anon_j_anon (anon_j_anon) wrote,

Fic: Gift of the Magi (2/2)


Memory, clean and clear of Spock steady, loving, sure, memory of triggers and Jim’s shaking, so afraid remembering broken knees and slit eyelids and punishment torture, something about discipline prolonged.

Baby mine don’t you cry—

Getting lost in memory until it wasn’t him and her touching, breathing, groaning, but him and him, him and dark eyes touching, searching for the source of his shaking, the nightmares that plagued him, the sleepless nights hearing but not remembering screams, a song, screams, a song, and the first time he approached him he was skittish, scared to find that eyes were watching and tides were waiting, eyes were watching and tides were waiting to engulf him in a pit of seventeen times, of muscle memory, and the first time they did it he was fighting some instinct not instinct to bite, and pierce, and break, and rend. He didn’t know where it came from, but the instinct not instinct was deep in him, he was fighting a black wave and white eyes as he felt green limbs encircle him, as he felt dark eyes search, full of an expression he didn’t know but had in a sliver of memory, in a lullaby, in a voice singing so sad not to cry, not to cry, not to cry, but the only thing he could do was cry out, cry in, tears but not tears, desire soaking his skin, and he couldn’t remember how they met, how it started, why he took the chance and why Spock took the chance.

Maybe it happened similar to this, maybe it was born of desperation so familiar and grief profound mixed with desire so strong and he wanted so much to remember when Spock came into his life, Spock who was always there in his solid presence, Spock who he never questioned and he took for granted that always have and always will be, always was and always had been, always is and always is being—he wanted to know why, when, how, what, but a voice was crashing through his mind, that voice full of loss and grief and desire strong as Jim’s, yet that voice was sweeping through, cutting the black waves and black tides and black pools and egg-white eyes telling him, saying in feelings not words, asking him ‘forget.’


Asking, not demanding, and he had wanted it so bad, wanted it so bad, wanted longed fucking dreamed of forget for so long that he embraced it and the word wept through him, the word swept through him, cut like a scythe and everything was lost. The how, why, when, what. Only a few residual pieces remained, but not the how, why, when, what. And now that he knew he was missing these pieces that were essential but not vital, important but not survival, what was he supposed to do? He had pieces, he had an understanding that the structure existed but it was burned, no hope of reconstruction, and what was he supposed to do. What was he supposed to do, what could he do, what did he want to do, why had Spock burned down the house, their house, why had he left but not left, why was he still at Jim’s side. Did he remember did he know?

How could he stay while Jim went on a campaign executing fags and not fags and could be queer and were not queers, how could he watch while Jim spit in swollen bleeding eyes in his desperate search for what he was missing, what he feared, what he was missing, what he wanted but couldn’t admit because of the layers of memory melted and burned. The holes in his head like coral, like igneous rock, like fossils of old things once alive but now buried in rock and the geologic recordings of fire. In the distance another memory not memory, conviction, a feeling, some fundamental understanding of himself.

Elaan’s eyes were closed. Tears still on her cheeks, tears smeared on his shoulders, tears sinking into skin, inducing desire, waking feelings. Fear, but something else. Fear, but something strong. He looked down at her and could for a moment reach out and sympathize, honestly, sincerely, could for a moment look back and think his actions cruel. Could for a moment wonder about the system in which he found himself living, operating, working, fighting, the system he perpetuation and upheld and validated and believed in, bought into before he knew he was buying anything. Tears on his forearms, tears wept into his hair and a woman’s voice, his mother’s voice singing

Baby mine don’t you cry
Baby mine dry your eye
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

He disentangled himself from her warm body of not Spock entwined around him and went to his desk.

If they knew all about you
They’d end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they’d give just for the right to hold you

He sat down and pulled out something long forgotten and not forgotten. Pulled out something he’d been tempted to throw away because he couldn’t remember why he’d bought it, what it meant, why it mattered, when had he ever bought stories or been interested in reading. He’d never had time or patience for anything so old and sentimental. But he stopped short of throwing it away because of conviction, some vague feeling of determination that he had wanted something more. He wanted something more than fear. He wanted something more than fear.

And it was a miracle. It was a miracle that he wanted something more than fear. It was a gift. Something precious and astronomically rare to want something more than fear, to be willing to risk every single day the whole of his self, the pieces of his mind. Wanted something so bad that he would live with the shaking and the surety that this will cost him the Enterprise, he’ll be stripped of rank and privilege and when they find him, they’ll torture him, maim him, use his body as an example for everyone else to see, punishment and deterrent and his name a perversion, a sign of queerness and worse than that—

Worse than that—

Worse than that, they’ll do it Spock. They might even make him watch. They might make him tear apart the most precious thing in his universe and that knowledge makes him shake, the fear makes him desperate. But—



Spock knew that. Spock knew that, and was willing to risk it for this true thing, this honest feeling they have. Spock was willing to live with that fear and so Jim had decided. Jim had decided he would too. He wanted Spock more than fear. He wanted more than fear.

That was the miracle. It was a gift, so powerful that it survived ‘forget.’

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents.”

The story he wanted to give.

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents.”

A collection of short stories that he’d gathered, commissioned some printer on some planet to produce it in paper and cloth in the form of a book.

“That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies.”

He had been racking his brain to find something appropriate for Spock—something that wouldn’t raise suspicion if their quarters were ever searched and raided, but something that actually meant something in this terrifying and confusing thing they had. Something true to the honest feelings between them, no matter the fear.

“Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher’s until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.”

Something happened in the time of their meeting and his intentions. He hadn’t been able to give anything, he was left with gaps in memory that could not be explained but for the voice ‘forget’ whispered in his ear. Touch at his brow. He wanted to know the why and how and when, he wanted to remember the what. It was gone. He had wanted it.

“Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents.”

He had wanted it, but he had wanted something more than fear. Wanted, but wanted more. Missing, disoriented, voices, songs. Tears, the sound of soldiers scared shitless and overwhelming exhaustion from constantly looking over shoulders. What. What?

Tarsus Academy, 2246.

“And the next day would be Christmas.”

Oracle Andoran egg-whites for eyes, what do you see of our minds to comprise?

He didn’t think. Didn’t stop to wonder. Just threw on a uniform, scent of sex and sweat still on him. Picked up the book, ran to Spock’s quarters. Keyed his override.

“And the next day would be Christmas.”

Oracle Andoran egg-whites for eyes, what do you see of our minds to comprise?

Spock was standing there, expression open. He opened his mouth to say something but Jim said

But you’re so precious to me, sweet as can be, baby of mine.

“I remember.”


Tarsus Academy, 2246, Rehabilitation Course B

It was something that never needed to be said. Everyone knew. He knew, he knew it so deep inside him that he never would have known he could have perverted tendencies until someone kissed him and he enjoyed it. If they never kissed him, it would never have happened. He knew this. He felt it. He’d be like his bastard of a father, be a captain with a captain’s woman that he’d throw away whenever he got bored. That’s how it worked, and he knew how it worked, and it never occurred to him, it never entered is conscious thought to touch another boy except to hit him. He’s not a fag. He’s not. He’d know if he were a pervert, he’d have killed himself a long time ago. Killed himself because queers aren’t captains and they weren’t much of anything else either. That’s who it works, and everyone knows. No one needs to say it out loud because that’s how it works. This is the understood deeper whatever perverted tendencies he doesn’t have bottled in him.

The Oracle sees to his rehabilitation personally. Because he’s such a promising boy, such a shame that a little contact could ruin a prospective captain.

Do you want to be a captain, Kirk?

He asks, mind to mind.

Do you want to command? There are only two kinds of people in the galaxy, Kirk: those who serve the UTE, and those who command it. Which are you? Perhaps you’re neither. Perhaps, Kirk, you don’t belong to the UTE, our great empire. You know what that means, Cadet? Do you know what it means to be an exile of the United Terran Empire?

(baby mind don’t you cry)

It’s your choice, Kirk. It’s completely up to you whether you belong or not. To command or not. Choose wisely, boy. Choose carefully. Think. Feel.

If it had been his choice, he would have denounced it immediately and returned to his company, rehab done. But this was the UTE, and the Andorian was legendary for a reason. He was the kind of sick that graduates aspired to, the kind of cruel that they all strove to surpass. Few could boast that honor—the Oracle’s brilliance lie in his creativity. His punishments were innovative. Cutting edge torture.

Jim opened his mouth to say something, to agree, to spit in the Oracle’s eyes and tell him he’s not a queer, never was, never will be, but the Oracle looked at him and the words were stuck in his throat.

“Bring him in.”

They dragged a boy in—the boy who acted on impulse and instinct and kissed Kirk on that field. They immobilized him.

Kiss him.

A command. From egg whites. He opened his mouth to say something, to say anything, to refuse and stand up for himself or the boy in front of him, who knows. He opened his mouth to say something but—

Kiss him, Cadet Kirk. What part of that command do you fail to understand.

He stared into those eyes and saw nothing but white, sick white and then

Something pulled inside his brain. Something slammed, slipped up from under his subconscious, everything unspoken crashing down to the forefront of his mind, overwhelming the frontal cortex and he gasped. His vision shifted, he was hot and shaking, something was washing over him and his vision narrowed, his nostrils flared. When he heard the voice again saying so softly, so quietly, promising new things that felt good and revolutionary, promising secrets he didn’t even know existed—kiss him.

He hesitated, but walked towards Gary. Gary, who was saying something in a pleading voice. Gary, whose eyes were wide with fear, like he was trying to warn Jim, but Jim didn’t hear anything but kiss him ringing in his years, a black pool forming in the back of his mind.

So he did. Mouth closed, and it came so naturally. Mouth closed, he pressed into Gary and felt the other boy try to turn away, but Jim was persistent, always persistent, so persuasive and convincing, so sure of the promises and for once in his wretched life fearless that this was right, this was true, this was the only reality, the best reality the universe could offer. He felt it when Gary gave in and opened his mouth, when their world reduced to the epiphany that the UTE must have been wrong to deny the rightness of something so wrong as this. There must be a mistake. This was queer?

Gary groaned and it sounded like pleasure, but it sounded like desperation, like a goodbye and Jim had no idea why he was saying goodbye when this was only the beginning. Only the beginning—a black wave ripped through his mind and there was nothing. He pulled back. Saw Gary, lips kiss swollen, eyes red. Jim felt with disbelief his own wet lips. He looked up and saw the Oracle smiling at him.

You enjoyed it.

A black wave ripped through him and he was dizzy, gasping, reeling on his knees clutching his head and hearing Gary’s voice like a light at the end of the tunnel shouting, telling the fucker to leave them alone, screaming at him that he was sick, this was wrong, they didn’t do anything wrong, the system was twisted, they weren’t a disease or a perversion to be eliminated. Jim doubled over as he started throwing up on the floor, unable to help his reactions, and the black wave reached in and grabbed his guts because this was wrong. They were unnatural. Everyone knew, everyone knew the order and the way things worked in the UTE, no one said anything about it because everyone knew, no one needed to say anything, there was nothing that needed to be said, he was throwing up everything and dry heaving, shaking, sweating, fear filling the pit in his stomach, black tides tasting like pools of vomit.

His vision was narrowing again, he was hyperventilating, there wasn’t enough air he could get into his lungs as the stench of rotten eggs filled him from his fingers to his shoulders, up his neck and into his brain stem. He was shivering again, afraid, terrified, fingers trembling, repulsed, disgusted, so so so dirty and filthy and wrong and something foreign, something black and white and sliming like mucus was filling his mind, something that felt cold as the whites of eggs and viscous as tar. He heard a voice, the feeling, the amusement and malice of the Oracle, the malice, the hatred, something Jim could never hope to explain but understood perfectly in the mess of the emotion.

He heard Gary saying that they did nothing wrong, there was nothing wrong with being queer, but if this fag hadn’t kissed him, he wouldn’t be here; if this fag hadn’t done this and messed everything up, Jim could’ve been a captain; if this cocksucking sickhole hadn’t been perverted and queer and wrong in the first place, if this screwbitch hadn’t existed to begin with, Jim wouldn’t have these problems because he’s not queer and he’s going to a captain with captain’s wives and what needs to happen is this queer needs to be ripped apart, his world needs to be destroyed, he needs to disappear, not exist, he needs to pay for what he’s done to Jim. He needs to pay. This dickbag is sick, and ill, and twisted, and he needs to know that there are no queers in the motherfucking UTE, there are no perverts and cockcushions in the UTE, there is only glory, and conquest, and blood, and empire in the UTE. This speeddicked son of a space faggot needs to pay.

The Oracle didn’t even need to give the command. Jim was kicking, punching, biting, launching himself at Gary, compelled by his own fear and a black pool of alien thought in the back of his mind, the image of egg-white eyes burning into his mindspace.

Tearing, screaming, breaking. Gary unable to fight back. Trying to rip the fucker’s jaw open, trying to gouge out his eyes. Make him stop watching, make him stop watching. Breaking bone, breaking wrists and twisting so hard, determined to make shards come through skin. Leave the fag in agony, leave the fag in fagony, leave, leave. Because that’s what he deserves for being this, for forcing other people, for being contagious, for touching Jim. That’s what he gets for making, for thinking, for daring

He was about to dislocate a knee when the rage, the blackness, all the feelings howling in him left. Disappeared into the pool, receded like the tide. He stopped. Jim stopped, and he saw Gary.

Eyes swelling, lip busted, nose broken, cheeks crushed in, arm dangling. Ribs broken, feet broken. Toes—

Feet. Those feet.

Had been able to dribble a ball up the field faster than anyone. Could bend a ball around a wall of defenders. Passed forward, backward, sideways, across the field, always finding their mark. Had been uncompromising. Soles covered in calluses. Kicked from the corner. Sprinted. Cleated. Blood blisters. Sprained ankles. Those feet.

And the realization slammed through him—his own realization, not the black wave or the white eyes—it choked him and he understood that this was his reeducation. Looking at those busted eyes and busted feet, Jim knew that Gary had been through this too. Had stared at another boy’s body after he’d been compelled to kiss, and break, and kiss, and break, until he was dizzy with fear and his body simply reacted. Until he understood his lesson and the implacable order of the UTE, that the only way to fix a queer was to make it fear itself, or kill it. Jim saw Gary and understood too that queerness must be a tenacious thing, for it to reemerge despite the education. Gary had kissed him—a natural reaction that he didn’t think about twice, that had felt so right and in that one glorious moment, nothing had mattered but the heat between their bodies.

He understood something, for the first and last time, without fear. Without fear.

So he slowly and slowly—almost gently—kissed Gary again. Kissed the places he’d broken and bruised, pressed apologies into Gary’s skin, understanding that by the end of this, he’s going to kill Gary. By the end of this he’s going to be mindnumb with fear, body brought in line, instincts reprogrammed, black waves and the Oracle’s eyes ever watching. And this thing that feels so good, so right, like a sweet revelation, like a firecracker, is going to be tainted with the taste of blood, and broken teeth, and fear. But he tries to remember this one moment, tries to hold onto this connection he has: the desperate and small understanding that he’s queer, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that.

What he doesn’t know and will never remember is that the Oracle’s dealt with this problem before, more times than Jim can imagine, and the Oracle knows that James Tiberius Kirk wants to be captain more than he wants to be queer. For that reason alone, he will be a successful rehabilitation. By the end of his education, Kirk will have sucked off Mitchell and will forever associate that taste with raw, bleeding feet. He will have fingered Mitchell’s hole and remember that as slicing off knuckles. He will remember a broken body and broken face, eyes swollen like purple lips, pits of cheekbones, crushed knees, with filthy, unwilling pleasure. He will remember mindfucks and he will remember sweat and deep purple. He will remember struggling against order to kiss Mitchell’s shattered mouth one last time, and remember that he was never able to grant the boy the mercy of death.

Because the Oracle’s reeducation is meant to sink deep. They’re not done. Mitchell will be sent off to the best medical facilities to be patched up while Kirk gets a memory wipe. Standard procedure removal of all conscious recollections and associations, retaining only the the unconscious impressions and muscle memory. Then, when Mitchell’s skin and bones have been knitted together again and Kirk’s mind is up to par, he makes Kirk act it out again.



Seventeen is the magic number. The Oracle’s learned from experience. Seventeen times leaves a truly lasting impression. The cadet’s reactions are better than normal, stronger than normal. It has to be stronger than normal to overcome the unfortunate tendency towards perversion. The eighteenth time, the Oracle brings Kirk into the room, orders him to kiss Mitchell, and his thoughts are clear. Pure revulsion.

Rehabilitation Course B has been successfully completed.

Foolproof methods.

Because he’s a lesson he’ll never forget, and a lesson he’ll never remember.

The Oracle makes certain of it.


“I remember.”

Spock stepped towards the door—towards him. They closed, locked. His eyes were fixed on Jim, and there was an expression Jim couldn’t read. His chest tightened. He stared back, waited. But Spock didn’t move. He stood before Jim, with that look on his face that wasn’t anger or surprise or disapproval or horror, or anything Jim had played out in his head.

Jim stepped towards him, then stopped. His hands went out, then retracted.


Spock kept staring at Jim with that look on his face. What was it—incredulity, maybe. Disbelief.

“Spock? I—I remember. Not everything,” Jim inhaled. “Not everything, but enough.”

“You remember,” Spock repeated, as if the fact didn’t sink in ever after he’s run it through all his highest level processors.

“I remember. Fragments, here and there. Your face. The smell of burning plastic. Not everything. Some emotions. Colors. A room.”


“Yeah. Mostly red. A lot of red. And some green. I think it was blood.”

Spock looked around the room curiously.

“You’re certain you remember?” he said, voice soft and detached.

“Not everything. A lot’s blurry. Like—like recovering data from a corrupted drive. I—I don’t think I’ll get those back anytime soon. But yeah. I remember—I remember us.”

Spock’s gaze suddenly turned sharp, almost predatory. Jim recognized it for what it was—his First’s line of defense. He suppressed a shudder as Spock stepped towards him, the movement like knives and scalpels. Spock pressed his fingers against Jim’s temples, his touch cold and scientific. Jim didn’t move.

When Spock let his hand drop, Jim automatically moved out of range. He’d put himself on the line. He’d bet that Spock wouldn’t kill him. He’d bet something else too, but now he didn’t know what it was and why he’d thought it.

Spock looked at Jim, eyes unreadable again. But something about how he held himself was different. Not so unforgiving.

“Jim,” he drew close once more, this time the distance between them intimate. “If you would allow me to show you something—” he held up his hand to Jim’s face, eyes asking for permission.

Jim swallowed, then nodded.

Those green fingers pressed against his skin. And then, a sensation of unwrapping something, untying a memory from strings of neurons and the tissue paper of myelin. He heard, more than saw, what Spock unloosed from the folds of his hippocampus.

It was a word. And a feeling. A desire to alleviate pain. A longing to give him something no one in the United Terran Empire could ever give.

Whispered softly, intimately into his ear. A word like a scythe cutting through dry grass, like a match to a piece of oiled paper, shredding and burning away the sick fear that haunted him, the nauseating terror that he carried like coal dust in his lungs. Taking with it nearly the entirety of their relationship. Taking with it the feeling of warm fingers pressed against his face, and the memory of a word, whispered quietly, certainly. An undercurrent of a Vulcan’s deep emotions, their searing passions, submerged, restricted.

He heard, more than saw, Spock’s gift, a gift he was never meant to remember.



(forget, t’hy’la. for if the cost of love is a life of fear, it is too high a price. if the cost of love is a life of fear, )

so forget, t’hy’la. forget

I remember.

I remember.

It was Christmas. Or Christmas Eve. We had sex. Afterwards, I couldn’t stop shaking, and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t stop shaking. I remember. I couldn’t stop shaking.
You made it stop. I remember, you made it stop. I fell asleep, Christmas Eve. We were supposed to exchange presents. I woke up and couldn’t remember why I bought that present. That book. Who it was for.

(forget, t’hy’la. for if the cost of love is a life of fear, it is too high a price)

I told you once that the only thing I wanted in the world was to forget. To get rid of the fear—memories—that Andorian branded into me. I don’t remember what that memory was. I know I had it. You don’t carry something like that for that long without it leaving a black wave.

I told you once. That wasn’t the only time I couldn’t stop shaking, was it? That wasn’t the only time. You gave me what I needed. I don’t want to remember the shaking.

(forget, t’hy’la. for if the cost of love is a life of fear, it is too high a price)

You made it stop. You made me forget. You made the shaking stop. You—you gave up everything for me.

(forget, t’hy’la. for if the cost of love is a life of fear, it is too high a price)

The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house.

You gave up everything for me. Because of the shaking.

You were unhappy, t’hy’la. Desperately afraid, desperately unhappy.

You gave up everything for me. Made me forget. I don’t remember everything, but I remember this—I was going to give it to you for Christmas, but I never had the chance.


Take it. I want you to have it. I want you—

They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifs were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication.

There’s a short story in there. Old, Terran, “The Gift of the Magi.” It’s about—it’s about two people who—two young people who give—who find—who make presents. Gifts. For Christmas. For each other. They give up their most valuable possessions to give something precious to each other. It turns out—he gives her combs, but she cut her hair. She cut her hair to buy him a watch chain. But he pawned his watch to buy her combs. See?


I woke up and I couldn’t remember what I was going to do with the book, but I knew it was important. Because—Spock. You gave me what I wanted most. But I was going to tell you that it’s worth it. The price. I was going to give you the book and tell you—I can live with the fear. I don’t—I didn’t need to forget, if you were there.


You gave me what I wanted most. You gave me what I wanted most. You gave up everything, risked everything, to make me forget. To eliminate the fear. Spock—

And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house.

Spock, I wanted to tell you, to give you—everything. I wanted to tell you that it’s worth it. I can live with the fear. You gave me what I wanted most, but I wanted you more. I wanted you more.

You were so desperately afraid, t’hy’la. I saw—I felt what the Andorian had done. The damage was too deep. It may still be too deep; you’re shaking.

I’m not shaking because I’m afraid, Spock. I want you. It took me forever to remember. I might’ve lost you and never known. Never realized. But I kept the book because it felt important. I can live with fear. We’re UTE, we always live in fear. But I almost forgot—I almost lost—what’s sacred to me. Because you gave me what I’d wanted. I wanted to tell you that it’s worth it.

You’re shaking.

I’m not shaking because I’m afraid. I’m shaking because I want to remember you. Us.

Not yet, Jim. Time.

But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest.

You know what she says to him, when she opens her present and sees the combs? She says ‘my hair grows so fast! My hair grows so fast!’ She’d wanted those combs so badly, but she sold her hair for twenty dollars to buy him a watch chain, and when she got the combs but lost her hair she said ‘my hair grows so fast.’

T’hy’la. You command the ISS Enterprise. We will make our own time.

Christmas. That was supposed to be our first Christmas. Fuck the UTE.

We will make our own time. They can do nothing to us now.

(hands, thread together. mouths touching. that’s all that matters )

He smiles. Without fear, without eyes, without memory. Smiles, sees Spock.

O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.

(forget, t’hy’la. for if the cost of love is a life of fear, it is too high a price)

(I wanted to tell you—give you—everything. You gave me what I wanted most, but I wanted you more. I wanted you more.)

“Dell, let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. Now suppose you put the chops on.”

“My hair grows so fast, Jim. My hair grows so fast!”

Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
Tags: fanfiction, gift of the magi

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded