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Sticky Fingers

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It started with a lip wobble.

The tiny human child obediently followed his Vulcan (and one Andorian) pears through their meditation exercises for a total of 10.2 minutes. Then, he admitted a squeaking noise and his bottom lip began to tremble into his chin.

This was followed by some quite sniffling and the occasional hiccup.

Instructor T’rila, who was in charge of the students, was a particularly sharp faced Vulcan with features as pointy as her ears and hair yanked back into the tightest of buns. In contrast to her appearance, she was less severe than the most of her species and capable of vaguely gentle emotions-on occasion. This was the primary reason she had chosen to teach children young enough that they still sometimes had to be scolded for sticking their fingers in various orifices.

“Mr. Kirk,” she said, approaching the six year when one of his peers had toppled out of her ‘crouching sehlat” pose and into one that strongly resembled a pancake while trying watch Kirk’s emotional display, “Is something troubling you?”

Much to her alarm, the child promptly started to sob, fat tears leaking from his over-sized blue eyes and lolling down his pink cheeks.

Taking care not to touch his skin, she tugged him away from the others. There were few non-Vulcans in the preschool, and this sort of outburst was rare. So rare, that in order to observe it, Stokar craned his neck while in the “Ly-mata hunter” position and promptly  lost his balance, flopping directly into T’Pea’s buttocks. T’pea fell too, landing on Selir and tangling all three of them into an undersized Vulcan lump. The situation had a high probability of escalating if allowed to continue.

Once they were alone, the crying boy lunged into her robes, hugging her legs and burying his small face just above her knees. Human children were so strangely tactile, and it was disconcerting for a telepath such as her self to feel his distress bleed into her mind. However, the touch did allow her to discover his temperature was 3.2 degrees above his species’s norm.

“My tummy hurts!” he whimpered, tightening little arms around her legs.

With as soft force as she was capable of, she pushed him away.

“Child,” she said and she did not sigh, but it was very near thing, “Where is your Bondmate?”

Three years ago Spock had been visiting his human mother’s family on earth for a Terran celebration by the name of Christmas. From what she heard, after a rather hairy incident involving apples and illogical behavior, it was discovered that the two were T’hy’la and had become telsu merely by touching.

When Spock’s parents approached Jim’s guardians, they found he was emotionally abused by both his mother and his stepfather. It was rumored that the day they went to the Kirk’s residence, Jim was sporting a black eye from his stepfather’s meaty fist . T’Rila never did understand the human shortcoming of harming one’s children. Sarek and Amanda had petitioned for custody of Jim, and under Vulcan law, had thankfully been granted it.

Spock passed through T’rila’s classroom two years ago. She had found the half human child quiet, patient and exceptionally intelligent, even by Vulcan standards. While Jim was budding near equal intelligence, in contrast, he was passionate and often too adventurous for his own well being.

Many times during his “galactic adventures” in recrational hour he assembled soda bombs to “throw at the Klingons”. This would not be much of the problem if he had not decided the “Klingons” took the shape of a model Vulcan skeleton that lived in the science room, then, once that met its untimely demise, a boy in his class who had once teased Spock.

To use the terran phrase, Jim and Spock were “attached at the hip.” They were after all, attached at the mind, and therefore inseparable. It was odd to see an eight year old as protective over another individual as Spock was over Jim. If the younger displayed even the slightest signs of unease, Spock would come down from his classroom two floors above before T’rila could even address the issue.

Somehow, no matter how angry or upset Jim was, Spock had the unique ability to calm him down. There was one instance in which another child had called Amanda a “watosh  neik-ha'gel shad”, or ugly dimwit, in Jim’s presence. He responded with his fists, tackling two young Vulcans, both with three times his strength.

In their surprise and the whirl of flailing kicks and punches, Jim managed to give one of a dark green bruise in the impression of his small knuckles around the Vulcan’s eye. But it was only a moment before both of the stronger boys were pinning Jim down by his arms and legs.

T’rila had moved forward to separate the students, but Spock rushed in, throwing them off his bondmate with an alarming snarl. The T’hy’la bond, however uncommon, was one of the few cultural staples that remained from before Surak. There was a primal twist to the set of Spock’s eyes and nothing rational in the way he shielded Jim’s body with his own, baring his teeth.

When Jim’s attackers scurried away, Spock had tugged Jim into his lap, cradling the human close and pressing their foreheads together. 5.8 minutes ticked by before they parted. Jim tucked his head into Spock’s collarbone and Spock politely told T’rila that Jim would apologize personally for his rash behavior when he was feeling better and could she please obtain ice for them because Jim had badly jammed the third knuckle on his left index finger and it was beginning to swell at a rate of 3.2 millimeters per minute.

They remained huddled like that until Jim fell asleep and Spock deemed it logical to carry him home. Despite his calm manner, the next morning Slokar, the boy who had insulted Amanda, opened his cubby only to have sehlat dung explode in his face. Later investigation revealed it had been strapped to a mechanism that was coiled around the lock, triggered only by proximity to certain temperatures (coincidentally, a Vulcan’s average heat or above. The height it was placed would have been too tall for Jim to reach alone, but there was no proof either he or Spock had any involvement).

Anyways, it was unusual for Spock not to have been in her classroom the moment Jim began to sniffle.

“Why has Spock not yet come for you?” she rephrased when Jim didn't answer.

He hiccuped into her robe, shocks of blonde hair staticing up in seemingly random directions.

“His tummy hurts too. He’s at home, sleeping,” he wrinkled his tiny freckled nose, “I don’t like it. Spock never gets sick and I can’t feel him right because his mind’s all foggy. I want my Spock and I want my tummy to stop hurting!”

Before another round of sobs could soak into her already damp robe, T’rila tentatively patted the boys shoulder blade in a method she hopped passed for comfort.

“Do not cry, it wastes valuable energy. You have a fever, and in all probability the same virus your bondmate has. I will contact Amanda, wait here.”

Jim nodded and sunk to the floor, clutching his head to his knees. He did not move as T’Rila walked to the comm station, only squeaked and clenched his fingers into his stomach.

She had only just greeted Amanda Grayson with the ta’al when she heard the scramble of limbs, followed by a retching noise. She turned around to find Jim, unsurprisingly, vomiting into her garbage.

“Ah,” said Amanda, soft brown eyes worried and amused, “It was only a matter of time before Jim caught Spock’s stomach bug. They do insist on sleeping in the same bed every night.”

T’Rila’s neat black eyebrows lifted, though her tight bun was so well plastered to her head it barely slid back.

“While I do not believe there are currently any insects inhabiting Mr.Kirk’s stomach, that is a logical conclusion. I expect you will-”

She was interrupted by a whine and the wet sound of a child gagging.

“Sweetheart,” Amanda looked very much like she wanted to hug Jim over the comm system, “I’m going to come pick you up, is there anything you want me to bring?”

Jim’s head rocked up and down.

“Spock. I just want Spock. Please.”

“You two will be the death of me,” Amanda chuckled, “Spock’s asleep, but I have a feeling he’ll be willing to get up if it means seeing you.”

Jim’s only response was to nod and unsuccessfully suppress a his trembling lip.

“I swear, that boy broke his arm in three places and didn't even cry, but give him a bellyache and he’s mess. Thank you for informing me T’rila, and I apologize for you garbage can,” she looked back at Jim who was curled into himself dejectedly, “Spock and I are on our way, kanbu, you just be brave for a little while, alright?”

Jim forced sadness from the curves of his face.

“I’m brave. Spock calls it “lack of regard for my own safety,” but I think it’s definitely bravery.”

Amanda’s answering smile warmed upwards, wrinkling the skin around her eyes.

“I’m sure you are sweetie. See you soon.”

The comm screen flickered off. T’Rila emptied the now soiled and rather acrid smelling garbage, taking small victory in the fact that Jim did not use the floor. She rummaged through her desk and produced a bottle of blue tablets. Unscrewing the lid with a crunch of churning plastic, she handed one to Jim.

“Sucking on this will rid your mouth of caustic stomach acid and ease any remaining nausea. Can you stand? If so, I believe it prudent we wait outside, I estimate Amanda will arrive in 4.7 minutes.”

Jim nodded again, dropping the tablet onto his tongue and pushing off the ground to stand. He wobbled, but his eyebrows dipped in determination and he followed T’Rila out of her office. She kept at arms length from him, just in case.

They stepped outside, the mid-day sun streaking hard on to the surrounding cliffs and their unadjusted eyes. Jim settled onto the bench. He laid down, too long pants bunching over his ankles, and nudged his small hands beneath his blonde hair. Despite his relaxed position, he kept a steady stare on the near by road. The occasional shuttlecraft whizzed by, but T’Rila did not recognize any of them as belonging to Jim’s guardians.

Neither did Jim it seemed, until a deep red vehicle shot out of a shadowed archway. He sat up with a jerk, then regretfully clasped his torso, groaning and folding into himself. The hover-car skidded to a halt in the school parking lot.

Amanda Grayson stepped out, a long summer dress flowing behind her in waves. She raised a hand to her forehead to cut the sun and waved when she spotted Jim and T’Rila. The passenger door clicked open to reveal a disgruntled and green-flushed Spock impatiently waiting for his mother to help him down.

The moment Spock’s feet hit the clay dust of the earth, Jim was running. Sprinting really, faster than any person of his current health should have been able to. He collided with Spock, who stumbled back a step, but caught Jim and rocked him into a tight hug.

“It hurts, Spock,” Jim mumbled into Spock’s chest, little fists squeezing Spock’s shirt. It was said in a whimper, quietly enough that T’rila barely understood it even with Vulcan hearing.

Spock’s fingers, not much bigger than Jim’s really, came up to stroke the back of the human’s neck.

“I know it does, Ashayam,” and he pressed his lips to Jim’s cheek in that innocent way she often saw them do, “Sshh, It will be better soon, I promise. I am here.”

Jim shuffled forward, getting impossibly closer to Spock.

“S’already better.”

Spock’s lips twitched up in the barest hint of a very un-vulcan smile.

“I concur.”

T’rila watched as Amanda laughed and hoisted them both into the hover-car. Jim grumbled when she separated them to lift up Spock, but when it was his turn he let her lay a palm on his forehead and wriggle him into quick hug against her legs. As soon as his knees were on the seat, he climbed on top of Spock, nuzzling into his lap and closing his eyes. Spock shifted Jim between his legs and locked his arms around his bondmate. He closed his eyes too.

“Thanks again for making sure I get my boys in one piece,” Amanda said to her, offering the ta’al, “I know from experience it’s not an easy task.”

T’rila returned the gesture and inclined her head.

“It is not...unpleasant.”

Amanda smiled her human smile and drove away.

T’rila’s skin was warm, but she was not certain it is from the sun.