Reading Time: 74 Minutes
Author: Keira Marcos
Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Pike/McCoy, Sarek/Amanda Grayson
Series: Tangled Destinies
Series Order: 3
Fandom: Star Trek XI (Reboot ‘Verse)
Genre: Alternate Universe, romance
Word Count: 18,700
Rating: R (for adult language and sexual situations)
Betas: Chris King & Ladyholder
Cover Art: FanArts Series
Warnings: Discussions of past physical abuse, off-screen sexual abuse of an OC, and violence against minors. Sexual activity between two consenting teenagers.
Summary: Spock and Jim meld for the first time, Jim gets unwelcome news from Betazed, and Captain Pike reaches a difficult decision.
* * * *
“Father, may we speak?”
Sarek put aside his PADD and nodded. “Yes, of course. You are finished with your morning meditation?”
“Yes.” Spock sat down in the chair he always chose when in his father’s home office and opened his mouth and then closed it abruptly. He took a deep breath. “It is difficult.”
Sarek inclined his head. “It is a personal matter?”
“It is a matter of biology,” Spock murmured and then blushed. “I searched through the materials you gave me but my question was not answered. I considered asking Jim but I did not want to appear any more ignorant on the subject of sexual matters than I already do. The vanity of that is not lost on me.”
“It is not a misunderstood vanity,” Sarek allowed carefully. “Is this about James or about yourself?”
“I believe I am achieving some sort of sexual release while I sleep,” Spock blurted out quickly. “I have found evidence that is the case. At this point, I do not even know what to terms research in order to…” He trailed off with a blush and averted his gaze. “Do I need a healer?”
His father’s silence was excruciating and inappropriate as far as Spock was concerned but he could not bring himself to say anything else so he waited.
“Have you noticed a change in your genitalia?” Sarek finally questioned.
“Yes, but the growth appears to be in the upper normal range for a Vulcan male. My hormone production is higher than expected however.” Spock inhaled and then exhaled sharply. “There have been some physical reactions on my part but nothing that explains…”
“Nocturnal emissions are common for Human males and much older unbonded Vulcan males,” Sarek finally said. “The information was not included in your research packet as it does not apply to Vulcan males in puberty. All of your blood work had pointed towards you having a Vulcan sexual cycle. I do not know what this means for your Pon Farr.”
“Then I have no reason to be concerned?”
“No, I will forward you the necessary information concerning this matter for your review but you are not ill. I would like to discuss this with your healer, of course, as I believe he will wish to evaluate your hormone production personally.”
“Of course, Father. Have a good day.” Spock stood and hurried out of the office as fast as he could without actually running.
It didn’t occur to Spock until half way through breakfast that he had not asked his father if there was a way to stop the problem. Since he would’ve rather cut off his own arm than discuss it again—he could only hope that the information would be included in the articles his father would send to this PADD. It was illogical to be so uncomfortable with matters that could not be helped but thinking that hardly did a thing to alleviate the concern he had for his dignity.
He tilted his head as Jim entered the house and stored his helmet in the front closet. It was Saturday so there was no school; they had plans to visit an antique bookshop down town and then straighten their quarters at the school for the upcoming summer break. It was only a month away and Jim hadn’t decided about the offer to go to Betazed. Spock didn’t want him to go—it made him nervous to think of Jim so far away from him on a planet brimming with potential mates.
His mother was placing a full plate of eggs, a meat product she called ‘bacon’, and toast in the place where James always sat when he entered the dining room. Jim slid into place and nudged him. “Hey, where’s your Dad?”
“He has already left for work. There is a meeting at Federation Headquarters today.” Spock averted his gaze as Jim went about enjoying his meal. It was one part of Jim he found slightly disturbing—not so much what he ate because his mother had never tried to stop eating meat. He was used to seeing it. It was just that Jim seemed to eat a lot.
His mother had told him that Jim was still growing and maturing—the evidence of that was fairly obvious to Spock. His friend had grown an inch and put on five pounds of muscle in the five months since they’d met. Even with the extra weight, Jim’s face had slimmed down minutely and grown more angular. Spock himself didn’t put on weight the way Jim did but he had grown three inches in the last year.
“You’re staring,” Jim murmured.
Spock started and returned his attention to his oatmeal. “As always, Jim, you are relevant to my interests.”
Jim laughed softly and accepted the glass of orange juice Amanda offered him from across the table. “Did you want to go with us the antique book store, Dr. Grayson?”
Amanda shook her head. “No, I find little interest in dusty old books when I can put anything published on my PADD.”
“There is something awesome about holding an old paper book,” Jim defended. “It’s like having history in your hand. Though touch does little to enhance my abilities—I can feel the life in books. The life of the tree that was sacrificed to make the paper and the impressions of the people who have held it before me. Just this sweeping sensation of pleasure and amusement most often. But sometimes if it’s really rare book—one that has seen a great deal of care since it was printed—the life almost vibrates out of it. It’s awesome.”
Spock wasn’t convinced it was awesome and had been relieved to discover the sensations Jim felt from the books were more to do with his empathy than his telepathy. He wouldn’t have wished such a thing for himself. Jim had mentioned once before that he’d gotten impressions from objects and from the leather of his own jacket. He’d explained that since animals were euthanized as gently as possible during the slaughter process so at most the leather had a feeling of sleepiness and contentment about it. It made it quite comfortable to wear. He had said he avoided vintage clothing as well as clothing made off world as that was not the case for all animal hides he’d had contact with in his life.
“Do you get an impression from the bacon?”
Jim looked at him startled. “No.” He laughed and looked relieved. “That would be horrible. I love bacon so much. I don’t know why there is a difference—perhaps something is lost in the cooking process.” He looked at Amanda who was frowning. “My apologies, Spock continued a conversation we had two weeks ago. I get impressions from leather, wool, and silk products. Nothing unpleasant because the products are procured as humanely as possible on Earth. Wool is actually quite nice to touch because I think sheep must enjoy getting sheared. On the whole, I prefer to wear synthetic materials or pure cotton as the constant stimulation can be a distraction.”
* * * *
Spock had made one secret purchase at the bookstore because when Jim had touched the book—his pupils had dilated and he’d trembled. He sincerely hoped when the receipt showed up in his account that it did not list the title of the book he’d purchased. Though for three hundred credits, he imagined one of his parents would question him. He’d purchased the book when Jim had been engrossed in picking out a copy of Moby Dick and had it delivered to the house. Fortunately, the woman at the bookstore had wrapped it carefully for discreet delivery.
He wasn’t overly surprised when his mother strolled into his room and glanced pointedly at the package. “Good evening, mother.”
“Did you have a good time at the bookstore?”
“It was interesting. I even found some books from Vulcan there. I bought one of Surak’s essays on logic.”
“Hmm, surely that didn’t cost three hundred credits.”
“No, Mother. It was quite inexpensive as it was not really much of an antique.” He held up the leather bound volume to demonstrate. “It was printed on Earth shortly after First Contact.”
“Hmmm.” Amanda crossed her arms and glared at him. “You’re really going to make me ask, aren’t you?”
Spock didn’t smile but he wanted to because his mother was nothing if not adorable when she was irritated. “It is a gift for Jim. We will have known each other for six months at the end of May and Stephanie from school indicated that it should be an occasion.”
Amanda grinned. “Your six month anniversary. How charming is that?”
Spock blushed. “It is not… that is not… Mother.”
“It is a personal gift?”
“Very,” Spock assured. “I went out of my way to purchase it in secret. I would prefer not to show it to you.”
“Fine, have your little secrets.” Amanda laughed softly and left the room.
* * * *
“So, there is a seminar this summer at the academy that non-cadets can take on warp science.”
Chris glanced up from his sandwich and lifted an eyebrow. “The one that has been full for nearly a year?”
Jim sighed. “Yeah, that one. Spock is really interested in going and it starts in June. I was hoping… you could find some way to get us both into it.”
“Maybe. I know the man teaching it. He’s brilliant but a little crazy—the admiralty doesn’t know quite what to do with him. Lt. Scott did all of the major work on the redesign of the Engineering section on the new Constellation class starship. He’s a genius but like I said—a little insane. I’ve agreed to take him on the Yorktown after his stint at the academy.” Pike paused and then rushed forward. “But that would mean you don’t intend to go to Betazed as your grandmother requested for further training.”
“Jaret can teach me that stuff here—she’s just being difficult. She wants me on Betazed so can get me engaged or betrothed—whatever she wants to call it. She thinks if she gets me in her clutches I’ll be easy to manipulate but I would burn someone out before I’d be forced into a bond. Jaret has spent the last month teaching me how to sever a Betazoid empathic bond if it becomes necessary to do so.”
“He’s worried about you needing to do that?”
“I think it’s a skill everyone learns,” Jim admitted. “Kind of like knowing when to cut off your own hand so you can escape and live. Empathic bonds can be deadly in some circumstances—say for instance if your bondmate were to go crazy or be exposed to a drug that induces psychosis. In order to maintain my own mental health, I would have to sever the bond.”
“But the bond could be rebuilt if it were severed like that?” Pike questioned.
“It would depend on whether or not my bondmate was capable of maintaining a new bond or if they were entirely lost to me due to physical or mental injury.” Jim frowned and shrugged. “Like brain damage would be difficult to work around and in some instances unethical. An empathic mating bond is intensely sexual.”
Pike nodded. “I… remember actually.”
“You and Dad?” Jim’s gaze widened comically. “And you broke up with that going on?”
Pike put down his fork and picked up his beer. “We were young and thought we were better friends than lovers. I don’t think we really had a chance to test that theory because he met and fell in love with Winona. Your Dad wanted children—he said he’d seen his sons in visions most of his life and when he saw Winona he knew she would be the mother of those children. I just wish he’d seen the rest of it, too.”
“I don’t. I’m glad he didn’t have the first clue what would happen after he died.” Jim pushed his empty plate aside and sighed. “So about the class? I’d really like to get Spock into it even I can’t go because… well it’ll be six months for us the last week of May and Stephanie at school says we should celebrate it. She’s silly and romantic but Spock found the idea intriguing.”
Chris laughed. “You want me to get your boyfriend into a warp core science seminar that is the talk of the entire Federation for your six month anniversary?”
Jim blushed wildly. “Shut up.”
Pike smacked him on a shoulder. “Christ, I can’t wait to tell Admiral Archer why I want him to open up spots in that class for two high school students.”
“Well, you could just tell him that it would be a good way to lure the very first Vulcan into Starfleet Academy,” Jim responded. “And you know—not mention the anniversary thing.”
“You see—I appreciate your faith in me but I really can’t help myself.”
Jim flushed. “Well, I have to go over to the embassy in the tomorrow to work on a project for Dr. Grayson’s birthday. It’s next week and Spock mentioned a family dinner.”
“Sarek invited me. Unfortunately, I’ll be on a mission. What are you giving her?”
“Well,” Jim smiled. “Something she’s never been able to experience before. I have one more thing to do before I can finish it and I thought I would visit first thing tomorrow to take care of it.”
* * * *
“Did you meditate an extra hour like I requested last night?”
“Yes.” Spock quirked his mouth in an almost frown. “Are you sure we should risk this?”
Jim paused. “Is it really an intolerable risk? I mean, I think we both know that bonding is in our future. If we create one spontaneously during the meld I’m okay with that. Would you?”
“Of course I would be. I just don’t want to pressure you into something you are not ready for,” Spock admitted roughly. “I believe considering the intimacy of our friendship that we should wait. The bond could make… our physical relationship a priority in ways that could make some people uncomfortable.”
“You could have your first Pon Farr as early as twenty,” Jim reminded gently. “Frankly, I’d rather not have our bonding take place in the midst of your plak-tow. That’s decidedly unromantic and the anti-hot.”
Spock allowed himself a small sigh and settled on his bed opposite Jim in the lotus position. “May I know why you insist on this now?”
“It’s a surprise so don’t ruin it for me,” Jim murmured. “Just you know—go with it.”
Spock quirked an eyebrow and then aligned his fingers over Jim’s meld points. “My mind to your mind… my thoughts to your thoughts…”
The slide into the meld was extremely fast and pleasurable. Even melds with his father weren’t this easy. Jim’s mind was as orderly as any Vulcan’s which was a surprise since Spock had seen his room on more than one occasion.
“Hey, that’s a bad analogy. Clothes on the floor does not equal a cluttered brain.”
They appeared together in an open courtyard with a large water fountain in the middle overflowing the bluest water Spock had ever seen. Around them were four walls and each wall had a series of large heavy doors except for one. He stared at the single door for several seconds and then took a deep breath. “What is this?”
“It’s my mental vault,” Jim explained. “One of the first things Jaret taught me was to categorize and organize my experiences, emotions, and thoughts to avoid the chaos.” He took Spock’s hand and led him to one door. “This is where I store the random emotions; experiences, thoughts, and impressions I get from people who aren’t first tier.”
“What is first tier?”
“Close family and friends. My Dad, you, your parents and Bones. I store all of my Betazoid contacts except for Jaret in that room over there.” He pointed towards a room on the opposite side of the court yard. Jim pulled Spock gently towards a glossy black door. “This is Jaret’s telepathic legacy. One day after we are bonded, I’m going to take you into this room. It’s not something I can share without a bond—it’s too intense and private.” Jim touched the door briefly with one hand and then prodded Spock to the next one. “This is my mother and Sam. In this room there is a box—I have it wrapped in chains and there are locks on it. That’s where I keep Frank. If I’m mentally stressed he can sort of break free and I have dreams about him. Jaret is teaching me how to contain him completely even during stressful times.”
Spock nodded. “Are you consciously aware of what is in each room or are these repressed memories that you can access only in a meditative state?”
“As far as I know, I don’t have any repressed memories,” Jim explained. “I can recall them easily when I’m fully conscious but some of the bad ones aren’t easy to push away if I’m upset. The rooms allow me to do that so I can function in high stress situations without falling to pieces.”
“It is a good skill. I would like to learn this. Would Jaret teach me?”
“Of course, he adores you. He thinks you’re the best thing on Earth.” Jim laughed softly and tugged Spock further down the wall. “This is your mother.”
Spock’s gaze widened and reached out to touch the door. “My mother?”
“Yes, every memory, every emotion, smile, and laugh that I’ve borne witness to since I met her.” Jim pushed open the door and pulled Spock inside. The Vulcan gasped beside him and closed his eyes.
“She is… it is as if she is here with us.”
“She loves fiercely and without reserve. I’ve known few people in my life like her,” Jim admitted.
“It smells like cookies in here.”
“She was the first person to ever make me cookies, it stuck with me.” Jim blushed when Spock quirked an eyebrow with him. “Spock, this room—I keep this room for you.”
“Why?” Spock questioned.
“Because you will have a long life—much longer than your mother and one day though I hope it is a very long time way—she will not be at our side. But, we will always have this room and I will protect it and nurture it. Each time I touch her, or hear her laugh will be shielded in this place. It is the gift I will carry for you the rest of my life. A place you can return to time and time again—long after she’s gone and touch her, feel her, hear her.”
Spock swallowed hard. “You are the real gift in my life. I do not have words to express the… perfection of this place you have given my mother.” A dark green wave of energy shifted through the room and Spock started in surprise. “What is that?”
“I’m fairly certain it’s the bond she shares with your father.” Jim pulled Spock over to an old fashioned desk where a large leather bound volume lay closed. “This is your father. I can’t explain how it happened—it wasn’t my intention. When I made the room, I meant for them to share it but your mother’s emotions sort of just exploded all over the place once I gave them space to get comfortable. This book appeared on the desk and when I touched it—I knew it was your Dad. I’ve had little mental contact with your father but you’ve melded with him.”
“So I could fill the pages of this book with my father?” Spock questioned softly. “For safe keeping?”
“Yes, but that would take a very intensive and long meld. Also, it would help if you’d melded with your father in the last year—which you haven’t really done, correct?”
“We had a shallow meld the day the woman at school…” Spock shook his head. “No, not since I was twelve.”
“Then maybe you can tell him why you want to do it and give him the option of what he would like in his book.” Jim moved closer to Spock with a smile. “You can touch it. It won’t hurt—it’s really just full of protective feelings and love at the moment.”
“No anger, no disappointment,” Spock murmured. “Perhaps we should leave it as it is.”
Jim chuckled. “You don’t mean that—a person is a sum of their experiences. Every bit of him is important and precious.”
Spock said nothing as he was lead out of the room and back into the court yard. Jim pointed out the room for his intellectual knowledge with a wry grin and opened the door so Spock could peek inside. It was a room full of books—some in stacks all the way to the very high ceiling. There were shelves full with attached ladders; equations were scrawled across the floor and on the walls that didn’t have book shelves. “It is beautiful.”
“It’s easily the fullest room right now. That won’t always be the case.” Jim closed the door and patted it. “I do enjoy it though. I often go there when I meditate.”
“The water fountain—it is important, special.”
Jim paused and then nodded. They walked together to it and he reached out and ran his fingers through the casading water. “This is my father—George Kirk’s legacy. I received it the moment I was born. Did you know I was born early? Nearly three months premature—I was supposed to be born in March. At any rate, I was born in the last minutes of his life and he gave me this.”
“What does it contain?” Spock questioned. “This is his telepathic legacy?”
“Everything,” Jim admitted. “It is everything my father was and would’ve been all wrapped up in love and sacrifice.”
“Can I touch it?” Spock questioned.
Jim shook his head. “No, not yet. I don’t think you should touch it while we aren’t bonded. I couldn’t protect you if something happened.”
Spock nodded. “One day then.”
“Agreed.” Jim smiled and inclined his head toward the door that was alone on a wall. The door was heavy and looked enforced. They stopped in front of it and Jim ran his hand over the surface of the door with trembling fingers.
“What’s in here?”
“This is my imzadi,” Jim murmured. “My first in everything.”
“Your beloved.” Spock frowned at the door.
“Spock!” Jim exclaimed softly. “It’s you. You’re my imzadi. No one has touched my mind like this—not ever. And one day you will touch me this way physically.”
Spock flushed and looked down at their joined hands. “May I see inside?”
“No, I can’t take you inside.”
“Why not? I hardly have any secrets from myself.”
Jim laughed. “This is where I’m building our empathic bond. An empathic Betazoid bond can’t be built in the minutes before the bonding itself—I’ve been working on it for months. Jaret has taught me what to do so that I can do it right and make a perfect bond for us. There are those on Betazed who make a career out of making empathic bonds to be passed on to couples during bonding ceremonies but I wanted to make ours personally.”
“And if I go in there?” Spock questioned.
“I won’t be able to stop from bonding with you and I really think our Vulcan bond should come first. Jaret believes it should be the foundation of our connection since the core of it will be telepathic and not built on emotion. If we use my bond as the base—Jaret feels it would be overwhelming for you.”
Spock nodded but he reached out and touched his door anyway. “All of this space is for me?”
“I intend to spend my life with you, Spock and I expect you to fill this room up with all kinds of great experiences and really hot sex.” Jim leaned into him with a laugh. “The look on your face is priceless.”
Spock leaned down and kissed Jim’s mouth very softly. “We should separate now, T’hy’la. It is not wise for the unbonded to meld for so long.”
“T’hy’la,” Jim repeated. “What does it mean?”
“Friend, lover, brother—soul mate.” Spock kissed him again. “The perfect mate for my soul.”
Jim took a deep unsteady breath as Spock’s fingers drifted away from his face. He started to speak but was stopped by an abrupt clearing of a throat. He jerked and found himself face to face with Sarek who was sitting by Spock’s bed in a chair with a PADD. “Sir.”
Jim looked at Spock and found him just as wrecked as he felt.
Sarek lifted an eyebrow at him. “You have been melded 3.56 hours since I entered this room. Your mother called me quite frantically Spock, when she found you melded with James. She watched for 32 minutes before she sought my advice.”
Spock took a deep breath. “I apologize if you were concerned. We were melded for a total of 4.76 hours.”
“It didn’t seem like that long,” Jim protested.
“Time has no meaning within a mind meld,” Sarek murmured. “Especially not with a mind as talented and rich as my son’s. I trust that the two of you do not require assistance?”
“We are well,” Spock murmured. “I should have warned mother that we were going to meld and it might take a while. It was the first time…”
Sarek nodded. “I will let her know that there is no need for her to remain agitated. I would expect you both will have to endure some mothering.”
Jim sighed as Sarek left the room. “Yeah, we’re assholes. I hope she didn’t get so upset she cried.”
Spock looked at Jim with thinly disguised horror. “I have never made my mother cry.”
“Oh, Spock, of course you have.” Jim patted his knee and then rolled off the bed. “She loves you too much for that to never have happened. Tears and love go hand in hand.” He checked his chronometer. “I have to go meet with Jaret in an hour. I didn’t think I’d be here this long but I’m glad I came early.” He leaned down and kissed Spock firmly on the mouth. “You give great meld.”
Spock scowled at him as Jim pulled on his jacket and walked towards the door. “That was sexual innuendo, wasn’t it?”
“Contraction,” Jim pointed out with a smirk and then with a little salute, left.
* * * *
Jim had brought a carved wooden box to the house for the birthday dinner. Spock had no idea what was in it and his mate had refused to give him a single clue. He wasn’t exactly put out but he was very curious. Everyone was very curious and even his father wasn’t above glancing at the box as they went into the salon.
Spock watched his mother get comfortable on the couch and Jim brought the box to her. He placed it on the floor at her feet and knelt. “You probably know a lot about Betazoid politics but little about their mysticism.” Jim paused when Amanda nodded. “The Betazoid place a great deal of emphasis on emotional maturity and honesty both in their public lives and their private lives with their families.” He ran his fingers over the edges of the box as he spoke. “Have you ever seen a psionic stone?”
Amanda took a deep breath. “Only in videos and pictures—I’ve never known one to leave Betazed.”
“They are precious to their owners, a gift beyond any real price. When the stones are pulled from the ground they are crystal clear—pure and ready to be the receptacle of whatever the owner wants to put in it. Memories of a first love, the birth of a child, the loss of one so loved so much that moving on from that loss is impossible. We also use them in teaching. The most unique thing about psionic stones is that even people who are psi-null can interact with them.”
Amanda swallowed hard and looked at the box. “You have one of these stones in the box?”
“I requested one several weeks ago and my cousin Alexa brought me one when I told her that it would be for you. She is quite fond of you.” Jim sat back and took a deep breath. “As an empath and a telepath—I am able to take psionic impressions of people—the whole of them as if it were a picture. These impressions can be stored in my mind and not be tainted by my point of view or even my own emotions. I organize my thoughts, impressions, memories, and everything else that I experience in my mind in a series of mental vaults. This complicated mental structure helps keep me balanced. Among these vaults there is one for my impressions and memories of you, when Spock and I melded I took him to that room in my head. I showed him the metaphysical manifestation of your love of life and your family as it appears in my mind. While I was doing that I took a detailed psionic impression of his response to the room—to you.”
Sarek gasped and Spock glanced at his father, shocked at the sound. Sarek shook his head abruptly when Spock started to speak and they both refocused on Jim and Amanda.
Jim offered them both a small smile and then lifted the lid off this box. “This psionic stone is yours, Dr. Grayson. It holds within it something you’ve never had the privilege of experiencing due to your psi-null status—your son’s love and admiration. In order to preserve Spock’s privacy, it doesn’t hold memories but it does hold within it the same feelings and impressions that your husband receives from your son through his parental bond. No one has touched it since I began working with it and once you touch it will never work for anyone but you.”
Spock stared in silence—the stone was dark red with swirls of white shifting through it like clouds. His mother reached out with trembling fingers and touched it. The stone lit up under her hand and the clouds started to move as if prodded by a wind. Amanda’s breath caught and then tears streamed down her face unchecked. Spock immediately stood and reached out for her.
“No, don’t touch her,” Jim murmured. He stood up and moved Spock away bodily. “She’s alright and she’s not crying because she’s upset.”
“Tears are not a sign of being alright,” Spock muttered fiercely.
“Sometimes someone can be so intensely happy that they cry, Spock.” Jim touched his face. “This is one of those times. I promise.” He prodded him back to his chair and returned to Amanda. She’d taken the stone from the box and was holding it with both hands. Her whole body was trembling. Carefully, he took the stone from her hands and returned it to the box. It immediately stopped glowing when it was out of her hands and fully in his. “It should stay in the box for storage when you aren’t holding it. This box is shielded especially to protect it. Don’t ever leave the box or the stone in direct sunlight. Also, I’m fairly certain that if you were to return to Vulcan that you’d want to keep the box refrigerated. The extremely high temperatures on Vulcan wouldn’t be ideal for the crystal structure of the stone.”
“I…” Amanda took a deep breath. “I never let myself question what I was missing. There had been some hope that Spock would create a parental link with me when he was a child when I couldn’t create one with him. It never happened. I know he has a mental connection to me but it wasn’t duplicated in my mind.” She picked up the box and curled her hands tightly around it. “Thank you, James, this is… there are no words to describe how much this means to me.” With one hand she stroked the sleek wood and then stood. “I’ll return shortly and we shall have our meal.”
Sarek stood without a word and left the room after his wife. Jim sat back on his heels and took a deep breath. “I hope that you aren’t upset that I didn’t ask you about it. I didn’t even think I needed to ask until I was done making it—I didn’t realize it would be so personal until it was finished. Jaret said it was one of the strongest stones he’d ever been in the same room with—probably because of your intense emotional attachment to your mother. Now that your mother has touched it—other empaths won’t be able to feel anything from the stone when the box is open.”
“No, I…” Spock swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “I do not have…” He walked across the room and offered Jim his hand. Jim took it and let himself be pulled off the floor. He let out a small ‘oof’ of surprise when Spock pulled him into a tight embrace. “T’hy’la.” He buried his face against Jim’s neck and took a deep breath. “I have never been able to meld with my mother—the bond she shares with my father is strong and he is so protective of her mind no one has been able to successfully meld with her since the bond was completed. As a child, I resented it, resented him for denying me a place in my mother’s mind. Some full blooded Vulcan children can create parental links with adoptive parents if their own parents are killed but my hybrid status prevented me from even having that small part of her and it insured she would never know the true depth of my feelings for her. Words cannot express the strength of the Vulcan heart.”
“No, they can’t.” Jim’s fingers curled into Spock’s shirt. “I have a small link with Pike. It’s not like the parental bond you have with your father—it’s something else.”
“Did you create it yourself?”
“No, I think I was born with it or more to the point—I think it was given to me in the instant of my birth by my father. It’s not an empathic bond because I can’t connect with him emotionally but I always seem to know exactly where he is.” Jim lifted his head so he could look over Spock’s face. “Sometimes I think I’ve known you forever. Like I should’ve been able to reach out for you at any point in my life and I would’ve found you.”
Spock trailed his fingers down the side of Jim’s face and rubbed his thumb over his full bottom lip. “You are such a romantic.”
* * * *
Amanda dried her face with a towel and returned to her bedroom to find her husband standing in front of her vanity table staring intently at the psionic stone. “He surprised you.”
“Very much so,” Sarek admitted without hesitation. “The Betazoid have never been particularly open with us about their abilities beyond the basic things they tell everyone. Often, I have wondered if they have exaggerated their abilities they do discuss as a defense mechanism. But, Jim disproves that theory of mine almost daily and this stone is proof of it. I have never seen one and the Betazoid refuse to trade in them. In fact, when they joined the Federation their one stipulation was that they would never be required to trade in the psi-stones. He was right—this gift was beyond price even before he filled it. A psionic stone this size is worth several million credits empty because of Betazed’s stance on their trade.”
She walked over to him and offered him her two fingers. His fingers brushed over hers gently and with an easy familiarity. “Have you seen how Jim and Spock tangle their fingers together?”
“It is not proper for them to engage in this formation as they are not bonded. Allowing their fingers to mingle together briefly is not unseemly,” Sarek murmured. “Though I do hope they will refrain from doing it at the embassy anytime soon.”
“I’m going to touch the stone.”
Sarek nodded and braced himself for what he felt would be a harsh rush of feelings. He was mistaken—it was immense and consuming but not harsh. It was, in fact, the most gentle emotion he’d ever experienced in his life. Love, pure and unconditional. Respect. Joy. Amusement. This was his son, he’d know Spock anywhere—the patterns of his mind and psyche were imprinted on his own mind and had been since his son’s birth. He lifted his fingers away from his wife when he could take no more and took a deep breath. “As I said, he is a constant surprise.”
“I believe our son has chosen his bondmate well,” Amanda admitted. “I’d wager that even T’Pau will have a difficult time denying them once she meets James.”
Sarek nodded. “I do not think Spock would listen to her if she disapproved.”
“No,” Amanda admitted. “I just hope Spock doesn’t tell her to die in a fire, too.”
Sarek made a soft sound that sounded a lot like amusement. “This boy. This James Tiberius Kirk is a horrible influence on us all.”
“It’s pretty great,” Amanda agreed.
* * * *
Jim hated being called to the embassy but he never refused to show up—after all Betazed had been the planet to claim him as a citizen without a second thought. And they’d done it before they’d even realized what his father had put in him. Though he was in the embassy often for his lessons he was rarely in the private part of the large facility. He navigated his way up the large central staircase rather than use the turbolift and through two secure entry points.
At the entrance to Alexa’s office he paused but she immediately disengaged from her conversation and offered him a tight, strained smile. “James. Right on time.”
Jim shrugged out of his backpack and dropped it into a chair near the door. “Is this an informal intervention or more like a—we’re disappointed in you as a planet kind of thing?”
Alexa paused and inclined her head. “Have you done anything particularly dangerous or horrible that I should be concerned about?”
“Not that you aren’t already aware of,” Jim assured. He sat down in the chair he’d been pushed toward and looked at the other occupants of the room without reservation. Jaret was leaning against the wall to the left of Alexa’s desk, a man in his twenties was standing near the big window in the room, and the oldest Betazoid he’d ever seen in his life stooped over in a chair to his right. “I mean I did go a hundred miles an hour on my bike a few nights back and my Dad tore me a new one via subspace. I lost privileges for the bike for a week but it was worth it.”
Alexa frowned at him and sat down at her desk. “I do hope you didn’t have Spock with you.”
“No, of course not, I’d never risk hurting Spock.” Jim rubbed his hands on his jeans. “So, let’s get this over with.”
“Yeah, let’s,” Jaret muttered. “Jim, your grandmother has signed a betrothal on your behalf to Delis Brise.” He jerked his head towards the man near the window. “The gentlemen on your right is a bond maker, the oldest and most powerful on Betazed. His name is Gerase Mora. He’s been brought here to see to the bond—whether you agree or not.”
Jim focused on the young man and frowned. “You aren’t the guy she sent me a picture of. At least he was my age; you have to be ten years older than me.”
“I assured your grandmother our bond would remain platonic until you reach a reasonable age.” The man’s gaze drifted over Jim’s body in an insulting inspection. “You’re quite mature physically for your age. It is a pleasant surprise.”
“I can assure you, Delis, there will be no bond between us. My grandmother doesn’t have the legal right to sign a betrothal on my behalf.” Jim’s stomach was knotting in anger and the kind of strange fear he hadn’t felt since Pike had taken him from Frank.
“On Betazoid you are considered an adult and your matriarch has every right to arrange your marriage,” Alexa explained softly. “It is a right of blood not a legal one, Jim. If you refuse this bond—your citizenship on Betazed will be in question as you will have formally refused to do the bidding of the matron of your house.”
“You were given every opportunity to choose a bondmate and you refused every offer your grandmother made. The matter is settled and we will be bonded,” Delis sat down in a chair next to Jim and focused on the bond maker. “We are at your disposal, Gerase.”
“The hell we are,” Jim snapped. “I will not be forced into a bond and Federation law protects me from this.”
“If your citizenship on Betazed is revoked—you won’t even be a citizen of the Federation,” Delis responded. “This matter is settled don’t make it difficult by being a petulant child. You’re practically a man, James; it’s time you act like it.”
Jim glared at him. “If you touch my mind—if you even attempt it—I will end you. And if you think I’m not capable of it you’re an idiot.”
Delis started to speak but Jaret cleared his throat. “Don’t provoke him, Delis. He could break your mind open like an egg and leave you drooling for the rest of your life. Don’t let his genetics fool you—he is every bit as strong as the rumors indicate. He has mastered all twenty-two levels of the Mendissia Principles.”
“He’s not even an adult,” Delis scoffed. “He hasn’t received a parent’s telepathic legacy. I do not believe you, Jaret.”
“He received the telepathic legacy of his father on the day he was born and he received mine several months ago. I have no children of my own and I’ve chosen James as my heir. The heir of my mind and heart. If his grandmother casts him from her house—he will be taken into mine without question.” Jaret moved then, placing himself closer to Jim.
Delis’ eyes widened in surprise. “You gave this Human boy your telepathic legacy?”
“This same Human boy you intend on bonding with against his will?” Jaret questioned with a small, lethal smile.
Jim stood abruptly. “It doesn’t matter.” He shoved his trembling hands into the front pocket of his jeans. “Ambassador Deloia, I formerly renounce my ancestral ties with the Fifth House of Betazed and sever all family ties with Kastann Astram Kirk Biro.”
Alexa nodded wide eyed. “I recognize your departure from the Fifth House of Betazed.” She glanced briefly at Jaret who nodded abruptly. “And accept on behalf of my orphaned citizen the offer of familial connection to the First House of Betazed under the social guardianship of his teacher and godfather by telepathic legacy Jaret Molia.” She paused and focused on Jaret. She lifted one eyebrow sharply.
“You spend too much time that Vulcan woman, T’Pol,” Jaret declared. “Or the Eyebrow of Expectation is curiously contagious.” He turned to Jim. “Gather your things and leave—you have no more business here. The betrothal agreement entered into your behalf by your grandmother is no longer valid as it is the policy of the First House to bond for love or to never bond at all.”
Jim stood up and picked up his backpack. He turned and looked at Delis who was glaring at him openly. “You don’t have any secrets from me.”
“This is not over,” Delis responded evenly. “Political maneuvers or not—you were given to me and I will have what is mine.”
“It’d better be for your sake if nothing else and because my Dad will kill you if you try anything.”
* * * *
Spock glanced up in alarm from his plate and pushed back from the table without a word to either of his parents. He walked swiftly out of the dining room and went to the front door. He jerked it open as Jim came up the steps and started talking immediately, his fingers clutching on Spock’s arm.
“Shut the door. Turn on the security.”
“Jim.” Spock stilled him with careful hands. “You are very upset.”
“My grandmother—she—Spock—she signed a betrothal agreement for me and gave me to a grown man.” Jim swallowed back a small sound of distress. “He was there in Alexa’s office—looking at me like I’m something he already owned. He brought a powerful bond maker from Betazed to attend the bond—to force a bond.”
Spock moved then, catching Jim’s face in with both hands. His thumbs brushing over meld points on either side of his face. “They forced you…”
“No. No.” Jim took a deep breath. “I renounced my ties to my grandmother’s house and could’ve lost my citizenship to Betazed if Jaret hadn’t stepped in and claimed me as his family.”
“You are very pale and you are shaking. Have you eaten at all today?” Spock demanded, unnerved by the revulsion and horror flowing off James.
“I—no.” Jim shook his head. “I meant to grab lunch at the embassy but I got so freaked out that I couldn’t think and then I didn’t want to go home because what if he followed me?”
Amanda came forward and prodded them both towards the dining room. “Come, I’ll fix you a meal. Sit in your place and I’ll take care of it.” She turned to her husband. “Set the security.”
Sarek lifted an eyebrow but did as instructed. “I will be in my office should you need me.”
Amanda nodded and sent him a look that said she expected a full report as soon as possible.
In his office, Sarek put in the first call—directly to the Betazed Embassy. He waited less than 30 seconds to be transferred to the Ambassador. “We have him.”
Alexa relaxed. “I will inform Jaret—he checked Pike’s home and Jim’s quarters at the school. When I told you our grandmother might be a problem it never occurred to me that it would be on this level. I’ve reported the change in House status for James and as you can imagine that has not gone over well with the Fifth House. My grandmother is shocked and quite embarrassed.” Alexa lounged against back in her chair. “The First House of Betazed is thrilled to accept Jaret’s claim as he’s never been inclined to provide a biological heir. You can assure Captain Pike that this does not mean he will suffer another custody battle concerning his son as Jaret and the First House are pleased with Pike’s guardianship of James.”
She grinned then. “I’ve also been told to tell you on behalf of First House that they look forward to hosting the wedding ceremony of their new son and his future bondmate, Spock of Vulcan. They will register the pending bond with our government in the morning. While it is not an official betrothal—it will prevent anyone from creating another contract without his consent.”
Sarek flushed. “James has not mentioned wanting a Betazed ceremony.”
“When he was the Fifth House, it wasn’t much of an issue. But as a son of the First House and the holder of the telepathic legacy of Jaret—he will be expected to have a ceremony on Betazed. Cultural compensation can be made for you and your wife—you would not expected to be naked; though it would certainly be a disappointment for us all if you insisted on being fully dressed for the occasion.”
Sarek all but frowned at her. “While I would not be concerned for myself—I would not permit my wife to be unclothed in public.”
Alexa laughed. “That’s charming. Let Captain Pike know that I’m doing my part in this matter but my grandmother isn’t someone who gives up easily. I gave James all of the room that was required to let him reach his own decision because I know that is important to him even if others don’t understand it.”
* * * *
Spock woke abruptly and sat up in his bed. The soft whimper drifted through the house—he’d never heard anyone make a sound like that. A soft sob followed and then another whimper. He pushed aside his blankets and grabbed his robe off the end of his bed. He had it on and was belting it when Jim screamed—screamed like someone was killing him.
His father stopped him in the hallway—physically grabbing Spock in a way he hadn’t in years. He was so shocked he didn’t even think to throw off his hold. The screaming stopped abruptly and then just the sound of his mother’s gentle voice telling Jim he was safe.
Sarek prodded Spock back in his room. “I heard him as well. It was a dream—a nightmare. Amanda will be better prepared to help him at this point than either of us.”
“A dream,” Spock murmured. He knew Humans had dreams—there had been some discussion as to whether or not he would. There had been plenty in the science communities on Vulcan who had been disappointed to learn that he wouldn’t. “I understand basically what a dream is—what is a nightmare?”
“It is as your mother says a ‘bad dream’. It can be a traumatic event being relived in sleep or at times a dream based on the fear of what could happen in the future. Considering the force of his emotional response, it appears that James was dreaming of something that happened in his past. He had a stressful day.”
Spock thought about the chained box that Jim kept in his mind—the one with the memories concerning his step-father, Frank. “If this is something that plagues him—I should—I should know how to deal with it. I wouldn’t be a proper bondmate if I’m incapable of offering him comfort in times like this.”
“Your concern is admirable. I suggest you approach your mother for information. I am sure she will have plenty of advice on how to be helpful in the future.” Sarek paused and then continued. “He may wish to speak with you about it but he may not. Sometimes Humans do not want to talk about the events of their past that were very painful. Your mother had difficult experiences in her youth that she did not reveal to me until shortly before we bonded.” Sarek tucked his hands behind his back. “It is entirely likely that you will hear things that will be unsettling.”
“I will endeavor not to make the telling of such things more difficult,” Spock said—his eyes darkening with more emotion than he’d ever want to express.
* * * *
Jim washed his face with the cloth Amanda provided and took a deep breath. “I—they must be quietly, logically freaking out.”
Amanda offered him a small smile. “It is a difficult concept for them as Vulcan’s don’t dream. Or, if they do dream they never remember them. But, they do not expect you to be anything less than Human. They won’t hold your emotions against you—it would be illogical to do so.”
He rinsed his mouth with water from the sink and took a deep breath. “I don’t ever want to be a burden—not to anyone but especially not to him.”
“You are no burden,” Amanda murmured as she ran her fingers through his hair gently. “Your mother said this to you? Said you were a burden?”
Jim closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Not to my face but I heard her say it once—to my step-father Frank. She said that George Kirk had killed himself and all he left her was a lifetime burden. She told Frank that she hated to even look at me because I looked so much like my Father.”
“You do resemble him greatly,” Amanda murmured. “And it is unfortunate that she did not see the gift of it.”
“My immediate relationship with your son must be difficult for you to understand,” Jim began and trailed off.
“It may be difficult for other Humans to understand what it is like to find that one person who is perfect for you but I do understand. I can’t imagine what could be more important.” Amanda turned and activated the shower. “I’ll get you some fresh clothes. A shower will help you relax.”
Jim took a deep breath and pulled his t-shirt over his head as she left the bathroom—closing the door behind her. The soap in the shower smelled like Spock—spicy and alluring. He groaned and smiled ruefully at the damn near instant erection. The guest room he was in didn’t have an attached bathroom so Amanda had prodded him into bathroom at the end of the hall. It was large and tastefully decorated. The soap was a surprise because he knew that Spock was the only one in the family who used it. Sarek seemed to consistently use the sonic process for cleaning and Lady Amanda preferred a light lilac scented soap. Jim figured he would always think of her when he smelled lilacs.
Unfortunately, his dick didn’t seem to care about his mental wanderings because it was still hard and ready for his undivided attention. Since Jim absolutely refused to jerk off in Amanda Grayson’s house while she was in it—he set the water temperature to just above frigid and shivered through the rest of his shower. He turned it warm again when his problem had all but crawled into his stomach. He was out with a towel wrapped around his waist when there was a brisk knock on the door.
He frowned and hesitated. There wasn’t a robe in the bathroom for him to put on and he was not all comfortable with the idea of Dr. Grayson seeming him half-naked.
He relaxed and opened the door for Spock. “Hey.”
Spock looked him over swiftly and then averted his gaze. He placed a new pair of pajamas on the counter. “Did you perhaps need something to eat? I notice you tend to eat snacks when you have had an upset.”
Jim grinned. “Are you offering to get me cookies, Spock?”
“If that is your wish.” Spock fidgeted with the sleeve of his robe. “I don’t know exactly how to ease you in this but I wish to learn.”
“I’d like to meditate,” Jim finally said. “If you would get the fire pot ready—I could meet you in a few minutes?”
Spock relaxed completely and nodded. “Yes, of course.”
Jim closed the door again and then shook his head. Drying and dressing was done quickly to avoid giving Spock time to think about things that Jim really didn’t want him to think about. When he left the bathroom, Amanda was waiting in the hall. She handed him a thick pair of socks. “Sarek is up and will be in his office working if you need him.”
Jim blushed. “I wouldn’t want to keep him awake.”
“Vulcans do not sleep as much as Humans,” Amanda inclined her towards the private meditation room. “Good thinking.”
Jim grinned at her and realized that she saw him as an ally in her lifelong efforts to manage the Vulcans in her life. He found he was pretty okay with her agenda and with a small nod in her direction went off in search of Spock. His Vulcan was already seated front of the meditation fire pot on a mat. Jim cleared his throat and Spock immediately gave him his attention.
“I’m cool, ya know.”
“No, I do not know,” Spock admitted ruefully. “I have never had a dream.”
Jim sat down next to him instead of taking the mat that had been placed for him to Spock’s left. “Sometimes it can be so real you don’t even know you’re dreaming. When I have nightmares about my step-father, I can still smell his cologne when I wake up. It’s that smell that makes me sick. I’ll never be able to smell that cheap cologne without thinking of him and the horrible things he did.”
A small frown swept over Spock’s mouth and then it cleared. “And pain? Does pain follow you from dreams?”
“Briefly but physical pain never lingers.” Jim inclined his head. “I would… like to sit with you to meditate.”
Spock frowned for a minute. “I’m uncertain… you want to sit in my lap?”
Jim grinned. “Just move your legs and I’ll sit between them. I don’t think we’re ready for lap sitting, yet.”
Spock shifted out of the lotus position with a neutral expression and spread his legs. “This is unorthodox.”
“Maybe,” Jim admitted with a grin. He scrambled into place and leaned back against Spock without hesitation. “But it’s not bad, you know. Wanting to be close to each other. I won’t be ashamed of it and you can’t be ashamed of it either.”
Spock shifted and slid his hands down Jim’s arms and threaded their fingers together. “As you wish.”
Jim took a deep breath and focused on the fire pot. “This is good.”
“Yes, T’hy’la, it is.” Spock he closed his eyes and let his head rest against Jim’s. “Relax and I will stand guard.”
* * * *
“And he’s okay?”
Sarek glanced over at the security screen and found that Jim and Spock had not moved from their position in front of the fire pot before turning back to focus on Christopher Pike. “He is… I believe you would call it ‘cuddling’. He is cuddling with Spock. There was a nightmare—but since we were warned in advance that he has problems with dreams when he is stressed—Amanda and I were prepared for it.”
Chris pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m trying very hard to understand this betrothal bond thing. I know—that there is something significant about the Vulcan bond that I don’t get. I hope to get read into that situation eventually. I also know that on Betazed, that marriages are often arranged for breeding purposes. They bring together breeding pairs in order to create strong empaths. If they’d had any clue how powerful Jim would be in the future—he would’ve been bonded genetically as a baby.”
“What do you know about genetic bonding? Could it be done to him now without his consent?” Sarek questioned.
“No, it’s supposedly done when children are small because it’s easier to bind them together before they have any psi development of their own. The Betazoids keep the process pretty close to the vest, even George didn’t know a lot about it and he had a Betazoid mother. They also arrange marriages without genetic bonding but that’s more about politics—I think that this betrothal was a political maneuver. What do you know about the man?”
“Delis Brise,” Sarek offered. “He is twenty-eight standard years old, his academic record is ordinary, he rates high as an empath but his telepathy is very low for a full Betazoid. He is of the Seventh House of Betazed and is the fourth son. His mother has little or to no standing in the house as she is the fifth daughter of a third daughter.”
Pike snorted. “What scares me most about that is that I think you understand that fifth daughter of the third daughter business.”
Sarek inclined his head. “Such hierarchies are not lost on me. The political gain would fall with Delis Brise so one must be forced to wonder what this man has used to leverage himself into this position with James’ paternal grandmother.”
“And what else he is capable of when it comes to my son,” Pike muttered. “I don’t want Jim staying at the school alone. I’d prefer he stay in your home if at all possible.”
“It is easily arranged and preferred,” Sarek admitted.
* * * *
Jim rolled on his back and rubbed his stomach idly. “Your Dad was pretty serious about the security and stuff.”
“He did not wish to leave us alone but the event at the embassy was official and unavoidable,” Spock murmured from his place at his desk. He looked up from his PADD. “You are bored?”
“Yeah,” Jim turned over on his side and offered him a smile. “Why don’t you come over here and we could do what normal teenagers do when they are home alone.”
Spock lifted one brow but dutifully put down his PADD and stood up from his desk. “Normal for what species?”
“Human,” Jim said decisively. He scooted over on the bed to make room for Spock.
Spock lay down on the bed and propped his head up on one hand. “You are quite pleasing to look at it. I find it very distracting.”
“Yeah?” Jim questioned softly as he maneuvered himself as close as possible. “I find you pretty distracting, too. When you sit next to me in class—I can feel your body heat radiating off of you.” He leaned in and kissed Spock’s mouth gently. Then he trailed a series of small kisses along his jaw and made a soft sound of pleasure when his efforts were rewarded. Spock cupped his hip with one hand and pulled him closer still. “This is making out.”
Spock sucked in a deep breath as Jim’s lips brushed over his ear lobe. “My ears… are sensitive, Jim.”
“I was really hoping that was the case,” Jim admitted. “Are there any taboos about this I should be aware of?”
“If there are I’ve never heard them,” Spock answered with a little shiver as Jim mouthed the tip of his ear. “I am fairly certain this is… deviant.”
“I really hope so.” Jim chuckled when Spock pulled him firmly into his arms and pulled him down for another kiss. He sucked on Spock’s bottom lip and laughed softly when the Vulcan shifted against him and moaned. “Is this too much for you?”
Jim grinned at Spock’s immediate and firm answer. “I don’t want to pressure you into more than you’re ready for.”
“Physical intimacy is an expression of affection that Humans require,” Spock murmured.
Jim frowned at him. “You read that in an article on Human sexuality, didn’t you?”
He blushed. “Perhaps but that does not make it any less true. I find it reassuring that you wish to be with me this way. Vulcans appear to value mental intimacy over physical intimacy—but if that were truly the case would there be so many social constrictions about physical interactions?”
Jim grinned then. “You mean Vulcan society is structured to prevent you all from having mindless sex orgies?”
“They would surely not be mindless,” Spock responded snottily and then rolled them over abruptly. He settled his weight on Jim and he’s gaze widened slightly when his mate spread his legs without a single hesitation. “This is… intimate.”
“Very,” Jim agreed. He ran his fingers through Spock’s hair and pulled him down. “Kiss me.”
The kiss started out chaste but then Jim opened his mouth slightly and moaned softly in surprise when Spock immediately dipped his tongue inside. The kisses blended together, going from languid to aggressive and then back against without any rhyme or reason. Jim’s hands clenched on Spock’s back and he shifted his hips.
“Oh.” Jim’s gaze widened as Spock lifted his head. “You’re…hard.”
Spock blushed. “Is that inappropriate?”
Jim grinned. “No, not at all. It’s actually pretty great.”
“My experience with these physical reactions hasn’t been great,” Spock admitted with a blush.
Jim lifted an eyebrow at him. “How long has this physical reaction been a problem for you?”
“Several weeks. I haven’t been able to bring myself to ask my father about it and the readings materials I was provided explain why it happens but not how to deal with it.”
“Oh.” Jim’s gaze got wide. “Spock.” He pulled him down for another kiss. He sighed when they separated again. “I could help with that.”
“You’ll show me how to deal with it?” Spock questioned. “It is uncomfortable if it lasts a protracted amount of time.”
“Show you?” Jim questioned, his voice breaking sharply. “I mean… yeah… I can…” He blew out a breath. “That would be a sexual activity, Spock. I was going to tell you how to deal with it.”
“So you do not wish to show me?”
Jim wet his bottom lip. “Of course, I want to show you but I don’t want to take advantage of you either.”
“You are no more experienced sexually than I am,” Spock pointed out.
“Physically,” Jim responded. “I do masturbate pretty much every single day—sometimes twice but I’ve seen things—good and bad—that mean I’m not exactly an innocent. I don’t want to abuse your trust with this.”
“Do you seek to hurt me in some way?” Spock questioned, sliding off Jim slightly so they were still tangled together but his weight was on the bed.
“No, of course, not. I’d never want to hurt you in any way.” Jim threaded his fingers together with Spock’s and sighed. “What we have—what we will have in the future is extremely important to me. I’ve never had anyone in my life like you—no one who was just for me. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“You will not mess it up,” Spock murmured. “I will not allow you to mess it up, Jim, because you are mine and I never intend to part with you. I want to live with you, play with you, work with you, fight with you, and eventually die with you. I want to lay with you in the last minutes of our lives and just breathe until it is time to go. That is the future I want for us.”
“Live hard and die old?” Jim questioned with a small smile. “That sounds like a plan, Spock.”
Spock offered him a small not-smile and rubbed his thumb over his bottom lip. “If we must wait until the right time to do this physically—perhaps we should do what teenagers do on Vulcan when their parents are away.”
“What is that?” Jim questioned. “Because if you’ve been holding out on me, Spock, I’m going to be pissed. Is it fun because you said there was nothing fun to do on your planet?”
“There is a lot of unfortunate, indiscriminate, and illicit melding on Vulcan among teenagers,” Spock responded gravely, his eyes bright with amusement.
“Illicit melding?” Jim frowned and then he grinned. “Ah, no way, you mean sex melds?” He huffed. “There is a sex meld and you’re just now telling me about it? Spock, that’s clearly a violation of the best friend code and boyfriend code. I should make you sit with Rob at school for the rest of the year.”
Spock trailed his fingers along Jim’s face carefully. “It is not exactly what you would term as a sexual activity. But if we meld together—we can share pleasures—past physical pleasures. So perhaps, you could share with me the last time stimulated yourself to orgasm.”
“Holy shit,” Jim whispered. He pulled Spock closer. “Come here.”
Spock’s fingers drifted into place on Jim’s face easily. “If it is too much do not hesitate to tell me.” Jim nodded and closed his eyes. “My mind to your mind… my thoughts to your thoughts…”
“What do I do?” Jim questioned.
“Take me to the memory you wish to share with me—just think back on it as you would anything like you’d like to relive it in your mind.”
“This has serious potential for some truly deviant activities, Spock.”
Spock felt the rush of Jim’s mind—and the warm pleasure that seeped into his body the first time he’d melded with Jim came swiftly. He’d melded with very few people outside of training and then only members of his clan whom he trusted. He didn’t have Jim’s control issues when it came to his mental privacy because he’d learned early in his life to seclude the parts of his mind he considered private. Jim had the ability to do the same so Spock had come to believe that he had much to learn about Jim’s past and what privacy means to him.
Their surroundings changed and he was in Jim’s bedroom. Jim was sprawled on the bed completely naked. He stretched leisurely and ran his hand down his stomach. “I think we need something a little more interactive.”
Spock nodded. “I never know what to expect from you. It is fascinating.” He closed his eyes against the shocking imagery.
“Hey, look at me,” Jim murmured. “There is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“No,” Spock said ruefully. “You clearly have nothing to be ashamed of.” He opened his eyes and moved to sit on the end of the bed. “I do not think I understood what I was suggesting when I suggested this.”
Jim wrapped a hand around his cock and stroked it slowly. “Did you want to stop?”
“No, absolutely not.”
Jim quirked an eyebrow at him. “Are you feeling this, Spock?”
“The pleasure centers of our minds are connected,” Spock admitted roughly. “I should warn you that these sensations we experience might have physical consequences.”
“Does that concern you?”
“Not in the least,” Spock admitted.
“Do you want to touch me?” Jim questioned.
“I want…” Spock cleared his throat. “I want to you to do what you do when you are alone… this time.”
Jim smiled—smug and shameless—and released his cock to lick his palm. “Okay, I like to close my eyes so I can imagine… well since I met you… it’s been you.”
“Before me?” Spock questioned softly as Jim took himself in hand again.
“Never the same person over and over again,” Jim admitted. “A guy on the vid or maybe someone I saw when I was going to school. No one important or special.”
Jim’s eyes drifted shut and Spock swallowed hard at the rush the sensation of emotion and physical pleasure that washed over his mind. He’d never known anything like it. He watched Jim’s body flush pink; his dark nipples grew hard, a semi-clear liquid spread over the head of his penis. Spock took in a deep breath as Jim used his thumb to rub over the head, spreading the liquid over the flushed skin.
“Fuck,” Jim whispered fiercely and braced his feet on the bed. He spread his legs wide and lifted his hips—thrusting up into his own hand. “This isn’t going to last long. It’s so hot. To do this in front of you even just in this mental place.”
“You please me very much,” Spock whispered.
“Do you want me to come for you?” Jim shifted his legs and groaned softly.
“Yes,” he answered though he honestly had no idea what Jim was offering to do for him.
Jim stroked his cock harder, faster and moaned softly as his body reached release—striping semen over his chest in milky white ropes. Spock groaned as the hot, sharp pleasure of Jim’s orgasm flooded his mind. He took a deep breath and then slid further down the bed. Spock lay down on the bed beside him and pressed a soft kiss on Jim’s shoulder.
“Good?” Jim questioned.
“I…” Spock let his head rest on Jim’s shoulder. “Yes. Good. Very good.”
He pulled his trembling fingers from Jim’s face reluctantly and acknowledged that he’d definitely had a physical response to the stimulation. He grimaced at the cool and familiar sensation on his genitals and then glanced up at Jim’s small laugh. “What?”
“Your expression,” Jim whispered. “We’re a mess—well at least I’m a mess.”
“I’m in a similar predicament,” Spock assured and took a deep breath. “We should shower and prepare for sleep before…”
“Your parents come home and suspect we just had meld sex?” Jim questioned with a smirk.
Spock fell back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. “I fail to see what I could have done in my short life to deserve you.”
Jim laughed. “Is that a complaint or a compliment?”
He turned his head slightly and stared at Jim, affection warming his eyes. “Both.”
* * * *
Jim slapped the door control on the large room that was Jaret’s domain so that it closed and locked. “What the hell is that guy still doing here?”
Jaret sighed. “Delis has business on Earth. I’ve asked Alexa to send him home but unfortunately he proved that he’d made several appointments on Earth that are related to his House that cannot be dismissed.”
“This is…” Jim shrugged dropped his backpack on a chair and waved both of his hands. “Bullshit. I don’t even want that guy on the same planet with me.”
“He won’t come near you,” Jaret assured. “He’s not foolish enough to cross me and my house. It would be a blow to his own standing on Betazed that would be impossible to overcome.”
Jim pressed his lips together in displeasure. “Have you bothered to get a read on him? Because his ambition makes him corrupt and that crap about waiting until I was of a ‘reasonable age’ for consummation of our so-called bond was a big fucking lie.”
Jaret grimaced in distaste but seemed to consider his words carefully. “You are aware that your hormone and pheromone profile is rich. Even I’m not immune to it, Jim. It would never cross my mind to act on it—but if you were living on Betazed we would’ve had to bond you as early as fourteen to keep things civilized. We are a very sexual people and mature sexually on a level that very few species can really handle.”
“I’ve gotten that lecture,” Jim murmured. “I do understand. I’m very careful with people, Jaret. I promise you… I barely even touch Spock.”
“A Vulcan male can handle anything you’ve got,” Jaret responded dryly.
Jim laughed softly and blushed. “Yes, I’m aware but he is also quite innocent.” He paused and cleared his throat. “Could I be influencing his hormone cycles? Rushing him through his own sexual maturation?”
Jaret paused and frowned. “Are you saying that Spock isn’t sexually mature?”
Jim paused and the rubbed his head in frustration. “I’m really uncomfortable discussing this, ya know. It’s a violation of his privacy.”
“You know I will hold your trust,” Jaret motioned Jim to sit down. “This is important, Jim. Is Spock still in puberty?”
“I don’t know the specifics but apparently he was in the early stages of his development when he met me. He was surprised and upset to learn that I was for all intents and purposes sexually mature. He didn’t say it and I didn’t push him for more information. I’ve tried to be careful with him as a result and I’ve made it clear that I only want the physical affection he’s comfortable offering.”
“His hybrid status must be difficult for him and his healers to predict what would be normal.” Jaret folded himself into the lotus position and waited until Jim was arranged in front of him. “I can’t begin to consider how your relationship might be affecting him but it wouldn’t be unheard of for there to be some unconscious influence on your part. There is little we can do about it.”
“Should I limit physical contact with him?”
“No, it would only cause emotional issues to arise and this is a delicate time for him in that respect. Vulcan emotional control is always at the mercy of their sexual needs and desires. It is why Pon Farr is so debilitating for them as a people.” Jaret rolled his head back and then relaxed. “Where is he?”
“He has an appointment with his healer today and I kind of figured that I could use a session with you since…” Jim blushed. “I sort of had mental sex with Spock last night.”
Jaret chuckled. “You are indeed lucky that I’m not in a position to lecture you for such a thing.”
“Like you could turn down meld sex?”
“I’ve traveled half-way across the galaxy for the Vulcan in my life. I can deny the man very little.”
* * * *
“It is not a topic I wish to discuss at this time,” Spock responded with a narrow glance towards Healer Stopak.
“Spock, it is important that we fully document your growth into adulthood for the benefit of the others.”
The others, Spock thought with distaste. He’d spent most of his early childhood being monitored by scientists and healers because of the other hybrids that had been born after him. There were eighty-three hybrids on Vulcan and thirty-six on various colonies within the Federation. Spock was the oldest by 436 days.
“While I understand the desire to create a standard by which to judge the health of those individuals with my unique genetics—I fail to see how my personal habits can add anything of value to that data.” He glanced briefly at his father who was staring at them both with a neutral expression. “I see the value in contributing to the care of other hybrids but not at the expense of my privacy.”
Stopak stared at him for several long seconds and then inclined his head. “Very well. I have been reviewing your health logs and the journal of the readings you have been documenting. On several occasions over the past few weeks, your hormone levels have increased dramatically.”
“Yes, I am aware of the readings.”
“Are you aware of the reasons why?”
“Yes.” Spock responded. “They directly correlate with situations I have experienced with my future bondmate. The first increase was after I successfully melded with him for the first time. It appears that when I have prolonged physical or mental contact with him that I have a corresponding increase in hormone production. Since he is of Betazoid ancestry, I have drawn the conclusion that the mating pheromones he produces are affecting me. The situation is not unpleasant.”
“Have you created a mental bond with James Kirk?”
“Not in the manner that you infer,” Spock admitted. “There is a connection between us but it is his, not mine. I noticed it after he used his own mental shielding to protect me when my own shielding failed during the incident at the school. We have not discussed it but I believe it be a protective measure on his part.”
“He seeks your protection?” Sarek questioned.
“No, Father, he seeks to protect me. He has a similar link to Captain Pike. It is buried deep in his mind and he has not used it, yet. I do not believe he is aware of it or that such a link could flow both ways.”
“He has affection for you,” Stopak murmured as he made notes on his PADD. “It is not uncommon among empathic species to form such links for those they care about deeply. It is a very benign connection that I can sever if you wish it.”
“No,” Spock shook his head abruptly. “He has not used it—but I have. I would not want to part with it unless it is determined to be detrimental to his own health.”
“Why do you think he is unaware of it?”
“Jim is very used to picking up on the emotional states of everyone around him and I am not. When I realized that I could sense his emotions—I knew he had formed a link with me.” Spock looked down at his hands. “I have not told him because I do not want him to take it away.”
“And you think he would?” Stopak questioned.
“He is very disciplined about his abilities and would see the accidental formation of a link between us a failure on his part. Additionally, he could consider it an abuse of our relationship. As I said earlier, he has an intense desire to protect and shield me from topics and situations that he feels I am not ready for,” Spock admitted.
“Have you engaged in an act of sexual penetration?” Stopak questioned abruptly.
Spock’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Of course not, I am not bonded.” He almost frowned when Stopak and his father exchanged a look. “Why would you ask such a thing?”
“You are half-Human, Spock. It would not be out of the ordinary for you have certain desires and urges that could lead to sexual intercourse,” Stopak responded. “It is nothing to be ashamed of and it is a situation you must deal with logically. Your contact with James Kirk is altering your body chemistry to some degree. The attraction you feel toward him—both mental and physical—is quite natural considering your claim that you believe him to be your t’hy’la.”
“There has been very little physical contact between me and James. Our melds are intensely personal and private but that is the extent of our intimacy,” Spock responded stiffly. “I have no wish to discuss this further especially since my relationship with my future bondmate has little bearing on the development of the other hybrid children.”
* * * *
“You realize that you’ve made life very uncomfortable for your grandmother.”
Jim looked at Delis Brise with a mild glare. “She shouldn’t have caved to the pressure you put on her and really, calling attention to the fact that you all but blackmailed a little old lady is hardly endearing yourself to me. You’re fortunate that I don’t have any real emotional attachment to her—or I’d have already made you pay for it. I still might—I mean my grandpa loved her like hell on fire and he certainly wouldn’t want some second rate loser like you playing games with her.”
“The good part about this whole thing is that now you’re even more essential to my plans. You moved up in society, James, and your acceptance of Jaret’s telepathic legacy is very valuable. He’s the greatest mind of his generation—combine that with your abilities and it makes you very desirable as both a life partner and a mate.” Delis shoved Jim abruptly as the lift doors opened and jabbed a hypospray against his neck.
“Fuck!” Jim shoved back at him. “What the hell did you do?” He grabbed his neck as his vision blurred. “You gave me a psi-inhibitor?”
Delis glared at him. “If you’d done as you were told, you stupid boy, I wouldn’t have had to resort to this.”
Jim felt the burn in his chest first and his breath hitched. “To what? Killing me?” He staggered against the wall of the still lift and fumbled through his pocket with his free hand. “I’m allergic.”
“I won’t play games with you. Stop stalling,” Delis snapped. “You will accept this bond.”
Jim thumbed the medical emergency button on his communicator and passed out cold.
* * * *
“I just want to know if he’s alright,” Amanda ground out through clenched teeth. “If you would check your records you would know that when Captain Pike is off planet—I am James Kirk’s guardian of record.”
“Mrs. Sarek, we are trying to look up those records right now but we’re having connection issues with Starfleet Medical.”
“Dr. Grayson,” Amanda snapped. “You can call me Dr. Grayson and take a class in Xeno Social Constructs before you insult someone with more power than me with your ignorance.” She turned abruptly away from nurses’ desk and stalked back into the hallway. “They won’t tell me anything.”
Jaret nodded grimly. “I even tried to get Alexa to get me an update but the privacy laws won’t…” He signed. “This is all my fault. Jim told me that Delis Brise was a threat and I dismissed his concerns out of arrogance and stupidity. I can’t imagine how Pike will ever trust me again after this.”
“You can’t be held accountable for Delis Brise’s actions. I’m just glad that Jim’s communicator alerted embassy security. If he’d gotten Jim out of the building or just some where more private—he could be dead right now.”
Jaret shuddered and cleared his throat. “How is Spock?”
“Sedated!” Amanda snapped and then took a deep breath. “I’m sorry.” She took another calming breath and closed her eyes. “Sarek said that Spock must have felt James’ die no matter how brief it was because he went into a rage and they had to subdue and sedate him.”
The nurse that Amanda had already berated twice in less than half-hour appeared in the doorway. “Dr. Grayson, I’ve had a communication from Captain Pike and you’re cleared to be taken back to James’ room. He’s also given permission for someone named Jaret.”
“That would be me,” Jaret murmured. “Is he okay?”
“The doctor will be able to update you on his condition. Captain Pike has requested that you contact him after you’ve seen James for yourselves.”
Amanda nodded. “Of course, thank you and I apologize for my behavior.”
“It’s a stressful day when the health of someone so young is at risk,” the nurse responded neutrally. “The hospital apologizes for any stress we may have added to it because of the system issues. We have moved him into a private room at Dr. McCoy’s request. The doctor will be in within the next ten minutes. James is currently unconscious.” The nurse offered as she opened the door to the room. “Let me know if you need anything.”
Amanda’s stomach dropped at the sight of Jim. He looked impossibly young and small—so different than what she was used to when it came to the vivid young man who had invaded her family so wonderfully. She took a deep breath. “This man—he’ll pay for this?”
Jaret nodded and picked up Jim’s hand. He stroked the skin gently and closed his eyes briefly. “Yes, of course. There is no higher crime on Betazed than murder or attempted murder. No matter his intentions, he very nearly killed Jim today and would’ve if security hadn’t been so quick to respond. I have no doubts he would’ve walked away without calling for any kind of medical assistance. He was running way from the turbolift when security arrived.”
“Do you know what his intentions were?”
“He gave him a psi-inhibitor,” Jaret frowned. “I can only assume he meant to bond with him and implant a deep suggestion that the bond was wanted and desired. Jim would’ve had no defense against it. I don’t know that I would’ve been unable to undo the damage done to Jim if that had happened. That kind of mental attack is also a heinous crime on Betazed but we won’t be able to charge Brise with it because he didn’t even attempt it.”
Amanda started to speak but the door opened and a young woman entered. “You must be Dr. Ke-Mal.”
“Yes.” She shook Amanda’s hand when it was offered and then Jaret’s. “I wish the circumstances were better.”
“How is he?”
“He was without oxygen for at least ten minutes. We don’t know when he stopped breathing but from the reports I’ve gathered from the first responders—his lips were already blue when they found him. It took them nearly five minutes to get his heart started on the scene before he was transported here.” The doctor carefully rearranged Jim’s blankets as she spoke and touched his face. “His primary physician, Dr. Leonard McCoy, has provided me with a copy of his last brain scan and a summary of his medical history. Fortunately, the scans match up perfectly so we don’t believe there is any brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. This could be a welcome benefit of his Betazoid heritage. Physical brain damage is very rare among Betazoids. Their bodies will sacrifice a lot to protect their minds during trauma.”
“Is his heart damaged?”
“It suffered a serious amount of strain but no—it’s not damaged. He’ll likely make a full recovery but we won’t know for certain until he wakes up.”
“And when will he wake up?” Jaret questioned.
“That’s a question I can’t answer and I was hoping that you could,” Ke-Mal admitted ruefully. “His psionic activity is off the charts right now—at levels that haven’t even been recorded when he’s conscious as far as the records from Dr. McCoy indicate. Any idea why?”
* * * *
“You are hurt,” Spock whispered.
Jim snuggled closer to him, wrapping around him with a contented sigh. “I’m safe now. Safe with you.”
Spock stroked his fingers through Jim’s hair and pressed a kiss against his temple. “Is he still with you physically?”
“No,” Jim murmured. “It’s funny—but I think your mom is with me. How is that possible?”
“You must be in a medical facility,” Spock responded and tightened his hold on him. “I have no idea where I am. I felt you—I felt you die and then I remember nothing after that. I am certain I must have… grown quite upset.”
“Is that Vulcan for ‘going crazy’?” Jim questioned with a small smile.
“How did you feel me?” Jim demanded and sat up abruptly. “How are we doing this?”
“I am using the link you created between our minds—the empathic one. I am sorry.”
Jim frowned but relaxed back into Spock’s embrace with a small huff. “I didn’t mean to do it—you should’ve told me.”
“I did not want you to take it back,” Spock admitted. “It is precious to me.”
“I’d never take something from you against your will.”
* * * *
Sarek brushed his fingers over the nearly healed abrasion on his cheek and glanced over the restraints that they’d been forced to put Spock in. Seeing his child strapped down like a criminal was offensive to him on a level he hadn’t thought possible. “I have had word from Amanda that James Kirk is in stable condition. I think we can allow Spock to wake up now.”
Stopak picked up a hypospray and then paused. “I believe for the sake of your son we should refrain from discussing with him the depth of his response in this situation. It would not serve him to know that he lost so much control.”
“He will know something happened. I have never lied to my son.”
“I am not suggesting a lie just an omission of the extent of his condition. His grief was crippling and if his mind has protected him from it—I believe we should allow it do so. I have already erased the security footage and we are the only witnesses.” Stopak put his hands behind his back and regarded Sarek for several seconds before continuing. “He is my patient, Sarek, and I believe this is the best course of action for his continued mental health. The loss of a bondmate is painful in any circumstances but Spock’s empathic connection with this boy caused him a great deal of pain today. I have never seen anything like it and we have a duty to protect your son as much as possible.”
Sarek nodded. “I will do as you believe is necessary. I would do nothing to hurt him.”
Stopak pressed the hypospray to Spock’s neck. “It will take a few minutes.”
* * * *
Amanda was washing Jim’s face when he jerked awake. His beautiful blue eyes bright with shock. “It’s alright. I’m here.”
“Spock,” Jim whispered hoarsely.
“He’s fine and will be here as soon as he released from his healer’s care,” Amanda murmured as she ran her fingers through his hair. “I find it difficult to be in two places at once but I believed that Spock would wish me to be at your side rather than at his.” She pressed her fingers to his lips when he started to speak. “Don’t talk. Your throat is very raw from the swelling and the medications will work better if you don’t stress yourself physically. I know you’re perfectly capable of talking to me in my head. You may do so.”
Jim’s gaze widened briefly and he flushed. He shook his head abruptly and averted his gaze.
“No choice, young man. I assure you I’m capable of handling it. I trust you.” Amanda stroked her fingers through his hair until he relaxed and nodded his agreement.
“Is Spock okay?”
“Yes. He was upset and had to be sedated but there was no undue strain on him physically or mentally as a result of this situation.” She paused and then shrugged. “He could be fairly irritated on your behalf but he would not be alone in that circumstance.”
“I was stupid. I let Brise get too close to me.” Tears welled but did not fall, making his eyes seem bluer and brighter than ever before.
“You are not to blame for his attack on you,” Amanda admonished. “I won’t allow you to think so.” She patted his cheek with just enough force to get his complete attention. “Now, there are some concerns about your psionic readings—were you in telepathic contact with my son while you were unconscious?”
Jim blushed and nodded abruptly. “I made a mistake with him. I have no excuse for the pain I caused him today because of it.”
Amanda sat down on the edge of the bed and curled her hand into Jim’s. “I believe if he’d found the connection he has with you uncomfortable or unacceptable that he would’ve told you about it. Spock has never hesitated to speak his mind.”
“I’ve sent him a message but he is too far from Earth for a direct subspace connection. We’ve had no luck connecting him through a relay. He is aware that you were injured and is making every effort to come home early.”
“Important mission. I’m fine. Tell him I’m fine.”
“I will but I do not believe that will change his plans,” Amanda said with a small smile. “You are his child.” She leaned in and kissed Jim’s forehead. “Just relax and rest. Everything will be fine.”
* * * *
“I hit you.”
Sarek looked up from his PADD to focus on Spock from his place on the opposite side of the car. “You were not yourself and I am more than capable of handling myself. Restraining you was not as easy as it was when you were a small child but I suffered no damage in the altercation.”
Spock’s fingers tightened in his robe. “I did not mean… I would never wish to hurt you, Father. I remember little of what happened. Will you tell me?”
“You were enduring Stopak’s questions with as much grace was one can expect due to the content of his inquiry and then without warning you shouted for James. You launched yourself towards the door and when I interfered with your attempt to flee the room—you struck me. I delivered a perfectly adequate nerve pinch that rendered you unconscious long enough for you to be restrained and eventually sedated.”
“I am ashamed of my actions,” Spock whispered. “I remember his fear and shock. Then I felt him die.” He swallowed hard.
“Do not dwell on the past, Spock. You have duty to James who has been through a trying ordeal today. He will need your undivided attention. What happened was not your fault—it was not a failure in your ability or your control. The cause for your outburst was sufficient and nothing you could have prepared for.”
* * * *
One Week Later
“What will happen to his man?”
Alexa flinched at the cold fury pouring off Christopher Pike. She’d been surprised to find that the man had beamed down directly to the embassy instead of going to see his son. “He’s in custody and will be tried for physical assault at the very least. We are still discussing the situation. The altercation happened on Betazed soil technically.”
“I want him charged in Federation court with assault, attempted involuntary manslaughter, and attempted sexual assault.” Pike held up a hand when she started to speak. “We both know it was his intention to bond with my son and empathic bonds are sexual. This wasn’t going to be a betrothal bond. He intended to force himself mentally and physically on my child. I assure you, if he’s not in Federation Security custody within the hour and punished to the full extent of the law that I will cause the kind of diplomatic incident that will break the relationship between Earth and Betazed permanently. I’ll murder Delis Brise—I promise you there isn’t anyone on this planet that will prevent it.” Chris stood and tugged on his uniform shirt. “Understood?”
Alexa inclined her head. “Understood. I’ll contact my government and let them know if your requests.”
“You do that.”
* * * *
Chris paused in the open doors that lead out to the patio of Sarek’s home. Jim was lying on a blanket and Spock was sitting beside him with a PADD he appeared to be reading from. He glanced at Sarek with a frown. “What are they doing?”
“Spock is reading James a story,” Sarek responded dryly. “Alice in Wonderland, which I honestly do not believe has a wholesome premise but they are both intelligent enough to realize that drugs should not be used for recreation. Your son’s affection with classic Terran literature fascinates Spock.”
He laughed softly and the sound carried over the yard. Jim sat up. “Dad!” He rolled to his feet and jogged across the bright green grass with an easy grace that Chris envied.
“Bones is looking for you,” Pike warned as he accepted a tight hug. “I have no doubts that he is minutes behind me.”
Jim laughed softly. “Well, he’ll just be one of many doctors who have had me in their clutches this week. I was even forced to see a throat specialist.”
“Forced is hardly an accurate term,” Sarek responded with a cool eyed glance. “You did not complain at the time.”
“Well, no one complains to your wife,” Jim admitted. “At least, not if they don’t want to pay for it for years.”
“It is a lesson I learned long ago,” Sarek responded.
By the time he was led back into the house by Jim—Bones had arrived and was having tea with Amanda. Chris lifted an eyebrow at the delicate tea cup in his friend’s hand and Bones blushed so nicely that Pike couldn’t help but grin. McCoy put down his cup and pointed at Jim.
McCoy snorted. “Don’t give me that cute smile, kid. You and me are having a private conversation. I’ve gotten all of the reports from the five different doctors you’ve seen in the last week.”
“You know doctors find me fascinating,” Jim responded. “We could use the dining room. It’s next door.”
* * * *
Chris leaned in the doorway of Jim’s bedroom and watched him turn on his generator and get settled for the night. “Are you really okay?”
“It wasn’t a great time but yeah I’m okay,” Jim murmured as he sat down on the bed. “Are you going to tell me eventually or just wait until I catch you and him on the couch making out or something?”
Chris blushed and blew air between his lips. “It’s… I figured you didn’t want to talk about it since I knew it wasn’t a secret from you. I didn’t want to upset you.”
Jim laughed sadly. “Wow, you know, sometimes I honestly forget how much I must have royally fucked up your life just by being in it. I know you gave up a big mission that would’ve taken you off planet for a few years. You let Starfleet waste you in diplomatic missions and Federation relief projects because it keeps you close to Earth.”
“You have not fucked up my life,” Pike snapped. “If anything you serve to remind every goddamned day how wrong I was.” He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I told your Dad that I didn’t want kids—that I couldn’t see myself raising children, not even with him. That’s why he severed our bond. The day I went to Iowa and saw you lying in that hospital I had to admit to myself how much I’d given up with George—and how I’d let his children suffer because I wasn’t there for you.”
“You would’ve been if I’d ever once hinted at how wrong things were for us. Sam didn’t even bother to tell you after he ran out on me and left me with that monster.” Jim dropped back on the bed. “So, how long on you and Bones? I’d like to think I would’ve noticed if it had been gone on since…” He sat up and frowned at him. “How long?”
“A few weeks,” Pike murmured. “It’s not something we anticipated. I have a habit of picking mostly straight men. I guess that makes me an idiot. Sarek thinks I just like a challenge.”
Jim’s mouth dropped open. “You talk about your love life with Spock’s Dad?”
Pike laughed. “He’s a great sounding board and I sure as hell couldn’t talk to Bones about my attraction to him. That wouldn’t have been at all…well… logical.” He sighed. “Speaking of Sarek and conversations.”
Jim frowned and sat up straight. “What?”
“I know your intention to bond with Spock has been registered with the government on Betazed. Sarek has explained to me that it would benefit Spock to be bonded and obviously it would offer you a layer of protection that I can’t. If you were already bonded—that asshole Brise wouldn’t have been a threat to you.”
“Spock and I aren’t ready to bond in the Betazoid way.”
“No, but you could be bonded in a Vulcan way—Jaret believes that it would be enough that your body would stop trying to attract a suitable mate.”
Jim exhaled sharply. “You want to formalize my relationship with Spock with a Vulcan betrothal bond.”
“I’m a little surprised.”
“I trust Sarek and his opinion on this matter. I’ve spent entirely too much time ignoring that you have biological and mental needs that are not Human. I cannot hold you to a Human standard on what I think is appropriate. It’s not fair and George would kick my ass for it.” Chris walked to the psionic generator and checked the settings. “You’ve tightened the field so that it’s only in your bedroom. Is it difficult to sleep if I’m in the field with you?”
“I made it smaller when I was at Spock’s house. I didn’t want my field to intrude on either Spock or Ambassador Sarek.” Jim admitted. “I don’t have a problem with a formal betrothal with Spock. Our… relationship isn’t exactly platonic but we haven’t had any serious sexual contact if you’re concerned.”
Pike glanced at him briefly and sighed. “I was sixteen, you know. I won’t flip my lid if that stops being the case. Just be careful and don’t be stupid.”
“Spock is just too special to me for me to… get it wrong. Some people really believe that Vulcans feel nothing but his affection, faith, and trust just pour all over me whenever I’m with him—I’d never ever risk hurting him.”
* * * *
“Formal betrothals on Betazed are conducted much like a wedding,” Alexa insisted.
“We aren’t on Vulcan, Alexa.” Amanda offered her a small strained smile. “Perhaps we can meet in the middle as my mother used to like to say. The language and the bond must be Vulcan as it is integral to the legitimacy of the bond in Vulcan law. No one is getting naked for this ceremony and it can take place here on Earth instead of on Vulcan.” She raised her hand when several people started to speak. “Earth is Jim’s home and we can’t very well drag Captain Pike off to Vulcan. It would call attention to the situation if we do and I believe that no one in this room is ready for the children to be the subject of a media inquiry. The media intrudes on Jim’s life enough already.”
T’Pol inclined her head to indicate her agreement. “T’Pau will travel here and over see the betrothal personally—it is both her right and her duty to our clan. I agree that we should not up root either Spock or Jim for the ceremony. It serves no purpose to take them back to Vulcan for this when they both live here. When they are ready to formally marry—they can marry per Betazoid custom. It is my understanding that concessions can be made for family and friends if one of the participants in the wedding ceremony is not Betazoid.” She lifted an eyebrow at Alexa when she started to protest. “Trust me when I say there are members of our clan you have no desire to see naked no matter the circumstances.”
Amanda choked on her tea and cleared her throat as Sarek patted her back gently. “As always, T’Pol cuts right to the heart of the matter. We would agree with a Betazoid wedding in theory but I believe that decision should really be up to James and Spock.” She set aside her tea cup. “Now, there is the matter of the ceremony itself. T’Pau will handle the creation of the telepathic link that the boys will share. This bond will grow between but I can imagine it will be quite strong when it is created because of their mutual affection for one another.”
“There is the matter of the betrothal obligation,” Sarek began and all but frowned when Pike shook his head. “Captain.”
“Don’t Captain me, Sarek. I certainly don’t need the credits and Jim’s trust fund is substantial. Starfleet settled a great deal of money on him for the land in Iowa. I do realize that part of the reason behind this is to honor the pair’s intent to wed. Both of our sons value intelligence and education. Why not create a scholarship at Horizon Academy? We don’t have to put their names on if it would embarrass them,” Pike murmured. “That way your clan honor is satisfied and there is something tangible to reflect your acceptance of my son into your family.”
“I like it,” Amanda said decisively.
Alexa cleared her throat. “We must discuss the finger thing.”
“We are not discussing the finger thing,” T’Pol returned evenly. “Additionally, you cannot ever call it the finger thing again. It is unseemly.”
“It’s not a real kiss,” Alexa protested.
“For a touch telepath, it is twice as intense as what we determine a kiss to be,” Jaret interjected. “I think this is one thing you should leave alone, Alexa.”
“On Betazed—the pair grasps hands in full. It’s a sign of their intent to mingle their lives together as much as possible for life. I think it’s very important.” Alexa pursed her lips. “I gave in on the naked thing even though I find beauty in every living thing.”
“You haven’t met every living thing,” Chris responded. “Trust me; I’ve seen some things you couldn’t find beauty in.” He shuddered. “Regardless, I think this one is thing even I agree on. Leave the finger thing alone. I think it’s kind of adorable.”
* * * *
“I think it’s kind of adorable, too.”
Spock sighed. “I do not know what plagues me more—that they are all down there planning our bonding ceremony without our input or that you have reduced me to watching my own parents on the security vid.” He tossed the PADD on the bed in front of them. “I should think of way to speak to my father about how poorly encrypted our system is. I do not believe he has modified it from when it was implemented by the previous owner.”
“So the finger thing.”
“Ozh’esta.” Spock lifted an eyebrow at him and then lifted his hand. He offered him his two fingers in all seriousness and relaxed minutely when Jim reciprocated the gesture without a smirk. “It is a gesture of affection between bonded pairs.” He took a deep breath as Jim started to slide his fingers delicately over his. “That is a private gesture of intimacy. I have only ever seen it once by accident with my parents.”
“You walked in on your parents making out the Vulcan way?” Jim questioned with a small smile.
“Yes, I was ten,” Spock admitted with a flush. “It was unfortunate. I could not look at either of them for weeks.”
Jim grinned. He leaned forward and sighed softly when Spock met him half way. They brushed their mouths together carefully, gently. He sat back and glanced towards the PADD. “Good thing they got off the naked topic. T’Pol’s right—there are a lot of people who might attend the ceremony that I really wouldn’t want to see in the nude.”
“Focusing on physical attractiveness is illogical.”
Jim grinned and crawled across the small bit of bed that separated them. He slid right into Spock’s lap with a little laugh at his shocked intake of breath. “I think that would have more weight coming out of your mouth if your boyfriend wasn’t so gorgeous.”
Spock looked him over as he settled his hands on Jim’s hips. “I believe I will do my dissertation on the expansion capabilities of your ego.”
“You do that, Mr. Spock.” Jim nodded his agreement and just laughed when Spock unceremoniously dumped him back on the bed.
* * * *
“Now—there is the matter of when it should take place.” Alexa pulled out her PADD. “Does anyone have a preference?”
“I was thinking May 27th,” Amanda offered and then shared a grin with Chris Pike who started laughing.
“What?” Jaret questioned looking between the two Humans.
“It’s their six month anniversary,” Pike explained with another laugh as Sarek made a sound familiar to but not exactly like a sigh.
* * * *
Spock glared at Jim and Jim, for his part, covered his face with a pillow.
“Do not attempt to smother yourself.” Spock grabbed the pillow and jerked it away. “I will not suffer this indignity alone.”
Jim reached out and snagged his hand. “Hey.” Spock looked back at him, a tiny frown still twitching on his lips. “You’ll never be alone—not ever.” He pulled carefully and smiled when Spock easily moved to lie beside him. “Look, no matter what they do with this day—what they plan or try to make us do—it’s still going to be all about you and me.”
Spock let his forehead rest on Jim’s. “Is this your way of saying I should just go with it?”
“Yeah.” Jim tilted his head slightly and kissed him. “Because no matter how we get there—we’re going to be together and the rest is just the chaos that life is always going to throw at us.”