DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2003 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.
The cave is the only warm place in the frozen wasteland. The fire Spock built the only source of heat, and Christine huddles close to it after dropping the load of brush she's gathered. Jim comes in soon after, setting down the wood he's collected then heading out again.
They're stockpiling the wood now; they've given up on Starfleet coming any time soon. They don't understand why they've been forgotten. Starfleet should care about a shuttle going missing. Especially one carrying the flagship's captain and first officer.
She thinks none of them want to mention that Starfleet might already have been there and gone. The shuttle's engines overloaded, eventually exploding but not before Spock managed to eke out enough control to make a hard but safe landing. Bought them enough time to get away from the explosion and the radiation that flooded the area.
Radiation that made it too dangerous to spend any significant amount of time near the crash site. Radiation that might have masked three small life signs if Starfleet did come. A search party could have beamed down and gone again never knowing that the dead still lived. Still waited for someone to find them.
Jim still goes back to the site. She used to go with him but finds the journey too depressing to continue. Before they fled the radiation, they left markers, wrote messages in the snow. But the winds blew the sticks and bones away or fresh snow covered everything up. If they had been able to salvage more from the ship, they could have set up a beacon, one that would never be blown away or covered. But there had been no time to do more than grab the closest thing and run. To run as fast as they could and marvel that they were alive at all.
She looks over at Spock. He seems to sense her eyes on him, looks up. He is sitting near the fire. Of all of them, he suffers the most in this cold. He is wrapped now in one of the emergency blankets that she grabbed when they fled the shuttle. He shivers and she walks over to him, pulls her own blanket off and wraps it around him.
He does not shy away from her touch any longer. Just nods as she tucks the blanket against the other. In a few minutes, he will rise and put it back around her shoulders. But for now he will allow her to pamper him.
It's the least she can do. He saved them after all. Saved them from whoever sabotaged the engines. Spock is sure the overloading was not natural. Someone wanted to kill them.
Well, not her probably. She is inconsequential. A nurse who should have been leaving the ship. Nobody's target.
But the two of them? The great Kirk and Spock. She supposes there are any number of people who would like to see them dead.
And they should have been dead. But whoever tried to kill them didn't count on Spock's ingenuity. The planet should have been out of range. But Spock pushed the shuttle, bought them time enough to land, bone-jarringly hard but safely.
On this horrible frigid world where nobody knows they are trapped.
"Jim is working too hard," Spock says, and she knows he is right.
"Jim hasn't given up yet."
Not like she and Spock have.
He meets her eyes, his are calm, resigned. She knows hers are the same.
"It has been over three months," Spock says.
She nods. "Jim's stubborn."
She doesn't remember when she stopped thinking of him as the captain and started to think of him as Jim. When she started calling him that. When it became natural for her to talk to Spock about him, to talk to him about Spock. She supposes the two of them talk to each other about her.
She moves away, goes back to testing the roots she found in the far clearing with the tricorder that Spock grabbed from the shuttle. They are full of vitamins, and she puts them with the other things she's found for them to eat, things that are more for Spock than for Jim and her. They eat the animals Jim kills. Spock will not.
She has ranged far to find him things he will eat. She would range farther if it means keeping him alive.
She wanders to the cave entrance, shivers as the wind comes up. She sees Jim coming back holding one of the rabbit-like creatures that he kills with the phaser he took a dangerous extra second to grab from the shuttle before he ran after them.
The meat has an odd taste, but the fur is lush, and she uses it for many things. It seems ironic to her that in this time long past sutures, she is learning to take sinew and stitch animal skins together to keep them warm. She made liners for their boots first. Their feet were always cold and she feared frostbite more than she ever told the two of them.
The fur is warm, not as warm as the emergency blankets but much better than their flimsy uniforms. She looks over at their sleeping area near the fire, where the robe she created by sewing the hides together into great blocks covers the hard ground, keeping the terrible chill from them. The small pieces of fur go to reinforce where their uniforms are already fraying. She wants to make gloves next. Traced Spock's hands onto a hide with a piece of charcoal one night. She'll cut it out and sew it during the next storm.
She had never sewn anything in her life before they were stranded.
Jim does not bring the rabbit thing into the cave. Spock does not like to watch him dress the meat, or skin the creature. Spock does not mind watching her sew the furs into something useful, but that is after she has scraped the hide, rubbing it clean with snow and then letting it dry by the fire. She ruined the first few skins, got the fur too wet and it dried gummy. Now she is more careful.
Jim tosses her the hide. "Where's your blanket?"
She nods inside.
"It's too cold out here to be without it." He doesn't offer her his. But she knows he would if they were inside and he thought she was cold.
She walks back to the fire. Spock is already pulling the blanket off, gives it back to her. He looks at her hand with distaste and she realizes she has brought the bloody skin in with her.
She rolls her eyes. "You won't mind so much when this is keeping you warm."
He does not argue with her. They both know it is true. They will all do what they need to in order to survive.
She walks back out to Jim. He still holds the rabbit, but he is staring at the sky. His expression is so bleak that she has to look away.
He turns to her. "You don't believe in rescue anymore, do you?"
He looks up again, as if he could will a ship into orbit, a Starfleet search party down to the planet.
"Spock doesn't either," she says softly.
"I know." He goes back to cutting the meat off the carcass.
She doesn't interrupt his silence, just works on the hide until her hands are too cold to hold the bone scraper Spock made from an earlier kill. Nothing is wasted. Everything has potential.
"Christine?" His voice is so soft she can barely hear him. "I don't know how to give up."
She smiles. "I know. You can keep believing for all of us." She gets up, sets the hide just inside the cave and goes to the fire to warm up.
Spock is making more tools from the bones of Jim's earlier kills. Bones she and Jim have washed for him, before he fashions them into knives and needles and other things they can use to more efficiently skin and scrape the meat he detests.
She crouches down next to him, watches as he carefully carves a large leg bone. "A knife?"
He shakes his head. "A spade of sorts. It will make it easier to dig the tubers you found for me."
She smiles. "Good idea."
He reaches into the pile of smaller bones he has already carved. "I made you another scraper. I can sharpen the one you have."
She nods. Takes the new scraper and goes back outside.
"What did he invent now?" Jim asks.
He laughs. "When he makes us some brandy, let me know."
He nods. Spock does not seem to mind, but both she and Jim are tired of having only water to drink. Although they should probably count themselves lucky--they'd die without water. And it is plentiful, as long as the snow holds.
And according to Spock, it will hold for several more months. Or perhaps forever. Christine thinks he does not want to tell them the truth, that he pretends there are too many variables to predict if a thaw will happen. She wonders if he thinks that they will lose hope, stop caring.
Jim fixes the meat onto long bone skewers that Spock made. He buries the skewers in the snow to stay cold until they are ready to cook it. So far, they have seen no predators, nothing comes to steal their meat or nose around the skins. They have seen no other people either.
"Do you think the snow will ever go away?" she asks.
Jim shakes his head.
"Me neither." She finishes scraping the hide. It used to take her hours to prep one, now she is efficient, very fast. She gathers up the bits of flesh and bone, carries them to the hole they've dug to one side of the cave entrance. Nothing rots in this cold, or if it does, it doesn't stink in the process. She wipes her hands off in the snow.
What she wouldn't give for a warm bath.
She prayed they'd find thermal springs, maybe a lovely, warm pool in the cave that they could get truly clean in. But there is no pool. They wash by melted snow, with a soap that Spock fashions from the fat of the rabbit things mixed with ash and made fragrant by a decoction of tree needles and resin. It is better than nothing.
The cave isn't big enough for them to have any privacy. If she is bathing, the other two go outside. She does the same for them. Their latrine is outside, another hole at the side of the cave. Sometimes she hopes it doesn't thaw. The entrance of the cave will stink with their refuse if they have to stay as long as she fears on this planet.
She sighs, feels Jim's hand on her shoulder. His touch feels good, warm as it rests on her blanket.
"Let's go inside."
She brings the hide, hangs it near the fire to dry. Spock has put one of the tubers in a pot over the fire to boil. It will take hours before it is ready to eat. But once done, it will provide him with needed nutrients, even some small amount of protein. She worried that they would not be able to find him any of that, that he'd be forced to eat the animal flesh that repelled him. She is glad he will not have to.
She yawns. The days are too long on this world to sleep by the changing of the light, so they sleep when they are tired. She lies down, stares at the cave ceiling.
Jim stands over her, staring down at her, then looking over at Spock. He suddenly turns away, as if angry at one or both of them.
She sits up. Looks over at Spock who is watching Jim. Spock frowns, turns to her and lets his eyebrow form a question. She shrugs, unsure what is wrong.
"Jim?" Spock asks.
"What are we doing here?"
"We crashed here." She tries to make the words light.
"No, Christine. What are we _doing_ here? We have no damn purpose. No reason for being alive."
"We are alive. Is that not reason enough for continued existence?" Spock continues to carve the spade.
She frowns at Spock. He looks back at her, his expression even. Almost amused.
"Jim?" She pushes herself to her feet, walks over to him. "What's wrong?" She touches his arm and he pulls away as if burned.
She looks over at Spock. His eyebrow rises slowly, then he gets up. "Jim?"
"I just need some time alone."
"In here?" Christine does not feel like going outside again, she is just starting to get warm.
Jim pulls his blanket around him tighter. "I'll go out." He starts to leave. Is brought up short by Spock's hand on his arm.
"I believe it is time that we had a talk." Spock's voice is calm, measured. "The three of us."
Christine can feel her heart beating in a way that makes her immediately angry. She feels a flush, is embarrassed at how undisciplined her thoughts are. She turns away, afraid that Spock will see how much she needs to be touched. Has needed that for some time. She gets little opportunity to touch herself, to work off the pent up desire.
And the desire she has is for both of them. Desire for Spock, the man she loved so desperately for so long. The man who now fashions spades for her out of bone and tries to make her soap smell prettier. And for Jim. The captain she barely knew, who now jokes with her and hunts with her and has snowball fights with her.
She gathers up her blanket. She will go outside.
"Christine, do not go." Spock's voice is firm.
She stops, unsure what to do.
She feels a hand on her shoulder, turning her toward Jim. Sees that Spock has turned Jim to face her.
"You are both human. You have certain needs. I am not unaware of this."
"Spock, for god's sake," Jim says.
"Do you not want her?" Spock looks at her. "Do you not want him?" He gathers up his blanket. "I will go."
"It's not that simple," she says. She studies Jim's face as he looks at her then at Spock. She can see he is aroused. She can sense it is not just by her.
Spock is waiting for her to get to the point.
"We do want each other. But we want you too." She looks at Jim.
He looks down for a moment as if admitting what he wants will be a betrayal.
She takes his hand. "It's not giving up to give in to this."
"Isn't it? Isn't that exactly what this is?"
Spock is frowning. "No. It is survival." He starts to turn away.
Christine looks down. "Spock, if you want him but not me..."
She feels Jim's hand on her shoulder. "Or me?"
"You do not need to include me."
"You don't want to be included?" Jim asks, a trace of the old Kirk in his voice.
"I did not say that." The look Spock turns on Jim is fierce.
Christine swallows hard, gently pulls away from Jim's hand. She takes her blanket, wraps it around her shoulders. "I'll go."
She does not get very far before Spock says, "I do not want you to."
She turns. They are frozen, as if in some odd tableau. Three of them, standing like the points of a triangle in the darkness of the cave.
"I've never...with two..." she is embarrassed beyond words. She is also aroused just as much.
"And you think we have?" Jim smiles, a tight smile. He is embarrassed too.
It is Spock who is not embarrassed. Spock who is ever logical. "I believe it should be most interesting." He looks at her, his eyes seem to burn. "I would not want to choose between you."
They stand, motionless. She breaks the spell first. Moves closer to the fire. Begins to take off what's left of her uniform. Jim follows suit. Spock stands back, watching them, an odd tilt to his mouth.
"You now." Jim's voice is commanding.
Christine smiles as Spock obeys his captain.
Jim holds out a hand to each of them. "They've forgotten us. I have to accept that."
She takes his hand, is pulled against him. Spock is soon on his other side. They are both holding Jim, Vulcan-hot hands and her own cooler ones running over his body.
"We will not forget," Spock whispers. He kisses Jim first, a hard, passionate kiss, as if he has been waiting his whole life to do it.
Jim strokes his hair, his cheek. Then he turns to her and kisses her a way she's never been kissed before, as if she's the only thing in the universe. She moans, feels hands, too many hands to be just his on her body. She moans again.
When she and Jim pull away from each other, Spock is standing in front of them. He draws her to him, kisses her with a passion that surprises her. All the old emotions--feelings she worked hard to put down when it was clear they were stuck together--come rushing back.
Jim is kissing her neck and she groans at the sensation of them both loving her. Spock pulls away and she nestles against him while Jim moves around, kissing him again. Spock's hand is fondling her, even as Jim's is fondling Spock. She sinks down onto the sleeping fur, feels both of them follow her down.
Then there is only sensation. The feeling of lips and tongues moving down her body, one of them entering her, the other's fingers teasing her, her mouth on them as they love each other. She can't keep track of who is touching her and who is being touched and realizes that Spock has melded with them both, that they are all one.
She feels Jim's refusal to give up, a stubbornness that wars daily with sheer despair that he has failed them, and failed his ship. She feels Spock's discomfort from the cold, a discomfort he puts down relentlessly as he finds ways to make himself useful, to serve. And she feels their reactions as they understand her fear that they would shut her out, her own loneliness and anger at being gypped of the future she finally was brave enough to pursue.
Spock pulls her close, she feels Jim press against her back. His arms wrap around her waist and Spock covers them with his own. They kiss, warm, loving kisses, one to one to the other.
She yawns, hears Jim do the same.
Spock pulls a blanket over them all and they watch the shadows flicker on the wall from the fire. The tuber will be done soon, and Jim can get the meat and cook it, and they will eat. The meld is slowly fading, leaving behind a warm, loving touch in her mind. She moans, feels Jim's lips on her neck, Spock's on her forehead.
She sighs happily, allows herself to drift while the two men softly talk. She hears very little of what they say, just sinks into the warmth that is still between them all.
She suddenly harbors the hope that Starfleet will never find them. Knows that it's a selfish thought, but decides not to care.
"Maybe it's not so bad to be forgotten," she mumbles, as she nestles closer to them. They press warm hands against her, one of them kisses her but she is too tired to figure out which one.
Then her two lovers kiss each other as she falls asleep, securely held between them.