James was sitting on the floor – wedged between the low table and the large, squishy sofa. If his mother had been at home, she would probably have shaken her head at her son preferring the hard floor instead of the perfectly available furniture. Alas, she was not there – lucky for him.
Crackpot was lying stretched luxuriously on the sofa’s cushions next zu him, the large chocolate brown head almost on Jim’s shoulder. The rusty purring of the large feline had been streaming into his ear for so long now that he did not even register it anymore while he stared at the bright screen of the flat screen TV.
The room was perfectly dark, only illuminated by the light of the video game he was currently playing. The adventurous music drowned out the heavy pitter-patter of rain outside.
Jim let go of the controller with his right hand, fishing for some sweets spread out next to him while his eyes were glued to the screen and he operated the joystick with his left thumb. Oh yes, this was the life – sitting at home, all alone for three weeks while his mother was on some kind of conference and playing the newest Legend of Zelda game. Usually he was a pretty outgoing guy – but, really, what was a healthy fifteen year old boy to do in the middle of the night when it was raining cats and dogs?
Crackpot made a strange gurgling sound and sneezed wet onto the side of Jim’s neck.
“Ew!” he exclaimed and wiped the cat spit away with disgust, throwing the large animal a disgruntled look. Crackpot seemed mightily unconcerned, simply watching him with bright orange eyes scrunched together into little slits – as if he was thinking James could not see them.
“Idiot,” he rumbled, but turned back towards the game. He was supposed to get to the next temple, really, but... he just had gotten the opportunity to ride that horse and the overworld was so stunning and he really just wanted to have a look at...
Jim flinched just as Crackpot sprung up with one of his low, rusty mews.
“What the hell was that?!” the boy exclaimed and let the controller slip to the ground, not wasting another glance at the TV screen, before levering himself up. The noise had sounded like a... a gunshot or something. And it seemed to have come from somewhere in front of the farmhouse. Jim bit his lower lip, debating with himself whether it would be smarter to immediately switch on every light he came by or to just lay low and hope there was no clumsy burglar prowling the premises.
The storm raging outside howled for a moment and the teenager started nervously relaxing. It probably had just been the rumbling of thunder. Probably. Possibly.
Jim’s fingers curled around the slender end of the baseball bat he and his mother kept just next to the front door and pulled it close to his body, while trying to peer out of the small glass panels embedded left and right to the door. He could not see much, since they were covered by a thin fabric. What he could see, though, was that there was a light outside. Quite a few yards away, so it was safe to assume it was on the long, empty road snaking past the Kirk Farm. Drawing a deep breath, Jim pushed the fabric to the side and peered once more. For once, it did not help any for his vision, because the rain pouring down was almost worse than the decorating peeve of his mother.
However, he could kind of make out a vehicle on the road. The front lights were the only thing piercing the absolute blackness of the night.
Had it been the car making the unholy bang? Was there someone stranded outside? Jim gnawed on his lower lip, staring and staring until his eyes watered and he righted himself up once more. It was his duty to provide help, was it not? There were no other houses for a few miles up and down the highway. Whomever had driven the car could call himself insanely lucky for it to break down practically on his front porch. He could not imagine spending the night in the middle of buck-ass-nowhere while the sky was threatening to come down.
It might have been summer, but the nights still were a little cool, especially with how long the water had been raining down on them. As if to undermine his internal monologue, the wind picked up once more and howled menacingly. There was a touch on his legs. Looking down, Jim could just about make out Crackpot’s glowing orange eyes glancing up at him.
“Wait for me here, won’t you? And if I’m... if I’m not back by... say... in five minutes. Avenge my death.”
He sighed and put the baseball bat down in favour of one of the large umbrellas kept in the corner. Crackpot hissed and skittered away as soon as Jim opened the door and a blast of coldness and wetness greeted them. He could see precisely nothing except for the headlights still piercing the night.
Cursing under his breath, Jim retraced his steps, rummaging in the commode in the hallway for a flashlight. Immerging victorious, he bravely stepped outside. His feet made wet slapping noises against the wood of the patio and he once again cursed. He was in his rattiest lounging clothes, for God’s sake! Well, it could not be helped now. Whomever he was going to rescue, he thought the guy – or hopefully hot girl – should better be absolutely impressed by his valiant try to rescue him – her, her, her, please let it be a her – from certain drowning-doom instead of commenting on his pyjamas. Really.
He made his way down the front porch and onto the thankfully paved way snaking down to the street. It did not take him long, now that he gotten moving, to make out a lone figure standing next to the car and probably staring at it. Why the hell the person would climb out of the car just to stand there and stare... was absolutely beyond him.
Slowly getting closer, Jim seized up the figure. Tall, slender, dressed in strangely nondescript and absolutely soggy clothes. Black midnight hair. Short. Still – it could be a girl. He could not make out any particular curves, but the body was slender enough.
He switched the flashlight on as soon as he got close enough and took a deep, fortifying breath, before shouting out over the heavy sound of the rain, “Heeeyyy! Did your car brake down or something?!”
The person turned around to him – not in a particular rush; movements strangely contained and dignified.
“I am afraid so,” the person said and now there was no doubt it was a guy, because his voice was smooth and too deep to be a girl’s. For some reason it did not matter that much to Jim anymore, though, because the guy was gorgeous.
Jim started grinning.
“You’re in luck, then!”
The teenager had to blink one or two times and scrutinized the face in front of him. The guy – boy? – was absolutely pale; his skin looked like porcelain. There was no immediate expression on his face, simply a placid enquiry as if he was not standing in the rain, soaked to his bones.
“You speak funny,” Jim remarked and finally switched on his flashlight, shining the young man – he could not be that much older than Jim – in the face, before leaning down and peering into the car. There was seemingly no one inside and since he had not answered to Jim’s previous statement, the boy continued, “Are you alone?”
“What’s your name?”
That gave him a pause. Spock? That was an... unusual name.
“Where’re you from, Spock?” he asked, but there was no answer. Jim straightened and glanced into the face of the other one again. There still was no reaction coming from him. It was kind of eerie, really. The teenager took a cautious step backwards and cleared his throat.
“How old are you?”
Jim’s eyebrows shot up. Only one year older than him! And...
“Uh... you drove here by yourself?”
“You know that... you’re not allowed to drive.”
No answer. Damn, that guy was creepy. Jim cleared his throat again and shrugged his shoulders with exaggerated levity.
“Not that I’m judging you or anything. I’ve driven around myself a few times when Mum wasn’t around to nag...”
That got a response at last. The other boy’s left eyebrow slowly moved up, disturbing the slicked fringe of his hair enough for Jim to get a better glimpse at it. It... it looked kind of strange. All... slanted and...
Jim’s stomach made an involuntary swoop, as he suddenly saw the boy for the first time – really saw him. The strange, asymmetrically tailored clothes. The goofy haircut that made him look at the moment like a sad, little dog. The absolutely dark eyes. The placid, neutral facial expression. The eyebrows.
“Hold on a minute!” James gasped and took an unthinking step forward, automatically bringing his umbrella with him and finally sheltering the other guy. He raised his flashlight and pointed it at the side of the boy’s head. Right there, partly concealed by the wet strands of hair, was the delicately pointed tip of an ear.
“You’re a Vulcan!” Jim exclaimed, voice embarrassingly breaking into a high pitched squeal, which made him grimace and the other boy slightly wince. He felt his face heat up and was so glad for the darkness surrounding him.
“Indeed I am.”
“What’s a Vulcan doing here in Iowa? In the middle of the night? Driving a car? Underage?” Jim babbled on, stepping even closer, not heeding any personal space. He was a very touchy-feely kind of guy. And Spock was hot. In a totally aloof and critical kind of way.
Spock answered none of the questions. Jim frowned a little.
“Are you alright?” he asked slowly, suddenly realizing this probably should have been his first question. The alien – oh GOD there really was an alien, here, on his Farm! – turned his eyes a little away in something that might have been uneasiness. Jim took a deep breath and simply took a leap.
“Hey, come on. Why don’t we go inside and warm up? You can phone someone to pick you up, if you like.”
He turned on his heels, but only made a step before the soft voice of the Vulcan piped up.
“The car... it should not be out in the open.”
“What. Are you on the run or something?” he joked. When there was no answer, he gazed backwards over his shoulder, catching sight of Spock staring down on the ground. It was painfully obvious Jim had hit bull’s eye. He swallowed thickly and cleared his throat.
“Ah... don’t worry. We’ll push it into the barn tomorrow. Nobody’ll know, okay?”
The guy really did not seem like an outlaw or anything. To the contrary: he seemed to be in dire need of a good friend.
Spock looked kind of uncertain for a couple moments, searching for Jim’s gaze and holding it for a long time. In the end, though – Jim was not certain what the other boy had seen – he nodded and followed the human up to the large house.
Jim switched on the lights in the living room and turned around. Spock was standing in the doorjamb, looking torn between relief to be finally inside a dry dwelling and seriously discomfited.
“I do not wish to impose on you...” he nearly whispered while dark eyes tracked the interior of the room and got caught on the TV screen still displaying a juicy green field.
“Don’t be like that. You’re not imposing. I’m alone at the moment, so I could really use a little distraction,” Jim quipped, eyes roving over the dripping figure. “Just... uh... stay there a moment and I’ll get some towels and such.”
He retreated hastily, running up to his room and rummaging around his clothes for something suitable.
When he stumbled back into the living room not five minutes later, Spock was still standing in the exact same spot from before, though his eyes were no longer fixed on the video game, but on something on the floor.
“Here, I got you a few towels and a shirt and shorts of mine for the night and... what’s up?”
He blinked a few times at the way Spock was so intently staring. Jim turned and threw a short glance in the direction of the sofa, catching a glimpse of illuminated orange eyes blinking up to them from beneath the furniture.
“Ah... don’t mind him.”
“He growled at me.”
“Yeah, he does that. Don’t worry. He hates everybody.”
He let the clothes drop on one of the armchairs and shoved a towel in Spock’s arms. The Vulcan stared at it like he had never seen something like it, which made Jim snort in amusement.
“Do you want to eat something? Or drink something?”
“I’m making you a hot chocolate. Reckon you could use it.”
With that Jim ambled into the kitchen. He supposed Spock was on the shy side – it probably would do him good to get a little bossed around by a well-meaning person.
When Jim came back with a steaming mug, his strange guest was just in the process of gingerly carding fingers through his dishevelled hair in an effort to tame it.
The teenager grinned at the picture the Vulcan made in T-Shirt and sleeping shorts. The shirt was a little too wide and hung oddly on the slimmer frame. The cream colour of Spock’s skin that his pale face had hinted at in the darkness of the night, was gratifyingly stretching out to the long limbs.
“Everything alright?” Jim queried, stepping closer and thrusting the mug at the Vulcan. Spock raised his hands seemingly without volition, grasping the porcelain between his palms.
“I... yes. You are immensely helping. I am not sure how to give any of that kindness back to you...”
Jim waved him away and ambled to the sofa, plopping down on the furniture. Crackpot suddenly shot out from beneath it with an unholy yowl; his tail stuck up in the air. Spock looked rather startled.
“Is it... has it been hurt?” he asked slowly and Jim had to twist in order to look at him. Spock looked adorable, standing there cradling a hot mug of hot chocolate. Jim could not wipe away the shit-eating grin stretching his lips.
“Crackpot? Nah... he’s just a grumpy cat. Here, come, sit with me!” he crooned, patting the spot next to him. The Vulcan slowly began moving; all economic, short – graceful – gestures. Spock gingerly took place, staring intently into the dark liquid.
“Crackpot? That is the name of your pet?” he asked with a low voice.
Jim shrugged and grinned easily.
“It’s my name for him, at least. Mum thinks he’s called Doctor Butters.”
Spock, who had just been about to take a sip from his beverage, paused with the mug at his lips and shot Jim a look that made the boy absolutely crack up.
“Yeah, yeah, I know!”
The Vulcan shook his head minimally and finally sipped from the mug. Jim watched his Adam’s apple bob and bit his lower lip.
“So now that I know the name of your pet... may I enquire yours?” Spock asked, voice soft and still not looking at the human. Jim startled a little at the question. Had he really not introduced himself? Flushing, he cleared his throat.
“Uh... yea ‘course. Sorry.” He twisted towards the Vulcan, pulling one knee up onto the seat. He thrust one hand at Spock. “I’m James Kirk. Call me Jim.”
Slanted eyebrows shot up and Spock stared between Jim’s honest eyes and his extended hand. At last he loosened his grip on the mug and gingerly placed on hand in Jim’s. A shudder went through the teenager. Spock’s hand was hot from the lingering warmth of the mug.
His grin was by now face-splitting, his eyes holding on to the reserved gaze of his guest.
“Nice to meet you, Spock. You can crash on the couch – we’ll talk tomorrow, ok?”
He got up and Spock immediately stiffened, looking up at Jim with large, brown eyes.
“You are just... leaving me alone in your house?”
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Spock inquired with a frown of his own. Jim shot him a rakish grin.
“You planning on doing something to me?”
“Of course not!” The human snickered at how absolutely aghast Spock seemed.
“Well, then that’s settled.”
Lying in his bed he pondered whether he had done the right thing. He had the nagging feeling his mother would hit him soundly around the back of his head, had she known what he had done.
On the other hand, there was a gorgeous Vulcan sleeping downstairs.
The hottie definitely won over his mother.
Coming down the next day, Jim was greeted by the sight of Spock lying stiff as a board on the sofa, staring eye to eye with Crackpot. The large cat was lying stretched out on the boy, emanating a constant, low growl.
Jim hastily shooed the cat down from its victim, smothering a grin at the grateful look Spock shot him.
“Good morning,” he said and thrust clothes at the Vulcan. “Get them on and we’ll shove that car into the barn.”
Spock said nothing, but he sat up and took the clothes willingly enough.
It had taken them long to manoeuvre the old car into the barn, because half-way through, Jim had piped up and asked, “Where’d you get the car anyway?”
Only for Spock’s cheeks to tint a quickly darkening shade of forest green and the Vulcan to answer nearly inaudibly, “I stole it.”
After that admission – from a Vulcan no less! – Jim went out of order, guffawing and demanding more information – but Spock refused to give any. The blush had been spreading towards the tips of his ears by that time.
When they had finally closed the door of the barn, Jim gently bumped their shoulders together on their way to the main house.
“You’re one badass Vulcan,” he said with a grin. Spock shot him a slightly shocked look, but Jim swore he heard him whisper, “Thank you.”
They had decided to spend their day inside, since it was disgustingly wet outside and the Vulcan – as a creature whose biology was better suited to arid environments – had not looked thrilled at the prospect of going out.
He had seemed suitably intrigued about Jim’s video games, though, which was just alright for the human. Jim had sat down on his customary place on the floor with Spock next to him on the couch. Up until then the Vulcan had been silent.
“May I enquire where your Mother is? Won’t she be concerned over my being here?”
Jim rolled his head around along the cushion and glanced up at the Vulcan. Spock’s eyes were fixed on the inventory screen Jim had brought up to pause the game. He would have seemed relaxed enough – had it not been for the hands fiddling restlessly with the hem of his shirt in his lap.
Jim frowned and turned back again, staring towards the video game without resuming it.
“She’s on a conference. She’s in Starfleet, y’ know. It’ll take at least three weeks until she gets back here. You... can stay. If you like. You sure you don’t want to phone anyone?”
Spock shook his head mutely – Jim could see it in their faint reflections on the screen.
“You can stay until you know what you want to do next.” He was silent for a second before continuing, “Don’t worry about my Mum. She’s mostly cool. She’ll help if you get in trouble for stealing that car, you know.”
There was no answer and Jim slowly resumed the game.
After about five minutes, Spock’s body noticeably started loosening up.
Spock was a very reserved guy – not letting out much about himself or how he had come to be on the run from whatever or whomever he was running from. He was a nice fellow, though – and really easy on the eyes.
They spent the following days together – prowling the acres of farm land and tinkering with the old car Spock had nicked.
Every day the Vulcan thanked Jim profusely for offering him shelter – and every day Jim laughed at him for being so overly prim and proper.
Jim generally had much to laugh with his sudden companion – surprisingly enough, since Vulcans were not exactly know for their joviality and Spock never so much as cracked a smile.
But it was insanely cute to watch Spock give Crackpot a wide, wide berth whenever they met somewhere – and the fact that the large cat followed them around everywhere, seemingly just to get on the Vulcan’s nerves.
It was mind boggling that the Vulcan seemed to derive genuine pleasure out of watching Jim play video games at night; and even more so that he had not pulled back, when the teenager started sitting closer and closer, until he finally leaned gingerly against Spock’s shins.
Spock was insanely intriguing – so very Vulcan and yet not. There were only secrets shrouding him; he was playing his cards close to his chest.
Jim loved puzzles.
They sat in Jim’s room. Spock on the floor, leaning back at the footboard of the bed, his legs pulled towards his body while watching Jim fiddling with that miniature Starship he was building.
“I think we’ll get the car moving tomorrow,” the human said and let the sentence hang in the air. He pointedly did not look up from the miniature Starship, though he did no longer try to glue the little parts on. His hands were shaking too badly for it.
Spock sighed – very softly and nearly not audible, but Jim picked up on it nonetheless.
“I think it would be better if I were on my way as soon as possible. I am a little surprised that no one has come to get me by now, to be honest.”
Jim let all pretence of working on his Starship go in order to slide from his chair and crawl on all fours towards Spock. He crouched down in front of the vaguely uneasy looking alien and caught hold of his hands, his heart was beating insanely in his chest.
“Why won’t you tell me what’s up? I could help you!” he wheedled for the umpteenth time. And just like all the other times, the Vulcan’s eyes became softer – warmer – but he said nothing; just shook his head. He did not pull his hands away, though. To the contrary: his long fingers shyly curled around Jim’s broad hands and his upper body angled forward towards the other teenager seemingly without conscious effort.
Jim bit his lower lip.
“I’m having fun with you... here... I don’t want you to go away,” the boy exclaimed, flushing simultaneously with Spock. Both quickly looked away. The Vulcan was hesitant when he spoke up.
“I... had enjoyed my time here as well. You are very accepting of so many things, Jim. It is so soothing to be with you.”
Jim looked up at that, watching Spock sharply. There had been several of these strange comments throughout the past days. Jim knew there was a story behind the deeply seated melancholy. There had been something wounding the Vulcan on such a profound level, it made Jim’s heart clench in his chest to think of it. His hands clasped the ones of the other boy more tightly.
“Can’t I say or do anything to keep you here with me?” he whispered, leaning forward, bringing his body closer to Spock’s. The other boy immediately let his legs fall invitingly apart to accommodate the blond youth. Suddenly Jim’s blood felt so much hotter in his veins – pumping through them overly loud and obnoxious.
“No. I must go. It is better that way,” Spock whispered, but he seemed not to really pay attention to his words, since his eyes were fixed on Jim’s mouth.
It took laughably little effort to catch those lime green lips in a clumsy kiss. Jim had only kissed a handful of girls before that and somehow it was just the same and at the same time totally different to kiss another guy.
Their noses bumped a little together; Jim lost his balance and bumped into the Vulcan – yet, they did not break the kiss. Spock’s arms came up and gingerly wound around the younger boy. When they separated from the gentle press, both their cheeks were flushed even deeper.
Jim clung to Spock’s – Jim’s – shirt and pressed his hot face against the Vulcan’s.
“Stay with me tonight?” he begged and pressed even closer to the hotter-than-human body. Spock hesitated just a moment, before he nodded.
They pressed together in Jim’s bed until their breaths mingled. Their legs were entwined and their hands gripping one another furiously.
It was frightening, really, how deeply he had come to care for this quiet creature. Spock was practically the perfect opposite of him. They should, in all logicality, have nothing in common.
Yet they enjoyed sitting together and watching TV or playing video games – both things Jim suspected Spock had never done and was that not a sad thought for a boy Spock’s age?
They enjoyed prowling the nature and fixing various damaged things around the farm.
They could talk about everything it seemed – Spock was insanely knowledgeable and Jim was clever enough to at least pretend he had any knowledge (though Spock usually found out his bluff pretty quickly).
They were both alone in their own ways and shamelessly grateful for a sympathetic ear and attention.
And they were hormonal teenagers, prone to latch on to everyone with fierce devotion.
The next day was very bright – in stark contrast to how Jim felt. He woke to the growling purr of Crackpot. The dark furred beast was lying squarely on Spock’s and his bodies and watching them with careful disinterest. He was actually kind of glad to be pinned by the large cat – it prevented them from rising and going into the garage for quite some time, since Spock was a) too afraid to push Crackpot away and b) too polite at the beginning to ask Jim to remove the animal.
In the end, they had to make their way into the barn, though. Jim was debating the merits of trying to sabotage the repairs of the car, but Spock was shooting him strange, knowing gazes – so he let it slide.
They brushed one another far more often than necessary. Neither commented on it.
When the time came and the car’s motor rattled to life, Jim was utterly dismayed and standing next to it with an unhappy expression on his face. Spock stood awkwardly at his side, putting weight from his left foot to his right foot and back again.
“I have to go now,” the Vulcan said softly. Jim heaved a deep breath and quickly swiped one hand across his eyes. It was unfair – Spock coming and going like some kind of Will-O-Wisp. How was Jim to know he had not dreamed the past week of happiness and friendship?
He stared up at the taller youth, lips pressed into a thin line and eyebrows drawn together in concentration to keep his breath even and his eyes dry. Spock did not meet his gaze – he stared at the ground.
“I...” he begun, but subsided, huffing softly as if searching for words. Jim did not help him this time – did not prod him to spill his beans. Spock opened his mouth twice more, before saying softly, “If you were to give me your phone number, I could call you...”
Jim closed his eyes briefly and took a shuddering breath.
“Wait here,” he murmured and shot into the house. Moments later he came back with a piece of paper. He held it out, but did not let go as Spock took hold of it, until the Vulcan raised his gaze and stared looked him in the eye.
“Where are you going?” he demanded to know. Spock swallowed.
“I don’t know.”
Jim narrowed his eyes.
“You better call me soon, Spock. I won’t have you getting lost in Iowa, do you understand?!”
“Take care of yourself.”
They stood and stared at one another, until Jim suddenly leapt forward and smashed his mouth gracelessly against Spock’s lips. The Vulcan stumbled backwards against the car, pinned there by the human, who frantically embraced him and kept pressing hard kisses to his mouth.
Jim moped around for several days, eying the phone unhappily. Spock had not phoned. Had he been lying? Had he simply used Jim and was now on his merry way – wherever he was going?
When the phone rang, Jim flinched and sprung up so fast, Crackpot was nearly catapulted from his lap. The cat hissed at him, but he ignored it in favour of leaping to the phone and ripping it towards his ear.
“Yes?” he said breathlessly. There was a beat of pause, before the voice of his mother said, “Jim? Are you okay?”
He sagged and moaned nearly noiselessly, rubbing one hand over his face.
“Ah... yes, Mum.”
“You don’t sound like it. Did anything happen?”
“Naaah... just bored, is all.”
There was a doubting humming coming from the other end of the line, before his mother spoke up again, “Listen, I just wanted to call to tell you I might be a few days later.”
He frowned and started walking up and down the living room.
“There came something up at the conference. A child went missing and we’ve not been able to track him down.”
Jim blinked carefully once, twice then cleared his throat.
“Uh... why are you looking for him? Isn’t the police supposed to look out for missing children?”
“Yeah... but this one is special. It’s the son of a Vulcan Ambassador – it’s kind of a big deal.”
Jim’s heart plunged down to the vicinity of his feet.
“A... a Vulcan?” he whispered. His mother was silent for just a second too long after that.
“Jim?” she sounded suspicious. “What are you up to?”
“I... ah... nothing. What’s... what’s his name?”
“The Ambassador’s son!” he nearly screamed and stopped in his frantic pacing to clear his throat and mumble an apology.
“His name’s Spock. I’d really like to know why you’re so strange, Jim.”
He could not believe it. He could not believe it.
Spock was an Ambassador’s son! Why the hell was he running away?
An Ambassador’s son...
A Vulcan Ambassador’s son had stolen a car and was on his way somewhere through the country.
Jim was lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling, slack jawed and kind of awed. He had snogged an Ambassador’s unruly son. Unruly gorgeous son.
When the phone rang, he went to it way more sedate than the first time. He pressed it slowly at his ear, knowing with a gut feeling who was on the other line, even before the smooth voice hesitatingly said, “Jim...”
Jim started to grin like an idiot and curled on his bed around the phone, crooning towards Spock wherever he was calling from, “You are one badass Vulcan.”