Author: Keira Marcos
Art: FanArts Series
Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Pike/McCoy, Sarek/Amanda Grayson
Series: Tangled Destinies
Series Order: 6
Fandom: Star Trek XI (Reboot ‘Verse)
Genre: Alternate Universe, romance
Word Count: 19,900
Rating: R (for adult language and sexual situations)
Betas: Ladyholder & Chris King
Warnings: Sexual activity between two consenting teenagers and discussion of past abuse.
Summary: Spock and Jim adjust to their new bond while adults in their lives shift around them in response to the change in their relationship.
– – – –
Spock pulled off his helmet and ran his fingers through his hair. “Elder Stavik and Stonn mentioned arriving early so they could look around the campus.”
Jim secured his helmet to the bike and reached for Spock’s. “We could do that if you want—I’m sure my Dad could get you a pretty detailed tour if you’re interested. You have to know that Starfleet is keeping an eye on you.”
“As well they should, I am a gifted academic.”
“And very modest,” Jim said with his most serious expression.
“Modesty about one’s intellectual accomplishments is illogical,” Spock responded as he pulled the leather satchel they were sharing out of the storage compartment under the seat. “While taking pride in the turn of your face is a true vanity. It takes an interesting individual to be proud of something they were given at birth and had nothing to do with.”
Jim laughed. “I think I’m pretty awesome intellectually as well. In fact, I’m confident I’m utterly fantastic in about a hundred different ways.” He took the satchel and threw the strap over one shoulder. “Come on. Did you want to get a translator headset? They are going to have live translators for Vulcan, Andorian, and a handful of other prominent languages.”
“I am prepared to listen to Dr. Scott’s interesting interpretation of Federation Standard. I have several of his presentations on my PADD and I believe I have mastered all of his language quirks.”
The opening day of the symposium started with a breakfast. The food was top notch but Jim had found himself at a table full of Vulcans. They’d gotten their plates and settled in at an empty table. Stavik and Stonn followed and then four other Vulcans sat down, too. It wasn’t so much that Jim minded the pointy-eared company. He was rather fond of people with pointy ears. It was just really hard to enjoy his bacon with Elder Stavik sitting beside him radiating with disapproval over the meat products.
Jim turned to him and smiled. “Did you know that a xenobiologist on Sorus II recently found a sentient plant? It communicates by sending electronic pulses to her tricorder. In a few months, she estimates that she will be able to put their language in the Universal Translator.”
Stavik looked at him Jim for several seconds and then at his plate that was heaping with vegetables. “You fascinate me, James. Truly.”
Jim munched contentedly on his bacon. “It is my lifelong goal, Elder, to always be a source of wonder and interest.”
“Has she given the plant species a name?” Stonn questioned from his place across the table.
“She said in the report that she filed with Federation that she waiting for them to tell her what they wanted to be called. I can send the report to your PADD if you are interested.”
“Very interested,” Stonn admitted. “How did you come to have the report?”
“I belong to a few Federation listservs where non-classified data is distributed and discussed. If you want—after the first session I could show you how to sign up for them.”
“Yes,” Stonn agreed quickly and then pushed aside his empty plate. “You have met Dr. Scott, correct?”
“Yes, Spock and I received a tour a few months back of the Enterprise in Iowa. Lt. Scott is one of the engineers on the project and he took a full day out of his schedule for us. It’s going to be an amazing ship when they are finished.”
“Spock, what did you think of the Enterprise?”
Spock paused and inclined his head as he answered Elder Stavik’s question. “The plans allow for crew comfort on a level that I found intriguing. My Father has indicated that Humans value private space as well as public areas where they can gather to entertain themselves and others. It was not what I expected from a military vessel.”
Stavik nodded. “I served for a year on one of the first Starfleet ships as a liaison officer for the VSA. We were on a twelve month exploration mission. Despite their military purpose, Starfleet has always been dedicated to exploration, the furthering of science, and of course the protection of the Federation itself.”
One of the other Vulcans at the table, a man named Taval that Jim had been introduced to as he’d taken a seat, reached for the tea pot in the middle of the table. “You volunteered for that mission, did you not, Stavik?”
“I did.” Stavik admitted. “It provided me with a unique challenge and a change of pace following the death of my first wife.”
Taval nodded his head in acknowledgment. “I have always found working with Humans a unique and rewarding challenge.” He focused entirely on Jim. “I was told that you plan to take the VSA exam.”
“Yes, I’m sure to be emotionally devastated for years afterward.”
Taval quirked an eyebrow. “Is that truly how Humans view the exam?”
“Aye it is. I cried for a bloody week after I took it.”
Jim turned and smiled at Lt. Montgomery Scott. “Scotty.”
“Hey there, laddie. I’ve been ordered to retrieve you for a conversation.” Scotty jerked his head towards the front of the room where several Admirals were tucked in at a secluded table. “I believe Admiral Archer wishes to convey his good wishes on your recent nuptials.”
Jim sighed and blew air out between his lips. “Spock, you can’t expect me to suffer this alone.”
“They did not request my presence,” Spock pointed out.
“That’s because they can’t go bossing an Ambassador’s son around,” Scott informed. “I believe you are expected to volunteer.” He grinned broadly at Spock.
“Very well, inform them that we will join them once Jim has finished his meal.” Spock sent Scott a narrow eyed glance when he opened his mouth as if to complain. “His father is the commissioned officer, Lt. Scott. James is not subject to the orders or whims of the admiralty.”
Scotty laughed. “I’ll let them know you’ll be around before the meal ends.”
Jim watched him go and then focused on Spock. “I hardly need protecting from those guys, ya know.”
“I disagree,” Spock responded without hesitation and nudged Jim’s juice closer to his plate. “Dr. McCoy has threatened you with daily vitamin injections.”
Jim groaned and picked up his juice. “They really are just a bunch of nosy old men.”
“I am confident they have nothing so pressing it cannot wait.”
He nodded his agreement and glanced around the table to find all of the Vulcans staring at them. “Is something…” he trailed off and bit down on his lip, “wrong?”
Stavik cleared his throat. “You’ll have to forgive us our curiosity, James. You are t’hy’la and such a bond is so rare as to be alien. Watching the interaction between you is fascinating. Your face is very expressive.”
“If you will forgive the observation,” Stonn began. “I am surprised by the level of verbal communication. I would have believed that communicating telepathically would be your primary choice.”
“I would consider that rude,” Jim admitted. “I put off a high level of psionic activity when I communicate telepathically. You would feel it brushing over your mind because you are young and unbonded. I realize that most Betazoids do not care if they make those around them uncomfortable—but I can’t ignore it.”
Stonn’s eyes widened briefly and he flushed so prettily that Jim bit down on his lip. “Your courtesy is unexpected but appreciated. But I would not want my unfortunate status to interfere with your communications with your bondmate.”
Jim frowned and settled back with his glass of orange juice. “I don’t consider your status unfortunate. You have the opportunity to meet and find the right person to bond with. That’s not unfortunate at all—it’s a blessing.”
“I am in agreement,” Stavik said as he pushed his plate forward. “Bonding with someone you chose is rewarding.”
“Some of the strongest bonds are made between two people who chose each other,” Taval interjected. “We cannot sit in the presence of a t’hy’la bond and ignore that fact.” He inclined his head towards Stonn. “You have time and options. And your choice to release your childhood bondmate was honorable and logical.”
Jim offered Stonn an encouraging smile and set aside his empty glass. “Now, I have to go engage in a time honored Human custom.”
Stonn lifted an eyebrow. “What would that be?”
“Ass kissing,” Jim responded cheerfully. He was proud to say that earned him three extremely brief looks of pure, undisguised horror while Stavik merely snorted indelicately and Taval eyed him with a warm, amused gaze. He decided that being a really old Vulcan rocked because no one even looked at the old guy once for the almost laugh.
“That did not translate well at all,” Spock muttered as he followed Jim from the table.
“What are they saying?”
“Elder Stavik is attempting to explain to them what ass kissing is without actually using the word ‘ass’,” Spock admitted with a blush as they crossed the room. “I believe you will have to endure a lecture on the history of Vulcan space travel for that.”
“Has he always punished with lectures on really boring subjects?”
“When I was six—I broke a vase in his home. I spent two hours listening to a lecture on the glass making process. I refused to leave my mother’s side for a year when ever we visited his house,” Spock admitted as Admiral Archer’s current favorite Beagle puppy wiggled free and made a beeline for Jim. “His space travel lecture is 4.56 hours long. I had a cousin who did so poorly on the VSA exam that he had to visit Elder Stavik once a month for a year—to hear that same lecture in its entirety.”
Jim scooped up the puppy happily. “Hey little guy.” He rubbed the dog’s head with his thumb as they arrived at the table. “Admirals.” He glanced around the table and inclined his head at a junior officer at the table. “Ensign.”
“Ensign Jeff Lindsey,” Admiral Archer explained. “He’s a senior at the Academy and interning with Scotty this summer.”
“Lucky you,” Jim offered with a smile. “You’ll learn a lot.”
“More than I will ever will in a traditional classroom,” Lindsey admitted. “Lt. Scott is unique.”
Jim nodded his agreement. “Spock—this is Admiral Forest, Admiral Williams, Vice Admiral Komack, and of course you know Admiral Archer.”
“Sirs.” Spock took the puppy when Jim handed him over the dog stopped wiggling to stare at the Vulcan contently. “He is a very happy animal.”
Archer grinned. “Good to know, young man. I spoil Oscar like he’s a child.”
Spock looked up and found Komack staring at him intently. He lifted an eyebrow in question and Komack’s gaze narrowed slightly.
“You have your mother’s eyes,” Komack finally said.
“Yes,” Spock agreed. “I do.”
Jim glanced between them and checked his wrist chronometer. Then he looked pleadingly at Archer who laughed all the more. “Sir.”
“I just wanted to get a good look at your face, kid. You haven’t been to dinner at my house in a while and you went and got married without an invite to yours truly,” Archer tried to look wounded but it was ruined by the wide smile.
“Actually, sir, we are betrothed,” Spock corrected as he petted Oscar. “We’ll have a wedding ceremony on Betazed at a later date—which you are more than welcome to attend.”
Archer grinned. “I haven’t been naked in public in sixty years.”
“Ambassador Deloia assures us she finds beauty in everyone, Admiral,” Jim said with a wry smile. “I look forward to testing her mettle on this subject with a variety of guests.”
“I just bet you do, young man.” Archer accepted Oscar when Spock offered him and settled the puppy in his lap. “I expect to see good things from you both while you’re here this summer.”
“We won’t disappoint, sir. But we should go because if we’re late getting seated I’m sure to get a lecture on the obscure mating habits of a practically extinct animal from Vulcan as punishment.” Jim snagged Spock’s hand out of habit and at Archer’s wave of dismissal hurried him away from the table.
“You know Elder Stavik probably heard that—you are just adding material to his already expansive list of intellectual torture,” Spock hissed as they exited the dining hall.
“He’s one hundred and seventy-three years old. I doubt seriously I could add anything to his already impressive list,” Jim claimed. “So, tell me why you hate Komack.”
“I don’t hate Admiral Komack.”
“You hate him like hell on fire,” Jim snapped. “Don’t lie to me, Spock. I’d rather you just tell me to shut up then lie to me.”
Spock reached out and grabbed Jim when he started to walk away. “I apologize. I have never met Admiral Komack before today but I did have a very strong emotional reaction to him which made me uncomfortable.”
Jim frowned but relaxed. “Why?”
“He once tried to see my mother romantically and when he found out she was seeing my father—he made an aggressive physical advance that my father interrupted.” Spock took a deep breath. “She was saying no when my father found them and then Captain Komack was ignoring her wishes.”
Jim leaned against the wall beside Spock and glared at the floor. “He… that son of a bitch.”
“He also told my mother she had no business dating an alien,” Spock whispered. “I wasn’t prepared to be introduced to him. I should have looked him up when my father told me the story so that I would know his face.”
“He got away with it,” Jim muttered.
“Hardly—my father broke his arm and his jaw.”
Jim turned to stare at Spock wide-eyed. “Your daddy kicked his ass.”
“My daddy kicked his ass,” Spock agreed. He ran his fingers over Jim’s. “I apologize, again, for denying my emotions concerning the man. Often, on Vulcan I was accused of having emotional reactions whether it was true or not. I denied your valid observation out of habit.”
“I overreacted,” Jim moved in closer and tucked his face against Spock’s neck. “I just… don’t take being lied to well at all.”
Spock cupped the back of Jim’s head and pressed a kiss against his temple. “I will not ever do it again.”
“You are going to get a lecture on the breeding rituals of sehlets if you do not separate from each other before Elder Stavik walks out here.”
Jim laughed and backed away from Spock. “Thank you for the rescue, Taval.”
Taval inclined his head. “Jaret would be most displeased with me if his two favorite students were bored into a permanent vegetative state when I could have prevented it.”
Jim’s mouth made a perfect ‘o’ for several seconds before he schooled his expression. “I…” He trailed off before the words ‘didn’t recognize you’ came out of his mouth. He could only be grateful for that. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, sir.”
Taval’s eyes were bright with amusement and curiosity. “I look forward to interacting with you this summer.”
“I am sure Jaret is pleased to have you on Earth,” Spock responded neutrally.
“It is my hope,” Taval admitted. “His acceptance of a telepathic heir for his House has provided us with an opportunity I did not believe possible.”
– – – –
The symposium had five hundred attendees. Originally it had been just four hundred but when Archer had moved it to a new location on campus—he’d opened up another hundred seats. Jim figured it had been moved so they could open up more seats at the lecture series and wondered how much Pike had promised the admiralty in exchange for the favor. Jim doubted being a hero’s son was enough to get him that kind of favor with Starfleet.
The new seats had been filled almost entirely by people from the Vulcan Science Academy and Jim wondered if all of that serious attention was good for Scotty or bad. He was a vivid and brilliant man—the first four hours of the lecture passed almost in a blur. They broke for lunch finally and Jim dragged Spock to a small Chinese restaurant just off campus and sat him down.
Spock started to speak and then paused and then sighed. “Would you order me some food?”
“Yeah.” Jim went to the counter and placed a food order for both of them then returned to the table. “Okay, so talk to me because you’re clearly bugging out.”
“Only to you, I hope,” Spock muttered as the server arrived with glasses of fruit juice for them both. “As I explained to you in the past, there are Vulcans on my planet that disapprove of me even existing. That I’m here—bonded to you, living on Earth, and dressing like a Human solidifies their belief that I’m at worst a failed scientific experiment.”
Jim flushed with anger and sat back in his chair. “You heard someone talking about you?”
“Actually, about you,” Spock admitted. “They were near the back of the room. He spoke of you like I’ve often heard such individuals speak of my mother.”
“What did he say exactly?”
Spock blushed furiously but was saved from an immediate response by the arrival of their food. He inspected the rice dish and gamely picked up his fork. Once she was gone, he cleared his throat. “I cannot say the words, James. Please do not ask it of me.”
Jim blinked in surprise at the tortured tone and focused on his food. “I’d never want you to say or do anything that makes you that uncomfortable, Spock.” He took a deep breath to calm himself down. “I’m sorry that this man ruined your morning.”
“I found the lecture interesting. He was difficult to dismiss from my mind but I have been in similar situations all of my life. I will not let his small ideas and limited point of view interfere with my goals.” Spock trailed his fork through his rice. “What is this exactly?”
“Vegetable fried rice. I figured we’d break you into Chinese food carefully and in stages. Fried rice is the way to go. You’ll like it.”
– – – –
Jim settled into his place after lunch and set up his PADD for the second half of the lecture day. Spock had been waylaid by Elder Stavik and since it had looked like ‘Vulcan business’, Jim had had abandoned his bondmate to his relative’s clutches with an ‘every man for himself’ philosophy. Spock had retaliated with a burn of mild irritation along their bond that had been both startling and a little bit exciting. Jim figured that might make him a bit of a freak but he was okay with it.
“I was really surprised to hear that you were betrothed from the Admirals this morning.”
Jim looked up and set aside his PADD. “Ensign Lindsey.”
“Jeff is fine,” the man said as he leaned on the chair in table in front of Jim’s. “It’s just that betrothals are really old fashioned.”
“I’m Betazoid and Spock’s Vulcan—it is traditional and expected on both of our worlds. In fact, we should’ve been betrothed as children. It’s a twist of fate that we were both free to choose each other when we met.” Jim lowered his shield slightly to get a read on Jeff and found little on the surface to indicate his motives. He caught a hostile force edging in close to him and glanced around to find another scientist returning to his seat. A Human scientist from the feel of his mind but definitely hostile.
“Yes, but you’re mostly Human and he’s a hybrid. You also live on Earth. I can’t imagine the kids you go to school with really understand the cultural significance of a betrothal.”
“Honestly?” Jim lifted an eyebrow. “I really don’t care what they think or understand when it comes to my relationship with Spock. It’s not about anyone else but me and him.”
Jeff laughed abruptly, shocked amusement rolled off him in waves. “They said you don’t pull your punches. I’m doing my dissertation on one of your Dad’s early missions. I met with him a few months back and I have to say—Captain Pike is an impressive man and officer. I hope to be half the officer he is.”
“I’m very lucky to have him in my life,” Jim responded.
Lindsey nodded and straightened up from the table he was leaning on when several Vulcans passed them by. Jim shot the three men a curious look and scanned them without shame. If he was going to spend the next two months in a room with a man who had upset Spock—he was going to know who he was dealing with. Spock entered the room and came up the stairs in the auditorium. Jim took the opportunity to ogle his bondmate. Spock was wearing a pair of jeans that were purchased to look well-worn, a black long sleeved shirt. A belt highlighted his slim hipped frame nicely.
He wet his bottom lip and grinned at the way Spock lifted an eyebrow at him. “Ensign Lindsey was telling me how he’s doing his dissertation on one of my Dad’s early missions.”
“Interesting,” Spock murmured and sent the young ensign the same narrow-eyed look he’d sent Komack’s way earlier in the day.
Jeff nodded at him briefly and cleared his throat. “Yes, it’s been an experience. If you’ll excuse me, I have to get ready for the rest of the day.”
Jim turned to stare at Spock some more as Lindsey beat a hasty retreat down the aisle stairs. “You’re so pretty.”
“I am not,” Spock responded immediately. “Ensign Lindsey’s interest in you is inappropriate.”
“He’s more interested in my Dad actually,” Jim leaned back in his seat and let his mind drift over all of the people filtering back into the room. “He has a man-crush on him. I’m kind of embarrassed for him.”
It was rather elementary—how it easy it was to find the source of Spock’s earlier discomfort. Jim dropped his stylus in the aisle just as the man came up the stairs a little ahead of Taval who had taken a table behind Jim and Spock. “My apologies, Elder Kovar.” He moved out of the Vulcan’s way—feeling the shock at his knowledge of his name. Jim slid back into his seat and then focused on the older Vulcan who had not moved from his place on the stairs. “I hope you’re enjoying the lecture so far.”
Kovar inclined his head and continued up the stairs. Jim waited until he was seated up at the top of the auditorium before he turned in his seat to stare at him. The Vulcan immediately focused on him and Jim tilted his head. “Keep your mouth shut about us. We are not your concern.”
Kovar’s gaze hardened and he tried to push Jim from his mind. His skin blanched when he realized he couldn’t.
“I won’t tell you again.” Jim turned around as Taval sat down in his chair.
He tangled his fingers with Spock’s under their table and smiled a little to himself. Spock was curious about what he’d done and Jim wondered how much he’d ever be able to hide from his bondmate.
– – – –
“I met your Vulcan today.”
Jaret lifted an eyebrow as Jim got settled in front of him. “Did you?”
“I did. He’s gorgeous. I see why you’d travel half-way across a galaxy to do anything he wants.” Kirk folded himself easily into the lotus position. “Elder Stavik is at this conference thing with us for the next two months along with about one hundred other Vulcans from the VSA. They all watch us like they wish they could get us under a microscope.”
“A soul-bonding is so rare on Vulcan as to be a thing of legend and uncommon on Betazed. I’m sure you can forgive their curiosity,” Jaret said as he settled on the floor in front of Jim. “Where is Spock?”
“After I promised to take all of the scans he wants for his study on yours truly, he took himself off to the embassy for an informal dinner his parents and a few members of his clan. Since my Dad is back on the planet after a weeklong mission, I begged off the dinner so that I could hang out with him tonight.” Jim stretched. “See, the thing is that I didn’t recognize Taval.”
Jaret inclined his head. “If you think about the features of his face in the memories I gave you—you will realize that they were indistinct in the past. In the future, the memories will be more vivid in that respect now that you’ve met him. Your mind will provide detail that I purposely excluded from the memories for the sake of his privacy.”
Jim blushed. “Is he aware that I have the memories of his Pon Farr?”
“I discussed it with him before I shared them. He agreed that it was logical to prepare you as much as I could for the future that may be yours. Taval agrees that it will be unlikely that Spock will be spared the indignity of Pon Farr,” Jaret murmured.
“Is it really an indignity?” Jim questioned softly.
“To us—not so much because we are familiar with expressing our emotions and the pleasures of the flesh are not something to be ignored. We embrace our sensuality and Vulcans suppress theirs ruthlessly until it turns on them. Pon Farr is an explosion of emotion and physical lust. There are ways, as you now know, to quiet their minds—to ease the fever that makes them burn.” Jaret rested back on his hands and inclined his head. “It is important for your own physical safety that you master these ideas fully and that you not hesitate to take control of the situation when it finally does come upon you.”
“You’ve gone through it twice,” Jim started and then paused.
“Yes, and I imagine a third time is nearly upon us.”
Jim nodded. “Did you claim me as your telepathic heir so you could bond with Taval?”
“I claimed you as my heir because you were the first student I’ve ever had that I felt was worthy of it and I feel as connected to as if I were your biological father. Taval was prepared to wait as long as was necessary—we even discussed an arranged marriage for myself at one point but I couldn’t go through with it.”
“You could’ve had children together.”
“He has two sons from a previous marriage and wants no more children of his own. I accepted that long before I ever took him as a lover. My responsibilities to my House were my own and not all clans on Vulcan are so accepting of hybrid children.”
Jim cleared his throat. “Will I be asked to provide a child for our house?”
“Yes, but you have years yet and your relationship with Spock is honored by his clan,” Jaret murmured. “Nor would I allow anyone to pressure you into doing something you are not ready for. I know you have plans for your future, Jim.”
Jim nodded and reached out for Spock—just to check on him as he often had since they bonded. His mental touch was returned easily and he settled at the warm, soft affection that brushed over his mind. It wasn’t as rich as it had been in the past—the empathic link had dissolved in the wake of their telepathic bond. “Anyone that really believes that Vulcans have no emotions are fools.”
“Agreed.” Jaret stretched his legs out and stared pointedly at his student. “You have a question, Jim. Just ask.”
Jim blushed and swallowed hard. “I’ve studied the memories you gave me at length and I can’t answer this on my own. When you’re with Taval in his Pon Farr—are you so influenced that you experience your own version of it?”
Jaret frowned and sat up. “No, but we aren’t bonded. That’s never… I’ve never considered that might be a possibility.” He stood up and pointed at Jim. “Stay there—I’ll be right back.”
Jim nodded and relaxed as much as he could. He wasn’t surprised when Jaret returned with Taval. The Vulcan had shed the formal robes he’d worn during the day and was wearing a pair of linen pants and a shirt. The meditation room was attached to Jaret’s personal quarters at the embassy so the casual attire wasn’t entirely out of place—it was just that the only Vulcan Jim had ever seen that way was Spock.
“Jaret has informed me of your concern,” Taval said as he sat down on a mat Jaret placed for him. “Are you comfortable explaining why this occurred to you and why you think it is possible?”
Jim nodded. “Even before Spock and I bonded—his moods influenced mine. Last night—when he started meditating—I had to stop what I was doing because the lure of the activity was so much that I eventually fell into the meditative state with him. We weren’t physically in the same location.” He blushed at the look Taval and Jaret exchanged. “That didn’t happen before we bonded but we were able to meditate very easily together even then. Now, when he is upset—I feel the burn of it. It’s not painful but even before we bonded I did feel some concern that his Pon Farr would affect me in much the same way.”
Taval shifted, obviously uncomfortable with a direct mention of Pon Farr, and took a deep breath. “Vulcans consider an individual’s Pon Farr to be a very private matter. We could ask Healer Stopak at the Embassy if the transference of Pon Farr is possible among telepathic species. I do know a male Vulcan who is bonded with a Halanan female. They’ve been bonded for nearly twenty years. If he has caused his mate to go into Pon Farr with him—there will be records of it at the VSA.”
“Unless they’ve concealed it,” Jim interjected. “It’s a very private matter after all.”
Taval nodded his head. “We can contact him directly if there are no records. I’ll see this question answered for you as it has bearing on your own mental health as well as any training Jaret can provide you as Spock’s time nears.”
– – – –
Jim dropped down on the couch beside Pike and perched his dinner on his lap. “I think Dr. Grayson considers us uncivilized for not eating at the table.”
Chris laughed. “Probably shouldn’t tell her about our bad habits then.” He picked up the remote and turned on the vid for the news. “I’m surprised you’re not with them at the embassy for this dinner thing.”
“We don’t spend a lot of time together anymore and you’ve been gone on a mission.” Jim flushed when Pike glanced his way. “I just kind of figured that I was due some Dad-time.”
Pike smiled broadly and scrunched down on the couch as he picked up his soda. “I could use some of that myself to be honest.” He muted the screen and took a deep breath. “Starfleet is offering me a position on Earth. A permanent one.”
“Promotion?” Jim questioned.
“Commodore,” Pike admitted. “Archer wants me to take over advanced recruitment for the academy and field training for the seniors.”
Jim frowned. “You want to give up being Captain of a starship?”
Pike laughed. “I don’t hold the same romance with the idea that you do, Jim. Besides, Bones has all but agreed to take on a teaching position at the academy—a five year posting and I’m kind of stuck on him. It would also be great to be here—to be a bigger part of your life. I only have a few years left before you move on to bigger and better things.”
“No way.” Jim bumped his shoulder against Pike’s. “Spock is a mama’s boy. He isn’t ready to leave the nest and Berkley has already sent us both offers after we graduate from Horizon.”
“What if Spock goes to the Vulcan Science Academy. You’ll go to Vulcan for that, won’t you?”
“He’s already decided that he won’t. We’ll take the exam because it’s kind of expected but neither one of us expects to be admitted. They certainly wouldn’t offer me a place—not when thousands of Vulcans apply every quarter for the twenty or so positions that are opened. I think they will invite him but he doesn’t agree. He’s brilliant and of the House of Surak. I can’t see how they can ignore that because he’s half-Human.”
“He’d tell them no if they ask him.”
“He says he will. Spock knows if he goes to the VSA that his mother will return to Vulcan to be near him. The last thing he ever wants is for her to be subject to the treatment that she suffered when they were there before.” Jim’s jaw tightened. “They call her a whore.”
Pike blinked in surprise. “Excuse me?”
“Human sexuality is offensive to more conservative Vulcans. While they would never do it in front of Sarek or even a member of his House—she has been treated very poorly or ignored most of her marriage to him. That’s why they came here—why Spock insisted that they move to Earth. His parents were suffering the situation because of him; because they thought he should be raised on Vulcan.” Jim sighed. “At the conference today—one of the Vulcans attending really pissed Spock off because he said something about me. Later on in the day, I caught a stray thought and found out what.”
“He called me ‘Spock’s Betazoid whore’,” Jim winced when Pike jerked and swore under his breath. “It’s okay, Dad. I can defend myself.”
Pike shot him a look. “What did you do?”
“Something highly unethical that would make Jaret spank my ass if he knew,” Jim admitted and then shrugged. “I gave the guy an agonizing migraine in retaliation.”
Pike snorted his amusement and saluted Jim with his drink. “That’s my boy.”
Jim blushed. “Spock would be livid if he knew I knew so please don’t mention it. He all but begged me not to question him about what the old racist actually said.”
– – – –
“Where is your Human this evening, Spock?”
Spock set aside his tea cup and focused on Kovar. He’d been furious when he’d discovered the older scientist had been invited to the family dinner. Beside him his mother stiffened and Spock resisted the urge to touch her arm in an effort to calm her down. “My bondmate is spending the evening with his father.”
“It is unfortunate that he does not take his role as your bondmate seriously. He should be at your side for such events.”
Spock’s gaze narrowed but he relaxed minutely in his seat. “You should be careful, Elder. It is well known that bonding at my age can cause emotional instability and I’m Human enough to enjoy whatever physical altercation I might find myself in where you are concerned.”
Kovar stared at him hard but before he could respond T’Pau cleared her throat and everyone at the table turned to give her their attention.
“T’hy’la bonds are volatile, Kovar. In my recent research, I have learned that such bonds were most common among the warriors of our people in our distant past. Individuals in such pairings were known to fight to the death in the defense of their bond—no matter how small the perceived threat may be.” She raised an eyebrow at Kovar. “Was Healer Stopak able to treat your ailment sufficiently?”
“Yes,” Kovar admitted stiffly. “I had apparently developed a headache. It has never happened to me before—Stopak believes it was a response to over-stimulation during the conference today. I am unused to being around so many non-Vulcans and could not shield myself properly. He has taught me a few techniques that he uses on such occasions.”
T’Pau inclined her head gently. “Perhaps that is the case. I am confident you will be much more careful tomorrow.”
Spock reached out for Jim telepathically with the question, “Did you give Kovar a headache?”
Jim’s response was a tangle of amusement, an infinitesimal amount of guilt, and a half-hearted apology that almost made Spock laugh. He resolutely focused on his meal to keep from sharing his amusement with anyone else at the table. He did wonder what his bondmate had picked up from the older Vulcan and if Kovar understood where his ailment had come from.
“It was my understanding that Spock and his bondmate refused to allow a study of their bond by the Vulcan Science Academy. It does make it difficult to believe they are actually t’hy’la,” Kovar said as he pushed aside his own meal.
Spock’s head jerked up. “Are you calling Elder T’Pau, the Matriarch of the House of Surak, a liar?
“Of course not, but she could simply be wrong.”
Spock tilted his head and sat back in his chair. Before he could respond, however, the doors to the smaller dining room opened and Jim entered. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a plain black t-shirt. It was startling, really, how attractive his bondmate was. Jim offered him a smile and quirked an eyebrow. “Wanna take a ride with me?”
“Yes,” Spock responded immediately. “But, my helmet is at home.”
“I picked it up on the way over,” Jim admitted. “My Dad had a meeting at headquarters come up and as an apology he talked Dr. Hall into giving us some time at the observatory this evening. Two hours on the Asimov IV telescope they just finished installing.”
Spock’s gaze widened considerably and he turned to his father. “Father…”
“You are dismissed,” Sarek said. “And I am intrigued. I was not aware that the Asimov IV would be available until next year.”
“Starfleet won the prototype in a bidding war,” Jim admitted and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Dr. Hall is going to let us calibrate it for the observatory. Our beam up to the space station is in thirty minutes.”
“That is a complicated assignment for someone so young.” Kovar pointed out, focused entirely on Jim as he spoke.
“I’m a genius,” Jim responded seriously. “And Starfleet indulges me when they can because they want me to enlist.”
Spock stood. “We should go. When, exactly, is our beam up?”
Jim grinned and checked his wrist chronometer. “28.96 minutes.”
– – – –
“You’ve been irritated for the last hour,” Jim said as he watched Spock place his folded robes in his parent’s car.
Spock inclined his head in agreement. “Kovar is disagreeable.”
“He’s a prick,” Jim returned as he offered Spock his jacket and then gloves. “Sometimes I’m genuinely stunned by the level of assholery that can be found among Vulcans.”
Spock pulled on his helmet and settled on the bike as Jim started it. “I did warn you.”
“I know, Vulcan—Planet of the Two-Faces,” Jim said into his helmet’s comm system. “Dad might join us on the station if his meeting doesn’t last too much longer.”
“I am sorry that your time with him was interrupted.”
“It’s okay.” Jim merged them into traffic easily as they rolled out of the front gates of the embassy. “He’s actually in discussions about a promotion that would put him on Earth for his next assignment.”
“Does he agree? I thought he enjoyed his time on the Yorktown.”
“He is ready for something different I guess and Bones is taking a job here on Earth for a five year assignment. I think something is up with his daughter but my Dad didn’t say. You know, McCoy’s ex-wife is a real piece of work and she’s engaged to a new guy. I mean her divorce from Bones has only been final for six months.”
“You and I met and determined that we were life mates within six months.”
“We had a few things going in our favor—Humans can’t connect with another person’s mind and see how compatible and perfect they are for one another. Besides I pretty much knew minute one that you were it for me. One day I’m really old, I’m going to tell people how we met and tell them I just knew you were mine the minute we met,” Jim said as stopped at the gates of Starfleet Headquarters. He pulled out an ID and it was scanned by a bored looking guard before it was passed back to him and they were allowed entry. “I think she was cheating on Bones for a while. She’s always felt dishonest and kind of mean to me.”
“How old is Dr. McCoy’s child?”
“Five. Joanna is five,” Jim answered as he drove them through the office park that made up Starfleet headquarters and tucked them into a parking spot near the Transportation Center. The large facility was normally used to facilitate the delivery of supplies and crew for the ships in orbit as well as easy of travel from Earth to the large space station.
He turned off the bike but put his hand on Spock’s when the Vulcan started to slide off the back. “Is something wrong?”
“No.” Jim pulled off his helmet and hooked it on the front of the bike. “I just love having you near me like this.” He leaned back against Spock when the Vulcan passed him his helmet and sighed when his bondmate settled his leathered covered hands on his hips. “Sometimes it’s like I can’t get close enough to you.”
“I understand,” Spock murmured and pressed a soft kiss against the back of Jim’s neck. “There are times when I want to undress you and spread out on my bed. I wish to explore every inch of you. I want to… claim your body like I do your mind.”
Jim shivered. “Spock.”
“You are everything to me, T’hy’la. I will allow no one to take you from me.” Spock pulled him closer and pressed his hand flat against Jim’s stomach. “You are the only lover I will ever know. The only lover I will ever want to know.”
“We cannot beam up to the space station with erections,” Jim muttered with a groan.
“Agreed,” Spock pressed another kiss against Jim’s neck and slid off the back off the bike. “Though I have come to realize that Humans are likely to indulge our relationship and courtship on a level that Vulcans will not because they seem to think we are adorable.”
Jim laughed. “You heard that somewhere, right?”
“Yes, Admiral Archer told Admiral Williams that we were adorable—like puppies.” Spock pulled off his gloves and stored them in a pocket. “Since I believed he did not mean to insult us—I chose not to be offended by the comparison to the canines he breeds as a hobby.”
– – – –
“Your son’s refusal to return to Vulcan so that the academy can study his bond with his Human is disrespectful.”
Sarek’s gaze narrowed slightly and he glanced at T’Pau who was staring at Kovar as neutral and cool as ever. “It was disrespectful and inappropriate for the academy to express interest in studying his bond. Bonds are private and as sacred as anything we have as a people. You would have it violated for the sake of curiosity alone. It is a vulgar notion, Kovar.”
“It hardly matters,” T’Pau said. “Even if Spock were to be willing—James Kirk is not and he is already quite well-known for the amount of mental privacy he demands for himself and in turn Spock. I was able to bond them only because he allowed it. His mental defenses are like nothing I have ever encountered before in a non-Vulcan. That is to say nothing of what the Betazed government would think. They hold the mental bonds between two people as untouchable.” She lifted an eyebrow when Kovar started to speak. “Why does it concern you so?”
“It is unthinkable that a hybrid Vulcan has achieved a t’hy’la bond with an off-worlder. It is an insult to our people that they should be afforded such a distinction without a full investigation.”
“Are you saying that my son does not deserve such a bond? Do you believe that he is unworthy of it because he’s half-Human?” Amanda demanded. Her tea cup rattled as she set it abruptly on the table in front of her. “No, do not bother with an answer.” She stood up and took a deep breath. “You called me a whore once—when you thought I couldn’t hear.” Sarek stood but she pulled back from him when he reached for her. “I can only think you believe that about all Humans because the only time you can get one to willingly spend time with you is when you pay for it.”
Kovar stood and opened his mouth to speak but Sarek spoke first.
“Do not speak to her,” Sarek said abruptly. “Not ever again.”
“She will not talk to me that way,” Kovar returned, his voice level and tight.
“My wife can talk to you anyway she would like,” Sarek responded coolly. “If you do not like it—you can leave.”
“You realize taking her side is detrimental to your career.”
“I took her side twenty-two years ago, Kovar. Today will not be the day I change my mind and if small minded men like you could have any bearing on my career—it would have happened long ago.”
Kovar stared at Amanda for several seconds and then turned on his heel. The silence that followed his departure of the room wasn’t exactly comforting but at least the remaining Vulcans in the room weren’t discussing her like she was a ‘situation’. That had happened in the past and Amanda figured she might have a stroke if they tried that now.
Sarek cleared his throat. “Wife, did you just infer that Kovar has to pay for sexual intercourse?”
Amanda crossed her arms and glared at him. “Maybe.”
“Maybe,” Sarek repeatedly faintly in shock. He straightened his sleeve and looked at Elder Stavik who was staring at Amanda with amusement darkening his eyes. T’Pol and T’Pau were studying their tea as if it held the answers to the biggest mysteries in the universe. Finally, he turned to her—his wife of twenty-two years—and said the only thing he could, “I love you more every day that I know you. It is a constant source of fascination for me.”
Amanda bit down on her bottom lip, her eyes widening in shock.
Stavik snorted and pointed a finger at T’Pau. “And you said I should rest because nothing interesting would happen at tea.”
T’Pau opened her mouth to reply and then shut it.
– – – –
Pike leaned in the doorway of the lab and watched Jim and Spock argue from their places on the big bench beneath the biggest telescope in the Federation. He’d been told by Hall that they’d been done for nearly forty-five minutes and had been arguing over the name of a nebula—Earth name versus Vulcan name. The argument was good natured and easy—the tangle of the fingers together between them telling him far better than anything else that there was no heat in the disagreement.
He cleared his throat and they both turned to look at him. “I spoke with your Dad, Spock. He wants you to spend the night with us.”
Spock lifted an eyebrow. “Should I go arrange a comm channel to speak with him?”
Chris laughed a little and considered the very abrupt conversation he’d had with the older Vulcan where Sarek had sort of demanded that he take responsibility for Spock for the rest of the evening. “Actually, no. I think not.”
Spock nodded and Jim laughed. “We’re done here. Did you want to check it out?”
– – – –
It wasn’t the first time he’d spent the night at Captain’s Pike home. He rather liked the house that Jim shared with his adopted father. It was informal but neat and orderly—with the exception of Jim’s room. There were many options for entertainment including something called a pool table in the large rec room in the basement. Pike’s bedroom was on the first floor of the house in what Spock figured was a security measure. Jim had been living in a room on the second floor when he and Spock had first met. But, thirty-six day ago Jim had taken over the large loft space that made up the third floor.
Spock had his choice of two rooms on the second floor and he consistently picked the one that Jim had once used as a bedroom because his bondmate’s scent lingered in the room. Subtle, sweet, and a little musky—much the same way Jim smelled when he was aroused only not as strong. He upped the temperature in the room so he would be more comfortable and relaxed on his back. He’d meditated for an hour with Jim after they’d gotten home from the space station and then reviewed his notes from the lecture.
He wished he was upstairs in Jim’s bed—at least then he could watch his mate sleep when he couldn’t sleep himself. They didn’t share a bed often—out of respect for his parents and Captain Pike. He hadn’t gotten to really touch Jim in private since the day they had bonded and the desire to do so burned in him continuously. It was not something he’d been told to expect from the bond.
Spock had visited a healer on Vulcan before he was to bond with T’Pring and the physical ramifications of the bond had been discussed. He’d known he would feel echoes of his mate’s pains or pleasures through the telepathic link. Small, easily ignored echoes. He rolled his eyes as he remembered that conversation because it was all, as Jim would say, bullshit.
He stiffened in the bed when Jim’s mind brushed purposefully against his. Spock quirked an eyebrow as he realized his bondmate wasn’t sleeping under the field of his psionic generator. He wondered if being bonded was enough to protect him now and swallowed back an immense swell of pride at the thought that he was such a source of comfort for his t’hy’la.
“Stop thinking so hard and think about us naked instead.”
Spock glanced towards his door and took a deep breath. He was confident that Captain Pike wouldn’t breach his privacy but that didn’t mean he was comfortable masturbating in the man’s house. “You are shameless, James.”
Jim’s laughter filtered over their bond and through the house. Spock closed his eyes at the sound—at the reminder of how close his bondmate is to him. Then he felt Jim’s hand wrapping around his cock and Spock closed his eyes. The depth of his bondmate’s ability to use their bond never ceased to astound him. He pushed his own hand into the pajamas he’d borrowed from Jim and shuddered as his penis all but jumped into his hand. The ghosting sensation of a thumb brushing over the head—spreading his fluid over the sensitive flesh had his hips jerking.
Spock reached out through the bond and let his psionic touch drift over the pleasure centers of Jim’s brain. He heard Jim groan—soft and utterly gorgeous—above him. Spock sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and squeezed his cock carefully. The small empathic link they had once shared had been completely overwhelmed by the telepathic bond they’d created under T’Pau’s direction and he missed it in moments like this.
When he touched his bondmate, Jim’s emotions would slide over him like water saturating him in love and friendship. This physical pleasure was amazing but it wasn’t as rewarding as the mental pleasure that came with touching his bondmate’s mind. His door opened suddenly and Spock stilled on the bed only to relax when Jim shut the door and locked it.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Spock murmured as Jim crawled onto the bed. “If your father…”
“He’s sound asleep,” Jim whispered as he pulled the covers away and settled on top him. “I promise. I’ll know if he wakes up.”
“Why are you here?” Spock whispered as he tilted his head to give Jim access to his neck. He shuddered at the soft kisses his bondmate gifted him with. “What we were doing would’ve been enough for us both to achieve release.”
“You need more than physical pleasure,” Jim whispered against his lips. “Touch me, Spock, it’s okay to take what you need.”
Spock ran his hands up Jim’s t-shirt and groaned softly at the cool skin encountered. It was perfect then and their arousal mixed together so easily that he almost came. “James.”
“Hold on,” Jim whispered. He slid one hand between them and pushed down his pants enough to free his cock. “I want to feel us together. Skin to skin.”
“Yes,” Spock murmured hoarsely. “I want that.” He lifted his hips and Jim worked his pajamas down so that when they resettled on the bed they were groin to groin.
“Fuck.” Jim tucked his face against Spock’s neck as he shifted his hips and pressed their cocks together. “You’re so hot.”
Spock made a sound close to a laugh and clutched at Kirk’s back. “I think that is the first time you have ever meant that literally.”
“Yeah,” Jim shuddered and hissed. “You feel so perfect against me like this.”
He pulled Jim’s shirt up and off easily—exposing so much skin that it was overwhelming. Spock wiggled out of his own shirt gracelessly and they fell together. Their kisses turned greedy as they began to move—rubbing together until they were gasping and coming in a startlingly short amount of time.
Jim lifted his head and blew out a breath. “Wow.”
“Is your father still asleep?”
He nodded and then laughed softly. “Yeah.” He rolled off Spock and stared at the ceiling. “I was…hmm… was that okay? Because all I meant to do was hold you and maybe play with your cock until you came.”
Spock took a deep breath and then used his t-shirt to clean their mess off his stomach. “While I appreciate your ability to make a plan and follow through with it—I’m no longer strictly opposed to surprises.”
Jim laughed. “I always know that I’ve gotten to you—because you use a contraction. We should clean up.”
“Yes.” Spock agreed. “And it was more than okay.”
“Yeah, it was.”
– – – –
Spock shrugged out of his jacket as he closed the front door and placed it in the closet. It was lighter than the leather one he’d worn all spring and he preferred but knew it wouldn’t be enough during the colder months. He was late for dinner but that had been unavoidable as the afternoon session had gone long due to a protracted amount of time spent on Q&A portion.
He stepped into the downstairs washroom to clean his hands and wash his face before going into the dining room. His parents were seated in their customary places engrossed completely in each other. Spock was startled for a moment, unprepared for the obvious intimacy between them. He averted his gaze as he took his seat.
“My apologies for being late. The afternoon session ran long.”
Sarek inclined his head. “We received your message. It was thoughtful to insure that your mother would not worry.”
Amanda smiled and left the table. She reappeared quickly and set a plate in front of Spock.
He stared at it briefly as he settled his napkin on his lap and arranged his silverware. “This…is… what is this?”
She laughed. “Try it. You will like it.”
Spock inclined his head and did as instructed. After a few bites, he glanced toward his mother and paused. There was a small circular bruise on her wrist and another small one on her neck—both looked almost healed as if they’d been treated by a dermal regenerator.
He returned his attention to his meal and considered how he’d reacted in the past to the superficial injuries his mother had sometimes displayed. Injuries he could only assume were the result of intimate encounters with his father.
He considered his own responses to Jim critically. The thought that he might damage his bondmate had always been a concern—but seeing such bruises on his mother was like a slap in the face.
“Spock, are you alright?”
“Yes, Mother,” Spock responded immediately and then took a deep breath.
“Have you had a disagreement with James?” Amanda questioned. “You seem unsettled.”
“I…” He took another breath. “No, we rarely argue.” Spock set aside his fork and sat back in his chair. “May I be excused?”
“No,” Sarek responded. “Amanda, would you excuse us please?”
She glanced between them and then nodded. “Make sure he finishes his meal.”
Spock let the hand in his lap curl into a fist as his mother left the room and calmly picked up his fork. He ate in silence and was relieved that his father was going to let him collect his thoughts before requiring discussion. His father and he had this conversation once before—shortly after what Spock now knew to be his father’s Pon Farr.
Spock had been ten years old—far too young to have been informed of such a thing but the sight of his mother bruised and exhausted and sent him into a rage. He knew intellectually that his father would never abuse his mother but he’d been so instantly furious that it had taken his father hours to calm him down.
“Your mother is unharmed.”
“She is bruised,” Spock returned evenly.
“She is unharmed. I would cut off my own arm before I would damage my wife. Every pain she bears is mine to bear as well—our bond is profoundly deep after so many years.” Sarek busied himself with the tea pot for several minutes while Spock absorbed his words. “You worry that you will hurt your own bondmate?”
“Yes,” Spock admitted roughly. “I would never wish to do that.”
“Humans are not fragile. They are physically weaker than Vulcans but that does not make them weak or even fragile. Your mother actually has a greater capacity to handle pain than I do. She birthed you without medical intervention—while I had to enter a healing trance during the event.” Sarek pursed his lips. “It is another reason why I was disinclined to have another child. I would not wish to see her suffer in such a way ever again and she would have insisted on carrying the child herself.”
“My self-control is limited when my emotions are involved. I worry that I will hurt him. If you cannot control yourself…” Spock flushed and averted his gaze.
“Spock.” Sarek waited until his son lifted his head and met his gaze. “I did not lose control with your mother. Outside of my time, I never have. While I am unwilling to discuss the intimacies of our marriage—I will say that I have always given your mother exactly what she requests of me.”
Spock felt his face heat even further and he wondered wildly if he’d developed a fever. “I see.”
“I am confident that you would never damage James. The bond creates an imperative that makes physically damaging or even killing your bondmate impossible in normal circumstances.”
“Even during Pon Farr?” Spock questioned quietly.
“It has happened in cases where pairs were not brought together quickly enough or when two people who are completely incompatible are bonded as children,” Sarek admitted. “But there are measures that can be taken and I have made sure that you were trained in the mental principles required to calm your mind in the most trying of circumstances.”
Spock finished his meal quickly and set aside the plate. “I still have no idea what that was.”
“She said it was from a country called India,” Sarek admitted. “We can expect to be exposed to a variety of different Earth cultures. She is attempting to broaden your palette.”
“And what of your palette?”
“I am to endure the experiments,” Sarek said. “Is our conversation complete or did you have further concerns?”
“I have no other concerns,” Spock responded immediately.
– – – –
“That was most uncomfortable.”
Amanda bit down on her lip and watched her husband change his clothes with his normal swift efficiency. “It would have been more uncomfortable for him if I’d had the conversation with him.”
“It fails to impress me that his comfort in every conversation is more important to you than mine,” Sarek responded.
She laughed softly and shrugged. “We did agree that he would come first in our lives—the choice every parent must make.”
“He is my son and I value him,” Sarek said as he settled on his meditation mat. “I wanted a highly intelligent child. But it would please me greatly if he were not always so observant.” He offered her a mild glare when she burst out laughing.
– – – –
Jim settled down at a table and ran his fingers along the cold glass of soda that Pike had put down on the table in front of him. “Wanna tell me what’s up with you?”
Pike frowned and then sighed. “Bones is suing his ex-wife for custody of their kid. She’s not allowing visitation as ordered by the judge and the guy she wants to marry is kind of a prick. He told McCoy that it would be best for Joanna if he just disappeared and allowed her to be adopted.”
Jim blinked in surprise. “But Bones loves his kid.”
“Yeah, he does. It’s why he’s taken the posting on Earth and hired a lawyer. He’s a decorated Starfleet officer in his own right—with commendations for saving entire planets.” Pike sighed. “He tried to be fair in the divorce, you know? He didn’t try to demand full custody but requested fair visitation. The judge granted it and now she’s playing this game like he’s not even worthy of being his kid’s father.”
“She sucks,” Jim murmured. “You know—I think she was cheating on Bones long before their marriage ended. I’ve never said anything because I didn’t want to hurt him but she started to avoid me about eight months before they finally split. She would be really hostile towards me mentally when she couldn’t avoid me. Like if she was angry—it would be easier to hide her dishonesty.”
“I bet a lot of people think that.”
“Yeah,” Jim admitted. “It’s pretty stupid but I let them think it because it makes them more comfortable around me.” He paused and then cleared his throat. “Is his relationship with you going to be a factor in the hearing or do you guys plan on hiding it?”
“We can’t hide it—it’s hardly a secret at HQ that we’re lovers. Archer offered me the posting on Earth after Bones accepted the one at Starfleet Medical because he figured I’d want to stay close to Earth. He’s offered me a lot of positions in the past but we’ve always compromised and kept my assignments close to Earth if possible.”
“Because of me.”
“Yeah, because of you.” Pike touched his shoulder. “You know I don’t regret a moment of my life since you came into it, Jim. You’re the very best thing that’s ever happened to me. I don’t even think I understood how alone I was in life until you came into it. I just wish I’d realized you needed me sooner.”
Jim smiled softly and then quirked an eyebrow. “So, did Ambassador Sarek and Dr. Grayson throw Spock at you last night so they could stay home and get it on?”
Chris laughed and rolled his eyes. “That is none of your business.” He bit down on his bottom lip. “He didn’t seem like he was going to take no for an answer.”
“Wow.” Jim laughed softly and then stood. “Replicator or dinner out?”
“Let’s go out and get some food—take it Bones. He’s doing another shift at the Academy hospital.”
– – – –
“What’s the matter, Laddie? You look like you’ve see a wee ghost.”
Jim reached out and very carefully took Oscar off the transportation pad. He stepped back and regarded the Starfleet officer in all seriousness. “You cannot use the Admiral’s puppy as a test subject, Scotty.”
“It’s perfectly safe!” Montgomery protested and frowned. “Now, put him back down there so we can get this test out of the way before we have to return to the lecture hall for the afternoon session.”
Jim shared a harried look with Spock. The half-Vulcan looked calm but inside he was just as concerned as Jim. “You see, Scotty, it’s like this. I fully believe in your transwarp theory and I know if anyone in the entire universe can make this work—that it is you. I just believe that during this test phase that perhaps it’s best to err on the side of caution.”
Scotty looked at him hard and then huffed dramatically. “The test subject must be a biological organism, Jim.”
“Right,” Jim agreed. “I understand—organic life. Right? Why don’t we use that big ugly tree in the planter at the end of the hall?”
“That thing has to weigh three hundred pounds,” Scotty protested.
“I could retrieve the tree,” Spock offered. “It would be no burden at all for me, Lt. Scott.”
Jim clutched Oscar to him a little more and backed down completely off the transporter. “That sounds great, Spock. Get the tree.”
“I only have a fifteen minute window on this test before the Faraday is too far from Earth for the test to even be viable.” Scott glared at Jim. “I wouldn’t hurt an animal, ya know.”
“Scotty, I have faith in you. Really. I think you’re the best engineer in the entire fleet.” He paused and took a deep breath. “But, just imagine for a minute that this first test goes badly. Do you really want to get less than perfect results with Admiral Archer’s prize beagle involved? This is a direct descendent from Porthos. You know the dog he had on the original Enterprise? He’s practically sacred.” He held the beagle up. “Sacred puppy, Scotty.”
Scott blustered and rolled his eyes at Jim. “You’ve made your point. Where is your boyfriend with my tree?”
Spock returned in that moment and with what looked like no effort at all—placed the tree on the transporter pad. “I was waylaid by Ensign Dryer who is searching for Oscar.” He curled his fingers into the sleeve of Jim’s t-shirt as he pulled his bondmate as far from the transporter pad as he could and still remain in the room.
– – – –
“And what possessed you to use that tree?” Pike demanded. “It was a gift from the Denarian Ambassador to Starfleet. That tree was two thousand years old.”
Jim cleared his throat. “Dad, that was my idea and in my defense—I didn’t know the tree was two thousand years old. I just felt it was a better choice than say—a sentient life form.”
Pike looked pointedly at Scotty who was staring at the ceiling. “Mr. Scott?”
“I was, at the time, in possession of Admiral Archer’s beagle, sir. I am confident that the test would have been a success had it not been for the transporter failure on the Faraday.”
Chris sat back in his chair and rubbed his hand over his face. “This is… Spock, I would’ve assumed you’d be the voice of reason in this situation.”
“I agreed with Jim that it was not prudent to use Admiral Archer’s dog in the experiment. He has demonstrated a marked preference for the animal. I believed at the time, and still maintain, that the theory of transwarp teleportation is not only possible but viable. It was a sound experiment but perhaps more consideration into the experimental subject could have been undertaken.”
Chris stared. “You’re taking their side.”
“Sir, it is actually my duty to take Jim’s side in such circumstances.” Spock paused and then continued. “And I would point out there was no plaque with the tree indicating that it was a gift of some diplomatic importance.”
“You’re all three grounded,” Pike returned. “Scotty—all of your future experiments will be cleared through me. James, Spock—since Mr. Scott has a full schedule this summer you will undertake a thorough analysis of his data on the failure today and provide him with the results before the new school year starts.”
“Oh, come on, Dad. That’s hundreds of hours of analysis.” Jim glanced at Scotty who looked smug. “I wasn’t the one who tried to sacrifice Admiral Archer’s dog. I saved a life today.”
Spock inclined his head. “As the saying goes, Jim, no good deed goes unpunished.”
– – – –
After the bonding ceremony, Amanda had instituted a monthly ‘family dinner’ that Pike was required to attend if he was on the planet. He brought Bones and inferred to the doctor that Dr. Grayson had required it of him as well. He didn’t feel guilty about it at all.
When they arrived, a young Vulcan male answered the door. Pike had met him briefly at the bonding and was honestly surprised to find him in Sarek’s home as he’d believed that Stonn had a fairly hostile relationship with Spock. Elder Stavik was already seated at the table when they entered the formal dining room. The old guy was probably Pike’s favorite old Vulcan ever—because Jim and Spock were kind of terrified of him.
“What culture are we exploring this time?” McCoy questioned as he took his seat.
Sarek inclined his head. “I was not consulted.”
Pike laughed softly and picked up his water glass as Jim and Spock came in from the kitchen and slid into seats. “How is your project going, gentlemen?”
Jim frowned but his eyes were bright with laughter. “I’m still debating whether or not I’m going to file a complaint concerning your abuse of power.”
Pike grinned. “You go right ahead, kid.”
“I understand that our sons were instrumental in the destruction of a two thousand year old tree,” Sarek started.
“Yes, but they saved a puppy,” McCoy defended cheerfully. “A really cute puppy.”
Chris laughed. “And Lt. Scott’s career. Archer wouldn’t have been kind in his next assignment in Starfleet if he’d actually used Oscar for the experiment.”
“And what do we get?” Jim questioned. “Punishment.”
“I do not consider it a punishment,” Spock injected. “The data is quite interesting.”
Amanda entered at that point with two servants. Chris blinked in surprise. He knew that there were servants in Sarek’s home—but they were so unobtrusive as to be almost invisible most of the time. The meal was laid out quickly and efficiently then the staff disappeared as quickly as they’d appeared. He thought it was kind of spooky.
Amanda offered them a smile. “Thai, gentlemen. I believe you will find everything fascinating.”
– – – –
“The security footage of the experiment is funny as hell,” Chris confided. “Jim looked absolutely horrified and Spock’s eyebrows kept getting higher and higher as Scotty explained what he was going to do.”
Amanda snickered. “And the tree?”
“Jim called the puppy sacred,” Pike said. “And Spock went and got the tree.” He looked at Sarek. “Your son actually said it was his duty to take Jim’s side and then pointed out that the tree didn’t have a plaque indicating its diplomatic worth so he could hardly know.”
Sarek’s mouth quirked very slightly. “Sacred.”
Chris laughed then. “Sacred puppy,” he repeated and then he sighed. “Admiral Archer is pleased with them for Oscar’s rescue and I get to keep the best engineer in the fleet on Earth. I don’t even want to know where Archer would’ve sent the man.”
“It wouldn’t have been pretty,” McCoy muttered. “Or warm. Archer hates ice so he always punishes people by sending them to really cold, horrible places.” He swirled his drink in the glass and then set it aside without finishing it.
Chris found that kind of relieving and wondered how much his pending court date had to do with his lover’s change in drinking habits. “We should go—we have an early day tomorrow.” He stood up. “Are you two keeping my kid tonight or should I take him along home with me?”
Amanda inclined her head. “I suppose it is our turn.”
Pike paused and then nodded. “Yeah, I agree. Come on, Len; let’s go when he’s not looking.”
“Like we can sneak out of a house while he’s conscious,” McCoy said amused. He stood up regardless. “Thank you for having me Ambassador Sarek, Dr. Grayson. As always—the meal was excellent and the company interesting.”
“You’ll bring Joanna around soon,” Amanda said. “I want to meet her.”
“As soon as I can,” McCoy promised. “I spoke with her yesterday and mentioned you—she asked about visiting embassy.”
“That would be fun,” Amanda admitted. “Human children completely baffle Vulcans. I’d love to see one crawl up in T’Pol’s lap. In fact, I’d probably pay for it.”
– – – –
Sarek entered his office and wasn’t surprised to find Stavik sitting at his desk. He’d given the elder permission to use his private space for work after dinner. “Where is Stonn?”
“Observing James and Spock. He is intrigued by their pair bond but I do not believe it to be an unhealthy interest. He doesn’t harbor any personal interest in Spock. I have melded with him several times since the bonding ceremony—he found the entire experience overwhelming and interesting.”
“That is not an uncommon reaction among those privileged to witness it,” Sarek offered as he took a seat in front of his own desk. It was odd to be on the opposite side, he wondered if this was how Spock felt during their conversations in this particular room. He made a note not to sit behind his desk during personal conversations—it was isolating to have so much distance between two parties. “Stonn’s family expressed interest in bonding him to Spock at one time.”
“His father’s bondmate understands the power to be had in such a position. She offered up her step-son as practically a sacrifice. I told T’Pau it was offensive.” Stavik shut down the computer and focused on Sarek. “It is one reason why I have taken Stonn as my apprentice. I have time to devote to his education and his continued development. He has an impressive mind—I would not wish to have it atrophy in the hands of his family.”
“You have a bondmate in mind for him,” Sarek guessed.
“No, not exactly. He has expressed no preference for the sex of his bondmate—as he was previously bonded to a female and did initially agree to bond with Spock if the pairing was available to him.” Stavik pointed out. “I brought him with me to Earth to broaden his horizons and his perspectives.” He glanced towards the security monitor. “Do they always meditate in that fashion?”
Sarek glanced at the monitor—though he didn’t have to. He knew exactly how Spock and James were arranged. “It depends on their purpose. They hold hands when they interact with their psi-stone and often sit together—as you see them now when they meditate at the same time.”
“They are not melded.”
“Not in the Vulcan way, no, but I believe James’ abilities allow them to share mental space without a formal meld.”
“You have not questioned them?”
“Their bond is private and none of my business,” Sarek responded coolly. “I believe my position on this subject is quite clear.”
“Not as clear as your wife’s,” Stavik returned with a lifted an eyebrow.
– – – –
Jim relaxed back against Spock and flexed his fingers against his bondmate’s as they both emerged from the meditative state. Stonn was seated a few feet away from the firepot with a tricorder. It was on the floor and he wondered how long the Vulcan had taken readings before he’d stopped. “Are you okay?”
Stonn inclined his head. “It was… James, did you know that when you meditate together that you project your emotional state? Much like you did during the bonding. Had I not been seated during that event, it would have brought me to my knees.”
Jim flushed as he moved out from between Spock’s legs and rolled to his feet. Spock shifted and folded his body easily into the lotus position. “I can’t really help it. I’m sorry if it made you uncomfortable.”
“No, not uncomfortable.” Stonn’s gaze dropped to the floor. “I have never… experienced anything as powerful as that. I am not sure I could endure it for an extended period of time.”
“It was difficult to get used to,” Spock said. “But always from the very beginning I believed myself safe. That makes the difference.”
Stonn nodded. “I understand.” He touched the tricorder briefly and then lifted his hands away from it. “The readings are interesting. Your psionic fields were distinct and separate until you achieved a meditative state. At that point, they blended together so perfectly that it was impossible to discern that you were two instead of one. This is the state Devone spoke of during your bonding. Were you capable of this before you bonded?”
Spock and Jim exchanged looks. “Yes,” Jim admitted. “It is one reason why we believed that we were t’hy’la.”
“You are truly one.” Stonn passed the tricorder when Spock held out his hand. “How long have you been studying each other and your bond?”
“Since almost the beginning,” Spock answered. He took the PADD that Jim brought to him and transferred Stonn’s readings to their research folder. “Eventually—we will sanitize our observations to remove personal information and make the data available to VSA.”
“It is intimate.” Stonn stood, the tips of his ears darkening as his face flushed. “I wish to thank you for the privilege of being present this evening. I am honored. I will not discuss my observations with anyone.”
Jim watched him leave the room and turned to Spock. “Did we embarrass him?”
“He is young,” Spock finally said. “Vulcans do not normally travel from our planet until they are well into their fifties. He is, as you might say, impressionable. I am surprised that his father allowed him to travel with Stavik.”
“But you all but said earlier that his family wanted to use him for political gain,” Jim pointed out.
“I believe that is why he is here on Earth. Elder Stavik’s interest in Stonn as a student is a favorable social and political circumstance for him. It has allowed him to be included in our family in a way that is influential. He has met a few of the young, unattached members of our clan.”
“So he’s looking for a bondmate,” Jim questioned. “He wanted you.”
Spock blushed. “He was open to a bonding with me but he was aware of my pending bond to you before he even left Vulcan.”
“He tried to talk you out of bonding with me,” Jim said quietly.
“You heard that,” Spock surmised. “You heard what he said that night and managed to keep it from me even with our bond.”
“You’ve kept secrets from me,” Jim pointed out. “You certainly didn’t share the conversation with me.”
“Does that make you angry?”
“No. I don’t expect you to sacrifice the privacy of others in our bond. What was said between you was more revealing to his circumstances than yours. I listened because I’m shameless and kind of crazy where you are concerned. I won’t apologize for it.” Jim shrugged when Spock lifted an eyebrow at him. “What?”
“You are fortunate that there is a security camera in this room,” Spock murmured. “That is not the case in my room, by the way.”
“Are you threatening me?” Jim asked with a grin.
“No, Vulcans do not make threats. I am forewarning you.”
“Should I run?” Jim wiggled an eyebrow.
“I do not advise it. It might stir a predatory response in me.”
“Good grief, Spock, that is not a deterrent!” Jim scrambled to his feet and darted out of the meditation room.
Spock waited until Jim hit the stairs and started towards the third floor before he followed. He caught him easily and tackled him to the bed. Spock pinned his giggling bondmate to the bed and slid astride his hips.
“You caught me,” Jim admitted breathlessly. “I’m at your mercy.”
“You are always at my mercy,” Spock pointed out. His fingers circled Jim’s wrists easily. He could feel amusement and arousal battling under the cool Human skin in his hands. “You like this. It excites you.”
“You excite me,” Jim admitted guilelessly. He relaxed and spread his legs. “Meld with me.”
“Not like this,” Spock said with some regret. “My parents are here. They could enter the room while we are melded and neither of us would even know.”
Jim sighed but nodded. Spock rolled off of him and they resettled so they were sitting face to face.
– – – –
“It is another ploy on behalf of the House of Surak to elevate themselves above us,” Kovar said. “To claim such a pairing between a half-breed and someone so Human is an insult to our people and our most sacred traditions.”
“The House of Surak has never found it necessary to elevate themselves above the rest of our people. They have always worked for the benefit of our planet.” Taval glanced towards the replicator and wondered if it stocked hot chocolate like Jaret’s did. He doubted it and that was irritating. “Kovar, did you request that I come here for any other reason than to complain about Spock and his bondmate?”
“My concerns are legitimate. Their refusal to be studied is an insult. If they are truly t’hy’la Spock owes it to his people to allow study so that we can determine why they are connected so deeply.” Kovar stood and walked to stand by the window in his small quarters within the embassy. “T’Pau has already stated that she will not force them to submit to a study.”
“I imagine that our relations with the Betazed government would wither under such a circumstance. James Kirk is important to them.”
“I fail to see why. He’s only ¼ Betazoid.”
“His father was one of the first of Betazoid blood to serve in Starfleet and he died heroically. Starfleet and the Federation honors George Kirk and in turn honors his Betazoid heritage. James was born the day his father died—one of the survivors of the Kelvin Massacre. That alone makes him special. But he is special for other reasons that are internal to his people and those circumstances are not discussed with outsiders.”
“You’re aware of the circumstances,” Kovar guessed.
“I am.” Taval went to the replicator and ordered some tea. It wasn’t what he wanted but he figured he could return to Jaret and find stress relief in his mate’s arms. “But it is not for me to discuss. I will not violate the confidence of a friend to further your curiosity about a bond that is clearly none of your business. It is unseemly—your interest in Spock and his bondmate.”
“You do not wish such a bond for yourself?” Kovar questioned. “You’ve gone unbonded for years, Taval. Isn’t that what you search for?”
“I’ve gone unbonded for years, Kovar, by choice.” Taval swallowed genuine sigh of frustration. “Can you not simply accept that these two boys are in love? That they are t’hy’la because they were allowed to come together on their own and find love.”
“Love is not the only requirement for a t’hy’la bond. There is a mental compatibility—a matter of brain chemistry and psionic field harmonics. If we could study that—perhaps we could arrange better bonds for our children.”
Taval inclined his head. “This is about your daughter T’Shea.”
“T’Shea died many years ago,” Kovar said neutrally.
“She died in her bondmate’s Pon Farr. He killed her because they were not compatible—a discovery made too late to help either of them.”
“I bonded her to him as a child—nothing was amiss in the bonding. The healer said their bond was sound.” Kovar’s hands tightened into fists behind his back and Taval lifted an eyebrow at the display of emotion. He schooled his face as his cousin turned to face him. “If the VSA could study Spock and James Kirk—they could determine what makes them physically compatible. It would be invaluable to us as a people and we are denied that due to their selfish concerns.”
“Privacy is not a matter of selfishness,” Taval responded gently. “Kovar, James Kirk might be ¾ Human on a genetic level but his psionic imprint is entirely Betazoid. They do not share their minds at the level the VSA would require with anyone outside of a lover.”
Kovar scoffed. “The Betazoid are known for the indiscriminant mental contact.”
“Superficial, perhaps,” Taval allowed. “But there are parts of James’ mind that only Spock has touched. Not even their healers breach so deeply into the mind of another without permission. The circumstances have to be dire. Yes, they largely communicate telepathically but that communication is like skimming the surface of an ocean.”
“You know a great deal about them as a people.”
“Yes. I’ve worked with them in the past; I count several Betazoids as friends.” Taval set aside his tea, almost untouched and stood. “Perhaps when James and Spock are older they will change their minds about allowing the VSA to study their pairing. I would advise you to remember that they are very young and their desire to protect one another is fierce, practically primal.”
“T’Pau said something similar. It is another trait of their bond worthy of investigation.”
Taval snorted indelicately. “Not if someone dies in the effort.”
– – – –
“I don’t want this!”
Jim and Spock stopped in the middle of the Vulcan Embassy lobby. Very few people actually screamed in the Vulcan Embassy. The girl was rushing down the main stair case, tears streaming down her face—a direct contradiction to the delicate up sweep of her eyebrows. Dark brown hair covered her ears but Jim couldn’t think she was anything but Vulcan—at least, he thought wildly—half-Vulcan.
Stonn who had been a few feet behind them in entering the embassy had come to stand with them—and was watching with unabashed curiosity as the extremely attractive girl crossed in front of them. Spock nudged Jim and Kirk had the grace to shrug and blush.
“T’Sar.” A woman rushed down the stairs after her. “Please, wait a minute.”
The girl stopped and turned to face the woman. “I didn’t want that stupid bond when I was little but I accepted it because Daddy wanted it. I don’t care if I have another one. I won’t bond with a stranger!”
“Your father is only trying to protect you,” the woman reached out and touched her daughter but T’Sar hissed and jerked away. “Please, will you come back upstairs?”
“No.” T’Sar shook her head. “I won’t do it. They’ll just bond me to another boy who will never accept that I’m half-Halanan and in a year I’ll find myself in the same situation. It’s not fair, Mother.”
It did sound like bullshit, Jim thought idly and Spock’s fingers brushed against his.
“It won’t be the same.”
“I don’t trust him,” T’Sar hissed. “I will not… I will not do this.”
T’Pau appeared at the top of the stairs then and cleared her throat. “Saran. You are required above for a conversation. T’Sar, you will go to my private salon and calm yourself.” She focused on the boys with the kind of directness that made Jim shiver. “Spock, James, Stonn—you will keep her company.”
All three nodded mutely and Jim waved a little when T’Sar turned to look at them. She blushed a light green which Jim thought was adorable and averted her gaze.
Spock tangled his fingers with his in a truly blatant display of ownership that even made Stonn start in disbelief. Jim thought he should be used to them by now but obviously that was not the case. “T’Sar, if you will come with us?”
She nodded silently.
In the salon, Spock and Stonn sat and stared. Jim went to the replicator and ordered the tea that Amanda always ordered for Spock when he was upset but trying to hide it. He set up the tea pot, and poured for her first.
“I do not have tear ducts,” Spock said suddenly.
T’Sar frowned. “I wasn’t supposed to but you know they made mistakes with those of us who came first.” She accepted the tea from Jim with a sigh. “I haven’t seen you in sometime, Spock. I apologize if my outburst made you uncomfortable. I know how hard you work to be as Vulcan as possible.”
Spock inclined his head. “It holds less appeal now. You were right—fighting to fit in against a tide of disapproval is a waste of resources.” He cleared his throat. “James, this is my cousin T’Sar. Her mother is Halanan. They left Vulcan when I was ten.”
T’Sar looked down at her tea. “I was nine. Spock is the reason I even exist, you know. My parents did not plan to have children until Lady Amanda had Spock.” She looked toward Stonn, her gaze widening slightly and then she looked away. “I apologize, Stonn, if my outburst made you uncomfortable.”
“It would be illogical to expect you to be any different than you are, T’Sar. The Halanan are a very emotive and boisterous people.” Stonn’s gaze dropped to his own tea and he cleared his throat. “This tea is quite good. I have never had it before.”
“It is one my mother blended for me,” Spock admitted. “Traditional Vulcan teas do not suit my tastes.”
Stonn inclined his head. “I have always thought the tea my step mother served was bitter out of spite.”
T’Sar snickered and covered her mouth with a blush. “My apologies.”
“Don’t apologize,” Jim implored. “As Stonn has already said—it’s illogical to behave as if you were something other than yourself.”
“My Father is disappointed in me,” T’Sar said bluntly. “He brought me here—because Grandmother had found yet another bondmate for me. Stovuk, the male I bonded with as a child found another and our bond was severed nearly a year ago.”
“I’m aware,” Stonn murmured. “Stovuk has since bonded with my former bondmate.”
T’Sar blinked in surprise. “It surprises me, Stonn. Stovuk’s clan does not offer the wealth or standing of yours. I always believed T’Ela to be…”
“Greedy,” Spock offered. “The word you are looking for is greedy.”
Jim laughed softly. “Maybe they fell in love.”
T’Sar shrugged delicately and set aside her tea. “I behaved poorly upstairs but Grandmother fails to understand the… Stovuk never intended to marry me. He made that clear before I left Vulcan. He said he deserved better than a hybrid.”
“He was very young at the time,” Stonn murmured. “Logic escapes the youngest of us.”
“Perhaps, you were always a bit of a…” T’Sar shrugged and glanced at Spock who inclined his head in agreement to her unspoken insult. “It is nice to see that some people can change.”
“So, how long will you be on Earth?” Jim questioned suddenly.
T’Sar’s eyes widened briefly. “We live here actually. My parents work for the Federation in diplomacy and linguistics. We rarely visit the embassy because my mother isn’t comfortable here. You have to know how poorly she was treated on Vulcan, Spock.”
“I am aware. She suffered more than my own mother due to her telepathic gifts. She didn’t even have the refuge of her own mind,” Spock said. “You realize you need a bond.”
“Yes.” T’Sar nodded. “I know but why should I suffer such an arrangement to only have another bond ripped from my mind when he changes his mind or finds someone better on Vulcan? They try to tell you that it doesn’t hurt—that the emptiness of a broken bond doesn’t linger. They lie. I ache with it and I cannot imagine that ache doubled on me again.”
Spock looked at Stonn who was staring at the floor, his eyes dark. “Stonn?”
“It is the same—emptiness in a place that has been filled since I was seven years old. The healer said it would fade.” He cleared his throat. “It has been nearly seven months for me and I still feel it—as if it is an open wound in my body.”
Jim shifted, horror drifting through his mind as he imagined such a pain living in his mind and then glanced out the double doors leading to the small private garden on the embassy grounds. “Stonn, you should take T’Sar for a walk in the garden to help her calm down. Spock and I will stay here and distract Elder T’Pau should she return.”
Spock cleared his throat as Stonn and T’Sar did as his bondmate instructed without a moment’s hesitation. He waited until Stonn closed the doors to the patio and then turned to Jim. “Are you match making?”
“Absolutely. Look how cute they are,” Jim whispered. “Now I know why Admiral Archer said we were cute like puppies because that’s adorable. She could be perfect for him—he’s definitely interested in her and Halanan’s emotions aren’t as projected as powerfully as Betazoids so she probably wouldn’t overwhelm him like I do.”
“His family would probably disown him,” Spock murmured.
“I thought his wicked step-mother wanted him to marry into your clan.”
“It was her idea and that makes all the difference,” Spock frowned. “Wicked step-mother? Does that have some cultural reference?”
“Yeah. I’ll fill you in later—it’s going to require some explanation and maybe an old vid or two.” Jim grinned and Spock’s obvious relunctance. The Vulcan had little use for old movies. “T’Pau is her grandmother. How is she related to you?”
“She would be my great-aunt in Human terms. My grandmother and T’Pau were sisters.” Spock stood when the doors opened at Elder T’Pau entered. “She is just outside in the garden.”
T’Pau lifted an eyebrow and went to the doors. She watched for a few minutes in silence and then turned to Jim. “Your doing I suppose?”
“It’s very cute,” Jim defended. “She’s still upset and he’s feeling oddly protective and he doesn’t know why, yet.”
“They are compatible, you think?” T’Pau lifted an eyebrow at Jim.
“I don’t know. They are interested in getting to know each other again and they have both experienced the trauma of a broken bond. I think she could learn to trust him not to hurt her as her last bondmate did.” Jim blushed under her scrutiny. “Trust is important.”
“Very,” T’Pau allowed. “Very well, James, you can play match maker. I will inform her parents that further discussions on bonding will have to wait. She is still too hurt from her broken bond to consider a new one, perhaps.”
“Isn’t that a lie?”
“Vulcans do not lie, child,” T’Pau informed him with a cool eyed look as she swept from the room.
“I call bullshit,” Jim muttered and then grinned as he watched Stonn hesitantly break off a small flower and offer it to T’Sar. “You’ve never given me flowers, Spock. I think I’m hurt.”
Spock scoffed as he stared at Stonn and his cousin. “I do have this reoccurring thought about you and flower petals.” He turned to Jim. “Did you know that rose petals are a delicacy on Vulcan?”
“No.” Jim turned to look at him. “Me and flower petals, huh?”
“You, naked and lying in white rose petals actually,” Spock admitted and looked his bondmate over. “I tried to picture red at first—but they were too garnish against your skin. White, however, is perfect.”
Jim blushed even as his mouth slowly dropped open. “Spock.”
Spock inclined his head. “Will Devone be disappointed that he will miss out on corrupting Stonn?”
“Nah, he’s involved in a slightly inappropriate and steamy love affair already. That should keep him busy at least until his parents find out about it.” Jim took a deep breath. “We should save that flower petal thing for a special occasion.”
“Agreed,” Spock murmured.
– – – –
T’Pau watched T’Sar in the garden from her balcony. Her youngest son and his wife were staring intently at their only child. “She has time.”
“We do not know what will happen due to her Halanan blood,” Salak responded. He took a deep breath. “I am prepared to force her to accept a new bond.”
T’Pau stiffened and shook her head. “No—not if we have a choice. She would not do well in such a circumstance. She has always been such a sensitive child.” She inclined her head towards T’Sar and Stonn. “James seems to think that these two might find their way together if we give them space and time to do so.”
“You take this young man’s assessment seriously?” Saran questioned.
“He is a gifted empath, Saran and at this point it cannot do any harm to let him try his hand at match making. Let T’Sar decide if she will spend time to reacquaint herself with Stonn. I’m sure James will have a plan.”
“He amuses you,” Saran pointed out.
“Once Stavik questioned me regarding my position on the non-Vulcans in our clan. James Kirk is the fourth to marry into my clan and it reminded me of the moment when Sarek came before me and told me that he wished to bond with a Human female.” T’Pau let her hand rest on the balcony railing. “I was unimpressed at first—that is no secret. But, I agreed to meet her. She was aesthetically pleasing—I wondered if Sarek was merely enamored with her for that reason.”
“You did my cousin a disservice,” Salak protested.
“Amanda was brilliant but so young. Her youth concerned me but when I melded with her I understood why Sarek was so certain that she should be his bondmate.” T’Pau paused. “After that I could not deny his right to bond with her and it is why I have never denied anyone in my clan the right to bond with someone of their own choice. Were it not for other concerns, I would refuse to bond the children of our clan at such a young age.”
“And this boy James Kirk?”
“He understands what it is like not to be loved by the person who should love him most,” T’Pau finally said. “And yet he still opened his heart and mind to Spock without a single hesitation, much like Amanda did with Sarek. It is no easy matter being the bondmate to a Vulcan in such times and circumstances.”
– – – –
Jim accepted his lunch from Spock and watched his bondmate fuss with his place setting for nearly a full minute before he was apparently satisfied with the arrangement. Stonn and Taval had entered the small deli shortly after them so they’d made sure to get a table for four.
Stonn sat down beside Jim and took a deep breath. “I need to ask an inappropriate and personal question.”
Jim grinned and Spock lifted an eyebrow. “Those are my favorite kinds of questions, Stonn. Knock yourself out.”
Stonn paused briefly and then asked, “How am I supposed to ask you my inappropriate question if I am unconscious?”
“Knock yourself out—it means go ahead, take your best shot, ask your question. It’s a figure of speech.”
“Humans are odd,” Stonn responded with a very small huff.
“I have always found them intriguing,” Taval admitted from his place beside Spock. “Your question?”
“T’Sar has turned down sixteen bond offers in the last year,” Stonn began and then paused. “Five of which were from her mother’s home world. The last was actually from my own house—my second cousin, Saric.”
“Sixteen,” Jim repeated. “Gorgeous and picky. It’s not a bad combination. So your question?”
“How did you get Spock?”
Spock almost frowned. “I am entirely certain I was responsible for our pairing.”
Jim laughed and patted his arm. “You keep telling yourself that. It’s adorable.” He focused on Stonn. “Really? I mean she’s beautiful and smart but she’s not exactly what many Vulcans would consider a proper bondmate.”
Stonn blushed and looked pointedly at Spock. “I find that recent events have made me question what I would consider to be a proper bondmate for myself.”
“You mean our bonding ceremony?” Jim questioned.
“No.” Stonn focused on his food. “Not exactly. It was an enlightening experience. There have been many essays written on it by the participants discussing what happened and their personal reactions to it. Elder T’Pau’s is especially powerful. On Vulcan, I was never permitted to spend a great deal of time in Dr. Grayson’s presence. My father’s bondmate… has strong opinions about cross species bonding.”
“What does my mother have to do…” Spock trailed off when Jim nudged him mentally.
“I want a bondmate that will value my children,” Stonn finally said. “Like your mother values you. I know my own mother loved me—but my parents did not have an arranged union. They were allowed to pick their each other rather than be bonded as children. He lost her and accepted an arrangement with T’Yal. I have always believed she resented me for the fact that my father still grieves the loss of my mother.”
Taval nodded. “There was some concern that he would follow her in death—the healers at the time believed he survived the loss of her because of you. His parental bond kept him from succumbing to death. Your mother was brilliant and vivid person—many grieved her loss.”
Stonn nodded and set aside his fork. “T’Sar is… interesting.”
“She’s beautiful,” Jim corrected. “And exotic to you.”
“Perhaps,” Stonn allowed. “Is that wrong?”
“Not at all but I don’t advise you telling her you think that immediately. She’ll just think you’re interested in her because she’s attractive.”
“That would be illogical.”
“Well she’s a girl and only half-Vulcan. She’s not going to be logical—probably never. She’ll baffle you for your years if you’re lucky,” Jim warned. “She’ll cry when she’s happy, laugh when she’s sad, and get angry at you for no discernable reason whatsoever.”
Stonn stared. “Are you trying to talk me out of pursuing her?”
“No.” Jim laughed. “Not at all. Okay, so you’ve never dated, right? Vulcans do not date.”
“Not unless we have to,” Taval said dryly. “Then we do not enjoy it and normally do it quite badly.”
Jim laughed. “Okay, first we need to find out about her hobbies and stuff. It might require some less than ethical behavior since we don’t actually know any of her friends. Where does she go to school, Spock?”
“An all female school—The Sato Academy.”
Jim smiled. “Okay. That’s good actually—no in-school competition of the male variety. Downside is she probably has a lot of friends—and females travel in packs on Earth. It’s a little horrifying in some circumstances. Also, the Sato Academy is mostly an arts school with a big nod to xenolinguistics. Music, dancing, etc. She probably is fairly talented if she is studying there. They have auditions to get into that school.” He turned to Stonn. “Play any instruments?”
“Eight,” Stonn admitted. “But only one from Earth—the violin. My grandmother enjoys Earth music and specifically requested that I learn to play the violin for her. I am also familiar enough with the piano that I could… fake it as you might say.”
Jim nodded and turned to Spock. “Do you play any instruments?”
“Yes, several.” Spock inclined his head. “We can discuss that later.”
“Yeah, cool.” Jim took a deep breath and refocused on Stonn. “Okay—so you probably have music in common with her. Even if she’s a dancer or a singer—the music will be something you can talk about. There are some topics you should avoid, like her former bondmate and especially your former bondmate.”
“Why especially mine?”
“She doesn’t need to get the idea that you miss her or wish she hadn’t ended your betrothal—it’ll make T’Sar compare herself to your former bondmate which is not good. She probably has some issues about her hybrid status and about not being Vulcan enough. Which isn’t logical, granted but it’s true,” Jim continued. “Is Elder Stavik going to let you date?”
“It has not crossed my mind to ask,” Stonn admitted. “While I discuss my plans with him—I do not normally seek his direct permission in the planning of my spare time.”
“If you decide to pursue T’Sar, you should discuss your intentions with Elder Stavik,” Taval responded. “He can make things easier for you both with Elder T’Pau and your own family if they disagree with your choice. No one is going to tell T’Pau no—and T’Sar is her granddaughter. T’Sar’s father has suffered politically due to his marriage, far more that Sarek ever did because he had no power off world. Sarek’s position and fame within the Federation itself insulated him quite a bit from the fall out of taking a non-Vulcan bondmate.”
“Are you warning me?”
“No.” Taval shook his head. “I would be in no position to do so and you have options when it comes to your career. I understand you have all but decided to study xenobiology and medicine. You’ll receive the best education here on Earth for that field as the many different species within the Federation would be available to you as a student. The VSA would not serve you well when it comes to the study of other species.”
“I am aware,” Stonn admitted. “Elder Stavik has worked diligently in the last few years to change that but it will be many years before the academy introduces curriculum to address the apathy that has existed in the past concerning other species. Our own desire to insulate and isolate ourselves has created an education vacuum concerning biomedicine and biomedical ethics as well.”
“How does your Father feel about your intentions?”
“He is concerned about me being on Earth for a long period of time but he understands that my educational needs might require it,” Stonn admitted. “We are currently reviewing academic institutions on Earth and he will visit them before we make a choice.”
“Okay, back to T’Sar. You’re going to have to court her and don’t even think about getting your father to go to T’Pau for a bonding before you ask her personally.”
“I cannot ask her,” Stonn responded stiffly. “It is not done that way.”
“There is a reason she hasn’t bonded with any of those other guys—it was formal and unnatural to her. You have to make it about her and you before you ever get to the stage of getting T’Pau in on the discussion.”
“I reluctantly agree,” Taval responded before Stonn could protest further. “She will take you seriously if you pursue her seriously. You cannot treat her as if she is entirely Vulcan.”
“Right and more importantly she’ll think it’s romantic and that’s what a sixteen year old girl wants—romance.”
“I am out of my depth,” Stonn admitted.
“We’ll help you,” Jim promised. “Well, I’ll help you. I don’t even think Spock realized we were actually dating for months.”
“I assumed we were dating on the second day of our acquaintance,” Spock said dryly. “You would have discovered that had you tried to date anyone else during that time period.”
– – – –
“So what does a sixteen year old boy want?” Spock questioned as he watched his bondmate casually strip out of his shirt.
“Orgasms,” Jim said immediately. “And we aren’t normally picky about how we get them.” He grinned and pulled off his shoes and socks.
“When will your father be home?” Spock shrugged out of his jacket and pulled his light weight sweater over his head.
“He won’t. He sent a message earlier—we’re meeting him and Bones for dinner downtown. But, just in case…” Jim walked to his door and locked it. “We have about three hours before that.”
Spock pulled off his t-shirt and took a deep breath as Jim pulled off his own belt and let it drop to the floor. “The way we behave in private is… inappropriate. You realize this?”
Jim unbuttoned his jeans and wet his bottom lip as Spock stood up from the bed. “Yeah, by Vulcan standards it’s pretty scandalous.”
“Very,” Spock murmured. “My father would be horrified.” Spock trailed his fingers over Jim’s ribcage and then slid his hand around as he pulled him close. “I believe I have needs that aren’t normal for Vulcans.”
“Like what?” Jim questioned. He sucked in a deep breath as their bodies came together; Spock’s hands were strong and so warm on his skin.
“I think about touching you all the time. I want to be touched by you. Such skin hunger is alien to Vulcans. I have been schooled since I was a very young child to touch as little as possible and to allow no one to touch me if it can be avoided.” Spock nuzzled against Jim’s neck as he trailed his hands over cool Human skin. “This was true even before we bonded.”
“Humans like to be touched,” Jim whispered and sucked in a deep breath as Spock’s hands slid into the back of his jeans to cup his ass. “I’m safe for you to touch—probably the safest person you could ever touch. It makes sense that you would be so eager.”
“Yes, eager,” Spock agreed. He brushed his mouth over Jim’s shoulder and then bit down briefly. “I have no shame for it.”
“Good.” Jim sucked in a breath as Spock lifted him off the floor. He wrapped his legs around the Vulcan’s slim waist without hesitating. “I’d never want you to be ashamed of us, Spock.”
“You are my life,” Spock whispered as he laid him out on the bed. “You spoke once of destiny—mine and yours.”
“Yeah.” Jim took a deep breath and ran his fingers down Spock’s chest. His fingers catching in a small smattering of silky black chest hair. Jim paused briefly at the waistband of Spock’s jeans and then he pulled at the buttons slowly. “You’re mine, Spock. I’ll never let anything or anyone come between us.”
Spock leaned down and kissed his mouth. “Neither will I.” Then he shifted to his knees. “I wish to…” He rubbed Jim’s thighs as he bit down on his bottom lip. “I would like to undress you completely.”
Jim nodded. “Yeah, whatever you want.”
Spock made a soft, pleased sound and unzipped Jim’s jeans with trembling fingers. “Lift your hips.”
Jim groaned a little but did as instructed and stretched his arms over his head as Spock tugged his jeans and boxers off his body. He curled his hands into the wooden bars of his headboard. “You’re so gorgeous, Spock.”
“You are the beautiful one,” Spock corrected as he tossed aside Jim’s clothes. “The first time I saw you—I was stunned by how you affected me physically. You are the only person I have ever wanted.”
“I love you,” Jim whispered as he spread his legs confidently and draped his lower body over Spock’s lap. “Touch me, Spock.”
“I…” Spock’s fingers trailed slightly down Jim’s inner thighs. “I know you need the words.”
“I know how you feel about me,” Jim took a deep breath as Spock’s thumbs grazed his balls. “I feel it. I know it.”
“I do love you,” Spock admitted roughly. “The feelings I have for you consume me—make logic and rational thought almost impossible at times.”
Jim arched under Spock’s hands, startled by the sudden and intense pleasure as his fingers slid over what felt like meld points in his thigh. “Oh fuck. What is that?”
Spock made a soft humming sound. “There are other ways to use neuropressure beyond rendering someone unconscious. I learned this skill younger than most Vulcans because…” He paused and shook his head. “The reasons can be discussed later.” He ran his thumb firmly down the inside of his bondmate’s thigh. “I will teach you these techniques so you will understand the full measure of a Vulcan’s ability to both give and receive physical pleasure.”
Jim shuddered and lifted his hips helplessly as Spock fingertips brushed over his cock. “Make me come, please.”
“It is my pleasure to do so, T’hy’la.” He wrapped his hand around Jim firmly.
Jim groaned, closed his eyes, and started to rock in Spock’s lap. “Ah, Spock, that’s so perfect. So perfect.”
“I know,” Spock admitted. “I feel it with you.”
Jim’s eyes snapped open and he smiled. “Then you should take off your pants—you’ll get them dirty otherwise.”
“Not yet,” Spock murmured. “I do not plan to come when you do.”
Jim took a shuddering breath and then hooked one of his legs around Spock’s waist. “Whatever you want.”
“Yes, because you are at my mercy,” Spock said, amusement weaving into his voice. He ran his free hand down over the flat plane of Jim’s stomach. With easy strength, he held his mate in place and watched as Jim relaxed on the bed. “Yes, like that. Relax and let me pleasure you.”
Jim let his leg fall back to the bed as Spock worked his cock perfectly. Their eyes met and it was instantly overwhelming—lust and love burned between them. He arched up off the bed and came in a hot rush. “Fuck.”
“One day I will,” Spock murmured as he tentatively licked his own fingers. “I like the way you taste.”
Jim exhaled sharply. “You don’t even know how sexy you are.”
Spock lifted his eyebrow, a smirk drifting across his mouth very briefly. “Actually, I know exactly how sexy you think I am and your opinion is the only one that matters to me.”
Jim laughed and watched as Spock deftly finished unbuttoning his jeans and pulled his own cock free of his boxers. “Gorgeous.” He sat up and pressed a kiss against the center of Spock’s chest and took him in hand. “You’re already so close.”
Spock nodded and took a deep breath. “Yes, very close.”
Jim turned his head slightly and flicked his tongue against one of Spock’s rigid nipples. He laughed when his mate shuddered against the contact. Jim did it again and then grazed it with his teeth. Spock’s hands clenched against his back and he came all over his hand with a groan. He stroked him carefully through his release and then let him go with a sigh.
“We’re very inappropriate,” Jim announced with a great deal of pride. “I bet we could scandalize your entire planet.”
Spock sighed and pressed a kiss against the top of Jim’s head. “Yes, I agree.”
They settled on the bed together and Jim grabbed his own boxers off the floor to clean them both up with. “So, tell me about the neuropressure thing.”
Spock lifted an eyebrow at the casual tone because it did not match the vibe he was getting off his bondmate. “It was to protect me.”
“Because you’re a hybrid?” Jim questioned. “Did other kids hit you a lot, Spock?”
“Other children often provoked me and the adults outside of my clan looked the other way until things were so physically violent they had no choice but to interfere. After the third fight, my father began to teach me the principles of neuropressure so the fights would be more balanced. I am a great deal stronger than you but I was weaker than my classmates—it was relatively easy for them to overpower me. That stopped the first time I used a nerve pinch on one of my tormentors.”
Jim wanted to laugh at that but all he felt was sad. “I want to kick all of their asses.”
“It is in the past.”
“Stonn was involved in that?”
“Stonn was ahead of me in school but his younger brother was involved. Stonn never bothered to defend me or protect me from his brother’s open hostility. It was not his place to interfere.”
“Bullshit,” Jim muttered. “Sam would’ve never let me get away with torturing another kid. It was wrong and horrible.”
“Stonn’s placement in his family is precarious due to the death of his birth mother. He would have suffered himself had he protected me or any of the other hybrids that were in school with us—including T’Sar. Her parents took her from Vulcan because she was… struck by a boy in her class. He slapped her face and made her bleed. He said he wanted to see if her blood was green.”
“And he got away with it?”
“No.” Spock shifted and took a deep breath. “I rendered him unconscious and T’Sar stomped on his hand until she broke all of his fingers. We were both removed from school as a result—her parents took her from Vulcan after that and I was educated at home by private tutors for several months before T’Pau interfered had me returned to school to continue my formal education. I was watched very closely after that.”
“He deserved it.”
“Purposely injuring another Vulcan’s hands is a great crime—had she been an adult she would have been imprisoned for many years for it.”
“He still deserved it,” Jim responded evenly. “You just don’t… hit anyone like that unprovoked. It’s abusive and wrong.”
“I do not disagree with you,” Spock said. He relaxed on the bed and pulled Jim close. “You need a nap.”
“I do not,” Jim muttered but let his head rest on Spock’s chest. He reached out with one hand and pulled the sheet over them both. “Not long. We have to meet, Dad.”
“Not long,” Spock agreed and ran his fingers through Jim’s hair as his bondmate drifted into sleep easily.