When James Kirk was a toddler, his mother, Winona Kirk, remarried to a Terran male named, Frank. But Frank hadn’t lasted long for he was physically abusive and one day, Winona caught him beating George Samuel, Jim’s older brother. They divorced and while Jim was staying with another relative, George Samuel—Sam—to Jim…left. No one knew where he went as Sam wouldn’t say.
Then one day, when Jim was ten, Winona arrived to announce she would be marrying again, this time to a Vulcan called Salok. Salok had two daughters, T’Pring, and T’Dar. Winona explained that Salok’s daughters were quite beautiful and would be Jim’s older stepsisters. His mother never explained how she met Salok, Jim just imagined it had been during her scientific work.
He hadn’t been particularly happy about having sisters, but Jim put on a brave face and went with his mother to the planet, Vulcan, where Salok and his daughters lived.
Their house was located in a province of Vulcan that was by Lake Yuron. Ten year old Jim had been excited to find a lake there because he had believed it was nothing but desert. As his mother and he arrived at the house, Salok waited for them just outside the front door. Next to him were two Vulcan females slightly older than Jim. One had very short hair, especially in the back, and the other had longer hair that had been dressed into braids and twisted to her head.
Salok was older than his mother by quite a bit, Jim imagined, though she hadn’t said, and he didn’t dare ask. He was very thin with graying hair and a pointed nose. He looked very severe as he gazed down upon Jim.
“This is my son, James Tiberius,” his mother said, gently prodding him forward. “This is my husband to be, Salok.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Salok,” Jim said in a small voice.
“You will address me as Sir at all times,” the Vulcan replied imperiously.
Jim stared at him. “Um. Okay.”
Salok arched a brow.
“Jim,” his mother admonished.
“These are my daughters, T’Pring,” and here he gestured to the one with braids, “and T’Dar.”
T’Dar murmured, “James Tiberius.”
T’Pring merely stared down her nose at him.
Jim was given a very small room in the back of the house that was very warm and had no windows. It had only enough room for a small uncomfortable cot. Salok had assured Jim’s mother that the accommodations for Jim were only “temporary” and eventually he would be given a larger room when it was ready.
Once his mother married Salok, she stayed on Vulcan for only a very short time before she had to leave to join her science vessel. Jim was left to live with Salok and his daughters.
As time passed, Jim’s “temporary” room became permanent. Salok never explained and Jim never felt as though he could ask.
Once his mother was gone, Salok and his daughters ceased to pretend any acceptance of Jim whatsoever. He was made to do all the household chores, rising every day before anyone else, and staying up late into the night to get everything done. T’Pring and T’Dar barely spoke to him and Salok usually only spoke to him to give him another order.
Jim was like a slave there, in his own home, though he never truly felt like it was his home at all. He found himself longing for Riverside, something he never thought he would do.
His mother contacted the sporadically, mostly she contacted Salok, who would tell Jim that his mother asked about him and Salok advised that Jim was fine.
Jim was not fine.
But this-this was his life.
For seven years.
Seven years later
Jim looked up from the book he was reading with a frown. He thought about ignoring it. He’d just gotten settled in, finally finished with his chores.
Jim looked at the Sehlat at his feet. She belonged to the family but she didn’t really like anyone but Jim. A source of extreme irritation for his stepsisters who were constantly telling their father they should get rid of her.
“I suppose I can’t just ignore her, can I, Lulu?”
That was another thing that annoyed his stepfamily. Jim’s insistence on calling the sehlat, Lulu. And now she would answer to nothing else.
Lulu’s tail sort of thumped in answer.
“James Tiberius!” Louder still.
Jim sighed and set the book down, sliding off his cot and reaching for the shirt he had discarded earlier. He pulled it on and went out the door of his room and down the hall to her room.
T’Pring had a much larger room than Jim did with a large bed big enough for probably three people, a dresser, end tables, and a walk-in closet. Oh, and a work desk and with a computer terminal as well.
She lay on her bed on her stomach and she stared imperiously at him.
“Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
“I must have since here I am.”
“Are you speaking back to me, James Tiberius?”
She straightened up and leaned back against the headboard of her bed, legs straight. “My feet need massaging. See to it.”
Jim barely kept the grimace off his face. If he showed such an emotion he would only regret t later. T’Pring would see to it.
He pulled up the little stool he was made to sit on while attending to her feet and sat, reaching for her right foot first.
“Where are your oils?” she asked. “I want my feet to smell nice.”
Jim bit back a sigh and returned to his room for his essential oils. When he returned, her eyebrow shot up again.
“You took your time.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled, and retook his seat on the stool. “Which scent did you want?”
He opened the bottle and poured a little of the oil into the palm of his hand and then reached for her right foot. He began to rub the oil in. T’Pring closed her eyes and leaned back.
There was something kind of weirdly sensual about this act which Jim pretended there wasn’t. But more and more T’Pring demanded it of him and for longer periods.
T’Dar suddenly appeared in the doorway.
“There you are, James Tiberius. I went to your room and all that was there was that useless sehlat.” T’Dar folded her arms in front of her. “She growled at me.”
“She doesn’t like you,” Jim replied.
“Because you turned her against me. You are a terrible boy.” T’Dar came fully into the room and plopped down on her sister’s bed.
“What did you want?”
“I wished for you to make me tea.”
“The tea is in the kitchen,” he told her.
“I am certainly not going to make it myself. That is what you are for.” She stared at him massaging T’Pring’s feet. “How long is it going to take?”
He shrugged a little. “I just started.”
“Make my tea.”
Jim stopped his massaging. “Okay.”
T’Pring’s eyes flew open. “You are not finished.”
Jim stood. “I’ll be back. I’m making T’Dar’s tea.”
“Do not take long.”
Jim left the room and crossed the entire house to where the kitchen was. He had to past Salok’s study on the way. Salok sat behind his desk and looked up when Jim was passing by.
“I hope you are seeing to the needs of my daughters.”
“I will be going away for a few days to ShiKahr. I have been summoned there by our monarch, King Sarek.”
“When do you leave, sir?”
“Tomorrow. You will see that all your chores continue to be completed as well as seeing to whatever it is my daughters require while I am gone.”
Jim nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Salok dismissed him with a wave of his hand and Jim continued on to the kitchen. There he made T’Dar’s tea and also picked up some sweet bread he knew she would likely demand anyway.
“You took a long time,” T’Dar said with a sniff as he handed her the tea and sweet bread.
“Your father stopped me to advise he would be going to ShiKahr tomorrow.”
Jim resumed his seat on the stool and reached for T’Pring’s foot.
“ShiKahr?” T’Pring repeated. “Will he see Prince Spock while there?”
Jim was aware that just about everyone had something of a crush on the royal prince of Vulcan, his stepsisters included. Jim couldn’t deny the prince made his pulse race as well, though he would not admit it to them.
“Perhaps. He mentioned seeing King Sarek.”
“I wish he would take me with him,” T’Dar said somewhat wistfully.
“You?” T’Pring rolled her eyes. “I am the elder. If anyone is going to be presented to Prince Spock it will be me.”
They continued to argue between themselves and Jim zoned out, wondering when he was going to get to go back to his room and his book.
The Royal Prince Spock was bored. He had just completed an experiment that went exactly as he expected it would. This should offer him some comfort but he found it more frustrating than satisfying.
He stood up from his desk and I-Chaya, his sehlat, stretched beside him.
“There is no need for you to disturb yourself,” Spock told the animal. “I am going to the kitchens for some refreshments.”
I-Chaya laid back down and closed his eyes.
Spock left his suite of rooms and acknowledged the greetings of palace guards as he passed by, his boots clicking on the tile floor as he headed for the kitchen.
He pushed open the swinging door and immediately the chatter of the servants ceased and they turned as one toward him.
“Your Royal Highness.” The head of the kitchen staff, Arev, hurried forward.
“Good afternoon. I am here to get tea,” Spock said.
“You should never come to the kitchens, Your highness,” Arev replied, appearing to be vaguely scandalized.
“Except that I desire tea.”
“You must summon one of us to bring it to you. The kitchens are not the place for Royalty. Please return to your suite and tea will be brought to you,” Arev informed him. “Would you like something to break your fast to go with it?”
Spock left the kitchens and headed back toward his suite, but has passed one particular chamber, he heard the sound of his parents arguing. Since they never argued, Spock became curious and approached the open door.
“This would not have happened had we bonded Spock to another when he was a child,” King Sarek told his wife, Queen Amanda.
“We agreed that it was not the path for him and that he would be allowed to choose his own bondmate.”
“Yes, but he has not done so. He has not even indicated that he will begin to consider it any time in the near future.”
“He is still young, Sarek. There is plenty of time.”
“He will need to be mated when his time comes, Wife.”
His mother sighed heavily and dramatically. An emotional display his Vulcan father would never employ, but his mother was human.
“What do you propose?” she asked.
“Yes. A formal ball where all my subjects attend and are on display for Spock. There will be dancing and entertainment. A feast. Perhaps the ball can be more a festival. Yes. A festival. For three days.”
“Hmm.” His mother sounded intrigued. “A three day festival. That does sound like it could be most fun.”
“And Spock will no doubt find a suitable Vulcan woman he will approve to be his mate.”
“Yes,” his mother agreed. “At the end of the festival, surely someone will have won the prize of Spock’s heart.”
“As long as he finds someone he compatible with, the state of his heart is not my concern. You are far too emotional.”
Spock stepped away from the doorway and continued onto his suite of rooms.
Already a pot of tea waited for him on a small table in the antechamber.
I-Chaya came out from the other room and gazed at him.
“I am, it would seem, to become a piece of meat to be displayed for all interested parties.”
I-Chaya made a sort of growly sigh.
Spock nodded. “Yes, my sentiments exactly.”