TITLE: Miracle of the Lights
AUTHOR: Sara
RATING: NC-17.
SUMMARY: Kirk and Spock find love with each other during Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights
DISCLAIMER: Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise , and the entire Star Trek Universe belong to Paramount/Viacom. I'm just taking them out for a little fun and will return them cleaned and dressed when I'm done. No profit is being made from this.
NOTE: Written for kira-nerys's Holiday Challenge.
FEEDBACK ADDRESS: sara_merry99@yahoo.com , any and all feedback welcome.
PAIRING: K/S
SERIES: TOS
BETA: Much credit goes to my wonderful beta and friend, Singer. Laughing at typos has never been so much fun. jm provided encouragement and moral support.

MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTS

James T. Kirk beamed back up to the Enterprise from Earth after a long, grueling day of meetings. Following the incident with V'Ger, he wanted to head out into space, but there were required debriefings and meetings, followed by parades and celebrations all over the planet -- then the outcry from the Federation Council began. How could the defense of Earth have fallen on one partially renovated ship with an untried crew? To address the scandal, Starfleet was holding an Emergency Defense Conference. Kirk was up to his neck in committees and fact-finding commissions using his expertise, both as a starship captain and in 'Fleet Operations, to help develop a defense plan.

Kirk strode down the corridors and sighed. He knew the meetings were important, but they weren't what he'd hoped for when he regained command of the Enterprise. God, he hated red tape.

He walked into his room. "Lights, 75%." The lights came up as he walked to his closet looking for something comfortable to wear. While changing, he contacted Spock on the comm, "Spock, this is Jim. I'd like to invite you to join me in my quarters for a drink."

Spock's baritone, mellowed by meditation, replied, "Certainly. May I have 15 minutes?"

"I'll see you then."

Exactly 15 minutes after the call, Spock entered Kirk's quarters.

"Ah, Spock, right on time, as always," Kirk said.

"I have learned that some humans consider it polite to be a few minutes late for a social engagement but I do not understand the practice," Spock said.

Jim smiled and said, "I donít know how I'd react if you were late for a social engagement. I'd probably call for McCoy and a medical team." He ushered Spock into the room, toward the table and chair. "Will you join me for something before we have our drink...a ritual,I guess you'd call it."

Spock raised an eyebrow at that. "What kind of ritual?"

Kirk raised his hands in a reassuring gesture. "Nothing earth-shattering. It's Hanukkah and I wanted to share some of the celebration with you." He desperately wanted to reach out to Spock, to rebuild the connection they had during the five year mission. Every moment with Spock felt fragile and the pain of Spock's cold gaze when he returned to the Enterprise from Gol haunted him.

Spock was standing a little rigidly, "I do not understand. Why do you wish to share this with me?"

"You're my friend, my best friend, Spock. This is a side of me that few have seen. I would like to share it with you," Jim said quietly, not wanting to reveal too much of his feelings, not yet, not suddenly.

Spock bowed slightly. "I am honored. What is involved?"

Jim relaxed, feeling an openness from Spock he feared lost forever. Taking an elaborate candleholder out of the cabinet behind him and two candles out of a box, he placed them on the table. The candle holder had places for nine candles, one raised and the other eight arranged in an ascending spiral. The whole piece gave an impression of sleekness, elegance and grace of line.

Jim placed one of the candles in the raised candle holder and the other in the lowest of the candle cups. He asked, "Do you know anything about Hanukkah, Spock?"

"It commemorates a miracle in ancient times on Earth, eight days of light from one day's worth of oil, if memory serves," Spock said.

"That's correct. We light one candle on the first night, two on the second, and so on."

"Is this the second night, then?" Spock asked, looking curiously at the menorah.

Confused, Jim looked at his hands placing two candles into their places. "Oh. No, this one," he pointed at the raised candle, "doesn't really count. It's called the shammash, the helper. We use it to light the other candles."

After a moment, Jim said, "Okay, Spock, Everything's ready. All you need to do is listen." Spock nodded agreement. Jim produced a lighter and lit the wick on the shammash candle. He lowered the lights, then took the candle in his hand and held it up. "Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah." He lowered the candle and lit the candle in the holder. "Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha'olam, shehecheyanu v'kiy'manu v'higianu laz'man hazeh, amen."

Gazing at the candles, he repeated the blessings in Standard, "Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sustainer of the Universe, who has made us holy with commandments and commanded us to light Hanukkah candles. Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sustainer of the Universe, for sustaining us and enabling us to reach this day."

He turned and smiled at Spock. "Thank you, Spock. That's the extent of the ritual. I told you it was nothing earth-shattering."

Spock contemplated for a moment, then asked, "You bless your Divinity for commanding you to light candles?"

Jim shrugged slightly and said, "Iím not very observant, but part of what makes us Jewish is that we are subject to these commands. I guess that's why they seem like a blessing. What can I get for you to drink? I have some spice tea that I think you might enjoy or, if you prefer, brandy or whiskey..."

"The tea would be agreeable," Spock said, easing himself into the chair at the table and looking at the candles. He looked thoughtful. "I was not aware, Jim, that you are Jewish."

Jim shrugged a little again. "It's in my records. It's not something I really talk about. But it's very much part of who I am. "

When the tea was ready, Jim handed a mug to Spock and placed his own on the table. "There's a bit more to the observance. Hang on a minute." He retreated into his bedroom, returning a minute later with a vase of sunflowers. He held them out to Spock, feeling shy. "These are for you. I thought you might enjoy them."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I do not understand."

"Part of the holiday is giving gifts." At the sight of Spock's raised eyebrow and stiffening shoulders, Kirk hurried on, "Don't worry, I know it is not the Vulcan way to exchange gifts. Just...I thought you would appreciate the sunflowers."

Kirk held his breath, waiting while Spock examined the flowers. He chose the sunflowers carefully and hoped Spock would find the beauty Kirk saw in them.

The moment Spock saw it, his brown eyes hinted at the smile his mouth withheld. "They are mathematically perfect at the center, yet surrounded by color. They are beautiful. Thank you, Jim, I shall indeed enjoy these," Spock said, warmly.

Jim felt happiness through his whole body. "I'm so glad. They should last in the vase until the end of the holiday, I imagine. Sulu could tell you how to dry them, if you wanted."

Spock looked at the flowers, the smile lingering faintly in his eyes, and said, "I do not require permanence."

They drank their tea together, watching as the candles burned out in the holder, and enjoying the companionable silence.

As the candles flickered out and Jim quietly ordered the lights back to normal intensity, Spock took his sunflowers in their vase, and rose to go. "I thank you for allowing me to participate, Jim."

Jim rose as well, peeling the dripped wax from the menorah to cover the slight awkwardness. "Thank you for joining me, Spock. It means a lot to me."

After Spock left, Jim tidied away the menorah and the lighter considering his motivations. He wanted to share Hanukkah with Spock, wanted to observe it himself for the first time in many years. After losing Spock to Gol when he revealed his love after the five year mission, nearly losing him for good, and miraculously getting him back during the V'Ger emergency, Kirk knew that he couldn't lose him again. Oh, he knew it was V'Ger that called Spock back from Gol --V'Ger and maybe some of Kirk's own longing. But Spock was back, back in his life, back in his heart. His burning urge to give thanks for the long ago miracle of the lights was ignited by his gratitude for Spock's return.

 

*******

 

The next evening, after a duty shift involving nothing more strenuous than processing more of the performance data from the refitted Enterprise, Spock returned to his cabin. He changed into his meditation robe, and knelt to meditate. He focused his meditation on the beauty of the sunflowers, the logical perfection of their centers set within the irregularly placed, and gloriously colored petals. His meditation settled and ordered his thoughts, as always, but left him with a curious sense of warmth, perhaps from the color of the flower petals.

As he put the vase of flowers away, the comm buzzed. "Spock here."

"Spock, it's Jim. I haven't interrupted anything have I?"

"No. I have completed my meditation. What is it you wish?"

"I'd like to ask you to join me for a drink again and for tonight's candles." They agreed to meet in 15 minutes.

The ritual of the candles was similar, but not the same. Two candles were placed in the lower candle cups and only one blessing was spoken.

"Why was the second prayer omitted?" Spock asked once the candles were burning and they were sitting drinking spice tea.

"The blessing we skipped, the one thanking God for sustaining us and bringing us to this point in our lives, is one for beginnings and new things. So it's only for the first night of the holiday." Kirk looked a little uncomfortable, "I'm sorry, Spock. I'm not a very good ambassador for my faith. I could probably recommend some reading material, if you're interested."

Spock considered for a minute, before concluding that his interest was primarily in Jim, not in Judaism. "Thank you. I found your explanation adequate."

Jim nodded, then abruptly stood and said, "I almost forgot," before trotting into his bedroom. He returned with a beautiful spiraled shell, split in half to reveal its inner structure, and handed it to Spock. "It's a chambered nautilus shell. It's another of Earth's beauties for you."

Spock looked at the shell, enjoying the smooth, cool feel of it. He noticed the spiral, and the arrangement of the chambers within the shell. "The spiral, it's the same mathematical pattern as in the sunflowers." Again his eyes smiled, though his mouth remained as impassive as ever.

"You're smiling, Spock," Jim said, his human eyes glowing with a warmth that always disrupted Spock's control. Spock's heartraced. It was that look, and the feelings it aroused, that had driven him to Gol.

Automatically, Spock's face returned to its normal mask and he said, "I assure you...."

"It's okay, Spock," said Jim quickly. "I don't think anyone else can see it, and I promise not to tell. I just like seeing you look happy." Jim backed away, slightly, looking a little uncomfortable. He turned to adjust the menorah, fidgeting with the spare candles in the box.

Spock was at a loss for words. He gently stroked the contours of the nautilus, focusing his attention on the shapes and the smoothness. After a moment, he noticed that Jim was watching his hands, following the movement, the near-caress of the touch. Jim swallowed nervously and turned to get their tea.

They drank as they watched the candles burn. Spock noticed that Jim's topaz gaze only occasionally strayed from where the nautilus rested in his lap and from his long fingers roaming over it.

When the first candle guttered out, Jim rose to his feet and raised the lights. He ushered Spock gently out the door with expressions of thanks. At that moment Spock bemoaned his inexperience with emotional interactions; he could sense that something very important to Jim, and therefore important to himself, was happening but he could not determine what it might be. His time at Gol had cost him much, not least his beginning understanding of human emotions. He wanted something desperately but couldn't allow himself to put a name to it.

 

***********

 

On the third day, Kirk again contacted Spock shortly after his return from the Conference on Earth. "Hello, Spock. Would you care to join me again? It occurs to me that I've been remiss, we could have dinner together after the candles."

"Certainly, Jim. That would be most acceptable. I will be there in 15 minutes."

That evening, Spock placed the candles, three this evening, plus the shammash, in the holder while Jim opened a bottle of wine for them. Before Jim began lighting the candles, Spock asked, "Would it be offensive for me to join you in the blessing? I would like to participate more fully."

Jim blushed slightly, and smiled. "It would make me very happy, Spock." Then he lit the shammash and held it up. Together they spoke the blessing, and Kirk lit the candles. He stood for a minute, staring at the menorah, his eyes bright with the glow of the candles. He turned those bright eyes to Spock, his face aglow. "Thank you, Spock. I haven't..." He shook his head slightly and walked to the wine bottle. "I haven't shared Hanukkah with anyone for many years. This means a lot to me."

"I still do not understand why you have chosen to share it with me, Jim. However, I am gratified that my presence is pleasing to you."

Kirk forced himself to rein in his emotions, to limit what he was showing Spock. He needed to remember to be patient, to follow Spock's lead. "It is. Would you like some wine? Or I have more of that tea if you prefer."

Spock honored the emotional retreat. "Wine would be acceptable. May I assist?"

"If you could pour, I'll just get dinner. Since we're in orbit, I was able to get us something special."

Spock poured the wine while Kirk worked with the food slots, eventually bringing over a serving platter with vegetables, pita bread, falafel and hummus. He set the platter on the table, then brought over individual plates and silverware. "There. Entirely vegetarian and falafel is reasonably traditional for this holiday."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "There are traditional foods?"

Kirk nodded. "Yep, that's part of the fun. This is a holiday of which Bones would never approve. Fried foods are traditional. We'll have donuts for dessert."

After dinner, as Kirk was escorting Spock to the door, he said, "Tomorrow evening, I have tickets for an event on the planet, a concert. Would you be able to attend?" Kirk felt as nervous as he had the first time he'd asked someone out on a date. Never had anyone meant as much to him.

Spock's eyebrow rose, "Yes. Will we be forgoing the pleasure of the candles then?" Jim smiled at that. He wondered if Spock was fully aware of having expressed a sense of ownership in the holiday.

"No, I was thinking we could light them when we got back. We'll be able to eat while we're out. It's not quite traditional, but it'll be fine," Kirk said, looking at Spock with pleasure.

"Indeed. I will look forward to it. At what time is the concert?" Spock asked. They made arrangements to meet in the transporter room at 1730 for beam down to the concert hall.

 

********

 

When Spock entered the transporter room the next evening, Jim was already there, speaking with the transporter technician about beam-down coordinates. Kirk was dressed in fitted brown pants and an ivory velvet tunic which clung to his muscled torso. Spock's heart began to race. Never had the human looked so tempting. His golden hair and lion eyes shone like jewels against the neutral colors of his attire. Spock allowed himself a brief moment of longing that dried his mouth. One thing he learned at Gol -- Jim Kirk was the essential component of any peace or contentment he might find.

Jim looked up and smiled. Spock stood quietly inside the door, basking in the golden glow of this man he was proud to consider his friend, but found himself hoping for so much more.

"Spock, I was just discussing with Randall here where we're going."

"Indeed, Captain, I am most curious."

"I'll tell you when we get there, Mr. Spock," Jim said as he walked onto the transporter platform. Spock stood quietly on the pad next to Jim and waited through the tingling of the dematerialization and materialization process.

When they arrived, Spock glanced at the modern concert hall that stood out so sharply from its ancient surroundings. He gauged from the architecture and the voices around him that they were in the city of Prague. Jim escorted him to the entrance.

"This is a very new hall, without any real atmosphere, but it's the only place I could find playing this specific piece of music." Jim gave their names to the usher and they were escorted to a private box with an excellent view of the stage. On the stage was a lone harpsichord.

People pointed at them and whispered as they walked past. Their faces had been all over the news following both the five year mission and again following the V'Ger incident and they were quite well known. Spock assumed that the staff of the hall had been instructed to be discreet.

As they seated themselves, Jim said, "I've arranged permission for us to beam directly from our box back up to the ship after the concert. Unfortunately, leaving will be difficult otherwise."

Spock nodded, and then asked, "What is to be performed, Jim?"

Jim handed him one of the playbills and said, "J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. It is going to be performed by a Vulcan harpsichordist, T'Arek. The Well Tempered Clavier was written by Bach as a theoretical piece. It consists of a series of preludes and fugues in the major and minor keys of Western Terran music."

Spock raised an eyebrow, "It sounds intriguing."

Jim and Spock engaged themselves in reading the playbill and discussing interesting points with each other. Spock's knowledge of Terran musical forms was not extensive, but he understood the basic nature of fugues.

Once the performance started, Spock was transfixed by the music. While not overly emotional, the music was definitely stirring, and the interlocking harmonies and notes intrigued him. T'Arek's performance was precise and controlled, and suited the music perfectly. Spock felt a lightness in his heart and a distinct feeling of joy. That Kirk had known how much he would appreciate this music brought a rush of feelings he was weary of fighting.

He turned away from watching T'Arek fingers playing across the keyboard of her instrument to find that Jim was watching him, as if he'd been watching him for a long time.Warmth infused him, and knew it must have shown on his face somehow because Jim smiled back, and rested his hand on Spock's arm. Spock rested his own hand on Jim's, holding it against his arm, and returned to watching the performance.

When the intermission came almost two hours later, Jim rose and helped Spock out of his seat. "I've ordered beverages and a light meal to be delivered to our box and we have a private head if you need it, so we don't have to face the crowd."

"Thank you, Jim," Spock said. "I am most in need of a chance to stand and walk." Spock gently pulled his hand from the other's grasp. When he did so, Kirk took a step back, increasing the space between them. Spock was surprised when the loss of nearness left him feeling cold and yet, out of habit, he resisted the urge to reach for Kirk.

"You seem to be enjoying the performance, Spock, I'm pleased," Jim said, as they walked around theirprivate box. "I understand that T'Arek's performance of this piece is regarded very highly."

"It seems like a good choice for a Vulcan performer. The fugues are fascinating in their logic." After a moment's thought, Spock continued, "I should like to hear it performed by a human. I believe the comparison would be revealing."

Jim smiled, but did not explain what had pleased him so, and before Spock could ask the drinks and food were delivered. They ate and talked quietly about the food and the music until the lights flashed to indicate that the intermission was over and the concert was about to resume.

After the second half of the performance, Jim and Spock returned to the ship and went directly to Jim's cabin. It was quite late.

Spock found that Jim had already set up the menorah with the candles, so Jim immediately lit the shammash and held it up for the blessing. This time, Spock reached out and touched Jim's arm as they spoke the blessing together and Spock knew his voice was a little rough.

After the candles were lit, Jim once again disappeared into his bedroom and emerged with a gift.

Spock took the offered data-chip with a puzzled look and raised an eyebrow in inquiry.

"It's a recording of The Well Tempered Clavier by a human performer of the last century. It'll let you compare a human's approach to the piece with T'Arek's."

Spock nodded, the corners of his eyes crinkling with pleasure. "I am certain I shall enjoy it. Thank you."

"Seeing you smile like that is all the thanks I need, Spock," Jim said, sounding a little breathless. After looking into Spock's chocolate brown eyes for a moment, he suddenly seemed to feel awkward and walked away. From the other side of the room, he said, "I'm having a small Hanukkah party tomorrow night. There are a few other Jewish members of the crew who are invited, as well as the senior staff. It would mean a lot to me if you could come."

Spock stood and moved to stand behind Jim. He reached out a hand and placed it on Jim's shoulder. "I would be honored to attend your party, Jim. What time shall I arrive?"

"1900, in Rec Room 2," Jim said. Spock felt Jim lean back into his touch and was gratified. But then, suddenly, both became embarrassed and the evening ended shortly after.

 

*********

 

After the next day's meetings, Kirk set to work preparing for the party. He changed into civvies and went to the recreation room to check on the arrangements. Most of the work had been done by others, one of the perks of being captain, but he wanted to make some final adjustments. Tables were arranged for people to eat comfortably; there were sofas for chatting and even a small dance floor so couples could dance. Jim went around the room placing dreidels and chocolate coins on each of the tables.

He was putting the final touches on the room when the chef he had hired to make potato pancakes arrived with all of his ingredients and equipment on a grav sled. Jim smiled and greeted the man warmly, "Ah, Mr. Liebowitz, thank you so much for coming. It just isn't Hanukkah without handmade latkes."

The man nodded and looked around the room. "Where shall I set up?" Kirk showed him the table and Mr. Liebowitz brought potatoes, fresh eggs, and onions out of his boxes and began chopping and grating and mixing.

He looked around the room and hoped that everything would be fine. Kirk never had a Hanukkah party before and, exept for in the line of duty, had little contact with the other Jewish members of the crew. He'd attended an occasional service, when he was free and they needed a tenth for the minyan, and attended several shiva services with them for Phillips, lost to V'Ger's probe, but he wasn't an active member of the ship's Jewish community. He never had been. Suddenly, this year he needed to celebrate Hanukkah. He needed to celebrate it with Spock to show him this part of himself. Kirk doubted that most of the crew even knew he was Jewish, but he wanted Spock to know all of him. Kirk wanted Spock, and he wanted Spock to want him, all of him. Even the parts he hid from the rest of the world. He just hoped he wasn't pushing too hard.

Kirk pulled himself out of his reverie when guests started to arrive. Scotty and Uhura arrived together a couple of minutes early, offering to help set up if necessary. Lieutenants Levy and Golden, from Security, showed up with their menorahs, placing them on a shelf by the observation port next to Kirk's own.

When Spock walked into the room, exactly on time, Kirk was conferring with Mr. Liebowitz about when he should start cooking the latkes. Spock drew Kirk's eyes like a magnet. In his hands, Spock carried his lute. Jim caught Spock's eye, smiled broadly, and strode over to greet him. "Spock, I'm so glad you're here."

Spock inclined his head. "I am gratified to be here. I do not know what entertainment you had planned, but thought I might play later, if you would like."

Jim's eyes sparkled. "That'll be great. I'm sure everyone will love it."

"I thank you." He placed his lute aside in a safe corner and went to join Uhura andthe Doctor, in conversation.

About half an hour after the party started, Jim gathered everyone together to light the candles. The non-Jewish guests watched silently as everyone who was lighting a menorah stood together holding up the shammash candles and speaking the blessing. Jim found that he missed Spock's warm baritone speaking the blessing with him, missed more than anything the gentle touch on his arm from the night before.

Later, as the candles were burning, Kirk found his way through the crowd to Spock's side. "Come on, we can play dreidel with Sulu and Tuckman," Kirk said, leading his friend toward one of the tables. "These are good dreidels, so they shouldn't be weighted. I swear the one Sam and I played with as a child always landed on a hey."

As they sat, Spock asked, "What are the rules of this game?"

Kirk and Tuckman looked at each other, then looked a little embarrassed. Tuckman said, "Well, Mr. Spock, as I was just explaining to Mr. Sulu here, it's not a very good game."

Kirk nodded. "But it can be a lot of fun if people get into the spirit of it. There's no skill or strategy, just chance."Kirk and Tuckman took turns explaining the few rules of the game and then they began to play. Sulu got into the spirit right away, laughing as he took chocolate coins out of the kitty pile and pouting in an exaggerated manner when he had to put all of his chocolate back in.

Kirk watched Spock carefully, trying to sense whether the Vulcan was enjoying the experience. Spock's reaction was, of course, restrained and he accepted both good and bad spins of the top with equanimity. At a signal from Mr. Leibowitz, Kirk excused himself from the game and made an announcement that the food was ready. There was sour cream and applesauce to eat with the latkes and plain raw and steamed vegetables to provide balance to the meal.

After the meal, Spock tuned his lute and began to play. He and Uhura started with some songs that were popular among the crew. Jim watched him transfixed, the long slender fingers strumming the instrument so delicately and so precisely. He wondered how it would feel to have those fingers touching and caressing him, but clamped down on the thought when he felt himself getting hard. This was neither the time nor the place for that; he ignored the pang he felt when he remembered that there might never be a time or place for it.

When Uhura begged out of further singing because her throat was dry, Spock continued to play. Jim walked toward him through the room, drawn forward by the pull of Spock's eyes on him, until he was standing just a few feet away. Spock finished a tune, nodded his head slightly to Kirk, and began to play a theme Jim recognized from the concert the night before. Kirk's heart swelled and his breath caught at the idea that Spock had so enjoyed his gift, so made it a part of himself, that he had transposed it for his own instrument.

After Spock finished playing the piece and acknowledging the applause, he put his lute aside, looked at Jim and said, "The Vulcan lute does not have the capacity of the harpsichord, but Bach's theme and countertheme could be adequately transposed for the instrument. Unfortunately, my experimentation did not lead me to a solution that preserved the fugue structure of the original."

Jim resisted an urge to reach out and stroke that austere cheek, to run his fingers across those lips. "Spock, that was beautiful. I don't know..." He stopped himself, afraid to say anything in case he said to much, afraid to assume that he wasn't projecting his own longing, his own love, onto Spock. He settled for saying "Thank you" with as much warmth and gratitude and happiness as he could put into the words.

"I am gratified that you enjoyed it. I worked on it through much of the night. I wanted to be able to perform something special at your party," Spock said, looking at Jim with an unreadable expression on his face. Jim was familiar with his not-quite smile, the crinkling of the eyes that indicated amusement and pleasure. This look was different, very intense and serious and Spock never let his eyes leave Jim's face.

"That makes it even better, Spock. Will you play it for me again if I ask you to?"

"Yes. It is yours, Jim." Spock continued to look deeply into Jim's eyes, his eyes getting softer. "I desire to do so very much."

Jim reached out toward Spock, then looked around the room, remembering for the first time since his gaze had locked with Spock's that they were not alone. The others were continuing with their talking and games. Now that Spock's performance was done, music was playing through the room's entertainment system and couples were beginning to dance. Jim suddenly regretted the party. He wanted to be alone with Spock, wanted to have been alone with Spock as he played.

Spock looked as well and seemed to also be taking notice of the crowd in the room. He straightened and settled his face into its emotionless mask so thoroughly Kirk felt with sick certainty that he had imagined the intense look. "You had best see to your guests, Jim. I believe it is impolite of me to monopolize the host at a party."

Kirk nodded and tried to settle his mind, to focus again on the party. "Of course. You're right, Spock." He started to walk away, then looked back at Spock, "You'll stay for a while longer?"

"Yes. The odds of Mr. Sulu continuing his successful run at the dreidel game are 1 in 1246. I believe those odds favor me increasing my supply of chocolate coins."

Hours later, Spock collected his lute and excused himself as the guests started to filter out of the rec room. Kirk escorted him to the door and said, "Thank you for coming. I hope you've had a good evening."

"Yes. It was quite agreeable. The latkes were most pleasant."

Spock looked at Jim, just a trace of the former intensity in his eyes. Jim licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry, feeling slightly faint. "I'm glad, Spock." He didn't know what to say, what would be appropriate, and accepted, so he just smiled, feeling a little shy, "Good night."

"Good night, Jim."

 

***********

 

Spock expected a call from Jim the next evening as he completed his meditation. He hoped for one. Whenever he thought about Jim's touch at the concert, his arm tingled, and he believed he was correctly interpreting the longing look Jim had given himthe night before. He wanted to see that look in Jim's eyes again. Wanted to look again into their hazel depths and feel himself entering another world.

Later than he expected it, the comm beep caught Spock while he was in the sonic shower. He felt his heart race and decided it was logical to answer it even though he had not completed his cleansing, there might be an emergency that required his attention. He keyed open the voice channel only, and said, "Spock here."

"Spock, it's Jim." Spock's whole skin came alive at the golden voice and he had to force himself to listen to the words rather than just listening to the sparkling tones as though to music. Wrenching his attention back, he heard, "....last minute notice. My mother has invited us to dinner at her home in Iowa. It won't be a big party like last night, just Mom, and us, and Peter, my nephew. You remember Peter, right?"

"Of course, I trust he is well."

"Yes. He's been living with Mom since Deneva, and is doing quite well in school." Kirk paused, then continued, "So can you come to dinner?"

Spock's heart constricted at the wistfulness he was certain he heard in Kirk's voice. "Yes, I would be very honored to meet your mother and it will be pleasant to see Peter again."

"That's great. Mom says we should show up at about 1900, so I'll meet you in the transporter room in 20 minutes."

"Actually, Jim, I would like a few minutes with you before we go. Would it be agreeable if we met in your cabin in ten minutes?"

"Yes, of course."

At the proper time a cleaned and dressed Spock gathered up the gift he'd had delivered earlier that day and proceeded to Jim's room. As he entered the room, Jim looked at him rather curiously and asked, "What can I do for you, Spock?"

"I wished to give you a gift. For the sixth night of Hanukkah." Spock held out the bundle in his hands. "I had this made for you. I did not know at the time the occasion I would find to give it to you, but this is appropriate."

Jim took the bundle and unwrapped it, gasping when the object inside was revealed. "Spock, it's beautiful." And it was. It was a beautifully handcrafted IDIC made of silver and gold, about 9 inches across. The central stone was a large faceted blue spinel. The silver circle was irregularly hammered, making the light reflect off of it in bright white glints. The gold triangle was burnished smooth and bright.

Jim looked up at Spock and said, "You had this made for me? You shouldn't have."

Spock froze, feeling as though he had been slapped. His interpretation of Jim's attentions was obviously in error. He reached toward the piece. "I apologize. I did not intend to offend."

Jim held it away from Spock's hand. "No, no. I'm sorry, Spock. I love it. You didn't offend. I'm overwhelmed. I'm honored." He took Spock's outstretched hand in his own and held it tightly. "I'm sorry you thought I was rejecting your gift."

Spock relaxed, his heart starting its regular rhythm again. "It is an illogical expression. I am pleased that you like my gift."

"I love it." With Spock's help Jim hung it on the wall across from his desk, saying, "Now I can look at it while I'm working." He stood and admired it for a minute. Spock stood next to him, deciding what to do next.

Spock looked at Jim and feelings love and desire surged through him strongly. He reached out offering his hand, palm up. Jim took the hand in his own, caressing the tendons and bones as he lowered his head down and kissed Spock on the fingertips. He looked back up at Spock, sadness and, possibly, fear in his eyes, and spoke, "I'm sorry..."

Spock shook his head and with his other hand caressed Jim's cheek. Spock's body hummed with the contact, like a completed electric circuit. He saw the flush on Jim's face and saw a definite sparkle in the gold-green lion eyes. Jim reached to touch Spock's face. Spock felt the cool fingers trace a path up his cheekbone, along the side of the face and down the jaw.

"Spock, I..." Jim gasped and his eyes fluttered closed as Spock lightly kissed the fingersthat moved across his lips. Spock pulled the human toward him into a gentle embrace.

Shuddering slightly in Spock's embrace, Jim moaned softly then leaned up and pressed his lips against those of the Vulcan. It was a light, delicate kiss, charged with more of that tingling electricity. Spock held the compact human body close, barely able to stop himself from shaking with the flood of emotions and sensations that washed over him with the contact of their lips.

They kissed again, still very gently, and then Spock said, "I am afraid that we must depart for the transporter room, or we will be late for dinner with your mother and nephew."

Jim started. "Oh, of course." Spock noted his nervousness and regretted deeply that his own actions, those long years ago, had brought such disquiet between them.

They beamed down to the yard of Winona Kirk's farmhouse. It was crystal clear and breathtakingly cold. Spock repressed a shiver. Jim put an arm loosely around his shoulder and escorted him quickly to the house. A small, energetic gray haired woman was waiting for them just inside the door and opened it for them as they walked onto the porch. "It's a bitter night for you boys to have come without coats," she said, encouraging them toward a room with a large fire in the fireplace.

Jim stopped and gave her a big hug and said, "Mom, Happy Hannukah!! Thanks for inviting us to dinner." Jim waved Spock over to introduce them. "Mom, this is my best friend and First Officer, Spock of Vulcan. Spock, this is my mother, Mrs. Winona Kirk."

Spock inclined his head gracefully, and said, "I am honored to meet you, Mrs. Kirk. I trust my presence is not an intrusion at a family event."

Mrs. Kirk smiled. "You can call me Winona. Then we'll all be comfortable and you'll know you're welcome." They moved toward the fire, where Peter, several years older than when Spock had last seen him, was reading.

Peter ran to give Jim a hug, shouting, "Uncle Jim!" He saw Spock, standing in his accustomed place behind Jim's right shoulder. His eyes grew wide. "Mr. Spock. I'm glad to see you again."

Spock found himself quite pleased to see the boy. Their shared experience on Deneva had created a sense of kinship between them. "Peter, I am gratified to see you. You have been well?"

Peter smiled. "Yeah. I'm sending in my applications to colleges next year. I want to study colony management." Spock allowed himself to be drawn away by the animated young man to talk about his dreams of starting a colony. Peter had done a great deal of studying and Spock knew little on the subject, so he found himself interested in the details of planet selection and recruitment of the initial colonists.

Shortly afterward, Winona called them to a row of menorahs on the windowsill behind the farmhouse table. Spock stood next to Jim and assisted in setting up the candles. When Winona, Jim and Peter picked up the shammas candles to say the blessing, Spock wrapped his hand around Jim's and chanted the blessing with the rest of them. Jim spread his fingers slightly, allowing Spock to interlace their fingers. The electric, singing feeling he'd felt over his skin when he touched Kirk earlier came back and Spock implemented controls to keep his skin from flushing green.

When they finished lighting the candles, Spock removed his hand from Jim's and backed away, standing stiffly, hands behind his back. Not certain that he'd behaved appropriately, he waited for some signal from Jim. Jim turned and looked at him and smiled happily. Spock nodded slightly and relaxed a little.

"Spock, I'm surprised you took part in making the blessing," Winona said, as she made certain that everyone found a seat before piling the table with cornbread, several vegetables, baked beans and a large roast chicken.

"I have been celebrating this Hanukkah with Jim. I find myself experiencing a feeling of gratitude so it seemed appropriate to participate rather than merely observing." As he was speaking, he felt Jim's hand briefly touch his leg under the table. Spock maintained his controls and continued, "I hope my participation did not offend."

"Oh, no. Not at all. Jim so rarely bothers to remember he's Jewish, I'm glad he's been celebrating it for a change."

Jim rolled his eyes and said, "Don't start, Mom. I don't have to be observant to know I'm Jewish. I couldn't skip Hanukkah this year."

Over dinner their talk ranged widely, from discussing current events to Peter's plans for an agricultural colony. Spock contributed to the conversation, but was silent for several minutes at a time, content to observe Jim's interaction with his family. He was animated, warm, loving. He complimented his mother on several different occasions and praised Peter's aspirations. Peter appeared to sit taller in his chair when Jim was encouraging him and Winona smiled happily at her son.

After dinner, they spent a couple of hours enjoying the warmth of the fire and the companionability of the conversation. Spock and Winona got into an involved discussion of the relative merits of introducing plants from other planets into crop rotations on Earth. He was impressed with her scientific knowledge and business acumen; it was difficult to run a profitable research farm. Kirk and Peter played a computer game that had been one of Peter's Hanukkah presents.

After the game was over, Kirk rose to his feet giving Spock a signal with his eyes. "We've got to go. The Defense Conference is keeping me very busy, and Spock is having to do my work as well as his own."

Spock nodded and rose to his feet. "Winona, Peter, this has been a most agreeable evening. I thank you for allowing me to attend your family dinner."

Peter smiled and said, "It was good to see you again, Mr. Spock. Once I've started my colony, you and Uncle Jim can come and visit."

Spock nodded. "I look forward to that event."

Winona walked them quietly to the door, moved as if to open it, then said, "Spock, I'm afraid I'm going to embarrass you by saying this. Thank you for taking such good care of my son over the years. I know you've saved his life more times than I care to think about. I'm forever grateful to you."

Spock blinked once, raised an eyebrow, and said, "I will certainly endeavor to continue to do so."

Jim gave his mother another quick hug and pulled Spock out the door. Spock focused on controlling his reaction to the cold as Jim signaled to the ship for beam-out. They arrived on the transporter pad and Spock was grateful for the relative warmth on the ship.

As they walked back to their cabins, Jim said, "So, what do you think?"

Spock raised an eyebrow. "Specify, please, Jim."

Jim gave an exaggerated sigh. "What do you think about my family? About my mother?"

"I found her fascinating. She is very intelligent and her farm is well managed. Her personality is much like I might imagine yours would have been if you remained a farmer rather than becoming a starship captain." They arrived at the door to Spock's room. "Would you like to come in? I have some Saurian brandy that the good doctor gave me."

Jim smiled. "I'd love to, but I'll pass on the brandy. I can only stay for a minute." When they were inside, Jim asked, "So you liked her?"

Spock raised an eyebrow again. "I believe I just said that. To forestall your next question, I found Peter to be a quite agreeable companion and I feel he will make an excellent colony manager someday."

Jim beamed, and Spock couldn't quite understand the reason for it. "I am curious, however. I don't imagine that your mother intended to invite me to a family holiday dinner."

Blushing a little, Jim nodded, and said, "I asked if I could bring you."

"May I ask why? Were you concerned to get your family's opinion of me as your ... " He trailed off, leaving unspoken his hope that they might soon become something more than friends.

Jim shook his head. "No, I don't really care what they think about you. What I think about you is what's important. But I care what you think about them. About Mom particularly. A lot of who I am comes from her, from how she brought me up, from her personality. If you didn't like her it would mean..."

Spock nodded, "I understand."

Kirk's eyes sparkled as he nodded. "Yes. You always do understand." He looked down toward the floor, then back up at Spock through his long eyelashes. "I've got to go. I can still feel my skin tingle where you touched me earlier. It's too tempting to fall into your arms and kiss you again."

Spock felt an electric jolt pass through him. "It is not necessary that you resist that temptation, Jim."

They moved toward each other almost cautiously. As they wrapped their arms around each other, though, and began to kiss, they became more passionate. Spock felt Jim's tongue licking at his lip, asking for entrance and granted the desired permission. He felt that jolt run through him again when their tongues touched and began to dance with one another. He moved his hands up to Jim's head, fingers sinking into the thick hair, holding Jim's head close.

They broke the kiss slowly. "Oh, God," Jim said, looking deep into Spock's eyes. "There're a lot of Jewish blessings, but I don't know if there's one for getting an amazing kiss from a man you've desperately desired for years but thought lost to you forever."

"I imagine that would be a blessing of limited general utility."

Spock pulled out of Jim's arms and backed slightly away. As electrically pleasurable as it had been to hold Jim's body in his arms and to kiss that wonderful mouth, sharing all the pleasure it had to offer, Spock did not feel ready for more. He needed time to process and understand what had happened between them.

His face as unreadable as a Vulcan's, Jim said, "Can you join me again tomorrow?"

Spock nodded, "I look forward to it. I have another gift for you."

Jim leaned over and gave Spock another quick kiss before heading out of the room toward his own quarters.

 

***********

 

On his way home from the Conference the next day, Jim stopped by a Jewish market. Back in his cabin, he put his purchases aside and contacted Spock. He was almost afraid to. After revealing so much the night before and not knowing how Spock was coping with it, he was afraid he'd find him gone, or retreated into his implacable Vulcan hauteur, on the ship but as inaccessible as if he were back in Gol. Relief slowed his frantic heartbeat when he heard Spock answer.

"Spock, I'm running a little late this evening. Are you ready for dinner and the candles?"

"Yes. I will be there in five minutes." Spock signed off.

Kirk busied himself with his dinner preparations. It was Friday night, the evening of Shabbat, and he had decided to honor it this once. He just hoped he remembered the blessings for the wine and bread.

Kirk was setting out the Shabbat candles on the table, next to the decanter of wine and the loaf of braided bread when the door buzzed. "Come," he said, looking up to smile at Spock when he entered. Spock held something in his hands and placed it aside on a shelf.

Kirk walked toward Spock, without really thinking about it. Drawn in again by the pull of the other's dark brown eyes, he moved until he was standing only a few inches away. He waited, feeling awkward, despite their kisses the previous evening. He fought with himself to keep moving slowly, to give no more than Spock wanted from him.

When Spock reached out and pulled him in for a hug and a kiss, Kirk allowed himself to believe that everything would be all right, after all. It was amazing how comfortably they fit together. The kiss was more lingering and passionate than the night before, but still very gentle.

Finally, they let each other go after several minutes, ending with tender caresses to faces and hands. "Come on, let's light the candles," Kirk said, tugging Spock toward the menorah. They did so, holding hands over the shammash and speaking the blessing together, in unison.

After the menorah was lit, Kirk turned to the candles on the table and lit them. He then closed his eyes and put his hands over his face and said another blessing. When he had finished the blessing, Kirk lowered his hands and admired the candles.

He turned to Spock and noticed the raised eyebrow. "Those are the Shabbat candles. I'll bless the wine and the bread and then we can eat." He poured wine for each of them and held his glass aloft, speaking a blessing first in Hebrew then in Standard. " Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sustainer of the Universe, who gives us the fruit of the vine." He took a sip and motioned for Spock to do the same.

He then held up the loaf of bread. "Here Spock, grab one end of it. I'll make the blessing then we'll pull it apart." He blessed the bread in both languages and then they started to pull. Kirk smiled as the loaf came apart with the larger chunk in his hands and the smaller in Spock's.

"We called that the 'challah pull' when I was a kid. Dad and Mom and Sam and I would all be pulling on the bread in different directions." Kirk smiled and put his portion of the bread down on the platter again, keeping only a small piece to eat immediately.

Spock sat at the table, looking comfortable, and said, "Perhaps I should contact your mother. I believe she will be pleased to know that you are observing the Sabbath."

"Don't you start, Spock. It's bad enough my mother nagging me about not being Jewish enough." Kirk was smiling and bringing dishes of food to the table as he spoke. "Shall we eat?"

"That would be most acceptable. I will give you your gift after dinner."

They ate, enjoying each other's company, as always, and chatting about the day. Kirk got Spock's opinions about the defense plan they were developing and decided to share them at the Conference the next day.

After dinner, while Kirk put the dishes in the cleaner, Spock got his gift from the shelf. Kirk was surprised, he had never expected Spock to give him anything. And now he was getting yet another Hanukkah gift. All he wanted from Spock was Spock, but he appreciated the care and thoughtfulness that had gone into the gift of the song and the IDIC.

Spock handed Kirk a book, watching closely as Kirk took the book and opened it to the title page. It was in the elegantly flowing Vulcan script. "Spock....?"

"It is a collection of ancient Vulcan texts, Jim, from before the time of Surak. They are not much read on my world now and almost never shown to off-worlders," Spock said, looking completely impassive.

Jim turned to the first page of the text and tried to read a little of it. It was clearly not poetry and he saw stretches of dialogue, though he couldn't make out more than a couple of the words. "It looks like...fiction?"

"Yes. They are stories of warrior life. They give a sense of what my people were like before Surak's Reform."

Not certain what to do with the book, Kirk said, "Spock, I can't read Vulcan very well." He wasn't sure what to make of the gift. Of course, Spock knew of his fondness for books, but to give a book of ancient stories in a language he couldn't read...

"I understand. I am sorry no translation into Standard is available in a bound form. I can make one available to you on a data chip if you like." Spock paused a moment, then squared his shoulders a little before continuing, "My intent in giving you the book, however, was that I should read them with you and translate for you."

Kirk felt like he'd been blindsided. He'd been half convinced that after their kisses the previous night Spock would withdraw. But this was clearly not an emotional retreat. He opened his mouth to speak, but Spock continued, "It is helpful to have a guide through these texts, to help place what you are reading into context."

Kirk's eyes glittered. "I would be overjoyed to have you read and discuss these with me." Kirk held the book close to his heart. "Pre-reform stories of warriors, huh? It sounds like it'll be very emotional."

"Yes. Many of the stories deal with love, hatred, honor, andrevenge. However, if I did not believe that you would find the experience of reading them enjoyable, I would not have given it to you." Kirk almost gasped when Spock moved a step closer and touched the book resting over his heart; it was a surprisingly intimate gesture. "These stories have been very important to me, in understanding my place among my people and my own heart. I ..." Spock stopped, his face softer than Jim had ever seen it.

Wanting to keep Spock from closing up, Kirk said, "If they're important to you, Spock, then I'm anxious to read them. I want to know everything about you...that you want to share, of course."

Kirk gave Spock a hug, losing himself in the warmth of Spock's arms, before pulling away a little and saying, "We could read one of them this evening, if you have the time."

Spock nodded, his face still not quite its usual calm. "That would be agreeable. Shall I choose a story or begin at the beginning?"

"Well. You're the experienced guide here, Spock. I'll follow your judgment."

Spock nodded and took the book as Kirk settled near him on the sofa. "I will select one. If you sit more closely, you can follow along as I read and perhaps learn some of the language." Kirk scooted closer, stopping with his thigh just barely touching Spock's.

Spock read the story, reading each paragraph first in the original then translating it into standard. It concerned two warriors of opposing clans. One, Borek, captured the other, Selom, and held him for ransom. During the period of Selom's captivity they found themselves in close contact, sharing stories about themselves. They began to respect and ultimately love each other and became bondmates, eventually bringing the two clans to reconciliation.

At the scene where Borek and Selom were bonding, Spock read the Vulcan text, paused for a moment, then continued, "In the next several paragraphs, they make love. It is quite...explicit. Would you like me to pass over that part?" Spock asked the question softly.

"I would be interested in hearing it, but not if it would embarrass you," Kirk said, his voice a bit breathy.

Kirk's heart began to race at the description of the two men caressing and stroking one another. Hearing Spock's rich voice reading about them going down on one another made Jim's cock start to stiffen. His breathing was ragged and his cock fully hard as Spock's warm baritone read about Borek fucking Selom.

Spock's unexpectedly passionate reading of the love story, and particularly that amazingly hot sex scene, made Kirk want nothing more than to pull the Vulcan into his arms and make love to him until they were both unable to move. He forced himself think of an intelligent sounding question to ask, still determined to allow Spock to lead. "I wasn't aware that homosexuality was accepted among pre-Reform Vulcans. Do your scholars feel that this story accurately represents the prevailing attitudes.?"

Spock swallowed heavily, nodded, and replied, "Yes, homosexuality was common among the warriors. The close ties that sexuality engenders, even without a bond, were known to promote group cohesion. Also, their lifestyle made establishing permanent households in which to maintain a bondmate difficult."

Slightly disappointed that Spock had taken up the intellectual discussion, Kirk opened his mouth to speak but Spock, uncharacteristically, interrupted him, "It is still a respected life path on Vulcan, equal legally and socially with heterosexual bonds."

"I would have guessed that homosexuality was not considered logical."

Spock lifted an eyebrow and said, "It is not logical to deny what is, Jim. Most Vulcans are inclined toward members of the opposite gender but some are not. Forcing all into the same mold would be a violation of the principles of IDIC."

"Spock," Kirk said, then stopped, not knowing exactly what to say. "I..." He was still feeling an almost overwhelming desire and didn't know how best to act on it. Or even if he should. He kissed Spock's cheek, then said, "Thank you for sharing that with me. It was beautiful." He had been not only aroused by the sex scene, but touched by the depth of the love they shared.

Kirk allowed Spock to pull him closer and looked at the dignified Vulcan face feeling a powerful wave of love and desire. Spock placed his hands on Kirk's waist and pulled him in close. Kirk's eyes fluttered closed as the warm, dry lips were pressed against his own. He felt a rush of heat and electricity at the kiss. He couldn't imagine how he'd lived without that feeling. Kirk turned so he was facing Spock and moved so that their torsos were in closer contact.

When Spock's tongue touched his, Kirk became painfully hard. He could feel Spock's own erection, pressing into him hard and hot through the fabric of their trousers. He moaned into the kiss, rubbing his erection against Spock's thigh.

Jim's rational mind rebelled and refused to believe that this was happening, that he wasn't going to wake and find that it was another of the fantasies that had tormented him for years. He moaned. Their lips met again, tongues twining and dancing together as they explored each other's mouths. Kirk wove his fingers through the silky back hair and caressed the tips of Spock's ears, reveling in the slight gasp he elicited. The feel of the pointed ears, distinctly Spock, brought tears to his eyes.

Before the warm hands on his hips pulled their bodies tightly together again, Kirk slid his hands around to the front of Spock's tunic and fumbled with the fasteners. He broke the kiss for a second to say, "Help me get this off you. I want to touch your skin."

Spock's mouth reclaimed his as the Vulcan's long fingered hands opened both of their shirts. As soon as Spock's tunic was partially opened, Kirk's hands slid inside and explored the lean muscles and soft fur he had been given access to. When he reached the nub of a nipple, he teased it slightly to draw it out; Spock moaned and gently pushed Kirk back so he was lying on the sofa with Spock arched over him on hands and knees.

Kirk wanted to open the tunic farther, longing to taste the olive skin that felt so wonderful under his fingers, but Spock pulled away from the kiss and looked down at him with an intensely passionate gaze.

Spock removed Kirk's shirt slowly, touching each revealed inch of skin reverently. Kirk felt his muscles twitch and jump at the touches and he moaned softly. His moan turned into a gasp when Spock's tongue traced the outline of his navel.

"Oh God, Spock." Kirk reached forward and ran his fingers through Spock's hair, mussing the perfect black cap. Spock moved up from tonguing Kirk's navel, trailing his tongue along the edges of the muscles to a taut nipple. At the first sharp touch of teeth on his nipple, Kirk arched his back and cried out. Spock's long fingers caressed and teased his other nipple as he continued to lick and nibble and suck.

Fumbling a little, since Spock's attentions to his nipples were not stopping, Kirk again tried to open the fasteners on Spock's long linen tunic. "Spock, please. I need your skin."

Spock made a noise that almost sounded like a growl and arched his body away from Kirk's while moving his lips up to Kirk's neck. He used one hand to support his weight while the other slid down Kirk's body in a long, smooth stroke to the hard cock straining against his trousers. Kirk's hips lifted, pressing himself hard into the Vulcan's hand.

The space between their bodies gave Kirk the opportunity to open Spock's shirt completely. He sighed happily as his hands finally reached the softly furred chest again. "You feel so good." His fingers found Spock's nipples and pinched them.

At that Spock moaned and lowered himself to cover Jim's body, pressing their groins together. Kirk began to pant and buck against the hot hardness so near to his own. He abandoned the tempting nipples, slid his hands down to Spock's lean, muscled buttocks, and pulled Spock more solidly against him.

As they rubbed against each other frantically, Kirk heard Spock saying something, over and over, very softly, but was so wrapped up in his own sensations, the feel of Spock's erection against his that he didn't try to hear. Spock's voice became louder and when they were both nearing their climax, Kirk finally realized that Spock was repeating his name with each thrust.Hearing Spock's voice, roughened with passion, repeating his name like a chant drove Kirk' over the edge and he cried out incoherently and came, pushing up against the other. Spock lifted Kirk's hips, pulling him closer, and came as well, crying out "Jim!".

Spock collapsed down on top of Kirk, supporting most of his weight on his arms. Kirk pulled Spock down closer, wanting the reassurance of the solid male weight on him, wrapping his arms around the lean shoulders. "Spock ... I never imagined..." Kirk panted, sliding his hands back under the linen shirt so he could feel the velvety smooth skin of the other's back; he was shaking, nerve endings firing all over his body. "You..."

Spock rested his cheek against Kirk's and whispered, "Yes."

They lay in each other's arms until Kirk became aware of the damp stickiness in his trousers. Reluctantly, he moved his hands out from under Spock's shirt and gently pushed him back a few inches so he could see the lean face. He was distracted by the softness of Spock's expression, it was filled with quiet peace and ... love. "God, Spock, you're gorgeous," he said and lost himself in a moment of wondrous contemplation. "We should get cleaned up, I guess," he said, reluctantly, "though I don't want to let you go."

"I assure you that I will not go far," Spock said, moving back to rise from the sofa. Kirk heard the promise in he words, but was still afraid that Spock would disappear as his fantasy lover always had. As Spock had years ago at a much less intimate revelation.

Spock seemed to see something in Kirk's expression and reached out his hand to help Kirk out of the sofa he had so gently laid him down on. When Kirk was standing, Spock pulled him into a tender embrace and kissed his cheek. "Jim, all is well," Spock whispered in his ear, the puffs of breath sending little shivers down Kirk's spine.

Kirk nodded, maybe it was at that. He looked at Spock and smiled, saying, "Will you shower with me? Or maybe you'd prefer to go back to your quarters."

Spock nodded. "I require a change of clothes and that is not available here. It is best if I return to my own quarters."He refastened his tunic; its length effectively hid the stain on his pants.

Kirk sighed and looked ruefully at the damp spot on his own clothes. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."

They stood together at the door wrapped in a comfortable and comforting embrace, occasionally kissing, for several minutes before Spock took a step back. "It is time for me to go, Jim."

Kirk nodded, feeling lost and abandoned. "Yes. Tomorrow is the eighth night, the last night, of Hanukkah. Will you...?"

Spock raised an eyebrow and looked almost amused as he replied, "Yes, Jim, I will."

Spock's amusement eased Kirk's heart and he smiled. "Good. I'll look forward to it. "

"I will see you here at 1900?" Spock asked and Kirk nodded. He felt his heart warm at the way Spock was looking at him, as if storing a memory to keep him going during the long day when they were apart.

Kirk nodded, stretched up for one more kiss, and then let Spock go.

 

**********

 

During the long duty shift the next day on the bridge, Spock was grateful for the controls that allowed him to keep histhoughts away from the image of Jim, his Captain, lost in passion under him. He kept himself busy with logging reports of system faults and organizing repair teams. Their shakedown cruise hadn't officially started yet but they could make such repairs as were possible while they were still in orbit.

When his uninteresting shift finally ended, Spock returned to his quarters. Without the distraction, such as it was, of work and the inappropriateness of thinking of sex while on the bridge, it was more difficult to keep his thoughts in line, to keep the vision of Jim's face, raw with passion and need, out of his mind. Shaking himself free of these distracting thoughts, Spock knelt on the meditation stone in front of the firepot. It was time to implement controls and settle his mind. His emotions, burning though they were, were not to be allowed to control him.

Precisely at 1900, Spock was admitted to Jim's cabin. His meditation was less successful than he hoped but he presented a calm face as Jim, still in uniform, greeted him at the door.

Once the door had slid closed behind them, Jim reached out and caressed his cheek. "Spock," he whispered. Spock recognized the gaze as the same one he'd seen when he was performing at the party several nights before. It sent his heart racing in his side.

He wrapped his arms around Jim's waist holding him loosely. The habit of a lifetime was a burden to him; after a moment's thought, he decided to follow his inclination and pulled the smaller man close, leaned over and kissed him softly before speaking the beloved name, "Jim."

Spock felt Jim relax completely, wrapping arms around Spock's neck to hold his head close for a deeper kiss. They kissed passionately, tongues twining and caressing, for a minute until, by some mutual signal, they slowly separated.

"That's a nice way to come home, Mr. Spock. I just barely made it here before you. I thought I'd never get out of the meeting today. Everyone's trying to petition for status as a Federation Core World for the purpose of the new defense plan. They're probably still debating down there." Jim took Spock's hand and kissed his palm, his long eyelashes fluttering on his cheeks.

"Should you return to the meeting?" Spock asked, his sense of duty overwhelming his joy at Jim's touch.

Jim frowned. "No, Spock. That's ... I'd rather be here with you. They'll get on fine without me."

Spock followed Jim as he walked toward the bedroom until he said, "Could you set up the menorah while I change?"

Spock froze. He looked down toward the ground for moment, then walked to the doorway of the bedroom and watched Jim remove his tunic. "I would rather stay..." Spock began, but a sudden wave of awkwardness made him stop.

Jim turned to look at him, his bare chest gleaming in the low light. Spock's fingers itched to stroke that velvety soft skin again. His eyes drank in the vision of his captain, half naked in the low light of his cabin. The golden skin shone and glowed and the pale gray trousers fit snugly, outlining rounded buttocks.

He could hear Jim's sharp inhalation. "That look on your face, Spock, is..."

"Is what?"

"I've never been looked at like that before. Like I was the most desirable sight in the galaxy." He smiled and blushed a little. "I like it."

"You are beautiful, Jim," Spock said, standing in the doorway. Jim smiled at him and continued to change, removing his gray uniform pants. Spock admired the way the strong muscles in Kirk's legs and back moved as he drew clothes out of his closet.

While he was stepping into brown trousers, Jim said, "You're allowed to touch you know." Spock detected a hint of teasing in his voice.

"If I were to do so, I believe we would be late for the candles and dinner. I am content to watch...for now."

Jim slid into a soft cotton shirt and chuckled. "As long as it's just for now, Spock, I guess I'm content to have you watch."

Jim tossed his uniform into the fresher and walked toward Spock. The terra cotta of Jim's shirt brought out the warm golds in his hair, skin and eyes. Spock felt that warmth seeping through him, touching cold places he had buried deeply during his lonely childhood on Vulcan and his even lonelier novitiate at Gol.

Jim took Spock's hand as he walked out of the bedroom and led him toward the table. "I'm afraid we just get rations tonight. I was too busy today to arrange for anything special. I'll get dinner while you set up the candles, okay?"

They worked next to each other silently for a couple of minutes until dinner was waiting on the table and the candles were ready to be lit. Again, they held the shammash together and spoke the blessing in unison. Spock stood for a moment after the candles were lit admiring the beauty of the nine flames burning together and admiring Jim, who was watching the candles as well, his eyes sparkling as the flames danced.

After a moment they sat and tried to discuss the day's events. It soon became clear that Jim's day at the Defense Conference had been almost as uninteresting as Spock's logging system faults. Jim smiled. "It'll be nice to get out into space again. I'm starting to feel like a caged animal." Neither of them touched the food.

"Indeed." Spock paused, and gathered his resolve. He was about to start what was almost certain to be an intensely emotional conversation. It was difficult for him, but he needed clarity before he could proceed. "Jim. What are your intentions?"

Jim spluttered a bit, then said with a chuckle, "Are you afraid I have designs on your honor, Spock?"

"I ... think it is best if we are clear with one another about what we desire and intend from the outset, Jim," Spock said, carefully sounding logical and detached. He knew he would always cherish the memory of the previous night, but he also knew he could not be contented for long with a merely physical connection between them.

Jim set his glass down. "Okay. I thought we did that last night, but if you think we need to talk we will."

Standing up, Jim said, "Here this might help." He took a small box off the shelf behind the table and handed it to Spock. "I had this made for you," he smiled and continued, "I hope you like it."

Spock took the box in his graceful hands and opened it. Inside was apin made of a shimmery piece of dark metal set in a frame of fine wires of platinum. The whole piece glowed faintly blue around the edges, powered by some hidden energy cell. It was sleek and simple, but radiantly beautiful for all that. "It is most attractive." He looked at Kirk, a question in his eyes.

Jim paused for a moment before saying, "It's a piece of V'Ger. I had it set for you. You can wear it with your dress uniform." Kirk blushed, apparently nervous. He started to pace around the room, "I just thought, since V'Ger ultimately found the answers to it's questions and achieved some sort of union of logic and emotion..." He looked down as he paced, and seemed to avoid looking at Spock.

When Spock reached out and stopped the pacing, Jim's eyes flew up to meet Spock's. "It is beautiful, Jim. I thank you." Spock's eyes smiled and his heart soared. "It shimmers like V'Ger in its energy cloud. I will treasure it always."

Kirk relaxed and leaned to give Spock a quick hug. "I'm so glad. I was afraid you wouldn't understand."

"I do understand, V'Ger achieved what I have realized I need for myself. I thank you."

Kirk pulled his chair close to Spock, took Spock's hands in his and looked into the warm brown eyes with an expression of utter frankness and openness. "Perhaps my intentions are clearer now. I intend to help you find what you are looking for, Spock, whatever that means. I hope to do that by staying at your side and never letting you go, sharing my life with you. I love you, Spock, without reservation or caveat." He paused and dropped his eyes to where he was holding Spock's hands. Letting them go, Jim continued, "But, I know that you may not be able to accept all of that. That's okay. I'm prepared to be to you whatever you can accept, Captain, friend, lover ... bondmate."

Spock's face showed some of his surprise. "You are aware of what bonding with me would mean..."

Nodding, Jim said, "I've done some research. It would be an irrevocable lifetime commitment." He paused and looked thoughtful for a moment. "I never considered doing that with anyone else. But you... I can't imagine being without you again."

Spock's control disappeared at that moment, evaporated as if under a hot sun. He could feel the unfamiliar prickle of tears in his eyes and didn't understand it at all because he also felt a tremendous upwelling of joy and love like nothing he'd ever experienced before. He didn't think he could speak, but knew that for Jim's sake he had to. "I ... Jim..."

He moved his hand toward the meld points on Jim's face and managed to say, "Please?" At Jim's nod he mumbled the ancient words and opened the connection between them. Through the meld he showed Jim what he felt and what he wanted, what he didn't have the emotional vocabulary to express. Love and joy and desire suffused both of their minds providing an emotional backdrop for a series of images of them together, touching and loving...Spock on his stomach with Kirk buried deep inside him, holding each other close as they slept, sharing a mind meld, a Vulcan bonding ritual, Spock pushing his throbbing cock into Jim, facing danger and protecting each other's backs, sharing meals, waking in the morning with Jim's face the first sight in his eyes, retiring to a rural colony together. Living life, together.

As the meld continued, Jim began to add his own love and joy and his own images...Spock's lips wrapped around his hard cock, a picnic in a meadow, himself looking up from the Captain's chair on the bridge to see Spock manning the Science Station, greeting each other with fingers outstretched as bondmates do, his cock buried inside Spock as they lay spooned together on their sides, sleeping wrapped up in each other. Loving life, together.

The desire and the love they were sharing flared brightly and then they were kissing each other, tongues stroking together, moaning into each other's mouths and minds. Jim's hands moved over Spock's face and ears before tearing open the fasteners on his shirt. Spock held Jim close, maintaining both the meld and the deep kiss. Jim stroked Spock's chest, teasing the hard, needy nipples, raking his fingers through the soft black fur. Spock could feel the fingers pulling at his nipples, and through the meld he could feel Jim's pleasure in the action. When Jim slid his hand below Spock's waistband to reach his cock, like velvet covered steel, the touch dragged a moan out of both of them.

With one last blaze of desire and love, Spock pulled them gently, regretfully, out of the meld. Kirk looked lost when he found himself alone again, but then held Spock very close, resting his head on the other's chest. Spock kissed the top of his head, and spoke softly, "I believe the meld will reestablish itself when we are making love, Jim. If we allow it to do so, we will be bonded." Spock paused, holding his breath.

He suddenly found himself having to help support Jim, whose knees had gone weak under him. "Bond with me. Be mine. Let me be yours," Jim said, between soft kisses scattered over Spock's neck, chest, shoulders. Spock sighed happily and returned the kisses.

They stripped each other as they walked into the bedroom, leaving a trail of clothing between the dining area and the bed.

Spock felthis senses overload, each of them overwhelmed with pleasure in Jim's body. The smell of Jim's hair and skin, the taste of the smooth skin under his tongue, the texture, the feel of him, firm muscles covered with satiny skin, hard and solid, the sounds of his moans and gasps, echoing Spock's own, the sight ofJim writhing in ecstasy at his touch. Every desire he could ever remember having was wrapped up in Jim's perfect golden form.

Spock groaned as he lowered his t'hy'la gently to the bed. Jim lay back, displaying himself wantonly, reaching for Spock. "Come, Spock," the human said, his voice rough with passion. When they lay down on the bed together both moaned at the sensation of their completely naked bodies fully in contact for the first time.

A wave of possessiveness passed over Spock and he moaned and lay down between Jim's legs, supporting his weight on his arms. Their rigid cocks were pressed together. Spock's faint grasp on emotional control fled him and he began touching, licking and caressing all over his human's body, alive with passion for the first time in his life.

Spock stroked and licked his way down to Jim's swollen reddish cock, nestling in its bed of crisp golden hair. He took it into his mouth, relishing the salt taste of precum in the slit at the top. He licked the head of it, swirling his tongue around and around, before growling possessively low in his throat and swallowing the beautiful, iron hard cock down to his tonsils. At that, Jim nearly screamed with pleasure, throwing his head back and hands clutching at Spock's shoulders convulsively. Spock pulled back, licking at the shaft of the warm cock in his mouth and nibbling at the head. One hand stretched up to tease a dusky pink nipple. The other slid down scratching gently at Jim's lightly furred sac, massaging the precious globes within. Jim was moaning and thrashing and crying out Spock's name.

When Spock slid his hand further down, to tease the nerve endings at Jim's opening with his fingertips, he could tell that the human was about to climax. He took the cock in his mouth deeply again, making a swallowing motion with the muscles of his throat just as he slid the very tip of his finger into Jim's passage. Jim did scream then as he shot jets of warm semen into the Vulcan's welcoming mouth.

After the spasms had subsided, Spock released Jim's cock and lay next to him, looking over the body he wanted to spend his lifetime getting to know. A couple of seconds later, the hazel eyes opened and looked at him with an expression he had seen countless times before. Spock knew now that he was seeing love in those eyes and that the love had always been there for him to see if he could have allowed himself to.

Jim smiled, a sensual smile that made Spock's senses reel, and said, "I need you inside me, Spock. Fuck me, now."

Spock reached down and gathered some of the lubricating secretions from his own penis into his hand. He stretched over the compact human body and kissed Jim deeply and passionately as his fingers massaged and opened the dusky entrance. As he stretched the tight muscle, Spock peppered kisses over his t'hy'la's face to distract him from the pain. As the pleasure built, Jim began to moan and said, "Spock. Don't make me wait. I need you."

Groaning at that, Spock positioned himself at Jim's entrance, slowly pushing inside as he explored the depths of Jim's ear with his tongue. When he was firmly seated inside, he began to move, slowly at first. As he thrust, harder and deeper, into Jim's hot sheath, Spock reached out with his mind and found Jim's, reaching for him.

Through the meld, he felt what Jim felt, the delicious fullness of being penetrated, the flashing sparks as his cock hit Jim's sensitive prostate. He felt the touch of his own belly fur against Jim's rosy cock, stirring it to hardness again. Sharing their sensations, the pleasure multiplied, reverberating back and forth between them like the endless ringing of a bell.

They shared more through the meld than mere physical sensations. Spock could feel Jim's love surrounding him, could feel the aching desire, the years of longing. He let his own emotions pour forth freely, for the first time in his life, sharing the happiness of a lifetime of loneliness ended, a bottomless well of love, and his own desire. Together their minds took these emotions, and their mutual respect, caring, concern, protectiveness, possessiveness, friendship, and braided them together into a thick, shining rope that connected their minds and hearts. And over and through it all, overwhelming joy that they had finally found their way to each other.

As they wove the final strands of the bond together, the pleasure of finally touching and knowing each other completely, combined with the shared pleasure of their physical union drove them both over the edge at the same time and they came calling each other's names.

When Spock's heart stopped exploding with jolts of pleasure and love, he pulled out of Jim, eliciting a muzzy mumble of protest from his still nearly insensate lover, and drew him close. Wrapping his long, olive body around Jim's more compact golden one, they slept.

On the table in the other room, the candles in the menorah burned low, sharing the blessing of the miracle of the lights.

 



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