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Originally published in 1988 in the print fanzine KSX # 2.

 

The intercom on my chair beeps and I push a button. "Kirk here."

"Lt. Simmons, sir. The Columbia is back on board, and is undergoing depressurization."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Have Mr. Spock contact me as soon as he's able. Kirk out."

I sit back in my chair with a contented sigh. My Vulcan is home.

Moments later the intercom beeps again.

"Kirk here."

"Spock here, Captain."

I smile. "Welcome back, Commander. You aren't on the duty roster until eight hundred hours tomorrow, so go ahead and feel free to rest up from your trip." I lower my voice. "How about meeting me in my cabin after my shift, so you can tell me all about it?"

His voice never wavers. "That is agreeable, Captain. I will be in your quarters at approximately 16:15 hours. Spock out."

He's given me time for dinner after my shift. I would have gladly have had my meal with him but, perhaps, he really does need to rest up after his trip to Vulcan.

I was originally supposed to go along. Spock was rather excited - in his own Vulcan way - about visiting his parents for the first time since the trip to Babel some fourteen months ago. But we got a call from a Federation colony requesting emergency medical supplies for a plague that had suddenly broken out. It was too important a mission for me to leave in another's hands, so I reluctantly had to send Spock on leave by himself. He, of course, was insistent that he should stay with the ship as well, but I overruled him. Since his father was due to leave Vulcan for an ambassadorial assignment in a few days, it was a rare opportunity for Spock to visit both his parents on Vulcan.

I eventually admitted to myself that it was really for the better that I couldn't go along. Spock probably needed the time alone with his parents, so they could all start to get to know each other again. But, more than anything, he was looking forward to actually being welcomed in their house for the first time since he decided to join Starfleet so many years ago. He didn't need me along for that.

The plague had been quickly brought under control after our arrival. We headed back toward Vulcan until Spock was able to rendezvous with us in the Columbia. He had a total leave time of four days, and I am anxious to find out how it went.

I retire to my quarters after a light dinner. I sit at my console to begin approving the reports following the plague at the colony. Involved in the process, I don't notice the passage of time, until the buzzer to my quarters sounds.

"Come," I call.

The door slides open and Spock enters. He is still wearing civilian clothing - black pants of soft cotton and a white silk V-neck shirt. His face is more expressionless than usual when we are alone together.

"Hello," I smile at him. I turn to the cabinet behind me and remove two glasses and a bottle of the Vulcan fruit juice he is so fond of.

"It is good to see you, Jim," he says while seating himself.

I almost frown. His words have a tension about them.

"How are your parents?" I ask as I hand him a filled glass.

"They are well," he replies stoically. He sets his glass down on the table without sipping from it. His eyes look haunted, and I'm concerned. I'm also determined not to over-react.

"Did you enjoy your stay?"

The question brings forth a long sigh. I can't recall him ever making such a noise. I study him carefully. His eyes are on the desk between us.

He almost seems to grimace. "No, I did not enjoy my stay."

My gentle Vulcan, I wish nothing but happiness for you. What could have gone wrong? Instead, I simply ask, "Why not?"

He is thoughtful a long moment before replying. His eyes still avoid me. "There is a Human saying regarding one's parents: No matter what our age, when we are around our parents we go back to behaving like children." He pauses, swallowing. "I believe I am guilty of that."

I'm not sure what he means, but I don't like where it's leading. I probe very gently, "What do you mean?"

He stands up, and I am surprised to see him begin to lightly pace the floor. "It is as though things are as they have always been before, Jim. The relationship between my father and myself .... The relationship between my mother and myself ...." His voice lowers with regret. "I had truly believed things would be different since the Babel incident."

It is a relief that he is so willing to open up to me, but my heart fills with despair. I can't stand for anything to hurt him. I put a lid on the anger I feel rising against Sarek and Amanda. I do not have all the facts to justify being judgmental.

I try to keep the pain out of my voice. "I'm very sorry, Spock," I offer softly. "Would you like to tell me what happened?"

"There is no one thing that 'happened'," he replies, pacing faster. His eyes are on the floor, his hands almost clenched at his sides. "My father does not believe I am Vulcan enough, my mother does not believe I am Human enough. I do not know what it is they expect of me." His voice is tinged with frustration. "I have excelled in every task I have undertaken. I have numerous commendations and awards. Yet," he closes his eyes and swallows hard, "I receive only disapproval from them." He shakes his head in disbelief. "I do not know why I was foolish enough to believe they would behave differently this time. It was illogical of me."

Gods, he's upset. I've never seen him like this. How I long to comfort him. But he seems so willing to talk that I'm determined not to interfere with his recollection of what happened.

"From what you said before," I pursue cautiously, "you believe you behaved like a child?"

"I tried to argue with them." He is pacing again, his hands behind his back. "It did not work - as it did not when I was a child. It was illogical of me to resort to such tactics."

"What did you try to tell them?" I ask curiously.

He stops his restless movement and looks at me, a twinkle showing in his eyes. "That I am happy."

For an instant, I am overwhelmed with warmth. Will he ever know how much that means to me? "I would imagine Sarek would think that happiness is illogical, but Amanda ... surely she was glad to hear you say that."

"She does not believe it," he replies bluntly. The pacing is resumed. "She only knows that I was extremely unhappy as a child." He hesitates, and his voice is calmer when he speaks again. "I think she refuses to believe I am happy because she was not the one able to give it to me."

I'm the one who gave it to him. I shake my head. Amanda and I in competition over Spock's happiness? It doesn't matter. My overwhelming urge is to comfort Spock somehow. I can only hope he will accept it from me.

I stand up and go to him. My voice is very soft. "Come on, Spock," I say as I urge him toward the sleeping alcove. "You're wound up right now. Let's lie down while you tell me the rest of it."

For an instant he looks lost, as though he doesn't know what he wants. Then he allows me to lead him to the bed. I sit down on it first, leaning against the headboard, and drawing a leg up under myself while letting the other rest on the floor. Carefully, he gets on the bed. He looks at me with a somewhat bewildered expression.

I open my arms and put all the love I possess into my smile. "Come on, Spock, let me hold you."

He watches me for a long time. Then he shakes his head. "Jim, I do not believe it is wise for us to engage in sexual activity tonight." He sighs. "I do not think I would be a very responsive partner."

My heart sinks. My dear Vulcan, after all we've been through, you don't know the difference between affection and passion? Please, please let me show you.

"Who said anything about sex?" I scold gently. I reach for him. "I just want to hold you, give you somebody to lean on while you deal with your troubles. I'm offering comfort."

The barriers snap into place. "It is illogical to offer that which is not needed," he says firmly.

For a moment I am angry with him. How dare he deny me my right as his... his ... everything ... to give him what I have a need to give.

But I realize those barriers are just trying to protect a too-vulnerable interior. I can't blame him for resorting to them - not after all the rejection he's suffered throughout his life.

And it hasn't ended, I remind myself grimly. Sarek and Amanda have reopened all the old wounds.

"Don't deny me this, Spock." I am surprised to hear the pleading in my own voice. It's not my usual style. "I need to be needed by you. You are always the strong one, always the one with all the answers. Just once, will you let me be the one to soothe away your hurts and fears? I have a lot to give."

He's never been able to deny me. I almost feel guilty for the seeming manipulation - but my words are true.

The expression on his face softens. He takes a moment to remove his shoes, then he crawls up to me and slips into my arms. I don't believe for a minute that he doesn't want this closeness. He relaxes against me immediately.

I wrap my arms around him and make an effort not to squeeze too tight. I don't want to drive him away with my desperation. I rest my chin on top of his silky head. His hair is so soft against my cheek.

We are silent as we settle into our positions. Then he says, "I apologize for my behavior. My control has been unstable since leaving Vulcan. Meditation has been difficult to achieve."

"You don't need to apologize to me," I whisper into his hair. "And don't ever think it's necessary for you to maintain your control around me. You know you don't have to." I smile at the memory of some wonderfully uncontrolled orgasms we've experienced together. Then, I return to the matter at hand. "I wish I would have been there with you."

He shakes his head firmly. "I am glad you were not able to come. You would not have found it very enjoyable."

I shrug. "But I might have been able to help the situation some. I felt your parents respected me when they were aboard the Enterprise. I might have been of some help in the conflict between you and them."

Spock pulls back from my chest a little and looks up at me. "They do respect you, Jim." Then he bows his head and leans back against me. "My mother is sure that I am going to lose you."

Confused, I ask, "What do you mean?"

"She does not think I will be able to keep you as a friend."

My voice is harsh. "Why? Why would she think that?"

"You are the only person I have ever been friends with, Jim. She says that I am fortunate I did not 'blow it' when I refrained from telling you they were my parents before they came aboard the Enterprise for the trip to Babel. She knew that it was very embarrassing for you."

I'm angry now. "Then she should also know that it was very embarrassing to hear Sarek refuse you as their guide. I can't imagine a father treating his own son like that!"

"Nevertheless, my mother feels that I do not act 'Human' enough around you. She believes it will only be a matter of time before you tire of fighting my 'Vulcan facade'."

I liked Amanda, but I couldn't condone her treatment of Spock. As for Sarek.... "If that's how things went with your mother, I hate to even think about what the situation was like with your father."

Spock almost shrugs. "It is the same as always. I am a disgrace to all of Vulcan and to him personally."

My arms tighten then, and I rub my cheek against his hair. Why must they hurt him? There's never been so much ... goodness ... in one person as there is in Spock. Why can't they see it? Despite my anger, I feel another emotion coming on. I'm not proud of it, but I can't hide from it either.

Spock is all mine. There is no chance now of Vulcan ever taking him away from me, as I have sometimes feared. It would be foolish for him to ever return to a place where he isn't wanted. He'll always be with me....

I give him another squeeze, but my tone is casual. "Did you do anything else besides argue with your parents?"

"We visited some of my other relatives."

"How did that go?"

"As it always has. They find me quite fascinating for a half-breed."

I close my eyes, fighting back more anger. Damn. But I can't stay mad while I'm holding Spock. I chuckle suddenly. "I don't imagine you told them about us?"

His tone is almost amused. "Of course not. That would merely be another example of my deviation from normal Vulcan behavior. However, I do not think they will be upset about you becoming a member of the family."

I hesitate, a little embarrassed. "Well... I'm not exactly a member of the family yet."

He nods. "Indeed, and I see no point in telling them until we are bondmates."

We had already agreed on that before Spock went to Vulcan. However, we had also agreed that if the time seemed right, it was okay for him to tell them about us, though we are only lovers now, and not bondmates. Our relationship is rather new, and we've both shied away from the permanency of bonding until we've had time to live as lovers, and are certain of our compatibility. While I think we're both confident that we make a good couple, neither of us have felt any urgency to formally commit to each other. I know the appropriate time will present itself naturally. In any event, there would be no reason for Spock to upset his parents with the news that he was now sleeping with his captain.

But what I can't understand is why they seemed upset with him at all.

"Spock, why do you think your parents behaved toward you the way they did?"

He unconsciously snuggles closer against me. He loves physical contact. Craves it. He just can't ever bring himself to ask for it. But I know his needs far better than he does himself. I adjust my position until both feet are on the bed. Then I shift him in my arms until he is lying on his back in my lap with head against my shoulder.

"I do not know," he says in answer to my question. He seems genuinely confused. "With all that had happened when they were aboard this ship fourteen months ago, I was certain that they had learned to understand why I had run away to Starfleet, and had even been pleased to see that I was accepted by my shipmates. But, back on Vulcan, everything reverted to its former state. I was like a child again, and they were trying to tell me what was desirable for my life, and how I should behave. I cannot blame them... it is natural for parents to want their children to follow the paths they feel will be most beneficial for them."

He was silent for a moment. I was stroking his hair when he suddenly took a deep, almost shuddering breath. "Jim, I do not understand...."

There is such a tone of desperation in that voice. I grip him tighter. "What?" I prompt.

He swallows loudly. "When my parents agreed to... to... create me, they knew, of course, that I would be a hybrid. Why is it that, once I was born, they were so disapproving of what I was?"

Good question. I hug him again and kiss him on top of the head. "Do you think it all comes down to that?"

"It always has," is his blunt reply. I know then that he isn't just talking about his parents, but about his entire life.

I don't know what to say. But any kind of response would be better than nothing. He needs reassurance.

I lightly trace his facial features with my free hand. "Maybe, Spock, they had no idea how difficult it would be raising a hybrid child. Perhaps they found themselves in situations they didn't know how to deal with, so you got caught in the middle of their attempts at trial-and-error. Surely, Vulcans are capable of making mistakes, too."

I find I am beginning to believe my own words. It was as good a possibility as any. "And I imagine your father was so hell-bent on raising you as a Vulcan because that's what was most comfortable for him, and what he truly believed was best for you."

"I know that he did."

"And your mother ... she was probably caught in the middle between trying to be the good Vulcan wife to Sarek, and trying to act on her Human instincts to be a good mother to her son. I'm sure it hasn't been any easier on her than on you."

He nods his bowed head. "It has always been difficult for her," he whispers.

I bring my face down close to his. Softly, I say, "But, despite all the costs of all the misunderstandings, I'm glad that you and they have paid the price. Because you are here, and for that, I'm very, very thankful." I kiss him on the cheek, then add, "And, more than anything, I feel sorry for Sarek and Amanda."

He looks up at me in surprise. "Why?"

"Because they don't know you, Spock. They don't know you at all. And that's their loss." I smile warmly at him. "You're the finest person I've ever known."

He's still looking up at me. Those big brown eyes of his are so soft... almost teary. I see how much he wants to believe what I've said.

"I love you." I tell him.

He swallows again. "I know," he whispers. "I do not know what I would do if you did not."

I pull him against me and wrap my arms around him. "That's something you'll never have to find out."

He clings to me then. He's never done that before, and I am overwhelmed with joy, even in the wake of all his sadness. He needs me, and he is finally expressing that need.

His face is buried in my neck, and his hands are clutching me. It's almost painful, but I don't dare pull away. Instead, I rub his back with big, gentle circles. He likes that.

"I was wrong before," I hear him mumble.

"About what?" I ask gently.

The hands grip me even harder. "I do need this. Need you."

I stretch one arm out over the edge of the bed, and pull up a blanket. Ever since we became lovers I've always made sure I've had plenty of warm blankets nearby. My Vulcan usually gets cold when the afterglow wears off following sex. The blankets come in handy at other times, too. Like right now.

I wrap it around his back, and then put my arms around him again. He has since released his desperate hold, and is now content to just lie against me.

"There are many different faces of love, Spock," I murmur. "Not all of them have to do with sex. This," I squeeze him gently, "is important, too. And you have to learn to ask for it when you need or want it. There's nothing wrong with needing someone to hold you every now and then. You know I've asked it of you plenty of times."

He is much calmer now, and he seems to be considering my words. Then he nods. "Yes, but on those occasions I did not consider it to be something you needed as much as I considered it to be something I wanted to give."

"And, right now, this is something I want to give to you - because I know you need it. It works both ways, Spock. If a relationship is to be successful, both partners have to be willing to give and take. And you, my friend, have a serious problem with taking from me what you need."

He sighs quietly. "I shall endeavor to correct my behavior."

I smile at his choice of words, and lay my cheek back down on top of his head.

We are quiet for a while, just holding each other. Then he says, "I believe I could sleep like this."

"Mmmm," I agree.

"We are still clothed."

I shake my head slightly. "Doesn't matter. Don't move if you don't want to." I hope he doesn't want to budge. There is such a sense of security from being next to this warm body.

I feel myself drifting off and I smile. Perhaps my Vulcan does realize now that he is lovable, and it's not just because of that magnificent body of his. I haven't enjoyed seeing him hurt, but when others disregard him, it just leaves more of him for me to love.

I'll make certain that I'm all he ever needs. I know that he is all I've ever needed.

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