The betrayal is a blow.
It all happens so fast that he barely has time to be outraged at Spock before Pike is dismissing him and now Kirk has to stand his mentor down as well. Pike is unapologetically clear that the only reason Kirk is still around is because of his last-minute heroics saving Earth last year. No one can back Kirk down like Pike, he’s the only man on the planet to whom Kirk is willing to defer, but now Pike is frustrated and hurt and angry and no longer inclined to listen to anything his disgraced protege wants to say.
The ground is slipping out from under him. He feels a little desperate.
"You don’t respect the chair," Pike tells him and the words fall like stones. "You know why?"
Kirk is stunned. He can’t respond.
"Because you’re not ready for it."
It hurts and he wanders the halls aimlessly after, until he spots an approaching figure and speeds up to avoid him. Spock intercepts him well before he can get away.
But it isn’t Captain any more and the title reminds him that he’s bitter and pissed off, that he’d spent all last year apparently imagining a friendship between them. He doesn’t know if he’s more betrayed by Spock or by himself for letting himself get so attached.
In the end though, he finds himself exhausted trying to explain it and they’re interrupted by another captain, Spock’s new commanding officer.
It’s possibly the last time they’ll see each other. Kirk decides he isn’t bloodied enough that he can’t take one last chance.
"The truth is…" he sighs and then looks up to catch Spock’s reaction. "I’m gonna miss you."
There isn’t one.
Without another word he turns and leaves, the stiffness in his stance a salve against unrequited everything, because fuck this day.
Kirk hates himself for having wanted something else.
Jim can list all the reasons for why seeing him isn’t a good idea.
1) He doesn’t do commitments.
2) He’s never done commitments.
3) He’ll probably screw a commitment up.
4) He doesn’t even know if he wants a commitment.
5) He doesn’t know what he wants.
6) He’s someone you take to bar fights, not to meet your parents.
7) There is no way this will do Spock any favors in the Vulcan community.
8) He is pretty sure Spock’s dad is not game with whatever it is Jim wants.
9) Whatever that is.
10) He is way more touchy-feely than Spock probably wants.
11) Probably than anyone wants, let’s be honest.
12) Also needy.
13) Dependent too.
14) Seriously, just ask Bones.
15) He drinks about infinity more than Spock does.
16) He’s destructive.
18) And no one needs that shit.
19) He’s brash by human standards.
20) If Uhura is any indication of Spock’s tastes, Jim is like in the opposite fucking spectrum.
21) He’s not even sure he can give Spock what he needs.
22) Spock deserves better.
23) Basically, he’s not an ideal partner.
24) For anyone.
25) But definitely not for Spock.