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We're Just A Couple Animals

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Jim bit his lip as he hurried along the corridor. This was the fourth time this week that he was going to be late for the bus that he’s supposed to ride home on and he was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to get to the bus stop in time. It wasn’t actually his fault that he was going to be late, he had that asshole Giotto to thank for that, but his bus driver didn’t care about why he was late. Yesterday, that crotchety old man had told him that if he was late again he could just go ahead and walk home cause he wasn’t going to wait for him.

He hadn’t even had time to stop by his locker and grab the PADDs that he kept all of his textbooks on and he had been planning on spending the weekend reading ahead for a few of his advanced classes. He rushed around the corner, hoping beyond hope that maybe his bus driver wasn’t actually such an asshole that he would leave a student behind.

But of course fate decided to shit on him once again because the bus was gone when he got to the bus stop.

“Darn it.” Jim sighed dejectedly as he slumped down onto the hard bench that was on the sidewalk. At least the bus stop had an overhang over the bench so he wouldn’t get soaked if the forecast for rain was true. “I hope mom actually picks up her comm for once.”

He pulled out the small comm unit that his parents had given him at the start of the school year and quickly dialed his mother's code. The comm beeped to let him know that the call had gone straight to a recorded message seconds before he heard his mother's voice saying that she couldn’t come to the comm and to leave her a message. He groaned softly and waited for the beep to signal the comm was recording before he started talking. “Hey Mom, I missed the bus again...I hope you get this message soon so that you can come pick me up. Love you.”

He slid the comm unit back into his pocket, he let his head fall back against the bench’s backrest and stared out at the cloudy San Francisco sky. When he realized that his mother wasn’t going to call him back in the next few minutes, he glanced around the parking lot in front of him. The only cars that he could see were the faculty and teacher’s cars, though even if he had seen a student's car it wasn’t like he would know them since none of his few friends had drivers licenses. He groaned and rested his head on his hands for a few moments before grabbing his backpack and slinging it onto his shoulders.

His mom wouldn’t be here for thirty minutes at the very least and even then that was only if she got his message immediately after he hung up, so he might as well use the time to go get his PADDs from his locker. Jim slowly walked through the hall of the school, his locker was on the other side of the school near some of the advanced science classes.

“This place is kind of creepy without anyone in it.” Jim murmured softly to himself as he input his locker code. He grabbed the PADD that had all of his AP Physics texts on it as well as the PADD that he kept his xenolinguistics class work on. “At least I’ve got my stuff now.” Jim said as he turned around to start walking back to the exit to wait for his mother to hopefully come pick him up this time.

“James?” He barely managed to hold back a scream as he whirled around to see one of his teachers stepping out of a classroom down the hall. He held a hand to his chest like that was going to slow his heart rate down.

“Professor Sarek! You scared me!” Jim let out a nervous laugh.

The tall Vulcan gave Jim a calculating look. “My apologies. May I ask what you are still doing in the halls? The last bell rang approximately 43 minutes ago.”

Jim fidgeted with the straps of his backpack and glanced down at his shoes. “I, uh, I missed the bus that takes me home, Professor.”

“I see. Have you contacted your parents so that they may arrive to take you home?” Sarek asked as he waved for Jim to walk alongside of him.

“I called my mom but she didn’t pick up the comm and I don’t know if she got the message.” He said quickly as he sped up his pace to keep up with his teachers long strides. “I came back in to get my books and to give my mom time to get the message but I was about to just go ahead and start walking home.”

That made his teacher stop walking and turn to give him a scrutinizing look. “Unless I am mistaken your student file has your address as 13.6 miles away from this establishment.”

Jim blinked and avoided Sarek’s gaze as he tried to think of about how far his house was from the school. “Uh. Yeah, I think my house is about that far.”

“You intend to walk that distance?” The way his voice sounded Jim could tell that it was less of a question and more of a statement.

“Yeah, I’ve done it before.” Jim started hesitantly. He could feel his heart start to race at the scrutinizing gaze that was solely focused on him. He really liked Sarek as a teacher but he did scare him somewhat, especially when they weren’t in a classroom setting and Jim didn’t have any other students to deflect Sarek’s attention onto. “Most of the time my mom either doesn’t really get my messages at all or until after the janitors are getting ready to close the doors and even then she works about 30 minutes away so I would have to sit outside and wait for her if I didn’t just start walking.”

Sarek simply nodded at that statement, though his didn’t look like he was pleased by it, and gestured for Jim to start walking with him again. “You do realize that I can not, in good conscious, allow you to walk home by yourself.”

That shocked Jim enough that he completely stopped walking and just stared at his professor, whatever he had been expecting Sarek to say, it wasn’t that. Sarek had only taken a few steps past him before he seemed to realize that Jim had stopped walking with him. He turned to face Jim and gave him an inquisitive look as if he was silently asking why the teenager had stopped walking.

“Um, I mean, I can’t stay here.” He stuttered out. “I can walk home, Professor. Like I said I’ve done it before, I’ll just sit outside till my mom or dad comes home.”

“Sit outside?”

“My - my parents usually lock the doors when they leave for work and my key got…” Jim took a few seconds to try and think of an excuse so that he didn’t have to tell his teacher that Giotto had laughed at him and taken his key and his wallet when he was beating Jim up earlier. “Lost at some point during the week and I haven’t had the chance to get a new one.”

“When do you parents cease their jobs?”

Jim bit his lip and fiddled with his backpack straps. “They don’t usually get off until around 1800 hours or 2200 hours if they have to do overtime.”

Sarek once again waved for him to follow him. “As I have stated, I can not in good conscious allow you to walk home and spend the night outside, certainly not if the weather forecast was accurate.” He said cordially as he walked down the corridor that led out to the parking lot.

Jim let his head hang down, wanting to avoid whatever look might be on his teacher's face, he quickly trotted along after him. “I don’t really have anywhere else to go, Professor.”

“I will drive you to my home, once your mother returns your call and assures me that she will be home I will drive you to your home.” Sarek pushed open the door and held it open so that Jim could walk out in front of him. The Vulcan professor ushered Jim over to a black four door car and opened the passenger side door for him.

“You don’t need to do that, Professor!” He started to say but Sarek simply guided him to the door with a firm hand on his shoulder.

Once he was sat inside the car Sarek walked around to the driver's side door and started the car. They drove in silence for a few minutes, Jim was tempted to make some kind of small talk, just to fill the awkward silence. Though maybe it wasn’t awkward to Sarek since he was a Vulcan. He might not have really even noticed.

Jim wondered if Vulcan’s even do small talk or if they always just get straight to the point and then end the conversation. Every time he was about to start talking to fill the silence he forced himself to keep his mouth shut. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing and somehow offend his teacher, especially since said teacher was taking him back to his home and allowing him to stay there until his parents got home.

“How are your studies advancing, James?”

Jim jolted slightly in his seat at the sudden question. “They are going well!.” He answered, happy to have the silence broken without him being the one to break it. “I’m really enjoying the lessons you have for theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics. They are really intriguing and you have such an in depth teaching style.” He gushed before he could stop himself.

Once he had realized what all he had blabbed out he felt a blush start to creep up his neck and over his cheeks. It was no secret among him and his small group of friends that Professor Sarek was one of his favorite teachers and his classes were one of the few things that Jim actually looked forward to in school.

Sarek nodded but kept his gaze focused on the road in front of him. “I am gratified that you enjoy my class, you are an exceptional student.”

Jim beamed at the compliment and felt his blush increase tenfold. “Um - I - thanks you for the compliment, Sir! It - it really means a lot to me.”

Finally they were pulling down a long driveway that apparently led to Sarek’s house and what a house it was. It was an old blue and white victorian style house with a huge porch that went around the whole outside of the house. The house in itself was massive and off to the side was a rather large detached garage.

“Wow, you have a beautiful house.”

“Thank you. My wife assisted the architect in the design of the house as well as the interior decorations.”

Jim looked over the property in awe as he stepped out of the car and closed the door behind him. He trailed after Sarek like a baby duck wading after its mother and Sarek seemed content to allow him to do so as he led Jim to the front door.

“Sarek! Is that you?” A voice called from somewhere deeper in the house when they walked through the front door.

“Yes, Amanda.”

A dark haired woman walked out of what Jim assumed was the kitchen, judging by the apron around her waist, with a small smile on her face. She stopped mid step and looked surprised but also a bit delighted to see Jim standing next to her husband.

She walked right up to Jim and took a hold of his hand and gave it a firm shake. “I didn’t realize you were bringing someone home! You should be glad I went ahead and made a few extra portions of dinner, why didn’t you tell me we were having a guest over?” She asked as she swatted at Sarek’s chest goodnaturedly with a hand towel that had been tucked into the apron she was wearing.

“Oh, I’m not planning on eating anything.” Jim chimed in softly but his protest was immediately overrun by Amanda clapping her hands onto his shoulders and steering him into the room she just came out of.

The room turned out to not be the kitchen as he expected, instead the door led to a dining room, though at the other end of the room he could see the archway that went into the kitchen.

“Of course you are. I’m not going to let any guest of my home go hungry.” She waved his protests away and pulled out a chair for him to sit down on. “I hope you don’t mind vegetarian food, Honey.”

Jim didn’t answer, instead he sat at the table gaping at Sarek, who had taken the seat across from him. But it didn’t seem to matter whether he answered or not because Amanda didn’t wait and instead just sashayed back into the kitchen to get the food.

When she came back out she had a steaming casserole dish held in her hands and she set it down right in front of Jim. She pulled her oven mitts off and tossed them onto a side table that was directly behind the dining table. Amanda grabbed one of the serving spoons and dealt out a healthy portion onto both Sarek and Jim’s plates.

“Spock commed and said that he would be home in about 15 minutes and to just start eating without him.” Amanda said to Sarek as she served herself. Then she turned to face Jim. “So, I don’t think we managed to properly introduce ourselves. My name is Amanda, I’m Sarek’s wife, may I ask what your name is?”

“Its, uh, James Kirk. I prefer Jim, though.” He answered, his voice was quiet as he watched Amanda and Sarek begin to eat their dinner. “You have a very beautiful home, Professor Sarek told me that you helped design it?”

Amanda gave him a bright smile at that. “Yes, yes I did! I’m glad you think it’s beautiful.”

Jim smiled back at her and picked up his fork and took a bite of the casserole in front of him. He had never really had vegetarian food before this but if this is what it all tasted like then he might not need to eat meat ever again. The whole dish was full of warm earthy spices and vegetables. It was delicious and he didn’t even have half of the food gone before he was full.

“That was delicious.” Jim said sincerely as he set his fork down. He had to push the plate away before he ate more and made himself throw up. “You are a really good cook, Mrs…” As soon as he had said that he realized that he didn’t know what to actually call her.

He knew he could always call Sarek, Professor Sarek since he was his teacher and he wanted to be respectful to the Vulcan but he wasn’t sure what to call his wife. Amanda would be to informal but Sarek’s wife or Mrs. Sarek would probably be considered disrespectful. He was so caught up in berating himself for not knowing what to call her that he didn’t see that amused look that Amanda shot towards Sarek.

“You can just call me Amanda, Jim.”

Jim was about to reply about how informal calling her by her first name would be but he was interrupted by a deep voice announcing the arrival of what Jim could only guess was the ‘Spock’ that Amanda had said was coming. Amanda popped up out of her seat and went to go greet the owner of that voice. Jim could hear the sounds of hushed conversation outside the dining room but it wasn’t loud enough for Jim to be able to make out what they were saying.

“Has your mother attempted to contact you?”

Jim jolted in surprise at Sarek’s question, he had forgotten that Sarek was even there in his attempt to try and hear what Amanda and Spock were talking about. He quickly pulled his comm out of his backpack that he had set down next to his chair. When he looked at the screen he saw that there were no new messages stored and that there hadn’t even been an attempted call.

Jim put the comm back into his backpack with a sigh. “No, she hasn't. She probably doesn’t even have her comm on her at the moment.”

“What about your father?”

Jim shook his head at that. “He won’t answer either. He’s helping analyze and categorize some samples from one of the new planets that just joined the federation.”

Sarek seemed to be interested in that topic of conversation, if the slight raise of his eyebrow was any indication. “Your father is working on the flora samples from Vinuvia IV?”

“Yeah, since he’s not out on a starship at the moment he is at StarFleet Headquarters in the science department.”

“That is an exceptional opportunity, I have studied some of the research on that particular planet's flora and the experimental opportunities are significant.”

Jim smiled and nodded as he remembered how enthusiastic his dad had been when he was told that he was going to be working on the flora. “He was really excited when they told him he would be part of the team working with them. Last time I talked to him about he said that they might have significant medicinal properties if cultivated and used properly.”

“You are quite knowledgeable for someone so young.” Jim really needed to start paying attention to what was around him and not getting so caught up in his own mind because that deep voice speaking from right behind him had him actually yelping out loud in surprise.

An unnaturally warm hand was placed on his shoulder to keep him from jolting out of his chair. That hand moved to rub his shoulder lightly before sliding down the length of his arm as its owner moved around to sit next to Sarek and across from Jim.

“I did not mean to startle you.” The Vulcan said as he sat down. “I had assumed you were aware of my presence.”

“I heard you come in but I hadn’t realized you were in the room yet.” Jim said with a blush. “Im James Kirk, um, Jim, preferably.” He almost held out his hand for the Vulcan to shake but then he remembered that Vulcan’s don’t usually shake hands. “It’s nice to meet you.”

The Vulcan gave him a simple nod and a small quirk of his lips. “My name is Spock, it certainly is a pleasure to meet you as well.”

Amanda sat back down and smiled at Jim. “Spock is our son.” She said as she and Spock both picked up their forks and began to eat their food.

Jim was sitting still for almost a minute as everyone else either started eating or finished eating in Sarek’s case. Once Sarek was done his food however, he went and turned his attention back onto Jim.

He cordially set his utensils down. “You have told me that your father works for the science division of StarFleet, where does your mother work?”

“My mother also works in StarFleet.”

“Oh, does she also work in the science division?” Amanda chimed in.

Jim shook his head. “No, she works in engineering. She’s helping build one of the new starships that’ll be commissioned in a few years.”

“Your mother is working on the Enterprise?”

Jim felt his face start to flush as Spock’s attention once again turned to him. Jim used to think that having Sarek stare at him was intimidating but his professor had nothing on his sons intense gaze. “Yes, she’s - she’s one of the chief engineers working on it.”

Spock stared at him for a moment or two before going back to eating his food. But just those few seconds made Jim feel like he was being eaten alive.

He sat in his chair, trying desperately to keep himself from squirming at the silence that had fallen over the dining room. Spock and Amanda were still eating their food and Sarek seemed content to sit in the silence while they ate.

When Amanda was finally done she cleared the plates off the table, even though Jim had offered to help numerous times, she did however agree to let him help her wash the dishes. Though that may have been because he probably looked like he was about to cry when she kept refusing his help.

He hadn’t been trying to guilt trip her or anything, it was just that his parents had always taught him to help his host when he was a guest at someone's house and his eyes were so damn sensitive that even the slightest bit of emotional turmoil had his baby blues filling with tears.

But of course, as soon they had started washing the dishes someone commed Amanda wanting to talk about a project that she was working on. Spock had taken her place washing the dishes while Jim continued drying and setting them aside to be put away.

He was surprised that Sarek and Amanda didn’t have at least a dishwasher in their house, considering that Vulcan’s were all about advanced technology, but then again Vulcan’s also enjoyed simplicity and Amanda seemed like she was fond of a nostalgia sort of vibe.

Jim was tempted to strike up some small talk but much like when he was with Sarek, he wasn’t sure if Spock would welcome it. They had almost finished washing and drying all the dishes without either of them saying a word until Spock suddenly decided to break the silence.

“Do you attend StarFleet academy, Jim?”

The two of them may have been side by side for the last five minutes but Spock’s voice had him jumping nearly a foot in the air at the suddenness of it. His heart raced in his chest as he took a second to gather his thoughts before he responded. “Um, no. I, um, I go to the High School nearby, it has a lot of kids whose parents are in StarFleet.”

Spock’s eyebrow rose as he handed another dish over to Jim. “You are a highschooler?”

Jim nodded. “Yeah, I’m a senior but that’s only because I skipped my junior year.”

“I did not realize you were so young.”

Jim blushed but didn’t reply as Spock handed him another plate, their fingers touched and Jim felt a little shock run up his hand, up to his arm and straight through his chest. He gasped and Spock quickly pulled his own hand back.

His blush increased tenfold as he looked up and saw that Spock was staring down at him with those intense brown eyes. He cleared his throat nervously. “So, um, where do you go to school?”

“I attend StarFleet Academy.” Spock said as he finished washing the last dish and handed it over to him. “I am currently on the science track.”

“Oh, I’ve sat in on several different science track classes at the academy, they’re always really interesting.”

Spock’s eyebrow rose again. “I wasn’t aware the academy allowed high schoolers to attend classes.”

“Well my dad was a guest lecturer in the classes and I was with him those days so I just got to sit in the back of the classes and listen.”

The two of them walked back out into the dining room after they finished putting the dried dishes away. When they got back into the dining room, neither of Spock’s parents were in the room, but the two of them sat down at the table anyway. They talked for almost half an hour, with Spock asking question after question about Jim, his school, what he wanted to do once he graduated from high school. Jim managed to get in a few questions about Spock and the academy, about how he liked his classes and whether he was planning to be dirt side or go up into space once he was done with the academy.

“Perhaps next time you are at the academy we might arrange a time to meet at a mutually beneficial establishment.”

Jim could practically feel his heart stop in his chest. “You- You mean like hang out? Me with - with you?”

“Yes, unless you do not wish to?”

Jim fumbled to think of any words that he could possibly string together to make a coherent response. “No! I mean, no, I would love to hang out with you!” He babbled, his voice rising up a view octaves, betraying his anxiety.

“Um, I’ll give you my comm code, you can give me yours and then I can just comm you when I end up at the academy.” Jim said distractedly as he turned and reached into his backpack, fumbling around with his PADDs until he found his comm at the bottom of the bag. “Oh...my mom must have called me back while we were washing the dishes!”

“You should call her back.”

Jim flicked the comm open and quickly wrote down his comm code on a spare piece of paper. He slid it towards Spock while he typed in his mom’s comm code to call her back. “Mom! Hey, you don’t need to pick me up at the school...yeah I’m not at home either.”

Sarek and Amanda silently made their way back into the dining room, clearly noticing that Jim was talking to someone and not wanting to disturb him. They sat down at the table and Sarek gave Jim a slight nod of acknowledgment when he looked his way.

“Look, Professor Sarek saw me walking home from school and took me to his house. No, I’m fine mom, I promise. Yeah. Okay. Okay.” Jim redden as he realized that everyone was just staring at him while he tried to talk to his mother. “Listen, like I said, Professor Sarek took me back to his hou - um, Mom, Professor Sarek wants to talk to you…” Jim said as Sarek gestured for him to hand him the comm.

He waited to hear what his mother was saying and then he handed the comm over to Sarek.

Sarek and his mother talked back and forth at each other until Sarek finally told his mother that he intended to drive Jim home once he was sure someone would be available to let Jim into the house. Of course, that meant that Jim would have to explain to his mother as to why he didn’t have a key to let himself into the house later when she finally got home.

But none of that mattered since his mother had called him back to tell him that she and his father would be stuck working at StarFleet headquarters until 0300 hours the next morning and he should go ahead and walk home.

He could see the second that his mother conveyed that message over to Sarek because Sarek’s eyebrow furrowed. It was only a slight furrow, and if Jim hadn’t been staring Sarek down in anxiety then he probably would have completely missed it. Sarek stood from his chair and swiftly exited the room.

Jim was tempted to get up and follow him but Spock and Amanda quickly stopped him, instead they took over his attention by asking him some more questions about school. Or more accurately Spock was basically talking about Jim and some of his accomplishments to his mother while Jim chimed in every once in a while.

It was almost ten minutes later when Sarek finally ventured back into the dining room, still talking into Jim’s comm unit with his mother. They apparently came to some kind of agreement since Sarek closed his comm unit a few seconds later and handed it back to him.

Jim toyed around with the casing for his comm unit as Sarek sat down at the table again. “Sorry about that, Professor, I know my mother can be a bit overbearing…” Jim trailed off as he tried to get a bead on what Sarek was thinking. “I should probably start heading home.”

Sarek inclined his head slightly. “Your mother was simply worried about your safety, considering you intended to walk home alone with no way to enter your house for the night I do not believe her worry to be unjustified. Your mother and I have both agreed that you’ll stay here for the night, one of your parents will be by tomorrow morning to pick you up.”

Jim’s mind ground to a halt. He was going to spend the night at his Professor’s house? “I - I can’t stay here, Professor. I’ve already imposed enough on you and your wife!”

Sarek waved his hand slightly, he didn’t seem to nonplussed by the fact that he was about to have a student stay in his home for the night. But then again having a student stay at his home rather than driving him to his house and dropping him off knowing that he had no way to get inside was probably the more logical route to take.

“It’s no problem, honey. We have more than enough guest rooms and there's no point in having them if no one is ever going to be in them.” Amanda said kindly, she put one of her hands on Jim’s shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Then she gestured for him to stand up. “Come with me, there's a guest room down the hall that you can put your things in.”

She waited for him to grab his backpack and start following her. She led him out of the dining room and further down the hall. There were two doors on either side of the hall where she stopped, Amanda opened one to reveal a nicely furnished quest room while the opposite door led to what he assumed was a guest bathroom.

When Amanda stepped aside he wandered forward, his backpack hugged to his chest like a shield. He looked around the room, taking in the mint colored walls and the matching four poster bed in the center of the room. There was a large bureau with a mirror embedded in it against one wall and two night stands on either side of the bed.

“This is nice…” He said as he stood in the middle of the room and did a slow circle to take in the room while he thought about what else he could say. “Thank you for letting me spend the night.”

She just smiled at him. “Like I said, it’s not a problem.” She turned to head out the door, but she stopped and turned back towards him. “The bathroom is right across the hall, if you need anything Sarek and I are the first room up the stairs and to the right.”

Jim nodded and sat his backpack down onto the bureau. “Thank you again, Mrs…”

“Amanda, please.” She said cheekily when he trailed off. “There are some wrapped toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet and I’m sure Spock can find some old clothing of his from before he went off to the academy that will fit you.”

“Oh! That’s not necessary, I can sleep in the clothes I’m wearing.”

“Nonsense. We’ll get you something more suitable to wear to sleep.” She had a grin on her face as she left the room. “It’s only logical, after all.”

Then she was out the door, leaving Jim standing by the bureau looking pretty damn out of place. He grabbed one of his school PADDs out of his bag and plopped down on the edge of the bed. He hadn’t really expected to be at his Professor's house on a Friday night, but then again weirder things had happened in his life, so it couldn’t be too much of a shock to him.

And he had only planned to spend his Friday night studying anyway since Sulu, Uhura and Chekov were either out of town or had other plans for the weekend. It wasn’t like the three of them were going to go out and party, even if they had been able to get together anyway. More than likely they would have hung out at Jim’s or Chekov’s house and ate pizza or studied before gossiping about what they dealt with at school.

He flickered through the next three weeks of reading that was assigned for his AP physics class. Professor Sarek was one of the only teachers at the school that gave the student access to the whole years course work from day one. He was perfectly fine with students working ahead in his class or working at their own pace so long as they were at least keeping up with the work that the normally progressing class was doing.

He had finished a few of the assignments for the class before he decided that it was probably late enough to start getting ready for bed. A quick glance at his PADD showed him that it was getting close to 2100 hours. 2100 hours was usually the time that he went to bed, unless he was hanging out with his friends, then he usually went to bed at nearly 0100 hours.

Jim shut of his PADD and set it down on the bedcovers next to him. He got up and stretched out his arms before he made his way across the hall to the bathroom. Much like the guest room, the bathroom was clean and neat. The walls were painted a light shade of purple and the hand towels, the soap and the bath rugs were all matched to the walls color.

It was a cozy little bathroom, as weird as that sounded. There was toothbrushes still in the packages, like Amanda had said, and toothpaste next to them. Jim grabbed one of the toothbrushes and quickly pulled off the packaging, he brushed his teeth, flossed and washed his face.

He left the toothbrush in a little cup by the sink, assuming that he would use it before he left the next morning, and made his way out of the bathroom.

“Jim, I’ve brought you some clothes to sleep in.”

Jim practically jumped a mile in the air as Spock’s voice washed over him. He turned and found Spock standing by the bureau, next to his backpack. “Spock! I didn’t see you over there.”

Spock’s head tilted to the side and if Jim didn’t know better he would think that Spock was expressing amusement. “I did not mean to startle you. My mother asked that I bring some of my old clothing so that you could wear something to bed.”

“Yeah, you didn’t have to do that.” Jim said breathlessly as he moved his PADD off the bed and put it back in his backpack. “I could have just slept in what I’m wearing now.”

When he turned back around to face Spock, Spock had moved to stand right in front of him. Jim’s breath caught in his throat as Spock stood in front of him. He was close enough that Jim could smell the crisp scent of soap on him, he could feel Spock’s breath ghosting over his cheeks.

“It was not a problem.”

Jim swallowed convulsively as Spock took another step closer, driving him back against the bureau and practically trapping him between the wood and Spock’s body.

Spock stared down at him. All of a sudden he was leaning forward and it was like Jim’s world screeched to a halt.

Spock kissed his forehead and whispered for him to have a goodnight before trailing his hand down his arm, sending those tingling little shocks from before up his arms again. Then Spock was leaving the room, leaving Jim to exhale shakily and sag back against the bureau.

Jim took a few seconds to try and relearn how to breathe. “Holy shit…” He said to himself.

It took him a couple of minutes just to get the wherewithal to pick up the clothes that Spock had left behind, which turned out to be a worn sweater and a pair of sweatpants. He quickly shrugged off his t-shirt and pulled the sweater down of his head.

The sweater was obviously too big for him, the sleeves dangled past his hands and the collar slid to one side, almost slipping off one of his shoulders every time he moved. He changed into the sweatpants, the legs drooped down over his feet and he had to walk carefully so he didn’t end up tripping over the ends.

He pulled the covers back from the headboard and climbed onto the bed, he pulled the covers back over himself before letting his head thump back to meet the pillow. The pillow was surprisingly soft underneath his head, it felt more like a cloud than it did a pillow. Jim rolled over onto his side, he crossed both arms over his chest and tried to get comfortable.

The last thought in his mind was how surprising it was for Spock’s sweater to smell so much like him when he supposedly hasn’t worn it since before he went off to StarFleet.


Chapter Text

Jim squirmed around on the bed. He wasn’t fully awake yet, he was still drifting on the edge of awareness but something was drawing him out of it. Not that he really wanted to wake up yet. His father had always joked about him being a heavy sleeper, even as a little baby.

There was something petting his head as he slept, it was light enough to not fully rouse him out of his sleep but it was hard enough that it was slowly whispering along his conscious. He shifted around again, trying to get comfortable enough to fall back into a deep sleep. His legs and backside nudged against something behind him as he stretched.

“C’mon Jim, it’s time to wake up.”

Jim whined and tried to shuffle further along the bed when something heavy and warm leaned over top of his back. But whatever it was moved with him and kept holding him down. He was moving closer and closer to being awake, even though he still didn’t want to be woken up, and now he could feel someone’s lips pressing against his forehead

That hand was back running through his hair. “Tiger, you’ve gotta get up now.”

He groaned, rolling away from the voice by his ear, only to have a hand around his side stop him from fully rolling over onto his stomach. “Jimmy, if you don’t get out of bed soon I’ll have to carry you out of here.” The hand pulled him so that he was laying on his side again and then started rubbing his stomach. “You know I will.”

Honestly, that hand rubbing his stomach just made his want to drift back to sleep, it was rubbing such soothing circles into his skin. But when he felt that hand move away and two pairs of arms started worming their way under his knees and his back, his eyes snapped open.

“Dad!” Jim squealed as his father’s mischievous eyes met his. “Put me dooowwwn!”

George Kirk just grinned down at his son and turned so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed with Jim cradled in his arms and on his lap. “Well, I needed to wake you up someway.”

“I said put me down!” Jim whined as his hand came up to cover his flushed face, his legs flailed slightly as his father turned their position.

“You are down! I’m sitting on the bed, tiger!” George chuckled, though he did take his arms out from under Jim but he kept one hand on the back of Jim’s shoulder and didn’t push him out of his lap. “You always wake up when I go to pick you up.”

Jim’s hands were still covering his face, but even with them up his father still knew that he was pouting underneath his hand.

George rubbed his shoulder and rocked side to side a little bit.

Jim gave himself a minute or two to calm down, for his face to lose some of its color so he didn’t look like an over boiled lobster, before he let his hands fall from his face. Now that some of his embarrassment had faded he looked around and realized that he was still in Professor Sarek’s guestroom

He blinked a few times to make sure he wasn’t dreaming or anything. Then he look up at his dad. “Dad, why are you in Professor Sarek’s house?”

His dad breathed out a laugh and shifted Jim around a little bit. “Well your mom was supposed to come get you later this morning, but Sarek called us about half an hour ago.”

“Why did they call you if mom was supposed to come get me later?”

“Because they couldn’t wake you.” His dad said seriously. “Apparently, Amanda came to wake you up to see what you wanted for breakfast, when she couldn’t wake you she just assumed you were tuckered out and went down to make breakfast anyway. Then when she came back half an hour later because breakfast was done she still couldn’t get you up. Neither could Sarek or their son.”

Jim was beet red once again at the thought that he slept through four different attempted wakings. He hadn’t thought he was that bad. “So they called you because the couldn’t get me up?”

George grimaced. “Oh, believe me, kiddo. Amanda was frantic when they finally got ahold of me. They were trying to wake you up for nearly an hour and a half, she was convinced something had happened during the night while you slept, especially when she saw those bruises on you.”

That had Jim’s blood running cold. He hadn’t even thought about the bruises that Giotto had given him when he beat him up yesterday. The shirt he had been wearing had long sleeves and was tight enough that it didn’t ride up when he moved. But he hadn’t worn his clothes to bed, instead he had worn Spock’s sweater which was big enough that it would have gotten caught and rode up when he moved around.

And he had a habit of moving around in his sleep.

Amanda had probably caught him the first few times when the shirt was still covering him, but the more people tried to wake him, the more his body kicked up a fuss and made him toss and turn in his sleep. Which meant that either they had come back after he had moved and the shirt had moved enough to see the bruises or one of them probably touched him and the shirt rode up because of that.

“Now, are you going to tell me where you got them or am I going to have to storm down the halls of your school come Monday morning?”

Jim blinked, looking up at his father. Then he realized that his dad must have continued talking while he tuned out, leaving him trying to play catch up as to what the beginning of the sentence had been.

“Jimmy.”

“Yeah, dad?” Jim winced as he voice cracked.

George sent him a stern look. “Who gave you those bruises. I want their names, immediately.”

He tried to avoid his father’s gaze, but it was kind of hard to avoid a gaze when you were tucked into the persons lap. His mind raced, trying to think of someway that he could explain this away. The last thing he need was his dad storming into the school and having Giotto brought into the office.

If he thought the shit that overgrown meathead was doing to him now was bad, it would only get a hell of a lot worse once Giotto got another slap on the wrist from the principal. “Dad, no one gave them to me, I fell.”

“Really? Is that what made you nearly thirty minutes late for the bus?” George asked skeptically. “Jimmy, you can’t expect me to believe that. Your mother and I have seen the smaller bruises before, baby, we were just hoping that you would come to us if something was really happening.”

Jim felt tears build up behind his eyes, he didn’t want to lie to his dad, but what choice did he really have? “Nothing happened.” He said stubbornly, he swung his legs to the right and stood up, he tried to walk away from his father but his father grabbed him around the waist and turned him back to face him.

“Baby -” George started as he tried to bring Jim forward to hug him.

“No! Stop calling me that! My name is Jim, I’m not a baby anymore!” Jim hissed angrily as he tore himself out of his fathers grasp. He stalked halfway across the room, his face flushed as the tears that had been building up started dripping down his cheeks.

“Tiger, you’ll always be my baby.” George soothed, standing up and walking over to Jim. He stopped a foot or two away so he didn’t crowd his son against the bureau. “I just want to know who’s hurting you so I can stop them.”

Jim sucked in a sharp breath. “No. Nothing happened.”

George barely hid a groan of frustration, he took a step towards Jim and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Jim, I know someone hurt you - Jim!”

As soon as George’s hand landed around Jim’s arm, he jerked himself out of his fathers grasp, headed for the guest bathroom door across the hall and slammed it shut while yelling at his father. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore!”

George took a few steps forward, his hand outstretched after Jim but he didn’t want to make the situation worse. Jim just probably needed some time to cool off.


Jim pressed the sleeve of Spock’s sweater again his mouth, trying to muffle the whimpers that were constantly escaping his throat. He felt like such an idiot and a baby, sitting locked in a bathroom crying his eyes out.

And on top of that his whole stomach was starting to hurt. Between the whirlwind of being brought back to Professor Sarek’s home and being told that he was going to stay over night there, he had completely forgotten the pain relievers he had taken right after Giotto kicked the shit out of him.

Pain relievers which most likely started to wear off near the same time he started waking up. Now the bruises littering his chest and abdomen were starting to kill him. The hiccups and crying didn’t make him hurt any less either.

“I’m such an idiot.” He sniffled.

He tried to use one of the hand towels on the rack to dab away the tears, but every time he wiped them away more just kept coming. His chest heaved with another hiccuppy cry and he pressed his arm against his chest, trying to stunt the pain the movement had caused even just a little bit.

There was a knock at the bathroom door and Jim took a few deep breaths to keep his voice from cracking.

“Dad, I said I don’t want to talk!” He called out.

There was a few seconds of pause and Jim thought that his dad might have just left, but then he heard someone clear their throat. “I am not your father, Jim.” He heard Spock’s voice outside of the door.

Jim sucked in a breath and let his head drop into his hands. “I’m sorry.” He whispered, barely loud enough to even be heard through the door. “I...I didn’t mean to snap at you.”

“I am aware. May I come in?”

Jim shook his head even though he knew Spock couldn’t see it through the door. “I still don’t want to talk.”

“We do not need to talk about your injuries if you do not wish to, I simply wish to talk to you.”

Jim sniffled and wiped the hand towel across his face to dry up the tears. He took a few deep breaths to calm himself down before he leaned over and cracked the door open. He only opened it enough to peek out and see that it was just Spock standing there. Spock quirked his eyebrow slightly and Jim pulled the door open and moved away so that he could walk in.

Spock shut and locked the door after him, he moved around Jim and sat down on the edge of the old style bathtub. Jim lifted his legs up and wrapped his arms around them, he rested his head on his knees and tried to stop the tears from building back up again.

“I was not aware that anyone could sleep so deeply that they would not rouse after copious attempts to waken them.” He heard Spock’s voice say. It was muffled by his arms and the fabric of Spock’s sweater but he could hear him well enough.

Jim breathed out a quiet laugh. “Yeah, I’ve always been that way. My dad used to tell me that for the first few days after my birth my mom was frantic everytime I would fall asleep because she couldn’t get me to wake up. She kept thinking that something had gone wrong, or there was some random side effect from me being born out in space on a rescue shuttle.”

Spock made a curious noise, or at least it sounded curious to Jim. “You were born in space aboard a rescue shuttle?”

Jim nodded. “My parents were stationed on the USS Kelvin when it was attacked during that lightning storm in space. My dad barely made it out alive after he stayed aboard the Kelvin to give the shuttles time to escape.”

There was a beat of silence. Jim tensed, assuming that this was the point where Spock thought he had made enough small talk to be able to start asking Jim about where his bruises came from.

But instead, Spock started asking him questions about the Kelvin, about what his parents had told him over the years about the attack. When he had exhausted any questions about the Kelvin and the attack, he started asking about what his parents had been doing in StarFleet since the attack on the Kelvin.

The fact that Spock wasn’t asking about the bruises was soothing, especially when it was paired with Spock’s deep, smooth voice. And when Jim turned the subject of conversation onto Spock and what he had been doing in the academy, well, Jim probably would have fallen back to sleep if he had still been laying in bed. Spock didn’t even need him to ask him questions either.

At some point Spock and he had migrated down onto the floor of the bathroom, both of them huddled up in the corner farthest away from the door, while Spock continued to talk.

They must have talked for nearly an hour but Jim didn’t want it to stop. He knew Spock would run out of things to say eventually and Jim couldn’t stay pressed against his inhumanly warm side.

“You must think I’m an idiot.”

Spock’s head tilted to the side and he gave Jim a questioning glance. “Why would I think you are of below average intelligence?”

Jim sighed. “You saw the bruises earlier, right? When your parents were trying to wake me up.”

“Yes, I was the one who alerted my parent to those bruises. Though as I stated when you first allowed me entrance, you do not have to talk about them.” Spock seemed to hesitate for a moment. “I would, of course, be gratified if you were to confide in me, but it is not required. I would not think any less of you if you do not wish to talk about them.”

Jim bit his lip. He could still keep his mouth shut, he hadn’t told Spock anything yet. But he needed to tell someone. “A kid…” Jim swallowed and took a deep breath. “A kid at my school did it.”

“May I ask why you wish to withhold this information from your father?”

Jim moved away, just a little bit, he moved far enough away that Spock’s heat and the scent of his soap were no longer creating a haze of warmth in his mind. “Because he’ll only make everything worse. He wants the guys name so that he can go complain to the principal, but that won’t stop the kid.”

Spock still seemed confused by Jim’s reasoning. “I...do not understand why would reporting this abuse to the proper authorities would make your situation worse?”

“Because I already tried it!” Jim exclaimed. “I went to the principal the first few times but the second time he told me that he couldn’t go off on just a complaint without any evidence. The third time, I showed him my bruises and pictures of the other bruises I had from previous run ins with the guy. The fourth time he called the guy who did it into the office but the kid brought his football coach with him and the football coach, who also happened to be my P.E. teacher, told the principal that I was lying and I had gotten hurt during his class that day.”

“Why would this teacher vouch for a student that was clearly lying?”

Jim shrugged and shook his head dejectedly. His arm folded up around his middle and he hunched in on himself a little bit. “Because Giotto is the head asshole at the school, he’s one of the best football players in the school and that P.E. teacher hates me.”

Jim felt Spock’s hand reach over to brush threw his hair, the gesture made him lift his head up enough to look at Spock’s face. Spock was staring at him, the look in his eyes didn’t seem as pitying as Jim had originally feared. But Jim could see that Spock was gearing up to say something and Jim knew it probably wasn’t going to be what he wanted to hear.

“Jim, it might be prudent you tell your father about this, I highly doubt the principal of your school would be so quick to dismiss you once a parent was involved.” Spock seemed to hesitate for a second, like he wasn’t sure whether or not he wanted to say what was on his mind. “If you do not believe involving just your father would solve the problem, perhaps it would be beneficial to discuss this with my father as well.”

His head jerked upwards and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “I’m having a hard time talking to my own father about this and you think I want to drag Professor Sarek into this!”

“If the principal is siding with the teacher over top of physical evidence of abuse then there is a chance that only having your father complain may not sway him.” Spock rested a hand on Jim’s shoulder and forced him to look him in the eyes. “However, having another teacher lend his credibility to your statement may sway him in your favor.”

“And what if your dad doesn’t believe me?”

“He will.” Spock said with certainty. “The bruises alone would be proof enough for him and his knowledge of your character will only cement that further.”

Jim shook his head frantically. “No. No, I don’t even want to tell my dad who it is, I can’t tell Professor Sarek.”

Spock barely held back a sigh. He watched Jim curl up on himself again. “Would you be willing to allow me to tell them?”

“Spock -”

“I only wish to help you, Jim. Nothing will be solved by you staying silent, whatever this boy is doing to you will only get worse if it continues.”

He scrubbed a hand threw his hair a few times, trying to think it over. His dad would undoubtedly believe him about Giotto hurting him, but Professor Sarek might not. And Sarek had had Giotto in one of his science classes before, it was one of the only classes Sarek taught that wasn’t considered advanced placement, but he had Giotto as a student regardless.

He could back Giotto up just as easily as he could back Jim up.

But Jim had never really seen Sarek do anything outside of class with Giotto, actually now that he thought about it, he had never really seen Sarek outside of the classroom with any student or other faculty members. At least not until he had gotten stopped by Sarek yesterday.

So there was a chance his teacher might believe him.

“Okay.” He whispered. He slapped a hand over his mouth, eyes wide, he had not intended to say that out loud. Or not yet at least. But now he couldn’t exactly take it back.

Spock leaned forward, much like he had the night before, to press a soft kiss to Jim’s forehead. This time, however, he didn’t pull away immediately. Instead he pulled back just enough to rest his head on top of Jim’s and nuzzled his cheek against the top of Jim’s hair.

“I will return after I have talked to our fathers.” Spock assured him as he stood up and headed towards the door. When he first unlocked the door he turned back to face Jim. “I would assume that you would be more comfortable waiting in the guestroom rather than in here.”

That surprised a watery chuckle out of Jim and he stood up slowly. He followed Spock out of the bathroom and while Spock detoured back towards the dining room, Jim made his way back into the guestroom he had stayed in.

He made a beeline towards the bureau and dug threw his backpack until he found the bottle of painkillers that he had stashed inside one of inner pockets of his backpack for when Giotto gave him a particularly painful beatdown. He swallowed them down with the tiny water bottle he had in his bag.

He gave himself a little shake and turned back towards the bed. He had only meant to sit on the edge of the bed while he waited for Spock, but as soon as he sat down and started sinking into the mattress, he couldn’t help but roll onto his side and lay down.

And when he laid down, between the comfort of the bed and the stress of the day so far, he quickly drifted off into a fitful sleep.


George groaned to himself as Jim stormed away from him and slammed the bathroom door behind himself. He rubbed the bridge of his nose aggressively and started heading for the door, hoping to calm his son down and get him to come out of the bathroom.

But before he could get to the bathroom door he was stopped by someone clearing their throat. He turned around to face Sarek, who stood at the end of the hallway near the entrance to the dining room.

Sarek inclined his head in acknowledgement of George’s attention. “Perhaps it would be best to leave Jim to himself for a moment.” George sighed and followed Sarek into the dining room after one last look towards the bathroom. “It is most likely that he simply needs a few minutes to calm down, Mr. Kirk.”

“Yeah I know.” George said with a wave of his hand. “He’s such a sensitive little guy, he’s probably just scared of getting in trouble.”

Sarek took a seat across from George and slid a cup of tea towards him. He had his own cup of tea sitting in front of himself and he watched silently as George took a small sip to calm himself down.

The two of them sat in silence, each of them drinking their cups of tea while George collected his thoughts. “Do you know anything about this?”

Sarek raised an eyebrow. “About the bruising on James’ torso? No, I was not aware of them until my son brought them to my wife and I’s attention this morning.”

George cleared his throat and tried again. “I meant do you know who might have hurt him? Did he say anything to you or - or did you see any other students with him yesterday?”

“I...I regret to say that I have no knowledge of who could have done this. I did not notice any students around Jim yesterday, nor has he said anything that would lead me to accuse any particular student.” George could see that Sarek was hesitant, and while he couldn’t actually see the emotions on Sarek’s face, the slight break in that monotone voice made him think that Sarek very clearly felt bad about not noticing that Jim was hurt.

George sat back with an irritated groan and dragged a hand threw his hair. He tried to think of everything Jim had said to him over the last few days that may have been about whoever hurt him. It was killing him to think that someone had managed to hurt his son right under his nose. He and Winona had known, to an extent, about the other injuries that Jim had before. It started with some small bruises, things that could easily be brushed off as bumping into something, then they started to get bigger and bigger, showing up more and more often.

But none of them were so severe that they truly could attribute it to another kid. The injuries they saw before could have just as easily been from him accidentally getting hurt.

The both of them had hoped that Jim would come to them to help him solve the problem rather than hide it from them. He hadn’t thought, even for a second, that Jim would be trying to actively keep it a secret from them. He had just assumed that Jim was trying to handle it on his own, student to student, before he tried to bring any adults into the situation.

But now that he thought about it, it was entirely possible that Jim wasn’t being attacked by another student. It could be a teacher, or a faculty member or even just another adult that he ran into on the way home from school.

Which led to the possibility that Jim might not be hiding the person's identity because he didn’t want his parents involved but rather because he was afraid of whoever was hurting him. He sat there, in his own little world, thinking of all the possible people that could have hurt his baby, all the possible scenarios that could have led to Jim wanting to cover this up rather than just outright telling him who had done this.

He was silent for a long while, the different possibilities running rampant threw his mind when he remember that Sarek was sitting across from him. Why not ask the one person who was usually at the school with Jim?

“What about any adults?”

“Excuse me?” Sarek asked as he looked up from his cup.

George swallowed convulsively. “You said you didn't see any students around him, that - that you wouldn’t accuse any students, what about teachers...other faculty members?”

Sarek seemed to contemplate the question for a moment before something seemed to pop into his mind. “I have seen James spend an abnormal amount of time around the school's principal and the Physical Education teacher recently, but I do not believe either of them would physically assault your son.”

“But you can’t say for sure?”

“No, I cannot.”

George wanted to ask more, he had other questions he could think of that needed to be asked. But they were interrupted by Spock entering the dining room. Unlike his father however, George could clearly read some of the hesitation on Spock’s face.

The second Spock stopped at the table, standing at parade rest by his father's chair, George knew something was up. “Is everything okay? Is something wrong with Jim?” George had been in the hallway long enough to see Spock head towards the guest bathroom that Jim had barricaded himself into.

“Nothing is wrong, Mr. Kirk.” Spock answered softly. “Jim wished for me to talk to the both of you.”

Spock took a seat in the chair next to his father and rested his folded hand on the table. He seemed to be readying himself for whatever he was going to say.

“We are all aware of the bruises on Jim’s torso.” He asked. He waited until both men at the table had given him a nod before he continued. “He has told me the name of the boy who assaulted him.”

George leaned forward. “Who?”

“It was done at the hands of a fellow senior, he did not mention his first name but his last name is Giotto.”

Sarek didn’t look shocked at the name, but he did look a bit perturbed at it, which made George turn to him. “You know this kid, Professor?”

Sarek nodded. “Yes. Matthew Giotto, he is a student in one of my classes.”

“But you didn’t think he might have been the one who hurt Jim when I asked earlier? You didn’t exactly seem shocked when your son told you his name.”

“No, I did not. As far as I am aware Matthew Giotto has not shared any classes with your son, hence why I did not think of him as a suspect. But I have witnessed the fact that he has a bit of a temper, so it is not necessarily out of the question.” Sarek stated quietly. “However, as I have not seen him around James I did not think his aggressive leanings would have brought him near your son.”

George leaned back in his chair. Now that he knew who was hurting his son, he needed to think of a game plan for when he went into the school on Monday morning.

“Father.”

George glanced up at Spock the same time that Sarek did. “Yes, Spock?”

Spock cleared his throat before he started talking. “I believe it might be prudent for you to assist Mr. Kirk in bringing this incident to the principal's attention.”

“May I ask why?”

“Jim stated that he had attempted to bring the abuse to the principal’s attention several times, but one of his teachers came to the other students defense.”

George was practically vibrating with anger and indignance. “The principal knew my son was being hurt and he didn’t do anything about it?!” He stood up from the kitchen table and started pacing around the room. He grew more and more agitated until he stopped pacing and turned sharply to face Spock and Sarek. “How the hell can a principal just look at a kid with bruises and decide not to do anything about it!” His own words made George pause. “Wait, you said Jim took this to the principal multiple times?”

Spock nodded solemnly. “The first attempts to bring this incident to light was brushed off with a lack of evidence, another time was brushed off for unknown reasons and the last attempt, according to Jim, was thwarted by Jim’s Physical Education teacher.”

“What did the teacher say happened?”

“He stated that Jim had gotten hurt during his class, he also stated that Giotto had been with him at the time Jim said he was being attacked.”

George’s anger came back, ten times hotter than it had been. No wonder Jim didn’t want him getting involved, his poor boy probably thought that it was hopeless to bring his parents in to help him when his principal had already shown that he wasn’t taking the abuse seriously.

He should have been involved in this from the start. The second he saw those bruises he should have sat Jim down and made him tell him what was going on, he should have been in that principals office every single time, backing Jim up and making sure that he wasn’t given the runaround.

Instead he had been sitting around wondering when Jim would tell him what was going on. He slumped down in his chair, all the fight leaving him like air flowing out of a torn balloon. He dropped his head into his hands, stared down at the ground while he tried to think of what to do next.

The principal obviously didn’t believe Jim even though he had documented proof of his injuries, so chances were even if George went in there the principal wouldn’t change his mind about what Jim said since there wasn’t any new evidence.

“Does Jim still have the photographic evidence of the injuries from the incident that the other teacher was brought in on?” He heard Sarek ask.

George lifted his head up, curious as to what Sarek was getting at.

“Yes, I believe he does.”

“And do you know the date of said incident?”

George watched as Spock shook his head. “I am sure if I asked Jim he would tell me, but I am not privy to that information at this time.”

He squinted suspiciously and looked at Sarek. “What are you thinking? The principal already had the other teacher in there to make it look like Jim was lying.”

“The other teacher may have given his opinion on the events, however, I see James everyday. More importantly, his attendance to my class is after he attends his physical education class. If I see the photos and know the date of the attack I will know whether or not he sustained those injuries before my class began.”

A figurative lightbulb went off above George’s head. “And if you know that he didn’t have those injuries in your class you’ll tell the principle that?”

“Of course,” Sarek nodded. “I am sure he will see the truth in Jim’s allegations once I have lended my testimony to it.”

“And what if he still doesn’t believe Jim, even after you say Jim’s telling the truth.”

“Then we will take Jim and the evidence to the proper authorities and have them look into it. Whether or not the principal believes Jim’s interpretation of the events would be irrelevant at that time.”

The assurance that Sarek would help He and Jim figure out what to do made George calm down a little bit. He rubbed his hands together in front of him and stood up. “I’m going to go in and talk to that principal on Monday, but I’m not going to have Jim go back to school until either this Giotto kid is suspended or the police have gotten involved.”

Sarek inclined his head slightly and stood up as well. “A logical course of action.” He motioned for George and Spock to follow him as he headed down the hall to the guest room. “If you could get Jim to show me the pictures of his previous injuries, it would be best for me to have that information before we intend to confront the principal.”

George walked in front of Sarek and opened the guest room door. “Jimmy, Professor Sarek needs -” George stopped short halfway through his sentence as he stepped into the room. Spock and Sarek paused behind him as he started chuckling softly.

“Mr. Kirk?”

He sighed through the last of his laughs and stepped farther into the room. Jimmy was back on the bed again, curled up on his side atop the covers. “Oh, Jimmy.” He crooned softly as he ran his hand through Jim’s hair. “He keeps his PADDs in his backpack. The one with the pictures on it is probably in there.” He moved from the side of the bed over to the bureau and ruffled around through Jim’s back back until his hand hit the PADD he knew his son kept for his personal use.

He turned it on and typed in the access code before scrolling threw the pictures on it. He winced at some of the more livid bruises that Jim had stored photos of. George made sure that the dates the pictures were taken were up on the screen as he went to hand it over to Sarek.

The Vulcan professor took the PADD, he scrolled through the photos, looking over each one with a scrutinizing gaze and mentally cataloging them. When he was done he gave the PADD back to George. “I can not say anything as to when he received the first two sets of injuries, but I certainly know that he did not obtain the last set of injuries during a physical education class.”

“Yeah, well it's good to know that someone can vouch for him.” George said softly. He nodded towards Jim and let out another little chuckle. “I’m a - I’m gonna go ahead and get him home. His mom’s probably worried sick and he’s clearly all tuckered out.”

“Of course, we’ll leave you alone to wake him up.”

George laughed again. “Oh, I’m not gonna wake him up. He’s already had a rough enough day, if one of your would open the doors for me, I think I’ll just carry him out to the car.”

If the other two weren’t Vulcans, George would honestly say they looked incredulous when he said he would be carrying his son to the car. But the two of the them moved out of his way when he slung Jim’s backpack onto his shoulder and lifted his son up into his arms with very little effort.

Speaking of which, he really needed to figure out what Winona was feeding their son because he felt way to light for a seventeen year old boy.

Spock led the way out of the house, opening the doors so that George could maneuver himself and Jim without accidentally clipping either one of them on the door frame. Not that he really needed to maneuver all that much since Jim, much like he always did, managed to subconsciously figure out that the most comfortable position for him was curled up as close to George’s chest as possible so most of his limbs were tucked in out of harm's way.

George nudged Spock out of the way with his shoulder once he got the car door open, when he was done getting Jim settled into the front seat he turned and thanked Spock before getting into the drivers side. Spock and Sarek watched from the front porch as George drove away.

Chapter Text

A soft whine sounded out in the room behind her as Winona pulled the curtains open on the balcony door. The resulting light had shone into the room and fallen across the bed.

Right into Jim’s face.

She smiled and shook her head with a laugh when she turned around to find that Jim had merely rolled over and nuzzled his face further into his pillow instead of waking up like she had hoped. Her fingers traced the side of his face that wasn’t obscured by the pillow as she sat down on the edge of Jim’s bed.

“Jimmy, it’s time to wake up, sweetheart.” She cooed. She brushed his hair back from his face and nudged his side with her arm.

He snuffled, curling in on himself as she moved a little bit closer. Winona pushed at his shoulder, trying to shake him awake without actually shaking him too much, but that obviously didn’t work since he just stayed curled up in the fetal position.

She leant over, just enough that her cheek was pressed against her sons. “Jimmy, if you don’t get up soon I’ll have to go get your father.”

She prodded at his side, his stomach, even his legs a few more times before she stood up with a exaggerated sigh. She was about to announce that she was leaving to get George when Jim groaned and wiggled around on the bed.

Winona smirked as Jim slowly made his way back to the conscious world. Even when he was at the deepest point of sleep, any mention of his father and his unorthodox waking techniques usually had him struggling towards consciousness pretty quickly.

She tapped her palm against Jim’s flank as his eyes finally opened. He stared up at her groggily for a few seconds until he started stretching. He was squirming around on the bed after he finished stretching when she realized that he wasn’t trying to get himself ready to get up, instead he was trying to get comfortable enough to fall back asleep.

“Jim, c’mon it’s time to get up. I made you some lunch.” She smiled and ran her hand through his hair again. “Well, it’ll be a late lunch, but I made your favorite.”

Jim finally sat up, the covers and sheets bunching up and tangling around his waist. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes with the back of his hand. “What time is it?’ His hair was sticking up randomly on one side while most of the other side had been pressed almost flat against his head.

“It’s almost 1400 hours, Jimmy, now let's go. Your soup is getting cold.”

Jim fumbled his way out of bed, kicking the covers off his legs and rubbing a hand through his misshapen hair at the same time. He blinked at the brightness streaming in from the window and tugged on the shirt he was wearing to pull it down from where it had rode up when he was sleeping.

Then he realized that he was still wearing Spock’s sweater. Which meant his dad had carried him home, and it was probably still the same day.

He followed his mom down the stairs at a sedated pace, if he thought his bruises were killing him before it was nothing compared to how much they were hurting now. Jim rubbed his hand over his stomach, trying to soothe a little bit of the ache.

Winona led him into the kitchen and while he sat on one of the stools at the kitchen counter, his mother ladled soup into a bowl and set it down in front of him. She leaned over to kiss his forehead and brushed a hand across his scrunched up face soothingly. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay.” He answered softly as he swirled his spoon around the bowl of tomato soup. “My stomach is killing me, but other than that I’m okay.”

“Do you want something for the pain? I’m sure we have a hypospray with some pain medicine in it lying around here somewhere.” Winona asked as she rooted through the medicine cabinet behind her. “We should have some left over from when you broke your arm earlier this year.”

Jim nodded and spooned some more soup into his mouth. The warmth of the soup was helping a little bit, but that might be more of a placebo effect since his mothers homemade tomato soup always made him feel a little bit better no matter what was ailing him.

Winona let out a soft triumphant shout when she finally found the hypospray she was looking for, and the noise made Jim look up from his soup. He grimaced when he saw the medicine in his mothers hand. He’s always hated hyposprays. If he could, he would gladly spend his life swallowing the older style pill forms of medicine rather than get stuck in the neck by a needle every time he needed pain relief.

That was part of why he had a bottle of pain relievers in his backpack instead of a few loose hyposprays. Sure, the pills were a bit less effective and took longer to work but he’d rather have that than the sting of the hypospray

Winona pressed the tip of the hypospray to the side of his neck, right underneath his left ear, and he hissed at the sting that lingered on his skin. His mother shushed him and rubbed one of her thumbs over the tiny little prick that the hypospray had left. “I’ll never understand why that hurts you so much. It’s barely even a little prickle against your skin.”

“I don’t understand how it doesn’t hurt everyone else.” Jim grumbled.

Winona smiled. “Don’t pout, Jimmy, in a minute or two you won’t even remember the pain.”

Jim harrumphed and went back to eating his soup while his mother puttered around the kitchen. He could tell by the way she kept making her way over to him and touching him every time she got close enough, that something was bothering her. Considering he had been sleeping for an undetermined amount of time and his father was nowhere to be seen, chances were that he had probably told her at least a little bit about the bruises he had on his chest and stomach.

And knowing his father, he had probably told her the bare minimum of what he knew and then scidattled to go blow off some steam since there wasn’t much he could do until he could get in touch with Jim’s principal and that wouldn’t be possible till Monday at the earliest. Which meant that his mom most likely wanted to ask him about them, if only to make him show them to her so that she could see the extent of the damage.

But she had always had a bit more tact that his father had and Jim knew she wouldn’t want to outright ask him about the bruises, especially not if his father had told her how he reacted when his father had first brought them up at Professor Sarek’s house.

He stirred his spoon around in the last dregs of his tomato soup, there wasn’t enough to get another spoonful but there wasn’t enough to warrant him lifting up the bowl and drinking the rest either, so he let his spoon clatter against the side of the bowl.

“So...what all did dad tell you?” Jim started awkwardly.

Winona paused in cleaning the countertops near the stove. She cleared her throat and slowly turned around to face him with a sigh. “He told me about who gave them to you, and that you’ve been trying to get the principal to reprimand the boy but he hasn’t been very helpful. He also told me that he and Professor Sarek will be talking to the principal on Monday.”

Jim frowned and pushed his bowl away from him. “Did he say anything else?”

“Just that you were afraid to tell us.”

Jim tried to swallow around the lump that had formed in his throat, he had truly been afraid to tell them. After all, if his principal wouldn’t believe him, even with his evidence, then why would his parents believe him? But Spock had taken some of that worry away, just by being the one to tell his father what was going on, rather than forcing him into telling it.

“I’m sorry,” Jim winced as his voice cracked in the middle of his sentence, “I’m sorry, for not telling you guys what was going on. Especially when it first started getting worse.”

Winona sucked in a deep breath and Jim could see from her eyes that she was at least a little upset. “Are you mad at me for not saying anything?” He asked meekly.

His mother looked contrite for a second, then she pushed away from the counter and walked over to him. She stroked his cheek with the back of her hand and hugged his head to her chest. “Oh, sweetie. I’m not mad that you didn’t tell me, I understand why you didn’t.”

“Then why do you look so upset with me?”

She frowned. “I’m not upset with you, Jimmy, I’m more upset with myself. I should have asked you about it when I first saw the bruises, I should have made sure you knew it was okay to talk to me about it.Your father and I shouldn’t have left you alone to try and figure out how to stop someone from hurting you.” She pulled away from him to look into his eyes. “I’m upset that your father and I failed you this badly.”

Winona turned and grabbed his soup bowl off the counter. “Do you want some more soup, sweetie, there’s still almost a whole pot of it left?”

Jim tugged the sleeves of the sweater down part his hand and fisted his fingers around the edges. He wrapped his arms around himself and leaned back a little on the stool. “Sure.”

Winona cleared her throat and started ladeling more soup into the bowl. When she handed the bowl back to Jim, she just stayed leaning against the countertop instead of going back to cleaning. She watched him while he sipped at his soup, and Jim knew that she was silently stewing on her own thoughts.

He had always been close with his parents, even when most teenagers went through teen rebellious phases, and while he was a bit closer with his father than he was his mother, he was still pretty damn close to his mom. He could tell when either of his parents were upset or irritated, he didn’t always know exactly why they were upset or irritated but he usually could guess pretty close to the answer.

He was pretty sure that she was upset about the things she had already talked about, but it was clear to him that she was still upset about something else. “Do you want to see them?”

His mother's head popped up to look at him, she looked confused for a second, so he elaborated. “The bruises, do you want to see them? I can tell by the look on your face that not knowing how bad I’m hurt is upsetting you.”

Winona chuckled softly and shook her head. “Of course you can.” She shot back quietly. “If you wouldn’t mind me seeing them, then I would like to, but if you are uncomfortable with showing them to me then I don’t want to force you to.”

He finished off his second bowl of soup and stepped down off the stool. He had to admit that he was apprehensive about letting her see the bruises. Part of him wanted to show them to her so that he could relieve some of her worries, but another part of him was even more worried that actually seeing the bruises might upset her even more than not seeing them had.

But he had already gotten up off the stool, and his mother was waiting by the edge of the counter with a look of anxious concern on her face.

So Jim just took a deep breath and lifted up the edge of Spock’s sweater. He pulled it up enough that she could see the bruises scattered across his stomach and some of the ones that had crept up onto his chest. There were a few bruises that had bloomed on his back, from when he had tried to roll over to protect his stomach from Giotto’s kicks.

He tried to angle his back away from his mother’s sight, however, judging by the gasp his mother gave, he didn’t really succeed.

“Oh, Jimmy.” She breathed out. She slowly stalked around him, looking at the bruises from every angle before she reached out to touch the swollen, blue and purpled skin. She looked up and gave him an apologetic smile when Jim hissed at the touch. “Sorry, sweetheart!”

Jim squirmed away from his mother’s touch as she tried to press her fingers against a particularly livid patch of skin that ran over top of his ribs. “That hurts, mom.”

“Are you sure he didn’t break anything?”

“I’m pretty sure I would hurt worse if my ribs were broken.” He let the sweater fall from his hands, he pulled the loose fabric down so that it settled back over his hips and onto his thighs.

His mother didn’t seem all that convinced. “I think you should see a doctor, I’m sure if I call on Monday, they’ll be able to get you an appointment for late next week.” She brushed her hand down Jim’s arm and stepped away from him.

He blinked. “Mom, I really don’t need to go to the doctor, the bruises will be gone by time I go in for an appointment.”

She didn’t grace him with a reply. Instead she went back to cleaning up the kitchen while he stood near the counter. “Your father should be home soon, he only went out to get a few things I needed for dinner while you were asleep.”

Jim nodded and turned towards the doorway, he called back to his mother as he walked back towards his room. “I’m gonna get some of my homework done before dinner.”

“Try not to fall back to sleep, I would like to have dinner as soon as it’s done.”

Jim gave a little wave of acknowledgement back over his shoulder as he turned to start up the stairs.


Jim rubbed his eyes drowsily as he made his way down the stairs. It was the first time in a long time that Jim had woken up naturally instead of one of his parents coming to wake him up. But that might have been because he was awake earlier than he normally would be.

He hadn’t slept well at all the last night, he had tossed and turned the whole time, unable to get comfortable in any position since the mattress kept digging into his bruises. It didn’t really help that once his father had gotten home last night and they had eaten dinner, his father had also wanted to see the bruises after his mother said he had shown them to her.

His dad, much like his mom, had poked and prodded every single inch of bruising. Then, he went and agreed with her that he should go to the doctor to get the bruises checked!

The betrayal!

He had worked through all of his homework and he had gotten nearly three weeks ahead of the class for Professor Sarek’s class, so he wouldn’t have to worry about his class and he could just study for the three tests he had on Monday.

And since his friends were all preoccupied with other things this weekend he could take the day to focus on studying.

Jim yawned as he turned the corner into his kitchen, he could smell his father cooking breakfast and he knew it was his father because he could already smell the enticing scent of bacon wafting through the air. His mother very seldomly cooked bacon, she was more of a breakfast sausage cooker and she always made him toast and oatmeal to go with the sausage while his rather usually made omelettes and english muffins with bacon.

Just like he thought, his father was standing in the kitchen over at the stove flipping an omelette in a pan while bacon sizzled and english muffins laid toasting on a griddle. He could hear his dad humming to himself as he worked. He looked around the kitchen, trying to see if his mother was around but when he didn’t see her, he instead moved to hop up onto a stool at the counter.

George turned to put the finished omelette on a nearby plate when he first noticed Jim sitting at the counter. He looked surprised but he turned down the griddle and walked over to give his son a hug. He leaned down to kiss the top of Jim’s head and gave him a little shake before he let go.

“What are you doin up so early, Tiger? I was just about to come up and wake you up for breakfast.” He asked as he went back over to check on the bacon and flip it over. “Your mother got called into headquarters earlier, one of her engineers screwed something up on the warp core housing so she’ll be back later.”

He let out another yawn and laid his head down on top of his crossed arms. “I didn’t sleep that well last night and I couldn’t fall back to sleep so I just decided to come downstairs.”

His father shot him a concerned glance. “It’s a good thing your mom is making you a doctors appointment on Monday, if those bruises are hurting that much.”

George place a plate down in front of his arms and gave the side of his head a little nudge to get him to look up. When Jim finally did look up, George pushed that plate a little closer and set down a fork and knife in front of him.

“Yeah, I’m starting to see why you guys want me to go.” Jim rubbed his stomach, the skin still incredibly tender even two days after receiving them. He started half-heartedly cutting into his omelette, and when he cut it in half he found that it was one of his favorites, a spinach and fontina omelette.

A glass full of orange juice clinked down next to his plate as his dad sat down on the other side of the counter, his own plate full of food and a mug full of coffee in his hands. The room was silent for a few minutes as they both ate their respective meals, the only noise being the clinking of utensils and the crunch of bacon.

George was the one to eventually break the silence once he finished his food and pushed himself away from the counter. “So, what plans do you have today? You goin to hang out with any of your little buddies?”

Jim shook his head. “No, Sulu is out of town visiting his grandparents, Chekov is baby sitting some of his younger cousins and Uhura is having a girls night with a couple of her girlfriends. I was just going to study for the tests I have on Monday since I finished all of my classwork yesterday.”

His father didn’t say anything so he barreled on. “I should be fine with my linguistics test, since I had Uhura help me out with some of the Andorian verbs last week but I’m not sure how well I’ll do on the test in Professor Sarek’s class or the one for my Advanced Trig class.”

This time when his father didn’t respond for almost a minute, Jim looked up to see him staring at him with apprehension clear in his blue eyes. “...What?” He asked.

“Did your mother not tell you?”

Jim blinked in confusion. “Tell me what?”

“You aren’t going to school on Monday...or Tuesday depending on how my conversation with the principal goes.”

His mind ground to a halt at his father's words and he took a second to mentally run back over the sentence. “Wha - Dad I have three tests on Monday! I can’t miss them, not this late in the semester! We have winter break coming up at the end of this week, I can’t miss school now!”

George cleared his throat and tried to put on a stern face. “I’m sure you can make up the tests before the break, Tiger, but I don’t want you back in school until either the principal does something about this Giotto kid or if he refuses to do anything, then until the police get involved.” He explained. “Even if, for some reason, your teachers don’t let you make up the tests, you have good enough grades that it’ll barely even put a dent in your average.”

Jim watched as his dad stepped forward and took a hold of his shoulders. He felt George’s thumbs rubbing soothing circles into the dips of his shoulder joints. “But -”

“No buts. I know who’s hurting you now and I’m not gonna let him get another chance to hurt you any more than he already has, if this idiot of a principal decides that this kid isn’t doing anything wrong. You’ll be able to go back to school as soon as I’m sure it’s safe.”

“What if it isn’t?” Jim argued. He didn’t shrug off his father's hands, but he did move back a bit so that his dad wasn’t right up in his face. “What if Principal Palmer still decides that he thinks Giotto is innocent, what if the police think the same thing? Am I going to have to stay out of school for the rest of the year?”

George breathed out an incredulous sigh and he barely managed to keep himself from chuckling at Jim’s overactive imagination. The last thing he needed was to chuckle at his sons expense and upset him ever more than he already was. “Jimmy, that’s not going to happen. Between you and the professor we have enough evidence for the police to do something, and if for some reason they don’t want to do anything either we’ll figure something else out.” He waved one hand in the air. “You can apply for early graduation or move to the other high school in the district that doesn’t cater to StarFleet Officers. Or you can finish your senior year at home.”

“I don’t want to move schools or graduate early, I don’t want to do any of that!” Jim could feel heat rushing to his face and seeping down over his chest as his mind started to run rampant with all of the possible outcomes. “I just want to finish my school year like a normal kid!”

“Hey, hey.” George soothed. “You’re thinking too far ahead there, Tiger. Chances are you’ll be able to go back to school Tuesday morning, and I’m sure your teachers will let you make up anything you miss.” George hugged his son close to his chest and kissed the top of his head. “I know everything seems crazy right now, but I promise I’m going to make everything okay again. I just need you to give me a chance.”

He felt Jim nod into his chest and he heard a muffled ‘okay’ right before Jim’s arms came up to hug around his waist.

“Now, go get changed, it’s nice out and you and I are gonna go for a ride around town, who knows maybe they’ll be time to stop for some ice cream.”

Jim’s nose scrunched up. “Ice cream? In December?” He echoed incredulously.


George heaved a sigh as he trudged up the steps to Jim’s school. Jim, even though he had accepted that he wasn’t going to school today, had still had a bit of an attitude about it this morning. Not that George could really blame his son for being irritated about missing school.

On some level he knew that he was being a bit ridiculous with making Jim stay at home until this whole thing was resolved but he just didn’t want to take a chance with this kid trying to retaliate against Jimmy for trying to get him in trouble. However, he had to be honest with himself and admit that sometimes he was just extremely cautious and overprotective of his youngest son.

He had never been this protective over Sam, not even when his oldest was a toddler. But his relationship with his oldest and his relationship with his little Jimmy were two very different things.

When Winona had been pregnant with Sam everything was pretty easy, she didn’t have much morning sickness, she wasn’t really immobilized until the last two weeks of her pregnancy and she had only been in labor for 5 hours with Sam. Of course, when Sam had been born he had been a part of his life, just like any good parent and father would, but he had been the only breadwinner in the house since Winona had gone on maternity leave.

So he had worked most days and only really handled Sam at night when he had gotten home, usually Sam was asleep at that point and he would hold him for a couple of hours if he was asleep or playing with him if he was awake before he himself went to bed. At that point, Winona had had her parents and his parents to help her take care of Sam, and when she finally decided to come off of maternity leave Sam had been left mostly with his grandparents while the two of them worked.

Jimmy was a different story.

That pregnancy had been horrible on his wife. Morning sickness that wouldn’t end, nearly constant low blood pressure, aches and pains all day. That wasn’t even mentioning the swollen joints, the back problems, or the false labor pains that started from six months in all the way to her giving birth to Jim.

For the first few months he had almost completely stopped working to help her, using up pretty much all of his paid time off, since their parents were already taking care of Sam and someone needed to help her because of how much pain she was in. Then he had gotten a ship assignment and he had had to scramble to find someway to take her with him, but he managed to convince Captain Rabou to allow his wife on board with him since Robau had really wanted him on as first officer.

As much as he didn’t want to admit it, he had been a little bit more attached to Jim during the pregnancy. He had been there every step of the way, unlike with some of the pregnancy with Sam, and it had been such a hard pregnancy that he just wanted to see what the light at the end of the tunnel was like.

When that ship had attacked them in the middle of the neutral zone, all he could think of was getting his wife and his unborn child to safety, no matter what the cost. He had fully thought he was going to die on that ship in those last few seconds before he managed to escape on a pod, but all that had been going threw his mind was the relief at knowing his wife was safe and the amazement at hearing his sons first cries.

It had been a torturous few days spent floating around space waiting for someone to find his pod. He had nothing to distract him from the thoughts running through his head, the countless thoughts of how many things could have gone wrong right after labor for both his wife and Jimmy.

So when he had finally gotten back to earth and was reunited with everyone it was probably as close to a miracle as he would ever get.

He had been taken to StarFleet medical to get his minimal injuries checked over and then he was taken to the maternity wing of the hospital. By the time he had gotten there Winona was already in a dead sleep thanks to a probably unhealthy amount of sedative, he later learned that she had been near hysterical after the attack and assumed loss of her husband, which was why they had to sedate her so heavily.

George had been sitting beside Winona’s bed, reassuring himself that both he and his wife were okay, when one of the nurses had brought Jim in to him. He had already been told that Jim had suffered some setbacks due to being born both premature and in space, so they hadn’t been able to let Jim stay in the same room as his mother.

The nurses had handed him his son and it was like for a few seconds everything else in the world faded away. It was just him and his son.

And he couldn’t think of a more amazing moment than when he first held his son, when he stared down at those sweet blue eyes that looked at him with all the trust and love in world. Then his little tiger had reached out, completely unprompted, and had closed his tiny fingers around the first finger on George’s hand and he knew from that moment that he was hooked.

After that, he wouldn’t put Jim down if he didn’t have to. He would feed him, he would change him, he would carry him around no matter where he was going. The nurses had tried to get Winona to feed Jim once she woke up a day later, but between how exhausted she still was and how possesive George was at that moment, it was easier to just let him feed Jim with a bottle instead of arguing and trying to wrestle the baby away from his father.

Even after they were finally able to leave the hospital with Jim, Jim was practically attached to him all the time. He always had Jim either in his arms or sitting on his hip while he moved about the house and did everything he needed to do. It got to the point where his parents had bought him a baby harness so that he could keep Jimmy strapped to his chest so that he was always with him, but he still was able to have his hands free.

And after all that emotional turmoil happening in just the first few days of Jim being born?

George felt that him being over protective and cautious was almost completely justified.

But he had to put that out of his mind. Right now all he needed to think about was what was going on with his sons school.

His mind needed to be focused on the PADD that was practically burning a hole in his pocket. As per Sarek’s insistance, George had brought along the PADD that Jim had documented his injuries on. Sarek had told him that he would meet him inside the school approximately half an hour before school started since that was usually about the time the principal was due to arrive.

He had to ring a wall comm unit just to be able to get in the front door, but after that he was able to make his way to the principal's office fairly quickly. When he finally got there, Sarek was standing outside of the door, cordially talking to one of the other administrative staff about...taxes?

“Professor.” He called as he briskly walked up to the Vulcan.

“Mr. Kirk.” Sarek nodded towards him, he politely ended his conversation with the other man and turned to press a button on the wall panel beside the door to the principal's office. “Principal Palmer is currently waiting for us.”

George nodded back. “Does he know what we’re coming to talk to him about?”

“He does not. I simply told him that you and I wished to discuss James.”

The door in front of them finally slid open to permit them entry and George followed Sarek in to sit down on one of the chairs that was in front of the principal's desk.

“Mr. Kirk, Professor Sarek.” Principal Palmer graciously greeted as the two of them settled into their seats. He leaned forward to give a brief handshake to George and then sat his elbows on the edge of his desk. “What is it that you wanted to discuss about your son?”

George cleared his throat while he thought about how he wanted to phase what he was going to say. He didn’t understand how the hell this man could be so calm and nonchalant when he damn well knew that his son had been hurt in this school and he had done nothing about it. He might as well try to be cordial at first. “I would like to discuss the fact that my son has been injured multiple times in your school and you haven't done a damn thing about it.”

So maybe cordial wasn’t within his range.

Principal Palmer’s face quickly went from calm but concerned to irritated. “I don’t think I like your tone, Mr. Kirk.”

“Well, I don’t like the fact that my son is being hurt and you aren’t even concerned about it, let alone doing anything about it.” George could feel himself practically vibrating with anger as this sad excuse for a principal got more upset about his tone than a child being hurt.

Palmer sat back in his chair and glared at George. “Mr. Kirk, as I told your son when he came in here, I can not do anything that might tarnish another students reputation or ability to learn without some kind of evidence of wrongdoing.”

George grabbed the PADD he had brought with him off his lap and barely gave himself time to unlock it and scroll to the pictures before he was practically throwing the thing at Palmer. “There’s your damn evidence.”

The Principal glared at him harshly, but he still picked the PADD up and scrolled through the pictures, though it was begrudgingly. When he was done he sat the PADD down on the desk and slid it back over to George with a sigh. “Once again, as I told your son, these pictures only prove that he sustained some kind of injury. It doesn’t prove that he was hurt by another student, it simply proves that he was hurt. For all intents and purposes he could have easily hurt himself at home or during another time at school and been attempting to blame it on another student.”

George was aghast. To hear someone, a principal, accuse his son of intentionally hurting himself so that he could get another student in trouble was just horrifying. How anyone could think his sweet boy would do that was astonishing, his sweet sweet boy couldnever conspire to harm someone like that. Hell, his Jimmy would never even think about doing something like that.

Sarek must have noticed his mounting anger because he stepped in and started talking before George could get over his astonishment enough to reem the guy out. “Principal Palmer, there is absolutely no evidence that would lead to the conclusion of James Kirk self inflicting injuries in an attempt to tarnish another students reputation.”

“There is also no evidence proving that the boy he accused ever hurt him.”

Sarek picked up the PADD that laid discarded on the desk and flipped threw the pictures until he found the one he wanted. He handed the PADD over to Palmer and waited patiently for him to take another look at the pictures and the date and time that they were taken.

“Professor, I don’t see how taking another look at the same photos is going to change what is on them.”

“That set of photos was taken on the third of December, according to James Kirk he came to you and told you he had been assaulted by Matthew Giotto on that day, did he not?”

Palmer seemed frustrated with that. “Yes, he did. However, when I brought Matthew in he insisted that he didn’t hurt James Kirk and the boys physical education teacher, Mr. Cardelli, vouched for Matthew, stating that not only was he with him at the time of James’ supposed attack but that James had received those injuries during his physical education class.”

“Yeah, well, your teacher is a liar.” George shot back with a hiss, he leaned forward menacingly but was stopped by a stern look from Sarek.

Sarek folded his hands in his lap and leveled Palmer with a look that was barely short of a glare. “What Mr. Kirk was trying to say, is that Mr. Cardelli told you a falsehood. James was not injured during his class.”

“And how would you know that, Professor?”

“James Kirk attends my Advanced Physics class at approximately 1005 hours every morning, his physical education course is the class before mine.” Palmer nodded in agreement with his statement when Sarek paused. “The day in question, December third, James arrived in my class, completely healthy and unaccosted. That being said, he could not have received those injuries in Mr. Cardelli’s class if he was in good health during mine.”

The Principal mulled that over for a few minutes and George took that time to sort of mentally calm himself down so he wouldn’t end up blowing up. “I am afraid I can’t just take your word for it, Professor.”

It only took a second for all of George’s hard work calming himself down to go out the window. “You took the other teachers word for it! What the hell is so special about this kid and this teacher that you are ignoring literal evidence of abuse?” George stood up from the chair and slammed his hands down on the front of the desk in anger.

Palmer threw himself back in his chair and George could see some fear in his eyes. ‘Good.' George thought menacingly. ' He should be scared.

Sarek stayed seated and used one hand to motion George back into his seat. If Sarek hadn’t been trying to help him figure out what was going on, he probably would have stayed standing, but he needed to stay calm for Jimmy. He took a deep breath and let himself thump back in the chair, he kept his eyes trained on Palmer’s face, he could see that the older man was still a bit apprehensive even though he was now sitting.

Sarek cleared his throat to get Palmer’s attention off of George. “May I inquire as to why you do not believe myself or Jim?”

Palmer wet his lips and sighed. “Mr. Cardelli informed me that James has made several claims against Matthew directly to him, each one was unwarranted and false. When he confronted James about the falsehoods, James insisted they weren’t false and that Matthew had purposely injured him.”

George felt the little vein that ran across his temples start throbbing. “What makes you think this guy wasn’t lying then? My son was trying to get help and that asshole was stonewalling him!”

“Mr. Kirk.” Palmer ground out, clearly irritated. “If you insist on being aggressive, I will have to ask you to leave.”

George grabbed his jacket and the PADD that was laying on the edge of the desk and stood up. He turned to face Palmer, his eyes full of surprisingly calm rage. “You don’t need to ask me to leave - I can leave on my own - but just know this, I intend to bring my son’s abuse as well as your complacency in it, up to the police.”

With that said, George stormed out of the office, not even waiting to see if Sarek was following him out. He narrowly kept himself from lashing out and hitting something as he strode through the main office and out into the parking lot. He leaned against the door to his car with an aggravated sigh.

He wasn’t normally ever a violent man but He honestly just wanted to go back into that school and deck Principal Palmer straight in the face. ‘ Jimmy was trying to ruin another student's reputation, my ass…’ George thought.

Who the hell did this principal think he was? In what world would his baby ever even think of hurting himself just to implicate someone else.

He was still seething, standing against the side of his car when Sarek finally made his way over to him. The older Vulcan still look as calm and composed as ever on the outside, but George could see just a hint of stiffness around his jaw and shoulders. That, and the fact that he had his hand clasped firmly behind his back let George know he was at least a little bit irritated.

Whether it was irritation at him or Principal Palmer was unclear.

George decided to just bite the bullet. “Look, I’m sorry for blowing up in there and storming out but that man was infuriating.”

Sarek shook his head. “There is no need to apologize, Mr. Kirk. Your ire was not...unearned, his slander of your son was completely uncalled for.” Sarek seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Is it correct to assume that you are intending to take this matter to the police?”

He nodded and sagged back against his car door. “Yeah, but I’m gonna go home and cool off a little bit. I don’t need to charge into the police station all pissed off from talking to the principal and start taking my frustration out on them.”

“That is a logical choice.”

George ran a hand threw his hair roughly and unlocked his car. “Well, Jim’s gonna be irritated with me, but there isn’t anything I can do about that.” He shook his head and let out a little self-deprecating chuckle. “I’m assuming you need to go get ready for your first classes today, so I’ll see you later.”

“If you would not mind, once you decide when you are going to approach the police, I would appreciate you contacting me so that I may make myself available to travel along with you.”

“Of course, your wife already gave me your comm code so I’ll give you a call when I figure out exactly how this is going to go down.” George agreed and gave Sarek a little wave as he stepped into his hover car and Sarek turned to walk back into the school.

He wasn’t sure yet of how he was going to explain this to his little tiger, he had told him that he would solve this today so that he would be back in school for tomorrow. But that could wait until he got home and figured out how and when he was going to take this to the police.