join me?" He held out his hand to Spock.
Spock stepped forward and entered the shower with him. A thousand drops of water, each at the perfect temperature, greeted him in a hearty sprinkle. He was still awed by how good a water shower felt after two years of careful, water-conserving baths on Vulcan.
"You can wash yourself first," Kirk invited, pointing to a bottle of liquid soap sitting on the floor. "If you want."
Spock picked up the bottle and cleaned himself thoroughly and efficiently, all the while demurely admiring Jim's nude body. It was strong as ever, yet softer than he remembered it, somehow--but he looked forward to falling into that softness. The human's skin was pink from the heat and glimmering with water. Spock found it completely enticing and also completely intimidating. But the act of washing it would be a safe introduction for him to the wonders of Jim's flesh--one that came without any strings attached, and with him in total control of the encounter. For Jim was not to be touching him--yet--and losing control was still something Spock feared. He had not forgotten his first pon farr.
When he had finished with his own body, he squeezed more liquid soap into his hand and lathered it up. Then he knelt down on the floor of the shower and briskly washed both of Jim's feet.
He worked his way up the ankles to Jim's knees, and then his thighs. As Spock's hands continued up Jim's body to his torso, they traveled lightly over Jim's full rear end. Spock's blood quickened at his first touch of such an interesting area of flesh. He noticed Jim's genitalia twitch and begin to harden slightly, which thrilled him further.
He didn't touch that yet--instead, he lathered up Jim's stomach and carefully rubbed the soap over the other man's front. "I am pleased that your chest is once again free of hair," Spock remarked. Then he ran his foamy hands over Jim's pecs, grazing both nipples at once.
"Mm," Jim grunted in answer. More of his penis went turgid. Spock continued to clean him as if he hadn't noticed, moving soap all around Jim's back without missing an inch of skin.
Spock returned to the floor and gathered more soap into his hand. Now he ran his curious, searching fingers against Jim's inner thighs, exploring the contours and lines there which were uniquely Jim's.
He approached Jim's penis--now a majestic tower pointing straight at the wall--shyly from the back, by way of the testicles. He touched them first, washing them with infinite tenderness and delicacy. They filled his hand comfortingly, like they themselves wanted to be there.
Then Spock shifted his hand forward to grip the length of Jim's dick with five soapy fingers. He closed his hand and moved, back and forth rapidly, washing with confidence. The water and soap cleansed Jim of his sweat and outdoor grime, and the contact cleansed Spock of his reticence. He held him now--he held Jim's control in his hand, and Jim would ejaculate for him. All he had to do was keep on moving his hand, faster, and faster, and--
And suddenly, Jim was coming, squirting creamy fluid onto Spock's wrist. Jim cried out and steadied himself against the shower wall with one hand, using the other to gently caress Spock's head with a loving hand. "Oh, Spock!" he gasped when he found his breath. "Get up! Come up here." He reached for the Vulcan with desperation.
Spock resisted the embrace. "I have not yet washed those areas of you which were contaminated with capsaicin," he pointed out.
Jim's chest heaved--partially from the increased heart rate associated with orgasm, partially from disappointed passion. "Then wash me, dammit, so I can hold you, you--wonderful being."
Spock squeezed more soap into his hand and lathered them up. Then he took each of Jim's hands into his, one at a time, and carefully washed each finger with love and devotion. This act aroused him even more than his first hand-job had. By the time he had finished, all the soap was gone from both their hands and they were standing there with water pouring over them, their fingers entwining in a lattice of sensuality.
Jim squeezed one of his hands tightly, then let go. "Please wash my face. I've been dying to kiss you for--" He took a deep breath. "For six years."
"I know," Spock told him quietly. "I am sorry."
"Don't be. We both weren't ready." Kirk smiled. "I'm just glad we're finally here."
"In the shower?" Spock inquired.
"I didn't care if it was in the middle of a Klingon prison--I knew that someday, we'd kiss, and it would be wonderful."
"We still have not done so," Spock pointed out. "It is possible, though unlikely, that the ship will be attacked by Klingons in the next five seconds and both of us held for ransom, as high-ranking Starfleet officials--"
"You're still the straight-faced wise-ass I fell in love with six years ago!" Kirk crowed.
"You could wash your own face now," Spock pointed out, "since I have removed the capsaicin from your hands. However, I desire to touch your face, so I shall complete the task. Close your eyes, please."
Kirk obediently shut his eyes and waited.
He felt Spock's soap-slickened fingers brush against his face, caressing his cheeks and forehead carefully, then scrubbing at the space around his mouth. He was careful not to open his lips or eyes while Spock worked. Then he felt Spock's fingers nudging him backwards, into the water, to rinse off.
But Spock's touch did not leave his face. As the water washed the soap away, Jim realized that Spock's fingers had fallen into place for a meld. Yet Spock did not enter. Was he asking permission?
Not sure if enough soap was gone from his mouth for him to speak safely, Jim simply nodded.
"My mind to your mind."
Jim heard the first three words coming from just in front of him, where Spock was standing. The last two words, he heard as if they had come from inside his own skull, as if he himself had spoken them with Spock's voice. "Spock," he murmured out loud.
//I am here,// Spock said inside his mind.
//Spock... please let me love you for the rest of my life.// Jim's thoughts were brazenly optimistic and hopeful.
//Let you?// Spock echoed Jim's amusement earlier, when he'd asked permission to wash him. //Nothing would give me more satisfaction.//
//May I kiss you now?//
//No doubt an amount of pepper juice remains within your mouth tissue,// Spock surmised, //but I shall risk it.//
Their wet bodies clung together, cascades of hot water streaming over them as if they stood in the summer rain. Kirk tilted his head. His eyes were still closed, but he could tell exactly where Spock was because of the meld.
Spock leaned forward and kissed him slowly and deliberately. Jim gave the kiss his every attention and squeezed Spock's biceps with eager fingers.
Nearly a minute later, they pulled away. //I'd like to put your penis in my mouth,// said Jim's mind.
//Perhaps tonight,// Spock answered quickly. //I taste the sting of jalapeño juice on your lips and tongue.//
//Good idea,// Jim thought. //I'm sorry if I hurt you.//
//It is not unpleasant,// Spock replied. //Merely unusual. Experienced second-hand, it is much milder than if I had eaten the peppers myself.//
//You're really mine?// Jim asked, changing the subject suddenly.
//Always.// Spock trailed a finger of his free hand over the curve of Jim's hip.
Jim could tell that the soap was gone from his face by now, so he opened his eyes. Spock was a dream and a half, standing there with tiny droplets hanging from each streak of his slick, wet bangs. Jim took him in his arms again.
//I want you to come,// Jim pleaded. The feel of Spock's firm erection against his thigh was driving him wild.
Spock slurped a portion of Jim's neck into his mouth and Jim squealed with delight. Then Spock took himself in his hand and began jerking himself off against Jim's thigh.
Experiencing another person's orgasm through a meld was an incredible experience for Jim. He felt all of Spock's pleasure and ecstasy, but none of the physical responses--no quickened breath, no thumping heartbeat. Just a wave of delight and fulfillment. He held Spock closer, letting the Vulcan gasp over his shoulder as the climax throbbed away.
Spock's fingers drifted away from Jim's face. Jim looked disoriented for a moment with the break of mental contact, then found his stability within Spock's eyes. "I don't know what I would have done if you'd never come back," Jim said suddenly.
"Come," said Spock, gesturing outside the shower. "We are expected on Cashmerino."
One quick dance with a set of fluffy towels later, they quickly donned fresh uniforms and hurried back to the transporter pad. "I'm so hungry," Kirk commented.
"That is not surprising, considering all we have done this morning."
Kirk grinned. "What do you think they'll have for lunch down there?"
"I do not know," Spock replied, "but I shall make certain you consume only those foods containing mild ingredients."
Jim's eyes twinkled with understanding and pride as he and Spock sizzled into energy.