Spoilers/Warnings: none/...excessive dialogue?
Disclaimer: Kirk and Spock belong to Roddenberry and Paramount; no money was made from this work of fiction.
Summary: Spock is not pleased with the latent homo-eroticism found in North American football.
The bridge is quiet, almost unusually so for the middle of Alpha shift. Today, however, is the sixth in a long stretch of days spent traveling towards Federation borders. The enormity of space has never seemed so relevant as when it takes eleven days at warp five to reach one's destination.
Spock supposes this monotony is what has the bridge crew behaving so demurely.
That is until several quick gasps sound from behind him and Spock turns just in time to see both the captain and Lt. Sulu react to something on their console view screens.
"Oh my god!"
"Did you see that?"
"Uhura, give us a replay," the captain demands and Spock follows his out-stretched hand to see that Lt. Uhura is also staring in shock at her console screen. She presses a few buttons and now all of the bridge crew seems to have congregated around the captain's chair, specifically the small screen on its armrest.
"Captain?" Spock asks, because if this is some sort of emergency, he needs to know.
Everyone is quiet, however, enraptured by whatever they are watching. After several breathless moments their expressions mirror each others' in amazement.
"Damn, did you see that vertical leap?" the captain exclaims over the low hum of chatter that the bridge crew has dissolved into.
The limited experience Spock has with such displays of human interaction lead him to tentatively conclude that an intra-ship recreational game is being played by off-duty crew members. When Dr. McCoy calls the bridge asking excitedly if Jim is watching the game, Spock's conclusions are confirmed.
"We're playing Cruz's team tomorrow night," Lt. Sulu says to the captain.
"Yeah, and we're definitely running a zone on him because awesome catches like that are embarrassing for my defense," the captain answers.
"Even if he's double-covered, you don't have anyone on your team that can out-jump Cruz," Lt. Uhura speaks up and the captain turns towards her, "Sir."
"Well then why don't you come play for us? If Jennings is allowed to play dirty then we're allowed to stick you on Cruz to distract him for awhile."
Lt. Uhura's eyes narrow and she opens her mouth to retort, but Dr. McCoy's voice beats her to the insult: "It's not 'playing dirty' if the ladies on Jennings' team just honestly look good in their uniforms. It's your own damn fault for ogling."
"Still..." the captain says, eyebrows raised suggestively at the lieutenant. She crosses her arms.
"I thought you said I throw like a girl."
"You do. But you'd still look hot with 'Team Kirk' across your chest."
Lt. Uhura smiles and shakes her head, "I will never play for Team Kirk." And with that she turns back to her station.
The captain glances at him finally and Spock raises an eyebrow.
"Women," he says with a commiserating shrug. Spock blinks and does not quite understand.
- - -
Twenty-six hours later, Jim is about to go off shift. Spock can tell because the captain frequently makes a point of coming to speak to him briefly before leaving the bridge, and his current presence behind Spock is impending.
"So are you coming to my game tonight?" Jim asks although Spock has yet to turn and give him his full attention.
"The probability of my attendance is low," Spock says to his console.
"You always say that."
"And yet you continue to ask."
"You know I read somewhere once that if a girl goes to her boyfriend's sporting events it means she supports his endeavors and cares about their relationship."
Spock looks up and glances over his shoulder. "Well as I am neither human nor female your research is not relevant to our relationship."
"That's okay, I made it up anyway," he concedes with a smirk. "Still, you should come watch me be athletic and manly. It's good for my ego."
Spock stares at Jim's teasing smile for a moment. "There are several comments I could make at this time about your ego. Please interpret the absence of such comments as my support concerning your endeavors and my attentive dedication to our relationship."
Jim grins at him, and the way it reaches to his eyes makes Spock turn back to his station.
"I'll see you later, then," Jim says, squeezing Spock's shoulder once. Spock nods and only when the captain has left the bridge does he attempt to go back to work.
- - -
Spock is not sure which line of thought lead him to believe that actually attending Jim's sporting event tonight was in any way a logical or productive idea. It is entirely possible that at the time he had neither logic nor productivity in mind.
Nyota spots him as soon as he enters the only recreational room large enough for intramural sports. She motions him over, so Spock climbs the temporary bleacher seats until he is able to sit next to her.
"Didn't think I'd see you here," she says, but from her smile it is obvious she is pleased.
"I will admit that attending this event was not in my original plans for the evening," Spock says as he scans the room. Jim's team is in gold, predictably enough, their sleeveless tops contrasting sharply with the long, loose black shorts they also wear. "What is the game being played?"
"North American Football," Nyota answers before frowning, "kind of. They're not wearing protective gear and there's only room enough for one end zone, but otherwise the rules are pretty much the same."
"And those are?"
She looks at him incredulously before smiling. "I wouldn't have time to explain them all to you right now, even if I could. I guess all you have to know is that if Jim throws the ball to anyone in gold and they catch it, that's good, and if they make it past that line at the end of the room, that's even better."
Spock raises an eyebrow and is about to comment on the questionable complexity of such a game when a sharp whistle-blow sounds. In the center of the room McCoy -- in gold, of course -- has an oblong-shaped, brown ball. He sets it on the ground and then crouches over it, weight settled on the hand that grips the ball. It is a strange position, made stranger when Jim walks up behind McCoy, resting the back of his hand on the doctor's lower back.
Had the scenario ended there, Spock may have been able to overlook the slight flaring of ill-repressed emotion, and blame the experience solely on shock. But it does not end there, and as Jim bends behind McCoy his hand follows the curve of the Doctor's body until both forearms are between McCoy's legs. The nonsense Jim calls to his teammates before the players break into a frenzy of action is drowned out by the nonsense running through Spock's mind: flashes of emotion he has no idea how to classify or deal with except through quick and ruthless suppression. He misses whatever happens, but Nyota is clapping and Jim is beaming so he concludes that it was positive for his team, whatever it was.
Nyota glances over at him and must mistake whatever expression is on his face for confusion because she laughs and gently pats his knee. "You can read up about the rules before the next game; I promise it's not that hard to follow."
Spock is not certain, however, that he will be attending any subsequent games. He is not even certain if he will be able to sit through the current one as Jim forms his body to McCoy's again.
The disconcerting part, Spock supposes, is his inability to classify the emotion he is experiencing. For Spock, emotions are best conquered by knowing when to expect their appearance and preemptively disassociating the mind from the emotional reaction. If Spock can understand his emotions he can control them.
But this particular one... It is at once more than jealousy and less than it.
Approaching it as a scientific unknown does seem to help in the disassociation process, and Spock is able to push it aside as a query to be considered later.
The game has continued through his inattention and both teams and players have shifted positions. Jim now stands next to McCoy on the far side of the room, watching as Cruz's team takes control of the ball. When Spock looks at him, Jim is staring right back, a wide smile on his face. He waves and Spock raises a hand in return.
After this, the game continues quickly and Spock is able to work out the main objectives and rules: four attempts to reach the number 20, another four to reach the goal if they are needed; play ends if the ball carrier is touched by an opposing team member; Jim is not allowed to attempt "Quarterback Sneaks" no matter how loudly he protests.
When the final whistle sounds Spock is certain his evening could have been spent more productively, and with less emotional turmoil. His plan is to leave the recreational room as soon as possible, but Jim is bounding up the steps towards him before he has even said goodbye to Nyota.
"Hey," he greets Spock with a grin. He is flushed and covered in perspiration and Spock has no trouble repressing the lust because he expects it and knows how to tame it. The other, unnamed emotion, however, flares violently when McCoy approaches and stands shoulder to bare shoulder with Jim. Spock has seen them like this countless times: standing closer than mere acquaintances, sharing looks and friendly touches. It has never bothered him before.
"So what are you doing tonight?" Jim asks him directly, clearly trying to incorporate Spock into the conversation that has been going on around him.
Spock decides some time alone to analyze tonight's discovery is prudent. "I plan to return to my station on the bridge to continue preparing the mapping systems for when we reach our destination."
Jim narrows his eyes. "I thought you'd gotten that all worked out."
"The more self-sufficient the system, the quicker the actual process will be. It is what I would have been doing had I not attended your game."
"So it can wait, then?" Jim says with that particular smile that broadcasts when he thinks he's won. "If it was so important, you wouldn't have blown it off to come watch me play."
"I admit that the need for system adjustments is not imminent," Spock concedes after a pause.
"Well then. I guess we'll be seeing you two later," Jim says with a somewhat lecherous wink directed at Nyota and McCoy. The latter rolls his eyes but Nyota wishes them a good night with a smile.
Spock considers protesting as he follows Jim out of the recreational room. The strange emotion has not subsided even now that he is alone with Jim. If anything, Spock thinks, the intensity from earlier may have returned.
"Captain-" he begins, but Jim stops suddenly and whirls around.
"Whoa, hey, what?" he says, cutting Spock off. "What's going on?"
"Jim," Spock says pointedly, attempting to backtrack, "I do no understand the question."
"Bullshit; you just 'captain'ed me and don't think I didn't hear it. What's up?"
Spock pauses, attempting to collect his thoughts around the unwelcome haze of emotion. "May we continue to your quarters?"
Jim takes his own turn to pause, scrutinizing Spock for several beats before nodding.
The walk to Jim's quarters is silent even if the glances he continuously shoots Spock are not.
"Okay, talk," Jim says before the door has even shut behind them. Spock walks calmly to Jim's desk and sits, pulling up the reports log. There is a new one waiting for him and he opens it, all the while aware of Jim's glare aimed towards him.
"Would you not rather shower first?" he asks, glancing up.
"Spock," Jim says, and Spock knows he has very little time to preemptively end this conversation.
"Jim," he begins calmly, "the word-choice was an attempt to distance myself from you and the situation I find myself currently in. If you would allow me an hour alone I will meditate on the problem and solve it."
"Problem?" Jim echoes, concern clear on his face, "What problem? Spock if I did something you need to talk to me about it; we've been over this."
"Jim, it is nothing to worry yourself over. The problem is an emotional one I found myself experiencing during your sports game."
"What? Football makes you angry?" Jim smiles briefly before a thoughtful look replaces it. "Well actually, we did lose. I guess anger could be a logical response."
Spock can feel his face soften at Jim's musings. "The emotional response was not due to the outcome of the game."
"Then what? Come on, Spock, talk to me." He laughs a little, like he always does when he's trying to get Spock to communicate. Like he can't quite believe he actually just said what he did.
Spock folds his hands in his lap and glances down at them briefly before saying, "I merely was taken aback by certain aspects of the game."
"'Taken aback'? When? Were you upset?"
"No. I am unsure of the exact nature of the emotion I experienced, but it was not anger. As I said before, I will take an hour to examine it on my own."
"Spock quit trying to push me out-"
"I am not-"
"I'm part of the problem that made you feel this way, I should be part of the solution. Now tell me what happened."
Spock debates for a moment simply leaving to meditate in his own quarters. Further analysis will solve this emotional problem and the process will go much quicker if he is alone and meditating. But Jim is standing in front of the desk, hands on his hips, and he looks resolute.
They have been struggling to reach a compromise over what they will and what they will not discuss concerning Spock's emotions, repressed or otherwise. It is a concession in and of itself that Spock has agreed to acknowledge the presence of said emotions, but of course Jim is not satisfied. The silence stretches for long enough that Jim begins to speak again.
"If you try to shut me out of this I swear I will not leave you alone long enough for you to try and figure it out on your own. I'll follow you into the bathroom, schedule all our shifts together, I'll lock you out of your own damn quarters so you have to sleep in here every night." He's clearly trying not to smile by the end of his proclamation, and Spock is hit by such a sudden swell of affection for this man and his illogical, selfish desires that he has to work not to return the gesture.
Spock mentally steels himself and says, "Earth recreational sports played primarily by men are well known for their emphasis on male masculinity, correct?"
"...Yeah," Jim says slowly, clearly not following the line of thought.
"Given my knowledge on human hegemonic masculinity, then, I find it difficult to believe that openly intimate touching between men would be a key part in such displays of Earth-masculinity."
Jim blinks in confusion for a moment and then his face clears in apparent understanding.
"Well there are certainly those who would argue that male-dominated sports are just a thinly veiled cover for socially acceptable displays of homo-erotic urges, but honestly, I don't think that's the issue you're having here." Jim pauses, inhales through an insufferable smirk and asks, "Are you jealous?"
Spock considers answering 'no' for all of two seconds. "It is highly probably that the emotional response I am having trouble repressing is partially that of jealousy. I did note the presence of said discomforting emotion whenever you placed your hands near Doctor McCoy's genital area."
Jim makes a face before bursting into laughter. "Spock, that's just how you play the game."
"Your opponent's ball-handler did not stand as close to, nor touch his teammate as much as you did."
"Maybe he wasn't as comfortable with the situation. It's not like I'd stick my hands between any guy's legs, but Bones and I have known each other forever! We're comfortable."
Spock returns his gaze to the computer terminal and nods sharply, hoping distantly that Jim will simply allow the conversation to end.
"Hey," Jim's voice is much closer now, but Spock keeps his eyes on the report. If only he could find the place where he had left off... "You trust me, right?" Spock turns his head so quickly he is caught a little off-guard by Jim's proximity to him. His eyes are wide and earnest and so very blue. The color never fails to fascinate Spock.
"I trust you." Jim smiles, but the faint tension around his eyes does not decrease. Spock resists the urge to sigh at the thought of having to explain himself further. "I can find no logical reason for the bothersome emotion I experienced earlier without private introspection, which you have made clear is not allowed. To request that you discontinue playing this sport would be unfair. As I cannot remove you from the situation, I will remove myself and we will no longer have to face this issue."
"You're not gonna come watch me play anymore?" Jim's smile is light and possibly teasing, but Spock does not pretend to miss the slight disappointment in his tone.
"Until I have determined the exact nature of the emotion, to continue being a spectator to these, as you say, 'socially acceptable displays of homo-erotic urges' is to invite this emotion to return on a regular basis. I do not believe this to be mentally or... emotionally beneficial to either of us."
"Well then we can either talk about it, or just kiss and make-up after every game," Jim teases, tweaking Spock's ear gently. Spock shakes his head, resisting the impulse to cover the attacked ear.
"I do not believe this would be a wise solution. My mental state is suffering currently from emotional strain. I would not trust myself to behave appropriately toward you in a sexual setting."
Jim gapes at him for a moment. "Are you serious?"
"You don't want to fuck right now because you think all that repressed jealousy is gonna make you... what? Crazy in the sack? Because I gotta tell you: that sounds pretty awesome."
"I am aware of your enjoyment of rough sexual intercourse. I am not aware of or willing to discover the consequences of attempting to participate in such intercourse with myself in this present state."
Jim is quiet for several beats before a cool finger trails up Spock's ear, tweaking it again at the tip. Spock does not react outwardly, aside from the faint flush down said ear. "Don't I get a say in this?" he asks, voice pitched low.
"You may say whatever you deem necessary," Spock answers, willingly giving Jim the opening he's looking for. Jim smirks down at him and moves to sit on the desk directly in front of Spock, feet propped up on either side of Spock's thighs.
"You won't hurt me," Jim murmurs, running his fingers through the hair just above Spock's ears. "If my intentions were to be with anyone but you, I wouldn't be here right now. Logically, you know this. There's no reason to be jealous."
Spock favors Jim with a small smile for the effort. "You are, however, underestimating the depth of my emotional attachment to you and the effect intercourse has on my ability to contain these emotions. Additionally, I believe there to be more than jealousy present and while I can contain whatever this is perfectly well at the moment, intimacy with you will undoubtedly weaken my control over the emotion."
Jim is silent for several moments before saying, slowly, "So to recap: you're either not coming to anymore of my games, or we don't get to have sex on game days, both of which include you repressing the hell out of yourself, all because I want to be a part of the solution and you want to do this on your own?"
Spock stares up at Jim and nods once, "Essentially, yes."
Jim rolls his eyes. "Well I don't like either of those options. Here's a thought: you either let me help, or you get over worrying about me and let me decide whether I can take it or not."
Spock knows that Jim will take potentially dangerous intercourse over conversations about emotion any day, no matter his new-found belief in the latter. The choice is so simple, it almost feels like exploitation. He meets Jim's even stare for several moments before placing his hands on either side of Jim's hips, pressed flat to the desk. "I would like to go on record as having proclaimed this a bad idea."
"Duly noted, commander," Jim says, his voice rich with suppressed laughter, as he cups Spock's neck and leans down for a kiss.
For all that it starts playful and chaste, soon enough Spock is standing and bending Jim back over his own desk. Their hips come together, and Spock can feel the emotion stuck in his chest begin to well up. He palms Jim's thigh, hiking one leg higher up on his waist as he ruts against his lover.
It is not until he has Jim naked and pinned to the bed with three fingers shoved inside of him that Spock acknowledges the litany that has been running through his head:
Mine, mine, mine, mine... it goes with every hitched breath he forces from Jim's lips.
Spock freezes and Jim tolerates it for all of two seconds.
"Spock," he groans, arching up in an attempt to get him to move again.
"Possession," Spock answers. Jim looks at him like maybe he's a bit crazy and Spock thinks that maybe he is for not having realized it earlier. "It was not mere jealousy I was experiencing, but also an element of possession in the face of another man touching what I perceived to be mine."
Jim blinks at him, and maybe it's the intimacy of the situation or the slight wonder of discovery in Spock's voice, but he does not try to make a joke or go on and on about how much Spock loooooves him, as he sometimes does to defuse an emotionally charged situation. Instead he curls a leg around Spock's back, fitting their hips together despite Spock's hand in the way, and says, "You know that I am."
"Yes," Spock agrees because it is not often Jim will tolerate reminders of his monogamy.
Jim grins and says, "Alright then," pulling in again with his leg.
"Jim, despite my identification of the emotion it is still inadvisable-"
"Spock," Jim interrupts him with an impatient squirm. "You know who I belong to, and I know who I belong to, but remind me anyway." He clenches around Spock's still-captive fingers which does nothing to help his resolve. "Go ahead and remind me."
And Spock will keep this in mind for later when Jim is complaining of not being able to walk for a week. But for now he nods and meets Jim's lips half way as he starts to work his fingers again.
Spock could easily do this for hours. The way Jim clenches and pushes against his hand is nearly as pleasurable as intercourse, but it is barely another thirty seconds before Jim is panting, "Come on. I'm good, just fuck me. Come on, Spock."
Spock frees his hand and holds still as Jim grabs the lubricant and applies a liberal amount to his cock. He leads Spock back down between his legs, hips canted up helpfully and Spock slides an arm around his waist, holding Jim up as he pushes in slowly.
Jim's fingers trail along Spock's length as it disappears inside his body until they can only circle the base. Spock focuses on those few points of contact until the urge to slam into his lover repeatedly and unrelentingly passes. The need to possess and claim and ensure that Jim never forgets to whom he belongs is bewildering. Spock wonders briefly if his experiences and reactions are specifically Human or Vulcan. It will take some meditation and perhaps research, but he has a vague suspicion that the answer is 'both'.
"Fuck, Spock, goddammit if you don't start moving right now I'm gonna-"
Jim chokes on his own words as Spock shoves forward, back and then in again in quick succession. His head falls back, his eyes slam shut, his mouth drops open, and if Spock were to look at only one thing for the rest of his life, he might want the picture Jim makes now to be it.
It's an illogical thought, but then again there is nothing particularly logical about his relationship with the captain. Certainly not when said relationship results in emotional outbursts such as the one he is currently expressing. Jim hasn't had the chance to breathe let alone speak since Spock began his onslaught, and if Spock weren't able to sense his pleasure through their contact he might think Jim was in pain.
The emotion has not quieted despite Jim's earlier words and Spock sees his hand reach for Jim's face with a kind of detachment that should perhaps be worrying. But Jim's mind welcomes him effortlessly, wrapping around him and complimenting the mantra in Spock's mind with one of his own: yours, yours, yours, yours...
Spock leans forward as far as possible without breaking his lover, covering as much of Jim's body with his own as he can. Using the last shreds of his control Spock holds them at the edge of orgasm until they are panting together: fast and shallow and desperate.
When they come it is both beautiful and vaguely terrifying. The wholes of their minds merge and bond and break and it takes several minutes after the fact for Spock to untangle their selves.
Once they are two separate beings again, Spock pulls back slowly. Jim groans as his body relaxes and Spock is slightly satisfied to hear it because he did mention that this was probably an unwise idea.
"Fuck," Jim rasps eventually, "I think you broke my... everything."
Spock's satisfaction grows just a little.
"Whatever," Jim scoffs gently, a smile on his face. "Was still a good idea."
There is an awkward pause for several beats before Jim opens his eyes and shoots Spock a confused look.
"Wait..." Spock can feel Jim's confusion as they both look down. He is kneeling between Jim's legs still, but there is no skin-to-skin contact between them. "Um?"
"It appears that we have accidentally created a tentative bond between our two minds," Spock says, feeling as calm as he sounds.
"Oh," Jim answers, but there is no sudden spike of anxiety on his part either. "Okay."
Spock considers apologizing for not thinking of such a possibility before initiating the meld, but Jim cuts him off with a silent reprimand before he can even think of how to phrase it.
There is contented silence between them for several seconds before Jim grabs Spock's arm and hauls him down to lay beside him.
"So this means you'll be at my next game, right?" Jim asks.
"Perhaps," he answers.
Spock can feel Jim smile without looking at him and though it is a new experience, for some reason it is not an unfamiliar one.
"You should make me a sign. Maybe something about how the quarterback is so good it's illogical."
Spock does turn his head this time to watch Jim grin at him. "Perhaps," he says again. Even without the bond, they are both fully aware that Spock will do no such thing.
Jim shifts towards Spock and then freezes, letting out a low and pained groan.
"Fuck, I'm not gonna be able to walk for a week."
Spock moves to cover the remaining distance between them and does not even attempt to shield the faint smugness that colors his silent 'Good night, Jim'.