Author: Keira Marcos
Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Pike/McCoy, Sarek/Amanda Grayson
Series: Tangled Destinies
Series Order: 8
Fandom: Star Trek XI (Reboot ‘Verse)
Genre: Alternate Universe, romance
Word Count: 9,700
Summary: A traumatic and life altering event changes everything for Spock’s family.
– – – –
No one spared them a glance as Sarek and Christopher Pike moved through the maze of hallways and turbolifts that made up Starfleet Medical. Pike was out of uniform and the Vulcan Ambassador was dressed as casually any one could ever have the right to expect—his outer robe was quite plain and somewhat thin but still provided him a much-needed buffer against the cooler temperatures Humans needed to maintain optimal levels of performance. They were both common place in the facility, especially on Friday evenings when they were often forced to bodily retrieve Leonard McCoy from his office and escort him across town to sit down at Amanda Grayson’s table like a civilized person.
Sarek found the ritual of it all soothing in its normalcy. Leonard would complain quite loudly while he gathered himself and closed his office for the day and then they would take the car Starfleet kept on hand for the Commodore across the city to Sarek’s residence where Amanda waited. Pike had jokingly referred to her as the woman in his life and Sarek supposed it was true. Amanda apparently had no problems asserting her authority over all of them at any given time.
He checked his communicator when it hummed and reviewed the text message from Spock confirming that they had arrived at the embassy in the family’s private air car to pick up Amanda from a meeting that had run long. He’d sent his son and his son’s bondmate along to collect his wife because he was quite uncomfortable with the thought of his wife on public transport of any kind. His wife was a strong person but she was quite small and very attractive and if he allowed himself he would worry for her physical safety 98.56% of his day.
“What are you thinking?” Pike asked with a small grin. “You look disgruntled.”
“I do not,” Sarek returned without even looking at his friend. “I was thinking perhaps that I should have bonded with a less attractive woman.”
“Right.” Pike nodded and tucked his hands behind his back. “I can see how marrying a beautiful, intelligent woman could depress a man.”
“I spend a large amount of time concerned for her physical welfare when she is not with me. Especially since we returned to Earth.”
“Ah.” Pike nodded as the turbolift opened. “I see. Is that why you sent Jim and Spock to collect her?”
“My wife should not use public transport,” Sarek said as he followed Pike out of the turbolift.
Pike nodded. “I can’t disagree with that. We’d probably have to retrieve her regularly from Federation Security if she did. She’s quite feisty when she’s irritated.”
Sarek started to respond and then stumbled under the weight of so much mental pain and shock that he shouted out an inarticulate sound and barely acknowledged Chris grabbing a hold of him. “Amanda.”
– – – –
Jim rolled over onto his stomach and pushed himself upright despite the pain drifting fierce and hot over his body. He reached out for Spock as soon as he was steady on his knees and found his bondmate struggling to stand up. “Easy there.”
“What?” Spock’s voice was tinged with shock. “What has happened?”
“Some kind of explosion,” Jim said as they both struggled to their feet. He looked around for Stonn whom they’d only just parted with in the lobby but the man wasn’t visible. The front part of the building had caved in completely and the curve of stairs leading up to the rest of the embassy was swaying slightly. “I hope Stonn was out the door before…” He trailed off and rubbed dust from his face and eyes.
“Mother.” Spock turned and started towards the stairs.
“Wait.” Jim reached out and grabbed Spock’s arm. “We should use the emergency stairs in the back of the building. I don’t think those will support both of us.”
Spock nodded and fumbled for his communicator with trembling hands. “My father. I should contact…” He frowned. “It is no longer functional.”
Jim pulled out his and shook his head. “We might be able to fix one of them by cannibalizing parts between the two. But first we need to get away from the damage before the ceiling comes down on us some more. It looks like whatever exploded took out the east wing of the building and part of the entrance. Mother is with Ambassador T’Pol?”
“Yes, she was meeting with a man regarding his daughter, a Human-Vulcan hybrid like me. They should be on the tenth floor…” Spock swallowed hard. “T’Pol’s office is in the east wing.”
Jim closed his eyes and Spock stumbled as his bondmate let lose his mind in a way he rarely ever did. Through their bond—he felt Jim reaching out and connecting with his mother’s mind easily.
“She’s injured,” Jim admitted roughly as they moved through the rubble and started to climb over a large pile of granite that had once been part of the front entrance of the embassy. “But she’s not mortally wounded—I think she broke her ankle. T’Pol is unconscious and your mother is very concerned about someone else in the room. I can’t tell. She’s very disoriented and there is a heavy weight on her mind.”
“I can’t tell,” Jim admitted ruefully. “Normally your father has a very sophisticated touch but I can see how the circumstances might make him a little more blunt in his desire to connect with his bondmate. Are you getting anything from him?”
“Confusion, anger,” Spock admitted roughly as they started to pull building material away from the door leading to the emergency stairs. “Worried. He’s worried about us both and especially my mother. Something is very wrong.”
– – – –
Amanda curled her fingers around T’Pol’s wrist, taking comfort in the rush of blood she felt moving under her friend’s skin. The older woman appeared close to her own age but she knew she was nearly one hundred years old. Spry and quite young by Vulcan standards but still having a building fall on her wasn’t ideal.
The child was clutching desperately at her—no longer crying but numb against the emotional trauma of losing her only parent. Amanda felt her presence deep in her mind where she’d only ever felt her husband and wondered what the toddler had done to create the connection. It wasn’t like the bond she shared with her husband—it was lighter, tinged with desperation, and the fear of rejection. Her father had called her Mara though Amanda knew her name was actually T’Mara—a proper Vulcan name for a half-Human child.
The urgent press of Sarek’s mind against her own offered no comfort. The weight of Mara’s mind was pushing everything else away. She didn’t think the child was trying to break her bond with Sarek but instead was endeavoring to protect the small, fledging link she’d burrowed into Amanda’s mind with. Amanda ran her free hand through Mara’s curly black hair and closed her eyes briefly as Jim’s mind rushed over hers again. He’d done it several times since the explosion happened.
She knew that he and Spock were coming to her. It worried her—they should have been trying to get out of the building, not digging in deeper. It was dangerous. It was stupid. It was decidedly Human. In other circumstances she might have been pleased with her son’s actions. As it stood—she was going to lecture them both quite severely once they were all safe.
– – – –
The activity outside the Vulcan Embassy was fever pitched. Medical personnel, combat engineers, and basically everyone Starfleet had available to throw at the problem were beaming in as fast as people were being beamed out. Parts of the building were shielded against beaming in or out but the engineers were working a plan to start digging into the building for survivors. They’d picked out life signs, and beamed out anyone they could within twenty minutes of their arrival.
“Scotty, talk to me!”
Lt. Scott looked up from the portable transporter system he’d beamed down from the Yorktown with and frowned. The system was used for mining operations and he was preparing it to beam out wreckage so they could get the combat engineers into the building. “I’m workin’ as fast as I can, Commodore. We’ve sent in forty surveillance bots to do a survey so we can determine where I can start using the transporter to dig a hole since the shields are interfering with sensor data. Gotta be careful, if I pull from the wrong place I could bring this whole building down. Scans are already coming in—Brandt over there is working on a building schematic.”
“What did this?”
“No question, sir.” Scott glanced at Sarek who had been Pike’s silent shadow since they’d arrived on the scene ten minutes before. “Bomb. Definitely a bomb. O’Hare is pulling out samples and he’s found some component pieces in the wreckage outside the building already. Doesn’t look all that sophisticated but he’ll be a better one to ask about it.”
Pike nodded and glanced over at McCoy who was running a triage center. It had taken them nearly a full hour to clear out an area around the building to work—parts of the building had blown outward, killing people on the street and destroying enough of the street to cause problems with rescue efforts. The ships in orbit had already coordinated their efforts and beamed out everyone that could be beamed out. There were twenty-six people behind the embassy’s shields that could not be beamed out and the emergency systems were damaged to the point where no one could provide an override code.
They both went back to the science station where the life signs were being monitored. “Any changes, Commander Beck?”
“Yes, sir.” He pointed towards the screen he was using to monitor the whole building. “The two life signs I was telling you about earlier—they are still moving upward towards the Ambassadors suite of the embassy. Neither appear to be impeded by serious injury.”
Pike glared at the two little dots on the screen. “Anyone else moving?”
“No, sir. Life signs are steady and people are injured—some pretty badly but everyone else is trapped where they are,” Beck explained. “I believe they are heading here.” He moved the screen around to show a room with three life signs in it. “These are the only life signs in direction they are heading. There is another body in this room—the person must have died in the explosion. The three remaining are various stages of injury. I’m dealing with a lot of interference so I don’t know for certain how bad off they are but no one left in the building alive appears to be in mortal peril due to injury. That’s all we can know until those shields are disabled.” He pointed at the life signs. “Too bad we can’t talk with these two—they could help with that. They are only about a hundred yards from the shield generator.”
Pike frowned deeply and turned to look at Sarek who was staring at the screen like a man dying of thirst. “Any chance those two moving life signs are our children?”
Sarek inclined his heads. “500 to 1 in favor.”
“Can you talk to Spock?”
“No.” Sarek shook his head. “I know my son is in basic good health and that is very worried about his mother. If Jim were injured or damaged—I would sense worry for him as well but I don’t. Hence, they must be together and in good condition.”
“Right.” Pike took a deep breath and turned to the scene at large. He spotted Jaret and Ambassador Deloia just beyond the barricade and stalked towards them without another word. “Jaret.” He pulled the two Betazoids around the physical barricade and shot the Federation security a hard look when they started to protest. “Jim is in there.”
Jaret closed his eyes briefly. “I didn’t believe him to be hurt. I figured he would be on the scene with you so we came down to lend assistance but Federation Security hasn’t been willing to listen to us regarding that.”
“It was a bomb,” Pike said shortly. “No one outside of Starfleet personnel are authorized to be back here.” He pulled Jaret over to Beck’s station. “Commander Beck explain to Jaret what you need Jim and Spock to do. He’s going to contact my son and relay the information.”
“Your son?” Beck glanced at the two life signs on his screen. “He’s in high school, right?”
“He would already be in Starfleet Academy if I would allow it,” Pike snapped. “He’s a big damn genius, Commander. He knows Federation Security systems and his bondmate knows Vulcan systems. Since the embassy is using Federation equipment but probably in Vulcan instead of Standard—I can’t imagine having any one else in place who could do a better job.”
“Right.” Beck nodded and grabbed Jaret’s arm. “Ambassador Sarek, we’re going to need your override code. If they can input it directly…”
– – – –
Jim stumbled and fell into the wall shortly after Spock bodily hauled him over six missing steps. “Wow.”
“Jaret.” Jim rubbed his forehead and closed his eyes. “Give me a second.”
Spock kept his hands on Jim to steady him and waited patiently during the telepathic contact. He was getting vague impressions from the conversation and it was rather alarming. Confirmation of a bomb came first because Jim refused to not have an answer to that question. When he understood the gist of what was happening in his bondmate’s head, he grasped Jim’s elbow and guided him up the stairs and towards the room that held the shield generator.
At the door, Jim broke contact with Jaret abruptly and took a harsh breath. “Not good.”
“I need to do that more often—telepathic contact shouldn’t exhaust me mentally like that.” Jim rubbed his forehead, wincing at the pull of bruised skin and muscle across his back. He felt like he’d been a fight and it had been more than a year since he’d brawled with someone. Pike hadn’t found that behavior acceptable and the fourth fight Jim started in San Francisco had been his last. He never wanted the man that mad at him again, ever.
“Your Dad is outside,” Jim admitted. “So is mine. I gather from Jaret they probably aren’t thrilled with us for moving into the shielded area so we couldn’t be beamed out.” Spock cheeks darkened. “Right, not very logical.”
“Mother is hurt and trapped.”
And that was all Spock had to say about it. Jim figured that everyone was about to get a lesson in just how logical Spock was capable of being and how damned annoying that logic could be when it was turned on them. He doubted even Sarek was truly prepared for his son despite the changes in their lives since moving to Earth.
They used Sarek’s code to open the secure door leading to the field generator but Spock prevented Jim from entering. “Is that…” Jim exhaled sharply. “Seriously?”
“While I’ve never actually viewed a bomb,” Spock began, his tone cool and neutral. “I believe we can logically deduce that the device attached to the generator is, in fact, a bomb.”
“A bomb that didn’t go off when the other one did,” Jim murmured. “That means it’s probably still live and unstable. We have… to get your mom.”
They turned together and started back up the stairs while Jim sent a series of urgent ‘oh fuck!’ messages to Jaret that had Federation Security people scrambling into the rubble and transporting into the crumbling lobby in under a minute.
– – – –
Amanda had managed to sit up, difficult when she had roughly forty pounds of dead weight clutching at her. She had vague memories of being astonished by the weight of her deceptively slender child when Spock had started to walk. T’Mara was proving to be much the same.
“Are you damaged?”
Amanda turned her head and looked at T’Pol with relief. “Less than you. I think my ankle is broken.”
T’Pol shifted slowly and forced herself to rearrange herself into a sitting position. “The child’s father?”
“Dead.” Amanda looked towards what she could see of Orland Franks and sighed. “And I have a problem.”
T’Pol nodded. “Yes, I see. Has she established a link with you?”
“Yes,” Amanda shifted the child carefully, concerned that she had injuries she could not see. “I was unconscious and I believe Sarek was compromised by the violence and the deaths—I don’t know how many are dead.”
“There were nearly two hundred individuals in the embassy today,” T’Pol said. “I am injured but none of my injuries are mortal unless rescue is significantly delayed.”
“Can you stand?”
“No. My leg is broken,” T’Pol admitted. “I am also bleeding internally and I’m…” She took a deep breath. “Emotionally compromised. I cannot enter a healing trance in my current state.”
Amanda grimaced but nodded. “It was an explosion.”
“Yes.” T’Pol agreed. “An explosive was detonated. This portion of the embassy has shields but they were obviously damaged.”
“Is that why we haven’t been beamed out?” Amanda scooted around to stare at her friend. “They can’t override it?”
“The systems must have suffered significant damage,” T’Pol explained and lifted an eyebrow. “As you might expect, if it were possible Sarek would have already retrieved you.”
She blushed and nodded. “He is concerned. I can feel it.”
“I’m sure concerned hardly covers it,” T’Pol admitted roughly. “Sarek’s position on your continued well-being is quite well known. He once threatened to murder a member of the High Command when he insulted you for being Human.”
“Oh, he did not,” Amanda protested.
“I believe his exact words were—Speak of my wife in such a way again, Selack, and we will ascertain between the two of us exactly how uncivilized my Human wife has made me.”
Amanda’s mouth dropped open. “T’Pol.”
“T’Pau had to dismiss the meeting and mediate for several hours.” T’Pol paused and then continued. “I believe to this day that is the closest she’s ever come to actually laughing at least as an adult. Selack was soon replaced on the Council.”
Amanda patted T’Mara’s back as she considered that. She remembered Selack being replaced on the High Command council but most had said it was because of his political leanings. “Sarek never said.”
“I am quite certain that Sarek has on many occasions made mortal enemies while defending your honor. It is as if he meant to make a hobby of it.” T’Pol finished shifting and leaned against the wall beside Amanda with a sharp exhale.
“Vulcans do not have hobbies,” Amanda reminded her and then grinned when T’Pol lifted an eyebrow. “They have interests that fall outside traditional academic pursuits.”
T’Pol snorted and Amanda laughed, genuine and relieved. She relaxed against the wall and trailed her fingers through T’Mara’s curls. “She’s unconscious.”
“Psychological shock,” T’Pol said. “It’s for the best that she remain unconscious until we can determine how best to help her and sever the link she’s made with you.”
Amanda tensed and glared briefly at her friend. “Sever the link?”
“She’ll form a full parental bond with you if we do not.”
Amanda’s stomach tightened at the thought of having something she’d long been denied, even if it wasn’t with her own son. “And if I want to keep her? Her father is dead… he said he had no family to help him.”
“Her mother’s clan…”
“Disowned her mother!” Amanda snapped and then took a deep breath. “She deserves better than to be raised in a such a horrible circumstance—looked down upon and treated poorly because of the choices her parents made.”
“I do not disagree with your assessment,” T’Pol began. “What if Sarek doesn’t agree?”
“I bonded with one of the most powerful and wealthy men on Vulcan,” Amanda said softly. “He’s denied me nothing since the day we married. He’ll not deny me this.”
“I…” T’Pol paused and inclined her head. “I agree.”
“Good.” Amanda patted the child’s back and nodded to herself as if it were already completely settled. “I’ve already proven myself to be an excellent mother.”
“You have.” T’Pol nodded. “No one could offer a single logical argument to the contrary.”
– – – –
Chris had wanted to argue with Sarek about transporting into the building but one look at the man’s face had dissuaded him of that notion. Pike had no intention of staying on the outside so he couldn’t begrudge his friend the right to search for his wife and son. Contrary to Jaret’s insistence, Jim and Spock were still climbing and still moving towards Amanda Grayson despite the fact that they’d reported an undetonated bomb in the building.
The stairs were in horrible shape, large sections had broken away but it didn’t stop Sarek and Chris wasn’t going to let it stop him.
“The shield generator is on the sixth floor,” Sarek said over his shoulder as he grasped a railing and pulled himself over the missing stairs. He offered Pike his hand without hesitation and hauled the Starfleet man over the gap easily. “Amanda and Ambassador T’Pol should be on the tenth floor.”
“As much as I would like to go up after them, I think our best bet is to evaluate the device on the shield and see if we can’t figure out how to get it out of here.”
“Agreed.” Sarek paused and focused entirely on Pike. “I did not want to discuss this in front of the others—but if the weapon detonates it will make a sizeable explosion. Our generators are powered with dilithium.”
“Great.” Pike grimaced and motioned the Vulcan ahead. “How sizeable?”
“The total destruction of the building and large portion of the surrounding area. Twenty kilometers in every direction. Far too great an area to attempt an evacuation at this point.”
“That’s… hundreds of thousands of people.” Chris’ mouth tightened in a thin line. “Can we transport out the entire thing?”
“We will have no choice,” Sarek admitted. “It is too great of a risk.”
– – – –
The door to T’Pol’s office was blocked with a large pile of wreckage but between them they managed to clear out room to pry the door open. The destruction in the office was horrifying but Jim was relieved to see both T’Pol and Amanda Grayson tucked into an area that was relatively undamaged. She was holding a little girl and glaring at them pointedly.
Spock raised an eyebrow and Jim just flushed.
“You’re both… grounded. Yes, you’re both grounded.” Amanda frowned. “Spock, where is your Father?”
Spock’s eyes went distant as he reached out for his father through their parental link. “He is in the embassy—near the shield generator. There is another explosive device. Commodore Pike is with him.”
“They’re grounded, too.” Amanda huffed and motioned them forward. “Come, T’Pol has broken her leg.”
– – – –
Sarek rarely found himself at the mercy of his Human wife. There were times in their intimate life when the physical and emotional pleasure they had together was overwhelming. In such times, he’d often found himself trembling and on the brink under her small, knowing hands.
Seeing her on a bed in Starfleet Medical holding a small child with determination lining her mouth made him nervous in ways that he would never verbally announce. Her fingers were combing through the child’s hair.
Her gaze settled on him and narrowed slightly as she assessed him. “Sarek.”
He paused and tried again. “Wife.”
“Her mother’s clan disowned her mother when she bonded with a Human,” Amanda returned evenly. “Her father is dead and he had no family to speak of that’s why he was meeting with T’Pol today.”
Sarek inclined his head as he realized that his wife had already made a decision about their situation and the future. “You wish to keep the bond she has created with you.”
Amanda’s fingers stilled briefly and then she began again. “I believe she has suffered too much loss in her young life and is quite desperate to keep what she has forged with me. I would not want her damaged by the removal of the parental bond she’s attempting to complete. You could… you could help her.”
Sarek had never been able to deny her anything but the political implications of what she was demanding would be heavy. T’Pau would bow to Amanda’s desire to keep the child because it was obvious T’Pol already approved. His gaze drifted to the Vulcan woman and found her staring at him intently from her place under a bone knitter.
“It will be a difficult situation,” T’Pol said her tone neutral and cool. “Her birth mother’s clan may take exception to their forsaken child being adopted into our clan.”
Sarek hardly cared personally. His own clan was well placed, wealthy, socially and politically connected on a level that no other family had on Vulcan. Also, since coming to Earth he’d left most of the maneuvering in regards to clan power in T’Pau’s capable hands.
“Are you certain, Wife?”
“What of Spock?” Sarek questioned. His experiences were introducing new children into his immediate family hadn’t been good. The severed link with Sybok still thrummed with pain. It was not something that he dwelled on a daily basis but it was there.
“I…” Amanda closed her eyes briefly and then she nodded. “Spock is confident in my affection.”
“Yes.” Sarek’s gaze centered on the child. “How old is she?”
“Four years, six months, fifteen solar days,” T’Pol answered from behind him. “By Earth’s calendar.”
“Very well.” Sarek tucked his hands behind his back. “It will be done.”
– – – –
Spock watched the results of Jim’s scan with a critical eye. The amount of psionic activity Jim had been exposed to over the course of the day had been extreme in the end. His training had not prepared for such an event—not when he was exposed to so many emotional states that his bondmate picked up effortlessly.
Jim turned his head slightly and their gazes connected. He reached out and wiggled his fingers. Spock felt his face heat but he couldn’t deny himself the comfort his bondmate offered. He mixed his fingers with Jim’s as he moved closer to the bed. “Your psionic profile is erratic.”
“Very,” Jim agreed. “The trauma of the event… it was horrible to feel it all at once.”
“Yes,” Spock acknowledged. He ran two fingers over Jim’s wrist, a gesture so intimate that a Vulcan in a bed just across them actually gasped aloud. Spock spared the woman a glance and found that she’d managed to school her expression. “Dr. McCoy, may Jim leave?”
“No.” McCoy pointed towards the bed Spock had been assigned. “And neither can you. Back in your bed.”
Spock’s fingers clenched briefly against Jim’s but he relinquished his hold. He slowly went back to his and reclined on it after McCoy made an impatient noise. “How is my mother, Doctor?”
“She is… in an isolation room with T’Pol and your father. The child that was with her is still unconscious.”
“She was hurt,” Spock murmured. “Her father died in the explosion.”
McCoy nodded abruptly. “We have a Vulcan healer coming down from one of the ships in orbit. Healer Stopak is doing rounds—he’ll be around to see you both. He’ll make the final determination about whether or not you can leave.”
McCoy snorted and pointed a finger at Jim. “Neither one of you move. Give the dermal regenerator I gave you time to do its work.” Then he turned to Spock. “And why aren’t you in a healing trance, anyways?”
Spock looked away from him. “I’ve never done one without my father to watch over me, Dr. McCoy.”
McCoy hesitated but then nodded. “If Stopak agrees; you can do that at home.”
– – – –
Christopher Pike was in his sixth meeting in three hours and he could barely concentrate on the matters at hand. His whole mind was wrapped up in another place on the opposite side of Star Fleet Headquarters. His son, his lover, and arguable the best friend he’d ever had were dealing with the trauma of the day while he was forced to listen to action plans.
“Pike, are we boring you?”
Chris flushed and leaned forward. “My son was in that explosion, Admiral Komak. I am not bored. I’m worried out of my mind. I was forced to come to this meeting when I would rather be at his side being a parent. Yet, I am here attempting to do my duty the best I can under the circumstances.”
“You ordered the device removed and detonated without bringing in a combat engineer. There was no evidence gathered, no documentation. Can you justify that?” Komack questioned.
“More than one hundred citizens of the Federation died today. Had that device detonated it would have killed even more—it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. I made an on site assessment and I stand by it. There was no choice beyond getting that explosive device as far from everyone as I possibly could.”
“You made an emotional choice.”
“Of course, I did.” Pike raised an eyebrow and sat back in his chair. “Despite that, I can’t see a circumstance where I would have acted differently.” He stood and straightened his uniform. “Admiral Archer, may I be dismissed? I’d like to check on my son.”
Archer nodded. “Of course, Chris. Let Jim know I asked after him.”
Chris was almost to the door when Komack spoke again. “He’s George Kirk’s son.”
Chris paused and turned to stare at the man. “James Kirk is my son in every way that matters to me. There is nothing and no one I wouldn’t go through in order to see him safe and happy. I hope you understand that, Admiral Komack, and that you never forget it.”
– – – –
Jim woke up with a gentle press of worry drifting over his mind. He turned his head and stared at Christopher Pike who was sitting in a chair between him and Spock. He had a PADD in hand and it was obvious he was trying hard to read but his mouth was tight with worry, his eyes slightly puffy with fatigue.
Pike’s gaze immediately snapped to him. “Hey, kiddo.”
“Sorry about… well, just sorry.” Jim waved a hand in defeat. “We didn’t think about anything but getting to her.”
“She’s important,” Pike acknowledged. He set aside the PADD and leaned forward. “I don’t blame you for going to her instead of trying to get out. I wouldn’t have done any differently. I certainly didn’t hesitate to get in there as soon as I could.”
Jim nodded. He frowned and shifted the thin blanket he was covered with. “Spock needs his Dad.”
Pike glanced towards the young Vulcan who made every appearance of being asleep. “He appears to be resting.”
Jim shook his head. “He’s in a meditative state—I helped him get there but he’s in pain and he needs a healing trance but he can’t let go enough to do it without his father.” He frowned. “He refused to ask for him because he knows that his father is with his mother and he doesn’t want to interfere.”
“Is this a bondmate thing?” Pike questioned softly.
“Sort of,” Jim shrugged. “Spock knows how much comfort a bondmate can provide now. It makes him hesitate to intrude on the time his parents spend together.”
“So are you asking me to go get Sarek?” Pike questioned.
“No, yes, well.” Jim sighed and turned on his side. “I don’t want to interfere either—I know how scared she was and I can feel the little girl’s distress. I also… sense a change in Dr. Grayson that I can’t explain. She’s never felt this way before.”
Pike stood and straightened his shirt. “I’ll go check out how things are going and if Sarek can leave her, I’ll let him know that you and Spock would like to see him.” He touched his son when Jim relaxed on the bed. “Healer Stopak should be here soon as well. Many of the survivors of the bombing lost bondmates so they are in fairly bad shape.”
“I can feel them,” Jim admitted. “Not as much as before but I think many of them were taken up one of the ships in orbit.”
Pike nodded and after a small squeeze he went in search of McCoy. He found Leonard in his office nursing a large cup of coffee with a teetering stack of PADDs in front of him. Christine Chapel was sitting across from him, silent and staring into a coffee cup.
Both turned to stare at him—a little glassy eyes and obviously exhausted. McCoy cleared his throat. “Christine, find an empty bed and get as much sleep as you can. I’ll have Jonah wake you if we need you.”
The nurse nodded her enthusiastic agreement and left the small office with a sigh. She nodded at Pike as she passed him and Chris let the door shut behind her. He leaned on the wall beside the door and sighed. “Hell of a day.”
McCoy nodded. “Yes, we still don’t have an accurate body count. We might have to rely on sensor records to record some of the deaths closest to the explosion. We’re recovering DNA samples.” He paused and rubbed his face with one tired hand. “How about you? How are you?”
“The older Jim gets the less I feel as if I have any ability whatsoever to protect him,” Chris murmured. “George… wasn’t a reckless man but he was heroic and self-sacrificing. He would throw himself on a bomb if there was a fraction of a chance he would save a life doing so. Jim is a great deal like him.”
“Suppose we knew that when we found out he nearly drove himself off a cliff with George’s car,” McCoy returned dryly. “Fearless is woven into his bones—perhaps a left over emotional impression from his father’s last minutes alive.”
“Whatever George gave him—it allowed him to survive a childhood that would have ruined most people,” Chris finally said and he slouched down in the chair that Chapel had abandoned. “I thought Christine was in Boston in medical school?”
“She’s on leave visiting her family. Lucky to have her here today—she’s an excellent trauma nurse. Will make an excellent trauma doctor one day,” Leonard murmured. “She works well with empaths—Jim says her mind is very guarded which is a blessing in situations like this. I ran out of psionic inhibitors two hours in to the crisis—at least the ones that will have any kind of meaningful impact on a Vulcan in distress. There is already a ship enroute from Vulcan full of healers.”
“Half the Vulcan Science Academy is here attending Lt. Scott’s warp drive seminar,” Pike murmured. “The talk is that this attack was politically motivated—an attempt to cripple Vulcan’s science community. I can’t see how or why that would benefit anyone. They are very isolated on the scientific front.”
“Quick to evade and rarely share,” McCoy agreed. “It did cross my mind that it made them a bigger target –because of how full the embassy is right now. The same could be said for the Betazed embassy—they’ve been at capacity for nearly a month, most of the people who came to Spock and Jim’s bonding are still here.”
Pike nodded. “I’m aware. His grandmother has visited me a few times—trying to make amends for her part in what happened with Brise.”
“You forgive her?”
Chris shrugged helplessly. “She’s George’s mother—every time I see her, I’m reminded of him. Jim might have his eyes and smirk and his swagger but it isn’t quite the same.”
“No, I suppose not.” Leonard set aside his cold coffee and sighed. “What’s on your mind?”
“How is Amanda Grayson? Jim says she feels weird.”
“The little girl that they rescued with her and T’Pol has formed some kind of bond with Dr. Grayson. Sarek helped the child resolve and complete the bond about a half hour ago. It has the potential to be a huge political mess on Vulcan apparently as the child had been basically forsaken by her mother’s clan because she’s half-Human.”
Pike snorted. “Leave it to Sarek to alienate his own planet on a day like today.”
“He did it to make Amanda happy,” McCoy said shortly. “And the little girl certainly deserves some stability after losing both of her birth parents the way she has.”
Chris couldn’t disagree with that. He figured he would put a bug in Archer’s ear to throw his weight around on the issue if things got sticky for Sarek. “Spock needs his father. He doesn’t want to admit and neither him nor Jim are willing to disturb him while Amanda needs him. I know Sarek would want to know and I honestly don’t know how he hasn’t picked it up through his parental bond with his son.”
“Proximity is a factor in Vulcan telepathy as they are primarily touch telepaths,” McCoy murmured. “Additionally, I can assume that Spock is doing quite a bit to shield his own emotional state from his father because of Jim’s empathic bleed off. It would be distracting to say the least as I’m pretty sure Sarek would pick up Jim’s anxiety.”
Pike nodded. “So I should tell Sarek?”
“Wouldn’t you want to know if Jim needed you in that way?” McCoy asked roughly. “You are no less a father than Sarek or I, Chris, trust your instincts on this.”
“Some don’t agree with that,” Pike said and stood. “Komack reminded me today that Jim is George’s son, not mine.”
“Komack needs to mind his own business or his next physical will be an exercise in masochism the likes of which his intolerant ass has never experienced.”
Chris laughed and shook his head. “Don’t do anything to get that asshat’s attention, Len. I can take care of myself.”
“If you say,” McCoy muttered, clearly annoyed.
– – – –
Sarek shifted T’Mara against his chest and let his fingers drift over one meld point on her face when she stirred in distress. It had taken hours to truly calm her mind and it had only been after he’d opened his own mind to her that he’d truly understood the depth of her trauma. The child had latched onto the bond that Sybok had left his mind instantly. Her vivid consciousness had swept in—bright and amazing. It had eased the pain of his severed bond with his first-born son immensely.
Sarek looked up and found Chris Pike standing in the doorway of the small private room he had requested for his wife and the newest addition to his family. “Chris.”
Pike lifted an eyebrow. “I understand congratulations are in order.” He moved into the room and let the door shut.
“Amanda was quite insistent,” Sarek said in way of explanation. “She is a bright child—quite talented mentally as was Spock at this age. I’ve requested her medical records and I’ve filed emergency custody notification with the Federation court.”
Pike nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets as he leaned against the wall near them. “She’s beautiful.”
Sarek nodded and shifted T’Mara again when she stirred. “I’m unsure how to handle Spock. I made a mistake with Sybok.”
“Spock is older than Sybok was when he had to deal with a new child in your life.” Pike paused. “And in your mind?”
“Yes.” Sarek nodded. “Sybok found Spock’s presence an invasion in every way. There were times when I worried about them coming to blows even when Spock was very small.” He paused and sighed audibly which made Pike tense. “Spock was energetic and very emotional as a child. Sybok found him extremely offensive.”
“I don’t think you’ll encounter that problem with Spock and this little girl, Sarek. She’s half-Human—I doubt anyone will understand her circumstances better than Spock. He has no problem sharing his mother with Jim.”
“Jim is his t’hy’la.” Sarek closed his eyes briefly. “I realize that concept has not been fully explained to you—the closest Terran term I suppose would be soulmates. Even if they had not formed a romantic connection—upon their meeting James and Spock would have connected and become lifelong friends. That they met in this stage of their lives, when they were both unencumbered with the responsibilities of adulthood made their romantic connection easier.”
“And if they’d met as adults?”
“Spock would have already had a bondmate,” Sarek admitted roughly. “I would have eventually had to seek out another bondmate for him. Our biology requires it. They would have formed a deep, intense friendship that might have eventually lead to something more if they’d allowed themselves the freedom to do so.”
Pike sighed. “That sounds potentially very painful. I’m glad they met when they did.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Spock hasn’t entered a healing trance and he needs to. There are no psionic inhibitors to spare and Jim is allergic to most of them anyway. They are both suffering and I don’t think that Spock is in any condition to trust anyone but you.”
Sarek nodded and stood. He placed T’Mara in the bed beside his sleeping bondmate and covered the child with a blanket that Amanda had pushed off earlier. Her small hand scrambled briefly against nothing before he reached put and guided her to Amanda’s wrist. Small fingers slid around and clenched briefly before she relaxed.
“Touch is important then?”
“At this stage, very important,” Sarek admitted. “She has suffered a severe mental trauma due to the loss of her custodial parent. She was very invested in him.” He paused. “Much the same way that Jim is empathically and emotionally invested in you. Did you know that he has used and does still continue to use you as a focal point when he mediates?”
Chris’ eyes widened in shock. “No. He never said.”
“It is rare for someone to use another person in such a way. It speaks to his attachment and his trust in you that he is capable of such a thing.” Sarek touched his wife and she shifted in her sleep—moving into his touch before she appeared to settle more deeply into sleep. “Will you stay with them? There are already some issues with my custody of her and I’d prefer not to…”
“Get medieval on some people?” Chris supplied and then grinned. He slouched down in the chair Sarek had abandoned and picked up an abandoned PADD. “I can use this?”
“Yes, it’s not a personal one. Leonard supplied me with it sometime ago.” Sarek paused at the doorway. “It is good to have someone I can depend on to protect my family when I must divide my attention. Even on Vulcan I did not enjoy such a relationship outside with anyone outside of my clan. Your friendship is invaluable.”
Chris watched dumbfounded as Sarek exited the room without another word. He shook his head after a few seconds and let his gaze drop to the PADD. He logged into the Starfleet mainframe and started reading through the reports that were being filed almost continuously. He flagged the ones from science personnel for review later and started moving through personal logs that had been submitted for public consumption. He’d made his own personal log on the incident available as well though he’d noticed that McCoy had marked his private and refused to share for the archive. Not surprising since the doctor might have mentioned or discussed issues that might involve patients.
The door opened and Pike stiffened just briefly before he connected with T’Pol’s knowing gaze. “Sarek is with Spock.”
“Yes,” T’Pol acknowledged. “I noticed. I thought perhaps I would join you.” She used a cane to balance on the small walk to a two-person couch. She dropped down on it and glanced towards the replicator. “Commodore, could I trouble you for a cup of tea?”
Pike nodded and went to the replicator. He made quick work of ordering tea for her and coffee for himself. “Tell me what kind of mess Sarek is going to find himself in.”
T’Pol glanced towards the bed. “He has endured far more dangerous situations in the past. The child’s mother was disowned by her parents when she refused to return to Vulcan and mate with the bondmate of their choice. Her Vulcan bondmate had been killed and her parents had arranged for another, lucrative arrangement. When she refused, her parents severed their parental bond with her and disowned her financially.”
“That’s… is that common Vulcan?”
T’Pol flushed green and adverted her eyes. “Shortly after my own bondmate died, my parents sought to make another arrangement for me. When I refused – they made it clear I would not be welcome to return to my ancestral home. Fortunately, my bondmate’s clan has continued to welcome me.”
“T’Pau strikes me as a tolerant and giving person.”
“She is a very good friend,” T’Pol allowed. “I found my marriage to her brother rewarding and my life is less complete without him.” She accepted the tea he offered and the plate of cookies as well. “I spoke with Jim. He appears to be in good spirits now that Sarek is on hand to deal with Spock.”
Chris nodded but his gaze went back to the little girl curled up with Amanda Grayson. “What is her name?”
“T’Mara Franks,” T’Pol murmured. “Her father did well with her after her mother passed but he was beginning to struggle with her because of her mental gifts. He could not provide her with the stability she needed.”
“I…” Chris frowned. “I’m psi-null, T’Pol and I’ve never had any problems handling Jim.”
T’Pol paused over her tea and considered her words before speaking. “You are not alone in your mind, Commodore Pike.”
“Chris is fine, Ambassador.”
“Then I insist you call me T’Pol,” she murmured. “As I was saying, you are not alone in your mind. There is a remnant of an empathic bond in your mind. I imagine that Jim has always been very comfortable with you because of what his biological father left in your mind.”
“I held him once after he was born,” Pike admitted. “Before his mother took him back to Iowa. He just stared up at me with George’s eyes – all wide-eyed and beautiful. I fell a little in love with him even then and that made me feel like an idiot. I knew, the moment I set eyes on him that I’d made a mistake with his father.”
“You loved George Kirk a great deal.”
“Yes,” Chris nodded.
“And now you love Leonard McCoy.”
He blushed furiously and sighed. “I have a complicated relationship with him that is for certain.”
T’Pol nodded. “I have always found Human males very complicated. It must be quite stressful for you both.”
Chris laughed and relaxed when he realized he was being poked at. T’Pol didn’t strike him as the kind of woman to joke around. What she was—he thought—was extremely loyal, dedicated to continued success of the Federation, and kind. She was very kind. It wasn’t something that many would contribute to a Vulcan. Their reserved demeanors and emotionless fronts gave off an entirely different impression.
– – – –
Sarek let his fingers graze over the pulse point on Spock’s wrist—the steadiness of his son’s heartbeat did more to relax him than anything he’d experienced in several hours. Spock had achieved a healing trance with ease and the readings on the biobed proved that his body was rapidly repairing itself.
“Looks good,” Jim murmured from his place on the other side of the biobed.
“Yes.” Sarek nodded. “You should have sent for me sooner.” He glanced up and found his son’s bondmate flushing. “It is not a criticism, James. I want you to both be comfortable seeking me out when you need me. It is my duty.”
Jim nodded and averted his gaze. He trailed his fingers over the back of Spock’s hand. “I don’t like seeing him like this.”
“He is… well.”
“Yes.” Jim sighed. “But vulnerable this way. I realize how important a healing trance can be for his physiology but it puts him at a disadvantage. He can’t even wake himself from it.”
“That bothers you.”
“Extremely,” Jim admitted and then blushed. “I think that it is why he wanted you with him, to make me feel better about him doing it. I tried to push my discomfort down but I think he could still feel it.”
“James.” Sarek waited until his son-in-law met his gaze. “You’ll have few secrets from Spock—it does not serve you or your bond to attempt to shield him from your concerns or worries.”
Jim bit down on his bottom lip. “Things are still new between us.”
That was true enough. He knew that both his son and James Kirk were enamored with each other on a level that might concern other parents. In fact, if he were entirely honest, if they hadn’t agreed immediately to the bond he would have felt compelled to start putting restrictions on the amount of time they could spend together in private. He hadn’t looked forward to such a conversation.
“You can discuss these issues with Jaret during your next session,” Sarek finally said. He checked the biobed’s readings and pursed his lips. “Perhaps you’d like to wait outside while I bring him out of the trance?”
“I…” Jim flushed red and nodded. “Yes, I’m not certain I could prevent myself from interfering if I had to watch you strike him.”
“Perhaps another reason while he was reluctant to enter the healing trance,” Sarek offered in an effort to sooth James. “He certainly wouldn’t be comfortable asking you to wake him from a trance.”
Jim relaxed. “No, I suppose not.” He hesitated then. “I could though—if it was necessary. I’d do anything for him, sir.”
“I know.” Sarek didn’t doubt James Kirk’s devotion to his son at all. “Perhaps you can go down the hall and see my wife and our new daughter?”
Jim’s eyes widened briefly and then he nodded. “Right. I’ll just be there until you finish filling Spock in on the new developments.”
– – – –
Spock started awake, his face stinging from the precise blows of his father’s hand. He caught his father’s wrist and exhaled sharply. “Where is Jim?”
“I sent him down the hall to visit with your mother.” Sarek backed away from the biobed and cleared his throat. “I assumed you might want some physical privacy for the conversation we are about to engage in.”
“It is about the child?” Spock questioned. “I felt you accept a bond with her.”
“She’d already formed a strong bond with your mother and I’ve denied my wife nothing since the day I married her, Spock.”
Spock wasn’t sure he agreed with that. His mother had been denied many years of happiness because she’d lived on Vulcan. Though, he knew she didn’t regret the time she’d spent on her husband’s homeworld. Amanda Grayson had never hesitated in her devotion to her family. He nodded abruptly and averted his gaze as he processed the change in the psionic profile of his family. “She feels different from Sybok.”
“She is undisciplined mentally,” Sarek allowed. “By the time you were her age—your mind was already well ordered and logical. Her own mother died when she was very young. There is barely a remnant of her mother’s maternal bond in place in her mind. It is quickly being absorbed by Amanda’s connection to her.”
“She established a reciprocal bond,” Spock surmised. “The trauma of the day stressed your connection with Mother so much that she was able to establish a foothold.”
“Yes.” Sarek paused. “Spock, you must know that I’ve never actively prevented you from making such a connection with your mother. Our bond is robust and she is, no matter how deftly she wields our bond, psi-null.”
“I know.” Spock sat up and let his hands drop into his lap. “I hold no resentment for it. Perhaps when I was younger—I was jealous that she would never be able to reach out to me the way other mothers did and I blamed you for it. Is the child’s bond uncomfortable for you?”
“It was until I completed my own bond with her,” Sarek allowed. “Her presence no longer feels like an invasion.” He paused and cleared his throat. “Much the same way James feels now that you and he have bonded. Often, I found his mental presence in our home disconcerting. Now it is as if he were always a part of our family.”
“My mental intimacy with him caused your discomfort?” Spock questioned. “Why was I not informed?”
Sarek was silent for a moment and then cleared his throat. “It is something that all parents go through, Spock. It is the nature of such things. Jim has a gentle, talented mental touch. He never hurt me—never sought me out mentally and has only touched your mother’s mind reluctantly. I felt him do so today.”
“I could not ascertain her well being,” Spock admitted. “Your… concern was overwhelming.”
“The very heart of me was that crumbling building—my wife and child.” He paused. “I hope you never know such fear in your life, Spock.”
“I have caused you much grief since we have come to Earth.”
Sarek snorted and Spock’s head jerked up in alarm. “You have been the center of much worry since the moment of your conception, Spock. Your mother and I worried endlessly over your birth until you were finally with us. Every moment of your life leading up this one has been a trial on my patience.”
Spock felt this was one moment in his life when he could have gotten away with smirking at his father but he refrained. The man had already had a very trying day.
– – – –
T’Mara was easily the most curious person on Earth. She was sitting quietly in Jim’s lap, both of her hands on his face. They were eye to eye and to the untrained eye it might have looked as if he were being held hostage by the small Vulcan child. Her fingers were pressing lightly on several meld points—more out of instinct than intent.
Amanda was watching the two of them in amusement; she could feel Mara’s joy and amazement humming through the bond they shared as Jim chased her through a green maze in a bright, beautiful mindscape. Amanda was treated to small flashes of the game—a bleed off from Mara. She looked up as the door opened and smiled broadly at Spock whose gaze immediately went to James.
Spock nodded. “I am aware. It is a game I have seen him play with small children at the Betazed Embassy. It is one way they teach their children to form their own mindscapes—a precursor to formal meditation.” He flushed. “Sometimes, when we mediate he does the same for me.” He glanced towards his father who raised an eyebrow. “Though he rarely makes me chase a red balloon around a maze.”
Amanda laughed softly and held out a hand for her son. She relaxed on the bed when he stepped forward and immediately took it. “How do you feel?”
“I am well, Mother.” He turned her palm over in his hand carefully. There were scrapes on her skin. “Why have you not been treated with a dermal generator?”
“I was under a bone knitter for my ankle and all of the hand held devices are being used elsewhere. I refused an oral medication. I can treat it at home.” Amanda patted the top of his hand and pulled her fingers free with a quirked eyebrow. “What about you?”
“My healing trance was sufficient. Jim was given an oral regenerator because he was bruised extensively from being thrown across the lobby of the embassy during the explosion.” He looked toward his bondmate at the sudden delighted laughter of his new sister. “When I suggested perhaps that you could have more children—I thought perhaps they would come in a smaller size.”
Amanda snorted delicately and then outright laughed. “Did you just make a joke?”
“I have a perfectly functional sense of humor,” Spock defended peevishly and cut his eyes at his mother when she laughed again. “Though I am not sure Jim agrees with me.”
“Ah, Vulcan humor,” Jim said cheerfully as he carefully pulled T’Mara’s hands from his face. “It is an acquired taste.”
T’Mara turned in Jim’s arms and focused entirely on Spock. Vivid blue eyes stared at him—intent and thoughtful. Several emotions flitted across her full, decidedly Human face, before one perfectly slanted black eyebrow darted up in question.
“I can see already that you are a bad influence on her, James.” Spock inclined his head as he sat down in a chair near the end of his mother’s bed and T’Mara pursed her lips.
“He’s pretty,” T’Mara announced.
“He is mine,” Spock returned dryly and completely ignored his mother’s startled laughter. “I am perfectly aware of his aesthetic appeal.”
T’Mara slipped off Jim’s lap, darted around the bed and threw herself confidently at Spock. He caught her easily as she eagerly wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hi, Spock.”
“Greetings, T’Mara of Vulcan,” Spock murmured against soft black curls as he closed his eyes against the telepathic weight of the newest member of his family. “Welcome to the House of Surak, daughter of Sarek and Amanda.”