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Title: The Intuitive Leaper, part 1
Author: Jaylee

Fandom: TOS

Pairing: Kirk/Spock

Rating: NC:17

Summary: Jim wasn’t in the habit of doubting his decisions. An AU following the first five year mission, but prior to the events of ST:TMP.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, I’m just borrowing them for some non-profit fun.

Special Thanks: Big hugs go out to
[info]janice_lester looking this over for me and for her input, and to [info]sundara for inspiring me to write in this universe to begin with.

*****

Jim wasn’t in the habit of doubting his decisions.

When he had been a captain, hesitation, and even lack of confidence could potentially mean life or death. As a newly appointed Admiral; his decisions would carry even more weight. A position of command was just as much psychology as it was strategy and the accumulation of knowledge, Jim knew that. Hell, he could write a book on it. Starfleet trained uncertainty out of their command trainees from the get-go, as well they should. All of this was common knowledge, even reiterating it in his head seemed like a pointless exercise when the knowledge was so purposefully ingrained.

Yet apparently he needed the reminder, because the doubt he was experiencing now seemed foreign, an infectious disease that settled in the form of a roiling stomach and the start of a tension headache.

It was completely unacceptable.

What the hell kind of impression was Jim going to make when starting his first day on the job, promoted and in possession of a shiny new uniform, and an even shinier new office, if he showed up to work looking like he’d gone seven rounds of hand to hand combat with a particularly enraged Klingon?

Although, if Jim were going to be fair on himself, and he was certainly in the mood to be charitable given his ever-increasing headache, Jim rather did feel like he’d gone a round or two with several dozen Klingons. And although he had no desire whatsoever at that point to look in a mirror, he’d hazard to guess that he probably looked like it, too.

Certainly, finding himself with a headache before the day had even begun didn’t particularly bode well for the rest of the day or for his blasted appearance. And it certainly did nothing at all to help Jim’s mood, which was already pretty damn despondent, and yes, cranky as all hell. He owned it. Despite Bones’ opinion to the contrary, Jim wasn’t completely without self-awareness.

In fact, if Bones was there, right that minute, Jim would tell him that, loudly, so they could argue about it, because Jim sure as hell felt like arguing with somebody and Bones had always been more than willing to comply whenever that particular mood hit. And the mood was most definitely hitting, big time…. Jim needed a good fight to get his brain thinking in a sharp, driven, productive manner.

Except that he and Bones weren’t speaking, the reminder of which only made him more…

Tired. He was so very tired.

Sleep was unbelievably hard to come by when Jim was used to the soft hum of an engine, the gentle vibration of a moving ship, and the knowledge that less than five strides and a wall away was the one soul in the universe that meant warmth, companionship, and safety to him… that one soul in the universe he already missed with a yearning ache that left his heart feeling a little sick at the loss.

‘What a sad case of co-dependency, Jim-boy,’ he told himself depreciatingly, ‘if you can’t even go a week without Spock, how the hell are you going to manage the rest of your life? For Christ’s sake man, you’re an Admiral now, act like it!’

Yet, it was just the knowledge that Spock was close, just knowing that he had been near during those five magical, wonderful years, was so very…. comforting ….and a line of thought that would accomplish nothing to break Jim out of this profound sense of ‘what the hell have I done?!’

Apparently dwelling on things that on served to make him feel even more miserable was the order of the day.

Self pity, thy name is James Kirk.

What a fine Admiral he was turning out to be, a model to his profession, really. Grieving the close proximity of friends. Mourning a promotion he should be celebrating. Admiral at 37, he was the only person in Starfleet history who could claim that, it was a remarkable achievement. He should be over the moon.

Besides, Spock was back on Vulcan, furthering his destiny, as was his choice. Right was the way of the universe. Jim knew that, hell, he wished Spock all the fulfillment it was possible to achieve in this great big universe of theirs; his friend deserved that and more. It was simply a matter of Jim getting his heart and his annoying sense of sentimentality to accept it.

That and a good hypospray of pain meds to deal with the confounded headache wouldn’t go amiss.

But Jim couldn’t bring himself break out of his funk enough to do either. Instead he was alone in a dark apartment, where the smell of fresh paint contributed to his escalating bout of nausea.

It had been a long time since Jim had felt sick prior to reporting to work. It had been even longer since he hadn’t felt like reporting to work at all. Aside from the occasional death threats, weird space pollen/pathogen/mind control, and the sporadic torture, he loved what he did, what Starfleet stood for. Job dissatisfaction didn’t play into that. In fact, he didn’t think he’d experienced actual profession-related panic since living through finals at the academy.

Jim didn’t like it. Didn’t like second guessing himself, either. It was like ants crawling on his skin, itchy and uncomfortable.

If Spock were here he’d take one look at Jim’s face, head to the food synthesizer to make a soothing cup of tea, and gently work to bolster Jim’s certainty with unerring faith and familiarity.

God, and the unproductive trains of thought just kept coming. Why couldn’t he seem to shake all of this goddamned anxiety? And why had Spock stolen his focus so thoroughly?

A part of him couldn’t help but wonder if Spock was going through the same type of withdrawal. And a smaller, more malicious part of his personality hoped that his former First was; misery loves company and all that.

Jim wondered what that said about him.

He didn’t particularly want to know the answer, didn’t think it would be too flattering. God knew that he didn’t need even more despondency on his plate, which was already full to brimming; more would simply be overkill.

Lord but this unhealthy pattern needed to stop now. It couldn’t be allowed to continue. Jim was more professional than this. He’d worked his whole life for this.

What in all shades of hell was wrong with him?!

Jim’s decision to accept the promotion to admiralty had been the best. It had to be that way, no ifs, ands or buts. If Jim couldn’t go two days without longing for the soft hum of his ship and the presence of his best friend and co-conspirator in the unending tug-of-war between Jim and the forces of the universe, then distance would undoubtedly be a chance at a bit of self growth, or so Spock would tell him in a more diplomatic, gentle fashion….

Right, so back to thoughts of Spock again.

‘Way to go, there, Jim-boy, you’re bolstering yourself out of this funk so well. It’s a good thing they don’t grade your work performance on self-geared pep talks, you’d surely fail that requirement hands down.’

‘Project ‘get the hell in gear’, take five. Repeat the following’:

Life had to move on, it couldn’t remain stagnant. As wonderful and fulfilling as captaining the Enterprise had been, it couldn’t have lasted forever. It was a natural progression, from captain to admiral, space exploration to planet-side. To have had those wonderful, exciting, though often times fearful and profound, experiences was extraordinary. There was no doubting he had been lucky in his career, and lucky in the crew the fates had blessed him with. He was grateful for that, and for them, but it was past time to move the fuck on.

Jim steadfastly ignored the acid churning in his stomach as he made his way from his small rented apartment in the ever bustling Union Square to Starfleet headquarters. His stomach was not going to stop him. It, his heart, and his brain could all go to hell. This was the first day of the rest of his life, and the right sort of attitude was required. He needed to be excited and he would damn well force it if he needed to. Just see if he wouldn’t…

Except the long walk towards his office through headquarters felt foreboding, each step heavier than the last, as if he were walking towards death row, all of which culminated into stepping into an office that felt, for all its size, much, much too small.

The claustrophobia that grabbed hold of Jim was as instant as it was crippling. The moment he had stepped into the room, saw the desk, with his rotating chair, and white, white walls, the nausea, dizziness and heavy breathing threatened to overcome his will.

Of two things Jim was certain: one was that San Francisco, despite its predictably cool weather, had to be experiencing a heat wave, because the temperature seemed to go from livable to intolerable in a matter of seconds, and the second was that he was going to be sick all over the beautiful new carpet.

Jim stumbled to the desk, his palms flat against the shiny, cool surface as he fought to regain equilibrium. The visions of a lifetime spent behind a desk flashed before his eyes, of meetings and pointless rounds of small talk. Of seeing the same people day in and day out, the scenery never changing, the friendships of the past five years drifting away naturally with distance and time…. His heart clenched tightly and there was pain, so much pain.

He wondered if this was what dying was like….A death of the spirit.

Jim felt his fingernails scrape against the surface of his desk as his hands clenching tightly into fists. He was going to suffocate; the room was spinning so fast, the air too impossibly heavy. It was only by sheer will, and an innate sense of perseverance, that Jim remained upright.

People couldn’t live like this, stuck in a small room, grounded, forbidden from exploration. They weren’t meant to. It was inhumane.

The imaginings of Jim’s dreary future were soon replaced with images of the life he’d left behind. Space passing by at warp speed; the distant stars becoming bright streams of white as his ship sped past them. The faces of each new species he’d encountered. The feeling of being a part of something larger than he was, of the sweet sense of belonging, of home…. big brown eyes, knowing, deep and unfathomably wise, a raised eyebrow, glossy black hair, a stoic mouth where the corners twitched involuntarily when trying to hide a grin, though Jim always saw it anyway, knew how to read the signs of laughter and happiness on the otherwise impassive countenance of his most precious friend.

The epiphany that followed was neither surprising nor a revelation in any true sense of the word. It was simply a moment of clarity; of blunt, stark, self-aware honesty, unpretentious, and logical; Spock would appreciate that….

Jim had made a mistake.

And there was only one way to fix it.

Spock! I’m coming for you, Spock.

****

The red sands of the planet Vulcan glittered under the sky, the heavy air thick and rippled with heat, and the markings of the stone structure before him, more ancient than the first Neandertal drawn hieroglyphs of deer and antelope that adorned the cavern walls of Terra’s European continent, seemed to waver before his eyes.

To enter the structure would be the first step in relieving his pain, in purging the bonds of friendship and love, so great it often times felt like it would suffocate Spock in his longing; in finally squelching his human half which felt the loss most profoundly.

Loss of love. Love lost. The tearing of a soul pulled asunder, one half here at Gol, desperately seeking the peace and solace of logic and logic alone, the other half on Earth: beautiful, bright eyed, and wondering; ever fearless, ever curious -- facing a new day, a new position, and the opportunity at a new chance at life.

Jim was lost to him now, as sure was his life on the Enterprise and the freedom granted by space and friendship, of working in a cohesive team with a group of humans who had become family to him, and the five years of acceptance and companionship that had wrought.

Jim had accepted a promotion that left him grounded, no longer in need of the first officer who would often stare in dazed wonder, incredulous at the emotions and feelings the admirable human evoked within him; the ones that sent his Vulcan half reeling.

His two sides could not be in conflict anymore. The war between them was slowly killing Spock. One side wanting to repress and dissect, and the other longing to grieve.

Logic would prevail. It was the Vulcan way, the way of Surak. The safeguard of his people’s way of life and their success as a species of knowledgeable beings. Logic, alone, would protect him from the human frailty of loss.

Spock took a deep breath and cleared his mind, prepared, as much as he could be, to take this final step towards completion. The Kolinahr. The final purging of all emotion. After this the name James T. Kirk would be but a simple footnote in Spock’s history. The name of a captain he had served under who had rendered much success with his command style and his unrelenting nature. The name of a lesson Spock had learned, and he could hear almost hear that message spoken now, stated with the voice of McCoy, in all his human slang and lecturing colloquies: all that glitters may in fact be gold, but should remain indefinitely out of reach, for the task of acquiring a gem (or Jim, as the case may be) could become a man’s undoing.

It was a lesson Spock took most seriously.

One more deep breath. One more quick and silent release of his troublesome thoughts. One step, then another to tranquility….

Until a frantic voice, and the emphatic resonance of panic, then clarity, then determination hedged forcefully through his mental shields.

Spock! I’m coming for you, Spock.

Jim’s voice in his head, as was his modus operandi, for he had long since taken up residence there, since the moment they had met, in fact.

That James Kirk called to Spock’s very soul, his katra, was beyond maddening.

*****

Jim had lost track of the amount of times he had talked himself into and out of his present course of action.

Thus each step he took towards reaching his goal, from closed-door meetings with Nogura, which was an experience Jim very much wanted never to live through again even if his very life depended on it, to pulling rank to gain shuttle passage to Vulcan, felt like an unachievable goal, an impossible step to take on a passage towards truth.

It wasn’t that he was questioning the validity of it, the sheer rightness, oh no, that would be too easy. No, instead Jim doubted his ability to pull it off. To see it through, start to finish. To admit, out loud, that he was wrong, and that he… needed.

The fact of needing, itself, was a pretty difficult pill to swallow, and it stuck in Jim’s throat, even now, with his butt planted firmly in the seat of a shuttle craft and his course set. He had always liked to consider himself radically independent. Had prided himself on being solo; a complete package in one deal. One career officer born, bred and raised for it, at your service, sir, ma’am. Yet he had also thought of himself as preferring women as sexual partners, married to his career, better off a bachelor… Jim thought it funny, in that life-is-so-screwed up kind of way, how many delusions one man could entertain just because it was easier that way; the correct image to portray for the path in life he had convinced himself he wanted.

It felt like a bit of a cosmic joke on his person, all truth be told, and if Jim had learned anything during his service out in space, it was that the universe had a rather profound sense of humor.

And the most comical irony of the situation, from which there was more than plenty to chose, was that Jim had been wrong on all of it, on everything he had thought he wanted, not just the admiralty, but the life he’d assumed would go along with it.

Admiral James Kirk--former ladies’ man, ace in the hole, who’d sold his soul to the organization long ago--was a bit of a phony, and a semi-deluded one at that.

But Starfleet didn’t own his soul, for Jim had inadvertently given it to Spock somewhere between Psi 2000 and Camus II. And he certainly wasn’t solo, or bachelor material, or even a ladies’ man, because he was pretty sure that neither model admirals, ladies’ men, or bachelors woke up one day to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to discover that they were dramatically, overwhelmingly, and a tad saccharinely (as much of a blow as that was to his manly ego), smitten with their very male best friend. In fact, missed him so much that the whole ‘lovelorn lost and lonely’ cliché became a constant state of being.

Who the hell woke up to discover that their conscience had adopted a ‘Spock’ tone or that every thought, deed or action led to one highly esteemed individual? Not lifelong committed bachelors, that was for certain. And definitely not the ‘I scoff at commitment’ types either.

And no model career officer would give up his promotion to return to a lower position out in space.

Only Jim Kirk did that, ever apart in everything. Ever alone. Ever different. Nose consistently buried in a book at the academy, and nose firmly buried in his ass ever since.

At least Spock joined him in the loneliness, in feeling apart from everything. They really were a well matched pair.

So yes, deluding himself was a habit he needed to kick. And Spock was just the right person to do the kicking; he was the face of truth through Jim’s many smokescreens.

In an ideal world, Jim would land on Vulcan, confess his feelings, and Spock, of course, would forgive him, because he and Spock had always forgiven each other everything in the past, and they’d put each other through some real doozies, and what was a little abandonment and midlife crisis among friends? Good friends? Best friends?.....Lovers?

All of which led to the one undeniable fact that….he should have listened to Bones.

Not that Jim would ever concede that out loud, particularly with Bones anywhere close by, no sir. The good doctor already thought he was in the right, he didn’t need it confirmed so assuredly. Jim was already picturing the smug grin the doctor would flash when his friend found out that Jim had took a leave of absence from his career to deal with a ‘personal crisis’.

He supposed crisis was as good a word as any to describe what he was currently going through….a crisis of profound idiocy, maybe. And Bones had known. Had surmised Jim’s reaction to such a posting thoroughly before any doubts had manifested in Jim himself. Annoying trait of McCoy’s, that. He had even gone to Starfleet, over Jim’s head, to argue against Jim’s promotion.

Lord but there were no words for how angry Jim had been at that, how offended that Bones, a supposed friend, had gone behind his back to do that. In fact, his anger had pushed Jim to squelch any sorrow he may have felt over leaving the Enterprise, leaving the stars, leaving Spock, and caused him to heartily embrace the offer of promotion with the mutinous attitude of “I’ll show you.”

‘Mutiny was never a particularly good idea on the cusp of anger on an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon’, Jim thought with a sardonic smile, ‘it just wasn’t.’

Neither, apparently, was defiance, for all that Jim’s natural inclination towards defiance had served him well. Or at least he thought it had. It had been rather significant in furthering his career. That ever so important career that he was only recently discovering could go hang itself. There were things in life more important….people in life who were more important.

Bones had probably foreseen that as well, damn the man. The uncharitable part of Jim wondered if Bones enjoyed being right all the time, high above on that cloud he drifted on over the rest of them. Another part of him missed the doctor terribly and felt infinite sorrow over how they had parted.

He owed Bones an apology, or two, perhaps five. But that would come later, one case of eating crow at a time was all Jim’s nerves could take. Spock was first, because Spock was his First.

Jim had no idea what he was going to say to Spock once he landed on Vulcan. He hoped a bit of inspiration would come to him at the appropriate moment, because just holding his head up and not running for the bathroom and losing that breakfast he didn’t eat was about all he could handle. Coming up with a speech just wasn’t in the bag. He supposed the only thing he could do, the only pawn he had left to play, was complete honesty. Didn’t he already feel that Spock was his personal emblem of truth? He would find Spock, tell him that he missed him, and that he wasn’t quite ready to let him go just yet, never would be, in point of fact, and let fate weave their destiny from there.

He had nothing left, really, to lose at this point…. Except the hope of getting Spock back at his side.

Part 2