Spock required one-point-three hours to assess the current status of the ship. It took him two-point-seven.
Though tempted to blame the delay on interruptions, he could not lie to himself. He lingered in Engineering far longer than necessary because he didn’t want to go back to his room. When he realized what he was doing, he forced himself to leave for his quarters.
As soon as he and Jim were released from the jail, Spock had picked up his captain and raced for the canyon. Upon arriving, he found their beam-in point, which he knew the Enterprise would have begun monitoring as soon as they missed their scheduled check-in. Within minutes, they were beamed back to the ship and Jim was carted off to sickbay.
Nyota had been waiting for him in the transporter room, and she cornered him when he tried to follow Jim.
“What happened down there? Are you okay?”
He nearly broke down and told her right then what had happened. Lying to his sworn-one went against everything Spock knew. But the transporter room was not the place for such a discussion, and he forced himself to bite back the truth.
“I am acceptable, however the doctor needs to be made aware of the captain’s… injuries.” He held out his fingers. “I will discuss the events with you later.”
She frowned but did not argue, instead pressing her fingers to his and relaying her discontent through their touch. “Alright. I’ll meet you in your cabin after shift.”
He had nodded and ripped his fingers from hers as quickly as possible without upsetting her. In that one touch, he had realized something alarming.
Her mind battled his.
Compared to how readily Jim’s mind had welcomed him and drawn him in, hers was an army, standing guard and refusing him entrance. Spock hadn’t noticed before, as he rarely had cause to touch human minds. He had surmised that the fight was a natural defense in response to a mind touch. In the past, every human mind he touched reacted that way, except his mothers. But she had been bonded to a Vulcan for so many years, her mind could have altered itself.
Then he had touched Jim’s mind.
Spock came to a stop outside of his quarters. He entered the key on the interface by his door, and it slid wide open. The room was dark, but he could see a lump in his bed. Nyota had fallen asleep while waiting.
He fought alternating waves of relief and anxiety. If Nyota did not wake, he could put off their discussion until the morning. But until he spoke with her, he could not act as though their relationship was normal. He certainly couldn’t crawl into bed beside her as he normally did.
Nearly thirty-six hours had passed since the end of his last sleep cycle. Though he could stay awake for longer if necessary, his efficiency had already begun to drop. Logically, he should sleep before his next shift.
Squaring his shoulders, Spock stepped into his quarters. As the door slid shut, he requested the lights brighten to 25%.
The resulting dim glow was enough to wake Nyota. She blinked sleepily up at him from the bed, then smiled. “I wasn’t sure you’d be back tonight. How’s Kirk?”
Nyota sat up and rubbed her eyes. “I feel like I’m awake, but obviously I’m not.”
Spock calmed his mind. He needed to center his emotions before he continued this conversation. Jim had requested this information not be shared, but it was important Nyota understood everything that had happened on the planet.
“During the mission, Jim and I were captured by the native people. They jailed us and gave us water and bread. We assumed the bread was drugged, so we drank the water, only to discover it was the opposite. Jim devolved quickly under the drug’s influence.”
Nyota slid to the edge of the bed and stood up. Crossing to him, she laid a hand on his arm. “What about you?”
“The drug was an aphrodisiac. As I seemed able to control my reactions, I assumed I would not have sex with the captain.” He steeled himself for her response. “And yet I did.”
She jerked away. “You and… Kirk?”
He nodded. “The aphrodisiac made him wild. He was rapidly approaching the point of priapism, and our captors had informed us that anal application of semen would halt the drug’s effects. As the captain faced permanent disability, it seemed logical to take action.”
“By fucking him?”
He nodded again.
The smack took him by surprise. Pain blossomed in his left cheek.
“How could you?” Nyota clenched her teeth. “How could you just give your virginity to that… that asshole? Don’t tell me it was the drug; aphrodisiacs make you horny, they don’t force you to fuck people.”
“Don’t ‘logically’ me.” She huffed. “Did you orgasm?” She held up her hands. “No, don’t answer that. You escaped. Obviously you administered an ‘anal application of semen’.”
Spock clasped his hands behind his back. “The drug was not in my system.”
Her eyes narrowed. “You said you both drank the water.”
“We did. During the events that ensued, I believed myself to be under the influence of the drug. Prior to our release, our captors clarified that only Jim’s glass had the drug in it.”
She sucked in a breath. “You fucked him, and you liked it.” She shook her head. “You melded with him, and you won’t touch my mind.” She took a seat on the edge of his bed. “What is so goddamn special about Kirk that everyone wants a piece of him?”
Spock thought of the welcoming embrace of Jim’s mind, then pushed the memories away. “I apologize for my actions, Nyota.”
“No.” She stomped over to him. Jamming finger into his chest, she snarled, “Only my friends are allowed to call me that, and right now, you are not my friend.”
Each shove of her finger against his sternum made his chest clench. “You are my sworn-one.”
“Yeah? Prove it.” Her finger slid up his chest and neck, trailing his cheek until it reached his temple. “Meld us. Show me that this meant nothing to you.”
An improperly created bond could be dangerous, but they would be at New Vulcan in three point nine days. A faulty bond could be mended then. A destroyed relationship could never be repaired. Spock raised his hand to her meld points.
"My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts."
Saying the ritual words, he slid into her head. Inside, he found bundles of knowledge and thoughts stuck here and there. Wires ran between the bundles, connecting each bit of information to another bit. Nothing was organized, nothing made sense. Everything seemed to have been thrown together in a mish-mash that only Nyota could understand.
Spock attempted to make his way forward to her core, the point at which she would be able to feel his mind and read his thoughts. He found his path barricaded by the wires. Unable to cut them without destroying her memories and thought processes, Spock had to slowly maneuver under, over, or around each mental connection.
He had barely reached the layer of her mind where her inner thoughts dwelled when he found himself wanting to retreat. The wires grew thicker the deeper he went, tripping him up and twining about him as he moved.
For an extremely organized woman, she had a terribly disorganized mind.
Still, he pressed onward, until he reached the center of her mind. Tired, he let his guard drop, opening the lines of communication between them.
"I am here."
Surprise trickled past him. "I can hardly feel you."
"The connection is not deep."
"Can you show me what happened?"
"I will try." Opening his mind, he brought up the images of being captured, of the effects the drug had on Jim. He tried to send them to her, but they boomeranged back, ramming into his mind.
She sent images of frowns. They were blurry, but he could see them. Gathering his thoughts, he tried to send his memories. Again they returned, slotting back into place in his well-ordered mind.
Her frowns became sparks of red-hot anger.
He attempted to gather his thoughts again, but quickly found her mind growing inhospitable. The wires slithered around his ankles, tangling him in her thoughts. "You need to calm down."
His thought-words ignited her rage. He flew out of her inner mind. The tangled bits of information drew closer together, forming a barricade around her mind. If he pressed hard enough, he could break through the barrier, but it would hurt her. Besides, there was no purpose. He now knew what he had feared was true.
Spock pulled out of the meld.
Nyota's eyes flew open. "Did we bond?"
She wavered, her finger still pressed to his temple. "That's... good."
He pulled his hand from her face. "We did not bond because we cannot bond. Our minds are not compatible."
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