Chapter 1: Epilogue #2, Hammock Is A Funny Word If You Think About It
Set several years after the main events of "Only Good for Legends."
It's hot. Indian summer, Mom calls it. Jim calls it a bitch and a half -- it's late September but it feels like mid-August, everything sweaty and sticky.
It does have its advantages -- Spock takes to wandering around the farm in clothes that would get him arrested for indecency anywhere else, for one thing. For another, when noon comes around Jim can knock off work and ride home on his bike and feel cool for the first time all day, the wind slipping through his hair and inside his jacket.
And for another, he comes home to this.
"Mmm?" Spock replies, or rather doesn't reply.
Jim can't help grinning. Spock is swinging gently on the hammock, his hat tipped low on his head, reading. He's not wearing anything except his hat and a pair of very worn sweatpants which Jim's pretty sure belong to him. It's an absurd and gorgeous picture. "I asked what you were reading," he says, pulling off his jacket and dumping it on the ground. He tries to calculate how best to get into the hammock without tipping anybody over into the dirt.
"A collection of ancient Greek poetry," Spock answers, turning a page. "And I am not confident that this hammock has the structural capability to support both of us."
"Hey, I set this up. It's safe as houses," Jim says. Any second thoughts he might've had are pushed aside and he carefully puts one knee on the hammock, his hand on Spock's shoulder to balance him.
Spock, for his part, doesn't move, but Jim can feel the tension under his hand, braced for disaster. He laughs and manages to tumble into Spock's side without anything worse than a soft grunt as they collide.
"See? No problem."
"Indeed. It is perhaps fortunate that I am not in possession of a spleen, since I believe you would have ruptured it just now."
"You're so melodramatic. Let me read."
"This is your book. One would assume you would have had ample time to--"
"Spock, my dad had like ten thousand books, no way could I read all of them in a million years. Come on, give it up," he says, reaching for the book still in Spock's right hand, dangling over the side of the hammock.
With a sigh that Jim wouldn't have noticed if he weren't flush up against him -- and that's pretty nice -- Spock surrenders. It's an old book, the spine crackling in his hands as he smooths a hand over the open page. He flinches and tries to hold it more delicately, and realizes--
"This isn't Standard," he announces.
"I was aware. It is written in ancient Greek. It appears that your father either knew the language or simply thought the binding was attractive."
"There's a joke there about judging books by their cover, but I can't figure it out," Jim says. Spock laughs, or as close to laughing as he can, a kind of cadenced exhale. "So what does it say? Can you read this? Translate it for me." Jim looks up from his shoulder, almost too close to really see Spock's expression, but it's definitely a smile, amused and affectionate.
"It is called Six Fragments for Atthis," Spock replies, taking the book back. "It is the collected pieces of what we may assume is a larger poem written by the poet Sappho approximately twenty-eight hundred years ago."
"What's Atthis?" Jim asks, shifting to get comfortable. He manages to wrap himself around Spock pretty effectively, knocking his hat off. Spock sighs but doesn't try to get it back.
"Atthis was Sappho's lover. Again a conjecture, but a fairly safe one, I believe." Spock begins to read.
"I loved you, Atthis, years ago,
when my youth was still all flowers
and sighs, and you -- you seemed to me
such a small ungainly girl--"
"Are you calling me ungainly?" Jim demands.
"This is not a poem about you, Jim," Spock chastises him mildly. Jim subsides, resting his cheek on Spock's shoulder again, drowsy with warmth and the gentle swing of the hammock. Spock continues.
"Can you forget what happened before?"
"Before what?" Jim is basically just being an asshole now, but it's fun to scratch his nails lightly through Spock's chest hair and watch Spock wrestle between irritation and pleasure.
"If so, then I shall remind you how, while lying
beside me, you wove a garland of crocuses
which I then braided into strands of your hair.
And once, when you'd plaited a double necklace
from a hundred blooms, I tied it around
the swanning, sun-licked ring of your neck."
Spock's voice is different when he's reading something aloud -- slower and deeper, like his RPMs have been slowed down about twenty-five percent -- and Jim's having trouble concentrating on the words when the feel of them is sending shivers down his spine. His hand drifts down Spock's stomach and Spock shifts under him, but keeps reading.
"And on more than one occasion (there were two
of them, to be exact), while I looked on, too
silent with adoration to say your name,
you glazed your breasts and arms with oil.
No holy place existed without us then,
no woodland, no dance, no sound."
Spock's arm is curled around his shoulders while the other hand holds the book; just as Jim's about to turn and kiss him, he feels Spock's first and middle finger tracing around the shell of his ear. It's something he's only started doing after he went to visit the colony last year -- Jim calls it Vulcan kissing and loves it almost as much as that thing Spock can do with his tongue. Jim kisses the nearest skin he can reach, right under Spock's chin. He's rewarded with a hitch in Spock's breathing and a twitch of his hips. If he looks down, he'll see that Spock is getting hard -- from the way Jim is touching him, from the way he's stroking Jim's ear, from the poem, from the heat, who knows.
"Beyond all hope, I prayed those timeless
days we spent might be made twice as long."
Jim gives into temptation -- willpower is overrated, he feels -- and slides his hand under the waistband of Spock's pants. Spock's whole body shivers, and Jim twists his neck around to look at his face. Spock's got his eyes closed and he's breathing heavier, and when Jim licks along the pulse in his neck he can feel it practically vibrating against his tongue.
"Jim," Spock whispers. "I--"
"Mmm," Jim replies. He wraps his hand firmly around Spock's dick and sets the rhythm to the sway of the hammock, lazy and sweet.
"I prayed one word," Spock groans, thrusting harder into Jim's hand, clutching the book like it's some sort of lifeline.
"Come on," Jim urges, his thumb slicking over the head and squeezing the shaft. "Come on, yeah, that's it." Spock is already close, worked up like he's been, and it'll take another minute, tops, before he's coming. Jim tightens his grip and tries not to gloat, but it's hard not to revel in this one thing he can do to make Spock fall apart, every time. He's jealous about it, he'll admit, resentful that everything about him is laid open while Jim has to rely on Spock's clumsy words, but in these moments at least, he's as powerful as any telepath in the galaxy.
"I want," Spock says, and Jim can't tell if Spock's still reciting or what.
"Me, too," he mutters into the hinge of his jaw, and bites down right where it always makes Spock lose it a little, and Spock is gone, coming with a low, pleased sigh. Jim laughs and keeps his hand where it is, patient for the moment even though his own cock is hard and aching against Spock's hip. "Nice poem," he says, and Spock slits open his eyes, practically purring already. He raises the book again -- bastard didn't even lose his place -- and finishes.
"Someone, I tell you, will remember us,
even in another time."
Chapter 2: Snippet #1, Hospitals Give Him The Jumps
Set during the events of Chapter Two of "Only Good for Legends."
Jim slips a little as his boots try to navigate the smooth tile of the hospital corridor. Dr. Kemblowski, Dr. Kemblowski - the red-headed nurse had told him to find a Dr. Kemblowski, that he'd be able to sort out the question of visitation.
So he's very, very careful to *avoid* anyone who even looks like they might be a Dr. Kemblowski, and ducks into Spock's room without having to deal with all the forms and questionnaires and clipboards. He hates clipboards.
He expects, when he closes the door softly behind him, to turn around and see Spock sitting up in bed, frowning, or maybe that strange smile that he has, the one that's almost completely contained in his eyes. Jim's a little surprised that Spock hasn't said anything yet -
Until he does turn around, and sees Spock on the gurney.
There's no oxygen mask, or even breathing tubes - he looks almost like he's sleeping. If it weren't for the machines around him. If it weren't for the black and green bruises that crowd every uncovered inch of skin, the cuts that are bandaged or stiched or gelled together. If it weren't for the fact that Spock isn't waking up.
He doesn't move away from the door for long moments - just stands there, tense, his hands balled up at his sides. He'd known the accident was bad - Hilda Curie, sniffling on the comm system, said, "It looked like the hand of God himself came and swatted his vee out of the sky" - but there's something jarring about seeing it. He looks like a doll. Like a corpse.
But the terrifying array of machines are still doing their thing, beeping quietly to themselves without spikes or long, droning tones that indicate a stopped heart. No one has said he's in bad shape; it's just a question of time.
Chapter 3: Snippet #2: Jim Is A Super Awesome Nurse
Set during the events of Chapter Two of "Only Good for Legends."
Spock's shoes make a thunking sound as they hit the floor, and Jim turns around to see him out cold on the couch, one arm curled under his head. Jim's seen this before, Spock asleep (or passed out or whatever) in the upstairs guest room after their adventures in inebriation, but it's still distracting. Jim holds the blanket in his fists for a second and just watches him.
He makes himself move, because Spock looks cold and kind of curled in on himself and Watson is glaring at him from the foot of the couch like Jim is a bad mom or something. Spock makes this weird noise when Jim covers him up, kind of like a hum or a purr. It rumbles in his chest and when Jim smooths the blanket he can feel it vibrating under his fingers, soft and low.
He forgets, most of the time, that Spock is partially alien. Not because he thinks of Spock as human, but because he forgets Spock has categories - that he's half-Vulcan, that he's a detective, that he's a workaholic, that he's half an orphan with a past that he won't talk about and Jim can't bring himself to look up. Thinking back, Jim can only remember Spock being something that didn't fit neatly anywhere.
Mom comms him a few hours later, asking about Gregson's car out in the garage. Jim winces pre-emptively.
"Uh, haven't gotten around to it," he says.
He can hear the scowl on the other end. "Jimmy."
"I got sidetracked," Jim argues.
"Oh, God," she sighs, "I thought you were done making regrettable life choices."
"It's not that."
"Then what? Shipyards making you stay for extra shifts? You need me to call Pla'ot again, tell him to stop riding you?"
"Wow, no, that needs to not ever happen again," Jim says, because he still has flashbacks of his boss locking himself in the bathroom after Mom had come down the shipyards and reamed him over some safety issues that Jim had mentioned last month. Getting your mom to make some grownup cry like a bitch stopped being fun around the second grade.
"Then what? Gregson commed me just now, and I haven't heard from you in a few days--"
"Spock was in an accident," Jim says. It sounds like an admission, like when he had to tell her about driving Steve's car over the cliff when he was eleven. His stomach has that same hollow feeling right now. "I've been, uh, he's staying with me for a while."
Mom's quiet for a second. "Is he all right?" she asks. Her voice is softer than he's ever heard it.
"I think so. His vee's pretty much toast, though," he says. He knows he should smile when he says that, but he can't do it. "He's asleep in the new library right now. Hey, did you know Vulcans purr?"
Mom just sighs. "All right, I'm coming out there right now. Do you have anything for that poor kid to eat when he wakes up?"
Jim tries to think - his fridger has beer and some cheese, but probably not much else. He should just cave and get a replicator, but he hates them, hates the way chicken tastes like milk tastes like carrots. "Uh," he answers.
"God, just like your father," Mom sighs, and hangs up. Jim can't help the grin on his face; Mom doesn't talk about her first and best husband much, and it seems like Sam's called dibs on all of the good habits George Kirk Sr. had (good father, good husband, good at shutting up instead of talking back) but when she talks about how Jim's bad qualities remind her of his dad, it somehow sounds like affection.
She shows up, as threatened, with bags of groceries and the towtruck, because they're both facing the reality that Jim's not moving more than twenty feet from the new library in the next day or so.
"You bought me beets." Jim paws through the bags once they've been hauled to the kitchen. It's all depressingly healthy shit, weird vegetables that were probably grown in some greenhouse that specializes in Vulcan... whatever the hell these are. Jim holds up a bright purple donut-shaped object. "I wouldn't eat this if I were him."
"Yes you would, because if you were him you would be a decent person."
"If I were him I would've been raised by a hot cougar instead of a grouchy alcoholic." Jim barely flinches at the slap on the side of his head.
"I just looked in your fridger, Jimbo, don't talk to me about who's winning the drunkard award in this family."
"Didn't you bring anything for people who don't have four stomachs or whatever?" Jim asks. "Chicken soup, or something."
"I wasn't shopping for you, I was shopping for your husband. Besides, I bought you tomatoes and milk, quit whining."
"He's just a friend," Jim says reflexively, and Mom rolls her eyes.
"Jimmy, I've met your friends. Don't insult our good detective by calling him that. Besides," and her voice gets that softness again, "He hasn't spend millions of credits reinforcing anybody's home but yours." Embarrassed the way she always is after saying something nice, she clears her throat and says, "Now, you remember what those vids in school told you about sexually assaulting someone who was handicapped, right?"
"God, Mom," Jim groans, "Way to ruin the moment."
Mom just laughs, because at heart she's a pretty terrible person, and claps him on the shoulder. "Come on, help me hook up Gregson's car to the truck. It'll take five minutes, tops."
Spock sleeps like it's his job; Jim thinks he should wake him up and give him some food or something, but he doesn't get up the nerve until the next morning. Even then, he hesitates, not knowing how to actually do it. Mom would come into his and Sam's room and touch them on the cheek, gently, when she was on-planet and they were slow to get out of bed before school. It had always been the best part of his day, seeing her smile at him, smelling the reassuring motor oil that she could never quite scrub off. He leans over Spock, wondering if it still works like that.
But Spock almost fell over trying to get away from him yesterday, and Jim guesses there's uglier things in him than even he knew about, if that shocked expression was anything to go by. So instead he grabs Watson and puts him carefully on Spock's stomach.
Spock's eyes open, a little bit, and focus on him. He smiles and says, "Hello," sweet and quiet.
"Good morning, sunshine," Jim says, tilting his head a little to look at his face.
Spock's smile falters into something confused. "Is it - morning?"
"Yeah. I've got some breakfast, if you're hungry."
"Mmm," he replies, still a little blurry, and burrows a little deeper into the blankets. "I was dreaming about you. It was very nice."
It's probably really wrong to sit down on the coffee table and press for details. "Yeah?" Jim says, sitting down on the coffee table. "What was I doing?"
But Spock is already asleep again, that odd little rumble in his stomach louder this time. Jim gets to his feet and tries to remember where Mom put that fresh loaf of bread.
Chapter 4: Snippet #3, Sunday Morning, Shadows In The Shade
Set during the events of Chapter Four of "Only Good for Legends."
"So what do you think that one looks like?" Jim asks. They're sitting on a blanket in Alta Plaza Park -- or actually, Spock's sitting and Jim's sprawled out on the ground, his head cushioned by Spock's thigh. The remains of a early afternoon picnic are still scattered around them, but even though Jim's got a dozen assignments to finish and Spock's got a few billion forms to fill out, neither of them are reaching for their PADDs just yet.
Spock glances up at the sky. "A cumulonimbus," he says, his face blank; but he sneaks a look down at Jim and one corner of his mouth twitches about a nanometer.
Jim glares up at him. "You already played Stupid Vulcan on me with the ants-on-a-log business earlier, no fair. Come on. What's it look like?"
"Which cloud are we appraising?" Spock asks, and follows the line of Jim's arm up to the sky. "It resembles a turkey."
"Score for Detective Spock," says Jim, shutting his eyes against the bright sun. There's a small rock digging into the side of his spine, but he can't make himself move; he feels drowsy and happy and if Spock would just scratch his head a little bit, life would be complete.
Spock jostles his knee.
"Hey," Jim protests.
"It would behoove you to stay awake," Spock tells him.
"It would behoove you to... shut up," Jim grumbles, shutting his eyes again. Spock jostles him again. "I'm awake, I'm awake. You know, I was a lot nicer to you this morning when I woke you up."
"Your method of waking me was, indeed, much more pleasant," Spock agrees. "However you should finish your work and allow me to finish mine; I agreed to this excursion today only because you said you wanted a different venue in which to complete your assignments this weekend."
"Only my eye," Jim mutters. "I'm meeting Pavel later, he's going to explain the engineering problems using really small words, eventually I'll understand them."
Spock's eyebrows are even more disapproving from this angle. "You would do well to attempt to master them yourself, rather than relying on a sixteen-year-old."
Jim smiles up at him. "Well, I'm seeing this guy who's pretty smart. I'll bet he could figure out nanotech engineering if he really loved me."
"I do not believe I could love anyone enough to learn nanotech engineering."
"Hmm. Maybe I should trade up, then. Find myself someone a little more useful."
Spock moves his leg so that Jim's head thumps down onto the blanket. "That would be unwise."
"Ow. Fine," Jim sighs, and reaches for his PADD. He lifts his head again and, after a moment, Spock moves his leg back into position. Jim keeps his eyes on his work, but feels around for Spock's free hand and brings it to rest on his chest, lacing their fingers together.