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Beta Lyrae

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Something was ringing in his ears. Still half inside a dream he couldn’t remember, Jim looked around. His room was bathed in the red early morning sunlight - his mom’s black and white movie posters flared orange and the eyes of greasy-haired film stars glowed.

Yawning and rubbing at his bleary eyes, Jim turned his gaze to his window, where the world was on fire.

Jim startled upright and gripped at his windowsill, heart beating loud and fast in his chest. It wasn’t the sun making his room glow like that- it was the entire field on fire .

Some part of him wondered where it had come from, seeing as everything was dead and gone for miles around - Frank didn’t know how to manage a field like this. 

Most of him was just panicking. 

He stared out at the fire, mesmerised at how it spread, how it grew, the deep, glowing orange rising up from the hulking, black mass in the middle-

There was something in the fire. That was definitely some sort of something in there, smack bang in the middle of the field. Some sort of… round thing? It was definitely round- ish , the shape of it warping the fire’s reflection and oh shit something was moving-

There was some one in the fire.

Jim ran downstairs (silently, quickly) in nothing but his old - flammable - pyjamas, throwing open the back door and running faster than he ever had before towards the searing heat. He could feel it from the porch, hear it from his window and from two feet away, he could feel… the person inside.

He couldn’t explain it - wasn’t trying to, wasn’t thinking at all. From his bedroom to the field, chest heaving and backing up slowly as the blistering heat advanced, all he was thinking about was there’s someone in the fire.

Now, all he was thinking was I’ve got to get them out.  

People died in fires like this. He could die, but it didn’t matter, had to happen someday and with fucking Frank around it could be sooner rather than later so-

Jim went into the fire, barefoot and coughing and eyes full of ash. 

He could see them now, could see their arm try to haul the rest of their body above the gleaming, hot metal (is that what it was? It looked too shiny to be-) 

Jim ran up to the arm, mind reeling and feet burning, and he pulled.  

Out of a slit in the… thing came a person, a kid around his age. He had a bowl cut and weird eyebrows but Jim didn’t have time to gawk - what was the kid doing in his field anyway?

“Come on we have to get out of here!” Jim yelled, voice croaking out as ash clogged up his throat. 

The kid doubled over in a coughing fit, the hand that wasn’t connected to Jim’s coming up to their face. 

“We need to-” Jim’s voice stuck in his throat, the words packed down and piled on top of each other. He couldn’t speak.

Panic rose up in his chest, and the kid he pulled out of the wreck snapped up to look at him, eyes wide. He didn’t say anything, but started running towards Jim’s house faster than Jim had ever run before, he was being dragged by the hand that held them together and Jim thought that if he wasn’t holding on, he would have died. Would have been left behind for the fire.

When they reached the back porch, the kid turned around to look at the burning field. Jim had no idea what to do when it reached the house, didn’t really have a plan in the first place - he just saw movement and ran.  

The kid was puffing, but his face said he was waiting for something, expecting- 

The silver thing in the field exploded,  a huge noise that slammed into his chest, and Jim flinched back, eyes shut tight.

But when he opened them, the heat had gone, the early morning air rapidly cooling his singed skin. When his eyes adjusted to the sudden lack of light, he noticed that parts of the silver thing had fallen off, revealing a sleek round shape. 

“IIsh-veh nam-tor wuh shatik kesaya svi' wuh pavek t' wuh tevul” the kid said, and Jim paused.

“What language is that?” he asked, and it was the kid’s turn to look confused - raising a thin eyebrow, brow creasing minutely - as if Jim was the crossword in the Sunday newspaper. A puzzle.

“Tor du stariben Vuhlkansu?” The kid asked 

“It doesn’t sound like any language I’ve ever heard of,” Jim said, mainly to himself.

“Sauyaing ri” the kid deadpanned, also without the expectation of a reply.

Jim stood up and looked at him properly - he was wearing a long black dress that was light enough to blow in the breeze, and the little he could see of his arms had goosebumps.

Jim pointed at himself, finger jabbing into his chest. “Jim,” he said simply.


Jim nodded. 

“S'chn T'gai Spock,” the boy said, pointing at his own chest. 

“Shh, uh, Schhlin… Tag… uh, Spock?” Jim tried. 

“...Spock,” Spock allowed. 

Jim turned to look out at the thing he pulled Spock out of. Something didn’t feel right.

“How did you- gah!”

Spock had grabbed his ear.

“Spock what the fuck?”

“Du nam-tor komihn,” Spock muttered and he sounded… scared. 

“Hey, are you okay?” Jim asked, “you don’t look so hot.”

“Du nam-tor komihn,” Sock repeated, and he definitely sounded scared this time.

They both stood there in silence for a beat, then Spock wrenched his hand away like he’d been burned (which, to be fair, was a possibility in this situation).

“...Ni'droi'ik nar-tor.”

“Uh, did you just say sorry? You sounded sorry,” Jim asked, “it’s… okay? You can grab my ear if you want?”

Spock was looking more uncomfortable by the second, before coming to some sort of decision and that cool exterior from before came back. He reached up and tucked some of his hair behind his- pointy ear .

“Holy fuck you’re an elf.”