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A Trick of Eros

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Chapter 1


May 2248 - Day 1; Riverside High School, Iowa

No one was quite sure how it happened, only that it had. Out of the thirty-two students in the chemistry class seven had been hit by the exploding experiment, and by the next morning all of them had been changed…

The seven students had all freaked out, of course, upon waking and seeing the changes that had happened to their bodies overnight. All considered, Jim thought he was handling it pretty good. Better than some of the others were. Janey Kelpmann was sitting on the floor sobbing, Andrea Nakamura hovering at her side trying to calm her down. Jim was standing with the others just a couple feet away, in a small cluster, trying not to watch their parents yelling at the Principal and the Chemistry Teacher, Mr. Bodeck. The parents had cornered the two at the other side of the room and were not exactly being quiet or calm about what had happened to their children.

Jim tried not to notice that his step-father Frank, was the most violent in tone of voice and movement, out of all the parents. Jim knew it wasn’t anger on his behalf, it was anger of Frank’s for having such a “freak” for a stepson. Jim glared over Scott Freedman’s shoulder at the back of his step-father’s flannel covered shoulders. This wasn’t Jim’s fault! Hell, none of them were at fault. The chemicals they used must have been tampered with. None of them would have willingly subjected themselves to this, let alone Scott, the schools star running back.

Jim looked away from his step-father, and glanced again at his fellow classmates. It was still just too weird. It really was like something out of an old 20th century sci-fi. Actually, Jim was sure there had been a famous Sci-fi novel like this.

Scott patted Jim’s shoulder in commiserating misery at the situation they found themselves in. Jim wouldn’t risk saying it to Scott’s face, but Scott was looking pretty smokin’ at the moment. He was still tall and all long limbs and tempting curves, his skin still smooth and rich as dark chocolate. Jim was sure Scott had turned out looking the best out of all of them. Of course Jim knew he looked pretty fine. Very few people could turn away from a tall, leggy blond with eyes as blue as his. Poor Janey hadn’t faired as well, still short and slightly pudgy, her eyes red and swollen from crying. She was cute, in a girl-next-door kinda way, normally. It was just, she really didn’t suite herself, the way she looked right now.

Jim was thrust from his thoughts by the iron grip of his step-father’s hand on his upper arm. Silently Jim cursed the man. He could already feel the bruise forming were his step-father’s fingers were digging in.

“Come on, boy. I ain’t letting you show off this freakish body in public,” Frank’s voice came out as a low gravely growl.

Jim tried not to flinch, but it was as if every nerve ending in his body was on overload after the sudden change it had undergone.

“I ain’t watching no freak like you anymore. You were trouble enough before. I ain’t putting up with the likes of you now that you’ve gone an’ become some kind of freaky pervert.” Frank sneered at him, yanking on Jim’s arm almost hard enough to dislocate it. “I shoulda known that nothin’ good would come of havin’ you around. Your Mom shoulda drowned you after your Dad died. She shoulda known it was a sign of how horrible and freakish you were gonna be, if your Dad had to go and kill himself just so he didn’ have to see you be born.”

Jim didn’t say anything, just hunched deeper into himself. Drawing his mental walls high and tight, trying to defend himself from the hurtful words. He couldn’t say anything. Saying something back would only piss Frank off more, and secretly some part of himself had begun to agree with Frank’s assessment of him years before. One could only listen to it and live through Jim’s life before hurtful words became soul deep festering wounds.

In a subdued manner, Jim allowed his step-father to drag him out of the front doors of the High School and to the parking lot and the waiting battered red truck. The ride back to the Kirk family farmhouse was filled with a long, oppressive silence. Of course most of Jim’s life was one big stretch of long, oppressive silence. Ever sense he was five and first realized his mother didn’t see him when she looked at him. All she saw was the ghost of a dead man. Her dead husband. It had driven a wedge between them and by the time he was seven his Mother had rejoined Starfleet to escape his presence and the ghost of George Kirk. Jim however, couldn’t escape George Kirk.

It wasn’t just his Mom and him who saw the ghost of George Kirk looking out from little Jim’s eyes. His brother Sam saw it too, and it left his eyes hard and sharp when they turned in Jim’s direction. Sam never forgave him for their Mom abandoning him to their new stepfather, Frank, and a house full of ghosts. It had left Jim trapped in the old farmhouse with a stepfather who loathed him for running his new wife off, and for being smarter than Frank and Sam could ever hope to be. Jim knew he was smart, smarter than Frank, smarter than Sam, and smarter than his classmates and teachers. Jim was just too smart for any of them to keep up with and that on top of everything else only seemed to make them hate him even more. Eventually Sam, like their Mom, had abandoned Jim as well. Left Jim to a man who hated him, who hit him and brow beat him. He left Jim.

So Jim had watched his brother leave, watched him walk off into the distance, Frank yelling at Sam’s fleeing back and some tiny hopeful part of Jim died.

Jim had stood there and turned like a machine and followed Frank’s shrill voice. He bowed his head and went to his Dad’s, to George Kirk’s car, the car Frank claimed as his, and stared. The car…the car that was as much a symbol of the ghost of George Kirk as Jim was, the car that was a visible source of Frank’s rage, stared back and Jim felt that dead piece of his soul crumble. Before he had known it he had jumped behind the wheel and sped off down the dirt roads, past his brother, past Riverside, past himself, until all that was behind him and only the open, gaping maw of the quarry and death’s waiting arms was ahead of him.

He had survived the rush of the car down the road, he had survived driving it off the edge of the quarry, he had survived that first rush of suicidal anger. He had survived Frank pressing charges, he had survived his Mother not caring enough to come home or even call, and he had survived being shipped off to Tarsus IV.

'If I could survive that,' he told himself, 'I can survive this little fuck-up in the path of life.'

Frank didn’t say anything to Jim as he parked the car and stormed into the house. He just made a be-line for the phone in the kitchen. Jim closed the door behind him and headed up to his room, his mind still lost in painful thoughts of the past. He dropped his backpack on the floor and flopped down on the bottom bunk of the bunk-bed. Even with his door closed he could hear Franks heavy footsteps on the floor below and the sound of his voice screaming at Winona Kirk over the vidphone in the kitchen. Jim couldn't hear his. Mother's voice, but there was no mistaking the shrill, ear-bleeding sound of Frank's rage, even through the flooring and closed doors that separated Jim's room on the upper level and the kitchen on the floor below.

Long empty minutes passed where the only sound was Frank and Winona screaming at each other. Finally the screaming stopped. The sound of Frank’s heavy footsteps heading up the stairs and down the hall reverberated in Jim’s head. He closed his eyes and tried to work out why his life sucked so much, purposely ignoring the loud sounds of slamming drawers and cursing coming from Frank’s room across the hall. Too soon though, the sound of Franks angry footsteps leaving the master bedroom to cross the hall to Jim’s room filled the silence. The door to his room was flung open with enough force for the doorknob to leave a hole in the wall.

Jim didn’t look away from the bottom of the upper bunk.

Frank glared from the doorway. “You’re on your own now, genius. I ain’t staying here to watch you anymore,” Frank turned to leave, stopping just out of sight he called back, “She ain’t coming back for you, boy.”

Jim clenched his eyes closed even tighter. He knew she wasn’t. She hadn’t before and she never would. He had understood that long before Frank or Sam had. She didn’t need him and he didn’t need her. Hadn’t needed her for years.

Franks footsteps faded as did the sound of tires on the dirt driver. Frank had left and Jim was now truly, physically alone. It changed nothing.


* ~ * ~ * ~ *


After Frank had left Jim had slept. When he woke the sun was low in the sky and his stomach was growling voraciously. Getting up Jim headed down the stairs. The house had cooled down some. Flicking the buttons on the heating system he busted the temperature up to 72 degrees. Yawning he wandered through the hall, into the kitchen and out the back into the yard. The stars were just starting to appear in the darker areas of the sky and crickets had already started the sing.

It would be a beautiful night, he could already tell.

“Betsy,” Jim called out, voice gentle and coaxing.

A long, low moo echoed from the small pasture by the barn. Making his way through the grass, Jim headed towards Betsy the cow. Jim couldn’t help but smile as he hopped the fence to the pasture. Betsy was slowly making her way to him, stopping occasionally to eat some grass.

“Come on girl, time to get you in the barn.”

Betsy followed him through the yard and into the barn. Already she was pushing past him, eager to get into the warm, dry barn and be milked.


* ~ * ~ * ~ *


Same Time, Road Outside Riverside, Iowa


Amanda tried desperately not to curse, scream or pull her hair. She had convinced her husband it would be a good idea to take some time and drive around the US while they were on Earth. ‘And look what happens! The rental hovercraft dies in the middle of nowhere!’

“Perhaps it would be best if we followed this road to the nearest town, Mother.”

Amanda looked at her son and husband, both calmly standing with their hands behind their backs. Although they didn’t show it, she was sure they were both quite cold. They shouldn’t be to far from Riverside, so it was likely the best option to just walk and hope they came across someone.

“Yes, perhaps you’re right.” Amanda smiled at her son. “We are in prime farming land, so perhaps we will find someone home before we came to the city.”

“Of course, Mother.”

The three of them were likely an odd sight to see walking down a deserted road. She would laugh if the increasing cold wasn’t a danger to the health of her husband and son.

Nearly an hour had passed before she spotted lights in the distance. A farm house.

Amanda picked up her pace, hurrying up the dirt road towards the house. The sun was just beginning to sink below smartly on the door, calling out, “Hello? Is anyone home?”

No voice answered back and nothing moved inside the house.

“Someone should be home,” Amanda muttered.

“Perhaps they are in that building,” Spock said, pointing across the yard to the old wooden barn, where a soft yellow light could be seen peaking out from under the door.

“Yes, that is a good idea, Spock. Perhaps they are just in the barn.” Amanda moved around her son and followed the porch along the side of the house to another set of steps dropping off in the yard directly across from the barn.

It was a short walk to the barn and Amanda couldn’t help but notice that there were places on both the house and barn that looked to have had a recent patch job. There were even more spots that looked like they were still waiting to be fixed. ‘Perhaps,’ Amanda though, ‘It is a fixer-upper?’

Amanda gently slide the smaller barn door open, stepping into the warm glow of the lights. She noticed fresh bailed hay in one corner across from a couple empty stalls. There were several more stalls along the same wall as the hay bails. The doors of the stalls were closed and more supplies could just be seen inside the stalls through the open upper hatches in the stall doors. As she peered into the stalls the soft sound of someone humming became clearer. She continued further into the barn and realized that the humming was coming from the stall directly next to the bails of hay.

Amanda approached quietly, enjoying the soft sound of the hummed song. Inside the stall was a teenage boy, his hair a rich honey blond, cropped short and slightly messy. He was dressed in a pair of worn, faded jeans and a blue sweatshirt, sleeves drawn up to his elbows. His face was hidden from view as he leaned in towards the cows side as he steadily milked the animal.

“If I might inquire –“ Spock’s soft voice was loud in the near silence, but still startled the boy into falling off his stool.

Blinking wide blue eyes, the boy stared up at them.

“Jeeesus! You startled me.”

Spock blinked owlishly at the human youth. “That was not my intention.”

“Yeah, yeah,” the boy sighed and stood up, brushing straw from the back of his legs. “Can I help you?”

Amanda smiled, “Our car broke down up the road a ways. Would you mind, terribly, if we used your phone to call for a tow?”

“Go ahead, but they won’t come for it until the morning.” The boy patted the cow's side and looked them over.

“Really,” sighed Amanda, her hopes of salvaging their family vacation dwindling.

“Yeah. Phil Blockman has been the town drunk since his wife died. By this time of night he’s likely ten sheets to the wind.” The boy reached down and lifted the metal pail full of warm milk and moved to exit the stall, latching it securely behind him. “You can stay here tonight if you’d like.”

“It won’t be any trouble?”

“Nah,” the boy waved it off. “It'll be nice to have some company.”

Amanda looked at the boy startled. “Are you here alone?”

“Yeah.” The boy shrugged and moved past Spock and Sarek towards the door in the back wall. The door opened, blasting them with a chilling air. The boy stepped inside, ignoring the cold and poured the milk into the machine filling the room. He quickly set the empty pail down and began flipping a few switches, stetting the machine in motion. “This’ll just take a sec,” he called out to them.

Sure enough a moment later the boy stepped out of the room, closing the door. In one hand was an old fashioned glass bottle full of milk, in the other was the now empty pail. The boy set the pail down next to the cows stall before turning back to them. “Alright, let’s get you guys inside.” He looked over Spock and Sarek again. “They’re starting to look like popsicles.”

The boy checked the latch on the stall one last time before turning and waving them to follow him out of the barn.

He flipped the lights down low and ushered them out the barn door. The doors creaked slightly as he closed them and suddenly they found themselves in the dark of night with only the light of the stars and the soft glow of the lights shinning through the farmhouse windows.

“My name’s Jim, by the way.”

Amanda looked away from the stars and back to Jim. “I’m Amanda, this is my husband Sarek and our son, Spock.”

Jim nodded politely to the two Vulcans. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

It didn’t take long before they had once again crossed the yard to the house. Jim lead them up onto the porch and to the back door opening into a warmly lit kitchen. Amanda paused to take in the sight of a human kitchen, a sight that brought back many memories of her childhood home.

Jim moved to the fridge, placing the bottle of milk inside. “Are you lot hungry? There’s some chicken pot pie left over from dinner yesterday.”

Sarek turned to look at the boy, not much younger than his son. “Vulcan’s do not consume meat.”

Jim turned from the fridge and began to open cupboards, looking through them. “I can find something without meat if you’d like? I have a bunch of fresh vegetables from the garden?”

“That is quite alright. I do not require sustenance at this time,” Sarek’s voice was even and soft. Jim looked over at Spock, who merely nodded his agreement.

“Ok,” Jim looked over to Amanda, “Would you like anything ma’am?”

“Would you happen to have some tea?”

“Yeah.” Jim moved to the counter under the shelves, pulling out a large metal tin from beside the toaster. “Is Huckleberry Tea okay?”

“That would be lovely, thank you.”

Jim turned away from them and went about preparing the tea. Amanda sat down at the kitchen table, Sarek and Spock quietly joining her in watching the youth moving about. She could see a hint of fascination in Spock's eyes as he watched Jim pull out an old metal kettle, filling it with purified water from the tap.

“You and Mr. Sarek can have the guest room her on the ground floor for the night," Jim calmly stated as he set the kettle on the stove, turning the knobs to start the burner. "Spock can have my brother’s bed.”

Amanda smiled gently as Jim leaned against the counter across from the stove. “Where are the rest of your family, Jim?”

Jim grimaced and turned away, using the need to gather a couple if the china tea cups from the counter to delay his answer. After a long moment of silence broken only by the light clatter of china and the shrill whistle of the kettle, Jim finally turned to face them again, setting a cup down in front of Sarek, Spock, and herself. “Mom’s off in space somewhere with Starfleet, has been for years now." Pulling the kettle off the stove Jim moved back to the table to sit in the empty chair beside Spock. "I don’t know where my older brother is, he ran away awhile back.”

Amanda did her best to hide the wince that wanted to take her over as Jim mixed the fragrant smelling tea into the kettle to steep. “And your father? Surely he’s here somewhere.”

Jim’s face shut down all at once, all emotion vanishing until Amanda was sure she was looking at a Vulcan and not a human boy.

“He died the day I was born.”

Amanda’s hand covered her mouth and the small gasp that escaped her. “God, Jim! I’m sorry.”

Jim looked away and shrugged. “It’s okay. You can’t miss what you never had.” Jim stood and turned to leave the kitchen. “I’ll go get your rooms ready for you.”

Amanda just nodded, unsure how to react to the disturbing news of this nice young man’s family life.

“Do you require assistance?”

Amanda nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of Spock's voice. She turned to look at her son, who had stood up from the table and was now watching Jim with a blank expression that Amanda knew was hiding his worry for the other boy. Her Spock had always been sensitive to the emotions of others despite his, and his father's, often times over-the-top need to be even more Vulcan than his peers.

Jim seemed to blink for a moment, startled, before a small smile slide across his features. “Sure. That’d be nice.”


* ~ * ~ * ~ *


Spock followed Jim up the stairs. The hallway was narrow and the walls were lined with numerous framed images of people who must have been family or ancestors of Jim’s family. Many had similar physical traits as Jim did. As they reached the top of the stairs and the landing spread into a wider hallway, part of which turned backwards towards the other half of the house, Spock noticed one photo of a blond woman holding a baby, a blond haired man who looked a great deal like Jim, standing at her shoulder. There was another similar picture next to it, where the baby was now a small child standing next to his sitting Mother, whose belly was heavy with child. The blond man was there again, this time smiling down at his wife and child. This picture was the last on the wall and Spock was left wondering why another picture showing baby Jim was not there. In fact, Spock realized very quickly, there were no pictures anywhere on the wall that he could see Jim in.

“I remind her too much of my Dad.”

Spock turned to look at Jim, who was looking at that last photo of the seemingly happy family, his blue eyes dark with some emotion that Spock didn’t understand.

“That’s why I’m not in the pictures. You were wondering, right?”

Spock inclined his head towards Jim.

“She doesn’t see me when she looks at me. She sees him and everything that could have been,” the words were soft. Too soft for a human to have heard. Spock was sure Jim had not meant for him to hear.

Jim turned away from the picture and went down the hall, entering the room on the left side. Spock followed Jim into the room, taking in the unfamiliar atmosphere of a human bedroom. The room was small, but not as horribly cramped as the room on the space transport had been. To the left of the doorway was a wall with two other doors. Across from the doorway he stood in was a large window looking out into the yard. Beneath the window was an old wooden desk, it’s surface cracked and worn in places. To the left of the desk was a wooden bookshelf filled to overflowing with paperback books, some of which he noticed looked to have been written by authors who were not human. To the right of the desk, against the wall, was a set of bunk beds, the heads of which rested against the wall next to the window. Spock was not overly surprised that the beds were both neatly made, although the bottom bunk was slightly rumpled as if someone had been laying on top of the blankets.

As Spock took it all in, Jim moved through the room, nervously straightening anything that might be slightly out of place.

“This is your sleeping quarter,” inquired Spock.

“Yeah,” Jim gave Spock a small smile. “Would you rather have the top or bottom bunk?”

“I do not have a preference.”

“Okaaay,” Jim looked at Spock and then back to the bed, “You can have the bottom, that way if you get up in the night you aren’t likely to fall out of the bed.” Jim moved over to the bed and began to pull off the blankets and sheets. “Would you mind getting the blue sheets out of the hallway closet for me?”

“Affirmative, Jim. I will gather them.”

Spock stepped out of the room. There was a door directly across the hall, most likely another bedroom. There was another door to his left, at the very end of the hall. As the door was too skinny to lead into another room, Spock surmised that it was logical that it was the hallway closet Jim had mentioned.

Sure enough, upon opening it Spock was greeted with the sight of several shelves full of household linens and towels. Carefully shifting the linens he located the blue sheets Jim had requested. Spock quietly removed them from the pile and closed the door. As he re-entered the bedroom he noted that Jim had already stripped the bed of it’s previous linens, which were piled up next to the desk. The clean blankets were folded and sitting on the desk top.

Jim thanked him and the two of them set about making up the bed. Jim seemed worried that there weren’t enough blankets and kept asking Spock if he was sure this amount would keep him warm enough. Spock found himself repeatedly stating that he would be at an acceptable temperature and if that ended up being incorrect he would simply request another blanket at that time. Jim had sighed, but relented. Altogether, it took approximately seven minutes and thirty-four seconds.

Jim gathered up the dirty linens and carried them into a bathroom that was behind one of the two doors on the bedrooms left wall. Looking through the doorway Spock noted the bathroom was as clean and orderly as the bedroom had been. The tiles were a mixture of cream and blue tones. He thought the cream tones more a product of age rather than a design choice. There was a white ceramic sink with a tan whicker basket between it and the wall. It was this basket in which Jim placed the linen.

“Okay, we have you all set. Now the guest room downstairs already has clean sheets, but we should get them some towels.” Jim gave Spock a smile. “Do you think they would rather stay downstairs, it only has a half-bath? I mean I could clean up the Master,” Jim waved his hand at the doorway across the hall, “If they would rather be near you?”

“I do not know their preference. Although, either room would be acceptable as a sleep space.”

“Okay.” Jim moved across the hall and looked into the Master bedroom. “Frank left it a pretty big mess, so maybe the guest room would be best. It’ll take to long to clean it.”

“That would be acceptable. Mother would object to you going out of your way for us if there is already an acceptable space available.”

Jim just looked Spock over, shaking his head. He’d never met anyone who used the word ‘acceptable’ so often, not that Spock really seemed to talk all that much. Still, it was kind of cute.

“Jim, might I inquire as to who Frank is?”

Jim froze, the muscles along his shoulders tightening. “Frank is…was my step-dad.” Jim left the bedroom and quickly moved to the hall closet, grabbing a couple of towels. Without looking at Spock, Jim turned and headed back down the stairs. “All of you can use the shower in my bathroom for now.”

Spock, trailing behind, placed his hand lightly on Jim’s shoulder. “My query has upset you. I meant no insult.”

Jim closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, before turning to look at Spock. “It’s okay, Spock. You didn’t insult me. Frank and I…we just don’t get along.”

Spock nodded slowly. “Very well. I shall refrain from mentioning him again.”

Jim gave a soft chuckle and gave Spock’s hand a gentle squeeze. His smile warmer, Jim turned and headed back down the stairs.

Spock found himself momentarily frozen, his gaze locked on the hand Jim had touched. His skin felt super heated, a thrilling electric tingle shooting through his body. Jim had felt…he had felt perfect.

Spock looked back down the stairs and noticed Jim had stopped again and seemed to be working some primitive wall panel. There was a sudden metallic thump followed by a short while before quiet resumed. Spock moved to catch up with Jim as he moved away from the panel and back to the kitchen.


* ~ * ~ * ~ *


“I’ve got the heat pushed up to 85 degrees,” Jim said looking carefully at Sarek never quiet meeting his eyes. “Will that be warm enough?”

Sarek watched the young human for a moment before nodding. “That will be acceptable.”

“Ok.” For a moment Jim seemed a bit uncertain. It was brief though and Spock began to wonder if it hadn’t just been a figment of his human half’s imagination.

“The guest room on this floor is clean and ready for you. If you’d like a hot shower I have some clean towels and you are welcome to use the shower attached to my room.”

“That would be lovely, thank you.” Amanda smiled up at Jim, setting her cup back down.

Jim shrugged and smiled at Amanda. “If you leave your cloths out I the hall I can wash and dry them for you. I can leave some clean pajamas in the bathroom for you as well if you'd like?”

“You’re very kind.”

“It’s no problem, Ma’am.”

Amanda stood and went to pick up the empty tea cups. Jim’s hand softly touching hers halted her movement.

“Don’t worry about those. You’re a guest, I can take care of that.”

Amanda found herself smiling again. There was something about this young man, something that left her smiling and feeling very…Motherly. Perhaps it was the knowledge that he didn’t seem to have any family, or perhaps it was the almost shy kindness he was showing. There was nothing forced about it, it was simply as if he couldn’t understand why he shouldn’t allow them to come into his house when he didn’t know them from Adam. “Thank you, Jim.” Amanda smiled and patted the boys hand. “You mentioned a warm shower.”

“Yeah. I’ll show you the way.”

Sarek stood, the move slow but graceful. His hand reached out towards Amanda, two fingers extended. Jim removed his hand from her arm and watched as Amanda met Sarek’s two fingers with two of her own. A soft smile spread across her face as their fingers touched.

There was something almost breath taking about the sight. God, but Jim wanted that. He wanted someone, anyone, to look at him like that. Like he was their sun, their world, their heart. He wanted that look of unconditional love bestowed upon him, even just once.

Jim turned away from the almost intimate sight of the two and turned to lead them out of the kitchen, past the stairs and towards the front of the house. He stopped at the second door on the left side of the hall and looked at the three strangers. “This is the guest room and the half bath is just over there across the hall. I’ll leave a small light on inside the bathroom for you tonight.”

Sarek and Amanda nodded and stepped into the room. Sarek set down the travel case he had been carrying with him while Amanda took in the room.

It was fairly large for a guest room. The floors, although slightly worn, were still hardwood and the walls looked to have been recently painted a soft buttery yellow. There was a large window looking out at the front yard. The bed was an old brass queen covered in pillows and a handmade patchwork quilt. Overall it was very home-y.

“I can get you some extra blankets if you need.”

“That’s quite alright. I am sure we’ll be alright.” Amanda turned to smile at Jim and couldn’t help but smile wider at the sight of her son standing at Jim’s side. It was strange but looking at them next to each other, it was like they belonged there.

There was a wide, pleased smile on Jim’s face. “I’ll show you upstairs. The only clean shower is the one attached to my room.” Here Jim winced slightly. “It’ll take maybe twenty minutes to get the shower in the other room clean.”

Amanda patted his shoulder as she stepped past him, out of the room. “That’s alright. We can take turns.”

Jim gave her a small smile and lead them upstairs and into his room. Like Spock had, Amanda found herself looking at the photos and becoming upset that Jim was not in any of them as anything more than a bump in his Mother’s belly. Jim’s room was clean and as neat as her own sons, Amanda was pleased to note.

Jim set the towels on the lid of the hamper in the bathrooms and stepped back out of the room. “I can get you one of my Mother’s nightgowns, and if you don’t mind Mr. Sarek, you can use some of my winter pajamas.”

Sarek gave Jim a small nod and watched as the human boy moved around his son to get into a set of drawers at the far side of the room. Jim pulled open the bottom drawer and took out two pairs of flannel pajamas. A dark blue set was placed on the bottom bunk of the bed and the second pair, a rich forest green, was brought to Sarek.

“These are the longest ones I have. Don’t know how well they’ll fit though.”

Sarek nodded in response and watched the boy quickly disappear into the hallway. Amanda’s voice had Sarek turning to face her.

“He seems like a nice boy. It worries me though that he doesn’t have any family here with him.”

“Indeed,” Sarek replied, voice even. It was a worrying fact. Jim did not appear to be an adult yet by human standards and as such should still be under his parents care. Sarek may not have said anything but he too had noticed all the little signs pointing to this not being a healthy, functioning family. It would be logical to inform a figure of authority that Jim had been abandoned, so that the boy could receive the proper care.

Amanda smiled, “Why don’t you take the first shower and I’ll go next. Spock can take one once we’re done.”

“That is acceptable.”

“I hope these’ll fit you okay, Ma’am,” said Jim as he came back into he room. “My Mother didn’t exactly leave a big selection here.”

“I’m sure they will be fine.”

“Right, well…I’ll just be downstairs if you need me.” Jim turned and grabbed a backpack from the floor by the door and headed back downstairs.