Prologue | I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X
Title: Zahvan T’Masu
Fandom: ST TOS
Characters: Starek, Spock, Cash
Warnings: Voyeurism, language, confessions.
Notes: Spock’s fantasies convince Starek to confess a secret of his own. Good? Bad? Hey, it’s only 7/11, so nobody’s gonna die from it, right?
"A little time . . ." Spock gasps. He’s incredulous. It seemed as though his lover, with his easy manner and playful smiles, believes there is nothing but time. Can’t Starek sense his need? Does he feel none of it himself? Spock has labored — true a most pleasurable kind of employment, but nonetheless striven — to impart some of his urgency with his tongue, but apparently Starek is made of stronger stuff.
Spock moves off to one side and growls against Starek’s neck. "You will begin. I require an interval," and he emphasizes the word with a thrust of his slick and straining la’ash against Starek’s thigh, "in order to collect myself."
Starek groans, fingers flexing, and reaches out to pull Spock more firmly against his body. "If I begin, I fear one of two things will happen: either you will come undone, or you will call me a fool and walk away."
He turns his head, to kiss Spock’s forehead.
"For I have dreamed of you." Starek takes a sudden deep breath, and his chest heaves with it. "I have not spoken lies to you, yet. I can feel that thought — it’s very strong. I may have left things unsaid, but I have said nothing untrue."
He rolls the muscles of his thigh against Spock. "Ever since I first saw your image, heard your name, knew the breadth of your boldness — did you really turn down an offer from the Shi’Oren t’Ek’Tallar? — I wanted to touch you. I’ve wanted to feel you surrender to my hands, and now that I have you, it’s better than I ever imagined."
"I wanted to find you in the rain, on the shores of the Voroth, dancing with the water, as our people once did. But, neither of us, I know, are terribly inclined to spend time on Vulcan, these days. I have dreamed myself waiting, soaked and clothed, a supplicant at your mercy, for an invitation to touch your wet flesh, to lick the water from your skin." Starek’s hand shakes, as he strokes Spock’s side. "I dreamed of you, but you are better than I could have imagined. Nam-tor du yeht. Nam-tor du."
Spock cuddles closer, gripping Starek’s opposite shoulder, running his thumb along the top of it.
"Vesht run-tor t’nash-veh ha? Trau-es?"
"Yes, I dreamed of you. Zung-tor sutra t’nash-veh t’ahm t’du." Starek rolls to the side, hooking one leg over Spock’s hip, draping his arm across that same body, to lazily toy with the back of Spock’s hair.
"I would ask if that was really so shocking, but the more I think on it, the more I realise it probably is, and that thought…" He closes his eyes. "That thought makes me feel."
He grabs Spock’s hand and lets his disgust with the present state of Vulcan society fill him. "These who would greet those from other worlds, with open hands, would turn you away because some part of you is from one of those worlds. They will not see that you are as sensible and witty as they, nor that you are so sleekly beautiful, because they are too busy turning a blind eye — trying to pretend you do not exist. It infuriates me."
The protective rage radiates from Starek, like heat, until he draws it in, sets it aside. "Too many years as an artist. I’ll never be Academy material," he jokes, trying to explain away his Romulan passions, pressing another kiss to Spock’s forehead.
The degree to which Starek has felt protective of Spock surprises the older man. He brings their clasped hands to his lips to place human kisses there. "I fear you have been away from T’Khasi too long, yeht-veh. Those that feel disgusted by my heritage are a minority. Most are perfectly willing to accept my genetic differences provided I control my emotions."
Starek stiffens at the appellation. "My blood no more than yours, k’diwa," he mutters. "But that is a story for another time."
"Even I display control, when faced with those who are confused without it. Remember that my knowledge of you comes only from public media and gossip-hounds, neither of whom have been kind, as regards your heritage." He pulls his hand away and caresses Spock’s cheek. "In my line of work, I meet mostly the dregs of a society, on any given day of the week."
With a slim smile, Starek rolls his hips, grinding against Spock. "But, we were talking about fantasies. I’ve given you mine. Tell me yours."
Spock pauses, gathering courage.
"In my adolescence, a cadre of Romulan dissidents made it as far as Shi’Khar. They sought audience with high-ranking Vulcans in order to discuss what might be done promote peace between our two races. Few attended any of the open discussions, held over several days, but I attended all of them.
"The Romulans struck me as intelligent and sincere. And there was a fire to them, a quality that . . ." he trails off. "I found their leader particularly compelling. I was . . . drawn to him."
"Kaevra nnea-Daemnh, we called him. I’m barely old enough to remember… He was quite mad, and wholly charismatic." Starek laughs, then tilts Spock’s face up with a finger beneath the chin, placing one light kiss on his lips.
He realises he’s fucked himself. ‘We called him’, indeed. He needs to say it before Spock puts the pieces together. Starek thinks he’ll lose the chance if Spock sees through him, now, but there’s a chance he’ll come out of it, both intact and victorious, if he confesses. The very idea of losing frightens him so badly he can feel his elat start to retract — it’s not a fear of dying, it’s a fear of dying before he has the chance to finish what he’s started. He’s staring into a years-long dream, and if he doesn’t play his cards right, he’ll ruin his chances, and he won’t live long enough to try again.
Don’t start laughing, he tells himself. If you laugh, this is going to get a lot less funny, very fast, and less funny than this is not something you want to see.
Starek comforts himself with the thought that at the very least, Spock has found a Romulan appealing. This could work in his favour. It’s unlikely, but possible. Payr dermai qiuu’n hrrau khefv, he reminds himself.
His thoughts wind down, into a thick and heavy pause.
"Now is the time. I have something I must tell you," he mutters, still trying to suppress the laugh. "If I do not, I will become a parody of myself, and my race."
"Would it surprise you to know," he asks, eyes alight with amusement, "that for all I have implied it, I am no thaessu. I have watched my words. I have done no more than imply. Khhya arhem …" He trails off, taking a deep breath. "Khhya arhem Rihanh."
Spock’s lips at first gently part. After a moment, they come back together in a firm line, emphasizing the set of his jaw. He draws back slowly, making no sudden movements, until he is standing beside the bed. The light from the large western window is behind him, leaving his face in shadow.
"You will explain."
"Yeah, okay, that couldn’t possibly go well." Starek sighs, sitting up. "You have witnessed how well Romulans go over in Federation space. You’ve also touched my face enough to know my brow is smooth. I let people think I’m a Vulcan, because it keeps me alive."
He crosses his legs, turns his palms out at his knees, and looks up at Spock, as he speaks. "I am the Rihanha Starek, born in 2237 on the world of ch’Rihan, in a small village not far from the valley of Chula. We are not encouraged to leave our world, except in military service, and neither Stavret nor I felt a need to kill people we knew nothing about.
"Stavret, my best and only, took to the sciences, and I to the arts. We were — still are, actually — well matched, in that. He’s a bit older, between your age and mine, if my data is correct." Starek does not watch Spock, as he speaks. His eyes have gone glassy and distant.
"Two and a half years ago, we stole an ancient Klingon scout ship from the back of a government junkyard, and fled the Empire. We wanted to live life for ourselves, not the life he propagandists wanted us to lead.
"We fell in with some … interesting parties, in a less than — what’s the word — kosher part of the galaxy. They aren’t important. What’s important is that we managed to refit the ship, by doing some work, and get her a clean registry off a forged scrap ticket from a Federation junkyard. She’s my ship, now. Stavret still has no trust for any man’s politics, and I don’t blame him. I have no homeworld, either, and I do not seek one.
"In this time, there were good days and bad days — Stavret carried me out of the middle of a barfight I admit to having started because I heard someone use your name as an example of what was wrong with the Alpha Quadrant, these days. I got caught in the middle of someone else’s politics, out on Delta VII — damn near lost my ear. Without Merendith, I would have. Bought myself a set of five Orion girls, and set them loose in engineering — they really are brilliant, even if they do occasionally break things, and make Stavret crazy. Actually, I may like them all the more for their effect on Stavret. He needs to have more fun. None of this is relevant.
"What is relevant is that I led a less than admirable life, for a time, so that I could have the life I wanted. What is relevant is that T’Nis offered to introduce me to you, and I leapt at the opportunity. What is relevant is that your blood is no fancier than mine." His eyes finally focussed again, sharp and ironic. "Go ahead. Do what you must. It’s my own fault for trusting. And speaking of trust and issues thereof, I still stand by my earlier statements on the subject."
Spock’s hands twitch at his sides. "Your earlier statements?"
"Statements on the nature of guest quarters." He cocks his chin at the windows, but does not make an explicit statement, in case the sound is on.
Spock takes a slow, deep breath. He seats himself on a chair near the window, his back bent, his elbows braced on his knees. For several lirt’k he studies the floor between his feet.
When he rises, his expression is once more blank and unreadable.
"I have a request to make of you. It is one which you are free to refuse and if you do so, I also will hold no grudge.
"Will you . . . open your mind to me?"
"Parts of it, yes. Most of it, even. However, there are some recollections that are mine, and mine alone, and I ask you not to pry. And of course, I cannot share with you the things that may endanger others of my acquaintance." Starek considers, for a few moments, ordering his thoughts as he learned to do in the company of Betazoids. "All of my life on Romulus is yours to examine. You are welcome to my memories of the neutral zone. After that, you will find some rather vast swaths I will fight to keep you out of. Again, nothing personal, but that information cannot be allowed to leak. The damage would be irreparable."
He holds out his hand to Spock. "Can you agree to these terms?"
"I agree. None of the things you have mentioned pertain to what I seek. However, I require the full meld. You will need to trust me."
"Frankly, I don’t see why I should. It’s likely you’ll gut my wits, and toss me to the dogs. I could be executed by the end of the week, on your testimony alone." Starek stands, folding his hands behind his back. "That said, I’m yours. Do whatever the hell you like. I will go without honour, but with one of my dreams fulfilled."
Spock approaches Starek and holds his fingers to the meld points. He closes his eyes and enters.
First, he spins through Starek’s recollection of this evening, hearing his thoughts, and seeing all that has transpired from the Romulan’s of view. His second search is longer. He goes far into the past, comparing long-distant memories with what Starek has just confessed to him here in this room. He is gratified to see that they match.
The final piece of information is close to the surface and therefore easy to find.
It comes to him as a recollection. of a comfortable place, a room of wood and brass, where Starek feels at home. T’Nis sits across a table from him. She is smirking, a glass of Romulan ale held lightly in her hand.
"Your ancestry is, of course, the final key. Sarek’s precious son with a Romulan."
Spock quickly breaks the contact.
Starek is jolted by that revelation — the one thing he tried most to keep back. Shaking his head, dizzied and angry, he grabs Spock’s hands — both hands — and recounts his other thoughts of the evening: shame, regret, even attempts at extrication that fell on deaf ears.
The Romulan sinks to his knees, still holding on, as the spinning overtakes him. "Doesn’t matter, anyway," he mutters, "Just wanted the chance. Couldn’t let myself down. Then I saw your face, and I couldn’t let you down. But, I was already sold. I did my best to meet the technicalities, but not the spirit, but you fought me on that.
"K’diwa, all I ask is that you let me notify my ship, so they will not be waiting for me any longer. I’m yours. The game is over. Do whatever the hell you like."
Spock extricates one of his hands and places it on Starek’s shoulder.
"Be at ease. I will do nothing to harm you."
Gently, and to Starek’s surprise, Spock brings the Romulan towards him, enfolding him in a soft embrace.
"Yeht-veh," he murmurs. "Earlier you quoted Surak. ‘Ma etek natyan teretuhr lau etek shetau weh-lo’uk do tum t’on‘."
He whispers against Starek’s hair. "Do you still believe it?"
"Kwon-sum," Starek breathes against Spock’s skin. "It is, I think, what keeps my crew together."
Still, he remains tense, expecting things to go more wrong than they have. It is, generally, the way these things unfold, and without his clothes — well, he’s faced things almost as bad, without clothes.
Spock steps away from him and towards the control panel set into the wall by the windows. He examines it for a moment and holds down the same switch that T’Nis used earlier to polarize the windows.
The room goes pitch dark.
Starek remains still. "Does this mean you’ll come back to bed?" he asks, flippantly, unable to stay outwardly serious in a situation which may yet end him.
Spock’s voice, when it next reaches Starek’s ears, is coming from right beside them.
"Is this what you wish?"
"What I wish is to get us both the fuck out of here, right now, and continue this in my bed, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, by now," Starek hisses, almost silently.
"I would also prefer that any further interactions between us remain . . . between us. However, some subterfuge will be required before we may safely leave this place."
Spock takes Starek under his arm and steers them unerringly towards the bathroom. All it requires is a modest amount of caution and a memory of where objects in the room had been. Beyond the threshold of the other room, Spock goes more slowly, since his idea of the chamber relied on Starek’s memories only. But they managed without colliding with anything.
Spock leans over the edge of the tub, keying for the hottest water available.
Cash gives a whack to the edge of one of the monitors. A minute ago he’d been giving the odd glance to their pointy-eared heart-to heart wondering when in God’s name were they ever gonna fuck — T’Nis wouldn’t be happy without her money shot — and now every screen has gone out at once.
"Get off me," he snarls, yanking Skye up by the hair. She rubs her lips dazedly, wondering what’s going on.
But once Cash remembers the IR setting, he sees what’s happened. They’re just in the bathroom.
He zooms in on six and seven, delighted by this opportunity to make Starek look as unattractive as possible. People always look fatter at longer wavelengths. It’s a resolution thing.
"Call my poem butchery, you two-faced fuck."
"Dh’partrai efvi mnean jhu nnea-aekhhwi, partrai mnean?" Starek whispers, in amusement. "I need to get my pants, if we’re going to make it out of here, intact. Can’t hail the ship without… I have an idea. Wait for me."
He kisses Spock’s cheek, and eases out of the bathroom, in the blackness, picking up clothing as he draws closer to the bed. He checks everything, looking for pockets, since that’s what it should look like he’s doing, and finally ties up the clothing into a robe and tosses it beside the bathroom door. He can hear it hit the wall, and is pretty sure he aimed correctly. He sits on the edge of the bed and considers the room — extending his arm and using the sense of its length against the memories in his head, to calculate distance. After a moment, he goes to the closet to retrieve his bag as well as a toy he asked T’Nis to leave for him. He does not trust the toy, but it will provide cover for his intent. As far as anyone knows, his bag is packed for quite the adventure, which it is, but it also contains a homing beacon and the finer components of his escape kit — sadly few of which would be useful, under the circumstances. With these things in hand, he moves back toward the bathroom, tripping over the clothes and dropping the toy, which bounces away into the gloom. The clothes thump against a cabinet in the bathroom, and Starek flails and sits down, hard.
All is going according to plan.
"Forgive me," he says, "I don’t know this room as well as I might." With that, he closes the bathroom door, and reaches out until he finds Spock’s hand, and then traces those fingers across his smile.
Spock brings Starek up to where he is seated on the rim of the tub, and guides the younger man into his lap. The room is not hot enough yet.
"It would seem the meld is not always necessary to exchange ideas, is it tal-kam?"
"No, k’diwa, I do not think it is." Starek slides himself down, close and tight against Spock’s body. "It is said that Vulcans do not sweat. Shall we prove the point, once and for all?"
He licks the rim of Spock’s ear, nibbling at the tip. "Pretty pictures as we fade away, then?" he breathes, rolling his hips and rubbing his chest against Spock’s. "Nothing wrong here, nothing at all… And we’ll be gone before anyone’s the wiser."
"Indeed." Spock asserts, sliding his hands down to cup Starek’s ass and squeeze.
The comm in T’Nis’s room chimes more than once before she is able to answer.
"Cash, what is it now?"
"I’m getting a lot of interference from the steam."
Drowsily, T’Nis eyes the hazy forms on the monitor. After the tongue-lashing Amber has given her, she’s in no to babysit the videographer, or his subjects.
"They can’t stay in there all night. Besides, I know Starek. He’ll want to give a good performance for the finale."
Starek sniffs at the air, testing the heat and humidity, before returning his attentions to Spock. Shifting his hips back just far enough to allow air to pass between their bodies, he rolls his hips again, not quite making contact, and groans, low and hot. He traces his fingers across Spock’s lips.
"Tell me when we’re clear, Ek’talsu. I’ll put on a show, but don’t let yourself get too distracted," he breathes into Spock’s ear, thrusting his hips again, before leaning back to run both hands down Spock’s chest.
Spock goes after the fingers, but just brushes his lips across them, as his hands rest lightly on Starek’s hips "Just a few more minutes. What is our route?"
"The direct one. I tag my homing beacon, and you hang on for dear life. D’nila can get us out of here, no problem," Starek whispers, licking very close to Spock’s ear. "Well, okay, you should probably stand behind me, and hold on, unless you want my chief of engineering getting an eyeful. I’d say get dressed, but I’m not up for wasting time or moving too much steam."
Spock’s hand moves up to the back of Starek’s neck, bringing him in for one last kiss. Then he stands.
"It is time."
Starek steps back, and picks up the bag and the bundle of clothing. He hands the clothing to Spock and pulls the beacon from the bag. "Arms around my waist. Ten seconds."