DISCLAIMER: For lo, the
Deity Paramount doth own these characters; I do but
frolic briefly with them in their playground.
"Kirk's Promise" was written and published in the mid-80s in a New Zealand
fanzine called KATRA (ironically, mainly a Klingon/aliens zine), specifically,
the 6th issue.
I hadn't really intended to publish it at all, since I was, at the time, really
uncomfortable with writing this short a story and didn't think I did a very
good job. I'd sent it to a pen-pal to get her input, not meaning for her
to publish it in her zine, but lo and behold, she *really loved it*, and
spent the next several letters convincing me to let her publish it.
The zine has since folded and I've fallen out of touch with my pen-
pal, but as she told me she would "go to her grave" liking this story, it
occurred to me that others might feel the same way and I thought I would
try posting it to find out what kind of reception it would get here, since
there is little chance it will ever get reprinted.
It's very short, just a vignette, no room for a plot--just Kirk and
Spock talking after the events of "Amok Time". And it's not slash, but if
you like K/S, you still might enjoy it--it's the first time I ever wrote
anything focusing entirely on them.
"Captain's Log--stardate 3372.10. After a brief stopover on Vulcan,
we proceeded at best speed to Altair VI for the Inauguration Ceremonies.
They've just be completed and we are preparing to leave orbit."
As Kirk finished the log entry, McCoy appeared beside him and the two
exchanged looks of acknowledgement. After Spock's physically and
emotionally painful bout with the pon farr--and the "wedding ceremony" that
had nearly cost Kirk his life--there had arisen an unspoken agreement
between them not to record the incident in either Ship's Log or Medical
Log. "Jim, have you seen Spock since we left Vulcan?" the Doctor asked
Kirk shook his head. Spock had seemed to be back to normal as soon
he found Kirk alive; yet a few hours later, he had, for some unknown
reason, done a complete about-face and asked to be excluded from the party
representing the Enterprise at the Altair VI ceremonies. Spock had, at his
own request, been confined to his quarters since then. It was a request
Kirk had been happy to grant, since neither he nor Dr. McCoy knew how long
it would take their Vulcan friend to fully recover from the pon farr.
Though McCoy had him under medical surveillance, Kirk, knowing Spock
probably needed some time alone to sort things out, had not checked on him.
"Well, I saw him this morning," McCoy offered.
"How's he doing?" Kirk prompted, somewhat impatently.
"Physically and mentally, he's drained," the Doctor replied, his voice
becoming uncertain. "Other than that, I can't tell you much. What worries
me, though, is that...he asked for you."
Kirk was startled. "He did?"
That was strange. Spock was not known for his willingness to either
seek help or accept it, and Kirk was immediately concerned about his
McCoy knew from Kirk's silence what he must be thinking. "Look, Jim--
he won't talk to me. But he obviously wants to talk to *you* about
something," he told Kirk. "I know he must have a lot on his mind...and
you're off-duty in a few minutes. Why don't you go and talk to him for a
"I will, Bones--don't worry," Kirk assured him. He glanced furtively
around the Bridge as McCoy left, but no one appeared to have overheard
their conversation. He had felt guilty about not being able to tell the
crew anything about the side-trip to Vulcan; all they knew was that it had
something to do with meeting his "wife"--then there was the belated message
from Starfleet Command approving T'Pau's request for their diversion. Kirk
decided he would have to make a point of spending more time in the Rec
Room, just to find out what kind of rumors were being manufactured about
this incident. Aside from learning for his own amusement, he told himself,
he had to make sure none of the harmful ones got back to Spock.
As soon as his watch was over, Kirk left the Bridge and went to
Spock's quarters. Spock, who had been sitting at his desk, stood carefully
as Kirk entered.
"McCoy said you wanted to see me," Kirk said.
"Yes, Captain," Spock replied quietly, clasping his hands behind his
back. "I wanted to wait until after the Inauguration. I now present
myself to you for arrest."
Kirk almost jumped in surprise. "On what charge?" he finally
"Assaulting a superior officer with intent to kill," came the almost-
but-not-quite emotionless response.
Kirk looked confused for a minute, then fought down the urge to laugh
as realization dawned. "You don't mean--? Oh, Spock...you don't really
think I held you responsible for what happened on Vulcan, do you?" he
As Spock lowered his eyes, Kirk wondered belatedly if the Vulcan
blamed himself for nearly killing his Captain. Tightening his less-than-
unbreachable control, Spock spoke again: "You do not wish to press
"Of course not!" Kirk assured him.
Spock relaxed noticeably and sat back down at the desk.
Kirk hovered, waiting. "Is that why you wanted to see me?"
"No, Captain...please sit down," Spock answered, producing a chair
from somewhere. Kirk sat. Spock hesitated a considerable amount of time
before continuing, and when he spoke, his voice was little more than a
whisper. "I am...grateful for your patience with me and your consideration
and perceptiveness during this time. I had not expected it."
"I'm your friend, Spock," Kirk replied simply, by way of explanation.
"I always want to do anything I can to help you. You know that."
Spock looked up at him slowly, and Kirk saw in the dark eyes a vague
indication of some lingering torment. What one thing among the many
possibilities it might be caused by, Kirk didn't want to guess. "Yes, Jim,
I...know of your affection for me," the Vulcan admitted hesitantly.
"Illogical as it seems, that was what in effect prompted me to tell you
about the pon farr."
"Were you really going to let yourself die rather than tell me what
was going on?" Kirk asked seriously.
Spock nodded reluctantly. "It was not a pleasant prospect, but I
thought it might be necessary. As I said before, I did not think you
would--or could--understand. It is difficult for non-Vulcans to
comprehend, and harder still for Vulcans to discuss."
"So I assumed," Kirk put in dryly.
"I failed to take into account your...emotion for me," Spock continued
softly, then lowered his eyes again as memories of the ceremony flooded
over him. He could sense his control slipping a little, now. "I thank you
also for beaming down with me--you and Dr. McCoy, both. The madness had
nearly taken me by then, and I thought I might be denied your--I believe
the term is 'moral support'--because you were ashamed of me." Spock
suddenly closed his eyes tightly against some terrible mental image. "If
only you had been!"
Kirk watched with growing concern as his First Officer faought for
mastery of his emotions, uncertain of how to respond.
As he was about to say something, Spock lifted his head and resumed
speaking in normal tones: "If I had known what T'Pring intended, I would
not have asked either of you to come." The mask of Vulcan impassivity was
in place again, but the eyes...no amount of training in emotional control
could keep them from conveying to Kirk something of the loneliness and pain
within as Spock suddenly recalled the difficulty of his childhood on
Vulcan. "I have never had a...a friend...before," Spock stated formally,
though his voice was unsteady. "When I thought I had killed you..."
Kirk waved him off, then smiled encouragingly at him. "How does it
feel?" he asked, anticipating Spock's response.
"'Feel', Captain?" Spock repeated curiously, raising an eyebrow.
"To have a friend," Kirk elaborated patiently.
"Oh." Spock hesitated, considering, then lowered his eyes, knowing
that whatever he didn't say Kirk would see there. But what could he say?
There were many things about Humans he didn't understand, and the concept
of friendship was still new to him...besides, his Vulcan upbringing would
not allow him to admit how much he had needed Jim's friendship and support
during this time. No, he had said enough along those lines already. He
looked slowly back up at Kirk.
Kirk looked into the Vulcan's eyes and found his answer in the guarded
fondness shining behind the dark pupils. No words were necessary; Spock
had known he would understand without them. Kirk smiled at him
reassuringly again, and Spock responded with a small nod of acceptance,
grateful for the distraction. "Spock, all you all right?" Kirk asked
"I am recovering," Spock replied evasively.
"How long do you think that'll take?"
"I do not know, Captain," Spock admitted. "If you remember, the pon
farr was nullified by my mental reaction when I thought I had killed you,
and the bond with T'Pring was dissolved. There is, to my knowledge, no
precedent for this on Vulcan, so I have no way of knowing how long it will
take to recover."
This started Kirk thinking, and he didn't like the direction his
thoughts were taking. He hated to voice the question, but it seemed
inevitable that it would be brought up. "Spock..." he began uneasily,
"...what about next time?"
Spock bowed his head and the question hung in the air between them for
several tension-filled minutes before he finally answered: "Again...I do
not know. It is well that you mentioned it, however."
Spock looked back up. "Yes," he continued quietly. "It was
the things I wanted to discuss with you. If I am not bonded to another
woman by then, I will die in my next pon farr...and therefore, I wish to
ask something of you."
"What is it?" Kirk asked apprehensively, half-afraid to find out.
Spock drew a deep breath; he knew Kirk well enough by now to know how
he would react to this request, but there was no other acceptable
alternative. "When the time comes...if I am not bonded...I want you to
kill me," he told Kirk matter-of-factly.
"*What?*" Kirk was horrified.
Spock leaned forward. "Jim, I will be mad. I will not have
presence of mind to do it myself," he reminded Kirk pleadingly. "I do not
wish to die in such an irrational state."
"Spock, I can't do that!" Kirk insisted, alarmed. "There must
"This is a last resort. Please, Jim...promise me you will do this
me if the circumstances are as I have described them."
Spock sat back in his chair, lowering his eyes, and seemed to withdraw
from the conversation. Kirk studied him worriedly as the silence stretched
out between them. At length, Spock looked back up--and Kirk found himself
unable to ignore the pleading look in the Vulcan's eyes.
As repulsive as the idea of killing Spock was, Kirk did understand why
he had requested it. It was far better, in Spock's mind, to die at the
hand of a friend than to let the pon farr run its natural course and die in
madness. Finally, Kirk gave in. "All right, Spock--I promise. But only
as a last resort. Let's hope it's a promise I never have to keep."
Spock nodded, understanding, and fell silent again as he looked back
at his Captain. Jim would never know what that promise meant to him. Or
wouldn't he? He always seemed to know his First Officer's feelings
somehow, no matter how much time and effort the Vulcan wasted trying to
Kirk smiled at the quiet gratitude apparent in his friend's eyes.
lot can happen in seven years," he pointed out gently. "I'm sure you'll
find someone--or someone will find you."
Spock glanced at Kirk sharply, wondering what he meant about someone
"finding him"--and if he had someone specific in mind--then lowered his
"And while we're on the subject," Kirk added suddenly, remembering
something he'd meant to mention to Spock when all this was over. "The next
time this happens, kindly *tell* me about it *before* you're a week away
from dying of it!"
"Yes, Captain," Spock replied, submissively but reluctantly, without
Kirk waited, but Spock remained uncomfortably silent. Kirk got up
finally, saying, "Is that all?"
"I--" Spock stopped, uncertain of what to say. How could he tell
he needed someone to talk to without compromising himself as a Vulcan? "--
I had hoped you would remain for a while longer," he said finally.
"I...would prefer your company to being alone, just now."
Kirk sat back down, concerned; apparently, something was wrong with
Spock that hadn't come out in their conversation. Or had it? "Spock, what
the devil is the matter with you?" he demanded. "You seemed fine when we
"I was...and am, Captain," Spock responded uneasily, looking up and
trying to meet Kirk's eyes. "But I seem to need to be...with you. It is
"Never mind logic," Kirk interrupted kindly, understanding now. "I
think I know what's bothering you--you're still blaming yourself for what
happened to me at the ceremony. Sounds like you can't get it out of your
Spock didn't even try to hide his relief. Jim understood. No
pretenses were necessary. "That is literally the case, Jim. I have not
slept since our return from Vulcan," he informed Kirk.
Kirk noticed a certain tension leaving the Vulcan's muscles as he
spoke and smiled at him in response. "All right, my friend...I can stay as
long as you want," he assured Spock gently.
"I thank you, Jim," Spock replied quietly, lowering his eyes to stare
at his hands, which were now folded on top of the desk. When something
suddenly prompted him to look back up at Kirk, he found the Captain still
smiling affectionately at him--and very nearly smiled back himself. Kirk
reached toward him now and gently took the Vulcan's hands in his own; he
was surprised when Spock, focusing his attention on Kirk's hands, began to
hold them tightly.
Abruptly, Kirk was aware of Spock's mind reaching out to him;
simultaneously, he also became aware of the Vulcan's need for reassurance--
that his Human friend was still alive, *and* that he wouldn't hold Spock
responsible for what had happened on Vulcan.
//Be with me, Jim,// the familiar mind-voice urged gently. //I need
this...be one with me. Let me feel your thoughts.//
After the initial surprise of the sudden mental contact, Kirk didn't
resist. He, too, began to reach out, embracing Spock's thoughts: //I'm
here, Spock--I'm with you,// he heard his own mind respond.
Suddenly, he was aware of something else--a fear of separation, of
being left alone--oppressive and all-consuming, it threatened to engulf
them both, and Kirk wondered briefly which mind it had come from. Very
briefly. For even as the thought formed, the answer presented itself:
As if from the bottom of a deep abyss, Spock's mind-voice answered
faintly: //I cannot lose you. I need your friendship...no, not alone
Yes, incredibly, it was Spock who feared the self-made prison of
loneliness that most of his life had been. He was only now learning that
the burden could be lessened, as long as Kirk's offer of friendship stood.
Kirk drew Spock's mind closer. //I am with you, Spock. I always will
be...I promise,// his mind-voice told Spock firmly. //I am here. Be with
And then Spock was with him, comforted by Kirk's momentarily necessary
promise; obviously, the offer still stood. The fear receded and did not
vanish completely, but was controlled. //I am here...you are with me...we
//Yes, my friend. We are one.//
The mind-meld lasted for some time as Vulcan and Human sat quietly
with their hands joined. There was no pain, emotional or mental--only the
gentle reassurance of Kirk's thoughts as Spock sought them out, mingled
with them, lost himself in them.
When Spock broke the meld with no difficulty nearly half an hour
later, both of them felt strangely refreshed. Loosening his grip on Kirk's
hands, Spock looked up at him uncertainly. "I...must apologize, Captain.
I had no right to attempt the meld without asking your permission first."
Kirk dismissed the matter with a wave of his hand. "It doesn't
matter, Spock. I have no reason to close my mind off from you. Besides,
it seems to have helped you," he observed.
"It has," Spock admitted. "Nonetheless, I--"
"Blow it out your ear."
Spock's eyebrows ascended into his hairline, as much at Kirk's
accompanying grin as at the expression itself, but he decided it would do
no good to embark upon a lecture on the biological functions and
shortcomings of the Vulcan inner ear.
Satisfied that Spock would be all right now, Kirk got up slowly and
headed for the door, still grinning. Pausing at the door, he glanced back
at his First Officer and found Spock sitting in his chair, watching him.
The Vulcan's eyes sparkled with veiled affection.
//We are one// came unbidden from somewhere and hovered in the air
between them, lingering as Kirk turned finally and left the room.