|ST: TOS Fic, Part 1/5: "Sorcerer" - Kirk/Spock - PG13
||[Jun. 3rd, 2009|01:41 am]
(lives between pages)
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS (Season 1)
Pairing: Kirk/Spock, pre-slash
Notes: This is the first piece in what will probably be an arc of about 5 snapshots, give or take, covering ground throughout the events of Season 1. The primary episode reference here is "Balance of Terror," with some flashes of "The Naked Time" peeking through. I have gathered that it's wise to heed stardates only insofar as they seem to indicate some semblance of order amongst the episodes; therefore, any inconsistencies or errors of judgment in the long run are completely my fault. Additionally, if you'd like a good version of "Northern Cross" to listen to while you're reading this series, I suggest it as recorded by the inimitable Cry Cry Cry.
Summary: Even when close calls are a way of life, they don't tend to lose impact.
I've gone running from the devil;
at times, I've beaten down his path.
I've seen the flight of the dove,
and I've stumbled my way back.
—Northern Cross, Terran traditional
Never lose you, he'd said to the ship's very walls, to anyone who'd listen. Never.
A thought made breath, both prayer and incantation. And he, Captain James T. Kirk, was not a superstitious man. He'd lost nearly half the bridge crew to lunacy that day, and who the hell knew how many otherwise? That, that was what it had meant to nearly lose his ship, his beloved Enterprise. She had only ever been the sum of her living crew, of all her dearest parts. Spock, even Spock had been susceptible. If Jim hadn't been able to snap him out of it, and God, but he regretted that slap—
His grief might, indeed, have been comparable to this.
"I miss him, Captain," Angela whispered, bent low over her coffee with brimming eyes.
Jim nodded, hesitantly reaching across the desk to cover her hand. "We all do," he said, wishing he could say, as before, that they had three days to live over again. "Robert was a fine man and a credit to his command. There'll be no replacing him. Angela, if there's anything I can do to help you, will you please tell me?"
She shook her head, squeezing Jim's hand before letting go. "You've done so much already. Dr. McCoy has assigned me to one of his best psych officers, so I'm sure..."
Her sobs descended, harsh and sudden. The first lanced sharply off the walls of Jim's office, more terrible than his childhood memories of thunder echoing across plains weighed down by iron-grey skies. Instinctively, Jim reached for her again, in the very least to take the cup off of her before she scalded herself. She clutched it tighter.
Meanwhile, the soothing tones of Spock's lyre had fallen deafeningly silent.
"Captain." There, just behind him, low and attentive with concern. Spock's hand fell on his shoulder. If somebody had been sensible enough to warn him that prolonged exposure to the nuances of Vulcan speech tended to amplify human vocal obviousness a thousandfold, he might not be sitting here on the verge of tears himself.
Goddamn you, Bones.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Spock," said Angela, struggling for control of her voice. "It was lovely of you to—" she wheezed, painfully "—come play for us, but I just can't—"
The touch of Spock's fingertips, until then feather-light, tightened. Jim?
"Angela, Mr. Spock will see you to your quarters and make sure you have everything that you need." And I'll send Bones with the strongest tranquilizer he's got, so help me; your fiancé's death is on my head, and there's no other oblivion I can offer!
Another fleeting squeeze and Spock's hand was gone, followed by the Vulcan's slow, steady progress around to the other side of the desk. Jim closed his eyes against his fist, hardly daring to look up. Still, look he must: weakness was not becoming.
Spock met his eyes briefly, almost reassuringly, and placed his free hand gently on the girl's upper arm. "If you would prefer to finish your coffee, Miss Martine, perhaps—"
Another of those choked, heartrending sobs—and there wasn't any doubt as to why.
Anyone else would have taken the horrified light in Spock's eyes for manic confusion, but Jim understood. Spock knew what he'd said in a moment of carelessness, and there was no unsaying it. Jim locked eyes with him and tried to return the favor.
You're doing your best.
Spock shook his head, almost imperceptibly, and turned his attention back to the grieving young woman. "More than anything else right now, you require rest."
"I'll send Bones, Angela," said Jim, softly. "It's best you go with Mr. Spock."
Angela nodded and set her cup down on the desk, rising to face Spock with surprising dignity. "Yes, I'll go with you," she murmured. "Thank you, Captain."
Jim saw them to the door, holding it wide open. "Any time. If you need anything—"
"She knows where to find you," said Spock, urging her into the corridor with one hand and cradling the lyre to his chest with the other. "And Captain, shall I—?"
"Yes," replied Jim, automatically. "The reports. Return as soon as you're able."
"Sir," Spock said. They rounded the corner soundlessly and were gone.
Jim returned to his desk, hovering for a moment over Angela's unfinished coffee. Tempting though it was, his stomach had gone sufficiently sour that he was soon going to regret having drunk all of his own. How could he possibly have thought that this would help? Furthermore, had he wanted Spock there more for his own benefit than for hers? Calming though the lyre might be, music often possessed more power to feed grief than to assuage it. Charms and wards, he thought. Unforgivable.
A knock at the door brought him out of his reverie. "It's open."
"Jim," Spock said, crossing to him in a few swift strides. "Are you all right?"
The lyre, Jim noted, was still in Spock's arms, clasped by those long fingers with all a lover's care. He swallowed and concentrated on Spock's eyes instead. There and sane, not mad and gone. Alive. And altered, too, irreparably: they'd never seem blank or impassive again. For that, he was strangely grateful.
"I'm fine, Spock," he said, resuming his seat. "As well as can be expected."
Spock nodded curtly, turning to take the seat directly across from Jim. He moved what was left of Angela's coffee with slight distaste, his nostrils delicately flaring. "It goes bitter as it cools," he explained, fixing Jim with a look of knowing bewilderment. "Surely tea would have been preferable?"
Wearily, Jim smiled. Spock's attempts at lightening any difficult mood were oblique at best and unrecognizable at worst. It was that dark ripple just beneath Jim's own reflection, the quickness of human irony ever struggling to be expressed.
"Tea goes bitter, too, if you let it brew for too long."
Spock snorted. "Illogical. My sense of timing is exact, and therefore that particular peril would be of no concern whatsoever. Would you like some, Jim?"
"No," Jim said, sliding the coffee cups as far to one side as he could, "but thank you."
Spock inclined his head, only the brief tremor of lashes giving away the fact that he'd needed to blink. In his own way, Jim knew, his first officer grieved just as he did. The Enterprise was no longer whole, and recovery would take some time.
"But stay," Jim heard himself say before he could bite back the words. "Play for me."
Spock glanced up at him then, lashes still lowered. The relief in his eyes washed over Jim in waves every bit as moving as Angela's grief.
"It was only ever for you," he said, with the faintest hint of a smile. The notes rose as if of their own accord, tugging Spock's deft fingers across the strings.
Never lose you. Jim sat back and closed his eyes. Never.
Sorcery or no, he could not forbid this sadness.
- Continue to Part 2: Rosemary, Rue -