Author: Keira Marcos
Art: FanArts Series
Betas: Ladyholder & Chris King
Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Pike/McCoy, Sarek/Amanda Grayson
Series: Tangled Destinies
Series Order: 5
Fandom: Star Trek XI (Reboot ‘Verse)
Genre: Alternate Universe, romance
Word Count: 20,200
Rating: R (for adult language and sexual situations)
Warnings: Discussions of past child abuse and the off-screen sexual abuse of an OC. Sexual activity between two consenting teenagers.
Summary: The House of Surak and the First House of Betazed gather for the bonding of Jim and Spock.
* * * *
Jim paused in the doorway of Sarek’s office and watched the Ambassador for several seconds. The Vulcan let him hover for nearly thirty seconds before he put aside his PADD and regarded him with a raised eyebrow.
“James, something is bothering you.”
“Elder T’Pau arrives tomorrow,” Jim began as he closed the door to Sarek’s private home office. “I’ll see her privately on Wednesday after school.”
“You are concerned she won’t approve?”
Jim had the grace to flush as he shook his head. “No, not exactly. Spock has already made it quite clear to me that her disapproval won’t mean the end of our relationship. I want her approval—we both do but we’ll survive without it.”
Sarek inclined his head as if to agree. “Then where is your concern?”
“She’ll meld with me,” Jim began. “I understand why it is necessary—it would be irresponsible for her to bond us without knowing the mental landscape so to speak. I was told I will be the first Betazoid she’s ever worked with.” He sat down in a chair in front of the desk. “It’s just that—I’ve only ever melded with Spock and I know it will be different with her.”
“Very,” Sarek responded. “T’Pau is powerful and you will likely find her telepathic touch invasive. Not painful, she would never seek to hurt you, but uncomfortable. You guard your mind more than anyone I have ever known—Betazoid, Human, or Vulcan. I have discussed this with her already and she has agreed to tread carefully with you as a result.”
Jim’s hands clenched on his thighs. “I didn’t have a lot of privacy as a kid. Even before my abilities manifested, my mind was the only place that I had that I managed to keep safe from my stepfather. I could make myself go somewhere else when he was hitting me.” He looked up and blinked at the anger that washed psionically over him from Spock’s father. “That kind of physical abuse must be rare on Vulcan.”
“Unheard of,” Sarek clarified. “My wife had to explain it to me—what child abuse was. Early in our marriage, before Spock was born we discussed how we would raise him. She was firm about no physical discipline. She was relieved to discover that Vulcan’s do not believe in physical discipline at all.”
Jim nodded. “My mind was my only safe place and in some ways it still is. It’s difficult to let others touch me there—even with Spock he lets me control how much access he has without complaint.”
“Have you tried to let Spock direct the meld so you can prepare for T’Pau?”
“I’ve asked him and his reluctant to do it,” Jim admitted. “And I don’t want to push him into it. This is my issue and it’s not fair to make him uncomfortable with a very important part of our relationship.” He sighed. “I’m just afraid I’ll freak out and be an idiot with T’Pau.”
“You would like me to try to meld with you so you can ‘freak out and be an idiot’ with me?” Sarek questioned.
Jim grinned. “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time you’ve seen me be an idiot and I doubt it would be the last.”
“Very well.” Sarek inclined his head. “Spock, you may enter.” The door opened and Spock slid into the room with a brief glance in Jim’s direction. “T’Pau will insist on a private interview but I think in this instance it would be best if you were close by if he handles it badly.”
“What will T’Pau look at in my head?” Jim questioned.
“It is her job to evaluate you for the bond and for compatibility with Spock. Incompatibility is rare but dangerous among Vulcans but we have found that there are cases when we try to blend with other species. It is unlikely to be a problem with the two of you as you meld easily and with much success from your own reports.” Sarek stood up from his desk and moved to the chair beside Jim. “The best thing you can do is relax. I realize that trust does not come easy to you—no one could really expect it to.”
“My biggest concern is that I might hurt her,” Jim admitted. “She’s completely unknown to me.”
Sarek placed his fingers on Jim’s face. “My mind to your mind… my thoughts to your thoughts.”
Jim flinched but lifted his head. He glanced around the courtyard that always served as his mental gateway and found nothing but black where the walls and doors should be. Sarek was standing a few feet away from him—near the empty water fountain.
“Your control is stunning,” Sarek murmured.
Jim stood up slowly and took a deep breath. “It’s not normally like this.”
“You fear me—this process. It is to be expected.”
Jim walked to the fountain and after a few seconds, water began to flow. “This is George Kirk’s telepathic legacy. I’ve carried it since the day I was born. When I first built my mental vault—this place—it was the only thing here. The first time I touched it—I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t speak for a full day. My Dad had me in observation at Starfleet Medical for two days after that.”
Sarek glanced around the courtyard but held in his surprise as the walls started to appear. The doors—each one different and unique finally appeared. “Spock told me your mind was like nothing he’d ever known before.” He glanced at Jim who was blushing. “I thought perhaps it was the romance of finding his bondmate that made him believe that.”
“I find him just as unique and fascinating,” Jim admitted.
Sarek nodded. “These doors are the gateways to your mental vaults—how you store and organize your telepathic and empathic impressions?”
“It’s how I store everything,” Jim corrected. “The organization goes beyond my abilities. Once Jaret taught me to do it—I found it very easy to store all of my knowledge this way. He’s kind of baffled by it as most Betazoids don’t separate their intellectual knowledge from their emotional knowledge.”
“It’s very Vulcan,” Sarek responded neutrally. “T’Pau will be impressed with this.”
Jim walked across the courtyard and touched a glossy green door. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you see what I’ve gathered for Spock in here.”
“Yes.” Jim pushed open the door and let Sarek enter. “She keeps you in here, too.” He walked to the desk and touched the book. “I meant for the two of you to share this place but your wife shelters you within the pages of this book.”
“This place is for Spock?” Sarek questioned softly.
“It is likely that the two of us will outlive herJim frowned as he said it. “I wanted to keep some part of her alive for him as long as it was possible.” The book doubled in thickness under his hand and he lifted it away. “Some part of you as well—so that he’ll always have the two of you close like I have my Dad and George’s legacy in the fountain.”
“This is a gift beyond any price,” Sarek admitted roughly and then turned to leave the room. “Come—I have one more thing to ask of you before I end the meld.”
Jim dutifully followed him back out into the courtyard, closing Amanda’s door firmly as he did so. “Okay.”
“It is difficult, James, but T’Pau will see the pain you carry in your mind. The pain that will linger in you the rest of your life. She will demand to see the source of it.”
Jim wanted to protest but the part of him that so desperately wanted to be fully accepted by Spock’s clan interfered and he could only nod. He went to a dull red door. The paint was peeling on the cracked wooden door. “My mother, my brother, and Frank—my step-father are in this room. It’s not pleasant.”
“I am prepared.”
Jim pushed open the door.
* * * *
Spock nearly dropped his PADD when his father and Jim separated abruptly—Jim gagging and his father shaking with undisguised fury. The door opened to the study abruptly and Amanda rushed in.
“Sarek!” She went to him but he held out a hand to stop her from touching him.
“No, wife, it is not safe.” Sarek left the chair, his fingers trembling and distanced himself from everyone in the room. “I need to meditate. Spock, take James to your room. Help him relax as much as possible but he should not sleep until he has had at least an hour of meditation himself.”
Spock helped Jim stand from the chair and spoke out in surprise when Kirk’s knees buckled. He picked him up easily, despite the muttered protests and took his mate from the room with one look of concern in his father’s direction. In his room, he put Jim down on the bed and secured his door.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Did the meld hurt you?” Spock rubbed Jim’s hands briskly—his normally cool skin was frigid. “Jim, talk to me.”
“He…” Jim leaned forward and buried his face against Spock’s neck. “He said I had to open Frank’s box because T’Pau would ask. She would demand to see the root of the pain I carry.”
Spock rubbed his hands down Jim’s back steadily. “We expected that.”
“When I told my Dad what Frank did—when he finally got the whole story out of me he—he cried,” Jim whispered. “He was so angry and hurt that he cried. I didn’t know what to do for him because I barely knew what to do for myself. Bones? Bones got drunk. He sat there in his office and drank a whole bottle of brandy without a glass. I just sat there and watched until my Dad could come get us.” He sat up and looked at Spock’s face. “Please don’t ever ask to see it. I wouldn’t be able to tell you no and I don’t think I can ever take having someone that furious in my mind again. I’ve never felt anything like it.”
“Did he hurt you?” Spock questioned tightly.
“No, of course not. He broke the meld abruptly but I’m fine. He would never hurt me by accident or on purpose—your Dad just doesn’t have that in him. But, he’s seen that in someone else and I regret showing it to him. No one should have to carry the memory of that around.” Jim rubbed his face and took a deep breath.
“When my mother is upset she takes a bath,” Spock inclined his head towards the bathroom. “Did you want to soak in the tub?”
“I’d like that,” Jim admitted.
Ten minutes later, he was lowering himself into a steaming bath under Spock’s watchful gaze. “You got over that being embarrassed by my nakedness pretty quickly.”
“I’ve seen you naked quite a few times in melds; it would be illogical to have a problem with it in the flesh.” Spock pulled a stool out of the cabinet and sat down. “Would you like me to wash your hair?”
Jim quirked an eyebrow. “Your mom used to do that for you?”
“Sometimes,” Spock admitted with a blush. “Are you making fun of me?”
“Not at all. I think your mom is the best person alive to emulate when it comes to offering someone comfort in times of stress. She’s the best at it.” Jim relaxed in the water. “And yes on the hair washing thing—I’d love that.”
Spock retrieved the shampoo and soap from the shower stall. “You need a wash cloth.”
“Yeah, that’d be great.” Jim ran his foot along the edge of the tub. “This thing is built for a party of four.”
Spock tossed a cloth at him with a frown. “You will not be bathing with three other people. Ever.”
Jim laughed softly and slid under to wet his hair. When he emerged, Spock was back on the stool. He turned so that his back was to his mate and sighed when Spock immediately started to work shampoo into his hair. “You have the best hands, ya know.”
“We take care of our hands,” Spock admitted. “It is important that they be strong and flexible when it comes to the use of our gifts. That over-protection could be one of the reasons why they are so sensitive. Most Humans are not as careful as my mother is—I never realized that she made such a big effort not to touch without warning until I came to Earth. I have learned more about shielding myself and protecting my mind in the last seven months than I have learned in my entire life.”
“What did you do the first month you were here?”
“We searched for our home, purchased it, and set about furnishing it exactly as my mother wished it. Father and I made a pact between us that she would have exactly what she wanted for the rest of her life. Her time on Vulcan was not always pleasant. While the members of our clan were never cruel to her—she told you how others treated her. I would never want you to suffer that in silence. Not ever.”
“I won’t,” Jim promised. “I believe I’ve already proven that with T’Pring.”
“She deserved more than she received for what she tried to do to you,” Spock murmured. “If a male Vulcan had treated you like that—I am afraid my reaction would have been physically violent.”
“You’d kick somebody’s ass for me?” Jim questioned amused.
“I believe I have already kicked someone’s ass for you,” Spock returned dryly.
Jim laughed and sighed. “Right, you did. They day you turned into a ninja at the mall.”
Spock said nothing but pulled on Jim’s hair briefly, which made his mate laugh all the more. He prodded him under the water to rinse out the shampoo. “Did you wish to talk about it?”
Jim wiped his face and shook his head. “Not really. I know—you have every right to know what happened to me when I was a kid but it’s horrible, Spock.”
“It won’t change how I feel about you.”
“No, I know it won’t but all knowledge changes you in some way—good or bad. You won’t come away from the experience unchanged, uneffected.”
Spock nodded and took up the cloth that Jim had left on the edge of the tub. He wet it and worked soap into it as he considered his words. “You have nightmares about it and that is my concern. And I agree with you—I have every right to know what bothers you, what hurts you.”
Jim shifted so Spock could wash his shoulders and back. “He hit us both a lot. Sam got the brunt of it until he ran away. He would make Sam chose between taking a beating or letting me take it. It was sick and sadistic. A couple of weeks before my mom would be due to come home—it would all stop and the one time I told her he was beating us when she wasn’t around—she called me a liar. She said I wasn’t going to ruin a good man and that I’d better keep my lies to myself.”
Spock’s fingers clenched in the washcloth. “She never helped you? Never tried to help you?”
“No, not even when she came home and my arm had been broken in two places. Frank said I fell and she looked at me—with this look like she was just daring me to say something different. And I just said nothing. I didn’t say a single word to her the entire week she was home until the day she left. She came to tell me goodbye and I told her—‘maybe he’ll kill us both while you’re gone and you won’t have to come back at all’.” Jim pulled his knees to his chest and trailed one hand through the water. “The tub is heated right?”
“The water will stay hot as long as you need it,” Spock promised. “What did she say?”
“Nothing. She just turned around and walked away. I didn’t see her again for a year.” Jim took a deep breath. “When I was seven, about six months after he broke my arm—he brought home a girl. She couldn’t have been more than thirteen years old. Sam was weird all through dinner and I didn’t understand why she was there. I couldn’t figure out what the hell Frank could want with the girl. I didn’t figure he could get away with beating on someone else’s kid.”
Spock said nothing in the silence but continued to diligently wash the skin available to him with gentle swipes of the thick cloth.
“I think he raped the girl,” Jim finally said. “He made us both watch—Sam tried to stop him. He begged Frank to let me leave the room but Frank had the door locked and we couldn’t get out.”
Spock’s hand stilled. “Jim.”
“I know, Spock.” Jim took a breath. “I don’t know how many girls followed but it went on for years. Most were prostitutes, others just runaways with no one to turn to for help when Frank finished with them. Sometimes he asked them to pretend not to want it—to scream no while he had sex with them. Sometimes it was real. I can’t keep the memories separate anymore. I didn’t even bother to tell my mother because I knew she would ignore me again. Sam ran away when I was ten. He couldn’t take it anymore and he couldn’t take me with him—I knew that. I didn’t even blame him. If he’d taken me, mom would’ve probably reported him for kidnapping and neither one of us would’ve gotten away. Without Sam there to take some of it—Frank never let up on me, never let me forget that I was a burden.”
“Then you tried to kill yourself,” Spock murmured.
Jim sighed. “Yeah, but I backed out at the last possible second.” He turned his head slightly so he could look at Spock. “I couldn’t kill myself—Frank would have won and my father gave up his life so I could live. I couldn’t dishonor that no matter how messed up my life was.”
“This man is in jail.”
“Yeah, for a few years more,” Jim admitted. “He’ll get out when I’m twenty-two—a few weeks before my birthday in fact unless they parole him for good behavior. They do that—even with violent offenders. He didn’t even get prison time off-planet. He’s in a minimum-security facility in Iowa. My mom didn’t divorce him until he’d been in jail for over a year.” Jim swallowed hard. “Starfleet brought her home for the trail. She hired Frank a lawyer, testified on his behalf, and sat behind him like a good little wife in her dress uniform.”
“She is not invited to our bonding and she is not ever welcome in our home, Jim. I am sorry—but not ever.” Spock pushed the cloth into his hands and stood. “I’ll get you a towel and some clothes.”
“You could set up the fire pot if your Father isn’t already in there using it,” Jim murmured.
* * * *
Amanda hovered, first standing a few feet away from her husband and then moving to kneel beside him as he centered himself and settled his mind. She hadn’t seen him so emotionally compromised outside of his Pon Farr in all the time she’d known him. Her husband was a deeply passionate man, he loved fiercely and when he moved in anger, he was a force like none she’d ever known. However, he kept it contained and controlled nearly one hundred percent of the time.
“I have never truly understood the Terran concept of evil,” Sarek murmured. “It is a construct that is so beyond the scope of most Vulcans that we are truly mystified by the religions that once held such power over the people of Earth.”
“I am well,” he finally said. “But I believe I can explain the depth of evil to anyone should they ever ask.”
“We knew,” Amanda whispered. “Captain Pike told us.”
“I felt it with him,” Sarek finally said. “He tried to prevent it but he could not—his empathy is outside of his control in that particular circumstance. It is a credit to Christopher that James is as balanced as he is. I do not believe he would have survived another year in that man’s care.”
“How will this affect his interview with T’Pau?”
“I will meld with her first so she need not experience the brunt of the emotional experience. It will have to satisfy her. I will tell her that she cannot ask Jim to go through that again.” Sarek reached out and touched his wife. “You should check on them.”
Amanda blushed. “No, I really shouldn’t.”
Sarek paused. “Why not?”
“I took a peek earlier and Spock was washing Jim’s hair. I doubt seriously they would appreciate my intrusion now.” Amanda shrugged when Sarek looked at her pointedly. “You did say Jim should relax. We have to be able to trust them and frankly any physical intimacy they might share pales in comparison to the mental intimacy they’ve already shared.”
Sarek rose gracefully from the floor and pulled his wife to her feet with easy strength. “I would like to go speak with Christopher.”
* * * *
“Come on,” Chris muttered as he pulled on a t-shirt. He buttoned his jeans as he headed towards his front door with a glance toward his bedroom where McCoy was sprawled naked and boneless on the bed. “It could be the kid.”
“The kid has a code,” Leonard called after him. He rolled out of the bed and shut the bedroom door after a truly obscene hand gesture in Pike’s direction.
Pike opened the door and started in surprise. “Sarek, what’s wrong? Are the boys…”
“They are physically fine,” Sarek responded shortly. “I apologize for intruding. I realize that you had plans for evening.” He slid past Chris and into the house without asking and dropped down in a chair without another word.
“Hell, I’d offer you a beer but it wouldn’t do you a damn bit of good.” Chris sat down on the coffee table in front of Sarek. “So, don’t leave me in the dark here.”
“James requested that I mind meld with him as a test on his ability to handle a meld with T’Pau. He is nervous about his interview with her.” Sarek paused as McCoy came into the living room. He lifted a single eyebrow at Pike who smirked a little. “I do hope I arrived after the debauchery was accomplished.”
“We’re both thoroughly debauched,” Leonard assured as he went to the replicator and ordered two beers and a chocolate liqueur. He gave the beer to Pike and offered the glass to Sarek. “It doesn’t have a lot of chocolate but it will calm your nerves, not to be rude but you look like shit.”
Sarek took the drink with a nod. “It is not a bad description of my current mental and emotional state.” He sipped the liqueur in silence for several minutes and then cleared his throat. “This man—Frank Edgars—he will be released from prison. He will be free to hurt other children.”
“Yeah.” Pike nodded.
“I saw what he did,” Sarek murmured. “I saw it all and no creature so foul as that should live.” He paused. “Even at our most uncivilized and dangerous—we did not have such men as him among my people. If we had we would have killed them.”
“If he comes near Jim after he’s released from prison—I will kill him,” Pike admitted. “I didn’t know the worst of it until he was out of my reach. I don’t think I even understood how bad it was until the trial and they made sure to keep a lot of security between the two of us.”
“Winona Kirk—she is worse than this man Frank,” Sarek finally said. “To be given such a gift as two sons and to leave them in the hands of someone so unfit and unworthy of fatherhood.” He looked down at his drink and frowned, startling both Humans in the room. “I have another son—from a previous relationship. My first bondmate died in childbirth. We have not spoken since Spock was young. Sybok was six years old when the Kelvin was destroyed. He wasn’t adjusting to my marriage to Amanda as well as I’d hoped. When I returned to Vulcan, I found that he had struck her several times because he believed me dead and blamed her. After that, their relationship was never the same. She tried very hard but he was angry and sullen. The children at school were not kind to him and eventually he combated that treatment by fostering a deep-seated xenophobia. I had no choice but to send him from my home when he was sixteen—he encouraged Spock to go into the desert alone and Spock was almost killed.”
“Jesus,” Chris muttered. “Have you seen him since?”
“No,” Sarek shook his head. “I provided for him financially but I couldn’t trust him with Spock. He went to the Vulcan Science Academy and eventually to Gol where he completed the Kolinahr. It is the ritual purging of all emotion permanently. I received a communication shortly before he finished his training where he apologized for his actions. Nothing since then.”
“It sounds like he regretted the hurt he caused,” Pike offered.
“Yes,” Sarek nodded. “Children are precious and valuable—the heart of a society. I do not understand how they can be so mistreated here on Earth and no one stops it.”
“You aren’t the only one,” McCoy said from his place by the window. “Jim fell through the cracks of an overworked rural system. His mother was a Starfleet officer, the widow of a dead hero, and the locals thought she could do no wrong.”
“Why did none of those young girls report what he’d done to them? There were at least a dozen of them.”
“He paid them or threatened them. From the sounds of it, they were living on the streets or were runaways. He picked his victims well—some of them might have already started turning tricks by the time Frank Edgars found them.” Pike paused when Sarek lifted an eyebrow at him. “Tricks. When someone pays for sex. They call that a trick, it’s old slang term but nothing else really fits the activity in Standard.”
“Yes.” Pike nodded. “A horrible life style but some don’t feel they have a choice.”
“I have been the Ambassador to Earth for Vulcan for nearly twenty-five years,” Sarek murmured. “The people of this world alternately amaze and horrify me.”
“How much chocolate was in that?” Chris demanded with a glare in McCoy’s direction.
* * * *
Spock woke as his mother moved to stand in the doorway of his bedroom. He’d left the door open so neither of his parents would question the two of them sharing a bed. “Mother?”
“How is he sleeping?” Amanda questioned.
“There have been no dreams,” Spock slipped out of the bed, rearranged the blankets around Jim, and walked to stand with his mother. “How is Father?”
“He came home an hour ago and has gone to sleep. He will be fine.” Amanda touched him hesitantly and relaxed when he didn’t flinch away from her hand. “It is best that this happened here in the privacy of our home than for it to have taken place with T’Pau at the embassy.”
Spock nodded. “I agree.”
* * * *
Jim woke wrapped in heat. It was so perfect that he couldn’t help but snuggling back into the warm, firm body. “Spock.”
“James.” He nuzzled against the cool flesh of his mate’s neck. “How do you feel?”
“Great,” Jim admitted and sighed as they shifted together. “We’re going to get caught.”
“My parents are at the embassy already. T’Pau arrived early,” Spock explained as he maneuvered Jim onto his back. “And I have locked my bedroom door as a precaution.”
“You’ve been plotting while I was asleep,” Jim laughed softly and wiggled a little as Spock settled on top of him. “What do you have in mind?”
Spock placed several kisses along Jim’s jaw as he settled his weight. “I want to make you come.”
Jim shuddered and groaned. “Spock, you can’t talk to me like that!”
“I believe that is exactly how you want me to talk to you,” Spock responded as he clenched his teeth on Jim’s ear lobe and shifted so that his cock was pressed against his mate’s thigh.
Jim spread his legs as his eyes darkened. “Like this or did you want something more?”
“I want to touch you,” Spock whispered against his skin. “I want to touch your cock like I touch my own when I am alone.”
Jim closed his eyes and groaned. “You’re fucking killing me, Spock.”
Spock shifted his weight and slid one hand between them. “Tell me I can touch you, James.”
“Yes, yes—anything you want, Spock.” Jim buried his face against Spock’s neck and moaned softly as a warm hand pressed against the flat of his stomach and slid slowly into his pants.
“Show me,” Spock murmured. “Show me how it feels, T’hy’la.”
Jim sucked in a deep breath as Spock slipped his hand around his cock and started to stroke him carefully. The pleasure was fierce and beautiful. Jim wrapped it around them both mentally as their mouths met in a sweet, open-mouthed kiss. Spock met his every need before he even knew—keeping his touch tight, firm, and speeding up the strokes until he was coming with a harsh groan.
Spock released him gently and kissed him again. “Good?”
“That was perfect,” Jim murmured. “I want to wake up with you every day for the rest of my life.”
“Your goals coincide with my long term plans,” Spock said as he moved to lie on his side beside his mate.
Jim turned and tucked his face against Spock’s neck. “Can I return the favor? Are you comfortable with that?”
“Yes, your touch would please me.” Spock kissed the crown of Jim’s head and then trembled with anticipation as Jim hand trailed down his side.
“I love how warm and smooth your skin is,” Jim whispered against Spock’s jaw as he pulled at the waist of Spock’s pajama bottoms. “I like that you wear silk against your skin. I know you wear it because it feels good—sensual, sexy on your body.”
“Such material is a luxury on Vulcan,” Spock whispered and trembled when Jim’s fingers skimmed over his hardened sex. “Mother insisted on buying me several sets of sleep clothes in silk when we arrived. I cannot deny that the material is pleasant to wear.” His breath hitched as Jim rubbed his thumb over the head of his penis.
“You said cock,” Jim murmured. “That was so filthy, Spock. Filthy and adorable.”
He exhaled sharply as Jim took him hand. “It excites you when I talk that way. I wanted to arouse you.”
“You do that by breathing,” Jim admitted. “You turn me on so much, Spock, from the very moment I met you. It was so hard to concentrate on giving you a tour of the school when I wanted to push you into a closet and do something dirty to you with my hands and mouth.”
“Mouth?” Spock asked with a gasp as Jim fondled his testicles gently. “That wouldn’t be… what would you…”
Jim chuckled, low and dirty. “You’re a very smart man, Mr. Spock. I’m sure you know exactly what I’d want to do with my mouth.” He sucked the tip of Spock’s ear into his mouth as he pressed against the hard ridge of flesh under his mate’s testicles. “This is a weird time to ask this—but we’re basically the same right? I mean, you know biologically.”
Spock shuddered against the stimulation. “Humans and Vulcans are fundamentally the same but we have some differences beyond the copper based blood that Vulcans are somewhat famous for. My foreskin is thicker than yours but our testicles are much the same.”
“Do you have a prostate?” Jim questioned.
“Vulcans don’t have a prostate gland—no.” Spock groaned softly. “I do. I also have f’alia – it is the equivalent of the human prostate.”
“Best of both worlds,” Jim responded with a small smile as he sat back a little. He curled his fingers around Spock and watched the Vulcan’s eyes go wide. “How does this feel?”
“Good,” Spock sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and swallowed a groan. “Better than when I touch myself.”
Jim leaned in and brushed their mouths together in a soft kiss as he started to stroke Spock just as gently and as carefully as he’d done for him. “You feel good in my hand. I love how hard you are—hard for me.”
Spock lifted his hips helplessly and whimpered. “Jim.”
“I’ve got you.” Jim pulled Spock close and started to rock their bodies together as he jerked his dick faster and faster. “That’s it, come for me.”
Spock jerked and curled into Jim with a harsh groan as he came. Jim gentled him through it—stroking him until he was soft in his hand.
* * * *
T’Pau was formal and rigid but Jim had known she would be. He was doing his very best not to look like he’d been getting a hand job from Spock two hours before. Since he was probably mentally vibrating with afterglow he doubted he was succeeding but at least none of the Vulcans would be so rude as to comment on it.
T’Pau had brought a ship full of family to attend the bonding ceremony and Jim had spent an hour meeting cousins, aunts, uncles, three different men that claimed to be Spock’s ‘forefather’. Spock had explained that they were his step-grandfather, great-grandfather, and a step-great grandfather. Jim had met Elder Stavik before, so he understood basically what he was to Spock. What he’d learned fairly quickly was that Vulcans did not stay single long after they reached adulthood and would immediately bond again if they lost their mates prematurely. It unnerved Jim a little—because it made him feel like he could be replaced easily. Not all of the guests were clan as Jim had also been introduced to several young people that were given no familial connection at all.
Amanda had been relaxed and friendly through most of the event until the last group of Vulcans had arrived. Jim had been stunned, really, to watch her shut down and become so subdued that he wondered if she were ill. He’d maneuvered himself around the room until he was her side and hadn’t left her since. Anyone that had felt inclined to meet him had started making their way over to them.
“James Kirk. This is T’Yal and her sons Stonn and Stavar. They both attended school with Spock.” Amanda’s voice was tight but not unpleasant.
Stavar looked him over in a way that felt insulting as his mother nodded to them both briefly and drifted away to join a nearby conversation without actually speaking to either of them. “You’re very Human. I was told that you were a gifted telepath.”
Jim smiled at him. “I am. My empathy is, of course, stronger. It is a gift of my father’s people. I’m sure you were also told that I’m Betazoid.”
“I was, informed of such, yes. Many on our world are interested in seeing the man that has been lured into a bond with Spock.”
“You think I was lured?” Jim questioned, he cut his eyes at Amanda who’d paled and sighed. “I would love to play catty word games with you, Stavar but you’re upsetting the woman I will one day have the honor of calling Mother. I find that unacceptable. Go away before I make breaking your nose a family tradition.”
Amanda coughed to cover an abrupt laugh as the two brothers quickly moved away from him. “James.”
“I adore you, too,” Jim murmured and offered Amanda his arm. “Let’s go sit with Ambassador T’Pol and say rude things about the people we don’t like. Trust me on this; she has a lot to say she just needs an audience.”
Spock watched from his place at his Father’s side as Jim sat his mother in a small area with T’Pol and ordered her a glass of wine from a nearby replicator. Across the room, Jim looked up and offered him a very deliberate wink. Spock blushed and averted his gaze—mostly amused that he’d been caught staring so obviously at his bondmate.
“I met your Human.”
“I took note of the introduction you and your brother,” Spock returned evenly and allowed his gaze to flick over Stonn’s face. “You should keep your distance. He’s more Betazoid in temperament than many would expect. If you irritate him—he will air your personal business for his own amusement without a second thought. I realize this is your first time off Vulcan but I believe you were taught in school how indiscreet the Betazoid people can be when provoked by someone they view as an inferior.”
“I am not inferior to him.”
“I did not say you were,” Spock said as he refocused on Jim and his mother. Even with his hearing, the room was too crowded and Jim was too far away for him to make out what was being said. Jim was waving one hand as he spoke and his mother was laughing behind her hand. The pale drawn look gone from her face. He returned his attention to Stonn. “James, however, has his own opinions and he has no fear of sharing them. It is one of his more fascinating qualities.”
Stonn’s nostrils flared. “Could I speak with you privately, Spock?”
“If you insist,” Spock answered in a dry tone that had his father lifting an eyebrow. He inclined his head towards the balcony doors. “The balcony will suit your purpose?”
Spock shared a pointed glance with his father and then followed Stonn out onto the balcony. They were only eight months apart in age and had gone to school together until the very day Spock had left Vulcan. There had been in a time in the first days that they’d known each other that Spock had harbored some hope that Stonn would be his friend. It had quickly proven to be a foolish hope.
“Why are you binding yourself to this Human?”
“I am half-Human.” Spock walked to stand at the railing on the balcony. “And my relationship with James Kirk is none of your business.”
“Despite your disadvantage, you are one of the most gifted minds on Vulcan. You are of the House of Surak and you have the wealth to secure a proper Vulcan bondmate.”
Spock looked at Stonn for several seconds. “My mother is a brilliant and courageous woman. She has a strong and honest heart. Never once in my entire life have I doubted her love for me. She is loyal, self-sacrificing, and generous with her time and her attention. Being her son has never once been a disadvantage and it never will be. If all you plan to do is insult the woman who gave me life then we have nothing left to discuss.”
“Wait.” Stonn reached out to touch him and Spock recoiled. “We have disagreed in the past but we are both reaching an age when it is time to set aside those differences and work towards the betterment of our people. Spock, you should come back to Vulcan and allow your Father to bond you with the right kind of person. One who can benefit your clan and help you contribute to the future of our people.”
“What game are you playing?” Spock demanded. “I have never had a place on Vulcan and I have accepted that. I had the opportunity to take what you would call a proper bondmate and I refused it.”
“T’Pring has Romulan blood,” Stonn responded. “It is obvious why you rejected her and now everyone knows it. You are a son of the strongest, wealthiest clan on Vulcan. My Mother says that it is obscene that T’Pau and your father are bonding you with that boy. He does not deserve a place in your clan.”
“James Kirk is my t’hy’la,” Spock said in the wake of Stonn’s quiet tirade. “I will have no other in this life but him—no matter the circumstances or consequences.”
“Your t’hy’la?” Stonn questioned. “Spock, you cannot believe that. It is the height of illogic to believe you would find a connection so profound and rare with an off-worlder. There has not been a true t’hy’la bonding in a thousand years. Is that how you convinced T’Pau to allow this? She will see through the mistake you have made and deny this farce.”
“I am prepared to break completely with my clan if I am denied my choice of bondmates,” Spock returned evenly and glanced towards the door just as Jim appeared in them. “Jim.”
Kirk offered him a slow and intense smile. “Your Mother was concerned the two of you were out here fighting.” He strolled out onto the patio and offered Spock his hand, as he got close. Spock caught the hand casually and threaded their fingers together with ease. “I told her I was hardly the person to send out here to break it up if that were the case.”
Stonn was staring at their hands; his mouth quirking minutely in what Spock figured was carefully suppressed horror.
“Stonn and I have never come to blows. His younger brother was not as fortunate.”
Jim moved confidently and easily into Spock’s space and rubbed the top of his hand with his thumb—the casual, intimate contact was scandalous by Vulcan terms. “Finished out here? Elder T’Pau and one of the forefathers are about to throw down on the limits of anti-matter and your mother is too amused to be a proper referee in what could be become the biggest free for all in your clan’s history.”
“Quite finished,” Stonn murmured and turned to leave without another word.
Jim said nothing else until they were alone. “What is his deal?”
“He comes from a very conservative clan,” Spock murmured. “He’s expressing his disbelief that yet another Human is being welcomed into the House of Surak.”
Jim snorted. “Spock, he’s jealous of the freedom he perceives you to have. He is trapped in his step-mother’s political games.”
Spock glanced out over the city. “Jealousy is illogical.”
“Stonn isn’t very logical,” Jim responded seriously.
“He’s always hated me.”
“His mother has been trying for years to get him to make friends with you—especially after you weren’t bonded when you were small. She wanted to use her step-son as an in-road into your clan. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Stonn was one of the people offered up to T’Pau has a potential bondmate for you.” Jim paused and frowned. “And he doesn’t hate you—never has. Whatever he feels for you, Stonn keeps it buried pretty deeply and is disturbed by it.”
Spock grimaced before he could help himself. “I would have definitely told him to die in a fire.”
Jim grinned and then laughed very softly. “Come on—let’s go rescue your step-great-grandpa from T’Pau. She’d already graduated to finger pointing when I left.”
* * * *
“How did the informal dinner go?”
Jim unbuttoned his suit jacket with a sigh. “His family is huge Dad, and the relationships are complicated as hell.” He threw his jacket over the couch and sprawled out next to Bones who was reading intently from a PADD. “My formal interview with T’Pau is on Wednesday and then we’ll be all set for the ceremony.”
“Sure this is what you want, kid?” McCoy questioned softly. “You can change your mind.”
“I want it,” Jim said without hesitating. “It must seem pretty weird from your point of view.”
“No, not really. I’ve dealt with enough telepathic species in my career with ‘fleet that I understand how important such bonds are. I just wonder if you wouldn’t be more fulfilled in a bond with another Betazoid. I’ve researched the matter and there isn’t a recorded example of a successful bond between a Vulcan and a Betazoid. When logic butts heads with emotion the results aren’t always the most rewarding.”
Jim toed off his dress shoes with a small frown. “Bones, you know—it’s too late for this conversation. I’m so wrapped up in Spock emotionally and intellectually that I don’t know how I’d live if he were decide suddenly not to bond with me. My mind is primed to bond with him in every way that is possible.” He glanced up and saw a frown on Pike’s face. “What?”
“Jim, did you… how long have you needed to bond? Have you been suffering this whole time because you didn’t have a bond? Suffering because I refused to let your grandmother have a bond created for you on Betazed when you first manifested?”
“No.” Jim shook his head and leaned back on the couch. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I wasn’t suffering before. Jaret told me early on, in my training that when I met the person that was for me—that I would know it on a bone deep level. I kind of thought he was just being sappy. I didn’t understand it at all until that day with Spock, when I held him and protected his mind after that woman hurt him.”
“Are you suffering now?” McCoy questioned setting aside his PADD and grabbing his tricorder off the coffee table. “Physical pain or some kind of psionic feedback?”
Jim laughed softly. “No, Bones, nothing like that. Sometimes I just reach out for something that isn’t there—my mind searches for a bond I haven’t had the opportunity to make yet and I ache for it. It sounds melodramatic to say it like that. I was never lonely in my mind before I met Spock but now—the only time I’m not lonely that way is when I’m with him.”
“And you think that the bond will sate this urge you have—that you won’t be lonely anymore,” Chris murmured.
“I think the bond will satisfy that desire—yes. I think a bond is the only thing that will. It’s not loneliness in the traditional sense—I’ve had that. I spent most of my childhood lonely and depressed. It’s like Spock woke some part of me and only he can keep that part of me company.” Jim looked at Pike then. “George kept part of you—you know.”
“What?” Chris asked wide-eyed.
“He kept part of you in his mind; even after he severed the bond between you. It’s part of his telepathic legacy and now I carry it. He carried this awareness of you—like he had to know where you were at all time.”
Chris nodded and then paused. “Wait. Do you have sex memories of me and your Dad in that legacy pool thing you’ve got going on?”
Jim laughed softly. “Hmmm, well, he gave me everything he valued in his legacy. Every moment of his life, that was important, special, and worthy of being passed on to the next generation. I leave his intimate memories alone—one of the first things Jaret taught me was how to interact with the legacy without seeing things I wasn’t ready for. His emotions were so intense in the moments before he died so that is what I feel most from his legacy. I rarely delve deep—I don’t need to.”
* * * *
“It is a simple question.”
Sarek raised an eyebrow at his son’s impatient tone. “I chose not to tell you about the offer from Stonn’s family because it was obvious to me that you would never truly be welcome in their clan and the animosity you have for his brother Stavar has not dimmed with time.”
“He called Mother a whore,” Spock ground out and then took a calming breath. “I would have wished to have known at the time that such an offer had been made. I would have been better prepared for the conversation I had with him this afternoon.”
Sarek finished preparing his tea and stared pointedly at the chair Spock had abandoned until his son returned to it. “I should have told you. What unfortunate thing did he have to say?”
“He told me that I should bond for the good of my clan and people. Jim pointed out his personal interest in me later. I also had no response for that.”
“Was James upset?”
“He appeared more irritated on my behalf than anything else. Jim realizes he has nothing to be concerned about. I have done everything I can to assure him of my affection and regard.” Spock focused on his shoe and rubbed at the slick wood floor for a few seconds. “I need to know that you will take my side if T’Pau declines to bond us.”
He looked up and met his Father’s gaze. “I need to know.”
“I will always be on your side,” Sarek responded. “I have already lost one child—I will not lose another.”
“We are little more than strangers to him now.” Sarek stood up from his desk. “I was not a good father to him and the path he chose when he went to Gol insured that I would never get another chance with him. When he took his final step in the Kolinahr, he severed his parental link with me. It was—it damaged me in a way I was not prepared for. When the scholars speak of Gol and of the Kolinahr, they do not tell you how much damage you will leave in your wake if you follow that path. But then, why would they? They abandoned their emotions and families so long ago that such damage cannot seem important.”
“Why were there no children after me?” Spock questioned. “Was one hybrid child enough?”
“The healers did not believe it would be wise for your mother to risk carrying another child. We considered an artificial womb but in the end, she focused her attention on you and was satisfied. As you’ve gotten older, we’ve both come to regret that decision. It would be pleasant to have more children.”
“You still could,” Spock pointed out. “The artificial womb technology has never been more secure than it is today and I would not be displeased to have younger siblings.”
Sarek inclined his head. “Perhaps I am too old to begin again.”
“You are not old.” Spock hated the very idea that his father might be considered old.
* * * *
“Do you know what the word t’hy’la means, James Kirk?”
Jim paused. “Someone who is a friend, a lover, a brother—the perfect bondmate to another’s soul.”
T’Pau inclined her head. “There has not been a documented t’hy’la bonding in over a thousand years. Spock has claimed before several witnesses that he believes you to be his t’hy’la. Such a claim is, in itself, rare.”
“Do you think he’s wrong?”
“I could not make such a determination without a mind meld,” T’Pau responded. “It is a romantic and fanciful notion—the idea of a t’hy’la. Most Vulcans do not allow themselves the freedom to make such a connection. If it is the case, your pairing will be honored in our clan.”
“Even if I’m Human?” Jim questioned.
“I do not care about blood runs in your veins, child.” T’Pau motioned him to kneel on a pillow near the window. “I attended to the bonding of Sarek and Amanda. It was a unique experience—to find a Human mind attuned with a Vulcan and ready for a bond.” She knelt easily on the pillow in front of him with a lifted eyebrow at his aborted attempt to offer her help. “Getting down here is easy. Getting up is a different story.”
“I will remember,” Jim murmured and smiled softly.
T’Pau arranged her robe carefully and then focused on him. “I melded with Sarek this morning and we will not touch on the memories of your early childhood. I have the information I need regarding those events.”
Jim nodded. “Okay.” He flinched under the warm, dry pressure of her fingers but forced himself still. “Don’t let me hurt you.” He barely had time to register the startled look in her eyes before his eyes closed involuntarily.
“My mind to your mind… my thoughts to your thoughts.”
His mind rushed like it had that day in the car—foot on the gas, revenge in his heart, and a ‘fuck you’ to the world ringing in his ears. She slipped into his mind like a snake—slithering through his thoughts, respecting the dark areas of his mind that he guarded closely, but giving him no control—no power over what was to come.
They landed in his mental courtyard so swiftly that he felt jolted and disconnected from his own mind for a few seconds. The sun was bright in the too blue sky; the water fountain was rushing and more gorgeous than ever. Everything was revealed—the beautiful climbing roses that grew on the walls. All of the doors but three were clear as glass. The three that remained were the ones that Jim guarded the most closely.
T’Pau looked at the red door first. “The monster is there.”
“And this black door?”
“That vault is for my Betazoid teaching master, Jaret. It is private and beyond your purview.” Jim glanced at her hoping she understood his resolve and the unspoken apology. He was relieved when she only nodded.
She went to the final door. “And this one? What is here that you guard so fiercely? It is the most heavily guarded place in your mind—held precious in way I have never encountered before in any mind—not even among bonded individuals.”
“It is my imzadi,” Jim murmured. “It is Spock. The memories and experiences within are private and personal. I guard it most closely now because it houses the empathic bond I’m building for Spock.”
“May I see this bond?”
“I will bring it out—but you may not enter his place at this time.”
“Understood, James Kirk.”
Jim slipped into the room, careful to pull the door shut behind him. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust T’Pau to honor her agreement—the contents of the space were so intimate that sharing them even accidently was beyond the pale. He picked up the box that held the bond he was creating and when he returned to the courtyard, he found T’Pau sitting on the ledge of his father’s fountain.
“That is the telepathic legacy of George Kirk.”
“It is fascinating,” T’Pau admitted. “We have often heard that Betazoids do this with their children but I have never had the privilege of seeing it like this.”
Jim nodded and knelt on the ground near her. “I’ll ask you not to touch—I realize it is your natural inclination and the psionic impression of the bond will be attractive to you.”
T’Pau stood and tucked her hands behind her back. “Will you tell me why you focus so much of your mental energies on making this place in your mind aesthetically pleasing?”
Jim paused as he unlatched the box and looked around. “I don’t. It has always been beautiful like this—since the moment Jaret taught me to find it and use it in my mind. Jaret’s mental vault is a large house with hundreds of rooms. I imagine as I grow older that mine will expand in much the same way.” He pointed towards a place where the north and east wall did not meet. A winding sidewalk spilled out into the darkness. “There is already something new developing. I think Spock is responsible for it. It appeared during our third meld.”
Jim opened the box and the rope of psionic energy flowed into his hands eagerly. “I started building it several months ago. While I can create a Betazoid telepathic bond quickly—the empathic bond is more like a work of art. It requires patience, a profound love, and soul deep commitment.” He looked up at T’Pau and swallowed. “This is what I will give Spock when we wed on Betazed. I hope that by then our telepathic bond will be strong enough that he can accept and thrive with the empathic one.”
T’Pau stared in silence for a long moment and then nodded. “I believe, James Kirk, that you have chosen to love wisely and well.” She looked at the fountain. “Return your bond to its safe place and we will separate. Before the bonding, you will need to secure it and your intimate memories away from Spock’s place in your mind. We will build the Vulcan telepathic bond there.”
* * * *
Spock stood the moment doors to T’Pau’s temporary office on Earth opened. He bit back a question when only T’Pau emerged. The door shut quickly behind her. She turned to him and stared for a long moment. “You have much training to do, Spock.”
“You will undertake special training with the Betazoid, Jaret Molia. I will speak with him concerning the matter at the first opportunity. If you are to properly bond with that young man—you must be prepared to meet him on an equal footing and accept the empathic bond he will one day offer you. Nothing you’ve been taught on Vulcan will prepare you for that. Therefore you must educate yourself as much as possible with Jaret.”
“Of course, Elder.” Spock relaxed in relief. “I will do all that is required of me.”
T’Pau nodded. “The bonding ceremony will take place as scheduled. James is having some tea, you may join him.”
* * * *
Sarek was barely able to concentrate on the conversation going on between Amanda and T’Pol. He hadn’t been this unnerved since Spock’s birth. The doors opened abruptly and T’Pau swept in without speaking. She went to the replicator and ordered herself coffee but joining them in the chairs by T’Pol’s balcony.
“They do not need me to bond,” she said without preamble. “If they were not so disciplined—they would already have a full bond. On Wednesday, when they give themselves permission to reach out for the other—the bond they will create under my direction will be strong and as durable as any fully consummated marriage bond.”
“They are…” T’Pol paused. “They are t’hy’la.”
“Yes—the bonding will be intimate and for the lack of a better word—explosive. The level of mental intimacy they already share would not be out of place in a pair that had been bonded for a hundred years.” She paused and looked at Sarek. “You did not tell me that his mind was so…”
“Beautiful?” Amanda questioned. “Spock says that James’ mind is beautiful.”
T’Pau stared into her coffee cup. “Your child has always been a romantic, Amanda.” She looked up, her dark eyes curiously bright. “James Kirk is a fascinating young man and I look forward to seeing how his presence in our clan changes us—just as you have changed us over the years.”
* * * *
Jim entered the house through the garage and put his helmet on the kitchen counter. “Dad?” The house comm had a message waiting so he activated the station as he started browsing the replicator menu for dinner.
“Jim, I have dinner with Archer this evening—I’ll be home before you go to sleep. Pike out.”
Jim shot the comm station a mild glare and wished he’d stayed at Spock’s for dinner. Dr. Grayson had been experimenting in the kitchen and it had smelled awesome. With a sigh, he made himself some pasta and settled down in front of the vidscreen in the living room. He flipped to the news more out of habit than an actual desire to watch it. His Dad always watched the news during dinner.
The evening anchor for the Federation News Network was an Orion and she was gorgeous. Jim was mostly convinced she got the job because men all over the galaxy would feel compelled to watch her as often as possible. She had a great voice and her eyes were wicked sexy. The front door chime sounded half way through a report on the Neutral Zone and Jim rolled off the couch to answer the door.
For a few seconds he was so startled that he all he could do was stare. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “Winona.”
His mother flushed. “I’m your mother, James. You shouldn’t call me by my given name.”
“It’s either Winona or Commander Kirk,” Jim returned evenly. “You lost the right to be my mother a long time before a Federation court judge took it from you legally.” He stepped back and let her enter. “What can I do for you?”
“You can tell me why I received a communication from the First House of Betazed announcing your betrothal to some Vulcan.”
“Betazed is a matriarchal society and despite your lack of a legal claim to me—they do recognize that you gave birth to me which means you get copies of official announcements. I will tell them not to bother in the future.”
Winona took a deep breath and crossed her arms. She glanced around the house and then exhaled dramatically again. “You’re actually going to bond yourself to another man?”
“Actually, T’Pau of Vulcan is going to do the bond for us. You aren’t invited to the ceremony. My future bondmate has no interest in ever meeting you and I see no reason to taint our day with your anger.” Jim dropped back on the couch and picked up his food even though his appetite was completely gone.
“I cannot believe Pike agreed to this!” Winona snapped. “You’re barely sixteen and it is barbaric for you to be bonded at all. What the hell is he thinking?”
Jim picked up the remote and turned off the vid. “I may be mostly human from a genetic perspective, Commander, but my psionic profile is entirely Betazoid. I have mental needs that can only be met by the creation of a bond with another person. I’ve chosen that person—the person I will spend the rest of my life with. You don’t have to like it or approve of it. On Betazoid, where I am in fact a citizen—I am of age to not only bond but to marry. Spock and I are going to wait a few years on the marriage thing but only out of respect for his mother who thinks we should let our bond mature first. Dad agreed to the bonding because he knows that a bond will protect me.”
“Pike is not your father!” Winona shouted.
“No, George Kirk was my father and Christopher Pike is my Dad. I choose to call him that—he earned that from me because he’s in my life every single day being a parent to me. He’s the one teaching me what it means to be a good person—a good man,” Jim responded as he gathered up his dishes and took them to the recycler.
“The only thing he’s teaching you is how to roll over and take it from another man,” she ground out through clenched teeth.
Jim’s mouth dropped open in shock. “He has never laid a hand on me, Winona. If you repeat that bullshit to anyone, I will petition the courts and have Frank’s trial unsealed so that everyone will know exactly what my childhood was like and why Pike has custody of me. I’m asked a couple of times a year for my permission because some reporter has sunk their teeth into the story and wants the court transcripts. The only reason they are sealed is because of me.”
She grimaced and took a deep breath. “The only reason those records are sealed is because Pike doesn’t want anyone to know how damaged and fucked up you are. It would ruin his image—the man who rescued the dead hero’s son. Frank kept you out of jail for what you did to your Father’s car and you repaid him by blaming your injuries on him.”
“You are insane,” Jim murmured. “Do you have any idea where Sam is? When is the last time you saw your oldest son?”
“Sam is dead,” Winona returned. “He was killed on Tarsus IV.”
It was like being stabbed in the gut. Jim’s knees weakened and he reached out blindly for the counter. “Get out. Get out and don’t ever fucking come near me again.”
“You’re the only son I have left.”
“I am no child of yours!” Jim shouted and blinked back tears. “You bitch—you vicious bitch.”
“What the fuck is going on in here?”
“Bones.” Jim rubbed his mouth with the back of his hand. “Get her out of here. Make her leave.”
McCoy glared at her. “Lt. Commander Kirk, you’ve been asked to leave.”
“I don’t take orders from you.”
“You’ll get the fuck out of this house or I’ll call Starfleet and report you for violating the ruling of a Federation court. How would you like to spend a month in the brig?” McCoy demanded as he moved between her and Jim.
Winona turned on her heel and left with one final glare in McCoy’s direction.
Jim blinked rapidly but tears were streaming down his face anyway. “She said Sam was dead.”
“Hell.” McCoy reached out for him. “Come on, kid, I need you to calm down.”
“Tarsus IV. She said he was killed on Tarsus, Bones.” Jim knotted his fists in McCoy’s uniform shirt. “It’s a lie, Bones, tell me she’s wrong. Tell me Sam didn’t die in that horrible place.”
McCoy pulled him close and sucked in a breath as a sob was muffled against his neck. He pulled out his communicator. “Chris.”
“Hey are you and the kid… what’s wrong?”
“Come home. Now.”
* * * *
“You sedated him.” Pike glared at his lover. “You sedated my kid.”
“I sedated my patient because he was so emotionally overwrought that he started speaking several languages at once—none of which I understood,” Leonard snapped. “Why didn’t we know she was back on the planet, Chris? You usually get a notification.”
“She didn’t come back on a Starfleet ship. Betazed informed her of the bonding ceremony. She used it as an excuse to get leave and her Captain approved it without a second fucking thought,” Pike ground out. “She said Sam was dead?”
“She told Jim that he died on Tarsus IV,” Bones murmured. “A lot of the bodies were cremated and the colony records were destroyed. There is no way to know if she’s telling the truth.”
Chris dropped down on the couch and rubbed his face. “It fits. I haven’t gotten a single clue to his whereabouts in about four years. If he went to Tarsus… we might be able to get a hold of records of him traveling to the colony. She must have a reason for thinking it.”
“Sam is a smart kid—like Jim.”
“Yeah.” Chris nodded. “Very smart. Their father was brilliant like that.”
“Maybe he used Tarsus IV to fake his death—to escape her permanently.”
“Do you think he would do that to Jim?”
“He left that kid to suffer with that bastard when he could’ve come to you and told you what was going on,” Leonard murmured. “I know Jim doesn’t see it that way—but Sam was fourteen years old when he ran away. He had the balls to leave. He should’ve had the balls to save his baby brother, too. All he had to do was leave a message for you.”
“Another reason to bury his past and never look back,” Pike said. “The shame of that must be eating him alive.”
“If there was enough good left in him after being in that house for all of those years to even feel guilt or shame. That kind of long term abuse can twist a person—make them as fucked up as the person that is doing to abusing.”
“It didn’t twist Jim that way.”
“Jim had something extra special inside him that protected him—he had George.”
Chris nodded but didn’t have time to respond before his front door alerted him to a visitor. “If she came back…”
“I doubt she’d risk coming here when you’re here,” Bones said.
Chris went to the door and opened it with frustrated sound. He blew out a breath of surprise. “Spock.”
“He’s upset. Why is he upset?” Spock demanded.
“His mother visited while I was gone.” Chris motioned Spock in. “Bones has him sedated so we can talk a few minutes.”
“Very well.” Spock pulled off his jacket and put in it the small closet near the front door. “I had to call for a car or I would’ve been here sooner. My father had a meeting at the embassy and I’m not allowed to travel on public transport at night without Jim. Mother says it’s not safe to travel alone even though I’ve made it quite clear I take care of myself.”
“Yeah, you’re a real ninja,” Chris returned dryly and accepted the soda that McCoy brought him from the replicator. “I don’t have the whole story because Bones sedated him before I got home but his mother was here—probably to complain about the bonding. She’s not very tolerant of homosexual relationships. She told Jim that his older brother was one of the people murdered on Tarsus IV by Kodos. We don’t know if it’s true.”
Spock’s gaze widened briefly and then he took a deep breath. “That is… why would she wait until now to tell him something so important? She must have known for years.”
“I don’t know when she found out but this is the first time she’s seen Jim in two years,” Pike said as he rubbed his face with his free hand. “I’m going to file charges against her for violating the custody agreement. I can’t let her get away with this bullshit repeatedly. I just don’t know how to fix this for him.”
Spock nodded and took a deep breath. “I have a confession to make.”
McCoy paused and Pike focused on him. “Okay.”
“I have no idea what a ninja is.”
Pike stared for several seconds and then he laughed softly. “Well, hell, kid I can fix that.”
* * * *
Jim woke wrapped in the warm body of his bondmate. It wasn’t exactly an unusual circumstance for him as he snuggled with Spock every single chance he got—he’d even gone so far as to institute a ‘nap time’ after school that the half-Vulcan didn’t need but endured regardless. Dr. Grayson had teased them mercilessly about it when she’d first found out.
Spock ran a hand over the back of his head and down his back. “We’ll find out if it is true, T’hy’la.”
“I hate her,” Jim whispered. “How can I hate my own mother?”
“Your cause is… sufficient. She has never been a mother to you, not ever.” Spock rubbed his back carefully. “Think about her no more—perhaps it is best if you chose to believe your mother died the day you were born.”
“In some ways, I think she did,” Jim admitted. “She’s nothing like the woman my father married.”
“Captain Pike is concerned. You should get up and speak with him.”
* * * *
Pike and McCoy were in the kitchen when Jim found them. “I’m okay. Sorry about the mini-melt down.”
“Sit.” McCoy pointed to a chair and went to the replicator. “You need to eat. Spock?”
“No, thank you, Dr. McCoy. I had a large meal earlier. My mother is… experimenting with Andorian foodstuffs. It has been interesting.” Pike lifted an eyebrow and McCoy made a face. “Very interesting.”
Jim laughed softly. “She’s a great cook.” He accepted the glass of milk that McCoy brought him with a sigh. “Winona has a real problem with the bonding.”
“Figured she would,” Pike acknowledged.
“She…” Jim flushed. “She inferred that I’m gay because of you.”
“Because of me?” Pike questioned. “As in she said… what exactly?”
“That the only thing you’ve ever taught me was to roll over and take it from a man.” Jim winced at the instant fury that bloomed in his Dad. “Seriously, I can’t take it if you blow up so can you swallow that and maybe explode later when I’m not around?”
Pike nodded abruptly, his hand curling into a fist on the table. “Yeah. I can… sorry.”
“The only one that should apologize never will. It’s like she’s broken so badly that she doesn’t even understand what reality is. How does she continue to pass psych exams with Starfleet?”
Pike shook his head. “I don’t know. The admiralty is aware of the issues surrounding her loss of custody. I couldn’t keep it from them and she’s hit a glass ceiling. She’ll never get a command—and was passed over promotion last year. She filed a complaint and tried to say that I was interfering with her career. I didn’t even know she’d been denied a promotion until the complaint was filed. She’s a decent engineer but people have a hard time trusting a woman who lost her rights as a parent. The vast majority don’t even have a small hint of what happened and they still don’t trust her.”
“Is Sam… do you think Sam was on Tarsus IV?”
“I don’t know. I never heard anything like that about him and I’ve been looking for him for five years. I had a few leads that dead-ended but nothing has… nothing that pointed towards Tarsus IV. Most of the colony records were destroyed but I can send a message to the current governor.”
Jim nodded and stared at his food.
“So which one of you wants to tell me how Spock knew you were upset?” Chris asked, his tone casual and neutral.
“We have an empathic link—not much different than the one I have with you. Jaret says it is the kind of link that members of the same family form on Betazed due to proximity,” Jim admitted. “Spock can tap into it because of his own abilities.”
“So you know when I’m upset or pissed?”
Jim nodded. “And when you’re feeling pretty awesome, too. I don’t feel it with you or anything—the link isn’t that strong. It’s just a knowing.”
McCoy pulled out his tricorder and took a few scans of all three of them with a disgruntled look on his face. “The interesting news is that we showed Spock the Internet while you were playing the part of Sleeping Beauty. I’m frankly a little stunned you that let the kid live here for going on eight months and never bothered to show him the monument to the narcissism of humanity.”
Jim sighed. “You did warn him that he couldn’t trust everything he reads on there, right? I do my best not to expose him to parts of Earth culture that could damage him mentally forever.”
“We had to show him what a ninja was,” Chris defended. “And we showed him how to verify content for accuracy by looking for the Federation Seal.”
Jim looked at Spock and lifted an eyebrow when the Vulcan blushed. “Well?”
“I am not a ninja as it is impossible for me to be a spy for the feudal country of Japan.”
“That’s just semantics!” Jim protested.
“I assure you, James, semantics are everything.”
* * * *
His Dad and Bones were useless when it came to the Vulcan clothes he’d been given to wear for the bonding ceremony. However, Spock had given him a thorough lecture on each piece of clothing so Jim was content to let them pace around his dressing room at the embassy nervously.
The door chime signaled the arrival of Jaret, who Jim figured would be no better prepared to deal with the Vulcan clothes. He pulled on the thin linen shirt that was the final piece of clothing before he put on the formal robes and turned to look at his teacher. Jaret was carrying a medium sized ebony box and Jim took a deep breath. “It came.”
Jaret nodded. “Your grandmother brought it personally. She’s already been seated in the hall where the ceremony will take place. Alexa has her on a short leash so do not worry that she will cause you any problems today. She’s been properly chastised for her actions and is brimming with guilt. Hence the substantial gift she has given you and Spock.”
Jim took the box and sat it on the table. The psionic stone inside was larger than the one he’d secured to give to Dr. Grayson and so clear it was practically invisible in the box. Light danced over its surface and bounced rainbows all over the room when he lifted it gently from its protective nest.
“It’s four times the size I could afford to purchase on my own,” Jim murmured. “I didn’t expect…”
“The First and Fifth house made this purchase together,” Jaret explained. “It is your grandmother’s way of apologizing.”
“What will you use it for?” Pike questioned.
Jim actually blushed. “It’s for me and Spock to use together.”
Pike glanced at the stone and then at Jaret and then focused on Jim. “It’s a sex toy.”
“No.” Jaret laughed. “Well… not exactly. All psionic stones are storage units for empathic impressions and telepathic projected memories. We give them to new couples to store the memories of their relationship. It could most certainly be used to store sexual experiences as easily as it could any other experience the owners would like. This one is for Jim and Spock to use as they will in their bonding and eventual marriage.”
McCoy leaned over and peered at closely. “I wish I had my tricorder.” He looked up at Jim. “Why was it important for today?”
“I wanted to have it for when we bonded,” Jim admitted. “Since we’re both above average telepaths—it will absorb our reactions to the bonding.” He reached out and put his hand on the stone and blue color burst into it. “Jaret, will you take it to Spock so he can imprint on it? I don’t want to open the box in a room full of Betazoids and Vulcans until it’s imprinted on us both.”
* * * *
His father had rearranged his collar four times and Spock had endured it without complaint. “You weren’t like this when you wanted to bond me to T’Pring.”
“That was a necessary measure in case your Pon Farr came early. I never expected you to actually marry her or to spend your life with her if the marriage had to take place,” Sarek admitted.
“I realize how it sounds,” Sarek returned and stepped back. “It was and remains my duty to see to your welfare. I will not lose my remaining child to insanity or worse.” He inclined his head. “That being said I am relieved that you chose that day to defy me—to finally speak your mind. Your mother is happy here and you have found a contentment that I never thought possible for you.”
Spock swallowed hard and was saved from having to respond when the door chimed. He finished fastening the buttons on his robe and turned to watch Jaret enter. The box he was carrying drew his gaze immediately. “It came.”
“Yes.” Jaret nodded. “James’ grandmother brought it. Alexa has her under control so do not worry about her at all.” He sat the box down on the table and opened it carefully. “Just do as we practiced last week—introduce yourself and then close the stone. After you close it—only you and James will be able to give it thoughts or impressions.”
Spock nodded and placed his hand on the stone. There had been several stones at the Betazed Embassy that were used for training and he’d interacted with several of them in preparation for this moment. Structures within the stone lit dark red in response to his touch and then Spock spoke to the stone mentally—closing it gently so it would only ever respond to him and Jim. Light flared vividly and then it went dormant as he lifted his hand.
“Very good,” Jaret murmured. He brushed his fingers over the stone and then nodded. “Excellent.” He closed the box and latched it. “I will take this to T’Pau and instruct her on its use for the ceremony.” He paused and then glanced briefly at Sarek before he spoke. “I’ve had several conversations about your future training with both your father and T’Pau over the last two days. While I would like you to continue joining James for sessions—I will require that you meet with me privately as well so that we can go over topics and training methods that pertain to you specifically.”
“Of course, whenever your schedule will allow. I do not wish to displace any of your current students.”
“It has already been arranged,” Jaret explained. “And no one was displaced. My student population is fluid due to the coming and goings of diplomats at the embassy. I will meet with you privately on Tuesday afternoons after school—every Tuesday without exception. Your father and T’Pau will receive regular reports on our progress as per our agreement. One of my students, Devone, will undertake training here at the embassy with Healer Stopak in exchange.”
Spock nodded his agreement. “Devone will find Healer Stopak interesting, I am sure. Though I hesitate to think how Healer Stopak will respond to Devone.”
Jaret grinned broadly. “It promises to be fascinating, right?”
* * * *
Spock had a vivid practical recall—he had memories of his life from two years old and forward. Yet, he could barely remember the minutes before he’d almost been bonded to T’Pring. His anger had clouded his mind so much that the words of the aborted ceremony were a complete mystery. He did remember her face and the speculation burning in her eyes in the seconds before he’d refused to participate in the meld.
Jim was nervous but he looked composed and completely at ease as he knelt in front of him. Spock had been in this place before but it was entirely different and suddenly being the center of attention for two hundred and fifty people didn’t seem worrisome at all. T’Pau joined them and placed the box holding their psionic stone between them on the floor.
“Greetings to everyone present. We gather here in this place for the bonding of S’chn T’gai Spock of the House of Surak, son of Sarek and Dr. Amanda Grayson and James Tiberius Kirk of the First House of Betazed, son of Christopher Pike and godson of Jaret Molia.” T’Pau focused on Sarek as she continued. “Sarek, son of Skonn, is your child of the age of bonding?”
“He is,” Sarek murmured.
“Christopher, son of Joseph, is your child of the age of bonding?”
“He is,” Chris responded and Spock relaxed. He wondered briefly how long he’d harbored some concern that Jim’s Human father might change his mind about allowing the bonding.
“Jaret, first son of the First House of Betazed, is your House satisfied with the bonding that is to take place?”
Jaret inclined his head. “My House is satisfied with the bonding and we welcome Spock of Vulcan, son of Sarek and Amanda into our family.”
T’Pau reached out and carefully opened the box that held their stone. “I would ask all those who are present to quiet your minds in preparation for the bonding of these two young men, as they are t’hy’la.” She focused on Spock and Jim. “Spock, son of Sarek and Amanda, are you prepared for the bonding?”
“James Kirk, son of Christopher and George, are you prepared for the bonding?”
Jim took a deep breath. “I am.” Soft blue light danced in the stone between them, followed by a spark of red that looked like lightening.
T’Pau touched Spock’s face first; finding the meld points with practiced ease and then did the same for Jim. “Our minds, one and together . . . Touching, yet not touching; apart, yet never apart . . .”
“Where are we?” Jim questioned wide-eyed.
“These are the sands of the Fire Plains on Vulcan,” Spock responded.
“This is how Spock sees you, James Kirk.” T’Pau walked around the pair of them as she spoke. “A feast of light, fire, and passion for his katra. He will always see you thus.”
Spock felt the rush of pleasure from Jim and relaxed. He’d known he would be thoroughly exposed in the bonding—thought he’d been prepared for it but the fear of rejection had lingered. The three volcanoes that framed the Fire Plains rumbled around them.
“Touching, yet not touching; apart, yet never apart . . .” Spock murmured and light streamed around him from the psionic stone—enveloping him completely in a soft blue light.
“Reach out, Spock. Claim your place in your bondmate’s mind.”
He gave in to it—the desire he’d harbored since the moment he’d met James Kirk and suddenly they were in Jim’s courtyard. The door to his room was open and it beckoned to him. He hesitated—Jim had made it clear that he wasn’t allowed in the place where his bondmate kept their private moments protected.
Jim appeared in the doorway and held out his hand. “It’s okay. Come.”
Spock took his hand and allowed himself to be pulled into Jim’s most private mental space. It wasn’t at all what he expected because it wasn’t a room at all. The door was a gateway to cool, damp forest like he’d seen pictures of in his research on Earth’s past and current environment.
T’Pau was moving among the trees, appearing and disappearing randomly. Jim pulled him along the forest path and they entered a clearing were a high, wide waterfall fed a deep, surprisingly clear pool. “You need not worry—he has secured the empathic bond elsewhere in his mind to protect you both. This is how he sees you, Spock—pure, mysterious, and beautiful. The calm in his storm, the sanctuary in the chaos of his life.”
“Touching, yet not touching; apart, yet never apart . . .” Jim said and red light flowed from the stone. The light was warm, loving, and in its wake flowed Spock’s telepathic bond.
They’d thought the unique telepathic bonds their minds would create in the bonding process would meet and blend in the middle. Instead—they wrapped around each other tightly and merged into something so strong and shocking that for the barest of seconds, they ceased to be individuals. Then it was done.
“We are one,” Jim and Spock said together.
T’Pau’s voice broke over them. “The bonding is done…” She lifted her hands from their faces, her fingers trembling. “When you burn you will return to the safe and private embrace of your clan for the kun-ut kali-fi. Peace and long life.”
Spock lifted his hand and offered his fingers. Jim accepted the touch without hesitation and the light that danced around them retreated into the psionic stone like flowing water.
“Peace and long life,” Spock murmured and met Jim’s gaze as his bondmate repeated the words.
The bond hummed and throbbed between their minds so strong that it was impossible to ignore. Reluctantly, they parted and the bond slowed inside him until he felt separate but still irrevocably connected. Jim reached out and closed the box to shield the psionic stone.
Spock picked the box up as they stood from the pillows. He paused in surprise when Jim offered his arm to T’Pau who inclined her head and accepted his help to rise to her feet. She patted Jim’s cheek as she released his arm.
* * * *
“You have a very closed mind, child.”
Jim had spent most of the evening at Spock’s side—meeting more family and meeting members of the First House for the first time. Each more delighted than the next to meet him. “I value my privacy. There is nothing wrong with that.”
“It’s very Human,” Kastann allowed. “I blame myself—I should’ve come to Earth to inspect you upon your birth as I did with your brother Sam. That failure led us to this.”
Jim grimaced and his end tightened on the railing of the balcony. “Yes, perhaps if you’d had more interest in your dead son’s children—Sam and I wouldn’t have suffered so much. He probably wouldn’t be dead.”
She reached out and touched him then. “Sam is dead?”
“Winona told me he died on Tarsus IV. There is… we are looking for proof but as you must know that could be difficult to come by.” Jim moved away from her hand and focused on the night sky. “He often spoke about escaping to the stars, especially when Frank was in one of his moods or drunk. I think he would’ve taken any opportunity to travel off world.”
“Your departure from our House has been difficult to accept.”
“You gave me to a grown man. A man who would eventually attack me and nearly murder me in his attempt to force a bond on me,” Jim snapped. “I realize he was putting pressure on you, Grandmother. I understand that you felt trapped but you could’ve turned to anyone for help. Instead, to save face you just gave into him and proved to me how little I mean to you.” His hand clenched in a fist. “Maybe it would be different if my Father hadn’t died—I don’t know. He had fond memories of you and loved you so much. I can’t imagine how disappointed he would be in the role you’ve played in his son’s lives.”
“You’ve mastered the legacy he gave you then?” Kastann questioned. “When you were on Betazed—the healers said you’d probably never be able to tap into it. They felt that your Human genetics would always be a detriment to your mental development.”
“Jaret has sent you progress report after progress report. You know very well how much I have learned and what I’m capable of.”
“I read the reports and frankly after seeing you again—I begin to think he lied. You’re practically psi-null—I can’t even reach out to you for a proper conversation.”
Jim laughed softly and turned to face her. “Because I haven’t let you. No one touches my mind without permission and that is even more important now—I have something precious and private to protect.” He watched the shock filter over her face. “You’re out here because you want to touch what George gave me, right?”
“He was my son,” she murmured. “My last words to him were not kind. I regret that we parted as we did.”
“You wanted him to come back to Betazed?”
“I didn’t want him to stay married to your mother. She refused to bond with him—it was obscene that my son should suffer such a selfish situation when he’d already had a relationship with someone who fulfilled him so completely.” Kastann looked away from Jim. “He wanted children—Winona said all the right things.”
Jim nodded. “It’s always been one of her better skills. I think I was born with a built in bullshit detector because I never bought it. Sam… worshipped her and always believed that she would just one day realize what Frank was. I think he believed that up until the day he left. Maybe that’s what broke him—when he finally gave up on her.”
“One of the first abilities to develop in empathic children is the ability to detect dishonesty,” Kastann murmured. “James, may I see?”
“I will show you but you will keep your own mind to yourself. I’ll give you what you seek but if you try to take more from me that I’m willing to give—you’ll regret it.” Jim grasped her arm gently and led her to a chair. “Just relax.”
He reached out to her and was honestly surprised by how easy it was to reach into her mind. The trust she gave him was stunning considering the circumstances of their relationship. Jim kept his mental touch soft and easy as he placed a copy of George’s last psionic imprint in her mind. When he released her—he looked up and tears were streaming down her face.
“I’m sorry. Was that too much?”
“No.” She shook her head and wiped her face with shaking hands. “It was… I believe if anything Jaret has under reported your abilities. It is wise to protect you in such a way. I’m very sorry for my actions and for my part in Delis Brise’s actions. My George had so much love for you and I dishonored that. His death broke my heart but that is no excuse—I am no better than your mother.”
“You wouldn’t have left me in Frank’s care if you’d known what he was doing.”
“No.” Kastann shook her head. “I‘ve considered having him killed. If he were not in jail—if he’d managed to not be convicted of what he did to you—I would’ve certainly had him executed.”
Jim’s mouth quirked in a half-smile. “You realize that would be a violation of Federation law?”
“As if I care,” Kastann rolled her eyes and patted the bench beside her. “Come, sit, and tell me about your love life. Your bondmate is quite charming in his own Vulcan way and he’s very pretty when he blushes.”
Jim laughed softly. “I can’t discuss my love life with my grandma. I’m sure it violates some kind of code somewhere.”
She sighed. “Well, then, tell me about Captain Pike’s love life. He has a look about him—like he’s in love.”
“He’s been dating a fellow Starfleet officer—a medical doctor for a few a while now. I didn’t notice because I was busy with Spock.” Jim relaxed on the bench. “You know I can’t… turn my back on what Jaret has given me.”
“I would be mortified if you tried,” Kastann responded dryly. “Despite the irritation of some of our family by your departure from the Fifth House—it serves me well to have my grandson so well placed in our social society. The telepathic heir to the First Son of the First House. It’s quite a boon for you.”
Jim rolled his eyes. “I hate politics.”
“Your father did, too.” She sighed. “You have his face—I’m sure it drives your mother mad.”
“Too bad. My son was a beautiful man.” She nudged him gently. “Has it occurred to you that you’ve all but married into the Vulcan royal family.”
Jim sighed. “I kind of figured that out actually—but you know it’s not about any of that.”
“No, obviously.” Kastann nodded. “Your affection for him spread out over the entire room during the bonding. The psionic stone was vibrating in the box at one point. I believe you might have freaked a few Vulcans out.”
“They’re pretty easy to freak out actually,” Jim responded with a small laugh. “They just normally hide it really well.”
* * * *
Amanda frowned at the doorway leading out to the balcony. “Are you sure he’s okay out there with her?”
Spock nodded. “Yes, Mother, he is fine. In fact, if anything they seem to have mended some things between them in their sharing of George Kirk’s legacy. She expressed regret for her actions and he is in the process of forgiving her.” He paused. “He has a great ability to do that—to forgive.”
“You believe it a weakness?”
“I believe I will spend my life making sure the people he forgives for transgressions against him are actually worth forgiving,” Spock returned neutrally.
“How do you feel?”
Spock paused and considered his words carefully. “I am grateful and relieved.”
Her eyes widened briefly and then she focused on the contents of her wine glass. “If I had not stood in the way—your father would’ve secured a bond for you when you were seven.”
“And I would have suffered for it,” Spock responded. “Thanks to you—I have received a priceless gift.”
Jim strolled back through the open doors and moved easily through the crowd toward them. He stopped at Spock’s side and cleared his throat. “Oddly enough, being out a balcony with my grandmother isn’t nearly as much fun as being out on a balcony with my bondmate.”
“Are you inferring that I have failed you in some way?” Spock questioned.
“Nope, just pointing out how unromantic it is to be hanging out with my grandma under the stars.” He smiled when Amanda laughed. “So, I was thinking that we could, you know, pretend to sneak out of a room full of telepaths.”
“You want to sneak out of our own betrothal reception?”
“Yep,” Jim offered him a smile. “We have at least thirty minutes until it’s time to sit for the meal.”
Spock glanced around the room. “If you were to take the east exit and I were to take the west exit. We could meet on the small balcony next to my father’s office. It has a view of the ocean.”
“Deal,” Jim responded. He scoped out his exit and just offered Amanda a grin when she shook her head in amusement.
They departed in different directions and Sarek joined his wife as Spock exited the room. “They fooled no one.”
She shrugged. “They hardly meant to.”
“It is highly irregular.”
“I suppose they just want to hold hands and kiss under the stars,” Amanda murmured. “What could be wrong with that?”
“No answer I could provide to that question could possibly serve my own future interests.” Sarek straightened his sleeve and focused on her. “More wine, Wife?”
* * * *
“You surprised me,” Jim whispered as Spock pulled him close. “The Fire Plains?”
“Unpredictable, aesthetically very pleasing, fascinating, and so volatile that situations on the ground can change in a second.” Spock pressed a kiss against his jaw.
“You forgot hot,” Jim complained with a small laugh.
“You do not ever need to be told you are hot,” Spock returned dryly. “I want to kiss your mouth.”
“You may,” Jim whispered as he moved in. “All of my Betazoid relatives were quite disappointed at the lack of kissing in the ceremony.”
“Most of my relatives are inappropriately curious about the psionic stone. Five of them have asked to study it and were quite disappointed to learn that it wouldn’t respond to them.” Spock’s hands fisted into Jim’s robes as he pulled as close as possible. “We can expect some interest in our bond due to T’Pau’s public proclamation that we are t’hy’la. Such a pairing has not been seen on Vulcan in a thousand years.”
“I love it when you talk history and stuff but we have twenty minutes until we need to be seated so kiss me already.”
Spock pressed a kiss against one cheek and then another. “21.87 minutes.”
“I’m going to mess up your hair if you don’t stop teasing me,” Jim warned. “You will look thoroughly scandalous when I’m done, Spock. I mean it.”
Spock’s lips brushed over his and Jim curled his hand against the back of his bondmate’s neck to pull him closer. Spock opened his mouth for the sweep of Jim’s tongue and they both groaned. He pulled away and then leaned in to kiss him again.
“We have to stop.”
Jim sighed. “We have at least fifteen minutes.”
“17.45,” Spock corrected off hand. “But if we don’t stop—I am going to have a physical reaction that I would prefer not to ever have in public.”
“You mean I’m making you hard,” Jim whispered against Spock’s neck. “I could see how that might be a problem.”
Jim sighed and stepped back. He linked his fingers with Spock’s and smiled. “At least we’re at a point where your father won’t feel compelled to hire a chaperone for us.”
Spock nodded and took a deep breath. “That would be unfortunate—we’d have to spend a great deal mind melding.”
Jim laughed softly. “There are other ways you know—Betazoids can share mental space without a Vulcan mind meld.”
“I look forward to the experience.”
* * * *
They were the recipients of looks that varied from outright amusement to carefully repressed disapproval on their return. Jim just gifted every single person that looked their way with a smile and prodded Spock into his seat next to his mother.
Pike leaned in close and whispered. “You look like you’ve been…”
“Making out?” Jim questioned innocently.
Pike laughed and shook his head. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, kid.”
Jim just laughed and settled in for the meal. He listened with a half ear as McCoy bitched softly to his Dad about the vegetarian meal but for the most part didn’t involve himself in conversations until Spock’s tone turned decidedly sharp.
He was speaking with a distant cousin who Jim had met earlier in the week. Her name was T’Wia and she was an xenobiologist. She’d asked Jim some very pointed questions about his Betazoid heritage when they’d met that had made him uncomfortable.
“As you are both out of the school for next several months—I fail to see why it would be difficult to return to Vulcan so that the academy can do a review of your bond.”
Jim’s eyes widened when Spock’s fingers clenched around his wrist and he sent a warning to his mate mentally. Spock turned to him immediately, his touch going gentle and apologetic in an instant.
“Your interest in our bond is frankly a little disturbing, T’Wia.” Jim set aside his fork and regarded her seriously. “Mental privacy is very important to me and I won’t sacrifice it for anyone’s scientific curiosity.”
“As you are an off worlder, I can not expect you to understand the significance of your pairing…” T’Wia began.
“I understand perfectly well. I also understand that for the sake of science that Spock has been subject to the observation of the Vulcan Science Academy all of his life. He has zero physical privacy as a result—every single cell of him has been catalogued and studied as if he weren’t even sentient. It may be entirely logical to study his development for the safety and medical welfare of himself and but that study will not extend to our bond. You can’t recreate it in a lab.”
“Agreed.” T’Pau set down her glass with a hard thump. “You will forgive T’Wia for her curiosity, James. She is a gifted scientist but often her zeal for knowledge overwhelms her logic.” She inclined her head. “As for James understanding of what it means to be t’hy’la, I assure you, T’Wia I did not let him enter this bond without a full understanding.”
“Of course, Elder.”
Jim felt the anger the older Vulcan was too disciplined to display settle and a flow away. T’Wia’s control wasn’t effortless but it was admirable. He relaxed in the chair and the tension drained out of Spock in response.
“We actually do have plans for the summer but they are a surprise.” Jim shared a look with his Dad who laughed softly. “Though Spock has informed me several times in the past week that he does not personally appreciate the value of a surprise.”
“I, too, prefer to be fully informed of an event before hand,” T’Pol offered from her place next to T’Pau. “But in dealing with Humans as long as I have, I have come to realize that more often than not they mean their surprises to be pleasurable rather than distressing.”
* * * *
The thing about formal Vulcan dinners is that they happened in three stages and the final stage always involved tea. Spock would admit to no one, but he really didn’t like Vulcan teas all that much. Being a hybrid, he found some Vulcan foods difficult to stomach and the tea his people preferred was often entirely too bitter for his liking. Over the years, his mother had developed a mixture of teas that Spock found enjoyable but they were teas from Earth—most were bitter and spicy but nothing like the traditional teas on Vulcan.
He sat aside his cup and watched Jim from across the room having a conversation with Elder Stavik that was oddly energetic for them both. Stavik had waved his hands several times and Jim was regarding the elder Vulcan with amused affection.
“Your clan accepts this Human boy far easier than many would expect.”
Spock swallowed a sigh and tucked his hands behind his back. “Stonn.”
“The bonding ceremony was fascinating and enlightening. We were unaware that a Betazoid psionic stone would be used until Elder T’Pau opened the box.” Stonn inclined his head. “What did… what was it like?”
“The stone is a shell, Stonn, nothing more. The experiences, impressions, and memories that get placed inside it is what makes it fascinating. During the ceremony, it was simply making a record of our bonding at our direction. It is psionically linked to Jim and me.”
“Fascinating,” Stonn admitted. “The stones are such a mystery. I understand you refused an invitation to the VSA to have your bond reviewed.”
“It is private and we do not wish to be studied.”
“I do not I blame you,” Stonn admitted and inclined his head when Spock looked his way in surprise. “I would not want my bond inspected by the VSA. I would say that most Vulcans would be opposed to this. It is a violation of the highest order. Of course, I am unbonded at present.”
“You were bonded as a child.”
“Yes, but it was dissolved just after you left Vulcan. She found a connection with another that could not be ignored. I released her from our bond willingly.”
“It was an honorable choice on your part,” Spock responded. The confusion settling in him wasn’t pleasant. “I understand your mother offered a bonding between you and me before T’Pau.”
“I was already aware of my bondmate’s choice to sever our connection and I was open to one with you. I realize our childhood was turbulent, Spock, but I have grown and changed since then.”
“You still think my mother is a disadvantage in my life,” Spock said, his voice hardening.
“It is how I have heard her described constantly since I was a child,” Stonn defended. “My entire clan… Spock… everyone regards her thus. I do realize the insult of it.”
“You could not possible understand the insult of it,” Spock responded. “You do not remember your biological mother and your father’s bondmate barely tolerates you.”
Stonn nodded abruptly and looked down briefly. “You are right of course. T’Yal would have preferred that I died with my mother at the time of my birth. She has never mistreated me but I am not the same as the children she conceived for my father and we do not share a parental link.” He was silent for a nearly a minute. “I am, however, deeply sorry for what I said about your mother in the past. I would apologize for my brother as well but it would mean nothing. He is in every way his mother’s son. T’Yal has always been very vocal in her disapproval of your mother and I allowed her to influence me.”
“Then why was she pushing a bond between the two of us?”
Stonn inclined his head. “Politics and it is not as if she planned to sacrifice one of her real children in a marriage with a half-breed.”
“That is contemptible,” Spock observed and then inclined his head. “That young Betazoid who is staring at you—his name is Devone.”
Stonn flushed. “I noticed him. It would be difficult not to. Are they all so… attractive?”
“You mean Betazoids?” Spock questioned. “I believe so—he is half-Human and as far as I can tell is not bonded. They only bond full Betazoids genetically at birth. He is pleasant to be around when he is not flirting with my James.” He looked toward Jim then and found him still with Stavik. “I wonder if one of them needs rescuing.”
“When I passed by Elder Stavik was instructing your bondmate on the proper way to process dilithium,” Stonn explained. “If your mate was not interested—he was making an effort to pretend he was.”
“Why are you here still on Earth? Surely you did not come for my bonding.”
Stonn glanced his way. “No, Spock, I am not pining away for you. I have always found you stimulating whether I was comfortable admitting it or not and could have tolerated a bond if you had been inclined. I believe we could have made it work. That being said—I am actually on Earth to attend an educational opportunity at Starfleet. Elder Stavik is my mentor and we are attending the Warp Corp Dynamics Symposium with Dr. Scott. I just finished an internship on T’Lena’s research vessel so the timing is good. T’Yal and my brother Stovar accompanied me here because this is the first time I’ve traveled from Vulcan. Additionally, I believe she hoped to interfere in your bonding in someway but T’Pau did not give her an opportunity.”
Spock was not jealous but he was to use a Human term, pissed. He’d asked the embassy to get him and Jim into the symposium months ago only to be told that there was absolutely no more room to be had. “What about the VSA?”
“I may take the exam next year but I am finished with all of my course work. I wanted to spend some time exploring my options before I chose my path as a scientist.”
“It is admirable,” Spock allowed and then suppressed a smile because Devone had obviously decided that staring was not enough. He watched the young Betazoid slip through the crowd easily. “I should warn you that Betazoids are… emotionally and sexually mature at an early age compared to Vulcans.”
Stonn opened his mouth to reply but was prevented from responding due to Devone’s arrival.
“Spock,” Devone smiled. “Congratulations. The bonding was beautiful. I’ve never seen a stone respond so well to a pairing. It was as if you were one mind.”
“Thank you, Devone. Jim and I both were pleased with how well the stone received the duality of our mental connection.” Spock inclined his head. “Stonn of the House of Suwal, meet Devone Jax of the Second House of Betazed. Devone is studying here at the embassy with Healer Stopak on the Vulcan mental principles.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Stonn.” Devone’s black eyes glittered with amusement. “I’m curious to know what you thought of the psionic stone and its use during the ceremony.”
“The stone is a mystery to my people,” Stonn admitted. “I admit to being intrigued by its properties and the various possibilities that it could be used for. I understand from a conversation I had earlier that the stones are used to teach on Betazed.”
“Yes, I learned all of my basic empathic and telepathic skills from a stone that carries lessons gathered from of all of my ancestors. The family psi-stone that belongs to the Second House is bigger than me. As an infant, my parents often placed me on it so that I could interact with it. I was speaking mentally before I was physically able to make words.” Devone admitted. “Thanks to the bonding between Spock and James—we are in a unique position to share such things now. I hope to bring one for Healer Stopak soon.”
Stonn raised an eyebrow. “The bonding between James Kirk and Spock is that relevant to the Betazoid people?”
“From some perspectives—they have not only bound themselves but our planets as well. Despite their mixed genetics, they’ve proven that our peoples cannot only interact successfully but that we can create life long bonds together. It is not something that most believed possible on Betazed before now. It has made our government reluctant to share not only with Vulcan but with the Federation as a whole which is highly influenced by the Vulcan Council.”
Jim appeared at his side and mingled their fingers together, hiding the physical connection in the folds of their robes. “Elder Stavik is surely the most brilliant man I’ll ever meet in my life but if you leave me in his clutches alone for more than fifteen minutes ever again, Spock, I’ll do something horrible to you in retaliation.”
“You did not find his explanation on dilithium processing fascinating?” Spock questioned his eyes bright with laughter.
Jim huffed. “What is more interesting about that encounter is I’m fairly certain he was boring me out of my mind on purpose. It was devious and I think he might have been casually punishing me for encouraging you to sneak out of here with me earlier.”
“That was not sneaking,” Devone pointed out. “But then how could you sneak out of a room full of telepaths?”
Stonn looked around critically. “If we were to render them all unconscious for thirty-six seconds it could be accomplished.”
Jim paused and considered this. “Thirty-six seconds.”
“It would be sufficient time to make an escape if necessary.” Stonn stiffened minutely and inclined his head. “If you will excuse me my mother has indicated she wishes my presence.”
Jim moved closer to Spock as he left. “Was he making nice?”
“Very much so,” Spock admitted. “I believe we have mended fences as you would say. He offered me an apology and seemed sincere. His mother puts a lot of pressure on him with her politics.”
“Unfortunate,” Devone said with a sigh. “He’s very pretty. Is he going home to Vulcan soon?”
“No, he will be here for a few months,” Spock said with a glance in Jim’s direction who looked calculating. “Absolutely not.”
“Oh come on, Spock, he obviously could use some loosening up and if his mother is leaving him here for the summer—we could you know, corrupt him completely.”
“I could help,” Devone pointed out with a grin. “I don’t think he’s ever had any fun at all and that’s a shame.”
* * * *
Jim eyed the package that Spock had put on the bed and considered the PADDs that Starfleet had sent him for preparation for Scotty’s seminar that he had in his backpack.
“Before…” Spock began and then took a deep breath. “Before you open your gift I want to make it clear that there are no ulterior motives attached to it. It occurred to me recently that you might construe it as a complaint or perhaps an indication that I want more from you than you are willing to give. That is not the case. In fact, when I purchased it—it was only because you responded so positively to it.”
Jim nodded and picked up the package. “Okay. Relax. I’m not going to have a fit or anything. I do know you pretty well at this point.”
Spock sat down on the bed and folded his hands in his lap. “Very well.”
Jim unwrapped it carefully; a little surprised by the paper it was bound up in. He knew it was from his favorite old bookstore and that the owner often wrapped valuable books in paper for transport. Spock hadn’t opened the package since he bought it.
The book was a least three hundred years old, bound in leather, and the lettering on the front of it was beautiful. “You.” He blew out a breath of shock at the pleasure he could feel vibrating off the book. “You bought me an antique copy of the Gay Kama Sutra.” He opened the book and grinned. “An antique, illustrated copy of the Gay Kama Sutra.”
“Yes. You seemed quite taken with it the day we were at the bookstore and I thought perhaps…” Spock blushed. “That you didn’t purchase it because I was there.”
“I went back for it,” Jim admitted and then laughed softly. “The owner, Chelsea, sort of laughed me and now I know why.” He put the book down and leaned forward. He kissed Spock firmly on the mouth. “Thanks—it’s truly awesome and a great find. I was disappointed when I found it was already gone.”
“I wanted to give you something special,” Spock admitted. “I didn’t… realize that it might appear as if I were pressuring you for more sexual contact until recently.”
“I take it to mean exactly what you meant when you bought it, Spock.” He touched the leather carefully. “I am surprised that you haven’t looked at it since you bought it. Weren’t you curious?”
“I have a digital copy on my PADD complete with videos. I assumed it was more educational than the traditional book. There is even a special section for… non-Humans.”
Jim stared. “You have a digital version of the Gay Kama Sutra complete with videos on your PADD.”
“My father felt I should be fully educated on the matter of sexual congress between two males. He gave it to me recently. He has never denied me anything when it comes to my thorough education,” Spock said. “It is just one of many educational texts I have.”
Jim grinned. “You could send that one to my PADD.”
“I will.” Spock assured. “I would have already but I assumed you would have it. It seems the most complete text on the subject of homosexual intercourse.”
“I adore you,” Jim said suddenly. “I adore every Vulcany inch of you beyond all reason.” He leaned forward and kissed him again. “Really.”
“I find I am equally enamored with you,” Spock admitted.
Jim grinned. “Well, what I managed to arrange for us isn’t nearly as intimate as your gift but I believe you will be very pleased. It has to do with our summer plans.” He picked up his backpack and pulled out one of the official Starfleet PADDS. He handed it to Spock.
Spock took the PADD and activated it. “You…how did you manage to get… us into this? Starfleet told the Vulcan Embassy no when I requested it.”
Jim inclined his head. “I have a lot of political capitol with Starfleet, Spock. The admiralty really doesn’t deny me much unless it’s insane or illegal. My Dad went to Admiral Archer and requested it. I got the PADDs last week with our security passes. The rest is at my house. Scotty is excited that we’ll be in the class—he hasn’t really been very thrilled with the idea lately. It’s put a lot of pressure on him to perform.”
“This is a very pleasant surprise,” Spock admitted. “I am… Thank you.”
Jim put his book in his backpack and took the PADD from Spock’s hand. He put it on the bedside table and prodded Spock onto his back easily. “Yeah, well, happy anniversary.”
Spock settled on the bed and cupped the back of Jim’s neck to pull him close. “I do not understand anniversaries.”
“It is a way of celebrating a relationship,” Jim responded and groaned a little when Spock spread his legs to allow him a comfortable place to lie. “This is going to lead to some physical reactions.”
“Yes, that is my plan,” Spock admitted. “As for celebrating our relationship—I fail to see why that should only happen on a certain day of the year versus every day of the year.”
Jim smiled and leaned down to kiss him. “And you say that I’m the romantic.”
Spock took his free hand and settled it on Jim’s face, his fingertips ghosting over meld points. “Vulcans are not romantic.”
Jim laughed and took another kiss. “Imzadi.”
“T’hy’la,” Spock responded and settled his fingers firmly into place. “My mind to your mind…”
“My thoughts to your thoughts,” Jim whispered as he surrendered.