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) 2004 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
Bargains in the Dead of Mind
I watch Spock watching me with Jim. I know he's watching, even as he tries to pretend he's only absorbed in his tricorder readings. Tries to act as if his gaze does not slide off the panel of that little machine and work itself our way.
I enjoy that he watches us. Not very big of me, I know. Not very noble. But there it is. I enjoy that he watches us.
I do not, however, enjoy that Len does. He's watching us too much, and even though his expression would do a Vulcan proud, I know that he's in pain. I almost wish there was something I could do for him. But I know what that something would be, and I can never give him the love that he craves.
I don't love him. I never have. Not the way he wants. I love him as a friend, as a man with whom I've had a close professional association for years. But as a lover, I cannot say that I felt those things.
He once told me in a moment of anger that he thought I could not love anyone who actually returned my feelings. That if I didn't have an emotionless automaton to fixate on, I wasn't happy.
But he's wrong. I know it and he knows it. Because I do love Jim. And he loves me back. And that's what tears Len up inside. That after all, I really can love someone who loves me too.
I wish I could make it stop hurting for Len. But only he can do that. And I doubt that he will even try. Not when he seems to enjoy wallowing in the misery we've made of his life.
Oh, I know I had a part in it. I may not have loved him, but I cared for him, and that should have been enough to keep me away from Len's bed. I knew how he felt, and yet I kept going back. I said never again, and then showed up at his door.
It wasn't the sex. Not that the sex wasn't good, because it was. But it wasn't like it is with Jim. Jim's fantastic in bed, better than Len, better than what I remember of the Pon Farr with Spock. But that's not why I'm with him. Jim finds a way to connect, finds a way to make what happens between us mean something more than just sex. We touch in so many other ways than just with our bodies.
With Len, it was only our bodies that joined. He and I never did. But I wasn't looking for that when I went to him. I was looking for oblivion. I wanted to forget how empty I was by sucking the life out of him. His love, his obsession with me, it was like fuel. It kept me going for so long. It was also like a balm on badly burned skin. He helped me to forget that I loved Spock. And that Spock didn't love me. That Spock only loved one thing. One person. Jim.
I know this. Not just suspect, or think, or believe. I know what Spock feels for him. I know because I've seen and felt and tasted those feelings. From inside Spock's mind, from a place where he could not hide. I know how he loves Jim. And how he never loved me.
It was during the Pon Farr. That disastrous joining where I thought he'd finally see my worth and found that he did. And I was worth very little to him. Nothing, in fact. Less than nothing possibly.
Although he was kind to me. He didn't want to hurt me, took precautions so that he would not harm me overmuch during the burning. As his body pounded mine incessantly, he took my mind away to somewhere dark and safe. Somewhere deep inside his own mind.
And he left me there. He didn't stay with me, possibly because his own thoughts and emotions were so volatile. He left me there where I could ignore what was happening to my body, happening so very far away from where my consciousness resided. He kept me safe.
But being inside that dark place was rather boring. I don't mean Spock was boring, but he'd picked a spot not only safe for me but also safe for him. It was like being in a market after the vendors have closed up their booths and gone home. I knew there were interesting things to see and touch, but they were locked away from me.
I was craving Spock's love by then. Craving it and wondering if he had ever felt it. So I went looking for it. I wandered out of the dark, secure cubbyhole in Spock's mind and sought love.
And I found it. Spock's love for Jim. I found it and I nearly smothered in it.
I fled then. Fled back to the soft, dark, and reassuringly emotionless place he'd left me in. I knew that he would discover what I'd done when he came back for me, came to himself. But surprisingly, when the burning was over, he did not seem to notice what I had done. It took me only seconds to understand why as I felt his mind pushing at me in other ways.
I think if I had not been so hyper-aware of my own trespass, I would not have noticed his. And he did trespass. He pushed and melted and transformed my feelings for him. I could see what he was trying to do. And I did not try to stop him.
He was setting me free. And I let him. I never said a word. I've never spoken of it since then.
But I know what he did to me. And he does not appear to know what I did.
And that seems like a fair bargain.
I wonder if he ever asks himself how I came to understand so clearly the nature of his feelings for Jim. When I smirk at him, as I'm doing now, does it ring any bells? When I grin in this sneering way and watch him slowly unclench fingers that only became so tightly furled because of me and Jim, does he never ask himself how I know?
I think he does not believe me clever enough to have escaped that dark mental cage to go wandering through his mind. But I was clever enough. Or stupid enough. I have never been able to decide which.
There used to be days when I wished I'd never found out how Spock felt about Jim, but now I roll over and see Jim next to me and I know that I can never regret the knowledge. For it led me to him, and he is mine now, and I am the lucky one in that bargain.
I rest my hand on the bench between Jim and me, and his hand steals toward mine. He touches me and I shiver with love. He is so sweet, so warm. He is much more than just that of course. He is all the things I admired over the years. Courageous and commanding, loyal and trustworthy. He would die for me, I know that.
And I would follow him into
hell if I had to. And he knows that
too. After all, I followed him to
Actually, I came out alone; he came to me the next day.
I grin, and he whispers, "What are you thinking of?"
"Marshmallows," I murmur back and I hear his low laugh. It moves me as always.
His hand tightens on mine. He knows that despite my ability to roast a perfect marshmallow, I detest the things. But they are a symbol, part of the shared language we are perfecting.
I glance over at McCoy. Then at Spock. I imagine I hear a dull rattle. "Not snakes," I answer back.
He laughs again. He is not as suspicious as I. But then he has never been as deeply inside Spock's mind, has never slept with McCoy. Has never been me with them; he has only ever been Jim with them. And they treat Jim very differently than they do Christine.
"Not much longer," he says, and I realize that he is more aware of the dynamics between the four of us than I give him credit for.
I should not be surprised at that. He is a smart man, maybe the smartest I've ever known in his ability to read people. To know what they are capable of. To use their strengths, downplay their weaknesses.
I love that he's that way. I love so much about him. I try to think of things I don't like, but they are only small things. They don't matter. I know there must be as many of those things that I do that drive him crazy. But they are insignificant, and no one has perfection anyway.
And I think we're coming damn close. Certainly closer than I've ever been to it. I'm more comfortable with Jim, in this short time, than I've ever been with anyone. He touches me effortlessly. He reaches for me, and I open up to him as I have never done, and give him whatever he wants. Love. Honesty. Trust. Things I thought I locked away inside me forever.
And he does the same for me. He is open when I need him to be. He withholds nothing.
I want to kiss him. Right now. I do not, but the need to touch him does not go away. I spend my days wanting to kiss him and my nights doing just that. Kissing and touching and discovering after all these years what it means to love someone who truly loves you back. It is heady, it is wild, and it is wonderful.
I sink deeper and deeper into this love between Jim and me, and I don't even try to fight it. I know I am drowning, but I believe that once I am submerged, I will be stronger. I will find myself in a better place, a truer place.
I see Jim sinking with me, and he is not fighting either. If the bravest man I know is not fighting this, why would I ever try? Why would I even want to?
I love him. I love him, and he loves me, and I love that he loves me. And I think somewhere deep down, he too is rejoicing that finally someone he cares for loves him back just as much.
I don't know why he's had so little success with relationships. Cannot imagine how anyone could walk away from him. But I know that I dredged feelings out of him that night we first came together. Feelings and secrets and things he might never have shared with anyone else. And secrets get in the way, they poison things.
He and I have no secrets--none that matter anyway. I tell him everything that is significant. He tells me just as much. It's as if we are both using what we learned in the past as a primer on how not to conduct a relationship. We will not make the same mistakes. We will endure.
Or both of us will go down trying. I glance at him. He is looking at me with such tenderness that I feel something catch in my throat. My god, I love this man.
I never expected that. Not when I set out to find him that night--a night that seems like a lifetime ago but is in reality only a few months past. Spock was dead and McCoy was going mad and I set out to find Jim Kirk. Because I knew he'd be hurting.
Because I was hurting.
Because I wanted to see him hurting. Wanted to know that I wasn't alone in my pain.
And because I wanted to find out the truth. I wanted to finally find out if he loved Spock as much as Spock loved him.
I found Jim reeling. Grief had leveled him. He was angry with me, impatient. I didn't give up. I pushed, and pushed. And I told him the truth--or as much as mattered--about Spock and me. That we'd been together. That I meant nothing to him.
And I told him about McCoy. I didn't mean to do that. But something about Jim makes me honest, drags up the truth. It's his gift, his magic.
I found out his truth then. That he did love Spock but not in a way that I could hate him for. That he could grieve over his friend with as much intensity as he would a lover. That Jim Kirk wasn't afraid to feel. And when pushed, he wasn't afraid to share his pain and his anger and his loss.
Or himself. He gave me himself that night and in so doing blasted me apart. I had come to him out of some sick sense of closure. I wanted to see his pain. I wanted to know what his pain meant. I wanted to know all his secrets.
And I got them. And in the process I laid my own soul bare and took him in and loved him and began the slow, soothing, sensual process of drowning. Drowning in him, in us. In love.
God, he even makes me wax poetic. It would be disgusting if I didn't find it so charming, so welcome. After all these years of feeling insignificant, even worthless, I finally have someone who treasures me. Who holds me in the highest regard possible.
And the great irony is that he was my rival for so long. And I hated him. I hated him more than anyone. He was kind to me when we found Roger. He supported my decision to go back to medical school. And still I hated him.
I do not hate him now. I don't believe I could ever hate him again.
"Are they all right?" he asks softly, and I know he's glancing over at Spock and Len.
"They will be," I say with more assurance than I really feel.
I think that they might turn to each other. I wonder what that would bring to them. Would it work the kind of magic in their lives that being with Jim has worked in mine? Or would it be even more self-destructive than just sitting in the dark obsession that fills them both?
I do not know. But I am blissful enough in my own life to wish them the same kind of happiness in theirs.
"I hope so." Jim edges closer.
I smile, enjoying his warmth. Warmth that I can feel no matter how close he actually is. I can feel it from across the crowded rec lounge when we are at a crew party, and from across his quarters when he is still in bed and I am getting ready in the bathroom. And I can feel it now, tendrils of heat, like little fingers, reaching out for me, telling me, "Here is the one who loves you with all his heart."
I ended up with this. With Jim and happiness and the soul-deep knowledge that the one I love will never knowingly hurt me. It is irony at the highest level. And I am suddenly in love with irony.
I wonder if Spock ever realized what setting me free would do. And does he curse himself for the act?
Given how happy I am, maybe he should.
But now she is mine. She shares him willingly, something I did not expect. She shares him and seems to smile on us. And that is far too whimsical a statement for me to be saying it. But I guess Jim's love for his great metal mistress is rubbing off on me.
Jim is rubbing off on me.
And that can only be a good thing.