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When the Glitter Fades

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When Spock was four, his brother had decided he was insane.

Sybok loved him of course, but he didn’t quite agree with Spock’s tendency to climb things just because their there.

As soon as Spock learned to walk, he tried to learn to climb. They lived on a fifth floor apartment with no elevator, and even when he was barely a year old and toddling he found being carried up the stairs embarrassing. So he learned to climb the stairs, and then he learned to climb onto the couch, and then the countertops.

And then the stair railing.

Mother hated that last activity, so he never did it when she or father were home. And Michael would tell mother. But Sybok lets him be, even if he thinks he’s crazy.

Spock was unafraid. He never fell.

 


 

When Spock was six someone ripped off his hat for the first time and saw the deformities of his ears. The entire schoolyard teamed up to call him a freak.

Spock climbed up a fence and ran along the top of it to escape the beating. He did this consistently for the next 20 years.

During that time, he climbed things no man should ever climb, went into hiding no less than 6 times, got into a fight with his father and never bothered to go back home, switched cities 7 times exactly, and on one memorable occasion got arrested for climbing the side of a building.

Spock was always unafraid. He never fell.


 

 

When Spock’s 26, he met James Kirk.

He joined the circus.

He spent his nights performing for adoring crowds, dancing above their heads.

Spock’s never been happier.

Here he was, in a profession where he could climb as high as he wanted, didn’t need to wear his hat, was happy and satisfied-

Of course, he thought as he glanced at back stage from his spot on the trapeze, seeing Jim gaze at him fondly, the perks aren’t bad.

Spock released the bar, and executed a perfect flip as he hooked his leg over the other swinging bar, and then another mid air twist to land on the platform on his hands. The crowd cheered, and Spock grinned, bringing his legs down so his feet rested on the tightrope. He pushed himself to his feet, and then cartwheeled forward a little. The crowd oohed and ahhed as he danced across the tightrope, doing a handspring and then sinking into a split in the center of his rope for his finale as the music ended.

The crowd applauded, and Spock didn't bother to get up from his split before waving. The spotlight stayed on him as Jim ran to the center of the ring. Spock clenched his thighs and raised himself off the rope enough to grab it before swinging down, hanging from the rope with one hand.

“Give it up one more time for the flying man- Spock Grayson!” Jim shouted, and the crowd cheered again. Spock grinned, waving once more before going hand over hand back to the platform and climbing up onto it. The spotlight move away from him as Jim introduced Hikaru and Pavel’s joint comedy act, and Spock slid down the ladder fireman style in the dark.

He landed safely on the ground, and rushed to jump out of the ring and get to the backstage area.

Their current setup consisted of two tents, connected by a tunnel. The backstage area was just inside the tunnel, but all the animals and actual spaces for them to relax were in the second tent, which was much smaller than the large one.

Jim had taken to calling the large tent the “big top”, Spock liked the name, it sounded fancy.

Spock gratefully darted through the tunnel to the little tent, high fiving Scotty as he passed. He didn’t even acknowledge any of the others before going over to Leonard, who was ready with a pack fresh out of boiling water. He carefully wrapped it in a towel, then handed it to Spock.

Spock accepted it with a quiet thank you and pressed it against his right hip, sighing in relief. He wasn’t as young as he used to be, and his joints were getting an increasing habit of rebelling against him. Whatever, he could ignore it.

Mostly.

Leonard grumbled something, no doubt about his rigorous practice schedule, but Spock ignored him. He’d rather be sore and well trained then dead because he broke his neck falling from his trapeze.

Not that he was scared. He never fell.

“Spock!” Jim called from the mouth of the tunnel, Spock glanced over his shoulder and grinned as Jim ran over and pressed a quick kiss to his temple.

“That was fantastic, sweetheart,” Jim murmured into his skin, and Spock closed his eyes happily, using the hand not holding the hot pack to twine his fingers with Jim’s.

“Mm, you gonna be good to go back out?” Jim asked, and Spock nodded, moving the hotpack so it was pressed against his shoulders. Leonard was preparing more hot towels, he could hear it behind him.

“Oh, by the way,” Jim stepped back, “there’s a young african american lady here with a pair of asian folks and a white woman. They told the ticket guy they knew you?”

A young african american lady.

“Michael?” Spock breathed, feeling the hotpack drop from his hand in shock. He stepped away from Jim, eyes widening, “You’re certain they said they knew me?”

Jim nodded, and suddenly Spock couldn’t care less about his sore muscles. He pulled away from Jim to run back through the tunnel. He stopped short of the ring, still hidden in the darkness, but able to scan the illuminated crowd. He looked around frantically, trying to pick them out in the crowd.

A white women, a black girl, and two japanese guys walk into a circus. Amanda Grayson, Michael Burnham, and Sarek and Sybok Nogazaki walk into a circus.

Yep, still just as bad a joke as before.

“Spock?” Jim whispered in his ear, having followed him. Scotty, who was helping with the lighting like always, gave him a strange look.
And then, he caught a glimpse of a man with a long ponytail and a scraggly beard, so helplessly rugged and american on his japanese features, especially in comparison to his clean shaven father and brother.

Spock’s heart jumped into his throat as he saw the man laugh at Pavel’s tricks, recognizing the light in those eyes anywhere. Sybok. He had no doubts in his mind even years after seeing him last. That was his brother, his sister was next to them. And on his other side was his father, not laughing with the rest, but at least intrigued.

And next to him…

“That’s my mother,” spock whispered, feeling like he would cry, “Jim my family is actually here-’

Jim touched his shoulder. Spock tore his eyes away from his family, from the million questions they brought with them and the sheer surprise not only that they were here, that they were all here, but the surprise at how good it felt to see them- He looked at Jim.

Jim was grinning, looking happy for him, and whispered “What seat are they in?”

Spock glanced back out, finding them again in a second. He did a quick count, and whispered “Seats six through ten, third row, stand 4.”

“Want me to invite them backstage?”

Spock was certain that if he hugged his siblings right now he wouldn’t be able to go back out and fly with Scotty’s machines, or do the finale. He looked at Jim, “after the show, can we?”

“I have the perfect idea,” Jim said, eyes gleaming. Then he faltered, “babe, do they know that…?”

“I’m queer,” Spock shook his head, and Jim frowned- probably at the casual use of the slur than at the acknowledgement that no, he hadn’t been able to look his father in the eye and tell him  that he was uninterested in a japanese wife.

Poor t’pring.

“Got it, I’ll make sure I don’t act like… y’know.”

Like your my everything. Spock smiled to himself.

“I’ll let Hikaru and Ben know,” Spock said, “but Scotty and Ny are fine. They couldn’t care less about that stuff.”

“Okay- Spock?” Spock glanced back and Jim tugged him forward for a kiss. Spock grinned into it. Jim pulled away and bumped foreheads with him, “You were gorgeous out there.”

Spock smiled at him, eyes closed. And then he got an idea and his eyes snapped open.

“Hey Jim, can I try that new triple twirl I’ve been doing in practice for the finale?” he asked, and Jim glanced down at him, a frown playing on his lips.

“You sure? You usually like to get it right a few times before you do it for people.”

“I’ve done it right!”

“Yeah, twice.” Jim looked concerned, “you sure your ready?”

“I’m fine, Jim,” Spock replied, mildly irritated. “I’ve never fallen when I didn’t mean to, you know that.”

He hated that Jim wore boots during shows, making him taller than Spock. This argument would be so much easier if Jim was in bare feet like he was and still shorter than him.

Nonetheless, Jim sighed, blue eyes going soft. He brushed a hand across Spock’s cheek, muttering “you know I can’t deny you anything when you look at me like that. Fine, you can do it during the finale. Because your parents are here.”

Spock beamed, and Jim smiled at him, kissed his forehead, and walked away.

Spock went back to Leonard, needing to rest and relax his muscles. He’d only let Jim see his newest trick, and he was more than ready for others to see it too.

The new trick consisted of him jumping off his trapeze bar, doing a flip, and then a triple twirl in mid air before catching himself on the tightrope and doing another three backflips before landing on his feet. He’d managed it a couple times in practice, Sybok would get a kick out of it. He grinned, excited.

He started rubbing his thighs and arms, resting hot towels provided by Leonard on his joints and sitting down to meditate and prepare himself mentally.

After the show, he’d get to hug his brother, and his sister. And he’d get to see his mother. His father would probably actually talk to him. And later, he’d get to make love with Jim and just- god, his life was perfect.

He smiled as he went back out to dance while Nyota sang, and then swing from the trapeze while Scotty’s inventions flew around him- his father would definitely enjoy that bit of it.

Scotty liked to say that someday he’d make a flying machine Spock could hang from. Spock had no doubt that it would happen someday.

Then, finally, the finale rolled around.

Everyone came back out for the final act, doing their own tricks in turn. Spock was swinging from his trapeze happily when the moment arrived.

The lights were on him, Spock grinned, and he jumped. Flip, one, two, twirl, use your momentum, bring your arm out-

Sound rushed away until all he was left with was the ringing in his ears. Pain shot up his arm as he moved it, something in his shoulder clenching painfully, he heard his own gasp as if it was the only sound in the world, but he pushed through it.

But it was too late.

The pain caused him to twist mere centimeters to the side.

The lights faded, and it seemed as if the world moved in slow motion as his fingers brushed the rope and the safety of it, but weren’t close enough to get any grasp. He saw the rope fly away from him, the wind against his neck as he-

He twisted again, trying to reach up and grab it only to realize it was so far out of his reach, it was feet above him and jesus how fast was he-

He connected with the ground foot first.

Pain went up his heel like a live wire, and the rest of his body hit the ground, knocking the wind out of him and sending pain through his entire body.

The world blotted out for a few seconds as his head connected with the ground beneath him. When his vision cleared he saw the rope above him, tiny as a line on paper. His ears were ringing, and he couldn’t feel his fingers.

His leg was on fire, and he tried to pick his head up- ow, bad idea. He laid his head down again, only to find that hurt too. He was laying in a sticky puddle, who’d spilled water on the floor someone would slip and-

The pain in his leg somehow doubled, and the ringing in is ears got louder. There were shapes in front of his eyes, but he couldn’t make them out. He needed to see his leg.

He grit his teeth, picked up his head and felt the shrill ringing mix with a dull roar as he forced his head up to see-

Oh.

His leg wasn’t on fire.

It was twisted wrong, so wrong, his knee shouldn’t bend like that.

He was also fairly sure that the sharp jagged thing sticking out of his thigh, coated in blood but white underneath, was his thigh bone.

It was at this point that he realized the ringing in his ears was not ringing, but himself, screaming in pain.

His head fell, unsupported by his neck and hit the ground and oh god, that made it worse. The slow motion feeling of- the world sped up again, suddenly going too fast, and everything blurry became crystal clear.

Leonard was moving over him, Nyota was crying, screaming, was she hurt too, the audience was yelling, too loud too loud tooloud, and everything just kept speeding up, getting faster and faster-

Jim’s face appeared, his mouth moving, but Spock couldn’t hear him over his own screaming.

Jim’s eyes were blue blue blue and they were filled with tears and he’d lost his hat, his hair was falling in his face, he looked terrified, and oh, Spock should have been scared too but he never-

He never got scared because he never-

It’s too much it’s all too much because he-

His vision darkens, and suddenly he’s terrified, why isn’t jim saving him, he-

He-

He fell, down down down, until the world was a tiny speck in his dark vision. He fell he fell he fell, it echoed like a taunt, just as bad as the ones about his ears when he was six. You fell you fell you fell.

Jim would-

Jim-

What was a jim? What was a spock? What was anything?

He fell fell fell, until he was gone.