Rating: Probably PG-13 for swearing? I suck at rating things.
Summary: For this prompt at st_xi_kink: "Kirk/Spock. Epic, epic kissing. Remember the transporter room S/U necking? Something like that. The crew is all assembled to bid their captain good luck on his crazy dangerous mission and emotions are running high. Just prior to energizing K is thinking he just might not come back and this will be his only opportunity for a taste of the first officer he's secretly!madly!inlove! with. Shock and awe amongst K and crew when Spock returns the kiss (and how!) because of course he's also secretly!madly!inlove! with Kirk. From the Princess Bride, 'Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.' I want this to be that kiss. Desperate and beautiful, we might never get the chance again kissing."
Notes: Geeze, this was supposed to be done ages ago, but life attacked, and then it kind of mutated into something a little long. Not sure if I'm quite happy with it, but I think it's pretty much done, either way. Hope anon likes! *crosses fingers*
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, XI or otherwise. I'm just madly in love with it.
The voice transmission cuts off, and all Jim can think is fuck.
His crew is silent. All eyes are trained on the main screen, where the Kteini vessel is a slick mass of silver, marring the blue planet and rivers of stars hanging behind it. Hannity has a hand on her mouth, eyes wide; Rogers is shaking his head, like he can't believe it. The alien captain's words linger on the bridge, unavoidable--you have exactly thirty minutes.
Jim's heart starts pounding up a storm into the silence, but he closes his eyes before he can really panic, and forces himself to concentrate. Okay, you can do this, he tells himself. He swallows over the pit of nerves and fear writhing in his stomach, and pushes down till he reaches that calm, cool place way under everything else, where clarity lives. Thirty minutes--he runs through the other data he has and imagines a few moves; when he opens his eyes again, he is Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise right to his bones. The only possible course of action is obvious.
"Lieutenant Uhura," he says, clearing his throat.
"Yes, Captain?" she says. Her eyes are focused back on her console by now, her fingers busy. She sounds calm, but he can read the tension in the stiff line of her back, and his mind flashes oddly to the last time they were planetside together: cramped and cold, him holding a hand against the hot pulse of her bloody leg and telling bawdy jokes to keep her awake and out of shock. ("Oversexed asshole," she'd whispered, wincing a smile and gripping his arm.)
He shoves the memory away--no time--and turns his gaze back to the alien ship. "Please alert the transporter room of the particulars of my departure," he tells her, levering up out of his chair and straightening his uniform. "Tell them to expect me within the next two minutes."
He's halfway across the bridge by the time she gets it. "But Captain--" she starts, swinging around swiftly.
"That's an order, Lieutenant," he cuts in quietly, not looking back at her. He turns to Sulu before she can reply--Sulu, whose hands are splayed, motionless, over his own console, and whose eyes are fixed on Kirk with a kind of awful epiphany building in them.
"Mister Sulu, you have the conn," Jim says, trying not to think of the way his friend will smile, laughing and adrenaline-wild, when the two of them spar.
He waits for the tight "aye, Captain," and then turns to Spock. He can't meet his First Officer's eyes, so he settles his gaze somewhere at Spock's stomach.
"Walk with me," he says.
He's fiercely glad his damn voice doesn't crack.
Spock just nods, expressionless. The familiarity of that is soothing--while the frantic hum of activity starts up again behind them, Spock stays silent and steady, giving Jim something solid to focus on.
Not like that's anything new, Jim thinks disparagingly at himself. Which, yeah; it's been eight months since he admitted he was in love with Spock, and since then, it's been all he can do to focus anywhere but the Vulcan's hands, or mouth, or voice, or mind. Or anything. It's pretty pathetic, actually, how much of a hold the Spock's got over him. Jim's been in love before, but never quite like this. Never so much it lit him up on the inside, made him feel this alive--
The turbolift arrives, and Jim abandons that train of thought with relief, motioning Spock ahead of him. The doors close, and he slumps a little against the wall.
"Captain," Spock says evenly over the whir of the 'lift, turning to face him. "I am unsure as to whether I have correctly understood the implication I believe you made on the bridge. Is it your intention to comply with the ultimatum?"
Jim squints dully at the floors spinning by. Do I have a choice? he wants to ask.
But of course he has a choice--there's always a choice. Dilithium crystals or technology blueprints; an unbroken arm or a peace treaty; one shuttle full of supplies or three crew members and a body to send home. Yeah, there's always a choice. It just might not be an easy one. Which is why Jim makes himself think of it like math: variables in the equation x>y, where x = knowledge that will save the planet of Denarsia--ten million citizens, all told, and an absolutely priceless hub of cybernetic technology besides--and y = one Starfleet captain's life.
Equations are simple.
"Yeah," he says to Spock simply. "I'm complying."
Spock frowns very slightly. "In that case, I must advise against your course of action. It is careless and highly unnecessary," he says.
"Is it?" Jim mutters. He gathers his thoughts, avoiding Spock's eyes. "Way I see it," he says softly, "it's me beaming down to that ship or a ruined planet. A ruined planet with cybernetics tech we desperately need, Spock--the quadrant desperately needs. Not to mention all the people who'll die. And I know they said thirty minutes, but how many more will die while we're sitting here trying to find a solution?"
He and Spock both feel the echo of Vulcan, then, and Jim shakes his head and forces a laugh to forget. "I'm thinking maybe it'll surprise them, me coming early, and they'll slip up somehow," he tells his First. "And if not--well, better just get it over with, yeah? Like ripping off a bandaid," he tries to joke, but Spock's eyes are smooth as glass.
"I find your analogy tasteless," he says. "This is your life, Captain, not a minor abrasion."
His voice is tight as steel, and Jim's stomach churns. He keeps his eyes focused anywhere but his First Officer--because if he looks at Spock, really thinks about what he's leaving? If he doesn't shove that down and force it under everything? He's not sure he'll be able to do it, logic and captaincy be damned. Even now, part of him just wants to reach out and thread his hands into Spock's hair and never let go; wants to beg, to say, ask me to stay, and I will. Just ask.
That part's Jim, though, not Captain Kirk. Captain Kirk puts the safety of his crew and protection of the universe above everything else, without hesitation.
He frowns and pretends to check the holster for his phaser, and doesn't say a word back.
"Captain, the likelihood of your survival is less than point zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-one percent," Spock argues softly. "There must be another solution."
Jim focuses harder on his imagined holster problem, and manages to unhook the thing. Dammit.
"If you can think of one, Spock, I'm all ears," he murmurs, fiddling with the stupid clasp. "All I know is this planet's worth a hell of a lot, and we can prevent genocide, here. This is--logical."
Silence reigns for a moment, then, stretching between them like the wide gulf of space. Then Spock's hands are reaching out to push Jim's own lightly out of the way, checking the fastening on the Jim's holster himself. Jim almost forgets to breathe.
"Jim," Spock says quietly, securing the catch. His fingers are careful and warm, and Jim shivers, imagining--the way you do when you're crazy for someone--that his hands linger a little.
"Yes," says Jim.
The turbolift slows and stops. As the doors open, Spock says, "I once recall you claiming you did not believe in so-called 'no-win scenarios.'"
Jim gives one abortive shake of his head, because in that moment? The little hint of Spock's concern is just way too much on top of everything, and Jim knows he'll fall apart if he doesn't refocus.
"Well, I guess I met my match," he mutters, and stumbles out of the lift before he can say anything else, calling "Hold on a sec, will you?" over his shoulder. There's something else he has to do, anyway.
He strides over to the nearest empty console to key in the override for a shipwide transmission, instead of thinking about anything too hard. The computer beeps at him, and he focuses, clearing his throat softly.
"Attention, crew of the Enterprise," he says in his command voice. "This is Captain Kirk." He pauses. "As I'm sure you all know by now, I will beaming aboard the Vulla III, alone, in accordance with Captain Xtou's orders. In exchange, she will arrange for the release of the Denarsian Medical Institute and the planet's transporters. This will allow the Denarsian people to combat the plague the Kteini have unleashed on their planet."
His hand, he notes distantly, is shaking. He stills it without a thought.
"So," he goes on, "I'm sure you're wondering just exactly what it is I think I'm doing on the channel, since you already know all this." He rubs a hand over his face and breathes out a shaky laugh. "Well. It's, ah, it's extremely unlikely that I'll be able to return to the Enterprise--Mr. Spock informs me that it's about a one in a million chance, in fact. I'm going to give survival everything I've got, here, but just in case, I--I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how much it's meant to me--what an absolute honor it's been--to serve as your captain."
He goes quiet for a second, trying to think of the best words. There are none, he realizes--nothing to encompass the love he feels for these people.
"You are, without a doubt, the best crew I could ever have wished for," he settles on. "Dreamed of. Really. You, you go above and beyond the call of duty, every day--though it's uncomfortable, and difficult, and exhausting. You do your jobs without complaint, and you do them damn well--though they're some of the hardest jobs in the universe. You are kind, compassionate, intelligent, and dedicated--though none of those are ever easy.
"Moreover, you each and every one of you embody the spirit of Starfleet: the curiosity that drives us into uncharted space, and the instinct for understanding and respect that allows us to connect with so many new species. That desire to know and love it all."
He bites his lip and blows out a breath. "I wake up every morning and wonder how I got so lucky, to be assigned to a ship full of such extraordinary people," he admits. "And I'm truly, truly grateful to have gotten the opportunity to serve with you. I've never been prouder of anything in my whole entire life, actually. So, thank you. Every single one of you." He swallows. "Kirk out."
Silence echoes through the transporter room as Jim closes the transmission quietly. He knows there are people behind him, but he doesn't really feel like looking at them just yet, so he lets his hand linger on the panel and takes in the thrumming pulse of his ship instead.
The thought strikes him: his ship, good god--his ship, his baby, who's gotten them through asteroids and Klingons and a whole shitload of trouble, and never--not once--let him down. His girl, who feels like home--his ship, who he's leaving, he thinks hollowly. Fuck.
Okay, okay, focus--no time. He smooths a hand over her and thinks something wordless in between gratitude and love--a thank you--before forcing himself away for maybe the last time. He finds his Chief Engineer standing next to him, breathing a little labored.
"Scotty," he gets out.
"Aye, Captain," Scotty says quietly. His eyes are wet. "I'll take good care of her, should y' not return."
Jim nods once. He has no doubt of it. If there's anyone who loves the Enterprise as much as he does, it's his friend. He clasps Scotty's shoulder briefly before dragging himself away, back over to the transporter console.
Chekov's hunched over at the console, Jim notes, fingers dancing over the screen--kid should be up on the bridge, and Jim frowns and opens his mouth to say something. Then Chekov looks quietly up at him, and Jim thinks better of it.
He's seen that look on his crew's faces before, and the weight of it chills him straight to the bone every time. He couldn't put a word to it if he tried, but he's sure any other captain would recognize it in an instant. It's not devotion, or respect, or faith, but maybe it's something like them. Belief. Trust. A recognition of his faults and his triumphs. A look that says I know you. Captain.
So he nods at Chekov (so bright and brave, for someone so young), and turns to speak to Spock again.
"So, uh," he mumbles. "I know the chances are ridiculous, but I'll do my best to get out of it, somehow. Just, you know. Monitor me--"
He's interrupted by the whir of the turbolift, and then Bones is stomping out into the room, calling, "Jim!"
"Bones," Jim says, choking a little as his throat knots up.
Bones's face is shuttered and furious, and his knuckles are white where he's gripping an Aid kit. "Heard the transmission--where do you think you're going, y'goddamned moron?" he demands, striding over to slap Jim in the chest. "Did you catch some sorta new idiot virus? 'Cause this is a new height in stupidity, even for you," he growls. His voice is shaking a little.
Jim wants to laugh, but finds he really can't. His stomach's an absolute mess, and his breathing's kind of fucked, too. He grips Bones's arm and breathes out slowly.
"Bones," he says. "I'm--I'm not thinking I have much of a choice, here, man. Believe me, if I thought I did--" he breaks off, shaking his head and pasting on a tight grin. "Well, if wishes were starships, we'd all be Captain, huh?" he offers.
"Dammit, Jim," says Bones quietly, face crumpling. Jim gives up, then, and pulls him into a fierce hug. Fuck, talk about things you never wanted to get a chance to see in your life: your best friend's reaction to your probable death. His heart feels like it's been scraped out of his chest.
He and Bones hold each other tightly for a moment. Then Bones is pushing him back to look him in the eye, hands so gentle on Jim's shoulders--grumpy old bastard, Jim thinks, stomach tight and eyes blurry. God, they've been through everything together. Sorrow and trouble and joy and triumph and time, Bones steady at Jim's back and Jim steady at Bones's. Ready to fight the Academy; ready to fight the whole fucking world.
Fuck. Captain, he reminds himself, duty. He swallows it down, and offers Bones all the smile he can find. Bones grimaces back, squeezing his shoulder like a vice.
"Tell Joanna I say hi," Jim manages, and then he just can't look at Bones anymore, so he looks at Spock's shoulders instead.
No; he makes himself look up at Spock's face for the first time since the transmission came in, because he can hear Chekov beginning to key up the transporter behind him, and it looks like this is it.
Spock is beautiful, like he always is--upswept brows, high cheekbones, full mouth tightened in unhappiness. Dark eyes blaze back at him, and Jim can trace the anger and fear locked tightly under the surface. His heart trips over itself in his chest, and he breathes out shakily.
How the fuck is he supposed to say goodbye to Spock? Encapsulate what he means to Jim in a string of words? There aren't enough of those in the universe, not to say what Jim wants to--
It really hits him, just then, that this could be the last time he ever gets to see Spock. The last chance he has to speak. And just like that--one split-second--he's suddenly absolutely sure he doesn't want to go out of this world without Spock knowing Jim loves him. Because god, Jim thinks, swallowing, he really fucking loves him. So much he can't breathe with it.
"Spock," he says hoarsely.
Jim opens his mouth. He tries to say something--no matter that there aren't words in English or any other language he knows to really convey the depth of it--but somewhere his brain's signals get crossed. Instead of explaining with words, he finds himself doing what he's desperately wanted to for months: leaning forward and kissing Spock.
Okay--he can go with that. He just lets his body speak for him, instead; pours everything he's got into the kiss, because fuck, what does he have to lose? Just thinks all the things he never manages to say: You're so important to me. You're one of the best friends I've ever had. You challenge me, you draw me up and make me a better man. I never want to let you go. I need you. I love you.
I love you.
Spock's mouth is warm and soft, and he smells amazing. Jim's heart is racing and his body's singing, but it's like he can breathe again, because one way or another, Spock knows. Spock knows. If Jim dies now, it won't be the end of the world: he's said everything he needed to.
He feels the calmest he's felt all day. Calm enough to remember his duty and face it without fear, even, so he presses one last lingering, contented kiss over Spock's mouth and makes to move back.
And then it's like something snaps.
Spock's moving suddenly to kiss him back--desperately, wildly, cradling Jim's cheek in one hand and cupping his jaw with the other. He parts Jim's lips and fiercely twines their tongues together, hot and soft and slick and god, god, so goddamn good. Pleasure curls gold in Jim's stomach, and he's kissing back before he can really think about it, tangling his tongue roughly against Spock's and dragging it over the roof of Spock's mouth, shivering. Spock pulls back a little and bites softly at Jim's lower lip in return, and fuck, it's perfect--quick, hard nip followed by slow, hot strokes of his tongue, fire over fire. All this as he brushes a thumb tenderly over Jim's cheekbone, and oh, god, Jim can't breathe. Jim can't breathe; his whole body's flushed and his heart's pounding against his fucking ribs and his fingers are digging into Spock's shirt because he's convinced if he lets go, he'll drift away like he's in zero-gee. This can't be fucking real--his body's humming, wild with it--
Spock's the only thing grounding him, a wall of heat against his body and at his mouth. That's all there is--flame, seeping into the corners of his body and dragging him into a whirlwind. Spock's holding Jim's hip possessively, the heat of his hand burning through Jim's uniform till it feels like a brand on his skin, and Jim curls his fingers into Spock's soft hair to say it back. Spock trails the fingers of his other hand lightly over the skin under Jim's collar in response, just soft enough to be fucking maddening--Jim shifts closer and licks deeper into his mouth--
No, wait. Wait, wait--he yanks himself back, panting, heart beating too loud for him to think and brain a mess of confusion. Wait. He stares up into Spock's dark eyes, bewildered.
His First Officer's gaze burns into him in reply, and the questions on Jim's lips die. Shock judders through him, and his hands tighten.
"You--?" he tries. But that's all he's got. His hands are shaking again, and he still can't bring himself to really believe it.
Something in Spock's eyes changes at that. Before Jim can really even catch his balance, Spock's leaning in to brush a trail of gentle kisses over Jim's skin: jaw, cheek, corner of mouth. Jim gulps in breath, and Spock laces their fingers together, strong and certain. "T'hy'la," he murmurs, with all the weight and belief in the world.
Jim's mind flashes back to the meaning of the word, and god--his heart goes crazy, and his stomach blooms with searing heat, and his mind's just he loves me, too, all stark with disbelief and elation--
And then suddenly all the terror he didn't have room for before's crowding into his blood and short-circuiting his brain. Because--fuck. He didn't think he'd ever get a chance to come back to this. Fuck. He might die.
He might die.
He grips the sides of Spock's neck and forces himself to breathe through the idea of losing this just as he's gotten it. Spock draws in a harsh breath and pulls him in like he senses it, curling his arm over Jim's shoulder as shelter. He presses in, close and warm, till their cheeks slide into place against each other and Jim can feel Spock's breath on his ear.
Come back to me, Jim doesn't hear him say, words stroking through Jim's mind like water as his hand strokes gently through the hair at the nape of Jim's neck. His fingers are shaking. T'hy'la, t'hy'la; and his mind's voice is full of the emotion he keeps hidden otherwise, fear and anger and so much love. We have had no time together, it whispers. I did not know--t'hy'la, come back to me. Please, Jim. Please. Try.
Jim breathes in slow, but he knows his answer already. He knows the answer to anything Spock asks of him like this: yes. I'll try, he thinks. Curls his head into Spock's shoulder, blocking out the world--I'll try.
And he will, because there's no fucking way he's giving this up without a fight.
Spock's fingers tighten in his hair, and Jim can actually feel the wave of love in his brain: brushing over his nerves like fire and brighting out everything but the two of them in a hot white whirl. He leans into it, opening his own heart in response.
For a long moment, the world is just that, and nothing else.
Then Jim wrenches himself away, shoves his helmet on, and barrels onto the transporter pad. "One to beam down," he says before he can think about it, breath still coming short. A slow wash of light engulfs him.
The last thing he sees is Spock, eyes locked on his own.