( 4 months ago - August 23 2355 )
“The only emotion I wish to convey is gratitude. Thank you, Ministers, for your consideration. Live long and prosper.” Spock turned around and strode out of the Vulcan Science Academy, each of his emotions rising like tsunamis inside him. He walked with long, purposeful strides. It was the walk of a man who was not going to turn back anymore.
“Spock!” The words were not shouted, but by Vulcan standards they could have been considered as such.
Spock stopped but did not turn around.
“Sarek,” he replied, keeping his voice even, but perhaps the flatness of it, was in itself a statement. He was merely acknowledging his name being called. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sarek took a few moments to catch up to his son, and then walked around Spock till he was facing him.
“Spock. I remind you, again, that you have made a commitment to honor the Vulcan way.“
“To what purpose is your reminder for? Rest assured, my memory requires no assistance from you.”
Sarek looked uncertain.
“You are letting your emotions dictate your actions. That is not the Vulcan way.”
Spock took a deep breath. If he was seething inside, he did not let it show outside. In the same calm, deadly tone, he replied, “ Kol-Ut-Shan , Father. That is the Vulcan way. Please do not teach me Vulcan wisdom, when you, yourself have clearly failed to understand it. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to pack my belongings.”
Without waiting for a reply, Spock side-stepped around Sarek and headed towards home.
“I don’t understand what happened!” Amanda was near hysterical. “Will someone please talk to me? I can’t read minds!!!”
Spock checked to make sure he had packed all his essentials. He had no plans of coming back to retrieve something if forgotten, so he had to make sure, he didn’t commit that mistake in the first place.
It was not helping his focus that both his parents were standing in his personal room, and they were having what his mother would call an “argument”.
“I do not understand myself, my wife.” Sarek still had the same confused and perplexed tone. This infuriated Spock even more but he kept quiet and put in the last of his belongings in this large bag. “But Spock has refused to enlighten me further.”
Spock finally straightened and stood tall. It was time.
“Speak your mind, Spock.” Sarek approached him.
Spock looked at his father. The man, whose genes he carried. The man whose culture and planet, he had till that day, identified himself with. The man who, in principle, was a good being. An ambassador, a husband, a father, a Vulcan. Yet, Spock could not forget that, Sarek had married Amanda because it was “logical”. Even after all these years, Sarek was clueless that his utter lack of courage to defend Amanda in front of the Science Academy had once and forever, decided Spock’s own path.
“That would be unwise,” Spock replied, and instead approached Amanda.
“Mother, earlier today, I asked you that should I complete the Vulcan discipline of Kolinahr, and purge all emotion, I trust, you will not feel it reflects judgment upon you.”
Amanda’s tears started flowing. “My answer remains unchanged. I am and always will be proud of you.” She replied fiercely, holding his hands in her own. “Are you going to Kolhi-”
“No, I am not. I am going to Earth. I am going to join StarFleet.” Spock looked into his human mother’s eyes.
Amanda looked shocked. Then, she looked at Sarek and back at Spock.
“Spock? Did someone say something to you?” A note of anger seeped through dangerously.
“No, mother,” Spock replied before Sarek could. He hoped that, Sarek in his oblivion and ignorance, would at least spare Amanda the words, that had been spoken about her. But may be he should make sure. So, he looked at Sarek, directly into his father’s eyes, as he said the next words, “No one said anything to me. This is my decision. I take full responsibility for it.”
And for the first time, Sarek seemed to start understanding. Something changed in Sarek’s demeanor. Or maybe Spock was seeing things, he wanted to see.
But Sarek stopped objecting after that. Spock hoisted his bag over his shoulders, and bent down, so his mother could kiss his forehead. He knew she wanted to, and he felt no shame anymore in letting her.
“Good bye, mother,” Spock said in the gentlest tone.
“Oh Spock! Be well, my baby.” The tears started pouring in earnest again. But the steel edge of her voice didn’t waver. “I am proud of you, Spock. Go, follow your own destiny.”
Spock turned around and walked out of his childhood home, leaving behind all his memories buried in the walls. He walked past the gardens, the gates...he left all that behind. These were not his anymore, this was not his home anymore. Maybe it never was.
He belonged no where. He would always be a child who belonged no where.
( Present day - Dec 23 2355 )
Jim braced himself for the question coming his way, his downcast eyes studying the liquid in the glass he held. His Academy friends were seated around him, in various lounging poses - some on the couch, some on chairs and some like him, lounged on the soft rug on the floor.
Nyota was talking excitedly about her upcoming trip back home, “I can’t wait to meet Mom and Dad. I have missed them so much this whole semester. But most of all, I am dying to see Bibi and Babu again.”
Her voice wavered and she brushed away a tear from the corner of her left eye. She shook her head, her ponytail gracefully swaying and laughed self-consciously, “Sorry, I just miss home. Bibi always makes my favorite dish and Babu tells us kids, stories about his youth. I get to meet all my cousins and we all sleep together in Bibi’s house on the floor, and no one actually gets any sleep!” She smiled as the memories of her childhood and youth played out like a movie in her mind; then she sighed happily and curled up on the chair.
“It’s the most special time of the year for me and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
They were trading holiday stories. It was the last day of the semester. Tomorrow, the month long holidays would begin and everyone would fly back to their respective homes. Some were going to leave later that evening itself.
Well, almost everyone, Jim thought.
“Your turn, Chekov,” she patted her friend’s arm playfully.
Chekov immediately perked up and his eyes shone with excitement. “Did you know in Russia, Christmas is celebrated on 7th January?”
“What?” Sulu asked incredulously.
“It izz true!” Chekov beamed back, satisfied at the mild shock on his friends’ face. Even Jim had to admit he found this bit of information fascinating.
“How do you celebrate it?” Sulu asked eagerly.
“Actually new year is more popular for us. Christmas was banned by government long time ago. So, for new year we always go to visit my babushka. She is very old now and cannot travel in the cold. Dedushka passed away 5 years ago and she gets lonely during the holidays.”
Everyone murmured as they each were reminded of lost relatives.
Jim just kept quiet. As always, he felt lonely even when surrounded by loved ones. Listening to his friends, he realized just how very different his childhood and life had been.
He had been overjoyed to have found his friends after the first week at Academy. They all had bonded and hung out together everyday this whole first semester.
To Jim, they were like his family. But now he realized, they all had real families. They all had real homes to go to.
Memories to treasure.
Traditions to hold up.
Laughter, food and love to look forward to.
And Jim? No one. No home. No fond memories.
No grandparents who were waiting for him.
No one had ever waited for him, and no one ever would.
He pushed away the heaviness in his heart and tried to listen to Chekov, who was bouncing in his chair as he recounted his family traditions.
“I loved the Koliada!”
“What’s that?” Nyota was curious.
“It’s a fun nonsense tradition. Kids and teens dress up and we walk through the snow, singing Kalyadki, and knocking at doors of houses. And guess what’s the best part?” Chekov asked.
“What?” McCoy had been roped in as well, unable to keep up his grouchiness.
“We get candy and gifts in return!”
“Like Halloween?” McCoy’s eyebrows shot up and he looked at Jim.
Jim shrugged his shoulders, intrigued at learning about Chekov’s traditions.
Chekov immediately waved his hand and said empathetically, “No, no, no! It’s called the Koliyadi! It was invented in Russia.”
At that, everyone burst into laughter.
“And after Christmas, it’s time for svyatki.” Chekov turned around to Nyota and Christine and asked, “Do you want to find out your future partner’s name?”
“Ummmm?” Christine exchanged glances with Nyota.
“January is a special month,” Chekov lowered his voice and whispered, “The spirits visit Russia and you can find out about the future.”
Nyota’s eyes had grown round and big. “Ummm, we are Starfleet cadets.. you know?”
“Well, not that I believe in such stuff, “ Christine spoke seriously, “but for the sake of cultural exchange, I think you should tell us anyways.”
Jim chuckled and so did others.
“Oh, shut up!” Christine blushed.
“All you have to do is gather a bunch of your girlfriends,” Chekov explained seriously, “and stand on the corner of the Academy entrance, and then as people pass by, throw your boots behind your back.”
“What!?” the entire group chorused.
Chekov continued, clearly enjoying himself immensely, “the people have to shout out names and then you will know the name of your future partner.”
“Wow! Like the bridesmaid throwing the bouquet of flowers behind her back?” Christine asked amazed.
Chekov shook his head and said, “No, no, no! It was all invented in Russia!”
Even Jim had to laugh at that. Scotty turned to Jim and said, “Laddie, it’s ye turn.”
Jim cringed. He had been trying to dodge this question all evening but now he was the only left. All of his friends settled down to listen. Jim shrugged as nonchalantly as he could, and said, “My family isn’t like others. We didn’t do anything special.”
“Oh I am sorry, honey!” Christine immediately put a hand on his shoulder. “But you know things change, when we move out. This year I am sure you will feel the difference when you meet everyone after having not seen them for months,” she added kindly.
“I...uh...I am not going anywhere,” Jim answered uncomfortably. As soon as he had spoken the words, he regretted them. As he feared, everyone chimed in, with various reassurances.
“Oh no! You can’t not be with family during Christmas!”
“Jim, don’t be silly. It’s family, it’s always special.”
“How can you not go home ?”
In an instant, Jim’s mood changed. Anger coursed through him. He put down his glass with a bang on the table next to him and stood up.
“You know what? I don’t need your fucking advice. Or your fucking judgement.”
His friends looked stunned. He turned around and walked out of the room which reeked of happiness and joy and hope and love. He hated it all.
“Oh shit, Jim, wait!” he heard Nyota calling after him.
“Let him go,” his room mate’s calm voice stopped her.
Jim silently thanked Bones and slammed the door on his way out.
Vulcan translation -
"Kol-Ut-Shan" - Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the basis of Vulcan philosophy, celebrating the vast array of variables in the universe.
Chapter 2: Lonely nights
Jim decided to take a long walk. His insides were churning with emotions. He was angry. Angry at his friends who didn’t have a freaking clue what they were talking about.
How can you not go home , they had asked. Jim walked along the pedestrian lane of Golden Gate bridge, the cool night air ruffling his hair.
Home. What did they know of his home? What did they know of his family? He fumed.
After a while, he felt a little guilty. His friends couldn’t be expected to understand. People like Jim were the anomalies. They had meant well. They loved him. They wanted him to be happy. But their way of going about making him happy just made it all worst.
He found a piece of rock and flung it into the waters. The rock sailed through the air and then with a barely discernible splash, it disappeared. The bay waters kept flowing, with not a care. It mattered to no one, that the pathetic existence of the rock on land had ended. It had lived a solitary life and now it would sink to the bottom and continue to exist with no meaning, no purpose.
The city skyline glittered with twinkling lights. The bridge itself was adorned in festive red bows and green wreaths. Jim touched the bow tied next to where he was standing. He was fond of the decorations. Of the music, the general merriment in the air, people wishing each other and the camaraderie. He wanted to be part of it all. Desperately.
But invariably the actual day would arrive, and all those people who were busy and on their way to somewhere , in the past days, would actually reach that somewhere . Nothing made Jim feel as lonely as the season which reminded him about family. Family he didn’t have. He turned around and started walking . May be if he kept walking, he too would find his destination. Wherever life had planned to take him.
It started drizzling slightly but he didn’t notice. He just kept walking, away from the Academy, hands shoved into his jeans, away from everything. Traffic was light, now and then a hovercraft passed by, but otherwise the world was deserted. Jim reached the residential area, which lay some distance away from Academy grounds.He walked by houses, cheerfully decorated, bright light spilling from inside them. Most had Christmas trees proudly displayed through windows. Jim tried not to look inside the homes, where laughter and love flowed, where kids ran around and grandparents hugged them.
What about us? Jim thought bitterly, as he looked up at the night sky.
He noticed the drizzle, when his tears and raindrops mingled on his cheeks. He was grateful to the sky for providing him the cover.
Sometime during the night, he felt exhausted. He stopped walking and found a hoverbus terminal. While he stood inside the shelter, the drizzle finally turned into a decent downpour. Jim loved the rain, the sound of it, the smell of it. It made him smile. He wiped away his tears and though nothing had changed, he felt lighter. A driver-less hoverbus headed towards the Academy arrived shortly, and Jim wearily climbed aboard. The bus took off into the air, sailing through the wet air. Jim found a window seat and pressed his nose up to the glass and watched the city fly by. His warm breath misted the surface and it fogged.
He had the sudden child like urge to draw on it. So, he did. He drew a heart, then another and joined them by an arrow. It was silly, but no one would know, and he chuckled at himself.
A deep voice, next to him spoke up.
Jim startled and turned around with wide eyes. He hadn’t even noticed but there was a man sitting next to him. Actually no, not a man. A Vulcan! A Vulcan with deep brown eyes, delicate pink lips, soft glossy hair which had raindrops clinging to the ends. He smelled of musk and heaven and spice tea. He wore an oversized sweater which fit too loose on his lanky frame but somehow he looked adorable in it.
Jim swallowed heavily. He was looking at a face he knew well. Very well, in fact. So did his room mate, Bones. It was the guy Jim had a massive crush on. Since literally the day he had arrived at the Academy. But he was Vulcan. The only Vulcan. His name was Spock. It had taken Bones a lot of coaxing to get Jim to even confess his crush.
But it wasn’t just about Spock being a Vulcan. The first time they had crossed paths, about three months back, was in the cafeteria. It so happened that when Jim stood in the short queue, the person who had arrived next was Spock. Jim had been waiting for an opportunity like that, so he had turned around and flashed his most alluring smile and chirped, “Good morning.”
Spock had moved not a single muscle on his face, except his right eyebrow.
“Good morning” was the polite but cold reply. The tone conveyed, “I am not interested in this human custom of chit-chat.”
But Jim was made of tougher material. He had survived way worse than frigid, mysterious Vulcans. So, he had tried again, "I am not in a rush, why don’t you go ahead?”
With smooth face and a bored voice, Spock had replied, “That is not necessary.”
And that had been the end of that. The few more times whenever Jim had run into Spock, whether in library or in study area or in student lounge, the Vulcan had deflected every single attempt by Jim. All that had made Jim pine even more but he had taken the hint and stopped initiating any contact. Instead, Jim had spent many an afternoon, watching the lone Vulcan from a distance - sitting on a bench or under a tree or just studying.
And now he was sitting right next to Jim, and looking at Jim with those eyes. Wow, those eyes!
Jim opened his mouth again to say something, but nothing came out. He flushed a bright shade of pink, as he realized the comment Spock had just made. He dropped his gaze, unable to contain his embarrassment and the sudden thrill.
“May I?” Spock asked in that delicious voice again.
Jim looked up puzzled, and saw that Spock had a hand raised and was indicating the window with a tilt of his head.
“Of course,” Jim managed to squeak out.
Spock leaned across Jim to reach the window, and Jim bit his lower lip and closed his eyes. Their legs touched as Spock shifted his body and the contact sent sparks across Jim’s entire body. He was an absolute mess! On a public bus! With a Vulcan!
After a couple of moments, Spock shrunk back and Jim focused on trying to breath evenly. His face was probably still flushed. Damn.
He wanted to talk to Spock. Like normal people talk! At least say “Hi, I am Jim! You know, we met a few times?” but the leg was still pressed against him now, and Jim’s brain wasn’t working like it should.
As the seconds ticked by, Jim realized Spock was not the most talkative person either. They just sat in silence, legs touching, heart hammering. The texture of Spock’s sweater, the damp smell in the air, the quiet sound of a Vulcan breathing - Jim was hyper aware of every little thing.
There was a small lurch as the hover turned in mid-air, and Jim felt a warm weight press on his shoulder. His breathing spiked up. Damn! Damn it all.
It took him a few moments to realize, but apparently, Spock had fallen asleep. A head full of soft black hair was now resting on Jim’s shoulder. Jim wanted to turn and pull Spock into a hug. He had an inexplicable but burning need to just take Spock in his arms. He somehow knew that Spock hadn’t slept like this in a long time. Tendrils of care and protectiveness flowed from his soul. But Jim sat very, very still, not daring to move an inch.
The bus took another turn and Spock’s hand fell across Jim’s lap. He threw his head back and it hit the edge of the seat. He pressed his lips tight, trying not to moan. In vain, he fought to control his erection.
Please don’t turn anymore. Or make sudden stops. He prayed to the dark skies fervently.
In a bit to distract himself, Jim turned to see what Spock had done on the window. The fog had faded and he could hardly trace the markings anymore. But, he could still see what Spock had drawn.
The second heart had been modified so that now that it resembled a Vulcan heart. Jim’s mouth fell open as he stared. There on the window of a random bus, on a random night, was a drawing of a human heart and a vulcan heart with an arrow joining them.
Maybe it was the long night, all the emotional turmoil he had gone through, or maybe it was that he was hallucinating, but Jim was, in that moment, sure that Spock knew who Jim was, and somehow it wasn’t as random as he had guessed. Spock happened to be seated next to Jim not by chance but by choice.
Spock shifted and cool air blew across Jim’s overheated neck. Like butterfly wings, eyelashes touched Jim’s jaw as Spock opened his eyes. Jim went rigid and unfortunately so did his cock.
Spock took in the scene, his own hand lying across Jim’s thighs, the uncomfortable bulge in Jim’s jeans.
“I am sorry,” Jim closed his eyes. He had never been more embarrassed and more turned on in his entire life.
Moments trickled agonizingly slow and then long fingers touched his chin and his face was turned towards Spock, even as Jim tried to hide. Jim opened his eyes and their gaze met. It was like lightning striking him. In those two endless pools of warm brown, Jim read recognition and affection and - his breath sped up - hunger. Spock was looking at him with sleepy but hungry eyes. Spock had made no attempt to remove his hand, neither had Spock shown any interest in putting some space between them. Spock was without a doubt awake and very much in Jim’s personal space.
Jim couldn’t help it anymore. A low moan escaped him. He leaned in and asked hoarsely, “May I?”
Spock’s hand closed on Jim’s upper thigh in response and Jim gasped. The Vulcan had enough presence of mind to quickly look around them. Jim blushed furiously realizing he hadn’t thought of it himself. There was no one else aboard. This entire time, it was just the two of them. And yet Spock had chosen to sit next to Jim, on an empty bus. That last thought made Jim’s blood sing.
“Yes,” Spock breathed and before the word was entirely out, Jim touched Spock’s lips with his own. Very softly. Even though he wanted to devour Spock, he planted a tender, chaste kiss on Spock’s lips. He heard Spock’s breathing become uneven. He kissed again. Feather light kisses, all along the pink lips. Spock didn’t move so Jim stopped and leaned back.
Spock made a small noise and pulled Jim into an embrace. Jim completely lost it. Their bodies aligned in the small space in desperation, lips meeting in hot desire and raw need, hands clawing at each other. Both fighting in an explosion of wanton lust.
Spock returned his every move with such passion that Jim felt dizzy. He felt Spock’s hands pushing him up. Jim stood up, facing Spock, hands resting on either side of Spock’s head on the seat’s edge.
Spock was looking up at him, with an expression of pure reverence. Graceful fingers touched Jim’s jeans and stopped at the button.
“Oh God! Yes!” Jim was so hard it was painful.
Swiftly, Spock unbuttoned Jim and pulled down the jeans to his knees. Next his briefs were pulled down. Jim cried out, at the relief as his erection bobbed free, and then moaned again, as Spock’s fingers curled around him. He bucked wildly into Spock’s hand.
“Look at me, Jim,” the Vulcan commanded, as he started pumping rhythmically.
Jim was fading in and out, on the edge, consumed by the sensation of Spock’s touch.
But he managed to open his eyes and look at Spock.
Spock knew his name! And it sounded almost obscene enveloped in that deep voice. They looked at each other, their gaze locked, both of them enthralled by the other.
Jim’s hips moved faster and faster, into Spock’s hand, and with each thrust, he lost sense of time and place. His rhythm faltered and his body spasmed, as he came. A long, low moan escaped his lips. His legs shook, as one of the most powerful orgasms he had ever experienced, tore through him. “Oh my god!” Jim slumped over Spock, trying to hold himself up, a small part of his brain alerting him that even though he had just spilled all over Spock’s hands, they were still strangers, and he couldn’t just let himself go.
But then Spock pulled him down, kissed him and held him close for a moment. Jim was still floating in post-orgasmic haze, but this gentle embrace and care, almost made him weep. He was already feeling so vulnerable that night and what had just transpired was surreal. But Spock was holding him and somehow Jim knew he was being reassured. Of what, he wasn’t sure. He just was.
Spock broke the hug, then moved Jim back onto the seat and stood up.
“I will get some cleaning wipes from the medical kit.”
Jim nodded, and realized he was half naked on a bus which would be reaching the Academy any second.
While Jim cleaned himself up in a hurry, he became aware for the first time that Spock was still fully dressed.
What the hell had just happened??
Jim wondered as they stepped off the bus together.
Chapter 3: Destiny
( 4 months ago- Aug 24 2355 )
Spock peered at the underside of the umbrella shaped plant. It had a strange gill like texture. Fascinating. The top portion was smooth, covered in colored dots. He looked around from where he was kneeling, and noticed the strange growth all around. He held his mini-padd above the one he was examining, capturing the image. The screen immediately flickered to life and he had his answer - "Agaricus bisporus", known commonly in standard as "Mushroom". Under extra information, he learned they were also referred to as "toadstool". Spock immediately searched for images of "toad" on his min-padd and then stared at the mushroom for a long minute, trying to understand how exactly did it serve as a stool for a toad, and why.
Green! So much green. Earth was covered in green grass and green trees as far as his eyes could see. So different from the desert planet he had left behind, few hours earlier, after his altercation with the Vulcan Science Academy.
He looked up. Blue, vast stretches of blue! The other dominant color. He couldn't decide which color he liked the best, blue or green.
His first hour on Earth, at the Academy grounds, was spent in complete wonder, just marveling at how different a world Earth was.
Go, find your own destiny. His mother had always known what to say to him. He knew that he had made what his mother would call a "rash" decision, but there was no other logical alternative. Staying back would mean accepting not just the Academy's invitation to join, but accepting their viewpoint as well. Sometimes, it was not enough to simply not agree. Sometimes it was required to instead take a stand and walk away.
As he stood on the surface of his mother's planet, surrounded by the natives and their loudly radiating emotions, he wondered if his mother had felt similarly on her first day on Vulcan. There was only one other person that he knew of, who had left their own planet and chosen to stay among aliens. No one understood better than Amanda, what kind of courage it took to find your own destiny.
Spock spent the entire day with his mini-padd, capturing images of a myriad number of things and delighting in learning their names.
At dusk, he realized his body needed nutrition. Spock put his mini-padd back in his pocket and proceeded to the cafetaria. It was teeming with humans who buzzed around him.
The excitement of the day slowly left him as he found himself standing alone, with just his meagre belongings on his back, facing a sea of rounded-eared beings. He got touched, pushed, jostled and bombarded with feelings, as he made his way to the replicators, and then had to make the same journey back, out of the crowded establishment.
Back in his room, he breathed a sigh of relief. His plomeek soup and salad were pleasing enough mercifully.
He was eating his first meal away from his home planet, when the computer beeped and Amanda's face appeared on the terminal.
"Mother," Spock greeted with a nod, hoping his eyes didn't betray the overwhelming comfort he felt, in looking at a familiar face, after spending an entire day amidst strangers.
"Spock, how does it feel?" Amanda's smile was gentle.
"It has been a most fascinating experience so far." He replied as he sipped his soup.
"Yeah?" Amanda laughed. "Tell me what did you find most fascinating?"
Spock cocked his head to one side as he gave the question some thought. "The amount of verbal communication is staggering. I did not realize the extent to which humans engaged in this method of communication. It appears to me no one stops talking here. It is a very...boisterous planet."
Amanda burst into silent laughter, her frail shoulders shaking. "We do like talking, yes. But you know...we don't have much of a choice." She shrugged playfully. "Did you find it over stimulating?"
"I had not given much thought to it. But, in fact, your question makes me realize, I, indeed, do. I am experiencing fatigue in all my senses." Spock inlcined his head slightly and added, "However, please do not be concerned. It is simply a matter of time before I am able to adapt."
"I know, honey. But it is still a lot for you."
Yes, it had been an exhausting day. Spock did not want to admit it, but his mother had correctly deduced nevertheless.
"Is it too cold for you?"
"The temperature is considerably frigid." Spock nodded. He thought about for a moment longer and added, "and the air moist."
"Yes, that's humidity, something new for you. Did you find anything good to eat?" Amanda asked.
"Yes, mother, the replicators here are fully functional." He held up his bowl.
"Oh I am glad. What about -"
"Mother," Spock looked at Amanda pointedly.
Amanda smiled and nodded, "Okay, fine,I will stop fussing."
They talked some more as Spock finished his soup and then his salad.
"I will call you tomorrow again. This time seems best, since you will be eating dinner. Is that okay?"
"That will be acceptable."
She mentioned nothing about the tensed situation with his father or the Academy. She had always managed to find a balance between her husband and her son. Spock was grateful for her wisdom. Miraculously, neither his father nor Spock felt the lack of her support, though they were often on opposite sides.
As promised, Spock did successfully adapt to the new surroundings. After a week, his ears no longer felt assaulted by the constant chatter around him. It simply became his new reality. He also became somewhat immunne to the extra glances he received, wherever he went. The novelty of being the lone Vulcan on the entire campus carried with it a sense of excitement but also loneliness. Every day and every night, Spock navigated his new world, with his shields firmly in place, attending classes and learning. But the shadow of being the only one of his kind never left his side.
If he had felt like an outsider on Vulcan, here on Earth, the distinction was even more stark.
On the thirty third day of his new life, the San Francisco skies was that startling shade of blue, which Spock was still getting used to. He reached the cafeteria for his morning meal, ready to begin another day. He had figured out that being very early to the cafeteria or very late, was the best strategy. He preferred being early. Spock stood with his hands behind his back, his eyes on the floor, working on a calculation in his head, as he waited in the short queue.
He felt a jolt as though struck by lighting and looked up in alarm.
"Good morning," a pair of blue eyes were looking at him, and a human hand tapped on his shoulder.
Humans had this annoying habit of invading his personal space. Spock took a step back from the Cadet and scowled. "Good morning," he replied coldly.
The Cadet, with a face that was chiseled to perfection, and a smile that could stop inter-planetary wars, seemed unfazed. Instead of leaving the increased space between as it was, the Cadet closed in on Spock.
"I am not in a rush, why don’t you go ahead?"
Spock felt curiously warm and cold at the same time. He noted his respiration speeding up, his pulse started racing and he felt hypnotized by the most mesmerizing pair of eyes he had ever looked into. The name on the Cadet's front pocket read "James T. Kirk." Spock made a mental note. Struggling to maintain his composure, he declined the unnecessary offer with a "That is not necessary.”
To his enormous relief, James Kirk turned around and stopped pestering.
Later that day, Spock finally realized his answer to the question of which Terran color did he find most alluring - blue or green. It was blue.
( Present day - Dec 24, early morning, 2355 )
Jim stepped on to the road, as the hover bus left. He had seldom been scared of anything. Even Frank. He despised his step-father but not feared. As soon as he had been big enough to defend himself physically, he had stopped giving the leech any damn. So, the sensation pooling in his abdomen, as he walked behind the straight-backed Vulcan, was quite unusual. Jim was scared. Terrified, to be accurate.
What the hell had just happened and how could he unfuck it?
The first person Jim had ever seriously fallen for, in his entire life, stopped walking as soon as they were a few steps away from the main road. Spock turned around and looked at Jim with a face devoid of all emotions.
Jim felt like a ball of lead had dropped in his stomach. But, no one, not even Spock, could know that. Smiling in the face of disaster was second nature to Jim. With a half-smile dancing on his lips and an eyebrow raised in nonchalant amusement, he challenged Spock's non-expression.
Spock took a deep breath, folded his hands behind his back and waited.
So, the Vulcan had conveniently made it Jim's headache to get this conversation rolling. Very well. Jim would do just that. Someday, he would have to to talk to Klingons and Lord knows who else. A solitary, drop dead gorgeous Vulcan, who had just seen him come undone, was totally not a problem.
"Well...that was...I don't know what to say," Jim began, "I have to admit I am shocked, Spock. I didn't think you know...I mean you are Vulcan...and the few times we met, you seemed really uninterested."
Jim looked into the dark eyes, framed by the straight eyebrows, which had earned a following of their own, among the many admirers of Cadet Spock. Did Spock know he was popular? A sex symbol?
"Indeed? That's all you have to say?" Jim leaned in a fraction, both eyebrows raised in question.
"What else would you like to hear?"
"Wow! I don't know man...I thought we just...it seemed we clicked?" Jim started losing his confidence as Spock remained unmoved. The smile started fading from his face. He really, really wanted this thing to work. Okay, yes, he had acted like a beast in heat. But this was different! He actually liked Spock! It had felt the most amazing orgasm of his life.
"Well, to be honest, I was feeling really low tonight and sometimes I just want to fuck the first thing I see when I am in that mood. But, I -"
"I am aware of your reputation."
The smile faded entirely from Jim's face. Jim's mood changed.
"Oh..yeah? And you are going to judge me on that now?"
"I have not passed any judgement. I was simply stating that I am aware of your reputation of engaging in casual sex indiscriminately."
Jim stared at Spock for a few moments and shook his head once. Unbelievable.
"Well, Mr. Spock, what happened on that bus, " Jim pointed a finger in the direction of the road, "wasn't all me, okay? So, I don't need to take any crap from you."
That was right. He didn't take crap from Frank, he was not going to start taking now from Spock. Certainly not because he had committed the blunder of assuming Vulcans weren't assholes, and that Spock had actually liked him.
"And you know what?" Jim's inched his face close to Spock's, "I didn't start it. I didn't even know you were on that bus! You...you sat next to me!"
"An action I now regret," Spock replied in a monotone.
The words stabbed Jim in his gut. He wanted this conversation to end. He wanted to disappear. How naive had he been! To think that anyone would actually reciprocate his feelings! What a joke. Had Jim really forgotten so soon, that no one really cared about him? He was a pretty face and an excellent brain. That's all.
"I see. Well, in that case, Mr. Spock, we have nothing further to discuss." Jim took a step away from Spock. He raised a hand in the Vulcan gesture of parting, the fingers split in a ta'al.
"Live long and prosper, Spock," Jim spat out.
Spock's own hand followed and he returned the ta'al, but said nothing. Spock just stood there like a statue. Jim turned around and walked away, wounded to his core, but he would shed not a single tear, for someone so cruel.
Chapter 4: Loyalty
( Present day - Dec 24, early morning, 2355 )
"My God, man! Where the hell have you been?"
Jim wasn't expecting Bones to be there, when he reached his room. He wasn't in the mood to face anyone much less his room mate. Jim headed straight for the bathroom and tried to close the door but Bones just followed right in.
"I must've messaged you five hundred times by now. You don't just leave like that, you hear me?" Bones continued. "It's bloody four in the morning."
Jim splashed some water on his face. "I'm sorry, Bones. Rough night," he mumbled.
Jim turned to find his toothbrush but Bones had a scanner pressed to his neck. "Hey!"
"Shut up, Jim. You look like hell. I don't want to know where've you been all night, but -"
Jim swatted away Bones' hand. "I've been walking."
Bones looked at him skeptically. "Walking, my ass. Your eyes are red, and you look like you should be drunk, " Bones sniffed, "but I smell no alcohol." Bones leaned in again, sniffing Jim's collar, "though I smell something else...weird..something - "
"I am fine!"
They stared at each other. Bones showed no indications of leaving Jim alone.
"Why are you here, anyways? Weren't you supposed to be gone by now?"
"I'm doing you a favor. I couldn't just leave you, without knowing if you are okay."
"I didn't ask for any favors. I don't need your pity. Just go away!" Jim's voice tembled.
Bones immediately stopped trying to scan him. His face softened in an instant.
"Jim, I am sorry," he whispered. "What happened, kiddo?"
Jim crumbled under the soft and caring voice. He was tired of being angry. He ran a hand over his face, hiding his eyes.
"You need a minute?" Bones asked softly.
Jim nodded, not taking his hand off his face. Bones left.
Jim took a shower, washing off all the traces of what had happened. When he stepped back into their shared bedroom, dressed in clean clothes, toweling his wet hair, Bones was sitting on his bed and waiting.
Jim started the mini replicator and brewed a strong cup of coffee. "I did walk. I wasn't lying."
"I believe you. But that wasn't all, was it?"
"No," Jim let out a long breath. How was he going to tell this to Bones?
"I met him," Jim went and sat down on the chair by the computer table, with his coffee in hand.
"Yeah, him." Jim's voice was very quiet.
"Oh! The green blooded hobgoblin you've been mooning over?"
Jim nodded and took a sip of the hot beverage.
Bones didn't say anything. For all his mutterings, McCoy knew exactly when to shut up. Slowly, a halting word after another, Jim told Bones everything.
When he finished, Bones was indignant, "He said what?"
"Well, technically, he is correct. I am - " Jim began in a defeated tone.
"All right, that's it." His friend got up and went to Jim's side of the closet and found his duffel bag.
"You're coming with me," Bones started throwing Jim's clothes into the bag.
"I don't think so. It's your family holidays. I will be fine, trust me."
Bones finished flinging Jim's stuff and then checked the chronometer. "The next shuttle leaves in 30 minutes. We gotta hurry. C'mon!"
He hauled Jim off by the shoulders and despite his protests, Jim found himself seated on the next shuttle, headed towards Georgia.
( 3 months ago- Sep 29 2355 )
Spock started noticing Cadet Kirk everywhere after that day. Even when the Cadet wasn't in Spock's direct line of sight, Spock still "felt" his presence. He would be walking on his way to his own class when something would alert him and soon enough, he would spot the human turning a corner around a building, at a distance. Sometimes, the Cadet would abruptly turn towards Spock's direction, from across rooms or halls or campus grounds. Their eyes would meet and Spock would get goosebumps. A most curious phenomenon.
Spock wasn't a casual person. He took everything extremely seriously. Spock started conducting an extensive background check on the Cadet. Exceptionally brilliant, a natural leader, friendly, resourceful - these qualities were all obvious to anyone who took time to read the Cadet's background. But, also a repeat offender and a record of numerous disciplinary actions. Spock found that distasteful.
"Mother, how does one initiate friendship with a human?" He asked Amanda one evening during their daily calls. Amanda had been silent for last fifteen minutes, as she considered her next move, staring at the virtual chess board floating in air in front of her. Spock worked on his salad between the moves.
"Well, the same way you would initiate with anyone,"' Amanda replied, eyes still on the board.
"Mother, please, the complexities of human nuances escape me."
Amanda finally looked up and smiled. "You have had friends, Spock, here on Vulcan. You already know how to make friends. Just be yourself." She moved her bishop. A replica of the virtual chess board was on Spock's side and the same movement occurred on Spock's side, as well.
Spock chewed on his salad, pondering on his next move and what his mother had said about friendship.
Starfleet was a place where Spock had worked hard to establish himself. Being the only Vulcan and his exit from the Vulcan Science Academy not a secret, he had been relentless in his diligence in conducting himself with the dignity, confidence and manner befiting a Vulcan. And he had indeed succeeded. He was widely considered as the brightest cadet to have enrolled in StarFleet, gifted in every aspect. He hadn't come to Earth to waste his time in persuing friendships. So, what should he do?
"There is a particular human. However, I am unsure if it would be wise to devote my energy in this endeavor."
Amanda leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms neatly, a small smile playing on her lips, and asked, "You must have already thought about the pros and cons."
She tilted her head and waited, her eyes smiling at him.
"The advantage would be, as you have often reminded me, to broaden my horizons. I find this individual fascinating, a highly intelligent and aesthetically -" Spock suddenly looked away from Amanda's eyes, needing to drop his gaze. His face felt slightly warm. He was perplexed at his own reaction.
"And the disadvantage?" Amanda prompted.
Spock shook off the confusing sensations and continued, "The Cadet has some undesirable traits."
Spock looked up at Amanda in surprise."Mother?"
"Who doesn't have some undesirable qualities, honey? She sounds like someone who would make a great friend."
"He. However, you do make a logical observation," Spock replied thoughtfully. And then made his next chess move on his side, which was instantaneously transmitted to his mother's side.
"Of course," Amanda smiled.
"You are also biased," Spock returned the smile without bending his lips.
"I am? How so?" Amanda shrugged playfully, her trademark gesture.
"You would like me to find friends. You have inquired about them every day since I have arrived here. Hence, any arguments you put forward have ulterior motives."
Amanda broke into laughter. "Guilty as charged. I do have ulterior motives, Spock."
Then she reached over and moved her queen, "Checkmate, son."
Spock's non-smile faded. He looked at the board for five minutes before exhaling. "I concede defeat, Mother. A most logical play, if I may say so."
Amanda stood up, then bowed slightly, and flashed a smile at him."Thank you, your excellency."
"Mother, that is ill-"
"I love you, sweetheart," she spoke warmly.
Spock didn't have an argument for that. He nodded slightly and then said shyly,"The feeling is mutual."
They bid farewell to each other and Spock went to bed formulating a plan on how to approach Cadet James Kirk.
Chapter 5: Observations
( 2 months ago - Oct 15 2355 )
Spock decided he needed data. Without data, no scientist could come to any conclusion. And to collect data, he needed to make multiple observations. In various settings.
The cafeteria was a good setting to begin with. Spock began to observe Cadet Kirk on as many mornings and evenings, as his schedule allowed, from a far enough distance that the Cadet was unaware. The Cadet often ate with his peers -a group of other high performing Cadets, each of whom was top in his or her own specialized field. One of them, a Nyota Uhura, was an advanced Xenolinguists student, able to speak even Romulan. Excellent. At the end of first week, Spock had approved Cadet Kirk’s social network.
Next, Spock decided to observe Cadet Kirk in Advanced Hand-to-Hand Combat class where Kirk served as an assistant instructor. This particular setting proved especially interesting. Having been convinced of the Cadet’s intelligence, Spock was surprised to see the Cadet engage in such physical setting with such ease. It also allowed Spock to observe the Cadet in combat clothes, which highlighted certain parts of the Cadet’s physique the usual uniform couldn’t. James seemed to relish in getting bruised, frequently getting red blotches on his limbs and face, during the exercises. It was fortunate that Cadet Kirk’s roommate was a medical student. Surely, Cadet McCoy had to be using the dermal regenerator often. James was an agile fighter, Spock noted. Extremely quick, though not unusually strong. He defeated his opponent using unpredictable moves and taught the same maneuvers to his class. During this phase of observation, Spock started having strange dreams. The dreams almost always had him and Cadet Kirk wrestling on the hot sands of his home planet. Spock rarely dreamed of anyone. Perhaps sometimes of his mother. And of his sehlat. But certainly never before, had his dreams involved such vivid details of Suus Mahna with another being. Fascinating.
After a month of observing Cadet Kirk every day, one afternoon Spock heard a snippet of conversation between Cadet Kirk and Cadet McCoy in the cafeteria. He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but his superior hearing picked up the raised voices.
“At the Midnight Blue,” Cadet Kirk was saying.
“C’mon, not the bar, Jim!” Cadet McCoy shook his head. “Why are you intent on destroying yourself?”
“You know damn well, why, Bones,” Cadet Kirk seemed unhappy.
“Running away from your past isn’t going to help -”
“Oh please, spare me the psychology bullshit.”
Spock couldn’t help but turn towards their direction and stare. James was definitely distressed. Spock felt strangely uneasy.
“Jim, I am sorry, you know I am! But I’m your friend, kiddo. You are not some random client. And it’s not bullshit. This is not healthy, the way -”
“Are you done?”
“No, but you are,“ Cadet McCoy’s tone was resigned.
“You got that right, at least,” Cadet Kirk stood up abruptly and stalked out. Spock was taken aback. He watched as Cadet McCoy kept sitting, with a look of defeat and concern on his face. The concern part Spock felt as well. He didn’t know what their disagreement was about, so he had no way of discerning if Cadet Kirk was right to have walked off.
Spock consulted his mini-PADD and found out that the term Midnight Blue was the name of an establishment in San Francisco. One of those establishments, where humans partook in activities and drinks, both of questionable quality. It seemed the time had come when Spock needed to observe the Cadet outside the Academy grounds. That meant going to this place what the humans called a “bar”.
“So, what are you planning to do over the weekend? “ Amanda asked that night during their regular chess games.
“The Federation's three-dimensional annual chess competition is tomorrow morning.”
“Oh that’s right! You’re in the finals, how could I forget? I must be getting old,” Amanda winked.
“Your memory is untarnished by age, Mother. I had, in fact, neglected to mention the exact date to you.” Spock sipped his soup while he spoke.
“Well, your game has certainly improved hugely since you joined StarFleet. Do you think you will win?”
“I hope to be the Grandmaster. However, my opponent, a young man called Pavel Chekov has quite a track record. Either way, it will be an enjoyable experience.”
“Good luck, honey.”
“Thank you. I am also...planning...to visit a bar in the evening.”
Amanda was in the middle of moving her knight, when she froze in surprise.
“Where we humans go to drink?” Amanda’s eyes were wide.
“I believe that is the correct description.”
Amanda unfroze and put her knight back to its original position.
“Are you not going to - “
“No, forget the game. I need to know why my very Vulcan son is planning to go to a bar tomorrow night!” Amanda’s eyes shone with intrigue.
Spock had not anticipated his mother’s intensity of reaction. He hesitated. For some oddly illogical reason, he had till now avoided mentioning his ongoing observations regarding Cadet Kirk.
“I intend to observe humans in settings outside the Academy.”
“Oh?” Amanda’s eyebrows almost reached her hairline. “Why?”
Spock looked down at his soup, suddenly feeling his cheeks grow warm. That strange sensation again. Surely, he should just tell his mother about his study. There was simply no reason to not tell. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with Amanda, and she in turn, shared her insights from her research at the Vulcan Education Institute with him. Furthermore, he realized he was actively trying to conceal the truth. Vulcans did not lie and yet Spock found he was unable to tell the truth.
“Do you disapprove? Spock asked instead.
“Not at all. I am just surprised. It’s just not...you know, it’s quite adventurous for you,” Amanda smiled and relaxed a bit.
“The prospect of being surrounded by humans, who have no control over their emotions, is daunting I admit, even under regular circumstances. To do so, when they are intoxicated is quite an undertaking. However, I will be prepared.” Spock’s words seemed directed more at himself than at Amanda.
“Good for you, Spock! Just be careful and alert.”
“Mother, it is not my place to ask...but I am curious if you ever - “ Spock hesitated. Vulcans did not ask such private questions.
“No,” Amanda quickly answered. “I was never the drinking types. I preferred reading a book. I was quite boring, well by human standards,” she laughed. “Vulcan is just the right place for me, I fit in here quite well in many ways.”
Spock finished his soup and set his bowl aside. “I never imagined prior to joining StarFleet that I would be able to fit in anywhere.”
“Oh Spock! I know, honey, I know the feeling. To be honest, it wouldn’t be the same for me, had it not been for Sarek and you in my life. That made a difference for me, Spock. I have a family, you see. Though I am always the only non-Vulcan around here, it doesn’t matter as much, because Sarek and I believe in similar values. I have a home here, I raised you in that home, I have my research at the VEI, and I have my few chosen friends. That’s all I ever needed.”
Spock looked at his mother. They had never spoken so candidly about her decision to live on Vulcan. Now, Spock could see her point of view. Indeed, if he could find a partner, someone who loved the sciences as he did, and believed in IDIC as strongly he did, someone who shared his thirst to explore the universe...perhaps, Spock too could live anywhere. Perhaps, he would finally fit in. As these thoughts bloomed in his mind unbidden, his thoughts went to a pair of enchanting blue eyes set in a flawless face.
“Enjoy your weekend, dear; I will talk to you later then.” Amanda was speaking again. Spock snapped out of his reverie and hastily bid her farewell.
The next morning turned out to be quite enjoyable. Cadet Chekov was exceptionally talented, Spock noted, considering the difference between human and Vulcan brains. Spock did manage to win, but it was a hard earned victory and he let his opponent know the same. Spock became the first Vulcan grandmaster in the Federation's three-dimensional chess tournament.
( 1 month ago - Nov 25 2355 )
The Midnight Blue was situated on the roof of the tallest building in San Francisco. Spock took a deep breath, checked his mental shields and then entered the lobby of the building. He took the sleek looking turbolift to the top floor. True to its name, in spite of the very late hour, the bar had a vibrant and energetic crowd. The night sky glittered with stars above them.
Spock found the nearest heat lamp and stationed himself next to it. Finding Cadet Kirk was going to take quite a bit of searching. Given the loud music, he could not rely on his hearing. Also, the illumination coming from thousands of candles and sunk-in lights was not sufficient to clearly study faces around him.
He was dressed in a sweater, a jacket over it and a woolen beanie. After 26 minutes of pushing through the crowds and pretending to drink the beverage in his hand, Spock had still been unable to locate Cadet Kirk. Perhaps the Cadet had left. He decided to terminate the experiment, when a sudden commotion caught his attention. He craned his neck and stood on his tiptoes to see what the uproar was about.
"Why don't you try someone your own size?" A man was saying in a loud, slurred voice.
"What's wrong with you? Go, pick a fight somewhere else." Another man replied rudely.
"I am not going anywhere, Mister," the first man replied, lurching towards the other. Spock realized with shock, the man with the slurred speech was Cadet Kirk.
"This is my spot and I own it." Spock had never seen the Cadet act so irrationally. His movements were severely uncoordinated as well.
"Fuck off," a second, burly man came and stood next to the man James was talking to.
"Don't talk to me like that, you moron. I am a StarFleet Cadet!" James replied, eyes unfocused. Spock grimaced. The Cadet was, at that moment, a disgrace to StarFleet Academy.
The two men laughed derisively.
"You're no one! You're a loser." A third man pushed James roughly in the chest. James lost balance and crashed heavily on the floor. Spock gasped in shock. He started pushing through the crowd.
A fourth man joined them and started punching James violently. Spock's blood turned cold when he saw his human getting slammed against one of the tables. One of the men landed a vicious blow across his jaw. Spock had almost reached the scene of the fight, when five security personnel showed up. The men were led away. Spock followed them but missed the turbolift they all entered. He waited impatiently for the next one, which took an entire minute to arrive.
Down in the lobby, he frantically looked around for James, but saw no sign of him or the men. The receptionist informed him that the gang had been asked to leave the premises.
Spock ran outside into the cool night, his breathing hard as panic began to creep in. He heard grunts coming from somewhere down the road, from a hidden alley. He made a mad dash in that direction, turned around the corner, and spotted the men in the unlit, narrow alley. They were kicking James, who was on the ground.
In an instant, Spock had pulled one man off his human and tossed him away with such force, that the man crashed against the opposite wall. He pivoted, grasped another man's arm and flung his entire body over his own shoulder. The third man had barely raised a fist aimed at Spock, when Spock's fingers tightened around his wrist and twisted. The man cried out in pain. Spock was hit from behind. He crouched low and swung around. A swift kick at the fourth man's chest resulted in the man howling.
"Leave," Spock growled at the four of them. Hobbling and crying, they skittered away immediately.
Spock turned his attention back to the unconscious body of his human.
"Cadet? James?" Spock whispered, trembling uncontrollably, overcome with fear. The Cadet's lips were swollen and blood was leaking from a deep cut. A gash over the left eyelid was bleeding profusely.
"James? Jim! Please," Spock bent over the unresponsive face, fingers touching the delicate skin gingerly. All logic and rationality left Spock. There was only one thing on his mind - his human's life, which he would protect with his own.
Spock was struggling. His thoughts were in complete disarray. His shields were failing.
Was his human dying?
Breathing rapidly, as if he was being asphyxiated from inside his own mind, his eyes darted manically around the alley. There was no one around. Jim wasn't moving and Spock's brain had shut down. He couldn't remember basic human biology. He couldn't remember elementary emergency medical procedures.
What was he supposed to do?
He shook his head right and left, like a wounded, disoriented animal. And then something deep inside him twisted in agony. Spock let out a strangled cry. His entire world narrowed down to the bloodied face cradled in his arms. Acting on some primal instinct, Spock placed his fingers across Jim's right temple and cheek. He didn't even have time to complete the usual mind-meld Vulcan phrase.
He lost his footing and fell headlong into a dark, deep abyss. He thrashed his hands out wildly trying to find something to grab onto, but it was pitch dark. There was nothing to grab onto.
With a thud, he landed on a bedroom floor, and spotted Jim right away. He was smiling and well and alive! What a relief! The next moment, Spock gasped and recoiled. Jim wasn't alone. He was in bed with two alien females. Spock watched in utter dismay as Jim undressed slowly with a smile on his face and the females looked at him, making obscene noises.
No! Not him! Please!
He kept watching hypnotized in horror, while every fiber in him screamed in protest, as Jim touched and caressed and kissed and licked. The man who had invaded Spock's dreams, who had become Spock's own center of gravity, gave himself away willingly to others, in front of Spock's own eyes. The three engaged in consensual, enthusiastic, sex. Again and again. Then, Jim dressed, and left.
Spock followed him on auto pilot. He felt numb. As if his heart had been taken out of his body entirely. There was nothing left. He felt nothing. He did not want to see anymore, but he seemed to be lost. Jim was walking in front of him on a street. Spock could smell faint traces of alcohol coming from Jim even from the short distance. Jim pulled his communicator out of his pocket and put it to his ear.
"I'm fine, Bones. I told you not to call."
"Will you at least comm me so I can come pick you up?"
"I can get a hover, Bones."
"The last time -"
"Would you quit it, already? I'm not a baby," Jim replied in an irked tone.
He snapped the communicator shut and put it back in his pocket. Turning around the corner, he entered a tall building, which Spock now recognized as Midnight Blue. He watched Jim's evening unfold, as Jim consumed glass after glass at the bar, sitting alone. His behavior deteriorated with every passing moment. Spock could take it no more. He had seen enough of Jim's memories. The mind meld had begun completely out of control. Now all Spock wanted to do was to find Jim and resuscitate him, and then he wanted to leave. This was not a mind he wanted to come back to, ever again. This was not a human he wanted to think of, again.
When he felt himself falling a second time, he looked down and realized the long, dark tunnel was ending. His crashed onto hot, hard surface. The darkness of the tunnel was replaced by a red, glowing sky. All around him, in every direction, everything was burning. Flames leapt high into the air and acrid smoke entered his nostrils. He whirled around, trying to find Jim.
Between the flames, he spotted a body lying on the sizzling ground. Spock dodged the fires as best he could, and ran towards Jim. Sharp pain shot through his limbs, as he got burned a few times. Spock's brain had finally started working. He checked for Jim's breath, and began mouth to mouth resuscitation. Spock kept pumping the frail human heart and breathing into the soft lips, alternately.
Please, Jim. Come back to me.
Jim coughed and blood spurted out of his lips. The fire around him started dying and slowly the sky turned from red to pale blue. The intense heat disappeared.
Spock was thrown out of the meld with a sudden force. The low vibration coming from Jim's pocket caught his attention. He reached inside Jim's trousers, and pulled out the communicator. The screen showed "Bones calling". Spock took the call without hesitation.
"Jim? Why have you not been answering? It's been five goddamn hours that -" An angry voice on the other end shouted.
"May I know whom am I speaking to?" Spock replied.
The voice went deadly silent.
Spock waited and then repeated, "May I know whom am I speaking to?"
"Who the hell are you?"
"The owner of this device is currently unable to answer. Please identify yourself."
"What the bloody - I am McCoy. Dr. Leonard McCoy. I am a Starfleet doctor in training. Now tell me who are you and what are you doing with Jim's communicator?"
"I am Cadet Spock. Cadet Kirk was...physically assaulted by four unknown men. He is unconscious at the moment. Should I call the authorities?"
"No! Don't call anyone. He can't afford to have that on his record." Dr. McCoy said in an urgent tone.
"I do not - "
"Where are you? Give me your coordinates."
Spock did so.
"Stay put right there! Don't leave him!"
"I have no intentions of leaving him." Spock replied and ended the call.
His emotions were still in chaos, but the panic had left. Spock knew Jim wouldn't die anymore. Spock slumped down besides the limp body, letting go of his rigid poise. He was exhausted. Why had Cadet Kirk behaved such recklessly?
Dr. McCoy arrived in a few minutes by a hovercraft. He came prepared with his medical kit.
"What happened? Why did he get beaten up?" The doctor asked, scanning Jim with a hand-held medical device.
"I cannot be sure. However, Cadet Kirk was intoxicated and he seemed to be in some disagreement with his attackers."
"Yeah, I can see that he is drunk. Dammit, Jim."
"Are you aware of why would he choose to get intoxicated this way? The Academy's code of behavior clearly state that -"
"For God's sake man, don't quote me the rule book. It's not like he gets drunk every day."
"Then why today?"
Dr. McCoy didn't answer immediately. He worked on Jim, muttering unintelligibly, administering several hypos. After several minutes, he looked up at Spock. "It's his mom's birthday."
Spock blinked. Why would someone choose to celebrate their mother's birthday this way?
"I didn't know he had made plans with you. I didn't even know you guys had gotten to -"
"No," Spock hurriedly clarified. "Cadet Kirk is unaware of my presence. This was merely a coincidence that I was able to intervene."
"Intervene? Did you fight them off or what?"
"I had no choice."
"Oh!" The doctor studied Spock's face for a few seconds and then said, “He has suffered internal injuries. I need to take him to back to the Academy. Are you injured?"
"Negative," Spock replied. "I will accompany you."
Spock helped Dr. McCoy move Jim's body to the waiting hovercraft. One side of the seating was unfolded so it converted to a bed. They both sat down on the opposite side.
"What is the extent of his injuries?" Spock asked.
"It's bad but he will live. That kid has seen way worse. Looks like you got there in time. He owes you one."
Spock winced involuntarily on hearing that Jim had endured more violence in his life. The evening had culminated into a disastrous end. He had never meant for his human to be aware that he was observing him. But now, it was out of question that the Cadet could know of his involvement.
"I have a request, Doctor."
"I would like Cadet Kirk to not know of my involvement."
Dr. McCoy's right eyebrow rose sharply. "You want to be an anonymous Samaritan?"
Spock did not consider himself a Samaritan. For reasons eluding his brain right then, his loyalty and devotion to the Cadet had much deeper roots than he had realized. But that was hardly a reasonable explanation for the doctor, so he just nodded.
"Well, if that's what you want." The doctor shrugged. "Are you sure you are not injured?"
Spock was very sure. Dr. McCoy dropped him off near the west end of the Academy grounds.
"Listen, I know you are Vulcan and all...but if you feel anything funny tomorrow, any headache or blurry vision or anything, here take my number. And take his as well. Jim would like to thank you in person, I'm sure."
With a final reminder that Spock shouldn't mention the incident to authorities, Dr. McCoy left.
Spock did not like withholding information. It was against the regulations. But, he was relieved that he didn't have to explain his behavior and his involvement to anyone. It was a night he wanted to erase from his memory if he could.
The next morning, Spock woke up, having slept only a few hours. He sat up on the bed, and found that he had no enthusiasm to get ready. There was no rush to get to the cafeteria, anymore. The observations were pointless now. His experiment had failed. That happened in science. Spock ought not to feel so heart broken by it. But nevertheless he was. No doubt if his father or any of his teachers, came to know of his state of mind right then, he would have been chastised. Hadn't the whole point of his study been to gather data, and arrive at the most logical conclusion? He had his data now.
He and Cadet Kirk were incompatible.
Spock crossed his arms around his torso, trying to hold himself up, and sit straight. The word incompatible seemed to have a weight all of its own, and it was crushing him. He checked his shields to make sure none of his agony seeped through his parental bonds. He didn't want to alert his parents of anything amiss. He doubted any changes could be detected over such long distances but he wanted to be sure.
Slowly, he forced himself to get ready for the day. Nothing had changed. He had the same schedule as always, the same classes he had to attend. But, Spock had inexplicably lost interest.
There had been a constant rush of energy that had been driving him recently. Life had become so much purposeful, so interesting and so pleasant. Now that he found himself running on empty; he realized with painful clarity, that this new drive had all been due to his interest in Cadet Kirk.
Except it wasn't Cadet Kirk anymore, was it? It was Jim. His Jim.
Spock's heart squeezed at his side. With his toothbrush in his hand, he doubled over the sink as a fresh wave of memories from last night hit him - the mind meld.
It wasn't just a study, was it? No, this was about his life.
His fingers twitched. The numbers given by Dr. McCoy beckoned to him. He wanted to message his human. He wanted to know if Jim was in pain. Was he recovering well? Spock wanted to be near Jim. Tend to his needs, to feed him, bathe him, take care of his precious human. The need was overwhelming. The touch of Jim's skin was intoxicating. The memory of Jim's naked body, the sound of his voice, sent shivers down Spock's spine. He wanted to - Spock's thoughts faltered - he...he wanted...Jim. Desire coursed through him.
The toothbrush fell from Spock's hand. He stared at himself in the mirror as the full extent of his epiphany dawned on him.
Desire. Spock had not experienced such an emotion before. He wanted Jim to be his. His, alone. In mind, in body and in katra. In every possible way. Oh! he wanted Jim to be his k'hat'n'dlawa.
Spock bent his head and his shoulders sagged in defeat. He knew what he desired was impossible to have. Jim wasn't Vulcan. He was a human with different needs and different values. A tear silently trickled down Spock's cheek.
Spock was neither human nor Vulcan. There was no one else like him in the universe. No one would understand his needs. How had he forgotten this truth of his existence?
With the back of his hand, he wiped away the physical manifestation of his misery. He completed brushing, got dressed and left his room. Life had always been about his duty. He had lost his way somehow, gotten sucked into a world of hopes and dreams. But, Spock wouldn't live in an illusion anymore. He walked with his back straight, his head held rigid as always. A child of two worlds; no one would ever want to be his, neither would he ever belong to anyone. Or anywhere.
Cadet Spock reached his first class and his long day began.
Translation of Vulcan -
k'hat'n'dlawa - half of each other's heart & soul. One who is 'half of my heart and soul' in its deepest sense; became unfashionable after Reformation because of its emotional connotation.
Chapter 7: Fire and Ice
Thank you so much for your comments and kudos. I am infinitely grateful. LLAP.
The Xenolinguistic class was interesting and the instructor was excellent as well. Yet Spock's attention kept drifting away.
He was having trouble concentrating on the holoimages being projected in the air, ahead of him. A set of entirely different images were wreaking havoc inside his mind - the curve of a neck, the dip of a clavicle, a freckle on a smooth back, the play of muscles on Jim's biceps as he thrust. Just as it had been that morning, desire burnt through Spock's veins. But this time, to his horror, Spock's penis became swollen with blood. This was not the first time his penis had acted on its own accord. Since a young boy, Spock had experienced the sudden engorgement phenomenon but in the past, it had taken just a fraction of a moment for him to regain control.
Vulcans could control several physiological responses using their minds alone, and Spock was particularly gifted at it, much to the chagrin of his full-blooded Vulcan classmates. When his peers were grappling with their first Pon Farr, Spock had no such problems. He took quiet pride in his ability to maintain his logic. The loss of control others had so ridiculed him for, all his young life, proved to be his peers' ultimate undoing when they reached their teens. As Spock grew up past the age of first Pon Farr, and skipped having to endure the shameful phase, there was a change in the attitude among his peers. He was still not accepted but the dynamics had shifted. Spock had conquered the one thing which Vulcan males feared. He was no longer ridiculed.
So, it came as a shock to him, that for the first time in his life, his penis would not listen to his mind. Even worse, emotional desire had never been coupled with a physical arousal. He was in completely uncharted waters.
Spock was grateful that he was seated, and that the class was filled with other humans, who were hopefully oblivious to his plight. Spock tried to viciously push away the indecent images of Cadet Kirk, but he failed. Spock's perfect memory supplied him a clear picture of pink, plump lips opened in ectasy as Jim moaned. More blood rushed to his groin.
A bump to his knee brought the torrent of images to a halt. The human female sitting next to him, bumped his knee again, under the table they were sharing. Spock looked at her in annoyed surprise. She was staring at him with dark, intelligent eyes.
"She is asking you about the history of Vulcan dialects," the female whispered in tones, not audible to anyone but Vulcan ears. Spock recalled her name from the group of students he had observed in Cadet Kirk's social group. Cadet Nyota Uhura.
Spock turned towards the instructor and became aware of the entire class looking at him expectedly.
"Spock, are you well?" Professor Chopra asked him.
Spock swallowed. Humiliation finally killed his arousal. "I apologize for my behavior," he focused on keeping his voice even. Then, thanks to his human savior's tip, he launched into an explanation of Vulcan dialects . Both Professor Chopra as well as rest of his classmates had several questions about the topic and the rest of that day's Xenolingustics was spent dedicated to it.
After the class concluded, Spock walked out hastily, shame laying on him like a heavy cloak.
"Spock?" Someone called out his name from behind.
Spock frowned and stopped walking. It turned out to be Cadet Uhura. She came running up to him.
"I am sorry. I don't meant to pry. I was just wondering if everything is fine with you?" She asked.
"Fine has variable definitions," Spock replied, not wanting to answer her actual question. Why was she interested in him?
"Yes, it is. I am also aware that you understand what it means. If you do not wish to answer my question, please just say so. I value honest communication," she replied with no trace of hostility.
Spock stared at her in slight amazement. This had certainly not been the answer he had expected. What a refreshing reply.
"You are correct, Cadet Uhura." Spock nodded respectfully. "I do not wish to answer your query, however, I am grateful for your concern."
"You know my name," she smiled slightly.
"As you do mine."
She smiled wider, crosser her arms and studied him for a few moments. Curiously, Spock did not feel at unease. Perhaps, it was because, when she had bumped his knee, he had picked only benign emotions from the touch. She was genuinely concerned about him and the concern was of a selfless nature.
"Fair enough," she spoke after sometime. "I do think though, you are not yourself today, and something is wrong. I have observed you everyday since our class began and you have never been inattentive."
Spock's eyebrows bunched up slightly. He didn't want to oppose her accurate deductions but he was absolutely not interested in sharing the reason behind his inattentiveness. She raised a hand, when he tried to interrupt her, and continued speaking, "I understand how private Vulcans are, Spock, and I will never violate your privacy. I know you don't need me or anyone, either. I am here to simply offer company."
"We can have lunch together since we are both headed that way, anyways," she offered again, when he had not spoken for a few seconds.
Spock had not eaten with anyone since he had arrived on Earth, and in her company, he did seem to feel better. He enjoyed solitude and had never sought out company before, but given everything that had happened the night before, Spock was feeling despondent and he couldn't deny that in his mind.
He dipped his head again, out of both gratitude and respect, and replied, "Very well."
They walked together to the cafeteria in comfortable silence. At the replicators, she replicated a meal of rice, spinach and fish for herself, while Spock opted for a cup of Vulcan tea. His apetite was non existent.
"A wise choice," she nodded at his tea, once they had found a corner table for the two of them, next to the huge windows offering the view of San Francisco's bay. "On days I am feeling down, I find tea comforting."
"Do you prefer tea over coffee?" Spock had observed coffee being the beverage of choice among humans, so far.
"Oh yes. I come from a region where tea is the way of life," she smiled again, a small, gentle curve of lips.
"I was not aware regional differences dictated preference in beverage."
"Not always. Both coffee and tea are popular all over Earth. But, yes, in some parts, tea has been historically consumed, whereas in other parts, coffee," Nyota replied between bites of her meal.
"May I ask where is your region located on the planet?"
"I am from a small town called Malindi,in the United State of Africa. We drink tea several times a day," she laughed gracefully.
Spock took out his mini-PADD and opened the planetary atlas. With her aid, he located Malindi - a coastal town on the shores of Indian ocean. She showed him images of her people, food, housing and clothes.
"It appears the temperature there is different from here, judging from the clothes you wear," Spock commented.
"Absolutely. It's one of the hottest regions on the planet. The coast actually helps to lower the temperature a bit for us, but further inland, it's dry and hot all year through." She finished her meal, rested her cutlery neatly on the plate and picked up her glass of water. "You would enjoy the climate, Spock. It is closest to Vulcan you'll find on Earth."
Spock raised an eyebrow.
She laughed, that gentle, musical laugh again, and said, "Yes, I am inviting you, if you ever want to visit."
"I am flattered, Cadet Uhura."
"Would you like me to address you as Cadet Spock, then?" She raised her own eyebrow at him.
Spock hesitated. Then, he understood what she was saying.
"Negative," he shook his head. After a momentary pause, he added awkwardly, "Nyota."
The returning smile was dazzling. Her eyes lit up. "Good," she replied. "I have Advanced Phonology to go to, unfortunately, otherwise I would have loved to stay back and chat with you," she picked up her plate.
Spock had not realized how an entire hour had passed. "Perhaps, we can repeat the -" he stopped speaking mid-sentence, shame coming back in full force. Since when had he started inviting humans to have meal with him?
Nyota's expression changed minutely as she read his face. Kind eyes looked at him.
"Spock, I would like to be friends with you. I admire your intellect and as a Xenolinguistics major, I am of course, interested in non-human cultures and languages. However, for the very same reasons, I am also well aware of the differences between us and alien cultures. I understand concepts such as human friendship is not the same on other planets. My friendship is meant to offer you comfort and company, not cause you distress. As I already stated, I value openness and honesty. If you don't want to have lunch with me again, please just say so."
Spock exhaled in relief. He had missed this quality in humans. This ability to be transparently open. What a respite from having to dance around ambigous language games.
"I welcome your company. I am...I am uncertain about my plans for tomorrow. I have been indeed under unexpected stress lately. May I have your number so we can schedule our time in future?"
"Sure. That's the logical thing to do," she smiled at him, with an expression he couldn't exactly decipher. "Here," she offered her number and he gave her his.
"Can I message you sometimes to inquire about your well-being?" She asked, flipping her long ponytail off her shoulder.
Oh! Spock was taken aback yet again.
Her kindness and affection for him unnerved him. He fumbled around for a suitable reply. She reached across the table and gently placed her hand on his upper arm. The touch was nothing like he had felt when Jim had tapped him in the cafeteria a while back. That had been like lightning striking him. This was like a gentle breeze.
"See?" She tilted her head, "I mean what I am saying."
Her knowledge of telepathy and use of it as proof to reassure him, impressed him and moved him, at the same time. Through her touch, he sensed her feelings of comradeship, nothing amorous. She wasn't lying. He calmed down.
"Yes, you may message me. I am unaccustomed to such communication, but please do not let that dissuade you. I would like to be a friend to you, as well." After spending almost two hours with her, he realized he had forgotten all his manners. How dreadfully selfish of him! "Apologies for my behavior today. Thank you for your help in class. May I ask, how are you, Nyota?"
"Oh!" she smiled, "don't worry about formalities. I know you are disturbed. Whatever it is, I hope it gets better. If you want to talk about it, though that is a very human thing to do, please know I am available. I am a good listener and most importantly I am your friend, I will not judge." She removed her hand. "To answer your question, I am well, Spock. I'm glad to have made a wonderful friend today. Take care and I will see you later, okay?" She stood up, plate in hand, waved him the human gesture of good bye and walked away.
Chapter 8: Family
I didn't get time to edit this chapter this time, but I wanted to keep to my weekly update schedule, so I am posting it anyways. Please let me know if there are any major grammatical mistakes. Thank you.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
(Dec 24th 7 AM , Suwanee, Georgia.)
"Okay, listen, Jim, don't freak out, there may be quite a lot of folks in there," Bones said.
"I will be fine. Just let me stay in a hotel, really -"
"Kid, no guest of my family has ever stayed in a hotel. That's not how it works here."
Bones led him on a short walk along the dirt road. The fresh countryside air and lush greenery was heavenly but Jim was feeling nauseous. His head had started throbbing on the ride to Georgia.
They came to a pair of huge iron gates. While his friend got his fingerprints scanned at the security panel, Jim looked around with curiosity. Sitting behind the iron gates, he could spot a sprawling red brick, plantation-style mansion, surrounded by acres of land, a basketball court and ...was that a lake?!
"I thought you said you were a simple, country boy?"
Bones actually cracked a rare, pure smile. The gates swung open and they both walked in, bags on their shoulders. "It's just our ancestral property. We're simple people, you'll see."
Beautiful red poinsettias were everywhere - along the entry way, on the verandas, and on both sides of the short flight of stairs, which ended at the front door. The doors were open and Jim could hear voices coming from inside.
"Lenny!" A cannonball of clothes and hair shot out from inside and the next thing Jim knew, his friend was being smothered. Jim watched in slow amusement as Bones got kissed all over his face by a woman, who could only be his friend's mother, because Jim couldn't think of anyone else in the entire galaxy, who could get away with that behavior.
"Mamma, this is Jim." Bones looked abashed but he was smiling like a little boy. Jim felt his heart swell at the sight of his friend's relaxed happiness. At the Academy, Bones was almost always buried in books, medical track being the most grueling. And even when not studying, Bones wasn't ever as carefree like he was now - standing wrapped up in his mother's arms.
Jim understood in that moment, why people liked to go home. It's not like he was oblivious. But, standing there, the realization really hit him. Home meant something entirely different to others.
"Eleanora," Bones' mom shook his hand firmly, "Call me Ellie, I have heard about you from Leonard, of course."
"You shouldn't trust your son entirely," Jim smiled at her. "Bones has a flair for drama."
"Bones?" Ellie asked surprised.
"Yeah, that's what this butthead has nicknamed me."
She laughed, “I like it. It's funny." She winked at Jim.
"Don't feed into his ego, Mamma," Bones rolled his eyes.
But Jim's ego had indeed been stoked. He instantly fell in love with Eleanora. Plus, there was something really calming about her. She was a tall, slim woman with bright, intelligent eyes.
"Well, Jim, welcome to our home. You'll be sharing Leonard's room; I hope you don't mind that. We have a full house, as all of our extended family arrived yesterday."
"I don't mind at all. It'll be just like at the Academy. We share room there anyways," Jim spoke earnestly, "I am sorry for the inconvenience for my last minute plans. I tried to convince Bones that -”
"Jim," Ellie put up a hand. "I'll hear none of that." There was such authority in her voice that Jim closed his mouth. "Now, if you need anything, just let me know, all right?" She smiled warmly.
“I will. Thank you Ma’am.” Jim shuffled awkwardly, feeling every bit of a burden he knew he was.
Ellie studied him for a long moment, the three of them standing at the front doors. "Leonard tells me you are planning to be a starship Captain?"
"Jim, in here," she pointed to the inside of the house, "I am the Captain and taking care of my crew is not an inconvenience to me. I enjoy it. You understand that, don't you?"
Jim's eyebrows rose. He obviously understood her. He would never want a new crew member to feel like they were not welcome.
"I do. Thank you, Ellie," Jim replied quietly. In less than a few moments, Bones' mother had managed to understand Jim more than his own family ever had.
“Good, come in,” Ellie ushered them in, one hand around her son’s waist. Jim took a deep breath and followed them inside.
There were about fifteen people in the living room. Jim was introduced to the various family members. Ellie’s two sisters’ families as well as Bones’ dad’s brother’s family had all come over for the holidays. Jim watched as Bones went over and hugged everyone. Two tween boys shook hands with Bones and a little girl jumped up and down in excitement. Bones scooped the girl up in his arms and kissed her forehead.
The feeling of ease which Jim had felt moments earlier evaporated. He felt out of place instantly. An intruder upon a private moment in a loving family. He wore a cocky grin to hide it.
"Where's Dad?" Bones asked his mom.
"Cooking up a storm," she waved towards what must be the kitchen.
Bones thumped Jim's back, the little girl in his other arm, wrapped around his torso, and said, "Let's go meet the chef."
Inside a spacious kitchen with high ceiling, stood a tall, wiry man, a knife in his hand expertly moving in the fast, repetitive motions borne of expertise. He looked up as they walked in and Jim was struck by the similarity. Bones was a spitting image of his dad. Cubed potatoes lay in a heap, next to neatly diced onions and chopped collard greens.
Dad and son embraced and exchanged greetings.
"My roommate. James Kirk," Bones introduced. "Jim, this is my Dad, David McCoy."
"Welcome home, young man," Jim got thumped on his back again. “How are you doing, son?”
“Thank you, sir. I really appreciate-“
David shook his head and looked at him with crinkled eyes, "Want to help me get some eggs, boys?"
Jim had no time to respond. David was already on the move. Bones followed and Jim hurried to keep up.
"How are the girls?" Bones was asking.
"In perfect health," David replied. They exited through the back of the house and stepped out into a beautiful, wooded backyard. Blue water gleamed in the morning sunlight in a corner, and Jim realized it was a swimming pool he had spotted earlier, not a lake. "The new one, there she is, you haven't met her."
Jim saw the most comforting sight he had seen since coming to Bones' home.
Hens clucking, chasing each other, scratching and pecking - doing the things hens do. His heart soared with joy.
Jim had been raised on a farm and nothing made him feel more like home. Soon, he was sitting on hay, in the slightly cold Georgia air, watching as the beautiful birds roamed around him, their little legs carrying them in that adorable way Jim had always loved.
David, the little girl and Bones were hunched over a gorgeous, golden colored hen. "This is Scarlett, she arrived two months back."
While Bones got to know Scarlett, David walked around collecting fresh eggs.
"Do you like her?" the little girl asked.
"I love her," Bones pulled her in an embrace and then put her on his knees. "What about you, Joanna?"
"Me too. She is my favorite now. It used to be Rosalie, but I think I like Scarlett more," she informed Bones with the utter seriousness of a child.
Jim watched the two interact with intrigue. There was something different about his best friend. His face had an expression of softness around the eyes that Jim had never seen before.
David left them with the hens and went back indoors to cook breakfast.
Joanna turned towards Jim, from her perch on Bones' lap. "What about him?" she whispered shyly.
"Jim, come over here."
"Jim, this is Joanna, she is five years old."
“Five and a half,” Joanna immediately replied.
Jim smiled and knelt down next to Bones.
"Hi," he smiled at her.
"Hi," Joanna replied, her black hair hanging in tight, curls around her little face. She resembled none of the McCoys with her dark brown skin and grey eyes.
"Do you like hens?" she asked.
Jim nodded. "I grew up with them."
"Really?" she leaned forward forgetting her shyness as her face lit up.
"Oh yeah," Jim said. "I grew up on a farm. With cows and horses and hens."
She turned to Bones. "Can we get cows too, Papa? Please?"
Bones started laughing. "I don't think so, kiddo. At least, not yet."
Someone called her name from inside the house. "I think Dada is calling you."
"I want to eat with you," she pouted again.
"I am coming in five minutes. You go and get started."
"Show me your watch."
Bones flipped his wrist and Joanna tapped on his watch. "I set the timer for five minutes. Don't be late or there will be cosenses…consequences," she said stumbling on the last word.
"Yes, Ma'am," Bones put her down.
She scampered off. Jim watched her go and then eyed Bones, "Papa?"
His best friend stood up. "Yeah, you probably caught that, huh?" He walked around the coop, between the hens, checking their feed and water.
"She was born a mile away from here. To my older brother's classmate. I was there when she was born and remember the day like it was yesterday. She was a happy little baby. Her parents, both Starfleet ground crews, were very close to our family. They came over almost daily in the evenings, and I became quite attached to her." Bones let one of the hens peck at his boots, as he continued."Three years ago, they both died in a fire while on duty."
"Oh God!" Jim exclaimed.
Bones sighed heavily. "It was a tragedy of unimaginable magnitude. In one day, Joanna became an orphan. She had no other family. So, I - " Bones looked at Jim, " adopted her. She is my daughter legally."
Jim stared at his friend. "She is yours?"
"Yes. I was planning to tell you but it's hard to talk about her and you...well you know, how things have been for you. I have been too worried about you, Jim."
The timer on Bones' wrist stared ringing.
"Let's go inside. She is learning about time in school and I better not disappoint her."
"But how can you be a dad, Bones? You're 20 and still studying."
"I know that. That's why my folks are raising her. They will probably raise her till she is old enough to decide for herself what she wants to do. But she calls me Papa and she knows I am her new father. And honestly Jim, I have loved her like my own since she was one day old. Not all families start out planned, you know," Bones' voice was barely audible. "You gotta do what's best given the circumstances."
Jim was overcome with unexpected emotion and just nodded. Joanna's story had hit too close home.
Breakfast was a noisy affair and absolutely delicious. Jim scarfed everything down, listening with wonder at the easy flow of conversation around him. It was such a different vibe than what he was used to.
Ellie came over to him afterwards. "Lenny, why don't you show Jim your room? Let him freshen up a bit. He looks tired."
Bones' room, like everything in the house, was huge and spacious, with a private veranda and two beds. Jim flopped down on one of the beds. It was warm and soft. He felt exhausted. He hadn’t slept all of last night. And the nausea was coming back in waves.
Bones started unpacking and putting away his stuff in his closet. “Listen Jim, you be you. No one’s going to bother you, I swear. You don’t have to hang out with us if it feels uncomfortable. You can go explore the country side.”
"Thanks," Jim replied weakly. He had no energy. His friend turned towards him and then scowled.
"What?" Jim asked defensively.
“You feeling okay?" Bones came over to Jim's bed.
"Just tired. I think I’ll take a nap.”
"Hmmm," Bones seemed unconvinced. He put a finger under Jim's right eye. Jim flinched.
"Jim, be still!" Bones put his finger under the eye again and pulled the skin down gently. "Look up," his friend ordered, in his doctor voice.
Jim looked up obediently. Bones peered at him. Then, he did the same thing with Jim's left eye. Wordlessly, Bones walked over to his med kit and took out a long thin pen like medical gadget. He examined Jim's eyes again, this time with the pen-like thingy.
Jim became impatient. "What is it?"
Bones straightened up. He rubbed his chin, "Am not sure. I’m a little stumped at this whole thing going on with you. Do you feel funny again?"
"I am kinda beat. I didn't sleep last night and you know, it was not exactly a fun night. I just feel a little...low." Jim shrugged.
"What kind of low?"
"I have that...wierd headache."
"When did it start?"
"Sometime...I don't know...I think may be when we were on the shuttle to here."
Bones looked unhappy. "May be we can figure what is wrong with you, here. My entire family is doctors and medical professionals. Between the all of us, we -"
"No!" Jim balked. "I am not going to be your guinea pig, okay? You promised me you won't tell anyone!"
"And you promised me you will not throw away your life like that ever again!"
"Have I?" Jim asked. "I told you already, last night I just went walking. Even though I felt like shit, I didn't think of it, Bones. I'm sorry for what happened on my mom's birthday." Jim looked away, his voice low. "You saved my life. You always do. You have been the best friend anyone can ask for. I don't know how to thank you."
Bones sat down on Jim's bed. "You would have done the same thing for me." He laid a hand on Jim's forearm. "We don't have to tell them your whole life story. I won't tell them anything. But Jim, I am really worried. It's been a month now, and at first I thought…maybe you had a head concussion or something. But I have run all kinds of tests on you. It doesn't make sense and I feel..." Bones hesitated, "I feel scared, Jim. I am not experienced. What if I am missing something? These are my folks. It will be all in the family. I promise, we will talk only about the medical symptoms and nothing else."
"Let me think about it," Jim replied.
“Okay, take a nap. I’ll wake you up for lunch,” Bones replied.
"I feel like puking."
Bones went over to his medkit and got out a hypo. "This will take off the nausea."
“Thanks, man.” Jim kicked off his boots. "I'll be fine. Go and have fun with them."
Bones looked at Jim for few seconds while Jim got settled under the covers and then his friend left.
Jim stared at the ceiling. The warm light streaming from the window made patterns of shadows on it. He had told Bones he was feeling a little low. A little low was an understatement. Jim felt awful. What he couldn't tell Bones was that he couldn't stop thinking about Spock. He had been having strange dreams every night for quite a while now.
Last night on the bus, it had felt like his dreams had turned into reality. Jim closed his eyes, as the memory of Spock's head resting on his shoulders came back to him. His heart ached with the need to feel that again. In spite of how Spock had behaved later, Jim felt such acute need to be near Spock, that it felt physically painful.
He had told Bones mostly everything except some details. Somehow, Spock falling asleep on him was even more intimate to Jim than his own damn libido.
He didn't understand what had made Spock act so cold later. When they were on the bus, Jim had felt such a connection that he had truly forgotten the world around him. It wasn't just about physical attraction either. With everyone else, it had always been just sex. Just a physical release from the emptiness that felt claustrophobic. But, afterwards, he would feel even emptier.
With Spock though, it had been...it had been...different...completely different. It was nothing like he had ever experienced. He had felt complete. It was as if his body and soul had found home.
Spock's scathing words came back to him. Did Jim have such a horrible reputation? He had never cared about what others thought about him. Well, not since Sam had left anyways. May be, there had been a time, when Jim had believed that if he followed the rules, kept his head down, studied hard, life would turn out all right. But then Sam had left. His world had fallen apart.
What had been the point in anything, anymore? He stopped giving any fucks after that day. The world could go to hell. No one cared about him. He didn't care about himself either.
Jim's eyes stung. He wanted to throw something at the opposite wall. He felt betrayed. It didn't make any sense. But his stupid heart wanted so badly to be trusted by Spock. He wanted Spock to care. He wanted it so, so much.
But of course, it was all a cruel joke. Why should a Vulcan care about him? He was just a pretty face, after all.
It didn't matter that he had tried so hard. All this life. It didn't matter that he had fought. Alone.
Just a little boy trying to survive. Make sense of the madness.
Nothing mattered. He would always be judged.
Jim curled up under the covers, trying to hold the pain from spilling out of his guts. His lungs felt like they were collapsing.
But he would keep his promise to Bones. He wasn't going to end up dead, in some dark, forgotten alley just because he couldn't deal with his demons. He was not a loser.
That had been the last time, he had promised Bones. And he meant it.
The truth was it didn't help, anyways. The drinking, the sex, the reckless driving...nothing really helped.
He drifted off to sleep, wondering why had Spock come into his life at all?
In my story, in this AU, Bones has a different backstory, as you must have guessed. I wanted to explore the three men and their internal worlds, but without some of the tragedies of the movies. What if Bones had never divorced/married. I believe divorce alone doesn't define someone's entire personality.
I left the childhood details intact, so Jim's backstory is pretty much the same because those events do define him. Same with Spock's childhood.
I wanted to keep the positives though, so Joanna is still his daughter. Amanda is still alive. Vulcan still exists.
( 2 weeks ago - Dec 10 2355 )
The "beep" sound from the computer terminal alerted Spock of the incoming call from Amanda.
Spock touched the screen to accept, "Hello Spock, how are you - Oh Spock!"
He sat down in front of the terminal. "Mother?"
Amanda's face looked stricken. She put her hands over her mouth.
"Is something wrong?" Spock was immediately tensed.
"Spock, are you well?"
"Yes, I am adequate, why do you ask?"
"Spock, please. Are you truly well? Have you been sleeping?"
Spock became uncomfortable under her scrutiny. It had been 15.7 days since the disastrous night at Midnight Blue. Spock had been able to avoid speaking to his mother since then, using studies as a pretext. It was true that he had not been able to sleep or meditate. Neither had he eaten anything, tea being the only substance his system could tolerate. But he was determined not to attach any emotional significance to these affects. He was a Vulcan and he understood the power of mind over body.
"As I stated earlier, I am functioning adequately. Please do not concern yourself."
Amanda looked at him, clearly still concerned. But she seemed to sense his resistance, and as she had always done, she accepted that.
"Okay," she nodded, looking down at her hands clasped on her lap, speaking more to herself. "Okay, honey, that's fine."
Amanda was a remarkably logical being for a human. She had always been able to control her emotions extremely well, but her family could see it was sometimes a struggle for her. Spock watched her compose herself in front of his eyes. He felt guilty but there was no alternative. Knowledge of the true nature of events would simply cause her more distress. Spock didn't see any logic in making her suffer. His ordeal was his alone, he alone must bear the burden.
"So," she smiled valiantly, “how are your studies?"
"Most satisfactory. I have volunteered to be teaching assistant in three courses and the extra duties have kept me busy."
"Oh, hmm, I see. Isn't that too much, dear? You are already taking more courses than humans do, and then there's chess and that coding project you have been working on."
Spock shifted in his chair before he could help himself. Such display was unbecoming. He stilled his body and attempted to center his mind.
"It is not."
Amanda nodded again and attempted to smile.
Spock wanted to take away her distress. In desperation, he offered information that he hoped would help. "I have made a friend."
Her reaction was instantaneous. Genuine smile danced on her lips. "Oh really? That young man you told me a few times about? I remember you were trying to decide if -"
"No." Spock cut her off harshly. He had forgotten how much he had shared with her, in his earlier foolishness. "No, mother," he softened his voice, "my friend is a human female. Her name is Cadet Nyota Uhura."
"Oh! Wonderful! Tell me about her."
Spock eagerly described Nyota in as much detail as he could - this kind of information he could freely share and if this brought her joy, he had no problem in indulging her. She asked him several questions and seemed pleased with his replies.
"Oh that's such a great news, honey! You should try to eat with her whenever you can."
"She has her own social network so that may not be possible. Our initial meals together were an anomaly." Cadet Kirk had taken five days to recover. Those five days Spock and Uhura ate together and spent hours engaging in conversation. They had several mutual interests and talking with her soothed Spock. The only time she had made him uncomfortable was when she commented on him drinking only tea at every meal.
But once Cadet Kirk had returned, she had gone back to her older dining habits. This was only fair. She had been kind enough to invite him to join their table but of course, Spock couldn't do that. He was trying to avoid Cadet Kirk in every possible way.
"Oh, that's too bad. May be the young man could be another friend -"
"No, mother. He cannot." Spock's voice was lower than he had intended. The pain seeped through in spite of his efforts.
Amanda finally realized that something was wrong. She fell silent, possibly grappling with what to say.
Spock had to provide her with some information so this topic could forever be closed. He took a deep breath. "I had the misfortune of finding out certain aspects of his personality. He participates in immoral activities and acquaintance with such a human would be against my personal values."
"Oh...That sounds awful. I know what you are talking about. I knew few such individuals in my younger days and they don't deserve you, dear. You have always displayed high moral character and in fact, I am very proud of you for that. You be you, honey. There will be more...others like Nyota, in future."
Spock let out his breath, which he didn't realize he had been holding. His mother's reply was incredibly validating. For the first time since this conversation had started, they both relaxed. She had been his one person all through his life, who believed in him. Even when others didn't, she always had his back.
Spock was struck by how much power her agreement had over him. If she had disagreed, he would have still continued as per his decision, but it would have felt like walking through a blizzard. Exhausting.
Now that she understood him and approved of him, some of the weight had been lifted. Perhaps, some soup would be a good idea.
"Would you please give me a minute? I wish to heat some Plomeek soup."
"Of course, sweetheart. I was wondering where your usual dinner was," Amanda looked happy.
Spock retrieved a portion of frozen soup and reheated it. After not eating anything for two weeks, it tasted and smelled pleasant. They chatted about various topics, while Spock finished his meal.
Later that night, sleep again eluded him. Unable to meditate or sleep, Spock had taken to spending the nights staring through the window of his room at the night sky, the moonlight, the distant stars and constellations. December was a month of festivities in San Francisco. Spock watched the decorations that had been strung all around campus. Light probes had been hung from the front of each building creating an enchanting effect. Trees and shrubs had been similarly treated. Everything twinkled and glowed. Spock admitted to himself that the environment these decorations created affected him emotionally. He felt a peculiar joy.
In spite of the cold weather, humans strolled through the grounds every night. Mostly pairs. Hands held together, heads bowed towards each other, their breaths misting in the cold air, they walked. It was not a new sight. However, Spock had never before felt pain when looking at these couples. Now, he did.
His communicator buzzed, commanding Spock's attention away from the night life outside. He padded through his dark bedroom, to where it glowed on his study desk.
"Hi Spock! How's it going?"
It was his friend, Nyota. She messaged him often nowadays. Her kindness never failed to move him deeply. He tried his best to be a good companion to her.
"I am unchanged. Are you well, Nyota?"
"Yup! Got my Xenolinguistic grade back today. I got a perfect score. Yay!"
"That is indeed admirable."
A few more similar texts later, they exchanged good nights.
The next morning, Spock was in the library looking for a reference, when he unexpectedly came face to face with Cadet Kirk.
"Oh, Hi!" Jim smiled at Spock with a brilliance that made Spock's pulse spike. "I was actually looking for the same thing." Jim was pointing at the reference PADD held in Spock's hands.
Jim moved closer as he spoke - Spock could smell the heavenly scent of his skin. Spock's resolve wavered dangerously. Would it be so wrong if he dipped his head into the crook of Jim's neck and inhaled? Linked their minds again? Rubbed Jim's fingers against his -
"Hey, you okay?" Jim licked his bottom lip absent mindedly. The little flash of pink tongue and the way it left Jim's lip moistened sent Spock's blood rushing down to his abdomen. Panic gripped Spock.
He shoved the PADD into Jim's hands and walked away rapidly, fighting his body's indecent reaction.
Spock didn't turn back or respond to Jim's words. He walked straight to the nearest bathroom and locked himself in it. The tip of Spock's index finger had brushed against Jim's skin when giving the PADD. It sent him reeling. Every nerve end in Spock's body seemed charged with desire. Like a drug addict, Spock's body twisted in spasms - he wanted to be near Jim with maddening need. In the end, it took all his will power to not go hunting for Jim and devour him.
The encounter worsened Spock's already depleted controls. His appetite vanished again. Sleepless, restless, hovering on the edge of insanity, the next night, he found himself walking towards Jim's building. Just a glimpse, he promised himself. Nothing more.
Spock walked around the building, pretending to be on a stroll, till the night progressed and every other person on the campus had left. Spock forced himself to return.
But the next night, he was drawn back helplessly like a moth to a fire. He was rewarded when he spotted Jim along with his friends sitting on the benches outside their building. Spock drank in the sight like a thirsty le'matya.
It became a dangerous habit from there on. Unforgivably shameful behavior, he chastised himself but the pull only became stronger. He avoided Amanda's calls. He started forgetting his assignments and the days and nights blurred into an endless stretch of time.
The campus was full of the news of the upcoming winter vacations. He frequently overheard conversations about plans being made by the other Cadets. Spock had, of course, no plans. He was hoping the month long leave would cure him of his insanity. Perhaps the absence of Cadet Kirk would finally break the spell that had been cast on him. It was his last hope, else he would have to quit Starfleet all together. How pathetic. He had come to Earth to study, to prove to his father what he was made of, to explore, to learn. And now? He was obsessed with a human. He could never show his face to his father, if his downfall became known.
On the last day of classes, Spock stumbled towards Jim's building, for the last glimpse of the man who had completely taken over his life. The next day, Jim would leave like the rest of them.
Christmas, the terran festival of goodwill and generosity, was two days away. Songs of gentle melody played through hidden speakers, dotting the walking paths and the gardens all around the campus. Spock found an empty bench and sat down, a good distance away from Jim's building. It was a cold evening, so he had his preferred sweater on. Spock had only been sitting a few minutes when he felt a wave of misery wash over him. He put a hand on the bench to steady himself. After a few moments, he saw Jim emerging from the building but without his friends.
Spock stood up without any conscious thought. Jim's body language was different. He was walking rapidly, away from Spock. Without hesitation, Spock started to follow. A sense of foreboding had him on high alert. Jim walked all the way to the entrance of the Academy and then stepped out. Spock was convinced that this was a repeat of the Midnight Blue evening. Jim had the same agitated walk then. Destiny seemed to place Spock in Jim's path for reasons Spock couldn't understand. Whatever be his disagreements with Jim, Spock could not allow any harm to come to his human. Even if it meant he would have to witness the intoxication and copulation one more time. Any number of times for that matter. Jim's life was more precious than anything else.
To his surprise, Jim didn't proceed towards downtown. Instead, Jim walked towards the Golden Gate bridge and started walking along the pedestrian lane. Spock followed at a discrete distance. After a while, Jim stopped and stood facing the waters. Spock hid behind a pillar though Jim seemed unaware of his presence. Seconds turned to minutes. Spock became increasingly distraught. Jim was like a statue. Was this normal for humans? Especially for Jim? His human was always so full of energy.
In the pale moonlight, Spock caught the first glint of moisture seep from his human's eyes. Spock's heart splintered. No! This was not allowed.
Silently, alone, unmoving - Jim stood and wept into the night. Spock was beside himself with worry. What was wrong? How could he stop this? This was not the order of the universe. It was Spock who was supposed to suffer.
Unable to control himself, weak with the month long ordeal, Spock began to weep as well. What kind of punishment was this - to watch his beloved suffer?
After an indeterminate amount of time, Jim started walking again. But instead of going back to the Academy, Jim walked further away. Spock followed him through fields, residential areas and empty lands; through the cold, wet drizzle. His body struggled to keep up. Surely, Jim must be tired too. Towards the end of the night, Jim mercifully stopped walking.
Jim took shelter in a hover-stop. Spock inched close, not wanting to lose Jim, but his human seemed caught up in his own world. When the hover arrived, Spock climbed up behind Jim.
There was only thing left to do.
He went and sat beside his k'hat'n'dlawa. Their bodies touched very slightly but it was enough. Waves of unbridled happiness and relief crashed into Spock at the contact. Oh, how he had longed for this. It was like a lost soul had found home. His muscles relaxed for the first time in weeks. Jim's scent was so beautiful. It was like spring flowers and the Firebird's cry.
Spock shifted closer, seeking Jim's warmth. Their knees and thighs pressed together deliciously. Jim's full range of emotions started flowing into Spock.
And oh! Spock turned his head towards his human in shock. Such desolation, such loneliness! How could Jim feel such agony? He was one of the most popular Cadets, surrounded by friends and always in demand. Jim's nose was pressed against the window. Like a little boy. So innocent and pure.
Spock had to stop the tide of pain crashing inside Jim. Nothing else mattered. It felt like every moment of his life had come down to this. Spock felt it then. He felt his logic slip away. The part of him which was human refused to listen anymore to his other half. Being Vulcan wasn't about being cruel. Logic didn't mean that he let the man he loved more than anyone else, keep hurting. Jim was lonely. Spock would offer himself.
No sooner had Spock realized this, Jim shifted and then drew two hearts and an arrow on the window. Spock stared at it. It could not be more obvious what Jim was longing for. Driven by a courage he couldn't understand, Spock broke the silence.
Jim startled and turned to him. Their eyes met and time stood still. How could it be that in Jim's eyes he saw everything he had ever wanted to see? How could this stranger's eyes hold Spock's dreams and hopes and demons and pain? But, oh they did.
Spock could not wait anymore. He wanted to show Jim that he was tortured by the same pain. He wanted to offer Jim his everything.
“Of course,” Jim replied, confused but not upset.
Spock let his heart dictate his actions. He changed the second heart to his own - I am yours, T'hy'la. I offer you my heart and my katra. I can't stay away from you.
Jim didn't say anything. Spock waited, unable to breathe, unable to think. Would Jim accept his offer? Was a Vulcan acceptable to Jim? Or was Jim looking for someone else?
But Jim didn't speak. Didn't move. Didn't even look at Spock.
Jim's body was so soothing next to him. Spock wanted to wrap himself inside Jim. His eyelids grew heavy without him realizing it. For the first time in Spock's adult life, he fell asleep like a baby. He didn't know how long he slept. But when he woke up, it was with the realization that he was aroused. The next realization to hit him was that his head was nestled in Jim's shoulder, his entire body aligned to Jim's. It felt so right. Nothing had felt so good, so natural as that moment, when Spock's wildest dreams came true. Jim was aroused as well.
"I am sorry," Jim said, and Spock immediately picked up embarrassment, shame and rejection flowing through Jim.
There was no turning back now. Spock had to let Jim know that it was mutual. With trembling hands, he turned Jim's face towards him, and forced him to look. Do you see my katra cries for you too?
And Jim did! Jim responded!
"May I?" Jim asked Spock's permission.
Spock lost it completely then. He showered Jim with his love, trying to express in every touch, just how much his human was desired. He worshipped Jim's body, knelt at his altar and brought him to climax and then cared for his beautiful human by helping him clean up.
The bus reached their destination and Spock snapped back into reality. He had been transported into a magical world but reality came back knocking at his door. Jim had still not commented on his offer. Why? What did it mean?
With a last look at the drawing on the window, where Spock had offered his heart, Spock turned towards the exit and disembarked. Without physical touch between them grounding him, Spock felt marooned. He could no longer know what Jim was feeling. Would Jim finally acknowledge his offer?
"Well...that was...I don't know what to say," Jim began, "I have to admit I am shocked, Spock. I didn't think you know...I mean you are Vulcan...and the few times we met, you seemed really uninterested."
Spock's blood ran cold. There was no acknowledgment coming. That drawing meant nothing to Jim. He had no interest in a Vulcan heart.
Shame flooded every pore of Spock's body and oozed out like puss. What a pathetic rejection. Of course, Jim didn't want his useless Vulcan heart. Had anyone ever wanted a half-breed like him? Why had he irrationally hoped so now?
Like steel shutters, Spock's shields sprang up. Every emotion fled from his voice. "Indeed."
"Indeed? That's all you have to say?"
I have offered you everything and you are treating me like a vermin! "What else would you like to hear?" Spock replied coldly. He wanted this conversation to end. He needed to escape.
"Wow! I don't know man...I thought we just...it seemed we clicked? Well, to be honest, I was feeling really low tonight and sometimes I just want to fuck the first thing I see when I am in that mood. But, I -"
Spock could hear no more. That was it, wasn't it? He was nothing more than one of these creatures Jim went to…to release his semen and then later walk away. Spock had seen it with his very own eyes before. Utter delusion had caused Spock to believe he would mean any different to Jim. Well, here was the truth. In human parlance - he was just a "fuck".
Something died inside Spock at that instant. On autopilot, he answered whatever was needed to end the conversation.
The conversation did end.
With it, ended everything.
Jim walked away.
Spock couldn't move, couldn't return the ta'al, couldn't speak. He couldn't see - the world turned black in front of his eyes.
Le'matya - a predatory animal lifeform native to planet Vulcan.
Firebird - an avian lifeform that lived on Vulcan. It was considered a very rare species of bird because it was said that after hatching they lived for only a few moments. However, during its short existence, a Firebird lives a life filled with more joy than a hundred beings and greater than what they could experience in their lifetimes added together.
Chapter 10: Unbreakable bonds
This chapter relies on the dialogue that takes place in Star Trek 2009 when Spock leaves Vulcan. Just to refresh your momory, here it is -
Logical but unnecessary. You are hereby
accepted to the Vulcan Science Academy.
A distinction all the more significant
given that you will be its first half-
human pupil. It is truly remarkable,
Spock. That you have achieved so much
despite your disadvantage. Welcome to
They all start to rise. But Spock is suddenly unsettled:
If you would clarify, Minister-- what
"disadvantage" are you referring to?
... your human mother.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
( 23 Dec 2355 Early afternoon, San Francisco time,
late evening on Vulcan)
Amanda put her book aside, glanced up at the wall where Eridani's rays hit the elaborately painted sun-dial at a precise angle. The light illuminated the number which corresponded with the eighth hour that was on Vulcan. Borne of habit of past months, she mentally calculated the time in San Francisco.
Spock had been so busy this past one month that they had talked just once. She got up and went to the opening cut out in the stone wall, overlooking the canal which flowed past their home. Watching Eridani set was one of her favorite activities. Birds were swooping down to the banks of the canal, in large numbers, getting their evening drink before flying off to sleep for the night. Sarek was due to return that evening, back from his ten day tour of the province of S'Lara. Amanda had hence asked their cook T'pul to prepare a welcoming meal of freshly prepared F'avinit butter, Filrak and M'lu. The sweet aroma of F'avinit butter wafted out from the kitchen, making Amanda smile.
A short while after, with Eridani almost out of view behind the distant sand dunes, T'pul approached Amanda.
"Amanda, the meal is prepared as per your instructions. I will take my leave now," T'pul stood tall and dignified, the collar on her robe, turned up high signaling her intent to leave. She was the most sought after cook in the city of ShiKahr.
"Thank you, Madam T'pul. I will see you next week, then."
Amanda saw her off to the entrance and then closed the heavy doors. She went back to the window to gaze outside. She had chosen to wear the pale yellow gown today, Sarek's favorite from the days of the early days of their marriage. Her fingers idly traced the embroidery on the sleeve, while various thoughts about her research, the upcoming Vulcan festival, her book which she was writing, ran through her mind. As always, her mind settled down on Spock. She frowned slightly as she remembered their last conversation. He had looked so exhausted and worn out. Almost ill. She knew he was probably not eating again. Vulcan metabolism would have been used as an excuse, of course, to counter any of Amanda's concerns, had she pressed further. She privately thought it was a ruse used by the Vulcans to hide their emotional suffering. But saying that to the two men in her life was fruitless. Stubborn oxen, that's what they were.
Being a mother to a son whose biology was unique in the entire universe had been a challenging experience. Every time Spock fell ill in his childhood, the healer and doctors had to figure out what was wrong, since no other baby was like Spock. When she was younger, she used to panic. So did Sarek except he didn't show it. Those were lonely years, not able to share anything with other parents, seeing other Vulcan babies grow up normally, seeing other mothers have more babies, while Amanda struggled day in and day out, in understanding Spock. Sarek and she frequently argued those early years - she citing her teaching experience and training and he citing his Vulcan knowledge. Soon they both realized they were taking our their pain on each other. They couldn't afford that. They had to support each other and raise their son together. They were a family of hybrids - their marriage was hybrid and so was their son.
Amanda spotted Sarek's personal vehicle flying through the air, approaching their home. She watched with a smile on her face, as it came closer and closer and then landed softly on the sand below. Sarek emerged from the vehicle, and immediately looked up. He knew she would be waiting at the window, and she knew he would look up. It was their private ritual. He didn't wave or smile. She did both. Sarek hurriedly crossed the courtyard; his long, heavy robe fluttering slightly at the edges, and Amanda ran to open the door for him. They embraced and kissed for a long moment. In the privacy of their home, Sarek was comfortable with showing his affection.
"Taluhk nash-veh k'dular," she whispered, blushing like a young bride. She had missed him.
Sarek said nothing in reply but scooped her up in his arms and carried her inside. Amanda giggled.
He set her down in the middle of the family hall.
"Have you been well, my wife?"
"See for yourself," she smiled and twirled around like a little girl, showing off her yellow gown.
Sarek raised an eyebrow. "Solitude suits you, it appears."
Amanda laughed, while Sarek removed his heavy travel robe and hung it up.
"I did enjoy myself. I visited the fountains daily, helped T'sai with the wedding preparations, worked on my book's first draft, and finished reading two novels. I think I didn't move from the armchair for long hours."
Sarek listened as he took off his dust boots, and washed his feet in the foot-basin, and his face and hands in the hand-basin.
"How was the convention? All this privacy and secrecy makes me more curious, you know." Amanda held a towel for him.
"The negotiations were difficult," Sarek replied. "Public cannot be involved at this stage. I am under oath not to reveal the details to anyone, my wife."
"Hmmm," Amanda made a face which amused Sarek. He enjoyed her curious nature.
"Have you spoken to Spock?" he asked.
"Just once," Amanda slipped her hand inside his and they both walked towards the kitchen. They served themselves dinner and then sat down together on the marble table.
Sarek let out a long sigh. "I admit that I am anxious."
"I know. Do you sense anything new over the bond?"
"Negative," Sarek shook his head, a deep frown creasing his forehead, "However, his poor mental state has continued."
"Eat," Amanda firmly told him.
Sarek noticed his food then and raised an eyebrow in appreciation of the menu. They ate for a couple of minutes in silence.
"I think he is having friendship troubles," she told him. "It's very common in humans. Especially during these young adulthood years. He updated me on that young man, remember, I told you?"
"Well, I think Spock really likes the boy, but it didn't work out. Turns out the boy is into all kinds of wrong stuff. But he did make a new friend, a girl. May be he is also getting teased and harassed."
"I do not like that thought," Sarek replied gloomily.
"Of course not. But, it's part of growing up for humans. And what he has already endured here was far worse. He was just a child then. He is so much mature and stronger now. Don't worry, Sarek, he will pull through."
"I admire your courage, my wife."
Amanda put her hand on his. "I am worried too. You can feel it, right?"
Sarek nodded. "Yes, I can feel your bond clearly. His is much subtle. I wish he had not chosen to block me... It is only because of my more experienced mind that I am able to detect his current misery."
"He is really mad at you, I don't know why, but something ticked him off that day of his VSA admissions meeting." Amanda poured Sarek tea. "Well, at least you can feel him. For me, it only works when he is nearby."
"That is to be expected. The human brain lacks areas which the Vulcan telepathy needs to function fully."
Tea bowls in hand, they both went to sit on the swing on their porch outside. At night, due to the canal, refreshing cool breeze blew across their porch. They discussed about Spock some more. Amanda updated him with all the latest details she had learned from the call. After a couple of hours, they went indoors and got ready for bed.
Sometime in the night, Amanda woke up abruptly. Sarek was moaning in his sleep, very unusual. Amanda sat up and listened quietly. Sarek groaned and his body jerked once. Amanda gasped in shock.
"Sarek?" she whispered gently, not sure if she should wake him up.
Suddenly, Sarek's face twisted and he cried out hoarsely, his entire body in spasms.
"SAREK!" Amanda shouted horrified.
Sarek's eyes flew open, a look of terror in them.
"Sarek? What's wrong?" She put her hands around his shoulders.
Sarek mumbled incoherently.
"Oh shit, are you having a stroke or something?" Amanda's voice was shrill with fear. "I'm going to call the healer, honey, I'll be right back."
Before she could get up from the bed, Sarek's hand grasped her wrist strongly.
"What? What is it?"
Finally, he looked at her, and gasped, "Spock."
"NOO! What happened? What happened to him?"
Sarek shook his head side to side, as if unable to speak.
Absolute terror gripped Amanda. "What has happened to him? Is he...is he...?" She couldn't bring herself to say it.
"Bond...injury...," Sarek wheezed.
"What do you mean? Which bond?"
Sarek held up his hands, his five fingers splayed. Through their marital bond and the gesture, Amanda understood that he was asking for time. She nodded and waited. Sarek closed his eyes and did whatever Vulcans did to calm themselves.
After five minutes or so, Sarek opened his eyes and his voice was strong. He started getting up from the bed.
"Amanda, we must contact him immediately."
"Why?" Amanda hurried after Sarek.
"He is physically unharmed but his mind has been fractured. It is difficult to explain in human terms, but it is equivalent to him bleeding in his psi points." Sarek was walking towards the library. "He has been severely hurt emotionally. You must talk to him, Amanda, and find out. He trusts you. I may need to go to him with a healer."
"Oh!" Amanda was reeling. She was so in shock she couldn't even cry.
Sarek gently sat her down in front of the computer terminal.
"Speak to him. I will stand here out of sight, but I will prompt you for information depending on his replies. Please do not burden him with the knowledge of my presence."
Amanda nodded as the call to San Francisco was initiated. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and summoned her internal strength. In times of crisis, Amanda had always been able to keep calm. She would fall apart later, but now, her son needed her and she would be the rock to which he could tether.
The "beep" alerted her that the call has been successfully accepted. On the screen, she saw, the local time for Spock was five in the morning. The next instant, Spock's face appeared on the screen. Amanda's heart thudded.
Spock looked worse than last time. His shoulders were bonier than ever, face pallid, eyes sunken with deep purple bruises under them.
"Honey, what happened?" Amanda wasted no time.
"I...I am ...I am..." Spock stuttered uncharacteristically.
Sarek gestured from her side, and Amanda muted the call. She kept looking at Spock.
"The purple dis-coloration around his eyes confirms my hypothesis. He is suffering from a bond-injury. It is not due to either of us, then, logically it must mean, he must have formed a new bond with someone. Furthermore, he must be unaware of this bond, judging by his mental confusion."
"Spock, honey, listen to me carefully, you are unwell. Very sick. You need to tell Mamma what's going on. Is there someone whom you have developed deep feelings for?"
"Oh honey. It's not Nyota, right?"
"Negative," Spock whispered hoarsely.
"Who it it? And what happened between you both? Please tell me. I love you, darling." Amanda coaxed.
"It is...his name is Cadet James Kirk. He is the human I had mentioned...He...We.." Spock was having trouble keeping his attention on the topic.
Amanda felt panic grip her again. Spock had never ever been like this. Even as a child, even during the worst bullying.
Sarek gestured again. Amanda muted the call.
"His disorientation is consistent with a bond-injury. A bond which formed without his intention and knowledge can only be of one kind. The rare t'hy'la bond. This James Kirk is possibly his t'hy'la and they must have been in physical contact. Even a brief contact is sufficient for such a bond to spring to life without either party's conscious effort. My wife, you must convince him to speak to me." Sarek spoke slowly.
"Spock, it is no secret that your father and you have difference in opinion," Amanda started in a calm voice. "It is between father and son and I respect that. So I have never interfered. But, sweetheart, I don't think you have looked in the mirror, honey. You look ill." Her voice wavered slightly. "A very specific kind of illness. It is called a bond-injury. Your father wants to speak to you. Please, Spock."
Spock stared at her for some moments. "I will speak to him then."
Sarek stepped into Spock's view. In a gentle voice, he began, "Spock, I regret the circumstances of your leaving Vulcan. It has never been my intention to cause you distress, though, our differences do unfortunately create barriers. As an Ambassador, it has been my duty, for many years now, to forge new relations with others," Sarek took a deep breath. "My failure at understanding with my own half-human son is therefore, unforgivable. I apologize for my deficiencies."
Spock stared with wide eyes.
"Spock, do you accept my apology?"
"I am ...I am not in control of my emotions." Spock rubbed a hand across his eyes.
"Son, let me help. Please cease blocking me."
"Honey, please. He is your father! He loves you!" Amanda implored.
"And you?" Spock asked her.
"What do you mean?"
"Does he love you?"
"Of course he does!"
Spock looked at Sarek. Sarek was momentarily perplexed by his son's line of questioning.
"Spock, my affection for your mother and you, is as resolute as the laws of gravity. Have I caused you to doubt this?"
Spock processed Sarek's reply for a few seconds. He looked back at Amanda. Amanda nodded to reassure him that she agreed.
"The minister referred to my mother as a disadvantage. Do you agree with them?"
Sarek was perplexed again for a moment. "You refer to the day of your VSA hearing."
"The ministers spoke the truth, Spock. It is not a matter of agreement. The facts are -"
"Wait!" Amanda interjected. "What disadvantage? What are you both talking about?"
Sarek described the proceedings to her and repeated the exchange of dialogue, verbatim, thanks to his excellent Vulcan memory. Amanda listened carefully.
Then, she turned to Spock. "Honey, did you think he insulted me?"
"He did." Spock looked back defiantly. "Sarek did not object."
"I do not understand what objection -" Sarek began.
Amanda raised a hand and Sarek fell silent.
"Sarek, I think I understand what happened. Spock thinks the word disadvantage is a derogatory attempt. In fact, if this was Earth, and some human had talked about me this way, I would agree with Spock. It's offensive. It implies I am inferior to you, to Vulcans. And because of that, Spock being my son, is also inferior."
"Precisely," Spock added emphatically.
"That was never the intention. That is contradictory to the Vulcan doctrine! Surely, you both must know this." Sarek looked at Spock and Amanda.
"I do." Amanda replied. "He doesn't. Let me explain." She turned to Spock. "Honey, when you were conceived, the Vulcan doctors were very worried. The Vulcan gestation period is four months longer than humans. The Vulcan brain is larger and more complex, so it needs more time. My body was of course limited to human biology. Everyone was worried that you would not survive being born premature by Vulcan standards. But you did. Immediately after your birth, when the doctors and healers melded with you, they realized your telepathic nodes were not fully developed. My physiology lacks the necessary enzymes and nutrients. A Vulcan baby is born with fully developed nodes, and it is crucial for the baby's health because he needs to bond with mom and dad. So, it was a medical disadvantage you were born with, honey. It's not a racial slur."
Spock's shoulders slumped. He slid down in the chair, unable to sit straight.
"My son," Sarek's voice was gentle, like he would speak to Spock when he was a very young boy. "I am deeply distressed to know you have misunderstood. Your grief is unimaginable. I grieve with thee."
"I thank thee." Spock whispered.
Sarek felt the bond between them tremble and then bounce back, the shields lifted from Spock's side. The full extent of Spock's bond-injury became apparent to Sarek.
"We must know what has transpired, Spock. It is of urgent importance. Without intervention, you face irreversible brain damage." Sarek sent waves of affection, devotion and support to Spock as he spoke the words outwardly.
"I am unaware of the true nature of events" Spock began, "However, I will inform you of all the facts in chronological order. On Sep 26th, I met a human named James Kirk while standing in queue for my morning meal. He wished to engage in trivial communication, but I had no interest." Spock then told them everything that happened after that day. When he finished narrating the events of Midnight Blue bar, Sarek interrupted.
"Why did you mind meld with him, my son?"
"I cannot explain. It was...it was..an emotional reaction."
"I do not wish to cast doubt on your actions. I wish to only understand the truth. Did you do it for altruistic reasons? Would you have done the same for anyone else?" Sarek asked.
"I....No. I have never felt the need to mind meld with a stranger before. James...Jim...he has an unusual hold over me. I am ashamed." Spock hung his head low.
"Oh honey, no. There is no shame in falling for someone," Amanda wanted to hug him. She hated that they were so far away.
"Falling?" Spock looked at her.
"Yes, you started falling in love with him."
"Is this why you decided not to go ahead? Because of all the things he did this night?" Amanda asked.
"Yes. And you agreed with me, Mother."
"I had no idea things were this serious, Spock. I am so sorry, Oh God, I am sorry. I thought he was some sleazy, dumb guy. Not deserving your time. He sounds nothing like that. He sounds troubled. Tell me what happened then?"
Spock blinked at her for few moments. Then, he found new energy and continued. When Spock told them about Cadet McCoy's comments, Amanda realized something had gone very wrong.
"The doctor said it was James' mom's birthday?" Amanda asked.
"Yes. I felt disappointed that someone would defile their mother with such a celebration."
"Oh God, I should have asked you then. Oh that poor child. He is someone's son, too, and oh...." Amanda was in pain. "Spock, do you know who his mother is? Has he talked about her?"
"We are not on talking terms. I wished to have no contact with him after that night." Spock continued with his narration, now with eagerness. It was obvious he had wanted to share all this and had been carrying his secret with disastrous consequences. He told them everything, ending with how James and he had separated just half an hour ago.
Amanda covered her face in her hands. She was overcome with guilt. She had wanted to support her son. In her blind love and urge to protect him, she had never ever imagined Spock could be cruel to someone. He was her perfect child, capable of no wrong. But, it was obvious to her that this James was a very troubled man. Vulcans and humans had different ways of coping. But, what could she say to Spock now? It had all gone so wrong. And she was to blame.
Sarek put a hand on Amanda's shoulder as she quietly berated herself for her arrogance and incompetence.
"Spock, my hypothesis is that James and you have developed a new bond. But it is hidden from you. Possibly because James and your meld remains incomplete."
"I would know if I formed a new bond, father."
"There is one kind of bond, which forms without conscious effort."
Spock's mouth opened to say something, and then closed.
"Yes, the rare t'hy'la bond, so rare that we don't talk about it, except learning about it once during our childhood. It is formed on first contact."
Amanda recovered enough. "Listen, honey, I committed a blunder. He is not an indecent guy, Spock. He seems to be hurting. Your katra couldn't choose anyone less. He is your equal, but he is a human, and it's different for us. When we are in pain, we try to block it by self-destructive, stupid things. He is so young, too. Oh please, honey, don't judge him for being only human. Something about his mother....I don't know..things sound complicated. You need to talk to him Spock. You absolutely must apologize. I know you didn't mean it, but your words must have destroyed him. I am sorry I egged you on. If what I think is true, he doesn't have family support like you do. You both need to talk and resolve your misunderstanding. He definitely has strong feelings for you too...sounds like he has been trying."
Sarek nodded. "It is also imperative for your bond-injury to heal. If you cannot contact him within 24 hours, I must bring a healer to you and we must attempt to repair the injury by dissolving the bond. But, if it is a t'hy'la bond, it is...it is not advisable. What do you wish to do, my son?"
"I...I wish to...I feel the urge to...I believe I must do as mother says. I must apologize to him and repent for my actions. The thought of dissolving the bond is unbearable. I cannot fathom to be away from Jim anymore." Spock's voice was broken.
Eridani - "40 Eridani" is Vulcan's sun.
Taluhk nash-veh k'dular - I cherish thee.