You Howl. I'll Pick Up The Harmony.


“Hey Bones! I’m-” Stopping abruptly in the doorway of Sarek and McCoy’s quarters was not the best idea he’d ever had, no matter what was going on inside. Spock bumped into him hard enough to make them both stumble and it was only his bondmate’s quick grab that kept the Captain from tumbling to the floor. Jim flashed Spock a grin over his shoulder in apology despite knowing Spock bumped into him on purpose, then pulled his eyes away from his enchanting t’hy’la and back to the room’s occupants as Spock took a tiny step back, reluctantly releasing Jim.

McCoy was quietly kneeling on a brightly colored mat, his bondmate, Sarek, kneeling also, a slender and low rectangular table between them. The table itself hosted a neatly laid out set of odd stone tools and a shallow stone cup almost the size of a soup bowl, all in the most brilliant color green that reminded Jim of the green paint Spock had used on him over three years ago. But what stopped Jim from venturing further into his friend’s quarters was the reverent atmosphere coming from the bonded pair.

“Spock,” Jim kept his voice to a whisper, not wanting to disturb, but curious about what looked like a Vulcan activity. “What’s going on?”

“Come.” The quiet command and the gently tugging on Jim’s hand and mind got him to leave, but not before he darted one last look at his father-in-law and his best friend, struck by the happy contentment on both, usually stern, faces. When he turned back to his own bondmate, Spock subtly brushed their fingers together in a kiss before letting go of his hand. “I must apologize on my father’s behalf. I am certain that, had the doctor known that his lunch hour would have been otherwise occupied, he would not have offered to share his mealtime with us.”

“Why?” The vivid blue of Jim’s eyes sharpened for a moment in contemplation. “Another Vulcan cultural tradition you haven’t exposed me to yet?”

Spock’s expression softened, lips barely tilting at the corners with a smile that showed more clearly in his eyes. “Yes, simply because our schedules have not allowed adequate time.”

Face brightening in a smile, because Jim loved to learn about his t’hy’la’s old world and embraced every opportunity to do so. He mentally started shuffling around both of their end-of-shift work duties. “How much time do you think we’ll need?”

“I will require one point three hours to prepare and we will be occupied for an additional three hours.” Spock, genius that he was, quickly caught on to Jim’s plan. “If I may suggest, since we are in Federation space, turn the Com over to Lieutenant Sulu. He will undoubtedly appreciate the experience and he knows the end-of-duty-shift protocol as thoroughly as you.”

Nodding, Jim snuck in an answering quick, discrete finger-kiss that Spock eagerly returned. “Sounds like a good idea. I’ll go take care of the few sign-offs that I have to do while you get things ready and I’ll see you back in our quarters.”

“Then, if you will excuse me, Captain.”

Jim watched his Vulcan stride purposefully off to their cabin for only a second, enjoying the sight of the firm ass before heading towards the Bridge. And if he was a little distracted by the prospect of a ‘cultural lesson’, with it’s inevitable carnal conclusion, well, nobody noticed.


The first things he noticed upon walking into their shared living space an hour later was the temperature had been turned up some and the lights had been dimmed. Jim stepped a little further in and toed off his boots, allowing their door to slide shut, but he didn’t spot his bondmate kneeling on the floor until he rounded the partition separating the small office in the front area from the tiny leisure/living room that took up the little bit of space on the right side of their quarters.

There, Spock had set up a small, round, low table nearly against the far corner that had ancient Vulcan weapons hanging on one wall; Jim’s old paper books and miniature crystal sailing ships decorated the built-in shelves on the other wall. The table itself, burgundy-colored judging by the legs and a beautiful blue-silver cloth covering it, was holding the same odd assortment of tools that he’d seen in Bone’s quarters, all in a rich gold-brown glaze as oppose to the green of Sarek’s set.

Looking at the implements, Jim thought odd was a great descriptor. The shallow cup was in the center, a little flat, square plate holding a mound of reddish dust was to the right of it. Just beneath the plate was a paddle-looking thing, wider on one end than the other. To the left was a tall, slender pitcher, Jim guessed, steam rising fast out of the open top and it had no handle. Even though some of the ceremonial utensils were missing, he recognized the set-up quick enough and could have kicked himself for not making the connection before. “Tea?”

Spock gave Jim the little tilt of his lips that passed for a smile and gestured from the far side of the table in a clear indication that he should kneel also. It wasn’t until Jim did that Spock confirmed the question. “Yes, my Jim, tea. It was one of the few rituals that Surak suggested we keep after the Awakening.”

“I can see why. A calm and polite way of dealing with people. Must’ve appealed to a Vulcan with so much logic.” He grinned at his t’hy’la. “Which is also why I can guess that you like it.”

“True, however the practice was not started by a logical Vulcan.” Inordinately pleased by the curious look on his bondmate’s expressive face, Spock continued his ‘lesson’. “The tea ritual originated approximately three thousand years ago with Clan Leader S’taths, who was experiencing difficulty within his Clan, stemming from a perceived show of favoritism that he expressed for his bondmate. It would be accurate to surmise the favoritism shown was not simply a figment of the Clan members’ imagination.”

“No, I suppose it wasn’t.” Although, privately, Jim knew there was no ‘suppose’ about it. He himself couldn’t begin to count the times that he’d leaned on Spock’s opinion in any situation, even above others’ who were more knowledgeable at the time. He was also willing to bet that Bones did the same with Sarek. “But still, I thought Vulcans were always inclined to listen to their bondmates. Isn’t that the way Vulcans are hardwired?”

Spock paused for a moment to give the question his serious consideration, because Jim brought up a valid point. “Such an assumption could be argued to be the case, however I have proven, to myself at least, that my bondmate is not always of sound judgment when those he cares for are in danger and have found it prudent to not seek his thoughts in those situations before acting. As such, no, I personally do not require my illogical mate‘s ideas at all times.”

“Hey!” Jim’s indignation was fake because they both knew that he had a tendency to act rashly, especially where his First Officer was concerned, but, like every other time this disagreement came up, Jim couldn’t let Spock’s comment slide without a token protest. “That ‘not always sound judgment’ has pulled your ass out of the fire a few times! And why are we even talking about it? You’re teaching me about tea here, so get to it.”

He let the issue go for the time being with a bland but disapproving look at Jim, same as he always did. “You are correct t’hy’la but we will return to the subject of your recklessness later.” The bright smile he received and the cheeky dismissal that pulsed through their bond almost made Spock roll his eyes, but he refrained, if only by sheer willpower. “Now, S’taths found himself with a dilemma. Though stern, he was a just and fair Leader, who did not want his Clan to continue assuming that their voices were not as equally heard and considered by him as he heard and considered his bondmate’s. But to lessen his mate in any way was anathema.

“Even Valak, S’taths’ bondmate, could not find a solution once he was informed of the problem and, in fact, voluntarily stopped attending Clan meetings to avoid the appearance impropriety. He was kept informed of the meetings through S’taths as well as other kinsmen, but the strain of separation for hours at a time, nearly every day, began to manifest after a week.”

Jim smiled at Spock’s obvious enthusiasm for the tale. “So, what happened?”

“Months passed, with no resolution to their situation. Seemingly every plan was flawed by virtue of S’taths’ and Valak’s obvious devotion to each other. The only possible paths became Valak’s absence or total silence, neither of which were acceptable. Matters would have continued as they were except that S’taths had an epiphany while observing his bondmate drinking his morning tea.”

The burst of Jim’s bright laughter lifted Spock’s heart. “This is going to unbelievably romantic.” When his mate’s stern eyebrow lifted, Jim defended his statement. “I’ve seen how sweet a logical Vulcan actually is, despite your reputation. I can only imagine how much more an illogical one can be.”

Spock schooled his features into a bland sternness that really hid nothing of his happiness seeping through their bond. “Vulcans are not romantic. We simply know how to properly treat a mate.”

“I can’t argue with how you treat me. Still romantic though.”

“If I may continue?” Once Jim motioned for him to keep talking, still trying to stifle his grin, Spock picked up his tale. “Valak’s appreciation for tea was well known. In fact, he always indulged in a serving of it before every meeting. If he could not show Valak the affection and love he so obviously felt for his bondmate during Clan meetings without seeming bias, perhaps it was possible that S’taths could give an overt display of his love before the meeting as compensation for having to temper his emotions during the gatherings, he reasoned. What better way than with the very tea Valak so enjoyed?

“However, devising such a ritual, required to be simple enough to perform at any time and meaningful enough to convey S’taths emotions to his bondmate, was challenging but ultimately successful. This is what he created.”

As Spock picked up the flat paddle Jim scooted forward on his knees a little, just enough so that he was able to clearly see every action Spock made. “Because ralik-khaf is highly water soluble, one does not need a great deal of preparation to drink it. First is the finely ground plant material.” Jim attentively watched Spock dip the flat utensil sideways into the tea powder at an angle and give an almost nonexistent flick of his wrist to topple the red dust onto the thing, treating it like a scoop or spoon, then dump the powder into the cup three times. A quick and gentle tap on the edge of the cup dislodged the excess ground tea and then Spock set it back on the table, in just about the same position he’d got it from.

He picked up the pitcher next and poured a short measure of very hot water into the cup. True to Spock’s word the tea was already dissolving, turning the water into a vivid red and filling the air with the musky, sweet scent that he recalled well. His mate picked up the flat scoop-thing anyway and stirred the dissolved stuff three times, clockwise and counter-clockwise and clockwise again. Jim, charmed as he was by the simplicity of process, had to find out what the little stir-stick was called. “Okay, what’s that mixer-stick-thingy called?”

Rishek.” Without looking up, Spock tapped it against the rim of the cup again before setting it down. “As you named it, a mixer, nothing more.” Settling back on his knees slightly and looking into his t‘hy‘la‘s expressive face again, he decided to give Jim further details to the short ritual to give the tea time to cool down enough for Jim to drink comfortably. “The ralik-khaf stands as a representation of Vulcan, of which we were born, and the desert, which makes us as we are. The water to show the scarce and priceless treasure that is our love in such an inhospitable universe. The rishek is the bond that creates One from two separate beings and the cup holds the tea in the same manner our souls cradle each other.”

Jim flashed a warm and loving smile that, had Spock been inclined to fancy descriptions, melted his heart. “So, who drinks first? Or is that also part of the ritual?”

In response, Spock gently lifted the cup took a first tiny sip, a customary action that had stemmed from a bondmate’s need to check for poison before allowing a mate to drink. He wasn’t going to pass that tidbit along though.

After his sip, Spock offered the cup to Jim with both hands and the traditional benediction rolling as easily off his tongue in Standard as it did in Vulcan into the suddenly heavy air. “A pale reflection of the joy and life you have given me, my own.”

Shaya tonat, t’hy’la.” It wasn’t the proper response to Spock’s words, but as Jim carefully took the cup from Spock’s hands his eyes and their bond glittered with the heartfelt understanding and conviction of what the words were, even if Jim didn’t know them. It was something that he would learn, Spock would make certain. Jim then took a long drink from the tea before passing it back in the same reverent manner that it was given. It tasted exactly like it smelled. Both continued passing the cup until the contents were gone in a happy silence.

Finally, Jim chuckled as Spock took the very last bit of the shared drink. “I’m kind of curious to know why it is that you always show me Vulcan things that come from ancient, gay bondmates.”

A faint green blush stained the tips of Spock’s ears. “Since my mate is a man, I assumed that the tales and rites of my Vulcan heritage would resonate deeper within you if you could place yourself in the ancients’ mindsets. If that assumption was in error - “

“No!” Jim cringed at the loudness of his denial. “No, there was no error and I didn’t mean that I thought it was a bad thing.” Reaching across the table, Jim ran the very tips of his fingers along Spock’s cheek. “It was only a question and not a criticism. I am always honored to learn about your world Spock.”

“It is well.” Capturing Jim’s hand in both of his, Spock press the palm against his face before releasing it with a kiss. “I will admit however, I possess a particular affinity for the tales of sa-ka-ashausu bondmates.”

“Maybe subconsciously you knew that you were going to end up with a male bondmate when you grew up and paid closer attention to them.”

It was another idea that might have had some validation, but Spock wasn’t going to dwell on it. His mate was everything he had ever dreamed of and that he was male didn’t affect the make-up of Jim’s heart and soul. Not that he wouldn’t admit to certain advantages to having a man as a bondmate.

“Possibly. For instance, it was a sa-ka-ashausu pair that brought prominence to the practice of publicly claiming mates.”

“Is that so?” Jim flashed a suddenly teasing smile and not only saw but felt the desire rise in Spock’s eyes and tumble through their bond in a rush. “Wonder how that happened.”

“Shall I tell you?” Getting to his feet in one graceful move, the Vulcan stalked his lover, who was slowly backing up towards the tiny couch in the room, an amused glint in his bright eyes. “Paint the scene in your mind of a warrior heir coming home to his healer mate after a decisive victory, blood pumping fast through his veins and needing his mate to sate his aggressive state in the most carnal ways?”

Now that had Jim going from amused to hot in nothing flat. He fanned the flames of his lover’s Vulcan blood higher and started wriggling quickly out of his uniform. “And just what did this warrior do?”

“He followed the siren call of his bondmate’s mind and found him awaiting an audience with the heir’s father. The healer was joyous of his mate’s return but did not suspect what came next.”

Back bumping into the couch, Jim scrambled onto it, scarcely taking his eyes away from Spock. Already half hard, Jim’s simmering arousal boiled over and he hardened up completely as he looked on in awe at his mate. With a feral look, Spock carelessly pulled the magnetic snap on his robe open, just letting it slide off his shoulders to pool on the floor, revealing his handsome form and the proudly heavy shaft that was in the same state as Jim’s own.

“In front of all assembled, even the Clan Leader that was his father, the warrior pulled his mate to the floor of the large chamber and divested him.” Suddenly, Spock reached out and grabbed Jim, manhandling him onto his hands and knees on the firm cushions. “He moved his mate thus and opened him quickly as the Clan looked on, not sure if they should interfere. The healer did not notice them at all, so focused as he was on the pleasure his warrior gave him.”

Jim gasped when Spock simply spread him wide and started easing feverish fingers into him. Normally, the Vulcan took his time and would never be less than absolutely careful with preparation, but Jim was loving the incessant stuffing of the fingers into his hole and the tiny burn that went with it. Spock didn’t give him any time to start relishing the feeling of the stretch before he was replacing his fingers with his erection. There was a tiny bite of pain before he opened and relaxed completely around Spock’s shaft.

The first thrust stole his breath.

“The warrior ravaged his mate before all, with no regard for those around them. All he needed was in his arms, writhing in ecstasy.” Spock growl as he kept his pace, plundering the soft, moaning Human in his grasp. “Imagine it t’hy’la. Taking you to the halls of my Clan and sating you before all, in the most primal way for two beings to come together. Make you mine on the altar of the ancient Gods of my home…”




Fic: Intoxication

Jim shivered in delight, silently thanking whatever deity watched over him.

Certainly there had to be one in the vast distance of eternity since he couldn’t think of any other explanation to account for him sprawled across his bunk so early on Christmas Eve. The reason for such thankfulness being a hot, ready, willing Vulcan First Officer feasting ravenously on his chocolate- liquor covered erection with a rough and unbelievably hot tongue.

And to think, the evening had started out so tame. Jim had invited Spock to his festively decorated quarters, wanting to exchange gifts but not wanting to impose on his friend’s privacy by suggesting Spock’s quarters, even though they were no doubt better kept than his own. Besides, Jim was looking forward to sharing the glittering lights and shiny ornaments of his small, faux tree and the reams of garland and tinsel strung around the rooms. Who better to share it with than his best friend?

Knew he made the right call when Spock entered his quarters with a brightly wrapped little box, eyes wide and mouth quirked in amusement. Jim was sure that it was one thing to see the experience as an outsider and quite another to actively participate, even in such a small way as gift-giving. The Captain was happy not to disappoint.

The evening progressed pretty normally after that. Spock lounged on the tiny couch Jim had in the front area with a cup of tea and Jim sprawled in the smallish recliner with some coffee, chattering contentedly about the ship and the upcoming mission to the planet Elenga IV, soaking up each other’s presence, enjoying the calm normality of the evening. Instead of moving on to a few games of chess like they usually did after finishing their first cup of coffee or tea, Jim gleefully scampered to the closet in his sleeping area and pulled out the gift he had commissioned some months ago for just this occasion.

It was a beautiful, old style, Vulcan lyre. Carved out of sturdy oak and a very minimalist frame without the boxy center, it was a smooth, elegant work of art. Perfect for Spock, in Jim’s opinion. At least, that had been the hope. It looked more like a Terran harp, but with the mechanics and configurations of the lyre.

It was time to give it to Spock though and Jim suffered a sudden case of nerves, but handed it over anyway. This was Spock, who he knew would appreciate the effort Jim was making. So, he just did what he always did; gathered up his courage and traded the shiny present in his hand with the one Spock had brought with him.

When it came down to it, he didn’t have any need to be worried. Spock was extremely pleased with the gift, even plucking out a few notes and blatantly relishing in the sound of the smooth, wandering melody while Jim unwrapped the present Spock had unexpectedly produced for him.

It turned out to be a stout, dark red jug with a creamy, dark liquid sloshing around inside. When he asked, Spock had simply quirked an eyebrow, wandered over to the shelf that Jim kept his drinking tumblers on and sashayed back to the little seating area. The pre-Reform name for the drink, he was then informed, was unpronounceable for Humans, but loosely translated into “Cream Delight” and was the traditional drink given on the darkest night of the year between family and bondmates. While not something that Vulcans celebrated as a holiday precisely, the occasion was always marked it such a way. That was before Surak and the idea that intoxication was detrimental to the Discipline of Logic.

Spock then took the bottle from his hands and served them both, pouring barely more than a sip of the thick and creamy substance into each glass. With a silent toast to each other, Jim downed his in a quick mouthful, not expecting the drink to be so smooth that it felt almost like satin sliding down his throat.

What really shocked him was the buzz that tingled through his body only a few moments later. Usually, it took three fingers of Bones’ best brandy to settle in his blood, but this Vulcan liquor was much more potent. Jim was more than ready for more, so he held his tumbler out for another splash.

Then they went back to talking, this time about music, taking infinitesimal sips of the very sweet alcohol and Jim found himself basking in the happiness he always found while being in Spock’s presence. It was soothing and made him feel complete in a way he couldn’t really put to words, especially not buzzing from the booze.

He finally oozed over to the couch Spock was relaxing on after half an hour, wanting to be closer to better hear the quiet and beautiful music being absentmindedly plucked, and noticed his upstanding Vulcan officer was quite tipsy as well. It wasn’t obvious, but the signs were all there: the slightest greening of his cheeks, his deep brown eyes glazed, and fingers still picking away at the lyre strings were more lax than usual. Seeing his friend so relaxed was a rare occurrence and made him chuckle. But for the life of him that really didn’t explain what he did next, except that maybe he should have been paying closer attention to his subconscious if this was what he was compelled to do.

Grinning, he set his drink down, gently grasped Spock’s face between his hands and kissed him hard on the mouth.

In the short moment that Jim had Spock’s lips against his own, he was amazed that such a stern mouth could actually be so soft and taste so warm. The next moment had Jim’s world tilting fast and he thought that the Vulcan had pushed him away, but Spock simply moved back enough to get a good grip on Jim and haul him over a bony shoulder, taking the four steps required to reach the bed and dump him onto it.

Spock followed him down, covering him completely and proceeded to ravage his mouth. In moments they had wrestled their clothes off, rubbing against each other, stirring up a lustful and raging inferno that Jim hadn’t even known he harbored for his First Officer. Right now though, he wanted whatever Spock was willing to give.

And that brought him back to the present. Spock sucking him down and fingers starting to press into Jim’s body, hungry Human moans and sub-vocal Vulcan growls. Skin glowing in the Christmas lights, the different colors twinkling around the space, gave the room a surreal, almost ethereal, feel and Jim couldn’t seem to hold on to any individual sensation. It all seemed to blur together into an experience of soft skin, hot breath, hard planes and a fullness far surpassing its parts.

As Spock pulled his slender fingers away finally, Jim lay in a panting mess of arousal, whining high in his throat at feeling empty. It didn’t last long. Spock started pressing his hard shaft into him, meeting no resistance from Jim’s primed, eager body. With a broken little moan of satisfaction, Spock slid home and immediately pulled back out, until the flared underside of his cock’s first ridge lodged against the inside of Jim’s hole, then quickly slammed home again. The pace built from there, passionate and punishing, wringing shouts of pleasure from Jim, bowing his back with each thrust when the shaft of Spock’s erection slid fully against his prostate. Ecstasy spiraling out of control had him gripping his new lover’s forearms tight, trying to find some sort of anchor so that he wasn’t overwhelmed.

Finally the pleasure exploded, cum painting his clenching belly. Spock growled low in his chest and buried his cock as deep as it could go, rolling his hips over and over as Jim saw stars, crying out at the pinnacle of his orgasm and feeling surrounded by Spock, who had collapsed onto him, pliant and sated.

They shifted slightly, twisting to their sides and curling around each other, too tired and content to bother with cleaning up. Jim did find enough energy to lean over and give Spock a chaste kiss, hoping it conveyed the thanks and adoration that he couldn’t find the words for at the moment.

But that was all right. Finding the right words to express his new found desire for his First and best friend was something that could wait for just a little while longer. Maybe, just maybe, Jim’s real Christmas gift would come in the morning; that Spock would agree to see just how far this new aspect of their relationship could go.

It was a gift he would be more than honored to receive.






Malik’s voice floated through the deep darkness of the Bureau, strained by something that the assassin’s sharp eyes couldn’t even see. Actually, Altair couldn’t see much of anything. None of the lanterns or candles were lit despite the lateness of the hour. It was unusual for Malik to neglect to keep a light burning, for he took his position as Dai very seriously.

“Altair, I require your assistance, if you would.” However, his friend stood completely still in the almost total darkness of the doorway to the front room, leaving Altair to wait in the sunroom until he moved. When Malik finally did move, it wasn’t the slightly different gait that he’d grown used to his friend having when his arm had been removed. Instead the dark form stumbled forward, into the pale and weak moonlight filtering through the top of the open roof, the black robes marking his status oddly tattered and dragging, the blood shining through the rents in the fabric, dark against the olive skin.

Darting forward and catching him in his arms, Altair looked on, horrified, at Malik’s ravaged state. “By God, what happened to you?”

The chuckle was sardonic and followed by a soft hiss of pain when Altair shifted his grip to lift Malik into his arms. There wasn’t any way he was going to make the man walk if he didn’t have to. Though Malik hissed louder once cradled snugly against Altair’s chest and they were moving into the front room, he still found enough breath to issue a snarky retort. “Novice, if I knew that, I would not need your help. As it stands, once I find out who tried to attack me from behind, I will gut them slowly.” Altair wouldn’t admit it, but the sharp tongue eased his worry some.

“Dai, I have not been a Novice for years now.” Altair laughed a little as he settled Malik onto some of the cushions in the room, careful to leave him sitting up and not lounging back onto his injuries. Then it took only a moment’s work to light the lanterns in the room. “And I have no doubts that you will gut whoever came after you. That is most likely the reason they made sure to overcome you in such a way! Your wickedly sharp blades can not take them apart if you can not identify them.”

He turned to the next task, making short work of rifling through the shelves behind the large counter where Malik usually preformed his duties, he pulled out linen bandages, salves and a couple of clay bowls to help him patch up his friend. But it wasn’t until he turned around to look at Malik in the flickering firelight that Altair really saw the damage.

Ravaged was the only word to really describe it. Blood covered all the olive skin peaking through the rents in Malik’s robes and revealed gouges, cuts and animal-looking bites. The scales had him coming up short momentarily, dark brown-black things that flashed metallic in the light, and seemed to spread across the shoulders and collar bones and up Malik’s throat. What really brought what he was seeing to fantastical levels were the wings. What he thought were tattered robes in the dark were large, fragile-looking, leathery wings anchored to what looked like his shoulder blades and collar bones. Probably the spine too, but Altair couldn’t actually see to be sure from where he was standing.

“Hideous, is it not?” Malik seemed to slump, though he didn’t move at all, his voice so quiet it almost didn’t reach his ears.

The changes were unexpected, sure, but they weren’t a disgusting disfiguration, at least, not to Altair. As an assassin he’d seen enough, and caused enough, death and destruction that a few new additions to Malik had no affect on Altair’s view of him. He was more concerned about the obviously painful wounds. So he did the only thing he could to ease Malik’s mind. Gathering up his supplies, he went over and knelt in front of Malik, setting the stuff down and gently took the down-turned face between his large hands. “Nothing about you is hideous Malik.” Finally Malik looked up, dark brown eyes sparkling with surprise. Well, Altair knew he would never be accused of having a way with words. “Now, what happened to cause this? It almost looks like you fought a genii masquerading as a dragon.”

“Considering the state in which you find me, I would not be surprised. Honestly, I have no idea. I was closing the Bureau for the night when something crashed through the ceiling, as if it was not made of stone, and landed on my back. During the fight, the last of the lights were knocked over and I did not get even a glimpse of the creature before it ran off. All I remember is overwhelming pain as my body started changing and then I just barely heard you drop through the entry.” Malik took a breath and gave Altair a wry glance. “I can not even say where I found the strength to rise and go to you.”

Altair just nodded and briefly touched the Dai’s forehead with his own. “We will figure this out and I will take care of your injuries.” He let go and picked up the empty bowls, pausing when Malik, strong and tough assassin that he used to be, gave a distressed noise. “No fear. I am fetching water to clean your cuts and I will return. You do not need to fear anymore because I will protect you.”

He was pleased when the tension drained from his friend. Altair vowed to hunt down the dragon or genii or whatever it was that hurt Malik and murder it. But healing Malik came first.

He got to work.





Spooky and goofy decorations properly hung around the Main Mess? Check. Crew happily carousing and mingling? Check. Food available for all species of his people? Check.

Jim Kirk gave a happy little smile, content to watch his crew enjoying themselves for Halloween even though they were in the middle of star mapping. It didn’t even bother him that he really couldn’t don a costume himself, considering this was one of his favorite Earth holidays. He was somewhat sad that Spock, his bondmate and First Officer, wasn’t dressed in a costume either.

He’d had a crazy little fantasy of talking Spock into some slinky and teasing piece to commemorate the holiday, but Spock shot the idea down before Jim could lay out the incentive for dressing up. Ah, well, Jim really didn’t need his bondmate to dress sexy for him to want Spock. However, it would have been a hell of a lot of fun.

As though thinking of him acted as summoning, which was probable considering how their bond operated, the Vulcan silently walked through the crowd. Jim gave him an appreciative look-over and while his very handsome spouse wasn’t dressed for the festivities, still in his uniform in fact, Spock still managed to carry himself like a dark and stern otherworldly being. At least to Jim he did.

“Mister Spock, I’m happy to see you here.” Since Jim greatly respected Spock’s cultural aversion to public displays of affection, he did not immediately pull the Vulcan close and kiss him stupid, though he really wanted to. Instead, he waited until his mate stood next to him and gave him the ozh’esta on the sly. “What do you think of the party?”

“It is very informative. Humans attempting to adopt frightening images in an effort to become them for amusement is a habit that I would want to study in more depth at another time.” One severely slanted eyebrow lifted with a curiosity that Jim knew well. Sure enough, Spock turned to him more fully, a question in his eyes. “There is one particular monster costume which I am not familiar with. It is a shambling and decaying corpse, limbs damaged or missing, what appears to be blood seeping from its mouth to cover the front of the wearer’s torso. What is it?”

It took a minute of wracking his brain before the description finally clicked in his memory. “Zombies Spock.” He chuckled at the blank look on his beloved’s face. “Shambling monstrosities from Terran horror myth.” Spock’s face still didn’t show any spark of recognition, so Jim pressed on. “They’re dead but can still walk around, and they eat people. Haven’t you ever encountered them in your research of Earth cultures?”

“’Zombie’ is not a word I am familiar with.” After a moment, his brows furrowed pensively. Only the people who really knew him would have noticed the change in expression and it helped that Jim clued in to the fact that there was something wrong by an uneasy feeling wending its way down their bond. “I am well acquainted with the affliction, however. On Old Vulcan, we called such a creature wauk-tevik, the turbulent dead. They are Vulcans whom have died violently or unfulfilled.” Spock glanced at Jim for a second, the emotion spilling through their widening link almost tasting like horror, but more. He really couldn’t help the goosebumps that broke out all over his skin.

Spock continued, voice dropping to a soft murmur. “The disembodied katra would become tainted with rage or obsession and attempt to re-enter the body. Those able to succeed at reintegration where changed. Disaster would befall them, the brain damaged in ways that would only leave a wauk-tevik with the most basic of instincts, self-preservation and an all-consuming hunger. Any unfortunate enough to encounter one would be overpowered and fed upon.” His voice became softer still, almost as if he was ashamed to say what was next. “Wauk-tevik are abominations to be dispatched at any cost.”

The last bit had to be hard for Spock to admit, considering how highly he honored all life, even if perverted beyond recognition. But after Spock’s admittance, the feeling bleeding through their connection was finally something Jim could pin down and name. Terror. “You truly fear them.”

“Since my father taught me of their existence when I was a child, yes I have feared them very much.”

Vulcan propriety be damned, Jim laced their fingers together, palms touching and Spock’s hand feeling hot in his own. He gave a very gentle squeeze. “They won’t bother you with me around. I’ll protect you.” Jim knew it was a child-like promise, said with a child’s simple conviction, and not something he could guarantee, but damn if his heart didn’t lift when Spock’s lips lifted in the smallest smile and his hand, clasped in a firm grip, squeezed back in thanks.



The Perils of Ivy


Under normal circumstances, McGee never showed any pain or discomfort and he was pretty proud of it. The very few times he did though, were definitely noticeable. Like the time Werth dislocated his shoulder. Or the dog bites from Jethro.

But, more often than not, it was the damn poison ivy.

This time was no different, in the grand scheme of things. But unfortunately, unlike most every other incident he‘d had, it was not the normal case of just his hand brushing up against the evil plant and then accidentally spreading the sap to other parts of his body. Oh no.

The weekend camping trip with his Weebolos troop had started out great, up until Saturday night. Had wandered out to the latrine pit, that the kids had dug earlier, in the middle of the night to take a piss, but when he had backed up a couple of steps to pull up his pants, he must have brushed up against the ivy with his entire backside. Knees to shoulders. Life did not get easier from there. It actually got a lot more uncomfortable very fast.

Unaware of backing up into the heinous foliage, thinking it was just a regular mulberry bush in the dark, he’d gone back to his sleeping bag for the rest of the night in only his sleep pants, since it was really too warm to wear more than that. Sunday morning though, Tim knew. The constant, unreachable itch told him better than even the surprised and deeply concerned looks from the other two troop leaders. The doctor’s pitying but amused look later that day didn’t help. Nothing helped, not even his Boss’ baking soda solution worked, simply because he couldn’t find any way to reach most of the area affected!

Which brought him to now. Midday Monday, trying to slip off to the john for the fourth time since he got to work and trying to make it seem like he wasn’t uncomfortable or going crazy from the spreading rash. The last thing he wanted was to draw attention to himself and have to explain. Not when Tony would just mock him or Ziva would shake her head, quietly amused at his problem. Worse, Gibbs would shake him head at Tim and, no doubt, just write it off as another clumsy mistake made by the geek. Easier to bear it in silence, but he wasn’t really sure it was possible.

Someone was bound to notice eventually.

For the moment though, he’d gotten away clean. Was even able to slip into the deserted bathroom unobserved. Standing in front of the sinks, Tim pulled the waistband of his slacks away and yanked up his shirt. Just as he thought, the redness was spreading. Every movement of his clothes was only making things worse. Blowing out a hard breath, he gingerly fixed his clothes, hoping for mercy, but knowing it was going to be a long few days. He was doomed.


By the afternoon, Gibbs knew something was up for sure. Saw how carefully McGee was moving; had been moving since his youngest Agent came in for work. Allowed McGee to think he was fooling everybody, including Gibbs, just so that Gibbs could take the time he needed, to see if he could figure out the problem before approaching Tim. But damn, he only kept drawing a blank.

Also knew what it seemed like though. Tim couldn’t really sit still, squirming the whole time, back ramrod straight and leaning a little forward. He looked tired and unfocused, kind of like someone rode him hard. But Gibbs was pretty sure his geek wasn’t that adventurous, no matter what it looked like. Although…

Stomping ruthlessly down on the sudden spike of jealousy, Gibbs decided to get to the bottom of things. And if McGee’s problem really was a toll from a weekend of rough-handling, he was going to head-slap the man into next week then advise him to leave that kind of after work activity to only Friday nights, giving himself the whole weekend to recover.

Snorting softly to himself, he privately admitted it would also give him an idea of whether he stood a chance, if McGee swung that way. However, as his honor demanded, he had to make sure his Agent was okay first.

Luckily, Gibbs was given his opportunity to find out just what the hell was going on, watching Tim slip off towards the restroom again and got up to follow.


Mortified was not even close to what McGee felt when Gibbs walked through the bathroom door. He mentally kicked himself for not locking it, but nothing to be done now except blush so hard his face burned.

But oh, he could just imagine what he looked like. Shirt and undershirt draped across the sink, pants unbuckled and open, the damn ivy rash bright red across his entire back. To think, he’d only wanted to spread calamine lotion along his waistline, hoping to stop the incessant itching from his pants and belt. So absolutely intent on it and, of course, forgot to lock the damned door!

“Gotta say, McGee,” that damn drawl of Gibbs’ was not helping matters, “not quite what I was expecting.”

“Sorry Boss. Got it while taking my troop camping and I couldn’t really justify taking time off work for something so minor.”

“I have to argue with you there.” Blue eyes twinkling with amusement, Gibbs stepped closer. “How bad is it?”

Sighing, Tim carefully turned and leaned against the cool porcelain sink. “All the way down to my knees.”

“Ah, no wonder you were wiggling at your desk.”

Tim blushed hard again, embarrassed in ways even he couldn’t articulate. His imagination ran wild at all the ways Gibbs had been interpreting his behavior, and none of them were very flattering. Some were even crass. Opening his mouth to explain, Gibbs cut him off before the words were even formed.

“You’re fine. It’s just - you should have come to me.” The look that flashed through his Boss’ icy blue eyes wasn’t something Tim could place, it was gone so fast. “I was starting to worry.”

“Only a rash from the poison ivy Boss. Nothing to tell, really.”

“Yeah, well, give me the calamine stuff and turn around. The least I can do now is help you, because I don’t think you can reach all of it by yourself.”

Warmed in ways that he’d never admit to Gibbs, he did as he was told.



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