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Sybok looked off to the side of the viewscreen, cringing. “Uh, well, so far Spock seems to like it here. He uh… made a friend.”

 

Amanda’s eyes narrowed at her oldest –because, that’s what he was. Sybok was hers and no one could tell her otherwise. “Sarek, does he look a bit suspicious to you?”

 

Sarek looked like he was about to answer, standing over her shoulder and giving the communications device an odd look, when Amanda backtracked, “Wait, don’t answer that, you always think he looks suspicious when he’s not in telepathic range.”

 

Sybok looked like he was about to say something before clamping his mouth shut, looking wounded by his parents. He paused though, turning his head to listen to something out of view, before cringing. “Well, I guess in this case it’s not completely unfounded, but, I don’t think it’s my fault this time!”

 

Amanda and Sarek gave each other a look, one that only parents trying to deal with their children’s bullshit, could replicate. “Sybok, what happened?”

 

Sybok frowned, “Well, like I said, Spock made a friend. His name is Jimmy, and he’s Admiral Kirk’s son. Now, since he’s only two years Spock’s junior, I thought it would be okay to babysit Jimmy for her since she offered to watch Spock for me while I was on duty in Starfleet Medical. It’s an honest exchange of help since she’s a single mother and I’ve taken charge of my brother while he visits from Vulcan.”

 

Amanda’s lips were set in a thin line. None of that sounded like a cause to worry, which meant he wasn’t done yet. “Could you, please, get to the point, Sybok?”

 

Sybok nodded, “Well, Spock and Jimmy have apparently decided that they are each other’s best friends now, beyond all doubt and reason, so of course, as is an apparent human tradition between young friends, they are going to spend the rest of their lives together-“

 

“Sybok!”

 

Sybok paused, all blood leaving his face in a very human manner. He looked a little lost for a few seconds –no, close to a breakdown is what he looked. “Spock and him accidentally created a mental bond, that I would place, similar to that of a Vulcan marriage bond.”

 

Neither parent said anything, so Sybok continued on, “I noticed it right away,” of course he did, he wasn’t the strongest known telepath in the galaxy for nothing, “and it was a little wonky. Like, uh, bad wonky? Like, complication inducing, wonky. And so, I panicked and sat them both down and did the only thing I could think of to do at the moment, and I fixed it for them. When I got into their minds, I could tell they would fight against me removing it at all, and that could cause some damage, so I fixed it and made it stable, and now, they, are… married. Kind of. Well, as far as Vulcan bonds go in terms of-“

 

“Sybok.” Sybok stopped rambling, looking over at his dad with wide eyes. He took in a sharp breath when he realized he had been holding it, and tried to give his father an encouraging look.

 

“Yeah, Dad?”

 

“I would like to speak with Spock.”

 

Sybok nodded so hard it looked like his head was going to come off, scrambling out of his chair so fast it nearly tipped over. Amanda just sighed and got up, “When you’re done talking to him, I would like to speak with him as well.”

 

Sarek just nodded minutely, looking at the screen with determination.

 

***

 

When Spock and Jim had first met, it had been interesting.

 

Spock didn’t see why terran children played on metal structures. They seemed likely to fall off of them, and even more likely to pick up germs from them. Not only that, but they placed their hands on things that so many others before them had.

 

Even Sybok, who was weird by vulcan standards –probably why he left the planet, because he was tired of the weird looks- agreed with him about its oddity and requested that Spock not attempt to join in on this game, like their mother would have if she had been there.

 

Instead, Spock was standing far away from the metal structure with both hands firmly not touching anything. He did observe though.

 

“Hi!”

 

A small terran boy with blonde hair and blue eyes stopped next to him, looking at him with interest. Spock cocked his head to the side, studying his freckles. Freckles were an oddity on Vulcan, and as far as he could tell, humans got them when exposed to sun. Most odd. “Hello.”

 

The boy looked at him with wrinkled eyes, as if he was smiling too hard. He was tiny, and Spock was pretty sure he would fall over if the wind was strong enough. “My name is Jimmy! I’m a human and I’m four. Do you want to play?”

 

Spock’s eyebrow went up, “Play?”

 

Jimmy nodded, “Yeah, play! Like, like, we could play on the monkey bars, or the swings. Those are fun.”

 

Spock looked over at the metal structure again, “Those are, monkey bars?”

 

Jimmy nodded his head, looking excitable. He reached out one hand, and before Spock could guess what he was doing, and stop him, his hand grazed Spock’s wrist, making both of them startle.

 

“What just…”

 

Spock looked down at the skin Jimmy had touched on his arm and frowned, but before he could answer, Jimmy reached out and did it again, this time keeping contact with Spock’s skin for longer.

 

When Jimmy pulled back this time, it was because of adult intervention. Sybok had knelt down next to them both, and gently taken Jimmy’s hand off of Spock’s, “He’s a touch telepath.”

 

Jimmy looked over at Sybok with a dazed expression, his face crumpling just a little, with what Sybok guessed to be sorrow. It could be hard for children not of telepathic species, to stop trying to get the feeling of someone else in their head back, once the connection is lost. It was an addicting feeling. Sybok’s shields were more pronounced though, let letting the child into his mind, even when he felt him probing at him because they were still touching, his larger hands closed over the child’s to keep him from reaching for Spock’s again.

 

Jimmy seemed to be very telepathically strong.

 

Spock was still glaring at his arm, like it had betrayed him. Sybok frowned at him, “Spock, are you okay?”

 

Spock gave him a sour look, “My shields should be strong enough to stop him.”

 

Sybok rolled his eyes, “Spock, children usually don’t have strong enough shields to stop this kind of accidental connection.”

 

Spock scowled even harder, “Yours were.”

 

Sybok gave the boy an unimpressed look, “I am a stronger telepath than our entire planet, Spock.”

 

Spock looked like he was going to give Sybok another nasty retort when they were all interrupted. “Excuse me! Can I ask why you seem to be holding my son?”

 

Sybok looked up to see a blonde woman with a Starfleet uniform on, looking pissed. He looked between her and Jimmy for a second before stepping back from the child so fast he nearly tripped over a rock behind him. Jimmy immediately looked at his now free hands and went to go grab Spock again, who, didn’t seem all that intent on stopping him, simply looking at the little boy with something akin to distaste, as if Jimmy was a mere fly, annoying him.

 

Before Jimmy could get his tiny fingers back on Spock though, he was suddenly picked up by the woman, who was half heartedly listening to Sybok’s rambling on what had happened and why he was definitely not molesting her son. She frowned when Jimmy immediately started whining at being further away from Spock, quickly approaching a tantrum. The woman –Admiral Kirk- gently bounced him a little, pressing his face into her neck while she listened to him start to cry. “I’m sorry about him. He doesn’t yet understand the reasons why you can’t treat every species the same. It’s far past his nap time too. I should take him home.”

 

Jimmy pulled his head out of his mother’s neck and looked at her with tears dribbling down his face and snot clogging up his nose, “No, Mama, not nap time.”

 

Winona smiled a little at her cranky boy, reaching up to wipe some of the tears off his soft cheek, “I know, pumpkin. Mama is so mean to her baby boy. We have to go pick up Sammy from his playdate, anyways.”

 

Jimmy looked like he didn’t believe her, “Not nap time.”

 

Winona shook her head, “No nap time yet.”

 

“Not ever.”

 

Winona just smiled again, “If you can go without a nap for the rest of forever, Mama won’t stop you.”

 

Jimmy sighed, pleased in a way that only a toddler could be, and lay his head back down on her shoulder, one tiny thumb slipping into his mouth in a way that made both Spock and Sybok cringe. Gross.

 

Just as Winona was slinging a large diaper bag over her shoulder and getting ready to go, Jimmy twisted in her arms, much like he had when she had attacked his face with a wet wipe to get all the gunk off, but this time looking back at Spock. He gave one last try in reaching over to the other boy while Winona just bounced him a little more, one hand rubbing Jimmy’s back till he settled down. He’d probably be asleep in his carseat by the time they got Sam.

 

Sybok and Spock quietly watched them leave though.

 

“Sybok.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Spock made an odd face, “His mind was odd.”

 

Sybok paused for a minute, trying to figure that out. “Odd, how?”

 

Spock paused too, trying to figure it out himself. “Warm, maybe? Needy and helpless though. He didn’t have a single shield up, and he reached out for me. Humans aren’t normally like that.”

 

Sybok nodded, “Well, children can be like that.”

 

Spock’s lips twisted up, “It wasn’t disagreeable.”

 

Sybok was going to take that as approval. For what though, he wasn’t sure.

 

***

 

Every Tuesday through Friday, Sybok and Winona showed up at the park, between one and three, with Spock and Jimmy.

 

At first it was a coincidence. Then it became routine.

 

They had each other’s contact info and would com each other if one of them was not going to be there.

 

Jimmy and Spock seemed to like each other’s company, and though Spock still refused to try the monkey bars or swings himself, he still followed Jimmy around and made sure the little boy didn’t get hurt while he played on them. He even pushed the toddler on the swings.

 

Jimmy had slowly stopped trying to cling to Spock’s skin at every moment, but, that was probably because Spock willingly gave him that touch when he asked for it.

 

Jimmy’s tiny hand was clinging to his right now though while Spock helped him climb over a big rock, something that Spock could have done with ease while half his size, but human children seemed to be lacking the same strength that vulcans had. When Jimmy got to the top of the rock, only having slipped a few times and gotten back up with Spock’s help, he looked very self satisfied, still holding onto Spock’s hand and surveying the playground from a whole foot higher than he was tall. Spock could feel contentedness coming off of him in waves, which made him feel oddly relaxed himself.

 

Jimmy looked at him expectedly and tugged on his hand. “Now you.”

 

Spock raised an eyebrow and climbed the large rock in a way that involved him only touching it with his bare hand once. Even then, he felt as though he’d picked up enough germs with that one touch to wipe out a small colony. Everything always felt like germs in a child’s playground.

 

Jimmy felt even more content when Spock was up on the rock with him, leaning into Spock’s side and putting his thumb from his free hand in his mouth. Spock didn’t cringe this time, but he did feel the urge to make Jimmy take it out and scrub his hands clean.

 

Spock just sighed though, liking the feeling of Jimmy being content and quiet, even if he was also deep in his mind, settled there like a content little bird in its nest.

 

Spock couldn’t help but wish that Jimmy would want to stay there, happy and safe in his nest.

 

***

Leonard McCoy, politely dubbed ‘Bones’ by the most annoying vulcan doctor that he has ever had the displeasure of working with at Starfleet Medical, sat down on the park bench next to Admiral Kirk –who was answering some emails on her PADD- and that same annoying vulcan doctor, with a sigh. Sybok turned and gave him an excitable look. Well, Sybok gave everything an excitable look.

 

Bones raised an eyebrow at the two of them while he watched Joanna playing with Sam, who was the same age as her and the other, tinier vulcan, playing with the admiral’s littlest, Jimmy. “So, is this the single parents club you’ve been bugging me to join you in?”

 

Sybok scrunched up his nose, “It’s not a single parents club. I’m not a parent, Spock is my little brother.”

 

Bones gave him an amused look, “It’s a joke, Sybok.” Bones went back to watching Spock try and avoid touching the monkey bars while also helping Jimmy cross them. It was kind of cute. “Why does Spock live with you, anyways?”

 

Sybok shrugged, “He wanted to see Earth. Mom and Dad are going to be here at the end of the month, and stay for a year or two. Mom is human, so she grew up here, and Dad is the Earth ambassador for our planet, so it makes sense.”

 

Bones smiled, “And their oldest acts more human than vulcan. Seems like you all have a love of this planet.”

 

Sybok cringed, “Not really, it’s too damn cold here. My body temperature is much lower than yours, the heat gets leached out of me very fast. Me and Spock have to wear thermals under all our clothes.”

 

Bones just gave him an amused look. Sybok was cute when he pouted.

 

Winona leaned around Sybok and raised an eyebrow at Bones, “Leonard, why did you join Starfleet?”

 

Bones gave her a raised eyebrow back, “What do you mean?”

 

Winona blushed a light red, suddenly looking away, “Well, I’ve only met you once or twice, so when you sat down, I pulled up your file. It says you’re afraid of flying.”

 

Bones looked surprised, “That’s in my file? Also, that’s not creepy at all.”

 

“Yeah, they put it in for anyone who’s afraid, helps them wean you out of it.” She didn’t seem ashamed of looking him up though. Hell, if it was a matter that concerned her kids like this one, he fetl safer having Joanna around her for it.

 

Bones shook his head in amusement, “Well, they’re going a god awful job of it. I joined Starfleet just before I got divorced because they said they could help me keep custody of my daughter.”

 

Winona frowned, “You needed the help?”

 

Bones nodded, “My ex is the best damned lawyer in Georgia, I wouldn’t have even been able to continue seeing her if it weren’t for Starfleet.”

 

Winona looked over at Jimmy, who was sitting on Spock with half closed eyes while Spock held him around the waist, and then to Sam who was standing on top of the monkey bars with Joanna yelling at him that he was going to fall.

 

Yeah, she’d do that and more to keep her babies too.

 

***

 

“Your little brother is cute.”

 

Sam grinned at Joanna and poked his sleepy brother in the side, making him whine at them and curl further into Spock’s stomach. Spock gave them both a reproachful look and stood up with Jimmy, walking away from them so that maybe Jimmy might fall asleep. He backtracked though and instead went over to the bench their guardians were sitting at and handed Jimmy up to his amused looking mother.

 

Winona cooed at the boy when he started whining before quieting when Spock climbed the bench next to her and slid his hand back into Jim’s. The toddler was asleep within a minute.

 

Sybok shuddered, “That was so cute I may actually vomit.”

 

Spock just glared at his older brother before startling when Winona pulled him in closer to her side so he was leaning against her. It was comfy. “Ignore him. It’s an older brother’s job to annoy you, but it doesn’t mean he means it. He’s just doing his duty.”

 

Sybok snorted, muttering under his breath, “She said duty.” Bones face palmed next to him, wondering why he had a crush on this guy.

 

Winona smiled at him, “See, he can’t take anything seriously, so you should just ignore him.”

 

Spock nodded, still tucked into her side and Jim’s mind comfortably nestled in his own. He hadn’t even noticed he had been tired till he started dropping off himself, but, unlike Jimmy, he didn’t fight it. If he was tired, he needed rest. He knew that.

 

***

 

After a while, Jim’s mom and Spock’s brother started making play dates. At first, it was just them dumping Spock or Jimmy off with whoever was free that day, but it soon evolved to include dumping them both with Sam and Joanna if Leonard was the only one available, or putting all four of them in a 1-17 daycare center that the academy ran.

 

This was one such occasion.

 

“No no no, no no! I does not want to play there. I want my Spock!”

 

The older teen –one of the youth volunteers who was helping out with the littluns for an extra credit in a childcare program that the daycare center provided- sighed, not exactly knowing what a ‘Spock’ was.

 

“James, you should not speak to the volunteers that way.” There was a sharp voice in the doorway to the 2-6 children’s playroom, and she looked over to see a tiny vulcan boy standing there, looking at Jimmy reproachfully.

 

Jimmy settled in her arms, whining out to the vulcan with grabby hands, “Spock, you come play with me?”

 

Spock came into the room and took Jimmy’s hand, letting the small boy’s mind slide into his were it belonged. As far as he could tell, Jimmy thought the same way about that too.

 

It would be so much easier if Jimmy could just stay there, even when Spock wasn’t touching him.

 

***

 

Sleepovers were a thing.

 

Well, mostly, Bones and Sybok both dumping Joanna and Spock over at the Kirk house at three in the morning when they both got called into the Medical center, that was a thing.

 

Joanna was still sleeping in her dad’s arms when Bones set her down on a bed in a spare room across from Sam’s, but Spock just grumbled tiredly from his place where he had a chokehold on Sybok’s neck and glared at them. Sybok sighed and gave up trying to put him on the second bed, and left the room, opening the door to the room beside it and turning so Spock could see Jimmy on his bed, halfway falling off of it and not having moved since they got in.

 

“Don’t you want to sleep with Jimmy, Spock? I’m sure he would love to wake up with you tomorrow.”

 

Spock grumbled again, sounding annoyed and wriggled down from Sybok’s neck. He climbed onto the bed and pulled Jimmy back into the center of it, falling asleep before Sybok had even left the room, both of them much more comfortable with Jimmy in Spock’s arms and each other’s minds.

 

***

 

Jimmy was illogical. Very illogical.

 

When he wasn’t quiet and sated in Spock’s lap after a nice day at the park, or simply just sitting in Spock’s mind with him, talking in a way that he couldn’t quite achieve with words, he was doing illogical things.

 

Spock still remembers the first time that Sybok and him nearly had a panic attack when they realized that Jim’s first reaction to most new things was to either touch it, rub it, or taste it. There had been a few close calls when Jim had first encountered chemistry equipment while visiting Bones at work.

 

Spock was almost in shock while he watched Jimmy sit in his living room floor with a terran child book, held upside down and staring intently at the words that he wouldn’t have been able to read with them going the wrong direction. Winona came into the room and put a tray of snacks on the table for Jim before giving Spock a mug of tea. Spock didn’t eat finger foods, and usually never ate outside of meals.

 

Winona stopped before leaving though, “Silly boy, Jimmy, your book is upside down!”

 

Jimmy looked up at her and scowled, “I can read it.”

 

Winona laughed and came over, gently taking it from him, turning it right side up, and handing it back. “Well, you can read it better like that.”

 

Jimmy looked down at the book with a frown, waiting until his mother had turned around before turning the book upside down again and continuing to stare at it in concentration.

 

Most illogical.

 

***

 

Spock’s parents were going to be on Earth in just over a week.

 

There was a possibility that when they next left in two years –or earlier if they got called back sooner- than they would most likely take Spock with them.

 

Jimmy was sitting with him in his bedroom at the Kirk house, one hand on Spock’s while he looked at the older boy thoughtfully. Spock surmised that the toddler must be reading his thoughts when Jimmy gave him a determined look that he might not have gotten otherwise.

 

“We should get married. Mama says you can’t separate married people in Starfleet, and your brother is in Starfleet and Mama is in Starfleet, and so they can’t take you away if we’re married.”

 

Spock looked a little surprised at that, but, as far as he could tell, the logic was sound. He suspected that Sybok and Leonard would be married before one of them got assigned to a ship, so the federation couldn’t separate them. It only makes sense that him and Jimmy should be married too.

 

***

 

“Mama, Mama! Me and Spock got married!

 

Winona looked to the doorway that Jimmy and Spock were standing in, Jimmy’s tiny hand in Spock’s like usual, and smiled at them. “You did, baby? Why wasn’t Mama invited to the wedding?”

 

Jimmy’s face suddenly crumpled, “Uh-oh. I’s sorry, Mama! We didn’t know.”

 

Winona came around the kitchen counter and knelt down, pressing a wet kiss to Jimmy’s cheek. “It’s okay, sweet boy, Mama was just teasing. How about this; you two help me make you a lovely wedding cake and we can have it after dinner?”

 

Spock gave her the usual look that he got when she mentioned sweets, “No refined sugar, though. I’m still too young for impaired judgment.”

 

Jimmy nodded very seriously, “Yeah, Mama. No refined sugar.”

 

She just smiled at the two of them, giving them both a kiss on the cheek. “Okay. No refined sugar.”

 

***

 

When Sybok had gotten there that night to pick Spock up –and being thoroughly amused by Winona’s message an hour earlier saying that Jim and Spock were now married and he was invited to celebrate with them for a wedding dinner- he had freaked out right away.

 

Earlier in that day, he felt a slight change in Spock’s mind. Now very big mind you, because it was overall the same feeling that he usually got from Spock’s mind when Jimmy was in physical contact with him, just a little stronger. He had assumed that meant Jimmy was being clingy and Spock was allowing it.

 

But, as soon as he’d actually seen his brother, he could both feel and nearly see the marriage bond between them. It had taken Winona nearly half an hour to calm him down from the initial panic attack that had resulted.

 

Then he had sat the boys down on the couch and got to business working on putting their minds to rights so that a ruggedly formed marriage bond –where it should have been a slim wire like bond, wrapped around their main consciousness for constant communication and exchange of feelings- would not grow into a damaging mental noose that would have driven both of them mad until it eventually would have had to be cut out of their minds, taking a large chunk of their consciousness with it, just so they could continue living without harm.

 

Of course, this was Sybok’s specialty. The only reason that he wasn’t doing this regularly back on Vulcan, was because none of those assholes trusted him enough to let him into their heads. To be honest, their mistrust of him was kind of equivalent to that of terran racism.

 

Jimmy’s mind was… warm. Just like Spock had told him. It was warm, and curled up around his like sharing it’s consciousness was it’s one true purpose in life. It was amazing to feel such a welcoming mind from such a small child. Then again, many psi-null species had children who revealed in conscious sharing.

 

Spock’s mind, like usual, welcomed him like you would that of a sibling into your bedroom. You told them not to touch your stuff, and eventually kicked them out when they started bugging you, but are overall relived that it’s them, rather than anyone else in the family, that might tell you stuff you don’t want to hear, like, to clean your room. Siblings didn’t care, they just chilled with you and didn’t tell your parents when they found you growing plants in the closet. Siblings are great, Spock’s mind is great.

 

Sybok pulled back from Spock and connected his mind with Jimmy’s one more time. Spock might be able to notice if something was wrong in his head, but Jimmy wouldn’t until it became an issue, which is why Sybok found himself in Jimmy’s head once more, slightly relived and worried in both parts to find him already talking with Spock, sounding like the excited four year old he was, even in his mind.

 

When he pulled back this time, Winona was there, looking at him with worry.

 

“I didn’t remove them.”

 

He fully expected her to get mad at him. To tell him that this was all his fault that her son was now permanently tied to a heartless machine for the rest of his life. Sybok was prepared and fully willing to accept any and all yelling that came his way.

 

He wasn’t expecting to find a warm hand on his shoulder, and Winona nodding to him while sitting next to Jimmy on the couch. “I did take a course on telepathic races in the academy. I know fully well, that to remove a bond between two people who aren’t willing, would be damaging to both of them. Jimmy and Spock wanted this, I’m just glad you were here to fix it for them.”

 

Sybok swallowed, finding it slightly difficult. “So, I guess that wedding dinner is still on, right?”

 

Winona nodded, “Yep. The fully vegetarian meat loaf has another ten minutes in the oven, and all the cake with no refined sugar needs left, is the sugar free frosting, and I was hoping I could steal these little monsters back to help me with that.”

 

Sybok couldn’t help the smile, though he still looked a little nervous about telling his parents. “I think, that I should steal your com center in your office to tell our parents.”

 

Winona cringed, “I do not envy that job. Just make sure they know it’s gotta be a fast conversation. You wouldn’t want to be rude, now would you?”

 

Sybok grinned outright this time, “No, we would not.”

 

***

 

Leonard and Sybok were a thing.

 

They had been kind of off and on dating for the duration of their Starfleet time right now. So, since the two of them had the night off, this Friday of this week, and for the whole Saturday after, before Sybok’s parents would get there on Sunday, they had a plan.

 

The plan, mainly consisted of them dropping the kids –Joanna and Spock- off with Winona at her house, and having sex way too many times to count. It was a good plan.

 

Of course, they probably should have consulted Winona about that first –it’s been a busy week, they have not had the time to talk to her, much less each other- because that Thursday night rolled around, and Sybok found Winona standing in his doorway with two sleepy boys and an apologetic look on her face saying that she had been called off world on the first shuttle out to the space station, because they needed her help with something that apparently, could not wait.

 

So, their plan to have sex and not deal with any children at all, had been scrubbed.

 

Sybok had called Leonard and asked him to instead, bring Joanna with him when he came over, and plan on either not getting laid at all, or getting laid maybe a few times if they were quiet about it in the shower while everyone was asleep.

 

Bones had actually been kind of relived. He hated replacing Joanna just to have some time with Sybok, and it would be nice to spend time with all of them too. Sometimes, in his downtime with no screaming children and no tiny girl climbing into his bed to wake him up and hour before the sunlight, he found himself a little lost.

 

And that was just a bit scary too.

 

Which is why, he now found himself, mid-afternoon, at Sybok’s small, but roomy home, with Jimmy in his lap, trying to coax the little boy into eating something.

 

See, Jimmy had a tendency to deny food when he was upset about something, which, well, for the two doctors that were trying to babysit him, was more than worrying. As far as Leonard knew, the psychology of denying yourself physical comfort or sustenance, found in ages below seven, was nearly unheard of, and very damaging.

 

Jimmy finally pushed Leonard’s hand away one last time, turning to look at Spock for help. The tiny vulcan put his plate in the recycler and came over to Leonard’s side, looking up at the man in a plea to take his bondmate away from whatever was upsetting him. Leonard just sighed and gently set Jimmy on the floor next to Spock, smiling at the way the clung to each other like they were each other’s everything. In a way, they kind of were.

 

Leonard vaguely wondered in Sybok wanted to be bonded like that, giving the vulcan a side eyed while Sybok pretended to ignore him, making him roll his eyes. The vulcan avoided commitment like it was his job.

 

***

 

When Leonard felt a tiny hand poke at his face later on, he barely stirred. He was used to tiny hands poking him in the middle of the night with no real intention to wake him up, it was easy to ignore that.

 

No no, Leonard didn’t stir until he felt the hand poke again, but this time stay there, before Leonard felt a small, but mighty invasive, nudge against his consciousness. He sighed, eyes fluttering open. Spock was standing on the edge of Sybok’s bed, looking worried. “What’s up, Spock?”

 

Spock looked up towards the ceiling for a moment before remembering that humans have awful idioms. “Jimmy has regurgitated his evening meal.”

 

Leonard took a whole second to translate that. “He got sick? Where is he now?”

 

Spock pointed to the door, “Still in bed. It needs to be washed.”

 

Leonard sighed and nodded, reaching over to shove Sybok’s side, making the other in the bed wake up with a grumble. “Jimmy threw up, he needs a bath. I’ll clean up their bed, you give him and Spock a bath.”

 

Sybok sat up with a mumble about not having ever bathed a child before. Leonard backtracked real quick, “Or, you could clean the bed and I can clean them?”

 

Oddly enough, that actually was more pleasing of an idea.

 

***

 

Jimmy was barely awake when Leonard got into Spock’s room, looking very tuckered out from losing so much liquid. Bones went over though, Spock at his heals, and stripped the four year old of his footie pajamas which had been a mess, and left them on the blanket that needed to go to the recycler.

 

“Sybok, do you have any diapers or pull ups? Jimmy might have a few accidents tonight.”

 

Sybok looked uncomfortable, pulling on a pair of gloves that went up to the elbow, so he didn’t have to actually touch anything. “Um, no, but I know how to make them on a replicator.”

 

Bones nodded and pulled the little boy into his arms, sans clothes, bringing him into the bathroom for a wash.

 

***

 

Jimmy had liked his bath. Bones was even nice and let him take one with Spock. Spock was worried about him, he could feel it in his mind, he was worried and a little scared. Maybe vulcans did not get sick like that. Jimmy once got sick like that on Uncle Chris, and Uncle Jon had laughed at him until he felt queasy himself. Vulcans didn’t laugh, so, maybe that’s why he didn’t get sick.

 

It’s okay though, Jimmy knew the secret, that vulcans laughed on the inside.

 

Jimmy whined when he saw the hypospray and tricorder in Bones’ hands. Those were used to stab and torture him, he didn’t want those. He reached over for Spock, who pulled him into his side in the water filled tub. But, oh wait, now he’s trapped and can’t get up.

 

He could hear Spock in his head, telling him that Leonard would make him better, but, Jimmy felt like hiding would be a better option right now.

 

Jimmy turned to Spock, so he could silently give him the stink eye, when Bones took that as a good time to press the hypo into his neck, pressing down before Jimmy could argue. Bones up another to his neck, and lastly, a third just as Jimmy was thinking about bursting into loud sobs to make the evil doctor go away.

 

Spock was giving him a worried look, before his own face suddenly contorted when he felt a hypo pressed to his own neck. He glared at Leonard, who chuckled at them both before using one last one to shoot himself in the neck.

 

“Calm down, you two. Just making sure no one else in the house gets sick.”

 

Jimmy pouted him, “You gave me three!”

 

Leonard nodded calmly, reaching into the heated water to pull the tiny boy out and wrap him in a towel before scrubbing him dry, “I know I did, sweetheart, but I had to make sure you wouldn’t throw up again. You wouldn’t want your tummy to ache again, would you?”

 

Jimmy shook his head, “And the last?”

 

Leonard cringed, “Well, seeing as you were allergic to the vaccine, that last one was just to make sure your tongue wouldn’t get all swollen and icky.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Jimmy sat on the toilet seat, wrapped up in the towel while Leonard got Spock out and started drying him off too. When Bones was done, he picked them both up and went off to go get them ready for bed again.

 

Spock squirmed out of Leonard’s arms when they were back in his –newly cleaned- bedroom and went to go get himself dressed while Leonard sat the tired looking toddler onto the bed and worked on getting the boy in a freshly replicated pull up. “Why do I need this?”

 

Leonard let the boy fuss at him, knowing that he probably still felt icky. “Just to make sure you don’t have an accident. You don’t want to have to take another bath, would you?”

 

“No.” Jimmy sighed and looked over at Spock who was climbing onto the bed next to him, reaching over to wrap their fingers together with a sigh.

 

No, Jimmy didn’t want a bath, this worked out for him just fine.

 

***

 

That next morning didn’t find Spock or Jimmy in their own bed.

 

Actually, the only ones in the house in their own bed was Leonard and Sybok, and they were passed out to the world.

 

Jimmy and Spock were clinging to Sybok like a lifeline, while Sam nudged into them all from the other side, one arm thrown over Jimmy’s waist. Joanna was using her father’s arm as a pillow all the way on the other side of the bed, still being too small to lay on his chest without being all the way on top of him because it would prop her up too much.

 

After the impromptu bath and clean up last night, Leonard had ventured into the room currently housing Sam and Joanna on separate beds, and given them both the vaccine to the bug that Jimmy had caught so they wouldn’t get it too, effectively waking them both up to look pissed at him.

 

Sam had decided to go empty his bladder since he was up anyways, while Joanna followed her dad into the kitchen for a glass of water.

 

When Sam came back out and went to get his own glass, Sybok was sitting at the table with Jimmy passed out on his shoulder and a death grip on Sybok’s shirt like he was afraid of him letting go, and Spock was tiredly leaning back against Sybok’s stomach.

 

Joanna was half asleep on Leonard while the man rubbed her back, and they had all just kind of, piled into the same bedroom, passing out on each other.

 

Well, at least the vaccine made them all tired enough to sleep a few extra hours, because Sybok is not ready to wake up at a regular time today.

 

***

 

Spock’s parents were… odd.

 

Jimmy thought that Sarek was kind of scary at first, but Spock had shown him some nice times with his dad in his memories. Sarek was still kind of scary, but he didn’t do anything that a four year old might find threatening, and so, Jimmy was going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

Spock’s mom was human, just like Spock had said she was. But, she was also very nice, and she had made him snacks, and she also hugged him a few times, and so Jimmy thought she was cool. Also, he didn’t think she would be married to a bad man, so he decided that Sarek was okay too.

 

Mama was finally back from the space station, which was good, cause Sybok made funny tasting snacks, and Bones didn’t rub his tummy after he dried him off after a bath like Mama did, and he missed that.

 

Mama seems to have made friends with Amanda, and they were chatting in the kitchen –Mama’s kitchen. Mama invited them all over for dinner. Leonard and Amanda were helping her cook- and Sarek was sitting next to Jimmy on the couch, looking stoically at his son who was reading a very big book next to Jimmy. Jimmy felt a little sleepy at that, cause he was also in Spock’s mind at the same time, and it was a very good book.

 

But, stories were for bedtime, and so he could feel his eyes fluttering closed. He sighed, laying sideways on his back between them, one tiny foot resting on Sarek’s thigh, and holding onto Spock’s shirt. Sarek didn’t move Jimmy’s foot, which he was very grateful for, because he was quite comfy where he was right now, thank you very much.

 

Jimmy had just felt his eyes close one last time when his tiny body was jostled. Jimmy whined when Sarek picked him up at Mama’s beckoning. Apparently, Mama had decided that he couldn’t go to sleep right now.

 

Jimmy whined into Sarek’s neck when the vulcan brought him into the kitchen with everyone else, Spock trailing behind them without his book. “But, but Spock was reading to me.”

 

Sarek nodded stoically as if it was a tragedy. It was. “He was, but you cannot go to sleep before your evening meal.”

 

Jimmy whined again, before settling down when Sarek passed him off to Uncle Chris.

 

When did Uncle Chris get here? He looked behind the man’s shoulder to see Uncle Jon too, and gave them both a shy smile. He missed his uncles. They used to be the ones that babysat him, but they worked too, so him and Sammy ended up with Sybok and Bones instead.

 

It’s not that Jimmy didn’t like Sybok and Bones, but, sometimes a little boy just wants to play with his uncles why give him sugar and let him climb on things and eat meat and so they feed him hotdogs which, he doesn’t care how many times Spock says he doesn’t know what’s in a hotdog, they still taste very good in mac and cheese. Yummy.

 

Jimmy was tired right now, though, he fussed just a little when Chris sat down at the table with him, before settling down when Spock climbed into the chair next to them. Chris smiled against Jimmy’s hair, “See, your mate is right there, no need to fuss, huh?”

 

Jimmy begged to differ. He could think of a lot of reasons to fuss, thank you very much. Spock was giving him an amused look, so Jimmy made a face at him. That wasn’t very nice, Spock, stop that.

 

***

 

Being five was… not much different than being four.

 

Jimmy didn’t see what the big deal was, but, Mama and all his uncles had gotten him presents, and Spock had gotten him one too, and Amanda and Sarek got him one, and there were two whole cakes –one with regular sugar for the human and other non-vulcan children in the room, and another with unrefined sugar for the vulcans, though, Sybok had already had quite a big piece of the one with refined sugar, and was currently swaying on the non-existent dance floor with Bones, it was funny- and everyone was giving Jimmy the attention that he deserves.

 

This was the life. Jimmy just hoped they did it again on Spock’s birthday next month, cause he thinks he deserves presents and cake then too.

 

Jimmy was currently balanced on a tree branch, kind of a little scared, cause Spock refused to climb it with him. The adults at this party didn’t seem to be very good at keeping an eye on any of them, and that was a nice thing. That meant that Jimmy could get away with more.

 

Jimmy looked down at Spock, still on the ground, giving him a grumpy look because he couldn’t convince Jimmy to come down, and was getting worried about him. Jimmy got up and onto a higher tree branch with a slight feeling of victory.

 

You know, until he saw another tall figure come stand next to Spock.

 

 

Sarek was giving Jimmy the most unimpressed look, who was about half a foot above him. Jimmy sat down on the tree branch and reached out his hands to let Sarek take him off the tree. Sometimes it was best to placate the adults, it made them feel better.

 

“Time for cake now?”

 

Sarek set him on the ground next to Spock and raised an eyebrow, “We’ve already had cake.”

 

Jimmy shook his head. Adults just didn’t get it. “That was first cake, now it’s second cake. We’re hobbits.”

Sarek stood up straight with a small humming noise, “Hobbits also give presents away on their birthday, instead of receiving them.”

 

Jimmy blanched, looking horrified, “Um, I’m not a hobbit. Those presents are mine.”

 

“I thought as much.”

 

***

 

Jimmy had quiet quickly found out that he didn’t like school above Kindergarten. Those classes lasted far too long, and they didn’t have naps.

 

Also, he wasn’t in the same class as Spock.

 

They were a whole year older, and Jimmy had more presents back in January, which meant that he was six now.

 

He didn’t want to go to class, he didn’t want to learn things from the stupid federation approved daycare teachers, he didn’t want to miss his nap, he didn’t want to play nicely during arts and crafts, and he definitely didn’t want to spend the whole day without Spock.

 

Which was probably why he was in time out for kicking stupid David in the leg after he told Jimmy that he couldn’t play with him and Amy. And he stole his crayons. Jerk.

 

Ugh, stupid David.

 

When he was finally released from his prison, he stomped out, looking for someone else to pick a fight with, when he felt a reprimanding tone coming from him bond.

 

He looked over to the door of the room and saw Spock standing there, looking pissed at something. Jimmy went over to him and frowned to find himself immediately scolded. “You are being a nuisance.”

 

Jimmy frowned, not knowing what that word meant, before Spock immediately supplied the definition to him mentally. Hey, he didn’t like that word. “Why’s that?”

 

Spock raised an eyebrow, “Your bad attitude is interrupting my studies.”

 

Jimmy scowled at him, “You’re being a meanie face. I can hear everything you’re studying, and it’s all boring! You’re gonna make me fall asleep, and first graders aren’t supposed to sleep.”

 

Spock sighed, “Well, that’s just something you’re going to have to deal with, residing in my mind.”

 

Jimmy whined, “Why can’t you study fun things? Like, like, like cupcakes! Study cupcakes and lunch, study that. I’m bored, Spock!”

 

Spock looked away, feeling his infinite patience running out, “If I promise to read to you later, will you leave me alone right now? I’ll finish reading the third Harry Potter book to you.”

 

Jimmy did look interested in that. He liked those books, but he wasn’t as good at reading as Spock was yet. He nodded, “Okay.”

 

Spock nodded, turning back to the classroom helper that had brought him to the first grade classroom, and letting them bring him back. He could have done it himself, but humans thought children to be so incompetent. Well, Jimmy could be sometimes, but only when he got distracted.

 

***

 

“I filed papers for transfer.”

 

Amanda looked surprised at Winona, sitting next to her at the tiny café table. “You’ll be transferring?”

 

Winona nodded, looking a bit worried, “Yes. To Vulcan. I’m hoping that they get approved before you all leave. It would be a shame to separate the boys.”

 

Amanda nodded, quieting for a minute while they ordered lunch. “How long did you request to be stationed there?”

 

Winona looked away, taking a sip of the tea in her glass, “Five years. That’s the standard time period for a regular Starfleet transfer. If the boys are still so attached, which, from what I’ve found out about bonds like this, they most likely will be, then we can figure out what to do then.”

 

Amanda was silent for a minute before smiling, “You know, if you can spend five years on Vulcan, I can convince Sarek to let Spock come back to Earth with you. Or we could take another vacation here for two years. Well, not really a vacation, Sarek is still the ambassador, and I can work on the universal translator just about anywhere. “

 

Winona smiled at her, “Thank you.”

 

***

 

“You know, this actually works out perfectly. Me and Leonard just got transferred to the Yorktown. We get to spend the next five years in deep space with Captain Pike and Admiral Archer, being bullied by them and listening to Joanna yell at us about being separated from her friends. Yay, this is going to be fun.”

 

To be honest, that that the blandest voice Amanda had ever heard her oldest son use. She raised an eyebrow at him, “Seriously? I thought you loved space?”

 

Sybok shrugged, “I liked it better when I was in politer company. Also, Pike and Archer are going to drive me nuts, I just know it.”

 

Amanda gave her son a sympathetic look, patting him on the back.

 

***

 

Vulcan was hot. Like, very hot, which was funny cause vulcans were kind of cold.

 

Jimmy dropped to the ground, looking overly wrapped in the vulcan style robes that his mother and Amanda had forced on him and Sam before they all got off the shuttle, saying it would keep him cooler. They were heavy, though.

 

“Mama, I can’t make it. Just leave me here to die.”

 

Sam gave Jimmy the most incredulous look, “Are you fucking serious? Drama queen.”

 

Winona smacked Sam on the shoulder. “Language.”

 

Sam gave her a snooty look, “English. That’s what language that was.”

 

Winona let out a loud sigh, about to pick Jimmy off of the heated ground before he burnt himself when Spock came over to him, wrestling Jimmy off of the ground for her. Winona gave him a thankful look, watching Spock take a firm hold of the whining boy’s hand, leading him out of the shuttle bay and over to the transport shuttles that would lead them all into the city.

 

This was going to be a fun five years.

 

***

 

Sybok started when he felt an arm go over his shoulder in one of the recreation rooms on the Yorktown. Chris let himself into the seat next to him, making Sybok give him a dirty look. “What are you doing?”

 

Chris gave him the loudest sigh, making a few Lt’s look their way. “Okay come now, my godson is married to your little brother, we’re practically family.”

 

Sybok looked away, covering his face, “Oh please, please no, stop this.”

 

Chris just grinned at him, happy to have someone to torture right now.

 

***

 

Vulcan was so… stiffly. Ugh, it was all rules rules rules, and Jimmy didn’t like this school. At least he got to play at his old school. Ugh, in this one he had to sit in a bubble all day and get yelled at by a computer and it was very frustrating.

 

“You’re doing very well, with your schooling, Jimmy, there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

 

Jim turned to glare at Spock, not liking his tone. He also didn’t like this yucky food they served at the commissary for the children. Ugh, no wonder everyone on this planet acted like they have a stick up their butt, they were all starved cause they don’t want to eat lunch.

 

Spock sighed, getting something out of his bag. It was a weird looking box thing. Spock opened it for him and handed it over, before grabbing a second box out of his bag, and moving them both to the seating area for lunch. Jimmy looked inside with surprise, sitting next to Spock. “Amanda made us lunch?”

 

Spock gave him the barest hint of a smile. That was another reason Jimmy didn’t like Vulcan. They’d been here about two years now, and the longer they stayed, the smaller his smiles got. Still, he always had one for Jimmy, and the feeling radiated through their bond, no less than normal, but it hurt to look at sometimes.

 

Mama said he was too young for things to hurt like that. Jimmy wanted to go back to Earth.

 

“Yes. She says you might find this more agreeable for a midday meal.”

 

Jimmy pulled out some containers, and opened them to find some of his favorites. Dark rice, tofu fried up like chicken, and salad with dressing that even he liked. He made a mental note to thank her after school was over.

 

***

 

It’s weird, you know? At first, when Jim had gotten there, he didn’t want to stay.

 

But now, Jim didn’t want to go back to Earth.

 

“Ma, why can’t we just stay here?”

 

Winona sighed, still packing Jim’s bag for him while the eleven year old stropped. “Baby, when we first came here, you didn’t want to be here at all.”

 

Jim pouted, resisting a stomp. He was older than that, he didn’t need to tantrum anymore to get his way. He could do it perfectly well with logic and sound reasoning. “I don’t want to leave now though.”

 

Okay, even he could admit that sounded a lot like whining. Winona looked vaguely amused. Jim just pouted harder. “It’ll be cold on Earth.”

 

“You thought it was too hot here.”

 

Jim shrugged, “I got used to it. In fact, so used to it, that sometimes I don’t mind if it would be hotter.”

 

Winona smirked, shaking her head in amusement, “You know that Spock and his parents are coming with us, right?”

 

Jim shrugged, “Spock doesn’t like the cold either.”

 

Winona sighed, and sat down on Jim’s bed. “I’m not leaving you here. I want you with me, Jimmy.”

 

Jim came over to sit next to her, “I know.”

 

Winona kissed the boy on his head, pulling him close. Change was hard.

 

***

 

“I was right.”

 

Spock looked over at the twelve year old, sitting outside in December. It was San Francisco, but compared to Vulcan, it might as well be Delta Vega. “About?”

 

Jim shivered, “It’s damn cold here. Also, I no longer like meat, and your brother is getting more insane the older he gets, which is weird, and Joanna broke Sam’s heart last week when she came out to him, and I think that queer people are like, magnets. We tend to attract each other, and that’s funny.”

 

Spock made a face, “In the defense of everyone else, you did not actually predict anything other than this world being cold.”

 

Jim shrugged, “Yeah, but it’s all still very weird.”

 

Spock buried his hands deeper in his jacket, trying to warm himself up, feeling a cold shiver run through him as he watched a woman walk by, wearing a skirt. She didn’t seem cold though. Weird.

 

“I believe I can concur.”

 

“Mom says we’re staying on a new colony next year. Just a year, and it’s actually closer to Vulcan, so you can go back there while I’m there, but it’s fairly cold, and I’ll be able to fair that better than you. It won’t be long she said, that’s at least okay.”

 

“What is the name of the colony?”

 

“Tarsus IV.”

 

***

 

When Jim woke up, he could hear beeping. He sat straight up in the bed, unsure of where he was, and his vision blurry at best. He wondered if he had gone blind for a minute when it didn’t get any better.

 

He felt an arm around his waist though, and looked down to see a dark blur (so vague, it was almost impossible to actually make it out as an arm to be honest) going over his lap.

 

“Hey, kid, you’re awake.”

 

He knew that voice.

 

“Bones?”

 

Another arm came into his view, helping him sit back against the pillows he’d been resting on.

 

Something wasn’t right. “Yeah, kiddo. It’s me.”

 

Jim looked around the room he was in. Everything was bright, and white. Hospital room?

 

“Why can’t I see?”

 

Bones paused, sitting next to him on the bed after putting his tricorder back down. He sighed and pressed a dry kiss to the side of Jim’s head. “You didn’t lose any limbs, and everything should be working fine in a week or so, but your eyes were nearly frozen open when we found you.”

 

“…found me?”

 

Bones carded a hand through Jim’s hair, but Jim couldn’t see the tears coming to Bones’ eyes. “Yeah, kiddo. On Tarsus. I’m so sorry. The dermal regenerators should have most of the damage fixed by the end of the week, but you’ll probably be wearing glasses for the rest of your life. You were comatose when we found you, we thought you were… well, that’s not important, you’re here now.”

 

Jim blinked, mostly unsighted, for a minute. “Tarsus?”

 

The teenager let out something akin to a sob, breathlessly though. Oh god, he remembered.

 

Kodos… he ordered the execution of half the colony.

 

His mother and brother included.

 

Jim let out another sob, eyes closing while the tears finally spilled over. Oh god, it hurt.

 

He remembers one thing though, after he had found a place to hide, he remembered retreating into his mind.

 

“Where is Spock?”

 

Bones took Jim’s hand, putting it on the other body in the bed. Jim closed his fingers around the dark shirt Spock was wearing. “Why is he sleeping?”

 

“He was comatose too, when we got you out. He just woke up this morning while his dad and brother were in the see him. Sybok got into his mind and convinced the two of you to come out. You seemed to be living there with each other.”

 

“He’s not comatose anymore?”

 

“No, just tired. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. You’re both fine, Jimmy. Everything is fine.”

 

Jim shook his head, tears still blindly falling, “No, it’s not. Sam and Mama-“

 

Bones just sat with him, holding the teenager close while he cried himself out.

 

When Spock woke up later, Jim was still leaning back against the pillows in the now dark room, blindly looking around with blurry eyes.

 

“Hey.”

 

Spock sat up with him, pulling the other into his arms. “Ashayam.”

 

He didn’t say much else, and anything he might have said was drowned out by the feeling of Spock so presently in his mind, covering him like a blanket, just like he had done while Jim was still on Tarsus, keeping him safe with just his mind.

 

For the first time in hours, Jim wasn’t thinking about how much easier it would have been if he died there on Tarsus, because as long as Spock was with him, he’d be fine.

 

***

 

Jim’s eyesight came back in increments, just a little at a time.

 

One day, just as Jim could see enough to make things out before they were directly in front of him, Chris and Jon came in.

 

“Hey Jimmy.”

 

Jim didn’t look at either of them, focusing on Spock’s arm, where it lay, ever present over his stomach, while the vulcan typed on his PADD.

 

“Hello.”

 

Chris and Jon took the seats next to the bed, looking sad. Good. Jim shouldn’t be the only one that was sad and bitter right now.

 

Spock’s arm tightened around him, both otherwise the vulcan didn’t react to his thoughts.

 

“I know you’re going to hate us for saying this-“

 

Jim interrupted them, “Yes, I will, so don’t say it. I don’t want to be anywhere near Starfleet when I get off this fucked up ship. I won’t be near you, or anyone who chooses to be at Starfleet, so don’t even trying it.”

 

“Jimmy, I’m your godfather-“

 

“And I know that means you have the legal ability to make Amanda and Sarek my legal guardians.”

 

“Jim, we can’t just-“

 

“You can, and you will. Want to know why?”

 

Chris and Jon were silent for a moment before Jon spoke up, “Why, Jimmy?”

 

Jim looked over at them, eyes still blurry, but able to focus now with some concentration. “If you don’t, then that’ll be the last you see of me. No one will know where James T Kirk went, till they find the body, and I don’t think either of you want that. You know I’ll do it, too.”

 

Chris looked away, a few tears slipping down his own face. If Jim didn’t want to be around them he wouldn’t. He nodded, “Fine. Amanda and Sarek will get you, and you’ll go back to Vulcan, where it’s safe and warm. This is also an acceptable solution.”

 

Jim nodded, “Good.”

 

Chris and Jon got back up, looking like Jim had personally pulled their hearts out of their chests.

 

“Wait.”

 

They stopped, looking back at him, “Yeah, sweetheart?”

 

“You know, I don’t hate you. I just can’t fucking stand Starfleet right now. Mama and Sa-“ He cut himself off, a noise choking out of his throat. “They’d still be here if it weren’t for Starfleet. I don’t want to be angry at either of you, and I’m not, I just can’t- Not now, at least.”

 

They both nodded at him, leaving without another word.

 

Jim felt like shit.

 

“You would have run away from them, no matter what. It’s best that they didn’t have you.”

 

Jim looked at the vulcan with a raised eyebrow, “Oh, and now you know me better than I know me?”

 

Spock nodded, “I have spent nearly two weeks residing inside your head entirely, and am not currently clouded by the guilt that you feel. They love you, and you know that, but they cannot be the ones to help you get better, because that’s not where you want to be. You would never let them help you.”

 

Jim looked away, feeling sick, “I know. It just hurts to do that to them, though. I still love them.”

 

“They will remember that, even if it’s not right now.”

 

***

 

Jim’s new glasses, were… big. Thick black frames, and thick lenses to go with them.

 

He had to say though, he looked good in them, because he looked good in everything.

 

Even as he joked about that to Amanda, Spock was giving him the most pained look in the world, as Jim said just the opposite in his head.

 

When Amanda and Bones had left the room, leaving only Spock, Sybok and Jim, Jim took the glasses off with a sigh, pushing his palms into them and rubbing until they looked red and tender. He looked up at them before wincing at the blurred shapes that Spock and Sybok made out together.

 

Technically, if the glasses weren’t so good, he would have to be registered as legally blind, unable to drive, or ever work with delicate crafts.

 

The glasses made his vision almost good as new though. Bones said that over the years it would most likely get better as long as he kept regular checkups.

 

Sybok came over and sat down next to him on the bed, putting his glasses back on for him. Sybok’s mind was different from Spock’s, but no less welcome, brushing up against his own. It didn’t ask for permission in, a good thing seeing as Jim wasn’t ready to let anyone else but Spock in right now.

 

Sybok did press more firmly onto the side of his face though, his right palm sliding up against Jim’s cheek before he felt Sybok search his mind from the outside, looking for any damage that might be there.

 

There was probably some on the inside, but he wouldn’t know at the moment, since he wasn’t going to force himself inside. Jim had been through enough at the moment.

 

After a few minutes of Sybok repairing minor damages to Jim’s walls, he pulled back. “You know, just because that all happened, doesn’t mean you can’t forget.”

 

Spock came over, sitting on Jim’s other side, wrapping both arms around his waist. “Are you suggesting we purge the memories?”

 

Sybok shrugged, “I could help you do it. You don’t have to; I just think it might be easier.”

 

Jim shook his head, “No. I don’t mind remembering. The only thing that really bothers me about it was… the execution.”

 

Sybok nodded, “You could forget, though.”

 

Jim’s voice broke a little, “I know. I’m just- just, not ready to. Not right now.”

 

“Okay.”

 

***

 

Spock’s childhood home, was a welcome sight. He hadn’t lived there the first five years he was on Vulcan, but he’d been there more often than not.

 

Spock hadn’t even bothered showing him to any other room to put his things. It’s not their parents expected anything other than complete bed-sharing anyways.

 

The first night back, Jim actually slept without Spock coaxing him to, nearly entirely asleep by the time Spock had climbed into bed with him. Spock hadn’t even disturbed him by doing that.

 

Spock was already thinking that this change would be better for him.

 

***

 

“You’re a bloody, dirty traitor.”

 

Chris looked amused between the sighing vulcan and the stropping human. Jim looked like he was about to stomp his damn foot, sitting on the couch with Amanda’s arm around him, as if holding him back from storming out of the room in a dramatic Kirkian fashion. Chris wouldn’t be surprised.

 

Spock gave him the most patient look in the world, “Jim, your dislike for Starfleet went away several years ago. I –incorrectly- surmised that my transfer to Starfleet academy, would be met with tentative approval, and not-“

 

“You guessed wrong, and you’re a dirty traitor, and I hate you.” Jim pushed his face into the couch cushion next to him, rubbing his head against it as if it could remove the voice in his head telling him how much Spock knew that wasn’t true.

 

“You do not hate me, you are simply feeling as though I make assumptions-“

 

“Ugh! Stop telling people how I feel! You’re a dirty traitor who keeps telling people that I’m a liar-“

 

“Well, if you would just, stop lying-“

 

Ugh!”

 

Jon came into the room behind Chris, “Oh god, are they still fighting?”

 

Chris nodded, looking amused, “Yeah. They’re probably both going to be coming back to Earth with us.”

 

There was a small crash as Jim fell off the couch, pulled one of the smaller throw pillows with him, and launched it at Chris’ head. “No, I won’t!”

 

***

 

Jim did end up going back to Earth with them, but it wasn’t them that convinced him.

 

It was the letter that he received, two days after his eighteenth birthday, stating that everything George and Winona Kirk had owned, was now his, including assets, a large sum of money, and a plot of land back in Iowa, with a large farmhouse on it.

 

Jim had cried for nearly an hour after getting it. Spock hadn’t let go once during that time.

 

***

 

The old farmhouse was falling apart. Chris and Jon had suggested that he could just sell the land and be done with it.

 

Jim was stubborn, though.

 

“You are going to stay here, and fix it?”

 

Jim nodded, “Yeah. Construction guys said it’s more baser workings are still functional. Has everything I need for now, and hey, free rent.”

 

Spock was giving him an odd look, “You will be cold.”

 

Jim quirked a grin, “The house still has baser heating. Maybe I can turn this place into something livable.”

 

Spock nodded, “It would be nice to have a place to go on Earth for ‘down time.’”

 

Jim leaned over and bumped hips with Spock, “See, it’s got some merits.”

 

For some reason, even as he left Jim there, Spock felt as though he was the one being left all alone, right now.

 

***

 

“You get that odd look on your face whenever you send an email that’s not work related.”

 

Spock looked up at Uhura, who seemed to be studying him at the moment, an act that make him think of Jim, if he were to be honest. He looked back down at his PADD and the sms that he had just sent to Jim, asking him to eat more because he could feel it through their bond that Jim wasn’t eating much.

 

Jim replied almost immediately to defend himself, a lie for sure, and not a very good one. He made a mental note to video call him later and maybe even ask his mother to help as a last resort.

 

“What exactly do you think this look means?”

 

Nyota smiled, “Well, sometimes you get a look that I might call loving, and sometimes it’s complete exasperation. Parents?”

 

Spock shook his head minutely, “No, my bondmate.”

 

He didn’t miss the way her face fell just a little, before she smiled again, “Oh. I guess it must be hard for you, them being all the way on Vulcan.”

 

“They are not on Vulcan, they currently reside in Riverside, Iowa.”

 

She looked thoughtful for a moment, “That’s where they’re building the Enterprise. Is he working on that?”

 

“No. He is fixing a house that he inherited when he turned of age, from his mother and father.”

 

“I didn’t know that any vulcans on Earth owned land here.”

 

“He is human.”

 

Uhura seemed surprised, looking away while biting her lip. “Why doesn’t he live with you, if he’s your bondmate?”

 

Spock frowned, “He still grieves over lives lost. I see him often, and have him in my mind always. Tomorrow I will go to see him in Iowa, for his twenty-second birthday, along with his godfathers and my brother, and his bondmate.”

 

“Ah, that’s why you asked for us to meet today. Well, be sure to give him my best.”

 

Spock paused, not fully sure what ‘give him my best’ was in reference to, but didn’t quite want to ask, either.”

 

***

 

Captain Pike’s whistle was sharp, cutting through the loud bar with ease. Jim felt like it was trying to pierce through his ear drums.

 

When the bar had cleared out, leaving Jim laying out across the bar table, blood going down his face and his glasses nowhere to be seen. He vaguely looked around for them before seeing a blob that might have been them on the ground in front of the bar.

 

Chris seemed to finally realize who he had just saved from being beaten to death, cursing under his breath before coming to Jim’s side to help him sit up.

 

When Jim was sitting pretty with paper towels shoved into either nostril, Jim looked at the blog on the floor again, squinting. Chris followed his line of sight and sighed, “Sorry kid, those look like yours.”

 

Jim shrugged, “I have like, twelve others back at the house.”

 

The house that Chris was currently staying in with him till he went back to San Francisco tomorrow.

 

Chris frowned, “Why so many?”

 

Jim shrugged, “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and forget to put them on till I try to read something and realize it’s all one big blob.”

 

There was a trill in the room, coming from Jim’s pants, and Jim sighed again, pulling out his communicator and answering without looking at it. “Hey, Spock.”

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Jim sighed even deeper, “Yeah. Chris stepped in before things got bad.”

 

Spock was silent for a moment before replying, “A cadet attacked you?”

 

Jim reached up to wipe the blood from the split in his lip, clearing his throat from the gunk sliding down the back of it. “Uh, yeah. I think I went  to school with that guy, actually. Pretty sure I kicked him in the shin and got a time out. I think he stole my crayons?”

 

Spock was silent even longer this time, “Jim, did you figure this out by learning his name?”

 

“Uh, no. I think, I uh… felt him? Like, his mind, it was familiar?”

 

Even Chris looked interested at that. “Your PSI abilities are evolving the longer you and Spock are bonded.”

 

Spock hummed at the end of the other line, “You have already demonstrated the ability to sense other vulcans, it seems that ability is expanding.”

 

Jim rolled his eyes, “Great. I’m becoming the human equivalent of your brother. Can Amanda do this?”

 

“As far as I can tell, minimally, but not nearly with as much ease as you.”

 

“Bitchin.” Jim choked a little again and shoved the communicator into Chris’s hands, stumbling into the bathroom so he could choke up the lovely mucus and blood mixture clogging up the back of his throat.

 

When he got back, Chris handed him the communicator back, a worried look on his face. Jim took it and sighed, “Spock-“

 

“James, I want you away from that town.”

 

Jim paused, “What?”

 

“That town, it is the source of both pain and trouble for you. You should leave.”

 

“And go where?”

 

“Here.”

 

“Spock-“

 

“You do not have to join Starfleet, but I want you here by my side.”

 

Jim’s breath caught in his throat, and he nodded a little, “Oh- okay.”

 

***

 

When Jim and Pike got back to the farmhouse that night, Chris helped him pack some boxes. “The shuttle leaves in nine hours, and it’s not big enough to put all these boxes on, but we can bring them into the base later and they’ll arrive a couple hours after we do. I can get someone at Starfleet to send them right to Spock’s house.”

 

Jim sat down on the couch, washed and clean, and put his head in his hands. “Chris, am I selfish?”

 

“For what?” Chris sat next to him, both of them leaning back and looking at the boxes stacked in the living room. He was keeping the house, for vacations, and if anyone else wanted to use it, but he’d packed up enough stuff that could go with him to San Francisco.

 

“…leaving him for so long?”

 

Pike sighed, “Jimmy, you’ve been bonded since you were children. You’ve spent nearly twenty years together, and that’s including the time you were here, because you talk constantly –I know you do by the way, you get this far away look when you’re in his mind- and he’s here just about every other weekend. That’s not leaving, that’s engaging in a long distance relationship. You have every right to have some alone time every once in a while.”

 

“Most couples just take a night apart if they need alone time-“

 

“Most couples don’t have their minds entwined, 24/7.”

 

Jim couldn’t hold back the smile that put on his face. “Okay. Yeah, good point. God, this is going to be new.”

 

“You gonna join Starfleet?”

 

Jim shrugged, “Well, admissions for this semester are already closed up. I know they tend to make acceptations for people with high aptitude scores, so I would qualify… but… I just need to think about that. I’ll take the rest of this semester and just… be there. God, I miss him so much.”

 

Chris pressed a kiss to Jim’s forehead, smiling when his godson turned into him, instead of away. “I know you do, kiddo. He misses you too.”

 

“He better.”

 

***

 

Jim nearly brained himself on a low hanging beam in the shuttle the next morning; his face a mess of bruises that the dermal regenerator hadn’t gotten. He winced, and got over to the last open seat in the shuttle, strapping himself in next to an orion female. She had the prettiest skin tone, which kind of reminded him of Spock, the first time they had made out, because he had been blushing so hard.

 

The thought of it left him both heartsick and eager to see his bondmate again, as well as settled, to see such a colour right next to him.

 

He looked across the way, to see the girl he’d been talking to the night before, right before he’d gotten punched, and smirked, a lot more cocky than he felt. She raised an eyebrow at him, much like Spock tended to, and it made Jim grin, “You know, I never got that first name.”

 

She just looked away, seemingly amused by him. Jim hadn’t exactly been flirting with her –not exactly as in referring to the fact that flirting seemed to be his only actual way of communicating- but he had been very interested in her xenolinguistics. He had wanted to know how good her Vulcan was. He had yet to fully master the language, which meant that Spock tended to think to him in Vulcan sometimes just to help out, and he’s gathered an appreciation of it from him.

 

He looked over at the orion again –mostly because he really liked that colour of green- and smiled when she looked back at him. “Hi. I’m Jim.”

 

She took her proffered hand with the biggest smile, which only made his own bigger, “Gaila.”

 

***

 

There hadn’t been a lot of pomp in landing back at Starfleet Academy, mostly just routine, but when the doors opened, everyone getting out of the shuttle did immediately notice that they were being intently watched by two vulcans, the academy’s main professor for the xenobiology course, and an admiral.

 

That’s new.

 

When Jim got off though, one single carryon bag slung over his shoulder, he found himself immediately accosted.

 

Hell, it’s not like he hadn’t seen every single one of them within the last month, but no, they all seemed very eager to give him a warm welcome.

 

The cadets around them passed them by with odd looks, snickering to each other like children while Jim was suddenly crushed to a very hard chest.

 

Spock had one arm wrapped around his waist, his mind bright and clear in Jim’s. Spock’s neck against his face was pushing his glasses into his nose uncomfortably, but he didn’t care, just clinging harder to his bondmate.

 

His t’hy’la.