Jim keeps glancing to his wrist, agitated. He didn’t have time for an assembly to be called, he didn’t have much time at all. Just two minutes.
One minute fifty-nine.
He was going to meet his soulmate, finally, after all these years watching his wrist slowly count down. He had only seen it jump dramatically three times: when he had decided to join Starfleet that night he watched the Enterprise being built back home, and yesterday after his subroutine had worked on the Kobayashi Maru. The third had been random, and did not correspond to any of his actions, but he had a hunch. His two were about him getting out there, to space and the stars. So, they were a step in the right direction, the place his soulmate waited in. This assembly couldnot be that same direction.
Jim holds his arm out when he walks past Gaila, just enough to show her his wrist. She grins at him, hair bouncing when she gives two thumbs up. Even Uhura, who usually pretended to be unimpressed with his usual antics, gave him an encouraging look when she spotted the numbers. He elbows Bones when he sits next to him, showing the one minute thirty-two clearly there. McCoy rolls his eyes because Jim had shown it to him almost every hour last night as it counted down. But he pats Jim on the arm, eyes scanning the room for anyone they haven’t met before, anyone that Jim has never locked eyes with. Because Bones knows they’re in here, and he’s beyond curious about the kind of person that gets paired with Jim Kirk.
Jim’s thrown when he’s called down for cheating. Thoughts of so close turn into protests. No, I’m so close, he thinks. He can’t be grounded now, he needs to get out there. So he asks to see his accuser, determined to know who would do this to him. And time stops.
It actually stops. In the room around him, and on his wrist. He can feel the counter on his wrist end when his eyes meet with his accuser’s. The Vulcan falters.
"Forgive me, there has been an error," He says. "The charges are dropped."
The entire room breaks out into chatter and whispers as the Vulcan stalks off. But all that noise, echoing on the high walls, fades away to Jim who can only focus on the form retreating out the door. “Who was that pointy-eared bastard?” Jim asks, a little breathless. That was it, they had done it. They had locked eyes at the exact same moment, as all soulmates had to do, and ended their timers.
"I don’t know," Bones says, suddenly at his side. Jim’s not sure when that happened, but he doesn’t bother questioning it. His eyes still haven’t left the doors the Vulcan left through. "But don’t you think you should, I don’t know, go after him?"
Bones gives him a push, and Jim races out after his new soulmate. He expects a chase, to have to track him down over the Academy, asking random cadets if they’re seen the handsome guy that was his. The one he belonged to. He’s prepared to. However, the Vulcan is waiting just outside the doors. Waiting for him, Jim notes, feeling a little reassured.
“I am Spock, of Vulcan. You are James Kirk. May I see your wrist?”
“Uh, yeah.” Jim wasn’t expecting to find him so soon so he’s caught a little off-guard by the direct request, but he holds his arm out. Spock. His soulmate was Spock. It kinda figures that Jim would get a Vulcan. Those relationships weren’t common at all. Spock gently touches his skin, and there’s- there’s something, Jim can’t quite describe it. But it’s a connection. They’re connected.
“Can I see yours?” He asks, noticing how breathless he sounds. He had always thought he’d be a bit more composed when this time came. But now that it’s here, he finds he doesn’t mind so much. Spock inclines his head.
“My timer is not in the same place as yours.” Spock starts. It’s not a no. “As a Vulcan, however, there is the method of a mind meld I can utilise to show you how I know, if you permit it.” Spock is holding his hand out, looking a little hesitant.
“It’s lucky you came here from Vulcan, huh.” Jim’s stalling as he tries to bury down anything that might scare Spock away, anything that was Jim’s alone to keep or bare. They may be soulmates, but Jim had been his own person for a long time. There were some things Spock would still have to earn.
“In the interest of disclosure, my mother is Human.” Spock says, and Jim is a little concerned to note that it sounds like a challenge. Something he would have to earn, then. That was fair.
“So is mine,” He jokes. Spock opens his mouth, and Jim is really curious to hear how he would respond, but then the doors slam open.
“JI-! Oh, there you are.” Bones grabs his arm, but looks at Spock when he delivers his message. “There’s been a distress call from Vulcan. All the cadets are being dispatched.”
Spock is gone before Jim can stop him, not that Bones had loosened his grip at all. He looks expectantly at his friend, wanting nothing more than to run after Spock. “Come on, we’ll be assigned to a ship, get through this mess, and you can find your new boyfriend after.” Bones shakes his head, tugging him down the hall. “I get it, Jim. I do. But we’ve got to sort this out first.”
“You didn’t call my name. Kirk, James T.” Jim is anxious. Bones was right, a planetary distress call was never something anyone wanted. But this was Vulcan— ‘founding member of the Federation and home to his new soulmate’ Vulcan. He had just met Spock, and if he knew anything about his species, he wouldn’t be able to show his concern. Show any sort of emotion that wasn’t pure logic for that matter. Jim realised he might have to try and help manage the emotions of this mission for the both of them, all the while trying to establish a relationship. These were not ideal conditions to meet in.
“You’re on academic probation.” The barracks leader tells him without looking up from his PADD. Jim’s bewildered, but determined.
“That means that you-” He cuts off, frowning at his PADD. “Huh.”
“It says you’ve been reinstated and assigned to the USS Enterprise.” He’s finally looking up at him but Jim doesn’t wait around. He grabs Bones and runs.
He’s endlessly grateful that he had Bones with him when he has a reaction to the vaccines Dr Puri orders be given to each cadet. Thanks to him, only Uhura had to suffer through Jim’s numb tongue and inflated hands. He’s not quite sure how he could get that past anyone else, especially Spock.
Jim’s kind of annoyed that Spock’s first reaction is to state that he is not allowed on the bridge, instead of a ‘hello’ or something. Was a better greeting too much to ask for? But Spock accepts the facts when Jim presents them, and can get Uhura to back him up. Spock was driven by logic, he had to remember that. He wasn’t Human, no matter what his mother is.
Jim thinks he might have made a new friend as he and Sulu tumble off the transporter pad. Okay, new rule, he thinks to himself, blinking at the solid floor that was thankfully not rushing up to meet him. No more crazy stunts until he’s actually gotten to have a conversation with his soulmate. An actual, honest to God, ‘hello, this is me’, conversation. Oh, speak of the devil…
The pointy eared devil was going to the planet. Jim can’t believe it.
“You’re going down there?! Spock, what about-?” Us. What about the fact the planet’s about to fall apart. That was kind of a big deal, just kind of. And it put a serious hole in his conversation plan. But Spock’s eyes lock with his and Jim knows, he just knows. His wrist throbs. Spock’s mother is down there.
Maybe there is time for one last crazy stunt. God, Bones better not find out about this.
He jumps back on the pad just as Spock orders “Energize.”
“No more.” He pants under the weight of Amanda. “Crazy stunts. Rule.” He points at Spock before letting his arm drop with a smack on the transport pad. The weight is an inconvenience to his desire to breathe, but it’s proof that he had managed to grab the falling woman and pull her back up just in time. That had been way too close.
Spock helps Amanda up and Jim almost cheers. Instead he takes in a big breath of air now his lungs aren’t being crushed. That was good. Then he’s being kissed. By Spock. In front of Spock’s parents and the Vulcan elders. That was… also really good, but mostly unexpected.
Maybe some crazy stunts are worth it, he thinks. He did a good thing here.
They weren’t able to save Vulcan.
Jim doesn’t know how to help Spock; he doesn’t think Spock quite knows what he needs either. Even his mother isn’t really getting through to him, from what Jim sees. Spock wants complete control of his emotions, and even the kiss seems to be viewed as a lapse of it. Spock shuts up tight, and orders to meet up with the fleet in the Laurentian System. Jim argues because no matter what was going on between them, they still needed to make the right choice and stand against Nero. During the ‘discussion’ Spock finally does show some emotion, but it doesn’t go as well as Jim had hoped.
He gets marooned.
“Bullshit,” Jim says, even as his wrist throbs. The numbers aren’t there, he had already found his soulmate, but this old Vulcan…
God, he’s telling the truth.
They talk, they share information, they meld. Is this what it would be with his Spock? He wonders about it, blinking the tears from his eyes. This Spock felt so much, felt so much. And a lot of it was pain in the wake of his planet’s destruction. Was this what his Spock was hiding? Was dealing with on his own? He is so caught up these thoughts he almost forgets to ask his own questions until the other Spock says it’s time to head out.
“Where you came from… did I know my father?” He hears of a life not his, where he might have been happier, not have gone through the shit that was his life, not have seen Vulcan destroyed, might be captain. But it wasn’t his; it wasn’t something he would let himself dwell on. He had made it, hadn’t he? None of it had managed to stop him yet. He was Jim Kirk. There was only one thing that he could have in common with his other self, that was potentially something good, and not a shadow to try and work his way out from under. “And, uh. We were soulmates, right?” His wrist tingles.
This Spock actually smiles at the question. It’s a little bit of a sad smile, but it is still one. He puts a hand over his side -where a Vulcan heart would be- and nods. “We were. We were t’hy’la.”
“You have never loved her!” Jim accuses, and flies back from Spock’s blow. He knows it’s a lie. He also knows he won’t be able to hold an angered Vulcan off for long, so he says his final line, even as it hurts him too, and years of abandonment hit him as hard as any blow could. “And I don’t think you could ever love me.”
Spock halts mid attack, staggering back, while Jim resists the urge to go to him, to comfort and apologise. Spock declares himself emotionally compromised and leaves, effectively handing over the rank of Captain. Amanda sends Jim a look of shocked betrayal before following her son.
Jim will have to fix that, will have to mend what he potentially just lost. But for now he takes the chair.
He’s the captain.
Jim has everyone around him, discussing tactics and plans, searching for any one idea that could get them close enough to get on the ship and disable it. There had been a slight hiccup when Scotty had joined them and locked eyes with Uhura for the first time. But Jim admired how they put that aside, Uhura throwing herself into translations while Scotty focused on equations. He allowed them the odd glance, hoping their relationship didn’t get screwed over by the situation like his had. He swallows, forcing that thought away. He then also promised himself he’d get themboth to be part of his crew, if the day ever came. They were both geniuses and competent officers. But that too needed to be ignored for now. They needed to figure out if their latest plan had any sort of feasibility to make the risks worth it.
“I can beam aboard Nero’s ship,” Spock says, pretty much the first thing he does when he walks back on the bridge. His entrance shakes Jim from his thoughts, leaving him staring for a moment. But he’s happy to see Spock looking better— there’s a determination to him, and no sense of anger directed at Jim.
“I can’t allow you to do that, Spock. No more crazy stunts.” He reminds him, hoping to show he still wants him, still wants them, if Spock’ll have him. And this is one of those crazy stunts that could put an end to all of that.
Spock begins to list logically why he should go, and Jim could listen to that voice forever. He’s already kind of fond of the way Spock can command his words, but he’s not fond of the words mean in this context. Spock will have to go if this mission wants any sort of chance at success. That’s becoming undeniable. Jim’s mouth is set in a grim line when Spock pauses, a flicker of emotion on his face. “Also, my mother is Human, as is my soulmate. This makes Earth the only home I have left.”
Jim’s heart soars, his wrist pleasantly warm, their eyes not leaving each other’s. “Then I’m coming with you.”
“I would cite regulation, or remind you that ‘crazy stunts’ are not permitted, but I know that you will simply ignore it.”
Jim smiles, holding Spock’s arm— his hands were a no go zone until they discovered their boundaries and Jim found out just why they were a thing with Vulcans. “I think we’ll get to know each other just fine.”
“Say it again,” Jim tells Spock as he stretches out and wraps an arm around the Vulcan. He settles his hand on Spock’s side, where he can feel the beat of his heart, and trace the spot where his numbers had counted down. Counted down with the numbers on Jim’s wrist to the moment that they would become them. He sighs happily, closing his eyes on their bedroom.
Spock complies. “Captain.” Jim grins.
“The other one, my First Officer.”
“Bondmate.” Jim chuckles this time, burying his face in Spock’s side.
“The other other one.”